« PreviousContinue »
swer me, (as a learned priest has lately written,) that this doctrine of the Jesuits is not de fide, and that consequently they are not obliged by it, they must pardon me, if I think they have said nothing to the purpose; for it is a maxim in their church, where points of faith are not decided, and that doctors are of contrary opinions, they may follow which part they please, but more safely the most received and most authorized. And their champion, Bellarmine, has told the world, in his Apology, that the king of England is a vassal to the pope, ratione directi dominii, * and that he holds in villanage of his Roman landlord; which is no new claim put in for England: our chronicles are his authentic witnesses, that King John was deposed by the same plea, and Philip Augustus admitted tenant; and, which makes the more for Bellarmine, the French king was again ejected when our king submitted to the church, and the crown received under the sordid condition of a vassalage.
It is not sufficient for the more moderate and well-meaning papists, of which I doubt not there are many, to produce the evidences of their loyalty to the late king, and to declare their innocency in this plot. I will grant their behaviour in the first to have been as loyal and as brave as they desire; and will be willing to hold them excused as to the second, (I mean when it comes to my turn, and after my betters; for it is a madness to be sober alone, while the nation continues drunk :) but that saying of their father Cres. † is still running in my
* The Dominium directum is the right of seignory competent to a feudal superior, in opposition to the Dominium utile, or actual possession of the lands which is held by the vassal.
+ Hugh Paulin Cressy, better known by the name of Serenus Cressy, which he adopted upon entering into a religious state, was
head, that they may be dispensed with in their obedience to an heretic prince, while the necessity of the times shall oblige them to it; (for that, as another of them tells us, is only the effect of Christian prudence ;) but when once they shall get power to shake him off, an heretic is no lawful king, and consequently to rise against him is no rebellion. I should be glad, therefore, that they would follow the advice which was charitably given them by a reverend prelate of our church, namely, that they would join in a public act of disowning and detesting those jesuitic principles, and subscribe to all doctrines which deny the pope's authority of deposing kings, and releasing subjects from their oath of allegiance; to which, I should think, they might easily be induced, if it be true, that this present pope has condemned the doctrine of king-killing; a thesis of the Jesuits, maintained, amongst others, ex cathedra, as they call it, or in open consistory.
Leaving them, therefore, in so fair a way, (if they please themselves,) of satisfying all reasonable men of their sincerity and good meaning to the government, I shall make bold to consider that other ex
originally chaplain to the unfortunate Strafford, and afterwards to the gallant Falkland; but, having gone abroad after the civil wars, he became a convert to the Catholic faith, and a benedictine monk in the English college of Douay. After the Restoration, he returned to England, and was appointed chaplain to Queen Catherine. He was remarkable for regularity of life, unaffected piety, modest and mild behaviour. But in mystical doctrines, he was an enthusiast; and in religion, a zealot. He was the principal conductor of controversy on the part of the papists; and published many treatises against Stillingfleet, Pierce, Bagshaw, and other champions of the protestant faith. His chief work was the Church History of Brittany, from the beginning of Christianity to the Norman Conquest.---See Athenæ Oxon. II. p. 528.
treme of our religion, I mean the fanatics, or schismatics, of the English church. Since the Bible has been translated into our tongue, they have used it so, as if their business was not to be saved, but to be damned by its contents. If we consider only them, better had it been for the English nation, that it had still remained in the original Greek and Hebrew, or at least in the honest Latin of St Je rome, than that several texts in it should have been prevaricated to the destruction of that government, which put it into so ungrateful hands.
