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Let us grant all this, and more. Let it be said of the Creed, as Jerome said of the book of Job, that every word abounds with senses. “ There is no Divine Word,” as Tertullian speaketh wisely, “ so dissolute and diffused, that only the words may be defended, and not the true meaning of the words set down.” To put the Cardinal out of this needless fear, the proper and native sense of the Creed may be fetched out: and, I add yet more (except but that one article of Christ's descension into hell, which Ruffinus confesses he could not find, either in the Roman or Eastern Creeds) is openly confessed on both parts.
And yet, for all this, we are never the nearer to peace: for from these common principles of faith, the subtle device of heretical pravity hath fetched strange and erroneous consequences, which, by their sophistical and obstinate handling, are now improved into heresies; and dare now threaten, not only opposition, but death unto those very principles, from which they are raised.
Of this kind, are the most of those Romish opinions, which we undertake to censure in this discourse.
But, if, by the universal consent of all, it should appear that both word and sense are entire ; that both the principles, and necessary conclusions thence deduced, are undeniably sound; “ Yet," saith Bellarmin, “ there can be no peace with Lutherans." Let all the world know this, and wonder.
Our King (be it spoken to the envy of those which cannot emulate him, an incomparable Divine for a Prince, yea, a Prince of Divines, a king of men, and a wonder of kings, mighty both with his sceptre and his pen) going about, in that learned and ponderous Discourse, to clear himself from the aspersion of heresy, which that foul hand had unworthily cast upon him, professes solemnly and holily, that whatsoever is contained either in the Sacred Scriptures, or the Three Famous Creeds, or the Four First General Councils, that, he embraces with both arms; that, he proclaims for his faith; that, he will defend with his tongue, with his pen, with his sword; in that, he will both live and die.
Yea, but this is not enough, saith that great antagonist of princes: for there are other points of faith, wherewith religion is, now of late times, enlarged; as transubstantiation, purgatory, the Pope's primacy: a whole dozen of these goodly articles hath the Tridentine Council created, in this decayed age of the world, lest the Fathers of Italy should seem to come short of the Apostles, and the Pope of Christ; any parcel whereof, er. in Præfat.
d Tert. de Præscript. s. 9. e Ruffin. in Symbol.
De Laicis. I. iii. c. 19. sect. 4. 8 In Præfat. ad Imper, et Principes. 1. Bell, Resp. ad Regem. Non satis est, ad hæreticum nomen fugiendum, illa
Esto autem. Dicat illud quispiam de Symbolo, quod de Jobi libro Hieronymus , singula verba plena esse sensibus. “Nulla profectò Vox Divina," ut prudenter Tertullianus", "ita dissoluta est et diffusa, ut verba tantum defendantur, et ratio verborum non constituatur.” Sensus ille quisquis est Symboli genuinus, elici potest: addo etiam, (si unum illum de Christi ad inferos descensu, quem in Symbolis Romanis, sed et Orientalibus, frustra se quæsisse fatetur Ruffinus, exceperis,) utrisque in confessio est.
Neque tamen ulla beare nos potest concordiæ spes: ab istis enim communibus fidei principiis, hæreticæ pravitatis acumine, consecutiones quædam malesanæ vulgò derivari solent, quæ pertinaci tandem litigio in hæreses excrevere; ipsisque demum principiis et litem intentârunt, et penè mortem.
Hujuscemodi sunt plæraque Romanorum dogmatum, quæ nos libellulo hôc passim agitamus.
Sed ut, unanimi omnium consensu, verbis, sensui, principiis, conclusionibusque necessariis, sua utrinque sanitas constet, “Nulla tamen,” Bellarminus inquit', “pax Lutheranis.” Intelligat hoc nunc orbis universus, et obstupescat.
