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1367 [1367]

K. Henry. 8. The Epistle of Volusianus, for Priestes Mariage.

it dyd apparell those other Priestes aforesayd with attire for them conuenient: so shall it instructe these abundantly how they ought to lyue and to teache. And thys sense well agreeth with the text that foloweth, saying: And vvhen thou shall vvashe the father and his sonnes vvith vvater, thou shalt take the garmentes, that is, the strait coate, the tunicle and the brest lappe, and put them vpon Aaron and girde them to hym vvith a brodered girdle of the Ephod. Then thou shalt put the miter vpon hys head, and shalt put the holy crovvne vppon the miter, and thus shall he be consecrated. Also thou shalt bryng hys sonnes and put coates vpon thē, and shall girde them vvith girdles, both Aaron and hys sonnes, and shalt put bonnettes on them, and the Priestes office shall be theirs for a perpetuall lavv.

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MarginaliaExod. 19. MarginaliaThe place of Moyses Exod. 19. applyed.Thus then you see a commaundement of receyuyng the lynen breches of Moyses. Wherby it playnely appeareth, that Aaron & his sonnes, first did apparell thē selues with this kynd of apparell, & so entred in to be washed, inducted, annointed & cōsecrated by þe handes of Moyses.

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By the whiche we are playnely taught, that the yoke of continency is not to be inforced vpon any mā agaynst hys wyll, but is to bee receyued of God with a prompte and a deuout will. Which thyng also Dionysius Areopagita that godliwise man, the Disciple of S. Paul and ordeyned of hym Byshop of Athenes, in a certeyne Epistle of hys sent to Pymtus Bishop of the Gnasians, in which he toucheth many thynges of mariage and chastitie (as is in the Ecclesiasticall hystory rehearsed) doth admonishe the sayd Pymtus, and prayeth hym that he will lay no greuous burthens vpō the neckes of the Disciples, neither inferre any necessitie of compelled chastitie vpon the brethren, whereby the infirmitie of some of them myght bee in daunger. And Pymtus aūsweryng to Dionysius again, sheweth hym selfe wyllyng to embrace the sentence of hys holesome counsaile.

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MarginaliaEx Histor. Tripartita.The same also dyd Paphnutius, that diuine and chast Byshop, who in þe Councell of Nyce (as the Tripartite hystory doth shewe vs) when the fathers, which there were present went about to restrayne Priestes from mariage: he rysyng vp amongest them and moued with the zeale of mans infirmitie, desyred them that they would not so do, but rather to leaue it vnto the voluntary discretion of euery man, lest in so doyng they might peraduenture gyue occasion of adultery and fornication. For those holy men dyd then vse this cautele and moderation in Religion, that when they treated any thing concernyng instruction and edification of the people, and would haue them styrred vp to a better life by godly instructiōs, MarginaliaThe spirite of lenitie requyred in Byshopsthey would rather persuade thynges to be obserued with patience and lenitie, then commaund with rigour and authoritie: neither woulde they compell any man to theyr obedience agaynst hys will.

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Whose examples you also folowyng, whiche succede in their rowme and name, do you not lay vppon vs infirme persons, such importable burthēs, lest you be partakers with þe Phariseys & lawyers of the Lordes curse: Who sayth 

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Luke 11: 46.

: VVoe to you lavvyers vviche lay burdens vpon men, vvhiche they can not beare, and you your selues touche not the burdens vvith one finger: MarginaliaLuke. 11.And lest 
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This is an allusion to Exodus 3: 7.

the crye of the children of Israell ascende vp to the Lord for the cruell dealyng of thē whiche are ouerseers of the woorkes: MarginaliaExod. 3.
Read the Canons of þe Apostles. Can. 22.
Neither doe you make such Eunuches whiche are so borne from their mothers wombe, or such Eunuches whiche are violently made by men, but 
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Matt. 19: 12.

rather those Eunuches which of their own accord haue gelded them selues for the kyngdome of heauen. MarginaliaMath. 19.Neither do you bryng vppon the holy order of Gods Ministers for vs onely, such an offence and sclander, that for our wicked lyfe you make the ministery to be despised of others, while you will not suffer them either to heare vs, or to receyue þe Sacramētes of vs, infamyng thereby our leude lyfe, and causyng the sauour of vs to stincke before Pharao and his seruauntes. MarginaliaExod. 5.Wherein it semeth to vs that you deale not soundly and vprightly, if a man may so saye (I pray you take it in good worthe that I speake): and also to bee agaynst the authoritie of Gods woorde, and the canonicall constitutions whiche you do: Where as the Lord sayth by Moyses the law giuer 
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Lev. 18: 7.

: The shame of thy mother thou shalt not disclose, and her ignominy thou shalt not discouer. MarginaliaLeuit. 18.Our mother is the Churche. The sonnes of this mother be all the faythfull: Whiche name yet most fitlye is approbriate vnto Priestes: for they do begette þe faythfull both by þe word of preachyng and Sacrament of Baptisme. Was not he to be counted a right mother: who sayd 
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Gal. 4: 19.

