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CAP. I HOW I CAME TO BE A PROTESTANT
AND OF MY STATE AND PROGRESS THEREIN
S in matter of manners, woordes and actions, which according to St. Paul are the fabric of Christian lyfe, there are many ways by which to recede from God (to wyt, so many ways by which to breach God his holy laws), so also in matters of faith and beleefe, which the same Apostle saieth is the real foundation of the Church, ther waunt not many ways in which to leave realitie to erre in most perilous manner. But there are three ways most usual and most renowned throughout the world.
2. The first is that by which a man who professeth the Universal and Catholic Faith, constituted by Christ and the Apostles, and complete and consonant with itself in all parts of the world and known as most certain by its extending unto the worlds end, and doth shew it self true upon divers proofs, and errs in noone, either pryde and vanity and self-esteem puff him up, or for ambition, hatred, or brave emulation takne after those of the same profession. or upon a earthly hope or fear of punishment for offences committed (for these are comonly the trewe causes unto this change), he doth properly devise new opinions and interpretations in matters of faith with intent to mayntain them resolutly against the unitie of the common agreement of the whole Churche, and this is what we name heresy, and he that doth it is to be called an heretique, for that heresie in the Greek tongue signifieth choice, and heretic a chooser. And this is to be understood in St. Paul among other things wherin he adviseth Titus, as he saide, haeriticum hominem post unam et secundam correptionem devita, sciens quod subversus est, qui huiusmodi esset cum sit proprio iudicio condemnatus: a man that is an heretique, after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that such is subverted and sinneth being condemned by his owne iudgment. Whereby is to be noted (and so do all ancient writers) that here St Paul saith not only that such a man is subverted (as a tree is pulled up by its roots), but beeing condemned as such by his owne proper judgment (as in the case of other sinners he speaketh so here), by act of the wilfulness of his personal judgment knowingly throws himself against the obedience due to our mother the church. And such as those who by this unhappie choice make themselves princes and authors of new sectes, as Ebion, Cerinthus and others in the Apostolique times, and others at other times after, and in our forefathers time Berengar, Wicliffe and such, and in our own time Martin Luther, Jhon Calvin, and many others such as have been Contrivers and heades of new heresies and sectes. And thes men for distinction sake are called by the church in these times Archheretiques (as you might call or say principall dyvels), and greatest in that principalitie and kingdom in autority.
3. Another type of men are those who, although first grounded in the Catholic faith, go astray through simplicity or inconstancy, or for that they have itching ears, as the Apostle saith, and neglecting real faith and the light of truth, which they beforehand enjoyed, they do attach themselves freely to some opinion which presents itself or is disseminated by others. Between these and the first there is much in common, and they are properly called heretiques (as Augsutine notes) if they hold with new opinions against all who form together the Church, and they choose obstinately to follow the inventions of other men who trust their own judgment above all, of which case it seemeth the Apostle especially speaketh: Non circumferamur fluctuantes omni vento doctrinae, let us not be carried away floating after every new blast of doctrine. And elsewhere the same Apostle, in instructing his follower Timothy to avoid falling into the snares which are laid by men of these new opinions, saith o Timothee depositum custodi devitans profanas vocum novitates et oppositiones falsi nominis scientiae quam quidam promittentes circa fidem exciderunt, Oh Timothie keep well the deposit committed unto thee in trust and avoide profane and vain babbling and the opposition of the science such as falsely is so called. And this is the reason why heresies are permitted by Christ to arise, that one who is tested in this way may be more constant in faith. Nam oportet et haereses esse (saith St. Paul) ut et qui probati sunt manifesti fiant in vobis. So long before, Moses foresaw by divine grace that God would send false prophets who would test the love of his servants whether it be of their whole heart and mind.
4. Both these types of heretics therefore are and always shall be in the church (or rather war against her) and so it wilbe to the world’s end: some who invent new and strange opinions, others who follow what they have done, and by their proper choice both are made heretiques. And albeit of these two types both are found not difficultly amonge our countrymen (especially if in the first kind we admitt those who, first deceived with one error, have devised others of their own), and in the second we have the greatest number, who have imbraced the errors and opinions of others (principally at the begynninge of the changes in Religion, when the growndes of either part were not well knowne or examined by most men), my opinion is that ther are very few of either kind within England, I meane those who if they were first well instructed in Catholic religion could by any waye come to agreement with the protestant party, even though many do dissimulate in religion for some earthly benefit; on the contrary, many protestants do acknowledge their error daily and embrace the Catholic faith, as will be more clearly set out in what ensueth.
5. But there is a third way by which a man may be a protestant, that is by birth and education, wherein he is brought up before the age of reason; and in this case we should call none truly a protestant or a Catholic before he reaches the use of reason, and there is no doubt that the process of choosing in religion is less free and less straightforward for those who were born in such case than for those of the two kinds I have before described, for the influence of tutors and parents, the habits of iudgment received daily from them, the authoritie of the tyme and present condition of the Realmse, the possession of freedom, the false opinion concyved againste the doctrine and procedinges of the Catholiques, not only of the calumniations and contumelis made against us from the contrarie parte, but also ignorance commonly of the trew state of the controversie or what the Catholics truly teach or holde: thes thinges, I say, do comonely sway so strongly with a youth brought up in protestancie that when he reaches the age of reason he can happily [perhaps] be so perverted, and his mind put into this false opinion, that it is only with the greatest difficulty that he can be induced to set it aside or consider possibly on so great a matter. And especially since there are so many ties upon him, of wife, children, men’s esteem, ambition, dignitie, office, authority in the Realm, which have the more influence on him, so that if any dispute or doubt were to arise, from the light of reason or of God’s truth, about religion, when he sees from afar off the rays of that light, he will not dare examine it, since the perverst mind cannot bear to see the light of truth, by which he must either change his religion and lose the benefits bound up with it, or suffer pains of guilt and miserie for the same, and this is the trew state of infinite protestantes of this wise, and manie learned doctors, this day within Ingland, yf I be not deceaved, and I appeale to themselves that feel it, though outwardly they must deny it.
6. By this third way, then, of birth and education are made the most parte of protestantes within our Realme at this day, and so was I, as in parte you know (my dear freend), and I the lyke of yow, being brought upp together in the schoole of Westminster (the very name Monasterie shluld have put us in mynd of our ancestral Religion before), and afterwards lived together in Cambridge, where, although I chose unhappily to follow that religion in which I was educated, soe as in truth and with much sorrow may say with St. Paul proficiebam in Iudaismo supra multos coetaneos in genere meo abundantius aemulator existens paternarum mearum traditionum, and profitted more in pretence of the Dyvels religion; so I believed, as was in that time, but still could I hope with the apostle, which is the singular goodness of our Saviour, quod misericordiam conscutus sum quia ignorans feci, I hope for mercy because what I did was partly in ignorance, and for the reasons and matters treated above (the falsity and vanity whereof I behould) drew me into that deliberation, or rather into resolution only, not deliberation or mature reflection what I dyd or uppon what growndes, or with what danger to my everlasting salvation.
7. Thus being then in this sorte a protestant in Cambridge about the year of our Lord 1583 and the 16 of my age, at my first aryval therin I resolved earnestlye to follow on that course, and so being made first scholler, and then fellowe of Trinitye College, passed, as you know, by the degrees of bachelor to Master of Arte, which conditional to I was made to swear an oathe against the Catholic religion seven or eight times, if I remember right, for which blest Ihesu forgeve me and those who urged me therin to swear. Nor did I cease, until I should ruin my self proceeding to the ministry and exercise of preaching. And in my blindness was such as divers yeares agoe I began the first winter and later on to write a worke in Latyn verses about the Queen and her reign against the Catholic Religion, and I presented to her the first book, and I would have presented the second had not God in his mercy prevented me. And I gave a copy of this to helpe a pointe to Doctor Whitaker in a book attacking Doctor Stapleton, and to go yet further procured myself to be chaplaine for six yeares to the Right Honourable the Earle of Essex, and went with hym in his voiage to Cadiz, and preached also at the Court and laide the plott to aspire in tyme to the highest dignities and honors, and for the upshott and seale of a sure protestant I was so nighe to have a wyfe that ther wanted nothing but the dispache of that busines for which I had attendance at the Courte, and the same tyme when it pleased God to looke uppon me and recall me from that damnable course, for which his infinite mercy be ever more blessed, and make me gratefull for so singular and underserved a benefitt.
CAP. 2 OF THE FEELING I HAD IN PROTESTANTES RELIGION AND OF THE DIFFERENCES OF SPIRITE IN THE BOTH
1. THE auntient and learned Doctor Tertullian (whome Sst. Ciprian called comonly his master), being converted from paganism to Christians religion, used often tymes the witness of his own soule for defence of his course against the gentiles, and made one speciall booke also on this matter, to which example I see not but I may imitate in this my accompt to you my good friende, which I mean to make with all sincerite as in the sight of Almightie God, calling myselfe to reckninge and my conscience to witness what she felt in herself whiles she was guided by the protestantes Doctrine, and what she hath felt synce. I will saye with the pennitant spirite of the good King Ezachias, recogitabo omnes annos meos (vel errores potius) in amaritudine mea. I shall runn over my errors with greef of mynde and lit it be to my confusion and your instruction, if ther be anything which may be worthe the noting therin.
2. The difference of the sense and feeling of my sowle then and now, and then especially when I compared Catholique and protestante religion together was the very same (as now it seemeth to me, though then I noted it not) that St. Paul assigneth betweene the spirits and the flesh, the ould and the new man, the law of our mynd and the law of our members, and if a man will read the 6, 7 & 8 chapters in St. Paul to the Romans, and the 5 to the Galatians about the Antithesis and opposition of spirite and flesh and these other contradictions, shall perfectly discearne my state at that time.
3. Now this world is wholy sett upon present honours and their studies, actions and preachinge directed to please for the same end. The protestantes religion seemed swete, by the facilty of salvation by only faith and belefe; and the Catholique hard and intollerable by the burden of good woorkes and keeping the Commandements. When I was at Cadis and saw the austere habitt of certaine fryars and religious men, and moreover lighted uppon som bookes of Dominicus A and others that treated of cases of conscience about restitution, satisfaction, pennance, performance of oaths and vowes, and other lyke matter, I reioiced much that by Inglish religion I was delivered from such burdens and scruples, and when I read in auncient fathers and Ecclesiatical histories of much fasting, harecloth, punnishment of the boddy, going to confession, paines of purgatory, of monasteries, and monastical lyf both in men and women, with the same fathers earnest and fearfull exortations to streatnes of lyfe, then my soale was glad that ewther [either] she did not beleve them, or thought herselfe not bownd to follow them.
4. It semed most comfortable counsel by which one lyfting up my hart to heaven and saying Lord have mercy uppon me with the publicans, and fyrmly beleving that my synnes were forgeven me, all wickedness and vice was lawfull unto me. And although some tyme there were great obiections against this, that not every one that saith Lord Lord, and that not the hearers but the doers of the law be iustified, and that faith without workes is fruitles, and without charity profiteth nothinge, and that at the days of Judgment only workes are mentioned to be rewarded or punished, and that St. Jhon telleth them as plainely qui facit iustitiam iustus est, he that doth iustice is iust, and if our hart reprehend us not (for our lyf), we shall have hope in God, and not otherwise, yet <the> sweet tast of the other libertie, and the desires of the affection lead sensuall men to hardness, and I to over rule the case against my iudgment and made me perswade my selfe that thes and such hard lyke speeches of scriptures were threateninges only of the law, which dyd not bynd nor greatly appertaine to the freedome of owr gospell, although they were intermingled often in the gospell, as tart sauces to make doctrine of faith alone seeme the sweeter. And this exposition I accoumpted both comfortable and sownd, building upon that prorogative which all protestantes supporte, and I thought I might chalenge to my selfe as well as to the beste, too witt, to be able to iudge of all matters alone, and so I framed my selfe to be that spiritual man that St. Paul talketh of qui omnia iudicat, ipse vero a nemine iudicatur, and this spirit at this time I iudged it to be the spirite of pride and wilful presumption. This then was at that tyme my state and feelinge in parte, for overlong it were to set downe the whole. And yet consideringe this tyme I must confess to thee, o mercifull Lord, not to hide or dissemble thy goodnes towardes me in this my blindnes and spirituall miserie, that I felt often times certaine inwarde motions and naturall inclinations to pietye and ability to pray in sincerety, ever from my youth, but it was now ever against thy truth and ever striving against <thy> trew servants the Catholics. To begin with, both before my conversion (a thing unusuall among the protestants) I have myself frequently to prayer, and especially in reverence and love towards the saints reigning with Christ; though to follow them I did not think necessary; and also I felt myself moved to repent my past sins, so as to atone for them by bodily penance. But I was deterred from this course, fearing that I might harm myself more than I intended, and moreover I was still in that heresy, in which I believed I was unable to sin, and all my efforts were vain.
5. Now I considered in myself how I seemed to be but weak, faling to live owt my resolutions, then falling into the same sins and many others from which I believed I had been purged by only faithe, here holding and applying (as they say) the merites of Christ to my soares. Yt made me bould and presumptious to runne into the same and lyke synnes againe, from which I was so often and easely delivered before withowt punisshment or paynes.
6. I felt at divers tymes a certaine tendernes of harte towardes the pore and an inclynation to give alms, but on the other side thinking it not necessary to salvation and other uses, and ever wanting to bestowe it on my self, I neglected it ever.
7. Fasting also, so many times commended in the scriptures, and used by the Apostles and other holy men of the early Church, often beckond my self to it; but I had been taught by the protestants to use it at my liberty, and not at the particular days determined for it by the church, to avoid slavery by grace, and so I never resolved anything in this matter, and, following the motions of my stomach, which yearned for food rather than abstinence, and since fasting seemed unnecessary to salvation, and might be harmful, in every case it seemed better for me to eat with a thankful heart.
8. And being thus troubled by different motions of my soul, I followed always that cours which walked after the flesh, called by my fellow ministers the more prudent and pleasant path. And although the internal light of conscience called by thee, O Lord, the light of thy countenance sealed uppon us, dyd often struggle against this; as also many places of thy writen word exhorting us to enter by the narrow gate, yet with the former oyntment of only faith so strong still to pacefie this paine for the time as I passed it over. Yet one thing I must confess, that the examples of all Saintes and all seruants of god from the beginning of the world to whom he was familiar, and by whom he dyd so many miracles, and to whom it seemeth evident that they possessed spirit, and no less evident that they guided their lives by the instruction of the same spirite, these mens example, I say, aggrieved me greatly, when I considered them, for it seemed very clear that their manner of life was guided by a spirit very different from that of our protestants. For the austere life of Elias, Elisaeus and the other prophetss and fathers of the Old Testament is clearly set out in that Testament, and much the same is contained in the New Testament of St. John the Baptist, who conjoined both Testaments. Morever the fastings of the Apostles, and of those who were the first to profess the faith of Christ, together with their whippings, sorrowes, groanes, teares, punishment of the body, kneelings and similar severe and voluntary mortification of their flesh, thes are abundantly displayed in their epistles and workes, in so much as one of them durst say note adimpleo ea quae desunt passionum Christi in carne, I do fyll up in my flesh that which waunted of Christes sufferinges. And after this againe, all they that from that tyme to this were recounted by Ecclesiastical historiesin all ages have been saintes and frendes of God and to have wrought miracles (whether we believe them or no), as saint Antonie. S. Hilarion. S. Basil, S. Hierom, S. Benedict, S. Bernard, S. Dominick, S. Francis and others, had a farr different course of life and spirit than the spirite whereby our Protestants are led today; so either we must conclude that spirit was erroneous and false (but if so, how did they work so many miracles?), or that God had two spirits, one austere which he communicated to the old saints, the other easy and light, poured out on our new Protestants. And although this thought was painful to me when it occurred to me, yet my mind was so hardened that I ever drove it out with this common answer, that I would only consider only particular cases; nor did I ever consider (as I do now) that these thoughts were motions and impulses of the merciful grace of Almightie God to my eternall good yf I had obeyed them, and in parte I trust I have don, by the said mercy since, and shall do by the same grace heerafter.
CAP. 3 OF THE ARGUMENTS AND REASONS THAT HELD AND DELIGHTED ME MOST IN PROTESTANTES RELIGION AND WHAT I FOWND THEM TO BE AFTERWARDE
1. BUT to destend [= descend, unless this is a transcriptional error] to the particular and most potent reasons that held me at that tyme in the protestantes religion and most contented me and delighted me in the same, yt would be over tedious for this narration to put them all in writing together with the falshood that afterwarde I fownd in them when it pleased Allmightie God to remove the veile of my darkned understanding with the clearnes of his heavenly light, yet shall I for example sake recount unto yow <the> same.
2. The principall reason was, among the rest, the very name of Noveltie ytself, wherby it seemed that the protestantes religion was freshe and new and commonly tearmed by the name of reformed. But afterward being come to be a Catholique I dyd easely discerne that no one thing disgraced the same so much as the voyce of novelte and reformation in matters of faith, for that in the Christian religion antiquitie is an evident argument of truth, seeing Christ hymself signifieth that the good seed was first sowne by hymself and his Apostles, before the Dyvell did over sowe the Darnell of heresies. And as for reformation, if it be in pointes of faith it is rather to be called Deformation and deprivation than reformation, for that the universall Church of Christ cannot so fall or be defyled in any poynt of beleefe that is generally receaved by her as it needeth or may need to be reformed, for that then should she not be the pillar and firmament of truth which St. Paul calleth her, wherfore though reformation in manners be usuall and commendable, as also in any particular or base superstition, error or heresie that may twist or creep into some parte or corner of the Church by the negligence or malice of some particular men; yet in pointes generally receaved, as are those in controversie betweene protestantes and Catholiques, to pretend reformation is to pretend innovation, and to impugne them for errors must needes be heresie, and consequently reformed religion in this sense can be no other but hereticall religion.
3. A second reason that delighted me much was the reporte geven out by protestantes of the difference in there Doctryne from the Catholique, as though they intended much more to the honnor of Christ then the other, which they are wont to prove to ignorant people, saying that they teach iustification by Christs meritts and Catholiques by their owne workes. they defend the authority of the worde of God, but Catholiques impugne the same, for mans tradition. They desyre the scriptures to be knowne and redd of all sortes, and Catholiques forbyd it. They woorshipp only God, but the other dead men, stockes, and stones. They expect remission of ther synnes only from Crhist, but papists from the Popes pardons, whom they afyrme also to give leave to synn, and other such lyke differences. But when I came afterwards to reed Catholique books sincerely and do treate with some of the learned of that syde with some indifferencie, I fownd that which meade me gretly to blush in this behalf, (to witt) that the matter was nothing sincerely handled one owr syde, I meane of the protestantes, nor that the Catholiques did hold those thinges which owrn men (to make them odius) had geven owt to be there doctrine, and I had beleeved also my self untill that tyme.
4. More over I found that scarse any case or state of question was trewly sett down by our men, but ever with craft and falshood in some pointes or other, towching the Catholique opinons or doctrine: as for example in the former doctrines now recited, I found at first that Catholiques are so farr from denying our iustification to bee Christes meritts, as they profess to attribute much more to Christes meritts than wee, assuming the same to have been suffitient to geve dignitie and force of meritt not only to Christes own merites, but also workes and actions of all other men and women lyving or that shall lyve unto the worlds end, in that they are united to hym, and do or shall worke in the power of his same grace and meritts.
5. And as for the word of God, I fownd that they perfese to attribute also more therunto then wee, for they acknowledge and receave not only all the wrytten word with us, both other also left by tradition, as by scripture itself appeareth. And of the written word they acknowledge and receave more bookes then protestants, as the world knoweth. And for the sense and interpretation of scriptures, they seeme much more indifferent to stand to the interpretation of equall iudges, to witt of old fathers and auncient counsels then wee, whoe though wee geve glorious wordes of beleving and following the scriptures, only scriptures before men, yet indede we do not follow so much the scriptures as owr owne opinions, which we preferr not only before the Church, but also before the Scriptures; in so much as we have that to be held for scripture which wee interpret for the sense therof. And for the publique use therof they forbyd the learned tongues of the Hebrewe, Chaldee, Syriak, Greek or Latyn to none either men or women. And as for the voulgar translations of Inglish, french, duch and the lyk, thye permitt them also with approbation of the ordinary. Who is to iudge whether the translation be good and the person apt to profitt or take hurt by that maner of reeding? And besides this, they have so many other bookes and treatises of pietie gathered owt of the scriptures, in fitter order to profitt the symple and unlearned sorte then the text of scriptur it selfe, as it plane sheweth this complainte of restraining scripture to be a mere calumniation and quarrell with owt fundation.
