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their jurisdiction; they now by the article of appeals gained a power to call every thing to Rome; and by the grant of the king to abolish the laws which they called prejudicial to the church, removed every difficulty which stood in the way of their new maxims and pretensions to the ecclesiastic liberty. There remained little more, but to possess themselves of the crown; and this too we shall hear of time enough, in the reign of king John, the son of the present king.
The changes which presently ensued were so visible, that one of the writers of archbishop Becket's story, in the account written about this time, thus describes the change. “In the former reigns the authority of the see of Rome was little regardeda, and the kings of England ordered all affairs in the church as they saw good; and under them the archbishops ordered all things according to the law of England; and when the royal and archiepiscopal power united, their authority was uncontrollable and past resistance b.” And the court of Rome appears to have had the same sentiments of the conquest which they gained over the crown and the English church, within the compass of the present reign, and by the address of the late archbishop: therefore when king John in the council of Northampton declared, that he challenged no other right in disposing the bishoprics, but what his predecessors had enjoyed; Pandulphus the legate of pope Innocent answered, “ that the right the king pretended to, was abolished by the surrender which archbishop Becket had made of his bishopric into the hands of the pope, and from that time the church of Rome was made the lady and mistress of all the churches of England.”
But to return to the agreement of the king.
Whatever the flatterers of the court of Rome may pretend to the contrary, we are to ground their first colourable pretence to appeals from England on the aforesaid article of king Henry. For though Henry of Huntingdon, who wrote in the preceding reign, saith, the use of appeals was begun by Henry bishop of Winchester, and then legate to the bishop of Romed (as he adds) to serve some unworthy ends of his own, and Gervasius follows him in this opinion, (and they are in the right as to the fact; for that prelate, endeavouring to lessen and modify Theobald then archbishop of Canterbury, and bring every thing into his own hands,
Wharton, Anglia Sacra, par. ii. p 524.
H. Huntingd. lib. viii. p. 227.
led the way to that practice, and during the war between king Stephen and the present king several things were carried to Rome;) yet as the practice was new, and had no ground in canon or antiquity or law, so that court, whose interest was served by it, was so sensible that their title was but precarious, and had the marks of novelty very fresh and visible, thought fit to give it the colour and appearance of right by their late agreement with king, Henry, and the article on this subject was at this time their best title to appeals from England.
But what has been said before of the state of the English church under William the First and Second, explained by the ecclesiastical law of England in the statutes of Clarendon, puts it beyond a doubt, that no such right had ever been owned under the Norman reigns. And the history of the ancient English church makes it no less evident, that the case had been the same in England from the foundations of the English church. And the whole circumstances and manner of gaining on the one side, and yielding on the other, make it plain, that religion was no way considered in that affair; for an article of this kind could never have had a being, if either side had believed that the court of Rome had a right to appeals from the authority of Christ or his church, or if this had been the ancient usage of England.
So that if the circumstances and designs of king Henry had not explained the reasons thereof, one would stand astonished at a concession of this kind, and at this time of day, when the designs of the courtof Rome were visible to all the world, and their abuses of that power to receive appeals, which they before this had gained in some other places, were become so notorious, that St. Bernard, who had done too much toward advancing the papal greatness, did but a few years before this complain of the abuse of appeals by the court of Rome, and in terms so passionate and full of resentment as would make one very uneasy to read them.
In his hundred and seventy-eighth epistle to pope Innocent, he tells that prelate, that it was the common complaint that justice was perished in the church, that the authority of the keys of the church was destroyed, and the power of bishops become vile and contemptible ; “because,” saith he, “it is out of their power to
, punish offenders, or to correct the disorders of their own dioceses;" of which he assigns this reason: "offenders," saith he, “appeal to you and to the Roman court, and what the bishops determine with justice, you cancel and repeal, and what they forbid, you determine and appoint a; and if there be men either of the laity, clergy, or religious, who are more wicked and profligate than other men, they run to the court of Rome, and they have sanctuary and protection; and having such defenders, they return and insult over those who pretend to correct them b.”
