The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Second Disputation in the University of Prague, upon the Seventeenth Article of John Wickliff
Condemnation of the forty-five articles, and wherefore it is not to be allowed.To the honour of Almighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, both for the trying out of truth, and the profit of the holy mother the church, according to the congregation of our university of Prague, which, avoiding always to do that which shall be prejudicial to the truth, hath deferred to give their consent unto the condemnation of the forty-five articles, wishing, even unto this present time, sufficient probation to be given of the condemnation of the said articles, and particularly of every one of them: whereupon the said university doth always require due proof of the same, forasmuch as pope Damasus, in his canon, Distinction, chapter lxviii. "Chorepiscopi," saith thus; "That it is necessary that whatsoever thing standeth not by due reason should be rooted out;" whereby it appeareth, that the condemnation of the five and forty articles, if it stand not with proof and sufficient demonstration for every article, is necessarily to be rooted out.
But, if any man will object and say, that to require a reason for every thing, is to derogate from God's divine power: unto this objection Master William doth answer himself in his philosophy, the first book, almost at the end, where he, treating of the place in Genesis ii. "God made man of the slime of the earth," &c., hath these words; Allowable to seek to declare by reason, why things recorded in Scripture are done."For in what point," saith he, "are we contrary to the holy Scriptures, if we seek by reason to declare wherefore any thing is done, which is said in the Scriptures to be done? For if a wise man should say that a thing is done, and do not declare how it is done, and another man speaketh the very self-same thing, and declareth how it is done, what contrariety is there? But, forasmuch as they themselves know not the force of nature, to the intent that they might have all men partakers with them of their ignorance, they would have no man to inquire it out; but they would have us believe as ignorant people, and not to seek any reason of our belief, that the prophecy might be fulfilled, "Such as the people is, such shall be the priest." But we truly do say, that in all things a reason is to be sought, if it may by any means be found. But if any man do stay at any thing which the Scriptures do affirm, let him commit the same unto faith, and unto the Holy Ghost. For Moses saith, "If the lamb cannot be eaten, let it not be by and by consumed in the fire; but let him first call his neighbour which dwelleth in the next house unto him; and if they also be not sufficient to eat the lamb, then let it be burned in the fire." So likewise, when we go about to seek any thing as touching the godhead, and be not able of ourselves to comprehend the same, let us call our neighbour who dwelleth in the next house unto us; that is to say, let us seek out such a one as dwelleth in the same catholic faith with us; and if then neither we, nor yet he, be able to comprehend the same, let it then be burned with the fire of faith.
An allegory upon the Paschal Lamb.But these men, albeit they have many neighbours dwelling near unto them, yet for very pride they will not call any man unto them; choosing rather to continue still ignorant, than to ask any question. And if they do know any man to inquire for his neighbour in such case, by and by, they cry out upon him as a heretic; presuming more upon their own head, than having confidence in their wisdom. But I exhort you to give no credit unto their outward appearance, for already it is verified in them which the satirical poet saith: "No credit is to be given unto the outward show; for which of them all is it that doth not abound with most shameful and detestable vices?" And in another place he saith: "They are very dainty of their speech, and have great desire to keep silence." And thus much hath Master William. Let all such hear whom this parable doth touch; for I, with the rest of the masters, bachelors, and students of our university, considering how hard a matter the condemnation of the forty-five articles of Wickliff, without reason, is, and how grievous a thing it were if we should thereunto consent, do call together my neighbours, the doctors of this university, and all others who would object any thing against the same, that we might presently find out the reason of the condemnation of this article, concerning the taking away the temporalties from the clergy.
A protestation, whereby he giveth light unto the reader, how the proposition aforesaid is to be understood, and addeth, that the goods of the clergy are not utterly to be taken away, but in case the clergy do abuse the same.Notwithstanding, I do profess that it is not my intent, like as it is not the meaning of the university, to persuade, that princes or secular lords should take away the goods from the clergy when they would, or how they would, and convert them to what use they list. But our whole intent is diligently to search out whether this article, as touching the taking away of temporalties from the clergy, may have in it any true sense, whereby it may be defended without reproof. Wherefore this article, being the seventeenth in the number of the forty-five, is propounded under this form: "The lords temporal may, at their own will and pleasure, take away the temporal goods from the clergy, if they do offend, and therein continue." It is thus proved: the kings of the Old Testament took away the temporal goods at God's commandment from the clergy; that is to say, from the priests offending. Therefore the kings also of the New Testament, at God's commandment, may do the like, when the priests of the new law do offend. The consequence dependeth upon a similitude; and the antecedent is evident. First, it is proved by Solomon, 1 Kings ii. 27, which Solomon deposed Abiathar the high priest, because he had taken part with Adonijah, the brother of Solomon, to make him king, without the advice either of David, or of Solomon himself, who ought to reign, and set up Zadoc the priest in the place of Abiathar, because he had not consented with Abiathar unto Adonijah, First reason. Solomon.as it is written, 1 Kings i. 5—8; where it is said; "Adonijah, the son of Haggith, exalted himself, saying, I will reign; and made unto himself chariots and horsemen, and forty men which should run before him; neither did his father rebuke him at any time, saying, Wherefore hast thou done this? For he was very comely, being second son, next to Absalom, and his talk was with Joab the son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest, which took part with Adonijah. But Zadoc the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Serethei, and Felethi, and all the power of David's host, were not on Adonijah's part."
