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Retract. i. betwixt him and the Manichees, prays thus: “O great and " * Almighty God, and God of all goodness, whom we ought to think and believe that thou art inviolable, incorruptible, and immutable ! O triple Unity, which all the church does worship, I, having experience of thy mercy toward me, pray thee humbly, that thou wilt not suffer them to differ from me in thy religion and worship of thee, with whom since I was a child I have
had a most special agreement in fellowship 6f men. Amen". God grant us all this to pray, and diligently endeavour ourselves to seek this unity of religion, in worshipping the living God only as he has taught us in his holy word, and no otherways, for his Son's sake, our Lord and Christ So be it.
III. “In England, where the faith of Christ and true religion was planted about the year of our Lord 182, Eleutherius, pope, sending legates to Lucius, then king of England, which converted this realm to the faith, and established true religion in England, which continued 200 years.”
As the rest of all their doctrine is founded on the pope, so is this. This is their subtlety, to make men believe that England has ever received the christian faith and religion from Rome; and therefore we must fetch it from thence still: which are both most untrue. If nothing else would, this one saying proves him to be unlearned, that thus says. Gildas",
o, our countryman, in his history says, that Britain received the
*::::... gospel in the time of Tiberius the emperor, under whom Christ
to suffered. Does not Tertullian, who lived at the same time eApostles’
time. of this pope, write in his book against the Jews thus: “The
[' Deus magne, Deus omnipotens, Deus summae bonitatis, quem inviolabilem et incorruptibilem credi atque intelligi fas est, Trina Unitas, quam catholica ecclesia colit, supplex oro, expertus in me misericordiam tuam, ne homines, cum quibus mihi a pueritia in omni convictu fuit summa consensio, in tuo cultu a me dissentire permittas. T. 1. p. 59. ed. Paris. 1836. Ed.]
[*Interea glaciali frigore rigenti insulae, et velut longiore terrarum secessu soli visibili non proximao, verus ille non de firmamento solum temporali, sed de summa etiam coelorum arce tempora cuncta excedenti, universo orbi praefulgidum sui coruscum ostendens tempore, ut scimus, summo Tiberii Caesaris, quo absolue ullo impedimento ejus propagabatur religio comminata senatu nolente a principe morte dilatoribus militum ejusdem, radios suos primum indulget, id est, sua precepta, Christus. Rerum Britannicarum Scriptores, p. 116. Fol. Heidelb. 1587. En.]
apostles are declared in David's psalm to be the preachers of Christ. Their sound, he says, went out in all the earth, and their words unto the coasts of the earth. In whom else have all people believed but in Christ, which is now comen? Whom have other people believed? The Parthians, the Medes, the Persians, they that dwell in Mesopotamia, Jury, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, the strangers of Rome, the Jews, proselytes, men of Crete and Arabia; and other people, as now the diverse sorts of the Getes, and many coasts of the Morians, all the borders of Spain, divers nations of France, and the places of the Britons, which the Romans could never attain to, now are subject to Christ, and the places of Sarmatia, of the Danes, the Germans, the Scythians, and of many other hid people and provinces, and many isles unknown to us, and which now we cannot reckon. In all which places reigns the name of Christ, which is now comen”.” Thus far Tertullian. Mark in how many countries, he says, the name of Christ reigned, it was so commonly and well believed; and how among them he reckons the wildest places of the Britons to be of the number: and these were christened in his time, who lived in the same pope Eleutherius' time. Then it was not pope Eleutherius, that first sent the christian faith hither, but they had received the gospel afore he was born. Does not some chronicles tell, that Joseph of Arimathea came hither and preached here? No doubt, either he or some apostle, or scholar of theirs, had preached Christ
[* Cujus et praedicatores apostoli in psalmis David ostenduntur: “In universa,” inquit, “terra exiit sonus eorum, et usque ad terminos terrae verbaeorum.” In quem enim alium universae gentes crediderunt, nisi in Christo, qui jam venit? Cui enim et aliae gentes crediderunt? “Parthi, Medi, Elamitae, et qui inhabitant Mesopotamiam, Armeniam, Phrygiam, Cappadociam, et incolentes Pontum et Asiam, Pamphyliam, immorantes AEgyptum, et regionem Africa, quae est trans Cyrenen, inhabitantes Roman et incolae tunc, et in Hierusalem Judaei,” et ceterae gentes: etiam Getulorum varietates, et Maurorum multi fines, Hispaniarum omnes termini, et Galliarum diversae nationes, et Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo vero subdita, et Sarmatarum, et Dacorum, et Germanorum, et Scytharum et abditarum multarum gentium, et provinciarum et insularum multarum, nobis ignotarum; et quae enumerare minus possumus: in quibus omnibus locis Christi nomen, qui jam venit, regnat. Adv. Judaeos, cap. vii. Ed.]
Polychronic. lib. v. cap. 17.
