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The godly learned never once vouchsafed to lend their eares to the deceitful tunes of bewitching charmes, rather grounding their opinions upon the fourth Councell of Toledo, by which all sorts of persons are condemned without distinction or exception, qui fidem regibus suis sacramento promissam observare contemnerent, that contemned or scorned to keepe the faith which they promised by oath to their soveraigne, taking by this first part all perfidious traitors in generalitie.
But that which followes pincheth Navarre and his disciples at the very heart, ut ore simularent iuramenti professionem, cum mente retinerent perfidiae impietatem, and with their mouth dissembled a profession by oath, when in their minds (or mentally, to use the very word of our Schoolemen at this day) they retained still the wicked purpose of treason. In deed Pythagoras imprinted nothing in the minds of his schollers more deepely than that prophane verse,
Iura, periura, secretum prodere noli
[Swear, forswear, refuse to betray a secret].
The Epicure on the other side was satisfied modo mentem iniuratam gereret, etiamsi lingua iuraret [to preserve an unsworn mind, even if his tongue swore]. And you, Master Garnet (to make up such a triangle as can never bee reduced to a cube, that is a perfect square), divulge and publish to your auditorie (which those blinde philosophers durst not professe beyond the compasse of their schooles) that it is lawfull to draw words to the sense of thoughts, to cast a mist of errour before an eye of single trust, and to deceive your brother for your own security. I am very sure the learned Fathers neither knew the way, nor had the will to escape by such a kind of deceptio visus [deception of vision] as directly tends ad destructionem animae [to the soul’s destruction]. For when Athanasius was overtaken by a pursuivant, and asked quantum inde abesset Athanasius? how far Athanasius was from thence? though it stood upon his life in a time (as you make of this) of persecution, and he a person farre more choice and dainty for the defence of Gods owne quarrell (as appeared by his quicke and sharpe encounters with the professed enemies of trueth in that holy Nicene Councell) then you are in this kingdome for the justification of those bad attempts and impious actions which you take in hand, yet he answered as freely without fraud as feare, non longe abesse Athanasium [Athanasius is not far away], which was very true, because hee was the man for whom the party sought, and cared little, as appeares, how soone they met him. A man of weak conceit may apprehend how farre our Saviour Himselfe was from these chimicall constructions and evasions, sophisticall by that universall proposition quicunque me negaverit, whosoever denied Him before men should be denied by Him before his Father, etc. For to put out cautious equivocators from all hope of succour in this streight by their distinction of verball and mentall negatives, I urge the precedent warning in the very text before, non timere eos qui occidunt corpus, et animam non possunt occidere, not to feare those which have power onely to kill the body, and not the soule. For if our Saviour had left his disciples such a strength of surety for retrait upon pursuit as verball flourishes (whatsoever were conceived or resolved in the minde), hee needed not so carefully to arme them with encouragement and hope against assaults of cruelty.
The passages which both you and other of your complices wrest from the mouth of Christ Himselfe for a faire countenance of cousinage in this labyrinth would rather commovere nauseam quam bilem (provoke nausea than bile), though I must tell you that singular examples drawen from our Saviour that was both God and man (and not onely knew by his eternall wisdome, but was also by his matchlesse power to rectifie whatsoever seemed to our dull conceits obscure) are neither rules of our encouragement, nor warrants for our imitation. I make no doubt for my part but that these egges of Equivocation and mentall reservation (never engendered nor covered by fairer birdes in better times) where hatched (as the poets faine) of osprayes with a thunderclap. For amongst the martyrs and pastors primitive, their praises were resounded with the lowdest and sweetest cries, that were most resolute (without evasions or tricks) to lay downe a transitory life in a moment to the purchase of a better in eternitie, so farre they were from forcing wit, or strayning craft to secure cowardise. But to passe over this just motive of digression, I will conclude the chiefe point, which is the care best men have ever had to preferre obedience before securitie, loyaltie before life, with a discreet answere of a Pope to a King of ours, which may serve you for a better president in the course of patience then that either of Gregory the Seventh, Boniface the Eight, or Alexander the Sixt in their practises of extremitie, if it so stand with your pleasure. Richard the holy warrier, having committed a Norman bishop prisoner, whom hee tooke in field against him with his coate armour upon his backe, received within a while after an urgent request (if not a powerfull instance) from the Pope at the earnest of other bishops, for the prisoners enlargement, who it pleased his Fatherhood in the letter by a word of indulgencie (but without that ground of equitie which moved the Apostle obsecrare pro filio suo, quem genuit in vinculis, to presse Philemon for his sonne Onesimus, whom he begate to Christ and his Church in duresse) to call his sonne. The King wittily alluding by his answer to that place in Genesis where Josephs particoloured and pied coat as offered to the aged father steined and sprinkled with blood, sent not the prisoner, who remayned fast, but the coate armour (which was loose) to the Pope, inquiring a beatissimo patre (by this milde question) an haec esset filii sui tunica, whether this were the coaste of his sonne. The Pope, surprised with a demonstration, and observing heedefully the markes which could not lyre, returned a grave answer to the King, nec hanc esse filii sui tunicam, that neither was this the attire of his sonne, nor he purposed so to acknowledge the partie that was taken in that coate, and therefore left him wholly to civill justice and the Kings gracious pleasure. For it is true that ambition, which is most bolde upon advantage, is most cowardly upon surprise, and howsoever humors may sometimes urge mindes that are not evenly balanced with discretion and conscience to undertake attempts ever above duety, and oftentimes above their strength, yet second wittes observe the slips and errors of the first, and thereupon concluding at more leysure out of judgement that vis expers consilii mole ruit sua [thoughtless might collapses of its own weight], they beginne likewise to feare that vaste desires aswell as buildings, where foundations are not firme, sinke by their owne magnitude. It is not possible that humors should be durable (considering that materia prima, the first matter, out of which they spring, like Proteus, is capable of as many shiftes or formes as the worlde hath variations and accidents), wearing and consuming like a garment with incessant use, but the morall vertues, which have their roote in the Deitie itselfe and derive their influence from grace, must of necessitie bee coeternall with their Author, who doth not onely plant, but water and produce out of His owne goodnesse, correspondent fruites that suite their originall.
By these demonstrations wee learne what lawes were currant, what bounders [boundaries] kept, and what course and manner of proceeding was observed towards princes by modest bishops, which either lived very neere, or imitated those that lived next to the presedents of Apostolike humilitie. Now therefore it shall not bee impertinent (the subject mooving in due place and with due circumstance) to descrie (not by idle imaginations, but by evident impressions) how covertly, and as it were by stealth, incrochments crept upon the carpet, before they durst by any forcible attempt invade the seate of power, et cum dormirent homines, venit homo inimicus, and when men were in sleepe, the Devill came et susperseminavit zizania [and sowed tares]. It is confessed indifferently by all persons of all sortes that are either judicious or sensitive, that those maximes which pearce to the center, and touch the very life of conscience, ought rather to bee fixed upon the poles of constancie then caried upon the wheeles of change, and that not Israel alone, but all morall and indifferent affections, ought to answer Amen to the curse which God pronounced with his owne mouth against all men of whatsoever qualitie that dare presume to remoove or put a side landmarkes or bounders of jurisdiction which preserve peace, and yet by tract of time and long experience wee see that ab illo motu trepidationis, ever since that trepidation or quivering (as it is tearmed by astrologers) which prevailed in the mindes of fearefull princes under powerfull straines, there have bene many variations of degrees and distances in the conclusions of Church governement, especially within these last 600 yeeres, which moves wisemen to resort to the judgement of a grave philosopher (discoursing of diversitie of times and persons that did sway those times, either by predominance or art) quo minus ab ortu aberant, the lesse distant they were from the first originall, the more perfectly they discerned trueth. And of the same minde is Tertullian, perfectiora prima, the neerer the springhead, the purer streames, which is the scope of our industry.
To rippe up matters therefore from the very roote, without obstruction or passion, wee may observe that so long as the plough of persecution did not only make deep furrowes on the backs of godly bishops by torture (which the Prophet by the text in the Psalme, super dorsum meum fabricaverunt peccatores seemeth to touch), but by vexation and anguish also in their very soules, which those humble spirits feele that are most sensitive of the least scratch given to loyalty, it rent up by the rootes all those weedes of ambition and emulation which in calme seasons are apt to spring out of the rancke grounds of originall infirmitie. For till the blessed raigne of Constantine, wherein the rage of persecution began to cease, I find almost universally no other kinde of strife among the godly Fathers then whose counsell or endevour might be of best use to the propagation of the Churches limites and of Gods glory. The Church it selfe (which is the body mysticall of Christ) might by analogie bee properly resembled to the stomacke of a body naturall, which, though it receive much, yet makes equall distribution, by dividing and dispersing that which it receives to the use and sustenance of all the other parts, which would otherwise decay and by degrees waste and perish.
If all this while a tribune had stood up to complaine against the Church of Rome, as Menenius Agrippa did against the Senate, comparing it to the belly (which devoured all and did no good), the poorest and weakest member would have utterly disclaimed and disavowed the least sense of such a wrong, but if the belly afterward by caring onely how to feed it selfe did pine [starve] the other parts (as the Populars did then suggest), and by transforming the orderly and well compacted body of the State politicke into a monster by so great disproportion of nourishment, did violate the lawes of nature and dissolve the bonds of union, wee must confesse that both Menenius with them, and (if the case be like) all faithful patriots and members among us have reason to require remedy.
