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147 [134]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

of Caius taken out of Leo.

MarginaliaThe epystle of Marcellinus.Likewise the epistle of Marcellinus, to get more autoritie with the Reader, is admixed with a great part of Sainte Paules epistle to the Ephesians, woorde for word. And how is it like that Marcellinus, which dyed in the. xx. yeare of Dioclesian, could wryte of Consubstātialitie of the diuine persons, whē, that controuersy and terme of Consubstantialitie, was not hearde of in the church before Nicene counsel, which was. xxiij. yeares after him? MarginaliaThe epistles decretall of Marcelius.But especiallye the. ij. epistles of Marcellus bewray themselues, so that for the confuting therof, nedeth no other probation, more then onely the reading of the same. Such a glorious stile of ambition therin doth apeare, as it is easy to be vnderstood, not to proceede either from such an hūble martyr, or to sauour any thing of the misery of such a tyme. His wordes of his first epistle written to the brethren of Antioche, and alledged in the Popes decrees by Gracianus, are these:

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Marginalia24. q. 1. Rogamus vos fratres.We desire you brethren, that ye doo not teache nor conceaue anye other thing, but as ye haue receaued of the blessed Apostle S. Peter, and of other Apostles, and fathers. For of him ye were first of all instructed: wherfore ye must not forsake your owne father, and followe others. For he is the head of the whole church, to whom the Lord sayd: Thou art Peter, and vpon this rocke I wyll builde my churche. &c. whose seate was first wyth you in Antioche: which afterward by the cōmaundemēt of þe Lord, was trāslated frō thence to Rome, MarginaliaIn what chapter or leafe in al the Byble doth the Lord commaund the sea of Peter to bee translated from Antioche to Rome.of þe which church of Rome I am this daye placed (by the grace of God) to be the gouernour. From the which Church of Rome, neither ought you to seperate your selues, seing to the same church all maner causes ecclesiastical, being of any importance (Gods grace so disposing) are commaunded to be referred: by the same to be ordered regularly, from whence they tooke their first begynning. &c. And followeth consequently vpon the same. And if your church of Antioch, which was once the first, wyll nowe yelde her selfe vnto the sea of Rome, MarginaliaThe church of Rome seeth to the church of Antioche to yeld vnto her.there is no other church els, which wyll not subiect it selfe to our dominion: to whom all other bishops, who so euer listeth, and as they must nedes do (accordingly to the decrees of the Apostles, and of their successors) ought to flee vnto, as to their head, and must appeale to the same: ther to haue their redresse, and their protection, frō whence they tooke their first instruction and consecration. &c.

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Whether this be like matter to procede from the spirite of Marcellus that blessed martyr, in those so dreadful dayes, I saye no more, but oneley desire thee (gentle Reader) to iudge thy selfe.

