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it is no marvel if he ftuck where he did. The next default was in the bishops, who though they had renounced the pope, they still hugged the popedom, and shared the authority among themselves, by their fix bloody articles perfecuting the proteftants no flacker than the pope would have done. And doubtlefs, whenever the pope fhall fall, if his ruin be not like the fudden downcome of a tower, the bishops, when they see him tottering, will leave him, and fall to fcrambling, catch who may, he a patriarchdom, and another what comes next hand; as the French cardinal of late and the fee of Canterbury hath plainly affected.
In Edward the Sixth's days, why a complete reformation was not effected, to any confiderate man may appear. First, he no fooner entered into his kingdom, but into a war with Scotland; from whence the protector returning with victory, had but newly put his hand to repeal the fix articles, and throw the images out of churches, but rebellions on all fides, ftirred up by obdurate papists, and other tumults, with a plain war in Norfolk, holding tack against two of the king's generals, made them of force content themselves with what they had already done. Hereupon followed ambitious contentions among the peers, which ceafed not but with the protector's death, who was the most zealous in this point: and then Northumberland was he that could do most in England, who little minding religion, (as his apoftafy well fhowed at his death) bent all his wit how to bring the right of the crown into his own line. And for the bishops, they were fo far from any fuch worthy attempts, as that they fuffered themselves to be the common ftales, to countenance with their proftituted gravities every politic fetch that was then on foot, as oft as the potent ftatifts pleased to employ them. Never do we read that they made use of their authority and high place of access, to bring the jarring nobility to christian peace, or to withstand their difloyal projects: but if a toleration for mass were to be begged of the king for his fifter Mary, left Charles the Fifth fhould be angry; who but the grave prelates, Cranmer and Ridley, must be sent to extort it from the young king? But out of the mouth of that godly and royal
child, Chrift himself returned fuch an awful repulse to thofe halting and timeferving prelates, that after much bold importunity, they went their way not without shame
Nor was this the first time that they difcovered to be followers of this world; for when the protector's brother, lord Sudley, the admiral, through private malice and malengine was to lose his life, no man could be found fitter than bishop Latimer (like another Dr. Shaw) to divulge in his fermon the forged accufations laid to his charge, thereby to defame him with the people, who else it was thought would take ill the innocent man's death, unless the reverend bishop could warrant them there was no foul play. What could be more impious than to debar the children of the king from their right to the crown? To comply with the ambitious ufurpation of a traitor, and to make void the last will of Henry VIII, to which the breakers had fworn obfervance? Yet bishop Cranmer, one of the executors, and the other bishops, none refufing, (left they should refift the duke of Northumberland) could find in their confciences to fet their hands to the difenabling and defeating not only of princess Mary the papift, but of Elizabeth the proteftant, and (by the bishops judgment) the lawful iffue of king Henry.
Who then can think (though these prelates had fought a further reformation) that the leaft wry face of a politician would not have hufhed them? But it will be faid, these men were martyrs what then? though every true Chriftian will be a martyr when he is called to it; not prefently does it follow, that every one suffering for religion is, without exception. Saint Paul writes, that " a man may give his body to be burnt, (meaning for religion) and yet not have charity:" he is not therefore above all poffibility of erring, because he burns for fome points of truth,
Witness the* Arians and Pelagians, which were flain by the heathen for Chrift's fake, yet we take both these
* It appears from this and other paffages, that the author in his younger years was orthodox, as it is called: but he afterwards altered his fentiments; as is plain from his tract on "True Religion, Herefy, Schifm, and Toleration," which was the laft work he published.
for no true friends of Chrift. If the martyrs (faith Cyprian in his 30th epiftle) decree one thing, and the gofpel another, either the martyrs muft lofe their crown by not obferving the gofpel for which they are martyrs, or the majefty of the gofpel must be broken and lie flat, if it can be overtopped by the novelty of any other decree.
And here withal I invoke the Immortal Deity, revealer and judge of fecrets, that wherever I have in this book plainly and roundly (though worthily and truly) laid open the faults and blemishes of fathers, martyrs, or christian emperors, or havę otherwife inveighed against errour and fuperftition with vehement expreffions; I have done it neither out of malice, nor lift to speak evil, nor any vain glory, but of mere neceffity to vindicate the spotlefs truth from an ignominious bondage, whofe native worth is now become of fuch a low esteem, that fhe is like to find fmall credit with us for what she can fay, unless she can bring a ticket from Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley; or prove herself a retainer to Conftantine, and wear his badge. More tolerable it were for the church of God, that all these names were utterly abolished like the brazen ferpent, than that men's fond opinion fhould thus idolize them, and the heavenly truth be thus captivated.