It is certaine that the end of these first bishops was then to feed the flocke, not to fill they payle; to spread the faith, not to extend the lyne; to drawe kings to perfection, not to depose them from their states; to settle peace, not to raise dissention; to prepare the subjects hearts to obedience, not to inflame it with prejudice; to be at peace with all the world, holding peace of conscience to bee all in all, so they might gaine to Christ; and in no case to shew themselves percussores [assassins] or violentes, which the Canons of the Church (beside the prohibition of Paul himselfe) will not suffer.
Some of the latter (but best learned) writers, finding by the curious examination of sundry passages and infinite interpreters, how hard, or rather how unpossible, it is to prove their title to this high prerogative of deposing kings by direct evidence out of the word of God and such witnesses of record as are above, exception, resort to prove by charter, graunt, and priviledge from princes pieties, as for example from Constantine the First and best, Phocas the First and worst, Ina King of the West Saxons that was religious, and King John that was impious, as well sans foye [lacking faith] as his title was sans terre [Lackland]. In which crew, some intending serious devotion, others pretending fained satisfaction to other ends, and all as the times then taught, that no seedes spring up more speedily then those which are sowen in area dominica [in the Lord’s fields] for redemption of soules, left them better earnest of their hopes by gift, then our Saviour did in his Testament by legacie. Against the pretended Charter of Donation, which some of the Canonists more zealous then judicious seeke to derive from Constantine to Sylvester, thought I need say little because the best grounded judgements and most modest spirits of that sort have torne away the paynted visard from that warped face, yet because in matters of this moment too much cannot be sayd, I meane more succinctly then the nature of that subject (being once undertaken) doeth permit, to presse some short arguments. First, how unlike it is that Sylvester (the next bishop but one to that worthy and renowmed ranke of martyrs that lost their lives for the profession of Christ) should upon the first pause of respiration to take breath (after so many manfull combats against Gods enemies) abuse the favour of so gracious a time, by hunting after the vaine tenures of principality. The bishops that have kept themselves above water all this while by the strength and favour of that powerfull Hand which supported Peter on the seas when hee was at the point to sinke, by learning now to swimme suddenly with the bladders of the worlds ambition, might have cast themselves into greater danger of drowning in the rivers of Damasco then in the Red Sea that the Saints passed over.
Platina reports out of the Popes owne records that Sylvester refused at the hand of Constantine diadema gemmis distinctum, a crowne or diademe set with precious stones, as an ornament not convenient nor agreeable to a pastor in his place. Though godly Nestor call it only signum superbiae, a signe or badge of pride, Sylvester should have bene found guilty not of a signe, but of pride it selfe, and that in the highest kinde by the graund jurie of all his predecessors Saints in heaven, in case hee had accepted with these men certifie to have bin offered. Among the Fathers and histories of the Church (how copious and large soever in expressing the great favours which the spouse of Christ received by the piety and bountie of this Emperor in other kindes) appeares no scrippe [scrap] of evidence to make good this graunt, which were an argument of great ingratitude if they had either heard of any disposition in the prince to give it, or in the Pope to accept it. Neither is it like that so religious a prince would have left that to his sonne, that he gave it to the Church, nor from thence his godly successors, as Theodosius, would have detained it. Besides, all writers prove how powerful the lieutenants of the Greekish Empire, whom they called Exarches, were long after the date of this pretence, which could not stand with the strength wherein hereby they strive to plant the Papacie. I finde by direct acknowledgement, venisse proventus etc., that revenues came from certaine places for the maintenance of the church of S. Paul erected at the humble suite of Sylvester by Constantine, and from Sardinia by the report of some to that church which his holy mother built. Againe, that the tributes were conferred on the churches, which some cities payed into the checker in former times, and these I take to bee the shadowes and colours of this idle dreame. For of the Charter it selfe (which exceedeth ten times in value all that is recorded touching churches in particular, and in respect of a greater eminencie and prerogative, should have caried a farre greater reputation and made a fairer shew) there is not so much as a marke whereby they may take their ayme that are most ambitious. How little credite, strength or honour any Church can gaine by deriving charters from Phocas, a lascivious faithlesse tyrant, wickedly embrued with the slaughter of Mauritius his master, wife, and heires, and usurping that estate unjustly (by the countenance whereof he was bold to give more then either of right he ought or could) I leave to their opinions that love to measure claymes and titles rather by the line of equitie than by the laste of ambition. But yet to make more of a tyrant by vouchsafing a short answere to his shadow then in conscience is requisite, I first inferre that such charters granted chiefly upon ground of cunning, and with a purpose to maintaine the plot by party, which was undertaken and begun by fraught, might either have bin afterward revoked by himselfe, or annulled and repealed by is successors, and further say, by judgement of the best civilians, that no princes acte is warrantable without the publicke assent, according to that maxime, quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus approbari decet [that which affects all men ought to be approved by all men], that tendeth to the State’s prejudice.
Last of all, I prove that our countrey in particular could take no copper by this transition, admitting it to have bene sound and absolute, because we were excluded from the care, protection and providence of the Romane Empire very neere 200 yeeres before that Phocas with his bloody hand began to steare that monarchie. For after that Aetius, lieutenant for the Romane Emperour in the parts of France, did onely send instructions and orders to the wasted Britaines how to range their battails and dispose their fights, with a carefull yet finall answere not to looke for any more supplies or aydes from that estate, which then fell into faction and was no longer able to support it selfe, the Britaines, houlding themselves abandoned (in which case all lawes free them both of duety and dependencie) after many bloody battels under their owne kings against the Scots and Picts, fel into the Saxons hands, who like that a Pharao that never knew Joseph or his fathers house, erected a brave monarchie (though sometime quartered and divided into many parts among themselves) and maintained it in an absolute authoritie, without acknowledgement of any forraine or superiour commaund, till by a second or third relapse it became a pray to the Normane conquest. Wherefore Phocas, having neither possession nor right in this state (left by negligence, or abandoned by necessitie so many yeere before), could convey no more to the Church then hee either had or ought to have, which was accidens sine subiecto, individuum vagum [an accident without a subject, a vague entity], and a nihil indeclinable [an indeclinable nothing]. The contribution of Peter pence to Rome by Ina, being called in the Saxon histories the Kings almeson, in the lawes of Canute, larga regis benignitas [the King’s largesse], and in that abstract which is left of the Confessors and conquerors decrees, regis elemosyna [the King’s charity], proceeded (as the words import) not of duety, but of charity. And in respect of any temporall prerogative (which is the key of these aspiring claimes) doeth rather prove the Pope then sitting to have bene King Inas beads man, then King Ina then raigning to have been the Popes homager.
I could alledge also in an allowance of a speciall mansion for English pilgrimes that were drawne to Rome about affaires, bearing that title to this day, in respect to the great pietie and bountie of the Saxon kings, which falling within the compasse of that naturall contract do ut des [I give so that you may give] copiously handled by the civil lawes and compared with the contribution, may rather prove an exchange then an imposition.
To the colour of King Johns donation, who was as likely to have departed with his soule as with his crowne and upon the same conditions, if necessitie had pressed him, I could give satisfaction by that sound note of a Monke of S. Albones according tunably what that former concerning Phocas out of the civill laws, that regis non est dare regnum, quod est republica, sine assensu baronum qui tenentur regnum defendere [it is not within a king’s power to give a kingdom, which is a republic, without the consent of the barons who are obliged to defend the kingdom], and therefore he can not give away the ports and cities, which are branches and members of the maine. But I will take it up a streighter lincke, and allow by Matthew Paris that so farre was the Parliament, which hee termeth regni universitatem [the universal organ of the realm] from assenting detestandae obligationi [to a detestable obligation], that the Metropolitane himself pro univseritate contradixit, contradicted and withstood it in the behalfe of the whole Parliament.
The judgement of Philip the French King upon the publication of this charter is much commended by a writer of that age, for the defence of this paradox, which hee thought would prove perniciosum regibus et regnis exemplum, a dangerous example and fearefull precedent both to kings and kingdomes. He would have men resort to Peters successors about matters that concerne the soul, and not de regnis, guerris, vel militia [about kingdoms, wars, and the militia], which doe not belong to him. Last of all, the saving which was luckely inserted in this charter or donation, namely, salvis nobis et haeredibus nostris iustitiis, libertatibus, et regalibus nostris [reserving for ourselves and our heirs our laws, liberties, and royal privileges], makes it absolutely voyd and of no effect, the maine prerogative being safely preserved by Gods providence, which the King would otherwise have let slip by a circumvented and overawed facilitie. It is reported by the monke of Westminster, a witnesse (according to the state of those times) of best regard, that the Pope residing and abiding at Lions, this detestable graunt was burnt. The author of Eulogium addeth further that it was released cum omni fidelitate et homagio [with all fidelity and homage] by the Popes direction to the English Parliamente. And Sir Thomas More that lost his life in defence of the Popes primacie deserves best of any to be credited in my conceit, avowing, first, a weakenesse in the King seeking to subject his Crowne to superior commands, and next, in the graunt a nullitie. Besides, not onely Sir Thomas More affirmes that the Popes imposition, with the Kings concession, was never payd, but it is further fortified by addition of the rolles of Parliament in the 50. yeere of Edward the Third, that when the King was threatned with a citation from Rome for detayning dues upon this graunt with large arrerage, the whole body spirituall and temporall of the kingdome there assembled, after grave deliberation and long advisement resisterent et contradicerent, avec toute leur puissance [resisted and objected with all their power], and upon these grounds that the charter was against the Kings oath at his coronation, and without the voyce of his Parliament.
