Josiah Pratt.

The church historians of England : Reformation period (Volume 2) online

. (page 6 of 84)
Online LibraryJosiah PrattThe church historians of England : Reformation period (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 84)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

been accused, and of the unseemliness of such treatment; of the
right use of the ecclesiastical censure ; and of the errors and abuses
of the church of Rome. By which oration of his he so removed what
from many men's hearts the cloud of blind superstition, and the oration* of
conceived opinion of holiness of the church of Rome and bishops of p r ^ r c ° £
the same, and also of their usurped power and subtle persuasion, did for
that they both plainly saw and perceived the vices and filthiness of perorT
the church of Rome and of the bishops of that see, as also their
fraudulent deceits and flagitious doings, most vehemently lamenting

(1) " AVbertus Behamus (ipse Boiemum nominat)." Cisner.— Ed.

(2) See supra, p. 477.— Ed. (3> See supra, p. 478.— Ex>.



H p r %*$ and complaining of the same. Alberic maketh mention of certain


A. D.

verses which were sent and written between the bishop of Rome and
the emperor, which verses in the latter end of this present history of
Frederic you shall find.

The emperor, moreover, both by his letters and ambassadors,
giveth intelligence unto all christian kings, to the princes of his own
empire, to the college of cardinals, and to the people of Rome, as
well of the feigned crimes wherewith he was charged, as also of the
cruelty of the bishop of Rome against him. The copy of which
letter or epistle here followeth.

letter to

all pre-
lates, to
bridle ti e
pope and
him of his

Man be-
ing made
of two
hath two
word, and
the ma-

oft la-

to the

edict, be-
" Asceti-


long ago
to the

the em '


sion of
the em-
p. ror's
win reof

by t lie

The Emperor to the Prelates of the World. 1

In the beginning and creation of the world, the wise and ineffable providence
of God (who asketli counsel of none) placed in the firmament of heaven two
lights, a greater and a less, the greater to govern the day, and the less to govern
the night, which two are so allotted to their proper offices and duties in the
zodiac, that although oftentimes the one move obliquely to the other, yet the
one does not run against the other; nay the superior doth communicate his
light to the inferior. Even so, the same eternal foreknowledge hath appointed
upon the earth two regiments, that is to say priesthood and kingly power ; the
one for knowledge and wisdom, the other for defence ; that man, who in his
two component parts had too long run riot, might have two reins to govern and
bridle him withal, and so peace thereby and love might dwell upon the face of
the earth, all excesses being restrained. But, alas ! the bishop of Rome of our
time, sitting in the chair of perverse doctrine, that pharisee anointed with the
oil of iniquity above his fellows, is endeavouring to set aside the fact that he is
but an inferior imitation of the celestial order, and fancies perhaps that he is to
correspond in all particulars with those heavenly bodies on high which arc
impelled by their nature not by will. Accordingly, he purpose th to bring
under an eclipse the brightness of our majesty, whilst that (substituting
fable for truth) he sends his papal letters, stuffed with lies, into sundry parts of
the world ; out of his own ill temper, and upon no reasonable cause, discrediting
the purity of our religious character. For this — pope in name only — hath
declared us to be " the beast rising out of the sea full of names of blasphemy
and spotted like a leopard."- But we say, that be is himself that beast of whom
we thus read : " And there went forth another horse that was red out of the
sea, and he that sat on him took peace away out of the earth, that the dwellers
upon the earth should destroy one another." 3 For since the time of his
promotion, he, acting as a father not of mercies but of discord, and as a
promoter of desolation instead of consolation, hath excited all the world to
commit offence. And, to take his own allusions in their right sense and
interpretation, he is that " great dragon that deceived the whole world ;" he is
that Antichrist, of whom he hath called us the forerunner; he is another
Balaam, hired for money to curse us ; the chief among those princes of
darkness, who have abused prophecies : he is that angel leaping out of the sea,
having the vials lilled with bitterness, that In may hurt both the sea and the
land. For this counterfeit vicar of Christ hath inserted among his other fables
that we do not rightly believe in the Christian faith, and that we have said that
the world is deceived by three impostors. But God forbid that such a thing
should have escaped our lips; seeing that we openly confess the only
Son of God, coeternal and coeqtial with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
our Lord Jesus Christ, begotten from the beginning and before the worlds, and
of time sent down upon the earth for the succour of mankind ; not
'';• '1 I gated, bul by his own, power, who was born of the glorious Virgin
Mary, and after that Buffered and died as touching the flesh ; and that,
by virtue of his godhead, the other nature which he assumed in the womb of
his mother rose from death the third day. But we have learned that the body

from tin- original in " Petri da Vineis Frederici II. Epistolce," lib. i.
BP I I "■ (2) Kev. xiii. I, 2.— Ed. (3) lb. chap. vi. 4.— Ed.


