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Sunday, August 20, 2017
Date Posted:
2/10/2003


The First Pillar Of Popery - Part 1


Consisting Of Intemperate Railing, With Shameful Slanders And Untruths
Andrew Willet DD., Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge 1562-1621

WHAT our is in this treaties following we have already partly declared in the preface. That our intent is not in this enterprise so much to charge our adversaries with such matter as may be justly objected against them, as to discharge ourselves of each unjust crimes as they do burden us withal: not to accuse, but to excuse ; not to fight, but to fence; not to dare them with our darts, but to arm ourselves against their venomous arrows, which they shoot at us. And here I say with St. Jerome, "Vulneratus nequaquam contra persecutorum tela direxi, sed meo tantum vulneri admovi manum:" Being wounded, I will not smite the striker again, but lay mine head upon mine own sore. Hier. ad Ruffin. Whereas therefore, they everywhere almost in their books and pamphlets, do lay sore unto our charge, that we are railers, reviler, liars, blasphemers, heretics, cavillers, sophisters, divided into many sects and schisms, amongst ourselves. Our best and safest way to free and deliver both us and our tense from these so unjust, untrue, sad uncharitable accusations, is to return them upon themselves, to whom they do more properly belong; and to clothe them with their own livery, which will sit more comely, without pleat or wrinkle upon their back.

First of all, therefore, according to that order which we have set down, we will try and examine the modesty, sobriety, and temperance of their spirit, wherewith they are inflamed against us. First, of their reviling and bitter speech; then of their malicious slanders against us and our cause; thirdly, of their forgeries, fourthly, of the manifold untruths, which in plain English are no better than lies, which they are not ashamed in heaps to utter. First, then, concerning their contumelious and reproachful speeches, and their adders' tongues which they smite and sting us withal, I would we might say onto them, an Augustine sometime did unto Vincentius, a young malapert springall, that unseemly taunted that reverend Father in his writings: "Siquid inter disputandum," saith Augustine, "quod ad meam contrumeliam redundat espressit non eum convitiantis voluntarie crediderim, sed diversa sentientis necessitate fecise: ubi enim hominis ergs me animas ignotus est et incertus melius arbitror meliora sentire quam inexplorata eulpare:" If any thing fall sat in disputation which may redound to my reproach, I think that he did it not so much with a mind to revile me, as being enforced by diversity of opinion; for where a man's mind in unto me uncertain and unknown, I hold it better to think the book, than to blame what I know, not, &c. De animae Origin. Lib. 1. cap. 2. (Patr. Caill. tom. 141. p. 286-7. Paris. 1842.] So if our adversaries were carried away only in the heat of their cause, and with a blind zeal of superstition, when they spit such venomous words at us, and had not a special purpose (as we have, but :too, much experience) in so doing, to malign the truth, and disgrace the professors thereof we should be able better to brook their speeches and to bear their outrages than now knowing the contrary, we either can or will. This then is that which sometimes thrusteth us forward, when we see not so much our persons stricken and galled with their tongues, as the truth to be wounded through our sides, to speak home unto them, and to tell them them their own : not reviling, but reproving, not taunting, but telling them their fault and folly.

