The First Pillar Of Popery - Part 4
Consisting Of Intemperate Railing, With Shameful Slanders And Untruths
Andrew Willet DD., Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge 1562-1621
Now cometh in railing Cochleus, and filleth up the measure of this iniquity, writing thus most wickedly of John Huss: "I say therefore, John Huss is neither to be counted holy nor blessed, but rather wicked and eternally wretched: insomuch that in the day of judgment, it shall be more easy, not only with the infidel Pagans, Turks, Tartarians, and Jews, but also with the most filthy to lie and with their daughters, sisters, or mothers: yea also with most impious Cain, killer of his own brother, with Thyestes, killer of his own mother, and the Lestrygones, and other Anthropaphagi, which devour man’s flesh: yea more easy with those most infamous murderers of infants, Pharaoh and Herod, than with him." Cochle.lib.2. histor. Hussitar. Translated by Fox, p. 631.
I marvel at my heart that they, without horror of conscience, could thus speak or write of the servants of God, or that the earth did not open under them to swallow up such blasphemers: but whatsoever they of blind malice uncharitably say or judge of us, here is our comfort, that God judgeth not as man doth: and concerning the faithful servant of God, John Huss, whose blood they unjustly split in earth, and his soul falsely condemn to hell, I say as Augustine in the like case of Cyprian: "Alia est sella terrena, aliud tribunal coelorum, ab inferiore accepit sententiam, a superiore coronam:" In Psalm. 36. cont. 3. There is one throne in earth, another tribunal in heaven, he hath received sentence below, and a crown from above, &c. We need not now think it strange that the Rhemists charge us with blasphemy, Rev. 13. sect. 2.: and Harding, with sin against the Holy Ghost, because we speak against the Pope. This fellow goeth further, making the holy servant of God worse than Cain, than Pharaoh, than infidels or Pagans: I pray God it be not laid to their charge: yet they stay not here, neither are content thus to revile our persons, which might better be borne at their hands; but they open their mouth even against heaven, and spare not to blaspheme the truth which we profess. The holy communion, which we observe according to Christ’s institution, Harding spitefully calleth "a lean and carrion banquet," p. 320.
The Rhemists say that "Calvin’s supper with his bread and wine," which is not his supper but Christ’s, "is like at length to come to the sacrifice of Ceres and Bacchus," John 4. sect. 4.
And yet more wickedly they say, "That our communion is the very table and cup of devils, wherein the devil is properly served," I Cor. 10. sect. 9. But, alas, silly men, we pity their case: they speak evil, as St. Jude saith, "of things they know not." If they understood what these holy mysteries were, they would I think be more sparing in blaspheming.
We will not requite them again with the evil speech; Michael durst not do it to the devil, but the Lord rebuke them and amend them. And that it may appear how they are led with the same spirit of envy, one Jurgevicius, the Pope’s champion, writing against Volanus, a learned Protestant, thus in one sentence woundeth both him and his profession: Mendacio, 53.fol.71. "Ad vestrum (scelerate senex) prophanum panem et pcoulum suffciunt fauces," &c. Thou lewd and wicked old fellow, for your profane bread and cup, the teeth and jaws are sufficient.
Likewise another of that side, called the Centuriators, which have with great labour and industry collected the centuries, atheists; a simple reward for so excellent and worthy a work. Arthur. De invocat. Sanctor. Thes. 91.c.9.
But to let other pass, whose cursing and reviling speeches are infinite and too many, as also needless to be rehearsed, now in the last place I will adjoin certain flowers of our contryman, Mr Stapleton’s eloquence, collected out of his book set forth against our worthy and learned countryman, Dr. Whitakers, that it may appear what spirit they are of, that with such bitter speech and vile terms do taunt and revile the professors of the Gospel.
To omit how odiously and proudly he chargeth him with ignorance and want of learning: calling him everywhere, "doctorem indoctum," unlearned doctor, and "professorem indignum," unworthy professor, not worthy to be admitted to the least degree in schools; Lib.1.c.2. sect.4. "Whitakerus quovis tyrone ineptor." More foolish than any boy scholar or new beginner; lib.2.cap.1.sect.3: yea he blusheth not to call him "scriptorem barbarum," a barbarous writer. To let pass these and such like arrogant challenges, which are common with all Papists, who boast of themselves as of the only learned and eloquent men; but alas, poor souls, it seemeth they dwell by evil neighbours, when they are fain to praise themselves. But as for M. Stapleton, he is foully overseen, in charging so worthy a man with want of learning, whose books he is scarce worth, in respect of true learning, to carry after him. And if the question be of eloquence, this Lovanian doctor’s writing is but a kind of barking in respect of the others, either for smoothness of style, or good phrase of speech. And concerning both these, namely, the choice of the words for the phrase, and the placing of them for the style, I cannot give Master Stapleton a fitter commendation than Jerome bestoweth upon Ruffinus and Jovinian; first, concerning the phrase, he thus writeth, "Tam putide et confuse loquitur, ut plus ego in reprehendeno laborem, quam ille in scribendo," &c. Apol.2.cont.Ruffin. He speaketh so grossly and confusedly, that a man may easily take more pain in mending, than he did in making: and for the style, he that readeth the Lovanian professor’s discourse, may remember what Jerome saith of Jovinian’s manner of writing: "Quotiescunque eum legero, unbicunque me defecerit spiritus, ibi est distinctio, totum incipit, totum pendet ex altero:" Adverse. Jovinian. When I read him, I find no distinction with a breath: every sentence is a beginning, and everything hangeth and is continued together.
