Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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in-law. In this estate Britsdn continued under Nerva and Trajan;
the whole province being afterward secured by Adrian fix)m the in-
cursion of Uie Picts, and other barbarous nations, with the defence of
his famous walls; whereof Spartianus gives us an account In this
condition did the whole province continue unto the death of Com-
modus, under the rule of Ulpius Marcellus; as wo are informed by
Dio and Lampridius. This was the state of affairs in Britain when
the epistle of Eleutherius is supposed to be written. And for my
part, I cannot discover where tUs Lucius should reign with all that
sovereignty ascribed unto him. Baronius thinks he might do so
beyond the Picts' wall; which utterly overthrows the whole story,
and leaves the whole province of Britain utterly unconcerned in the



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PBOORESS AND DECLENSION OP REUGTON. 397

coming of Fugatius and Damianus into this island These are some,
and many other reasons of my suspicion I could add, manifesting it to
be far more just than yours, — " That I had no reason for it but only
because I would not acknowledge that any good could come from
Rome."*

Let us now see what you farther except against the account I give
of the progress and declension of religion in these and other nation&
You add, " ' Then/ say you, * succeeded times of luxury, sloth, pride,
ambition, scandalous riots^ and corruption both of faith and man-
nerS) over all the Christian world, both princes, priests, prelates, and
people.''' But you somewhat pervert my words, so to make them liable
unto your exception; for as by me they are laid down, it seems you
could find no occasion against them. I tell you, p. 253, [p. 99],
** That after these things a sad decay in faith and holiness of life be-
fell professors, not only in this nation, but, for the most part, all the
world over. The stories of those days are lull of nothing more than
the oppression, luxury, sloth of rulers; the pride, ambition, and un-
seemly, scandalous contests for pre-eminence of sees and extent of
jurisdiction, among bishops; the sensuality and ignorance of the most
of men." Now, whether these words are not agreeable to truth and so-
briety, I leave to every man to judge who hath toy tolerable acquaint-
ance with history, or the occurrences of the ages respected in them.
Your reply unto them is: " Not a grain of virtue or goodness, we
must think, in so many Christian kingdoms and ages!" But why
must you think so? Who induceth you thereunto? When the church
of Israel was professedly far more corrupted than I have intimated
the state of the Christian church in any part of the world to have
been, yet there was more than '' a grain of virtue or goodness," not

1 Ob page 98 of this Tolnme the reader will Und » note, in whicSi the leading ftcta
in regard to Ludns are mentioned. Our aathor, of course^ had a perfect right to de-
ToWe Uie burden of proof upon his opponent, and to insist upon historical eyidenoe of
the oorrespondenoe between the British prince and Sleutherius. He does not Tenture
upon an unqualified denial of all the tradition, contenting himself with indicating his
** snspioioB," on various wei^ty grounds, that the story bad much of the fabulous about
it That no author worthy of credit, before the days of Bede, should have recorded this
alleged second conversion of our island to the Christian faith ; and that among all the
La^ authors — by one reckoning twenty-six, and by another fifty in number — who
subsequently, up to the time of Usher, haYe endorsed the story, there should be a dis-
crepancy in regard to the chronology of the erents in question, so great as to cover
nearly a century between the earliest and latest dates assigned ; are the main difficulties
which impede our unhesitating reception of the narrative, even when caref^ly sifted
and stripped of the accessories with which monkish fiction has invested it. Among
Protestant authors, however, who have investigated the subject, a decided impression
seems to prevail that some degree of credit is due to the substance of the ancient tradi-
tion. This view has been held by some, who reject as spurious the epistle of Eleutherius
to which Dr Owen takes Just exception, on several other grounds besides those whidi are
urged in the text above. The epistle speaks as if att Britain were under the sway of
Lucius, whereas but a small part of it was subject to him ; and several expressions in it
betray a strong trace of En^(ish law and Norman idiom, indicative of a far later origin



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398 A VINDICATION OF THC ANIMADVEBSI0N8 ON PU^ LUX.

