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1023 [1023]

K. Henry. 8. The Popes rayling letter to the Princes, agaynst Luther.

stians owe to God, & blessed S. Peter, & to his vicare here in earth, MarginaliaObedience to God, and to Saint Peter, and to hys vicare, do not well matche together by the Scripture: for the obedience to the Creator is one, & the obedience to the creature is an other. that settyng a side all other quarels and dissensions among your selues, you confer your helpyng handes euery man to quēch this publicke fyre, and endeuour and study the best way ye can, how to reduce the said M. Luther and all other fautors of these tumultes and errours, to better cōformitie and trade both of lyfe and fayth. And if they, whiche be infected, shall refuse to heare your admonitions, yet prouide þe other part, which yet remaineth sound, by þe same contagiō, be not corrupted: He to whom all secretes of mē are open, doth know how we both for our nature, and also for our pastorall office, whereto we are called, are much more prone to remittte, then to reuenge. But when this pestiferous canker, can not with supple and gentle medicines be cured, more sharper salues must bee proued, and fyrye searynges: the putrified members must bee cut of from the body, lest the sound partes also be infected. So God did cast downe into hell the schismaticall brethren Marginalia* Let the pope followe the worde of God, as Moses dyd, and be sent of God expreslye, as Moses was: And then let Luther be punished as Dathon, and Abyron were. 

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See Numbers 16: 1-35.

Agayne, if the pope be the successour of Peter, and haue hys authoritie: why then doth not the pope, bearing the keyes of Peter, exercise the power of hys spirit vpon Luther his great enemie, as Peter dyd vpon Ananias and Saphyra?* Dathon & Abyron. And him that would not obey the authoritie of the Priest, God commaunded to be punished with death. So Peter, prince of the Apostles, denounced sodeine death to Ananias and Saphira, whiche lyed vnto God. 
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See Acts 5:1-4.

So the old and godly Emperours cōmaunded Marginalia* If Iouinianus, Priscillianus, and Vigilantius, were proued heretickes, they were proued not onely by Canons and Councells, but by Scripture: so was Luther neuer.* Iouinianus & Priscillianus as heretickes, to be beheaded. So S. Hierome wisheth Vigilantius as an hereticke to be geuen to the destruction of the fleshe, that the spirite might be saued to the day of the Lord. So also did our predecessours in the Councell of Marginalia* Your fathers, in the Councell of Constance dyd kill the Prophets of God, and you make vp their graues. But thankes be vnto God which hath geuen such lyght to the world, so vnderstand your cruell impietie in kyllyng Iohn Hus, which you thought shoulde neuer be espyed.* Constance, condemne to death Iohn Hus & his felow Hierome, whiche now appeareth to reuiue agayne in Luther. The worthy Marginalia* You haue well imitated your forefathers alreadye, in burning so many Lutherās: and yet how haue you prospered against the Turkishe infidels the space of these 40. yeares?* actes & examples of which forefathers, if you in this doyng (seyng otherwise ye can not) shall imitate: we do not doubt, but Gods mercifull clemency shall eftsones releue hys Churche, whiche beyng now sore vexed of Infidels, hath her eyes chiefly and principally directed vpon you, as beyng the most puissaunt and most populous nation, that we haue in Christendome.

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Wherfore vpō the blessyng of almightie God and of blessed S. Peter, whiche here we send vnto you, take courage vnto you, as well agaynst the false Dragon, as the stronge Lyon, that both these: MarginaliaThe false Dragon resembleth the Pope, and the stronge Lyon the Turke.that is, as well these inwarde heresies, as the foreine enemyes by you beyng ouercome, you may purchase to your honours an immortall victorie, both here and in the world to come. This we geue you to vnderstand, þt what soeuer the Lord hath geuen to vs to ayde you withall, either in money or authoritie, wee will not fayle to supporte you herein, yea and to bestow our lyfe also in this holy quarel, and for the health of our shepe, to vs committed. MarginaliaThe false Dragon here seeth that it is tyme to bestyrre hym.Other thynges, as touchyng the matter of Luther, we haue committed to this Cheregatus our Legate, whom we haue directed purposely for the same, vnto your assemble, whom we wishe you to credite, as beyng our trusty Legate. Datum Rom. apud S. Petrum sub annulo piscatoris. Die 25. Nouemb. an. 1522. pontificatus nostri anno primo.

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¶ By thys letter aboue prefixed, thou hast (gentle reader) to note and vnderstand, what either wylye persuasions, or strength of authoritie could deuise agaynst Luther, here not to haue lacked. If plausible termes, or glosing sentēces, or outward facyng and bracing could haue serued, where no ground of Scripture is brought, thys might seme apparantly a pythie Epistle. But if a man shoulde require the particulars or the specialties of the doctrine whiche he here reprehēdeth, to be examined and tryed by Gods word, there is no substance in it, but only wordes of office, which may seme well to serue for waste paper. And yet I thought to exhibite the sayd letter vnto thee, to the entent, þt the more thou seest mās strength wt all hys policie, bent against Luther, the more thou mayst consider the mighty power of God, in defendyng the cause of this poore man, against so mighty enemyes.

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Now heare further what instructions the sayd Pope Adrian sent to hys Legate Cheregatus, howe and by what reasons to moue and inflame the Princes of Germanie to the destruction of Luther, and hys cause, and yet was not able to bryng it passe.

¶ Instructions geuen by Pope Adrian to Cheregatus his Legate, touchyng hys procedinges in the Diete of Norenberg, hovve and by vvhat persuasions to incense the Princes agaynst Luther.