Rex noster (ut, æmulari quibus non licet, invideant; Deus bone, quantus et inter Principes Theologus, et Princeps Theologorum; Rex hominum, Regum stupor ; quàm et sceptro potens et calamo!) hæreseos sibi maculam, vah quàm spurcâ manu adspersam, detersurus; profitetur: seriò sanctèque, quicquid vel Pagina Sacra, vel Symbola Tria, vel Concilia Quatuor in se complexa fuerint, illud se totum ulnis ambabus amplexari; illud profiteri; illud ore, calamo, gladio tueri se; illud denique, vel extremo migrantis animæ spiritu, defensurum.
Atqui verò istoc non sufficit, regerit magnus ille antagonista regum": sunt et alia fidei dogmata, quibus jam serò auxit religio'; transubstantiatio, purgatorium, primatus Pontificius : nempe duodecim harum baccharum articulos creavit in hoc mundi senio Tridentum, ne impares viderentur Apostolis Patres Itali, Christo Pontifex ; quorum quisquis vel minimam
recipere, quæ Rer Anglorum recipere atque admittere se dicit. p. 80. Etiamsi novitia et nupera illa sint, si quis tamen ea neget, immunem ab hæresi non fore.
Bulla Pii Quarti super For. Jur.
whosoever shall presume to call in question, is a heretic presently, and smells of the faggot.
And, how ordinarily is that laid in every dish, " That he cannot be a member of the Church, which withdraws his obedience from their Pope, the head of the Church."
Neither is that any whit milder, which Gratian cites from Pope Nicholas the Second; “ Whosoever goes about to infringe the privilege of the Roman Church, or derogates from her authority, is a heretic."
But that is yet well worse, which the allowed Table of the Decree hath peremptorily broached: “Whosoever obeys not the Pope's commandment, incurs the sin of idolatry;" or, as Gregory the Seventh, from whom Gratian would seem to borrow this, which yet is not to be found in his Epistles,)“ of Paganism."
Whatsoever, therefore, Christ Jesus, whatsoever the Apostles, whatsoever the Councils and Fathers of the Primitive Church have commended to us to be believed, shall avail us little, neither can ever make us friends, unless we will be content to beslave our faith unto their Popeling.
And can they think we will look at peace, upon such a condition? That hope were bold and foolish, that could expect this. Neither do they more scornfully cast us out of the bosom of their Church, for spitting at these Articles of Straw, which their vanity hath devised; than we can confidently condemn and execrate their presumption, which have so imperiously obtruded such trash as this upon the Church of God.
FROM THE NATURE OF THE MATTERS CONTROVERTED.
Sect. 1. From the Impuration, or Corruption, of the Roman
Church. But, to leave this first head of our adversaries' indisposition to peace; say that the Papists could be content to hearken to an agreement, (which I can never hope to see, while Rome is itself;) say they should seek it : yet, as things now stand, while they will not, and we may not, stir one inch from our station of judgment, God forbids, the truth debars our reconciliation. We dare not, whatsoever some kind-hearted mediators may persuade us, either divide Christ, or betray him with a kiss. The truth is on high : “ They may well ascend to us," as Leo said of old ; " but for us to descend to them, is neither safe nor honest."
particulam in discrimen vocitaverit, illicò hæreticus est, olet faculam.
Illud verò quàm usque ad nauteam, “Ecclesiæ membrum esse non posse, qui capiti Ecclesiæ, Pontifici, obsequium detrectaveritk."
Nec quid olim mitius à Nicolao Secundo, Gratianus; “Qui Romanæ Ecclesiæ privilegium auferre conatur (vel authoritati e ejus derogat) hæreticus est'.”
Quin adhuc atrocius est, quod Tabula nobis Martiniana insusurrat": “Qui præcepto Papæ non obedit, peccatum Idololatriæ incurrit;" vel, ut Gregorius ille Septimus, à quo mutuari ista voluit Gratianus", quæ tamen nusquam in ejus Epistolis occurrunt, “ Paganitatis."
Quicquid ergo Christus, quicquid Apostoli, Concilia, sanctique nascentis Ecclesiæ Patres nobis credendum proposuerint, parùm profectò juverit, neque nos unà convenas facere potuerit, nisi hodierno etiam Pontificulo fidem nostram mancupio dederimus.
