THE JUDGEMENT OF Foraign Divines AS WELL From Geneva as other parts, touching the Discipline, Liturgie, and Ceremonies of the Church of ENGLAND.

Whereunto is added A Letter from Mr. IOHN CALVIN to Mr. Knox, concerning the English Common-Prayer, after he had pur­used the same.

Now published for Publick Information and benefit.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be sold in VVestmin­ster Hal, Pauls-Church-yard, and Popes Head-Alley. 1660.

THE Iudgement of Foraign Divines touching the Discipline, Liturgie and Ceremonies of the Church of ENGLAND.
The Answer of the Ministers of Geneva to certain Brethren of the Church of England concern­ing some controversie in the Ec­clesiastical Policy.

BEing right earnestly and often re­quired by certain dear Brethren of England, that we should in their miserable estate give them some kind of counsel, whereon their consciences might be staid, the judgement of many being therein divers; we did long defer the satisfying of their request upon weighty causes. And we assure the Reader [Page 4]that even now also we most gladly would hold our peace, were it not a matter of conscience to reject the suit of the Brethren so often inforced, and with most grievous groanings renewed.

Of which stifned silence of ours these were the causes: First, As on the one part we doubt not of the credit of the Brethren, as though they had not sincerely described the state of the cause unto us, so on the other side it is most hard for to suspect such things, so clean beside all Office of Bishops, much less perswade our selves the same by such personages done.

And further, what men are we that we should determine upon such causes? Also, if it were lawful for us either by authority, or else by consent or request of either par­ties, to give sentence hereupon, yet were it a matter most wrongful, either party not heard, or not present to determine.

Last of all, Fear mistrusted, least so great a mischeif should by this our counsel (how simple soever it is) rather become raw then skinned; it being a sore of so despe­rate a nature, as that it seemeth to be, that prayers and patience can onely salve the same.

Seeing then that by the sundry requests of the Brethren, we are so hardly perswaded, that of force we ought to give them some kind of advise: We do openly protest, [Page 5]that we so give the same herein, as those that will not in any wise prejudice the other party, muchless challenge to us a Justi­ciers room over any. And all those men (into whose hands these do come) we do in the Lord desire, that they be not herewith offended, but do perswade themselves that these contents are both simple and faithfully written of us, as upon a questioned cause granted, that the consciences of the Bre­thren which desire it, might some way be better appeased, which to set altogether at naught were a deed wholly void of cha­rity.

Therefore the cause standing, as we are informed, we profess plainly and in good faith, that our judgements over these que­stions are thus.

It is demanded, Whether we can approve this disorder in calling of men to the functi­on of the Minstry, which is, that the multi­tude of those which sue for Order shall be in­rolled in the Ministry, both without the voy­ces of Elders, and also no certain cure appoint­ed them, but lightly examined of their lives and behaviour, to whom also at the lust of the Bishop shall liberty be given afterwards to preach the Word of God for a time prescri­bed, otherwise to rehearse onely the Church Service?

We answer, That such callings of Mini­sters, whether we answer them by the rule of [Page 6]Gods express Word, or else by force of Cannons that are best tried and allowed, are holden and esteemed of us altogether un­lawful, albeit we know that it is better to have half a loaf then no bread. But we be­seech God with our whole hearts, that it also will please him to bestow upon the Kingdom of England also the same (that is) a lawful and ordinary calling of men to the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments. For it being either kept out or hindred, the be­nefit of the Doctrine of Truth, must of force by and by vanish away, or else be held up by some means that is strange, yea, alto­gether ghostly and supernatural.

Furthermore we do in Gods most holy Name, most humbly sue to the Princess So­veraign Majesty, that with the whole force of her mind, she endeavour the correction of this point, wherein the whole ground and stay of the Church of England, and therefore of the Realm also doth stand and persist.

And thirdly, we do with tears beseech both those high Personages that are of her Majesties honourable Council, and those which have succeeded in the place of the Popish Bishops (undoubtedly through the special mercy of the high and good God) that they out of the self-same place where overthrow and destruction did issue, they should utterly destroy that tyranny which [Page 7]hath thus cast down headlong the very Chri­stian Church, and we crave of them in the dreadful Name of God, before whose re­doubted throne of Judgement we all shall be arrested, that with all consideration and mindfulness of the years past, and consci­ence of their duty and charge, they will not flack to vow and betroth their whole diligence, as well in ordering the means that may accomplish this thing, as in perswading the Queens Majesty thereto, and that they cease not at all, this thing being unachieved, chiefly seeing God hath bestowed upon them, the Princely Majesty of so singular a Mistris as from whose hands they cannot but hope for all princely and excellent things, unless they list in their own case to fail them­selves.

