The iudgment of a Catholicke English-man, living in banishment for his religion VVritten to his priuate friend in England. Concerninge a late booke set forth, and entituled; Triplici nodo, triplex cuneus, or, An apologie for the oath of allegiance. Against two breves of Pope Paulus V. to the Catholickes of England; & a letter of Cardinall Bellarmine to M. George Blackwell, Arch-priest. VVherein, the said oath is shewed to be vnlawfull vnto a Catholicke conscience; for so much, as it conteyneth sundry clauses repugnant to his religion.
Parsons, Robert, 1546-1610.
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Paragr. I.

I CANNOT but yeild yow harty thankes (my louing friend) for the new Booke yow sent me ouer by Gun∣ar, at his last passage: For albeit, I haue determyned with my selfe in this my banishment, to spend my tyme in other studyes, more pro∣fitable, then in contention about Controuersyes: yet must I needs accept kyndly of your good will, in making me partaker of your newes there. And more gladde should I haue beene, if yow had aduertised me, what your, and other mens opinion, was of the Booke in your parts, then Page  2 that yow request me to write our mens Iudgement from hence. And yet, for so much, as yow requ•••t so earnestly at my handes, and that the party is to returne presently, I shall say somewhat with the greatest breuity that I can: Albeit I do not doubt, but that the partyes, that are principally interessed therin, will answere the same much more largely.

II. First then for the Authour, for so much as he setteth not downe his Name,* it seemeth not so easy to ghsse; yet the more generall opinion in these partes is, that as, that odious Discouery of Roman Do∣ctryne, and practises, which of late yow haue seene answered, was cast forth against the Catholickes, vnder the cyrred name of T. M. with direction (as he said) from Superiours,* the Authour being in deed but an inferiour Minister; so dyuers thinke it to be probable, that this other Booke also, commeth from some other T. M. of like condition,* though in re∣spect of his office, somewhat neerer to his maiesty, to whome, perhaps, he might shew the same (s the other dedicated his) and therupon might presume to set it forth Authoritate Regiâ, as in the first front of the Booke is set downe, somwhat different from other bookes, and cause it to be printed by Barker his Ma.ties Printer, and adorned in the second page with the Kings Armes, and other like deuises, wherin our English Ministers, do grow now, to be very bold, & do hope to haue, in tyme, the hand, which Scotish Ministers once had. But I most certaynly do per∣swade my selfe, that his Ma.tie neuer read aduisedly all, that in this Booke is conteyned: For that I take him to be of such iudgement and honour, as he would neuer haue let passe sundry things, that heere are published, contrary to them both.

III. As for example, his Highnes great iudge∣ment would presently haue discouered, that the State Page  3 of the Question,* is twice or thrice changed in this Apologie, and that thing proued by allegations of Scri∣ptures, Fathers and Councels, which the aduerse part denyeth not, as after in due place I shall shew. And againe he would neuer haue let passe, so manifest an ouersight, as is the charging of Card. all Bellarmine → with eleuen seuerall places of contradiction to himselfe in his workes, whereas, in the true nature of a contra∣diction or contrariety, no one of them can be pro∣ued, or mainteyned, as euery man that vnderstan∣deth the Latyn tongue, and will but looke vpon Bellarmine → himselfe will presently fynd.

IV. Nay some of them are so palpable, as euery man of common sense, euen without Latyn, or le∣arning, will espy the same: as namely, the very first, where it is said, That Card. all Bellarmine → writeth in his fifth Booke of Iustification:* That, for the vncertainty of our owne proper righteousnesse, and for auoyding of vayne glory, it is most sure and safe to repose our whole confidence in the alone mercy and goodnes of God. Which proposition (sayth the Apo∣logie) is directly contrary to the whole discourse and currant of all his fyue bookes De Iustificatione. But euery mn out of common reason, will 〈◊〉, that the oppo∣sition betweene one place, and fiue bookes, is very ge∣n•••▪ and vncertayne to the Reader. He should haue cted some one or two, or more places, out of those fyue bookes, which in true sense, and wordes had byn contrary to the former place, to the end that iudge∣ment might haue byn made therof: and this in credit he ought to haue done, to conuince so great a man of contradiction to himselfe.

V. Agayne, it is alleadged for a manifest contra∣diction in Bellarmine → , for that in one place he saith: That, the end of the world can not be knowne: and in an other, That within 25. dayes after Antichrists death, the world shall haue an end. But what man is so simple, or sily, Page  4 that will not presently demaund, how we shall know the certaynty, when Antichrist is to come? For ther∣upon dependeth the whole controuersy.

