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I omit other corruptions of antiquity in this same question, which I have touched elsewhere only that of Bertram I may not pass over; wherein the dishonesty of these men, in handling the writings of the ancients, is laid open, even by the confession of their own mouths. Thus the case standeth. That Ratrannus, who joined with Rabanus in refuting the error of the carnal presence, at the first bringing in thereof by Paschasius Radbertus, is he who commonly is known by the name of Bertramus. The book, which he wrote of this argument to Carolus Calvus the emperor, was forbidden to be read, by order from the Roman inquisition, confirmed afterwards by the council of Trent. The divines of Douay, perceiving that the forbidding of the book did not keep men from reading it, but gave them rather occasion to seek more earnestly after it, thought it better policy, that Bertram should be permitted to go abroad; but handled in such sort as other ancient writers, that made against them, were wont to be. ing therefore (say they') we bear with very many errors in other of the old catholic writers, and extenuate them, excuse them, by inventing some device oftentimes deny them, and feign some commodious sense for them when they are objected in disputations or conflicts with our adversaries : we do not see, why Bertram may not deserve the same equity, and diligent revisal; lest the heretics cry out, that we burn and forbid such antiquity as maketh for them." Mark this dealing well. The world must be borne in hand, that all the fathers make for the Church of Rome against us, in all our controversies. When we bring forth express testimonies of the fathers to the contrary, what must then be done? A good face must be put upon the matter ; one device or other must be invented to
b De Christian. Eccl. success. et statu, vol. 2. pag. 58. et 217.
¢ Quum igitur in catholicis veteribus aliis plurimos feramus errores, et extenuemus, excusemus, excogitato commento persæpe negemus, et commodum iis sen. , sum affingamus, dum opponuntur in disputationibus, aut in conflictionibus cum adversariis : non videmus, cur non eandem æquitatem et diligentem recognitionem mereatur Bertramus; ne hæretici ogganniant, nos antiquitatem pro ipsis facientem exurere et prohibere. Index expurg. Belgic. pag. 5. edit. Antverp. ann. 1571.
elude the testimonies objected; and still it must be denied that the fathers make against the doctrine of the papists. Bertram for example writeth thus ; “ The things, which differ one from another, are not the same. The body of Christ, which was dead, and rose again, and being made immortal now dieth not, death no more having dominion over it, is everlasting ; and now not subject to suffering. But this, which is celebrated in the Church, is temporal, not everlasting ; it is corruptible, not free from corruption." What device must they find out here? They must say
this is meant of the accidents or formse of the sacrament, which are corruptible; or of the use of the sacrament, which continueth only in this present world.” But how will this shift serve the turn, when as the whole drift of the discourse tendeth to prove, that that, which is received by the mouth of the faithful in the sacrament, is not that very body of Christ, which died upon the cross, and rose again from death? “Non male aut inconsulte omittantur igitur omnia hæc: it were not amiss therefore (say our popish censurers) nor unadvisedly done, that all these things should be left out." If this
your manner of dealing with antiquity, let all men judge whether it be not high time for us to listen unto the advice of Vincentius Lirinensis ; and not be so forward to commit the trial of our controversies to the writings of the fathers, who have had the ill hap to fall into such huxters' handling. Yet, that you may see how confident we are in the goodness of our cause, we will not now stand upon our right, nor refuse to enter with you into this field; but give you leave for this time both to be the challenger and the appointer of your own weapons. Let us then hear your challenge, wherein you would so fain be answered. “I would fain know (say you) how can your religion be true, which disalloweth of many chief articles, which the saints and fathers of that primitive Church of Rome did generally hold to be true? For they of your side, that have read the fathers of that unspotted Church, can well testify (and if any deny it, it shall be presently shewn) that the doctors, pastors, and fathers of that Church do allow of traditions, &c." And again: “Now would I fain know, whether of both have the true religion ; they that hold all these abovesaid points with the primitive Church, or they that do most vehemently contradict and gainsay them? they that do not disagree with that holy Church in any point of religion; or they that agree with it but in very few, and disagree in almost all ?” And the third time too, for failing : “Now would I willingly see what reasonable answer may be made to this. For the protestants grant that the Church of Rome, for four or five hundred years, held the true religion of Christ : yet do they exclaim against the abovesaid articles, which the same Church did maintain and uphold; as may be shewn by the express testimonies of the fathers of the same Church, and shall be largely laid down, if any learned protestant will deny it."
d Quæ a se differunt, idem non sunt. Corpus Christi, quod mortuum est, et resurrexit, et immortale factum jam non moritur, et mors illi ultra non dominabitur, æternum est, nec jam passibile. Hoc autem, quod in Ecclesia celebratur, temporale est, non æternum ; corruptibile est, non incorruptum. Bertram. de corp. et sang. Dom.