This was the cause of the deposing of Abiathar, because he took part with Adonijah, that he should be king against Solomon, the eldest son of king David: wherefore it is written, 1 Kings ii. 26; "The king said unto Abiathar the priest. Go your ways unto Anathoth thine own field, for thou art a man of death: but this day I will not slay thee, because thou hast carried the ark of the Lord before my father David, and didst labour in all things wherein my father laboured." Then did Solomon cast out Abiathar, that he should be no more the priest of the Lord; that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
Behold, the most prudent king Solomon, according to the wisdom which was given him of God, did exercise his power upon the said priest, putting him out of his priesthood, and setting in his place Zadoc the priest. This was a greater matter than to take away the temporalties. If, then, in the law of Christ, who now reigneth over us, a bishop should likewise rebel against the true heir of the kingdom, willing to set up another for king, why should not the king or his heir have power, in like case, to take away the temporalties from him so offending?
Second reason. Nebuchadnezar.It is also evident by the king Nebuchadnezzar, who had power given him of God to lead away the children of Israel, with their priests and Levites, into the captivity of Babylon, as it is written in 2 Kings xxv.
Item, We read in 2 Kings xii., how that Jehoash, the most godly king of Judah,Third reason. Jehoash. according to the wisdom which God had granted him, "took away all the consecrated vessels which Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his forefathers, kings of Judah, had consecrated, and those which he himself had offered, and all the treasure that could be found in the temple of the Lord and in the king's palace, and sent it unto Hazael, king of Syria, and he departed from Jerusalem." Mark how this most holy king exercised his power, not only in taking away the temporalties of the priests, but also those things which were consecrated in the temple of the Lord, to procure unto the commonwealth the benefit of peace.
Fourth reason. Hezekian.Item, In 2 Kings xviii., it is written, how that the holy king Hezekiah took all the treasure that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the king's treasury, and brake down the pillars of the temple of the Lord, and all the plates of gold which he himself had fastened thereupon, and gave them unto the king of the Assyrians; yet was he not rebuked of the Lord for it, as he was for his other sins, as it appeareth in 2 Chron. xxxii. Forasmuch, then, as in time of necessity all things ought to be in common unto Christians, it followeth that the secular lords, in case of necessity, and in many other common cases, may lawfully take away the moveable goods from the clergy, when they do offend.
Fifth reason. Matthew.We also read in Matthew xii., that the disciples of Jesus, to slake their hunger, upon the Sabbath-day pulled the cars of corn, and did eat them, and the Pharisees rebuked them for it; unto whom Christ answered, "Have ye not read what David did when he was hungry, and those that were with him;David. how he entered into the house of the Lord, and did eat the shewbread, which it was not lawful for him, neither for them that were with him to eat, but only for the priests?" This story is written in 1 Sam. xxi., and the commandment in Deuteronomy xii., whereby it appeareth, that it is lawful, in Case of necessity.time of necessity to use any thing, be it ever so much consecrated. Otherwise, children by giving their moveables to the consecration of any temple, should not be bound to help their parents; which is contraiy and against the gospel of St. Matthew [chap, xvi.], where our Saviour sharply rebuked the Pharisees, that, for their own traditions, they did transgress the commandment of God.
Sixth reason. Titus and Vespasian.Item, Titus and Vespasian, secular princes, had power given them by God, twenty-four years after the Lord's ascension, to take away the temporalties from the priests who had offended against the Lord's Holy One, and thereby, also, bereft them of their lives: and it seemeth unto many, they did, and might, worthily do the same according to God's good will and pleasure. Then, forasmuch as our priests, in these days, may transgress and offend as much, and rather more, against the Lord's anointed, it followeth, that, by the pleasure of God, the secular lords may likewise punish them for their offence.
Seventh reason. The example of Christ paying tribute.