But to return to our countryman Stapleton’s rhetoric, and to let pass these before rehearsed, as the most mild and courteous terms he hath, this eloquent Lovanian professor thus sitteth upon that reverend and learned man, thus saying unto him, "Minister Sathanae effectus, professor perfidus, magister mandax et impudentissimus:" Thou art become a minister of Satan, a faithless or foresworn professor, a lying and most impudent teacher: Admonit. Ad Whitaker. "Professor asinine:" Ass-head professor, 1.1. cap. 1. sect. 12: He lieth for the whetstone: "Facis mendacium cote dignum," cap.2.sect.6: "Absurditas asinine adversarii, His asinine absurdity," lib.1.cap.7.sect.3: "Ineptissimus disputator," most foolish disputer, ibid.sect.9: "Fatuus rusticus," a clownish or rustical fool, cap. 12.sect.4: "Stultissimus," a very fool, ibid.: "Sophista impudens," and impudent sophister, lib.2.cap.5.sect.10: "Barbara impudentia," his barbarous impudence, cap.7.sect.6: He playeth the sycophant, cap.8.sect.4: "Stiltissime sophista," most foolish sophister, cap.9.sect.1: "Disputator aburdissime," most absurd disputer, ibid.sect.8: "Mentiendi consuetude in naturam tibi versa," your custom of lying is become your very nature, cap.10.sect.1. What could be said more of the devil? "Hebetudinis tuae et tarditatis," &c., your dullness and blackishness, &c.sect.10: "Mentiendi lobido vel necessitas," he hath either pleasure or necessity to lie, sect. 13: "Mendacium rotundum," he maketh a round lie, sect. 16: "Crassa ignorantia," gross ignorance. Lib.3.cap.7.sect.3: "Mendacium ridiculum et morione dignum," a ridiculour lie and fit for a fool, lib.3.cap.13.sect.1: "Mendacium nobile," a noble lie, cap.14.sect.5: "Mendacium splendidum," a notable or lewd lie, sect,8: "Mendacium stupidum," a blockish lie, cap. 16.sect.7: "Crassa stupiditas," gross blockishness, ibid.: "Stultitia et hebetudo prorsus asinine," asinine foolishness and dullness, cap. 19. sect. 11. These and a hundred such like proper rhetorical speeches our good countryman hath sent us from Lovaine, to shew how he hath profited in Popish eloquence: and to make our mouths, after he hath long dallied in words, in good sober sadness he speaketh thus friendly unto us: "Omnium quidem haereticorum et caecitas magna est, et pertinacia singularis, sed vestra hodie Whitakere, tau inquam, tuorumque convenarum haereticorum tum caecitas tum pertinacia longe maxima est:" In all heretics there is both great blindness and singular obstinacy, but thy blindness Whitakers, and wilfulness, with the rest of thy fellow-heretics, passeth all: lib.3.cap.7.sec.5. We are much beholden to you, good countryman, Father Thomas Stapleton, that worthy Lovanian professor, (for we will give you your titles), though that worthy man by put plain Whitakers with you, that you can find it in your heart to give us the upper hand in blindness and wilfulness of all heretics that ever were: but God’s curse will light upon all such heretics as are more wilfully blind and obstinate against the truth than Papists be.
But here I would advise our countryman to bethink himself what he hath done, and whom he hath railed upon, namely, a man as unworthy of those taunts and slanders as any man he could have written against; whom, while he lived, was known to be a man both learned, and of a most meek and humble spirit withal; no liar, but a lover of the truth, of a virtuous and godly life; in his readings exact, grave in his sermons, in his disputations earnest, strong in argument, ready in his utterance, pithy in writing, sound in counsel, familiar in conference, wise for direction of study, and encourager of the good, a preferer of the learned, and rewarder of the painful; and what more can I say of him: as he was in his life, so he shewed himself in his end: while he lived, in good actions fervent, in his sickness patient, in death confident, and now in heaven in triumphant. Therefore I say unto M. Stapleton, as Jerome in the like case, "Non facilis est venia prava dixisse de rectis:" Hieron. Asella. It is no small fault to speak evil of the good, and perversely of the righteous: and again with St. Ambrose, "Si pro otioso verbo ratio poscitur quanto magis pro sermone impietatis peona exolvitur?! Lib.office.1.c.2. (Ambros. Oper.tom.1.p.2.Basil. 1538) If for every idle word account shall be required, how much greater punishment for wicked reviling speech is like to be endured?