VI. In like manner wheras his Ma.tie is knowne to be a Prince of most honorable respects in treaty, and vsage of others, especially men of honour and dignity, it is to be thought, that he would neuer haue con∣sented, if he had but seene the Booke, with any atten∣tion, that those phrases of contempt, not only a∣gainst the Pope (at least as a temporall Prince) but neyther against the Cardinall, calling him by the name of M. Bellarmine → ,* should haue passed; For so much, as both the Emperour, and greatest Kings of Christen∣dome, do name that dignity with honour. And it seemeth no lesse dissonant, to call a Cardinall, Maister, then if a man should call the chiefest dignityes of our Crowne by that name, as M. Chauncelour, M. Trea∣surer, M. Duke, M. Earle, M. Archbishop, M. Bancroft, which I assure my selfe, his Ma.tie would in law of honour condemne, if any externall Subiect or Prince, should vse to men of that State in our Countrey, though he were of different Religion. Wherfore I rest most as∣sured, that this proceeded, eyther out of the Ministers lacke of modestie, or charity: and that if his Ma.tie had had the perusall of the Booke, before it came forth, he would presently haue gyuen a dash of his pen ouer it, with effectuall order to remedy such ouersightes of inciuility.

VII. Furthermore that generall assertiue note gyuen against Card. all Bellarmine → , that, VVhensoeuer he is pressed with any difficult argument of his Aduersary, he careth not to contradict himselfe, so he may declyne therby the present storme, I can hardly belieue that his Ma.tie would haue passed ouer with approbation. For so much, as it is so generall, as I said, and would require an indu∣ction of many particuler examples, to inferre the Page  5 same; wherof no one is heere alledged, that can be stood vnto, and proued to be a true contradiction in deed. That other iniurious and stinging conclusion also, that, There is no greater difference betweene God and Belial, light and darknes, heauen and hell, then there is be∣tweene the doctrine of the Scriptures, and Card.all Bellarmines workes, concerrning the dignity of temporall Princes, I can not imagine that the equity, and grauity of his Ma.tie would euer allow of it, being apparantly a passionate exaggeration, and refuted euery where by Bellarmine → himselfe,* where he teacheth, that temporall Princes haue their Authority from God, are Gods substitutes and Vicars, in all temporall affayres of their States and Kingdomes, are for such to be obeyed, not only, out of feare to auoyd punishment, but of conscience vnder paynes of damnation: so as, wherin this great and absolute opposition of Scriptures to Bellarmins works, about the Authority and dignity of temporall Princes doth consist, I see not. And if his bookes had byn so derogatory to Princely Authority, as heere is said, it is very like, that so many other Monarches, Princes, and great States, would neuer haue permitted them to haue bene printed in their Dominions, as they haue done, and do dayly. Wherfore, neyther this also, do I suppose, that the great wisedome of his Ma.tie would haue allowed.

VIII. This then remayneth most firme in my persuasion, that his Ma.tie had nothing to do with the Booke, but only, perhaps, the allowance therof in generall termes, before it was published: and this yow will easely see by the substance therof, which consisteth (such as it is) of three principall poynts or partes.* The first, conteynng, as it were, a preamble to the Breues, concerning the nature of the Oath exacted, and circumstances therof. The second, touching the contents of the said Breues, & the Popes manner of pro∣ceeding Page  6 therin. The third, the examination of Card.all Bellarmines letter to M. Blackwell the Arch-priest: of all which, I do promise yow, but a small tast, as I said; for I haue very little tyme, and I should offer iniury to others, to whome it belongeth to make a more full answere, if I should deteyne my selfe long therin.

IX. The preamble beginneth with, The monstrous, rare, nay neuer-heard of treacherous, famous, and infamous at∣tempt, plotted within these few yeares heere in England (of the powder-treason) infinite in cruelty,*singular from all example, crying loudly for vengeance from heauen, &c. All which Epl∣thetes for due detestation of so rash and heynous an attempt, Catholicks, no lesse then Protestants, do wil∣lingly admit; though for singularity from all exam∣ples, if we respect Speciem, & non Indi••dum, that cannot be like to an other in all poynts, there be recounted in Historyes, many attempts of the same kynd, and some also by Protestants, in our dayes: as that of them, who in Antwerp placed a whole barke of powder in the vaulted great street of that Citty, where the Prince of Parma, with his nobility, was to passe: and that of him in Hge▪ that would haue blowne vp the whoe Counsell of Holland, vpon priuate reuenge: as also that of 〈◊〉 in Scotland, where the like 〈◊〉 of powder was layd for the cruell murther of his Ma.ties Father, which not succeeding, his death was achieued by an other, no lesse bloudy, and barbarous, vio∣lence.

X. But why (I pray yow) is this wofull attempt of those vnfortunate Gentlemen,* so often brought in agayne, and repeated almost in euery corner of this Booke? Are they not executed, that were culpable therof? And are not other Catholicks deliuered from the guylt therof, by the long, and diligent search of Iustice made thereabout? The Minister himselfe con∣fesseth in his very next lynes, Teh equity of his Ma. tie to Page  7 be such, as he professed in his Proclamation, & Parlament-speach, that be would not vse other Catholicks the worse for that, wherof it fol∣loweth that he held them for guytlesse; & that all those pressures both of cosciences & externall afflictiō which since that tyme they haue suffered, and do at this pre∣sent, were designed before that, and begunne also to be put in execution (as indeed they were) and that the powder-treason was not a cause of these affli∣ctions, but an effect rather:* that is to say, that those Gentlemen forseeing or knowing the course that was designed to be taken, and partly also put in pra∣ctice, resolued vpon that miserable Medium, to their owne destruction, and publike calamity.