St. Ambrose's mind.Our Saviour, being King of kings, and high Bishop, with his disciples, did give tribute unto Cæsar, as it appeareth in Matthew xvii., and commanded the Scribes and Pharisees to give the like unto Cæsar [Matt, xxii.]; whereby he gave example unto all priests that should come after him to render tribute unto their kings. Hereupon blessed St. Ambrose, in his fourth book, upon these words in Luke v. 4., "Cast out your nets," writeth thus; "There is another kind of fishing amongst the apostles, after which manner the Lord commanded Peter only to fish, saying, 'Cast out thy hook, and that fish which cometh first up, take him.'" And then unto the purpose he saith; "It is truly a great and spiritual document, whereby all christian men are taught that they ought to be subject unto the higher powers, and that no man ought to think that the laws of a king here on earth are to be broken. For if the Son of God did pay tribute, art thou so great a man, that thou thinkest thou oughtest not to pay tribute? He payed tribute who had no possessions; and thou who daily seekest after the lucre of the world, why dost thou not acknowledge the obedience and duty of the world? Why dost thou, through the arrogancy of thy mind, exalt thyself above the world, whereas, through thine own miserable covetousness, thou art subject unto the world?" Thus writeth St. Ambrose, and it is put in the 11 quest. 1 par., "Magnum quidem." Christ commanded tribute to be paid unto the emperor.He also writeth upon these words in Luke xx. 24., "Show me a penny; whose image hath it?" "If Christ had not the image of Cæsar, why did he pay any tribute? He gave it not of his own, but rendered unto the world that which was the world's; and if thou wilt not be in danger of Cæsar, possess not those things which are the world's, for if thou hast riches thou art in danger of Cæsar." Wherefore, if thou wilt owe nothing unto any earthly king, forsake all those things, and follow Christ. If, then, all ecclesiastical ministers having riches ought to be under the subjection of kings, and give unto them tribute; it followeth that kings may lawfully, by the authority which is given them, take away their temporalties from them.
Hereupon St. Paul, acknowledging himself to be under jurisdiction of the emperor, appealed unto Cæsar, as it appeareth, Acts xxv. 10.: "I stand," saith he, "at Cæsar's judgment seat; there I ought to be judged." Whereupon, in the eighth distinction, chapter "Quo jure," St. Ambrose allegeth, that all things are lawful unto the emperor, and all things under his power. For the confirmation whereof it is said, [Daniel ii. 37, 38,]Eighth reason. Paul appealeth to the emperor. St. Ambrose. (Daniel ii.) "The God of heaven hath given unto thee a kingdom, strength, empire and glory, and all places wherein the children of men do dwell; and hath given into thy power the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air, and set all things under thy subjection."
Also, in the 11 quest, par. 1, St. Ambrose saith, "If the emperor require tribute, we do not deny that the lands of the church shall pay tribute; if the emperor have need of our lands, he hath power to challenge them, let him take them, if he will: I do not give them unto the emperor, neither do I deny them."Ninth reason. St. Ambrose. This he writeth, expressly declaring that the secular lord hath power at his pleasure to take away the lands of the church; and so, consequently, the secular lords have power at their pleasures, to take away the temporal goods from the ecclesiastical ministers when they do offend.
Tenth reason. St. Augustine.Also, St. Augustine writeth, "If thou sayest, 'What have we to do with the emperor?' But now, as I said, we speak of man's law. The apostles would be obedient unto kings, and honour them, saying, 'Reverence your kings; and do not say, What have I to do with the king?' What hast thou then to do with possessions? By the king's law thy possessions are possessed. Thou hast said, 'What have I to do with the king?' but do not say, what have thy possessions to do with the king? For then hast thou renounced the laws of men, whereby thou didst possess thy lands." Thus writeth St. Augustine in his eighth distinction, by whose words it is manifest, that the king hath power over the church goods, and consequently may take them away from the clergy transgressing or offending.
Eleventh reason. Magistrates, keepers of both laws. The duty of kings to punish the clergy.Item, in his thirty-third epistle to Boniface, he saith, "What sober man will say unto our kings, 'Care not you in your kingdom, by whom the church of the Lord is maintained, or by whom it is oppressed; it pertaineth not unto you, who will be either a religious man, or who will be a church-robber?' Unto whom it may be thus answered, 'Doth it not pertain unto us in our kingdom, who will either live a chaste life, or who will be an unchaste whoremonger?'" Behold, this holy man showeth here how it is the duty of kings to punish such as are robbers of churches, and consequently the proud clergy when they do offend.
