182. ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE POPE'S SUPREMACY
The book of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, "De vera Obedientia."
You have heard before of Stephen Gardiner, of Lee, of Tonstal, and of Stokesley, how of their voluntary mind they made their profession unto the king, every one severally taking and accepting a corporal oath, utterly and for ever to renounce and reject the usurped superiority of the bishop of Rome. Now, for a further testimony and declaration of their judgments and opinions which then they were of, following the force both of truth and of time then present, ye shall hear, over and besides their oaths, what the aforesaid bishops in their own books, prologues, and sermons, do write, and publish abroad in print, touching the said cause of the pope's supremacy.
And first, God willing, to begin with Stephen Gardiner's book, "De vera Obedientia," we will briefly note out a few of his own words, wherein, with great Scripture proofs and good deliberation, he not only confuteth the pope's usurped authority, but also proveth the marriage between the king and Queen Katharine, his brother's wife, not to be good nor lawful, in these words:
"Of the which moral precepts in the old law, to speak of some, (for to rehearse all it needs not,) the Levitical precepts touching forbidden and incestuous marriages, as far as they concern chaste and pure wedlock, wherein the original of man's increase consisteth, are always to be reputed of such sort, that although they were first given to the Jews, yet because they appertain to the law of nature, and expound the same more plainly to us, therefore they belong as well to all manner of people of the whole world for evermore. In which doubtless both the voice of nature and God's commandment agreeing in one, have forbidden that which is contrary and diverse from the one and from the other. And amongst these, since there is commandment that a man shall not marry his brother's wife, what could the king's excellent Majesty do, otherwise than he did, by the whole consent of the people, and judgment of his church; that is, to be divorced from unlawful marriage, and use lawful and permitted copulation? and obeying (as meet it was) conformably unto the commandment, cast off her, whom neither law nor right permitted him to retain, and take him to chaste and lawful marriage? Wherein although the sentence of God's word (whereunto all things ought to stoop) might have sufficed, yet his Majesty was content to have the assisting consents of the most notable grave men, and the censures of the most famous universities of the whole world; and all to the intent that men should see he did both what he might do, and ought to do, uprightly; seeing the best learned and most worthy men have subscribed unto it; showing therein such obedience as God's word requireth of every good and godly man; so it may be said, that both he obeyed God, and obeyed him truly: of which obedience, forasmuch as I am purposed to speak, I could not pass this thing over with silence, whereof occasion so commodiously was offered me to speak."
Moreover, the said Gardiner, in the before-named book "De vera Obedientia," what constancy he pretendeth, what arguments he inferreth, how earnestly and pithily he disputeth on the king's side, against the usurped state of the bishop of Rome's authority, by the words of his book it may appear: whereof a brief collection here followeth.
Reasons of Gardiner, bishop-of Winchester, against the pope's supremacy.
In the process of his aforesaid book, he, alleging the old distinction of the papists, wherein they give to the prince the regiment of things temporal, and to the church that of things spiritual, comparing the one to the greater light, the other to the lesser light, he confuteth and derideth the same distinction, declaring the sword of the church to extend no further than to teaching and excommunication, and referreth all preeminence to the sword of the prince; alleging for this the second Psalm: And now, you kings, be wise, and be learned, ye that judge the earth, &c.
Also the example of Solomon, who, being a king according to his father's appointment, ordained the offices of the priests in their ministries, and Levites in their order, that they might give thanks, andminister before the priests, after the order of every day, and porters in their divisions, gate by gate. And speaking more of the said Solomon, he saith, "For so commanded the man of God; neither did the priests nor Levites omit anything of all that he had commanded," &c.
Beside this, he allegeth also the example of King Hezekiah. He allegeth moreover the example and fact of Justinian, which made laws touching the faith, bishops, clerks, heretics, and such others.
Aaron (saith he) obeyed Moses: Solomon gave sentence upon Abiathar the high priest.
Alexander the king, in the Maccabees, writeth thus to Jonathan: Now we have made thee this day the high priest of thy people, &c. So did Demetrius to Simon.
Then, coming to the words of Christ spoken to Peter, Thou art Peter, &c., upon which words the pope pretendeth to build all his authority: to this he answereth, that if Christ, by those words, had limited to Peter any such special state or pre-eminency above all princes, then were it not true that is written, Jesus began to teach and to do; forasmuch as the words of Christ should then be contrary to his own facts and example, who, in all his life, never either usurped to himself any such domination above princes, (showing himself rather subject unto princes,) nor yet did ever permit in his apostles any such example of ambition to be seen; but rather rebuked them for seeking any manner of priority amongst them.
And where he reasoneth of the king's style and title, being called king of England and of France, defender of the faith, lord of Ireland, and supreme head in earth of the Church of England immediately under Christ, &c., thus he addeth his mind and censure, saying, that he seeth no cause in this title, why any man should be offended, that the king is called head of the Church of England, rather than of the realm of England; and addeth his reason thereunto, saying, "If the prince and king of England be the head of his kingdom, that is, of all Englishmen that be his subjects, is there any cause why the same English subjects should not be subject to the same head likewise in this respect, because they are Christians; that is to say, for the title of godliness? as though that God, who is the cause of all obedience, should now be the cause of rebellion?"
At length thus he concludeth with an exclamation saying, "To say," saith he, "that a king is the head of the kingdom, and not of the church, what an absurd and a foolish saying is this!"
And further, adding further for example the sub jection of the servant and wife: "If the servant, saith he, "be subject to his master, or wife to her husband, being infidels, doth their conversion afterwards, or the name of Christians, make them less subjects than they were before? As religion therefore doth not alter the authority of the master over the servant, nor of the husband over the wife; no more," saith he, "doth it between the prince and subject.
