Redes Sociais

1514 - 24/11/1572

Concerning the True Catholic Church

Her Doctrine, Ministry, and Government;
and The True Marks of the Church of God

By John Knox

© Copyright: Public Domain

named Tyrie, be Iohne Knox.
Answer not a foole according to his foolishenes,
least thow be lyke him: answer a foole according to his
foolishness least he be wise in his owen conseat
THE contrarietie appearing at the first sight,
betuix thir twa sentencis, stayit for a tyme, baith
heart to meditate & hand to wryte any thing, con-
trair that blaspheamous letter. But when with bet-
ter mynd, God gave me to considder, that whoso-
euer opponis not him self bouldly to blasphemy &
manifest leis, differis lytill fra tratouris: cloking &
fostering, so far as in them ly, the treasoun of
tratours, & dampnable impietie of those, against
whome Gods iust evengance mon burne
without end, vnles spedie repentance
follow: To quyet therefore my
owne conscience, I put hand
to the pen as followeth.
drois be Robert Lekpreuik. Anno. Do. 1572.

JOHNE KNOX, the servant of Jesus Christ, now weary of the world, and daily looking for the resolution of this my earthly Tabernacle, to the Faithful, that God of his mercy shall appoint to fight after me, desires grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Spirit of sanctification, to resist all kind of impiety, in these last and most wicked days, wherein Satan rages, knowing that he has a short time to trouble God's people.

Wonder not, gentle Reader, that such an argument should proceed from me in these dolorous days, after that I have taken goodnight at the world, and at all the trouble of the same, except to lament for my own sins, and for the sins of others; of whom (alas) I fear many cannot lament for themselves, because they have sold themselves to work impiety, with all greediness, without sense and feeling of any dolour that proceedeth from God. Yet, Lord, thou knowest thine own, and thou drawest from iniquity all that unfeignedly call upon thy name. There are seven years past, since a scroll, sent from a Jesuit to his Brother, was presented unto me by a faithful brother, requiring some answer to be made to the same; whose just petition, I, willing to obey, I put my hand to the pen, although I found small time of quietness; for it was immediately after that I was called back from exile, by the Kirk [Church] of Edinburgh, after David's judgment. [Note 1] Amongst my other cares, I scribbled that which follows, and that in a few days; which being finished, I repented of my labour, and purposed fully to have suppressed it. Which, no doubt, I had done, if that the Devil had not stirred up the Jesuits, of purpose to trouble godly hearts, with the same arguments which Tyrie uses, amplified and set forth, with all the dog eloquence that Satan can devise for suppressing of the free progress of the Evangel [Gospel] of Jesus Christ, and for the curing of that wounded head of the Beast, that Roman Antichrist, who shall to destruction in despite of all those that study either to erect, or yet to maintain him and his damnable abuses: which God has disclosed to such as the Devil has not blinded so that they can not discern betwixt darkness and light. The order that is kept in answering of his proud arrogancy and presumptuous foolishness, the entres [entrance, beginning] of the treatise will declare.

I have added unto this Preface a meditation or prayer, thrown forth of my sorrowful heart, and pronounced by my half dead tongue, before I was compelled to leave my flock of Edinburgh, who now are dispersed, suffering little less calamity then did the faithful after the persecution of Stephen. Lord, comfort and strengthen them to the end, that once we may meet in glory; for all worldly meeting is but vain, and an occasion of new dolour. Call for me, dear Brethren, that God in his mercy will please to put end to my long and painful battle: For now being unable to fight, as God sometimes gave strength, I desire an end before I be more troublesome to the Faithful. And yet, Lord, let my desire be moderated by thy Holy Spirit, and give me patience to bear whatsoever it pleases thy Godly Majesty to lay upon this my wicked carcass.


Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and put an end, at thy good pleasure, to this my miserable life; for justice and truth are not to be found amongst the sons of men!

JOHN KNOX, with deliberate mind, to his God.

Be merciful unto me, O Lord, and call not into judgment my manifold sins; and chiefly those, whereof the world is not able to accuse me. In youth, mid age, and now, after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption. For, in quietness I am negligent, in trouble impatient, tending to desperation; and in the mean state, I am so carried away with vain fantasies, that, (alas), O Lord, they withdraw me from the presence of thy Majesty. Pride and ambition assault me on the one part, covetousness and malice trouble me on the other: briefly, O Lord, the affections of the flesh do almost suppress the operation of thy Spirit. I take thee, O Lord (who only knows the secrets of hearts) to record, that in none of the foresaid I do delight; but that with them I am troubled, and that sore against the desire of my inward man, which sobs for my corruption, and would repose in thy mercy alone. To the which I claim, and that in the promise that thou hast made to all penitent sinners (of whose number I profess myself to be one) in the obedience and death of my only saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. In whom, by thy mere grace, I doubt not myself to be elected to eternal salvation, whereof thou hast given unto me (unto me, O Lord, most wretched and unthankful creature) most assured signs. For being drowned in ignorance, thou hast given to me knowledge above the common sort of my brethren; my tongue hast thou used to set fourth thy glory, to oppugn idolatry, errors, and false doctrine. Thou hast compelled me to forespeak [prophesy], aswell deliverance to the afflicted, as destruction to certain disobedient; the performance whereof, not I alone, but the very blind world has already seen. But above all, O Lord, thou, by the power of thy Holy Spirit, hast sealed in my heart remission of my sins, which I acknowledge and confess myself to have received by the precious blood of Jesus Christ once shed; by whose perfect obedience I am assured my manifold rebellions are defaced, my grievous sins purged, and my soul made the tabernacle of thy godly Majesty. Thou, O Father of mercies, thy Son our Lord Jesus, my only Saviour, Mediator, and Advocate, and thy Holy Spirit, remaining in the same by true faith; which is the only victory that overcometh the world.

