Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 247. ACTIONS TO RE-ESTABLISH PAPISM.

247. ACTIONS TO RE-ESTABLISH PAPISM.

            The twenty-fourth of the same month, the year of our Lord 1554, Bonner, bishop of London, sent down a commission, directed to all the curates and pastors of his diocese, for the taking of the names of such as would not come the Lent following to auricular confession, and to the receiving at Easter; the copy of which monition here followeth.

 

A monition of Bonner, bishop of London, sent down to all and singular curates of his diocese, for the certifying of the names of such as would not come in Lent to confession, and receiving at Easter.

            "Edmund, by the permission of God bishop of London, to all parsons, vicars, curates, and ministers of the church within the city and diocese of London, sendeth grace, peace, and mercy, in our Lord everlasting: Forasmuch as by the order of the ecclesiastical laws and constitutions of this realm, and the laudable usage and custom of the whole catholic church, by many hundred years agone, duly and devoutly observed and kept, all faithful people, being of lawful age and discretion, are bound once in the year at least (except reasonable cause excuse them) to be confessed to their own proper curate, and to receive the sacrament of the altar, with due preparation and devotion: And forasmuch, also, as we be credibly informed, that sundry evil disposed and undevout persons, given to sensual pleasures and carnal appetites, following the lusts of their body, and neglecting utterly the health of their souls, do forbear to come to confession according to the said usage, and to receive the sacrament of the altar accordingly, giving thereby pernicious and evil example to the younger sort, to neglect and contemn the same: We, minding the reformation hereof for our own discharge, and desirous of good order to be kept, and good example to be given; do will and command you, by virtue hereof, that immediately upon the receipt of this our commandment, ye, each and every of you, within your cure and charge, do use all your diligence and dexterity to declare the same, straitly charging and commanding all your parishioners, being of lawful age and discretion, to come, before Easter next coming, to confession, according to the said ordinance and usage, with due preparation and devotion to receive the said sacrament of the altar; and that ye do note the names of all such as be not confessed unto you, and do not receive of you the said sacrament, certifying us or our chancellor or commissary thereof, before the sixth day of April next ensuing the date hereof: that so we, knowing thereby who did not come to confession, and receiving the sacrament accordingly, may proceed against them, as being persons culpable, and transgressors of the said ecclesiastical law and usage. Further, also, certifying us, our said chancellor or commissary, before the day aforesaid, whether you have your altars set up, chalice-book, vestments, and all things necessary for mass, and the administration of sacraments and sacramentals, with procession, and all other divine service prepared and in readiness, according to the order of the catholic church, and the virtuous and godly example of the queen's Majesty: and, if ye so have not, ye then, with the churchwardens, cause the same to be provided for, signifying by whose fault and negligence the same want or fault hath proceeded; and generally, of the not coming of your parishioners to church, undue walking, talking, or using of themselves there unreverently in the time of divine service, and of all other open faults and misdemeanours; not omitting thus to do, and certify as before, as you will answer upon your peril for the contrary.

            "Given at London the twenty-third of February, in the year of our Lord 1554."

            The next month following, which was the month of March, and the fourth day of the said month, there was a letter sent from the queen to Bonner, bishop of London, with certain articles also annexed, to be put in speedy execution, containing as here followeth.

            "Right reverend father in God, right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well: And whereas heretofore in the time of the late reign of our most dearest brother King Edward the Sixth, (whose soul God pardon,) divers notable crimes, excesses, and faults, with sundry kinds of heresies, simony, adultery, and other enormities, have been committed within this our realm, and other our dominions, the same continuing yet hitherto in like disorder since the beginning of our reign, without any correction or reformation at all; and the people both of the laity and also of the clergy, and chiefly of the clergy, have been given to much insolency, and ungodly rule, greatly to the displeasure of Almighty God, and very much to our regret and evil contentation, and to no little slander of other Christian realms, and in a manner to the subversion and clean defacing of this our realm: and remembering our duty to Almighty God to be, to foresee (as much as in us may be) that all virtue and godly living should be embraced, flourish, and increase; and therewith also, that all vice and ungodly behaviour should be banished and put away, or at leastwise (so nigh as might be) so bridled and kept under, that godliness and honesty might have the upper hand; understanding by very credible report and public fame, to our no small heaviness and discomfort, that within your diocese, as well in not exempted as exempted places, the like disorder and evil behaviour hath been done and used, like also to continue and increase, unless due provision he had and made to reform the same; which earnestly, in very deed, we do mind and intend to the uttermost, all the ways we can possible, trusting of God's furtherance and help in that behalf: For these causes, and other most just considerations us moving, we send unto you certain articles of such special matters, as, among other things, be most necessary now to be put in execution by you and your officers, extending to the end by us desired, and the reformation aforesaid: wherein ye shall be charged with our special commandment, by these our letters, to the intent you and your officers may the more earnestly and boldly proceed thereunto, without fear of any presumption to be noted on your part, or danger to be incurred of any such our laws, as, by our doing of that is in the said articles contained, might any wise grieve you, whatsoever be threatened in any such case. And therefore we straitly charge and command you and your said officers, to proceed to the execution of the said articles, without all tract and delay, as ye will answer to the contrary.

