Historical Reflections ON THE BISHOP OF ROME: CHIEFLY DISCOVERING Those Events of Humane Affaires which most advanced THE PAPAL ƲSƲRPATION.


OXFORD, Printed by Hen: Hall, for Ric. Davis; and are to be Sold by S. Thompson at the Bishops Head in St Pauls Church-yard, 1660.


THese Reflections having laine by me, long enough to coole the heat of my invention; upon a late review of them; I was embold­n [...]d to this Publication. And here I dare promise the Reader, that he shall not meet with Crambe bis cocta, or a meer garbling of other mens labours. For amongst all the various Tracts written against the Pope, there never came any into my hands of the same kind. Now if the novelty hereof shall invite any one to a perusal, perhaps he will not altogether repent his pains; especially if he intend for Historical Know­ledg. In regard that this Treatise, may serve as a Prae­monstratour or Pointer out, of the most remarkable revo­lutions in Ecclesiastique affairs, and the most notable jun­ctures of time.

The thing which I chiefly aime at in the ensuing dis­course is, to make it appeare; That the Hierarchical Po­licy of the Roman Church, was not extant in the Lear­ned times, when the old Roman Empire flourisht: But was contrived in the daies of ignorance, between the Bi­shops of Rome, and the Leaders or Princes of the Bar­barians. [Page]Nor would the truth of this assertion be in the least manner doubted; were we not almost benighted with darke ignorance, in reference to preceeding ages. For as on the one hand; an infinite number of Books, have been partly abolished, partly counterfeited, and Partly a­dulterated or corrupted: So on the other hand; Those Books which remaine entire, are for the most part written, either by unskilful or partial pens. However from the very present records, an unpraejudic [...]d man though of or­dinary parts may gather; That the modern Policy which fashions a great part of the world, as well in Church as State did take it's beginning, since the inundations of the Northerne People.

July the 20. 1660.


I have not quoted any Authours, for these Passages which are reflected on, in the following Treatise. When I read the Historians, whence the foundation of my discourse is gathered, it was not in my thoughts to make use of them this way. Afterwards reflecting on the series of affairs in Christendome, and framing several medita­tions thereupon: Though I very well remembred the Historians; yet I had forgot the names of many Historians whence I gathered it. Neverthelesse I can assure the Reader, that I have hardly mention'd any Historical passage, which is not very obvious, in one of these three Authours, Blondus, Baronius, and Platina.

CHAP. I. That the Roman Bishops had no supremacy over the Primitive Christians.

I Have often delighted to trace out in my mind, the footsteps of the papal usurpations. And perhaps it will please the Reader, to give him in one view, the several steps or degrees, by which the Roman Bishop rose unto such a heigth; as to trample upon the necks, not only of his fellow Bi­shops, but also of Kings and Emperours themselves. For that the Pope did not from the beginning enjoy, his present great and Lordly power, but arrived unto it by several gradations, in a long processe of time; none but those who are either wholy ignorant of Hi­story, or else swayed with invincible prejudice can offer to deny. It being manifest on all hands, that in the Primitive times, the Roman Bishops were not [Page 2]taken notice of, as superiours to all others; much lesse as sole Vicars under Christ, and infallible dictatours of Divine truth. Indeed you may meet in the ancient Authours, with commendations given unto the faith, professed by the Bishops of Rome. Which is no won­der to him that considers, how pious at first they were in their lives, how glorious in their deaths, bea­ring witnesse to the Truth under Persecution. Be­sides, when the whole Christian world was under one Empire, and Rome the Metropolis or Emperial Ci­ty; It was but rational, that the new and rising sect of the Christians, should bestow the notabl'st men of their party in that place. Hence it came to passe, that the Fathers dwelling in the Provinces, when they contested with Hereticks, did often commend the Roman Faith: as it were upbraiding their Antagonists, with a departure from those, who resided in the Metro­polis of the Empire, where usually Learning and Reli­gion doe most flourish.

And to speak the truth; That advantage which the Roman Bishops had, by dwelling in the Emperial Ci­ty, was the chiefe temptation, at first inducing them to affect a supremacy. For that the dignity and grandeur of a City, or place of residence, was wont to put spirits into the Bishops residing therein, Rome is not the onely example. So did Alexandria puffe up her Bishops. So did Jerusalem Hers. So especially did Constan­tinople, make John the Constantinopolitan swell with ambition and pride, affecting the title of Oecumeni­cal Bishop. Nay, which you'l more wonder at, even so [Page 3]did Ravenna, when proud with Exarchs, animate her Bishop also, in contending with the Roman for supe­riority. Which contention went so far, that the Church of Ravenna by reason of her separation from Rome, was commonly called Allocephalis. Now by how much the renowned and ancient Rome, was more venerable in the eyes of men, than other Cities; by so much had the Roman Bishops a fairer opportunity than others, to put themselves forward, and usurp an unlawfull power. Nor needed they to be minded of this advantage: such of them as were of haughty spirits, beginning betimes to make use of it; amongst whom I may justly reckon Leo surnamed the Great. For he and severall others did take all occasions to send pragmaticall letters, up and down the world about e­very important businesse, which happened in Christen­dome.

Neverthelesse let no one be afraid of the Roman Bishops, and be ready to ascribe unto them an univer­sall Diocesse, when he finds them frequently sending stately letters, to the Bishops throughout the Chri­stian world. Many of those letters recorded in the book, entitled Epistolae decretales summorum Pontifi­cum are false and counterfeit; many adulterated or cor­rupted; and many if true, are so haughtily written, as to argue the Authours pride, but not his power. For in the pimitive times, the Christian Bishops did gene­rally (and not only the Roman) write often to their fellow Bishops, in whatsoever place they resided. And this they did whether they had any power one over the [Page 4]other or no, meerly from a Principle of love or Chri­stian charity. Which familiar epistolary entercourse with one another, was in those daies laudable, and all­most necessary: In regard the whole Christian world was at that time under one Empire. Consequently they were obliged, to exhort and admonish one another, upon a twofold respect. Partly grounded on that in­terest, which members of the same Commonwealth, especially those of the same rank have with one ano­ther: And partly grounded on that spiritual com­munion, which ought to be between believers, espe­cially those of the same calling.

