Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK VIII. *: a THEIR SEVENTH ASSERTION, THAT UNTO b NO CIVIL PRINCE OR GOVERNOR THERE MAY BE GIVEN SUCH POWER OF ECCLESIASTICAL DOMINION AS BY THE LAWS OF THIS LAND BELONGETH UNTO THE SUPREME REGENT THEREOF. - The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 3
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BOOK VIII. *: a THEIR SEVENTH ASSERTION, THAT UNTO b NO CIVIL PRINCE OR GOVERNOR THERE MAY BE GIVEN SUCH POWER OF ECCLESIASTICAL DOMINION AS BY THE LAWS OF THIS LAND BELONGETH UNTO THE SUPREME REGENT THEREOF. - Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 3 
The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker with an Account of His Life and Death by Isaac Walton. Arranged by the Rev. John Keble MA. 7th edition revised by the Very Rev. R.W. Church and the Rev. F. Paget (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
Part of: The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker with an Account of His Life and Death by Isaac Walton, 3 vols.
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a THEIR SEVENTH ASSERTION, THAT UNTOb NO CIVIL PRINCE OR GOVERNOR THERE MAY BE GIVEN SUCH POWER OF ECCLESIASTICAL DOMINION AS BY THE LAWS OF THIS LAND BELONGETH UNTO THE SUPREME REGENT THEREOF.
BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 1.I. WE come now to the last thing whereof there is controversy moved, namely the power of supreme jurisdiction, which for distinction’s sake we call the power of ecclesiastical dominion.
It was not thought fit in the Jews’ commonwealth, that the exercise of supremacy ecclesiastical should be denied unto him, to whom the exercise of chiefty civil did appertain; and therefore their kings were invested with c both. This power they gave unto Simon1 , when they consented that he should be “their prince,” not only “to set men over thed works, and e over the country, and e over the weapons, e and over the fortresses,” but also “to provide for the holy things;” “and that he should be obeyed of every man, and that f all the writings in the country should be made in his name, and that it should not be lawful for any of the people or priests to withstand his words, or to call any congregation in the country without him2 .”
And if it be haplyg surmised, that thus much was given untoh Simon, as being both prince and high priest; which otherwise, being onlyi their civil governor, he could not lawfully have enjoyed: we must note, that all this is no more than the ancient kings of that people had, being kings and not priests. By this power David, Asa, Jehosaphat, Ezekiask , Josias, and the rest, made those laws and orders which thel Sacred History speaketh of, concerning matterm of mere religion, the affairsn of the temple, and service of God. Finally, had it not been by the virtue of this power, how should it possibly have come to pass, that the piety or impiety of the kingo did always accordingly change the public face of religion, which thingp the priestsq by themselves never did, neitherr could at any times hinder from being done? Had the priests alone been possessed oft all power in spiritual affairs, how should any lawu concerning matter of religion have been made but only by them? In them it had been, and not in the king, to change the face of religion at any time.BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 2. The altering of religion, the making of ecclesiastical laws, with other the like actions belonging unto the power of dominion, are still termed the deeds of the king; to shew that in him was placed x supremacy of power eveny in this kind over all, and that unto their highz priests the same was never committed, saving only at such times as theira priests were also kings orb princes over them.
[2.]According to the pattern of which example, the like power in causes ecclesiastical is by the laws of this realm annexed unto the crown. And there are which imaginec , that1 kings, being mere lay persons, do by this means exceed the lawful bounds of their callingd . Which thing to the end that they may persuade, they first make a necessary separation perpetual and personal between the Church and thee commonwealth. Secondly2 , they so tie all kind of power ecclesiastical unto the Church, as if it were in every degree their only right whichf are by proper spiritual functiong termed Church-governors, and might not unto Christian princes inh any wise appertain.
To lurk under shifting ambiguities and equivocations of words in mattersi of principal weight is childish. A church and a commonwealth we grant are things in nature thek one distinguished from the other. A commonwealth is one way, and a church another way, defined. In their opinionkk the church and thel commonwealth are corporations, not distinguished only in nature and definition, but in subsistencell perpetually severed; so that they whichm are of the one can neither appoint nor execute, in whole nor in part, the duties which belong unto them which are of the other, without open breach of the law of God, which hath divided them, and doth require that being son divided they should distinctly ando severally work, as depending both upon God, and not hanging one upon the other’s approbation for that which either hath to do.
We say that the care of religion being common unto all societies politic, such societies as do embrace the true religion have the name of the Church given unto everyp of them for distinction from the rest; so that every body politic hath some religion, but the Church that religion which is only true. Truth of religion is that proper difference whereby a church is distinguished from other politic societies of men. We here mean true religion in gross, and not according to every particular: for they which in some particular points of religion do swerveq from the truth, may nevertheless mostr truly, if we compare them to men of an heathenish religion, be said to hold and profess that religion which is true. For which cause, there being of old so many politic societies established throughouts the world, only the commonwealth of Israel, which had the truth of religion, was in that respect the Church of God: and the Church of Jesus Christ is every such politic society of men, as doth in religion hold that truth which is proper to Christianity. As a politic society it doth maintain religion; as a church, that religion which God hath revealed by Jesus Christ.
With us therefore the name of a church importeth only a society of men, first united into some public form of regiment, and secondly distinguished from other societies by the exercise of Christiant religion. With them on the other side the name of the Church in this present question importeth not only a multitude of men so united and so distinguished, but also further the same divided necessarily and perpetually from the body of the commonwealth: so that even in such a politic society as consisteth of none but Christians, yet the Church of Christ and the commonwealth are two corporations, independently each subsisting by itselfu .
We hold, that seeing there is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is also a member of the commonwealth; nor any man ax member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England; therefore as in a figure triangulary the base doth differ from the sides thereof, and yet one and the selfsame line is both a base and also a side; a side simply, a base if it chance to be the bottom and underlie the rest: so, albeit properties and actions of one kindz do cause the name of a commonwealth, qualities and functions of another sort the name of a Churcha to be given untob a multitude, yet one and the selfsame multitude may in such sort be both, c and is so with us, that no person appertaining to the one can be denied to be alsod of the other. Contrariwise, unless they against us should hold, that the Church and the commonwealth are two, both distinct and separate societies, of which two, thee one comprehendeth always persons not belonging to the other; that which they doee they could not conclude out of the difference between the Church and the commonwealth; namely, thatf bishops may not meddle with the affairs of the commonwealth, because they are governors of another corporation, which is the Church; nor kings with making laws for the Church, because they have government not of this corporation, but of another divided from it, the commonwealth; and the walls of separation between these two must for ever be upheld. They hold the necessity of personal separation, which clean excludeth the power of one man’s dealing ing both; we of natural, which doth not hinderh but that one and the same person may in both bear ai principal sway1 .
[3.]The causes of common received errork in this point seem to have been especially two:BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 3. one, that they who embrace true religion living in such commonwealths as are opposite thereunto, and in other public affairs retaining civil communion with such, l are constrained, for the exercise of their religion, to have a several communion with those who are of the same religion with them. This was the state of the Jewish Church both in Egypt and in m Babylon, the state of Christian Churches a long time after Christ. And in this case, because the proper affairs and actions of the Church, as it is the Church, haven no dependenceo upon the laws, or upon the governorsp of the civil state, an opinion hath thereby grown, that even so it should be always1 . This was it which deceived Allen in the writing of his Apology: “The Apostles,” saith he2 , “did govern the church in Rome when Nero bareq rule,BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 4. even as at this day in all the Turk’sr dominions, the Church hath a spiritual regiment without dependence, and so ought she to have, live shes amongst heathens, or with Christians.”
[4.]Another occasion of which misconceit is, that things appertaining unto religion are both distinguished from other affairs, and have always had in the Church specialt persons chosen to be exercised about them. By which distinction of spiritual affairs and persons therein employed from temporal, the error of personal separation always necessary between the Church and theu commonwealth hath strengthened itself. For of every politic society that being true which Aristotle hath1 , x namely, “that the scope thereof is not simply to live, nor the duty so much to provide for lifey , as for means of living well:” and that even as the soul is the worthier part of man, so human societies are much more to care for that which tendeth properly unto the soul’s estate, than for such temporal things as this life doth stand inz need of: other proof there needszz none to shew that as by all men the kingdom of God is first to be sought2 fora , so in all commonwealths things spiritual ought above temporal to be providedb for. And of things spiritual, the chiefest is religion3 . For this cause, persons and things employed peculiarly about the affairs of religion, are by an excellency termed spiritual. The heathenc themselves had their spiritual laws, causes, and officesd , 4 always severed from their temporal; neither did this make two independent estates amonge them. God by revealing true religion doth make them that receive it his Church. Unto the Jews he so revealed the truth of religion, that he gave them in special considerationf laws, not only for the administration of things spiritual, but also temporal. The Lord himself appointing both the one and the other in that commonwealth, did not thereby distract it into several independent communities, but institute several functions of one and the sameg community. Some reasonh therefore musti be allegedk why it should be otherwise in the Church of Christ.
Three kinds of proofs for confirmation of the foresaid separation between the Church and commonwealth, the first taken from difference of affairs and offices in eachl .I shall not need to spend any great store of words in answering that which is brought out ofkk holy Scripture to shew that secular and ecclesiastical affairs and offices are distinguished; neither that which hath been borrowed from antiquity, using by phrase of speech to oppose the commonwealthll to the Church of Christ; nor yet them reasons which are wont to be brought forth as witnesses, that the Church and commonwealth aren always distinct. For whether a church and ao commonwealth do differ, is not the question we strive for; but our controversy is concerning the kind of distinction, whereby they are severed the one from the other; whether as under heathen kings the Church did deal with her own affairs within herself, without depending at all upon any in civil authority, and the commonwealth in hers, altogether without the privity of the Church; so it ought to continue still, even in such commonwealths as have now publicly embraced the truth of Christian religion; whether they ought to bep evermore two societies, in such sort, several and distinct.
I ask therefore, what society that was, that wasq in Rome, whereunto the Apostle did give the name of the Church of Rome in his time? If they answer, as needs they must, that the Church of Rome in those days was that whole society of men which in Rome professed the name of Christ, and not that religion which the laws of the commonwealth did then authorize; we say as much, and therefore grant that the commonwealth of Rome was one society, and the Church of Rome another, in such sort asr there was between them no mutual dependencys . But when whole Rome became Christian, when they all embraced the gospel, and made laws in thet defence thereof, if it be held that the church and thett commonwealth of Rome did then remain as before; there is no way how this could be possible, save only one, and that is, they must restrain the name of theu Church in a Christian commonwealth to the clergy, excluding all the residuex of believers, both prince and people. For if all that believe be containedy in the name of the Church, how should the Church remain by personal subsistencez divided from the commonwealth, when the whole commonwealth doth believe?
The Church and the commonwealth thereforea are in this case personally one society, which society being termed a commonwealth as it liveth under whatsoever form of secular law and regiment, a church as it hathb the spiritual law of Jesus Christc ; forasmuchd as these two laws contain so many and soe different offices, there must of necessity be appointed in it some to one charge, and some to another, yet without dividing the whole, and making it two several impaled societies.
The difference therefore either of affairs or offices ecclesiastical from secular1 , is no argument that the Church and the commonwealth are always separate and independent the one onf the other: which thing even Allen himself considering somewhat better, doth in this point a littleg correct his former judgment before mentioned2 , and confesseth in his Defence of English Catholics, that “the power political hath her princes, laws, tribunals;BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 5. the spiritual, her prelates, canons, councils, judgments; and those (when theh princes are pagans) wholly separate, but in Christian commonwealths joined though not confounded1 .” Howbeit afterwards his former sting appeareth again; for in a Christiani commonwealth he holdeth, that the Church ought not to depend at all upon the authority of any civil person whatsoever, as in England he saith it doth.
2. Proofs of separation between the Church and commonwealthk , taken from the speeches of the Fathers opposing the one to the other.[5.]It will be objected, that “the Fathers do oftentimes mention the commonwealth and the Church of God by way of opposition2 . Can the same thing be oppositel unto itself? If one and the same society be bothm , what sense can there be in that speech which saithn , that ‘they suffer and flourish together3 ?’ What sense in that which maketh one thingo adjudged to the Church, anotherp to the commonwealth4 ? Finally, in that which putteth a difference between the causes of the province and ofq the Church? Dothr it not hereby appear that the Church and the commonwealth are things evermore personally separate5 ?”
No, it doth not hereby appear that there isrr perpetually any such separation; we mays speak of them as two, we may sever the rights and causes of the one well enough from the other, in regard of that difference which we grant theret is between them, albeit we make no personal difference. For the truth is, that the Church and the commonwealth are names which import things really different; but those things are accidentstt , and such accidents as may and should alwaysu dwell lovinglyx together in one subject. Wherefore the real difference between the accidents signified by those names, doth not prove different subjects for them always to reside in. For albeit the subjects wherein they arey resident be sometimeyy different, as when the people of God have their beingz among infidels; yet the nature of them is not such but that their subject may be one, and therefore it is but a changeable accident, in those accidentsa , when the subjects they are in be diverse.
There can be no error in our conceit concerning this point, if we remember still what accident thataa is, for which a society hath the name of a commonwealth, and what accident that which doth cause it to be termed a Church. A commonwealth we name it simply in regard of some regiment or policy under which men live; a church for the truth of that religion which they profess. Now names betokening accidents unabstracted, do betokenb not only thosec accidents, but also together with them thed subjects whereunto they cleave. As when we name a schoolmaster and a physician, thesee names do not only betoken two accidents, teaching and curing, but also some person or persons in whom these accidents are. For there is no impediment but both may be one manf , as well as they are for the most part diverseg . The commonwealth and the Church therefore being such names, they do not only betoken those accidents of civil government and Christian religion which we have mentioned, but also together with them such multitudes as are the subjects of thoseh accidents. Again, their nature being such thati they may well enough dwell together in one subject, it followeth that their names, though always implying that difference of accidents whichk hath been set down, yet do not always imply different subjects also. When we oppose the Churchl therefore and the commonwealth in am Christian society, we mean by the commonwealth that society with relation unto all the public affairs thereof, only the matter of true religion excepted; by the Church, the same society with only reference unto the matter of true religion, without any othern affairs besides: when that society which is both a church and a commonwealth doth flourish in those things which belong unto it as a commonwealth, we then say, “the commonwealth doth flourish;” wheno in those things which concern it as a church, “the Church doth flourish;” when in both, thenp “the Church and commonwealth flourish together.”
The Prophet Esay, to note corruptions in the commonwealth, complaineth, “1 That where judgment and justiceq had lodged now were murderers; princes were become companions of thieves; every one loved gifts and rewards; but the fatherless was not judged, neither did the widow’s cause come before them.” To shew abuses in the Church, Malachy doth make his complaint2 : “Ye offer unclean bread upon mine altar: if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, it is not amissr as yes think; if the lame and the sick, nothing is amiss.” The treasurest which David3 did bestowu upon the temple dox argue the love which he bare to the Church: the pains thaty Nehemias4yy took for building the walls of the city are tokens of his care for the commonwealth. Causes of the commonwealth, or province, are still as Gallio was content to be judge of5 : “If it were a matter of wrong, or an evil deed, O ye Jews, I would according to reason maintain you.” Causes of the Church are such as Gallio there6 rejectethz : “If it be a question of your law, look you unto it, I will be no judge of those thingsa .” In respect of these differencesb therefore the Church and the commonwealth may in speech be compared or opposed aptly enough the one to the other;BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 6. yet this is no argument that they are two independent societies.
3. Proofs of perpetual separation and independency between the commonwealth and the Churchc , taken from the effects of punishments inflicted and releasedd by the one or the other.[6.]Some other reasons there are, which seem a little more nearly to make for the purpose, as long as they are but heard and not sifted. For what though a man being severed by excommunication from the Church, be not thereby deprived of freedom in the city; nore being there discommoned, is therebyf forthwith excommunicated and excluded fromg the Church1 ? what though the Church be bound to receive them upon repentance, whom the commonwealth may refuse again to admitgg if it chance the same men to be shut out of both? That divisionh of the church and commonwealth, which they contend for, will very hardly hereupon follow.
For we must note that members of a Christian commonwealth have a triple state; a natural, a civil, and a spiritual. No man’s natural estate is cut off otherwise than by that capital execution, afterhh which he that is gone fromi the body of the commonwealth doth not, I think, remain stillk in the body of thel visible Church.
And concerning am man’s civil estaten , the same is subject partly to inferior abatements of liberty, and partly unto diminution in the veryo highest degree, such as banishment is; whichp , sith it casteth out quite and clean from the body of the commonwealth, mustq needs also consequently cast the banished party even out of the very Church he was of before, because that Church and the commonwealth he was of were both one and the same society: so that whatsoever doth separate utterlyr a man’s person from the one, it separateth also from the others . As for such abatements of civil state as take away only some privilege, dignity, or other benefit which a man enjoyeth in the commonwealth, they reach only unto our dealing with public affairs, from which what shouldt let but that men may be excluded and thereunto restored again, without diminishing or augmenting the number of persons in whom either church or commonwealth consisteth? He that by way of punishment loseth his voice in a public election of magistrates, ceaseth not thereby to be a citizen. A man disfranchised may notwithstanding enjoy as a subject the common benefit of protection under laws and magistrates. So that these inferior diminutions which touch men civilly, but neither do clean extinguish their estate as they belong to the commonwealth, nor impair a whit their condition as they are of the Church of God: these I say clearly dou prove a difference of the affairs ofx the one from the other, but such a difference as maketh nothing for their surmise of distracted societies.
And concerning excommunication, it cutteth off indeed from the Church, and yet not from the commonwealth; howbeit so, that the party excommunicate is not thereby severed from one body which subsisteth in itself, and retained ofy another in like sort subsisting; but he thatz before had fellowship with that society whereof he was a member, as well touching things spiritual as civil, is now by force of excommunication, although not severed from the samea body in civil affairs, nevertheless for the time cut off from it as touching communion in those things which belong to the saidb body, as it is the Church.
A man which hathc both been excommunicated by the Church, and deprived of civil dignity in the commonwealth, is upon his repentance necessarily readunitedd into the one, but not of necessity into the other. What then? that which he is adunitede unto is a communion in things divine, whereof saintsf are partakers; that from which he is withheld is the benefit of some human privilege or right which other citizens haply enjoy.BOOK VIII. Ch. i. 7. ii. 1. But are not thoseg Saints and Citizens one and the same people? are they not one and the same society? doth it hereby appear that the Church which receivethh an excommunicate mani , can have no dependency ofk any person which is ofkk chief authority and power, in those things ofl the commonwealth whereunto the samem party is not admitted?
[7.]Wherefore to end this point, I conclude: First, that under n dominions of infidels, the Church of Christ, and their commonwealth, were two societies independent. Secondly, that in those commonwealths where the bishop of Rome beareth sway, one society is both the Church and the commonwealth; but the bishop of Rome doth divide the body into two diverse bodies, and doth not suffer the Church to depend upon the power of any civil prince oro potentate. Thirdly, that within this realm of England the case is neither as in the one, nor as in the other of the former two: but from the state of pagans we differ, in that with us one society is both the Church and commonwealth, which with them it was not; as also from the state of those nations which subjectp themselves to the bishop of Rome, in that our Church hath dependency uponq the chief in our commonwealth, which it hath not under himr . In a word, our estate is according to the pattern of God’s own ancient elect people, which people was not part of them the commonwealth, and part of them the Church of God, but the selfsame people whole and entire were both under one chief Governor, on whose supreme authority they did alls depend.
II.[1.] Now the drift of all that hath been alleged to prove perpetual separation and independency between the Church and the commonwealth is, that this being held necessary, it might consequently be thoughtt , that in a Christian kingdom he whose power is greatest over the commonwealth may not lawfully have supremacy of power also over the Church, as it is a churchu ;BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 2. that is to say, so far as to orderx and disposey of spiritual affairs, z as the highest uncommanded commander in them. Whereupon it is grown a question, whether powera ecclesiastical over the Churchb , powerc of dominion in such degreed as the lawsdd of this land do grant unto the sovereign governor thereof, may by the said supreme Head ande Governor lawfully be enjoyed and held? For resolution wherein, we are, first, to define what the power of dominion is: f then to shew by what right: after what sort: in what measure: with what conveniencyg : according unto whose example Christian kings may have it. And when these generalitiesh are opened, to examine afterwards how lawful that is which we in regard of dominion do attribute unto our own: namely, the title of headship over the Church, so far as the bounds of this kingdom do reach: i the prerogative of calling and dissolving greaterk assemblies, about spiritual affairs public: the right of assenting unto all those orders concerning religion, which must after be in force as lawsl : the advancement of principal church-governors to their rooms of prelacy: judicial authority higher than others are capable of: and exemption from being punishable with such kind of censures as the platform of reformation doth teach that they ought to be subject unto.
What the power of dominion is.[2.]Without order there is no living in public society, because the want thereof is the mother of confusion, whereupon division of necessity followeth, and out of division, inevitablem destruction1 . The Apostle2 therefore giving instruction to public societies, requireth that all things be orderly done. Order can have no place in things, unlessn it be settled amongst the persons that shall by office be conversant about them. And if things oro persons be ordered, this doth imply that they are distinguished by degrees.BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 3. For order is a gradual disposition.
The whole world consisting of parts so many, so different, is by this only thing upheld; he which framed them hath set them in order. Yeap , the very Deity itself both keepeth and requireth for ever this to be kept as a law, that wheresoever there is a coagmentationpp of many, the lowest be knit to the highest by that which being interjacent may cause each to cleave unto otherq , and so all to continue one.
This order of things and persons in public societies is the work of polityr , and the proper instrument thereof in every degree is power; power being that ability which we have of ourselves, or receive from others, for performance of any action. If the action which we ares to perform be conversant about mattert of mere religion, the power of performing it is then spiritual; and if that power be such as hath not any other to overrule it, we term it dominion, or power supreme, so far as the bounds thereof do extendu .
[3.]When therefore Christian kings are said to have spiritual dominion or supreme power in ecclesiastical affairs and causes, the meaning is, that within their own precincts and territories they have x authority and power to command even in matters of Christian religion, and that there is no higher nor greater that can in those causesy over-command them, where they are placed to reign as kings. But withal we must likewise note that their power is termed supremacy, as being the highest, not simply without exception of any thing. For what man is therez so brain-sick, as not to except in such speeches God himself, the King of all the kings of the earth?a Besides, where the law doth give him dominionb , who doubteth but that the king who receiveth it must hold it of and underc the law? according to thatcc axiom, “Attribuat rex legi, quod lex attribuit ei, potestatem et dominiumd :” and again, “Rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege1 .” Thirdly, whereas it is note altogether without reason,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 4, 5. “that kings are judged to have by virtue of their dominion, although greater power than any, yet not than all the statesf of those societies conjoined, wherein such sovereign rule is given them;” there is not hereunto any thing contraryg by us affirmed, no, not when we grant supreme authority unto kings, because supremacy is noh otherwise intended or meanti than to exclude partly foreign powers, and partly the power which belongeth in several unto others, contained as parts k within that politic body over which those kings have supremacy. “Where the king hath power of dominion, or supreme power, there no foreign state or potentate, no state or potentate domestical, whether it consistl of one or m of many, can possibly have in the same affairs and causes authority higher than the king.”
Power of spiritual dominion therefore is in causes ecclesiastical that ruling authority, which neither any foreign state, nor yet any part of that politic body at home, wherein the same is established, can lawfully overrulen .
By what right, namely, such as though men do give, God doth ratifyo .[4.]Unto which supreme power in kings two kinds of adversaries there are thatp have opposed themselves: one sort defending, “that supreme power in causes ecclesiastical throughout the world appertaineth of divine right to the bishop of Rome:” another sort, “that the said power belongeth in every national church unto the clergy thereof assembled.” We which defend as well against the one as against the otherq , “that kings within their own precincts may have it,” must shew by what right it mayr come unto them.
[5.]First, unto me it seemeth almost out of doubt and controversy, that every independent multitude, before any certain form of regiment established, hath, under God’ss supreme authority, full dominion over itself, even as a man not tied with the bondt of subjection as yet unto any other, hath over himself the like power.BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 5. God creating mankind did endue it naturally with u full power to guide itself1 , in what kindx of societiesy soever itz should choose to live. A man which is born lord of himself may be made another’s servant: and that power which naturally whole societies have, may be derived intoa many, few, or one, under whom the rest shall then live in subjection.
Some multitudes are brought into subjection by force, as they who being subdued are fain to submit their necks unto what yoke it pleaseth their conquerors to lay upon them; which conquerors by just and lawful wars do hold their power over such multitudes as a thing descending unto them, divine providence itself so disposing. For it is God who giveth victory in the day of war. And unto whom dominion in this sort is derived, the same they enjoy according unto thatb law of nations, which law authorizeth conquerors to reign as absolute lords over them whom they vanquish.
Sometimesc it pleaseth God himself by special appointment to choose out and nominate such as to whom dominion shall be given, which thing he did often in the commonwealth of Israel. They whod in this sort receive power have ite immediately from God, by mere divine right; they by human, on whom the same is bestowed according unto men’s discretion, when they are left freef by God to make choice of their own governorg . By which of these means soever it happen that kings or governors be advanced unto their statesh , we must acknowledge both their lawful choice to be approved of God, and themselves to bei God’s lieutenants2 , and confess their powerk his3 .
BOOK VII. Ch. ii. 6.As for supreme power in ecclesiastical affairs, the word of God doth no where appoint that all kings should have it, neither that any should not have it; for which cause it seemeth to stand altogether by human right, that unto Christian kings there is such dominion given.
[6.]Again, on whom the same is bestowed evenl at men’s discretion, they likewise do hold it by divine right. If God in his ownm revealed word haven appointed such power to be, although himself extraordinarily bestow it not, but leave the appointment of theo persons unto men; yea, albeit God do neither appoint the thingp nor assign the person; nevertheless when men haveq established both, who doth doubt but that sundry duties and officesr depending thereupon are prescribed ins the word of God, and consequently by that very right to be exacted?
For example’s sake, the power which thet Roman emperors had over foreign provinces was not a thing which the law of God did ever institute, neither was Tiberius Cæsar by special commission from heaven therewith invested; and yet theu payment of tribute unto Cæsar beingx made emperor is the plain law of Jesus Christ. Unto kings by human right, honour by very divine right, is due; man’s ordinances are many times presupposedy as grounds in the statutes of God.BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 7. And therefore of what kind soever the means be whereby governors are lawfully advanced unto their seatsz , as we by the lawa of God stand bound meekly to acknowledge them for God’s lieutenants, and to confess their power his, so they by the same lawb are both authorized and required to use that power as far as it may be in any sortc available to his honour. The law appointeth no man to be an husband, but if a man haved betaken himself unto that condition, it giveth him thene authority over his own wife. That the Christian world should be ordered byf kingly regiment, the law of God doth not any where command; and yet the law of God doth give them rightg , which once are exalted to thath estate, to exacti at the hands of their subjects general obediences in whatsoever affairs their power may serve to command. Soj God doth ratify thek works of that sovereign authority which kings have received by men.
After what sortl .[7.]This is therefore the right whereby kings do hold their power; but yet in what sort the same doth rest and abide in them it somewhat further behovethm to search. Wherein, that we be not enforced to make over-large discourses about the different conditions of sovereign or supreme power, that which we speak of kings shall be withn respect too the state and according to the nature of this kingdom, where the people are in no subjection, but such as willingly themselves have condescended unto, for their own most behoof and security. In kingdoms therefore of this quality the highest governor hath indeed universal dominion, but with dependence upon that whole entire body, over the several parts whereof he hath dominion; so that it standeth for an axiom in this case, The king is “major singulis, universis minor1 .”
BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 8.[8.]The king’s dependency we do not construe as some have done, who are of opinion that no man’s birth can make him a king, but every particular person advanced unto such authority hath at his entrance into his reign the same bestowed upon him, as an estate in condition, by the voluntary deed of the people, in whom it doth lie to put by any one, and to prefer some other before him, better liked of, or judged fitter for the place, and that the party so rejected hath hereinp no injuryq , no notr although thiss be done in a place where the crown doth go κατὰt γένος, by succession, and to a person which being capableu hath apparently, if blood be respected, the nearest right. They plainly affirm1 , thatx “in all well-appointed kingdoms, the custom evermore hath been, and is, that children succeed not their deceasedy parents till the people after a sort have created them anew, neither that they grow to their fathers as natural and proper heirs, but are then to be reckoned for kings, when at the hands of such as represent the people’sz majesty they have by a sceptre and diadema received as it were the investiture of kingly power.” Their very words are1 , “That where such power is settled into a family or kindred, the stock itself is thereby chosen, but not the twig that springeth of it. The next of the stock unto him whichb reigneth are not through nearness of blood made kings, but rather set forth to stand for the kingdom. Where regal dominion is hereditary, it is notwithstanding if yec look to the persons themselvesd which have it altogether elective.” To this purpose are allegede2 heaps of Scriptures concerning the solemn coronation or inauguration of Saul, of David, of Solomon, off others, by the nobles, ancients, and people of the commonwealth of Israel; as if these solemnities were a kind of deed, whereby the right of dominion is given3 . Whichff strange, untrue, and unnatural conceits, set abroad by seedsmen of rebellion, only to animate unquiet spirits, and to feed them with a possibility of aspiring unto thrones and sceptresg ,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 9. if they can win the hearts of the people, what hereditary title soever any other before them may have, I say, thesegg unjust and insolent positions I would not mention, were it not thereby to make the countenance of truth more orient: for unless we will openly proclaim defiance unto all law, equity, and reason, we must (there is no remedy) acknowledge, that in kingdoms hereditary birth giveth right unto sovereign dominion; and the death of the predecessor putteth the successor by blood in seisin. Those public solemnities before mentionedh do but eitheri serve for an open testification of the inheritor’s right, or belong to the form of inducting him into possession of that thing he hath right unto. Andk therefore in case it dol happen that without right of blood a man in such wise be possessed, all those thingsm are utterly void, they make him no indefeasible estate, the inheritor by blood may dispossess him as an usurper.
[9.]The case thus standing, albeit we judge it a thing most true, that kings, even inheritors, do hold their right ton the power of dominion, with dependency upon the whole entireo body politic over which they rulep as kings; yet so it may not be understood, as if such dependency did grow, for that every supreme governor doth personally take from thence his power by way of gift, bestowed of their own free accord upon him at the time of his entrance into hisq said place of sovereignr government. But the cause of dependency is ins that first original conveyance, when power was derived byt the whole into one; to pass from him untou them, whom out of him nature by lawful birthx should produce, and no natural or legal inability make uncapabley . Neither can any man with reason think, but that the first institution of kings isz a sufficient consideration wherefore their power should always depend on that from which it did then flow1 . Originala influence of power from the body into the king, is cause of the king’sb dependency in power upon the body.
BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 10, 11.[10.]By dependency we mean subordination and subjection. A manifest token of which dependency may be this: as there is no more certain argument that lands are held under any as lordc , than if we see that such lands in defect of heirs do fall by escheat unto himd ; in like manner it doth rightly followe , that seeing dominion, when there is none to inherit it, returneth unto the body, therefore they which before were inheritors thereof did hold it with dependency upon the body. So that by comparing the body with the head, as touching power, it seemeth always to reside in both; fundamentally orf radically in the one, in the other derivatively; in theg one the habit, in the other the act of power.
May then a body politich at all times withdraw in whole or in part thati influence of dominion which passeth from it, if inconvenience dothk grow thereby? It must be presumed, that supreme governors will not in such case oppose themselves, and be stiff in detaining that, the use whereof is with public detriment: but surely without their consent I see not how the body should be able by any just meansl to help itself, saving when dominion doth escheat. Such things therefore must be thought upon beforehand, that power may be limited ere it be granted; which is the next thing we are to consider.
In what measure.[11.]In power of dominion, all kings have not an equal latitude. Kings by conquest make their own charter: so that how large their power, either civil or spiritual, is, we cannot with any certainty define, further than only to set them in general m the law of God and nature for bounds. Kings by God’s own special appointment have also that largeness of power, which he doth assign or permit with approbation. Touching kings which were first instituted by agreement and composition made with them over whom they reign, how far their power may lawfullyn extend, the articles of compact between them musto shew: not the articles onlyp of compact at the first beginning, which for the most part are either clean worn out of knowledge,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 12. or else known unto very few, but whatsoever hath been after in free and voluntary manner condescended unto, whether by express consent, whereof positive laws are witnesses, or else by silent allowance famously notified through custom reaching beyond the memory of man. By which means of after-agreement, it cometh many times to pass in kingdoms, that they whose ancient predecessors were by violence and force made subject, do grow even by little and littleq into that mostr sweet form of kingly government which philosophers define to bes “1 regency willingly sustainedss and endured, with chiefty of power in the greatest things.”
[12.]Many of the ancients in their writings do speak of kings with such high and ample terms, as if universality of power, even in regard of things and not of persons only, did appertain to the very being of a king2 . The reason is, because their speech concerning kings they frame according to the state of those monarchs to whom unlimited authority was given: which some not observing, imagine that all kings, even in that they are kings, ought to have whatsoever power they findt any sovereign ruler lawfully to have enjoyed. But theu most judicious philosopher, whose eye scarce any thing did escapex which was to be found in the bosom of nature, he considering how far the power of one sovereign ruler may be different from another’sy regal authority, noteth in Spartan kings3 , “that of all others lawfully reigning they hadz the most restrained powera .” A king which hath not supreme power in the greatest things, is rather entitled a king, than invested with real sovereignty. We cannot properly term him a king, of whom it may not be said, at the leastwise, as touching certain the veryb chiefest affairs of statec , αὐτῳ̑ μὲνd ἄρχειν, ἄρχεσθαι1 δὲ ὑπ’ οὐδενὸς, “his right in them is to have rule, not subject to any other predominante .” I am not of opinion that simply alwaysf in kings the most, but the best limited power is bestg : the most limited is, that which may deal in fewest things; the best, that which in dealing is tied unto the soundest, perfectest, and most indifferent rule; which rule is the law; I mean not only the law of nature and of God, but very national or municipal law consonant thereuntoh . Happier that people whose law is their king in the greatest things, than that whose king is himself their law. Where the king doth guide the state, and the law the king, that commonwealth is like an harp or melodious instrument, the strings whereof are tuned and handled all by onehh , following as laws the rules and canons of musical sciencehhh . Most divinely therefore Archytas maketh unto public felicity these four stepsi , every later whereofj doth spring from the former, as from a motherk cause; ὁ μὲνl βασιλεὺς νόμιμος, ὁ δὲ ἄρχων ἀκόλουθος, ὁ δὲ ἀρχόμενος ἐλεύθεροςm , ἁ δ’ ὅλαn κοινωνία εὐδαίμων2 ; adding on the contrary side, that “where this order is not, it cometh by transgression thereof to pass that the kingo growethp a tyrant; he that ruleth under him abhorreth to be guided and commanded by himq ;BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 13, 14. the people subject underr both, have freedom under neither; and the whole community is wretched1 .”
[13.]In which respect, I cannot choose but commend highly their wisdom, by whom the foundations of thiss commonwealth have been laid; wherein though no manner persont or cause be unsubject to the king’s power, yet so is the power of the king over all and in all limited, that unto all his proceedings the law itself is a rule. The axioms of our regal government are these: “Lex facit regem:” the king’s grant of any favour made contrary to theu law is void; “Rex nihil potest nisi quod jure potest.” Our kings therefore, when they takex possession of the roomy they are called unto, have it paintedz out before their eyes, even by the very solemnities and rites of their inauguration, to what affairs by the saida law their supreme authority and powerb reacheth. Crowned we see they are, andc enthronized, and anointed: the crown a sign of militaryd ; the throne, of sedentary ore judicial; the oil, of religious or sacred power.
[14.]It is not on any side denied, that kings may have suchf authority in secular affairs. The question then is, “What power they lawfully mayg have, and exercise in causes of God.” “A prince, a magistrate, or community,” saith D. Stapleton2 , “may have power to lay corporal punishmenth on them which are teachers of perverse things; power to make laws for the peace of the Church; power to proclaim, to defend, and even by revenge to preserve from violationidogmata, veryj articles of religion themselves.” Others3 in affection no less devoted unto the papacy,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 14. do likewise yield, that “the civil magistrate may by his edicts and laws keep all ecclesiastical persons within the bounds of their duties, and constrain them to observe the canons of the Church, to follow the rulesk of ancient discipline.” That “if Joaskk werel commended for his care and provision concerning so small a part of religion as the church-treasurym ; it must needs be both unto Christian kings themselves greater honour, and to Christianity a larger benefit, when the custody of religion wholen and ofo the worship of God in general is their charge.” If therefore all these things mentioned be most properly the affairs of God, and ecclesiasticalp causes; if the actions specified be works of power; and if that power be such as kings may use of themselves, without the leaveq of any other power superior in the same thingsr : it followeth necessarily, that kings may have supreme power, not only in civil, but also in ecclesiastical affairs; and consequently, that they may withstand what bishop or pope soever shall, under the pretended claim of higher spiritual authority, oppose himselfs against their proceedings. But they which have made us the former grant, will hereunto nevert condescend. What they yield that princes may do, it is with secret exception always understood, if the bishop of Rome give leave, if he interpose no prohibition: wherefore somewhat it is in shew, in truth nothing, which they grant.
Our own reformers do the very like. When they make their discoursesu in general concerning the authority which magistrates may have, a man would think them farx from withdrawing any jot of that which with reason may be thought due.BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 15. “The prince and civil magistrate1 ,” saith one of them, “hath to see thaty the laws of God touching his worship, and touching all matters and ordersz of the Church bea executed, and duly observed; and to see thatb every ecclesiastical person do that office whereunto he is appointed, and to punish those which fail in their office accordingly.” Another acknowledgeth2 , that “the magistrate may lawfully uphold all truth by his sword, punish all persons, enforce all to doc their duties untod God and men; maintain by his laws every point of God’s word, punish all vice in all men; see into all causes, visit the ecclesiastical estate, and correct the abuses thereof; finally, to look to his subjects, that under him they may lead their lives in all godliness and honesty.” A third more frankly professeth3 , that in case their church-discipline were established, so little it shorteneth the arms of sovereign dominion in causes ecclesiastical, that her gracious Majesty, for any thing whiche they teach or hold to the contrary, may no less than now “remain still over all persons, in all things supreme governess, even with that full and royal authority, superiority, preeminencef , supremacy, and prerogative, which the laws already established do give her, and her Majesty’s injunctions, and the articles of the Convocation-house, and other writings apologetical of her royal authority and supreme dignity, do declare and explain.”
[15.]Posidonius was wont to say of the Epicure, “That he thought there were no gods, but that those things which he spake concerning the gods were only given out for fear of growing odious amongst men; and therefore that in words he left gods remaining, but in very deed overthrew them, inasmuchg as he gave them no kind of motionh , no kind of action4 .” After the very selfsame manner, when we come unto those particular effects andk prerogatives of dominion which the laws of this land do grant unto the kings thereof,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 16. it will appear how thesel men, notwithstanding their large and liberal speeches, abate such parcels out of the fore-alleged grandm and flourishing sumn , that a man comparing the one with the other may half stand in doubt, lest their opinionso in very truth be against that authority which by their speeches they seem mightily to uphold, partly for the avoiding of public obloquy, envy, and hatred; partly to the intent they may both in the end, by establishmentp of their discipline, extinguish the force of supreme power which princes have, and yet in the meanwhile by giving forth these smooth discourses, obtain that their favourers may have somewhat to allege for them by way of apology, and that in such words as sound towards all kind of fulness in powerq . But for myself, I had rather construe such their contradictions in the better part, and impute their general acknowledgment of the lawfulness of kingly power unto the force of truth, presenting itself before them sometimes aloner ; their particular contrarieties, oppositions, denials, unto that error which having so fully possessed their minds, casteth things inconvenient upon them; of which things in their due place.
[16.]Touching that which is now in hand, we are on all sides fully agreed; first, that there is not any restraint or limitation of matter for regal authority and power to be conversant in, but of religion wholes , and of whatsoever cause theretot appertaineth, kings may lawfully have charge, they lawfully may therein exercise dominion, and use the temporal sword: secondly, that some kindsu of actions conversant about such affairs are denied unto kings; as, namely, actions of the power of orderx , and of that power of jurisdiction, which isy with it unseparablyz joined;BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 17. power to administer the word and sacraments, power to ordain, to judge as an ordinary, to bind and loose, to excommunicate, and such like: thirdly, that even in thesea very actions which are proper unto dominion, there must be some certain rule, whereunto kings in all their proceedings ought to be strictly tied; which rule for proceedingsb in ecclesiastical affairs and causes by regal power, hath not hitherto been agreed upon with soc uniform consent and certainty as might be wishedd . The different sentences of men herein I will note now go about to examine, but it shall be enough to propose what rule doth seem in this case most reasonable.
