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Henry himself able to defend his cause before any other judge, be evermore made his
own judge, and so controversies not decided, but errors set up, what can be
devised in the commonwealth of Christendom more hurtful to the truth, than A.D. 1536.
general councils ?
And here to touch somewhat their impudent arrogancy : By what law, power, The pope or honest title take they upon them to call kings, to summon princes to appear,
where their bulls command them? In time past all councils were appointed by judge his
the authority, consent and commandment of the emperor, kings, and princes :
why now taketh the bishop of Rome this upon him? Some will say, 'It is more Hath no likely that bishops will more tender the cause of religion, gladlier have errors summons taken away, than emperors, kings, or princes. The world hath good expecounciis. rience of them, and every man seeth how faithfully they have handled religious
matters. Is there any man that doth not see how virtuously Paul now goeth How the about by this occasion to set up his tyranny again? Is it not like that he that pope can chooseth such a time as this is, to keep a council, much intendeth the redress
of things that now are amiss ? that he seeketh the restoring of religion, who
O fools ! O wicked men! May we not justly so call you? Are ye not fools, who, being long suspected, not only by princes, but by all christian people, in a manner, that in no case you could be brought to a general council
, plainly show the whole world, that by these your conciliables, your butter-mutter in corners, you take away all hope of a lawful, catholic, and general council ? Are you not wicked, who so hate truth, that except she be utterly banished, ye will never cease to vex her?' The living God is alive, neither can Truth, his darling, he being alive, be called to so great shame, contumely, and injury: or, if it may be called to all these, yet can it come to none of them. Who is he
that grievously lamenteth not men to be of such shameful boldness, to show An enc- apertly that they be enemies unto Christ himself? on the other side, who will
not be glad to see such men as foolish as they be wicked? The world is not Christ.
now in a light suspicion, as it hath been hitherto, that you will no reformation Hateth of errors; but every man seeth before his eyes your deceits, your wicked minds, the truth.
your immortal hatred that ye bear against the truth. Every sman eeth how many miserable tragedies your pretence of a unity and concord hath brought
into Christendom. They see your fair face of peace hath served sedition, and A trou- troubled almost all christian realms. They see ye never oppugn religion more
than when ye will seem most to defend it. They be sorry to see that great wits a long season have spent their whole strength in defence of deceits : Reason, to put his whole power to the promoting of pride and ungodliness; Virtue to serve Vice; Holiness to be slave to Hypocrisy; Prudence to Subtlety; Justice to Tyranny. They be glad that Scripture now fighteth for itself, and not against itself
. They be glad that God is not compelled to be He marks against God; Christ against Christ. They be glad that subtlety hath done no
more hurt to religion in time past, than now constancy doth good to truth. They see the marks that ye have shot at, in all your councils past, to be lucre, money, gains. They see you sought your profit, yea, though it were joined with the slaughter of truth. They see, ye would ever that sooner injury should be done to the gospel, than that your authority, that is to say, arrogant impudency, should in any point be diminished.
And, we pray you, what may Paul the bishop of Romne seem now to go about, ing a
who, seeing all princes occupied in great affairs, would steal (as he calleth it) a general general council ? what other thing, than hereby to have some excuse to refuse
a general council hereafter, when time and place much better for the handling of matters of religion shall be given unto the princes of Christendom? He will think he may then do as princes now do. He will think it lawful not to come then, because princes now come not. We pray God that we ever brawl not one with another for religion : and whereas dissension is amongst us, we yet for
(1) Truth may be pressed; it cannot be oppressed.
bler of christian realms,
whereat he shooteth.
His craft in steal
What a heretic is
our parts do say, that we, as much as men may, defend the better part, and be Henry in the right way. We pray God that the world may enjoy peace and tranquillity, and that then we may have both time and place to settle religion: for A.D. except princes first agree, and so (war laid aside) seek peace, he loseth his
1536. labour that seeketh a general council. If the bishop of Rome may keep his council while they thus be together, will not there be made many pretty decrees? If they, who would come if they had leisure, be absent, and we, who though we safely might come, will not lose any part of our right; trow you, in all our absence, that the bishop of Rome will not handle his profit and primacy well?
