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Henry been grounded upon the plain Scriptures, as you with some others do think : V. and it is to be supposed also, that he would in all his epistles have called them A. D.
* Patres,' or · Dominos,' fathers or lords, as superiors; and not always · Fratres' 1534.
and 'Collegas,' brothers and fellows in office, as but only his equals.
This thing yet more plainly doth appear by the acts of the councils of Africa in St. Augustine's time: by which it is evident, that though the faith of Christ was by the Romans first brought into Africa (as St. Augustine doth confess), yet it was not read, nor known, that the bishops of Rome used or challenged any sovereignty in Africa unto this time. And yet then he did not challenge it by the right of God's word, but by the pretence of a certain canon supposed to be in the council of Nice; which article could never be found, though it were then very diligently sought for through all the principal churches of the east and south; but only was alleged by Julius, bishop of Rome, out of his own library.
And you may be well assured, that if the Scriptures had made for it, neither the bishop of Rome would have left that certain proof by Scriptures, and trusted only to the testimony of an article of that council, being in doubt and unlikely to be found; nor yet St. Augustine, with his holy and learned company, would have resisted this demand, if had been either grounded upon Scriptures, or determined in that or other councils, or yet had stood with equity, good order, or reason." Howbeit the largeness and magnificence of the buildings of that city, and the ancient excellency and superiority of the same in temporal dominions, 3 was the only cause that in the councils (where the patriarchal sees were set in order) the bishop of Rome was allotted to the first place, and not by any such constitution made by Christ; as appeareth well by this, that Constantinople, being, at the same time of this ordering of the patriarchal sees, most amply enlarged by the emperors, being before a small town, and of no renown, and by them most magnificently builded and advanced with all worldly titles, prerogatives, and privileges temporal, like unto Rome, and therefore called Nova Roma,' • New Rome,' was therefore advanced also to the second see and place :- Antioch in the East (where St. Peter first took the chair before he came to Rome, and where christian men had first their name given them); yea, and Jerusalem (which was the first mother city of our faith, and where Christ himself first founded the faith), and also Alexandria, being rejected to the third, fourth, and fifth places; because at that time they were not in so high estimation in the world, though in the faith of Christ all they were ancients, and some of them mothers to Rome.
Truth it is, that the bishops of the Orient, for debates in matters of the faith amongst themselves, made suits to the bishop of Rome; but that was not for the superiority of jurisdiction over them, but because they were greatly divided, and those countries, as well bishops as others, much infected with the heresies of the Arians, whereof the west was in a manner clear: and among them of the orient, none were counted indifferent to decide those matters, but were all suspected of affection for one cause or other. Wherefore they desired the opinions of the bishops of the west, as indifferent, and not entangled with affections of any of those parts, neither corrupted with any of the Arians, as appeareth by the epistles of St. Basil
, written in all their names for the said purpose; in which also it is especially to be noted, that their suit was not made to the bishop of Rome singularly, or by name, but (as the titles do show) to the whole congregation of the bishops of Italy and France, or of the whole west, and sometimes preferring the French and Italian bishops, saying, Gallis et Italis,' and never naming the Romans. And for a clear proof that the ancient fathers
knew not this primacy of one above all, we need no other testimony but their knew the determination in the council of Nice, that Alexandria, and Antioch, and uniprimacy
versally all other primates, should have the whole governance of their confine church of countries, like as the bishop of Rome had of those that inhabited within his
suburbs. And this determination proveth, also, that your three Scriptures meant nothing less than this primacy over all: for God forbid that we should suspect that council as ignorant of those plain Scriptures, to which, since that time, all Christendom hath leaned, as the anchor of our faith. And if
like to read the ancient ecclesiastical histories, there you may see, that Athanasius, and other patriarchs, did execute that primacy, as in making, consecrating, and
The old fathers never
(1) Aug. Ap. 16.
(2) Vide duas Epistolas ad Bonifacium pap. tomo conciliorum, fol. 307, 308.
