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diligent searcher into the transactions of those times, Mr. Strype, has published the letter that he wrote upon it; the year is not added, but the date being the 13th of June, it must be before he was sent out of England, this being writ before he was consecrated ; for he subscribes Cranmer, and upon his return he was consecrated long before June. It is written to the earl of Wiltshire : he mentions Pole's book, and commends both the wit and eloquence of it very highly : he thinks, if it should come abroad, it would not be possible to stand against it. Pole's chief design in it was to persuade the king to submit the matter wholly to the pope. In it,
“He set forth the trouble that might follow upon the diversity of titles to the crown, of which the wars upon the titles of Lancaster and York had given them a sad warning. All that was now healed, and therefore care should be taken not to return to the like misery. He could never agree to the divorce, which must destroy the princess's title, and accuse the king of living so long in a course of incest, against the law of God and of nature. This would increase the hatred the people began to bear to priests, if it should appear that they had so long approved that which is found now to be unlawful. As for the opinions of the universities, it was known they were often led by affections; and that they were bronght over with great difficulty to declare for the king : but he sets in opposition to them, the king's father and his council, the queen's father and his council, and the pope and his council: it could not be expected that the pope would condemn the act of his predecessor, or consent to the abridging his own power, and do that which would raise sedition in many kingdoms, particularly in Portugal. He next shows the emperor's power, and the weakness of France, that the prohibiting our trade to the Netherlands would be very ruinous, and that the French were never to be trusted : they never kept their leagues with us; for neither do they love us, nor do we love them: and if they find their aid necessary to England, they will charge it with intolerable conditions.” This is the substance of that letter. So that at this time Pole wrote only to persuade the king, by political con
derations, to submit wholly to the pope's judgment. The matter rested thus for some time : but when the breach was made, and all was past reconciling, then Cromwell wrote to him by the king's order, to declare his opinion with relation to the king's proceedings. Upon this reason only he wrote his book, as he set forth in a paper of instructions
ne to be showed to the king, which will be found in the Collection (No. li). In which he writes, “ That he thinks if it had not been for that, he had never meddled in
the matter, seeing so little hope of success; and that he had reason to think, that what he should write would not be acceptable. They had sent unto him from England the books written on the contrary part: but he said he found many things suppressed in these; and all the colours that could be invented were set upon untrue opinions. Besides, what had followed was grievous, both in the sight of God, and in the judgment of the rest of Christendom: and he, apprehending yet worse effects, both with relation to the king's honour and the quiet of his realm, did upon that resolve to employ all the wit and learning that God had given him, to set forth the truth, and to show the consequences of those ill opinions. He hoped, that what he wrote on the subject would fully satisfy all that would examine it. This he did, in hopes that the king, whom God had suffered to be carried away from those opinions that he had the honour formerly to maintain, would yet, by the goodness of God, be recovered out of the evil way he was then in.
" There were great instances of such cases in Scripture. in the stories of David and Solomon; the last particularly, who, notwithstanding the gift of wisdom that he had from God, yet fell into idolatry, So, though the king was not fallen from the true doctrine of Christ, yet as David, when in a state of sin, was, by a prophet sent to him from God, brought to true repentance, and restored to the favour of God, he hoped he might, by the grace of God, be an instrument to bring the king to a better sense of things. Therefore, as he set himself to study the matter, so he prayed earnestly to God to manifest the truth to him : in which he hoped God had heard his prayer; so he looked for good success : and that he might make the king apprehend the danger he was in, both from his own people, who hated innovations in religion, and from other princes, to whose honour it belongs to defend the laws of the church against all other princes who impugn them, and to make the king more apprehensive of this, he had as in his own person brought out all such reasons as might provoke people or princes ag: him, since he was departing from the course in which he had begun. These reasons, if read apart, without considering the purpose he proposed, of representing to the king the danger to which he was exposing himself, might make one think, from his vehemence of style in that argument, that he was the king's greatest enemy; but the reading the whole book would show what his intent in it all was. The book was too long for the king to read : he desired, therefore, that he would order some learned and grave man to read it, and to declare his judgment upon it, he being bound with
an oath of fidelity, first to God, and then to the king, to do it without affection on either part. He named particularly Tonstall, bishop of Duresme, whom he esteemed both for learning and fidelity to the king, above any other he knew. After Tonstall had first examined it, the king may refer the further examination of it to such other persons as he may think fit; he was likewise resolved that his book should never come abroad, till the king had seen it.
“In these instructions, he mentions that he had sent another book to the king concerning his marriage : but in that he was disappointed of his intent, as the bearer might inform him, who knew the whole matter. And since God had detected her, who had been the occasion of all the errors the king had been led into, it was the hope of all who loved him, that he would now come to himself, and take that discovery as a favourable admonition of God, to consider better the opinion of those who dissented from that marriage, as seeing the great dishonour and danger likely to follow on it: he wished the king would look on that as a warning to return to the unity of the church : he was sensible nothing but the hand of God could work a change in the king's mind; and when that should be done, it would be one of the greatest miracles that the world had seen for some ages; with the most signal characters of God's favour to him, which would deliver him out of those very great dangers that must follow upon the meeting of a general council: whereas, if he should return to the unity of the church, no prince would appear in that assembly with more honour than would be paid to him if he should return : even his fall would prove a great blessing to the church, and tend to the reformation of the whole, and to the manifestation of the honour of God. It would then appear that God had suffered him to fall, to make him rise with more honour, to the greater wealth, not only of his own realm, but of the whole church besides.” With these instructions he sent a private letter to Tonstall, from Venice, dated Corpus Christi eve.