"Paul, making no exception or distinction of subjection, save only of that which belonged to God, willeth all men to obey their princes; and what princes? Those princes which bear the sword. And although we are bound by the Scripture to obey our bishops and spiritual pastors of the church, yet that obedience diminisheth nothing the chief and head authority that ought to be given to the prince, no more than the obedience of the servant to his master, or of the wife to her husband, exempteth them from subjection due to their superior powers."
And herewithal he inferreth a principle of the law: "Divers jurisdictions," saith he, "proceeding from one person, do not mar nor hinder themselves, but rather do confirm and fortify one another."
Again, whereas the bishop of Rome, under the name of Peter, doth appropriate to himself the highest place in the church, for that he is the successor of Peter; thereunto he answereth in one word, but in that one word he answereth enough, and to the full: "I would," saith he, "he were; for so in very deed he might well exceed and pass all kings and princes, if not in pre-eminency of dignity, yet in admiration and excellency of virtue: in which kind of superiority the Lord Christ would his apostles and ministers to go before all kings and emperors in the whole world."
After this, in prosecuting the argument of Peter's confession, he argueth thus, and saith, that as flesh and blood did not reveal to Peter that confession, so neither was that prerogative given to the flesh and blood of Peter, but to the better part, that is, to the spirit of Peter; which is to mean in respect of the spiritual confession of Peter, and not in respect of any carnal place or person, &c.
Item, If the scholar ought not to be above the master, how then could either Peter take that upon him, which Christ his Master so constantly did refuse; or how can the bishop of Rome now claim that by succession, whereof no example is to be found either in the head, or his predecessor before him? for so we read in Eusebius, both of Peter, James, and John, that they did arrogate no such primacy unto them, but were content that James, surnamed Justus, should be the bishop of the apostles.
And as for the name and signification of the word primacy, if it be taken for the nomination, or the first place given, so he granteth that Peter had the preferment of the first name and place in the order of the apostles, But it followeth not, that with this primacy he had also a kingdom given. And though he were bid of the Lord to confirm his brethren, yet was he not bid to exercise an empery upon his brethren: for so were they not his brethren, but his subjects.
That Peter was first or chief in the number of those who confessed Christ, it is not to be denied; for first he confessed, first he taught the Jews, first he stood in defence of the verity, and was the first and chief prolocutor among them. But yet that maketh not, that he should therefore arrogate a general primacy and rule over all other states and authorities of the world; no more than Apelles, because he is noted the first and chief of all painters, therefore ought to bear rule over all painters: or because the university of Paris is nominated for the first and chief of other universities, shall therefore the French king, and all other princes in their public administration, wherein they are set of God, become subjects and underlings to that university?
Thus, after many other reasons and persuasions contained in said book De Obedientia, (for I do but superficially skim over the top only of his probations and arguments,) finally, in the end of his probation, he concludeth the whole sum of his mind in this effect; first, denying that the bishop of Rome had ever any such extern jurisdiction assigned to him absolutely from God, to reign over kings and princes: for the peroration whereof he hath alleged sufficiently, as he saith, the examples and doings of Christ himself, which ought to be to us all a sufficient document.
As concerning the term of "primacy," albeit it be used sometimes by the fathers, yet the matter, being well considered and rightly expounded, maketh nothing for the large dominion of the bishop of Rome, which now he doth usurp.
Also as for the prerogatives granted unto Peter, by the which prerogatives our Saviour would crown his own gifts given unto him, crowning not the flesh and blood of Peter, but the marvellous testimony of his confession, all this maketh nothing for the pope's purpose.
Likewise as concerning the local succession of Peter, the pope hath nothing thereby to claim. If he will be successor of Peter, he must succeed him in faith, doctrine, and conditions, and in so doing, he neither will seek, nor yet shall need to seek, for honour, but shall be honoured of all good men, according as a good man should be; and that much more than he, being a good man, would require.
And thus Stephen Winchester, taking his leave, and bidding the pope farewell, endeth with a friendly exhortation, willing him to be wise and circumspect, and not to strive stubbornly against the truth. "The light of the gospel," saith he, "so spreadeth his beams in all men's eyes, that the works of the gospel be known, the mysteries of Christ's doctrine are opened; both learned and unlearned, men and women, being Englishmen born, do see and perceive, that they have nothing to do with Rome, or with the bishop of Rome, but that every prince, in his own dominion, is to be taken and accepted as a vicar of God, and vicegerent of Christ in his own bounds." And therefore, seeing this order is taken of God, and one in the church should bear the office of teaching, another should bear the office of ruling, (which office is only limited to princes,) he exhorteth him to consider the truth, and to follow the same, wherein consisteth our true and special obedience, &c.
To this book of Stephen Winchester, De Obedientia, we will adjoin, for good fellowship, the Preface also of Edmund Bonner, archdeacon then of Leicester, prefixed before the same; to the intent that the reader, seeing the judgments of these men as they were then, and again the sudden mutation afterwards of the said parties to the contrary opinion, may learn thereby what vain-glory and pomp of this world can work in the frail nature of man, where God's grace lacketh to sustain. The Preface of Bonner, before the said book of Winchester, De Obedientia, proceedeth thus in effect, as followeth:
"Forasmuch as some there be, no doubt, (as the judgments of men be always variable,) which think the controversy which is between the king's royal Majesty and the bishop of Rome consisteth in this point, for that his Majesty hath taken the most excellent and most virtuous Lady Anne to wife, which in very deed is far otherwise, and nothing so: to the intent, therefore, that all true hearty favourers of the gospel of Christ, who hate not, but love the truth, may the more fully understand the chief point of the controversy, and because they shall not be ignorant what is the whole voice and resolute determination of the best and greatest learned bishops, with all the nobles and commons of England, not only in that cause of matrimony, but also in defending the doctrine of the gospel; here shall be published the oration of the bishop of Winchester, (a man excellently learned in all kinds of learning,) entitled, De Vera Obedientia that is, Concerning True Obedience. But as touching this bishop's worthy praises, there shall be nothing spoken of me at this time, not only because they are infinite, but because they are far better known to all Christendom, than becometh me here to make rehearsal.
