Andrew Thomson John Owen.

The works of John Owen, Volume 14 online

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forget not yourself when you place *^ Aaron and Joshua in govern-
ment together," p. 64? 10. Whether you really believe that the
pope hath power only to "persiiade in matters of religion," as you
pretend, p. 66 ? and if so, from what topics he takes the whips, wires,
and racks that he makes use of in his Inquisition? and whether he
hath not a right even to destroy kings themselves, who will not be
his executioners in destrcgring of others? I wish you would come out
of the clouds, and speak your mmd freely and plainly to some of
these inquiries. Your present ambiguous discourse, in the face of it,
suited unto your interest, gives no satisfaction whilst these snakes
lie in the grass of it Wherefore, leaving you a littie to your second
thoughts, I shall inquire of your masters and fathers themselves what
is the true sense of your church in this matter ; and we shall find them
speaking it out plainly and roundly. For they tell us, —

1. That the government of the whole catholic church is mon-
archical, — a state wherein all power is derived from one fountain,
one and the same person. This is the first principle that is laid down
by all your writers, in treating of the church and its power, and that
which your great Cardinal Baronius lays as the foundation on which
he builds the huge structure of his ecclesiastical annals.

2. That the pope is this monao'ch of the church, — ^the person in
whom alone the sovereign rule of it is originally vested; so that it is
absolutely impossible that any other person should have, enjoy, or



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POWER OF KINGS IN MATTERS EOCLESIASTICAL. S89

use any eodesiasiical authority but what is derived from hua I be-
lieve you suppose this sufficiently proved by Bellarmine and others.
Yourself own it^ nor can deny it without a disdaimure of your pre-
sent Papacy. And this one principle perfectly discovers the vanity
of your pretended attributions of power in ecclesiastical things to
kings and princes; for to suppose a monarchical estate, and not to
suppose all power and authority in that state to be derived from the
monarch in it and of it alone, is to suppose a perfect contradiction^
or a state monarchical that is not monarchical Protestants place the
monarchical state of the catholic church in its relation unto Christ
alone; and therefore it is incumbent on them to assert that no man
hath, nor can have, a power in the church, as such, but what is derived
from and communicated unto him by him. And you, placing it in
reference unto the pope, must of necessity deny that any power can
be exercised in it but what is derived from him ; so that whatever you
pretend in this kind to grant unto kings> you allow it unto them only
by concession or delegation from the pope. They must hold it from
him in chie^ or he cannot be the chi^, only, and absolute head and
monarch, of the catholic church; which you would persuade us to be-
lieve that he ia Kings then may, even in church affidrs, be ''strikers''
under him, — ^be the servants and executioners .of his will and pleasure;
but authority from Qod, immediately in and about them, they have
none, nor can have any whilst your imaginary monarchy takes placa
This one frmdamental principle of your religion sufficiently discovers
the insignificancy of your flourish about kingly authority in ecclesias-
tical things, seeing, upon a supposition of it^ they can have none at
alL But you stay not here; for, —

3. You ascribe v/nto yowr popes a universal dominion^ even in
civU things, over aU Christian kings and their subjects. In the
explanation of this dominion, I confess you somewhat vary among
yourselves; but the thing itself is generally asserted by you, and
made a foundation of practice. Some of you maintain that the pope,
by divine right and constitution, hath an absolute supreme dominion
over the whole world. This opinion, Bellarmine, lib. v., De Pont
cap. 1, confesseth to be maintained by Augustinus Triumphus, Al*
varus, Pelagius, Hostiensis, and Panormitanua And himsdf, in the
next words, condemns the opinion of them who deny the pope to
have any such temporal power as that he may conmiand secular
princes, and deprive them of their kingdoms and principalities, not
only as fSalse, but as downright heresy. And why doth he name the
first opinion as that of four or five doctors, when it is the common
opinion of your church, as Baronius sufficiently manifests in the life
of QregOTj VIL ? That great preserver of your pontifical omnipo-
tency, in his bull against Henry the Qerman emperor, affirms that he



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,^0 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIKADTSBSIONS ON flAT LUX.

