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Then sir, since by the word of Christ specially, that is, his voice, priests are commanded to preach, whatsoever priest that it be, that hath not good will and full purpose to doe thus, and ableth not himselfe after his cunning and power to doe his office by the example of Christ and of his apostles : whatsoever other thing that he doth, displeaseth God. For lo, Saint Gregorie saith, that thing left, that a man is bound chiefly to doe, whatsoever other thing that man doth, it is unthankfull to the holy ghost : And therefore saith Lincolne ’, the priest that preacheth not the word of God, though he be seene to have none other default, he is antichrist and Sathanas, a night theef, and a day theefe, a sleyer of soules, and an angell of light turned into darknesse. Wherefore sir, these authorities and other well considered, I deeme my selfe damnable, if I either for pleasure or displeasure of any creature, apply mee not diligently to preach the word of God. And in the same damnation I deeme all those priests which of good purpose and will, enforce them not busily to doe thus, and also all them that have purpose or will to let any priest of this businesses
2 Saith Lincolne.] Robert Grosthed, bishop of Lincoln.
* Of this businesse.] All this imperfect reasoning of this very extraordinary and interesting person, the student will learn satisfactorily to meet by the principles laid down in the inestimable first and second books of Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. We must be contented to cite a single passage from the former.
“There are in men operations, some natural, some rational, some supernatural, some politic, some finally ecclesiastical : which if we measure not each by his own proper law, whereas the things themselves are so different, there will be in our understanding and judgment of them, confusion; as that first error sheweth whereon our opposites in this cause have grounded themselves: for as they rightly maintain, that God must be glorified in all things, and that the actions of men cannot tend unto his glory, unless they be framed after his law; so it is their error to think that the only law which God hath appointed unto men in that behalf is the sacred Scripture.. Proceed we further: Let us place man in some politic society with others, whether civil or spiritual; and in this case there is no remedy but we must add yet a further law. For although even here likewise, the laws of nature and reason be of necessary use, yet somewhat over and besides them is necessary, namely, human and positive law, together with that law which is of commerce between grand societies, the law of nations, and of nations christian. For which cause the law of God hath likewise said, Let every soul be subject to the higher powers (Rom. xiii. 1). The public power of all societies is above every soul contained in the same societies. And the principal use of that power is to give laws unto all that are under it: which laws, in such case, we must obey,
And the archbishop said to those three clerks that stood before him : Loe sirs, this is the maner and businesse of this losell and such other, to picke out such sharpe sentences of holy Scripture and doctors to maintaine their sect and lore against the ordinance of holy church. And therefore losell, it is that thou covetest to have againe the psalter that I made to bee taken from thee at Canterbury, to record sharpe verses against us. But thou shalt never have that psalter, nor none other booke, till that I know that thy heart and thy mouth accord fully, to be governed by holy church.
And I said : Sir, all my will and power is, and ever shall be (I trust to God) to be governed by holy church.
And the archbishop asked me, what was holy church ?
unless there be reason shewed which may necessarily inforce, that the law of reason or of God doth enjoin the contrary : because, except our own private and but probable resolutions be by the law of public determinations overruled, we take away all possibility of sociable life in the world! A plainer example whereof than ourselves we cannot have. How cometh it to pass, that we are at this present day so rent with mutual contentions, and that the church is so much troubled about the polity of the church? No doubt, if men had been willing to learn how many laws their actions in this life had been subject unto, and what the true force of each law is, all these controversies might have died the very day that they were first brought forth.