But alas, had the world been perswaded in the primitive times, that the letters of the Roman Bi­shop were not onely charitative advisoes; but dicta­torian mandates necessary to be obeyed: As procee­ding forsooth from one, whom Christ had appointed head of his Church, and an oracle whence nothing but veritable answers should be heard. I say, had such a perswasion possessed the minds of men; They would have made it the common subject of their praises and thanksgiving. Without question many Panegyricall orations, and many homilies would have been made, upon no other theme or text, than the praises of the Roman See, ‘and thanks unto God, for bestowing on the Christians, a visible unerring decider of controver­sie.’ Whereas on the contrary, if we peruse the ancient Writers, we shall plainly perceive; how little the noise was, which the Roman Bishops did make in their daies: So little that I much wonder they were no [Page 5]more talkt of, considering (as I said before) their resi­dence in the Metropol [...] [...], and their virtues emi­nent in the first Bishops [...] not the Fathers been very malignant in this case, (if the papal pretenses were true) not to leave it set down expresly in any of their writings, That Christ made Peter the head of his Church, and gave unto him an infallible spirit: As also that Peter being Bishop of Rome, The following Bishops in that City succeeded, him not only in his Bishoprick; but likewise in his great priviledges of headship and in­fallibility. Moreover, did not the Fathers trouble themselves to no purpose in toyling to make laborious confutations of hereticks, if they might have had present recourse to a visible unerring authority, in de­cision of controversies. So that suppose the Here­ticks had refused to submit unto this authority; The maine worke should have been not to confute their o­pinions, but to convince them of the duty of their obe­dience to the supreme judg.

For my own part I verily believe, that if the Bi­shops of Rome had been acknowledged in the primi­tive times, to be what he pretends to in these daies; The eyes of all nations would have been upon, that see; to revere it, to honour it, to bow down before it in the submission of their understandings. Nay further, I am really perswaded; Had Christ intended such a supreme power in his Church: Seeing it doth so high­ly import the Church's welfare to be generally known; We should have had it set down in Scripture, with as expresse termes, as we find Justification by faith, or [Page 6]the resurrection of the dead. But now on the contra­ry, what is there left by [...] Penmen, which may be said to patronize, the [...] and infallibility of Pe­ter, and the Roman Bishops [...] As for Peter; how easy were it for me, to evacuate those trivial arguments, which are drawn from Scripture concerning him? which I forbeare to doe, because it is not my intent, to insist upon Logical arguments either pro or con; but only to reflect on Historical passages.

Wherefore I cannot chuse but take notice, that when Peter came to Antioch; he walked not according to the truth; but was guilty of a great scandall, and thereupon withstood to the face by Paul. Who makes it his businesse in the two first Chapters to the Galatians, to prove himselfe equall with the rest of the Apostles. Nay when Peter (to speak according to their own phrase) was in Cathedra; in the midst of a Coun­cel of Apostles, and other brethren: The definitive sentence to which all did assent, proceeded from the mouth of James.

As for the Roman Bishop, you must not look to have any hint of him in Scripture. Peter never being taken notice of, under such a capacity: Nay, Paul in those several Epistles, which he wrote either to or from Rome, doth not so much as mention Peter. Which is some­what strange, if Peter did dwell in that City. For Paul is solicitous, in mentioning severall others farre lesse considerable; whom he doth either salute, or send salutations from to others. But what if it should be granted that Peter was at Rome? I am confident it [Page 7]would trouble the whole Papacy, to prove that ever he was Bishop of that City. Paul it's certain was there, and those who contend that Peter was too, doe gene­rally hold, they were both martired at the same time, the one by the Sword, the other by the Crosse. Why then was Peter Bishop, and not Paul? I'me sure the Scripture saith, that Paul was entrusted with the Gos­pel of the Uncircumcision, as Peter with that of the Circumcision: Nay James, and Peter, and John, did solemnly give the right hands of fellowship, unto Bar­nabas and Paul; That they should goe to the Gentiles, and themselves unto those of the Circumcision.

CHAP. II. How or by what causes the Pope was advanced to a supremacy in the Church.

BUt I shall not trouble my selfe any longer, to make it appeare; that neither Peter, nor the pri­mitive Bishops of Rome, had that power, which the later Bishops pretend to derive from them: There being few in our Nation, that will gainsay the truth of what I have said. Wherefore having allready made, such briefe remarques, as plainly evince the Pope to be an usurper: I am now come to what I did chiefely intend, namely to lay down the several steps or de­grees, by which he was advanc'd in his usurpations. This I shall doe by reflecting on the events of humane affairs, and giving an account in order, of the several causes; which did cooperate towards the bringing of the intolerable Roman yoake, on the necks of our Fore­fathers.

The first Cause therefore was, The removing of the Empertal seat by Constantine. For though a good while after him, there were Westerne as well as Eastern Emperours. yet after the [...] on Italy, by the He­ruls first, and then the Goths; The Emperial Majesty did entirely reside at Constantinople. Now this City [Page 9]by Constantines means, was grown so magnificent and august, that it was dearer to the Emperours, than Rome in selfe. Insomuch that when Bellisarius and Narses, had recovered Italy from the Goths; The Emperours never affected, to goe and reside at old Rome, by which means the Bishop thereof, gained the more elbow rome to play REX.

Secondly, The residing of the Italian exarchs at Ra­venna. Justine the second was Authour of the Exar­chy; to which kind of government the Italian writers impute, most of the calamities afterwards befalling Italy. But indeed it was the occasion of an other guise calamity, than they were aware of. For now neither the Emperour himselfe, nor so much as his Exarch re­sided at Rome: only a petty companion, who was sent by the Exarchs to praeside over the City; and was called Duke, in the same manner as the governour of Narni, Spoleto, and other townes of Italy. Hence it came to passe, that the splendour of Emperiall Majesty being far removed, from the eyes of the Roman people: Their Bishops shone so much the brighter, and gaind a pro­portionable increase of veneration.