Istâc verò lege ut nos pacem mavelimus? Quidvis ilicet sperare ausit, qui hoc autumet. Neque illi nos fastidiosiùs ex Ecclesiæ suæ gremio ejecerint, qui Stramineos hosce Articulos usque conspuimus; quàm nos illos, Ecclesiæ Dei hæc talia tanto molimine plusquàm tyrannicè obtrudentes, fidentèr damnamus et execramur.
EX NATURA RERUM CONTROVERSARUM.
Sect. 1. Ex Impuratione, sive Corruptione, Romanæ
Ecclesiæ. Sed, ut Pontificii velint maximè (quod nullus equidem sperârim, ex quo in suum immigravit ingenium Roma) ambiantque concordiam: Deus ipse renuit, refragatur veritas ; dummodo illis non placet, nobis non licet, vel latum unguem à statu discedere. "Ilicet non audemus nos, quicquid boni mediatores suaserint, vel dividere Christum, vel osculo prodere. In sublimi veritas est: “ Ascendere illis fas est," quod olim Leo° et Gelasius; “ nobis descendere nec tutum, nec verò honestum.”
First of all, how too plain is it, that THE ROMAN CHURCH IS PALPABLY DECLINED FROM THAT ANCIENT PURITY OF RELIGION, WHICH SHE ONCE PROFESSED! It is not more certain and sensible, that the City of Rome is descended from her seven hills to the Martian plains, that lie below them; or, that the spiteful Heathens of old, as Eusebius reports, turned the sacred monument of the tomb of Christ into the temple of their Venus.
What a cloud of witnesses have we, of this noted decay of that Church! yea, witnesses of their own!
To begin with that other sex. Hildegardis, a nun and a famous prophetess of her time, accuses the Apostolical Order of the utter extinguishing of religion amongst them: Matilda or Maud, who lived in the same age, censures them with common apostasy from the Christian Faith : and both of them, by some extraordinary revelation, clearly and directly prophesied of this religious and holy restoration of the Church, which our days see accomplished. St. Bridget, the foundress of the Order of St. Saviour, which was canonized by Pope Urban, sticks not to teach openly in her writings, that the Pope doth “ torment, yea, crucify the souls of the elect;" and boldly foretells, that all his followers and abettors and whole clergy shall be cut off, and that his See shall sink down into the bottom of hell: and this she doth so tartly and vehemently, that the Romanists of those times threatened and endeavoured to burn her alive. Robert, our Bishop of Lincoln, to whom the greatness of his head gave a homely but famous name, whom Illyricus mis-named Rupertus, a worthy and peerless man in his age, durst, before the Pope's own face, openly accuse the pastors of his time to be the spoilers of the earth, the dispersers and devourers of God's flock, the utter wasters of the holy vineyard of God. That Carthusian of Cologne, which is said to have gathered that Book of the Bundle of Times, complains that truth was then perished from the sons of men. Petrus de Aliaco, a Cardinal, confesses that the ancient Divines built up the Church, but the then present seducers destroyed it. And unto these agree John de Rupescissa, a monk; Picus, earl of Mirandula ; Trithemius, the abbot; Laurence Valla; and those worthy lights of the Council of Basil, the Cardinal of Arles and Thomas de Corsellis. But Nicholas Clemangis, the Archdeacon of Bayeux, speaks nothing but stones and bullets; who, in a whole volume, hath freely painted out the corrupt estate of the Church: neither did Dominicus, Bishop of Brixia, speak any whit more sparingly; who, even in those times,
P Euseb. Hist. I. iii. c. 25. (Potiùs, Euseb. Vita Const. I. iii. c. 26.-A.) 7 Anno 1170. " Ex Loc. Com. Henr. Token. Illyric. (col. 1487. edit. 1608.) * Proph. Rythmic.
· Vita S. Brig. Præfixa Revel.