of Mahomet hangeth in the air heset by devils, and that his soul is in Hisioryof
hell-torments ; whose works were contrary to the law of the Most High. Frederic
We hold also, being taught by the page of truth, that Moses was the familiar Emperor.

friend of God, and that he talked with God in Mount Sinai ; unto whom the

Lord appeared at the burning bush (Exod. iii. 4), by whom also he wrought A.D.
signs and wonders ia Egypt, and delivered the law to the Hebrew nation; and 1239.
that afterwards he showed him in glory with the elect. In regard of these Th
and other things our enemy and envier of our state, bringing a scandal on a under
true son of Mother Church, hath written against us venemous and lying P^tence
slander, and hath sent the same to the whole world. But if he had rightly fol- holiness,
lowed the Apostle's mind, 1 and had not preferred passion, which beareth such deceiveth
sway with him, before reason, he would not have written such things, at the ™k^„a
suggestion of men who call light darkness and evil good, and who suspect honey ignorant
to be gall ; and all for the opinion they have conceived of a place in the men -
prophecies of scripture, 2 which indeed is both weak and infirm for their purpose,
since by opinion truth may be converted into falsehood and vice versa. But
surely men ought not to be splitting opinions, which may be true or false and
cannot be made matters of faith, at the very door (as it were) of the pope's

Seeing all these things, we are compelled not a little to marvel, and it doth
also much disquiet our minds, when we perceive that you, who are the founda-
tions of the church, the pillars of righteousness, the assessors of Peter, the
senators of the great city, and the hinges of the world, have not qualified the
motion of so fierce a judge ; as do the planets cf heaven in their kind, which to
mitigate the passing swift course of a great orb draw a contrary way by their
opposite movings. In very deed, imperial felicity hath always from the
beginning been spurned at by papal envy. As Simonides, being demanded
why he had no enemies and enviers of his estate, answered and said, " because Tlie an .
I have had no good success in any thing that ever I took in hand ;" so, for swer of
that we have had prosperous success in all our enterprises by the blessing of fJ™ "".
God (especially in the overthrow unto death of our rebellious enemies the p ii e d.
Lombards, to whom in their good quarrel he had promised life), this is the
cause wherefore this apostolical bishop mourneth, and now goeth about with
the aid of your counsels to impugn this our felicity. But perhaps he vaunteth
himself in his power of binding and loosing. Wherever virtue, however, is wanting
to power, there presently doth abuse take place : this we see exemplified in him
who was so mighty a king and so eminent a prophet, and yet had to crave the
restitution of God's Holy Spirit, when he had polluted the dignity of his office.
But as things which ought not to be loosed are not to be loosed, so things that
ought not to be bound are not to be bound : which thing is manifestly proved from
that passage of holy scripture, " they slay the souls that should not die, and save The ern .
the souls alive that should not live." 3 Therefore God is able to humble and bring peror pro-
down those that are unworthy of power, as much as him pleaseth and when him Pj?"ieth
pleaseth, for God can do all things. Doubtless, if this bishop of Rome were a p0 pe"s
true pontiff indeed, he would keep himself " harmless, undefiled, and separate fal1 -
from sinners :" he would not then be an offerer of dissentious sacrifice, but a
peacable offerer of love and charity ; and he would cense, not with the incense
of grief and hatred, but with the sweet-smelling incense of concord and unity ;
neither yet would he alter " suum pontificium in maleficium," that is, make of
a sanctified office an execrable abuse. If he were a true pontiff, he would not
wrest the preaching of the word to produce contention. Nor will we be
accused of being an enemy to mother church in so saying, which mother
church is holy in herself, whom with all reverence we worship and with
honour we embrace, so beautified and adorned with God's holy sacraments.
Some individuals notwithstanding, who are slaves of corruption though they
have gone out from the midst of her, we utterly reject. And forsomuch as the Utterly
injuries wherewith our majesty is continually molested are not transitory, and re J ecteth
that we cannot quietly abide them, nor ought we in very deed to relax our ana P ° Pe
authority, therefore we are enforced to take revenge upon them. You, there- church
fore, that are men of better counsels, and have the excellent gift of wisdom and of Rome *
understanding, restrain you that roaring enemy of ours from these his pro-
CD 2 Peter i. 20, 21, is probably referred to. — Ed.
(2) Rev. xiii. 1, 2.— Ed. (3) Ezek. xiii. 19— Ed.