By what rulef .[17.]It hath been declared already1 in general, how “the best established dominion is where the law doth most rule the king:” the true effect whereof particularly is found as well in ecclesiastical as ing civil affairs. In these the king, through his supreme power, may do great things and sundryh himself, both appertaining unto peace and war, both at home, by commandmenti and by commerce with states abroad, because so much the law dothj permit. Some thingsk on the other side, the kingl alone hath no powerm to do without consent of the lords and commons assembled in parliamentn : the king ofo himself cannot change the nature of pleas, nor courts, no not so much as restore blood; because the law is a bar unto him; not any law divinep or naturalq , for against neither it were though kings of themselvesr might do both, buts the positive laws of the realm have abridged thereint and restrainedu the king’s power; which positive laws, whether by custom or otherwise established without repugnancy unto the lawx of God and nature, ought noy less to be ofz force even in the spirituala affairs of the Church. Whereforeb in regard of ecclesiastical laws, we willingly embrace that of Ambrose, “Imperator bonus1 intra ecclesiam, non supra ecclesiam, est; kings have dominion to exercise in ecclesiastical causes, but according to the laws of the Church.” Whether it be therefore the nature of courts, or the form of pleas, or the kind of governors, or the order of proceedingsc in whatsoever spirituald businessese ; for the received laws and libertiesf of theg Church the king hath supreme authority and power, but against them, noneh .
What such positive laws have appointed to be done by others than the king, or by others with the king, and in what form they have appointed the doing of it, the same of necessity must be kept, neither is the king’s sole authority to alter it.
Yeai even as it were a thing unreasonable, if in civil affairs the king (albeit the whole universal body did join with him) should do any thing by their absolute supreme powerj for the ordering of their state at home, in prejudice of any ofk those ancient laws of nations which are of force throughoutl the world, because the necessary commerce of kingdoms dependeth on them; so in principal matters belonging to Christian religion, a thing very scandalous and offensive it must needs be thought, if either kings or laws should dispose of the affairsm of God, without any respect had to that which of old hath been reverently thought of throughout the world, and wherein there is no law of God which forceth us to swerve from the wayn wherein so many and soo holy ages have gone.
Wherefore not without good consideration the very law itself hath provided, “That judges ecclesiastical appointed under the king’s commission shall not adjudge for heresy any thing but that which heretofore hath been sop adjudged by the authority of the canonical scriptures,BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 18. or by the first four general councils, or by some other general council wherein the same hath been declared heresy by the express words of the said canonical scriptures, or such as hereafter shall be termedq heresy by the high court of parliament of this realm, with the assent of the clergy in the convocation1 .” By which words of the law who doth not plainly see, how in thatr one branch of proceeding by virtue of the king’s supreme authority, the credit which those fours general councils have throughout all churches evermoret had, was judged by the makersu of the foresaid act a just cause wherefore theyx should be mentioned in that case, as a requisite part of they rule wherewith dominion was to be limited2 . But of this we shall further consider, when we come unto that which sovereign power may do in making ecclesiastical laws.
With what conveniencyz .[18.]The causezz of deriving supreme power from a whole entire multitude untoa some special part thereof, is partly the necessity of expedition in public affairs; partly the inconveniency ofb confusion and trouble, where a multitude of equals dealeth; and partly the dissipation which must needs ensue in companies, where every man wholly seeketh his own particular (as we all would do, even with other men’s hurtc ) and haply the very overthrow of ourselvesd in the end also, if for procuremente of the common good of all men, by keeping every several man in order, some were not armedf with authority over all, and encouraged with prerogatives of honourg to sustain the weighty burden of that charge. The good which is proper unto each man belongeth to the common good of all, as a part of the whole’s perfectionh ; but yeti these two are things different;BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 1. for men by that which is proper are severed, united they are by that which is common. Wherefore, besides that which moveth each man in particular to seek his private, there mustk of necessity in all public societies be also a general mover, directing unto thel common good, and framing every man’s particular to it. The end whereunto all government was instituted, was bonum publicum, the universal or common good. Our question is of dominion, for that end and purpose derived into one1 . Such as inm one public state have agreed that the supreme charge of all things should be committed unto one, they I say, considering what inconveniencesn may grow where states are subject unto sundry supreme authorities, wereo for fear of thosep inconveniences withdrawn from liking to establish many; οὐκ ἀγαθὸν πολυκοιρανίη, the multitude of supreme commanders is troublesome. “No man,” saith our Saviour, “can serve two masters:” surely two supreme masters would make any oneq man’s service somewhat uneasy in such cases as might fall out. Suppose that to-morrow the power which hath dominion in justice require thee at the court; that which in war, at the field; that which in religion, at the temple: all have equal authority over thee, and impossible it is, that thou shouldest be in such caser obedient to all: by choosing any one whom thou wilt obey, certain thou art for thy disobedience to incur the displeasure of the other two.
According unto what example or patterns .[III.] But there is nothing for which some colourablet reason or other may not be found. Are we able to shew any commendable state of government, which by experience and practice hath felt the benefit of being in all causes subject unto the supreme authority of one? Against the polityu of Israelx , I hope there will no man except, where Moses deriving so great a part of his burden in government unto others, did notwithstanding retain to himself universal supremacy.BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 1. Jehosaphat appointing one to be chiefy in the affairs of God, and another in the king’s affairs, did this as having himselfz dominion over them in both. If therefore, witha approbation fromb heaven, the kings of God’s own chosen people had in the affairs of Jewish religion supreme power, why not Christian kings the like powerc also in Christian religion? Unlessd men will answer, as some have done1 , “that touching the Jews, first their religione was of far less1. perfection and dignity than ours isf , ours being that truth whereof theirs was but a shadowish prefigurative resemblance.” Secondly2 , “That all parts of their religion,2. their laws, their sacrifices, theirg rites and ceremonies, being fully set down to their hands, and needing no more but only to be put in execution, the kings might well have highest authority to see that done: whereas with us there are a number of mysteries even in belief, which were not so generallyh for them, as for us, necessary to be with sound express acknowledgment understood; a number of things belonging unto external regimenti , and onek manner of serving God, not set down by particular ordinances, and delivered unto us in writing; for which cause the state of the Church doth now require that the spiritual authority of ecclesiastical persons be large, absolute, and not subordinate3. to regal power.” Thirdly1 , “that whereas God armeth religion Jewish, withl temporal, Christian, with am sword but of spiritual punishment; the one with power to imprison, to scourge, andn to put to death, the other with bare authority to censure and excommunicate; there is no reason that the Church, which nowo hath no visible sword, should in regiment be subject unto any other power, than only unto theirs which have authority to bind and4. loose.” Fourthly2 , “that albeit whilep the Church was restrained untoq one people, it seemed not incommodious to grant their kingsr the general chiefty of power; yet now, the Church having spread itself over all nations, great inconveniencys mightt thereby grow, if every Christian king in his several territory should have the like power.” Of all these differences, there is not one which doth prove it a thing repugnant unto the law either of God or natureu , that all supremacy of external power be in Christian kingdoms granted unto thex kings thereof, for preservation of quietness, unity, order, and peace, in such manner as hath been shewed.
BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 2.[2.]y The service which we do unto the true God who made heaven and earth is far different from that which heathens have done unto their supposed gods, though nothing else were respected but only the odds between their hope and ours. The offices of piety or true religion sincerely performed have the promises both of this life and of the life to come: the practices of superstition have neither. If notwithstanding the heathens, reckoning upon no other reward for all which they did but only protection and favour in the temporal estate and condition of this present life, and perceiving how great good did hereby publicly grow, as long as fear to displease (they knew not what) divine power was some kind of bridle unto them, did therefore provide that the highest degree of care for their religion should be the principal charge of such as having otherwise also the greatest and chiefest power were by so much the more fit to have custody thereof: shall the like kind of provision be in us thought blameworthy?
[Ad primum.]A gross error it is, to think that regal power ought to serve for the good of the body, and not of the soul; for men’s temporal peace, and not forz their eternal safety: and if God had ordained kings for no other end and purpose but only to fat up men like hogs, and to see that they have their mast1 ? Indeed, to lead men unto salvation by the hand of secret, invisible, and ghostly regiment, or by the external administration of things belonging unto priestly order, (such as the word and sacraments are,) this is denied unto Christian kings: no cause in the world to think them uncapable of supreme authority in the outward government which disposeth the affairs of religion so far forth as the same are disposable by human authority, and to think them uncapable thereof, only for that the said religion is everlastingly beneficial to them that faithfully continue in it. And even as little cause there is, that being admitted thereunto amongst the Jews, they should amongst the Christians of necessity be delivered from ever exercising any such power, for the dignity and perfection which is in our religion more than in theirs1 .BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 3, 4.
Ad secundum2 .[3.]It may be a question, whether the affairs of Christianity require more wit, more study, more knowledge of divine things in him which shall order them, than the Jewish religion did. For although we deny not the form of external government, together with all other rites and ceremonies, to have been in more particular manner set down: yet withal it must be considered also, that even this very thing did in some respects make the burthen of their spiritual regiment the harder to be borne; by reason of infinite doubts and difficulties which the very obscurity and darkness of their law did breed, and which being not first decided, the law could not possibly have due execution.
Besides, inasmuch as their law did also dispose even of all kind of civil affairs; their clergy, being the interpreters of the whole law, sustained not only the same labour which divines do amongst us, but even the burthen of our lawyers too. Nevertheless, be it granted that moe things do now require to be publicly deliberated and resolved upon with exacter judgment in matters divine than kings for the most part have: their personal inability to judge, in such sort as professors do, letteth not but that their regal authority may have the selfsame degree or sway which the kings of Israel had in the affairs of their religion, to rule and command according to the manner of supreme governors.
Ad tertium.[4.]As for the sword, wherewith God armed his Church of old, if that were a reasonable cause why kings might then have dominion, I see not but that it ministreth still as forcible an argument for the lawfulness and expediency of their continuance therein now. As we degrade and excommunicate, even so did the Church of the Jews both separate offenders from the temple, and depose the clergy also from their rooms, when cause required. The other sword of corporal punishment is not by Christ’s own appointment in the hands of the Church of Christ, as God did place it himself in the hands of the Jewish Church. For why? He knew that they whom he sent abroad to gather a people unto him only by persuasive means,BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 4. were to build up his Church even within the bosom of kingdoms, the chiefest governors whereof would be open enemies unto it every where for the space of many years. Wherefore such commission for discipline he gave them, as they might any where exercise in quiet and peaceable manner; the subjects of no commonwealth being touched in goods or person, by virtue of that spiritual regiment whereunto Christian religion embraced did make them subject.
Now when afterwards it came to pass, that whole kingdoms were made Christian, I demand whether that authority, whicha served before for the furtherance of religion, may not as effectually serveb to the maintenance of Christian religion. Christian religion hath the sword of spiritual discipline. But doth that suffice? The Jewish which had it also, did nevertheless stand in need to be aided with the power of the civil sword. The help whereof, although when Christian religion cannot have, it must without it sustain itself as far as the other which it hath will serve; notwithstanding, where both may be had, what forbiddeth the Church to enjoy the benefit of both? Will any man deny that the Church doth need the rod of corporal punishment to keep her children in obedience withal? Such a law as Macabeus1 made amongst the Scots, that he which continued an excommunicate two years together, and reconciled not himself to the church, should forfeit all his goods and possessions.
Again, the custom which many Christian churches have to fly to the civil magistrate for coercion of those that will not otherwise be reformed,—these things are proof sufficient that even in Christian religion, the power wherewith ecclesiastical persons were endued at the first is unable to do of itself so much as when secular power doth strengthen it; and that, not by way of ministry or service, but of predominancy, such as the kings of Israel in their time exercised over the Church of God.BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 5, 6.
Ad quartum.[5.]Yea, but the Church of God was then restrained more narrowly to one people and one king, which now being spread throughout all kingdoms, it would be a cause of great dissimilitude in the exercise of Christian religion if every king should be over the affairs of the church where he reigneth supreme ruler.
Dissimilitude in great things is such a thing which draweth great inconvenience after it, a thing which Christian religion must always carefully prevent. And the way to prevent it is, not as some do imagine, the yielding up of supreme power over all churches into one only pastor’s hands; but the framing of their government, especially for matter of substance, every where according to the rule of one only Law, to stand in no less force than the law of nations doth, to be received in all kingdoms, all sovereign rulers to be sworn no otherwise unto it than some are to maintain the liberties, laws, and received customs of the country where they reign. This shall cause uniformity even under several dominions, without those woeful inconveniences whereunto the state of Christendom was subject heretofore, through the tyranny and oppression of that one universal Nimrod1 who alone did all.
And, till the Christian world be driven to enter into the peaceable and true consultation about some such kind of general law concerning those things of weight and moment wherein now we differ, if one church hath not the same order which another hath: let every church keep as near as may be the order it should have, and commend the just defence thereof unto God, even as Juda did, when it differed in the exercise of religion from that form which Israel followed.
[6.]Concerning therefore the matter whereof we have hitherto spoken, let it stand for our final conclusion, that in a free Christian state or kingdom, where one and the selfsame people are the Church and the commonwealth, God through Christ directing that people to see it for good and weighty considerations expedient that their sovereign lord and governor in causes civil have also in ecclesiastical affairs a supreme power;BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 6. forasmuch as the light of reason doth lead them unto it, and against it God’s own revealed law hath nothing: surely they do not in submitting themselves thereunto any other than that which a wise and religious people ought to do.
It was but a little overflowing of wit in Thomas Aquinas1 , so to play upon the words of Moses2 in the Old, and of Peter3 in the New Testament, as though because the one did term the Jews “a priestly kingdom,” the other us “a kingly priesthood,” those two substantives “kingdom” and “priesthood” should import, that Judaism did stand through the kings’ superiority over priests, Christianity through the priests’ supreme authority over kings. Is it probable, that Moses and Peter had herein so nice and curious conceits? Or else more likely that both meant one and the same thing; namely that God doth glorify and sanctify his, even with full perfection in both; which thing St. John doth in plainer sort express, saying that “Christ hath made us both kings and priests4 .”
BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 1, 2.[IV. 1.] These things being thus first consideredc , it will be the easierd to judge concerning our own estate, whether by force of ecclesiastical dominione with usf kings have any other kind of prerogative than they may lawfully hold and enjoy. It is as some do imagine too much, that kings of England should be termed Heads, in relation to the Church.To be entitled, Heads of the Church under Christ within their own dominions [from D]. That which we understandg by headship, is their only supreme power in ecclesiastical affairs orh causes. That which lawfullyi princes are, what should make it unlawful for men byk speciall styles or titles to signify? If the having of supreme power be allowed, why is the expressing thereof by the title of head condemned? They seem in words, at them leastwise some of them, now at the length to acknowledge that kings may have supremen government even over all, both persons and causes. We in terming our princes heads of the Church, do but testify that we acknowledge them such governors.
[2.]Againsto this peradventure it willp be replied1 , that howsoever we interpret ourselves, it is not fit for a mortal man, and therefore not fitq for a civil magistrate, to be entitled head of the Church.BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 2. Why so? First “this title, Head of the Churchr , was given unto our Saviour Christ1 , to lift him above all powers, rules, and dominionss , either in heaven or in earth. Where if this title belong also to the civil magistratet , then it is manifest that there is a power in earth whereunto our Saviour Christ is not in this point superior. Again, if the civil magistrate may have this title, he may be also termedu the first-begotten of all creatures, the first-begotten ofx the dead, yea the Redeemer of his people. For these are alike given him as dignities whereby he is lifted up above all creatures. Besides this, the whole argument of the Apostle in both places doth lead to shew that this title, Head of the Church, cannot be said of any creature. And further, the very demonstrative articley , among the Hebrews especially, whom S. Paul doth follow, serveth to tie that which is verified of one, unto himself alone: so that when the apostle doth say that Christ is ἡ κεϕαλὴ, the Head;BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 3. it is as much asz if he should say, Christ, and noa other, is the Head of the Church.”
[3.]Thus have we against the entitling of the highest magistratesb , Head, with relation unto the Church, four several arguments, gathered by strong surmise out of words marvellous unlikely to have been written forc any such purpose as that whereunto they are now urgedd . To the Ephesians, the apostle writeth1 , “That Christ, God hath seated on hise own right hand in the heavenly places, above all regency, and authority, and power, and dominion, and whatsoever name is named, not in this world only, but in that which shall be also: and hath under his feet set all things, and hath given him head above all things unto the Church, which is his body, even the complementf of him which accomplished all in all.” To the Colossians in like manner2 , “That He is the head of the body of the Church, who is a first-born regency out of the dead, to the end he might be made amongst them all such an one as hath the chiefty:” he meaneth, amongst all them whom before he mentionedg , saying3 , “Inh him all things that are, were made; the things in the heavens, and the things ini the earth, the things that are visible, and the things that are invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominationsk , or regencies,” &c.
Unto the fore-alleged arguments therefore we answer: first, that it is not simply the title of Head, which lifteth our Saviour above all powers, but the title of Headl in such sort understood, as the apostle himself meant it: so that the same being imparted in another sense unto others, doth not any waym make those others thereinn his equals; inasmuch as diversity of things is usualo to be understood, even when of words there is no diversity; and it is only the adding of one and the selfsamep thing unto diverse persons, which doth argue equality in them. If I term Christ and Cæsar lords, yet this is no equalling ofq Cæsar with Christ, because it is not thereby intended.BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 4. “To term the emperor Lord,” saith Tertullian1 , “I for mine own part will not refuse, so that I be not required to termr him Lord in the same sense that God is so termed.”
Neither doth it follow, which is objected in the second place, that if the civil magistrate may be entitled an Head, he may also as well bes termed, “the first-begotten of all creatures,” “the first-begotten of the dead,” and “the Redeemer of his people.” For albeit the former dignity dot lift him up no less than these, yet these terms are not appliable and apt to signify any other inferior dignity, as the former term of Head was.
The argument or matter which the Apostle followeth hath small evidence foru proof, that his meaning was to appropriate unto Christx the foresaid title, otherwise than only in such sense as doth make it, being so understood, too high to be given to any creature.
As for the force of the article, wherebyy our Lord and Saviour is namedz the Head, it serveth to tie that unto him by way of excellency, which in a meaner degreea is common to others; it doth not exclude any other utterly from being termed Head, but from being entitled as Christ is, the Head, by way of the very highest degree of excellency. Not in the communication of names, but in theb confusion of things, isc error.
[4.]Howbeit, if Head were a name which well could not bed , ore never had been used to signify that which a magistrate may be in relation unto some church, but were by continual use of speech appropriated unto thatf only thing whichg it signifieth, being applied unto Jesus Christ; then, although we mighth carry in ourselves a right understanding, yet ought we otherwise rather to speak, unless we interpret our own meaning by some clause ofi plainer speech; because we are else in manifest danger to be understood according to that construction and sense wherein such words are usually takenk . But here the rarest construction, and most removed from common sense, is that which the word doth import being applied unto Christ; that which we signify by it in giving it unto the magistrate, is a great deal more familiar in the common conceit of men. The word is so fit to signify1 all kinds of superiority, preeminence, and chiefty, that no one thingl is more ordinary than so to use it evenm in vulgar speech, and in common understanding so to take it. If therefore a Christian kingn may have any preeminence or chiefty above all othero in the Church, (albeit it werep less thanq Theodore Beza2 giveth, who placeth kings amongst the principal members whereunto public function in the Church belongeth, and denieth not, but that of them which have public function, the civil magistrate’s power hath all the rest at commandmentr , in regard of that part of his office, which is to procure that peace and good order be especially kept in things concerning the first Table;) evens hereupon tot term him the Head of thatuChurch which is his kingdom, should notv seem so unfit a thing: which title surely we wouldx not communicate to any other, no not although it should at our hands be exacted with torments, but that our meaning herein is made known to the wholey world, so that no man which will understand can easily be ignorant, that we do not impart to kings, when we term them Heads, the honour which properly isz given to our Lord and Saviour Christ, when the blessed Apostles in Scripture dob term him the Head of the Church.BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 5.
Differences between Christ’s Headship and that which we give to kingsc .[5.]The power which we signify by that name, differeth in three things plainly from that which Christ doth challenge.
It differeth in order, measure, and kind. In order, becaused God hath given him to his Church for the Head, ὑπὲρ πάντα, above alle , ὑπεράνω πάσης τη̑ςf ἀρχη̑ς, “far1 above all principality, and powerg , and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not in this world only, but also in that which is to come:” whereas the power which others have is subordinateh unto his.
Againi , as he differeth in order, so in measure of power also; because God hath given unto him2 the ends of the earth for his possession; unto him, dominion from sea to sea; unto him, all powerk in heaven and in earth; unto him, such sovereignty, as doth not only reach over all places, persons, and things, but doth rest in his onel only person, and is not by any succession continued: He reigneth as Head and King for everm , nor is there any kind of law which tieth him, but his own proper will and wisdom: his power is absolute, the same jointly over all which it is severally over each; not so the power of any other’sn headship. How kings are restrained, and in what sort their authorityo is limited, we have shewed before. So that unto him is given by the title of Headship over the Church, that largeness of power, wherein neither man nor angel can be matched or compared with him.
The lastp and the weightiestq difference between him and them, is in the very kind of their power. The head being of all other parts of man’sr body thes most divine3 , hath dominion over all the rest: it is the fountain of sense, of motion; the throne where the guide of the soul doth reign; the court from whence direction of all things human proceedeth. BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 6.Why Christ is called Head of his Churchq , these causes theyr themselves do yield. As the head is the highests part of a man, above which there is none, always joined with the body: so Christ ist the highest in his Church, inseparably knit with itu . Again, as the head giveth sense and moving tox all the body, so he quickenethy , and together with understanding of heavenly things, giveth strength to walk therein. Seeing therefore, that they cannot affirm Christ sensibly present, or always visibly joined unto his body the Church which is on earth, inasmuch as his corporal residence is in heaven; again, seeing they do not affirm (it were intolerable if they should) that Christ doth personally administer the external regiment of outward actions in the Church, but by the secret inward influence of his grace, giveth spiritual life and the strength of ghostly motions thereunto: impossible it is, that they should so close up their eyes, as not to discern what odds there is between that kind of operation which we imply in the headship of princes, and that which agreeth to our Saviour’s dominion over the Church. The headship which we give unto kings is altogether visibly exercised, and ordereth only the external frame of the Church’s affairsz here amongst us; so that it plainly differeth from Christ’s, even in very nature and kind. To be in such sort united unto the Church as he is; to work as he worketh, either on the whole Church, or on any particular assembly, or in any one man; doth neither agree, nor hath possibilitya of agreeing, unto any besidesb him.
Opposition against the first difference, whereby, Christ being Head simply, princes are said to be Heads under Christc .[6.]Against the first distinction or difference it is objected1 , that to entitle a magistrate Head of the Church, although it be under Christ, is mostd absurd. For Christ hath a twofold superiority; a superiority over his Church, and a superiority over kingdomse : according to the one, he “hath a superior, which is his Father; according to the other, none but immediate authority with his Father:” that is to say, of the Church he is Head and Governor only as the Son of man; Head and Governor overf kingdoms only as the Son of God. In the Church, as man, he hath officers under him, which officers are ecclesiastical persons: as for the civil magistrate, his office belongeth unto kingdoms, and commonwealthsg , neither is he thereinh an under or subordinate head of Christi ; “considering that his authority cometh from God, simply and immediately, even as our Saviour Christ’s doth1 .”
Whereunto the sum of our answer is, first, that as Christ being Lord or Head over all, doth by virtue of that sovereignty rule all; so he hath no more a superior in governing his Church, than in exercising sovereign dominion upon the rest of the world besides. Secondly, that all authority, as well civil as ecclesiastical, is subordinate unto hisj . And thirdly, thatk the civil magistrate being termed Head, by reason of that authority in ecclesiastical affairs which itl hath been already declared that themselves do in wordm acknowledge to be lawful; it followeth that he is an Head even subordinated ofn , and to Christ.
For more plain explication whereof, firsto , unto God we acknowledge daily2 , that kingdom, power, and glory, are his; that he is3 the immortal and invisiblep King of ages, as well the future which shall be, as the present which now is. That which the Father doth work as Lord and king over all, he worketh not without, but by the Son, who through coeternal generation receiveth of the Father that power which the Father hath of himself. And for that cause our Saviour’s words concerning his own dominion are, “To me all power both in heaven and inq earth is given.” The Father by the Son bothr did create, and doth guide all; wherefore Christ hath supreme dominion over the whole universal world.
Christ is God, Christ is Λόγος, the consubstantial Word of God, Christ is also that consubstantial Word mades man. As God, he saith of himself1 , “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end: he which was, which is, and which is to come; even the very Omnipotent.” As the consubstantial Word of God, he hads with God before the beginning of the world, that glory which as mant he requestethu to have2 ; “Father, glorify thy Son nowx with that glory which with thee Iy enjoyed before the world was.” For there is no necessityz that all things spoken of Christ should agree unto him either as God, or else as man; but some things as he is the consubstantial Word of God, some things as he is that Word incarnate. The works of supreme dominion which have been since the first beginning wrought by the power of the Son of God, are now most truly and properlya the works of the Son of man: the Word made flesh doth sit for ever, and reign as sovereign Lord over all. Dominion belongeth unto the kingly office of Christ, as propitiation and mediation unto his priestly; instruction, unto his pastoral orb prophetical office. His works of dominion are in sundry degrees orc kinds, according to the different conditiond of them which are subject unto it: he presently doth govern, and hereafter shall judge the world, entire and wholee , thereforef his regal power cannot be with truth restrained unto a portiong of the world only. Notwithstanding forasmuch as all do not shew and acknowledge with dutiful submission that obedience which they owe unto him; therefore such as do, their Lord he is termed by way of excellency, no otherwise than the Apostle doth term God3 , the Saviourh generally of all, but especially of the faithful: these being brought to the obedience of faith, are every where spoken of as men translated into that kingdom, wherein whosoever is comprehended, Christ is4 the author of eternal salvation unto them; they have a high kind of ghostlyi fellowship5 with God, and Christ, and saints; or as the Apostle in more ample manner speaketh6 , “Aggregated they are unto Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the celestial Jerusalem, and to the company of innumerable angels, and to the congregation of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just and perfect men, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament.” In a word, they are of that mystical body, which we term the Church of Christ. As for the rest, we find them accountedk “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, men that layl in the kingdom of darkness, and that are in this present world without God.” Our Saviour’s dominion is therefore over these, as over rebels; over them as dutiful subjectsm .
Which things being in holy Scriptures so plain, I somewhat muse at thosen strange positions, that Christ1 in the government of theo Church, and superiority over the officers of it, hath himself a superior, which is hisp Father; but in the governmentq ofr kingdoms and commonwealths, and in the superiority which he hath over kingss , no superior. Again2 , “that the civil magistratet cometh from God immediately, as Christu doth, and is not subordinatex unto Christ.” In what evangelist, apostle, or prophet, is it found, that Christ, supreme governor of the Church, should be so unequal to himself, as he is supreme governor of kingdoms? The works of his providence for preservationy of mankind by upholding ofz kingdoms, not only obedient unto, but evena rebellious and obstinateb against him, are such as proceed from divine power; and are not the works of his providence for safety of God’s elect, by gathering, inspiring, comforting, and every way preserving his Church, such as proceed from the same power likewise? Surely, if Christ3 “as God and man have ordained certain means for the gathering and keeping of his Church,” seeing this doth belong to the government of hisc Church; it must in reason follow, I think, that as God and man he worketh in church regiment, and consequently hath no more thereing any superiorh , than in the government of commonwealthsi .
Again, to “be in the midst of his, wheresoever they are assembled in his name,” and to be “with them tillk the world’s end,” are comforts which Christ doth perform to his Church as Lord and Governor; yea, such as he cannot perform but by that very power wherein he hath no superior.
Wherefore, unless it can be proved, that all the works of our Saviour’s government in the Church are done by the mere and only force of his human nature, there is no remedy but to acknowledge it a manifest error, that Christ in the government of the world is equal unto the Father, but not in the government of the Church. Indeed, to the honour of this dominion it cannot be said that God did exalt him otherwise than only according to that human nature wherein he was made low: for as the Son of God, there could no advancement or exaltation grow unto him: and yet the dominion, whereunto he was in his human nature lifted up, is not without divine power exercised. It is by divine power, that the Son of man who sitteth in heaven, doth work as king and lord upon us which are on earth.
The exercise of his dominion over the Church militant cannot choose but cease, when there is no longer any militant Church in the world. And therefore as generals of armies when they have finished their work, are wont to yield up such commissions as were given theml for that purpose, and to remain in the state of subjects and not ofm lords, as concerning their former authority; even so, when the end of all things is come, the Son of man, who till then reigneth, shall do the like, as touching regiment over the militant Church on earthn . So that between the Son of man and his brethren, over whom he now reignetho in this their warfare, there shall be then, as touching the exercise of that regiment, no such difference; they not warfaring under him any longerp , but he together with them under God receiving the joys of everlasting triumph, that so God may be all in all; all misery in all the wicked through his justice; in all the righteous, through his love, all felicity and bliss. In the meanwhile he reigneth over thisq world as king, and doth those things wherein none is superior unto him, whether we respect the works of his providence over kingdomsr , or of his regiment over the Church.
The cause of error in this point doth seem to have been a misconceit, that Christ, as Mediator, being inferior unto his Father, doth, as Mediator, all works of regiment over the Church1 ; when in truth, governments doth belong to his kingly office, mediatorship, to his priestly. For, as the high priest both offered sacrificet for expiation of the people’s sins, and entered into the holy place, there to make intercession for them: so Christ2 , having finished upon the cross that part of his priestly office which wrought the propitiation for our sins, did afterwards enter into very heaven, and doth there as mediator of the New Testament appear in the sight of God for us. A like slipu of judgment it is, when they hold3 that civil authority is from God, but not mediatelyx through Christ, nor with any subordination unto Christ. For “there is no power,” saith the Apostle, “but from God4 ;” nor doth any thing come from God but by the hands of our Lord Jesus Christy .
They deny it not to be said of Christ in the Old Testament5 , “By me kings reign, and princes decree justicez ; by me princes rule, and the nobles, and all the judges of the earth.” In the New as much is taught6 , “That Christ is the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Wherefore to the end it may more plainly appear how all authority of man is derived from God through Christ, and must by Christian men be acknowledged to be no otherwise held than of and under him; we are to note, that because whatsoever hath necessary being, the Son of God doth cause it to be, and those things without which the world cannot well continue, have necessary being in the world; a thing of so great use as government amongst men, and human dominion in governmenta , cannot choose but be originally from him, and have reference also of subordination unto himb . Touching that authority which civil magistrates have in ecclesiastical affairs, it being from God by Christ, as all other good things are, cannot choose but be held as a thing received at his hands; and because such power asc is of necessary used for the ordering of religion, wherein the essence and very being of the Church consisteth, can no otherwise flow from him, than according to that special care which he hath to guide and governe his own people: it followeth that the said authority is of and under him after a more peculiarf manner, namelyg , in that he is Head of the Church, and not in respect of his general regency over the world. “All things,” (saith the Apostle1 speaking unto the Church) “are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” Kings are Christ’s, as saints; and kings are Christ’s, as kings: as saints, because they are of the Church; as kings, because they are in authority over the Church, if not collectivelyh , yet divisively understood; thati is over each particular person within that Church where they are kings. Suchk authority, reachingl both unto all men’s persons, and unto all kinds of causes also, it is not denied but that they lawfully may have and exercisem ; such authority it is, for which, and for no other in the world, we term them heads; such authority they have under Christ, because he in all things is Lord over all. And even of Christ it is that they have received such authority, inasmuch as of him all lawful powers are: therefore the civil magistrate is, in regard of this power, an under and subordinate head of Christ’s people.
BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 7.[7.]It is but idle o when they plead1 , “that although for several companies of men there may be several heads or governors, differing in the measure of their authority from the chiefest who is head ofp all; yet soq it cannot be in the Church, for that the reason why head-magistrates appoint others for such several places is,Against the second difference, whereby Christ is said to be universally head, the king no further than within his own dominionsn . because they cannot be present every where to perform the office of a head. But Christ is never from his body, nor from any part of it, and therefore needeth not to substitute any, which may be heads, some over one church and some over another.” Indeed the consideration of man’s imbecillity, which maketh many handsr necessary where the burden is too great for one, moved Jethro to be a persuader of Moses, that as number of heads or rulers might be instituted for discharge of that duty by parts, which in whole he saw was troublesome. Now although there be not in Christ any such defect or weakness, yet other causes there mayt be diverse, moeu than we are able to search into, wherefore it might seem to him expedient to divide his kingdom into many portionsv , and tow place many heads over it, that the power which each of them hath in particular with restraint, might illustrate the greatness of his unlimited authority. Besides, howsoever Christ be spiritually always united unto every part of his body, which is the Church; nevertheless we do all know, and they themselves who allege this will, I doubt not, confess also, that from every church here visible, Christ, touching visible and corporal presence, is removed as far as heaven from earthx isy distant. Visible government is a thing necessary for the Church; and it doth not appear how the exercise of visible government over such multitudes every where dispersed throughout the world should consist without sundry visible governors; whose power being the greatest in that kind so far as it reacheth, they are in consideration thereof termed so far heads. Wherefore, notwithstanding thatz perpetual conjunction, by virtue whereof our Saviour remaineth alwaysa spiritually united unto the parts of his mystical body; Heads enduedb with supreme power, extending unto a certain compass, are for the exercise of visiblec regiment not unnecessary.
Some other reasons there are belonging unto this branch, which seem to have been objected, rather for the exercise of men’s wits in dissolving sophisms, than that the authors of them could think in likelihood thereby to strengthen their cause. For example1 , “If the magistrate be head of the Church within his own dominion, then is he none of the Church; for all that Church makethd the body of Christ, and every one of the Church fulfilleth the place of one member of the body. By making the magistrate therefore head2 , we do exclude him from being a member subject to the head, and so leave him no place in the Church.” By which reason, the name of a body politic is supposed to be always taken of the inferior sort alone, excluding the principal guides and governors; contrary to all men’s custome of speech. The error riseth by misconstruingf of some scripture sentences, where Christ as the head, and the Church as the body, are compared or opposed the one to the other: and because in such comparisons andg oppositions, the body is taken forh those only parts which are subject to the head, they imagine that whoso is headi of any church, he is even therebyk excluded from being a part of that church: that the magistrate can be none of the Church, if so bel we make him the head of the church in his own dominions. A chief and principal part of the Churchm , therefore no part; this isn surely a strange conclusion. A church doth indeed make the body of Christ, being wholly taken together; and every one in the same church fulfilleth the place of a member in the body, but not the place of an inferior member, heo which hath supreme authority and power over all the rest. Wherefore, by making the magistrate head in his own dominions, we exclude him from being a member subject unto any other person which may visibly there rule in place of an head or governorp over him; but so far are we off from leaving him by this means no place in the Church, that we grantq him the chiefestr place. Indeed the heads of those visible bodies, which are many, can be but parts inferior in that spiritual body which is but one; yea, they may from this be excluded clean, who notwithstanding ought to be honoured, as possessing in the others the highest rooms: but for the magistrate to be termed, one way, withint his ownu dominions, an head, doth not bar him from being eitherv way a part or member of the Church of God.
As little to the purpose are those other cavils: “A Church which hath the magistrate for head, is ax perfect man without Christ. So that the knitting of our Saviour thereunto should be an addition of that which is too much.” Again, “If the Church be the body of Christ, and of the civil magistrate, it shall have two heads, which being monstrous, is to the great dishonour of Christ and his Church1 .” Thirdly, “If the Church be planted in a popular estate, then, forasmuch as all govern in common, and all have authority, all shall be heady there, and no body at all; which is another monster1 .” It might be feared what this birth of so many monstersz might portend, but that we know how things natural enough in themselves may seem monstrous through misconceit; which error of mind is indeed a monster, and so the skilful in nature’s mysteries have used to term it. The womba of monsters, if any be, isb that troubled understanding, wherein, because things lie confusedly mixed together, what they are it appeareth notc .
A Church perfect without Christ, I know not which wayd a man shoulde imagine; unless there may be either Christianity without Christ, or else a Church without Christianity. If magistrates be heads of the Church, they are of necessity Christians; if Christiansf , then is their Head Christ.
The adding of Christ theg universal Head over all unto theg magistrate’s particular headship, is no more superfluous in any church than in other societies ith is to be both severally eachi subject unto some head, and to have also a headk general for them all to be subject unto. For so in armies andl in civil corporations we see it fareth.BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 8. A body politic in such respects is not like to a natural body; in this, moem heads than one aren superfluous; in that, not.
It is neither monstrous nor as much as uncomelyo for a church to have different heads: for if Christian churches be in number many, and every of them a body perfectp by itself, Christ being Lord and Head over all; why should we judge it a thing more monstrous for one body to have two heads, than one head so many bodies? Him Godq hath made the supreme Head of the whole Church; the Head, not only of that mystical body which the eye of man is not able to discern, but even of every Christian politic society, of every visible Church in the world.
And whereas, lastly, it is thought so strange, that in popular states a multitude should to itselfr be both body and head, all this wonderment doth grow from a little oversight, in deeming that the subject wherein headship iss to reside, should be evermore some one person; which thing is not necessary. For in at collective body that hath not derived as yet the principality of power into some one or few, the whole of necessity must be head over each part; otherwise it could not possibly have poweru to make any one certain person head; inasmuch as the very power of making a head belongeth unto headship. These supposed monsters therefore we seex are no such giants, thaty there should need any Hercules to tame them.
[8.]1z For the title or stylea itself, although the laws of this land have annexed it to the crown, yet so far we wouldb not strive, if so be men were nice and scrupulous in this behalf only, because they do wish that for reverence unto Christ Jesus, the civil magistrate did rather use some other form of speech wherewith to express that sovereign authority which he lawfully hath over all, both persons and causes of the Church. But I see that hitherto they which condemn utterly the name so applied, do it because they mislike that anyc such power should be given unto civil governors. The greatestd exception that Sir Thomas More took against that title, who suffered death for denial of it1 , was “for that it maketh a lay, or seculare person, the head of the state2 spiritual or ecclesiastical;” as though God himself did not name evenf Saul the head of all the tribes of Israel; and consequently of that tribe also among the rest, whereunto the state spiritual or ecclesiastical belonged. When the authors of the Centuries reprove it in kings and civil governors, the reason is3 , “istis non competit iste primatus;” “such kind of power is too high for them, they fit it not.” In excuse of Mr. Calvin4 , by whom this realm is condemned of blasphemy for entitling Henry the Eighth Supreme Head of this Church under Christ, a charitable conjecture is made, that he spake by misinformation, and thought we had meant thereby far otherwise than we dog ; howbeit, as he professeth utter dislike of that name, so whether the name be used or no, the very power itself which we give unto civil magistrates he much complaineth of, and testifiethh , “That their power over all things was it which had ever wounded him deeply; that unadvised persons had made them too spiritual; that throughouti Germany this fault did reign; that in those very parts where Calvin himself was, it prevailed more than werej to be wished; that rulers, by imagining themselves so spiritual, have taken away ecclesiastical regimentk ; that they think they cannot reign unless they abolish all authorityl of the Church, and be themselves the chief judges, as well in doctrine, as in the whole spiritual regency.” So that in truth the question is, whether the magistrate, by being head in such sense as we term him, do use or exercise any part of that authority, not which belongeth unto Christ, but which other men ought to havem .
Opposition against the difference in kindn .[9.]The last difference which we have madeo between the title of head when we gave it unto Christ, and when we gavep it to other governors, is, that the kind of dominion which it importeth is not the same in both. Christ is head as being the fountain of life and ghostly nutriment, the well-spring of spiritual blessings poured into the body of the Church; theyq heads, as being r his principal instruments for the Church’s outward government: He head, as founder of the house; they, as his chiefest overseers1 . Against this theres is exceptiont especially taken, and our purveyors are herein said to have their provision from the popish shambles: for by Pighius and Harding, to prove that Christ alone is not head of the Church, this distinction they say is brought, that according to the inward influence of grace, Christ only is head; but according to outwardu government the being headx is a thing common with him toy others1 .
To raise up falsehoods of old condemned, and toz bring thata for confirmation of any thing doubtful, which hath alreadyb been sufficientlyc proved an error, and is worthily so taken, this would justly deserve censuring. But shall manifest truth be therefored reproached, because men in some things convictede of manifest untruth have at any time taughtf or alleged it? If too much eagerness against their adversaries had not made them forget themselves, they might remember where being charged as maintainers of those very things, for which others before them have been condemned of heresy, yet lest the name of any such heretic holding the same which they do should make them odious, they stick not frankly to professg , “2 that they are not afraid to consent in some points with Jews and Turks.” Which defence, for all that, were a very weak buckler for such as should consent with Jews and Turks, in that which they have been abhorred and hated for ofh the Church.
