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conceived by the holy Ghost, borne of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Ponce Pilat, crucified, dead and buried, went down to hell, the third day rose againe from death, ascended up to heaven, sitteth on the right hand of God the father almighty, and from thence shall come againe to judge the quicke and the dead. I beleeve in the Holy Ghost, the universall holy church, the communion of Saints, the forgivenesse of sins, the uprising of the flesh, and everlasting life, Amen. “And for a more large declaration (saith he) of this my
faith in the catholike church, I stedfastly beleeve, that there is but one God almighty, in and of whose godhead are these three persons, the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost, and that those three persons are the selfesame God almighty.
I beleeve also that the second person of this most blessed Trinity, in most convenient time appointed thereunto afore, tooke flesh and bloud of the most blessed virgin Mary, for the safegard and redemption of the universall kind of man, which was afore lost in Adams offence.
“ Moreover I beleeve, that the same Jesus Christ our lord thus being both God and man, is the only head of the whole Christian church, and that all those that have been, or shall be saved, be members of this most holy church. And this holy church I thinke to be divided into three sorts or companies :
“Whereof the first sort be now in heaven, and they are the saints from hence departed. These as they were here conversant, conformed alwaies their lives to the most holy lawes and pure examples of Christ, renouncing satan, the world, and the flesh, with all their concupiscence and evils.
“ The second sort are in purgatory (if any such place be in the Scriptures) abiding the mercy of God, and a ful deliverance of paine.
“ The third sort are here upon the earth, and be called the church militant. For day and night they contend against crafty assaults of the divell, the flattering prosperities of this world, and the rebellious filthinesse of the flesh.
“ This latter congregation by the just ordinance of God is also
• If any such place be.] According to Walden, in an address to the parliament, he denied the existence of purgatory. See Fox in the margin. For Wickliffe's doctrine on this point, see James's Apology, p. 41, 42, and Lewis's History, p. 131, 2.
severed into three divers estates, that is to say, into priesthood, knighthood, and the commons. Among whom the will of God is, that the one should aid the other, but not destroy the other. The priests first of all, secluded from all worldinesse, should conforme their lives utterly to the examples of Christ and his apostles. Evermore should they be occupied in preaching and teaching the Scriptures purely, and in giving wholesome examples of good living to the other two degrees of men. More modest also, more loving, gentle, and lowly in spirit should they be, than any other sorts of people.
In knighthood are all they which beare sword by law of office. These should defend Gods lawes?, and see that the gospell were purely taught, conforming their lives to the same, and secluding all false preachers : yea these ought rather to hazard their lives, than to suffer such wicked decrees as either blemish the eternall testament of God, or yet lett the free passage thereof, whereby heresies and schismes might spring in the church. For of none other arise they, as I suppose, than of erroneous constitutions, craftily first creeping in under hypocriticall lies, for advantage. They ought also to preserve Gods people from oppressors, tyrants and theeves; and to see the clergie supported so long as they teach purely, pray rightly, and minister the sacraments freely. And if they see them do otherwise, they are bound by the lawe of office to compell them to change their doings; and to see all things performed according to Gods prescript ordinance.
“ The latter fellowship of this church, are the common people; whose duetie is, to beare their good mindes and true obedience to the foresaid ministers of God, their kings, civill governours and priests. The right office of these is justly to occupie everie
Defend Gods lawes.] *Certes, the swerd that men yeve (give) first to a knight when he is new dubbed, signifieth, that he should defend holy church, and not robbe and pill (pillage, spoil) it; and who so doeth is traitour to Christ.” Chaucer's Parsons Tale, p. 188. edit. 1687. And hence the custom in some countries, for the nobles to draw their swords, at the recital of the Creed. Lord Cobham in this three-fold division of the church follows his master Wickliffe. See James's Apology, p. 41. And with his three-fold division of the Church militant, the reader may compare a very curious and excellent sermon, printed A.D. 1582, said to have been preached in the year 1388 by R. Wimbledon, and found hid in a wall. It is reprinted intire by John Fox, Acts and Monuments, p. 503-509, and was printed separately A.D. 1745. 8vo. London. Lewis conjectures that the sermon was probably Wickliffe's. History of Wickliffe, p. 157.
man his facultie, be it marchandise, handicraft, or the tilthe of the ground. And so one of them to bee as an helper to another, following alwaies, in their sortes, the just commandements of the Lord God.