Hittoryef ceedings, whose beginnings are so wicked and detestable; wisely forecasting
Frederic fmm p rece ^ n g case8 the consequences which must follow in the present
Emperor, instance. Otherwise you that are under our subjection, as well in the empire
as in cur other dominions, shall feel and perceive what revenge by sword

-A-D. Augustus shall take, both of his chief enemy and persecutor, and also of the

1 23fJ - princes that are his fautors and adherents.

Caiietha This done, lie commands, by proclamation, a solemn parliament or

men-'or council of all the princes, and other nobility of the empire, to

'"""'"" assemble at iEgra ; whither came Conrad the Caesar, the archbishop

thfpope's of Mentz, the Saxon dukes, the lords of Brandenburgh, Misnia, and

malice. Thuringia, and the representatives of all the nobles of Brabant, to

aid the emperor. But Wenceslaus and Otho refusing to attend, and

offering through their ambassadors to mediate between the contend-

ing parties (in which offer the Austrians likewise joined), the council

became divided in opinion, and separated without doing anything for

the emperor. Then Frederic of Austria (whom the emperor had

deprived, as ye heard) by the aid of the Bavarians and Bohemians

recovered again the dukedoms of Austria and Styria, putting to

flight and discomfiting the emperor's bands and garrisons which he

had there.

But though the pope's agents (especially that honest man, Albert
Beham, the Bohemian) had allured to the pope Otho the duke of
Bavaria, as ye heard, and divers other noblemen of Germany ; yet
Bishops notwithstanding, certain prelates in Bavaria, as Everhard, archbishop
ma?. 'are °f Saltzburg, and Sifrid, bishop of Ratisbon, being at that time
obedient the emperor's chancellor, Rudiger, bishop of Passau, Conrad, bishop
prince! 1 of Frisinghen, and the heads of the religious houses, forsook not the
Apl"d. x emperor. All which the aforesaid Albert not only did excom-
municate, but also by process sought to bring them up to Rome
before the pope, giving commandment to their collegioners and
cloisterers, that they should deprive them of their offices, and choose
such others in their stead as would obey the pope. All which things
the pope (understanding by Albert of their fidelity to the em-
peror) corroborated and confirmed, commanding their inferiors to
choose other bishops and prelates in their stead. But the bishops
anil prelates with one consent contemning the pope's mandates and
writs, and also the curses and thrcatenings of Albert, accused,
reproved, and greatly blamed his temerity, and the tyranny which he
practised against the churches of Germany, and especially against the
good emperor ; that he durst be so bold as to meddle in churches
committed to the emperor's government without his consent,
against the old and ancient customs; that he had excommuni-
cated the emperor without just cause; and that he had condemned
the emperor's faithful subjects as enemies to the church, for standing
with their liege and sovereign prince (which allegiance they might
., not violate without horrible" iniquity), and had sought to disquiet
them likewise in their charges and administrations; and they
Hishops solemnly appealed to the emperor for redress. They also accused
,. and condemned Albert himself for a most impudent impostor and
munlcate wieked varlet, and thev devoted him to the devil, as a most pestiferous

tne pope g . ..-,.. < j

^ate. botch and son: ot the christian commonweal, and as a ruinous


enemy, as well of the church, as of his own natural country ; and History of
further declared their opinion, that he and all the rest of the ir.
pope's pursuivants ought to be driven out of Germany, as being Em P eror -
most wicked devisers of all kinds of mischief. A. D.

