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Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 3 [1888]

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Richard Hooker, 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. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/923

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Volume 3 of the writings of Richard Hooker, including Books 6-8 of his best known work Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594-97) and several sermons.

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Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE WORKS of MR. RICHARD HOOKER
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

London

HENRY FROWDE

Oxford University Press Warehouse

Amen Corner, E.C.

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
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, M.A. LATE FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLEGE, OXFORD
SEVENTH EDITION
REVISED BY THE VERY REV. R. W. CHURCH, M.A., D.C.L. Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, and Dean of St. Paul’s and THE REV. F. PAGET, D.D. Canon of Christ Church, and Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology in the University of Oxford
VOL. III
Oxford
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
M DCCC LXXXVIII
Edition: current; Page: [iv] Edition: current; Page: [1]

OF THE LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.

BOOK VI.: CONTAINING THEIR FIFTH ASSERTION, WHICH ISa, THAT OUR LAWS ARE CORRUPT AND REPUGNANT TO THE LAWS OF GOD, IN MATTER BELONGING TO THE POWER OF ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION, IN THAT WE HAVE NOT THROUGHOUT ALL CHURCHES CERTAIN LAY-ELDERS ESTABLISHED FOR THE EXERCISE OF THAT POWER1.

BOOK VI. Ch. i. 1.THE same men which in heat of contention do hardly either speak or give ear to reason, being after sharp and bitter conflictb retired to a calm remembrance of all their former proceedings; the causes that brought them into quarrel, the course which their stirringc affections have followed, and the issue whereunto they are come;The question between us, whether all congregations or parishes ought to have lay-elders invested with power of jurisdiction in spiritual causes. may per-adventure, as troubled waters, in small time, of their own accord, by certain easy degrees settle themselves again, and so recover that clearness of well-advised judgment, whereby they shall stand at the length indifferent, both to yield and admit any reasonable satisfaction, where before they could not endure with patience to be gainsayed. Neither will I despair Edition: current; Page: [2] of the like success in these unpleasant controversies touching ecclesiastical policy; the time of silence which both parts have willingly taken to breathe1, seeming now as it were a pledge of all men’s quiet contentment to hear with more indifferency the weightiest2 and last remains of that cause, Jurisdiction3, Dignity4, Dominion Ecclesiastical5. For, let notd any man imagine, that the bare and naked difference of a few ceremonies could either have kindled so much fire,BOOK VI. Ch. i. 2, 3. or have caused it to flame so long; but that the parties which herein laboured mightily for change, and (as they say) for Reformation, had somewhat more than this mark onlye whereat to aim6.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Having therefore drawn out a complete form, as they supposedf, of public service to be done to God, and set down their plot for the office of the ministry in that behalf; they very well knew how little their labours so far forth bestowed would avail them in the end, without a claim of jurisdiction to uphold the fabric which they had erected; and this neither likely to be obtained but by the strong hand of the people, nor the people unlikely to favour it; the moreg, if overture were made of their own interest, right, and title thereunto. Whereupon there are many which have conjectured this to be the cause, why in all the projects of their discipline (it being manifest that their drift is to wrest the key of spiritual authority out of the hands of former governors, and equally to possess therewith the pastors of all several congregations) the people, first for surer accomplishment, and then for better defence thereof, are pretended7 necessary actors in those things, whereunto their ability for the most part is as slender, as their title and challenge unjust.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Notwithstanding whether they saw it necessary for Edition: current; Page: [3] them soh to persuade the people,BOOK VI. Ch. i. 4. ii. 1. without whose help they could do nothing; or else, (which I rather think,) the affection which they barei towards this new form of government made them to imagine it God’s own ordinance, their doctrine is, “that by the law of God, there must be for ever in all congregations certain lay-elders, ministers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction1,” inasmuch as our Lord and Saviour by testament (for so they presume) hath left all ministers or pastors in the Church executors equally to the whole power of spiritual jurisdiction, and with them hath joined the people as colleagues. By maintenance of which assertion there is unto that part apparently gained a twofold advantage; both because the people in this respect are much more easily drawn to favour it, as a matter of their own interest; and for that, if they chance to be crossed by such as oppose against them, the colour of divine authority, assumed for the grace and countenance of that power in the vulgar sort, furnisheth their leaders with great abundance of matter, behoveful for their encouragement to proceed always with hope of fortunate success in the end, considering their cause to be as David’s was, a just defence of power given them from above, and consequently, their adversaries’ quarrel the same with Saul’s by whom the ordinance of God was withstood.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Now on the contrary side, if this their surmise prove false; if such, as in justification whereof no evidence sufficient either hath been or can be alleged (as I hope it shall clearly appear after due examination and trial), let them then consider whether those words of Corah, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and against Aaron2, “It is too much that ye take upon you, seeing all the congregation is holy,” be not the very true abstract and abridgment of all their published Admonitions, Demonstrations, Supplications, and Treatises whatsoever, whereby they have laboured to void the rooms of their spiritual superiors before authorized, and to advance the new fancied sceptre by lay presbyterial power.

The nature of spiritual jurisdiction.II. But before there can be any settled determination, whether truth dok rest on their part, or on ours, touching Edition: current; Page: [4] lay-elders; we are to prepare the way thereunto, by explication of some things requisite and very needful to be considered; as first, how besides that spiritual power which is of Order,BOOK VI. Ch. ii. 2. and was instituted for performance of those duties whereof there hath been speech sufficientl already had, there is in the Church no less necessary a second kind, which we call the power of Jurisdiction. When the Apostle doth speak of ruling the Church of God1, and of receiving accusations2, his words have evident reference to the power of jurisdiction. Our Saviour’s words to the power of order, when he giveth his disciples charge3, saying, “Preach; baptize; do this in remembrance of me.” “A Bishop” (saith Ignatius) “doth bear the image of God and of Christ; of God in ruling, of Christ in administering, holy things4.” By this therefore we see a manifest difference acknowledged between the power of Ecclesiastical Order, and the power of Jurisdiction ecclesiastical.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]m The spiritual power of the Church being such as neither can be challenged by right of nature, nor could by human authority be instituted, because the forces and effects thereof are supernatural and divine; we are to make no doubt or question, but that from him which is the Head it hath descended unto us that are the body now invested therewith. He gave it for the benefit and good of souls, as a mean to keep them in the path which leadeth unto endless felicity, a bridle to hold them within their due and convenient bounds, and if they do go astray, a forcible help to reclaim them. Now although there be no kind of spiritual power, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not give both commission to exercise, and direction how to use the same, although his laws in that behalf recorded by the holy evangelists be the only ground and foundation, whereupon the practice of the Church must sustain itself: yet, as all multitudes, once grown to the form of societies, are even thereby Edition: current; Page: [5] naturally warranted to enforce upon their own subjects particularly those things which public wisdom shall judge expedient for the common good:BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 1. so it were absurd to imagine the Church itself, the most glorious amongst them, abridged of this liberty; or to think that no law, constitution, or canon, can be further made either for limitationn or amplificationo in the practice of our Saviour’s ordinances, whatsoever occasion be offered through variety of times and things, during the state of this unconstantp world, which bringingq forth daily such new evils as must of necessity by new remedies be redrest, did both of old enforce our venerable predecessorsr, and will always constrain others, sometime to make, sometime to abrogate, sometime to augment, and again to abridge sometime; in sum, often to vary, alter, and change customs incident into the manner of exercising that power which doth itself continue always one and the same. I therefore conclude, that spiritual authority is a power which Christ hath given to be used over them which are subject unto it for the eternal good of their souls, according to his own most sacred laws and the wholesome positive constitutions of his Church.

In doctriness referred unto action and practice, as this is which concernetht spiritual jurisdiction, the first step towardsu sound and perfect understanding is the knowledge of the end, because thereby both use doth frame, and contemplation judge all things.

Of penitencex, the chiefest end propounded by spiritual Jurisdiction. Two kinds of Penitency; the one a private duty towards God, the other a duty of external discipline. Of the Virtue of Repentance, from which the former duty proceedeth; and of Contrition, the first part of that duty.III.y Seeing thenz that the chiefest cause of spiritual jurisdiction is to provide for the health and safety of men’s souls, by bringing them to see and repent their grievous offences committed against God, as also to reform all injuries offered with the breach of Christian love and charity, towardsa their brethren, in matters of ecclesiastical cognizance1; the Edition: current; Page: [6] use of this power shall by so much the plainlier appear, if first the nature of repentance itself be known.

We are by repentance to appease whom we offend by sin. For which cause, whereas all sins depriveb us of the favour of Almighty God, our way of reconciliation with him is the inward secret repentance of the heart; which inward repentance alone sufficeth, unless some special thing, in the quality of sin committed, or in the party that hath done amiss, require more. For besides our submission in God’s sight, repentance must not only proceed to the private contentation of men, if the sin be a crime injurious; but also furtherc, where the wholesome discipline of God’s Church exacteth a more exemplary and open satisfaction1. Now the Church being satisfied with outward repentance, as God is with inward, it shall not be amiss, for more perspicuity, to term this latter always the Virtue, thatd former the Discipline of Repentance: which discipline hath two sorts of penitents to work upon, inasmuch as it hath been accustomed to lay the offices of repentance on some seeking, others shunning them; on some at their own voluntary request, on others altogether against their wills; as shall hereafter appear by store of ancient examples. Repentance being therefore either in the sight of God alone, or else with the notice also of men: without the one, sometimes throughly performed, but always practised more or less, in our daily devotions and prayers, we have no remedy for any fault; whereas the other is only required in sins of a certain degree and quality: the one Edition: current; Page: [7] necessary for ever, the other so far forth as the laws and orders of God’s Church shall make it requisite: the nature, parts, and effects of the one always the same; the other limited, extended, varied by infinite occasions1.

BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 2.Edition: 1888; Page: [2]e The virtue of repentance in the heart of man is God’s handy work, a fruit or effect of divine grace. Which grace continually offereth itself, even unto them that have forsaken it, as may appear by the words of Christ in St. John’s Revelation2, “I stand at the door and knock:” nor doth he only knock without, but also within assist to open3, whereby access and entrance is given to the heavenly presence of that saving power, which maketh man a repaired Temple for God’s good Spirit again to inhabit. And albeit the whole train of virtues which are implied in the name of grace be infused at one instant4; yet because when they meet and concur unto any effect in man, they have their distinct operations rising orderly one from another; it is no unnecessary thing that we note the way or method of the Holy Ghost in framing man’s sinful heart to repentance.

A work, the first foundation whereof is laid by opening and illuminating the eye of faith, because by faith are discovered the principles of this action, whereunto unless the understanding do first assent, there can follow in the will towards penitency no inclination at all. Contrariwise, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of the world to come, and the endless misery of sinners being apprehended, this worketh fear; such as theirs was, who feeling their own distress and perplexity, in that passion besought our Lord’s Apostles earnestly to give them counsel what they should do5. For fear is impotent and unable to advise itself; yet this good it hath, that men are thereby made desirous to prevent, if possibly they may, whatsoever evil they dread. The first thing that wrought the Ninivites’ repentance, was Edition: current; Page: [8] fear of destruction within forty days1:BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 3. signs and miraculous works of God, being extraordinary representations of divine power, are commonly wont to stir any the most wicked with terror, lest the same power should bend itself against them. And because tractable minds, though guilty of much sin, are hereby moved to forsake those evil ways which make his power in such sort their astonishment and fear; therefore our Saviour denounced his curse against Corazin and Bethsaida, saying, that if Tyre and Sidon had seen that which they did, those signs which prevailed little with the one would have broughtf the other’s repentance2. As the like thereunto did in the men given to curious arts, of whom the apostolic history saith3, that “fear came upon them, and many which had followed vain sciences, burnt openly the very books out of which they had learned the same.” As fear of contumely and disgrace amongst men, together with other civil punishments, are a bridle to restrain from manyg heinous acts whereinto men’s outrage would otherwise break; so the fear of divine revenge and punishment, where it taketh place, doth make men desirous to be rid likewise from that inward guiltiness of sin, wherein they would else securely continue.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Howbeit, when faith hath wrought a fear of the event of sin, yet repentance hereupon ensueth not, unless our belief conceive both the possibility and means to avert evil: the possibility, inasmuch as God is merciful, and most willing to have sin cured; the means, because he hath plainly taught what is requisite and shall suffice unto that purpose. The nature of all wicked men is, for fear of revenge to hate whom they most wrong; the nature of hatred, to wish that destroyed which it cannot brook; and from hence ariseth the furious endeavourh of godless and obdurate sinners to extinguish in themselves the opinion of God, because they would not have him to be, whom execution of endless woe doth not suffer them to love. Every sin against God abateth, and continuance in sin extinguisheth our love towards him. It was therefore said to the angel of Ephesus having sinned4, “Thou art Edition: current; Page: [9] fallen away from thy first love;” so that, as we never decay in love till we sin, in like sort neither can we possibly forsake sin, unless we first begin again to love. What is love towards God, but a desire of union with God? And shall we imagine a sinner converting himself to God, in whom there is no desire of union with God presupposed? I therefore conclude, that fear worketh no man’s inclination to repentance, till somewhat else have wrought in us love also. Our love and desire of union with God ariseth from the strong conceit which we have of his admirable goodness. The goodness of God which particularly moveth unto repentance, is his mercy towards mankind, notwithstanding sin: for let it once sink deeply into the mind of man, that howsoever we have injuried God, his very nature is averse from revenge, except unto sin we add obstinacy; otherwise always ready to accept our submission as a full discharge or recompense for all wrongs; and can we choose but begin to love him whom we have offended? or can we but begin to grieve that we have offended him whom we now1 love? Repentance considereth sin as a breach of the law of God, an act obnoxious to that revenge, which notwithstanding may be prevented, if we pacify God in time.

The root and beginning of penitency therefore is the consideration of our own sin, as a cause which hath procured the wrath, and a subject which doth need the mercy of God. For unto man’s understanding there being presented, on the one side, tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doth evil; on the other, eternal life unto them which by continuance in well-doing seek glory, and honour, and immortality: on the one hand, a curse to the children of disobedience; on the other, to lovers of righteousness all grace and benediction: yet between these extremes, that eternal God, from whose unspotted justice and undeserved mercy the lot of each inheritance proceedeth, is so inclinable rather to shew compassion than to take revenge, that all his speeches in Holy Scripture are almost nothing else but entreaties of men to prevent destruction by amendment of their wicked lives; all the works of his providence little other than mere allurements of the just to continue steadfast, and of the unrighteous to change their Edition: current; Page: [10] course;BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 4. all his dealings and proceedings such towards true converts, as have even filled the grave writings of holy men with these and the like most sweet sentences: “Repentance (if I may so speak1) stoppeth God in his way, when being provoked by crimes past he cometh to revenge them with most just punishments; yea, it tieth as it were the hands of the avenger, and doth not suffer him to have his will.” Again, “2The merciful eye of God towards men hath no power to withstand penitency, at what time soever it comes in presence.” And again, “God doth not take it so in evil part, though we wound that which he hath required us to keep whole, as that after we have taken hurt there should be in us no desire to receive his help.” Finally, lest I be carried too far in so large a sea, “There was never any man condemned of God but for neglect, nor justified except he had care, of repentance.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]From these considerations, setting before our eyes our inexcusable both unthankfulness in disobeying so merciful, and foolishness in provoking so powerful a God, there ariseth necessarily a pensive and corrosive desire that we had done otherwise; a desire which suffereth us to foreslow no time, to feel no quietness within ourselves, to take neither sleep nor food with contentment, never to give over supplications, confessions, and other penitent duties, till the light of God’s reconciled favour shine in our darkened soul.

Fulgentius asking the question, why David’s confession should be held for effectual penitence, and not Saul’s; answereth3, that the one hated sin, the other feared only punishment Edition: current; Page: [11] in this world:BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 5. Saul’s acknowledgment of sin was fear, David’s both fear and also love. This was the fountain of Peter’s tears, this the life and spirit of David’s eloquence, in those most admirable hymns entitled Penitential, where the words of sorrow for sin do melt the very bowels of Godk remitting it, and the comforts of grace in remitting sin carry him which sorrowed rapt as it were into heaven with ecstasies of joy and gladness. The first motive of the Ninivites unto repentance was their belief in a sermon of fear, but the next and most immediate, an axiom of love1; “Who can tell whether God will turn away his fierce wrath, that we perish not?” No conclusion such as theirs, “Let every man turn from his evil way,” but out of premises such as theirs were, fear and love. Wherefore the well-spring of repentance is faith, first breeding fear, and then love; which love causeth hope, hope resolution of attempt2; “I will go to my Father, and say, I have sinned against heaven and against thee;” that is to say, I will do what the duty of a convert requireth.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]l Now in a penitent’s or convert’s duty, there are included, first, the aversion of the will from sin3; secondly, the submission of ourselves to God by supplication and prayer; thirdly, the purpose of a new life, testified with present works of amendment: which three things do very well seem to be comprised in one definition, by them which handle repentance, as a virtue that hateth, bewaileth, and sheweth a purpose to amend sin. We offend God in thought, word, and deed. To the first of which three, they make contrition; to the second, confession; and to the last, our works of satisfaction, answerable.

mContrition doth not here import those sudden pangs and convulsions of the mind which cause sometimes the most forsaken of God to retract their own doings; it is no natural passion or anguish, which riseth in us against our wills, but a deliberate aversion of the will of man from sin; which being always accompanied with grief, and grief oftentimes partly with tears, partly with other external signs, it hath been thought, that in these things contrition doth chiefly consist: Edition: current; Page: [12] whereas the chiefest thing in contrition is that alteration whereby the will,BOOK VI. Ch. iii. 6. iv. 1. which was before delighted with sin, doth now abhor and shun nothing more. But forasmuch as we cannot hate sin in ourselves without heaviness and grief, that there should be in us a thing of such hateful quality, the will averted from sin must needs make the affection suitable; yea, great reason why it should so do: for sith the will by conceiving sin hath deprived the soul of life; and of life there is no recovery without repentance, the death of sin; repentance not able to kill sin, but by withdrawing the will from it; the will unpossible to be withdrawn, unless it concur with a contrary affection to that which accompanied it before in evil: is it not clear that as an inordinate delight did first begin sin, so repentance must begin with a just sorrow, a sorrow of heart, and such a sorrow as renteth the heart; neither a feigned nor a slightn sorrow; not feigned, lest it increase sin; nor slight, lest the pleasures of sin overmatch it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Wherefore of Grace, the highest cause from which man’s penitency doth proceed; of faith, fear, love, hope, what force and efficiency they have in repentance; of parts and duties thereunto belonging, comprehended in the schoolmen’s definitions; finally, of the first among those duties, contrition, which disliketh and bewaileth iniquity, let this suffice.

oAnd because God will have offences by repentance not only abhorred within ourselves, but also with humble supplication displayed before him, and a testimony of amendment to be given, even by present works, worthy repentance, in that they are contrary to those we renounce and disclaim: although the virtue of repentance do require that her other two parts, confession and satisfaction, should here follow; yet seeing they belong as well to the discipline as to the virtue of repentance, and only differ for that in the one they are performed to man, in the other to God alone; I had rather distinguish them in joint handling, than handle them apart, because in quality and manner of practice they are distinctp.

Of the Discipline of Repentance instituted by Christ, practised by the Fathers, converted by the Schoolmen into a Sacrament: and of Confession; that which belongeth to the virtue of repentance, that which was used among the Jews, that which the Papacy imagineth a Sacrament, and that which ancient discipline practised.IV.q Our Lord and Saviour in the sixteenth of St. Matthew’s Gospel giveth his Apostles regiment in general over God’s Church1. For they that have the keys of the kingdom of Edition: current; Page: [13] heaven are thereby signified to be stewards of the house of God, under whom they guide, command, judge, and correct his family. The souls of men are God’s treasure, committed to the trust and fidelity of such as must render a strict account for the very least which is under their custody. God hath not invested them with power to make a revenue thereof, but to use it for the good of them whom Jesus Christ hath most dearly bought.

And because their office hereinr consisteth of sundry functions, some belonging to doctrine, some to discipline, all contained in the name of the Keys; they have for matters of discipline, as well litigious as criminal, their courts and consistories erected by the heavenly authority of his most sacred voice, who hath said, Dic Ecclesiæ, Tell the Church1: against rebellious and contumacious persons which refuse to obey their sentence, armed they are with power to eject such out of the Church, to deprive them of the honours, rights, and privileges of Christian men, to make them as heathen and publicans, with whom society was hateful.

Furthermore, lest their acts should be slenderly accounted of,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 2. or had in contempt, whether they admit to the fellowship of saints or seclude from it, whether they bind offenders or set them again at liberty, whether they remit or retain sins, whatsoever is done by way of orderly and lawful proceeding, the Lord himself hath promised to ratify. This is that grand original warrant, by force whereof the guides and prelates in God’s Church, first his Apostles2, and afterwards others following them successively3, did both use and uphold that discipline, the end whereof is to heal men’s consciences, to cure their sins, to reclaim offenders from iniquity, and to make them by repentance just.

Neither hath it of ancient time for any other respect been accustomed to bind by ecclesiastical censures, to retain so bound till tokens of manifest repentance appeared, and upon apparent repentance to release, saving only because this was received as a most expedient method for the cure of sin.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]s The course of discipline in former ages reformed open Edition: current; Page: [14] transgressors by putting them unto offices of open penitence;BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 3. especially confession, whereby they declared their own crimes in the hearing of the whole Church, and were not from the time of their first convention capable of the holy mysteries of Christ, till they had solemnly discharged thist duty.

Offenders in secret, knowing themselves altogether as unworthy to be admitted to the Lord’s table, as the othersu which were withheld, being also persuaded, that if the Church did direct them in the offices of their penitency, and assist them with public prayer, they should more easily obtain that they sought, than by trusting wholly to their own endeavours; finally, having no impediment to stay them from it but bashfulness, which countervailed not the former inducements, and besides was greatly eased by the good construction which the charity of those times gave to such actions, wherein men’s piety and voluntary care to be reconciled to God, did purchase them much more love, than their faults (the testimonies of common frailty) were able to procure disgrace; they made it not nice to use some one of the ministers of God, by whom the rest might take notice of their faults, prescribe them convenient remedies, and in the end after public confession, all join in prayer unto God for them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]The first beginners of this custom had the more followers, by means of that special favour which always was with good consideration shewed towards voluntary penitents above the rest. But as professors of Christian belief grew more in number, so they waxed worse, when kings and princes had submitted their dominions unto the sceptre of Jesus Christ, by means whereof persecution ceasing, the Church immediately became subject to those evils which peace and security bringeth forth; there was not now that love which before kept all things in tune, but every where schisms, discords, dissensions amongst men, conventicles of heretics, bent more vehemently against the sounder and better sort than very infidels and heathens themselves; faults not corrected in charity, but noted with delight, and kept for malice to use when deadliest opportunities should be offered. Whereupon, forasmuch as public confessions became dangerous and prejudicial to the safety of well-minded men, and in divers Edition: current; Page: [15] respects advantageous to the enemies of God’s Church, it seemed first unto some, and afterwards generally, requisite, that voluntary penitents should surcease from open confession.

xInstead whereof, when once private and secret confession had taken place with the Latins, it continued as a profitable ordinance, till the Lateran council1 had decreed, that all men once in a year at the least should confess themselves to the priest. So that being thus made a thingy both general and also necessary, the next degree of estimation whereunto it grew, was to be honoured and lifted up to the nature of a sacrament; that as Christ did institute Baptism to give life, and the Eucharist to nourish life, so Penitencyz might be thought a sacrament ordained to recover life, and Confession a part of the sacrament.

They define therefore their private penitency2 to be “a sacrament of remitting sins after baptism:” the virtue of repentance, “a detestation of wickedness3, with full purpose to amend the same, and with hope to obtain pardon at God’s hands.” Wheresoever the Prophets cry Repent, and in the Gospel Saint Peter maketh the same exhortation to the Jews as yet unbaptized, they will have the virtue of repentance only to be understood; the sacrament, where he adviseth Simon Magus to repent, because the sin of Simon Magus was after baptism.

Now although they have only external repentance for a sacrament, internal for a virtue, yet make they sacramental repentance nevertheless to be composed of three parts, contrition, confession, and satisfaction: which is absurd; because Edition: current; Page: [16] contrition, being an inward thing, belongeth to the virtue and not to the sacrament of repentance, which must consist of external parts, if the nature thereof be external. Besides, which is more absurd, they leave out absolution; whereas some of their school-divines1, handling penance in the nature of a sacrament, and being not able to espy the least resemblance of a sacrament save only in absolution (for a sacrament by their doctrine must both signify and also confer or bestow some special divine grace), resolved themselves, that the duties of the penitent could be but mere preparations to the sacrament, and that the sacrament itself was wholly in absolution. And albeit Thomas with his followers have thought it safer, to maintain as well the services of the penitent, as the words of the minister, necessary unto the essence of their sacrament; the services of the penitent, as a cause material; the words of absolution, as a formal2; for that by them all things else are perfected to the taking away of sin; which opinion now reigneth in all their schools, sithence the time that the council of Trent3 gave it solemn approbation; seeing they all make absolution, if not the whole essence, yet the very form whereunto they ascribe chiefly the whole force and operation of their sacrament; surely to admit the matter as a part, and not to admit the form, hath small congruity with reason.

Again, forasmuch as a sacrament is complete, having the matter and form which it ought, what should lead them to set down any other parta of sacramental repentance, than confession and absolution, as Durandus4 hath done? For Edition: current; Page: [17] touching satisfaction,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 4. the end thereof, as they understand it, is a further matter, which resteth after the sacrament administered, and therefore can be no part of the sacrament. Will they draw in contrition with satisfaction, which are no parts, and exclude absolution, a principal part, yea, the very complement, form, and perfection of the rest, as themselves account it?

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]But for their breach of precepts in art, it skilleth not, if their doctrine otherwise concerning penitency, and in penitencyb, touching confession, might be found true. cWe say, let no man look for pardon, which doth smother and conceal sin, where in duty it should be revealed. The cause why God requireth confession to be made to him is, that thereby testifying a deep hatred of our own iniquitiesd, the only cause of his hatred and wrath towards us, we might, because we are humble, be so much the more capable of that compassion and tender mercy, which knoweth not how to condemn sinners that condemn themselves. If it be our Saviour’s own principle, that the conceit we have of our debt forgiven, proportioneth our thankfulness and love to him at whose hands we receive pardon1, doth not God foresee, that they which with ill-advised modesty seek to hide their sin like Adam2, that they which rake it up under ashes, and confess it not, are very unlikely to requite with offices of love afterwards the grace which they shew themselves unwilling to prize at the very time when they sue for it; inasmuch as their not confessing what crimes they have committed, is a plain signification, how loth they are that the benefit of God’s most gracious pardon should seem great? Nothing more true than that of Tertullian3, “Confession doth as much abate the weight of men’s offences, as concealment doth make them Edition: current; Page: [18] heavier. For he which confesseth hath a purpose to appease God; he, a determination to persist and continue obstinate, which keepeth them secret to himself.” St. Chrysostom almost in the same words1, “Wickedness is by being acknowledged lessened, and dothe grow by being hid. If men having done amiss let it slip, as though they knew no such matter, what is there to stay them from falling oftenf into one and the same evil? To call ourselves sinners availeth nothing, except we lay our faults in the balance, and take the weight of them one by one. Confess thy crimes to God, disclose thy transgressions before theg Judge, by way of humble supplication and suit, if not with tongue, at the least with heart, and in this sort seek mercy. A general persuasion that thou art a sinner will neither so humble norh bridle thy soul, as if the catalogue of thy sins examined severally be continually kept in mind. This shall make thee lowly in thine own eyes, this shall preserve thy feet from falling, and sharpen thy desire towards all good things. The mind I know doth hardly admit such unpleasant remembrances, but we must force it, we must constrain it thereunto. It is safer now to be bitten with the memory, than hereafter with the torment of sin.”

The Jews, with whom no repentance for sin is heldi available without confession, either conceived in mind or uttered; which latter kind they call usually וִדּוּי, confession delivered by word of mouth2; had first that general confession which Edition: current; Page: [19] once every year was made, both severally by each of the people for himself upon the day of expiation, and by the priest for them all1, acknowledging unto God2 the manifold transgressions of the whole nation, his own personal offences likewise, together with the sins, as well of his family, as of the rest of his rank and order.

They had again their voluntary confessions, at allk times and seasons, when men, bethinking themselves of their wicked conversation past, were resolved to change their course, the beginning of which alteration was still confession of sins.

Thirdly, over and besides these, the law imposed upon them also that special confession which they in their books calll וִרּוִי עַל עָוׁן מְיוּחָר, confession of that particular fault for which we namely seek pardon at God’s hands. The words of the law3 concerning confession in this kind are as followeth: “When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, and transgress against the Lord, their sin which they have done” (that is to say, the very deed itself in particular) “they shall acknowledge.” In Leviticus, after certain transgressions there mentioned, we read the like4: “When a man hath sinned in any one of these things, he shall then confess, how in that thing he hath offended.” For such kind of special sins they had also special sacrifices, wherein the manner was, that the offender should lay his hands on the head of the sacrifice which he brought, and should there make confession to God, saying5, “Now, O Lord, that I have offended, committed sin and done wickedly in thy sight, this or this being my fault; behold I repent me, and am utterly ashamed of my doings; my purpose is, never to return more to the same crime.”

6Finally, there was no man amongst them at any time, Edition: current; Page: [20] either condemned to suffer death,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 5. or corrected, or chastised with stripes, none ever sick and near his end, but they called upon him to repent and confess his sins.

Of malefactors convict by witnesses, and thereupon either adjudged to die, or otherwise chastised, their custom was to exact, as Joshua did of Achan, open confession1: “My son, now give glory to the Lord God of Israel; confess unto him, and declare unto me what thou hast committed; conceal it not from me.”

Concerning injuries and trespasses which happen between men, they highly commend such as will acknowledge before many. “2It is in him which repenteth accepted as an high sacrifice, if he will confess before many, make them acquainted with his oversights, and reveal the transgressions which have passed between him and any of his brethren; saying, I have verily offended this man, thus and thus I have done unto him; but behold I do now repent and am sorry. Contrariwise, whosoever is proud, and will not be known of his faults, but cloaketh them, is not yet come to perfect repentance; for so it is written3, ‘He that hideth his sins shall not prosper:’ ” which words of Salomon they do not further extend, than only to sins committed against men, which are in that respect meet before men to be acknowledged particularly. “But in sins between man and God, there is no necessity that man should himself make any such open and particular recital of them:” to God they are known, and of us it is required, that we cast not the memory of them carelessly and loosely behind our backs, but keep in mind, as near as we can, both our own debt and his grace which remitteth the same.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]m Wherefore, to let pass Jewish confession, and to come unto them which hold confession in the ear of the priest commanded, yea, commanded in the nature of a sacrament, and thereby so necessary that sin without it cannot be pardoned; Edition: current; Page: [21] let them find such a commandment in holy Scripture, and we ask no more. John the Baptist was an extraordinary person; his birth, his actions of life, his office extraordinary. It is therefore recorded for the strangeness of the act, but not set down as an everlasting law for the world1, “that to him Jerusalem and all Judæa made confession of their sins;” besides, at the time of this confession, their pretended sacrament of repentance, as they grant, was not yet instituted; neither was it sin after baptism which penitents did there confess. When that which befell the seven sons of Sceva2, for using the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in their conjurations, was notified to Jews and Grecians in Ephesus, it brought an universal fear upon them, insomuch that divers of them which had believed before, but not obeyed the laws of Christ as they should have done, being terrified by this example, came to the Apostle, and confessed their wicked deeds. Which good and virtuous act no wise man, (as I suppose,) will disallow, but commend highly in them, whom God’s good Spirit shall move to do the like when need requireth. Yet neither hath this example the force of any general commandment or law, to make it necessary for every man to pour into the ears of the priest whatsoever hath been done amiss, or else to remain everlastingly culpable and guilty of sin; in a word, it proveth confession practised as a virtuous act, but not commanded as a sacrament.

Now concerning St. James his exhortation3, whether the former branch be considered, which saith, “Is any sick amongst you? let him call for the ancients of the Church, and let them make their prayers for him;” or the latter, which stirreth up all Christian men unto mutual acknowledgment of faults among themselves, “Lay open your minds, make your confessions one to another;” is it not plain, that the one hath relation to that gift of healing, which our Saviour promised his Church, saying4, “They shall lay their hands on the sick, and the sick shall recover health;” relation to that gift of healing, whereby the Apostle imposed his hands on the father of Publius5, and made him miraculously a sound Edition: current; Page: [22] man; relation, finally, to that gift of healing, which so long continued in practice after the Apostles’ times, that whereas the Novatianists denied the power of the Church of God in curing sin after baptism, St. Ambrose asked them again1, “Why it might not as well prevail with God for spiritual as for corporal and bodily health; yea, wherefore,” saith he, “do ye yourselves lay hands on the diseased, and believe it to be a work of benediction or prayer, if happily the sick person be restored to his former safety?” And of the other member, which toucheth mutual confession, do not some of themselves, as namely Cajetan2, deny that any other confession is meant, than only that, “which seeketh either association of prayers, or reconciliation, and pardon of wrongs?” Is it not confessed by the greatest part of their own retinue3, that we cannot certainly affirm sacramental confession to have been meant or spoken of in this place? Howbeit Bellarmine, delighted to run a course by himself where colourable shifts of wit will but make the way passable, standeth as formally for this place4, and no less for that in St. John, than for this.

St. John saith5, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness;” doth St. John say, If we confess to the priest, God is righteous to forgive; and if not, that our sins are unpardonable? No, but the titles of God, just and righteous, do import that he pardoneth sin only for his promise sake; “And there is not” (they say) “any promise of forgiveness upon confession made to God without the priest6.” Not any promise, but with this condition, and yet Edition: current; Page: [23] this condition no where exprest?BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 6. Is it not strange, that the Scripture speaking so much of repentance, and of the several duties which appertain thereunto, should ever mean, and no where mention, that one condition, without which all the rest is utterly of none effect? or will they say, because our Saviour hath said to his ministers, “Whose sins ye retain,” &c. and because they can remit no more than what the offenders have confest, that therefore, by virtue of thisn promise, it standeth with the righteousness of God to take away no man’s sins, until by auricular confession they be opened unto the priest?

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]o They are men that would seem to honour antiquity, and none more to depend upon the reverend judgment thereof. I dare boldly affirm, that for many hundred years after Christ the Fathers held no such opinion; they did not gather by our Saviour’s words any such necessity of seeking the priest’s absolution from sin, by secret and (as they now term it) sacramental confession: public confession they thought necessary by way of discipline, not private confession, as in the nature of a sacrament, necessary.

For to begin with the purest times, it is unto them which read and judge without partiality a thing most clear, that the ancient ἐξομολόγησις or Confession, defined by Tertullian1 to be a discipline of humiliation and submission, framing men’s behaviour in such sort as may be fittest to move pity, the confession which they use to speak of in the exercise of repentance, was made openly in the hearing of the whole both ecclesiastical consistory and assembly. 2This is the reason Edition: current; Page: [24] wherefore he perceiving that divers were better content their sores should secretly fester and eat inward, than be laid so open to the eyes of many, blameth greatly their unwise bashfulness, and to reform the same, persuadeth with them, saying1, “Amongst thy brethren and fellow-servants, which are partakers with thee of one and the same nature, fear, joy, grief, sufferings, (for of one common Lord and Father we all have received one spirit,) why shouldst thou not think with thyself, that they are but thine ownself? wherefore dost thou avoid them, as likely to insult over thee, whom thou knowest subject to the same haps? At that which grieveth any one part, the whole body cannot rejoice, it must needs be that the whole will labour and strive to help that wherewith a part of itself is molested.”

St. Cyprian, being grieved with the dealings of them, who in time of persecution had through fear betrayed their faith, and notwithstanding thought by shift to avoid in that case the necessary discipline of the church, wrote for their better instruction the book intituled De Lapsis; a treatise concerning such as had openly forsaken their religion, and yet were loth openly to confess their fault in such manner as they should have done: in which book he compareth with this sort of men, certain others which had but a purpose only to have departed from the faith; and yet could not quiet their minds, till this very secret and hidden fault was confest: “How much both greater in faith,” saith St. Cyprian2, “and also as touching their fear better are those men, who although neither sacrifice nor libel3 could be objected against them, yet because they thought to have done that Edition: current; Page: [25] which they should not, even this their intent they dolefully open unto God’s priests; they confess that whereof their conscience accuseth them, the burden that presseth their minds they discover, they foreslow not of smaller and slighter evils to seek remedy.” He saith, they declared their fault, not to one only man in private, but they revealed it to God’s priests; they confest it before the whole consistory of God’s ministers.

Salvianus, (for I willingly embrace their conjecture, who ascribe those homilies to him, which have hitherto by common error past under the counterfeit name of Eusebius Emesenus1,) I say, Salvianus, though coming long after Cyprian in time, giveth nevertheless the same evidence for this truth, in a case very little different from that before alleged; his words are these: “2Whereas, most dearly beloved, we see that penance oftentimes is sought and sued for by holy souls which even from their youth have bequeathed themselves a precious treasure unto God, let us know that the inspiration of God’s good spirit moveth them so to do for the benefit of his Church, and let such as are wounded learn to inquire for that remedy, whereunto the very soundest do thus offer and obtrude as it were themselves, that if the virtuous do bewail small offences, the other cease not to lament great. And surely, when a man that hath less need, performeth sub oculis Ecclesiæ, in the view, sight, and beholding of the whole Church, an office worthy of his faith and compunction for sin, the good which others thereby reap is his own Edition: current; Page: [26] harvest, the heap of his rewards groweth by that which another gaineth, and through a kind of spiritual usury, from that amendment of life which others learn by him, there returneth lucre into his coffers.”

The same Salvianus, in another of his Homilies1, “If faults happily be not great and grievous, (for example, if a man have offended in word, or in desire, worthy of reproof, if in the wantonness of his eye, or the vanity of his heart,) the stains of words and thoughts are by daily prayer to be cleansed, and by private compunction to be scoured out: but if any man examining inwardly his own conscience, have committed some high and capital offence, as, if by bearing false witness he have quelled and betrayed his faith, and by rashness of perjury have violated the sacred name of truth; if with the mire of lustful uncleanness he have sullied the veil of baptism, and the gorgeous robe of virginity; if by being the cause of any man’s death, he have been the death of the new man within himself; if by conference with soothsayers, wizards, and charmers, he hath enthralled himself to Satan: these and such like committed crimes cannot throughly be taken away with ordinary, moderate, and secret satisfaction; but greater causes do require greater and sharper remedies: they need such remedies as are not only sharp, but solemn, open, and public.” Again2, “Let that soul,” saith he, “answer me, which through pernicious shamefastness is now so abasht to acknowledge his sin in conspectu Edition: current; Page: [27] fratrum, before his brethren, as he should have been before abasht to commit the same, what he will do in the presence of that Divine tribunal, where he is to stand arraigned in the assembly of a glorious and celestial host?”

I will hereunto add but St. Ambrose’s testimony; for the places which I might allege are more than the cause itself needeth. “There are many,” saith he1, “who fearing the judgment that is to come, and feeling inward remorse of conscience, when they have offered themselves unto penitency and are enjoined what they shall do, give back for the only scar which they think that public supplication will put them unto.” He speaketh of them which sought voluntarily to be penanced, and yet withdrew themselves from open confession, which they that were penitents for public crimes could not possibly have done, and therefore it cannot be said he meaneth any other than secret sinners in that place.

Gennadius, a Presbyter of Marsiles, in his book touching Ecclesiastical Assertions, maketh but two kinds of confession necessary: the one in private to God alone for smaller offences; the other open, when crimes committed are heinous and great2: “Although,” saith he, “a man be bitten with the consciencep of sin, let his will be from thenceforward to sin no more; let him, before he communicate, satisfy with tears and prayers, and then putting his trust in the mercy of Almighty God (whose wont is to yield unto godly confessions) let him boldly receive the sacrament. But I speak this of such as have not burthened themselves with capital sins: them I exhort to satisfy first by public penance, Edition: current; Page: [28] that so being reconciled by the sentence of the priest, they may communicate safely with others.”

Thus still we hear of public confessions, although the crimes themselves discovered were not public; we hear that the cause of such confessions was not the openness, but the greatness, of men’s offences; finally, we hear that the same being now not heldq by the church of Rome to be sacramental, were the only penitential confessions used in the Church for a long time, and esteemed as necessary remedies against sin.

They which will find auricular confessions in St. Cyprian1, therefore, must seek out some other passage than that which Bellarmine allegeth; “Whereas in smaller faults which are not committed against the Lord himself, there is a competent time assigned unto penitency, and that confession is made, after that observation2 and trial had been had of the penitent’s behaviour, neither may any communicate till the Bishop and clergy have laid their hands upon him; how much more ought all things to be warily and stayedly observed, according to the discipline of the Lord, in those most grievous and extreme crimes.” St. Cyprian’s speech is against rashness in admitting idolaters to the holy Communion, before they had shewed sufficient repentance, considering that other offenders were forced to stay out their time, and that they made not their public confession, which was the last act of penitency, till their life and conversation had been seen into, not with the eye of auricular scrutiny, but of pastoral observation, according to that in the council of Nice3, where, thirteen years being set for the penitency Edition: current; Page: [29] of certain offenders,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 7. the severity of this decree is mitigated with special caution: “That in all such cases, the mind of the penitent and the manner of his repentance is to be noted, that as many as with fear and tears and meekness, and the exercise of good works, declared themselves to be converts indeed, and not in outward appearance only, towards them the bishop at his discretion might use more lenity.” If the council of Nice suffice not, let Gratian, the founder of the Canon Law, expound Cyprian, who sheweth1 that the stint of time in penitency is either to be abridged or enlarged, as the penitent’s faith and behaviour shall give occasion. “I have easilier found out men,” saith St. Ambrose2, “able to keep themselves free from crimes, than conformable to the rules which in penitency they should observe.” St. Gregory Bishop of Nyser complaineth and inveigheth bitterly against them, who in the time of their penitency lived even as they had done always before3: “Their countenance as cheerful, their attire as neat, their diet as costly, and their sleep as secure as ever, their worldly business purposely followed, to exile pensive thoughts from their minds, repentance pretended, but indeed nothing less exprest:” these were the inspections of life whereunto St. Cyprian alludeth; as for auricular examinations he knew them not.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]s Were the Fathers then without use of private confession as long as public was in use? I affirm no such thing. Edition: current; Page: [30] The first and ancientest that mentioneth this confession is Origen, by whom it may seem that men, being loth to present rashly themselves and their faults unto the view of the whole Church, thought it best to unfold first their minds to some one special man of the clergy, which might either help them himself, or refer them to an higher court, if need were. “Be therefore circumspect,” saith Origen1, “in making choice of the party to whom thou meanest to confess thy sin; know thy physician before thou use him: if he find thy malady such as needeth to be made public, that others may be the better by it, and thyself sooner helpt, his counsel must be obeyed and followed.”

That which moved sinners thus voluntarily to detect themselves both in private and in public, was fear to receive with other Christian men the mysteries of heavenly grace, till God’s appointed stewards and ministers did judge them worthy. It is in this respect that St. Ambrose findeth fault with certain men which sought imposition of penance, and were not willing to wait their time, but would be presently admitted communicants. “Such people,” saith he2, “do seek, by so rash and preposterous desires, rather to bring the priest into bonds than to loose themselves.” In this respect it is that St. Augustine hath likewise said3, “When Edition: current; Page: [31] the wound of sin is so wide, and the disease so far gone, that the medicinable body and blood of our Lord may not be touched, men are by the Bishop’s authority to sequester themselves from the altar, till such time as they have repented, and be after reconciled by the same authority.”

Furthermore, because the knowledge how to handle our own sores is no vulgar and common art, but we either carry towards ourselves for the most part an over-soft and gentle hand, fearful of touching too near the quick; or else, endeavouring not to be partial, we fall into timorous scrupulosities, and sometimes into those extreme discomforts of mind, from which we hardly do ever lift up our heads again; men thought it the safest way to disclose their secret faults, and to crave imposition of penance from them whom our Lord Jesus Christ hath left in his Church to be spiritual and ghostly physicians, the guides and pastors of redeemed souls, whose office doth not only consist in general persuasions unto amendment of life, but also in the private particular cure of diseased minds.

Howsoever the Novatianists presume to plead against the Church, saith Salvianus1, that “every man ought to be his own penitentiary, and that it is a part of our duty to exercise, but not of the Church’s authority to impose or prescribe repentance;” the truth is otherwise, the best and strongest of us may need in such cases direction: “What doth the Church in giving penance, but shew the remedies which sin requireth? or what do we in receiving the same, but fulfil her precepts? what else but sue unto God with tears and fasts, that his merciful ears may be opened?”

St. Augustine’s exhortation is directly to the same purpose; “2Let every man while he hath time judge himself, and Edition: current; Page: [32] change his life of his own accord; and when this is resolved upon, let him from the disposers of the holy sacraments1 learn in what manner he is to pacify God’s displeasure.”

But the greatest thing which made men forward and willing upon their knees to confess whatsoever they had committed against God, and in no wise to be withheld from the same with any fear of disgrace, contempt, or obloquy, which might ensue, was their fervent desire to be helped and assisted with the prayers of God’s saints. Wherein as St. James2 doth exhort unto mutual confession, alleging this only for a reason, that just men’s devout prayers are of great avail with God; so it hath been heretofore the use of penitents for that intent to unburthen their minds, even to private persons, and to crave their prayers. Whereunto Cassianus alluding, counselleth3, “That if men possest with dulness of spirit be themselves unapt to do that which is required, they should in meek affection seek health at the least by good and virtuous men’s prayers unto God for them.” And to the same effect Gregory, Bishop of tNyss4: “Humble thyself, and take unto thee such of thy brethren as are of one mind, and do bear kind affection towards thee, that they may together mourn and labour for thy deliverance. Shew me thy bitter and abundant tears, that I may blend mine own with them.” But because of all men there is or should be none in that respect more fit for troubled and distressed minds to repair unto than God’s ministers, he proceedeth further5: “Make the priest, as a father, partaker of thy afflictionu and grief; be bold to impart unto him the things that are most secret, he will have care both of thy safety and of thy credit.”

Edition: current; Page: [33]

“Confession,”BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 8. saith Leo1, “is first to be offered to God, and then to the priest, as to one which maketh supplication for the sins of penitent offenders.” Suppose we, that men would ever have been easily drawn, much less of their own accord have come unto public confession, whereby they knew they should sound the trumpet of their own disgrace; would they willingly have done this, which naturally all men are loth to do, but for the singular trust and confidence which they had in the public prayers of God’s Church? “Let thy mother the Church weep for thee,” saith St. Ambrose2, “let her wash and bathe thy faults with her tears: our Lord doth love that many should become suppliantsx for one.” In like sort, long before him, Tertullian3, “Some few assembled make a Church, and the Church is as Christ himself; when thou dost therefore put forth thy hands to the knees of thy brethren, thou touchest Christ; it is Christ unto whom thou art a supplianty; so when they pour out theirz tears over them, it is even Christ that taketh compassion; Christ which prayeth when they pray: neither can that be easily denied, for which the Son is himself contented to become a suitor.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]a Whereas in these considerations therefore, voluntary penitents had been long accustomed, for great and grievous crimes, though secret, yet openly both to repent and confess, as the canons of ancient discipline required; the Greek church first, and in process of time the Latin altered this order, judging it sufficient and more convenient that such offenders should do penance and make confession in private only. The cause why the Latins did, Leo declareth, saying, Edition: current; Page: [34]1Although that ripeness of faith be commendable, which for the fear of God doth not fear to incur shame before all men; yet because every one’s crimes are not such, that it can be free and safe for them to make publication of all things wherein repentance is necessary; let a custom so unfit to be kept be abrogated, lest many forbear to use the remedies of penitency, whilst they either blush or are afraid to acquaint their enemies with those acts for which the laws may take hold upon them. Besides, it shall win the more to repentance, if the consciences of sinners be not emptied into the people’s ears.” And to this only cause doth Sozomen2 impute the change which the Grecians made, by ordaining throughout all churches certain penitentiaries to take the confessions, and appoint the penances of secret offenders. Socrates3 (for this also may be true, that moeb inducements than one did set forward an alteration so generally made) affirmeth the Grecians (and not unlikely) to have especiallyc respected therein the occasion, which the Novatianists took at the multitude of public penitents, to insult over the discipline of the Church, against which they still cried out wheresoever they had time and place, “4He that sheweth sinners favour, doth but teach the innocent to Edition: current; Page: [35] sin.”BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 9. And therefore they themselves admitted no man to their communion upon any repentance, which once was known to have offended after baptism, making sinners thereby not the fewer, but the closer and the more obdurate, how fair soever their pretence might seem.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]d The Grecians’ canon for some one presbyter in every Church to undertake the charge of penitency, and to receive their voluntary confessions which had sinned after baptism, continued in force for the space of about some hundred years1, till Nectarius, and the bishops of churches under him, began a second alteration, abolishing even that confession which their penitentiaries took in private. There came to the penitentiary of the Church of Constantinople a certain gentlewoman2, and to him she made particular confession of her faults committed after baptism, whom thereupon he advised to continue in fasting and prayer, that as with tongue she had acknowledged her sins, so there might appear in her likewise some work worthy of repentance. But the gentlewoman goeth forward, and detecteth herself of a crime, whereby they were forced to disrobe an ecclesiastical person, that is, to degrade a deacon of the same Church. When the matter by this mean came to public notice, the people were in a kind of tumult offended3, not only at that which was done, Edition: current; Page: [36] but much more, because the Church should thereby endure open infamy and scorn. The clergy perplexed and altogether doubtful what way to take, till one Eudæmon, born in Alexandria, but at that time a priest in the church of Constantinople, considering that the cause of voluntary confession, whether public or private, was especially to seek the Church’s aid, as hath been before declared, lest men should either not communicate with others, or wittingly hazard their souls, if so be they did communicate, and that the inconvenience which grew to the whole Church was otherwise exceeding great, but especially grievous by means of so manifold offensive detections, which must needs be continually more, as the world did itself wax continually worse (for antiquity together with the gravity and severity thereof (saith Sozomen1) had already begun by little and little to degenerate into loose and careless living, whereas before offences were less, partly through bashfulness in them which openede their own faults, and partly by means of their great austerity which satef as judges in this business): these things Eudæmon having weighed with himself, resolved easily the mind of Nectarius, that the penitentiaries’ office must be taken away, and for participation in God’s holy mysteries every man be left to his own conscience; which was, as he thought, the only mean to free the Church from danger of obloquy and disgrace. “Thus much,” saith Socrates2, “I am the bolder to relate, because I received it from Eudæmon’s own mouth, to whom myg answer was at that time; Whether your counsel, sir, have been for the Church’s good, or otherwise, God knoweth: but I see Edition: current; Page: [37] you have given occasion,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 10. whereby we shall not now any more reprehend one another’s faults, nor observe that apostolic precept, which saith, Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather be ye also reprovers of them.” With Socrates, Sozomen1 both agreeth in the occasion of abolishing penitentiaries; and moreover testifieth also, that in his time, living with the younger Theodosius, the same abolition did still continue, and that the bishops had in a manner every where followed the example given them by Nectarius.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]h Wherefore to implead the truth of this history, Cardinal Baronius allegeth that Socrates, Sozomen and Eudæmon were all Novatianists; and that they falsify in saying (for so they report), that as many as held the consubstantial being of Christ, gave their assent to the abrogation of the forerehearsed canon. The sum is, he would have it taken for a fable, and the world to be persuaded that Nectarius did never any such thing2. Why then should Socrates first and afterwards Sozomen publish it? To please their pew-fellows, the disciples of Novatian. A poor gratification, and they very silly friends, that would take lies for good turns. For the more acceptable the matter was, being deemed true, the less they must needs (when they found the contrary) either credit or affect him, which had deceived them. Notwithstanding we know that joy and gladness rising from false information, do not only make men forwardi to believe that which they Edition: current; Page: [38] first hear, but also apt to scholie upon it, and to report as true whatsoever they wish were true. But so far is Socrates from any such purpose, that the fact of Nectarius, which others did both like and follow, he doth bothk disallow and reprove. His speech to Eudæmon, before set down, is proof sufficient that he writeth nothing but what was famously known to all, and what himself did wish had been otherwise. As for Sozomen’s correspondencel with heretics, having shewed to what end the Church did first ordain penitentiaries, he addeth immediately, that Novatianists, which had no care of repentance, could have no need of this office1. Are these the words of a friend or an enemy? Besides, in the entrance of that whole narration2, “Not to sin,” saith he, “at all, would require a nature more divine than ours is: but God hath commanded to pardon sinners: yea, although they transgress and offend often.” Could there be any thing spoken more directly opposite to the doctrine of Novatian?

Eudæmon was presbyter under Nectarius. To Novatianists the Emperor gave liberty of using their religion quietly by themselves, under a bishop of their own, even within the city, for that they stood with the Church in defence of the Catholic faith against all other heretics besides3. Had therefore Eudæmon favoured their heresy, their camps were not pitched so far off, but he might at all times have found easy access unto them. Is there any man that lived with him, and hath touched him that way? if not, why suspect we him more than Nectarius?

Their report touching Grecian catholic bishops, who gave approbation to that which was done, and did also the like themselves in their own churches, we have no reason to discredit, without some manifest and clear evidence brought against it. For of Catholic bishops, no likelihood but that their greatest respect to Nectarius, a man honoured in those Edition: current; Page: [39] parts no less than the Bishop of Rome himself in the western churches,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 11. brought them both easily and speedily unto conformity with him; Arians, Eunomians, Apollinarians, and the rest that stood divided from the Church, held their penitentiaries as before. Novatianists from the beginning had never any, because their opinion touching penitency was against the practice of the Church therein, and a cause why they severed themselves from the Church: so that the very state of things as they then stood, giveth great show of probability to his speech, who hath affirmed1, “That they only which held the Son consubstantial with the Father, and Novatianists which joined with them in the same opinion, had no penitentiaries in their churches, the rest retained them.”

By this it appeareth therefore how Baronius, finding the relation plain, that Nectarius did abolish even those private secret confessions, which the people had before been accustomed to make to him that was penitentiary, laboureth what he may to discredit the authors of the report, and to leave it imprinted in men’s minds, that whereas Nectarius did but abrogate public confession, Novatianists have maliciously forged the abolition of private. As if the odds between these two were so great in the balance of their judgment, which equally hated and contemned both; or, as if it were not more clear than light, that the first alteration which established penitentiaries took away the burthen of public confession in that kind of penitents, and therefore the second must either abrogate private, or nothing.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]m Cardinal Bellarmine therefore finding that against the writers of the history it is but in vain to stand upon so doubtful terms and exceptions, endeavoureth mightily to prove, even by their report, no other confession taken away than public, which penitentiaries used in private to impose upon public offenders2. “For why? It is,” saith he, “very Edition: current; Page: [40] certain, that the name of penitents in the Fathers’ writings signifieth only public penitents; certain, that to hear the confessions of the rest was more than one could possibly have done; certain, that Sozomen, to shew how the Latin Church retained in his time what the Greek had clean cast off, declareth the whole order of public penitency used in the Church of Rome, but of private he maketh no mention.” And, in these considerations, Bellarmine will have it the meaning both of Socrates and ofn Sozomen, that the former episcopal constitution, which first did erect penitentiaries, could not concern any other offenders, than such as publicly had sinned after baptism; that only they were prohibited to come to the holy communion, except they did first in secret confess all their sins to the penitentiary, by his appointment openly acknowledge their open crimes, and do public penance for them; that whereas, before Novatian’s uprising, no man was constrainable to confess publicly any sin, this canon enforced public offenders thereunto, till such time as Nectarius thought good to extinguish the practice thereof.

Let us examine therefore these subtile and fine conjectures, whether they be able to hold the touch. “It seemed good,” saith Socrates, “to put down the office of these priests which had charge of penitency1;” what charge that was, the Edition: current; Page: [41] kinds of penitency then usual must make manifest. There is often speech in the Fathers’ writings, in their books frequent mention of penitency, exercised within the chambers of our own heart, and seen of God, and not communicated to any other, the whole charge of which penitency is imposed of God, and doth rest upon the sinner himself. But if penitents in secret being guilty of crimes whereby they knew they had made themselves unfit guests for the table of our Lord, did seek direction for their better performance of that which should set them clear; it was in this case the Penitentiary’s office to take their confessions, to advise them the best way he could for their soul’s good, to admonish them, to counsel them, but not to lay upon them more than private penance. As for notorious wicked persons, whose crimes were known, to convento, judge, and punish them, was the office of the ecclesiastical consistory; Penitentiaries had their institution to another end. Nowp unless we imagine that the ancient time knew no other repentance than public, or that they had little occasion to speak of any other repentance, or else that in speaking thereof they used continually some other name, and not the name of repentance, whereby to express private penitency; how standeth it with reason, that wheresoeverq they write of penitents, it should be thought they meant only public penitents? The truth is, they handle all three kinds, but private and voluntary repentance much oftener, as being of far more general use; whereas public was but incident unto few, and not oftener than once incident unto any. Howbeit, because they do not distinguish one kind of penitency from another by difference of names, our safest way for construction is to follow circumstance of matter, which in this narration will not yield itself appliable only unto public penance, do what they can that would so expound it.

They boldly and confidently affirm, that no man being compellable to confess publicly any sin before Novatian’s time, the end of instituting penitentiaries afterward in the Church was, that by them men might be constrained unto public confession. Is there any record in the world which doth testify this to be true? There is that testifieth the plain contrary. For Sozomen Edition: current; Page: [42] declaring purposely the cause of their institution, saith1, “That whereas men openly craving pardon at God’s hands (for public confession, the last act of penitency, was always made in the form of a contrite prayer unto God), it could not be avoided but they must withal confess what their offences were; this in the opinion of their prelatesr seemed from the first beginning (as we may probably think) to be somewhat burthensome;” not burthensome, I thinks, to notorious offenders; for what more just than in such sort to discipline them? but burthensome, that men whose crimes were unknown should blaze their own faults as it were on a stage, acquainting all the people with whatsoever they had done amiss. And therefore to remedy this inconvenience, they laid the charge upon one only priest, chosen out of such as were of best conversation, a silent and a discreet man, to whom they which had offended might resort and lay open their lives. He according to the quality of every one’s transgressions appointed what they should do or suffer, and left them to execute it upon themselves. Can we wish a more direct and evident testimony, that the office here spoken of was to ease voluntary penitents from the burthen of public confessions, and not to constrain notorious offenders thereunto? That such offenders were not compellable to open confessiont till Novatian’s time, that is to say, till after the days of persecution under Decius the emperor, they of all men should not so peremptorily avouch; with whom if Fabian bishop of Rome, who suffered martyrdom uthe first year of Decius, be of any authority and credit, it must enforce them to reverse their sentence, his words are so plain and clear against them2. “For such as commit those crimes, whereof the Apostle hath said, They that do them shall never inherit the kingdom of heaven, Edition: current; Page: [43] must,”BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 12. saith he, “be forced unto amendment, because they slip down to hell, if ecclesiastical authority stay them not.” Their conceit of impossibility, that one man should suffice to take the general charge of penitency in such a church as Constantinople, hath arisen from a mere erroneous supposal, that the ancient manner of private confession was like the shrift at this day usual in the Church of Rome, which tieth all men at one certain time to make confession; whereas confession was then neither looked for till men did offer it, nor offered for the most part by any other than such as were guilty of heinous transgressions, nor to them any time appointed for that purpose. Finally, the drift which Sozomen had in relating the discipline of Rome, and the form of public penitency there retained even till his time, is not to signify that only public confession was abrogated by Nectarius, but that the West or Latin Church held still one and the same order from the very beginning, and had not, as the Greek, first cut off public voluntary confession by ordaining, and then private by removing Penitentiaries.