“ It is both commonly said, and truly, that the best men otherwise are not always the best in regard of society. The reason whereof is, that the law of men's actions is one, if they be respected only as men ; and another, when they are considered as parts of a politic body. Many men there are, than whom nothing is more commendable when they are singled ; and yet in society with others none less fit to answer the duties which are looked for at their hands. Yea, I am persuaded, that of them with whom in this cause we strive, there are whose betters amongst men would hardly be found, if they did not live amongst men, but in some wilderness, by themselves. The cause of which their disposition so unframable to societies wherein they live, is, that they discern not aright what place and force these several kinds of laws ought to have in all their actions. Is their question either concerning the regimen of the church in general, or about conformity between one church and another, or of ceremonies, offices, powers, jurisdictions, in our own church ;-of all these things they judge by that rule which they frame to themselves with some shew of probability, and what seemeth in that sort convenient, the same they think themselves bound to practise; the same by all means they labour mightily to uphold; whatsoever any law of man to the contrary hath determined, they weigh it not. Thus by following the law of private reason, where the law of public should take place, they breed disturbance." Book i. chap. xviii. & 5, 6. Keble's edit.; or, Christian Institutes, vol. i. p. 183.
But since ye aske me this demand ; I call Christ and his saints holy church.
And the archbishop said unto me: I wot well that Christ and his saints are holy church in heaven, but what is holy church in earth?
And I said : Sir, though holy church be every one in charitie, yet it hath two parts. The first and principall part, hath overcomen perfectly all the wretchednesse of this life, and raigneth joyfully in heaven with Christ. And the other part is here yet in earth, busily and continually fighting day and night against temptations of the fiend ; forsaking and hating the prosperity of this world; despising and withstanding their fleshly lusts; which onely are the pilgrims of Christ, wandring toward heaven by stedfast faith and grounded hope, and by perfect charitie. For these heavenly pilgrimes may not, nor will not, be letted of their good purpose, by the reason of any doctors discording from holy Scripture ; nor by the flouds of any tribulation temporall, nor by the wind of any pride, or boast, or of manassing of any creature. For they are all fast grounded upon the sure stone Christ, hearing his word and loving it, exercising them faithfully and continually in all their wits to doe thereafter.
And the archbishop said to his clerks : See yee not how his heart is indurate, and how he is travelled with the divell occupying him thus busily to alleage such sentences to maintaine his errors and heresies ? Certaine, thus he would occupie us here all day, if we would suffer him.
One of the clerks answered : Sir, he said right now, that this certification that came to you from Shrewesbury, is untruly forged against him. Therefore sir, appose you him now here in all the points which are certified against him, and so we shall heare of his owne mouth his answers, and witnes them.
And the archbishop tooke the certification in his hand, and looked thereon a while, and then he said to me.
Loe here it is certified against thee by worthy men and faithfull of Shrewesburie, that thou preachedst there openly in S. Chad's church : that the sacrament of the altar was materiall bread after the consecration; what saist thou? Was this truly preached
And I said : Sir, I tell you truely, that I touched nothing there of the sacrament of the altar, but in this wise, as I will with God's grace tell you here. As I stood there in the pulpit,
busying me to teach the commandement of God; there knilled a sacring bell, and therefore mickle people turned away hastily, and with noise ran fro towards me. And I seeing this, said to them thus : Good men yee were better to stand here still and to heare God's word. For certes the vertue and the meede of the most holy sacrament of the altar standeth mikle more in the beleefe thereof that ye ought to have in your soule, then it doth in the outward sight thereof. And therefore, yee were better to stand still quietly to heare Gods word, because that through the hearing thereof, men come to very true beleefe. And otherwise sir, I am certaine I spake not there of the worthy sacrament of the altar.
And the archbishop said to me, I beleeve thee not whatsoever thou saist, since so worshipfull men have witnessed thus against thee. But since thou deniest that thou saidest thus there, what saist thou now? Resteth there after the consecration in the host, materiall bread or no * ?
* Materiall bread or no.] This question was the grand test of heresy, 80 called, on the doctrine of the Eucharist, at this period. In the examinations of Lord Cobham (below) we shall find that he was required “to answere, specially unto this point: whether there remained material bread in the sacrament of the altar, after the words of consecration, or not?”—Fox, p. 516. In the Life of Wickliffe, p. 211, note (7), we saw the gross determination which the question received by his adversaries in the university of Oxford. The conduct of Thorpe here was regulated according to the same maxims which had been previously recommended by John Purvey.