And as for the oration itself, (which as it is most learned, so is it most elegant,) to what purpose should I make any words of it, seeing it praiseth itself enough, and seeing good wine needeth no tavern-bush to utter it? But yet in this oration, whosoever thou art, most gentle reader! thou shalt, besides other matters, see it notably and learnedly, handled, of what importance, and how invincible, the power and excellency of God's truth is, which as it may now and then be pressed of the enemies, so it cannot possibly be oppressed and darkened after such' sort, but it showeth itself again at length more glorious and more welcome. Thou shalt see also touching obedience, that it is subject to truth, and what is to be judged true obedience. Besides this, of men's traditions, which for the most part he most repugnant against the truth of God's law. And there, by the way, he speaketh of the king's said Highness's marriage, which, by the ripe judgment, authority, and privilege of the most and principal universities of the world, and then with the consent of the whole church of England, he contracted with the most excellent and most noble lady, Queen Anne. After that, touching the king's Majesty's title, as pertaining to the supreme head of the church of England. Last of all, of the false pretended supremacy, of the bishop of Rome in the realm of England most justly abrogated: and how all other bishops, being fellow-like to him in their function, yea, and in some points above him within their own provinces, were beforetime bound to the king by their oath.
"But be thou most surely persuaded of this, good reader! that the bishop of Rome, if there were no cause else but only this marriage, would easily content himself, especially having some good morsel or other given him to chew upon. But when he seeth so mighty a king, being a right virtuous and a great learned prince, so sincerely and so heartily favour the gospel of Christ, and perceiveth the yearly and great prey, (yea, so large a prey, that it came to as much almost as all the king's revenues,) snapped out of his hands, and that he can no longer exercise his tyranny in the king's Majesty's realm, (alas, heretofore too cruel and bitter,) nor make laws, as he hath done many, to the contumely and reproach of the majesty of God, which is evident that he hath done in time past, under the title of the catholic church, and the authority of Peter and Paul, (when notwithstanding he was a very ravening wolf, dressed in sheep's clothing, calling himself the servant of servants,) to the great damage of the Christian commonwealth -- here, here began all the mischief; hereof rose these discords, these deadly malices, and so great and terrible bustling: for if it were not thus, could any man believe that this Jupiter of Olympus (who falsely hath arrogated unto himself an absolute power without controlment) would have wrought so diligently, by all means possible, to stir up all other kings and princes so traitorously against this so good and godly, and so true a gospel-like prince, as he hath done? Neither let it move thee, gentle reader! that Winchester did not before now apply to this opinion: for he himself, in this oration, showeth the cause why he did it not. And if he had said never a word, yet thou knowest well what a witty part it is for a man to suspend his judgment, and not to be too rash in giving of sentence. It is an old-said saw; "Mary Magdalene profited us less in her quick belief that Christ was risen, than Thomas that was longer in doubt." A man may rightly call him Fabius, that with his advised taking of leisure restored the matter. Albeit I speak not this as though Winchester had not bolted out this matter secretly with himself beforehand (for he without doubt tried it out long ago); but that, running fair and softly, he would first, with his painful study, pluck the matter out of the dark, (although of itself it was clear enough, but by reason of sundry opinions it was lapped up in darkness,) and then did he debate it wittily to and fro; and so, at last, after long and great deliberation had in the matter, because there is no better counsellor than leisure and time, he would resolutely, with his learned and consummate judgment, confirm it.
"Thou shouldst, gentle reader, esteem his censure and authority to be of more weighty credence, inasmuch as the matter was not rashly, and at all adventures, but with judgment (as thou seest) and with wisdom examined and discussed. And this is no new example, to be against the tyranny of the bishop of Rome, seeing that not only this man, but many men oftentimes, yea, and right great learned men afore now, have done the same even in writing; whereby they both painted him out in his right colours, and made his sleights, falsehood, frauds, and deceitful wiles, openly known to the world. Therefore, if thou at any time heretofore have doubted either of true obedience, or of the king's Majesty's marriage or title, or else of the bishop of Rome's false pretended supremacy, as, if thou hadst a good smelling nose, and a sound judgment, I think thou didst not; yet, having read this oration, (which, if thou favour the truth, and hate the tyranny of the bishop of Rome, and his Satanical, fraudulent falsehood, shall doubtless wonderfully content thee,) forsake thine error, and acknowledge the truth now freely offered thee at length, considering with thyself, that it is better late so to do, than never to repent.
"Fare thou heartily well, most gentle reader; and not only love this most valiant king of England and of France, who undoubtedly was by the providence of God born to defend the gospel, but also honour him and serve him most obediently. As for this Winchester, who was long ago, without doubt, reputed among the greatest learned men, give him thy good word, with highest commendation."
The end of Bishop Bonner's prologue.
What man reading and advising this book of Winchester, De Vera Obedientia, with Bonner's Preface before the same, would ever have thought any alteration could so work in man's heart, to make these men thus to turn the cat in the pan, as they say, and to start so suddenly from the truth so manifestly known, so pithily proved, so vehemently defended, and (as it seemed) so faithfully subscribed? If they dissembled all this that they wrote, subscribed, and sware unto, what perjury most execrable was it before God and man! If they meant good faith, and spake then as they thought, what pestilent blindness is this so suddenly fallen upon them, to make that false now, which was true before; or that to be now true, which before was false! Thus to say and unsay, and then to say again, to do and undo, and, as a man would say, to play fast or loose with truth; truly a man may say is not the doing of a man which is in any case to be trusted, whatsoever he doth or saith. But here a man may see what man is of himself, when God's good humble Spirit lacketh to be his guide.
