The First Pillar Of Popery
Consisting Of Intemperate Railing, With
Shameful Slanders And Untruths
Andrew Willet DD., Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge 1562-1621
WHAT our is in this treaties following we have already partly declared in the preface. That our intent is not in this enterprise so much to charge our adversaries with such matter as may be justly objected against them, as to discharge ourselves of each unjust crimes as they do burden us withal: not to accuse, but to excuse ; not to fight, but to fence; not to dare them with our darts, but to arm ourselves against their venomous arrows, which they shoot at us. And here I say with St. Jerome, "Vulneratus nequaquam contra persecutorum tela direxi, sed meo tantum vulneri admovi manum:" Being wounded, I will not smite the striker again, but lay mine head upon mine own sore. Hier. ad Ruffin. Whereas therefore, they everywhere almost in their books and pamphlets, do lay sore unto our charge, that we are railers, reviler, liars, blasphemers, heretics, cavillers, sophisters, divided into many sects and schisms, amongst ourselves. Our best and safest way to free and deliver both us and our tense from these so unjust, untrue, sad uncharitable accusations, is to return them upon themselves, to whom they do more properly belong; and to clothe them with their own livery, which will sit more comely, without pleat or wrinkle upon their back.
First of all, therefore, according to that order which we have set down, we will try and examine the modesty, sobriety, and temperance of their spirit, wherewith they are inflamed against us. First, of their reviling and bitter speech; then of their malicious slanders against us and our cause; thirdly, of their forgeries, fourthly, of the manifold untruths, which in plain English are no better than lies, which they are not ashamed in heaps to utter. First, then, concerning their contumelious and reproachful speeches, and their adders' tongues which they smite and sting us withal, I would we might say onto them, an Augustine sometime did unto Vincentius, a young malapert springall, that unseemly taunted that reverend Father in his writings: "Siquid inter disputandum," saith Augustine, "quod ad meam contrumeliam redundat espressit non eum convitiantis voluntarie crediderim, sed diversa sentientis necessitate fecise: ubi enim hominis ergs me animas ignotus est et incertus melius arbitror meliora sentire quam inexplorata eulpare:" If any thing fall sat in disputation which may redound to my reproach, I think that he did it not so much with a mind to revile me, as being enforced by diversity of opinion; for where a man's mind in unto me uncertain and unknown, I hold it better to think the book, than to blame what I know, not, &c. De animae Origin. Lib. 1. cap. 2. (Patr. Caill. tom. 141. p. 286-7. Paris. 1842.] So if our adversaries were carried away only in the heat of their cause, and with a blind zeal of superstition, when they spit such venomous words at us, and had not a special purpose (as we have, but :too, much experience) in so doing, to malign the truth, and disgrace the professors thereof we should be able better to brook their speeches and to bear their outrages than now knowing the contrary, we either can or will. This then is that which sometimes thrusteth us forward, when we see not so much our persons stricken and galled with their tongues, as the truth to be wounded through our sides, to speak home unto them, and to tell them them their own : not reviling, but reproving, not taunting, but telling them their fault and folly.
Cresconius, an Archdonatist, doeth roundly take up Augustine, because he used these words against them, "Sicut non potest Satanus Satanam excludere:" &c. As Satan, saith he, cannot drive out Satan, so the error of the Manichees cannot overthrow the error of the Donatists. 2 Tim. 2. contra Crescon lib. 4. cap. 78. (Patr. Call. tom. 189. p. 580. Paris. 1842.] Augustine answereth very well: "Quasi (inquit) Petilianum Satanae comparavorim, ac non errorem potius. Apostolica enim mansuetodo, cum quibus modeste agi praecepit eos ipsos docet a diabolo captivatos: nec tamen quam commendavit, amisit lenitatem quia eam (quam docebat) tacere noluit veritatem:" As though, said he, I compared Petilian himself to Satan, and not his errorrrather: for so the Apostle doth say, that even they, whom notwithstanding he wisheth to be gently dealt withal, were captived and snared of the devil: neither did he in so saying offend against that lenity which he commendeth, while he utteree the truth which was not be concealed, while he uttered the truth which was not to be concealed, &c. Thus Agustine defended himself by St. Paulís example, and sheweth, thought it be not lawful to speak evil, or to revile, yet freely to open our mouths, and to cry out against the enemies of the truth, it is not forbidden. Bernard, a late writer, and one of their Catholic doctors, as they take it (though in truth in most points in controversy between us, he is more ours thans theirs), he used the like liberty of speech in his days, and though he offended not: as inveighing against the clergy of his time, he saith, "Ministri sunt Chriti, et serviunt Antichristo:" They are the minister of Christ, and yet serve Antichrist. Serm. Sup. Cantic. 