Cresconius, an Archdonatist, doeth roundly take up Augustine, because he used these words against them, "Sicut non potest Satanus Satanam excludere:" &c. As Satan, saith he, cannot drive out Satan, so the error of the Manichees cannot overthrow the error of the Donatists. 2 Tim. 2. contra Crescon lib. 4. cap. 78. (Patr. Call. tom. 189. p. 580. Paris. 1842.] Augustine answereth very well: "Quasi (inquit) Petilianum Satanae comparavorim, ac non errorem potius. Apostolica enim mansuetodo, cum quibus modeste agi praecepit eos ipsos docet a diabolo captivatos: nec tamen quam commendavit, amisit lenitatem quia eam (quam docebat) tacere noluit veritatem:" As though, said he, I compared Petilian himself to Satan, and not his errorrrather: for so the Apostle doth say, that even they, whom notwithstanding he wisheth to be gently dealt withal, were captived and snared of the devil: neither did he in so saying offend against that lenity which he commendeth, while he utteree the truth which was not be concealed, while he uttered the truth which was not to be concealed, &c. Thus Agustine defended himself by St. Paul’s example, and sheweth, thought it be not lawful to speak evil, or to revile, yet freely to open our mouths, and to cry out against the enemies of the truth, it is not forbidden. Bernard, a late writer, and one of their Catholic doctors, as they take it (though in truth in most points in controversy between us, he is more ours thans theirs), he used the like liberty of speech in his days, and though he offended not: as inveighing against the clergy of his time, he saith, "Ministri sunt Chriti, et serviunt Antichristo:" They are the minister of Christ, and yet serve Antichrist. Serm. Sup. Cantic. 33. Yea, of the bishops themselves, and the chief of the clergy, he doubteth not to say, having first rehearsed those words of Christ to his Apostles, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and none of you is a devil? Sic facit Jesus hodie, eligens sibi miltos diabolos episcopos:" Even so doth Jesus, saith he, now-a-days, choosing many devils to be bishops. Serm. Ad pastor. In Synod. He stayeth not here, but climbeth up even unto the Pope’s chair: "Tristes vidimus, tristes eloquimur honorem ecclesiae, Honorii tempore non minime laesum:" We have seen it with grief, and we speak it with grief, that in Pope Honorius’ time the honour of the Church was not a little endamaged. Epist. 147. And in another place, finding fault with the cardinals of Rome, that they had fetched Eugenius out of his cloister, and of an abbot, made him a Pope: he taunted them in these words, "Ascendit Jericho, ineidit in latrones:" He is gone up from Jerusalm to Jericho, and the cardinals to thieves. Epist. 147. If Bernard then, a doctor of their own, could assume unto himself such liberty of speech as to term evil ministers the servants of Antichrist, bishops devils, cardinals thieves, in hatred and detestation of the corruptions of those times, I thing we may be excused, if for love and zeal of the truth, we deal plainly many times with our adversaries, and do not flatter them a whit: though I think few or none of us have used like freeness of speech as either Augustine against the heretics of the age, or Bernard against the corruptions of his time.

Therefore, to conclude this point we say, as not long since a darling of their own said, yet with better right and more truly, I am sure, than he: "Now the law of upright dealing, specially in God's cause so requiring, ye must pardon us, if as among husbandman we call a rake a rake, a spade a spade, a mattock a mattock: so among divines we call heresy heresy, and likewise falsehood, lying slandering, craft, hypocrisy, blasphemy, every such crime by his proper name, without all glossing." Harding defens. apolog. p: 52.

But leaving off here in this place further to make apolgy, or to seek defence in this point for ourselves, which were a needless and superfluous labour, the writings of our learned and godly brethren are abroad to be seen and read. I trust they shall be found neither to savour of so envious a spirit, nor to be mixed with such intemperate and undigested humours, as our adversaries' writings are sauced an powdered withal. We will now proceed (not further keep ing the reader is suspebse ,) to collect some flowers of Popish eloquence and rhetoric, which their books are beautified and adorned withal.

First, we will be so bold as walk into our countryman Mr. Harding's garden, and there a little refresh ourselves with the pleasant scent of his sweet-smelling herbs. And here, in the very entrance, I find a nosegay already gathered to my hand by that skilful and cunning gardener, not in name but in deed, Bishop Jewell. Let us take up this poesy, and smell a little thereon. Mr. Harding therefore, writing against Bishop Jewell, cloyeth and overchargeth them with these and such like sweet speeches: "Whoever heard such an impudent man? a most impudent liar, and a wicked slanderer :" Preface in defens. apol. and all because he said with Laurentius Valla, a canon of Rome, that Pope Celestinus was a Nestorian heretic.

Again: "Whoever saw so impudent s man ? what shall I say to this fellow ? Fie for shame man, a minister of fables, a minister of lies! Foolish ignorance, shameless malice, so ignorant, so witless, lewd wretches, Jewish, heathenish, shameless, blasphemous villains, false ministers, false harlots, ye lie falsely, yea, ye lie for advantage, ye are impudent liars, lewd liars, heaps of lies, nothing but lies, and all is lies.

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