But as for this distinction of headship, spiritual and mystical ini Jesus Christ, ministerial and outward in others besides Christ; what cause isk to dislikel either Harding, or Pighius, or any other besides for it? That which they have been reproved for is, not because they did hereinm utter an untruth, but such a truth as was not sufficient to bear up the cause which they did thereby seek to maintain. By this distinction they have both truly and sufficiently proved that the name of head, importing power ofn dominion over the Church, might be given unto others besides Christ, without prejudice unto any part of his honour. That which they should have made manifest was,BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 10. thato the name of Head, importing the power of universal dominion over the whole Church of Christ militant, doth, and that by divine right, appertain unto the Pope of Rome. They did prove it lawful to grant unto others besides Christ the power of headship in a different kind from his; but they should have proved it lawful to challenge, as they did to the bishop of Rome, a power universal in that different kind. Their fault was therefore in exacting wrongfully so great power as they challenged in that kind, and not in making two kinds of power, unless some reasonp can be shewed for which this distinction of power should be thought erroneous and false.
[10.]A little they stir, although in vain, to prove that we cannot with truth make anyq such distinction of power, whereof the one kind should agree unto Christ only, and the other be r further communicated. Thus therefore they argue1 : “If there be no head but Christ, in respect of thes spiritual government, there is no head but he in respect of the word, sacraments, and discipline, administered by those whom he hath appointed, forasmuch as that is alsot his spiritual government.” Their meaning is, that whereas we make two kinds of power, of which two, the one being spiritual is proper unto Christ; the other men are capable of, because it is visible and external: we do amiss altogether, they think, in so distinguishingu , forasmuch as the visible and external power of regiment over the Church, is only in relation unto the word, the sacraments, and discipline, administered by such as Christ hath appointed thereunto, and the exercise of this power is also his spiritual government: therefore we do but vainly imagine a visible and external power in the Church differing from his spiritual power.
Such disputes as this dox somewhat resemble the wontedy practising of well-willers upon their friends in the pangs of death, whose manner is even then to put smoke in their nostrils, and so to fetch them again, although they know it a matter impossible to keep them living. The kind affectionz which the favourers of this labouring cause bear towards it will not suffer them to see it die, although by what means they should be able toa make it live, they do not see. But they may see that these wrestlings will not help. Can they be ignorant how little it booteth to overcast so clear a light with some mist of ambiguity in the name of spiritual regiment?
To make things therefore so plain that henceforthb a child’s capacity may serve rightly to conceive our meaning: we make the spiritual regiment of Christ to be generally that whereby his Church is ruled and governed in things spiritual. Of this general we make two distinct kinds; the one invisibly exercisedc by Christ himself in his own person; the other outwardly administered by them whom Christ doth allow to be thed rulers and guiders of his Church. Touching the former of these two kinds, we teach that Christ in regard thereof is peculiarlye termed the Head of the Church of God; neither can any other creature in that sense and meaning be termed head besides him, because it importeth the conduct and government of our souls by the hand of that blessed Spirit wherewith we are sealed and marked, as being peculiarly his. Him only therefore we do acknowledgef to be thatg Lord, which dwelleth, liveth and reigneth in our hearts; him only to be that Head, which giveth salvation and life unto his body; him only to be that fountain, from whence the influence of heavenly graceh distilleth, and is derived into all parts, whether the word, or sacramentsi , or discipline, or whatsoever be the meank whereby it floweth. As for the power of administering thesel things in the Church of Christ, which power we call the power of order, it is indeed both Spiritual and His; Spiritual, because such duties properly concernm the Spirit; His, because by him it was instituted. Howbeit neither spiritual, as that which is inwardly and invisibly exercised; nor his, as that which he himself in person doth exercise.
Again, that power of dominion which is indeed the point of this controversy, and doth also belong to the second kind of spiritual governmentn namely unto that regiment which is external and visible;BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 11. this likewise being spiritual in regard of the matter about which it dealeth, and being his, inasmuch as he approveth whatsoever is done by it, must notwithstanding be distinguished also from that power whereby he himself in person administereth the former kind of his own spiritual regiment, because he himself in person doth not administer this. We do not, therefore, vainly imagine, but truly and rightly discern a power external and visible in the Church, exercised by men, and severed in nature from that spiritual power of Christ’s own regiment, which power is termed spiritual, because it worketh secretly, inwardly, and invisibly; his, because none doth oro can it personally exercise, either besides or together with him. Sop that him only we may name our Head, in regard of thisq , and yet, in regard of that other power differingr from this, term others also besides him heads, without any contradiction at all.
[11.]Which thing may very well serve for answer unto that also which they further allege against the foresaid distinction, namely1 , “that even ins the outward societyt and assemblies of the Church, where one or two are gatheredu in his name, either for hearing of the word, or for prayer, or any other church-exercise, our Saviour Christ being in the midst of them as Mediator, must needs be there as headx : and if he be there noty idle, but doing the office of the head fully, it followeth that even in the outward societyz and meetings of the Church, no mere man can be called the head of it, seeing that our Saviour Christ doing the whole office of the head himself alone, leaveth nothing to men by doing whereof they may obtain that title.”
Which objection I take as being made for nothing but only to maintain argument. For they are not so far gone as to argue thus in sooth and right good earnest. “God standeth,” saith the Psalmist, “in the midst of gods;” if God be there present, he must undoubtedly be present as a Goda ; if he be there notb idle, but doing the office of a God fully, it followeth, that God himself alone doing the whole office of a God,BOOK VIII. Ch. iv. 12. leaveth nothing in such assemblies unto any other, by doing whereof they may obtain so high a name. The Psalmist therefore hath spoken amiss, and doth ill to call judges gods. Not so; for as God hath his office differing from theirs, and doth fully discharge it even in the veryc midst of them, so they are not therebyd excluded from all kind of duty for which that name should be given unto them also, but in that duty for which it was given them they are encouraged religiously and carefully to order themselves. After the selfsame manner, our Lord and Saviour being in the midst of his Church as Head, ise our comfort, without thef abridgment of any one duty, for performance whereof others are termed heads in another kind than he is.
[12.]If there be of the ancient Fathers which say, “Thereg is but one Head of the Church, Christ; and that the minister whichh baptizeth cannot be the head of him whichi is baptized, because Christ is the head of the whole Church: and that Paul could not be thek head of the Churchesl which he planted, because Christ is Headm of the whole body1 ;” they understand the name of head in such sort as we grant that itn is not appliable to any other, no not in relation to the least part of the whole Church:BOOK VIII. Ch. v. 1, 2. he which baptizeth, baptizeth into Christ: he which converteth, converteth untoo Christ; he which ruleth, ruleth for Christ. The whole Church can have but one to be head as lord and owner of all: wherefore if Christ be Head in that kind, it followeth, that no other can be sop else either to the whole or to any partq .
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To call and dissolve all solemn assemblies about the public affairs of the Church.V.[1.] r The consuls of Rome Polybius affirmeth1 to have had a kind of regal authority, in that they might call together the senate and people whensoever it pleased them. Seeing therefore the affairs of the Church and Christian religion are public affairs, for the ordering whereof more solemn assemblies sometimes are of as great importance and use, as they are for secular affairs; it seemeth no less an act of supreme authority to call the one than the other. Wherefore amongst sundry others prerogatives of Simon’s dominion over the Jews, thist is reckoned as2 not the least, “that no man might gather any great assembly in the land without him.” For so the manner of Jewish regiment had always been, that whether the cause for which men assembled themselves in peaceable, good, and orderly courseu , were ecclesiastical or civil, supreme authority should assemble them. David gathered all Israel together unto Jerusalem, when the ark was to be removed; he assembled the sons of Aaron and the Levites3 . Solomon did the like at such time as the temple was to be dedicated4 : when the Church was to be reformed, Asa in his time did the same: the same upon like occasions done afterwards by Joas, Ezekias, Josias, and others5 .
[2.]x The ancient imperial law6 forbiddeth such assemblies as the emperor’s authority did not cause to be made.BOOK VIII. Ch. v. 2. Before emperors became Christiany , the Church had never any synod generalz ; their greatest meetingsa consistedb of bishops and others the gravest in each province. As for the civil governor’s authority, it suffered them only as things not regarded or accountedc of, at such times as it did suffer them. So that what right a Christian king hath as touching assemblies of that kind we are not able to judge, till we come unto later times, when religion had won the hearts of the highest powers. Constantine (as Pighius1 doth grant) was not only the first that ever did call any general council together, but even the first that devised the calling of them for consultation about the businessd of God. After he had once given the example, his successors2 a long time followed the same; insomuch that S. Jerome, to disprove the authority of a synod which was pretended to be general, usethe this as a forcible argument3 , “Dic quis imperator hanc synodum jusserit convocari.” Their answer hereunto is no answer, which say, “that f emperors did not this without conference had with t bishops:” for to our purpose it is enough, if the clergy alone did it not otherwise than by the leave org appointment of their sovereign lords and kings.
Whereas therefore it is on the contrary side alleged, that Valentinian the elder1 being requested by Catholic bishops to grant that there might be a synod for the ordering of matters called in question by the Arians, answered, that he being one of the laity might not meddle with such affairsh , and thereupon wishedi , that the priests and bishops, to whom the care of those things belongedk , should meet and consult thereofl by themselves wheresoeverm they thought good: we must togethern with the emperor’s speech weigh the occasion and theo drift thereof. Valentinian and Valens, the one a Catholic, the other an Arian, were emperors together: Valens the governor of the east, Valentinianp of the west empire. Valentinian therefore taking his journey from the east part into the westq , and passing forr that intent through Thracia, the bishops theres which held the soundness of Christian belief, because they knew that Valens was their professed enemy, and therefore it the other weret once departed out of those quarters, the Catholic cause was like to find smallu favour, moved presently Valentinian about a council to be assembled under the countenance of his authority; who by likelihood considering what inconvenience might thereby growx , inasmuch as it could not be but a meany to incense Valens the more against them, refused himself to be author of, or present at any such assembly; and of this his denial gave them a colourable reason, to wit, that he was although an emperor, yet a secular person, and therefore not able in matters of so great obscurity to sit as a competent judge; but, if they which were bishops and learned men did think good to consult thereof together, they might. Whereupon when they could not obtain that which they most desired, yet that which wasz granted thema they took, and forthwith had a council. Valentinian went on towards Rome, they remaining in consultation till Valens which accompanied him returned back; so that now there was no remedy, but either to incur a manifest contempt, or else at the hands evenb of Valens himself to seek approbation of that they had done. To him, therefore, they became suitors: his answer was short, “Either Arianism, or elsec exile, which they would;” whereupon their banishment ensued. Let reasonable men therefore nowd be judges, how much this example of Valentinian doth make against the authority, which we say that sovereign rulers may lawfully have as concerning synods and meetings ecclesiastical.
e The clergy, in such wise gathered together, is an ecclesiastical senate, which with us, as in former times the chiefest prelate at his discretion did use to assemble, sof afterwards in such considerations as have been before specified, it seemedg more meet to annex the said prerogative unto the crown. The plot of reformed discipline not liking hereofh so well, taketh order that every former assembly before it breaki up should itself appoint both the time and place of their after meeting again. But because I find not any thing on that side particularly alleged against us herein, a longer disputation about so plain a cause shall not need.
BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 1, 2.VI.[1.] The natural subject of powerl civil all men confess to be the body of the commonwealth: the good or evil estate whereof dependeth so much upon the power of making laws, that in all well settled states, yea though they be monarchies, yet diligent care is evermore had that the commonwealth do not clean resign up herself and make over this power wholly into the hands of any one.Their power in making ecclesiastical lawsk . For this cause William, whom we call the Conqueror, making war against England in right of his title to the crown, and knowing that as inheritor thereof he could not lawfully change the laws of the land by himself, for that the English commonwealth had not invested theirm kings before with the fulness of so great power; therefore he took the style and title of a conqueror. Wherefore, as they themselves cannot choose but grant that the natural subject of power to make laws civil is the commonwealth; so we affirm that in like congruity the true original subject of power also to make church-laws is the whole entire body of that church for which they are made. Equals cannot impose laws andn statutes upon their equals. Therefore neither may any one man indifferently impose canons ecclesiastical upon another, nor yet one church upon another. If they go about at any time to do it, they must either shew some commission sufficient for their warrant, or else be justly condemned of presumption in the sight both of God and men. But nature itself doth abundantly authorize the Church to make laws and orders for her children that are within her. For every whole thing, being naturally of greater power than is any part thereof, that which a whole church will appoint may be with reason exacted indifferently of any within the compass of the same church, and so bind all unto strict obedience.
[2.]The greatest agents of the bishop of Rome’s inordinate sovereignty strive against no one point with such earnestness as against this, that jurisdiction (and in the name of jurisdiction they also comprehend the power of dominion spiritual) should be thought originally to be the right of the whole Church; and that no person hath or can have the same, otherwise than derived from the body of the Church.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 3.
The reason wherefore they can in no wise brook this opinion is, as friar Soto confesseth1 , because they which make councils above popes do all build upon this ground, and therefore even with teeth and all they that favour the papal throne must hold the contrary. Which thing they do. For, as many as draw the chariot of the pope’s preeminence, the first conclusion which they contend for is2 : The power of jurisdiction ecclesiastical doth not rest derived from Christ immediately into the whole body of the Church, but into the prelacy. Unto the prelacy alone it belongeth; as ours also do imagine, unto the governors of the Church alone it was first given, and doth appertain, even of very divine right, in every church established to make such laws concerning orders and ceremonies as occasion doth require.
[3.]Wherein they err, for want of observing as they should, in what manner the power whereof we speak was instituted. One thing it is to ordain a power, and another thing to bestow the same being ordained: or, to appoint the special subject of it, or the person in whom it shall rest. Nature hath appointed that there should be in a civil society power to make laws; but the consent of the people (which are that society) hath instituted the prince’s person to be the subject wherein supremacy of that power shall reside. The act of instituting such power may and sometimes doth go in time before the act of conferring or bestowing it.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 4. And for bestowing it there may be order two ways taken: namely, either by appointing thereunto some certain person, one or many; or else, without any personal determination, and with appointment only of some determinate condition touching the quality of their persons (whosoever they be that shall receive the same), and for the form or manner of taking it.
Now God himself preventeth sometimes these communities, himself nominateth and appointeth sometimes the subject wherein their power shall rest, and by whom either in whole or in part it shall be exercised; which thing he did often in the commonwealth of Israel. Even so Christ having given unto his Church the power whereof we speak, what she doth by her appointed agents, that duty though they discharge, yet is it not theirs peculiarly, but hers; her power it is which they do exercise. But Christ hath sometimes prevented his Church, conferring that power and appointing it unto certain persons himself, which otherwise the Church might have done. Those persons excepted which Christ himself did immediately bestow such power upon, the rest succeeding have not received power as they did, Christ bestowing it upon their persons; but the power which Christ did institute in the Church they from the Church do receive, according to such laws and canons as Christ hath prescribed, and the light of nature or Scripture taught men to institute.
But in truth the whole body of the Church being the first original subject of all mandatory and coercive power within itself, in case a monarch of the world together with his whole kingdom under him receive Christianity, the question is whether the monarch of that commonwealth may without offence or breach of the law of God have and exercise power of dominion ecclesiastical within the compass of his own territories, in such ample sort as the kings of this land may do by the laws thereof.
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1 [4.] o The casep is notq like when such assemblies are gathered together by supreme authority concerning other affairs of the Church, and when they meet about the making ofr ecclesiastical laws or statutes.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 5. For in the one they are only to advise, in the other they ares to decree. The persons which are of the one, the King doth voluntarily assemble, as being in respect of gravityt fit to consult withal; them which are of the other he calleth by prescript of law, as having right to be thereunto called. Finally, the one are but themselves, and their sentence hath but the weight of their own judgment; the other represent the whole clergy, and their voices are as much as if all did give personal verdict. Now the question is, Whether the clergy alone so assembled ought to have the whole power of making ecclesiastical laws, or else consent of the laity may thereunto be made necessary, and the King’s assent so necessary, that his sole denial may be of force to stay them from being laws.
What laws may be made for the affairs of the Church, and to whom the power of making them appertaineth.[5.]If they with whom we dispute were uniform, strong and constant in that which they say, we should not need to trouble ourselves about their persons to whom the power of making laws for the Church belongethu . For they are sometimes very vehement in contention, that from the greatest thing unto the least about the Church, all must needs be immediately from God. And to this they apply1 the pattern of the ancient tabernacle which God delivered unto Moses, and was therein so exact, that there was not left sox much as the least pin for the wit of man to devise in the framing of it. To this they ofteny apply that strictz and severe charge1 which God so often gave concerning his own law, “Whatsoever I command you, take heed yea do it;BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 5. thou shalt put nothing thereunto, thou shalt take nothing from it;” nothing, whether it be great or small. Yet sometime bethinking themselves better, they speak as acknowledging that it doth suffice to have received in such sort the principal things from God, and that for other matters the Church hathb sufficient authority to make laws. Whereupon they now have made it a question, what persons they are whose right it is to take order for the Church’s affairs, when the institution of any new thing therein is requisite.
Lawsc may be requisite to be made either concerning things that are only to be known and believed in, or else touching that which is to be done by the Church of God. The law of nature and the law of God are sufficient2 for declaration in both what belongeth unto each man separately, as his soul is the spouse of Christ, yea so sufficient, that they plainly and fully shew whatsoever God doth require by way of necessary introduction unto the state of everlasting bliss. But as a man liveth joined with others in common society, and belongeth unto the outward politic body of the Church, albeit the samed law of nature and scripturee have in this respect also made manifest the things that are of greatest necessity; nevertheless, by reason of new occasions still arising which the Church having care of souls must takef order for as need requireth, hereby it cometh to pass, that there is and ever will beg great use even of human laws and ordinances, deducted by way of discourse as conclusionsh from the former divine and natural, serving fori principles thereunto.
No man doubteth, but that for matters of action and practice in the affairs of God, for the manner ofk divine service, for order in ecclesiastical proceedings about the regiment of the Church, there may be oftentimes cause very urgent to have laws made:BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 6. but the reason is not so plain wherefore human laws should appoint men what to believe. Wherefore in this we must note two things: First, That in matter of opinion, the law doth not make that to be truth which before was not, as in matter of action it causeth that to be dutyl which was not before, but itm manifesteth only and giveth men notice of that to be truth, the contrary whereunto they ought not before to have believed. Secondly, That asn opinions do cleave to the understanding, and are in heart assented unto, it is not in the power of any human law to command them, because to prescribe what men shall think belongeth only unto God. “Corde creditur, ore fit confessio,” saith the Apostle1 . As opinions are either fit or inconvenient to be professed, so man’s law hatho to determine of them. It may for public unity’s sake require men’s professed assent, or prohibit contradictionp to special articles, wherein, as there haply hath been controversy what is true, so the same were like to continue still, not without grievous detriment to a number of souls, except law to remedy that evil should set down a certainty which no man isq to gainsay. Wherefore as in regard of divine laws, which the Church receiveth from God, we may unto every man apply those words of Wisdomr in Solomon2 , Conserva, fili mi, præcepta patris tuis : “My son, keep thou thy father’s precepts;” even so concerning the statutes and ordinances which the Church itself maketht , we may add thereunto the words that follow, Et ne dimittas legem matris tuæ, “And forsake not thouu thy mother’s law2 .”
[6.]It is undoubtedlyx a thing even natural, that all free and independent societies should themselves make their own laws, and that this power should belong to the whole, not to any certain part of a politic body, though haply some one part may have greater sway in that action than the rest: which thing being generally fit and expedient in the making of all laws, we see no cause why to think otherwise in laws concerning the service of God; which in all well-orderedy states and commonwealths is the first thing that law hath care to provide for1 .BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 7. When we speak of the right which naturally belongeth to a commonwealth, we speak of that which needs mustz belong to the Church of God. For if the commonwealth be Christian, if the people which are of it do publicly embrace the true religion, this very thing doth make it the Church, as hath been shewed. So that unless the verity and purity of religion do take from them which embrace it, that power wherewith otherwise they are possessed; look, what authority, as touching laws for religion, a commonwealth hath simplya , it must of necessity being Christian, have the same as touching laws for Christian religionb .
[7.]It will be therefore perhaps alleged, that a part of the verity of Christian religion is to hold the power of making ecclesiastical laws a thing appropriated unto the clergy in their synods; and thatc whatsoever is by their only voices agreed upon, it needeth no further approbation to give unto it the strength of a law: as may plainly appear by the canons of that first most venerable assembly2 , where those things whichd the Apostles and James had concluded, were afterwarde published and imposed upon the churches of the Gentiles abroad as laws, the records thereof remaining still in the book of God for a testimony, that the power of making ecclesiastical laws belongeth to the successors of the Apostles3 , the bishops and prelatesf of the Church of God.
To this we answer, that the council of Jerusalem is no argument for the power of the clergy aloneg to make laws. For first, there hathh not been sithencei any council of like authority to that in Jerusalem: secondly, the cause why that was of such authority came by a special accident: thirdly, the reason why other councils being not like unto that in nature, the clergy in them should have no power to make laws by themselves alone, is in truth so forcible, that except some commandment of God to the contrary can be shewed, it ought notwithstanding the foresaid example to prevail.
The decrees of the council of Jerusalem were not as the canons of other ecclesiastical assemblies, human, but very divine ordinances: for which cause the churches were far and wide commanded1 every where to see them kept, no otherwise than if Christ himself had personally on earth been the author of them.
The cause why that council was of so great authority and credit above all others which have been sithencek , is expressed in those words of principal observation2 , “Unto the Holy Ghost and to us it hath seemed good:” which form of speech, though other councils have likewise used, yet neither could they themselves mean, nor may we so understand them, as if both were in equal sort assisted with the power of the Holy Ghost; but the later had the favour of that general assistance and presence which Christ doth promise3 unto all his, according to the quality of their several estates and callings; the former, thatl grace of special, miraculous, rare, and extraordinary illumination, in relation whereunto the Apostle, comparing the Old Testament and the New together, termeth4 the one a Testament of the letter, for that God delivered it written in stone, the other a Testament of the Spirit, because God imprinted it in the hearts and declared it by the tongues of his chosen Apostles through the power of the Holy Ghost, framing both their conceits and speeches in mostm divine and incomprehensible manner. Wherefore inasmuch as the council of Jerusalem did chance to consist of men so enlightened, it had authority greater than were meet for any other council besides to challenge, wherein non such kind of persons are.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 8.
[8.]As nowo the state of the Church doth stand, kings being not then that which now they are, and the clergy not now that which then they were: till it be proved that some special law of Christ hath for ever annexed unto the clergy alone the power to make ecclesiastical laws, we are to hold it a thing most consonant with equity and reason, that no ecclesiastical lawp be made in a Christian commonwealth, without consent as well of the laity as of the clergy, but least of all without consent of the highest power.
For of this thing no man doubteth, namely, that in all societies, companies, and corporations, what severally each shall be bound unto, it must be with all their assents1 ratified. Against all equity it were that a man should suffer detriment at the hands of men, for not observing that which he never did either by himself or by others, mediately or immediately, agree unto; much more that a king should constrain all others unto the strict observation of any such human ordinance as passeth without his own approbation. In this case therefore especially that vulgar axiom is of force2 , “Quod omnes tangit ab omnibus tractari et approbari debet.” Whereupon Pope Nicholas, although otherwise not admitting lay-persons, no not emperors themselves to be present at synods, doth notwithstanding seem to allow of their presence when matters of faith are determined, whereunto all men must stand bound1 : “Ubinam legistis imperatores, antecessores vestros, synodalibus conventibus interfuisse; nisi forsitan in quibus de fide tractatum est, quæ universalis est, quæ omnibus communis estq , quæ non solum ad clericos, verum etiam ad laicos et omnes pertinet Christianos?” A law, be it civil or ecclesiastical, is asr a public obligation, wherein seeing that the whole standeth charged, no reason it should pass without his privity and will, whom principally the whole doth depend upon. “Sicut laici jurisdictionem clericorum perturbare, ita clerici jurisdictionem laicorum non debent imminueres ;” saith Innocent2 , “As the laity should not hinder the clergy’s jurisdiction, so neither is it reason that the laity’s right should be abridged by the clergyt .” But were it so that the clergy alone might give laws unto all the rest, forasmuch as every estate doth desire to enlarge the bounds of their own liberties, is it not easy to see how injurious this might prove unto men of other conditionu ? Peace and justice are maintained by preserving unto every order their rightsx , and by keeping all estates as it were in an even balance. Which thing is no way better done, than if the king, their common parent, whose care is presumed to extend most indifferently over all, do bear the chiefest sway in the making of lawsy which all must be ordered by.
BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 9.[9.]Wherefore, of them which in this point attribute most to the clergy, I would demand what evidence there is, which wayz it may clearly be shewed, that, in ancient kingdoms Christian, any canon devised by the clergy alone in their synods, whether provincial, national, or general, hath by mere force of their agreement taken place as a law, making all men constrainable to be obedient thereunto, without any other approbation from the king before or afterwards required in that behalf? But what speak we of ancient kingdoms, when at this day, even ina the papacy itself, the very Tridentineb council hath not every where as yet obtained to have in all points the strength of ecclesiastical lawc . Did not Philip, king of Spain, publishing that council in the Low Countries, add thereunto1 an express clause of special provision, that the same should in no wise prejudice, hurt, or diminish any kind of privilege which the king or his vassals aforetime had enjoyed, either touchingd possessory judgments of ecclesiastical livings, or concerning nominations thereunto, or belonging to whatsoever rightse they had else in such affairs? If therefore the king’s exception2 taken againstf some part of the canons contained in that council, were a sufficient bar to make them of none effect within his territories;BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 10. it followethg that the like exception against any other part had been also of like efficacy, and so consequently that no part thereof had obtained the strength of a law, if he which excepted against a part had so done against the whole: as, what reason was there but that the same authority which limited might quite and clean have refused that council? Whoso alloweth the said act of the Catholic Kingh for good and lawful, must grant that the canons even of general councils have but the forcei of wise men’s opinions concerning that whereof they treat, till they be publicly assented unto, where they are to take place as laws; and that, in giving such public assent, as maketh a Christian kingdom subject unto those laws, the king’s authority is the chiefest. That which an University of men, a Company or Corporationk doth without consent of their Rector, is as nothing. Except therefore we make the king’s authority over the clergy less in the greatest things, than the power of the meanest governor is in all things over the college or society which is under him; how should we think it a matter decent, that the clergy should impose laws, the supreme governor’s assent not askedl ?
[10.]There are which wonder that we should countm any statute a law, which the high court of parliament in England hath established about the matter of church regiment; the prince and court of parliament having, as they suppose, no more lawful means to give order to the Church and clergy in thesen things, than they have to make laws for the hierarchies of angels in heaven1 : that the parliament being a mere temporal court, can neither by the law of nature, nor of God, have competent power to define of such matters1 ;BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 11. that supremacy of powero in this kind cannot belong unto kings, as kings, because pagan emperors, whose princely power was notwithstandingp true sovereignty, never challenged thusq much over the2 Church: that power, in this kind, cannot be the right of any earthly crown, prince, or state, in that they be Christian, forasmuch as if they be Christians, they all owe subjection unto the pastors of their souls3 : that the prince therefore not having it himself cannot communicate it unto the parliament, and consequently cannot make laws, hearr , or determine of the Church’s regiment by himself, parliament, or any other court in such sorts subjected unto him4 .
[11.]The parliament of England together with the convocation annexed thereunto, is that whereupon the very essence of all government within this kingdom doth depend; it is even the body of the whole realm; it consisteth of the king, and of all that within the land are subject unto him: for they all are there present, either in person or by such as they voluntarily have derived their very personal right untot . The parliament is a court not so merely temporal as if it might meddle with nothing but only leather and wool1 . Those days of Queen Mary are not yet forgotten, wherein the realm did submit itself unto the legate of Pope Juliusu : at which time had they been persuaded as this man seemeth now to be, had they thought that there is no more force in laws made by parliament concerning thex Church affairs, than if men shallxx take upon them to make orders for the hierarchies of angels in heaven, they might have taken all former statutes iny that kind as cancelled, and by reason of nullity abrogated in themselvesz . What need was there that they should bargain with the cardinal, and purchase their pardon by promise made beforehand, that what laws they had made, assented unto, or executed against the bishop of Rome’s supremacy, the same they would in that present parliament effectually abrogate and repeal? Had they power to repeal laws made, and none to make laws concerning the regiment of the Church?
Again, when they had by suit obtained his confirmation for such foundationsa of bishoprics, cathedral churches, hospitals, colleges, and schools; for such marriages before made, for such institutions untob livings ecclesiastical, and for all such judicial processes, as having been ordered according to lawsc before in force, but contrary to the canons and orders of the church of Rome, were in that respect thought defective; although the cardinal in his letters of dispensation did give validity unto those acts, even apostolicæ firmitatis robur, “the very strength of apostolical solidity;” what had all this been without those graved authentical words1 , “Be it enacted by the authority of this present parliament, that all and singular articles and clauses contained in the said dispensation, shall remain and be reputed and taken to all intents and constructions in the laws of this realm, lawful, good and effectual to be alleged and pleaded in all courts ecclesiastical and temporal, for good and sufficient matter either for the plaintiff or defendant, without any allegation or objection to be made against the validity of them by pretence of any general council, canon, or decree to the contrary.” Somewhat belike they thought theree was in this mere temporal court, without which the pope’s own mere ecclesiastical legate’s dispensation had taken small effect in the Church of England; neither did they or the cardinal himself, as then, imaginef any thing committed against the law of nature or of God, because they took order for the Church’s affairs, and that even in the court of parllament.
The most natural and religious course in making ofg laws is, that the matter of them be taken from the judgment of the wisest in those things which they are to concern. In matters of God, to set down a form of publich prayer, a solemn confession of the articles of Christiani faith, ritesj and ceremonies meet for the exercise of religion; it were unnatural not to think the pastors and bishops of our souls a great deal more fit, than men of secular trades and callings: howbeit, when all which the wisdom of all sorts can do is done for devisingk of laws in the Church, it is the general consent of all that giveth them the form and vigour of laws, without which they could be no more unto us than the counsels of physicians to the sick: well might they seem as wholesome admonitions and instructions, but laws could they never be without consent of the whole Church, which is the only thing that bindeth each member of the Churchl , to be guided by them. Whereunto both nature and the practice of the Church of God set down in Scripture, is found every way so fully consonant, that God himself would not impose, no not his own laws upon his people by the hand of Moses, without their free and open consent. Wherefore to define and determine even of the church’s affairs by way of assent and approbation, as laws are defined of in that right of power, which doth give them the force of laws; thus to define of our own church’s regiment, the parliament of England hath competent authority.
Touching thel supremacy of power which our kings have in this case of making laws, it resteth principally in the strength of a negative voice; which not to give them, were to deny them that without which they were but kingsm by mere title, and not in exercise of dominion. Be it in states ofn regiment popular, aristocratical, or regal, principality resteth in that person, or those persons, unto whom is given theo right of excluding any kind of law whatsoever it be before establishment. This doth belong unto kings, as kings; pagan emperors even Nero himself had notp less, but much more than this in the laws of his own empire. That he challenged not any interest inq giving voice in the laws of the church, I hope no man will so construe, as if the cause were conscience, and fear to encroach upon the Apostles’ right.
If then it be demanded by what right from Constantine downward, the Christian emperors did so far intermeddle with the church’s affairs, either we must herein condemn them utterlyr , as being over presumptuously bold, or else judge that by a law which is termed Regia, that is to say royals , the people having derived intot the emperor their whole power for making of laws, and by that meanu his edicts being made laws1 , what matter soever they did concern, as imperial dignity endowedx them with competent authority and power to make laws for religion, so they were taughty by Christianity to use their power, being Christians, unto the benefit of the Church of Christ. Was there any Christian bishop in the world which did then judge this repugnant unto the dutiful subjection which Christians do owe to the pastors of their souls? to whom, in respect of their sacred order,BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 12. it is not by us, neither may be denied, that kings and princes are as much as the very meanest that liveth under them, bound in conscience to shew themselves gladly and willingly obedient, receiving the seals of salvation, the blessed sacraments, at their hands, as at the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all reverence, not disdaining to be taught and admonished by them, notz withholding from them as much as the least part of their due and decent honour. All which, for any thing that hath been alleged, may stand very well without resignation of supremacy of power in making laws, even laws concerning the most spiritual affairs of the Church.
Which laws being made amongst us, are not by any of us so taken or interpreted, as if they did receive their force from power which the prince doth communicate unto the parliament, or to any other court under him, but from power which the whole body of thisa realm being naturally possessed with, hath by free and deliberate assent derived unto him that ruleth over them, so far forth as hath been declared. So that our laws made concerning religion, do take originally their essence from the power of the whole realm and church of England, than which nothing can be more consonant unto the law of nature and the will of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[12.]To let these go, and tob return to our own men; “Ecclesiastical governors,” they say1 , “may not meddle with thec making of civil laws, and of laws for the commonwealth; nor the civil magistrate, high or low, with making of orders for the Church.” It seemeth unto me very strange, that thosed men which are in no cause more vehement and fierce, than where they plead that ecclesiastical persons may not κυριεύειν, be lordse , should hold that the power of making ecclesiastical laws, which thing is of all otherf most proper unto dominion, belongeth to none but persons ecclesiasticalg only.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 13. Their oversight groweth herein for want of exact observation, what it is to make a law. Tully, speaking of the law of nature, saith, “That thereof God himself was inventor, disceptator, lator, the deviser, the discusser, theh deliverer1 :” wherein he plainly alludeth unto the chiefest partsi which then did appertain to thisk public action. For when laws were made, the first thing was to have them devised; the second, to sift them with as much exactness of judgment as any way might be used; the next, by solemn voice of sovereign authority to pass them, and give them the force of laws. It cannot in any reason seem otherwise than most fit, that unto ecclesiastical persons the care of devising ecclesiastical laws be committed, even as the care of civil unto them which are in those affairs most skilful. This taketh not away from ecclesiastical persons all right of giving voice with others, when civil laws are proposed for regiment of thatl commonwealth, whereof themselves, (howsoeverm now the world would have them annihilated,) are notwithstanding as yet a part: much less doth it cut off that part of the power of princes, whereby, as they claim, so we know no reasonable cause wherefore we may not grant them, without offence to Almighty God, so much authority in making ofn all manner of laws within their own dominions, that neither civil nor ecclesiastical do pass without their royal assent. In devising and discussing of laws, wisdom is speciallyo required: but that which establishethp and maketh them, is power, even power of dominion; the chiefty whereof, amongst us, resteth in the person of the king. Is there any law of Christ’s which forbiddeth kings and rulers of the earth to have such sovereign and supreme power in the making of laws, either civil or ecclesiastical? If there be, our controversy hath an end.
[13.]Christ in his church hath not appointed any such law concerning temporal power, as God did of old deliverq unto the commonwealth of Israel; but leaving that to be at the world’s free choice, his chiefest care wass thatt the spiritual law of the Gospel might be published far and wide.
They that received the law of Christ, were for a long time people scattered in sundry kingdoms, Christianity not exempting them from the laws which they had been subject unto, saving only in such cases as those laws did enjoin that which the religion of Christ forbadeu . Hereupon grew their manifold persecutions throughout all places where they lived: as oft as it thus came to pass, there was no possibility that the emperors and kings under whom they lived, should meddle any whit at all with making laws for the Church. From Christ therefore having received power, who doubteth, but as they did, so they might bind themselvesx to such orders as seemed fittest for the maintenance of their religion, without the leave of high or low in the commonwealth; forasmuch as in religion it was divided utterly from them, and they from it?
But when the mightiest began to like of the Christian faith; by their means whole free states and kingdoms became obedient unto Christ. Now the question is, whether kings by embracing Christianity do thereiny receive any such law, as taketh from them the weightiest part of that sovereignty which they had even when they were heathens: whether being infidels they might do more in causes of religion, than now they can by the lawz of God, being true believers. For whereas in regal states, the king or supreme head of the commonwealth, had before Christianity a supreme stroke in thea making of laws for religion: he must by embracing Christian religion utterly thereof deprive himselfb , and in such causes become ac subject to his ownd subjects, having even within his own dominions them whose commandment he must obey; unless thise power be placed in the handee of some foreign spiritual potentate: so that either a foreign or domestical commander uponf earth he must needsg admit, more now than before he had, and that in the chiefest things whereupon commonwealths do stand. But apparent it is unto all men which are not strangers inh the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that no state ini the world receiving Christianity is by any law therein contained bound to resign the power which they lawfully held before: but over what persons and in what causes soever the same hath been in force, it may so remain and continue still.BOOK VIII. Ch. vi. 14. That which as kings they might do in matterk of religion, and did in matter of false religion, being idolatersl orm superstitious kings, the same they are now even in every respect asn fully authorized to do in all affairs pertinent unto the state of true Christiano religion.
[14.]p And concerning theirq supreme power ofr making laws for all persons in all causes to be guided by, it is not to be let pass, that the head enemies of this headship are constrained to acknowledge1 the king endoweds even with this very power, so that he may and ought to exercise the same, taking order for the Church and her affairs of what nature or kind soever, in case of necessity: as when there is no lawful ministry, which they interpret then to be (and this surely is a point very markablet ), whensoeveru the ministry is wicked. A wicked ministry nox lawful ministryy ; and in such sort no lawful ministry, that what doth belong to them as ministers by right of their calling, the same to be annihilated in respect of their bad qualitiesz ; their wickedness in itself a deprivation of right to deal in the affairs of the Church, and a warrant for others to deal in them which are held to be of a clean other society, the members whereof have been before so peremptorily for ever excluded from power of dealing with the affairsa of the Church.
They which have once throughly learned this lesson, will quickly be capable perhaps of another equivalent unto it. For if the wickedness of the ministry transferb their right unto the king; in case the king be as wicked as they, to whom then shall the right descend? There is no remedy, all must come by devolution at thec length, even as the family of Brown will have it1 , unto the godly among the people; for confusion untod the wise and thee great, the poor and the simplef , some Knipperdoling2 with his retinue, must take theg work of the Lord in hand; and the making of church laws and ordersh must prove to be their right in the end. If not for love of the truth, yet for veryi shame of sok gross absurdities, let these contentionsl and shiftingm fancies be abandoned.
The cause which moved them for a time to hold a wicked ministry no lawful ministry; and in this defect of a lawful ministry, kings authorizedn to make laws and orders for the affairs of the Church, till the Church be wello established, is surely this: First, they see that whereas the continual dealing of the kings of Israel in the affairs of the Church doth make now very stronglyp against them, the burden thereofq they shall in time well enough shake off, if it may be obtained that it is for kings lawful indeed r to follow thoses holy examples, howbeit no longer than during the foresaidt case of necessity, while the wickedness, and in respect thereof the unlawfulness of the ministry doth continue. Secondly, they perceive right well, that unless they should yield authority unto kings in case of such supposed necessity, the discipline they urge were clean excluded, as long as the clergy of England doth thereunto remain opposite. To open therefore a door for her entrance, there is no remedyu but the tenet must be this: that now when the ministry of England is universally wicked, and, in that respect, hath lost all authority, and is become no lawful ministry, no such ministry as hath the right which otherwise should belong unto them, if they were virtuous and godly as their adversaries are; in this necessity the king may do somewhat for the church: that which we do imply in the name of headship, he may both have and exercise till they be entered which will disburden and ease him of it; till they come, the king is licensed to hold that power which we call headship. But what afterwards? In a church [well?] ordered, that which the supreme magistrate hath1 , is “to see that the laws of God touching his worship, and touching all matters and orders of the Church, be executed and duly observed; to see that every ecclesiastical person do that office whereunto he is appointed; to punish those that fail in their officex .” In a word, (that which Allen himself acknowledgeth2 ,) unto the earthly power which God hath given him it doth belong to defend the laws of the Church, to cause them to be executed, and to punish the transgressorsy of the same.
On all sides therefore it is confessed, that to the king belongeth power of maintaining lawsz made for churcha regiment, and of causing them to be observed; but principality of power in making them, which is the thing thatz we attribute unto kings, this both the one sort and the other doa withstand1 : although2 not both in such sort but that still it is granted by the one that albeit ecclesiastical councils consisting of church officers did frame the laws whereby the church affairs were ordered in ancient times, yet no canon, no not of any council, had the force of a law in the Church, unless it were ratified and confirmed by the emperor being Christian. Seeing therefore it is acknowledged3 , that it was then the manner of the emperor to confirm the ordinances which were made by the ministers, which is as much in effect to say that the emperor had in church ordinances a voice negative;BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 1, 2.—and that without his confirmation they had not the strength of public ordinances;—why are we condemned as giving more unto kings than the Church did in those times, we giving them no more but that supreme power which the emperor did then exercise with much larger scope than at this day any Christian king either doth or possibly can use it over the Churchb ?
The Prince’s power in the advancement of Bishops unto the rooms of prelacyc .VII. Touching the advancement of prelates unto their rooms by the king; whereas it seemeth in the eyes of many a thing very strange that prelates, the officers of God’s own sanctuary, than which nothing is more sacred, should be made by persons secular; there are1 that will not have kings be altogether of the laity, but to participate that sanctified power which God hath endued his clergy with, and that in such respect they are anointed with oil. A shift vain and needless. For as much as, if we speak properly, we cannot say kings do make, but that they only do place, bishops. For in a bishop there are these three things to be considered; the power whereby he is distinguished from other pastors; the special portion of the clergy and peopled over whom he is to exercise that bishoply power; and the place of his seat or throne, together with the profits, preeminences, honours thereunto belonging. The first every bishop hath by consecration; the second hise election investeth him with; the third he receiveth of the king alone.
