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THE TRUE COPIES
REVEREND FATHER IN GOD
JOHN BISHOP OF SARUM AND D. COLE,
UPON OCCASION OF A SERMON THAT THE SAID BISHOP
PREACHED BEFORE THE QUEEN'S MAJESTY,
AND HER MOST HONOURABLE
I TRUST I shall not need many words to make my entry with you. made so large and gentle an offer, that my request, being employed within the compass of the same, shall have an answer (I hope) to my comfort.
Where in these articles you seem very resolute, and as it is thought so well armed, that you have wherewith to persuade any reasonable man to be in them of your opinion, may it therefore like you to send me the chief places in these matters, not written (for that were too much pains for you), but noted, or, as they term it, quoted, which and where they be; and I promise you, by the faith I bear to God, I shall yield so far as you shall give me cause.
I would wish it might please you to write herein again; for talk will not so well further that you should herein intend. If happily it shall like you to write any more than the places, which ye account will thoroughly prove your opinion, I pray you do it rather dialectice than otherwise. For the weight of these matters more requireth learning than words.
If the places that you have in these articles be but such as are already answered by learned men on our side, or but such as Calvin, Bucer, or other of the protestants have laid for themselves, then I trust you will lay more weight or reason to them. For such as they be, in them I have already seen. I repute them percase somewhat able to do with young folk, or the simple and unlearned people: other, I ween, weigh them no better than they be worthy.
Yet one thing more I long much to be answered in, why ye rather offer both in your sermon yesterday in the court, and at all other times at Paul's Cross, to dispute in these four points, than in the chief matters that lie in question betwixt the church of Rome and the protestants. It seemeth to me far the nearer way to compass that you would so fain win, if ye began not with such matters, which we deny not but a general council might take order that they should be practised as ye would have it. Marry, the article of the presence of Christ's body and blood in the sacrament; the article of our justification; the value of a christian man's good works; whether the mass used in the church of Rome be tolerable, yea, or no; yea, whether that the mass be not a very sacrifice acceptable to God indeed, and good both for the quick and the dead; whether any scripture forbiddeth a man to desire the blessed apostles and martyrs in heaven to pray for us; whether it be lawful to honour them; and whether it be lawful3 for us, and good for them, to pray for all christian souls; I ween, if ye had the upper hand but in one of these questions, the world might well think we were
[This is the title-page of the edition of 1560: the following heading is in that edition prefixed to the present letter: "The copy of a letter sent from D. Cole to the bishop of Sarum, upon occasion of a
sermon that the said bishop had preached in the court before the queen's majesty."]
[3 Lefull, 1560.]
smally to be trusted in all the rest. For we make a plat and plain answer to them, without “if,” or "and." So do we not, whether the service ought to be in English or not: Or, whether the people ought to receive in both kinds or no: Or, whether any private mass ought to be said in the church or no.
I have jeoparded to wade thus far with you, for no worse purpose than I have uttered at the beginning. For, of truth, if you shew me good cause why, I shall yield, as I have promised.
Mine adventure in this case shall be so taken, I trust, as no advantage be sought against me, as for breach of any part of my duty one way or other. Wherefore, I pray you, construe my doings by the meaning I had in them.
I have here set in writing the questions that you have so gently offered to be reasonable, in such sort in effect as they were reported from your mouth to me. 1. Whether there remain any substance of bread and wine after the consecration done as the church appointeth?
2. Whether it be tolerable that the people should receive under one kind or no? 3. Whether it be any offence before God that the common service should be said in a tongue that the people understandeth not?
4. Whether it be any offence before God, a priest to say mass, unless one or other receive with him?
THE BISHOP OF SARISBURIE'S ANSWER UNTO THE LETTER
I PERCEIVE by your letters that ye were not present yourself at my sermon in the court, but only heard of it by the report of others. And where you desire to be answered in certain points touching the same, considering both my calling, and also the place where I spake, I stand in doubt whether I may safely, without further licence, give a reckoning of my doctrine, being uttered before the prince, the council, and the whole state of the realm, specially to a subject, and such a subject, as misliketh all sermons, and yet will not vouchsafe to hear one. Notwithstanding, forasmuch as I am persuaded that you charitably desire to be resolved, I can also charitably be contented, as a friend with a friend, or a scholar with a scholar, to confer with you herein, reserving alway my former protestation. Touching the quotations of the special points and grounds that I stand upon, if you had heard the manner of my doctrine yourself, I believe you would not have required them. For your reporter hath altered the whole form of my speaking.
For I stood only upon the negative, which, as you said, when time was, in the disputation that should have been at Westminster, is not possible to be proved.
My offer was this, That if any one, of all those things that I then rehearsed, could be proved of your side by any sufficient authority, either' of the scriptures, or of the old doctors, or of the ancient councils, or by any one allowed example of the primitive church, that then I would be content to yield unto you.
I say you have none of all those helps, nor scriptures, nor councils, nor doctors, nor any other antiquity; and this is the negative. Now it standeth you upon to prove but one affirmative to the contrary, and so to require my promise. The articles that I said could not be proved of your part were these: That it cannot appear by any authority, either of the old doctors, or of the ancient councils, that there was any private mass in the whole church of Christ at that time.
