A BRIEFE TREATISE, Conteynynge a playne and fruitfull declaration of the Po­pes vsurped Primacye, written in Greke aboue .vij. hundred yeres sens, by Nilus, an ancient arch­byshop of Thessalonia and newly trāslated into en­glyshe by Thomas Gressop student in Oxforde.❧

Pervsed and allovved accordyng to the Quenes maiesties iniunctions.

Ierem. vi.

Thus sayth the Lord: Go into the stretes, con­sider and make inquisition for the olde waye▪ and if it be the right and good vvaye then go therin, that ye may fynde reste for your soules. But they say we vvill not vvalke therin.

To the Reader.

THe lande of Egypt which doth lye
southeast from Englande coste
And reckned is one of those landes,
Whiche Phebus beames doth rost:
Hath flowyng in it, one famous floude
That Nilus men doo call:
Which once eche yere doth passe his bākes
And whelme the countrey all.
Whose waters cause not bareynnes
As flouds doo commonly:
But causeth the earth al seedes and frustes
To bryng foorth plentuousely.
To Egypt lande, we may compare
The spirituall Egypte well:
Who are all they, within whose hertes
The fylthy Pope dothe dwell.
These grauely grounds, this Nilus lo,
A byshop of great fame:
Doth moist with words of heuenly dewe,
To great encrease and gaine.
Seuen hundred yeares he (Reader) spake
In Greke and foreyne tonge:
But nowe he speaketh in englishe eke
By Gressops labour longe.
Fyrst therfore thanke thalmyghty god,
Then take in worthe his payne:
That at the least thy good report,
He may deserue to gayne.
Finis ꝙ D. I.

To the right vvorshipful and his especiall good frend master T. Bea­con the true mynister and faithfull ser­uant of our Sauiour Christ, Thomas Gressop vvisheth the continual fa­uour of God, and peace euer­lastynge, In our redemer IESVS CHRIST.

WHen I fyrste tooke in hande this lytel Trea­tise, concernynge the Popes vsurped primacie: I mynded nothing lesse then to publishe the same, that it might come into the handes of many I had so little affiance in my selfe, and so symple an opinion of myn owne doyngs, that I thought them vnworthy to be red of any other. But after that I had recey­ued no smalle courage by your gentyll and frendly exhortations, wherein you willed me to haue respecte to the cōmo­ditie that myght ensue to other, whiche being ignorant of the Greke and Latin tong, may attain somwhat herby, both to the increase of knowledge, and also [Page] of iudgemente in matters of religion: I nothynge doubted after long delibe­ration, to make that commune to other which at the fyrst, as a priuate exercise, I thought to haue kept to my self Therfore as the readers hereof, yf they re­ceiue any commoditie hereby, ought in that behalfe to yelde all thankes vnto you, by whome to their profyte, I haue been encouraged to attempt this bolde enterprise: so I in some parte to shewe my selfe not altogyther ingratefull and vnmyndful of your exceding fauor and great gentilnesse to me wardes: haue thought good to dedicate vnto you this my simple endeuour, and first fruite of my laboures, as vnto one who after a sorte may seeme, as in your owne right to chalenge this kynde of duetie at my hande. For vnto whom shulde I offer this Treatise of the Popes primacy, or whom shuld I make patron therof, but one who hath ben long exercised in this and the lyke matters of controuersye, who also by vse and experience is well practised in defendyng and puttynge a­way the strokes and weapons of suche as are ennemies to goddes euerlastyng [Page] truthe? Suche a one haue you declared your selfe in your bokes and sermons, not onely in bearynge of the dartes of wyly Antichrist, and his stout army of arrogant priestes (as Gregory termethGrego. li. 4. Epi. 48. them) but also in beatynge downe that monstrous Hydra, with the myghtye strokes of the spirituall sworde, so that both he and all his proude army of pre­sumptuous prelates, are fayn coward­ly to tourne theyr backes, and dare not once shewe their faces in open battalt agaynst you. Wherfore I moste hum­bly beseche you, accordyng to your ac­customed gentylnesse, to take in good worthe this my bounden duetie, and to receue vnder your protection, this worthy archebyshop, who lyke a straunger, farre from his owne countrey, now se­keth entertaynment at your handes.

Whiche yf ye vouchesafe, ye shall per­ceyue this lyttell Nilus, so stoutly be­haue hymselfe vnder your banner, that he shall lyke a myghty champion strike of the head of this aniichristian Goly­ath with his owne sworde, and lyke a valyant conquerour, set it on his owne speare, to be seene of the whole host, of [Page] all true englyshe Israelites. So that I doubte not, but all english men that er­nestly professe Christ, shal playnly see, that the lambe and his host, haue geuen the serpent an ouerthrow, and haue put to flyght all his ignoraunt armye, with their blynde capitains. Yea all englishe men, as I trust, shall perceaue, that he, which fighteth on our syde agaynst the olde bawde of Babylon, [...] and cacolike whoore of Rome, is moste myghty and stronge, yea that he is a lorde valiant in battaile: he shall fyrst vanquishe them in this life, with the mighty breath of his mouth, in the ministers and true prea­chers and folowers of his holy worde: scatteryng them as the duste from the face of the earth: and after this lyfe, the terrible iudgement of the Lorde of ho­stes shal condemne them for euermore: when the iuste shall reigne in heauen, in ioyes that by no meanes can bee ex­pressed. The high shepeherde and pastor our Lord Iesus Christ, encrease you with all abundant plentye of his grace and plentyfull abundance of his holye spirite. Fare ye most hartily well in Christ.

To the christen Reader.

