A sermon preached at Paules Crosse the 9. of Februarie being the first Sunday in the Parleament, Anno. 1588. by Richard Bancroft D. of Divinitie, and chaplaine to the right honorable Sir Christopher Hatson Knight L. chancelor of England. Wherein some things are now added, which then were omitted, either through want of time, or default in memorie.
Bancroft, Richard, 1544-1610.
Page  1

Deerly beloved, beleeve not every spirit, but trie the spirits whether they be of God: For manie false prophets are gone out into the world. 1. IOH. 4. 1.

THESE words which I have readde unto you (right Hon. and belo∣ved in the Lord) do di∣vide themselves into three parts: a prohibi∣tion, Beleeve not everie spirit: a commaunde∣ment, But trie the spirits whether they be of God: and a reason of them both, Bicause many false prophets are gone out into the world. Of these three parts, the last in order is the first in na∣ture; and the first is the last: and I meane to proceed accordingly. First I will shew un∣to you, that many false prophets are gone out into the world: secondly, the triall of them is to be considered of: which two points being well understood, the necessitie of the prohibition will evidently appeere; which is, that we ought not to beleeve every spirit.

Mony false prophets are gone out, &c.

Page  2 In this first part I observe fower things: the number of these prophets, They are ma∣nie: their qualitie, They are false: their going out, and the causes that moove them so to do: and where they remaine, They are gone into the world.

As concerning the number of these pro∣phets, * the scriptures do name these: Simon Magus, Elimas, Barjehu, the Nicholaites, Himi∣naeus, Philetus, Alexander, Phigellus, Hermoge∣nes, Diotrephes, Theudas, and Iudas of Galilee. To whom also these may be added: Ebion, Cerinthus, the Carpocratians, Simon of Galilee, Menander, and divers others.

With these prophets the Church was so troubled and disquieted in S. Iohns time, that (as it seemed) some cared for no spirit, pro∣phet, nor doctrine: and some were so giddy headed, that in a maner every spirit conten∣ted them, which caused the Apostle to vse in effect these words: to the one sort, Beleev•… not every spirit: and to the other, although you are not to beleeve every spirit, yet it is your dutie to beleeve some spirit.

After the Apostles times, as it were out of the ashes of these false prophets, there grew and sproong up so many other schismatikes and heretikes: as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epiphanius, and S. Augustine do testifie, that the verie name of Christ began to be odious amongPage  3 the people: and as Socrates reporteth, the * Christians were mocked and jested at upon publike stages, and in their common inter∣ludes.

Of the times in like maner wherein we now live, the Apostle S. Paule did prophesie, * that there should be many false prophets: and we do see his sayengs therein to be ful∣filled by the number of such prophets as now remaine amongst us: Arrians, Dona∣tists, Papists, Libertines, Anabaptists, the Familie of love, and sundrie other (I knowe not of what opinion) so many sectaries and schis∣matikes, as that in very deed divers do re∣volt daily to Papistrie, many are become meerly Atheists, and the best do stand in som sort at a gaze.

So as all the complaints which in times past have been made heerof, may trulie be applied to these our daies wherein we now live; Vos Christiani dissidetis inter vos & tot sectas habetis: quae licet omnes Christianismi titulum*sibi vendicent, tamen alia aliam execratur & con∣demnat. Quare vestra religio vera non est, nec à deo originem ducit. Yee Protestants say the Pa∣pists (as Clemens Alexandrinus noteth some others to have said upon the like occasion) yee dissent amongst your selves and main∣taine so many sects: which sects notwith∣standing they al claime the title of Christian Page  4 religion, yet one of them curseth and con∣demneth another: and therefore your re∣ligion is not true, nor hath hir beginning or ground from God.

And Chrysostome of the Atheist;

Venit*gentilis & dicit, vellem fieri Christianus: Sed ne∣scio cui adhaeream. Multae inter vos sunt pugnae, se∣ditiones & tumultus. Nescio quod dogma eligam, quod praeferam.
The Infidel and Heathen com∣meth and saith, I would be a Christian man, but I know not whom I should follow: there is much strife, dissention & trouble amongst you: I can not tell what doctrine to choose to set before other: Nam singuli dicunt, ego verum dico for everie one saith, I speake the truth.

The best amongst us in like maner I feare are come to the same passe that they were at *in Melancthons time, who complained as he writeth in this sort; Quos fugiamus habemus, quos sequamur non intelligimus: We understand whom to avoid (meaning the Papists) but as yet whom to follow we know not. God for his mercies sake remoove this great stum∣bling block from amongst us: even as he shal see it to be most expedient for his church.

Now of the qualitie of those prophets: * they are false: false in doctrine, and false in conversation. In respect of their doctrine, they are called in the Scriptures Spirits of Page  5 error, seducers, deceivers, juglers, authors * of divers sects, false speakers, and the chil∣dren of the divell, who is the father of all falshoode.

In respect of their conversation they are saide to be humble and lowlie in outward shew, but yet of nature verie contentious and unquiet, doting about questions and strife of words: wherof commeth envy, strife, railings, and evill surmisings. Their mouths do speake proud things and swelling words * of vanitie: likewise dangerous things. They are bolde and stand in their owne conceit: * they despise government and feare not to speake evill of them that are in dignitie and authoritie; whereas the angels which are greater both in power and might give not railing judgement against them before the Lord. They are Libellers, and do speake evill of those things which they know not. They are bolder in avouching their untruths, and in depraving their superiors, than Michael the Archangell durst be when hee strove a∣gainst * the divell.

In both these respects they are resembled in the Scriptures, and in the ancient fathers unto diverse things; as unto painted wals and sepulchers, bicause they are hypocrites: * to trees which have nothing but leaves, bi∣cause they are fruitelesse: to the mermaides *Page  6 bicause they hide their errours under their counterfeit and faire speeches: to Helena, of Greece, for that they moove as great con∣tention in the church as she did troubles be∣twixt the Grecians and the Troians: to the diseases called the leprosie and the cankar, * in that their corruption taketh deepe roote and spreadeth so farre: to a serpent that is lapped up togither, bicause they have many windings and contradictions: to the fish named a Cuttle, for that they infect men with their blacke and slanderous calumnia∣tions: to snakes or adders, the poison of aspes being under their lips: to the viper, bi∣cause * they regarde not to wound & destroie their mother the church: to tigers and lions, for that they are verie cruell and fierce: and to diverse other such thinges as ought to make them odious to all that love the truth.

Of these false prophets some indevour to seduce the godlie under pretence of dreams and revelations: especially the popish priests and prophets: For prooving of their reall presence & purgatorie, as it appeereth most manifestlie in diverse of their bookes: but especially touching purgatorie in Dionysius the Carthusian; De quatuor novissimis.*

Vnto these I might adde the holie maide of Lisbone, who did prophesie this last yeere (if the report be true) that the invincible na∣vie Page  7 of the Spaniardes should no sooner ap∣proch the coast of England, but that pre∣sentlie all English mens harts shoulde faile them, and the Spaniards obtain the victory. I praie God that al prophesies and attempts against England have never better successe then these of late have had.

There are other false prophets in like ma∣ner so termed, bicause they do applie the sai∣engs of the true prophets unto a false ende and purpose: as those in the Apostles times who tooke upon them to set down peremp∣torilie the certaine time of the day of judge∣ment. Such there are also in these daies: espe∣cially Brocard the Italian, who expoundeth * the prophesies of Esaie, Ezechiell and the rest touching the overthrow of Ierusalem, Egipt, Tyre, Sidon, and Babylon with their kings & rulers to be understood of the destruction of Anwarpe, Paris, the prince of Orange, the prince of Conde, and others both noblemen, and famous cities in these last daies.

Of this number I may verie well account the late obstinate heretike Francis Ket, who * was within these two months brent at Nor∣wich. All the places in the prophets which did describe the spiritual kingdom of Christ, he applied to the materiall restauration of the earthly Ierusalem: affirming that as ma∣nie as woulde be saved must go and dwell Page  8 there in the land of Chanaan.

Another of this sort (whose booke I have, written with his owne hand) endevoreth to proove out of the prophets, that ELIZA∣BETH now Queene of England is ordained of God to be Queene of Ierusalem: even as the Anabaptists long since dreamed of Iohn*Bocaldus of Leiden, whom as Bullinger noteth, the crowned king of Ierusalem.

Lastlie they are to be reckoned amongst the number of these false prophets who do pervert the meaning of the Scriptures for the maintenance and defence of any false doctrin, schism, or heresie. Heerof you know I might give you many examples: I pray you beare with me if I set downe one as strange in my opinion, as any is to be founde in a matter of no greater importance.

The name of false prophet I am content in diverse respects to suppresse: the matter it selfe which I meane, standeth in this sort. There are very many now a daies, who do af∣firm that when Christ used these words, Dic*ecclesiae, he ment thereby to establish in the church for ever the same plat and forme of ecclesiastical government, to be erected in e∣very * parish, which Moses by Iethroes counsel appointed in mount Sinaie: and which after∣ward the Iewes did imitate in their particu∣lar synagogs.

Page  9 They had (saie these men) in their syna∣gogs * their priests, we must have in every pa∣rish our pastors: they their Levites, we our doctors: they their rulers of their synagogs, we our elders: they their leviticall treasu∣rers, we our deacons.

This forme of governement they call the tabernacle which God hath appointed, the glory of God, and of his sonne Iesus Christ, the presence of God, the place which he hath chosen to put his name there, the court of the Lord, and the shining foorth of Gods glorie. Where this ecclesiasticall synode is not erected, they say Gods ordinance is not performed: the office of Christ as he is a king is not acknowledged: in effect that without this governement we can never at∣taine to a right and true feeling of Christian Religion, but are to be reckoned amongst those who are accounted to say of Christ as it is in Luke, Wee will not have this man to raigne over us.

And their conclusion upon this point a∣gainst * all that do withstand their governe∣ment is this, according as it likewise follow∣eth in the same place: Those mine enimies which would not that I should raigne over them, bring hither and slay them before me. *

Heere you see there is great vehemencie used, and very sharpe applications are urged, Page  10 A man would thinke that if the grounde of this government were not more cleere then the sunne, and so determined of by all the godlie and learned in the worlde ever since Christs time, they could never be halfe so re∣solute or earnest.

But heerein they passe indeede the mea∣sure of a modest mans conceite. For there was never ancient father since the Apostles times, were he never so learned or studious of the truth: there was never particular Church, councell or synode, or any man of judgement that ever lived till these latter times (as I thinke, and I have taken paines for the search thereof) that did ever so ex∣pound and interpret that place: or that ever did so much as once dreame of anie such meaning.

Besides, it is most manifest that there hath been a diverse governement from this used in the church ever since the apostles times: and these men themselves confesse that long before the councell of Nice this their go∣vernment began greatly to decay: and that since the said councell it was never heard of in christendome untill these their times.

A verie strange matter if it were true, that Christ should erect a forme of governement for the ruling of his Church to continue from his departure out of the world untill Page  11 his comming againe: and that the same should never be once thought of or put in practise for the space of 1500. yeers, or at the least (to take them at the best) that the go∣vernement and kingdome of Christ shoulde then bee overthrowne, when by all mens confessions the divinitie of his person, the vertue of his priesthood, the power of his of∣fice as he is a prophet, and the honor of his kinglie authoritie, was so godlie, so learned∣lie, and so mightilie established against the Arrians, in the councell of Nice, as that the confession of the Christian faith then set * foorth, hath ever since without contradicti∣on been received in the church.

So as for mine owne part I cannot choose but account these Interpreters to bee in truth perverters of Christs meaning: and do holde them among the number of those of * whom Tertullian speaking saith: Caedem scrip∣turarum faciunt ad materiam suam: They mur∣der the Scriptures to serve their owne pur∣pose. And thus of their qualities.

Manie false prophets are gone out. Are gone * out, that is, are manifest. Before they lay hid in the Church, but nowe by their schismes they have made themselves knowen. They departed from the congregations of the faithfull accounting them ungodlie: and have gathered to themselves companies a∣greeable Page  12 to their owne humors: which they onely esteeme for the Churches of God.

Thus all heretikes and schismatikes have done from the beginning, wherein they are greatly to be woondred at. For this hath e∣ver been reckoned a most certaine ground and principle in religion, that that Church *which maintaineth without error the faith of Christ, which holdeth the true doctrine of the Gospell in matters necessarie to sal∣vation, and preacheth the same; which re∣taineth the lawfull use of those Sacraments onely which Christ hath appointed, and which appointeth vice to be punished, and vertue to be maintaned; notwithstanding in some other respects, and in some points it have many blemishes, imperfections, nay divers & sundry errors, is yet to be acknow∣ledged for the mother of the faithfull, the house of God, the Arke of Noe, the piller of truth, and the spouse of Christ. From which Church whosoever doth separate himselfe, he is to be reckoned a schismatike or an he∣retike.

I might bring very many testimonies out of the ancient fathers to proove this princi∣ple: especially out of S. Augustine against the Donatists; but I hold it needlesse. And yet for the better satisfaction of those which are of the new humor, I will trouble you Page  13 with the judgement heerin of a man of the newe reformation. Danaeus handleth this * point at large, and is flat of this opinion, that whosoever departeth from the Church for any imperfections or errours, which do not impugne nor overthrow the substance and articles of the Christian faith, he is a schismatike: Quia discedit ab eo coetu qui fun∣damentum verae fidei verè retinet: Bicause he departeth from that company, which truly retaineth the foundation of the true faith. And out of this church saith he: Nulla est sa∣lus: there is no salvation.

Touching the causes why false prophets * with so great danger of their soules do de∣part from the Church: if we respect them as they are indeed, I can say nothing, but as it is contained in the old distinction; They were in the church, but they were not of the Church. Or as S. Iohn saith; They went out * from us, bicause they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they should have conti∣nued with us. In the Lords barne there is contained both wheate and chaffe. Triticum*non rapit ventus, nec arborem solida radice funda∣tam: sedinanes duntaxat paleas jactat tempestas: The winde (saith Saint Cyprian) carrieth not away the wheate, nor overthroweth the tree * that is deepely rooted, but the light chaffe onely is tossed and carried away with the Page  14 tempest: how beit although in truth they de∣part from the Church, bicause they were not of the Church, yet there are certaine reasons whereby they are mooved so to do.