In the year 1174 a bull was received from pope Alexander declaring Becket a martyr and a saint, and appointing that the day of his passion should be received into the calendare; and all on a sudden the miracles of the new martyr shone so bright, that votaries to his shrine and devotions to his tomb became so fashionable, that king Henry was forced to run in with the crowd, and upon his return out of Normandy went and paid his devotions to the tomb of the late archbishop. And if the monkish writers, who began about this age to be fond of an invention of their own, the disciplining whip, do not misinform us, this prince submitted to it, and suffered his body to be scourged; a sort of discipline, which till the latter end of the eleventh centurya had never been heard of in the Christian church; and if men had not learned to consecrate their own follies, and to set up their own inventions as standards of holiness and devotion, might have continued unknown to this day. But this has so little of the gospel method of reclaiming sinners, that it is hard to say, whether this treatment was more disagreeable to the spirit of Christ, or more reproachful to the majesty of kings; so that if we must not reject the authority and disbelieve this part of the story, the honour which is due to the character of God's vicegerents should at least oblige one to cover and forget it.--Had he stopped here, the age, and the difficulty of his present circumstances, might possibly have made some apology for him; but so fatally did the aforesaid treaty break all the measures of this prince, that he never stopped till his concessions gave the finishing stroke to that interest, which broke his own, and plunged his posterity into mischiefs the past ages had never heard of. As for the court of Rome, it was no wonder if they made all possible haste to distinguish the martyr for the papacy, and let the world see what a value they put upon that bigotry, which had turned to such account to them.
* Bernard. Epist. 178.
c M. Par. ann. 1173. p. 127. Du Pin, Eccles. Hist. Cent. ii. p. 126.
NATIONAL CHURCHES–PAPAL USURPATIONS ON THE
RIGHTS OF THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT.'
In the year 1175, the king (Henry II.) received intelligence of the arrival of Hugo cardinal of St. Peter de Leon ?, legate of pope Alexander the Third. During his stay in England, the old dispute about the liberty of the clergy was brought under consideration; and as this appears to have been the great errand, so the chief remains we have of this embassy is an agreement betwixt the king and the legate, which consists of these four following articles.
First, that no clergyman for the time to come should be carried in person before any secular judge for any crime or transgression,
å unless for abuses of the forest, or for such services as by reason of some fee they owed to the king or other secular lords.
Secondly, the king covenants that he would not keep any archbishopric, bishopric, or abbey, in his hands above a year, unless there was an apparent necessity thereof.
Thirdly, it was agreed that such persons as should confess or be convicted of having killed a clergyman, should be punished in the presence of the bishop.
Fourthly, that a clergyman should not be obliged to defend himself by duela
Civil government.] From Inett's Origines Anglicane, &c. vol. ii. p. 295,313.
· Hugo de Perleonibus, Cardinal Deacon of St. Angelo, and afterwards Priest Cardinal of St. Clemente.
3 Any secular judge.] See Index, under Clergy, exemption of from secular jurisdiction, p. 296. See also Christian Institutes, vol. iv. p. 32. 180. 235. Also Inett, vol. ii. p. 195. 319–22.
* M. Par. ann. 1176. p. 132.
If what has been already said has not enabled us to account for the reason of this transaction, one who considers the provision which the gospel has made for preserving the rights of the secular power, and the obedience which the first Christians paid to the worst of princes, or the grounds upon which Christianity was admitted as the religion of states and kingdoms, and the advantages which accrue to it from their favours and encouragement, would stand amazed at an attempt to discharge the clergy from the laws of the state; and much more to find this claim founded on a pretended grant of Christ, who declared his kingdom was not of this world, and both lived and died a great example of the doctrine which he had delivered; and which is stranger still, that devoting men to the service of religion should exempt them from the duties of it, and an authority to publish the gospel discharge them from the subjection which their holy function obliged them to preach to all the world.
There is no doubt but our Saviour appointed an order of men to make the will of God known to the world, and to publish the terms on which He will pardon our sins, accept our services here, and reward us when this life is done, and gave them commission to convey this authority to others : and it is beyond all question, that this is a power different from that which God has given to princes, and such as they can neither give nor take away, nor assume to themselves. And they who are thus commissioned by Christ, are under the same obligation to preach the gospel as they are to obey God; and the people are upon the same grounds bound to receive it.—And upon this foot Christianity was first preached and obeyed, though the secular power withheld their protection and persecuted those who embraced it: but God blessed His people, and gave success to the ministry of His servants, and will do so if ever this case should happen again. And if this is all that is meant by the independence of the church and clergy on the secular power, there is no more reason to doubt it, than to make a question whether the gospel ought to be preached, or God obeyed, or His people take a care of their own souls. But if the gospel gives no new powers to princes, it certainly takes nothing from them': they lose nothing by becoming Christians : they are God's vicegerents as much as they
· Nothing from them.] See Hooker, b. viii. c. iii. Keble's edition, vol. iii. p. 450-9.