Front Page Titles (by Subject) William Goodwin, A Sermon - The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, vol. 1
Return to Title Page for The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, vol. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
William Goodwin, A Sermon - Joyce Lee Malcom, The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, vol. 1 
The Struggle for Sovereignty: Seventeenth-Century English Political Tracts, 2 vols, ed. Joyce Lee Malcolm (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999). Vol. 1.
About Liberty Fund:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
William Goodwin, A Sermon
William Goodwin, d. 1610
THE KINGS MOST EXCELLENT MAIESTIE At Woodstocke, Avg. 28. 1614.
William Goodwin,Deane of Christ’s Church and Vice-Chancellor of the Vniversity of Oxon.
Published by Commandement.
Printed by Joseph Barnes. 1614
William Goodwin delivered the sermon published here in his capacity as chaplain to James I toward the end of his long and successful career in the Church of England. Goodwin had held a variety of benefices in Yorkshire and London before arriving in Oxfordshire. In 1611 he was made dean of Christ Church college in Oxford and in 1614, when he preached this sermon before the king at Woodstock, he had just been made vice chancellor of Oxford University.
Goodwin’s sermon contains the emphasis, usual for the time, upon the independence of the English king from the power of the pope. However, Goodwin goes on to stress that the king was also exempt from the power of the law. Dutiful subjects, he assured worshippers, were bound to obey the king even if he became a tyrant. These teachings obviously pleased James who ordered the sermon to be published. On the other hand, it was bound to irritate many politically active gentlemen. Only four years before, Parliament had been so incensed by the absolutist opinions expressed by John Cowell in The Interpreter, a law dictionary, that it took the unusual step of censuring the book. At that time James had prudently rescinded approval for the book’s publication. His command that Goodwin’s sermon be published would suggest that James’s action in Cowell’s case was only a strategic retreat, but that he was quite prepared to broadcast notions similar to Cowell’s when opportunity presented itself. This sermon appears to be Goodwin’s only publication and appeared in only one edition.
jeremie 1. 10
See! I have this day set thee up, over Nations & Kingdomes, to plucke up, to roote out, to destroy, to overthrow, to build, and to plant.
It is not my purpose to extoll the Dignity, or discourse of the Duety of a Prophet, in the presence of a King. The wordes of my Text, I confesse, naturally exact it; yet may it seeme unseasonable, in this Royall Presence, in this place, especially in these times. Miserable, & wretched times! in which the chiefe and principall, the essentiall and fundamentall points of Religion, and Christianity, which should breed Peace in our Consciences, and bring Salvation to our Soules, are almost growne harsh and out of fashion, stale, and out of request. Looke into the many Bookes and volumes, which in these later yeares, have proceeded from our English Fugitives, and Romish adversaries; in some, you shall finde the Name of Christ seldome mentioned; in many, no one point of Religion handled; in most, if any be handled, it is but obiter, and in transitu,1 by the way, and superficially, to farce and stuffe out the volume; the maine scope, & drift of all, hath beene, to advance the Miter above the Crowne, and to erect the Monster of the more than Transcendent Superioritie of the Sea and Church of Rome. Insomuch that we are now forced to spend our times & studies, our paines and watchings, our Books and writings, our discourses and preachings, yea our very Spirits and Lives, in upholding the Thrones, in sustaining the Scepters, in setling the Crownes, nay in vindicating the Lives, the Estates, and Dignities of Sacred and Anointed Kings, from the unjust and bloody Assasinations of Romish and Antichristian Tyranny.2
Our chiefe, nay our only Religion, in these days consists not in the Faith of that one only Christ, that one only deare & beloved Sonne ofthat Living God: but in a servile and slavish Submission and Prostitution to the Sea, and Pope of Rome. You knowe whose resolution it is, Quicquid profiteatur, Catholicus non est, qui est, à Romani Pontificis obedientiâ, alienus.3 Professe what you will professe, understand the Scriptures never so exactly, imbrace the Gospell never so sincerely, beleeve all the Articles of Faith never so stedfastly, professe the Truth never so constantly, practice the workes of Charitie never so devoutly, suffer, & shed your Blood, & lay downe your Lives for Christ never so patiently; I adde, Invocate all the Saints in Heaven, adore the Fleshly Body of Christ in the Sacrament, mutter your Confession, performe your Penance, buy your Absolution, purchase Pardons, & Indulgences; All this, and more, is not sufficient, to constitute a Catholike. One thing remaines, you must cast down your Crownes at the Feet of that Man of sin, you must leave your Kingdomes to bee disposed, at his pleasure; otherwise you have no part in the true Church, you can expect no portion in God’s kingdome. If he Thunder, the Earth must Shake, the Foundations of the world must be moved, the Thrones of Kings must totter, their scepters must fall out of their hands, their Crownes must be torne from their Heads, All must be cast at his Feet. If you demand (Quo warranto?) by what warrant, and Commission, He claimes it? The words of my Text, See! this day have I set thee up, &c. they are his warrant, they are his Commission. A weake warrant, of so unjust usurpation! as I trust I shall make manifest, if first you will give mee leave briefly to unfold the words themselves.
The words in their proper and naturall, in their literall & Principall sense, are appropriated to Christ Jesus, the Prince of Prophets, who hath Excellentiam Potestatis. Personally they are directed to Jeremy; who was Propheta constitutus, antequàm natus, ordained a Prophet of God, before he was borne, the Sonne of Man. In a subordinate, and qualified sense, they may be applied to all the Prophets, all the Apostles, all the Ministers of the Gospell; who have delegatam Potestatem. All Similiter, but not Aequaliter, with like, but not with equall power, being set over Nations and Kingdomes, &c. Christ, in that high Preeminence, and superexcellency of all power, which was given him of his Father, both in Heaven and in Earth: Jeremy, by extraordinary calling and vocation from Heaven: the rest, by subordinate and delegate Commission, being sent of Christ, as He was sent of his Father, & having the word of Reconciliation committed unto them.
In the wordes I observe, first, their Commission; I have set thee up. Secondly, the Extent, and latitude of their jurisdiction; above Nations, above Kingdomes. Thirdly, their Worke; and that is twofold, ad Destructionem: ad Aedificationem, to plucke up, to root out, &c. to plant, and to build. In other things, Facilius est destruere, quàm astruere; yet where Sinne is the subject wee worke upon, it is so incorporate into the nature of man, that it is farre greater difficultie, to pluck up, and root out, than to plant; and to destroy, & overthrow, than to build. Therefore the Spirit of God mentioneth quatuor Tristia: duo Laeta; foure Destroying, but only two Edifying Metaphors. Lastly, I observe, that the true and only End of plucking up, and rooting out, is planting; the End of overthrowing, and destroying, is Building.
The Commission is Authenticall, rooted in Heaven and grounded upon God’s Ordination. The Extent & latitude, is large and ample: no Estate, no Dignitie, no Throne, no Crowne, no Scepter, no Diadem exempt from it. The worke is powerfull on both sides. I had almost said Omnipotent; for, Habet quandam Omnipotentiam, non ex Spiritu nostro, sed ex Spiritu, qui est in Spirita nostro; The word of God, in the mouth of his basest servants, hath in it a kinde of Omnipotencie, not by any vertue that is in them, but by the power of that Spirit that worketh in them. The End is full of Grace, and of Favour.