Thirdly; The comming of the Lombards into Italy; who intending the finall conquest of that Country for themselves; made it their businesse to destroy the pow­er of the Emperour, whom they found Lord thereof. Wherefore as soone as the Emperour began to cha­stise, the Insolency of any Roman Bishop, (who now by reason of the aforementioned causes began to play tricks) The Lombard was at hand to help him. Again [Page 10]on the otherside, when the Lombard out of a desire to. win Rome it selfe, fell foule with it's Bishop; The Em­perour for fear of loosing his dominion, was faine to helpe him, whom before he did endeavour to punish Marke how capriciously things in those daies stood, and how exceeding well they suited with the Roman Bishop Whensoever he had to doe with the Lombard, he was sure of the Emperous help; And when he contended with his Master, the Barbarian presently took his part. Thus did he rivet himselfe into his Authority, between the Emperour and the Lombard; till at last by the helpe of the French, He brought them both below himselfe, as to any Italian Domi­nion.

Fourthly; The reputation of Gregory, the first Roman Bishop of that name, who was sir named the Great. This man lived in the hottest season of the Barbarian vio­lence, when the Empire of the Romans and their lear­ning failed. In such an age as that was; he being en­dowed with great natural parts, and well accomplisht with acquired perfections, did easily overtop his con­temporaries. Before he was Bishop; By his retiring for devotion's sake to the private life of a Monk; By his zealous turning his own house at Rome into a Mo­nastery; In general, by his outward austerity and sanctity of life, he so gained upon the Roman people; that they would not part with him, when he proffered to goe into Brittany, for to convert the Saxons. And when he was sent to Constantinople upon publique em­ployment, he quickly obtained the Emperour's favour. [Page 11]Afterwards when he was chosen Bishop; By his zeale in continuing to write volume upon volume concerning the Christian Doctrine; As also in destroying the Heathen Authours, and those goodly buildings at Rome, which he feared might tempt the admiring be­holders to hanker after the ancient Roman glory; By his new modelling the Christian worship, adding ma­ny inventions of his own, to make it more splendid and pompous in vulgar eyes; By his converting the English Saxons; By these and many other waies he grew renowned in the world, and filled Christendome with his name. Nor did his glory expire with his life; About an hundred years after this Gregory, our Bede in the West, and Monke Damascene in the East, were passionate in their respects for him, and highly magni­fied him in their writings. Nay generally the Monks for a long time, did so reverence his memory that he seemed to eclipse the primitive Fathers. Now this great esteem and high valuation which the world had of Gregory the first, did redound upon the Roman See, and proved notably advantageous for his successours. But nothing more strengthned their hands, than his converting our English Nation. No people in the world for a long time after were more prodigal of their bloud, more enpensive of their estates, in behalfe of the Roman Bishops, than our English: No people more earnest in their devotion to Rome. This can be attributed to nothing else, but their conversion by Gre­gory, and to that impression which his memory had left in the minds of their Ancestours, and was handed along [Page 12]from father to sonne. Nay what say ye, if at this very day; the Gregorian praises be fresh amongst our En­glish Papists, who also have a tender regard for the me­mory of their Convertor Austin, and love the very Be­nedictines for his sake?

Fifthly; The prodigious growth of the Saracenical Empire, founded by Mahomet in the time of Heracltus. The Saracens cut out so much worke, for the Graecian Emperour in his Easterne provinces that he was forced to neglect, and at last give over his interest in the West. Now this may be observed all along in History; that the weakning of the Emperours, was the strengthning of the Popes.

Sixthly; The general deluge of Barbarians, over­whelming the Romans in the West, much about the same time that the Saracens did in the East. Pannonia, Italie, Spaine, France, Brittain, were all over-run not many years after one another. These Barbarians comming from Climates, frozen with ignorance as well as cold, did both give and receive, a Conquest. As they Con­quered the Romans, by their Sword: So they were reciprocally foild by the Roman Learning and Religion. Now the Bishop of Rome, was the grand instrument of their conversion. For in those times of general deso­lation, he best held his own; and was most eminent in the eyes of the Barbarians, by reason of his residence in that Renowned City; concerning which, before their passage over the Rhine and the Danow, they had heard their Fathers speak of old. How feasable then was it, for him to foist what he pleas'd into the beliefe of [Page 13]those men, who newly came from worshipping such kind of Gods, as Aegypt was wont to adore? A­las those silly soules, taken up with amazement at a discovery of the true God, had neither leasure nor abi­lity to attend, the observing of those obtruded foppe­ries, which they did imbibe together with the prin­ciples of their Religion: Wherefore if he that first told them, of an omnipotent eternal God, whose seat was in the highest Heavens; and of a Crucified Sa­viour, did at the same time tell them of a St Peter and his Successour; Tis no wonder that they believed one, as well as the other. If Valens the Emperour be an Arrian, then all those whom he converts will be Arrians too. For it is well known; that the Visigoths flying from before the approaching Hun, when they had obtained their request from Valens, for a quiet Habitation in Thrace, did not only receive from him the Doctrine of Christ, but that of Arrius also: In­somuch that they and their posterity for a long time after, did stoutly maintain Arrianism. So great a prevalency hath that Doctrine, which is first seated in the spirits of men. Here I shall crave leave of the reader, to make a small digression concerning Baronius, with a promise to trouble him so no more. Baronius in his annals will needs have it, contrary to several Historians; that these Goths were converted to Chri­stianity, long before the time of Valens. His reason is, because in the time of Constantine, they had a Bishop named Theophilus, present at the Nicene Councel. But I suppose nothing can be lawfully concluded thence, [Page 14]excepting this; that some few of them were Christians in the dayes of Constantine: For my part, that the body of their nation was converted, before their en­trance into Thrace, by the permission of Valens, I see no reason to believe.