Paul ! how can any of ours not refuse to come to Mantua, through so many Time and perils, a city so far set from England, so nigh your friends, kinsmen, and ad- place herents ? is he not unworthy of life
, who, when he may tarry at home, will picked pass through so many jeopardies of life? Can he who cometh' to Cremona, a of the city not far from Mantua, be safe if he be taken not to be the bishop of Rome's pope. friend, that is (as the common sort of deceived people do interpret) a heretic? And if there come to Mantua such a number as would furnish a general among council, may not Mantua seem too little to receive so many guests? Put these the
papists. two together: all the way from England to Mantua is full of just perils, and yet if ye escape all those, the very place where the council is kept is more to be suspected than all the way. Do ye not know all civil laws to compel no man to come to any place, where he shall be in jeopardy of his life all the way? We have no safe-conduct to pass and return by the dominions of other princes. And if we had a safe-conduct, yet should not we be charged with rashness, that where just terror might have dissuaded us from such a journey, we committed ourselves to such perils? Surely he, who, the time being as it is, things standing as they do, will go from England to Mantua,' may be careless, if he lack wit : sure of his arrival, or return from thence, he cannot be; for who doth not know how oft the bishops of Rome have played false parts with them that in Falsesuch matters have trusted to their safe-conducts? How oft have they caused, hood of by their perfidy, such men to be slain, as they have promised by their faith no new before, that they should both come safe, and go safe? These be no news, that thing. popes are false, that popes keep no promise either with God or man; that popes, contrary to their oaths, do defile their cruel hands with honest men's blood. But we tarry too long in things that as well touch all men as us.
We will, these now laid apart, turn our oration unto such things, as privately touch both us, king Henry VIII., and all Englishmen. Is it unknown to any man, what mind Paul the bishop of Rome beareth to us king Henry VIII., to us his nobility, to us his grace's bishops, and to us all his grace's subjects, for the pulling down of his usurped power and proud primacy? for expelling of his usurped jurisdiction, and for delivering of our realm from his grievous bondage and pollage? Who seeth not him even inflamed with hatred against His us, and the flames to be much greater than he can now keep them in? He is hatred an open enemy, he dissembleth no longer, provoking all men, by all the means England. that he can, to endamage us and our country. These three years he hath been occupied in no one thing so much, as how he might stir up the commons of England, now corrupting some with money, some with dignities. We let pass what letters he hath written to christian princes : with how great fervent study he hath exhorted them to set upon us. The good vicar of Christ, by his doing, bringeth showeth how he understandeth the words of Christ. He thinketh he playeth not peace, Christ's part well, when he may say, as Christ did, • I come not to make peace sword to in earth, but to send swords about;' and not such swords as Christ would his the earth : to be armed withal, but such as cruel man-quellers abuse in the slaughter of otherwise their neighbours We marvel little though they vex other princes oft, seeing Christ they recompense our favour showed to them with contumelies, our benefits did. with injuries.
We will not rehearse here how many our benefits bestowed upon Roman Benefits bishops be lost. God be with such ingrate carles, unworthy to be numbered cast away amongst men : certes such, that a man may well doubt whether God or man hath better cause to hate them. But that we have learned to owe good will even to them that immortally hate us, what could we wish them so evil, but
The popo VII.
(1) The way to Mantua is long and dangerous.
curses not feared in
Henry they have deserved much worse? We wish them this hurt alone, that God send
them a better mind. God be thanked, we have made all their seditious inA. D.
tents sooner to show their great malice towards us, than to do us much hurt; 1536. yea, they have well taught us, evermore to take good heed to our enemies.
Undoubtedly it were good going to Mantua, and to leave their whelps amongst the lambs of our flock. When we be weary of our wealth, we will even do then, as they would have us now do. No, no! as long as we shall see his heart so good towards us, we trust upon his warning we shall well provide to withstand his cruel malice. No, let him now spend his deceits, when they can hurt none but such as would deceive, and are deceived.
They have, by sundry ways, made us privy, how much we be bound to pope's them. It went nigh their hearts, to see the judgment of Julius, of Clement
VII., of Paul III., nothing to be regarded with us. They be afraid, if we should England. sustain no hurt because we justly rejected their primacy, that other princes
would begin to do likewise, and to shake off their shoulders the heavy burdens that they so long have borne against Scriptures, all right and reason. They be sorry to see the way stopped, that now their tyranny, avarice, and pride, can have no passage unto England, which was wont to walk, to triumph, to toss, to trouble all men. They can scarce suffer privileges, that is to say, license to spoil our citizens, given them by our forefathers, and brought in by errorful custom, to be taken from them. They think it unlawful that we require things
lawful of them that will be under no laws. They think we do them wrong, His trum- because we will not suffer them to do us wrong any longer. They see their merpery dis- chandise to be banished, to be forbidden. They see that we will buy no longer patched
chalk for cheese. They see they have lost a fair fleece, vengeably sorry that England. they can dispatch no more pardons, dispensations, totquots, with the rest of
their baggage and trumpery. England is no more a babe. There is no man
here, but now he knoweth that they do foolishly, who give gold for lead, more given for weight of that, than they receive of this. They pass not, though Peter and
Paul's faces be graven in the lead, to make fools fain. No, we be sorry that they should abuse holy saints' visages, to the beguiling of the world.
