113. THE COUNCIL OF BASIL
After the death of Pope Martin, who reigned fourteen years, succeeded Eugenius, the fourth of that name, about the year of our Lord 1431. Of whom Antonius thus writeth, That he was much given to wars, as his conflicts and fighting with the Romans may declare; also the battles between the Venetians and the Florentines.
This pope began first to celebrate the council of Basil, which council, Martin, his predecessor, had before intended, according to the institution of the council of Constance. Notwithstanding, the said Eugenius, perceiving afterward this council of Basil not to favour him and his doings, and fearing some detriment to come to him by the same, afterward laboured by all subtle practice to dissolve and interrupt the said council, and from Basil to translate it first to Ferraria, then to Florentia, more near to his own see of Rome. Concerning the which council of Basil, forasmuch as we have begun here to make mention, it shall be no great digression out of the way, to discourse something thereof (the Lord so permitting) more at large, so much as for the most principal matters thereof shall seem sufficient or necessary to be known.
Here followeth the order and manner of the council of Basil, touching the principal matters concluded therein, briefly collected and abridged here in this present book.
In the thirty-ninth session of the council of Constance, as is before mentioned, it was decreed and provided concerning the order and times of such general councils as should hereafter follow: The first that should next ensue, to be kept the fifth year after the said council of Constance: The second to be holden the seventh year after that; and so orderly all other to follow successively from ten years to ten years. Wherefore, according to this decree, followed a general council five years after the council of Constance, celebrate and holden at Sene, under Pope Martin, A. D. 1424, but it soon broke up. After the which council, the term of seven years being expired, another council was holden at Basil, in the year of our Lord 1431. The which council is noted to have been the most troublesome, and to have endured longer than any other council beforetime celebrate and holden in the church. This council continued almost the space of seventeen years; wherein it it was concluded, as before in the council of Constance, that the general councils were above the pope, and both of these two councils did attribute the chief authority in decreeing and determining unto the general council; which is the cause that the contrary part doth derogate so much from the authority of this present council.
When Pope Martin the Fifth had appointed Julian, cardinal and deacon of St. Angel, his legate, to celebrate and hold a general council at Basil, for the reformation of the church and rooting out of heresies, within short space after Pope Martin died, in whose seat Eugenius the Fourth succeeded, who confirmed unto the said Cardinal Julian the same authority which his predecessor before had given him. Unto this council of Basil, being begun, came the Emperor Sigismund, who during his lifetime, with his presence and authority, did protect and defend the said synod. After the emperor's death, Pope Eugenius, altering his former mind and purpose, would transport the council unto Bononia (that is, Bologna in Italy,) and thereby hindered the success of the council of Basil. And first he held a contrary council at Ferraria, and afterward at Florence. For, after the death of the Emperor Sigismund, there were no princes nor noblemen that had any care or regard of the council. Eugenius the pope pretended causes, as touching the Greeks which should come unto the council, and the uniting of the church unto the West Church, the which Greeks would in no wise pass the Alps: also as touching his own incommodity, that he could not come unto Basil, being so long a journey, and that all his men might have easy access unto Bononia, and that amongst the Germans, which in their own country are so intractable, nothing can be attempted for their reformation: whereupon he cited Cardinal Julian and the fathers of the council unto Bononia, under great penalty. They again cited the pope, that either he should come himself unto the council, or send ambassadors, under the like penalty. For this cause the ambassadors of Albert, king of the Romans, and of the other princes of Germany, assembled together first at Norenberge; and when they could determine nothing there, they assembled again at Frankfort to appease the dissension between the council and the pope; for it was thought that the electors of the empire might best assemble and meet in that place. In the mean time, the emperor's ambassadors and the ambassadors of the electors went into Basil, and having conference with the ambassadors of the other princes which were there, they did earnestly exhort the fathers of the council, that they would embrace and receive the unity which they would offer. The request of the princes was, that the fathers would transport the council, and go unto another place; the which only thing Pope Eugenius seemed always to seek and desire, that thereby he might either divide the fathers of the council, or take away their liberty.
Notwithstanding, this sacred synod thought good neither to deny the princes' request, nor to grant that which Pope Eugenius required. During this doubt, the emperor's ambassadors, the bishops of Patavia and Augusta, being much required and stirred thereunto, appointed a noble and valiant baron, called Conrade Weinsperge, by the king's commandment, to be protector and defender of the council and the fathers. Whereby as the enemies perceived the emperor's mind to be alienate from the pope, so the fathers of the council understood his good will towards them, forasmuch as he would not have sent them a protector, if he had not judged it a lawful council; neither again would he have judged it a council in Basil, if he had given credit to Pope Eugenius. But by means of a great pestilence which began to grow, the assembly that should have been held at Frankfort was transported unto Mentz. The ambassadors of the princes also thought good to go thither, if they might find any means of unity, whereby they might unite and knit the pope again unto the council.
The assembly was very famous, for there were present the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Trevers, electors of the sacred empire, and all the ambassadors of the other electors. Notwithstanding, the archbishop of Cologne was the chief favourer of the council in this assembly, who, with all his labour and diligence, went about to bring the matter unto a good end. Rabanus, the archbishop of Trevers, showed himself somewhat more rough. The sacred synod also thought good to send thither their ambassadors, and appointed out the patriarch of Aquileia, the bishop of Vicene, and the bishop of Argen: divines, John Segovius, and Thomas de Corcellis, with divers others. There was no man there present which would name himself the ambassador of Eugenius; albeit there were many of his favourers and friends come thither, both from the council, and also out of Florence, the which, albeit they had sworn to the contrary, yet favoured they more Eugenius than the council. But the chief Hercules of all the Eugenians was Nicholas Cusanus, a man singularly well learned, and of great experience. After divers consultations had, the electors of the empire, and the ambassadors of the other princes of Germany, thought good to give out commandment throughout their whole nation and country, that the decrees of the council of Basil should be received and observed.
Whilst these things were thus debated at Mentz, there sprang a certain very doubtful question amongst the divines which remained at Basil, whether Eugenius might be called a heretic, which had so rebelliously contemned the commandments of the church. Hereupon they gathered themselves together, disputing long amongst themselves, some affirming, and other some holding the negative part. Upon this their disputation there arose three several opinions, some affirming that he was a heretic; other some, that he was not only a heretic, but also a relapse; the third sort would neither grant him to be a heretic nor a relapse. Amongst these divines, the chief and principal, both in learning and authority, was the bishop of Ebrun, ambassador of the king of Castile, and a certain Scottish abbot; which, as two most valiant champions, subdued all their enemies, so that all the rest did either consent unto their arguments, or gave place unto them, and so their determination took place, and Eugenius was pronounced both a heretic and relapse. Eight conclusions were there determined and allowed amongst the divines, which they called verities, the copy whereof they did divulgate throughout all Christendom.
When the ambassadors of the council were returned from Mentz, and that certain report was made of the allowing of their decrees, the fathers of the council thought good to discuss the conclusions of the divines more at large. Whereupon, by the commandment of the deputies, all the masters, and doctors, and clergy were called together, with all the residue of the prelates, into the chapter-house of the great church, there openly to dispute and discuss Eugenius's heresy. The which thing so grieved the bishop of Milan, fearing lest this disputation would work the deprivation of Eugenius, the which, as he said, he had always letted for fear of a schism. Wherefore he ceased not by all marmer of ways to labour to stop and trouble the matter, exhorting them that were absent by his letters, and encouraging those that were present by his words, to the defence of Eugenius. But at the last there was a great assembly in the chapter-house, some coming thither to dispute, and other some to hear. This disputation continued six days, both forenoon and afternoon, amongst whom Cardinal Ludovicus, Archbishop Arelatensis was appointed as judge and arbiter of the whole disputation; who, beside many other notable virtues, was both valiant and constant. Nicholas Amici, which was also a protector of the faith, a famous man amongst the divines of Paris, demanded of every man what their opinion was.
John Deinlefist, public notary, wrote every man's sentence and judgment. The conclusions of the divines, which were the ground and foundation of their disputation, were these here following:
"1. It is a verity of the catholic faith, that the sacred general council hath power over the pope, or any other prelate.
"2. The pope cannot, by his own authority, either dissolve, transport, or prorogue the general council, being lawfully congregated, without the whole consent of the council; and this is of like verity.
"3. He which doth obstinately resist these verities, is to be counted a heretic.
"4. Pope Eugenius the Fourth hath resisted these verities, whereas at the first, by the fulness of his apostolic power, he attempted to dissolve or to transport the council of Basil.
"5. Eugenius, being admonished by the sacred council, did recant the errors repugnant to these verities.
"6. The dissolution or translation of the council, attempted the second time by Eugenius, is against the aforesaid verities, and containeth an inexcusable error touching the faith.
"7. Eugenius, in going about to dissolve and transport the council again, is fallen into his before revoked errors.
"8. Eugenius, being warned by the synod that he should revoke the dissolution or translation the second time attempted, after that his contumacy was declared, persevering in his rebellion, and erecting a council at Ferraria, showed himself thereby obstinate."
These were the conclusions which were read in the chapter-house before the fathers of the council. Upon the which, when they were desired to speak their minds, they all in a manner confirmed and allowed them. Notwithstanding, Panormitane, archbishop, disputed much against them. Likewise did the bishop of Burgos, the king of Arragon's almoner. Yet did they not gainsay the three first conclusions, but only those wherein Pope Eugenius was touched. This Panormitane, as he was subtle, so did he subtlely dispute against the last conclusions, endeavouring himself to declare that Eugenius was not relapsed, and had great contention with the bishop of Argen, John Segovius, and Francis de Fure, divines. He divided the articles of the faith into three sorts; straitly, as in the creed; largely, as in the declarations made by the church; most largely of all, as in those things which rise of the premises; affirming that Eugenius did by no means violate his faith in his first dissolution that he made, because it is not contained in the creed, neither yet in the determinations of the church, that the pope cannot dissolve the councils; and that it seemeth not unto him to rise of the determinations before made, but rather of the decrees of the council of Constance. And further, that this, as a case omitted, is reserved for the pope to be discussed, forasmuch as in the chapter beginning Frequens, it appeareth that the place where the council should be kept ought to be chosen by the pope, the council allowing the same, and nothing is thereof at all spoken. And if, peradventure, Eugenius had offended in the first dissolution, notwithstanding he ought to be holden excused, because he did it by the counsel of the cardinals, representing the Church of Rome, whose authority he said to be such, that the judgment thereof should be preferred before all the world. Neither had there been any sacred council found to have proceeded against Eugenius as a heretic; and that is an evident sign that the council hath not thought him to have swerved from the faith, neither to have any occasion that he should be called heretic for his errors revoked; and that he himself hath read the whole text, that the pope did not revoke the dissolution as contrary unto the faith, but as breeding offence: also that the last dissolution hath no such cause in it, forasmuch as likewise he had done it by the counsel of the cardinals, and for the uniting of the Greeks, that he might not be compelled in a criminal cause to answer by his procurator, when he, being letted by sickness, could not come personally. [And] forasmuch as in the first dissolution Eugenius hath fallen into no error of faith, he cannot be persuaded that he can be called a relapse, forasmuch as he neither in the first, neither yet in the second, dissolution did violate his faith.
This oration of Panormitane was more praised than allowed of men. Notwithstanding, this effect it wrought, that afterward this word relapse was taken out of the conclusions, and instead thereof this word prolapse put in. Neither durst Panormitane himself altogether excuse Eugenius of heresy, but defended more the first dissolution, than the second; yet departed he not without answer, for John Segovius, an expert divine, rising up, answered him reverently, as was comely for such a prelate. He said, He granted that which Panormitane had spoken touching the division of the articles of the faith into three points, because it made for this purpose. For if those things are to be holden for articles of faith, said he, which may be gathered of the determinations of the church, it were manifest that the conclusions whereupon we now contend, redound and come of the determinations of the church, that is to say, of the council of Constance; for if therein the pope be made subject unto the general council, who is it that will say that the pope hath power over the council which is above him; or that Eugenius ought to remain pope, because he could not dissolve the council, which is above him, without the consent thereof? The which article undoubtedly he hath violated and broken. And if any man will say that in the first dissolution this article was not violated, because there was no declaration made thereof, let him which so thinketh thus, understand, That the bishop of Rome ought not only to know the plain and manifest, but also the secret and hidden, things of the faith; for he being the vicar of Christ, and the head of all other, ought to instruct and teach all men. But if so be he will not, then he shall be convicted for being head, because he continued long in the dissolution after the declaration of the council, neither did consent unto the determination of the church; and therefore if, peradventure, he did not err in the faith in dissolving of the council, yet did he err in persevering in the same, as it manifestly appeareth by the saying of Clement oftentimes alleged by Panormitane, wherein it is said, That he which liveth rebelliously, and neglecteth to do good, is rather a member of the devil than of Christ, and rather an infidel than a true believer; so that Eugenius by disobeying the church may worthily be called an infidel. Neither is it true that the pope hath not offended in the faith; forasmuch, as well in that answer which beginneth Cogitanti, as also in the answer which beginneth Sperant, made unto the pope's ambassadors, these words are manifest: this article concerneth faith, and we had rather die, than through cowardliness to give place. By the which saying it is evident, the synod to have sufficiently admonished the pope that he did against the faith, and therefore it seemed that afterward, when Eugenius revoked the dissolution, he also revoked the error of faith contained in the same. There are also divers offences sprung and risen through the error of faith: for some say that the pope is under the council, other some deny it, and this diversity of doctrine bringeth offence. Also it is expressly against the authority of the council, that the pope did revoke the assertions made in their name.
And albeit in such revocations the style and order of judgments is not observed, notwithstanding, it doth suffice in such case when the council doth proceed against the pope, in which case only the truth is to be observed; neither is the council subject unto any positive law, that it ought to observe any terms or judicial orders. Also he said that he utterly contemned that singular gloss, which did prefer the pope before all the world, so that it might well be called singular, which decreed so foolish and fond things, and unworthy to be followed of any man; and that he did much marvel at Panormitane, and other doctors of those days, which whilst they went about to extol the authority of the glosses, do abase the same by adding a singularity thereto; for that gloss is singular which is alone. But who would not more esteem a gloss constantly written and agreeable in all places, than that which in any one place teacheth any thing which may seem to be an error; and that as touching the verity and truth? St. Jerome, a grave and ancient doctor, is contrary to this gloss, who doubteth nothing at all but that the world, as touching authority, is above the city itself, that is to say, Rome.
Segovius could scarcely finish this his oration without interruption; for Panormitane, oftentimes interrupting him, went about to confute now this and now that reason. Whereupon the bishop of Argen rising up, a man not only eloquent, but also of a stout courage, troubled Panormitane in his reasons and arguments, and put him from his purpose; yet they proceeded so far, that they passed the manner of disputation, and did not abstain from opprobrious taunts.
When the bishop of Argen chanced to say that the bishop of Rome ought to be the minister of the church, Panormitane could not suffer that: inasmuch that he so forgot himself that day, and his knowledge (which otherwise was great) did so fail him, that he was not ashamed to say and affirm, that the pope was lord over the church. Whom Segovius answered, "Mark," saith he, "O Panormitane, what thou sayest; for this is the most honourable title of the bishop of Rome, wherein he calleth himself the servant of the servants of God. Which is gathered upon this point, when Christ said unto his disciples, when they demanded of him which of them was the greatest, you know he answered them, The princes of the people have rule and dominion over them, but amongst you it is not so, &c. Wherein he doth utterly prohibit lordship and dominion; and Peter, which was the first vicar of Christ, saith, Feed the flock of Christ which is committed unto you, providing for them not by compulsion, but willingly; and immediately after he said, not as lords over the clergy. For if Christ the Son of God came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to serve, how then can his vicar have any dominion, or be called lord, as you Panormitane will affirm? forasmuch as the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. And the Lord himself saith, Be ye not called masters, forasmuch as your only master is Christ, and he which is the greatest among you shall be your servant." Panormitane being somewhat disquieted with this answer, the council brake up and departed.
The next day, there was a general congregation, and they returned all again unto the chapter-house after dinner, where the archbishop of Lyons, the king's orator, being required to speak his mind, after he had by divers and sundry reasons proved Eugenius to be a heretic, he bitterly complained, detesting the negligence and ignavy of those that had preferred such a man unto the papacy, and so moved all their hearts which were present, that they all together with him did bewail the calamities of the universal church.
Then the bishop of Burgos, the ambassador of Spain, divided the conclusions into two parts, some he called general, and other some personal, disputing very excellently as touching the three first conclusions, affirming that he did in no point doubt of them, but only that the addition, which made mention of the faith, seemed to be doubtful unto him. But upon this point he stayed much, to prove that the council was above the pope. The which, after he had sufficiently proved both by God's law and man's law, he taught it also by physical reason, alleging Aristotle for witness. He said, that in every well-ordered kingdom it ought specially to be desired, that the whole realm should be of more authority than the king; which if it happened contrary, it were not to be called a kingdom, but a tyranny: so likewise doth he think of the church, that it ought to be of more authority, than the prince thereof, that is to say, the pope. The which his oration he uttered so eloquently, learnedly, and truly, that all men depended upon him, and desired rather to have him continue his oration, than to have an end thereof.
But when he entered into the other conclusions, he seemed to have forgotten himself, and to be no more the same man that he was; for neither was there the same eloquence in his words, neither gravity in oration, or cheerfulness of countenance; so that if he could have seen himself, he would peradventure greatly have marvelled at himself. Every man might well see and perceive then the power and force of the truth, which ministered copy of matter unto him, so long as he spake in the defence thereof; but when he began once to speak against her, she took away even his natural eloquence from him. Notwithstanding, Panormitane, and the bishop of Burgos, showed this example of modesty, that albeit they would not confess or grant the last conclusions to be verities of faith; yet they would not that any man should follow or lean unto their opinion, which were but mean divines; but rather unto the opinions of the divines but the king of Arragon's almoner, being a subtle and crafty man, did not directly dispute upon the conclusions, but picking out here and there certain arguments, sought to let and hinder the council. Against whom an abbot of Scotland, a man of an excellent wit, disputed very much; and Thomas de Corcellis, a famous divine, alleged much against him out of the decrees of the sacred council, and with a certain modest shamefacedness, always beholding the ground, did very largely dispute in the defence of the conclusions.
