The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Copy of an Epistle which Julian, Cardinal of St. Angelo, and the Pope's Ambassador into Germany, wrote marvellous boldly and freely unto Eugene, Bishop of Rome

The Copy of an Epistle which Julian, Cardinal of St. Angelo, and the Pope's Ambassador into Germany, wrote marvellous boldly and freely unto Eugene, Bishop of Rome, for that he went about to dissolve the Council of Basil.

Most blessed father! after the devout kisses of your blessed feet.

Now shall the whole world understaud aud know, whether your holiness have in you the bowels of fatherly love and charity, and the zeal of the house of God; whether you be sent to make peace or discord, to congregate or disperse; or whether you be that good shepherd that giveth his life for his sheep. Behold the door beginneth now to be opened, whereby the lost sheep may return again unto their own fold; now is there good hope even at hand of the reconciliation of the Bohemians. If your holiness, as it is your duty, do help and further the same, you shall obtain great glory both in heaven and earth. But if, peradventure, you go about to let the same (which is not to be expected at your hands), all men will reprove you of impiety; heaven and earth will conspire against you; all men will forsake you. For how is he to be followed, who, with one word, may restore peace and quietness to the church, and refuseth to do it? But I conceive a better hope in you, how that your holiness, without any excuse, will, with your whole heart and mind, favour this most sacred council, and give thanks unto Almighty God for his great goodness, that this congregation hath not departed. The ambassadors of the council are returned from Egra.Behold the ambassadors of this sacred council are returned with great joy and gladness from Egra, reporting how that, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, they have firmly concluded with the ambassadors of the Bohemians (that is to say, of the Pragueians, Orphans, and Taborites, amongst whom were also present the captains of their enemies, and specially Procopius), that a solemn ambassade of all the estates of the realm should come unto the council of Basil, after a safe conduct has been sent unto them by the said council in form conditioned, which shall be done with speed. This sacred congregation is marvellously exhilarate and joyful, for those our ambassadors affirm, that all things were handled with such charity at Egra, and that they did see such things amongst the Bohemians, that, not without cause, they do conceive great hope of their reconciliation.

And at last, gently embracing one another, even with tears of gladness, they departed from Egra; the Bohemians requiring our ambassadors, that the matter might be ended with all expedition. They report also, that many things happened in that treaty, which, if any man heard, and did not weep for joy, he might well think himself to be but smally affectioned unto Christ. As for three of the four articles, they seem not to make any great difficulty upon them. As touching the fourth, that is, of the communion under both kinds, there is good hope that they will follow the judgment of the council. Who is it, then, that dare counsel your holiness to persevere any longer in the purpose of dissolution? for, if the council had not been appointed at all, for so great hope and necessity, it ought to have been appointed in this place. How worthy of praise and commendation should your holiness act, if you would leave Italy and all other affairs, and come hither in your own person; although you should need to be canned in a waggon or litter. The keeping and defence of the temporal patrimony of the church may well be disposed and done by legates and vicars. What the church is.This is the true patrimony of the church, to win souls; for the church is not a heap of stones and walls. Christ hath not made you a keeper of castles and forts, but a pastor of souls. Therefore, you should do that in your own person, which is most necessary and acceptable unto Christ, and all other things by your substitutes. For so did the apostles, who, to the intent they might the more freely attend to the preaching of the word of God, did institute seven to serve the tables, and for the ministration of other inferior things. I hear that, by the grace of God, your holiness doth daily recover and amend; and if so be, as it is said, you do visit some churches on foot, ye may also come hither on horseback; for you cannot go unto any thing more profitable or concordant to your office, than to go unto the place where innumerable benefits and goodness may spring. Let your holiness understand and consider wherein Christ, whose vicar you are, and St. Peter, whose successor you are, and the apostles and holy bishops, did exercise and occupy themselves; and, as you do succeed them in office, so succeed them in manners. But if, peradventure, your holiness cannot come hither, I do counsel you, that, for so great a benefit, you would send the more part of the reverend lords, cardinals of the court of Rome, and command all other prelates to come hither. Do not let or hinder those that are willing to come, as it is reported you do, but rather allure them to come hither.