How many heresies the first translation of Tyndal* produced in few years, let my Lord Herbert's
The passage in Lord Herbert's history, referred to by Dryden, seems to be that which follows:
"For as the scriptures began then commonly to be read, so out of the literal sense thereof, the manner of those times was, promiscuously to draw arguments, for whatsoever in matter of state or otherwise was to be done. Insomuch, that the text which came nearest the point in question, was taken as a decision of the business; to the no little detriment of their affairs: The scriptures not pretending yet to give regular instructions in those points. But this is so much less strange, that the year preceding, the Scriptures (heretofore not permitted to the view of the people) were now translated in divers languages, and into English, by Tindal, Joy, and others, though, as not being warranted by the king's authority, they were publickly burnt, and a new and better translation promised to be set forth, and allowed to the people. It being not thought fit by our king, that under what pretence or difficulty soever, his subjects should be defrauded of that, wherein was to be found the word of God, and means of their salvation. Howbeit not a few inconveniences were observed to follow. For as the people did not sufficiently separate the more clear and necessary parts thereof, from the obscure and accessory; and as again taking the several authors to be equally inspired, they did equally apply themselves to all; they fell into many dangerous opinions: Little caring how they lived, so they understood well, bringing religion thus into much irresolution and controversie, while few men agreeing on the same interpretation of the harder places, vexed each others conscience, appropriating to themselves
History of Henry the Eighth inform you; insomuch that, for the gross errors in it, and the great mischiefs it occasioned, a sentence passed on the first edition of the Bible, too shameful almost to be * repeated. After the short reign of Edward the
the gift of the spirit. Whereof the Roman church, (much perplext at first with these defections) did at last avail itself; as assuming alone the power of that decision, which yet was used more in favour of themselves, than such an analogy, as ought to be found in so perfect a book. So that few were satisfied therewith, but such as, renouncing their own judgment, and submitting to theirs, yielded themselves wholly to an implicit faith; in which, though they found an apparent ease, yet as, for justifying of themselves, the authority of their belief was derived more immediately from the church, than the scripture, not a few difficulties were introduced, concerning both: While the more speculative sort could not imagine, how to hold that as an infallible rule, which needed humane help to vindicate and support it; nevertheless, as by frequent reading of the scripture at this time, it generally appeared what the Roman church had added or altered in religion, so many recovered a just liberty, endeavouring together a reformation of the doctrine and manners of the clergy, which yet, through the obstinacy of some, succeeded worse, than so pious intentions deserved."
* William Tyndal, otherwise called Hitchens, was born on the borders of Wales, and educated at Oxford. He was one of the earliest Protestants, and so boldly maintained the doctrines of the Reformation, that he was obliged to leave England. He employed himself, while abroad, in executing a translation, first of the New Testament, and afterwards of the Pentateuch, with prologues to the different books. But as he was à zealous Lutheran, and as it had not pleased King Henry VIII. that his subjects should become Protestants, though they had ceased to be Papists, Tyndal's version of the New Testament was publickly burned, and prohibited by royal proclamation, as tending to disturb the brains of weak persons. This grossly indecorous expression was not altogether without foundation. A rule of faith, containing the most sublime doctrines both of faith and moral practice, and which had long been acknowledged the only guide to heaven, could not be exposed at once to the vulgar, who had been bred up in the grossest ignorance of its nature and contents, without dazzling and confounding them, as the beams of
Sixth, (who had continued to carry on the Reformation on other principles than it was begun,) every one knows, that not only the chief promoters of that work, but many others, whose consciences would not dispense with popery, were forced, for fear of persecution, to change climates; from whence returning at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, many of them, who had been in France, and at Geneva, brought back the rigid opinions and imperious discipline of Calvin, to graft upon our Reformation; which, though they cunningly concealed at first, (as well knowing how nauseously that drug would go down in a lawful monarchy, which was prescribed for a rebellious commonwealth,) yet they always kept it in reserve; and were never wanting to themselves, either in court or parliament, when either they had any prospect of a numerous party of fanatic members in the one,
the sun suddenly let in upon the inmates of an obscure dungeon. It was not till the sacred Scriptures, with the expositions of judicious pastors, became a part of the regular education of the people, that their minds were duly prepared to make the proper use of that inestimable gift.
The fate of Tyndal was melancholy enough. By the influence of Henry, he was seized at Brussels; and, under pretence of his being a pragmatical incendiary, one of the first translators of the New Testament was strangled and burned, at Filford castle, about twenty miles from Antwerp, in 1536. His last words were, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes."
Heylin says, the reformation would have rested with the first public liturgy, confirmed by act of parliament in the second and third years of Edward VI., " if Calvin's pragmatical spirit had not interposed. He first began to quarrel at some passages in this sacred liturgy, and afterwards never left soliciting the lord protector, and practising, by his agents, on the court, the country, and the universities, till he had laid the first foundation of the Zuinglian faction, who laboured nothing more than innovation both in doctrine and discipline."-Ecclesia Restaurata. Address to the Reader,