MarginaliaInstructions of the pope agaynst Luther.JN Primis,  

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This letter is accurately and completely translated from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculum rerum expetendarum ac fiugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos. 172r-173r. It should be pointed out, however, that Gratius approves of the letter and its instructions; Foxe, as he makes very clear, does not.

you shall declare to them the great grief of our hart, for the prosperyng of Luthers secte, to see the innumerable soules redemed with Christes bloud and committed to our pastorall gouernement, to be turned away from the true fayth and Religion, into perdition, by hys occasion: and that especially in the nation of Germanie, being our natiue countrey, whiche hath bene euer heretofore, til these few yeares past, most faythfull, and deuoute in Religion: & therfore our desyre to be the greater, that this pestilence should bee stopped by tyme, lest the same happen to that countrey of Germany, which happened of late to Bohemia. And as for our part, there shalbe no lacke to helpe forward what we may: As lykewise we desyre them, to endeuour them selues to the vttermost of their power, whom these causes ought to moue, which here we direct vnto you, to be declared vnto them.

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Marginalia* The first cause to styrre men agaynst Luther. * First the Marginalia* The honour of God consisteth principally in honouring Iesus the sonne of God, whom the father hath sent: Now examine, good reader, whether more extolleth the honour of Christ, the doctrine of Luther, or the doctrine of the pope. Luther sendeth vs onely to Christ: The pope sendeth vs to other patrons & helpers. Luthers doctrine tendeth soly to the glorye of Christ: the popes doctrine, if it be well wayed, tendeth to the glory of man. Luther cleaueth onely to Scripture: the pope leaneth to the Canons and Councells of men.* honour of God, which before all other thynges, ought to bee preferred: whose honour by these heresies, is greatly defaced, and hys worshyp not onely diminished, but rather wholy corrupted. Also the charitie toward our neighbour, by whiche charitie euery man is bound, to reduce hys neighbour out of errour: otherwise, God will requyre at their handes, all such as by theyr negligence do perish.

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MarginaliaThe second cause.The second cause to moue them against Luther, is the infamie of their nation, whiche beyng counted before tyme alwayes most Christian, now by these sectaries of Luther is euill spoken of, in all other quarters.

MarginaliaThe thyrd cause.The thyrd cause is þe respect of theyr own honour, which notoriously wilbe disteined, if they, which most excell in nobilitie and authoritie among the Germanes, shall not bend all their power to expell these heresies: First for that they shall appeare to degenerate from theyr progenitors, who beyng present at the condemnation of Iohn Hus, and of other heretickes, are sayd some of them with theyr owne hands, to haue ledde Iohn Hus to þe fyre: Secondly, for that they or the greater part of thē approuyng wt theyr authoritie the Marginalia* This edicte of the Emperour aboue touched pag. 928. was deuised & set out, not knowing to diuers of the princes there. And semeth chieflye to be brought aboute by the pope, and hys flatterers about him. Looke more hereof in the storye of Sledan. Lib. 3.* Imperiall Edicte set forth of late in cōdemnation of M. Luther, now except they shall folow the execution of þe same, shalbe noted incōstant, or may bee thought to fauour the same, seyng it is manifest that they may easely exterminate him, if they were disposed.

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MarginaliaThe 4. cause. The fourth cause is the iniurie wrought by Luther to them, their parentes and progenitours, forasmuch as their fathers, progenitours, and them selues also haue alwayes holden þe same faith, whiche the Catholicke churche of Rome hath appoynted: contrarie to which faith, Luther with his sectaries, now doth holde, saying þt many thinges are not to be beleued, which their foresayd aunciters haue holden to be of fayth: it is manifest therfore that they be condemned of Luther for infidels and heretickes, and so consequently by Luthers doctrine, all their forelders & their progenitours, whiche haue deceassed in this our fayth, be in hell: for errour in fayth importeth damnation.

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MarginaliaThe fifte reason or cause.The fifte cause to moue thē is, þt they should well aduise and consider the end, whereunto all these Lutherians do tende: Marginalia* The doctrine of Luther tendeth against the vsurped power of the Sea of Rome. Ergo, the doctrine of Luther dissolueth all obedience due to Magistrates. Thys consequent is to be denyed, for the power of Magistrates is of God: and he that resisteth them, resisteth God: So is not the vsurped power of the pope.* Which is, that vnder the shadow of Euangelicall libertie, they may abolish all superioritie & power. 

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This is an excellent example of Catholics arguing that Protestantism was socially and politically subversive. (And of course, remember that Adrian is writing to the German princes. Note also Foxe's concern in his marginal notes to refute this charge.)

For although at the first begynnyng, they pretended onely to adnulle and represse our power Ecclesiasticall, as beyng falsely and tyrannously vsurped agaynst the Gospell: yet for as much as libertie is all their foundation and pretense, by the which libertie, the secular power and Magistrates, can not bynde men by any commaundementes (be they neuer so iuste, or so reasonable) Marginalia* If the pope do say, that no preceptes of Magistrates do oblige vnder payne of mortall sinne, he sayth not true: If he say, that Luther so teacheth, he belyeth Luther: who teacheth all men to be subiect vnto Magistrates, no man more.* to obey thē vnder payne of mortall sinne: it is manifest, that their scope is to enfeeble and infrynge, as muche or more, the secular state also, although couertly they pretende to salue it: to the end, that when the seculare princes shall beleue this their workyng not to be directed agaynst them, but onely agaynst the vsurped domination of the

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