Since therefore Phocas, Ina, John nor Constantine adde any further weight to the pretence of a deposing interest then was in charge before, discretion and observation will judge whether the state of the Romane bishops were not had in greater reverence while they sought to win by piety then to straine in passion, to bow then to breake, and to temper then to exasperate. Religion and humilitie then were the corner stones of that stately front which the world so much at the first admired in the Church of Rome, though afterward by the change of bishops in that sea, and of humors in those bishops, so great alteration was found as Minerva comming afterward to Athens could hardly take notice of her owne ship, nor Constantine at Rome of his owne nurse, nor (as S. Hierome notes of painted women that cast up their eyes to heaven) if we consider how many false colours have bin set upon the pillars of Church government, hardly Christ of his own creature in the time of Pope Alexander the Sixt, if Hee had bin put in minde to call on him. In the beginning it agreed with Daniels image in the head of gold for godly governement, in the breast of silver for unspotted conscience, and in the legges of brasse for incessant industrie. But afterward in succeeding ages, the heads of many Popes grew humorous, their breasts avaricious, and their legs idle.
That holy Nicene Councell (whereof I never speake without reverence and due regard) in that great division which was made of the patriarchial jurisdictions according to the state of the Church in those dayes for establishment of discipline and preservation of unitie, speakes not one word of any temporall commaund, much lesse of any right in suspending or deposing kings, or absolving subjects from their oathes of obedience and loyaltie to be left in the nature of an heirlome to the Romane bishops by primative acknowledgement. But as Sallust very gravely and like a faithfull patriot, complaines touching the state politike of Rome in his owne time, postquam divitiae honori esse coepere, et eas gloria, imperium, potentia sequerentur [after riches began to be held in honor, and glory, empire, and power followed them], faction and pride began to creepe up to the seates of Senators, and the publike justice of the state to shake, so likewise in the Church we finde that upon like corruption like disorders grew, and many weakenesses began dayly more and more to disclose themselves in those bright sunne-shine dayes which the Saints enjoyed by the bountie of a better prince (as cockle starts up when corne growes ripe), which before was either shadowed with discouragement or suppressed by discipline. I speake not of this because some such kinds of heates and quicke distempers have not sometimes happened, and may not by occasion fall out againe betweene Gods owne elect, as Peter and Paul, Paul and Barnabas, and the godly bishops in this very Councell which I presse (though with that measure which becomes the ministers of God and His Apostles successors) because it pleaseth Him sometimes out of our error to raise His owne honour, and to make vertue perfect and complete by infirmitie, but to make it plaine that plenty is the daughter of prosperity, ambition of plenty, and corruption of ambition. For, after that bishops were admitted to appeale from civil courts by the Emperour himselfe, and their sentences by imperial authority were made equall to his owne, they beganne to rayse their creast, and within a while, as it is testified by one of the most ancient approoved writers of the Church, episcopatus Romanus, non alter quam Alexandrinus, quasi extra sacerdotii fines egressus, ad secularem principatum iam ante delapsus est: the Sea of Rome, the same manner as that of Alexandria, as it were exceeding the limittes and bounds of priesthood, had slidde into secular principalitie, though the bishops of neither of those seas, as we may assure our selves, were ignorant of Pauls prohibition to all degrees of pastors, that they should not entermeddle with secular affaires, so farre as concernes an over-dropping of the regall plantes, because a bishop should no more live out of the element of the Church, nor a monke out of a desert, then a fish out of water. For Christ fled into the mountaines when the people would have made him king, and bishops ought with Joseph rather to leave their cloakes behind them, then to consent to the charmes and vaine entisements of the world, which like the wanton wife of Putiphar, stretcheth forth her armes, and (with the Syrenes) strayneth her voyce to drawe them within the compasse of temptation, and then taking hold to drawne them in sensualitie.
Now whereas it is said by Socrates, iam ante delapsus est, that the Sea of Rome did slip before that time (whereof he speakes) into secular principality, I am induced by the report of Ammianus Marcellinus, a grave writer though no Christian, to take my levell somewhat higher for the finding of my marke. For hee living in that time about the Court (and observing as it were from the mayne toppe of the temporall estate what course was kept among all sorts and qualities of persons in divers elements) makes mention of a bloody slaughter in a church of Rome, where the Christians were wont to meete for the celebration of their mysteries, about the violent competition and contention betweene Damasius and Ursicinus for the Papacie, and taketh note of 137 carcases drawen out of that church were they met about election, and further writes that Vivianus, then lieutenant to the Emperor, was glad to make retrait into the suburbs till the rage were tempered, or the strife ended. After this, as a man partiall to neither part, and therefore in all likelihood the more indifferent and just in deeming rightly of the true state of the cause, hee gathers the chiefest motive of contention and emulation about the meanes of compassing this height, to proceede from the great ease, wealth and honour that prevailed and were surely setled and established in that dignitie. His reasons are, for that matronarum oblationibus ditabantur, they were enriched with the offerings of matrones or great ladies; they rode in coaches publiquely; they were choisely suted in their apparell; their diet daintie, and sometimes above the rate and use of princes in the times of their banqueting. That Damasus a competitor was one of these Ammianus doth not affirme, much lesse do I beleeve, finding with what respect and reverence S. Hierome, that had bin himselfe a priest of Rome, doth speake of hem. Yet the maner of his clyming and aspiring to the seate was scandalous not only unto such as were religiously devoute, but even to Ammianus Marcellinus that was but morally precise, as doeth appeare by that grave judgement which he gives of the blessed state which, as hee thinkes the Bishop of Rome might enjoy, in case they lived in that sober manner, with that bare dyet, meane apparell, and humble lookes cast to the ground, which other bishops in the countrey did, neither tasting and esteeming those choice pleasures and delights which the delicacie and great abundance of that place afforded them.
This passion of a writer whom wee account prophane, in respect he was unregenerate to Christ, nor nursed by the breast of his spouse the Church, puts mee in minde of a zealous passion in Hector Boetius a great Romane Catholike upon this very subject in the Scottish history, huiusmodi antistites quam sunt illorum dissimiles, quia diversa ingrediuntur via cum locum illorum occupent, etc. Hee wonders at the difference betweene those bishops and others of this day, which succeeding in their places, take another course. They glistered not in gold, they were not residant in princes courts, they were not attended by guards, nor skilfull in the arte of dissembling, more gainefull by many degrees than that of poetry, which the universities use to crowne with lawrel. This mooved Boniface (I meane the martyr, not the challenger) to preferre the devotion of the golden bishops that in the Churches povertie administred with greater fervencie in wooden chalices, before the vanitie of many blockish bishops that in a richer state, with more solemnitie and lesse zeale, administer in chalices of gold, because, as Hierome notes, externall riches adde not to the worth of him qui corpus Domini in canistrio vimineo, sanguinem in vitro portat, that carries the body of our Lord in a wicker basket, and his blood in a glasse. I would not bee conceived by this speach to favour their ridiculous conceits, that labour to draw the substance or the value of those vessels in which Sacraments are administered to the first simplicitie. For the reason of Urias judging it indecent for him to lodge in domo cedrena cum arca Dei esset sub pellibus [in a house of cedar, while God’s ark is under skins] drawes me to a greater estimation of vessels apperteining to so high a mysterie. For sure I am that the value of the content doth infinitely surmount the continent [the container], and in adiaphoris, that, is things indifferent, wee are left to the rule of decencie.
My onely purpose is but to observe and taxe the declination of pietie, together almost at one instant with multiplication of mettals and minerals, the labour which is made for charges and emploiments for commoditie alone without conscience, and to limit those excessive grants in manu viva [in the living hand], which our antecessors did in manu mortua [in the dead hand], and the ranging of internall pietie to external pompe, though of both it were better that wee wanted meanes that are superfluous, then the moderation that is necessary. For Chrysostome notes two great absurdities in cramming chuches til saciety constrain them to regorge: the one, that lay-men are deprived of occasion to shewe charitie, the other, that the pastors themselves often neglect their dueties, to become collectors. This is no ground for gleaning from the Church, which at this day doeth rather need largitore hilari quam interprete maledico [a cheerful benefactor than a sharp-tongued critic], but to prove that arguments against excesse and height are the surest tenures, and the strongest pillars of stabilitie, for in se magna ruunt, summique negatum est stare diu [great things collapse upon themselves, and it is denied the highest long to stand]. In defence of Ammianus Marcellinus from exception either of partiality or ignorance in that which he speaketh of the matrones, I vouch a manifest decree set forth (not by the leeches and bloodsuckers of the Church, but by Valentinian and Gratian, religious and worthy princes) against any gaine to be made by the priests of the Church by ladies offerings, and this decree was published by Damasus himselfe, according to the direction of State. Which proves that Ammianus in the judgement which he gave touching the motives of dissention and opposition, spake not idlely.