XI. But alas, is there no end of exprobration a∣gainst the Innocent for the Nocent? No compassion? No commiseration? If the clemency of his Ma.tie in his gratious Proclamation (as heere is confessed) gaue security, that, notwithstanding that headlong action of those few Catholycke Gentlemen, None of the profession should be the worse vsed for that cause; how commeth it to passe, that so many aggrieuances haue byn heaped vpon them euer since, and are daylie, both by infamous libels published against them, as appeareth by the former T. M. his flaūderous Discouery,* and others mentioned in the Answere therunto; as also by the new Oath, deuised for the vtter ouerthrow, both in soule, if they take it against their conscience, and of body, goods, and estimation, if they refuse it? How come so many searches of their houses, spoyle of their goodes, apprehensions of their persons, affli∣ctions of their tennants, seruants & friends, so many citations, attachments, vexations, and molestations, that dayly do flow vpon them, as if they were the only malefactours of the Land?

XII. And now I pray yow let vs see, how this second T. M. (if he be Authour of the Booke, as he is Page  8 presumed) doth speake of this Oath, as of a thing of no pressure & preiudice at all. For hauing spoken of the former asseueration of his Ma.tie,*That none of that profession should be worse vsed for that cause, he adioyneth presently: Only (saith he) at the next sitting downe againe of Parliament a forme of Oath was framed to be taken by all his Ma. ties Subiects, wherby they should make cleere profession of their Resolution, faithfully to persist in his Ma. ties Obedience, according to their naturall allegiance:*To the end, that heerby his Ma. tie might make a separation of his Subiects &c. by which exception of (Only) a man may well perceaue, that this Minister maketh litle accompt of taking, or not taking this Oath,* for so much as he supposeth Catholike people to haue receaued no hard vsage therby, though they be brought into such extremityes, as either they must sweare against their owne iudgements, & conscience in diuers pointes, appertayning to their Religion, or indure his Ma.ties heauy displeasure, with losse of all, that in this lye is dearest vnto them: which no Catholicke man can auoyd now in England, but he that maketh no scruple to sweate or vnsweare whatsoeuer turneth him best to his commodity, or Superior Authority doth impose vpon him.

XIII. But against this, you will say, that two thinges heere are alledged, and auouched in his Maie∣sties behalfe, by the Authour of this Pamphlet: the one, that, He intendeth no persecuion against Catholickes for conscience cause,*but only desireth to be secured of them for Ciuill Obedience: Which if it be so, I see not, but that the mat∣ter may quickly be ended: for that I presume no Ca∣tholicke in England, will deny to sweare all cyuill obedi∣ence that he oweth to his Maiesty, or that any subiect hath euer in former Catholicke times sworne to their leige Lords or Princes, or do in other countryes at this day. The other is, That very many (sayth he) of his Ma∣iesties subiects that were Popishly affected, as well Priests as Laycks Page  9 haue freely taken the same Oath, wherby they both gaue his Maiestie occasion to thinke the better of their fidelity & likewise freed them selues of that heauy slaunder. So he. And then followeth im∣mediatly that his Maiesty punisheth none for Con∣science cause, so they exhibite Cyuill Obedience. And why then are men kept in prison, after they haue taken this Oath? Why are M. Blackwell, and M. Char∣nocke deteyned styll by the L. of Canterbury? Why are Recusants punished, & fyned for Recusancy, though they take the Oath of Allegiance? Is not Recu∣sancie a cause of Conscience? Do you see how these things do hold togeather.

XIIII. To returne then to this Booke, the writer saith, That the Dyuell could not haue deuised a more malitious tricke, for interrupting this so calme and clement a course, then by sending hither and publishing a Breue of the Pope, counter-maunding all them of his profession, to take this Oath, therby sowing new seedes of iealousy betweene his Maiesty and his Popish Subiects. &c. But what was the calme & cle∣ment course before, all men know. For first men were vexed, spoyled, & imprisoned for Recusancy; then was the Oath deuised to afflict their Consciences: and in these afflictions what should Catholicks do? They first consulted the case which Learned men at home; then also abroad: And albeit at home,* some were moued in respect of the compassion they had of the present perill, if it were refused, to thinke that in some sense the Oath might be taken: yet none abroad were of that mynd: For that they allowed not of any sort of Equiuocation in matters touching faith & religion. And in these, I heare say that the Iesuites were among the chiefe & most forward, as heere also is confessed: who notwithstanding before were most accused, bayted and exagitated, both in Bookes, Pulpitts, and Tribunalls, for allowing, in some points, the lawfull vse of Equiuocation.

