« PredošláPokračovať »
Flee from city to city: so there is one that used to reason; but he himself was a fugitive."
I consider well their doings, and stand in horror of their ends : some such of your side have died in miserable desperation, with terrible witness against themselves, that they had wrought against their own conscience; as it is faithfully testified unto the world. One of these three, as it is reported and openly published by them that know him best, hath altered his whole faith seven times within the space of seventeen years, and therefore is well resembled to the old apostata Ecebolius 3. St Peter saith : “It had been better for them never to have 2 Pet. ii. known the way of righteousness, than, having once received knowledge, afterward to turn away from the holy commandment.” “It is an horrible thing to fall Heb. x. into the hands of the living God.” St Paul saith : “Whoso hath once received Heb. vi. the light of God, and hath felt the sweetness of the heavenly gift, and hath been partaker of the Holy Ghost, and hath once tasted of the good word of God, and afterward falleth away, it is not possible for such a one to be renewed by repentance.” I wish you in God and unfeignedly, M. Harding, to beware hereby. These words and examples are marvellous horrible.
Although these and such others can deny God, yet “God cannot deny him- 2 Tim. ii. self.” “What,” saith St Paul, “if certain of them be fallen away? Shall their Rom. iii. infidelity make frustrate the faith of God? God forbid. For God is true; and all men are liars."
of your person, as I promised, I will say nothing. God's works be wonderful. " He calleth whom he will, and whom he will he maketh hard." He called Paul Rom. ix. from his horse, Elizæus from the plough, the apostles from their nets, and the thief on the cross, upon the sudden.
But if some simple one or other of them whom you so uncourteously have despised should say thus unto you: M. Harding, not long sithence ye taught us the gospel, even in like sort and form in all respects as it is taught us now. We remember both your words, and also the manner and courage of
your utterance. Ye told us of the paper walls and painted fires of purgatory: ye said Rome was the sink of Sodom: ye said your mass was a heap of idolatry, and the mystery of iniquity: ye wished your voice had been equal with the great bell of Oseney, that ye might ring (as ye then said) in the dull ears of the deaf papists. No man was so vehement and so earnest as you. The whole university and city of Oxford, the cross at Paul's, and other like places of great concourse, can well record it. Ye bade us then believe you upon your credit; and we
The prince died: another was placed. Suddenly ye had quite forgotten all that ye had taught us before, and had as suddenly learned other things
, all contrary to the former, which ye told us ye never knew before; and yet, with one face and one conscience, ye required us earnestly to believe you still, even as we had done before. As though your bare word were the rule of our faith, and whatsoever you should say, true or false, we simple people were bound of necessity to believe you. Howbeit, we think, if ye tell us truth now, then ye deceived us before; if ye told us truth before, then ye deceive us now. And thus it cannot be denied but this way or that way ye have deceived us. And how may we know whether you speak as you think, or dissemble with us now, as ye did before? Surely St James sheweth us, that “a man of double James i. mind is ever unconstant in all his ways.” We marvelled how ye could attain to all this doctrine, specially in so short a time, but most of all in such perfection. For the scriptures are large, and we hear say the councils are sundry, the doctors' volumes are long and many. So suddenly in seven days to read them all, and so to read them, it was not possible. You may by your eloquence persuade us many things. But this one thing ye can never persuade us. You wanted time: it is not credible: it was not possible. Therefore ye must needs say ye were taught these things even as the prophets were, by revelation.
If any of all your old hearers would thus put you in remembrance, alas! what answer could you make him ?
[Socrat. in Hist. Eccles. Script. Amst. 1695-1700. Lib. 1. cap. xii. p. 151.)
But it was not you, M. Harding : it was the time. If the time had been one, you had still continued one. But ye were forced to know that ye knew not, and to think that ye thought not, and so to believe that ye believed not. Howbeit, St Hilary saith : Quce ex necessitate est, fides non est?: "Forced faith is no faith."
Ye say, whosoever shall attempt to answer your book shall sweat in vain : his labour shall be as was the commendation of baldness, or of ignorance, or of folly; as a flourish, as a smoke, as a smother, and as I know not what. The force of your eloquence is so invincible, no truth is able to withstand it. Such affiance ye would seem to have in the beauty of your cause.
Here, I beseech you, give me leave once again to put you in reinembrance of the contents and substance of your travails. Think you in sooth, M. Harding, or would ye have us to think, that your maimed allegations, your untrue translations, your wrested expositions, your councils never holden, your canons never not? made nor seen, your epistles never written, your Amphilochius, your Abdias, your Clemens, your Leontius, your Hippolytus, and other like fabulous pamphlets and forgeries so lately found out, so long lacked and never missed, your additions, your diminutions, your alterations, your corruptions of the doctors, your contrarieties and contradictions against yourself, your surmises, your guesses, your dreams, your visions, your elenchs3, your fallacies, your silly syllogisms, without either mood or figure or sequel in reason; and, to conclude, your untruths, so plain, so evident, so manifest, and so many, can never be answered ? Is simple truth become so weak? Or is error and falsehood“ grown so strong ?