To make the case more plaine, whosoever raiseth any further doubt may learne of S. Hierome that some such excesse (or at the least oversight) was censured about that time, where he seemes not to be so much grieved and perplexed with the publishing of such a law lighting upon just desert, as with the motive of that law, which was greediness. Therefore our English bishops in the time of Edward the Third assented (though unwillingly) to the limitting of Church revenues, when the States necessity put in a caveat. And the Pope himselfe pretended neither quarrell nor unkindenesse to S. Lewes of France for inhibiting the graunt of any more lands or revenues then had bene converted in former times to Churches without his privitie.
The ground of this respective caution and moderation I take to be derived from the course which Moyses held, being a person aswell publikely wise as spiritually devout, in commanding all the peoples offerings of benevolence and piety to cease, after that he had drawen in that proportion which was sufficient for the furniture of the Tabernacle where God was to be served and honoured. For the least excesse in things (which with moderation are laudable) doth easily degenerate into vice, and al turnes to humour that transcends the due proportion of nourishment. Wee may soone bee taught in Genesis that they which could bee satisfied with no moderate degrees of altitude in seeking to builde castels in the aire, before their spires and battlements might touch the clouds were confounded in their own idlenesse.
You have heard how the Churches of Rome and Alexandria were ingoulfed in the deepes of secular principality to the wound of monarchie, although spiritualis potestas non ideo praesidet ut terrenae in suo iure praeiudiciam faciat [spiritual power does not preside so that within its jurisdiction it should create any prejudice for earthly power], saith a learned Schooleman. But how hardly in the meane time the civill state did brooke these slips, let us learne (if we deale indifferently) of Orestes, who was then lieutenant for the Emperours, and complayneth bitterly of some bishops, quod per eos non nihil de auctoritate eorum detractum esset, qui ad magistratus gerendos designati essent, that they drew much from the auctoritie of those persons which were appointed to beare office. This gallant gentleman began very early to discover (and by the breake of day) by what degrees the mysterie of ambition began to mine into the strength of monarchie. Hee feared (and not without great likelyhood) least princes seeking to resume their rights might in time bee dealt withall as the badger was by the hedghogge. For being wounded in the prickles of his offensive guest, whom at the first hee welcomed and entertained in his cabine as an inward friend, he manerly desired him to depart in kindenesse as he came, but yet could receive no other satisfaction but his just expostulation, that he for his owne part found himselfe to bee very well at ease, and they that were not had reason to seeke out another seat that might like them better. He foresaw by this forerunning light that mistletow and ivie sucking by their strait embraces the very sappe that onely giveth vegetation from the rootes of the oake and hawthorne, must bloome and flourish of necessitie when the trees should wither.
I know that civill jurisdiction in that good measure which is compatible with a pastours charge, is so far from that inconvenience of hindering the growth of pietie (as some conceive) as it rather ripens the fruites which in a further distance from the sunne are either nipped by the frost or blasted by some bitter winde. As according to that of Nahum, residuum locustae brucus devoret, [the locust devours the leftovers]. I taxe those onely that presume by forged evidence to contend and strive with mightie princes for their seats, or attempt to set them besides their thrones, which the blessed Virgine makes a portion of Gods owne prerogative. Otherwise I say with Paul of all the faithful, si in illis mundus iudicabitur, indigni sunt qui de minimis iudicent? If the world shalbe judged by them, are they unworthy to decide matters of least accompt? And againe, si angelos iudicent, quanto magis secularia? [if they judge the angels, how much more do they judge secular things?] And therefore Epiphanius the Bishop of Cyprus is highly commended in the stories of the Church for the discreet temper and decent order he held in managing affaires both ecclesiasticall and temporall. The councell of Carthage understood very perfectly the way to moderate betweene both extreames, and in fanning away the smoke of pride, to preserve the glosse of unsoiled modestie. But the Patriarch of Constantinople, finding by careful observation of times and accidents what strange effects the Church of Rome had wrought in raising patriarchall jurisdictions as high as the jelousie of government and incompatibility of imperall prerogative would endure, adventured upon the wings of pride to mount so far above the pitch of his other partners, as if S. Gregory himselfe had not abated this presumption more by the strengths of arguments then the edge of power, it is not unlike but hee would have made himselfe in the end by faction of adherents similem altissimo [like to the highest].
Thus easie it is for many graines of sand by Neptunes blessing to make a shelfe, for many Peter pence by Inas bountie to make a bancke, and by gathering a great heape of stickes together by Minervas providence to make a neast high and wide ynough for long winged hawkes to breed in the proportion of their owne earnestly affected and long laboured sublimitie. Such were the drifts and devises for the space of many yeeres of certaine Romane Bishops, often strayning, but never reaching to their end, which was to make a rise so high as might carry them over the heads of Emperors, till more then 300 yeeres after the seccession of Constantine and his succesors into the East, their lieutenants wanting now that Gorgons head of universall regiment and united strength whereof they had disposed formerly, till that unluckie division of one eagles necke into two, which made the fairest bird a monster, as according to that one noted maxime out of our Saviour, omne regnum in se divisum desolabitur [any kingdom divided against itself will be desolated], gave way, though much against their willes, to that improvement of the jurisdiction of Peters keyes which hath not since that time bene lesse feared then at the first it was favoured. The first motive of the translating of the Westerne Empire into the East, as Socrates, was chiefely to this end, ut vulnera quae erant a tyrannis inflicta illis iam sublatis tollerentur, for the cure of those wounds which were given by tyrants, now that they were rid out of the ay. Men liked of this, and commended the discourse that urged it, till experience, together with their owne disasters, made them find that, of both extreames, it is better to admit an outward distemper then an inward combustion. The ebbe hath not bin greater by the wayning of the Empire, then the flood hath beene ex consequente by the waxing of the Church, which finding that the beames are brightest and her glory greatest while the sunne is under our horizon from which shee borrowes and derives her light,, hath sought ever since with her best diligence to quit her selfe of those rayes imperiall which by vicinitie may weaken, or by conjunction may darken her. It is true that Constantine upon the change did at the first exempt bishops only, but not priests from conventions in civill courts, the first steppe to that greatnesse (which was in obiecto [its object]) to the Papacie. Gratian in the yeere 380, and Honorius in the yere 406, confirmed it. Theodosius and Valentinian were pleased, for increase of favour, that priests also in lieu of civill judges might take their triall before bishops, if the parties interessed in the cause could bee satisfied. Justinian more reservedly then his antecessors expounds the meaning of the grant of matters onely appertaining to the Church, not otherwise, and for his labour receiveth a wipe at the hands of Bellarmine. Heraclius exempteth bishops and priests absolutely from all courts, excepting onely that of delegates from the Emperour. But Guicciardine, no Lutheran or Suinglian, as many tearme persons of a divers judgement in our dayes, but a Roman Catholicke, no Germane or Helvetian, but an Italian, no simplest, but a man as deepely learned as discreetly judicious, observeth that though some darke cloud had overcast a portion of the beames imperiall in the highest sphere, yet till this time of the translation of the Seat to Constantinople, and a good space after, many tokens both of humble reverence and respective regard to the civill state were evident. For the Popes without admittance either of the Emperours themselves, or of their lieutenants caled Exarches, ascend not to the throne. The Popes in all their graunts and publique dispatches set downe the date by these wordes, regnante domino nostro, such or such an Emperour. Though by variation of times (which breedes a change in all bodies, states or governments beneath the moone) this good maner began to bee first abated, and in time determined. After this unlucky separation of the Greeke head from the Latine body, first it fell into a kind of giddinesse; after, into imbecillitie, the cause of dangerous convulsions in those estates, and, like top branches that are not duely fedde and nourished with the lively sappe of their owne native roote, they fell afterward to warpe and wither both in beauty and glory. The princes grew dayly more and more into contempt, either out of want of desire, or ability, or both, to defend caput imperii [the head of empire] from incursions of infidels, oppressions of usurpers, and attempts of conspirators. Then fell the grands [grandees] of Italy to renounce all duetie, contributions or reliefes to the farre distant parallel, from which as from a gulfe they found to refluxe. They drew back obedience from lieutenant governours, who gasping (almost at the very last point) for breath, could light upon no true cordial to comfort them, posts could not play so fast betweene Rome and Constantinople as occasion of state did urge, and beside, which is the most desperate effect of a declining fortune, messengers where employed oftentimes with intercession, but returned ever without remedy. Disputations were lame, expectations idle, affections mutinous.
And though I finde by the best writers that during this time of staggering, so long as any sparke of hope could live either of secure defence or timely and sufficient supplies, the bishops endevoured their best to preserve the life of loyaltie in the breast of feare. Yet at the last the civill state declining, the Church fainting, and all hope languishing, when both peeres and bishops wasted like images of waxe a petit feu, felt the fury aswell of the domestical as the forraine sword, and waxed weary of the fruitlesse comforts that were sent out of the East, they resolved joyntly to call in their next neighbours the French for protection, who were able to defend them with a stronger arme, a quicker dispatch, and a better purse then this sunke estate surrounded with an ocean of incurable extremities. That there wanted in the Pope both then and ever since affection, invention, or expedition to raise Rome once againe, though in another element, ex Albae ruinis [out of the ruins of Alba] to draw their generation of greatnesse out of the corruption of power, and to make their best advantage of their errours that were wont to give them a commanding checke, they may beleeve that find no groundes of judgement of experience and trueth to conceive otherwise. For being put into possession, by this long desired and lately planted Emperour, of a satisfaction both for profite and for power proportionable to the paines which they had taken cum sudore vultus et tremore cordis [with sweat of the face and trembling of the heart] about the new establishment, they found other meanes to multiply their strength and credite every day, by taking sure hold of opportunitie, which being lost with idlenesse, returnes no more to expectation. They began then to establish their estates in that height of security which many of their predecessors had eagerly apprehended tanquam spado mulierem amplexans et suspirans [like a eunuch, embracing a woman and sighing] (as the Prophet speakes significantly in another point), but yet failed of the finall scope and reward of their industry.