Wherefore to conclude, it standeth, I hope, very plain and clear, first against the one Cardinal, that Nectarius did truly abrogate confession in such sort as the ecclesiastical history hath reported; and secondly, as clear against them both, that it was not public confession only which Nectarius did abolish.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]x The paradox in maintenance whereofy Hassels1 wrote purposely a book touching this argument, to shew that Nectarius did but put the penitentiary from his office, and not take away the office itself, is repugnant to the whole advice which Eudæmon gave, of leaving the people from that time forward to their own consciences; repugnant to the conference between Socrates and Eudæmon, wherein complaint is made of some inconvenience which the want of the office would breed; finally, repugnant to that which the history declareth concerning other churches, which did as Nectarius had done before them, not in deposing the same man (for that was impossible) but in removing the same office out of their churches, which Nectarius had banished from his. For which cause Edition: current; Page: [44] Bellarmine1 doth well reject the opinion of Hessels,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 13. howsoever it please Pamelius2 to admire it as a wonderful happy invention. But in sum, they are all gravelled, no one of them able to go smoothly away, and to satisfy either others or himself with his own conceit concerning Nectarius.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]z Only in this they are stiff, that auricular confession Nectarius did not abrogate, lest if so much should be acknowledged, it might enforce them to grant that the Greek church at that time held not confession, as the Latin now doth, to be the part of a sacrament instituted by our Saviour Jesus Christ, which therefore the Church till the world’s end hath no power to alter. Yet seeing that as long as public voluntary confession of private crimes did continue in either church (as in the one it remained not much above two hundred years, in the other about four hundred) the only acts of such repentance were; first, the offender’s intimation of those crimes to some one presbyter, for which imposition of penance was sought; secondly, the undertaking of penance imposed by the Bishop; thirdly, after the same performed and ended, open confession to God in the hearing of the whole church; whereupon aensued the prayers of the Church; bthen the Bishop’s imposition of hands; and so cthe party’s reconciliation or restitution to his former right in the holy sacrament: I would gladly know of them which make only private confession a part of their sacrament of penance, how it could be so in those times. For where the sacrament of penance is ministered, they hold that confession to be sacramental which he receiveth who must absolve; whereas during the fore-rehearsed manner of penance, it can no where be shewed, that the priest to whom secret information was given did reconcile or absolve any; for how could he, when public confession was to go before reconciliation, and reconciliation likewise in public thereupon to Edition: current; Page: [45] ensue? So that if they did account any confessiond sacramental, it was surely public, which is now abolisht in the Church of Rome; and as for that which the Church of Rome doth so esteem, the ancient neither had it in such estimation, nor thought it to be of so absolute necessity for the taking away of sin.

But (for any thing that I could ever observe out of them) although not only in crimes open and notorious, which made men unworthy and uncapable of holy mysteries, their discipline required first public penance, and then granted that which St. Hierom mentioneth, saying, “The priest layeth his hand upon the penitent, and by invocation entreateth that the Holy Ghost may return to him again, and so after having enjoined solemnly all the people to pray for him, reconcileth to the altar him who was delivered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit might be safe in the day of the Lord1:”—Although I say not only in such offences being famously known to the world, but also if the same were committed secretly, it was the custom of those times, both that private intimation should be given, and public confession made thereof; in which respect, whereas all men did willingly the one, but would as willingly have withdrawn themselves from the other, had they known how; “Is it tolerable,” saith St. Ambrose2, “that to sue to God thou shouldst be ashamed, which blushest not to seek and sue unto man? Should it grieve thee to be a suppliant to him from whom thou canst not possibly hide thyself; when to open thy sins to him, from whom, if thou wouldst, thou Edition: current; Page: [46] mightest conceal them, it doth not any thing at all trouble thee? This thou art loth to do in the Church, where, all being sinners, nothing is more opprobrious indeed than concealment of sin, the most humble the best thought of, and the lowliest accounted the justest:”—All this notwithstanding, we should do them very great wrong, to father any such opinion upon them, as if they did teach it a thing impossible for any sinner to reconcile himself unto God, without confession unto the priest. 1Would Chrysostom thus persuaded have said, “Let the inquiry and presentmente of thy offences be made in thine own thoughts; let the tribunal whereat thou arraignest thyself be without witness: let God and only God see thee and thy confession?” Would Cassianus2, so believing, have given counsel, “That if any were withheld by bashfulness from discovering their faults to men, they should be so much the more instant and constant in opening them by supplication to God himself, whose wont is to help without publication of men’s shame, and not to upbraid them when he pardoneth?” Finally, would Prosper3, settled in this opinion, have made it, as touching reconciliation to God, a matter indifferent, “Whether men of ecclesiastical order did detect their crimes by confession, or leaving the world ignorant thereof, would separate voluntarily themselves for a time from the altar, though not in affection, yet in execution of their ministry, and so bewail their corrupt life?” Would he have willed them as he doth “to make bold of it, that the favour of God being either way recovered by fruits Edition: current; Page: [47] of forcible repentance,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 14. they should not only receive whatsoever they had lost by sin, but also after this their new enfranchisement, aspire to the endless joys of that supernal city?”

To conclude, we every where find the use of confession, especially public, allowed of and commended by the Fathers; but that extreme and rigorous necessity of auricular and private confession, which is at this day so mightily upheld by the church of Rome, we find notf. It was not then the faith and doctrine of God’s Church, as of the papacy at this present, 1. gThat the only remedy for sin after baptism is sacramental penitency. 2. That confession in secret is an essential part thereof. 3. That God himself cannot now forgive sinsh without the priest. 4. That because forgiveness at the hands of the priest must arise from confession in the offenderi, therefore to confess unto him is a matter of such necessity, as being not either in deed, or at the least in desire performed, excludeth utterly from all pardon, and must consequently in Scripture be commanded, wheresoever any promise of forgiveness is made. No, no; these opinions have youth in their countenance; antiquity know them not, it never thought nor dreamed of them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14]k But to let pass the papacy. Forasmuch as repentance doth import alteration within the mind of a sinful man, whereby through the power of God’s most gracious and blessed Spirit, he seeth and with unfeigned sorrow acknowledgeth former offences committed against God, hath them in utter detestation, seeketh pardon for them in such sort as a Christian should do, and with a resolute purpose settleth himself to avoid them, leading as near as God shall assist him, for ever after, an unspotted life; and in the order (which Christian religion hath taught for procurement of God’s mercy towards sinners) confession is acknowledged a principal duty; yea, in some cases, confession to man, not to God only; it is not in the reformed churches denied by the learneder sort of divines1, but that even this confession, cleared from all errors, is both lawful and behoveful for God’s people.

Edition: current; Page: [48]

Confession by man to man 1being either private or public, private confession to the minister alone touching secret crimes, or absolution thereupon ensuing, as the one, so the other is neither practised by the French discipline, nor used in any of those churches which have been cast by the French mould. Open confession to be made in the face of the whole congregation by notorious malefactors they hold necessary; howbeit not necessary towards the remission of sins1, “but only in some sort to content the Church, and that one man’s repentance may seem to strengthen many, which before have been weakened by one man’s fall.”

Saxonians and Bohemians in their discipline constrain no man to open confession2. Their doctrine is, that whose faults have been public, and thereby scandalous unto the world, such, when God giveth them the spirit of repentance, ought as solemnly to return, as they have openly gone astray: first, for the better testimony of their own unfeigned conversion unto God; secondly, the more to notify their reconcilement unto the church; and lastly, that others may make benefit of their ensamplem.

But concerning confession in private, the churches of Germany3, as well the rest as Lutherans, agree alln, that all Edition: current; Page: [49] men should at certain times confess their offences to God in the hearing of God’s ministers,BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 15. thereby to shew how their sins displease them; to receive instruction for the warier carriage of themselves hereafter; to be soundly resolved, if any scruple or snare of conscience do entangle their minds; and, which is most material, to the end that men may at God’s hands seek every one his own particular pardon, through the power of those keys, which the minister of God using according to our blessed Saviour’s institution in that case, it is their part to accept the benefit thereof as God’s most merciful ordinance for their good, and, without any distrust or doubt, to embrace joyfully his grace so given them, according to the word of our Lord, which hath said1, “Whose sins ye remit theyo are remitted.” So that grounding upon this assured belief, they are to rest with minds encouraged and persuaded concerning the forgiveness of all their sins, as out of Christ’s own word and power, by the ministry of the keys.

Edition: 1888; Page: [15]p It standeth with us in the Church of England, as touching public confession, thus:

First, seeing day by day we in our Church begin our public prayers to Almighty God with public acknowledgment of our sins, in which confession every man prostrate as it were before his glorious Majesty crieth guiltyq against himself; and the minister with one sentence pronounceth universally all clear, whose acknowledgment so made hath proceeded from a true penitent mind; what reason is there every man should not under the general terms of confession represent to himself Edition: current; Page: [50] his own particulars whatsoever, and adjoining thereunto that affection which a contrite spirit worketh, embrace to as full effect the words of divine Grace, as if the same were severally and particularly uttered with addition of prayers, imposition of hands, or all the ceremonies and solemnities that might be used for the strengthening of men’s affiance in God’s peculiar mercy towards them? Such complements are helps to support our weakness, and not causes that serve to procure or produce his gifts. If with us there be “truth in the inward parts,” as David speaketh, the difference of general and particular forms in confession and absolution is not so material, that any man’s safety or ghostly good should depend upon it.

And for private confession and absolution it standeth thus with us:

The minister’s power to absolve is publicly taught and professed, the Church not denied to have authority either of abridging or enlarging the use and exercise of that power, upon the people no such necessity imposed of opening their transgressions unto men, as if remission of sins otherwise were impossible1; neither any such opinion had of the thing itself, as though it were either unlawful or unprofitable, savingr only for these inconveniences, which the world hath by experience observed in it heretofore. And in regard thereof, the Church of England hitherto hath thought it the safer way to refer men’s hidden crimes unto God and themselves only; howbeit, not without special caution for the admonition of such as come to the holy Sacrament, and for the comfort of such as are ready to depart the world.

First, because there are but few that consider how much that part of divine service which consisteth in partaking the holy Eucharist doth import their souls; what they lose by neglect thereof, and what by devout practice they might attain unto: therefore, lest carelessness of general confession Edition: current; Page: [51] should, as commonly it doth, extinguish all remorse of men’s particular enormous crimes; our custom (whensoever men present themselves at the Lord’s Table) is, solemnly to give them very fearful admonitions what woes are perpendicularly hanging over the heads of such as dare adventure to put forth their unworthy hands to those admirable mysteries of life, which have by rare examples been proved conduits of irremediable death to impenitent receivers; whom therefore as we repel being known, so being not known we can but terrify. Yet with us, the ministers of God’s most holy word and sacraments, being all put in trust with the custody and dispensation of those mysteries, wherein our communion is and hath been ever accounted the highest grace that men on earth are admitted unto, have therefore all equally the same power to withhold that sacred mystical food from notorious evil livers, from such as have any way wronged their neighbours, and from parties between whom there doth open hatred and malice appear, till the first sort have reformed their wicked life, the second recompensed them unto whom they were injurious, and the last condescended unto some course of Christian reconciliation, whereupon their mutual accord may ensue. In which cases, for the first branch of wicked life, and thet last which is open enmity, there can arise no great difficulty about the exercise of his power: in the second, concerning wrongs, there may, if men shall presume to define or measure injuries according to their own conceits, depraved oftentimes as well by error as partiality, and that no less in the minister himself, than in any other of the people under him. The knowledge therefore which he taketh of wrongs must rise as it doth in the other two, not from his own opinion or conscience, but from the evidence of the fact which is committed; yea, from such evidence as neither doth admit denial nor defence. For if the offender having either colour of law to uphold, or any other pretence to excuse his own uncharitable and wrongful dealings, shall wilfully stand in defence thereof, it serveth as a bar to the power of the minister in this kind. 1Because (as it is observed by men Edition: current; Page: [52] of very good judgment in these affairs) “although in this sort our separating of them be not to strike them with the mortal wound of excommunication, but to stay them rather from running desperately headlong into their own harm; yet in us it is notu to sever from the holy communion but such as are either found culpable by their own confession, or have been convicted in some public secular, orx ecclesiastical court. For who is he that dare take upon him to be any man’s both accuser and judge? 1Evil persons are not rashly, and as we list, to be thrust from communion with the Church; insomuch that, if we cannot proceed against them by any orderly course of judgment, they are rather to be suffered for the time than molested. Many there are reclaimed, as Peter; many, as Judas, known well enough, and yet tolerated; many, which must remain undescried till the day of His appearance, by whom the secret corners of darkness shall be brought into open light.”

Leaving therefore unto his judgment them whom we cannot stay from casting their own souls into so great hazard, we have in the other part of penitential jurisdiction, in our power and authority to release sin, joy on all sides, without trouble or molestation unto any. And if to give be a thing more blessed than to receive, are we not infinitely happier in being authorized to bestow the treasure of God, than when necessity doth constrain to withdraw the same?

They which, during life and health, are never destitute of ways to deludey repentance, do notwithstanding oftentimes, when their last hour draweth on, both feel that sting which before lay dead in them, and also thirst after such helps as Edition: current; Page: [53] have been always till then unsavoury. St. Ambrose’s words touching late repentance are somewhat hard1, “If a man be penitent and receive absolution (which cannot in that case be denied him) even at the very point of death, and so depart, I dare not affirm he goeth out of the world well; I will counsel no man to trust to this, because I am loth to deceive any man, seeing I know not what to think of it. Shall I judge such a one a castaway? Neither will I avouch him safe. All I am able to say, is, Let his estate be left to the will and pleasure of Almighty God. Wilt thou be therefore clearlyz delivered of all doubt? Repent while yet thou art healthy and strong. If thou defer it till time give no longer possibility of sinning, thou canst not be thought to have left sin, but rather sin to have forsaken thee.” Such admonitions may in their time and place be necessary, but in no wise prejudicial to the generality of God’s own high and heavenly promise, “Whensoever a sinner doth repent from the bottom of his heart, I will put out all his iniquity.” And of this, although it hath pleased God not to leave to the world any multitude of examples, lest the careless should too far presume; yet one he hath given, and that most memorable, to withhold from despair in the mercies of God, at what instant soever man’s unfeigned conversion be wrought. Yea, because to countervail the fault of delay, there are in the latest repentance oftentimes the surest tokens of sincere dealing; therefore upon special confession made to the minister of God, he presently absolveth in this case the sick party from all his sins by that authority which Jesus Christ hath committed unto him, knowing that God respecteth Edition: current; Page: [54] not so much what time is spent, as what truth is shewed in repentance.BOOK VI. Ch. iv. 16.

Edition: 1888; Page: [16]a In sum, when the offence doth stand only between God and man’s conscience, the counsel is good which St. Chrysostom giveth1: “I wish thee not to bewray thyself publicly, nor to accuse thyself before others. I wish thee to obey the Prophet, who saith, Disclose thy way unto the Lord, confess thy sin before him, tell thy sins to him that he may blot them out. If thou be abasht to tell unto any other wherein thou hast offended, rehearse them every day between thee and thy soul. I wish thee not to confess them to thy fellow-servant, who may upbraid thee with them; tell them to God, who will cure them; there is no need for thee in the presence of witnesses to acknowledge them; let God alone see thee at thy confession. I pray and beseech you, that you would more often than you do confess to God eternal, and reckoningb your trespasses desire his pardon2. I carry you not into a theatre or open court of many your fellow-servants, I seek not to detect your crimes before men; disclose your conscience before God, unfold yourselves to him, lay forth your wounds before him, the best physician that is, and desire of him salve for them.” If hereupon it follow, as it did with David, “I thought, I will confess against myself my wickedness unto thee, O Lord, and thou forgavest me the plague of my sin,” we have thenc our desire, and there Edition: current; Page: [55] remaineth only thankfulness,BOOK VI. Ch. v. 1. accompanied with perpetuity of care to avoid that, which being not avoided we know we cannot remedy without new perplexity and grief. Contrariwise, if peace with God do not follow the pains we have taken in seeking after it, if we continue disquieted, and not delivered from anguish, mistrusting whether that we do be sufficient; it argueth that our sore doth exceed the power of our own skill, and that the wisdom of the pastor must bind up those parts, which being bruised are not able to be recured of themselves.

Of Satisfaction.V.d There resteth now Satisfaction only to be considered; a point which the Fathers do often touch, albeit they never aspire to such mysteries, as the papacy hath found enwrapped within the folds and plaits thereof. And it is happy for the Church of God, that we have the writings of the Fathers, to shew what their meaning was. The name of Satisfaction, as the ancient Fathers meant it, containeth whatsoever a penitent should do in the humbling himself unto God, and testifying by deeds of contribution the same which confession in words pretendeth. “He which by repentance for sins” (saith Tertullian1, speaking of fickle-minded men) “had a purpose to satisfy the Lord, will now by repenting his repentance make Satan satisfaction; and be so much more hateful to God, as he is unto God’s enemy more acceptable.” Is it not plain, that satisfaction doth here include the whole work of penitency, and that God is satisfied when men are restored throughe sin into favour by repentance? “How canst thou,” saith Chrysostom2, “move God to pity thee, when thou wilt not seem as much as to know that thou hast offended?” By appeasing, pacifying, and moving God to pity, St. Chrysostom meaneth the very same with the Latin Fathers, when they speak of satisfying God: “We feel,” saith St.f Cyprian3, Edition: current; Page: [56] “the bitter smart of hisg rod and scourge,BOOK VI. Ch. v. 2. because there is in us neither care to please him with our good deeds, nor to satisfy him for our evil.” Again1, “Let the eyes which have looked on idols, sponge out their unlawful acts with those sorrowful tears, which have power to satisfy God.” The Master of Sentences allegeth out of St. Augustine that which is plain enough to this purpose2: “Three things there are in perfect penitency, compunction, confession, and satisfaction; that as we three ways offend God, namely in heart, word, and deed, so by three duties we may satisfy God.”

Satisfaction, as a part, comprehendeth only that which the Baptist meant by worksh worthy of repentance; and if we speak of the whole work of repentance itself, we may in the phrase of antiquity term it very well satisfaction.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]i Satisfaction is a work which justice requireth to be done for contentment of persons injured: neither is it in the eye of justice a sufficient satisfaction, unless it fully equal the injury for which we satisfy. Seeing then that sin against God eternal and infinite must needs be an infinite wrong; justice in regard thereof doth necessarily exact an infinite recompense, or else inflict upon the offender infinite punishment. Now because God was thus to be satisfied, and man not able to make satisfaction in such sort, his unspeakable love and inclination to save mankind from eternal death ordained in our behalf a Mediator, to do that which had been for any other impossible. Wherefore all sin is remitted in Edition: current; Page: [57] the only faith of Christ’s passion,BOOK VI. Ch. v. 3. and no man without belief thereof justified1. Faith alone maketh Christ’s satisfaction ours; howbeit that faith alone which after sin maketh us by conversion his. kFor inasmuch as God will have the benefit of Christ’s satisfaction both thankfully acknowledged and duly esteemed of all such as enjoy the same, he therefore imparteth so high a treasure unto no man, whose faith hath not made him willing by repentance to do even that, which of itself how unavailable soever, yet being required and accepted with God, we are in Christ made thereby1 capable and fit vessels to receive the fruitm of his satisfaction: yea, we so far please and content God, that because when we have offended he looketh but for repentance at our hands, our repentance and the works thereof are therefore termed satisfactory, not for that so much is thereby done as the justice of God can exact, but because such actions of grief and humility in man after sin are illices divinæ misericordiæ (as Tertullian2 speaketh of them), they draw that pity of God towards us, wherein he is for Christ’s sake contented upon our submission to pardon our rebellion against him; and when that little which his law appointeth is faithfully executed, it pleaseth him in tender compassion and mercy to require no more.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]n Repentance is a name which noteth the habit and operation of a certain grace or virtue in us: Satisfaction, the effect which it hath, either with God or man. And it is not in this respect said amiss, that satisfaction importeth acceptation, reconciliation, and amity; because that through satisfaction, on the one part made, and allowed on the other, they which before did reject are now content to receive, they to be won again which were lost, and they to love unto whom just cause of hatred was given. We satisfy therefore in doing Edition: current; Page: [58] that which is sufficient to this effect; and they towards whom we do it are satisfied, if they accept it as sufficient, and require no more: otherwise we satisfy not, although we do satisfy: for so between man and man it oftentimes falleth out, but between man and God, never. It is therefore true, that our Lord Jesus Christ by one most precious and propitiatory sacrifice, which was his body, a gift of infinite worth, offered for the sins of the whole world, hath thereby once reconciled us to God, purchased his general free pardon, and turned away divine indignation from mankind. But we are not for that cause to think any office of penitence either needless or fruitless on our own behalf: for then would not God require any such duties at our hands. Christ doth remain everlastingly a gracious intercessor, even for every particular penitent. Let this assure us, that God, how highly soever displeased and incensed with our sins, is notwithstanding for his sake by our tears pacified, taking that for satisfaction which is due [done?] by us, because Christ hath by his satisfaction made it acceptable. For, as he is the High-priest of our salvation, so he hath made us priests likewise under him1, to the end we might offer unto God praise and thankfulness, while we continue in the way of life, and when we sin, the satisfactory or propitiatory sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart2. There is not any thing that we do that could pacify God, and clear us in his sight from sin, if the goodness and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ were not; whereas now beholding the poor offer of our religious endeavour meekly to submit ourselves as often as we have offended, he regardeth with infinite mercy those services which are as nothing, and with words of comfort reviveth our afflicted minds, saying, “It is I, even I, that take away thine iniquities for mine own sake.” Thus doth repentance satisfy God, changing his wrath and indignation unto mercy.

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BOOK VI. Ch. v. 4.Edition: 1888; Page: [4]o Anger and mercy are in us passions; but in him not so. “God,” saith St. Basil1, “is no ways passionate, but because the punishments which his judgments do inflict are, like effects of indignation, severe and grievous to such as suffer them, therefore we term the revenge which he taketh upon sinners, anger; and the withdrawing of his plagues, mercy.” “His wrath,” saith St. Augustine2, is not as ours, the trouble of a mind disturbed and disquieted with things amiss, but a calm, unpassionate, and just assignation of dreadful punishment to be their portion which have disobeyed; his mercy a free determination of all felicity and happiness unto men, except their sins remain as a bar between it and them.” So that when God doth cease to be angry with sinful men, when he receiveth them into favour, when he pardoneth their offences, and remembereth their iniquities no more (for all these signify but one thing), it must needs follow, that all punishments before due in revenge of sin, whether they be temporal or eternal, are remitted. For how should God’s indignation import only man’s punishment, and yet some punishment remain unto them, towards whom there is now in God no indignation remaining? “God,” saith Tertullian3, “takethp penitency at men’s hands, and men at his in lieu thereof receive impunity;” which notwithstanding doth not prejudice the chastisements thatq God after pardon hath laid upon some offenders4, as on the people of Israel, on Moses, on Miriam, on David, either for their own5 more sound amendment, or Edition: current; Page: [60] for example1 unto others in this present world (for in the world to come punishments have unto these intents no use, the dead being not in case to be bettered by correction, nor to take warning by executions of God’s justice there seen); but assuredly to whomsoever he remitteth sin, their very pardon is in itself a full absolute and perfect discharge for revengeful punishmentsr; which God doth nowheres threaten, but with purpose of revocation if men repent, nowhere inflict but on them whom impenitency maketh obdurate.

Of the one therefore it is said2, “Though I tell the wicked, Thou shalt die the death, yet if he turnt from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live and not die.” Of the other3, “Thou according to thine hardness, and heart that will not repent, treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and evident appearance of the just judgment of God.” If God be satisfied and do pardon sin, our justification restored is as perfect as it was at the first bestowed. For so the Prophet Isaiah witnesseth4, “Though your sins were as crimson, they shall be made as white as snow; though they were allu scarlet, they shall be as white as wool.” And can we doubt concerning the punishment of revenge, which was due to sin, but that if God be satisfied and have forgotten his wrath, it must be even as St. Augustin reasoneth, “5What God hath covered he will not observe, and what he observeth not he will not punish.” The truth of which doctrine is not to be shifted off by restraining it unto eternal punishment alone. For then would not David have said6, “They are blessed to whom God imputeth nox sin;” blessedness having no part or fellowship at all with malediction: whereas to be subject to revenge for sin, although the punishment be but temporal, is to be under the curse of the law: wherefore, as one and the same fire consumeth Edition: current; Page: [61] stubble and refineth gold, so if it please God to lay punishment on them whose sins he hath forgiven, yet is not this done for any destructive end of wasting and eating them out, as in plagues inflicted upon the impenitent, neither is the punishment of the one as of the other proportioned by the greatness of sin past, but according to that future purpose whereunto the goodness of God referreth it, and wherein there is nothing meant to the sufferer but furtherance of all happiness, now in grace, and hereafter in glory. St. Augustine, to stop the mouths of Pelagians arguing, “That if God had imposed death upon Adam and Adam’s posterity, as a punishment of sin, death should have ceased when Christy had procured sinners their pardon;” answereth first, “It is no marvel, either that bodily death should not have happened to the first man, unless he had first sinned (death as a punishment following his sin), or that after sin is forgiven, death notwithstanding befalleth the faithful; to the end that the strength of righteousness might be exercised by overcoming the fear thereof1. So that justly God did inflict bodily death on man for committing sin, and yet after sin forgiven took it not away, that his righteousness might still have whereby to be exercised.” He fortifieth this with David’s example, whose sin he forgave, and yet afflicted him for exercise and trial of his humility. Briefly, a general axiom he hath for all such chastisements, “Before forgiveness, they are the punishment of sinners; and after forgiveness, they are exercises and trials of righteous men2.” Which kind of proceeding is so agreeable with God’s nature and man’s comfort, that it shewethz even injurious to both, if we should admit those surmised reservations of temporal wrath in God appeased towards Edition: current; Page: [62] reconciled sinners.BOOK VI. Ch. v. 5, 6. “As a Father he delights in his children’s conversion, neither doth he threaten the penitent with wrath, or them with punishment which already mourn; but by promise assureth such of indulgence and mercy1;” yea, even of plenary pardon, which taketh away all both faults and penalties: there being no reason why we should think him the less just because he sheweth hima thus merciful; when they which before were obstinate labour to appease his wrath with the pensive meditationsb of contrition, the meek humility which confession expresseth, and the deeds wherewith repentance declareth itself to be an amendment as well of the rotten fruitsc, as the dried leaves and withered root of the tree. For with these duties by us performed, and presented unto God in heaven by Jesus Christ, whose blood is a continual sacrifice of propitiation for us, we content, please, and satisfy God.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Repentance therefore, even the sole virtue of repentance, without either purpose of shrift, or desire of absolution from the priest; repentance, the secret conversion of the heart, in that it consisteth of these three, and doth by these three pacify God, may be without hyperbolical terms most truly magnified, as a recovery of the soul of man from deadly sickness, a restitution of glorious light to his darkened mind, a comfortable reconciliation with God, a spiritual nativity, a rising from the dead, a day-spring from out the depth of obscurity, a redemption from more than the Egyptian thraldom, a grinding of the old Adam even into dust and powder, a deliverance out of the prisons of hell, a full restoration of the seat of grace and throne of glory, a triumph over sin, and a saving victory.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]d Amongst the works of satisfaction, the most respected have been always these three, Prayers, Fasts, and Almsdeeds: by prayere, we lift up our souls to him from whom sin and iniquity hathf withdrawn them; by fasting, we reduce the body from thraldom under vain delights, and make it serviceable for parts of virtuous conversation; by alms, Edition: current; Page: [63] we dedicate to charity theseg worldly goods and possessions,BOOK VI. Ch. v. 6. which unrighteousness doth neither get nor bestow well: the first, a token of piety intended towards God; the second, a pledge of moderation and sobriety in the carriage of our own persons; the last, a testimony of our meaning to do good to all men. In which three, the Apostle by way of abridgment comprehendeth whatsoever may appertain to sanctimony, holiness, and good life: as contrariwise the very mass of general corruption throughout the world, what is it but only forgetfulness of God, carnal pleasure, immoderate desire after worldly things; profaneness, licentiousness, covetousness?

All offices of repentance have these two properties; there is in performance of them painfulness, and in their nature a contrariety unto sin. The one consideration causeth them both in holy Scripture1 and elsewhere to be termed judgments or revenges taken voluntarily on ourselves, and to be furthermore also preservatives from future evils, inasmuch as we commonly use to keep with the greater care that which with pain we have recovered2. And they are in the other respect contrary to sin committed; contrition, contrary to the pleasure; confession, to the error, which is mother of sin; and to the deeds of sin, the works of satisfaction contrary; therefore they all hthe more effectual to cure the evil habit thereof. Hereunto it was that St. Cyprian referred his earnest and vehement exhortations3, “That they which had fallen should be instant in prayer, reject bodily ornaments when once they have stripped themselves out of Christ’s attire, abhor all food after Satan’s morsels tasted, follow works of righteousness which wash away sin, and be plentiful in alms-deeds wherewith souls are delivered from death.” Not, as if God did, according to the manner of corrupt Edition: current; Page: [64] judges,BOOK VI. Ch. v. 7. take so muchi money to abate so much in the punishment of malefactors. “These duties must be offered,” saith Salvianus1, “not in confidence to redeem or buy out sin, but as tokens of meek submission; neither are they with God accepted, because of their value, but for the kaffection’s sake, which doth thereby shew itself.”

Wherefore concerning Satisfaction made to God by Christ only, and of the manner how repentance generally, particularly also, how certain special works of penitency, both are by the Fathers in their ordinary phrase of speech called satisfactory, and may be by us very well so acknowledged; enough hath been spoken.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]1 Our offences sometimesm are of such nature, as requireth that particular men be satisfied, or else repentance to be utterly void, and of none effect. For, if either through open rapine or cloaked fraud, if through injurious or unconscionable dealingsn, a man have wittingly wronged others to enrich himself; the first thing evermore in this case required (abilityo serving) is restitution. For let no man deceive himself: from such offences we are not discharged, neither can be, till recompense and restitution to man accompany the penitent confession we have made to Almighty God. In which case the law of Moses was direct and plain2. “If any sin and commit a trespass against the Lord, and deny unto his neighbourp that which was givenq him to keep, or that which was put unto him of trust; or doth by robbery or by violence oppress his neighbour; or hath found that which was lost, and denieth it, and swearethr falsely: for any of these things that a man doth wherein he sinneth, he that doth thus offend and trespass, shall restore the robbery that he hath taken, or the thing he hath gotten by violence, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found; and for whatsoever he hath sworn falsely, adding perjury to injury, he shall both restore the whole sum, and shall add thereunto a fifth part more, and deliver Edition: current; Page: [65] it unto him, to whom it belongeth, the same day wherein he offereth for his trespass.” Now because men are commonly overslack to perform this duty, and do therefore defer it sometimess, till God hatht taken the party wronged out of the world; the law providing that trespassers might not under anyu such pretence gain the restitution which they ought to make, appointeth the kindred surviving to receive what the dead should, if they had continued. “But,” saith Moses1, “if the party wronged have no kinsman to whom this damage may be restored, it shall then be rendered to the Lord himself for the priests’ use.” The whole order of proceeding herein is in sundry traditional writings set down by their great interpreters and scribes, which taught them that2 a trespass between a man and his neighbour can never be forgiven, till the offender have by restitution made recompense for wrongs done; yea, they hold it necessary that he appease the party grieved by submitting himself unto him, or, if that will not serve, by using the help and mediation of others: “In this case (say they) for any man to shew himself unappeasable and cruel, were a sin most grievous, considering that the people of God should be easy to relent, as Joseph was towards his brethren.” Finally, if so it fall out, that the death of him whichx was injured prevent his submission which did offend, let him then (for so they determine that he ought) go accompanied with ten others unto the sepulchre of the dead, and there make confession of the fault, saying, “I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and against this man, to whom I have done such or such injury; and if money be due, let it be restored to his heirs, or in case he have none known, leave it with the house of judgment:” that is to say, with the senators, ancients, and guidersy of Israel. We hold not Christian people tied unto Jewish orders for the manner of restitution; but surely restitution we must hold necessary, as well in our own repentance as theirs, for sins of wilful oppressionz and wrong3.

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BOOK VI. Ch. v. 8.Edition: 1888; Page: [8]a Now although it sufficeb, that the offices wherewith we pacify God or private men be secretly done; yet in cases where the Church must be also satisfied, it was not to this end and purpose unnecessary, that the ancient discipline did further require outward signs of contrition to be shewed, confession of sins to be made openly, and those works to be apparent, which served as testimonies ofc conversion before men. Wherein1, if either hypocrisy did at any time delude their judgment, they knew that God is he whom masks and mockeries cannot blind, that he which seeth men’s hearts would judge them according unto his own evidence, and, as Lord, correct the sentence of his servants concerning matters beyond their reach: or if such as ought to have kept the rules of canonical satisfaction would by sinister means and practices undermine the same, obtruding presumptuously themselves to the participation of Christ’s most sacred mysteries before they were orderly readmitted thereunto, the Church for contempt of holy things held them uncapable of that grace, which God in the Sacrament doth impart to devout communicants; and no doubt but he himself did retain bound, whom the Church in those cases refused to loose.

The Fathers, as may appear by sundry decrees and canons of the primitive Church, were (in matter specially of public scandal) provident that too much facility of pardoning might not be shewed. “He that casteth off his lawful wife,” saith St. Basil2, “and doth take another, is adjudged an adulterer by the verdict of our Lord himself; and by our fathers it is canonically ordained, that such for the space of a year shall mourn, for two years’ space hear, three years be prostrate, Edition: current; Page: [67] the seventh year assemble with the faithful in prayer, and after that be admitted to communicate, if with tears they bewail their fault.”

Of them which had fallen from their faith in the time of the Emperor Licinius, and were not thereunto forced by any extreme usage, the Nicene synod under Constantine ordained1, “That earnestly repenting, they should continue three years hearers, seven years be prostrate, and two years communicate with the people in prayer, before they came to receive the oblation.” Which rigour sometimes they tempered nevertheless with lenity, the selfsame synod having likewise defined, “That whatsoever the cause were, any man desirous at the time of departure out of this life to receive the Eucharist might (with examination and trial) have it granted him by the bishop2.” Yea, besides this case of special commiseration, there is a canon3 more large, which giveth always liberty to abridge or extend out the time, as the party’s meek or sturdy disposition should require.

By means of which discipline, the Church having power to hold them many years in suspense, there was bred in the minds of the penitents, through long and daily practice of such submission, a contrary habit unto that which before had been their ruin, and for ever afterwards wariness not to fall into those snares out of which they knew they could not easily wind themselves. Notwithstanding, because there was likewise hope and possibility of shortening the time, this made them in all the parts and offices of their repentance the more fervent. In the first station, while they only beheld others, passing towards the temple of God, whereunto for themselves Edition: current; Page: [68] to approach it was not lawful; they stood as miserable forlorn men, the very patterns of perplexity and woe. In the second, when they had the favour to wait at the doors of God, whereHooker1888: 2. the sound of his comfortable word might be heard; noneHooker1888: 3. received it with attention like to theirs. dBeing taken and admitted to the next degree of prostrates, at the feet yet behind the back of that angel representing God, whom the rest saw face to face; their tears, and entreaties both of PastorHooker1888: 4. and people, were such as no man could resist. After the fourth step, which gave them liberty to hear and pray with the rest of the people; being so near the haven, no diligence was then slacked which might hasten admission to the heavenly table of Christ, their last desire. It is not therefore a thing to be marvelled at, though St. Cyprian took it in very evile part, when open backsliders from the faith and sacred religion of Christ laboured by sinister practice to procure from imprisoned saints those requests for present absolution, which the Church could neither yield unto with safety of discipline, nor in honour of martyrdom easily deny. For, what would thereby ensue they needed not to conjecture, when they saw how every man which came so commended to the Church by letters thought that now he needed not to crave, but might challenge of duty, his peace; taking the matter very highly, if but any little forbearance or small delay weref used. “He which is overthrown,” saith St.g Cyprian1, “menaceth them that stand, the wounded them that were never toucht; and because presently he hath not the body of our Lord in his foul imbrued hands, nor the blood within his polluted lips, the miscreant fumeth at God’s priests: such is thy madness, O thou furious man; thou art angry with him which laboureth to turn away God’s anger from thee: him thou threatenest, which sueth unto God for grace and mercy on thy behalf.”

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Touching Martyrs he answereth1, “That it ought not in this case to seem offensive, though they were denied, seeing God himself didh refuse to yield to the piety of his own righteous saints, making suit for obdurate Jews.”

As for the parties, in whose behalf such shifts were used; to have their desire was, in very truth, a way to make them the more guilty2: such peace granted contrary to the vigouri of the Gospel, contrary to the law of our Lord and God, doth but under colour of merciful relaxation deceive sinners, and by soft handling destroy them; a grace dangerous for the giver, and to him which receiveth it nothing at all available. “The patient expectation that bringeth health is by this means not regarded; recovery of soundness not sought for Edition: current; Page: [70] by the only medicine available, which is satisfaction; penitency thrown out of men’s hearts; the remembrance of that heaviest and last judgment clean banisht; the wounds of dying men, which should be healed, are covered; the stroke of death, which hath gone as deep as any bowels are to receive it, is overcast with the slight show of a cloudy look. From the altarsk of Satan to the holy of the Lord men are not afraid to come even belching in a manner the sacrificed morsels they have eaten; yea, their jaws yet breathing out the irksome savour of their former contagious wickedness, they seize upon the blessed body of our Lord, nothing terrified with that dreadful commination, which saith1, ‘Whosoever eateth and drinketh unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of Christ.’ They vainly think it to be peace, which is gotten before they be purged of their faults, before their crime be solemnly confest, before their conscience be cleared by the sacrifice, and imposition of the priests’ hands, and before they have pacified the indignation of God. Why term they that a favour, which is an injury? Wherefore cloak they impiety with the name of charitable indulgence? Such facility giveth not, but rather taketh away peace; and is itself another fresh persecution or trial, whereby that fraudulent enemy maketh a secret havock of such as before he had overthrown; and now to the end he may clean swallow them, he casteth sorrow in a dead sleep, putteth grief to silence, wipeth out the memory of faults newly done, smothereth the sighs that should arise1 from a contrite spirit, drieth up eyes which ought to send forth rivers of tears, and permitteth not God to be pacified with full repentance, whom heinous and enormous crimes have displeased.”

By this then we see, that in St. Cyprian’s judgment, all absolutions are void, frustrate, and of no effect, without sufficient repentance first shewed; whereas contrariwise, if true and full satisfaction have gone before, the sentence of man here given is ratified of God in heaven, according to our Saviour’s own sacred testimony, “Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted.”

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BOOK VI. Ch. v. 9.Edition: 1888; Page: [9]m By what works in the Virtue, and by what in the Discipline of Repentance, we are said to satisfy either God or men, cannot now be thought obscure.The end of satisfaction. As for the inventors of sacramental satisfaction, they have both altered the natural order heretofore kept in the Church, by bringing in a strange preposterous course, to absolve before satisfaction be made, and moreover by this their misordered practice are grown into sundry errors concerning the end whereunto it is referred.

They imagine, beyond all conceit of antiquity, that when God doth remit sin and the punishment eternal thereunto belonging, he reserveth the torments of hell-fire, to be nevertheless endured for a time, either shorter or longer, according to the quality of men’s crimes. Yet so that there is between God and man a certain composition (as it were) or contract, by virtue whereof works assigned by the priest to be done after absolution shall satisfy God, as touching the punishment which he otherwise would inflict for sin pardoned and forgivenn.

The way of satisfying by others.Now because they cannot assure any man, that if he perform what the priest appointeth it shall suffice; this (I say) because they cannot do, inasmuch as the priest hath no power to determine or define of equivalency between sins and satisfactions; (and yet if a penitent depart this life, the debt of satisfaction being either in whole or in part undischarged, they steadfastly hold that the soul must remain in unspeakable torment till all be paid:) therefore for help and mitigation in this case, they advise men to set certain copesmates on work, whose prayers and sacrifices may satisfy God for such souls Edition: current; Page: [72] as depart in debt. Hence have arisen the infinite pensions of their priests, the building of so many altars and tombs, the enriching of Churches with so many glorious and costly gifts, the bequeathing of lands and ample possessions to religious companies, even with utter forgetfulness of friends, parents, wife, childreno, all natural affection giving place unto that desire, which men doubtful of their own estate have to deliver their souls from torment after death.

pThe ground of satisfyingq by the Pope’s indulgencesr.Yet behold, even this being also done, how far forth it shall avail they are not sure; and therefore the last upshot unto all their former inventions is, that as every action of Christ did both merit for himself, and satisfy partly for the eternal, and partly for the temporal punishment due unto men for sin; so his saints have obtained the like privilege of grace, making every good work they do, not only meritorious in their own behalf, but satisfactory too for the benefit of others. Or if, having at any time grievously sinned, they do more to satisfy God than he in justice can exact or look for at their hands; the surplusage runneth to a common stock, out of which treasury, containing whatsoever Christ did by way of satisfaction for temporal punishment, together with the satisfactory force which resideth in all the virtuous works of saints, and in their satisfactions whatsoever doth abound, (I say,) “From hence they hold God satisfied for such arrearages as men behind in accompt discharge not by other means; and for disposition hereof, as it is their doctrine that Christ remitteth not eternal death without the priest’s absolution, so without the grant of the Pope they cannot but teach it alike unpossibles that souls in hell should receive any temporal release of pain; the sacrament of pardon from him being to this effect no less necessary, than the priest’s absolution to the other.” So that by this postern-gate cometh in the whole mart of papal indulgences1; a gain inestimablet unto him, to others a spoil; a scorn both to God and man. So many works of satisfaction pretended to be done by Christ, by saints, and martyrs; so many virtuous acts possessed with satisfactory force and virtue; so many Edition: current; Page: [73] supererogations in satisfying beyond the exigence of their own necessity;BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 1, 2. and this that the Pope might make a monopoly of all, turning all to his own gain, or at the least to the gain of themu which are his own. Such facility they have to convert a pretended sacrament into a truex revenue.

Of Absolution of Penitents.VI.y Sin is not helped but by being assecured of pardon. It resteth therefore to be considered what warrant we have concerning forgiveness, when the sentence of man absolveth us from sin committed against God. At the words of our Saviour1, saying to the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee,” exception was taken by the Scribes, who secretly reasoned against him, “Is any able to forgive sins, but only God?” Whereupon they condemned his speech as blasphemy2; the rest, which believed him to be a Prophet sent from God, saw no cause wherefore he might not as lawfully say, and as truly, to whomsoever amongst them, “God hath taken away thy sins,” as Nathan (they all knew) had used the very like speech; to whom David did not therefore impute blasphemy, but embraced, as became him, the words of truth with joy and reverence.

Now there is no controversy but as God in that special case did authorize Nathan, so Christ more generally his Apostles and the ministers of his word in his name to absolve sinners. Their power being equal, all the difference between them can be but only in this, that whereas the one had prophetical evidence, the other have the certainty partly of faith, and partly of human experience, whereupon to ground their sentence: faith, to assure them of God’s most gracious pardon in Heaven unto all penitents; and touching the sincerity of each particular party’s repentance, as much asz outward sensible tokens or signs can warrant.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]a It is not to be marvelled that so great a difference appeareth between the doctrine of Rome and ours, when we teach repentance. They imply in the name of repentance much more than we do. We stand chiefly upon the trueb inward conversion of the heart; they more upon works of external show. We teach, above all things, that repentance which is one and the same from the beginning to the world’s Edition: current; Page: [74] end;BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 2. they a sacramental penance of their own devising and shaping. We labour to instruct men in such sort, that every soul which is wounded with sin may learn the way how to cure itself; they, clean contrary, would make all sores seem incurable, unless the priest have a hand in them.

Touching the force of whose absolution they strangely hold, that whatsoever the penitent doth, his contrition, confession, and satisfaction have no place of right to stand as material parts in this sacrament, nor consequently any such force as to make them available for the taking away of sin, in that they proceed from the penitent1 himself without the privity of the minister, but only, as they are enjoined by the minister’s authority and power. So that no contrition or grief of heart, till the priest exact it; no acknowledgment of sins, but that which he doth demand; no praying, no fasting, no alms, no recompense or restitution for whatsoever we have done, can help, except by him it be first imposed. It is the chain of their own doctrine, no remedy for mortal sin committed after baptism but the sacrament of penance only; no sacrament of penance, if either matter or form be wanting; no ways to make those duties a material part of the sacrament, unless we consider them as required and exacted by the priest. Our Lord and Saviour, they say, hath ordained his priests judges in such sort, that no man which sinneth after baptism can be reconciled unto God but by their sentence2. For why? If there were any other way of reconciliation, the very promise of Christ should be false, in saying3, “Whatsoever ye bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whose sins soever ye retain, are retained4.” Except therefore the priest be willing, God hath by promise so hampered himselfc, that it is not now in his own power to pardon any man. Let him which hath offended crave as the publican did5; “Lord, be thou Edition: current; Page: [75] merciful to me a sinner;”BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 3. let him, as David, make a thousand times his supplication1, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness; according to the multitude of thy compassionsd put away mine iniquities:” all this doth not help, till such time as the pleasure of the priest be known; till he have signed us a pardon, and given us our quietus est, God himself hath no answer to make but such as that of his angel unto Lot, “I can do nothing2.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]e It is true, that our Saviour by those words, “Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted,” did ordain judges over sinful souls, give them authority to absolve from sin, and promise to ratify in heaven whatsoever they should do on earth in execution of this their office; to the end that hereby, as well his ministers might take encouragement to do their duty with all faithfulness, as also his people admonition, gladly with all reverence to be ordered by them; both parts knowing that the functions of the one towards the other have his perpetual assistance and approbation. Howbeit all this with two restraints, which every jurisdiction in the world hath; the one, that the practice thereof proceed in due order; the other, that it do not extend itself beyond due bounds; which bounds or limits have so confined penitential jurisdiction, that although there be given unto it power of remitting sin, yet not such sovereignty of power, that no sin should be pardonable in man without it. Thus to enforce our Saviour’s words, is as though we should gather, that because whatsoever Joseph did command in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh’s grant wasf, it should be done; therefore he grantedg that nothing should be done in the land of Egypt but what Joseph did command, and so consequently, by enabling his servant Joseph to command under him, disableth himself to command any thing without Joseph.

But by this we see how the papacy maketh all sin unpardonable, which hath not the priest’s absolution; except peradventure in some extraordinary3 case, where albeit absolution be not had, yet it must be desired.

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BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 4.Edition: 1888; Page: [4]h What is then the force of absolution? What is it which the act of absolution worketh in a sinful man? Doth it by any operation derived from itself alter the state of the soul? Doth it really take away sin, or but ascertain us of God’s most gracious and merciful pardon? The latter of wich two is our assertion, the former theirs.

1At the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, saying unto the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee,” the Pharisees, which knew him not to be the “Son of the living God,” took secret exception, and fell to reasoning with themselves against him; “Is any able to forgive sins but God only2?” “The sins,” saith St. Cyprian, “that are committed against him, he alone hath power to forgive, which took upon him our sins, he which sorrowed and suffered for us, he whom the Father delivered unto death for our offences.” Whereunto may be added that which Clemens Alexandrinus hath, “3Our Lord is profitable every way, every way beneficial, whether we respect him as mani, or as God; as God forgiving, as man instructing and learning how to avoid sin.” For it is “4I, even I, that putteth away thine iniquities for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins,” saith the Lord.

Now albeit we willingly confess with St. Cyprian, “The sins that are committed against him, he only hath power to forgive, who hath taken upon him our sins, he which hath sorrowed and suffered for us, he whom God hath given for our offences5:” yet neither did St. Cyprian intend to deny Edition: current; Page: [77] the power of the minister,BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 5. otherwise than if he presume beyond his commission to remit sin, where God’s own will is it should be retained; for against such absolutions he speaketh (which being granted to whom they ought to have been denied, are of no validity;) and, if rightly it be considered how higher causes in operation use to concur with inferior means, his grace with our ministry, God really performing the same which man is authorized to act as in his name, there shall need for decision of this point no great labour.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]k To remission of sins there are two things necessary; grace, as the only cause which taketh away iniquity; and repentance, as a duty or condition required in us. To make repentance such as it should be, what doth God demand but inward sincerity joined with fit and convenient offices for that purpose? the one referred wholly to our own consciences, the other best discerned by them whom God hath appointed judges in this court. So that having first the promises of God for pardon generally unto all offenders penitent; and particularly for our own unfeigned meaning, the unfalliblel testimony of a good conscience; the sentence of God’s appointed officer and vicegerent to approve with unpartial judgment the quality of that we have done, and as from his tribunal, in that respect to assoil us of any crime: I see no cause but that by the rules of our faith and religion we may rest ourselves very well assured touching God’s most merciful pardon and grace; who, especially for the strengthening of weak, timorous, and fearful minds, hath so far endued his church with power to absolve sinners. It pleaseth God that men sometimes should, by missing this help, perceive how much they stand bound to him for so precious a benefit enjoyed. And surely, so long as the world lived in any awe or fear of falling away from God, so dear were his ministers to the people, chiefly in this respect, that being through tyranny and persecution deprived of pastors, the doleful rehearsal1 of Edition: current; Page: [78] their lost felicities hath not any one thing more eminent, than that sinners distrest should not now know how or where to unlade their burthen. Strange it were unto me, that the Fathers, who so much every where extol the grace of Jesus Christ in leaving unto his Church this heavenly and divine power, should as men whose simplicity had generallym been abused, agree all to admire and magnify a needless office.

The sentence therefore of ministerial absolution hath two effects: touching sin, it only declareth us freen from the guiltiness thereof, and restored into God’s favouro; but concerning right in sacred and divine mysteries, whereof through sin we were made unworthy, as the power of the Church did before effectually bind and retain us from access unto them, so upon our apparent repentance it truly restoreth our liberty, loosethp the chains wherewith we were tied, remitteth all whatsoever is past, accepteth us no less, returned, than if we never had gone astray.

For inasmuch as the power which our Saviour gave to his Church is of two kinds, the one to be exercised over voluntary penitents only, the other over such as are to be brought to amendment by ecclesiastical censureq; the words wherein he hath given this authority must be so understood, as the subject or matter whereupon it worketh will permit. It doth not permit that in the former kind, (that is to say, in the use of power over voluntary converts,) to bind or loose, remit or retain, should signify any other than only to pronounce of sinners according to that which may be gathered by outward signs; because really to effect the removal or continuance of sin in the soul of any offenderr, is no priestly act, but a work which far exceedeth their abilitys. Contrariwise, in the latter Edition: current; Page: [79] kind of spiritual jurisdiction,BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 6. which by censures constraineth men to amend their lives; it is true, that the minister of God doth more thant declare and signify what God hath wrought. And this power, true it is, that the Church of Christ hath invested in it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]u Howbeit, as other truths, so this hath both by error been oppugned, and depraved through abuse. The first of name, that openly in writing withstood the Church’s authority and power to remit sin, was Tertullian, after he had combined himself with Montanists drawn to the liking of their heresy through the very sourness of his own nature, which neither his incredible skill and knowledge otherwise, nor the very doctrine of the gospel itself, could but so much alter, as to make him savour any thing which carried with it the taste of lenity. A sponge steeped in wormwood and gall, a man through too much severity merciless, and neither able to endure nor to be endured of any. His book entitled Concerning Chastity, and written professedly against the discipline of the Church, hath many fretful and angry sentences, declaring a mind very much offended with such as would not persuade themselves, that of sins, some be pardonable by the keys of the Church, some uncapable of forgiveness1; that middle and moderate offences having received chastisement, may by spiritual authority afterwards be remitted, but greater transgressions must (as touching indulgence) be left to the only pleasure of Almighty God in the world to come2; that as idolatry and bloodshed, so likewise fornication and sinful lust Edition: current; Page: [80] are of this nature1; that they which so far are fallen from God, ought to continue for ever after barred from access unto his sanctuary, condemned to perpetual profusion of tears, deprived of all expectation and hope to receive any thing at the Church’s hands, but publication of their shame2. “For,” saith he, “who will fear to waste out that which he hopeth he may recover? Who will be careful for ever to hold that, which he knoweth cannot for ever be withheld from him? He which slackeneth the bridle to sin, doth thereby give it even the spur also3. Take away fear, and that which presently succeedeth instead thereof is licentious desire. Greater offences therefore are punishable, but not pardonable, by the Church. If any Prophet or Apostle4 be found to have remitted such transgressions, they did it not by the ordinary course of discipline, but by extraordinary power. For they also raised the dead, which none but God is able to do; they restored impotentx and lame men, a work peculiar to Jesus Christ; yea, that which Christ would not do, because executions of such severity beseemed not him who came to save and redeem the world by his sufferings, they by their power struck Elymas and Ananias, the one blind, and the other dead. Approve first yourselves to be as they were Edition: current; Page: [81] Apostles or Prophets, and then take upon you to pardon all men. But if the authority you have be only ministerial, and no way sovereign, over-reach not the limits which God hath set you; know that to pardon capital sin is beyond your commission.”

Howbeit, as oftentimes the vices of wicked men do cause other their commendable qualities to be abhorred, so the honour of great men’s virtues is easily a cloak to their errors. In which respect Tertullian hath past with much less obloquy and reprehension than Novatian; who, broaching afterwards the same opinion, had not otherwise wherewith to countervail the offence he gave, and to procure it the like toleration. Novatian, at the first a stoical philosopher, (which kind of men hath always accounted stupidity the highest top of wisdom, and commiseration the deadliest sin,) became by institution and study the very same which the other had been before through a secret natural distemper, upon his conversion to the Christian faith and recovery from sickness, which moved him to receive the sacrament of Baptism in his bed. The bishop contrary to the canons of the Church1 would needs in special love towards him ordain him presbyter, which favour satisfied not him who thought himself worthy of greater place and dignity. He closed therefore with a number of well-minded men, and not suspicious what his secret purposes were, and having made them sure unto him by fraud, procureth his own consecration to be their bishop. His prelacy now was able as he thought to countenance what he intended to publish, and therefore his letters went presently abroad to sundry churches, advising them never to admit to the fellowship of holy mysteries such as had after baptism offered sacrifice to idols.

There was present at the council of Nice, together with other bishops, one Acesius a Novatianist2, touching whose diversity in opinion from the Church the emperor desirous to hear some reason, asked of him certain questions; for answer whereunto Acesius weaveth out a long history of things that Edition: current; Page: [82] happened in the persecution under Decius, and of men, which to save life forsook faith.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 7. But the end was a certain bitter canon framed in their own school1, “That men which fall into deadly sin after holy baptism, ought never to be again admitted to the communion of divine mysteries; that they are to be exhorted unto repentance, howbeit not to be put in hope that pardon can be had at the priest’s hands; but with God, which hath sovereign power and authority in himself to remit sins, it may be in the end they shall find mercy.”

Those followers of Novatian, which gave themselves the title of καθαροὶ, clean, pure, and unspotted men, had one point of Montanism more than their master did profess; for amongst sins unpardonable they reckoned second marriages, of which opinion Tertullian making (as his usual manner was) a salt apology, “Such is,” saith he2, “our stony hardness, that defaming our Comforter with a kind of enormity in discipline, we dam up the doors of the church no less against twice-married men than against adulterers and fornicators.” Of this sort therefore it was ordained by the Nicene Synod3, that if any such did return to the catholic and apostolic unity, they should in writing bind themselves to observe the orders of the Church, and communicate as well with them which had been often married, or had fallen in time of persecution, as with other sorts of Christian people. But further to relate, or at all to refel the errors of misbelieving men concerning this point, is not now to our present purpose greatly necessary.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]y The Church may receive no small detriment by corrupt practice, even there where doctrine concerning the substance of things practised is free from any great or dangerous Edition: current; Page: [83] corruption. If therefore that which the papacy doth in matter of confessions and absolutionsz be offensive; if it palpably swerve in the use of the keys; howsoever that which it teacheth in general concerning the Church’s power to retain and forgive sins be admitted true, have they not on the one side as much whereat to be abasht, as on the other wherein to rejoice?

They bind all men, upon pain of everlasting condemnation and death, to make confession to their ghostly fathers of every great offence they know, and can remember that they have committed against God. Hath Christ in his Gospel so delivered the doctrine of repentance unto the world? Did his Apostles so preach it to nations? Have the Fathers so believed or so taught? Surely Novatian was not so merciless in depriving the Church of power to absolve some certain offenders, as they in imposing upon all a necessity thus to confess. Novatian would nevera deny but God might remit that which the Church could not; whereas in the papacy it is maintained, that what we conceal from men, God himself shall never pardon. By which oversight, as they have surcharged the world with multitude, but much abated the weight of confession, so the careless manner of their absolution hath made discipline for the most part amongst them a bare formality; yea, rather a mean of emboldening unto vicious and wicked life, than either any help to prevent future, or medicine to remedy present evils in the soul of man. The Fathers were slow and always fearful to absolve any before very manifest tokens given of a true penitent and contrite spirit. It was not their custom to remit sin first, and then to impose works of satisfaction, as the fashion of Rome is now; insomuch that this their preposterous course, and misordered practiceb, hath bred in them alsoc an error concerning the end and purpose of these works. For against the guiltiness of sin, and the danger of everlasting condemnation thereby incurred, confession and absolution succeeding the same, are, as they take it, a remedy sufficient; and therefore what their penitentiaries do think good to enjoind farther, Edition: current; Page: [84] whether it be a number of Ave-Maries daily to be scored up, a journey of pilgrimage to be undertaken,BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 8. some few dishes of ordinary diet to be exchanged, offerings to be made at the shrines of saints, or a little to be scraped off from men’s superfluity for relief of poor people, all is in lieu or exchange with God, whose justice, notwithstanding our pardon, yet oweth us still some temporal punishment, either in this or in the life to come, except we quite it ourselves here with works of the former kind, and continued till the balance of God’s most strict severity shall find the pains we have taken equivalent with the plagues wef should endure, or else thatg the mercy of the pope relieve us. And at this postern gate cometh in the whole mart of papal indulgences1, so infinitely strewed, that the pardon of sin, which heretofore was obtained hardly and by much suit, is with them become now almost impossible to be escaped.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]h To set down then the force of this sentence in absolving penitents; there are in sin these three things2: the act which passeth away and vanisheth; the pollution wherewith it leaveth the soul defiled; and the punishment whereunto they are made subject that have committed it. The act of sin, is every deed, word, and thought against the law of God. “For sin is the transgression of the law3;” and although the deed itself do not continue, yet is that bad quality permanent, whereby it maketh the soul unrighteous and deformed in God’s sight. “From the heart4 come evil cogitations, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, slanders; these are things which defile a man.” They do not only, as effects of impurity, argue the nest to be unclean, out of which they came, but as causes they strengthen that disposition unto wickedness which brought them forth; they are both fruits and seeds of uncleanness, they nourish the root out of which they grow, they breed that iniquity which bred them. The blot therefore of sin abideth, though the act be transitory. And out of both ariseth a present debt, to endure what punishment soever the evil which we have done deserveth; Edition: current; Page: [85] an obligation, in the chains whereof sinners by the justice of Almighty God continue bound till repentance loose them. “Repent this thy wickedness1,” saith Peter unto Simon Magus, “beseech God, that if it be possible the thought of thine heart may be pardoned; for I see that ithou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” In like manner Salomon2: “The wicked shall be held fast in the cords of his own sin.”