6. In the other difference also alleaged of honnor only geven to God by protestantes, and to dead men, stockes and stones by Catholiques (so that they honor the Saintes that be in heaven, and do reverence their Images uppon yearth for ther sake), I fownd no les slander then in the former, for first St. Paul proveth saintes not to be dead men, by the example of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, wherof Christ calleth hymself God, which is not of dead men (saith the Apostle) but of life; and secondly if saintes be lyving and Gods frendes, and that the honor done to them be for Gods sake, and in farr inferior degree then unto God hymself, how cane this be derogatorie to Gods honor more than upon yearth it is derogatorie to a kinge that dew honor be exhibeted to his cheef servantes and officers for his sake? And much les derogatorie can it be ether to God or to his saintes, that competent honor and regarde be borne to there images who represent them.
7. That of the Popes pardons also opposed by Protestantes to Gods mercy and Christes merits, and that the Pope geveth licence to synne I found to be a most manifest falshood, for that the Popes pardons and indulgences, as he is head of the Catholique Church uppon yearth, do not impugne but support the merittes and mercyes of Christ for their foundation: nor do they serve for the remission of synne itself (which only can be remitted by the sacrament of contrition and confession), but for temporall penalties depending after the guilt of syn remitted, and this do teach all Catholique doctors uniformally, and if these perdons cannot remitt syn committed, iudge you how they cane gyve lycence or impunitie to synn before it be committed.
8. This then I fownd to be the playne cogging and cunning dealing of thes of our protestant syde: to deceyve the people, with making them beleeve that Catholiques do teach that which they never taught, therby to make them odius, and this falshood I found not only in this controversie about pardons, but on many more, and that its a great fowndation of protestante Doctrine againste Catholiques to misaleage them in there opinions, as before I have noted.
9. Ther remained yet unto me dyvers other reasons and consolations in thos daies for my continuance in protesatancy, which after I proved to be as avayne as thes. And that the Catholique Cleargy had lived losty, many Popes and Cardenals of yevel demeanure, much abuse of pardons and forged miracles at pilgramages, many absurdities of Nunnes and fryars, much superstition and hipocresie used, andother blemishes of the Catholique Church, which seemed to make our new reformed religion more justifiable. But on the contrarie side I cam after to consider that, albeit thes thinges had byn trew (as I saw the most part either faigned or exaggerated), yet for takinge out of some spotte of a faire garment yt was not iustifiable to cut the saide garment in partes, and much lesse to make such a breach in Gods church as protestantes had done; and to abolish (or bring in question) so many substantiall articles of Christian faithe for remeding of some abuses which otherwise might have byn redrecessed within the same Church, albeit they had bbyn in so great number and heynousnes as owr men have sett them forth, being but particuler offences of particuler men, and never tollerated or authorized by the universal Church, which being so great a howse and familie as it is, no mervayle though some abuses crepe in some tymes in som partes theorof, whiles some governors or watchmen sleep, which being espied, order is geven for redres, by the means which was left by the master of the howshowld hymself, who willes to tell the Church quietly and Charitably and not exclame infame, rase flame and fyar within the same church as heretiques do.
10. An other reaon ther occurred that dyd content me also much in thos dayes, which was to thinke that protestantes religion was receved universally by the whole land, and approved by our state and parlament,a nd defended by the perticuler learned men of all owr Realme, which learned men I receved them to be very many and prefoundly studied and carefull of their own salvation, and consequently I might also devise myne upon their iudgments. But soone after many contrarie cogitations came to my mynd against this considering: first that yf it were enough for a men to followe the religion of every Countrie, Prince and estate wher he lyved or is borne, then Jewes, Turkes, Infidels, and all kinde of Heretiques may iustefie also themselves therin, and ther wilbe so many rtrew religions (and consequently so many Gods) as ther be states and Countries. And secondly for our Parlement, I dyd consider of what men it dyd consist, to wytt, of Noblemen, gentlemen, knightes, lawiers, burgheses, Marchantes, craftsmen, and other like, and that they were gathered together often tymes by art and industie of the gatherers, and when they met in Parlement they have nether tyme, knowledge nor meanes to discusse sowndly matters of religion, but every man geveth his voyce and sayeth year or no, as he thinketh, wisheth, semeth, hopeth, or as he is instructed, perswaded, requersted, threatned or induced by otherlyke motyves. I considered also that the more part of voyces (thought it be but one or two and thos of poore burgheses) make make or mare any Religion or sett it up or pull it downe by way of Parlement, as we have seen by experience by the different and repugnant Parlaments of K. Henry the eight, edwrad his sonne, and of Queene Marye and Queene Elizabeth his daughters, whoe have authorised and Disauthorized by Parlaments full different religions, so as ther may be small certayntie in Parlaments for that matter.
11. And as for the number and authoritie of our Inglishe learned men, I considered how fewe and weake they wer if they shold be compared with themultitudes of such as in other Cowntryes and at home wer knowne to be against them, and that they could studdy much lesse then others in respect of their trobles by wyfe and children and other worldly impediments wherof the most parte of the other side of learnedst men were free. And albeit our new learned of England dyd alleage to have the scriptures for them and in ther favor, yet yt consisted in the trew †exsition† and sense therof which was in controversie, and further I remembered the begynning of new religion in King Henries dayes and how the Inglishe learned of that tyme established a religion by many actes of Parlament (as before hath byn noted) most conforme to the words of God, as then they saide, which religion yet other new learned of king Edwards reigne repealed, and sett up another Doctrine more conforme, as they said, to the same worde of God, which yet againe in this Queenes tyme was not allowed by protestantes of this type, but farr different poyntes were proposed and authorized, which yet sinse that tyme agayn have byn misliked and impugned by peuritains that think themselves as learned as the rest in Inglish Divinitie, and do glorie in the worde more then all the other, so as herin I found no stay nor rule nor certayntie at all, and so lost my whole consolation that waye, and I turned at length into extreme feare and dowt in me to consider my uncertayntie in matter of so great importance for my salvation.
12. Wherfore my last and only refuge was at lengthe to runne unto that opinon which begynneth now to be very generall amonge the learneder sorte of protestantes, to witt that a man may be saved by both religions, or by a mixture of them bothe, seeing that they do agree in the most principall pointes of beleefe and in the rest both parties may have errors, and so a man may take or leave therof waht he list withowt danger of damnation. But this cogitation I dyd fynde afterward (and do so now) to have been the most vaine and perilous of all the rest, for it was nothing els indeed but a kynde of Atheisme suggested by flesh and blood, to excuse negligence, error, heresye, schisme, or whatsoever infidelitie besides conserning matters apperetayning to God, it being a thing most certayne and trew which holy Athanasius setteth downe in the begnning of his Creede, allowed by the first Generall Cowncell of Nice, that thereis but one only trew Catholique faith, quam nisi quisque intergram involatamque servaverit absque dubio in aeternam peribit, except a man doth keepe the same wholly and inviolate without all dowt he shall perishe everlastingly. And St. Paul speakethe heerin resolutly unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma, unus Deus, one Christ, one faithe, one Baptisme, one God, as if he should say that as in thes thingese, namely towching God and Christ hymselfe, a man cannot devide matters nor leve one parte and take another, nor beleve one poynte and deny another, nor make any manner of composition or devision therin. So nether can we in the Catholique faith, and consequently the greatest Doctors therof do teach that whosoever loseth his faith in any one least article therof, he loseth in all. And albeit he may seeme to hymselfe to beleve som other articles, having lost his faithe in one, yet indeed it is not so, but the credence or beleefe that remaneth in hym is only humane opinion, and not Devine faith (which we call a habitt of beleving infused by God), and this will appeare playnly when so ever this man shall come to heare a stronger reason agains that which he beleeveth then he can solve, for then he will change his iudgment also in this, and therby declare that this his credence was but humane faith only, for that the Devine houldeth owt against all reason whatsoever, if it be once settled, and thus much for the matter.
CAP. IV OF THE PARTICULAR MANNER AND MEANES OF MY CONVERSION TO THE CATHOLIQUE FAITH AND OF MR. REYNALDS BOOKE
1. BEING thus entered into the heate of heresie, ambition and vanitie, which before in parte I have represented, yt happened that abowt Michelmas in the yeare 1596 I was appointed in Trinitie Collegeof Cambrige the Catechist after the maner that ther is used. For which cause, taking the matter of the Sacraments to hande, and designing to performe the same with some exerises and commendation, I furnished myselfe with more than ordenary store of bookes, and studyed the question of Controversie that fell owt in that matter with attention, not contenting myself only with that which Calvine and others of our side had wryten, but perusing also the fathers and the bookes of Catholique wriyters, I fownd there reasons so strong and evidente in diverse pointes, that I was forced to defend them and ther opinions against Calvin and our own men in many Controversies, at least in some 9 or 10, which I dyd in the hearing of all the College, professing ingenuously that I could not aunswere the papistes argumentes therin, nor any other, as I thought. Yet for all this was my obstinate aversion from Catholique religion never the lesse, for that I was possessed with that wicked opinion before mentioned that both partes might err in sundry poyntes, and yet be both of one Church, and I the Judge to take or leave of both sides what liked me best. For which cause also I determined with my self that after my returne from the Courte (whether [whither] I was to goe at Masters for to pretend a good prebend, and therupon to marry presently also) to study more diligently after my retorne the bookes of both sides, and therout to frame unto myself such a religion as I could fynd most fyt and comformable ot my owne iudgment, which at that tyme was my rule, and so it is of all protestantes commonly.
2. These were my cogitations at that tyme, but allmightie God, who in the aboundance of his mercy hath determined to do me a greater turne, would not have me continue in that pride and presumption of my own iudgement, unto the knowledge of his trewthe and religion, but rather in that humilitie and symplicitie of mynde, and with ardour of love and affection, which to so high a grace and benefit is dew and convenient. And now I remember (though then I dyd not make reflection) the wonderfull and deepe humiliation with which he receaved into his Church and found againe after he had runne astray among the Manichees that excellent and famed Doctour (afterwarde) Saint Augustine, what syghes and sorrowes, what afflictions of mynde, what aboundance of teares, what vehemency of prayer he gave hym, which the Saint hymselfe describeth most excellently in his bookes of Confession. And the lyke our Saviour bestowed (or rather much more) upon St. Augustines Master, the greatest persecutor then, but afterwards Doctor, Apostle and Martir, St. Paul, when he opened his eyes from Judaisme to Christianisme, for we reed of hym that he nather eate nor drinke in three daies together, and that he was in continual prayer and teares and in extremety of sorrow and affliction of mynde at the begynninge of his conversion, wherof I thanke the same God our saviour I had my parte also after when yt pleased his Devine Maiestie to touch me with the same finger of mercy that he had donn to them.
3. But being then to depart from Cambrige to London, I tooke my leave with a certayn exertation made upon the Passion upon good frydaie, with much more fervour and feeling of Devotion, and with a greater tendernes of harte towardes Christes Crosse and Passion then it seemed to the hearers that the protestantes were wont to feele or utter, or their spirit abyde; yet can I not tell nor distinguish now, whereof this motion preceeded in me at that tyme, except it were some secrett disposition of our sweet Saviour, without my knowledge and will towardes that which soone after his heavenly maiestie was to woorke in me, which I am the sooner induced to beleve for that at this very tyme I begane to have certayn sweet visions or apprehensions in my sleepe, as though I had seene owr Saviour casting down fruite from a tree, which never before had hapned unto me. But yett for all this my perverse mynd remaned as obstinate to goe forward in heresie as ever before, and with that determination I went to London and proposed my sute, and by the favor and especially protection of my Lord and Master the Earle of Essex I was in present hope to speed therein.
4. But in the meane space, whiles I staide in the Court, I went sometymes for recreation to visit an old acquaintaince, Master Goodman the Deane of Westminster, wher I had byn brought up scholler in my younger yeares, and ther by chance I found a preest comitted for religion to custody, one Thomas Wright, brought up in the schooles beyond the seas and very learned, as afterward I perceaved, with whom, upon occasion of talke offered by the Deane and others, I had dyverse speeches, though never to any great purpose for matters of controversie, for that owr conferences were but certayn skirmishes afar of. For to say the trewth, though he were much more learned than I both in Philosophy and Divinitie, so that he might well have byn my Master, yet my spirite of pride was such at that tyme that I thought myself as good as he or any man els for defence of that I listed to eleve in matters of religion. Wherfore it pleased Allmighty God to take another more compendious way with me, which was this, that fynding one daye a certayne Inglish booke lying upon the said Master Wrights table (which I hope was put ther by the providence of Allmightie God for my confersion, as St. August reconteth the booke of St. Antony the monke his lyf was in Trevers for the present conversion of two that lighted upon it), I asked Master Wright what booke it was, and hee told me Master William Reynals against one Master Whitakers, in defence of the Inglish translation of the new testament by the Inglish Catholiques in Rhemes. Whereupon I tooke the saide booke home with me, not suspecting what would follow. And before I tell yow the successe, for the singuler <debt> which therby I owe unto the Author, I must necessarely informe you somewhat of hym according to the relation of such as know him and were pryvy to his state and actions from his youth until his last dayes of lyff and happie death.
5. Master William Reynals was elder brother to John Reynals, now Doctor of Divinity in Oxford and cheef reader in the same facultie ther, and was first scholler in Winchester and afterward fellow of New College in the same universitie. And albeit in his tender years he was brought upon under his unckle old Doctor Reynalds, a great Catholique, and had 4 brothers of great wittes also, all geven to learninge and to be of the same Catholique Religion, yet this William among them all addicted hymself to the protestantes religion with such vehemencie as nether the authoritie of his saide unckle, neither the perswation nor example of this brethren, colde withhoulde hym from being a protestante, nor from other ministrie and preachinge, wherin his favour was such as he became a puritan and ioyned hymself with the preachers of the Northamptonshire classis [class] at Sir Richard Knightlyes howse and other places. And was wont to tell afterwardes (when he came to be a Catholique) divers prety stories of his vehemencye that waye. As for example, that once he with other ministers had a consultation together to alter the whole forme of the Lords supper, and instead of bread and wyne to bring in a good supper of roast meate and other victuals, as more resembling Christes supper with his Apostles than bare bread and wine; and agayne that he made some iournyes to St. Giles feildes in London, to conferr in secret with certayne heads of the familie of love and other new sects then springing up, therby to be instructed for his further passing thorowghe them al. But that partly he could not fynd the men he sought for (as they trobled hym not), and partly his necessarie buissines drew hym from London, at which tyme he toke in hand to translate and put into the latyn tonge for conversion of forraine Nations also one of Master Jewels bookes against Doctor Harding. Which worke he having begone, and gone some good way therin, he fownd so egregious falts dealing therin of Master Jewels parte for corrupting and falsefying of the fathers that he needed no other motive or Master to become a Catholique, as soone after he became, and that with such fervour as he went on foote to Rome in the year 1575 and put hymself voluntarily into the Inquisition and asked pardon and absolution with all humilitie of spirite for his errors past, and having easely obteyned the same (for the Catholique Church as a pius mother is rigorous to none that voluntarily retorne), he went from Rome into france and flaunders, and ther betoke hymself to study, and to singular vertue of lyf for about twenty yeares that he lived afterwardes. And I may not omitt one circumstance in that action of Master Reynals conversion which I have heard of them that knew it and were present with hym, which was that he dyd so much detest Master Jewels falshood in his wrytinge and was so angry with it, as for revenge he was wont to pull out the leafe where he founde it, and for that he could not passe over all the booke while he was in Ingland, he resolved to carrie it with hym and to go readinge therof and examening matters in all the waye, and still to teare out leafes as he found treacherie, and so he continued until he wroote from Colen [Cologne] or from some other Cittie in Germanie the foresaide yeare unto Doctor Ashlow, phisitian in London, and to some other freendes with hym, that now he had ended to teare out all and to make his iust revenge uppon the lyinge booke of Master Jewel, agaynst whom he ever after bore a special tooth for this his manner of false dealinge, as appeareth in all his writings for the Catholique faith both in Latyn and Inglishe, wherof this agaynst Master Whitakers is one, and indeed though not bigg in bulke yet rare and excellent for the substance, and I could wish that many protestantes dyd read it, especially the learneder sorte, for that man, having reade over all the heretiques lightly of our time, he hath this singuler above all other Catholique wryters, that he confowndeth the protestants with their owne wordes and wrytinges, and in the preface of this booke pag. 75 yow shall fynde his opinion of Master Jewell some what largely also sett downe. But besides Master Reynals I have understode on this side the seas of divers others that being protestantes were made Catholiques by reading only Master Jewels bookes and examening the places alleaged by hym, as namely Master Copely that lyved in the court of England and followed the Earle of Lecester at that tyme when Master Jewels booke came newly forth, and being learned and curious would needes see the Authors; Master Stevens, then Secretarie to the saide Bishope Jewel but now preest and Doctor of Divinitie, and converted by the self same meanes, especially he having the oversight of one of the saide bookes in the printing, and by that occasion looking over certayne places alleaged out of fathers, and fynding them false, advised Master Jewel of them before they were printed, but he comaunded the printe go forward notwithstanding. The forsaid Master Raynaldes a little before his death wrote also a booke in Latyn (and set it forthe in print) named by him Calvinoturcismus, which sheweth by evident arguments that the Doctrine of Calven leadeth to Turcisme, nor can defend itself agaynst Turkishe reasons, except by help of the Catholique Church.
6. Such a man then was Master William Reynaldes, a very rare example indeede, and albeit some men perchance will goe about to deminish the rareness of his example by saying that as he of a protestant became a Catholique, so his yonger brother Jhon Reynoldes of a papist (or bent to that religion) became a protestant, though in parte I confesse it to be trew according to that which I have heard that Master Jhon Reynaldes in his tender yeares was Catholiquely inclined, yet is ther a great oddes in the matter: for nether could Jhon Reynaldes be so fully instructed at that tyme in the foundation of Catholique religion, being young and but batcheler of Arte at the farthest and no divine at all, when he begane to change, as his brother William was in the wrytings of the protestantes, which as I have said he seemeth to have red over all, and was an Auncient Master of Arte and preacher and richly beneficed when he tooke that great resolution to become a Catholique. And moreover if we will consider in other poyntes also what passed and what were Termini a quo et ad quem (as Logicians call them) in these two mutations (that is to say) the state from whence eache of them two parted and whither they passed, wee shall fynd great difference of circumstances, and consequently also of spirite and vocation requisit to make the change, for Jhon Raynaldes parted only from the condition and state of a scholler in Corpus Christi College in Oxforde, somwhat discountenaunced at that time (as I have heard) by Doctor Cole his president, as also by the whole currant of the tyme for being thought to be inclined to Catholique religion, but presently upon making shew of alteration in this behalf (for many of his nearest freendes dowpted at the begynninge whether it were earnest or noe) he was highely esteemed, much made of, set forwardes, convited cherished and countenauned by the protestantes, with infinit hopes of great prefermentes for the tyme to come, all which baites with a younge man of thos years and humours were potent motives and no greater spirite was needfull then of fleshe and sensualitye to worke such a resolution.
7. But Master William Reynaldes, being of farr riper iudgment, years and learning (if not also of naturall wit), and having examined with all deligence for many years the groundes of protestant religion in which then he was, departed from a most prosperous and flourishing worldly state in respect of both present and future preferments, and passd to the quite contrary, (to witt) to the state of Catholiques disgraced, empoverished and made odious to our Realme, and wherin he could have no hope of temporal ease, honor, wealth or preferment, of this world, he passed also to some present shame and confusion before men, for that he was to humble himself and aske pardon for his lyfe past, all which being poyntes most lothsome and hatefull to flesh and blud, a great spirit and mightie finger of God was needfull to make him resolve and execute the same, as wee see he dyd, and persevered therin for the space of twentie yeares with such alacritie, ioye, peace of mynde, courage and contentment amonge all difficulties of bannishment and voluntarye poverty accompaninge that state, as the author of this resolution is easily seene to have byn god himselfe. And when Master Jhon Reynaldes, no Doctor, shall have suffered so much for protestant religion as his brother William hath don for the Catholique, and that for so many yeares and with such content of mynde, and with so many notorius vertues in his lyfe, then may the comparison have som place of consideration. For now in reason it cane have none at all, seing ther was great difference betweene the conversion of Paule and Demas, it being said of the first by Christ himself, I hall shew him how muche hee shal suffer for my sake, and of the second, Demas hathe left me for love of the world.