Or, that there was then any communion ministered in the church to the people under one kind only.
Or, that the common prayers were then pronounced in a strange tongue, that the people understood not.
[This, 1560.] [3 i. e. to be reasoned upon.] [Salisburies, 1560.] [ Other, 1560.]
Or, that the bishop of Rome was then called Universalis episcopus, or caput universalis ecclesiæ, an universal bishop of the whole world, or else the head of the universal church.
Or, that the people was then taught to believe, that in the sacrament after the consecration the substance of bread and wine departeth away, and that there remaineth nothing else but only the accidents of bread and wine.
Or, that then it was thought lawful to say ten, twenty, or thirty masses in one church in one day.
Or, that the people was then forbidden to pray, or to read the scriptures, in their mother-tongue.
And other more articles a great number I reckoned up then at Paul's Cross, which it were long now to rehearse.
And if any one of all these articles can be sufficiently proved by such authority as I have said, and as ye have borne the people in hand ye can prove them by, I am well content to stand to my promise.
If you say these are but small matters in comparison of others; yet, as small as ye would have them seem now, some men have felt no small smart for them. And where you marvel why I began not rather with the real presence, with justification, with the value of good works, with the sacrifice of the mass, with praying unto saints, with praying for the dead; although indeed it may seem very much for me to be appointed by others what order I should take in my preaching; yet, to answer the truth, why I passed by these matters at the first, and rather began with other, the cause was, not for that I doubted in any of the premises, but only for that I knew the matters, that you move question of, might at least have some colour or shadow of the doctors. But I thought it best to make my entry with such things, as wherein I was well assured ye should be able to find not so much as any colour at all. And if ye will first grant this to be true, as I believe you will, notwithstanding the people have been long told the contrary, afterward I am well content to travail with you farther in the rest.
Further, I marvel much ye write, that touching a private mass, or the receiving under one kind, or the common prayers to be had in an unknown tongue, or otherwise, ye are not resolved to answer precisely without "if" or "and." For where ye say ye are content to be ordered herein by a general council, first, I would know what general council of any antiquity ever decreed any of those matters against us unless perhaps ye will say the council of Constance, that of late years pronounced openly, against Christ himself and all the primitive church, that it should be a schismatical disorder if the people should communicate under both kinds. And having no ancient council that ever was to allege in these matters, I marvel how ye can justly say, ye are altogether ordered by councils. And yet farther would I learn, what warrant any general council can have to decree any thing contrary to God's word.
Where ye say, ye have seen master Calvin's and master Bucer's reasons, and have found them very weak, and not able to move any other than young folk and unlearned people; methinketh that answer is so common and so general, that it may serve our turn as well as yours. For we have read Coclæus, Eckius, Pighius, Bunderius, and such others, and have found such reasons and answers in them, as I believe you yourself are not much moved withal.
Where you say, that master Calvin's and master Bucer's reasons have been answered; I grant indeed they have been answered, but not so much by learning, as by other means, as you know. But your reasons have been answered by reason sufficiently; as now, God be thanked, the whole world knoweth.
But, to conclude as I began, I answer that in these articles I hold only the negative, and therefore I look how you will be able to affirm the contrary, and that, as I said afore, by sufficient authority. Which if ye do not, you shall cause me the more to be resolved, and others to stand the more in doubt of the rest of your learning.
[1 Others, 1560.]
DOCTOR COLE'S SECOND LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF SARUM.
I SHALL for this time pass over all other parts of your answer, and renew my former suit unto you, in most hearty and humble wise, desiring you to give ear unto me in the same.
Remember, for God's sake, how I began with you, not for other intent than to be instructed why I should be accounted obstinate for standing in contrary opinion with you. Now, when I weigh your answer sent me lately in writing, I think you do mistake my doing, supposing that the same cometh not of such ground as it doth. My letter sent to you declareth in my first entry with you what my meaning was, and whereof it proceeded. I heard by report of many that, both at Paul's and other where, ye openly wished that one man thinking otherwise than you do would charitably talk with you, whom you would with like charity answer, and endeavour to satisfy. And although you had not so protested, yet is it the part of a common and public preacher to perform no less when occasion is given. With which cause I was moved to write as I did, intending, if I might, to learn of you that I knew not, and that could by learning persuade a man not wholly unlearned to yield thereunto, according to the words of my writing and protestation.
But I find not this meaning in your writing sent unto me, wherein you shew yourself disposed only to defend your teaching, as confessed and taken for true, and not to give any account thereof, or to satisfy any that doubteth. And there you
bid me allege to the contrary and disprove your saying; which neither reason nor law can drive me to. Reason, because, the doctrine being yet doubtful, and standing upon proof, the teacher should first approve it unto such as doubt. Which the custom of learning in all universities proveth true; where the opponent, when the matter is denied, as your doctrine is by us, allegeth for that part which he would have seem true. And you take on you to disprove that doctrine, which long time hath been received. Evermore, when any man professed a reformation of doctrine, as you do, the reformer hath ever alleged causes why they so did, and so take in hand to prove that they taught, against such as did and would think otherwise.