Nor doth God only bind sinners handsk and foot by the dreadful determination of his own unsearchable judgment against them; but sometime also the Church bindeth by the censures of her discipline3: so that when offenders upon their repentance are by the same discipline absolved, the Church looseth but her own bandsl, the chains wherein she had tied them before.

The act of sin God alone remitteth, in that his purpose is never to call it to account, or to lay it unto men’s charge4; the stain he washeth out by the sanctifying grace of his Spirit5; and concerning the punishment of sin, as none else hath power to cast body and soul into hell-fire, so none power to deliver either besides him6. As for the ministerial sentence of private absolution, it can be no more than a declaration what God hath done; it hath but the force of the Prophet Nathan’s absolution7, “God hath taken away thy sin:” than which construction, especially of words judicial, there is not any thing more vulgar. For example, the publicans are said in the Gospel to have justified God8; the Jews in Malachi9 to have blessed proud men, which sin and prosper; not that the one did make God righteous, or the other the wicked happy: but to “bless,” to “justify,” and to “absolve,” are as commonly used for words of judgment or declaration, as of true and real efficacy. Yea even by the Edition: current; Page: [86] opinion of the Master of Sentences1, “it may be soundly affirmed and thought that God alone doth remit and retain sins, although he have given the Church powerm to do both: but he one way, and the Church another. He only by himself forgiveth sin, who cleanseth the soul from inward blemish, and looseth the debt of eternal death. So great a privilege he hath not given unto his priests, who notwithstanding are authorized to loose and bind, that is to say, ton declare who are bound, and who are loosed. For albeit a man be already cleared before God, yet he is not in the face of the Church soo taken, but by virtue of the priest’s sentence; who likewise may be said to bind by imposing satisfactionsp, and to loose by admitting to the holy communion.”

Saint Hierome also, whom the Master of the Sentences2 allegeth for more countenance of his own opinion, doth no less plainly and directly affirm3: “That as the priests of the law could only discern, and neither cause nor remove leprosies; so the ministers of the Gospel, when they retain or remit sin, do but in the one judge how long we continue guilty, and in the other declare when we are clear or free.” For there is nothing more apparent, than that the discipline Edition: current; Page: [87] of repentance both public and private was ordained as an outward mean to bring men to the virtue of inward conversion;BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 9. so that when this by manifest tokens did seem effected, absolution ensuing (which could not make) served only to declare men innocent.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]q But the cause wherefore they are so stiff, and have forsaken their own master in this point, is for that they hold the private discipline of penitency to be a sacrament, absolution an external sign in this sacrament, the signs external of all sacraments in the New Testament to be both causes of that which they signify, and signs of that which they truly cause.

To this opinion concerning sacraments they are now tied by expounding a canon in the Florentine council1 according to a former scholasticalr invention received from Thomas. For his device it was, that the mercy of God, which useth sacraments as instruments whereby to work, endueth them at the time of their administration with supernatural force and ability to induce grace into the souls of men; even as the axe and saw do serves to bring timber into that fashion which the mind of the artificer intendeth2. His conceitt Edition: current; Page: [88] Scotus1,BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 10. Occam, Petrus Alliacensis, with sundry others, do most earnestly and strongly impugn, shewing very good reason, wherefore no sacrament of the new law can either by virtue which itself hath, or by force supernaturally given it, be properly a cause to work grace; but sacraments are therefore said to work or confer grace, because the will of Almighty God is, although not to give them such efficacy, yet himself to be present in the ministry of theu working that effect, which proceedeth wholly from him without any real operation of theirs, such as can enter into men’s souls.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]x In which construction, seeing that our booksy and writings have made it known to the world how we join with them, it seemeth very hard and injurious dealing, that Bellarmine throughout the whole course of his second book De Sacramentis in Genere2, should so boldly face down his adversaries, as if their opinion were, that sacraments are naked, empty, and uneffectual signs; wherein there is no other force than only such as in pictures to stir up the mind, that so by theory and speculation of things represented, faith may grow: finally, that all the operation which sacraments Edition: current; Page: [89] have, is a sensible and divine instruction. But had it pleased him not to hoodwink his own knowledge, I nothing doubt but he fully saw how to answer himself; it being a matter very strange and incredible, that one which with so great diligence hadz winnowed his adversaries’ writings, should be ignorant of their minds. For, even as in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ both God and man, when his human nature is by itself considered, we may not attribute that unto him, which we do and must ascribe as oft as respect is had unto both natures combined; so because in sacraments there are two things distinctly to be considered, the outward sign, and the secret concurrence of God’s most blessed Spirit, in which respect our Saviour hath taught that water and the Holy Ghost are combined to work the mystery of new birth1; sacraments therefore as signs have only those effects before mentioned; but of sacraments, in that by God’s own will and ordinance they are signs assisted always with the power of the Holy Ghost, we2 acknowledge whatsoever either the places of Scripture, or the authorities of councils and fathers, or the proofs and arguments of reason which he allegeth, can shew to be wrought by them. The elements and words have power of infallible signification, for which they are called seals of God’s truth; the spirit affixed unto those elements and words, power of operation within the soul, most admirable, divine, and impossible to be exprest. For so God hath instituted and ordained, that, together with due administration and receipt of sacramental signs, there shall proceed from himself grace effectual to sanctify, to cure, to comfort, and whatsoever is elsea for the good of the souls of men.

Howbeit this opinion 3Thomas rejecteth, under pretence that it maketh sacramental words and elements to be in themselves no more than signs, whereas they ought to be held as causes of that they signify. He therefore reformeth Edition: current; Page: [90] it with this addition, that the very sensible parts of the Sacraments do instrumentally effect and produce, not grace (for the schoolmen1 both of these times and long after did for the most part maintain it untrue, and some of them unpossible, that sanctifying grace should efficiently proceed but from God alone2, and that by immediate creation3 as the substance of the soul doth;) but the phantasy which Thomas4 had was, that sensible things through Christ and the priest’s benediction receive a certain supernatural transitory force, which leaveth behind it a kind of preparative quality or beauty within the soul, whereupon immediately from God doth ensue the grace that justifieth.

Now they which pretend to follow Thomas, differ from him in two points. For first, they make grace an immediate effect of the outward sign, which he for the dignity and excellency thereof was afraid to do. Secondly, whereas he to produce but a preparative quality in the soul, did imagine God to create in the instrument a supernatural gift or abilityb; they confess, that nothing is created, infused, or any way inherent, either in the word or in the elements; nothing that giveth them instrumental efficacy, but God’s mere motion or application. Are they able to explain unto us, or themselves Edition: current; Page: [91] to conceive, what they mean when they thus speak?BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 11. For example, let them teach us, in the sacrament of Baptism, what it is for water to be moved till it bring forth grace. The application thereof by the minister is plain to sense; the force which it hath in the mind, as a moral instrument of information or instruction, we know by reason; and by faith we understand how God doth assist it with his Spirit: whereupon ensueth the grace which Saint Cyprian did in himself observe, saying1, “After the bath of regeneration having scoured out the stained foulness of former life, supernatural light had entrance into the breast which was purified and cleansed for it: after that a second nativity had made mec another man, by inward receipt of the Spirit from heaven; things doubtful began in marvellous manner to appear certain, that to be open which lay hid, darkness to shine like the clear light, former hardness to be made facility, impossibility easiness: insomuch as it might be discerned how that was earthly, which before had been carnally bred, and lived, given over unto sins; that now God’s own, which the Holy Ghost did quicken.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]d Our opinion is therefore plain unto every man’s understanding. We take it for a very good speech which Bonaventure hath uttered in saying2, “Heed must be taken, that while we ascribe too much to the bodily signs in way of their commendation, we withdraw not the honour which is due to the cause which worketh in them, and the soul which receiveth them:” whereunto we conformably teach, that the outward sign applied hath of itself no natural efficacy towards grace, neither doth God put into it any supernatural Edition: current; Page: [92] inherent virtue. And, as I think, we thus far avouch no more than they themselves confess to be very true.

If any thing displease them, it is because we add to these premisses another assertion; that with the outward sign God joineth his Holy Spirit, and so the whole instrument of God bringeth that to pass, whereunto the baser and meaner part could not extend. As for operations through the motions of signs, they are dark, intricate, and obscure; perhaps possible; howbeit, not proved either true or likely, by alleging1 that the touch of our Saviour’s garment restored health, clay sight, when he applied it. Although ten thousand such examples should be brought, they overthrow not this one principle; that, where the instrument is without inherent virtuee, the effect must necessarily proceed from the only agent’s adherent power.

It passeth a man’s conceit how water should be carried into the soul with any force of divine motion, or grace proceed but merely from the influence of God’s Spirit. Notwithstanding if God did himself teach his Church in this case to believe that which he hath not given us capacity to comprehend, how incredible soever it may seem, yet our wits should submit themselves, and reason give place unto faith therein. But they2 yield it to be no question of faith, how grace doth proceed from sacraments; if in general they be acknowledged true instrumental causes, by the ministry whereof men receive divine grace; and that they which impute grace to the only operation of God himself, concurring with the external sign, do no less acknowledge the true efficacy of the sacrament, than they that ascribe3 the same to the quality of the sign Edition: current; Page: [93] applied, or to the motion of God applying, and so far carrying it, till grace be therebyf not created, but extracted out of the natural possibility of the soul. Nevertheless this last philosophical imagination (if I may call it philosophical,) which useth the terms, but overthroweth the rules of philosophy, and hath no article of faith to support it, but whatsoever it be, they follow it in a manner all; they cast off the first opinion, wherein is most perspicuity and strongest evidence of certain truth.

The Council of Florence1 and Trent2, defining that sacraments contain and confer grace, the sense whereof (if it liked them) might so easily conform itself with the same opinion, which3 they drew without any just cause quite and clean the other way, making grace the issue of bare words in such sacraments as they have framed destitute of any visible element, and holding it the offspring as well of elements as of words in those sacraments where both are, but in no sacrament acknowledging grace to be the fruit of the Holy Ghost working with the outward sign and not by it; in such sort as Thomas himself teacheth4; that the Apostle’s imposition of hands caused not the coming of the Holy Ghost, which notwithstanding was bestowed together with the exercise of that ceremony; yea, by it, (saith the Evangelist,) to wit, as by a mean which came between the true agent and the effect, but not otherwise.

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Many of the ancient Fathers, presupposing that the faithful before Christ had not till the time of his coming that perfect life and salvation which they looked for and we possess, thought likewise their sacraments to be but prefigurations of that which ours in present do exhibit. For which cause the Florentine council comparing the one with the other, saith1, “That the old did only shadow grace, which was afterward to be given through the passion of Jesus Christ.” But the after-wit of later days hath found out another more exquisite distinction, that evangelical sacraments are causes to effect grace, through motion of signs legal, according to the same signification and sense wherein evangelical sacraments are held by us to be God’s instruments for that purpose. For howsoever Bellarmine hath shrunk up the Lutherans’ sinews, and cut off our doctrine by the skirts; 2Allen, although he term us heretics, according to the usual bitter venom of his proud style, doth yet ingenuously confess, that the old schoolmen’s3 doctrine and ours is one concerning sacramental efficacy, derived from God himself assisting by promise those outward signs of elements and words, out of which their schoolmen of the newer mint4 are so desirous to hatch grace. Where God doth work and use these outward means, wherein he neither findeth nor planteth force and aptness towards his intended purpose, such means are but signs to bring men to Edition: current; Page: [95] the consideration of his owng omnipotent power, which without the use of things sensible would not be marked.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 12. At the time therefore when he giveth his heavenly grace, he applieth by the hands of his ministers that which betokeneth the same; nor only betokeneth, but, being also accompanied for ever with such power as doth truly work, is in that respect termed God’s instrument, a true efficient cause of grace; a cause not in itself, but only by connexion of that which is in itself a cause, namely God’s own strength and power. Sacraments, that is to say, the outward signs in sacraments, work nothing till they be blessed and sanctified of God. But what is God’s heavenly benediction and sanctification, saving only the association of his Spirit? Shall we say that sacraments are like magical signs, if thus they have their effect? Is it magic for God to manifest by things sensible what he doth, and to do by his own most glorious Spirit really what he manifesteth in his sacraments? the delivery and administration whereof remaineth in the hands of mortal men, by whom, as by personal instruments, God doth apply signs, and with signs inseparably join his Spirit, and through the power of his Spirit work grace. The first is by way of concomitance and consequence to deliver the rest also that either accompany or ensue.

It is not here, as in cases of mutual commerce, where diverse persons have divers acts to be performed in their own behalf; a creditor to shew his bill, and a debtor to pay his money. But God and man do here meet in one action upon a third, in whom, as it is the work of God to create grace, so it is his work by the hand of the minister to apply a sign which should betoken, and his work to annex, that Spirit, which shall effect it. The action therefore is but one, God the author thereof, and man a cooperatorh by him assigned to work for, with, and under him. God the giver of grace by the outward ministry of man, so far forth as he authorizeth man to apply the sacraments of grace in the soul, which he alone worketh, without either instrument or co-agent.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]i Whereas therefore with us the remission of sin is ascribed unto God, as a thing which proceedeth from him only, and presently followeth upon the virtue of true repentance appearing in man; that which we attribute to the virtue, Edition: current; Page: [96] they do not only impute to the sacrament of repentance, but having made repentance a sacrament, and thinking of sacraments as they do, they are enforced to make the ministry of his priests and their absolution a cause of that which the sole omnipotency of God worketh.

And yet, for minek own part, I am not able well to conceive how their doctrine, that human absolution is really a cause out of which our deliverance from sin doth ensue, can cleave with the council of Trent, defining1, “That contrition perfected with charity doth at all times itself reconcile offenders to God, before they come to receive actually the sacrament of penance:” how it can stand with those discourses of the learnedest rabbins1, which grant2, “That whosoever turneth unto God with his whole heart, hath immediately his sins taken away; that if a manm be truly converted, his pardon can neither be denied nor delayed:” it doth not stay for the priest’s absolution, but presently followeth. Surely, if every contrite sinner, in whom there is charity and a sincere conversion of heart, have remission of sins given him before he seek it at the priest’s hands; if reconciliation to God be a present and immediate sequel upon every such conversion or change: it must of necessity follow, seeing no man can be a true penitent or contrite which doth not both love God and sincerely abhor sin, that therefore they all before absolution attain forgiveness; whereunto notwithstanding absolution is pretended a cause so necessary, that sin without it, except in some rare extraordinary case, cannot possibly be remitted. Shall absolution be a cause producing and working that effect which is always brought forth without it, and had before absolution be soughtn? But when they which are thus beforehand pardoned of God shall come to be also assoiled by the Edition: current; Page: [97] priest, I would know what force his absolution hath in this case?BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 13. Are they able to say here that the priest doth remit any thing? Yet when any of ours ascribeth the work of remission to God, and interpreteth the priest’s sentence to be but a solemn declaration of that which God himself hath already performed, they scorn at it; they urge against it, that if this were true, our Saviour Christ should rather have said, “What is loosed in heaven, ye shall loose on earth,” than as he doth, “Whatsoever ye loose on earth, shall in heaven be loosed.” As if he were to learn of us how to place his words, and not we to crave rather of him a sound and right understanding, lest to his dishonour and our own hurt we misexpound them. It sufficeth, I think, both against their constructions to have proved that they ground an untruth on his speech, and in behalf of our own, that his words without any such transposition do very well admit the sense we give them; which is, that he taketh to himself the lawful proceedings of authority in his name, and that the act of spiritual authority in this case, is by sentence to acquit or pronounce them free from sin whom they judge to be sincerely and truly penitent; which interpretation they themselves do acknowledge, though not sufficient, yet very true. Absolution1, they say, declareth indeed, but this is not all, for it likewise maketh innocent; which addition being an untruth proved, our truth granted hath weo hope sufficiency without it, and consequently our opinion therein neither to be challenged as untrue, nor as unsufficient.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]p To rid themselves out of these briers, and to make remission of sins an effect of absolution, notwithstanding that which hitherto hath been said, they have two shifts. As first, that in many penitents there is but attrition2 of heart, which attrition they define to be grief proceeding from fear without love; and to these they say absolution doth give that contrition Edition: current; Page: [98] whereby men are really purged from sin. Secondly, that even where contrition or inward repentance doth cleanse without absolution, the reason why it cometh so to pass is1, because such contrites intend and desire absolution, though they have it not. Which two things granted; the one, that absolution given maketh them contrite that are not, the other, that even in them which are contrite, the cause why God remitteth sin is the purpose or desire they have to receive absolution2; we are not to stand against a sequel so clear and manifest as this, that always remission of sin proceedeth from absolution either had or desired.

But should a reasonable man give credit to their bare conceit, and because their positions have driven them to imagine absolving of unsufficiently-disposed penitents to be a real creating of further virtue in them, must all other men think it trueq? Let them cancel henceforward and blot out of all their books those old cautions touching necessity of wisdom3, lest priests should inconsiderately absolve any man in whom there were not apparent tokens of true repentance4; which to do was, in Cyprian’sr judgment5, “pestilent deceit and flattery, not only not available, but hurtful to them that had transgrest; a frivolous, frustrate and false peace, such as caused the unrighteous to trust to a lie, and destroyed them unto whom it promised safety.” What needeth observation whether penitents have worthiness and bring contrition, if the words of absolution do infuse contrition? Have they borne us all this while in hand that contrition is a part of the Edition: current; Page: [99] matter of their sacraments, a condition or preparation of the mind towards grace to be received by absolution in the form of their sacrament? and must we now believe that the form doth give the matter? that absolution bestoweth contrition, and that the words do make presently of Saul, David; of Judas, Peter? For what was the penitency of Saul and Judas, but plain attrition; horror of sin through fear of punishment, without any loving sense, or taste of God’s mercy?

tTheir other fiction, imputing remission of sin to desire of absolution from the priest, even in them which are truly contrite, is an evasion somewhat more witty, but no whit more possible for them to prove. Belief of the world and judgment to come, faith in the promises and sufferings of Christ for mankind, fear of his majesty, love of his mercy, grief for sin, hope for pardon, suit for grace; these we know to be the elements of true contrition: suppose that besides all this, God did also command that every penitent should seek his absolution at the priest’s hands; where so many causes are concurring unto one effect, have they any reason to impute the whole effect unto one? any reason in the choice of that one, to pass by faith, fear, love, humility, hope, prayer, whatsoever else, and to enthronize above them all a desire of absolution from the priest, as if, in the whole work of man’s repentance, God did regard and accept nothing, but for and in consideration of this? Why doth the Tridentine council impute it to charity1, “that contrites are reconciled in God’s sight before they receive the sacrament of penance,” if desired absolution be the true cause?

But let this pass how it will; seeing the question is not, what virtuesu God may accept in penitent sinners, but what grace absolution actually given doth really bestow upon them. If it were, as they will have it, that God, regarding the humiliation of a contrite spirit, because there is joined therewith a lowly desire of the sacrament of priestly absolution, pardoneth immediately and forgiveth all offences; doth this any thing help to prove that absolution received afterwardx Edition: current; Page: [100] from the priest, can more than declare him already pardoned which did desire it? To desire absolution, presupposing it commanded, is obedience; and obedience in that case is a branch of the virtue of repentance; which virtue being thereby made effectual to the taking away of sins without the sacrament of repentance, is it not an argument that the sacrament of absolution hath here no efficacy, but the virtue of contrition worketh all? For how should any effect ensue from causes which actually are not? The sacrament must be applied wheresoever any grace doth proceed from it. So that where it is but desired only, whatsoever may follow upon God’s acceptation of this desire, the sacrament afterwards received can be no cause thereof. Wherefore the further we wade, the better we see it still appear, that the priest doth never in absolution, no not so much as by way of service and ministry, really either forgive the act, take away the uncleanness, or remove the punishment of sin: but if the party penitent come contrite, he hath by their own grant absolution before absolution; if not contrite, although the priest should ten thousand times absolvey him, all were in vain. For which cause, the ancienterz and better sort of their school-divines, Abulensis1, Alexander Hales2, Bonaventure3, ascribe the real abolition of sin and eternal punishment to the mere pardon of Almighty God without dependency upon the priest’s absolution as a cause to effect the same. His absolution hath in their doctrine certain other effects specified4 but this denied.

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Wherefore, having hitherto spoken of the virtue of repentance required;BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 14. of the discipline of repentance which Christ did establish; and of the sacrament of repentance invented sithence, against the pretended force of human absolution in sacramental penitency: let it suffice thus far to have shewed how God alone doth truly give, the virtue of repentance alone procure, and private ministerial absolution but declare remission of sins.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14]a Now the last and sometimes hardest to be satisfied by repentance, are our minds; and our minds we have then satisfied, when the conscience is of guilty become clear. For as long as we are in ourselves privy to our own most heinous crimes, but without sense of God’s mercy and grace towards us, unless the heart be either brutish for want of knowledge, or altogether hardened by wilful atheism, the remorse of sin is in it as the deadly sting of a serpent. Which point sith very infidels and heathens have observed in the nature of sin (for the disease they felt, though they knew no remedy to help it) we are not rashly to despise those sentences which are the testimonies of their experience touching this point. They knew that the eye of a man’s own conscience is more to be feared by evil doers than the presence of a thousand witnesses, inasmuch as the mouths of other accusers are many ways stopt, the ears of the accused not always subject to glowing with contumely and exprobration; whereas a guilty mind being forced to be still both a martyr and a tyrant itself, must of necessity endure perpetual anguish and grief. For, as the body is rent with stripes, so the mind with guiltiness of cruelty, lust, and wicked resolutions. Which furies brought the Emperor Tiberius sometimes into such perplexity, that writing to the senate, his wonted art of dissimulation failed him utterly in this case; and whereas it had been ever his peculiar delight so to speak that no man might be able to sound his meaning, he had not Edition: current; Page: [102] the power to conceal what he felt through the secret scourge of an evil conscience, though no necessity did now enforceb to disclose the same.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 15. “What to write, or how to write, at this present, if I know,” saith Tiberius1, “let those gods and goddesses, who thus continually eat me, only be worse to me than they are.” It was not his imperial dignity and power that could provide a way to protect him against himself, the fears and suspicionsc which improbity had bred being strengthened by every occasion, and those virtues clean banished which are the only foundation of sound tranquillity of mind. For which cause it hath been truly said, and agreeably with all men’s experience, that if the righteousd did excel in no other privilege, yet far happier they are than the contrary sort of men, for that their hopes be always better.

Neither are we to marvel that these things, known unto all, do stay so few from being authors of their own woe. For we see by the ancient example of Joseph’s unkind brethren, how it cometh to remembrance easily when crimes are once past, what the difference is of good from evil, and of right from wrong: but such considerations when they should have prevented sin, were overmatcht by unordinatee desires.

Are we not bound then with all thankfulness to acknowledge his infinite goodness and mercy, which hath revealed unto us the way how to rid ourselves of these mazes; the way how to shake off that yoke, which no flesh is able to bear; the way how to change most grisly horror into a comfortable apprehension of heavenly joy?

Edition: 1888; Page: [15]f Whereunto there are many which labour with so much the greater difficulty, because imbecility of mind doth not suffer them to censure rightly their own doings: some fearful lest the enormity of their crimes be so impardonable that no repentance can do them good; some lest the imperfection of their repentance make it uneffectual to the taking away of sin. The one drive all things to this issue, whether Edition: current; Page: [103] they be not men whichg have sinned against the Holy Ghost; the other to this, what repentance is sufficient to clear sinners, and to assure them that they are delivered.

Such as by error charge themselves of unpardonable sin, must think, it may be they deem that impardonable which is not. Our Saviour speaketh indeed of ah blasphemy which shall never be forgiven. But have they any sure and infallible knowledge what that blasphemy is? If not, why are they unjust and cruel to their own souls, imagining certainty of guiltiness in a crime concerning the very nature whereof they are uncertain? For mine own part, although where this blasphemy is mentioned, the cause why our Saviour spake thereof was the Pharisees’ blasphemy, which werei not afraid to say, “He had an unclean spirit, and did cast out spirits by the power of Beelzebub1;” nevertheless I dare not precisely deny but that even the veryk Pharisees themselves might have repented and been forgiven, and that our Lord Jesus Christ peradventure might but take occasion at their blasphemy, which as yet was pardonable, to tell them further of an unpardonable blasphemy, whereinto he foresaw that the Jews would fall. For it is plain that many thousands, at the first professing Christian religion, became afterwards wilful apostatasl, moved with no other cause of revolt, but mere indignation that the Gentiles should enjoy the benefit of the Gospel as much as they, and yet not be burthened with the yoke of Moses’ law. The Apostles by preaching had won them to Christ, in whose name they embraced with great alacrity the full remission of their former sins and iniquities2; they received by impositionm of the Apostles’ hands that grace and power of the Holy Ghost whereby they cured diseases, prophesied, spake with tongues: and yet in the end after all this they fell utterly away, renounced the mysteries of Christian faith, blasphemed in their formal abjurations that most glorious and blessed Spirit, the gifts whereof themselves had possest, and by this means sunk their souls in the gulf of that unpardonable sin, whereof as our Lord Jesus Edition: current; Page: [104] Christ had told them beforehand, so the Apostle at the first appearance of such their revolt putteth them in mind again1, that falling now to their former blasphemies, their salvation was irrecoverably gone.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 17. It was for them in this case impossible to be renewed by any repentance: because they were now in the state of Satan and his angels, the Judge of quick and dead had passed his irrevocable sentence against them. So great difference there is between infidels unconverted, and backsliders in this manner fallen away, that always we have hope to reclaim the one, which only hate whom they never knew; but to the other, which know and blaspheme, to them that with more than infernal malice accurse both the seen brightness of glory which is in him, and in themselves the tasted goodness of divine grace, as those execrable miscreants did, who first received in extraordinary miraculous manner, and then in outrageous sort blasphemed, the Holy Ghost, abjuring both it and the whole religion, which God by it did confirm and magnify; to such as wilfully thus sin2, after so great light of the truth and gifts of the Spirit, there remaineth justly no fruit or benefit to be expected by Christ’s sacrifice.

For all other offenders, without exception or stint, whether they be strangers that seek access, or followers that will make return unto God; upon the tender of their repentance, the grant of his grace standeth everlastingly signed with his blood in the book of eternal life. That which in this case over-terrifieth fearful souls, is a misconceit whereby they imagine every act which we do knowing that we do amiss, and every wilful breach or transgression of God’s law, to be mere sin against the Holy Ghost; forgetting that the Law of Moses itself ordained sacrifices of expiation as well for faults presumptuously committed, as things wherein men offend by error.

Edition: 1888; Page: [17]n Now there are on the contrary side others, who doubting not of God’s mercy toward all that perfectly repent, remain notwitstanding scrupulous and troubled with continual fear, lest defects in their own repentance be a bar Edition: current; Page: [105] against them. These cast themselves first into very great, and peradventure needless agonies, through misconstruction of things spoken about proportioning our griefs to our sins1, for which they never think they have wept and mourned enough; yea, if they have not always a stream of tears at commandmento, they take it for a sign of a heartp congealed and hardened in sin; when to keep the wound of contrition bleeding, they unfold the circumstances of their transgressions, and endeavour to leave outq nothing which may be heavy against themselves. Yet do what they can, they are still fearful, lest herein also they do not that which they ought and might. Come to prayer, their coldness taketh all heart and courage from them; with fasting albeit their flesh should be withered and their blood clean dried up, would they ever the less objectr, What is this to David’s humiliation2? wherein notwithstanding there was not any thing more than necessary. In works of charity and alms-deeds, it is not all the world can persuade them they did ever reach the poor bounty of the widow’s two mites3, or by many millions of leagues come near the marks which Cornelius4 touched: so far they are off from the proud surmise of any penitential supererogation in miserable wretched worms of the earth.

Notwithstanding, forasmuch as they wrong themselves with over rigorous and extreme exactions, by means whereof they fall sometimes into such perplexities as can hardly be allayed; it hath therefore pleased Almighty God, in tender commiseration over these imbecillities of men, to ordain for their spiritual and ghostly comfort consecrated persons, which by sentence of power and authority given from above, may as it were out of his very mouth ascertain timorous and doubtful Edition: current; Page: [106] minds in their own particular, ease them of all their scrupulosities, leave them settled in peace and satisfied touching the mercy of God towards them.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 18. To use the benefit of thist help for our better satisfaction in such cases is so natural, that it can be forbidden no man; but yet not so necessary, that all men should be in case to need it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [18]u They are of the two the happier therefore that can content and satisfy themselves by judging discreetly what they perform, and soundlyv what God doth require of them. For having that which is most material, the substance of penitency rightly bred; touching signs and tokens thereof, we may boldly affirm that they err, whichw imagine for every offence a certain proportionable degree in the passions and griefs of mind, whereunto whosoever aspireth not, repenteth in vain: that to frustrate men’s confessions and considerations of sin, except every circumstance which may aggravate the same be unript and laid in the balance, is a merciless extremity, although it be true, that as near as we can such wounds must be searched to the very bottom: last of all, thatx to set down the like stint, and to shut up the doors of mercy against penitents which come short thereof in the devotiony of their prayers, in the continuance of their fasts, in the largeness and bounty of their alms, or in the course of any other such like duties, is more than God hath himself thought meet, and consequently more than mortal men should presume to do. That which God doth chiefly respect in men’s penitency1, is their hearts. The heart is it which maketh repentance sincere, sincerity that which findeth favour in God’s sight, and the favour of God that which supplieth by gracious acceptation whatsoever may seem defective in the faithful, hearty, and true offices of his servants. “Take it” (saith Chrysostom2) “upon my credit, Such is God’s merciful Edition: current; Page: [107] inclination towards men, that repentance offered with a single and sincere mind he never refuseth; no not although we be come to the very top of iniquity.BOOK VI. Ch. vi. 18. If there be a will and desire to return, he receiveth, embraceth, omitteth nothing which may restore us to former happiness; yea, that which is yet above all the rest, albeit we cannot in the duty of satisfying him attain what we ought and would, but come far behind our mark, he taketh nevertheless in good worth that little which we do; be it never so mean, we lose not our labour therein.” The least and lowest step of repentance in Saintz Chrysostom’s judgment severeth and setteth us above them that perish in their sin. I will therefore end with St. Augustin’s conclusion1, “Lord, in thy book and volume of life all shall be written, as well the least of thy saints, as the chiefest. Let not therefore the unperfect fear; let them only proceed and go forward.”

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APPENDIX TO BOOK VI.
[Notes by George Cranmer and Edwin Sandys, on B. VI. as sent to them in MS.1]

George Cranmer’s notes on M. Hooker’s2.

Notes upon the 6 Booke.

BOOK VI. Appendix.P. 1. “It may suffice.” I thinke if this booke began at the next sentence following, yt were not amisse. But then I could wishe that sentence to be divided into two; for yt is long. Which may be done without any alteration thus: “As it is not enough that our” &c.+

“Helpe be had: to this end.”+ Here I could wishe the first sentence to end but with a more full word then (had) as namely, “Helpe be provided,” or, “procured.” And the next sentence to go on, “To this end therefore.”

“Learned clerkes.” The name clerkes (as I thinke) cometh from κλη̑ρος inheritance3, and not as you seeme to say from their power of order. And although yt be true that the name be only given to them, yet is yt not given according to your speach, in that regard.

+“Saith Ignatius4.” Quote yt.

“Obligatory declaration.” By this word obligatory I understand such a kynd of declaration as either men must obey yt, or suffer punishment. But the word will not be generally understood.

“So that these two things,” &c. and afterwardes, to “Ys yt within such compasse.” It ys true that the power of Jurisdiction Edition: current; Page: [109] is limited by Lawe, but those wordes (“So that”) do seeme to argue that so much was implyed in the definition before, wherein I thinke no such thing is contayned.

P. 2. “I will that younger women marry.” Do you thinke this was a commandement, which to have neglected had been a sinne, or rather an admonition or advise.

“Or civill is.” I would leave out (“Is”).

“Cases of right to thinges,” and, “esteemed such.” I would say, “Cases of right belonging to thinges”—and, “esteemed spirituall,”+ for the word such is not playne.

P. 3. “Non intendimus indicare de fœdo” [“judicare de feudo,” v. p. 131, n. 1]. This was the sentence of a Pope, as I conceave, chalenging unto him self that which by us is denyed him: and therefore yt may be this allegation is not so fitt, although I very well understand in what sense yt is alleaged by you. But I may be deceaved in this matter because yt is a matter of story, whereof I have no knowledge.

“Touching manner and form.” Rather, “Touching the manner of exercising power ecclesiasticall.” And in the end of the sentence, I would say, “Requisite is this also.”

P. 4. “Namely to the end.” I could wishe this were no parenthesis, and that the sentence did end at those wordes, (“As it were by force,”) knitting the next wordes in this manner,+ (“which may serve as a reason why they,”) for this sentence otherwise will be very long.

“Curia Christianitatis.” I could wishe that as little as might be were in the margent but rather, if it be of moment, in the text.+ And it may be this were not amisse to be inserted.

P. 7. “Well or ill of good men.” I thinke there is some fault in the writing. “That afterwardes whereas.” I guesse there is a line left out here in the writing.

P. 8. “Fittest way.” I would adde, “way of awnsweare,” because (“way”) by ytself alone seemeth not sufficient.+ But then yt must be sayd in the wordes immediatly going before, not “against,” but “unto such presumptuous cavills.”

“Esay, for your sake:” quote yt.+

“Pure handes.” You remember D. Raynoldes note in the former bookes.

“Last of all.” This sentence I do not understand. Eyther yt is false written, or yt must be otherwise explained in my opinion.

P. 11. “Severe Lawgiver.” Was yt Draco? Cite your author.+

“Si quis privatus aut populus.” Translate yt:+ and I thinke yt shall not neede to sett the Latine in the margine.

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“Elias the Levite.” Quote the booke1.

P. 12. “It is the phancy of some.” If they be men of any accompt, I would not say, (“phancy,”) but opinion; or, “some are of opinion.”

“Cut of from the stocke of faith, and soules rooted out.” In the third2 you may remember yt is sayd that excommunication doth not exclude from out the visible Church.+ It seemeth by theys wordes that the [Fathers3?] did make accompt of men so separated, as if they were utterly excluded. You may thinke upon these wordes whether they do not seeme to imply some repugnancy to the former: and although I know they may be reconciled, yet perhaps it were not amisse if before hand they were qualifyed.

“Self same kynd of anathema.” You seeme by theis wordes to understand St. Paul’s meaning4 of the lowest degree of three, whereas yt is commonly taken (you know) for a farre greater matter than the highest degree of excommunication can import.+ And yet in the beginning of this discourse you make anathema the second degree, and here in St. Paule’s speach the first onely. But because [this] opinion is newe and contrary to that which hath been receaved, [I] could wishe that common opinion were sett downe and their reference to the speach of Moses5 specified together with the reasons of your opinion on the other side, and the dissimilitude of Moses speach from the Apostles. Moreover because yt may seeme but a sleight kynd of endamagement which the Apostle doth wishe unto himself, yf yt reach no farther than you seeme to understand it, especially in theis dayes wherein separation from the Church is taken for a matter of nothing: yt may be shewed how highely they accompted of the visible and outward communion of saintes, as may appeare in that Psalme where David extolleth the state of the sparrowe (as I remember) even in that respect because she had her nest in the temple. But of this enough.+

P. 13. “Lett that nation.” Quote it.

“To express those actions by.” I would say, As names to expresse those actions of publique judgment: and so leave out those wordes (“in publique judgment”) immediatly going before.

P. 14. “The Syrian language.” Did they speake the Syriacke in Christs tyme ordinarily or only the learneder of them? for so I have heard.

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“St. Gregorie1.” I would say in the very text for more autority St. Gregory Nyssene, because the later Gregory will otherwise be understood.

“Towardes thy self.” This sentence is unperfect in the writing.

P. 16. “Every open scandalous action.” By this yt may seeme that because in the 4 booke2 you have sett downe that all sinne hath a scandalizing nature, every open sinne is subject to the censure of the Church, so as it would seeme to followe that all causes might be brought under discipline. For myne owne part I do not conceave wherein the distinction lyeth betweene causes spirituall and temporall, although yt be manifest that a distinction there is betweene them. And in the practise of the commonwealth causes spirituall in some cases are determinable in civill courtes, as tithes, perjury; and causes temporall in the spirituall courtes, as testamentes, which in my opinion are merely civill: so as I see the division with us is not according to the nature of the thing, but as lawe or custom hath prevayled.

“For this cause Tertullian.” In the margine.+ It may be that this note might come in well into the text.

P. 17. “Whose flesh the tortures.” If any auncient writer do autorise this opinion, yt were not amisse to quote him.+

“The auncient fathers of the Church.” The places here quoted in the margine do not (in my opinion) prove any such corporall plague as for which they are alleaged. It may be some more pregnant testimony might be found. For the thing (I thinke) is true. The place of Tertullian in the margine is false written,+ as I take yt.

P. 18. “Dischurched.” I would say, “as it were dischurched,” because the word is unusuall.

P. 19. “Howsoever.” I would leave out this sentence wholly, because that for which you bring it in,+ is pertinent and short and needeth no qualifying or excuse.

“Very well then.” I would leave out these wordes, and say, “Be it so,” for they are to familiar.

P. 20. “Mariage feast in Cana?” Although yt be no necessary consequence, yet some presumption yt is that if any such thing had beene used in the Church before Victor, yt would at some tyme or other have beene mentioned. And therefore if any testimony could here be alleaged of the exercise of excommunication before Victor, Edition: current; Page: [112] it would be very fitt. For this and the like if you cannot call to remembrance any cleare testimony, it may be D. Raynoldes were able to furnish you, with a word writing unto him, when you send your booke.+

P. 21. “Epicurus opinion.” I could wishe for more perspicuity (for that is it which D. Some requireth in your booke1) that the opinion of the Epicure sett downe in the margine by Lucretius were in the text: and that the sentence were divided into two in this or the like manner; “A philosopher there is who in this regard especially magnifyeth his master Epicurus opinion, that the world was not created by God, for that it serveth as a present cure to such weake and feeble myndes as are continually perplexed with touch of conscience, and therefore in this sort he frameth his speach unto him, ‘No sooner dost thou teach that the world,’ &c.2:” taking the marginall note into the text, and leaving the Latine only in the margine. The next sentence then must followe. “In like manner these good folke,” &c. You may polish yt at your pleasure.

“They would not be light.” You knowe the manner of our excommunication which for this point specially is accused. And I thinke either something is to be sayd in defence thereof3, or this clause to be left out which doth seeme to blame the exercise of yt, as now it is used. You knowe that no man is excommunicate but for contumacy, which in the least thinges for the most part is greatest, because the more easily the thing is done, the greater is the contempt in neglecting yt. So as theyr cavil is but slander when they say, we are excommunicate for fees4: for it is not in that regard, but because the Church hath no other meanes to make men appeare or do theyr dutyes but this onely. This point may be thought upon. If other meanes were appointed whereby the Edition: current; Page: [113] spirituall courtes might punishe contumacy in such cases, I thinke yt were not amisse, but no other beeing, that must be used.

“Magistratus execrator.” In the margine. It may be this marginall note might be brought into the text.

P. 23. “The people of God.” I would leave out, “of God,” because [even?] the optimates or elders are part of the people of God, but in division of the polity, as in this place it is understood, they are not a part of the people.

“There is not any man.” I would say in the beginning, “Surely there is not any man.+

“Looke for obedience.” You meane in matter of fact; in matter of perswasion it is lawfull for any man to thinke as he list: so as the sentences do not seeme to be both made of the same thing.

“To compell by reason.” I would say, enforce; for although both these wordes do imply force, yet compulsion is properly of things violent.

P. 24. “Importeth chiefety of dominion.” I would say, “Importeth not power of jurisdiction, but chiefety of dominion.” For so yt wilbe plainer. And in the margine for the better understanding what you meane by chiefety of dominion, you may sett, “That which the Grecians call τὸ κύριον.+” Although this explication be only for the learned.

“Two thinges being necessary.” This sentence is long: I would divide yt thus: “Two thinges are necessary:” and afterwardes; “which two thinges are thought weaker in each particular,” &c.+ The sentence may very well end at those wordes “the common good of all.” And the next sentence may beginne, “By this meanes therefore yt commeth to passe.”

“That cable.” I would say, “That threefold cable whereof Salomon speaketh1.”

“By Solon had not.” You may quote some author for this; and if Machiavel be not an unfitt author, it is his observation lib. i. Disc. sop. Tit. Liv. [cap. 2. p. 9. ed. 1550.]

P. 25. “Annexed unto yt.” In this place I could wishe something were added to this effect. “For in theys considerations it hath beene thought that the mixed state is best:” otherwise (you know) yt is by [Aristotle?] confest l. 4. Polit. that if any one may be of so exceeding vertue as betweene him alone and the rest of the people jointly there be no comparison, he ought by the lawe of nature to have absolute and souverayne dominion. Which incomparable vertue because we cannot deny to our Saviour Christ, Edition: current; Page: [114] we ought not to deny him any souverainety, nor to adioyne unto him any assistants.

“According unto astrology.” I would rather say,+ (“and the court of the Areopagites as yt were certayne optimates.”) For that will better resemble theyr pretended mixture, than the heavens, so far removed.

P. 26. “Fourthly.” This word is referred to the three generall branches before specified, whereas in this place it may seeme to followe upon the three specialtys going immediatly before. Reade the sentence, and you shall perceave my meaning. You may say: furthermore, or, moreover.

“Will before.” False written.

“Imperiall power.” I could wishe that in this discourse and in the whole body of your booke wheresoever mention is made of τὸ κύριον, you should give yt the same name. You terme yt sometymes chiefety of dominion, sometymes souverainety, sometimes imperiall power. I thinke theys wordes (souverainety of dominion or souverayne dominion) are the fittest to be alwayes used, and plainest to be understood. If you be of this mynd, you may alter those places before, and make them all alike.

P. 29. “tribunes.” Quote yt. Li. i. Dec. l. 2. as I remember.

“Power of Jurisdiction.” I thinke it may in this place be added; that “if at any tyme any ecclesiasticall person have growen to so great auctority as his power hath beene fearefull unto the state, lest thereby some alteration should ensue,” whereof yet I remember no example; “this hath never come to passe by the meanes of his power of jurisdiction, but by some other accidentall occasions, as favour of the prince, forrayne allyes,” &c.

P. 28. “Likelihood of sound reason.+” If a brief collection were made in one sentence of all the five (fine?) absurdityes of this reason before alleaged, it were not amisse, in my opinion. For the greater his auctority is who alleageth it, the plainer I would have the inconsequence of his reason to be made.

“There is no one thinge.” It were good to sett down some of their sentences to this purpose in the margine in such places as you shall find meete. But of one thing I would wishe they were admonished, that in the question of lay elders they urge the Jewish polity,+ in the next of episcopall autority they will not stand to the lawe, so as when they thinke yt maketh for them they will maintayne it; when otherwise, they disclayme yt. This I leave to your consideration. [In margin] I thinke this may be sett in another place afterwardes more conveniently, as I have noted.

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“Lay elders personally distinguished.” In the margine. This clause I understand not, for whether those lay elders were the same with the auncients of the civill state or others, it commeth all to one passe in my opinion, if it appeare they dealt in causes spirituall. [In margin] In this point I do since understand your meaning upon reading the whole discourse.

“The rest were his [sonnes’ sonnes?”]. Had they no wives nor servants? If they had, then they were in the number. [This with a line drawn across it.]

“The whole into tribes.+” Quote yt and that which followeth of familyes and houses.

“The witt of man.” If yt were the order of God, no marvayle if the witt of man could not have devised a better:+ if not of God but of man, the wordes are well enough.

P. 29. “The congregation, and the whole people.” Quote yt.+

“The representative body.+” I thinke it were meete to bring some autority or proof hereof.

“Extend this.” I would say, “Extend his wordes:” or, “theyr wordes.”

P. 30. Looke to the quotations in the margine that they be right and rightly placed.+ And that care is to be had through the whole booke.

P. 31. “Fathers.” And afterwardes [“Decurion?”]. Quote theys thinges.+

“This was done by Moses.” In the margine. I do not understand to what purpose this marginall note serveth, if it be compared with the text, and for ought I see it may be spared.

“They prophecyed and ceased not.” This coniecture I thinke will seeme straung, unlesse some auctority be given unto yt by testimony. If not, I thinke yt were not amisse to leave it out.

P. 32. “Judges before appointed.” Quote where.

“The Jewish co[ni]ecture.” Cite the author and quote where.+

P. 34. “Kinges have dominion.” I could wishe that in this place for more perspicuity some such wordes were added, as these: “They are at the choice of the prince, the assistantes of Moses were not.”

“Import souverainety.” I had rather say, “Monarchicall or royall souverainety (for in that sense &c.+) but that kynd of souveraine power whereby the state of the Jewes was then go[u?]verned.”

P. 35. “The Jewes tearme them.” Quote yt.+

“Fifthly the reasons.” This last braunch doth not seeme to be Edition: current; Page: [116] a thinge to be noted in the lawe before alleaged, as in the first wordes you say, but rather to come in by collaterall meanes through their disputes. And therefore you may say, “Lastly we are to examine the reasons which are alleaged.”

P. 37. “Doe every where.” Quote some testimonyes.

“If it should.” Perhaps it were better to say, “If it did not.” And afterward, “questions of doubt inferiour judges.” The composition is hard. I would say, “Inferiour judges are willed to bring those questions of doubt,” &c. Or some such alteracion.

“Of this sort likewise.” It seemeth by this that the number was increased, and then could not the Jewes call yt the great court of 71. Some auctority must be alleaged for this point. Unlesse we may say that they were not of the body of the court, except they were also of the 70, but onely associates in judgment by way of advise.

P. 38. “Of priestes onely.” I do not understand what you meane by this word, onely, nor in regard of what it is in this place an exclusive.

“Judiciall assemblyes.+” Do you thinke that in such causes as were brought to the court of 70 from out the cityes abroad that all the 70 were present at judgment? It seemeth unlikely that such a number could all meete together to determine of so many causes at so many tymes.

P. 39. “Did farther devise.” Because this is contrary to their mayne position handled in the 3 booke,+ I could wishe that some instaunce were given wherein David or Salomon altered the prescript of Moses by addition or any other chaunge. It may be sett in the margine.

P. 41. “Touching causes they.” I thinke there is some fault in the writing: for the word, “causes,” doth not seeme to fill the sentence with perfect sense.

P. 42. “Ordinary judges.” This is a good coniecture; and if any of the Jewes do any where seeme to intimate so much, it were good to quote them.

“His legates.” I had rather say; “lieutenantes.”

“Th’ aforesayd.” You knowe Mr. Sandes mynd and myne of this word.

P. 43. “In the 10 of Ezra.” This marginall note perhaps may come well into the text.+

P. 44. “Was lesse commodious.” The reason were good to be shewed.+

“Post [hoc?] et alia.” English it; and I thinke the Latin should not stand in the margine, but ether nothing at all or the Greeke.

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P. 46. “State regall.” I cannot tell whether this word “regall,” and the placing of it in this sort, “state regall,” be good. It may be that, “monarchicall” or “royall state,” were better.

“Chiefety of regiment.” Of this you see what I have written before. I could wishe that here were putt, “Souverainety of dominion,” or “souverayne dominion.” And I thinke yt were playner. Afterwardes where it is sayd, “Either under that kingly power,” &c.; perhaps it were more perspicuous to say, “When they lived under kinges either appointed by them selves or by forrayne power placed over them.” And yet it is to be considered that their 3 first kinges were chosen by God, the rest by succession obtayned the crowne, so as those wordes (“which them selves did appoint”) seeme not to be so proper.

P. 47. “Alludeth both unto those princes.” It were perhaps not amisse to say this indefinitly rather then categorically.

P. 48. “The other of the 70.” Mallem, “The rest of the 70.”

“Afterwardes Scribes.” It may be remembred that there were prophets at the same tyme when there were Scribes,+ and therefore that the Scribes were not interpretors of the lawe after the prophets but at the same tyme.

“Such a doctor was Gamaliel.” Gamaliel as I remember was a Pharisee and therefore not a Scribe, as Scribes and Pharisees are opposed in division one to another. But if the name of Scribe do signify (as you seeme to say) any one professing skill in the lawe, in that sense a Pharisee may be called a Scribe, and the name of Scribe is ambiguous, applied both to the genus and species. If it be so, as I coniecture by your discourse, it were not amisse to sett the distinction plainely downe of the word, Scribe.+

P. 49. “Νομικά.” Νομικοὶ I thinke. And yet I cannot tell, because I remember some such phrase in Plato, παιδικὰ, referred to the person.

“The great synagogue.” If this synagogue were that which Ezra founded, how can it be sayd to preceede the prophets; if it were any other, yet because no mention nor speech hath been made of it in the former discourse,+ perhaps it will not be well conceaved what you meane by that great synagogue.

“These are the genealogies.” If you be not certayne hereof, speake it indefinitely: if you be, alleage some sufficient proof.+ And afterwardes, “The masters of ,” I would say,+ “The teachers of .”

“Of them that.” I thinke it is false written.+

“Senatus, sacerdotes.” Translate yt.+

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P. 50. “Th’ arraignement of Herode.” I would say, “Whereof we spake before,” or some such reference.

P. 51. “Do intimate a difference.+” I could wishe that this were made plainer by drawing the marginall note following into the text.

P. 52. “from tyme to tyme.” In this place I thinke it were not amisse if some discourse were added to this effect. That the antiquityes of all nations, especially of the Jewes so farre removed from us both in place and tyme, are for the most part obscure and hard to be particularly sett downe, because being well knowne and not greately regarded of all then living, men are not commonly willing to take paynes in delivering such thinges to posterity: but that partly out of Scripture, partly by probable coniecture and out of the writinges of the Jewes you have collected and sett downe that which in your opinion is most consonant unto trueth. Hereupon I could wishe that a brief collection were made of all those mayne positions which are contayned in the former discourse. I will sett downe what I have conceaved of the Jewes estate out of your discourse; for otherwise I have no skill nor knowledge therein; but if I have mistaken ought, you may perceave wherein some explanation is requisite for other mens farther direction. I conceave therefore that your meaning is this, 1. that for the ease of Moses in inferiour causes there were first appointed1 inferiour judges: 2. that afterwardes for his farther ease even in those waighty affayres which he had reserved unto himself, other associates were joined2 unto him;+ whereof I thinke one presumption may be that which you have omitted, that God indued those later with part of Moses spirite, which I thinke is not written of the former, and therefore it should seeme that as their guiftes were more excellent, so their charge was more waighty also: 3. that in Moses together with these 70 the souverainety of the Jewish state did remayne; and that the chief of this senate were Moses or his successor and the high priest;+ the rest were the princes of the tribes and other auncientes of greatest nobility; 5. that none of the common people were of this senate; 6. that in this senate all high and principall affayrs were handled whether ecclesiasticall or civill; 7. that in causes ecclesiasticall the High Priest was chief of this senate and might assemble them, in causes civill the judge or supreme civil gouvernor: 8. that this High Court was afterwardes by Moses institution to be planted in Jerusalem and till they were gouverned by a king was the souverayne auctority and τὸ κύριον of that common wealth; 9. that after their Edition: current; Page: [119] state was altered from an aristocracy into a monarchy and the souverainety thereby removed, yet this court was the principall and highest court of justice; 10. That the king himself was chief of this court if he list to sitt therein, if not, then some of the princes by him appointed; 11. That the High Priest was the next in this court unto the King himself; 12. But sometymes it so fell out that the same person was both High Priest and supreme civil gouvernor,+ as Ely1, Ezra, Simon; 13. That the state of Jury beeing greatly decayed by the rent of the ten tribes the same was by Jehosaphat restored. In whose reformation these thinges I observe, first that he appointed2 judges in all the cityes according to the ordinance of Moses in Deuteronomy3 which I take to awnsweare in proportion unto those inferiour judges appointed by Moses upon Jethroes motion; secondly that in Jerusalem he established4 the high senate of the 70, the same which before by Moses was instituted5: thirdly that he established but one high senate for both kind of causes, and not as they would have it, one for civil,+ another for ecclesiasticall. Whereof I have these presumptions, first because it is sayd by Jehosaphat to the judges of that court6, “In every cause that shall come unto you of your brethren that dwell in their cityes, betweene bloud and bloud:” which wordes, “bloud and bloud,+” seeme to be a plaine reference to the institution of Moses in Deuteronomy7 where the same wordes are used. If the court therefore by Moses there established were but one, as I thinke they confesse, or if they do not, the course of the text will convince it, because it is sayd, “The priestes and the judge,” joyning them together as it were in the same high commission; if (I say) that court were but one, it seemeth that the court by Jehosaphat restored and reestablished with so plaine reference to the wordes of Moses was the same court, and therefore but one. Againe it is sayd8, “Behold Amariah the priest shalbe chief over you in all matters of the Lord, and Zebadiah for the kinge’s affayres.” What shall Zebadiah be? chief over you: over whom? over the same persons over whom Amariah is also placed, as the wordes must needes enforce: so as Amariah was not chief of one court, Zebadiah of another, but both of the same in different causes. For it followeth in the text, “And the Levites shalbe officers before you:+” before whome? Not before any civil judges where Zebadiah being a civil Edition: current; Page: [120] magistrate did sitt upon civil causes only; for that were not likely that Jehosaphat would appoint Levites to be under officers in such a court, but rather where together with Zebadiah the high priest did sitt. Thirdly this I note that whereas it is always most likely that expresse mention should be made of any court at the first institution rather than at a restitution afterwardes; they are fayne to fly from the bookes of Moses, (by whome if any such court as they conceave had been established,+ it is most likely that he would have expressly set downe the institution thereof,) and to picke out a court out of Jehosaphat’s reformation; whome because they must suppose to have established nothing but that which by Moses was commanded, it were to be wished they would shewe where any such court was appointed by Moses. Which if they cannot,+ it seemeth a farre more naturall course to construe the reformation of Jehosaphat according to that which we find in the bookes of Moses, then to coniecture any newe thing of Moses doinges upon an after-ground of Jehosaphat’s reformation1. But to conclude this point (for you may well thinke with yourself “Ne sutor”) I take it were not amisse after some brief collection of these positions concerning the Jewes estate to shewe the difference betweene that which they desire and that which was amongst the Jewes.+ The high senate of the Jewes was but one, it was a standing court, it was a court whereunto men might appeale from all inferiour courtes. One of the chief in the court was the high priest, and sometymes the onely chief in both kynd of causes, the rest were of the nobility, none of the common people; whereas they make a high senate in every parish, from whence although there lye an appeale, yet to no standing court, and in that court or synode no perpetuall chief gouvernor. Moreover they take away superiority of ministers, and civil autority from ministers, and bestowe ecclesiasticall in part upon the common people. Many such differences you may conceave. But suppose the state of the Jewes were such as they would fayne have it;+ why should we be tyed to the Jewish polity in the matter of lay-elders, and they be free in the matter of inequality betweene ministers. Here may come in that which before I mentioned p. 28. One thing I have omitted in this discourse, which is, that if in any prophane or ecclesiasticall story you could exemplify where two presidents have beene over one court in causes of a different nature, I thinke it would greatly cleare that point of Amariah and Zebadiah in the Edition: current; Page: [121] story of Jehosaphat. I can call no example to my remembrance. I leave yt therefore to your consideration.

For this long discourse you shall pardon me, because I have done yt partly to settle that in my head by writing, which by bare reading perhaps would have flitted away the sooner, partly because if I be deceaved in any part of your meaning, you may both reforme my opinion, and cleare the matter in such sort that others may not be deceaved with me.

Whatsoever you shall thinke meete to be placed in your booke out of these observations, you may place them severally where you see cause; for I perceave they cannot well be ioyned altogether1.

“It resteth therefore.” What their opinion is hath not beene plainely sett downe before in the beginning nor in this place it is not manifest, so as it will not so clearly appeare whether the dispute about Jehosaphat’s reformation and this which followeth doth appertayne. I could wishe therefore that in the beginning of this discourse concerning Jewish regiment their opinion were plainely delivered and the point wherein you contradict them. As likewise I thinke it were meete that in the beginning of the booke, after you have refuted Erastus, the state of the question in general concerning lay elders were layd open in most playne tearmes; which may be very well done in one or two sentences. I thinke those wordes of Mr. Cartwright p. 70 might be referred to that place, because they are the general description of lay elders in such sort as they would have them. And I like Mr. Sandes judgement very well in your second booke concerning the setting downe of the state of the question, and I thinke yt meete to be observed through this whole booke, both in the generall questions and in particular thereout arising.

“The Evangelistes.” Quote it; and with all their wordes.+ Lett the force of their reason appeare and likewise of your awnsweare both in this argument and those which followe.

“Auncients simply so named.” Who these were you do not signify, nor give any coniecture whereby we may guesse who they were.

“Sith Joseph.” I would say of Arimathæa for distinction. Againe,+ I perceave at all no force in this argument of theirs because there is no shadowe of proof that Joseph was not one [of] the 70, wherein the force of their argument should stand.

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P. 53. “Which condemned Christ.” It were good to make this and the former reason together with your awnsweares very plaine and manifest, for the lesse force there is in their allegations,+ the more I am desirous you should insist upon them and make their poverty apparent to the world. And in my opinion in theis two places by them alleaged you are somewhat to short, as also in that last point concerning Jehosaphat, whereof I have written before my conceit.+ But in this place I thinke it should be made manifest that Christ was condemned by the high senate of 70, and therefore Joseph not giving his consent to the sentence against Christ must needes be of the 70: else it were no cause to commend him for not consenting unto the sentence of that court, wherein he had nothing at all to do, as beeing a senatour of an ecclesiasticall court. This I conceave is your meaning, and this I could wishe to be plainely sett downe.+

“Ecclesiasticall.” Adde, “as they say, and those of the layty,” &c.+

“Power of life and death.” I thinke you meane by the Romaynes, and it were not amisse to say so much.

P. 55. “Priests and Levites.” You seeme to say and also to bring some coniecturall arguments to prove that none of the grand senate of 70 were priests. Notwithstanding in the establishment thereof by Moses afterwardes in Jerusalem you shall reade1, And thou shalt come unto the priests of the Levites: in the reformation of Jehosaphat it is likewise sayd, Jehosaphat did sett of the Levites and of the priests &c. So as I should thinke that besides the high priest some of the senate were of the tribe of Levi: and then the Jewish coniecture that Moses took 6 out of every tribe to make up this senate will not stand.+ Moreover because this court is by you supposed to be the highest court in causes both ecclesiasticall and civill, it seemeth very requisite that many priests should be associates to the high priest therein. For the causes among them determinable by priests were (as I conceave) ten tymes as many as those which by civil authority were to be decided, both because the temporal lawyers of Jury were the priests, and because in so many thinges belonging to their civil state they were to aske counsel of God by the meanes of the priest, as in making warre, peace, confederacyes, &c. The causes therefore which came to the high priest’s handes being so many, it may be he had many associates.

“Had a second high court.” This one thing is now come to my mynd, that I thinke this may be a great presumption against their Edition: current; Page: [123] conceit of two high courtes, that it were a great absurdity to establish two courtes of souveraine autority in one realme so as the one should no way depend of the other, for it were as much as to make διττὸν τὸ κύριον.

P. 56. “Were annexed.” I would say, were joined, or associate, or such like.

P. 59. “To whome whereas.+” I thinke this sentence would be plainer if you sayd, And whereas finally; putting the wordes (to whome) after attribute.

Judæorum Synodum.” Translate it. And Synodus I take it is of the feminine gender, so is not damnatum, nor illud, nor constitutum.

[In margin here.] It should be Synedrium, and then I am awnsweared.