8. To retorne then to my former narration, I went to my lodging with this little booke of Master William Reynaldes in my hand, and sitting down after supper on my bedd side to spend that ydle time, I begane to reed the preface therof, that treated very learnedly and lardgly out of the writinges of protestantes themselfes of ther inconstant and deceatfull manner of proceedinges. I had not read for the space of a quarter of a howre (if I remember well) but as if those squames [scales] that fell from St. Paules boddylye eyes at his […] and understandinge so was I lightned uppon the suddene, feeling my selfe so wonderfully and sencybly chaunged both in iudgment and affection as I remaned astonished at my trewe state. I fownde my minde wholie and perfectly Catholique in an instante, and so to be persuaded of all and every poynt of Catholique religion together, as I beleved them all most undoubtedly and every point and parcell therof, though I knew not the reasons of all nor made perhaps sure the arguments of the contrarye part. Nether did I desyer any perticuler resolution in any other question of controversie, for I saw most evidently in my indward iudgment that all were trew and nothing could be false which the Catholique Roman Churche dyd propose to be beleeved. And feeling this in my selfe upon the sudden with such inward light of evidens as I cold not contradict, and with such force of affection as I cold not resist, I lept up from the place where I satt, and saide to myself, “now I ame a Catholique,” and then fell down upon my knees, and thanked God most hartely, humbly and effecteously for so rare a benefitt.
9. Presently, if you remember, you came in to me, being then in London to beare me company, unto whom I discovered with appearance of extraordenary ioye what had happened to me, and discoursed the reasons unto you of my strange and powerfull conversion. And when you asked me of divers particular articles of Catholique faith which seemed most hard amonge all others to be beleeved by protestantes and against which also me thought I had yet great reasons and arguments unsoluble, I aunswered as, you know, that although I knew not then the reasons and growndes of these pointes of Doctrine, yet without all doupt or exception I beleeved everything most fully which the Catholique Roman Church taught or should teach, because it was evident to me that shee colde not err.
10. And moreover I noted that, albeit this great change uppon the suddaine did bring with it muche confusion to myself before men, together with marvalous many great difficulties, damages and dangers temporall, as many other thinges, the overthrowe of my whole course of lyf hitherto ledd and designed the leesing [losing] of my lyving, freends, honors, and other worldly comodities, the certainty also of imprisonment and persecution if I uttered my minde and persevered therin (all which pointes naturally are wont to bring feare, sadnes, and sorrow with them), yeat fealt I not the least touch of feare or greefe in the world but those other contrarie effectes which St. Paul speaketh of to the galatians, callinge them the effectes and fruite of the holy guost, love, ioye, peace, patience, meeknes, faith, and namely that which he putteth in eache last place, (to witt) desire of Chastitie, unto which vertue I found my self so earnestly affected and incensed uppon the present, after the taste of the new spirite, that wheras for fowre or fyve yeares togther I had byn dealing to marrie (as you well know that were privie to the matter and neere of kinde to the partie), and was fully resolved to do it uppon my first retorne to Cambridge (and so might have done remayning not withstanding a Catholique still), yet upon this change my minde was altered also and so founde sensibly those woordes of St. Paul to be trew, fructus lucis est in omni bonitate et iustitia et veritate, That the fruits of this newe light did incline me stronglie to desyar all goodnes and iustice of lyfe and to beleeve all truth proposed by the Catholique Church. And so passing over that night in my lodging with infinite compforte and newe desyers of living well for the tyme to come, and of doinge pennance for my faultes past (which was not a litle contrarie to my former spirite), I made no staye at all in the courte, but went the very next morninge and took my leave of the Earl of Essex, pretending other occasions of my suddaine retorne to Cambridge, and afterwards passing by Master Wright and telling him my state and resolution. The very same day I went out of London so farr as Ware, carying back againe to Cambridge the body that I brought from thence, but a new hart and farr different spirit and soule, as by that which ensueth will better appeare.
CAP. 5 OF MY COURSE AND PROCEEDINGE AFTER MY CONVERSION, AND OF MY PREPARTION TO SUFFER FOR MY RELIGION
1. IT were impossible for me (my deare freend) to expresse in woordes (if I would attempt it) the strange estate of my sowle in this my iourney from London to Cambridge. I must referr yow to that of St. Jhon, nemo scit nisi qui accipit, this new wine being powred into my harte wrought and boyled most wonderfully in me, in so much as now I mervaile nothing of that which is written in the Actes of the Apostles, That the Jewes did deeme the Aposles to be drunken after they had tasted of this new liquor; for so woulde any man have iudged also of me, if he had seene and heard me riding alone with such variety of countenance and action, as now weeping, now singing, now speaking of God, now to myself, and nevermore singinge of those two verses which having redd in an heathen author spokne of Rome, I changed and dedicated to Christ:
Quid longum toto Christum laudantibus aevo?
Nil usquam longum est, quod sine fine placet.
And eventymes I imagined my selfe to speake with the protestantes and dispute for the Catholique faith; which I was resolved to defend, even unto death itself, and to suffer most gladly any kind of torture or persecution that man colde laye upon me for the same, acounted my self happie that I was fallen into the opposition of tymes wher I shold have aboundant occasion to shewe my love unto Christ and his Church by confession of my faith, and long it seemed unto me untill I should come to triall. Neither was ther any cogitation so pleasant and sweet unto me as to imagin myself to be called before the commission of the Councell, or the Queene herself, or to be arrayned for denying of the supremacy; and many a sweet hower I spent both then and after on Imageninge my selfe to holde upp my hand at the barre, and to be tried for my life or to be thrust into some darke dungeon with as many chaines as I could beare. I fedd my self with the comfortes which I conseaved I should find there, and I devised what sonnetts and love devises I would make to Christ about my chaines and irons, and what woordes I would speake when I should be carying to the racke, and how I would carye my countenanc uppon the racke, and what I woulde speake all the way that I should be dragged uppon the hurdell. But amonge all one thing which I thought of oftenes and found exceeding ioye thinking theron, was that I purposed with myself when I should stand iuppon the ladder with the halter abowt my neck and see the fyer burninge to receave my bowels, and the hangman redye to open my breast and pull forth my heart, that then I would make an earnest suite to Toplife the preest (whom I conceaved as present) to grante me one suite before my death. Which should be this, That because I had suffered so little for Christes sake, whoe suffered so much for myne, and was now to dye and make an end of all sufferinges, that he wold shew me so much favor as not to lett me hange any tyme at all, which some tymes they use to do, but to cutt me downe as soone as might bee that I might have suffitient vigor of cense both to feele first the paine of the rope and much more afterwarde the smarte of the knyfe that should unlace me.
2. And albeit I was so fully perswaded in all pointes of Catholique faith so deeply in so shorte tyme settled in my affection that I shold have been called before the persecutors, I hopes, by gods holy assistans and by that comfortable promise ergo vobis dabo os et sapientiam, I shall give you speech and wisdome, to have defended sufficiently the cause I had in hand. Yeat to be more able and furnished therunto, I made a particular prayer to almightie god, that hee would vouchsafe to spare me one halfe yeare of libertie before I were apprehended, to prepare myself to this combatt by study and reeding the growndes of Catholique religion, which now I beleved by inward faith only and affection, least by argument or insuffitiency on my parte the cause might take harme in some mens myndes, and such was the piety and mercy of my Saviour as he graunted me punctually my demaund, protecting me strongly untill the six monthes were owt, and then called me to rekoninge, though in the meane tyme my behaviour was so open and affectionate to the cause, that it gave many occasions both of discovery and apprehension, partly lyving <a> different kynd of life from my former (noted by all the college where I lived), partly also for that I obstained not to deale freely and confidently with as many as I could gett to talke with alone, and in particular about these affayres, showing my iudgment, affection and desier to convert them also. But owr mercyfull Lord would needes make good the 6 monethes space of trewce that I had demaunded before. And herof yourselfe can best be witnes, who being privye to all my estate and cause did often threaten me with danger of discovery by my to open cariage.
3. As soone then as I had arrived at Trinitie Colledge in Cambrige the first thinge I did (after recommendinge my self and buisenes to almightie god) was to breake of the mariage which I had so earnestly treated and concluded to make, and so the very next daye I wrottte my minde plainely therin and gave an absolute deniall for the tyme to come, which message and thankles office your self did undertake and discharge, whereat arose the first and greatest conflict of flesh and blood that ever I felt in this my resolution: for I had loved the partie dearlie and our freendes had mutually agreed to the mache, wherupon much discontentment was taken at me both of her frendes and my owne parentes, among thinges affirminge that the partie was like to dye for greefe. But I, being well assured in conscience that no obligation of necessitie remaned on my parte, I over came at length by Gods assistance the assaulte.
4. The next thing I attempted was to furnishe myself with princepall Catholique Authors, which I did, buying so many bookes as cost me tow or three and tewntie powndes, which ioyning to the furniture I had before, seemed sufficient for the <purpose> I had designed, and for the tyme I was likely to use them. With thes then I fell to study most earerly for so much tyme as my other necessary buisenesses (which I also cutt of so much as I could) and the fervor of devotions would give me leave, which devotions were so strange unto me at that tyme (being unacquainted with them before, and they came uppon me with such force and abudance of teares as I could not tell oftentymes what to do, for it seemed my hart was like to breake for ioye, and having no spirituall man to guyde me, nor tried Catholique nere me to instructe me in thes begynninges, I was utterly at the end of my witts how to behave my self in this newe world, and in the visitation of thes unacquanted guestes. Yet I tooke this resolution to adde some kinde of pennance also to my prayers and other spirituall exercises by fastinge every day for divers weekes, by lying on the grownd and such other like as came to my mynde, which I followed as so far forthe as all the College wondered at me, and afterwardes some begane to descurse that I was distracted and tended to madness (so do seeme to protestantes all such kinde of action). But the more I added in this kinde, the more aboundance felt I still of eternall consolations, and found the practise of thes woordes of St. Paul, repletus sum consolatione superabundo gaudio in omni tribulatione nostra, I was full of consolation and overwhelmed with ioye, and I fownde the effecte also of the same apostles prayer in this behalfe, the God of hope replenishe you with all ioy and peace in your beleefe, that you may abounde in all hope and vertue of the holy guost, which vertewe of the holy guost thowgh I had red and heard oftentymes named in the scriptures, yeat cold I never tell what it was in practice nor how it tasted, nor what force it had, nor what effects or affects is wrought, until at this tyme, neither cane I explicate the same nowe. But sure I ame that if all the ioyes and sensuall pleasures uppon yearth laid together and possessed together (if it were possible) for a million of yeares do not, nor cannot countenance one houres tast of thos other comfortes receved inwardly in the bowells of a mans hart and sowle. I used much that I professed unto devers protestantes of my acquaintance, that wondered at my gaiety and mirty ioyned with some austerity of life, for as St. Bernard saith, ipsi videbant crucem mean sed non videbant uncionem meam, they sawe my crosse, but sawe not the unction that made my crosse sweet. That if ther were nether heaven nor hell after this lyfe, yet all the tribulation and afflictions that I could suffer untill death for the Catholique Religion was not worthe the consolation that alredy I had receaved since I was a Catholique, which also made often to repeate thes woordes, both openly and privately, domine, si sic humilias, quomodo glorificas? Lord if this be a state of humiliation, what is it to be glorified?
5. Thus then I passed on, partly in studying, partely in praying, partly in sollacing my self with cogitations of sufferings for Christ stake, which was alwaies the sweetest consolation of all the rest. And when the floodes of teares came downe uppon me, I could do no lesse but open the gates to let them pass. I was wont often to walke into the feildes alone, and (being then summer) ther I wold sett me downe in certaine coerne feldes, where I could not be seene nor heard of others, and here passe the tyme in conferences between almightie God and my soule, sometimes with internall meditation uniting my will to god, somtimes forming and contryving the same meditations into verses of love and affection, as it were hiding of the fyer under ashes, with the reding wherof I might afterwardes kyndle my devotion at new tyme againe. And I did sett some tymes a certayne strife and wager between my present affections and future, my present persuadinge to devise sonnets now and so full of fyerie love and flaminge ardour towards Christ, that it sholde serve for a patterne and sample for the tyme to come, to shew upp and conserve my hart in devotion, but on the contrarie parte my future devotions made offer so to maintaine <and> increase the heate and vigour of love and affection in me, that when I should come afterwardes to reed over my former sonnets I might wonder rather at the coaldnes of them then gather heate by them. And these verses and sonnetes I made not only for my owne solace and conforte, but to stir up others also that shold reed them to seow estimation of that which I felt in my self, for which cause my desier was so extreme ardent to imparte this my happiness with others that I felt in me the trew force of that St. Dionysius Areopagita saith, bonum est sui diffusivum, the nature of goodness is to spredd itself to many. And so, besides dealing with so many as I might in Camebridg with out evident dangers of apprehension, I made certaine excursions also into the country nere about, to deale with my parents kyndred and some other freendes abowt this most weightie affayre, obstayninge all this while to goe to the protestantes Church, which in me was not greatly marked or winked at as yet.
6. but above all other men living there was one to whom I desired most to imparte this my present state and feeling,a nd that by worde of mouthe if he had byn in Ingland, which was my Lord and Master the Earle of Essex, then forth at sea, for unto this mans eternall and spirituall good (as also to his temporall so far as it letteth [obstructs] not the other) I felt in my harte a singular and extraordenarie desier, not only by love of gratitude for the many favors and benefits receaved from him, but also much more for the goode nature, noble disposition and other many giftes and blessinges which almightie god hath bestowed uppon him, and in respect of the great good or hurt that his good or bad course may woorke unto himself and to many others, both for this life and for the next, by reason of the state and place wherin he liveth, and considering further the manifolde dangers that the Nobleman is environed with by reason of his yeuth, Nobilitie, favor of the tyme, fawninge of flatterers, many buissenes and great employments. wherby he is like to be held continually occupied and ristrcted, in such sorte as he shall hardly have leysure to thinke uppon thes other matters of his sowle, though infinitly more important and greater than the other (especially to holde trew faith, that is, in the grownds of trew fellicitie and cane by no other but the Catholique), for thes causes I saw and with this designment and desire to do my dewty unto him, I coveted much to speak with him. But being owt of hope therof by reason of his absence at that tyme owt of Ingland, I gathered owt in writing certaine principall considerations (as they seemed to me) concerninge the trewth and evidencye of the Catholique Religion above all others, and then of the clearnes it ringeth of the trew waye to salvation. And for that the Earle stayed somwhat longer forth this yeare in his sea actions than I expected (in which his best freendes and servauntes cold wish he wear less imployed, for the infinite dangers both of body and sowle that depend therof), I sent some of my said reasons to London to be seene by a freende, who impartinge them to another withowt my knowledge or consent, they passed from hand to hand until they came to the Cowncells knowledge, and therupon came downe order to Cambridge for my apprehension, for that the tyme of trewce that I had begged at the begynning of god almightie was now expired. And, indifferent also and most desirous also to come to tryall, for which cause being admonished and cownseled often tymes before this to retyre my self from Cambridge and withdraw my selfe from danger, seing I was of that resolution, I ever aunswered them noe, for that besides the desier I had to suffer somwhat for Catholique religion, I desired also to heare and prove what all the protestantes in England could say against me by way of learninge, for that not only my affection but my iudgment also was so convinced by reason of the evident Catholique truth, as I assured myself that nothing at all of moment colde be brought against, it, beside the Authoritie of the present tyme and state. And so indeed I found it afterwardes when matters came to the tryall, as wilbe seene better by that which enseweth.
CAP. 6 OF THE DIFFERENT EFFECTS I FOWND AFTER MY STUDY IN PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIQUE DOCTRINE BOTH FOR IUDGMENT AND AFFECTION
1. NOTWITHSTANDING I be drawne with no small desire (my loving freend) to hasten to the narration of my apprehension and examinations for the exceeding compfortes I found therin, yeat before I pass any further it seemeth not amisse to make unto yow breifly the differency and diversity of effecte that (both for iudgment and will) I experienced in my self after my labors and particular studdy now ended in the Doctrine of both sides. Whereas for the learninge of protestantes it had byn my study and practice for many yeares, but more exactly duringe the tyme of my Catechizinge, for six monethes, as before I have shewed you, and to read Catholique authors I had taken thes last six moneths since my conversion, and coming from London, wherefore making nowe the reckoninge, with my selfe and conference with them bothe, I fownd and fealt most manyfestlye the different effects that doe ensewe. First it seemed to me that the Catholick learninge was that complett harnesse which the Greekes call πανοπλίαν, and St. Paul. useth the same woorde to the Ephesians when he telleth them to put on ther complett armour of God, and take comforte in the power of his force and vertwe. Both which pointes semed to me evidently to be in the Catholick doctrine, (to witt) that it was both complett armour in itself, covering and protecting a man every way against all adversaries, and that the force and vertewe therof was inexpugnable.
2. And this appeared first by the great sufficiency and completnes of the doctrine comprehending in it self and setting downe most clearlie in particular all points necessarie to faith, life, manners, articles, death and sacraments, government of the Church, good workes and other like, whereby, as the Apostle saith, a Christian man is made able to teach, to correct, to refute, to instruct, and to become perfect in all iustice and good woorkes, in which pointes of the most of them, howe bare and defecteous the protestantes Doctrine is, noe man cane be ignorant that hath byn conversant therin (as I was), and except they did borrowe now and then some few shrydes [shreds] of Catholique furniture, they wold be utterly barren, and no mervale therof, <their> spring and beginninge being so newe as it is. For as if a man had come to the world some three or fowre score years after Noes flude, he should have fownd but a pore furniture therin, and fewe artes invented, so the Protestantes Commonwealth and religion not being so many yeares yet as thes are, cannot be furnished with any perfection of this panoplia or complet armur, but must pach it upp by times and peeces as they can.
3. Moreover I found the Catholique learninge not only be so ample, large, perfect and complet, as I have saide, but united also within itself, and like unto itselfe in all pointes, partes and places. Yea in all tymes, seasons and ages from the begynninge growing still in furniture and gatheringe forces daylie against enemies that have risen and appeare din the world, so as in this one consideraiton I sawe evidentlie these fowre markes of truth conioyned together that are so much magnified by St. Augustine and all other old Doctors, too witt Unity, Antiquitie, Succession, Universality. Unity for that all ages is one, Antiquity for that Catholique Doctrine cometh downe from the beginninge, Succession for that no interruption can ever bee shewed to have happened, Universality for that it hath byn receaved generally over all Christendome. Of the which fowre excellent privileges of Catholique Doctrine above all Sects and heresies none can trewly be shewed in Protestantes teaching, but rather the contrarie, (to witt) discention, noveltie, discuntinuance, and particularity, for as ther infinit dissentions in opinions about faith and Doctrine, themselfs will not, nor cannot deny them, for yow shall hardlie find three or fowre learned in any one sect in England at this daie that do agree on all pointes of their professions, and so of ther principall do professe a libertie of beleaving and holding what they list, as the old Philosophers were want, and did perswade the same to me, as after yow shall see more in particuler; and for the Noveltie, it is evident that the beginninges and first awthors of all ther doctrines wherin they differ from the Catholique are knowne and not to be denied. The discontinuance of ther Doctrine themselves do confess, for that they can assigne no succession therof from the begynning that hath byn visible to mens eyes. Ther particularitie and distraction into private Provinces and corners of Christiandome, which is opposit to the universalitie of the Catholique church, is easie to be shewed by a fingar and eye, for not only ther Church and religion hath not ever byn receaved generaly over Christendome (as Catholique Religion hath byn), but even amonge themselfes also, and in the particular Cowntries wher they are they have not any universality among them, for that the Protestantes in Germany will not confess to have the same Church and Doctrine that protestantes in England, nor protestantes of England the same that protestantes of Scotland, nor Protestantes of Scotland the same that protestantes of Holland have. Notwithstanding that thes three last named countries do professe or name all one Doctrine of Calvine, and the very same fareth amonge the Lutherans in different partes of germanye, so that the lutherans of Saxonia (as for example) admitte not the same church religion with the Lutherans of Tubinga, Wittenberge and other places of high Germanie, as by their wrytinges and actions do appeare, the one being soft, and the other rigide Lutheranes, and the one persecuting and expelling the other whersoever they prevale, so as thes men have non of thes markes at all, but all the contrarie, which are notes of errer and heresies.
4, Furthermore have I noted in this my conference that the light of faith sett forthe and founde in Catholique doctrine did greatly agree with the light of reason and went commonly accompaned with the same, as the Ladie and Mistress with her handmaide, which light of reason though it be ever under and inferiour to faith, yeat never can it be as contrarie to the same (they being both parcels of one incomprehensible light of allmightie God), but they be reconciliable together by learned men when so ever they seeme to strive; and in this standeth fownded both all trewe philosophe, as also that excellent methode of Divinity called Scholasticall, which beside positive proufes of Scriptures, councells, fathers and Ecclesiasticall Histories, doth use also the help of Theological reason as a second light increasing greatly and confyrming the other of faith, which yeat protestantes canot abide, and for this cause have they bannished from the scholes all exersise of this science, and have browght ther divinitie in all such pointes as they do from Catholique doctrine to a bare number of Rethoricall assersions and paradoxes depending only of particular mens fancies together with shewe of some places of scripture expounded by themselves alone, and accompaned with no light of reason at all, but rather plainely contradicted many tymes by the same, as for example that Christ is really in the sacrament and yet is nothing but bread. That a man must doe good workes but hath no free will. That woorkes are profitable but do merit nothinge. That a man must feare and obeye the Church, yet is she invisible, and other like absurdities.