[2.]With consecration the king intermeddleth not further than only by his letters to present such an elect bishop as shall be consecrated. Seeing therefore that none but bishops do consecrate, it followeth that none but they onlyf do give unto every bishop his being. The manner of uniting bishops as heads, unto the flock and clergy under them, hath often altered.BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 2. For, if some be not deceived, this thing was sometimeg done even without any election at all. At the first (saith he to whom the name of Ambrose is given1 ) the first created in the college of presbyters was still the bishop. He dying, the next senior did succeed him. “Sed quia cœperunt sequentes presbyteri indigni inveniri ad primatus tenendos immutata est ratio, prospiciente concilio; ut non ordo sed meritum crearet episcopum multorum sacerdotum judicioh constitutum, ne indignus temere usurparet et esset multis scandalum.”
In elections at the beginning the clergy and the people both had to do, although not both after one sort. The people gave their testimony, and shewed their affection, either of desire or dislike, concerning the party which was to be chosen. But the choice was wholly in the sacred college of presbyters. Hereunto it is that those usual speeches of the ancient do commonly allude: as when Pontius concerning S. Cyprian’s election saith, he was chosen “judicio Dei et populi favore,” “by the judgment of God and favouri of the people2 ,” the one branch alluding to the voices of the ecclesiastical senate which with religious sincerity choosek him, the other to the people’s affection, who earnestly desired to have him chosen their bishop.
Again, Leo3 ; “Nulla ratio sinit, ut inter episcopos habeantur qui nec a clericis sunt electi nec a plebibus expetiti.” “No reason doth grant that they should be reckoned amongst bishops, whom neither clergy hath elected nor laity coveted.” In like sort Honorius4 ; “Let him only be established bishop in the see of Rome whom Divine judgment and universal consent hath chosen.”BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 3.
[3.]That difference, which is between the form of electing bishops at this day with us, and that which was usual in former ages, riseth from the ground of that right which the kings of this land do claim in furnishing the placel where bishops, elected and consecrated, are to reside as bishops. For considering the huge charges which the ancient famous princes of this land have been at, as well in erecting episcopal sees, as also in endowing them with ample possessions; sure of their religious magnificencem and bounty we cannot think but to have been most deservedly honoured with those royal prerogatives, [of] taking the benefit which groweth out of them in their vacancy, and of advancing alone unto such dignities what persons they judge most fit for the same. A thing over and besides even therefore the more reasonablen ; for that, as the king most justly hath preeminence to make lords temporal which are not such by right of birth, so the like preeminence of bestowing where pleaseth him the honour of spiritual nobility also, cannot seem hard, bishops being peers of the realm, and by lawo itself so reckoned.
Now, whether we grant so much unto kings in this respect, or in the former consideration whereupon the laws have annexed it unto the crown1 , it must of necessity being granted, both make void whatsoever interest the people aforetime hath had towards the choice of their own bishop, and also restrain the very act of canonical election usually made by the dean and chapter; as with us in such sort it doth, that they neither can proceed untop any election till leave be granted1 , nor elect any person2 but that is named unto them. If they might do the one, it would be in them to defeat the king of his profits; if the other, then were the king’s preeminences of granting those dignities nothing. And therefore, were it not for certain canons requiring canonical election to be before consecration3 , I see no cause but that the king’s letters patents alone might suffice well enough toq that purpose, as by law they do in case those electors should happen not to satisfy the king’s pleasure.BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 4. Their election is now but a matter of form: it is the king’s mere grant which placeth, and the bishop’s consecration which maketh, bishops.
[4.]Neither do the kings of this land use herein any other than such prerogatives as foreign nations have been accustomed unto.
About the year of our Lord 4251 , pope Boniface solicited most earnestly the emperor Honorius to take some order that the bishops of Rome might be created without ambitious seeking of the place. A needless petition, if so be the emperor had no right at all in the placing of bishops there. But from the days of Justinian the emperor, about the year 553, Onuphrius2 himself doth grant that no man was bishop in the see of Rome whom first the emperor by his letters patents did not license to be consecrated. Till in Benedict’s3 time it pleased the emperor to forego that right; which afterwards was restored to Charles with augmentation1 , and continued in his successors till such time as Hildebrand took it from Henry IV2 , and ever since the cardinals have held it as at this day.
Had not the right of giving them belonged to the emperors of Rome within the compass of their dominions, what neededr pope Leo the fourth to trouble Lotharius and Lodowick with those his letters3 , whereby, having done them to understand that the church called Reatina was without a bishop, he maketh suit that one Colonus might have the room, or, if that were otherwise disposed ofs , his next request was, “Tusculanam ecclesiam, quæ viduata existit, illi vestra serenitas dignetur concedere, ut consecratus a nostro præsulatu Deo Omnipotenti vestroque imperio grates peragere valeat.”BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 5. “May it pleaset your clemencies to grant unto him the church of Tusculum now likewise void; that by our episcopal authority he being after consecrated may be to Almighty God and your highnessu therefore thankful.”
[5.]Touching other bishopricks, extant there is a very short but a plain discourse1 , written almost 500 years since, by occasion of that miserable contention raised between the emperor Henry IVth and pope Hildebrand, named otherwise Gregory the VIIth, not, as Platina2 would bear men in hand, for that the bishop of Rome would not brook the emperor’s simoniacal dealingsx , but because the right, which Christian kings and emperors had to invest bishops, hindered so much his ambitious designments, that nothing could detain him from attempting to wrest it violently out of their hands.
This treatise I mention, for that it shortly comprehendeth not only the fore-alleged right of the emperor of Rome acknowledged by six several popes3 , even with bitter execration against whomsoever of their successors that should by word or deed at any time go about to infringe the same, but also furthery these otherz specialties appertaining thereuntoa : First4 , that the bishops likewise of Spain, England, Scotland, Hungary, had by ancient institution always been invested by their kings, without opposition or disturbance. Secondly, that such was theirb royal interest, partly1 for that they were founders of bishopricks, partly because they undertookc the defence of them against all ravenous oppressions and wrongs, partly2 in as much that it was not safe that rooms of so great power and consequence in their estate should without their appointment be held by any under them. And therefore3 that bishops even then did homage and took their oaths of fealty unto the kings which invested them. Thirdly4 , that what solemnity or ceremony kings do use in this action it skilleth not, as namely whether they do it by word, or by precept set down in writing, or by delivery of a staff and a ring, or by any other means whatsoever, only that use and custom would, to avoid all offence, be kept. Some base canonists there are, which contend that neither kings nor emperors had ever any right hereunto, savingd only by the pope’s either grant or toleration. Whereupon not to spend any further labour, we leave their folly to be controlled by men of more ingenuity and judgment even among themselves, Duarenus1 , Papon2 , Choppinus3 , Ægidius4 , Magister5 , Arnulphus Rusæus6 , Costlius7 , Philippus Probus8 , and the rest, by whom the right of Christian kings and princes herein is maintained to be such as the bishop of Rome cannot lawfully either withdraw or abridge or hinder.
But of this thing there is with us no question, although with them there be. The laws and customs of the realm approving such regalities, in case no reason thereof did appear, yet are they hereby abundantly warranted unto us, except some law of God or nature to the contrary could be shewed. How much more, when they have been every where thought so reasonable that Christian kings throughout the world use and exercise, if not altogether, yet surely with very little odds the same. So far that Gregory the Tenth9 forbidding such regalities to be newly begun where they were not in former times,BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 6. if any do claim those rights from the first foundation of churches, or by ancient custom, of them he only requireth that neither they nor their agents damnify the Church of God by using the said prerogativesn .
[6.]Now as there is no doubt but the church of England by this means is much eased of some inconveniences, so likewise a special care there is requisite to be had, that other evils no less dangerous may not grow. By the history of former times it doth appear, that when the freedom of elections was most large, men’s dealings and proceedings therein were not theo least faulty.
Of the people S. Jerome complaineth1 that their judgments many times went much awry, and that in allowing of their bishops every man favoured his own quality; every one’s desire was, not so much to be under the regiment of good and virtuous men, as of them which were like himself. What man is there whom it doth not exceedingly grieve to read the tumults, tragedies, and schisms, which were raised by occasion of the clergy at such time as, diverse of them standing for some one place, there was not any kind of practice, though never so unhonestp or vile, left unassayed whereby men might supplant their competitors and the one side foil the other. Sidonius, speaking of a bishoprick void in his time2 , “The decease of the former bishop,” saith he, “was an alarum to such as would labour for the room: whereupon the people, forthwith betaking themselves unto parts, storm on each side: few there are that make suit for the advancement of any other man; many who not only offer, but enforce themselves. All things light, variable, counterfeit: what should I say? I see not any thing plain and open but impudence only.”
BOOK VIII. Ch. vii. 7.In the church of Constantinople about the election of S. Chrysostom1 , by reason that some strove mightily for him and some for Nectarius, the troubles growing had not been small, but that Arcadius the emperor interposed himself: even as at Rome the emperor Valentinian, whose forces were hardly2 able to establish Damasus bishop, and to compose the strife between him and his competitor Ursicinus, about whose election the blood of a hundred and thirty-seven was already shed. Where things did not break out into so manifest and open flames, yet between them which obtained the place and such as before withstood their promotion, that secret heart burning often grew3 , which could not afterwards be easily slaked. Insomuch that Pontius doth note4 it as a rare point of virtue in Cyprian, that whereas some were against his election, he notwithstanding dealt ever after in most friendly manner with them, all men wondering that so good a memory was so easily able to forget.
[7.]These and other the like hurts accustomed to grow from ancient elections we do not feel. Howbeit, lest the Church in more hidden sort should sustain even as grievous detriment by that order which is now of force, we are most humbly to crave at the hands of ourq sovereign kings and governors, the highest patrons which this church of Christ hath on earth, that it would please them to be advertised thus much.
Albeit these things which have been sometimes done by any sort may afterwards appertain unto others, and so the kind of agents vary as occasions daily growing shall require; yet sundry unremovable and unchangeable burthens of duty there are annexed unto every kind of public action, which burthens in this case princes must know themselves to stand now charged with in God’s sight no less than the people and the clergy, when the power of electing their prelates did rest fully and wholly in them. A fault it had been if they should in choice have preferred any1 whom desert of most holy life and the gift of divine wisdom did not commend; a fault, if they had permitted long2 the rooms of the principal pastors of God to continue void; not to preserve the church patrimony as good to each successor as any predecessor did enjoy the same, had been in them a most odious and grievous fault. Simply good and evil do not lose their nature: that which was, is the one or the other, whatsoever the subject of either be. The faults mentioned are in kings by so much greater, for that in what churches they exercise those regalities whereof we do now entreat, the same churches they have received into their special care and custody, with no less effectual obligation of conscience than the tutor standeth bound in for the person and state of that pupil whom he hath solemnly taken upon him to protect and keep. All power is given unto edification, none to the overthrow and destruction of the Church.
Concerning therefore the first3 branch of spiritual dominion thus much may suffice;BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 1, 2. seeing that they with whom we contend do not directly oppose themselves against regalities, but only so far forth as generally they hold that no church-dignity should be granted without consent of the common people, and that there ought not to be in the Church of Christ any episcopal rooms for princes to use their regalities in. Of both which questions we have sufficiently spoken before.
Theirr power to command all persons, and to be over all causes ecclesiastical, whatsoevers .VIII. Touchingt the king’s supereminent authority in commanding, and in judgingu of causes ecclesiastical; First, to explain therein our meaning, It hath been taken as if we did hold, that kings may prescribe what themselves think good to be done in the service of God; how the word shall be taught, how sacramentsx administered: that kings may personally sit in the consistory where bishopsy do, hearing and determining what causes soever do appertain unto those courtsz : that kings and queens in their own proper persons are by judicial sentence to decide the questions which risea about mattersb of faith and Christian religion: that kings may excommunicate: finally, that kings may do whatsoever is incident unto the office and duty of an ecclesiastical judge. Which opinion because we countc as absurd as they who have fathered the same upon us, we do them to wit that thusd our meaning is, and no otherwise: There is not within this realm anye ecclesiastical officer, that may by the authority of his own place command universally throughout the king’s dominions; but they of hisf people whom one may command, are to another’s commandment unsubject: only the king’s royal power is of so large compass, that no man commanded by him according to orderg of law, can plead himself to be without the bounds and limits of that authority; I say, according to order of law, because with us the highest have thereunto so tied themselves, that otherwise than so they take not upon them to command any.
[2.]And, that kings should be in such sort supreme commanders over all men, we hold it requisite, as well for the ordering of spiritual as ofh civil affairs; inasmuch as without universal authority in this kind, they should not be able when need isi , to do as virtuous kings have done.BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 3. Joask1 , purposing to renew the “house of the Lord, assembled the Priests and Levites, and when they were together, gave them their charge, saying, Go outl unto the cities of Judah, and gather of allm Israel money to repair the house of your Godn from year to year, and haste the things: but the Levites hasted not. Therefore the king called Jehoiada, the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and Jerusalem, the tax of Moses, the servant of the Lord, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of the testimony? For wicked Athaliah and her children brake up the house of Godo , and all the things that were dedicated for the house of the Lord did they bestow upon Baalimoo . Therefore the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it at the gate of the house of the Lord without; and they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring unto the Lord the tax of Moses the servant of Godp , laid upon Israel in the wilderness.” Could either he have done this, or after him2 Ezechias the like concerning the celebration of the passover, but that all sorts of men in all things did owe unto thoseq their sovereign rulers the same obedience which sometimer Josua had them by solemns vow and promise bound unto3 ? “Whosoever shall rebel against thy commandments, andt will not obey thy words in all thatu thou commandest him, let him be put to death; only be strong and of a good courage.”
[3.]Furthermore, judgment ecclesiastical we say is necessary for decision of controversies rising between man and man, and for correction of faults committed in the affairs of God; unto the due execution whereof there are three things necessary, lawsx , judges, and a supreme governory of judgments.
BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 4.What courts there shall be, and what causes shall belong to each court, and what judges shall determine of every cause, and what order in all judgments shall be kept; of these things the laws have sufficiently disposed: so that his duty whichz sitteth in everya such court is to judge, not of, but after, the said lawsb : “Imprimis1 illud observare debet judex, ne aliter judicet quam legibus, autc constitutionibus, aut moribus proditum estd .” Which laws (for we mean the positive laws of our owne realm concerning ecclesiastical affairs) if they otherwise dispose of any such thing than according to the law of reason and of God, we must both acknowledge them to be amiss, and endeavour to have them reformed: but touching that point what may be objected shall after appear.
Our judges in causes ecclesiastical are either ordinary or commissionary: ordinary, those whom we term Ordinaries; and such by the laws of thisf land are none but prelates only, whose power to do that which they do is in themselves, and belongeth untog the nature of their ecclesiastical calling. In spiritual causes, a lay person may be no ordinary; a commissionary judge there is no let but that he may be: and that our laws do evermore refer the ordinary judgment of spiritual causes unto spiritual persons, such as are termed Ordinaries, no man which knoweth any thing inh the practice of this realm can easily be ignorant.
[4.]Now, besides them which are authorized to judge in several territories, therei is required an universal power which reacheth over all, importingk supreme authority of government over all courts, all judges, all causes; the operation of which power is as well to strengthen, maintain and uphold particular jurisdictions, which haply might else be of small effect; as also to remedy that which they are not able to help, and to redress that wherein they at any time do otherwise than they ought to do. This power being sometime in the bishop of Rome, who by sinister practices had drawn it into his hands, was for just considerations by public consent annexed unto the king’s royal seat and crown.BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 5. From thence the authors of reformation would translate it into their national assemblies orl synods; which synods are the only help whichm they think lawful to use against such evils in the Church as particular jurisdictions are not sufficient to redress. In which casen our laws have provided1 that the king’s supereminent authority and power shall serve. As namely, when the whole ecclesiastical state, or the principal persons therein, do need visitation and reformation; when, in any part of the Church, errors, heresies, schismso , abuses, offences, contempts, enormities, are grown, which men in their several jurisdictions either do not or cannot help: whatsoever any spiritual authority orp power (such as legates from the see of Rome did sometimes exercise) hath done or might heretofore have done for the remedy of those evils in lawful sort (that is to say, without violationq of the lawr of God or nature in the deed done), as much in every degree our laws have fully granted that the king for ever may do, not only by setting ecclesiastical synods on work, that the thing may be their act and the king their motioners unto it, (for so much perhaps the masters of reformation will grant;) but by commissionariest few or many, who having the king’s letters patents, may in the virtue thereof execute the premises as agents in the right, not of their own peculiar and ordinary but of his superemiment power.
[5.]When men are wronged by inferior judges, or have any just cause to take exception against them, their way for redress is to make their appeal. Anu appeal is a present delivery of him which maketh it out of the hands of their power and jurisdictionx from whence it is made. Pope Alexander2 having sometimey the king of England at thez advantage, caused him, amongst other things, to agree, that as many of his subjects as would, might appeala to the court of Rome. “And thus,” saith one1 , “that whereunto a mean person at this day would scorn to submit himself, so great a king was content to be subject.BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 6. Notwithstanding even when the pope,” saith he, “had so great authority amongst princes which were far off, the Romans he could not frame to obedience, nor was able to obtain that himself might abide at Rome, though promising not to meddle with other than ecclesiastical affairs.” So much are things that terrify more feared by such as behold them aloof off than at hand.
Reformers I doubt not in some casesa will admit appealsb , made unto their synods; even as the church of Rome doth allow of them so they be made to the bishop of Rome. As for that kind of appeal which the English laws2 do approve, from the judge of anyc particular court unto the king, as the only supreme governor on earth, who by his delegates may give a final definitive sentence, from which no further appeal can be made; will their platform allow of this? Surely, forasmuch as in that estate which they all dream of, the whole Church must be divided into parishes, ofd which none can have greater or less authority and power than another; again, the king himself must be but as a common member in the body of his own parish, and the causes of that only parish must be by the officers thereof determinable; in case the king had so much prefermente , as to be made one of those officers (for otherwise by their positions he were not to meddle any more than the meanest amongst hisf subjects with the judgment of any ecclesiastical cause), how is it possible they should allow of appeals to be made from any other abroad to the king?
[6.]To receive appeals from all other judges, belongeth unto the highest in power overg all; and to be in power over all, as touching the judgment ofh ecclesiastical causes, this as they think belongeth only unto synods. Whereas therefore with us, kings do exercise over all kinds of personso and causes, poweroo both of voluntary and litigious jurisdictionp ; so that according to the one they visitq , reform, and command; according to the other, they judge universally, doing both in far other sort than such as have ordinary spiritual power: oppugned herein we arer by some colourable shew of argument, as if to grant thus much unto any secular person it were unreasonable. “For sith it is,” say they1 , “apparent out of the Chronicles, that judgment in church matters pertaineth unto God; seeing likewise it is evident out of the Apostles , that the high priest is set over those matters in God’s behalf; it must needs follow that the principality or direction of the judgment of them is by God’s ordinance appertaining unto the hight priest, and consequently to the ministry of the Church: and if it be by God’s ordinance appertaining unto them, how can it be translated from them unto the civil magistrate?” Which argument, briefly drawn into form, lieth thus: That which belongeth unto God, may not be translated unto any other thanu whom he hath appointed to have it in his behalf: but principality of judgment in church matters appertaineth unto God, which hath appointed the high priest, and consequently the ministry of the Church alone, to have it in thisx behalf; thereforey , it may not from them be translated to the civil magistrate. The first of which threez propositions we grant; as also in the second that branch which ascribeth unto God principality in churcha matters. But that either he did appoint none but only the high priest to exercise the said principality for him; or that the ministry of the Church may in reason from thence be concluded to have alone the same principality by his appointment: these two points we deny utterly.
For concerning the high priest, there is first no such ordinance of God to be found. “Every high priest,” saith the Apostle2 , “is taken from among men, and is ordained for men in things pertaining to God:” whereupon it may well be gathered, that the priest was indeed ordained of God to have power in things pertaining unto God.BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 7. For the Apostle doth there mention the power of offering gifts and sacrifices for sinsb ; which kind of power was not only given of God unto priests, but restrained unto priests only. The power of jurisdiction and ruling authority, this also God gave them, but not them alonec . For it is held, as all men know, that others of the laity were herein joined by the law with them. But concerning principality in church affairs (for of this our question is, and of no other) the priests neither had it alone, nor at all; but (as hath been already shewed) principality in spiritual affairsd was the royal prerogative of kingse .
Again, though it were so, that God had appointed the high priest to have the said principality of government in those matters; yet how can they who allege this, enforce thereby that consequently the ministry of the Church, and no other, ought to have the same, when they are so far off from allowing asf much to the ministry of the Gospel, as the priesthood of the Law had by God’s appointment, that we but collecting thereout a difference in authority and jurisdiction amongst the Clergy, to be for the policyff of the Church not inconvenient, they forthwith think to close up our mouths by answering, “That the Jewish high priestsg had authority above the rest, only in that they prefigured the sovereignty of Jesus Christ; as for the ministers of the Gospel, it is,” they sayh , “altogether unlawful to give them as much as the least title, any syllable that any wayi may sound towardsk principality?” And of the regency which may be granted, they hold others even of the laity no less capable than pastors1 themselves. How shall these things cleave together?
[7.]The truth is, that they have some reason to think it not all of the fittest for kings to sit as ordinary judges in matters of faith and religion. An ordinary judge must be of thatm quality which in a supreme judge is not necessary: because the person of the one is charged with that which the other’s authority dischargeth, without employing personally himself herein. It is an error to think that the king’s authority can have no force orn power in the doing of that which himself may not personally do. For first, impossible it is, that at one and the same time the king in person should order so many and so different affairs, as by his power every where present are wont to be ordered both in peace and in waro , at home and abroad. Again, the king, in regard of his nonage or minority, may be unable to perform that thing wherein years of discretion are requisite for personal action; and yet his authority even then be of force. For which cause we say, that the king’s authority dieth not, but is, and worketh, always alike. Sundry considerations there may be, effectual to withhold the king’s person from being a doer of that which his power must notwithstandingp give force unto. Evenq in civil affairs, where nothing doth either morer concern the duty, or better beseem the majesty of kings, than personally to administer justice unto their people, as most famous princes have done: yet, if it be in case of felony or treason, the learned ins the laws of this realm do plainlyt affirm1 , that well may the king commit his authority unto another to judge between him and the offender; but the king being himself hereu a party, he cannot personally sit to give judgmentx .
As therefore the person of the king may, for just considerationsy , even where the cause is civil, be notwithstanding withdrawn from occupying the seat of judgment, and others under his authority be fit, he unfit himself to judge; so the considerations for which it were haply not convenient for kings to sit and give sentence in spiritual courts, where causes ecclesiastical are usually debated, can be no bar to that force and efficacy which their sovereign power hath over those very consistories, and for which, we hold without any exception that all courts are the king’s. All men are not for all things sufficient;BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 8. and therefore public affairs being divided, such persons must be authorized judges in each kind, as common reason may presume to be most fit: which cannot of kings and princes ordinarily be presumed in causes merely ecclesiastical; so that even common sense doth rather adjudge this burden unto other men. We see it hereby a thing necessary, to put a difference, as well between that ordinary jurisdiction which belongeth to the clergy alone, and that commissionary wherein others are for just considerationsz appointed to join with them; as also between both these jurisdictions, and a third, whereby the king hath a transcendenta authority, and that in all causes, over both. Why this may not lawfully be granted unto him, there is no reason.
[8.]A time there was when kings were not capable of any such power, as namely, while b they professed themselves open adversariesc unto Christ and Christianity. A time there followed, when they, being capable, took sometimes more sometimes less to themselves, as seemed best in their own eyes, because no certainty touching their right was as yet determined. The bishops, who alone were before accustomed to have the ordering of such affairs, saw very just cause of grief, when the highest, favouring heresy, withstood by the strength of sovereign authority religious proceedings. Whereupon they oftentimes, against this new unresistibled power, pleaded thate use and custom which had been to the contrary; namely, that the affairs of the Church should be dealt in by the clergy, and by no other: unto which purpose, the sentences that then were uttered in defence of unabolished orders and laws, against such as did of their own heads contrary thereunto, are now altogether impertinently brought in opposition against them who use but thef power which laws have given them, unless men can shew that there is in those laws some manifest iniquity or injustice.
Whereas therefore against the force judicial and imperial, which supreme authority hath, it is alleged, how Constantine1 termeth church-officers, “Overseers of things within the Church1 ,” himself, “of those without the Church:” how Augustine2 witnesseth, that the emperor not daring to judge of the bishops’ cause, committed it unto the bishops; and was to crave pardon of the bishops, for that by the Donatists’ importunity, which made no end of appealing unto him, he was, being weary of them, drawn to give sentence in a matter of theirs3 : how Hilary4 beseecheth the emperor Constance to provide that the governors of his provinces should not presume to take upon them the judgment of ecclesiastical causes, to whom commonwealth matters onlyr belonged: how Ambrose5 affirmeth, that palaces belong unto the emperor, churches to the minister; that the emperor hath authoritys over the common walls of the city, and not in holy things1 ; for which cause2 he never would yield to have “the causes of the Church3 debated in the prince’s consistoryt ,” but “excused himself to the emperor Valentinian, for that being convented to answer concerning church matters in a civil court, he came notu :” we may by these testimonies drawn from antiquity, if we list to consider them, discern how requisite it is that authority should always follow received laws in the manner of proceeding. For inasmuch as there was at the first no certain law, determining what force the principal civil magistrate’s authority should be of, how far it should reach, and what order it should observe; but Christian emperors from time to time did what themselves thought most reasonable in those affairs; by this meanx it cometh to pass that they in their practice vary, and are not uniform.
Virtuous emperors, such as Constantine the Great was, made conscience to swerve unnecessarily from the customsy which had been used in the Church, even when it lived under infidels. Constantine, of reverence to bishops and their spiritual authority, rather abstained from that which himself might lawfully do, than was willing to claim a power not fit or decentz for him to exercise. The order which hada been before, he ratifiedb , exhorting bishopsc to look to the Church, and promising that he would do the office of a bishop over the commonwealth: which very Constantine notwithstanding, did not thereby so renounce all authority in judging of spirituald causes, but that sometime he took, as St. Augustine witnesseth1 , even personal cognition of them; howbeit whether as purposing to give therein judicially any sentence, I stand in doubt. For if the other, of whom St. Augustine elsewhere speaketh, did in such sort judge, surely there was cause why he should excuse it as a thing not usually done. Otherwise there is no let, but that any such great person may hear those causes to and fro debated, and deliver in the end his own opinion of them, declaring on which side himself doth judge that the truth is. But this kind of sentence bindeth no side to stand thereunto; it is a sentence of private persuasion, and not of solemn jurisdiction, albeit a king or an emperor pronounce it.
Again, on the contrary part, when governors infected with heresy were possessed of the highest power, they thought they might use it as pleasede themselves, to further by all means therewithf that opinion which they desired should prevail; they not respecting at all what was meet, presumed to command and judge all men in all causes, without either care of orderly proceeding, or regard to such laws and customs as the Church had been wont to observe. So that the one sort feared to do even that which they might; and that which the other ought not they boldly presumed upon; the one sort of modestyg , excused themselves where they scarce needed; the other, though doing that which wash inexcusable, bare it out with main power, not enduring to be told by any man how far they roved beyond their bounds. So great oddsi between them whom before we mentioned, and such as the younger Valentinian, by whom St. Ambrose being commanded to yield up one of the churches under him unto the Arians, whereas they which were sent on thek message alleged, that the emperor did but use his own right, forasmuch as all things were in his power: the answer which the holy bishop gave them was2 , “That the Church is the house of God, and that those things which bel God’s are not to be yielded up,BOOK VIII. Ch. viii. 9. and disposed of at the emperor’s will and pleasure; his palaces he might grant unto whomsoeverm , but God’s own habitationsn not so.” A cause why many times emperors dido more by their absolute authority than could very well stand with reason, was the over great importunity of hereticsp , who being enemies to peace and quietness, cannot otherwise than by violent means be supported.
[9.]In this respect therefore we must needs think the state of our own church much better settled than theirs was; because our laws have with far more certainty prescribed bounds unto each kind of power. All decisionsq of things doubtful, and corrections of things amiss, are proceeded in by order of law, what person soever he be unto whom the administration of judgment belongeth. It is neither permitted unto prelater nor prince to judge ands determine at their own discretion, but law hath prescribed what both shall do. What power the king hath he hath it by law, the bounds and limits of it are known; the entire community giveth general order by law how all things publicly are to be done, and the king as headt thereof, the highest in authority over all, causeth according to the same law every particular to be framed and ordered thereby. The whole body politic maketh laws, which laws givett power unto the king, and the king having bound himself to use according unto law that power, it so falleth out, that the execution of the one is accomplished by the other in most religious and peaceable sort. There is no cause given unto any to make supplication, as Hilary did, that civil governors, to whom commonwealth-matters only belong, mightu not presume to take upon them the judgment of ecclesiastical causes. If the cause be spiritual, secular courts do not meddle with it: we need not excuse ourselves with Ambrose, but boldly and lawfully we may refuse to answer before any civil judge in a matter which is not civil,BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 1. so that we do not mistake the nature eitherx of the cause or of the court, as we easily may do both, without some better direction than can be hady by the rules of this new-found discipline. But of this most certain we are, that our laws do neither suffer a spiritual court1 to entertain those causes which by lawz are civil, nor yet if the matter be indeed spiritual, a mere civil court to give judgment of it.
Touching supreme power therefore to command all men, in alla manner of causes of judgment to be highest, let thus much suffice as well for declaration of our own meaning, as for defence of the truth thereinb .
The king’s exemption from censure and other judicial powerc .IX. The last thing of all which concerns the king’s supremacy is, whether thereby he may be exempted from being subject to that judicial power which ecclesiastical consistories have over men. It seemeth, first, in most men’s judgments to be requisite that on earth there should not be any alive altogether without standing in awe of some by whom they may be controlled and bridled.
The good estate of a commonwealth within itself is thought on nothing to depend more than upon these two special affections, fear and love: fear in the highest governor himself; and love, in the subjects that live under him. The subject’s love for the most part continueth as long as the righteousness of kings doth last;BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 2. in whom virtue decayeth not as long as they fear to do that which may alienate the loving hearts of their subjects from them. Fear to do evil groweth from the harm which evildoers are to suffer. If therefore private men, which know the danger they are subject unto, being malefactors, do notwithstanding so boldly adventure upon heinous crimes, only because they know it is possible for some transgressor sometimes to escape the danger of law: in the mighty upon earth, (which are not always so virtuous and holy that their own good minds will bridle them,) what may we look for, considering the frailty of man’s nature, if the world do once hold it for a maxim that kings ought to live in no subjection: that, how grievous disordersd soever they fall into, none may have coercive power over them? Yet so it is that this we must necessarily admit, as a number of right well learned men are persuaded.
[2.]Let us therefore set down first, what there is whiche may induce men so to think; and then consider their several inventions or ways, who judge it a thing necessary, even for kings themselves, to be punishable, and that by men. The question itself we will not determine. The reasons of each opinion being opened, it shall be best for the wise to judge which of them is likeliest to be true. Our purpose being not to oppugn any save only that which reformers hold; and of the rest, rather to inquire than to give sentence. Inducements leading men to think the highest magistrate should not be judged of any, saving God alone, are specially these. 1. First, as there could be in natural bodies no motion of any thing, unless there were some which movethf all things and continueth unmoveableg ; even so in politic societies there must be some unpunishable, or else no man shall suffer punishment. For sith punishments proceed always from superiors, to whom the administration of justice belongeth, which administration must have necessarily a fountain that deriveth it to all others, and receiveth ith not from any; because otherwise the course of justice should go infinitely in a circle, every superior having his superior without end, which cannot be: therefore a well-spring it followeth there is, and a supreme head of justice, whereunto all are subject,BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 3. but itself in subjection to none. Which kind of preeminence if some ought to have in a kingdom, who but the king should have it? Kings therefore no man can have lawfully power and authority to judge. If private men offend, there is the magistrate over them, which judgeth. If magistrates, they have their prince. If princes, there is Heaven, a tribunal, before which they shall appear: on earth they are not accountable to any.
2. Which thing likewise the very original of kingdomsi doth shew.
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[3.]“His second point, whereby he would make us odious, is, that we think the prince may be subject to excommunication; that is, that he is a brother1 , that he is not without but within the Church2 . If this be dangerous, why is it printed and allowed in the famous writings of bishop Jewel3 : ‘In that the high priest4 doth his office when he excommunicates and cuts off a dead member from the body, so far forth the prince, be he never so mighty, is inferior to him. Yea not only to a bishop, but to a simple priest?’ Why is it suffered which Mr. Nowell hath written5 , ‘The prince ought patiently to abide excommunication at the bishop’s hands?’ Why are not the worthy examples of emperors rased6 out of the histories, seeing they have been subject to his [this] censure7 ?”
The Jews were forbidden to choose an alien king over them; inasmuch as there is not any thing more natural than that the head and the body subject thereunto should always, if it were possible, be linked in that bond of nearness also which birth and breeding as it were in the bowels of one common mother usually causeth. Which being true did not greatly need to be alleged for proof that kings are in the Church of God of the same spiritual fraternity with their subjects: a thing not denied nor doubted of.
Indeed the king is a brother; but such a brother as unto whom all the rest of the brethren are subject. He is a sheaf of the Lord’s field as the rest are; howbeit, a sheaf which is so far raised up above the rest1 that they all owe reverence unto it. The king is a brother which hath dominion over all his brethren. A strange conclusion to gather hereby, that therefore some of his brethren ought to have the authority of correcting him. We read that God did say unto David, “If Solomon thy son forget my laws, I will punish his transgressions with a rod.” But that he gave dominion unto any of Solomon’s brethren to chastise Solomon, we do not read.
It is a thing very much alleged, that the church of the Jews had the sword of excommunication. Is any man able to allege where the same was ever drawn forth against the king? Yet how many of their kings how notoriously spotted?
Our Saviour’s words are, “If thy brother offend thee.” And St. Paul’s, “Do ye not judge them that are within?” Both which speeches are but indefinite. So that neither the one nor the other is any let but some brother there may be whose person is exempt from being subject to any such kind of proceeding: some within, yet not therefore under, the jurisdiction of any other. Sentences, indefinitely uttered, must sometimes universally be understood: but not where the subject or matter spoken of doth in particulars admit that difference which may in reason seclude any part from society with the residue of that whole, whereunto one common thing is attributed. As in this case it clearly fareth where the difference between kings and others of the Church is a reason sufficient to separate the one from the other in that which is spoken of brethren, albeit the name of brethren itself do agree to both. Neither doth our Saviour nor the Apostle speak in more general sort1 of ecclesiastical punishments than Moses in his law doth of civil: “If there be found men or the man “amongst you that hath served other gods2 .” Again, “The man that committeth adultery.” The punishment of both which transgressions being death, what man soever did offend therein, why was not Manasses for the one, for the other why not David accordingly executed? “Rex judicat, non judicatur,” saith one. The king is appointed a judge of all men that live under him; but not any of them his judge.
a The king3 is not subject unto laws; that is to say, the punishment which breach of laws doth bring upon inferiors taketh not hold on the king’s person;BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 4. although the general laws which all mankind is bound unto do tie no less the king than others, but rather more. For the grievousness of sin is aggravated by the greatness of him that committeth it: for which cause it also maketh him by so much the more obnoxious unto Divine revenge, by how much the less he feareth human.
[4.]Touching Bishop Jewel’s opinion hereof1 , there is not in the place alleged any one word or syllable against the king’s prerogative royal to be free from the coercive power of all spiritual, both persons and courts, within the compass of his own dominions. “In that,” saith he, “the priest doeth his office, in that he openeth God’s word, or declareth his threats, or rebuketh sin, or excommunicateth and cutteth off a dead member from the body; so far forth the prince, be he never so mighty, is inferior unto him. But in this respect the prince is inferior not only to the pope or bishop, but also to any other simple priest.” He disputeth earnestly against that supremacy which the bishop of Rome did challenge over his sovereign lord the emperor: and by many allegations he laboureth to shew that popes have been always subject unto his supreme dominion, not he to theirs; he supreme judge over them, not they over him. Now whereas it was objected, that within the Church, when the priest doth execute his office, the very prince is inferior to him; so much being granted by Mr. Jewel, he addeth that this doth no more prove the pope than the simplest priest in the Church to be lord and head over kings. For although it doth hereby appear that in those things which belong to his priestly office the pope may do that which kings are not licensed to meddle with; in which respect it cannot be denied but that the emperor himself hath not only less power than the chiefest bishop, but even less than the meanest priest within his empire, and is consequently every priest’s inferior that way: nevertheless, sith this appertaineth nothing at all to judicial authority and power, how doth this prove kings and emperors to be by way of subjection inferior to the pope as to their ecclesiastical judge? Impertinently therefore is the answer, which to such effect that admirable prelate maketh,BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 5. brought by way of evidence to shew that in his opinion the king may not be exempted from the coercive authority and power of his own Clergy, but ought for his faults to be as punishable in their courts as any other subject under him.
[5.]The excommunication, which good Mr. Nowell thinketh that princes ought patiently to suffer at the bishop’s hands, is no other than that which we also grant may be exercised on such occasions and in such manner as those two alleged examples out of antiquity do enforce.
“It is reported,” saith Eusebius1 , “that one of the Philips which succeeded Gordian, came, being a Christian, to join with the rest of the people in prayer, the last festival day of Easter. At which time he which governed the Church there whither the emperor did resort, would in no case admit him, unless he first made confession, and were contented afterwards to stay his time in the place appointed for penitents,” (according to the manner of Church discipline in those days, whereof we have spoken in the fifth [sixth?] book sufficiently); “because he was known to be many ways faulty. To this he readily condescended, making manifest by his deeds his true and religious affection to Godwards.”
Another example there is, of the emperor Theodosius, who understanding that violence in the city of Thessalonica had been offered unto certain magistrates, sent in great rage a band of men; and, without any examination had to know where the fault was, slew mel-pell both guilty and innocent, to the number of 70002 . It chanced afterwards, that the emperor coming to Milan, and intending to go to the Church as his accustomed manner was, St. Ambrose the bishop of that city, who before had heard of the emperor’s so cruel and bloody an act, met him before the gate of the church, and in this wise forbade him to enter: “Emperor, it seemeth that how great the slaughter is which thyself hast made thou weighest not; nor, as I think, when wrath was settled did reason ever call to account what thou hadst committed. Peradventure thine imperial royalty hindreth the acknowledgment of thy sin; and thy power is a let to reason. Notwithstanding know thou shouldst what our nature is, how frail a thing and how fading; and that the first original from whence we have all sprung was the very dust whereunto we must slide again. Neither is it meet that being inveigled with the show of thy glistering robes thou shouldst forget the imbecility of that flesh which is covered therewith. Thy subjects (O emperor) are in nature thy colleagues: yea even in her vice [service?] thou art also joined as a fellow with them. For there is one Lord and Emperor, the Maker of this whole assembly of all things. With what eyes therefore wilt thou look upon the habitation of that common Lord? With what feet wilt thou tread upon that sacred floor? How wilt thou stretch forth those hands from which the blood as yet of unrighteous slaughter doth distil? The body of our Lord all holy how wilt thou take into such hands? How wilt thou put his honourable blood unto that mouth, the wrathful word whereof hath caused against all order of law the pouring out of so much blood? Depart therefore, and go not about by after deeds to add to thy former iniquity. Receive that bond wherewith from heaven the Lord of all doth give consent that thou shouldst be tied; a bond which is medicinable, and procureth health.” Hereunto the king submitted himself; (for being brought up in religion he knew very well what belonged unto priests, what unto kings;) and with sobbing tears returned to the court again. Some eight months after, came the feast of our Saviour’s Nativity; but yet the king sat still at home, mourning and emptying the lake of tears: which when Rufinus beheld, being at that time commander over the king’s house, and by reason of usual access the bolder to speak; he came and asked the cause of those tears. To whom the king, with bitter grief and tears more abundantly gushing out, answered; “Thou, O Ruffin, dalliest, for mine evils thou feelest not: I mourn and bewail mine own wretchedness, considering that servants and beggars go freely to the house of God, and there present themselves before their Lord: whereas both from thence and from heaven also I am excluded. For in my mind I carry that voice of our Lord which saith with express terms, ‘Whomsoever ye shall bind on earth, he in heaven shall be bound also.’ ” The rest of the history, which concerneth the manner of the emperor’s admission after so earnest repentance, needeth not to be here set down.