P. 60. “The power of excommunication.” I would adde, in that place meant.

P. 61. “Persons not ecclesiasticall.” I had rather say, lay persons, as in the former parte of the sentence you have done; and so beate upon the word, lay.

Quum per alium.” Translate it; and quote it.+

P. 62. “Shewe it hath of probability.” It is more than a shewe of probability, as I conceave, and therefore I would give it some wordes of greater autority; as, force of reason.

P. 63. “Of our faith.” I knowe not what translation you followe, but the Greeke hath not the word, our1.+

P. 65. “Wholesome exhortation.” This word may seeme to savour of a scoffe, and therefore I would leave it out.

“Unto it alone.” For more manifestation of their weakenes in this place I would adde, As though he which prayeth might not fast, nor he which fasteth bestow almes, nor he which bestoweth almes either fast or pray. And here because Mr. Chatterton in the fruitefull sermon2 so highely magnifyed by them doth labour to Edition: current; Page: [124] prove out of this one place all partes of their discipline, and therefore interpreteth him that teacheth to be a doctor, him that exhorteth to be pastor, him that distributeth to be a deacon, him that ruleth a lay elder, him that sheweth mercy a widowe, (for thus as farre as I remember he maketh St. Paul speake after his language,+) I could wishe you would reade over that fruitefull Sermon and lett it not pass without some remembrance by the way. Lett them knowe it is somewhat harder to prove all their discipline out of this text, then they tooke it to be. But I would wishe you rather to lessen the autority of [it?] then by direct opposition to refute so poor a conjecture. Your similitude of the Alchimist p. 71, would serve in this place very fitly.+

P. 66. “Ech particular.” It should be either, ech mans, or each particulars possession.

“Auncientes.” I thinke it were alwayes good to use the word elders or presbyters.

“Regiments.” I thinke the word governements is better, both because it is that which the Apostle useth1, and because the using of another word breedeth some obscurity. And I could wishe that for the better clearing and manifesting of their folly in this argument,+ it were shewed how the Church hath heretofore understood that place which may be done by alleaging one or two testimonyes out of the fathers upon the same, if you find any meete for the purpose; for therein I thinke it were not amisse to yeeld now and then to the streame of the world. Afterwardes ἐκ περιουσίας your answeare will come in. But in some places, especially where their arguments are weakest, I thinke if you did at the last drawe them into a short enthymeme, it would breed some shame in them and in others a contempt of their kynd of reasoning. As, God hath left in his Church Apostles, teachers, aydes, gouvernements, ergo there must be in every congregation lay elders.

“And have the matter.” I would say, and hold the matter.

When I speake with you, pray remember me to tell You D. Cousines awnsweare to this place, as I have heard from M. Sharpe.P. 67. “For to the end.” Because this place2 only seemeth to favour their conceit, I am desirous it should be most fully answeared. The common awnsweare you knowe is, to distinguish betweene those Edition: current; Page: [125] presbiters which teach, and those which teach with great labour and wearines. Which interpretation is taken from the force of that word, κοπιω̑ντες, toyling. And because this awnsweare is not improbable, I could wish you did mention it. As for that which yourself alleage, I observe therein these thinges, which in their severall places you shall find prickt, but I have thought it better to sett them downe all together, first your distinction of presbyters, because it seemeth to favour an unlearned ministry, must be very sufficiently proved. For I somewhat doubt thereof, partly because it is not likely the Apostles having sett downe that rule that a 1presbyter should be able to teach would themselves transgresse it, partly because it seemeth that in the prime of the Church by the imposition of the Apostles handes the spirite of God was conferred, so as none by them ordayned could want those guifts which to a minister are requisite. Secondly, Mr. Cartwright’s assertion is to be sifted more narrowly, and, in my opinion, more plainely to be sett downe, unlesse perhaps you meane to cite their very wordes in the margine; for as they are now delivered, the purpose, for which by them they are alleaged, doth not appeare, namely, to prove their lay elders2 to have been established in every Church, because these presbyters appointed by Paul and Barnabas could not all be preachers, as they presume3: out of which position of theirs it will followe that either St. Paul established a lay presbytery without a pastor, or if there were a pastor wheresoever there was a presbitery, then must they needes presume him a preacher, or no preacher. And which of two they list they may choose: for in both they contradict themselves. Theis absurdityes I could wishe to be plainely sett downe. Thirdly,+ It shall not be amisse to shewe how the fathers heretofore have understood this text, and that none of them have ever so expounded it, excepting their Ambrose4, to whom afterwardes you make awnsweare. Fourthly because this question of lay elders and the next of bishops are the most essentiall points of all this controversy, I could wishe that although in the other bookes you have Edition: current; Page: [126] rather beaten backe their arguments then brought any proof for our assertions, yet in theis two questions if you did deale with them ἀνασκευαστικω̑ς καὶ κατασκευαστικω̑ς I thinke it were not amisse. And in the booke of B. I thinke you have done so. [Margin] In this point I have since considered, that the questions of B. being handled κατασκευαστικω̑ς doth by way of consequence overthrow their elders, and therefore the lesse shall neede to be sayd in this point. [Text] What proofes therefore you can alleage out of Scripture, or antiquity, or reason, to breake the neck of their presbytery, I thinke it were not labour lost to alleage them. This one thing I observe that whereas the thing is urged as most necessary, and as the absolute ordinaunce of God, yet no direct place can be brought, where any such authority is given to lay elders, but here and there a text is snatcht up by the way, and construed according to their purpose,+ Bishops and deacons are described, of their elders there is no description, only out of a clause concerning their maintenaunce, a formall distinction is coyned, and an ecclesiasticall court on the suddayne erected.

P. 68. “Whence,” should be, Whome, as I take it.

“Touching propriety.” I could wishe this sentence were somewhat altered. Touching propriety of speach they will not have it thought absurde in them selves when they divide, &c. nor when they affirme, &c. nor when they comprehend, &c., for this way in my opinion it is somewhat plainer.

“Laboured in.” A proper division; as if there were in the Church a certayne kynd of men who might sitt still and have their salvation wrought out by other men to their hands; and another kynd who neede not looke to their owne salvation but only care for other men. And if some such clause were putt in by the way (for old acquaintance) I could like it very well.

“Leaders or presidents.” I could wishe this point to be somewhat more stood upon. As, may a deacon be tearmed in their language a leader of the rest, beeing a meere layman and employed in nothing els but in the bestowing of Church almes, and is it an unproper speach in us to tearme a presbiter though unable to preach,+ yet autorized to administer the holy Sacramentes, and present the prayers of the people unto God, a president in the Church? Polish it as you shall thinke meete, but some such thing I could wish were sayd. Then it may followe, if therefore in respect of prayers and Sacramentes onely we should call them leaders, &c.

P. 69. “Our meaning.” The force of this whole sentence I do not perceave. Neither do I see what is sayd in it more than in the Edition: current; Page: [127] former hath been sayd sufficiently. For where you say afterwardes, was nothing else, &c.; I do not perceave what other function they could have then to minister the Sacramentes and reade publique prayers.

P. 72. “One chief bishop.” I could wishe that in this place something were added, as, Thus much therefore we have learned of Ignatius, that bishops do, as it were, sustayne the person of God himself, that presbyters do resemble the blessed Apostles of God,+ that all reverence and submission is due to BB. But doth Ignatius any where teach, &c.

“Præsident probati quique seniores1.” Sett downe the place at large and in English.

“For of whome.” It doth not appeare by that which you have alleaged but that the names of seniores and præsidentes were given to divers persons, nor that there were not two kyndes of presidents,+ which they urge. And therefore I thinke this point is to be cleared more sufficiently.

[Marg.] “This exception.” Is the word exception well used in this place?

“Honor fratrum sportulantium.” Lett it appeare by some evident proof out of Cyprian’s2 owne wordes that this is the meaning of theis wordes, because you pinch Mr. Cartwright for it. Otherwise it may be sayd that Fratres sportulantes were not those which receaved allowance, but those which distributed the allowaunce to the presbyters.

“By which decree.” To this clause, which is the most materiall, I do not perceave what you have awnsweared. Pray consider of it3. [Marg.] I tooke theis wordes to have beene the very wordes of Socrates, but I thinke they are T. C. and then they are sufficiently awnsweared.

P. 80. “St. Jerome drawing.” I could wish that the disputation betweene St. Jerome4 and the Luciferians thus farre should stand, because it toucheth them very neare, but that which followeth, because it is one of the most absurd disputes that ever I read, and because it favoureth the papistes in some points, if it were cleane left out I should never misse it.

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P. 82. “Are these the witnesses.” Pray sift this place of Jerome a little more fully, for it maketh against them exceedingly in the point of episcopall authority, which I could wishe were noted.+ And in generall for ought I can see all the places by them alleaged do make against them, as that of Ignatius1, of Cyprian, of Posidonius2: Socrates, and this of Hierome.

“Elderly men.” This in Latine is seniores I thinke, which they will say is translated amisse because you call them, elderly men, whereas it should be elders.If you sayd both, as, elders or elderly men, I thinke it were not amisse. And yet in regard of that exposition which afterwardes you give it must be so. I could wishe that the distinction of this word seniores for elders and elderly men were expressely sett downe; and your awnsweare somewhat enlarged.

P. 83. “Pamelius.” Say, “A papiste, and therefore not likely to impeach the credit of any thing supposed to be written by the auncient fathers.”

P. 85. “In withstanding them.” I could wishe that something were sayd to this effect concerning their lay elders. That if they would plainely confesse that the first founder of this platforme was Mr. Calvin, that the B. of Geneva beeing banished he could not establish an episcopall regiment, that without some discipline the people could not be rayned,+ that unlesse they had beene persuaded it had come from God they would not so willingly have obeyed it, that therefore in a religious kynd of polity he maintayned it to be commaunded of God; if they would confesse thus much, and yet argue for the conveniency thereof and shewe the great commodityes thereout arising, we would then enter into a politique conference with them, and on the other side declare unto them that if their lay elders should take place we are persuaded that divers inconveniences would followe; contempt of the prince and nobility, insolency of the base people, &c. and such other as at your leasure you may conceave.

[Marg. just after the beginning of the last note.] “His councell not to accept.” I would say, not to accept his counsayle.

“Whether we thinke it so, yea or no.” This clause will not be Edition: current; Page: [129] well understood. What if you sayd, As long as they perswade us by way of advise to that which they, &c.

[Text.] To conclude. I could wishe that through all the bookes you should be carefull of the quotations both of their sentences and of other auctorityes alleaged (for in the former bookes you knowe there is a defect that way); 2. that in the margine you sett as little as may be; 3. that thinges onely probable be indefinitely affirmed; 4. that in awnswearing their arguments you do not only satisfy yourself and those which are learned, but as farre as may be, even the simplest, which must be done by persecuting them when you have them at a lift, not by hard wordes but by laying open the inconsequence of their argumentes as plainely as may be.

Omitted, p. 67. Mr. Carthwrighte’s argument is this. Paul and Barnabas appointed presbyters in every city, therefore more then one. But it is not likely they could appoint more then one preaching presbyter, therefore they appointed some unpreaching presbyters; ergo laymen. Out of this reason I do not see how you can take that advantage which you do, as if an unpreaching ministery could be concluded thereby. But to the reason itself it is no hard matter to awnsweare, both because it might be truely sayd that Paul appointed presbyters in every city, though in every particular city he appointed but one, and also because it may be that the churches beeing at that tyme beeing [sic] great in cityes needed more than one presbyter or pastor, and therefore it is not unlikely that more then one preaching presbyter was appointed.

P. 68. “With repugnancy unto their owne.” This repugnancy I do not perceave.

P. 74. “After having mentioned.” I thinke the place of Cyprian before alleaged were sufficient. This later sentence they may take some advauntage at, because it seemeth to barre spirituall persons from secular affaires, which in BB. you knowe are ioyned together.

“Into the clergie.” Yet by Cyprian’s wordes it seemeth they were as yet no pastors. How that will agree together, I do not conceave. And that clause, for that they had beene most worthy, &c. I thinke might be omitted, both to make the sentence shorter, and because in my opinion it is not greatly materiall.

P. 78. “Arius troubled the Church.” Some such thing may be added. So as that which by our opposites is urged as the universal practise of the primitive Church is by Socrates1 alleaged as a straung custome observed in one Church onely for a tyme.+

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P. 79. “Exhorted Nepotian.” How this doth prove that for which it is alleaged I do not perceave; for it may be graunted that Nepotian was a preaching presbyter, and yet their distinction of presbyters not contradicted.

“Priests and BB.” Did Arius make BB? beeing him self but a B. [P.?] for so I conceave he was no more.

P. 82. “A layman may baptize.” It were not amisse to say, Wherein as they thought a layman might baptize.

THE SIXT BOOKE.
Edwin Sandys1.

In Mr. Cranmer’s notes, those wherein I thoroughly agree with him, I will note with this mark +. If I happen clearely to dissent, I will note them with this mark o. The rest I will leave unmarked.

P. 1. This booke beeing generally intended against their whole plat for ecclesiasticall jurisdiction wherein it is faltie; yet dealeth with no other part then only lay presbiters. If no other part be faltie; then well enough. If otherwise, then is it necessarie both that in the end of this booke other [tracts?] be added, and that this title be enlarged. What think you of deviding the pastor and doctour? Or where handle you that point? what of their consistorie? what of their Synodes?

A morall exordium and conclusion I should greatly commend in all your bookes.

P. 3. “Yea or no.” The affirmative is included in the former woords. And although I disallow not this form of speach; yet perhaps you use it verie often, as in your printed bookes.

“Why causes matrimoniall—is not obscure.” Nor verie plaine. And therefore I pray you set it down. And add with all the reason why causes of legitimation and bastardie are spirituall. Moreover if you can, why matters testamentarie, which is the greatest point of all other. Wherein the nature and difference of causes meerely ecclesiastical and mixt is to be opened2. These points are at this day verie strongly impugned; and therefore the trueth in them most necessarie to be thoroughly unfolded.

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“Non intendimus1.” Translate this and the rest.

P. 4. “When they can take.” When they can securely take.

“Unto the form.” Here may fitly be handled the way of proceeding to these tryalls by oath: which the Precisians so much impugne. Some where it must needes be handled. But if the controversie of this and those other points you handle somewhere els: then neede they to be here only briefly touched, as conclusions of trueth.

In marg. “The courte, which in former tymes.” For ought that I know they were the same coorts then. And the spirituall coorts were called Curiæ Christianitatis by the civill courts. And so it is often in our temporall law-bookes.

P. 5. “To this purpose.” These woords either are needeles, or their use is obscure.

“Our Saviour’s speech in the Gospell.” Add Tell the Church or of complayning to the Church.

P. 7. “Of good men.” Put out of.

P. 8. “Last of all it worketh.” Put out it woorketh.

P. 10. “Yet swearing apart.” Quote the psalme “All that swear by him shall be commended.”

“Præiudize of acceptation.” This should be some other woord: execration I think.

P. 12. “Same kynd of anathema.” It seemes by that which goeth before and cometh after that you make Anathema the genus of the three degrees: although most properly used for the second degree. And so may this shew of repugnancie be reconciled, which would be specified immediately after the proposing of the three kynds.

P. 13. “Paul may probably.” I like your opinion marvailously well: on condition that you can interpret Moses’ speech to the same effect. Which it is fit you either doe: or shew reason of the diversitie. For my own part I must confesse it could never sink into my beleefe, that anie man would redeem the happiness of other men with his own spirituall. And therefore I conceived of those [The last line of the page is worn out.]

P. 14. “in the 18th.” No quotations of chapters in the text. “Towards thy self.” And offend thee.

“Of private admonition.” Here you must needes insert the second degree which seemes omitted by the writers falt.

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P. 16. “Is everie open.” Add and grievous; for so you seeme to say and verie truly, page 3. And on that woord you may ground an answer to the returning of your obiection against the præcisians in your preface upon yourself: where you say that seeing in most civill controversies and suites in law, the law of charitie is broken on the one part or the other, they were likelie to draw all these causes to their consistories. Indeede as all things of this lyfe have their reference to the life to come; so all civill causes have something in them spirituall: whereupon riseth the difficultie of distinguishing the one kynd from the other. But I take first these two rules necessarie to be observed: one that in criminall causes where the temporall coort doeth proceede to the punishing of anie man, there the ecclesiasticall forbeare, least one falt be twise punished: an other, that in causes litigious and not criminall, where the parties proceede by course of civill law, their doeings be not censured by the ecclesiasticall coort, to avoid oppositions of the one court to the other. This ground being layd, and these rules set down; the distinguishing of causes doth ensue of his own accord. Some are meerely civill, as the tryall of title of land: some meerely ecclesiasticall, as crimes of heresie and schisme: other mixt, as matter of slaunder, incontinencie, testaments; wherein perhaps nature directing that the part prædominant in the mixture doe carrie the cause with it to that coort which this part prædominant belongs to, yet the declaration hereof is to be made by positive lawe of the whole state: which positive lawe itself is neither ecclesiasticall nor civill, but mixt of both, even as the prince is a mixt person: which was verie well proved by Mr. Speaker1 in the Parliament.

The canon law I know greately urgeth that all mixt causes be ecclesiasticall, for honour of that part: which seemes hard to yeald to, at least wise it would be now hardly taken to require it. These things you must needes handle somewhere or other.

P. 17. “Both separation and execration.” You make these two the divers kynds of excommunication, and seeme so to distinguish them, as that excommunicatio a judice is separation, and excommunicatio a canone, execration. If this be a true and an only distinction in the use of excommunication I would wishe it to be so playnly recollected in the end of this passage. But if there be any other use of the differencie of these kynds, it is verie necessarie that it be set Edition: current; Page: [133] down here. And perhaps there is some more, as you seeme to insinuate pag. 19, 1. 9.

P. 19. “Beeing the subject of holy things.” Interdiction seemes to be only separation, and so you seeme to make it here. Yet doe it somewhat more playnly.

P. 23. “Chiefly of dominion.” Chiefty of dominion. In this discourse of Beza one may smell that which hath beene allwaie suspected of the Præcisians that they confound their ecclesiasticall jurisdiction and dominion: and so exclude the soveraine of the estate from bearing anie soveraigntie in the Church. Which in England is to denie the princes supremacie in causes ecclesiasticall. And you know they hold the authoritie of their presbyterie immediately from God: and make the prince (even as the papists doe) a meere lay person. It seemeth verie necessarie that this be touched in this place, for els when you answer them by this distinction, they will say that you doe petere principium.

P. 24. “Are weaker.” Are for the most part weaker. It cannot be simply held for trueth that the mixt regiment is of his own nature best: but by reason of the wickednes of men, and ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ. And therefore this must be qualified.

“Which are.” Which for the most part are.

“Is either so good or so durable.” Is lightly both so good and so durable.

P. 26. “A great deale better.” A great deale fitter because of the repeting of the woord better afterward.

P. 27. “By ministeriall power.” By the bare ministeriall power.

P. 28. “His nephewes.” Set this note in the margent [that is his sonnes sonnes] because in English we abuse the word for brothers sonnes.

“And here the Jewish nobilitie.” What meane you by here? If you meane these first persons, then after the death of these they had no nobilitie. If all descended from these, then had they no communaltie. If the first-born descended from these, then must you expresse it so.

P. 31. “Out of this number.” You make here an exceeding greate number of the gentrie: which could affoord Decurions [?] to the whole armie. You must therfore make proofe of these things by the quotations in the margent.

“Were the chief Chiliarchs.” Wherein was their chiefty, unlesse they were over the Chiliarchs, which should be likely? Els their chiefty was but ordinis. Expresse it in particular if you can, and quote it.

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P. 33. “Seeing Moses and Aaron.” Add and the successors of Aaron (as you say afterward that the high priest was alwaie of this senate): This, if you continue of the opinion that Levi was excluded. But this seemeth verie hard, that in the soveraigntie of the estate consisting of so manie persons, all the priests should be excluded but only the high priest. For Moses successour was not necessarily of that tribe, or of anie one other. Are not the priests often mentioned as judges in the highest causes? [marg.] This is holpen after p. 37 and 38, for deciding of causes of greatest doubt. But that point is the least part of soveraigntie. [Text.] As for the choosing of 6 out of each tribe, seeing it is but coniecturall; consider whether of the two is more waightie: especially seeing that number doeth not precisely meete, and that of Eldad and Medad is but likewise coniecturall. Lastly may not both stand, by uniting the tribe of Joseph? for perhaps the dividing of it tooke no effect in the wildernes, but then when they came to division of the land: where Levi was then otherwise provided for then like the rest. But two things here are to be farther considered if it may be declared. One whether the high judge and the high priest were allwaies of the 70, or besides that number, as you seeme afterwards to say, so that the whole were 72. And then what needes there anie excluding by lott? for they may be reckoned with the rest of their tribes. An other by whom these 70 were chosen and by what meanes. If it fall out that Levi was excluded, then have the Præcisians an argument that ministers may not deale in civill causes. But trueth must be [only?] aymed at.

P. 34. “Was the high priest.” Was allwaies the high priest.

P. 35. “In which law.” Concerning which law.

P. 36. “Hurt and hurt.” Before it is translated plauge and plauge; afterwards you interpret it damage. Looke that all these agree; which must be set down in some marginall note. Remember your adversaries.

P. 37. “If it should not.” If in other citties and inferiour courts it should not.

P. 38. “Of this sort.” Of these sorts.

“Of priests only and of an high priest the chief judge.” It should be I think of priests only and of an high priest and the chief judge, for so it is in the law. But in all this law here being no mention of the 70 auncients, how prove you that the priests were annexed to those 70, and that they were not a coort by themselves. Do not some devines interpret the lawe to be of causes ecclesiasticall only and mixt? I would wish this point somewhat strengthened if it may be.

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“That the high priest in such cases was to assemble.” This is prooved only for that the high priest is named before the judge and so would be specified.

“The auncients of Israel.” Whom meane you here, the auncients personally or representatively, namely the 70 auncients?

“In marg. permissum erat jura condere.” Search the place. I think you have miscited it. [Marg.] It shold be de iure respondere.

P. 39. “Of the high priest.” Or judge saith the text: which you must well consider.

P. 42. “The 12 princes.” Where have you proofe of these 12 princes now? If you have any, quote it.

P. 46. “Contempsit.” I would never have Greeke authors cited in Latin.

P. 47. “First of twelve.” You say this may playnly be gathered. Not playnly the number of 12 out of that place.

“Alludeth.” Seemeth to allude. And perhaps best so to qualifie your assertions of like nature immediately ensuing.

P. 48. “Were the heads.” What authoritie for that? quote it.

“First named prophets, and afterwards scribes.” I think there is an other and a greater difference of these names; for prophets were men extraordinarily inspired.

P. 49. “Lacarnim.” Cite your authorities, both for this and other like antiquities. A bare narration, unquoted, uncredited.

“These are.” These seeme to be.

P. 50. “Sagen.” Quote it.

P. 51. “Power of lyfe and death they had not.” You may note here in the margent, that for this cause they were faine to have Pilate’s consent for the crucifying of Christ.

P. 52. “Such ecclesiasticall auncients.” Such peculiar ecclesiasticall auncients. Mr. Cranmers conclusion upon this narration I cannot here but very especially commend unto you.

“Arch priests.” In your note in the margent you say priests simply. Take heede you misrecite not their opinion: but rather set it down more playnly and fully.

“Auncients of Jerusalem which are the same with auncients of the people.” But not simply as auncients of the people are opposite to auncients of the priests as you say in the line before: for these auncients of Jerusalem comprehend also the auncients of the priests. It must therefore be qualified.

P. 53. “That famous councell.” Specifie of 70, and quote the woords of Christ.

“At the south part.” This discourse of the place of the greate Edition: current; Page: [136] senate seemes to me either unperfect or obscure. You seeme first to make 2 places, one generall in the sanctuarie, an other particular for causes of lyfe and death adioyning to the south part. Afterwards having no use of this they choose out a third place Hamith1, which hath the same use with the first. I pray you cleare these matters and quote your authorities.

P. 54. “11 of Numbers—10 of Levit.” Set the chapters in the margent.

P. 56. “Ut probabile est.” Quote him upon the margent.

P. 58. “500 synagougs.” Quote your author.

“Haddaishan.” Quote this and the rest.

P. 59. “As these men doe imagine.” As these men upon so slender coniecture so untruly imagine. If so then in the next line, for have they had they.

P. 61. “Recte omnia nostra facimus.” Doe there not want some woords after these, namely, per eos, or quæ ab iis fiunt?

P. 62. “T. C.” I will here put you in mynd once for all, that you must needes set down Mr. Cartwrights and W. T.2 woords at large in the margent of this booke wheresoever they are impugned. Els will your discourse want much credit of sinceritie: which in your former it hath especially by that meanes.

P. 65. “Let him that fasteth.” They will replie that there is a difference in these speaches: for that St. Paule’s woords are in publick functions and services of the Church wherein ἓν πρὸς ἓν to be observed: yours in private duties of all Christians, whose duties towardes God and men are manifold. You must therefore either anticipate this obiection, or rather if you can frame a meeter similitude.

P. 66. “Those verie auncients.” Those verie lay auncients.

P. 67. “Two divers kynds.” This answer of yors I think the only true answer, although not so plausible as some other: because it seems to encline to the tolerating of an unlearned ministrie: but it is only to a toleration thereof and that in case of necessitis, which is as farr from absurditie as this world and the church in this world are from perfection. Only I could wish you did somewhat more strengthen your interpretation. Two points for which purpose I will offer to your remembrance. One that St. Paule denieth that he used to baptise: and saith that he came not to baptise but to preach. And although he add, Least any man should think I baptized in my Edition: current; Page: [137] own name: yet I take not this to be the cause, but an effect of his so doeing. Now whereas Christ gave ioynt commission of preaching and baptizing: it is probable out of this place, that the1 paucitie of men able to preach, was the cause that they which were able, did wholly attend to that, beeing the more principall part, and ordeined other grave men unable to preach, to supply those other religious dueties which you mention. If some did only preach; why not other some only baptize, &c.? For that the Apostles by laying on their hands enabled men foorthwith with sufficiencie to preach, I neither reade nor believe.

An other point that by the name elder and other circumstances in the Actes and Epistles it is apparent that the Apostles in what citties they converted anie number to the faith, there appointed of the discreetest gravest and auncientest persons, to receive from them the care pastorall of guiding and feeding the Church (for so was it necessarie in those tymes of hethenisme and persecution, that the Church should have an inward government in it self). Now how likely is it that of those auncient pastors there might be manie, which though unable to use any greate continuate speach or discourse to deserve the name of preachers: yett were able to do especiall good service to the Church, what in devoutnes and praying and reverend administration of the sacraments, what in countenancing and assisting and upholding that inward government: and so which deserve double honour without preaching. How manie bishops have there beene excellent wise governors of the Church; having small gift in preaching. Neither hath it any manner of show of probabilitie, that this kynd of elders should be excluded from preaching for anie other want, save only of habilitie.

P. 68. “We collect.” We may with much more probabilitie and reason collect.

“Double honor.” Here perhaps you may fitly draw in those other two points: and you must have care to answer their obiection verie fully, that this upholds an ignorant ministerie. The answer is plaine: and riseth out of those two points.

“Whose salvation is laboured in.” Rather about whose salvation they labour.

“Deacons under the name of Leaders.” You must needes cite their woords in the margent as generally for all other points, so in particular, and that very necessarily for this.

P. 69. “Not to signify that their function was nothing else, Edition: current; Page: [138] saving to minister the sacraments only.” Their function was also to govern. And here it is fit that somewhat be added, both generally to showe how farr foorth everie pastor is to govern his flock (in which respect our law doeth term persons of parishes rectores: which was obiected in the Parliament house to shew that our persons not beeing governors were declined from their auncient degree in the church, having suffered bishops to usurp upon their office:) and also in particular to show how in the first Church their government was a point of greate weight and necessitie; by reason of the estate of persecution.

These points beeing added, I shall think your answer to this obiection verie perfitt: which I greately wish, by reason that this is their only argument of anie show.

P. 73. “Tertullian’s woords.” It seemeth necessarie that you ad some briefe answer here likewise to their exception. But especially have care of well knitting together seniores and præsidentes.

P. 76. “Honor fratrum sportulantium.” It doeth not appeare to me in which of the texts before alleaged these woords are found. Neither know I which is that other plan of more plainnes, whereof you speake page 73. This must be holpen by exact quotations, and setting text down at full in the margent. Without which the whole booke will greatly want perspicuitie. I have noted for the most part such places with my mark.

P. 79. “The selfsame heresie.” This I take it is a rule in the cannon law: that ordinatus ab hæreticis beeing reconciled to the catholick church, shall notwithstanding never teach or administer. Consider well hereof. Indeede the pope may dispense; and so I take it and no otherwise is their preachinge.

P. 80. “This one is brought.” Add for more perspicuitie [on their side].

P. 81. “Receiveth not the spirit.” Are these St. Jeromes direct woords? Is it possible he should with one breath speake so apparent contradictories; as to receive the spirit in baptisme, and not to receive it but by confirmation1?

P. 82. “A lay man may baptise.” A layman (so they thought) may baptise.

“Should authorize.” Add and license, for that is St. Jerome’s woord2, which by interpreting thus you answer.

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P. 83. “Ambrose Bishop.” Ambrose Archbishop.

P. 84. “Which may be thought.” Add by men that way allreadie affected.

“Ambrose last mentioned1.” Add but more than they have any sound peace of proofe for. For so I would wish you alwaies where you graunt any thing to them ἐκ περιουσίας, verie playnly to signifie that you graunt it not for trueth’s sake, but admitt it by way of disputation to shew their utter weakeness.

P. 85. I like very well that you close up this tract as Mr. Cranmer adviseth. Provided that you leave not out such other points touching their new officers and consistorie as are yet unhandled.

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BOOK VII.: THEIR SIXTH ASSERTION, THAT THERE OUGHT NOT TO BE IN THE CHURCH, BISHOPS ENDUED WITH SUCH AUTHORITY AND HONOUR AS OURS ARE.

  • THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS SEVENTH BOOK.

  • I. The state of Bishops, although some time oppugned, and that by such as therein would most seem to please God, yet by his providence upheld hitherto, whose glory it is to maintain that whereof himself is the author.
  • II. What a Bishop is, what his name doth import, and what doth belong unto his office as he is a Bishop.
  • III. In Bishops two things traduced; of which two, the one their authority; and in it the first thing condemned, their superiority over other ministers: what kind of superiority in ministers it is which the one part holdeth, and the other denieth lawful.
  • IV. From whence it hath grown that the Church is governed by Bishops.
  • V. The time and cause of instituting every where Bishops with restraint.
  • VI. What manner of power Bishops from the first beginning have had.
  • VII. After what sort Bishops, together with presbyters, have used to govern the churches which were under them.
  • VIII. How far the power of Bishops hath reached from the beginning in respect of territory, or local compass.
  • IX. In what respects episcopal regiment hath been gainsaid of old by Aërius.
  • X. In what respect episcopal regiment is gainsaid by the authors of pretended reformation at this day.
  • XI. Their arguments in disgrace of regiment by Bishops, as being a mere invention of man, and not found in Scripture, answered.
  • XII. Their arguments to prove there was no necessity of instituting Bishops in the Church.
  • XIII. The fore-alleged arguments answered.
  • XIV. An answer unto those things which are objected concerning the difference between that power which Bishops now have, and that which ancient Bishops had more than other presbyters.
  • XV. Concerning the civil power and authority which our Bishops have.
  • XVI. The arguments answered, whereby they would prove that the law of God, and the judgment of the best in all ages condemneth the ruling superiority of one minister over another. Edition: current; Page: [141]
  • XVII. The second malicious thing wherein the state of Bishops suffereth obloquy, is their honour.
  • XVIII. What good doth publicly grow from the Prelacy.
  • XIX. What kinds of honour be due unto Bishops.
  • XX. Honour in Title, Place, Ornament, Attendance, and Privilege.
  • XXI. Honour by Endowment with Lands and Livings.
  • XXII. That of ecclesiastical Goods, and consequently of the Lands and Livings which Bishops enjoy, the propriety belongs unto God alone.
  • XXIII. That ecclesiastical persons are receivers of God’s rents, and that the honour of Prelates is to be thereof his chief receivers, not without liberty from him granted of converting the same unto their own use, even in large manner.
  • XXIV. That for their unworthiness to deprive both them and their successors of such goods, and to convey the same unto men of secular callings, now [were?] extreme sacrilegious injustice.

BOOK VII. Ch. i. 1.I. I HAVE heard that a famous kingdom1 in the world being solicited to reform such disorders as all men saw the Church exceedingly burdened with, when of each degree great multitudes thereunto inclined, and the number of them did every day so increase that this intended work was likely to take no other effect than all good men did wish and labour for;The state of Bishops although sometime oppugned, and that by such as therein would most seem to please God, yet by his providence upheld hitherto, whose glory it is to maintain that whereof himself is the author. a principal actor herein (for zeal and boldness of spirit) thought it good to shew them betimes what it was which must be effected, or else that there could be no work of perfect reformation accomplished. To this purpose, in a solemn sermon, and in a great assembly, he described unto them the present quality of their public estate by the parable of a tree, huge and goodly to look upon, but without that fruit which it should and might bring forth; affirming that the only way of redress was a full and perfect establishment of Christ’s discipline (for so their manner is to entitle a thing hammered out upon the forge of their own invention), and that to make way of entrance for it, there must be three great limbs cut off from the body of that stately tree of the kingdom: those three limbs were three sorts of men; nobles, whose high estate would make them otherwise disdain to put their necks under Edition: current; Page: [142] that yoke; lawyers, whose courts being not pulled down, the new church consistories were not like to flourish; finally, prelates, whose ancient dignity, and the simplicity of their intended church discipline, could not possibly stand together.BOOK VII. Ch. i. 2, 3. The proposition of which device being plausible to active spirits, restless through desire of innovation, whom commonly nothing doth more offend than a change which goeth fearfully on by slow and suspicious paces; the heavier and more experienced sort began presently thereat to pull back their feet again, and exceedingly to fear the stratagem of reformation for ever after. Whereupon ensued those extreme conflicts of the one part with the other, which continuing and increasing to this very day, have now made the state of that flourishing kingdom even such, as whereunto we may most fitly apply those words of the Prophet Jeremiah1, “Thy breach is great like the sea, who can heal thee?”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Whether this were done in truth, according to the constant affirmation of some avouching the same, I take not upon me to examine; that which I note therein is, how with us that policy hath been corrected. For to the authors of pretended reformation with us, it hath not seemed expedient to offer the edge of the axe to all three boughs at once, but rather to single them, and strike at the weakest first, making show that the lop of that one shall draw the more abundance of sap to the other two, that they may thereby the better prosper.

All prosperity, felicity and peace we wish multiplied on each estate, as far as their own hearts’ desire is: but let men know that there is a God, whose eye beholdeth them in all their ways; a God, the usual and ordinary course of whose justice is to return upon the head of malice the same devices which it contriveth against others. The foul practices which have been used for the overthrow of bishops, may perhaps wax bold in process of time to give the like assault even there, from whence at this present they are most seconded.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Nor let it over dismay them who suffer such things at the hands of this most unkind world, to see that heavenly estate and dignity thus conculcated, in regard whereof so many their predecessors were no less esteemed than if they had not been men, but angels amongst men. With Edition: current; Page: [143] former bishops it was as with Job in the days of that prosperity which at large he describeth, saying1,BOOK VII. Ch. i. 4. “Unto me men gave ear, they waited and held their tongue at my counsel; after my words they replied not; I appointed out their way and did sit as chief; I dwelt as it had been a king in an army.” At this day the case is otherwise with them; and yet no otherwise than with the selfsame Job at what time the alteration of his estate wrested these contrary speeches from him2, “But now they that are younger than I mock at me, the children of fools, and offspring of slaves, creatures more base than the earth they tread on, such as if they did shew their heads, young and old would shout at them and chase them through the streets with a cry, their song I am, I am a theme for them to talk on.” An injury less grievous if it were not offered by them whom Satan hath through his fraud and subtilty so far beguiled as to make them imagine herein they do unto God a part of most faithful service. Whereas the lord in truth, whom they serve herein, is as St. Cyprian telleth them3, like, not Christ, (for he it is that doth appoint and protect bishops,) but rather Christ’s adversary and enemy of his Church.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]A thousand five hundred years and upward the Church of Christ hath now continued under the sacred regiment of bishops. Neither for so long hath Christianity been ever planted in any kingdom throughout the world but with this kind of government alone; which to have been ordained of God, I am for mine own part even as resolutely persuaded, as that any other kind of government in the world whatsoever is of God. In this realm of England, before Normans, yea before Saxons, there being Christians, the chief pastors of their souls were bishops. This order from about the first establishment of Christian religion, which was publicly begun through the virtuous disposition of King Lucie not fully two hundred years after Christ4, continued till the coming in of the Saxons; by whom Paganism being every where else replanted, only one part of the island, whereinto the ancient Edition: current; Page: [144] natural inhabitants the Britons were driven, retained constantly the faith of Christ, together with the same form of spiritual regiment, which their fathers had before received. Wherefore in the histories of the Church we find very ancient mention made of our own bishops. At the council of Ariminum1, about the year three hundred and fifty-nine, Britain had three of her bishops present. At the arrival of Augustine the monk2, whom Gregory sent hither to reclaim the Saxons from Gentility about six hundred years after Christ, the Britons he found observers still of the selfsame government by bishops over the rest of the clergy; under this form Christianity took root again, where it had been exiled. Under the selfsame form it remained till3 the days of the Norman conqueror. By him and his successors thereunto4 sworn, it hath from that time till now by the space of five hundred years more been upheld.

O nation utterly without knowledge, without sense! We are not through error of mind deceived, but some wicked thing hath undoubtedly bewitched us, if we forsake that government, the use whereof universal experience hath for so many years approved, and betake ourselves unto a regiment neither appointed of God himself, as they who favour it pretend, nor till yesterday ever heard of among men. By the Jews Festus5 was much complained of, as being a governor Edition: current; Page: [145] marvellous corrupt, and almost intolerable:BOOK VII. Ch. ii. 1. such notwithstanding were they who came after him, that men which thought the public condition most afflicted under Festus, began to wish they had him again, and to esteem him a ruler commendable. Great things are hoped for at the hands of these new presidents, whom reformation would bring in: notwithstanding the time may come, when bishops whose regiment doth now seem a yoke so heavy to bear, will be longed for again even by them that are the readiest to have it taken off their necks.

But in the hands of Divine Providence we leave the ordering of all such events, and come now to the question itself which is raised concerning bishops. For the better understanding whereof we must beforehand set down what is meant, when in this question we name a bishop.

What a Bishop is, what his name doth import, and what doth belong to his office as he is a Bishop.II. For whatsoever we bring from antiquity, by way of defence in this cause of bishops, it is cast off as impertinent matter, all is wiped away with an odd kind of shifting answer, “That the bishops which now are, be not like unto them which were.” We therefore beseech all indifferent judges to weigh sincerely with themselves how the case doth stand. If it should be at this day a controversy whether kingly regiment were lawful or no, peradventure in defence thereof, the long continuance which it hath had sithence the first beginning might be alleged; mention perhaps might be made what kings there were of old even in Abraham’s time, what sovereign princes both before and after. Suppose that herein some man purposely bending his wit against sovereignty, should think to elude all such allegations by making ample discovery through a number of particularities, wherein the kings that are do differ from those that have been, and should therefore in the end conclude, that such ancient examples are no convenient proofs of that royalty which is now in use. Surely for decision of truth in this case there were no remedy, but only to shew the nature of sovereignty, to sever it from accidental properties, make it clear that ancient and present regality are one and the same in substance, how great odds soever otherwise may seem to be between them. In like manner, whereas a question of late hath grown, whether ecclesiastical regiment by bishops be lawful in the Church of Edition: current; Page: [146] Christ or no:BOOK VII. Ch. ii. 2. in which question, they that hold the negative, being pressed with that general received order, according whereunto the most renowned lights of the Christian world have governed the same in every age as bishops; seeing their manner is to reply, that such bishops as those ancient were, ours are not; there is no remedy but to shew, that to be a bishop is now the selfsame thing which it hath been; that one definition agreeth fully and truly as well to those elder, as to these latter bishops. Sundry dissimilitudes we grant there are, which notwithstanding are not such that they cause any equivocation in the name, whereby we should think a bishop in those times to have had a clean other definition than doth rightly agree unto bishops as they are now. Many things there are in the state of bishops, which the times have changed; many a parsonage at this day is larger than some ancient bishoprics were; many an ancient bishop poorer than at this day sundry under them in degree. The simple hereupon lacking judgment and knowledge to discern between the nature of things which changeth not, and these outward variable accidents, are made believe that a bishop heretofore and now are things in their very nature so distinct that they cannot be judged the same. Yet to men that have any part of skill, what more evident and plain in bishops, than that augmentation or diminution in their precincts, allowances, privileges, and such like, do make a difference indeed, but no essential difference between one bishop and another? As for those things in regard whereof we use properly to term them bishops, those things whereby they essentially differ from other pastors, those things which the natural definition of a bishop must contain; what one of them is there more or less appliable unto bishops now than of old?

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]The name Bishop hath been borrowed from the Grecians1, with whom it signifieth one which hath principal charge to guide and oversee others. The same word in ecclesiastical Edition: current; Page: [147] writings being applied unto church governors, at the first unto all and not unto the chiefest only1, grew in short time peculiar and proper to signify such episcopal authority alone, as the chiefest governors exercised over the rest. For with all names this is usual, that inasmuch as they are not given till the things whereunto they are given have been sometime first observed, therefore generally2 things are ancienter than the names whereby they are called.

Again, sith the first things that grow into general observation, and do thereby give men occasion to find names for them, are those which being in many subjects, are thereby the easier, the oftener, and the more universally noted; it followeth that names imposed to signify common qualities or operations are ancienter, than is the restraint of those names, to note an excellency of such qualities and operations in some one or few amongst others. For example, the name disciple being invented to signify generally a learner, it cannot choose but in that signification be more ancient than when it signifieth as it were by a kind of appropriation, those learners who being taught of Christ3 were in that respect termed disciples by an excellency. The like is to be seen in the name Apostle, the use whereof to signify a messenger must needs be more ancient than that use which restraineth it unto messengers sent concerning evangelical affairs; yea this use more ancient than that whereby the same word is yet restrained further to signify only those whom our Saviour himself immediately did send. After the same manner the title or name of a Bishop having been used of old to signify both an ecclesiastical overseer in general, and more particularly also a principal ecclesiastical overseer; it followeth, that this latter restrained signification is not so ancient as the former, being more common4. Yet because the things themselves are always ancienter than their names; therefore that thing which the restrained use of the word doth import, Edition: current; Page: [148] is likewise ancienter than the restraint of the word is,BOOK VII. Ch. ii. 3. and consequently that power of chief ecclesiastical overseers, which the term of a bishop importeth, was before the restrained use of the name which doth import it. Wherefore a lame and an impotent1 kind of reasoning it is, when men go about to prove that in the Apostles’ times there was no such thing as the restrained name of a bishop doth now signify, because in their writings there is found no restraint of that name, but only a general use whereby it reacheth unto all spiritual governors and overseers.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]But to let go the name, and come to the very nature of that thing which is thereby signified. In all kinds of regiment whether ecclesiastical or civil, as there are sundry operations public, so likewise great inequality there is in the same operations, some being of principal respect, and therefore not fit to be dealt in by every one to whom public actions, and those of good importance, are notwithstanding well and fitly enough committed. From hence have grown those different degrees of magistrates or public persons, even ecclesiastical as well as civil. Amongst ecclesiastical persons therefore bishops being chief ones, a bishop’s function must be defined by that wherein his chiefty consisteth.

A Bishop is a minister of God, unto whom with permanent continuance there is given not only power of administering the Word and Sacraments, which power other Presbyters have; but also a further power to ordain ecclesiastical persons, and a power of chiefty in government over Presbyters as well as Laymen, a power to be by way of jurisdiction a Pastor even to Pastors themselves. So that this office, as he is a Presbyter or Pastor, consisteth in those things which are common unto him with other pastors, as in ministering the Word and Sacraments: but those things incident unto his office, which do properly make him a Bishop, cannot be common unto him with other Pastors.

Now even as pastors, so likewise bishops being principal pastors, are either at large or else with restraint: at large, when the subject of their regiment is indefinite, and not tied Edition: current; Page: [149] to any certain place;BOOK VII. Ch. iii. 1. bishops with restraint are they whose regiment over the Church is contained within some definite, local compass, beyond which compass their jurisdiction reacheth not. Such therefore we always mean when we speak of that regiment by bishops which we hold a thing most lawful, divine and holy in the Church of Christ.

In Bishops two things traduced; of which two the one their authority; and in it the first thing condemned, their superiority over other ministers: what kind of superiority in ministers it is which the one part holdeth and the other denieth lawful.III. In our present regiment by bishops two things there are complained of, the one their great authority, and the other their great honour. Touching the authority of our bishops, the first thing which therein displeaseth their adversaries, is their superiority which bishops have over other ministers. They which cannot brook the superiority which bishops have, do notwithstanding themselves admit that some kind of difference and inequality there may be lawfully amongst ministers. Inequality as touching gifts and graces they grant, because this is so plain that no mist in the world can be cast before men’s eyes so thick, but that they needs must discern through it, that one minister of the gospel may be more learneder, holier, and wiser, better able to instruct, more apt to rule and guide them than another: unless thus much were confessed, those men should lose their fame and glory whom they themselves do entitle the lights and grand worthies of this present age. Again, a priority of order they deny not but that there may be, yea such a priority as maketh one man amongst many a principal actor in those things whereunto sundry of them must necessarily concur, so that the same be admitted only during the time of such actions and no longer; that is to say, just so much superiority, and neither more nor less may be liked of, than it hath pleased them in their own kind of regiment to set down. The inequality which they complain of is, “That one minister of the word and sacraments should have a permanent superiority above another, or in any sort a superiority of power mandatory, judicial, and coercive over other ministers.” By us on the contrary side, “inequality, even such inequality as unto bishops being ministers of the word and sacraments granteth a superiority permanent above ministers, yea a permanent superiority of power mandatory, judicial and coercive over them,” is maintained a thing allowable, lawful and good.

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BOOK VII. Ch. iii. 2.For superiority of power may be either above them or upon them, in regard of whom it is termed superiority. One pastor hath superiority of power above another, when either some are authorized to do things worthier than are permitted unto all, [or] some are preferred to be principal agents, the rest agents with dependency and subordination. The former of these two kinds of superiority is such as the high-priest had above other priests of the law, in being appointed to enter once a year the holy place, which the rest of the priests might not do. The latter superiority, such as presidents have in those actions which are done by others with them, they nevertheless being principal and chief therein.

One pastor hath superiority of power, not only above but upon another, when some are subject unto others’ commandment and judicial controlment by virtue of public jurisdiction.

Superiority in this last kind is utterly denied to be allowable; in the rest it is only denied that the lasting continuance and settled permanency thereof is lawful. So that if we prove at all the lawfulness of superiority in this last kind, where the same is simply denied, and of permanent superiority in the rest where some kind of superiority is granted, but with restraint to the term and continuance of certain actions, with which the same must, as they say, expire and cease; if we can shew these two things maintainable, we bear up sufficiently that which the adverse party endeavoureth to overthrow. Our desire therefore is, that this issue may be strictly observed, and those things accordingly judged of, which we are to allege. This we boldly therefore set down as a most infallible truth, “That the Church of Christ is at this day lawfully, and so hath been sithence the first beginning, governed by Bishops, having permanent superiority, and ruling power over other ministers of the word and sacraments.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]For the plainer explication whereof, let us briefly declare first, the birth and original of the same power, whence and by what occasion it grew. Secondly, what manner of power antiquity doth witness bishops to have had more than presbyters which were no bishops. Thirdly, after what sort bishops together with presbyters have used to govern the Edition: current; Page: [151] churches under them,BOOK VII. Ch. iv. 1, 2. according to the like testimonial evidence of antiquity. Fourthly, how far the same episcopal power hath usually extended, unto what number of persons it hath reached, what bounds and limits of place it hath had. This done, we may afterwards descend unto those by whom the same either hath been heretofore, or is at this present hour gainsaid.

From whence it hath grown that the Church is governed by Bishops.IV. The first Bishops in the Church of Christ were his blessed Apostles; for the office whereunto Matthias was chosen the sacred history doth term ἐπισκοπὴν, an episcopal office. Which being spoken expressly of one, agreeth no less unto them all than unto him. For which cause St. Cyprian1 speaking generally of them all doth call them Bishops. They which were termed Apostles, as being sent of Christ to publish his gospel throughout the world, and were named likewise Bishops, in that the care of government was also committed unto them, did no less perform the offices of their episcopal authority by governing, than of their apostolical by teaching. The word ἐπισκοπὴ, expressing that part of their office which did consist in regiment, proveth not (I grant) their chiefty in regiment over others, because as then that name was common unto the function of their inferiors, and not peculiar unto theirs. But the history of their actions sheweth plainly enough how the thing itself which that name appropriated importeth, that is to say, even such spiritual chiefty as we have already defined to be properly episcopal, was in the holy Apostles of Christ. Bishops therefore they were at large.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]But was it lawful for any of them to be a bishop with restraint? True it is their charge was indefinite; yet so, that in case they did all whether severally or jointly discharge the office of proclaiming every where the gospel and of guiding the Church of Christ, none of them casting off his part in their burden2 which was laid upon them, there doth appear no impediment but that they having received their common charge indefinitely might in the execution thereof notwithstanding Edition: current; Page: [152] restrain themselves, or at leastwise be restrained by the after commandment of the Spirit,BOOK VII. Ch. iv. 2. without contradiction or repugnancy unto that charge more indefinite and general before given them: especially if it seemed at any time requisite, and for the greater good of the Church, that they should in such sort tie themselves unto some special part of the flock of Jesus Christ, guiding the same in several as bishops. For first, notwithstanding our Saviour’s commandment unto them all to go and preach unto all nations; yet some restraint we see there was made, when by agreement between Paul and Peter1, moved with those effects of their labours which the providence of God brought forth, the one betook himself unto the Gentiles, the other unto the Jews, for the exercise of that office of every where preaching. A further restraint of their apostolic labours as yet there was also made, when they divided themselves into several parts of the world; John2 for his charge taking Asia, and so the residue other quarters to labour in. If nevertheless it seem very hard that we should admit a restraint so particular, as after that general charge received to make any Apostle notwithstanding the bishop of some one church; what think we of the bishop of Jerusalem3, James, whose consecration unto that mother see Edition: current; Page: [153] of the world,BOOK VII. Ch. iv. 3. because it was not meet that it should at any time be left void of some Apostle, doth seem to have been the very cause of St. Paul’s miraculous vocation, to make up the number of the twelve again, for the gathering of nations abroad, even as the martyrdom of the other James, the reason why Barnabas in his stead1 was called.

Finally, Apostles, whether they did settle in any one certain place, as James, or else did otherwise, as the Apostle Paul, episcopal authority either at large or with restraint they had and exercised. Their episcopal power they sometimes gave unto others to exercise as agents only in their stead, and as it were by commission from them. Thus Titus2, and thus Timothy, at the first, though afterwards endued with apostolical power of their own3.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]For in process of time the Apostles gave episcopal authority, and that to continue always with them which had it. “We are able to number up them,” saith Irenæus4, “who by the Apostles were made bishops.” In Rome he affirmeth that the Apostles themselves made Linus the first bishop5. Again of Polycarp he saith likewise6, that the Apostles made him bishop of the church of Smyrna. Of Antioch they made Evodius bishop, as Ignatius witnesseth7, exhorting that church to tread in his holy steps, and to follow his virtuous example.

The Apostles therefore were the first which had such authority, and all others who have it after them in orderly sort are their lawful successors, whether they succeed in any particular church, where before them some Apostle hath been Edition: current; Page: [154] seated,BOOK VII. Ch. iv. 4. as Simon succeeded James in Jerusalem; or else be otherwise endued with the same kind of bishoply power, although it be not where any Apostle before hath been. For to succeed them, is after them to have that episcopal kind of power which was first given to them. “All bishops are,” saith Jerome1, “the Apostles’ successors.” In like sort Cyprian2 doth term bishops, “Præpositos qui Apostolis vicaria ordinatione succedunt.” From hence it may haply seem to have grown, that they whom we now call Bishops3 were usually termed at the first Apostles, and so did carry their very names in whose rooms of spiritual authority they succeeded.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Such as deny Apostles to have any successors4 at all in the office of their apostleship, may hold that opinion without contradiction to this of ours, if they well explain themselves in declaring what truly and properly apostleship is. In some things every presbyter, in some things only bishops, in some things neither the one nor the other are the Apostles’ successors. The Apostles were sent5 as special chosen eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ, from whom immediately they received their whole embassage, and their commission to be the principal first founders of an house of God, consisting as well of Gentiles as of Jews. In this there are not after them any other like unto them; and yet the Apostles have now their successors upon earth, their true successors6, if not in the largeness, Edition: current; Page: [155] surely in the kind of that episcopal function,BOOK VII. Ch. v. 1. whereby they had power to sit as spiritual ordinary judges, both over laity and over clergy, where churches Christian were established.

The time and cause of instituting everywhere Bishops with restraint.V. The Apostles of our Lord did according unto those directions which were given them from above, erect churches in all such cities as received the word of truth, the gospel of God. All churches by them erected received from them the same faith, the same sacraments, the same form of public regiment. The form of regiment by them established at first was, that the laity or people should be subject unto a college of ecclesiastical persons, which were in every such city appointed for that purpose. These in their writings they term sometime presbyters, sometime bishops. To take one church out of a number for a pattern what the rest were; the presbyters of Ephesus, as it is in the history1 of their departure from the Apostle Paul at Miletum, are said to have wept abundantly all, which speech doth shew them to have been many. And by the Apostle’s exhortation it may appear that they had not each his several flock to feed, but were in common appointed to feed that one flock, the church of Ephesus; for which cause the phrase of his speech is this2, Attendite gregi, “Look all to that one flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops.” These persons ecclesiastical being termed as then, presbyters and bishops both, were all subject unto Paul as to an higher governor appointed of God to be over them3.

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BOOK VII. Ch. v. 2.Edition: 1888; Page: [2]But forasmuch as the Apostles could not themselves be present in all churches, and as the Apostle St. Paul foretold the presbyters of the Ephesians1 that there would “rise up from amongst their ownselves, men speaking perverse things to draw disciples after them;” there did grow in short time amongst the governors of each church those emulations, strifes, and contentions, whereof there could be no sufficient remedy provided, except according unto the order of Jerusalem already begun, some one were endued with episcopal authority over the rest, which one being resident might keep them in order, and have preeminence or principality in those things wherein the equality of many agents was the cause of disorder and trouble. This one president or governor amongst the rest had his known authority established a long time before that settled difference of name and title took place, whereby such alone were named bishops. And therefore in the book of St. John’s Revelation2 we find that they are entitled angels.

It will perhaps be answered, that the angels of those churches were only in every church a minister of the word and sacraments. But then we ask, is it probable that in every of these churches, even in Ephesus itself, where many such ministers were long before, as hath been proved, there was but one such when John directed his speech to the angel of that church? If there were many, surely St. John in naming but only one of them an angel, did behold in that one somewhat above the rest.

Nor was this order peculiar unto some few churches, but the whole world universally became subject thereunto; insomuch as they did not account it to be a church which was not subject unto a bishop. It was the general received persuasion of the ancient Christian world, that Ecclesia est in Episcopo3, “the outward being of a church consisteth in the having of a bishop.” That where colleges of presbyters were, there was at the first equality amongst them, St. Jerome Edition: current; Page: [157] thinketh it a matter clear1;BOOK VII. Ch. v. 3. but when the rest were thus equal, so that no one of them could command any other as inferior unto him, they all were controllable by the Apostles, who had that episcopal authority abiding at the first in themselves, which they afterwards derived unto others.

The cause wherefore they under themselves appointed such bishops as were not every where at the first, is said to have been those strifes and contentions, for remedy whereof, whether the Apostles alone did conclude of such a regiment, or else they together with the whole Church judging it a fit and a needful policy did agree to receive it for a custom; no doubt but being established by them on whom the Holy Ghost was poured in so abundant measure for the ordering of Christ’s Church, it had either divine appointment beforehand, or divine approbation afterwards, and is in that respect to be acknowledged the ordinance of God, no less than that ancient Jewish regiment, whereof though Jethro were the deviser2, yet after that God had allowed it, all men were subject unto it, as to the polity of God, and not of Jethro.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]That so the ancient Fathers did think of episcopal regiment; that they held this order as a thing received from the blessed Apostles themselves, and authorized even from heaven, we may perhaps more easily prove, than obtain that they all shall grant it who see it proved. St. Augustine3 setteth it down for a principle, that whatsoever positive order the whole Church every where doth observe, the same it must needs have received from the very Apostles themselves, unless perhaps some general council were the authors of it. And he saw that the ruling superiority of bishops was a thing universally established, not by the force of any council (for councils do all presuppose bishops, nor can there any council be named so ancient, either general, or as much as provincial, sithence the Apostles’ own times, but we can shew that bishops had their authority before it, and not from it). Wherefore St. Augustine knowing this, could not choose but reverence the Edition: current; Page: [158] authority of bishops, as a thing to him apparently and most clearly apostolical.BOOK VII. Ch. v. 4, 5.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]But it will be perhaps objected that regiment by bishops was not so universal nor ancient as we pretend; and that an argument hereof may be Jerome’s own testimony, who, living at the very same time with St. Augustine, noted this kind of regiment as being no where ancient, saving only in Alexandria; his words are these1: “It was for a remedy of schism that one was afterwards chosen to be placed above the rest; lest every man’s pulling unto himself should rend asunder the Church of Christ. For (that which also may serve for an argument or token hereof), at Alexandria, from Mark the Evangelist, unto Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters always chose one of themselves, whom they placed in higher degree, and gave unto him the title of bishop.” Now St. Jerome2 they say would never have picked out that one church from amongst so many, and have noted that in it there had been bishops from the time that St. Mark lived, if so be the selfsame order were of like antiquity every where; his words therefore must be thus scholied: in the church of Alexandria, presbyters indeed had even from the time of St. Mark the Evangelist always a bishop to rule over them, for a remedy against divisions, factions, and schisms. Not so in other churches, neither in that very church any longer than usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium, “till Heraclas and his successor Dionysius were bishops.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]But this construction doth bereave the words construed, partly of wit, and partly of truth; it maketh them both absurd and false. For, if the meaning be that episcopal government in that church was then expired, it must have expired with the end of some one, and not of two several bishops’ days, unless perhaps it fell sick under Heraclas, and with Dionysius gave up the ghost.