Martin affirmeth that there are so manie schismes in the Church of England at this day, bicause that Bishops will not suffer men to do as they list (for I can make no better sence of his discourse touching that matter) but for mine owne part I am not of his opi∣nion. For I find in the ancient fathers sun∣drie other causes far differing being truly applied, from those which Martin alledgeth. Of which causes if that which I have to say do haply displease any, let them not be of∣fended with me, but rather blame them∣selves and their owne demeanour, in that a man can scarcelie speake any thing out of the saide godlie fathers as touching the be∣havior of the ancient heretikes and schisma∣tikes, but he shall seeme to point at and de∣scribe the factions in these daies.

There are many causes set downe by the * said ancient fathers why so many false pro∣phets do go out into the world, but I will onely touch fower, whereof I finde the con∣tempt of Bishops especially to be one. For unto them as S. Ierome saith ever since Saint Marks time the care of church government * hath been committed. They had authoritie Page  15 over the rest of the Ministerie, Vt schismatum*semina tollerentur: That the seed of schismes might be taken away. And againe, Ne unus∣quisque ad se trahens Christi ecclesiam rumperet:* Least everie one drawing to himselfe by a severall way should rent in peeces the church of Christ. For if Bishops had not that autho∣ritie, Tot in Ecclesiis efficerentur schismata quot Sacerdotes: There would be as many schismes * in the church as there are priests.

Which thing being observed before Ie∣romes* time by S. Cyprian: Initia haereticorum & ortus atque conetus schismaticorum male cogitan∣tium, haec sunt, &c. Vt praepositum superbo tumo∣re contemnant. Sic de ecclesia receditur: sic al∣tare prophanum foris collocatur: sic contra pacem Christi, & ordinationem atque unitatem deirebel∣latur. The beginning of heretikes (saith he) and the first springing up and enterprise of schismatikes thinking amisse, &c. groweth of this, that being puffed up with pride they contemne their governors. By this meanes men stray from the church. Thus a prophane altar is placed without the doores: and thus they rebell against the peace of Christ, and the ordinance and unitie of God. And in a∣nother place: Vnde schismata & haereses ortae*sunt nisi dum Episcopus qui unus est, & ecclesiae prae∣est, superba quorundam presumptione contemnitur: & homo dignatione Dei honoratus ab indignis ho∣minibus Page  16 judicatur. Whence do heresies and schimes spring but of this, that Bishops ha∣ving the governmēt of the churches in their severall Dioceses (as M. Nowell sheweth at large against Dorman) are through the proud presumption of certain contemned, and be∣ing men by Gods approbation allowed and honored, are of unworthy men judged. Thus you see what the ancient and godlie fathers have thought in times past of the contempt of Bishops, let it prevaile now with you as it shall please God to worke in your harts.

The second cause why so many false pro∣phets are gone into the world, I finde to be * ambition; or as Augustine saith, desire of glo∣ry: or as Gregorie speaketh, desire of princi∣palitie, not by such as are alreadie advanced to any honour or authoritie, but rather by those who accounting themselves nothing inferior to any of their superiours, do affect with greedines the like places and prefer∣ments: the which if they misse one way, they labor to attaine them by another.

This will appeere verie evidently unto those who shall consider the histories of Ar∣rius coveting the Bishoprick of Alexandria: of Donatus laboring to have been Bishop of Carthage: of Novatus desiring a Bishopricke in Italie: and of Aerius contending with one Eustathius for a Bishopricke in Pontus. These Page  17 men affecting these honorable roomes, by receiving their severall foyles, when through ambition they could not get the places they looked for in the church, they sought to at∣taine them in their particular synagogs. But the historie of Aerius is most of all pertinent to this purpose. Epiphanius doth reporte it * thus in effect.

Aerius and Eustathius being schollers to∣gither * in Pontus, and profiting in learning with like commendation, at the last did sue one against another for a Bishopricke there. Eustathius obtained it: Aerius is greatly of∣fended. The Bishop seeking carefully how to content him, made him the Master of an Hospitall. But heerwithall Aerius was not satisfied. The repulse he had taken greatly tormenting him, upon a stomacke he gave over his Hospitall, and began to devise how to slander Eustathius: affirming him to be a proud man, and not the man he had beene taken for: that now he abounded too much in wealth, and was declined Ad pecuniarum collectionem, to hoording of monie. There∣upon he entred into a schisme, he departed from the church, and having allured unto him a multitude of men and women, he fell into many absurdities. That he might like∣wise, the rather (as he thought) pinch and vexe Eustathius, as also for the advancement Page  18 of his owne credit: he affirmed himselfe (be∣ing but a priest) to be equall in honour and dignitie with Eustathius a Bishop, and that there was no difference by the word of God betwixt a priest and a B. He used for proofe of these his assertions the very same argu∣ments which nowe are used of those that maintaine his opinions: as that the apostles sometimes writing to priests and deacons, & somtimes to Bb. and deacons, should ther∣by signifie, that a B. and a priest is all one. Which is an assertion (saith Epiphanius) Stul∣titiae plena: full of follie. And thus you see what ambition accompanied with emulati∣on wrought in Aerius.

The course of which historie I have the ra∣ther at large noted unto you, bicause Mar∣tin would gladly have been as subtill to have deceived you, as he is malicious in depra∣ving his superiours. Who taking upon him with Aerius to proove an equality in the mi∣nisterie, and that there ought to be no diffe∣rence betwixt a B. and a priest, commeth at last to these wordes; There was never anie but Antichristian popes and popelings that ever clai∣med this authoritie (he meaneth the superiori∣tie which Bb. have over the clergie) especially when the matter was gainsaid, &c.

Why doth mans allowance or disallow∣ance make a matter Antichristian or not Page  19 Antichristian? Were they godly Bb. which claimed this authoritie when it was not gainsaid, and are they become Antichristian Bb. for challenging the same, bicause som do mislike it? But that you may yet farther see Martins boldnes (I might say either his ma∣lice or ignorance) it may please you to un∣derstande, what account was made in the church of God in those daies of Aerius gain∣saying and impugning of the superioritie of Bishops. For if then his opinion prevailed, the favorers of the same cause now have some what to boast of: but indeed it fell out far otherwise. For it appeereth in Epiphanius, after due triall and examination made by the learned fathers who then lived, of all his arguments and sleights which he used for the proofe of his assertions, that with a ge∣nerall consent of the whole church his opi∣nions were overthrowen, and he himselfe persisting in them was condemned for an heretike. Saint Augustine likewise beareth witnes heerof, who in his booke of Heresies ascribeth this to Aerius for one, in that he said; Presbiterum ab episcopo nulla differentia de∣bere*discerni: That there ought to be no diffe∣rence betwixt a priest and a Bishop.

Besides for all Aerius gainsaying, the most of the godly, the best learned, and the most zealous of the fathers, who spent themselvesPage  20 in the defence of religion against such here∣tikes and schismatikes as the church of God did then abound and slow withal, did them∣selves take upon them the offices of Bishops: and till this day there was never any but he∣retikes, and such lewd persons, who did ac∣count them antichristian.

There were, as it seemeth, in Chrysostomes time such like men in behaviour towards Bi∣shops, as we see manie to be amongst our selves at this time: who being called before them as occasiō required, did behave them∣selves in verie proude and disdainfull maner, in so much as thereby they were discerned to be very arrogant and contemptuous he∣retikes; Quilibet haereticus &c. loquens cum pon∣tifice, nec eum vocat pontificem nec Archiepisco∣pum, nec religiosissimum, nec sanctum: sed quid•… reverentia tua. sapientia tua, prudentia tua, & no∣mina illi adducit communia ejus negans authorita∣tem. Diabolus hoc fecit cum Deo, &c. Everie he * ritike saith he, speaking with a Bishop doth neither call him Bishop nor Archbishop, &c. But what? your reverence, your wisedome your prudencie, and he giveth him commo•… names, thereby denieng his authoritie. The divell so dealt with God himselfe. And this of the second cause.

The third cause why many false prophets go out into the world, SaintAugustine no∣teth *Page  21 to be selfe-love. Selfe-love saith he, did * build the city of the divel. For heerin is their cheefe vaunt and glorie (as Bernard saith) Captare laudem de singularitate scientiae: to hunt * after cōmendation by singularitie of know∣ledge.

And surely it is greatly to be marvailed at, into what doting follie men may fal, who shall give over themselves to follow this hu∣mor. Irenaeus writeth, that some were so be∣sotted with an opinion of themselves, that * they accounted their owne writings to be Gospels: as we see nowe by the familie of love, that have set out their Evangelium reg∣ni. Others reckoned their owne wisdome far greater then the Apostles. There were who termed themselves 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, accounting them∣selves thereby ignorant of nothing. The Ma∣nichees derived their name of Manna, bi∣cause they held that whatsoever they taught * was to be received at their handes as foode from heaven. Montanus saide, he was the * comforter which Christ promised shoulde leade the church into all truth. Novatus cal∣led himselfe Moses, and having a brother, he * named him Aaron. Simon Magus affirmed sometimes that he was God the father, som∣time God the sonne, somtime God the holy Ghost, and somtime the power of God.

And hence it is, that the ancient fathers Page  22 have reckoned this dotage to be the verie beginning and fosterer of heretikes: Initia haereticorum, &c. The beginning of heresies is (saith Cyprian) Vt sibi placeant: When men be∣gin to please themselves. For then (as Ierome* noteth) whatsoever they conceive; Vertunt in Idolum; The make it an Idoll. And againe; Avarus colit Mammona, & haereticus dogma quod finxit: The covetous man worshippeth his monie, and the heretike his owne opi∣nion.

They may rightlie therefore be compa∣red unto Pigmaleon, who fell in love with an image of his owne making: or to Narcissus that doted so greatly in beholding himselfe. These men if once they affirme any thing, they wil rather hazard their lives than by re∣voking the same impaire their reputation.

Alledge against them the generall consent of all the ancient fathers, and they esteeme it not a rush. He is but of a meane conceite among them who will sticke to say (as Ber∣nard* noteth of Petrus Abailardus and his fol∣lowers) Omnes Patres sic, at ego non sic: Indeed all the fathers are of this opinion, but I am of another judgement. Of whom (saith Ber∣nard) an non justius os loquens talia fustibus tun∣deretur quā rationibus refelleretur? Were it not more agreeable to justice that the mouth of such a man should by punishments be stop∣ped Page  23 then by reasons refelled? Nonne omnium in se merito provocat manus, cujus manus contra omnes? Doth not he woorthilie provoke all men to bee against him, who is himselfe a∣gainst all men? Howe this selfe-love hath blinded many in these daies, there is none of you my brethren who are ignoraunt of it. God of his infinite mercy deliver us all from so dangerous an enimy.

The fourth cause why manie false pro∣phets are gone out into the world, is said to * be covetousnes: whereof the apostle speak∣eth when he saith of some, that they teach * things which they ought not for filthy lu∣kers sake. Heerunto likewise the divell had respect when he saide unto Christ, All these * will I give thee. It is written of Paulus Samo∣satenus* that being allured with great hope of preferment, which hee expected of Ze∣nobia the Queene of Arabia, he fell into those schismes, which after wrought his o∣verthrow.

But I would to God this matter were not evident by experience amongst our selves. For I am fully of this opinion, that the hope which manie men have conceived of the spoile of Bishops livings, of the subversion of cathedrall churches, and of a havocke to be made of al the churches revenues, is the cheefest and most principall cause of the Page  24 greatest schismes that we have at this day in our church.

I would be loth to say thus much if I had not verie apparant reason to lead me there∣unto. For the better explanation whereof I * have thought it good to devide the factious of our age into two sorts: the clergie facti∣ous, and the laie factious. The clergie fac∣tious * do contend, that all the livings which now appertain to the church, ought of right to be imploied for the maintenance of their presbyteries, & that rather then they should want, the old spoile of the abbies and such religious houses should be restored againe unto their use: and in this course they are so earnest, as that in a supplication exhibited in the name of the communaltie to the high Court of Parleament 1585. they have set it down as a resolute doctrin, that things once dedicated to a sacred use, ought so to remain by the word of God for ever, and ought not to be converted to any private use.

The laie factious on the other side are of * a far contrarie opinion. For saie they (as it appeereth in the late admonition to the people of England, as I conceive by the cir∣cumstāces there noted) our preachers ought to conforme themselves to the example of Christ and his Apostles. Their Master had not a house to put his head in. The apostles Page  25 their predecessors had neither gold nor sil∣ver, possessions, riches, goods, nor revenues: and why then should they being in gifts and paines inferior unto them, have greater pre∣ferments in the world then they had? If they have a messe of pottage and a canvas dub∣let, may it not content them? Surelie these advancements which they have do greatlie hinder and hurt them.

Even as though one should saie unto you, * my brethren of the poorer sort: these gen∣tlemen and wealthier sort of the laitie do greatly abuse you: the children of God (you know) are heires of the world, and these things which the wicked have they enjoy by usurpation. The earth is the Lords and the fulnes thereof. You have an equall portion with the best in the kindome of God: and will you suffer this unequall distribution of these worldlie benefits? Consider how in the apostles time the faithfull had all things common. They came and laid their goods at the Apostles feet, and division was therof made according to every mans necessitie. You can not but groane under the heavie burden which is laide upon you. Your land∣lords do wringe and grinde your faces for the maintenance of their pride in apparell, their excesse in diet, their unnecessa•…ie plea∣sures, as gaming, keeping of haukes & dogs, Page  26 and such like vanities. They enhaunce your rents, they take great fines, and do keep you in very unchristian slaverie & bondage. Why do you not seeke for your better releefe to renue the use which was in the Apostles times? These great possessions, lands, and re∣venewes, which the richer sort have in their handes, do (as you see) make them verie proude, choake their zeale, hinder them in their vertuous proceedings, and will in deed (if order be not taken) mar and undo them.

Now deerly beloved unto you of all sorts, but especially to you of the richest, I praie you tell me how you like this doctrine. Do you thinke it is true or meete to be taught? No surely it is not. The whole maner thereof is wholy Anabaptisticall, and tendeth to the destruction and overthrow of all good rule and governement. And yet I tell you it may be urged with as great necessitie against the laitie, as the other may against the clergie: but in deede neither the one or the other against either of them both truely. Mary it may be you desire to heare what the clergie factous do answere for themselves, and in what good part they take their schollers li∣beralitie towards them. I warrant you they are not toong-tied on their owne behalfe, but finding their desire are bolde ynough to tell them of it.