Your holiness may believe me, that only charity moveth me to counsel you in this sort; be ye not separate from your members; nourish your children as the hen doth her chickens under her wings. And, if so be that you will do nothing else, yet speak this only word, 'Placet,' that is to say, that it pleaseth you that the council of Basil should go forward. For a few days past there came news hither, for which your holiness ought altogether to cease from your dissolution. The reverend father, the archbishop of Lyons, hath written unto the council, and unto me also, how that the prelates of France have assembled together in the city of Bourges, and there, after long and exact examination, have concluded, that the council is lawfully congregated in this place; and that it is necessary that it should be holden and celebrated here at this present; and how the prelates of France should come unto it. He also directed hither the cause which moved them so to conclude, the copy whereof I suppose is sent unto your holiness by some other. Whereupon, then, doth your holiness stay? You have gone about as much as in you lay, by your messengers, letters, and divers means, to draw back the prelates, and have laboured with all your endeavour to dissolve the council: yet, notwithstanding, as you do see, it is increased day by day; and the more it is forbidden, the more are all men's minds inflamed to the contrary. Is not this, then, to resist the will of God? Eugene provoketh the church.Why do ye provoke the church to anger? Why do ye stir up the christian people? Vouchsafe I pray you so to do, that ye may get the love and favour of the people, and not the hatred; for all nations are greatly offended, when they hear these your doings. Suffer not your holiness to be seduced by any man, who, peradventure, shall inculcate fear unto you (whereas there is nothing at all to be doubted), or that doth persuade you this to be no lawful council. I know I should offend your holiness if I should go about to prove the contrary, but it is better that I do offend you a little in words, and profit you in my deeds; for a physician layeth a burning corrosive unto the disease, and healeth the sore; for the medicine cannot profit, except it be sharp and bitter in taste. Under this hope and confidence, I will not fear to declare the truth; that, it being known, your holiness may the better provide both for yourself and the church. It dependeth upon the council of Constance, whether this council be lawful or not. If that were a true council, so is this also. No man seemeth to doubt whether that council was lawful, and likewise whatsoever was there decreed, to be lawful; A strong argument against Eugene.for, if any man will say, that the decrees of that council are not of force, he must needs grant that the deprivation of pope John, which was done by the force of those decrees, was of no effect. If that deprivation were not of effect, neither was the election of pope Martin of any force, which was done he being yet alive. If Martin were no true pope, neither is your holiness, who was chosen by the cardinals that he made: wherefore, it standeth no man more upon, to defend the decrees of that council, than your holiness; for, if any decree of that council be called into doubt, by like means may all the rest of the decrees be revoked. And by like means shall the decrees of any other council be of no force and effect; for, by like reason, as the faith of one council is weakened, all the rest shall also be weakened, according to St. Augustine's saying, in the 9th Distinct, capitulo, 'Si ad scripturas.' Then, saith he, both the faith and all other sacraments shall be put in doubt, if there be once any doubt made of the force and power of any council lawfully congregated. There was a decree made in the council of Constance, entitled 'Frequens,' whereby it was ordained that the first council after that, should be holden within five years, and another, within seven years after that again. The council of Constance being ended, and the five years passed, the councils of Pavia and Sienna were holden, after which, seven years being also run over, this council is begun to be celebrated. To what end then is it expressed in the bull of the dissolution, amongst other causes, that the seventh year is already past, when, as of necessity, it ought to be passed before the council can be celebrated? For these words, from seven years or five years, signify, according to the law, that all parts of time should be passed, and the last day looked for. Wherefore it behoved that seven years should be fully complete, before this council of Basil should begin; like as five years were fully expired, before the council of Pavia did begin.

But, peradventure, some man will say, that it ought to have begun the first day after the seventh year was expired; for, otherwise, the term of the council is passed. But hereunto we may answer, that it is not contained in the chapter 'Frequens,' that except it were holden the first day, it should not be holden at all, neither can it be gathered either by the words or meaning. For it is only required that it should be holden after seven years are expired; but, whether it be the second or third day, or the third or four month after the seventh year, it doth satisfy the chapter 'Frequens.' For, when the first day is come, then beginneth the power and liberty to celebrate the council, but not before: but it is not prohibited to celebrate it after; neither doth this word, 'In quinquennium,' that is to say against five years next following, which is alleged in the chapter 'Frequens,' and seemeth to be repeated also for the seven years; for it is not understood that it is necessary to be holden the first day precisely after the seventh year, but because it should not be understood of other seven years to come. For, in speaking simply of seven years, it is understood of seven years next ensuing. Admit also that in the chapter 'Frequens,' any of these words had been joined with these immediately following, as 'by and by,' 'out of hand,' 'immediately,' or 'straightways after,' or such other words: yet ought they to be understood with a certain moderation and distance of time, that is, as soon as might be convenient; as these words are expounded by the lawyers and doctors, for they are enlarged and restrained according to the subject and divers circumstances of the matters and affairs. For it is not by any means likely that it was the mind of those who made the decree, that, considering the long journey and hard preparation of such affairs, and also the manifold impediments which may happen, that they would restrain so precise a time, even at the first day, that if it were not then celebrated, it should not be holden at all; for, by such subtle means, it shoidd also be holden even in the first moment and very instant after, the same year.