Seventhly; The Collusion between Zacharias the third, and Pipin Major domo to the King of France, Pipin made use of Zacharias's authority, towards the decision of that ridiculous question; which was so so­lemnly sent to Rome. Namely; Whether he that had the name and title of a King only, being given to idlenesse: or he that was active and exercised the office and power of a King, deserved to weare the regal diademe? Which in plain termes was this; Whether Chilperick King of France, descended from the ancient race of Kings, having out of respect to his own ease, entrusted the ma­nagement of affairs with his servant Pipin; might not be turned out of that throne, which his ancestours had so long enjoyed, by his own servant, whom he had un­advisedly rais'd, to a Capacity of doing it if he would? The good Pope was not ashamed of this senselesse que­stion, nor needed he to be instructed, how profitable it was to judge for the strongest: At length it came to this, that King Chilperick's head was shaven, and his man Pipin's wore the Crown. Now Pipin having made use of pontificial authority to cheat the poore Francks of their King, and to invade the temporal Soveraignty, did out of gratitude recompense the Pope, with a spi­ritual jurisdiction over the Gallicane Church. Nay further, when Desiderius the Lombard infested Gregory [Page 15]the third, Pipin out of a tender regard to that See, which had been so friendly towards him; not only by his aid delivered the Pope, from feare of being besieged in Rome, but gave him as the Italian writers say, the Exarchate with several other territories.

Eighthly, The Conquering arms of Charlemaign son to King Pipin; who having the same reasons that his Father had, to indulge the pontificial See, confirmed whatsoever his Father Pipin had granted to the Pope. Yet to make him the more sure, Leo the third with the people of Rome, elected him Roman Emperour. Hence it came to passe, that as far as the Conquests made by Charlemaigne did reach; So farre also did Papal au­thority extend: No otherwise than the Mahometan doctrine, did enlarge it's bounds, by the victorious arms of Ottoman.

Thus have we proceeded, to the Pope's Ecclesiastique supremacy, through eight severall causes. Of which the six former, may be accounted the more remote or procatarctique; The two latter being those, which put together, doe integrate the principal efficient and a­daequate cause. For although the six procatarctiques, did very much embroile the Church affairs, and laid them in a tendency to Papal encroachments: yet it is evident that the universal power, which the Pope ac­quired over the Western Churches, owed it's very rise and being, to the notorious jugling between the Roman Bishops, and the usurpers of the French Merovingean Crown. Well therefore may the Kings of France, be stiled the eldest sons of the Papal Church: Nay ra­ther [Page 16]let them be stiled fathers thereof. There being no appearance in History, of a generall submission unto the pontificiall See; untill the dayes of the traitor Pipin, and the Emperour his Son. But then you may per­ceive, as it were a bargain stroake of mutual assistance, between the pontificial and the French tyrants. The pontificial assistance, is made use of by Pipin, for the deposing his master, and invading the French Crown: By Charles his Sonne, for the obtaining of the Western Empire. They on the other side, in lieu of their secu­lar Kingdomes, settle upon the Popes an Ecclesiastique Soveraignty. Nor are they content to gratifie them only so, but they must needs be giving them a very fair temporal demeans. The tast of which did so please their palates, that they have been ever since hankering, to be Lords paramount over all the world, in Civil as well as Ecclesiastical affairs. Wherefore it behoves me next to set down, the remaining causes of the Papal encroachment; Whereby the Bishop of Rome was encouraged, to usurp unto himselfe the rights of the Magistrate.

CHAP. III. How or by what Causes the Pope was not onely con­firmed in his Ecclesiastical usurpation, but was also encouraged to invade the rights of the Magistrate.

HEre I shall in the first place premise, that the causes mention'd in the foregoing Chapter, did not only advance the Pope's Ecclesia­stique Tyrannie; but also had an influence upon the making of way, for his temporal usurpation. Had he not first come to that heighth in the Church, he could never have dreamt of a superintendency over the state. Likewise the causes which now follow, are to be al­lowed an influence upon the Popes domination spiri­tual, by way of confirming him in his unjust acquests Although I confesse they do more neerly concerne his invading the rights of the Magistrate, in regard that we have already brought him unto the highest pinnacle in the Church.

Ninthly; The donation which Pipin made, and his sonne Charles confirmed unto the Pope; whereby he was possessed of a very large territory: yet not as Lord in chiefe thereof, but rather as a dependant on the Em­pire, as appeares by several actions of Charlemaigne, [Page 18]and his Sons after him; which sufficiently evince, that they kept the Soveraignty of those places still unto themselves; however this proved such a bait of tem­ptation, to the Pope, that he hath ever since had an unbridled lust, after the kingdomes of this world, and the glory thereof: insomuch, that he who pretends to be the Universal Vicar of Christ, and Deputy to Him in His Kingdome, seems unto me a pretty riddle. Our Saviour doth absolutely Declare, that His King­dome is not of this world: But I pray to what world doth that belong, which is full of armed Souldiers, walled Cities, fortified Havens, strong Gallies, great Guns, abundance of Ammunition and Treasures.

Tenthly; The general decay of Learning, after the dayes of Charlemaign: Whence it came to passe, that the East and the West, were not more alienated one from the other, by the distinction of different Em­pires, than they were, by the want of mutual corre­spondence in learned entercourses. Nay it was the policy of the Popes, by affronts done to the Emperours, and several other waies, to augment the strangenesse between the Greeks and the Latines. That so the Barbarians being brought up in a prejudice, against the Gracians; might neglect their language, and conse­quently be overcast with such a night of ignorance, that they should not be able to see the injustice of the Papal proceedings. And truly to the losse of the Greek tongue, may justly be imputed the losse of all purity in the Latine; and consequently of History, Geography, skill in Antiquity, and whatsoever savour'd [Page 19]of polite learning. Thus the whole Western Empire were quite deprived of the benefit they might have received, by informing their judgments in Religion, with the goodly books that were written in Greek: Nay they did not so much as knowingly converse, with the Latin Fathers: So that it was allmost impossi­ble for them, to be acquainted with the infant purity of the Christian religion, which they had taken upon trust from the Roman Bishop. Whereas if they had but well studied, the writings of those men, whose Fathers were converted together with, nay some be­fore the Bishop of Rome; it would have been mani­fest, that he was no such man amongst the first Chri­stians, as he pretended himselfe to be amongst them: As also how notoriously for the advancing of his own power, he had impos'd upon the credulous ignorance of their Heathen souls. Now that this tenth reason of the Papal encroachment, is not a bare notion, or a thing meerly bred in my own private conceptions, any one will confesse; who doth but consider, how re­ally it is exemplified in the series of humane transacti­ons. As long as this fog of ignorance, did darken mens understandings; neither the preaching, nor the martyrdome of thousands of people, could much prevaile to the shaking off the Roman yoke. But the case was quite alter'd, when at the taking of Constan­tinople, the Graecian schollars were forced to sly for re­fuge among the Western Christians; they every where teaching their own tongue; the reviving of that noble language, did bring along with it, the restoration [Page 20]of all Learning. So that now what neither Wicklef, nor Hus, nor Hierome of Prague, nor the Waldenses and Albigenses could effect, that Luther and Calvin have wonderfully perform'd, to the Conversion of whole Nations. As soon as the restoration of learning had enlightned the world, men were of their own accord disposd to follow any: who by breaking the ice as it were, should lead the way to their spiritual free­dome.