THou haste here gentle Reader, in this lyttle boke, no smalle defence of the Truthe, agaynst that blas­phemous mouth (mentio­ned in the Apocalips) whiche speaketh [...] presumptuously agaynste the lorde god and his chosen people. Here mayst thou see, howe vaynely and falsely the Pope and his membres boast theimselues, of that whyche in deede he neuer had, that is to were, his pretenced primacye and vsurped power ouer the vniuersall congregation. Here also mayst thou plain­ly perceaue, that the Romishe byshoppe hathe no preeminence geuen hym by goddes holy woorde, but by the fathers and Emperoures, and that none suche as the Pope moste arrogantely, and a­gainste all right, nowe taketh on hym: but only a certayne prerogatiue in ho­nor, such as we vse of voluntacy accord to geue to our elders. Here maist thou beholde, the Pope caught and snared in the nette which he layeth for other, and ouercome with his owne argumentes, [Page] I meane the generall Counselles and olde Doctours (which he and his mayn tayners affirme to bee all togyther on their part.) The author of this Treatise a man of great antiquitie was archby­shop of Thessalonia, and successour to the holy apostle Saint Paule, who first traded the Thessalonians in the Chri­sten fayth, and to the confirmation therof, wrote an epistle to them, whiche we haue at this tymered in our churches, as a parcell of holy scripture. This an­cient archybshop lyued not longe after the dayes of Charles the great, aboute whose tyme the seuenth Synode was helde at Nice: whereof the authour in this boke eft soones maketh mencion. He wrote (as we may gather by conie­ctures) about the yere of our lord. 787. His stile and maner of writynge is ve­ry playne and easy, and sauereth much of that reuerent antiquitie: as the ler­ned in the tongue maye well perceaue. This booke of his is but breefe, yet it conteyneth many graue sentences and weighty reasons: it hath strong argu­mentes and piththy cōclusions, against that loftye and arrogante authoritie of [Page] the Romishe bishop. Al the Popes lym­mes may blushe and be abashed, if their faces were not harder than brasse, to say that the byshop of Rome hath had that authoritie and power, whyche he now vsurpeth, in quiete possession sens the Apostles tyme, sithe it is proued by the most ancient doctours and holy fa­thers, that that whiche in dede he had, was gyuen hym long after the apostles tyme, and that which he nowe boasteth hym selfe of, hath ben at all tymes, and in all ages, denied hym by suche godly and lerned pastors as this Nilus was. Whose boke, as thou seest, I haue translated into englisshe, to thende that my countreymen, whiche are not experte in the toungues, may be ware of them, whiche to the mayntenance of the Po­pes authoritie, haue alwayes in their mouthes antiquitie, antiquitie: AndThe Papi­stes antiqui­tie as olde as the di­uell him selfe that they may perceyue howe lyttell ve­ritie is ioyned with the aniquitie they speake of, the fyrst founder wherof was auncient Sathanas, their great grand­father, the old forger and father of lies, from whom procedeth all presumption vanitie, and vntruthe, whom the Pope [Page] and his secte, so lyuely expresse in theyr doynges, that a mā may behold in their hypocriticall faces replenished with all dissimulation, a perfect patern and liuely image of their holy father Belzebub. In translatyng, I haue endeuoured my self, to speake playnly that the rude and ignorant myght rede it, to the encrease of their knowledge in the true religion, and to the auoidyng of such forged rea­sons, as the Pope and his complices falsely alledge for the vpholdynge and maynteynyng of theyr tyrannicall and beastly kyngdome. If I wold haue stu­dyed for fynenesse of speche, or prefer­red my priuate commoditie before the profite that maye redounde to manne, I myghte easyly in lesse tyme, more to myne owne furtheraunce, haue fyny­shed greatter thynges, and with more fauour, yea and thankes to, at somme mennes handes, haue abstayned from this payneful and daungerous enter­prise. But I rather chuse to haue re­specte to the glorye of Christe, and his holy churche, then to myne owne ease and estimation. Euery weapon wher­with we may beate downe errours and [Page] lies must be takē in hand to the defence of the truth, neither ought we to consi­der how fine & eloquent it is, but rather what strength, force & efficacy it hath to ouerthrow the enemies of gods veritie. I beseche thee therfore, (good christē Reder,) to accept what soeuer I haue done to thy furtherance in the knowledge of goddes eternall truth and most holy re­ligion. And where as my doinges may peraduenture seme scarce thanke wor­thy: yet for my trauayle in thy behalfe, suffer me not, if any thynge haue esca­ped in translatyng, in that I minded the good, to mysse of thy gentyll pardon.

Whiche if thou graunt me, I shall not onely thynke my self sufficiently recompensed for my trauaile, but also thereby I shalbe encoraged to attempt greater things to thy cōmoditie. Now I protest afore god, who knoweth ye secretes of al hartes, that in translating herof I haue had respecte chiefly to the commoditie of such as for lacke of instruction, haue ben to muche deceyued and seduced, by the craftye sophistications and subtyll gloses of the Pope and his impes, who to the stuffyng of their gredy paunche [Page] and maintenance of their beastly ydle lyfe, are not ashamed to paint their po­sitions with fayned gloses and feble di­stinctions. But almyghty god hath and wyl reuele to his elect their falsehode & subtilie, to their opē shame & cōfusion. Wherin as all true christians ought to refuse no paynes, but to do ye vttermost of their endeuors: so I by gods grace, wyll neuer ceasse to doo all that I may, eyther in translatyng, or otherwyse, to the ende that all men may perceyue, on howe weake a ground,The papi­ [...]tes best ar­gumentes. they haue gone about by fyre and fagotte and all extre­mitie, to compell men to laye the foun­dation of theyr faith. And also how that all that they teache, as well in this mat­ter, as in other poyntes of religion, conteineth not one iote of sounde doctrine, if it bee tried by the holye scriptures. I speake not this, that I malyce the pope or his adherentes any thing, whose persons, as God knoweth, I hate not, al­though I abhore their detestable and erronius doctrine: but that I myghte drawe out of that stinckynge puddle of wylful ignorance, as many as I could. I hate the errour, and not the menne. [Page] Whiche if they forsake, I shall gladly yelde them all christen loue and due re­uerence. Therfore I lytle esteme what any man either of malice or ignorance, shall report of these my doynges: kno­wyng that whatsoeuer the one saythe, procedeth of a peruerse iudgement: and what so euer the other reporteth, com­meth of rashues, rather then of reason, in iudgyng that which he knoweth not, Wherfore as I regarde nat what they saye of me in this behalfe, so I submyt bothe this and all my dooynges to the iudgement of the true christian reder, whose hart god hath opened to acknowledge and receaue the veritie of his ho­ly wyll, besechyng almighty god of his great goodnes and infinite mercye, to bryng to the knowledge of his truthe, all those whom the god of this worlde, yet holdeth in captiuitie: that they can not perceyue the power of saythe, ney­ther knowe the Lorde aright in his on­ly sonne Iesus Christ, our alone aduo­cate and true head of the congregation to whome with the father and the holye ghoste bee all honour and glorye euerlastyng. Amen.

LEt rankour not you rule,
O men of Romyshe secte:
Expell thē poyson frō your brests
That dothe you thus infecte.
Let not that hauty whoore
That boasts her selfe for god:
That rules the realms of Cesars right
With her vsurped rod:
Let not this hag I say,
Bewitche your earthly eyes:
That here embraceth beastly ioye,
And vertue dooth despyse.
Antiquitie she sayth,
Gaue her this stately place:
Lo here Antiquitie you see
Dothe her and hers deface.
Lo here dothe Nilus teache,
A man of ancient tyme
Howe muche she is to be abhorde,
Howe muche she swelles with crime.
Leaue her therfore in tyme
Forsake her wicked wayes:
Let vs and you agree in one,
So God shall haue his prayse.
Finis ꝙ B. G.

Fautes escaped in the printyng.

¶In the leafe of B. the .xi. page or side the .xxvii. lyne, for indifferent, rede, muche different.

In the same leaf of B. the xvi page, the vii. lyne: for yet, reade, it.

¶In the leafe of C. the .xii. page, the. xxvi. lyne, for names, reade canons.

A TREATISE OF the Popes primacie by Ni­lus Archbishop of Thessalonia.

THe adherentes of the Romishe churche affirme,

Fyrst, that S. Peter was made chiefe of thapostles by Christ hym selfe, and there­fore had the keies of heauen worthily deliuered vnto hym: and that the chur­che was buylded on hym, agaynst the whiche the gates of hell shulde not pre­uaile, forasmuche as Christ had praied for his faith, and had commanded him bothe to strengthen his bretherne, and also to feede his shepe. They heape to­gither also muche more, wherby they thynke that the primacie of Peter may be proued.

Secondarily they hold, that the Pope is Peters successour, and that he hath by succession all his preeminence, and therfore may doo in matters of religi­on, all thynges after lyke sorte and fa­shion as he might haue doone.

[Page] And therfore they saye, that it is vn­possible for the Pope to falle frome the true faith, for if that shuld happen, the christen religion and the whole church whyche is buylded vppon hym, muste needes perisshe. To the prose whereof they alledge a testimonie of their own, out of Pope Agathon, whiche in a cer­taine Epistle affirmeth, that the chur­che of Rome was neuer entangled with any erroure, neyther hathe any tyme swarued frome the true waie of veritie. And therfore they say, that the Pope hath had his supremacy always sence the Apostles tyme.

