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THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
THE ERRORS AND CORRUPTIONS OF THE CHURCH
Wherein, as is largely proved,
THE RULE OF FAITH, AND ALL THE FUNDAMENTAL ARTICLES OF
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, ARE RECEIVED, TAUGHT,
PROFESSED, AND ACKNOWLEDGED.
DR. GEORGE BULL,
LATE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID's.
AT THE REQUEST OF THE COUNTESS OF NEWBRUGH,
IN ANSWER TO A CELEBRATED ROMAN CATHOLIC TREATISE,
“ THE CATHOLIC SCRIPTURIST.”
Published from his Lordship's Manuscript, by his Son Robert Bull,
Rector of Tortworth, and Prebendary of Gloucester.
OMETIME in last December I received a letter
from Mr. Curll the bookseller, acquainting me that a manuscript of my father's, entitled, A Letter to the Countess of Newbrugh, was found among the papers of a gentleman lately deceased. The manuscript hath since been transmitted to me, and I have carefully perused it. And though I was at first surprised to find it not written in my father's own hand, yet, upon farther recollection, I see no manner of reason to question but that the treatise is his; having frequently heard him mention such a letter, and seen several of his papers (written, as near as I can guess, about the same time) transcribed by the same hand. From whence I farther conclude, that the manuscript, of which I am now speaking, is the very same that was sent to the countess of Newbrugh, and which Mr. Nelson so laments the loss of, p. 66 of his Life of my father. For the sake of those readers who may not have seen that excellent piece of Mr. Nelson's, I shall here insert the whole paragraph :
“ While Mr. Bull was rector of Suddington, the “ providence of God gave him an opportunity of “ fixing two ladies of quality, in that neighbourhood, “ in the protestant communion, who had been re“ duced to a very wavering state of mind, by the “ arts and subtleties of some Romish missionaries. “ Their specious pretences to antiquity were easily “ detected by this great master of the ancient Fa
thers; and by his thorough acquaintance with
Scripture, and the sense of the catholic church “ in matters of the greatest importance, he was able “ to distinguish between primitive truths, and those “ errors which the church of Rome built upon them. “ He had frequent conferences with both these
ladies, and answered those objections which appeared to them to have the greatest strength, and
by which they were very near falling from their “ steadfastness: For one of them he writ a small “ treatise, which she had requested from him, but “ no copy of it is to be found among those papers " he left behind him; nothing remaineth of it but “ the remembrance that it was written, and that he “ did thereby succeed in establishing the lady in the “ communion of the church of England. Both the “ ladies always owned, with the greatest sense of
gratitude, this signal service they received from
" the learning and capacity of Mr. Bull. None can “ well apprehend how grievous a state of human “ life doubt is, in matters of consequence, but they “ who feel it ; and therefore no wonder if they “ blest that happy instrument by which fresh light “ was conveyed into their minds, and those uncer“ tainties cleared up which they laboured under, “ in reference to matters of the greatest moment. “ The method indeed they took was prudent and
Christian, to seek for knowledge at those lips “ which are appointed to preserve it, and to bring “ their doubts to their own pastors, before they sub“mit to the authority of others. And I question “ not but for this reason, among many, God thought “ fit to give them the satisfaction they sought for; “ and if others, who are assaulted after this manner, “ would take the same course, I doubt not but that they would find the same success.
If the reader is desirous to know who those ladies (mentioned in the beginning of the paragraph) were, I can only tell him, that one of them was the wife of a worthy person now living, who (for reasons best known to himself) was unwilling her name should be mentioned upon such an occasion by Mr. Nelson ; and supposing him to be still of the same opinion, I shall not insert any thing here which may be grating to him. The other was the countess of Newbrugh, for whose sake this treatise was composed : and of her all the account I can at present give is, that she