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1151 [1150]

K. Henry. 8. Allegations agaynst the vj. Articles. Priestes mariage.

was much about the same tyme whē as Hildebrand also at Rome begā to attempt the same matter, as before hath ben shewed: & also besides hym were other popes mo, as Innocent the 3. Pope Nicholas the 2. and Calixtus the 2. by whom the acte against Priestes mariage was brought at length to hys ful perfection, and so hath cōtinued euer since.

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Long it were and tedious to recite here all such constitutions of Councels prouinciall and generall, namely of the councel of Carthage, and of Toledo, which semed to worke somethyng in that behalf, against the matrimony of priests. Agayne, longer it were to number vp the names of all such bishops and priestes, which notwithstanding hau bene maried since that tyme, in diuers countreys, as more amply shalbe shewed (the Lord willyng) in the sequele hereof. In the meane season 

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The following passages on Gregory VII moving against clerical marriage are taken from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae Catalogus (Basel, 1557), pp. 156-7.

, as touching the age and tyme of this diuelish prohibition for priestes to haue their wyues, this is to be found by credible proues and conferryng of histories, MarginaliaEx Actis Synodi Mediolanensis. that in the yeare of our Sauiour. 1067. at what tyme pope Hildebrand 
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Pope Gregory VII (born Hildebrand).

began first to occupy the Papall chayre 
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Gregory VII did not become pope until 1073.

, this othe began first to be taken of Archbishops and Byshops, that they should suffer none to enter into the ministery, or into any ecclesiasticall function hauyng a wyfe: and likewyse the Clergy to be bound to promise the same.

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And this was (as I sayd) about the yeare of our lord. 1067. well approued and testified by course of hystories. MarginaliaS. Paule prophesieth of forbidding of maryage. Wherby appeareth the Prophesie of S. Paul truly to be verified, speakyng of these latter tymes. 1. Tim. 4. Where he writeth in these wordes 

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1 Timothy 4: 1 and 3 (Foxe is conflating two verses).

: The spirit speaketh plainely, that in the latter tymes, there shall some depart from the fayth, harkening vnto spirites of errour, and to doctrines of deuils, forbidding to mary, and commaundyng to abstayne from meates, which the Lorde hath created to be taken with thankes geuyng. &c. Marginalia1. Tim 4.

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In this prophesie of S. Paul ij. things are to be obserued: First the matter which he prophesieth of, that is the forbiddyng of mariage, and forbiddyng of meates, which god generally hath left free to all men. MarginaliaS. Paules prophesie found true for the count of tymes. The second thyng in this prophesie to be noted is the tyme when this prophesie shall fall, that is, in the latter tymes of the world. So that thys concurreth right well with these yeares of Pope Hildebrand aforesayd, beyng a M. yeares complete after the Ascension of our Sauiour: so that they may well be called the latter tymes.

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This prophesie of S. Paul thus standyng (as it doth) firme and certayne, that is, that forbiddyng of mariage must happen in the latter tymes of the world, then must it nedes consequently follow thereby, MarginaliaThe maryed life of priests more aūcient in the church then the single life of Priestes. that the maryed lyfe of priestes is more auncient in the church, then is the single lyfe, then the law I meane commaundyng the single lyfe of priestes. Which may soone be proued to be true, by the true count of times and search of hystories.

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For first 

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The material on Polycrates and on Paphnutius is drawn from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), pp. 10 and 19.

at the Councell of Nice, it is notorious that this diuelish law of mariage to be restrayned, was stopped by Paphnutius.

2. Before this Councel of Nice, in the yeare of our Lord, 180. we read of Polycrates B. of Ephesus, who dissentyng from Pope Victor about a certayne controuersie of Easter day, alledgeth for hymselfe how his progenitoures before hym, 7. together: one after an other succeded in that seat, and he now the 8. after them was placed in the same: vsing this hys discent of hys parents, not only as a defence of hys cause, but also a glory to hymselfe. &c.

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3. Pope Syricius about the yere of our Lord. 390. wrote 

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This material on Pope Syriacus is from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), pp. 58-60.

to the priestes of Spayne about the same matter of putting theyr wyues from them, if hys Epistle be not counterfeyt. These Spanish priestes had then with them a Byshop of Terragon. Who aunsweryng to Syricius in this behalfe, alledged the testimonies of S. Paule, that Priestes myght lawfully retayne their wyues &c. MarginaliaSyricius enemie to Priestes. To this Syricius replyed agayne (if his writyng be not forged) moste arrogantly and no lesse ignorauntly, reprouyng the Priestes that were maried, and for the defence of hys cause, alledged this sentence of s. Paule 
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Rom. 8: 15.

: Si secundum carnem vixeritis, moriemini. MarginaliaRom 8. That is: If ye shall lyue after the fleshe, ye shall die. &c. Whereby may appeare, not onely, how they in Spayne then had wiues, but also how blynd these men were in the scriptures, which shewed them selues such aduersaries against Priestes Mariage.