To thee, therefore, O Lord, I commend my spirit; for I thirst to be resolved from this body of sin, and am assured that I shall rise again in glory, howsoever it be that the wicked, for a time, shall trod me, and others thy servants, under their feet. Be merciful, O Lord, unto the Kirk within this Realm; continue with it the light of thy Evangel; augment the number of true preachers; and let thy merciful providence look upon my desolate bedfellow, the fruit of her bosom, and my two dear children, Nathanael and Eleezer. Now, Lord, put end to my misery!

At Edinburgh, the 12. of March, 1565.


OF late days there came to our hands a Letter, direct unto you, right worshipful, from JAMES TYRIE, who styleth himself your humble servant and brother. The beginning whereof showeth the care that he bears of your salvation, his charity that has moved him so oft to write unto you, and therewith covertly he accuses you, that he has received no answer of his former, and yet that the same charity moveth him still to continue in his former suit. In the progress of the said letter he plainly shows forth what is his scope and purpose; to wit, to alienate your mind from the truth of God, now of God's great mercy, after long darkness, offered to this Realm. The purpose, as we suppose, whereof ye send the same letter unto us, is that we may give solutions to the things that he objects against the truth. Which to do were not very hard, provided that his indictment were sensible, and his arguments formal, and proper to that which he would persuade. But because, in writing, he appeareth to us rather scabrushly to have translated that which he writes forth of Latin, or of some other foreign tongue, then freely to have expressed his own mind; and because that his arguments are not only impertinent, but also so general that in no wise they conclude that which he would prove, - our answers must exceed the measure of a missive; and yet we shall avoid, so far as we can, all unprofitable prolixity. But lest that any should think that we deprive either his indictment or arguments, we shall insert his whole letter, from parcel to parcel, and give answer to such heads as either are blasphemous against the truth of God, or yet may be offensive to the weak conscience of men. In other things we shall not be curious. His letter thus begins: -


Sir, After hartly commendation, of service, and prayers, that I have written so oft afore (we keep his own words and ortography), it come of my charity, that I ought to you, for sundry reasons, and of the solicitude that charity caused me to have of the eternal salvation of your soul, desired by your answer to have known your mind in that behalf; which, since I have not obtained as yet, I have thought, having opportunity of this bearer, to write this writing amongst the rest, and to exhort you thereby, that ye would earnestly (as it becomes a man to whom God has given so many gifts and talents) and ripely consider by what way ye must come to that end, to the which God has created and redeemed you. {486}


To this long preface we only answer this: - That if the Scribes and Pharisees, who compassed sea and land to make a proselyte, gat a curse by the mouth of our master, Jesus Christ (Matt. 23.), notwithstanding all their apparent zeal and painful travail; who can doubt but that such as study to draw back again to superstition and idolatry such as God has called from the same, shall receive a double malediction, under what pretence that ever they do it? For, if they, who brought Ethnics and manifest Idolaters to some religion, were accursed, how much more are they detestable, that travail to bring men from a true religion to the deepest idolatry that ever yet was upon the face of the earth? Which long has been maintained in the Papistical Kirk, whereto we perceive the writer of the letter would entice you, as his subsequent persuasions manifestly declareth. For thus he writeth: -


Which appears to me to be the only faith and religion kept in the Catholick Kirk of Christ since the beginning thereof. Which appears clearly, by the most plain words of the Prophet Isaiah, where he speaks of the Kirk, Gens et Regnum quod non servierit tibi, peribit.

Which words, if any would apply to their new found kirks [newly founded churches], and specially to your invisible Kirk of Scotland (but yet eight years old), he is convicted. For it is manifest, that before a thousand years in all the world was their people that believed as they do who defend the contrary, which no man but he that would show his impudence and his ignorance together dare deny: and of the Kirk whereof the Prophet speaks, it is said by him, in the second chapter, that it shall be manifest and visible through all the world. Wherefore, if ye can not show what place of the world afore three hundred years your Kirk was in, it follows of necessity, that it is no Kirk, &c. Thus far his letter.