Page  10 XV. About this doubt, Catholickes, according to their rule of Subordination, and spirituall Obedience in such affayres, referring the matter to the iudgment and consultation of their Supreme Pastour, whome by the principles of their Religion they belieue, that our Sauiour giueth assistance, for the direction of mens soules; they receyued from him, after due deliberati∣on, this answere,*That the whole Oath, as it lay, could not be admitted with the integritie of the Catholicke Faith. For that albeit diuers partes therof were lawfull, to wit, all such clauses, as appertained to the promise of Ciuill and Temporall Obedience: yet other thinges, being interlaced and mixt therwith, which do detract from the spirituall Authoritie of their said highest Pastour (at leastwise indirectly) the whole Oath, as it lieth, was made therby vnlawfull.

XVI. And this I vnderstand to be the substance of the Popes Resolution and answere, though all these par∣ticularityes be not set downe in his Breues, but onely the Oath declared to be vnlawfull in conscience to Catho∣licke men, as it lyeth, without distinction. And what malitious tricke of the Diuell them, this may be thought, where sheepe do make recourse to their spirituall Pastour, in so great and important occasions of their soules, as these are, I see not. Do English Catholickes any other thing in this, then that which all English Subiects, both great and small, learned and vnlearned haue done, and pra∣ctised from our first Christian Kinges, vntill the time of King Henry the eight, vpon the point of a thousand yeares?* Let the Answere to Sir Edward Cookes booke of Reportes lately set forth, be examined; whether it doth not shew, that in all those Ages, recourse was euer made to the Sea Apostolicke, in like occasions, without preiudice of Subiectes temporall dueties to their tem∣porall Princes.

XVII. No one English Christian King (though Page  11 they were many) did euer absolutly deny recourse to Rome in spirituall things (notwithstanding in some other Cyuill,* or mixt matters, vpon different occa∣sions, some restraintes were some tymes made) from our first king Ethelbert to king Henry the eyght, as by the said discourse & Answere is euidently proued: & much more throughout the noble rancke of the Christian kinges of Scotland, his Ma.ties Progenitours, vntill his most renowned Progenitrix (by whome, and from whom he hath his royall right of both Crownes) who is knowne & reputed throughout Christendome,* to haue died for defence of this Catholicke doctrine: For so much, as if she would haue abandoned that, there had byn little doubt of making her away. And the like may be said of all other great Christian and Catholicke Princes of our dayes, as the Emperour himselfe, the Potent Kings, and Monarches of Spayne, France, Polonia, and other States, Common-wealthes, and Potentates, do not thinke it any disgrace, dimi∣nution of honour, perill or iniury vnto them, that their Subiects, for matters of Conscience, do make recourse to the Sea Apostolicke, or that, which is conse∣quent therof, the said Sea, or generall Pastour do inter∣pose his iudgement, declaration, or decision in such affayres.

XVIII. This is the Catholicke doctrine and practise: this hath bene in vse throughout Christen∣dome from all antiquity, & no where more then in our Realmes of England and Scotland, as hath byn said. In this beliefe and practice,* liued and dyed all our for∣fathers, that were Subiects, all our noble Kings, that were our Soueraignes, all our Bishops and Prelats, that were our Pastours, all our great Counsellours and Lawyers, that by their wisdome and learning gouer∣ned the land, all our Nobility, Gentry, Priests and Laytie: So as if now this be holden for a malitious tricke Page  12 of the diuell, dishonorable and preiudiciall to his Ma. tie, his Soue∣raignty, Crowne, dignity and security, as heere is insinuated, it must needs be, for that the diuell indeed hath made some change in other men, and matters, by altering of opinions and apprehensions. For the Catholicks are the same that they were wont to be, and do thinke the same, belieue the same, teach the same, and practice the same, that all their predecessors haue done before them.

XIX. But to returne to the Apologie. Two mislikes are consequently set downe, after the former wordes: The first,*that the Pope did mittere falcem in alienam messem, by intermedling betweene his Ma. tie and his Subiects, especially in matters that meerely and only concerne cyuill Obedience. The other, that he refuted not particulerly, what speciall wordes he quarrelled in that Oath; which if he had done (saith the Apo∣logie) it might haue byn, that his Ma. tie for the Fatherly care he hath,*not to put any of his Subiects to a needles extremity, might haue byn contented, in some sort, to haue reformed, or interpreted those words with his owne Catholicks, and so had they byn therby fully eased in that busines; or at leastwise, some appearance or shaddow of excuse, might haue byn left vnto them for refusing the same, vpon scrupulous tendernesse of Conscience, &c. Thus wri∣teth he. Which if he do bona fide, and haue besydes any inckling or insight in his Ma.ties meaning indeed that way, for the ease or comfort of his afflicted Catholicke people; I doubt not, but that full satisfaction may be gyuen to his Royall Highnes, in these two poyntes that heere are set downe.