: My litle children of vvhom I trauayle in byrth agayne? MarginaliaGal. 4.

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The shame and ignominy of our mother, what is it but the reproueable conuersation of the lyfe of Priestes? which shame and ignominy is then reueled, when the lyfe of Priestes is publickly infamed. Which thyng you do, that discouer and notifye vnto men our fragilitie, lying before as hyd and couered, because before it was not knowen: and for the same you bryng the holy ministery and mysteries of God, into contempt and hatred: As though the polluted lyfe of other did any thyng perteyne therto to pollute the same, and as though our vncleanes dyd any thyng blemishe them, or diminishe the purenes therof, whereas the Psalmist sayth 

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Psalm 19: 9.

: The lavve of the Lorde is pure and immaculate: MarginaliaPsal. 18.Or as thoughe they were any whitte polluted by our infection, whiche do receyue the sayd mysteries, either by our mouth, or by our ministery. Whiche if you graunt to be so, then the Lord would neuer haue spoken so to hys Disciples and the people, touchyng the Phariseis, saying 
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Matt. 23: 3.

: VVhat so euer they byd you obserue, that obserue and do. MarginaliaMath. 23.And agayne, if it were so, the Lord would not haue sent forth Iudas whom hee knewe should betray hym, with the other Disciples to preache, neither would haue cōmitted to hym the power of workyng miracles, and of giuyng health, nor admitted hym to the communion of the Supper. MarginaliaThe wickednes of the Ministers make not the ministerye worse.And if our impuritie shoulde infecte our holy mysteries or ministrations, and make them worse that heare and receyue the same, then the Lord would neuer haue touched the leper whom hee had healed, neither would haue kyssed hym, neyther would haue eaten with Symon an other leper, neyther would haue suffered hys feete to bee kyssed, and with the teares to be washed, and with the heare to bee dryed, and hys head to be annoynted of Mary the synner.

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Therefore the holy Canons haue thus decreed, that no mā which ryghtly receyueth the Lordes Sacramentes of an hereticke, should be therfore any thyng corrupted by hys hereticall prauitie, nor the sayd Sacramētes should be any whitte distreyned by the infection of hym. Whereupon the Churche of Rome in a certeine Epistle directed vnto Anastasius the Emperour by Anastasius the Pope, did so ordeyne and write, that none of all them whom Acatius did Baptise, or whom he ordeined Canonically to be Priestes or Leuites, should bee any thyng hurt by the name of the sayd Acatius: so that thereby the Sacramētes which by hym were ministred should seme the lesse firme & effectual. For þe Sacrament of Baptisme also beyng ministred of an adulterer or a theeffe (which God forefende to be in the Churche) doth come vnto the receiuer neuer a whitte the worse. What ment that voice whiche sounded by the doue, but that it excluded all euill and impuritie of the corruption of man? in the whiche it is declared and sayd 

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John 1: 33.

: This is he vvhiche Baptiseth. &c. MarginaliaMath. 3.For if the beames of thys visible Sunne passyng by the fylthy places receiue no spotte of filthynes thereby, much more the grace of him, whiche made this visible Sunne, is not tyed to any worthynes of our woorkes. What so euer therfore any minister of the Churche worketh in his function to the behoufe of the people, all that taketh his effect by the operation of God. Thus witnesseth Paul by whom Christ speaketh 
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1 Cor. 3: 6.

: I haue planted and Apollo hath vvatered, but it is the Lord that hath giuen the increase. Marginalia1. Cor. 3.God regardeth not so much who or what manner of person doth preach, but that he so preach that he may confirme them that be nought, and cause them to preache well of Christ. For such is the operation of Gods mighty grace, that by euill men hee wynneth good men, and by reprobate and wicked persons he getteth and gathereth together those that be good.

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By these and such other reasons and authorities aboue alledged, you ought to bee persuaded, neither to abandon vs that bee maryed, from the administration of diuine seruice, nor yet to excommunicate such, to whom the matter nothyng perteyneth, from the communion therof. And if we be euill, we are euill to our selues, and hurt our selues more then others. And such as you suppose peraduēture to be vicious, yet may haue some good thyng inwardly whiche you know not of. For many there be whom you iudge to be incontinent, whiche lyue more chastly then they whom you so greatly extolle for theyr continency. We that haue wyues, accordyng to the Apostles mynde 

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1 Cor. 7: 29.

, so haue them as thoughe we had them not. Marginalia1. Cor. 7.Which gift of continencye forasmuch as you can not gyue vs, pray therfore with vs and for vs, that hee will giue it vnto vs, who only is þe giuer therof, & without whō no man is able to lyue continently. For otherwise we cā not haue it, vnlesse we pray vnto hym frō the bottome of our hartes, who is knowen to be the author and giuer therof. And this same (saith Salomō 
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Wisdom 8: 21.

)
is vvisdome, to knovv vvhose gifte it is: MarginaliaSap. 8. neither is there any gift aboue thys.

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