Furthermore, to add unto them the judgment also and arguments of Tonstal, bishop of Durham, let us see how he agreeth with them, or rather much exceedeth them, in his sermon made before King Henry upon Palm Sunday, remaining yet in print; in the which sermon, disputing against the wrongful supremacy of the bishop of Rome, he proveth by manifest grounds most effectuously, both out of the Scripture, ancient doctors, and of councils; not only that the bishop of Rome hath no such authority by the word of God committed to him, as he doth challenge; but also, in requiring and challenging the same, he reproveth and condemneth him with great zeal and ardent spirit, to be a proud Lucifer; disobedient to the ordinary powers of God set over him; contrary to Christ and Peter: and finally, in raising up war against us for the same, he therefore rebuketh and defieth him, as a most detestable sower of discord, and a murderer of Christian men.
Notes on Tonstal's sermon against the pope's supremacy.
First, by the Scripture, he reasoneth thus, and proveth, that all good men ought to obey the authorities and governors of the world, as emperors, kings, and princes of all sorts, what name soever the said supreme powers do bear or use for their countries in which they be; for so St. Peter doth plainly teach us, saying, Be ye subject to every human creature for God's cause, whether it be king, as chief head, or dukes or governors, &c. So that St. Peter, in; his Epistle, commandeth all worldly princes in their office to be obeyed as the ministers of God, by all Christian men: and according unto the same, St. Paul saith, Let every living man be subject to the high powers: for the high powers be of God, and whosoever resisteth the high powers, resisteth the ordinance of God, and purchaseth thereby to himself damnation.
And in the same place of Tonstal it followeth: And lest men should forget their duty of obedience to their princes, it is thrice repeated, that they be the ministers of God, whose place in their governance they represent: so that unto them all men must obey, apostles, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, priests, and all of the clergy, &c. "And therefore," saith he, "the bishop of Rome oweth to his sovereign and superior like subjection by the word of God, taught unto us by Peter and Paul, as other bishops do to their princes, under whom they be."
Also, another express commandment we have of Christ, who, upon the occasion of his disciples striving for superiority, discusseth the matter, saying on this wise, The kings of the people and nations have dominion over them, and those that have power over them be called gracious lords; but so it shall not be amongst you: but whosoever amongst you is the greater, shall be as the younger; and whosoever amongst you shall be chief, shall be as a servant and a minister, &c.
And again, Christ speaking to Pilate of his kingdom, declareth that his kingdom is not of this world, and "therefore," saith Tonstal, "those that go about to make of Christ's spiritual kingdom a worldly kingdom, do fall into the error of some heretics, that look that Christ, after the day of judgment, shall reign with all his saints here in the earth carnally in Jerusalem; as the Jews do believe that Messias is yet to come, and when he shall come, he shall reign worldly in Jerusalem."
By these and such other places it may well appear, that Christ, neither before his incarnation, (as Tonstal saith,) nor after his incarnation, did ever alter the authority of worldly kings and princes, but by his own word commanded them still to be obeyed of their subjects, as they had been in the ancient time before, &c. And for example of the same, he allegeth first the example of Christ himself, who, being asked of the Jews, whether they should give tribute to Cæsar, or no, he bade them give to Cæsar those things that be his, and to God those things that be his; signifying, that tribute was due to Cæsar, and that their souls were due to God.
Also in the seventeenth of Matthew, it appeareth that Christ bade Peter pay tribute for him and his disciples, when it was demanded of him. And why? Because he would not change the order of obeisance to worldly princes due by their subjects, &c.
Another example of Christ he citeth out of John vi., where, after Christ had fed five thousand and more, with a few loaves, and fewer fishes, and that the Jews would have taken him, and made him their king, he fled from them, and would not consent unto them: "For the kingdom," saith he, "that he came to set in earth, was not a worldly and temporal kingdom, but a heavenly and spiritual kingdom;" that is, to reign spiritually, by grace and faith, in the hearts of all Christian and faithful people, of what degree or of what nation soever they be, and to turn all people and nations which at his coming were carnal and lived after the lusts of the flesh, to be spiritual, and to live after the lusts of the Spirit, that Christ, with his Father of heaven, might reign in the hearts of all men, &c.
And here, in these examples of Christ's humility, further is to be noted, how Christ the Son of God did submit himself not only to the rulers and powers of this world, but also dejected himself, and in a manner became servant to his own apostles: so far off was he from all ambitious and pompous seeking of worldly honour. For so it appeared in him, not only by washing the feet of his apostles, but also the same time, a little before his passion, when the apostles fell at contention among themselves, who among them should be superior, he, setting before them the example of his own subjection, asketh this question: Who is superior; he that sitteth at the table, or he that serveth at the table? Is not he superior that sitteth? but I am amongst you as he that ministereth and serveth, &c.
The like examples Tonstal also inferreth of Peter's humility. For where we read in the Acts, how the centurion, a nobleman of great age, did prostrate himself upon the ground at the feet of Peter; then Peter, not suffering that, eftsoons took him up, and bade him rise, saying, I am also a man as thou art.
So likewise did the angel, to whom when John would have fallen down to have adored him who showed him those visions, the angel said unto him, See thou do not so; for I am the servant of God, as thou art, &c.
Again, in the aforesaid Peter, what an example of reverent humility is to be seen in this, that notwithstanding he, with other apostles, had his commission to go over all the world, yet nevertheless he, being at Joppa, and sent for by Cornelius, durst not go unto him without the vision of a sheet let down from heaven; by which vision he was admonished not to refuse the Gentiles: or else he knew in himself no such primacy over all people and places given unto him, nor any such commission so large above the others, &c.