Twelfth reason.Item, he writeth in the 33 quest. 7 par., "Si de rebus," "The secular lords may lawfully take away the temporal goods from heretics; and forasmuch as it is a case greatly possible that many of the clergy are users of simony, and thereby heretics, therefore the secular lords may very lawfully take away their temporalties from them." "For what an unworthy thing is it," continues St. Augustine, "if the catholics do possess, according unto the will of the Lord, those things which the heretics held? forasmuch as this is the word of the Lord unto all wicked men [Matt, xxi.], 'The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given unto a nation, which shall do the righteousness thereof.' Is it in vain which is written in the Book of Wisdom [chap, xi.], 'The just shall eat the labours of the wicked?'"
An objection of the desire of other men's goods.And whereas it may be objected as touching the desire of other men's goods, St. Augustine answereth, "That by that evidence the seven nations, which did abuse the Land of Promise, and were driven out from thence by the power of God, may object the same unto the people of God, which inhabit the same;" and the Jews themselves, from whom, according unto the word of the Lord, "The kingdom is taken away, and given unto a people, which shall do the works of righteousness," may object the same unto the church of Christ, as touching the desire of other men's goods: but St. Augustine's answer is this; "We do not desire another man's goods, forasmuch as they are ours by the commandment of Him by whom all things were made." By like evidence the clergy having offended, their temporal goods are made the goods of others, for the profit of the church. To this purpose also, according to St. Augustine, serveth the 14 quest. 4 par., "Unto an unbeliever it is not a halfpenny matter; but unto the faithful it is a whole world of riches." Shall we not then convince all such that they possess another man's goods, who seem to have gathered great riches together, and know not how to use them? for that truly is not another's, which is possessed by right; and that is lawfully possessed, which is justly possessed; and that is justly possessed, which is well possessed. Ergo, all that which is ill possessed, is another man's, and he doth ill possess it, who doth ill use it.
If then any of the clergy do abuse the temporal goods, the temporal lords may, at their own pleasure, according unto the rule of charity, take away the said temporal goods from the clergy so transgressing. For then, according to the allegation aforesaid, the clergy do not justly possess those temporal goods, but the temporal lords, proceeding according; to the rule of charity, do justly possess those temporalties, forasmuch as all things are the just man's [1 Cor. iii. 21—23]. "All things," saith the apostle, "are yours; whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas; either the world, or life or death, or things present, or things to come: for all things be yours, you be Christ's, and Christ is God's." Also in the 23 quest. 7 par., "Quicunque," it is written; "Jure divino omnia sunt justorum." 🞼The words of St. Augustine in that place, "Ad Vincentium," be these: "Whosoever," saith he, "upon the occasion of this law or ordinance of the emperor, doth molest or persecute you, not for love of any charitable correction, but only for hatred and malice to do you displeasure, I hold not with him in so doing."
By God's law. Cuncta justorum esse dicuntur.And although there is nothing here in this earth, that any man may possess assuredly, but either he must hold it by God's law, by which "cuncta justorum esse dicuntur;" that is, "all things be said to pertain to the possession of the just:" or else by man's law, which standeth in the king's power to set and to ordain; here, by the words of St. Augustine alleged, ye see all things belong to the possession of the just, by God's law.🞼
Thirteenth reason. The clergy subject unto the emperor and king by means of their possessions.Item, Forasmuch as the clergy by means of their possessions are in danger of the emperor and king, it followeth, that if they do offend, the emperor or king may lawfully take away their possessions from them. The consequent dependeth on this point, forasmuch as, otherwise, they were not in subjection under the emperor or king: and the antecedent is manifest by the 11 quest, 1 par., "His ita respondetur," where it is specified in Latin thus: "Clerici ex officio episcopo sunt suppositi, ex possessionibus imperatori sunt obnoxii: ab episcopo unctionem, decimas, et primitias accipiunt; ab imperatore vero possessiones nanciscuntur:" that is to say, "The clergy, by means of their office, are under the bishop; but by reason of their possessions they be subject unto the emperor: of the bishop they receive unction, tithes, and first-fruits; of the emperor they receive possessions." Thus then it is decreed by the imperial law, that livelihoods should be possessed; whereby it appeareth, that the clergy, by the possession of their livelihoods, are in danger of the emperor for him to take away from them, or to correct them according to their deservings, and to have the controlment of them, as it shall seem good unto him.
Fourteenth reason. Users of simony are punished by he civil magistrate.Item, The temporal lords may take away the temporalties from such as use simony, because they are heretics. Ergo, this article is true. The antecedent is manifest, forasmuch as the secular lords may refuse such as use simony, and punish them except they do repent. For, by the decree of pope Paschasius, in the first and last questions it appeareth, that all such as used simony were to be refused of all faithful jieople, as chief and principal heretics; and if they do not repent after they be warned, they are also to be punished by the extern power. For all other faults and crmes, in comparison of simony, be counted but light, and seem small offences. Whereupon the Gloss, expounding the same text, saith, that by this word 'extern,' is understood the laity, who have power over the clergy, besides the church, as in the seventeenth distinction, "Non licuit," and 23 quest. 5 par., "Principes." Whereby it is evident, that the temporal lords may take away the temporal goods from the clergy when they do offend.