33. Yea, of the bishops themselves, and the chief of the clergy, he doubteth not to say, having first rehearsed those words of Christ to his Apostles, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and none of you is a devil? Sic facit Jesus hodie, eligens sibi miltos diabolos episcopos:" Even so doth Jesus, saith he, now-a-days, choosing many devils to be bishops. Serm. Ad pastor. In Synod. He stayeth not here, but climbeth up even unto the Popeís chair: "Tristes vidimus, tristes eloquimur honorem ecclesiae, Honorii tempore non minime laesum:" We have seen it with grief, and we speak it with grief, that in Pope Honoriusí time the honour of the Church was not a little endamaged. Epist. 147. And in another place, finding fault with the cardinals of Rome, that they had fetched Eugenius out of his cloister, and of an abbot, made him a Pope: he taunted them in these words, "Ascendit Jericho, ineidit in latrones:" He is gone up from Jerusalm to Jericho, and the cardinals to thieves. Epist. 147. If Bernard then, a doctor of their own, could assume unto himself such liberty of speech as to term evil ministers the servants of Antichrist, bishops devils, cardinals thieves, in hatred and detestation of the corruptions of those times, I thing we may be excused, if for love and zeal of the truth, we deal plainly many times with our adversaries, and do not flatter them a whit: though I think few or none of us have used like freeness of speech as either Augustine against the heretics of the age, or Bernard against the corruptions of his time.
Therefore, to conclude this point we say, as not long since a darling of their own said, yet with better right and more truly, I am sure, than he: "Now the law of upright dealing, specially in God's cause so requiring, ye must pardon us, if as among husbandman we call a rake a rake, a spade a spade, a mattock a mattock: so among divines we call heresy heresy, and likewise falsehood, lying slandering, craft, hypocrisy, blasphemy, every such crime by his proper name, without all glossing." Harding defens. apolog. p: 52.
But leaving off here in this place further to make apolgy, or to seek defence in this point for ourselves, which were a needless and superfluous labour, the writings of our learned and godly brethren are abroad to be seen and read. I trust they shall be found neither to savour of so envious a spirit, nor to be mixed with such intemperate and undigested humours, as our adversaries' writings are sauced an powdered withal. We will now proceed (not further keep ing the reader is suspebse ,) to collect some flowers of Popish eloquence and rhetoric, which their books are beautified and adorned withal.
First, we will be so bold as walk into our countryman Mr. Harding's garden, and there a little refresh ourselves with the pleasant scent of his sweet-smelling herbs. And here, in the very entrance, I find a nosegay already gathered to my hand by that skilful and cunning gardener, not in name but in deed, Bishop Jewell. Let us take up this poesy, and smell a little thereon. Mr. Harding therefore, writing against Bishop Jewell, cloyeth and overchargeth them with these and such like sweet speeches: "Whoever heard such an impudent man? a most impudent liar, and a wicked slanderer :" Preface in defens. apol. and all because he said with Laurentius Valla, a canon of Rome, that Pope Celestinus was a Nestorian heretic.
Again: "Whoever saw so impudent a man ? what shall I say to this fellow ? Fie for shame man, a minister of fables, a minister of lies! Foolish ignorance, shameless malice, so ignorant, so witless, lewd wretches, Jewish, heathenish, shameless, blasphemous villains, false ministers, false harlots, ye lie falsely, yea, ye lie for advantage, ye are impudent liars, lewd liars, heaps of lies, nothing but lies, and all is lies.
But what is the cause, think you, that this meek-spirited man should be so disquieted, and make such outcries against liars? Forsooth because Bishop Jewell in one place leaveth out Ďenim,í in another place Ďhoc,í in another place the printer set down Ďschemateí for Ďscismate,í and such like.
Is not here great cause, think you, to make a man thus to take on, and run out of his wits? But I say here with Jerome, "Qui mendacii alternum eriminaris, desinas ipse mentiri:" He that chargeth others with lying must leave off to lie himself. So should Master Harding have done. Hier. Apol. 2. cont. Ruffin.
Is not this a sweet nosegay, think you, and is it not compounded of choice flowers? The scent is so strong to my smell, that I cannot choose but stop my nose: "Nisi," as Bernard saith, "ominum passim naribus injecto foetore, solus dissimulem pestem, nee audio nasum contra pressimum putorem propria manu manire:" Unless, as he saith, the stink smelling strong in every manís nose, I only should dissemble the matter, and not dare to fence my nose with mine own hand against the contagious smell, &c. But let us have patience a little, and pass along to see what store of such sweet smelling flowers Mr Hardingís garden will afford us.
P.40. "Thus your vain boast in wickedness wrought y the power of Satan is put to silence," because Bishop Jewell saith, that many kings and princes are fallen away from the see of Rome, and have joined themselves to the Church of God.
P.42. "This is his heathenish heart: what could Porphory, of Julian, or Celsus say more?" because Bishop Jewell had said, that men even by light if nature, though thereby alone they cannot be led to the perfection of faith, yet may somewhat discern what is likely or unlikely in religion, according to St. Paul, Rom. I. 20, "The invisible things of God, his everlasting power and Godhead, are seen by the creation of the world."
P.79. "We take you to be mad: would God you were not worse than mad: were you mad, you should be tied up: else were you suffered to go abroad, for fear folk would fly from you, then should you do little hurt." (Epitaph. Paulae.) So Jerome reporteth of Paula, that virtuous matron, "Quod prae nimio fervore quibusdam videretur insane, et cerebrum ejus contorvendum:" (Defence of the apology, London 1567). That for her great zeal some deemed her to be made, and that her brain had need be settled, &c. but she answered for herself, as we do in the like case, that as we are charged with madness for the love of the truth, so our Saviour Christ of his own kinsfolks was thought to be beside himself, and therefore they went about to shut him up.
P.145. "How say you, Sir Minister Bishop, ought the minister to be lawfully called?"
P.146. "Touching the exercise of your ministry, you do all things without order: unless ye mean such order, as thieves observe among themselves in distribution of their robberies."
P.153. "If he were so foolish to think so, yet you M. Jewell in that behalf should not bear the bauble with him:" speaking of Nilus, a Greek writer, a learned man and a reverend bishop. But here I answer M. Harding, as Jerome doth Vigilantius, "Si omnes tecum fatui sunt, sapiens quis esse poterit:" if all were fools, whom you call fools we should have but a few wise men.
P.162. "You shew yourself to be a man of evil disposition, no man ever said it, but Illyricus or bawdy Bale:" namely, that Pope Zosimus corrupted the Council of Nice, the truth whereof notwithstanding is proved by Bp. Jewell, out of the Africarr Council, Cap. 101, 102, 103. Concil, Carthag. 6.c.4. Concil. Forentin. Sess. 20.
P.164. "You are arrant slanderous liars: how seemeth not this wicked generation to spring of the devil:" because M. Jewell saith, by the testimony of Alphons. De Castro. Sabellic. Plantina, and others, that Pope Liberus was an Arian heretic.
P.189. "This sir defender learned in the school of Satan, and now lieth bound in Satanís fetters."
p.201. "Their bishops for custody of their chastity after their former old yoke-fellowís decease, solace themselves with new strumpets."
P.209. "Of what small substance this reason is, the veriest cobblers of all their ministers, if they can read any English beside their communion book, may easily perceive." Bp. Jewell telleth Harding, he might have remembered, that no long since, Julius II., of a wherry-slave was made Pope: but we have no cobblers in the ministry.
P.290. "Maugre the malice of the devil and of all the sacramentaries, the old truth shall prevail:" he meaneth the conversion and transubstantiating (as he calleth it) of the bread and wine in the sacrament, into the very boy and blood of Christ. But this is no truth at all, neither old nor ancient: confessed by Dr. Tunstall, to have come in twelve hundred years after the Gospel: as in that place it is manifestly proved.
P.297. "Now, sir, I report me to every man that hath sense, whether I may not lawfully give you the menti, as for mannerís sake I may use the Italian term, and challenge you in plain terms of a lie for uttering this untruth:" and yet there is no untruth uttered: see the place.
P.313. "It liked your filthy spirit, with vile words, to bring that holy mystery into contempt: wherein you do the devil, author of all heresy, the greatest service that may be devised:" because with Origen he had affirmed that the bread in the sacrament, as touching the material substance thereof, goeth into the belly, and is cast into the privy. Here M. Harding much forgetteth himself, with such vile terms to slander us: for they shew a filthy spirit that use filthy words, and not the blasphemed, but the blasphemer, the reviler, not the reviled, do the devil the greatest service: for as Jerome well saith, "apud Christianos, non qui patitur, sed qui facit contumeliam, miserest:" among Christians, not he that suffereth, but he that offereth reproach, is the vile and miserable man.
P.342. "The thing, which it liketh your Satanical spirit, with blasphemous words to dishonour:" he meaneth that sacrament, which indeed is by them most of all abused and dishonoured.
P.359. "He calleth us cursed Canaanites".
P.387. "Ye falsely, and wickedly lead the people, ye are apostates, ye are heretics, ye are impudent and rebellious children."
P.404. "These defenders in conditions be like such honest women, as commonly we call scolds."
P.409. "Lo, a grievous and an heavy case, that he world calleth you wicked and ungodly men: I wist, they be too blame for it, and so be they that call them thieves, which come to be promoted to Tyburn."
P.446. "Your impudence of lying hath no measure nor end."
P.459. "The fiends of hell were not yet loose, that begat Lutherans, Zuinglians, Calvinists: your Church is no other but the malignant church and synagogue of Satan."
P.465. "Though the defender fear not to be accounted a liar, yet should he be loth to be accounted an unionist man, yea and specially a fool."
P.502. "We reckon not, what Luther saith, what Zuinglius, what Calvin, what Antichrist, what Satan saith."
P.506. "If this defender were compared to a mad dog, some would think it perhaps an unmannerly comparison, let the man be as he is, verily the manner and fashion of both is alike."
P.510. "He calleth us light preachers, wicked vow breakers, lewd lecherous lurdens, detestable blasphemers: such is your devilish rabble, saith he:" this is M. Hardingís eloquence.
P.524. "O thou captain liar: O most worthy, not the reward of a whetstone, but the judgment of a backbiter, of a slanderer, of a cursed speaker, of the accuser of the brethren, of a blasphemer, canst thou persuade thyself to get credit by lying, to seem sober by railing, honest by villany, charitable by slandering?" And all this stir is because we charge them with burning of Scriptures, which their ungodly practices here in England do notoriously shew to be true. And see here, how this unshamefaced man chargeth so reverent, so modest, so worthy a prelate with railing, villany, slandering, whereas all these are to be found more truly in himself, so that we may justly complain with that learned Father: "quid possumus facere si unusquisque se putat juste facere, quod facit, et videtur sibi remorderi potius, quam mordere:" (Hieron, ad Ruffin.) What a world is this, that every man thinketh he doth well that he doth: and that he is backbited, when himself is the backbiter.
P.549. "He sheweth himself a fool, a slanderer, an unlearned man."
P. 576. "Here pricketh forth this hasty defender, as pert as a pearmonger, and fain would talk with the Pope himself."
. 602. "Ye cannot abide salt, water, oil, the cross: and no marvel: no more cannot the devil, who possesseth you and rideth you."
P. 607. "It should have become Scoggin, Patch, Jolly, Harry Pattenson, or Will Sommer, to have told this tale much better than your superintendentships: and if ye would needs have played the part yourselves, it would have been more convenient to have done it upon the stage, under a vice's coat, than in a book," &c.
And all this, because their practice in seducing the people of God, are compared to Jeroboam's, who enticed the people from the true worship of God at Jerusalem, by setting up two golden calves.
P. 616. "When were ever such thieves in the Church of God as ye are?"
I bid. "If all ifs were true, than if heaven fall we should catch larks. And if a bridge was made between Dover and Calais, we might go to Bologne a-foot, as William Sommer once told King Henry VIII." Because M. Jewell had said, if the Church of Rome cannot err, the good luck thereof is far greater than these men's policy: for such is their doctrine and life, that for all them the Church may not only err, bat be utterly spoiled.
P. 617. "By your apostasy ye have done more wickedly, than if ye committed idolatry."
P. 648. "Sirs, would ye have the common people to come to the General Councils? Whom mean ye, I pray you? Tinkers and tapsters, fiddlers and pipers, such as your ministers be? Alas, poor souls, what should they do there? for there is no tinkling*. "nor tippling, nor fiddling, nor piping; there they may shut up both budgets and mouths." But here M. Harding need not thus to have upbraided our ministers with such scoffingand jester-like terms, if he had remembered (as M. Jewell telleth him) what Alphons. de Castro reporteth of the Popes, "Constat plures Papas adeo esse illiteratos, ut grammaticam penitus ignorent." That
∑ Yet in your late Trident chapter there was such tinkling of other men's kettles, and tippling off their cups, that two adulterous Popish bishops came to a shameful end : whereof one was slain with a boar-spear, being found with: another man's wife: the other was hanged in a gin laid for him in his mews, where he was wont to creep in at a window. Fox, p. 2107.
many of them were so unlearned, that they wre ignorant of their grammer.
P. 680. "As I cannot well take an hair from your lying beard, so wish I that I could pluck malice from your blasphemous heart."
Neither doth M. Harding here content himself, thus spitefully to have entreated the living, calling our ministers, cobblers, tapsters, tinkers: ministersí wives, sober and grave matrons, with him no better than strumpets: but he doth most unhonestly snatch and carp at the dead, and revile Godís saints, terming the book of Acts and Monuments, a huge dunghill of stinking martyrs: yea, he presumeth to sit in Godís chair, wresting the judgment out of his hand, and giving sentence of condemnation against us, "The authors and professors of them be dead and rotten in hell fire, with weeping and grinning of teeth: the like judgment look ye and your fellows to have if ye repent not." And in another place: "After ye have fried and boiled (saith he) in rancour and malice against the Church, ye are like to leap into the furnace of hell." But the writer hereof should have remembered Christís rule, judge not, that you be not judged: as for his corrupt and malicious judgment, we pass not: he well saith, "prima virtus Christiani est contemnere hominum judicia:" it is the first point of Christianity not to regard the judgment of men. Thus we hear M. Hardingís sugared eloquence: judge now (good Christian reader) whether this man have not been well trained up in Satans school, as he slanderously saith of us.
These and such like are M. Hardingís flowers, who list to take a further view of them, shall find them to be collected as into one bundle by Dp. Jewell: where these pleasant sorts shall be offered to his smell: "Your devilish spite, your devilish wickedness, your develish villany, Satan is your schoolmaster, your father the devil: your new Church set up by Satan, you are the school of Satan, children of the devil. A page, a slave, a clawback of the devil, your reporbate congregation, your confused tents of Satan, the novice of the devil. Satanís brood, Satan holdeth you captive, ye are fast bound in Satanís fetters, loose apostates, proface hell-hounds, your blasphemies and Statanisms, Calvinists, Satanists: your wicked chamsbrood, your damnable side, your devilish rabble, your congregation of reprobates, your Turkish doctrine. As crafty knaves in a comedy, they are apes, they are asses," with such like: Jewel praefat, defens. Apolog. (Edit. Wykes, London, 1567).
But lest we should think that M. Harding only had profited in this black and Popish rhetoric, let us see also the modesty of other menís spirits, out of that school. We shall easily find that they are all one womanís children, and have had all one school master, their style and speech is so alike.
Bonaventure, a friar, of Lorraine, disputing with Wolfgangus, used these as his best arguments, "Thou heretic, Judas, Beelzebub."
Bellarmine, the mildest and most modest child of that crew, yet sometimes sheweth the badge of his profession: "Ab alio spiritu Calvinus agitur (saith he) ut se Valentino opponat, sic inter se daemonibus colludentibus:" Praefat. In 2. contro. De Christo. Calvin being moved of another spirit, doth set himself against Valentinus, the Tritheist, who affirmed that there were three Gods: one devil thus mocking with another. Is not here (think you) a gentle reward for Calvin for opposing himself against that vile heretic, and maintaining the doctrine of the Trinity? Is not this to blaspheme the Spirit of God, speaking and writing in Calvin in the defence of the truth?
But what say ye to our Rhemists, those jolly champions? If any man be desirous to know their pregnant wits and eloquent tongues, thus they write:
Annot. In Act. 8. sect. 10. "Simon Magus that sorcerer had more true knowledge of religion, than the Protestants have: he blasphemed not as they blaspheme."
They call us miscreants, Jam. 5. sect. 5. and compare us to the impious sons of Ham, Galat. 2. sect. 8.: to cain, Balaam, and Korah, Judges v. 11.
Yea, with a foul black mouth, they are not ashamed to call calvin, Beza, Verone, reprobates, Rom. xi. 33; but thanks be to God, as he well saith, "Aliter hominum malitia, aliter Christus judicat:" Hierom.ad Julian. Manís malice judgeth one way, and Christ another; from their hellish judgement of us we appeal to Christís heavenly throne.
Thus, at the burning of Mr. Frith, that worthy servant of God and blessed martyr, Dr. Cooke most uncharitably admonished the people that they should pray no more for him than they would for a dog. Fox, p. 1036.