hath '^power to take away empires, kingdoms^ and princq)a1itifi6, cr
whatever a mortal maa may have;" as Platba records it in his life.
JkB also, Pc^ Nicholas II., in his Epistle ad Mediolanowa, asserts
that the rights both of the heavenly and eadhly empixes are oom-
.mitted unto him. And he that hath but looked on the Diatates «£
the fereuamed Qregory, oonfirmed in a ooundl at Borne, and de-
fended by Baronius, or into their Decretals, knows that you give both
swords to the pope, and that over .and over; whence Carerius,
lib. L cap. 9, affirms that it is the common opinion of the school
divines that the pope hath " plenissimam potestatem,'* jdenary power,
over the whole world, both in eocleajastical and temporal matteas.
And you know the cid comparison made by the Canonists, cap. de
Msyor. et Obed., between the pope and the emperor, — ^naonely, that
'^ he is as the sun, the emperor as the moon," which borrows all ita
light from the oihteir, Bellarmine, and those few whom he follows^
or that foUow him, maintain that the pope '' hath this power only
indirectly, and in order unto spiritual things." The meaning of whidi
assertion, as he explains himself^ is, that besides that direct power
whidi he hath over those countries and kingdoms whidi, cm ome
pretence or other, he claims to he feudatory to the Roman see, which
^ure no small number of the chiefest kingdoms of Europe, he hath a
power over them all, to dispose o£ them, their kings and rulers, ac-
cording as he judgeih it to conduce to the good and interest of the
church ; — which as it really differs very little from the firmer opinion,
so Barclay tells us that Pope Sixtus was very little pleased with that
seeming depression of the p^qxal power, which his w<»rds intimata
But the stated doctrine of your church in this matter is so declared
by Hosius, Augustinus Triumphus, Carerius, Schi(^pius, Marca, and
others, all approved by her authority, that there can be no question
of it Moreover, to make way for the putting of tiiis indirect power
into direct execution, you dedare, —

4. That the pope is the supreme jvdge ofjkith, and his dedara-
tions and determinations so far ihe rule of it, as that they are to be
received^ awi finally submitted tmto. Not to do so, is that whidi you
express heresy, or schism, or apostasy. About tiiis principle also of
your profession there have been, as about most other things amongst
you, great disputes and wranglings between the doctors and props of
your chiurch. Much debate there hath been whether this power be
to be attributed unto the pope without a council, or above a council,
or against ona About these chimeras are whole volumes filled with
keen and subtile aigumentation& But <^ pope's personal, or at
least cathedral determination, hath at length piievailed. For what-
ever some few of you may whispw, unto your own trouble and disad-
vantage, to the impeachment of his personal infallibility, you are



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POWER OF KINGS IN MATTEBS BX^ilMSIASTTlCAL. 891

easily 5jecried by the general voice of your doctors ; tod, "besides, those
very persons themselves, wherever they would place the infallibility
of the church that they fancy, are forced to put it so far into the
pope^s hand and ihanagement, as that whatever he determines, with
the necessaiy solemiiitieiB, in matters of faith, is ultimately at least to
be acquiesced in. So yourself assure us, averring that he who doth
not so *' forfeits his Christianity," and consequently all the privileged
which thereby he Enjoys; and we have reason sufficient, from former
experience, to believe that [if] the pope have the ieibility unto his will,
[he] is ready enough to take the forfeiture. Vhether upon a prince's
falling into heresy, in not acquiescmg in your papal determinations,
his subjects are discharged, " ipso facto,'' from all obedience unto him,
as Dominicus Bannes and othere maintain, or whether there needs
the denunciation of a sentence agsdnst him by the pope 'for their ab-
8ohiti6n, you arie not agreed. Btft yet, —

6. Tou affirm fftat in case of s^uJi disobedience unto the pope, he
is armed with power to depose kings and princes, and to give away
and bestow their kingdoms and dominions on others. Innumerable
are the instances whereby the popes themselves have justified their
claim of this poT^er in the face of the world ; and it were endlesb t6
recount the emperors, kings, and free princes thkt they have attempted
to ruin and destr(^ (in the pursuit of some whereof they actually
succeeded), with the desolations of nations that have ensued thereon.
I shall mention but one, and that given us in tiie days of our fathers,
and it may be in the memory of some yet alive. Pope Pius V. takes
upon him, contraiy to the advice and entreaties of the Emperor of
Germany and others, to depose Queen Elizabeth, and to devote her
to destruction. To this end* he absolved aU her subjects from thei^
allegiance, and gave a^y her kingdoms and dominions to the
Spaniard, assisting him to his utmost in his attempt to take posses-
sion of his grant; and all for reftiang obedience to the see of Romel
You canno^ I presume, be oflFended witt my mention of that which
is known unto all; for these things were not done in a corner. And
is it not hence evident that all *the power wMch you grant unto kings
is merely precarious, which they hold of your pope as tenants at
will ? and should they not appear to do so, were his force, wit, and
courage answerable to his will and pretence of authority ? But be it
that because you cannot help it, you suffer them to live at peace and
quietness in the main of their nde; yet you still curb them in their
own dominions; for, —