Page  27 Whilest they heare us speake against Bb. * and Cathedrall Churches (saith the author of the Ecclesiasticall Discipline) it tickleth their eares, looking for the like praie they had before of Monasteries: yea they have in their harts devoured alreadie the chur∣ches inheritaunce. They care not for religi∣on, so they may get the spoile. They coulde be content to crucifie Christ, so they might have his garments. Our age is ful of spoiling souldiers, and of wicked Dionysians, who will rob Christ of his golden coate, as neither fit for him in winter nor sommer. They are cor∣morants, and seek to fil the bottomles sacks * of their greedy appetites. They do yawne af∣ter a pray, and would thereby to their perpe∣tuall shame, purchase to themselves a field of blood.

And whereas you have alreadie in your * hands many impropriations & other church livings: they saie that in keeping them you sinne against your owne consciences: that you ought to be so far from looking for anie more, which doth nowe appertaine to the Church, as that you rather ought to feare you loose not that you have alreadie: especi∣allie seeing you waste the same in courtly braverie, and consume it with most sacrile∣gious impudency and boldnes.

I have not used a worde of mine owne Page  28 heerin, but have been a faithfull relator un∣to you, what the clergie factious do thinke of their lay schollers. And is not then deere brethren the consideration heerof very piti∣full unto you? The one sort you see would bring us to the government which was, as they saie, in the Apostles times, but they would have the livings of these times: the o∣ther sort not caring so much for the said go∣vernment, do greatly urge in the ministery the Apostolicall povertie, to the intent that they might obtaine the pray, which they looke for. Wherby I doubt not, but it is ma∣nifest unto you, that covetousnes in them both hath thrust them into this schisme.

But yet a worde or two more unto you the factious of the laitie. I beseech you upon what groundes do you stand? Your owne teachers seeing your fetches do utterly con∣demne you; and for mine owne part I do not absolve you. It is therefore very meete and agreeable to the reputation which you desire, either for your vertue or for your re∣ligion, that before you proceed any farther in your disclosed maske, first you provide you of teachers for your warrant therein: least otherwise you growe into hatred, as men for their commodity regarding neither God nor the word.

Nay in my opinion you ought to be asha∣med Page  29 to open your mouthes ever heerafter against the present governement of the Church, and for the newe platforme, untill you can be contented to be so far from co∣veting the goods of the church, as that you are both willing and readie to deliver out of your hands such spoiles and praies thereof, as you have alreadie.

If I were urged, deerly beloved, to give my consent to the erection of these Presbyte∣ries, which both the sorts of these men do seeme so earnestly to desire, I could be con∣tent (so that first they agreed who shoulde have the present revenues of the church) for som short time (until they saw the mischiefe of them) to yeeld therin unto them. Almigh∣tie God graunt unto them and to everie one of us such grace from above, as that we may not wilfully infringe his holy commaunde∣ment, prohibiting us to covet other mens goods: but with all thankefulnes to satisfie our selves with those benefits which of his mercie he hath alreadie bestowed upon us. And thus much of these fower causes why so manie false prophets go out from the church.

Now followeth the last point of the first * part of my text. Many false prophets are gon out into the world. Into the world; that is (as one ob∣serveth verie well upon this place)* they are Page  30 now sproong up in everie corner amongst our selves, even in these places wherein we live, Velut sparsa in nostro itinere pericula & ve∣nena: As dangers and venome laid in our waies to intrap and infect us.

It had beene good for the church, that when false prophets wil needs separate them selves from the communion thereof, they would have gone likewise and have dwelt in some strange countries; as India, Cataia, or to the farthest parts of Afrike, where they might have delighted themselves in all sorts of novelties, and erected such governments as should best have pleased their fansies. But they will none of that: for as Tertullian no∣teth; Illorum opus non proprio aedificio venit, sed ex*veritatis destructione: Their workmanship ri∣seth not by their owne building, but by the overthrow of the truth. And againe; Nostra suffodiunt ut sua aedificent: They undermine our works, that they may erect their owne.

But indeed if they would be gone to dwel in strange countries: yet they could not be permitted. For (as Saint Augustine saith) where God doth build his citie, the divel wil have another hard by to confronte it: or as an other writeth; where Christ erecteth his church, the divell in the same church-yarde will have his chappell. Where Christs mini∣sters do sowe the good & pure seed of truth, Page  31 unitie and order, there the divel doth stir up his ministers by waies and meanes secretlie in corners to caste abroad their cockle and darnell of falshood, discorde, and confusion. When Sathan (saith Saint Augustine) saw his * temples forsaken, and that his oracles were all put to silence, he cunningly devised for a new supplie, to have alwaies his ministers in or about the church: Qui sub vocabulo Christi∣ano doctrinae resisterent Christianae: Who under a christian name might resist the christian doctrine.

True it is, that almightie God if it had stoode with his good pleasure, could easilie * have brought it to passe in spight of the di∣vell, that there should never have been anie such false prophets or heresies amongst us. But he saw it not to be expedient: for as the apostle saith, by his directions, there must be heresies in the church: and that as the anci∣ent fathers do note out of the Scriptures for three causes.

First (as Saint Paule saith) that they which * are approoved might be knowne: or as Ter∣tullian speaketh; Vt fides habendo tentationem,*haberet etiam & probationem: That faith by having temptation, might have also proba∣tion.

Secondlie (saith Saint Augustine) there must bee heresies, bicause God doth see it *Page  32 more agreeable to his wisdome; Ex malis bo∣na elicere quàm nulla esse permittere: To bring good out of evill, then at all to permit no evill.

The third reason heerof is this, that men might be driven thereby the rather to labor and search for the finding out of the truth. To that end God permitted the Iebusites to * dwell with his people, and to the like pur∣pose Scipio Nasica diswaded the league of peace betwixt the Romans and the Car∣thaginians, least thereby the Romans should grow to be slothfull. Saint Augustine upon the 54. Psalm affirmeth, that the doctrine of the Trinitie was never so fully handled by the church, as when they were driven there∣unto by the heresies of Arrius: nor of repen∣tance, as when Novatus opposed himselfe a∣gainst it: nor of Baptisme, as when the Do∣natists labored to confirme their false opi∣nions.

And againe, Multi sensus Scripturarum la∣tent,*nec asseruntur commodius, nisi quando here∣ticis respondendi cura compellit: Many senses of the Scriptures lie hid, and are not more pro∣sitablie applied, then when men are compel∣led to answer heretikes.

Seeing then (deerlie beloved) that there are many prophets and of false disposition, which through contempt of ecclesiasticall Page  33 governors, through ambition, self-love, and covetousnes have made a great schism in the church, and do continue amongst us for the trial of our faith, the glorie of God, and that we might more carefully search out & hold faste the truth: you see how necessarie this exhortation of the apostle is: Deerely beloved, beleeve not everie spirit, but trie the spirits whe∣ther they be of God. And thus much of the first part.

Trie the spirits whether they be of God.

That which I have to saie of this matter will be subject to slanderous toongs: I praie * you therefore conceive me rightly, and do not pervert my meaning. Some forbid the children of GOD to proove any thing. O∣thers cōmand them to be ever seeking and prooving of all things. But neither of them both in a right good sense, do deale therein as they ought to do. A meane course betwixt these two is to be allowed of and followed: which is, that we proove some things, and that we receive without curiositie some o∣ther things being alreadie examined, proo∣ved and tried to our hands.

The Popish false prophets will suffer the * people to trie nothing, but do teach them wholie to depende upon them: and to that Page  34 purpose they have indeede three notable sleights.

First they forbid them the reading of the scriptures. And the better to be obeied ther∣in, they will not permit the Scriptures to be translated into their vulgar toong. Whereof it came to passe that the people were so easi∣lie seduced and drawen from Christ to the Pope; from his merits, to the saints and their own merits; from his bloody sacrifice, wher∣by onely sins are remitted, to their most drie and fruitelesse sacrifice; from the spirituall food of his bodie and bloode, unto a carnall and Capernaicall transubstantiation; from the calling upon his name, to the invocation of saints: and from their sure trust and con∣fidence in his death, to a vaine imagination of the vertue of their masses, pilgrimages, pardons, and I knowe not to what intolera∣ble superstition and idolatrie.

Against this their falshood and very lewd dealing all those places of Scripture may be alledged, wherein we are commaunded to search the Scriptures, To proove all things, and to hold tha•… which is good: and likewise in this place to try and examine the spirits whether they be of God.

To the like purpose an infinite number of places out of the ancient fathers may be ap∣plied (as you may finde them collected togi∣ther Page  35 by doctor Buckley in his answer to cer∣taine reasons in the Preface of the Remish testament) where they are verie earnest up∣on this point. That all Christian men should read the Scriptures, buy unto themselves Bibles, and meditate continually upon the word of God: so as thereby their eies might be opened, their conscien∣ces comforted, their faith nourished, and their hope lifted up to a full assurance of the promises therein contained.

The second shift which these false pro∣phets of the Romish church do use, is this: Now that they perceive the scriptures to be translated into the language almost of eve∣rie nation; and that the bookes are now so common in every mans hands, as that with their former devise they are no longer able to cover their nakednes: they labor with all their might to bind us to the fathers, to the councels, & to the church of Rome, protest∣ing verie deepely, that we must admit of no other sence of any place of the scriptures, than the Romish church shall be pleased to deliver unto us: according to the saying of Hosius; Si quis habeat interpretationem ecclesiae Romanae de loco aliquo scripturae, etiamsi nec sciat*nec intelligat an & quo modo cum scripturae verbis conveniat, tamen habet ipsissimum verbum Dei: If a man have the exposition of the church of Rome touching any place of scripture, Page  36 although he neither know nor understand, whether and how it agreeth with the words of the scripture, yet he hath the very word of God.

To refell the grossenes of this absurd o∣pinion, all that is very effectuall which is brought, to proove that the church is infe∣rior to the scriptures. Besides, we saie that the fathers do in manie points dissent a∣mongst themselves: and their generall coun∣cels have been oftentimes repugnant one to another. But yet we joine with them upon a nearer issue. Where the fathers do all agree togither, we do not dislike them; and for the first fower generall councels we allow and approove them.

And heerof it commeth to passe, that we do the rather condemne manie points of Poperie, in that they have of later daies bro∣ched and taught us sundrie very strange and dangerous opinions: which as they are not to be found in the scriptures; so are they re∣pugnant as well to the fathers, as to all the foresaid generall councels.

Whereupon ariseth their third shift. They wil not stick to confesse, that they teach ma∣nie things now which are not to be prooved either by the words of scripture, fathers, or councels. Mary saie they, if the Apostles and fathers had lived in our times they would Page  37 have taught and decreed, as we have done.

For you must understand (saith Cardinall *Cusanus (Scripturas esse ad tempus aptatas, & va∣rie intellectas, ita ut uno tempore secundum cur∣rentem universalem ritum exponantur: mutato ritu, iterum sententia mut•…tur: That the scrip∣tures are appointed to serve the time, and have divers understandings: so that at one time they may be expounded after the uni∣versall, common, and ordinarie custome: & that the same custome being changed, the meaning of the Scriptures may likewise be changed. Namintellectus scripturae currit cum praxi: For the understanding of the scriptures runneth with the practise of the Church. And therefore he commendeth that obedi∣ence to be most full & perfect which is with∣out reason: that is, when a man obeieth without requiring of any reason. Sicut ju∣mentum obedit domino suo: as a horse is obedi∣ent to his master.

To refell these blasphemous assertions, all those authorities of Scripture are verie ma∣teriall, wherin God is shewed to be immu∣table, and his word an everlasting word, and a word of truth. Likewise those sentences of the fathers, wherin they appeale as occasion serveth, to the Scriptures, accounting them as the verie touchstone and rule of all truth. Which coulde not be true, if (as the Papists Page  38 say) they were like a nose of waxe, or a sword of lead, that might be turned as a man list: or like to the Cameleon that changeth his colors according to his seate: or as though the scriptures were to yeeld to the fantasies of men: that as they changed their minds, being by nature mutable: so the scriptures should change the sense & meaning of God, who is not subject to any alteration or change. It were but a deceitfull touchstone that would apply it self unto the goldsmiths pleasure: and he that should trust it, were not unlike oft times for pure gold to be de∣ceived with copper. The Lord open their eies that they may see the grossenes of this their great sinne: or otherwise I can saie nothing farther of them, but that if needs they will be filthie, let them be filthie still.

Another sort of prophets there are, *(you may in mine opinion call them false pro∣phets) who would have the people to be al∣waies seeking and searching: and those men (as well themselves as their followers) can never finde wherupon to rest. Now they are caried hither, now thither. They are alwaies learning (as the apostle saith) but do never attaine to the truth. That which pleaseth them to daie, displeaseth them to morow: they read the scriptures (as Greg. Naz. wri∣teth) therby To arme their toongs, and that they Page  39 may be eloquent against the truth.

They will take upon them to be masters, before they deserve the name of schollers, and to be in the greatest matters of Gods law, judges, being far unmeete to be called to the barre. Si verbum nacti sunt subito prosili∣unt,*summáque cum injuria recte tradita discer∣punt: If they catch but a word (saith Gregorie Nazian.) they straight insult upon it, & with great injurie they contemne those things which have beene rightly delivered unto them. They wring and wrest the Scriptures according as they fansie. It would pittie a mans hart considering what paines they will take in quoting of places, to see how per∣versly they will apply them. And I greatly feare, except they take heed betimes, they will fall into the number of those, who (as Saint Peter saith) being unlearned indeed, and unstable, do wrest the Scriptures unto * their owne destruction.

To represse therefore this boldnes, first I * say with Tertullian, and then also (for other mens contentation) with Danaeus, that it hath ever been noted as a right property of *he∣retikes and schismatikes, alwaies to be bea∣ting this into their followers heads: Search, examine, trie and seeke: bringing them there∣by into a great uncertainty wherupon they may insist: as also to a more readie confor∣mitie Page  40 for the imbrasing of their opinions. For as the said father saith:

Qui credit quae cre∣dere debuerat, & aliud ulterius putat in ea re re∣quirendum: indicat sanè nihil se eorum credidisse quae credere videbatur, aut credere jam desusse: He that once beleeveth those things that he ought to beleeve: and afterwards thinketh some other thing to be sought for in the same; he sheweth himself that he did not be∣leeve those things which he seemed to be∣leeve, or else that now he hath given over to beleeve.

*And therefore in this sence I saie againe with S. Augustine, Melior est fidelis ignorantia quàm temeraria scientia: Faithfull ignorance is better then rash knowledge. And with Greg. Nazianzen: It falleth not within the compas * of everie mans understanding to determine and judge in matters of religion: Sed exerci∣tatorum: but of those who are well experien∣ced and exercised in them.