But, forasmuch as words are civilly to be understood, this sense or understanding is far too disagreeable. For if any man will say, 'Then it is commanded to be prorogued,' that is also forbidden in the chapter 'Frequens.' He that doth so argue, doth not understand himself nor the force of the words. It is not prorogued, if it be begun the second or third month; but it is rather a continuation or execution of that which is in their power. For, if it were a prorogation, then, forasmuch as a prorogation doth savour of the nature of the first delay, it could not be begun *before the time prorogued: but this happeneth not in our case; for, albeit it were not begun* in the first month, but in the second or third, it is not thereby concluded that it could not be begun in the first: but, if there had been any prorogation made till the second month, then it could not have been begun in the first. As for example, I promise to give a hundred pounds after Easter; before Easter it cannot be required; but, by and by after Easter, it may be required: and, albeit that I be not urged for it, notwithstanding I do not cease to be bound; and, if so be I be demanded it in the second or third month after, it is not thereby understood that there is any prorogation made; neither doth it follow, but that it might have been demanded in the beginning, which could not have been done, if there had been any prorogation made. Also, it is the nature of prorogation, to be made before the first term or day be passed; for otherwise, it is no prorogation, but a new appointment. And albeit it may be said, that then it may be long delayed; it is answered, that in this point we must stand unto the judgment of the church, which, considering divers circumstances, would think the time meet. For the liberty of celebrating councils, was instituted for the profit and favour of the church. What if it should happen that when the time cometh, in the place where a council should be kept, there be a great plague or some siege, which should continue for the space of three or four months, and the pope, in the mean time, doth not change the place, according to the form of the chapter 'Frequens,' and that, through such impediments, the prelates did not come the first day unto the place, or, if any were coming, that they were taken by the way, who, if they had not been taken, had been present at the first day in the place appointed: is it therefore to be said that the power of the council is past? or that the impediment ceasing, and the prelates coming thither, the council cannot be holden? That truly were greatly absurd and too much prejudicial to the church of God. But, in this our case, the cause is probable why the prelates did defer to come at the beginning of the time appointed; for as much as when the time drew near, pope Martin died the 20th of February: Cause of the long delay of the prelates.for which cause the prelates might well doubt upon some impediment of the council. Also they tarried looking that some should come thither in the name of the pope, because they would not tarry in that place in vain without a president. As for the legate who was appointed for the council, whose presence all men tarried for, until he would prepare himself for that journey, he came not at the time appointed unto the council, but went unto Nuremberg, to persecute the Bohemians; according to the commandment of pope Martin, who had enjoined him to go first thither, before he went to Basil.

And the same legate, being oftentimes required at Nuremberg, that he should go to Basil to hold the council, answered, that he would not go before he had the consent of the new bishop. This was the cause of the prelates' delay; neither is it greatly to be imputed unto the prelates, who suspected that pope Martin would not have holden the council, and feared to bring themselves into trouble: Council of Sienna.and good cause had they so to fear, through those things which happened in the council of Sienna; for there were many things spoken which caused great suspicion. It was reported unto me, that many had said, I came unto Germany to disturb the council.

Also this was pope Martin's mind and intent, that, albeit the council was not begun at the beginning of March, notwithstanding, the authority of holding the council should not be void. For he, when the time of the council approached, willed me that I should first go unto Boliemia, before I went unto the council; whereof, also, mention is made in the bull of the consistory dissolution.