Eleventhly, The fatal discord between the grand children of Charles the Great; who as soon as their Fa­ther Lewis the Godly was dead, fell together by the cares about the Empire. At last they came to this com­position, that Lewis should be King of Germany, and so much of France, as lieth betwixt the Meuse and the Rhine. Charles should be King of the rest of France, except the Province of Narbone: which together with Italy, and the title of Emperour fell to Lotharius; who indeed ought to have been Emperour of the whole, as being the eldest, and chosen by their Father in his life time, to be his Colleague in the Empire: Thus was the Empire of Charlemaign cantonized by his Nephews, and at last brought to a contemptible state, for want of establishing a firme succession in the Eldest. Hence it came to passe, that the Huns, the Saracens, and the Lombard Dukes, did miserably afflict the Empire, finding no united strength to oppose them. Moreover France fell quite off from the Em­pire, being Governed by its own Kings. Nay when Otho the great, had setled the confusions brought upon [Page 21] Italy, by Berengarius Guido and Lambert. Yet still did the old danger hang over the Empire, for want of a firme Succession: For as soon as he and his Son Otho the second were dead; There grew that quarrel between some of the Romans and the Germans, about election of a new Empirour, which made way for the Pope to order all things, according to his own advan­tage, as appeares by the twelth cause that next fol­lowes.

Twelfthly, The formal making of the Empire ele­ctive, by the constitution of Otho the third, and Gregory the fifth; whereby the Romans were excluded from the chusing of their own Emperour; It being wholy conferred on the Germane Princes. Otho and Gregory were induced to make this alteration, by some affronts which they had received from the Roman people. For Otho after the death of his Father, had like to have missed of the Emperiall Crown. The party of one Crescentius a powerfull Roman, publickly giving out, that it was high time for the Italians, to choose themselves an Emperour, and to bring the seat of the Empire into Italy again. However Otho at last carri­ed it, and Crescentius with his party did submit. But when Otho had made, his own Countryman and kins­man Bruno Pope, by the name of Gregory the fifth, the Romans brake out into greater discontents than for­merly, so that the new made Pope is faine to fly for't. In his absence the people of Rome make Crescentius their Consul, and he makes John Bishop of Placenti a Pope. Well, the Emperour Otho marches into Italy, [Page 22]takes the Castle of St Angelo in which Crescentius had fortified himselfe, and puts him to an ignomi­nous death. And having cruelly tortured John of Pla­centia, he resettles his Cozen Pope Gregory. Here­upon he and his Cozen having been equally vext by the Roman people, did take a sharpe revenge, in trans­ferring from them, upon their own nation, the power of choosing the Emperour. Otho had no children to care for, and so was the more desirous to have the Empire setled in an Elective way; after such a manner as he thought was advantagious to the Germans. The cunning Pope, did not only gratifie his Countrimen, the Germans; and revenge himselfe upon his enemies the Italians; but also abundantly provide for the emo­lument of his successours. It being provided in this constitution, that he who was Elected by the German Princes, should be called Caesar or King of the Romans; but not Emperour or Augustus, till he was crowned and consecrated by the Bishop of Rome. Thus was the unreasonabl'st thing in the world committed; that a Bishop should take from a People, over whom he had but the spiritual charge, their temporal birthright of Electing their own Prince, and conveigh much of it into his own hands. But when was this done? Even in that barbarous age, which was wrapt up in the very midnight of ignorance; which brought not forth, so much as one Ecclesiastique writer either good or bad. And therefore is noted for a miserable age, by Bellarmine himselfe in the Column of his Chronology over against those times, which Column is entitled Varia.

Thirteenthly, The unhappy juncture of a silly, rash, inconsiderate Emperour; And a cunning, subtile, auda­cious Pope, at the very same time. I mean Henry the fourth, and Pope Hildebrand alias Gregory the seventh. Henry led a most dissolute, extravagant life, in ma­king traffick with the German Bishops selling their pre­ferments for mony. Besides he went about to enslave the Saxons, a considerable body of his subjects; by building Castles in their Country to keep them in awe, whil'st they were trampled upon by his licentious creatures. This made the Saxons, take armes in de­fense of their own liberty, and at first they forced him to a composition: But afterwards he gathering a great army together, quite routed the Saxons, and with­in a while got their chiefe Princes into his power, ha­ving first passed his word for their security by the mouths of his Ambassadours. Now such was the basenesse of his nature, that having once got them into his power, he brake his word and promise with them all, excepting Otho Duke of Bavaria, to the great regret of the German Princes. Things stood in this posture, when Hildebrand or Gregory the seventh took occasion to fish in troubled waters. For the Pope observing, that the Germans were generally discontented, with the perfidious cruelty of their Emperour, judged it the most opportune season, to trample upon Emperial Ma­jesty. Wherefore he summons Henry to appear at Rome, and give in his answers to those accusations, that were brought against him for selling the Episco­pal preferments. Henry, instead of appearing, con­venes [Page 24]a Councel at Wormes. Where it is decreed, that the Pope shall be degraded from his pontificial dignity, because he came to it by sinister and unlaw­full meanes. Hildebrand hearing this, excommunicates the chiefe of the Councel, and not only them, but the Emperour too; interdicting him from Government, and disengaging (forsooth) his Subjects from their oath of obedience. Now one would have thought, that the world should have whooted at the arrogance of this proud Priest, and have taken him down from that domineering throne; whence he had taken the boldnesse to act such a part of Lordly pride. But alas the Germans were so far from checking the Papal insolence, as that they were glad of an occasion to oppose the Emperour, for the relieving their own grie­vances. Wherefore they combin'd together, and rai­sed such a formidable strength, that the Emperour was forced unto base submissions to the Pope. And though at last Henry did so bestir himselfe, that he depos'd this pragmatical Gregory the seventh. Yet was not that re­venge, no nor the bloud of a thousand Hildebrands, able to wash off that stain, which the Emperial Majesty had received. For the succeding Popes having once had a president case, wherein they saw an Emperour was not only excommunicated, and interdicted from go­vernment by a Bishop of Rome, but was forc'd to stoop, and submit unto that interdictment, by his own sub­jects; They never lest afterward, to thunder out their Bulls of excommunication, against any Prince, that did but enterfere with their ambition.