The first part of his counsel we approve, and add thereto, that the life everlasting consists in the knowledge of the only true God, and in the knowledge of him whom he has sent, Jesus Christ (John 17). That he that believes in the Son of God has life everlasting, and is already past from death to life; but he that believes not, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him (John 5). We further affirm, that without the society and bosom if the true Kirk, never was, is, nor shall be, salvation unto man. In these and like general heads we disagree not from the Papists; but the difference and doubt stands in the specials, to wit, what Faith is, and what ground it has; what is Religion, and wherein it differs from superstition and from idolatry: {487} and finally, what is the true Kirk, and how it may be discerned from the synagogue of Satan. These heads, we say, ought he in special to have entreated unto you, if he had been minded to have instructed you in a truth. But because (as the progress of his letters declareth), his mind was to draw you to the bondage of that Roman Antichrist, he takes general propositions, most true and most certain in themselves, whereupon he would conclude that which is most false and altogether pernicious to the salvation of man. To let the craft of Satan more evidently appear, we shall draw his persuasion in form of argument, and after return to the farther meaning of the Prophet, and to the declaration of these terms, Faith, Religion, and Catholick Kirk.

Major. - The Prophet affirms, that whosoever shall not serve Jerusalem, shall perish.

Minor. - But the promise made to Jerusalem appertains unto the Kirk.

Conclusion. - Ergo, whosoever serves not the Kirk, shall perish.

This whole argument we admit, and most constantly we do affirm it; and yet shall he never be able to prove his intent, which is, that the Kirk of Scotland is no Kirk. We will open the wound which the writer of the letter keeps covered, and yet it most grieves him, as it doth the rest of all Papists. The realm of Scotland (all praise to God) has refused the Pope, that Roman Antichrist; and not only by preaching, but also by the public laws, has damned his tyrannical laws, his odious superstitions, and usurped jurisdiction. And therefore cry the Papists, that we are declined from the true Kirk, and are fallen back from the Catholick faith. But before that they be able to convict us of those crimes, they must prove two things. Former, that whatsoever was promised to Jerusalem does properly and only appertain unto Rome; and this must they do, not by conjectures, but by plain words, as God pronounced by his Prophet of Jerusalem. This is the first. The second is, that albeit Rome were as able to prove a promise made to it, as Jerusalem was, of whom it was said, - This is my rest; hear will I dwell, because I have chosen it; and albeit that the Popes of Rome, whom he stiles the perpetual succession of that Kirk, had as an assured and plain probation, that by God they were called, by God they were admitted, and that by God they should be maintained in their ministry and function, as that the Levites and succession of Aaron had to produce at all times for their defence; yet if they, (we say), who call themselves the successors of the Apostles, be not able to prove, that they have constantly remained in the first league and covenant which Christ made with his Apostles, when he sent them forth to preach the glad tidings of the kingdom, and to establish his throne, not only amongst the Jews, {488} but also amongst the Gentiles, according to the former prophecies: Albeit, we say, that all these former they were able to prove (as they are never able to do), yet have they said nothing that may help their cause, nor hurt ours, unless that they therewith plainly prove that the Kirk of Rome, and the succession of the same, has remained and yet remaineth in the original purity of the Apostles, in doctrine, life, laws, and ceremonies. For these being corrupted, the title of succession will no more help them than did the bragging of the priests under the law, who cried against the Prophet Jeremie - "the Temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord." What was answered unto them, let the 7th chapter of his Prophecy witness. But farther, of the succession, and of the assurance thereof, after.

Now must we something speak of Faith, Religion, and the Catholic Kirk, wherewith he would terrify your conscience and deface the truth; and then must we answer to his blasphemous taunts and mockage. Before we have confessed, that to live without Faith, without Religion, and without the society of the Catholick Kirk, brings with it most certainly death and damnation. But yet, we affirm, that all opinion that is commonly received under the name of faith, is not faith which God approves; but true faith must have for the ground and assurance thereof God's expressed word, of his mercy, promised in Christ Jesus, whereto the heart of the faithful must consent, so moved by the Holy Ghost. And therefore we fear not to affirm, that the Papists, having no better ground for their faith than consent of men, decrees of councils, and antiquity of time, have no faith, but a fond [foolish], yea, a damnable opinion. And the same we affirm of Religion, which, if it be pleasing and acceptable unto God, must have his own commandment and approbation for a warrant; otherwise it cannot be but odious in his presence, as a thing repugning to his express commandment, saying, not that which appears good in thy own eyes shalt thou do to the Lord thy God, but what the Lord thy God has commanded thee, that do thou: add nothing to it, diminish nothing from it (Deut. 4 & 12.) By this precept of that Eternal God, who is immutable, and that can command nothing but that which is just, are all people, realms, and nations, (that will avow themselves to be the inheritance of the Lord,) bound and obliged to measure there religion, not by the example of other realms, neither yet by their own good intention, or determination of men, but only by the expressed word of God. So that what therein is commanded, ought to be done by the people of God, what appearance or external show of holiness that ever it has. And, therefore, have we most justly rejected the rabble of ceremonies which the Papists held for the chief exercise of their religion, as things having no better ground than the invention and consent of men. {489}

