Page images

Certainly, there is no less venom in error, than in vice; neither are moral evils more dangerous and mortal, than the intellectual. What good magistrate can endure, that, according to the Prophet's complaint, Men should assemble themselves by troops in the harlots' houses ? Jer. v. 7. Amongst the Abassins, although their courtezans have public stipends from the common stock; yet they are not allowed to come into their cities * : so as those, which connive at their sin, yet endure not their frequence. How can it be less sinful or unsafe, for those, who are defiled with their own works, and go a whoring after their own inventions, to be suffered to pack together the spiritual corruptions of themselves and many thousands?

[2.) But there is nothing, that hath so much power to poison the world, as the Press; which is able, in one day's warning, to scatter a heresy over the whole face of the earth. In the times of our forefathers, when every page and line was to pass the leisure and pains of a single pen, books were geason; and, if offensive, could not so easily light into many hands to work a speedy mischief. Error, that could but creep then, doth now fly; and, in a moment, cuts the air of several regions.

As we are, therefore, highly beholden to that witty citizen of Mentz † for his invention of this nimble Art of Impression, whereby knowledge hath not been a little propagated to the world; so we have reason to rue the inconveniencies, that have followed upon

the abuse of this so beneficial a practice. For, as all men are apt to write their own fancies; so they have, by this means, had opportunity to divulge their conceits to all eyes and ears: whence it hath come to pass, that those monstrous opinions, which had been fit only to be condemned to perpetual darkness, have at once both visited and infected the public light, to the infinite scandal of the Church and shame of the Gospel 1. Never age or nation hath had more cause to cry out of this mischief, than this of ours. I hold my hands from the particulars, that I may not seem to accuse in a Treatise of Peace.

Our cunning adversaries may teach us wit, in this behalf. What devices have they had to prevent and avoid the danger of those books, which they either dislike or suspect! What courses they have taken, for the prohibiting of those authors, which they censure as heretical; and for the expurging of those of their own, whom they dare not deface; I refer my reader to the painful and useful observations of D. James, who hath laboured above others in this necessary subject. But I may not omit those cautions, which their wise jealousy hath prescribed, in this kind, over and besides his notification. It is, therefore, decreed by them ģ, That

* Pory's Introduct, 10 Leo Afric. Joan. Fast. Moguntinus civis, &c. non plumali cannâ ueque æreú; sed ar'e quádam perpulchrá, Petri manu, pueri mei, &c. Subscriptum libro Tullii Ciceronis de Officiis, in Biblioth. Col. Emanuelis, et alibi.

Quis non horreat profanas novitates et serborum et sensuum ? Bern. Ep. 190. Pius IV. in ld. Regal. 10. Gavant. V. Librorum Editio.

the approbation of any book to be published, shall be given by the Bishop of the Diocese; and that an authentical copy of that book which is to be printed, subscribed by the hand of the author, be left in the hand of the licenser: that a book, formerly published, shall not be re-printed, without a new licence: that no book shall be printed, under the feigned name of any author:* that the purged book of any censured author, if it be re-printed, shall bear in the front the title of the author, and the note of his censure : that, in the beginning of that book, mention shall be expressly made, both of the prohibition of the old copy, and the emendation of the new : † that those, which have prohibited books, shall not be discharged by burning them ; but must necessarily bring them to their superiors. Yea, so wary they are, in preventing all possibilities of peril, that even the works of their own greatest champion, Cardinal Bellarmin, are not allowed a promiscuous sale and perusal, because they do but relate, though with confutation, the opinions and arguments of the heretics I. Yea, more than so, all translations of the Council of Trent, into French and other languages, are peremptorily forbidden : and all Glosses, Commentaries, Annotations, and Schclias, upon the Decrees of that Council, besides from those that are deputed by the Pope, are inhibited, under the pain of suspension, to any Prelate, whosoever shall presume to publish them ||. Yea, lastly, that which one would think should exceed all the belief of a Christian, the very Bibles, set forth in vulgar tongues, are so forbidden to be either read or kept in men's houses, that neither the Bishops, nor Inquisitors, nor the Superiors of the Regulars can give any licence to whatsoever person to that purpose: neither may so much as the Abridgments of the historical parts of that Sacred Book be allowed **.

If they be thus cautious to forbid the best of books, for their own advantage; what a shame shall it be for us, to be so slack and supine, as not to restrain the worst writings, to the infinite disadvantage of the Gospel!

How happy then would it be for God's Church, if, by the special and joint care of Christian Princes and States, there might be a general interdiction of this lawless licentiousness of the Press; and that, under the highest penalties, it might be confined to none but necessary, safe, and orthodox discourse! which till it be effectually done, it is not possible but that schisms and heresies must, at pleasure, dilate themselves; to the corrupting of unstable minds, and to the destruction of the common peace.