But now, to avoid tediousness, I will only proceed to declare arguments whereby the conclusions were ratified and confirmed, not minding to treat of the five last conclusions, which concern the person of Eugenius, but only upon the three first, whereunto I will adjoin several probable arguments, gathered out of the disputation of the fathers. In the first conclusion is the greatest force, and first to be discussed; touching the which, two things are to be required, and examined. The one, whether the general council have authority over the pope; the other, whether the catholic faith commandeth it to be believed. As touching that the pope is subject to the general council, it is excellently well proved by the reason before alleged by the bishop of Burgos. For the pope is in the church, as a king in his kingdom; and for a king to be of more authority than his kingdom, it were too absurd: ergo, neither ought the pope to be above the church. For like as oftentimes kings which do wickedly govern the commonwealth, and exercise cruelty, are deprived of their kingdoms; even so it is not to be doubted, but that the bishops of Rome may be deposed by the church, that is to say, by the general council.
Neither do I herein allow them which attribute so ample and large authority unto kings, that they will not have them bound under any laws; for such as so do say, be but flatterers, which do talk otherwise than they think. For albeit that they do say that the moderation of the law is alway in the prince's power; that do I thus understand, that when reason shall persuade, he ought to digress from the rigour of the law; for he is called a king, which careth and provideth for the commonwealth, taketh pleasure in the commodity and profit of his subjects, and in all his doings hath respect to the commodity of those over whom he ruleth: which if he do not, he is not to be counted a king, but a tyrant, whose property it is only to seek his own profit; for in this point a king differeth from a tyrant, that the one seeketh the commodity and profit of those whom he ruleth, and the other only his own. The which to make more manifest, thecause is also to be alleged wherefore kings were ordained.
At the beginning, as Cicero in his Offices saith, it is certain, that there was a certain time when the people lived without kings. But afterward, when lands and possessions began to be divided according to the custom of every nation, then were kings ordained for no other cause but only to exercise justice. For when at the beginning the common people were oppressed by rich and mighty men, they ran by and by to some good and virtuous man, which should defend the poor from injury, and ordain laws whereby the rich and poor might dwell together. But when yet under the rule of kings the poor where oftentimes oppressed, laws were ordained and instituted, the which should judge neither for hatred nor favour, and give like ear unto the poor as unto the rich; whereby we do understand and know not only the people, but also the king, to be subject to the laws. For if we do see a king to contemn and despise the laws, violently rob and spoil his subjects, deflour virgins, dishonest matrons, and do all things licentiously and temerariously; do not the nobles of the kingdom assemble together, deposing him from his kingdom, set up another in his place, which shall swear to rule and govern uprightly, and be obedient unto the laws? Verily as reason doth persuade, even so doth the use thereof also teach us. It seemeth also agreeable unto reason, that the same should be done in the church, that is to say, in the council, which is done in any kingdom. And so is this sufficiently apparent, which we have before said, that the pope is subject unto the council.
But now to pass unto the arguments of divinity, the foundation of the matter which we do treat upon, are the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ in divers places, but specially where he speaketh unto Peter, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Upon which words it seemeth good to begin this disputation, forasmuch as some were wont to allege these words, to extol the authority of the bishop of Rome. But (as it shall by and by appear) the words of Christ had another sense and meaning than divers of them do think, for he saith, And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Verily this is a great promise, and these words of the Lord are of great importance; for what greater word could there have been spoken, than that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church? These gates of hell, as St. Jerome saith, do signify sins; wherefore, if sins cannot prevail against the church, neither can any malign spirits prevail against the same, which have no power at all over mankind, but only through sin. And for that cause, whereas it is said in Job, that there is no power upon the earth that may be compared unto the power of the malign spirit, thereby it followeth that the power of the church is above all other power.
We may also, upon the same saying, reason after another sort; forasmuch as the gates of hell, that is to say, sins, cannot prevail against the church, the church thereby is declared to be without sin; the which cannot be spoken of the pope, which is a mortal man, forasmuch as it is written, Seven times in the day the just man doth offend. If the church he without spot because it cannot be defiled with sin, who is it that will prefer a sinful man before an undefiled church? Neither let us give ear unto those which will not refer these words of Christ unto the church, whereas he saith, Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith should not fail thee. For, as St. Augustine saith in the expositions of the Psalms, Certain things are spoken as though they seemed properly to pertain unto the apostle Peter, notwithstanding, they have no evident sense, but when they are referred unto the church, the person whereof he is understood figuratively to represent. Whereupon in another place, in the questions of the New and Old Testament, upon the words, I have prayed for thee, Peter; what is doubted? did he pray for Peter, and did he not pray for James and John, beside the rest? It is manifest that under the name of Peter all other are contained. For in another place of St. John, he saith, I pray for whom thou hast given me, and I will that wheresoever I am they shall be also with me. Whereupon we do oftentimes, by the name of Peter, understand the church, which we do nothing at all doubt to be done in this place; otherwise the truth could not consist, forasmuch as, within a while after, the faith of Peter failed for a time by the denial of Christ, but the faith of the church, whose person Peter did represent, did always persevere inviolate.
As touching the bishops of Rome, if time would suffer us, we could rehearse many examples, how that they either have been heretics, or replenished with other vices. Neither are we ignorant how that Marcellinus, at the emperor's commandment, did sacrifice unto idols, and that another, which is more horrible, did attain unto the papacy by devilish fraud and deceit. Notwithstanding, the testimony of Paul unto the Hebrews shall suffice us at this time, who saith, that every bishop is compassed in with infirmity; that is to say, with wickedness and sin. Also the testimonies of Christ himself do approve that the church remaineth always without sin; for in Matthew he saith, I am with you even unto the end of the world. The which words were not only spoken to the apostles, (for they continued not unto the end of the world,) but also unto their successors; neither would Christ then signify that he was God, dispersed throughout all the world, as he is also perceived to he amongst sinners, but would declare a certain gift of grace through his assistance, whereby he would preserve the holy church, consisting amongst his apostles and their successors, always immaculate and undefiled.
And again in another place; I, saith he, will pray, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may remain with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because the world seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but you shall know him, because he shall remain with you. The which words being spoke unto the disciples of Jesus, are also understood to be spoken unto their successors, and so, consequently, unto the church. And if the Spirit of truth be continually in the church, no man can deny but that the church ought to continue undefiled. By the same authority also that Christ is called the Spouse of the church, who seeth not but that the church is undefiled? For the husband and the wife, as the apostle saith, are two in one flesh, and, as he doth also add, no man hateth his own flesh; thereby it cometh to pass, that Christ cannot hate the church, forasmuch as she is his spouse, and one flesh with him, and no man can hate himself: ergo, the church doth not sin; for if it did sin, it should be hated, for sinners the Lord doth hate. The which authorities being gathered together, we ought, with the apostle, to confess that the church of God hath neither spot nor wrinkle. Also he, writing unto Timothy, affirmeth the church to be the pillar and foundation of the truth; whereupon, in this song to the spouse, it is said, My friend, thou art altogether fair and beautiful, neither is there any spot in thee. These words, peradventure, may abash some, that I do go about to prove the church to be without sin. For whereas the church doth contain all men which are called Christians, which also do agree and come together in one belief of faith, and participation of the sacraments, I do fear lest some men will think that I do affirm all men to be without sin, which is so far from my meaning, that I do verily think the contrary to be most true. For I suppose that there is no man in the church, being clothed in this mortal flesh, without sin. Neither do these things vary or dissent among themselves; for the church hath this gift, that albeit every part and member thereof may sin, yet the whole body cannot sin. For there be always good men in the church, the which, albeit that they be subject unto human fragility, notwithstanding they have so perfect a gift of sincere and pure virtue, that subduing all carnal desires and affections, they keep themselves a pleasant and acceptable sacrifice unto God. Neither do I consent or agree unto the opinion of divers, which affirm, that the Virgin Mary only persevered in faith at the Lord's passion. Whereupon divers have not been ashamed to say, that the faith might be so debilitated and weakened, that it should return to one only old woman; whose opinion, or rather madness, St. Paul seemeth openly to reject, writing thus unto the Romans: Do ye not know (saith he) what the Scripture writeth of Elias, how incessantly he called upon God against the children of Israel, (saying,) O Lord, they have slain thy prophets, and digged down thine altars, and I alone am left, and they seek after my soul? But what answer received he of God? I have left unto myself yet seven thousand men, which have not bowed their knees unto Baal. What other thing doth this answer of God declare, than that it is a foolish opinion of them which think the church of God to be brought unto so small a number? We ought to believe the words of Christ, which are altogether repugnant unto those men who affirm that the Virgin only did persevere in faith. For Jesus said unto his Father, O holy Father, save them in thy name, whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are one. When I was with them, I kept them in thy name: I have kept them that thou gayest unto me, and none of them perished, but only the son of perdition. And I do not desire that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest preserve them from evil.
Behold, Christ prayeth that his disciples should not fall, but should be preserved from evil, and he so praying, without doubt, is heard; for he saith in another place, I know that thou hearest me. But how is he heard, if all those for whom he prayeth, swerved at the time of his passion? As for example, By what means did Christ, hanging upon the cross, commend his dearly beloved mother unto John, if so he she were either then swerved, or should by and by after have swerved from the faith? Moreover, did not the centurion by and by cry out, and say, Truly this is the Son of God? The Jews also which at that time were far distant from Jerusalem, might both be called faithful, and also saved by their faith: seeing that (as the apostle saith) men are bound unto the gospel, after it is once known and revealed unto them. But let us leave these men, and speak of that which is more likely, and let us judge that there hath been, and is, a great number of good men in the church, and by them, as by the more worthy part, let us name the church holy and immaculate, the which doth comprehend as well the evil as the good. For the church is compared unto a net, which is cast into the sea, and gathered together all kind of fishes.
And again, it is compared unto a king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call those which were bidden unto the wedding, and they gathered together good and evil, as many as they could find. Wherefore, their opinion is erroneous, which affirm, that only good men be comprehended in the church; the which if it were true, it would confound all things, neither could we understand or know where the church were. But forasmuch as the Scripture saith, no man knoweth whether he be worthy of love or hatred, their opinion is more to be allowed and truer, which include all the faithful in the church; of whom, although a great part be given to voluptuousness and avarice, yet some, notwithstanding, are clean from deadly sin. The which part, as it is the most worthy, it giveth the name unto the church, to be called most holy, which is so often done, that we are commanded to sing in our creed, one holy catholic and apostolic church; the which article, the synod of Constantinople added unto the rest: Wherefore, if the church be holy, it is also without sin. But to return to our former purpose, this word sanctum, which signifieth holy, (as Macrobius, alleging Trebatius, affirmeth,) is sometimes taken for religious, and sometimes for clean and uncorrupt. And after the same manner, we call the church holy, as the apostle Peter calleth it immaculate, as we read in the famous epistle of Clement.
To this end also tendeth that which is spoken by St. Paul, that Christ is the Head of the church; for if the church should wholly sin, she should not agree with her Head Christ, who is in no point defiled. This also Christ himself would signify unto us in Matthew, when he commendeth the house which was builded upon the strong Rock, against the which, neither the winds, neither the storms, could prevail. Is the house of God, saith the apostle, which is the church, builded upon the Rock, which Rock (as the said apostle declareth) is Christ? Who then is so unshamefaced, that he will affirm the church, which is founded upon Christ, to be subject to sin, and will not rather cry out with the prophet and say, O Lord, I have loved the beauty of thy house? Hereupon wrote John Chrysostom this golden sentence: The church never ceaseth to be assaulted, never ceaseth to be laid in wait for; but in the name of Christ it hath always the upper hand and overcome. And albeit that other do lie in wait for it, or that the floods do beat against it, yet the foundation which is laid upon the rock, is not shaken. St. Hilary also saith, that it is the property of the church to vanquish when it is hurt, to understand when it is reproved, to be in safety when it is forsaken, and to obtain victory when it seemeth almost overcome. Thus by many reasons and testimonies it is proved that the church doth not err, which is not spoken or affirmed of the bishops of Rome, so that this reason doth make the pope subject unto the church; for it is convenient, that the less perfect be subject unto the more perfect. There be also many other testimonies and reasons, whereof we will now somewhat more treat.
If authority be sought for, saith St. Jerome, (for I willingly occupy myself in his sentences, as in a most fertile field,) the world is greater than a city. What then, I pray you, Jerome? Is the pope mighty because he is the head of the Church of Rome? His authority is great, notwithstanding the universal church is greater, which doth not only comprehend one city, but also the whole world. Hereupon it followeth, that if the church be the mother of all faithful, then she hath the bishop of Rome for her son; otherwise, as St. Augustine saith, he can never have God for his Father which will not acknowledge the church for his mother. The which thing Anacletus understanding, called the universal church his mother, as the writers of the canons do know. And Calixtus saith, As a Son he came to do the will of his Father, so we do the will of our mother which is the church: whereby it appeareth, that how much the son is inferior to the mother, so much the church is superior or above the bishop of Rome.
Also we have said before that the church was the spouse of Christ, and the pope we know to be a vicar; but no man doth so ordain a vicar, that he maketh his spouse subject unto him, but that the spouse is always thought to be of more authority than the vicar; forasmuch as she is one body with her husband, but the vicar is not so. Neither will I here pass over the words of St. Paul unto the Romans, Let every soul, saith he, be subject unto the higher powers. Neither doth he herein except the pope. For albeit that he be above all other men, yet it seemeth necessary that he should be subject to the church. Neither let him think himself hereby exempt, because it was said unto Peter by Christ, Whatsoever thou bindest, &c. In this place, as we will hereafter declare, he represented the person of the church, for we find it spoken afterterward unto them, Whatsoever. ye shall bind upon earth, shall be also bound in heaven. And furthermore, if all power be given of Christ, as the apostle writeth unto the Corinthians, it is given for the edifying of the church, and not for the destruction thereof; why then may not the church correct the pope, if he abuse the keys, and bring all things unto ruin?
Add hereunto also another argument. A man in this life is lesser than the angels; for we read in Matthew, of John Baptist, that he which is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Notwithstanding, Christ saith in another place, that amongst the children of women there was not a greater than John Baptist. But to proceed; men are forced, by the example of Zacharias, to give credit unto angels, lest through their misbelief they be stricken blind as he was. What more? The bishop of Rome is a man; ergo, he is less than the angels, and is bound to give credit to the angels. But the angels learn of the church, and do reverently accord unto her doctrine, as the apostle writeth unto the Ephesians; ergo, the pope is bound to do the same, who is less than the angels, and less than the church, whose authority is such, that worthily it is compared by St. Augustine unto the sun, that, like as the sun by his light doth surmount all other lights, so the church is above all other authority and power. Whereupon St. Augustine writeth thus: I would not believe the gospel, saith he, if the authority of the church did not move me thereunto: the which is not in any place found to be spoken of the bishop of Rome, who, representing the church, and being minister thereof, is not to be thought greater or equal to his Lord and Master. Notwithstanding, the words of our Saviour Christ do specially prove the bishop of Rome to be subject to the church, as we will hereafter declare. For he, sending Peter to preach unto the church, said, Go, and say unto the church. To the confirmation of whose authority these words do also pertain, He that heareth you heareth me. The which words are not only spoken unto the apostles, but also unto their successors and unto the whole church.
Whereupon it followeth, that if the pope do not hearken and give ear unto the church, he doth not give ear unto Christ, and consequently he is to be counted as an ethnic and publican. For, as St. Augustine affirmeth, when the church doth excommunicate, he which is so excommunicate is bound in heaven, and when the church looseth, he is loosed. Likewise if he be a heretic which taketh away the supremacy of the Church of Rome, as the decrees of the council of Constance do determine, how much more is he to be counted a heretic which taketh away the authority from the universal church, wherein the Church of Rome and all other are contained? Wherefore it is now evident, that it is the opinion of all men before our days, (if it may be called an opinion, which is confirmed by grave authors,) that the pope is subject unto the universal church. But this is called into question, whether he ought also to be judged of the general council. For there are some, which, whether it be for desire of vain-glory, or that through their flattery they look for some great reward, have begun to teach new and strange doctrines, and to exempt the bishop of Rome from the jurisdiction of the general council. Ambition hath blinded them, whereof not only this present schism, but also all other schisms even unto this day have had their original. For as in times past the greedy desire and ambition of the papacy, brought in that pestiferous beast, which through Arius then first crept into the church; even so they specially nourish and maintain this present heresy which are not ashamed to beg. Of the which number some cry out and say, the works of the subjects ought to be judged by the pope, but the pope to be reserved only unto the judgment of God. Others said, that no man ought to judge the high and principal seat, and that it cannot be judged either by the emperor, either by the clergy, either by any king or people. Other affirm that the Lord hath reserved unto himself the depositions of the chief bishop. Others are not ashamed to affirm, that the bishop of Rome, although he carry souls in never so great number unto hell, yet he is not subject unto any correction or rebuke.