Now cometh in railing Cochleus, and filleth up the measure of this iniquity, writing thus most wickedly of John Huss: "I say therefore, John Huss is neither to be counted holy nor blessed, but rather wicked and eternally wretched: insomuch that in the day of judgment, it shall be more easy, not only with the infidel Pagans, Turks, Tartarians, and Jews, but also with the most filthy to lie and with their daughters, sisters, or mothers: yea also with most impious Cain, killer of his own brother, with Thyestes, killer of his own mother, and the Lestrygones, and other Anthropaphagi, which devour manís flesh: yea more easy with those most infamous murderers of infants, Pharaoh and Herod, than with him." Cochle.lib.2. histor. Hussitar. Translated by Fox, p. 631.
I marvel at my heart that they, without horror of conscience, could thus speak or write of the servants of God, or that the earth did not open under them to swallow up such blasphemers: but whatsoever they of blind malice uncharitably say or judge of us, here is our comfort, that God judgeth not as man doth: and concerning the faithful servant of God, John Huss, whose blood they unjustly split in earth, and his soul falsely condemn to hell, I say as Augustine in the like case of Cyprian: "Alia est sella terrena, aliud tribunal coelorum, ab inferiore accepit sententiam, a superiore coronam:" In Psalm. 36. cont. 3. There is one throne in earth, another tribunal in heaven, he hath received sentence below, and a crown from above, &c. We need not now think it strange that the Rhemists charge us with blasphemy, Rev. 13. sect. 2.: and Harding, with sin against the Holy Ghost, because we speak against the Pope. This fellow goeth further, making the holy servant of God worse than Cain, than Pharaoh, than infidels or Pagans: I pray God it be not laid to their charge: yet they stay not here, neither are content thus to revile our persons, which might better be borne at their hands; but they open their mouth even against heaven, and spare not to blaspheme the truth which we profess. The holy communion, which we observe according to Christís institution, Harding spitefully calleth "a lean and carrion banquet," p. 320.
The Rhemists say that "Calvinís supper with his bread and wine," which is not his supper but Christís, "is like at length to come to the sacrifice of Ceres and Bacchus," John 4. sect. 4.
And yet more wickedly they say, "That our communion is the very table and cup of devils, wherein the devil is properly served," I Cor. 10. sect. 9. But, alas, silly men, we pity their case: they speak evil, as St. Jude saith, "of things they know not." If they understood what these holy mysteries were, they would I think be more sparing in blaspheming.
We will not requite them again with the evil speech; Michael durst not do it to the devil, but the Lord rebuke them and amend them. And that it may appear how they are led with the same spirit of envy, one Jurgevicius, the Popeís champion, writing against Volanus, a learned Protestant, thus in one sentence woundeth both him and his profession: Mendacio, 53.fol.71. "Ad vestrum (scelerate senex) prophanum panem et pcoulum suffciunt fauces," &c. Thou lewd and wicked old fellow, for your profane bread and cup, the teeth and jaws are sufficient.
Likewise another of that side, called the Centuriators, which have with great labour and industry collected the centuries, atheists; a simple reward for so excellent and worthy a work. Arthur. De invocat. Sanctor. Thes. 91.c.9.
But to let other pass, whose cursing and reviling speeches are infinite and too many, as also needless to be rehearsed, now in the last place I will adjoin certain flowers of our contryman, Mr Stapletonís eloquence, collected out of his book set forth against our worthy and learned countryman, Dr. Whitakers, that it may appear what spirit they are of, that with such bitter speech and vile terms do taunt and revile the professors of the Gospel.
To omit how odiously and proudly he chargeth him with ignorance and want of learning: calling him everywhere, "doctorem indoctum," unlearned doctor, and "professorem indignum," unworthy professor, not worthy to be admitted to the least degree in schools; Lib.1.c.2. sect.4. "Whitakerus quovis tyrone ineptor." More foolish than any boy scholar or new beginner; lib.2.cap.1.sect.3: yea he blusheth not to call him "scriptorem barbarum," a barbarous writer. To let pass these and such like arrogant challenges, which are common with all Papists, who boast of themselves as of the only learned and eloquent men; but alas, poor souls, it seemeth they dwell by evil neighbours, when they are fain to praise themselves. But as for M. Stapleton, he is foully overseen, in charging so worthy a man with want of learning, whose books he is scarce worth, in respect of true learning, to carry after him. And if the question be of eloquence, this Lovanian doctorís writing is but a kind of barking in respect of the others, either for smoothness of style, or good phrase of speech. And concerning both these, namely, the choice of the words for the phrase, and the placing of them for the style, I cannot give Master Stapleton a fitter commendation than Jerome bestoweth upon Ruffinus and Jovinian; first, concerning the phrase, he thus writeth, "Tam putide et confuse loquitur, ut plus ego in reprehendeno laborem, quam ille in scribendo," &c. Apol.2.cont.Ruffin. He speaketh so grossly and confusedly, that a man may easily take more pain in mending, than he did in making: and for the style, he that readeth the Lovanian professorís discourse, may remember what Jerome saith of Jovinianís manner of writing: "Quotiescunque eum legero, unbicunque me defecerit spiritus, ibi est distinctio, totum incipit, totum pendet ex altero:" Adverse. Jovinian. When I read him, I find no distinction with a breath: every sentence is a beginning, and everything hangeth and is continued together.