only in Elijali, but in the meanest of those seven thousand who, with'-
in the small precincts, of that kingdom, had not bowed the knee to
Baal I never in the least questioned but that in that dedension of
Christianity which I intimated, and remission of the most from
their pristine zeal, there were thousands and ten thousands that kept
their integrity, and mourned for all the abominations that they saw
practised in the world. Pray, reflefct a little upon the condition of -
the Asian churches m^itioned in the Revelation. The discov^y
made of their spiritual state by Christ himself chap. iL iii, was
within less than forty years after their first {^anting; and yet you see
most of them had left Uieir ''first love,'' and were decayed in their fiedth
and zeal. In one of them there were but: " aibw names" remaining;
that hsul any life or integrity for Christ, — Uie body of the church hav*
ing only '' a name to live," being truly and really '' dead " as to any acts
of spiritual life, wherein our communion with Qod consists. And do
you make it so strange, that whereas the churches that were planted
and watered by the apostles themselves, and enriched with many:
excellent gifts and graces, should, within the space of less thejx forty
years, by the testimony of the Lord Christ himself so decay and fi^
off from their first purity, faith, and' works, other churches, who
had not their advantages, should do so within the space of four hunr
dred year% of whidi season I speak? I fear your vain conceit of be-
ing " rich and wanting nothing," of infallibility and impossibility to
stand in need of any reformation^ of being as good as ever any-
church was, or as you need to be, iatJbat whidi hath more prejudiced
your church in particular than you can readily imagine. And what
I aflfirmed of those other churchest, I: know well Plough how to prove
out of the best and most aj^roved authors of those daya I^ besides

than is claimed tor it. The ettornal etideanoeis eqaaU/deaaTa Tin episde isfouiid
in no author for a tlioii3Mid years afler toe age of Elentherios; it is aotknowm under
whose auspices it first came to light; and the learned antiquarian Spelman pronounced
the only inanusoript copy of it extant, and preserved first in the arehtres of the Lon.
don Guild, and latteriy in the Cotton library, to be. in his day not move than tir»
centuries old. The main facts of the story, howeier, are not dqMndent upon the
authenticity of this document, nor is their credibility seriously shaken by the argument
that the existence of a native king in any part of Britain, at the thne referred to^ can-
not be reconciled with the fact tint the island was then but a provinoe of the BomaA
empire. Tacitus qwaks of Prasutagus and Oogidunss as Briti^ kings, retaining some
shadow of royal state and dignity, while subject, uevertheleaB, to the imperial yoke,
(" Annal," lib. zi?. cap. 81, and '* Vit Agrio," cqx 14)/ The case of Herod in Judea sop^
plies another analogy. The strength of our author's reply to the Bomisk plea, which he
is engaged in rebutting, lies in the fuct that Britain in those days must have received
Christianity, not Romanism, ftom Eleutherius ; while, ev«n aoconting to the tenor of the -
tradition itself, in eveiy form in which it haA been preserved, Christianity previously •ex-
isted in the island. It is safe enough to conclude, with an old writer, that the tradition
about Ludus contains ** multa falsa, alia inoerta, nonnuUa etiam vera vel saltern proba-' >
bilial ' ' These words are quoted from the ** Pnriectiones Ecdesiasticm ' ' of John Baohard*
son of Cambridge, 1726 (vol i. p. 251), to which the reader may be referred for a j]id»*
cious and oomprehoisive discuasion of this interesting historical question. — Eai,



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PBOQBESa AND DECLENSION OF BELIQION. 399