And because these their words are easily resolved, they run straightways unto the gospel, and interpret the words of Christ; not according to the sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost, but according to their own will and disposition. They do greatly esteem and regard this which was spoken unto Peter, Thou shalt be called Cephas: by the which word, they make him the head of the church. Also, I will give thee the keys of the kingdoms of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon the earth, &c. I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith should not fail. And again, Feed my sheep; Cast thy net into the deep; Be not afraid, for from henceforth thou shalt be a fisher of men. Also that Christ commanded Peter, as the prince of the apostles, to pay toll for them both; and that Peter drew the net unto the land full of great fishes; and that only Peter drew out his sword for the defence of Christ. All which places these men do greatly extol, altogether neglecting the expositions of the fathers: the which if, as reason were, they would consider, they should manifestly perceive by the authorities aforesaid, that the pope is not above them, when they are gathered together in council, but when they are separate and divided.
But these things being passed over, forasmuch as answer shall appear by that which hereafter shall follow, we will now declare what was reasoned of by the learned men upon this question. But first we would have it known, that all men which are of any name or estimation, do agree, that the pope is subject to the council, and for the proof thereof they repeat, in a manner, all those things which were before spoken of the church; for they suppose all that which is spoken of the church, to serve for the general council. And first of all they allege this saying of the gospel, Tell it unto the church. In the which place it is convenient to understand that Christ spake unto Peter, instructing him what he should do as touching the correction of his brother. He saith, If thy brother offend or sin against thee, rebuke lom between thee and him alone. If he give ear unto thee, thou hast won thy brother; but if he do not give ear unto thee, take with thee one or two, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses all truth may stand: if then he will not give ear unto thee, tell it unto the church.
What shall we understand by the church in that place? Shall we say that it is the multitude of the faithful dispersed throughout the whole world? My yoke is pleasant, saith the Lord, and my burden is light. But how is it light, if Christ command us to do that which is impossible to be done? For how could Peter speak unto the church which was dispersed, or to seek out every Christian scattered in every town or city? But the meaning of these words is far otherwise, and they must be otherwise interpreted; for which cause it is necessary that we remember the double person which Peter represented, as the person of the high bishop, and a private man. The sense and meaning of his words are evident and plain enough of themselves, that they need no supplement or alteration. We must first mark and see what this word ecclesia, signifieth, the which we do find to be but only twice spoken of by Christ; once in this place, and again when he said to Peter, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church. Wherefore the church signifieth the convocation or congregation of the multitude. Dic ecclesiæ, Tell it unto the church; that is to say, Tell it unto the congregation of the faithful; the which, forasmuch as they are not accustomed to come together but in a general council, this interpretation shall seem very good, Tell it unto the church, that is to say, tell it unto the general council.
In this case I would gladly hear if there be any man which doth think these words to be more properly expressed in any prelate, than in the council, when they must put one man for the multitude; which if it be admitted in the Scriptures, we shall from henceforth find no firm or stable thing therein? But if any man do marvel at this interpretation, let him search the old writers, and he shall find that this is no new or strange interpretation, but the interpretation of the holy fathers and old doctors, which have first given light unto the church, as Pope Gregory witnesseth, (a man worthy of remembrance, both for the holiness of his life, and his singular learning,) whose words are these, written in his register unto the bishop of Constantinople: "And we," said he, "against whom so great an offence is committed through temerarious boldness, do observe and keep that which the truth doth command us, saying, Si peccaverit in te frater, that is, If thy brother do offend against thee," &c. And afterward he addeth more, "If my rebukes and corrections be despised, it remaineth that I do seek help of the church." The which words do manifestly declare the church here to be taken for the general council. Neither did Gregory say, that he would seek help of the church that is dispersed abroad in every place, but of that which is gathered together, that is to say, the general council; for that which is dispersed abroad cannot be had, except it be gathered together. Also Pope Nicholas, reproving Lotharius the king for adultery, said, "If thou dost not amend the same, take heed that we tell it not unto the holy church."
In the which saying, Pope Nicholas did not say, that he would go throughout the world to certify every one, man by man; but that he would call the church together, that is to say, the general council, and there would publish and declare the offence of Lotharius, that he which had contemned the pope's commandments, should fear the reverence of the general council. I could recite an infinite number of witnesses for that purpose, the which all tend unto one end: but this one testimony of the council of Constance shall suffice for them all; wherein it is said, that not only the pope in the correction of his brother is remitted unto the council when he cannot correct him of himself; but also when any thing is done as touching the correction of the pope himself, the matter ought to be referred to the council. Whereby it appeareth our interpretation to be most true, which doth expound the church to be in the general council. Hereupon in the Acts of the Apostles, the congregations which were then holden were called the church. Also in the council of Nice, and in other councils, when many should be excommunicated, always in manner, this sentence was adjoined, the catholic and apostolic church doth excommunicate this man. And hereupon that title is given unto the councils whereby we do say, that the general council doth represent the universal church.
Wherefore the laws and decrees of the council are called the laws of the church, for that the church doth not set forth any laws in any other place, but in the general council; except we will call the pope's constitutions the laws of the church, which cannot be properly said but of the council; whereas, albeit all these which are of the church do not assemble and come together, yet the most part of them are accustomed to be there present, and in those which come, the whole power of the church doth consist. Whereupon we read in the Acts of the Apostles, It pleased the apostles and elders with all the church. For albeit that all the faithful were not there present, (because a great number of them remained at Antioch,) yet, notwithstanding, it was called the whole church, because the whole power of the church consisted in the council. Thus for this present it is sufficient that we understand by the church the general council.
And now to return unto our purpose, let us hear what our Saviour saith unto Peter, If thy brother do offend against thee, unto this text following, tell it unto the church; and let us understand the council by the church. Who is greater in this place, he which is sent unto the council, or the council whereunto Peter was sent? The verity doth remit the bishop of Rome unto the general council. And why so? verily because the bishop of Rome should not disdain to acknowledge some power in earth to be above him, the which he should consult withal in matters of importance, and agree unto the determinations thereof. Whereupon Peter is also called by another name, Simon; the which, as Rabanus in his Homilies writeth, is interpreted in the Hebrew tongue, obedience, that all men might understand obedience to be necessary even in the bishop of Rome.
The authority of the council of Constance might suffice us in this point; but we think it good to stay a little upon this matter, and to leave no place open for our adversaries, which, while they go about to maintain the insatiable wilfulness of one man, preferring a private wealth before a common commodity, it is incredible how great errors they do stir up. Against the which, besides many other, Zacharias, bishop of Chalcedon, a man both famous and eloquent, did earnestly strive. Who, in the great and sacred synod of Chalcedon, when the sentence of the bishop of Rome was objected unto him, that the canon of Pope Nicholas and other patriarchs was above the council, he replied against it. And Zosimus the pope saith thus, as touching the decrees of the general council, The authority of this seat cannot make or alter any thing contrary to the decrees of the fathers. Neither doth he here speak of the decrees of the fathers, which are dispersed abroad in cities or wilderness, for they do not bind the pope; but of them which are made and published by the fathers in the general council. For the more manifest declaration whereof, the words of Pope Leo, the most eloquent of all the bishops of Rome, are here to be annexed, who wrote unto Anatholius, that the decrees of the council of Nice are in no part to be violated and broken; thereby (as it were) excluding himself and the high patriarch.
The authority also of Damasus upon this sentence is more manifest, writing unto Arelius, the archbishop, as Isidorus declareth in the book of councils, whose worthy saying as touching the authority of the synod is this, That they which are not compelled of necessity, but of their own will either frowardly do any thing, either presume to do any thing, or wilfully consent unto those which would do any thing, contrary and against the sacred canons, they are worthily thought and judged to blaspheme the Holy Ghost. Of the which blasphemy whether Gabriel, which calleth himself Eugenius, be presently partaker, let them judge which have heard him say, That it is so far from his office and duty to obey the general councils, that he saith, he doth then best merit and deserve, when he contemneth the decrees of the council. Damasus addeth yet moreover: "For this purpose," saith he, "the rulers of the sacred canons, which are consecrated by the Spirit of God, and the reverence of the whole world, are faithfully to be known and understood of us, and diligently looked upon, that by no means, without a necessity which cannot be eschewed, (which God forbid,) we do transgress against any of the decrees of the holy fathers." Notwithstanding we daily see in all the pope's bulls and letters, these words, Non obstante, that is to say, notwithstanding, which no other necessity hath brought in, than only insatiable desire of gathering of money. But let them take heed to these things which be the authors thereof.
But now to return again unto Damasus, mention is made in the epistles of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, of a certain epistle, which is said to be written by Damasus, unto the judges deputed by the council of Capua, where he declareth that it is not his office to meddle with any matter which hath been before the council. By the which saying, he doth manifestly reprove all those which affirm and say the bishop of Rome to be above the council. The which, if it were true, Damasus might have taken into his hands the cause of Bonosius, the bishop, to determine, which was before begun by the council; but forasmuch as the council is above the pope, Damasus knew himself to be prohibited. Whereupon Hilarius also acknowledging the synod to be above him, would have his decrees confirmed by the council. Also the famous doctor, St. Augustine, in his epistle which he did write unto Glorius and Eleusius, and Felix the grammarian, declareth the case. Cecilianus, the bishop, was accused by Donatus, with others. Melchiades the pope, with certain other bishops, absolved Cecilian, and confirmed him in his bishopric. They being moved with those doings, made a schism in the parts of Africa. St. Augustine reproveth them, which, having another remedy against the sentence of the pope, did raise a schism, and doth inveigh against them in this manner; Behold, let us think those bishops which gave judgment at Rome, not to have been good judges; there remained yet the judgment of the universal church, where the cause might have been pleaded even with the judges themselves, so that if they were convicted not to have given just judgment, their sentence might be broken.
Whereby it appeareth, that not only the sentence of the pope alone, but also the pope with his bishops joined with him, might be made frustrate by the council; for the full judgment of the universal church is not found elsewhere but in the general council. Let not any man doubt, in that St. Augustine seemeth here only to speak of bishops, for if the text of his epistle be read over, he shall find the bishop of Rome to be comprehended amongst the other bishops. It was also prohibited by the councils of Africa, that the bishops of Rome should not receive or hear the appeals of any which did appeal from the council; which altogether declare the superiority of the council. And this appeareth more plainly in the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter is rebuked by the congregation of the apostles, because he went in to Cornelius, a heathen man, as if it had not been lawful for him to attempt any greater matter without the knowledge of the congregation, and yet it was said unto him, as well as others, Go and baptize. But this seemeth to make more unto the purpose which St. Paul writeth unto the Galatians, where he saith, he resisted Peter even unto his face, because he did not walk according to the verity of the gospel. Which words, if they be well understood, signify none other thing by the verity of the gospel, than the canon of the council decreed amongst the apostles; for the disciples, being gathered together, had so determined it. Whereupon St. Paul doth show that Peter ought to have obeyed the general council.
But now to finish this disputation, we will here adjoin the determination of the council of Constance, the which council aforesaid, willing to cut off all ambiguity and doubts, and to provide a certain order of living, declared, by a solemn decree, that all men, of what estate or condition soever they were, yea, although that they were popes themselves, be bound under the obedience and ordinances of the sacred general councils. And although there be a certain restraint, where it is said, in such things as pertain unto the faith, the extirpation of schism, and the reformation of the church, as well in the head as in the members; notwithstanding this amplificative clause, which is adjoined, is to be noted, with all the appurtenances. The which addition is so large, that it containeth all things in it which may be imagined or thought. For the Lord said thus unto his apostles, Go ye forth and teach all people. He did not say in three points only, but teach them to observe and keep all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And in another place he saith, not this or that, but whatsoever ye shall bind, &c., which all together are alleged for the authority of the church and general councils. For the preferment whereof these things also come in place: He that heareth you, heareth me. And again, It is given unto you to know the mysteries of God. Also, Where two or three be gathered in my name, &c. Again, Whatsoever ye shall ask, &c. O holy Father, save them whom thou hast given me, &c. And, I will be with them even unto the end of the world. Also out of St. Paul these places are gathered: We are helpers of God, &c. Which hath made us apt ministers of the New Testament, &c. And he appointed some apostles and some prophets, &c. In all which places both Christ and the apostles spake of the authority of many, which all together are alleged for the authority of the universal church.
But forasmuch as that church, being dispersed and scattered abroad, cannot decree or ordain any thing, therefore, of necessity it is to be said, that the chief and principal authority of the church doth consist in the general councils, where they assemble together. And therefore it was observed in the primitive church, that hard and weighty matters were not treated upon, but only in the general councils and congregations. The same is also found to be observed afterward; for when the churches were divided, general councils were holden. And in the council of Nice we do find the heresy of Arius condemned; in the council of Constantinople the heresy of Macedonius; in the council of Ephesus the heresy of Nestorius; in the council of Chalcedon the heresies of Eutychius were also condemned: forasmuch as they thought the judgment of the bishop of Rome not to suffice to so great and weighty matters; and also they thought the sentence of the council to he of greater force than the sentence of the pope, forasmuch as he might err as a man; but the council, wherein so many men were gathered together, being guided with the Holy Ghost, could not err. Also it is a very excellent saying of Martianus the emperor, which serveth for that purpose, whose words are these, "Truly he is to be counted a wicked and sacrilegious person, which after the sentence of so many good and holy men, will stick to withdraw any part of his opinion. For it is a point of mere madness, at the noon-time and fair day-light, to seek for a feigned light; for he which, having found the truth, seeketh to discuss any thing further, seeketh but after vanities and lies.
Now I think it is evident enough unto all men, that the bishop of Rome is under the council. Notwithstanding, some do yet still doubt, whether he may also be deposed by the council or not: for albeit it be proved that he is under the council, yet for all that will they not grant that he may be also deposed by the council. Wherefore, it shall be no digressing at all from our purpose, somewhat to say upon that matter: and first of all, to speak of these railers which are yet so earnest for the defence of the bishop of Rome, which, being vanquished in one battle, still renew another, and contend rather of obstinacy than of ignorance. They would have here recited again that which we have before spoken, as touching the pre-eminence of the bishop of Rome, or the patriarch. And as there are many of them more full of words than eloquent, they stay much of this point, where Christ said unto Peter, I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound in heaven; as though by those words he should be made head over the other. And again, they do amplify it by this, Feed my sheep; which they do not find to be spoken to any other of the apostles. And because it is said that Peter was the chief and the mouth of the apostles, therefore they judge it well spoken, that no man shall judge the chief and principal see; being all of this opinion with Boniface, which said, that the pope ought to be judged for no cause, except he be perceived or known to swerve from the faith, although he do carry innumerable people with him headlong into hell, there to be perpetually tormented: as though he could open the kingdom of heaven to others, if any other could shut it against him; that he could feed other, if he himself lacked pasture.
But we count these as things of no force or difficulty. For St. Augustine, in the sermon of the nativity of Peter and Paul, saith in this wise, Our Lord Jesus Christ., before his passion, chose his disciples, as ?ye do know, whom he called brethren. Amongst those, Peter alone almost in every place represented the person of the church, and therefore it was said unto him, Unto thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. These keys did he not receive as one man, but as one he received them for the church. And in another place, where he writeth of the Christian agony, he saith, The keys of the kingdom of heaven were given unto the church, when they were given unto Peter. And when it was spoken unto him Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep; it was spoken unto them all. And St. Ambrose in the beginning of his Pastoral, saith, "Which sheep and which flock the blessed apostle St. Peter took no charge of alone, but together with us, and we all together with him." By which words the foundation and principal arguments of those flatterers are utterly subverted and overthrown. For if Peter represented the person of the church, we ought not to ascribe the force of these words unto Peter, but unto the church. Neither do I see how that can stand which Boniface doth affirm, for it is far distant from the truth, except it be understood otherwise than it is spoken.
But it may, peradventure, seem a great thing unto some, that it is said the bishop of Rome to be the head of the militant church. For as in the body of man physicians do never give counsel to cut off the head for any manner of sickness and disease, although it be never so full of ulcers, or infected: so in this mystical body of the church the head ought always to be kept; and albeit it be never so wicked, yet is it to be suffered and borne withal. But now convert this argument: If it were possible in the body of man, when one head is taken away, to find another to put in his place, as we see it may he done in the church, should not heads then be oftentimes changed for divers diseases? Moreover, if we will thus reason, that the head of the church should be, in respect of his body, as the head of man in respect of the body of man; then doth it necessarily follow, that the head being dead, the body must also die, as is manifest in the body of man. So should it grow into an absurdity to confess, that the pope being dead, the church also should be dead: the which how far it dissenteth from the truth, it is most manifest. Therefore whatsoever other men say, I am not of opinion with them, which affirm the bishop of Rome to be head of the church, except peradventure they do make him the ministerial head: for we do read that Christ is the Head of the church, and not the pope; and that he is the true Head, immutable, perpetual, and everlasting, and the church is his body, whereof the pope himself is also a member, and the vicar of Christ, not to the destruction, but to the maintenance and edifying of the same body of Christ. Wherefore if he be found a damnable destroyer of the church, he may be deposed and cast out, be-cause he doth not that he was ordained to do: and we ought, as Pope Leo saith, to be mindful of the commandment given us in the gospel: that if our eye, cur foot, or our right hand do offend us, it should be cut off from the body. For the Lord saith in another place, Every tree which bringeth not forth fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire. And in another place also it is said unto us, Take away all evil and wickedness from among you. It is very just and true which is written in the epistle of Clement, unto James the brother of our Lord, that he which will be saved ought to be separated from them which will not be saved.