Which things considered, togither with our experience of the presumption which is every where to be found in these daies: Very just occasion is given to all the godlie to complaine with Saint Ierom in his epistle ad Paulinum:* Husbandmen, Dawbers, Smiths, Carpenters, Woolsters, Fullers, and other men of such like occupations, Absque doctore non possunt esse quod cupiunt: They al are content Page  41 to learne of their masters. Quod medicorum est promittunt medici, tractant fabrilia fabri: Phisi∣tians deale with matters of phisicke, and men of trade with their owne occupations: Sola scripturarum ars est quam sibi passim omnes vendicant: Onely the knowledge of the scrip∣tures is that which every man chalengeth to be skilfull in. Learned and unlearned they take upon them to write. Hanc garrula anus, hanc delirus senex, hanc Sophista verbosus, hanc universi presumunt, lacerant, docent antequam discant: This art of the scriptures the pratling old woman, the doting old man, the brab∣ling sophister, and generally al men presume they have obtained it, when it is far other∣wise: they teare it in peeces, and take upon them to teach it before they have learned it.

The meane therfore betwixt both these extremities of trieng nothing and curious trieng of all things, I holde to be best. And this it is: that when you have attained the true grounds of Christian religion, and are constantly built by a lively faith upon that notable foundation whereof the Apostle speaketh, which is Iesus Christ, being incor∣porated into his mystical body in your bap∣tisme * by the holie Ghost: and afterwardes nourished with the heavenly food exhibited unto you in the Lords supper: you then con∣tent your selves and seeke no farther; accor∣ding Page  42 to the saieng of Tertullian: Nobis curiosi∣tate opus non est post Christum Iesum: nec inqui∣sitione post Evangelium: We neede not to be curious after wee have apprehended Christ Iesus: nor inquisitive after we have received the Gospell. And againe, Cum credimus ni∣hil desideramus ultra quaerere: When once we beleeve, we do not desire to seeke any far∣ther.

Reade the Scriptures, but with sobrietie. If any man presuming upon his knowledge, seeke farther then is meete for him: besides that, he knoweth nothing as he ought to know, he shall cast himselfe into a labirinth and never finde that he seeketh for.

God hath bound himselfe by his promise * unto his church of purpose, that men by hir good direction might in this point be relee∣ved. To whose godlie determination in mat∣ters of question, hir dutifull children ought to submit themselves without any curious or wilfull contradiction. I could bring ma∣ny authorities to this effect. Those things (saith Athanasius) which have been prooved * and decreed by so many and so woorthy Bi∣shops, Supervacaneum est denuò in judicium re∣vocare: it is in vaine to call againe into que∣stion.

When certain men in the councell of Cal∣cedon began to dispute of some points de∣termined Page  43 before in the councell of Nice, the fathers there assembled saide all with one voice: Si quis retractat, anathema sit: si quis su∣per ista inquirit, anathema sit: maledictus qui ad∣dit:*maledictus qui aufert: maledictus qui inno∣vat: If anie retract, accursed be he: if any in∣quire of these things, accursed be he: accur∣sed be he that addeth; accursed be he that di∣minisheth; accursed be he that innovateth.

The Emperours Valentinian and Martian thought it verie unmeete, that those things * which had been once judged of, and wel de∣cided by the decrees of godly synods, should againe be debated and disputed upon: and both they and divers others made verie godlie lawes for the better conteining of busie heades within the compasse of this christian modestie.

And surely it is a very true doctrine, that when councels and synods being lawfullie assembled and directed with Gods spirit do resolve upon matters in question: that pri∣vate men should content themselves there∣withall. Neither can I see, now that popery is banished and the truth of christian religi∣on (maugre the malice of all sorts of eni∣mies) is godlie planted amongst us, why in these daies we should not attribute as much to the decrees of our learned fathers in their lawfull assemblies, as other men in times Page  44 past of as great judgement as we are of, have done.

Is it not very absurd that we should seeke everie way to discredite them in matters of lesser importance, who have most notablie sealed unto us the verie grounds and sub∣stance of religion with their blood? Or is it likely that that Church which was able to discerne betwixt truth and falsehood in so great pointes of doctrine being wrapped through continuance of time in so deepe an obscuritie; should be unable to judge of ce∣remonies, forms of praier, decencie, order, edification, and such like circumstaunces of no greater waight? You would not, I thinke, take it in good part, that men should nowe begin to sift and quarrell at the articles of religion, set out and approoved in the yeere 1562. and yet I see no reason why they may not as well do it, as to carpe and controll at such orders, as were then likewise established for order and government.

Quantarum rixarum semen futura est earum*rerum confusio, si prout cuique libitum sit mutare liceat, quae ad communem statum pertinent: Of how great quarels (saith M. Calvin) woulde such confusion become the seed, if it may be lawfull according to everie mans fansie, to change and alter those things which do ap∣pertaine to the common state.
He meaneth Page  45 being determined of before with such grave and due consideration as already is mentio∣ned. For as it followeth; Nunquam futurum est ut omnibus idem placeat, si res velut in medio posi∣tae singulorum arbitrio relictae fuerint: It will ne∣ver come to passe, that one and the self-same thing should please all men, if matters may be left indifferent to be determined of, by e∣verie private mans discretion.

And writing upon this place I have in hand, where the Apostle saith generally; Proove the spirits whether they be of God, he re∣straineth the words to a due consideration of certaine circumstances. For as there he addeth; Aurum igne aut lidio lapide probatur, sed*ab iis qui artem tenent: nam imperitis nec lapis li∣dius nec ignis usui esse poterit: Gold is tried by fire, and by the touchstone, but yet of those who have skill so to trie it: for unto those that have no experience therein, neither the stone nor the fire serveth to any purpose.

And therefore saith he; Duplex est examen doctrinae, privatum & publicum: The trial of do∣ctrine is twofold, private and publike. The private triall to be had by private men, and privately, he alloweth in such sort, as I have before observed against the Papists: but the publike triall already made or to be made with such consideration as hath been decla∣red, is to be preferred by many degrees. NamPage  46si penes singulos jus & arbitrium erit judicandi, ni∣hil unquam certi constitui poterit: quin potius va∣cillabit tota religio. For (as there it followeth) if authoritie and libertie of judging shall be left to private men, there will never be anie certaintie set downe, but rather all religion will wholie become doubtfull.

This which I have said heerof, to those who are of anie moderation or good discre∣tion, I account it sufficient: but yet that I may the better heerin satisfie everie mans humor, you shal heare the judgement of our English reformers touching this point. It is thus in effect: That when such great causes of*the churches as could not be ended in their Consi∣stories or conferences, shall be heard and determi∣ned by a synode provinciall, nationall or more gene∣rall, thereunto the church shall stande, as it was at Ierusalem: except it be in a great matter of faith, or a great matter expreslie against the Scriptures, as that was in the Nicene councell, of the mariage of ministers, where the whole councell would have concluded against it, &c. had not one man Phaph∣nutius withstoode them, &c. In which case saie they, Trie the spirits whether they be of God or no. For otherwise the particular churches must stande to the determinations as afore. Hitherto the Ad∣monition.

And for the better observation of this * sobrietie in resting our selves upon the de∣crees Page  47 of our synods and councels; as also for the avoiding of such confusion as Calvine hath before mentioned; you shal understand that there is not a reformed church in chri∣stendom which doth not in this case require subscription (at the least) of their ministers. Calvine refusing to administer the Commu∣nion in Geneva, and to use therein unleave∣ned bread or wafercakes, was compelled to * depart the citie, and was not received thi∣ther againe, until he had allowed of the same kinde of bread; De quo postea restitutus nun∣quam contendendum putavit. minime tamen dis∣simulans, quid alioqui magis esset probaturus: Whereof afterwarde being restored, hee thought never meete to contende, not dis∣sembling in the meane while what other∣wise he rather approoved.

In Germanie likewise subscription is re∣quired verie streightlie unto the confession of Augusta, of al that take degrees in any of their universities, of all that are made mini∣sters, & of all that are admitted to any eccle∣siasticall livings: neither is any suffered there to preach, who shall refuse the said subscrip∣tion. True it is that one Osiander a notable heretike (as Melancton noteth and I doubt * not of his followers) did heerat take many exceptions, greatly inveighing against that order. He cried out▪ O wickednes▪ O ty∣rannie, Page  48 O cruelty, christian liberty is heerby restrained; a yoke & bondage laid upō mens consciences: godlie mens mouths heereby shall be stopped. It is not tollerable; it is un∣lawful. Even as many crie out in these daies, and that which is least to be borne withall, by such as account themselves very great lawyers.

He likewise (as evidently it may be collec∣ted) did bitterlie inveigh against such as did subscribe: Et gloriatur se libertatem retinuisse nec admisissa haec vincula: And he gloried (saith Melancthon) that he had retained his liber∣tie and not admitted these bonds. Atque hi clamores in tanta licentia & anarchia hujus tem∣poris, plausibiles sunt apud multos, qui infinitam licentiam sibi sumunt fingendi opiniones, & Phir∣ronico more labefactandi omnia recte tradita: And these out cries (as it followeth in the same place) in so great licentiousnes and confusi∣on of this time are plausible with many, who take to themselves an infinite libertie of coyning newe opinions, and in a Pirroni∣ous sort of the overthrowing of all things which have been rightly determined.

Howbeit notwithstanding this mislike of what schismatikes soever, that Church to this daie requireth this subscription. And Melancthon himselfe by sundrie good argu∣ments approoveth the same in his oration Page  49De calumniis Osiandri.

I might heer adde how in times past Em∣perours, Kings, and generallie al Christians subscribed to the Decrees of the Church ei∣ther by themselves or by their substitutes: and I would to God the same order were yet observed, especially by our Iustices of peace in England. Peradventure it woulde make them more carefull than they are in the per∣formance of their othes which they take (as it is reported) when they are admitted unto those roomes: especially concerning the pu∣nishment of such persons, as are complained of unto them, to be common depravers and contemners of the orders of the church. For heerin (I am afraid) they take as great liberty to dispense with themselves, as ever the pope did with any by his fonde and grossest par∣dons.

But touching Ecclesiasticall persons it was commaunded about 1270. yeeres ago, that certaine men, having by schisme and heresie devided themselves from the church of God, and rent in sunder by their factions the peace thereof, should not againe be re∣ceived or admitted before they had subscri∣bed to the constitutions of the church. Thus the words stande in the eight canon of the councell of Nice. Ante omnia hanc habeant ab iis confessionem, quam per scripturam exigi oportet,*Page  50ut fateantur se cum omni consensu, ecclesiae Ca∣tholicae statuta observaturos: Let them first take of them this confession, and that under their hand-writing, that they promise with all consent, to observe the statutes of the ca∣tholike church.

Whereas therefore we have at this time many Osiandrians amongst us, and manie over-busie in searching and trieng to make new quarrels of matters before compoun∣ded, you see what spirits they are, and need no farther triall to discerne them. GOD grant unto them more humble and sober minds, that they may no longer continue in this rebellion against the church of God. And thus much of the second part.

Beleeve not everie spirit.

That which hitherto hath been spokē doth contein divers & very sufficient reasons why you ought not to beleeve every spirit. There are many of them false, contemptuous, am∣bitious, proud, and covetous. Whom if you finde (knowing your selves to be throughly grounded in matters of salvation) to draw you by slaunderous speeches, and false col∣lections, into a mislike of other points a∣greed upon by the church, thereby troub∣ling your peace, and feeding your eares with Page  51 plausible devises, I beseech you with the A∣postle in this place, beleeve them not.

When the Queenes most excellent Ma∣jestie had first obtained the crowne, (which God of his great mercie grant she may long enjoy) as a most zealous Salomon, Iehosaphat, and Iosias, hir principal care was, how to abo∣lish all popish superstition & idolatrie, and to place in hir peoples hart a right & true fee∣ling of Christian religion. Wherein through the great diligence of all the godlie and learned in the realm, in disputing, examining and trieng of spirits, of prophets, & of their doctrines, with what notable successe hir highnes did proceed, they are very ignorant that know it not, and verie froward and ob∣stinate that knowing it, will not with all thankfulnes acknowledge it.

All the Churches in Europe which were then reformed, understanding of our refor∣mation, did on our behalfe clappe as it were their handes for joie. The apologie of the church of England which shortly after was set foorth to the justifieng of our doctrine, with the reasons of our mislike of popery, hath ever since obtained principall com∣mendation amongst all the apologies and confessions, which hitherto have beene set foorth by any church in christendome. The Papists onely in the beginning of hir Maie∣sties Page  52 raign, did shew themselves to be there∣with discontented. Marie now of later yeers we have gotten new adversaries.

O Iesu Christ, who woulde ever have thought, that he should have lived to have heard any Protestants reproove our religi∣on: or would ever have dreamed of such di∣vision, of intollerable bitternes against the maintainers of it? It must be confessed for a truth, that Barnard saith upon the like occa∣sion; Leones evasimus, sed insidimus in dracones:* We have escaped the lions mouthes, but now are fallen into a den of dragons. Inimici hominis domestici ejus: Our friends are turned to be our enemies. And you know the old saying; Fratrum odia acerbissima: When bre∣thren fall out, they growe to great extre∣mities. The Papists did never deale with more egernes against us than these men do now.

They say that, As the state is now of the church,*we can have no right religion: that the church of England hath neither the word of God rightly preached, nor the sacraments sincerely ministred: that the truth doth but in a maner as it were be∣hind*a screene peepe out amongst us: and that we*have mixt togither in our religion Christ and An∣tichrist, God and the Divel. Divers such slande∣rous speeches you shall find everie where in all their writings▪ I beseech 〈◊〉 brethren Page  53 beleeve them not. Or if any shal neglect this apostolicall admonition, let him then like∣wise take part of the like reprehension; O amentes Galatae, quis vos fascinavit ne obsequere∣mini*veritati? O you foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should either thus deprave or revolt from the truth.

Againe, as touching the Communion * booke, you knowe what quarels are picked against it, although for mine owne opinion there is not the like this day extant in Chri∣stendome.

In the beginning of king Edwards raigne, notwithstanding it was then carefully com∣piled and confirmed by a synode: yet by and by after (that I may use Master Foxes words) *Through the obstinate and dissembling malice of manie, it was impugned. Thereupon it was againe reviewed, and after published with such approbation, as that it was accounted the worke of God. But yet not long after there were againe, who affirming the same to resemble the Masse booke, Divisionis occa∣sionem arripiebant: Did greedily hunt (as A∣lesius saith) for occasion of division. Vocabula*& penè sillabas expendendo: Weighing and sif∣ting the very words, yea almost every sillable in it.