Besides, it is clearly untrue that the presbyters of that church did then cease to be under a bishop. Who doth not Edition: current; Page: [159] know that after Dionysius,BOOK VII. Ch. v. 6. Maximus was bishop of Alexandria1, after him Theonas2, after him Peter, after him Achillas3, after him Alexander: of whom Socrates4 in this sort writeth: “it fortuned on a certain time that this Alexander in the presence of the presbyters which were under him, and of the rest of the clergy there, discoursed somewhat curiously and subtilly of the holy Trinity, bringing high philosophical proofs, that there is in the Trinity an Unity. Whereupon Arius, one of the presbyters which were placed in that degree under Alexander, opposed eagerly himself against those things which were uttered by the bishop.” So that thus long bishops continued even in the church of Alexandria. Nor did their regiment here cease, but these also had others their successors till St. Jerome’s own time, who living long after Heraclas and Dionysius had ended their days, did not yet live himself to see the presbyters of Alexandria otherwise than subject unto a bishop. So that we cannot with any truth so interpret his words as to mean, that in the church of Alexandria there had been bishops endued with superiority over presbyters from St. Mark’s time only till the time of Heraclas and of Dionysius.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Wherefore that St. Jerome may receive a more probable interpretation than this, we answer, that generally of regiment by bishops, and what term of continuance it had in the church of Alexandria, it was no part of his mind to speak, but to note one only circumstance belonging to the manner of their election, which circumstance is, that in Alexandria they use to choose their bishops altogether out of the college of their own presbyters, and neither from abroad nor out of any other inferior order of the clergy; whereas oftentimes elsewhere the use was to choose as well from abroad as at home5, as well inferior unto presbyters as presbyters when they saw occasion. This custom, Edition: current; Page: [160] saith he, the Church of Alexandria did always keep, till in Heraclas and Dionysius they began to do otherwise. These two were the very first not chosen out of their college of presbyters.

The drift and purpose of St. Jerome’s speech doth plainly shew what his meaning was: for whereas some did over extol the office of the deacon in the church of Rome, where deacons being grown great, through wealth, challenged place above presbyters; St. Jerome to abate this insolency, writing to Evagrius diminisheth by all means the deacon’s estimation, and lifteth up presbyters as far as possible the truth might bear1. “An attendant,” saith he, “upon tables and widows proudly to exalt himself above them at whose prayers is made the Body and Blood of Christ; above them, between whom and bishops there was at the first for a time no difference neither in authority nor in title. And whereas afterward schisms and contentions made it necessary that some one should be placed over them, by which occasion the title of bishop became proper unto that one, yet was that one chosen out of the presbyters, as being the chiefest, the highest, the worthiest degree of the clergy, and not out of deacons: in which consideration also it seemeth that in Edition: current; Page: [161] Alexandria even from St. Mark to Heraclas and Dionysius bishops there, the presbyters evermore have chosen one of themselves, and not a deacon at any time, to be their bishop. Nor let any man think that Christ hath one church in Rome and another in the rest of the world; that in Rome he alloweth deacons to be honoured above presbyters, and otherwise will have them to be in the next degree to the bishop. If it be deemed that abroad where bishops are poorer, the presbyters under them may be the next unto them in honour, but at Rome where the bishop hath ample revenues, the deacons whose estate is nearest for wealth, may be also for estimation the next unto him: we must know that a bishop in the meanest city is no less a bishop than he who is seated in the greatest; the countenance of a rich and the meanness of a poor estate doth make no odds between bishops: and therefore, if a presbyter at Eugubium be the next in degree to a bishop, surely, even at Rome it ought in reason to be so likewise, and not a deacon for wealth’s sake only to be above, who by order should be, and elsewhere is, underneath a presbyter. But ye will say that according to the custom of Rome a deacon presenteth unto the bishop him which standeth to be ordained presbyter, and upon the deacon’s testimony given concerning his fitness, he receiveth at the Bishop’s hands ordination: so that in Rome the deacon having this special preeminence, the presbyter ought there to give place unto him. Wherefore is the custom of one city brought against the practice of the whole world? The paucity of deacons in the church of Rome hath gotten the [them?] credit; as unto presbyters their multitude hath been cause of contempt: howbeit even in the Church of Rome, presbyters sit, and deacons stand; an argument as strong against the superiority of deacons, as the fore-alleged reason doth seem for it. Besides, whosoever is promoted must needs be raised from a lower degree to an higher; wherefore either let him which is presbyter be made a deacon, that so the deacon may appear to be the greater; or if of deacons presbyters be made, let them know themselves to be in regard of deacons, though below in gain, yet above in office. And to the end we may understand that those apostolical orders are taken out of the Old Testament, what Aaron Edition: current; Page: [162] and his sons and the Levites were in the temple,BOOK VII. Ch. v. 7. the same in the Church may bishops and presbyters and deacons challenge unto themselves.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]This is the very drift and substance, this the true construction and sense of St. Jerome’s whole discourse in that epistle: which I have therefore endeavoured the more at large to explain, because no one thing is less effectual or more usual to be alleged against the ancient authority of bishops; concerning whose government St. Jerome’s own words otherwhere are sufficient to shew his opinion, that this order was not only in Alexandria so ancient, but even as ancient in other churches. We have before alleged his testimony touching James the bishop of Jerusalem. As for bishops in other churches, on the first of the Epistle to Titus thus he speaketh1, “Till through instinct of the Devil there grew in the Church factions, and among the people it began to be professed, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas2, churches were governed by the common advice Edition: current; Page: [163] of presbyters;BOOK VII. Ch. v. 8. but when every one began to reckon those whom himself had baptized his own and not Christ’s, it was decreed in the whole world that one chosen out of the presbyters should be placed above the rest, to whom all care of the Church should belong, and so the seeds of schism be removed.” If it be so, that by St. Jerome’s own confession this order was not then begun when people in the apostles’ absence began to be divided into factions by their teachers, and to rehearse, “I am of Paul,” but that even at the very first appointment thereof [it] was agreed upon and received throughout the world; how shall a man be persuaded that the same Jerome thought it so ancient no where saving in Alexandria, one only church of the whole world?

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]A sentence there is indeed of St. Jerome’s, which being not thoroughly considered and weighed may cause his meaning so to be taken, as if he judged episcopal regiment to have been the Church’s invention long after, and not the apostles’ own institution; as namely, when he admonisheth bishops in this manner1: “As therefore presbyters do know that the custom of the Church makes them subject to the Bishop which is set over them; so let bishops know2 that custom, rather than the truth of any ordinance of the Lord’s maketh Edition: current; Page: [164] them greater than the rest, and that with common advice they ought to govern the Church.”

To clear the sense of these words therefore, as we have done already the former: laws which the Church from the beginning universally hath observed were some delivered by Christ himself, with a charge to keep them to the world’s end, as the law of baptizing and administering the holy eucharist; some brought in afterwards by the apostles, yet not without the special direction of the Holy Ghost, as occasions did arise. Of this sort are those apostolical orders and laws whereby deacons, widows, virgins, were first appointed in the Church. *[This answer to St. Jerome seemeth dangerous1; I have qualified it as I may by addition of some words of restraint: yet I satisfy not myself, in my judgment it would be altered.] “Now whereas Jerome doth term the government of bishops by restraint an apostolical tradition, acknowledging thereby the same to have been of the apostles’ own institution, it may be demanded how these two will stand together; namely, that the apostles by divine instinct should be, as Jerome confesseth, the authors of that regiment; and yet the custom of the Church be accounted (for so by Jerome it may seem to be in this place accounted) the chiefest prop that upholdeth the same? To this we answer, That forasmuch as the whole body of the Church hath power to alter, with general consent and upon necessary occasions, even the positive laws of the apostles, if there be no command to the contrary, and it manifestly appears to her, that change of times have clearly taken away the very reasons of God’s first institution; as by sundry examples may be most clearly proved: what laws the universal Church might Edition: current; Page: [165] change, and doth not, if they have long continued without any alteration, it seemeth that St. Jerome ascribeth the continuance of such positive laws, though instituted by God himself, to the judgment of the Church. For they which might abrogate a law and do not, are properly said to uphold, to establish it, and to give it being. The regiment therefore whereof Jerome speaketh being positive, and consequently not absolutely necessary, but of a changeable nature, because there is no divine voice which in express words forbiddeth it to be changed; he might imagine both that it came by the apostles by very divine appointment at the first, and notwithstanding be, after a sort, said to stand in force, rather by the custom of the Church, choosing to continue in it, than by the necessary constraint of any commandment from the word, requiring perpetual continuance thereof.” So that St. Jerome’s admonition is reasonable, sensible, and plain, being contrived to this effect: The ruling superiority of one bishop over many presbyters in each church, is an order descended from Christ to the Apostles, who were themselves bishops at large, and from the Apostles to those whom they in their steads appointed bishops over particular countries and cities; and even from those ancient times, universally established, thus many years it hath continued throughout the world; for which cause presbyters must not grudge to continue subject unto their bishops, unless they will proudly oppose themselves against that which God himself ordained by his apostles, and the whole Church of Christ approveth and judgeth most convenient. On the other side bishops, albeit they may avouch with conformity of truth that their authority hath thus descended even from the very apostles themselves, yet the absolute and everlasting continuance of it they cannot say that any commandment of the Lord doth enjoin; and therefore must acknowledge that the Church hath power by universal consent upon urgent cause to take it away, if thereunto she be constrained through the proud, tyrannical, and unreformable dealings of her bishops, whose regiment she hath thus long delighted in, because she hath found it good and requisite to be so governed. Wherefore lest bishops forget themselves, as if none on earth had authority to touch their states, let them continually bear in mind, that it is Edition: current; Page: [166] rather the force of custom,BOOK VII. Ch. v. 9. whereby the Church having so long found it good to continue under the regiment of her virtuous bishops, doth still uphold, maintain, and honour them in that respect, than that any such true and heavenly law can be shewed, by the evidence whereof it may of a truth appear that the Lord himself hath appointed presbyters for ever to be under the regiment of bishops, in what sort soever they behave themselves. Let this consideration be a bridle unto them, let it teach them not to disdain the advice of their presbyters, but to use their authority with so much the greater humility and moderation, as a sword which the Church hath power to take from them. In all this there is no let why St. Jerome might not think the authors of episcopal regiment to have been the very blessed apostles themselves, directed therein by the special motion of the Holy Ghost, which the ancients all before and besides him and himself also elsewhere being known to hold, we are not without better evidence than this to think him in judgment divided both from himself and from them1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Another argument that the regiment of churches by one Bishop over many presbyters hath been always held apostolical, may be this. We find that throughout all those cities where the apostles did plant Christianity, the history of times hath noted succession of pastors in the seat of one, not of many (there being in every such Church evermore many pastors), and the first one in every rank of succession we find to have been, if not some Apostle, yet some Apostle’s disciple. By Epiphanius2 the bishops of Jerusalem are reckoned down from James to Hilarion then Bishop. Of them which boasted that they held the same things which they received of such as lived with the apostles themselves, Tertullian speaketh after this sort3: “Let them therefore Edition: current; Page: [167] shew the beginnings of their churches,BOOK VII. Ch. v. 10. let them recite their bishops one by one, each in such sort succeeding other, that the first bishop of them have had for his author and predecessor some Apostle, or at least some apostolical person who persevered with the apostles. For so apostolical churches are wont to bring forth the evidence of their estates. So doth the Church of Smyrna, having Polycarp whom John did consecrate.” Catalogues of bishops in a number of other churches, *(bishops, and succeeding one another) from the very apostles’ times, are by Eusebius and Socrates collected; whereby it appeareth so clear, as nothing in the world more, that under them and by their appointment this order began, which maketh many presbyters subject unto the regiment of some one bishop. For as in Rome while the civil ordering of the commonwealth was jointly and equally in the hands of two consuls, historical records concerning them did evermore mention them both, and note which two as colleagues succeeded from time to time; so there is no doubt but ecclesiastical antiquity had done the very like, had not one pastor’s place and calling been always so eminent above the rest in the same church.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]And what need we to seek far for proofs that the apostles, who began this order of regiment of bishops, did it not but by divine instinct, when without such direction things of far less weight and moment they attempted not? Paul and Barnabas did not open their mouths to the Gentiles, till the Spirit had said1, “Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have sent them.” The eunuch by Philip2 was neither baptized nor instructed before the angel of God was sent to give him notice that so it pleased the Most High. In Asia3, Paul and the rest were silent, because the Spirit forbade them to speak. When they intended to have seen Bithynia4 they stayed their journey, the Spirit not giving them leave to go. Before Timothy5 was employed in those episcopal affairs of the Church, about which the Apostle St. Paul used him, the Holy Ghost gave special charge for his ordination, and prophetical intelligence Edition: current; Page: [168] more than once,BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 1, 2. what success the same would have. And shall we think that James was made bishop of Jerusalem, Evodius bishop of the church of Antioch, the Angels in the churches of Asia bishops, that bishops every where were appointed to take away factions, contentions, and schisms, without some like divine instigation and direction of the Holy Ghost? Wherefore let us not fear to be herein bold and peremptory, that if any thing in the Church’s government, surely the first institution of bishops was from heaven, was even of God, the Holy Ghost was the author of it1.

What manner of power Bishops from the first beginning have had.VI. “A Bishop,” saith St. Augustine2, “is a Presbyter’s superior:” but the question is now, wherein that superiority did consist. The Bishop’s preeminence we say therefore was twofold. First he excelled in latitude of the power of order, secondly in that kind of power which belongeth unto jurisdiction. Priests in the law had authority and power to do greater things than Levites, the high-priest greater than inferior priests might do; therefore Levites were beneath priests, and priests inferior to the high-priest, by reason of the very degree of dignity, and of worthiness in the nature of those functions which they did execute, and not only for that the one had power to command and control the other. In like sort presbyters having a weightier and a worthier charge than deacons had, the deacon was in this sort the presbyter’s inferior; and where we say that a bishop was likewise ever accounted a presbyter’s superior, even according unto his very power of order, we must of necessity declare what principal duties belonging unto that kind of power a bishop might perform, and not a presbyter.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]The custom of the primitive Church in consecrating holy virgins and widows unto the service of God and his Church, is a thing not obscure, but easy to be known, both Edition: current; Page: [169] by that which St. Paul himself1 concerning them hath,BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 3. and by the latter consonant evidence of other men’s2 writings. Now a part of the preeminence which bishops had in their power of order, was that by them only such were consecrated.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Again, the power of ordaining both deacons and presbyters, the power to give the power of order unto others, this also hath been always peculiar unto bishops. It hath not been heard of, that inferior presbyters were ever authorized to ordain. And concerning ordination, so great force and dignity it hath, that whereas presbyters, by such power as they have received for administration of the sacraments, are able only to beget children unto God; bishops having power to ordain, do by virtue thereof create fathers to the people of God, as Epiphanius3 fitly disputeth. There are which hold that between a bishop and a presbyter, touching power of order, there is no difference. The reason of which conceit is, for that they see presbyters no less than bishops authorized to offer up the prayers of the Church, to preach the gospel, to baptize, to administer the holy Eucharist; but they considered not withal as they should, that the presbyter’s authority to do these things is derived from the bishop which doth ordain him thereunto, so that even in those things which are common unto both, yet the power of the one is as it were a certain light borrowed from the others’ lamp. The apostles being bishops at large, ordained every where4 presbyters. Titus and Timothy having received episcopal power, as apostolic ambassadors or legates, the one in Greece5 [Crete], the other in Ephesus6, they both did by virtue thereof likewise ordain throughout all churches deacons and presbyters within the circuits allotted unto them. As for bishops by restraint, their power this way incommunicable unto presbyters which of the ancients do not acknowledge?

Edition: current; Page: [170]

BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 4-6.Edition: 1888; Page: [4]I make not confirmation any part of that power which hath always belonged only unto bishops1, because in some places the custom was that presbyters might also confirm in the absence of a bishop; albeit for the most part none but only bishops were thereof the allowed ministers.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Here it will perhaps be objected that the power of ordination itself was not every where peculiar and proper unto bishops, as may be seen by a council of Carthage2, which sheweth their church’s order to have been, that presbyters should together with the bishop lay hands upon the ordained. But the answer hereunto is easy; for doth it hereupon follow that the power of ordination was not principally and originally in the bishop? Our Saviour hath said unto his Apostles3, “With me ye shall sit and judge the twelve tribes of Israel;” yet we know that to him alone it belongeth to judge the world, and that to him all judgment is given. With us even at this day presbyters are licensed to do as much as that council speaketh of, if any be present. Yet will not any man thereby conclude that in this church others than bishops are allowed to ordain. The association of presbyters is no sufficient proof that the power of ordination is in them; but rather that it never was in them we may hereby understand, for that no man is able to shew either deacon or presbyter ordained by presbyters only, and his ordination accounted lawful in any ancient part of the Church; every where examples being found both of deacons and of presbyters ordained by bishops alone oftentimes, neither ever in that respect thought unsufficient.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Touching that other chiefty, which is of jurisdiction; amongst the Jews he which was highest through the worthiness of peculiar duties incident unto his function in the legal service of God, did bear always in ecclesiastical jurisdiction the chiefest sway. As long as the glory of the temple of God did last, there were in it sundry orders of men consecrated Edition: current; Page: [171] unto the service thereof,BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 7. one sort of them inferior unto another in dignity and degree; the Nathiners subordinate unto the Levites, the Levites unto the Priests, the rest of the priests to those twenty-four which were chief priests, and they all to the High Priest. If any man surmise that the difference between them was only by distinction in the former kind of power, and not in this latter of jurisdiction, are not the words of the law manifest which make Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest chief captain of the Levites1, and overseer of them unto whom the charge of the sanctuary was committed? Again, at the commandment of Aaron and his sons are not the Gersonites themselves required2 to do all their service in the whole charge belonging unto the Gersonites, being inferior priests as Aaron and his sons were high priests? Did not Jehoshaphat3 appoint Amarias the priest to be chief over them who were judges for the cause of the Lord in Jerusalem? “Priests,” saith Josephus4, “worship God continually, and the eldest of the stock are governors over the rest. He doth sacrifice unto God before others, he hath care of the laws, judgeth controversies, correcteth offenders, and whosoever obeyeth him not is convict of impiety against God.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]But unto this they answer, that the reason thereof was because the high priest did prefigure Christ5, and represent to the people that chiefty of our Saviour which was to come; so that Christ being now come there is no cause why such preeminence should be given unto any one. Which fancy pleaseth so well the humour of all sorts of rebellious spirits, that they all seek to shroud themselves under it. Tell the Anabaptist, which holdeth the use of the sword unlawful for a Christian man, that God himself did allow his people to Edition: current; Page: [172] make wars1; they have their answer round and ready, “Those ancient wars were figures of the spiritual wars of Christ.” Tell the Barrowist what sway David and others the kings of Israel did bear in the ordering of spiritual affairs, the same answer again serveth, namely, “That David and the rest of the kings of Israel prefigured Christ.” Tell the Martinist of the high priest’s great authority and jurisdiction amongst the Jews, what other thing doth serve his turn but the selfsame shift; “By the power of the high priest the universal supreme authority of our Lord Jesus Christ was shadowed.”

The thing is true, that indeed high priests were figures of Christ, yet this was in things belonging unto their power of order; they figured Christ by entering into the holy place, by offering for the sins of all the people once a year, and by other the like duties: but that to govern and to maintain order amongst those that were subject to them, is an office figurative and abrogated by Christ’s coming in the ministry; that their exercise of jurisdiction was figurative, yea figurative in such sort, that it had no other cause of being instituted, but only to serve as a representation of somewhat to come, and that herein the Church of Christ ought not to follow them; this article is such as must be confirmed, if any way, by miracle, otherwise it will hardly enter into the heads of reasonable men, why the high priest should more figure Christ in being a Judge than in being whatsoever he might be besides. St. Cyprian2 deemed it no wresting of Scripture Edition: current; Page: [173] to challenge as much for Christian bishops as was given to the high priest among the Jews,BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 8. and to urge the law of Moses as being most effectual to prove it. St. Jerome likewise thought it an argument sufficient to ground the authority of bishops upon1. “To the end,” saith he, “we may understand Apostolical traditions to have been taken from the Old Testament; that which Aaron and his sons and the Levites were in the temple, Bishops and Presbyters and Deacons in the Church may lawfully challenge to themselves.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]In the office of a Bishop Ignatius2 observeth these two functions, ἱερατεύειν καὶ ἄρχειν: concerning the one, such is a [the?] preeminence of a bishop, that he only hath the heavenly mysteries of God committed originally unto him, so that otherwise than by his ordination, and by authority received from him, others besides him are not licensed therein to deal as ordinary ministers of God’s church. And touching the other part of their sacred function, wherein the power of their jurisdiction doth appear, first how the Apostles themselves, and secondly how Titus and Timothy had rule and jurisdiction over presbyters3, no man is ignorant. And had not Christian bishops afterwards the like power? Ignatius bishop of Antioch being ready by blessed martyrdom to end his life, writeth unto his presbyters, the pastors under him, in this sort4: Οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, ποιμάνατε τὸ ἐν ὑμι̑ν ποιμνίον, ἕως ἀναδείξῃ ὁ Θεὸς τὸν μέλλοντα ἄρχειν ὑμω̑ν. Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι. After the death of Fabian bishop of Rome, there growing some trouble about the receiving of such persons into the Church as had fallen away in persecution, and did now repent their fall, the presbyters and deacons of the same church advertised St. Cyprian thereof5, signifying, “That they Edition: current; Page: [174] must of necessity defer to deal in that cause till God did send them a new bishop which might moderate all things.” Much we read of extraordinary fasting usually in the Church. And in this appeareth also somewhat concerning the chiefty of bishops. “The custom is,” saith Tertullian1, “that bishops do appoint when the people shall all fast.” “Yea, it is not a matter left to our own free choice whether bishops shall rule or no, but the will of our Lord and Saviour is,” saith Cyprian2, “that every act of the Church be governed by her bishops.” An argument it is of the bishop’s high preeminence, rule and government over all the rest of the clergy, even that the sword of persecution did strike, especially, always at the bishop as at the head, the rest by reason of their lower estate being more secure, as the selfsame Cyprian noteth; the very manner of whose speech unto his own both deacons and presbyters who remained safe, when himself then bishop was driven into exile, argueth likewise his eminent authority and rule over them. “By these letters,” saith he3, “I both exhort and command that ye whose presence there is not envied at, nor so much beset with dangers, supply my room in doing those things which the exercise of religion doth require.” Unto the same purpose serve most directly those comparisons4, than which nothing is more familiar in the books Edition: current; Page: [175] of the ancient Fathers,BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 9. who as oft as they speak of the several degrees in God’s clergy, if they chance to compare presbyters with Levitical priests of the law, the bishop they compare1 unto Aaron the high priest; if they compare the one with the Apostles, the other they compare (although in a lower proportion) sometime to Christ2, and sometime to God himself, evermore shewing that they placed the bishop in an eminent degree of ruling authority and power above other presbyters. Ignatius3 comparing bishops with deacons, and with such ministers of the word and sacraments as were but presbyters, and had no authority over presbyters; “What is,” saith he, “the bishop, but one which hath all principality and power over all, so far forth as man may have it, being to his power a follower even of God’s own Christ?”

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Mr. Calvin himself, though an enemy unto regiment by bishops, doth notwithstanding confess4, that in old time the ministers which had charge to teach, chose of their company one in every city, to whom they appropriated the title of bishop, lest equality should breed dissension. He added farther, that look, what duty the Roman consuls did execute in proposing matters unto the senate, in asking their opinions, in directing them by advice, admonition, exhortation, in guiding actions by their authority, and in seeing that performed which was with common consent agreed on, the like charge had the bishop in the assembly of other ministers. Thus much Calvin being forced by the evidence of truth to grant, doth Edition: current; Page: [176] yet deny the bishops to have been so in authority at the first as to bear rule over other ministers:BOOK VII. Ch. vi. 10. wherein what rule he doth mean, I know not. But if the bishops were so far in dignity above other ministers, as the consuls of Rome for their year above other senators, it is as much as we require. And undoubtedly if as the consuls of Rome, so the bishops in the Church of Christ had such authority, as both to direct other ministers, and to see that every of them should observe that which their common consent had agreed on, how this could be done by the bishop not bearing rule over them, for mine own part I must acknowledge that my poor conceit is not able to comprehend.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]One objection there is of some force to make against that which we have hitherto endeavoured to prove, if they1 mistake it not who allege it. St. Jerome, comparing other presbyters with him unto whom the name of bishop was then appropriate, asketh2, “What a bishop by virtue of his place and calling may do more than a presbyter, except it be only to ordain?” In like sort Chrysostom having moved a question, wherefore St. Paul should give Timothy precept concerning the quality of bishops, and descend from them to deacons, omitting the order of presbyters between, he maketh thereunto this answer3, “What things he spake concerning bishops, the same are also meet for presbyters, whom bishops seem not to excel in any thing but only in the power of ordination.” Wherefore seeing this doth import no ruling superiority, it follows that bishops were as then no rulers over that part of the clergy of God.

Whereunto we answer, that both St. Jerome and St. Chrysostom Edition: current; Page: [177] had in those their speeches an eye no further than only to that function for which presbyters and bishops were consecrated unto God. Now we know that their consecration had reference to nothing but only that which they did by force and virtue of the power of order, wherein sith bishops received their charge, only by that one degree, to speak of, more ample than presbyters did theirs, it might be well enough said that presbyters were that way authorized to do, in a manner, even as much as bishops could do, if we consider what each of them did by virtue of solemn consecration: for as concerning power of regiment and jurisdiction, it was a thing withal added unto bishops for the necessary use of such certain persons and people, as should be thereunto subject in those particular churches whereof they were bishops, and belonged to them only as bishops of such or such a church; whereas the other kind of power had relation indefinitely unto any of the whole society of Christian men, on whom they should chance to exercise the same, and belonged to them absolutely, as they were bishops wheresoever they lived. St. Jerome’s conclusion thereof is1, “That seeing in the one kind of power there is no greater difference between a presbyter and a bishop, bishops should not because of their preeminence in the other too much lift up themselves above the presbyters under them.” St. Chrysostom’s collection, “That whereas the Apostle doth set down the qualities whereof regard should be had in the consecration of bishops, there was no need to make a several discourse how presbyters ought to be qualified when they are ordained; because there being so little difference in the functions, whereunto the one and the other receive ordination, the same precepts might well serve for both; at leastwise by the virtues required in the greater, what should need in the less might be easily understood. As for the difference of jurisdiction, the truth is, the Apostles yet living, and themselves where they were resident exercising the jurisdiction in their own persons, it was not every where established in bishops.” When the Apostles prescribed those laws, and when Chrysostom thus spake concerning them, it was not by him at all respected, but his eye Edition: current; Page: [178] was the same way with Jerome’s; his cogitation was wholly fixed on that power which by consecration is given to bishops more than to presbyters, and not on that which they have over presbyters by force of their particular accessary jurisdiction.

Wherein if any man suppose that Jerome and Chrysostom knew no difference at all between a presbyter and a bishop, let him weigh but one or two of their sentences. The pride of insolent bishops hath not a sharper enemy than Jerome, for which cause he taketh often occasions most severely to inveigh against them, sometimes for1 shewing disdain and contempt of the clergy under them; sometime for not2 suffering themselves to be told of their faults, and admonished of their duty by inferiors; sometime for not admitting3 their presbyters to teach, if so be themselves were in presence; sometimes for not vouchsafing to use any conference with them, or to take any counsel of them. Howbeit never doth he in such wise bend himself against their disorders, as to deny their rule and authority over presbyters. Of Vigilantius being a presbyter, he thus writeth4: “Miror sanctum episcopum in cujus parochia presbyter esse dicitur, acquiescere furori ejus, et non virga apostolica virgaque ferrea confringere vas inutile:” “I marvel that the holy bishop under whom Vigilantius is said to be a presbyter, doth yield to his fury, and not break that unprofitable vessel with his apostolic and iron rod.” With this agreeth most fitly the grave advice he giveth to Nepotian5: “Be Edition: current; Page: [179] thou subject unto thy bishop, and receive him as the father of thy soul. This also I say, that bishops should know themselves to be priests and not lords; that they ought to honour the clergy as beseemeth the clergy to be honoured, to the end their clergy may yield them the honour which as bishops they ought to have1. That of the orator Domitius is famous: ‘Wherefore should I esteem of thee as of a prince, when thou makest not of me that reckoning which should in reason be made of a senator?’ Let us know the bishop and his presbyters to be the same which Aaron sometime and his sons were.” Finally writing against the heretics which were named Luciferians2, “The very safety of the Church,” saith he, “dependeth on the dignity of the chief priest, to whom unless men grant an exceeding and an eminent power, there will grow in churches even as many schisms as there are persons which have authority.”

Touching Chrysostom, to shew that by him there was also acknowledged a ruling superiority of bishops over presbyters, both then usual, and in no respect unlawful, what need we allege his words and sentences, when the history of his own episcopal actions in that very kind is till this day extant for all men to read that will? For St. Chrysostom of a presbyter in Antioch, grew to be afterwards bishop of Constantinople; and in process of time when the emperor’s heavy displeasure had through the practice of a powerful faction against him effected his banishment, Innocent the bishop of Rome understanding thereof wrote his letters unto the clergy of that Church3, “That no successor ought to be chosen in Chrysostom’s room: nec ejus Clerum alii parere Pontifici, nor his clergy obey any other bishop than him.” A fond kind of speech, if so be there had been as then in bishops no ruling Edition: current; Page: [180] superiority over presbyters.BOOK VII. Ch. vii. 1. When two of Chrysostom’s presbyters1 had joined themselves to the faction of his mortal enemy Theophilus, Patriarch in the Church of Alexandria, the same Theophilus and other bishops which were of his conventicle, having sent those two amongst others to cite Chrysostom their lawful bishop, and to bring him into public judgment, he taketh against this one thing special exception, as being contrary to all order, that those presbyters should come as messengers and call him to judgment, who were a part of that clergy whereof himself was ruler and judge. So that bishops to have had in those times a ruling superiority over presbyters, neither could Jerome nor Chrysostom be ignorant; and therefore hereupon it were superfluous that we should any longer stand.

After what sort Bishops together with presbyters have used to govern the churches which were under them.VII. Touching the next point, how bishops together with presbyters have used to govern the churches which were under them: it is by Zonaras somewhat plainly and at large declared, that the bishop had his seat on high in the church above the residue which were present; that a number of presbyters did always there assist him; and that in the oversight of the people those presbyters were after a sort the bishop’s coadjutors2. The bishops [bishop?] and presbyters who together with him governed the Church, are for the most part by Ignatius jointly mentioned. In the epistle to them of Trallis3, he saith of presbyters that they are σύμβουλοι καὶ συνέδρευται του̑ ἐπισκόπου, “counsellors and assistants of the bishop;” and Edition: current; Page: [181] concludeth in the end, “He that should disobey these were a plain atheist, and an irreligious person, and one that did set Christ himself and his own ordinances at nought.” Which order making presbyters or priests the bishop’s assistants doth not import that they were of equal authority with him, but rather so adjoined that they also were subject, as hath been proved. In the writings of St. Cyprian1 nothing is more usual than to make mention of the college of presbyters subject unto the bishop, although in handling the common affairs of the Church they assisted him. But of all other places which open the ancient order of episcopal presbyters the most clear is that epistle of Cyprian unto Cornelius2, concerning certain Novatian heretics received again upon their conversion into the unity of the Church3. “After that Urbanus and Sidonius, confessors, had come and signified unto our presbyters, that Maximus a confessor and presbyter did together with them desire to return into the Church, it seemed meet to hear from their own mouths and confessions that which by message they had delivered. When they were come, and had been called to account by the presbyters touching those things they had committed, their answer was, that they had been deceived, and did request that such things as there they were charged with might be forgotten. It being brought unto me what was done, I took order that the presbytery might be assembled. There were also present five bishops, that upon settled advice it might be with consent of all determined what should be done about their persons.” Edition: current; Page: [182] Thus far St. Cyprian. Wherein it may be peradventure demanded, whether he and other bishops did thus proceed with advice of their presbyters in all such public affairs of the Church, as being thereunto bound by ecclesiastical canons, or else that they voluntarily so did, because they judged it in discretion as then most convenient. Surely the words of Cyprian are plain, that of his own accord he chose this way of proceeding, “1Unto that,” saith he, “which Donatus, and Fortunatus, and Novatus, and Gordius, our com-presbyters, have written, I could by myself alone make no answer, forasmuch as at the very first entrance into my bishoprick I resolutely determined not to do any thing of mine own private judgment, without your counsel and the people’s consent.” The reason whereof he rendereth in the same epistle, saying2, “When by the grace of God myself shall come unto you,” (for St. Cyprian was now in exile,) “of things which either have been or must be done we will consider, sicut honor mutuus poscit, as the law of courtesy which one doth owe to another of us requireth.” And at this very mark doth St. Jerome evermore aim in telling bishops that presbyters were at the first their equals, that in some churches for a long time no bishop was made but only such as the presbyters did choose out amongst themselves, and therefore no cause why the bishop should disdain to consult with them, and in weighty affairs of the Church to use their advice. Sometime to countenance their own actions, or to repress the boldness of proud and insolent spirits, that which bishops had in themselves sufficient authority and power to have done, notwithstanding they would not do alone, but craved therein the aid and assistance of other bishops, as in the case of those Novatian heretics, before alleged, Cyprian himself did. And in Cyprian we find of others the like practice. Rogatian a bishop, having been used contumeliously by a deacon of his own church, wrote thereof his complaint unto Cyprian and other bishops. Edition: current; Page: [183] In which case their answer was1,BOOK VII. Ch. vii. 2. viii. 1. “That although in his own cause he did of humility rather shew his grievance, than himself take revenge, which by the vigour of his apostolical office and the authority of his chair he might have presently done, without any further delay;” yet if the party should do again as before, their judgments were, “fungaris circa eum potestate honoris tui, et eum vel deponas vel abstineas;”—“use on him that power which the honour of thy place giveth thee, either to depose him or exclude him from access unto holy things.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]The bishop for his assistance and ease had under him, to guide and direct deacons in their charge, his archdeacon, so termed in respect of care over deacons, albeit himself were not deacon but presbyter. For the guidance of presbyters in their function the bishop had likewise under him one of the selfsame order with them, but above them in authority, one whom the ancients termed usually an arch-presbyter2, we at this day name him dean. For most certain truth it is that churches cathedral and the bishops of them are as glasses, wherein the face and very countenance of apostolical antiquity remaineth even as yet to be seen, notwithstanding the alterations which tract of time and the course of the world hath brought. For defence and maintenance of them we are most earnestly bound to strive, even as the Jews were for their temple and the high priest of God therein: the overthrow and ruin of the one, if ever the sacrilegious avarice of Atheists should prevail so far, which God of his infinite mercy forbid, ought no otherwise to move us than the people of God were moved, when having beheld the sack and combustion of his sanctuary in most lamentable manner flaming before their eyes, they uttered from the bottom of their grieved spirits those voices of doleful supplication3, “Exsurge Domine et miserearis Sion; Servi tui diligunt lapides ejus, pulveris ejus miseret eos.”

How far the power of Bishops hath reached from the beginning in respect of territory or local compass.VIII. How far the power which bishops had did reach, what number of persons was subject unto them at the first, Edition: current; Page: [184] and how large their territories were, it is not for the question we have in hand a thing very greatly material to know. For if we prove that bishops have lawfully of old ruled over other ministers, it is enough, how few soever those ministers have been, how small soever the circuit of place which hath contained them. Yet hereof somewhat, to the end we may so far forth illustrate church antiquities.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]A law imperial there is,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 2. which sheweth that there was great care had to provide for every Christian city a bishop as near as might be1, and that each city had some territory belonging unto it, which territory was also under the bishop of the same city; that because it was not universally thus, but in some countries one bishop had subject unto him many cities and their territories, the law which provided for establishment of the other orders, should not prejudice those churches wherein this contrary custom had before prevailed. Unto the bishop of every such city, not only the presbyters of the same city, but also of the territory thereunto belonging, were from the first beginning subject. For we must note that when as yet there were in cities no parish churches, but only colleges of presbyters under their bishop’s regiment, yet smaller congregations and churches there were even then abroad, in which churches there was but some one only presbyter to perform among them divine duties2. Towns and villages abroad receiving the faith of Christ from cities whereunto they were adjacent, did as spiritual and heavenly colonies by their subjection honour those ancient mother churches out of which they grew. And in the Christian cities themselves, when the mighty increase of believers made it necessary to have them divided into certain several companies, and over every of those companies one only pastor to be appointed for the ministry of Edition: current; Page: [185] holy things;BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 3. between the first and the rest after it there could not but be a natural inequality, even as between the temple and synagogues in Jerusalem. The clergy of cities were termed urbici1, to shew a difference between them and the clergies of the towns, of villages, of castles abroad. And how many soever these parishes or congregations were in number, which did depend on any one principal city church, unto the bishop of that one church they and their several sole presbyters were all subject.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]For if so be, as some imagine, every petty congregation or hamlet had had his own particular bishop, what sense could there be in those words of Jerome2 concerning castles, villages, and other places abroad, which having only presbyters to teach them and to minister unto them the sacraments, were resorted unto by bishops for the administration of that wherewith their presbyters were not licensed to meddle. To note a difference of that one church where the bishop hath his seat, and the rest which depend upon it, that one hath usually been termed cathedral, according to the same sense wherein Ignatius speaking of the Church of Antioch termeth it his throne; and Cyprian making mention of Evaristus, who had been bishop and was now deposed, termeth him cathedræ extorrem3, one that was thrust besides his chair. The church where the bishop is set with his college of presbyters about him we call a see; the local compass of his authority we term a diocess4. Unto a bishop within the compass of his own both see and diocess, it hath by right of his place evermore appertained to ordain presbyters5, Edition: current; Page: [186] to make deacons,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 4. and with judgment to dispose of all things of weight. The apostle St. Paul had episcopal authority, but so at large that we cannot assign unto him any one certain diocess. His1 positive orders and constitutions churches every where did obey. Yea, “a charge and a care,” saith he2, “I have even of all the churches.” The walks of Titus and Timothy were limited within the bounds of a narrow precinct. As for other bishops, that which Chrysostom hath concerning them, if they be evil, could not possibly agree unto them, unless their authority had reached farther than to some one only congregation. “The danger being so great as it is, to him that scandalizeth one soul, what shall he,” saith Chrysostom3, speaking of a bishop, “what shall he deserve, by whom so many souls, yea, even whole cities and peoples, men, women, and children, citizens, peasants, inhabitants, both of his own city, and of other towns subject unto it, are offended?” A thing so unusual it was for a bishop not to have ample jurisdiction, that Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, for making one a bishop of a small town, is noted as a proud despiser of the commendable orders of the Church with this censure4: “Such novelties Theophilus presumed every where to begin, taking upon him, as it had been, another Moses.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Whereby is discovered also their error, who think that such as in ecclesiastical writings they find termed Chorepiscopos were the same in the country which the bishop was in the city: whereas the old Chorepiscopi are they that were appointed of the bishopa to have, as his vicegerentsb, some oversight of those churches abroad, which were subject unto his Edition: current; Page: [187] see;BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 5. in which churches they had also power to make subdeacons, readers, and such like petty church officers. With which power so stinted, they not contenting themselves, but adventuring at the length to ordain even deacons and presbyters also, as the bishop himself did, their presumption herein was controlled and stayed by the ancient edict of councils. For example that of Antioch1, “It hath seemed good to the holy synod that such in towns and countries as are called Chorepiscopi do know their limits and govern the churches under them, contenting themselves with the charge thereof, and with authority to make readers, sub-deacons, exorcists, and to be leaders or guiders of them; but not to meddle with the ordination either of a presbyter or of a deacon, without the bishop of that city, whereunto the Chorepiscopus and his territory also is subject.” The same synod appointed likewise that those Chorepiscopi shall be made by none but the bishop of that city under which they are. Much might hereunto be added, if it were further needful to prove that the local compass of a bishop’s authority and power was never so straitly listed, as some men would have the world to imagine.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]But to go forward; degrees there are and have been of old even amongst bishops also themselves; one sort of bishops being superiors unto presbyters only, another sort having preeminence also above bishops. It cometh here to be considered in what respect inequality of bishops was thought at the first a thing expedient for the Church, and what odds there hath been between them, by how much the power of one hath been larger, higher, and greater than of another. Touching the causes for which it hath been esteemed meet that bishops themselves should not every way be equals; they are the same for which the wisdom both of God and man hath evermore approved it as most requisite, that where many governors must of necessity concur for the ordering of the same affairs, of what Edition: current; Page: [188] nature soever they be, one should have some kind of sway or stroke more than all the residue. For where number is, there must be order, or else of force there will be confusion. Let there be divers agents, of whom each hath his private inducements with resolute purpose to follow them (as each may have); unless in this case some had preeminence above the rest, a chance it were if ever any thing should be either begun, proceeded in, or brought unto any conclusion by them; deliberations and counsels would seldom go forward, their meetings would always be in danger to break up with jars and contradictions. In an army a number of captains, all of equal power, without some higher to oversway them; what good would they do? In all nations where a number are to draw any one way, there must be some one principal mover.

Let the practice of our very adversaries themselves herein be considered; are the presbyters able to determine of church affairs, unless their pastors do strike the chiefest stroke and have power above the rest? Can their pastoral synod do any thing, unless they have some president amongst them? In synods they are forced to give one pastor preeminence and superiority above the rest. But they answer, that he who being a pastor according to the order of their discipline is for the time some little deal mightier than his brethren, doth not continue so longer than only during the synod1. Which answer serveth not to help them out of the briers; for by their practice they confirm our principle touching the necessity of one man’s preeminence wheresoever a concurrency of many is required unto any one solemn action: this nature teacheth, and this they cannot choose but acknowledge. As for the change of his person to whom they give this preeminence, if they think it expedient to make for every synod a new superior, Edition: current; Page: [189] there is no law of God which bindeth them so to [do]c;BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 6, 7. neither any that telleth them that they might [not?] suffer one and the same man being made president even to continue so during life, and to leave his preeminence unto his successors after him, as by the ancient order of the Church, archbishops, presidents amongst bishops, have used to do.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]The ground therefore of their preeminence above bishops is the necessity of often concurrency of many bishops about the public affairs of the Church, as consecrations of bishops, consultations of remedy of general disorders, audience judicial, when the actions of any bishop should be called in question, or appeals are made from his sentence by such as think themselves wronged. These and the like affairs usually requiring that many bishops should orderly assemble, begin, and conclude somewhat; it hath seemed in the eyes of reverend antiquity a thing most requisite, that the Church should not only have bishops, but even amongst bishops some to be in authority chiefest1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Unto which purpose, the very state of the whole world, immediately before Christianity took place, doth seem by the special providence of God to have been prepared. For we must know, that the countries where the Gospel was first planted, were for the most part subject to the Roman empire. The Romans’ use was commonly, when by war they had subdued foreign nations, to make them provinces, that is, to place over them Roman governors, such as might order them according to the laws and customs of Rome. And, to the end that all things might be the more easily and orderly done, a whole country being divided into sundry parts, there was in each part some one city, whereinto they about did resort for justice. Every such part was termed a diocess2. Howbeit, the name diocess is sometime so generally taken, that it containeth Edition: current; Page: [190] not only mored such parts of a province,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 7. but even more provinces also than one; as the diocess of Asia contained eight1, the diocess of Africa seven2. Touching diocesses according unto a stricter sense, whereby they are taken for a part of a province, the words of Livy3 do plainly shew what order the Romans did observe in them. For at what time they had brought the Macedonians into subjection, the Roman governor, by order from the senate of Rome, gave charge that Macedonia should be divided into four regions or diocesses. “Capita regionum ubi concilia fierent, primæ sedis Amphipolim, secundæ Thessalonicen, tertiæ Pellam, quartæ Pelagoniam fecit. Eo concilia suæ cujusque regionis indici, pecuniam conferri, ibi magistratus creari jussit.” This being before the days of the emperors, by their appointment Thessalonica was afterwards the chiefest4, and in it the highest governor of Macedonia had his seat. Whereupon the other three diocesses were in that respect inferior unto it, as daughters unto a mother city; for not unto every town of justice was that title given, but was peculiar unto those cities wherein principal courts were kept. Thus in Macedonia the mother city was Thessalonica; in Asia, Ephesus5; in Africa, Carthage; for so Justinian in his time made it6. The governors, officers, and inhabitants of these mother cities were termed for difference’ sake metropolites, that is to say, mother city men; than which nothing could possibly have been devised more fit to suit with the nature of that form of spiritual regiment under which afterward the Church should live.

Wherefore if the prophet saw cause to acknowledge unto Edition: current; Page: [191] the Lord that the light of his gracious providence did shine no where more apparently to the eye than in preparing the land of Canaan to be [a]e receptacle for that Church which was of old1,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 8. “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt, thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it, thou madest room for it, and when it had taken root it filled the land:” how much more ought we to wonder at the handy-work of Almighty God who to settle the kingdom of his dear Son did not cast out any one people, but directed in such sort the politic counsels of them who ruled far and wide over all, that they throughout all nations, people and countries upon earth, should unwittingly prepare the field wherein the vine which God did intend, that is to say, the Church of his dearly-beloved Son was to take root? For unto nothing else can we attribute it, saving only unto the very incomprehensible force of Divine providence, that the world was in so marvellous fit sort divided, levelled and laid out before-hand. Whose work could it be but his alone to make such provision for the direct implantation of his Church?

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]Wherefore inequality of Bishops being found a thing convenient for the Church of God, in such consideration as hath been shewed, when it came secondly in question which bishops should be higher and which lower, it seemed herein not to the civil monarch only, but to the most, expedient that the dignity and celebrity of mother cities should be respected2. They which dream that if civil authority had not given such preeminence unto one city more than another, there had never grown an inequality amongst bishops, are deceived: superiority of one bishop over another would be requisite in the Church although that civil distinction were abolished: other causes having made it necessary even amongst bishops to have some in degree higher than the rest, the civil dignity of place was considered only as a reason wherefore this bishop should be preferred before that: which deliberation had been likely enough to have raised no small trouble, Edition: current; Page: [192] but that such was the circumstance of place,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 9. as being followed in that choice, besides the manifest conveniency thereof, took away all show of partiality, prevented secret emulations, and gave no man occasion to think his person disgraced in that another was preferred before him.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Thus we see upon what occasion metropolitan bishops became archbishops. Now while the whole Christian world in a manner still continued under one civil government, there being oftentimes within some one more large territory divers and sundry mother churches, the metropolitans whereof were archbishops; as for order’s sake it grew hereupon expedient there should be a difference also amongst them, so no way seemed in those times more fit than to give preeminence unto them whose metropolitan sees were of special desert or dignity: for which cause these as being bishops in the chiefest mother churches were termed primates, and at the length by way of excellency, patriarchs. For ignorant we are not, how sometimes the title of patriarch is generally given to all metropolitan bishops.

They are mightily therefore to blame which are so bold and confident, as to affirm1 that for the space of above four hundred and thirty years after Christ, all metropolitan bishops were in every respect equals, till the second council of Constantinople2 Edition: current; Page: [193] exalted certain metropolitans above the rest. True it is, they were equals as touching the exercise of spiritual power within their diocesses, when they dealt with their own flock. For what is it that one of them might do within the compass of his own precinct, but another within his might do the same? But that there was no subordination at all of one of them unto another; that when they all, or sundry of them, were to deal in the same causes, there was no difference of first and second in degree, no distinction of higher and lower in authority acknowledged amongst them; is most untrue.

The great council of Nice was after our Saviour Christ but three hundred twenty-four years, and in that council1 certain metropolitans are said even then to have had an ancient preeminence and dignity above the rest; namely the primate of Alexandria, of Rome, and of Antioch. Threescore years after this there were synods2 under the emperor Theodosius; which synod was the first at Constantinople, whereat one hundred and fifty bishops were assembled: at which council it was decreed3 that the bishop of Constantinople should not only be added unto the former primates, but also that his place should be second amongst them, the next to the bishop of Rome in dignity. The same decree again renewed concerning Constantinople, and the reason thereof laid open4 in the council of Chalcedon: at the length came that second Edition: current; Page: [194] of Constantinople1,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 10. whereat were six hundred and thirty bishops, for a third confirmation thereof. Laws imperial there are likewise extant2 to the same effect. Herewith the bishop of Constantinople being overmuch puffed up, not only could not endure that see to be in estimation higher, whereunto his own had preferment to be the next, but he challenged more than ever any Christian bishop in the world before either had, or with reason could have. What he challenged, and was therein as then refused by the bishop of Rome, the same the bishop of Rome in process of time obtained for himself, and having gotten it by bad means, hath both upheld and augmented it, and upholdeth it by acts and practices much worse.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]But primates, according to their first institution, were all, in relation unto archbishops, the same by prerogative3 which archbishops were being compared unto bishops. Before Edition: current; Page: [195] the council of Nice, albeit there were both metropolitans and primates, yet could not this be a means forcible enough to procure the peace of the Church, but all things were wonderful tumultuous and troublesome, by reason of one special practice common unto the heretics of those times; which was, that when they had been condemned and cast out of the Church by the sentence of their own bishops, they contrary to the ancient received orders of the Church, had a custom to wander up and down, and to insinuate themselves into favour where they were not known, imagining themselves to be safe enough, and not to be clean cut off from the body of the Church, if they could any where find a bishop which was content to communicate with them; whereupon ensued, as in that case there needs must, every day quarrels and jars unappeasable amongst bishops. The Nicene council for redress hereof considered the bounds of every archbishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction, what they had been in former times, and accordingly appointed unto each grand part of the Christian world some one primate, from whose judgment no man living within his territory might appeal, unless it were to a council general of all bishops. The drift and purpose of which order was, that neither any man oppressed by his own particular bishop might be destitute of a remedy through appeal unto the more indifferent sentence of some other ordinary judge; nor yet every man be left at such liberty as before, to shift himself out of their hands for whom it was most meet to have the hearing and determining of his cause. The evil, for remedy whereof this order was taken, annoyed at that present especially the church of Alexandria in Egypt, where Arianism begun. For which cause the state of that church is in the Nicene canons concerning this matter mentioned before the rest. The words of their sacred edict are these1: “Let those customs remain in force which have been of old, the Edition: current; Page: [196] customs of Egypt and Libya,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 11. and Pentapolis; by which customs the bishop of Alexandria hath authority over all these; the rather for that this hath also been the use of the bishop of Rome, yea the same hath been kept in Antioch and in other provinces.” Now because the custom likewise had been that great honour should be done to the bishop of Ælia or Jerusalem, therefore lest their decree concerning the primate of Antioch should any whit prejudice the dignity and honour of that see, special provision is made1, that although it were inferior in degree, not only unto Antioch the chief of the East, but even unto Cæsarea too, yet such preeminence it should retain as belonged to a mother city, and enjoy whatsoever special prerogative or privilege it had besides. Let men therefore hereby judge of what continuance this order which upholdeth degrees of bishops must needs have been, when a general council of three hundred and eighteen bishops living themselves within three hundred years after Christ doth reverence the same for antiquity’s sake, as a thing which had been even then of old observed in the most renowned parts of the Christian world2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]Wherefore needless altogether are those vain and wanton demands, “No mention of an archbishop in Theophilus bishop of Antioch? None in Ignatius? None in Clemens of Alexandria? None in Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, Cyprian? None in all those old historiographers, out of which Eusebius gathereth his story? None till the time of the council of Nice, three hundred and twenty years after Christ3?” As if the mention which is thereof made in that very council, where so many bishops acknowledge Edition: current; Page: [197] archiepiscopal dignity even then ancient, were not of far more weight and value than if every of those Fathers had written large discourses thereof. But what is it which they will blush at, who dare so confidently set it down1, that in the council of Nice some bishops being termed metropolitans, no more difference is thereby meant to have been between one bishop and another, than is shewed between one minister and another, when we say such a one is a minister in the city of London, and such a one minister in the town of Newington? So that to be termed a metropolitan bishop did in their conceit import no [moref] preeminence above other bishops, than we mean that a girdler2 hath over others of the same trade, if we term him which doth inhabit some mother city for difference’ sake a metropolitan girdler.

But the truth is too manifest to be so deluded; a bishop at that time had power in his own diocess over all other ministers there, and a metropolitan bishop sundry preeminences above other bishops, one of which preeminences was in the ordination of bishops, to have κυ̑ρος τω̑ν γινομένων, the chief power of ordering all things done. Which preeminence that council itself doth mention3, as also a greater belonging unto the patriarch or primate of Alexandria, concerning whom it is there likewise said, that to him did belong ἐξουσία, authority and power over all Egypt, Pentapolis, and Libya: within which compass sundry metropolitan sees to have been, Edition: current; Page: [198] there is no man ignorant,BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 12. which in those antiquities have [hath?] any knowledge.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]Certain prerogatives there are wherein metropolitans excelled other bishops, certain also wherein primates excelled other metropolitans. Archiepiscopal or metropolitan prerogatives are those mentioned in old imperial constitutions, to convocate1 the holy bishops under them within the compass of their own provinces, when need required their meeting together for inquisition and redress of public disorders; to grant unto bishops under them leave and faculty of absence from their own diocesses2, when it seemed necessary that they should otherwhere converse for some reasonable while; to give notice3 unto bishops under them of things commanded by supreme authority; to have the hearing4 and first determining of such causes as any man had against a bishop; to receive the appeals of the inferior clergy, in case they found themselves overborne by the bishop their immediate judge5. And lest haply it should be imagined that canons ecclesiastical we want to make the selfsame thing manifest; in the council of Antioch Edition: current; Page: [199] it was thus decreed1:BOOK VII. Ch. viii. 13. “The bishops in every province must know, that he which is bishop in the mother city hath not only charge of his own parish or diocess, but even of the whole province also.” Again: “It hath seemed good that other bishops without him should do nothing more than only that which concerns each one’s parish and the places underneath it.” Further by the selfsame council all councils provincial are reckoned void and frustrate2, unless the bishop of the mother city within that province where such councils should be, were present at them. So that the want of his presence, and in canons for church-government, want of his approbation also, did disannul them: not so the want of any others. Finally, concerning elections of bishops, the council of Nice hath this general rule3, that the chief ordering of all things here, is in every province committed to the metropolitan.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]Touching them, who amongst metropolitans were also primates, and had of sundry united provinces the chiefest metropolitan see, of such that canon in the council of Carthage was eminent, whereby4 a bishop is forbidden to go beyond seas without the license of the highest chair within the same bishop’s own country; and of such which beareth the name of apostolical, is that ancient canon likewise, which chargeth5 the bishops of each nation, to know him which is first amongst them, and to esteem of him as an head, and to do no extraordinary thing but with his leave. The chief primates of the Christian world were the bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. To whom the bishop of Constantinople being afterwards added, St. Chrysostom the bishop of that see is in Edition: current; Page: [200] that respect said1 to have had the care and charge not only of the city of Constantinople,BOOK VII. Ch. ix. 1. “sed etiam totius Thraciæ, quæ sex præfecturis est divisa, et Asiæ totius, quæ ab undecim præsidibus regitur.” The rest of the East was under Antioch, the South under Alexandria, and the West under Rome. Whereas therefore John the bishop of Jerusalem being noted of heresy, had written an apology for himself unto the bishop of Alexandria, named Theophilus; St. Jerome2 reproveth his breach of the order of the Church herein, saying, “Tu qui regulas quæris ecclesiasticas, et Niceni concilii canonibus uteris, responde mihi, ad Alexandrinum episcopum Palæstina quid pertinet? Ni fallor, hoc ibi decernitur, ut Palæstinæ metropolis Cæsarea sit, et totius Orientis Antiochia. Aut igitur ad Cæsariensem episcopum referre debueras; aut si procul expetendum judicium erat, Antiochiam potius literæ dirigendæ.” Thus much concerning that Local Compass which was anciently set out to bishops; within the bounds and limits whereof we find that they did accordingly exercise that episcopal authority and power which they had over the Church of Christ.

In what respects episcopal regiment hath been gainsaid of old by Aërius.IX. The first whom we read to have bent themselves against the superiority of bishops were Aërius and his followers. Aërius seeking to be made a bishop, could not brook that Eustathius was thereunto preferred before him. Whereas therefore he saw himself unable to rise to that greatness which his ambitious pride did affect, his way of revenge was to try what wit being sharpened with envy and malice could do in raising a new seditious opinion, that the superiority which bishops had was a thing which they should not have, that a bishop might not ordain, and that a bishop ought not any way to be distinguished from a presbyter. For so doth St. Augustine3 deliver the opinion of Aërius: Edition: current; Page: [201] Epiphanius1 not so plainly nor so directly,BOOK VII. Ch. ix. 2. but after a more rhetorical sort. “His speech was rather furious than convenient for man to use: What is,” saith he, “a bishop more than a presbyter? The one doth differ from the other nothing. For their order is one, their honour one, one their dignity. A bishop imposeth his hands, so doth a presbyter. A bishop baptizeth, the like doth a presbyter. The bishop is a minister of divine service, a presbyter is the same. The bishop sitteth as judge in a throne, even the presbyter sitteth also.” A presbyter therefore doing thus far the selfsame thing which a bishop did, it was by Aërius enforced that they ought not in any thing to differ.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Are we to think Aërius had wrong in being judged an heretic for holding this opinion? Surely if heresy be an error falsely fathered upon Scriptures, but indeed repugnant to the truth of the Word of God, and by the consent of the universal Church, in the councils, or in her contrary uniform practice throughout the whole world, declared to be such; and the opinion of Aërius in this point be a plain error of that nature: there is no remedy, but Aërius, so schismatically and stiffly maintaining it, must even stand where Epiphanius and Augustine have placed him. An error repugnant unto the truth of the Word of God is held by them, whosoever they be, that stand in defence of any conclusion drawn erroneously out of Scripture, and untruly thereon fathered. The opinion of Aërius therefore being falsely collected out of Scripture, must needs be acknowledged an error repugnant unto the truth of the word of God. His opinion was that there ought not to be any difference between a bishop and a presbyter. His grounds and reasons for this opinion were sentences of Scripture. Under pretence of which sentences, whereby it seemed that bishops and presbyters at the first did Edition: current; Page: [202] not differ,BOOK VII. Ch. ix. 3. it was concluded by Aërius that the Church did ill in permitting any difference to be made.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]The answer which Epiphanius maketh unto some part of the proofs by Aërius alleged, was not greatly studied or laboured; for through a contempt of so base an error (for this himself did perceive and profess) yieldeth he thereof expressly this reason: Men that have wit do evidently see that all this is mere foolishness. But how vain and ridiculous soever his opinion seemed unto wise men, with it Aërius deceived many1; for which cause somewhat was convenient to be said against it. And in that very extemporal slightness which Epiphanius there useth2, albeit the answer made to Aërius be in part but raw3, yet ought not hereby the truth to find any less favour than in other causes it doth, where we do not therefore judge heresy to have the better, because now and then it allegeth that for itself, which defenders of the truth do not always so fully answer. Let it therefore suffice, that Aërius did bring nothing unanswerable. The weak solutions which the one doth give, are to us no prejudice against the cause, as long as the other’s oppositions are of no greater strength and validity. Did not Aërius, trow you, deserve to be esteemed as a new Apollos, mighty and powerful in the word, which could for maintenance of his cause bring forth so plain divine authorities, to prove by the Apostles’ own writings that bishops ought not in any thing to differ from other presbyters? For example, where it is said4 that presbyters made Timothy bishop, is it not clear that a bishop should not differ from a presbyter, by having power of ordination? Again, if a bishop might by order be distinguished Edition: current; Page: [203] from a presbyter,BOOK VII. Ch. ix. 4. x. 1. would the Apostle have given as he doth1 unto presbyters the title of bishops? These were the invincible demonstrations wherewith Aërius did so fiercely assault bishops.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]But the sentence of Aërius perhaps was only, that the difference between a bishop and a presbyter hath grown by the order and custom of the Church, the word of God not appointing that any such difference should be. Well, let Aërius then find the favour to have his sentence so construed; yet his fault in condemning the order of the Church, his not submitting himself unto that order, the schism which he caused in the Church about it, who can excuse? No, the truth is, that these things did even necessarily ensue, by force of the very opinion which he and his followers did hold. His conclusion was, that there ought to be no difference between a presbyter and a bishop. His proofs, those Scripture sentences which make mention of bishops and presbyters without any such distinction or difference. So that if between his conclusion and the proofs whereby he laboured to strengthen the same, there be any show of coherence at all, we must of necessity confess, that when Aërius did plead, There is by the Word of God no difference between a presbyter and a bishop, his meaning was not only, that the Word of God itself appointeth not, but that it enforceth on us the duty of not appointing nor allowing that any such difference should be made.

