A LETTER to the Author of the Vindication of the Deprived Bishops, in REPLY to his Reasons for the Validity of the Lay-Deprivation of the Bishops by the Statute of 1 Eliz. c. 1.


BEcause you seem to resent my not taking notice of your Dis­course annexed to the Defence of the Vindication, to deal plainly with you, I had so far consider'd it, that I did not think it worthy of regard. You have in those Books, in my ap­prehension, done like a Mercenary Advocate, who will maintain the Cause he is retained in, as well, and as far, as he can, be it good or bad: for you were ingaged in two very different Causes; the one, very good, and that you manage very well; and there is no standing against you: the other, very bad, false and deceitful; and therein you are like Sampson, when his Locks were shorn by an Harlot; you do what you can, but your Strength is departed; you can make nothing on't, but only talk, and furnish Talk for Tatlers; or, it may be, to amuse the Vulgar; but not to satisfie any Man of competent Judgment. This indeed was my apprehen­sion upon my first Inspection into them; which my farther Perusal hath only more confirmed. And therefore since you are so con­cerned for a Reply to your Reasons, I am very free to serve you even beyond your desire, and, if possible, not only to satisfie your self, but undeceive such as you may have either misled into, or confirm'd in Error; and so prevent what I can of the Evil which from others might recurr upon your self.

You have so well asserted the Rights of the Catholick Church, and of all Particular Churches, which are true Members of it, against the Usurpations of the State, that you had driven your Adversaries for their last Refuge to the meanest of all Arguments, a spiteful Argumentum ad hominem, to stop your Mouth with that: and, in my Opinion, you had done much better to have held your hand there, than to have disparaged so commendable an Atchievement by so in­excusable an Undertaking of so indefensible a Cause, and left that to the Management of your defeated Adversaries, who are as much concerned to defend it as your self. But, blessed be God, who hath extorted so much Truth from such as detained it in Unrighteous­ness, and, I hope, will rescue the rest, and detect the Fallacies wherewith the common Adversary had disguised it, and deceived so many poor Mortals of these and other Nations.

Two things are objected to you; the Oath of Supremacy, and the Deprivation of the Bishops, by the same Act of Parliament, 1 Eliz. c. 1. [Page 2]As to the Oath, you labour hard to make that tolerable by Expo­sition, which you think intolerable in the Expression, and imploy no less than 20. pages on that Service: But when all's done, there's no more expressly excepted out of the meaning of the Oath by the Queen's Injunction or Admonition, than Power of Ministery of Di­vine Service in the Church, which, being maliciously collected from it by some, was the only Occasion of the Admonition; but was never practised by her Father, or Brother. But all manner of Jurisdiction, Spiritual or Ecclesiastical, is retained by Stat. 1 Eliz. c. 1. contained in the Oath, and all Authority challenged and used by them, declared by Stat. 5 Eliz. c. 1. to be intended in it, and is sufficiently expressed by the Words, Rule over all manner of Persons, either Ecclesiastical or Tempo­ral, in the Admonition it self; and besides all, is continued in Practice all along, as may be observed in divers instances besides those men­tioned by you, as the This alone spoils the Ex­position, and the first of them grant­ed immedi­ately after the Injuncti­ons disproves it. v. Burnet, p. 387, 397, 400. and Re­cord. 7 p. 350. High Commissions, Commissions of Delegates, Calling of Synods, Authorizing Canons, Ordering and Authorizing Publick Prayers, Elections of Bishops: And what are The first Act, to try their Dispo­sition, an Act of Sacrilege. v. Burnet, p. 382. First Fruits and Tenths, but Solemnities of Recognition of Ecclesiastical Supre­macy? And when I see such Facts, what do all your Words signi­fie? I confess I have been deceived my self by that Injunction; which might have been well enough till the next Parliament; but if what you conceive had been well intended, Why was not the Form of the Oath ordered accordingly in all this time; but so great a part of the Nation must swear one thing in Words, and be autho­rized to think and intend another like their Grand-Father Cran­mer's swearing to the Pope, and solemnly protesting he intended no such matter. No wonder if after such Precedents the whole Na­tion be so involved in Perjury, as there is reason to believe it is.

But our principal Business is, the two Lay-Deprivations, either both valid, or neither valid: but if either alone be invalid, it must cer­tainly be the first: for they were both by Act of Parliament; but to the first, divers of the Bishops V. Burnet, p. 385, 386. The Bishops made Speeches against it in the House. actually opposing, and none con­senting; so that that was a meer Lay Act: but to the latter, divers consenting and voting for it, and none, for ought I know, actually opposing: so that that was not a meer Lay-Act, but a mixt Act, and as much Ecclesiastical as some so reputed among the Ancient Christians, and divers anciently of this Nation. But my Business here is not to inforce your Adversaries Argument, but a Reply to your Reasons for the Validity of that Deprivation, which, if invalid, makes the Original of your Succession invalid and schismatical.