6. You exempt aU the clergy from under their rule and power.
See your Bellarmine sweating to prove that they are not bound to
their laws, so as to be judged by them without their leave, if they
transgress, or to pay any tribute, De Cleria lib. i cap. 28. They



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392 A YINDIGATION OF THE ANDCADYEBSIOKS ON FIAT LUX.

are all reserved to the power and jurisdiction of the pope. And he
that shall consider into what a vast and boundless multitude, by
reason of the several disorderly orders of your city monks and friars^
your dei^ is swelled into in most places of Europe, will easily per-
ceive what your interest is in every kingdom of it I am persuaded
there is scarce a considerable nation wherein the profession of your
reUgion is enthroned, in which the pope hath not a hundred thousand
able fighting men, that are his peculiar subjects, exempted from the
power and jurisdiction of kings themselves; which you must needs
conceive to be a blessed interpretation of that of the apostle, ^ Let
every soul be subject to the higher powers." And, —

7. You extend the papal power to things as weU as persons in the
dominions of all kings and commonwealths; for the lands and pos-
sessions that are given unto any of the pope's especial subjects, you
will have to be exempted from tributes and pubUc burdens of the
stata And you feirther contend, that it is not in the power of any
kings or rulers to hinder such alienations of lands and possessions
from their dominiona By this means no small part of the territories
of many princes is subduced from under their power. The dreadful
consequences of which principles so startled the wise state of Venice,
that you know they disputed it to the utmost with your vice-god
Paul Y. In dealing with them, as I remember, their attempt was
successless; for, notwithstanding the defence made of the papal pro-
cess against them by Baronius, Bellarmine, and others, yet the actings
of that sober state in forbiddbg such alienation of lands and fees from
their rule and power without their consent, with their plea for the
subjection of ecclesiastics unto them in their own dominions, was so
vindicated by Dr Paul Suave,^ Marsilius of Padua, and others, that the
horns of the bvU, which had been thrust forth against them unto so
great a length, were pulled in again.

I told you, in the entrance of this discourse, how imwilling I should
have been to have given you the least disquietment in your way, had
you only attempted to set off your own respects unto royal power
unto the best advantage you could; but your setting up your prin-
ciples and practices in competition with tiiose of Protestants of any
sort whatever, and preferring them before and above them, as unto
your deference unto kings, and that in matters ecclesiastical, hath
made these few instances, expressive of the real sense of your church
in this matter, as I suppose, necessary and equal

> The common form of the name is PanlSarpi The HIstoryof the Conncil of Trent
1^ the lefuned doctor was pfabliehed under the asBomed name of Pietro Soave Polaao;
an anagram of his real name^ Paolo Sarpi Yeneto, — ^Panl Sarpi of Venice. — ^En.



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PBOGBESS AND DECLENSION OF BEUGION. 893



CHAPTER XVIL

Scripture— Story of the progress and declension of reli^on Tindicated^Papal
artifices for the promotion of their power and interest — ^Advantages made by
them on the Western Empire.

You proceed, p. 70, tinto the animadyersions on your 13th para-
gn^h, entitled ^* Scripture,"" wherein how greatly and causele^y it
is hy you imdervalued is fully declared; but whatever is offered in it
for the discoveiy of your miscarriage and your own conviction, you
wisely pass over without taking notice of it at all, and only repeat
again your case to the same purpose, and almost in the very same
words you had done before. Now, this I have already considered
and removed out of our way, so that it is altogether needless to divert
again to the discussion of it That which we have to do, for the an-
swering of all your cavils and objections in and about the case you
frame and propose, is, to declare and manifest the Scripture's suffi-
ciency for the revelation of all necessaiy truths, therein affording us
a stable rule of fiEdth, every way suited to the decision of all differences
in and about religion, and to keep Christians in perfect peace, as it
did of old; and this we have already dona Why this proper work
of the Scripture is not in all places and at all times effected, proceeds
from the lusts and prejudices of men; which when, by the grace of
God, diey shall be removed, it will no longer be obstoicted.