In what respects episcopal regiment is gainsaid by the authors of pretended reformation at this day.X. And of the selfsame mind are the enemies of government by bishops, even at this present day. They hold as Aërius did, that if Christ and his Apostles were obeyed, a bishop should not be permitted to ordain; that between a presbyter and a bishop the word of God alloweth not any inequality or difference to be made; that their order, their authority, their power, ought to be one; that it is but by usurpation and corruption that the one sort are suffered to have rule of the other, or to be any way superior unto them. Which opinion having now so many defenders, shall never Edition: current; Page: [204] be able while the world doth stand to find in some [so many?],BOOK VII. Ch. x. 2. xi. 1. believing antiquity, as much as one which hath given it countenance, or borne any friendly affection towards it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Touching these men therefore, whose desire is to have all equal, three ways there are whereby they usually oppugn the received order of the Church of Christ. First, by disgracing the inequality of pastors, as a new and mere human invention, a thing which was never drawn out of Scripture, where all pastors are found (they say) to have one and the same power both of order and jurisdiction: Secondly, by gathering together the differences between that power which we give to bishops, and that which was given them of old in the Church; so that albeit even the ancient took more than was warrantable, yet so far they swerved not as ours have done: Thirdly, by endeavouring to prove, that the Scripture directly forbiddeth, and that the judgment of the wisest, the holiest, the best in all ages, condemneth utterly the inequality which we allow.

Their arguments in disgrace of regiment by Bishops, as being a mere invention of man, and not found in Scripture, answered.XI. That inequality of pastors is a mere human invention, a thing not found in the word of God, they prove thus:

i. “All the places of Scripture where the word Bishop is used, or any other derived of that name, signify an oversight in respect of some particular congregation only, and never in regard of pastors committed unto his oversight. For which cause the names of bishops, and presbyters, or pastoral elders, are used indifferently, to signify one and the selfsame thing. Which so indifferent and common use of these words for one and the selfsame office, so constantly and perpetually in all places1, declareth that the word Bishop in the Apostles’ writing importeth not a pastor of higher power and authority over other pastors.”

ii. “All pastors are called to their office by the same means of proceeding; the Scripture maketh no difference in the manner of their trial, election, ordination: which proveth their office and power to be by Scripture all one.”

iii. “The Apostles were all of equal power, and all pastors do alike succeed the Apostles in their ministry and power, the commission and authority whereby they succeed being Edition: current; Page: [205] in Scripture but one and the same that was committed to the Apostles, without any difference of committing to one pastor more, or to another less1.”BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 2.

iv. “The power of the censures and keys of the Church, and of ordaining and ordering ministers (in which two points especially this superiority is challenged), is not committed to any one pastor of the Church more than to another; but the same is committed as a thing to be carried equally in the guidance of the Church. Whereby it appeareth, that Scripture maketh all pastors, not only in the ministry of the word and sacraments, but also in all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and authority, equal.”

v. “The council of Nice2 doth attribute this difference, not unto any ordination of God, but to an ancient custom used in former times, which judgment is also followed afterwards by other councils: Concil. Antioch. cap. 93.”

vi. Upon these premises, their summary collection and conclusion is, “That the ministry of the Gospel, and the functions thereof, ought to be from heaven and of God (John i. 23); that if they be of God, and from heaven, then are they set down in the word of God4; that if they be not in the word of God, (as by the premises it doth appear, they say, that our kind of bishops are not,) it followeth, they are invented by the brain of men, and are of the earth, and that consequently they can do no good in the Church of Christ, but harm.”

Answer.Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Our answer hereunto is, first, that their proofs are unavailable to shew that Scripture affordeth no evidence for the inequality of pastors: Secondly, that albeit the Scripture did no way insinuate the same to be God’s ordinance, and Edition: current; Page: [206] the Apostles to have brought it in,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 3, 4. albeit the Church were acknowledged by all men to have been the first beginner thereof a long time after the Apostles were gone; yet is not the authority of bishops hereby disannulled, it is not hereby proved unfit or unprofitable for the Church.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]First, that the word of God doth acknowledge no inequality of power amongst pastors of the Church, neither doth it appear by the signification of this word bishop, nor by the indifferent use thereof.

For concerning signification, first it is clearly untrue, that no other thing is thereby signified, but only an oversight in respect of a particular church and congregation. For, I beseech you, of what parish or particular congregation was Matthias bishop? his office Scripture doth term episcopal1: which being no other than was common unto all the Apostles of Christ, forasmuch as in that number there is not any to whom the oversight of many pastors did not belong by force and virtue of that office; it followeth that the very word doth sometimes even in Scripture signify an oversight, such as includeth charge over pastors themselves.

And if we look to the use of the word, being applied with reference unto some one church, as Ephesus, Philippi, and such like, albeit the guides of those churches be interchangeably in Scripture termed sometime bishops, sometime presbyters, to signify men having oversight and charge, without relation at all unto other than the Christian laity alone; yet this doth not hinder, but that Scripture may in some place have other names, whereby certain of those presbyters or bishops are noted to have the oversight and charge of pastors, as out of all peradventure they had whom St. John doth entitle angels2.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Secondly, as for those things which the Apostle hath set down concerning trial, election, and ordination of pastors, that he maketh no difference in the manner of their calling, this also is but a silly argument to prove their office and their power equal by the Scripture. The form of admitting each sort unto their offices, needed no particular instruction: there was no fear, but that such matters of course would easily enough be observed. The Apostle therefore toucheth those Edition: current; Page: [207] things wherein judgment,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 5. wisdom and conscience is required, he carefully admonisheth of what quality ecclesiastical persons should be, that their dealing might not be scandalous in the Church. And forasmuch as those things are general, we see that of deacons there are delivered in a manner the selfsame precepts which are given concerning pastors, so far as concerneth their trial, election, and ordination. Yet who doth hereby collect that Scripture maketh deacons and pastors equal?

If notwithstanding it be yet demanded, “Wherefore he which teacheth what kind of persons deacons and presbyters should be, hath nothing in particular about the quality of chief presbyters, whom we call bishops?” I answer briefly, that there it was no fit place for any such discourse to be made, inasmuch as the Apostle wrote unto Timothy and Titus, who having by commission episcopal authority, were to exercise the same in ordaining, not bishops (the apostles themselves yet living, and retaining that power in their own hands) but presbyters, such as the apostles at the first did create throughout all churches. Bishops by restraint (only James at Jerusalem excepted) were not yet in being.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Thirdly, about equality amongst the apostles there is by us no controversy moved. If in the rooms of the apostles, which were of equal authority, all pastors do by Scripture succeed alike, where shall we find a commission in Scripture which they speak of, which appointed all to succeed in the selfsame equality of power, except that commission which doth authorize to preach and baptize should be alleged, which maketh nothing to the purpose, for in such things all pastors are still equal. We must, I fear me, wait very long before any other will be shewed. For howsoever the Apostles were equals amongst themselves, all other pastors were not equals with the Apostles while they lived, neither are they any where appointed to be afterward each other’s equal. Apostles had, as we know, authority over all such as were no Apostles; by force of which their authority they might both command and judge. It was for the singular good and benefit of those disciples whom Christ left behind him, and of the pastors which were afterwards chosen; for the great Edition: current; Page: [208] good,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 6. I say, of all sorts, that the Apostles were in power above them. Every day brought forth somewhat wherein they saw by experience, how much it stood them in stead to be under controlment of those superiors and higher governors of God’s house. Was it a thing so behoveful that pastors should be subject unto pastors in the Apostles’ own times? and is there any commandment that this subjection should cease with them, and that the pastors of the succeeding ages should be all equals? No, no, this strange and absurd conceit of equality amongst pastors (the mother of schism and of confusion) is but a dream newly brought forth, and seen never in the Church before.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Fourthly, power of censure and ordination appeareth even by Scripture marvellous probable to have been derived from Christ to his Church, without this surmised equality in them to whom he hath committed the same. For I would know whether Timothy and Titus were commanded by St. Paul to do any thing more than Christ hath authorized pastors to do? And to the one it is Scripture which saith1, “Against a presbyter receive thou no accusation, saving under two or three witnesses;” Scripture which likewise hath said to the other2, “For this very cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest redress the things that remain, and shouldest ordain presbyters in every city, as I appointed thee.” In the former place the power of censure is spoken of, and the power of ordination in the latter. Will they say that every pastor there was equal to Timothy and Titus in these things? If they do, the Apostle himself is against it, who saith that of their two very persons he had made choice, and appointed in those places them, for performances of those duties: whereas if the same had belonged unto others no less than to them, and not principally unto them above others, it had been fit for the Apostle accordingly to have directed his letters concerning these things in general unto them all which had equal interest in them; even as it had been likewise fit to have written those epistles in St. John’s Revelation unto whole ecclesiastical senates, rather than only unto the angels of each church, had not some one been above the rest in authority to order the affairs of the church. Scripture therefore doth most probably make for the Edition: current; Page: [209] inequality of pastors, even in all ecclesiastical affairs,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 7, 8. and by very express mention as well in censures as ordinations.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Fifthly, In the Nicene council there are confirmed certain prerogatives and dignities belonging unto primates or archbishops, and of them it is said that the ancient custom of the Church had been to give them such preeminence, but no syllable whereby any man should conjecture that those fathers did not honour [did honour?] the superiority which bishops had over other pastors only upon ancient custom, and not as a true apostolical, heavenly, and divine ordinance.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]Sixthly, Now although we should leave the general received persuasion held from the first beginning, that the Apostles themselves left bishops invested with power above other pastors; although, I say, we should give over this opinion, and embrace that other conjecture which so many have thought good to follow1, and which myself did Edition: current; Page: [210] sometimes judge a great deal more probable than now I do,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 8. merely that after the Apostles were deceased, churches did Edition: current; Page: [211] agree amongst themselves for preservation of peace and order, to make one presbyter in each city chief over the rest, and to translate into him that power by force and virtue whereof the Apostles, while they were alive,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 9. did preserve and uphold order in the Church, exercising spiritual jurisdiction partly by themselves and partly by evangelists, because they could not always every where themselves be present: this order taken by the Church itself (for so let us suppose that the Apostles did neither by word nor deed appoint it) were notwithstanding more warrantable than that it should give place and be abrogated, because the ministry of the Gospel and the functions thereof ought1 to be from heaven.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]There came chief priests and elders unto our Saviour Christ as he was teaching in the temple, and the question which they moved unto him was this2, “By what authority doest thou these things, and who gave thee this authority?” Their question he repelled with a counter-demand, “The baptism of John, whence was it, from heaven, or of men?” Hereat they paused, secretly disputing within themselves, “If we shall say, From heaven, he will ask, Wherefore did ye not then believe him? and if we say, Of men, we fear the people, for all hold John a prophet.” What is it now which hereupon these men would infer? That all functions ecclesiastical ought in such sort to be from heaven, as the function of John was? No such matter here contained. Nay, doth not the contrary rather appear most plainly by that which is here set down? For when our Saviour doth ask concerning the baptism, that is to say the whole spiritual function, of John, whether it were “from heaven, or of men,” he giveth clear to understand that men give authority unto Edition: current; Page: [212] some,BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 10. and some God himself from heaven doth authorize. Nor is it said, or in any sort signified, that none have lawful authority which have it not in such manner as John, from heaven. Again when the priests and elders were loth to say that John had his calling from men, the reason was not because they thought that so John should not have had any good or lawful calling, but because they saw that by this means they should somewhat embase the calling of John; whom all men knew to have been sent from God, according to the manner of prophets, by a mere celestial vocation. So that out of the evidence here alleged, these things we may directly conclude: first that whoso doth exercise any kind of function in the Church, he cannot lawfully so do except authority be given him; secondly that if authority be not given him from men, as the authority of teaching was given unto Scribes and Pharisees, it must be given him from heaven, as authority was given unto Christ, Elias, John Baptist, and the prophets. For these two only ways there are to have authority. But a strange conclusion it is, God himself did from heaven authorize John to bear witness of the light, to prepare a way for the promised Messias, to publish the nearness of the kingdom of God, to preach repentance, and to baptize (for by this part, which was in the function of John most noted, all the rest are together signified), therefore the Church of God hath no power upon new occurrences to appoint, to ordain an ecclesiastical function, as Moses did upon Jethro’s advice devise a civil.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]All things we grant which are in the Church ought to be of God. But forasmuch as they may be two ways accounted such, one if they be of his own institution and not of ours, another if they be of ours, and yet with his approbation: this latter way there is no impediment but that the same thing which is of men may be also justly and truly said to be of God, the same thing from heaven which is from earth. Of all good things God himself is author, and consequently an approver of them. The rule to discern when the actions of men are good, when they are such as they ought to be, is more ample and large than the law which God hath set particular down in his holy word; the Scripture is but a part of that rule, as hath been heretofore at Edition: current; Page: [213] large declared. If therefore all things be of God which are well done, and if all things be well done which are according to the rule of well-doing, and if the rule of well-doing be more ample than the Scripture1: what necessity is there, that every thing which is of God should be set down in holy Scripture? True it is in things of some one kind; true it is that what we are now of necessity for ever bound to believe or observe in the special mysteries of salvation, Scripture must needs give notice of it unto the world; yet true it cannot be, touching all things that are of God. Sufficient it is for the proof of lawfulness in any thing done, if we can shew that God approveth it. And of his approbation the evidence is sufficient, if either himself have by revelation in his word warranted it, or we by some discourse of reason find it good of itself, and unrepugnant unto any of his revealed laws and ordinances. Wherefore injurious we are unto God, the author and giver of human capacity, judgment, and wit, when because of some things wherein he precisely forbiddeth men to use their own inventions, we take occasion to disauthorize and disgrace the works which he doth produce by the hand either of nature or of grace in them. We offer contumely even unto him, when we scornfully reject what we list, without any other exception than this, “The brain of man hath devised it.” Whether we look into the church or commonweal, as well in the one as in the other, both the ordination of officers, and the very institution of their offices may be truly derived from God, and approved of him, although they be not always of him in such sort as those things are which are in Scripture. Doth not the Apostle term the law of nature2, even as the evangelist doth the law of Scripture3, δικαίωμα του̑ Θεου̑, God’s own righteous ordinance? The law of nature then being his law, that must needs be of him which it hath directed men unto. Great odds I grant there is between things devised by men, although agreeable with the law of nature, and things in Scripture set down by the finger of the Holy Ghost. Howbeit the dignity of these is no hinderance, but that those be also reverently accounted of in their place.

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BOOK VII. Ch. xi. 11.Edition: 1888; Page: [11]Thus much they very well saw, who although not living themselves under this kind of church polity, yet being through some experience more moderate, grave and circumspect in their judgment, have given hereof their sounder and better advised sentence. “That which the holy Fathers,” saith Zanchius1, “have by common consent without contradiction of Scripture received, for my part I neither will nor dare with good conscience disallow. And what more certain than that the ordering of ecclesiastical persons, one in authority above another, was received into the church by the common consent of the Christian world? What am I that I should take upon me to control the whole Church of Christ in that which is so well known to have been lawfully, religiously, and to notable purpose instituted?”

Calvin making mention2 even of primates that have authority above bishops: “It was,” saith he, “the institution of the ancient church, to the end that the bishops might by this bond of concord continue the faster linked amongst themselves.” And lest any man should think that as well he might allow the papacy itself, to prevent this he addeth, “Aliud est moderatum gerere honorem, quam totum terrarum orbem immenso imperio complecti.”

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BOOK VII. Ch. xii. 1.These things standing as they do, we may conclude, that albeit the offices which bishops execute had been committed unto them only by the Church, and that the superiority which they have over other pastors were not first by Christ himself given to the Apostles, and from them descended to others, but afterwards in such consideration brought in and agreed upon as is pretended; yet could not this be a just or lawful exception against it.

Their arguments to prove there was no necessity of instituting Bishops in the Church.XII. But they will say, “There was no necessity of instituting bishops; the Church might have stood well enough without them; they are as those superfluous things, which neither while they continue do good, nor do harm when they are removed, because there is not any profitable use whereunto they should serve. For first, in the primitive Church their pastors were all equal, the bishops of those days were the very same which pastors of parish churches at this day are with us, no one at commandment or controlment by any other’s authority amongst them. The Church therefore may stand and flourish without bishops. If they be necessary, wherefore were they not sooner instituted?

“Again, if any such thing were needful for the Church, Christ would have set it down in Scripture, as he did all kind of officers needful for Jewish regiment. He which prescribed unto the Jews so particularly the least thing pertinent unto their temple, would not have left so weighty offices undetermined of in Scripture, but that he knew the Church could never have any profitable use of them.”

“Furthermore, it is the judgment of Cyprian1, that equity requireth every man’s cause to be heard, where the fault he is charged with was committed: and the reason he allegeth is, forasmuch as there they may have both accusers and witnesses in their cause. Sith therefore every man’s cause is meetest to be handled at home by the judges of his own parish, to what purpose serveth their device, which Edition: current; Page: [216] have appointed bishops unto whom such causes may be brought,BOOK VII. Ch. xiii. 1, 2. and archbishops to whom they may be also from thence removed?”

The forealleged arguments answered.XIII. What things have necessary use in the Church, they of all others are the most unfit to judge, who bend themselves purposely against whatsoever the Church useth, except it please themselves to give it the grace and countenance of their favourable approbation; which they willingly do not yield unto any part of church polity, in the forehead whereof there is not the mark of that new-devised stamp. But howsoever men like or dislike, whether they judge things necessary or needless in the house of God, a conscience they should have, touching that which they boldly affirm or deny.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2](1.) “In the primitive Church no bishops, no pastors having power over other pastors, but all equals, every man supreme commander and ruler within the kingdom of his own congregation or parish? The bishops that are spoken of in the time of the primitive Church, all such as parsons or rectors of parishes are with us?” If thus it have been in the prime of the Church, the question is, how far they will have that prime to extend? and where the latter spring of that new supposed disorder to begin? That primitive Church, wherein they hold that amongst the Fathers all which had pastoral charge were equal, they must of necessity so far enlarge as to contain some hundred of years, because for proof hereof they allege boldly and confidently St. Cyprian, who suffered martyrdom about two hundred and threescore years after our blessed Lord’s incarnation. A bishop, they say, such as Cyprian doth speak of, had only a church or congregation, such as the ministers and pastors with us, which are appointed unto several towns. Every bishop in Cyprian’s time was pastor of one only congregation, assembled in one place to be taught of one man1.

A thing impertinent, although it were true. For the Edition: current; Page: [217] question is about personal inequality amongst governors of the Church.BOOK VII. Ch. xiii. 2. Now to shew there was no such thing in the Church at such time as Cyprian lived, what bring they forth? Forsooth that bishops had then but a small circuit of place for the exercise of their authority. Be it supposed, that no one bishop had more than one only town to govern, one only congregation to rule: doth it by Cyprian appear, that in any such town or congregation being under the care and charge of some one bishop, there were not besides that one bishop others also ministers of the word and sacraments, yet subject to the power of the same bishop? If this appear not, how can Cyprian be alleged for a witness that in those times there were no bishops which did differ from other ministers, as being above them in degree of ecclesiastical power?

But a gross and a palpable untruth it is, that “bishops with Cyprian were as ministers are with us in parish churches; and that each of them did guide some parish without any other pastors under him.” St. Cyprian’s own person may serve for a manifest disproof hereof. Pontius being deacon under Cyprian noteth, that his admirable virtues caused him to be bishop with the soonest1; which advancement therefore himself endeavoured for a while to avoid. It seemed in his own eyes too soon for him to take the title of so great honour, in regard whereof a bishop is termed Pontifex, Sacerdos, Antistes Dei. Yet such was his quality, that whereas others did hardly perform that duty whereunto the discipline of their order2, together with the religion of the oath they took at their entrance into the office, even constrained them; him the chair did not make but receive such a one as behoved that a bishop should be. But soon after followed that proscription, whereby being driven into exile, and continuing in that estate for the space of some two years, he ceased not by letters to deal with his clergy, and to direct Edition: current; Page: [218] them about the public affairs of the Church.BOOK VII. Ch. xiii. 3. They unto whom those epistles were written1, he commonly entitleth the presbyters and deacons of that church. If any man doubt whether those presbyters of Carthage were ministers of the word and sacraments or no, let him consider but that one only place of Cyprian, where he giveth them his careful advice, how to deal with circumspection in the perilous times of the Church, that neither they which were for the truth’s sake imprisoned might want those ghostly comforts which they ought to have, nor the Church by ministering the same unto them incur unnecessary danger and peril. In which epistle it doth expressly appear, that the presbyters of whom he speaketh did offer, that is to say, administer the Eucharist; and that many there were of them in the Church of Carthage, so as they might have every day change for performance of that duty. Nor will any man of sound judgment I think deny, that Cyprian was in authority and power above the clergy of that church, above those presbyters unto whom he gave direction. It is apparently therefore untrue, that in Cyprian’s time ministers of the word and sacraments were all equal, and that no one of them had either title more excellent than the rest, or authority and government over the rest. Cyprian being bishop of Carthage was clearly superior unto all other ministers there: yea Cyprian was by reason of the dignity of his see an archbishop, and so consequently superior unto bishops.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Bishops we say there have been always, even as long as the Church of Christ itself hath been. The Apostles who planted it, did themselves rule as bishops over it; neither could they so well have kept things in order during their own times, but that episcopal authority was given them from Edition: current; Page: [219] above,BOOK VII. Ch. xiii. 4. to exercise far and wide over all other guides and pastors of God’s Church. The Church indeed for a time continued without bishops by restraint, every where established in Christian cities. But shall we thereby conclude that the Church hath no use of them, that without them it may stand and flourish? No, the cause wherefore they were so soon universally appointed was, for that it plainly appeared that without them the Church could not have continued long. It was by the special providence of God no doubt so disposed, that the evil whereof this did serve for remedy might first be felt, and so the reverend authority of bishops be made by so much the more effectual, when our general experience had taught men what it was for churches to want them. Good laws are never esteemed so good, nor acknowledged so necessary, as when precedent crimes are as seeds out of which they grow. Episcopal authority was even in a manner sanctified unto the Church of Christ by that little better [bitter?]g experience which it first had of the pestilent evil of schisms. Again, when this very thing was proposed as a remedy, yet a more suspicious and fearful acceptance it must needs have found, if the selfsame provident wisdom of Almighty God had not also given beforehand sufficient trial thereof in the regiment of Jerusalem, a mother church, which having received the same order even at the first, was by it most peaceably governed, when other churches without it had trouble. So that by all means the necessary use of episcopal government is confirmed, yea strengthened it is and ratified, even by the not establishment thereof in all churches every where at the first.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4](2.) When they further dispute1, “That if any such thing were needful, Christ would in Scripture have set down particular statutes and laws, appointing that bishops should be made, and prescribing in what order, even as the law doth for all kind of officers which were needful in the Jewish regiment;” might not a man that would bend his wit to maintain the fury of the Petrobrusian heretics2, in Edition: current; Page: [220] pulling down oratories,BOOK VII. Ch. xiii. 5. use the selfsame argument with as much countenance of reason? “If it were needful that we should assemble ourselves in churches, would that God which taught the Jews so exactly the frame of their sumptuous temple, leave us no particular instructions in writing, no not so much as which way to lay any one stone?” Surely such kind of argumentation doth not so strengthen the sinews of their cause, as weaken the credit of their judgment which are led therewith.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5](3.) And whereas thirdly, in disproof [of]h that useh which episcopal authority hath in judgment of spiritual causes, they bring forth the verdict of Cyprian, who saith1, that “equity requireth every man’s cause to be heard, where the fault he was charged with was committed, forasmuch as there they may have both accusers and witnesses in the cause;” this argument grounding itself on principles no less true in civil than in ecclesiastical causes, unless it be qualified with some exceptions or limitations, overturneth the highest tribunal seats both in Church and commonwealth; it taketh utterly away all appeals; it secretly condemneth even the blessed Apostle himself2, as having transgressed the law of equity, by his appeal from the court of Judæa unto those higher which were in Rome. The generality of such kind of axioms deceiveth, unless it be construed with such cautions as the matter whereunto they are appliable doth require. An usual and ordinary transportation of causes out of Africa into Italy, out of one kingdom into another, as discontented persons list, which was the thing that Cyprian disalloweth, may be unequal and unmeet; and yet not therefore a thing unnecessary to have the courts erected in higher places, and judgment committed unto greater persons, to whom the meaner may bring their causes either by way of appeal or otherwise, to be determined according to the order of justice; which hath been always observed every where in civil states, and is no less requisite also for the state of the Edition: current; Page: [221] Church of God.BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 1, 2. The reasons which teach it to be expedient for the one, will shew it to be for the other at leastwise not unnecessary.

Inequality of pastors is an ordinance both divine and profitable: their exceptions against it in these two respects we have shewed to be altogether causeless, unreasonable, and unjust.

An answer unto those things which are objected, concerning the difference between that power which Bishops now have, and that which ancient Bishops had, more than other presbyters.XIV. The next thing which they upbraid us with, is the difference between that inequality of pastors which hath been of old, and which now is. For at length they grant, that “the superiority of bishops and of archbishops is somewhat ancient, but no such kind of superiority as ours have.” By the laws of our discipline a bishop may ordain without asking the people’s consent, a bishop may excommunicate and release alone, a bishop may imprison, a bishop may bear civil office in the realm, a bishop may be a counsellor of state; these things ancient bishops neither did nor might do. Be it granted that ordinarily neither in elections nor deprivations, neither in excommunicating nor in releasing the excommunicate, in none of the weighty affairs of government, bishops of old were wont to do any thing without consultation with their clergy and consent of the people under them. Be it granted that the same bishops did neither touch any man with corporal punishment, nor meddle with secular affairs and offices, the whole clergy of God being then tied by the strict and severe canons of the Church to use no other than ghostly power, to attend no other business than heavenly. Tarquinius was in the Roman commonwealth deservedly hated, of whose unorderly proceedings the history1 speaketh thus: “Hic regum primus traditum a prioribus morem de omnibus senatum consulendi solvit; domesticis consiliis rempub. administravit; bellum, pacem, fœdera, societates, per seipsum, cum quibus voluit, injussu populi ac senatus, fecit diremitque.” Against bishops the like is objected, “That they are invaders of other men’s rights, and by intolerable usurpation take upon them to do that alone, wherein ancient laws have appointed that others, not they only, should bear sway.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Let the case of bishops be put, not in such sort as it Edition: current; Page: [222] is,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 3. but even as their very heaviest adversaries would devise it. Suppose that bishops at the first had encroached upon the Church; that by sleights and cunning practices they had appropriated ecclesiastical, as Augustus did imperial power; that they had taken the advantage of men’s inclinable affections, which did not suffer them for revenue’s1 sake to be suspected of ambition; that in the meanwhile their usurpation had gone forward by certain easy and unsensible degrees; that being not discerned in the growth, when it was thus far grown as we now see it hath proceeded, the world at length perceiving there was just cause of complaint, but no place of remedy left, had assented unto it by a general secret agreement to bear it now as a helpless evil; all this supposed for certain and true, yet surely a thing of this nature, as for the superior to do that alone unto which of right the consent of some other inferiors should have been required by them; though it had an indirect entrance at the first, must needs, through continuance of so many ages as this hath stood, be made now a thing more natural to the Church, than that it should be oppressed with the mention of contrary orders worn so many ages since quite and clean out of ure.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]But with bishops the case is otherwise; for in doing that by themselves which others together with them have been accustomed to do, they do not any thing but that whereunto they have been upon just occasions authorized by orderly means. All things natural have in them naturally more or less the power of providing for their own safety: and as each particular man hath this power, so every politic society of men must needs have the same, that thereby the whole may provide for the good of all parts therein. For other benefit we have not any by sorting ourselves into politic societies, saving only that by this mean each part hath that relief which the virtue of the whole is able to yield it. The Church therefore being a politic society or body, cannot possibly want the power of providing for itself; and the chiefest part of that power consisteth in the authority of making laws. Now forasmuch as corporations are perpetual, the laws of the ancienter Church cannot choose but bind the latter, while they are in force. But we must note withal, that because the body of the Church Edition: current; Page: [223] continueth the same, it hath the same authority still,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 4, 5. and may abrogate old laws, or make new, as need shall require. Wherefore vainly are the ancient canons and constitutions objected as laws, when once they are either let secretly to die by disusage, or are openly abrogated by contrary laws.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]The ancient1 had cause to do no otherwise than they did; and yet so strictly they judged not themselves in conscience bound to observe those orders, but that in sundry cases they easily dispensed therewith, which I suppose they would never have done, had they esteemed them as things whereunto everlasting, immutable, and undispensable observation did belong. The bishop usually promoted none which were not first allowed as fit, by conference had with the rest of his clergy and with the people: notwithstanding, in the case of Aurelius2, St. Cyprian did otherwise. In matters of deliberation and counsel, for disposing of that which belongeth generally to the whole body of the Church, or which being more particular, is nevertheless of so great consequence, that it needeth the force of many judgments conferred; in such things the common saying must necessarily take place, “An eye cannot see that which eyes can3.” As for clerical ordinations, there are no such reasons alleged against the order which is, but that it may be esteemed as good in every respect as that which hath been; and in some considerations better; at leastwise (which is sufficient to our purpose) it may be held in the Church of Christ without transgressing any law, either ancient or late, divine or human, which we ought to observe and keep.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]The form of making ecclesiastical officers hath sundry parts, neither are they all of equal moment.

When Deacons having not been before in the Church of Edition: current; Page: [224] Christ,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 6. the Apostles saw it needful to have such ordained, they first, assemble the multitude, and shew them how needful it is that deacons be made: secondly, they name unto them what number they judge convenient, what quality the men must be of, and to the people they commit the care of finding such out: thirdly, the people hereunto assenting, make their choice of Stephen and the rest; those chosen men they bring and present before the Apostles: howbeit, all this doth not endue them with any ecclesiastical power. But when so much was done, the Apostles finding no cause to take exception, did with prayer and imposition of hands make them deacons. This was it which gave them their very being; all other things besides were only preparations unto this.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Touching the form of making Presbyters, although it be not wholly of purpose any where set down in the Apostles’ writings, yet sundry speeches there are which insinuate the chiefest things that belong unto that action: as when Paul and Barnabas are said1 to have fasted, prayed, and made presbyters: when Timothy is willed to “lay hands suddenly on no man2,” for fear of participating with other men’s sins. For this cause the order of the primitive Church was, between choice and ordination to have some space for such probation and trial as the Apostle doth mention in deacons3, saying, “Let them first be proved, and then minister, if so be they be found blameless.”

Alexander Severus4 beholding in his time how careful the Church of Christ was, especially for this point; how after the choice of their pastors they used to publish the names of the parties chosen, and not to give them the final act of approbation till they saw whether any let or impediment would be alleged; he gave commandment that the like should also be done in his own imperial elections, adding this as a reason Edition: current; Page: [225] wherefore he so required, namely,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 7. “For that both Christians and Jews being so wary about the ordination of their priests, it seemed very unequal for him not to be in like sort circumspect, to whom he committed the government of provinces, containing power over men’s both estates and lives.” This the canon itself doth provide for, requiring before ordination scrutiny1: “Let them diligently be examined three days together before the Sabbath, and on the Sabbath [i.e. Saturday2] let them be presented unto the bishop.” And even this in effect also is the very use of the church of England, at all solemn ordaining of ministers; and if all ordaining were solemn, I must confess it were much the better.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]The pretended disorder of the church of England is, that bishops ordain them to whose election the people give no voices, and so the bishops make them alone; that is to say, they give ordination without popular election going before, which ancient bishops neither did nor might do. Now in very truth, if the multitude have hereunto a right, which right can never be translated from them for any cause, then is there no remedy but we must yield, that unto the lawful making of ministers the voice of the people is required; and that according to the adverse party’s assertion3, such as make ministers without asking the people’s consent, do but exercise a certain tyranny.

At the first erection of the commonwealth of Rome, the Edition: current; Page: [226] people (for so it was then fittest) determined of all affairs:BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 8. afterwards this growing troublesome, their senators did that for them which themselves before had done: in the end all came to one man’s hands, and the emperor alone was instead of many senators.

In these things the experience of time may breed both civil and ecclesiastical change from that which hath been before received, neither do latter things always violently exclude former, but the one growing less convenient than it hath been, giveth place to that which is now become more. That which was fit for the people themselves to do at the first, might afterwards be more convenient for them to do by some other: which other is not thereby proved a tyrant, because he alone doth that which a multitude were wont to do, unless by violence he take that authority upon him, against the order of law, and without any public appointment; as with us if any did, it should (I suppose) not long be safe for him so to do.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]This answer (I hope) will seem to be so much the more reasonable, in that themselves, who stand against us, have furnished us therewith. For whereas against the making of ministers by bishops alone, their use hath been to object, what sway the people did bear when Stephen and the rest were ordained deacons; they begin to espy how their own platform swerveth not a little from that example wherewith they control the practice of others. For touching the form of the people’s concurrence in that action, they observe it not; no, they plainly profess that they are not in this point bound to be followers of the Apostles. The Apostles ordained whom the people had first chosen. They hold, that their ecclesiastical senate ought both to choose, and also to ordain. Do not themselves then take away that which the Apostles gave the people, namely, the privilege of choosing ecclesiastical officers? They do. But behold in what sort they answer it. “By the sixth and the fourteenth of the Acts1” (say they) “it doth appear that the people had the chiefest power of choosing. Howbeit that, as unto me it seemeth, was done upon special cause which doth not so much concern us, neither ought it Edition: current; Page: [227] to be drawn unto the ordinary and perpetual form of governing the Church.BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 9. For as in establishing commonweals, not only if they be popular, but even being such as are ordered by the power of a few the chiefest, or as by the sole authority of one, till the same be established, the whole sway is in the people’s hands, who voluntarily appoint those magistrates by whose authority they may be governed; so that afterward not the multitude itself, but those magistrates which are chosen by the multitude, have the ordering of public affairs: after the selfsame manner it fared in establishing also the Church; when there was not as yet any placed over the people, all authority was in them all; but when they all had chosen certain to whom the regiment of the Church was committed, this power is not now any longer in the hands of the whole multitude, but wholly in theirs who are appointed guides of the Church. Besides, in the choice of deacons, there was also another special cause wherefore the whole Church at that time should choose them. For inasmuch as the Grecians murmured against the Hebrews, and complained that in the daily distribution which was made for relief of the poor, they were not indifferently respected, nor such regard had of their widows as was meet; this made it necessary that they all should have to deal in the choice of those unto whom that care was afterwards to be committed, to the end that all occasion of jealousies and complaints might be removed. Wherefore that which was done by the people for certain causes, before the Church was fully settled, may not be drawn out and applied unto a constant and perpetual form of ordering the Church.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Let them cast the discipline of the church of England into the same scales where they weigh their own, let them give us the same measure which here they take, and our strifes shall soon be brought to a quiet end. When they urge the Apostles as precedents; when they condemn us of tyranny, because we do not in making ministers the same which the Apostles did; when they plead, “That with us one alone doth ordain, and that our ordinations are without the people’s knowledge, contrary to that example which the blessed Apostles gave:” we do not request at their Edition: current; Page: [228] hands allowance as much as of one word we speak in our own defence,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 10. if that which we speak be of our own; but that which themselves speak, they must be contented to listen unto. To exempt themselves from being over far pressed with the Apostles’ example, they can answer, “That which was done by the people once upon special causes, when the Church was not yet established, is not to be made a rule for the constant and continual ordering of the Church.” In defence of their own election, although they do not therein depend on the people so much as the Apostles in the choice of deacons, they think it a very sufficient apology, that there were special considerations why deacons at that time should be chosen by the whole Church, but not so now. In excuse of dissimilitudes between their own and the Apostles’ discipline, they are contented to use this answer, “That many things were done in the Apostles’ times, before the settling of the Church, which afterward the Church was not tied to observe.” For countenance of their own proceedings, wherein their governors do more than the Apostles, and their people less than under the Apostles the first Churches are found to have done, at the making of ecclesiastical officers, they deem it a marvellous reasonable kind of pleading to some [say?] “That even as in commonweals, when the multitude have once chosen many or one to rule over them, the right which was at the first in the whole body of the people is now derived into those many or that one which is so chosen; and that this being done, it is not the whole multitude, to whom the administration of such public affairs any longer appertaineth, but that which they did, their rulers may now do lawfully without them: after the selfsame manner it standeth with the Church also.”

How easy and plain might we make our defence, how clear and allowable even unto them, if we could but obtain of them to admit the same things consonant unto equity in our mouths, which they require to be so taken from their own! If that which is truth, being uttered in maintenance of Scotland and Geneva, do not cease to be truth when the church of England once allegeth it, this great crime of tyranny wherewith we are charged hath a plain and an easy defence.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]“Yea, but we do not at all ask the people’s approbation, Edition: current; Page: [229] which they do1, whereby they shew themselves more indifferent and more free from taking away the people’s right.” Indeed, when their lay-elders have chosen whom they think good, the people’s consent thereunto is asked, and if they give their approbation, the thing standeth warranted for sound and good. But if not, is the former choice overthrown? No, but the people is to yield to reason; and if they which have made the choice, do so like the people’s reason, as to reverse their own deed at the hearing of it, then a new election to be made2; otherwise the former to stand, notwithstanding the people’s negative and dislike. What is this else but to deal with the people, as those nurses do with infants, whose mouths they besmear with the backside of the spoon, as though they had fed them, when they themselves devour the food? They cry in the ears of the people, that all men’s consent should be had unto that which concerns all; they make the people believe we wrong them, and deprive them of their right in making ministers, whereas with us the people have commonly far more sway and force than with them. For inasmuch as there are but two main things observed in every ecclesiastical function, Power to exercise the duty itself, and some charge of People whereon to exercise the same; the former of these is received at the hands of the whole visible catholic Church. For it is not any one particular multitude that can give power, the force whereof may reach far and wide indefinitely, as the power of order doth, which whoso hath once received, there is no action which belongeth thereunto but he may exercise effectually the same in any part of the world without iterated Edition: current; Page: [230] ordination.BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 11. They whom the whole Church hath from the beginning used as her agents in conferring this power, are not either one or more of the laity, and therefore it hath not been heard of that ever any such were allowed to ordain ministers: only persons ecclesiastical, and they, in place of calling, superiors both unto deacons and unto presbyters; only such persons ecclesiastical have been authorized to ordain both, and to give them the power of order, in the name of the whole Church. Such were the Apostles, such was Timothy, such was Titus, such are bishops. Not that there is between these no difference, but that they all agree in preeminence of place above both presbyters and deacons, whom they otherwise might not ordain1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]Now whereas hereupon some do infer, that no ordination can stand but only such as is made by bishops, which have had their ordination likewise by other bishops before them, till we come to the very Apostles of Christ themselves; in which respect it was demanded of Beza at Poissie2, “By what authority he could administer the holy sacraments, being not thereunto ordained by any other than Calvin, or by such as to whom the power of ordination did not belong, according to the ancient orders and customs of the Church; sith Calvin and they who joined with him in that action were no bishops:” and Athanasius maintaineth the fact of Macarius a presbyter3, which overthrew the holy table Edition: current; Page: [231] whereat one Ischyras would have ministered the blessed Sacrament, having not been consecrated thereunto by laying on of some bishop’s hands1, according to the ecclesiastical canons; as also Epiphanius inveigheth sharply against divers for doing the like, when they had not episcopal ordination: to this we answer, that there may be sometimes very just and sufficient reason to allow ordination made without a bishop.

The whole Church visible being the true original subject of all power, it hath not ordinarily allowed any other than bishops alone to ordain: howbeit, as the ordinary course is ordinarily in all things to be observed, so it may be in some cases not unnecessary that we decline from the ordinary ways.

Men may be extraordinarily, yet allowably, two ways admitted unto spiritual functions in the Church. One is, when God himself doth of himself raise up any, whose labour he useth without requiring that men should authorize them; but then he doth ratify their calling by manifest signs and tokens himself from heaven: and thus even such as believed not our Saviour’s teaching, did yet acknowledge him a lawful teacher sent from God: “Thou art a teacher sent from God, otherwise none could do those things which thou doest2.” Luther did but reasonably3 therefore, in declaring that the senate of Mulheuse should do well to ask of Muncer, from whence he received power to teach, who it was that had called him; and if his answer were that God had given him his charge, then to require at his hands some evident sign thereof for men’s satisfaction: because so God is wont, when he himself is the author of any extraordinary calling.

Another extraordinary kind of vocation is, when the exigence of necessity doth constrain to leave the usual ways of the Church, which otherwise we would willingly keep: where Edition: current; Page: [232] the church must needs have some ordained,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 12. and neither hath nor can have possibly a bishop to ordain; in case of such necessity, the ordinary institution of God hath given oftentimes, and may give, place. And therefore we are not simply without exception to urge a lineal descent of power from the Apostles by continued succession of bishops in every effectual ordination. These cases of inevitable necessity excepted, none may ordain but only bishops: by the imposition of their hands it is, that the Church giveth power of order, both unto presbyters and deacons.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]Now when that power so received is once to have any certain subject whereon it may work, and whereunto it is to be tied, here cometh in the people’s consent, and not before. The power of order I may lawfully receive, without asking leave of any multitude; but that power I cannot exercise upon any one certain people utterly against their wills; neither is there in the church of England any man, by order of law, possessed with pastoral charge over any parish, but the people in effect do choose him thereunto. For albeit they choose not by giving every man personally his particular voice, yet can they not say that they have their pastors violently obtruded upon them, inasmuch as their ancient and original interest therein hath been by orderly means derived into the patron who chooseth for them. And if any man be desirous to know how patrons came to have such interest, we are to consider, that at the first erection of churches, it seemed but reasonable in the eyes of the whole Christian world to pass that right to them and their successors, on whose soil and at whose charge the same were founded1. This all men gladly and willingly did, both in honour of so great piety, and for encouragement of many others unto the like, who peradventure else would have been as slow to erect churches or to endow them, as we are forward both to spoil them and to pull them down.

It is no true assertion therefore in such sort as the pretended reformers mean it2, “That all ministers of God’s word Edition: current; Page: [233] ought to be made by consent of many, that is to say,BOOK VII. Ch. xiv. 13. by the people’s suffrages; that ancient bishops neither did nor might ordain otherwise; and that ours do herein usurp a far greater power than was, or than lawfully could have been granted unto bishops which were of old.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]Furthermore, as touching spiritual jurisdiction, our bishops, they say, do that which of all things is most intolerable, and which the ancient never did. “Our bishops excommunicate and release alone1, whereas the censures of the Church neither ought, nor were wont to be administered otherwise than by consent of many.” Their meaning here, when they speak of many2, is not as before it was; when they hold that ministers should be made with consent of many, they understand by many, the multitude, or common people; but in requiring that many should evermore join with the bishop in the administration of church censures, they mean by many, a few lay-elders chosen out of the rest of the people to that purpose. This they say is ratified by ancient councils3, by ancient bishops4 this was practised. Edition: current; Page: [234] And the reason hereof, as Beza supposeth1, was, “Because if the power of ecclesiastical censures did belong unto any one, there would this great inconveniency follow, ecclesiastical Edition: current; Page: [235] regiment should be changed into mere tyranny, or else into a civil royalty: therefore no one, either bishop or presbyter, should or can alone exercise that power, but with his ecclesiastical consistory he ought to do it, as may appear by the old discipline.” And is it possible, that one so grave and judicious should think it in earnest tyranny for a bishop to excommunicate, whom law and order hath authorized so to do? or be persuaded that ecclesiastical regiment degenerateth into civil regality, when one is allowed to do that which hath been at any time the deed of more? Surely, far meaner witted men than the world accounteth Mr. Beza do easily perceive, that tyranny is power violently exercised against order, against law; and that the difference of these two regiments, ecclesiastical and civil, consisteth in the matter about which the actions of each are conversant; and not in this, that civil royalty admitteth but one, ecclesiastical government requireth many supreme correctors. Which allegation, were it true, would prove no more than only that some certain number is necessary for the assistance of the bishop; but that a number of such as they do require is necessary, how doth it prove? Wherefore albeit bishops should now do the very same which the ancients did, using the college of presbyters under them as their assistants when they administer church-censures, yet should they still swerve utterly from that which these men so busily labour for, because the agents whom they require to assist in those cases are a sort of lay-elders, such as no ancient bishop ever was assisted with.

Shall these fruitless jars and janglings never cease? shall we never see end of them? How much happier were the world if those eager taskmasters whose eyes are so curious and sharp in discerning what should be done by many and what by few, were all changed into painful doers of that which every good Christian man ought either only or chiefly to do, and to be found therein doing when that great and glorious Judge of all men’s both deeds and words shall appear? In the meanwhile, be it one that hath this charge, or be they many that be his assistants, let there be careful provision that justice may be administered, and in this shall our God be glorified more than by such contentious disputes.

Edition: current; Page: [236]

BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 1-3.XV. Of which nature that also is, wherein Bishops are over and besides all this accused “to have much more excessive power than the ancient, inasmuch as unto their ecclesiastical authority, the civil magistrate for the better repressing of such as contemn ecclesiastical censures,Concerning the civil power and authority which our Bishops have. hath for divers ages annexed civil1. The crime of bishops herein is divided into these two several branches; the one, that in causes ecclesiastical they strike with the sword of secular punishments; the other, that offices are granted them, by virtue whereof they meddle with civil affairs.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Touching the one, it reacheth no farther than only unto restraint of liberty by imprisonment (which yet is not done but by the laws of the land, and by virtue of authority derived from the prince). A thing which being allowable in priests amongst the Jews, must needs have received some strange alteration in nature since, if it be now so pernicious and venomous to be coupled with a spiritual vocation in any man which beareth office in the Church of Christ. Shemaiah writing to the college of priests which were in Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the principal of them, told them they were appointed of God, “that they might be officers in the house of the Lord, for every man which raved, and did make himself a prophet2,” to the end that they might by the force of this their authority “put such in prison and in the stocks.” His malice is reproved, for that he provoketh them to shew their power against the innocent. But surely, when any man justly punishable had been brought before them, it could be no unjust thing for them even in such sort then to have punished.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]As for offices by virtue whereof bishops have to deal in civil affairs, we must consider that civil affairs are of divers Edition: current; Page: [237] kinds,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 3. and as they be not all fit for ecclesiastical persons to meddle with, so neither is it necessary, nor at this day haply convenient, that from meddling with any such thing at all they all should without exception be secluded. I will therefore set down some few causes, wherein it cannot but clearly appear unto reasonable men that civil and ecclesiastical functions may be lawfully united in one and the same person.

First therefore, in case a Christian society be planted amongst their professed enemies, or by toleration do live under some certain state whereinto they are not incorporated, whom shall we judge the meetest man to have the hearing and determining of such mere civil controversies as are every day wont to grow between man and man? Such being the state of the church of Corinth, the Apostle giveth them this direction, “Dare any of you having business against another be judged by the unjust, and not under saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? If the world then shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge the angels? how much more things that appertain to this life? If then ye have judgment of things pertaining to this life, set up them which are least esteemed in the Church. I speak it to your shame; is it so that there is not a wise man amongst you? no not one that can judge between his brethren, but a brother goeth to law with a brother and that under the infidels? Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another; why rather suffer ye not wrong, why rather sustain ye not harm1?” In which speech there are these degrees: better to suffer and to put up injuries, than to contend; better to end contention by arbitrement, than by judgment; better by judgment before the wisest of their own, than before the simpler; better before the simplest of their own, than the wisest of them without; So that if judgment of secular affairs should be committed unto wise men, unto men of chiefest credit and account amongst them, when the pastors of their souls are such, who more fit to be also their judges for the ending of strifes? The wisest in things divine may Edition: current; Page: [238] be also1 in things human the most skilful. At leastwise they are by likelihood commonly more able to know right from wrong than the common unlettered sort.

And what St. Augustine did hereby gather, his own words do sufficiently shew. “I call God to witness upon my soul,” saith he2, “that according to the order which is kept in well-ordered monasteries, I could wish to have every day my hours of labouring with my hands, my hours of reading and of praying, rather than to endure these most tumultuous perplexities of other men’s causes, which I am forced to bear while I travel in secular businesses, either by judging to discuss them, or to cut them off by entreaty: unto which toils that Apostle, who himself sustained them not, for any thing we read, hath notwithstanding tied us not of his own accord, but being thereunto directed by that Spirit which speaks in him. His own apostleship which Edition: current; Page: [239] drew him to travel up and down,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 4, 5. suffered him not to be any where settled to this purpose; wherefore the wise, faithful and holy men which were seated here and there, and not them which travelled up and down to preach, he made examiners of such businesses. Whereupon of him it is no where written, that he had leisure to attend these things, from which we cannot excuse ourselves although we be simple: because even such he requireth, if wise men cannot be had, rather than the affairs of Christians should be brought into public judgment. Howbeit not without comfort in our Lord are these travels undertaken by us, for the hope’s sake of eternal life, to the end that with patience we may reap fruit.” So far is St. Augustine from thinking it unlawful for pastors in such sort to judge civil causes, that he plainly collecteth out of the Apostle’s words a necessity to undertake that duty; yea himself he comforteth with the hope of a blessed reward, in lieu of travel that way sustained.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Again, even where whole Christian kingdoms are, how troublesome were it for universities and other greater collegiate societies, erected to serve as nurseries unto the Church of Christ, if every thing which civilly doth concern them were to be carried from their own peculiar governors, because for the most part they are (as fittest it is they should be) persons of ecclesiastical calling? It was by the wisdom of our famous predecessors foreseen how unfit this would be, and hereupon provided by grant of special charters that it might be as now it is in the universities; where their vice-chancellors, being for the most part professors of divinity, are nevertheless civil judges over them in the most of their ordinary causes.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]And to go yet some degrees further; a thing impossible it is not, neither altogether unusual, for some who are of royal blood to be consecrated unto the ministry of Jesus Christ, and so to be nurses of God’s Church, not only as the Prophet1 did foretell, but also as the Apostle St. Paul was. Now in case the crown should by this mean descend unto such persons, perhaps when they are the very last, or perhaps the very best of their race, so that a greater benefit they are not able to bestow upon a kingdom than by accepting Edition: current; Page: [240] their right therein:BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 5. shall the sanctity of their order deprive them of that honour whereunto they have right by blood? or shall it be a bar to shut out the public good that may grow by their virtuous regiment? If not, then must they cast off the office which they received by divine imposition of hands; or, if they carry a more religious opinion concerning that heavenly function, it followeth, that being invested as well with the one as the other, they remain God’s lawfully anointed both ways. With men of skill and mature judgment1 there is of this so little doubt, that concerning such as at this day are under the archbishops of Mentz, Colen, and Trevers, being both archbishops and princes of the empire; yea such as live within the Pope’s own civil territories, there is no cause why any should deny to yield them civil obedience in any thing which they command, not repugnant to Christian piety; yea, even that civilly for such as are under them not to obey them, were but the part of seditious persons. Howbeit for persons ecclesiastical Edition: current; Page: [241] thus to exercise civil dominion of their own,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 6, 7. is more than when they only sustain some public office, or deal in some business civil, being thereunto even by supreme authority required.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]As nature doth not any thing in vain, so neither grace. Wherefore if it please God to bless some principal attendants on his own sanctuary, and to endue them with extraordinary parts of excellency, some in one kind, some in another, surely a great derogation it were to the very honour of him who bestowed so precious graces, except they on whom he hath bestowed them should accordingly be employed, that the fruit of those heavenly gifts might extend itself unto the body of the commonwealth wherein they live; which being of purpose instituted (for so all commonwealths are) to the end that all might enjoy whatsoever good it pleaseth the Almighty to endue each one man with, must needs suffer loss, when it hath not the gain which eminent civil ability in ecclesiastical persons is now and then found apt to afford. Shall we then discommend the people of Milan for using Ambrose their bishop as an ambassador1 about their public and politic affairs; the Jews for electing their priests sometimes to be leaders in war; David for making the high-priest his chiefest counsellor of state: finally, all Christian kings and princes which have appointed unto like services bishops or other of the clergy under them? No, they have done in this respect that which most sincere and religious wisdom alloweth.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Neither is it allowable only, when either a kind of necessity doth cast civil offices upon them, or when they are thereunto preferred in regard of some extraordinary fitness; but further also when there are even of right annexed unto some of their places, or of course imposed upon certain of their persons, functions of dignity and account in the commonwealth; albeit no other consideration be had therein save this, that their credit and countenance may by such means be augmented. A thing if ever to be respected, surely most of all now, when God himself is for his own sake generally no where honoured, religion almost no where, no where religiously Edition: current; Page: [242] adored,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 7. the ministry of the word and sacraments of Christ a very cause of disgrace in the eyes both of high and low, where it hath not somewhat besides itself to be countenanced with. For unto this very pass things are come, that the glory of God is constrained even to stand upon borrowed credit, which yet were somewhat the more tolerable, if there were not that dissuade to lend it him.

No practice so vile, but pretended holiness is made sometime as a cloak to hide it. The French king Philip Valois1 in his time made an ordinance that all prelates and bishops should be clean excluded from parliaments where the affairs of the kingdom were handled; pretending that a king with good conscience cannot draw pastors, having cure of souls, from so weighty a business, to trouble their heads with consultations of state. But irreligious intents are not able to hide themselves, no not when holiness is made their cloak. This is plain and simple truth, that the councils of wicked men hate always the presence of them, whose virtue, though it should not be able to prevail against their purposes, would notwithstanding be unto their minds a secret corrosive: Edition: current; Page: [243] and therefore, till either by one shift or another they can bring all things to their own hands alone,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 8, 9. they are not secure.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]Ordinances holier and better there stand as yet in force by the grace of Almighty God, and the works of his providence amongst us. Let not envy so far prevail, as to make us account that a blemish, which if there be in us any spark of sound judgment, or of religious conscience, we must of necessity acknowledge to be one of the chiefest ornaments unto this land: by the ancient laws whereof, the clergy being held for the chief of those three estates, which together make up the entire body of this commonwealth, under one supreme head and governor, it hath all this time ever borne a sway proportionable in the weighty affairs of the land; wise and virtuous kings condescending most willingly thereunto, even of reverence to the Most High; with the flower of whose sanctified inheritance, as it were with a kind of Divine presence, unless their chiefest civil assemblies were so far forth beautified as might be without any notable impediment unto their heavenly functions, they could not satisfy themselves as having shewed towards God an affection most dutiful.

Thus, first, in defect of other civil magistrates; secondly, for the ease and quietness of scholastical societies; thirdly, by way of political necessity; fourthly, in regard of quality, care, and extraordinancy; fifthly, for countenance unto the ministry; and lastly, even of devotion and reverence towards God himself: there may be admitted at leastwise in some particulars well and lawfully enough a conjunction of civil and ecclesiastical power, except there be some such law or reason to the contrary, as may prove it to be a thing simply in itself naught.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Against it many things are objected, as first, “That the matters which are noted in the holy Scriptures to have belonged to the ordinary office of any ministers of God’s holy word and sacraments, are these which follow, with such like, and no other; namely, the watch of the sanctuary, the business of God, the ministry of the word and sacraments, oversight of the house of God, watching over his flock, prophecy, prayer, dispensations of the mysteries of Edition: current; Page: [244] God, charge and care of men’s souls1.”BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 10. If a man would shew what the offices and duties of a chirurgeon or physician are, I suppose it were not his part so much as to mention any thing belonging to the one or the other, in case either should be also a soldier or a merchant, or an housekeeper, or a magistrate: because the functions of these are different from those of the former, albeit one and the same man may haply be both. The case is like, when the Scripture teacheth what duties are required in an ecclesiastical minister; in describing of whose office, to touch any other thing than such as properly and directly toucheth his office that way, were impertinent.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]Yea, “but in the Old Testament2 the two powers civil and ecclesiastical were distinguished, not only in nature, but also in person; the one committed unto Moses, and the magistrates joined with him; the other to Aaron and his sons. Jehoshaphat in his reformation3 doth not only distinguish causes ecclesiastical from civil, and Edition: current; Page: [245] erecteth divers courts for them, but appointeth also divers judges.”

With the Jews these two powers were not so distinguished, but that sometimes they might and did concur in one and the same person. Was not Eli both priest and judge1? after their return from captivity, Esdras a priest, and the same their chief governor even in civil affairs also?

These men which urge the necessity of making always a personal distinction of these two powers, as if by Jehoshaphat’s example the same person ought not to deal in both causes, yet are not scrupulous2 to make men of civil place and calling presbyters and ministers of spiritual jurisdiction in their own spiritual consistories. If it be against the Jewish precedents for us to give civil power unto such as have ecclesiastical; is it not as much against the same for them to give ecclesiastical power unto such as have civil? They will answer perhaps, that their position is only against conjunction of ecclesiastical power of order, and the power of civil jurisdiction in one person. But this answer will not stand with their proofs, which make no less against the power of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction in one person; for of these two powers Jehoshaphat’s example is: besides, the contrary example [examples?] of Eli and of Ezra, by us alleged, do plainly shew, that amongst the Jews even the power of order ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction were sometimes lawfully united in one and the same person.

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BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 11, 12.Edition: 1888; Page: [11]Pressed further we are with our Lord and Saviour’s example, who “denieth his kingdom to be of this world, and therefore, as not standing with his calling, refused to be made a king, to give sentence in a criminal cause of adultery1, and in a civil of dividing an inheritance2.” The Jews imagining that their Messiah should be a potent monarch upon earth, no marvel, though when they did otherwise wonder at Christ’s greatness, they sought forthwith to have him invested with that kind of dignity, to the end he might presently begin to reign. Others of the Jews, which likewise had the same imagination of the Messiah, and did somewhat incline to think that peradventure this might be he, thought good to try whether he would take upon him that which he might do, being a king, such as they supposed their true Messiah should be. But Christ refused to be a king over them, because it was no part of the office of their Messiah, as they did falsely conceive; and to intermeddle in those acts of civil judgment he refused also, because he had no such jurisdiction in that commonwealth, being in regard of his civil person a man of mean and low calling3. As for repugnancy between ecclesiastical and civil power, or any inconvenience that these two powers should be united, it doth not appear that this was the cause of his resistance either to reign or else to judge.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]What say we then to the blessed Apostles, who teach4, Edition: current; Page: [247] “that soldiers entangle not themselves with the business of this life,BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 12. but leave them, to the end they may please him who hath chosen them to serve, and that so the good soldiers of Christ ought to do.”

“The Apostles which taught this, did never take upon them any place or office of civil power. No, they gave over the ecclesiastical care of the poor, that they might wholly attend upon the word and prayer1.”

St. Paul indeed doth exhort Timothy after this manner2: “Suffer thou evil as a noble soldier of Jesus Christ: no man warring is entangled with the affairs of life, because he must serve such as have pressed him unto warfare.” The sense and meaning whereof is plain, that soldiers may not be nice and tender, that they must be able to endure hardness, that no man betaking himself unto wars continueth entangled with such kind of businesses as tend only unto the ease and quiet felicity of this life, but if the service of him who hath taken them under his banner require the hazard, yea the loss of their lives, to please him they must be content and willing with any difficulty, any peril, be it never so much against the natural desire which they have to live in safety. And at this point the clergy of God must always stand; thus it behoveth them to be affected as oft as their Lord and captain leadeth them into the field, whatsoever conflicts, perils, or evils they are to endure. Which duty being not such, but that therewith the civil dignities which ecclesiastical persons amongst us do enjoy may enough stand; the exhortation of Paul to Timothy is but a slender allegation against them.