4 Also they saye lykewyse, that other Metropolitanes and Archebyshoppes are subiecte to hym in lyke maner, as the Byshoppes and Prelates, whyche are vnder the Arcebyshop of Constan­tinople, are subiect to the sayd archby­shoppe.

5 Theu they saye, that the Pope hathe appellation.

6 They affirme moreouer, that he may iudge all menne, and that none maye iudge hym, neyther in his manners, neyther in faythe, or doctrine.

[Page] 7 Besydes this, they hold that the pope is byshop of no certayne place, neither is he so called as other are, but simply without circumscription, he is named a Bishoppe. To the profe wherof, they brynge the Pope hymselfe to wytnes: who neuer in his letters, termeth hym selfe Byshop of Rome.

8 Also they affyrme, that Rome one­ly hathe been called the sea Apostolike, because that Peter the Apostle, bothe ledde his lyfe there a longe tyme, and also dyed there.

9 Item they affirme, that the Pope on­ly hath authoritie to call a counsell.

10 Their last assertion is, that no lawe can be made without the consent of the pope, neither any thynge ordeyned in the churche. Then they conclude that the Pope hath all the aforesayde righ­tes and priuiledges of Peter, and that therfore, all men owe hym obedience, and no man ought to gaynesay any of his commandementes.

All these thynges the adherentes of the Romysshe churche, alledge for the mayntenaunce of the popes domini­on and authoritie.

[Page] Vnto the whiche assertions of theirs, I nothynge doubte what to aunswere, but afore whom I may pleade. For yf I should make answere before the La­tins themselues, and adherentes of the Romishe church, what rightful iudge­ment myght I loke for, in submyttyng my selfe to the iudgement of myn ene­mies? But yf I shuld pleade afore our Grekes, then myght the Latines haue iuste cause to complayne of me, where as I make the Grecians, iudges ouer them, whom they thinke to be their ad­uersaries, in matters Ecclesiasticall. What then must we doo?Gods word muste not be hidde. verily Gods truthe ought not to be buried vp in si­lence euerlastyng, but rather we ought to speake, freely, hauynge good confi­dence, and wishing that those to whom this Booke shall come, desire nothyng more than the truthe. For surely suche as fauour the truthe, shall hereby also profyte somewhat.

FYRST therfore, concernyng the primacy of Peter, after what sorte he was chiefe of that holy congregation, or what priuilege was geuen or ought vnto hym: I thinke it not now so nede­ful [Page] to be reasoned of. For be it after su­che sorte, and so great, yea as it lyketh any man to deuyse: yet neuer truely shall it therby be proued, that the Pope hath suche right of Peter, where by he may rule all other byshops, whiche is our aduersaries seconde position.

For, concernyng the Pope, two thyn­ges must be consydered: the one, That he is Byshop of Rome, by the whyche title the sacred Synodes terme hym.

The other, that he would be chiefe and hyghest of all byshops. The fyrst truely he hathe of Peter, that is to wete, the byshoprike of Rome But the other his primacie, he hath of certayne fathers and kynges, whiche for desyre of good order, gaue it hym many yeares after thapostles tyme. And to proue this to be true, I wyll bryng forth wytnesses not two or three, or twise so many, but sire hundred and thirty, yea and chose holy fathers.

Rede the xxviii. Canon of the fourth holy Synode or councell of Calcedo­nia, where are these woordes: We fo­lowyng the decrees of the fathers, and waying the Canon euen now rehersed [Page] of the. 150. Byshoppes gathered togy­ther at Constantinople, called newe Rome, in the tyme of the moste holye Emperour Theodosius, the same also doo we ordeyne & decree, concernyng the honoures and prerogatiues of the said church of Constantinople, or new Rome. For vnto the sea of old Rome, the Fathers gaue worthyly the chiefe honour and primacy, bycause that Ci­tie then ruled all the worlde, the same cause moued the. 150. foresayd byshops to geue the lyke honoure and preemi­nēce to the sea of new Rome, iudgyng it reasonable, that this Citie condeco­rate with the empire, and senate impe­riall, and equal in dignitie with the old imperiall seate, should as muche excell in matters ecclesiasticall, seyng that it is the next vnto it. Then what may we lerne hereby? Verily nothyng els, but that the Superioritie ouer other chur­ches, was geuen to the pope, not by the Apostles,The Pope hathe not his prima­cy of the a­postles. but by the fathers, and that for no greater or iuster cause, then that the citie of Rome, at that tyme had do­minion ouer the whole world. For the Canon sayeth playnely, That the pri­macie [Page] or superiour dygnitie was ge­uen to the sea of Rome by the fathers. So that the pope hath therfore the Su­perioritie geuen hym of the Fathers, bycause in tymes paste, the Citie of Rome had the Empire. Then he hath it not as Peters successour, neither as geuen hym of the Apostles.

But for the more apparaunt truthe, let vs reade the hundreth newe decree of Iustinian to the ende, that it maye appeare, that the truthe hath wytnes­ses on euery syde. We ordeyne, sayth he, accordynge to the Decrees of the Synodes, that the moste holy Byshop of olde Rome, is the chiefe of all prie­stes, and that the moste blessed byshop of Constantinople, or newe Rome, is nexte vnto hym, and aboue all o­ther: Do you not heare that the Em­peroure sayeth, That the primacye of the Pope of Rome, is gyuen hym by the Decree of holye Councelles? If that the Pope dooe holde his Supre­macye onely by the Decree of Coun­celles, I beseeche, you howe may it be trewe, that somme menne affyrme, [Page] that he hath it by succession of Peter. But here som man may lay,The Pop [...] Peters suc­cessour. Io­s not the Pope than wholly the successor of Pe­ter? He is truly. But in that he is a bi­shop onely, & as euery byshop that was ordeyned by hym (whiche surely were very many) and as euery byshop is the successour of the Apostle, of whom he was made, or in whose place he techeth And after this sort, aswell Peter as o­ther tShapostles, had many successours, which were byshops only and nothyng elles. For Peter was both an apostle, and also chiefe of the Apostles. But the Pope is no apostle, muche lesse chiefe of the apostles. for thapostles dyd nei­ther make nor ordeyne Apostles, but onely pastours and teachers. Moreo­uer Peter was a Doctoure of all the worlde, and so were the reste of the A­postles: for the Lorde sayde to hym, as well as to the reste of the Apostles, Go and preache the Gospel to all nations.The Pope [...] not in this pointe bee Peters successour. But the Pope is onely byshoppe of the Citie of Rome, and so is he called.

Furthermore Peter made one byshop at Antioche, an nother at Alexandria, and an other in an other place. but the [Page] [...] may doo nothyng like: Besydes [...], Peter may ordeyne the byshop of [...], but the Pope can not so doo. [...] conclude,Math. 16. It was sayde to Peter [...]thout condicion: What soeuer thou [...]dest, shall be bounde, and what so [...]er thou losest, shalbe losed in heauen: [...]ut when Peter ordeyned the byshop [...] Rome, he commanded hym to bynd [...] lose that, which worthily ought to be [...]sed or bound. Beside al this, whatsoe­ [...]er Peter taught, either by preachyng [...]rityng, it is knowen vndoubtedly to be the doctrine of the holy ghoste: But of the Pope no suche thynge maye be thought. Wherfore the Pope hath not all the prerogatiues, giftes, and priui­ledges of Peter by succession: but those onely whiche euery bishop ordeyned of Peter hath, that he may bynd and lose, baptise and preache, and to bee shorte, bryng into the way those that are sedu­ced, and doo other dueties belongyng to a mynister.