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4. To be short, the further we go and nearer to the auncient tyme of the church, the lesse auncient we shall finde the depriuation of lawfull matrimony amongst christian ministers MarginaliaDiuers of the Apostles were maried. beginnyng if we wyll, wyth the Apostles, theyr examples and Canons, who although were not all maryed, yet dyuers of them were, and the rest had power and liberty to haue and kepe theyr wyues, witnessyng S. Paule, where he writeth of hymselfe: Non habemus potestatem sororem mulierem circumducendi sicut & reliqui Apostoli? That is to say: haue not we power to lead about a sister to wyfe, as also the other Apostles haue? Wherby is to be seene, both what he myght do, and what the other Apostles did. Albeit Clemens Alexandrinus, whiche was CC. yeares after Christ, Lib. Strom. 7. MarginaliaClement Alexandrinus lib. Strom. 7. denyeth 

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Both of the following quotations from Clement of Alexandria are taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 14

not but that Paule was maryed beyng an Apostle, as wel as Peter and Philip. And as the sayd Apostles in their doctrine admonishe all men to mary that can not otherwyse do, saying to euery one beyng in daunger of temptation: Vnusquisque suam vxorem habeat ne tentet nos Satanas. &c. That is Let euery man haue hys owne wife, least Sathan tempt you. &c. So lykewise the same Apostles in their Canons (as is in the Popes Decrees cited) MarginaliaDistinct. 28. do precisely charge, that no Bishop nor priest, should sequester from hym hys wife for any matter or pretence of Religion, saying: if any shall teach that a priest for religion sake, ought to contemne his owne wife, let him be accursed. &c.

[Back to Top] MarginaliaCanon of the Apostles.

MarginaliaA sophisticall glose. As for the Glose there in the margent, which expoundeth this word contemning for exhibityng thynges necessary for her sustenaunce, all the world may see that to be a Glose of mere Sophistrie. MarginaliaClemens Alexandrinus. And because I haue here made mention of Clemens Alexandrinus, it shal not be to our purpose impertinent, to inferre the words of thys worthy writer, wherewith he doth defend Priestes lawfull matrimony, agaynst certayne vayne bosters of virginity in his time. Dicunt gloriosi isti iactatores, se imitari dominum, qui necque vxorem duxit, neque in mundo aliquid possedit: se magis quam alios Euāgelium intellexisse gloriantes. That is: these glorious braggers doe vaunte themselues to be the folowers of the Lord, who neither had wyfe, nor yet possessed any thyng here in the world. &c. And it followeth. His autem dicit scriptura, deus superbis resistit, humilibus autem dat gratiam. Deinde nesciunt causam cur dominus vxorem non duxerit primum quidem propriam sponsam habuit ecclesiam. Deinde vero nec homo erat communis, vt opus haberet etiam adiutore aliquo secundum carnem. &c. To these the Scripture maketh aunswere: God withstādeth the proude, and geueth grace to the humble. MarginaliaThe cause why Christ had no wyfe. Againe, they consider not the cause why the Lorde tooke no wyfe. First he had hys own peculiar spouse: which is þe church. Moreouer, neyther was he as a cōmon man, that he should stand in such nede of a helper after fleshe. &c. And in the same booke a litle after alleadgyng agaynst them that abhorre matrimonye, he inferreth the wordes of S. Paule: how that in the latter dayes some shall fall from the faith attending to spirites of errour, and to doctrine of deuils, for, biddyng to mary, and to abstayne from meates. 

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1 Timothy 4: 3; this verse is quoted in Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 14.

&c. Marginalia1 Tim 4 Which place of S. Paule, Clement here applyeth not agaynst the Nouatians, and them that condemne matrimony in generall in all men, as naught: but he applyeth it onely agaynst such, as forbyd maryage in part, and namely in Priestes. &c. Thys Clement wrote after Christ, ij. hundreth yeres, and yet if we come downeward to lower tymes, we shall finde both by MarginaliaConcilium Gangrense. the Councell of Gangren CCC. yeares, & also by the Councel of Nice CCCC. yeares after Christ, the same liberty of priestes maryage established and enacted as a thyng both good and godly. The words of Gangren Councell be these 
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This passage is cited, but not quoted, in Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 28.

: Si quis discernit Præsbyterum coniugatum, tanquam occasione nuptiarum, quod offerre non debeat, & ab eius oblatione ideo abstinet, anathema sit. &c. MarginaliaDistinct. 28. That is: If any do iudge that a Prieste for hys maryage sake, ought not to minister, and therefore doth abstaine from the same, let hym be accursed.

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Moreouer, proceedyng yet in tymes and Chronicles of the Church, we shall come to MarginaliaConcilium Constātinopolitanum. the vi. Councel called Synodus Constātinopolitana, almost vij. C. yeares after Christ: the wordes of the which Councell be alleadged in the Decrees, and be these in Latine 

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Foxe is drawing this quotation from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 53.

. Quoniam in Romani ordine canonis esse cognouimus traditum, eos qui ordinati sunt Diaconi vel Præsbyteri, confiteri quod non suis iam copulentur vxoribus, antiquum sequentes canonem Apostolicæ diligentiæ et constitutiones factorum virorum, legales nuptias amodo valere volumus, nullo modo cum vxoribus suis eorum connubia dissoluentes, aut priuantes eos familiaritate adinuicem, in tempore oportuno. &c. MarginaliaDistinct. 35. cap. Quoniam. That is: Because in the order of the Romaine Canon, we know it so to be receaued, that such as bee Deacons and Priestes, shall professe themseues to haue no more copulation with theyr wyues, we folowyng the auncient Canon of the diligent Apostles and constitutions of holy men, enacte that such lawfull maryage, from henceforth, shall stand in force, in no case dissoluing their coniunction wyth their wyues, neyther depriuing them of their mutuall societie and familiaritie together, in such tyme as they shall thinke conuenient. &c. Hetherto ye haue heard the decree: heare now the penaltie, in the same Decree and distinction conteyned. Si quis igitur præsumpserit contra Apostolicos canones aliquos Præsbyterorum & Diaconorum priuare a contactu et communione legalis vxoris suæ deponatur. &c. MarginaliaIbid. That is: If any therfore

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HHH.iiij.
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