First, I meet with a note of observation, set (as it were) in the very Front, and Forehead of my Text, [Vide] [See] to this end, that, QuiManus ad Clavum, & Oculos, ad Caelum, He which sits at the Sterne, either of Civil, or Ecclesiasticall governement, whether He sit on the Throne, or in the Chaire, His eye must ever be fixed in Heaven, upon the Pole by which his course must be guided, & conducted. For both in Kingdome, and in Church, Christus in Imo, Christus in Summo; Christ is the roote, Christ is the roofe; Christ is the beginning, Christ is the ending, Christ is Α, Christ is Θ; Christ is the foundation, Christ is the perfection of all. The Prosperitie, & Peace, the Abundance and Wealth, the Honour and Dignitie, the Stabilitie and Perpetuitie of all, stands upon his Favour, and is upheld by his Blessing. It is He, that must blesse us here, it is He that must crowne us hereafter. [See] we enjoy the Blessing, let Him have the Glory. From Him we have our Constitution and Commission, Ego constitui, I have set thee up: otherwise, Τίς πρὸς ταῦτα ἵκανος; who is sufficient for these things? What are our earthen vessels, to hold that inestimable and heavenly Treasure? What our uncleane Hands, to breake, and distribute that heavenly Manna? What our leaden and drossy pipes, to receave, or convey that water of life? Τίς πρὸς ταῦτα ἵκανος; Who is sufficient for these things? No man takes this Honour to himselfe, but he which is called of God, as was Aaron? The excellencie of this power it is not of Men, but it is of God.
Before I formed thee in the wombe, I knew thee, before thou camest out the wombe, I sanctified thee; there is Electio ad salutem: I have ordained thee to be a Prophet, and See! this day I have set thee up, &c. there is Electio ad Munus; chosen to salvation before eternity, called to the Office of a Prophet this Day. These do not always concurre in one subject; but where they meet, a thousand thousand Blessings accompany that constitution, & a thousand thousand times blessed is he, that is chosen of God both to save himselfe, and to save others.
Dei Agricultura estis, Dei Aedificium estis; you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. Ager, Mundus: Aedificium, Fideles; the world is his Field, the Faithfull are his Building. Ager non est Agricolae, sedPatris familiûs, Aedificium non est Architecti, sed Domini: the field is not the Husbandman’s but the owner’s, the building is not the workeman’s, but the Lord’s. In this Husbandry there is not a fit labourer, that is not sent of God into his Harvest, Mat. 9. In this Building there is not a meete workeman, which is not inspired from Heaven, as was Aholiah and Bezaleel, Exod. 31. He which buildes and he which plants, hee which plucks up, and hee which rootes out is nothing, but Hee which gives the Blessing and encrease, Hee is all in all. Rusticani Sudoris Schemate quodam, labor spiritualis expressus est; The worke of a Prophet is illustrated by resemblance with the toile of an Husbandman, and the whole comparison is meerely Tropicall, Figurative, & Metaphoricall. Nulla est excusatio carnaliter interpretanti, in huius modi loquutionibus Tropicis: It is an absurditie beyond absurditie, to make literall interpretation of Figurative and Metaphoricall Speeches. Nay it is an Impietie beyond Impietie, to change the elegant resemblances, which the Spirit of God useth in the Scripture, to Actuall and Reall, and bloody Executions of unjust and usurped Tyranny. Certainely God never sent forth his Prophets, as Incendiaries, & Assasinates, with Fire and Sword, with Poison & Gunpowder, to pluck up, to root out, to destroy, to overthrow. He sent them that the world might be saved, but not ruinated by them.
The rule is generall, Quicquid in Scripturis Sacris asperum, savǔ, crudele sonat, & commendatur à Sanctis faĉtum, aut inbetur ut facient, non ad literă, sed ad cupiditatis Regnum, & vincendos anime Hostes intelligitur esse scriptum. Whatsoever in the Scriptures is commanded or commended in the Saints, and favoreth of violence, asperitie, crueltie, it is not Literally, but Figuratively to be understood and executed.
If you demand, Qui Vectes? quae Ferramenta? with what tooles, and with what Engins He performes so glorious a worke? They are set in the words next before my Text, Behold, I have put my word in thy mouth; a word sharper than a two-edged Sword, which enters and divides, and woundes, and kills; but, Culpas non Homines; it kills Sinne, but it saves men. To this worke he hath set apart Esay, and Jeremy, not Zenacherib, not Nabuchadnezar, not Antiochia; Peter & Paule, not Herod and Nero; Augustine, Ambrose, & the Holy Fathers, not Domitian, and Julian, bloody Emperors; Luther, Calvin, & many worthies in his Church, not Hildebrand, Julius, Boniface, Pius, Sixtus, & the rest of that rabble. Those pluckt up, & rooted out Gladiouris, with the Sword of their Lippes; these destroy, overthrow, murder, massacre, Ore Gladii, with the dint and edge of the Sword. Thus, Imperiale fit Papale, Spirituale fit Temporale; the Imperiall right is made Papall, and the Spirituall Ministery is changed into open & professed Tyranny. But Quis constituit? whence have they their Ordination? from whom can they challenge their Commission?
They are set up, Super Nationes & Regna, above Nations, above Kingdomes. An ample & a large Jurisdiction! but Ministerium impositum est, non Dominum datum; I see a dutie and a charge laid upon us, which we must exercise, I see no Soveraigntie, no Dominion given unto us that we should execute. Qui ad Episcopatum vocatur, ad Servitutem vocatur, non ad Dominium Ecclesiae; he that is called to the office of a Prophet, is called to serve, and minister, not to rule and domineere in the Church. I read, that their Sound, I find not, that their Sword, should go through the world. It is true, there is no Privilege, there is no Exemption, there is no Throne, there is no Crowne, there is no Scepter, there is no Diadem, that is not subject to this glorious Ministration. Wee may not feare the faces of mortall men. Saule must heare of his witchcrafts, David of his adultery, Ahab of Naboth’s vineyard, Herod of his brother Philip’s wife; Israel must heare of her Sinnes, Judah of her Transgressions, Samaria of her Idolatries, Jerusalem of her Abominations. And where we could beare rule, and domineere, and offer force, and use violence, and beat downe sin, and cry out against iniquitie, till their eares tingle, & their Hearts tremble in the midst of their Bowels, we doe nothing but our duties. For this cause are wee set over Nations, over Kingdomes. Herein is our true honour, herein our true Preeminence. Which hath caused the ancient and holy Fathers so often to extoll the dignitie of their Ministery, and sometimes, not to compare only, but to preferre it before and above the highest earthly Soveraigntie. Imperium ipsi quoque gerimus, addo etiam praestantius ac perfectius; vos enim, potestati mea meisque subselliis Lex Christi Subiecit:4 spoken in the presence, and to the person of an Emperour. We also have our authoritie, & that more perfect, and more glorious than your Soveraigntie; for even your majestie hath the law of Christ subjected to our Pulpit. It is to our Pulpit, not to our Tribunal; where wee may reprove, not chastise, reprehend, not punish, depresse, not depose: to us your Soules, to you our Bodies are committed; into our Handes the Keyes, into your Handes the Sworde is delivered; wee must denounce, you must execute, God’s Judgements; wee can shut out of Heaven, you may root out of the earth. God hath set his servants over Nations, & Kingdomes, as He set Jonas over Niniveh, ut eversi in malo aedificarentur in Bono; that their sinnes might be pluckt up, & rooted out, their estate established, the sentence denounced against them reversed, their Ruine & Destruction prevented, their Pardon and Peace procured. God hath not set them, as he set Salmanazar, Zenacherib, Nabuchadnezar, over Israel and Judah, as his whips and scourges, or rather as his Sword & Executioners; ut Aedificati in malo e, verterentur in toto, that when their sinnes were ripe, they should draw the line of emptinesse over them, and chaine their Kings, and fetter their Nobles, and ruinate their estates, and dispose of their kingdomes. We may, nay we must, denounce God’s judgements, but the sword, which must execute them, Hee hath put into another’s Hand. If our Saviour demaunde Quis me Judicem? Who hath made me a Judge over you? and would not end a Controversie, that was brought unto Him: may not we lawfully aske, Quis vos Principes? who hath made you Princes? nay more than Princes? to dispose of the estates, of all, yea Lawfull, Anointed, and Soveraigne Princes?