Whereupon Archbishop Cranmer procu∣ring the same booke to be translated into *Page  54 Latin, and requiring M. Bucers judgement of it, received this his approbation: That there was nothing therein contained, which was not taken out of the word of God, or at the least which was against it, Commodè acceptum,* being well understood. Some things indeed there are, saith he, Quae nisi quis candidè inter∣pretur, videri queant non satis cum verbo Dei congruere: Which except a man do charita∣bly interpret, may seeme not sufficiently to agree with the word of God. And in another place; Quae rapi possunt ab inquietis ad materiam contentionis: Which may be snatched of un∣quiet men to breed matter of contention.

Vpon this occasion the booke was againe * carefully survaied and almost in every point (which then was so cavilled at and wrested) corrected and amended. King Edward died, Queene Marie succeeded. The booke is condemned, but yet God raised up meanes for the defence of it.

Master Iohn Oulde a very learned man writ * a treatise against the Papists in defence of the saide booke, and of everie part of the re∣formation injoied in king Edwardes daies. Archbishop Cranmer likewise being provo∣ked * therunto, did offer a challenge to all the papists living, that if he might obtaine the Queenes favor to take unto him Peter Mar∣tir, and fower or five others whom he would Page  55 choose, they would togither defend the fore-said reformation, (naming withal the Com∣munion booke) to be in everie point agreea∣ble to the word of God: and to be in effect the verie same, Quae fuit ante annos 1500. which was above 1500. yeeres ago.

Another also in those daies, as it appeereth in a Preface before Archbishoppe Cranmers* booke of unwritten verities, writeth of the Cōmunion book in this maner. Then (mean∣ing in K. Edwards daies) the common praier was rightlie used, and the Sacraments were plainlie administred according to Christs institution, and the rule of his holie worde. Furthermore, the godlie fathers (who then were fled, and for the libertie of their consciences lived in ex∣ile) using in their meetings this forme and order of publike praier: Master Knoxe a man who was of nature too contentious, with some other that joined with him, began to quarrell, and to make manie exceptions a∣gainst them.

Doctor Grindall late Archbishop of Can∣terburie, being there in banishment with * them, certified Bishop Ridley condemned to die, and then in prison in Oxford, of Master Knoxes perverse behaviour. Whereunto the godly father answered again in these words, (which he said he thought should be the last that ever he should write.) Alas that brother *Page  56Knoxe could not beare with our booke of Common praier, in matters against which; although I grant a man (as he is) of wit and learning, may finde to make apparant rea∣sons, yet I suppose he cannot be able sound∣ly by the word of God to disproove any thing in it.

Afterward when it pleased almighty God to blesse this Realme with the happie go∣vernement of our Soveraigne Ladie the Queenes most excellent Majestie that now is (whom almightie God long preserve, with all health and prosperitie to rule & governe us) the saide booke in some points bettered togither with the truth of christian religi∣on, established in hir brothers daies, was a∣gaine through Gods favor and hir goodnes restored unto us.

Of this booke a certain learned man wri∣ting * against Master Harding, uttereth these words by waie of challenge. Our service, is good and Godlie, everie title grounded on holie scriptures, and with what face do you call it darke∣nes? Sure with the same that the prophesies of the holie Ghost were sometimes called dreames, the doctrine of the apostles heresie, and our Saviour Christ a Samaritaine. As Elias said to the priests of Baal, let us take either our bullockes (meaning the Popes portuise, and our Communion booke) and laie the peeces on our altars, and on which God Page  57 sendeth fire, let that be the light. And a little be∣fore, O Master Harding, turne to your writings, examine your authorities, consider your councels, apply your examples, looke if any line be blameable in our service booke, and take hold of your advan∣tage, I thinke Master Iewell will accept it as an article.

Heerby you see, deerly belooved, what ac∣count was made of this booke in times past, & that by men neither for life nor learning, to be any way contemned. But now the case is altered: and many are growen to such a hatred of it, as they scarcely have patience to heare the booke once named. Cranmer, Ridley, Bucer, Peter Martir with many other, as famous men as ever this lande brought foorth: notwithstanding they imployed their whole times verie diligently and pain∣fullie in the studies of Divinitie, and other good learnings therunto appertaining, were compassed about, belike with such thicke clouds and mistes of papable darknes, that they could in a maner see nothing.

Marie nowe, two or three yeeres studie is as good as twentie. It is woonderfull to see, how some men get perfection. One of fower or five and twentie yeeres old, if you anger him, will sweare he knoweth more then all the ancient fathers. And yet in verie deede, they are so earnest and fierce, that either we Page  58 must beleeve them, or else account their boldnes to be, as it is, most untollerable.

For they are not afraid, even as hath been saide, with the same faces, that the prophe∣sies of the holie Ghost were sometimes cal∣led dreames, the doctrine of the Apostles heresie, and our Savior Christ a Samaritane, to publish in their writings, that the foresaid booke so notably approoved, hath in it at * the least above 500. errors. That It is full of corruption, confusion, and prophanation: that the or∣ders therein prescribed are carnall, beggerly, dung, drosse, lowsie, and antichristian. They saie, We eate not the Lords supper, but play a pageant of our own, to make the poore feelie soules beleeve they have an English masse: and so put no difference betwixt truth and falsehood, betwixt Christ and antichrist, betwixt God and the divell.

If this were true beloved, then had we cause to looke about us: But (God be thank∣ed) there is no such matter: it is but con∣tempt, ambition, and selfe-love that decei∣veth them: their toongs and pens are their owne, they will write and speake what they list: and yet who shall controll them? Here∣tikes in former times looking upon the Scriptures with their eies have condemned them of follie. There was never any thing so exactly written in the worlde, which is not subject to malice & slander. We desire these Page  59 men in as milde & gentle sort as we are able, that they would not deale in this maner.

The very heathen might teach them better modestie. He that by wresting of lawes esta∣blished (saith one of that crew) doth seeke to pervert their meaning, Dum sophos esse cupit, fit planè sycophanta: Whilest he woulde seeme wise, he prooveth in deed a sycophant.

I have read, that if any thing, fact, writing, lawe or whatsoever may in reasonable con∣struction admit two interpretations, the best and the mildest is ever to be received. And the civill lawyers have these rules; Semper in dubiis benigniora sunt praeferenda: Alwaies in doubtfull matters the more benigne are to be preferred. Non op•…rtet jus calumniari, aut verba ejus captare: It is not meete to cavill at lawes, or to snatch at their words. Another saith; Non sunt rejiciendae leges quae interpretati∣one aliqua possunt convenire: Lawes must not be rejected, which by any reasonable interpre∣tation may be reconciled.

By these and many other the like perswa∣sions we labor to withdraw them from their wringing and wresting (with such bitternes) those things in the Cōmunion booke: which either they mislike without cause verie un∣justly, or else do pervert upon some false col∣lection verie extreemely. But nothing will serve them: for now some of them through Page  60 a swelling pride of their own conceits (which as it is commonly noted, hath cast them in∣to a kind of frensie) are not afraid to lay this slander upon the church, and upon hir most excellent Majestie, that since hir Highnes raigne, there hath not been in England anie booke of publike praiers, and order for the administration of Sacraments, or any open forme for the outward profession of our re∣ligion, allowed at all hitherto by the lawes of the Realme.

Another sort likewise there are, that will not give their heads for the washing, who of their goodnes are content to allowe us a booke and forme of publike praier confir∣med by law, but yet in another sort, even for good natures sake, and bicause they would be thankefull to the time, they wholy con∣demne * it. For say they, though there were never an evill worde or sentence in all the forme of our praiers, yet to appoint that form to be used, though the words be good, the use is naught. As if a man should saie) if I attaine their meaning) although the words in the Lords praier be good, yet to appoint such a forme of praier, the use it naught.

Good Lord, if the fathers before mentio∣ned, deerely belooved, were now alive to see their dealings heerein, how every boy, in a maner, doth take upon him (as though he Page  61 onely were learned, zealous & wise) to con∣trol, condemne, and to rage thus at his plea∣sure: surely I suppose they would wish at the least, as Gregorie Nazianzen somtime did, see∣ing in his daies, the like pride and sawcy ma∣lepartnes of many.

When I consider (saith he) effrenem linguarum pruritum: the unbrideled itch of toongs, which*raigneth at this time: and how men by their owne voices, as it were, Vnius diei spatio, do make them∣selves divines, and challenge the commendation of learning and wisedome: Quibus una voluntas ad hoc sufficit ut docti sint, whom their will alone is a∣ble to make learned: I cannot choose but wishe with all my hart, with the prophet Ieremie; That I might go and dwell in the wildernes, that so I might leave the societie of men, and give my selfe onelie to contemplation.

And for you my brethren, I am plainly out of doubt, that if they said not of them, Vti∣nam abscindatur qui vos perturbant: I woulde * to God, they were cut off who thus do trou∣ble you: they woulde advise you from the bottome of their harts, to be ruled by the Apostle in this place; Nolite credere omni spiri∣tui: Beleeve not these spirits.

But verie well: seeing they are so greatlie offended with this booke, what is it they de∣sire * themselves? Forsooth a booke they could be contented to have▪ but it must 〈◊〉Page  62 of their owne making. I beseech you marke and observe their course taken to this pur∣pose. About fower yeeres since, some two or three private men in a corner framed a booke of the forme of common praier, ad∣ministration of the Sacraments, &c. And without any authoritie published the same, as meete to be imbraced and used in all the parish churches of England.

This booke they tolde us was a verie per∣fect book, agreeable to Gods word, and the use of the reformed Churches: and in the end therof, a proviso is made in these words: Provided that nothing be done contrary to any order set downe in this booke. The po∣sie which they have chosen to set in the fore-fronte of their booke, thereby insinuating the excellencie of it, is this. No man can laie any other foundation then that which is laid, even Christ Iesus.

In this booke they seeme to set downe a breefe sum of christianitie, and the verie ab∣solute forme of ecclesiasticall government: which they saie, Christ hath prescribed onely to be received with the godly in the church. And heer you shall see (my brethren) a verie strange and woonderfull stratageme. For woulde you thinke that in a booke of this nature describing so perfect a platforme of Church governement, the civill magistrate Page  63 should bee quite forgotten? Was there e∣ver untill this daie anie publike confession set foorth by any true church in the world, since the prophesies were fulfilled (as Saint Augustine saith) that Kings and Queenes * shoulde bee the fosterers and nurses of the church, where for any supremacy or govern∣ment of persons, and in causes ecclesiasticall the civill magistrate is wholie left out? Can there be in a christian common-weale such an absolute order of ecclesiasticall govern∣ment, as they brag of, set downe for the on∣ly forme, which is necessarie to be observed without anie mention of the civill magi∣strate? Let this sinke into your harts as it shall please God: what if they had obtained their purpose, for the allowance of this booke? But I will proceed with the historie farther.

The next yeere another booke of Com∣mon praier, &c. with the like authoritie and commendation that the other had, was cast abroad: or you may call it the same booke if you list, so you understand what violence & torments in so tender an age it hath sustai∣ned. The whole forme & order of it, was in a maner changed (they are so constant) and in other places and points of matter, there are not so few as 600. alterations. The wise man speaking of such resolution, saith that Stul∣tus*Page  64ut Luna mutatur.

In the last page of this booke for maners sake (as it seemeth) they have remembred the civill magistrate: but that in so cold and sparing a sort, as in my opinion, there is not a priest in Wisbich who will refuse (the cir∣cumstances thereof being considered) to subscribe unto it.

But to goe forward: Within another yeere a third booke is begotten and brought foorth, differing in some points from both the other: and they have beene very earnest that this should be allowed of by publike authority. Howbeit if you thinke their mea∣ning to be, as they seem to pretend, you are wholy deceived.

For a simple man would conceive there∣by that their purpose is, we should have a prescribed and set forme of publike praier to be used from time to time in our severall congregations: so as poore men by often hearing of them might the better know and understand them, and peradventure have them by hart, or at the least be so cunning in them, as that when the minister shall be∣gin with any praier, understanding before the drift thereof, their harts might fullie concurre with him in every particular sen∣tence, and with a better resolution in the end say, Amen.

Page  65 But in deede they have no such intent: for you must imagine, though (as the ser∣pent before mentioned) they have many im∣plications and turnings, yet they have al∣waies means and waies to shift for them∣selves. If they should in deed prescribe unto us a set form of praier, it might be said that though the words were good, yet the use were naught: and therefore you shall find it a generall rule in their Rubrickes, that the minister shall either pray as there it is set downe, or else as the spirite of God shall moove his hart, to that effect, framing him∣selfe according to the time and occasion.

So as you see your selves in this point left to the ministers discretion. If he conceiving a praier upon the sudden, shal after say it was to the same purpose that is prescribed in the booke, you may not controll him.

And how by such kinde of praiers you are like to be edified, and in what danger you are thereby left, he is of simple judgement that cannot discerne it. A great man and Ringleader in this faction (at the least heer∣tofore so accounted) though otherwise of a giddy disposition and verie uncertaine: yet heerof upon his good experience he writeth upon occasion, after this sort.

Now what worship or praiers do you use? I am ashamed to name the boldnes and follie of some whoPage  66 scarce able to utter three words orderly, will yet take upon them to bable out a tedious, long and stut∣tering praier, wherein every tenth worde shall be the repeating of, O heavenly father, O mercifull father, O deere father, O good Lord, O mercifull God, &c. and all things so foolishly packed togither, that their praieng seemeth rather to be the prat∣ling of an infant that would tell some great tale but can not hit of it.
Thus far the reformer: and yet he saith not all.

For sometimes they will so wander either by error or malice, in framing their praiers answerable to their affections (which are of∣tentimes malitiously bent against any thing or matter wherewith they are displeased;) that no true christian, if he had time to con∣sider of their meaning, ought in charitie when they have done, to say, Amen.

These inconveniences have been long since foreseen, and for the avoiding of them, the church hath ever tied hir ministers in their ordinarie and publike service, unto a prescript and certaine forme of praier.

About 1200. yeeres ago it was decreed in the councell of Milevitanum: placuit, ut pre∣ces,*&c. Quae probatae fuerint in Concilio, ab om∣nibus celebrentur, nec aliae omnino dicantur in ec∣clesia nisi quae à Prudentioribus tractatae in Synodo fuerint: It pleased the councell, that those praiers should be generally used of all men▪ Page  67 which are approoved in a councell: and that no other should at all be said in the church, but such as have beene sufficiently conside∣red of by wise men, or allowed of in a synod. And the reason which the councell addeth, is most effectual: Ne forte aliquid contra fidem, vel per ignorantiam, velper minus studium sit com∣positum: least peradventure some thing be ut∣tered or framed, either through ignorance or want of due consideration, which may be against the rules of faith.