Fourteenthly, The selling of the Emperial right to many chiefe Italian Cities; such as Florence, Genoa, Lucca, Bologne and others, by the Emperour Rodolph of Hasburg. Who was of such a carelesse humour, as that he was wont in sport, to give the same reason for his not visiting Italy, which the Fox did for his not Visiting the Lion. To wit he could see the steps of those, that went thither; but not of those that came back again. The truth is, Rodolph's supine negligence a­bout the Italian affairs, did so break the neck of the Emperial interest in Italy, that it could never hold up it's head again to any purpose. For although the Em­perour Henry the seventh, did bestir himselfe somewhat in the setling of Lombardy, and appointing a Sherif to governe Milaine: yet not long after, the Emperour was grown so contemptible, that Charles the fourth was crowned, by the consent of Pope Innocent the fourth, upon this condition; that he should pack immediatly out of Italy. Charles obeyed his high and mighty ho­linesse, and passing homeward through Milaine; he did utterly evacuate the Emperial power in Italy, by making the shreifdome of Milaine Haereditary, for which he received a good sum of mony. A good sum also his Son Wenceslaus did afterwards receive, to make the Sherisdome a Dukedome. Thus the Popes saw at last, that which their hearts had so long panted after, namely the Emperours quite stript of their dominion in Italy, and themselves free from being under the nose of them, who rais'd the pontificial greatnesse, and are by right the Lords and Masters of their Holinesses. [Page 26]After this the Emperours enjoyed, only an insignificant titular paramountship over Italy; whereby they did now and then for mony, turne an Earldome into a Mar­quisate, and a Marquisate into a Dukedome.

Fifteenthly; The growing in fashion, of a very cor­rupt ad adulterate kind of Learning, called School Divi­nity. A thing compounded of some truths some Pa­pal inventions, and some Aristotelical shall I say, or ra­ther Arabian Philosophy. For it is certain, that the Philosophy which then flourisht, was taught and im­proved by such men, who understood not Aristotle. Nay which is worse, who derived their knowledg from the Arabians, that did not understand him themselves. But that which made this Philosophy the more imper­fect was; The men who professed it were such as sate in their studies, abstracted from the observation and experience of things; conversing only with notions, and multiplying one notion after another, till at last they arrived, (pardon an odde phrase) to the Cobweb subtilty of a wordy nothingnesse. Hence it became a meer shop of controversial uncertainties, and a store­house of twofac'd distinctions, which serve to counte­nance what side of the question you please. Since therefore this Philosophy, is of a nature so aequivocal, and jugling; no man needs to wonder, if the School­men by applying it to Divinity, were able to fashion re­ligion into what forme they pleas'd. For although the whole Masse of their distinctions, could never by min­cing the matter, turne one falschood into a truth: yet [Page 27]they might so far pare and slice a falshood; as to make it shew trim enough, to deceive a praepossessed under­standing. I say a praepossessed understanding; Be­cause the Pontificial Doctrine had in those daies, taken possession of almost all our parts of the Christian world, and had the wealth of the nations in it's own di­sposal: Children were brought up in that perswasion, and when they were grown men, the hopes of all their preferment lay that way. Now this is palpable enough, that when the bent of our understanding, is enclined to any party, by the strong biasses of education and in­terest; We straightway greedily 'embrace, all shewes and appearances of reason, which seem to make for our side; and with abundance of selfe applause, improve a meer sneaking hint of an opinion, into a demonstra­tive confidence.

Sixteenthly; The thriving of the Canon Law a sister profession with School-Divinity. These two being as it were twins borne of their Mother the Roman Church much about the same time, by the midwifery of Grati­an the Monk, and Peter Lombard. As for the Canon Law, I suppose it may not unfitly be called, a messe of Divinity and Civil Law boild together, but burnt too, by reason that as we say in English, the Bishop's foot have been in it, namely the foot of the Bishop of Rome. Whosoever looks into it, he may easily perceive, how Papal politick tenents have been forsted in as lawes. But if any one be loath to take the paines himselfe, he shall find many places to this purpose, cited for his [Page 28]hand, in Sleidan's third book de quatuor summis impe­riis. Where that Judicious Authour expresseth him­selfe, with much indignation, against this kind of Lear­ning. Nor was he alone moved with a prejudice a­gainst it; Many thousands besides him, having high resentments of those many ills, which spread abroad the world, by reason of the Canon law. Otherwise the Decretals would never have been branded with a proverbial ignominy, as they were in France: wit­nesse that notable tetrastique, recorded by Gregory of Tholouse, in his Commentary on the preface of the De­cretals.

Des puis que decret ha prins ales,
Et les Gendarmes portent males,
Et les moines vont a cheval,
En tout le mond n' ha que mal.

The first and last of these verses, which only con­cern my purpose, may be thus Englished.

After Decretals followed the decree,
Since that, the world hath n'ought but knavery.