historians, whicli give sufficient testimony unto jny observation, you
will please to consult Chiysostom, Horn, iii De Incomprehena Dei
Natur., Hona. xix. in Aa 9^ Horn. xy. in Heb. 8, and Aiigustin. Lib.
de.Fid. et Bon, Op, cap. xix., you will find that I had good ground
for what I said. And what if I had minded you of the words of
Salvian, De Provid. hb. iii. : " Quemcunque invenies in ecdesia non aut
ebriosum, aut adu|terum, aut fomicatorem^ aut raptorem, aut ganeo*
nem> ai^ latronem^aut homicidaniy etquod omnibus potiusest, prope
hsBc cuQCta sine fine?" — should I have escaped your censure of giv-
ing you " a story falsQ. and de&matory, IcMtden with foul language
against all nations, ages^ and conditions, thai none can like who bear
any respect either to. modesty, religion^ or truthr " Ne sssvi, magne
sacerdos.'' What groigid have you for this intemperate railing?
What instance can you give of any thing of this nature? what
expression giving counteoanoe unto this severity? If you will ezer*
cise , yourself in writing '' Fiats,'' you must of necessity arm your-
self with a little patience to hear sometimes things that do not
please you, and not presently cry out, " Defitanation, false, wrath,
foul language,'' eta I suppose you know that not long after the
times wherein I say reli^on, as to the power and purity of it, much
decayed in tiie worid, God brought an overflowing scourge and
deluge of judgments upw most of the nations of Europe that
made profession of Christianity. What,, in sadness, do you think
might be the cause of thai dispenss^on of Improvidence? Do you
think that all things were well enough amongst them, and that in all
things their ways pleased God ? Is such an apprdiension suitable to
the goodness, mercy, love, and fEdthfiilnesa of God ? or must he lose
the glory of all his properties in the administiation of his righteous
judgments, rather tlum you will acknowledge a demerit in them whom-
he took away as with a flood ? So, indeed, the Jews would have had
it of old under their sufferings; but he pleaded and vindicated the
equality and righteousness of his ways against their proud repinings.
I^ay, be as angry with me as you please, but take heed of justifjdng
any against Grod: the task will prove too hard for you. And yet to
this purpose are your following contemptuous exfuressions; for unto
my observation, that after these times the Goths and Vandals, with
others, overflowed the Christian world, you subjoin, ^ Either to punish
them, we may believe, or to teach them how to mend their mannara'^
Sir, I know not what you believe, or do. not believe^ or whether you
believe any thing of this kind or no : but I will tell you what I am
persuaded all the world believes, who knew the story of those times,
and are not atheists; and it is, that though the Goths and Vandals,
Saxons, Huns, Franks, and Longobards, with the rest of the barbarous
nations who divided the provinces of the western empire amongst



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400 A VINDICATION OP THE ANXMADYEBSIONS ON FIAT LUX.

them, had, it may be, no more thought to punish the nations profe
ing Christianity for their sins, wickedness, and superstition (though one
of their chief leaders proclaimed himself " the scourge of God'' against
them), than had the king of Babylon to punish Judah for her sins
and idolatry in especial, yet that Qod ordered them no less than he
did him in his providence, for those ends which you so scorn and de-
spise, — that is, either to punish them for their sins, or to provoke them
to leave them by repentance. Take heed of being a scoffer in these
things, lest your bands be made strong. Qod is not unrighteous who
exerciseth judgment The Judge of all the world will do right Nor
doth he afflict any people, much less extirpate them from the face of
the earthy without a causa Many widced, provoking, sinful, idola-
trous nations, he spareth in his patience and forbearance, and will
yet do so; but he destroys none without « cause And all that I in-
tended by the remembrance of the sins of those nations which Yf&ce
exposed unto devastation was but to show that their destruction was
of themselves.

You leap unto another clause which you rend out of my discourse,
^'That these Pagans took at last unto Ohristianity;'' and say, '^Haply
because it was a more loose and wicked life than their own Pagan
profession.'' But are you not ashamed of this trifling? Doth this
disprove my assertion ? Is it not true ? Did they not do so ? Did
not the above-mentioned nations, when they had settled themselves
in the provinces of the empire, take upon them the profession of the
Christian religion? Did not the Saxons do so in Brittany, the
Franks in Qaul, the Cloths and Longobards in Italy, the Vandals in
Africa, the Hims in Pannonia ? I cannot believe you are so ignorant
in these things as your exceptions bespeak yoiL Nor do I well
understand what you intend by them, they are so frivolous and use-
less; nor, surely, can any man in his right wits suppose them of any
validity to impeach the evidence of the known stories whidi my dis-
course relates unta

But you lay more weight on what you cull out in the next place,
which as you have laid it down is, ^That these now christened
Pagans advanced the pope's authority, when Christian religion was
now grown degenerate;" and say, " Now we come to know how the
Roman bishop became a patriarch above the rest, — by means, namely,
of the new -converted Pagans." But I wonder you speak so nicely in
their chief affidr; as though that were the question, whether the
bishop of Home, according unto some ecclesiastical constitutions, were
made a patriarch or no? and that, whether he were not esteemed to
have some kind of pre-eminence in respect of those other bishops
who upon the same account were so styl^? When we have occasion
to speak of the question we shall not be badcward to declare our



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ttwArorenies in it&l%bti> tke ioto ftratitftte ^ tttity, uA 4>f^ 6f 4tl
t wJi i i M li wt jiBJwI i clhfli^ tc Nor did I Mf Um ywr pop^ wm b^
tiM» flatittia^ after HKbt emvmAm^ advwoed tzrW^ Ih^ imgiti yon
Uwttr nMr ta ioc hint is; bHt only tiM his auOMtty 1M» s^tiidly
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flaw aoMl anaBltv 0pe% intdain it> an^