“Therefore, when anti-Christ or any of his shavelings doth aske of thee that art a simple Christian, whether that this sacrament be the very body of Christ or not, affirme thou it manifestly so to bee. And if he aske of thee whether it be materiall bread, or what other bread else, say thou, that it is such bread as Christ understood and meant by his proper word, and such bread as the holy ghost meant in St. Paul, when he called that to be very bread which he brake; and wade thou no further herein. But yet, men of more knowledge and reason may more plainly convince the falsity of antichrist, both in this matter, and in others, by the gift of the holy ghost working in them. Notwithstanding, if those that be simple men will humbly hold and keepe the manifest and apparent words of the holie Scripture, and the plaine sense and meaning of the holy ghost, and proceed no further, but humbly commit that unto the spirit of God which passeth their understanding ; then may they safely offer themselves to death, as true martyrs of Jesus Christ.”—Fox, p. 501. This modest and prudent reserve in giving answers on this and other abstruse and hazardous points of controversy, is ridiculed, at some length, in a very uncharitable spirit, in Barlowe's Dialogue concerning Lutheran Factions. Signat. I 1, I 2 ; edit. 1553. Compare also above, notes on p. 186, and p. 229.
And I said ; Sir, I know in no place in holy Scripture where this terme materiall bread is written: and therefore sir, when I speake of this matter, I use not to speake of materiall bread.
Then the archbishop said to me; How teachest thou men to beleeve in this sacrament?
And I said ; Sir, as I beleeve my self, so I teach other men. He said ; Tell out plainely thy beleefe thereof.
And I said, with my protestation ; Sir, I beleeve that the night before that Christ Jesu would suffer (wilfully) passion for mankind on the morne after, hee tooke bread in his holy and most worshipfull hands, and lifting up his eies, and giving thanks to God his father, blessed this bread and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying to them ; Take and eate of this all you, this is my bodie. And that this is and ought to bee all mens beleefe, Matthew, Marke, Luke, and Paul witnesseth. Other beleefe sir I have none, nor will have, nor teach: for I beleeve, that this sufficeth' in this matter. For in this beleefe with Gods grace I
5 That this sufficeth.] The judgment of this ancient confessor cannot be better sustained and substantiated than by the following sage, solemn, and profound sentiments of the inestimable Hooker :
“ These things considered, how should that mind, which loving truth and seeking comfort out of holy mysteries, hath not perhaps the leisure, perhaps not the will nor capacity to tread out so endless mazes, as the intricate disputes of this cause have led men into, how should a virtuously disposed mind better resolve with itself than thus ? Variety of judgments and opinions argueth obscurity in those things whereabout they differ. But that which all parts receive for truth, that which every one having sifted is by no one denied or doubted of, must needs be matter of infallible certainty. Whereas, therefore, there are but three expositions made of this is my body,' the first this is in itself before participation, really and truly the natural substance of my body, by rcason of the co-existence which my omnipotent body hath with the sand ed element of bread,' which is the Lutheran's interpretation; the second, this is itself, and before participation, the very true and natural substance of my body, by force of that Deity, which, with the words of consecration abolisheth the substance of bread, and substituteth in the place thereof my body,' which is the popish construction; the last, this hallowed food, through concurrence of divine power, is in verity and truth, unto faithful receivers, instrumentally a cause of that mystical participation, whereby as I make myself wholly theirs, so I give them in hand an actual possession of all such saving grace, as my sacrificed body can yield, and as their souls do presently need, this is to them and in them my body.' Of these three rehearsed interpretations, the last hath in it nothing but what the rest do all approve and acknowledge to be most true; nothing but that which the words of Christ are on all sides confessed to enforce; nothing but that which the church of God hath always thought necessary; nothing but