Surely, except God take away our right wits, not only his authority shall be driven out for ever, but his name also shortly shall be forgotten in England. We will from henceforth ask counsel from him and his, when we lust to be deceived, when we covet to be in error: when we desire to offend God, truth,
and honesty. If a man may guess the whole work by the foundation, where pope's
deceits begin the work, can any other than deceits be builded upon this fountion is all dation ? What can you look for in this Mantuan council, other than the oppres
sion of truth and true religion? If there be any thing well done, think, as
every man doth, bishops of Rome to be accustomed to do a few things well, things that
the better be taken at their hands. They, when they lust, can yield some part of their right. They are content that some of their decrees, evils may some of their errors and abuses, be reprehended: but they are never more to
be feared, than when they show themselves most gentle ; for if they grant a proceed. few, they ask many, if they leave a little, they will be sure of a great deal.
Scarce a man may know how to handle himself, that he take no hurt at their
hands, yea, when they bless him; who seldom do good, but for an intent to do He ought evil. Certainly, come whoso will to these shops of deceits, to these fairs of
frauds, we will lose no part of our right in coming at his call, who ought to be called,
called, and not to call. We will neither come at Mantua, nor send thither for this matter, &c.
deceit. He doth
well, that many
and not to call.
And so the king, proceeding in the said his protestation, declareth prorogues moreover, how the
after he had summoned his council first to be kept at Mantua, the 23d day of May, A.D. 1537, shortly after directed out another bull, to prorogate the same council to the month of November; pretending, for his excuse, that the duke of Mantua would not suffer him to keep any council there, unless he maintained a number of warriors for defence of the town. And therefore, in his latter bull, he prorogueth this assembly, commanding patriarchs,
(1) God grant !
archbishops, bishops, abbots, and others of the spiritualty, by Henry virtue of obedience, and under pain of cursing, to be present; but showeth no place at all where he would be, nor whither they should A.D.
1537. come. And in very deed no great matter though no place were named; for as good a council nowhere to be called, as where it could not be; and as well no place served him that intended no council, as all places. And to say truth, much better no place to be named, than to name such as he purposed not to come to; for so should he break no promise, who maketh none. And so, going forward in his oration, toward the latter end the king thus inferreth by his words of protestation, saying:
Now, we will the pope and his adherents to understand that which we have Princes, oft said, and now say, and ever will say: 'He nor his hath no authority nor jurisdiction in England.'. We give him no more than he hath: that is never a
Pope prideal. That which he hath usurped against God's law, and extorted by violence, macy, so we, by good right, take from him again. But he and his will say, we gave it from them a primacy. We hear them well: we give it you indeed. If you have him anthority upon us as long as our consent giveth it you (and you evermore will agzin. make your plea upon our consent), then let it have even an end where it began: we consent no longer, your authority must needs be gone. If we, being deceived by false pretence of evil-alleged Scriptures, gave to
ye ought to have refused, why may we not, our error now perceived, your deceit espied, take it again? We princes wrote ourselves to be inferiors to popes. As long as we thought so, we obeyed them as our superiors. Now we write not as we did, and therefore they have no great cause to marvel, if we hereafter do not as we did ; both the laws civil, and also the laws of God, be on our side. For a free man born doth not lose his liberty, uo nor hurt the plea of his liberty, though he write himself a bondman.