And therfore deerly belooved, seeing these spirits would draw you from the church, and from those praiers which you knowe to be godlie, and carie you, yea teach you, they knowe not whether nor what themselves, I beseech you beleeve them not.

Thirdlie they crie out, that the governe∣ment * of the church now established in Eng∣land, is both antichristian and divelish: and that (as I can collect out of their writings) in two respects: First, bicause where we had be∣fore * a spirituall Pope, nowe the civill magi∣strate is made a temporall Pope: which they shew to be far more discommodious to the church, then if they had kept their spirituall Pope still: secondly, bicause bishops in their severall dioceses have a superioritie and au∣thoritie over the rest of the clergie.

Martin upon this ground tooke uponPage  68 him verie boldely to reason against the Bi∣shops in this sort. No pettie Popes ought to be maintained or tollerated in any christian common weale: but our Archbishops and Lord-Bishops, &c. therefore, &c. Thus Mar∣tin hath reasoned against one part of this an∣tichristian governement. But why staied he there? Indeede it was time for him to staie. He saith he is a courtier: howbeit I am per∣swaded there is none there of so undutifull a hart to his soveraigne: For though he cun∣ningly would seeme to shew his malice onely against bishops: yet hath he left to be im∣plied the verie same reasons against the ci∣vill magistrate.

So that upon his principles a man may frame this rebellious argument; No pettie Pope is to be tollerated in a Christian com∣mon-wealth: But hir Majestie is a pettie Pope: Therefore hir Majestie is not to be tollerated in a Christian common-wealth. And his Minor may thus be prooved; Who∣soever doe take upon them, or usurpe the same authoritie in causes ecclesiastical with∣in their dominions, which the Pope had, they are pettie Popes: But hir Majestie doth so: Therefore hir Majestie is a pettie Pope: and so consequently not to be tollerated in a Christian common-wealth. Now surely if Martin were well examined, he is like toPage  69 proove a verie good subject. But for me he must be as he list, seeing neither in respect of God nor his prince he wil be as he shuld be.

Touching the Bb. as you have heard be∣fore out of Ierom, and as Master Calvin upon * his report seemeth to confesse: Bishops have had this authoritie, which Martin condem∣neth ever since the evangelist S. Marks time. Besides, in the most flourishing time of the church, that ever happened since the apo∣stles daies, either in respect of learning, or of zeale, Martins and al his companions opini∣on hath heerin been condemned for an he∣resie. Lastly, there is no man living, as I sup∣pose, able to shewe, where there was anie church plāted ever since the apostles times, but there the Bb. had authoritie over the rest of the ministerie. The place of Ambrose will no way serve their turne. But I wil leave this matter, and come to the second part of this their divelish and antichristian governe∣ment.

When it pleased almightie God to deli∣ver this Realme of Englande from the bon∣dage and thraldome of the B. of Rome, it was thought agreeable to the word of God, by the chiefest and best learned men of the religion in all Christendome, that not onely the title of supreme governor over all per∣sons, and in all causes, as well ecclesiastical Page  70 as civill, did appertaine, and ought to be an∣nexed unto the crowne: but likewise all ho∣nors, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities, which by usurpation at any time did appertaine to the Pope.

In this supremacie, these principall points * were contained; that the king hath ordina∣rie authoritie in causes ecclesiasticall: that he is the chiefest in the decision and deter∣mination of church causes: that he hath or∣dinarie authoritie for making all lawes, ce∣remonies, and constitutions of the church: that without his authoritie, no such lawes, ceremonies, or constitutions are or ought to be of force: and lastly, that al appellations, which before were made to Rome, should e∣ver be made heerafter to his Majesties chaū∣cerie to be ended and determined, as the maner now is, by delegates.

This preeminence and authoritie was greatly impugned by the Pope and his ad∣herents: but notwithstanding it was so nota∣bly defended by the sundrie writings of rare and speciall men in all gifts of pietie & lear∣ning, as that hitherto (Gods name be bles∣sed for it) the truth therein hath notablie prevailed. Amongst manie bookes which have been written to this purpose, you shall finde these very learnedly penned: one De Page  71 vera differentia Regiae potestatis & ecclesiasticae: another written by Master Bekinsawe, De su∣premo & absoluto Regis imperio: a thirde, De vera obedientia, written by a man at that time in this point well affected. Likewise (as you may read in Master Foxe) Cutbert Tunstall Bi∣shop of Duresme, and Iohn Stokeslie Bishop of London, write a short treatise in forme of a letter to cardinall Poole then resiant in Rome, very effectually compiled to the same effect. Lastly, you cannot but remember with what learning and authoritie this matter hath been defended by Bishop Iewell against Harding, by Bishop Horne against Fecknam, by the Deane of Paules against Dorman, by doctor Ackwoorth (as it is supposed) against Saunders, and by divers others, as occasions have been offered by the Papists.

I am perswaded there was never cause more throughly handled; and the issue be∣twixt them was ever this, whether the king within his dominions, or the B. of Rome, might by the word of god rightly challenge the foresaid authoritie.

Marie now a third sort of men are risen up in the world: who do affirme that they al joined upon a wrong issue: and that the au∣thoritie which both sides labored for, doth indeed appertain unto their presbyteries, and ecclesiasticall senates.

Page  72 I would be loth deerely beloved, to abuse you with untruthes: and therefore I have thought good to make this matter more * plaine unto you by a very manifest example, authorised in a declaration published by the king of Scots.

About some sixe or seaven yeeres ago (as * I do imagine) certaine men of the new go∣vernment, intending the erection of these presbyteries in Scotland, began their parts and proceeded as followeth.

They did greatly inveigh against the supe∣rioritie of Bishops, and likewise repined at the kings authoritie in causes ecclesiasticall: whereupon in his minoritie, a certaine num∣ber of ministers gathering to themselves certaine gentlemen, and divers others, did erect by their owne authoritie their ecclesi∣asticall senates: and usurping all the whole ecclesiasticall jurisdiction, did alter the lawes at their owne pleasures, without the know∣ledge and approbation, either of the king or state.

They likewise tooke upon them to dis∣charge the estate of Bishops, and to declare the same to be unlawfull: directing their commissioners to the king, and comman∣ding him and the counsell, under paine of excommunication never afterwards to ap∣point any more Bishops, bicause they had Page  73 concluded that estate to be unlawfull.

They prescribed lawes to the king and state, & appointed general fastings through∣out the Realme when they thought good: especially when som factioners in the coun∣trie were to moove any great enterprise.

Besides, divers of the ministers having preached very factious and seditious doc∣trine, and being in that respect called before the king to answer the complaints made a∣gainst them, they utterly disclaimed the kings authoritie, as an incompetent judge, alleaging for themselves, that for such mat∣ters as were spoken in the pulpit, they ought to be exempt from the judgement and cor∣rection of princes, denieng his authoritie flatly in causes ecclesiasticall.

The king giving cōmandement upon the saterday, to certain noble men for the feast∣ing of the embassador of France in Edenbo∣rough the next monday after: a number of the presbyterie understanding thereof: as∣sembled themselves togither on sunday in the morning, & presumptuouslie caused the ministers to proclaime a faste to be held the same monday, and could by no means be in∣treated to alter their determination therin. So as whilest the lords & the chiefe of the ci∣tie, according to the kings commandement, were about the intertainment of the embas∣sador, Page  74 the ministers one after another all the daie long in their severall sermons were bitterlie inveighing against them: and had it not been for the kings, great importuni∣tie, they had been all excommunicated.

But yet another pranke which they plaied passed all these. The king with the advice of his Estates in Parleament, having resolved upon a certaine fact committed by some of his subjects, that it was treason: these men in their assemblie (esteeming their judgement to bee the soveraigne judgement of the Realme) did not onely approove the same fact as lawful, contrary to the said act of Par∣leament, but ordained al them to be excom∣municated, who woulde not subscribe to their determination therein.

When the king saw what course these men held, and how notwithstanding the equali∣tie they pretended, they sought altogither their owne advancement: how they erected that in themselves, which they had dejected in the Bishops: how they tooke more upon them then ever the Bishops had done: how they did imitate preposterouslie the papall jurisdictiō: how under the pretence of their presbyteries, they trod upon his scepter, and labored to establish an ecclesiasticall ty∣ranny of an infinite jurisdiction, such as nei∣ther the law of God or man could tollerate: Page  75 and perceiving withall, that the new erected governement was the mother of all faction, confusion, sedition, and rebellion: that it was an introduction to Anabaptisme and popularitie: that it tended to the overthrow of his state and Realme, and to the decaie of his crown: and that he must either discharge himselfe of the crowne, or the ministerie of that forme of government, by the consent & act of Parliament, 1584. he overthrew their presbyteries, and restored the Bishops again to their places. All this you may finde more at large set down by the king himselfe in his said declaration.

It may heer be said (for they dare say what they list) that nowe the king is of another minde: and that this declaration was made when he had conceived some displeasure a∣gainst them.

For the king, he is not altred. Ictus piscator sapit. His crowne and their soveraigntie will not agree togither. And what cause he had to proceed against them as he did, although it be great boldnes in such a case, not to rest satisfied in the worde of such a king: yet for your better understanding, what to thinke of this kinde of government (for never a barrell will proove the better herring) you shall heare the opinion of one of our owne countrie-men, who was in Scotland about Page  76 the same time, and observed verie diligentlie the woonderfull pride and insolencie there∣of.

I judge saith he (writing of this Parlea∣ment now assembled) that if the Parleament should establish such names, and those the officers according to those names which seeke their owne discipline, that then in steede of one Pope we shoulde have a 1000. and of some lord Bishops in name a 1000. Lordlie tyrants in deed, which nowe do dis∣daine the names. This I have found by experience to be true: I can testifie by triall of Scotland, which have travelled it over in their best reformed pla∣ces: as in Doude, Saint Andrewes, Edenborough, & sundrie other townes: and have knowen the king in great danger, and feare of his life by their lordlie discipline, &c. And againe: I have seen all maner of wickednes to abounde much more in their best places in Scotland, then in our woorser places heere in England.

Furthermore it may please you brethren to heare the same mans judgement of such, as do labor so busily in this matter: in a trea∣tise of his against one Barowe.

Whereas you charge us (saith he) in denieng Christ in his offices, and consequently not to be come in the flesh: it shall appeere by your presbyterie or eldermen, that indeede you are and will be the al∣dermen even to pull the most ancient of all, Christ Iesus himselfe by the beard: yea and seeke not onely Page  77 to shake him by the lockes of his haire out of his of∣fices, but also all his ancients under him, I meane the lawfull magistrates and ministers, which have lawfull authoritie from him.

Wherefore not we but you rather seeke the glis∣tering blase of great name: and if once you might get up the names of Elders and Presbyters, what mischiefe, crueltie, and pride would not streame from that name, even as fire from a blasing star to set on fire the whole worlde? For every busie foole, the more busie he were in discrediting others, and seeking mastership among the people, the better el∣der he should be judged. Yea and this new name of an elder given him, were even as a sacrament of grace, and woulde seale up all his knaverie: that whatsoever filthines dropped from him, yet the skirte of his ancients gowne should cover it.

This mans opinion heerin I know will be greatly contemned, bicause I thinke he hath bin of another judgement. But yet they may give him leave to speake, as his experience (which is no foolish master) hath taught him. For commonly it comes to passe, when rash men run hedlong into any new devises, that Posteriores cogitationes solent esse sapientio∣res:* their after wits are best. How beit let him finde what favour at their hands he shall. I must indeed confesse, that if this matter had onely depended upon his report, or opini∣on I would not at this time have made men∣tion Page  78 of him. But it is far otherwise. For in∣deede if their proceedings be better consi∣dered, that which he hath saide, either of his judgement touching their presbyteries, or of his experience in Scotlande concerning their practises, and that even against the king it is in a maner nothing.

I beseech you brethren, especially you that have beene brought up in learning, and are able to looke into this cause, do but consider how the cheefe magistrates have beene used and dealt withall, wheresoever this absolute government which they speak of, hath been erected. Reade the writings of the chiefest pillers of these platformes, as the booke De jure magistratuum in subditos: the booke inti∣tuled Vindiciae contra tyrannos: another De jure regni apud Scotos: The dialogs of Eusebius Philadelphus, with sundry other of that sort: and you shal find in them these most strange and rebellious propositions stiflie maintai∣ned, dilated and amplified.

The people of themselves may set up Gods ser∣vice*and abrogate superstition: It is lawfull for the people by force of armes to resist the Prince, if he hinder the building of the Church: That is (as it appeereth by the whole drift almost of that booke) their presbyteries: The people*that do not resist the Prince affecting the seat of God (that is claiming supremacie in causes Page  79 ecclesiasticall) do as it were offer sacrifice to idols.*If Princes do hinder them that seeke for this disci∣pline, they are tyrants both to the church and mi∣nisters (saith one of them:) And being tyrants they may be deposed by their subjects, as they do generally all of them hold.

I dare avowe it unto you brethren, and I thinke no man will make exception against it: that if all were laide before you that the Popes have done against Princes: it is not more then these men defend may be put in execution when they thinke good by them∣selves and the people.

I might make this thing verie plaine unto you by divers particular examples, which they greatly allow and propound to them∣selves for their imitation: were it not that the very naming of them would grow offen∣sive unto you all. Onely in generalitie it may please you to understand what is written to this purpose in a booke printed at Geneva, & compiled by three or foure whose names I know not. Although (say they) The Popes for sundry enormities have deposed princes by their un∣lawfull authority, yet the reason that mooved them so to do was honest and just, and meete to be re∣ceived and executed by the bodie or state of every common wealth.

If any do heer object, that I stand too long upon this matter, considering that Page  80 these things do touch mens dealings and writings in other countries, and cannot in any sort be applied to our reformers in Eng∣land: my answer is, that I wish from the bot∣tome of my hart it were so, but I greatly feare, by that which already is done, that ex∣cept there be in time verie good order ta∣ken, it will fall out far otherwise.

For it seemeth to me, that whatsoever hath bin done heerin abroad, is labored for to be put in execution heer with us at hom. Our Bishops you see how unchristianly they are handled, even with more contumely and disdainfull reproch, then ever it is to be read that the heathen used against their priests, of what condition and behavior soever.

