‹‹‹ prev (65) [Page 50][Page 50]On the Church of England and the problem of Catholicity

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Butt put case they made a schisme: it will not therfore follow that all who
live and die in the Reformed church are quite excluded from all possibility of
salvation. For as it is true which Vincent of Lerins3 hath concerning St Cyprian
with his colleagues the African bishops and Donatus with his crue,‘the teachers
are absolved, the disciples condemned’; for is it as true vice versa that the authors
of a shisme may be condemned, and yet they or many of them saved who are
involved in it, if they doe as St Cyprian did, and be like minded as he was, that is,
if they refuse only a communion in those things that they judge to be erroneous
and unlawfull for them to consent unto, and keeping charitie towards all, doe
communicate with them not only internally, but also externally in the rest.
But you may say that after so many yeares and so many demonstrations of
the truth, there can be no salvation for them that will not yeeld, seing after that
the Nicen councell had determined the point of rebaptization, it was heresie to
hold, or doe the contrarie.To which I answere, 1 .That there was no lesse demon¬
stration of the truth made to Cyprian and his fellow bishops, and by no lesse
autoritie (if wee may beleeve the now rigide Catholiques of Rome) then that of
a generall councell, to witt, by more popes then one, id est, ex cathedra.4 Yett he
lived and died in his error, which was no small one (exufflare baptismum Christi, et
signa imperatoris sacrilega audacia [63v] violare, as St Augustine5 often speaketh, re¬
futing the same error in the Donatists), who, notwithstanding by all good Chris¬
tians is held for a blessed saint and glorious martyr. 2. Wee have had no generall
councell since the Reformation, for that of Trent is not received for such of
Vincent of Lerins was a monk and theologian, of Gallic origin, who died some time before 450.
He produced, probably in the 430s, a work entitled Adversus Haereticos, more commonly known as the
Commonitoria or Commom'fory.TheVincentian canon is attributed to him, i.e. Quod ubique, quod semper,
quod ab omnibus creditum est.The reference here is to ch.6.18,in a discussion of Cyprian’s opinion that
those baptised by heretics should be rebaptised, a view adopted by the Donatists for which Vincent
thought they should burn in hell forever, but maintaining that Cyprian would reign eternally with
Christ: ‘the teachers are absolved, the disciples condemned: the writers of the books will be children of
the Kingdom, the defenders of them will have their place in gehenna.’ See Vincent of Lerins, The
Commonitory, trans.T.H. Bindley (London, 1914), 38. See also another translation by R.E. Morris in
Niceta of Remesiana, Writings (Fathers of the Church, vol. vii,Washington, DC, 1949), 255-332.
‘that is,from the bishop’s office or chair’.
5 ‘to scorn the baptism of Christ, and to violate the standards of the emperor with sacrilegious
audacity’. Probably a composite by Wedderburn.The first phrase may be seen in City of God, in Works,
i, 91,‘Emperor God’ (imperatorem Deum, 1616 edn.,ix,22),and Works, i, 164,‘that blow on Christ as if
they abhorred Him, that blaspheme baptism’ (adversus exufflatores Christi, adversus blasphematores baptismi,
ix, 36). Likewise Epistle 185, in Works, iii, 517,‘because we have treated your baptism with contempt’
(quia exufflavimus baptismum vestrum, ii, 79).The second phrase might have been constructed on the
basis of Epistle 87, in Works, vi, 363,‘imperial standards’ (imperatoris signa, ii, 255), and On Baptism, in
Works, iii, 73,‘the standard of our General’ (imperatoris nostri signa,sm, 44), and Works, iii, 95,‘the signs of
our Sovereign’ (imperatoris nostri signa, vii, 49).

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