It now remaineth to be examined whether these alleged examples prove that which they should do, yea or no. The thing which they ought to confirm is, that no less Christian kings than other persons under them ought to be subject to the selfsame coercive authority of Church-governors, and for the same kinds of transgressions, to receive at their hands the same spiritual censure of excommunication judicially inflicted by way of punishment. But in the aforesaid examples, whether we consider the offence itself of the excommunicate, or the persons excommunicating, or the manner of their proceeding; which three comprehend the whole substance of that which was done; it doth not by any of these appear that kings in suchwise should be subject. For, concerning the offences of men, there is no breach of Christian charity, whether it be by deed or by word; no excess, no lightness of speech or behaviour; no fault for which a man in the course of his life is openly noted as blameable; but the same being unamended through admonition ought, (as they say,) with the spiritual censure of excommunication to be punished. Wherefore unless they can shew, that in some such ordinary transgression, kings and princes, upon contempt of the Church’s more mild censure, have been like other men in ancient times excommunicated, what should hinder any man to think but that the rare and unwonted crimes of those two emperors did cause their bishops to try what unusual remedy would work in so desperate diseases? Which opinion is also made more probable, inasmuch as the very histories, which have recorded them, propose them for strange and admirable patterns; the bishops, of boldness; the emperors, of meekness and humility. The [they?] wonder at the one, for adventuring to do it unto emperors; at the other, for taking it in so good part at the hands of bishops. What greater argument that all which was herein done proceeded from extraordinary zeal on both sides, and not from a settled judicial authority which the one was known to have over the other by a common received order in the Church. For at such things who would wonder?
Furthermore, if ye consider their persons, whose acts these excommunications were; he which is said to have excommunicated Philip emperor of Rome was Babylas the bishop of Antioch: and he which Theodosius emperor of Constantinople, Ambrose the bishop of Milan. Neither of which two bishops (as I suppose) was ordinary unto either of the two emperors.BOOK VIII. Ch. ix. 6. And therefore they both were incompetent judges, and such as had no authority to punish whom they excommunicated: except we will grant the emperor to have been so much the more subject than his subjects, that whereas the meanest of them was under but some one diocesan, any that would might be judge over him. But the manner of proceeding doth as yet more plainly evict that these examples make less than nothing for proof that ecclesiastical governors had at that time judicial authority to excommunicate emperors and kings. For what form of judgment was there observed, when neither judges nor parties judged did once dream of any such matter; till the one by chance repaired unto the place where the others were, and at that very instant suffered a sudden repulse; not only besides their own expectation, but also without any purpose beforehand in them who gave it? Judicial punishment hath at the leastwise sentence going always before execution, whereas all which we read of here is, that the guilty being met in the way were presently turned back, and not admitted to be partakers of those holy things whereof they were famously known unworthy.
[6.]I therefore conclude, that these excommunications have neither the nature of judicial punishments, nor the force of sufficient arguments to prove that ecclesiastical judges should have authority to call their own sovereign to appear before them into their consistories, there to examine, to judge, and by excommunication to punish them, if so be they be found culpable.
But concerning excommunication, such as is only a dutiful, religious, and holy refusal to admit notorious transgressors in so extreme degree unto the blessed communion of saints, especially the mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ, till their humbled penitent minds be made manifest: this we grant every king bound to abide at the hands of any minister of God wheresoever through the world. As for judicial authority to punish malefactors, if the king be as the kings of Israel were, and as every of ours is, a supreme Lord, than whom none under God is by way of ruling authority and power higher, where he reigneth, how should any man there have the high place of a judge over him? He must be more than thine equal that hath a chastising power over thee: so far is it off that any under thee should be thy judge. Wherefore, sith the kings of England are within their own dominions the most high, and can have no peer, how is it possible that any, either civil or ecclesiastical person under them should have over them coercive power, when such power would make that person so far forth his superior’s superior, ruler, and judge? It cannot therefore stand with the nature of such sovereign regiment that any subject should have power to exercise on kings so highly authorized the greatest censure of excommunication, according to the platform of Reformed Discipline: but if this ought to take place, the other is necessarily to give place. For which cause, till better reason be brought, to prove that kings cannot lawfully be exempted from subjection unto ecclesiastical courts, we must and do affirm their said exemption lawful.
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APPENDIX, No. I.
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BOOK VIII. Appendix, No. 1.Yea that1 which is more, the laws thus made, God himself doth in such sort authorize, that to despise them, is to despise in them him. It is a loose and licentious opinion, which the Anabaptists have embraced, holding that a Christian man’s liberty is lost, and the soul which Christ hath redeemed unto himself injuriously drawn into servitude under the yoke of human power, if any law be now imposed besides the Gospel of Christ, in obedience whereunto the Spirit of God, and not the constraint of men, is to lead us, according to that of the blessed Apostle2 , “Such as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” and not such as live in thraldom unto men. Their judgment is therefore that the Church of Christ should admita no lawmakers but the evangelists, no courts but presbyteries, no punishments but ecclesiastical censures.
As against this sort, we are to maintain the use of human laws, and the continual necessity of making them from time to time, as long as this present world doth last; so likewise the authority of laws so made doth need much more by us to be strengthened against another sort, who, although they do not utterly condemn the making of laws in the Church, yet make they a greatb deal less account of them than they should do. There are which think simply of human laws, that they can in no sort touch the conscience; that to break and transgress them cannot make men in the sight of God culpable as sin doth; only when we violate such laws, we do thereby make ourselves obnoxious unto external punishment in this world, so that the magistrate may in regard of such offence committed justly correct the offender, and cause him without injury to endure such pain as the lawc doth appoint; but further it reacheth not. For first, the conscience is the proper court of God, the guiltiness thereof is sin, and the punishment eternal death: men are not able to make any law that shall command the heart, it is not in them to make thed inward conceit a crime, or to appoint for any crime other punishment than corporal: their laws therefore can have no power over the soul, neither can the heart of man be polluted by transgressing them. St. Austine1 rightly defineth sin to be that which is spoken, done or desired, not against any lawe , but against the law of the living God. The law of God is proposed unto men, as a glass wherein to behold the stains and spotsf of their sinful souls. By it they are to judge themselves, and when they findg themselves to have transgressed against it, then to bewail their offences with David2 , “Against thee only, O Lord, have I sinned, and done wickedly in thy sight;” that so our present tears may extinguish the flames, which otherwise we are to feel, and which God in that day shall condemn the wicked unto, when they shall render account of the evil which they have done, not by violating statute laws and canons, but by disobedience unto his law and wordh .
For our better instruction therefore concerningi this point, first we must note, that the law of God himselfk doth require at our hands subjection. “Be ye subject3 ,” saith St. Peter; and St. Paul, “4 Let every soul be subject; subject all unto such powers as are set over us.” For if such as are not set over us require our subjection, we by denying it are not disobedient to the law of God, or undutiful unto higher powers; because though they be such in regard of them over whom they have lawful dominion, yet having not so over us, unto us they are not such5 .
Subjection therefore we owe, and that by the law of God; we are in conscience bound to yield it even unto every of them that hold the seats of authority and power in relation unto us. Howbeit, not all kindl of subjection unto every such kind of power. Concerning Scribes and Pharisees, our Saviour’s precept was1 , “Whatsoever they shall tell youm , do it;” was it his meaning, that if they should at any time enjoin the people to levy an army, or to sell their lands and goods for the furtherance of so great an enterprize; and in a word, that simply whatsoevern it were which they did command, they ought without any exception forthwith to be obeyed? No, but “whatsoever they shall tell you,” must be understood in pertinentibus ad Cathedram, it must be construed with limitation, and restrained unto things of that kind which did belong to their place and power. For they had not power general, absolutely given them to command ino all things.
The reason why we are bound in conscience to be subject unto all such powerp is, because all “powers are of God2 .” They are of God either instituting or permitting them. Power is then of divine institution, when either God himself doth deliver, or men by light of nature find out the kind thereof. So that the power of parents over children, and of husbands over their wives, the power of all sorts of superiors, made by consent of commonwealths within themselves, or grown from agreement amongst nations, such power is of God’s own institution in respect of the kind thereof. Again, if respect be had unto those particular persons to whom the same is derived, if they either receive it immediately from God, as Moses and Aaron did; or from nature, as parents do; or from men by a natural and orderly course, as every governor appointed in any commonwealth, by the orderq thereof, doth: then is not the kind of their power only of God’s institutionr , but the derivation thereof also into their persons, is from him. He hath placed them in their rooms, and doth term them his ministers; subjection therefore is due unto all such powers, inasmuch as they are of God’s own institution, even then when they are of man’s creation, omni humanæ creaturæs : which things the heathens themselves do acknowledge:
As for them that exercise power altogether against order, although the kind of power which they have may be of God, yet is their exercise thereof against God, and therefore not of God, otherwise than by permission, as all injustice is.
Touching such acts as are done by that power which is according to his institution, that God in like sort doth authorize them, and account them to be his; though it were not confessed, it might be proved undeniablet . For if that be accounted our deed, which others do, whom we have appointed to be our agents, how should God but approve those deeds, even as his own, which are done by virtue of that commission and power which he hath given. “Take heed,” saith Jehoshaphat unto his judges2 , “be careful and circumspect what ye do; ye do not execute the judgments of men, but of the Lord.” The authority of Cæsar over the Jews, from whence was it? Had it any other ground than the law of nations, which maketh kingdoms, subdued by just war, to be subject unto their conquerors? By this power Cæsar exacting tribute, our Saviour confesseth it to be his right, a right which could not be withheld without injury; yea disobedience herein unto him had beenu rebellion against God. Usurpers of power, whereby we do not mean them that by violence have aspired unto places of highest authority, but them that use more authority than they did ever receive in form and manner beforementioned: (for so they may do, whose title unto the rooms of authority which they possess, no man can deny to be just and lawful: even as contrariwise some men’s proceedings in government have been very orderly, who notwithstanding did not attain to be made governors without great violence and disorder;) such usurpers thereforex , as in the exercise of their power do more than they have been authorized to do, cannot in conscience bind any man unto obedience.
That subjection which we owe unto lawful powers, doth not only import that we should be under them by order of our state, but that we shew all submission towards them both by honour and obedience. He that resisteth them, resisteth God:BOOK VIII. Appendix, No. 2. and resisted they arey , if either the authority itself which they exercise be denied, as by Anabaptists all secular jurisdiction isz ; or if resistance be made but only so far forth as doth touch their persons which are invested with power (for they which said, Nolumus hunc regnare, did not utterly exclude regiment; nor did they wish all kind of government cleana removed, which would not at the first have David governb ): or if that which they do by virtue of their power, namely, their laws, edicts, sentencesc , or other acts of jurisdiction, be not suffered to take effect, contrary to the blessed Apostle’s most holy preceptd , “Obey them that have the oversight of you1 .” Or if they do take effect, yet is not the will of God thereby satisfied neither, as long as that which we do is contemptuously or repiningly done, because we can do no otherwise. In such sort the Israelites in the desert obeyed Moses, and were notwithstanding deservedly plagued for disobedience. The Apostle’s precept therefore is, “Be subject even for God’s cause; be subject, not for fear, but fore mere conscience, knowing, that he which resisteth them, purchaseth unto himself condemnation.” Disobedience therefore unto laws which are made by menf is not a thing of so small account as some would make it.
Howbeit, too rigorous it were, that the breach of every human law should be held a deadly sin: a mean there is between those extremities, if so be we can find it out.
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APPENDIX, No. II.
Contention ariseth, either through error in men’s judgments, or else disorder in their affections.
When contention doth grow by error in judgment, it ceaseth not till men by instruction come to see wherein they err, and what it is that did deceive them. Without this, there is neither policy nor punishment that can establish peace in the Church.
The Moscovian emperor1 , being weary of the infinite strifes and contentions amongst preachers, and by their occasion amongst others, forbad preaching utterly throughout all his dominions; and instead thereof commanded certain sermons of the Greek and Latin Fathers to be translated, and them to be read in public assemblies, without adding a word of their own thereunto upon pain of death. He thought by this politic devise to bring them to agreement, or at least to cover their disagreement. But so bad a policy was no fit salve for so great a sore.
We may think perhaps, that punishment would have been more effectual to that purpose. For neither did Solomon speak without book in saying1 , that when “folly is bound up in the heart of a child, the rod of correction must drive it out;” and experience doth shew, that when error hath once disquieted the minds of men and made them restless, if they do not fear they will terrify. Neither hath it repented the Church at any time to have used the rod in moderate severity for the speedier reclaiming of men from error, and the reunitingu such as by schism have sundered themselves. But we find by trial, that as being taught and not terrified, they shut their ears against the word of truth, and soothe themselves in that wherewith custom or sinister persuasion hath inured them: so contrariwise, if they be terrified and not taught, their punishment doth not commonly work their amendment.
As Moses therefore, so likewise Aaron; as Zerubabel, so Jehoshua; as the prince which hath laboured by the sceptre of righteousness and sword of justice to end strife, so the prophets which with the book and doctrine of salvation have soundly and wisely endeavoured to instruct the ignorant in those litigious points wherewith the Church is now troubled: whether by preaching, as Apollos among the Jews; or by disputing, as Paul at Athens, or by writing, as the learned in their several times and ages heretofore, or by conferring in synods and councils, as Peter, James, and others at Jerusalem, or by any the like allowable and laudable means; their praise is worthily in the gospel2 , and their portion in that promise which God hath made by his prophet3 , “They that turn many unto “righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever;” I say, whosoever have soundly and wisely endeavoured by those means to reclaim the ignorant from their error, and to make peace.
Want of sound proceeding in church controversies hath made many more stiff in error now than before.
Want of wise and discreet dealing, hath much hindered the peace of the Church. It may be thought, and is, that Arius had never raised those tempestuous storms which we read he did; if Alexander, the first that withstood the Arians’ heresy, had borne himself with greater moderation, and been less eager1 in so good a cause. Sulpitius Severus doth note as much in the dealings of Idacius2 against the favourers of Priscillian, when that heresy was but green and new sprung up. For by overmuch vehemency against Jactantiusy and his mates, a spark was made a flame: insomuch that thereby the seditious waxed rather more fierce than less troublesome. In matters of so great moment, whereupon the peace or disturbance of the Church is known to depend, if there were in us that reverend care which should be; it is not possible we should either speak at any time without fear, or ever write but with a trembling hand. Do they consider whereabout they go, or what it is they have in hand, who taking upon them the causes of God, deal only or chiefly against the persons of men?
We cannot altogether excuse ourselves in this respect, whose home controversies and debates at this day, although I trust they be as the strife of Paul with Barnabas and not with Elymas, yet because there is a truth, which on the one side being unknown hath caused contention, I do wish it had pleased Almighty God, that in sifting it out, those offences had not grown, which I had rather bewail with secret tears than public speech.
Nevertheless as some sort of people is reported to have bred a detestation of drunkenness in their children by presenting the deformity thereof in servants, so it may come to pass (I wish it might) that we beholding more foul deformityz in the face and countenance of a common adversary, shall be induced to correct some smaller blemishes in our own. Ye are not ignorant of the Demands3 , Motives1 , Censures2 , Apologies3 , Defences, and other writings, which our great enemies have published under colour of seeking peace; promising to bring nothing but reason and evident remonstrance of truth. But who seeth not how full gorged they are with virulent, slanderous, and immodest speeches, tending much to the disgrace, to the disproof nothing, of that cause which they endeavour to overthrow? “Will you speak wickedly for God’s defence4 ?” saith Job. Will you dip your tongues in gall and your pens in blood, when youa write and speak in his cause? Is the truth confirmed, are men convicted of their error when they are upbraided with the miseries of their condition and estate? When their understanding, wit, and knowledge is depressed? When suspicions and rumours, without respect how true or how false, are objected to diminish their credit and estimation in the world? Is it likely that Invectives, Epigrams, Dialogues, Epistles, Libels, laden with contumelies and criminations, should be the means to procure peace? Surely they which do take this course, “the way of peace they have not known5 .” If they did but once enter into a stayed consideration with themselves what they do, no doubt they would give over and resolve with Job6 , “Behold I am vile, what shall I answer? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. If I have spoken once amiss, I will speak no more; or if twice, I will proceed no further.”
II. But how sober and how sound soever our proceeding be in these causes; all is in vain which we do to abate the errors of men, except their unruly affections be bridled. Self-love, vainglory, impatience, pride, pertinacy, these are the bane of our peace. And these are not conquered or cast out, but by prayer. Pray for Jerusalem, and your prayer shall cause “the hills to bring forth peace7 :” peace shall distil and “come down like the rain upon the mown grass, and as the showers that water the earth.” We have used all other means, and behold we are frustrate, we have laboured in vain. In disputations, whether it be because men are ashamed to acknowledge their errors before many witnesses, or because extemporality doth exclude mature and ripe advice without which the truth cannot soundly and thoroughly be demonstrated, or because the fervour of contention doth so disturb men’s understanding, that they cannot sincerely and effectually judge:BOOK VIII. Appendix, No. 3. in books and sermons, whether it be because we do speak and write with too little advice, or because you do hear and read with too much prejudice: in all human means which have hitherto been used to procure peace; whether it be because our dealings have been too feeble, or the minds of men with whom we have dealt too too implacable, or whatsoever the cause or causes have been: forasmuch as we see that as yet we fail in our desires, yea the ways which we take to be most likely to make peace, do but move strife; O that we would now hold our tongues, leave contending with men, and have our talk and treaty of peace with God. We have spoken and written enough of peaceb : there is no wayc left but this one1 , “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
APPENDIX, No. III.
APPENDIX, No. IV.
The following are detached notes in the Dublin MS. which occur,BOOK VIII. Appendix, No. 4. with an interval of one blank page, immediately after the dissertation on the making of laws, p. 419. The words “one man,” at the top, probably refer to some passage intended to be produced for refutation.
“One man. Then could not any of them be under another’s authority so far as thereby to be either licensed or hindered in those things which he doth by the said power, but God alone should himself on earth authorize and disauthorize all that bare rule in the Church. Wherefore, to set down briefly that which we hold for truth. Power ecclesiastical itself is originally God’s ordinance: he hath appointed it to be; and therefore in that respect on him only they all which have it are most rightly said to depend. The derivation of that power into the several persons which have it is the proper deed of the Church, and of those high ministers which are in that case appointed to ordain and consecrate such as from time to time shall exercise and use the same.
“Furthermore, sith when they have that power, it resteth nevertheless unexercised, except some part of the people of God be permitted them to work upon; they must of necessity for the peaceable and quiet practice of their authority upon the persons of men, where all are subject to a Christian king, depend in that respect on him also. By holding therefore this dependency whereof we speak, it is not meant that either the king did first institute, or that he doth confer and give, the grace of ecclesiastical presidency; but only add unto it exercise by the furtherance of his supereminent authority and power, without the predominant concurrency whereof spiritual jurisdiction could take no effect, men’s persons could not in open and orderly sort be subject thereunto. A bishop, whose calling is authorized wholly from God, and received by imposition of sacred hands, can execute safely no act of episcopal authority on any one of the king’s liege people, otherwise than under him who hath sovereignty over them all.”
The election of Bishops.
At the first, the first created in the College of Presbyters was still the Bishop1 : he dying, the next senior did succeed him. “Sed quia cœperunt sequentes Presbyteri indigni inveniri ad primatus tenendos, immutata est ratio; prospiciente Concilio ut non ordo sed meritum crearet Episcopum, multorum sacerdotum judicio constitutum, ne indignus temere usurparet, et esset multis scandalum.” Ambr. in 4. ad Eph.
“Apud nos Apostolorum locum episcopi tenent. Bishops, the Apostles’ successors. Hieron. Epist. 54.” (al. 41. tom. i. 187. ed. Vallars.) “ad Marcell.” “Absit ut de his quicquam sinistrum loquar, qui Apostolico gradui succedentes Christi Corpus sacro ore conficiunt.” “Speech against the clergy of God irreligious. Hieron. Ep. 1. ad Heliodor.” (al. 14. § 8. t. i. 33.)
“Privileges granted unto the Clergy. A law in general, to make good all such privileges as by way of honour had been granted to the clergy before, the Roman emperor thought himself bound in conscience to ratify.” L. xii. c. De Sacr. Eccl. [Cod. i. tit. ii. lex 12. 454. “Privilegia, quæ generalibus constitutionibus universis sacrosanctis ecclesiis orthodoxæ religionis retro Principes præstiterunt, firma et illibata in perpetuum decernimus custodiri.”] “Again, whereas Church lands did before stand charged with ordinary burdens even of the meanest kind, this the law imperial taketh away as a thing contumelious unto religion, and giveth for the time to come a privilege of immunity from such burdens.” “Prima illius usurpationis contumelia depellenda est, ne prædia usibus cœlestium secretorum dedicata, sordidorum munerum fæce vexentur.” L. v. c. De Sacr. Eccles. [ 412.] “Imprimis concessimus Deo, et hac præsenti charta nostra confirmavimus, pro nobis et hæredibus nostris in perpetuum, quod Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit, et habeat omnia jura sua integra, et libertates suas illæsas.” Magn. Chart. cap. 1.
A LEARNED AND COMFORTABLE SERMON OF THE CERTAINTY AND PERPETUITY OF FAITH IN THE ELECT.
Habak. i. 4.
[“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth.”]
Whether the Prophet Habakkuk2 , by admitting this cogitation into his mind, “The law doth fail,” did thereby shew himself an unbeliever.
SERM. 1.WE have seen in the opening of this clause which concerneth the weakness of the prophet’s faith, first what things they are whereunto the faith of sound believers doth assent: secondly, wherefore all men assent not thereunto: and thirdly, why they that do, do it many times with small assurance. Now because nothing can be so truly spoken, but through misunderstanding it may be depraved; therefore to prevent, if it be possible, all misconstruction in this cause, where a small error cannot rise but with great danger, it is perhaps needful, ere we come to the fourth point, that something be added to that which hath been already spoken concerning the third.
That mere natural men do neither know nor acknowledge the things of God, we do not marvel, because they are spiritually to be discerned; but they in whose hearts the light of grace doth shine, they that are taught of God, why are they so weak in faith? Why is their assenting to the law so scrupulous, so much mingled with fear and wavering? It seemeth strange that ever they should imagine the law to fail. It cannot seem strange if we weigh the reason. If the things which we believe be considered in themselves, it may truly be said that faith is more certain than any science. That which we know either by sense, or by infallible demonstration, is not so certain as the principles, articles, and conclusions of Christian faith. Concerning which we must note, that there is a Certainty of Evidence and a Certainty of Adherence. Certainty of Evidence we call that, when the mind doth assent unto this or that, not because it is true in itself, but because the truth is clear, because it is manifest to us. Of things in themselves most certain, except they be also most evident, our persuasion is not so assured as it is of things more evident, although in themselves they be less certain. It is as sure, if not surer, that there be spirits, as that there be men; but we be more assured of these than of them, because these are more evident. The truth of some things is so evident, that no man which heareth them can doubt of them: as when we hear that “a part of any thing is less than the whole,” the mind is constrained to say, this is true. If it were so in matters of faith, then, as all men have equal certainty of this, so no believer should be more scrupulous and doubtful than another. But we find the contrary. The angels and spirits of the righteous in heaven have certainty most evident of things spiritual: but this they have by the light of glory. That which we see by the light of grace, though it be indeed more certain; yet is it not to us so evidently certain, as that which sense or the light of nature will not suffer a man to doubt of. Proofs are vain and frivolous except they be more certain than is the thing proved: and do we not see how the Spirit every where in the Scripture proveth matters of faith, laboureth to confirm us in the things which we believe, by things whereof we have sensible knowledge? I conclude therefore that we have less certainty of evidence concerning things believed, than concerning sensible or naturally perceived. Of these who doth doubt at any time? Of them at some time who doubteth not? I will not here allege the sundry confessions of the perfectest that have lived upon earth concerning their great imperfections this way; which if I did, I should dwell too long upon a matter sufficiently known by every faithful man that doth know himself.
The other, which we call the Certainty of Adherence, is when the heart doth cleave and stick unto that which it doth believe. This certainty is greater in us than the other. The reason is this: the faith of a Christian doth apprehend the words of the law, the promises of God, not only as true, but also as good; and therefore even then when the evidence which he hath of the truth is so small that it grieveth him to feel his weakness in assenting thereto, yet is there in him such a sure adherence unto that which he doth but faintly and fearfully believe, that his spirit having once truly tasted the heavenly sweetness thereof, all the world is not able quite and clean to remove him from it; but he striveth with himself to hope against all reason of believing, being settled with Job upon this unmoveable resolution, “Though God kill me, I will not give over trusting in him1 .” For why? this lesson remaineth for ever imprinted in him, “It is good for me to cleave unto God2 .”
Now the minds of all men being so darkened as they are with the foggy damp of original corruption, it cannot be that any man’s heart living should be either so enlightened in the knowledge, or so established in the love of that wherein his salvation standeth, as to be perfect, neither doubting nor shrinking at all. If any such were, what doth let why that man should not be justified by his own inherent righteousness? For righteousness inherent, being perfect, will justify. And perfect faith is a part of perfect righteousness inherent; yea a principal part, the root and the mother of all the rest: so that if the fruit of every tree be such as the root is, faith being perfect, as it is if it be not at all mingled with distrust and fear, what is there to exclude other Christian virtues from the like perfections? And then what need we the righteousness of Christ? His garment is superfluous: we may be honourably clothed with our own robes, if it be thus. But let them beware who challenge to themselves a strength which they have not, lest they lose the comfortable support of that weakness which indeed they have.
Some shew, although no soundness of ground, there is, which may be alleged for defence of this supposed perfection in certainty touching matters of our faith; as, first, that Abraham did believe and doubted not: secondly, that the Spirit which God hath given us to no other end, but only to assure us that we are the sons of God, to embolden us to call upon him as our Father, to open our eyes, and to make the truth of things believed evident unto our minds, is much mightier in operation than the common light of nature, whereby we discern sensible things: wherefore we must needs be more sure of that we believe, than of that we see; we must needs be more certain of the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, than we are of the light of the sun when it shineth upon our faces.
To that of Abraham, “He did not doubt1 ;” I answer, that this negation doth not exclude all fear, all doubting; but only that which cannot stand with true faith. It freeth Abraham from doubting through infidelity, not from doubting through infirmity; from the doubting of Unbelievers, not of weak Believers; from such a doubting as that whereof the prince of Samaria is attainted, who hearing the promise of sudden plenty in the midst of extreme dearth, answered, “Though the Lord would make windows in heaven, were it possible so to come to pass2 ?” But that Abraham was not void of all doubtings, what need we any other proof than the plain evidence of his own words3 ?
The reason which is taken from the power of the Spirit were effectual, if God did work like a natural agent, as the fire doth inflame, and the sun enlighten, according to the uttermost ability which they have to bring forth their effects. But the incomprehensible wisdom of God doth limit the effects of his power to such a measure as seemeth best unto himself. Wherefore he worketh that certainty in all, which sufficeth abundantly to their salvation in the life to come; but in none so great as attaineth in this life unto perfection. Even so, O Lord, it hath pleased thee; even so it is best and fittest for us, that feeling still our own infirmities, we may no longer breathe than pray, Adjuva, Domine; “Help, Lord, our incredulity1 .” Of the third question, this I hope will suffice, being added unto that which hath been thereof already spoken. The fourth question resteth, and so an end of this point.
That which cometh last of all in this first branch to be considered concerning the weakness of the Prophet’s faith, “Whether he did by this very thought, The law doth fail, quench the Spirit, fall from faith, and shew himself an unbeliever or no?” The question is of moment; the repose and tranquillity of infinite souls doth depend upon it. The Prophet’s case is the case of many; which way soever we cast for him, the same way it passeth for all others. If in him this cogitation did extinguish grace, why the like thoughts in us should not take the like effect, there is no cause. Forasmuch therefore as the matter is weighty, dear, and precious, which we have in hand, it behoveth us with so much the greater chariness to wade through it, taking special heed both what we build, and whereon we build: that if our building be pearl, our foundation be not stubble; if the doctrine we teach be full of comfort and consolation, the ground whereupon we gather it be sure; otherwise we shall not save but deceive both ourselves and others. In this we know we are not deceived, neither can we deceive you, when we teach that the faith whereby ye are sanctified cannot fail; it did not in the Prophet, it shall not in you. If it be so, let the difference be shewed between the condition of unbelievers and his, in this or in the like imbecility and weakness. There was in Habakkuk that which St. John doth call “the seed of God2 ,” meaning thereby the first grace which God poureth into the hearts of them that are incorporated into Christ; which having received, if because it is an adversary unto sin, we do therefore think we sin not, both otherwise, and also by distrustful and doubtful apprehending of that which we ought steadfastly to believe, surely we do but deceive ourselves. Yet they which are of God do not sin either in this, or in any thing, any such sin as doth quite extinguish grace, clean cut them off from Christ Jesus; because the “seed of God” abideth in them, and doth shield them from receiving any irremediable wound. Their faith, when it is at the strongest, is but weak; yet even then when it is at the weakest, so strong, that utterly it never faileth, it never perisheth altogether, no not in them who think it extinguished in themselves. There are for whose sakes I dare not deal slightly in this cause, sparing that labour which must be bestowed to make it plain. Men in like agonies unto this of the Prophet Habakkuk’s are through the extremity of grief many times in judgment so confounded, that they find not themselves in themselves. For that which dwelleth in their hearts they seek, they make diligent search and inquiry. It abideth, it worketh in them, yet still they ask where? Still they lament as for a thing which is past finding: they mourn as Rachel, and refuse to be comforted, as if that were not, which indeed is, and as if that which is not, were; as if they did not believe when they do, and as if they did despair when they do not. Which in some I grant is but a melancholy passion, proceeding only from that dejection of mind, the cause whereof is the body, and by bodily means can be taken away. But where there is no such bodily cause, the mind is not lightly in this mood, but by some of these three occasions. One, that judging by comparison either with other men, or with themselves at some other time more strong, they think imperfection to be a plain deprivation, weakness to be utter want of faith.
Another cause is, they often mistake one thing for another. St. Paul wishing well to the Church of Rome prayeth for them after this sort: “The God of hope fill you with all joy of believing1 .” Hence an error groweth, when men in heaviness of spirit suppose they lack faith, because they find not the sugared joy and delight which indeed doth accompany faith, but so as a separable accident, as a thing that may be removed from it; yea, there is a cause why it should be removed. The light would never be so acceptable, were it not for that usual intercourse of darkness. Too much honey doth turn to gall; and too much joy even spiritually would make us wantons. Happier a great deal is that man’s case, whose soul by inward desolation is humbled, than he whose heart is through abundance of spiritual delight lifted up and exalted above measure. Better it is sometimes to go down into the pit with him, who, beholding darkness, and bewailing the loss of inward joy and consolation, crieth from the bottom of the lowest hell, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me1 ?” than continually to walk arm in arm with angels, to sit as it were in Abraham’s bosom, and to have no thought, no cogitation, but “I thank my God it is not with me as it is with other men2 .” No, God will have them that shall walk in light to feel now and then what it is to sit in the shadow of death. A grieved spirit therefore is no argument of a faithless mind.
A third occasion of men’s misjudging themselves, as if they were faithless when they are not, is, they fasten their cogitations upon the distrustful suggestions of the flesh, whereof finding great abundance in themselves, they gather thereby, Surely unbelief hath full dominion, it hath taken plenary possession of me; if I were faithful, it could not be thus: not marking the motions of the Spirit and of faith, because they lie buried and overwhelmed with the contrary: when notwithstanding as the blessed Apostle doth acknowledge3 , that “the spirit groaneth,” and that God heareth when we do not; so there is no doubt, but that our faith may have and hath her privy operations secret to us in whom, yet known to him by whom, they are.
Tell this to a man that hath a mind deceived by too hard an opinion of himself, and it doth but augment his grief: he hath his answer ready, Will you make me think otherwise than I find, than I feel in myself? I have thoroughly considered and exquisitely sifted all the corners of my heart, and I see what there is; never seek to persuade me against my knowledge; “I do not, I know I do not believe.”
Well, to favour them a little in their weakness; let that be granted which they do imagine; be it that they are faithless and without belief. But are they not grieved for their unbelief? They are. Do they not wish it might, and also strive that it may, be otherwise? We know they do. Whence cometh this, but from a secret love and liking which they have of those things that are believed? No man can love things which in his own opinion are not. And if they think those things to be, which they shew that they love when they desire to believe them; then must it needs be, that by desiring to believe they prove themselves true believers. For without faith, no man thinketh that things believed are. Which argument all the subtilty of infernal powers will never be able to dissolve.
The faith therefore of true believers, though it have many and grievous downfalls, yet doth it still continue invincible; it conquereth and recovereth itself in the end. The dangerous conflicts whereunto it is subject are not able to prevail against it. The Prophet Habakkuk remained faithful in weakness, though weak in faith.
It is true, such is our weak and wavering nature, we have no sooner received grace, but we are ready to fall from it: we have no sooner given our assent to the law, that it cannot fail, but the next conceit which we are ready to embrace is, that it may, and that it doth fail. Though we find in ourselves a most willing heart to cleave unseparably unto God, even so far as to think unfeignedly with Peter, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee into prison and to death1 ;” yet how soon and how easily, upon how small occasions are we changed, if we be but a while let alone and left unto ourselves? The Galatians2 to-day, for their sakes which teach them the truth in Christ, content, if need were, to pluck out their own eyes3 , and the next day ready to pluck out theirs which taught them. The love of the Angel of4 the Church of Ephesus, how greatly inflamed, and how quickly slacked5 .
The higher we flow, the nearer we are unto an ebb, if men be respected as mere men, according to the wonted course of their alterable inclination, without the heavenly support of the Spirit.
Again, the desire of our ghostly enemy is so uncredible, and his means so forcible to overthrow our faith, that whom the blessed Apostle knew betrothed and made hand-fast unto Christ, to them he could not write but with great trembling: “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I have prepared you to one husband to present you a pure virgin unto Christ: but I fear, lest as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ6 .” The simplicity of faith which is in Christ taketh the naked promise of God, his bare word, and on that it resteth. This simplicity the serpent laboureth continually to pervert, corrupting the mind with many imaginations of repugnancy and contrariety between the promise of God, and those things which sense or experience or some other fore-conceived persuasion hath imprinted.
The word of the promise of God unto his people is, “I will not leave thee nor forsake thee1 :” upon this the simplicity of faith resteth, and it is not afraid of famine. But mark how the subtilty of Satan2 did corrupt the minds of that rebellious generation, whose spirits were not faithful unto God. They beheld the desolate state of the desert in which they were, and by the wisdom of their sense concluded the promise of God to be but folly: “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness3 ?”
The word of the promise to Sara was, “Thou shalt bear a son.” Faith is simple, and doubteth not of it: but Satan, to corrupt the simplicity of faith, entangleth the mind of the woman with an argument drawn from common experience to the contrary: “A woman that is old! Sara now to be acquainted again with forgotten passions of youth4 !”
The word of the promise of God by Moses and the prophets made the Saviour of the world so apparent unto Philip, that his simplicity could conceive no other Messias than Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph. But to stay Nathanael, lest being invited to come and see, he should also believe, and so be saved, the subtilty of Satan casteth a mist before his eyes, putteth in his head against this the common-conceived persuasion of all men concerning Nazareth: “Is it possible that a good thing should come from thence5 ?”
This stratagem he doth use with so great dexterity, the minds of all men are so strangely ensorceled6 with it, that it bereaveth them for the time of all perceivance of that which should relieve them and be their comfort; yea it taketh all remembrance from them, even of things wherewith they are most familiarly acquainted. The people of Israel could not be ignorant, that he which led them through the sea was able to feed them in the desert: but this was obliterated and put out by the sense of their present want. Feeling the hand of God against them in their food, they remembered not his hand in the day that he delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. Sara was not then to learn, that “with God all things were possible1 .” Had Nathanael never noted how “God doth choose the base things of this world to disgrace them that are most honourably esteemed2 ?”
The prophet Habakkuk knew that the promises of grace, protection, and favour, which God in the law doth make unto his people, do not grant them any such immunity as can free and exempt them from all chastisements: he knew that as God said, “I will continue my mercy for ever towards them;” so he likewise said, “Their transgressions I will punish with a rod3 :” he knew that it cannot stand with any reason we should set the measure of our own punishments, and prescribe unto God how great or how long our sufferings shall be: he knew that we were blind, and altogether ignorant what is best for us; that we sue for many things very unwisely against ourselves, thinking we ask fish when indeed we crave a serpent: he knew that when the thing we ask is good, and yet God seemeth slow to grant it, he doth not deny but defer our petitions, to the end we might learn to desire great things greatly: all this he knew. But, beholding the land which God had severed for his own people, and seeing it abandoned unto heathen nations; viewing how reproachfully they did tread it down, and wholly make havock of it at their pleasure; beholding the Lord’s own royal seat made a heap of stones, his temple defiled, the carcasses of his servants cast out for the fowls of the air to devour, and the flesh of his meek ones for the beasts of the field to feed upon; being conscious to himself how long and how earnestly he had cried, “Succour us, O God of our welfare, for the glory of thine own name4 ;” and feeling that their sore was still increased: the conceit of repugnancy between this which was object to his eyes, and that which faith upon promise of the law did look for, made so deep an impression and so strong, that he disputeth not the matter; but without any further inquiry or search inferreth, as we see, “The law doth fail.”
Of us who is here which cannot very soberly advise his brother? Sir, you must learn to strengthen your faith by that experience which heretofore you have had of God’s great goodness towards you: Per ea quæ agnoscas præstita, discas sperare promissa; “By those things which you have known performed, learn to hope for those things which are promised.” Do you acknowledge to have received much? Let that make you certain to receive more: Habenti dabitur; “To him that hath more shall be given.” When you doubt what you shall have, search what you have had at God’s hands. Make this reckoning, that the benefits, which he hath bestowed, are bills obligatory and sufficient sureties that he will bestow further. His present mercy is still a warrant of his future love, because, “whom he loveth, he loveth unto the end1 .” Is it not thus?
Yet if we could reckon up as many evident, clear, undoubted signs of God’s reconciled love towards us as there are years, yea days, yea hours, past over our heads; all these set together have not such force to confirm our faith, as the loss, and sometimes the only fear of losing a little transitory goods, credit, honour, or favour of men, a small calamity, a matter of nothing to breed a conceit, and such a conceit as is not easily again removed, that we are clean crost out of God’s book, that he regards us not, that he looketh upon others, but passeth by us like a stranger to whom we are not known. Then we think, looking upon others, and comparing them with ourselves, Their tables are furnished day by day; earth and ashes are our bread: they sing to the lute, and they see their children dance before them; our hearts are heavy in our bodies as lead, our sighs beat as thick as a swift pulse, our tears do wash the beds wherein we lie: the sun shineth fair upon their foreheads; we are hanged up like bottles in the smoke, cast into corners like the sherds of a broken pot: tell not us of the promises of God’s favour, tell such as do reap the fruit of them; they belong not to us, they are made to others. The Lord be merciful to our weakness, but thus it is.
Well, let the frailty of our nature, the subtilty of Satan, the force of our deceivable imaginations be, as we cannot deny but they are, things that threaten every moment the utter subversion of our faith; faith notwithstanding is not hazarded by these things. That which one sometimes told the senators of Rome1 , Ego sic existimabam, P. C. uti patrem sæpe meum prædicantem audiveram, qui vestram amicitiam diligenter colerent, eos multum laborem suscipere, cæterum ex omnibus maxime tutos esse; “As I have often heard my father acknowledge, so I myself did ever think, that the friends and favourers of this state charged themselves with great labour, but no man’s condition so safe as theirs;” the same we may say a great deal more justly in this case: our Fathers and Prophets, our Lord and Master hath full often spoken, by long experience we have found it true; as many as have entered their names in the mystical Book of Life, Eos maximum laborem suscipere, they have taken upon them a laboursome, a toilsome, a painful profession, sed omnium maxime tutos esse, but no man’s security like to theirs. “2 Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat;” here is our toil: “but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not;” this is our safety. No man’s condition so sure as ours: the prayer of Christ is more than sufficient both to strengthen us, be we never so weak; and to overthrow all adversary power, be it never so strong and potent. His prayer must not exclude our labour. Their thoughts are vain who think that their watching can preserve the city which God himself is not willing to keep. And are not theirs as vain, who think that God will keep the city, for which they themselves are not careful to watch? The husbandman may not therefore burn his plough, nor the merchant forsake his trade, because God hath promised “I will not forsake thee.” And do the promises of God concerning our stability, think you, make it a matter indifferent for us to use or not to use the means whereby, to attend or not to attend to reading, to pray or not to pray that we “fall not into temptation?” Surely if we look to stand in the faith of the sons of God, we must hourly, continually, be providing and setting ourselves to strive. It was not the meaning of our Lord and Saviour in saying3 , “Father, keep them in thy name,” that we should be careless to keep ourselves. To our own safety, our own sedulity is required. And then blessed for ever and ever be that mother’s child whose faith hath made him the child of God. The earth may shake, the pillars of the world may tremble under us, the countenance of the heaven may be appalled1 , the sun may lose his light, the moon her beauty, the stars their glory; but concerning the man that trusteth in God, if the fire have proclaimed itself unable as much as to singe a hair of his head, if lions, beasts ravenous by nature and keen with hunger, being set to devour, have as it were religiously adored the very flesh of the faithful man; what is there in the world that shall change his heart, overthrow his faith, alter his affection towards God, or the affection of God to him? If I be of this note, who shall make a separation between me and my God? “Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword2 ?” No; “I am persuaded that neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,” shall ever prevail so far over me. “I know in whom I have believed;” I am not ignorant whose precious blood hath been shed for me; I have a Shepherd full of kindness, full of care, and full of power: unto him I commit myself; his own finger hath engraven this sentence in the tables of my heart, “Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat, but I have prayed that thy faith fail not.” Therefore the assurance of my hope I will labour to keep as a jewel unto the end; and by labour, through the gracious mediation of his prayer, I shall keep it.