            "Given under our signet, at our palace of Westminster, the third day of March, the first year of our reign."

 

Articles sent from the queen unto the ordinary, and by him and his officers, by her commandment, to be put in execution in the whole diocese.

            "First, that every bishop and his officers, with all others having ecclesiastical jurisdiction, shall, with all speed and diligence, and all manner of ways to them possible, put in execution all such canons and ecclesiastical laws, heretofore, in the time of King Henry the Eighth, used within this realm of England, and the dominions of the same, not being directly and expressly contrary to the laws and statutes of this realm.

            "Item, That no bishop, or any of his officers, or other person aforesaid, hereafter, in any ecclesiastical writings, in process, or other extrajudicial acts, do use to put in this clause or sentence, Regia authoritate fulcitus.

            "Item, That no bishop, or any of his officers, or other person aforesaid, do hereafter exact or demand, in the admission of any person to any ecclesiastical promotion, order, or office, any oath touching the primacy or succession, as of late, in few years passed, hath been accustomed and used.

            "Item, That every bishop and his officers, with all other persons aforesaid, have a vigilant eye, and use special diligence and foresight, that no person be admitted or received to any ecclesiastical function, benefice, or office, being a sacramentary, infected or defamed with any notable kind of heresy, or other great crime, and that the said bishop do stay, and cause to be staved, as much as lieth in him, that benefices and ecclesiastical promotions do not notably decay or take hinderance by passing or confirming of unreasonable leases.

            "Item, That every bishop, and all other persons aforesaid, do diligently travail for the repressing of heresies and notable crimes, especially in the clergy, duly correcting and punishing the same.

            "Item, That every bishop, and all the other persons aforesaid, do likewise travail for the condemning and repressing of corrupt and naughty opinions, unlawful. books, ballads, and other pernicious and hurtful devices, engendering hatred amongst the people, and discord among the same. And that schoolmasters, preachers, and teachers, do exercise and use their offices and duties without teaching, preaching, or setting forth any evil and corrupt doctrine; and that, doing the contrary, they may be, by the bishop and his said officers, punished and removed.

            "Item, That every bishop, and all other persons aforesaid, proceeding summarily, and with all celerity and speed, may and shall deprive, or declare deprived, and remove, according to their learning and discretion, all such persons from their benefices and ecclesiastical promotions, who, contrary to the state of their order, and the laudable custom of the church, have married and used women as their wives, or otherwise notably and slanderously disordered or abused themselves: sequestering also, during the said process, the fruits and profits of the said benefices and ecclesiastical promotions.

            "Item, that the said bishop, and all other persons aforesaid, do use more lenity and clemency with such as have married, whose wives be dead, than with others, whose women do yet remain alive; and likewise such priests, as (with the consent of their wives or women) openly in the presence of the bishop do profess to abstain, to be used more favourably. In which case, after the penance effectually done, the bishop, according to his discretion and wisdom, may, upon just consideration, receive and admit them again to their former administration, so it be not in the same place; appointing them such a portion to live upon, to be paid out of their benefice whereof they be deprived, by discretion of the said bishop or his officer, as he shall think may be spared of the said benefice.

            "Item, That every bishop, and all other persons aforesaid, do foresee that they suffer not any religious man, having solemnly professed chastity, to continue with his woman or wife; but that all such persons, after deprivation of their benefice or ecclesiastical promotion, be also divorced every one from his said woman, and due punishment otherwise taken for the offence therein.

            "Item, That every bishop, and all other persons aforesaid, do take order and direction with the parishioners of every benefice where priests do want, to repair to the next parish for divine service, or to appoint for a convenient time, till other better provision may be made, one curate to serve, alienis vicibus, in divers parishes, and to allot to the curate, for his labour, some portion of the benefice that he so serveth.