But some will ask, how shall we do in this point, until then? Verily if the case were ours we would not receive this mini­stery upon these conditions if it were prof­fered; a great deal less would we sue for it. Notwithstanding, we exhort these men to whom God hath by this way made en­trance to the enlarging of the glory of his Kingdom, that in the fear of God they do couragiously abide therein, yet with the condition that it may be lawful for them ho­lily and religiously to exercise all their whole Ministery. And therefore may also pro­pound, and urge those things in their cures [Page 8]which do always appertain to the advance­ment of the better estate therein. For o­therwise, if they be forced of this liberty, and so willed to wink at manifest abuses, that they should also approve these things which doubtless ought to be redressed: what thing else can we perswade them then that they should retire from this, to their private life, rather then without consci­ence to nourish that mischief which doth of force draw with it the whole wasting and decay of all the Congregation? Yet we hope that the Queens Highness, and so many honourable and good men will in such sort plant their diligence, that rather priviledge of liberty may be granted to the consciences of so many godly and learned brethren, then that these horrible evils should follow: To wit, that the Pastors of the flocks should be constrained either a­gainst the soundness of their consciences to do that which is evil (and so to be chained in other mens sins, or else to resign their ministery, for that third necessity that will ensue this, which is, that against the Princes and Bishops wills, they should exercise their office) we do so much the more tremble at, because of those reasons which of themselves are plain enough, albeit we do not utter them.

It is also desired of us to answer, plainly and truly, Whether we do allow the distinction [Page 9]ordained in the wearing of copes and garments as well for the common use, as for the mini­stery.

We therefore do flatly answer, the cause standing as we do understand, that those men that are authors hereof do deserve most evil of the Church and shall answer at the dreadful bar of Christ his Judgement. For although that we think that that politique order whereby not Citizens alone, but also the degrees of functions are marked and no­ted is not to be discommended, wholly a all: yet we are of opinion that not every mark and note is straight way to be used. For put the case that the Ministers were comman­ded to wear the pide coat of a fool, or the garment of a vice in a play, were it not ma­nifest scorning of the Ministery so to do? And those that use these other garments and apparrel commanded, do seem verily to us to trespass somewhat worse then so, because that the Lord hath not only reared and set us this Priestlike apparel, as a toy to be laughed at even of many of the Papists themselves: But it is also certain, that the same is polluted and defiled with infinite su­perstition. But some men will plead the an­tiquity thereof. Surely they are old, and yet the Apostolique simplicity wherein the Church did flourish, is a great deal more ancient then this. Also, if it please him to wade yet further to search about these mat­ters, [Page 10]it shall be easie enough to shew that these things which after that, did serve for the note and mark of the Ministery were first usual among the people, and common. And therefore whence commeth it, things being altered after so long a season, that this for­reign and strange guise should be retained.

Doth it not come of a zeal both evil and unprofitable? But some men will say, these things for all that are of the middle sort, and indifferent. We grant indeed that they are such, if you will consider them simply, and in their own nature, and apart from all circum­stances; but who are they that will so weigh and consider them? For these men that are yet Papists, what purpose soever this civil Law doth pretend are surely by this meanes esta­blished deeper in this superstition which hath so overgrown them. And these men that be­gan so earnestly to abhor superstition, that they now did detest monuments and reliques thereof. How much are they offended and wounded herein? As for those which are fur­ther, and better learned, what fruit reap they thereof.