5. And herof followeth another difference which I marked also, and that is that Catholique Doctrine hath a goodly harmony and connexion in its self, and one thinge followeth of another by necessary consequence. As, for example, if God be mercyfull, saithe Catholiques, he must also be iust, for that otherwise he shold waunt this perfection, and if he be iust, then as he pardoneth he must needes also punisshe, and of this followeth that when as a fault is forgeven after the baptisme, some temporall punishement and satisfaction may remaine, and be required both in this life and in the next; and herof againe that some sowles that hath not satisfied in this world must do it in the next, and of this further that thes soules, being in paine, may be prayed for and satisfied for <by the> charitie of good men in this world, and of this yet more, that Angells and Saintes in heaven, being of the same howse and family and beholding God, and by the light geven them from God and his beatificall vision seing the necessities of ther brethren in paines, they are likely to be moved therwith to compassion and consequently they may be prayed unto, both by them in purgatory and we here uppon yearth. All which pointes, besides the testimony of scriptures to be alleaged for them, do followe, as you see, by a certaine manifest conversion the one to the other, discovered by Theologicall reason, which is not found in Protestantes Doctrine.
6. The like is in articles about the Churches iustification and other principall pointes, for if Christ left a visible Church uppon yearth (which is graunted by all) and appointed men to obey it at the first planting of his Religion, which were the Apostles and those other not more or lesse (which St. Luke saith were present at his assention), then followeth it by necesary consequence that he lefte his Church suffitiently instructed and sufficiently assisted also with help of the holy guost, for guiding all Christians of that age and for resolvinge ther dowtes, and againe of this it followeth that thes men left the same instruction, sufficiency and assistance to the Church that succeeded them in the next age, and so from age to age, wherof enseweth both antiquitie and succession unto owr daies. And then againe if Christ provided in the first planting of his faith, his Apostles and desciples (though otherwise rude and unlearned men) preaching at one tyme in most different places of the world, withowt conference together, and yeat keepe unitie of faith, and did preach the self same pointes of Christian Doctrine to all places, and did plant the selfe same church throwghout all the world, then much more is it like that he wold and cold doe the same afterwards in other ages following when the […] to be men learned and conferred more often together amonge themselves, as occasion as of cred, by writinges, synodes, and consuells, and herof commeth forth both unitie and universality, and of this againe enseweth that this church is visible and not invisible, and that the governours therof are knowne, and then againe that whosoever willn ot see and acknowledge this Church or obey her governours and subiect his iudgment to her, he is a reprobate and heretique.
7. And all these consequens and infinite others doe follow, not only by authority of scripture but also by evident deduction of reason. And this same I might shewe in the Doctrine of Iustification. For if god do exorte us to good life, and dehorte us from yvell (as in the whole course of scripture is seene), promissing us also reward for the one and punishment for the other, then followeth by light of reason and argument that man hath some free will which, assisted by the helpe of Gods grace, may take or leave the good or badd, for otherwise were it in vaine the exhortations and dehortations from one or other. And of this it followeth againe that if man take the good and leave the bad he shall meritt; and if he merit any thinge, then must it be for the life to come, for that the temporall benefites of this world are unworthie rewardes for such actions, for which cause wee see also that god geveth them least to best men uppon earth, but rather to the wicked. And yet followeth it further that, if this merit be for the next life, <then> it must be to merit salvation; and consequently a man is not saved by only faith, as protestantes hold.
8. This connexion then is ther in the Catholique Doctrine, that one pointe dependeth on another, one followeth of another, one agreeth with another one, one induceth to another. And as the holder or wardes of one citie or castle wher one being weakened or taken, all the rest are in yeapardy, which kynde of coherence and connexion is not to be fownd in protestantes Doctrine, but everything standeth alone and distracted by itselfe, so as if yow cach hold of one of these positions, or rather negations (for all their Doctrine comonly is negative without estableshing anythinge), you are never the more to beleve the rest, except only so far forthe as, it overthrowinge in you the Catholique faith, you are apt to beleve or not to beleve and thinke. Nor if you overthrowe one article of thers do you gaine any white therby, for they lepe presently to another negation that hath nether kindred nor dependence of the former, like as if a wrangling troblesome fellowe that, looking uppon an auncient gentlemans possessions, should saye “I deny this to be yours,” and that of many ther parcels severally. “Doe you prove your right therein?” When he hath proved one or two, what gaineth he but to shewe the other to be a false wrangler, for presently he will say “prove you the rest.” And even so fareth it between Catholique and protestantes, the one says “prove ther is purgatory,” which if the Catholique do, the other thinketh he hath lost nothinge but saith "is ther ryall [real] presence?” and that being also proved, “But how prove you auricular confession?” saith he, and if yow prove this in like manner, then he addeth “but what have you to allege for the popes authority?” And so leaping from pointe to pointe there is no hold, nor conexion, nor consequens, nor coherence at all no more then is in broome unbound, and so much for this.
9. But besides all ther is yet another pretie propertie of protestantes Doctrine which is notorious if it be so marked. For it semeth to mek like nigling wher an owter shewe is made of matter, but when you come to examine and handle the thinge it self which appeared, yow find nothing but slightes and deceates, for they vanishe with the winde. I will mention some examples. They cry nothing to people but the woorde of god, but press them and offer to gripe the worde they offer yow, and first they will cutt off all words of god, but only written, though the scripture do mention also other. Then of the written they will cut of those bookes that like them not, then they omitt no text or translation of thos bookes they admit, but such as please them. And therin noe sence or exposition but every man his owne, so that gods worde is cunningly convayed by this slight into mans worde, and he oftentimes nether learned or trustie, and so by groping yow finde it was but a shadow they shewed yow before of Gods word.
10. Also they bragge much of two sacraments which they have retayned of the seven which Catholiques have, to wit, Baptisme and that of Christs body, for so they will call it when they will have it estemmed of the people. But straine them and they will confess that nether synnes ar forgeven in the former, nor that ther is any reall body at all of Christ in the second, but only by Imagination. They boast that they exhorte men to good actions, yet will they graunt in secrett that the best actions wee cane do are deadly synnes, even the actes of vertewes them selfes. They saye that good workes must needes flowe out of true faith as necessarie fruites, and that faith cannot be withowt them. But if you grope the professours of their faith, and finde them withowt workes, yeat will they not graunt ther faith to be naught. They will saye for fashions sake that verteous life shalbe rewarded. Yeat press them what thos rewardes be, and yow shall finde them nothinge. And the like I might shewe in many other thinges wherin they performe nothing of that they promise, which is quite contrarie to Catholique Religion.
11. Abowt the Church also of Catholiques and protestantes the differns is notable, for the Catholiques do lay you forth a visible, tractable and real Church to bee seen and treated with, the protestantes a spectre or chimera, imagined only but not visible, or possible to be fownde or dealt with. And againe the Catholiques do esteeme so much ther church, and the promisses made unto it in scriptures, as they make it ther rule and guide. And the protestantes never do so much as alleage the authoritie of ther Church in any disputations, speach or argument, nor do gyve any more creditt unto it then unto the Church of Jewes or Turkes, or to the Dyvell himselfe, which is to beleve it so far forth only as it alleageth scriptures, allowed and expounded by themselfes. In which sense they are bownd also to beleve the Dyvell if he allow and in that sense as they cannot deny.
12. All these differences, then, and many more which for brevity I passe over, did I note between Catholiques and protestantes Doctrines in matters appertayninge to iudgment and understandinge. But if I should relate unto yow in like manner the different effectes I fownd and fealt within myselfe concerning the other parte of my mynde, to witt my will and affection, I should be over longe, and in parte I have towched the same before. Yeat this I cannot omitt to add in this place, that by protestantes Doctrine I fealt my head filled only with a drye spirite of pride, contention and contradiction, and by Catholique learninge with the contrarye motoins of humility, concorde, and sweet devotion. And indeede when I compare my fervours in bothe religions, the one was like to wild fyer, to witt hastie, furious, spightefull, proude, wrathefull and hurtefull also often tymes to others. But the second was like to the heat of the sunne, sweet, calme, healthfull, reasonable, propitious and charitable towardes all, and nothing comforted me more in this change thent hat now I felt my harte free from all offence or evill will towardes anybody livinge. My meditations whiles I was in heresie, upon the pious and devout places of the gospell, and namely on the passion of Christ, were mere speculations without tendernes of compassion or desire of imitation, whereof I fownd all the contrarie as soone as I was Catholique: my often receaving of the protestantes communion wrought no effect at all in me for bettering of my life, nor my preparation thertow ever brought forth one dropp of teares, or new desyers of perfection or of punnishing my flesh, all of which I experienced the contrary by receaving the blessed sacrament in the Catholique Church and by the preparationof contricion and confession to the same, whose devine force and vertue I did so evidently feele, and namely the vertewe of the keies of gods Church by my gostly fathers absolution, as when I first receaved the same I seemed evidently to feele my harte and sowle disburdened of an infinite weight and so light and comforted as no tounge cane express the same, according to thes wordes of our sweet Saviour, venite ad me omnes qui laboratis et ego revicio vos: come to me all that are laden and I shal refreshe you. And as for synning againe, I fealt such a strong resolution in my selfe to resiste the same as I cold never finde before, nor believe that it was possible, when I walked by the way of only faith, beleeving that all my actions, ever so good, were synne, so as sensibly I sawe thes points of doctrine to be pestilent and secrett incentives to synne.
13. And finally, not to hold yow longer, so soone as I was a Catholique Ifealt such illustrations and illuminations of mynde, such ioye, such content, such aboundance of teares, such tender devotions, such flames of ardent love towardes Christ and towardes all Christen people of the world for his sake, such earnest desier of suffering for hime, and to be partaker of is crosse, such hatred of synne, such resolution to avoyde it, such a greef and contrition for that was past, such thirst of fastinge, prayer, punnishing of my body doing pennance and satisfaction, such aversion from vaine pleasures, such contempt of the world and all that is in it, as before I had never tasted of in protestantes religion, but rather the contrary, and therfore if these effectes be fruites of the spirite of god, that spirite must needes be in the Catholiques Doctrine, and the contrarie in the protestantes.
CAP. 7 HOW I WAS APPREHENDED AND IMPRISONED IN CAMBRIDGE, AND OF MY SENDING HENCE TO LONDON, AND FIRST EXAMINATION BY THE BISHOPP OF THAT PLACE
1. TO returne then to my formar narratis and apprehension in Cambridge, tthe ruth is that I, being now fully satisfied after my six monethes redding of Catholike bookes concerning their authorities, reasons, and proufs for thes points they defend, I had purposed to discover myselfe publiquely within very fewe days in a certayne exercise of preaching or exhortation that is used (as you know) in the saide Trinitie College, by the fellowes in their turnes (which by foundation are sixtie three, and as many schollers) thrice every weeke, and my turne was to comme within a sennight or forthingt, after at what time (as you cannot forgett, who were privie to my designement) I had purposed to take for my theame these words of St. Paul to his Timothy, wherin he saith of the eternall and visible Church in which Timothie then lived, that she was a columna et firmamentum veritatis, the pillar and firmament of truth. And therof to have shewed that this cold not be verified of the protestantes church by their owne confession, but that it might, and was, and ever hadd byn, and wold be, of the Catholique Churche, and consequently that I was now of that Church and therin ment to live and dye by the assistance of gods holy grace and mercy.
2. This was my cogitation, but being in this thought I was happely [accidentally] prevented, for uppon the daye of the glorious Apostle and Evangelist St. Mathewe, Doctor Nevel, Master of our College, having a bedell sent unto hime from the Vice-chauncellour Doctor Tyndal, Master of Queenes College, to apprehende me and send me a prisoner to hime, if I refused presently to goe to the Protestantes Church (for that is now the only triall they take of mens affections toward ther religion, whether they will goe to their churches or noe), he called me into his owne lodginge, and after some curteousl wordes of gentill speech tending to shew his particular and speciall love towardes me (and indeed he had always shewed me extraordinary affection), he begane to shewe the note and offence that had byn takne by some for my not going to churche in so longe a space. And this occasion thought he best to take, thowgh the very cause indeed came from the Councell uppon the spredding of my reasons prepared for the Earle of Essex, as afterwardes I understood. Wherfor Dr. Nevil begane to presse me much to goe to Church, whereto I aunswered, that if he would gyve me leave to expect my turne for making exortation in the Chappell, I would not only goe to Church but also preach. But either for that he cold not do it, being commaunded by the vicechaunselour to apprehend me if I went not to Church, or that he suspected the thing indeed which I purposed, he aunswered that he could gyve me no delay but that I must needes goe presently to Church or be sent prisoner to the vicechanceler. Wheruppon, thinking a little with my self and commending inwardly the matter to god, I imagined the tyme was now come to confesse him also before men; and so without more delay I told him playnly the trewe cause which I would not goe any more to their church, for that I was not of it, but a Catholique.
3. With this the good Doctor strooke hymself a great blowe uppon the brest in admiration and greefe of the newes, and for affliction of mynde begane to weepe. Whereat I was so little moved to compassion that I had a temptation to laugh and would gladly have had him come to some kinde of argument with me, wherby me thought I was able to reason to shew that he for his salvation owght rather to weepe then for myne, and to followe me rather than to draw me backe, but hee, geing wrapped in the bandes of lyvinges, honnors and ambition (though unmaried, for many of ther ministers, fearing a change, are loth to mary), hee durst not so much as thinke of any such matter, nor had he list to argue or dispute at all, but saide that I was the greatest crosse that ever came to hym synce he was Master of the college, for that I, of whome he had conceaved such hope, and had geven such good wordes of me, should so contrary to the expectation fall from them, went to his very harte, yeat he asked me what I would have hym to do for me that he might doe in this cause. I aunswered that, if I might obtaine so much favor at his handes, I would request hym that he wold permitt me quiett untill the retorne of my Lord Essex from the seas, with whome he might conferer further of the matter and I also. But hee replied that this suite was only made to gaine tyme that in the meane I might escape over the seas unto the Seminary at rome, or elswher, and so with heavie countenance and greefe of mynde he delivered <me> prisoner to the bedell, who together went and locked upp my chamber and bookes and papers &c. And so was I carried to the vice-chaunselour and had the like entertaynement of him, I mean no reasoninge at all of matters of religion, but only in the name of the privye councell was committed for cloase prisoner to ye Brookes the bedells howse, whoe gave his worde for me, and ther I remaned untill I was sent for to London, which was some six weekes or tger about afterwarde.
4. Being then myself in prison for the Catholique religion, which so long and earnestly I had impugned before, I cannot expresse what unspeakable comforte I tooke therof, and how diligent and mercyfull god was in visitting me continually with inward ioyes, and illustrations of minde. Full often tymes I fell downe one my knees to thanke his divine Maiestie, that he had honored me so farr as to receave me into the number of his confessours, and desired him humbly to perfect what he hadd begon, and to dispose of me as a passive instrument into his glory. And although I was debarred all day from company, yeat at night when it was darke wold my freendes come to the windoe of the chamber wherein I kept, being next to the street, to comfort me, and those whom I suspected not before to be any waies Catholicaly enclyned would courage me to goe on constantly and wished that either them selfs had so much corage and resolution as God had geven me, or that the tyme were such as they might declare themselfes with less danger, by which I easely perceaved how many are held in England by feare, whom I on the other side endevored to strengthen what I could, both alleaging many sownd and unaunswerable reasons (as they seemed to me) for the Catholique Roman Church, and faith, as also by delivering unto them certaine sonnets of devotion which I made in prison, wherin I shewed what inward comforte and content I fealt (as they might also perceave by my talke), therby to animate them not to be afraide of prison or anything els for Christes cause. And here againe the force of teares and other devotions came uppon me, in more abundance then ever before, yeat thought I good somwhat to moderate them, to the end I might hould owt, and so I reduced my former fastinges to fower tymes only in the weeke. But as for lying on the ground, for that I fealt yeat no inconvenience to come to my body therby, I continued therin all the tyme of my being ther except it were uppon sundaies and hollidayes, so that Master Brookes the bedell, who had charge of me and used me very curteously, seing me to refuse my bed, and to sitt upp so late and rise so early to my prayers and studdy, saide to me at my coming away, That if I followed that the course the councell should not need to hange me for religion, for that I would kill my self, which he sake of compassion. Howbeit I fealt no hurte therby, but infinite consolation, nor ever was any banckett so pleasent to me in former tymes as fasting now. Nor ever did I sleepe with the halfe of that ioye, content and quiett of mind in feather bedd when I was a Protestant, as I did now uppon the ground, wher my verie dreames also and inward motions of my sowle while the body slept were oftentimes most sweet and comfortable.
5. The only thinge that I desired most was to have some disputation abowt my religion, whereof I was well in hope when I sawe certaine learned men of the university to come and visite me, as namely the cheef divinitie reader, Doctor Overall, that was of Trinity College also, and had byn my tutor in former tymes and loved me well, Master Downe also, the Greeke reader, and Master Lyvely the Hebrewe reader, all which played the freendes of Job with me in lamenting my case and perswading me by worldly <arguments> to goe to the Church and conforme my selfe to the Queenes and Cowncells proceeding, as though they and not I had byn to give account to God of my sowle. But to no bickering of disputation we ever came, only the Hebrewe reader offered to shewe me certain places owt of the Hebrew text that differed (as he saide) from our Vulgat old latyn translation. but that was easely aunswered, by askinge hym whether he would stande in all points to the saide Hebrew text or no, for if he would not (as he can not, for that some places therin are confessed by all sides to be erroneous and perverted), then could not that text be the rule of beleefe, nor all translations were to be reformed according to that Hebrewe text that nowe is extant.
6. Thus then passing my life in close prison and finding no meanes to come to anie tryall with the Protestantes of Cambridge (which I most desired, for that I heald them for more learned than the bishopes to whome I imagined that I should be sent to London), I devised with my selfe to gather owt certaine questions and propositions and to cause them to be sett up at the gates of all the Colleges, provoaking them to dispute publiquely, but this thinge I could not well effectuate, for that I had no frende to use for the setting them upp, and some had denied me, for that the matter would be odious, and daungerous to the setter upp, wherfore I had another devise, which was to have sett up those questions my self, getting owt some night at a windowe and retourning to prison againe by the same waye as easely I might, and I thinke had done it if I had not byn removed upoon the suddaine to London, as I was by a pursevant named Cole sent for me, with whome I aryved at London uppon the ende of All Saintes daye, and laye that night in the pursevantes howse, and was brought the next daye before Master Bancrofte called Bishopp of London, and the daye liked me well to be the first of my appearance and confession, for that I hoped to have the intercession of all the Saintes in heaven for my help, whose feast it was, and unto whome I dyd hartely commend my cause.
7. The Bishopp receaved me courteously, and being before dynner he begane presently to reason with me alone, saying that he hoped I was not yeat so farr gonn but that I might be reclamed, and therfore desired to knowe how farr I was a papist. I aunswered in all pointes whatsoever the Catholilque roman Church dyd hould with owt acception, which seemed very absurde to him, and saide it was the Colliars faith, and so tould me that ould tale of the disputation between the Dyvell and the Collier, wher the Dyvell asked what he beleved and he said as the Church beleeved, “and what doth the Church beleeve?” quoth the Devill. “That which Christ taught,” said the Collyer. “And what taught Christ?” said the Devell? “That which the Church holdeth,” aunswered the Collier, and from this the Devell could not gett him. Whereat the Bishopp lawghed merily, but I allowed well the Colliars reason, seeing that therby he overcame the Devell, which Luther confessed that he did not in his disputations with the Devell that opposed against private masse, and Luther yealded to his arguments. I added moreover that it seemed to me that unlearned had no better nor other sure reason to defend theselves then this of the Colliar, for that they canot study nor read the scriptures nor doctors, and this only reason was sufficient for all, for that the Church cannot err in proposing matters of faith and beleefe.
8. Against this position that the Churche could not err began the Bishopp to argue that the Church of the Jewes did err, for that the prophets were sent to reforme many errours, and that the Scribes and Pharisees did err grossely in putting Christ to death. To all which I aunswered by shewing two pointes: the first that these errors and abuses were rather in matters of fact, life and action then of any erroneous faith proposed publiquely to be beleved, and then that the Jewish Synagouge had not so great promise of infalibility made unto it as the Christian Church had, which was of far greater perfection.