XX. For first, about putting the Popes hooke in another mans haruest, supposing, as we do, that wee treate of Ca∣tholicke people only,* and according to Catholicke do∣ctryne, and in matters belonging to Catholicke mens soules and consciences; it cannot be called Messis aliena, an other mans haruest, that the Pope dealeth in England, with such kynd of people, and in such causes, as well Page  13 as in Spayne, France, Flanders, Italie, Germanie, Polonia, and other States and Kingdomes; for that they are no lesse appertayning to his flocke, care, charge, and haruest, then the rest. Neyther doth the materiall separation of our Iland, separate vs from the vnion of one body, nor of one Obedience to one & the selfe same general Head and Pastour, no more, then it doth from the vnion of one beliefe, and of one number and forme of Sacra∣ments, of one manner of seruice, and other like poyntes, belonging to the internall and externall vnitie of Ca∣tholicke Religion.

XXI. But the Apologie saith,* that, His medling about this Oath, is in matters, that meerly and only concerne Cyuill Obe∣dience: and the same he repeateth in dyuers other partes and passages of this Booke; which if it be true, I will easely graunt that his Ma.tie hath cause of iust mislike. But if this proue not so, and that the matters refused in the Oath, are poyntes appertayning in deed to Religion, then I hope, that by answering fully this poynt, we shall satisfy also the second, why it was not needfull for the Pope to set downe any particuler confutation in his Breues, but only to say (as he doth) in generall, that, The integrity of Catholicke Religion permitteth them not to take such an Oath, in which, both Cyuill and Ecclesiasticall poynts are couched, and conioyned craftily togeather, with no small preiudice of the said Catholicke Religion.

XXII. And how thē shall we cleare this importāt matter, VVhether there be any pointes in this Oath belonging to religion, besydes Cyuill Obedience? Very easily: by foure se∣uerall, and distinct wayes. The first wherof shall be taken from the playne expresse wordes, sense, and drift of the Oath it selfe: That besydes the acknowledgment of our Soueraigne to be true King, and rightfull Lord ouer all his dominions, and that, I will be a true loyall Subiect vnto him, and other such like clauses, wherat no man sticketh or ma∣keth difficulty; the said Oath conteyneth further, that, Page  14I must sweare in like manner some poyntes concerning the limitation of the Popes authority,* to wit, what he cannot do towards his Ma. tie or his Successours in any case whatsoeuer. Which question being brought from the particuler Hypothesis, to the ge∣nerall Thesis, concerning all Kings (for the like reason is also in others) both in the one & the other; it toucheth a poynt of doctryne and Catholicke beliefe, concerning the sufficiency of Pastorall authority, left by our Saui∣our in his Church vnto S. Peter and his successours, for redressing of all inconueniēces that may fall out, which I (being a Catholicke) cannot in my Conscience forweare, without perill of euerlasting damnation. And this is one way of cleering the question.

XXIII. An other is, to looke vpon the Popes wordes in his Breues, wherby will appeare, what his meaning was of the contents of the Oath.* Wee haue heard (saith he) how yow are compelled by most grieuous punish∣ments set before yow, to go to the Churches of Here∣tickes, to frequent their Assemblyes, to be present at their Sermons, &c.

Wherby we are moued by the Zeale of our Pastorall Office, and by the Paternall sollicitude which we haue for the saluatiō of your soules, to warne, & pray yow, in no sorte, to go to the said Churches, nor to heare their Sermons, nor to cōmunicate with them in any externall rytes, least yow do incurre the wrath of God therby. For that, it is not lawfull for yow to do these things without detriment of Gods seruice, and of your owne saluation: as also yow may not, without most euident, and grie∣uous iniury of Gods honour, bynd your selfe with the Oath, which in like manner to our great griefe, we haue heard, to be administred vnto yow, of the tenour vnder written, &c.
And then after the whole forme of the Oath set downe, he writeth thus. VVhich things being so, it ought to be cleere, vnto yow, by the wordes themselues, that such an Oath can not be taken without domage to the Catholicke fayth, and health of your soules: for that Page  15 it conteeth many things against the said Catholike saith, and health of your soules.

XXIV. By these wordes of the Breue, we may see playnly, that as the matter of going Church, Assem∣blyes, and Sermons of those o a contrary Religion, are forbidden by him, as spirituall matters, and acts of a fa•• Religion: so is the taking of the Oath, not in regard of Temporall & Cyuil Obedience to his Ma.tie (which by a ormer Breue his predecessour had permitted, and recommended to an Catholicks soone after his Highnes entrance vnto the Crowne; but for the admixture of other causes, appertayning to some poyntes of Religion as before hath byn•••d.