Thirdly wheras they saye, that it is not possible, that the pope shoulde falle from the truthe, that truely passeth all the gyftes and vertues of Peter hym [Page] selfe,Math. 26. Gala. [...]. yea although the Pope must n [...] des haue had theim all by Succession▪ For he good man full sore agaynst h [...] wyll, erred more then ones. But he [...] I woulde fayne knowe, whether th [...] Pope may, or hath at any tyme falle [...] into the crimes of lyeng, couetousnes, vayneglorye, or other lyke vyces, or whether it be impossible, that he shulde offende at all? Lette theym denye it if they bee not ashamed to lye openly. If then it be manyfest, that euen he, may sometymes offende and synne agaynst conscyence, in as muche as he is a manne, veryly yt maye happen also, that in matters of Relygion he maye bee deceaued. The truthe whereof Saincte Paule wytnesseth, wrytynge vnto Timothe on this wyfe:1. Tim. 1. Hauyng saythe and a good conscience, whyche some men not regardynge, haue made shypwrecke in matters of Faythe.

Beholde, here we heare, that he whose conscience is wounded,The Pope may be sick in faith. maye be sycke in faythe. Therefore, yf the Pope haue not alwayes his conscience free from all offence, and this euyll is ioy­ned with errour in faythe, it foloweth [Page] of necessitie, that they lye manyfestly, whiche say, that the Pope can not fall from the veritie of Christes relygion. Yea it is a kynde of defection to de­fyle the conscience with synne, as S. Paule wytnesseth, sayeng: They pro­fesse God in woorde, but in theyr dee­des they denye hym. Howe then maye it bee, that the Pope maye possyblye denye GOD in woorke and deede, and not in woorde and doctrine.

Certaynly Honorius the Pope fell frome the syncere doctrine, [...] the Pope cōdemned for heresy. and ther­fore was condempned by the syxt Sy­node, as it maye euidentely appeare in the .xvi. decree of the sayd Synode, where it is said: It behoueth that they whome we haue alreadye pronounced condemned, and by the cōmon decree haue put out of ye holy praier bokes, be also openly proclaimed accursed. Thā according to the laudable custome, the princis beyng mentioned, it foloweth forthwith: Cursed be Theodorus Pharanites the heretike. Cursed be the he­retike Sergius: Cursed be the heretike Kyzius: Cursed be Honorius the here­tike: Cursed be the heretike Pirrhus: [Page] accursed be all that fauoure heretikes. But for the more euident truthe, lette vs brynge toorthe an other testimonye out of the oration of the holy Synode to the Emperour: We remoue, sayth the Synode, frome the lymittes of the churche, and worthyly accurse all new and vayne sermes, with theyr inuen­ters, suche as are, especially, Theodo­rus Pharanites, Sergius, Paule, Pirrhus, and Peter, who sometyme ruled this churche of Constantinople, and also Cirus the prieste of Alexandria, and Honorius bishop of Rome. If that Honorius bishop of Rome were an he­retike, possible it is then,The Pope maye be an heretike. that the pope may faile in veritie of doctrine: neither shall the wordes of the Lorde be vayne and false, although the Pope erre, whiche he spake of the church, that the ga­tes of hell shulde not preuayle agaynst it,Math. 16. for the true doctrine is preserued in other byshops and doctours.

Here also we may playnly see, that it was not sayde of the sea of Rome, that the church of God was theron builded For that were to hard and not indiffe­rent from the seruilitie and bondage of [Page] the Iewes, to bynde the congregation of God to Rome. For Christ buylded his churche himselfe vpon the doctrine and confession of Peter,The foun­datiō of the churche. and all those that kepe and mayntaine the lyke faith and profession that Peter dydde. And where as pope Agathon boasteth,Pope Aga­thon. that his church neuer went from the truth, it is no meruayle, consyderynge what face suche men haue. But lette suche honest men take it for a warnyng, that they wrest not the truthe of the matter, to their owne talke, but rather let them tempre their tonges to the truth of the matter. And percase Pope Agathon was moued so to write, either bicause the state of his matter dyd so require, as it hapned ofttymes that he so wrote, orels bycause the churche of Rome in dede hath not often departed from the truth. Otherwyse, if that without ex­ception and condition it were symply true: howe coulde that sayeng be veri­fied: All are gone astraye, and are be­come wycked, there is none that dothe good, no not one. Besyde that, we may well saye,Psalm. 13. that Agathon spake of the tyme past, because the church of Rome [Page] hath not erred afore tyme, and not of the tyme to come, as thoughe it were vnpossible, that it should euer be decei­ued. Certainely Agathon wrote that before the .vi. Synode, neyther dyd he yet vnderstand the thynges wherof the Synode entreated. Also it wer no meruayle yf that holye synode, wherein so many holy fathers were gathered togither, shulde espye and see that, whiche he beyng but one man, could not suffi­ciently perceaue. And that these thyn­ges are true, it may wel be gathered by an Epistle of Pope Leo, who succeded next after Agathon, and alowed the vi. synode. For so sayth Leo in his epistle, written to the Emperor, conceruynge the said sinode. Also we holde accursed the authors of the new heresy, thatis to wite Theodorꝰ bish. of Pharanite, Ci­rus of Alexādria, Sergius, Pirrhus, Paule & Peter successours rather thā bishops of the church of ConstātinopleOne Pope cōdemneth in other. and also Honorius who hath not beau­tified this Apostolike church, with do­ctrine lefte by the apostles, but rather hath assayed with prophane treason, to subuert the vnsported and pure faithe.

