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1024 [1024]

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

Church, and Churchmen, then the laitie (whiche commōly hath bene alwayes agaynst men of the Church) holdyng with them, shall suffer the Churchemen to bee deuoured: Whiche done, no doubt, but Marginalia* Who so considereth the doctrine of Luther de Libertate Christiana, shall finde this to be a false sclaunder. For howe is it lyke that he meaneth any rebellion, who describyng a Christian, calleth hym a seruaunt and an vnderlyng to all men?* they wil afterward practise the lyke vpō the secular princes and potestates, whiche now they attempt agaynst our ecclesasticall iurisdiction.

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MarginaliaThe sixte cause.The sixth cause to moue and persuade them agaynst Luther, is this, for thē to consider the frutes, whiche folowe of that sect: 

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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.)

as sclaunders, offences, disturbaunce, robberies, murders, Marginalia* The cause why the Pope doth charge the Lutherians with sedition, did ryse vpon this, because one Franciscus Sickyngus a valiaunt man and a great sauourer of Luther, did warre agaynst the Archbyshop of Triers, for withholdyng two certaine persons from iudgement, whiche should haue appeared, and by hys meanes did not.* seditions, dissensiōs, which this sect hath, and dayly doth styrre vp through whole Germanie: Also blasphemies, Marginalia* As for sclaunderous wordes and bytter tauntes, with what face can the Pope charge Luther, beyng hym selfe so impudent and bytter, as in thys hys present letter is manifest to be sene? Wherin he sheweth hym selfe in hys owne colours, what he is.* sclaūderous wordes, schoffyng iestes and bytter tauntes, whiche are euer in their mouthes. Against which, vnles that they shall finde a present remedy, it is to be feared, lest the desolation of Gods wrath will fall vpō Germanie, beyng so diuided: or rather vpō the princes of Germanie, who hauyng the sword geuē of God into their hāds for the suppressiō of malefactours, suffer such enormities amongest their subiectes. Cursed is he (sayth the Prophete) vvhiche doth the vvorke of the Lord negligently, and holdeth backe his svvorde from the bloud of vvicked doers. 
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Jeremiah 48:10.

MarginaliaIer. 48.

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MarginaliaThe vij. cause or reason.The seuenth reason is, that the princes should consider how Luther vseth the same way of seducyng the people of Christ, as hath the venemous viper Marginalia* If the doynges and properties of Mahomete be ryhgtly considered, none should bee founde so aptly to resemble hym, as the Pope him selfe. He declineth from the worde of God, and setteth vp an other lawe: so doth the Pope. He killeth and slayeth the contrary parte: so doth the Pope. He holdeth saluation by workes of the lawe: so doth the Pope. And if Mahomete geue liberty of fleshe: so doth not Luther, but the Pope both taketh it, and also dispenseth with the same. Mahomet would not haue hys Religion reasoned vpon: no more will the Pope. Briefly, as the secte of Mahomet is diuided into many sundry sortes of Religion, and of Religious men: so hath the secte of the Pope hys Friers, Monkes, Nunnes, Heremites and other swarmes of an infinite varietie.* Mahomete practised in deceauing so many thousandes of soules, in permittyng to them the libertie of those thynges whiche fleshe desireth, and afterwarde in exempting them from such thinges, as be more sharpe in the lawe, but that Luther a litle more temperatly handleth þe matter, wherby he may deceaue more effectually: 

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This is another tactic of Catholic controversialists: to accuse Protestantism of catering to human carnality, particularly in the denial of clerical celibacy.

For Mahomet geueth licence to haue many wiues, and to diuorce, & marye other at their pleasure. This Luther to draw vnto hym the fauour of nunnes, monkes, and priestes, such as be lasciuious in flesh, preacheth that vowes of perpetuall continencie be vnlawfull, much lesse to be obligatorie: and therfore permitteth vnto thē that they may mary, forgettyng by the way, what the Apostle writeth of yong wydowes, saying: that vvhen they vvaxte vvanton agaynst Christ, then vvill they marye, hauing condemnation, because they haue made voyde their first fayth. 
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1 Timothy 5: 11-12.