Tour next attempt, p. 72, is upon my *' story of the progress and
corruption of Christian religion in the world,"' with respect unto that
of your own. Yours, you tell us, " is serious, temperate, and sober;"
every way as excellent as Suffenus thought his verses. Mine, you
say, " is fraught with defiEunation and wrath against all ages and
people.'" Very good! I doubt not but you thought it was fit you
should say so, though you knew no reason why, nor could fix on any
thing in it for your warrant in these intemperate reproaches. Do I
say any thing but what the stories of all ages and the eaperience of
Christendom do proclaim? Is it now a de&mation, to report what
the learned men of those days have recorded, what good men be-
wailed, and the sad effects whereof the world long groaned under,
and was at length ruined by? What ^* wrath"" is in all this? May
not men be warned to take heed of falling into the like evils, by the
miscarriages of them that went before Uiem, without ''wrath and
defamation?'" Are the books of the Kings, Chronicles, and Prophets
'' fraught with wrath and de&mation," because they report^ complain
o^ and reprove, the sad apostasies of the church in those days, with
the wickedness of die kings, priests, and people that it was composed
o^ and declare the abomination of those ways of fidse worship, licen-



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394 A VINDICATION OP THE ANtMADVEilSlONS ON FIAT LUX.

tiousness of life, violence, and oppression, whereby they provoked
God against them to their ruin? If my story be not true, why do
you not disprove it? if it be, why do you exclaim against it? Do I
not direct you unto authors of imquestionable credit, complaining of
the things which I report from them? And if you know not that
many others may be added unto those by me named, testifying the
same things, you know very little of the ma<)ter you undertbke to
treat about But we need go no farther than yourself to discover
how devoid of all pretence your reproaches are, and that by consider-
ing the exceptions which you put in to my story ; which may rationally
be supposed to be the most plauable you could invent, and directed
i^gainst those parts of it which you imagmed were most obnoxious to
your charge. I shafl, therefore, consider them in the onfer Wherein
they ai^e proposed, and discover whether the keenness of your assault
answer the noise of your outciy at its entranca

First, You observe that I say, " Joseph of Aiimathea was in Eng-
land, but that he taught the same religion that is now in England.^
Unto which you reply, ^ But what is that religion?" and this inquiry
I have observed you elsewhere to insist upon. But I told you be-
fore that I intend the Protestant religion, and that as confirmed and
established by law in this kingdom. And the advantage you endea-
vour from some differences that are amongst us is little to your pur-
poses, and less to the commendation ot your ingenuity. For besideB
that there are differences of as high a nature, and, considering th6
principles you proceed upon, of greater importance among yourselves,
and those agitated with as great animosities and subtilties as those
among any sort of men at variance about religion in the world, you,
that so earnestly seek and press after a forbearance for your profes-
sion besides and against the established law, should not, methinks, at
the same time be so forward in reproaching us that there are dich
senters in the kingdom frx>m some things established by law, espe-
cially ccMisidering how utterly inconsiderable for the most part they
are, in comparison of the things wherein you differ fixmi us alL This(,
I fear, is the reward that they have cause to expect fix>m many of
you, who are inclined to desire that you, amongst others, might be
partakers of indulgence fit)m the extremity of the law; though trom
others of you, i(x whose sakes theyare inclined unto those desires, I
hope they may look for better things, and such as accompany charity,
moderaticm, and peace. So that your first exception gives a greater
impeachment unto your own candour and ingenuity, than unto the
truth or sobriety of my story.