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER1 .
WHEREAS many, desirous of resolution in some points handled in this learned discourse, were earnest to have it copied out; to ease so many labours, it hath been thought most worthy and very necessary to be printed: that not only they might be satisfied, but the whole Church also hereby edified. The rather, because it will free the author from the suspicion of some errors, which he hath been thought to have favoured. Who might well have answered with Cremutius in Tacitus, “Verba mea arguuntur; adeo factorum innocens sum2 .” Certainly, the event of that time, wherein he lived, shewed that to be true, which the same author spake of a worse, “Cui deerat inimicus, per amicos oppressus3 ;” and that there is not “minus periculum ex magna fama, quam ex mala.” But he hath so quit himself, that all may see how, as it was said of Agricola, “Simul suis virtutibus, simul vitiis aliorum, in ipsam gloriam præceps agebatur4 .” Touching whom I will say no more, but that which my author said of the same man, “Integritatem, &c. in tanto viro referre, injuria virtutum fuerit.” But as of all other his writings, so of this I will add that, which Velleius spake in commendation of Piso, “Nemo fuit, qui magis quæ agenda erant curaret, sine ulla ostentatione agendi5 .” So not doubting, good Christian reader, of thy assent herein, but wishing thy favourable acceptance of this work, (which will be an inducement to set forth others of his learned labours,) I take my leave; from Corpus Christi College in Oxford, the 6th of July, 1612.
Thine in Christ Jesus,
A LEARNED DISCOURSE OF JUSTIFICATION, WORKS, AND HOW THE FOUNDATION OF FAITH IS OVERTHROWN1 .
Habak. i. 4.
“The wicked doth compass about the righteous: therefore perverse judgment doth proceed.”
SERM. II. 1.FOR bettera manifestation of the prophet’s meaning in this place, we are, first, to consider “the wicked,” of whom he saith, that they “compass about the righteous:” secondly, “the righteous” that are compassed about by them: and thirdly, that which is inferred; “thereforeb perverse judgment proceedeth.” Touching the first, there are two kinds of wicked men, of whom in the fifth of the former to the Corinthiansc , the blessed Apostle speaketh thus2 : “Do ye not judge them that are within?SERM. II. 2. but God judgeth them that are without.” There are wicked, therefore, whom the Church may judge, and there are wicked whom God only judgeth; wicked within, and wicked without, the walls of the Church. If within the Church particular persons, being apparently such, cannotd otherwise be reformed, the rule of apostolicale judgment is this1 , “Separate them from amongf you:” if whole assemblies, this, “Separate yourselves from amongf them: for what society hath light with darkness?” But the wicked, whom the prophet meaneth, were Babylonians, and therefore without. For which cause we have heard at large heretofore in what sort he urgeth God to judge them.
2. Now concerning the righteous, there neither is, nor everh was, any mere natural man absolutely righteous in himself: that is to say, void of all unrighteousness, of all sin. We dare not except, no not the blessed Virgin herself; of whom although we say with St. Augustine2 , for the honour’si sake which we owe to our Lord and Saviour Christ, we are not willing, in this cause, to move any question ofk his mother; yet forasmuch as the schools of Rome have made it a question, we mustl answer with Eusebius Emissenus3 , who speaketh of her, and to her tom this effect: “Thou didst by special prerogative nine months together entertain within the closet of thy flesh the hope of all the ends of the earth, the honour of the world, the common joy of men. He, from whom all things had their beginning,SERM. II. 3. hathn had his owno beginning from thee; of thy body he took the blood which was to be shed for the life of the world; of thee he took that which even for thee he paid. ‘A peccati enim veteris nexu, per se non est immunis nec ipsa genitrix Redemptoris1 :’ The mother of the Redeemer herself, otherwise than by redemption, is not loosed from the bandp of that ancient sinq2 .” If Christ have paid a ransom for all, even for her, it followeth, that all without exception were captives. If one have died for all, allr were dead, dead in sins ; all sinful, therefore none absolutely righteous in themselves; but we are absolutely righteous in Christ. The world then must shew a Christiant man, otherwise it is not able to shew a man that is perfectly righteous: “Christ is made unto us wisdom, justice, sanctification, and redemption3 :” wisdom, because he hath revealed his Father’s will; justice, because he hath offered himselfu a sacrifice for sin; sanctification, because he hath given us ofx his Spirit; redemption, because he hath appointed a day to vindicate his children out of the bands of corruption into liberty which is glorious4 . How Christ is made wisdom, and how redemption, it may be declared when occasion serveth; but how Christ is made the righteousness of men, we are now to declare.
3. There is a glorifying righteousness of men in the world to come: andy there is a justifying and a sanctifying righteousness here. The righteousness, wherewith we shall be clothed in the world to come, is both perfect and inherent. That whereby here we are justified is perfect, but not inherent. That whereby we are sanctified, inherentz , but not perfect. This openeth a way to the plainz understanding of that grand question,SERM. II. 4, 5. which hangeth yet in controversy between us and the Church of Rome, about the matter of justifying righteousness.
4. First, although they imagine that the mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ were, for his honour, and by his special protection, preserved clean from all sin, yet touching the rest, they teach as we do, that all have sinneda ; that infants which did neverb actually offend, have their natures defiled, destitute of justice, and averted from God. They teach as we do, that God doth justify the soul of man alone, without any other coefficient cause of justicec ; that in making man righteous, none do work efficientlyd with God, but God1 . They teach as we do, that unto justice no man ever attained, but by the merits of Jesus Christ. They teach as we do, that although Christ as God be the efficient, as man the meritorious cause of our justice; yet in us also there is somethinge required. God is the cause of our natural life; in him we live: but he quickeneth not the body without the soul in the body. Christ hath merited to make us just: but as a medicine which is made for health, doth not heal by being made, but by being applied; so, by the merits of Christ there can be no justification, without the application of his merits. Thus far we join hands with the Church of Rome.
The difference betwixt the Papists and us about Justification.5. Wherein then do we disagree? We disagree about the nature of the very essencef of the medicine whereby Christ cureth our disease; about the manner of applying it; about the number and the power of means, which God requireth in us for the effectual applying thereof to our soul’s comfort. When they are required to shew, what the righteousness is whereby a Christian man is justified, they answer1 , that it is a divine spiritual quality;SERM. II. 5. which quality received into the soul, doth first make it to be one of them who are born of God: and, secondly, endue it with power to bring forth such works, as they do that are born of him; even as the soul of man being joined untog his body, doth first make him to be inh the number of reasonable creatures, and secondly enablei him to perform the natural functions which are proper to his kind; that it maketh the soul gracious and amiablek in the sight of God, in regard whereof it is termed Grace; that it purgeth, purifieth, washeth outl , all the stains and pollutions of sinm ; that by it, through the merit of Christ we are delivered as from sin, so from eternal death and condemnation, the reward of sin. This grace they will have to be applied by infusion; to the end, that as the body is warm by the heat which is in the body, so the soul might be righteous by the inherent grace: which grace they make capable of increase; as the body may be more and more warm, so the soul more and more justified2 , according as grace shall be augmented; the augmentation whereof is merited by good works1 , as good works are made meritorious by it2 . Wherefore, the first receipt of grace is in their divinityn the first justification; the increase thereof, the second justification3 . As grace may be increased by the merit of good works; so it may be diminished by the demerit of sins venial4 ; it may be lost by mortal sin5 . Inasmuch, therefore, as it is needful in the one case to repair, in the other to recover, the loss which is made; the infusion of grace hath her sundry after-meals; for whicho cause they make many ways to apply the infusion of grace. It is applied to infants6 through baptism, without either faith or works, and in them really it taketh away original sin, and the punishment due unto it; it is applied to infidels and wicked men in their firstp justification through baptism, without works7 , yet not without faith; and it taketh away both sins actual and original, together with all whatsoever punishments, eternal or temporal, thereby deserved8 . Unto such as have attained the first justification, that is to say, the first receipt of grace, it is applied farther by good works to the increase of former grace, which is the second justification. If they work more and more, grace doth more and more increase, and they are more and more justified. To such as have diminishedq it by venial sins, it is applied by holy water, Ave Maries, crossings, papal salutations1 , and such like, which serve for reparations of grace decayed. To such as have lost it through mortal sin, it is applied by the sacrament (as they term it) of penance; which sacrament hath force to confer grace anew2 , yet in such sort, that being so conferred, it hath not altogether so much power3 as at the first. Forr it only cleanseth out the stain or guilt of sin committed, and changeth the punishment eternal into a temporal satisfactory punishment, here, if time do serve, if not, hereafter to be endured, except it be eithers lightened by masses, works of charity, pilgrimages, fasts, and such like; or else shortened by pardon for term, or by plenary pardon quite removed and taken away4 . This is the mystery of the Man of sin. This maze the Church of Rome doth cause her followers to tread, when they ask her the way of justificationt . I cannot stand now to unrip this building,SERM. II. 6. and to sift it piece by piece; only I will set a frame of apostolical erection by it in few wordsu , that itx may befall Babylon, in presencey of that which God hath builded, as itz happened unto Dagon before the ark.
6. “Doubtless,” saith the Apostle1 , “I have counted all things lossa , and I dob judge them to be dung, that I may win Christ; and be foundc in him, not having mine own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith.” Whether they speak of the first or second justification, they make the essence of itd a divine quality inherent, they make it righteousness which is in us. If it be in us, then it ise ours, as our souls are ours, though we have them from God, and can hold them no longer than pleaseth him; for if he withdraw the breath of our nostrils, we fall to dust: but the righteousness wherein we must be found, if we will be justified, is not our own; therefore we cannot be justified by any inherent quality. Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in him. In him God findeth us, if we be faithful; for by faith we are incorporated into himf . Then, although in ourselves we be altogether sinful and unrighteous, yet even the man which in himself is impiousg , full of iniquity, full of sin; him being found in Christ through faith, and having his sin in hatredh through repentance; him God beholdethi with a gracious eye; putteth away his sin by not imputing itk ; taketh quite away the punishment due thereunto, by pardoning it; and accepteth him in Jesus Christ, as perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that isl commanded him in the law: shall I say more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law? I must take heed what I say: but the Apostle saith2 , “God made him which knew no sin, to be sin for usm ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Such we are in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God himself. Let it be counted folly, or phrensy, or fury, orn whatsoever.SERM II. 7. It is our wisdom, and our comforto ; we care for no knowledge in the world but this, That man hath sinned, and God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the sinp of menq , and that men are made the righteousness of God.
You see therefore that the church of Rome, in teaching justification by inherent grace, doth pervert the truth of Christ; and that by the hands of hisr Apostles we have received otherwise than she teacheth. s Now concerning the righteousness of sanctification, we deny it not to be inherent; we grant, that unlesst we work, we have it not; only we distinguish it asu a thing in nature different from v the righteousness of justification: we are righteous the one way, by the faith of Abraham; the other way, except we do the works of Abraham, we are not righteous. Of the one, St. Paul1 , “To him that worketh not, but believeth, faith is counted for righteousness.” Of the other, St. John2 , “Qui facit justitiam, justus est:—He is righteous which worketh righteousness.” Of the one, St. Paul3 doth prove by Abraham’s example, that we have it of faith without works. Of the other, St. James4 by Abraham’s example, that by works we have it, and not only by faith. St. Paul doth plainly sever these two parts of Christian righteousness one from the other. For in the sixth to the Romans thus he writeth5 , “Being freed from sin, and made servants tow God, yex have your fruit in holiness, and the end everlasting life.” “Ye are made free from sin, and made servants unto God;” this is the righteousness of justification: “Ye have your fruit in holiness;” this is the righteousness of sanctification. By the one we are interessed in the right of inheriting; by the other we are brought to the actual possessingy of eternal bliss, and so the end of both is everlasting life.
7. The Prophet Habakkukz doth here term the Jews “righteous men,” not only because being justified by faith they were free from sin; but also for thata they had their measure of fruitb in holiness. According to whose example of charitable judgment, which leaveth it to God to discern what menb are, and speaketh of them according to that which they do professc themselves to be, although they be not holyd whom men do think, but whom God doth know indeed to be such; yet let every Christian man know, that in Christian equity, he standeth bound soe to think and speak of his brethren, as of men that have af measure in the fruit of holiness, and a right unto the titles wherewith God, in token of special favour and mercy, vouchsafeth to honour his chosen servants. So we see the Apostles of our Saviour Christ do use every where the name of saints; so the prophet the name of righteous. But let us all endeavour tog be such as we desire to be termed: Reatus impii est pium nomen, saith Salvianus1 ; “Godly names do not justify godless men.” We are but upbraided, when we are honoured with names and titles whereunto our lives and manners are not suitable. If we have indeedh our fruit in holiness, notwithstanding we must note, that the more we abound thereini , the more need we have to crave that we may be strengthened and supported. Our very virtues may be snares unto us. The enemy that waiteth for all occasions to work our ruin, hath everj found it harder to overthrow an humble sinner, than a proud saint. There is no man’s case so dangerous as his, whom Satan hath persuaded that his own righteousness shall present him pure and blameless in the sight of God. If we could say, “we arek not guilty of any thing at all in our ownl consciences,” (we know ourselves far from this innocency; we cannot say, we know nothing by ourselves; but if we could,) should we therefore plead not guilty inm the presence of our Judge, that sees furthern into our hearts than we ourselves are able to seeo ? If our hands did never offer violence to our brethren, a bloody thought doth prove us murderers before him: if we had never opened our mouthsp to utter any scandalous, offensive, or hurtful word, the cry of our secret cogitations is heard in the ears of God. If we didq not commit the evils which we do daily and hourly, either in deeds, words, or thoughtsr , yet in the good things which we do, how many defects are there intermingled! God, in that which is done, respecteth speciallys the mind and intention of the doer. Cut off then all those things wherein we have regarded our own glory, those things which wet do to please men, oru to satisfy our own liking, those things which we do with any by-respectw , not sincerely, and purely for the love of God; and a small score will serve for the number of our righteous deeds. Let the holiest and best thing we do be considered. We are never better affected unto God than when we pray; yet when we pray, how are our affections many times distracted! How little reverence do we shew to the grand majesty of thatx God, unto whom we speak! How little remorse of our own miseries! How little taste of the sweet influence of his tender mercyy do we feel! Are we not as unwilling many times to begin, and as glad to make an end, as if God z in saying, “Call upon me,” had a set us a very burdensome task?
It may seem somewhat extreme, which I will speak; therefore let every manb judge of it, even as his own heart shall tell him, and no otherwise; I will but only make a demand: If God should yield to us, not as unto Abraham, if fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, yea, or if ten good persons could be found in a city, for their sakes thatc city should not be destroyed; but, if Godd should make us an offer thus large, Search all the generations of men sithence the fall of youre father Adam, find one man, that hath done anyf one action, which hath past from himg pure, without any stain or blemish at all; and for that one man’s oneh only action, neither man nor angel shall feel the torments which are prepared for both: do you think that this ransom, to deliver men and angels, would be foundi among the sons of men? The best things we doj have somewhat in them to be pardoned. How then can we do any thing meritorious, andk worthy to be rewarded? Indeed, God doth liberally promise whatsoever appertaineth to a blessed life, unto as many as sincerely keep his law, though they be not able exactlyl to keep it.SERM. II. 8, 9. Wherefore, we acknowledge a dutiful necessity of doing well; but the meritorious dignity of well doingm we utterly renounce. We see how far we are from the perfect righteousness of the law; the little fruit which we have in holiness, it is, God knowethn , corrupt and unsound: we put no confidence at all in it, we challenge nothing in the world for it, we dare not call God to a reckoningo , as if we had him in our debt-books: our continual suit to him is, and must be, to bear with our infirmities, to p pardon our offences.
8. But the people of whom the Prophet speaketh, were they all, or were the most part of them, such as had care to walk uprightly? did they thirst after righteousness? did they wish, did they long with the righteous Prophet1 , “O that our ways were made so direct that we might keep thy statutes?” did they lament with the righteous Apostle2 , “Miserable men, the good which we wish and purpose, and strive to do, we cannot?” No; the words of other prophetsq concerning this people do shew the contrary. How grievously doth Esay mourn over them3 ! “Ah sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, wicked seed, corrupt children!” All which notwithstanding, so wide are the bowels of his compassion enlarged, that he denieth us not, no not when we arer ladens with iniquity, leave to commune familiarly with him, liberty to crave and entreat, that what plagues soever we have deserved, we may not be in worse case than unbelievers, that we may not be hemmed in by pagans and infidels. Jerusalem is a sinful polluted city; but Jerusalem compared with Babylon is righteous. And shall the righteous be overborne, shall they be compassed about by the wicked? But the prophet doth not only complain; Lord, how cometh it to pass that thou handlest us so hardly, overt whom thy name is called, and bearest with the heathen nations, that despise thee? no, he breaketh out through extremity of grief, and inferreth thusu violently, This proceeding is perverse; the righteous are thus handled, “therefore perverse judgment doth proceed.”
9. Which illation containeth many things, whereof it were better much both for youx to hear, and me to speak,SERM. II. 9. if necessity did not draw me to another tasky . Paul and Barnabas being requested1 to preach the same things again which once they had preached, thought it their duties to satisfy the godly desires of men sincerely affected towardsz the truth. Nor may it seem burdenous to me, or for youa unprofitable, that I follow their example, the like occasion unto theirs being offered me. When we had last the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews in our handsb , and of that epistle these words2 , “In these last days he hath spoken unto us by his Son;” after we had thence collected the nature of the visible Church of Christ, and had defined it to be a community of men3 sanctified through the profession of that truth which God hath taught the world by his Son; and had declared, that the scope of Christian doctrine is the comfort of them whose hearts are overcharged with the burden of sin; and had proved that the doctrine professed in the church of Rome doth bereave men of comfort, both in their lives, and atc their deaths: the conclusion in the end, whereunto we camed , was this; “The church of Rome, being in faith so corrupted, as she is, and refusing to be reformed, as she doth, we are to sever ourselves from her: the example of our fathers may not retain us in communion and fellowshipe with that church, under hope that we so continuing, mightf be saved as well as they. God, I doubt not, was merciful to save thousands of them, though they lived in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly: but the truth is now laid openg before our eyes.” The former part of this last sentence, namely, these words, “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly:” this sentence I beseech you to mark, and to sift it with the stricth severity of austere judgment, that if it be found as goldi , it may stand, suitablek to the precious foundation whereupon it was then laid;SERM. II. 10. for I protest, that if it prove tor be hay or stubble, my own hand shall set fire to its . Two questions have risen by occasion of thet speech before alleged: the one, “Whether our fathers, infected with popish errors and superstitions, mightu be saved:” the other, “Whether their ignorance be a reasonable inducement to make us think thatx they might.” We are thereforey to examine, first, what possibility, andz then, what probability there is, that God might be merciful unto so many of our fathers.
10. So many of our fathers living in popish superstitions, yet by the mercy of God to be saved? No; this could not be: God hath spoken by his angel from heaven unto his people concerning Babylon (by Babylon we understand the church of Rome)1 : “Go out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plaguesa .” For answer whereunto, first, I do not take the words to be meant only of temporal plagues, of the corporal death, sorrow, famine, and fire, whereunto God in his wrath hadb condemned Babylon; and that to save his chosen people from these plagues, he saith, “Go out;” with like intent, as in the Gospel, speaking of Hierusalem’s desolations, he saith2 , “Let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains, and them which are in the midst thereof depart out;” or, as in former times unto Lot3 , “Arise, take thy wife and thy daughters which are here, lest thou be destroyed in the punishment of the city:” but forasmuch as here it is said, “Go out of Babylon, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and by consequence of her plagues;” plagues eternal being due to the sins of Babylonc ; no doubtd , their everlasting destruction, which are partakers herein, is either principally meant, or necessarily implied in this sentence. How then was it possible for so many of our fathers to be saved, sith they were so far from departing out of Babylon, that they took her for their mother, and in her bosom yielded up the ghost?
SERM. II. 11.11. First, the plaguese being threatened unto them that are partakers in the sins of Babylon, we can define nothing concerning our fathers out of this sentence; unless we shew what the sins of Babylon be, and whof they be thatg are such partakers inh them, that their everlasting plagues are inevitable. The sins which may be common both to them of the church of Rome, and toi others departed thence, must be severed from this question. He which saith, “Depart out of Babylon, lest you be partakers of her sins,” sheweth plainly, that he meaneth such sins, as except we separate ourselves, we have no power in the world to avoidj ; such impieties, as by lawk they have established, and whereunto all that are amongl them, either do indeed assent, or else are by powerable means forced in show and inm appearance to subject themselves. As for example, in the church of Rome, it is maintained, that the same1 credit and reverence whichn we give to the Scriptures of God, ought also to be given to unwritten verities; that the pope is supreme head ministerial2 over the universal Church militant; that the bread in the Eucharist is transubstantiated3 into Christ; that it is to be adored4 , and to be offered up unto God as a sacrifice propitiatory1 for quick and dead;SERM. II. 12. that images are to be worshipped, saints to be called upon as intercessors2 , and such like. Now, because some heresies do concern things only believed, as transubstantiating ofn sacramental elements in the Eucharist; some concern things which are practised alsoo and put in ure, as adorationp of the elements transubstantiated: we must note that erroneously the practice of that is sometime received, whereof the doctrine whichq teacheth it is not heretically maintained. They are all partakers in the maintenance of heresies, who by word or deed allow them, knowing them, although not knowing them to be heresies; as also they, and that most dangerously of all others, who knowing heresy to be heresy, do notwithstanding, in worldly respects, make semblance of allowing that, which in heart and inr judgment they condemn: but heresy is heretically maintained, by such as obstinately hold it after wholesome admonition. Of the last sort, as alsos of the next before, I make no doubt, but that their condemnation, without actualt repentance, is inevitable. Lest any man therefore should think, that in speaking of our fathers, I speaku indifferently of them all; let my words, I beseech you, be well notedx , “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers;” which thing I will now by God’s assistance set more plainly before your eyes.
12. Many are partakers of the error, which are not ofy the heresy of the church of Rome. The people following the conduct of their guides, and observing as they did,SERM. II. 13. exactly that which was prescribed themy , thought they did God good service, when indeed they did dishonour him. This was their error: but the heresiesz of the Church of Rome, their dogmatical positions opposite unto Christian truth, what one man amongst ten thousand did ever understand? Of them, which understand Roman heresies, and allow them, all are not alike partakers in the action of allowing. Some allow them as the first founders and establishers of thema ; which crime toucheth none but their Popes and Councils: the people are clear and freeb from this. Of them which maintain popish heresyc not as authors, but receivers of it from others, all maintain it not as Masters. In this are not the people partakers neither, but only their Predicants and theird Schoolmen. Of them which have been partakers in thee sin of teaching popish heresy, there is also a difference; for they have not all been teachers of all popish heresies. “Put a difference,” saith St. Jude1 ; “have compassion upon some.” Shall we lapf up all in one condition? shall we cast them all headlong, shall we plunge them all ing that infernal and ever-flamingh lake? them that have been partakers ini the errorj of Babylon, together with them withink the heresy? them which have been the authors of heresy, with them that by terror and violence have been forced to receive it? them which have taught it, with theml whose simplicity hath by sleights and conveyances of false teachers been seduced to believe it? them which have been partakers in one, with them whichm have been partakers in many? them which in many, with them which in all?
13. Notwithstanding I grant, that although the condemnation of onen be more tolerable than of anothero ; yet from the man that laboureth at the plough, to him that sitteth in the Vatican; to all partakers in the sins of Babylon, our fathersp , though they did but erroneously practise that which their guides did heretically teachq ; to all without exception, plagues worldlyr were due. The pit is ordinarily the end, as well of the guided as the guides in blindness.SERM. II. 14. But woe worth the hour wherein we were born, except we might persuadet ourselves better things; things that accompany men’su salvation, even where we know that worse and such as accompany condemnation are due. Then must we shew some way how possibly they might escape. What way is there for sinners tox escape the judgment of God, but only by appealing to the seat of his saving mercy? Which mercy we do not with Origen extend to devils and damned spirits. God hath mercy upon thousands, but there be thousands also which he hardenedy . Christ hath therefore set the bounds, he hath fixed the limits of his saving mercy, within the compass of these twoz terms. In the thirda of St. John’s Gospel, mercy is restrained to believers1 : “God sent not his Sonb to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” “2 He that believeth shall not be condemned: he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he believed not in the Son of God.” In the second of the Revelation, mercy is restrained to the penitent. For of Jezebel and her sectaries thus he speaketh3 : “I gave her space to repent, and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit fornication with her, into a great affliction, except they repent them of their works; and I will kill her children with death.” Our hope therefore of the fathers is vain, if they were altogether faithless and impenitentc .
14. They bed not all faithless that are eithere weak in assenting to the truth, or stiff in maintaining things any wayf opposite to the truth of Christian doctrine. But as many as hold the foundation which is precious, though they hold it but weakly, and as it were byg a slender thread, although they frame many base and unsuitable things upon it, things that cannot abideh the trial of the fire; yet shall they pass the fieryi trial and be saved, which indeed have builded themselves upon the rock, which is the foundation of the Church. If then our fathers did not hold the foundation of faith,SERM. II. 15, 16. there is no doubt but they were faithless. If many of them held it, then is there hereink no impediment, but that1 many of them might be saved. Then let us see what the foundation of faith is, and whether we may think that thousands of our fathers livingm in popish superstitions, did notwithstanding hold the foundation.
15. If the foundation of faith do import the general ground whereupon we rest when we do believe, the writings of the Evangelists and the Apostles are the foundation of the Christian faith: “Credimus quia legimus,” saith St. Jerome1 . O that the church of Rome did as2 soundly interpret thosen fundamental writings whereupon we build our faith, as she doth willingly hold and embrace them!
16. But if the name Foundationo do note the principal thing which is believed, then is that the foundation of our faith which St. Paul hath unto Timothy: “God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,” &c.3 : that of Nathaniel, “Thou art the Son of the living God: thou art the king of Israel4 :” that of the inhabitants of Samaria, “This is Christ the Saviour of the world:” he that directly denieth this, doth utterly razep the very foundation of our faith. I have proved heretofore, that although the church of Rome hath played the harlot worse than ever did Israel, yet are they not, as now the synagogue of the Jews, which plainly deniethq Christ Jesus, quite and clean excluded from the new covenant. But as Samaria compared with Hierusalem is termed Aholath, a church or tabernacle of her own; contrariwise, Jerusalem Aholibath, the resting place of the Lord: so, whatsoever we term the church of Rome, when we compare her tor reformed churches, still we put a difference, as then between Babylon and Samaria, as now between Rome and heathenishs assemblies.SERM. II. 17. Which opinion I must and will recall; I must grant, and will, that the church of Rome, together with all her children, is clean excluded; there is no difference in the world between our fathers and Saracens, Turks, ort Painims, if they did directly deny Christ crucified for the salvation of the world.
17. But how many millions of them areu known so to have ended their mortalx lives, that the drawing of their breath hath ceased with the uttering of this faith, “Christ my Saviour, my Redeemer Jesus!” And shall we say that such did not hold the foundation of Christian faithy ?
Answer is made, that this they might unfeignedly confess, and yet be far enough from salvation. For behold, saith the Apostle, “I, Paul, say unto you, that if yez be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing1 .” Christ, in the work of man’s salvation, is alone: the Galatians were cast away by joining circumcision and othera rites of the law with Christ: the church of Rome doth teach her children to join other things likewise with him; therefore their faith, their belief, doth not profit them any thing at all.
It is true, theyb do indeed join other things with Christ; but how? Not in the work of redemption itself, which they grant that Christ alone hath performed sufficiently for the salvation of the whole world; but in the application of this inestimable treasure, that it may be effectual to their salvation: how demurely soever they confess that they seek remission of sins no otherwise than by the blood of Christ, using humbly the means appointed by him to apply the benefit of his holy blood; they teach, indeed, so many things pernicious toc Christian faith, in setting down the means whereof they speak, that the very foundation of faith which they hold, is thereby plainly overthrown2 , and the force of the blood of Jesus Christ extinguished.SERM. II. 18. We may therefore dispute with them, press them, urgec them even with as dangerous sequels as the Apostle doth the Galatians. But I demand, if some of those Galatians, heartily embracing the Gospel of Christ, sincere and sound in faith, this onlyd error excepted, had ended their lives before they were ever taught how perilous an opinion they held; shall we think that the damage of this error did so overweigh the benefit of their faith, that the mercy of God, his mercye , might not save them? I grant they overthrew the very foundation of faith by consequent: doth not that so likewise which the1 Lutheran churches do at this day so stiffly and so fiercelyf maintain? For mineg own part, I dare not hereuponh deny the possibility of their salvation, which have been the chiefest instruments of ours, albeit they carried to their grave a persuasion so greatly repugnant to the truth. Forasmuch therefore, as it may be said of the church of Rome, she hath yet “a little strength2 ,” she doth not directly deny the foundation of Christianity: I may, I trust without offence, persuade myself, that thousands of our fathers in former times, living and dying within her walls, have found mercy at the hands of God.
18. What although they repented not of their errors? God forbid that I should open my mouth to gainsay that which Christ himself hath spoken: “Except ye repent, ye shall all perish3 .” And if they did not repent, they perished. But withal note, that we have the benefit of a double repentance: the least sin which we commit in deed, word, or thoughti , is death, without repentance.SERM. II. 10. Yet how many things do escape us in every of these, which we do not know, how many, which we do not observe to be sins! and without the knowledge, without the observation of sin, there is no actual repentance. It cannot then be chosen, but that for as many as hold the foundation, and have all known sin and errorj in hatred, the blessing of repentance for unknown sins and errorsk is obtained at the hands of God, through the gracious mediation of Christ Jesus, for such suitors as cry with the prophet David, “Purge me, O Lord, from my secret sinsl .”
19. But we wash a wall of loam; we labour in vain; all this is nothing; it doth not prove, it cannot justify, that which we go about to maintain. Infidels and heathen men are not so godless, but that they may, no doubt, cry God mercy, and desire in general to have their sins forgiven them. To such as deny the foundation of faith, there can be no salvation, according to the ordinary course which God doth use in saving men, without a particular repentance of that error. The Galatians, thinking that except1 they were circumcised, they could not be saved, overthrew the foundations of faith directly: therefore if any of them did die so persuaded, whether before or after they werem told of their errorn , their caseo is dreadful; there is no way with them but one, death and condemnation. For the Apostle speaketh nothing of men departed, but saith generally of all, “If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. Ye are abolished from Christ, whosoever are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace2 .” Of them in the church of Rome the reason is the same. For whom Antichrist hath seduced, concerning them did not St. Paul speak long before, “That becausep they received not the love of the truthq , that they might be saved; therefore God would send them strong delusions to believe lies, that all they might be damned which believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness3 ?” And St. John, “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life1 ?”SERM. II. 20. Indeed many of themr in former times, as their books and writings do yet shew, held the foundation, to wit, salvation by Christ alone, and therefore might be saved. Fors God hath always had a Church amongst them, which firmly kept his saving truth. As for such as hold with the church of Rome, that we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works; they do not only by a circle of consequence, but directly, deny the foundation of faith2 ; they hold it not, no not so much as by a slendert thread.
20. This, to my remembrance, being all that hath been as yetu opposed with any countenance or shew of reason, I hope, if this be answered, the cause in question is at an end. Concerning general repentance, therefore: what? a murderer, a blasphemer, an unclean person, a Turk, a Jew, any sinner to escape the wrath of God by a generalx “God forgive me?” Truly, it never came within my heart, that a general repentance doth serve for all sins or for all sinnersy : it serveth only for the common oversightsz of our sinful life, and for faultsa which either we do not mark, or do not know that they are faults. Our fathers were actually penitent for sins, wherein they knew they displeased God: or else they comeb not within the compass of my first speech. Again, that otherwise they could not be saved, than holding the foundation of Christian faith, we have not only affirmed, but proved. Why is it not then confessed, that thousands of our fathers, although they livedc in popish superstitions, might yet, by the mercy of God, be saved? First, if they had directly denied the very foundationd of Christianity, without repenting them particularly of that sin, he which saith, there could be no salvation for them, according to the ordinary course which God doth use in saving men, granteth plainly, or at the leastwisee closely insinuateth, that an extraordinary privilege of mercy might deliver their souls from hell; which is more than I required. Secondly, if the foundation be denied, it is denied by forcef of some heresy which the church of Rome maintaineth. But how many were there amongst our fathers, who being seduced by the common error of that church, never knew the meaning of her heresies! So that ifg all popish heretics did perish, thousands of them which lived in popish superstitions might be saved. Thirdly, seeing all that held popish heresies did not hold all the heresies of the pope: why might not thousands which were infected with other leaven, live andh die unsoured byi this, and so be saved? Fourthly, if they all had heldk this heresy, many there were that held it no doubt onlyl in a general form of words, which a favourable interpreterm might expound in a sense differing far enough from the poisoned conceit of heresy. As for example; did they hold that we cannot be saved by Christ without worksn1 ? We ourselves do, I think, all say as much, with this construction, salvation being taken as in that sentence, “Corde creditur ad justitiam, ore fit confessio ad salutem;” except infants, and men cut off upon the point of their conversion, of the rest none shall see God, but such as seek peace and holiness, though not as a cause of their salvation, yet as a way througho which they must walk thatp will be saved. Did they hold, that without works we are not justified? Take justification so thatq it may also imply sanctification, and St. James doth say as much. r For except there be an ambiguity in somes term, St. Paul and St. James do contradict each othert ; which cannot be. Now, there is no ambiguity in the name either of faith or of works, bothx being meant by them both in one and the same sense.SERM. II. 21. Finding therefore that justification is spoken of by St. Paul without implying sanctification, when he proveth that a man is justified by faith without works; finding likewise that justification doth sometimes imply sanctification also with it; I suppose nothing more soundy , than so to interpret St. James asz speaking not in that sense, but in this.
21.a We have already shewed, that there areb two kinds of Christian righteousness: the one without us, which we have by imputation; the other in us, which consisteth of faith, hope, charityc , and other Christian virtues; and St. James doth prove that Abraham had not only the one, because the thing hed believed was imputed unto him for righteousness; but also the other, because he offered up his son. God giveth us both the one justice and the other: the one by accepting us for righteous in Christ; the other by working Christian righteousness in us. The proper and most immediate efficient cause in us of this latter, is, the spirit of adoption whiche we have received into our hearts. That whereof it consisteth, whereof it is really and formally made, are those infused virtues proper and particular unto saints; which the Spirit, in thatf very moment when first it is given of God, bringeth with it: the effects thereofg are such actions as the Apostle doth call the fruits, the worksh , the operations of the Spirit; the difference of whichi operations from the root whereof they spring, maketh it needful to put two kinds likewise of sanctifying righteousness, Habitual and Actual. Habitual, that holiness, wherewith our souls are inwardly endued, the same instant when first we begin to be the temples of the Holy Ghost; Actual, that holiness which afterward beautifieth all the parts and actions of our life, the holiness for which Enoch, Job, Zachary, Elizabeth, and other saints, are in Scripturesk so highly commended. If here it be demanded, which of these we do first receive; I answer, that the Spirit, the virtues of the Spirit, the habitual justice, which is ingrafted, the external justice of Christ Jesusl which is imputed, these we receive all at one and the same time; whensoever we have any of these, we have all; they go together. Yet sith no man is justified except he believe, and no man believeth except he havem faith, and no man hath faith, unlessn he haveo received the Spirit of Adoptionp , forasmuch as theseq do necessarily infer justification, butr justification doth of necessity presuppose them; we must needs hold that imputed righteousness, in dignity being the chiefest, is notwithstanding in order the lasts of all these, but actual righteousness, which is the righteousness of good works, succeedeth all, followeth after all, both in order and int time. Which thingu being attentively marked, sheweth plainly how the faith of true believers cannot be divorced from hope and love; how faith is a part of sanctification, and yet unto justification necessary; how faith is perfected by good works, and yet no works of ours good without faithx : finally, how our fathers might hold, Wey are justified by faith alone, and yet hold truly that without goodz works we are not justified. Did they think that men do merit rewards in heaven by the works they perform on earth? The ancient Fathersa use meriting for obtaining, and in that sense they of Wittenberg have in their Confession: “We teach that good works commanded of God are necessarily to be done, and thatb by the free kindness of God they merit their certain rewards1 .” Othersc therefore, speaking as our fathers did, and we taking their speech in a sound meaning, as we may take our fathers’, and oughtd , forasmuch as their meaning is doubtful, and charity doth always interpret doubtful things favourably; what should induce us to think that rather the damage of the worsee construction did light upon them all, than that the blessing of the better was granted unto thousands?SERM. II. 22.
Fifthly, if in the worst construction that canf be made, they had generally all embraced it living, might not many of them dying utterly renounce it? Howsoever men, when they sit at ease, do vainly tickle their owng hearts with the wanton conceit of I know not what proportionable correspondence between their merits and their rewards, which, in the trance of their high speculations, they dream that God hath measured, weighed, and laid up, as it were, in bundles for them; notwithstanding we see by daily experience, in a number even of them, that when the hour of death approacheth, when they secretly hear themselves summoned forthwith to appear, and stand at the bar of thath Judge, whose brightness causeth the eyes of angelsi themselves to dazzle, all thosek idle imaginations do then begin to hide their faces; to name merits then, isl to lay their souls upon the rack, the memory of their own deeds is loathsome unto them, they forsake all things wherein they have put any trust andm confidence; no staff to lean upon, no ease, no rest, no comfort then, but only in Christ Jesusn .
22. Wherefore if this proposition were true, “To hold in such wise, as the church of Rome doth, that we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works, is directly to deny the foundation of faith;” I say, that if this proposition were true, nevertheless so many ways I have shewed, whereby we may hope that thousands of our fathers livingo in popish superstitionsp might be saved1 . But whatq if it be not true?SERM. II. 23. What if neither that of the Galatians concerning circumcision, nor this of the church of Rome aboutr works, be any direct denial of the foundation, as it is affirmed that both are? I need not wade so far as to discuss this controversy, the matter which first was brought into question being so cleareds , as I hope it is. Howbeit, because I desire that the truth even in thist also mayu receive light, I will do minex endeavour to set down somewhat more plainly: first, the foundation of faith, what it is: secondly, what it is directly to deny the foundation: thirdly, whether they whom God hath chosen to be heirs of life, may fall so far as directly to deny it: fourthly, whether the Galatians did so by admitting the error about circumcision and the law: last of all, whether the church of Rome, for this one opinion of works, may be thought to do the like, and thereupon to be no more a Christian church, than are the assemblies of Turks ory Jews.
What the foundation of faith is.23. This word foundation being figuratively used, hath always reference to somewhat which resembleth a material building, as both the doctrine of the Christianityz [of Christianity] and the community of Christians do. By the Masters of civil policy nothing is so much inculcated, as that commonwealths are founded upon laws; for that a multitude cannot be compacted into one body otherwise than by a common acceptationa of laws, whereby they are to be kept in order1 . The ground of all civil laws is this; “No man ought to be hurt or injured by another:” take away this persuasion, and youb take away all lawsc ; take away laws, and what shall become of commonwealths? So it is in our spiritual Christian community: I do not nowd mean that body mystical2 whereof Christ is the onlye head, that building undiscernible by mortal eyes, wherein Christ is the chief corner-stone: but I speak of the visible church; the foundation whereof is the doctrine3 off the Prophets and Apostles profest. The mark whereunto their doctrine tendeth, is pointed at in thoseg words of Peter unto Christ, “Thou hast the words of eternal life:” in those ofh Paul to Timothy, “The holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” It is the demand of nature itselfi , “What shall we do to have eternal life4 ?” The desire of immortality and ofk the knowledge of that whereby it may be attainedl , is so natural unto all men, that even they whichm are not persuaded that they shall, don notwithstanding wish that they might, know a way how to see no end of life. And because natural means are not able stillo to resist the force of death, there is no people in the earth so savage, which hath not devised some supernatural help or other, to fly unto for aid and succour in extremities, against the enemies of their livesp . A longing therefore to be saved, without understanding the true way how, hath been the cause of all the superstitions in the world. O that the miserable state of others, which wander in darkness, and wot not whither they go, could give us understanding hearts, worthily to esteem the riches of the merciesq of God towards us, before whose eyes the doors of the kingdom of heaven are set wide open! Should we notr offer violence unto it? It offereth violence to us, and we gather strength to withstand it.