            "Item, That all and all manner of processions of the church be used; and frequented and continued, after the old order of the church, in the Latin tongue.

            "Item, That all such holy days and fasting days be observed and kept, as were observed and kept in the latter time of King Henry the Eighth.

            "Item, That the laudable and honest ceremonies which were wont to be used, frequented, and observed in the church, be also hereafter frequented, used, and observed.

            "Item, That children be christened by the priest, and confirmed by the bishop, as heretofore hath been accustomed and used.

            "Item, Touching such persons as were heretofore promoted to any orders, after the new sort and fashion of orders: considering they were not ordered in very deed, the bishop of the diocese finding otherwise sufficiency and ability in those men, may supply that thing which wanted in them before; and then, according to his discretion, admit them to minister.

            "Item, That by the bishop of the diocese a uniform doctrine be set forth by homilies, or otherwise, for the good instruction and teaching of all people; and that the said bishop, and other persons aforesaid, do compel the parishioners to come to their several churches, and there devoutly to hear divine service, as of reason they ought.

            "Item, That they examine all schoolmasters and teachers of children; and, finding them suspect in any wise, to remove them, and place catholic men in their rooms, with a special commandment to instruct their children, so as they may be able to answer the priest at the mass, and so help the priest to mass, as hath been accustomed.

            "Item, That the said bishop, and all others the persons aforesaid, have such regard, respect, and consideration of and for the setting-forth of the premises, with all kind of virtue, godly living, and good example, with repressing also and keeping under of vice and unthriftiness, as they and every of them may be seen to favour the restitution of true religion; and also to make an honest account and reckoning of their office and cure, to the honour of God, our good contentation and profit of this our realm, and the dominions of the same."

            A like prescript also, with articles, was sent from the said Queen Mary to the lord mayor of London, the fourth day of March, in the year abovesaid; which lord mayor, upon the same, directed his commandment to the aldermen, every one severally in his ward, containing as followeth:

            "On the queen our most gracious and most benign sovereign lady's behalf, we most straitly charge and command you, that ye (the said aldermen) fail not personally to call before your own person, in such place within your said ward, as to you shall seem most convenient and meet, upon Wednesday next coming, which shall be the seventh day of this present month, at seven of the clock in the morning of the same day, all and every the householders both poor and rich of your said ward, and then and there openly and plainly, for your own discharge, and for the eschewing the perils that to you might otherwise be justly imputed and laid, do not only straitly admonish, charge, and command, in the queen our said sovereign lady's name and behalf, all and every the said householders, that both in their own persons, and also their wives, children, and servants, being of the age of twelve years and upwards, [all] and every of them, do, at all and every time and times from henceforth, and namely at the holy time of Easter, now approaching, honestly, quietly, obediently, and catholicly, use and behave themselves like good and faithful Christian people, in all and every thing and things touching and concerning the true faith, profession, and religion of his catholic church, both according to the laws and precepts of Almighty God, and also their bounden duty of obedience towards our sovereign lady the queen, her laws and statutes, and her Highness's most good example and gracious proceeding according to the same, and according also to the right wholesome, charitable, and godly admonition, charge, and exhortation, lately set forth and given by the right reverend father in God the bishop of London, our diocesan and ordinary, to all the parsons, vicars, and curates, within his diocese: but, also, that they and every of them do truly, without delay, advertise you of the names and surnames of all and every person and persons, that they or any of them can or may at any time hereafter know, perceive, or understand, to transgress or offend in any point or article concerning the premises, at their utmost perils; [and] that ye, immediately after such notice thereof to you given, do forthwith advertise us thereof. Fail ye not thus to do with all circumspection and diligence, as ye will answer to our said most dread sovereign lady the queen for the contrary, at your like peril.

            "Given at the Guildhall of the city of London, the fifth day of March, in the first year of the reign of our said sovereign lady the queen.
Blackwell.

            "And likewise do you give to every of the said householders straitly in commandment, that they or their wives depart not out of the said city, until this holy time of Easter be past."

            Upon the articles above mentioned, and inquisition made upon the same, divers ministers were divorced from their wives. Amongst whom was one John Draper, and Joan Gold his wife, in the diocese of London, troubled and vexed for the same by Bonner, bishop of London, who sent forth a commission, with a process to sequester and separate them; enjoining also penance to the poor woman.