Hir majestie (for whose happie estate and long life he that will not praie unto almigh∣tie God, deserveth neither state nor life in this common wealth) in that she taketh up∣on hir to rule as she doth in matters concer∣ning the church, according to the lawfull * authoritie which is united unto hir crowne, is by these men cunningly resembled unto all the wicked kings and others, of whom we read in the scriptures, that they took up∣on them unlawfully to intrude themselves into the priests office: as unto Saule for his * offering of sacrifice, unto Osias for his burn∣ing of incense upon the altar of incense: un∣to Page  81Gedeon for his making of an ephode: and * unto Nadab and Abihu for their offering with strange fire.

And they affirme, that no civill magistrate hath preeminence by ordinary authority, ei∣ther * to determine of church causes, or to make ecclesiasticall orders and ceremonies. That no civill magistrate hath such authori∣tie, as that without his consent it should not * be lawfull for ecclesiasticall persons to make and publish church orders. That, They which are no Elders of the church, have nothing to do*with the government of the church. And where∣as Master Harding saith, that the office of a king in it selfe is one everie where, not one∣ly among the Christian princes, but also a∣mong the heathen: and thereupon conclu∣deth, that a Christian prince hath no more to do in deciding of Church matters, or in making ceremonies and orders for the Church, than hath a heathen: Master Cart∣wright alloweth of his judgement, and doth expressely affirme, that he is of the same o∣pinion, professing his mislike of those who teach another right of a Christian, and of a prophane magistrate.

So as indeede they attribute in effect no more to hir Majestie, and all other civill ma∣gistrates in these causes, than the Papists do, which is Potestatem facti non •…uris. I knowe *Page  82 how some of them shuffle to avoid this accu∣sation, pretending that they give the prince more than Potestatem facti: For our men do thinke they may say what they list, and salve it againe at their owne pleasure: marie Gel∣lius*Snecanus he dealeth more plainly, and commending this distinction, saith in ex∣presse words, that Controversia juris doth per∣taine to the ministerie: Licet facti executio in politic is sit penes civilem magistratum: although the execution of the fact in civill causes do appertaine to the civill magistrate.

Now seing, deerly beloved, how far these men are gone already upon their own heads, who knoweth whether in short time they will not disclaime hir Majesties authoritie, if they shall be called to answer to their mis∣demeanors, especially if they concerne mat∣ters of the pulpit: or whether they purpose to discharge the estate of Bb. and to erect of themselves their new found plat for govern∣ment? What they will do, I know not; but what they have written, you shall heare.

If this reformation (said on of them, when he was of that humor) be not hastened forward by the magistrate, the subjects ought not any lon∣ger to tarie for him, but do it themselves. The au∣thor of the second Admonition (against whom, as I thinke, there will no exception be taken (affirmeth, that he and his fellowes Page  83Are forced in conscience to speake for this newe or∣der, and (as he saith) to use it. And in another place, that There is many a thousand that desire the same that he doth, and that great troubles will come of it, if it be not provided for. I thinke he meaneth, if they obtain not their desire. An∣other is likewise very peremptorie and reso∣lute, that the Presbyterie must prevaile: and if it*come to passe (saith he to the Bb.) by that means which will make your harts to ake, blame your selves. Martin in his first booke threateneth Fists: and in his seconde, he wisheth that our Parleament, which is now assembled, would put downe Lord Bishops, and bring in the reformation which they looke for, whether hir Majestie will or no. Let the place be con∣sidered, whether I have attained to his mea∣ning. Surely whilest he talketh much of trea∣son, I feare he wil be found a traitor himself.

For how can he conceive that such a thing should be brought to passe (if hir majesty do hir best to withstande it) without a rebellion at the least, that I may go no farther. Hath not hir highnes in making of lawes a nega∣tive voice? Is not Lex principis opus? hath not every law Vim cogentem of the king?

I assure you (my brethren) these are despe∣rate points to be stoode in. And I do verilie feare, that except good order be taken, and that in time, these things will grow to somePage  84 extremities. For seeing these spirits of ours do follow so exactly, and with such hot pur∣suite, the outlandish precepts, touching the forme of their new governement, is it not to be provided for, least they fall to the outlan∣dish meanes likewise (mentioned before in their traiterous propositions) for the erec∣ting and establishing thereof?

I was enformed by a magistrate of right good worship, that a preacher of this facti∣on, in the presence of certaine Iustices of the peace, and in a verie great congregation did without controlment, convention, or bind∣ing over either to sessions or assises, set on broch the doctrine of the former propositi∣ons for violent reformation.

He greatly complained of the manifolde imperfections, wherewithall (as he said) the church of England was greevously oppres∣sed: and laboured verie earnestly to per∣swade his auditorie, that in France it was lawfull for the people or inferiour magi∣strates, to compel their prince to a reforma∣tion of any such deformities: or else whe∣ther he would or no to do it themselves. As though he should have said: if by the word of God it be lawfull in France, it is likewise lawfull in England: the dutie of subjects to their kings in that respect being one in both.

Page  85 If these things deerely beloved, which I have reported unto you (in sort as I have in∣sisted upon thē) be not true, let me be called to mine answer: but if they be true, then I trust you will confesse the necessitie of this exhortation (so far as concerneth your du∣ties) which heer the Apostle maketh: Cha∣rissimi nolite omni spiritui credere. Take heed of such spirits least they seduce you, and be∣leeve them not.

Saint Paule in his epistle to Titus doth straightlie in him commande us, that after * one or two admonitions, we should avoide the companie of an heretike. Vpon which place some learned men do observe, that the Apostles doctrine there appertaineth but unto private men. For saie they, if he had written the same to civill magistrates, he would have bidden them after one or two admonitions, to have punished with due severitie all such kinde of persons. And even so saie I touching this place. The apostle ex∣horteth you that be private men, that you beleeve not everie spirit, but concerning you that be magistrates, I am assured the apostolicall doctrine doth commande you, that by your authoritie you carefullie inde∣vor to suppresse such spirits. Martin affirm∣eth that the Bishops are in fault, that there are so manie schismes this daie amongst us, Page  86 and I confesse, I am my selfe in some part of his opinion. But yet no farther, then the same reprehension is to be extended gene∣rally unto all other magistrats.

*

Saint Basill in his time finding the like jars, and disorder that we have now amongst us: how (as it is in the booke of Iudges) everie man did even what he list himselfe, he saith, he perceived this was the cause: for that (as it is there noted) in those daies there was no king in Israel, that is, God was not regarded, or as it may truly be saide, the magistrats did not their duties. For there is no great diffe∣rence betwixt having none at al, and having of such as do neglect the charge which is committed unto them.

Nay surely mine opinion is, that if there were not some, (whether Bishops or men of as great or greater authoritie) that doe in some sort favor these spirits, they would ne∣ver have growen either in number so manie, or in their dealings to have been so violent.

That which Master Calvine writeth, may * verie fitlie be applied to this purpose: Ne∣mini verbum facere in mentem veniret, nisi quis∣quiliae hominum viderent se proceribus officium praestare, ac paratam sibi esse maledicentiae mer∣cedem: subitóque evanescerent mendacia, nisi ab eisdem illis in quorum gratiam conficta sunt, foverentur: None woulde ever have ope∣ned Page  87 their mouthes in this sort, except the base and rascall sort of men had seene that thereby they shoulde gratifie some men in authority, and were to be rewarded: for their evill speaking and lies would soone have di∣ed, if they were not nourished by those, for whose pleasure they were published.

Be it that hitherto you have been mooved to spare them with their great shew of zeale. * For as Cicero saith: Vt quisque est vir optimus, ita difficillimè esse alios improbos suspicatur: The best men, do least of all suspect others to be evill. Yet now that you see into how despe∣rate and dangerous a course they are fallen, your farther bearing with them will not be well excused. They are almost come (as Tert. noteth) of such like men, Astilo ad machaeram, from wordes to blowes. Hir majestie is de∣praved, * hir authoritie is impugned, & great dangers are threatned. Civill government is called into question: princes prerogatives are curiouslie scanned: the interest of the people in kingdoms is greatly advanced: & all government generally is pinched at, and contemned. The church is condemned, the ancient fathers are despised, your preachers are defaced, and yet these men are tollera∣ted.

Let it be held for good pollicie, Vt anseri∣bus*cibaria locentur, & canes alantur in Capitolio,Page  88 for feare of theeves in the night: But yet (as Cicero saith) if they will gaggle and make a noise in the daie time without any cause, Opinor iis crura suffringantur: I thinke it very fit they be rapt on the shinnes. And even so it is with these our prophets & their adherents, as it followeth in the same place: Alii eorum anseres sunt qui tantummodo clamant, nocere non poss•…nt: alii canes qui latrare & mordere possunt: cibaria his praeberi videmus: Some of them are geese which onely gaggle, and cannot hurt: others are dogs, which both can barke and bite: and yet we see them maintained. Sed vos maximè debetis in eos impetum facere: But you that are magistrates ought rather to re∣straine them. *

Zanchius in his epistle before his answere to Holderus the Arrian, being greatly moo∣ved with the like schismatikes in Germanie, doth crie out in the bitternes of his hart, O tempora, O mores: good Lord what times are these wherein we live, and howe are men in their maners growen to be monstrous? I be∣seech almightie God (saith he) (using the ve∣rie words which Alexander Bishop of Con∣stantinople upon the like occasion had once used) that either it would please his maje∣stie to represse Hor•…m incendiariorum nefarios conatus: The wicked attempts of these fire∣brāds, or else to take me out of this life, that Page  89 I may never behold the miseries and calami∣ties which of necessitie thereby must fall up∣on the church. He exhorteth the magistrats that they would more diligently looke unto their duties then before time they had done. Cur enim unicuique quicquid lubet scribere, & in quemvis pro sua libidine debacchari, eaque ratione ecclesias perdere permittitur? For why is everie one suffered (saith he) to write what he liste, and to raile upon everie man at his plea∣sure, and so by that meanes to destroie the church?

Naie surely if you looke not to this geare in time, this judgement doth but begin at the house of God, and it will proceede far∣ther to the overthrowe of all government. God of his infinit mercy open your eies that you may see these dangers, and grant you both grace and courage, that you may in due time prevent them.

And nowe unto you all deerely belooved, * who having no authoritie to represse these spirits, must carefully looke about you, that you be not deceived: I beseech you with the apostle, Do not beleeve them.

The doctrine of the church of England, is pure and holie: the government thereof, both in respect of hir majestie, and of our Bishops is lawfull and godlie: the booke of common praier containeth nothing in it Page  90 contrarie to the word of God.

All these points have been notably ap∣prooved and maintained not onely against the Papists, but likewise against some other schismatikes, and you your selves with great joy and comfort have in time past imbraced them accordingly. If any of you now, my brethren, be otherwise affected, the fault is in your selves: for they remaine (as the na∣ture of truth requireth) to be as they were before: but you through your rashnes in following of everie spirit, are growen to a woonderfull newfanglenes: and are indeed become meere changelings. Quemadmodum *eadem terra stat rectè valentibus, quae vertigene correptis videtur moveri: As the same earth (saith Greg. Nazianzen) appeereth immoove∣able to those that are in health, which to the giddie doth seeme to turne about: so you, my brethren, by following the perswasions of false prophets (who, as Irenaeus saith; De iisdem non semper easdem sententias habent: Of the selfe-same things have not alwaies the same opinions) are drawen to an unjust mis∣like of the church; Et amantes vel non amantes, haud eadem de eisdem judicatis: And according to your love or hate, your judgements upon the selfe-same things do varie and alter.

See, I praie you, what dislike is able to worke; and therefore take heed of those who Page  91 shall indevor, through lies and slanders, to make the truth and the preachers thereof odious and hatefull unto you. For as the A∣postle writeth; Aemulantur vos non benè, sed*excludere vos volunt, ut illos aemulemini: They are jealous over you amisse, even for their owne purpose and commoditie: yea they would exclude you from the doctrine you have re∣ceived at our hands, and from the affection and love, which you once bare unto us, that ye might altogither love them, and followe their devises.

And that is the end of their railing and libelling. Mos semper fuit haereticorum, quorum doctrinam non possunt confutare, illorum vitam in odium adducere: It hath alwaies been the ma∣ner of heretikes, to bring their lives into ha∣tred, whose doctrine they cannot confute. Knowing that by the contempt of the one, doth easily ensue the dislike of the other.

How beit, they will pretend that the zeale of Gods glorie doth moove them unto such bitternes, against the present estate of reli∣gion, and against the chiefe maintainers of it, and that for conscience sake, and for the glory of Sion they are driven to use such more than tragicall outcries. But Bernard* will not suffer them to hide their malice un∣der these masks, who writing against cer∣taine schismatikes in his time, saith, Alii qui∣dem Page  92 nudè atque irreverenter, uti in buccam vene∣rit, virus evomunt detractionis: Some do plain∣ly and irreverently, even as it comes into their stomacke, spue out the poison of their slanders. Mary others there be, who cover their malice more cunningly, nay more hy∣pocritically, as though all they said procee∣ded of meere love and Christian charitie, of whom it followeth; Vide as praemitti alta sus∣piria: sicque quadam cum gravitate, vultu moesto, demissis superciliis & voce plangenti egredi male∣dictionem, & quidem tanto persuasibiliorem, quan∣to creditur ab hiis qui audiunt corde invito & ma∣gis condolentis affectus, quàm malitiose proferri: You shall see some, that after they have fet divers great sighes and grones, will present∣ly with great gravitie and drawing out of their words, with a heavy countenance, with casting downe their heads, and with a pitti∣full voice, breath out malediction, the which men do rather beleeve, bicause it seemeth by such their hypocriticall dealing, rather to proceed of a sorrowfull compassion, than of malice and hatred. But deerly beloved, take heed of these spirits. Where you finde these conditions, beleeve not, I pray you, a∣ny such protestations.

Furthermore, you shal have some that will come unto you with a long tale, protesting that they cannot refraine their teares, with Page  93 the ancient men in Esra, to see the foundati∣on * of our new temple not to be answerable (as they say) to the beautie of the old. And heerin they thinke they should be verie ac∣ceptable unto you: whereas in truth the cry∣ing of those aged men, was a great discou∣ragement to the builders, and one of the * principall lets, why the worke went no bet∣ter forward: and the prophet Aggaeus was sent from God to reproove them for it; al∣lowing, nay preferring in some respects, the new building, which then they had in hand, before the other, which some so much af∣fected.