But what need we any other proof, than by the letters of your holiness? In which your letters, dated the 2d of the calends of June, and delivered unto me long after the time, by the space of three months, you do command me, that, my business being done in Bohemia, I should take my way to Basil, to hold the council, and there to foresee unto all things, as it was enjoined me, and ordained in the council of Constance. The same also you repeat in the bull of the dissolution brought unto me by the lord Parentine; the words whereof are these: 'Unto your circumspection! Since your going into Germany no prelates have assembled in Basil for the celebrating of the council: we gave you in commandment that, in the mean time, you should be diligent about the expedition against the Bohemian heretics, which is committed to your charge, and afterwards you shall come unto Basil, the place appointed for the council, and there rule in our place in the name of the church.' What is more evident than this? If any thing were doubtful, by the tenor of these letters it were evidently taken away. If any man would say, that neither pope Martin, nor Eugene, could confirm the council by writing such letters, because there was a prorogation which is prohibited by the chapter 'Frequens:' it is answered, that there is no prorogation, but execution of that which is in power, or a declaration that it is not necessary to hold the council precisely even at the beginning. Also it is no prorogation, for a prorogation is made before the term is expired and not after; for after, it is rather called a new indiction or appointment. And if any man will say that there can be no new indiction made, then may this be objected: how could the council of Bologna be newly appointed? If they will answer, that the appointment of the council of Bologna was of force, because the council of Basil was dissolved by your holiness, then I have my intent; for, if it were dissolved, ergo, it was a council before, because it presupposeth the habit. If it were a council before, then, as hereafter shall be proved, it could not be dissolved without the consent of the council. What more can be answered hereunto? For the greater declaration and evidence of the matter, the abbot of Vergilia, even upon the same day of the time appointed or before, gathering together the prelates of the great church and many other prelates and notable men, made a solemn protestation, how the time was come to celebrate and hold the council, and that he was come unto Basil for the same purpose; requiring them that they would confer and treat together upon matters touching the council: and, hereupon, there is a public instrument or testimonial.

Within a month after, the ambassadors of the university of Paris came thither, and began to treat of matters touching the council, writing also unto the emperor, and to the other princes of Germany, that they should send unto the council; which letters I myself did see, neither doth the small number of men let; for, where authority is, a great number is not required, according to the saying of Christ, 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them:' upon which authority the councils are grounded. Now therefore, your holiness doth manifestly see the said objection to be but frivolous. For to what end should any dissolution be made, if it had not been a council? Wherefore, it is not to be doubted but that it was a lawful council, and canonically congregated. And, peradventure, it is scarcely found where any council hath been confirmed by so many authorities as this; that is to say, by the two councils before passed, of Constance and of Sienna, and confirmed by two bishops of Rome.

Besides this, I have heard that some do report at Rome, that I could not call the prelates unto the council, because that clause was not added in the bull of pope Martin. I greatly marvel why this should be objected, especially seeing that not I alone have called them, but I, together with the rest who are here assembled in the council. It is a marvellous matter: pope Martin gave me authority, by the advice of the council, to root out heresies, to pacify kingdoms, to reform the manners of every state of Christendom, and yet they will say that I cannot cite them. Power is given me to judge and to condemn, and have I not also power to cite? The law doth say; unto whom any power or jurisdiction is committed, all things seem to be committed unto him, without which he cannot exercise his jurisdiction; for how could all the premises be done, if the prelates or others should not come hither? Also, why is it said in the chapter 'Ego enim de jurejurando,' 'I will come unto the synod if I be called,' if he cannot be called.' By whom, then, is it presupposed that he should be called, but only by the council, or by him who ruleth the council? Also the whole eighteenth distinction treateth of no other matter, but that the bishops being called unto the council, if they come not, they may be excommunicated and suspended. Let these men read the Book of Councils of St. Isidore, and they shall find how that in many councils the prelates have been called by the synod.

Now it remaineth, that we should declare, whether the dissolution be of force or no. Wherein I do again fear to move your holiness unto anger, but charity forceth me thereunto; for, peradventure, your holiness doth think the dissolution to be effectual, and therefore do persevere in it; whereby, forasmuch as many offences may arise, my conscience doth move me not to hold my peace. First of all, the chapter 'Frequens,' declareth that it is of no force; for if prorogation be forbidden and prohibited, which is a small matter, much more is dissolution, which is a greater, for it is a greater matter to take away than to defer; for, by proroguing, a thing is but deferred, and by dissolving, it is utterly taken away. Also these men say, that the said constitution in the chapter 'Frequens,' may be made void, for that as soon as the council is begun, it may be dissolved without any thing done, as it is said that it was done at Sienna; and now they say also, that your holiness hath been perversely informed touching the dissolution. They say also, that the said dissolution doth manifestly tend to the subversion of faith, the ruin of the church, and the trouble of the christian people: therefore it cannot be done, neither obeyed.