Their work is to pluck up and to root out, to destroy, to overthrow. True! but, Disce sarculo opus esse, non sceptro, ut facias opus Prophetae: See, a Sheepehooke, not a Scepter, a weeding hooke, not a Sword, is the Instrument that fits the Hand, and agrees with the worke of a Prophet. Cum audis Regna & Nationes, noli Carnaliter intelligere, sed cogita Animas Regnatas à Peccato; delicta, cogita, quae evellenda & suffodienda, à sermonibus Dei: When you heare of Nations and of Kingdomes, and of plucking up and rooting out, dreame not of earthly kingdoms; but remember, Satan hath a kingdome within you, and sinne hath gotten Dominion over you; follow, pursue, kill, mortifie these enimies, pluck up, root out, destroy, overthrow this Kingdome. This is a true Prophetical, Evangelicall work, which cannot be destitute, either of a Blessing here, or a reward hereafter. There was a time, wherein God promised, and in his due time Hee performed it; Men shall turne their swordes into scythes, and their Speares into Mattockes, and there shall none hurt nor destroy in all the mountaine of my Holynesse. There was never time wherein Satan practised it not, in these our times hee hath effected it; men have turned their scythes into Swords, & their Mattockes into Speares, and with Julius the second, their Miters, into Helmets, and the Keyes of Peter, into the Sword of Paule. There is now nothing, but Blood & Slaughter, but Stabbings and Poisonings, and fire, and Gunpowder, but Deposing & Ruinating. And ubique Religio praetenditur, ubi omnia, & Humana et Divina violantur, and when all the Lawes both of God and Man are violated, Religion Must cover all, & the Censure of the Church must warrant all. We have seene with our Eyes, the most woful and disastrous effects and fruits of this Doctrine the sunne ever looked upon. You cannot but remember them, I take no pleasure to repeate them. God hath set Bounds and limits, unto all Authority; the Authority of the Church is confined, to the Courts of Conscience, not extended, to the Courtes of Justice. The worke of a Prophet is appropriated to the rooting out of sin, not improved to the ruinating of Kingdomes. And this is the end and perfection of all, so to plucke up and roote out, that we plant, so to destroy & overthrow, that we build.
This is indeed the Proper and Naturall worke of God’s Ministers, to plucke up, and to roote out, is Accidentall and forced upon them, to plant and to build, is Essentiall to their Office, & affected by them. That is their Hope, and their Joy and their Crowne of rejoicing, in the Day of the Lord Jesus. Suprema lex salus Ecclesiae; The fundamentall Law of the Church and the most glorious worke of the sacred Ministery never reached to the Bodies, or Goods, or Lives of Men, but ever was accomplished in the salvation of the soules of men. It is the observation of Chrysostom, Saepè solet Scriptura uti verbis malis in re bona; the spirit of God in the Scriptures, often useth sharpe, displeasing, and destructive phrases, where yet it intends to produce Blessed, Gracious, and vital effects. Ignis, Gladius, verba mala sunt; Fire, Sword, are words cloathed with Terror, and usually Instruments of Death. But the Fire that came downe from Heaven, & sate on the apostles, illuminat, non incendit, enlightens, scortches not, inflames, burnes not, purges, but consumes not. The sword, which God hath put into the Hands, into the Mouthes rather, of his Prophets, vomicam incidere potest, may launce and open the impostumation, which hath beene long breeding in us, cuts, but hurts not, heales, but endangers not. God authorizing his servants to wound, but for that they might heale againe, to kill, but for that they might quicken againe, to plucke up and roote out, but so that they might plant againe, to destroy, and overthrow, but so that they might build againe.
Of the plucking up and rooting out of our Adversaries the world hath had long and wofull experience, the Turks, and Infidels have made their advantage, the Church hath felt the smart, and all Christendome to this day groanes under the weight & burden of it. If you seeke for their Plantings and Buildings, you must saile to the Indies, and search into remote, barbarous, and unknowne Lands; it may be in the passage you may heare, of fruitfull Plantations & of glorious Buildings, and of strange Miracles, and of wonderfull conversions; but in the end, you shall find, and see, their Plantations have beene watered with Blood, the Foundations of their Buildings laid in Blood, in the Blood of innumerable thousands, of poore and naked Innocents; themselves being witnesses against themselves, and their owne Jesuites deploring and detesting their more than inhumane & Devillish Cruelty.
Thus have I posted over the words of my Text, that you may perceive we detract nothing from the authoritie of a Prophet. His constitution is from God. We exempt no man from their lawfull jurisdiction; they are Set up, Super Nationes, Super Regna, above Nations, above Kingdomes. Wee acknowledge their worke powerfull, to plucke up, root out, &c. but, In Criminibus, non in possessionibus Potestas ista, this power is excercised in extirpation of sinnes, not in extermination of Kingdomes; &, Linguâ, non Manu, Ore, non Gladio, Precibus, non Armis; It must be executed with our Tongues, not with our Hands, with our Words, not with our Swordes, with our Prayers, not with our weapons. Lastly, we yeeld double, and treble honour to those, which so roote out, that still they may plant, which so destroy, that yet they may still build up.
O how easily, & how amply could I here discourse of the Kingdome of Christ Jesus! of his many victories, and his glorious Triumphs! all achieved, Non aliis Armis quam clangente Evangelii Buccinâ, sonante Apostolorum Doctrinâ, with no other weapons, but by the sound of his Gospell, and the foolishnesse of the preaching of his Apostles. Thus, thus hath it pleased him to raze downe the walls of Jericho! Thus, thus hath hee built up the walls of his Beloved Jerusalem! Thus hath he planted his faith, overcome the world, subdued Nations, conquered Kingdomes, and spread his Dominion from Sea to Sea, and from the River unto the ends of the world!
