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1064 [1063]

K. Hen. 8. The letter of Tonstall and Stokesley, to Cardinall Poole.

in matters of þe fayth amonges thē selues, made suites to the Bishop of Rome: but that was not for the superioritie of iurisdiction ouer them, but because they were greatly diuided, and those countreys, as well Bishoppes as others, much infected with the heresies of the Arriās 

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An anti-Trinitarian sect condemned at Nicaea. Arians believed that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were not of the same substance.

, wherof the West was in a maner cleare, and among them of the Orient, none were counted indifferent to decide those matters, but were al suspected of affection for one cause or other: wherfore they desired þe opinions of the Bishops of þe West, as indifferent, and not tangled with affections of any of those partes neither corrupted with any of the Arrians, as appeareth by the Epistles of S. Basil, written in all their names for the sayd purpose. In the whiche also it is especially to be noted, that their suite was not to the bishop of Rome singularly, or by name: but (as the titles do shew) to the whole congregayion of the Bishoppes of Italie, and France, or of the whole West, and sometime preferryng the French and Italian Bishops, saying, Gallis & Italis, and neuer namyng the Romanes. MarginaliaThe olde fathers neuer knew the Primacie of the church of Rome. And for a cleare proofe that the auncient fathers knewe not this primacie of one aboue al, we neede none other testimonie, but their determination in the Coūcel of Nice, that Alexandria, and Antiochia, and vniuersally all other Primates, shoulde haue the whole gouernaunce of their confine countreys, like as the Bishop of Rome had of those that inhabited within his suburbes. And this determination proueth also, that your three Scriptures ment nothyng lesse, then this primacie ouer al. For God forbyd that we should suspect that Coūcel as ignoraunt of those playne scriptures, to þe which sith that tyme, al Christendome hath leaned, as the anker of our fayth. And if you like to reade the auncient Ecclesiastical histories, there you may see, that Athanasius & other patriarkes did execute that primacie, as in makyng, consecratyng, and ordering of churches, bishops, & clerkes in their countreys East and South, as the bishops of Rome in that tyme dyd in the West and North.

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MarginaliaIn the tyme of Pope Agatho, the Sea of Rome had no rule ouer the East and South Churches. And if you woulde yet any thyng obiect agaynst any of these witnesses, then for to eschewe contention, & for a finall cōclusiō, let the bishop of Rome stand to his own confession made many yeres past by hys predecessor Agatho 

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The bishops refer here to Pope St Agatho of the late seventh century and to his epistles to emperors Constantine, Heraclius and Tiberius, wherein Roman supremacy was supposedly denied. These letters can be found in Agatho, 'S Agathonis Papae Epistolae', in Patrologiae cursus completus: series Latina, 221 vols., ed. by J P Migne (Paris, 1844-1903), lxxxvii, pp.1161-1260.

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, to þe Emperour Constātine, Heraclius & Tiberius, in his Epistle written to thē in his name, & in the name of al the Synodes which he thought to be vnder the See apostolike: wherein soone after the beginnyng of the Epistle, he cōprehēdeth thē all vnder the name of the bishops dwelling in the North & West parts of their Empire: So that there in his own Epistle, he confesseth al his subiectes & obedienciaries to be only of the North & West: and so it appeareth euidently by hys own cōfession, that neyther by Gods law nor mās lawe he had to do wt any person of the East or the South. And this his high soueraintie ouer al, chalēged (as you and others say) by Scripture, as by his owne confession dooth appeare, is brought into a litle & a strayt angle. And this Agatho was not a man vnlearned, as appeareth by þe actes of the vj. synode of Constantinople in the. 4. act, wherin is written at large & expressed the sayd article and confession. MarginaliaPeters primacie hath no successours. And the primacie of Peter, which anciēt doctors speake of, which was only in preachyng & teachyng the fayth of Christ, which he first among al the Apostles & first of al mortall men, did expresse with his mouth, dyd after so adhere to his owne person, that it was neuer deriued eyther to any successor, or to any other apostle, but chiefly to hym selfe: for al other afterwardes professing the same, spake it accordyng vnto hym, who had professed it before. Moreouer, all the Apostles (as S. Iohn sayth) MarginaliaApoc. 21. be foundations in the heauēly Ierusalem, & not Peter only. Also Ciprian affirmeth (as is aforesaid) that all the apostles were of equal dignitie & power: whiche al ancient authors likewise doo affirme. For Christ gaue 
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Matthew 28.19.