“Over and besides all this, I most faithfully beleeve that the sacraments of Christs church are necessarie to all Christian beleevers; this alwaies seene to, that they be truly ministred according to Christes first institution and ordinance.
“ And forasmuch as I am maliciously and most falsly accused of a misbeliefe in the sacrament of the aultar to the hurtfull slander of many, I signifie here unto all men, that this is my faith concerning that ; I beleeve in that sacrament to be contained very Christes bodie and bloud under the similitudes of bread and wine, yea the same bodie that was conceived of the Holy Ghost, borne of the virgin Mary, done on the crosse, died, that was buried, arose the third day from the death ; and is now glorified in heaven.
“ I also beleeve, the universall lawe of God to bee most true and perfect, and they which do not so follow it in their faith and workes (at one time or another) can never be saved: whereas he that seeketh it in faith, accepteth it, learneth it, delighteth therein, and performeth it in love, shall taste for it the felicitie of everlasting innocencie.
“ Finally, this is my faith also, that God will aske no more of a Christian beleever in this life, but onely to obey the preceptes of that most blessed lawe. If any prelate of the church require more, or els any other kinde of obedience, than this to be used, hee contemneth Christ, exalteth himselfe above God, and so becommeth an open antichrist.
“ All the premisses I beleeve particularlie; and generally all that God hath left in his holy Scripture, that I should beleeve; instantly desiring you my liege lord and most worthy king, that this confession of mine may be justly examined by the most goodly wise and learned men of your realme. And if it be found in all points agreeing to the veritie, then let it be so allowed ; and I thereupon holden for none other than a true Christian. If it bee prooved otherwise, then let it be utterly condemned ; provided alwaies, that I be taught a better beliefe by the word of God: and I shall most reverently at all times obey thereunto.”
This briefe confession of his faith, the lord Cobham wrote (as is mentioned afore) and so tooke it with him to the court,
offering it with all meekenesse unto the king to reade it over. The king would in no case receive it, but commanded it to be delivered unto them that should be his judges. Then desired he in the kings presence, that an hundred knightes and esquires might be suffered to come in upon his purgation, which hee knew would cleare him of all heresies. Moreover hee offered himselfe after the lawe of armes', to fight for life or death with any man living,
8 After the lawe of armes.] This is in perfect accordance with the notions of those times. • Military persons chose this kind of purgation," in cases where the question could not be determined by legal proof or testimony,) “as most proper for them, and, after their example, so did other gentlemen and persons of quality; nay, not only men, but women also required to have their innocency cleared by champions fighting for them.” Cockburn's History of Duels, p. 111. In the eighth year of this king's reign, a combat was permitted between Audley and Chatterton, in a charge of treason, for betraying the fort of St. Saviour's. See Cottoni Posthuma, p. 64. Discourse of the Lawfulness of Combats, A.D. 1651. Again, in the same reign, between the Dukes of Norfolk and Hertford, the time and place of combat were appointed: but when they appeared, and were ready to draw upon each other, the king commanded them to forbear. Cockburn, p. 121. Chaucer informs us in his Testament of Love, that he offered to prove his truth (about the year 1390) by entering the lists with his adversaries, according to the practice of that age. Even the offices of religion were made subservient to this barbarous custom. Sometimes the church seems to have complied further, even so as to have appointed publick prayers for the success of duels; as appears in the instance of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, A.D. 1352, who, “having been informed of some reproachful words spoken against him by the Duke of Brunswick, resolved to sail over to France to fight him. But before he committed his innocence to the trial of the sword, he desired the bishops of England to assist him with their prayers, and to recommend him and his cause to the mercy of God. Accordingly