Again, If they lean to custom, we send them to St. Cyprian, who saith, that Custom. custom, if truth be not joined with it, is nothing but 'erroris vetustas,' that is, an old error.' Christ said, “Ego sum via, veritas, et vita:' 'I am the way, the truth, and life :' he never said, ' Ego sum consuetudo,' 'I am the custom. Wherefore, seeing custom serveth you on the one side, and Scripture us on the other, are ye able to match us? In how many places doth Christ admonish you to seek no primacy, to prefer yourselves before nobody; no, to be obedient unto all creatures! Your old title, servus servorum,' evil agreeth with your new The forged dignity. But we will not tarry in matters so plain : we only desire God, pope's that Cæsar and other christian princes, would agree upon some holy council, his dina where truth may be tried, and religion set up, which hath been hurt by nothing nity agree so sore, as by general—not general-councils : errors and abuses grow too fast. not toge
Erudimini qui judicatis terram ;' 'Get you learning, you that judge the earth,' and excogitate some remedy for these so many diseases of the sick church. They that be wisest, do despair of a general council: wherefore we think it now Let every best, that every prince call a council provincial, and every prince do redress his prince reown realm. We make all men privy to what we think best to be done for the realm, redress of religion. If they like it, we doubt not but they will follow it, or some and tarry other better. Our trust is, that all princes will so handle themselves in this not for behalf, that princes may enjoy their own, and priests of Rome content themselves with what they ought to have. Princes, as we trust, will no longer nourish wolves' whelps; they will subscribe no more to popish pride, to the
Favour our doings, O christian princes! Your honour and ancient majesty is restored. Remember there is nothing pertaining so much to a prince's honour as to set forth truth, and to help religion. Take you heed that their deceit work not more mischief than your virtue can do good, and everlasting war we would all princes had with this papacy. As for their decrees, so hearken to them, that if in this Mantuan assembly things be well done, ye take them; but not as authorized by them, but that truth, and things that maintain religion, are to be taken at all men's hands. And even as we will admit things well made, so, if there be any thing determined in prejudice of truth, for the maintenance
Qneen Jane married to
Henry of their evil grounded primacy, or that may hurt the authority of kings, we
protest unto the whole world that we neither allow it, nor will at any time A. D. allow it. 1537. Ye have, christian readers! our mind concerning the general council. We
think all see, that Paul, and his cardinals, bishops, abbots, monks, friars, with the rest of the rabblement, do nothing less intend, than the knowledge and search of truth. Ye see this is no time meet, Mantua no place meet, for a general council. And though they were both meet, yet except some other call this council, you see that we need neither to come, nor to send. You have heard how every prince in his own realm may quiet things amiss. If there be any of you that can show us a better way, we promise, with all hearty desire, to do that which shall be thought best for the settling of religion, and that we will leave our own advices, if any man show us better; which mind of ours we most heartily pray God that gave it us, not only to increase in us, but also to send it unto all christian princes, all christian prelates, and all christian people.
A little before the death of queen Anne, there was a parliament at Westminster, wherein were given to the king, by consent of the abbots, all such houses of religion as were under three hundred marks ; which was a shrewd prognosticate of the ruin of greater houses, which indeed followed shortly after, as was and might easily be perceived before by many, who then said, that the low bushes and brambles
were cut down before, but great oaks would follow after. The
Although the proceeding of these things did not well like the papists' purpose minds of the pope's friends in England, yet, notwithstanding, they pointed. began again to take some breath of comfort, when they saw the afore
said queen Anne dispatched. Nevertheless they were frustrated of their purpose (as is afore showed) and that double wise. For first, after they had their wills of queen Anne, the Lord raised up another
queen, not greatly for their purpose, with her son king Edward ; and the king. also for that the lord Cromwell, the same time, began to grow
in Cromwell authority, who, like a mighty pillar set up in the church of Christ, in autho. was enough, alone, to confound and overthrow all the malignant devices
of the adversaries, so long as God gave him in life here to continue; whose story hereafter followeth more at large.
Shortly after this aforesaid marriage of the king with this queen tion of re-Jane Seymour above mentioned, in the month of June, during the liitle be continuation of the parliament, by the consent of the clergy holding ginneth.
then a solemn convocation in the church of St. Paul, a book was set forth containing certain articles of religion necessary to be taught to the people ; wherein they treated specially but of three sacraments, baptism, penance, and the Lord's Supper; where also divers other things were published concerning the alteration of certain points of
religion, as that certain holidays were forbidden, and many abbeys Commo- began to be suppressed. For this cause the rude multitude of LinLincoln- colnshire, fearing the utter subversion of their old religion, wherein
they had been so long nursled, did rise up in a great commotion, to
the number well near of twenty thousand, having for their captain a A monk monk, called doctor Makerel, calling himself then captain Cobler ; the com- but these rebels, being repressed by the king's power, and desiring
pardon, soon brake up their assembly. For they, hearing of the