MarginaliaThe seconde epistle of Marcellus wrytten to Maxentius.In his second Epistle moreouer, the sayde Marcellus, writing to Maxentius the bloody tyrant, first reprehendeth him for his cruelty, sharplye admonishing hym how and what to do: to seeke and learne the true religiō of God, to mayntayne his church, to honor and reuerēce the Priestes of God, and specially exhorteth him to charitie, and that he would cease from persecution. &c. All this is possible, and like to be true: but now marke (good Reader) what blanched stuffe here folowed with all: as where he alledging the statutes and sāctions of his predecessors, declareth and discusseth that no bishop nor minister ought to be persecuted, or depriued of his goods. And if they be, then ought they to haue their possessions and places agayne restored (by the law) before they wer bound (by the law) to answer to thier accusations layde in agaynste them. And so after that, in conueniente tyme, to bee called to a Councell. The whiche counsell notwithstanding, without the autoritie of the holye sea, can not procede regularly (albeit it remayne in hys power to assemble certayne bishops together). Neyther can he regularly cōdemne any bishop, appealing to this his Apostolical sea, before the sentence diffinite doo procede from the foresayd sea. &c. And it foloweth after: andtherfore (sayth he) let no bishop of what crime so euer he be attached, come to his accusatiō or be heard, but in his own ordinary synode at hys cōuenient time: the regular & Apostolical autoritie beyng ioyned withal. Moreouer in the said Epistle writing to Maxētius, he decreeth that no lay men, or any suspected bishop, ought to accuse prelates of the church: so that if they be eyther laye men, or men of euil conuersation, or proued manifest enemies, or incensed with any hatred, their accusations agaynst any bishop ought not to stand. Wyth other suche matters moe, concerning the disposition of iudiciall court. Which matter yf Pope Gregorye the. vij. had wrytten to Henry the thirde, Emperour: or yf Pope Alexander þe third had written to the Emperour Fridericus the first: it might haue stand with some reason and oportunity of tyme. MarginaliaThe epistle of Marcellus to Maxentius blanched.But now for Marcellus to wryte these decrees in such a persecution of the church, to Maxentius the Heathen, and most cruel Emperour: howe vnlike it is to bee true, and how it serued then to purpose, the reader may soone discerne. And yet these be the epistles and constitutions decretall, whereby (vnder the pretēsed title of these fathers) all churches of late time, and all ecclesiasticall causes haue bene, MarginaliaThe church of England gouerned by the popes Cannon lawes wythout sufficient ground of antiquitye.and yet are in this realme of Englād to this day, gouerned, directed, and disposed.

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MarginaliaThe epistles decretal of Eusebius and MeltiadesThe lyke discussion and examination, I might also make of the other epistles that follow of Eusebius, and Meltiades: which all tend to the same scope, that no prelate or bishop oughte to come to his aunswere (or ad litem contestatam, as the woordes of their writing doo terme it) before they be orderly and fully restored again to their possessions. Who moreouer in the sayde their epistles styl harpe vpon this key of the scripture: Tu es Petrus, & super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam. Declaring moreouer that this priuiledge of iudging al mē, and to be iudged of no man, but onelye to bee left to the iudgement of the Lord: was geuen to this forsayd holy sea of Rome, from tyme of the Apostles, and chiefly left with Peter the holy key keeper: so that althoughe the election of al the Apostles was equal, yet this was chiefly graunted to S. Peter, to haue preheminence aboue the rest. Concluding in the end hereby: Quod semper maiores causæ, sicut sunt Episcoporum & potiorum curæ negociorum, ad vnam beati principis Apostolorum Petri sedē confluerent. MarginaliaEx Epist. Decretal MeltiadesThat is: that alwayes all greater causes, as be the matters of bishops, and suche other cares of waighty importance, should be brought to the sea of S. Peter the blessed Prince of the Apostles. &c. These be the wordes of Meltiades and Eusebius, wherby it may be partly smelled of him that hath any nose, what was the meaning of them which forged these writings and letters, vpon these auncient holy martyrs.

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Thys I cannot but maruel at, in the third epistle of Eusebius the bishop of Rome: that were as Marcellinus his late predecessor before, in his own tyme and remembraunce, did fall so horribly, and was condemned for the same, iustly to be expulsed the Citie by the councel of. 300. bishops: yet not withstanding, the foresayde Eusebius in his third epistle, alledging the place of Tu es Petrus, bringeth in for a proofe of the same and saith: Quia in sede Apostolica extra maculam semper est catholica seruata religio. &c. MarginaliaA place of the third epistle decretal of Eusebius found vntrue.That is, for in the Apostolicall sea alwayes the catholicke religiō hath ben preserued without any spot or blemishe.

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But how soeuer the forgers of these decretall epistles haue forgotten them selues, most certayn it is that these holy bishops, vpon whom they were and are ascribed: lyued perfect good men, and dyed blessed Martyrs. MarginaliaMeltiades the last byshop of Rome being in daūger of persecution.Of whom this Meltiades was the last among al the bishops of Rome here in the west church of Europa, that euer was in daunger of persecution to be martyred, yet to this present day.

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And thus haue ye heard the stories & names of suche

blessed
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