            Besides this John Draper, divers others, also, were divorced the same time against their wills; and some were contented, of their own unconstant accord, to be separated from their wives: as of Chichester one, (who, because he soon recovered again, shall be here nameless,) another named Edmund Alstone, another Alexander Bull; amongst whom also was Dr. Standish, with many others, whose names together, in the end of this story of Queen Mary, we may peradventure, by God's grace, in a general catalogue together comprehend.

            About the same year and time, when Dr. Bonner set forth this prescript or monitory, there came from the queen another proclamation, against strangers and foreigners within this realm: the purpose and intent of which proclamation, because it chiefly and most specially concerned religion and doctrine, and the true professors thereof, I thought here to annex the tenor and manner of the same.

 

A copy of the queen's proclamation for the driving out of the realm strangers and foreigners.

            "The queen our sovereign lady, understanding that a multitude of evil disposed persons, being born out of her Highness's dominions in other sundry nations, flying from the obeisance of the princes and rulers under whom they be born, (some for heresy; some for murder, treason, robbery; and some for other horrible crimes,) be resorted into this her Majesty's realm, and here have made their demurrer, and yet be commorant and lingering, partly to eschew such condign punishment as their said horrible crimes deserve, and partly to dilate, plant, and sow the seeds of their malicious doctrine and lewd conversation among the good subjects of this her said realm, on purpose to infect her good subjects with the like, insomuch as (besides innumerable heresies, which divers of the same, being heretics, have preached and taught within her Highness's said realm) it is assuredly known unto her Majesty, that not only their secret practices have not failed to stir, comfort, and aid, divers her Highness's subjects to this most unnatural rebellion against God and her Grace, but also some others of them desist not still to practise with her people eftsoons to rebel: her Majesty therefore, having (as afore is said) knowledge and intelligence hereof, hath for remedy herein determined, and most straitly chargeth and commandeth, that all and every such person or persons born out of her Highness's dominions, now commorant or resident within this realm, of whatsoever nation or country, being either preacher, printer, bookseller, or other artificer, or of whatsoever calling else, not being denizen or merchant known, using the trade of merchandise, or servant to such ambassadors as be liegers here from the princes and states joined in league with her Grace, shall within twenty-four days of this proclamation, avoid the realm, upon pain of most grievous punishment by imprisonment, and forfeiture and confiscation of all their goods and movables; and also to be delivered unto their natural princes or rulers, against whose persons or laws they have offended. Giving to all mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, constables, and all other her ministers, officers, and good subjects, straitly also in charge, if they know any such person, not born in the queen's Highness's dominions, (except before excepted,) that shall, after the time and day limited in the proclamation, tarry within this realm, that they shall apprehend the same person or persons, and commit him or them to ward, there to remain without bail or mainprize, till her Grace's pleasure or her council's be signified unto them, for the further ordering of the said person or persons. And that if any of her said officers, after the said twenty-four days, apprehend, take, or know of any such, they shall, with all diligence, immediately certify her said council thereof, to the intent order maybe forthwith given for their punishment accordingly."

            In the mean while, upon the proclamation before mentioned, not only the strangers in King Edward's time received into the realm for religion, (among whom was Peter Martyr, and John Alasco, uncle to the king of Poland,) but many Englishmen, fled, some to Friesland, some to Cleveland, some to High Germany, where they were diversely scattered into divers companies and congregations, at Wesel, at Frankfort, Embden, Marburg, Transborough, Basil, Arow, Zurich, Geneva, and other places; where, by the providence of God, they were all sustained, and there entertained with greater favour amongst strangers abroad, than they could be in their own country at home, well near to the number of eight hundred persons, students and others together.

            In the said month of March, the Lord Courtney, earl of Devonshire, whom the queen, at her first entering, delivered out of the Tower, and Lady Elizabeth also, the queen's sister, were both in suspicion to have consented to Wyat's conspiracy, and for the same, this March, were apprehended and committed to the Tower.

            Touching the imprisonment of which Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney, thou shalt note here for thy learning, good reader! a politic point of practice in Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, not unworthy to be considered. This Gardiner being always a capital enemy to the Lady Elizabeth, and thinking now, by the occasion of Master Wyat, to pick out some matter against the Lord Courtney, and so in the end to entangle the Lady Elizabeth, devised a pestilent practice of conveyance, as in the story here following may appear.