As well might we gather out of this place, that men having children or wives are not fit to be ministers, (which also hath been collected, and that by sundry of the ancient3), and that it is requisite the clergy be utterly forbidden marriage: for as Edition: current; Page: [248] the burden of civil regiment doth make them who bear it the less able to attend their ecclesiastical charge;BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 13, 14. even so St. Paul doth say, that the married are careful for the world, the unmarried freer to give themselves wholly to the service of God. Howbeit, both experience hath found it safer, that the clergy should bear the cares of honest marriage, than be subject to the inconveniences which single life imposed upon them would draw after it: and as many as are of sound judgment know it to be far better for this present age, that the detriment be borne which haply may grow through the lessening of some few men’s spiritual labours, than that the clergy and commonwealth should lack the benefit which both the one and the other may reap through their dealing in civil affairs. In which consideration, that men consecrated unto the spiritual service of God be licensed so far forth to meddle with the secular affairs of the world, as doth seem for some special good cause requisite, and may be without any grievous prejudice unto the Church, surely there is not in the Apostles being rightly understood, any let.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]That no Apostle did ever bear office, may it not be a wonder, considering the great devotion of the age wherein they lived, and the zeal of Herod, of Nero the great commander of the known world, and of other kings of the earth at that time, to advance by all means Christian religion.

Their deriving unto others that smaller charge of distributing of the goods which were laid at their feet, and of making provision for the poor, which charge, being in part civil, themselves had before (as I suppose lawfully) undertaken, and their following of that which was weightier, may serve as a marvellous good example for the dividing of one man’s office into divers slips, and the subordinating of inferiors to discharge some part of the same, when by reason of multitude increasing that labour waxeth great and troublesome which before was easy and light; but very small force it hath to infer a perpetual divorce between ecclesiastical and civil power in the same persons.

Edition: 1888; Page: [14]The most that can be said in this case is, “That sundry eminent canons, bearing the name of apostolical, and divers councils likewise there are, which have forbidden the Edition: current; Page: [249] clergy to bear any secular office1;BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 14. and have enjoined them to attend altogether upon reading, preaching, and prayer: whereupon the most of the ancient fathers have shewed great dislikes that these two powers should be united in one person2.”

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For a full and final answer whereunto, I would first demand, whether the commixtion and separation of these two powers be a matter of mere positive law, or else a thing simply with or against the law immutable of God and nature? That which is simply against this latter law can at no time be allowable in any person, more than adultery, blasphemy, sacrilege, and the like. But conjunction of power ecclesiastical and civil, what law is there which hath not at some time or other allowed as a thing convenient and meet? In the law of God we have examples sundry, whereby it doth most manifestly appear how of him the same hath oftentimes been approved. No kingdom or nation in the world, but hath been thereunto accustomed without inconvenience and hurt. In the prime of the world, kings and civil rulers were priests for the most part all. The Romans1 note it as a thing beneficial in their own commonwealth, and even to them2 apparently forcible for the strengthening of the Jews’ regiment under Moses and Samuel.

I deny not but sometime there may be, and hath been perhaps, just cause to ordain otherwise. Wherefore we are not so to urge those things which heretofore have been either ordered or done, as thereby to prejudice those orders, which upon contrary occasion and the exigence of the present time by like authority have been established. For what is there which doth let but that from contrary occasions contrary laws may grow, and each be reasoned and disputed for by such as are subject thereunto, during the time they are in force; and yet neither so opposite to other, but that both may laudably continue, as long as the ages which keep them do see no Edition: current; Page: [251] necessary cause which may draw them unto alteration?BOOK VII. Ch. xv. 15. Wherefore in these things, canons, constitutions, and laws, which have been at one time meet, do not prove that the Church should always be bound to follow them. Ecclesiastical persons were by ancient order forbidden to be executors of any man’s testament, or to undertake the wardship of children. Bishops by the imperial law are forbidden to bequeath by testament or otherwise to alienate any thing grown unto them after they were made bishops1. Is there no remedy but that these or the like orders must therefore every where still be observed?

Edition: 1888; Page: [15]The reason is not always evident, why former orders have been repealed and other established in their room. Herein therefore we must remember the axiom used in the civil laws, “That the prince is always presumed to do that with reason, which is not against reason being done, although no reason of his deed be expressed.” Which being in every respect as true of the Church, and her divine authority in making laws, it should be some bridle unto those malapert and proud spirits, whose wits not conceiving the reason of laws that are established, they adore their own private fancy as the supreme law of all, and accordingly take upon them to judge that whereby they should be judged.

But why labour we thus in vain? For even to change that which now is, and to establish instead thereof that which themselves would acknowledge the very selfsame which hath been, to what purpose were it, sith they protest2, “that Edition: current; Page: [252] they utterly condemn as well that which hath been as that which is;BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 1, 2. as well the ancient as the present superiority, authority and power of ecclesiastical persons.”

The arguments answered, whereby they would prove that the law of God and the judgment of the best in all ages condemneth the ruling superiority of one minister over another.XVI. Now where they lastly allege1, “That the law of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the judgment of the best in all ages, condemn all ruling superiority of ministers over ministers;” they are in this, as in the rest, more bold to affirm, than able to prove the things which they bring for support of their weak and feeble cause. “The bearing of dominion or the exercising of authority (they say2), is that wherein the civil magistrate is severed from the ecclesiastical officer, according to the words of our Lord and Saviour, ‘Kings of nations bear rule over them, but it shall not be so with you:’ therefore bearing of dominion doth not agree to one minister over another.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]This place hath been, and still is, although most falsely, yet with far greater show and likelihood of truth, brought forth by the anabaptists3, to prove that the Church of Christ ought to have no civil magistrates, but [to be] ordered only by Christ. Wherefore they urge the opposition between heathens and them unto whom our Saviour speaketh. For sith the Apostles were opposite to heathens, not in that they were Apostles, but in that they were Christians, the Edition: current; Page: [253] anabaptists’ inference is,BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 3, 4. “that Christ doth here give a law, to be for ever observed by all true Christian men, between whom and heathens there must be always this difference, that whereas heathens have their kings and princes to rule, Christians ought not in this thing to be like unto them.” Wherein their construction hath the more show, because that which Christ doth speak to his Apostles is not found always agreeable unto them as Apostles, or as pastors of men’s souls, but oftentimes it toucheth them in generality, as they are Christians; so that Christianity being common unto them with all believers, such speeches must be so taken that they may be applied unto all, and not only unto them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]They which consent with us, in rejecting such collections as the anabaptist maketh with more probability, must give us leave to reject such as themselves have made with less: for a great deal less likely it is, that our Lord should here establish an everlasting difference, not between his Church and pagans, but between the pastors of his Church and civil governors. For if herein they must always differ, that the one may not bear rule, the other may; how did the Apostles themselves observe this difference, the exercise of whose authority, both in commanding and in controlling others, the Scripture hath made so manifest that no gloss can overshadow it? Again, it being, as they would have it, our Saviour’s purpose to withhold his Apostles and in them all other pastors from bearing rule, why should kingly dominion be mentioned, which occasions men to gather, that not all dominion and rule, but this one only form was prohibited, and that authority was permitted them, so it were not regal? Furthermore, in case it had been his purpose to withhold pastors altogether from bearing rule, why should kings of nations be mentioned, as if they were not forbidden to exercise, no not regal dominion itself, but only such regal dominion as heathen kings do exercise?

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]The very truth is, our Lord and Saviour did aim at a far other mark than these men seem to observe. The end of his speech was to reform their particular mispersuasion to whom he spake: and their mispersuasion was, that which was also the common fancy of the Jews at that time, that their Edition: current; Page: [254] Lord being the Messias of the world, should restore unto Israel that kingdom, whereof the Romans had as then bereaved them;BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 5. they imagined that he should not only deliver the state of Israel, but himself reign as king in the throne of David with all secular pomp and dignity; that he should subdue the rest of the world, and make Jerusalem the seat of an universal monarchy. Seeing therefore they had forsaken all to follow him, being now in so mean condition, they did not think but that together with him they also should rise in state; that they should be the first and the most advanced by him. Of this conceit it came that the mother of the sons of Zebedee sued for her children’s preferment; of this conceit it grew, that the Apostles began to question amongst themselves which of them should be greatest; and in controlment of this conceit it was that our Lord so plainly told them, that the thoughts of their hearts were vain:” the kings of nations have indeed their large and ample dominions, they reign far and wide, and their servants they advance unto honour in the world; they bestow upon them large and ample secular preferments, in which respect they are also termed many of them benefactors, because of the liberal hand which they use in rewarding such as have done them service: but was it the meaning of the ancient prophets of God that the Messias the king of Israel should be like unto these kings, and his retinue grow in such sort as theirs? “Wherefore ye are not to look for at my hands such preferment as kings of nations are wont to bestow upon their attendants, ‘With you not so.’ Your reward in heaven shall be most ample, on earth your chiefest honour must be to suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake; submission, humility and meekness are things fitter for you to inure your minds withal, than these aspiring cogitations; if any amongst you be greater than other, let him shew himself greatest in being lowliest, let him be above them in being under them, even as a servant for their good. These are affections which you must put on; as for degrees of preferment and honour in this world, if ye expect any such thing at my hands ye deceive yourselves, for in the world your portion is rather the clear contrary.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Wherefore they who allege this place against episcopal Edition: current; Page: [255] authority abuse it, they many ways deprave and wrest it, clean from the true understanding wherein our Saviour himself did utter it.BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 6.

For first, whereas he by way of mere negation had said, “With you it shall not be so,” foretelling them only that it should not so come to pass as they vainly surmised; these men take his words in the plain nature of a prohibition, as if Christ had thereby forbidden all inequality of ecclesiastical power. Secondly, whereas he did but cut off their idle hope of secular advancements; all standing superiority amongst persons ecclesiastical these men would rase off with the edge of his speech. Thirdly, whereas he in abating their hope even of secular advancements spake but only with relation unto himself, informing them that he would be no such munificent Lord unto them in their temporal dignity and honour, as they did erroneously suppose; so that any Apostle might afterwards have grown by means of others to be even emperor of Rome, for any thing in those words to the contrary: these men removing quite and clean the hedge of all such restraints, enlarge so far the bounds of his meaning, as if his very precise intent and purpose had been not to reform the error of his Apostles conceived as touching him, and to teach what himself would not be towards them, but to prescribe a special law both to them and their successors for ever; a law determining what they should not be in relation of one to another, a law forbidding that any such title should be given to any minister as might import or argue in him a superiority over other ministers1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Being thus defeated of that succour which they thought their cause might have had out of the words of our Saviour Christ, they try2 their adventure in seeking what Edition: current; Page: [256] aid man’s testimony will yield them: “Cyprian objecteth it to Florentinus as a proud thing, that by believing evil reports, and misjudging of Cyprian, he made himself bishop of a bishop, and judge over him whom God had for the time appointed to be judge1.” “The endeavour of godly men to strike at these insolent names may appear in the council of Carthage: where it was decreed, that the bishop of the chief see should not be entitled the exarch of priests, or the highest priest, or any other thing of like sense, but only the bishop of the chiefest see2; whereby are shut out the name of archbishop, and all other such haughty titles.” In these allegations it fareth, as in broken reports snatched out of the author’s mouth, and broached before they be half either told on the one part, or on the other understood. The matter which Cyprian complaineth of in Florentinus was thus: Novatus misliking the easiness of Cyprian to admit men into the fellowship of believers after they had fallen away from the bold and constant confession of Christian faith, took thereby occasion to separate himself from the Church3, and being united with certain excommunicate persons, they joined their wits together, and drew out against Cyprian their lawful bishop sundry grievous accusations; the crimes such, as being true, had made him uncapable of that office whereof he was six years as then possessed; they went to Rome, and to other places, accusing him every where as guilty of those faults of which themselves had lewdly condemned him, pretending that twenty-five African bishops (a thing most false) had heard and examined his Edition: current; Page: [257] cause in a solemn assembly, and that they all had given their sentence against him, holding his election by the canons of the church void.BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 7. The same factious and seditious persons coming also unto Florentinus, who was at that time a man imprisoned for the testimony of Jesus Christ, but yet a favourer of the error of Novatus, their malicious accusations he over-willingly hearkened unto, gave them credit, concurred with them1, and unto Cyprian in fine wrote his letters against Cyprian: which letters he justly taketh in marvellous evil part, and therefore severely controlleth his so great presumption in making himself a judge of a judge, and, as it were, a bishop’s bishop, to receive accusations against him, as one that had been his ordinary. “2What height of pride is this (saith Cyprian), what arrogancy of spirit, what a puffing up of mind, to call guides and priests to be examined and sifted before him! So that unless we shall be cleared in your court, and absolved by your sentence, behold for these six years’ space neither shall the brotherhood have had a bishop, nor the people a guide, nor the flock a shepherd, nor the Church a governor, nor Christ a prelate, nor God a priest.” This is the pride which Cyprian condemneth in Florentinus, and not the title or name of archbishop; about which matter there was not at that time so much as the dream of any controversy at all between them. A silly collection it is, that because Cyprian reproveth Florentinus for lightness of belief and presumptuous rashness of judgment, therefore he held the title of archbishop to be a vain and a proud name.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Archbishops were chief amongst bishops, yet archbishops had not over bishops that full authority which every bishop had over his own particular clergy: bishops were not Edition: current; Page: [258] subject unto their archbishop as an ordinary, by whom at all times they were to be judged, according to the manner of inferior pastors, within the compass of each diocess. A bishop might suspend, excommunicate, depose, such as were of his own clergy without any other bishops assistants; not so an archbishop the bishops that were in his own province, above whom divers prerogatives were given him, howbeit no such authority and power as alone to be judge over them. For as a bishop could not be ordained, so neither might he be judged by any one only bishop, albeit that bishop were his metropolitan. Wherefore Cyprian, concerning the liberty and freedom which every bishop had, spake in the council of Carthage, whereat fourscore and seven bishops were present, saying1, “It resteth that every of us declare what we think of this matter, neither judging nor severing from the right of communion any that shall think otherwise: for of us there is not any which maketh himself a bishop of bishops, or with tyrannical fear constraineth his colleagues unto the necessity of obedience, inasmuch as every bishop, according to the reach of his liberty and power, hath his own free judgment, and can no more have another his judge, than himself be judge to another.” Whereby it appeareth, that amongst the African bishops none did use such authority over any as the bishop of Rome did afterwards claim over all, forcing upon them opinions by main and absolute power. Wherefore unto the bishop of Rome the same Cyprian also writeth concerning his opinion about baptism2: “These Edition: current; Page: [259] things we present unto your conscience, most dear brother, as well for common honour’s sake, as of single and sincere love, trusting that as you are truly yourself religious and faithful, so those things which agree with religion and faith will be acceptable unto you:BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 8. howbeit we know, that what some have over drunk in, they will not let go, neither easily change their mind, but with care of preserving whole amongst their brethren the bond of peace and concord, retaining still to themselves certain their own opinions wherewith they have been inured; wherein we neither use force, nor prescribe a law unto any, knowing that in the government of the Church every ruler hath his own voluntary free judgment, and of that which he doth shall render unto the Lord himself an account.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]As for the council of Carthage, doth not the very first canon thereof establish with most effectual terms all things which were before agreed on in the council of Nice1? and that the council of Nice did ratify the preeminence of metropolitan bishops, who is ignorant? The name of an archbishop importeth only a bishop having chiefty of certain prerogatives above his brethren of the same order. Which thing, sith the council of Nice doth allow, it cannot be that the other of Carthage should condemn it, inasmuch as this doth yield unto that a Christian unrestrained approbation. The thing provided for by the synod of Carthage can be no other therefore, than only that the chiefest metropolitan, where many archbishops were within any greater province, should not be termed by those names, as to import the power of an ordinary jurisdiction belonging in such degree and manner unto him over the rest of the bishops and archbishops, as did belong unto every bishop over other pastors under him.

But much more absurd it is to affirm2, that both Cyprian Edition: current; Page: [260] and the council of Carthage condemn even such superiority also of bishops themselves over pastors their inferiors, as the words of Ignatius imply, in terming the bishop “a prince of priests.”BOOK VII. Ch. xvi. 9. Bishops to be termed arch-priests, in regard of their superiority over priests, is in the writings of the ancient Fathers a thing so usual and familiar, as almost no one thing more. At the council of Nice, saith Theodoret, three hundred and eighteen arch-priests were present1. Were it the meaning of the council of Carthage, that the title of chief priests and such like ought not in any sort at all to be given unto any Christian Bishop, what excuse should we make for so many ancient both Fathers2, and synods3 of Fathers, as have generally applied the title of arch-priest unto every bishop’s office?

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]High time I think it is, to give over the obstinate defence of this most miserable forsaken cause; in the favour whereof neither God, nor amongst so many wise and virtuous men as antiquity hath brought forth, any one can be found to have hitherto directly spoken. Irksome confusion must of Edition: current; Page: [261] necessity be the end whereunto all such vain and ungrounded confidence doth bring, as hath nothing to bear it out but only an excessive measure of bold and peremptory words, holpen by the start of a little time, before they came to be examined.BOOK VII. Ch. xvii. 1. In the writings of the ancient Fathers, there is not any thing with more serious asseveration inculcated, than that it is God which maketh bishops, that their authority hath divine allowance, that the bishop is the priest of God, that he is judge in Christ’s stead, that according to God’s own law the whole Christian fraternity standeth bound to obey him. Of this there was not in the Christian world of old any doubt or controversy made, it was a thing universally every where agreed upon. What should move men to judge that now so unlawful and naught, which then was so reverendly esteemed? Surely no other cause but this, men were in those times meek, lowly, tractable, willing to live in dutiful awe and subjection unto the pastor of their souls: now we imagine ourselves so able every man to teach and direct all others, that none of us can brook it to have superiors; and for a mask to hide our pride, we pretend falsely the law of Christ, as if we did seek the execution of his will, when in truth we labour for the mere satisfaction of our own against his.

The second malicious thing wherein the state of Bishops suffereth obloquy is their honour.XVII. The chiefest cause of disdain and murmur against bishops in the Church of England is that evil-affected eye wherewith the world looked upon them, since the time that irreligious profaneness, beholding the due and just advancements of God’s clergy, hath under pretence of enmity unto ambition and pride proceeded so far, that the contumely of old offered unto Aaron in the like quarrel may seem very moderate and quiet dealing, if we compare it with the fury of our own times. The ground and original of both their proceedings one and the same; in declaration of their grievances they differ not; the complaints as well of the one as the other are1, “Wherefore lift ye up yourselves” thus far “above the congregation of the Lord? It is too much which you take upon you;” too much power, and too much honour. Wherefore as we have shewed that there is not in their power any thing unjust or unlawful, so it resteth that in their honour also the like be done. The labour we take Edition: current; Page: [262] unto this purpose is by so much the harder,BOOK VII. Ch. xvii. 2. in that we are forced to wrestle with the stream of obstinate affection, mightily carried by a wilful prejudice, the dominion whereof is so powerful over them in whom it reigneth, that it giveth them no leave, no not so much as patiently to hearken unto any speech which doth not profess to feed them in this their bitter humour. Notwithstanding, forasmuch as I am persuaded that against God they will not strive, if they perceive once that in truth it is he against whom they open their mouths, my hope is their own confession will be at the length, “Behold, we have done exceeding foolishly; it was the Lord, and we knew it not; him in his ministers we have despised, we have in their honour impugned his.” But the alteration of men’s hearts must be his good and gracious work, whose most omnipotent power framed them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Wherefore to come to our present purpose, honour is no where due, saving only unto such as have in them that whereby they are found, or at the least presumed, voluntarily beneficial1 unto them of whom they are honoured. Wheresoever nature seeth the countenance of a man, it still presumeth that there is in him a mind willing to do good, if need require, inasmuch as by nature so it should be; for which cause men unto men do honour, even for very humanity’s sake: and unto whom we deny all honour, we seem plainly to take from them all opinion of human dignity, to make no account or reckoning of them, to think them so utterly without virtue, as if no good thing in the world could be looked for at their hands. Seeing therefore it seemeth hard that we should so hardly think of any man, the precept of St. Peter is2, “Honour all men.”

Which duty of every man towards all doth vary according to the several degrees whereby they are more or less beneficial, whom we do honour. “Honour the physician3,” saith the wise man: the reason why, because for necessities’ sake God created him. Again4, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the person of the aged:” the reason why, because the younger sort have great benefit by their gravity, experience, and wisdom; for which cause, Edition: current; Page: [263] these things the wise man1 termeth the crown or diadem of the aged. Honour due to parents:BOOK VII. Ch. xvii. 3, 4. the reason why, because we have our beginning from them2; “Obey the father that hath begotten thee, the mother that bare thee despise thou not.” Honour due unto kings and governors: the reason why, because God hath set them3 “for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.” Thus we see by every of these particulars, that there is always some kind of virtue beneficial, wherein they excel who receive honour; and that degrees of honour are distinguished according to the value of those effects which the same beneficial virtue doth produce.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Nor is honour only an inward estimation, whereby they are reverenced and well thought of in the minds of men; but honour whereof we now speak, is defined to be an external sign, by which we give a sensible testification that we acknowledge the beneficial virtue of others. Sarah honoured her husband Abraham; this appeareth by the title she gave him. The brethren of Joseph did him honour in the land of Egypt; their lowly and humble gesture sheweth it. Parents will hardly persuade themselves that this intentional honour, which reacheth no farther than to the inward conception only, is the honour which their children owe them. Touching that honour which mystically agreeing unto Christ, was yielded literally and really unto Solomon, the words of the Psalmist concerning it are4, “Unto him they shall give of the gold of Sheba, they shall pray for him continually, and daily bless him.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Weigh these things in themselves, titles, gestures, presents, other the like external signs wherein honour doth consist, and they are matters of no great moment. Howbeit, take them away, let them cease to be required, and they are not things of small importance, which that surcease were likely to draw after it. Let the lord mayor of London, or any other unto whose office honour belongeth, be deprived but of that title which in itself is a matter of nothing; and suppose we that it would be a small maim unto the credit, force, and countenance of his office? It hath not without the Edition: current; Page: [264] singular wisdom of God been provided, that the ordinary outward tokens of honour should for the most part be in themselves things of mean account;BOOK VII. Ch. xvii. 5. xviii. 1, 2. for to the end they might easily follow as faithful testimonies of that beneficial virtue whereunto they are due, it behoved them to be of such nature, that to himself no man might over-eagerly challenge them, without blushing; nor any man where they are due withhold them, but with manifest appearance of too great malice or pride.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Now forasmuch as according to the ancient orders and customs of this land, as of the kingdom of Israel, and of all Christian kingdoms through the world, the next in degree of honour unto the chief sovereign are the chief prelates of God’s Church; what the reason hereof may be, it resteth next to be inquired.

What good doth publicly grow from the Prelacy.XVIII. Other reason there is not any, wherefore such honour hath been judged due, saving only that public good which the prelates of God’s clergy are authors of. For I would know which of these things it is whereof we make any question, either that the favour of God is the chiefest pillar to bear up kingdoms and states; or that true religion publicly exercised is the principal mean to retain the favour of God; or that the prelates of the Church are they without whom the exercise of true religion cannot well and long continue. If these three be granted, then cannot the public benefit of prelacy be dissembled1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]And of the first or second of these I look not for any professed denial; the world at this will blush, not to grant at the leastwise in word as much as heathens themselves have of old with most earnest asseveration acknowledged2, concerning the force of divine grace in upholding kingdoms. Again, though his mercy doth so far strive with men’s ingratitude, that all kind of public iniquities deserving his indignation, their safety is through his gracious providence many times nevertheless continued to the end that amendment might Edition: current; Page: [265] if it were possible avert their envy;BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 3. so that as well commonweals as particular persons both may and do endure much longer, when they are careful, as they should be, to use the most effectual means of procuring his favour on whom their continuance principally dependeth: yet this point no man will stand to argue, no man will openly arm himself to enter into set disputation against the emperors Theodosius and Valentinian, for making unto their laws concerning religion this preface1, “Decere arbitramur nostrum imperium, subditos nostros de religione commonefacere. Ita enim et pleniorem acquiri Dei ac Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi benignitatem possibile esse existimamus, si quando et nos pro viribus ipsi placere studuerimus, et nostros subditos ad eam rem instituerimus:” or against the emperor Justinian, for that he also maketh the like profession2: “Per sanctissimas ecclesias et nostrum imperium sustineri, et communes res clementissimi Dei gratia muniri credimus.” And in another place3, “Certissime credimus, quia Sacerdotum puritas et decus, et ad Dominum Deum ac salvatorem nostrum Jesum Christum fervor, et ab ipsis missæ perpetuæ preces, multum favorem nostræ reipublicæ et incrementum præbent.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Wherefore only the last point is that which men will boldly require us to prove; for no man feareth now to make it a question, “whether the prelacy of the Church be any thing available or no to effect the good and long continuance of true religion?” Amongst the principal blessings wherewith God enriched Israel, the prophet in the Psalm4 acknowledgeth especially this for one, “Thou didst lead thy people like sheep by the hands of Moses and Aaron.” That which sheep are if pastors be wanting, the same are the people of God if so be they want governors: and that which the principal civil governors are in comparison of regents under them, the same are the prelates of the Church being compared with the rest of God’s clergy. Wherefore inasmuch as amongst the Jews the benefit of civil government grew principally from Moses, he being their principal civil Edition: current; Page: [266] governor; even so the benefit of spiritual regiment grew from Aaron principally, he being in the other kind their principal rector, although even herein subject to the sovereign dominion of Moses.BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 4. For which cause, these two alone are named as the heads and well-springs of all. As for the good which others did in service either of the commonwealth or of the sanctuary, the chiefest glory thereof did belong to the chiefest governors of the one sort and of the other, whose vigilant care and oversight kept them in their due order. Bishops are now as high priests were then, in regard of power over other priests: and in respect of subjection unto high priests1, what priests were then, the same now presbyters are by way of their place under bishops. The one’s authority therefore being so profitable, how should the other’s be thought unnecessary? Is there any man professing Christian religion which holdeth it not as a maxim, that the Church of Jesus Christ did reap a singular benefit by apostolical regiment, not only for other respects, but even in regard of that prelacy whereby they had and exercised power of jurisdiction over lower guides of the Church? Prelates are herein the Apostles’ successors, as hath been proved.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Thus we see that prelacy must needs be acknowledged exceedingly beneficial in the Church; and yet for more perspicuity’s sake, it shall not be pains superfluously taken, if the manner how be also declared at large. For this one thing not understood by the vulgar sort, causeth all contempt to be offered unto higher powers, not only ecclesiastical, but civil: whom when proud men have disgraced, and are therefore reproved by such as carry some dutiful affection of mind, the usual apologies which they make for themselves are these: “What more virtue in these great ones than in others? We see no such eminent good which they do above other men.”

We grant indeed, that the good which higher governors do is not so immediate and near unto every of us, as many times the meaner labours of others under them, and this doth make it to be less esteemed. But we must note, that it is Edition: current; Page: [267] in this case as in a ship;BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 5. he that sitteth at the stern is quiet, he moveth not, he seemeth in a manner to do little or nothing in comparison of them that sweat about other toil, yet that which he doth is in value and force more than all the labours of the residue laid together. The influence of the heavens above worketh infinitely more to our good, and yet appeareth not half so sensible as the force doth of things below. We consider not what it is which we reap by the authority of our chiefest spiritual governors, nor are likely to enter into any consideration thereof, till we want them; and that is the cause why they are at our hands so unthankfully rewarded.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Authority is a constraining power, which power were needless if we were all such as we should be, willing to do the things we ought to do without constraint. But because generally we are otherwise, therefore we all reap singular benefit by that authority which permitteth no men, though they would, to slack their duty. It doth not suffice, that the lord of an household appoint labourers what they should do, unless he set over them some chief workmen to see they do it. Constitutions and canons made for the ordering of church affairs are dead taskmasters. The due execution of laws spiritual dependeth most upon the vigilant care of the chiefest spiritual governors, whose charge is to see that such laws be kept by the clergy and people under them: with those duties which the law of God and the ecclesiastical canons require in the clergy, lay governors are neither for the most part so well acquainted, nor so deeply and nearly touched. Requisite therefore it is, that ecclesiastical persons have authority in such things; which kind of authority maketh them that have it prelates. If then it be a thing confessed, as by all good men it needs must be, to have prayers read in all churches, to have the sacraments of God administered, to have the mysteries of salvation painfully taught, to have God every where devoutly worshipped, and all this perpetually, and with quietness, bringeth unto the whole Church, and unto every member thereof, inestimable good; how can that authority which hath been proved the ordinance of God for preservation of these duties in the Church, how can it choose but deserve to be held a thing publicly most beneficial?

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BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 6, 7.Edition: 1888; Page: [6]It were to be wished, and is to be laboured for, as much as can be, that they who are set in such rooms may be furnished with honourable qualities and graces, every way fit for their calling: but be they otherwise, howsoever, so long as they are in authority, all men reap some good by them, albeit not so much good as if they were abler men. There is not any amongst us all, but is a great deal more apt to exact another man’s duty, than the best of us is to discharge exactly his own; and therefore prelates, although neglecting many ways their duty unto God and men, do notwithstanding by their authority great good, in that they keep others at the leastwise in some awe under them. It is our duty therefore in this consideration, to honour them that rule as prelates; which office if they discharge well, the Apostle’s own verdict is1, that the honour they have they be worthy of, yea though it were double. And if their government be otherwise, the judgment of sage men hath ever been this, that albeit the dealings of governors be culpable, yet honourable they must be, in respect of that Authority by which they govern. Great caution must be used that we neither be emboldened to follow them in evil, whom for authority’s sake we honour; nor induced in authority to dishonour them, whom as examples we may not follow. In a word, not to dislike sin, though it should be in the highest, were unrighteous meekness; and proud righteousness it is to contemn or dishonour highness, though it should be in the sinfullest men that live.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]But so hard it is to obtain at our hands, especially as now things stand, the yielding of honour2 to whom honour in this case belongeth, that by a brief declaration only what the duties of men are towards the principal guides and pastors of their souls, we cannot greatly hope to prevail, partly for the malice of their open adversaries, and partly for the cunning of such as in a sacrilegious intent work their dishonour under covert, by more mystical and secret means. Wherefore requisite and in a manner necessary it is, that by particular instances we make it even palpably manifest what singular benefit and use public the nature of prelates is apt to yield.

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BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 8.First, no man doubteth but that unto the happy condition of commonweals it is a principal help and furtherance, when in the eye of foreign states their estimation and credit is great. In which respect, the Lord himself commending his own laws unto his people, mentioneth this as a thing not meanly to be accounted of, that their careful obedience yielded thereunto should purchase them a great good opinion abroad1, and make them every where famous for wisdom. Fame and reputation groweth especially by the virtue, not of common ordinary persons, but of them which are in each estate most eminent by occasion of their higher place and calling. The mean man’s actions, be they good or evil, they reach not far, they are not greatly inquired into, except perhaps by such as dwell at the next door: whereas men of more ample dignity are as cities on the tops of hills2, their lives are viewed afar off; so that the more there are which observe aloof what they do, the greater glory by their well-doing they purchase, both unto God whom they serve, and to the state wherein they live. Wherefore if the clergy be a beautifying unto the body of this commonweal in the eyes of foreign beholders, and if in the clergy the prelacy be most exposed unto the world’s eye, what public benefit doth grow from that order, in regard of reputation thereby gotten to the land from abroad, we may soon conjecture. Amongst the Jews (their kings excepted) who so renowned throughout the world as their high priest? Who so much or so often spoken of as their prelates?

Edition: 1888; Page: [8](2.) Which order is not for the present only the most in sight, but for that very cause also the most commended unto posterity. For if we search those records wherein there hath descended from age to age whatsoever notice and intelligence we have of those things which were before us, is there any thing almost else, surely not any thing so much, kept in memory, as the successions, doings, sufferings, and affairs of prelates. So that either there is not any public use of that light which the Church doth receive from antiquity; or if this be absurd to think, then must we necessarily acknowledge ourselves beholding more unto prelates than unto others their Edition: current; Page: [270] inferiors, for that good of direction which ecclesiastical actions recorded do always bring.BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 9.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Thirdly, But to call home our cogitations, and more inwardly to weigh with ourselves what principal commodity that order yieldeth, or at leastwise is of its own disposition and nature apt to yield: kings and princes, partly for information of their own consciences, partly for instruction what they have to do in a number of most weighty affairs, entangled with the cause of religion, having, as all men know, so usual occasion of often consultations and conferences with their clergy; suppose we, that no public detriment would follow upon the want of honourable personages ecclesiastical to be used in those cases? It will be haply said, “That the highest might learn to stoop, and not to disdain the advice of some circumspect, wise and virtuous minister of God, albeit the ministry were not by such degrees distinguished.” What princes in that case might or should do, it is not material. Such difference being presupposed therefore, as we have proved already to have been the ordinance of God, there is no judicious man will ever make any question or doubt, but that fit and direct it is for the highest and chiefest order in God’s clergy to be employed before others about so near and necessary offices as the sacred estate of the greatest on earth doth require. For this cause Joshua had Eleazar; David, Abiathar; Constantine, Hosius, bishop of Corduba; other emperors and kings their prelates, by whom in private (for with princes this is the most effectual way of doing good) to be admonished, counselled, comforted, and if need were, reproved. Whensoever sovereign rulers are willing to admit these so necessary private conferences for their spiritual and ghostly good, inasmuch as they do for the time while they take advice grant a kind of superiority unto them of whom they receive it, albeit haply they can be contented even so far to bend to the gravest and chiefest persons in the order of God’s clergy; yet this of the very best being rarely and hardly obtained, now that there are whose greater and higher callings do somewhat more proportion them unto that ample conceit and spirit wherewith the minds of so powerable persons are possessed; what should we look for, in case God himself not authorizing any by miraculous means, as of old he did his prophets, the Edition: current; Page: [271] equal meanness of all did leave, in respect of calling, no more place of decency for one than for another to be admitted?BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 10. Let unexperienced wits imagine what pleaseth them, in having to deal with so great personages these personal differences are so necessary that there must be regard had of them.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]Fourthly, Kingdoms being principally (next unto God’s Almightiness, and the sovereignty of the highest under God) upheld by wisdom and by valour, as by the chiefest human means to cause continuance in safety with honour (for the labours of them who attend the service of God, we reckon as means divine, to procure our protection from heaven); from hence it riseth, that men excelling in either of these, or descending from such as for excellency either way have been ennobled, or possessing howsoever the rooms of such as should be in politic wisdom or in martial prowess eminent, are had in singular recommendation. Notwithstanding, because they are by the state of nobility great, but not thereby made inclinable to good things; such they oftentimes prove even under the best princes, as under David certain of the Jewish nobility were. In polity and counsel the world had not Achitophel’s equal, nor hell his equal in deadly malice. Joab the general of the host of Israel, valiant, industrious, fortunate in war, but withal headstrong, cruel, treacherous, void of piety towards God; in a word, so conditioned, that easy it is not to define, whether it were for David harder to miss the benefit of his warlike ability, or to bear the enormity of his other crimes. As well for the cherishing of those virtues therefore, wherein if nobility do chance to flourish, they are both an ornament and a stay to the commonwealth wherein they live; as also for the bridling of those disorders, which if they loosely run into, they are by reason of their greatness dangerous; what help could there ever have been invented more divine, than the sorting of the clergy into such degrees, that the chiefest of the prelacy being matched in a kind of equal yoke, as it were, with the higher, the next with the lower degree of nobility, the reverend authority of the one might be to the other as a courteous bridle, a mean to keep them lovingly in awe that are exorbitant, and to correct such excesses in them, as whereunto their courage, state and dignity maketh them over-prone? O that there were for encouragement of prelates herein, that Edition: current; Page: [272] inclination of all Christian kings and princes towards them, which sometime a famous king of this land either had, or pretended to have, for the countenancing of a principal prelate under him in the actions of spiritual authority!BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 11. “Let my lord archbishop know1,” saith he, “that if a bishop, or earl, or any other great person, yea if my own chosen son, shall presume to withstand or to hinder his will and disposition, whereby he may be withheld from performing the work of the embassage committed unto him; such a one shall find, that of his contempt I will shew myself no less a persecutor and revenger, than if treason were committed against mine own very crown and dignity.” Sith therefore by the fathers and first founders of this commonweal it hath upon great experience and forecast being judged most for the good of all sorts, that as the whole body politic wherein we live should be for strength’s sake a threefold cable, consisting of the king as a supreme head over all, of peers and nobles under him, and of the people under them; so likewise, that in this conjunction of states, the second wreath of that cable should, for important respects, consist as well of lords spiritual as temporal: nobility and prelacy being by this mean twined together, how can it possibly be avoided, but that the tearing away of the one must needs exceedingly weaken the other, and by consequent impair greatly the good of all?

Edition: 1888; Page: [11](Fifthly.) The force of which detriment there is no doubt but that the common sort of men would feel to their helpless woe, how goodly a thing soever they now surmise it to be, that themselves and their godly teachers did all alone without controlment of their prelate. For if the manifold jeopardies whereto a people destitute of pastors is subject be unavoidable without government; and if the benefit of government, Edition: current; Page: [273] whether it be ecclesiastical or civil,BOOK VII. Ch. xviii. 12. do grow principally from them who are principal therein, as hath been proved out of the prophet, who albeit the people of Israel had sundry inferior governors, ascribeth not unto them the public benefit of government, but maketh mention of Moses and Aaron only, the chief prince and chief prelate, because they were the wellspring of all the good which others under them did: may we not boldly conclude, that to take from the people their prelate is to leave them in effect without guides, as leastwise without those guides which are the strongest hands that God doth direct them by? “Thou didst lead thy people like sheep,” saith the Prophet1, “by the hands of Moses and Aaron.”

If now there arise any matter of grievance between the pastor and the people that are under him, they have their ordinary, a judge indifferent to determine their causes, and to end their strife. But in case there were no such appointed to sit and to hear both, what would then be the end of their quarrels? They will answer perhaps, “That for such purposes their synods shall serve.” Which is as if in the commonwealth the higher magistrates being removed, every township should be a state, altogether free and independent; and the controversies which they cannot end speedily within themselves, to the contentment of both parties, should be all determined by solemn parliaments. Merciful God! where is the light of wit and judgment, which this age doth so much vaunt of and glory in, when unto these such odd imaginations so great not only assent, but also applause is yielded?

Edition: 1888; Page: [12](Sixthly.) As for those in the clergy whose place and calling is lower, were it not that their eyes are blinded lest they should see the thing that of all others is for their good most effectual, somewhat they might consider the benefit which they enjoy by having such in authority over them as are of the selfsame profession, society and body with them; such as have trodden the same steps before; such as know by their own experience the manifold intolerable contempts and indignities which faithful pastors, intermingled with the multitude, are constrained every day to suffer in the exercise of their spiritual charge and function, unless their superiors, taking their causes even to heart, be by a kind of sympathy drawn to Edition: current; Page: [274] relieve and aid them in their virtuous proceedings, no less effectually than loving parents their dear children.BOOK VII. Ch. xix. 1.

Thus therefore prelacy, being unto all sorts so beneficial, ought accordingly to receive honour at the hands of all; but we have just cause exceedingly to fear that those miserable times of confusion are drawing on, wherein1 “the people shall be oppressed one of another;” inasmuch as already that which prepareth the way thereunto is come to pass, “children presume against the ancient, and the vile against the honourable:” Prelacy, the temperature of excesses in all estates, the glue and soder of the public weal, the ligament which tieth and connecteth the limbs of this body politic each to other, hath instead of deserved honour, all extremity of disgrace. The foolish every where plead, that unto the wise in heart2 they owe neither service, subjection, nor honour.

What kinds of honour be due unto Bishops.XIX. Now that we have laid open the causes for which honour is due unto prelates, the next thing we are to consider is, what kinds of honour be due. The good government either of the Church or the commonwealth dependeth scarcely on any one external thing so much as on the public marks and tokens, whereby the estimation that governors are in is made manifest to the eyes of men. True it is, that governors are to be esteemed according to the excellency of their virtues; the more virtuous they are, the more they ought to be honoured, if respect be had unto that which every man should voluntarily perform unto his superiors. But the question is now, of that honour which public order doth appoint unto church-governors, in that they are governors; the end whereof is, to give open sensible testimony, that the place which they hold is judged publickly in such degree beneficial, as the marks of their excellency, the honours appointed to be done unto them do import. Wherefore this honour we are to do them, without presuming ourselves to examine how worthy they are, and withdrawing it if by us they be thought unworthy. It is a note of that public judgment which is given of them; and therefore not tolerable that men in private should by refusal to do them such honour reverse as much as in them lieth the public judgment. If it deserve such grievous punishment, when any particular person adventureth to deface those marks whereby is signified what Edition: current; Page: [275] value some small piece of coin is publickly esteemed at;BOOK VII. Ch. xix. 2. is it sufferable that honours, the characters of that estimation which publickly is had of public estates and callings in the Church or commonwealth, should at every man’s pleasure be cancelled?

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Let us not think that without most necessary cause the same have been thought expedient. The first authors thereof were wise and judicious men; they knew it a thing altogether impossible, for each particular in the multitude to judge what benefit doth grow unto them from their prelates, and thereupon uniformly to yield them convenient honour. Wherefore that all sorts might be kept in obedience and awe, doing that unto their superiors of every degree, not which every man’s special fancy should think meet, but which being beforehand agreed upon as meet, by public sentence and decision, might afterwards stand as a rule for each in particular to follow; they found that nothing was more necessary, than to allot unto all degrees their certain honour, as marks of public judgment concerning the dignity of their places; which mark when the multitude should behold, they might be thereby given to know, that of such or such estimation their governors are, and in token thereof do carry those notes of excellency. Hence it groweth, that the different notes and signs of honour do leave a correspondent impression in the minds of common beholders. Let the people be asked who are the chiefest in any kind of calling? who most to be listened unto? who of greatest account and reputation? and see if the very discourse of their minds lead them not unto those sensible marks, according to the difference whereof they give their suitable judgment, esteeming them the worthiest persons who carry the principal note and public mark of worthiness. If therefore they see in other estates a number of tokens sensible, whereby testimony is given what account there is publickly made of them, but no such thing in the clergy; what will they hereby, or what can they else conclude, but that where they behold this, surely in that commonwealth, religion and they that are conversant about it are not esteemed greatly beneficial? Whereupon in time the open contempt of God and godliness must needs ensue: “Qui bona fide Deum colit, amat et sacerdotes1,” saith Papinius. In vain doth that kingdom or Edition: current; Page: [276] commonwealth pretend zeal to the honour of God, which doth not provide that his clergy also may have honour.BOOK VII. Ch. xix. 3. xx. 1.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Now if all that are employed in the service of God should have one kind of honour, what more confused, absurd, and unseemly? Wherefore in the honour which hath been allotted unto God’s clergy, we are to observe, how not only the kinds thereof, but also in every particular kind, the degrees do differ. The honour which the clergy of God hath hitherto enjoyed, consisteth especially in the preeminence of Title, Place, Ornament, Attendance, Privilege, Endowment. In every of which it hath been evermore judged meet, that there should be no small odds between prelates and the inferior clergy.

Honour in Title, Place, Ornament, Attendancy, and Privilege.XX. Concerning title, albeit even as under the law all they whom God hath severed to offer him sacrifice were generally termed priests, so likewise the name of pastor or presbyter be now common unto all that serve him in the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ; yet both then and now the higher orders, as well of the one sort as of the other, have by one and the same congruity of reason their different titles of honour, wherewith we find them in the phrase of ordinary speech exalted above others. Thus the heads of the twenty-four companies of priests are in Scripture termed1 arch-priests; Aaron and the successors of Aaron being above those arch-priests, themselves are in that respect further entitled high and great. After what sort antiquity hath used to style Christian bishops, and to yield them in that kind honour more than were meet for inferior pastors, I may the better omit to declare, both because others have sufficiently done it already, and in so slight a thing it were but a loss of time to bestow further travel. The allegation of Christ’s prerogative to be named an arch-pastor2 simply, in regard of Edition: current; Page: [277] his absolute excellency over all,BOOK VII. Ch. xx. 2. is no impediment but that the like title in an unlike signification may be granted unto others besides him, to note a more limited superiority, whereof men are capable enough without derogation from his glory, than which nothing is more sovereign. To quarrel at syllables, and to take so poor exceptions at the first four letters in the name of an archbishop, as if they were manifestly stolen goods whereof restitution ought to be made to the civil magistrate1 toucheth no more the prelates that now are, than it doth the very blessed Apostle, who giveth unto himself the title of an archbuilder.

As for our Saviour’s words alleged against the title of lordship and grace, we have before sufficiently opened how far they are drawn from their natural meaning, to bolster up a cause which they nothing at all concern. Bishops Theodoret2 entitleth “most honourable.” Emperors writing unto bishops, have not disdained to give them their appellations of honour, “Your holiness3,” “Your blessedness,” “Your amplitude,” “Your highness,” and the like: such as purposely have done otherwise are noted of insolent singularity and pride.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Honour done by giving preeminence of place unto one sort before another, is for decency, order, and quietness’ sake so needful, that both imperial laws4 and canons ecclesiastical5 have made their special provisions for it. Our Edition: current; Page: [278] Saviour’s invective against the vain affectation of superiority, whether in title or in place1, may not hinder these seemly differences usual in giving and taking honour, either according to the one or the other.BOOK VII. Ch. xx. 3, 4.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Something there is even in the ornaments of honour also; otherwise idle it had been for the wise man speaking of Aaron, to stand so much upon the circumstance of his priestly attire, and to urge it as an argument of such dignity and greatness in him2: “An everlasting covenant God made with Aaron, and gave him the priesthood among the people, and made him blessed through his comely ornament, and clothed him with the garment of honour.” The robes of a judge do not add to his virtue; the chiefest ornament of kings is justice; holiness and purity of conversation do much more adorn a bishop, than his peculiar form of clothing. Notwithstanding, both judges, through the garments of judicial authority, and through the ornaments of sovereignty, princes; yea bishops through the very attire of bishops, are made blessed, that is to say, marked and manifested they are to be such as God hath poured his blessing upon, by advancing them above others, and placing them where they may do him principal good service. Thus to be called is to be blessed, and therefore to be honoured with the signs of such a calling must needs be in part a blessing also; for of good things even the signs are good.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Of honour, another part is attendancy; and therefore in the visions of the glory of God, angels are spoken of as his attendants. In setting out the honour of that mystical queen, the prophet mentioneth the virgin ladies which waited on her. Amongst the tokens of Solomon’s honourable condition, his servants and waiters the sacred history omitteth not.

This doth prove attendants a part of honour: but this as yet doth not shew with what attendancy prelates are to be honoured. Of the high-priest’s retinue amongst the Jews, somewhat the Gospel itself doth intimate. And albeit our Saviour came to minister, and not, as the Jews did imagine Edition: current; Page: [279] their Messias should, to be ministered unto in this world,BOOK VII. Ch. xx. 4. yet attended on he was by his blessed Apostles, who followed him not only as scholars, but even as servants about him. After that he had sent them, as himself was sent of God, in the midst of that hatred and extreme contempt which they sustained at the world’s hands, by saints and believers this part of honour was most plentifully done unto them. Attendants they had provided in all places where they went; which custom of the Church was still continued in bishops their successors1, as by Ignatius it is plain to be seen. And from hence no doubt those Acolythes took their beginning2, of whom so frequent mention is made; the bishop’s attendants, his followers they were: in regard of which service the name of Acolythes seemeth plainly to have been given. The custom for bishops to be attended upon by many is as Justinian3 doth shew ancient: the affairs of regiment, wherein prelates are employed, make it necessary that they always have many about them whom they may command, although no such thing did by way of honour belong unto them.

Some men’s judgment is, that if clerks, students, and religious persons were more, common serving men and lay retainers fewer than they are in bishops’ palaces, the use and the honour thereof would be much more suitable than now. But these things, concerning the number and quality of persons fit to attend on prelates, either for necessity, or for Edition: current; Page: [280] honour’s sake, are rather in particular discretion to be ordered, than to be argued of by disputes.BOOK VII. Ch. xx. 5.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]As for the vain imagination of some1, who teach the original hereof to have been a preposterous imagination of Maximinus the emperor, who being addicted unto idolatry, chose of the choicest magistrates to be priests, and to the end they might be in great estimation, gave unto each of them a train of followers; and that Christian emperors, thinking the same would promote Christianity which promoted superstition, endeavoured to make their bishops encounter and match with those idolatrous priests: such frivolous conceits, having no other ground than conceit, we weigh not so much as to frame any answer unto them; our declaration of the true original of ancient attendancy on bishops being sufficient. Now if that which the light of sound reason doth teach to be fit, have upon like inducements reasonable, allowable, and good, approved itself in such wise as to be accepted, not only of us, but of pagans and infidels also; doth conformity with them that are evil in that which is good, make that thing which is good evil? We have not herein followed the heathens, nor the heathens us, but both we and they one and the selfsame divine rule, the light of a true and sound understanding, Edition: current; Page: [281] which sheweth what honour is fit for prelates, and what attendancy convenient to be a part of their honour.BOOK VII. Ch. xxi. 1.

Touching privileges granted for honour’s sake, partly in general unto the clergy, and partly unto prelates the chiefest persons ecclesiastical in particular; of such quality and number they are1, that to make but rehearsal of them we scarce think it safe, lest the very entrails of some of our godly brethren, as they term themselves, should thereat haply burst in sunder.

Honour by endowment with Lands and Livings.XXI. And yet of all these things rehearsed, it may be there never would have grown any question, had bishops been honoured only thus far forth. But the honouring of the clergy with wealth, this is in the eyes of them which pretend to seek nothing but mere reformation of abuses, a sin that can never be remitted.

How soon, O how soon might the Church be perfect, even without any spot or wrinkle, if public authority would at the length say Amen unto the holy and devout requests of those godly brethren, who as yet with outstretched necks groan in the pangs of their zeal to see the houses of bishops rifled, and their so long desired livings gloriously divided amongst the righteous! But there is an impediment, a let, which somewhat hindereth those good men’s prayers from taking effect: they in whose hands the sovereignty of power and dominion over this Church doth rest, are persuaded there is a God; for undoubtedly either the name of Godhead is but a feigned thing, or if in heaven there be a God, the sacrilegious intention Edition: current; Page: [282] of Church robbers,BOOK VII. Ch. xxi. 2. xxii. 1. which lurketh under this plausible name of Reformation, is in his sight a thousand times more hateful than the plain professed malice of those very miscreants, who threw their vomit in the open face of our blessed Saviour.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]They are not words of persuasion by which true men can hold their own, when they are over beset with thieves. And therefore to speak in this cause at all were but labour lost, saving only in respect of them, who being as yet unjoined unto this conspiracy, may be haply somewhat stayed, when they shall know betimes what it is to see thieves and to run on with them, as the Prophet in the Psalm speaketh1; “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.”

For the better information therefore of men which carry true, honest and indifferent minds, these things we will endeavour to make most clearly manifest: First, That in goods and livings of the Church none hath propriety but God himself. Secondly, That the honour which the clergy therein hath, is to be, as it were, God’s Receivers; the honour of prelates, to be his chief and principal Receivers. Thirdly, That from him they have right, not only to receive, but also to use such goods, the lower sort in smaller, and the higher in larger measure. Fourthly, That in case they be thought, yea, or found to abuse the same, yet may not such honour be therefore lawfully taken from them, and be given away unto persons of other calling.

That of ecclesiastical goods, and consequently of the lands and livings which Bishops enjoy, the propriety belongeth unto God alone.XXII. Possessions, lands and livings spiritual, the wealth of the clergy, the goods of the Church, are in such sort the Lord’s own, that man can challenge no propriety in them. His they are, and not ours; all things are his, in that from him they have their being2. “My corn, and my wine, and mine oil,” saith the Lord. All things his, in that he hath absolute power to dispose of them at his pleasure. “Mine (saith he3) are the sheep and oxen of a thousand hills.” All things his, in that when we have them, we may say with Job4, “God hath given;” and when we are deprived of them, “The Lord,” whose they are, hath likewise “taken Edition: current; Page: [283] them away” again. But these sacred possessions are his by another tenure; his, because those men who first received them from him have unto him returned them again by way of religious gift or oblation: and in this respect it is,BOOK VII. Ch. xxii. 2, 3. that the Lord doth term those houses1 wherein such gifts and oblations were laid, “his treasuries.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]The ground whereupon men have resigned their own interests in things temporal, and given over the same unto God, is that precept which Solomon borroweth from the law of nature2, “Honour the Lord out of thy substance, and of the chiefest of all thy revenue: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and with new wine the fat of thy press shall overflow.” For although it be by one most fitly spoken against those superstitious persons that only are scrupulous in external rites3; “Wilt thou win the favour of God? be virtuous: they best worship him that are his followers:” it is not the bowing of your knees, but of your hearts; it is not the number of your oblations, but the integrity of your lives; not your incense, but your obedience, which God is delighted to be honoured by: nevertheless, we must beware, lest simply understanding this, which comparatively is meant; that is to say, whereas the meaning is, that God doth chiefly respect the inward disposition of the heart; we must take heed we do not hereupon so worship him in spirit, that outwardly we take all worship, reverence and honour from him.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Our God will be glorified both of us himself, and for us by others: to others because our hearts are [not?] known, and yet our example is required for their good, therefore it is not sufficient to carry religion in our hearts, as fire is carried in flint-stones, but we are outwardly, visibly, apparently, to serve and honour the living God; yea to employ that way, as not only our souls but our bodies, so not only our bodies but our goods, yea, the choice, the flower, the chiefest of all thy revenue, saith Solomon. If thou hast any thing in all thy possessions of more value and price than other, to what use shouldest thou convert it, rather than this? Samuel was dear unto Hannah his mother: the child that Edition: current; Page: [284] Hannah did so much esteem, she could not but greatly wish to advance;BOOK VII. Ch. xxii. 4. and her religious conceit was, that the honouring of God with it was the advancing of it unto honour. The chiefest of the offspring of men are the males which be first born: and for this cause, in the ancient world they all were by right of their birth priests to the Most High. By these and the like precedents, it plainly enough appeareth, that in what heart soever doth dwell unfeigned religion, in the same there resteth also a willingness to bestow upon God that soonest which is most dear. Amongst us the law is, that sith gold is the chiefest of metals, if it be any where found in the bowels of the earth, it belongeth in right of honour, as all men know, to the King: whence hath this custom grown but only from a natural persuasion, whereby men judge it decent for the highest persons always to be honoured with the choicest things? “If ye offer unto God the blind,” saith the Prophet Malachi1, “it is not evil; if the lame and sick, it is good enough. Present it unto thy prince, and see if he will content himself, or accept thy person, saith the Lord of hosts.” When Abel presented God with an offering, it was the fattest of all the lambs in his whole flock; he honoured God not only out of his substance, but out of the very chiefest therein; whereby we may somewhat judge how religiously they stand affected towards God, who grudge that any thing worth the having should be his.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]Long it were to reckon up particularly what God was owner of under the Law2: for of this sort was all which they spent in legal sacrifices; of this sort their usual oblations and offerings; of this sort tithes and firstfruits; of this sort that which by extraordinary occasions they vowed unto God; of this sort all that they gave to the building of the tabernacle; of this sort all that which was gathered amongst them for the erecting of the temple, and the adorning of it erected3; of this sort whatsoever their Corban contained, wherein that blessed widow’s deodate was laid up. Now either this kind of honour was prefiguratively altogether ceremonial, and then Edition: current; Page: [285] our Saviour accepteth it not;BOOK VII. Ch. xxii. 5, 6. or if we find that to him also it hath been done, and that with divine approbation given for encouragement of the world, to shew by such kind of service their dutiful hearts towards Christ, there will be no place left for men to make any question at all whether herein they do well or no.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Wherefore to descend from the synagogue unto the Church of Christ: albeit sacrifices, wherewith sometimes God was highly honoured, be not accepted1 as heretofore at the hands of men; yet forasmuch as “Honour God with thy riches” is an edict of the unseparable law of nature, so far forth as men are therein required by such kind of homage to testify their thankful minds, this sacrifice2 God doth accept still. Wherefore as it was said of Christ, that3 “all kings should worship him, and all nations do him service;” so this very kind of worship or service was likewise mentioned, lest we should think that our Lord and Saviour would allow of no such thing4. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.” And as it maketh not a little to the praise of those sages mentioned in the Gospel, that the first amongst men which did solemnly honour our Saviour on earth were they; so it soundeth no less to the dignity of this particular kind, that the rest by it were prevented; “They fell down and worshipped him, and opened their treasures5, and presented unto him gifts; gold, and incense, and myrrh.” Of all those things which were done to the honour of Christ in his lifetime there is not one whereof he spake in such sort, as when Mary to testify the largeness of her affection, seemed to waste away a gift upon him, the price of which gift might, as they thought who saw it, much better have been spent in works of mercy towards the poor: “Verily6 I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout all the world, there shall also this that she hath done be spoken of for memorial of her.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Of service to God, the best works are they which continue longest7: and for permanency what like Donation, whereby things are unto him for ever dedicated? That the Edition: current; Page: [286] ancient lands and livings of the Church were all in such sort given into the hands of God by the just lords and owners of them,BOOK VII. Ch. xxii. 6. that unto him they passed over their whole interest and right therein, the form of sundry the said donations1 as yet extant most plainly sheweth. And where time hath left no such evidence as now remaining to be seen, yet the same intention is presumed in all donors, unless the contrary be apparent. But to the end it may yet more plainly appear unto all men under what title the several kinds of ecclesiastical possessions are held, “Our Lord himself,” saith St. Augustine2, “had coffers to keep those things which the faithful offered unto him. Then was the form of the church treasury first instituted, to the end that withal we might understand that in forbidding to be careful for tomorrow, his purpose was not to bar his saints from keeping money, but to withdraw them from doing God service for wealth’s sake, and from forsaking righteousness through fear of losing their wealth.” The first gifts consecrated unto Christ after his departure out of the world were sums of money, in process of time other moveables were added, and at length goods unmoveable, churches and oratories hallowed to the honour of his glorious name, houses and lands for perpetuity conveyed unto him, inheritance given to remain his as long as the world should endure. “The Apostles,” saith Melchiades3, “they foresaw that God would have his Church amongst the Gentiles, and for that cause in Judea they took no lands but price of lands sold.” Edition: current; Page: [287] This he conjectureth to have been the cause why the Apostles did that which the history reporteth of them.BOOK VII. Ch. xxii. 7. The truth is, that so the state of those times did require, as well otherwhere as in Judea. Wherefore when afterwards it did appear much more commodious for the Church to dedicate such inheritances, than the value and price of them being sold; the former custom was changed for this, as for the better. The devotion of Constantine herein all the world even till this very day admireth. They that lived in the prime of the Christian world thought no testament Christianly made, nor any thing therein well bequeathed1, unless something were thereby added unto Christ’s patrimony.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Touching which men, what judgment the world doth now give I know not; perhaps we deem them to have been herein but blind and superstitious persons. Nay, we in these cogitations are blind; they contrariwise did with Solomon2 plainly know and persuade themselves, that thus to diminish their wealth was not to diminish but to augment it, according to that which God doth promise to his own people by the Prophet Malachi3, and which they by their own particular experience4 found true. If Wickliff therefore were of that Edition: current; Page: [288] opinion which his adversaries ascribe unto him (whether truly or of purpose to make him odious I cannot tell, for in his writings I do not find it) namely, “That Constantine and others following his steps did evil, as having no sufficient ground whereby they might gather that such donations are acceptable to Jesus Christ;” it was in Wickliff a palpable error. I will use but one only argument to stand in the stead of many. Jacob taking his journey unto Haran made in this sort his solemn vow1: “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this journey which I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in safety; then shall the Lord be my God, and this stone which I have set up a pillar shall be the house of God, and of all that thou shalt give me will I give the tenth unto thee.” May a Christian man desire as great things as Jacob did at the hands of God? may he desire them in as earnest manner? may he promise as great thankfulness Edition: current; Page: [289] in acknowledging the goodness of God?BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 1. may he vow any certain kind of public acknowledgment beforehand; or though he vow it not, perform it after in such sort that men may see he is persuaded how the Lord hath been his God? Are these particular kind of testifying thankfulness to God, the erecting of oratories, the dedicating of lands and goods to maintain them, forbidden any where? Let any mortal man living shew but one reason wherefore in this point to follow Jacob’s example should not be a thing both acceptable unto God, and in the eyes of the world for ever most highly commendable. Concerning goods of this nature, goods whereof when we speak we term them τὰ τῳ̑ Θεῳ̑ ἀϕιερωθέντα, the goods that are consecrated unto God, and as Tertullian speaketh1, deposita pietatis, things which piety and devotion hath laid up as it were in the bosom of God; touching such goods, the law civil following mere light of nature defineth them to be no man’s2, because no mortal man, or community of men, hath right of propriety in them.

