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Where driving in a circle flow or fast,
Oppofing fects are sure to meet at last.
A wond'rous charity you have in ftore
For all reform'd to pass the narrow door:
So much, that Mahomet had scarcely more.
For he, kind prophet, was for damning none;
But Chrift and Mofes were to fave their own:
Himself was to fecure his chofen race,
Tho' reafon good for Turks to take the place,
And he allow'd to be the better man,
In virtue of his holier Alcoran.

True, faid the Panther, I fhall ne'er deny
My brethren may be fav'd as well as I:
Tho' Huguenots condemn our ordination,
Succeffion, ministerial vocation;

And Luther, more mistaking what he read,
Misjoins the facred body with the bread:
Yet, lady, ftill remember I maintain,
The word in needful points is only plain.
Needlefs, or needful, I not now contend,
For ftill you have a loop-hole for a friend;
(Rejoin'd the matron): but the rule you lay
Has led whole flocks, and leads them ftill aftray,
In weighty points, and full damnation's way.
For did not Arius firft, Socinus now,

The Son's eternal God-head difavow?
And did not thefe by gofpel texts alone
Condemn our doctrine, and maintain their own?
Have not all hereticks the fame pretence
To plead the scriptures in their own defence ?
How did the Nicene council then decide
That strong debate? was it by fcripture try'd?
No, fure; to that the rebel would not yield;
Squadrons of texts he marshal'd in the field:
That was but civil war, an equal fet,
Where piles with piles, and eagles eagles met.




With texts point-blank and plain he fac'd the foe
And did not Satan tempt our Saviour fo?
The good old bishops took a fimpler way;
Each afk'd but what he heard his father fay,
Or how he was inftructed in his youth,
And by tradition's force upheld the truth.

The Panther fmil'd at this; And when, faid fhe,
Were thofe first councils difallow'd by me?

Or where did I at fure tradition ftrike,

Provided ftill it were apoftolic?

Friend, faid the Hind, you quit your former ground,
Where all your faith you did on fcripture found:
Now 'tis tradition join'd with holy writ;
But thus your memory betrays your wit.

No, faid the Panther; for in that I view,
When your tradition's forg'd, and when 'tis true.
I fet them by the rule, and, as they square,
Or deviate from undoubted doctrine there,
This oral fiction, that old faith declare.

(Hind) The council fteer'd, it feems, a different courfe; They try'd the fcripture by tradition's force:

But you tradition by the scripture try;

Purfu'd by fects, from this to that you fly,
Nor dare on one foundation to rely.

The word is then depos'd, and in this view,
You rule the fcripture, not the fcripture you.
Thus, faid the dame, and, fmiling, thus purfu'd:
I fee, tradition then is difallow'd,

When not evinc'd by fcripture to be true,
And fcripture, as interpreted by you.

But here you tread upon unfaithful ground;
Unless you could infallibly expound:
Which you reject as odious popery,

And throw that doctrine back with fcorn on me.

Suppose we on things traditive divide,
And both appeal to scripture to decide;


By various texts we both uphold our claim,
Nay, often, ground our titles on the fame:
After long labour loft, and time's expence,
Both grant the words, and quarrel for the fenfe.
Thus all difputes for ever muft depend;
For no dumb rule can controverfies end.
Thus, when you faid, Tradition must be try'd
By facred writ, whofe fense yourselves decide,
You faid no more, but that yourselves must be
The judges of the scripture fenfe, not we.
Against our church-tradition you declare,
And yet your clerks would fit in Mofes' chair:
At least 'tis prov'd against your argument,
The rule is far from plain, where all diffent.
If not by fcriptures, how can we be sure
Reply'd the Panther, what tradition's pure?
For you may palm upon us new for old:
All, as they fay, that glitters is not gold.

How but by following her, reply'd the dame,
To whom deriv'd from fire to fon they came;
Where ev'ry age does on another move,
And trufts no farther than the next above;
Where all the rounds like Jacob's ladder rise,
The lowest hid in earth, the topmost in the skies,
Sternly the favage did her answer mark,
Her glowing eye-balls glittering in the dark,
And faid but this: Since lucre was your trade,
Succeeding times fuch dreadful gaps have made,
"Tis dangerous climbing: To your fons and you
I leave the ladder, and its omen too.

(Hind.) The Panther's breath was ever fam'd for sweet; But from the wolf fuch wifhes oft I meet:

You learn'd 5 this language from the blatant beast,
Or rather did not speak, but were poffefs'd.


-blatant beaft --a word us'd by Spenfer in his Fairy Queen.

As for your answer 'tis but barely urg'd:
You must evince tradition to be forg'd;
Produce plain proofs; unblemish'd authors use
As ancient as thofe ages they accuse;

'Till when 'tis not fufficient to defame:

An old poffeffion ftands, 'till elder quits the claim.
Then for our int'reft, which is nam'd alone

To load with envy, we retort your own.
For when traditions in faces fly,


Refolving not to yield, you must decry.
As when the cause goes hard, the guilty man
Excepts, and thins his jury all he can;

So when you ftand of other aid bereft,
You to the twelve apostles would be left.
Your friend the Welf did with more craft provide
To fet those toys traditions quite afide;
And fathers too, unless when, reason spent,
He cites them but fometimes for ornament.
But, madam Panther, you, though more fincere,
Are not fo wife as your adulterer:

The private spirit is a better blind,

Than all the dodging tricks your authors find.
For they, who left the fcripture to the crowd,
Each for his own peculiar judge allow'd;

The way to please them was to make them proud.
Thus with full fails they ran upon the fhelf;
Who could fufpect a cozenage from himself?
On his own reafon fafer 'tis to ftand,
Than be deceiv'd and damn'd at fecond-hand.
But you, who fathers and traditions take,
And garble fome, and fome you quite for fake,
Pretending church-authority to fix,

And yet fome grains of private spirit mix,
Are like a mule made up of differing feed,
And that's the reason why you never breed;
At least not propagate your kind abroad,
For home diffenters are by ftatutes aw'd.


And yet they grow upon you every day,
While you, to speak the best, are at a stay,
For fects, that are extremes, abhor a middle way.
Like tricks of ftate, to stop a raging flood,
Or mollify a mad-brain'd fenate's mood:
Of all expedients never one was good.
Well may they argue, nor can you deny,
If we must fix on church authority,

Beft on the beft, the fountain, not the flood;
That must be better still, if this be good.
Shall fhe command who has herself rebell'd?
Is antichrift by antichrift expell'd?
Did we a lawful tyranny displace,
To fet aloft a baftard of the race?
Why all these wars to win the book, if we
Must not interpret for ourselves, but she?
Either be wholly flaves, or wholly free.
For purging fires traditions must not fight;
But they must prove epifcopacy's right.
Thus thofe led horfes are from fervice freed;
You never mount them but in time of need.
Like mercenaries, hir'd for home defence,
They will not ferve against their native prince,
Against domestic foes of hierarchy

These are drawn forth, to make fanatics fly;
But, when they see their countrymen at hand,
Marching against them under church-command,
Straight they forsake their colour, and disband.

Thus fhe, nor could the Panther well enlarge
With weak defence against fo ftrong a charge;
But faid: For what did Chrift his word provide,
If ftill his church must want a living guide?
And if all-saving do&rines are not there,
Or facred penmen could not make them clear,
From after-ages we fhould hope in vain.

For truths, which men infpir'd could not explain.

D 3




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