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wd8; - 4he Mi in^ biF cnt aimy irlwn tlMT fUi is c«^^

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advtecmgUia ti^ win* they iie^er heaid eWuki hiniirtf crcoy odMt
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f agana; ao prime ot tnhoj^ either hmf of if aaif eiberC&risliMij

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Had noi all the Uahopa aani} prieatt ef JMrn^^ ^gfp'y&f^i^ Tht>ak»e,

fl aa a te , and aM' tha Chriatiaik^ vmU| akddaotriedged;. 1^ a hundred

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1 ezpoafolhte witkymi^ whowiitettaMMihli^ arttf

but to fbobaad diadb?eB^i»hoaaea»iamtfa«pt^to^MiatM

VOL. XIV. 26



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402 A YINDICATIOK OF THE JUOMABYEBSIONS OK FUT LTTX.

to believe a lie?'' But, sir, you shall quickly see wliose discourse,
yours or mine, stands in need of weak and credulous readers. That
which you have in this place to oppose is only this, '^ That your papal
authority received a signal advancement by and among the northern
nations, who, after long wars, divided the provinces of the western
empire among them.'' Now, this is so. broad a truth, that nothing
but brutish ignorance or obstinate perverseness can possibly cause any
n^m to call it into question. It was not absolutely the setting up of
tilie Papacy, but an accession unto the papal power and authority,
which I ascribed unto that original; and this if you dare to deny, it
were easy, out of your own annalists, to overwhelm you with instances
in the confirmation of it But yet neither were your concessions made
nor his assumptions carried on in that silence which you £ancy when
you imagine that his aqpirings ,were neither taken notice of nor op-
posed, but that all Ghnstendom should cahnly submit unto theuL
Where do you think you are, that you talk at this rate? Did you
never read of any opposition made in former days unto your pre^
tended papal power? none at all? firom no kings, no princes, no
bishops, no parts of Christendom? Happy man, who hath Uved sa
quietly as you seem to have done, and so little concerned in things
past or present! . Did you never read or hesa: of iiie declarations sjod
edicts of emperors and kings, of determinations of cotmcils, writings
of learned me;a, in all ages, against your papal usurpations? Did you
never hear how, before the times that we now talk oiy Irenseus reproved
Victor; how Cyprian opposed Cornelius and Stephen; how the coun-
cils of Africa admonished Celestine and Boniface of their miscarriages
in their claims of power and jurisdiction? Are you an utter stranger
unto the opposition made by the German emperors unto your Hilde-
brandine supremacy, with the books written against your pr^nsions
to that purpose? Have you not read your own Baromus, a great
part of whose voluminous annals consists in his endeavours to vindi-
cate your papal power fiom the open opposition that.was made to itff
introduction, in every age? You must needs sleep quietly, sedng
you lie so &r fix>m noise. I have already in part let you .see the^
loudness of this dream, that your papal supremacy was ever calmly
submitted unto, and have manifested that it was pubUcly condemned^
before it was born.^. But because I then confined myself unto more
ancient times than jt^ose .which are now under discourse, I shall
mind you of a. few iti^tances of the opposition made unto it, either
about or presently after that signal advancement which I affirmed
that it received from.tbe newly-converted nations of the west.

About the yeiu: 608> presentiy afi;er the Saxons had received Chris-
tianity, .and dierewitbal contributed their power, some of them at
l^ast^ to the furtherani^. oi your papal daim, — which was then set on*



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PBOGBESS AKD DECLENSION OF BEUQION. 403