Gregory writeth to the French queen. Wicked priests the destruction of the people.Item, St. Gregory, in the register upon his seventh book and ninth chapter, writeth thus unto the French queen: "Forasmuch as it is written that 'righteousness helpeth the people, and sin maketh them miserable ;' then is that kingdom counted stable, when the offence which is known, is soon amended. Therefore, forasmuch as wicked priests are the cause of the ruin of the people (for who shall take upon him, to be intercessor for the sins of the people, if the priest who ought to entreat for the same, have committed greater offences), and under your dominions the priests do live wickedly and unchastely; therefore, tliat the offence of a few might not turn to the destruction of many we ought earnestly to seek the punishment of the same. And it followeth, if we do command any person, we do send him forth, with the consent of your authority, who, together with other priests, shall diligently seek out, and according unto God's word, correct and amend the same. Neither are these things to be dissembled, which we have spoken of, for he that may correct any thing, and doth neglect the same, without all doubt he maketh himself partaker of the sin or offence. Therefore, foresee unto your own soul; provide for your nephews, and for such as you do desire to reign after you; provide for your country, and with diligence provide for the correction and punishment of that sin, before our Creator do stretch out his hand to strike."
Gregory to the French King.And in his next chapter he writeth unto the French king: "Whatsoever you do understand to pertain either unto the honour and glory of our God, to the reverence of the church, or to the honour of the priests, that do you diligently cause to be decreed, and in all points to be observed. Wherefore, once again we do move you, that you command a synod to be congregated, and as we wrote lately unto you, do cause all the carnal vices, which reign amongst your priests, and all the wickedness and simony of your bishops, which is most hard, to be condemned and reproved, utterly to be banished out of your kingdom; and that you will not suffer them to possess any more substance under your dominion, than God's commandment doth allow."
Behold, how carefully blessed Gregory doth exhort the queen and the king to punish the vices of the clergy, lest, through their negligence, they should be partakers of the same, and how they ought to connect their subjects. For as it is convenient to be circumspect and careful against the outward enemies, even so, likewise, ought they to be against the inward enemies of the soul. And, as in just war against the outward enemies it is lawfiil to take away their goods, so long as they continue in their malice, so also it is lawful to take away the goods of the clergy, being the inward enemy. The consequent is proved thus: for so much as the domestical enemies are most hurtful.
Sixteenth reason.Item, It is thus argued; if God be, the temporal lords may meritoriously and lawfully take away the temporal goods from the clergy, if they do offend. For this point let us suppose that we speak of power as the true authentic Scripture doth speak [Mat. iii. 9], "God is able even of these stones to raise up children to Abraham."
Whereupon it is thus argued: If God be, he is omnipotent; and if he so be, he may give like power unto the secular lords; and so consequently they may meritoriously and lawfully use the same power. But, lest any man object, that a proof made by a strange thing is not sufficient, it is therefore declared that the temporal lords have power to take away their alms bestowed upon the church, the church abusing the same, as it shall be proved hereafter. And first thus: it is lawful for kings, in cases limited by the law, to take away the moveables from the clergy when they do offend: it is thus proved; for the temporal lords are most bound unto the works of greatest mercy most easy for them: but, in case possible, it should be greater alms and easier temporal dominion, to take away their alms from such as build therewithal unto eternal damnation, through the abuse thereof, than to give the said alms for any bodily relief. Ergo, the assumption is true.
Whereupon first this sentence of the law of Christ in 2 Thess. iii., is noted, where the apostle writeth thus: "When we were amongst you, we declared this unto you, that he that would not work, should not eat." Wherefore the law of nature doth license all such as have the governance of kingdoms, to correct the abuse of the temporalties, which would be the chief cause of the destruction of their kingdoms; whether the temporal lords, or any other, had endowed the church with those temporalties or not. It is lawful for them in some cases to take away the temporalties, as it were by way of physic to withstand sin, notwithstanding any excommunication, or other ecclesiastical censure; forasmuch as they are not endowed, but only with condition thereunto annexed.
When and how the title of any gift is lost.Hereby it appeareth, that the condition annexed to the endowing or enriching of any church, is, that God should be honoured: which condition if it once fail, the contrary taking place, the title of the gift is lost, and consequently the lord who gave the alms ought to correct the offence. Excommunication ought not to hinder the fulfilling of justice. Secondly, according to the canon law, sixteenth question, 7 par., this sentence is noted, where it is thus spoken as touching the children, nephews, and the most honest of the kindred of him who hath builded or endowed any church: That it is lawful for them to be thus circumspect, that if they perceive the priest do defraud any part of that which is bestowed, they should either gently admonish or warn him, or else complain of him to the bishop, that he may be corrected. But if the bishop himself attempt to do the like, let them complam of him to his metropolitan; and if the metropolitan do the like, let them not defer the time to report it in the ears of the king; for so saith the canon, "Let them not defer to report it in the ears of the king." To what end, I pray you, but that he should do correction? neither is it to be doubted, but that correction doth more appertain unto the king in this point for their goods, whereof he is chief lord, by a subtraction proportional, according to the fault or offence.
Seventeenth reason. Lawful civil ruler to corect the clergy.Item, It is thus proved: it is lawful for the secular lords, by their power, to do correction upon the clergy by some kind of fearful discipline appertaininb to their secular power. Ergo, by like reason it is lawful for them by their power to do such correction by all kind of fearful discipline pertaining unto their secular power. Forasmuch, then, as the taking of their temporalties is a kind of fearfful discipline pertaining unto the secular power, it followeth that it is lawful for them thereby to do such correction: and, consequently, it followeth that the truth is thus to be proved. The consequent is evident; and the antecedent is proved by Isidore, twenty-third question, 5 par., "Principes;" where it is thus written: "There should be no secular powers within the church, but only for this purpose, that whatsoever thing the priests or ministers cannot bring to pass by preaching or teaching, the secular powers may command the same by the terror and fear of discipline. For, oftentimes, the heavenly kingdom is profited and holpen by the earthly kingdom; that they who are in the church, and do any thing contrary unto faith and discipline, by the rigour of the princes may be trodden down, and that the power of the rulers may lay that discipline upon the necks of the proud and stiffnecked, which the utility and profit of the church cannot exercise or use.
Eighteenth reason.Item, All things that by power ought to work or bring to any perfect end by the reasonable measuring of the mean thereto, may lawfully use by power the subtraction or taking away of the excess, and the addition of the want of their means, according as shall be convenient or meet for the measure to be made. Forasmuch, then, as the secular lords ought by their power, to provide for the necessary sustentation of the christian clergy by the reasonable measuring of their temporalties, which they are bound to bestow upon the christian clergy, it followeth, that they may lawfully, by their power, use the taking away, or adding unto, those temporalties, according as shall be convenient for the performance of that reasonable matter.
Nineteenth reason.Item, It is lawful for the clergy, by their power, to take away the sacraments of the church from the laity customably offending, forasmuch as it doth pertain to the office of the christian ministers, by their power, to minister the same unto the lay-people. Wherefore, forasmuch as it doth pertain unto the office of the laity, according unto their power, to minister and give temporalties to the clergy of Christ, as the apostle saith [1 Cor. ix.,], it followeth, that it is also lawful for them by their power to take away the temporalties from the clergy, when they do habitually sin and offend.
Twentieth reason.Item, By like power may he who giveth a stipend or exhibition, withdraw and take away the same from the unworthy labourers, as he hath power to give the same unto the worthy labourers: forasmuch then as temporalties of the clergy are the stipends of the laity, it followeth that the lay-people may, by as good authority, take away again the same from the clergy who will not worthily labour, as they might, by their power, bestow the same upon those who would worthily labour, according to the saying of the gospel [Matth. xxi.], "The kingdom shall be taken away from you, and given unto a people which shall bring forth the fruits thereof."
Twenty first reason.Item, It is also lawful for the secular lords, by their power, to chastise and punish the lay-people when they do offend, by taking away their temporalties according to the exigent of their offence, forasmuch as the lay-people are subjected to their dominion. Wherefore the clergy being also subject to the dominion of the secular lords, as appears from Rom. xiii., and many other places, it is evident that it is lawful by their power to punish the clergy, by taking away their temporalties, if their offence do so deserve.
Item, The most easy reformation of the clergy to the life of Christ and the apostles, and the most profitable to the laity, (that the clergy should not live contrary unto Christ), seemeth to be the withdrawing of their alms, and the taking away of those things which had been bestowed upon them. Twenty-second reason.And it is thus proved: that medicine is the most apt to be laid to the sore, whereby the infirmity may soonest be holpen, and which is most agreeable to the patients; such is the taking away of the temporalties. Ergo, this article is true. The minor is thus proved: forasmuch as by the abundance of temporalties the worm or serpent of pride hath sprung up, whereupon insatiable desire and lust is inflamed, and from which proceed all kinds of gluttony and lechery. It is evident in this point, forasmuch as the temporalties being once taken away, every one of those sins is either utterly taken away, or at least diminished, by the contrary virtue induced and brought in. It seemeth also most pertinent unto the laity, forasmuch as they ought not to lay violent hands upon their ministers, nor to abject the priestly dignity, neither to judge any of the clergy in their open courts. It seemeth, also, by the law of conscience to pertain unto the lay-people, forasmuch as every man who worketh any work of mercy, ought diligently to have respect unto the ability of them that he bestoweth his alms upon; lest by nourishing or helping loiterers, he be made partaker of their offence. Whereupon, if priests do not minister in their spiritual things, as of their tithes, first-fruits and oblations, as Hostiensis teacheth in his third book, the people ought to take away the alms of their tithes from them.