            The story is this. The same day that Sir Thomas Wyat died, he desired the lieutenant to bring him to the presence of the Lord Courtney; who there, before the lieutenant and the sheriffs kneeling down upon his knees, besought the Lord Courtney to forgive him, for that he had falsely accused both the Lady Elizabeth and him: and so, being brought from thence unto the scaffold to suffer there, openly (in the hearing of all the people) cleared the Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney, to be free and innocent from all suspicion of that commotion. At which confession Dr. Weston, there standing by, cried to the people, saying, "Believe him not, good people! for he confessed otherwise before, unto the council."

            After the execution done of Sir Thomas Wyat, which was the eleventh day of April, word was brought immediately unto the lord mayor, Sir Thomas White, a little before dinner, how Master Wyat had cleared the Lady Elizabeth and Lord Courtney, and the words also which Dr. Weston spake unto the people; whereunto the lord mayor answering, "Is this true?" quoth he; "said Weston so? In sooth, I never took him otherwise but for a knave." Upon this the lord mayor sitting down to dinner, (who dined the same day at the Bridgehouse,) cometh in Sir Martin Bowes with the recorder, newly come from the parliament house, who, hearing of the mayor and sheriffs this report of Wyat's confession, both upon the scaffold and also in the Tower, marvelled thereat, declaring how there was another tale, contrary to this, told the same day in the parliament house, which was, that Sir Thomas Wyat should desire the Lord Courtney to confess the truth, so as he had done before.

            Upon this it followed not long after, that a certain prentice, dwelling in St. Laurence Lane, named Cut, as he was drinking with one Denham a plasterer, being one of Queen Mary's servants, amongst other talk made mention how Sir Thomas Wyat had cleared the Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney to be no consenters to his rising. These words being brought to Gardiner, (by what means I know not,) incontinent upon the same, Sir Andrew Judd was sent by the said bishop unto the lord mayor, commanding him to bring the said prentice to the Star-chamber, which was accused of these words, that he should say, that Wyat was constrained by the council to accuse the Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney. Which fellow, when he was come to the Star-chamber, the aforesaid Gardiner, letting pass other matters that were in hand, began to declare to the whole multitude, how miraculously Almighty God had brought the queen's Majesty to the crown, the whole realm in a manner being against her; and that he had brought this to pass for this singular intent and purpose, that this realm being overwhelmed with heresies, she might reduce again the same unto the true catholic faith. And whereas she took the Lady Elizabeth into her favour, and loved her so tenderly, and also the Lord Courtney, who had long time been detained in prison, and by her was set at liberty, and received great benefits at her hands; and, notwithstanding all this, they had conspired most unnaturally and traitorously against her, with that heinous traitor Wyat, as by the confession of Wyat, said he, and the letters sent to and fro, may plainly appear: yet there were some in the city of London which reported, that Wyat was constrained by the council to accuse the Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney, "and yet you, my Lord Mayor," quoth he, "have not seen the same punished."

            "The party is here," said the lord mayor. "Take him with you," said Gardiner, "and punish him according to his desert;" and said further, "My Lord, take heed to your charge! The city of London is a whirlpool and sink of all evil rumours, where they be bred, and from thence spread into all parts of this realm."

            There stood by, the same time, the Lord Chandos, who, being then lieutenant of the Tower, and now hearing the bishop thus speak, to soothe his tale came in with these words as followeth:

            "My Lords," quoth he, "this is a truth that I shall tell you. Being lieutenant of the Tower when Wyat suffered, he desired me to bring him to the Lord Courtney; which when I had done, he fell down upon his knees before him in my presence, and desired him to confess the truth of himself, as he had done before, and to submit himself unto the queen's Majesty's mercy."

            And thus much I thought of this matter to declare, to the intent that the reader, perceiving the proceedings of the bishop in the premises, and comparing the same with the true testimony of Wyat himself, and with the testimony of the sheriffs, which were present the same time when Sir Thomas Wyat asked the Lord Courtney forgiveness, may the better judge of the whole case and matter for which the Lady Elizabeth and the Lord Courtney were so long in trouble; of which her Grace's trouble, hereafter (God willing) more shall be said in the story of her life. In the mean time to let this matter stay, let us now pass further in our history.

