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TRUE, SOUND, AND HOLY CHURCH OF GOD,
WHERESOEVER WARFARING UPON EARTH.
I PRESENT unto thee, Dear and Holy Mother, this poor un. worthy token of my love and loyalty; the not-so-pleasing, as true report of thy future broils. How much gladder should I have been, if thy Spouse had so thought good, to have been the messenger of thy peace and security! But, since the Great and Wise Moderator of All Things hath thought a palm fitter for thee than an olive, it is for thee to think of victory, not of rest. Thou shalt once triumph in heuven, and rest for all; but, in the mean time, here is nothing to be looked for but ambushes, skirmishes, tumults. And, how cheerfully must thou needs both bear and overcome all oppositions, that art not more sure of the necessity of thy warfare, thun of the happiness of thy success ; whilst thou seest thy Glorious Husband not only the leader of this field, but a most just and merciful crowner of thy conquest ! Certainly, it is as impossible for thee to miscarry, as to sit still, and not fight. Behold, all the forces of heaven and earth conspire ; and rejoice to come voluntaries unto this holy war of thine ; and promise thee a most happy issue. Address thyself, therefore, as thou art wont, courageously to this work of God: but, remember, first, to enquire, as thou dost, of Abel. Spare no tears to thy desperate Sister; now thine enemy: and, calling heaven and earth to witness, upon thy knees beseech and entreat her, by her own soul, and by the dear bowels of Christ, by those precious drops of his bloody sweat, by that common price of our eternal redemption, that she would, at the last, return to herself, and that good disposition which she hath now too long abandoned ; that she would forbear, any more, as I fear she hath hitherto wilfully done, to fight against God. But, if she shall still persist to stop her ears against thee, and to harden herself in rebellion against her God; forget, if thou canst, who she once was; and fly mercilessly upon this daughter of Belial, that vaunts herself proudly in the glory of her munition. Go, smite, destroy, conquer, and reign, as the worthy partner of thy Husband's throne. “For me, I shall, in the meun time, be as one of thy rude trumpets, whose noise shall both awaken thy courage unto this spiritual battle, and whose joyful gratulations shall, after thy rich spoils, applaud thy happy return in the day of thy victory.
A LEARNED PAPIST, AND GRAVE DIVINE :
THAT, BY TWO SEVERAL EMPERORS, FERDINAND AND MAXIMILIAN, WAS
SET ON WORK TO COMPOSE THESE QUARRELS OF THE CHURCH.
In his Consultation; pp. 56 and 57.
YerI cannot deny, but that, in the beginning, many, out of a godly zeal and care, were driven to a sharp and severe reproof of certain manifest abuses; and that the principal cause of this calamity and distraction of the Church is to be laid upon those, which, being puffod up with a vain insolent conceit of their ecclesiastical power, proudly and scornfully contemned and rejected them, which did rightly and modestly admonish their reformation. Wherefore my opinion is, that the Church can never hope for any firm peace, unless they make the beginning, which have given the cause of the distraction: that is, unless those, which are in place of Ecclesiastical Government, will be content to remit something of their too much rigour, and yield somewhat to the peace of the Church; and, hearkening unt the earnest prayers and admonitions of many godly men, will set themselves to correct manifest abuses, according to the rule of Divine Scriptures, and of the Ancient Church from which they have swerved.
NO PEACE WITH ROME.
The State of the now Roman Church, There is no one question doth so rack the minds of men at this day, as this of the Church *.
The infancy of the Church was sore and long vexed with heresies of a higher nature, concerning God, concerning Christ, which still struck at the head: but her vigorous and hoary age is exercised with a slighter quarrel, concerning ourselves; which yet raiseth up the greater broils every where, by how much every man naturally loves himself more than God.
Not to meddle with any foreign questions of this nature, too many seem unto me to misconceive the state of our Church, and the Řomish, as if they had been always two : as if, from their first foundations, they had been sensibly severed in time and place ; like to Babylon and Jerusalem, or those two famous cities opposed in St. Austin's learned discourse t.
Hence are those idle demands of some smattering questionists : Where our Church hath thus long hid itself: What year and day it came to light: In which age, that other Church lost itself: Why we have withdrawn ourselves no further from them: What is become of our forefathers: Which was the religion of the former world.
From hence have those sharp and rigorous censures passed on both sides; whether of novelty, or of the desperate condition of those souls which have departed out of our own way.
Alas! what monsters both of opinions and questions have risen hence; and have vexed, not their own authors only, for the Delphic Oracle said well, “ It is fit a man should have as he doth * :" but, together with them, the whole Church of God! How many silly souls have splitted upon this rock; which had never needed any votive monument of their wreck, if they had but learned to hold no other difference betwixt us and Rome, than must needs be granted, betwixt a Church miserably corrupted, and happily purged; betwixt a sickly, languished, and dying Church, and one that is healthful, strong, and flourishing.
* G. Cassand. I. de Consule. Art. 7. Ex articulo koc de Ecclesiá, omnis hæc distractio, quæ hodie est in Republica Christianá, originem ducit.
7 Aug. de Civit.
Neither therefore did that Vaidus of France t, nor Wickliffe of England, nor Jerome of Prague, nor Luther of Germany, ever go about to frame a new Church to themselves, which was not; but only endeavoured, not without happy success, to cleanse, scour, restore, reform that Church which was, from that filthy soil, both of disorder and errors, wherewith it was shamefully blemished. All these rather desired to be accounted physicians to heal, than parents to beget a Church.
And the same have we carefully done, ever since; and do seriously and ingenuously profess of ourselves at this day.
Rome is alike to us, as it was of old to Jerome I, with Eugubium, Rhegium, Alexandria: save that this city is both more famous and more near us. Places do not vary either faith or title. What Church soever God shall call Daughter, we will call Sister: and so we safely may;
How many honest and chaste matrons have we known, that have been ashamed of a lewd sister; and have abhorred filthiness in one of their own blood! So it fareth now with us.
Rome is overgone with heresy, with idolatry. Let her practise her whoredom at home, by herself: it was not for us, with the safeguard of our honesty, to dwell with such a partner.
Not only her wickedness hath thrust us out; but her violence. We yield, therefore ; and sorrowfully complain, with the Prophet, How is the faithful city become a harlot ! It was full of judgment, and justice lodged therein ; but now it is full of murderers. Thy silver is become dross, and thy wine is brewed with water ; Isa. i.
Away with the imperious name of a Mother. We are all the same Church, by the virtue of our outward vocation, whosoever, all the world over, worship Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, and Saviour of the World; and profess the same common Creed Ş. Some of us do this more purely; others, more corruptly : in the mean time, we are all Christians; but sound Christians we are not.
But how harshly doth this sound to a weak reader, and more than seems to need reconciliation with itself, that the Church should be one; and yet cannot be reconciled! Certainly, yet so it is. The dignity of the outward form, which comprehends this unity in itself, avails nothing to grace, nothing to salvation, nothing to the
* Julian. Cæs. eixe rátou tã x' piše ideia yerosto. Judicum si quis quae fecil perferat, quum est. + An. Dom. 1160. I Hieron. Epist. ad Evagr. § Iren. I, i, c, 2, 3.