Twenty-third reason.Item, It is confirmed by the last chapter of the seventeenth question, out of third the decree of Rents appropriate unto the church, "Quicunque," where the case is put thus: That a certain man having no children, and not hoping to have any, gave all his goods to the church, reserving to himself the use and profits thereof: it happened afterwards, that he had children, and the bishop restored again his goods unto him not hoping for it. The bishop had it in his power, whether to render again, or not, those things which were given him; but that was by the law of man, and not by the law of conscience. If then, by the decree of the holy doctor St. Augustine, in his sermon on the life of the clergy, Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, had no power by God's law to withhold that which is bestowed upon the church for the necessity of children; by which law, the wanton, proud, and unstable clergy, being more than sufficiently possessed and enriched, do detain and keep back the temporalties to the detriment and hurt of their own state, and of the whole militant church, the secular patrons being thereby so impoverished, that they are compelled by penury to rob and steal, to oppress their tenants, to spoil and undo others, and, oftentimes, by very necessity are driven to beggary.
Twenty fourth reason.Item, Suppose that a priest and minister, how grievously soever he do offend, by what kind or sign of offence soever it be, as it was in the case of bishop Judas Iscariot, of the religious monk Sergius, of pope Leo the heretic, and many other priests, of whom the Scripture and Chronicles make mention, and daily experience doth teach us the same: it is evident, that, as it is supposed, the priests in the kingdom of Bohemia grievously offending, it is the king's part, forasmuch as he is supreme head next under God, and lord of the kingdom of Bohemia, to correct and punish those priests. And, forasmuch as the gentlest correction and punishment of such as be obdurate in their malice, is, the casting away of their temporal goods, it followeth, that it is lawful for the king to take away temporalties. Wherefore it should seem very marvellous and strange, if priests, riding about, should spoil virgins, and violently corrupt and defile honest matrons: if, in such case, it were not lawful for them to take away their armour, weapons, horses, guns, and swords from them. The like reason were it, also, if they had unlawfully conspired the death of the king, or that they would betray the king unto his enemies.Twenty-fifth reason.Item, Whatsoever any of the clergy doth require or desire of the secular power, according unto the law and ordinance of Christ, the secular power ought to perform and grant the same. But the clergy, being hindered by riches, ought to require help of the secular power for the dispensation of the said riches. Ergo, the secular power ought, in such case, by the law of Christ, to take upon it the office or duty of getting, keeping, and distributing, all such manner of riches. The minor is hereby proved, that no man ought to have riches, but to that end, that they be helps, preferring and helping unto the office which is appointed of God. Therefore, in case secular possession do hinder the clergy from their duty, the secular power ought to take it away, for so did the apostles, Acts vi., saying, "It is not lawful for us to leave the word of God untaught, and to minister unto tables."
And thus, hitherto, hath John Huss prosecuted Wickliffs articles with long arguments and reasons; and it were too long a travail, neither agreeable for this place, to allege all the whole order of the reasons and proofs which he used in that disputation, above the number of twenty more, besides the testimonies of all the writers before recited, which he allegeth out of the Scriptures, the decretals, Ambrose, Augustine, Isidore, council of Nice, Gregory, Bernard, and others.St. Ambrose in his book of offices, St. Augustine in his fifth book and fifth question, and also unto Macedo, Isidore, the council of Nice, Gregory in his eleventh question, Bernard unto Eugene in his third book, and out of Lincolniensis, the sixty-first epistle, besides many other more: the sum of all which testimonies tends to this end, that he might utterly take away all earthly rule and dominion from the clergy, and bring them under the subjection and censure of kings and emperors, as it were within certain bonds, which is not only agreeable to equity and God's word, but also profitable for the clergy themselves. He teacheth it also to be necessary, that they should rather be subjected under the secular power, than be above it; because that else it were dangerous, lest they, being entangled with such kind of business, should be an easier prey to Satan, and sooner entrapped in his snares; and, thereby, it should come to pass, that the governance and principality of all things being at length brought into the hands of the clergy, the lawful authority of kings and princes should not only be given over unto them, but in a manner, as it were, grow out of use; especially forasmuch as already, in certain kingdoms and commonwealths, the ecclesiastical power is grown to such a height, that not only in Bohemia, but also almost throughout all the commonwealths, they do occupy the third, or at least the fourth part of the rents and revenues. And, last of all, he allegeth the examples of Gregory and of Mauritius, and afterwards the prophecy of Hildegard, writing in this manner.