O M. Harding, you know right well the weakness of your side. No man seeth it better than yourself. If you will dissemble and say ye see it not, open your eyes; behold your own book, and you shall see it. You have forced the old doctors and ancient fathers to speak your mind, and not their own. And therefore they are now your children: they are no fathers: they are now your scholars: you have set them to school: they are no doctors. You should have brought some truth for proof of your purpose : the world will not now be led with lies.
These be cases, not of wit, but of faith; not of eloquence, but of truth; not invented or devised by us, but from the apostles and holy fathers and founders of the church by long succession brought unto us. We are not the devisers thereof, but only the keepers ; not the masters, but the scholars. Touching the substance of religion, we believe that the ancient catholic learned fathers believed: we do that they did: we say that they said. And marvel not, in what side soever ye see them, if ye see us join unto the same. It is our great comfort that we see their faith and our faith to agree in one. And we pity and lament your miserable case, that, having of yourselves erected a doctrine contrary to all the ancient fathers, yet would thus assay to colour the same, and to deceive the people only with the names and titles of ancient fathers.
St Cyprian saith: “ Lies can never deceive us long. It is night until the day spring: but, when the day appeareth, and the sun is up, both the darkness of the night, and the thefts and robberies that in the darkness were committed, are fain to give place.” Now the sun is up: your smother is scattered. God with his truth will have the victory. The heavens and the earth shall perish; but the word of God shall never perish.
O M. Harding, O fight no longer against God. It is hard to kick against the spur. To maintain a fault known, it is a double fault. Untruth cannot be
Cypr. Lib. i.
[' Perhaps the following passage is that intended:
[' Not, 1611.)
[* Falshead, 1565.]
[* Atque hæc est...vera dementia, non cogitare... quod mendacia non diu fallant; noctem tamdiu esse quamdiu illucescat dies, clarificata autem die, et sole oborto, luci tenebras et caliginem cedere, et qua grassabantur per noctem latrocinia cessare.-Cypr Op. Oxon. 1682. Ad Cornel. Epist. lix. p. 133.]
shielded but by untruth. Error cannot be defended but by error. “And the mouth that speaketh untruth killeth the soul.”
God direct our hearts, that we be not ashamed of his gospel, but that we may see it, and be seen to see it! God make us the vessels of his mercy, that we may have pity of Sion, and build up again the broken walls of his Hierusalem, to the honour and glory of his holy name! Amen.
Vigilius contra Eutychem, Lib. I. Hæc est fides et professio catholica, quam apostoli tradiderunt, martyres
roboraverunt, et fideles huc usque custodiunto : “This is the faith and catholic profession, which the apostles have delivered,
the martyrs have confirmed, and the faithful keep until this day.”
[ Vigil. adv. Eutych, in Cassandr. Op. Par. 1616. Lib. iv. p. 647;. where confessio, and nunc usque.]
THE CORRECTOR TO THE READER.
If thou wilt know, gentle reader, for what causes and by whom this book is now set forth in print again, here mayest thou see both the same declared and his name subscribed. First, the book being good, and containing true wholesome and catholic doctrine, 'the more it is made common, the more good thereby is done. Again, whereas many be desirous of the same, as well in Scotland, Ireland, as in England; in so easy and so profitable a thing not to answer their desires, it were beside all humanity. Thirdly, forasmuch as it is often and constantly reported that an answer to this book hath this long time been and is yet in hand, that, when the same shall come forth, men may the better see by conference of books where true dealing is, and where falsehead is used; it may to any man appear reasonable that for so honest and so good a purpose the copies by mean of a new print be multiplied. That thou findest here sundry quotations, and also certain brief additions, which the copies of the first print had not; to the intent I make thee privy to all, thus it hath been done. About half a year past coming into M. D. Harding's chamber (which to his friends is never shut), and there finding a book newly quoted and with some annotations augmented with his own hand, upon affiance of his friendship, I was so bold in his absence as for a time to take it with me, and according to the same to note mine own boon book, not minding as then ever to set it in print, but to use it to my private instruction. And the same now hath served the printer for his copy. Whereas I have adventured thus to do without the author's knowledge, whereto himself by sundry persons moved could never yet be induced; as I know not why I should be blamed of any other, so I trust the greatness of the profit, that hereof is like to follow, shall procure me easy pardon of him whose slackness I have supplied. If faults be found in the print, they are mine and the printer's; the author therewith is not touched; who doubtless, had he taken the oversight of it himself, would have done better ; as the mother's eye tendereth the child more than another body's. Yet I promise the best of mine endeavour. Howsoever it be, I wish our loving countrymen to consider how hard it is for aliens to print English truly, who neither understand nor can pronounce the tongue rightly. As for the corrector, where the faults of the printers be infinite for the unskill of the language, were he as full of eyes as Argus, or as sharp-sighted as Lynx, yet should he pass over no small number unespied. Were there here an Englishman who had skill in setting a print, and knew the right orthography of our speech, then mightest thou, reader, look for books more correctly set forth: for lack whereof we do as we may. I pray thee, in this distress bear with my little oversight, and accept my great good-will. Farewell, at Antwerp, 12 Januarii, 1565.
[This piece is the advertisement prefixed to the revised edition of Harding's Answer, printed at