And first you say, the Royal Commissions taken out by Bishop Bon­ner, and as many as followed his Example, &c. will afford a sufficient Reason for the Lay-Deprivation of those Bishops. Certainly an un­happy beginning with so gross an act of Disingenuity, as needlessly [Page 3]shall I say, or maliciously, or falaciously; but however to charge that upon Bonner for setting the Example, which you know is by an Author you commend, and in the very page you cite disprov'd, and charg'd upon Cranmer with good proof, whose Project it is most Nay, most certainly, as both Form and Time clearly e­vince. Bon­ner was not so much as Bishop when Cranmer and others took their Com­missions. likely it was. Nor more lucky is your first Reason. For those Commissions were out of doors in Queen Mary's days: There were none who held by Commission then, but all were in upon the old and proper Title: Nor was any one outed upon any such pretence in Queen Elizabeth's time: So that this is a meer shift to help a lame Cause, a meer Colour, that hath nothing in it. And you needed not have insisted on it, or indeed mentioned it for no bet­ter Service to your Cause: but since you have, it will be but just to shew you the Consequence of those Commissions, to invalidate all your Pretensions. Cranmer, you know, took a Commission in Octob. 1535. Barlow was made Bishop of St. Asaph, Feb. 1535. and Com­missions being then brought in, no doubt but he And his Consecration has been much que­stioned. took one too, and he was the first promoted by Patent from Ed. 6. and Story and Intruded into the place of Vesey frighted out. v. Harmar, p. 100, 129. Coverdale also held by Patent from Ed. 6. These also were or­dained by Cranmer, and you know they could receive no more from him, than what he did intend actually to give, (c. 22. Of Schism, §. 6.) and by his Commission could give. Nor could they give more to Mat. Parker than they had received. So that all depends upon Cranmer's presumable Intention, which is sufficiently manifest, by his Principles, and Commission, to have been only an Authority derived from the King and dependent upon him. His Acceptance of a Com­mission was an implicit Renunciation of his former Authority, and whether not a great Sin, and displeasing to our Lord, I leave others to judge. But their Original Authority was by Commission, and what more was done was then looked upon but as a Formality. It is ap­parent enough by the Act, 1 Ed. 6. c. 2. that no Bishops of his time could be made or promoted but by Patent; and there were no less than Seven of them at a dash deprived upon that account in the beginning of Queen Mary's Reign, what-ever is pretended of spe­cial favour to the Protestant Bishops, which could be no more than to hold quam diu, instead of durante bene placito. But none held by Commission in Q. Mary's time, after she had repealed the Acts of her Father and Brother, and restored all again to the old Posture. And this, I hope, is a sufficient Reply to your first Reason, and some­thing more for you to consider.

Your next Reason is such another, that those Bishops were then notoriously of another Communion different from the Protestants: But, 1. there were then no Protestant Bishops in being; but those now mentioned, such as they were, and of them one had resigned, and [Page 4]the other two were actually deprived, and justly according to your former Reason. And, 2. there could therefore then be no Com­munion of Protestants, but Schismatical. The Bishops then in Pos­session were all compleat Bishops without all question, and their Possession good and lawful also beyond all question: Their Depri­vation was by meer incompetent In both Ex­ecution and Constitution without Spi­ritual Sen­tence. Lay-Authority, and for an unjust and wicked Cause in them who deprived them, but a just and glo­rious Cause in them who suffered, for their refusal of an Nor of Fi­delity to the Prince, but of Unfaith­fulness to the Church. Oath, which you your self cannot think tolerable in the plain sense of the words, or without such Exposition, as with all your Skill and Pains you cannot so prove as to satisfie a conscientious, intelligent Person, who well considers it. And for this Cause, and by such Authority, were all the Bishops of England and Wales, except one despicable Tempo­rizer, besides Deans, Prebends, and other of the Clergy, &c. de­prived, and others put in their Places, by no commendable or ju­stifiable Election, or other Consecration than as aforesaid, and so questionable, and questioned at that time, that 7 or 8 years after, by reason of divers Questions then grown upon the Making and Consecrating Arch-Bishops and Bishops, it was thought convenient to make a new Act to justifie and ratifie the same. 8 Eiz. c. 1. So that here was not only Schism, but It may well be question­ed, whether the Dissen­ters Ordina­tions be not as good as yours. Ordination invalid in it self besides, in this Case. And was this such a different Communion, as might make the Judgment of a Synod needless, and justifie the Lay-Authority in driving away (as you call it) Catholick Bishops and Clergy? What Communion of Schismaticks hath ever appeared since the Apostles more gross and notorious than this? What Persecutions of Arians, or Donatists, or what you will, but may be thus defended, excused, and justified, as well as this?

In what I have already said is the Summ of the Cause, and the Principles and Grounds of all the rest that is to be said; and therefore, as I think it needless to proceed farther in my Reply to a Man of Learning and Parts, who by what is already said may perceive what is farther to be said; so I am willing to spare my Pains, not only for my own sake, but for yours: for I am sorry that you, who have deserved so well in the former Cause, should be so unhappily ingaged in this, and expose your self in Defence of what may afford matter for Exercise of Wit and Skill, like Carneades disputing against Justice, but nothing for Demonstration of more commendable Qualities, unless you will generously give up the Defence, and ingenuously declare the Truth. And, in good earnest, if you will believe me to be so much your Friend, as really I am, I can give you no better Advice for the Recovery of your Credit and just Esteem among Men, and for Expiation of that unhappy Fault before God, than to do so, and save me the Labour of any farther Reply, by doing it your self, which, 'tis like, will then be more accurately per­form'd, than possibly I should have done it. For so that Truth be promoted, I care not by what hand it be: And for that purpose I shall here leave it to you: But if you dislike the Motion, and desire my farther Pains, I shall be ready to serve you in it as well as I can.

Your Faithful Friend, and Humble Servant.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.