The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/An Epistle of Æneas Sylvius to the Rector of the University of Cologne, in defence of the Council of Basil

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An Epistle of Æneas Sylvius to the Rector of the University of Cologne, in defence of the Council of Basil.

To a christian man who will be a true Christian indeed, nothing ought to be more desired, than that the sincerity and pureness of faith, given to us of Christ by our forefathers, be kept of all men immaculate: and, if at any time any thing be wrought or attempted against the true doctrine of the gospel, the people ought with one consent to provide lawful remedy, and every man to bring with him some water to quench the general fire; neither must we fear how we be hated or envied, so we bring the truth. We must resist every man to his face, whether he be Paul or Peter, if he walk not directly to the truth of the gospel: which thing I am glad, and so are we all, to hear what your university hath done in this council of Basil. For a certain treatise of yours is brought hither unto us, wherein you reprehend the rudeness, or rather the rashness of such, as do deny the bishop of Rome, and the consistory of his judgment, to be subject unto the general council; The tribunal seat standeth not in one bishop.and that the supreme tribunal seat of judgment standeth in the church, and in no one bishop. Such men as deny this, you so confound with lively reasons and truth of the Scriptures, that they are neither able to slide away like slippery eels, neither to cavil or bring any objection against you.

*But,[1] as our common proverb sayeth, "Honours change manners," so it happened with this Sylvius, who, after he came once to be pope, was much altered from what he was before. For whereas before, he preferred general councils before the pope, now, being pope, he did decree that no man should appeal from the high bishop of Rome, to any general council.

And likewise for priests' marriages; whereas before he thought it best for them to have their wives, likewise he altered his mind otherwise: insomuch that in his book treating of Germany, and there speaking of the noble city of Augsburg, by occasion he inveigheth against a certain epistle of Huldericke,[2] a bishop of the said city, written against the constitution of the single life of priests. Whereby it appeareth how the mind of this Sylvius, then pope Pius, was altered from what it was before.*

  1. See Edition 1563, p. 381.—Ed.
  2. For this epistle of Huldericke, see Vol. ii. p. 11.—Ed.