Furthermore, the said Peter, being rebuked of Paul his fellow brother, took no scorn thereof, but was content, submitting himself to due correction.
But here, saith Tonstal, steppeth in the bishop of Rome, and saith that Peter had authority given him above all the residue of the apostles, and allegeth the words of Christ spoken to him, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound in heaven. "This said Christ," saith the pope, "and St. Peter is buried at Rome, whose successor I am, and ought to rule the church, as Peter did, and to be porter of heaven gates, as Peter was," &c. "And Christ said also to Peter, after his resurrection, Feed my sheep; which he spake to him only, so that thereby he had authority over all that be of Christ's flock; and I, as his successor, have the same. And therefore whoso will not obey me, king or prince, I will curse him, and deprive him of his kingdom or seigniory: for all power is given to me that Christ hath, and I am his vicar-general, as Peter was here in earth over all, and none but I, as Christ is in heaven."
This ambitious and pompous objection (saith Tonstal) of the pope and his adherents, hath of late years much troubled the world, and made dissension, debate, and open war in all parts of Christendom, and all by a wrong interpretation of the Scripture; who, if he would take those places after the right sense of them, as both the apostles themselves taught us, and all the ancient best learned interpreters do expound them, the matter were soon at a point. But otherwise, since they pervert the Scriptures, and preach another gospel in that point to us, than ever the apostles preached, we have therein a gene- ral rule to follow: That though an angel came from heaven, and would tell us such new exposition of those places as are now made, to turn the words which were spoken for spiritual authority of preaching the word of God, and ministering of the sacraments, to a worldly authority, we ought to reject him: as St. Paul willeth us in Galatians i.
To open therefore the true sense of the Scripture in the places aforesaid, and first to begin with Matthew xvi., here is to be observed, that the question being put in general of Christ to all his apostles, what they thought or judged of him, Peter, answering for them all, (as he was always ready to answer,) said, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. To whom Jesus answered again, Blessed be thou, Simon the son of Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven: and I say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. That is to say, Upon this rock of thy confession of me to be the Son of God, I will build my church; for this faith containeth the whole summary of our faith and salvation, as it is written in Rom. x.: The word of faith that we do preach is at hand, in thy mouth and in thy heart. For if thou confess with thy mouth our Lord Jesus Christ, and with thy heart do believe that God raised him from death to life, thou shalt be saved, &c. And this confession being first uttered by the mouth of Peter, upon the same confession of his, and not upon the person of Peter, Christ buildeth his church, as Chrysostom expoundeth that place in the twenty-sixth sermon, of the feast of Pentecost, saying, Not upon the person of Peter, but upon the faith, Christ hath builded his church. And what is the faith? This: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. What is to say, Upon this rock? That is, Upon this confession of Peter, &c. And with this saying of Chrysostom all ancient expositors, (saith Tonstal,) treating of that place, do agree; for if we should expound that place, that the church is build-ed upon the person of Peter, we should put another foundation of the church than Christ; which is directly against St. Paul, saying, No man may put any other foundation, but that which is put already, which is Christ Jesus, &c.
And because Peter was the first of all the apostles that confessed this, That Christ is the Son of God, by the which faith all men must be saved; thereof cometh the primacy; that is, the first place or standing of Peter in the number of all the apostles.
And as Peter was the first of them that confessed Christ to be the Son of God, so was he most ardent in his faith, most bold and hardy in Christ, as appeared by his coming out of the ship in the great tempest: and also most vehement in his Master's cause, as appeared by drawing out his sword: and afterwards the Lord's resurrection is declared in the Acts, where the Jews, withstanding the apostles preaching the faith of Christ, Peter, as most ardent in faith, was ever most ready to defend the faith against the impugners thereof, speaking for them all unto the people, &c.; and therefore hath these honourable names given him by the ancient interpreters, that sometimes he is called the mouth of the apostles; the chief of the apostles; sometimes the prince of the apostles, sometimes the president of the whole church, and sometimes hath the name of primacy or priority attributed unto him. And yet that the said Peter, notwithstanding these honourable names given to him, should not have a rule, or a judicial power, above all the other apostles, it is plain by St. Paul and many others.
First, St. Paul plainly declareth the same, saying, that as the apostleship of the circumcision, that is, of the Jews, was given by Christ to Peter; so, was the apostleship of the Gentiles given to me among the Gentiles. Hereby it appeareth that Paul knew no primacy of Peter concerning people and places, but among the Jews. And thereof St. Ambrose, expounding that place, saith thus, The primacy of the Jews was given chiefly to Peter, albeit James and John were joined with him; as the primacy of the Gentiles was given to Paul, albeit Barnabas was joined with him: so that Peter had no rule over all.
Also in Acts x., when Peter was sent for to Cornelius, a Gentile, he durst not go to him without a special vision given him from heaven by the Lord.
Item, That all the apostles had like dignity and authority, it appeareth by St. Paul, where he saith, Now ye are not strangers, nor foreigners, but ye be citizens with the saints, and of the household of Almighty God, builded, saith he, upon the foundations of the apostles and the prophets, Christ being the corner-stone; upon whom every edifice being builded, groweth up to an holy temple in our Lord, &c. Here he saith that they be builded not upon the foundation of Peter only, but upon the foundation of the apostles: so that all they be in the foundation set upon Christ the very rock, whereupon standeth the whole church.
In the Apocalypse also, the new city, and the heavenly Jerusalem of Almighty God, is described by the Holy Ghost, not with one foundation only of Peter, but with twelve foundations, after the number of the apostles.