[Page] In the fourth place, where as our aduersaries say, that the pope is after the same sort and fashion superiour to the Bishop of Constantinople, as the saide Bishop is to the Byshop of Cesaria, or to any other Byshop vnder hym: that truelye as it is manifestelye false, so maye it in no wise be suffered: for cer­taynly the Bishop of Rome is therfore called first, because the Bishop of Con­stantinople, in respect to hym is second in order and worthynesse. But the bys­shop of Constantinople, in respecte of the bysshop of Cesaria, is not called fyrst, neyther the sayd byshop, neyther any other of these that are vnder hym, hath the seconde degree or place of di­gnitie, as nexte vnto hym. But he is so fyrst of them that ar vnder hym, that as though he were alone, he hath none adioyned to hym, that maye in anye poynt as seconde in degree be compa­red with him in worthines. The bishop of Cesarea, is not called seconde,Psalm. 1 [...]. in re­spect of the bishop [...]f Constantinople, But first in comparison of theim, that with him at subiect to the bishop of Cō stātinople, of the which one is secōd to [Page] hym, another thirde, an other fourth. And that the primacye of the bishop of Rome is not lose and free, as though it were a monarchye, but vnited with o­thers as the dignities of felowes in of­fice, are conioyned togyther betweene them selues: yet may be easily proued. For the xxxvi. Canon of the foresayd Synode hath these wordes: Renuyng the decrees of the hūdred and fifty ho­ly fathers, who helde a counsell in this imperiall Citie preserued of God: And of the vi hundred and thirty gathered togyther at Calcedonia, we doo ordeyn and constitute, that the sea of Constantinople, haue equall dignitie with the sea of olde Rome, & haue as much pri­iledge in matters ecclesiasticall, as the sayd sea, seynge that it is nexte vn­to it, and next to Constantinople, lette the bishop of the great citie Alexandria haue place, and after him let the bishop of Hierusalem be placed. If so be that the Pope doo therfore chalenge to him dominion ouer other, bicause he is first named, and hath the fyrst degree in ho­nour, he must lykewise grant the same power to the bysshop of Constantino­ple [Page] (bycause he is named seconde) ouer them that in order folowe hym, the by­shop of Alexandria, and others. And also to the bishop of Alexandria, who is na­med thirde, authoritie ouer the bishop of Antioche, and to the byshop of An­tioche, who is fourthe, power ouer the byshop of Ierusalem, who hath the .v. place in noumber and order. But this were neyther iuste, neyther any thyng els but a disturbance of the churche of God. And hereby maye we perceyue, that the byshop of Rome is not superi­our to the byshop of Constantinople, in lyke sorte as the sayd byshop is to the byshop of Cesarea, for asmuche as the bishoppe of Constantinople ordeyneth bothe the bish. of Cesarea, and al other subiecte to hym. But the byshoppe of Rome ordeyneth neyther the byshop of Cōstantinople, neyther any other Me­tropolitan. But that it may more eui­dently apere, that the Pope hath no power ouer all other byshops, let vs rede the .vi. canon of the Nicen coūsell, wher it is playnly commanded, that the By­shop of Alexandria, shulde rule somme churches, the byshop of Rome other, [Page] and other the byshop of Antioche. Nei­ther maye any of them medle in others proince.This Cu­stom the B. of Rome hath brokē Lette the olde custome take place, whiche was, that the bysshop of Alexandria shulde be chiefe, and haue the highest dignitie in Egypte, Lybia, and the .v. cities: bycause this is a cu­stome with the byshop of Rome also. Lykewise at Antioche, and in other prouinces, lette the primacie, hyghnesse, dignttie and authoritie of the churches he maynteyned. Here ye playnely see that the canon of Nice, commaundeth the olde custome to be kept, and al men to be content therwith: whiche custom dothe attribute and preserue to euery churche his owne worthinesse, so that the churche of Alexandria shoulde rule some, the churche of Antioche other, that is to say, those, whiche are in bothe Syrias. The churche of Rome other, and other the Churche of Ierusalem, euen those (as the seuenth Cannon of the Synoda appoynteth, whiche are Phenicia, Palestina, and Arabia, and to Constantinople, by the .xxviii. Ca­non of Calcedonia, the churches of Asia, Pontus, and Thracia. There­fore [Page] all Metropolitanes, that are con­tente with their owne churches, kepe the decree, the lawe, and ordinance.

And yf any manne not contente with his owne, desyrethe an nothers, he trewely oughte to bee counted a brea­ker of custome, and of the decrees of holye Fathers, for as muche as the decree of Nice, doothe straightly for­bydde it, and wylleth the olde vsage herein to bee folowed. If the Canon hadde deuyded the worlde, betweene other Metropolites, and hadde geuen nothynge vnto the Bysshoppe of Rome, but onely haue sayde, That he oughte to rule the reste, then myghte a manne of lykelyhoode haue gessed, that he oughte all togyther to rule all congregations of the whole worlde, and that all other, as welle Byshops as Metropolitanes are vassalles and subiecte vnto hym, euen as to the Bysshoppe of Constantinople, other Bysshoppes of his prouynce, that ar his inferiours. Nowe seeynge that sundrye countreyes are appoynted to the Bysshoppe of Rome, other to the Bysshoppe of Alexandria, and other [Page] to the bysshop of Constantinople: no more are they subiect to hym, then he is to theym.

Then our aduersaries say, that the Pope hathe prouocation in matters ecclesiasticall, and that therefore he is chiefe of all other. The same prouoca­tione hathe the byshop of Constantino­ple, and yet therby hath he neyther au­thoritie, neither iurisdiction of other Metropolitans. Therefore neyther the Pope oughte to let or hynder the iuris­diction of other Metropolites. And that it may appeare, that I haue sayde truely, that the byshop of Constanti­nople hath prouocation, I wyl alleged the .ix. canon of the .iiii. Synode or coū sell of Calcedonia. If one clerke haue an action against an other, let hym not leaue his owne bysshop, and runne to the secular iudge, but lette the matter be fyrst debated afore his owne bishop, or at the least by thaduise of their owne byshop, let theim take suche a iudge as bothe the parties shall bee contented with. If any doo otherwise he shall bee in daunger of the decree. If any clerke haue an action agaynste his owne by­shop, [Page] or any other, lette the matter bee tried afore the Synode of the same prouince. And yf any byshoppe or clerke haue a complaynte agaynst the Metro­politane, let hym go to the magistrate of the diocesse, or elles to the sea of the chiefe citie Constantinople, and there lette hym be iudged. So also sayth the xvii. decree of the sayd Synode. More­ouer the .xx. and .xxxvi. canon of the .vi. Synode, gyueth in all poyntes as mu­che dignitie and prerogatiue to the one as to the other, as muche to the sea of Constantinople as to the sea of Rome, wherby they declare that prouocatiōs may be made to the byshop of Constā ­tinople.

Then where as our aduersaries bab­ble that the Pope maye iudge all men,The Papi­stes are full of vanitie. and that no man may iudge hym: that veryly is full of arrogancy, vanitie, & vntruthe, and farre dissonant from the modest and equall decrees of the apo­stles. For yf that Paule dyd therfore conferre his doctrine with the reste of the apostles, that he myghte not seeme to runne in vayne, & Peter bare myld­ly and paciently, the sharpe reprofes [Page] of Paule, by what right, or with what face, maye the Pope of Rome, cha­ [...]nge to hym selfe, that be onely lyke a tyraunt,The Pope [...] should geue accompte to no man of his lyfe and deedes, althoughe he boaste hym selfe to bee Peters suc­cessour? But experience it selfe shall easyly proue that to bee moste vntrue. For Honorius as wee haue shewed, was not onely iudged of the syxt Sy­node, but also condemned for his false doctrine, yea and accursed to: his deth and graue nothynge auaylynge a­gaynst that seueritie of the counsaile. And as for other dedes and matters Ciuile and Politicall, besydes his do­ctrine, in that behalfe also he is no lesse subiecte then any other Bysshop, for as muche as he hym selfe also is ter­med a Bysshoppe. Many suche La­wes and Decrees there are, partely made by the Apostles, and some made by the holy Councelles. Yea I canne alledge a place, where the Bysshoppe of Rome is separately reproned of a Councell, as the thyrtenthe Cannon of the syxte generall Councell doothe euidentely shewe, where it is sayd af­ter [Page] this sorte: For as mu [...]e as wee vnderstande, that in the Churche of Rome, in the Decree of Orders, it is appoynted, That who so euer ta­keth the orders of a prieste or Dea­con, shall fyrste professe, That they haue no copulatione with theyr wyues: Wee folowynge the olde Canon and constitutions of the Apostles,Prestes mariage lauful by the old canon and constituti­ons of the apostles. wylle and decree, that the lawfull matrimo­nye of holy menne shall be auaylable, and that theyr copulation with theyr wyues, shall by no meanes be broken, neyther that one depriue the other of familiaritie in tyme conuenient. Then the canon makynge the sentence more plain and manifest, saith moreouer: If any mā presume contrary to the rules of the apostles to depriue any prieste or deacon, of the contract or felowshyp of his laufull wyfe, let hym bee deposed. Lykewyse yf a Priest or Deacon for­sake his wyfe, for relygions sake, let hym be excōmunicate: and if he so con­tinue, lette hym bee deposed. The .lv. Canon of the sayde Synode wytnes­seth the same. The words ar these: For asmuch as we vnderstand, that certain [Page] in the citie of Rome, contrarye to the receyued custome of the churche, doo fast in the Saboths in the tyme of lent: it semeth good to this holye Synode to bynde the churche of Rome by all mea­nes to the canon whiche sayth: If any clerke be found to fast on the sonday or sabboth day, one sabboth day onely ex­cepted, let hym be deposed. If any laie man be founde so doynge, lette hym be excommunicate.