9. The Bishop asked me if owr Church shold tell me that my right hand were my left whether I would beleeve it. “This no matter of faith” (quoth I) “nor will our Church ever tell me so, nor cane she ever propose any such artickle of beleefe, for that I beleeve her to be guyded by the holy guost. But if she should propose me any artickle of faith as revealed from god, though it should seeme as contrarie to sense as this other proposition, as for example that ther are three persons in one substance, and that trew Christ God and man is wholly and realy under the formes of bread and wine. I would beleve it, and so ame bound for that she proposeth it.” “This is very base servitude,” said the Bishopp, “to bynd your selfe to such obedience.” “It is rather trew Christian freedome” (saide I) “for that St. Paul, whoe saith that wee are made by Christ, saith also that we must captivate owr understandinge in the obedience of faith, so as trewe captivity and trew freedom in those matters may stand together. And one the contrarie side, to leave the Church and to relye uppon owr private opinions, as Protestantes do, is proper servitude and slavery to owr own senses.” “What if the Pope should bidd you kill the Queenes Maiestie?” said the Bishopp. “Must yow dow it?” “This is an odious question,” saide I, “and no matter of faith, nor will the Pope ever bidd me do it.” “These are onlly aunswers of your own devise,” said the Bishopp, “for the Papistes do not maytaine ther questions in this sorte, but more absolutely, and therfore I am glad that you are not gone so farr as they.” To whome I aunswered that I would goe as farr in matters of beleefe and necessitie of facte as any Catholique, neither that I did hould any private opinion, now being a Catholique, as I did before when I was a Protestante. The Bishopp asked me what Catholique writers I had redd about their controversies. I said divers. “Yea,” said the Bishop, “some popeishe Jesuite as Bellarmine and the rest.” To whom I replied that one father Bellarmine had more learninge in one leafe of his booke then Calvin had in all his volumes. He asked me wherin. I aunswered in History, antiquityes, but especially in trewe Philosophy and divinity, wherin Calvin had nothing at all. “But I think,” said the Bishop, “that Master Calvin was as learned a man as any of our age.” And thus in effecte we passed this morning in noe greater matter than these, and, dinner tyme drawinge near, the bishopp saide I should dyne with him, and asked me whether I would now shewe any discontent when his Chaplaine shold say grace (by which yow may see their opinion of Catholiques exactnes in matters of their profession), and I aunswered that if it were nothing els but a benediction and thankesgeving to God, I would not be offended that hee prayed in his own sense, and I wold in myne, being that it was not accounted signum disincivum. Wher was divers also present, and some of the talke was, as I remember, abowt certain exorcismez or casting forth of wicked spirites by Catholique preestes in Lankeshire from possessed persons, wher ther wer so many and manifest miracles reported to be donn in that kinde, as the Cowncell was forced to send downe men to examine the matter. And amonge other thinges the Bishopp shewed me after dynner a treatise written in Latyn of a possessed person delivered by the sight and towching of a a girdle of father Campions, which when the Devel saw to come nere hym (though no man had saide it was father Campions), yeat he rored owt and side he burned and was tormented by St. Campion (“for so, saith he, “I must call hym, though against my self”). At all which story the Bishopp laughed and said they were but intentions to deceive (though the author writt that it was done in the presence, sight and hearing of above a hundred persons), and then his Lordship asked my opinion, and I said that as god had done many of these things in the primitive Church by meritt of the same faith which we now held so might he now also, if he pleased, and although I did not beleeve this narration as the fide divina, yeat sawe I no cause why moraly I might not assent then unto them, fide saltem humana, seing it was tould with such attestation 0f witnesses, and hard it seemed that any man would force such a narration with so many circumstances.
10. There had sitted at the same table with us at dinner tyme a preest named Ithall, of kyne to the Bishopp, whoe had suffered divers years imprisonment in Wishdich Castle for Catholique religion but, falling at last to strife and sedition (as was said) againste some of his fellowes and againste Jesuites by name, and losing therby his spirit, he fell by little and little, first to larger life, and then by persuasion of the Bishopp to come and live with hime, and lastly to play the Apostata,. For this is the waye lightly to drawe such men to that religion, and seming to the Bishop that his mans example or speeche might move me somwhat (who yet was but a younge Catholique) to relent somwhat, he tolde me of hym, and saide he woujld have us talke together. And after dynner he brought us both into his study and left us ther alone locked in together, but we had scarce begane to talke but the Bishopp, repenting himselfe and thinkinge belike that I might rather move the preest to repentance, and to retorne to his ould life againe, then he me to retorne to protestantes Religion, he came running backe in great hast, and saide that now he had thought of it, he would not have us talke together, and so sent me againe to the pursevantes howse prisoner as before, streightly warninge him that no man should have accesse unto me. And this was the issewe of my first conference, by which I was greatly compforted and strengthened in my purpose to persever in the course begune, discoveringe many waies the apparent weaknes of the other side.
CAP. 8 MY SECOND APPEARANCE AND CONFERENCE WITH MY LORD OF LONDON, AND AFTERWARDE WITH THE BUSHOPP OF BATHE AND OTHERS
1. AFTER some two or three daies rest in the Pursevantes house, I was called againe before my Lord of London, with whome was at that tyme the fore named Doctor Nevel, Master of Trinity College, who had first comitted me, as before I have rehearsed, and he was now come to London to excuse hymselfe with the Bushoppes and the Councell for my being a Catholique, wherin indeed he had nether fault nor meritt, though he receaved a great checke and rebuke for the same, as to me it was reported, as though he had byn able to have shutt forth Godds spirit at his College gates, and barred the light of Catholique truth to him that in his Chamber will open his harte and eyes to beholde it. Yeat certayne stoppings, I confesse, ther are among Protestantes to hold owt this light from younge men, which waunted not in Trinitye College, as namely the fillinge of ther heades continually with slaunders and false inventions against the Pope and Roman Churche with hopes of preferment, with pleasures and libertie of life, with assurance of salvation, live howe they will, with barring Catholique Englishe bookes, especially of Devotion, with taking awaye fasting, praying, meditation, satisfaction, and all other meanes that maye bring younge men to consideration of ther trew estate, and most of all by intycing them to syn, and continuance therin, partely by taking awaye all feare of punnishment on Gods parte, and partely by teaching them that they canot avoyde syn, let them doe what they will. Yet notwithstanding all these stoppings which Protestants do use to put for shutting out of this light, it breaketh in oftentymes by strange and stronge meanes, and one dayes trew consideration of celestial maters of the life to come is able, to hym that hath a cleare understanding and desires in deed to be saved, to breake downe in an instante all thes obstructions that Protestantes Doctrine hath heaped togetheragainst his light in manyyeares before.
2. Now then to go forward in the story, the Bishopp in the presence of Dr. Nevel began to use me very courteuslye againe, and, asking me how I did and whether I had thought better of any matters, added for easing the waye and removing as scruples, that for particular and private opinions I might hold what I would against Calvin, Beza, or with them, for that they were not tied unto ther assertions, nether shold I be, so as I wold conforme my selfe in other matters, and namely come to ther Church. Which kinde of entraunce made me to se most clely that they had no certaine Religion at all, nor any inviolable rule of beleefe, nor any defenite number of assertions or opinions, nor any church which had communion of Doctrine in it, but every man went he thought best, and consequently I did the more admire the exactnes of the Catholique Churche in this behalfe, that, being spread over all the world as she is, admitted no least difference in any one article of belefe, but what one saith all saye, and what one denieth all deny.
3. But I was much more confirmed in this matter afterwards by the Bishop dealing and proceeding with me when Doctor Nevel was departed, for then in most kinde manner laying his hand uppon my shoulder, “well, my boy” (quoth he) “I woulde it laye in my power to doe thee good,” with other such like woordes tending to kyndness and to perswasion that waye, but two princypall arguments he used as motives to reduce me into my former state of heresy. “Thou hast,” said her, “a good witte <and> iudgment: use it and followe it, and be not soe base mynded as to tye thyselfe to the Church, but take a libertie of that which in thy owne reason seemeth best. Also I understand” (quoth he) “yhou use great fasting and austeritie of life. See, here are 40 s. to bestowe uppon thyself toward thy charge, use thy body well, and beware of these illusiones of so much hardnes of liffe, for thou art a melancholy man, and the Devel may abuse this humor to persuade yow to be tow scrupulus and that you synn many times, when you synn not, and make you afraide of taking up of a […]” any farther disputing, which purposely he seemed ever afterward to flye. but in the way to my prison and after, when I came home and had examined well with my self the pointes of my Lords exhortaton, I found them to be nothing els but to pride of iudgment and to libertie of liffe, which still confirmed me the more in Catholique religion, and teacheth the quite contrarie.
4. With in a fewe daies after I was sent for to appear before Doctor Still, who then had the place of Bishopp of Bathe and was once Master of Trinitie College in Cambridge, by whom I was made scholler and fellowe of the same howse, wherby I had some obligation unto hym. And farther, he had married a kynswoman of myne (if this in a Bushipp may adde further obligation), and so to this man was I sent, who for the reasons aforesaid might seeme to shewe more interest in me then others. And so hee shewed by my first receavinge, for I, being brought by my keeper into his chamber where he was with his wife and other freendes, he caused first all women to go forth, and then others also except certaine of his learned men, as Doctor Grante the Queenes Chaplaine, blue that had byn my schoolmaster once in Westminster, Dor. Overall Divinitie reader in Cambridge, and senior of Trinitie College, and Master Barker the Bushopps Chaplaine, all which seemed to be gathered ther of purpose to geve a great onsett upon me. And first to begyne the pagent my Lord hym selfe would needes make the Prologue, whoe walking up and downe by hymselfe, weeping and knocking of his breste, cryed ovis perdita, ovis perdita, lost sheep, lost sheep, and then redde depositum, redde depositum, restore me my pledge, restore me my pledge, which he said in Imitation of like words recorded to be spolen by saint Jhon Evangelist to a Bishopp on Asia that had byn committed to his custody by the Apostle, and then interlininge some of the Protestantes ordenarie phrases of the rottenes and dregges of popery and such like. I could not chose but laugh, which Dor. Graunt seinge, asked wither I laughed at my Lord, and I said no, but that I could no otherwise do than laugh at my Lordes wordes. “Well,” said the Bishopp, “I will beare more unkyndness then this at your handes. But to lett this passe I saye againe redde depositum, restore my pledge.” I aunswered “Reddo et auctius, I restore it with gaine and more ample. For you lefte me an hereticke in Cambridge, and now I restore my selfe a Catholique, which is the trewe depositum or pledge that St. Paule commended so much to his scholler when he said Timothee, custodi depositum.”
5. This prologue being ended, my Lord satt downe and said “alas, pore soule, thy simplicity is beguyled by some crafty compagnion. I wiss you may better beleeve me that ame and have bene youre frende, and have studyed thes matters for thes thirtie yeares, then yonger men or strangers or your selfe.” To which I aunswered that if I meant to builde my faith uppon any mans particular creditt, learninge or iudgment, his argument might have some force, but I was farr from that cogitation, relying my self upoon the infallible authority of Christes universall Catholique Church. Then he urged me to tell hym why I had lefte ther church. “Because (said I) yow left owr Church first, and so I do but retorne to the former.” “Let that passe,” saide the Byshopp, “and give me some particular reason why yow have gone forthe of owr Church now.” “For that (quoth I) by search I finde that Luther and Calvin and other your fownders had no reason to goe forthe of owr Church at the begynninge. And furthermore because that yow have no Church at all, seing yow have no unitie of Doctrine either amonge your selfes or with any man els (in all points) that ever were before yow, and a Church canot be framed of newe in an instant, but must discend from Christ and his Apostles.”
6. “Then,” said the Bishopp, “we acknowledge that the Roman church was the trewe Church, and that men might be saved in it, until the appearinge of Luther and Calvin, who fynding it like a river that by long runninge had gathered much mosse and mudd, did purge it, taking awaye such absuses as they fownd in it, as namely massinge, praier to Saintes, purgatorie and the rest, and that every body is now bownde to followe this cleansed streame and to be of this reformed Church,” which he confirmed also by a similitude, used (as he said) by Master Latimer, burned in Queene Maries tyme for Protestantes religion. His similitude was this: father Latimer sent one sone at midnight throwgh a woode to finde owt <the> way, and retorning with a scracth face was pardoned for that it was midnight. But the next daye he sent another sonne to seeke the same way at noone tyme, and he came also in like manner home with his face brokne out <and> deserved not pardon for that it was middaye. “Even so,” saith he, “those that in the night of Popery did err were worthy of compassion and pardon, and so might be saved, but not those that err nowe in the clear daye of the gospell.”
7. To this I aunswered that albeit these similitudes did expresse to the voulgar sorte what Protestantes meant to say, yet did it not prove at all their sayinges to be trew, but rather discover the falshoode therof, for first if it be trewe (as they graunt) that the Roman Church was once the trew Church, and was that mayne river, that by running for so many yeares and ages gathered mosse and mudd, and that Luther and Calvin purged the same, it followeth that the same river remaneth still, and that the purging therof chaungeth not the river, and consequently that in this only streame men must swime to salvation. Secondly that this supposed mosse and mudd was either in Doctrine and articles of beleefe (and this cannot be, for that Doctrine is the wauter it selfe that floweth and cannot be changed without change of the river, which not with standinge is promissed to endure and flowe to the worlds end). Or els the reformation made is in matters of life and manners only, and then lett Luther and Calvin showe what they have reformed and what authoritie they had to reforme, beinge private men and most inreformed them selfes in this kinde, as ther owne fellowes do confesse. And yet if ther reformation were only in manners we will not contende abowt it.
8. The other similitude also of the broken faces by night and daie hath no other force butt that the Protestantes will needes suppose the tyme of their sectes to be day, and that of the Catholicke religion […] throw the wood for which both of them broke their faces was changed by this Imagined light or darknes, and much less that the river before mentioned was made another by the mosse and mudd supposed to be gathered in it, as the Protestantes Churche and religion is made another by this forged reformation, and consequently it followeth <not> that the Church and faith and high way to salvation among Christians at the begynning, and continued afterwardes, and promissed to be everlastinge, can ever be changed, nor that a man can be saved by any other new waye, nor that one faith or Church in one age, and another in another, cane leade a man to salvation. And therfore, seing that the Protestantes do graunte that the Roman Church and faith was once the trewe meane to salvation (which we do not graunt of thers), and that it so continued for a thowsande five hundred yeares untill that Luther and Calvin appeared in the world, it must needes also followe that now in like manner it is the only means of salvation, if it be any at all, for that no newe or other can be invented for matters of beleefe and Doctryne.
9. My Lord replied not to thes aunswers, nether commonly would he ever to any, but passing presently to some other obiections taken owt of Catholique bookes, and ther aunswred. He said he would shewe me that the Roman Church had and could err, which I denied, so he said first and amonge other errors, that she held that lyinge was lawfull. I said he could not shewe it. He asked me if I would promise to goe to the Church if he shewed it, I said yea. “Give me your hand writinge therof” (saide he), and so he did. Then called he for his common place booke, and after he hadde spoken much in commendation of his own labours in gathering that booke, he begane to turn the leafes and look for this matter a great while, but could not finde it, wherwith he gave over and so I remained free of my hand writinge.
10. Then he saide he would prove her errors in other pointes. And first he avowched that the Roman Church had erred with the Heretiques called Colliridiani that brought in prayinge to ower ladie, to which I aunswered that his Lordshipp mistooke the matter, for the Colliridiani were not condemned for heretiques by the Catholique Church (which then only was the Roman) for prayinge to owr Lady, which the same Church then used, as appeareth by the fathers of that tyme, but for offeringe sacrifice tow owr Lady, which only is dewe to God, and therfore his Lordshipp did yvel in obiecting one thing for another.
11. Then he obiected the bringing of Images by the Roman Church, blue which said Epiphanius did breake. I aunswered that his Lordshipp well knew or might knowe that saint Samascen had aunswered that fact well neare 800 yeares afore. To which my Lordshipp in choler said that Damascen was a puny father, but I shewed how holy and learned a man he was, and how highly esteemed among the Greekes. And now my Lord, drawing to be weary and no man comended him, he thought convenient to helpe hymselfe, and so turninge to Doctor Graunte, “you see, Master Doctor, that we cane saye som what to these matters,” who aunswered, “you, my Lord, <spake> very well and learnedly and much to the purpose,” and so we brakle of. At the ende the Bushopp desyred me to weighe well his reasons which he had given, and he dowted not but they would worke some good effecte in me againste the next tyme, and so I retorned with my keeper to prison agayne.
CAP. 9 OF MY FOWERTH CONTENTION BEFORE DOCTOR ANDREWES AND OWR CONFERENCE AND DISPUTATION
1. WHEN the tow Bushoppes aforesaide of London and Bath had fownd by experience that ther was little hope of change in me, except they could convince my iudgment by force of argument, they devised to send me to conferr with one Doctor Andrewes, head of Pembrocke hall in Cambridge, and in theirs and in common Portestantes account a man of principall learninge above all others, for that he can make more use therof by holdinge some mingled Catholique positions in divine thinges, and by using many notes and morall observations in his sermons taken forth of Catholique bookes, and partly for paching up opinions of a certaine mixture of all sides of religion, which by ther very novelty now in Ingland do begyn to please agayne especially such men as, having some affection to Catholique faith, dare not adventure to go throwgh it but comend a farr of, and partly because the probabilitie of reason that the truth and pietie of Catholique religion affordes do much grace his sermons and opinions, as of the use and necessity of good workes, pennance, satisfaction and such like. And to be breefe, of all Churches and opinions which are amonge Christians Catholique, Protestante and Sectaries, this man maketh but one Religion and Church, more or less corrupted in one parte then in another, yeat all to be tollerated for avoiding of scandals (for that his is Reason), and the better and more purged parte to be followed and embraced. But how to trie this owt or iudge which is the better he leaves no certaine rule or meane but every mans owne iudgment, nether telleth he how this Church cane be one, seing it agreeth not nether in faith, sacraments, preaching or profession with it selfe or with other partes therof, so as this man is now come to the other extreme, from the first position of Protestantes, which was that Christes church consisted onely of the elect. For he houldeth that not only synners and yvell livers, but all sectaries also and heretiques together with Catholiques do make but one Church, which is the most absurde Doctryne and new invention to the other extreme that ever was heard of, and the very plaine path and open waye in dede to confusion, Atheisme and contempt of all Religion. And yeat this pleaseth now in England, partely by the Noveltie therof, as I have saide, and cheefly by the wearines that men growe unto of the poore and naked religion of pure Protestantes threedabare faith without woorkes, and for that they wold gladly have some easye restinge place for their heavy burdened consciences which they are glad to heave of in this open and wild Church of Master Doctor Andrewes, seing they cannot resolve them selves to enter in by the narrow gate of the Catholique Church, which to them semeth ever harde and burdensome.
2. To this man then I came. His preface to me was that he was sory he had not mett with me rather to stay matters from breaking soe farr owt as the yhad, for now he sawe to battalies offered to him, the one with my error, the other with the regarde I must needes have of my creditt and reputation. To which I aunswered that if he could gaine the victorie in the first, he should easely have me to yealde in the second, for that my desire was only to save my sowle, and did make little accounte of mens opinion in so weightie a matter as this was, that concerned my everlasting salvation of Damnation, and therfore I desired hym to imploye all his endevours to shewe my error if he could, for in the other I would deliver him from all care and truble. Hee required at my handes that I should relate unto hym the manner of my change and convertion, and so I did in substance as it is sett downe before in the fowrth Chapter of this narration. Which he having heard saide, “yeat wanted ther one thing in this your convertion, to witt, to have gone (as St. Paule did after his conversion) too Jherusalem and conferr with Peeter, I mean (said he) with some learned ministers.” “So have I done already,” saide I, “(if any such comparison maye be made between St. Peters councell and authoritie and that of protestantes ministers), for I have conferred with divers, and among others with Dr. Overall, Divinitie reader in Cambridge, and none of them hithertwo coald give me satisfaction.”