St. Cyprian giveth record likewise to the same, that the apostles had equal power and dignity given to them by Christ; and because all should preach one thing, therefore the beginning thereof first came by one, which was Peter, who confessed for them all, that Christ was the Son of the living God. Saying further, that in the church there is one office of all the bishops, whereof every man hath a part allowedwholly unto him. Now, if the bishop of Rome may meddle over all, where he will, then every man hath not wholly his part, for the bishop of Rome may also meddle in his part jointly with him; so that now he hath it not wholly: which is against Cyprian.
St. Augustine likewise, expounding the Gospel of John, in the fiftieth Treatise, speaketh there of the keys of Peter, which he saith were given of Christ to Peter, not for himself alone, but for the whole church.
Cyril, expounding the last chapter of John, and there speaking of the words of Christ spoken unto Peter, Feed my sheep, &c., thus understandeth the same: That because Peter had thrice denied Christ, whereby he thought himself he had lost his apostleship, Christ, to comfort him again, and to restore him to his office that he had lost, asked him thrice whether be loved him; and so restored him again to his office, which else he durst not have presumed unto; saying unto him, Feed my sheep, &c.; with which exposition the ancient holy expositors of that place do likewise agree. So that by these words of feeding Christ's sheep, the bishop of Rome can take no advantage to maintain his universal pastoralty over all Christian dominions.
Again, whereas the bishop of Rome saith that Peter, by these words of Christ spoken to him, hath a pre-eminency above the others, St. Paul proveth the contrary, where he, speaking to the bishops assembled at Miletus, saith to them, Take heed to yourselves, and to all your flock, in which the Holy Ghost hath put you to govern, &c.
And Peter himself likewise saith, Ye that be priests, feed the flock of God among you, &c. So that by these scriptures conferred together, it may appear, that neither Matthew xvi., nor John xxi., do prove that Peter had power, authority, or dignity given him of Christ over all the others, that they should be under him. And yet, notwithstanding his primacy, in that he, first of all the apostles, confessed Christ to be the Son of the living God, (with which confession all the other apostles did consent, and also preached the same,) standeth still; which confession first by Peter made, all others that will be saved must follow also, and be taught to confess the same. And thus the bishop of Rome's power over all, which he would prove by those places wrongfully alleged for his purpose, utterly quaileth, and is not proved. And thus much for the Scriptures and doctors.
Now, further proceeding in this matter, the said Tonstal cometh to councils, and examples of the primitive church, as followeth:
Faustinus, legate to the bishop of Rome, in the sixth council of Carthage, alleged that the bishop of Rome ought to have the ordering of all great matters, in all places, by his supreme authority, bringing no Scripture for him (for at that time no Scripture was thought to make for it); but alleged for him, and that untruly, that the first council of Nice made for his purpose. After this, when the book was brought forth, and no such article found in it, but the contrary, yet the council at that time sent to Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, where the patriarchal sees were, to have the true copy of the council of Nice, which was sent unto them. And another copy also was sent from Rome, whither also they sent for the same purpose.
After that the copy was brought to them, and no such article found in it, but in the fifth chapter thereof the contrary, that all causes ecclesiastical should either be determined with the diocese, or else, if any were aggrieved, then to appeal to the council provincial, and there the matter to take full end, so that for no such causes men should go out of their provinces; the whole council of Carthage wrote to Celestine, at that time being bishop of Rome, that since the council of Nice had no such article in it, as was untruly alleged by Faustinus, but the contrary, they desired him to abstain hereafter to make any more such demand; denouncing unto him, that they would not suffer any cause, great or small, to be brought by appeal out of their country; and thereupon made a law, that no man should appeal out of the country of Africa, upon pain to be denounced accursed. Wherewith the bishop of Rome ever after held him content, and made no more business with them, seeing he had nought to say for himself to the contrary. And at this council St. Augustine was present, and subscribed his hand. Read more hereof before.
It was determined also, in the sixth article of the said council of Nice, that in the Orient the bishop of Antioch should be chief; in Egypt the bishop of Alexandria; about Rome the bishop of Rome; and likewise in other countries the metropolitans should have their pre-eminence: so that the bishop of Rome never had meddling in those countries. And in the next article . following, the bishop of Jerusalem (which city before had been destroyed, and almost desolate) was restored to his old prerogative, to be the chief in Palestine and in the country of Jewry.
By this ye see how the patriarch of Rome, during all this time of the primitive church, had no such primacy pre-eminent above other patriarchs, much less over kings and emperors, as may appear by Agatho, bishop of Rome, long after that, in whose time was the sixth council general; which Agatho, after his election, sent to the emperor, then being at Constantinople, to have his election allowed, before he would be consecrated, after the old custom at the time used.
In like sort, another bishop of Rome, called Vitalianus, did the same, as it is written in the decrees; distinct. 63. Cap. Agatho. The like did St. Ambrose and St. Gregory before them, as it is written in the chapter Cum longe, in the same Distinction, During all this time the bishops of Rome followed well the doctrine of St. Peter and St. Paul, left unto them, to be subjects, and to obey their princes.
Thus, after that Bishop Tonstal, playing the earnest Lutheran, both by Scriptures and ancient doctors, also by examples sufficient of the primitive church, hath proved and declared, how the bishops of Rome ought to submit themselves to the higher powers whom God hath appointed every creature in this world to obey; now let us likewise see how the said Bishop Tonstal describeth unto us the bi- shop of Rome's disobedience intolerable, his pride incomparable, and his malignant malice most execrable.
And first, speaking of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, then of the pride of Nebuchadnezzar, and of Lucifer, at length he compareth the bishops of Rome to them all; who first, for disobedience, refuse to obey God's commandment, and, contrary to his word, will be above their governors, in refusing to obey them.
Secondly, Besides this rebellious disobedience in these bishops of Rome, not sufferable, their pride moreover so far exceedeth all measure, that they will have their princes, to whom they owe subjection, prostrate upon the ground, to adore them by godly honour upon the earth; and to kiss their feet, as if they were God, whereas they be but wretched men; and yet they look that their princes should do it unto them, and also that all other Christian men, owing them no subjection, should do the same.