Now if Gregory the ninth's decretals, were justly li­able to such a censure, what shall we say of the sixth book put out by Boniface the Eighth, of the Clemen­tines [Page 29]by Clement the fifth, and the extravagants by John the twenty second? The latter Pope still ex­ceeding the former in arrogancy and insolence. How­ever let the Canon Law be what it will; This is certain, it hath been one of the notablest engines in the whole world, to raise the Papal See to an ado­red heighth. For by this means the minds of many thousands, were trained up in a reverence to the Roman Bishops, who seem to emulate Emperial Majesty, by taking upon them to give lawes unto the world. Now the names of Justinian and Tribonian began to dwindle, and Gregory with his Raymund grew in request, nor hath ever Aristotle, nor Galen, nor Justinian, nor the very Bible it selfe been more zealously smothered with commentatours, than the decretals of Gregory have been. Nay what say ye if the Canonists have been past all shame, in the heat of contending for their own facul­ties? Charles du Moulin, in his Treatise of the French Monarchy saith, that some of them carp't at the Civil Lawes as impious and of no worth. And Francis Hottoman in his Tract intitled Ful­men Brutum testifies, that they look upon the Pope as their Jupiter, giving him halves with the Emperour in the Government of the world; as ap­peares by this verse which they commonly applied to the Pope.

Divisum imperium cum Jove Caesar habet.

This is high language you [...] say, but perhaps it may be accounted modest, if we consider how [Page 30]their own law teacheth them, that the Pope is a­bove the Emperour. Wherefore no man needs to doubt, that the prevailing of such a profession in the world, hath been an incredible advantage to the Roman Bishop, as being the founder and patron thereof: For we all know, with what ea­gernesse of spirit, the professours of any faculty, doe usually contend for their patrons. Whence I may lawfully conclude, that as long as this pon­tificial law, shall be attended with wealthy prefer­ments; So long the Pope will never want Jani­saries, I mean Canonists; Who for the sake of their own profession, and the bread which they get by it, will allwaies be sure, to be trusty Myrmidons in the Roman cause.

Thus have I at last traced out the Papal encroach­ments, through Sixteene several causes, without mentioning others, which seeme not to here so great and necessary an influence. Such as the title of Universal Bishop, given unto Boniface the third, by the Tyrant Phocas. The Holy Warre, trumpeted forth by Peter the Hermite, at the ap­pointment of Urban the Second. The abrogation of the Roman Banderensian Magistracy, where­by Clement the Fifth, became absolute Ma­ster of Rome, and the like. Far lesse was it my intent; to take notice of Constantine's donation, and such other things; which indeed make much for the pontificial advancement if true: But their [Page 31]truth is questioned by all indifferent men. There being as great a certainty, that many false stories have been coyn'd, as well as true ones suppressed by the Pope's creatures. Amongst which kind of delinquents, 'tis probable that Pandulphus, the Librarian of the Lateran Church, was not the least guilty.

CHAP. IV. A Corollary deduced from the preceeding discourse, with a Conclusion intimating how much the Pope is beholding to the want of able and Faithfull Historians.

ANd now let the Papists object if they please, that we have have forsaken the paths of our forefathers, with little regard unto ancient times, I pray; What is the Autiquity they boast of? Or what were those ancestours they upbraid us with? Can they date their Hierarchichal con­stitution, under one supreme head, higher than the barbarous times? And are not we, as also the Na­tions round about us, the off-spring of Barbarians? As long as the Roman Empire stood firme, and the stock of primitive Christians did remaine, there was no Pope to be heard of. Nor is it likely, that ever the progeny of those men, who were converted by the Apostles, and taught by the Fathers, would have given way to Papal Dominion, any more than the posterity of the Graecians did. But in come our ancestors, a barbarous generation, halfe starved with the cold of their own Climates, and resolved for a warmer habitation. In come they, and like a deluge [Page 33]carry all before them, implanting their selves in the roome of those who were the race of first borne Chri­stians. Which when they had done, they did with admiration here from their conquered enemies, the newes of an Omnipotent God, a Crucified Saviour, a Heaven and a Hell. Now what could be expected from these ignorant Barbarians, whose former ado­ration was of no sublimer straine, than to worship the Image of a dead man, a peice of wood, or a rotten clout: Nay whose later discoveries, were made unto them by word of mouth, and taken upon trust; they them­selves being void of all kind of Learning, where­by they might have been enabled to search the An­cient Writers? I say what could be expected from such men, but that they should be easily cozened; partly with the specious pretense, of a derived succe­ssion and supremacy from Peter, by the Roman Bi­shop; and partly with the collusion between the Bishops of that Emperial City, and their own com­manders.

Well then; if they be deluded must we be so to? Or rather ought we not to assert our own liberty, and shake off that pontificial yoke, under which the spirits of our forefathers did groan? The revolu­tions of eternal providence, have brought better times upon us their Children; than ever they enjoyed. It was much about two hundred yeares agoe, that Mahomet the Great Turke did take Constantinople, to the utter subversion of the Graecian Empire. Whereby overcasting the Sun of Christianity with [Page 34]a dismal cloud in the Eastern parts, he was the acci­dental occasion, that it shone the more bright in the West. For the poore Greeks, being dispersed all abroad; Their Learned men, to wit Theodore Gaza, John Lascaris, Manuel Chrysaloras and others, did betake themselves to the teaching of the Greeke tongue. Hereupon that treasury of all arts and sci­ences being so happily retrerv'd, the purity of Lear­ning began to revive again: And those books which ever since the daies of the Goths and Lombards, had lain rotting in the publique libraries, were every where pulled out of heaps of dust, and recovered from the moths and worms. By this means, we who are the la­test nephewes of our barbarous ancestours, doe yet o­verlook them, even in reference to their own daies. and plainly perceive, that they were Heathenish half-witted Christians for a long time, void of all know­ledg, and receiving their instructions, from the contri­ved policy of corrupted men. We on the contrary enjoy the Original Scriptures, and the Learned Monu­ments of the primitive Christians: by which it is easy to understand; that Christianity is no Carnal profe­ssion, much lesse that on it is entayl'd the dominion of this present world. That the Bishops of Rome, as well as other Bishops their brethren, were for the first three hundred yeares, persecuted by Heathen Empe­rours; And did afterwards remain in subjection to them, when turned Christians. That it was the bar­barous ignorance of our Ancestors, which gave way to the Pope's ecclesiastique supremacy, and consequently [Page 35]to his temporal encroachments. Wherefore we con­ceive it rational, to avoid the barbarisme of our fore­fathers; and to write after the Copy of those men, who were the founders of our religion, and those who were its first and purest professours: Humbly cra­ving leave, to be no longer fool'd, by offering up the wealth of our Nation, and the sweat of our Countrymens browes, in sacrifice to a three cround Idol.