This done, they make relation hereof to the emperor by their I' 239 -
letters ; and further, they advertise all the princes of Germany
(especially those who were of the pope's faction or rebellion, and
were the favourers of Albert), that they should take heed, and beware
in any case of his subtle deceits and pernicious deceivable allurements,
and that they should not assist the pope, for all his words, against
the emperor. And doubtless (chiefly by the counsel and persuasion Thearch-
of the archbishop of Saltzburg, primate of Bavaria) Frederic of sau'zXirg
Austria was again reconciled to the emperor ; from whose friendship jj^etto
and alliance he would never after that be detached by any promises, uisprince.
threatenings, bribes, or pains, no, nor for the execrable curses of the
pope's own holy mouth. But Albert prosecuteth still his purposed A p P s <£d,x.
mischief, alluring and inciting by all means possible friends to the
pope, and enemies to the emperor, and that not amongst the lowest
but the highest classes of his subjects, the nobility and gentry.
Unto some he gave the tithes to fight against the emperor, to other Th e>
some he gave the glebe-lands of benefices, and to other some he gave £° e p a e n s s
the spoil of such colleges and monasteries as took not part with the used t0

i ill in i • maintain

pope ; and to some other also he gave the colleges and monasteries the war
themselves. And Aventine 1 actually names the individuals to whom bfTiord
the ecclesiastical tithes were given that they might espouse the pope's ™£ ter
cause, and the colleges and monasteries pillaged and sequestrated, and
the glebe-lands seized, and the doers therein. Hereby was there a
window opened to do what they listed, every man according to his
ravening and detestable lust, and all things lay open unto their greedy
and insatiable desires. Who listeth to hear more hereof, let him
read Aventine, who largely treateth of the same in his book before
noted, and there shall he see what vastation grew thereby to the
whole state of Germany, but specially in Bavaria.

While these things were thus working in Germany, Frederic,
leaving in Lombardy Actiolinus with a great part of his host, and
passing with the rest by the Apennines, came to Etruria and set the
same in a stay, after that he had allayed certain insurrections there ;
and from thence to Pisa, where he was with great amity and honour
received and welcomed. This city was always steady and faithful to
the emperors of Germany. The pope, understanding of the empe-
ror's coming into Etruria, and knowing what a large part of his troops Bestegeth
he had left in Lombardy, with a great army besieged the city of Ferrara -
Ferrara, that always loved the emperor full well ; which city when
the pope's legate had assaulted sharply the space of five months, and
could not win the same, he devised with himself to send for Saling-
werra out of the town by way of a parley, pledging his faith and truth
to him for his safe return ; who by the persuasion of Hugo Ram- ApJOZdi*
bartus, that said he might do the same without peril (it being but by
way of parley), came to the legate ; who, intercepting his return, o/ d p e a p£ ts
took him prisoner, contrary to good faith and justice. And thus ieariu.ii>
gat he Ferrara, and delivered the keeping thereof to Azo, marquis of example.

(!) Lib. 7. Atinalium Boiorura.


Hittoryoj Este. A lid that the pope's legate thus falsified his truth, and circum-

r u. vented the captain and old man Salingwerra, the same is confessed of

E "'i' ernr - tl,c historians friendly to the pope, yea, commended of them as a

A. D. stroke of warlike policy. I Jut to return again. About the same

l'- Ht>- time also the Venetian navy, at Monte Gargano, chased twelve galleys

of the emperor's, which were appointed to the keeping of that

coast, and spoiled, burned, and wasted all the region ; and, further,

perorT took one of the emperor's great ships, being driven by tempes-

Sfcenby tuous weather into the haven of Siponto, fraught with men and

the pope, munition.