Hereby it playnly appereth that the byshoppe of Rome may and ought to be iudged, as well in controuersies of doctrine, as in all other his dedes and matters, if he commytte any thynge a­gaynst ryght and equitie.The Pope as not a­boue a by­shop. And that the pope is not aboue the degree of a By­shop, as some men peruersely thynke hym to be, it may be plainly proued, by this that we haue said. For how myght it be, if he were in dignitie aboue a bi­shop, that he shoulde be iudged of bys­shops in the counsell, and be compelled to render vnto them an accompt of his dedes. It is manyfeste that the fathers when they write vnto hym, call hym a byshoppe: truely he is ordeyned of by­shops, [Page] whiche veryly myght not be so, yf his dignitie were more then a bys­shop. For no manne can gyue that to an other whiche fyrst he hath not hymselfe.Note the pope brea­keth order ecclesiasti­call. And what els I pray you meane they, that so saye, but to breake and de­stroy the order ecclesiastical. For Dio­nysius who lyued in the apostles tyme, deuideth the regimente ecclesiasticall, into deacons, priestes, and byshoppes, neyther maye we by suspition gather out of his writynges, that there is any dignitie in the churche, aboue a bishop, neyther may it be sayde by any lykelyhode, that Dionysius eyther was ig­norant, that there was any such digni­tie in the churche: eyther that he of set purpose, dyd dissemble it, seyng that he professeth, that he hath written fully of all the Ecclesiasticall regyment. But suppose this to be true (may our aduer­saries say) yet I pray you shew vs with what face ye dare alledge the canons of the .vi. Synode, sithe that Synode hathe made no decree at all, but those wherin the two natures of our Saui­our are agreed on agaynst the Mono­thelites: to that I aunswere, that al­though [Page] the canons which I haue euen nowe alledged, were not true, neyther the very decrees of the .vi. Synode: yee our purpose, that the Pope is not greater then other byshoppes, neyther free from the iudgement of others, may be manifestely proued by other thynges therof dependynge. For yf there be no dignitie aboue a byshops, then is no bi­shop greatter than an other, in asmuch as he is a byshop. For Dionysius saith that all bishoppes are [...], that is to saye, of one order and dignitie. Therfore seyng the Pope is a byshop, he ought to bee lyke other bys­shops, and subiecte to all lawes, that other are bounde vnto. And truely so many ar the byshoply lawes, or lawes of byshoppes, and so greate care hadde the holye Synodes in makynge them, whose authoritie no mā ought to with­stande, that to reherse them all, it wold be very harde. Besyde that I may well aunswere, that that is knowen to all men, that are but meanely conuersant in matters ecclesiasticall, that the for­sayd Canons be the decrees of the sixte Synode, and also that they oughte to [Page] bee reputed and taken of firme and ra­tified authoritie, as they are in deede. For when as neyther the .v. Synode neyther the syxte, at the begynnynge hadde any regarde of these constituti­ons, streyght after, the .vi. Synode be­ynge renewed, fynysshed that whiche before was neglected. For as the o­ther dydde only handle matters of do­ctrine, leauyng and omittyng all other matters, so the .vi. Synode beyng be­gunne agayne, or renewed, touched lyghtly matters of doctrine, and made cōstitutions only cōcerning the gouernāce of the churche, and other matters ecclesiasticall. And that this is the very same vniuersal sinode iterate or begun again, it appereth first by the history of Basilius bishop of Gortines in Candy who supplied the rome of the Pope in the said sinode. Moreouer it is manifest in that the sinode calleth it selfe alwais vniuersall. And it had not ben true, so great a company of bishops wold haue feared to be taken in a manyfeste lye. Besides that the .vii. holy synode sayth in the first decree therof: We willingly & gladly imbrace the godly cōstitutiōs, [Page] and we confirme their stedfast and vn­defyled authoritie: as those that the trumpettes of the holy ghoste hath or­deyned, that is to saye the apostles and holy fathers, that haue bene gathered togither in dyuers places, for the selfe same purpose. For they inspired with the spirite of god decreed those thynges that they thought profytable. Whome they accursed we accurse also: whome they haue suspēded, we suspend, whom they haue deposed we depose: And to be short, when they by any other meanes dydde punyshe, we also doo taxe in lyke maner. Sainct Paule who was taken vp into the thyrd heauen,1. Tim. 6. and to whom those thynges were reueled, that are not laufull to bee spoken of, cryeth out that the maners of the holye, ought to be farre from all couetousnes, and that they shulde be content with their owne estate and condition. Therfore seynge that neyther the .vi. Synode at the first comyng togyther, neither the seuenth hath meddled with the constitutions of the apostles, and the names of the .vi. vniuersall synodes, but the sayd sixthe synode being iterate and renewed hath [Page] supplied the defecte therof, it is many­fest, that the .vii. Synode speaketh of the canons of the said .vi. counsel. More ouer where as the Synode accursethe those that regarde not the authoritie of the decrees, Is it not a terrible thyng, yea is it not ynough to moue any stony hart? Besides that the bishop of Rome hym selfe so long as he agreed with the churches of the east, dyd so muche ap­proue and allow the decrees of this sy­node that Adrian the fyrst, wrytyng to Taratius, Pope Adri­an pro [...] for Image. archebishop of Constantino­ple, with great admiration cōmendeth hym, bycause he dyd so constantely ob­serue these decrees, Whiche may ap­pere by the very wordes of his epistle, whiche forth with I wyll alledge. We doo perceaue, sayth he, by the synodall epistle, how earnest your profession is in the right faith, and how great a zele ye haue towardes the holy congrega­tions, and the .vi. holy Synodes, and towardes the venerable and sacred I­mages, whyche surely is wonderfull, and wrothy great admiration. Wher­in it is playnely to be seene, that in the laudable godly and right canons of the [Page] sixte synode, that worshipful picture is allowed in which the lambe shewed by demonstration, with the finger of the precursor, is liuelie expressed which be­inge receued of vs, as a figure of grace doth represent vnto vs the true lambe by the lawe, that is to wete, Christ him selfe. Therfore we receauyng the olde fygures, sygnes, and shadowes, as to­kens of the truthe, and markes geuen to the churche, dooe acknowledge the grace and truth, as they that thynke it to be the fulnes of the law. To the end therfore, that that image may in liuely coloures he expressed to all mens eyes, whiche representeth in manhoode the lambe that taketh away the synnes of the worlde, that is to say our God, we thynke good, that from hensefoorth instede of the olde lambe, there be a newe erected, in the churches of God, to the intent that we maye consyder, the ray­synge vp of the basenes of gods word, and he put in mynde of that common welthe, wherein he lyued in the flesshe, and also be led as it were by the hande, to the contemplation of his Passion, and moste wholsome deathe, by whi­che [Page] the freedome of the worlde was purchased. That therfore this cannon was alowed of Pope Adrian, and that it is the .lxxiii. of the synode, now men­cioned, the autenticall bookes do testi­fie. But no man can sufficiently mer­uayle at the vnstedfastnesse and lyght­nesse of the Popes adherentes, not on­ly for that they nowe hate and deteste the holye generall counselles, whyche sommetyme they allowed, but also that the Popes theym selues are at varyaunce one with an other.The Popes ar togither by the ea­res. For as wee reade euen nowe Pope Adrian meruaylousely commendethe these de­crees, but Innocentius or some other reiecteth theym. If any manne wyll affirme, that the Pope is not subiecte to the lawes and rules of the Fathers, he trewelye in no wyse is to bee suffe­red. For that were moste vnwoorthy, that the Pope shoulde not esteeme the Fathers, by whome he hathe obtey­ned that dygnytie of prehemynence, whereof we spake beefore.

