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maintain and support the sinking papacy. But these are much the fewest, and of no authority or judgment; therefore they can do nothing. But it is wonderful to see with how much greater vehemency and affection the Germans are carried to hear those who teach the Lutheran heresy, than to frequent mass, or hear them that preach your doctrine. Lastly, all Italy saw the letters of Cardinal Pool, your legate, who is to reclaim England from heresy; who wrote in this manner :
“We staid for some days at Tilinga and Ausburg, and made most dilligent inquiry into all matters belonging to religion : but we found nothing of this kind that could please us. For the churches of our adversaries are every day wonderfully frequented, and their preachers followed with great alacrity : ours on the other hand are forsaken; and if you saw our churches, you would call them deserts, there are so few, and those I know not who, old men and women that come to mass.” Thus, he and his friends, particularly D. Aloysius Priulus wrote a great deal to this purpose : in short, we may despair of that nation. Therefore your Holiness may very lawfully exact something more than ordinary from those who are still your subjects ; that what you lose out of your revenue by their revolt, may be thence supplied. But we would likewise admonish you of this, that in raising money out of the datary and pænitentiary, as they call it, and other offices, as also in the exaction of tithes and tribute you use circumspection ; and though you are desirous to pick up money from every thing, yet carry yourself so in it, as to silence the clamours of people for the future. It is certain, indeed, that all the riches of the world are yours, who are Christ's vicar, to whom the possession of all things belongs, and therefore you may lawfully take what you please any where; but do this neatly and dexterously; for (let us confess the truth) it is incredible with how great hatred people are incensed against you, and what horrid things are spread amongst the multitude concerning you; and there has hardly been any Pope, to whom both in words and writing, they have more manifestly declared their aversion. For, as for England, upon which
value yourself so much, as if it were to be ascribed to your good fortune, that that Queen takes care to extirpate heresy out of the kingdom : you have certainly no share in that praise. Then we fear lest that sudden felicity should not be lasting. Besides the Queen styles herself supreme head of that kingdom, next and immediately after Christ; so that though the
old worship and ceremonies were never so much restored, your power and authority is not to be retrieved. In short, you must be very watchful, and face the storm, unless you are desirous to venture all at one cast.
Wishing your Holiness all health, we humbly prostrate, kiss your sacred feet.
Your Holiness's most devoted servants and creatures,
Vincentius de Durantibus, bishop of Termulæ.
Gerard Burdragus [Busgradus,] bishop of Thessalonica. Bononia, Oct. 20, 1553.
SEVERAL CAPTIOUS QUERIES CONCERNING THE ENGLISH
Sect. 1. Quer - The Church of England is either the whole Catholic Church, or a member thereof. If a member only, name me that church or congregation, under the sun, whose sacraments and liturgy she embraces, unless she have cut herself off from the rest of the body ?
Answ.— If the Church of Rome were spread over tặe face of the whole earth, excepting here in England ; and nothing would serve, but we or they must be the Catholic Church, reason would require that the Church of England should be so, which is better, and not the Church of Rome, which would be but the bigger Church. But we pretend not to be the Catholic Church, because we neither need nor ought to boast beyond truth. The sacraments we embrace are received by all Christian Churches in the world, and no Church ought to receive any more.
We embrace the Liturgies of other Reformed Churches, and use our own as they use their own, and embrace ours. We embrace all that honest Christians can embrace in the Liturgies of the unreformed, and we reject the rest. We have not cut ourselves off from the rest of the body, but the Church of Rome has done so, because she is resolved to be all or nothing.
Sect. 2. Quer.—Does she allow the sacraments of Lutherans or Calvinists?
Answ. She allows and administers the same sacraments that Lutherans and Calvinists do, not because they are sacraments celebrated by them or by any others; but because they are sacraments instituted by Christ.
Sect. 3. Quer. - From whence was Cranmer, that first patri-
inform me, whether a bishop or minister fallen from the Church of England, may not also take upon him to preach against the Church of England, by pretence of the orders received from her hands.