3. “And what is that great difficultie or want,” said he, “in owr religion wherin no man cane gane your satisfaction?” “The greatest of all others (saide I), and that which most importeth to a Christian mans security in matters of faith, and withowt which by ordenary way ther cane be no security or certainty at all in his beleeve, (to witt) that you have not medium infallibile propendi res credandas, noe sure and infallible means to propose unto us the thinges which are to be beleaved, as Catholiques have by the authoritie of ther church.” “It is not necessarie,” said the Doctor, “and if it be wee shall give it yow.” “That cane you not give us,” said I. “I ame most certaine and owt of dowbt, having sought it for so long and diligently, both with studdie and conference of the principall of your Religion. But that <it> is necessarie is easely proved. For us to see <a> thing surely and with owt error, besides the power of seing it selfe, that is with owr eye, and besides the obiect with owt our eye, which <is> some colour or visibile species of show, must be also some convenienc or passage for the said colour to come to the eye, (to witt) ther must be pure ayer lightened, and without any obiect or corruption in it, and if thes conditions do waunt, ether the thing is not seene at all or not well and trewly seene, so as besides the disposition of owr mynde to beleeve matter revealed from God (be it habitt of faith or other disposition before faith be in us), and beside the obiect, which is the thing revealed from god to be beleeved, ther must be some sure and convenient passage to bring and deliver the same without spott or danger of error unto us, which sure passage or infallibile authority of delivery we call in this case medium proponans, the meanes proponent, which if it should be subiect to error (as among protestantes it is, every man founding uppon his owne iudgment), then could there be no certanety of faith at all, as among them ther is not. For as in thinges that are seene in owr eye, though the power of the eye be never so good, and the coulor be seene never so freshe, yett if the medium that delivereth it be obscure or infected with yvell colours it cannot be well and surely seene, as by experience we finde when a man looketh thorow painted spectacles: all seemeth to be of that coulour which the spectacles that give the medium do give unto it. And so if a man have the habitt of faith or any other ordenary power of beleeving in his mynd, and that the obiect or thing to be beleved be proposed as revealed from God, yeat if the authoritie of the propownder be not suffitient, to witt one waye or other certaine and infallible, noe faith or firme assent can be geven to the thinge propounded.”
4. But here Master Doctor denied my similitude, and said that there was no comparison to be made betweene faith and the power of beleeving in our mynde, which is a divine thinge, and the power of seing in owr eye, which is a Naturall thinge, and consequently, though the one have neede of fit medium to passe the obiect, yet the other hath not, but it is ienough that a man have faith alone, therby to be able to discerne and beleeve any proposition whatsoever revealed from God with owt respect to the medium or the authoritie of the propownder, and that the light of faithe in owr mynde was rather like lumen principiorum, or intelligentia, that is, the light of discerninge principles in owr understandges, unto which as ther is nothing needful, but only that this light of understanding be in us, and that the principle which must be understood be proposed unto us (as for example that totum maius est suis partibus, every whole thing devided into partes must needes be greater then every particular parte), which proposition or principle proposed to any man that hath the light of understanding, he will agree unto it naturally by the same light, without respecting any authoritie of the propoudners, “and so (saith he) will any man that hathe faith discerne and beleeve any proposition proposed (if it be necessary to salvation) by hym selfe, and by the light he hathe of faith alone, without any such medium or authoritie of the propownder (as wee requir it).” This was the Doctors discourse, which yet to me, that had redd some little schoole Divinitie now among the Catholique, it semed nothing sownd nor doctorlike, and much lesse now having better thought uppon it, for albeit I confesse that ther be a great difference betweene the power of seing in a mans eye and of beleving in his minde (the one being naturall, and the other supernatural), yet this taketh not awaye the necessitie of a medium to bring the obiect to the saide power, and soe much the more in beleving, for that the obiect of faith is obscure and not visible of his selfe, as St. Paul sheweth, and if the Comparison brought in by Master Doctor of lumen principiorum or intelligentia did hold, then should ther be no place nor neede of free will or good affection in beleefe, as it hath not in the example proposed, of understanding and assenting to the principle before mentioned, when the understanding, being forced by the evidence of the obiect (which is the principle proposed) canot chuse but agree therunto. But in articles of beleefe they are not so evident of them selves, but have some obscuretye styll ioyned with them, for if they were evident they cold not appertayne to faith (as hath byn shewed out of saint Paule), and herof enseweth (to wit of this obscuritie), besides the light of our understanding, alwayes our will and good affection is needfull ot beleeve them, which is not a demonstration of thinges that are evident, wher no cooperation of the will is needfull at all, and furthermore if Master Doctors opinion and example did hold that whosoever hath faith beleeveth presently of hym selfe without any medium, what so ever trueth is proposed necessarie to salavation, it would follow that the Jewes who had faith in many points, even about ther Messias to come, must needes have beleeved al thes other trew propositions also proposed so often by Christ and his Apostles about Christian faith, but yet they did not, for that they wanted good affection, and did not esteeme as they should have done the medium that propounded the same unto them, which were Christ and his Apostles, authorised by so infinite and manifest miracles. Wherfore it is not enough simply to have the light of faith in owr mynde and the obiect that is to be believed to be propownded, but ther must also be some medium or mediation to unite thes two together, I meane the obiect and the power, and this in matters of beleefe is the propounder.
5. For the better understanding wherof I will add this to you, my freend, for that I desire you shold be better satisfied in this point of beeleefe, as the cheefe and head of all the rest, and which only if you possesse you will have no dowt or difficultie in anything els. That though divines do hold (and most truly) that ratio formalis credendi, the formall proper cause why a man beleveth anything is not the Church or any other motive, but for this God hath revealed it, whoe canot err nor deceave. Yeat to know that god hath revealed this or that, he hath need of some externall testimony, for that otherwise by ordenarie meanes he cannot be sure of it himselfe. I say by ordenarie meanes, for that god hath two wayes to revale matters unto men: the first by immediate inspiration from himselfe, as he did to the Prophets and to his Apostles, and namely to Saint Paul when he taught him the whole gospell by inspiration without helpe of meanes. Himself testifieth it, and this is extraordenary and to fewe and uppon urgent causes, and when he doth this he revealeth the thinges so clearly to them as they see them evidently can have no dowt therof, and yeat when they will preach and teach the same to others, they must shewe miracles to beare witness to the credability of their doctrine, as the Prophetes and Apostles of Christe himselfe did, who saith “if I had not done such workes amonge the Jewes as never any other did, they should have had no synn in not beleving me.”
6. An other way of revealing matters of faith god useth by the ministry of externall preachers, wherof Paul maketh this mention to the Romans. blue How shall men beleeve except they heare? How shall they heare withowt a preacher &c.? And this is the ordenary and common way appointed by god for men to be instructed in matters of beleefe, and not to exspect the former way by particular revelations, which is subject to many illusions and errors, as the example of all false Prophetes and heretiques do show. And for this cause Christ framed the whole bulk of his primitive church by this second and not by the first way, sending abroad preachers into all partes of the world whoe yeat might have taught by peculiar and immediate revelation from himself, if hee would, as he did by St. Paule. But he chose this second and ordenary meanes, geving to the hearers disposition of minde to beleeve the preachers, and to his preachers miracles to make their preachinges credible, for so it was needfull at the begynninge for that they were private men and tawght new Doctrine. But when thes men had gotten now creditt by the vertewe of their preachinges and miracles, and ther wordes were taken not as woordes of men but of God (as St. Paul testifieth), and that ther was a visible Church framed over all the world, that was privie to all the misteries and councels of god, and knew his mynd and meaninge in all pointes necessary, and that this Church had receaved their Doctrine immediately from god, having imparted by mouth what they thought convenient and leaving the moste parte by writinge, and partly by ordenation and tradition to the governours of this howse, which also were to endure to the worldes ende by succession and imposition of handes from age to age, then I say ceased for the most part particular miracles and in place therof entered the authoritie and infallible witnes of this Church founded uppon thos first miracles and preachinges, and furnished with the scriptures and ordenations left by the first preachers, and conserved, continued and protected by the same Christ that fownded her first, and as then the matters of beleefe propounded by the Apostles, though they were beleved formaly and properly for that god had revealed them, yeat to prove them to be revealed miracles were necessarie, so now though ther be the same formal reason of beleefe in all we beleeve (to wit that we beleeve articles for that god hath revealed them), yeat to make evidence of credibilitie that god hath revealed them and that the scriptures and other such revelations be trewly his, the authority of the visible universall Church is necessary, withowt which St. Augustine said he would not beleeve the Gospell it self nor was he bownd to doe.
7. And for that the protestantes have not the testimony or authority of any such visible church discended and continued by succession from the first Church of the Apostles, withowt interruption, therfor they are forced to run to ther perticular spirites and revelatons, and to saye that this externall argument of credibility is not necessarie but onley internall faith, wherof no man ordenarely can be certaine, and by this grownd of thers Master Doctor Andrewes and his fellowes may devise whatever opinions they list, as in deed to have this libertie he hath taken to hold this principle, that no medium proponens infallible is necessarie. And this was the summe of our conference for that daye, by the which I semed to discover more of the Protestants misery and poverty (this man being the cheefe they could put owt) than by anything that I heard or seene before. For it was evident to me that they had no grounde of faith at all, but only each mans fancy and particular imagination. And as they have noe rule nor meanes of certayntie, so do they not care nor make account of heresy, schisme, or division in matters of beleef, as this Doctor divers waies shewed, and when I alleaged unto hym St. Augustine, who of diverse pointes now in controversie said firmiter tene et nullatenus dubita, &c., hold this for most firme and no waies to be dowted of, that who soever is baptized out of the Catholique Churchc cannot be partaker of everlasting liffe except before he dye he be restored and incorpored agayn be unto the said Catholique Church. And in another place, do thow hold for most certayne and dowt not at all, but that not only paganes and Jewes, but also all heretiques and schismatiques which do end this present lyff out of the Catholique Church shall goe to eternall fyar prepared for the Divell and his angels. To all which Master Doctor aunswered that this Doctrine of St. Augustine was but dogma ecclesiasticum, and not de fide. And when I added further that generall councels and fathers gave anathema against such men as erred in these pointes which he termed dogma ecclesiastica, he said that Anathema was only a temporall seperation for the Church and not eternall from Christ, so as no man feareth excommunication amonge them, and much lesse Damnation, for sectes in Religion. And I was animated often tymes by the bushopes with whom I dealt to beleeve in what I would, so as in externall going to Church I did conforme my self to them.
CAP. 10 OF DIVERS OTHER APPEARINGES AND CONVENTIONS BEFORE SUNDRY BUSSHOPS AND LEARNED MEN OF THE PROTESTANTES RELIGION
1. AFTER my dealing with Doctor Andrewes and the successe knowne, I had little more saide unto me by the Busshopes in matters of learninge, but their first consultation was what waye of proceeding they shold hold with me from thence forward. Some were of the opinion that best were to send me backe tyo Cambridge againe, and use me with all curtesy and prove whether tyme and kyndnes with hope of preferments would move me. And the Deane of Westminster, as one knowing the humor of the protestantes, dealt with me to proceed in my former mariage, laying before me what an iniurye I had offered the gentlewoman by breaking of this mache. The Bishop of Bath added that it was a synn willfully to undo my state by imprisonement, and that I was bound to take a course wherby to maintaine my liffe in som sufficient state, and not to tempt God by emprisonement, wher I might starve for lack of mayntenance. But when they had more advisedly examined ther councells they wee afraide to send me to Cambridge least my example and conversion might drawe others to followe me, and this they told me them selfes. Others thought some vigerous course good to be attempted, but partly because they sawe my former resolution and desier of sufferinge to afforde them small hope of gayninge that way, and partly or rather cheefly because they had some dowt of mi Lord of Essex least he did secretly favor me, therfor they knew not what to do. The Busshop of London would gladly have had me home to his howse and use me kyndly, but he was afraid to be suspected for a Papist, for in the olde Lord Chauncelors tyme he was acounted halfe so, which suspition was some what increased by his faverable dealing with me, and to fly the more from that opinion he resolved in a certayne sermon which he preached soone after uppon the Queenes daye to make such a bitter invective against Catholique Religion and such a disclyminge of all papistrie, as if he had byn then newly abiured. The Deane of Westminster would have had me brought to his howse and kept ther free prisoner, so that I would have geven suffitient suretye, for he thought by this meanes it would be noysed abroad that I had relented in my faith and was retorninge back againe to protestancy.
2. But when I refused to give any such securety or to come willingly to his howse, they kept me still as before yntill they should further appointe of me.
3. Then I was sent for the fifte tyme before the Bishoppes of London and Bathe, as they satt in solemnity at the high commission Table, where were present Sergeant Heale and others, wher they begane to talk with me abowt a benefice which in former tyme I had, and asked me whether I had not now such a benefice. I aunswered that such a one I once had when I was a minister, but now I had none. The Bushope of London asked me againe why I had none now, and whether I were not yet minister. I aunswered that now I was a lay Catholique and had nothing to do with their ministeriall orders. The Bishopp demaunded how longe I had byn of that opinion, I tould ever sense I was a Catholique. “Ever synce you were a Catholique?” saide London? “Ever since yow were a traytor? I feare it will prove so.” “Well,” saide the Bishoppe of Bathe (that in former tyme had been my tutor) “I will tell now one thinge of theee to shame thee. I remember that at Cambridge ever synce thow wert a boy, when thou wert to gyve questions and dispute in the schools, it was noted in thee that <thou> woldest alwaiys defend some paradox or false opinion or other, saying that any man might defend a truth but not a falshode, and then saw no mervaile, though now thow hast changed also and taken paradoxes to defend in Religion.” I aunswered that although for praise and commendation of witt I had donne so in schooles and philosophie, yeat I would be loth to do so in Religion, and that he might as well charge Master Sergent Heale then present for defending some tymes for honner and gayne some false causes at the barr, if the mayntaininge of a false argument in any dispute wer such a criminous matter. But though I had defended many paradoxes and strange opinions in my life, yeat never was any like unto the Protestantes religion, which I found to be so absurde and unreasonable and sensles that I cold not any longer by any shift mayntane them against the evidence of truth and my conscience. Heer the Bishopp of London begane to invay bitterly agains the Catholique Church and to extoll Master Calvin and Master Luther, which did so move me that I, not induring the names of Master Calvin or Mistress Calvin, began to shew my disdaine, which I had to heare such Apostate preestes and monkes and Nunnes concerned with the Church: that I said for the men or women that are infected with heresy God blesse and deliver them, but for the heresies themselves, as Calvinisme and Lutheranisme &c., I wished the Divell would take them. Wherwith my Lord of London was so moved that he not only prayed to God to confound or convert all Papistes, but said farther that a little thing would make hym to stryke me. I aunswered out of St. Paul that a Bishopp must be no striker. He said that though he did not him selfe, he might commaunde it to be donn (this was a Protestanticall exposition of the scripture), but I saide all was one, for it would be the case of Ananias that commanded St. Paul to be stroken at the seate of iudgment. This being pacified, they began to aske me divers light questions, whereunto when I aunswered, I was sure never to have replie, but ether they would presently runn to some other matter, or els say openly that they knew I was able to aunswere anything by my witt. Amonge other thinges, I remember, he made me this grave contemplation against invocation of saintes, that Christ when he taught us to pray bid us say our father which art in heaven and not St. Peeter or St. Mary. I aunswered that this forme of prayer was not so definite that a man might not ether in other ordinary wordes or other manner pray, for that it is not said that a man should pray unto Christ himself nominatim, and yet they would not deny that also the prayers made to the saintes now directed unto god mediately, as he that is in the presence and audience of the king should intreat some of the kinges frendes to begg pardon for hym doth in the same action pray unto the King hymselfe, and by his yow may guess the rest of our conference, for no graver matters were handled then this.
4. After a fewe daies I was called agine before the Bishopp of London when, coming into his studdy, among other straunge talk he told me he wold shewe me a place in Baronius his Annales of such horrible blasphemy and impiety that he wondred he cold indure to be of such a Churche. then he, taking the 7 tome, as I take it, torned to the end of all the booke, and redd a prayer which Baronius maketh to the blessed Lady, Virgin. I aunswered that the prayer was good and full of piety, and if he accounted this such a blasphemy as he semed to do, I would shew him in St. Gregory Nazianzen, the principall father of the greeke Church, the very like prayer in all respectes. The Bishoppe said very confidently that he would be my bondsman if I did it. therefore, taking home with me to my prison this fathers worke, because the Bishop would not stay to have it sought owt at that time, at my next meting I declared unto him the place, in the ende of his oration made in the prase of Athanasius. Wherto the Bishopp replied that it was only a certaine Rethoricall forme or exclamation which the fathers often use in their writinges, and not according to the iudiciall meaninge of the fathers.
5. After this I desired then that they would not hold me Jobe in prison thus, being a scholler and brought up in study and used to converse with bookes, for if I were so awry as they said I was and had entered into a religion repugnant to the fathers and the primitive Church, if I might by redding of the fathers finde the Protestantes assertions to be trew I would easely be intreated to build my beleefe uppon the Doctrine of the auncient fathers. But nether by this arte could I obtaine any bookes of them, nether gett so much favor as to retayne those fewe which I had secretly conveyed unto me in prison. Yea I could not intreat so much as to hold St. Augustines meditations, which was taken away from me by the Bushopp of London, nether would he restore it me, because I had in one of our confrences alleaged the practis of St. Augustine for praying to Sainctes owt of the book, and the Bishopp, being driven to an exegent, was constrained to deny the book to be St. Augustines, which no man ever did perhaps before him. The greatest reason of this restrainte of bookes from me was, as the Bishopp of London signified unto me, for that (as they said) I was surfited by over much reading, and therfor was to be restrained from bookes untill I could use them better. Therfore when I saw I could by no intreaty obtaine to have any of the fathers or other bookes to studdy on, to the intent I might provoake them to lett me have bookes and paper and ynke I offered them that, since they were so earnest to have me retorne backe unto their Church, which they said was so pure and reformed, I would take a shorte course to resolve both them and my selfe herin. Therfore I offered that if they would permitt me to have bookes in the prison and papers, I would offer them up some sixty or eightie reasons to prove that they were not the Churche of Christ, wherof if they could aunswere me any one I would presently come to ther Church, and this chalenge I made at the Commission table before diverse that were present, which they scornfully reiected, saying they had aunswered all the world before and were not now to be challenged by a boy. Yet to showe some honnor in wordes they said I should have bookes for that purpose, wherof I was exceeding glad. But when I expected [waited] many dayes and found nothing performed, I procured secretly pen and ynke to brought me, and so writt a letter to my Lord of Essex to the Court, signifying to his honnor how the Bushopes dealt with me both inhumanely and cowardly, that havinge so faire an occasion to recover me againe to the Church and others perhaps also, if they could aunswere but one reason of fowre score, durst not accept therof, nor yet afforde me bookes and paper to perform my offer, and therfore I desired earnestly his Honnor to speake to the Bushopes to accept my challenge, and to permitt me the libertie of my bookes, which if by his favor I might obtaine, I said I wold undertake to send him with in a short tyme to copie of those reasons, which I would also defend before against any protestant in Ingland, and would desire no more indifferent iudge then hym selfe.
6. This request seemed very reasonabler to my Lord, and he imparted the matter to others at the Court, wherof ther grewe very much talke among the courteours and much musing at such an offer, and condemning of the dastardy of the bushops, so that it came unto the Queenes eares, who tooke it very yvell also that her Bishopes should shewe themselves so fearefull and weake, and spake such angry wordes as seemed to disgrace the whole ranke of them present at the Parlement. Wher upon woord was brought to the Bishopes what wordes the Queene had used against them, threateninge them that shee would turne them all forth of ther Bishoprickes if they did not aunswer me. With which mesure they being nettled, sent me paper and inke, but bookes could I not obtaine, and besides they gave streight charge to my keeper to beware that no man had accesse unto me. Therfore, being destitute of all other helpes, I turned myselfe by humble prayer to that fowntaine from whence the river of all bookes and knowledge are derived, beseeching him to illighten me with his divine grace to performe that offer whereunto now I had bound my selfe for his sake. And so with Christes holy assistance I wrote downe towarde the number of seaven or eight score of reasons. The methode I used was to sett the generall positions which the Protestantes hold against the Catholique Church and which they held concerninge ther owne; unto the second parte I sett downe the oppositiones or contrarie positions Catholique, everyone wherof I proved and confirmed by diverse particular reasons which yet I did not amplifie, but only put them downe in breefe, that I might the rather provoake the Bishopes to deale with some of them. The copy of all I dowt not but you have seene eare this, and some of them were so evident that ther was no aunswere imaginable, nether needed any proufe one my part but only reproufe by them.
1. As for example, that never any one man, from the Apostles tyme Catholique or heretique, before Luthers cominge, did hold haulf of Luthers opinions affirmative and negative.
2. That never any man Catholique or heretique in the world before thes last forty yeare did agree with the Church of England that now is in all and every parcell of doctrine.
3. That they would not possebly give me any common rule of ther faithe how farr it goeth.
4. That they could not possebly give any sufficient reason whie they should rather be Calvenistes then Arians or Anabaptistes.
5. That the Church of Rome was never noted for error synce the Apostles by any writer that was not accounted an heretique in his tyme.