XXV. The third proofe may be taken out of the ensuing etter of Card. all Bellarmine, who hauing dili∣gently considered with other learned men, of the nature of this Oath, doth therfore hold it to be vnlawfull, for that it is so compounded by artificiall ioyning togeather of Temporall and Spirituall things, Cyuill Obedience, and forswearing the Popes authority,* as (to vse his wor∣des) No man can professe his Cyail Subiection, and detest treason and conspiracy (by this Oath:) but he must be forced also to re∣nounce the Primacy of the Sea Apostolicke. And therfore he compareth it to the crafty composition, and commix∣ture of Images of the Emperour Iulian, & of the Paynim Gods, so coupled and combined togeather in his Im∣periall banner, as dutifull Subiects that were Christiās, & desyred to performe their Temporall duety & Cyuill honour to their Soueraigne, could not bow downe to his Picture, as the fashion was, but must seeme also to do the same to the heathen Idols: which rather then they would do, they were content to suffer cruell death. So as in this case such as denyed to obey in that point, did it not for lacke of reuerence, and loyall affection to their Emperour, as odiously it was obiected and am∣plified against them: but by reason of the mixture of Page  16 things vnlawfull, with those that were lawfull: And the like plainly is heere in this case, where Catholicks are wrongfully accused to deny their acknowledgment of cyuill Obedience conteyned in this Oath, for that they refuse to take the same: wheras their refu∣sall is not for this, but for other clauses pertayning to their Religion.

XXVI. Fourthly then, for a more full, and fynall cleering of this matter, I can thinke of no better, nor more forcible meane, then to make this reall offer, on the behalfe of euery English Catholicke,* for better sa∣tisfaction of his Ma.tie in this poynt, so much vrged of their Cyuill & Temporall Obedience. First that he will sweare, and acknowledge most willingly, all those partes, and clauses of the Oath, that do any way appertaine to the Ciuill, and Temporall Obedience due to his Ma.tie, whome he acknowledgeth for his true and lawfull kyng and Soueraigne ouer all his Do∣minions, and that he will sweare vnto him, as much loyalty, as euer any Catholicke Subiect of England, did vnto their lawfull King in former tymes, and ages, before the change of king Henry the eyght: or that any forraine Subiect oweth, or ought to sweare to any Ca∣tholicke Prince whatsoeuer at this day.

XXVII. Secondly that for the Pope, who, by the force of Catholicke Religion, is the Supreme Pastour of his soule, he hopeth in Gods goodnes, that he will neuer attempt any thing in preiudice of his Ma.tie, nor will he euer procure, of his part, that he do: but rather will seeke to stay, or let the same, as much as shall lye in his power; praying hartily for them both. But for so much, as the Question of his Autho∣rity, what he might do, in certayne vrgent cases, for the preseruation of any Countrey, and for the vniuer∣sall good of Gods Church, is a matter belonging to do∣ctrine & Religion, he cannot with safety of his Con∣science Page  17 sweare vnto the Articles and branches of the Oath touching that poynt.

XXVIII. Heere then wee see that all Ciuill Obedience,* and humble acknowledgment of all Temporall Duety is offered to his Maiestie by his Catholicke Subiects, in most ample manner, that can be deuised, or that is offered to any Chri∣stian Catholicke Prince lyuing. And if this be not accepted, then is it euident, that more is re∣quired, then meere and only Ciuill Obedience, as heere is often auouched.

XXIX. And now, for so much as it is said heere in like manner, That very many of his Ma. ties Subiects, that were Popishly affected, as well Priests as Laycks, did freely take the same Oath (which he calleth A blessed successe frō God of this godly and wyse intent, in deuising and proposing the same:) I shall be forced also to say somwhat of this matter,* before I passe any further. And first of all, concerning the free∣dome, wherby it is heere said, That priests and Laycks did freely take the same; no man, I thinke, will deny, but that the taking of this Oath is proposed by the Statute it selfe vnder paine of the losse of all goods and lands, and per∣petuall imprisonment to him, that shall refuse it: [ 1] which is the very same freedome,* and no other that a merchant hath in a tēpest, eyther to cast out his goodes into the sea, for lightening his ship, or to be drowned himselfe.* And though Aristotle in his Ethicks do seeme to hold it to be Simpliciter inuoluntarium, simply against the will of the doer, and Catholicke Deuynes, That it is Inuoluntarium secundum quid,* in part inuoluntary and simply voluntary, for that, all circumstances considered, he resolueth fynally to be the best to cast out his goods and saue himselfe: yet all agree in this, that freedome is taken away by this constraint of the passion of feare: For that freedome requyreth full liberty to both ex∣treames or obiects, that are proposed; which is not Page  18 in our case. For that the displeasure of the Prince,* the losse of goods and liberty, the ruyne of his family, the terrour and perswasion of his friendes, are heauie poy∣ses, and do mightily preponderate on the one side: and consequently the mention of this freedome, might haue beene pretermitted, for so much, as no constraint of humane will can be greater, then this. And yet is it said in the Oath, that he must do it, both wil∣lingly and hartily, and as he belieueth in Conscience. Let the discreete Reader consider what coherence there is in their tale.