The strongest adamant that drew reverence and love to the Church of Rome in the first spring of religion was the constancie of so many godly bishops, as with the streames of their blood watered the plants of their profession, desiring rather to die with honour then to deny with infamie. Beside, it is certaine that during the short time of their sitting in that seat, their chiefest end was to binde subjects to superiors with so great obedience, and superiors to subjects with so great conscience, as those men were esteemed both most godly and most happy that were either inspired with their pietie or grounded upon their principles. S. Peters gally might very hold on a constant and happy course for a while after the maine stroke of oares did cease, that was set out at the first with the force and industry of so many worthy mariners as made for no other port then heaven. Which observation cannot be thought strange by men that understand howe hard or almost unpossible it is for one prince that is humorous, succeeding many that were godly and judicious, to worke upon the suddaine any dangerous effect by countermotion or opposition to the spheares of the former governement.
For to the raising of this height upon the foundation of religion and integritie, some brought stone, some timber, some lime, some sand, and some gave their owne labour and direction gratis, every one affording supplies and helpes according to the measure of their strength, or the proportion of his abilitie. But after that the bishops began to finde the strength of their owne estates by removes Emperours, and that in stead of little ease they got elbow roome, it was a meane to make them stretch their armes and extend their forces into elements, which like terra incognita were before unknowen to them.
Some of the most artificially and refinedly ambitious, finding by the Romane histories (as it is probable) that Caesar was never absolute in power priusquam potestatem pontificam cum Caeserea potentia coniunxisset [before he had joined Papal power to Caesar’s power], hold it as sound a course for them, seeking the like in another climate, Caesaream cum pontificia coniungere [to join Caesar’s power to the Pope’s], making no doubt but as in abstracto they had beene regarded with reverence, so in concreto they might bee feared with observation. The necessitie which inforced all Italians after the departure of Charlemaine to rely upon the Popes ayd for common defence; the bond of conscience, which mooved the greater part of the world in those dayes to resort to Rome, either for satisfaction to soules, or for preservation of unitie; the confidence of Emperours and kings in compromitting [submitting for arbitration] causes of unkindnesse or dissention to such a bishop, as professing like a father equall affection and tendernesse, was not suspected of halting on either side; the strife and emulation of mighty potentates to assure themselves of the love and friendship of that party whom the greater number regarded as a judge, and few or none for many yeeres suspected as an opposite; the feare and perill into which some Emperors were drawen of hazarding their own fortunes by disputing his prerogative; the contribution of all states, qualites and degrees of Christians (according to the custome and manner of those times) to the maintenance of S. Peters successor; the secret interest which the Pope had in many kingdomes, by the merite of his predecessors, that did first send learned pastors and doctors to preach unto them redemption by Christ crucified; the exercise of S. Peters keyes by binding and loosing sinnes in a kinde of excellencie and supereminencie above other bishops in all parts of Christendome; the conceite which was holden of a bishops conscience, whom the Canons will not suffer to bee solicitus de hiis quae sunt mundi [concerned with these things which are of this world] in comparison of any secular authoritie, whose onely object is the seale of longitude and latitude; the danger of offending one, whom the greatest part endevoured with studious affections to please; the subtile union of S. Peters keyes with S. Pauls sword, to this end, that while the one did open locks, the other (like that of Nehemias) might cut off impediments; the great revenue and demaine which was annexed to S. Peters chair, first by the charter of Charlemaine, and then by the great Countesse Mawdes legacy; the Popes arte in contriving the manner of the chose of Emperours by the Corvesters [Electors] of Germany, rather then by occasion of making their returnes to Rome, their teeth might bee set on edge with a fresh appetite to taste of the forbidden fruite which growes in horti medio [in the middle of the garden], and thereby compassing the tree of knowledge of good and evill, covered with the leaves of limitation for so many yeres, to make their estates once againe absolute; the Popes caution in reserving to himselfe, as it were in deposito, a speciall interest (only for pretence) of crowning and confirming Emperours at Rome, even after they have bene elected and crowned in Germany, though when they sought it, they seldome compassed it; the Popes eye to the reteyning of those rights and royalties in the Princes Electours hands, which were morgaged by precedent Emperours, lest the bruised feathers of the eagle, imped once with those hard quils, might againe bee able to carrie her up to the spire of the Capitoll; the long lasting and strongly working faction in Italy of the Guelphes and Gibellines, imperiall and pontificall, the fast league betweene the Pope and the French kings, ever labouring to maintaine the strength of the holy armes against al violent and sturdy stormes, as plant of his owne policie; the rule which hath bene ever providently observed and kept by the Popes, in eschewing quarell or contention with any powerfull prince in Europe, before he make himselfe sure of a party opposite in the same degree, and likely, so farre as the wish or ayme of any mortall creature is able to extend, to make the match too hard for him; the sure hold which the Pope hath of the hearts and services of all the cleargies in as many kingdomes as are Romanly Catholique, by exercising the interest either of investing or confirming Metropolitanes that have the highest charge in the Church, and draw the consciences and devotions of lay soules after them, by direct dependencie; the Popes custome of sorting Cardinals and officers for the Church out of such powerful and worthy families as bee in their devotion and gratitude more fast to them; the reservation of certaine cases, wherein the Pope onely will give himselfe commission of oyer and terminer, thereby pressing the gratest bell-weathers of the flocke without an expresse relaxation ab ipso ore apostolico [from his very own Apostolic mouth] to appeare personally; the device of sending princes to the Holy Land so soone as ever they began either to picke quarrels with the Church of Rome or might bee made by their absence of better use to it; the locall interdictions of priests by warrant from the Pope, to celebrate for the satisfaction of soules which (so farre as I have read) was first set on broach among our English bishops by Alexander the Third about the yere 1170, but not very luckely to those that by observing them with a strickter kinde of obedience and awe then the lawes of the realme would admit, were in great perill of their owne possessions, with losse of liberties.
Last of all, the garrisons and forts which have been erected and maintained in defence of S. Peters patrimony were high steps to cary and convey the Pope to that height of crushing princes in their owne element, which many quarrell, some tollerate, but in very trueth (if the case come once to be their owne) none favour. So long (saith a grave and learned writer, and a Roman Catholicke) as the Popes attended those charges onely that concerned the soule, their chiefest care, desire and study was to be protected under the wings of the secular estate. But the state of the Emperors declining faster then they rose, the Popes beganne to neglect both their armes and amitie, then fell they to defend by writing and discourse that it belonged rather to the Church to give lawes to the Empire, then to receive from the Emperour, pressing forward still without looking backe, for feare perhaps of being transformed with the wife of lot in statuam salis [into a statue of salt], and abhorring nothing more then the very sound of a remitter to the creeping state of their first simplicitie, they wrested censures of the Church, either to the passions of humor, or proportion of state. They studied more industriously the wayes of making warres and heaping treasure, then of steering Peters ship or instructing soules. They sought more slyly then sincerely to make their consistory strong by the support of tyrants and usurpers, which having cast off Caesars yoke with contempt of disarmed ostentation, found no meane so proper as the countenance of the Church of Rome for their establishment, both in dignitie and securitie. For proofe whereof I wish it may be tried by inquisition, whether Robert Guiscard having filched Puglie from the sacred Empire, that is a faire feather from a feeble bird, sought not after that to hold it of the Pope in fee, and whether Roger King of Sicily in the yeere 1130 possessed not himselfe of that kingdome by such a trick of legier du maine (for all was fish that came to Peters net above that time) and many his successors in that corruption both of conscience and conversation, became now rather piscatores imperiorum quam hominum [fishers of empires rather than of men], though the censure of S. Paul extended onely ad interitum carnis [to the death of the flesh], but not posteritatis vel diadematis [of posterity or the crown].