Eleutherius’ epistle to king Lucius.
here, and he was received and believed afore this pope was
[* Permansit autem hujusmodi observantia paschalis apud eos tempore non pauco, hoc est, usque ad annum dominicae incarnationis 716. per annos 150. Bed. Lib. III. cap. Iv.—That time was a great question made and moved of the Easter day, that was not that time holden lawfully of Scots and of Britons.” There in that one side came Colmannus the bishop and Hilda the abbess, and alleged for them that their predecessors were worthy men and holy, and held the Easter tide from the 14th day of the moon unto the 20th day of the moon; and specially St John the Evangelist held so the Easter tide in Asia. In the other side against them Egylbertus, &c. alleged, that the manner and the usage of all holy church of Greeks, of Italy, of Rome, of Gallia, and of France should be set tofore the manner, custom, and usage of a corner of the world, that knew not the decrees of synods. Polychron. v. 17. See Bed., Lib. III. cap. xxv. En.]
of them by God's grace, with the counsel of your realm, take ye a law, and by that law, through God's sufferance, rule your kingdom of Britain. For ye be God's vicar in your kingdom, according to the saying of the psalm, &c. “O God, give thy judgment to the king, and thy righteousness to the king's son.” He said not, the judgment and righteousness of the emperor, but thy judgment and justice, that is to say, of God. The king's sons be the christian people and folk of the realm, which be under your government, and live and continue in peace within your kingdom, as the gospel says, “Like as the hen gathers her chickens under her wings, so does the king his people.” The people and folk of the realm of Britain be yours, whom, if they be divided, ye ought to gather to concord and peace, to call them to the faith and law of Christ, and to the holy church, to cherish and maintain them, to rule and govern them, and to defend them always from them that would do them wrong, from malicious men and enemies, &c. A $.” king has his name of ruling, and not of having a realm.” Thou shalt be a king while thou rulest well: but if thou do not, the name of a king shall not remain with thee, and thou shalt lose it, which God forbid! The Almighty God grant you so to rule the realm of Britain, that ye may reign with him for ever, whose vicar ye be in the realm”!”
[* This letter to king Lucius is quoted, as here translated, in Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1. p. 107. Ed. 1583. This letter is noticed by Usher, Spelman, Stillingfleet, and many others. Collier in his Eccles. Hist. of Great Britain has given a full account of the particulars stated by historians respecting king Lucius. Concerning this letter, of which he gives a translation from Lambert de Priscis Anglorum Legibus, he states various objections against its authenticity, concluding thus: “Sir H. Spelman observes, that this letter is not to be met with till a thousand years after Eleutherius' death, and where it was first found, is altogether uncertain. The author of “The customs of London” printed it in the 12th year of Henry VIII.: afterward Lambert inserted it among the laws of Edward the Confessor; but there it is printed in an italic letter, as a mark of its being spurious. Howeden's manuscripts of about 400 years' standing take no notice of it; and, which is remarkable, his contemporary, Geoffrey of Monmouth, who did not use to suppress or overlook any British antiquities, says nothing about it. And as for the manuscript in Guildhall, London, it seems, at the most, to be no more than 200 years old.” Collier's Eccles. Hist. 1708. Book 1. Cent. 2. Mosheim observes, “These ancient accounts are exposed to much doubt, and are rejected by the best informed persons.” Vol. 1. Cent. 2. En.]
Thus far the epistle. Mark, I pray you, what this good pope grants, and whether he be of this peevish proctor's opinion, or of his holy bishops' that he cracks so much on. First, he wills him not to take the Romans' laws to rule his realm by, for they may ever be reproved; but to make laws according to the scripture, which never can justly be gainsaid, and by them to rule. Further, he calls the king “God’s vicar” twice in this letter. Thirdly, he says the king ought to call the people to the faith of Christ. How can papists then be disobedient to kings, when they see the pope grant so much to kings? The pope calls the king God's vicar; and our papists deny it, and say the pope is God's vicar. The pope bids rule by the scripture, and refuses his own laws: but our holy bishops say scriptures make heretics, and will be subject to no laws but the Romans'. Lastly, he charges kings to bring the people to the faith: but our spirituality say, kings have nothing ado in ecclesiastical matters nor religion. They stick much on ancienty, and the pope's authority: and yet those godly things which godly ancient popes have said and decreed, they cannot abide, because it takes away their authority and pride.
Platina and Polychroniconi write, that this pope decreed that no man should refuse any meat that man eats. If this pope say true, why have we then commanded, upon pain of deadly sin, by papists so many superstitious kinds of fastings and forbearing meats at certain times? If they be not superstitious, because they would bind the conscience with them, and make it sin to break them, let them prove it by the scripture to be godly. If they be catholics that believe and follow the pope, why are we called heretics in believing and teaching that which the pope has written ? If they will be called the pope's darlings, why do they deny the pope's writings? If true religion was stablished here by this pope, why then does this scavenger sweep the streets with contrary doctrine to this pope, and with false lies? If they would have us believe and honour the pope, they must first begin themselves. Who will think that he
[* Idem etiam statuit, ne quis ob superstitionem cibi genus ullum respueret, quo humana consuetudo vesceretur. Platina De Vitis Pontif. p.21. After Soter Eleutherius was pope 15 years: he ordained that christian men should not forsake nor forbear no meat that is skilful and reasonable for mankind. Polychron. Lib. iv. ch. 16. Ed.]