(3) Dist. 16. Vigini.
ordering of churches, bishops and clerks, in their countries east and south, as Henry the bishops of Rome in that time did, in the west and north. And if you would yet any thing object against any of these witnesses, then,
A.D. to eschew contention, and for a final conclusion, let the bishop of Rome stand
1534. to his own confession made many years past by his predecessor Agatho, to the emperors, Constantine, Heraclius, and Tiberius, in his epistle written to them in the in his name, and in the name of all the synod which he thought to be under the time of see apostolic; wherein, soon after the beginning of the epistle, he comprehendeth Agatho, them all under the name of the bishops dwelling in the north and west parts of the see their empire: so that there, in his own epistle, he confesseth all his subjects and had om obedienciaries to be only of the north and west. And so it appeareth evidently, rule over by his own confession, that neither by God's law, nor by man's law, he had to the east do with any person of the east or south; and this his high sovereignty over all, churches. challenged (as you and others say) by Scripture, is brought, as by his own confession doth appear, into a little and straight angle. And this Agatho was not a man unlearned, as appeareth by the acts of the sixth synod of Constantinople, in the fourth act, wherein is written at large and expressed the said epistle and confession. And the primacy of Peter, which ancient doctors speak of, which was Peter's only in preaching and teaching the faith of Christ, which he, first among all the primacy apostles, and first of all mortal men, did express with his mouth, did afterwards batheso so adhere to his own person, that it was never delivered either to any successor, sors. or to any other apostle, but chiefly to himself; for all others, afterwards professing the same, spake it according unto him who had professed it before. Moreover, all the apostles (as St. John saith') be foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem, and not Peter only. Also Cyprian affirmeth (as is afore said) that all the apostles were of equal dignity and power; which all ancient authors likewise do affirm. For Christ gave the apostles like power in the gospel, saying; Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them, &c. And St. Paul (as is said before) knew no other primacy given to Peter to preach in any place but among the Jews, as he himself had amongst the Gentiles, as he writeth to the Galatians; whereupon St. Ambrose writing (as is afore said), affirmeth the same. And that the mother of all churches is Jerusalem (as is afore said), and not Rome, the Scripture is plain, in the prophet Isaiah ;: Out of Sion shall the law proceed, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem:' upon which place St. Jerome saith, 'Out of the church, being first founded in Jerusalem, sprang all other churches of the whole world;' and also in the gospel which Christ, before his ascension, commanded his apostles to preach throughout all the world, beginning first at Jerusalem ;' so that the bishop of Rome's universal power, by him claimed over all, cannot by any scripture be justified; as, if you have read the ancient fathers' expositions of the said scriptures (as we suppose you have, since your letters sent hither concerning this matter), and would give more credence to their humble and plain speaking, than to the later contentious and ambitious writers of that high, and above-the-ideas-of-Plato's subtlety (which passeth, as you write, the lawyer's A prince learning and capacity), we doubt not but that you perceive and think the same. may be
And where you think that the king cannot be taken as supreme head of the of his church, because he cannot exercise the chief office of the church in preaching church, and ministering of the sacraments; it is not requisite, in every body natural,
yet not that the head should exercise either all manner of offices of the body, or the preach chief office of the same. For albeit the head is the highest and chief member nor miof the natural body, yet the distribution of life to all the members of the body, sacraas well to the head as to other members, cometh from the heart, and it is the ments. minister of life to the whole body, as the chief act of the body.
Neither yet hath this similitude its full place in a mystical body, that a king
(3) Isaiah ii.
(6) Ezek. iii.
do not agree
soever refuseth to use the office of an eye in the mystical body, to show unto
the body the right way of believing and living, which appertaineth to the spiriA. D.
tual eye to do, shall show himself to be a blind eye; and if he shall take any 1534.
other office in hand than appertaineth to the right eye, he shall make a con
fusion in the body, taking upon him another office than is given him of God. A bishop Wherefore, if the eye will not take upon him the office of the whole head, it may in these be answered, it cannot so do, for it lacketh brain. And examples show likehead, but wise that it is not necessary always that the head should have the faculty or
chief office of administration, as you may see in a navy by sea; where the the mys- admiral, who is a captain over all, doth not meddle with steering or governing
of every ship, but every particular master must direct the ship to pass the sea body.
in breaking the waves by his steering and governance, which the admiral, the The office head of all, doth not himself, nor yet hath the faculty to do, but commandeth of a head. the masters of the ship to do it. And likewise many a captain of great armies,
who is not able, nor ever could peradventure shoot, or break a spear by his own strength, yet, by his wisdom and commandment only, achieveth the wars, and attaineth the victory.