And further, is this difference and mark of the functions of such importance, that there­fore the consciences of so many should be trou­bled: especially seeing the reason and pur­pose thereof newly set a broach is but drawn even from those that are themselves the mani­fest sworn enemies to sound doctrine? What [Page 11]meaneth it also, that of those also that are termed to be Ecclesiastically brought up and are in the Ministery not the smallest part are said to have their Papistry in their breasts about with them? Is this the good hour where­in they shall better profit by restoring of this attire? Or shall they not rather vaunt their crests as in hope to have Popery restored again? If any shall object the circumcising of Timothy, and otherlike examples: we right earnestly pray him to consider what Paul would have said, if any man should have made this Law, that every man that is in the Mini­stery of the Gospel, shall be constrained to wear the Garments of the Pharisees, or that they in the apparel of prophane Priests should Preach the Gospel, and administer the Sacraments, and not onely circumcise their children, notwithstanding, that under some colour of reason, this civil commandement might set forth the same; yea to what end are these things brought in? for howsoever they might at first be to lerated, till that by little and little they might be taken away, yet be­ing once removed out of the Churches, we see not with what commodity they can be resto­red to their possession again. Therefore we do eftsoons repeate that we before said, that we cannot allow this devise, nor yet hope for any good to ensue thereof. Notwithstand­ing, we will gladly give over this opinion, if we shall learn better reason therefore. What [Page 12]then (will the brethren say on whom these things are so thrown) judge you what we ought to do herein? We answer, that there needeth in this answer a distinction. For the case of the Ministers, and the case of the peo­ple are not all one herein; Furthermore, many things may, yea, and ought to be born and tollerated, which are notwithstanding not justly commanded. First, therefore we an­swer, that albeit these things (as we judge) are not rightly restored to their possession in the Congregations, yet, seeing that they are not of those kind of things which are of their own nature impious and ungodly, they seem to us not to be of such weight, that the Shep­heards should rather give over their functions, than receive the apparel, or that the flock should refuse the publike food of the soul, rather then to receive the same from the Shep­heards that is apparelled herein: onely, that as well the Shepheards, as their flocks may not sin against their consciences (so that the purity of Doctrine it self remain untouched) we do perswade the Ministers, after they have both before the Queens highness, and also before the Bishops, set their consciences at liberty by modest protestation (as doth apper­taine to such Christians as seek not sedition and tumult) and yet grave according to the importance of the cause, that they do indeed openly in their parish, still beat upon those things that may serve to the utter taking [Page 13]away of the stumbling block. And that as God shall give occasion they will wholly give themselves both wisely and meekly to correct all those abuses, but yet to bear those things which they cannot streight way charge, rather then forsaking their Congregation they should give occasion to Sathan, that seeking nothing else to stir up greater and more perilous mis­chiefs then these. As for the people (the doctrine remaining unhurt) we do exhort them that for all these things they will diligently hear the same, to use the Sacraments religi­ously, and so long to groan to God with ear­nest amendment of life until thy obtain of him that which doth appertain to the full redress and amendment of the Church.

But again, if that Ministers be commanded not onely to tollerate these things, but also that they shall with their subscriptions allow them as lawful, or else by their stilness foster them, what can we else perswade them to do, but that having witnessed their innocency [...]nd in the fear of the Lord tryed all meanes, they should give over their functions to open wrong. But our hearts betide us of Eng­la [...]d much better things then these extremi­ties.

It is demanded of us, what we do judge of the trolling and discanning of the Psalmes, cros­sing of those babes that shall be baptized, and of the demands in baptisme, also of the round [Page 14]unleavened waffer cake, and kneeling in the Lords Supper.

We answer, that kind of singing seemeth to be the corruption of the pure ancient Church service, and glorifying of God therein. And as for crossing of babes, whatsoever practice there hath been thereof in the time of old, yet is it most certain that it is truly in these days through so late greenness of the superstition so most abominable, as that we judge those men to have done assuredly well that have once driven this Rite out of the Congregation, whereof also we see not what the profit is. And we doubt not but the de­mands in Baptisme have crept into the Church upon this occasion, because that through the negligence of the Bishops the same forme of baptizing of children was retained, which at the first rearing of the Primative Church, was to be used at the baptizing of those that being of years did enter the profession of Christ. This thing also we may perceive by many the like yet in use in the popish baptisme. Wherefore even as the cream and charm used in baptisme are by Gods Law abolished, although they were ancient, so wish we also these demand­ings, being not onely vaine but foolish, should be also passed over, albeit that S. Augustine himself doth seem in an Epistle of his to su­staine it by certain devised construction.