If I have but touched, where I should have enlarged, and have digressed from the Observations my Text naturally affordeth; that which the Apostle useth as his just Apologie, Vos coegistis, you have enforced me; I trust with your Favours it may bee accepted as a faire excuse, Illi coegerunt, our Adversaries have compelled me. For it is not easie, nay it is impossible, for a true man, always to keep the King’s highway, especially if he be driven to follow Hue and Cry after Theeves and Murderers. I am now in this pursuit; I find God to be dishonoured, his Scriptures adulterated, the peace of his Church disturbed, the soules of men bewitched, our estate endangered, tyranny usurped: if I cannot yeeld remedy, I cannot but give warning. It is not now a question disputed, but a case resolved, if the Prince fall from God, the people must fall from him, they may, nay they must resist & take Armes; Principes iam inauguratos & consecratos Regnique potitos deturbare possunt, imò debent & tenentur facire, si vires suppetant, idque in extremo animarum periculo, ac discrimine. And if these resolutions bee growne into practises & executions, so that we cannot live amongst these men without danger, surely they should not live amongst us in such jollity, in such security. Caput iniquitatis tenet ista iniquitas; this is an abomination above all abominations. Religion must cover all and these very words of my Text must warrant all! By this and such like, Catholike men are warranted, that they be no Traitors, nor hold positions treasonable, false and undutiful, in answering, or beleeving that for heresie, and such like notorious wickedness, a Prince otherwise lawfull and anointed, may be excommunicated, forsaken, resisted, by warrant of holie Churches’judgment, and censure.
I omit the writings of private men, though their bookes are full of it; I find it in their Lawes, in their Bulls, in their Publike & authenticall Instruments, the monster of their more than supreame Supremacy, all their unheard-of usurpation, and tyranny over Princes, Kingdomes, the estate and lives of lawfull and annointed Kings, grounded upon this Tropicall, Figurative, and Metaphoricall foundation! See, I have this day set thee up, &c. In their well known and often mentioned Canon, Unam sanctam; Ecclesiastica potestas Terrenam habet instituere, & Judicare: sic verificatur Vaticinium Hieremiae; Ecce, ego constitui. In the Bull of Paulus tertius against Henry the 8. Praecipuum super omnes Reges universae Terrae, cunctosque populos, obtinentes Principatum, juxta Hieremiae vaticiniū, Ecce ego constitui te, &c. Regem Henricum Regno privamus, &c. Having obtained chiefe principality, over all the Kings of the whole earth, and over all nations, according to the prophecy of Jeremy, See, this day I have set thee up, &c. We depose King Henry of this kingdome, and him and all his favourers doe Wee smite with the sword of accursing, excommunication, & eternall damnation; his subjects we absolve from their Oath of Allegiance, and all subjection to their King, and besides we exhort and require them to take Armes, and in all hostile maner to pursue them. By the way it is not unworthy the observation; that in the next immediately following chapter there is Institutio & confirmatio Societatis nominis Jesu, that they might have new & pestilent instruments, to uphold their new challenge and prodigious Practise. In the Bull of Pius quintus, against Q. Elizabeth, of famous and ever blessed memory; Regnans in excelsis, unum Romanum Pontificem super omnes Gentes & omnia Regna Principem constituit, qui evellat, destruat, disperdat, dissipet, &c. He that raigneth in the highest Heavens, hath constituted the one only Pope of Rome, a Prince over all nations, and all kingdomes, to plucke up, to root out, &c. Armed by his authority, who hath placed us in this supreame Throne of Justice, we deprive Elizabeth of her pretended right to the Kingdome, and of all Soveraignty, Dignity, and Preeminence, and discharge her Nobles and Subjects from their oath of Allegiance, and obedience due unto Her.
Heare you not the Beast in the Revelation, Loquentem magnalia, speaking great things, and uttering Blasphemies against God, and against Heaven? challenging power over Kindreds, and Tongues, and Nations? Let them whose names are not written in the book of life worship him. The French have prooved that these are but Bruta Fulmina, Brutish Thunderbolts; the Venetians, that this is but Ignis fatuus, a false fire; God hath proved unto us, that they are Blessings, and not curses: for where they have cursed most, he hath blest most. Blessed be his name for ever, and for ever!
I cannot prosecute every particular; I would draw all unto an head, & yeeld unto the Church, whatsoever she may justly challenge, & suppose (that which they can never prove, wee may never grant) that all authority of this Church is in the See, and the Pope of Rome: yet can it never be stretched or tentered, to the discharging of subjects from their Allegeance, or deposing of Princes, from their Dignities. I will not deny, but that these words, to plucke up, to roote out, to build, and to plant, may bee parralell, to binding and loosing in the Gospell; and that by these and such like the Church may lawfully challenge Authority, yea over Nations and Kingdomes, to foretell, and threaten, and denounce God’s judgments. But God hath made a Distinction, betwixt the Sword and the Keyes, and hath set a separation betwixt the Prince, and the Priest. Insomuch that the Prince cannot snatch the Keyes, out of the hand of the Priest, without open sacriledge: the Priest may not wrest the sword, out of the hand of the Prince, without manifest impiety and unjust usurpation. Therefore my Conclusion is, that,
The sentence of Excommunication, (suppose) it bee justly deserved, suppose it be lawfully denounced, (which I suppose, but grant not), yet hath it not that Power and Effect, to discharge subjects of their Duety and Allegiance, or to depose Princes of their Estate and Dignities.
And here we must observe; first, that wee suppose Darknesse to be Light, and Falsehood to be Truth, and Usurpation to be Justice, and Tyranny to bee Equity; for all this, and much more than this, they must suppose, which suppose the Excommunications of the Pope, to be Just and Lawfull. Secondly, that I speake of Lawfull and Annointed Kings, I meddle not with Intruders and Usurpers. Thirdly, that wee deny not, but Princes by Heresie, by Idolatry, by Apostacy, by other Notorious Crimes, may deserve to be Censured: and in this case, we may & must tell them, that these Sinnes are Pernicious to their Soules, and Perillous to their Estates; yet is it God alone, and no man on the Earth, that can make them Forfeitures of their Kingdomes. Fourthly, that we exempt not Kings, from the just censure and reprehension of the Church. Wee honour the Courage and resolution of Ambrose, wee admire the moderation & submission of Theodosius: though we doubt whether we may imitate the one, or expect the other; but we abhor the partiality of the Pope, who will exempt himselfe, where he subjects Princes. Nauarrus enquires, Quis possit excommunicaris? and resolves, he must be Homo, Mortalis, Baptizatus, habens superiorem: and therefore amongest others, there are exempt, Locusta, Infidelis, Daemon, Papa; a Locust or noisome beast, hee is not Man; an Infidell he is not Baptized; the Devil, he is not mortal; the Pope, though an Heretique, He falls into the hands of God, he is not subject to any human Power. See how fitly he hath matched, & ranked his priviledged quaternion; I malice not their combination, I dispute not of their Exemption: but suppose all, and more than all, against which I can yet take infinite, and just exceptions, I still hold my Conclusion. My proofes I reduce to foure heads; 1. The Prerogative Royall of a King, 2. The Duty indispensable of a Subject; 3. The Continuall Practise of the Church; 4. The Nature, Effects, Limitations, and End of Excommunication.
