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Seeing that the churchman's office is only to teach men the Christian faith, to exhort all, to encourage the good, to admonish the bad, privately the less offender, publicly the scandalous and stubborn; to censure and separate, from the communion of Christ's flock, the contagious and incorrigible, to receive with joy and fatherly compassion the penitent: all this must be done, and more than this is beyond any church-authority. What is all this either here or there, to the temporal regiment of weal public, whether it be popular, princely, or monarchical? Where doth it entrench upon the temporal governor? where does it come in his walk? where doth it make inroad upon his jurisdiction? Indeed, if the minister's part be rightly discharged, it renders him the people more conscionable, quiet, and easy to be governed; if otherwise, his life and doctrine will declare him. If, therefore, the constitution of the church be already set down by divine prescript, as all sides confess, then can she not be a handmaid to wait on civil commodities and respects; and if the nature and limits of church-discipline be such, as are either helpful to all political estates indifferently, or have no particular relation to any, then is there no necessity, nor indeed possibility, of linking the one with the other in a special conformation.
Now for their second conclusion, " That no form of church-government is agreeable to monarchy, but that of bishops," although it fall to pieces of itself by that which hath been said; yet to give them play, front and rear, it shall be my task to prove that episcopacy, with that authority which it challenges in England, is not only not agreeable, but tending to the destruction of monarchy. While the primitive pastors of the church of God laboured faithfully in their ministry, tending only
their sheep, and not seeking, but avoiding all worldly matters as clogs, and indeed derogations and debasements to their high calling; little needed the princes and potentates of the earth, which way soever the gospel was spread, to study ways how to make a coherence between the church's polity and theirs : therefore, when Pilate heard once our Saviour Christ professing that “ his kingdom was not of this world,” he thought the man could not stand much in Cæsar's light, nor much endamage the Roman empire; før if the life of Christ be bid to this world, much more is his sceptre unoperative, but in spiritual things. And thus lived, for two or three ages, the successors of the apostles. But when, through Constantine's lavish superstition, they forsook their first love, and set themselves up two gods instead, Mammon and their Belly; then taking advantage of the spiritual power which they had on men's consciences, they began to cast a longing eye to get the body also, and bodily things into their command: upon which their carnal desires, the spirit daily quenching and dying in them, knew no way to keep theniselves up from falling to nothing, but by bolstering and supporting their inward rottenness by a carnal and outward strength. For a while they rather privily sought opportunity, than bastily disclosed their project; but when Constantine was dead, and three or four emperors more, their drift became notorious and offensive to the whole world; for wbile Theodosius the younger reigned, thus writes Socrates the historian, in his 7th book, chap. 11. “ Now began an ill name to stick upon the bishops of Rome and Alexandria, who beyond their priestly bounds now long ago had stepped into principality:" and this was scarce eighty years since their raising from the meanest worldly conditiou. Of courtesy now let any man tell me, if they draw to themselves a temporal strength and power out of Cæsar's dominion, is not Cæsar's empire thereby diminished? But this was a stolen bit, hitherto he was but a caterpillar secretly gnawing at monarchy; the next time you shall see him a wolf, a lion, lifting his paw against his raiser, as Petrarch expressed it, and finally an open enemy and subverter of the Greek empire. Philippicus and Leo, with divers other emperors after them, not without the advice of their patriarchs, and at length of a whole eastern council of three hundred and thirty-eight bishops, threw the images out of churches as being decreed idolatrous.
Upon this goodly occasion, the bishop of Rome not only seizes the city, and all the territory about, into his own hands, and makes himself lord thereof, which till then was governed by a Greek magistrate, but absolves all Italy of their tribute and obedience due to the emperor, because he obeyed God's commandment in abolishing idolatry.
Mạrk, sir, here, how the pope came by St. Peter's patrimony, as he feigns it; not the donation of Constantine, but idolatry and rebellion got it him. Ye need but read Sigonius, one of his own sect, to know the story at large. And now to shroud himself against a storm from the Greek continent, and provide a champion to bear him out in these practices, he takes upon him by papal sentence to unthrone Chilpericus, the rightful king of France, and gives the kingdom to Pepin, for no other cause, but that he seemed to him the more active man. If he were a friend herein to monarchy, I know not; but to the monarch I need not ask what he was.
Having thus nade Pepin his fast friend, he calls him into Italy against Aistulphus the Lombard, that warred upon him for his late usurpation of Rome, as belonging, to Ravenna which he had newly won. Pepin, not unobedient to the pope's call, passing into Italy, frees him out of danger, and wins for him the whole exarchate of Ravenna; which though it had been almost immediately before the hereditary possession of that monarchy, which was his chief patron and benefactor, yet he takes and keeps it to himself as lawful prize, and given to St. Peter. What a dangerous fallacy is this, when a spiritual man may snatch to himself any temporal dignity or dominion, under pretence of receiving it for the church's use? Thus he claims Naples, Sicily, England, and what not? To be short, under show of bis zeal against the errors of the Greek church, he never ceased baiting and goring the successors of his best lord Constantine, what by his barking curses and excommunications, what by his hindering the western princes from aiding them against the Sarazens and Turks, unless when they humoured him; so that it may be truly affirmed, he was the subversion and fall of that monarchy, which was the hoisting of him. This, besides Petrarch, whom I have cited, our Chaucer also hath observed, and gives from hence a caution to England, to beware of her bishops in time, for that their ends and aims are no more friendly to monarchy than the pope's.
This he begins in the Ploughman speaking, Part ii. Stanz. 28.
The ernperor yafe the pope sometime
The king and lords now this amend,
And in the next Stanza, which begins the third part of the tale, he argues that they ought not to be lords.
Moses law forbode it tho
And so forward. Whether the bishops of England have deserved thus to be feared by men so wise as our Chaucer is esteemed; and how agreeable to our monarchy and monarchs their demeanour has been, he that is but meanly read in our chronicles needs not be instructed, Have they not been as the Canaanites and Philistines, to this kingdom? what treasons, what revolts to the pope ? what rebellions, and those the basest and most pretenceless, have they not been chief in? What could monarchy think, when Becket durst challenge the custody of Rochester-castle, and the Tower of London, as appertaining to his signory? To omit his other insolencies and affronts to regal majesty, until the lashes inflicted on the anointed body of the king, washed off the holy unction with his blood drawn by the polluted hands of bishops, abbots, and monks.
What good upholders of royalty were the bishops, when by their rebellious opposition against king John, Normandy was lost, he himself deposed, and this kingdom made over to the Pope? When the bishop of Winchester durst tell the nobles, the pillars of the realm, that there were no peers in England, as in France, but that the king might do what he pleased. What could tyranny say more? It would be pretty now, if I should insist upon the rendering up of Tournay by Woolsey's