The bread, whether it ought to be made [Page 15]with leaven or without, we think it not great­ly to be striven for, although we judge it mor­fit and consonant with Christs institution to have the bread at the Communion, which is used at the common table; for why did the Lord use unleavened bread? because that in that hour wherein he thought good to insti­tute his holy Supper, not one man in all Jewry used any other. Therefore it behoveth us to restore the Jewish feast of unleavened bread, or else must it be granted, that tis better to use the common and accustomed bread of all Ta­bles, according to the example of Christ, not­withstanding that the bread that he then took was unleavened: For of the practise of the Primative Church which the Greek Church doth yet in this behalf retain, we over passe to write of.

Furthermore, kneeling at the very receipt of the Sacrament, hath in it a shew of Godly and Christian reverence, and might there­fore in times past be used with profit, yet for all that, because out of this fountain the de­testable use of bread-worship did follow, and doth it in these days stick in many minds, it seemeth to us that it was justly abolished out from the Congregation. Therefore, we do beseech the most good and great God, that it would please him to instruct both the Q. Maje­sties highness, and also the Bishops with such devise as shall be most needful for the perfect doing out of these filthes, and that at once. In [Page 16]mean time, because these things, also are not such as are in their own nature Idolatrous, we do judge that they ought so to be dealt with, as we have advised in the things going next before.

It is demanded of us, whether we allow that Baptisme which is administred by Mid­wives?

We answer, that not only we disallow the Baptisme as the rest of things before spoken of, but that we do judge it also intolerable. For it is a thing that hath risen as well of ig­norance of the very use or Baptisme, as the publique ministery of the Church. We judge therefore that the Ministers are bound sharply to rebuke this abuse, muchless ought they to hold this false baptisme for good and firm. the reason why the learned on our side have often declared. And we are also ready when it shall be needful to declare.

It is also reported unto us, that the keys of binding and loosing are practised in certain courts of the Bishops, neither by the sentences and judgments of Elders, which office that Church hath not yet received, nor acording to the word of God: But the authority of certain Lawyers and other like, which is more, often times by the authority of some one man, and that also for such kind of actions as are pure money [Page 17]matters, even as the misuse of the same was in Popery.

Whereto we answer that it seemeth to us almost incrediable that any such customes and examples (being most perverse) should be used in that Kingdome, whereas purity and soundness of Doctrine is. For the right of excommunication and binding of the offen­der shall be found never to have been before the time of the Papists in the power and hand of one sole person, but did appertain to all the whole Eldership, from which also the people themselves were not rashly shut out. Because this also the Lawyers-like hearing of suits that appertain to livings did fall to the Bi­shops charge altogether through abuse. For that place wherein the Apostle talketh of days-men, umpires at Corinth, is to no purpose, whereas the Majestrate is a Christian: nor did the Apostle ever think to burthen the Elder­ship with the hearing of such meer civil cau­ses. And it is most certain, that the Bishops of the elder Age of the Church, have had the determining of such controversies, not for any authority that they had therein, but through the importunity of suters, and that as houshoulders, umpires and dayes-men also, notwitstanding among those men where this were shewed unto, those did most wisely go­vern themselves which chose rather to follow the example of Christ our Saviour, who re­fused [Page 18]to be the umpire in dividing of the pa­trimony, or else judge in the matter of adul­tery, when both the same were preferred un­to him.

Therefore, if in England any thing be done contrary to this, surely we ought to think that by such sentences and judgements, there is not any man before God any more bound then by the Popish excommunications. And we wish that this torment-house of consci­ences and lothsome prophanation of the Ec­clesiastical and meer spiritual jurisdiction might by the authority of the Queens Maje­stie out of hand be abolished, no otherwise then the marring of the very Doctrine it self. And that Eldership and Deacons may be re­stored and set up according to the word of God and canons of the pure Church, which thing, if it be not done, verily we are sore afraid that this onely thing will be the begin­ning of many calamities which we would God would turn away from us. For it is most cer­tain that the son of God will one day from heaven roughly revenge these manifest abuses, wherewith the consciences of our brethren are troubled, except speedy redress be had therein.