Now to proceed, whatsoever the bishops were, it seems they themselves were unfatisfied in matters of religion as they then flood, by that commiffion granted to eight bifhops, eight other divines, eight civilians, eight common lawyers, to frame ecclefiaftical conftitutions; which no wonder if it came to nothing, for (as Hayward relates) both their profeffions and their ends were different. Laftly, we all know by example, that exact reformation is not perfected at the firft pufh, and those unwieldy times of Edward VI may hold fome plea by this excufe. Now let any reasonable man judge whether that king's reign be a fit time from whence to pattern out the conftitution of a church discipline, much less that it should yield occafion from whence to fofter and establish the continuance of imperfection, with the commendatory fubfcriptions of confeffors and martyrs, to entitle and engage a glorious name to a grofs corruption. It was not epifcopacy that wrought in them the heavenly fortitude
of martyrdom, as little is it that martyrdom can make good epifcopacy; but it was epifcopacy that led the good and holy men, through the temptation of the enemy, and the fnare of this prefent world, to many blameworthy and opprobrious actions. And it is still epifcopacy that before all our eyes worfens and flugs the most learned, and feeming religious of our minifters, who no fooner advanced to it, but like a feething pot fet to cool, fenfibly exhale and reak out the greatest part of that zeal, and thofe gifts which were formerly in them, fettling in a skinny congealment of ease and floth at the top: and if they keep their learning by fome potent sway of nature, it is a rare chance; but their devotion moйt commonly comes to that queazy temper of lukewarmness, that gives a vomit to God himself.
But what do we fuffer misfhapen and enormous prelatism, as we do, thus to blanch and varnish her deformities with the fair colours, as before of martyrdom, fo now of epifcopacy? They are not bishops, God and all good men know they are not, that have filled this land with late confufion and violence, but a tyrannical crew and corporation of impoftors, that have blinded and abused the world fo long under that name. He that, enabled with gifts from God, and the lawful and primitive choice of the church affembled in convenient number, faithfully from that time forward feeds his parochial flock, has his coequal and comprefbyterial power to ordain minifters and deacons by public prayer, and vote of Chrift's congregation in like fort as he himself was ordained, and is a true apoftolic bishop. But when he steps up into the chair of pontifical pride, and changes a moderate and exemplary house for a mifgoverned and haughty palace, fpiritual dignity for carnal precedence, and fecular high office and employment for the high negotiations of his heavenly embaffage: then he degrades, then he unbifhops himfelf; he that makes him bishop, makes him no bifhop. No marvel therefore if St. Martin complained to Sulpitius Severus, that fince he was bishop he felt inwardly a fenfible decay of those virtues and graces that God had given him in great meafure before; although the fame Sulpitius write that he
was nothing tainted or altered in his habit, diet, or perfonal demeanour from that fimple plainnefs to which he firft betook himfelf. It was not therefore that thing alone which God took difpleafure at in the bifhops of thofe times, but rather an univerfal rottennefs and gangrene in the whole function.
From hence then I pafs to queen Elizabeth, the next proteftant prince, in whofe days why religion attained not a perfect reducement in the beginning of her reign, I fuppofe the hindering caufes will be found to be common with fome formerly alleged for King Edward VI; the greenness of the times, the weak eftate which queen Mary left the realm in, the great places and offices executed by papifis, the judges, the lawyers, the justices of peace for the most part popish, the bifhops firm to Rome; from whence was to be expected the furious flashing of excommunications, and abfolving the people from their obedience. Next, her private counsellors, whoever they were, perfuaded her (as Camden writes) that the altering of ecclefiaftical policy would move fedition. Then was the liturgy given to a number of moderate divines, and fir Thomas Smith a statefman, to be purged and phyficked: and furely they were moderate divines indeed, neither hot nor cold; and Grindal the best of them, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, lost favour in the court, and I think was discharged the government of his fee, for favouring the minifters, though Camden feem willing to find another caufe: therefore about her fecond year, in a parliament, of men and minds fome fcarce well grounded, others belching the four crudities of yesterday's popery, those constitutions of Edward VI, which as you heard before no way fatiffied the men that made them, are now established for beft, and not to be mended. From that time followed nothing but imprisonments, troubles, difgraces on all thofe that found fault with the decrees of the convocation, and straight were they branded with the name of puritans. As for the queen herfelf, fhe was made believe that by putting down bishops her prerogative would be infringed, of which fhall be spoken anon as the course of method brings it in: and why the prelates laboured it