After this some of them mounted to that point of challenge as they were not ashamed to take upon the prerogative of deposing Emperors. For Boniface the 8. after hee had presented himselfe (as the German Catholiques report) to the eye of the world in his habite meerely secular, that is with a crowne on is head, a sword girt by his side, and with profession that hee was aswell a Caesar as a Pope, at the next leape gave a greater straine, clayming precedencie of Philip the French King, tam in spiritualibus quam in temporalibus, though some of the most learned among the Scholemen oppose absolutely to this paradox, and may as fitly wonder at this armed Pope as the Prior of Duresme did of his Earled Bishop, O quam manifeste iam exorbitat noster episcopus transformatus a vestigiis Sancti Cuthberti! [O how plainly our Bishop now goes astray, transformed out of the footsteps of St. Cuthbert!] Urbane withdrew not onely the persons, but bona, the goods, of the cleargie from the trials of civill courts. In case of treason the Popes would oftentimes have exempted bishops from the barre, though princes absolute would never yeeld to this demaund as a right by acknowledgement, howsoever at the Popes request some of them have bene pleased to remit wrongs out of indulgencie. Let Platina give evidence concerning strange devises vented, and plots undertaken, to bring all the princes of the world to hold their crownes ad placitum [at the Pope’s pleasure], and in effect at the will of Peters successor. Some being called in question for personall transgressions, some for idle words, some for taking part with princes whom Popes hated, some for refusing to participate in actions which the Pope favored, some that the Pope might preferre his owne friends to their seates, some for standing stiffely against humors out of suspicion, some to make the Pope himselfe more strong, sometime to make his enemies more weake. And sure I am by confession of those that in religion were ever consonant to the Romane Canons, that after once that rule of Gregory was riveted into the conscience of Christians (which in those dayes were more fearefull to offend, then studious to learne), sententiam iudicis quam iniustum timendum esse, that the sentence of a Judge is to bee feared though injust, howsoever all the lawes of Europe in this case by the grounds of nature grant appeales, what quarel soever it pleased the Pope out of displeasure, just or unjust, to pretend, himselfe being ever (for the most part) both judge and partie that must be satisfied to the full, though it cost an Emperour his crowne.
And because homo spiritualis iudicatur a nemine [a spiritual man is judged by nobody], some of the Canonists proceeded so farre in flattery after these encouragements as to exempt the Popes censure from examination, though they carrie with them heapes of soules to hell, which though the wiser and the better sort reject as a doctrine fitter for the schoole of Mahomet then a scholler of the Church, yet will it be ever reckoned and reputed probably as well error praedicationis as conversationis [an error of predication as well as of conversation], so long as it shall passe the print without reproofe, and to use the phrase of S. Hierome upon like occasions, priusquam Asterico iuguletur [Asterico will have his throat cut first]. Emmanuel the Greeke Emperour craving earnestly of Alexander the Third that both Empires of the East and West might be reunited for a greater strength and a more assured support against the enemies of the faith, his answere was se nolle id unire quod maiores sui de industria disiunxissent, that hee would not unite that which his predecessors had of set purpose secured, though in very trueth it may be prooved a worse part in those that laid their heads and set their hands together, being as they were but men ad illud separandum quod Deus coniunxit, to make a separation in that which God had conjoined and fastened. Though Alexander the Pope had modestly forborne to answere the request of Emmanuel in so plaine language as might moove the world to say to him, as the mayd did to S. Peter in the pallace of the High Priest, vere tu ex ellis es, nam et loquela tua te manifestum facit [truly you are one of those men, for your speech makes you manifest], yet by the course which this Popes predecessors tooke in planting sedem imperii, the seate of the Empire, rather among the Germanes, where by larger distance he might lesse offend, then in Romana metropoli, then in Rome it selfe, where he might eclipse the glory of the Pope, wee might easily have apprehended both what was the object, and where would bee the ende of that policie. Hereunto I adde an indenture made by another of that ranke with Charles Duke of Anjou before his establishment in the Kingdom of Sicilie, that neither hee during his owne time, nor any of his heires and succesors after him, should accept of any offer which the German prince might be drawen to make to him of the Empire, much lesse that hee or they should hunt after it. His feare was (after an experiment) by the long busteling betweene the Pope and Fredericke (who was by right both Emperor and King of Sicilie) that the vicinitie and neighborhood of so great a state as that kingdome to Rome, in case it fell into the hand of an evil neighbour (with the least colour or advantage of a title) might stirre up easily in the disposition of a prince that were couragious, an earnest desire of a discontinued estate, because howsoever questions bee over-ruled among private persons upon the ground of prescription in point of law, yet where the sword must flourish for the masters prise, praescriptio nulla, quantumvis diuturni temporis, occurrit Caesari [no prescription, no matter how long-standing, stands in Caesar’s way]. I neede not at this present to name the provident and discreete Cardinall who in one of the late conclaves put in a timely caution to the rest of his fellowes at the choise of a Pope, to beware of too servile a regard of the particularities and passions of potent princes, that sede vacante [the See being vacant] recommended their chiefest favourites to S. Peters chaire, to no other ende then that they might againe by quintessence of craft reduce the moderne majestie of the Church of Rome to that bare ius patronatus [right of patronage] wherein it stoode during the reignes of domineering Emperours, and while they were able, to free themselves of that servile yoke, which by the losse of many lives, by the waste of great treasure, and the highest improvement of their predecessours Arte (that set their owne lives light in respect of the Churches libertie) was cast off. These are the steps by which so far as I can gather, either by observing the current of time, the reports of histories, or the deepe impressions of experience, the Popes have ascended sometime warily, sometime confidently, but almost ever (after the translation of the Empire into the East) powerfully to this height of prerogative, which have made them sufficiently strong, as it is said of David in the Scripture, cum leonibus tanquam agnis ludere [to sport with the lion as with the lamb], and to tread upon the aspe and the basiliske. What Soto, Sylvester, Symanca, Navarre, or Bellarmine either thinke or publish in their chymicall distinctions of direct and indirecte, proprie and improprie, simpliciter and secundum quid [in consequence], absolute and tantummodo in ordine ad spiritualia [only in order pertaining to spiritual matters], it much matters not, because in this poynt they doe merely transgresse mandata Dei propter traditionam suam [God’s commandments because of their tradition], leaping like sheepe that are frightened with their owne shadow, over hedges one in the necke of another, without fore-thinking of the ditch on the other side, vouching no one title rightly to this purpose out of the Word of God, regarding nothing that is ancient, not adding any reason of importance that is new, filling the Schooles with clamors, the Church with errors, and all Christian estates with tragedies. Yet in disproofe of their distinctions, which are onely circles and sharpe angles of Scholasticall conceipts, beside the grounds of sober judgement formerly set downe, I will produce a learned jurie of those bishops whom these Schoolemen repute firmely and completely Catholike (whom they emblason by descent of pedegree the onely true and lawfull heirs of Christ, and whom they reverence as his Apostles successors), that did absolutely refuse in the most servile times to subscribe the Popes privative and peremptorie censures against their owne soveraignes. They did observe their oathes of loyaltie out of the bond of conscience, without regard of Canonical absolution, and never shrunke upon threates or terrors that thundered at Rome from the positive lawes and dueties of their owne countreys. They were not ignorant that the high priest in the law was circundatis infirmitate [girt about with infirmity], and bound by the law to offer sacrifice aswell for his owne private sinnes as for the sinnes of the multitude. They had read that S. Peter the first founder of the Church of Rome was called Sathan for giving counsell (that was not sound) to our Saviour after the bestowing of those titles of prerogative which many urge. They finde him pinched not behinde his backe, but reproved to his face by S. Paul for that he did not holde a streight course for the propagation of the faith. They learned of an Apostle so farre only to follow others as they were found to follow Christ. They heard that many Popes had revoked their first censures upon better information, that Alexander the Third gave free libertie to the Archbishop of Ravenna of abstinence from satisfaction to his owne direction, so as withall he gave the reason which moved him to abstein, and that Adrian himselfe enforceth not obedience manente dubio, so long as the point was in question or traversed. They were greatly mooved with the presedents of those religious and faithful auditors at Thessalonica, that examined the passages of holy writ alledged by S. Paul for the the better triall of the doctrine an ita se haberent, whether they were vouched in a right and proper sense or no. Last of all, because they found the priviledge of not erring in the Pope to be limitted by the Schoolemen themselves to matters of faith, not of policie, and to be rather cathedrall then personall, it was a course familiar and usuall among many grave bishops of that age to examine Papall censures aswell by the standard of Gods Word as by the weights of the Consistery, and so farre onely to give way to insurgent jurisdiction as it might not at the issue of their lives unhappily fall out of them in singultum cordis [to the grieving of their heart] that they had run counter. If they have either cause or colour to challenge any one or more of this jurie that is impanelled ex hominibus legalibus [of legal men] for triall of this point in question, as prejudiciall eyther to the cause or to the Church, I will undertake to set him rectum, upright, in ipsa curia Romana [in the very Roman Curia], by the warrant of their owne Recordes, though that bee greater paine then I need against any of the Schoolemen that mould dayly new distinctions out of the quintessence of their owne conceited and self-pleasing wittes without the right stampe of antiquitie.
I have touched by discourse precedent how farre Philip the French King, surnamed for his personage Le Beau, was secured by the whole clergie of his realme, so farre as concerned the bond of their allegiance and loyaltie, non obstante [notwithstanding] the rash proceeding and peremptorie censures of Pope Boniface. To this I adde the answere which was made by Hincmar Archbishop of Rhemes to Pope Adrian (forbidding him under paine of censure to yeeld either reverence or service to the King, as to his lawfull soveraigne. That persons of al qualities aswell ecclesiasticall as secular within the realme of France (assembled upon the Popes censure) had set downe this conclusion with a kind of astonishment, nunquam ulli praedecessorum suorum, that no such injunction was ever sent to any of their predecessors before that time, a strong evidence, in my conceit, aswell of noveltie as of injurie.
By another grave report touching the kingdome of Sicilie, I finde in an epistle of the Archbishops of Panormium how strange the bishops of that state held an oath of obedience to the Sea of Rome tendered by the Popes Nuntio to one of them at the receiving of the palle, and with this strong exception, non inveniri de huiusmodi iuramento statuta in conciliis, that in the Councels no Canon could be found whereby to presse the taking of such an oath by an archbishop. Yet can I not denie that Sicily did more depend on the directions of the Pope, by the condition of some former contract betweene that kingdome and the Church of Rome then many other provinces.