You proceed and say, " That I tell yoii that the story of Fugatiud
and DamianuB, missioners of Pope Eleutherius, is suspected by me for
many reasons;" and rqply, " Because you assign none, I am there-



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PROGRESS AND BBCLENBION OF RELIGION. 395

fore moved to think they may be all reduced unto one ; which is,
that you will not acknowledge any good thing ever to have coixfee
from Rome/' But see what it is for a man to give himself up unto
vain surmisesi You know full well that I plead that you are no way
concerned in what was done at Romoin the days of Eleutherius, who
was neither Poqpe nor Papist, nor knew any thing of that which we
reject as Popery; so tiiat I had no peason to disdain or deny any good
thing that was then done at Rome, or by any from thenoa Besides,
I can assure you that to thk day I would willingly own, embrace,
and rejoice in any good tiiat is or may be done there, may I be truly
and impartiaUy informed of it; and should be glad to hear of more
.than imprejudioed men have been able of late ages to inform us o£
I am fjGur from making an enclosure of all goodness unto any party
of men in the world, and far from judging or condemning all of any
party, or supposing that no good tibing csm be done by them or pro-
ceed from them. Such conceits are apt to flow from the high tower-
ing thoughts of vnfaUibility and supremacy, and l^e confining of
Christianity to some certain company of men, in some parts of the
world; which I am a stranger unto. I know no party among Chris-
tians that is in all things to be admired, nor cmy that is in all things
to be condemned; and can perfectly fi^e you, if you are capable (A
satisfaction, from all fears of my dislike of any thing because it came
or comes from Rome. For to me it is all one from whence truth
and virtue come; they shall be welcome for their own sakes. But
you seem to be guided in these and the like surmises by your own
humour, principles, and way of managing things in religion, — a Les-
bian rule, which will suffer you to depart from the paths of truth and
chaiity no oftener than you have a mind so to do. To deliver you
from your mistake in this particular, I shall now give you some of
diose reasons which beget in me a suspicion concerning the truth of
tiiat story about Fugatius and Damianus, as it is commonly told, only
intimating the heads of them with all possible brevity.

First, then, I suppose the whole story is built on the authority of
the epistle of MeutJierius mito Lucius, which is yet extant : other
foimdation of it, that I know of, is neither pleaded or pretended.
Now, there want not reasons to prove that epistle, as the most of
those fethered on the old bishops -of Rome, to be supposititioua For,
— L The author of that ejastle condemneth the imperial laws, and
rejecteth them as unmeet to be used in the civil government of this
nation; which Eleutherius neither ought to have done, nor could
safely do. 2. It supposeth Lucius to have the Roman law sent unto
him, which had been long before exercised in this nation, and was well
k2K>wn in the whole province, as he witnesseth of days before these:
K (hSM «Misi4ioo0 docvit fiicimdft Britannos."— Jut. xr. 111.



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396 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIMADVERSIONS ON FUT LUX.

Secondly, The first reporters of this story agree not in the tiine
wherein the matter mentioned in it should ML out Beda^ lib. L
cap. 4, assigns it unto the year 156, which was twenty-two years
before Eleutherius was bishop, as Baronius manifests. Henricus de
Erfordia ascribes it unto the nineteenth year of the reign of Yerus
the emperor, who reigned not so many years at alL Ado refers it
unto the time of Commodus, with some part of whose reign the
^iscopacy of Eleutherius did indeed oontemporate. 2. Qeoffirey of
Monmouth, the chief promoter of this report^ joineth it with so many
lies and open fictions, as may well draw the truth of the whole story
into question. So that divers would have us believe that some su(^
thing was done at one time or other, but when they cannot telL
3. Both the epistle of Eleutherius and the reporters of it do sup-
pose that Lucius, to whom he wrote, was an absolute monarch in
England, king over the whole kingdom, with supreme authority and
power, ruling his subjects by the advice of his nobles, without being
obnoxious unto or dependent in his government on any others. But
this supposition is so openly repugnant to the whole story of the
state of things in the province of England in those days, that it is
beyond the wit of man to make any reconciliation between them ;
for besides that CsBsar and Tacitus do both plainly affirm that in
the days of the Romans' entrance upon this island, Uiere was no such
king or monarch among the Britons, but that they were all divided
into several toparchies, and those at mortal feuds and variance among
themselves (which made for the conquest of them all), it was now
become a presidiaiy province of the Roman empire, and had been so
fiom the days of Claudius; as Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dio inform us.
Especially was it reduced into and settled in that form by Pub.
Ostorius in the days of Nero, upon the conquest of Boadicea, queen
of the Iceni; and fiilly subjected in its remainders unto the Roman
yoke and laws, after some strugglmgs for liberty, by Julius Agricola^
in the days of Vespasian ; as Tacitus assures us in the life of his father-



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 48 of 67)