And truly as often as I think, at what vast expence of treasure, our Nation formerly was, and several o­thers to this day are, upon the account of their subje­ction to the Roman See: I cannot choose but admire a certain fatality of Dominion allwaies attending that proud City founded by Romulus. In the daies of her Senate, and also of her Caesars, she sate crowned Queen amongst the Cities, and emperesse over the Nations, from whom she received homage and tribute. When her enemies came blustering out of the north, more furiously than the winds come thence; She seemed indeed for a while, to hang down her head, to lean sadly on her elbow, and to bewaile the losse of her former Majesty: That Majesty, with which she commanded the Northern people, to keep beyond the Rhine and the Danow, the Parthians not to passe over Euphrates, and the more Southern African to sculke behind the monntaine Atlas. But it was not long first, ere she threw off her mourning weeds, and cloathed her selfe again with scarlet. For by the exaltation of her Bishop, she quickly obtain'd, and doth now enjoy [Page 36]a far larger Empire, than ever she before had, even in the most August times of her victorious Caesars. Do not the French, Germans, and Poles, offer up their tributary Devotions at her shrine? Not to mention that huge tract of ground, all along the African shore: Nor the Empire of Pretious or Prestor John, or Prestegan, call him what you will. Not to mention the East Indie Islands, and the vast continent of China, into all which places the reverence of her name hath been car­ried; either by the Portingals, or by the missionary Fri­ers. Doe not the Countries under the Castilian King, both in this and the new found world, alone aggran­dize her modern Empire, beyond its greatnesse in the dayes of old? Let no man therefore henceforward, cast it in the Italian's teeth, as Erasmus did; that he counts all other people barbarous. 'Tis true, the Ita­lians are the very dregs and reliques, of Goths, Vandals, Huns, Heruls, Alans, Gepids, and Lombards: yet they impute barbarisme to all other Nations, as if whatsoe­ver was Polite and Civil, lay circumscribed within the narrow bounds, of the Alps, the Tyrrhene, and the Adri­atique Seas; as if nothing forsooth but barbarity was tramontane. But, would you know the reason? why? it is because they have outwitted the Nations round about them, as much as ever the old Romans did the Barbarians. And what they lost by the sword, they have with advantage regain'd by their wit. Which he well understood who said, Roma Caput Mundi, quic­quid non possidet armis, Relligione tenet. But God be thanked, our own Nation with some others, have pret­ty [Page 37]well quitted themselves of this barbarisme: And O when will the time come, that the rest also will doe the like?

When will the world rouse up her selfe, and be re­deemed from a slavish prostration, to the shallownesse of some mens notions: that great and noble soules may at length have a free entercourse, or traffick for conceptions, to improve the stock of humane know­ledg? As for those men who still call upon us, to humble our understandings unto their traditions, and to deny our selves in our own reasons: I wish they would once consider, how small the tradition concer­ning Apostolical times was, when Eusebius lived. He complains in the praeface to his History, of the scarce knowledg which they had in his daies, concerning the primitive Christian affairs. What then must we ex­pect to have, who receive our information from Au­thours since him? For my part, when I reflect on the ages that are gone and past, and the Histories that are recorded of them, I cannot chuse but deplore the partiality and weaknesse of Ecclesiastique Historians: who, if we will not dissemble, must needs be confessed, to have given lame narrations of things, and to abound with an infinite number, of impertinent, ridiculous, incredible stories. Insomuch that I am very confident, we have a farre more genuine and sincere account of those times, when Alexander and Julius Caesar lived; than of those, when Constantine raigned and Charle­maigne. The truth is, after the barbarous inundati­ons, Learning did so generally decay, that the Christi­ans [Page 38]for a long time, either had no writers at all; or else such, as it had been as good to have none. Otherwise, why did they (out of envy or ignorance or both) bury in a profound silence, the glorious proceedings, of that thrice renowned Saracenical Empire. An Empire of as wonderfull a growth, and as noble actions, as ever any since the Creation: yer we might have pardoned their foule play with the Saracens, had they been free and candid, in their relation concerning the Christian affairs. Shall I tell yee? In those daies, the Christi­an world was overspread, with an idle and ignorant ge­neration of Moncks: who lay in their cels, and coyned whole legends of miraculous lies, wherewith to cheat the common people. Or else they were observing the weather, and making pretty little times, upon the several seasons and tides of the yeare. But had there been any amongst them, both able and willing, to leave unto posterity, a full and impartial account of affairs; the Bishops of Rome would long before this, have been shamed out of their delusory pranks. Nor should I have needed to write this treatise, concerning the Pa­pal Usurpations.


The Method and Contents.

The Scope and Design of this Book is to manifest the Papal Usurpation, by reflecting on Historical passages; and not by Logical Arguments drawn, either from Texts of Scripture, or Testimonies of other Authours:

This manifestation is endeavoured two waies.

First, By shewing, that in the primitive times, the Bishop of [...] made no noise in the world, nor was his supremacy at all d'camt of. In the First Chapter.

Secondly, And chiefly, by shewing: After what man­ner, the Pope not only arrived to a Supremacy in the Church; In the Second Chapter:

But also confirmed himselfe, in His Ecclesiastical Usur­pation; and further encroacht upon the Temporal Magi­strate. In the Third Chapter.

Lastly, In the fourth Chapter; A Corollary is de­duced from the preceeding discourse, concluding with a reason; Why the Pontificial unjust actions, have not been justly discovered.


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