When Gregory the Fourth had a purpose in his head peremptorily to proceed against Lewes Le Debonaire, the French bishops in flat terms answered se nolle etc., that they would not submit their judgements to that offer, but the ground thereof being both weake and unjust, he should well know that si excommunicaturus veniret excommunicatus discederet, if he came with a purpose to excommunicate, he should depart excommunicated. Adde unto this out of a French record an instance of one John Tanquerell, condemned by the divines of Paris for labouring to defend that the Pope in some cases might depose the King. So strange was the doctrine of deposing princes and transposing crownes esteemed ever in those very times which are thought to carry the strongest tincture of affection, which many call servitude. But if heresie and infidelitie were the proper causses, as they are made the ordinary motives of these brave attempting and undertaking censures against crowned potentates, there might be some better colour of excuse, though no better ground of justification (because neither we have any such custome, nor the Church of God). But we know that prerogative is the Magna Charta which they study that pursue this point. And let the prince (against whom the Pope extends or pretends a quarel) be as Catholique in all points of profession as the Pope himselfe, yet he cannot save his stake in seeking to save his soule, for the challenge being once on foote, untill the supposition be acknowledged, the censure qualified, or the Pope satisfied, there shall be no other ground nor object of the processe then heresie. This moved many bishops (notwithstanding their obedience to the high priest) yet to examine the condition, and whether the direction were ab initio secundum legem Dei [according God’s law from the very beginning] as Moyses limitted. The best learned among the Schoolemen make not obedience eyther an abstract in the cloudes or an individuum vagum [a vague singularity], or (as some doe the prerogative of princes) a nemo scit [an indeterminate], but they conceive it as a duetie ranged by prescription ad leges euangelitas [according to the laws of the Gospels].
Upon this ground of reason, equitie and conscience, Gebartus Archbishop of Rhemes was drawen to an absolute renunciation of any graunt that can be made to any mortall man in particular, of so large capacitie ut quicquid libet liceat [that you can do whatever you choose], lest that person being forestalled, corrupted, or seduced by feare, gaine, or ignorance, might put all courses out of frame, with this further advice, that in limitation of power the holy Gospels, the Prophets and Apostles, and the Canons of the Church indighted by Gods Spirit, and observed in all ages by those pastors whom the Holy Ghost appoynted to direct and governe the Church of God, might bee lex communis ecclesiae Catholicae [the Catholic’ Church’s Common Law]. This rule gives a round supersedeat [legal impediment] to Master Garnet and his schoolemasters. And further we finde Ivo the learned Bishop of Charters so far a friend (how hardly soever the French King dealt with him in respect of his absence from that convention wherein the Popes proceedings against the King were sharpely censured by all the States) as to denie the subjection or subordination of a King to any superior in his temporall estate. And though the King should refuse out of contumacy to give eare to the counsell of the godly bishops (which was the case as he conceived at that time, being infinitely addicted to the Pope), divino tamen iudicio reliquendum esse, yet he must bee left onely to the divine chastisement. And as Bracton saith, sufficit ei ad poenam quod Deum expectat ultorem [it is sufficient punishment for him that he anticipate God the Avenger]. How confidently and how often the Synodes, Parliaments, and Schooles of France have run upon the pikes of Papall censures in defense of the Kings estate paramounte, sometime by their decrees provinciall, sometime by their sanctions pragmaticall, and sometime by prohibitions, which cut the sinews of all superlative commaunds with so sharpe an edge as, after that, they were never able either to march or move, I need not amplifie, but onely point with my finger to the coronation of the King now regnant at his first entrance, by bishops, Romane Catholikes (without either awe of superior, or feare of censure, or conceit of irregularitie), while hee stood within the danger of the curse, and conclude this point with one example very pregnant, as I imagine, of S. Lewes, inserted by the Pope himselfe into the liste of holy confessors and saints in the Romane Calender, notwithstanding his severe decree that no kinde of levies or taxations should be made in France by the Popes instruments without the knowledge of his privie Counsel or himselfe, nor then also, but in cases of evident necessitie.
But now lest Master Garnet or his complices should except against the state of France as over-tickle [oversensitive] in the seate of satisfaction, when the scope of the Church is gaine, though wee must adde some greater weight of credite to these courses in respect the bishops were both orthodoxical and canonicall that assented to their publication with the other peeres. I will proove further, that in tendernesse of care to preserve the prerogative of monarchie within the bounds and limittes of it selfe, the Kings of England have neither bin inferiour, nor lest insensitive. May it therefore please Master Garnet and so many others of that suite as hold the subject bound to follow whatsoever is decreed at Rome upon supposition of heresie or suggested shewes of infidelitie against their soveraigne, to take notice of the titles, names, and judgements of these persons which I shal present to their consideration, not from the presbyteries, which may distaste their relish, but out of the list of English authors limmed among Catholikes with golden characters.
I will begin with the first of our Kings post Conquestum, and procede to others as they fall into the circle of exception in their courses, and proceeding orderly Quid Papa cum imperii vel regni libertate? What hath the Pope to doe with the libertie of an empire or kingdome? (saith William the Conqueror), to whom it rather belongeth to take care of soules, and of the Churches securitie? Afterwards in that quicke contention that fell out betweene William the Second and Anselme the Archbishop about the Pope (though I will neither avow the King to have bin an holy confessor, nor all his expostulations to have bene regular demaunds), yet the must give me leave to note with what affection and resolution, not withstanding the Popes inter-comming to make himselfe a partie in the quarrell, the bishops did adhere to their owne Soveraigne. Notum habeat sanctitas vestra, Your Holiness, sayth Henry the First, must understand that by Gods helpe the dignities and liberties of this kingdom shal receive no wipe of abatement during my reigne. for though I had an humour of embasing my selfe so much as to shrinke upon so sure a ground, tamen optimates mei, imo totius Angliae populi, id nullo modo paterentur, yet my Peeres, nay, all the Commons of my Realme would never suffer it. And after this the Bishop of Excester sent to Rome, received a very gracious and milde answere of the Pope touching the kingdomes liberties. Henry the Second would admit no Legat from thence, nor repaire of any his subjects to that Sea before they gave securitie quod malum suum vel regno suo non quarerent [that they would seek no evil for himself or his realm].
The Suffragan of Canterbury in very modest and humble manner advised Thomas his Archbishop rather to appease the Kings wrath by a submissive letter, which had ever bin the course of proceedings among the pastors primitive, then by heaping coales to inflame his passions in so violent and desperate a kinde as might perhaps cause a revolt from the Roman hierarchie.
Neubrigensis, an other countrey man of ours, compareth the Archbishops opposition at that time to the King, to S. Peters zeale in the question between him and S. Paul. For though no man denies, saith he, that the Archbishop in his particular was zelo fervidus [fervent with zeal], yet an plene et secundum iustitiam, Deus novit, whether sufficiently and in accordance to the right, God knoweth, since it is written in the Proverbes that prudens in tempore tacebit, quia tempus malum, a wise man will hold his peace in time, because the time is evill, as hee thought that to bee. The speach is modest, and yet declareth that even in those times men that were voyde of passion, though of one and the same profession, comming to scanne the point of conscience, judged indifferently, without either smart to the subject or wrong to the soveraigne. Which makes me the more to praise the wisedom of that Canon of the Church which (with great reason) disswades over rough searching of soares deepely festered, or over quickly proceeding in a time when censures are set light. For experience hath taught that this were but to cast pearles before swine, and to give that which is sanctum canibus [holy to dogs].
The whole reigne of King John, being in effect nothing but a tragedie acted in the eye, and to the scorne of England over all the world, betweene the Pope and him, our bishops skirmishing sometimes (out of conscience) on the Kings side against the Pope in this fraction of the politike estate, and sometimes (out of faction) on the Popes side against the King. Yet the greatest part of them at Windsore, as one of our authors writes, non obstante sententia qua rex erat innodatus [with the reflection that the King was under excommunication being no obstacle], did communicate and religiously receive with him.
Henry the Third, suspecting some hard measure (as it seemes upon the smart and horror of examples past) exacted a formall oath of his bishops that repaired to the Councel of Lions before their setting forth, that they should assent to nothing there debated, or to bee decreed to his or his crownes prejudice. At the same Councell the King complained (not by the vertue of his letters, but by the voyce of his bishops) of a wrongfull claime pretended by the Pope of an imposition, under the maske and colour of an episcopall assent, which in the behalfe of all the rest was roundly contradicted by the Metropolitane. Upon notice taken of this complaynt, the Pope, alluding to the spleene of Fredericke the Emperour against his predecessour, sayd that the King of England began to Frederize. But it skills not much, sayd he, for habet rex Angliae suum concilium, et ego meum [the King of England his his counsel, and I have mine], as he might very well, and yet be no gainer.
Edward the First sent Sir John Lexinton to al the bishops as they were assembled in the house of convocation, with an express caveat that they should in no waies yeeld to the Popes earnes instance for satisfaction in a demaund, to which prohibition, as my author writes, et ipsi paruerunt, they obeyed accordingly.