Frederic again, getting on his side the cities of Lucca, Vol terra,
Sienna, and Arezzo, and most of the cities of Etruria, to help his own
Aril'ndiz. - dominions came from Pisa to Viterbo, which took part with him. Blon-
dus and Platina and some others say, that the names and factions of
TheGM- Ghibellines and Guelphs sprang from Frederic at this time ; for that
and having sent his spies through all the towns and cities of Italy, to ascer-
jueiphs. ^ a j n w | 1 j c ] ] t 00 k p ar t with and favoured the pope, and which the empe-
ror, he called the one by the name of Ghibellines, and the other by the
name of Guelphs. But, for that they bring no sufficient proof thereof
but only slender conjecture, 1 rather cleave to the opinion of Nau-
clerus, Herman Contract, Antoninus of Florence, Castiglioni, and
others, who say, that these names had their first beginning in Italy,
when Conrad, uncle of Frederic I., was emperor ; and that those who
were devoted to the pope were called Guelphs from Guelph, young-
est brother of Henry the Proud, while the emperor's partisans were
called Ghibellines from Vaiblingcn, the native place of Conrad or his
son. But to our purpose.
lie pope The pope, when he understood that Frederic was come to Viterbo,
.,',.. was much alarmed, for that he feared he would come still nearer to
| ; ^"- Rome, the good will of which city the pope much mistrusted. He
iiaiy. therefore ordered litanies, and caused the heads of Peter and Paul (if
we are to believe them genuine) to be carried round in procession ;
and having in a sharp and abusive oration attacked the emperor, he
promised everlasting life, and gave the badge of the cross, to as many
as would take up arms against the emperor, as a most wicked enemy
of God and his church. Now when the emperor, drawing near to
Koine gates, beheld those, whom the pope by Ids goodly spectacle
of St. Peter and St. Paul and by his promises had stirred up against
him, coming to meet him with the badge of the cross; disdaining
to be accounted for an enemy of the church, when he had been
M,rZi,x. thereunto so beneficial, giving a fierce charge upon them he soon
The em dispersed them; and as many as he took prisoners he put to
t.'rmreih excruciating torture by burning or cutting the mark of the cross
croslni in l ' R '' r flesh. From thence marching into Campania and his
own kingdoms, he levied a great mass of money, and mustered
new bands, and augmented his army; and in tlu>c bands he
'• retained the Saracens also. And to the intent he might find the

I In- , , i-i 1 1 1

eenain &aracens the more trusty to him, lie appointed them a city named

l; 1 ;,"^ Lnceria to dwell in. 'For which thing although the papistical

the pop*, writers do greatly blame and opprobriously write of Freddie, yet

notwithstanding, Nicholas Machiavelli doth write, that tor this

cause he retained them, — lest, through the pope's execrable curses,


he should be quite destitute of soldiers, as was Frederic Barbarossa, History of
his grandfather, a little before, when of pope Alexander III. he was Fre / I eTlc
excommunicated, as ye have heard. 1 Emperor.

After this, when the emperor had severely punished the pope's A. D.
ecclesiastical consorts, such as conspired with the pope against him, 1240.
and had wasted and destroyed Benevento, Monte Cassino, and Sora A s ^ idix
(because they took part with the pope against him), and had founded
the new city of Aquila, he marched forth with a great host both of
horsemen and footmen to Picenum, that he might vanquish his ene-
mies in Italy, and besieged Ascoli, a fortified city belonging to the
adverse faction. He there, having understanding of what the pope's
emissaries had done with the princes-electors, and other princes of
Germany, especially with Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, and Otho
the Palatine, writeth his letters unto them. In these he first showed, Theefiect
how those contumelies and spiteful words, which the pope blustered sift 'by"
out against him, applied rather to himself ; and how the bishops of the em P e -
Rome had taken to them of late such heart of grace and were become princes of
so lofty, that they not only sought to bring emperors, kings, and Germany -
princes under their obedience, but also to be honoured as gods ; and
impudently affirmed that they cannot err, neither yet be subject to or
bound by any obligation however sacred ; and that it was lawful for
them to do all things what they list ; neither that any account was to
be sought or demanded of their doings, or else to be made of them
to any : and further, that they imperiously commanded (and that
under pain of damnation), that men believe every thing they say,
how great a lie soever it be ; insomuch that, by reason of this inor- Noenemy
dinate ambition of theirs, all things were going backward, and the hurtful to
whole state of the Christian commonweal was subverted, neither could J£ e .
there any enemy be found more hurtful or perilous to the church of G'»i than
God than they. He wrote unto them, furthermore, that he (to whom The^nT-
the greatest charge and dignity in the whole commonweal was ap- ^™ e r th (0
pointed and committed), seeing and perceiving their good hearts, remove
wills, and practices towards him in his great peril, would with all the andpX'
power and ability that God had given him do his endeavour, that he „ a j° other
who in the likeness of the shepherd of the flock, and the servant of carefl11
Christ, and chief prelate in the church, showed himself so very a
wolf, persecutor, and tyrant, might be removed from that place, and
that a true and faithful shepherd of God's flock might be appointed
in the church. Wherefore he exhorted them, that if they desired
the safety and preservation both of the empire and of Christendom in
general, they should be unto him no hinderers, but furtherers of his
purpose and proceedings ; lest, otherwise, they also should happen to
fall under the same yoke of servitude to the bishop of Rome. And

Online LibraryJosiah PrattThe church historians of England : Reformation period (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 84)