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promised his disciples, that hee will never leave “ them orphanes; for he is faithfull that has

pro“mised. Hold fast, therefore, his correction; that

is,-being rooted and grounded in charitie, what

soever yee doe, whatsoever yee endeavour, doe it “ with one accord, in simplicitie of heart, in meeke“ nesse of spirit, without murmuring, or doubt

ing. For by this doe all men know, that wee “ are the disciples of Christ, if we have loue one “ to another. Which charitie, as it is very greatly “ to bee desired of all faithfull christians, so, cer

tainely, is it altogether necessary for you, most 6 blessed sonnes. For by this your charitie, the

power of the deuill is weakened ; who doeth so 66 much assail

since that

of his is

especially vp-held by the contentions and disagree“ments of our sonnes. We exhort you, therefore,

by the bowells of our Lord Jesus Christ, by “ whose love wee are taken out of the lawes of “ eternall death, that, above all things, you would “ have mutuall charitie among you. Surely, pope “ Clement the eight, of happy memory, hath giuen

you most profitable precepts of practising bro“therly charitie one to another, in his letters, in “ form of a breue, to our well-beloved sonne, “ M. George, archpriest of the kingdome of Eng“ land, dated the 5th day of the moneth of October “ 1602. Put them, therefore, diligently in prac“tise; and be not hindered by any difficultie or “ doubtfulnesse. We command you, that ye doe ex

actly obserue the words of those letters; and that ye take and vnderstand them, simply as they

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it sound, and as they lie; all power to interpret “ them otherwise being taken away. In the meane :146 while, we will never cease to pray to the Father

of mercies, that hee would, with pitie, beholde your afflictions and your paines, and that he *** would keepe and defend you with his continuall "protection ; whom we doe gently greet with our " apostolicall benediction. Dated, at Rome, át * S. Marke, vnder the signet of the Fisherman, the 66 tenth of the kalends of October 1606, the second yeare of our popedome.”

It appears that, when the brief reached England, great doubts were entertained of its authenticity. This circumstance produced a second brief. It is translated, in the following terms, by the royal polemic:

“ Beloued sonnes, salutation and apostolicall “ benediction. It is reported vnto vs, that there “ are found certaine amongst you, who, when as

wee have sufficiently declared by our letters, “dated the last yeere, on the tenth of the kalend's 6 of October, in the form of a breve, that yee cannot, “ with safe conscience, take the oath which was " then required of you; and when, as wee have “ further straitly commaunded you, that by no

meanes ye should take it; yet there are some, " I say, among you, which dare now affirme, that “ such letters, concerning the forbidding of the “oath, were not written of our own accord, or of our “owne proper will, but rather for the respect and « at the instigation of other men: and for that "cause the same men doe goe about to persuade you, that our commands, in the said letters, are “not to be regarded. Surely, this newes did “trouble us; and that so much the more, because “having had experience of your obedience, (most “dearely beloved sonnes), who, to the end ye might “ obey this holy see, have godly and valiantly contemned


riches, wealth, honour, libertie, yea and life itselfe; we should never have sus"pected that the trueth of our apostolique letters “ could once have been called into question among

you, that by this pretence yee might exempt

yourselues from our commandements. But we “ do herein perceive the subtiltie and craft of the “ enemie of man's saluation; and we doe attribute “this your backwardnesse, rather to him than to

your owne will. And for this cause, wee have thought good to write the second time ynto

you; and to signifie vnto you againe, that our “ apostolike letters, dated the last yere, on the tenth « of the calends of October, concerning the prohi“bition of the oath, were written, not only vpon “our proper motion, and of our certaine know

ledge, but also after long and weightie deli“beration vsed, concerning all those things which are contained in them; and that, for that cause,

yee are bound fully to observe them; rejecting “all interpretation perswading to the contrary. " And this is our meere, pure, and perfect will ;

being always carefull of your salvation, and

alwayes minding those things which are most “ profitable vnto you. And we doe pray without “ceasing, that he that hath appointed our lowli

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nesse to the keeping of the flocke of Christ, would enlighten our thoughts and our counsels ; whom

wee doe also continually desire, that he would “ increase in you, (our beloved sonnes), faith, con

stancy, and mutuall charitie and peace, one to “ another. All whom we doe most loveingly blesse, " with all charitable affection..

“ Dated at Rome, at Saint Marke's, under the signet of the Fisherman, the X of the calends “ of September 1607; the third yeere of our “popedome.”




To all who are interested, either in the history of the times, to which these pages relate, or in the history of the pretensions of the popes to temporal power, this controversy is of singular importance. This, however, is not the place for detailing its particulars: the combatants, who principally distinguished themselves in it, were cardinal Bellarmine and father Preston, an English Benedictine monk, who assumed, in this controversy, the surname of Widdrington. Each wrote as a scholar and a gentleman. The objections to the oath were numerous; but, as we have already said, and must repeat in this place, the cardo cause, the hinge, on which the merits of the case principally rested, was the lawfulness of the absolute denial, expressed in the oath, of the pope's divine right to the power of deposing sovereigns from their kingdoms for heresy. This is placed beyond controversy by a letter from father Wilford to father Leander*, who, at the time when it was written, was employed in framing such an oath of allegiance as should satisfy both the British government and the English catholics. “ Look over the oath which usually is exhibited to “ catholics in Ireland, examine other forms of oath

in catholic countries, add to them, augment them, “ and endeavour to form them in that kind and “ those words, which may content and secure his

majesty, as is most just and reasonable to be done,

yet take heed of meddling with the deponibility “ of princes; for that article will never pass here. “ If this point of the oath could be helped, and this

petra scandali taken away, and the catholics freed “ from it, how many thousand of benedictions would “ the catholics heap upon his majesty.”

To this objection to the oath we shall afterwards advert; some other of the objections to it must now seem very extraordinary. Two of this description are mentioned by Dr. Bishop, as those, which principally deterred him from taking this oath. In a manuscript, with an extract of which the writer has been favoured, the doctor writes, that “ he had “ been taken, on the day before, to the archbishop “ of Canterbury, to express to his grace his opinion

upon the lawfulness of the oath :- I told him, says Dr. Bishop, that after most diligent exami* Dated Rome, May 9, 1635. Clarendon's State Papers,


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vol. i. p. 272.

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