Now shortly, of the Kirk commonly called Catholick. The name of the Kirk is common, and is taken as well for the congregation of the wicked, as for the assembly of the godly; as it is plain by the words of David, saying, "I have hated the kirk, or the assembly of the wicked" (Psalm 26). The term Catholick, which signifies Universal, has not included in it that virtue which Papists allege, that is, that whatsoever is "Catholick," that it must be good. For if it so were, then sin in the original world should have been good, for it was so Catholick (that is, universal) that it overflowed the whole earth, only one house excepted. How universal idolatry was amongst the Gentiles, histories witness; and how broad the pestilent sects of Mahomet is this day spread, experience does teach us. And yet we suppose, that no man of right judgment will either approve the one or the other, notwithstanding of their universality; and, therefore, we must have a better assurance of that Kirk, to which we ought to join our selves, than that it is Catholick or universal: to wit, it must be holy, and the communion of saints; for in the Confession of our Faith, we say not, I believe the Kirk universal, but, "I believe the holy Kirk universal, the communion of saints." Wherefore we affirm, that if that Kirk, which is called Catholick or universal, have not holiness in the heart by true faith, and the confession of the same in the mouth, and in the forehead, it ceases to be the immaculate spouse of Jesus Christ, in whose bosom the sons of God are nourished to the life everlasting. And so before that the writer of the letter shall be able to convict us, that we have declined from the holy Kirk, he must first define what is the very holiness of the Kirk, wherein it consists, from whom it flows, and what is the effect of the same. And when thus he has done, he must prove that the Kirk of Rome has been and is, only holy, so that no kirk before it did ever enjoy that title, neither yet that any that after may ensue it, may so be justly called; and thus we think shall be very hard to Master Tyrie and all the Jesuits in Europe to prove.

But now, that the vanity of his argument may the more evidently appear, we will, in as few words as we can, examine the mind of the Prophet. Such as diligently marks the scope of the Prophet Isaias, shall clearly see, that from the 40th chapter of his Prophecy, to the end of the same, he travails principally to comfort Jerusalem, and the nation of the Jews, whose miserable destruction and fearful captivity he foresaw in spirit, [he] pronounced the same in his public sermons, and left the memorial and undoubted register thereof to the posterity that was to follow, and was to be partakers of all the plagues that were before spoken. And lest that they, in the midst of their calamity should have despaired of any deliverance, from the same 40th chapter back, we say that the Prophet as the Messenger of God's mercy, pronounceth to Jerusalem, to Mount Sion, and to the afflicted Jews, deliverance {490} from captivity, the protection of God to be their defence, the destruction of Babylon, and of all their enemies; the coming of the Messiah promised unto them, the felicity of his kingdom, the vocation of the Gentiles; and finally, the promises flowing from mercy, that he had made unto them to continue forever. And among their manifold promises, this was one, "The kingdom and the nation that shall not serve thee, shall perish."

Now, gladly would we learn of the writer, to what realm, to what nation, to what province or city will he appoint us, that therein we may serve Jesus Christ, and his immaculate spouse, the Kirk, to the end that we should not perish. If he would name Rome, and the Kirk thereof, then must we demand two things: the former, What became of all the faithful the space of a thousand years that flowed betwixt the making of the former promises and the days of the Apostles, what time the Evangel began publicly to be offered unto the Gentiles; All which time Rome was nothing but a den of idolatry. We think he will not say that the faithful perished; and we are bold to say, that the faithful served not Rome, neither yet the Kirk contained therein all that time. This is the first whereof we would be resolved. The second is, that if the writer will allege that during all the time the promise foresaid appertained to Jerusalem and unto Mount Sion; but that after the ascension of Jesus Christ, and after that the Evangel was received of the Gentiles, the promise, which before was made to Jerusalem, was transferred unto Rome: if so be, we pray the writer, that after he has consulted with the finest Papists, be they Jesuits, or be they others, that he will show unto us where we shall find the resignation and the assurance thereof. We clearly read the promises made to Jerusalem and unto Mount Sion. We find that the Evangel was there preached in despite of Satan. We find that from thence Peter and John were sent to Samaria, and thereafter the Evangel was planted amongst the Gentiles. We find further, that Paul wrote to the saints that were at Rome, and that he himself was carried prisoner to it, and that he remained two years there under custody in his lodging: but that ever the promises made to Jerusalem were transferred unto Rome, we find not. And, therefore, albeit that we of the Realm of Scotland have refused Rome and the tyranny thereof, we think not that we have refused the society of Christ's Kirk; but that we are joined with it, and daily are fed of our mother's breasts, because we embrace no other doctrine than that which first flowed forth of Jerusalem, whose citizens by grace we avow ourselves to be.