            Not long after this, Queen Mary, partly fearing the Londoners by occasion of Wyat's conspiracy; partly perceiving most of the city, for religion's sake, not greatly to favour her proceedings, to their displeasure and hinderance summoned a parliament to be holden at Oxford: as it were to gratify that city, where both the university, town, and country, had showed themselves very obedient, and forward, especially, in restoring popish religion. For this purpose great provision was made, as well by the queen's officers, as by the townsmen and inhabitants of Oxford, and the country about. But the queen's mind in short space changed, and the same parliament was holden at Westminster in April following. Then the queen, beside other things, proposed concerning her marriage to King Philip, and restoring of the pope's supremacy; as touching her marriage, it was agreed upon: but the other request could not as then be obtained.

            The same time when this parliament was summoned, she also summoned a convocation of bishops, and of the clergy, writing unto Bonner (whom she had made vicegerent in the stead of Cranmer, being then in the Tower) after the tenor and form of a new style, differing from the old style of King Henry and King Edward, as followeth.

 

The style of Queen Mary altered, writing to Bonner for the summoning of a convocation.

            "Maria Dei gratia, Anglię, Francię, et Hibernię regina, fidei defensor, reverendo in Christo patri Edmundo Londinensi episcopo salutem. Licet nuper quibusdam arduis et urgentibus negotiis nos securitatem et defensionem ecclesię Anglicanę, ac pacem et tranquillitatem," &c.

            Where note, good reader, concerning the altering and changing the queen's style, the latter part thereof to be left out of her style, which is, "Supreme head of the church of England and Ireland," because in this present parliament the supremacy being given away from the crown of England to the pope, thereupon this parcel of the title was also taken away. Likewise the said Bonner, giving his certificate upon the same, leaves out auctoritate illustrissimę, &c., legitime suffultus: which parcel, also, in the said parliament was repealed and taken away the same time.

 

The dignity of priests extolled by Bishop Bonner.

            In this aforesaid convocation, Bonner, bishop of London, being vicegerent and president, as is said, made a certain exhortation or oration to the clergy, (which was in this convocation, or much about the said time,) wherein he seemeth to show a great piece of profound and deep learning, in setting forth the most incomparable and superangelical order of priesthood, as may appear by this parcel or fragment of his aforesaid oration, being collected and gathered by some that stood by; which, as it came to our hands, so I thought to impart it to the reader, both for that the author of so worthy a work should not pass unknown, and partly, also, for that the estimation of this blessed order should lose nothing of its pre-eminence, but might be known in most ample perfection, so as it standeth above angels and kings, if it he true that Bonner saith.

 

A piece or fragment of the exhortation in praise of priesthood, made by Bonner, bishop of London, to them of the convocation-house; copied out by them that stood by and heard him.

            "Wherefore it is to be known, that priests and elders be worthy of all men to be worshipped for the dignity' sake which they have of God, as in Matthew xvi.: Whatsoever ye shall loose upon earth, &c., and whatsoever ye shall bind, &c. For a priest, by some means, is like Mary the Virgin, and is showed by three points. As the blessed Virgin, by five words, did conceive Christ,as it is said in Luke i., Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, (Be it unto me according to thy word,) so the priest, by five words, doth make the very body of Christ. Even as immediately after the consent of Mary, Christ was all whole in the womb; so, immediately after the speaking of the words of consecration, the bread is substantiated into the very body of Christ. Secondly, as the Virgin carried Christ in her arms, and laid him in an ox-stall after his birth; even so the priest, after the consecration, doth lift up the body of Christ, and placeth it, and carrieth it, and handleth it with his hands. Thirdly, as the blessed Virgin was sanctified before she had conceived; so the priest, being ordained and anointed before he doth consecrate, because without orders he could consecrate nothing, therefore the layman cannot do that thing, although he be never so holy, and do speak the selfsame words of consecration. Therefore here is to be known, that the dignity of priests, by some means, passeth the dignity of angels, because there is no power given to any of the angels to make the body of Christ. Whereby the least priest may do in earth, that which the greatest and highest angel in heaven cannot do; as St. Bernard saith, 'O worshipful dignity of priests, in whose hands the Son of God is, as in the womb of the Virgin he was incarnate.' St. Augustine saith, that angels, in the consecration of the sacred host, do serve him; and the Lord of heaven descendeth to him. Whereupon St. Ambrose upon St. Luke saith, 'Doubt thou not the angels to be where Christ is present upon the altar.' Wherefore priests are to be honoured beforeall kings of the earth, princes, and nobles. For a priest is higher than a king, happier than an angel, maker of his Creator. Wherefore," &c.

 

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