And whereas you think that unity standeth not only in the agreeing in one unity.
faith and doctrine of the church, but also in agreeing in one head; if you mean the very and only head over all the church, our Saviour Christ, whom the Father hath set over all the church, which is his body, wherein all good christian men do agree, therein you say truth. But, if you mean for any one mortal man to be the head over all the church, and that head to be the bishop of Rome, we
with you. For you do there err in the true understanding of the Scripture; or else you must say that the said council of Nice, and others most ancient did err, which divided the administration of churches, the orient from the occident, and the south from the north, as is before expressed. And that Christ, the universal head, is present in every church, the gospel showeth ;
Where two or three be gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
And yet for a further proof, to take away the scruples that peradventure do,
to your appearance, rise of certain words in some ancient authors, and especially Answerto in St. Cyprian's epistles, as that the unity of the church stood in the unity with Cyprian.
the bishop of Rome, though they never call him supreme head; if you will weigh and confer all their sayings together, you shall perceive that they neither spake nor meant otherwise ; but when the bishop of Rome was once lawfully elected and enthroned, if then any other would, by faction, might, force, or otherwise (the other living and doing his office), enterprise to put him down, and usurp the same bishopric, or exercise the other's office himselt (as Novatian did attempt in the time of Cornelius), then the said fathers reckoned them catholics that did communicate with him that was so lawfully elected : and the custom was, for one primacy to have to do with another by congratulatory letters, soon after the certainty of their election was known, to keep the unity of the church; and all they that did take part with, or maintain the usurper, to be schismatics, because that usurper was a schismatic ;) • Because it was not lawful for two bishops to be at once together in one church, neither the former
bishop, being lawful, to be deposed without his fault were proved.' And this hath no
is not a prerogative of the church of Rome, more than of any other cathedral, more pre- special, patriarchal, or metropolitical church, as appeareth in the third epistle rogative of the first book, and in the eighth of the second, and in the fourth book of St.
Cyprian to Cornelius; whose words and reasons, although peradventure they In what might seem to include the unity of the church in the unity of the bishop of the unity Rome, because they were all written to him in his own case, may as well be
written unto any other bishop lawfully chosen, who percase should be likewise standeth. disturbed, as the bishops of Rome then were, by any factions of ambitious
The church of Rome
than any other.
(2) Matt. xxviii.
And whereas you think the name of supreme head under Christ, given and Henry attributed to the king's majesty, maketh an innovation in the church, and perturbation of the order of the same ; it cannot be any innovation or trouble to
A. D. the church to use the room that God hath called him to, which good christian
1534. princes did use in the beginning, when faith was most pure, as St. Augustine, Ad Gloriam et Elusium, saith ; One there is, who saith, that a bishop ought not to have been put to his purgation before the judgment seat of the deputy, as though he himself procured it, and not rather the emperor himself caused this inquiry to be made ; to whose jurisdiction (for which he must answer to God) that cause did specially pertain. Chrysostome writeth of that imperial authority thus :2 "He is offended that hath no peer at all upon the earth, for he The imis the highest potentate, and the head of all men upon earth.' And Tertullian perial
authority saith," "We honour and reverence the emperor in such wise as is lawful to us, is next and expedient to him; that is to say, as a man next and second to God, from under whom he hath received all the power he hath, and also inferior to God alone, whose pleasure it is so to have it: for thus he is greater than all men, whilst he is inferior but to God alone.
And the said Tertullian, in his book apologetical, speaking of emperors, saith, “They know who hath given to them their government; they know that God is he alone, under whose only power they be; and take themselves as second to God, after whom they be chief above all others.' Theophylact also, on this place in Romans, 'Let every soul be subject to the higher powers,' saith, • The apostle there teacheth every man, that whether he be a priest, or a monk, or an apostle, he should subject himself to princes :' that is, although thou be an apostle, an evangelist, a prophet, or whatsoever thou art, be subject. For, saith he, this subjection overthrows not godliness :? and the apostle saith not only, ' Let him obey,' but saith, 'Let him be subject.'
And if the apostles be subject to princes, much more all bishops and patriarchs, yea the bishops of Rome and all others.
It is written also in the Chronicles,& David said to Solomon, Behold the priests and Levites divided in companies, to do all manner of service that pertaineth to the house of God. Also David did appoint chiefly to thank the Lord, Asaph and his brethren, &c. And Jehoshaphat the king did constitute Levites and priests, and the ancient families of Israel, for the judgment and cause of the Lord towards all the inhabitants of the earth; and he charged them saying, 'Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and in a perfect heart. '10
Furthermore Hezekiah appointed the priests and the Levites in their order, to wait by course, every man according to his office. And it followeth, Hezekiah gave commandment to the people dwelling in Jerusalem, that they should give their portions unto their priests and the Levites, that they might attend on the law of the Lord.'11 Where it followeth also, that by the precept of Hezekiah the king, and of Azarias the bishop of the house of the Lord, all things were done, to whom pertained all the dispensation of the house of the Lord. And in the end it is said, Hezekiah did these things in all Jewry; he wrought that which was good, right, and true, before his Lord God, in all the furniture of the ministry of the house of the Lord, according to the law and ceremonies, desirous to seek his Lord God with all his heart, as he did, and prospered therein. Josias also did ordain priests in their offices, and commanded many things. 13
By all which it may appear, that christian kings be sovereigns over the priests, as over all other their subjects, and may command the priests to do their offices, as well as they do others; and ought by their supreme office to see that all men of all degrees do the duties, whereunto they be called either
(1) 'Ait enim quidam, non debuit episcopus pro consuJari judicio purgari,' &c. August. Epist. 162.