þe apostles like power in the Gospel, saying: Goe and teach al nations, baptising them. &c. MarginaliaMath 28. And S. Paul (as is sayd before) knewe no other primacie geuen to Peter to preache in any place, but among þe Iewes, as he hym self had among þe Gentiles, as he writeth to the Galat. 
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The entire epistle is a vindication of Paul's apostolic authority, but especially 1.11-2.21.

Whereupon S. Ambrose writyng (as is aforesaide) affirmeth the same. And that the mother of all Churches is Ierusalem (as afore is saide) and not Rome, the Scripture is playne, both in the Prophet Esay: 
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Isaiah 2.3.

Out of Syon shal the lawe procede, and the word of the Lord out of Ierusalem MarginaliaEsa. 2. Vpon the which place S. Ierome sayth: In Hierusalem primum fundata ecclesia, totius orbis ecclesias seminauit: Out of the Church being first foūded in Hierusalē, sprōg al other chrches of the whole worlde.) and also in þe gospel which Christ before his ascensiō cōmaūded his apostles to preach throughout al þe world, beginnyng first at Ierusalē: So that the bishop of Romes vniuersal power by hym claymed ouer al, can not by any scripture be iustified: as if you haue read þe anciēt fathers expositions of the sayd scriptures) as we suppose you haue, sith your letters sent hyther cōcernyng this matter) & would geue more credence to their hūble & playne speaking, thē to the latter contentious & ambitious writers of that highe & aboue the Ideas of Plato 
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This begins a section devoted to rational thinking.

his subtilitie (which passeth, as you write) the lawyers learnyng and capacitie: we doubt not, but that you perceyue and thinke the same.

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MarginaliaA Prince may be head of his church and yet not preach nor minister Sacramentes. And where you thinke that the kyng can not be takē as supreme head of the Church, because he can not exercise the chiefe office of the church in preachyng & ministring of þe sacramentes: it is not requisite 

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In his Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione, Pole had made the argument that he could never accept any argument of supreme authority invested in a temporal ruler (or sacerdotal monarchy) making the familiar argument that; 'If the soul is superior to the body, then faith is superior to reason, thus spiritual to temporal, and church over state', and used this as evidence that popes are superior to kings [for which, see Pro Ecclesiasticae Unitatis Defensione (Rome, c.1537), sigs. xxiv-xxiirv]. The bishops respond [at Public Records Office, State Papers 1/113, fol.8v] with Plato's famous body analogy [found in Timaeus]. In essence, the 'body politic' is examined through a series of logical connections between society and the human body - society (due to the organic nature of the state) should function is a manner similar to a body.

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in euery body natural, that the head should exercise eyther al maner of offices of the body, or the chiefe office of the same. For albeit the head is þe highest & chiefe mēber of the natural body, yet the distribution of life to al the mēbers of the body, as wel to the head as to other mēbers, cōmeth frō the hart, & it is the minister of lyfe to the whole body, as the chief act of þe body. Neyther yet hath this similitude his ful place in a mysticall body, that a kyng shoulde haue the chiefe office of administration in the same: And yet notwithstāding þe scripture speaking 
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I Samuel 15.17.

of king Saul, sayth: I made thee head amōgst the tribes of Israel. Marginalia1. Reg. 15. And if a kyng amōgst 
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The bishops are drawing a logical conclusion.

þe Iewes were the head in the tribes of Israel, in the tyme of the law, much more is a Christian kyng head in the tribes of spirituall Israell, that is, of such as by true fayth see Christ who is the end of the law. The office deputed to the bishops 
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Ezekiel 3.17. This carries on both the natural/political body analogy and the commonality of the authority of spiritual officers (priests/bishops) arguments. The bishops flesh this out below with comparisons between the authority of a king with that of an admiral at sea and a captain on the field of battle.