Marginalia1. Tim. 5.

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These, and other such like reasons, beyng opened and layd before them, you shall then in our name exhorte the foresayd princes, prelates, and people to awake, and employe their diligence howe to gaynstand: First the iniurie of these Lutherians toward God, and toward his holy Religion: Secondly their vilanie toward the whole nation of the Germanes & their princes, and especially the shamefull contumely toward their fathers and elders, whō in effect, they codēne to hell. In consideratiō wherof you shall call vpon them, to remember them selues, and to procede effectually to the execution of the Apostolicall sentence, and of the Emperours Edict, 

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This is a reference to the edict of Charles V, issued just after the Diet of Worms, in 1521, ordering Luther's arrest and banning his books and teachings.

geuyng pardon to them that will amende and acknowledge their fault: the other whiche obstinatly persiste in their errour, punishyng with the rodde of district seueritie according to the Decrees of the Canons and lawes of the Churche, that by their example, such as stande, may remaine in fayth, and they whiche are fallen may be reduced.

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And if any shall obiect agayne, that Luther was condemned by the Apostolicke sea before he was heard, and þt his cause ought firste to haue bene heard and iudged, before he were conuicted: 

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Luther had been excommunicated at Rome before the Diet of Worms.

you shall aunswere, that Marginalia* Here the pope agreeth rightly with Mahomet, for he will not haue hys religiō reasoned vpō, no more will the pope haue hys.* those thinges which perteine to fayth, are to be beleued for their own authoritie, and not to be proued. Take avvay (sayth Ambrose) argumentes: vvhere fayth is sought, there the fishers, not the Philosophers must be trusted. Truth it is, and we graunt no lesse, but that lawful defense and hearyng ought not to be denyed in such cases, where þe question is of þe fact, whether it were done or not, as whether hee spake, preached, writte, or not? But where the matter is of Gods law, or in cause of the Sacramētes, there must we alwayes stande to the authoritie of holy fathers and of the Churche. Now all thinges almost wherein Luther dissenteth from other, are reproued before by di- uers Councels. MarginaliaGraunt this to the pope, and he may play the Lorde of misrule, and do what he listeth.Neither ought those things to be called into question, whiche haue bene defined before by generall Councels, and the vniuersall Churche, but ought to be receaued by faith: For els he doth iniurie to the Synode of the Churche, who so bryngeth agayne into controuersye, thinges once rightly discussed and setleth. Otherwise what certeintie can there be amongest men, or what ende shall there be of contending and disputing, if it shalbe lawful for euery presumptuous and lewed person, to decline frō the thinges, whiche haue bene receaued and ratified by the consent not of one, nor of a few, but of so many ages, so many wise heades, and of the Catholicke Churche, whiche God neuer permitteth to erre in matters vnto faith apperteynyng? And howe can it otherwise bee chosen, but that all must bee full of disturbance, offences, and confusion, vnlesse the thinges whiche haue bene once, yea many times, by rype iudgement constituted, bee obserued of all men as inuiolable? Wherefore seyng Luther and his felowes do condemne the Councels of holy fathers, do burne the holy Canons, 
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This is a reference to Luther's publicly burning a papal bull, which rejected his doctrines, together with a copy of the canon law, at Wittenberg on 10 December 1520.

do confounde all things at their pleasure, and do disquiet the whole world, what remaineth but that they are to be reiected and exploded, as enemies and perturbers of publike peace?

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Further this you shall say vnto them, that we confesse our selues, and denie not, but þt God suffereth this persecution to be inflicted vpon his Churche, for the sinnes of men, especially of priestes and prelates of the clergie. For certein it is, that the hand of the Lord is not shortened, that he cā not saue: but our sinnes haue diuided betvvene God and vs: and therfore he hideth his face from vs, that hee vvill not heare vs. MarginaliaEsa. 59. The Scripture testifieth, that the sinnes of the people, doe issue out first from the sinnes of the priestes. 