When his book against the divorce came first to England, he was written to in the king's name, to come over and explain some things in it: but he excused himself; he pretended the love of retirement, and of the noble company with whom he lived, in an easy and learned friendship there. Eloquence seems to be that which he turned his mind most to ; for in every thing he wrote, there is much more 'of declamation than of argument.
Tonstall being thus provoked by Pole, and commanded by the king, wrote a full and solid answer to him, on the 13th of July, 1536, which will be found in the Collection (No. lii). “ He acknowledged he had received his letter, as the king has received his book ; in which he desired that the reading of it might be first put upon him: he had read both his letter and his long book, and was truly grieved as he read it; seeing both the vehemence of his style, and that he misrepresented the whole matter, as if the king was separated from the church. He wished he had rather written his opinion privately, in a letter to the king, which might have been read by himself, and not have enlarged hiinself into so great a book, which must be communicated and seen of others. What stupidity was it to send so long a book so great a way, by one who might have iniscarried in it; and so the book might have fallen into the hands of those, who would have published it to the slander of the king and the kingdom : but most of all to his own ; for his ingratitude to the king, who had bred him up to that learning, which was now used against him; in whose defence he ought to have spent both life and learning : he advised him to burn all that he had written on that subject. There appeared a strain of bitterness in his whole book that was very unbecoming him. He then comes to the argument, to show tha the king, by the title of the supreme head, did not separate himself, nor his church, from the unity of the whole body. The king did not take upon him the office belonging to spiritual men, the cure of souls; nor that which belongs to the priesthood, to preach the word of God, and to minister the sacraments. He knew what belonged to his own office as king, and what belonged to the priest's office : no prince esteemed spiritual men, that were given to learning and virtue, more than he did. His only design was, to see the laws of God sincerely preached, and Christ's faith (without
lot) observed in his kingdom; and to reduce his church out of the captivity of foreign powers (formerly usurped), into the state in which all the churches of God were at the beginning; and to put away all the usurpations that the bishops of Rome had, by undue means, still increased, to their own gain, but to the impoverishing of the kingdom. By this he only reduced things to the state that is most conformable to the ancient decrees of the church, which the bishops of Rome solemnly promise to observe at their creation; naming the eight general councils; and yet any one, who considers to what a state the bishop of Rome had brought this church, would soon see the diversity between the one and the other. At Venice he might see these in Greek, and they were already published in Latin : by which it appears, that the bishop of Rome had then no such monarchy as they have usurped of late.
“ If the places of Scriptnre which he quoted did prove it, then the council of Nice did err, which decreed the contrary; as the canons of the apostles did appoint, that the ordinations of priests and bishops should be made in the diocess, or at most in the province where the parties dwelt. These canons Damascen reckoned Holy Scriptures. Nor can it be thought tliat the four general councils would have acted as they did, if they had understood those passages of Scripture as he did : for above a thousand years after Christ, the customs were very contrary to those now used by the bishop of Rome : when ihe blood of Christ and of the martyrs were yet fresh, the Scriptures were then best understood, and the customs then used in the church must be better than those that through ambition and covetousness had crept in since. Light and darkness may be as well reconciled, as the worldly authority in temporal things now usurped can be proved from St. Peter's primacy, in preacliing the word of God. He refers him to Cardinal Cusa's se. cond book, in which he will find this well opened.
“ The king, going to reform his realm, and to reduce things to the state in which they were some ages ago, did not change, but establish those laws, which the pope professes to observe. If other princes did not follow him in this, that ought not to hinder him from doing his duty: of which he did not doubt to be able to convince him, if he had but one day's discourse with him, unless he were totally addicted to the contrary opinion. Pole wrote in his letter, that he thought the king's subjects were offended at the abolishing the pope's usurpations : but Tonstall assured him, that in this he was deceived: for they all perceived the profit that the kingdom had by it; since the money, that was before carried over to Rome, was now kept within the kingdom. That was become a very heavy burthen, and was daily increasing : so that if the king would go about to restore that abolished authority, he would find it more difficult to bring it about, than any thing he had ever yet attempted in his parliament. Pole had in his letter blamed Tonstall, for fainting in his heart, and not dying for the
e. He assures him, that, from the time that he understood the progress of Christ's church from the beginning, and had read ecclesiastical history, he never thought to shed one drop of blood in that cause. None of those who had advantage by that authority would have lost one penny of it to have saved his life. He would do what in him lay to cool that indignation, which his book had raised in the king. He desired him not to fancy (from what he saw in Italy, or in other places), that it was