The Second Disputation of John Huss, continued.
Whereupon pope Leo, leaning to this rule, submitted himself to Louis, the emperor, as it is written in the second question, 7 par., in these words, "If we have done any thing incompetently, or if we have not observed the upright path and way of equity amongst subjects, we will amend the same, either by your own judgment, or else by the advice or judgment of those whom you shall appoint for that purpose. Pope Leo submitteth himself unto the emperor Louis.For if we, who ought to correct and punish other men's faults, do commit more grievous ourselves, we are not then the disciples of the truth, but, with sorrow we speak it, we shall be above all others the masters of error."
And, in the tenth distinction, he writeth thus, touching the obedience unto the emperor: "As concerning the precepts and commandments of our emperors and our predecessors the bishops (whom the Gloss calleth emperors, who are anointed after the manner of bishops) to be observed and kept unbroken, we do profess ourselves by all means possible, as much as in us lieth, or that we may and can, we will, by the help of God, preserve and keep them both now and ever. And if, peradventure, any man do inform, or hereafter shall inform you otherwise, know you him assuredly to be a liar and slanderer."
Tyranny and pride of the clergyMark how this devout and holy pope, calling the emperors bishops, submitted himself, according to the rule of St. the apostle, under the obedience, and also punishment of the emperor. Wherefore, then, should not the clergy of the kingdom of Bohemia submit themselves under the obedience of their king, for God's cause, to be punished if they do offend; and not only submit themselves unto the king, but also unto the rulers; and not only unto the rulers, but unto every other creature? For by how much they do so humble and abase themselves in this world for God's sake, so much the more shall they be exalted with him: but what is the hindrance thereof, but only pride, whereby Antichrist doth exalt himself above the most humble and meek Lord Jesus Christ?
Prophecy of Hildegard.Also, it seemeth to appear by that which is aforesaid on the taking away of temporalties, in the prophecy of Hildegard, the virgin, which she writeth in her books under Eugene the pope, in the council of Treves, approved and allowed by many bishops of France, Italy, and Almain, who were there present, where also St. Bernard himself was present. The virgin prophesying, spake in this manner: "The kings and other rulers of the world, being stirred up by the just judgment of God, shall set themselves against them, and run upon them, saying, 'We will not have these men to reign over us with their rich houses and great possessions, and other worldly riches, over which we are ordained to be lords and rulers: and how is it meet or comely that those shavelings, with their stoles and chisils, should have more soldiers, or more or richer armour or artillery than we? So is it not convenient that one of the clergy should be a man of war, or that a soldier should be one of the clergy. Wherefore, let us take away from them that, which they do not justly, but wrongfully possess.'"And, immediately after, she saith thus: "The Omnipotent Father equally divided all things; that is to say, the heavens he gave unto the heavenly creatures, and the earth unto the earthly. Just division intended by God between the spiritual and the secular people.And by this means was there a just division made between the children of men, that the spiritualty should have such things as belong unto them, and the secular people, such things as are meet and necessary for them, so that neither of these two sorts should oppress each other by violence; for God doth not command, that the one son or child should have both the cloak and the coat, and the other should go naked; but he willeth that the one should have the cloak, and the other the coat. Wherefore the secular sort ought to have the cloak for the greatness of their worldly cares, and for their children, which daily increase and multiply. The coat he giveth unto the spiritualty, that they should not lack clothing, and that they should not possess more than necessity doth require. Wherefore we judge and think it good, that all these aforesaid be divided by reason and equity; and that where the cloak and the coat are both found, the cloak should be taken away, and given unto the needy, that they do not perish for lack or want." These things spake the virgin Hildegard, plainly foreshowing the taking away of the temporalties from the clergy by the secular lords; and showing for what cause they shall be so taken away, and what manner of division shall be made of those things that are taken away, that they be not consumed, and spent unprofitably.
Forasmuch as mention is here made of Hildegard, it shall not seem impertinent, moved by the occasion hereof, to give forth unto the reader such things as we have found in certain old volumes, touching her prophecy of the coming of certain false prophets, only meaning, as it seemeth, the begging-friars, who sprang up shortly after her time. The tenor whereof is this, word for word, as we find it written.
- Or rather, in Lev, xxiv. 9.—Ed.
- This passage is not in the Latin edition.—Ed.
- See Latin edition, p. 43.—Ed.