Answ.-Cranmer was immediately sent by the bishops that ordained and consecrated him, originally by Christ, who left that power in the Church by which they did so. So far, therefore, as he was the first reformer of the Church of England, he did what became his mission, better than if he had gone on to maintain false doctrines as the patriarch of Rome did. That he was the first reformer was not his fault, but theirs who went before him in that great station, and should have done the same thing, but did not. The Gospel which he preached was not the Gospel of man, and therefore not his own, but the Gospel of Christ. Nor was it properly a reformed Gospel which he preached, since the Gospel of Christ is in all ages one and the same. But if because he reformed the profession of the Church in some things, which were no part of the Gospel, though they were pretended to be so, he must be said to have preached a reformed Gospel ; neither was he to blame for that, whose duty it was to cast errors out of the Church, but they only were to blame, who had been so careless and treacherous as to let them in. He did not rise up against the Church of Rome when he rose against the corruptions of that Church which had obtained in England; unless the Church of Rome cannot subsist without such notorious errors as he rose up against. He was not her enemy, unless he became so by telling her the truth. Nor is it true that he received his commission from Rome, though he received it by the hands of bishops that were in servitude to that see. For his commission had been every whit as good, if they had not been subject to the Roman bishop, as they ought not to have been. But since his obligation to Christ, from whom he received his commission by their hands, was infinitely greater than to them, it was just and honest in him to rise up against those unchristian doctrines and practices which they maintained ; and no less justifiable than to have risen up against the Arian heresy, if he had received his orders from Arian bishops. And if ever the Church of England should fall into the like corruptions again (which God forbid), those bishops and ministers that have received orders from her hands, and who in discharge thereof take upon them to preach (not against the Church of England, but against the wicked doctrines and practices of the Church; those bishops, &c. I say, will do not only what they may, but what they ought to do? and for the doing of which, they shall be rewarded at the last day by the Great Bishop and Shepherd of souls, by whose authority and command they so did.
Sect. 4. Quer.- Whether want of mission be not an error in the foundation of any Church? It being theft and robbery (as our Saviour has taught us) not to enter by the door into the sheepfold.
Answ.—That Cranmer did, or that our pastors now do want mission is a falsehood insinuated by this query. Their mission has been more canonical than that of many of your Popes has been. But for once to answer directly to an impertinent question. The want of such mission does not destroy the being, or as you call it, the foundation of a Church. Nor is that the door of which our Saviour spake in John x. since in the needs of the Church good shepherds may come into the fold without canonical mission, and it has on the other side too often happened that thieves and robbers have come into the fold by it, who came not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
Sect. 5. Quer.- Whether Cranmer entered by the Parliament door, or by the gate of the Scriptures ? But this latter is the old song of heretics and sectaries, perpetually boasting of Scripture. I demand, therefore, Does not the Bible admit of various interpretations ? Whence of necessity some judge is to be assigned to determine which is the true interpretation, unless your inclinations be to wrangle to all eternity?
Ansi.-To the first of these profound interrogations, I answer thus :—That if Cranmer entered by the Parliament door, it is a door at which you, whoever you are, would be glad to enter too, provided, you could get in without passing the gate of the Scriptures, which you shut up against men, for ye
neither in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. For your saying, that Scripture is the old song of heretics and sectaries, &c. I know not whether it betrays more ignorance or profaneness. The Scriptures (if they must be so called) were the old song of the good old Fathers of the Church : and the old song of the old heretics and sectaries was tradition, tradition, unwritten tradition ; the taking up of which song, is that that gives you some title to antiquity.
To your second interrogatory, I answer, That if by admitting various interpretations, you mean that the words of the Bible are not so plain as to exclude all possibility of various interpretations, and perverting them to a wrong sense, it is then a very idle demand, Whether the Bible does not admit of various interpretations ? For I defy your judge whom you speak of presently after, be he man or men, to put words so together, that it shall be impossible to pervert them to a wrong meaning.