The very name of a Lawfull and Anointed King is sacred, his Authoritie soveraigne, his Person inviolable. Major erit, quam cui possit Censura nocere. Everie Soule must be Subject unto Him, though he be an Evangelist, though an Apostle, though a Prophet, not Obedient only, but subject: yea and that Paul a blessed Apostle, to Nero a Monster of Men, and a bloody persecutor. No man may stir an Hand or a Foot without him: if he bid save, they save, if hee bid kill they kill, ipse solutus Legibus, himselfe exempted from his lawes, nor from the Direction, and Observance of them, but from the Punishment and penalty of them; ἁμαρτήσας οὔ κολάζεται.5 It is a speech, and an act worthiest an Emperour, to oblige and binde himselfe to his lawes: it is a speech & practice unfitting the authority of any earthly power to say, if hee transgresse I will chastice him. It was once the language of the Church. Wee adore the Emperour as a man, next unto God, and inferiour to none but him alone. It was once the stile of the Pope, Ego indignus Maiestatis vestra Famulus, I the unworthy servant of your Majestie. It was once & is still, the prerogative of a King, Nullis vocatur ad poenam Legibus; tutus imperii potestate: There is no Tribunall, to which he may be cited; no law by which he may be punished. He is secured by the preeminence of his Soveraignety. Who can lay his hand upon God’s annointed, and be innocent? Who can? No man, Because God hath planted him above all men, and hath given no man authority to punish Him; God alone will take vengeance on his sinnes. Therfore David, when Saul hunted after his innocent soul, as after a prey, yet could appeale neither to judge, nor to High Priest, but to God alone, let God be judge between thee and betweene me. David, when he confessed his sinne, forgot not his Preeminence; To thee, Thee only have I sinned. I have sinned; An ingenuous confession which obtained a gracious pardon; The Lord hath put away thy sin. To thee, a necessary exaggeration, no man sees, or truly sorrowes for the heinousnes of his sin, without a true apprehension of that glorious Majesty, which he hath offended in sinning. But To thee, Thee only; in his lowest submission to God, remembring his high Preeminence above men. I doubt not but David sinned against Bethsabee, and that a grievous and an uncleane sinne; against Uriah, and that a bloody, and a crying sinne, against the Child of adulterie, and that a deadly, and a killing sin, against his kingdome, & that a ruinating, and demolishing sin; against his owne soule, and that a fearefull and a pernicious sinne. In istos peccauit; Deo soli Peccauit: against all those he sinned, but To God only. They might complaine and Accuse and Testifie against him; but God alone, was to Judge, to Condemne, to Punish him; Tibi peccaui, longè aliud est quam in te Peccaui: we sinne against them whom wee wrong by sinning; wee sin to him, who can remit or punish, who can pardon or bee Revenged for our wrong, Rex erat, ita ut nullius subiacere Iudicio; he was a King, therefore To God only, he sinned before whose Tribunall only hee was to appeare, and from whose mouth only, hee was to receive his judgement.
What then? Do we exempt Kings from the observation of the Lawes of God? No, wee binde them rather with a double bond, Qua Reges, Qua homines; as they are Men, & have soules to be saved, as they are Kings, and have Thrones to be established. And herein are wee set over them, to plucke up and to roote out, to reprove, to correct, to proclaime to the terror of their soules, though not to the losse of their Kingdomes. Eò terribilius puniendi, quò possunt peccare liberius: the greater their Exemption here, the more fearefull their Judgement hereafter; the ampler their Priviledge here, the more intolerable their Plagues hereafter. They may escape the hands of Men: if they continue in their sinnes; they shall not escape the hands of God neither alive nor dead. But the Laws of God, of Nature, of Nations, of the Church, of free Monarchies, the Lawes Imperiall, all Priviledge and Exempt them; they cannot be deposed by the sentence, they may not bee deprived by the force of any Mortall Man. Therefore suppose in some causes they might be Excommunicated, which I yeeld not, in any; yet in no case hath Excommunication that force, to depose them. Reges sunt, They are Kings.
They are Kings, we are Subjects, bound in a bond, & obligation, which exceeds all other Bonds, & cancels all other obligations. A Son unto his Father, a Wife unto her husband, a Servant unto his Master, an Homager unto his Lord, an Inferiour to his Superiour, Nature, Sense, Reason, Humanitie, Christianitie, Divinitie binds them to Obedience, with a Bond which cannot bee broken: but the Bond of Allegiance to our King containes them all, exceeds them all. Is Hee not a Father, an Husband, a Master, a Lord, nay as God unto his subjects? Was not Moses, Aaron’s God, a God to the High Priest, and to the Father of the Priesthood. No warrant can I then find from Heaven; no dispensation upon the Earth, that can justifie, or excuse the least Disobedience. It may bee that a prince is injurious to his Subjects: Omnis illegitima defensio Filii adversus Patrem; Is he worthy the name of a Sonne, that will enter an action of Trespasse against his Father? It may be his yoke is heavy, and his loines burdenous; Ferendo & patiendo, lenienda Iniuria est; Patience, and toleration, is the best lenitive, and the readiest remedie. It may be he is irreligious and would draw others after him: Religio defendenda est moriendo, non occidendo, patientiâ, non Savitiâ, non scelere, sed Fide; Religion is to be maintained, by dying ourselves for it, not by murdering others for it, by patience, not by fury, by loyalty, not by rebellion. It may bee hee is a Tyrannt and bloody: but Inde Imperator, undè homo antequàm Imperator, inde potestas unde Spiritus, He made him a King, which made him a Man; and he receaved his authoritie from him, from whom he receaved his breath. Saviat, Laniet, Nubecula est, citò transibit. Let him rage, kill, Massacre, hee is but a storme, sent of God to chastise his children, expect but God’s leasure, he will soone vanish, and God will send a calme againe: as he speakes in Tacitus; Nŏ est nostrum aestimare quem supra ceteros, & quibus de causis extollas; nobis obsequis gloria relicta est. God sets up whom pleases him; our Vertue, our Dutie, our Glory consists in our Obedience, not for feare only, but for conscience, not [. . .], to our gratious Lords, but even [. . .], those whom hee hath set to be whippes & scourges over us. Are wee then bound to obey them in all things? and to say, as the Israelites did to Joshuah, All that thou commandest we will doe? No; for there may be a time, wherein wee must say rather with the Apostles; It is better to obey God, than to obey Men. And if there be an opposition between the will of God, and the commandement of the King then we must crave pardon; Da veniam Imperator, Tu Carcerem, Ille Gehennam. But in all cases, yea of profest Heresie, yea of open Idolatry, yea of manifest Apostasie, our tongues are bound, we may not speak evil of them; our very thoughts bound, we may not conspire against them; our hands bound, we may not so much as lift up our little finger against them. In all cases, Erubescit Ecclesia, Filios fieri Castigatores Parentum; The Church hath ever shamed to make the Sonnes correctors of their Parents: and Gladium dare, in manus Filii ad trucidandum Patrem, membri ad concidendum corpus, Nefas est, & insanura; to put a sword into the hand of a Sonne to kill his Father; of a member to wound his own head, or stab into his own heart, it is more than impietie, more than madnesse. The Sonne unto the Father, the Wife unto the Husband, the Servant unto his Master, the Monke unto his Abbot; the Priest unto his Bishop is bound to performe due and canonical obedience, notwithstanding any sentence of excommunication. Are all these bound, and may subjects be discharged? God hath directly commanded Obedience, and subjection; therefore no man directly or indirectly, absolutely or respectively, by temporal jurisdiction, or in Ordine ad Spiritualia, as a Pope, or as a Prince, can justifie the least disobedience, or warrant so much as a thought of rebellion: no dispensation can discharge the Subject, no sentence can depose a lawfull and an anointed King. God, which is the God of order, & not of confusion, foresaw in his wisdome, that it were better for the estates of Kingdomes, & lesse injurious to his Church, if the insolency of a wicked King, were sometimes tolerated without controll, than that the estate of his chiefe deputy, and Lieutenant upon the earth should be subjected to change andalteration, to deprivation, or deposing, at the pleasure and partialitie either of Priest, or of People. The one may be the cause of many disorders, the other must needes bee the Mother of perpetuall confusion.
In the Practice of the Church, wee have Confitentes Reos, the evidence and confession of our Adversaries. For they which confesse it was not done in the Primitive times, quia deerant vires Temporales; and that the Emperours Constantine, Valens, Julian, and others might have beene by the Bishops Excommunicated, and deposed, and all their people released from their obedience; if the Church or Catholikes, had had competent forces to have resisted. I say, they which yeeld reason why it was not done, evidently acknowledge it was not done.
Looke into the estate of the Jewes, and times of the Prophets; looke into the days of Christ, and of his Apostles; looke into the days of our Fathers, and Primitive times: you shall finde many open Idolaters; bloody Persecutors, backsliding Apostataes, many branded with the marke of Jeroboam, which sinned, & made Israel to sinne; yet not one dispossessed of his inheritance, or deprived from his kingdome.
There is a particle in my Text, to which, if to any our Adversaries may lay just claime, and that is Hodiè this Day: for their unjust challenge of Supremacie, and Domination over Princes, is Nupera, Novitia, Hodierna; it is New, it is Late, and in Comparison it is but a Day old. I am sure Ab Initio non fuit sic; from the beginning it was not so; nay long after the beginning it was not so. Primus Hildebrandus; Hildebrand6 was the first that ever practised it, and that Novello Schismate, making a new Rent betwixt the Church, and the Empire. Lego, relego, nusquam inuenio quenquam ante hunc Regno privatum, I read, and read againe, but I never find any in any age, before Henry the 4th, deposed from his estate and deprived of his Empire. Henry the first Patient, Hildebrand the first Agent; a man abhorred of all the world, renowned by Cardinall Allen, as a notable good man, and learned, who suffered whatsoever he did suffer for meere justice, in that he did Godly, Honourably, and by the Duety of his Pastorship whatsoever he did against the Emperour.
Now began the New, Popish, Antichristian world, to come to his Height before which time, there was never Flatterer so shamefull, as to yeeld, never Pope so impudently audacious as to challenge this transcendent Authority over Princes. Which enforced Abulensis to distinguish betwixt Kings of former, and Kings of later times; Non est simile de Regibus illis, et Regibus nostris, the Kings then, the Kings now are not alike; Rex tum praeerat sacerdotibus, & poterat Occidere, à fortiori privare Dignitatibus, & Officiis; the King was then above the Priest, and might take his Life from him, much more depose him from his Office and Dignity. But that was in the olde world; & Franciscus Romulus (quem Bellarminses benè & novit & amat whom Bellarmine both knows and loves); (Bellarmine7 himselfe being the Author of that Booke, as neere Kin to Him, as to Tortus) puts a difference betwixt the Popes, in Primitive times, and in our Dayes. They were fitted ad subeundum martyrium, these now made ad Coercendos Principes; They to suffer martyrdome, these to raise Rebellions; They taught Patience, these practise violence; They professed subjection, these move seditions; They quenched the blood of Tyrants with their Innocent Blood; the bloodthirstinesse of these cannot be swaged, but with the Sacred Blood of God’s Anointed. All this is [Hodie] This Day! Lamentable it is, that ever the sunne shined, or gave light unto this Day. Before Christ, & a thousand yeeres after Christ, Nec usut, nec exemplum, nec mentio, there was neither Practice, nor Precedent nor challenge, nor mention, of this Tyranny. The Possessions and Inheritance of Private men, the Crownes & Thrones of Princes, were then accounted of another Nature. They held them not of the Church, they could not be deprived of them by the Church. The Church could not bestow on her dearest Children by any Blessing; the Church could not then, therefore cannot now, deprive her greatest enimies of them by any Curse, Sentence, Censure, Excommunication. The Prophets never claimed it; our Savior never gave it; the Apostles never received it; the Holie Fathers never heard of it: shall we thinke them carelesse of their lawfull Authority? Nay rather, we conclude, that they, which challendge to be their Successors, are Usurpers of New, unheard of, and unjust Tyranny.
It is true that the sentence of Excommunication hath ever beene, and ever should be, accounted a fearefull and terrible sentence, a grievous and intolerable Punishment; by some called Virga ferrea, a Rod of Iron, by some Mucro Spiritualis a spiritual sword, by many Fulmen Ecclesiasticum, the Churche’s Thunderbolt; which shakes the Consciences, affrights the Spirits, dauntes the Hearts, & leaves behinde it a Terror in the Souls of Men. In the definition of their Greater Excommunication, which I finde in their Law, I finde these circumstances. 1. The Judge, and that is the Church, or some Authorized by the Church. 2. The Nature; it is a Censure Ecclesiasticall. 3. The Cause, Consumacy in some open notorious mortall sinne. 4. The Proceeding must be Canonicall; the Delinquents openly called, and have their just defence. 5. The Effect, separation from the Prayers, from the Sacraments, from the Society of the Faithfull. Lastly, the End, that he may be ashamed, being ashamed, he may convert, converting, repent, repenting, he may be saved. Here is all Spirituall, Judge, Nature, Cause, Proceeding, Effect, End, All Spirituall. Here is Exclusion from Spirituall Comforts; here is no violence to their Persons, no prejudice to their Estates. In Ecclesia Disciplina visibilis Gladius cessaturus; in the Discipline of the Church, there is no use of the visible and material sword: for we are set up, to watch over your soules, another beares the sword, Evaginandum nutu sacerdotis, to be unsheathed at the Becke of the Priest; as Bernard speakes, and Allen urges, but Nuta(i) Rogatü; Nondum mandant, Praelati Domino Regi, sed supplicant, sive Rogant; at the becke, that is at the Petition, of the Prelates; for in this Case the Prelates commaunde not our Lord the King, but they supplicate, and make Request unto him. It is the confession of their owne Law, it is the ground of their Significavit; Ecclesia non habet ultra, quod faciat, the Authority of the Church is ended, when the sentence of excommunication is pronounced. The Church can proceede no further, then, Tradatur Curiae seculari; Brachium seculare in vocandum; the Secular Power must bee implored; the Authority of the Prince must be assistant. It is true, that the Law alleadges: Mille exempla sunt, & Constitutiones, there are many Examples and Constitutions, wherein it is evident, that they which contain the censure of the Church, have beene Banished, Proscribed, Imprisoned, but per Publicas Potestates, by Publique, and Temporall Authority of Princes, per Potestates (i) Principes.
And here, as in handling all causes of this nature, we must distinguish betwixt the jurisdiction which the Church may claime by Commission from Christ, and that which the Church hath receaved by Donation, and Indulgence of Princes; betwixt that which appertaines to Excommunication properly, & in its owne nature, and the Penalties that have beene inflicted upon the contemners of that sentence, by the Laws and favour of the highest Magistrate. For hereof the Church of Rome makes no small advantage, when whatsoever shee hath receaved by the bountie of Princes, whatsoever she hath gained, by subtiltie, or by violence, by the keyes of Peter, or sword of Paul, she now claimes all, as due unto her, Jure Divino; & she bindes all, ex salute Animarum; as if she possessed all immediatly by God’s ordinance, which shee, by her inordinate pride, ambition, and tyranny hath usurped. I finde in the Schoole, that the nature of Excommunication is Purgativa respectu Ecclesiae, Purgative in respect of the Church, it purges here from impious and wicked men; Praeservativa respectufidelium, preservative in respect of the members of the Church, who are by that meanes freed from danger of infection; Sanative respectu delinquentis, of an healing and curing qualitie to the delinquent: in no case doe I find that it is Privativa, or Destructiva, that it shakes the Thrones or endangers the Crownes of delinquent Princes.
The Effects of excommunication, which the Canonists gather out of the Scriptures, are these; Have no company with him, 2. Tim. 3. With such an one eate not, I. Cor. 5. Receave him not to house, neither bid him God speed, 2. Io. 10. Let him be delivered to Satan, I. Cor. 5. Let him be unto thee, as an Heathen, & a Publican, Mat. 18. In Summa Angelica, I finde 21 Effects specified, yet no Deposing, no Depriving our voluntary Company, but not our necessarie Dutie, our familiar Salutations, but not our publike subjection is forbidden. Some benefits belong unto us, as wee are Men, some as wee are Christians: conceive that a man is deprived of all those blessings, which Christianitie, Religion, Faith, Baptisme, the Church, the Word, the Prayers, the Societie of the Saints can bring unto him, yet his House, his Treasure, his Palace, his Crowne, his Estate, his Regalitie is still in safetie. Looke what hee gaines by his incorporation into the Church, what hee looses by his Excommunication out of the Church: but what by nature, by birthright, by just inheritance, by lawfull succession hath descended unto him, of that no Censure of the Church can deprive him. The Church cannot make him a King; once anointed of God, the Church cannot make him no King.
In the Law the rigor of these Effects is many ways qualified, and at least dispensed with, if not utterly extinguished. If our Commodity draw us, if the Law bind us, if our Estate & condition require it, if Ignorance privilege us, if Necessitie enforce us; Excommunication cannot discharge us: wee may eate, wee may company, we may converse, we must obey. The estate of a Subject hath all these dependances upon his Soveraigne, therefore no warrant for disobedience.
Per Excommunicationem Charitas non tollitur; By Excommunication Charity is not excluded: we may Activè and Passivè performe to him, or receave from him any worke of Charitie. Praeceptum Ecclesiae pro charitate institutum contra charitatem militare non potest; the commandement of the Church which consists in love may not warre against itselfe, and abandon Love. By excommunication, a man ceases not to be a man, neither doth hee loose his libertie; Hee retaines all abilitie, wherewith he is naturally furnished, and may doe all things which are agreeable to the Lawes of Nature, Lawes of Nations, Lawes Imperiall. If we may performe the workes of Charitie, wee must performe the duties of Obedience; if hee loose not his Liberty, certainely he looses not his Soveraigntie: if wee may doe what the Lawes of nature and men allow, wee must doe what the Lawes of God command; (that is) whosoever curse, we must blesse, & honour, and obey, and serve, and hazard goods, and venture Lives, and spend the last droppe of our dearest blood for the protection of our King, whom God hath set over us.
Lastly, Excommunicatio Medicinalis est non Mortalis, Disciplinans, non Eradicans; the End is to cure, not to kill, to correct, not to destroy. Non enim perdendos sed corrigendos curandosque suscepimus; whatsoever authority the Church hath receaved, it is for edification, it is not for destruction. If wee refuse their Society, it is that they may be ashamed: if we be forced to deliver them to Satan, it is that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. The weapons of our warfare are not carnall, yet are they mighty to cast downe everything that exalts itselfe against God. Bellum cum vitiis, non cū Hominibus; our warefare it is with sinne, it is not with men: and this is Bellum ἄσπονδον, a warre that admits no truce, no cessation. It is not enough to cut, or to lop here, but we must plucke up, and root out, & not leave a sprig, least it take roote and spring up againe: these children of Edom must bee dashed in peeces, these tares rooted out, and extirpated, the Kingdome, the Dominion of Satan utterly overthrowne, and ruinated, not a stone left on a stone, nor head, nor taile, nor stalke nor bud remaining. And this is Ministerium omni imperio gloriosius; a service more glorious than a Kingdome: Kings themselves never happy, but when they submit their Crownes to this Ministery. It is reported of a Turkish Emperour, when he saw a Christian murdered, because he would not deny his Faith, and turn Turke, with his owne hands he slew the malefactor, cast him out on a dunghill, & cryed out with indignation; Is this the way to spred the faith of Mahomet? Is it not a shame that should be perpetrated amongst Christians, which is abhorred and detested amongst Turkes and Infidels? Shall they not, through you, rise up in judgement, and condemn the murders, the massacres, the Assassinations of these days? Is this the way to promote the Gospell of Christ Jesus? It is the note of S. Austin, in fact is Prophetarum, intuere quomodò intelligenda sunt verba Prophetarum. Hee indeed applies them to another matter, but they have their truth, and use in this also. Will you understand the meaning of the words of the Prophets? try them by the deeds of the Prophets. Did Jeremie plucke up, or root out, did he destroy, or overthrow estate, Kingdom, Prince, or privat person? He lived & threatened their ruine, that he might have extirpated their sinne: hee lived, and saw their ruine, and therefore saw them rooted out by the sword of the enemy, because hee, and God’s Prophets could not prevaile to root out their iniquity. One example for all. Saul was excommunicated, not in Foro Fori, but in Foro Poli; not at the Tribunal of a mortall man, but by the doome and sentence of God himselfe. God did not only cast him out of his Church, and reprobate him out of the number of his elect; but in expresse termes hee rent his Kingdome from him, and gave it to another man. David was anointed King by the speciall command of God, and by the hand of God’s Prophet. In this case might David resist where God had rejected? Or might he depose him whom God had reprobated?
