THE FIRST QVESTION, CONCERNING THE name of Clerkes or Clergie men.
[error 66] THis name Clergie, in Latine, Clerus, is a name made proper to the Spiritual∣tie, by vse of antiquitie, and agreeably to Scriptures: they are so called, be∣cause they are the Lords lot, and consecrate to the diuine seruice: the rest are called popular, or lay men, which meddle not with any function of the Church.
1 This word (say they) hath been vsed by all antiquitie, and thereby Church Ministers only signified: Ergo, it is a fit and decent name, Bellar. lib. 1. de Clericis, cap. 1. Rhemens. 1. Pet. 2.3
Ans. First, the Fathers vsed this name Clergie, but not as it is now vsed of the Papists, which doe hereby as it were exclude the people of God from the Lords inheritance, counting them as Asses and Dogs, in respect of the Clergie: they vsed it as a ciuill indifferent name, for an outward distinctiō of their callings, not as a name of more holines, and so we refuse it not.
2 What though by custome & continuance this name hath been somewhat abused, we will learne herein to speake of the scriptures, and not of men.
Page 191Secondly, we mislike this name (say our aduersaries) because we would haue no difference betweene the people and Clergie, Rhemist. ibid.
Ans. It is a great slander: because we make no such difference, as they doe, as to make the Clergie onely Gods lot and portion, and to count the people as vnholy, and to preferre euery ignorant doltish Masse priest, before the best and deuoutest of the people: therefore they imagine we make no difference at all. We doe distinguish the calling of the one, and the other: none of the lay sort to be so hardie as to meddle with the word or Sacraments, which are commit∣ted to the Ministers, which you notwithstanding permit them to doe: and the people euery where to reuerence their Pastors and to yeeld due obedience vn∣to them. But that the calling of the one before God in it selfe, is more merito∣rious then the other, that we doe not, neither dare affirme.
3 The Leuites in the time of the lawe, were seuered out from the rest of the Lords people, and he was their lot and inheritance, and they the Lords lot. Deut. 18.2. And as the Leuites were then, so are the Ministers of the Gospell now. Bellarm.
Ans. First, the Lord is rather sayd to be their lot, because they had the Lords portion, and liued of the Altar, then they are sayd to be the Lords lot: for the whole nation was holie vnto God, and a kingdome of Priests, Exod. 19.6. Se∣condly, it followeth not, that because there was a legall and ceremoniall diffe∣rence then betweene the Priests and the people, that therefore it ought to be so now: Nay rather the contrarie followeth, because there was such a difference then, that therefore the Priesthood of the lawe being ceased, there ought to bee none such now: for Christ hath made vs all Kings and Priests to God his father, Apocal. 1.6: And we are al a royall priesthood and holy nation, 1. Pet. 2.9. Now, though there be a difference of callings amongst men, yet before God we are all Priests alike, and there is but one Priest for vs all to Godward, euen Christ Iesus our Lord.
THe name of Clerkes, or Clergie men, if it be not vsed as a name in it selfe of greater holines and merite, and so is in effect a proude excluding of the rest of Christians from the Lords inheritance, we refuse it not, though there are bet∣ter names and titles, to call the Ministers of the Gospell by: yet being taken as it is in Poperie, we doe vtterly refuse and reiect it.
First, 1. Pet. 5.3. The Apostle exhorteth the pastors and teachers to feede the flock of Christ, non vt dominantes Cleris, not as Lords ouer Gods Clergie & in∣heritance. Here S. Peter calleth the whole flocke, the Clergie: wherefore it ap∣peareth, that this difference was not knowne in the Apostles time of lay and Clergie men: And it is agaynst all sense, that Saint Peter should vnderstand here the inferiour Ministers, and so exhorteth the superiour Pastors and Bishops to looke to their Clergie, as the Rhemists would haue it: for S. Peter speaketh of Page 192 the whole flocke and congregation, which cannot bee vnderstood properly of many Ministers dispersed into seuerall places.
2 Neither shall wee finde this word Clerus, the Clergie, properly applied to the Ministers, throughout the newe testament, let our aduersaries brag neuer so much of scripture as they doe. Galat. 6.6. S. Paul vseth these names of difference, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the teacher, and he that is taught: and 1. Corinth. 14.16. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the speaker, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the priuate or vnlettered man. So that all their names are giuen in respect of their outward ministerie and calling, not in regard of any dif∣ference before God. For before the Lord, as there is neither Graecian nor Iewe, bond nor free,* male nor female; so neither is there Clerke or lay man.
3 Augustine thus writeth concerning this name, Cleros, qui sunt in eccle∣siastici ministerij gradibus ordinati, sic dictos puto, quia Matthias sorte electus est, in Psal. 67. Clerkes, which serue in the Ministerie, I thinke, were so called, because Matthias was chosen by lot. See then, they are not called Clerkes because they are the Lords lot, but because they are allotted and chosen out of the people for that seruice: as the Leuites are called the peoples gift, Numbers 18.6. and the Priests office an office of seruice: not of more merite or holinesse, or an office of Lordly preeminence, but of ministerie and seruice. Augustine therefore hath a notable saying: Non nos digni, qui pro vobis oremus, vos indigni, qui pro nobis o∣retis, Psal. 68. We are not onely worthie to pray for you, and you vnworthie to pray for vs: Auditoribus suis, quibus verbum praedicauit, se commendauit Apo∣stolus, ibid. The Apostle commendeth himselfe to their deuout praiers, to whom he preached. By this their error is confuted, that thinke the prayer of a Priest to be the rather heard for the merite and dignitie of his calling, howsoeuer els he be affected in his prayer. So the Rhemists say, that a prayer not vnderstood pro∣fiteth by the vertue of the worke wrought and the office of the Priesthood, Annot. 1. Corinth. 14. sect. 10.