That ecclesiastical persons are receivers of God’s rents; and that the honour of Prelates is, to be thereof his chief receivers; not without liberty from him granted, of converting the same unto their own use, even in large manner.XXIII. Persons ecclesiastical are God’s stewards, not only for that he hath set them over his family, as the ministers of ghostly food, but even for this very cause also, that they are to receive and dispose his temporal revenues, the gifts and oblations which men bring him. Of the Jews it is plain3 that their tithes they offered unto the Lord, and those offerings the Lord bestowed upon the Levites. When the Levites gave the tenth of their tithes, this their gift the Law doth term the Lord’s heave-offering3, and appoint that the high-priest should receive the same. Of spoils taken in war4, that part which they were accustomed to separate unto God, they brought it before the priest of the Lord, by whom it was laid up in the tabernacle of the congregation, for a memorial of their thankfulness towards God, and his goodness towards them in fighting for them against their enemies. As therefore the Apostle5 magnifieth the honour of Melchisedec, in that he being an high-priest, did receive at the hands of Abraham the tithes which Abraham did honour God with; so it argueth in the Apostles themselves great honour, that at their feet6 Edition: current; Page: [290] the price of those possessions was laid, which men thought good to bestow on Christ.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 2. St. Paul commending the churches which were in Macedonia for their exceeding liberality this way, saith of them that he himself would bear record, they had declared their forward minds according to their power, yea, beyond their power, and had so much exceeded his expectation of them, that “they seemed as it were even to give away themselves first to the Lord,” saith the Apostle1, “and then by the will of God unto us:” to him, as the owner of such gifts; to us, as his appointed receivers and dispensers. The gift of the Church of Antioch, bestowed unto the use of distressed brethren which were in Judea, Paul and Barnabas did deliver unto the presbyters of Jerusalem2; and the head of those presbyters was James3, he therefore the chiefest disposer thereof. Amongst those canons which are entitled Apostolical, one is this, “We appoint that the Bishop have care of those things which belong to the Church4;” the meaning is, of church goods, as the reason following sheweth: “For if the precious souls of men must be committed unto him of trust, much more it behoveth the charge of money to be given him, that by his authority the presbyters and deacons may administer all things to them that stand in need.” So that he which hath done them the honour to be, as it were, his treasurers, hath left them also authority and power to use these treasures, both otherwise, and for the maintenance even of their own estate: the lower sort of the clergy according unto a meaner, the higher after a larger proportion.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]The use of spiritual goods and possessions hath been a matter much disputed of; grievous complaints there are usually made against the evil and unlawful usage of them, but Edition: current; Page: [291] with no certain determination hitherto, on what things and persons, with what proportion and measure they being bestowed, do retain their lawful use.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 3, 4. Some men condemn it as idle, superfluous, and altogether vain, that any part of the treasure of God should be spent upon costly ornaments appertaining unto his service: who being best worshipped, when he is served in spirit and truth1, hath not for want of pomp and magnificence rejected at any time those who with faithful hearts have adored him. Whereupon the heretics2, termed Henriciani and Petrobrusiani, threw down temples and houses of prayer erected with marvellous great charge, as being in that respect not fit for Christ by us to be honoured in.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]We deny not, but that they who sometime wandered as pilgrims on earth, and had no temples, but made caves and dens to pray in3, did God such honour as was most acceptable in his sight: God did not reject them for their poverty and nakedness’ sake; their sacraments were not abhorred for want of vessels of gold.

Howbeit, let them who thus delight to plead, answer me: when Moses first, and afterwards David, exhorted the people of Israel unto matter of charge about the service of God; suppose we it had been allowable in them to have thus pleaded: “Our fathers in Egypt served God devoutly, God was with them in all their afflictions, he heard their prayers, pitied their case, and delivered them from the tyranny of their oppressors; what house, tabernacle, or temple had they?” Such argumentations are childish and fond; God doth not refuse to be honoured at all where there lacketh wealth; but where abundance and store is, he there requireth the flower thereof, being bestowed on him, to be employed even unto the ornament of his service. In Egypt the state of his people was servitude, and therefore his service was accordingly. In the desert they had no sooner aught of their own, but a tabernacle is required; and in the land of Canaan a temple4. In the eyes of David it seemed a thing not fit, a thing not decent, that himself should be more richly seated than God.

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]But concerning the use of ecclesiastical goods bestowed Edition: current; Page: [292] this way, there is not so much contention amongst us, as what measure of allowance is fit for ecclesiastical persons to be maintained with.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 4. A better rule in this case to judge things by we cannot possibly have than the wisdom of God himself: by considering what he thought meet for each degree of the clergy to enjoy in time of the Law, what for Levites, what for priests, and what for high priests, somewhat we shall be the more able to discern rightly what may be fit, convenient, and right for the Christian clergy likewise. Priests for their maintenance had those first fruits1 of cattle2, corn, wine, oil, and other3 commodities of the earth, which the Jews were accustomed yearly to present God with. They had the price4 which was appointed for men to pay in lieu of the first-born of their children, and the price of the first-born also amongst cattle which were unclean: they had the vowed gifts5 of the people, or the prices, if they were redeemable by the donors after vow, as some things were: they had the free6 and unvowed oblations of men: they had the remainder of7 things sacrificed: with tithes the Levites8 were maintained; and with the tithe of their tithes9 the high-priest. In a word, if the quality of that which God did assign to his clergy be considered, and their manner of receiving it without labour, expense, or charge, it will appear that the tribe of Levi, being but the twelfth part of Israel, had in effect as good as four twelfth parts of all such goods as the holy land did yield: so that their worldly estate was four times as good as any other tribe’s in Israel besides. But the high-priests’ condition, how ample! to whom belonged the tenth of all the tithe of this land, especially the law providing also, that as the people did bring the best of all things unto the priests and Levites, so the Levites should deliver the choice and flower of all their commodities to the high-priest, and so his tenth part by that mean be made the very best part amongst ten: by which proportion, if the Levites were ordinarily in all not above thirty thousand men, (whereas when David numbered them10, he found almost thirty-eight thousand above the age of thirty years,) the high-priest, after this Edition: current; Page: [293] very reckoning, had as much as three or four thousand others of the clergy to live upon.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 5.

Over and besides all this, lest the priests of Egypt, holding lands1, should seem in that respect better provided for than the priests of the true God, it pleased him further to appoint unto them2 forty and eight whole cities with territories of land adjoining, to hold as their own free inheritance for ever. For to the end they might have all kind of encouragement, not only to do what they ought, but to take pleasure in that they did; albeit they were expressly forbidden3 to have any part of the land of Canaan laid out whole to themselves, by themselves, in such sort as the rest of the tribes had; forasmuch as the will of God was rather that they should throughout all tribes be dispersed, for the easier access of the people unto knowledge; yet were they not barred altogether to hold a land [hold land?]i, nor yet otherwise the worse provided for, in respect of that former restraint4; for God by way of special preeminence undertook to feed them at his own table, and out of his own proper treasury to maintain them, that want and penury they might never feel, except God himself did first receive injury.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]A thing most worthy our consideration is the wisdom of God herein; for the common sort being prone unto envy and murmur, little considereth of what necessity, use and importance the sacred duties of the clergy are, and for that cause hardly yieldeth them any such honour without repining and grudging thereat; they cannot brook it, that when they have laboured and come to reap, there should so great a portion go out of the fruit of their labours, and be yielded up unto such as sweat not for it. But when the Lord doth challenge this as his own due, and require it to be done by way of homage unto him, whose mere liberality and goodness had raised them from a poor and servile estate, to place them where they had all those ample and rich possessions; they must be worse than brute beasts if they would storm at any thing which he did receive at their hands. And for him to bestow his own on his own servants (which liberty is not denied unto the meanest of men), what man liveth that can think it other than most Edition: current; Page: [294] reasonable?BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 6. Wherefore no cause there was, why that which the clergy had should in any man’s eye seem too much, unless God himself were thought to be of an over-having disposition. 1This is the mark whereat all those speeches drive, “Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren, the Lord is his inheritance;” again, “2To the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel an inheritance of Levi;” again, “3The tithes of the which they shall offer as an offering unto the Lord, I have given the Levites for an inheritance;” and again, “4All the heave offerings of the holy things which the children of Israel shall offer unto the Lord, I have given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, to be a duty for ever; it is a perpetual covenant of salt before the Lord.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Now that if such provision be possible to be made, the Christian clergy ought not herein to be inferior unto the Jewish, what sounder proof than the Apostle’s own kind of argument? “5Do ye not know that they which minister about the holy things eat of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? so, even so, hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Upon which words I thus conclude, that if the people of God do abound, and abounding can so far forth find in their hearts to shew themselves towards Christ their Saviour thankful as to honour him with their riches (which no law of God or nature forbiddeth) no less than the ancient Jewish people did honour God; the plain ordinance of Christ appointeth as large and as ample proportion out of his own treasure unto them that serve him in the gospel as ever the priests of the law did enjoy. What further proof can we desire? It is the blessed Apostle’s testimony, That “even so the Lord hath ordained.” Yea, I know not whether it be sound to interpret the Apostle otherwise than that, whereas he judgeth6 the presbyters “which rule well in the Church of Christ to be worthy of double honour,” he means double unto that which the priests of the law received; “7For Edition: current; Page: [295] if that ministry which was of the letter were so glorious, how shall not the ministry of the spirit be more glorious?”BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 7, 8. If the teachers of the Law of Moses, which God delivered written with letters in tables of stone, were thought worthy of so great honour, how shall not the teachers of the gospel of Christ be in his sight most worthy, the Holy Ghost being sent from heaven to engrave the gospel on their hearts who first taught it, and whose successors they that teach it at this day are? So that according to the ordinance of God himself, their estate for worldly maintenance ought to be no worse than is granted unto other sorts of men, each according to that degree they were placed in.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Neither are we so to judge of their worldly condition, as if they were servants of men, and at men’s hands did receive those earthly benefits by way of stipend in lieu of pains whereunto they are hired; nay, that which is paid unto them is homage and tribute due unto the Lord Christ. His servants they are, and from him they receive such goods by way of stipend. Not so from men: for at the hands of men, he himself being honoured with such things, hath appointed his servants therewith according to their several degrees and places to be maintained. And for their greater encouragement who are his labourers he hath to their comfort assured them for ever, that they are in his estimation1 “worthy the hire” which he alloweth them; and therefore if men should withdraw from him the store which those his servants that labour in his work are maintained with, yet he in his word shall be found everlastingly true, their labour in the Lord shall not be forgotten; the hire he accounteth them worthy of, they shall surely have either one way or other answered.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]In the prime of the Christian world, that which was Edition: current; Page: [296] brought and laid down at the Apostles’ feet1, they disposed of by distribution according to the exigence of each man’s need.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 9. Neither can we think that they who out of Christ’s treasury made provision for all others, were careless to furnish the clergy with all things fit and convenient for their estate: and as themselves were chiefest in place of authority and calling, so no man doubteth but that proportionably they had power to use the same for their own decent maintenance. The Apostles with the rest of the clergy in Jerusalem lived at that time according to the manner of a fellowship or collegiate society, maintaining themselves and the poor of the Church with a common purse, the rest of the faithful keeping that purse continually stored. And in that sense it is that the sacred history saith2, “All which believed were in one place, and had all things common.” In the histories of the Church, and in the writings of the ancient Fathers for some hundreds of years after, we find no other way for the maintenance of the clergy but only this, the treasury of Jesus Christ furnished through men’s devotion, bestowing sometimes goods, sometimes lands that way, and out of his treasury the charge of the service of God was defrayed, the bishop and the clergy under him maintained, the poor in their necessity ministered unto. For which purpose, every bishop had some one of the presbyters under him to be 3treasurer of the church, to receive, keep, and deliver all; which office in churches cathedral remaineth even till this day, albeit the use thereof be not altogether so large now as heretofore.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]The disposition of these goods was by the appointment of the bishop. Wherefore Prosper 4speaking of the bishop’s care herein saith, “It was necessary for one to be troubled therewith, to the end that the rest under him Edition: current; Page: [297] might be the freer to attend quietly their spiritual businesses.” And lest any man should imagine that bishops by this means were hindered themselves from attending the service of God, “Even herein,” saith he, “they do God service; for if those things which are bestowed on the Church be God’s, he doth the work of God, who not of a covetous mind, but with purpose of most faithful administration, taketh care of things consecrated unto God.”

And forasmuch as the presbyters of every church could not all live with the bishop, partly for that their number was great, and partly because the people being once divided into parishes, such presbyters as had severally charge of them were by that mean more conveniently to live in the midst each of his own particular flock, therefore a competent number being fed at the same table with the bishop, the rest had their whole allowance apart1, which several allowances were called sportulæ, and they who received them, sportulantes fratres.

Touching the bishop, as his place and estate was higher, so likewise the proportion of his charges about himself being for that cause in all equity and reason greater, yet forasmuch as his stint herein was no other than it pleased himself to set, the rest (as the manner of inferiors is to think that they which are over them always have too much) grudged many times at the measure of the bishop’s private expense, perhaps not without cause. Howsoever, by this occasion there grew amongst them great heart-burning, quarrel and strife: where the bishops were found culpable, as eating too much beyond their tether, and drawing more to their own private maintenance than the proportion of Christ’s patrimony being not greatly abundant could bear, sundry constitutions hereupon were made to moderate the same, according to the Church’s condition in Edition: current; Page: [298] those times. Some before they were made bishops having been owners of ample possessions, sold them and gave them away to the poor: thus did Paulinus1, Hilary2, Cyprian3, and sundry others. Hereupon they who entering into the same spiritual and high function held their secular possessions still were hardly thought of: and even when the case was fully resolved, that so to do was not unlawful, yet it grew a question, “whether they lawfully might then take any thing out of the public treasury of Christ:” a question, “whether bishops, holding by civil title sufficient to live of their own, were bound in conscience to leave the goods of the Church altogether to the use of others.” Of contentions about these matters there was no end, neither appeared there any possible way for quietness, otherwise than by making partition of church-revenues, according to the several ends and uses for which they did serve, that so the bishop’s part might be certain. Such partition being made4, the bishop enjoyed Edition: current; Page: [299] his portion several to himself;BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 10. the rest of the clergy likewise theirs; a third part was severed to the furnishing and upholding of the church; a fourth to the erection and maintenance of houses wherein the poor might have relief. After which separation made, lands and livings began every day to be dedicated unto each use severally, by means whereof every of them became in short time much greater than they had been for worldly maintenance, the fervent devotion of men being glad that this new opportunity was given of shewing zeal to the house of God in more certain order.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]By these things it plainly appeareth what proportion of maintenance hath been ever thought reasonable for a bishop; sith in that very partition agreed on to bring him unto his certain stint, as much is allowed unto him alone as unto all the clergy under him, namely, a fourth part of the whole yearly rents and revenues of the church. Nor is it likely, that before those temporalities which now are such eyesores were added unto the honour of bishops, their state was so mean as some imagine: for if we had no other evidence than the covetous and ambitious humour of heretics, whose1 impotent desires of aspiring thereunto, and extreme discontentment as oft as they were defeated, even this doth shew that the state of bishops was not a few degrees advanced above the rest. Wherefore of grand apostates which were in the very prime of the primitive Church, thus Lactantius above thirteen hundred years sithence testified2, “Men of a slippery faith Edition: current; Page: [300] they were,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiii. 11. who feigning that they knew and worshipped God, but seeking only that they might grow in wealth and honour, affected the place of the highest priesthood; whereunto when their betters were chosen before them, they thought it better to leave the Church, and to draw their favourers with them, than to endure those men their governors, whom themselves desired to govern.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]Now whereas against the present estate of bishops, and the greatness of their port, and the largeness of their expenses at this day, there is not any thing more commonly objected than those ancient canons1, whereby they are restrained unto a far more sparing life, their houses, their retinue, their diet limited within a far more narrow compass than is now kept; we must know, that those laws and orders were made when bishops lived of the same purse which served as well for a number of others as them, and yet all at their disposing. So that convenient it was to provide that there might be a moderate stint appointed to measure their expenses by, lest others should be injured by their wastefulness. Contrariwise there is now no cause wherefore any such law should be urged, when bishops live only of that which hath been peculiarly allotted unto them. They having therefore temporalities and other revenues to bestow for their own private use, according to that which their state requireth, and no Edition: current; Page: [301] other having with them any such common interest therein, their own discretion is to be their law for this matter; neither are they to be pressed with the rigour of such ancient canons as were framed for other times, much less so odiously to be upbraided with unconformity unto the pattern of our Lord and Saviour’s estate, in such circumstances as himself did never mind to require that the rest of the world should of necessity be like him. Thus against the wealth of the clergy they allege1 how meanly Christ himself was provided for; against bishops’ palaces2, his want of a hole to hide his head in; against the service done unto them, that “he came to minister, not to be ministered unto in the world3.” Which things, as they are not unfit to control covetous, proud or ambitious desires of the ministers of Christ, and even of all Christians, whatsoever they be; and to teach men contentment of mind, how mean soever their estate is, considering that they are but servants to him, whose condition was far more abased than theirs is, or can be; so to prove such difference in state between us and him unlawful, they are of no force or strength at all. If one convented before their consistories, when he standeth to make his answer, should break out into invectives against their authority, and tell them that Christ, when he was on earth, did not sit to judge, but stand to be judged; would they hereupon think it requisite Edition: current; Page: [302] to dissolve their eldership,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 1, 2. and to permit no tribunals, no judges at all, for fear of swerving from our Saviour’s example? If those men, who have nothing in their mouths more usual than the Poverty of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, allege not this as Julian sometime did Beati pauperes1 unto Christians, when his meaning was to spoil them of that they had; our hope is then, that as they seriously and sincerely wish that our Saviour Christ in this point may be followed, and to that end only propose his blessed example; so at our hands again they will be content to hear with like willingness the holy Apostle’s exhortation made unto them of the laity also2, “Be ye followers of us, even as we are of Christ; let us be your example, even as the Lord Jesus Christ is ours, that we may all proceed3 by one and the same rule.”

That for their unworthiness to deprive both them and their successors of such goods, and to convey the same unto men of secular calling, were extreme sacrilegious injustice.XXIV. But beware we of following Christ as thieves follow true men, to take their goods by violence from them. Be it that bishops were all unworthy, not only of living, but even of life, yet what hath our Lord Jesus Christ deserved, for which men should judge him worthy to have the things that are his given away from him unto others that have no right unto them? For at this mark it is that the head lay-reformers do all aim. Must these unworthy prelates give place? What then? Shall better succeed in their rooms? Is this desired, to the end that others may enjoy their honours, which shall do Christ more faithful service than they have done? Bishops are the worst men living upon earth; therefore let their sanctified possessions be divided: amongst whom? O blessed reformation! O happy men, that put to their helping hands for the furtherance of so good and glorious a work!

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Wherefore albeit the whole world at this day do already perceive, and posterity be like hereafter a great deal more plainly to discern, not that the clergy of God is thus heaved at because they are wicked, but that means are used to put it into the heads of the simple multitude that they are such indeed, to the end that those who thirst for the spoil of spiritual possessions may till such time as they have their Edition: current; Page: [303] purpose be thought to covet nothing but only the just extinguishment of unreformable persons;BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 3. so that in regard of such men’s intentions, practices, and machinations against them, the part that suffereth these things may most fitly pray with David1, “Judge thou me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according unto mine innocency: O let the malice of the wicked come to an end, and be thou the guide of the just:” notwithstanding, forasmuch as it doth not stand with Christian humility otherwise to think, than that this violent outrage of men is a rod in the ireful hands of the Lord our God, the smart whereof we deserve to feel; let it not seem grievous in the eyes of my reverend lords the Bishops, if to their good consideration I offer a view of those sores which are in the kind of their heavenly function most apt to breed, and which being not in time cured, may procure at the length that which God of his infinite mercy avert.

Edition: 1888; Page: [3]Of bishops in his time St. Jerome complaineth, that they took it in great disdain to have any fault great or small found with them. Epiphanius likewise before Jerome noteth2 their impatiency this way to have been the very cause of a schism in the Church of Christ; at what time one Audius, a man of great integrity of life, full of faith and zeal towards God, beholding those things which were corruptly done in the Church, told the bishops and presbyters their faults in such sort as those men are wont, who love the truth from their Edition: current; Page: [304] hearts, and walk in the paths of a most exact life.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 4. Whether it were covetousness or sensuality in their lives, absurdity or error in their teaching; any breach of the laws and canons of the Church wherein he espied them faulty, certain and sure they were to be thereof most plainly told. Which thing they whose dealings were justly culpable could not bear; but instead of amending their faults bent their hatred against him who sought their amendment, till at length they drove him by extremity of infestation, through weariness of striving against their injuries, to leave both them and with them the Church.

Amongst the manifold accusations, either generally intended against the bishops of this our Church, or laid particularly to the charge of any of them, I cannot find that hitherto their spitefullest adversaries have been able to say justly, that any man for telling them their personal faults in good and Christian sort hath sustained in that respect much persecution. Wherefore notwithstanding mine own inferior estate and calling in God’s Church, the consideration whereof assureth me, that in this kind the sweetest sacrifice which I can offer unto Christ is meek obedience, reverence and awe unto the prelates which he hath placed in seats of higher authority over me, emboldened I am, so far as may conveniently stand with that duty of humble subjection, meekly to crave, my good lords, your favourable pardon, if it shall seem a fault thus far to presume; or if otherwise, your wonted courteous acceptation.

  • —“Sine me hæc haud mollia fatu
  • “Sublatis aperire dolis.”
  • Æneid. lib. xii. [25.]

Edition: 1888; Page: [4]First, In government, be it of what kind soever, but especially if it be such kind of government as prelates have over the Church, there is not one thing publicly more hurtful than that an hard opinion should be conceived of governors at the first: and a good opinion how should the world ever conceive of them for their after-proceedings in regiment, whose first access and entrance thereunto giveth just occasion to think them corrupt men, which fear not that God in whose name they are to rule? Wherefore a scandalous thing it is to the Church of God, and to the actors themselves dangerous, to have aspired unto rooms of prelacy by wicked means. We are not at this day troubled much with that tumultuous kind Edition: current; Page: [305] of ambition wherewith the elections of Damasus1 in St. Jerome’s age, and of Maximus in Gregory’s2 time, and of others, were long sithence stained. Our greatest fear is rather the evil which Leo3 and Anthemius did by imperial constitution endeavour as much as in them lay to prevent. He which granteth, or he which receiveth the office and dignity of a bishop, otherwise than beseemeth a thing divine and most holy; he which bestoweth, and he which obtaineth it after any other sort than were honest and lawful to use, if our Lord Jesus Christ were present himself on earth to bestow it even with his own hands, sinneth a sin by so much more grievous than the sin of Belshazzar, by how much offices and functions heavenly are more precious than the meanest ornaments or implements which thereunto appertain. If it be as the Apostle saith, that the Holy Ghost doth make bishops, and that the whole action of making them is God’s own deed, men being therein but his agents; what spark of the fear of God can there possibly remain in their hearts, who representing the person of God in naming worthy men to ecclesiastical charge, do sell that which in his name they are to bestow; or who standing as it were at the throne of the living God do bargain for that which at his hands they are to receive? Woe worth such impious and irreligious profanations! The Church of Christ hath been hereby made, not “a den of thieves,” but in a manner the very dwelling-place of foul spirits; for undoubtedly such a Edition: current; Page: [306] number of them have been in all ages who thus have climbed into seat of episcopal regiment.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 5, 6, 7.

Edition: 1888; Page: [5]Secondly, Men may by orderly means be invested with spiritual authority and yet do harm by reason of ignorance how to use it to the good of the Church. “It is,” saith Chrysostom, “πολλου̑ μὲν ἀξιώματος, δύσκολον δὲ, ἐπισκοπει̑ν; a thing highly to be accounted of, but an hard thing, to be that which a bishop should be.” Yea a hard and a toilsome thing it is for a bishop to know the things that belong unto a bishop. A right good man may be a very unfit magistrate. And for discharge of a bishop’s office, to be well-minded is not enough, no not to be well learned also. Skill to instruct is a thing necessary, skill to govern much more necessary in a bishop. It is not safe for the Church of Christ, when bishops learn what belongeth unto government, as empirics learn physic by killing of the sick. Bishops were wont to be men of great learning in the laws both civil and of the Church; and while they were so, the wisest men in the land for counsel and government were bishops.

Edition: 1888; Page: [6]Thirdly, Know we never so well what belongeth unto a charge of so great moment, yet can we not therein proceed but with hazard of public detriment, if we rely on ourselves alone, and use not the benefit of conference with others. A singular mean to unity and concord amongst themselves, a marvellous help unto uniformity in their dealings, no small addition of weight and credit unto that which they do, a strong bridle unto such as watch for occasions to stir against them, finally, a very great stay unto all that are under their government, it could not choose but be soon found, if bishops did often and seriously use the help of mutual consultation.

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]These three rehearsed are things only preparatory unto the course of episcopal proceedings. But the hurt is more manifestly seen which doth grow to the Church of God by faults inherent in their several actions, as when they carelessly ordain, when they institute negligently, when corruptly they bestow church-livings, benefices, prebends, and rooms especially of jurisdiction, when they visit for gain’s sake rather than with serious intent to do good, when their courts erected for the maintenance of good order, are disordered, when they regard not the clergy under them, when neither clergy nor laity are kept in that awe for which this authority should serve, Edition: current; Page: [307] when any thing appeareth in them rather than a fatherly affection towards the flock of Christ,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 7. when they have no respect to posterity, and finally when they neglect the true and requisite means whereby their authority should be upheld. Surely the hurt which groweth out of these defects must needs be exceeding great. In a minister, ignorance and disability to teach is a maim; nor is it held a thing allowable to ordain such, were it not for the avoiding of a greater evil which the church must needs sustain, if in so great scarcity of able men, and unsufficiency of most parishes throughout the land to maintain them, both public prayer and the administration of sacraments should rather want, than any man thereunto be admitted lacking dexterity and skill to perform that which otherwise was most requisite. Wherefore the necessity of ordaining such is no excuse for the rash and careless ordaining of every one that hath but a friend to bestow some two or three words of ordinary commendation in his behalf. By reason whereof the Church groweth burdened with silly creatures more than need, whose noted baseness and insufficiency bringeth their very order itself into contempt1.

It may be that the fear of a Quare impedit2 doth cause institutions to pass more easily than otherwise they would3. Edition: current; Page: [308] And to speak plainly the very truth,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 8. it may be that writs of Quare non impedit were for these times most necessary in the other’s place: yet where law will not suffer men to follow their own judgment, to shew their judgment they are not hindered. And I doubt not but that even conscienceless and wicked patrons, of which sort the swarms are too great in the church of England, are the more emboldened to present unto bishops any refuse, by finding so easy acceptation thereof. Somewhat they might redress this sore, notwithstanding so strong impediments, if it did plainly appear that they took it indeed to heart, and were not in a manner contented with it.

Edition: 1888; Page: [8]Shall we look for care in admitting whom others present, if that which some of yourselves confer be at any time corruptly bestowed? A foul and an ugly kind of deformity it hath, if a man do but think what it is for a bishop to draw commodity and gain from those things whereof he is left a free bestower, and that in trust, without any other obligation than his sacred order only, and that religious integrity which hath been presumed on in him. Simoniacal corruption I may not for honour’s sake suspect to be amongst men of so great place. So often they do not I trust offend by sale, as by unadvised gift of such preferments, wherein that ancient canon1 should specially be remembered, which forbiddeth a bishop to be led by human affection in bestowing the things of God. A fault no where so hurtful, as in bestowing places of jurisdiction, and in furnishing cathedral churches, the prebendaries and other dignities whereof are the very true successors of those ancient presbyters which Edition: current; Page: [309] were at the first as counsellors unto bishops.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 9, 10. A foul abuse it is, that any one man should be loaded as some are with livings in this kind, yea some even of them who condemn utterly the granting of any two benefices unto the same man, whereas the other is in truth a matter of far greater sequel, as experience would soon shew, if churches cathedral being furnished with the residence of a competent number of virtuous, grave, wise and learned divines, the rest of the prebends of every such church were given within the diocess unto men of worthiest desert, for their better encouragement unto industry and travel; unless it seem also convenient to extend the benefit of them unto the learned in universities, and men of special employment otherwise in the affairs of the Church of God. But howsoever, surely with the public good of the Church it will hardly stand, that in any one person such favours be more multiplied than law permitteth in those livings which are with cure.

Edition: 1888; Page: [9]Touching bishops’ visitations, the first institution of them was profitable, to the end that the state and condition of churches being known, there might be for evils growing convenient remedies provided in due time. The observation of church laws, the correction of faults in the service of God and manners of men, these are things that visitors should seek. When these things are inquired of formally, and but for custom’s sake, fees and pensions being the only thing which is sought, and little else done by visitations; we are not to marvel if the baseness of the end doth make the action itself loathsome. The good which bishops may do not only by these visitations belonging ordinarily to their office, but also in respect of that power which the founders of colleges have given them of special trust, charging even fearfully their consciences therewith: the good, I say, which they might do by this their authority, both within their own diocess, and in the well-springs themselves, the universities, is plainly such as cannot choose but add weight to their heavy accounts in that dreadful day if they do it not.

Edition: 1888; Page: [10]In their courts, where nothing but singular integrity and justice should prevail, if palpable and gross corruptions be found, by reason of offices so often granted unto men who seek nothing but their own gain, and make no account what disgrace doth grow by their unjust dealings unto them under Edition: current; Page: [310] whom they deal, the evil hereof shall work more than they which procure it do perhaps imagine.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 11, 12, 13.

Edition: 1888; Page: [11]At the hands of a bishop the first thing looked for is a care of the clergy under him, a care that in doing good they may have whatsoever comforts and encouragements his countenance, authority and place may yield. Otherwise what heart shall they have to proceed in their painful course, all sorts of men besides being so ready to malign, despise and every way oppress them? Let them find nothing but disdain in bishops; in the enemies of present government, if that way they list to betake themselves, all kind of favourable and friendly helps; unto which part think we it likely that men having wit, courage and stomach, will incline?

As great a fault is the want of severity when need requireth, as of kindness and courtesy in bishops. But touching this, what with ill usage of their power amongst the meaner, and what with disusage amongst the higher sort, they are in the eyes of both sorts as bees that have lost their sting. It is a long time sithence any great one hath felt, or almost any one much feared the edge of that ecclesiastical severity, which sometime held lords and dukes in a more religious awe than now the meanest are able to be kept.

Edition: 1888; Page: [12]A bishop, in whom there did plainly appear the marks and tokens of a fatherly affection towards them that are under his charge, what good might he do ten thousand ways more than any man knows how to set down? But the souls of men are not loved, that which Christ shed his blood for is not esteemed precious. This is the very root, the fountain of all negligence in church-government.

Edition: 1888; Page: [13]Most wretched are the terms of men’s estate when once they are at a point of wretchedness so extreme, that they bend not their wits any further than only to shift out the present time, never regarding what shall become of their successors after them. Had our predecessors so loosely cast off from them all care and respect to posterity, a Church Christian there had not been about the regiment whereof we should need at this day to strive. It was the barbarous affection of Nero1, that the ruin of his own imperial seat he could have been well enough contented to see, in case he Edition: current; Page: [311] might also have seen it accompanied with the fall of the whole world:BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 14. an affection not more intolerable than theirs, who care not to overthrow all posterity, so they may purchase a few days of ignominious safety unto themselves and their present estates; if it may be termed a safety which tendeth so fast unto their very overthrow that are the purchasers of it in so vile and base manner. Men whom it standeth upon to uphold a reverend estimation of themselves in the minds of others, without which the very best things they do are hardly able to escape disgrace, must before it be over late remember how much easier it is to retain credit once gotten, than to recover it being lost. The executors of bishops are sued if their mansion-house be suffered to go to decay: but whom shall their successors sue for the dilapidations which they make of that credit, the unrepaired diminutions whereof will in time bring to pass, that they which would most do good in that calling shall not be able, by reason of prejudice generally settled in the minds of all sorts against them?

Edition: 1888; Page: [14]By what means their estimation hath hitherto decayed, it is no hard thing to discern. Herod and Archelaus are noted1 to have sought out purposely the dullest and most ignoble that could be found amongst the people, preferring such to the high priest’s office, thereby to abate the great opinion which the multitude had of that order, and to procure a more expedite course for their own wicked counsels, whereunto they saw the high priests were no small impediment, as long as the common sort did much depend upon them. It may be there hath been partly some show and just suspicion of like practice in some, in procuring the undeserved preferments of some unworthy persons, the very cause of Edition: current; Page: [312] whose advancement hath been principally their unworthiness to be advanced.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 15. But neither could this be done altogether without the inexcusable fault of some preferred before, and so oft we cannot imagine it to have been done, that either only or chiefly from thence this decay of their estimation may be thought to grow. Somewhat it is that the malice of their cunning adversaries, but much more which themselves have effected against themselves.

Edition: 1888; Page: [15]A bishop’s estimation doth grow from the excellency of virtues suitable unto his place. Unto the place of a bishop those high divine virtues are judged suitable, which virtues being not easily found in other sorts of great men, do make him appear so much the greater in whom they are found. Devotion and the feeling sense of religion are not usual in the noblest, wisest, and chiefest personages of state, by reason their wits are so much employed another way, and their minds so seldom conversant in heavenly things. If therefore wherein themselves are defective they see that bishops do blessedly excel, it frameth secretly their hearts to a stooping kind of disposition, clean opposite to contempt. The very countenance of Moses was glorious after that God had conferred with him. And where bishops are, the powers and faculties of whose souls God hath possessed, those very actions, the kind whereof is common unto them with other men, have notwithstanding in them a more high and heavenly form, which draweth correspondent estimation unto it, by virtue of that celestial impression, which deep meditation of holy things, and as it were conversation with God doth leave in their minds. So that bishops which will be esteemed of as they ought, must frame themselves to that very pattern from whence those Asian bishops unto whom St. John writeth were denominated, even so far forth as this our frailty will permit; shine they must as angels of God in the midst of perverse men. They are not to look that the world should always carry the affection of Constantine1, to bury that Edition: current; Page: [313] which might derogate from them, and to cover their imbecilities. More than high time it is that they bethink themselves of the Apostle’s admonition, Attende tibi1, “Have a vigilant eye to thyself.” They err if they do not persuade themselves that wheresoever they walk or sit, be it in their churches or in their consistories, abroad and at home, at their tables or in their closets, they are in the midst of snares laid for them. Wherefore as they are with the prophet every one of them to make it their hourly prayer unto God, “Lead me O Lord in thy righteousness, because of enemies2;” so it is not safe for them, no not for a moment, to slacken their industry in seeking every way that estimation which may further their labours unto the Church’s good. Absurdity, though but in words, must needs be this way a maim, where nothing but wisdom, gravity and judgment is looked for. That which the son of Sirach hath concerning the writings of the old sages, “Wise sentences are found in them3,” should be the proper mark and character of bishops’ speeches, whose lips, as doors, are not to be opened, but for egress of instruction and sound knowledge. If base servility and dejection of mind be ever espied in them, how should men esteem them as worthy the rooms of the great ambassadors of God? A wretched desire to gain by bad and unseemly means standeth not with a mean man’s credit, much less with that reputation which Fathers of the Church should be in. But if besides all this there be also coldness in works of piety and charity, utter contempt even of learning itself, no care to further it by any such helps as they easily might and ought to afford, no not as much as that due respect unto their very families about them, which all men that are of account do order as near as they can in such sort that no grievous offensive deformity be therein noted; if there still continue in that most reverend order such as, by so many engines, work day and night to pull down the whole frame of their own Edition: current; Page: [314] estimation amongst men,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 16. some of the rest secretly also permitting others their industrious opposites every day more and more to seduce the multitude; how should the Church of God hope for great good at their hands?

Edition: 1888; Page: [16]What we have spoken concerning these things, let not malicious accusers think themselves therewith justified, no more than Shimei was by his sovereign’s most humble and meek acknowledgment even of that very crime which so impudent a caitiff’s tongue upbraided him withal; the one in the virulent rancour of a cankered affection, took that delight for the present, which in the end did turn to his own more tormenting woe; the other in the contrite patience even of deserved malediction had yet this comfort1, “It may be the Lord will look on mine affliction, and do me good for his cursing this day.” As for us over whom Christ hath placed them to be the chiefest guides and pastors of our souls, our common fault is, that we look for much more in our governors than a tolerable sufficiency can yield, and bear much less than humanity and reason do require we should. Too much perfection over rigorously exacted in them, cannot but breed in us perpetual discontentment, and on both parts cause all things to be unpleasant. It is exceedingly worth the nothing, which Plato hath about the means whereby men fall into an utter dislike of all men with whom they converse2: “This sourness of mind which maketh every man’s dealings unsavoury in our taste, entereth by an unskilful overweening, which at the first we have of one, and so of another, in whom we afterwards find ourselves to have been deceived, they declaring themselves in the end to be frail men, whom we judged demigods. When we have oftentimes been thus beguiled, and that far besides expectation, we grow at the length to this plain conclusion, that there is Edition: current; Page: [315] nothing at all sound in any man.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 17. Which bitter conceit is unseemly, and plain to have risen from lack of mature judgment in human affairs; which if so be we did handle with art, we would not enter into dealings with men, otherwise than being beforehand grounded in this persuasion, that the number of persons notably good or bad is but very small; that the most part of good have some evil, and of evil men some good in them.” So true our experience doth find those aphorisms of Mercurius Trismegistus1, Ἀδύνατον τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἐνθάδε καθαρεύειν τη̑ς κακίας, “to purge goodness quite and clean from all mixture of evil here is a thing impossible.” Again, Τὸ μὴ λίαν κακὸν ἐνθάδε τὸ ἀγαθόν ἐστι, “when in this world we term a thing good, we cannot by exact construction have any other true meaning, than that the said thing so termed is not noted to be a thing exceedingly evil.” And again, Μόνον, ὡ̑ Ἀσκλήπιε, τὸ ὄνομα του̑ ἀγαθου̑ ἐν ἀνθρώποις, τὸ δὲ ἔργον οὐδαμου̑, “Amongst men, O Æsculapius, the name of that which is good we find, but no where the very true thing itself.” When we censure the deeds and dealings of our superiors, to bring with us a fore-conceit thus qualified, shall be as well on our part as theirs a thing available unto quietness.

Edition: 1888; Page: [17]But howsoever the case doth stand with men’s either good or bad quality, the verdict which our Lord and Saviour hath given, should continue for ever sure; “Quæ Dei sunt, Deo;” let men bear the burden of their own iniquity; as for those things which are God’s, let not God be deprived of them. For if only to withhold that which should be given be no better than2 to rob God, if to withdraw any mite of that which is but in propose [purpose?]k only bequeathed, though as yet undelivered into the sacred treasure of God, be a sin for which Ananias3 and Sapphira felt so heavily the dreadful hand of divine revenge; quite and clean to take that away which we never gave, and that after God hath for so many ages therewith been possessed, and that without any other shew of cause, saving only that it seemeth in their eyes who seek it to be too much for them which have it in their Edition: current; Page: [316] hands,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 18. can we term it or think it less than most impious injustice, most heinous sacrilege? Such was the religious affection of Joseph1, that it suffered him not to take that advantage, no not against the very idolatrous priests of Egypt, which he took for the purchasing of other men’s lands to the king; but he considered, that albeit their idolatry deserved hatred, yet for the honour’s sake due unto priesthood, better it was the king himself should yield them relief in public extremity, than permit that the same necessity should constrain also them to do as the rest of the people did.

Edition: 1888; Page: [18]But it may be men have now found out, that God hath proposed the Christian clergy as a prey for all men freely to seize upon; that God hath left them as the fishes of the sea, which every man that listeth to gather into his net may; or that there is no God in heaven to pity them, and to regard the injuries which man doth lay upon them: yet the public good of this church and commonwealth doth, I hope, weigh somewhat in the hearts of all honestly disposed men. Unto the public good no one thing is more directly available, than that such as are in place, whether it be of civil or of ecclesiastical authority, be so much the more largely furnished even with external helps and ornaments of this life, [by?] how much the more highly they are in power and calling advanced above others. For nature is not contented with bare sufficiency unto the sustenance of man, but doth evermore covet a decency proportionable unto the place which man hath in the body or society of others. For according unto the greatness of men’s calling, the measure of all their actions doth grow in every man’s secret expectation, so that great men do always know that great things are at their hands expected. In a bishop great liberality, great hospitality, actions in every kind great are looked for: and for actions which must be great, mean instruments will not serve. Men are but men, what room soever amongst men they hold. If therefore the measure of their worldly abilities be beneath that proportion which their calling doth make to be looked for at their hands, a stronger inducement it is than perhaps men are aware of unto evil and corrupt dealings for supply of that defect. For which cause we must needs think it a thing necessary unto the Edition: current; Page: [317] common good of the Church,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 19, 20. that great jurisdiction being granted unto bishops over others, a state of wealth proportionable should likewise be provided for them. Where wealth is had in so great admiration, as generally in this golden age it is, that without it angelical perfections are not able to deliver from extreme contempt, surely to make bishops poorer than they are, were to make them of less account and estimation than they should be. Wherefore if detriment and dishonour do grow to religion, to God, to his Church, when the public account which is made of the chief of the clergy decayeth, how should it be but in this respect for the good of religion, of God, of his Church, that the wealth of bishops be carefully preserved from further diminution?

The travels and crosses wherewith prelacy is never unaccompanied, they which feel them know how heavy and how great they are. Unless such difficulties therefore annexed unto that estate be tempered by co-annexing thereunto things esteemed of in this world, how should we hope that the minds of men, shunning naturally the burdens of each function, will be drawn to undertake the burden of episcopal care and labour in the Church of Christ? Wherefore if long we desire to enjoy the peace, quietness, order and stability of religion, which prelacy (as hath been declared) causeth, then must we necessarily, even in favour of the public good, uphold those things, the hope whereof being taken away, it is not the mere goodness of the charge, and the divine acceptation thereof, that will be able to invite many thereunto.

Edition: 1888; Page: [19]What shall become of that commonwealth or church in the end, which hath not the eye of learning to beautify, guide and direct it? At the length what shall become of that learning, which hath not wherewith any more to encourage her industrious followers? And finally, what shall become of that courage to follow learning, which hath already so much failed through the only diminution of her chiefest rewards, bishoprics? Surely wheresoever this wicked intendment of overthrowing cathedral churches, or of taking away those livings, lands and possessions which bishops hitherto have enjoyed, shall once prevail, the handmaids attending thereupon will be paganism and extreme barbarity.

Edition: 1888; Page: [20]In the Law of Moses, how careful provision is made Edition: current; Page: [318] that goods of this kind might remain to the Church for ever1:BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 21. “Ye shall not make common the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die, saith the Lord.” Touching the fields annexed unto Levitical cities, the law was plain, they might not be sold; and the reason of the law, this2, “for it was their possession for ever:” He which was Lord and owner of it, his will and pleasure was, that from the Levites it should never pass to be enjoyed by any other. The Lord’s own portion, without his own commission and grant, how should any man justly hold? They which hold it by his appointment had it plainly with this condition3, “They shall not sell of it, neither change it, nor alienate the first-fruits of the land; for it is holy unto the Lord.” It falleth sometimes out, as the prophet Habakkuk noteth, that the very4 “prey of savage beasts becometh dreadful unto themselves.” It did so in Judas, Achan, Nebuchadnezzar; their evil-purchased goods were their snare, and their prey their own terror; a thing no where so likely to follow, as in those goods and possessions, which being laid where they should not rest, have by the Lord’s own testimony his most bitter curse5 their undividable companion.

Edition: 1888; Page: [21]These persuasions we use for other men’s cause, not for theirs with whom God and religion are parts of the abrogated law of ceremonies. Wherefore not to continue longer in the cure of a sore desperate, there was a time when the clergy had almost as little as these good people wish. But the kings of this realm and others whom God had blest, considered devoutly with themselves, as David in like case sometimes had done, “Is it meet that we at the hands of God should enjoy all kinds of abundance, and God’s clergy suffer want?” They considered that of Solomon, “6Honour God with thy substance, and the chiefest of all thy revenue; so shall thy barns be filled with corn, and thy vessels shall run over with new wine.” They considered how the care which Jehosaphat had7, in providing that the Levites might have encouragement to do the work of the Lord cheerfully, was left of God as a fit pattern to be followed in the Church for Edition: current; Page: [319] ever.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 22. They considered what promise our Lord and Saviour had made unto them, at whose hands his prophets should receive but the least part of the meanest kind of friendliness, though it were but a draught of water; which promise seemeth lnot [now?] to be taken, as if Christ had made them of any higher courtesy uncapable, and had promised reward not unto such as give them but that, but unto such as leave them but that. They considered how earnest the Apostle is, that if the ministers of the law were so amply provided for, less care then ought not to be had of them, who under the gospel of Jesus Christ possess correspondent rooms in the Church. They considered how needful it is that they who provoke all others unto works of mercy and charity should especially have wherewith to be examples of such things, and by such means to win them, with whom other means without those do commonly take very small effect. In these and the like considerations, the Church revenues were in ancient times augmented, our Lord thereby performing manifestly the promise made to his servants, that they which did “leave either father, or mother, or lands, or goods, for his sake, should receive even in this world an hundred fold.” For some hundreds of years together, they which joined themselves to the Church were fain to relinquish all worldly emoluments and to endure the hardness of an afflicted estate. Afterward the Lord gave rest to his Church, kings and princes became as fathers thereunto, the hearts of all men inclined towards it, and by his providence there grew unto it every day earthly possessions in more and more abundance, till the greatness thereof bred envy, which no diminutions are able to satisfy.

Edition: 1888; Page: [22]For as those ancient nursing Fathers thought they did never bestow enough; even so in the eye of this present age, as long as any thing remaineth, it seemeth to be too much. Our fathers we imitate in perversum, as Tertullian1 speaketh; like them we are, by being in equal degree the contrary unto that which they were. Unto those earthly blessings which God as then did with so great abundance pour down upon the ecclesiastical state, we may in regard of most near resemblance Edition: current; Page: [320] apply the selfsame words which the prophet hath1, “God blessed them exceedingly, and by this very mean turned the hearts of their own brethren to hate them, and to deal politicly with his servants.” Computations are made2, and there are huge sums set down, for princes to see how much they may amplify and enlarge their own treasure; how many public burdens they may ease; what present means they may have to reward their servants about them, if they please but to grant their assent, and to accept of the spoil of bishops, by whom church goods are but abused unto pomp and vanity. Thus albeit they deal with one whose princely virtue giveth them small hope to prevail in impious and sacrilegious motions, yet shame they not to move her royal majesty even with a suit not much unlike unto that wherewith the Jewish high priest [priests?] tried Judas, whom they solicited unto treason against his Master, and proposed unto him a number of silver pence in lieu of so virtuous and honest a service. But her sacred majesty disposed to be always3 like herself, her heart so far estranged from willingness to gain by pillage of that estate, the only awe whereof under God she hath been unto this present hour, as of all other parts of this noble commonwealth, whereof she hath vowed herself a protector till the end of her days on earth, which if nature could permit, we wish, as good cause we have, endless: this her gracious inclination is more than a seven times sealed warrant, upon the same assurance whereof, touchingm any action so dishonourable as this, we are on her part most secure, not doubting but that unto all posterity it shall for ever appear, that from the first to the very last of her sovereign proceedings there hath not been one authorized deed other than consonant with that Symmachus saith4, “Fiscus bonorum principum, non sacerdotum damnis, sed hostium spoliis augeatur:” consonant with that imperial law5, “Ea quæ ad beatissimæ ecclesiæ jura pertinent, tanquam ipsam sacrosanctam et religiosam ecclesiam, intacta convenit Edition: current; Page: [321] venerabiliter custodiri;BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 23, 24. ut sicut ipsa religionis et fidei mater perpetua est, ita ejus patrimonium jugiter servetur illæsum.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [23]As for the case of public burdens, let any politician living make it appear, that by confiscation of bishops’ livings, and their utter dissolution at once, the commonwealth shall ever have half that relief and ease which it receiveth by their continuance as now they are, and it shall give us some cause to think, that albeit we see they are impiously and irreligiously minded, yet we may esteem them at least to be tolerable commonwealth’s-men. But the case is too clear and manifest, the world doth but too plainly see it that no one order of subjects whatsoever within this land doth bear the seventh part of that proportion which the clergy beareth in the burdens of the commonwealth. No revenue of the crown like unto it, either for certainty or for greatness. Let the good which this way hath grown to the commonwealth by the dissolution of religious houses, teach men what ease unto public burdens there is like to grow by the overthrow of the clergy. My meaning is not hereby to make the state of bishoprick1 and of those dissolved companies alike, the one no less unlawful to be removed than the other. For those religious persons were men which followed only a special kind of contemplative life in the commonwealth, they were properly no portion of God’s clergy (only such amongst them excepted as were also priests), their goods (that excepted which they unjustly held through the pope’s usurped power of appropriating ecclesiastical livings unto them) may in part seem to be of the nature of civil possessions, held by other kinds of corporations, such as the city of London hath divers. Wherefore as their institution was human, and their end for the most part superstitious, they had not therein merely that holy and divine interest which belongeth unto bishops, who being employed by Christ in the principal service of his Church, are receivers and disposers of his patrimony, as hath been shewed, which whosoever shall withhold or withdraw at any time from them, he undoubtedly robbeth God himself.

Edition: 1888; Page: [24]If they abuse the goods of the Church unto pomp and vanity, such faults we do not excuse in them. Only we wish it to be considered whether such faults be verily in them, or Edition: current; Page: [322] else but objected against them by such as gape after spoil,BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 25. and therefore are no competent judges what is moderate and what excessive in them, whom under this pretence they would spoil. But the accusation may be just. In plenty and fulness it may be we are of God more forgetful than were requisite. Notwithstanding men should remember how not to the clergy alone it was said by Moses in Deuteronomy1, “Ne cum manducaveris et biberis et domos optimas ædificaveris.” If the remedy prescribed for this disease be good, let it unpartially be applied. “Interest reipub. ut re sua quisque bene utatur2.” Let all states be put to their moderate pensions, let their livings and lands be taken away from them whosoever they be, in whom such ample possessions are found to have been matters of grievous abuse: were this just? would noble families think this reasonable? The title which bishops have to their livings is as good as the title of any sort of men unto whatsoever we account to be most justly held by them; yea in this one thing the claim of bishops hath preeminence above all secular titles of right, in that God’s own interest is the tenure whereby they hold, even as also it was to the priests of the law an assurance of their spiritual goods and possessions, whereupon, though they many times abused greatly the goods of the Church, yet was not God’s patrimony therefore taken away from them, and made saleable unto other tribes. To rob God, to ransack the Church, to overthrow the whole order of Christian bishops, and to turn them out of land and living, out of house and home, what man of common honesty can think it for any manner of abuse to be a remedy lawful or just? We must confess that God is righteous in taking away that which men abuse: but doth that excuse the violence of thieves and robbers?

Edition: 1888; Page: [25]Complain we will not with St. Jerome3, “That the hands of men are so straitly tied, and their liberal minds so much bridled and held back from doing good by augmentation of the Church patrimony.” For we confess that herein Edition: current; Page: [323] mediocrity may be and hath been sometime exceeded. There did want heretofore a Moses to temper men’s liberality, to say unto them who enriched the Church, Sufficit1, Stay your hands, lest fervour of zeal do cause you to empty yourselves too far. It may be the largeness of men’s hearts being then more moderate, had been after more durable; and one state by too much overgrowing the rest, had not given occasion unto the rest to undermine it. That evil is now sufficiently cured: the Church treasury, if then it were over full, hath since been reasonable [reasonably?] well emptied. That which Moses spake unto givers, we must now inculcate unto takers away from the Church, Let there be some stay, some stint in spoiling. If “grape-gatherers came unto them,” saith the prophet, “would they not leave some remnant behind2?” But it hath fared with the wealth of the Church as with a tower, which being built at the first with the highest, overthroweth itself after by its own greatness; neither doth the ruin thereof cease with the only fall of that which hath exceeded mediocrity, but one part beareth down another, till the whole be laid prostrate. For although the state ecclesiastical, both others and even bishops themselves, be now fallen to so low an ebb, as all the world at this day doth see; yet because there remaineth still somewhat which unsatiable minds can thirst for, therefore we seem not to have been hitherto sufficiently wronged. Touching that which hath been taken from the Church in appropriations known to amount to the value of one hundred twenty-six thousand pounds yearly, we rest contentedly and quietly without it, till it shall please God to touch the hearts of men, of their own voluntary accord, to restore it to him again; judging thereof no otherwise than some others did of those goods which were by Sylla taken away from the citizens of Rome3, that albeit they were in truth male capta, unconscionably taken away from the right owners at the first, nevertheless, seeing that such as were after possessed of them held them not without some title, which law did after a sort made good, repetitio eorum proculdubio labefactabat compositam civitatem. What hath been taken away as dedicated unto uses superstitious, and consequently not given unto God, Edition: current; Page: [324] or at the leastwise not so rightly given, we repine not thereat.BOOK VII. Ch. xxiv. 26. That which hath gone by means secret and indirect, through corrupt compositions or compacts, we cannot help. What the hardness of men’s hearts doth make them loth to have exacted, though being due by law, even thereof the want we do also bear. Out of that which after all these deductions cometh clearly unto our hands, I hope it will not be said that towards the public charge we disburse nothing. And doth the residue seem yet excessive? The ways whereby temporal men provide for themselves and their families are fore-closed unto us. All that we have to sustain our miserable life with, is but a remnant of God’s own treasure, so far already diminished and clipped, that if there were any sense of common humanity left in this hard-hearted world, the impoverished estate of the clergy of God would at the length even of very commiseration be spared. The mean gentleman that hath but an hundred pound land to live on, would not be hasty to change his worldly estate and condition with many of these so over abounding prelates; a common artisan or tradesman of the city, with ordinary pastors of the Church.

Edition: 1888; Page: [26]It is our hard and heavy lot, that no other sort of men being grudged at, how little benefit soever the public weal reap by them, no state complained of for holding that which hath grown unto them by lawful means; only the governors of our souls, they that study night and day so to guide us, that both in this world we may have comfort and in the world to come endless felicity and joy (for even such is the very scope of all their endeavours, this they wish, for this they labour, how hardly soever we use to construe of their intents): hard, that only they should be thus continually lifted at for possessing but that whereunto they have by law both of God and man most just title. If there should be no other remedy but that the violence of men in the end must needs bereave them of all succour, further than the inclination of others shall vouchsafe to cast upon them, as it were by way of alms for their relief but from hour to hour; better they are not than their fathers, which have been contented with as hard a portion at the world’s hands: let the light of the sun and moon, the common benefit of heaven and earth be taken from bishops, if the question were whether God should lose his glory, and the safety of his Edition: current; Page: [325] Church be hazarded, or they relinquish the right and interest which they have in the things of this world. But sith the question in truth is whether Levi shall be deprived of the portion of God or no, to the end that Simeon or Reuben may devour it as their spoil, the comfort of the one in sustaining the injuries which the other would offer, must be that prayer poured out by Moses the prince of prophets, in most tender affection to Levi, “Bless, O Lord, his substance, accept thou the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise up against him, and of them which hate him, that they rise no more1.”

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BOOK VIII.*: aTHEIR 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.

  • [THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS EIGHTH BOOK.

  • I. State of the Question between the Church of England and its Opponents regarding the King’s Supremacy.
  • II. Principles on which the King’s modified Supremacy is grounded.
  • III. Warrant for it in the Jewish Dispensation.
  • IV. Vindication of the Title, Supreme Head of the Church within his own Dominions.
  • V. Vindication of the Prerogative regarding Church Assemblies.
  • VI. Vindication of the Prerogative regarding Church Legislation.
  • VII. Vindication of the Prerogative regarding Nomination of Bishops.
  • VIII. Vindication of the Prerogative regarding Ecclesiastical Courts.
  • IX. Vindication of the Prerogative regarding Exemption from Excommunication.]
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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 cboth. This power they gave unto Simon1, when they consented that he should be “their prince,” not only “to set men over thed works, and eover the country, and eover the weapons, eand over the fortresses,” but also “to provide for the holy things;” “and that he should be obeyed of every man, and that fall 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 Edition: current; Page: [328] 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 xsupremacy 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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [329] 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 Edition: current; Page: [330] 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, cand 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.

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Edition: 1888; Page: [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, lare 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 mBabylon, 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 Edition: current; Page: [332] 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.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [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, xnamely, “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, 4always 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 Edition: current; Page: [333] 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 Edition: current; Page: [334] 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 Edition: current; Page: [335] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [336] 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 Edition: current; Page: [337] 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, “1That 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 Nehemias4 yytook 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 Edition: current; Page: [338] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [339] 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 Edition: current; Page: [340] 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?

Edition: 1888; Page: [7]Wherefore to end this point, I conclude: First, that under ndominions 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [341] 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, zas 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: fthen 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: ithe 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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, Edition: current; Page: [342] 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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 xauthority 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 Edition: current; Page: [343] 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 kwithin 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 mof 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [344] 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 ufull 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.

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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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [346] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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.”

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BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 8.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [348] 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 allegede 2heaps 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 Edition: current; Page: [349] 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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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.

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BOOK VIII. Ch. ii. 10, 11.Edition: 1888; Page: [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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 mthe 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 Edition: current; Page: [351] 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 bes1regency willingly sustainedss and endured, with chiefty of power in the greatest things.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [352] 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 Edition: current; Page: [353] 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.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 violationi dogmata, veryj articles of religion themselves.” Others3 Edition: current; Page: [354] 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 Edition: current; Page: [355] 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.”

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [356] 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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [357] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [358] 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 Edition: current; Page: [359] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [360] 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 Edition: current; Page: [361] 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 lessHooker1888: 1. 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,Hooker1888: 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 Edition: current; Page: [362] 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 subordinateHooker1888: 3. 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 andHooker1888: 4. 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.

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BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 2.Edition: 1888; Page: [2]yThe 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 Edition: current; Page: [364] dignity and perfection which is in our religion more than in theirs1.BOOK VIII. Ch. iii. 3, 4.

Ad secundum2.Edition: 1888; Page: [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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [365] 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, Edition: current; Page: [366] 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.Edition: 1888; Page: [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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [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 Edition: current; Page: [367] 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.”

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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.

Edition: 1888; Page: [2]Againsto this peradventure it willp be replied1, that Edition: current; Page: [369] 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 p