But now to the taunting blasphemies of the writer. It pleases him to term our Kirks "new found," "invisible," "yet but eight years old," &c., and our Evangel "newly invented." Which blasphemies, albeit that man tolerate, yet we are assured the Eternal, our God, shall not suffer unpunished in {491} this life, and in the life to come, unless that speedy and unfeigned repentance blot away the same.

But the writer left to the judgment of God, we would know of him why he calleth our Kirks "new found," and our Evangel but "new invented." He appeareth to give his reason in these words (for says he) "it is manifest, that before a thousand years in all the world was there people that believed as they do who defend the contrare."

This reason containeth in it such folly, besides the obscurity and generality of it, that we stand in doubt at what member we shall begin to confute the same. But because his greatest strength appeareth to stand in this - that before a thousand years, there was people in all the world that believed otherwise than we believe; to that head we will first answer, and say, that granted, that before a thousand years, there was people in all the world that believed as Papists now believe, what shall thereof yet be concluded, that our Kirks are new found? And will he say, that our Evangel is but newly invented? A good dialectician would answer, that albeit the antecedent were granted, the consequent may justly be denied. And the reason is, because that neither doth the Kirk, the faith of the same, nor the authority of the Evangel of Christ Jesus, depend upon that which men believed before that it was published. Neither yet is the age of the Kirk to be computed from the time when it pleased God of his mercy, either to reveal his word to any realm or nation that before was ignorant of it, or yet to reform abuses which have taken root amongst the people of God by the negligence of men. And that this reason and proposition is true, the consideration of the planting of the Kirk, and of the divers reformations made within the same, shall witness.

When God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 12.), and made to him the promise of the blessed seed, and after gave unto him the sign of circumcision; were there not people dispersed universally upon the face of the earth, who believed and thought that they had a good and perfect religion, yea, even that same religion (as they supposed) wherein Noah served God? And yet we know that the spirit of God damneth the multitude of that age of idolatry, and thereintill magnifies the mercy of God, who from that corrupted multitude called Abraham, and by grace made him the father of the faithful. Now would we demand of the writer of the letter, if the age of Abraham's faith should have been measured from the error of the multitude that past before him? and if that the age of the Kirk gathered within his house should have been called an eight-year-old kirk, when that Abraham had so long obeyed God, while that all the world continued in their idolatry? We demand, (we say,) if their old idolatry made Abraham's faith to be but a "new found faith;" and if their multitude and universality having for them antiquity, made the kirk {492} that was in Abraham's house to be a "new found kirk?" We suppose that men of judgment shall otherwise pronounce and subscribe with us, that the faith of Abraham had the same antiquity that the word had which he believed. Now plain it is, that the word which he believed was the selfsame word which God pronounced unto the woman in the garden, speaking against the serpent, saying, "I shall put enmity betwixt thee and the woman, betwixt thy seed and her seed, that seed shall break down thy head, and thou shall break down his heal" (Gen. 3). This promise, we say, being especially made to Abraham, in these words - "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," was the ground of his faith, like as that it was the ground of the faith of Adam; Abel; Seth; and of all the faithful before him: so that his faith was no new faith, but was that same faith which had continued amongst God's elect from the beginning. For true faith may not be measured from the error of men, but from the word and promise which the faithful believe. Is the word from the beginning, and the promise undoubted? then must the faith that thereupon is grounded, not only be true, but also of the same age and antiquity that the word is. And therefore, whensoever the Papists and we shall come to reckon of the age of our faith, we doubt nothing but that their faith, in more principal points nor [than] one or two, shall be found very young, and but lately invented, in respect of that only true faith which this day in the Kirks of Scotland is professed. And the selfsame thing affirm we of our Kirk, and of the Evangel preached within the same; to wit, that the Evangel which of God's mercy is revealed unto us, is not forged by man, but that it is the selfsame Evangel which Jesus Christ taught by his own mouth, and that his Apostles, at his commandment published unto the world. And therefore we say, that our Kirk is no new found Kirk, (as the writer blasphemously raileth,) but that it is a part of that holy Kirk universal, which is grounded upon the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles; having the same antiquity that the Kirk of the Apostles has, as concerning doctrine, prayers, administration of sacraments, and all other things requisite to a particular Kirk.