XXX. Secondly, as for that multitude of Priests, [ 2] & Laycks, which he sayeth, Haue freely taken this Oath; as their freedome was that, which now I haue men∣tioned, and a principall motiue (as may be presumed) the desyre they had, to giue his Ma.tie satisfaction, and deliuer themselues, and others so much as lay in them, from that inference of disloyall meaning, which vpon the denyall therof, some do vse to make: so I cannot, but in charity assure my self, that they being Catholicks tooke the said Oath (for so much as concerneth the Popes authority in dealing with temporall Princes) in some such lawfull sense,* and interpretation, as (being by them expressed, and accepted by the Magistrate) may stand with the integrity, and sincerity of true Catholicke doctrine, and faith: To witt, that the Pope hath not Authority without iust cause, to proceed against them: Quia illud possumus, quod iure possumus, saith the law: Our authority is limited by Iustice. Directly also the Pope may be denyed to haue such authority against Princes, but indirectly only, in ordine ad spiritualia, and when certayne great, importāt, & vrgent cases, concer∣ning Christian religion fall out, which we hope will neuer be, betweene our Soueraigne, and the Sea Apostolicke; for so much as they haue past already, many yeares (though in different Religions) in Page  19 peace, and quietnes euen since his Ma.tie began first to raigne.

XXXI. But concerning the generall Question, to deny simply and absolutely, That the Pope is supreme Pa∣stour of the Catholicke Church, hath any authoritie left him by Christ, eyther directly or indirectly, with cause, or without cause, in neuer so great a necessity, or for neuer so great and publicke an vti∣lity of the Christian Religion, to proceed against any Prince what∣soeuer temporally, for his restraint or amendment, or to permitt other Princes to doe the same: this, I suppose, was neuer their meaning that tooke the Oath; for that they should ther∣by contradict the generall consent of all Catholicke Deuines, and confesse, that Gods prouidence, for the conseruation, and preseruation of his Church, and Kingdome vpon earth, had bene defectu∣ous, for that he should haue left no lawful remedy, for so great and excessiue an euill, as that way might fail out.

XXXII. Wherefore, for so much as some such mo∣derate meaning, must nedes be presumed, to haue bene in those that tooke the Oath, for safeguard of their Con∣sciences; if it might please his Maiesty to like well, and allow of this moderation, and fauourable interpreta∣tion, as all orreyne Catholicke Kings and Monarchs doe,* without any prejudice at all of their safety, dignity, or Imperiall preheminence: I doubt not but he should fynd most ready conformity in all his said English Ca∣tholicke Subiects, to take the said Oath, who now haue great scruple & repugnance o Conscience therin: both for that the chiefest learned men of their Church, doe hold the same for vtterly vnlawfull, being mixed and compounded, as it is, and the voyce o their chiefe Pa∣stour, to whome by the rules of their Religion, they thinke themselues bound to harken in like cses, hath vtterly condemned the same: and the very tenour of the Oath it self, and last lines therof are, That euery one shall Page  20 sweare without any Equiuocation, or mentall reseruation at all, that is to say, hartily, willingly, & truely vpon the true faith of a Christian. Which being so, they see not how they may take the said Oath in truth of Cōsciēce: for so much, as they find no such willingnes in their harts, nor can they induce themselues in a matter so neerly concerning the Confession of their faith, to Equiuocate or sweare in any other sense, then from his Maiesty is proposed: and therefore doe thinke it lesse hurt to deny plainly, and sincerely to sweare, then by swearing, neither to giue satisfaction to God, nor to his Maiesty, nor to themselues, nor to their neighbours. And so much of this point.

[ 3] XXXIII. There followeth an other, which is the third, about this matter, where this Apology saieth, That God did blesse this godly deuise and intent (of making and vrging this Oath) by the admittance thereof by so many Priests & Lacks: &c. Which blessing (if it be a blessing) must con∣cerne eyther the takers, or the exhibitours, or both. But for the takers, what inward blessing of comfort in con∣science they may haue receaued thereby, I know not; But for outward blessing, I see small, for they remaine, either in prisons, or vnder pressures still, as hath bene said. But for others of the same Religion that cannot frame their Consciences to take the said Oath, and yet would gladly giue his Royall Maiesty contentment & satisfaction,* so farre as they might, without offending God; I can assure yow, that it is the greatest affliction of mynd, among other pressures, that euer fell vnto them. For that no violence, is like to that, which is laied vpon mens Consciences; for so much, as it lyeth in a mās owne will & resolutiō, to beare all other oppres∣sions whatsoeuer, whether it be losse of goods, honours, dignityes, yea of life it self: but the oppression of the Conscience, no man may beare patiently, though he would neuer so faine. For if he yield therein, he offen∣deth Page  21 God, and leeseth his soule: neyther doth Metus cadens in constantem virum, feare that may terrify euen a constant man, excuse in this behalfe, as appeareth by the example of the auncient Martyrs, who were forced, vnder paine of damnation, to stand out to death against all humaine power, vexations, torments, and highest violence, rather then to doe, say, or sweare any thing against their Conscience. To all these men then, which are thowsands in our Countrey, that neuer thought otherwise then to be good Subiects to his Maiesty, the deuising of this new Oath, was no bles∣sing, but an vnspeakeable affliction, and angariation of mynd.