So as, deerly beloved, when you heare the like cries, in any wise beleeve them not: but rather shout aloud for joy (as there it is like∣wise noted) in that you have lived to see your temples purged from the leaven of Poperie, and to florish, as they do, with the sinceritie and truth of Christian religion.

They wil furthermore (the better to creep into your harts) pretend great humilitie, and bitterly exclaime against the pride of Bb. as though they affected nothing else by their desired equalitie, but some great low∣lines, and to prostrate themselves at your feet for your service: whereas in deed they shoote at greater superioritie and preemi∣nence, then even your Bishops did use orPage  94 challenge unto them: and would no doubt tyrannise by their censures over both prince and people at their pleasure, in most untol∣lerable and popelike maner. As partly you may gather by the premisses, and partlie fur∣thermore understand in that not onely they do use the verie same arguments for the so∣veraigne authoritie of their presbyteries (a∣gainst the prince) in causes ecclesiasticall: that the Pope doth for his principalitie in the same (and none other so far as I can read, or I thinke can be shewed by any:) but do likewise make to all our arguments for hir majesties supremacie against them, the very same answers, (if not word for worde, yet al∣waies in effect) that Harding, Stapleton, Dor∣man, and Saunders have made to the same ar∣guments, used by Bishop Iewell, Bishop, Horn, Master Nowell and others to the same pur∣pose, and against the Pope. I cannot stande to enter into any particular examples of this matter, onely I thought it necessarie at this time to advertise you of it (take his ad∣vantage thereof who list) that you might the better beware of such kind of spirits.

You have heard them, I am sure, greatly exclaime against our Bb. livings, as though they had too much, therby to perswade you with what simple allowance they could con∣tent themselves: and yet (as you have heard)Page  95 they reckon all the livings of the church too litle for themselves: condemning you of the laitie, who either have or would have part with them, for cormorants, Dionysians, and for such wicked traitors against the church, as Iudas was against Christ.

The would gladly seeme to be very god∣ly, zealous, and religious: and yet notwith∣standing, if you will relie upon Saint Iames his opinion, and judge of them by the usage of their toongs, in their immodest speeches and libelling, you shall finde their profession thereof to be full of so great vanitie, as that particularlie it may be verified almost of everie one of them: Hujus vana est religio.

If they set foorth a booke of common praiers, then caution is made that nothing be done contrarie to any thing set downe in the same. If they decree any thing in their synods (yea though it be in civill matters) against an act of Parleament, that treason is not treason, yet if you withstand them, you are foorthwith accursed: or as touching church causes, except it should so fall out, that they do erre in their determinations, and that in some great matter of faith, all men must stand unto their orders, decrees lawes and constitutions,.

But on the other side, if the church in∣deed, upon sufficient grounds shall either Page  96 publish a booke, or commande any thing to be observed, though that which is comman∣ded have beene determined of, not onely by provinciall or nationall synods, but by al the generall councels in effect, which were helde before the tyrannie of poperie: yet (as Saint *Bernard saith in the like case) Haerent ad singu∣la quae injunguntur, exigunt de quibus{que} rationem, male suspicantur de omni praecepto, nec unquam li∣benter acquiescunt, nisi cum audire contigerit quod forte libuerit: they sticke at all things which are injoined, they require the reason of eve∣ry thing, they suspect amisse of every precept, and wil never willingly hold themseves con∣tented, but when they heare that, which per∣adventure doth please them.

They sift, they search, and condemne at their pleasure. This is too much, that is too little: this is too long, that is too short: this is idolatrous, that is superstitious: this is wanting, that is superfluous: this is not a∣right, *that is awrie: and as Saint Augustine saith, Nisi quod ipsi faciunt, nihil rectum existi∣mant: They thinke well of nothing, but of that they do themselves.

If they expound a place of Scripture, as they do that, whereof I spake before, Dic ec∣clesiae: and those likewise which they bring for the proofe of their aldermen: though they therein dissent among themselves, and from Page  97 the interpretations of all the ancient fa∣thers who ever lived, yet we must beleeve them (as Hosius spake of the church of Rome) that what they saie, it is the verie word of God.

If they alledge unto us the authorities of fathers and councels, to proove the equali∣tie of ministers, the authoritie of their laie governors, & the continuance of their pres∣byteries since the Apostles times: though therein they pervert them all most grossely, (& I feare of purpose to deceive you my bre∣thren, even against their owne consciences, and contrary to the expresse meaning of the said fathers and councels, even in those pla∣ces which they bring and infinte others:) yet they will face out the matter with verie strange boldnes, & be more then offended that any should examine or seem to mistrust them. I could bring you divers examples heerof, but one of ech sort shall suffice.

To proove the equalitie which they saie ought to be in the ministers of the worde * and sacraments, they alledge Cyprian, Am∣brose, &c. affirming that in those times there was no difference betwixt a Bishop and a priest, but that they had all equall authori∣tie within their own parishes, and that who∣soever * was a Bishop, was a priest, and whoso∣ever was a priest (that is, a minister of the Page  98 word and sacraments) was a Bishop: where∣as in the whole course of their writings the contrarie is most manifest: never man be∣sides themselves (to my understanding) did so expound them: the ecclesiasticall histo∣ries report of those times otherwise, & with∣in lesse then an hundreth yeeres after Cypri∣an, and either before or in Ambrose daies, it was condemned as an heresie, for any to hold that opinion.

Againe to proove the authoritie of their * Aldermen, (which do neither preach nor administer the sacraments) with the use and practise thereof in everie church long after the apostles times, they alledge certain pla∣ces out of Ignatius, Tertullian, Hierome, &c. where mention is made of priesthood, of colledges, counsailes, and companies of priests, that joined with the Bishops for the better governement of the church, and exe∣cution of certaine particular duties.

Whereas besides that Master Calvin him∣selfe writing of the state of the church pre∣sently after the Apostles daies confesseth, that those priests were ministers of the word and sacraments: Habebant singulae civitates*presbyterorum collegium, qui pastores erant & doctores: Everie citie had a college of priests which were pastors and doctors: the verie authors themselves almost in everie part of Page  99 their works do call the said priests Sacerdo∣tes, (which cannot agree to these lay alder∣men) distinguishing them in direct termes, à Laicis from Lay-men: and do ascribe unto them ordinarily, authoritie for the admini∣stration both of the word and sacraments, as all writers, fathers, councels and histories from that time till this, have ever (these men excepted) accounted of them, that is, as of pastors, doctors, & ministers of the Gospell.

But of all other in my opinion the last example appertaining to this purpose is most notable. For the better understanding whereof, you must know that the church of God ever since the apostles times, hath di∣stributed the ecclesiasticall ministerie prin∣cipallie into these three parts, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons: according as it is con∣tained in the apology of the church of Eng∣land: Credimus, varios in ecclesia esse ordines*ministrorum: alios esse Diaconos, alios Presbyte∣ros, alios Episcopos, quibus institutio populi & reli∣gionis cura & procuratio commissa est: We be∣leeve that there be divers degrees of mi∣nisters in the church: wherof some be Dea∣cons, some Priests, some Bishops: to whom is commited the office to instruct the peo∣ple, and the charge and setting foorth of re∣ligion.

This division our new reformers with one Page  100 consent do allow, for the very platforme of their desired government: But their exposi∣tion of the parts therof, is agreeable to that which is before observed of thē: even cōtra∣rie to the profession which hitherto we have made to all the world, and contrarie to the testimonies of al antiquitie. By Bishops, they say, was ment the ministers of the word and sacraments, without any distinction of de∣gree, or any inequalitie for government or authoritie: and by priests their laie elders onely.

And upon this presumption and verie grosse falsification of all the ancient fathers, the chiefe ringleader in this crue is not a∣fraid * to use these words: If master Doctor had ever read the ecclesiasticall histories, he might have found easilie the Eldership most florishing in Constantimes time, and other times, when as the peace of christians was greatest.

For replie wherunto master Doctor Whit∣gift now Archbishop of Canterburie, having desired him that was so cunning in the ec∣clesiastical histories, to bring foorth but one that affirmeth this kinde of government to have been under Constantinus: about three * yeeres after, he brought out Eusebius, who must do this feate for him: in that he saith there were Bishops, Elders, and Deacons at Page  101 the councell of Nice.

But you shall heare this skilfull man in hi∣stories, howe he applieth the authoritie of Eusebius. It is manifest (saith he) that the churches were governed under him (mean∣ing Constantinus) as before, by Bishops, El∣ders, and Deacons; by that which is cited of An infinite number of Elders, and Deacons, which came to the councell of Nice, with the two hun∣dreth and fiftie Bishops.

Heer you see how gladly this fellow would have you to beleeve, that this their governe∣ment so earnestly now sought for, did most of al florish about the time of the councel of Nice, that then there was no difference be∣twixt a Bishop and a minister of the worde, but were both of them, of equall authoritie, and that then their laie Elders had their consistorie with the rest of their compani∣ons in every parish.

Whereas all the world knoweth, that Eu∣sebius meaneth nothing els in that place, but to signify the great appeerance, from all pla∣ces, of the clergie men, of all sorts, in that most honorable synod. And it is likewise ap∣parant by the sixt Canon of the saide Coun∣cell, that long before that time, Bishops had verie large jurisdictions: as the Bishop of A∣lexandria is saide according to an olde cu∣stome, to have authoritie or power over all Page  102 Egypt and Pentapolie.

Nay it is manifest by the historie of those, and the former times, that as at the first for the repressing of schismes, Bishops had au∣thoritie given them over the rest of the cler∣gie, so upon good experience and long proofe, that the Bishops being manie in number, did growe themselves likewise at some jarres; it seemed good unto that coun∣cell, with the emperors consent, for the bet∣ter government of them in like maner, to devide the whole body of Christendome in∣to fower Patriarckships: whereof the first was Rome, which had authoritie over Italy and other churches of the west: The second Alexandria: which had confirmed unto it the old jurisdiction before mentioned: The third Antioch: which was over Syria: and the fourth Ierusalum, that ruled the churches in Iurie.

So as he that should dreame of any such presbyteries in Constantines time, as our new men talke of: must either be very much distempered, verie ignorant or verie maliti∣ous. This I am sure of, that men of such a faculty, can never want authority to proove what they list. And therefore as I said, so I saie againe my brethren, that if they shall al∣ledge any of the said ancient fathers, coun∣cels or histories to proove the equalitie of Page  103 ministers, the government of their Alder∣men, and the continuance of their presby∣teries since the Apostles times, they alwaies abuse thēselves, falsifie their authors, & en∣devour to deceive their readers & hearers: I beseech you deerly beloved, beleeve thē not.

I might heere likewise put you in minde, how these prophets, who seeke to withdraw you from the church established, are rent in sunder, and divided amongst themselves. They have written bookes one against ano∣ther, and do most bitterly condemne the dooings and proceedings one of another. You (saith one sort of them) in that you se∣parate your selves from the publike assem∣blies in England, are growen to become plaine Donatists and heretikes: you (saith the other) in that you having laid the foun∣dations whereupon we stand, and yet do joine your selves with them, are become meere hypocrites and apostataes: it had been better for you never to have knowen the truth, than by such your dealings so to have betraied it.

Do you see these things (deerly beloved) and will you not eschew them? Will you give your selves over to an unbridled course, the end whereof you know not? Shall men of such inconstancy lead you from the truth, and make you to imbrace those things, Page  104 which you know to have been condemned with one consent by all the ancient fathers for heresies? If you will needes affect them still, bicause you have no stay of your selves; yet let me, I beseech you, prevaile thus much with you, that untill, at the least, they agree amongst themselves, you will be content to give over any longer to follow them.

In so doing, I doubt not, but you shall re∣turne to your old love of the truth, imbrace with your former joies this your present re∣formation (which your neighbors adjoi∣ning would thinke themselves most happie to attaine:) and with all sobrietie and con∣tentment, willingly and obediently submit your selves to obey these and the like exhor∣tations, penned by the holy Ghost, and ten∣ding to persuade you to perseverance in that godly doctrine which you have received. Si∣cut accepistis Iesum Christum Dominum, ita in*eo incedite: As you have received Christ Ie∣sus the Lord, so walke in him. And againe; We beseech you brethren, by the comming * of our Lord Iesus Christ, and by your assem∣bling unto him, that you be not suddenlie mooved from your mind, nor troubled by spirit, that is, by deluding spirits and vaine doctrine, but stand fast, and keepe the in∣structions which you have beene taught. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever*Page  105 things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are woorthy love, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be anie vertue, or if there be any praise, thinke on these things, which you have both learned and received, and heard, and seene in your true prophets, who have some of them sealed the truth with their blood, those things, I say, forget not, but hold fast, remember, and put them in practise: Et Deus pacis erit vobiscum, And the God of peace shall be with you.

Beware (saith the Apostle) of dogs, beware •…ll workers, beware of concision, that is, * of such as cut a sunder the church of God. If anie man preach unto you any other Gos∣pell, * than that which you have received, let him be accursed. Be not caried about with * divers and strange doctrines: for it is a good thing that the hart be established with grace. Nonconvalescit planta quae saepe transfertur: that plant never prooveth, which oft is remoo∣ved.

Suffer not your selves, as it were bowles, to be easily turned hither and thither. Lapis quadratus stabilis est: The square stone lieth surest. It is very unmeete you should hence∣foorth be any more* as children, wavering & caried about like little boates with everie winde of doctrine by the deceit of men, and Page  106 with craftines, whereby (as men that are wel practised) they lie in wait to deceive: but fol∣low the truth in love, and in all things grow up as true and lively members of that bodie whereof Christ is the head. By whom in so doing you shall receive increase of all hea∣venlie graces in this life, as of faith, sobriety, obedience, and constancie in the truth, and in the world to come obtain to your endles and everlasting comfort, that glorious and immortall crowne, which is purchased for the godlie, by the blood of the lambe that sitteth upon the throne of al glory. Of which crowne God of his infinite mercie grant us all to be partakers, through the merits and death of Iesus Christ our Lord: to whom with the holie Ghost, three persons and one God, be all praise, honor, and glorie, both now and for evermore, Amen.

The time will come when they will not suffer wholsome doctrine: but having their eares itching, shall after their owne lusts get them an heape of teachers.

2. Tim. 4.
Whereas there is among you envieng and strife, and devisions, are ye not carnall, and walke as men? for when one saith, I am Pauls, and an other I am Apollos, are yee not carnall?
1 Cor. 3.
FINIS.
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