(3.) Thirdly, for the timely suppressing of spiritual quarrels, it is most requisite for Authority, to punish the wilful disturbers of peace.

# Sir

* Clem. VIII. ib. Gavant. + Barbos. de Potest. Ep. ibid. Gavant, Edwin Sands's Relarion. § Cong. Concil. 2 June 1629. || Pius IV. anno 1563. Tit. Conc. Trid.

Biblia, vulgari linguâ, edita, non possunt legi, neque retineri ; neque Episcopi, neque Inquisitores, neque Regularium Superiores, dare queunt licentium. Ciem. VIII, in Ind. Prohib.

** Neque Compendia historica Bibliorum. Gayant. V. Scriptura.

[1.] Such are those, in the first place, that will be sowing of strife where none grows *; whether by broaching new opinions, or despitefully falling upon innocent and well-deserving persons.

Terpander was fined at Lacedæmon, for putting one string to his harp more than was usual t ; and yet that, perhaps, made the music better: how worthy are they to smart, that mar the harmony of our peace, by the discordous jars of their new and paradoxal conceits! Serva deposilum, was the charge given to Timothy ; 1 Tim. vi. 20. and the prayer of the Church is, Renew our days as of old; Lam. v. 21. If any Athenian spirit have a mind to tell us of new doctrines, that the Church of God never knew, I wish he may do it upon the same terms, that the Thurians of old ordained for the deviser of new laws, that is, with a cord ready tied about his neck.

As new opinions broached are cause of much discord, so are also wrongful and calumnious aspersions cast upon the innocent. A son of Belial, saith Solomon, diggeth up evil; and in his lips there is a burning fire. d froward man soweth strife ; and a whisperer separateth chief friends ; Prov. xvi. 27, 28. and, elsewhere, IVhere no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no whisperer the strife ceaseth: Prov. xxvi. 20. Certainly, if lewd tongues be not curbed with wholesome laws and round execution, it is in vain to hope for peace f. The best of men lie ever the openest to the wickedest calumnies. How doth the man after God's own heart cry out of the virulency of his slanderers ! how passionately doth he

my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to ihee, or what shall be done to thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper ; Ps. cxx. 2, 3, 4. Holy Cyprian hath dung cast in his face by the name of Coprianus. Athanasius is no better than Sathanasius : would you think that man, so worthy of immortality as his name justly imports, should pass for a sacrilegious person, a profane wretch, a bloody persecutor, a blasphemer of God? yet these are his titles, from his malicious opposites : whose resolution is, “ As for Athanasius and Marcellus, who have impiously blaspheined against God, and have lived as wicked miscreants, and are thereupon cast out of the Church and condemned, we cannot receive them to the honour of Episcopacy $." So as we may justly, in their behalf, take up that complaint of Optatus |, Episcopos gladio lingue jugulástis ; fundentes sanguinem, non corporis, sed honoris ; that is, “ Ye have slain your Bishops with the sword of your

pray, Deliver

* Qui, ubi nihil est litium, lites serunt. Plaut. + Plut. Cust. of Lacedæmon. Jam autem ad scenam ipsam prodimus, et cum impudicissimis ridemur. Greg. Naz. Orat. I.

§ Nos Athanasium et Marcellum, qui in Dominum impiè blasphemantes scelerati direrunt, expusilos olin el damnutos non possumus in Episcopatus honorem Tecipere. 80 Episc. in Pseudo-Synod Sardicepsi. ll Optai. Milevit. I. üi.

tongue; spilling the blood, not of their body, but of their honour and

reputation. To this head must be referred those bitter and infamous libels *, which are mutually cast abroad every day; even by some, who lay claim to a more strict Christianity : deeply wounding, not more each other's fame, than the public peace. These evils cry loud to Authority for redress; without which, what hope of peace ?

[2.] In the second rank of disturbers of peace, are those, who do nourish, foment, and abet the quarrels once raised; and pertinaciously maintain those dangerous errors, which they find set on foot: for, indeed, it is not falseness of judgment that makes a heretic, but perverseness of will t; neither is heresy any other, than an error in faith with obstinacy I. They are much mistaken, that slight the mistakings of the understanding, as no sins : rather, as that faculty hath more of the man, than the other inferior; so the aberrations of that must be more heinous. But, if the will did not concur to their further aggravation, in adhering to a falsity once received, they might seem rather to pass, with God and good men, for infirmities; but the least falsehood, justified, proves odious to both : how much more in so precious a subject, as religion !