But yet will the writer of the letter allege, that we believe not as the most part of men have believed a thousand years and more: for they believed the Mass to be a Sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of the quick and the dead; the Pope to be the head of the Kirk, and Christ's vicar in the earth; the material body of Christ Jesus, flesh, blood, and bone, to be in the Sacrament of the Altar, after that the words of consecration were pronounced by a priest; Super materia debita: that the prayers of the living profit departed, and such others as the Catholick faith of the Papists have concluded:

These Articles, will the writer say, we believe not; and therefore how can it be denied but that our Kirk is new found, and the doctrine {493} thereof is new? We have answered, and yet we answer again, that whatsoever Papists have believed before us, which hath no better ground than that determination of their own council, can neither prejudge our faith grounded upon God's expressed word, neither yet can prove our Kirk to be but a new found Kirk. For if a common error, and a superstitious worshipping of God, received of a multitude, should have that strength, that it should prevail against God's simple truth, and against his worshipping prescribed in his word, then had the Prophet Elias been in a miserable condition; who being but one man opposed himself to the King, to his Council, to his Prophets, Priests, and people, and in plain words accused them all of apostasy from God, from his true worshipping, and from the obedience of his law, and plainly convicted them to be idolatrous, because they had embraced a worshipping of God not contained in his word. It is a wonder that the king with his priests and prophets excepted not against the Prophet, and said, how can that be idolatry, which our kings and people since the days of Jeroboam, have used and maintained for God's true service? Thou art but one man, and we are a multitude; how can it be that we all should err, and that thou alone should please God? But no such thing find we objected unto the Prophet. But his request, being but one man, was obeyed; which was, that God himself should judge betwixt him and them, as that he did by fire from heaven.

This privilege crave we to be granted to us of the Papists in our days; to wit, that they suffer God to judge betwixt our religion and theirs. What he approveth, let it be approven of both; and what by him is not commanded, nor by the Apostles of Jesus Christ established and practiced, let it be of both rejected, and so shall we suddenly agree. But if that they will still cry that we are schismatics and apostates, because we refuse to defile ourselves with their abominations, we cannot but appeal from their corrupt sentence to the uncorrupt Judge, of whose favours we are assuredly persuaded in that point, because he hath said, Follow not the multitude in evil doing; and because that we find Kings, Prophets, and people before us, to have done the selfsame thing in their days, (and therefore to have been approved of God), which we in God's fear have done in our days: to wit, they have destroyed the monuments of idolatry, and have repressed the same externally by power and force, notwithstanding the antiquity thereof, and that great multitudes adhered unto it. And this much for the multitude, and that which the multitude most commonly believeth. Now to the further reasons of the writer.

He first taunts and mocks us, and our Kirk, calling it "your invisible Kirk of Scotland." Secondly, he affirmeth that the Kirk whereof the Prophet speaks shall be manifest and visible through all the world; and for his proof, alleges the second chapter of the Prophet Isaiah. And {494} last, he concludes, in these words: "Wherefore, if ye cannot show in what place of the world, afore three hundred years, your Kirk was into, it followeth of necessity that it is no Kirk."

To these heads we must answer in order: And first, we will pray the writer, in his next answer, to signify unto us, why he calleth the Kirk of Scotland invisible, seeing that the ground and the persons inhabitant within the same are subject to the senses of all those that list [desire] to look upon them. Yea, the doctrine taught unto us is so patent, that the very enemies themselves are not forbidden to hear and to judge of it. And finally, the administration of the Sacraments within our kirks are so public, that none justly can complain, that they are either debarred from hearing or from sight. And therefore, howsoever it pleaseth the writer to delight himself in his own vanity, we fear not to affirm, that the Kirk of God, within Scotland this day is as visible as ever it was in Jerusalem, after that Christ Jesus ascended to the heavens, or as that it was visible in Samaria after that it received the Evangel. Yea, we will further affirm, that the true Kirk of Jesus Christ is as visible, yea, and as beautiful in all her proper ornaments this day, within the Realm of Scotland, as ever she was in Corinthus, Galatia, Philipi (yea, or yet in Rome itself), what time that any of the Apostles ruled them, or that when they were saluted by the Apostle in his Epistles for Kirks: and this for the first head.

The answer to the second cannot be so short; for his assertion agrees so little with the place of the Prophet, that we stand greatly in doubt whether that ever the writer has travailed to understand the mind of the Prophet. His assertion is this: - "Of the Kirk whereof the Prophet speaketh, It is said by him, in the second chapter that it shall be manifest and visible through all the world." The words of the Prophet are these: "It shall be in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come, let us go up unto the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For the law shall go forth of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and he shall judge among the nations, and rebuke many people," &c. (Isaiah 2.) In these words of the Prophet we find no such thing as the Kirk shall be manifest and visible through all the world. We acknowledge a promise of glad things to come, to be joined to Jerusalem, and unto Mount Sion, after the miserable destruction of the same. We find the time appointed, to wit, the last days. But that the promise may be the better tried, we must know of the writer, when these last days began; and when they shall be completed? We must further know, if there be any one certain place appointed, in the which {495} it is said, that the Kirk of God shall be visible and manifest in all ages? These two heads being considered, it shall be more easy to judge of the assertion of the writer, and how it agrees with the mind of the Prophet.

And first, we think that the writer will not deny, but the last days, whereof the Prophet speaks, began long before that ever the Evangel of Jesus Christ was known or publicly received in Rome; to wit, at the appearing of Jesus Christ in the flesh, when that he revealed unto the world the whole will of his Father. For so are we taught by the Apostle, saying, "God in old times spake unto our fathers in divers manners by the prophets; in the last days he hath spoken to us by his son," &c. (Heb. 1.) And the Apostle Peter, in that his most notable sermon made to Jerusalem, the day of Pentecost, affirms, that the prophecy of Joel, made as concerning the pouring forth of God's graces upon all flesh in the last days, was even then complete, when that the Holy Spirit descended down upon those that believed. (Acts 2.) So then, we have gotten the last days to have begun with Jesus Christ, who is the glory of the second temple. When think we that they ended? If the writer will say, when Rome received the Evangel, then was the accomplishment of the last days; as men justly may doubt thereof, so will the Apostle plainly deny, saying; "The Spirit speaketh evidently, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith," &c. (1 Tim. 4.1.) Whereof we may gather, that the Apostle appointeth the last times to continue longer than that the Evangel was once publicly preached; to wit, till that men should begin to fall from the faith, and give ears to the doctrine of devils. Yea, if ye will search the Scriptures, we shall find that the last days continue from the first appearing of Jesus Christ in flesh, unto his last returning unto judgment. So that the last days do not only include the first publication of the Evangel, but also the defection from it; yea, and the restitution of it again unto the world, by the brightness whereof, that man of sin should be revealed and destroyed. Whereof we conclude, that if the last days do yet continue, whereof the Prophet maketh mention, the things promised to be performed in them are not yet altogether complete, but are in their progress, and shall so proceed till that all be finished that is forespoken by the holy Prophets and Apostles of Jesus Christ. And so may Jesus Christ this day be working in Scotland, albeit that Papists rage against his Evangel, as in those days he wrought in Jerusalem, when the priests and the whole visible Kirk, (for the most part,) raged against the same. But now to the second head.

We would know, if the writer can appoint unto us any one certain place where this holy mountain of God is promised to remain, manifestly and visible. For this we make known to the whole world, that for the love we bear to the building and repairing of God's holy house, we {496} have endangered life and all things temporal: and, therefore, if the writer can appoint unto us a certain place whereunto God has made promise, we shall every one exhort another, with all diligence, to go up thereunto. But if he can appoint none, having greater assurance by God's mouth, more than another, then will we charitably desire him to desist from taunting and mockage of so notable works of God, as he of late years has shown in more Realms than one. Our Master Christ Jesus appoints us to no one certain place, where that we shall be assured of his presence; but rather forbidding the observation of all places, he sends us to his own spiritual presence, saying, "Wheresoever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. 18.) And in another place, "Behold I am with you to the end of the world." (Matt. 28.) We, being grounded upon these promises, have good hope, through Jesus Christ, that in our congregations we have the favourable presence of Jesus Christ, as well in his word as in his holy Sacraments. For in his Name alone convene we; by him alone we call upon God our Father; and by him alone we are assured, through the power of his Holy Spirit, to obtain our requests made according to his will. We wonder greatly that the writer considers not that the promise of the Prophet is, That all nations shall come to that holy mountain. We are a nation, (how abject that ever we appear). Why then will the writer deny unto us free passage to the house of the Lord; seeing that the term of the last days is not yet expired, and seeing that we desire to be taught in the ways of the Lord, and to walk in his paths; yea, seeing that thousands in Scotland refuse not to be rebuked of the Lord, and to suffer him to judge amongst us? If the writer will say, because we will not acknowledge Rome to be the mother of all other Kirks, we answer as before; let us hear the commandment of our God, charging us so to do, and our obedience shall not be long craved. For we are most willing to obey our mother, providing that she show the undoubted signs of a natural mother; but an usurped title without farther assurance we dare not admit. And this far for his assertion, and for the mind of the Prophet.

Now followeth his conclusion in these words: "Wherefore, if ye cannot show what place of the world afore three hundred years your Kirk was into, it followeth of necessity, that it is no Kirk," &c.

How this conclusion may be rightly gathered of the words of the Prophet, we suffer the readers and the writer himself to consider. And yet, because that to us it were a thing most grievous so to be excommunicate that we were no Kirk; that is, no parcel of the holy Kirk universal; we answer for our beginning, and say, That before fifteen hundred years our Kirk was in Jerusalem, in Samaria, in Antiochia, and wheresoever Christ Jesus was truly preached, and his blessed Evangel obediently received, whether it was amongst the Jews or Gentiles. There {497} we say was our Kirk, which is not bound to any one place, but is dispersed upon the face of the whole earth; having one God, one faith, one baptism, and one Lord Jesus, Saviour of all that unfeignedly believe. And so we fear not to receive the title and authority of a particular Kirk, because we have all things by God's word that thereto appertains. Yea, we are farther bold to affirm, that if ever it shall please God to bring the Kirk of Rome to her original purity, that she shall not be ashamed to embrace and reverence the pure Kirk of Scotland as her dearest sister, and next resembling her in all things, before that pride and avarice, joined with idleness and riotous living, corrupted her ministers, and that the inventions of men were preferred to God's simple truth. We say yet again, that whensoever the Kirk of Rome shall be reduced to that estate in the which the Apostles left it, we are assured that she shall vote in our favours, against all such as shall deny us to be a Kirk, if God continue us in that simplicity which this day is mocked of the world. Now let us hear how the writer proceedeth: -