But for the more manifest declaration hereof, we must have recourse to that which is spoken by the Lord in the Gospel of John: I am the true vine, saith the Lord, and my Father is the husbandman, but ye are the branches; every branch thereof that bringeth not forth fruit in me, my Father will cut off: These words were spoken unto the apostles, amongst whom also Peter was present, whom the Lord would have cut off, if he brought not forth his fruit. Also St. Jerome upon these words of Matthew, Unsavoury salt is profitable for nothing, but to be cast forth and trodden of swine. Whereupon in the person of Peter and Paul he saith thus, "It is no easy matter to stand in the place of Peter and Paul, and to keep the chair of them which reign with Christ. This unsavory salt, that is to say, a foolish prelate, unsavoury in preaching, and foolish in offending, is good for nothing but to he cast forth, that is to say, deposed, and to be trodden of swine, that is, of wicked spirits, which have dominion over the wicked and naughty prelates, as their own flock and herd." Behold, this testimony of Jerome is plain and evident; "Let him be cast out," saith he. He expoundeth and speaketh it of the prelate which usurpeth the place of Peter, and so consequently of the bishop of Rome, who, being unsavoury in preaching, and foolish in offending, ought to be deposed (as Jerome affirmeth) from his degree and dignity. Neither, as some do dream, is he to be deposed for heresy only. Isidorus, in the Book of Councils, rehearseth a certain epistle of Clement, the successor of Peter, written unto James the apostle, where the said Clement, referring the words of Peter unto himself, saith thus, "If thou be occupied with worldly cares, thou shalt both deceive thyself, and those which shall give ear unto thee; for thou canst not fully distribute unto every man those things which pertain unto salvation: whereby it shall come to pass that thou, as a man, for not teaching those things which pertain unto salvation, shalt be deposed, and thy disciples shall perish through ignorance." Notwithstanding, in another place, instead of this word deposed, it is found, Thou shalt be punished; which two words, if they be well understood, do not much differ, for deposition is oftentimes used in the place of punishment. But peradventure some will here object, that this epistle is not to be judged Clement's, because it is said to be written unto James, who, as the ecclesiastical history affirmeth, was dead before that Peter was put to death. But Clement might think that James was alive when he wrote: which were far distant asunder, and messengers of the Christians came not often unto Rome. Moreover, there is mention made of this epistle in divers places of the decretals, as most true, and therefore it shall be nothing from the purpose to rehearse other sayings out of the same epistle: where he saith, that he which liveth rebelliously, and refuseth both to learn and to do good, is rather a member of the devil than of Christ, and doth show himself rather to be an infidel than a faithful Christian. Upon which words, the gloss which Panormitane calleth singular, and is much allowed, saith, that if the crime or offence of the bishop of Rome be notorious, whereby the church is offended, if he be incorrigible, he may be accused thereof. If then he may be accused, ergo, also he may be punished, and according to the exigent of the fault deposed; otherwise he should be accused in vain.
Now is there no more any place of defence left for our adversaries, but that the pope may be deposed. Notwithstanding, it is not yet evident whether he may be deposed by the council or no, which we now take in hand to discourse. And, first of all, the adversaries will grant this unto us; that the bishop of Rome may be deposed by the church, forasmuch as the pope being the vicar of the church, no man doubteth but that a lord may put out his vicar at his will and pleasure; neither is it to be doubted but that the pope is more truly called the vicar of the church, than of Christ. But if the church may depose the pope, ergo, the council also may do the same. Also the gloss, which Panormitane in his writing doth so greatly commend, hath this sentence; that the general council is judge over the pope in all cases. Likewise the most sacred synod of Constantinople, which is allowed of all men, doth appoint the bishops of Rome to be under the judgment of the council; and the council to judge and determine of every doubtful matter or question that doth arise concerning the bishop of Rome. Neither let any man doubt thereof, because this word deposition is not mentioned; for it is said of every doubtful matter or question; for if the synod do judge of every doubt; ergo, it shall also judge whether the pope shall be deposed or not: for that may also come in doubt. And because we will not seek examples far off, John the Twenty-third, whom all the world did reverence, was deposed of his papacy by the council of Constance. Neither yet was he condemned for any heresy; but because he did offend the church by his manifold crimes, the sacred synod thought good to depose him: and ever since continually the church hath proceeded by like example, that their opinion might cease, which affirm that the pope cannot be deposed but only for heresy.
But here is yet one thing not to be omitted, that certain men do affirm the general councils to be of no effect, except the pope do call and appoint them, and his authority remain with them. Whereupon they said that Dioscorus did rebuke Paschasius the bishop of Sicily, and legate of Pope Leo, because that he did enterprise, without the authority of the apostolic see, to call a council at Ephesus. They also allege another testimony of the synod of Chalcedon; where, when mention was made of the council of Ephesus, all the bishops cried out, saying, "We ought not to call it a council, because it was neither gathered by the apostolic authority, neither rightly kept." By the which authorities, they which say that the councils cannot be holden without the consent of the pope, do think themselves marvellously armed. Whose sentence and opinion, if it take place and prevail as they desire, it shall bring witrh it the great ruin and decay of the church. For what remedy shall we find, if that a wicked pope do disturb the whole church, destroy souls, seduce the people by his evil example, if finally he preach contrary unto the faith, and fill the people full of heresies? shall we provide no stay or stop for him? shall we suffer all things to run to ruin and decay with him? Who would think that the bishop of Rome would congregate a council for his own correction or deposition? for as men are prone unto sin, so would they also sin without punishment. But when I do peruse ancient histories, and the Acts of the Apostles, I do not find this order, that councils should be gathered only at the will of the pope; for the first council of all, after that Matthias was substitute in the place of Judas, was not congregate at the commandment of Peter, but at the commandment of Christ, who commanded the apostles that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but look for the promise of the Father.
The second council, as touching the election of the deacons, Peter alone did not congregate, but the twelve apostles; for it is written, The twelve apostles calling together the multitude, &c.
The third council, which was holden as touching the taking away of circumcision and other ceremonies of the law, was gathered together by a general inspiration; for it is written, The apostles and elders came together, &c.
The fourth council, where certain things contained in the law are permitted, seemeth to be gathered by James, and so discoursing throughout all, there can nothing be found in the primitive church, whereby it should appear that the authority of congregating of councils should pertain only unto bishops of Rome. Neither afterwards in the time of Constantine the Great, and other emperors, was the consent of the bishops of Rome greatly required to the congregating of councils; and therefore it is written thus of the synod of Chalcedon, "The sacred and universal synod gathered together at Chalcedon, the chief city of the province of Bethulia, according unto the grace of God, and the sanctions of the most godly and Christian emperors Valentinian and Martian, doth not make any mention of the bishop of Rome, although his consent were there."
Wherefore, if the pope would resist, and would have no council congregate, yet if the greater part of the church do judge it necessary to have a council, the council may be congregate whether the pope will or no. The council holden at Pisa was not congregate by the authority and consent of any pope, when Gregory did condemn it, and Benedict cursed it. The same also may be aid of the council of Constance, which was assembled the authority of Pope John, who in respect of the Spaniards was no true pope. And if the council of Pisa were no true council, Pope John was no true pope: whereupon his consent to the congregation of the council of Constance was of no effect. Moreover, it is more than folly to affirm, that when the pope hath once given his consent, if it should be called back, the council should then cease, for then it is no more in his power to revoke his consent. And of necessity he must be obedient unto the council, whereof he is a member, and give place unto the greater part; and if he separate himself from the consent of the greater part, and depart from the unity of the church, he maketh himself a schismatic.
Now, to come unto the second conclusion: if it be true, as it is indeed, that the pope is under the council, how can the pope then dissolve, alter, and transport the council, against the will of the same? For with what countenance can we say, that the inferior hath power over the superior? How can the synod correct the pope, if the pope may dissolve the synod contrary to the will thereof? Admit that the pope be libidinous, covetous, a sower of war and discord, and a most mortal enemy unto the church and the name of Christ, how can the council reprove him, if he have authority to dissolve the council? For as soon as ever that the bishop of Rome shall understand, that in the council they do treat or talk of his correction or punishment, straightways he will seek remedy by dissolving the council. For, as Macrobius saith, He that hath liberty to do more than is fit or necessary, will oftentimes do more than is lawful. If so be that the bishop of Rome may exempt himself from correction by dissolving or transporting the council, it followeth that the council is not above him. Therefore we must either deny that which is aforesaid, that the pope is under the council, or else deny that the pope hath power to dissolve the council, contrary to the will and determination of the council.
And as this first conclusion is most true, so are all other conclusions false, which seem to impugn the same. Wherefore the second conclusion of the divines is also manifest, albeit that some do admit it in certain cases, and in other some exclude it again. For if we do admit, that for certain causes the pope may dissolve the council contrary to the will and determination thereof, that is to say, to make the pope judge of the council, it were clean contrary unto the first conclusion.
Now it is proved that the council is above the pope, and cannot be dissolved by the pope without consent thereof. Now we must further see, whether it be an article of our faith to believe it; which matter hath respect unto the third conclusion. For there have been many, which albeit they did confess those two conclusions to be true, yet they doubted whether it were a verity of the catholic faith or no. Therefore this second part must be confirmed. And we must see whether it be an article of faith that the pope be under the council. Which being proved, it hall also appear to he an article of faith, that the pope cannot dissolve the council without the consent thereof. Which consequent none of the contrary part hath refuted. First of all, therefore, we must inquire what faith is, that we may-thereby the better understand what pertaineth thereunto.
Faith, as the divines do define it, is a firm and stedfast cleaving unto things, believed by the authority of him that speaketh. If then we believe, as is aforesaid, that the pope of Rome is under the council, some authority doth move us thereunto; so is it the faith of him which believeth it. But the question is not, whether it be an article of faith only, but whether it be an article of the catholic faith. Wherefore we must again inquire what the catholic faith is. This word catholic is a Greek word, and signifieth universal. The catholic faith, that is to say, the universal faith, is not so called because that every man holdeth it; but because every man ought to believe it. For all men do not believe that God is incarnate, but every man ought so to believe. And albeit that many be against this faith, yet doth it not cease to be universal. For what writeth the apostle unto the Romans? If some of them have not believed, doth their misbelief make the faith of God vain? God forbid. Verily God is true, but every man is a liar. Therefore to believe that the pope is under the council, is a point of catholic faith, although some think the contrary; for we are bound to believe it, forasmuch as it is taken out of the gospel. For we are not bound only to believe those things which are noted to us in the Creed, but also all those things which are contained in the Holy Scriptures, whereof we may not deny one jot. And those things which we allege for the superiority of the general council are gathered out of the sayings of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the epistles of St. Paul; ergo, we are all bound to believe it. And to prove that these things are taken out of the gospel, the council of Constance doth witness, the which groundeth his authority upon these words, Dic eeclesiæ, that is to say, Tell it unto the church. And, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, &c. And, Whatsoever ye shall bind, &c.; with other such-like texts.
Whereupon Pope Martin the Fourth, being yet at Constance, under the licence of the council, sent out his bulls, which do reckon up the articles whereupon they ought to be examined which had fallen into any heresy; amongst the which articles he putteth this article: "Whether he do believe the sacred general council to have power immediately from God, and that the ordinances thereof are to be received of all faithful Christians, which, if any man would deny, he should be counted a heretic." Wherefore, when the sacred synod of Constance doth set forth this verity, as touching the superiority of the general council, what should let, but that we also should confess the same to be a verity of the catholic faith? For the catholic church being congregate at Constance, received that faith, that is to say, believed it by the authority of him which spake it, that is, Christ and his saints.
To this purpose also serve very well the words of the synod of Chalcedon, written in this manner: "It is not lawful for him that is condemned by the whole synod to nominate any bishop. The determination pleaseth all men. This is the faith of the fathers. He that holdeth any opinion contrary unto this, is a heretic." And again, it is a rule, that it is not lawful to appeal from the elect and chosen synod.
Mark the manifest witness of this most sacred synod, which said, that he is a heretic which holdeth any opinion contrary unto the council: But he is no heretic, except he refuse the catholic faith; ergo,it was the catholic faith to believe that it was not lawful to appeal from the sacred council. But how was the same any point of the catholic faith? Verily forasmuch as the sacred synod, perusing over the Holy Scriptures, hath received this conclusion out of the words of Christ and other holy fathers, And like as the synod of Chalcedon took their conclusions out of the Holy Scriptures, so did the council of Constance; this we now reason upon. And like as the one is an article of the catholic faith, so is the other also. And he which holdeth any opinion contrary to either of both, is a heretic.
Furthermore, they seem unto me to dream and dote, which, confessing them to be verities, will not confess them to be verities of faith. For if they be verities, I pray you, whereof are they verities? Truly not of grammar, much less of logic; and from astronomy and physic they are far distant. Neither is there any other man but a divine, that will grant this verity, whom Scripture doth force unto it of necessity, if he do believe Christ, or his apostles. Therefore this is a verity of the catholic faith, which all men ought to embrace; and he which obstinately resisteth against the same, is to be judged a heretic, as the third conclusion doth affirm. Neither let any man think it hard or cruel, that he should be called a heretic, which goeth about to derogate any thing from the power of the general council, which is confirmed by so many testimonies and authorities. Also Panormitane allegeth St. Jerome, saying, "He which understandeth the Scripture otherwise than the consent of the Holy Ghost doth require, albeit he do not depart from the church, may be called a heretic."
Whereupon it followeth, that he which upon the words of Christ, saying unto Peter, Dic ecclesiæ, Tell it unto the church, doth not understand by the church the general council, understandeth it otherwise than the sense of the Holy Ghost doth require, and thereby may be noted as a heretic. And to prove that the sense of the Holy Ghost is otherwise than he doth judge it, the council of Constance doth declare; the which interpreting those words, Tell it unto the church, spoken by the Holy Ghost, understandeth them to be spoken of the general council. By these and many other weightier reasons the three aforesaid conclusions seemed true unto the divines, and through them they also allowed the residue.
Now have we sufficiently said, as touching that which was before promised; neither do I think any man now to be in doubt of these three first conclusions. Now to return again unto our story, it is our purpose to declare those things which happened after the conclusions of the divines; for there are many things worthy of remembrance, which also may happily be profitable unto the posterity. When the disputation was ended, and a final conclusion of these matters even at hand, the archbishop of Milan, and Panormitane, with the residue of their fellow ambassadors of the king of Arragon, and duke of Milan, armed themselves with all their power to let the matter, exhorting all men of their faction to withstand it with stout and valiant stomachs.
And first of all, as soon as the congregation was assembled together, the bishop of Burgos exhorted them to defer the conclusion, and to tarry for the ambassadors of other provinces, which would return from Mentz.
After him Panormitane, with a grave and rhetorical oration, spake (in a manner) as followeth I have, said he, had a commandment by the prophet, to cry without ceasing. Which prophet said, Cry out, cease not, lift up thy voice as a trumpet. If that in any matter at any time before he ought to have cried, this matter specially which is now in hand lacketh crying and roaring out, when the state of the universal church is treated upon, either to be preserved, or utterly overthrown: and that he hath cried so much in this matter, that he doubted not but the saying of David was fulfilled in him, where he saith, I have laboured, crying out, that my jaws are become hoarse.
Notwithstanding that he would, both now, and as often as need should require, without ceasing still cry out, and especially now in this most difficult and weighty matter; wherein he required the sacred council gently to hear both him, and the ambassadors of other princes: adding, moreover, four things to be considered in all requests made of any man; the which he also required the fathers now presently to mark and consider: Who it is that maketh the request. What is required. Why it should be required. And what effect would come by the request either granted or denied. As touching the first point, he said, the most noble kings and excellent princes with their prelates, to be of great power; and then he reckoned up the king of Castile, the king of Arragon, the duke of Milan, and the bishops of the same princes, rehearsing also the merits and good deeds of the said kings, and also of the duke of Milan. But when he came to make mention of the prelates, he could not refrain himself, but began to wax somewhat hot, saying, that the greatest number of prelates were on his part. For if the bishops and abbots were counted, it were not to be doubted but the greatest part of them would have this present matter deferred; and forasmuch as the whole power of the council doth consist in the bishops, it is not to be suffered, that, they being neglected and contemned, that should be concluded which pleased the greater part of the inferiors. For the keys, said he, were given to the apostles, and to their successors, which are the bishops; also that there are three kinds of synods, episcopal, provincial, and general, and none of all these without bishops. Wherefore the manner and order of the present council seemed undecent, whereas things were not weighed according as men excel in dignity, but by most voices: notwithstanding, according to the most famous epistle of Clement, the bishops were the pillars and keys of heaven, and the inferiors had no determining voice, but only a consultative voice with them; wherefore there would be a great offence in this behalf, if a matter of faith should be determined without the bishops; in which matter not only the bishops, but also the secular princes, ought to be admitted. And forasmuch as they, in the name of their princes, desired to be admitted to the examination of this present matter, and would examine the matter more fully, he complained greatly how unworthy a thing it was, that they should be contemned or despised.
After many things spoken to this end and effect, he passed over to the second part of his oration, declaring what it was that he required; not gold, nor silver, neither precious stones, neither provinces nor kingdoms, neither a thing hard to be done; but that only the delay of the sacred council was required, and that the fathers would stay in the process against the pope, in the conclusion and determination of matters which are now in hand. Neither should the delay be long, but only until the return of the ambassadors from Mentz, whom he knew well would return very shortly. That this was but a small matter, and needed but small entreaty, because there was no danger in it. And also it should seem injurious, not to tarry for the ambassadors of the princes which were then at Mentz, when they were not absent for their own private commodity, but about the affairs of the commonwealth, and the commodity of peace; neither had he forgotten, that at their departure they had desired, that during their absence there should be nothing renewed concerning the matters of Eugenius.
Then immediately adjoining the third part of his oration, wherefore this delay was required, he concluded, that it was not required for the private commodity of any one man, but for a commonwealth; not to cause any trouble or unquietness, but for the better examination of the matter, that all things might pass with peace and quietness, that the matter might be so much the more firm and stable, by how much it is ratified and allowed by the consent of many. And so he proceeded to the last part of his argument, requiring the fathers that they would consider, and weigh in their minds the effect that would follow, if they should grant or deny this request; "for," saith he, "if ye shall deny this small petition of the princes, they all will be aggrieved therewith, and take this repulse in ill part. They will say, they are contemned of you, neither will they be obedient unto you, or receive your decrees. In vain shall ye make laws, except the princes do execute them, and all your decrees shall be but vain; yet would I think this to be borne withal, if I did not fear greater matters to ensue. What if they should join themselves with Eugenius, who desireth to spoil you not only of your livings, but also of your lives? Alas, what slaughter and murder do the eyes of my mind behold and see! Would God my opinion were but vain. But if you do grant and consent unto their petitions, they will think themselves bound unto you; they will receive and embrace your decrees and whatsoever you shall require of them shall be obtained. They will forsake your adversary, they will speak evil of him and abhor him; but you they will commend and praise, you they will reverence; unto you they will wholly submit themselves; and then shall follow that most excellent fruit of reformation and tranquillity of the church." And thus he required the matter to be respited on all parts. At the last he said, that except the ambassadors of the princes were heard, he had a protestation written, which he would command to be read before them all.
When Panormitane had made an end of his oration, Ludovicus, the protonotary of Rome, rose up, a man of such singular wit and memory, that he was thought not to be inferior unto any of the famous men aforetime. Insomuch that he had always in memory whatsoever he had heard or read, and never forgat any thing that he had seen. This man, first commending Panormitane, said, That he came but the day before from the baths, and that it seemed unto him a strange thing which was now brought in question; wherein he desired to hear other men's minds, and also to be heard of others, and that those prelates which were at Mentz should be tarried for, to be present at the discussing of this matter, in the name and behalf of their princes, which prelates were men of great estimation, and the orators of most mighty princes.
He allowed also the saying of Panormitane, touching the voices of the inferiors, that it seemeth not to be against the truth, that only bishops should have a deciding or determining voice in councils. And albeit that some in this disputation do think that which is written in the 15th chapter of the Acts to be their force or defence; notwithstanding, he was nothing moved therewith, nor took it to be of any effect, albeit it was said, it seemed good unto the Holy Ghost and to us; whereas both the apostles and the elders were gathered together; whereby it appeared, that the others had a deciding voice with the apostles. For he said, that there was no argument to be gathered of the Acts of the Apostles, whose examples were more to be marvelled at than to be followed; and that it doth not appear there, that the apostles called the elders of duty, but that it is only declared that they were there present; whereupon nothing could be inferred. And that it seemed unto him, that the inferiors in the council of Basil were admitted to determine with the bishops but of grace and favour only, because the bishops may communicate their authority unto others. He alleged for testimony the bishop of Concen, a man of great authority, who would not suffer any incorporation, or fellowship of the meaner sort, and therefore neither any inferior, neither himself, which as yet was not made bishop, to have any decided voice in the council. Wherefore, forasmuch as the matter was weighty which was now in hand, and that the bishops spake against it, he required the council that they would of necessity stay and tarry for the ambassadors of the princes coming from Mentz.
His oration was so much the more grievous, in that many were touched with his words, and specially in that point, that he said the apostles were not to be followed; for that all men did impugn as a blasphemy. But here a man may marvel, that a man of such excellency alleged no more or better matter. But in this point the memory of the man is to be pardoned, which did not willingly speak in this matter, and desired nothing so much as not to obtain that which he entreated for. After him many other spake their minds, but all to this end, that they might protract the time, and defer the conclusion of these matters.
Then Ludovicus, the Cardinal Arelatensis, a man of marvellous constancy, and born for the governance of general councils, gathering together the words of all the orators, spake in this wise: "Most reverend fathers, this is no new or strange business, nor begun to-day or yesterday; for it is now many weeks ago since the conclusions were disputed upon amongst the divines, and sent unto Mentz, and to all other parts of the world. After this they were disputed upon six days continually, and fully discussed; and after that, not without great delay, approved by the deputies; and as the truth seeketh no corners, so all things were done publicly and openly. Neither can any man pretend ignorance, neither are the prelates or princes contemned; for we called all that were present at Basil, and exhorted all the rest to be present. And forasmuch as mention is made of the most noble king of Castile, who is it that is ignorant that the king's orators were there present? The bishop of Burgos and Ebrun, men of singular learning and eloquence, and you also, Panormitane, yourself, which here represent the person of the most famous king of Arragon, were twice present yourself in the chapter-house, and disputed twice most subtlely, and twice declared your mind, what you thought in that matter. What do you desire any more? Also out of the territory of the duke of Milan there was present the archbishop of Milan, who, albeit he be no ambassador, yet how famous a prelate he is, you are not ignorant." When he had spoken these words, the archbishop, being somewhat moved, said unto him, "My lord cardinal, you supply the place of a president no better than I do the place of a duke's orator;" and began to taunt him with many words. But the cardinal, as he was a man most patient, and would not be provoked to anger by any means, said, "This is it that I even now desired; for if the archbishop be an ambassador, then hath the duke no cause to complain, which had his orator present at the discussing of those matters.
"I pass over other princes, because they do not complain. Notwithstanding, the most Christian king of France had there the bishop of Lyons, a grave and sober man, his ambassador, at the disputation. As for other princes, I see no cause why they should be tarried for, which, knowing the council to be congregated for such matters as pertain unto faith, do not think it absurd that the doubtful matters of faith should be declared in the council; whereunto if they had been willing to come, they would have been present ere this.
"Why this matter should need so much discussing as some will have, I do not understand. For if I be well remembered, Panormitane, and also Ludovicus, have oftentimes affirmed in this place, even the very same thing which the conclusions signify. And if any of them now will go about to gainsay it, it will happen unto them as it did unto Didimus; to whom, when on a time he repugned against a certain history, as vain and frivolous, his own book was delivered unto him, wherein the same was written; so likewise these two men, (meaning Panormitane and Ludovicus the protonotary,) although they be excellently learned, and eloquent, yet may they be confuted by their own writings. Besides this, there are synodal epistles and decrees of this council, which are full of such conclusions. What is it then whereupon any difficulty can be raised? What is it that may be impugned? Shall we now bring that again in doubt, which hath so often been declared, affirmed, and decreed? But (say they) the princes and ambassadors are absent, which are bishops, by whose presence the decrees should be of more authority. Well, they are not only absent which are gone to Mentz, but almost an infinite number of others, dispersed throughout the whole world; whom if we should tarry to look for, nothing at any time should be decreed. They are all called unto the council; they might have come if they would. To those that are present power is given, and they ought to debate these matters. If any man will say, that they which are absent are about the affairs of the commonwealth; truly we sent them not thither, but they went rather against the will of the council, than with the consent thereof.
"And admit that they had been sent by the council, yet were not our power so much restrained but that we might reform the church, for otherwise there could never any thing be done in the council; forasmuch as always some are sent out by the council, and some are always to be looked and tarried for, and therefore we must either do nothing at all, or send out no prelates from the council. Whereas he said that prelates, and specially bishops, are contemned, that is most far from the truth, for they have the chief and first places. They speak first, and give their voices first of all unto all things; and if so be they do speak learnedly and truly, all the inferiors, without any gainsaying, did soon follow their mind.
"Neither peradventure shall it be found untrue, that there was never any synod, which did more amplify the power and authority of bishops, than this. For what have the bishops been in our days, but only shadows? Might they not well have been called shepherds without the sheep? What had they more than their mitre and their staff, when they could determine nothing over their subjects? Verily in the primitive church the bishops had the greatest power and authority; but now was it come to that point that they exceeded the common sort of priests only in their habit and revenues. But we have restored them again to their old state; we have reduced the collation of benefices again unto them; we have restored unto them the confirmation of elections; we have brought again the causes of the subjects to be heard into their hands, and have made them bishops which were none before. What cause is there then, that the bishops should say they are contemned of the council? or what injurious thing have we at any time done unto them? But Panormitane saith, that forasmuch as most bishops are on his part, and few against him, the conclusion is not to be determined by the multitude of the inferiors; but let Panormitane remember himself, that this is no new kind of proceeding.
"This order of proceeding, the council ordained from the beginning, neither hath it been changed at any time since. And this order, Panormitane, in times past hath pleased you well enough, when the multitude did follow your mind. But now, because they do not follow your mind, they do displease you. But the decrees of the council are not so mutable as the wills of men. Know ye, moreover, that the very same bishops which do consent with you in word, do not consent with you in mind, neither speak the same secretly, which they now do openly. They do fear that which you told them at home in their country, that except they would follow your mind they should displease the king. They fear the power of the prince. and to be spoiled of their temporalties; neither have they free liberty to speak as is requisite in councils. Albeit if they were true bishops, and true pastors of souls, they would not doubt to put their lives in venture for their sheep, neither be afraid to shed their blood for their mother the church.
"But at this present (the more is the pity) it is too rare to find a prelate in this world, which doth not prefer his temporalties before his spiritualties, with the love whereof they are so withdrawn, that they study rather to please princes than God; and confess God in corners, but princes they will openly confess. Of whom the Lord speaketh in his gospel, Every one, saith he, that confesseth me before men, I will confess him before my Father which is in heaven. And contrariwise, the Lord will not confess him before his Father, which is afraid to confess the Lord before men. Neither is it true which Panormitane saith, most bishops to be on his part; for here are many bishops' proctors whom he doth not reckon, because they are not of his opinion. Neither is the dignity of the fathers to be respected in the council, as he saith, but only reason; nor any thing more to be looked for than the truth; neither will I for my part prefer a lie of any bishop, be he never so rich, before a verity or truth of a poor priest. Neither ought a bishop to disdain, if he be rude or unlearned, that the multitude doth not follow him, or that the voice of a poor learned and eloquent priest should be preferred before his. For wisdom dwelleth oftener under a bare and ragged cloak, than in rich ornaments and apparel.
"Wherefore, I pray you, my lord bishops, do not so much contemn your inferiors; for the first which died for Christ, the which also opened unto all other the way of martyrdom, was no bishop, but only a Levite. As for that which Ludovicus and Panormitane do allege, touching the voices of bishops, I know not where they have it. Wherefore, I desire them that they would tell me where they have found it. But if we repeat the examples of old councils, we shall find that the inferiors were always present with the bishops. And albeit that Ludovicus do forbid us the examples of the apostles, I stay myself most upon their doings. For what is more comely for us to follow, than the doctrine and customs of the primitive church? It is said, therefore, in the 15th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us. The which word (to us) is referred unto them which are before named the apostles and the elders. Neither this word, (it seemed good,) signifieth in this place consultation, but decision and determination; whereby it appeareth that other beside the bishops had determining voices. In another place also of the said Acts, when the apostles should treat upon a weighty matter, they durst not determine by themselves, but the twelve called together the multitude.
"Here Ludovicus saith, that it doth not appear that the apostles called other of necessity; but I say unto him, how knowest thou that they did not call them of necessity? But forasmuch as both parts are uncertain, nothing doth prohibit us to follow the apostles. For seeing that all things are written for our learning, it appeareth that the apostles would give us example, that in weighty matters we should admit our inferiors. And therefore in all councils which were celebrated and holden afterwards, we find that priests were also present; as in the council of Nice, which of all other was most famous, Athanasius being then but only a priest, withstood the Arians, and infringed their arguments, albeit there were also other priests. And albeit mention be made of three hundred twenty-two bishops, yet it is not denied but that the inferiors were there, whom I think to be omitted for this cause, for that they were almost innumerable; for as you know well enough, the denomination for the most part is taken of the most worthy.
"In the synod of Chalcedon, (which was counted one of the four principal synods,) it is said that there were there present six hundred priests; the which name is common both unto bishops and priests. In other councils the name both of bishops and priests is omitted, and mention made only of fathers, which hath the same signification that this word elders hath in the Acts of the Apostles. We have also a testimony of the ecclesiastical history, how that there was a council gathered at Rome of sixty bishops, and as many priests and deacons, against the Novatians, which called themselves Cathari.
Also, when Paul the bishop of Antioch, in the time of Galienus the emperor, preached, that Christ was a man of common nature, the council assembled against him in Antioch; whereunto there came bishops out of Cesarea, Cappadocia, out of Pontus, Asia, and from Jerusalem, and many other bishops, priests, and deacons; and it is said, that for that cause the council was often holden.
"And at the last in the same place, under Aurelius the emperor, Paul was condemned of all Christian churches which were under heaven: neither was there any man which did more confound the said Paul, then Malchion, a priest of Antioch, which taught rhetoric in Antioch. But to make no long digression from the matter, we have most evident testimonies for the defence of inferiors. For the chief and principal amongst all the divines, St. Austin, upon the words of Matthew, where Christ saith to Peter, I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, saith, that by those words the judicial power was given not only unto Peter, but also to the other apostles, and to the whole church, the bishops and priests. If then priests have a judicial power in the church, what should let that they have not also a determining voice in the councils? The famous doctor St. Jerome doth also agree with St. Austin, whose words are these upon the Epistle of Paul unto Titus. Before that difference was made in religion by the instigation of the devil, or that it was spoken amongst the people, I hold of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, the churches were governed by the common consent and council of the priests; for a priest is the very same that a bishop is. Wherefore all bishops ought to understand, that they are of greater power than priests, rather by custom, than by the dispensation of the truth of God, and that they ought to rule the church together. And this we do also gather out of Paul unto Titus, which maketh so much concordance between bishops and priests, that oftentimes he calleth priests bishops: whereby it doth evidently appear, that priests are not to be excluded from the conventions of bishops, and determinations of matters. Albeit, as St. Jerome writeth, that bishops only by custom are preferred before priests, it may be that a contrary custom may take away that custom. For if priests ought to rule the church together with the bishops, it is evident that it also pertaineth unto them to decide and determine the doubtful matters of the church.
"Wherefore the testimony of St. Paul is evident; for, as he, writing unto the Ephesians, saith, If Christ instituted his apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers to the work of the ministry, for the edifying of his church, until such time as we should meet him, for this purpose, that there should be no doubt in the diversity of doctrine; who doubteth, then, but that the governance of the church is committed unto others together with the apostles? Let these our champions now hold their peace, and seem to be no wiser than they ought to be. The memorial of the council of Constance is yet fresh in memory, where divers of us were present, and I myself also, which was neither cardinal nor bishop, but only a doctor, where I did see, without any manner of doubt or difficulty, the inferiors to be admitted with the bishops, to the deciding of hard and doubtful matters. Neither ought we to he ashamed to follow the example of that most sacred and great council, which also followed the examples of the council of Pisa, and the great council at Lateran, wherein it is not to be doubted, but that the priests did jointly judge together with the bishops.
"Moreover, if abbots, as we do see it observed in all councils, have a determining voice, which notwithstanding were not instituted by Christ; why should not priests have the same, whose order Christ ordained by his apostles? Hereupon also, if only bishops should have a determining voice, nothing should be done but what pleased the Italian nation, the which alone doth excel all other nations, or at the least is equal with them, in number of bishops. And howsoever it be, I judge it in this behalf to be a work of God, that the inferiors should be admitted to the determinations; for God hath now revealed that unto little ones which he hath hidden from the wise.
"Behold, you do see the zeal, constancy, uprightness, and magnanimity of these inferiors. Where should the council now be, if only bishops and cardinals should have their voice? Where should the authority of the councils be? Where should the catholic faith be? Where should the decrees and reformation be? For all things have now a long time been under the will of Eugenius, and he had now obtained his wicked and naughty purpose, except these inferiors, whom ye now contemn, had withstood him. These are they which have contemned the privation made by Eugenius. These, I say, are they which have not regarded his threatenings, spoil, and persecution. These are they which, being taken, imprisoned, and tormented, have not feared to defend the truth of the council; yea, even these are they, who, albeit they were by Eugenius delivered over for a prey, yet would they still continue in the sacred council, and feared not to suffer war, famine, and most cruel pestilence; and finally, what thing is it that these men have not willingly suffered for the right and equity of the council? You might have heard this inferior sort, even in the midst of their tribulations, with a loud voice cry out and say, 'Albeit that all men become obedient unto that subverter of the church, Eugenius, and that every man do depart from the verity of the faith and constitutions of the fathers, consenting unto the commandments of Eugenius, yet we and our brethren will be constant, and doubt not to die for the truth and traditions of the holy fathers:' the which indeed they have done. Neither could they be feared with threatenings or discouraged with any spoils, neither could any fear or hope turn them from their most blessed purpose. And, (to speak somewhat of mine own order,) whether any cardinals have done the like or no, that judge you.
"As for the bishops, whom Panormitane alone would have to determine, you see how few of them are on our part, and even they which are here present are not able by virtue to overcome iniquity, they fear the terrene power, and commit offence with their haste. Have ye not heard how they all said, they would consent unto the king's will and pleasure? But the inferiors are they which have had truth, righteousness, and God himself before their eyes, and they are greatly to be commended for showing themselves such men unto the church of God. But why do I defend the cause of these inferiors? when some will also exclude those bishops which are but bishops by name and title, and have no possession of the church, from our company, not understanding that whilst they go about to put back those men, they do condemn Peter, and the other apostles, who (as it is evident) were long without any great flock, neither was Rome unto Peter, nor Jerusalem unto James, at any time wholly obedient; for at that time no great number of people, but a small flock, believed in Christ.
"For, I pray you, what is that we should require of these bishops? They have no flock; but that is not their fault. They have no revenues; but money maketh not a bishop, and, as the Lord saith, Blessed are the poor in spirit. Neither was there any rich bishops in the primitive church, neither did the ancient church reject Dionysius, bishop of Milan, Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli, or Hilary, bishop of Pictavia, although they were never so poor, and banished without a flock. But if we will grant the truth, the poor are more apt to give judgment than the rich; because that riches bring fear, and their poverty causeth liberty. For the poor men do not fear tyranny as our rich men do, which being given over unto all kind of vanities, idleness, and sloth, will rather deny Christ than lack their accustomed pleasures; whom not their flock but their revenues make bishops, delighting so much in riches, that they judge all poor men unhappy. But, as Cicero saith, 'Nothing can happen better unto a wise man, than mediocrity of substance.' Whereupon it is written in the Gospel, It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
"But now, to return to a more full declaration of Panormitane's words, I determine to pass over two points which he propounded in the beginning of his oration, that is, who maketh the petition, and for what cause they make their petition. We grant that they are great men, and men of power, and (as he doth affirm) that they have deserved good of the church; neither do I doubt but that they are moved thereunto with a sincere affection. But whether it be a small matter that is required, or that the same effects would rise thereupon which he spake of, it is now to be inquired. A delay, saith he, is required; a delay for a few days. A small matter; a matter of no importance; a matter easy to be granted. Notwithstanding, let Panormitane here mark well, that he requireth a delay in a matter of faith. The verities are already declared; they be already discussed and determined. If now there should be but a little delay, it would grow to a long delay; for oftentimes the delay of one moment is the loss of a whole year; hereof we have many examples. Hannibal, when he had obtained his victory at Cannæ, if he had gone straight unto Rome, by all men's judgments he had taken the city. But forasmuch as he did defer it until the next day, the Romans having recovered their force again, he was shut out, and deserved to hear this opprobry:
Hannibal, thou knowest victory to get,
But how to use it thou know'st not yet.'
"Likewise the Frenchmen, after they had taken Rome and besieged the capitol, whilst that they greedily sought to have great sums of money, and delayed the time in making of their truce, Camillus, coming upon them, did most shamefully drive them out again. But what need I to rehearse old stories, when our own examples are sufficient for us? Ye know yourselves how often these delays have been hurtful unto you, and how often the delay of a few days hath grown to a long tract of time. For now this is the eighth year that you have spent in delays, and you have seen, that always of one delay another hath sprung and risen. Wherefore I do require that Panormitane should consider, that the conclusion being this day disturbed, we know not whether it will be brought to pass hereafter again or no; many impediments or lets may rise. Neither doth Panormitane say, that this delay, being obtained, he would afterward consent with his fellows unto the conclusions, for he denieth that he hath any commandment thereunto; and, which is more to be considered, he saith, that the ambassadors, at their return from Mentz, may bring such news, whereby these conclusions may be omitted; as though any thing were more excellent than the truth.
"The which thing doth manifestly declare, that they do not seek delays for the better examination of the matter, but for to impugn the conclusions the more strongly. Neither do I agree with Panormitane, as touching the effects which he said should rise, either of the denial or granting of the requests; for I see no cause why the princes should so greatly require any delay. There are no letters of any prince come unto us as touching such request, neither is there any man lately come from them, neither is it greatly material unto them, but that the matters of faith should be determined. But this is a most pernicious conclusion which Panormitane hath made, and not to be looked for at the hands of those most godly princes; where he saith, if we do please them, they will take our part; if contrariwise, they will decline unto Eugenius, and wholly resist and rebel against us. This is a marvellous word, and a wonderful conclusion, altogether unworthy to be spoken of such a man. The decrees of the council of Constance are, that all manner of men, of what state or condition soever they be, are bound to the ordinances and decrees of the general councils. But Panormitane's words do not tend to that effect, for he would not have the princes obedient unto the council, but the council to be obedient unto the princes.
"Alas, most reverend fathers, alas, what times and days, what manners and conditions, are these! Into what misery are we now brought! How shall we at any time bring to pass, that the pope, being Christ's vicar, and (as they say) another Christ in earth, should be subject unto the council of the Christians, if the council itself ought to obey worldly princes? But I pray you, look for no such things at the princes' hands. Do not believe that they will forsake their mother the church. Do not think them so far alienated from the truth, that they would have justice suppressed.
"The conclusions, whereupon the controversy is, are most true, most holy, most allowable. If the princes do refuse them, they do not resist against us, but against the Holy Scriptures, yea, and against Christ himself; which you ought neither to believe, neither was it comely for Panormitane so to say. Panormitane, (by your licence be it spoken,) you have uttered most cruel words, neither do you seem to go about any other matter than to inculcate terror and fear into the minds of the fathers; for you have rehearsed great perils and dangers, except we submit ourselves unto the princes.
"But you, most reverend fathers, shall not be afraid of them that kill the body, the soul they cannot kill; neither shall ye forsake the truth, although you should shed your blood for the same. Neither ought we to be any whit more slack in the quarrel of our mother the church, and the catholic faith, than those most holy martyrs, which have established the church with their blood. For why should it be any grievous matter unto us to suffer for Christ, which for our sakes hath suffered so cruel and grievous death? who, when he was an immortal God, void of all passions, took upon him the shape of a mortal man, and feared not for our redemption to suffer torments upon the cross. Set before your eyes the prince of the apostles, Peter, Paul, Andrew, James, and Bartholomew, and (not to speak only of bishops) mark what Stephen, Laurence, Sebastian, and Fabian did. Some were hanged, some beheaded, some stoned to death, other some burned, and others tormented with most cruel and grievous torments suffered for Christ's sake. I pray you, for God's sake, let us follow the example of these men. If we will be bishops and succeed in honour, let us not fear martyrdom. Alas, what effeminate hearts have we! Alas, what faint-hearted people are we! They in times past, by the contempt of death, converted the whole world, which was full of Gentility and idolatry; and we, through our sluggishness and desire of life, do bring the Christian religion out of the whole world into one corner; and I fear greatly, lest the little also which is left we shall lose through our cowardliness, if that, by following Panormitane's mind, we do commit the whole governance and defence of the church unto the princes. But now play the stout and valiant men in this time of tribulation, and fear not to suffer death for the church, which Curtius feared not to do for the city of Rome; which Mencotheus for Thebes, and Codrus for Athens, willingly took upon them.
"Not only the martyrs, but also the Gentiles, might move and stir us to cast off all the fear of death. What is to be said of Theremeus the Athenian? with how joyful heart and mind, and pleasant countenance, did he drink the poison! What say you unto Socrates, that most excellent philosopher? did he either weep or sigh when he supped up the poison? They hoped for that which we are most certain of; not by dying to die, but to change this present life for a better.
"Truly we ought to be ashamed, being admonished by so many examples, instructed with so great learning, yea, and redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, so greatly to fear death.
"Cato writeth not of one or two men, but of whole legions, which have cheerfully and courageously gone unto those places, from whence they knew they should not return. With like courage did the Lacedemonians give themselves to death at Thermopolis, of whom Symonides writeth thus:
'Report thou, stranger, the Spartans here to lie,
Whiles that their country laws they obeyed willingly.'
"Neither judge the contrary, but that the Lacedemonians went even of purpose unto death; unto whom their captain Leonidas said, 'O ye Lacedemonians, go forward courageously, for this day we shall sup together with the infernal gods.' But I, most reverend fathers, do not invite you unto the infernals, as he did his Lacedemonians, but unto the celestial and everlasting joys of paradise, if that you can suffer death for the truth's sake, and patiently abide the threatenings of these princes, if there be any threatenings at all. I call you unto that eternal glory, where there is no alteration of state, nothing decayeth or fadeth; where all good and perpetual things do abound; where no man wanteth, no man envieth another, no man stealeth from another, no man violently taketh from another, no man banisheth, no man murdereth, and finally, no man dieth. Where all men are blessed and happy, all are of one mind and one accord, all are immortal, all are of like estate; and that all men have, every man hath, and that every man hath, all men have. Which things if we well consider, we shall truly answer Panormitane, as Theodorus Cyrenensis is said to have answered Lysimachus the king, when he threatened to hang him, who said, 'I pray you, threaten these horrible things unto your courtiers; as for Theodorus, it maketh no matter whether he rot above the ground or under the ground.' So likewise let us answer unto the princes, if there be any that do threaten us, and let us not fear their torments.
"What doth a longer life prevail to help us? No man hath lived too short a time, which hath obtained the perfect gift of virtue. And if the death which a man suffereth in the quarrel of his country, seemeth not only to be glorious amongst the rhetoricians, but also happy and blessed, what shall we say for these deaths which are sustained for the country of all countries, the church? Truly, most reverend fathers, it is too much that our adversaries do persuade themselves of you, for they judge you fearful, slugglish, and faint-hearted; and therefore they do object princes unto you, because they think that you will not suffer hunger, thirst, exile, in the quarrel and defence of the church. But I think you will esteem it no hard matter, for the obtaining of ever-lasting life, to do the same which shipmen do for the obtaining of transitory riches, to put themselves in danger of the sea and wind, and suffer most cruel storms.
"The hunters lie abroad in the nights in the snow, in the hills and woods, and are tormented with cold; yet have they none other reward, but some wild beast of no value or price. I pray you, what ought you then to do whose reward shall be paradise? I am ashamed of your ignavy, when I read that women, yea, even young maidens, have violently obtained heaven through their martyrdom, and we are made afraid only with the name of death. This river of Rhine, which runneth along by the city, in times past hath carried eleven thousand virgins unto martyrdom. In India (as Cicero writeth) when any man was dead, his wives (for there they had many wives) came into contention who should be burned with him; and she whom he loved best having vanquished the other (all the rest joyfully following her) was cast into the fire with the dead carcass of her husband, and burnt. The other which were overcome, departed full of heaviness and sorrow, wishing rather to have died than live.
"The which courage we now taking upon us for Christ's sake, will answer Panormitane even as the Lacedemonians answered Philip, who, when by his letters he threatened them, that he would stop all that which they went about, they asked him, whether he would also let them to die. Therefore, as you are excellent men, so use your virtue, which is always free, and remaineth always invincible. For you do know that power is given of the Lord, and strength from the Most High; who will take account of your works, and examine your thoughts, unto whom ye should be careful to render a good account, judging rightly and keeping the law of righteousness, and in all things walking according to the will of God, and not according to the will of men.
"And whereas the ambassadors of Eugenius do openly preach and declare a new doctrine, extolling the bishop of Rome above the universal church, to the end that ignorant souls be not snared, ye shall not cease or leave to publish the three first conclusions, following the example of the apostle Paul, which would in no point give place unto Peter when he walked not according to the gospel. As for the other matters which do respect only the person of Eugenius, because Panormitane and the other ambassadors of the princes shall not say that we do pass our bounds, ye shall defer them for this present."
When Cardinal Arelatensis had made an end of this oration, there was a great noise, crying out and brawling every where. The president's commandments were not regarded, neither was the accustomed order observed; for sometimes they spake unto Panormitane, sometimes unto Ludovicus; no man was suffered to speak, but in haste the bishops brawled with bishops, and the inferiors with their fellows. All was full of contention and debate; which even as Ludovicus the patriarch of Aquileia perceived, a man of no less courage and stomach than of nobility and birth, being also a duke, for the zeal that he bare unto the universal church, turning himself unto Panormitane and Ludovicus the protonotary, he said, "Do not think the matter shall so pass, you know not yet the manners of the Germans, for if you go forward on this fashion, it will not be lawful for you to depart out of this country with whole heads." With which words Panormitane, Ludovicus, and the archbishop of Milan being stricken, as it were with lightning from heaven, rose up, and said, "Is our liberty thus taken from us? What meaneth it that the patriarch doth threaten us, that our heads should be broken? "And turning themselves unto John, earl of Diernstein, who then supplied the protector's place, they demanded of him whether he would defend the council, and preserve all men in their liberty, or no?
The citizens also and senators were present to provide and foresee that no offence should rise, for the citizens observed always this order, that they would be present in all affairs, which they supposed would breed dissension, foreseeing specially that no tumults should rise, otherwise than with words. They used always such a marvellous foresight and providence, that no man unto this day could have any cause against them, to complain for violating their promise. Wherefore if at any time any citizens have deserved well at the hands of the church, surely this praise is to be given unto the Basilians. These men, together with John, earl of Diernstein, being present in the assembly of the fathers, gave a sign of preservation of their liberty. The earl (albeit he was moved at the strangeness of the matter, for he would not have thought so great contentions could have risen amongst wise men) answered by his interpreter, that they all should be of good cheer; for the emperor's safe-conduct should be observed and kept even to the uttermost; neither should the patriarch nor any other once violate the liberty or take away the assurance granted by the emperor. Notwithstanding he desired the patriarch that he would call back his words again, and not to speak any more in such sort. But that famous father, being nothing at all moved or troubled, committed his whole mind unto John Bacheisteine, auditor ofthe chamber, a man both grave and eloquent, to be declared; who affirmed that the patriarch's mind was not to threaten any man, or disturb the liberty of the council, but to move the fathers unto constancy, that they should be mindful of the reformation which they had promised unto the whole world, and not to say one thing to-day, and another to-morrow; for if they would so do, it were to be feared lest the laity, seeing themselves deluded, and despairing of reformation, should rise against the clergy.
Therefore he admonisheth the fathers to foresee and provide for the peril, that they should not depart from the council, nothing being determined or done; and finally he desired pardon, if in his words he had offended either against the council, Panormitane, or any other man. Whereby he declared it to be true which is commonly said, that humility is the sister of nobility; both which did very excellently appear in this man. Yet for all this could not the humility of the patriarch stop or stay their noise or cries; for as often as mention was made of reading the concordatum, great noise and rumours were still made to stop the same. Then Amodeus, archbishop of Lyons, and primate of all France, a man of great reverence and authority, being touched with the zeal of faith, which he saw there to be stopped and suppressed, said, "Most reverend fathers, I have now a great occasion to speak; for it is now seven years or more that I have been amongst you, yet have I never seen the matter at that point which it is now at, most like unto a miracle; for even presently I do behold most wonderful signs of miracles: for it is no small matter that the lame do walk, the dumb do speak, and that poor men preach the gospel. Whereupon, I pray you, cometh this sudden change? How happeneth it that those which lie lurking at home, are now suddenly started up? Who hath given hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb? Who hath taught the poor man to preach the gospel? I do see here a new sort of prelates come in, which unto this present have kept silence, and now begin to speak. Is not this like to a miracle? I would to God they came to defend the truth, and not to impugn justice.
"But this is more to be marvelled at than any miracle, that I do see the best learned men of all impugn our conclusions which are most certain and true; and they which now reprove them in times past allowed them. You are not ignorant how that Ludovicus, the protonotary, preached these verities at Louvaine and at Cologne, and brought them from thence confirmed with the authorities of the universities. Wherefore, albeit that he be now changed, yet is the truth in no point altered. And therefore I desire you and beseech you all, that ye will not give ear unto these men, which albeit they are most excellently learned, yet have they no constancy in them, which doth adorn all other virtues."
When he had ended his oration, Ludovicus the protonotary rising up, said, "It is most true that I brought those verities, but you do call them verities of faith, which addition seemeth very doubtful unto me." When he had spoken these words, Cardinal Arelatensis required that the concordatum of the twelve men should be read, and many whispered him in the ear, that he should go forward, and not alter his purpose.
Then Panormitane, as soon as the concordatum began to be read, rising up with his companions and other Arragons, cried out with a loud voice, saying, "You fathers do contemn our requests, you contemn kings and princes, and despise prelates; but take heed lest whilst that ye despise all men, you be not despised of all men. You would conclude, but it is not your part for to conclude. We are the greatest part of prelates, we make the council, and it is our part to conclude; and I in the name of all other prelates do conclude, that it is to be deferred and delayed." With this word there sprang such a noise and rumour in the council, as is accustomed to be in battle, with the sound of trumpets and noise of horsemen, when two armies join; some cursing that which Panormitane went about, other some allowing the same; so that diversity of minds made divers contentions.
Then Nicholas Amici, a divine of Paris, according unto his office, said, "Panormitane, I appeal from this your conclusion to the judgment of the council here present; neither do I affirm any thing to be ratified which you have done, as I am ready to prove, if it shall seem good. The contrary part seemed now to be in the better place, for they had already concluded. The other part had neither concluded, neither was it seen how they could conclude amongst so great cries and uproars. Notwithstanding, amongst all this troublous noise, John Segovius, a singular divine of the university of Salamanca, lacked not audience; for the whole council was desirous to hear him: wherefore all men, as soon as he rose up, kept silence, and he, perceiving that they were desirous to hear him speak, began in this sort:
"Most reverend fathers, the zeal and love of the house of God forceth me now to speak, and I would to God that I had been either blind this day, not to have seen those things which have happened, or that I had been deaf, that I should not have heard those words which have been spoken. Who is it that is so stony or hard-hearted, which can abstainfrom tears, when the authority of the church is so spoiled, liberty taken away both from us and the council, and that there is no place given unto the verity. O sweet Jesus, why hast thou forsaken thy spouse? Behold and look upon thy people, and help us if our requests are just.
"We come hither to provide for the necessity of the church, we require nothing for ourselves, and our desire is only that truth might appear. We trusted now to have concluded upon the verities which were sometimes allowed in the sacred deputations. The orators of the princes are present, and require the conclusions to be deferred. But we be not unmindful of those things which Ambrose wrote unto Valentinian the emperor in this manner: If we shall treat upon the order of the Holy Scripture and ancient times past, who is it that will deny but that in case of faith (I say, in case of faith) the bishops ought to judge upon Christian emperors, and not emperors upon bishops? Neither do we admit their petition but upon most urgent causes. Notwithstanding we heard them patiently and willingly, whilst that they did speak even so long as they would.
"But now if any of our part would speak, by and by he is interrupted, troubled, and letted. What honesty is this? what modesty or gravity? is it lawful so to do in the council? where is the decree of the council of Toulouse now become? (where are our decrees, which do not only prohibit tumults, but also all small babblings and talk?) They say, it is because we contemn them; but they are they which not only contemn the council, but also resist the same. The patriarch spake but one small word against them, and that of no evil intent or purpose, and by and by they complained that their liberty was broken; but they, when they do enforce the council, when they forbid the president to speak, and will not suffer the ordinances to be read, do not judge that they do any thing contrary to the liberty of the council. They say, they are the council themselves, and yet they entreat the council. These things do not I understand; for if they be the council, why do they entreat themselves? If they be not the council, why do they not suffer the council to speak? Why do they not look for an answer of him to whom they make their petitions?
Truly this is too much violence, and certes our patience is also too much, to suffer such excess even in the face of the church. But this doth most of all grieve me, and this do I most marvel at, that Panormitane, a man of singular wit and doctrine, did conclude without any discussing or deciding of the deputies, and without the examination of the twelve men, or any rite or order. The which, except mine eyes had beheld and seen, I would scarcely believe if any other man should report it unto me of him. Neither do I yet know whether I may sufficiently credit myself, the matter seemeth so horrible: for I do not see by what authority his conclusion doth stand, except it be by the authority of his king, who he saith will have it so. But you, most reverend fathers, take heed that ye bring in no such custom; for so it shall come to pass, that in all matters, a few froward prelates shall have one to conclude for them.
"And albeit Panormitane hath proved (as he thinketh) by strong reasons, that the verity ought to be deferred, yet, notwithstanding, I do require you, most reverend fathers, to follow the example of the apostle, who (as Arelatensis hath very well declared) would not give one hour's respite unto Peter, when he swerved from the truth of the gospel. The faith is speedily to be relieved and holpen; neither doth any thing sustain more danger by deIays, than faith doth. For heresies, except they be rooted out at the first, when they are once grown, are hardly taken away. Wherefore, I desire you speedily to help and aid. Hoist up your sails, and launch out your oars. What should we tarry looking for either the prelates or the princes? You are now in conflict: I only desire that you would hasten unto the victory. Regard not the threatenings of those princes, neither the opprobries of those contumelious persons: For you are blessed, saith the Lord, when men curse you and persecute you, speaking all evil against you, making lies and slanders upon you for my sake; rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. What is it, I pray you, that the princes do so much object against us? Is not our Lord God able to take us out of the furnace of hot burning fire, and deliver us out of the hands of those princes? I beseech you, most reverend fathers and loving brethren, have no less hope in Jesus Christ, than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had, which feared not that old king Nabuchodonosor: and let the people know, that the Most High ruleth over the kingdoms of men, and giveth them unto whom he pleaseth. God beholdeth all things from above; he is (I say) in the midst amongst us; wherefore are ye then afraid? Be of good courage, and show yourselves as a strong wall for the church of God; suffer not the faith to perish under your hands. The Almighty God is present with you. He is present that will defend you. Fear not them which seek only to kill the body. Do justice and equity, and be assured that he will not deliver you over into the hands of the backbiter and slanderer. Again, I say unto you, show yourselves valiant and stout: defend your mother the church. And unto thee, O thou president, I say, that thou oughtest rather to please God than man; for if thou depart thence without a final conclusion, know assuredly that thou shalt render account in the strait judgment of God." And thus without any more words he sat down in his place.
In the mean time many grave and ancient men had exhorted Panormitane that he should give over his conclusion. The bishop of Burgos was very instant and earnest with him, that he should make unity and concord amongst the fathers, and went about to make a unity with all men. But neither the fathers of the council were determined to depart without a conclusion; neither was Panormitane minded to alter his intent and purpose. All things were disturbed, neither did the prelates sit in their seats, as they were accustomed, but as every man's affection led him. Some went to the Cardinal Arelatensis, some unto Panormitane, and exhorted them, as if they had been princes or rulers of armies. Then Arelatensis, knowing the matter to be in danger, and that there was no ready way to make a conclusion, thought to use some policy to appease the tumult.
"Most reverend fathers," said he, "we have received now letters out of France, which declare unto me marvellous things; that there are incredible news sprung up there, which, if you will give me willing audience, I will declare unto you." By this means there was a sudden silence throughout the whole council, and by this marvellous policy he made all men attentive to hear. When he saw he had free liberty to speak, without either fable or history of any letters sent, he opened the whole order of the matter, and, as it is requisite in an orator, came by little and little to the principal point, saying, that "Eugenius's messengers filled all France, preaching a new doctrine, and extolling the authority of the bishop of Rome above the general council; against whom, except speedy remedy were found, it would come to pass that many would give credit unto them, and therefore the sacred council ought of necessity to provide remedy, and of necessity to conclude upon the verities which were examined, that thereby the temerity of the Eugenians might be repressed; which verities, albeit they were eight in number, yet was it not the fathers' intent to conclude upon them all, but only the three first: even as I also," saith he, "here do conclude, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
When he had finished his oration, with .a cheerful and merry countenance, rising up, he departed. Some of them kissed him, and some of them kissed the skirts of his garments. A great number followed him, and greatly commended his wisdom, that being a Frenchman born, had that day vanquished the Italians, which were men of great policy. Howbeit this was all men's opinion, that it was done rather by the operation of the Holy Ghost, than by the cardinal's own power. The other of the contrary faction, as men bereft of their minds, hanging down their heads, departed every man to his lodging. They went not together, neither saluted one another; so that their countenances declared unto every man that they were overcome. Something more also is reported of Panormitane, that when he came to his lodging, and was gone unto his chamber, he complained with himself upon his king, which had compelled him to strive against the truth, and put both his soul and good name in danger of losing; and that in the midst of his tears and complaints he fell asleep, and did eat no meat until late in the evening, for very sorrow, for that he had neither ignorantly, neither unwillingly, impugned the truth.
After this there was great consultation amongst the Eugenians, what were best to be done in this matter. Some thought good to depart and leave the council, other some thought it meet to tarry, and withal endeavour to resist that nothing should further be done against the Eugenians; and this opinion remained amongst them. The next day after, being the fifteenth day of April, the archbishop of Lyons, and the bishop of Burgos, calling together the prelates in the chapter-house of the great church, began many things as touching peace. The bishop of Burgos persuaded, that there should be deputations appointed that day, unto whom the archbishop of Lyons should give power to make an agreement. Unto whom answer was made, as they thought, very roughly, but, as other judged, gently, but notwithstanding justly and truly; for they said there could be no unity of concord made before the adversaries confessed their fault, and asked pardon therefore.
The day following, the said bishop of Burgos, with the other Lombards and Castilians, went unto the Germans, and from thence unto the senate of the city, speaking much as touching the prohibiting of schisms. The Germans referred themselves to those things which the deputation should determine. The senate of the city (as they were great men in wisdom, which would do nothing without diligent advice and deliberation) answered, that the matter pertained not unto them, but unto the council: the fathers whereof were most wise men, and were not ignorant what pertained unto the Christian faith; and if there were any danger toward, it should be declared unto the council, and not to the senate. For they believe that the elders of the council, if they were premonished, would foresee that thereshould no hurt happen: as for the senate of the city, it was their duty only to defend the fathers, and to preserve the promise of the city. With this answer the bishop of Burgos departed.
In the mean time the fathers of the council had drawn out a form of a decree upon the former conclusions, and had approved the same in the sacred deputations. By this time the princes' orators were returned from the assembly at Mentz, and holding a council amongst themselves, they had determined to let the decree. The ninth day of May, there was a general convocation holden, whereunto all men resorted, either part putting forth himself unto the conflict.
The princes' ambassadors were called by the bishop of Lubeck and Conrad de Winsperge the protector into the choir, and there kept, where they treated of a unity, and by what means it might be had, and there they tarried longer than some thought to do; the which matter gave occasion to bring things well to pass, beyond all expectation, for the only form of the decree was appointed to be concluded that day. Whereupon, as soon as Cardinal Arelatensis perceived the congregation to be full, and that the twelve men had agreed, and that there was a great expectation with silence, he thought good not to delay it for fear of tumult, but commanded by and by the public concordances to be read, wherein this was also contained, that the Cardinal Arelatensis might appoint a session whensoever he would. Which being read, he, being desired by the promoters, concluded according as the manner and custom is. The ambassadors of the princes being yet in the choir, as soon as they understood how the matter passed, being very much troubled and vexed, they brake off their talk, imputing all things to the bishop of Lubeck, which of purpose had kept them in the choir, and protracted the time. Whereupon they, entering into the congregation, filled the church full of complaints.
First of all, the orator of Lubeck complained both in his own name and the name of the proctor, as touching the conclusion, and required that the council would revoke the same. If that might be granted, he promised to entreat a peace, and to be a proctor between the council and the ambassadors of the princes. But the archbishop of Turnon said, that it seemed unto him, every man to have free liberty to speak against that law which should be promulgated unto the session, when the canons should be consecrated and receive their force; when the bishops, in their pontificalibus, after the reading of the decree in the session, should answer that it pleased them; otherwise the demand which was made by the promoters in the session, to be but vain; and for that the conclusions were not yet allowed in the session, therefore he said that he might without rebuke speak somewhat as touching the same; and that it was a great and hard matter, and not to be knit up in such a short time, and that he had the knowledge thereof but even now; notwithstanding that he, being an archbishop, ought to have known the matter, that at his return home he might inform the king, and also instruct those which were under him; and that he and his fellows, before any session should be, would both hear and be heard of others. Neither doth it seem good unto him that the session should be holden, before report were made of those things which the ambassadors of the princes had done at Mentz, which would peradventure be such as might alter and change the minds of the fathers. Then the bishop of Concen, ambassador of the king of Castile, which was also lately returned from Mentz, a man of great understanding, but lacking utterance, grievously complained that the prelates were contemned. "Neither had it been," said he, "any great natter if they had been tarried for, which not without great danger and expenses went to Mentz, not for their pleasure, but of necessity." And afterward, as it were, smiling, he said, "How mad am I, that would have the prelates to be tarried for, until they return from Mentz, when they are not tarried for whilst they came out of the choir of the church! Do therefore as ye list: if there rise any offence or mischief hereupon, neither are we, the ambassadors of Castile, to be blamed, neither can any man of right impute any thing to our most noble king."
Here were it long to repeat, with what rebukes and taunts they inveighed against the Cardinal Arelatensis; but especially the bishop of Milan railed most cruelly upon him, saying that he fostered and maintained a rabble of sophisters and schoolmasters, and that he had concluded in matters of faith with them; calling him also another Catiline, unto whom all desperate and naughty persons had refuge, that he was their prince, and ruled the church with them; and that he would not give ear unto the ambassadors of the most noble princes, or to the most famous prelates in this most weighty matter. Albiganensis, a bishop, and a man of great nobility, descended of the emperor's blood, albeit he had never alienated his mind before from the council, yet, lest he should seem to dissent from other ambassadors of the princes, he made the like complaint as touching the attempt of the prelates. After this it came unto Panormitane to speak, who, as he had a greater vehemency in speaking, so also he did declare a more angry stomach and mind; for in the beginning of his oration he seemeth not to go about, according to the precept of the orators, to get the good-will of the hearers, but rather their hatred. For he said that our Saviour showed four signs in the gospel, whereby we should know the good from the reprobate; For he which is of God, saith he, heareth the words of God, but ye hear not the words of God, because ye are not of God. And again, He that doeth evil hateth the light. And in another place also, By their fruits ye shall know them. And a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.
All which sayings he wrested against the fathers of the council, because they would not hear the words of God, that is to say, the words of peace which the ambassadors had spoken; because they fled from the light in the absence of the ambassadors, privily concluding; and because in their deputation they had not holden and kept the holy day, but had concluded thereupon; also because they had the upper hand in the aforesaid conclusion, not by reason, but by deceit. As touching the fruits, he said, that the fathers themselves should meditate and consider how that, if their fruits were not good, they also themselves were not good; and that he did see another council at hand, where he feared lest these conclusions should be revoked, as the fruit of an evil tree; and therefore they ought not so suddenly to proceed in so weighty matters; and that he would be yet more fully heard before the session, as well in his own name, because he was an archbishop, as in the name of his prince, which reigned not over one kingdom alone, but over many. Also he said, that he, heretofore, by his words, deeds, and writings, hath extolled the authority of the council; and that he feared, lest by these means the authority thereof should be subverted. At the last he required pardon if he had offended the fathers of the council, forasmuch as very sorrow and grief forced him to speak so.
The abbot of Virgilia would have made answer to those things which Panormitane had touched, concerning his deputation, but Arelatensis thought good that all the contrary part should speak first, among whom, last of all, Ludovicus the protonotary, the Homer of lawyers, rose up: and albeit that he spake unwillingly, yet when he had begun, he could not refrain his words. And while he went about to seem learned and eloquent, he utterly forgot to be good. He said that the council ought to take heed, that they treated of no matter of faith against the prelates, lest any offence should follow; for that some would say it were a matter of no force or effect. For albeit that Christ chose twelve apostles and seventy disciples, notwithstanding in the setting forth of the creed only the apostles were present, thereby, as it were, giving example that the matters of faith did pertain only unto the apostles, and so consequently unto bishops. Neither that they ought hastily to proceed in matters of faith, which ought to be clearly distinct, forasmuch as Peter affirmeth the trial of faith to be much more precious than gold, which is tried by the fire. And if the bishops be contemned, which are called the pillars and keys of heaven, the faith cannot seem to be well proved or examined. But at length he confessed that the inferiors might determine with the bishops, but denied that the least part of the bishops with the most part of the inferiors might determine any thing. From thence he, passing to the matter of faith, said, that those verities whereupon question was now had, are articles of faith, if they were verities of faith. And forasmuch as every man should be found to believe those, therefore he would be better instructed and taught in that matter which he should believe as an article of faith. Neither should it be comely for the council to deny him his request; which, according to the rule of the apostle, ought to be ready to give account unto every man which shall require it, touching the faith which it holdeth.
After every man had made an end of speaking, the Cardinal Arelatensis, calling his spirits together, made an oration, wherein he answered now the one, and now the other. And first of all he commended the desires of the imperial ambassadors, which offered to treat of a peace and unity; but neither necessity nor honesty (he said) would suffer those things which are concluded to be revoked. He answered also, that the petition of the ambassadors of France is most just, in that they required to be instructed touching the faith; and that the council would grant their request, and send unto them certain divines, which should instruct them at home at their lodgings, but the matter was already concluded, and could no more be brought in question; that the session was only holden, rather to beautify the matter, than to confirm the same. And as touching that which the bishop of Concen so greatly complaineth of, he doth not much marvel; for he could not know the process of the matter, when he was absent; who being better instructed, he supposed would speak no more any such words, forasmuch as a just man would require no unjust thing. Also that his protestation had no evil sense or meaning, in that he would not; have it imputed either unto him, or unto his king, if any offence should rise upon the conclusions. Notwithstanding, it is not to be feared, that any evil should spring of good works. But unto the bishop of Milan he would answer nothing, because he saw him so moved and troubled, for fear of multiplying of more grievous and heinous words. As for Panormitane, he reserved unto the last. But unto Ludovicus the protonotary, which desired to he instructed, he said, he willed him to be satisfied with the words which were spoken unto the bishop of Turnon.
Notwithstanding, he left not this untouched which Ludovicus had spoken concerning the Apostles' Creed. For albeit that in the setting forth of the Creed the apostles be only named, yet it doth not follow (saith he) that they only were present at the setting forth thereof. For it happeneth oftentimes, that princes are commended and praised as chief authors and doers of things, when, notwithstanding, they have other helpers; as it appeareth in battles, which, although they are fought with the force of all the soldiers, yet the victory thereof is imputed but unto a few. As in these our days they do ascribe all things which the army doth, either fortunately or wisely, unto Nicholas Picenius, that most valiant captain, which hath obtained so many famous victories; albeit that oftentimes other have been the inventors of the policy, and workers of the feat. And therefore Ludovicus ought to know and understand, that they are not only articles of faith, which are contained in the Creed, but all other determinations made by the councils as touching the faith. Neither is he ignorant, that there be some articles of the Creed which we now use in the church, that were not put to by the apostles, but afterward by general councils; as that part wherein mention is made of the Holy Ghost, which the council of Lyons did add; in which council also it is not to be doubted, but that the inferiors did judge together with the bishops. But forasmuch as he had sufficiently declared that matter in the congregation before passed, he would stay no longer thereupon. But coming unto Panormitane, he rehearsed his words, He that is of God, heareth God's word; which is very well taken out of the Gospel, but not well applied unto the council, (said he,) for he firmly believed, that his predecessors have judged the Holy Ghost to be in the midst of the councils, and therefore the words of the councils to be the words of the Holy Ghost, which if any man do reject, he denieth himself to be of God. Neither doth the council hate the light, which doth all things publicly and openly, whose congregations are evident unto all men, neither doth it, as the conventicles of the adversaries, admit some, and exclude other some. Moreover, the thing which is now in hand was begun to be treated of for two months ago, and first the conclusions were largely disputed upon in the divinity schools, and afterward sent unto Mentz and other places of the world.
After all this the fathers were called into the chapter-house of the great church, to the number of a hundred and twenty; amongst whom Panormitane, which now complaineth, was also present, and, according to his manner, did learnedly and subtlely dispute, and had liberty to speak what he would. Likewise in the disputations every man spake his mind freely, and in the deputation where Panormitane was, the matter was three days discussed. After this the twelve men did agree upon it, and the general congregation did conclude it. Neither hath there been at any time any thing more ripely or exactly handled, both openly and also without any fraud or deceit. And whereas the deputation did sit upon a holy day, there is no hurt in that, neither is it any new or strange thing, forasmuch as they have often holden their session upon festival days, when the matter hath had haste, and specially for that the matter of faith hath no holy days. And further, he said, that he did not conclude craftily and deceitfully in the congregation, as Panormitane hath reported, but publicly and openly at the request of the promoters: neither hath any man any just cause to complain upon him, forasmuch as when he was made president, he was sworn that always when three or four of the deputations did agree, he should conclude thereupon. And forasmuch as he had already concluded, in divers causes, touching the pope, be saw no cause why he should not conclude in the matter of faith, for that he was a cardinal, and did wear his red hat for this purpose, that he should shed his blood in the defence of the faith. Neither hath he done any thing now against the pope, for that, omitting the five conclusions touching Eugenius, he had concluded but only the general conclusions; which except he had done, the fathers should have had just cause to complain against him, in that they, trusting in his fidelity and faithfulness, had chosen him president, if by him they should now be forsaken in this most necessary cause of faith. And, turning himself unto the people, he desired the fathers to be of good comfort, forasmuch as he would never forsake them, yea, although he should suffer death; for he had given his faith and fidelity unto the council, which he should observe and keep; neither should any man's flattery or threatenings put him from his purpose, that he would be always ready to do whatsoever the council should command him, and never leave the commandments of the deputies by any means unperformed.