The zeal of some old Casuists carried them too far, in resolving heresy to be such a crime, as the seal of confession itself might not privilege for concealment §. One of their later || said well, That he wished that man might be turned salamander, to live perpetually in the fire, that should reveal what was spoken to his ear, out of remorse of conscience.

But, certainly, it cannot be denied, that heresy, thus described, is a grievous sin; against that God, who is truth and goodness itself; and against that Church, which he hath graciously espoused to himself : but how far, and which way, to be proceeded against, is a matter of deep and serious consideration.

For the determination whereof, I should think it necessary to distinguish of heresy, whether mere or mixed. Mere heresy I call that, which is divested of other circumstances; a sole error in matter of faith stifly resolved on, without any other concurrent malignity: mixed, that, which is intermingled with other mischievous ingredients, as blasphemy, infectious divulgation, seditious disturbance, malicious complottings, violent pursuit, treacherous machinations, and the like.

The former, as it is a spiritual sin; so it is to be proceeded against, in a spiritual way. "Brotherly admonishing must lead the way: strong conviction must follow : and, in the failing of both these, Church-censures must be sought to as the last refuge. Bodily violences may have no place here; since faith is to he

* Tractatus Poneyxahuoves. Hieron.

+ Non enim error de S. Scripluris, sed et pertinax erroris defensio facit here. ticum. Def. Fir. Staph. Error in fide, cum pertinacia.

§ Huresis est crimen, quod nec confessiv celat. Il M. Vivald.

9 Ut ubi interficiendi sunt errores, interficiantur homines, &c. Musc. Loc. Com. cap. de Hæret.

persuaded, not forced. Never any Christians, till the Roman Church, in these latter times, offered to shed blood for mere errors of opi. nion *. It is not for nothing, that the Holy Ghost sets her forth decked in purple and scarlet ; Rev. xvii. 4. as foreseeing her deepdied in the blood of Innocents. Every of her trivial determinations must be matter of faith t; and every resolute opposition to matter of faith must be heresy; and every heresy must be expiated with blood. Oh, the ignorance or stupidity of the ancient Fathers of the Church, which could never hit on this sure remedy of error, and vindication of truth I ! never had learned the true sense of Hæreticum de-vita, which is now revealed to wiser posterity! In the mean time, since but the days of Thomas Arundel, then Archbishop of Canterbury, who kindled the first fire of this kind within this kingdom , what stacks have been spent every where, as the fuel of martyrdom! It is proper for a cruel religion, to live upon blood ||. For us, we will save whom we can; but, whom we cannot, we will not kill: remembering what God said of old concerning the days of the Gospel; They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord; Isa. xi. 9.

The latter of them hath no reason to be exempted from bodily punishments; no, not from the utmost of all pains, death itself : as that, which, besides its own intrinsical mischief, draws in with it seven devils, worse than itself. If it be hæreticalis blasphemia, as the Casuists term it, it proclaims war against heaven; and is justly revenged, by the sword of God's vicegerents upon earth. If it be attended with schism, perturbances, seditions, malicious practices, it tends to the setting of whole kingdoms on fire; and, therefore, may be well worthy of a faggot. No man should sinart for erring; but, for seducing of souls, for embroiling of states, for contemptuous violation of laws, for affronts of lawful authority, who can pity him, that suffers **? Certainly, there cannot be a greater mercy to Church or Commonwealth, than, by a seasonable correction of offenders, to prevent their ruin tt. It must be the regard to

* Thuan. Procem in Hist.-Sir Sim. Dewes's Primitive Practice. Sect. 5.

+ Si divina lex persuadere non possit, humana authoritas ad veritatem revocare nequit. Aug. ad Crescon.

Non de more Orthodoxæ Ecclesiæ, quce honines persequi non solet, &c. Socrat, I. vii, c. 3. s Vide ib. Sir Sim. Dewes.

-Temerè sed tradere letho, Non est Christigenum, furvi sed regis Averni. Naogeorgus. Minas Celsus Senens. sect. 2. In Hæret. coercendis quatenus progredi liceat.

9- Heretici corrigendi, ne pereant ; coercendi, ne perimant. Bern. de Consid. l. iii. c. 1.

** Pertinaciter errantes, et alios secum in errorem abducere inque erroribus retinere contendentes, blasphemi, et perlurbatores, imò eversores Ecclesiarum, iure cædi possunt. Bulling. Dec. 2. ser, viii. Min. Cels. sect. 2.

tt Pariter crudelis uterque, qui parcit cunctis et nulli. Jos. Iscan. de Bello Trojano. I. i.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »