sign, would judge to have been two of the most egregious blockheads in the world, so obscure and senseless are their writings. And from these the schoolmen that succeeded, learnt the trick of imposing what they list upon their readers, and declining the force of true reason by verbal forks; I mean, distinctions that signify nothing, but serve only to astonish the multitude of ignorant men. As for the understanding readers, they were so few, that these new sublime doctors cared not what they thought. These schoolmen were to make good all the articles of faith, which the Popes from time to time should command to be believed: amongst which, there were very many inconsistent with the rights of kings, and other civil sovereigns, asserting to the Pope all authority whatsoever they should declare to be necessary in ordine ad spiritualia, that is to say, in order to religion.
From the Universities also it was, that all preachers proceeded, and were poured out into city and country, to terrify the people into an absolute obedience to the Pope’s canons and commands, which, for fear of weakening kings and princes too much, they durst not yet call laws.
From the Universities it was, that the philosophy of Aristotle was made an ingredient in religion, as serving for a salve to a great many absurd articles, concerning the nature of Christ’s body, and the estate of angels and saints in heaven; which articles they thought fit to have believed, because they brought some of them profit, and others reverence to the clergy, even to the meanest of them. For when they shall have made the people believe that the meanest of them can make the body of Christ; who is there that will not both show them reverence, and be liberal to them or to the Church, especially in the time of their sickness, when they think they make and bring unto them their Saviour?
B. But, what advantage to them, in these impostures, was the doctrine of Aristotle?
A. They have made more use of his obscurity than of his doctrine. For none of the ancient philosophers’ writings are comparable to those of Aristotle, for their aptness to