declared heresy neither in the Scriptures nor in the Councils; because it was never before heard of. And consequently there can be no error, unless it fall within the compass of blasphemy against God or treason against the King, for which a man can in equity be punished. Besides, who can tell what is declared by the Scripture, which every man is allowed to read and interpret to himself? Nay more, what Protestant, either of the laity or clergy, if every general Council can be a competent judge of heresy, is not already condemned? For divers Councils have declared a great many of our doctrines to be heresy, and that, as they pretend, upon the authority of the Scriptures.
A. What are those points, that the first four general Councils have declared heresy?
B. The first general Council, held at Nicæa, declared all to be heresy which was contrary to the Nicene Creed, upon occasion of the heresy of Arius, which was the denying the divinity of Christ. The second general Council, held at Constantinople, declared heresy the doctrine of Macedonius; which was that the Holy Ghost was created. The third Council, assembled at Ephesus, condemned the doctrine of Nestorius, that there were two persons in Christ. The fourth, held at Chalcedon, condemned the error of Eutyches, that there was but one nature in Christ. I know of no other points condemned in these four Councils, but such as concern church-government, or the same doctrines taught by other men in other words. And these Councils were all called by the Emperors, and by them their decrees confirmed at the petition of the Councils themselves.
A. I see by this, that both the calling of the Council, and the confirmation of their doctrine and church-government, had no obligatory force but from the authority of the Emperor. How comes it then to pass, that they take upon them now a legislative power, and say their canons are laws? That text, all power is given to me in heaven and earth, had the same force then as it hath now, and conferred a legislative power on the Councils, not only over Christian men, but *also* over all nations in the world.