In the mean whiles, the things which are not well done by the one party, may be well enough tolerated (as we think) by those men which bear the thing which they cannot change. Yet thus far, as that they allow not [Page 19]the thing it self for good, but do onely re­deem their unjust disquieting by patience. But if so be that they shall be forced, not one­ly to tolerate this faction but also to approve this excommunication as lawful, and be con­strained to ask unlawful absolution; to assent to this manifest abuse, we then exhort them that they will rather suffer any kind of trou­ble then to do herein against their conscien­ces. But to what end is all this? For verily, we do promise our selves much better things then these, yea, of all things the best even at this pinch, especially of that realm, in which the restoring of Christian Religion hath been sealed and confirmed with the blood of so ma­ny excellent Martyrs also. Onely we fear this, least that which hath befallen so many Contries should happen to England, to wit, least because the due fruits of repentance are not brought forth, the angry God should double our darkness, the light of his Gospel being first taken from us. Of this contents are our dayly Preachings in our Congregations, and verily we think the same ought to be done of all Ministers of Gods word, especially in these our dayes. That they chiefly set forwards this principle of the Gospel which doth an­pertain to earnest amendment of life. For this point atchieved, undoubtedly the Lord shall give both counsel and zeal and all things else which do necessarily appertaine to the accomplishment of the reparation of the [Page 10]Church, already begun. And before all we do require, and with tears humbly crave, that our good and right worshipful in the Lord, the brethren of the English Churches, all bitterness of mind set a part, which we surely fear, after what sort it hath on either fide forced this evil, would patiently bear and suffer each other, so long as purity of Christian doctrine it self, and soundness of conscience doth remain, Willingly to obey the Queens Majesty, who is full of compassion, and all other Prelates. And finally, that with all concord minds in the Lord, if they manly set against Satan, who seeketh all occasion of tumult and infinite calamities: yea, al­though they have not like judgment of all forts of Prelates at the first. For this our writing God is our witness, doth not tend to this purpose, that either part should use it against other as that we should send it to you as an Apple of contention: Although we have concerning these matters declared our judgments, even simply, as upon a supposed case, (God is our witness) being overcome with the continual suit of our brethren. And we joyne our daily prayers to the groanings of all the godly on that side the Seas, that it may please the most merciful God, having com­passion on mans frailite, to direct the Queens highness, and all the Nobles of the Realm of England. Also every prelate; and finally cack workman of this spiritual building with [Page 15]his holy Spirit most effectuously, so as the work of the Lord so often begun, and so often stay­ed, may happily be set forward, to the great quietness and concord of all men, not onely the old staines in the doctrine it self and Ec­clesiastical discipline also, being at length ut­terly done out, but also all monstrousness offerers, and which Satan newly seeketh, to bring into the Church again, driven away. which vouchsafe to bring to pass through his holy spirit, the most kind father in Jesus Christ, his very son eternal and consubstantial with him, in which persons, we profess one God, and not divers, ought to be worshipped for ever, Amen.

Your brethren in Christ to all your godli­nesse most assured,
  • Theodorus Beza, &c.
  • Jo. Gaiagnaezius.
  • Ge. Favergius.
  • Jo. Parnillus.
  • Slm. Golerlius.
  • Cor. Barlierdus.
  • Remundus Calvetus.
  • Jo. Tremlerus.
  • Car. P.
  • Kuds Faverius.
  • Pet. Carpenterus.
  • Hen. S.
  • Nicolas Coladonus.
  • Johan. Pinaldus.
  • Egid. Causcus.
  • Vrb. Calvetus.
  • Fransc. Portus.
  • Abden. Dupleus.

A Coppie of the Letter sent to the Bishops and Pastors of England, who hath renounced the Roman Anti­christ, and profess the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
The superintendent Ministers, and Commissio­ners of charges within the Realm of Scotland: To their Brethren the Bishops and Pastors of England, who hath renounced the Roman An­tichrist, and do profess with them the Lord Jesus in sincerity, desire the perpetual increase of the holy Spirit.

BY word and writ, it is come to our know­ledge (reverend Pastors) that divers of our dearest brethren, amongst whom are some of the best learned within that Realm, are deprived from Ecclesiastical function, and forbidden to preach, and so by you that they are straight to promote the Kingd me of Je­sus Christ, because their consciences will not suffer to take upon them (at the comman­dement of the authority) such garments as Idolaters in time of blindness have used in their Idolatry, which brute cannot be but [Page 23]most dolorous to our hearts, mindful of that sentence of the Apostle, saying, If ye bite and devoure one another; take heed least ye be consumed one of another. We pur­pose not at this present to enter into the ground of that question which we hear of, either part to be agitate with greater vehe­mency then well liketh us: to wit, whether that such apparel is to be counted amongst things that are simple indifferent or not, but in the bowels of the Lord Jesus we crave that Christian charity may so prevail in you, we say, the Pastors and leaders of the flock within that Realm.