Edward the Second stood resolutely upon the maintenance of his gift of the Treasourership of Yorke against the Popes Breves, striving forceably by the colour of a former graunt to preferre a nephew of his owne. And upon what ground? Because (saith the King) the Peeres of this kingdome are bound by their oath of homage to maintaine the rights and liberties of this State, whereof collation of dignities hath ever bene reputed a special branch, and therefore cannot salva conscientia [in good conscience] admit or endure the least blemish of an invested honour. For it were not lawfull for bishops of those ages, as appeareth by record foedum laicum Romanae ecclesiae obligare, to tye a lay fee upon the Church of Rome. How much lesse is it reasonable, lawfull, or convenient at this day to engage either the princes right, or the subjects loyaltie?
To these I adde a very earnest letter written to the Pope by the same prince, in such a stile and with incke tempered with so sharp ingredients as ex unguibus leonem [by his claws you can tell he is a lion]. For he doeth there protest, and that with some fervencie, se ius regni sui contra Papam et omnes defensurum, that he would defend the right and title of his Crowne against all persons whatsoever, without distinction or diversitie. I note by this occasion the temperance of the Pope at that time, who neither replies with passion, nor thunders in heate. For though it be true that England by position and site hath a great advantage of many other states and kingdomes of Europe that are neither so well fenced, nor so compleatly compassed by sea, purposing to stand resolutely in defence of it selfe, though the cause were good and the prince martiall, yet it appeareth that the Pope for his part also was more patient then some of his successors (impeached by more difficulties and stronger impediments) have bene since that time. Or els considering the claime which he pretended to collations and investitures in many other estates, where he found princes more afraid, hee might at the least have made an offer (though to small effect) of his virulent exceptions, which being used without discretion are indeed but the vessels of an undiscreet pastor, to take the words of Zachary.
Neither law nor nature doe allow to any agent potestem operandi [power of operation] for the maintenance of it selfe sine praeparatione mediorum, without the preparation of meanes proportionable to that facultie which it affords, and therefore in this case we must inferre that either the Pope wanted passion or power, or instruments to further his end (according to the scope of his desire) powerfully. The Abbot of Tavistocke was fined at 500 marks for receiving a Bull from Rome wherein there were but aliqua verba regi et coronae suae praeiudicialia [some verbiage prejudicial to the King and his Crown]. The whole court of Parliament, wherein the party of the bishops and abbots among the law peeres for the number was not weake, gave their promise to King Richard the Second with protestation to defend his regall rights and immunities against all opposition, though it were made by the Pope himselfe. And herewithall I note the reason in the record, sutable to the resolution (which as spoken before), least the Crowne of England, which had bene ever free from the restraint of any superiour commaund, might on a sudden slip unawares into the snare of servitude. And therefore the maine article in Parliament inforced for the deprivation of Richard the Second was that he had by admitting Bulls from Rome inthralled the Crowne of England, which was free from the Pope and all other forraine power.
The Popes ignorance in the state of English affaires was the motive by which the wisedome of the State was drawen during the raigne of the same prince and al that succeeded, to condemne, disable and reject all Bulls or Breves of direction from Rome that stood upon no warrant of certificate from some bishop in the land to guide his ayme. And those bishops (as wee finde by the reports of history and record) were ever the worse esteemed and the lesse regarded by their owne prince and countrey, that posted over to seeke forraine ayd when they might have found greater ease by resorting to their home bred oracles and non ad transmarina iudicia [not to overseas judgements], which they ought to do by the Councel of Carthage.
They that desire to be more particularly enformed of the prosperous successe of some bishops that were forward in execution of the Popes orders without licence from the King, may finde a seisure made upon all the temporalities of those Bishops of Ely and Norwich for the publication of a Bull against Hugh Earle of Chester, and further observe also that the Bishop of Ely was condemned of a felony by a jury at the Kings bench, notwithstanding his bold challenge to be unctus domini et frater Papae, [an anointed of the Lord and] the Popes brother; but a yonger, it seemes, by bearing his dignitie with so great a difference. The Bishop of Carlile in like maner (notwithstanding the priviledge of unction) was condemned of high treason at the barre (though not in the Popes cause) in the time of Henry the Fourth, and that worthily. For though Salomon spared the life of Abiathar out of a speciall favour, and a kind of reverence to religion quia portavit arcam domini, because he had once caried the Arke of God, yet by that hee cals him virum mortis [a man of death], I may lawfully conclude what in justice he might have done concerning life, but of his deprivation the text it selfe gives cleare evidence.
I adde to this example the learned judgement of Baptista Baiardus, a profound civilian, that a bishop offending in case of treason cannot bee exempted by his function from triall before a judge meerely secular, and for proofe hereof no man can witnesse better then Philip de Comynes what slight answer was given by the French King his master to the Popes incessant suit by the Nuntio for the release of a Cardinall whose place and dignitie was more eminent.
In Spaine it selfe, which seemes in this age to be most precise and tender of that point which is termed the Churches liberty (though neither circumscribed within any certaine limits of admittance, nor defined till this day by any doctour of either law), their owne writers avow that the Bishop of Conimbra was constrained by the State to recall a sentence against the King which the Pope himselfe had both encouraged and justified. Don Pedro King of Aragon in scorne of the Popes charge under paine of censure not to take upon him any longer the title of that crowne, which out of his owne particular affection he had setled before upon another princes head, intituled himselfe imperatorum maris et regnorum dominum [emperor of the sea and master of kingdoms], meaning rather to advaunce then dismisse his stile by the Popes ladder.
Many of their kings, as I could expresse at better leasure, have withstood peremptorie censures of the Church of Rome, almost ad deliquium animae [to the loss of their soul], sometime upon supposition of incontinencie, sometime upon the stay of the maine stroke of that oare in their estate, sometime upon collations, transpositions, investitures, without any inward gall or vexation of conscience for exasperating a Popes humor in defence of their owne prerogative. Let the walles and battlements of the Castle Saint Angelo in Rome beare record of the pietie, patience and humilitie of Charles the Fifth, grandfather to the King of Spaine now regnant, when the Pope in passion overstrained both the deutie of a childe and the patience of so great a potentate. I think Master Garnet wil admit that these thousand yeeres there was not a more obedient daughter to the Church of Rome then Queene Marie, that could never rest in quiet till she had reduced the straying sheepe of her dominions, as she conceived, to S. Peters folde. And yet without regard or awe of the Popes sharpe censures against the King her husband, she never gave over ayding him with money and assisting him with force, till he was perfectly reconciled to the Church and the strife determined. For as by the law of God shee found herselfe precisely bound in cleaving to her husband, with whom by union shee became una caro [one flesh], to forsake all the world, so in the same law she findes in point of fact no straighter bond, no stronger warrant of obedience to the sentence of the priest, then she observes the priest to ground himselfe upon the law of God, that is, quem ipse secundum legem docuerit [what he himself taught in accordance with the law], which rest is in deed that lapis lydius [touchstone] to which we ought all to resort for the tryall of all coynes that are current among Christians, whose image or stampe soever they seeme to beare, in case we finde them oftentimes embased by alaie [alloy], and apt to mine into the foundations of equitie and pietie. For till I see it cleare either by doctrine or experience that God created all men Stoicks, or rather as voyd of sense as stockes, and instituted Popes not only dispensatores mysteriorum distributers of His mysteries, but tanquam angelos lucis, as angels of light, or more then angels of light, because in those, as Job records, invenit pravitatem [he discovered depravity], I must borow leave in discerning matters of this qualitie to make use of the little reason and the great respect I have, leaving those that are of another minde to borrow such discretion by observation which in this world all persons at all times neither ever had, nor can ever have.
By these presedents and many more, which times serves not to dilate or to enlarge, I hold it very cleare that both princes and their bishops have obeyed these Papall censures in matters touching their prerogative and state, neither longer nor oftener then debilitie or necessitie enforced them to abate their sayles in a storme of distresse. Though decrees privative have bin often squared by lawes positive, and that albeit many kings have made a shew to be mild spectators of their neighbours harmes, yet if the case came once to touch either their owne affection or their right, they were content to reade without the ordinary consonants of the Romane alphabet. If then the weapons with which our antecessors fought against ambition and wrong have bin eaten into by the canckers of superstitious feare, or overawed by retchlesse [reckless] sloth, let us scoure them with the powder of experience (since these hot alarmes begin to sound) before wee be surprised in over great securitie, and by resorting often to the rule of Gods direction, which is verus iudex et sui et obliqui [the true measure of itself and of what departs from it], wee shall the better understand, according to the qualitie of superior commands, either to lay downe or lives or submit our conformitie. It was in my conceipt a paine well taken of late yeeres to reduce the Feast of our Saviours Nativitie as neere to the right terme or period as arte and industrie could devise, by taking up the loose minutes which by tract of time and multiplication of degrees had drawen out a wider distance by certaine dayes then was consonant to the first calender, and therefore the like labour in another kind might worthily reduce the challenge which Popes have pretended in some cases above Kings to the same proportion which it had under Gregorie the First, Leo, and all other bishops of that sea before that date, by cutting off encrochments which by fractions of time have brought the Church into scandale, and the greatest part of princes into jelousie. For all this while boldnesse undertakes, wit contrives, assistance furthers, conscience prepares, scrupulositie consents, strength prevailes, and majestie suffers.
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