Radulphus de Salopia, Bishop of Bath and Wells, injoined all the clergy of his diocese to exhort the people in their several cures every Sunday and holiday, with all humility and devotion, to beg of God, who is the giver of victory, that he would appear for the honour of his holy name, and the clearing the truth of the noble Duke, and the glory of the English nation, by giving success to his arms. The original of the above account is in the Register of Bath and Wells. Comber's Short Discourse against Duels. See Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Thomas Comber, p. 235. A.D. 1799. An estate was bequeathed to St. John's College, Cambridge, “in trust and confidence that they would use all their interests and endeavours, to obtain of the Parliament a repeal of that ungodly trial by battle." North's Life of the Lord Keeper Guilford, vol. i. p. 131. edit. 2. See also Sir Thomas Smith’s Commonwealth of England, b. ii. c. 8, of trial of judgment by battle; and b. iii. c. 3. Sir Henry Spelman mentions a case, in 1571, of a writ of right wherein the trial by battle was allowed of, and the judges and counsel actually proceeded to the lists in Tothill-fields,
non sine magna jurisconsultorum perturbatione;" but the plaintiff did not appear, and
Christian or heathen, in the quarrell of his faith, the king and the lords of his counsell excepted. Finally with all gentlenesse hee protested before all that were present, that he would refuse no maner of correction that should after the lawes of God be ministred unto him, but that he would at all times with all meekenesse obey it.
Notwithstanding all this, the king suffered him to bee summoned personally in his own privy chamber. Then said the lord Cobham to the king, that he had appealed from the archbishop to the pope of Rome', and therefore hee ought, he said, in no case to be his judge. And having his appeale there at hande readie written, hee showed it with all reverence to the king. Wherewith the king was then much more displeased than afore, and said angerly unto him, that he should not pursue his appeale : but rather he should tarry in hold, till such time as it were of the
was nonsuited. So lately even as in 1817 the gauntlet was thrown down on the floor of the court of Common Pleas, in an appeal of murder (Ashford o. Thornton; and, in fact, the trial by battle continued to disgrace the law of England until the year 1819, when, on the 22d of June, was passed “ An Act to abolish Appeals of Murder, Treason, Felony, or other Offences, and Wager of Battel, or joining Issue and Trial by Battel, in Writs of Right.” Statutes at Large, 59 Geo. III. c. xlvi.
• To the Pope of Rome.] To Mr. Gilpin's mind there is "something uncommonly strange" in this appeal of Lord Cobham to the Pope, “whose supremacy he had ever denied. No consistent reason can be assigned for it. As to the fact, however, we have only its improbability to allege against it.” Life of Lord Cobham, p. 119. edit. 1765. I apprehend that it cannot be shown that Lord Cobham did always deny the Pope's supremacy, and his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In which case the strangeness complained of may be thought to be much diminished.–Again : Mr. Gilpin wrote the Life of Wickliffe. Had he forgotten that Wickliffe did the very same thing ? Lewis's History, p. 12. (or p. 15.) Mr. Gilpin also wrote the Life of Archbishop Cranmer. And if we must wonder, would it not be a great deal more strange, that even the enlightened, the protestant Cranmer, should appeal to the Pope of Rome? That he had it in contemplation so to do, and therein to follow the example of his great predecessor, Luther, is most certain. “But whether I should first appeale from the Judge delegate to the Pope, and so afterward to the general councell; or els leaving the Pope, I should appeale immediately to the councell, herein I stand in need of your counsell.” Cranmer's letter to a Lawyer, published with his Answer to Gardiner, edit. 1580, p. 426. Fox's Acts, &c.—There must be some supreme jurisdiction, some final court of appeal in all causes, in every country. If the king shrink from asserting his right; much more, if he abandoned or disclaimed it, who (in causes religious) could this be, but the Pope? to whom indeed, the monarchs, and their people, in their ignorance and degeneracy, had ceded it. And while this was so, what else could their people do ?