6. That ever any lawfull councell or any auncient father did condemne or anathematize or iudge of heresies any of those articles which the Catholiques at this daye hold against the Protestantes, as they have done of protestantes articles.
7. In the meane tyme that I was devising of my articles the Bishopes gave owt that I had made a bragg and could not performe it, and least I should slipp away from the pursevantes howse where I was prisoner, or any should have accese to me to helpe me in making of my reasons, they sent for me and said they had commaundement from the Queene to looke narrowly to me and send me to prison. So I was escourted by two pursevantes unto the cownter in Southwarke. but after I had written downe my reasons and sent a copy of them to the Bishopes they were soon weary of ther boastinges, for in the space of three moneths (what time I was in prison after the delivery of my reasons) I cold not by any meanes intreate them or force them to deale with any of them. Also I gave copies of them abroade among the Catholiques, which were disperced then over all Ingland. Yet neyther the Publicke insulting which the Catholiques made herby over heretiques, nor the shame which the Protestante spake of the Bushopes, could move them to accept of my chalenge.
8. After this uppon the 21 of february (as I take it) I was solemly produced before the said Bishopp of London and the Lord of Buckhurst of the privy cowncell, Master Cooke the Queenes attourney, Doctor Cotton, Dr. Stanhope, Doctor Andrewes and others, where I was most redicolusly degraded of my orders of ministery (which I had before most willingly cast from me) by a solemne writing in the Queenes name, that began Elizabetha by the grace of god &c., who, as she made me not minister, so cold she not unmake me, nor take the character from me, if it had byn anyting indeed and not only his rationibus (as Logicians do call a chimera, or near imaginary fancy) laid upone laye men by laye men, that have as little habilitie to give as the other to receave (by this meane) any state or degree of clergy, the commision being only secular (as to a persevaunt, for example, to play the catchpoole for awhyle), them selves confessing that ther ordenation of ministers is neither sacrament nor imposeth any spirituall character, nor addeth grace, and consequently may be exercised or left when a man listeth, as other temporall offices may be. And so had I done and other ministers doe and may do at their pleasure, nor was ther never any such notorious degradiation used or heard of in Inglande before in this Queenes tyme, or synce the first begynning of the Protestant Church, and some other Bishoppes misliked it, as afterwarde they toulde me.
9. In this publique assembly what passed in matters of questions and dispute about religion you have seene, I suppose, alredy by the very wordes put downe of every party, which I did write as soone as I retorned to prison with as great sincerety as I could remember them, and sent the coppie to some of my freendes abroad. The Bishopp of London and the Lorde of Buckhurst spake most that daye, the first reprehended me for being over earnest, the other for leaving the religion of my natyve countrye. To the one I showed that in Gods cause earnestnes was necessary, and to the other that religion was not a matter depending uppon the state or country wher a man was borne. And when he had asked me the reasons of my change and would fayne have yealded them, the Bishopp interrupted me and wold not permit it. Then I asked of this Lordshipp aunswere to some of my reasons which I had geven up in wryting. The Bishopp denyed them first to be reasons, and then saide some were trewe, some were false. I saide that if any one were trewe ther Religion must nedes be false, and if many of them were false it hurted nothing owr religion, and prayed him and the rest againe that they might be aunswered. The Bishopp relplied that they had byn aunswered heretofore by others, and that they shold be aunswered againe, and more I could not obtaine, but both the Lordes fell into a raging against the Bishopp of Rome, and the Lord of Buckhurst said he thought me to be madd, and the Bishopp added that I hoped for preferment among the Papistes, and Doctor Stanhoope said that I waxed proude with reasoninge so much with great men &c., and so we ended for that tyme.
CAP.11 OF MY TWO OTHER CONVENTIONS BEFORE THE BISHOPES OF LONDON AND BATHE, AND THE DEANE OF WESTMINSTER
1. AFTER my degradation and deprivation of lyvings they would not so leave me, but within fewe dayes sent for me againe before the Bishopes of London and Bathe and my ould freend Master Goodman Deane of Westminster, and they, esteeming me by like to bee som what offended with the Bishop of London for his late proceeding against me (which in deed I was not, but rather thought myself beholding unto them for delivering me from that wherof I was ashamed), the Bishopp of Bathe and the Deane took me aside into a gallery of the Bishopes, and begane both of them to fall in weepinge, saying that I had to good a nature to be a papist, and was not made for it, and then that it hadd byn a unconsiderate acte of the Commission to degrade and deprive me. But yet if I wold but a little accomodate myselfe, I shold receave both orders and benefices agayne, together with much more favor of her Maiestie then before. But when they could gett no other aunswere of me but that I was glad to see my selfe ridd of ther ministery and lyvinges, and that I desired no earthly Princes favor, which my conscience perswaded me not to stand with Gods, and that still I requested some aunswere to my former reasons, the Bishopp of Bathe pulled forth of his bosome my papers and said he was redy to conferr with me of them for all that afternoone, and to aunswere them fully. And we sett downe and I was full glad and thought wee should have had some bickering. But presently he added that before he came to aunswere my reasons he had certaine demaundes to pose me in owt of his owne note booke, and that he might spend the tyme in this manner, he called for pen and incke and would have me put downe in writinge his obiections and my aunswers, and at the last being weary of this reply he would have me only sett downe his obiections and to aunswere them in the prison at my leasure, and in this manner spent wee the whole afternoone, neither cold I obtaine of him to dealle with my booke of reasons as he had promissed, nor to disoulve any one of my aunswers which <I> made to his obiections, but s till when I had aunswered he would fly unto some other question, as if all had byn sownd and graunted. In this conferring ther passed no matter much worthy of rehersall, except only of their ordenary manner of selecting Catholique writers, wherin this Bishoppe seemeth to have especiall grace, or rather disgrace. For I have heard him often in his sermons whiles I was a Protestant make his profit of certaine imputations beleeved to be trewe, but after I have fownd to be meere calumniations, as for example, he was wont to crye out much <and> and vehemently in his preachinge that the Catholiques have corrupted all ould monuments, and especially auncient fathers, by ading, detracting, changing and the like, as he was wont to complaine pittefully in this matter, saying that they geve us a lamed Hierome, purged Augustine, peeced Crisostome &c. For heer they say deleatur when they find anything against them in the fathers and expurgatur &c. and other such like launches. And this he said for that Junius, an heretique, lighting uppon a booke called Index expurgatorius sett forth by Catholiques for expunging of the fathers from heretical notes and commentaries and glosses, had published the same in printe, and of this Index expurgatorius the Bishoppe had named at Cambridge, London, the Cowrte and Cowncell, so that in sermons of his did commonly use it. And it made a very deepe impression in such as heard it, and could not convince it to bee false. Therfore among many sownd obiections which the Bishop used at that tyme, this came flaunting in, and the Bishop to make all sure brought the booke with him in his bosome. But I presently, taking the booke of him, turned unto the preface and shewed him Junius owne wordes, wher he confesseth that ther was no alternation made in the texte of the fathers, but only in the marginall notes &c., and therwithall I tould the Bishopp that I wondered that he meant to slaunder the Catholiques often as he had done in this sorte. The Bishopp, taking the booke and reeding place, added no aunswere at all, but turned to another matter.
2. Two other like slaunders he would needes face downe to me also, first that the Catholiques do maintaine that Christes death is only available against original synne, and not against actual, which he tould me he had preached at the Court, and bling chalenged for it, was driven to bringe for proafe which was owt of St. Thomas, who expounding the woordes of St. John Baptist qui tollit peccatum mundi maketh this glose peccatum id est originale. I aunswered what meant he to allege that place of St. Thomas for profe of his calumniation, as when St. Thomas in his summe and all Catholiques do withowt any contradiction or dowt affirm the efficacy of Christes death for boath orignal and actual synn, although they dispute whether his death were more purposely for the one or the other, for ether of them first intended, but that it was for them bothe St. Thomas avowcheth expressly, saying certum est &c., it is certaine that Christ came not only to take awaye originall but all synne, etc. The second obiection was that Bellarminus confesseth ther was no private masse in the primitive Church, and he added further that <if> Fr. Bellarmine durst for the Tiranny of the Pope he would come neer them in many other pointes also. This he fathered owt of Bellarmines woordes (as he said) and named me the place, which when I afterward examined I fownd it to be an impudent forging, as any may perceave that readeth the place in his question de missa privata, which is tome 2, lib. 2, cap. 9, wher he sheweth by the example of Christ and his Apostles and of all Sayntes of that first age that they had private masse in that time of persecution in respect both of men and place. By this a man may gather what trust ther is to be geven to these men and ther alleaging of the fathers for ther matters, when as they are not ashamed to wringe father Bellarmine to be of their minde.
3. And heer by occasion of this speeche of Catholique and heretique writers he begane to bragg that all Authors Catholique (except they were in the Inglishe tongue or touched the state) were permitted openly to be sould in Ingland, and that this was a great argument of the confidence they had in the present verity of their cause, and the contrary in us that durst not lett ther bookes come amounge us. To which I aunswered that rather it was a signe that owr Pastors were trewe Pastors and have dewe care what food they permitt to such of ther flocke as could not discrne of them selfes, and that ther Protestaunt pastors are no pastors but hirelings and theeves, ad quos non pertinet de ovibus, to whose care it belongeth not what meate is laid before ther sheepe, poyson or treackle, so they yeald them their wulle by paing tithes and going owtwardly to Church for making a shewe of externall religion, suffering them to beleeve or not to beleeve what they will otherwise. And besides the nature and use of this restrainte is far unlike on both sides, for the Catholiques perhibit only such new fangled bookes as have byn written by heretiques since Luthers tyme (for other auncienter bookes of heretiques are not extant), and this only to some kind of people and without those all artes and sciences among the Catholiques are perfect, so as by their prohibition no waunt or impediment of moment is felt. But the Protestants cannot forbidd all Catholique bookes but they must forbidd all sciences also (or at least wise the perfection thereof), they must forbidd the old fathers also, together with all generall and Provinciall Cowncells, all records, histories, and Ecclesiasticall monuments which are more effectuall for proufe of Catholique Religion then any newe or moderne writers, by how much more ther antiquitie, reputation and authority is greater. And this maketh it unpossible indeed to forbidd all Catholique writers in the learned tongues, for if they cold do it, I dout not but it should be put in execution with as great vigour as it is against Inglish Catholoque bookes which are sought after when they are written with turninge upside downe the whole Realme by pursevantes and searchers, which sheweth that it is not confidence in ther cause that they permitt the other but desperation to be able to go thorowe with the prohibition, for that even ther owne yowth would repine at it and goe over the sea in great numbers to forrayne universities and Seminaries for trying the trewth then now they doe, though more goe now then thes men wold they shold, and the Bishop of Bath himselfe confessed at the last that it were better if they could restraine the use of Catholique bookes for students.
4. When were in this and like taulke, came in by chaunce the Bishop of Bangor and Doctor Momforde, and then my Lord of Bath, willing to shewe him selfe more couragious, saide “hethertow I have obiected many thinges against you. Now lett us heare you make some one argument against us.” I tould him that all my reasons geven up were arguments, and that his Lordship should aunswere some one of them. “Nay,” saith he, “I would have here some newe thinges,” and to this he presed me much. Then said I, “against your imputative iustification by faith, wherby you say that God holdeth a man for iust, whoe indeed is not iust, I argue thus, God only holdeth thinges to bee as they are indeed. Yea his very holding them so maketh them to be so. For his understanding is the rule of truth. If then god holdeth a man for iust he must needes be really iust in himselfe, and consequently not by your forged imputation.” As soone as my Lord had heard my argument he risse up and said, “ah sir,” and Doctor Momford saide it was Bellarmins argument, and so withowt offering to soile their handes with the consultation therof they went faire and softly awaye, and I after them to my prison. Howbeit I remember not then to have read the argument in father Bellarmine, nor doe to this daye, but I know it is a sownd and scholasticall argument, and unaunserable in my opinion by all the Protestantes in the world, and therefore my Lord and the rest did well in not aunswering it.
5. And albeit owr parting at this tyme was such as nether the Bishopp nor the Deane had any great hope ever to prevaile much with me in matters of Religion, yet they dismissed me courteously. And after some dayes the saide Bishoppe, being to preach before the Queene, sent for me againe, and asked me very kindly whether I would be content to goe with him and hear his Sermon, thinking therby to drawe me to ther Church. But I answered him with those wordes of our Saviour, oves meos vocem audiunt, alienum autem non sequuntur red sed fugiunt ab eo, quia non noverunt vocem alienorum, my sheape heare my voyce, but they follow not a stranger, but do flye from him for that they acknowledge not the voice of forrainers, and how I was none of his sheepe, and therfore I might not followe him nor hear his voyce. Then he asked me whie in all the leaves of the booke wherin I had written my reasons which I gave the Bishoppe I had written Ihesus Maria with a crosse before and after. I told him quia quos deus coniunxit homo non separet, God had ioyned them so together the sonn and the mother (and that especially by the crosse) as that it were impietie for any man to goe about to separate them. “Let us have Ihesum,” he said, “and take Maria to your selfe.” “Wee take her willingly (saide I) and by her we shall easely draw Ihesus from you also, seing they cannot be now separated.” Then he said it was Idolatry and Blasphemy to ioyne a creature with Christ that was owr creator. But I asked him how he cold aunswer the ordination of Holy Gediob in the booke of Judges, who after instruction from God himselfe taught his souldiers this lession, clangite et conclamate, dominus et Gedeon, sownd out trumpetts (in time of the Battaile) and crye owt with one voyce to god and to Gedeon; and so they did crye in the same place gladius domini et Gedeonis, the sworde of God and of Gedeion, helpe us. And how also would he aunswere the ordination of St. Paul when he proposeth Christ and him self for <a> sampler to be followed in Christian lyfe. And yet in either of thes places to say that Idolatry or Blasphemy was committed by ioyninge the creator and the creature together were no lesse then blasphemy, as all men will confesse.
6. And heer also my Lord kept in his ould wont, which was to reply to nothing at all, but amonge other taulke he tould me that I did forsee some change of Religion to be like to ensewe in England, therfor very politickly begane to lay the fowndation for preferment before hande, which speeche well sheweth what motives do hinder them (poore men) from becoming Catholiques, as also that the Bishopp himselfe thinketh and feareth this change, and so do many thowsands besides of his profession in England, seeing the weaknes of their cause, though for present credditt and commodity they dissemble, and do not make the provision which were necessarye for there everlastinge change, to which many of them are like to come sooner than to the other (and namely his Lordship, for that he is ould and hath besides a courst wife after a gentle, that whill helpe him forwarde), which then also so much feared (I meane change of their Religion) be so much certaine to ensewe in time, for that no heresy ever yet endured longe, and my provision (thanked be Gods mercy) was principally entended for the eternall change. And if it shall please him also to make me live to see the other in my Cowntry, I shall infinitly take compforte therof, for the good of others that perishe for waunt of it, thowgh for my selfe my state is better nowe for my particular, to lyve in bannishment, poverty, and hope to suffer also somwhat more for this cause in tyme and seeke to reduce them that lyve astraye, as I did once myselfe, to which endevor and increase I have doamed [devoted] the rest of my whole lyfe, if god of his mercy say amen. And so with this and other like talke I was dismissed from my Lord and never sawe him since, this being the 10 or 11 tyme that I had byn convented before him and others of his coate and religion, and never receaved the least satisfaction in the world for any trooth of Doctrine to be among them in the pointes which they defende different from the faith of the Catholique Church.
CAP. 12 OF MY GOING FORTHE OF PRISON AND THE SEARCHE MADE AFTER ME, AND OF THE TWO BOAKES THAT I WRITT IN THE TYME OF MY RETIREMENT, AND OF MY JOURNEY TOWARDES ROME
1. THEN after seven or eight moneths imprisonement I fownd by experience that no further disputation or lawfull triall would be geven unto me, nor that the Bishoppes would aunswere to any of my reasons, perceaving also by their manner of proceedinge that they ment rather to dally with me and to make me lose tyme, then resolutely to get me to the pointe of corporall daunger (which most I desired, so it came from them), and considering morover that I had commoditie to goe from them if I would, and that it seemed to me that themselves desired to be ridd of me by ther manner of dealing, for that on the one side they threatened me openly, and commaunded close and straight imprisonment, and on the other side I was lefte as good as free in the keepers howse, and the dores often open (so as I might goe forth when I would), I begane indeed to debate first with myselfe, and then with Catholiques abroad, whether it were better for me to goe or stay, for by staying it seemed that I did but loose tyme which I might bestowe better, especially for the tyme to come if I went over the seas and furnished myselfe with that which waunted yeat to my studyes, and moreover I remembered that Christ delivered St. Peter owt of prison by an Angel in Jherusalem and St. Paul and Silas by a mirackle in the Citty of Philippi in Macedonia, and St. Paul scaped another tyme over a wall, and St. Athanasius fledd up and downe many tymes for 40 yeeres together, and afterward defended the same by an excellent booke, so as the lawfulness of the matter seemed to me by thes and other reasons to be very cleare. That to the ende nothing shold be don rashely I caused it to be consulted with some learned Catholiques also abroad, who aunswered me that for the lawfulnes ther could be no great dowt, as well for the reasons and considerations all redy towched, and especially for that the bishoppes had no iust authoritie to hold me in prison for being a Catholique, which themselves ought also to have been. Nor I had geven any promise to them to be there trewe prisoner, so as the only dowpt might be of scandall, whether I had fledd as weary of defending the Catholique Cause or noe. Which yet seemed that no indifferent man wolde or could thinke, who had heard of my promptenes and desire that waye. And so abowt the end of Aprill last past, having appointed a certaine evening when a Gentleman Catholique shold come and accompanye me to an howse provided for me, I went awaye without any man asking me whether I went, thowgh when I was gone indeed exceeding great searche was made after me, both that very night and every daye after for the space of 6 or 7 weekes together. The Portes were also hard, and markes of my body and stature were sent abroad, and some gentlemens howses were searched for me mor than fowre score miles from the Cittie, and the Inns of the highway were ransacked and every place wher ther was suspition I might be, which might be either for theat the Bishopopes indeed were sorry I had escaped ther handes when they sawe me gon, or for that they would seeme <so> to the Queene and Councell, thowgh otherwise they were not; yea the keeper of my prison above the rest went to an Astrologer to cause a figer to be caste after me. But I lay still in London or neare it untill the search was past, and some monthes after, to witt untill towardes Michelmas. I was resolved to come over the sea, and whiles I lay in covert, to the ende I would not be Idle, I tooke in hand to sett downe certaine observations (as I called them) gathered by me abowt Protestantes religion, partly by my late entercourse with the Bishoppes, and partly by reading their authors, and I devided the whole worke into two bookes, wherof I will give you heare some cheefe heades, for that I knowe not whether the said bookes have come as yet to your sight or noe.
2. In the first booke then I do shewe the Protestantes weaknes and bad manner of dealing that proceedeth therof, as fowr example their inconstancy and dissimulation in teaching one thinge and preachinge another. As teaching that libertye of beleefe should be free, and yet imprisoning of me and so many for the same. Teaching that every man must followe that which he findeth most agreeable to the written woord, and not tye himself to man or church, and yet forcing both Puritans, Lutherans and Catholiques and all other that disagree from them to admit no other scriptures nor sense of scripture then they will give yow, and many other such examples I shewe.
3. Another head is of ther great incertainty in all matters of their beleefe, for that they have no rule in canon nor certaine grownd, no constant or infallible direction at all, which I prove at large.
4. That they maintayne certaine principles as trewe and inviolable against us, which yet they will not suffer other sectaries to use against them, as only scripture, the Authority of private spirite, and the like. And that the kind of argument which they use, <but> cannot abide of us to use against them, they be driven to use against other sectaries, and do so with great earnestnes, as the authority of fathers, of the Church both ould and new, and the like.
5. Why their religion must needes be inconstaunt and change often I show above 40 causes and reasons, if I remember well, and that it canot posebly endure or agree with it selfe or with others.
6. That they canot dispute or followe in good consequence any one argument in elarned schoules in any point of controvercy against their adversarie for them selfes, but must needes presently come to a non plus or must change ther medium, or slippe from one pointe to another, and the reasons why &c.
7. And as they canot dispute, so muche lesse can they aunswere a Catholique or Jew disputer or opponant in forminge their consequents together, but must deny principles or fall to scoldinge and raylinge, which last shift I do shew to be the cheefest instrument which they use in England, where the state is for them.
8. That Protestants have no Divinitie at all, and that Divinitie which they teach is no theological science, for that it lacketh the principalls, but only consisteth of coniecturall opinions.