They say, moreover, that the said dissolution could not be made by means of a certain decree of the council of Constance in that behalf provided; that in such matters as pertain unto faith, the extirpation of sin, and reformation of the church in the head and in the members, all men, of what estate or condition soever they be, yea the pope himself, should be bound to obey the statutes, precepts, and ordinances, of every general council; and, except they did obey, the council had power to punish them. Mark how these things—to have powerto determine upon any man, to command him, and punish him, if he be not obedient—are signs of superiority, in those matters which he doth decree, command, or punish; and, to be bound to obedience, to be subject and obey the same, are signs of inferiority in the said cases. Ergo, in the aforesaid cases, seeing that the pope, as they say, is under the council, which also hath been; in that for one of the said three cases the council did deprive John, and for another Benedict, neither could the pope dissolve the council, in that, he that is inferior unto the council, cannot bind or compel the superior, as in the chapter 'Cum inferior:' otherwise it should contain in it a contradiction, that he is bound to obey, and is not bound to obey, because he may dissolve; for how should he be obedient unto the ordinance and decree of the council, if he may annihilate and take away the same ordinance and decree? This council is congregated for the rooting out of heresies, for the making of peace, and for the reformation of manners; and in the first session it did ordain, that their whole intent and respect should be thereunto, and that he who should procure to let the council, to prorogue or alter it, should be punished, and have process against him, as against a common disturber of the peace, &c. If it may be dissolved, it is evident that they do not obey the said ordinance; whereby this, also, must of necessity be granted, that if it may be dissolved, the decree of the council of Constance is of no force.

This is also proved by another reason. No man doubteth but if any controversy of heresy should be moved against any bishop of Rome, that he could not dissolve the council: for, if he might dissolve the council, he could not be judged, which were contrary to the chapter 'Si Papa,' 40 dist. Ergo, like as it is in heresy, so is it in the two other cases; for these three were pacified by the council of Constance: for thus speaketh the council, as it is in the chapter, 'Si Papa in illo uno.' And, as I have before said, the council of Constance allowed this decree, through which they deprived Peter de Lima, for making a schism, and pope John, for the deformity of his life.

And albeit there be certain laws that say, The principal seat cannot be judged of any man; and again, no man judgeth the chief seat; and, no man saith unto himself, why doest thou so? There is to be understood in the three cases, first, that there was proviso made for the faith in the chapter 'Si Papa;' and in the other two points, by the decree of Constance. Otherwise it should be understood, without any exception, that the first seat, &c., and then the chapter 'Si Papa,' 40 dist., and the said decree of Constance should be false. If the chapter 'Si Papa' had added causes of heresies, no man would have doubted upon these two cases, touching the said sentence; so, likewise, no man ought to doubt of the decree of the council, that it was made by the authority of the pope, and representeth the universal church. And, if any man would say, that in all councils the authority of the pope is excepted: I answer, that is true, when the person of the pope is not specially included. But, if he be specially included, he cannot be excepted, because it should savour of contradiction. Most blessed father! God is my witness, that I have spoken these things with great anguish and sorrow of mind; but I am forced so to speak, that your holiness may cease from the said dissolution, lest there might happen infinite evils in the church of God. If your holiness did see my pure mind, my upright conscience, and entire affection towards you, whereby I am moved to write these things, even for very love you would embrace and kiss me, and, without doubt, love me as your own son. I have often said, and now do say, and protest before God and man, that you will be the cause of schism and infinite mischiefs, if you do not alter and change your mind and purpose. Almighty God preserve your holiness in the prosperity of a virtuous man! unto whose feet I do most humbly recommend me.

From Basil, the fifth day of June.

Thus endeth the epistle of cardinal Julian, written unto pope Eugene; wherein, forasmuch as mention is made how the Bohemians had promised to send their ambassadors unto the council, and, as before is partly touched in the Bohemian story, of their coming into Basil and propounding of certain articles, wherein they dissented from the pope; we thought it not any thing differing from our purpose, to have annexed a brief epitome, declaring the whole circumstance of their ambassage, their articles, disputations, and answers, which they had at the said council of Basil, with their petitions and answers unto the same: faithfully translated out of Latin by F. W.

In like manner Æneas Sylvius also, with his own hand-writing, not only gave testimony to the authority of this council, but also bestowed his labour and travail in setting forth the whole story thereof. Notwithstanding the same Sylvius afterwards, being made pope, with his new honour, did alter and change his old sentence. The epistle of which Æneas, touching the commendation of the said council, because it is but short, and will occupy but little room, I thought hereunder, for the more satisfying of the reader’s mind, to insert.