Moreouer, yf the Pope contempne decrees, he despiseth his owne authori­tie: for he hymselfe hathe made many, [Page] and so by the testimonye of Paule, he maketh hymselfe an offender. But we haue shewed and declared, that he is bounde to gyue accompte bothe of his doctrine, and also of his other gouer­nance and regiment ecclesiasticall: so that he is of necessitie subiecte to the constitutions of the fathers and coun­sels. Certainly it were not right, that any man shuld reuerence the Pope as a Father,The Pope is not to be estemed. seyng that he hymselfe regardeth nought so many holy Fathers.

Nowe the Popes adherentes saye, that he is not byshop of any one place, but that he is symply a Byshop, that is to say, Byshop of all the world. Wher­in truely they speake against the truth. For fyrst we haue proued already, that he is of one degree with other bishops, and as a man woulde say in one order with theym. Besyde that, the synodes when by occasion they make mention of hym, as it oftetymes happeneth, al­waies they call hym Byshop of Rome. So that yf he be byshop of Rome, he is out of doubt a bishop of some determi­nate place,The Pope byshop of no place. onlesse perhappes any man deny Rome to be a certayne place: but [Page] per aduenture some man wyll say, that the Pope, when he writeth to other, termeth not hymselfe bysshop of Rome: but symply a byshop, wherby he decla­reth hym selfe to bee byshop of no one certayne place, but of all the worlde. To whom we may answer, that he at­tempteth to proue matters of most im­portaunce with ouer lyght (I wyll not say triflyng) reasons. Whiche kynde of profe, yf we would vse, we myghte more easily ouerthrowe the Popes di­gnitie, then they establyshe the same.

For where as he nameth hymselfe by the vsed name of the common dignitie,The Pope ouercome vvith his owne rea­sons. a byshop, and not Pope, neyther chiefe of all priestes (with the whiche and o­ther lyke titles his adherentes flatter hym) it is a taken that the Pope hym­selfe acknowledgeth his owne estate, and testifieth the same foorthewith by his title. But neyther we mynde to striue with suche stronge reasons in so weighty a matter, agaynst the Pope, neither he in vsyng these argumentes, doth any more preuayl,The Pope attempteth to make a rope of sād then if he shuld attempt to wrethe a rope of sande. For if there wer so great force in this kynd [Page] of reasonyng, then Cyrillus also shuld haue such highnes in honor, yt he shuld be byshop of all the worlde, yea that so much the sooner then the Pope, in that he is ofttēimes not of himself only, but of other called a byshop, without men­tion of any place. For we reade, The­odosius the moste glorious conqueror, and always moste valyant, greteth the byshop Cirillus, without any mention of the place, wherof he was bysshop.

But what shall we say of those whiche leaue out the title of a Byshop, and vse onely their owne proper names? Shall we saye that they are no byshoppes, or that they haue a greatter dignitie then an vniuersall byshoprike? for as muche as the Pope of Rome wyll be an vni­uersall byshop, bycause the place is not named whereof he is bishoppe. There may many suche inscriptions and sub­scriptions be broughte out of bokes of authoritie, wherin the name of the bi­shop is plainly omitted.

Furthermore our aduersaries affirm that ye name of apostolike agreeth only to the Pope, whiche surely is very vn­tru. For it is cōmon to other with him [Page] as it appeareth by the .xi. session of the vi. synode, where we rede in this wise:

Constantine the moste holy archdea­con, of this holye catholike and aposto­like churche: and again, in the subscri­ptions of the same synode, we rede, Peter an elder, and one that supplieth the rome of the apostolike sea Alexandria, I George the least of the elders, & one that occupieth the place of Theodorus Theophilactus, an elder and vicegerēt to the apostolike throne of the holy sea, and citie of our god, Hierusalem, haue subscribed. And again, loke in the first session of the .vij. synode, which begin­neth in this maner. In the name of the lord Iesus Christ our tru god. &c. wherafter the rehersall of them, that wer sēt frone Rome, foloweth mention of the byshop of Constantinople, in this sort.

Iohn and Thomas the mooste holye elders. Monkes by profession, and sup­pliynge the place of the apostlike seas of the easte. This shall ye fynde in the beginnyng of euery acte in the .vii. sy­node. Also in the subscriptions ye shall reade: I Iohn by the grace of God an Elder, and assistant to the Patriarke, [Page] substitute of the .iii. apostolike seas, Alexandria, Antioche, and Hierusalem folowyng the doctrine of the fathers, and tradition of the churche, geuynge finall sentence haue subscribed. Also I Thomas by the grace of God an elder and primate of the habitation of the holy father Arsenius, whiche is in E­gypt beyonde Babylon, substitute to the .iii. apostolike thrones, Alexandria, Antioche, and Hierusalem, folowyng the doctrine of the fathers, and tradi­tion of the churche, geuyng finall sen­tence haue subscribed. The lyke shall ye fynde in all their subscriptions.

Here ye maye playnely see,The sea of Rome only is not cal­led aposto­lique. that not onely the sea of Rome, but also the seas of other churches ar called apostolike. Wherfore if we weigh the matter ac­cording to reason, either we shal equal­ly esteeme all those seas and churches, whyche as we haue declared, are cal­led Apostolike, orels we shal not make so muche of Rome, for this title, seyng that it is not onelye propre vnto that churche But what shal we say to that, where Chrysostome writynge to one, affirmeth that al the priests of the new [Page] testament syt in Christes chayre lyke as they of the olde testament sat in the chaire of Moyses: yea he sayeth, that they haue a greater dignitie then than­gels and archangels, so that there can be no excellency, in that he boasteth the sea Apostolike, seyng that all byshops sytte in the chayre of Christe, and haue a more ample dignitie, then thangels themselues.

Agayne the Popes secte holde, that it perteyneth by ryght to the Pope on­ly, to call togyther generall councels, wherin they striue agaynst a manyfest truthe. It is a wonder to see, that the Pope is not ashamed to aduance hym selfe, and to lyfte vp his combe in the churche, for a matter wherof Kynges myght boast them selues. I speake not this, as thoughe I esteemed not the ex­cellency of Kynges. For vnto them we owe bothe honour and obedience. But bycause the ecclesiasticall dignitie, set­tyng at naughte all earthly glorye and rychesse, shoulde desyre and seeke for a heauenly preeminence and renoume.