Secundum species sacramenti corruptibiles : aut de re ipsa et usu sacramenti; qui non contingit, nisi præsenti in seculo. Index expurg. pag. 7.
If Albertus Pighius had now been alive, as great a scholar as he was, he might have learned that he never knew before. “ Who did ever yet (saith he') by the Church of Rome understand the universal Church?” That doth this man, say I, who styleth all the ancient doctors and martyrs of the Church universal, with the name of the saints and fathers of the primitive Church of Rome. But it seemeth a small matter unto him, for the magnifying of that Church, to confound urbem and orbem: unless he mingle also heaven and earth together, by giving the title of that unspotted Church, which is the special privilege of the Church triumphant in heaven, unto the Church of Rome here militant upon earth. St. Augustine surely would not have himself otherwise understood, whensoever he speaketh of the unspotted Church : and therefore, to
Quis per Romanam Ecclesiam unquam intellexit aut universalem Ecclesiam, aut generale concilium? Pigh. eccles. hierar. lib. 6. cap. 3.
prevent all mistaking, he thus expoundeth himself in his retractations. “Wheresoevers in these books I have made mention of the Church not having spot or wrinkle, it is not so to be taken, as if she were so now, but that she is prepared to be so, when she shall appear glorious. For now, by reason of certain ignorances and infirmities of her members, the whole Church hath cause to say every day, Forgive us our trespasses.” Now as long as the Church is subject to these ignorances and infirmities, it cannot be otherwise, but there must be differences betwixt the members thereof; one part may understand that whereof another is ignorant: and, ignorance being the mother of error, one particular Church may wrongly conceive of some points, wherein others may be rightly informed. Neither will it follow thereupon, that these Churches must be of different religions, because they fully agree not in all things: or that therefore the reformed Churches in our days must disclaim all kindred with those in ancient times, because they have washed away some spots from themselves, which they discerned to have been in them.
It is not every spot that taketh away the beauty of a Church, nor every sickness that taketh away the life thereof: and therefore, though we should admit that the ancient Church of Rome was somewhat impaired both in beauty and in health too (wherein we have no reason to be sorry, that we are unlike unto her), there is no necessity, that hereupon presently she must cease to be our sister. St. Cyprian, and the rest of the African bishops that joined with him, held that such as were baptized by heretics should be rebaptized : the African bishops in the time of Aurelius were of another mind. Doth the diversity of their judgments in this point make them to have been of a diverse religion? It was the use of the ancient Church to minister the communion unto infants : which is yet also prac
x Ubicunque in his libris commemoravi Ecclesiam non habentem maculam aut rugam, non sic accipiendum est quasi jam sit, sed quæ præparatur ut sit, quando apparebit etiam gloriosa. Nunc enim, propter quasdam ignorantias et infirmitates membrorum suorum, habet unde quotidie tota dicat : Dimitte nobis debita nostra. August. retract. lib. 2. cap. 18. op. tom. 1. pag. 48.
tised by the Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia. The Church of Rome, upon better consideration, hath thought fit to do otherwise; and yet for all that will not yield, that either she herself hath forsaken the religion of her ancestors, because she followeth them not in this; or that they were of the same religion with the Cophites and Habassines, because they agree together in this particular. So put case the Church of Rome now did use prayer for the dead in the same manner that the ancient Church did (which we will shew to be otherwise); the reformed Churches, that upon better advice have altered that usage, need not therefore grant, that either themselves hold a different religion from that of the fathers, because they do not precisely follow them in this; nor yet that the fathers were therefore papists, because in this point they thus concurred. For, as two may be discerned to be sisters by the likeness of their faces, although the one have some spots or blemishes which the other hath not: so a third may be brought in, which may shew like spots and blemishes, and yet have no such likeness of visage as may bewray her to be the other's sister.
But our challenger having first conceited in his mind an idea of an unspotted Church upon earth; then being far in love with the painted face of the present Church of Rome, and out of love with us, because we like not as he liketh ; taketh a view of both our faces in the false glass of affection, and findeth her on whom he doteth, to answer · his unspotted Church in all points, but us to agree with it in almost nothing. And thereupon “ he would fain know, whether of both have the true religion ? they that do not disagree with that holy Church in any point of religion; or they that agree with it but in very few, and disagree in almost all ?" Indeed if that, which he assumeth for granted, could as easily be proved as it is boldly avouched; the question would quickly be resolved, whether of us both have the true religion? But he is to understand, that strong conceits are but weak proofs : and that the Jesuits have not been the first, from whom such brags as these have been heard. Dioscorus the heretic