As touching that Panormitane had extolled the authority of the council, he said that he was greatly to be thanked: but yet he ought to understand and know the authority of the council to be such as cannot be augmented or increased by any man's praise or commendation, or be diminished by any opprobry or slander. These things thus premised, he commanded the form of the decree to be read. Then Panormitane, and those which took his part, would needs have a certain protestation to be first read. There was great contention on every side. Notwithstanding, at the last Arelatensis prevailed, and the form of the decree was read unto this word, Decernimus, that is to say, We decree. Then Panormitane, rising up, would not suffer it to be heard any further: and the bishop of Catania cried out, saying, that it was uncomely that Arelatensis, with a few other bishops by name, should conclude the matter. The like did also all those which favoured Panormitane. The cardinal of Terragona also (which until that time had holden his peace) did grievously rebuke his partakers, that as men being asleep, or in a dream, they did not read the protestation, and commanded by and by one of his familiars to read it. But like as the adversaries before did perturb the reading of the concordances, so would not the fathers of the council now give place to the reading of the protestation. Which, when Albiganensis did consider, he commanded the writing to be brought unto him, and as he begun to speak, suddenly Arelatensis rose up, with a great number of the fathers, to depart; which thing pleased the cardinal of Terraconia and Panormitane very well, for that they hoped that they alone, with their adherents, should remain in the church. They exhorted Arelatensis to revoke the conclusion and to make another.
There was in that congregation in his place, George, the protonotary of Bardaxina, sitting somewhat beneath his uncle, the cardinal of Terragona, a man but young of age, but grave in wisdom, and noble in humanity; who, as soon as he saw the Cardinal Arelatensis rise, he determined also to depart, and when his uncle called him, commanding him to tarry, he said, "God forbid, father, that I should tarry in your congregation, or do any thing contrary to the oath which I have taken." By which words he declared his excellent virtue and nobility, and admonished our men which remained, of those things which they had to do. His voice was the voice of the Holy Ghost, and words more necessary than could be thought. For if he had not spoken that word, the fathers of the council had peradventure departed, and gone their way, and the other remaining in the church had made another conclusion, which they would have affirmed to have been of force, because they would say the last conclusion was to be received. But many, being warned by the words of the protonotary, and calling to remembrance the like chance of other councils before, called back again the multitude which were departing, and cried upon the cardinal and the patriarch to sit down again, and that they should not leave the church void and quiet for their adversaries. Whereupon suddenly all the whole multitude sat down, and the gates were shut again. In the mean time Mattheus Albiganensis, a bishop, read the protestation to none else but to himself alone, for it could not be heard for noise; which being ended, the Lombards and the Cathelanes confirmed the protestation. When the cardinal of Terraconia said that he did agree to that dissension, they marvelled at that saying. And when some smiled and laughed at him, "What," said he, "ye fools, do ye mock me? do not the ambassadors of my king dissent from you? What do you marvel then if I do say, I consent unto their dissension?" And with these words he and almost all the Arragons, Lombards, and Cathelanes departed; all the other tarried still. And albeit it was somewhat late, (for it was past two at afternoon,) Arelatensis, seeing the congregation quiet, commanded the affairs of private persons to be read, as the manner is; which being ended, he commanded also the public affairs to be read, and willed the conclusions and the form of the decree to be read again. There remained in the congregation, the ambassadors of the empire of France, talking together of their affairs. Notwithstanding, the bishop of Turnon heard mention made of the conclusions, and turning himself to the bishop of Lubeck, said, "Lo, the matters of faith are now in hand again, let us go hence, I pray you, that we be not an offence unto others, or that we be not said to dissent from the other ambassadors." To whom the bishop of Lubeck answered, "Tarry, father, tarry here; are not the conclusions most true? Why are you afraid to be here for the truth?" These words were not heard of many, for they spake them softly between themselves. Notwithstanding, I heard it, for I, sitting at their feet, did diligently observe what they said. Arelatensis, after all things were read which he thought necessary, at the request of the deputies concluded, and so making an end, dismissed the congregation. Twice it is declared, with how great difficulty Arelatensis concluded, forasmuch as neither the matter nor the form could be concluded without dissension: and the conclusions were miraculous, and past all men's hope, but were obtained by the industry of Arelatensis, or rather by the special gift of the Holy Ghost.
After this it was determined between the Lombards and Arragons to abstain from the deputations for a certain time, which they did not long observe; notwithstanding, the deputations were holden very quietly for a certain space, neither was there any thing done worthy of remembrance until the fifteenth day of May; during which time, all means possible were sought to set a concord between the fathers, but would not be. Then Nicholas Amici, promoter of the faith, was called into the congregation, and briefly rehearsed those things which were done the days before, and declared how that Arelatensis might appoint a session. Wherefore, forasmuch as delay in matters of faith was dangerous, he required that a session should be appointed against the morrow after, requiring the cardinal for his dignities' sake, in that he was called the principal of the church, and the other bishops, that (as they had promised in their consecration) they would not now shrink from the church in these weighty affairs, and suffer the faith to be oppressed; but the other inferiors he required, upon their oath which they had taken, to show themselves faithful and constant herein. Then again there fell a great contention upon these words; for Arelatensis, as he was required, did appoint a session, and exhorted all men to be there present in their robes. The bishop of Lubeck rising up made a protestation in his own name, and also in the name of his protector, that he would not consent that there should be any session, if it should in any part derogate from the agreement had at Mentz. Gregory Miles also, his fellow ambassador, consented to this protestation. When the protector of the council, appointed by the emperor, understood himself to be named by the bishop of Lubeck, he marvelled awhile what the matter should be. But being certified by an interpreter, he answered that he would in no case consent unto the protestation of the bishop of Lubeck, and that he did not know any thing of their doings at Mentz; also that he was sent by the emperor to the sacred council, and hath his charge which he doth well remember, and would be obedient thereunto. After whom the bishop of Concen, according to his accustomed manner, made his protestation, and after him also followed Panormitane. Whose words before I will repeat, I desire that no man would marvel that I make mention so often of Panormitane; for it is necessary to declare the matter in order as it was done.
It happened in these matters even as it doth in warlike affairs: for as there, such as are most valiant and strong, and do most worthy feats, obtain most fame, as in the battle of Troy, Achilles and Hector; so in these spiritual wars and contentions, those which most excel in learning and eloquence, and do more than others, should be most renowned and: named: for on the one part, Panormitane was prince and captain; on the other, Arelatensis: but his own will made not the one captain, but only necessity; for it behoved him to obey his prince. Notwithstanding, he was not ignorant of the truth and verity, neither did he resist willingly against it; for I have seen him oftentimes in his library complain of his prince, that he followed other men's counsel. When his time came to speak, he said, that he did not a little marvel why the protector of the faith should require the prelates to have a session, which was nothing pertaining to his office, and that he ought not to usurp the president's place. And again, he complained touching the contempt of the prelates, for the matter did presently touch the state of the apostolic see, and for that cause the see ought to be heard before any session be holden. Neither is it to be regarded, said he, that the council of Constance seemeth to have decreed, that it should now be spoken of, forasmuch as Pope John was not heard at Constance, neither any man else, to speak for the see; by which words he seemed both to contemn and bring in doubt all the decrees of that most great and sacred synod of Constance: therefore there was a great tumult, and all men cried out with one voice, saying, that the synod of Constance is holy, and the authority thereof ought to be inviolate. But he, being still instant, with a stout and haughty courage affirmed, that the matter could not be finished without the ambassadors of the princes, and that the princes ought to be heard in a matter of faith. And again, that the ambassadors themselves cannot consent, forasmuch as in the colloquy holden at Mentz, they had promised, during the treaty of peace by them begun, they would receive and allow nothing that the pope should either do against the council, or the council against the pope; and that he doubted not, but that the three first conclusions declared Eugenius a heretic, insomuch that it was evident that Eugenius did vehemently resist the two first. And therefore, forasmuch as the session was not yet holden, and that it was lawful for every man before that session to speak what he will, he desired and required them most instantly that there might be no session as yet holden. Unto whom Arelatensis answered, that it was not to be doubted but that the promoter of the faith, by his office, might call the prelates to determine a matter of faith, and specially forasmuch as the deputation of the faith and the whole council had so given him in commandment.
As touching the prelates, he saith, that albeit without all doubt bishops have chief authority, yet, notwithstanding, it is accustomed in councils not to make any conclusion in the name of the bishops, but in the name of the whole council: and the universal church hath decreed certain laws in this council which should remain inviolate. Neither let the bishops think the presence of the inferiors grievous unto them, when oftentimes under a bare and torn coat wisdom lieth hid, and under rich vestures and ornaments folly lurketh. Bishops ought also to be mindful of the saying of Domitius, which, as St Jerome reporteth, said, Why should I esteem thee as a prince, if thou dost not regard me as a senator? For the bishops ought to esteem priests as priests, if they will have reverence done unto them as bishops. Neither ought the princes to be looked for to the deciding of this matter, forasmuch as the church is not congregated in the name of the princes, but in the name of Christ, which hath not received his power from princes, but immediately from God; to the defence whereof he should perceive the inferiors to be no less encouraged than the bishops, for that he did well understand and know, that they would not only spend their temporal goods, but also their lives, for the defence thereof. As for some bishops, rather than they will lose any part of their temporalties, they will sell the liberty of the church unto the princes; and make them judges and lords over the council. As touching the acts at Mentz, he doth not regard them, forasmuch as, it is said, they counted without their host; for he saith, he doth not understand how this can be, that they had decreed neither to obey the pope nor the council. The one or the other they must needs be obedient unto; for there is no third tribunal whereunto any obedience is due in these matters, which concern the faith and salvation of souls. And finally, that the church would not suffer that their affairs and matters of faith should be determined by the judgment of princes; for the Holy Ghost is not subject unto princes, but princes unto him; and upon this conclusion he would not fear either the loss of his goods, or any death or martyrdom. And whereas Panormitane doth now show himself so great a defender of Eugenius; he saith, that he doth not a little marvel at it, for that in times past no man hath more published Eugenius's errors than he: by whose special labour and council, both a decree monitory, and also the suspension, was admitted and set out against Eugenius. And now, whereupon this sudden change should come, he saith that he was utterly ignorant, forasmuch as neither Eugenius had altered his life, neither could the church continue in such a schism. Wherefore he desired Panormitane diligently to consider, whether he spake according to his conscience or not; for, saith he, the conclusions which now shall be decreed, are most general; neither is there any mention in them of the pope; and, moreover, the verity of faith is contained in them; against the which if Eugenius did contend, it were more meet that the pope should be corrected, than the verity omitted. And thus he maketh an end, all were warned to come the next day unto the session. The protector also desired the sacred council, that none should be suffered to bring any weapon to the session; forasmuch as he was ready to observe the safe-conduct of the emperor, and, together with the senate of the city, to prohibit all quarrels for doing of injury.
When the sixteenth day of May was come, all they whom the session contented and pleased assembled at the hour. The ambassadors also of the princes were come together into the choir of the church, to attempt further what they could do; and sending the bishop of Lubeck and Concen, and the dean of Turnon, an excellent learned man, they offered themselves to be present at the session, if that the deposition of Eugenius might yet be deferred four months. Who, when they had received a gentle answer of Arelatensis and the other principals, returning again unto the ambassadors, they would only have the first conclusion decreed, and thereupon sent again unto Arelatensis; unto whom answer was made, that the chief force did consist in the two other conclusions, and that the council would specially determine upon them. If the ambassadors would not be present, they should understand, that the concord was broken by them, which would not observe that which they had offered. With which answer they departed, and the session began to be celebrated. There was no prelate of Arragon present at it, neither out of Spain, nor out of Italy, only the bishop of Grosseto, and the abbot of Dona, which for their constancy and stedfast good-will toward the universal church, could not he changed from their purpose; but of doctors and other inferiors, there were a great number of Arragons, and almost all the inferiors of Spain and Italy, (for the inferiors feared not the princes, as the bishops did,) and then the worthy stoutness of the Arragons and Cathelanes appeared in the inferior sort, which would not shrink away in the necessity of the church. Of the two other nations there were only present twenty bishops. The residue lurked in their lodgings, professing the faith in their hearts, but not in their mouths. Arelatensis, considering before what would come to pass, caused prayers to be made; and after their prayers made unto Almighty God, with tears and lamentation, that he would send them his Holy Spirit to aid and assist them, they were greatly comforted and encouraged. This congregation was famous, and albeit that there were not many bishops present, yet all the seats were filled with the bishops' proctors, archdeacons, presidents, priors, priests, and doctors of both laws, which I judged to be about the number of four hundred or more; amongst whom was no noise, no chiding, no opprobrious words or contention, but one exhorted another to the profession of the faith, and there appeared a full and whole consent of them all to defend the church. The bishop of Massilia, a noble man, read the decree, which was attentively hearkened unto, and not one word interrupted. When it was ended, Te Deum laudamus was sung with great joy and gladness, and so the session dissolved, which was in number the thirty-third session, and amongst all the first the most quiet and peaceable.
The day following, being the twenty-second of May, the princes' ambassadors, without all men's expectation, came unto the general congregation, by that their doing at the least giving their assent unto the session before passed. In celebrating whereof, if the fathers had erred, it had not been lawful for the princes and ambassadors to have holden the council with those fathers. But it was thought that they were touched with remorse of conscience, and even now to detest and abhor that which they had done; as it was not hidden to the ambassadors of the empire and France. For the bishop of Lubeck said, that the cause of his absence was, for that he was appointed by the emperor's commandment to treat a peace. Wherefore it was not comely for him to be present at any business, whereby he should be vexed or troubled, with whom the peace should be treated. Notwithstanding, he did much commend the session before holden, and believed the decree therein promulgated to be most good and holy, and the verities therein contained to be undoubted; and said, that he would stick thereunto both now and ever, even to the death. But the bishop of Turnon, a man both learned and eloquent, speaking for him and his fellows, said, that he heard how that they were evil spoken of amongst some, in that they had not honoured their king in that most sacred session, whom it becomed especially to exalt and defend the faith; which also for that cause above all other kings was named most Christian; notwithstanding, he said that they had a lawful excuse, in that it was convenient that they, which were sent to treat peace, should do nothing whereby their embassage should be stopped or letted. Also there are two kinds of injustice (said he) whereby either things are done that should not be done, or things that should be done are not done. The first doth not always bind, because it is convenient to have respect of time, place, and person. But the last doth always bind, wherein he said they were not culpable. But as touching the first point, they might seem unto some to have erred, because they were not present at the session; but yet in this point they had sufficient to answer, forasmuch as if they had been present at that session, they should have been unmeet to have treated of any peace with Eugenius. And therefore, albeit they were wanting at so holy a business, in that point they followed the example of Paul, which, albeit he desired to be dissolved and to be with Christ, yet, for the further profit and advancement of the church, it was deferred. So likewise, he said, that they had now done; for that they were not absent because they doubted of the conclusions, (which they judged to be most true and holy, and whereunto they would stick even unto the death,) but because they would not be unmeet for the treaty of peace for which they came: and yet, that which they had not done in their own persons, they had fulfilled, said he, by their servants and household, whom altogether they commanded to reverence that session. I would that I had been then in the place of some great prelate; surely they should not have gone unpunished, which thought to have played bo-peep. For what doth the declaration of the truth hinder the treaty of peace? Or, if it do hurt, why is he not accounted as great an offender, which consenteth to him that declareth the truth, as he which doth declare it? What shall we need any further testimony? For now the ambassadors of the princes have declared Eugenius to be an enemy unto the truth. But to pass over these things, it is sufficient that Eugenius wrote afterward unto the king of France, that he did understand the bishop of Turnon to become his enemy.
After that the bishop of Tournon had made an end, Cardinal Arelatensis gave thanks unto God, which had so defended his church, and after great storms and clouds had sent fair and clear weather: and commending the good-will of the emperor and the king of France toward the church, he also praised the bishops of Lubeck and Turnon, for that oftentimes in the council, and also of late at Mentz, they had defended the authority of the council. But specially he commended this their present doings, that they had openly confessed the truth, and had not sequestered themselves from the faith of the church.
Afterward he, entering into the declaration of the matter, said, that he was at Pisa and at Constance, and never saw a more quiet and devout session than this; affirming that this decree was most necessary, to repress the ambition of the bishops of Rome, which, exalting themselves above the universal church, thought it lawful for them to do all things after their own pleasure; and that no one man from henceforth should transport the council from one place to another, as Eugenius attempted to do, now to Bononia, now to Florentia, then again to Bononia, after to Ferraria, and after that again to Florentia; and that hereafter the bishops should withdraw their minds from the carefulness of temporal goods, which (as he himself did see) had no mind at all on spiritual matters; and therefore by how much this session was most holy and necessary, by so much more the assent of the ambassadors was most laudable and acceptable to all the fathers. These words thus spoken, he rose up, and the congregation was dissolved.