That ye do not to others that which you would not others should do to you. Ye cannot be ignorant how tender a thing the conscience of man is. All that have know­ledg are not a like perswaded, your con­sciences reclaimes not at wearing of such garments, but many thousands both godly and learned, are otherwise perswaded, whose consciences are continually stricken with these sentences; what hath Christ Jesus to do with Belial? What fellowship is there betwixt darkness and light? If Surpluce, Corner cap, and Tippit have been badges of Idolaters in the very act of their Idolatry, what hath the preachers of Christian liberty, and the open rebuker of all Superstition to [Page 14]do with the dregs of the Romish Beast? Our brethren that of Conscience refuse that unprofitable apparel, do neither damne yours, or molest you that use such vain tri­fles: If you shall do the like to them, we doubt not but therein ye shall please God, and comfort the hearts of many which are wounded with extremity, which is used against those godly, and our beloved bre­thren. Colour of Rhetorick, or manly per­swasion will we use none, but charitably we desire you to call that sentence of pitty to mind: Feed the flock of God which is committed to your charge, caring for them, not by constraint, but willingly, not as though ye were Lords over Gods Heritage, but that ye may be examples to the flock. And further also, we desire you to meditate that sentence of the Apostle saying, Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Grecians, nor to the Church of God. In what condition of time ye and we both tra­vel in the promoting of Christs Kingdome, we suppose you not to be ignorant. And therefore we are more bold to exhort you to walk more circumspectly, then that for such varities, the godly should be troubled. For all things that may seem lawful, edifie not. If the Commandement of authority urge the conscience of yours and our brethren [Page 22]more then they can bear; we unfainedly crave of you, that ye remember that ye are called the light of the world and the earth:

All civil authority hath not the light of God alwayes shining before their eyes in the Statutes and commandements, but their affections oft-time, savour too much of the earth, and of worldly wisdome.

And therefore we think that ye should boldly oppone your selves to all power, that will or dare extol it self, not onely against God, but also against all such as do burthen the consciences of the faithful farther then God hath burthened them by his own word. But here in we confess our offence in that we have entered farther in reasoning then we purposed and promised at the beginning. And therefore we shortly return to our for­mer humble supplication, which is, that our brethren, who among you refuse the Ro­mish rags, may find of you the Prelates such favours, as our head and Master commands every one of his members to shew one to another, while we look to receive of your gentleness, not onely for that ye fear to of­fend Gods Majesty, in troubling of your brethren for such vain trifles. But also, be­cause ye will not refuse the humble requests of us your brethren, and fellow Preachers of Christ Jesus, in whom, albeit there appeare [Page 26]no great worldly pomp, yet we suppose you will not so far despise us, but that ye will esteem us to be of the number of those that fight against that Roman Antichrist, and travel that the kingdome of Christ Jesus uni­versally may be maintained and advanced. The dayes are evil. Iniquitie abounds. Chri­stian charitie (alas) is waxen cold. And therefore we ought the more diligently to watch. For the hour is uncertain, when the Lord Jesus shall appear, before whom we your brethren, and ye may give an account of our administration.

And thus in conclusion, we once again crave favour to our brethren, which grant­ed, ye in the Lord shall command us in things of double more importance. The Lord Jesus rule your hearts in his true fear to the end, and give unto you and unto us victory over that conjured enemy of all true Religion; to wit, over that Roman Anti­christ, whose wounded head Sathan by all meanes labours to cure again, but to de­struction shall he, and his maintainers go by the power of the Lord Jesus: To whose mighty power and protection we heartily commit you.

Subscribed by the hands of Superinten­dents, one part of Ministers, and scribed in our general Assemblies and fourth Session [Page 27]thereof, At Edenbrough, the 38, day of Decemb. 1566.