But to return to our countryman Stapletonís rhetoric, and to let pass these before rehearsed, as the most mild and courteous terms he hath, this eloquent Lovanian professor thus sitteth upon that reverend and learned man, thus saying unto him, "Minister Sathanae effectus, professor perfidus, magister mandax et impudentissimus:" Thou art become a minister of Satan, a faithless or foresworn professor, a lying and most impudent teacher: Admonit. Ad Whitaker. "Professor asinine:" Ass-head professor, 1.1. cap. 1. sect. 12: He lieth for the whetstone: "Facis mendacium cote dignum," cap.2.sect.6: "Absurditas asinine adversarii, His asinine absurdity," lib.1.cap.7.sect.3: "Ineptissimus disputator," most foolish disputer, ibid.sect.9: "Fatuus rusticus," a clownish or rustical fool, cap. 12.sect.4: "Stultissimus," a very fool, ibid.: "Sophista impudens," and impudent sophister, lib.2.cap.5.sect.10: "Barbara impudentia," his barbarous impudence, cap.7.sect.6: He playeth the sycophant, cap.8.sect.4: "Stiltissime sophista," most foolish sophister, cap.9.sect.1: "Disputator aburdissime," most absurd disputer, ibid.sect.8: "Mentiendi consuetude in naturam tibi versa," your custom of lying is become your very nature, cap.10.sect.1. What could be said more of the devil? "Hebetudinis tuae et tarditatis," &c., your dullness and blackishness, &c.sect.10: "Mentiendi lobido vel necessitas," he hath either pleasure or necessity to lie, sect. 13: "Mendacium rotundum," he maketh a round lie, sect. 16: "Crassa ignorantia," gross ignorance. Lib.3.cap.7.sect.3: "Mendacium ridiculum et morione dignum," a ridiculour lie and fit for a fool, lib.3.cap.13.sect.1: "Mendacium nobile," a noble lie, cap.14.sect.5: "Mendacium splendidum," a notable or lewd lie, sect,8: "Mendacium stupidum," a blockish lie, cap. 16.sect.7: "Crassa stupiditas," gross blockishness, ibid.: "Stultitia et hebetudo prorsus asinine," asinine foolishness and dullness, cap. 19. sect. 11. These and a hundred such like proper rhetorical speeches our good countryman hath sent us from Lovaine, to shew how he hath profited in Popish eloquence: and to make our mouths, after he hath long dallied in words, in good sober sadness he speaketh thus friendly unto us: "Omnium quidem haereticorum et caecitas magna est, et pertinacia singularis, sed vestra hodie Whitakere, tau inquam, tuorumque convenarum haereticorum tum caecitas tum pertinacia longe maxima est:" In all heretics there is both great blindness and singular obstinacy, but thy blindness Whitakers, and wilfulness, with the rest of thy fellow-heretics, passeth all: lib.3.cap.7.sec.5. We are much beholden to you, good countryman, Father Thomas Stapleton, that worthy Lovanian professor, (for we will give you your titles), though that worthy man by put plain Whitakers with you, that you can find it in your heart to give us the upper hand in blindness and wilfulness of all heretics that ever were: but Godís curse will light upon all such heretics as are more wilfully blind and obstinate against the truth than Papists be.
But here I would advise our countryman to bethink himself what he hath done, and whom he hath railed upon, namely, a man as unworthy of those taunts and slanders as any man he could have written against; whom, while he lived, was known to be a man both learned, and of a most meek and humble spirit withal; no liar, but a lover of the truth, of a virtuous and godly life; in his readings exact, grave in his sermons, in his disputations earnest, strong in argument, ready in his utterance, pithy in writing, sound in counsel, familiar in conference, wise for direction of study, and encourager of the good, a preferer of the learned, and rewarder of the painful; and what more can I say of him: as he was in his life, so he shewed himself in his end: while he lived, in good actions fervent, in his sickness patient, in death confident, and now in heaven in triumphant. Therefore I say unto M. Stapleton, as Jerome in the like case, "Non facilis est venia prava dixisse de rectis:" Hieron. Asella. It is no small fault to speak evil of the good, and perversely of the righteous: and again with St. Ambrose, "Si pro otioso verbo ratio poscitur quanto magis pro sermone impietatis peona exolvitur?! Lib.office.1.c.2. (Ambros. Oper.tom.1.p.2.Basil. 1538) If for every idle word account shall be required, how much greater punishment for wicked reviling speech is like to be endured?