And who be these, I pray you, that men may know them? Surely (saith he) the bishops of Rome be those whom I do mean, who, following the pride of Lucifer their father, make themselves fellows to God, and do exalt their seat above the stars of God and do ascend above the clouds, and will be like to Almighty God. By stars of God be meant the angels of heaven; for as stars do show unto us in part the light of heaven, so do angels, sent unto men, show the heavenly light of the grace of God to those to whom they be sent. And the clouds signified in the Old Testament the prophets, and in the New do signify the apostles and preachers of the word of God; for as the clouds do conceive and gather in the sky moisture, which they after pour down upon the ground, to make it thereby more fruitful, so the prophets in the Old Testament, and the apostles and preachers in the New, do pour into our ears the moisture of their heavenly doctrine of the word of God, to make therewith, by grace, our souls, being sear and dry, to bring forth fruit of the Spirit. Thus do all ancient expositors, and amongst them St. Augustine, interpret to be meant in Scripture stars and clouds, in the exposition of Psalm cxlvii.
But St. John the evangelist writeth in the nineteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, and in the twenty-second also, that when he would have fallen down at the angel's foot, that did show him those visions there written, to have adored him with godly worship, the angel said unto him, See thou do not so, for I am the servant of God, as thou art: give adoration and godly worship to God, and not to me. Here it appeareth that the bishops of Rome, suffering all men prostrate before them to kiss their feet, (yea, the same princes, to whom they owe subjection,) do climb up above the stars and angels too, offering their feet to be kissed, with shoes and all. For so I saw myself, being present four and thirty years ago, when Julius, then bishop of Rome, stood on his feet, and one of his chamberlains held up his skirt, because it stood not (as he thought) with his dignity that he should do it himself, that his shoe might appear, whilst a nobleman of great age did prostrate himself upon the ground, and kissed his shoe; which he stately suffered to be done, as of duty. Where methinks I saw Cornelius the centurion, captain of the Italian band, spoken of in Acts x., submitting himself to Peter, and much honouring him; but I saw not Peter there to take him up, and to bid him rise, saying, I am a man as thou art, as St. Peter did say to Cornelius: so that the bishops of Rome, admitting such adoration due unto God, do climb above the heavenly clouds; that is to say, above the apostles sent into the world by Christ, to water the earthly and carnal hearts of men, by their heavenly doctrine of the word of God.
Thus Bishop Tonstal, having described the passing pride of the pope, surmounting like Lucifer above bishops, apostles, angels, and stars of heaven, proceeding then further to the latter end of his sermon, cometh to speak of his rage and malice most furious and pestilent, in that he, being justly put from his kingdom here to wreak his spiteful malice, stirreth up war against us, and bloweth the horn of mischief in giving our land for a spoil and prey to all, whosoever, at his setting on, will come and invade us. But let us hear his own words, preaching to the king and all Englishmen, touching both the pope's malice, and the treason of Cardinal Pole.
"Now," saith he, "because he can no longer in this realm wrongfully use his usurped power in all things, as he was wont to do, and suck out of this realm, by avarice insatiable; innumerable sums of money yearly, to the great exhausting of the same; he therefore, moved and replete with furious ire and pestilent malice, goeth about to stir all Christian nations that will give ears to his devilish enchantments, to move war against this realm of England, giving it in prey to all those that by his instigation will invade it."
And here, expounding these aforesaid words, "To give in prey," he declareth what great mischief they contain, and willeth every true Englishman well to mark the same.
"First, to make this realm," saith he, "a prey to all adventurers, all spoilers, all sycophants, all forlorn hopes, all cormorants, all raveners of the world, that will invade this realm, is to say, Thou possessor of any lands of this realm, of what degree soever thou be, from the highest to the lowest, shalt be slain and destroyed, and thy lands taken from thee by those that will have all for themselves; and thou mayst be sure to be slain, for they will not suffer thee, nor any of thy progeny, to live to make any claim afterwards, or to be revenged; for that were their unsurety. Thy wife shall be abused before thy face; thy daughter likewise defloured before thee; thy children slain before thine eyes; thy house spoiled; thy cattle driven away, and sold before thy visage; thy plate, thy money, by force taken from thee; all thy goods, wherein thou hast any delight, or hast gathered for thy children, ravened, broken, and distributed in thy presence, that every ravener may have his share. Thou merchant art sure to be slain, for thou hast either money or ware, or both, which they search for. Thou bishop or priest, whatsoever thou be, shalt never escape, because thou wouldst not take the bishop of Rome's part, and rebel against God and thy prince, as he doth. If thou shalt flee and escape for a season, whatsoever thou be, thou shalt see and hear of so much misery and abomination, that thou shalt judge them happy that be dead before; for sure it is thou shalt not finally escape: for, to take the whole realm in prey, is to kill the whole people, and to take the place for themselves, as they will do if they can,
"And the bishop of Rome now of late, to set forth his pestilent malice the more, hath allured to his purpose a subject of this realm, Reginald Pole, coming of a noble blood, and thereby the more arrant traitor, to go about from prince to prince, and from country to country, to stir them to war against this realm, and to destroy the same, being his native country; whose pestilent purpose, the princes that he breaketh it unto have in much abomination, both for that the bishop of Rome (who, being a bishop, should procure peace) is a stirrer of war, and because this most arrant and unkind traitor is his minister to so devilish a purpose, to destroy the country that he was born in; which any heathen man would abhor to do."