But because you are a bishop, and spake in such an audience, ye doubt whether you ought to shew cause of that you teach or no, and therefore ye spake by protestation. Whereat I do much marvel; for the person or the place maketh no difference who should prove or disprove. The greater personage you bear, the less cause have ye to be put to answer. You have not yet, I ween, all forgot the trade in Oxford, which you and I were brought up in. In schools of philosophy a master of art is the highest degree; where the master is rather put to oppose than to answer. And likewise in divinity, in ordinary disputation, the doctor opposeth, the meaner man answereth. And what reason should lead you to think that a bishop should not rather shew cause of that he teacheth, than any other? St Paul requireth in a bishop that he be didaktikòs, a man before all other meet and able to teach. And it is a rule [1 Tim. iii.]
in bishops, that they be ready to give an account of their belief. And many reasons are there why it should be so.
You cannot say I am an heretic, or obstinate, and thereby put me off. For I offer to yield in all that ye prove to me. I stand in place and case to learn, and you a man appointed to teach. I come for no other purpose but to learn more than I know. I come to you for counsel in those points ye seem very resolute in: I mean you no harm nor guile. Cast me not off, for God's love, as men do beggars, when they mind to do them no good.
If ye have scriptures, councils, &c. with you, I desire to know them. If ye have none, let me and my fellows alone in your sermons. We trouble you not, nor give you cause to deal so unmerciful with us, as some of your side do3, as though we were the most unreasonable men in the world.
By law, upon good grounds, no man should be put to reason where matters are
once agreed on. I and my fellows are in bands to avoid such kind of reasoning as ye would put me to. Wherein wise men see, when ye openly provoke us to disprove that ye teach, ye fare as if you should say to one that is bound hand and foot, Come strike me, and thou darest. We are, as I said, in place of learners, and ye in place to teach. We are defendants, and ye the plaintiffs. We continue in the faith we professed sith our baptism, ye pretend a change in the same. We have with us an apostolical church, ye have none yet approved. We make no innovation; for, in rebus novis constituendis, saith the law, evidens debet esse utilitas; and all new attempts are to be suspected.
Ye seem to mislike in manner all that hitherto hath been received. But ye say, ye bring us again to the primitive church. It is a foul fall in reasoning, to bring that for proof which lieth yet in question, or plainly denied. We are in possession: ye come to put us from it. Ye mean to draw us to you: we desire to know cause why. What reason leadeth you to put a negative in question thereby to grieve your adversary (yet have you none of me, for I seek on you to be taught)? where in law a person assaulted can be put to no more but to defend. Where a negative implieth in it a1 yea, or affirmation, there the plaintiff is put to his proof. But I protest once again, I come not to dispute, but to learn.
You will happily say, that both our side and yours hath already said even so much in the matters that be in question betwixt us, that, as ye can say no more for your part than hath been said already, no more can we neither, and therefore as good never a whit as never the better. If the reasons, that Calvin, Bucer, and other protestants do make, cannot move you, what availeth any more talk? If the case be such indeed, that neither part can go further, but all is said that maketh for either part; then either let both parts let other alone, until such a general council be assembled as ye will agree to stand by; which will not be, I trow, whiles I live, nor seven years after, for ought I see yet. And yet I see other folk think that not reasonable, because the chiefest points we strive on are already determined.
And here it booteth not to say as ye do of the council of Constance slanderously, till ye had proved that ye say. I am somewhat bold with you in this term—but pardon me, I pray you, this case requireth the same— -it booteth not, I say, to say the church hath walked in blindness, so as ye make none account of such determination. Remember, ye have not yet proved the error of one general council.
If it be as you say, all is said that can be; then you and I now should do well to weigh the reasons of both sides. Here if ye say, What weights or balance will ye weigh them by? let us hardly do herein as men do, when the question is, which of two pieces of gold or two pieces of cloth is best; then they take a fine piece of gold or cloth, and that that goeth nearest the best, that ought to be so taken for best. Let you and me weigh your men's reasons and ours by the fathers' weights and balance, and see who reasoneth most like St Augustine, St Basil, St Cyprian, Tertullian, Irenæus, and Dionysius, the councils, and such other weights fit for that purpose.
Thus we see there is yet good cause enough, why men may soberly learn one of another. And if it misfortune that for lack of insight we cannot agree which balance weigheth heaviest, let us borrow eyes of our neighbours. And if ye begin handsomely with me, I mistrust not but men shall at length get more liberty for so good a purpose, when good meaning is well known.
By this ye see I mean no guile, nor attempt no new practice. If ye refuse me at this request, foresee what may be thought. You are not all without enemies, pardy. Some will percase construe ye refuse conscientia imbecillitatis, &c.
Well, if ye send word ye are at a point, and will go no further, then I pray you that of all this encounter there grow no farther breach of amity, or harm other ways. I mean and deal plainly, and trust upon your open promise to go harmless again from you, as I began. Here repeating again my former protestation, that I am not nor will be against any article that learning or reason can shew I ought to believe, being ready without malice to hear and take what may be alleged to drive me to that ye teach; and desiring you herewithal to construe my sayings by the intent I