XXXIV. To the exhibitours also, I see not what blessing it could be, or can be, so extremely to vex other men without any profit, or emolument to themselues, or to his Maiestyes seruice,* which herin they would pretend to aduaunce. For if there be any cause of doubt, of loyall good will in them, that are forced to sweare against their consciences: much more cause and reason may there be of like doubt, after they haue so sworne, then before. For that the griefe of their new wound of conscience remayning full within them, and stirring them to more auersion of hart, for the iniury receaued, must needes worke contrary effects to that which is pretended. And whosoeuer will not sticke to sweare against his conscience for feare, fauour, or some other like passion, may be presumed, that he will as easily breake his Oath, after he hath sworne, vpon like mo∣tiues, if occasions doe mooue him. And among all other passions, none is more strong, then that of re∣uenge for oppressions receaued: So as we read of the whole Monarchy of Spaine ouerthrowne, and giuen to the Mores,* for one passion of Count Iulian, wherby he desired to be reuenged of his King ode∣riquez. Nothing then is gotten in this behalfe of Page  22 loyall good will, by such extreame pressures, but much rather lost.

XXXV. But besides all this, is the grieuous sinne which they commit, who force, & presse other men to sweare against their consciences, then which, almost nothing can be imagined more heinous: for it is to thrust men headlong (especially such as are fearfull) into the very precipitation and downfall of hell it selfe. For it is the highest degree of scandall actiue, so much condemned and detested in Scriptures,* and so dredfully threatned by our Sauiour, to be seuerely punished in the life to come: for that scandalizing properly, is nothing else, but laying a stumbling-block for other men to fall, and breake their necks. And such a one is this formall Oath, which conteyneth diuers things lawfull for a Ca∣tholicke to sweare and other things vnlawfull: and he is forced by terrour to passe ouer, and swallow downe the one with the other, without distinction, with maniest repugnance of his Conscience; which repu∣gnance to him, is alwaies a synne, & damnable in such a publicke and weighty action, though the matter were lawfull in it self, and consequently also vnto them, that force him to the same, eyther knowing or suspe∣cting his said repugnance of Conscience.* For he that should force a Iew, or Turke to sweare, that there were a blessed Trinity, eyther knowing or suspecting that they would doe it against their Conscience, should synne grieuously, by forcing them to committ that synne. This is Catholicke doctrine, which I also thinke the learned Protestants themselues will not deny.

XXXVI. Here if any man obiect, that among vs also men are vrged to take Oathes, and to abiure their opinions in the tribunalls of Inquisitions, and the like; and consequently in this Oath they may be forced vnder punishment to abiure the Popes Temporall Authority Page  23 in dealing with Kings: I answere first, that if any Hereticke, or other should be forced to abiure his opi∣nions, with repugnance of conscience, it should be a synne to the inforcers, if they knew it, or suspected it. Neyther is it practised or permitted n any Catholicke Court, that euer I knew. But yow will reply, that if he doe it not, he shall be punished by death,* or otherwise, as the crime requireth, and Canons appoint, and consequently the like may be vsed towards Catholickes, that will not renounce their old opinions of the Popes Authoritye: but heere is a great difference; for that the Catholicke Church hath Ius acquisitum, auncient right ouer Hereticks, as her due Subiects, for that by their Baptisme, they were made her Subiects, and left her afterward, and went out of her; and she vseth but her auncient manner of proceeding against them, as against all other of their kynd and quality from the beginning. But the Protestant Church of England hath Nullum Ius acquisitum vpon Catholicks, that were in possession before them, for many hundred yeares, as is euident. Neyther was there euer any such Oath exacted at their hands, by any of their Kings, in former Catholicke tymes: Neyther is there, by any Ca∣tholicke forreyne Monarch, now liuing vpon earth, and consequently, by no reason or right at all, can English Catholicke men, be eyther forced or pressed to this Oath against their Conscience, or be punished, beaten, or destroyed, if for their Con∣science they refuse to take the same: humbly offering notwithstanding to their Soueraigne, to giue him all other dutifull satisfaction, for their Temporall Obe∣dience and Allegiance, which of loyall Catho∣licke Subiectes may be exacted. And this shall suffice for this first point, concerning the con∣tents Page  24 and nature of the Oath. Now shall We passe to say somewhat of the Breues, and answere made thereunto.

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