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schools which they held and exercised for the education CHAP. and instruction of their youth in their own principles. One cannot, I think, well doubt of there being some of these unlawful conventicles, as they were called, in the city of London, where Mr. Pecock was now settled; and which might probably give him, who was of an active temper, occasion to study the controversy betwixt the Church and these dissenters from it, and to use his endeavours to satisfy them of the unreasonableness of their separation. However this be, it is plain he very carefully considered their objections, and was very particular in answering them, and vindicating the conforming Bishops and Clergy from their aspersions and reflections. But of this we shall see more in the next chapter.
Of Mr. Pecock's being promoted to the bishopric of St.
Asaph, his taking the degree of Doctor of Divinity, the reflections made on it, his preaching at St. Paul's
Cross, 8c. A. D. 1444. 1. In the beginning of the year 1444, Mr. Pecock was
promoted to the bishopric of St. Asaph, in his own country, vacant by the translation of a John Lowe, the former Bishop, to the see of Rochester. By this promotion he
vacated his mastership of Whitington College, since I find Newcourt, John Eyburhall, S.T. P. admitted to it July 4, 1444. Pope Repert. vol.
Eugene's bull of provision of Mr. Pecock to this bishopric i. p. 493.
is dated April 22 this year; and in it he is said to be Master of Arts, and Bachelor in Divinity, and to have b testimonials worthy of credit, of his knowledge of letters, purity of life, honesty of manners, a provident circumspection of both spirituals and temporals, and other virtuous endowments; which was what was required to be certified in order to any one's being promoted to the episcopacy.
2. By what favour or interest Mr. Pecock gained this
a Of this Bishop Lowe the following character is given by John Bury, in his dedication to the Archbishop, prcfixed to his answer to our Bishop's Repressour, &c. Adest utique vobis ille reverendus in Christo dominus meus dominus Roffensis stabilis columpna in templo Domini, vir Benjamin, vir genuinus, ab adolescentia sua utraque manu ut dextra utens, qui nec sic instetit scripturis, ut humanitatis in se studia aliquando vacasse credantur, nec sic humanas literas amplexatus est quin semper eas divinis exegerit subservire.
b Cui de literarum scientia, vite munditia, honestate morum, spiritualium et temporalium provida circumspectione, aliisque virtutum donis fide digna testimonia perhibentur, &c. Reg. Stafford Cant. fol. 15.
c These are therefore to publish and declare- -what election we have, viz. That well knowing to be a provident and discreet person- in managing both spirituals and temporals very circumspect and knowing, &c. Form of publishing the election of a Bishop.
Accordingly in the oath which the Bishops took to the Pope, was this clause, “ Possessiones ad mensam meam episcopalem pertinentes non vendam, neque “ donabo, neque impignorabo, neque de novo infeudabo, neque alio modo ali“ enabo, inconsulto Romano Pontifice.” Vita Henrici Chichle.
promotion, is somewhat uncertain. The Duke of Glou- CHAP.
Feb. 23 or 28, of the 25th Hen. VI. or A.D. 1446.
CHAP. Suffolk. But if what has been observed before be true,
that Mr. Pecock, by being at court, was grown very rich, we need not wonder how he came by the Pope's bulls for this poor bishopric, which were generally purchased with money. However this be, our Bishop received the temporalties of this bishopric June 8, 1444, and was consecrated in the Archbishop's chapel of his palace at Croydon, the 14th of the same month,
3. On occasion of this promotion, our Bishop took his degree of Doctor of Divinity. This, we are told, he had
given him without his doing any exercise. Thus GasDict. Theol. coigne speaks of it as a reproach to him, that “Mr. Pecock pars prima, « leaving the University before he had taken his degree of Episcopus, “ Doctor of Divinity, was made Doctor by grace of ab
“ sence, and never answered to any Doctor pro forma sua, “nor did any act in the schools at Oxford, after he was “ Inceptor in Divinity, neither by reading, preaching, or
disputation.” This, it seems, was not particular in the Bishop, even at this time, though the conferring this degree in this manner seems not to have been so common now, as it has been since. But this writer had a great prejudice against our Bishop on account of his being reputed an heretic; for he was not condemned as such, until some time after Gascoigne's death.
4. Three years after Dr. Pecock's promotion to this bishopric, he & preached, we are told, at Paul's cross, and affirmed in his sermon several Conclusions, which were afterwards the occasion of a great many evils in England and elsewhere. These Conclusions, which are so frightfully represented, were seven in number, and are as follows:
A. D. 1447.
f Qui doctor fuit in Oxonia per gratiam absentandi, nunquam enim respondit alicui doctori pro forma sua ut esset doctor, nec aliquem actum in scolis fecit in Oxonia postquam incepit in theologia, an postea faciet nescitur a nobis. Gasc. Dict. Theol. MS.
6 Iste Reginaldus episcopus prædictus ad crucem Sancti Pauli affirmavit et asseruit in suo sermone, et per indenturas in Anglicana scriptura scriptas tradidit diversis personis post sermonem istas conclusiones plurimorum malorum causatias in Anglia et alibi. Dict. Theol. p. 348. v. Episcopus.
I. Nobody knows how to prove, that a Bishop, because CHAP. he is a Bishop, is obliged himself to preach to the common people of his diocese, taking the word preach in its most famous signification.
II. Bishops ought not to hold themselves obliged to preach in their own persons to the common people of their dioceses; because Bishops are superior to other Curates, and are obliged to keep themselves free, and at liberty from that burden of preaching; the words used in that Conclusion being taken in the most famous signification.
III. Bishops, on account of their being Bishops, ought to have knowledge of those matters which inferior Curates are to preach, and to have greater knowledge in answering and solving the great questions, than inferior Curates are obliged to have, because they are inferior Curates.
IV. Bishops have authority to resume, and take to themselves the office and work of preaching, and to leave it off, and let it alone whenever they please; in like manner as they have the power of resuming and taking whatever relates to the labour of any cure, belonging to the meanest or greatest Curate, whensoever they will; so that they are not hindered by so doing from the better work of their ordinary h cure, which ought to be done by them, and which cannot ordinarily be done by another Curate.
V. A more useful work may be done to the souls of men, than is the work of preaching, the term preaching being used in its most famous and usual signification.
Vi. Bishops may for divers causes be absent from their dioceses, and not reside on them, excusably, meritoriously, and cum gratiarum actione, in the sight of God; and that otherwise, or if they were resident on their bishoprics, during the continuance of these causes, they would sin against God.
h Novem sunt officia quæ episcopi ultra sacerdotes possunt exercere, scilicet, 1. Ordinare clericos. 2. Virgines benedicere. 3. Basilicas dedicare. 4. Clericos disponere. 5. Synodos celebrare. 6. Chrisma conficere. 7. 8. Vestes, et vasa consecrare. 9. Ultimo confirmare. Bernardus de Parentinis Lilium Misse. fol. xxii. a coll. 1. edit. 1510.