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in the mystical body, is to be as eyes to the whole body, as almighty God saith to the prophet Ezechiel: I haue made thee an ouerseer ouer the house of Israell. MarginaliaEzech 3. And what bishop so euer refuseth to vse the office of an eye in the mysticall body, MarginaliaA Byshop is an eye in the head, but not the head of the mysticall bodye. to shew vnto the body þe right way of beleuyng & liuing, whiche apperteyneth to the spiritual eye to do, shal shew hym selfe to be a blynd eye: and if he shal take any other office in hande thē apperteyneth to the right eye, he shal make a confusion in the bodye, takyng vpō hym an other office then is geuē to hym of god. Wherfore if þe eye wil not take vpō him þe office of þe whole head, it may be answered, it cā not so do, for it lacketh brayn. And examples shew likewise, that it is not necessary alway that þe head should haue the facultie or chiefe office of administration, as you may see in a nauie by sea, MarginaliaThe office of an head standeth not in doing but in commaunding. where þe admirall, who is captayne ouer al, doth not meddle with steryng or gouernyng of euery shyp, but euerye maister particular muste direct the shyppe to passe the Sea in breakyng the waues by his steryng and gouer naunce, whiche the Admirall the head of al doth not hym selfe, nor yet hath the facultie to do, but cōmaundeth the maisters of the shyp to do it. And likewise many a captayne of great armyes, whiche is not able, nor neuer could peraduēture shoote, or breke a speare by his owne strength, yet by his wisedome and commaundement onely atchiueth the warres, and attayneth the victorie.

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MarginaliaVnitie what it is, and wherein it consisteth. And where you thinke that vnitie standeth not only in the agreeyng in one fayth and doctrine of the Church, but also in agreeyng in one head: if you meane the 

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This is a reference to St Augustine's City of God (book 22, chapter 18). The allusion is to the church as body and Christ as head of that body. This is to counter any argument of papal supremacy.

very and onely head ouer al the church our Saueour Christ: Whom the father hath set ouer al the Churche, which is his body, wherin all good Christian men do agree, therin you say truth. But if you meane of any one mortal mā to be head ouer al the Church, and that to be the Bishop of Rome, we do not agree with you: For you doo there erre in the true vnderstandyng of Scripture, or els you must say, that the sayde Councel of Nice, and other most auncient dyd erre, whiche diuided the administration of Churches, the Orient from the Occident, and the South from the North, as is before expressed. And that Christ 
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Matthew 18.20.

the vniuersal head is present in euery church, the Gospel sheweth: Where two or three be gathered together in my name, there I am in the middes of them. MarginaliaMath. 18. And in an other place: 
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Matthew 28.20.

Behold, I am wyth you, vntill the ende of the worlde. MarginaliaMath. 28. By which it may appeare Christ the vniuersall head, euery where to be wyth hys misticall body the Church: who by his spirite worketh in all places (how farre so euer they be distaunt) the vnitie and concorde of the same. And as for any other vniuersall head to be ouer all, then Christ hymselfe, Scripture proueth not, as it is shewed before. And yet for a further proufe, to take away the scruples, that peraduenture doe to your appearaunce ryse of certayne wordes in some auncient authors, and especially in s. Cyprians epistles, as that the vnitie of the church stode in the vnitie with the Byshop of Rome, though they neuer call hym supreme head, if you well wey and conferre all their sayinges together, MarginaliaAunswere to S. Ciprian. you shal perceiue that they neither spake nor ment otherwyse, but when the bishop of Rome was once lawfully elected & enthroned, if then any other would by faction, might, force, or otherwise, (the other liuyng and doyng his office) enterprise to put hym downe & vsurpe the same bishoprike, or exercise the others office hym self, as Nouatianus 
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The bishops are discussing the election of Novatian (elected as antipope) during the papacy of Cornelius (c.251). St Cyprian secured support for Cornelius' rightful election as bishop of Rome (not as supreme head of the church - as Pole interpreted the epistles).

did attempt in þe tyme of Cornelius: thē the said fathers rekened thē catholikes þt dyd communicate wt him þt was so lawfully elected, and þe custome was, one primacie to haue to do wt an other, by congratulatory letters soone after the certaintie of their

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election
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