But I am besides my purpose when I fall to bewail the cold affection which we bear towards that whereby we should be saved; my purpose being only to set down what the ground of salvation is. The doctrine of the Gospel proposeth salvation as the end: and doth it not teach the way of attaining thereunto? Yess , the damosel possestt with a spirit of divination spake the truth: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation:” “A new and living way, which Christ hath prepared for us through the vail, that is, his flesh1 ;” salvation purchased by the death of Christ. By this foundation the children of God, before the time of the writtenu law, were distinguished from the sons of men; the reverend patriarchs both profestx it living, and spake expressly2 of it at the hour of their death. It comforted Job3 in the midst of grief; it was afterwards likewisey the anchor-hold of all the righteous in Israel, from the writing of the law to the time of grace. Every prophet maketh mention of it. It was soz famously spoken of, about the time, when the coming of Christ to accomplish the promises, which were made long beforea , drew near, that the sound thereof was heard even amongst the Gentiles. When he was come, as many as were his acknowledged that he was their salvation; he, that long-expected hope of Israel; he, that “seed, in whom all the nations of the worldb shouldc be blestd .” So that now his name is a namee of ruin, a name of death and condemnation, unto such as dream of a new Messias, to as many as look for salvation by any other thanf by him: “For amongst men there is given no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved4 .” Thus much St. Mark doth intimate by that which he puttethg in the veryh front of his book,SERM. II. 24. making his entrance with these words: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” His doctrine he termeth the Gospel, because it teacheth salvation; the Gospel of Jesus Christi , the Son of God, because it teacheth salvation by him. This is then the foundation, whereupon the frame of the Gospel is erected; that very Jesus whom the Virgin conceived of the Holy Ghost, whom Simeon embraced in his arms1 , whom Pilate condemned, whom the Jews crucified, whom the Apostles preached, he is Christ, the Lord, the only Saviour of the world: “other foundation can no man lay2 .” Thus I have briefly opened that principle in Christianity, which we call the foundation of our faith. It followeth now that I declare unto you, what itj is directly to overthrow it. This will better appeark , if firstl we understand, what it is to hold the foundation of faith.
24. There are which defend, that many of the Gentiles, who never heard the name of Christ, held the foundation of Christianity: and why? they acknowledged many of them the providence of God, his infinite wisdom, strength, andm power; his goodness, and his mercy towards the children of men; that God hath judgment in store for the wicked, but for the righteous that seeksn him, rewards, &c. In this which they confessed, that lieth covered which we believe; in the rudiments of their knowledge concerning God, the foundation of our faith concerning Christ lieth secretly wrapto up, and is virtually contained: therefore they held the foundation of faith, though they never heardp it. Might we not with as good colourq of reason defend, that every ploughman hath all the sciences, wherein philosophers have excelled? For no man is ignorant of ther first principles, which do virtually contain whatsoever by natural means eithers is or can be known. Yea, might we not with as goodt reason affirm, that a man may put three mighty oaks wheresoever three acorns may be put? For virtually an acorn is an oak. To avoid such paradoxes, we teach plainly, that to hold the foundation is, in express terms to acknowledge it.SERM. II. 25.
25. Now, because the foundation is an affirmative proposition, they all overthrow it, who deny it; they directly overthrow it, who deny it directly; and they overthrow it by consequent, or indirectly, which hold any one assertion whatsoever, whereupon the direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded. What is the question between the Gentiles and us, but this, Whether salvation be by Christ? What between the Jews and us, but this, Whether by this Jesus, whom we call Christ, yea, or no? This to be the main point whereupon Christianity standeth, it is clear by that one sentence of Festus concerning Paul’s accusers: “They brought no crime of such things as I supposed, but had certain questions against him of their ownu superstition, and of one Jesus which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive1 .” Where we see that Jesus, dead and raised for the salvation of the world, is by Jewsw denied, despised by a Gentile, and by a Christian apostle maintained. The Fathers therefore in the primitive church when they wrote; Tertullian, the book which he callethxApologeticus; Minutius Felix, the book which he entitlethyOctavius; Arnobius, hisz seven books against the Gentiles; Chrysostom, his orations against the Jews; Eusebius his ten books of Evangelical Demonstration: they stooda in defence of Christianityb against them, by whom the foundation thereof was directly denied. But the writings of the Fathers against Novatians, Pelagians, and other heretics of the like note, refel positions, whereby the foundation of Christian faith was overthrown by consequent only. In the former sort of writings the foundation is proved; in the latter, it is alleged as a proof, which to men that had been known directly to deny it, must needs have seemed a very beggarly kind of disputing. All infidels therefore deny the foundation of faith directly: by consequent, many a Christian man, yea whole Christian churches, havec denied it, and do deny it at this present day. Christian churches denyingd the foundation of Christianity? Note directly, for then they cease to be Christian churches;SERM. II. 26. but by consequent, in respect whereof we condemn them as erroneous, although, for holding the foundation, we do and must hold them Christian.
26. We see what it is to hold the foundation; what directly, and what by consequent, to deny it. The next thing which followeth is, whether they whom God hath chosen to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, may, beingf once effectually called, and through faith truly justifiedg , afterwards fall so far, as directly to deny the foundation which their hearts have before embraced with joy and comfort in the Holy Ghost; for such is the faith, which indeed doth justify. Devils know the same things which we believe, and the minds of the most ungodly may be fully persuaded of the truth; which knowledge in the one and persuasionh in the other, is sometimes termed faith, but equivocally, being indeed no such faith as that whereby a Christian man is justified. It is the spirit of adoption which worketh faith in us, in them not; the things which we believe, are by us apprehended, not only as true, but also as good, and that to us: as good, they are not by them apprehended; as true, they are. Whereupon followeth a thirdi difference; the Christian man the more he increaseth in faith, the more his joy and comfort aboundeth: but they, the more sure they are of the truth, the more they quake and tremble at it. This begetteth another effect, whereink the hearts of the one sort have a different disposition from the other. Non ignoro plerosque conscientia meritorum, nihil se esse post1mortem magis optare quam credere; malunt enim exstingui penitus, quam ad supplicia repararil . I am not ignorant, saith Minutius, that there are too manym , who being conscious what they are to look for, do rather wish that they might, than think that they shall, cease to ben , when they cease to live; because they hold it better that death should consume them unto nothing, than God reviveo them untop punishment. So it is in other articles of faith, whereof wicked men think, no doubt, many times they are too true: on the contrary side, to the other, there is no grief norp torment greater, than to feel their persuasion weak in things, whereof, when they are persuaded, they reap such comfort and joy of spirit: such is the faith whereby we are justified; such, I mean, in respect of the quality. For touching the principal object of faith, longer than it holdeth thatq foundation whereof we have spoken, it neither justifieth, nor is; but ceaseth to be faith when it ceaseth to believe, that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of the world. The cause of life spiritual in us, is Christ, not carnally or corporally inhabiting, but dwelling in the soul of man, as a thing which (when the mind apprehendeth it) is said to inhabit andr possess the mind. The mind conceiveth Christ by hearing the doctrine of Christianity. As the light of nature doth cause the mind to apprehend those truths which are merely rational; so that saving truth, which is far above the reach of human reason, cannot otherwise, than by the Spirit of the Almighty, be conceived. All these are implied, wheresoever any ones of them is mentioned as the cause of spiritualt life. Wherefore when we readu , that1 “the Spirit is our life;” or2 , “the Word our life;” or3 , “Christ our life:” we are in every of these to understand, that our life is Christ, by the hearing of the Gospel apprehended as a Saviour, and assented unto byx the power of the Holy Ghost. The first intellectual conceit and comprehension of Christ so embraced, St. Peter calleth4 the seed whereof we be new born: our first embracing of Christ, is our first reviving5 from the state of death and condemnation. “He that hath the Son hath life,” saith St. John6 , “and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” If therefore he which once hath the Son, may cease to have the Son, though it be buty a moment, he ceaseth for that moment to have life. But the life of them whichz live by the Son of Goda , is everlasting, not only for that it shall be everlasting7 in the world to comeb , but because1 as “Christ being raised from the dead diethc no more, death hath no more power over him;” so thed justified man, being alivee to God in Jesus Christ our Lord, doth as necessarily from that time forward always live, as Christ, by whom he hath life, liveth always2 .
I might, if I had not otherwhere largely done it already, shew by sundryf manifest and clear proofs, how the motions and operations of life are sometimes so undiscernible, and secretg , that they seem stone-dead, who notwithstanding are still alive unto God in Christ.
For as long as that abideth in us, which animateth, quickeneth, and giveth life, so long we live; and we know that the cause of our lifeh abideth in us for ever. If Christ, the fountain of life, may flit and leave the habitation where once he dwelleth, what shall become of his promise, “I am with you to the world’s end?” If the seed of God, which containeth Christ, may be first conceived and then cast out; how doth St. Peter3 term it immortal? How doth St. John4 affirm it abideth? If the Spirit, which is given to cherish and preserve the seed of life, may be given and taken away, how is it the earnest5 of our inheritance until redemption; how doth it continue6 with us for ever? If therefore the man which is once just by faith, shall live by faith, and live for ever, it followeth, that he which once doth believe the foundation must needs believe the foundation for ever. If hei believe it for ever, how can he ever directly deny it7 ? Faith holding the direct affirmation; the direct negation, so long as faith continueth, is excluded.
k But yel will say, “That as he which to-daym is holy, may to-morrow forsake his holiness, and become impure; as a friend may change his mind, and becomen an enemy; as hope may wither: so faith may die in the heart of man, the Spirit may be quenched, Grace may be extinguished, they which believe may be quite turned away from the truth.”
Then caseo is clear, long experience hath made this manifest, it needs no proof. I grant we are apt, prone, and ready, to forsake God1 ; but is God as ready to forsake us? Our minds are changeable; is his so likewise? Whom God hath justified, hath not Christ assured, that it is “his Father’s will to give them a kingdom?” Which kingdomp , notwithstanding, shall notq otherwise ber given them, than “2 if they continue grounded and stablished in the faith, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel;” “3 if they abide in love and holiness.” Our Saviour therefore, when he spake of the sheep effectually called, and truly gathered into his fold4 , “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands;” in promising to save them, promiseds , no doubt, to preserve them in that without the which there can be no salvation, as also from that whereby salvation ist irremediablyu lost. Every error in things appertaining tov God is repugnant unto faith; every fearful cogitation, unto hope; unto love, every straggling inordinate desire; unto holiness, every blemish wherebyx either the inward thoughts of our minds, or the outward actions of our lives, are stained. But heresy, such as that of Ebion, Cerinthus, and others, against whom the Apostles were forced to bend themselves, both by word and also by writing; that repining discouragement of heart which tempteth God, whereof we have Israel in the desert for a pattern; coldness, such as that in the angely of Ephesus; foul sins, known to be expressly against the first or second table of the law, such as Noah, Manasses, David, Salomon, and Peter, committed: these are each in their kind so opposite to the former virtues, that they leave no place for salvation without an actual repentance. But infidelity, extreme despair, hatred of God and all godlinessz , obduration in sin, cannot stand where there is the leasta spark of faith, hope, love, orb sanctity; even as cold in the lowest degree cannot be, where heat in the firstc degree is found.
Whereupon I conclude, that although in the first kind, no man liveth thatd sinneth not; and in the second, as perfect as any do live, may sin: yet sith the man which is born of God hath a promise, that in him “the seed of God shall abide1 ;” which seed is a sure preservative against the sins ofe the third suit; greater and clearer assurance we cannot have of any thing, than of this, that from such sins God shall preserve the righteous, as the apple of his eye, for ever. Directly to deny the foundation of faith, is plain infidelity; where faith is entered, there infidelity is for ever excluded: therefore by him which hath once sincerely believed in Christ, the foundation of Christian faith can never be directly denied. Did not Peter, did not Marcellinus2 , did not many others, both directly deny Christ after theyf had believed, and again believe after they had denied? No doubt, as they mayg confess in wordh , whose condemnation nevertheless isi their not believing (for example we have Judas); so likewise, they may believe in heart, whose condemnation, without repentance, is their not confessing. Although therefore Peter and the rest, for whose faith Christ hadj prayed that it might not fail, did not by denial sin the sin of infidelity, which is an inward abnegation of Christ (fork if they had done this, their faith had clearly failed): yet, because they sinned notoriously and grievously, committing that which they knew to be sol expressly forbidden by the law, which saith, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve:” necessary it was, that he which purposed to save their souls, should, as he did, touch their hearts with true unfeigned repentance, that his mercy might restore them again to life, whom sin had made the children of death and condemnation. Touching this point therefore, I hope I may safely set itm down, that if the justified err, as he may, and never come to understand his error, God doth save him through general repentance: but if he fall into heresy, he calleth himn either ato one time or other by actual repentance; but from infidelity, which is an inward direct denial of the foundation, preservethp him by special providence for ever. Whereby we may easily know what to think of those Galatians, whose hearts were so possest with loveq of the truth, that, if it had been possible, they would have plucked out their veryr eyes, to bestow upon their teachers. It is true, that they were afterwardss greatly1 changed, both in persuasion and affection; so that the Galatians, when St. Paul wrote unto them, were not now the Galatians which they had been in former timess , for that through error they wandered, although they were his sheep. I do not deny, but It should deny, that they were his sheep, if I should grant, that through error they perished. It was a perilous opinion which they held, in themu whichv held it only as an error, because it overthroweth the foundation by consequent. But in them which obstinately maintainedw it, I cannot think it lessx than a damnable heresy.
We must therefore put a difference between them which err of ignorance, retaining nevertheless a mind desirous to be instructed in they truth, and them which, after the truth is laid open, persist in stubbornz defence of their blindness. Heretical defenders, froward and stiffnecked teachers of circumcision, the blessed Apostle calletha dogs: silly men, that were seduced to think they taughtb the truth, he pitieth, he taketh up in his arms, he lovingly embraceth, he kisseth, and with more than fatherly tenderness doth so temper, qualify, andc correct the speech he useth towards them, that a man cannot easily discern, whether did most abound, the love which he bare to their godly affection, or the grief which the danger of their opinion bred himd . Their opinion was dangerous; was not theirs soe likewise who thought thatf the kingdom of Christ should be earthly? was not theirs which thought thatg the gospel should be preachedh only to the Jews? What more opposite to prophetical doctrine, concerning the coming of Christ, than the one? concerning the catholic Church, than the other? Yet they which had these fancies, even when they had them, were not the worst men in the world. The heresy of freewill was a millstone about the Pelagians’ necki ; shall we therefore give sentence of death inevitablek against all those Fathers in the Greek church, which being mispersuaded, died in the error of freewill1 ?
Of thosel Galatians, therefore, which first were justified1 , and then deceived, as I can see no cause, why as many as died before admonition might not by mercy be savedm , 2 even in error; so I make no doubt, but as many as lived till they were admonished, found the mercy of God effectual in converting them from their error3 , lest any one that is Christ’s should perish. Of this, asn I take it, there is no controversy: only against the salvation of them which died, though before admonition, yet in error, it is objected, that their opinion was a very plain direct denial of the foundation. If Paul and Barnabas had been so persuaded, they would haply have used theiro terms otherwise, speaking of the masters themselves, who did first set that error abroach, “certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed4 .” What difference was there between these Phariseesp and other, from whom by a special description they are distinguished, but this? Theyq which came to Antioch, teaching the necessity of circumcision, were Christians; the other, enemies of Christianity. Why then should these be termed so distinctly believers, if they did directly deny the foundation of our belief; besides which, there was noner other thing, that made the rest to be unbelieverss ? We need go no farther than St. Paul’s very reasoning against them, for proof of this matter5 , “Seeing yet know God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again unto impotent rudiments? 6 The law engendereth servants, her children are in bondage: they which are begottenu by the gospel, are free. 7 Brethren, we are not children of the servant, but of the free woman, and will ye yet be under the law?” That they thought it unto salvation necessary, for the Church of Christ to observe days, and months, and times, and years, to keep the ceremonies and the sacraments of the law, this was their error1 . Yet he which condemneth their error, confesseth notwithstandingw , that they knew God2 , and were known of him; he taketh not the honour from them to be termed sons begotten ofx the immortal seed of the gospel. Let the heaviest words whichy he useth be weighed; consider the drift of those dreadful conclusions3 : “If yez be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing: as many as are justified by the law, yea are fallen from grace.” It had been to no purpose in the world so to urge them, had not the Apostle been persuaded, that at the hearing of such sequels, “No benefit by Christ,” “a defection from grace,” their hearts would tremble and quake within them: and why? because theyb knew, that in Christ, in gracec , their salvation lay, which is a plaind direct acknowledgment of the foundation.
Lest I should herein seem to hold that which no one godly and learnede hath done, let these words be considered, which import as much as I affirm4 . “Surely those brethren which, in St. Paul’s time, thought that God did lay a necessity upon them to make choice of days and meats, spake as they believed, and could not but in words condemn that liberty, which they supposed to be brought in against the authority of divine Scripture. Otherwise it had been needless for St. Paul to admonish them, not to condemn such as eat, without scrupulosity, whatsoever was set before them. This error, if you weigh what it is of itself, did at once overthrow all Scriptures, whereby we are taught salvation by faith in Christ, all that ever the prophets did foretell, all that ever the Apostles did preach of Christ; it drew with it the denial of Christ utterly: insomuch thatf St. Paul complaineth, that his labour was lost upon the Galatiansg , unto whom this error was obtruded; affirming that Christ, if so be they were circumcised, should not profit them any thing at all. Yet so far was St. Paul from striking their names out of Christ’s book, that he commanded others to entertain them, to accept them with singular humanity, to use them like brethren; he knew man’s imbecillity, he had a feeling of our blindness which are mortal men, how great it is, and being sure that they are the sons of God, whosoever be endued with his fear, would not have them counted enemies of that whereunto they could not as yet frame themselves to be friends, but did even ofh a very religious affection to the truth, unwittinglyi reject and resistk the truth. They acknowledged1 Christ to be their only and theirl perfect Saviour, but saw not how repugnant their believing them necessity of Mosaical ceremonies was to their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Hereunton replyo is made, that if they had not directly denied the foundation, they might have been saved; but saved they could not be; therefore their opinion was, not only by consequent, but directly, a denial of the foundation. When the question was about the possibility of their salvation, their denying of the foundation was brought for proofp that they could not be saved: now that the question is about their denialq , the impossibility of their salvation is alleged to prove they denied the foundation. Is there nothing which excludeth men from salvation, but only the foundation of faith denied? I should have thought, that besider this, many other things are death, except they be actually repented of: as indeed this opinion of theirs was deaths , unto as many as, being given to understandt that to cleave thereunto was to fall from Christ, did notwithstanding cleave unto it. But of this enough. Wherefore I come to the last question, “Whether theu doctrine of the Church of Rome, concerning the necessity of works unto salvation, be a direct denial of the foundation ofx our faith?”
SERM. II. 27.27. I seek not to obtrude unto you any private opinionsy of mine own. The best learned1 in our profession are of this judgment, that all the heresies andz corruptions of the Church of Rome do not prove her to deny the foundation directly; if they did, they should provea her simply to be no Christian church. “But I suppose,” saith one2 , “that in the papacy some church remaineth, a church crazed, or, if you will, broken quite in pieces, forlorn, misshapen, yet some church:” his reason is this, “Antichrist must sit in the temple of God.” Lest any man should think such sentences as thisb to be true only in regard of them whom that church is supposed to have kept by the special providence of God, as it were, in the secret corners of his bosom, free from infection, and as sound in the faith, as we trust, by his mercy, we ourselves are; I permit it to yourc wise considerations, whether it be notd more likely, that as frensy, though itself take away the use of reason, doth notwithstanding prove them reasonable creatures which have it, because none can be frantic but they; so Antichristianity being the bane and plain overthrow of Christianity, may nevertheless argue the church whereine Antichrist sitteth to be Christian3 . Neither have I everf hitherto heard or read any one word alleged of force to warrant, that God doth otherwise than so as hath been in the two next questions before declaredg , bind himself to keep his elect from worshipping the Beast, and from receiving his mark in their foreheads; but he hath preserved, and will preserve, them from receiving any deadly wound at the hands of the Man of sin, whose deceit hath prevailed over none unto death, but only suchh as never loved the truth, such as took pleasurei in unrighteousness: they in all ages, whose hearts have delighted in the principal truth, and whose souls have thirsted after righteousness, if they received the mark of error, the mercy of God, even erring, and dangerously erring, might save them; if they received the mark of heresy, the same mercy did, I doubt not, convert them1 . How far Romish heresies may prevail over God’s elect, how many God hath kept from falling into them, how many have been converted from them, is not the question now in hand: for if heaven had not received any one of that coat for these thousand years, it may still be true2 , that the doctrine which atk this day they do profess, doth not directly deny the foundation, and so prove them simply to be no Christian church. One I have alleged, whose words, in my ears, sound that way; shall I add another, whose speech is plainerl ? “I deny her not the name of a church,” saith another3 , “no more than to a man the name of a man, as long as he liveth, what sickness soever he hath.” His reason is this: “Salvation in Jesus Christ, which is the mark that joineth the Head with the body, Jesus Christ with Hism Church, itn is so cut off by man’so merits, by the merits of saints, by the pope’s pardons, and such other wickedness, that the life of the Church holdeth by a very littlep thread,” yet still the life of the Church holdeth. A third hath these words4 : “I acknowledge the church of Rome, even at this present day, for a church of Christ, such a church as Israel underq Jeroboam, yet a church.”SERM. II. 28. His reason is this: “Every man seeth, except he willingly hoodwink himself, that as always, so now, the church of Rome holdeth firmly and steadfastly the doctrine of truth concerning God, and the Person of our Lord Jesusr Christ; and baptizeth in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; confesseth and avoucheth Christ fors the only1 Redeemer of the world, and the Judge that shall sit upon quick and dead, receiving true believers into endless joy, faithless and godless men being cast with Satan and his angels into flames unquenchable.”
28. I may, and will, rein the question shorter than they do. Let the Pope take down his top, and captivate no more men’s souls by his papal jurisdiction; let him no longer count himself Lord Paramount over the princes of the eartht , no longer useu kings as his tenantsvparavaile2 ; let his stately senate submit their necks to the yoke of Christ, and cease to dye their garments, like Edom, in blood; let them, from the highest to the lowest, hate and forsake their idolatry, abjure all their errors and heresies, wherewith they have any way perverted the truth; let them strip their church, till they leave no polluted rag, but only this one about her; “By Christ alone, without works3 , we cannot be saved:”SERM. II. 29. it is enough for me, if I shew, that the holding of this one thing doth not prove the foundation of faith directly denied in the Church of Rome.
29. Works are an addition to the foundationx : be it so, what then? the foundation is not subverted by every kind of addition. Simply to add unto those fundamental words, is not to mingle wine with puddley , heaven with earth, things polluted with the sanctified blood of Christ: of which crime indict them, whichz attribute those operations in whole or in part to any creature, which in the work of our salvation are whollya peculiar unto Christ: and, if I open my mouth to speak in their defence, if I hold my peace, and plead not against them as long as breath is inb my body, let me bec guilty of all the dishonour that ever hath been done to the Son of God. But the more dreadful a thing it is to deny salvation by Christ alone, the more slow and fearful I am, except it be too too manifestd to lay a thing so grievous unto any man’s charge. Let us beware, lest if we make too many ways of denying Christ, we scarce leave any way for ourselves truly and soundly to confess him. Salvation only by Christ is the true foundation whereupon indeed Christianity standeth. But what if I say, yee cannot be saved only by Christ, without this addition, Christ believed in heart, confessed with mouth, obeyed in life and conversation? Because I add, do I therefore deny that which directly I didf affirm? There may be an additament of explication, which overthroweth not, but proveth and concludeth the proposition whereunto it is annexed. He thatg saith, Peter was a chief Apostle, doth prove that Peter was an Apostle: he which saith1 , Our salvation is of the Lord, through sanctification of the Spirit, and faith of the truth, proveth that our salvation is of the Lord. But if that which is added, be such a privation as taketh away the very essence of that whereunto it is adjoinedh , then by sequeli it overthroweth. He which saith, Judas is a dead man, though in word he grantk Judas to be a man, yet in effect he proveth him by that very speech no man, because death depriveth him of his beingl . In like sort, he that should say, Our election is of grace for our works’ sake,SERM. II. 30. should grant in sound of words, but indeed by consequent deny, that our election is of grace; for the grace which electeth us is no grace1 , if it elect us for our works’ sake.
30. Now whereas the church of Rome addeth works, we must note farther, that the adding worksm2 is not like the adding of circumcision unto Christ. Christ came not to abrogate and to take awayn good works3 : he did, to change circumcision; for we see that in place thereof he hath substituted holy baptism. To say, ye cannot be saved by Christ except ye be circumcised, is to add a thing excluded, a thing not only not necessary to be kept, but necessary not to be kept4 by them that will be saved. On the other side, to say, ye cannot be saved by Christ without works5 , is to add things not only not excluded, but commanded, as being in theiro place and in their kind necessary, and therefore subordinated unto Christ, evenp by Christ himself, by whom the web of salvation is spun6 : “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, yeq shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven7 .” They were rigorous exacters of things not utterly to be neglected and left undone8 , washings and tithingsr , &c. As they were in these thingss , so must we be in judgment and the love of God. Christ, in works ceremonial, giveth more liberty, in moral much less9 , than they did. Works of righteousness therefore are not so repugnantly1 added in the one proposition; as in the other circumcision is.SERM. II. 31.
31. But we say, our salvation is by Christ alone; therefore howsoever, or whatsoever, we add unto Christ in the matter of salvation, we overthrow Christ. Our case were very hard, if this argument, so universally meant as it is proposed, were sound and good. We ourselves do not teach Christ alone, excluding our own faith2 , unto justification; Christ alone, excluding our own works, unto sanctification; Christ alone, excluding the one or the other asx unnecessary unto salvation. It is a childish cavil wherewith in the matter of justification our adversaries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming, that we tread all Christian virtues under oury feet, and require nothing in Christians but faith; because we teach that faith alone justifieth: whereas we by this speechz never meant to exclude either hope anda charity from being always joined as inseparable mates with faith in the man that is justified; or works from being added as necessary duties, required at the hands of every justified man: but to shew that faith is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification; and Christ the only garment, which being so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfections of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight of God, before whom otherwise the veryb weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea, to shut us outc from the kingdom of heaven, where nothing that is not absolute can enter. That our dealing with them be not as childish as theirs with us; when we hear of salvation by Christ alone, considering that (“alone” isd an) exclusive particle, we are to note what it doth exclude, and where. If I say, “Such a judge only ought to determine such a causee ,” all things incident to the determination thereof, besides the person of the judge, as laws, depositions, evidences, &c. are not hereby excluded; persons are, yet notf from witnessing herein, or assisting, but only from determining and giving sentence. How then is our salvation wrought by Christ alone? is it our meaningg , that nothing is requisite to man’s salvation, but Christ to save, and he to be saved quietly without any more to doh ? No, we acknowledge no such foundationi .SERM. II. 32. As we have received, so we teach that besides the bare and naked work1 , wherein Christ, without any other associate, finished all the parts of our redemption, and purchased salvation himself alone; for conveyance of this eminent blessing unto us, many things are requiredj , as, to be known and chosen of God before the foundations of the world; in the world to be called, justified, sanctified: after we have left the world, to be received intok glory; Christ in every of these hath somewhat which he worketh alone. Through him, according to the eternal purpose of God before the foundation of the world2 , born, crucified, buried, raised, &c., we were in a gracious acceptationl known unto God long before we were seen of men: God knew us, loved us, was kind towards usm in Christ Jesusn , in him we were elected to be heirs of life. Thus far God through Christ hath wrought in such sort alone, that ourselves are mere patients, working no more than dead and senseless matter, wood, or stone, or iron, doth in the artificer’s hando , no more than the clay, when the potter appointeth it to be framed for an honourable use; nay, not so much. For the matter whereupon the craftsman worketh he chooseth, being moved byp the fitness which is in it to serve his turn; in us no such thing. Touching the rest, thatq which is laid for the foundation of our faith, importethr farther, that by him we bes called, that we have redemption, remission of sins through his blood, health by his stripes; justice by him; that he doth sanctify his Church, and make it glorious to himself; that entrance into joy shall be given us by him; yea, all things by him alone. Howbeit, not so by him alone, as if in us, to our vocation, the hearing of the gospel; to our justification, faith; to our sanctification, the fruits of the spirit; to our entrance into rest, perseverance in hope, in faith, in holiness, were not necessary.
32. Then what is the fault of the church of Rome? Not that she requireth works at their hands that will be saved: but that she attributeth unto works a power of satisfying God for sin; andt a virtue to merit both grace here, and in heaven glory. That this overthroweth the foundation of faith, I grant willingly; that it is a direct1 denial thereof, I utterly deny. What it is to hold, and what directly2 to deny, the foundation of faith, I have already opened. Apply it particularly to this cause, and there needs no more ado. The thing which is handled, if the form under which it is handled be added thereunto, it sheweth the foundation of any doctrine whatsoever. Christ is the matter whereof the doctrine of the gospel treateth; and it treateth of Christ as of a Saviour. Salvation therefore by Christ is the foundation of Christianity: as for works, they are a thing subordinate, no otherwise necessaryu than because our sanctification cannot3 be accomplished without them. The doctrine concerning them is a thing builded upon the foundation; therefore the doctrine which addeth unto them powerw of satisfying, or of meriting, addeth unto a thing subordinated, builded upon the foundation, not tox4 the very foundation itself; yet is the foundation consequently by this additiony overthrown, forasmuch as out of this addition it may negatively bez concluded, He which maketh any work good and acceptable in the sight of God, to proceed from the natural freedom of our will; he which giveth unto any good worka of ours the force of satisfying the wrath of God for sin, the power of meriting either earthly or heavenly rewards; he which holdeth works going before our vocation, in congruity to merit our vocation; works following our first, to merit our second justification, and by condignity our last reward in the kingdom of heaven, pulleth up the doctrine of faith by the roots; for out of every of these the plain direct denial thereof may be necessarily concluded. Norb this only, but what other heresy is there whichc doth not raze the very foundation of faith by consequent? Howbeit, we make a difference of heresies; accounting them in the next degree to infidelity, whichd directly deny any one thing to be, which is expressly acknowledged in the articles of our belief; for out of any one article so denied, the denial of the very foundation itself is straightwaye inferred1 . As for example; if a man should say, “There is no catholic Church,” it followeth immediately hereuponf , that this Jesus whom we call the Saviour, is not the Saviour of the world; because all the prophets bearg witness, that the true Messias should “shew light unto the Gentiles2 ;” that is to say, gather such a Church as is catholic, not restrained any longer unto one circumcised nation. In ah second rank we place them, out of whose positions the denial of any ofi the foresaid articles may be with like facility concluded; such arej they which have denied, either the divinity of Christ, with Hebion, or with Marcion, his humanity; an example whereof may be that of Cassianus defending the incarnation of the Son of God against Nestorius bishop of Antioch3 , whichk held, that the Virgin, when she brought forth Christ, did not bring forth the Son of God, but a sole and a mere man. Out of which heresy the denial of the articles of Christianl faith he deduceth thus4 : “If thou dost deny our Lord Jesus Christ to be Godm , in denying the Son, thou canst not choose but deny the Father; for, according to the voice of the Father himself, ‘He that hath not the Son, hath not the Father.’ Wherefore denying him thatn is begotten, thou deniest him which doth beget. Again,o denying the Son of God to have been born in the flesh, how canst thou believe him to have suffered? believing not his passion, what remaineth, but that thou deny his resurrection? For we believe him not raised, except we first believe him dead: neither can the reason of his rising from the dead stand, without the faith of his death going before. The denial of his death and passion inferreth the denial of his rising from the depthp . Where upon it followeth, that thou also deny his ascension into heaven: the Apostle affirmingq , ‘That he which ascended, did first descend.’ So that, as much as lieth in thee, our Lord Jesus Christ hath neither risen from the depthr , nor is ascended into heaven, nor sitteth at the right hand of God the Father, neither shall he come at the day of final account, which is looked for, nor shall judge the quick and dead. And darest thou yet set foot in the Church? Canst thou think thyself a bishop, when thou hast denied all those things whereby thou didsts obtain a bishoply calling?” Nestorius confessed all the articles of the creed, but his opinion did imply the denial of every part of his confession. Heresies there are of a thirdt sort, such as the church of Rome maintaineth, which beingu removed by a greater distance from the foundation, although indeed they overthrow it; yet because of that weakness, which the philosopher1 noteth in men’s capacities when he saith, that the common sort cannot see things which follow in reason,SERM. II. 33. when they follow, as it were, afar off by many deductions; therefore the repugnancy betweenx such heresy and the foundation is not so quickly nory so easily found, but that an heretic of this, sooner than of the former kind, may directly grant, and consequently nevertheless deny, the foundation of faith.
33. If reason be suspected, trial will shew that the church of Rome doth noz otherwise, by teaching the doctrine she doth teach concerning worksa . Offer them the very fundamental words, and what oneb man is there that will refuse to subscribe unto them? Can they directly grant, and deny directlyc one and the very selfsame thing? Our own proceedings in disputing against their works satisfactory and meritorious do shew, not only that they hold, but that we acknowledge them to hold, the foundation, notwithstanding their opinion. For are not these our arguments against them? “Christ alone hath satisfied and appeased his Father’s wrath: Christ hath merited salvation alone.” We should do fondly to use such disputes, neither could we think to prevail by them, if that whereupon we ground, were a thing which we know they do not holdd , which we are assured they will not grant. Their very answers to all such reasons, as are in this controversy brought against them, will not permit us to doubt whether they hold the foundation or no. Can any man, whiche hath read their books concerning this matter, be ignorant how they draw all their answers unto these heads? “That the remission of all our sins, the pardon of all whatsoever punishments thereby deserved, the rewards which God hath laid up in heaven, are by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ purchased, and obtained sufficiently for all men: but for no man effectually for his benefit in particular, except the blood of Christ be applied particularly unto him by such means as God hath appointed itf to work by: That those means of themselves being but dead things, only the blood of Christ is that which putteth life, force, and efficacy in them to work, and to be available, each in his kind, to our salvation: Finally, that grace being purchased for us by the blood of Christ, and freely without any merit or desert at the first bestowed upon us, the good things which we do, after grace received, areg thereby made satisfactory and meritorious.” Some of their sentences to this effect I must allege for mine own warrant. If we desire to hear foreign judgments, we find in one this confession: “He that could reckon how many the virtues and merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ haveh been, might likewise understand how many the benefits have been that are comei unto us by him, forasmuchk as men are made partakers of them all by the meanl of his passion: by him is given unto us remission of our sins, grace, glory, liberty, praise, [peace,] salvation, redemption, justification1 , justice, sanctificationm , sacraments, merits, doctrinen , and all other things which we [he] had, and were behovefulo for our salvation2 .” In another we have these oppositions and answers made unto them: “All grace is given by Christ Jesus. True; but not except Christ Jesus be applied. He is the propitiation for our sinsp ; by his stripes we are healed; he hath offered up himselfq for us: all this [us all: this?r ] is true, but apply it. We put all satisfaction in the blood of Jesus Christ; but we hold, that the means whichs Christ hath appointed for us in this case to apply it, are our penal works3 .” Our countrymen in Rhemes make the like answer1 , that they seek salvation no other way than by the blood of Christ; and that humbly they do use prayers, fastingt , alms, faith, charity, sacrifice, sacraments, priests, only as the means appointed by Christ, to apply the benefit of his holy blood unto them: touching our good works, that in their own natures they are not meritorious, nor answerable unto the joys of heaven; it cometh by the grace of Christ, and not of the work itself, that we have by well-doing a right to heaven, and deserve it worthily. If any man think that I seek to varnish their opinions, to set the better foot of a lame cause foremost; let him know, that sinceu I began throughly to understand their meaning, I have found their halting in this doctrinex greater than perhaps it seemeth to them which know not the deepness of Satan, as the blessed Divine speaketh2 . For, although this be proof sufficient, that they do not directly deny the foundation of faith; yet, if there were no other leaven in the whole lump of their doctrine but this, this were sufficient to prove, that their doctrine is not agreeable withy the foundation of Christian faith. The Pelagians, being over-great friends unto nature, made themselves enemies unto grace, for all their confessing, that men have their souls, and all the faculties thereof, their wills and the abilityz of their wills, from God. And is not the church of Rome still an adversary unto Christ’s merits, because of her acknowledging, that we have received the power of meriting by the blood of Christ? Sir Thomas More setteth down the odds between us and the church of Rome in the matter of works thus: “Like as we grant them, that no good work of man is rewardable in heaven of hisb own nature, but through the mere goodness of God, that listc to set so high a price upon so poor a thing; and that this price God setteth through Christ’s passion, and for that also that they bed his own works with us; (for good works to God-ward worketh no man, without God work in him:) and as we grant them also, that no man may be proud of his works, for his owne imperfectf working; and for that in all that man may do, he can do no goodg , but is a servant unprofitable, and doth but his bare duty: as we, I say, grant unto them these things, so this one thing or twain do they grant us again, that men are bound to work good works, if they have time and power; and that whoso worketh in true faith most, shall be most rewarded: but then set they thereto, that all his rewards shall be given him for his faith alone, and nothing for his works at all, because his faith is the thing, they say, that forceth him to work well1 .” I see by this of sir Thomas More, how easy it is for men of greath capacity and judgmenti to mistake things written or spoken, as well on one side as on anotherk . Their doctrine, as he thought, maketh the worksl of man rewardable in the world to come through the merem goodness of God, whom it pleaseth to set so high a price upon so poor a thing; and ours, that a man doth receive that eternal and high reward, not for his works, but for his faith’s sake, by which he worketh: whereas in truth our doctrine is no other than that whichn we have learned at the feet of Christ; namely, that God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief, but for his worthinesso which is believed; God rewardeth abundantly every one which worketh, yet not for any meritorious dignity which is, or can be, in the work, but through his mere mercy, by whose commandment he worketh. Contrariwise, their doctrine is2 , that as pure water of itself hath no savour, but if it pass through a sweet pipe, it taketh a pleasant smell of the pipe through which it passeth;SERM. II. 34. so, although before grace received, our works do neither satisfy nor merit; yet after, they do both the one and the other. Every virtuous action hath then power in such sortp to satisfy; that if we ourselves commit no mortal sin, no heinous crime, whereupon to spend this treasure of satisfaction in our own behalf, it turneth to the benefit of other men’s release, on whom it shall please the steward of the house of God to bestow it; so that we may satisfy for ourselves and others, but merit only for ourselves. In meriting, our actions do work with two hands: with theq one, they get their morning stipend, the increase of grace; with the other, their evening hire, the everlasting crown of glory. Indeed they teach, that our good works do not these things as they come from us, but as they come from grace in us; which grace in us is another thing in their divinity, than is the mere goodness of God’s mercy towardr us in Christ Jesus.
34. If it were not a strong deluding spirit which hath possession of their hearts; were it possible but that they should see how plainly they do herein gainsay the very grounds of apostolic faith? Is this that salvation by grace, whereof so plentiful mention is made in the sacredt Scriptures of God? was this their meaning, which first taught the world to look for salvation only by Christ? By grace, the Apostle saith, and by grace in such sort as a gift; a thing that cometh not of ourselves, not of our works, lest any man should boast and say, “I have wrought out mine own salvation1 .”SERM. II. 35. By grace they confess; but by grace in suchu sort, that as many as wear the diadem of bliss, they wear nothing but what they have won. The Apostle, as if he had foreseen how the church of Rome would abuse the world in time by ambiguous terms, to declare in what sense the name of grace must be taken, when we make it the cause of our salvation, saith, “He saved us according to his mercy;” which mercy, although it exclude not the washing of our new birth, the renewing of our hearts by the Holy Ghost, the means, the virtues, the duties, which God requireth atw their hands which shall be saved; yet it is so repugnant unto merits, that to say, we are saved for the worthiness of any thing which is ours, is to deny we are saved by Grace. Grace bestoweth freely; and therefore justly requireth the glory of that which is bestowed. We deny the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; we imbasex , disannul, annihilatey the benefit of his bitter passion, if we rest in thosez proud imaginations, that life everlastinga is deservedly ours, that we merit it, and that we are worthy of it.
35. Howbeit, considering how many virtuous and just men, how many saints, how many martyrs, how many of the ancient Fathers of the church, have had their sundry perilous opinions; and among sundry of theirb opinions this, that they hoped to make God some part of amends for their sins, by the voluntary punishmentsc which they laid upon themselves; because by a consequent it may follow hereupon, that they were injurious untod Christ, shall we therefore make such deadly epitaphs, and set them upon their graves, “They denied the foundation of faith directly, they are damned, there is no salvation for them?” St. Augustine hath saide of himself, Errare possum, hæreticus esse nolo2 . And, except we put a difference between them that err, and them that obstinately persist in error, how is it possible that ever any man should hope to be saved? Surely, in this case, I have no respect of any person alive or dead. Give me a man, of what estate or condition soever, yea, a cardinal or a pope, whom atf the extreme point of his life affliction hath made to know himself; whose heart God hath touched with true sorrow for all his sins, and filled with love toward the Gospel of Christ; whose eyes are opened to see the truth, and his mouth to renounce all heresy and error any wayg opposite thereunto, this one opinion of merits excepted; whichh he thinketh God will require at his hands, and because he wanteth, therefore, trembleth, and is discouraged; it may be I am forgetful, ori unskilful, not furnished with things new and old, as a wise andk learned scribe should be, nor able to allege that, whereunto, if it were alleged, he doth bear a mind most willing to yield, and so to be recalled, as well from this, as from other errors: and shall I think, because of this only error, that such a man toucheth not so much as the hem of Christ’s garment? If he do, wherefore should not I have hope, that virtue may proceed from Christ to save him? Because his error doth by consequent overthrow his faith, shall I therefore cast him off, as one which hath utterly cast off Christ? one whichl holdeth not so much as by a slender thread? No; I will not be afraid to say unto a cardinal or to a popem in this plight, Be of good comfort, we have to do with a merciful God, ready to make the best of that littlen which we hold well, and not with a captious sophister, which gathereth the worst out of every thing wherein we err. Is there any reason that I should be suspected, or you offended, for this speech? Let all affection be laid aside; let the matter be indifferentlyo consideredp . Is it a dangerous thing to imagine, that such men may find mercy? The hour may come, when we shall think it a blessed thing to hear, that if our sins were asq the sins of the poper and cardinals, the bowels of the mercy of God are larger. I do not propose unto you a pope with the neck of an emperor under his foots ; a cardinal riding his horse to the bridle in the blood of saints; but a pope or a cardinal sorrowful, penitent, disrobed, striptt , not only of usurped power, but also delivered and recalled from error and u Antichrist, converted and lying prostrate at the feetw of Christ; and shall I think that Christ willx spurn at him? shally I cross and gainsay the merciful promises of God, generally made unto penitent sinners, by opposing the name of a pope orz cardinal? What difference is there in the world between a pope and a cardinal, and John a Stylea1 , in this case? If we think it impossible for them, after they be once come within thatb rank, to be afterwards touched with any such remorse, let that be granted. The Apostle saith, “If I, or an angel from heaven, preach unto you,” &c. Let it be as likely, that St. Paul or an angel from heaven shouldc preach heresy, as that a pope or ad cardinal should be brought so far forth to acknowledge the truth; yet if a pope or cardinal should, what find we in their persons why they might not be saved? It is not theire persons, you will say, but the error wherein I suppose them to die, which excludeth them from hopef of mercy; the opinion of merits doth take away all possibility of salvation from them. What, althoughg they hold it only as an error? although they hold the truth soundlyh and sincerely in all other parts of Christian faith? although they have in some measure all the virtues and graces of the Spirit, all other tokens of God’s elect children in them? although they be far from having any proud presumptuous opinion, that they shall be saved fori the worthiness of their deeds? although the only thing which troubleth and molesteth them be but a little too much dejection, somewhat too great a fear, rising from an erroneous conceit that God will require a worthiness in them, which they are grieved to find wanting in themselves? although they be not obstinate in this persuasion? although they be willing, and would be glad to forsake it, if any one reason were brought sufficient to disprove it? although the only let, why they do not forsake it ere they die, be the ignorance of the meank wherebyl it might be disproved? although the cause why the ignorance in this point is not removed, be the want of knowledge in such as should be able, and are not, to remove it?SERM. II. 36. Let me die, if ever it be proved, that simply an error doth exclude a pope or a cardinal, in such a case, utterly from hope of life. Surely, I must confess unto you, if it be an error to thinkm , that God may be merciful to save men even when they err1 , my greatest comfort is my error; were it not for the love I bear unto this error, I would neithern wish to speak nor to live.
36. Wherefore to resume that mother-sentence, whereof I little thought that so much trouble would have grown, “I doubt not but God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly:” alas! what bloody matter is there contained in this sentence, that it should be an occasion of so many hard censures? Did I say, “That thousands of our fathers might be saved?” I have shewed which way it cannot be denied. Did I say, “I doubt ito not but they were saved?” I see no impiety in this persuasion, though I had no reason in the worldp for it. Did I say, “Their ignorance doth make me hope they did find mercy, and so were saved?” What doth hinderq salvation but sin? Sins are not equal; and ignorance, though it dor not make sins to be no sin, yet seeing it did make their sin the less, why should it not make our hope concerning their life the greater? We pity the most, and It doubt not but God hath most compassion over them that sin for want of understanding. As much is confessed by sundry others, almost in the selfsame words which I have used. It is but only my illu hap, that the same sentences which favourx verity in other men’s books, should seem to bolster heresy when they are once by me recited. If I be deceived in this point, not they, but the blessed Apostle hath deceived me2 . What I said of others, the same he saithy of himself, “I obtainedz mercy3 , for I did it ignorantly.”SERM. II. 37, 38. Construe his words, and yea cannot misconstrue mine. I speak no otherwise, I meant no otherwiseb .
37. Thus have I brought the question concerning our fathers at the length unto an end. Of whose estate, upon so fit an occasion as was offered me, handling the weighty causes of separation between the church of Rome and us, and the weak motives which commonly arec brought to retain men in that society; amongst which motives the exampled of our fathers deceased is one; although I saw it convenient to utter that sentence which I did, to the end that all men might thereby understand, how untruly we are said to condemn as many as have been before us otherwise persuaded than we ourselves are: yet more than that one sentence I did not think it expedient to utter, judging it a great deal meeter for us to have regard to our own estate, than to sift over curiously what is become of other men; and fearing, lest that such questions as thise , if voluntarily they should be too far waded in, might seem worthy of that rebuke which our Saviour thought needful in a case not unlike, “What is this unto thee1 ?” When asf I was forced, much besides mineg expectation, to render a reason of my speech, I could not but yield at the call of others, toh proceed asi duty bound me, for the fuller satisfaction of men’s mindsk . Wherein I have walked, as with reverence, so with fear: with reverence, in regard of our fathers, which lived in former times; not without fear, considering them that are alive.
38. I am not ignorant how ready men are to feed and soothe up themselves in evil. Shall I (will the man say, that loveth thel present world more than he loveth Christ), shall I incur the high displeasure of the mightiest upon earth? shall I hazard my goods, endanger my estatem , put my life inn jeopardy, rather than yield to that which so many of my fathers haveo embraced, and yet found favour in the sight of God? “Curse Meroz,” saith the Lord, “curse her inhabitants, because they helpp not the Lord, they helpq him not against the mighty1 .”SERM. II. 38. If I should not only notr help the Lord against the mighty, but help to strengthen them that are mighty against the Lord; worthily might I fall under the burden of that curse, worthy I were to bear my own judgment. But if the doctrine which I teach be a flower gathered in the garden of the Lord, a part of the saving truth of the Gospel, from whence notwithstanding poisoneds creatures do suck venom; I can but wish it were otherwise, and content myself with the lot that hath befallen me, the rather, because it hath not befallen me alone. St. Paul did preacht a truth, and a comfortable truth, when he taught, that the greater our misery is in respect of our iniquities, the readier is the mercy of ouru God for our release, if we seek unto him; the more we have sinned, the more praise, and gloryw , and honour unto him that pardoneth our sin. But mark what lewd collections were made hereupon by some2 : “Why then am I condemned for a x sinner?” And, saith the Apostle, “as we are blamed, and as some affirm that we say, ‘Why do we not evil that good may come of it?’ ” He was accused to teach that which ill-disposed men did gather by his teaching, though it were clean not only besidey , but against his meaning. The Apostle addeth, “Their condemnation which thus do is just.” I am not hasty to apply sentences of condemnation: I wish from my heart their conversion, whosoever are thus perversely affected. For I must needs say, their case is fearful, their estate dangerous, which harden themselves, presuming onz the mercy of God towards others. It is true, that God is merciful, but let us beware of presumptuous sins. God delivered Jonah from the bottom of the sea; will you therefore cast yourselves headlong from the tops of rocks, and say in your hearts, God shall deliver us? He pitieth the blind that would gladly see; but will Goda pity him that may see, and hardeneth himself in blindness? No; Christ hath spoken too much unto you, for youb to claim the privilege of your fathers.
SERM. II. 39.39. As for us that have handled this cause concerning the condition of our fathers, whether it be this thing or any other which we bring unto you, the counsel is good which the Wise Man giveth1 , “Stand thou fast in thy sure understanding, in the way and knowledge of the Lord, and have but one manner of word, and follow the word of peace and righteousness.” As a loose tooth is a greatc grief unto him that eateth, so doth a wavering and unstable word, in speech that tendeth to instruction, offend. “Shall a wise man speak words of the wind2 ,” saith Eliphaz; light, unconstant, unstable words? Surely the wisest may speak words of the wind: such is the untoward constitution of our nature, that we neither dod so perfectly understand the way and knowledge of the Lord, nor so steadfastly embrace it, when it is understood; nor so graciously utter it, when it is embraced; nor so peaceably maintain it, when it is uttered; but that the best of us are overtaken sometimes through blindness, sometimes through hastiness, sometimes through impatience, sometime through other passions of the mind, whereunto (God doth know) we are too subject. We must therefore be contented both to pardon others, and to crave that others maye pardon us for such things. Let no man, whichf speaketh as a man, think himself (whilestg he liveth) always freed from scapes and oversights in his speech. The things themselves which I have spoken unto you I hopeh are sound, howsoever they have seemed otherwise unto some; at whose hands ifi I have, in that respect, received injury, I willingly forget it; although, in truthj , considering the benefit which I have reaped by this necessary searchk of truth, I rather incline unto that of the Apostle3 , “They have not injured me at all.” I have cause to wish, and I do wishl , them as many blessings in the kingdom of heaven, as they have forced me to utter words and syllables in this cause; wherein I could not be more sparing inm speech than I have been. “It becometh no man,” saith St. Jerome4 , “to be patient in the crime of heresy.”SERM. II. 40. Patient, as I take it, we should be always, though the crime of heresy were intended; but silent in a thing of so great consequence, I could not, beloved, I durst not be; especially the love, which I bear to the truth inn Christ Jesus, being hereby somewhat called in question. Whereof I beseech them, in the meekness of Christ, that have been the first original cause, to consider that a watchman may cry “An enemy!” when indeed a friend cometh. In which caseo , as I deemp such a watchman more worthy to be loved for his care, than misliked for his error; so I have judged it my own part in this caseq , as much as in me lieth, to take away all suspicion of any unfriendly intent or meaning against the truth, from which, God doth know, my heart is free.
40. Now to you, beloved, which have heard these things, I will use no other words of admonition, than those which are offered me by St. James1 , “My brethren, have not the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christr , in respect of persons.” Ye are not now to learn, that as of itself it is not hurtful, so neither should it be to any mans scandalous and offensive, in doubtful cases, to hear the differentt judgmentu of men. Be it that Cephas hath one interpretation, and Apollos hath another; that Paul is of this mind, andx Barnabas of that; if this offend you, the fault is yours. Carry peaceable minds, and yey may have comfort by this variety.
Now the God of peace give you peaceable minds, and turn it to your everlasting comfort.
A SUPPLICATION MADE TO THE COUNCIL
TRAVERS’ SUPPLICATION.THE manifold benefits which all the subjects within this dominion do at this present, and have many years2 enjoyed, under her Majesty’s most happy and prosperous reign, by your godly wisdom and careful watching over this estate night and day, I truly and unfeignedly acknowledge, from the bottom of my heart, ought worthily to bind us all to pray continually to Almighty God for the continuance and increase of the life and good estate of your honours, and to be ready, with all good duties, to satisfy and serve the same to our power. Besides public benefits common unto all, I must needs, and do willingly, confess myself to stand bound by most special obligation, to serve and honour you more than anya other, for the honourable favour it hath pleased you to vouchsafe both oftentimes heretofore, and also now of late3 , in a matter more dear unto me than any earthly commodity, that is, the upholding and furthering of my service in the ministering of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For which cause, as I have been always careful so to carry myself as I might by no means give occasion to be thought unworthy of so great a benefit, so do I still, next unto her majesty’s gracious countenance, hold nothing more dear and precious unto me, than that I may always remain in your honours’ favour, which hath oftentimes been helpful and comfortable unto me in my ministry, and to all such as reaped any fruit of my simple and faithful labour. In which dutiful regard I humbly beseech your honours to vouchsafe to do me this grace, to conceive nothing of me otherwise than according to the duty wherein I ought to live, by any information against me, before your honours have heard my answer, and been thoroughly informed of the matter. Which, although it be a thing that your wisdoms, not in favour, but in justice, yield to all men, yet the state of the calling unto the ministry, whereunto it hath pleased God of his goodness to call me, though unworthiest of all, is so subject to misinformation, as, except we may find this favour with your honours, we cannot look for any other, but that our unindifferent parties may easily procure us to be hardly esteemed of; and that we shall be made like the poor fisher-boats in the sea, which every swelling wave and billow raketh and runneth over. Wherein my estate is yet harder than any others of my rank and calling, who are indeed to fight against flesh and blood in what part soever of the Lord’s host and field they shall stand marshalled to serve, yet many of them deal with it naked, and unfurnished of weapons: but my service was in a place where I was to encounter with it well appointed and armed with skill and with authority: whereof as I have always thus deserved, and therefore have been careful by all good means to entertain still your honours’ favourable respect of me, so have I special cause at this present, wherein misinformation to the lord archbishop of Canterbury, and other of the High Commission, hath been able so far to prevail against me, that by their letter they have inhibited me to preach, or execute any act of ministry in the Temple or elsewhere1 , having never once called me before them, to understand by mine answer the truth of such things as had been informed against me. We have a story in our books, wherein the Pharisees proceeding against our Saviour Christ without having heard him is reproved by “an honourable counsellor2 ,” as the Evangelist doth term him, saying, “Doth our law judge a man before it hear him, and know what he hath done3 ?” Which I do not mention, to the end that by an indirect and covert speech I might so compare those who have, without ever hearing me, pronounced a heavy sentence against me; for notwithstanding such proceedings, I purpose by God’s grace to carry myself towards them in all seeming duty agreeable to their places: much less do I presume to liken my cause to our Saviour Christ’s, who hold it my chiefest honour and happiness to serve him, though it be but among the hinds and hired servants that serve him in the basest corners of his house. But my purpose in mentioning it is, to shew, by the judgment of a prince and great man in Israel, that such proceeding standeth not with the law of God, and in a princely pattern to shew it to be a noble part of an honourable counsellor, not to allow of indirect dealings, but to loveb and affect such a course in justice as is agreeable to the law of God. We have also a plain rule in the word of God, not to proceed any otherwise against any elder of the Church; much less against one that laboureth in the word and in teaching. Which rule is delivered with this most earnest charge and obtestation, “I beseech and charge thee in the sight of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou keep thesec rulesd without preferring one before another, doing nothing of partiality, or inclining to either part1 ;” which apostolical and most earnest charge, I refere to your honours’ wisdom how it hath been regarded in so heavy a judgment against me, without ever hearing my cause; and whether, as having God before their eyes, and the Lord Jesus, by whom all former judgments shall be tried again; and, as in the presence of the elect angels, witnesses and observers of the regiment of the Church, they have proceeded thus to such a sentence. They allege indeed two reasons in their letters, whereupon they restrain my ministry; which, if they were as strong against me as they are supposed, yet I refer to your honours’ wisdoms, whether the quality of such an offence as they charge me with, which is in effect but an indiscretion, deserve so grievous a punishment both to the Church and me, in taking away my ministry, and that poor little commodity which it yieldeth for the necessary maintenance of my life; if so unequal a balancing of faults and punishments should have place in the commonwealth, surely we should shortly have no actions upon the case, nor of trespass, but all should be pleas of the crown, nor any man amerced, or fined, but for every light offence put to his ransom. I have credibly heard, that some of the ministry1 have been convicted off grievous transgressions of the laws of God and men, being of no ability to do other service in the Church than to read; yet hath it been thought charitable, and standing with Christian moderation and temperancy, not to deprive such of ministry and beneficeg , but to inflict some more tolerable punishment. Which I write not because such, as I think, were to be favoured, but to shew how unlike their dealing is with me, being through the goodness of God not to be touched with any such blame; and one who according to the measure of the gift of God have laboured now some years painfully, in regard of the weak estate of my body, in preaching the gospel, and as I hope not altogether unprofitably in respect of the Church. But I beseech your honours to give me leave briefly to declare the particular reasons of their letterh , and what answer I have to make unto it.
The first is, that, as they say, “I am not lawfully called to the function of the ministry, nor allowed to preach, according to the laws of the Church of England.”
For answer to this, I had need to divide the points. And first to make answer to the former; wherein leaving to shew what by the holy Scriptures is required in a lawful calling, and that all that is to be found in mine, that I be not too long for your other weighty affairs, I rest in this answeri .
My calling to the ministry was such as in the calling of any thereunto is appointed to be used by the orders agreed upon in the national synods of the Low Countries2 , for the direction and guidance of their churches; which orders are the same with those whereby the French and Scottish churches are governed; whereof I have shewed such sufficient testimonial to my lord the Archbishop of Canterbury, as is requisite in such a matter: whereby it must needs fall out, if any man be lawfully called to the ministry in those churches, then is my calling, being the same with theirs, also lawful. But I suppose, notwithstanding they use this general speech, they mean only, my calling is not sufficient to deal in the ministry within this land, because I was not made minister according to that order, which in this cause is ordained by our laws. Whereunto I beseech your honours to consider throughly of mine answer, because exception now again is taken to my ministry, whereas, having been heretofore called in question for it1 , I so answered the matter, as I continued inj my ministry, and, for any thing I discerned, looked to hear that no more objected unto me. The communion of saints (which every Christian man professeth to believe) is such as, that the acts which are done in any true church of Christ’s according to his word, are held as lawful being done in one church, as in another. Which, as it holdeth in other acts of ministry, as baptism, marriage, and such like, so doth it in the calling to the ministry; by reason whereof, all churches do acknowledge and receive him for a minister of the word, who hath been lawfully called thereunto in any church of the same profession. A Doctor created in any university in Christendom, is acknowledged sufficiently qualified to teach in any country. The church of Rome itself, and the canon law holdeth it, that being ordered in Spain, they may execute that that belongeth to their order, in Italy, or in any other place. And the churches of the Gospel never made any question of it: which if they shall now begin to make doubt of, and deny such to be lawfully called to the ministry, as are called by another order than our own; then may it well be looked for, that other churches will do the like: and if a minister called in the Low Countries be not lawfully called in England, then may they say to our preachers which are there, that being made by another order than theirs, they cannot suffer them to execute any act of ministry amongst them; which in the end must needs breed a schism, and dangerous division in the churches. Further, I have heard of those that are learned in the laws of this land, that by express statute to that purpose, anno 13 of her majesty’s reign1 , upon subscription to the articles agreed upon, anno 1562, that they who pretend to have been ordered by another order than that which is now established, are of like capacity to enjoy any place of ministry within the land, as they which have been ordered according to that which is now by law in thisk established. Which comprehending manifestly all, even such as were made priests according to the order of the Church of Rome, it must needs be, that the law of a Christian land, professing the Gospel, should be as favourable for a minister of the word, as for a popish priest; which also was so found in Mr. Whittingham’s case2 , who, notwithstanding such replies against him3 , enjoyed still the benefit he had by his ministry, and might have done until this day, if God had spared him life so long; which if it be understood so, and practised in others, why should the change of the person alter the right which the law giveth to all other?
The place of ministry whereunto I was called was not presentative: and if it had been so, surely they would never have presented any man whom they never knew; and the order of this church is agreeable herein to the Word of God, and the ancient and best canons, that no man should be made a minister sine titulo: therefore having none, I could not by the orders of this church have entered into the ministry, before I had a chargel to tend upon. When I was at Antwerp, and to take a place of ministry among the people of that nation, I see no cause why I should have returned again over the seas for orders here; nor how I could have done it, without disallowing the orders of the churches provided in the country where I was to live. Whereby I hope it appeareth, that my calling to the ministry is lawful, and maketh me, by our law, of capacity to enjoy any benefit or commodity, that any other, by reason of his ministry, may enjoy. But my case is yet more easy, who reaped no benefit of my ministry by law, receiving only a benevolence and voluntary contribution; and the ministry I dealt with being preaching only, which every deacon here may do being licensed, and certain that are neither1 ministers nor deacons. Thus I answer the former of these two points, whereof, if there be yet any doubt, I humbly desire, for a final end thereof, that some competent judges in law may determine of itm ; whereunto I refer and submit myself with all reverence and duty.
The second is, “That I preached without license.” Whereunto this is my answer: I have not presumed, upon the calling I had to the ministry abroad, to preach or deal with any part of the ministry within this church, without the consent and allowance of such as were to allow me unto it. My allowance was from the bishop of London, testified by his two several letters to the Inner Temple, who, without such testimony, would by no means rest satisfied in it: which letters being by me produced, I refer it to your honours’ wisdom, whether I have taken upon me to preach, without being allowed (as they charge) according to the orders of the realm. Thus having answered the second point also, I have done with the objection, “Of dealing without calling or license.”
The other reason they allege is, concerning a late action, wherein I had to deal with Mr. Hooker, Master of the Temple. In the handling of which cause, they charge me with an indiscretion, and want of duty, “in that I inveighed,” as they say, “against certain points of doctrine taught by him, as erroneous, not conferring with him, nor complaining of it to them.” My answer hereunto standeth, in declaring to your honours the whole course and carriage of that cause, and the degrees of proceeding in it, which I will do as briefly as I can, and according to the truth, God be my witness, as near as my best memory, and notes of remembrance, may serve me thereunto. After that I have taken away that which seemed to have moved them to think me not charitably minded to Mr. Hooker; which is, because he was brought into Mr. Alvey’s place, wherein this church desired that I might have succeeded: which place, if I would have made suit to have obtained, or if I had ambitiously affected and sought, I would not have refused to have satisfied, by subscription, such as the matter then seemed to depend upon: whereas contrariwise, notwithstanding I would not hinder the church to do that they thought to be the most for their edification and comfort, yet did I, neither by speech nor letter, make suit to any for the obtaining of it, following herein that resolution, which I judge to be most agreeable to the word and will of God; that is, that labouring and suing for places and charges in the church is not lawful. Further, whereasn , at the suit of the church, some of your honours entertained the cause, and brought it to a near issue, that there seemed nothing to remain, but the commendation of my lord the archbishop of Canterbury, when as he could not be satisfied, but by my subscribing to his late articles1 ; and that my answer (agreeing to subscribe according to any law, and to the statute provided in that case, but praying to be respited for subscribing to any other, which I could not in conscience do, either for the Temple (which otherwise he said he would not commend me to), nor for any other place in the Church) did so little please my lord archbishop, as he resolved that otherwise I should not be commended to it: I had utterly here no cause of offence against Mr. Hooker, whom I did in no sort esteem to have prevented or undermined me, but that God disposed of me as it pleased him, by such means and occasions as I have declared.
Moreover, as I haveo taken no cause of offence at Mr. Hooker for being preferred, so there were many witnesses, that I was glad that the place was given him, hoping to live in all godly peace and comfort with him, both for acquaintance and good-will which hath been between us, and for some kindp of affinity in the marriage of his nearest kindred and mine2 . Since his coming, I have so carefully endeavoured to entertain all good correspondence and agreement with him, as I think he himself will bear me witness of many earnest disputations and conferences with him about the matter; the rather, because that, contrary to my expectation, he inclined from the beginning but smally thereunto, but joined rather with such as had always opposed themselves to any good order in this churchq , and made themselves to be thoughtr indisposed to thiss present state and proceedings. For, both knowing that God’s commandment charged me with such duty, and discerning how much our peace might further the good service of God and his Church, and the mutual comfort of us botht , I had resolved constantly to seek for peace; and though it should fly from me (as I saw it did by means of some, who little desired to see the good of our church), yet according to the rule of God’s word, to follow after it. Which being so (as hereof I take God to witness, who searcheth the heart and reins, and who by his Son will judge the world, both quick and dead), I hope no charitable judgment can suppose me to have stood evilaffected towards him for his place, or desirous to fall into any controversy with him.
Which my resolution I sou pursued, that, whereas I discovered sundry unsound matters in his doctrine (as many of his sermons tasted of some sour leaven or other), yet thus I carried myself towards him. Matters of smaller weight, and so covertly deliveredx , that no great offence to the Church was to be feared in them, I wholly passed by, as one that discerned nothing of them, or had been unfurnished of replies; othersy of great moment, and so openly delivered, as there was just cause of fear lest the truth and Church of God should be prejudiced and perilled by it, and such as the conscience of my duty and calling would not suffer me altogether to pass over, this was my course; to deliver, when I should have just cause by my text, the truth of such doctrine as he had otherwise taught, in general speeches, without touch of his person in any sort, and further at convenient opportunity to confer with him on such points.
According to which determination, whereas he had taught certain things concerning predestination otherwise than the Word of God doth, as it is understood by all churches professing the gospel, and not unlike that wherewith Corranus1 sometime troubled thisz church, I both delivered the truth of such points in a general doctrine, without any touch of him in particular, and conferred with him also privately upon such articles. In which conference, I remember, when I urged the consent of all churches and good writers against him that I knew; and desired, if it were otherwise, to understanda what authors he had seen ofb such doctrine: he answered me, that his best author was his own reason; which I wished him to take heed of, as a matter standing morec with Christian modesty and wisdom in a doctrine not received by the Church, not to trust to his own judgment so far as to publish it before he had conferred with others of his profession labouring by daily prayer and study to know the will of God, as he did, to see how they understood such doctrine. Notwithstanding, he, with wavering, repliedd , that he would some other time deal more largely in the matter. I wished him, and prayed him not so to do, for the peace of the Church, which, by such means, might be hazarded; seeing he could not but think, that men, who make any conscience of their ministry, will judge it a necessary duty in them to teach the truth, and to convince the contrary.
Another time, upon like occasion of this doctrine of his, “That the assurance of that we believe by the word, is not so certain, as of that we perceive by sense1 ;” I both taught the doctrine otherwise, namely, the assurance of faith to be greater, which assurede both of things above, and contrary to all sense and human understanding, and dealt with him also privately upon that point: according to which course of late, when as he had taught, “That the church of Rome is a true Church of Christ, and a sanctified Church by profession of that truth, which God hath revealed unto us by his Son, though not a pure and perfect Church;” and further, “That he doubted not, but that thousands of the Fathers, which lived and died in the superstitions of that church, were saved, because of their ignorance, which excusedf them;” misalleging to that end a text of Scripture to prove it2 : the matter being of set purpose openly and at large handled by him, and of that moment, that might prejudice the faith of Christ, encourage the ill-affected to continue still in their damnable ways, and others weak in faith to suffer themselves easily to be seduced to the destruction of their souls; I thought it my most bounden duty to God and to his Church, whilst I might have opportunity to speak with him, to teach the truth in a general speech in such points of doctrine.
At which time I taught, “That such as die, or have died at any time in the church of Rome, holding in their ignorance that faith which is taught in it, and namely, justification in part by works, could not be said by the Scriptures to be saved.” In which matter, foreseeing that if I waded not warily in it, I should be in danger to be reported (as hath fallen out since notwithstanding) to condemn all the fathers, I said directly and plainly to all men’s understanding, “That it was not indeed to be doubted, but many of the fathers were saved; but the means,” said I, “was not their ignorance, which excuseth no man with God, but their knowledge and faith of the truth, which, it appeareth, God vouchsafed them, by many notable monuments and records extant of it in all ages.” Which being the last point in all my sermon, rising so naturally from the text I then propoundedg , as would have occasioned me to have delivered such matter, notwithstanding the former doctrine had been sound; and being dealt in by a general speech, without touch of his particular; I looked not that a matter of controversy would have been made of it, no more than had been of my like dealing in former time. But, far otherwise than I looked for, Mr. Hooker, shewing no grief orh offence taken at my speech all the week long, the next Sabbath, leaving to proceed upon his ordinary text, professed to preach again that he had done the day before, for some question that his doctrine was drawn into, which he desired might be examined with all severity.
So proceeding, he bestowed his whole time, in that discourse, confirmingi his former doctrine, and answering the places of Scripture which I had alleged1 to prove that a man dying in the church of Romek is not to be judged by the Scriptures to be saved. In which long speech, and utterly impertinent to his text, under colour of answering for himself, he impugned directly and openly to all men’s understanding, the true doctrine which I had delivered; and, addingl to his former points some other like (as willingly one error followeth another), that is, “That the Galathians joining, with faith in Christ, circumcision, as necessary to salvation, mightm be saved; and that they of the church of Rome may be saved by such a faith of Christ as they had, with a general repentance of all their errors, notwithstanding their opinion of justification in part by their works and merits:” I was necessarily, though not willingly, drawn to say something to the points he objected against sound doctrine; which I did in a short speech in the end of my sermon, with protestation of so doing not of any sinister affection to any man, but to bear witness to the truth according to my calling; and wished, if the matter should needs further be dealt in, some other more convenient way might be taken for it. Wherein, I hope, my dealing was manifest to the consciences of all indifferent hearers of me that day, to have been according to peace, and without any uncharitableness, being duly considered.
For that I conferred notn with him the first day, I have shewed that the cause requiring of me the duty at the least not to be altogether silent in it, being a matter of such consequence, the time also being short wherein I was to preach after him, the hope of the fruit of our communication being small upon experience of former conferences, and my expectation being that the Church should be no further troubled with it, upon the motion I made of taking some other course of dealing; I suppose my deferring to speak with him till some fit opportunity, cannot in charity be judged uncharitable.
The second day, his unlooked-for opposition with the former reasons, made it to be a matter that required of necessity some public answer; which being so temperate as I have shewed, if notwithstanding it be censured as uncharitable, and punished so grievously as it is, what should have been my punishment, if (without all such cautions and respects as qualified my speech) I had before all, and in the understanding of all, so reproved him offending openly, that others might have feared to do the like? which yet, if I had done, might have been warranted by the rule and charge of the1 Apostleo , “Them that offend openly, rebuke openly, that the rest may also fear;” and by his example, who, when Peter in this very case which is now between us, had, not in preaching, but in a matter of conversation, not “gone with a right foot, as was fit for the truth of the Gospel2 ,” conferred not privately with him, but, as his own rule required, reproved him openly before all, that others might hear, and fear, and not dare to do the like. All which reasons together weighed, I hope, will shew the manner of my dealing to have been charitable, and warrantable in every sort.
The next Sabbath day after this, Mr. Hooker kept the way he had entered into before, and bestowed his whole hour3 and more only upon the questions he had moved and maintained; wherein he so set forth the agreement of the church of Rome with us, and their disagreement from us, as if we had consented in the greatest and weightiest points, and differed only in certain smaller matters: which agreement noted by him in two chief points, is not such as he would have made men believe. The one, in that he said, “They acknowledge all men sinners, even the blessed Virgin, though some of them freed her from sin;” for the council of Trent holdeth1 , that she was free from sin. Another, in that he said, “They teach Christ’s righteousness to be the only meritorious cause of taking away sin, and differ from us only in the applying it:” for Thomas Aquinas their chief schoolman2 , and archbishop Catherinus3 , teach, “That Christ took away only original sin, and that the rest are to be taken away by ourselves;” yea, the council of Trent teacheth, “That righteousness whereby we are righteous in God’s sight, is an inherent righteousness;” which must needs be of our own works, and cannot be understood of the righteousness inherent only in Christ’s person, and accounted unto us. Moreover he taught the same time, “That neither the Galathians, nor the church of Rome, did directly overthrow the foundation of justification by Christ alone, but only by consequent, and therefore might well be saved; or else neither the churches of the Lutherans, nor any which hold any manner of error could be saved; because,” saith he, “every error by consequent overthroweth the foundation.” In which discourses, and such like, he bestowed his whole time and more; which, if he had affected either the truth of God, or the peace of the Church, he would truly not have done.
Whose example could not draw me to leave the Scripture I took in hand, but standing about an hour to deliver the doctrine of it, in the end, upon just occasion of the text, leaving sundry other his unsound speeches, and keeping me still to the principal, I confirmed the believing the doctrine of justification by Christ only, to be necessary to the justification of all that should be saved, and that the church of Rome directly denieth, that a man is saved by Christ, or by faith alone, without the works of the law. Which my answer, as it was most necessary for the service of God and the Church, so was it without any immodest or reproachful speech p to Mr. Hooker: whose unsound and wilful dealings in a cause of so great importance to the faith of Christ, and salvation of the Church, notwithstanding I knew well what speech it deserved, and what some zealous earnest man of the spirit of John and James1 , surnamed Boanerges, Sons of Thunder, would have said in such case; yet I chose rather to content myself in exhorting him to revisit his doctrine, as Nathan2 the prophet did the device, which, without consulting with God, he had of himself given to David, concerning the building of the temple: and, with Peter the Apostle3 , to endure to be withstood in such a case, not unlike unto this. This in effect was that which passed between us concerning this matter, and the invectives I made against him, wherewith I am charged. Which rehearsal, I hope, may clear me (with all that shall indifferently consider it) of the blames laid upon me for want of duty to Mr. Hooker in not conferring with him, whereof I have spoken sufficiently already; and to the High Commission, in not revealing the matter to them, which yet now I am further to answer. My answer is, that I protest, no contempt nor wilful neglect of any lawful authority stayed me from complaining unto them, but these reasons following:
First, I was in some hope, that Mr. Hooker, notwithstanding he had been over-carried, with a show of charity, to prejudice the truth, yet when it should be sufficiently proved, would have acknowledged it, or at the least induced with peace, that it might be offered withoutq any offence to him, to such as would receive it; either of which would have taken away any cause of just complaint. When neither of these fell out according to my expectation and desire, but that he replied to the truth, and objected against it, I thought he might have some doubts and scruples in himself; which yet, if they were cleared, he would either embrace soundr doctrine, or at least suffer it to have its course: which hope of him I nourished so long, as the matter was not bitterly and immodestly handled between us.
Another reason was the cause itself, which, according to the parable of the tares, (which are said to be sown among the wheat,) sprung up first in his grass: therefore, as the servants in that place are not said to have come to complain to the Lord, till the tares came to shew their fruits in their kind; so I, thinking it yet but a time of discovering ofs what it was, desired not their sickle to cut it down.
For further answer, it is to be considered, that the conscience of my duty to God, and to his Church, did bind me at the first, to deliver sound doctrine in such points as had been otherwise uttered in that place, where I had now some years taught the truth; otherwise the rebuke of the Prophet1 had fallen upon me, for not going up to the breach, and standing in it, and the peril of answering fort the blood of the city, in whose watch-tower I sate; if it had been surprised by my default. Moreover, my public protestation, in being willingu , that if any were not yet satisfied, some other more convenient way might be taken for it. And, lastly, that I had resolved (which I uttered before to some, dealing with me about the matter) to have protested the next sabbath day, that I would no more answer in that place any objections to the doctrine taught by any means, but some other way satisfy such as should require it.
These, I trust, may make it appear, that I failed not in duty to authority, notwithstanding I did not complain, nor give over so soon dealing in the case. If I did, how is he clear, which can allege none of all these for himself? who leaving the expounding of the Scriptures, and his ordinary calling, voluntarily discoursed upon school points and questions, neither of edification nor of truth? Who after all this, as promising to himself, and to untruth, a victory by my silence, added yet in the next sabbath day, to the maintenance of his former opinions, these which follow:
“That no additament taketh away the foundation, except it be a privative; of which sort neither the works added to Christ by the church of Rome, nor circumcision by the Galathians, were; as one denieth him not to be a man, that saith, he is a righteous man, but he that saith he is a dead man:” whereby it might seem, that a man might, without hurt, add works to Christ, and pray also that God and St. Peter would save them.
“That the Galathians’ case is harder than the case of the church of Rome, because the Galathians joined circumcision with Christ, which God had forbidden and abolished; but that which the church of Rome joined with Christ, were good works, which God had commanded.” Wherein he committed a double fault: one, in expounding all the questions of the Galathians, and consequently of the Romans, and other Epistles, of circumcision only, and the ceremonies of the law (as they do, who answer for the church of Rome in their writings), contrary to the clear meaning of the Apostle, as may appear by many strong and sufficient reasons; the other, in that he said, “The addition of the church of Rome was of works commanded of God.” Whereas the least part of the works whereby they looked to merit, was of such works; and most were worksx of supererogation, andy works which God never commanded, but was highly displeased with, as of masses, pilgrimages, pardons, pains of purgatory, and such like. Further, “That no one sequel urged by the Apostle against the Galathians for joining circumcision with Christ, but might be as well enforced against the Lutherans; that is, that for their ubiquity it may be as well said to them, If ye hold the body of Christ to be in all places, you are fallen from grace, you are under the curse of the law, saying, ‘Cursed be he that fulfilleth not all things written in this Book,’ ” with such like. He added yet further, “That to a bishop of the church of Rome, to a cardinal, yea, to the pope himself, acknowledging Christ to be the Saviour of the world, denying other errors, and being discomforted for want of works whereby he might be justified, he would not doubt, but use this speech; Thou holdest the foundation of Christian faith, though it be but by a slender thread; thou holdest Christ, though but by the hem of his garment; why shouldest thou not hope that virtue may pass from Christ to save thee? That which thou holdest of justification by thy works, overthroweth indeed by consequent the foundation of Christian faith; but be of good cheer, thou hast not to do with a captious sophister, but with a merciful God, who will justify thee for that thou holdest, and not take the advantage of doubtful construction to condemn thee. And if this (said he) be an error, I hold it willingly; for it is the greatest comfort I have in the world, without which I would not wish either to speak or live.” Thus far, being not to be answered in it any more, he was bold to proceed, the absurdity of which speech I need not to stand upon. I think the like to this, and other such in this sermon, and the rest of this matter, hath not been heard in public places within this land since Queen Mary’s days. What consequence this doctrine may be of, if he be not by authority ordered to revoke it, I beseech your honours, as the truth of God and his gospel is dear and precious unto you, according to your godly wisdom to consider.
I have been bold to offer to your honours a long and tedious discourse of these matters; but speech being like to tapestry, which, if it be folded up, sheweth but part of that which is wrought, and being unlapt and laid open, sheweth plainly to the eye all the work that is in it; I thought it necessary to unfold this tapestry, and to hang up the whole chamber of it in your most honourable senate, that so you may the more easily discern of all the pieces, and the sundry works and matters contained in it. Wherein my hope is, your honours may see I have not deserved so great a punishment as is laid upon the Church for my sake, and also upon myself, in taking from me the exercise of my ministry. Which punishment, how heavy it may seem to the Church, or fall out indeed to be, I refer it to them to judge, and spare to write what I fear, but to myself it is exceeding grievous, for that it taketh from me the exercise of my calling. Which I do not say is dear unto me, as the means of that little benefit whereby I live (although this be a lawful consideration, and to be regarded of me in due place, and of the authority under whose protection I most willingly live, even by God’s commandment both unto them and unto me); but which ought to be more precious unto me than my life, for the love which I should bear to the glory and honour of Almighty God, and to the edification and salvation of his Church, for that my life cannot any other way be of like service to God, nor of such use and profit to men by any means. For which cause, as I discern how dear myz ministry ought to be unto me, so it is my hearty desire, and most humble request unto God, to your honours, and to all the authority I live under, to whom any dealing herein belongeth, that I may spend my life (according to his example1 , who in a word of like sound, buta of fuller sense, comparing by it the bestowing of his life to the offering poured out) upon the sacrifice of the faith of God’s people, and especially of this church, whereupon I have already poured out a great part thereof in the same calling, from which I stand now restrained. And if your honours shall find it so, that I have not deserved so great a punishment, but rather performed the duty which a good and faithful servant ought, in such case, to do to his Lord and the people he putteth him in trust withal carefully to keep; I am a most humble suitor by these presents to your honours, that, by your godly wisdom, some good course may be taken for the restoring of me to my ministry and place again. Which so great a favour, shall bind me yet in a greater obligation of duty (which is already so great, as it seemed nothing could be added unto it to make it greater) to honour God daily for the continuance and increase of your good estate, and to be ready, with all the poor means God hath given me, to do your honours that faithful service I may possibly perform. But if, notwithstanding my cause be never so good, your honours can by no means pacify such as are offended, nor restore me again, then am I to rest in the good pleasure of God, and to commend to your honours’ protection, under her Majesty’s, my private life, while it shall be led in duty; and the Church to him, who hath redeemed to himself a people with his precious blood, and is making ready to come to judge both the quick and dead, to give to every one according as he hath done in this life, be it good or evil; to the wicked and unbelievers, justice unto death; but to the faithful, and such as love his truth, mercy and grace to life everlasting.
Your Honours’ most bounden, and