Your loving brethren and follow Preachers in Christ Jesus.
  • Jo. Craig.
  • Da. Lyndesay.
  • Guil. Gislisomus.
  • Io. Spottiswood.
  • Io. Row.
  • Rob. Pont.
  • Io. VViram.
  • Iaco. Mailvil.
  • Io. Erskin.
  • Nic. Spital.

Thus have you heard in these two letters, the indgments of those excellent Churches of the French and Scottish touching the things in controversie. Now if to these I should add all other which are of the same judg­ment and of their opinion: the number of Churches would be so many, that the ad­versaries would evidently see and perceive what small cause they have to charge us thus with singularitie, as though we were post alone, and none to be of our opinion. And it may here also be noted, that the most ancientest fathers of this our own country, [Page 28]as Master Coverdale, Master Doctor Tur­ner, Master Whitehead, and many others, some dead, some yet living, from whose mouths and pens, the urgers of these recei­ved first the light of the Gospel, could ne­ver be brought to yeeld or consent unto such things as are now forced vvith so great extremity.

The answer and judgment of that famous and excellent learned man Ma­ster Iohn Calvin the late Pastor of Gene­ [...]a, touching the Book of England after that he had perused the same faithfully translated out of Latin by Mr. Whittingham.
To the godly and learned men, Masler John Knox, and Master William Whitting­ham, his faithful brethren at Frankford, &c.

THis thing truly grieveth me very much, and it is a great shame that contention should arise among brethren banished and driven out of their country for one faith, and for that cause which onely ought to have holden you bound together, as it were with an holy band in this your dispersion. For what might you do better in this dole­rous and miserable plague, then (being pul­led [Page 30]violently from your countrie) to pro­cure your selves a Church, which should re­ceive and nourish you (being joyned toge­ther in minds and language) in her mother­ly lap? But now for some men to strive as touching the forme of Prayer and for ceti­monies as though ye were at rest and prospe­rity, and to suffer that to be an impediment that ye cannot there joyne into one body of the Church (as I think) it is too much out of season.

Yet notwithstanding I allow their con­stancie which strive for a just cause, being forced against their wills unto conten­tion. I do worthily condemne froward­ness, which doth hinder and stay the ho­ly carefulness of reforming the Church.

And as I behave my self gentle and tra­ctable in mean things (as external Ceremo­nies) so do I not always judg it profitable to give place to the foolish stoutness, which will forsake nothing of their own wonted custome. In the Liturgie of England, I see that there were many tolerable foolish things; by these words I mean, Manyt lera­ble foolish things in the book by Cal­vins judgment that there was not the puritie which was to be desired. These vices, though they could not at the first day be amended, yet seeing there was manifest impietie, they were for a season to be tolera­ted. Therefore, it was lawful to begin of [Page 13]such rudiments or Absedaries, but so, that it behoved the learned, grave and godly Mi­nisters of Christ to enterprise farther, and so set forth something more filed from rust, and purer. If godly Religion had flourished till this day in England, there ought to have been a thing better corrected and many things clean taken away. Now, when these principles be overthrown, a Church must be set up in another place, where ye may free­ly make an order again, which shall be ap­parent to be most commodious to the use and edification of the Church. I cannot tell what they mean, which so greatly delight in the leavings of Popish dregs. The book tri­sling and chil­dish by Calvins judgment. They love the things whereunto they are accustomed. First of all, this is a thing both trifling and chil­dish. Furthermore, this new Order far dif­fereth from a change.

Therefore, as I would not have you fierce over them whose infirmity will not suffer to assend an higher step: So would I adve [...]tise other, that they please not themselves too much in their foolishness. Also, that by their frowardness, they do not let the course of the holy building, Last of all, lest that foolish vain-glory steal them away. For what cause have they to contend, except it be for that they are ashamed to give place to better things? But I speak in vain to them [Page 18]which perchance esteem me not so well, as they will vouchsafe to admit the counsel that cometh from such an author. If they fear the evil rumour in England, as though they had fallen from that Religion, which was the cause of their banishment, they are far de­ceived, for this true and sincere Religion will rather compel them that there remain, faith­fully to consider into what deep gulf they have fallen. For their downfal shall more grievously wound them, when they perceive your going forward beyond mid course, from the which they are turned. Far-ye wel dear­ly beloved brethren, and faithful Servants of Christ, the Lord defend and govern you,


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