(2) ' Læsus est qui non habet parem ullum super terram : summitas et caput est omnium hominum super terram.'
(3; Colimus ergo et imperatorem sic, quomodo et nobis licet, et ipsi expedit, ut hominem a
(4) Sciant quis illis dederit imperium.' Tertul. in Apologet. [cap. 30.—ED.]
Henry by God or by the king; and those king's that so do, chiefly do execute well
of the church of England, to see that as well spiritual men as temporal do their 1534.
duties, doth neither make innovation in the church, nor yet trouble the order
thereof; but doth, as the chief and best of the kings of Israel did, and as all General good christian kings ought to do. Which office good christian emperors
always took upon them, in calling the universal councils of all countries in one called by
place and at one time to assem together, to the intent that all heresies trouemperors. bling the church might there be extirped; calling and commanding as well the
bishop of Rome, as other patriarchs and all primates, as well of the east as of the west, of the south as of the north, to come to the said councils. As Martian the emperor did, in calling the great council of Chalcedon, one of the four chief and first general councils, commanding Leo, then bishop of Rome, to come unto the same. And albeit Leo neither liked the time, which he would for a season should have been deferred; nor yet the place, for he would have had it in Italy, whereas the emperor, by his own commandment, had called it to Chalcis in Asia, yet he answered the emperor, that he would gladly obey his commandment, and sent thither his agents to appear there for him, as doth appear in the epistles of Leo to Martian then emperor, forty-first, fortyseventh, forty-eighth, and in the forty-ninth epistle to Pulcheria the empress. And Leo likewise desireth Theodosius the emperor to command a council of bishops to be called in Italy, for taking away such contentions and troubles as at that time troubled the quietness of the churches. And in many more epistles of the same Leo it doth manifestly appear, that the emperors always assembled general councils by their commandments: and in the sixth general council it appeareth very plainly, that at that time the bishops of Rome made no claim, nor used any title, to call themselves heads universal over all the catholic church, as it doth appear in the superscription or salutation of the aforesaid synodical preamble, which is this, word for word: To the most godly lords and most noble victors and conquerors, the well-beloved children of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, Constantine the great emperor, and Heraclius and Tiberius, Cæsars : bishop Agatho, the servant of the servants of God, with all the convocations subject to the council of the see apostolic, sendeth greeting. And he expresseth what countries he reckoned and comprehended in that superscription or salutation; for it followeth, that those were under his assembly which were in the north and east parts ; so that at that time the bishop of Rome made no such pretence to be over and above all, as he now doth by usurpation, vindicating to himself the spiritual kingdom of Christ by which he reigneth in the hearts of all faithful people, and then changeth it to a temporal kingdom over and above all kings, to depose them for his pleasure, preaching thereby the flesh for the spirit, and an earthly kingdom for a heavenly, to his own damnation, if he repent not : whereas he ought to obey his prince by the doctrine of St. Peter in his first epistle,' saying, "Be ye subject to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king as to the chief, or unto governors, as sent of him to the punishment of the evil doers, and to the praise of the good. Again, St. Paul; 'Let every soul be subject to the higher powers :" with other things before alleged. So that this his pretensed usurpation to be above all kings is directly against the Scriptures given to the church by the apostles, whose doctrine whosoever overturneth, can be neither the head, nor yet the least member, of the church.
Wherefore, albeit ye have hitherto stuck to the said wrongfully usurped power, moved thereto, as ye write, by your conscience, yet, since now ye see further, if ye list to regard the mere truth and such ancient authors as have been written to you of in times past, we would exhort you, for the weal of your soul, to surrender into the bishop of Rome's hands your red hat, by which he seduced you, trusting so to make you, being come of a noble blood, an instrument to advance his vain glory; whereof by the said hat he made you participant, to allure you thereby the more to his purpose.
In which doing ye shall return to the truth from which ye have erred, do your duty to your sovereign lord from whom ye have declined, and please thereby Almighty God, whose laws ye have transgressed: and in not so doing, ye shall remain in error, offending both Almighty God and your natural sovereign lord,
(1) 1 Pet. ii.
(2) Rom. xiii.