foot, though in a much ixiferior degree unto what you have since pro-
moted it unto, — ^it was publicly excepted against and disclaimed by a
convention or synod of the British dergy, who denied that they owed
a/ny eubjection unto the see of Borne, or any respect but such as
Christians ought to bear one towards another, and would not give
place unto its authority in things of very small weight and amount
Bed. Hist lib. il cap. 2, ConciL Anglia p. 188. The sixth general
Qoundl, that condemned Pope Honorius for a heretic, anno 681, with
the second Nicene, anno 787, whidi confirmed the same sentence, do
shrewdly in^)each your present si^remacy. In the fourth council of
Gonstantinople, anno 870, the Epanagnosticum of Basilius the em-
peror to the synod, approved by them all, b^ins thus: '* Cum divina
et benignissima Providentia nobis gubemacula universalis navis oom-
misit^ omne studiiun arripuimus, et ante publicas curas, ecdesiasticas
contentiones dissolvendi;'^ — " Whereas the gradous divine Provi-
dence has committed unto us the government of the universal ship^
we have taken all occasion, before other public cares, to dissolve or
compose ecdesiastical disseo^isions.^^ How suitable these expressions
of the emperor are unto your present pretensions yourself may judge.
And having mentioned that synod, which you call the eighth general
council, because of its opposition to the learned Photius, I shall only
ask of you, whether you think there was no exception made to your
supremacy by that Photius, with the emperors and bishops of the
east who consulted with him, and afterward justified him against the
censures procured against him by Popes Nidiolas and Hadrian? Do
not all your writers to this day complain of this oppodtion made unto
you by Photius? What think you of the council of Frankfort, as-j
sembled by Charles the Qreat^ which so openly condemned that doc-
trine which Pope Hadrian, and the Roman deigy with him, laboured
so eamestiy to promote, as we shall afterward show? In the same
order you may place the councils that deposed their popes, as did
one at Bome, under Otho the emperor, John XII., a sweet bishop,,
anno 963; another at Sutrinum, anno 1046, when Cerberus, as Ba-
ronius himself confesseth, ruled at Bome, anno 1044, n. 5, three^
popes at once domineering there. " Uno contra duos," saith Sigibert, .
'' et.duobus contra unum, de papatu oontendentibus, rex contra eos^
vadit^ eosque canonica et impariali censura deponit;'' — " One against:
two, and two against one, contending about the papacy, the king;
went against them all, and deposed them by canonical and imperial,
censura'' Or, as Platina, Vit Qr^. VL : " Henricus habita synodo,
tria ista teterrima monstra abdicare se magistratu co^t;'' — '^ Henry-
calling a synod, compelled those three filthy monsters" (Benedict,
Sylvester, and Gregory) " to renounce their magistiucy or papacy/'*
Have you not heard how many synods and councils were convened;



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CM A YINBlQAnDir 09 THE UOlilS^BinOM OV BUT LUX.



agaiiul tibe usurpationB and moamMam. of Qngerj TII^ as aft
WoniM, Papks Bvuu% M ait% and elarwhoret Wfaa4 tkibk jm ol
Ike nMemUy at Ckfeeodmi hcie ki Ikgkad^ lalM IIM^ vfaiore k
mo» dacarMd, Mtttli Mot^ Parii, « Jmla antiqiw rogni oaiunol»
diiies BOD Keefe ¥il wAkyiaBopi% i»el epiie(^n% vol aliis peraociM^
ozive regiKim abflqae Imntia ii^;'^-*^^That^ wwnwlii^ toi tke aa«
deal OQBtoDi of the Idftgdoniy it wm not laWfcd fiit any a(rGUbiaIuip%
btabc^ or otker penoni, to Anpni the kkgdMnuUMHt Ao ImpTs of
tie laiig/'«-tiMii% to gatoBouo; and that kiall appoaI% "^ Ultimo
])e«TeiiMiiduini ad legem ita id. noQ daboat altechia pcooedi mnm
mmwm deoitaL i«gia$^-^<'i1io k»t ic to W mftfe uato tha kinft
without whoee aiaoiit d# fiirther prooeoB «q;ht tobeaaa«ter For
oppositMMi ante ^diidi deovaeiy Thomaa h Bedeat had the hap to b^
eaBboa^radoraadaaoMl The atones of the patrian^aCBavaniui
m timea aMM laaaote^ and in thoaa ef the Qoimeil 9i Comakuam and
fimil kk bttar agee, ora toa wett hneam to be partioalady qpua ibn
aisted oa Weia ptincsaatoie iSeiiitthaii wjmoiaH Boceaailc^ tf ye«
aae aUe^ Ihe hnva ef ChaileB the GiMt and hia aoa Lmria wiA
pope't moarolaimed aadhoiity. Hmj IL of Qcanuaqr befli depoaed
popes and fimitadtheor power; HeneynLaMeeoj^jediioleei^thoagh
wikh loA saooeaa SIbo Sigibort ChioB. asM 1046 ; Plaal&ia» Yik.
Ovq;. Yi.; gigoaiL de Begi lib. tiiL Bbaia that time farMsd tmAft
tike SefocmaAaaiH no one age caiabe inetaoead k whaoeiB gBaa4vapQ%
aoid dgnal opposition ma/not made i«to tiae papal mtAmtj^ lAmk



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 49 of 67)