And so continuing in his discourse against Cardinal Pole and the bishop of Rome, for stirring the people to war and mischief, he further saith, and saith truly, thus:
"For these many years past, little war hath been in these parts of Christendom, but the bishop of Rome either hath been a stirrer of it, or a nourisher of it, and seldom any compounder of it, unless it were for his ambition or profit. Wherefore since, as St. Paul saith, that God is not the God of dissension, but of peace, who commandeth, by his word, peace alway to be kept, we are sure that all those that go about to break peace between realms, and to bring them to war, are the children of the devil, what holy names soever they may pretend to cloak their pestilent malice withal; which cloaking under hypocrisy is double devilishness, and of Christ most detested, because under his blessed name they do play the devil's part."
And in the latter end of his sermon, concluding with Ezekiel xxxix., where the prophet speaketh against Gog and Magog going about to destroy the people of God, and prophesieth against them, that the people of God shall vanquish and overthrow them on the mountains of Israel, that none of them shall escape, but their carcases shall there be devoured of kites and crows, and birds of the air; so likewise saith he of these our enemies, wishing, that if they shall persist in their pestilent malice to make invasion into this realm, then their great captain Gog (the bishop of Rome he meaneth) may come with them, to drink with them of the same cup which he maliciously goeth about to prepare for us, that the people of God might after live quietly in peace.
We have heard hitherto the oaths, censures, and judgments of certain particular bishops, of York, of 'Winchester, of London, of Durham, and also of Edmund Bonner, archdeacon then of Leicester, against the pope's unlawful usurpation. Now, for the more fortification of the matter, and satisfying of the reader, it shall not be much out of purpose, besides the consent and approbation of these aforesaid, to infer also the public and general agreement of the whole clergy of England, as in a total sum together, confirmed and ratified in their own public book, made and set forth by them about the same time, called then The Bishops' Book; in the which book, although many things were very slender and imperfect, yet, as touching this cause of the bishop of Rome's regality, we will hear (God willing) what their whole opinion and provincial determination did conclude, according as by their own words in the same book is to be seen word for word, as followeth, subscribed also with their own names; the catalogue of whom, under their own confession, shall appear:
"We think it convenient, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach the people committed unto their spiritual charge, that whereas certain men do imagine and affirm, that Christ should give unto the bishop of Rome power and authority, not only to he head and governor of all priests and bishops in Christ's church, but also to have and occupy the whole monarchy of the world in his hands, and that he may thereby lawfully depose kings and princes from their realms, dominions, and seigniories, and so transfer and give the same to such persons as him liketh, that is utterly false and untrue; for Christ never gave unto St. Peter, or unto any of the apostles or their successors, any such authority. And the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, do teach and command, that all Christian people, as well priests and bishops, as others, should be obedient and subject unto the princes and potentates of the world, although they were infidels.
"And as for the bishop of Rome, it was many hundred years after Christ, before he could acquire or get any primacy or governance above any other bishops, out of his province in Italy; since which time he hath ever usurped more and more. And though some part of his power was given to him by the consent of the emperors, kings, and princes, and by the consent also of the clergy in general councils assembled; yet surely he attained the most part thereof by marvellous subtlety and craft, and especially by colluding with great kings and princes, sometimes training them into his devotion by pretence and colour of holiness and sanctimony, and sometimes constraining them by force and tyranny. Whereby the said bishops of Rome aspired and rose at length unto such greatness in strength and authority, that they presumed and took upon them to be heads, and to put laws by their own authority, not only unto all other bishops within Christendom, but also unto the emperors, kings, and other the princes and lords of the world; and that, under the pretence of the authority committed unto them by the gospel. Wherein the said bishops of Rome do not only abuse and pervert the true sense and meaning of Christ's word, but they do also clean contrary to the use and custom of the primitive church; and so do manifestly violate, as well the holy canons made in the church immediately after the time of the apostles, and also in the decrees and constitutions made in that behalf by the holy fathers of the catholic church, assembled in the first general councils. And finally, they do transgress their own profession, made in their creation. For all the bishops of Rome always, when they be consecrated and made bishops of that see, do make a solemn profession and vow, that they shall inviolablyt observe and keep all the ordinances made in the eight first general councils; among which it isspecially provided and enacted, that all causes shall be finished and determined within the province where the same began, and that by the bishops of the same province; and divers other such canons were then made and confirmed by the said councils, to repress and take away out of the church all such primacy and jurisdiction over kings and bishops, as the bishops of Rome pretend now to have over the same. And we find that divers good fathers, bishops of Rome, did greatly reprove, yea, and abhor (as a thing clean contrary to the gospel,and the decrees of the church) that any bishop of Rome, or elsewhere, should presume, usurp, or take upon him, the title and name of universal bishop, or of the head of all priests, or of the highest priest, or any such-like title. For confirmation whereof, it is out of all doubt, that there is no mention made, either in Scripture, or in the writings of any authentical doctor or author of the church, being within the time of the apostles themselves, or between the bishops themselves, that the were all equal in power, order, authority and jurisdiction. And in that there is now, and since the time of the apostles, any such diversity or difference amongst the bishops, it was devised by the ancient fahers of the primitive church, for the conservation of good order and the unity of the catholic church; and that either by the consent and authority, or else at least by the permission and sufferance, of the princes and civil powers for the time ruling."
This doctrine was subscribed and allowed by the witness and testimony of these bishops and other learned men, whose names hereunder follow, as appeareth in The Bishops' Book before named.
Rolandus Coventr. et Lichfield.
Richardus Wolman, Archidiac Sudbur.
Gulielmus Knight Archidiacon Richmond.
Johan. Bel, Archidiac. Glocester.
Edmundus Bonner, Archidiacon Leicester.
Gulielmus Skippe, Archidiacon Dorset.
Nicolaus Heth, Archidiac. Staff
Cuthbertus Marshal, Archidiac Nottingham.
Richardus Curren, Archidiacon Oxon.
These were doctors of divinity, and of both laws.