Nay even in this case, standing under the heavy sentence of divine excommunication, who can lay his hand upon God’s Annointed, and beinnocent? When he had cut off but the lappe of his Garment, his heart smote him; The Lord keepe me, from doing that thing unto my Master, the Lord’s Anointed, to lay mine hand upon him, for He is the Anointed of the Lord. As the Lord liveth, either the Lord shall smite Him, or his Day shall come to Die, or He shall descend into Battaile and perish. The Lord keepe me from laying mine hand uppon the Lord’s Anointed. Propter unctionem & honoravit viuum, & vindicavit Mortuum. He was still His master, he was still the Lord’s Anointed, therefore hee still Honoured him living, and revenged him dead. In the hand of any earthly man, there may bee Clavis Errans;8 not so, in the hand of God. And is he still a King, whom God hath rejected? And is he no King, whom that man of sinne hath excommunicated? I collect all. The Prerogative of a lawfull and Annointed King, is Sacred, and Inviolable; The Duty of a Subject is a strong obligation, & indispensable. The practice of the Church hath ever been Obedience unto Blood, not Rebellion or trechery to effusion of blood; The nature of excommunication is spirituall, not temporall; the Effect, Losse of Heavenly comforts, not of earthly kingdomes. The Limitations allow, nay require and exact Fidelity, in Naturall subjects; the End is charitable; Repentance, & restitutio in integrum.9 Repentance is late, if once Murdered; Restitution impossible, if once deposed. Therefore,
Hath not the Sentence of Excommunication, suppose it be justly deserved: suppose it be lawfully denounced: I speake by supposition, not by concession: the force and Effect to discharge subjects of their Allegiance, or to depose Lawfull and Annointed Kings from their estate and Dignitie.
Why then should a Kingdome so long instructed, so well grounded in Religion, totter, & stagger, as it were affrighted, & amazed at the sound of this brutish and counterfeit thunderbolt? at the slashing of this Ignis fatuus?10 Why do they live amongst us, why say I, live? Viuunt & in Senatum veniunt.11 They live & flourish, & we lodge them in our bosomes; who hold it religion, nay merit, nay supererogation, & the speediest and the directest way to heaven, to passe through a Field and a Sea of Bloud, of Sacred and Innocent Bloud, to that Glorious, & undefiled Inheritance? What can you expect of them, but that they should be, not Prickes in your eyes, and Thornes in your Sides, as God spake and Israel experienced in the Cananites; but Swords in your sides, and Pistols in your bosomes, and Poison in your Cups, and Gunpowder in your Vaults? Parricida moritur, Parricidium vivit;12 some of the Traitours have their Reward, and are dead; but whilest there is a Devil in Hell, a Pope in Rome, Murders, Massacrings, Treasons, shall never die. I have one Comfort; I know Heaven is above Hell, God above Satan, and we live under his Protection, (I would we lived Religiously, in his feare!) whose eyes are ever open to descry their conspiracies, and his Hand ever Potent, to overthrow their Machinations. I never was, I never will be a perswader to the least Cruelty: only remember, there may be Crudelis misericordia, a mercy more cruell than cruelty itselfe. I resolve with Augustine, Savire nolomus, e dormire nolumus: I would not perswade to Cruelty, but I would gladly rowse you from Security; and with the same Father; Nec obtentu Diligentia sauiamus, nec nomine Patientiae torpescemus; I hate that Diligence that leades to Cruelty, I cannot endure that Patience, that endes in Stupidity.
But whilst I am pleading against their unjust Tyranny, I may not be altogether forgetfull of the performance of mine owne Duety. For, See! this Day, I am set up, above Nations, and above Kingdomes, &c. and a Necessity is laid upon me, & wo is unto me, if I labour not, toplucke up, to roote out, &c, that roote of bitterness, which hath beene the true cause of the plucking up & extirpation, the rooting out & extermination of all estates and Kingdomes that ever flowrished, and are come to ruine: I meane Irreligion and Impiety. It is a generall, and a true observation, Imperium & Religio pariter defecerunt;13 there never yet arose any storme, to the ruine, of any Estate and Kingdome, but it sensibly grew from those vapors, which ascended from backwardness, or coldness, from contempt or indifferencie in Religion. It is as true ubi Procella, ibi Peccatŭ; where there is a storme that endangereth the ship, surely Jonas is there, or the sinne of Jonas, or a worse than Jonas, or a more prodigious sinne than his sinne. I see many Executioners of God’s just Judgements, Fire, Sword, Pestilence, Famine. The Fire never consumed, but sinne blew the Coles, & inflamed it. The Sword, never prevailed, but Sinne set an Edge on it. Pestilence never infected, but Sinne spread the Contagion of it. God never sent cleanesse of Teeth, but sinne made the Heavens as Brasse, and the Earth as Iron, and the fields as the Heath, and the fat Pastures, as the Desert. God indeed is the Judge of all; but Sinne is the Cause of all.
And therefore, Qui vultis Deum Imperatori Propitium, estote, Religiosi in Deum; As many as beare good will to zion, and pray for the Peace and Prosperity of their Soveraigne, let them grow and encrease in Grace, in Faith, in Religion, in Piety, in Zeale, in Sanctitie, in the knowledge, and in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ; that God may be pleased, and we may be blessed. Plucke up, Roote out, Destroy, Overthrow, Irreligion, Neutrality, Superstition, Indifferencie, Sinne, Impiety. God will pluck up, & roote out your enimies, God will Build, and Plant, and Protect, & Establish, & Blesse, your Estate, your Soveraigne, your Peace, your Prosperity.
Even so Blesse us, Gracious Father, that wee may serve thee. Let thine and our enimies consume like a Snaile that melteth, and like the untimely fruit of a woman that never saw the sun. But let the King live, & Raigne, and let his Throne be established, and his Days be multiplied, his Posterity be Blessed, and let there not want one of this Royalle seede, to sit on the Throne of this Kingdome, untill the coming of Christ Jesus. And let the Heart of everyone wither in the middest of his Bowels, and let their Tongues cleave to the Roofes of their Mouthes forever, that without Aequivocation, heartily, and unfainedly, will not say, Amen.
[1. ]Offhand; in passing.
[2. ]The Gunpowder Plot in 1605, the work of a group of fanatical Catholics, was discovered just in time to prevent the explosion meant to kill James I and the members of both houses of Parliament.
[3. ]Whatever he may profess, he is not a Catholic who is estranged from obedience to the Roman pontiff.
[4. ]We also hold a dominion, I add, more outstanding and more perfect than he (the emperor); for the law of Christ subjected you to my power and to my seat of authority.
[5. ]Having transgressed he is not punished.
[6. ]Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), proclaimed extensive rights for the papacy including the right to depose monarchs. He got into a famous test of wills with Henry IV when he excommunicated that Holy Roman Emperor.
[7. ]Cardinal Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmine, a sixteenth-century Jesuit theologian, was author of Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei adversus hujus temporis Haereticos, an uncompromising defense of Catholic doctrine. Among other things he maintained the pope’s right to depose rulers.
[8. ]Clavis: power of the keys is the power of judgment as in the sacrament of penance or reconciliation. Clavis errans: there may be one who errs in the power of the key, that is on the human side of the equation. The reference is to the Petrine commission, Matt. 16: 18-19.
[9. ]Complete restitution.
[10. ]Insipid fire.
[11. ]They live on and come to the Senate.
[12. ]The parricide dies; the act of parricide lives on.
[13. ]Empire and religion have failed at the same time.