9. That the most learned and best wittes amonge the Protestantes do not beleeve their owne groundes, and wolde leave the same if two thinges did not hould them: the first is feare of worldly damages, and then a vaine hope that they may be saved by beleeving only the generall articles of Christian faith abowt the Trinitie and the like things, though they continewe Protestantes in the rest, or at least indifferent between both sides.
10. That Protestantes religion lacketh all effective meanes and arguments to move a synner to trew repentance and good lyfe and Christian workes, which yet is one of the most principall effects of Christian Doctrine, and that for this cause Protestant teachers do not handle much this parte nor troble themselves greatly abowt it, nor do writt bookes of Devotion, cases of conscience, nor other like matters appertayning hereunto, as Catholiques do.
11. That Protestantes doctrine, being only negative and destructive and dubitative, cannot possibly lay downe any trew positive way to salvation.
12. That the most notoriows difference betwene Protestant and Catholique Religion in matter of manners is seen to be that the one straineth the flesh against the spirite, the other the spiritt against the flesh, by restraint and mortification, which second as Christian Doctrine is evidently knowne to be of God, and the other of the Dyvell.
13. That Protestants religion is no religion in ther own iudgments, but only pollecy, for that they require not soe much a man to beleeve inwardly their position as that he make owtward shewe and profession therof, which I prove by many arguments and examples, also by ther particular dealing with myself in this business.
14. I do shew the same also most evidently by that they have no Cleargy to whom only matters of religion were commited by Christ and his Apostles, but that all ther ministers are ever laymen, and how the first institution of their Bishoppes after the order was begune in a taverne at London after a good dyner. And for that one of ther Bishoppes, to avoid this remonstration, saide to me that in causes of necesitie when the churche was fallen, a preeste might make a Bishopp. I do shewe the obsurditie of that shifte, shewing first howe the Church canot possibly so fall nor hath done. And secondly that owt of the ordenary succession from the Apostles downardes no new ordenation of Cleargy (and much less Bishoppes) cold lawfully be made. Thirdly that ther Bishoppes are not of a new ordenation or mission, but rather of no ordenation or mission. And thes heads with divers others are proven in the first Booke.
15. In the second boke, for that I well perceaved in dealing with their Bishoppes and Doctors and others that they have come to such a shameles sheepidy and insensiblenes in nice pointes of controversie that they are nothing moved if yow prove against them common absurdities, as for example that they do ly or feine in divers particulers, that they hold heresyes condemned namely and expressly by the auncient fathers, that the autors and first eventors of ther opinions were wicked and shameles men, that they disagree wholy amonge themselfes and the lyke, for this cause I tooke to handle in this second booke certaine grosse pointes that lead to palpable and manifest impiety, therby to make them blush, if it may be, as for example:
16. That there be 10 cheefe groundes and principles of Protestantes religion against Catholiques, all which are growndes in like manner of Turkishe religion against the Christians, and that all heretiques whatsoever from the begynning have and doe and must necessarely hold the same growndes for estableshing ther heresies in all ages and tymes.
17. How diverse men uppon ther growndes have byn made actually turkes and mahometans and that they doe lead indeed divers to turcisme in good consequence and reason, and that the Turkes religion, being a famous heresie in itself, hath more of the Nature and forme of a religion then that of the Protestantes, which I prove by many arguments and demonstrations taken from the nature and condition of Religion.
18. That the Religion of Protestantes is the highway to Atheisme, which I shewe in lyke manner by other ten principles or growndes leadinge directly to Atheisme, which are also in the Protestantes Doctrine, and more over I do shew how that many at this daye in England are really Atheistes who thinke themselves protestantes, not considering the trewe nature of both partes.
19. That the Doctrine of Calvin doth take away all the effects of Christes death and passion, and doth partly by consequens, partly directly impugne all the trew properties of Christes divyne nature.
20. That the abhominable doctrine of the sect of libertines of owr Dayes who turn the whole story of Christes death to a fable and doe make god to be the author of all ill actions, and hould that the perfection of a Christian lyfe is to accounte nothing to be syn, and to have no scruple of conscience for anything that is maintenable by the growndes of Calvinisme, and proceeding necessarely therfrom, although Calvin in his pride wrott against them, as Luther likewise did against the Anabaptistes his scholars, for that they went som what further then they appoynted them of that tyme, but yet no further then ther Masters Doctrine opened them the way.
21. That the Doctrine and practise of Protestants is like the highway to all ignorance and barbarisme, and only the Religion of Catholiques leadeth to all trewe learninge both humane and Devine, and this I handle at large for instruction of owr Universities.
22. That by the Calvenistes doctryn the worser liver is accounted to be ever the better Protestant, and the better lyver the worse Protestant, and more to be suspected of papistrie, and so it is in practise, and ought to be, for that so he proveth ever in the end if he hold on to attende to good lyfe, for that only to think seriusly of good liffe and that ther is hell and heven, punnishement and reward after this liffe is an infallible principle to become a Catholique.
23. That Protestantes teaching salvation only by faith are forced by ther own princeples to graunt that most of ther religion are either Damned ore else <saved> with but workes for faith, for that by one principle they affirme that trewe faith canot be without workes, and by another they will not deny but that ther worst livinge protestantes now on in England by their ownly faith be saved; which faith yeat according to ther former principle is no trew faith, seing it lacketh workes. And consequently these men are to be saved with owt ether faith or workes (which were a great absurditie), or els a trewe protestant with held faith may be damned, which were perhaps greater in their opinions.
24. That the Protestants Doctrine is contrarie to every article of the Creed, to every petition and, almost worse, of the Pater Noster, to every verse and sentence of the Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc Dimittis.
25. Last of all, that the Protestants in England, by supposing ther owne growndes to be trew, cannot possibly be saved, and by supposing them to be false must needes be damned if they remaine therin.
26. Thes and divers other such pointes have I handled on the two bookes before mentioned, which I should be glad they were come to your sight, though I had not suffitient tyme nor commoditie of Librarie to finish all and publishe them as I needed and desired. But yeat I hope they will satisfy any indifferent reader for the substance itselfe, for that they do consist of manifest reasons, experiences and other morall demonstrations &c.
27. This being done, I came over the sea and tooke my Journy by fraunce, flaunders, Germany and Italy towardes Rome, and wonderfull was the change which I seemed to have made by cominge owt of Ingland, to witt from a little Island and corner of the world into the maine continent of Europe, wher the largnes of Cowntries, the variety of people, the diversity of tongues, the aboundance of Citties, townes and Provinces, and a thowsand thinges more did greatly enlarge the borders of my harte from that straightnes which at home I had felt in myself, yet nothing more or so much as the uniformity and universalitye of Catholique Religion, which endured with us from Callis [Calais] to Rome about a thowsand miles, except some odd Cittie or town uppon the way, wher notwithstanding the profession of protestancy is farr different from that of England. But the Catholique profession I fownd all one, both in language, forme of service, number of Sacramentes, Ecclesiasticall government, and pointes of beleefe in all which the Protestantes of different Cowntries do differ and iangle infinitely amonge themselves, no one agreeing either the other in all pointes, and herby I came to see and consider indeed what was trewly Catholicum, to witt, universall, generall, uniform, agreeking and lyke to it selfe everywher, and what was haereticum, that is, choosing and appropriating to them selves which every towne and Cittie fancieth most.
28. The piety also of Catholique people every whear and ther liffe and actions, the frequenting of Churches and sermons, ther often communion uppon all holy daies in great abowndance, ther adorning ther churches, ther precessions, ther pilgrimages, ther doing of penance, ther large almes, ther many sodalities for setting forward and advauncing all manner of pious workes, wherof I enformed myselfe in divers Citties as I passed by, which was a matter of wonderfull consolation and edification, and made exceeding contemptable unto me the barren bare profession of owr Englishe poor Protestanticall religion at home, and albeit I perswaded myselfe before my coming forth by the only speculation I had of Catholique principles, that it was a fruitfull and flourishing faith and a Religion full of piety and good woorkes, yeat can I never have Imagined the tenth parte of that which I have seene and learned synce my arrival in thes partes, especially in Rome, which cittie, as it hath byn and is the head of Christendome for Religion, so doth it shew it selfe as forward also, or rather formost in all Christian workes, in so much that now I do not mervaile that both my selfe whilst I was a protestant, and others of the same blindnes and foly with me, do rage so egarly against this Cittie in all speeches, bookes and pulpetts, calling it Babilon the strumpett of the Apocalipse and other lyke tearmes of spite and slander, for that the Divell, being so much damned and battered by her dayly, not only by defence of the trewe fath but also, as I see, by infinite numbers of most excellent Christian workes, canot but stirr up those that are ruled by his Spiritte to frett and raile at such an enemy. But for that all which I have to speake of Rome cannot be added to commodiously in the end of this chapter, I shall referr it to the next, which shalbe the last of this my present narration unto yow.
CAP. 13. OF MY ARIVALL AT ROME AND THINGES SEENE AND KNOWEN THERE, WITH MY OPINION OF THE ENDE OF THIS CONTROVERSIE ABOWT RELIGION BETWIXT CATHOLIQUES AND PROTESTANTES IN ENGLAND
1. OWR arrivall at Rome was abowt the middest of November of the yeare past, 1598. And the first particular that I will tell yow of concerninge matters there (beside that which in the end of the former chapter I have spoken in generall) shalbe that wee met some one or two and twentie in the Inglishe College together come thither of new within the space of very fewe dayes, and all to studdy, besides other that came for devotions only, by which wee may see what effects so much railing against Rome dothe worke in England to stop men from going to it. And soone other, fower of us universitie men, did meete there and inioyed supper one daye, all graduates and fellowes of College, tow of Oxforde and two of Cambrige, and wee were receaved with exceeding love and charitie. And if you still have say my opinion of this howse and Company of our nation heere, beleeve me it is the rarest thing that ever I sawe in my liffe or lighte can see, nor ever had England such education for youth when it florished most in Catholique Religion. All tyme is limited owt to studies, to devotion, to corporall refections and liberall recreation of the mynde, so that no tyme is lost and less evell spent.
2. Devotions are fedd and greatly furdered by the circumstance of the place, for as St. Chrysostome in his tyme so much esteemed the Cittie of Rome, and the privilege of livinge ther in respect of the sacrett bodies of so many Apostles, Martires and confessors, but espetially (as he saith) of the glorious presence of St. Peeter and St. Paul, who insensively he desired to honnor, reverence and embrace. So much more now is the like privilege of living ther to be coveted and esteemed, when besides those auncient, many more holy bodies and reliques have byn increased since St. Chrysostom’s dayes, and they are so many indeed and such excellent monuments of owr Christian Religion as noe stony harte (I thinke) in the worlde (except it be of heretiques that contemne all such matters) cane be so harde but that it wilbe greatly moved here, which are deeply imployed by the sight and apprehension of the tendernes of devotion.
3. For who would not be touched inpiety to see the auncient places and monuments yet remaining wher St. Peter and St. Paul (for example sake) were wont to meet and talke together, and to conferr of ther affayres to provide for the necessities of new Christians after ther conversion, to attend to make others, to ordaine preestes and Bishoppes, preachers and Pastours, and to send them forth into all the partes of the world, with dew instructions, and this for above a dozen yeares perhaps that they lived ther together, or most partes therof? Who will not be moved, I say, when he is shewed how they mett? Hither they were wont to come, and retire themselves from danger of persecution. Heer they preached and saide mass underground, ther they have sacred orders and made conventions and synodes when need was. Heer St. Paul aunswered before Nero the Emperour both in his first and second defence, which himself writeth of. Heer St. Peeter would have fledd, but Christ, meetinge hym, turned him backe againe and animated him to the crosse. Heer both of them were taken by Neroes commaundement, heer they were in prison and wrought such and such miracles in the prison Mamertin, which yet remaneth farr under grownde. Heer they had sentence of death, and beaing lead together for a certaine space (the place is knowne and kept with perpetuall memory) they, embracing one the other, departed asunder, the one to be beheaded, the other to be crucified one in the sight of the other, and both places honnored with faire Churches at this present, in remembrance of so worthie Apostles and Martyres of our Saviour.
4. These thinges, my good freend, and a thowsand other like monuments beside of our first fathers and fownders in Christian Religion when they are shewed and represented to a mans eye (which hath another force than to heare them only), and that by the aniquity of the thinges them selves, by publique recordes and opiniones, and by constant tradition of all Christian ages goinge before, they are manifestly confirmed, they have another manner of strenght to styrr man to piety and to the Imitation of all Christian vertewes, then the bare Jangling and prowd scoffinge in the contentious wranglings of Protestants, of whom and the lyke St. Paul fortould his scholler Timothy, that in the latter dayes thear should be daungerous tymes, proud losty and blasphemous men, loving themselfes and other pleasures, and shewing a pretence of piety but denying the vertewe therof, which vertewe indeed consisteth in operation and trewe imitation.
5. And beside the materiall and dead monuments which yett have vigour to quicken any mans spirit that beholdeth them if he have the spirite of Christ within him, thear is heer to be seen also the lively and substantiall monument of the most excellent and auncient Hierarchie of Christes Church planted by him selfe, and settled he the foresaide two Apostles here in Rome and confirmed from that tyme unto this without interruption, I meane the succession of St. Peeters chaire in this supreame Bishopricke and sea (from which all union, as St. Ciprian saith, is derived), and under him his Cardinals and Prelatts for governing the universall Church, as also Patriarkes, Archbushopes, Bushopes and other Pastors for guiding particuler Countryes Kingdomes and Provinces, and all this with such Maiestie, Decensy, order, wisdom and good subordination as any man that hath iudgement and is voide of passion may discerne that the spirite of Christ and his wisdome, power and prudence goeth therin, and that all the pachery [patchwork?] of heretiques is but beggerly, distract and tumultuous only, whereunto if we adioyne also another consideration of the particular studdy that heer is putt for exercise and execusion of Christian, piety, I meane the excessive number of congregations, meetings, companyes, sodalities, confraternities, Hospitals, religious orders, instituted and appoined only for that lyffe and forme of good woorkes which is taught by Catholique Doctrine in wordes, as for example of geving of almes, visiting and loving the sicke, assisting the imprisoned, releiving of criples, education of orphans, marying of poor virgines and other the like, he that wayes this (I say) he shalbe much moved and confirmed in the love and admiration of the rich working faith of the Catholiques, and much more contemn the poore taulking and tattling beleefe of the heretiques which, according to Luther the first inventour therof, is ever so much the more excellent, by how much it hath lesse of the contagion of good woorkes in it.
6. And this now may serve for Rome in general, seing I have not comoditie so utter all now the leaste parte there is in this private letter. And so I will returne to owr Inglishe College, of whose excellent vertewe, discipline and piety having spoken thes few wordes that goe before, I will now add this only of their manner of study, that is that wee Masters of Arts that are come from Cambrige and Oxforde are ashamed of owrselves and owr Universities, considering the tyme that ther is lost and heer is gotten, and the excellent wittes that ther become nothing in substance after many yeares. If I should tell yow that wee that thought ourselves sombody great among yow, and others in lyke manner of Oxford, did not understand there ordenary termes of trewe divinitie or philosophy as heer it is handeled, or that in owr iudgment a yowth after three years study of Logic and philosophy hear wear able to bloack and defy Masters, readers and Doctors together of both universities in this profession and science: yow would thinke per chance it weer a bragging or exaggeration, and yet uppon our counscience it is most trewe. Nor do we greatly mervaile therof, considering the difference of reading in studying in both places, for thus heer the teachers are not only learned but are attent also, diligent and assiduous. They have appointed unto them how many lessons they must reade in all the yeares, and if any do faile for sicknes or otherwise, an other is reddy to supply for the tyme, so as scarse one is lost in a whole yeare. They dictate in their reading, so as their hearers do write, and he that writeth them writeth two or three lessons every daye in each science he studies, and in every day each one hath sett repetition and oposisions, and in the end of every week a longer disputation of that which he hath heard that weeke, and in the ende of every moneth larger disputation, taking for a whole daye together, and that in publique schooles, of all that he hath heard for the whole yeare, which orders being observed inviolably, as I have said, and accompanyed with that light force and vigour of mynde which before I have shewed yow, and proved in my selfe that the Catholique faith yealdeth to all the partes of a mans will and understandinge, yow may not mervayle that young men profitt in that excess heer (which before I have mentioned), nor that owr Bishoppes in Ingland do so much fear a preest that has been brought upp in these seminaries for matter of dispute and learninge, as by experience wee finde.
7. And heerof also doth ensewe another consideration wheruntow you and myself debated together and have often tymes fallen to ask, wither it be like that Catholique Religion may prevaile again England, wherin though for my parte I have had very little dowt of it and I firmly hould and beleeve the truth of this religion, yeat never did I despair of it at any time synce my departure owt of England, for as them that walke in a valley full of mist cannot discerne the way therof or whether it be like to continewe or not, and they that goe to some cleare hill neare abowt and do looke backe again uppon all the partes and circumstances therof […], so in this case it semeth. For I, seing by gods benefit now in this hil of trewe light, and looking backe uppon the mistes and darkenes with an indifferent eye, will tell yow my conceat of the durance or vaneshing of the same.
8. Two heades of reasons seame to be may be considered in this matter, the one spirituall, the other temporall. The spirituall are the evidency, power and vertewe of Catholiques armed with the invincible force and promise of Christ her Author, which Promisses we are sure it cannot be extenguished never unto the worldes ende, so do we find by experience that, though in particular Provinces that may be pressed with heresies for a time, but comonly doth it ryse agayne as a butt or barrell thrust or helde underwauter: and one the other side the nature of heresy is to ruffle for a while or a tyme, and then partly by lacke of vertewe in good lyff, and especially by deviding it self in to many sects, it vanisheth away, and leaveth either Atheisme in her place, or licence, or Catholique Doctryne to springe upp againe, and so we see that if so many tried heresies as have byn since Christes ascension, and kept revell in the world for a tyme, noe one remaneth, not so much as any of ther bokes, so that if Catholique Authors did not make mention of them we should never have knowne that they had byn in the world. And to this general consideration is ioyned in owr cause the particular of Gods special care shewen for mayntenance of Catholique religion within England contrary to all mens expectation; the constancy geven to Catholiques for defence and confession of theire faith; the courage, resolution and particular probation of as many young men and children to professe the same religion, and to suffer for it, both at home and abroade; the number and qualitie of Martyrdomes how freely and willingly for the cause, when pardon was offered if they would repente; the exactenes of recusants for observing ther consciences in not going to the contrary Churches, a perfection seldom heard of and greatly to be admired in all ages to come; the singuler protection of Christ and his blessed mother (whose dowry the Church of England is especially wont to be tearmed), that from its first conversion to Christianisme our Nation never imbraced heresie unto owr dayes; the general inclynation of the body of our Realme to Catholique religion, admitting only protestancy by forth of authority; and the great numbers everywher that shewe themselves affected to the same if they might be permitted, all these, I say, and divers others, which for brevity I omitt, are spiritual reasons and most forcible unto me that Catholique religion will florish agayne in England.
9. As for temporall reasons or humanne helpes, though in these affayres they be esteemed of lesse coment, yeat waunt they not also to this purpose, for that the multitude of Seminaries and Colleges that (god be prased) are allredy erected of owr Nation in other Catholique Countries, and in them more learned preestes made perhaps every yeare, then learned ministers in both our universities in England; the countenance also and assistance, when time shalbe, of so many potent Catholique Princes rownd abowt us (especially now Fraunce is com in also); the unitie of Catholiques among themselfes at home; the division of others into many sects and numbers; the different pretenders to the Crowne (wherof none are lyke to prevaile and keep it, except by some adherers of the Catholique party); the wearisomenes that most men have of Protestancy; and the remembrances of prosperity in the ould religion, all thes reasons, if you ioyne to the other parte that goeth before, do make the matter more then probable that Catholique religion wilbe restored to Ingland agayne one daye. But when and by what means that only god knoweth, and I must say with owr saviour non est nostrum nosse tempora et momenta quae Pater posuit in suam potestatem, it appertayneth not to us to know the tyme and moments which god shall putt in his owne power. I will helpe it and pray for it, for the publique good of many that now perishe by heresy and then perhaps will goe to heaven, though for my owne particular I ame more lyke to take good by this tyme of persecution and adversity then by prosperity (my disposition being so yvell, as I have need of a scourge to dryve me to gods service and hould me in the same), and I fynd so great compforte in this little I have suffered already that I would with the little tyme of study which I have allotted to my selfe on this side the seas were quickly ended that I might retorne to England, and meritt that at lenght which I was not worthy of (to witt, to gyve my lyffe at Tyborne for testimony of the Catholique truth), with which I desire to live and hope shall dye. And with this I take my leave of yow also, my most dearly beloved freende,
from the Inglish College in Rome, this
[undated and unsigned]