And yet a little further to answer in a word to this Lovanian doctor, who chargeth, as we have seen, this godly-learned man, with four especial crimes: ignorance, folly, impudence, lying. Mr Stapleton herein sheweth himself neither so deep a clerk, nor so wise a man, or of so sober a spirit as he would be taken for. As for the first, his, which the other calleth ignorance, hath been found able, (thanks be to God), to match and overmatch his Lovanian learning, or sophistry rather. The foolishness of the Gospel, and simplicity of the truth in him hath not given place to the otherís human and serpentine wisdom. Indeed, he was too modest, too mild and humble a man to deal with so proud, and vain-glorious boasters. A wrangling sophister had been fitter to answer such intemperate and immodest railing, than so grace and reverend a divine. But as for lying, take it to yourselves, both it and the father thereof. There is more truth found in a few of his lines, than in many of the otherís leaves: and more good divinity in one page, than is in that whole book. And have you been these four years in hatching so godly a bird, and bringing forth a cockatrice egg? Surely you have spent you time well. And be these the fruits we know what the tree is; what need other arguments? Your usual and customary railing bewrayeth your malicious spirit. I will omit here to make mention of another railing Romish Rabshakeh, who hath thus poured out his venomous gall of bitter words against myself, calling me "a notable liar and falsifier, filthy doctor, shameless mate, malicious minister;" charging me often, with "abominable, palpable, shameless, notorious, malicious lies:" whereas, he is not able to convince me of one lie, or untruth. But I will be sparing in rehearsing these things, being ashamed to repeat that which they blush not to write. I have set down a catalogue of such stuff and summed them together elsewhere.* Neither will I offend the readerís ear with such virulent terms used by another, not forbearing the sweet words of "impostor, Machivell, falsifier, insolent, dishonest, fool, goose," and such like. I will be silent herein, both because I have made my apology already, but most of all for that a second reply of like bitterness, being offered by the same author to the press, was suppressed by prudent and grave authority, and (though surreptitiously allowed before) by the discreet and friendly endeavour of some, to whom I acknowledge myself much bound, both for their piety in staying of domestical contentions, which might breed scandal, and for their love in not suffering his name to be traduced, who desireth to be peaceable.
But to return where I left: tell me, ye Popish pettifoggers, which have nothing more common in your mouths, than to call us asses, dolts, fools, how can ye escape that heavy sentence of our Saviour, which saith, "that whoso calleth his brother fool, is in danger of hell fire," Matt. V. But it is no new thing for heretics to rail and revile: it hath ever been their custom and guise. The Pelagians called Augustine, "cultorem demonum:" a worshipper of devils. August. Cont. Julian.1.3.c.18. The Donatists accused Cecilian, A Catholic bishop, of sin against the Holy Ghost: Aug. cont. Crescon.1.4.cap.17. So it is true, as one well saith: "Haeretici, cum perversitatis suae non possunt reddere rationem, ad mail-dicta convertuntur:" Heretics, when they find themselves not able to yield a reason of their wilfulness; then they fall to plain railing. Such plenty of scoffs and taunts, of cursings and revilings, is an evident sign of an evil cause, and bewrayeth a cankered stomach. We will not answer them in the same kind; for our cause is better, and our malice and hatred much less. It grieveth not us to be evil spoken of without cause. We are sorry for them; they hurt not us, but blemish their own credit before men, and make their account the more heavy before God. And as Gregory well saith: "quid aliud detrahantes faciunt, nisi quod in pulverem sufflant, atque in oculos suos terram excitant:" Lib.8.epist.45. What else do these slanderers, but as blow the dust upon their own faces: so our adversaries by reviling of us, do get a blot to themselves. I will shut up this place with that good saying of Bernard: "Bonum mihi, si me dignetur Deus uti pro Clypeo, libens excipio in me detrahentium linguas maledicas, ut non ad ipsum perveniant:" De considerat. Lib. 2. It is good for me, if God vouchsafe to use me instead of a buckler, I willingly do latch in myself the darts of slanderous tongues, that they light not upon him.
* In the preface to the Refection, printed A.D. 1603.