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There is a misquotation, perhaps of Isaiah 49.

And therfore (saith Chrisostome) Christe goyng aboute to cure the sicke Citie of Hierusalem, firste entred into the Temple, to correcte the sinnes of the Priestes, lyke a good Phisition, vvhiche firste begynneth to cure the disease from the very roote. We know þt in this Marginalia* And how then can this be called an holy Sea, where so many abhominable impieties and manifold excesses, both in spirituall matters, and also in externall lyfe, are sene and practised: such ambition in the prelates: such pride int he Pope, such auarice in the Court: and finally, where such corruption is of all thynges, as you your selues do here confesse, and can not denye?* holy Sea, there haue ben many abhominable thinges of long time wrought, and practised: as abuses in matters spirituall, and also excesses in life and maners, and all things turned cleane contrary. And no meruell, if the Marginalia* True it is that the sicknes hath begonne at the head: that is, at the very triple crowne: and therefore the sickenes being great, and hauing nede of a sharpe Phisition, God hath sent Luther vnto the pope (as Erasmus Wryteth of hym) as a meete Phisition to cure hys disease: yet he refuseth to be healed.* sickenes first beginning at the head, that is, at the high Bishops, haue descēded afterwarde to inferiour prelates. All we (that is, prelates of the Church) haue declined euery one after his own way. Neither hath there bene one, that hath done good, no not one. MarginaliaCayphas him selfe could neuer prophecie more truely.Wherfore nede it is, that al we geue glory to God, and that we humble our soules to hym, cōsidering euery one of vs, frō whence he hath fallen, and that euery one do iudge him selfe, before he be iudged of God in the rod of his fury. For the redresse wherof, you shall insinuate vnto them, and promise in our behalfe, that in vs shalbe lackyng no diligence of a better reformatiō, first beginning with our own court, 
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Adrian VI was well aware that clerical corruption, particularly at Rome, encouraged Lutheranism. He was resolved to weed it out, but his pontificate was too brief for him to accomplish his goals.

MarginaliaThe pope promiseth reformation of his own court, but whē beginneth hee?that like as this contagion first from thence descended into all the inferiour partes: so reformation & amendement of all that is amysse, from the same place agayn, shall take his beginning. Wherunto they shall finde vs so much the more ready, for that we see the whole world so desirous of the same. We our selues (as you know) neuer sought this dignitie, but rather coueted, if we otherwise might, to leade a priuate life, and in a quiet state to serue God. And also would vtterly haue refused the same, had not the feare of God, and the maner of our election, and misdoubtyng of some schisme to folow after, haue vrged us to take it. And thus tooke we the burden vpon vs, not for any ambition of dignitie, or to enrich our frendes and kinsfolkes, but onely to be obedient to the will of God, and for reformatiō of the Catholicke Churche, and for reliefe of the poore, and especially for the aduauncement of learnyng & learned men, with such other thinges moe, as apperteineth to the charge of a good Bishop and lawful heyre of S. Peter. And though all errours, corruptions, and abuses be not streight wayes amended by vs, men ought not therat to meruell. The sore is great, and farre growen, & is not single, but of manifold maladies together compacted, and therfore to the curyng therof we must procede by litle and litle, MarginaliaYou procede so by litle & litle, that nothing at all is seene.first beginning to cure the greater and the moste daungerous, lest while we intende to amende all, we destroy all. All sodeine mutations (saith Aristotle) in a common wealth are perilous. MarginaliaSodeine mutations be not for the popes purpose: but the Lord promiseth to come sodeinlye when he is not looked for.And he that vvryngeth to hard, strayneth our bloud. 
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This is a paraphrase of Proverbs 30: 33.

Prouerb. 30.

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And where as in your last letters you wryte, that the princes complaine, how this Sea hath bene and is preiudicial to their ordinaunces and agrementes: hereun-

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