Therefore I wylle proue, that this right pertayneth rather to kyngs, then [Page] to bishops. For so hath the Actes of the fyrst holy counsell of Nice. To the ho­ly and greate churche by the grace of god of Alexandria, and to the learned brethern whiche are in Egypt, Lybia, and the fiue cities, the byshops assem­bled, and holdyng a great and holy sy­node at Nice, sendeth gretyng. For as much as vnto vs that are gathered to­gyther oute of dyuers cities and pro­uinces by the grace of God, & our most godly prince Constantine. &c. Also in the third or Ephesine councel we rede, To the moste holy emperours and be­loued of god, Theodosius and Valen­tinian most mighty and victorius con­querours, the holy Synod by the grace of god and the authoritie assembled, in the citie Ephesus. Also in the ende of the counsel of Calcedonia, ye shal fynd in the inscription of the holy Synode. The holy great and vniuersal Synode assembled, by the grace of God and the decree of our moste holy emperours at Calcedonia in Bythinia to the moste holy and blessed archbysshop of Rome Leo. That therfore it appertayneth to the dignitie of christen kynges to calle [Page] generall councelles it may sufficiently appere, by the places nowe alledged. But lette vs brynge foorthe that also, where byshop Leo wrytyng to the em­perour Theodosius, humbly desyreth as a great benefyte, that he wolde pro­uyde a prouinciall Synode, to bee ga­thered in Italy. Which truely he wold not haue craued with suche humilitie, if he had thought before that it was his owne right. The wordes of his epistle are these: All our churches and all our priestes, moste humbly with teares be­seeche your clemency, that accordyng to byshop Flauians booke, ye vouche­safe to commande a prouinciall coun­cel to be assembled in Italy. If it moue any man that Peter ended his lyfe at Rome, he ought muche more to be mo­ued with that the Sonne of God suffe­red at Ierusalem his passion, most hol­som to mankynde. But peraduenture somme manne wyll saye, that the Fa­thers dydde attribute muche vnto the Churche of Rome,VVhy the fathers did attribute so much to the sea of Rome. I aunswere they dydde it not because they thought, that God gaue any greate prerogatiue to that sea: but partelye for the desyre of [Page] good order (the strengthe and profyte wherof is great. For by order thynges bothe in heauen and earthe are preser­ued and maynteyned) and partely as desyrous to obserue goddes comman­dementes, preuent one an other in geuing honor. &c. orels bicause they endeuored to imitate thexample of humilitie, professed by Christ, to his disciples in washing their fete, and such lyke no table counsels and holsome examples lefte vnto vs. S Paule writinge to the Corinthians, calleth him selfe their ser­uaunte for Christes sake, yea the Pope in the beginninge of all his letters, cal­leth him selfe a seruaunt of seruauntes. What meruayle is it thenne, yf the fa­thers some what debased themselues a­fore hym, and graunt hym as we haue declared, the chiefe degree in honour.

Last of all, our aduersaries say, that no decree may be made in the Church, without the Popes consente, whyche in dede they may very well lay against vs, but we shall repaye oure aduersa­ries with the same measure. For ney­ther the Pope, yf wee beleeue the ca­nons of the apostles, maye constitute [Page] any thyng in the Churche, without the aduise of other. For so sayth the .xxxiii. Canon of the Apostles. The bysshops of euerye nation muste knowe who is chiefe amonge them, and count hym in manner as theyr heade, neyther maye they doo any newe thynge without his consente, lette euery man handell suche matters by hym selfe, as appertayn and belonge to his Diocesse, and the places vndernethe hym: neyther may he that is chiefe amonge theim doo any thynge without the consent of the reste. For so shall concorde be mayntayned, and god shall be glorified through our Lorde in the holy ghoste. If our aduersaries say, that the Canons of the Apostles ar not theyrs, neither of authoritie sufficiente, but Apocriphe: we may lay vnto them agayne the authoritie of the fathers in the firste, thirde, fourthe, sixthe and se­uenth synode, whiche defend the autho­ritie of the Apostles cannons. For the fyrste Synode in the fyfth cannon ther­of, maketh mention of two of the apo­stles cannons, the .xii. and the .xxxii.

Also the same Synode, in the .xv. ca­non, speaketh of the .xv. canon of the a­postles. [Page] The thirde Synode or Ephe­sine councell, writyng to Theodosius maketh mencion of the .lxxiii. canon of the apostles, wherwith the sayd synode was armed agynste Nestorius, and condempned hym, lyke as the fowerth synode with the same condemned Di­oscorus. Moreouer the same fourthe synode, in the .v. canon thereof, wry­teth in this wyse worde for woorde, of the .xii. xiij .xiiij. and .xv. Canon of the Apostles. As for suche bysshoppes as wander from one citie to an other, and often chaunge theyr mynistery, it see­meth good to this Synode, that they shall be in daunger and punysshed, by the Canons of the Apostles. Further­more the Decrees of the syxte Synode doo shewe the full number of the apo­stles canons. For so hathe the seconde Decree of the sayde Synode. It see­meth to this holy Synode, that it were most expedient, that the .lxxxv. canons in the Apostles name receaued and al­lowed by the holye Fathers, and de­lyuered to vs by tradition, shoulde al­so from hencefoorthe remayne fyrme [Page] and stedfaste, that they maye be whol­some medicines for the sowle, and re­medyes for dyuers dyseases in the Churche. The seuenthe Synode in the fyrste Cannon thereof, rehersynge the lawes of the Churche, beefore all other mencioneth the Cannons made by the Apostles, adioynynge oute of Moises,Deut [...]4. That nothyng ought to be ad­ded to theym, or taken from theym.

Shall we therefore condemne as fay­ned and vnprofytable those Cannons that are so muche commended and ap­proued of so many holye fathers? No trewely. But lefte this bee the summe and chiefe of all our talke and dispu­tation, that so longe as the Pope doth keepe the coneuniente order in tymes paste ordeyned, so longe as he holdeth and maynteyneth the veritie celesti­all, and so longe as he cleaueth and stycketh faste to Christe,He styc­keth fast against him the hygh and trewe Lorde and head of the churche, I gladly permytte hym to be heade of the Churche, and chiefe priest and suc­cessoure to Peter, or yf he lyste, to all the Apostles, all menne to obeye hym, [Page] and nothynge touchynge his honour to be diminished. But yf he be fallen from the truthe, and wyll not retourne vnto it agayne, [...]he pope a [...]probate [...]son. he oughte but to bee reputed as a personne condempned and repro­bate.

These thynges haue I spoken accor­dynge to my abilitie of the Popes pri­macye, as that whyche I iudge to bee manyfeste and trewe. If they be other­wyse, I desyre to be better enfourmed. For I also praye and syng vnto the Lorde, [...]sal. 119. that oute of the Psalme: Take not from my mouthe the worde of Truthe.


¶Imprinted at London by Henry Sutton for Rafe Newbery. Authorised accordyng to the Que­nes maiesties Iniūctions.

In the yere of our Lorde a thou­sande fyue hundred & sixty. The .xvi. daye of Marche.

And are to be solde at his shop in Fletestrete, a lyttle aboue the Cundite.

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