And swiftly if ye or any of your cunning ministers of your new invented Evangel show me the due succession of his Kirk since Christ, and, by that, agree the manifest contradiction that both I have read and seen with my eye amongst the doctors and principals of your new doctrine, I shall not only renounce the sentence which I have held heretofore, but also shall afore all that will hear me, confess my ignorance and fault, and shall employ all my strength to the forthsetting of your religion, &c.


Of this part of the writer's letter, and of that which is past before, it is easy to consider, that he will acknowledge no kirk to be the true Kirk of Jesus Christ, unless that it can show the due succession thereof from the days of Jesus Christ: And farther, that the teachers of it do so agree in doctrine, that in no point they be found to differ one from another. We answer, if the immaculate spouse of Jesus Christ were bound to these two extremities, the bondage thereof were most miserable; but, because we find our Master Jesus Christ is more favourable to his pure Kirk than Master Tyrie craves, we are decreed to stand in that freedom and liberty whereunto our Head and only Sovereign Lord has called us.

We find, that he sends not his afflicted Kirk to seek a lineal succession of any persons before that he will receive them; but he, with all gentleness calleth his sheep unto himself, saying, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are laden, and I will ease you." (Matt. 11.) And again, {498} "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I cast not away." (John 6.)

O golden and most comfortable sentence, pronounced of Him who cannot lie! Here is no mention of any succession that we should claim to, before that we be received of him who is the Head of the Kirk; but only it is said that that which the Father giveth, and that the Son receiveth, shall not be cast away; neither yet will he lose any that cometh to him, but that he will save them and raise them up at the last day. And the Apostle, speaking of the vocation [calling] of the Gentiles, sends them not to seek a succession; but, in the person of the Ephesians, pronounceth this sentence in favours of all that believe in Jesus Christ:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but citizens with the saints and of the household of God: and are builded upon the foundation of the Apostles, and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building coupled together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." (Eph. 2.) Here we find men, who before were strangers, made citizens with the saints and of the household of God; we find them builded upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets; we find Jesus Christ to be the chief corner stone - but we find no mention of any such succession as Master Tyrie seemeth rigorously and without God's commandment to crave. And therefore we can not but wonder, why that mortal man shall crave of us that which neither God the Father, his Son Christ Jesus, neither yet the holy Apostles in their ministry, craved of any Realm or Nation. And therefore, let Master Tyrie take this for an answer: That an unjust request may be justly denied.

And yet, lest that the writer, or any other, should think themselves rather mocked than answered, we add to the premises, That we are able to show the succession of our Kirk directly and lawfully to have flowed from the Apostles. And our reason is, because that in our kirks we neither admit doctrine, rite, nor ceremony, which by their writings, we find not authorized. And albeit that this shall not satisfy the new start up Jesuits, yet our consciences are at rest, because we are assured to be avowed of the Supreme Judge.

The second which he requireth is, that we shall agree the manifest contradiction that is amongst the principal Doctors of our "new doctrine" and "late invented Evangel." His blasphemy we remit by God's hand to be punished; and yet we would know what doctrine is that which he terms new. Our Evangel, (as before is said), is that same which Jesus Christ, by himself and by his Apostles manifested unto the world, as all such as hear the form of our doctrine can witness. Where he desires us to agree all controversies amongst our teachers: {499} we answer, bona fide, that we know no controversy in doctrine, especially of that which concerns man's salvation, within the Realm of Scotland, but that all the preachers within our kirks uniformly agree in doctrine and judgment, notwithstanding the diversity of gifts. If Master Tyrie would send us to conciliate all controversies that are in Germany and elsewhere, his second petition has no greater reason than had the former; for of God we have no farther charge but to watch over that flock which is subject unto us. God has raised and appointed us preachers to the Realm of Scotland; in the bounds whereof, if we plant not true doctrine according to the talent committed to our charge, and oppose ourselves to all kinds of errors that may infect the flock, we shall be criminal before God. But that we are precisedly bound to run from country to country to agree all controversies, albeit it were even in the matters of religion, we find no express commandment given to us in that behalf of our God. And, therefore, we must desire the inspection of Master Tyrie's authority, by virtue whereof he may charge us to that painful travail, before that we can promise obedience.

But Master Tyrie, we know will allege, that in writing of his letter, there was no such thing in his mind; but that his meaning was, that because we did not agree fully amongst ourselves in all heads, therefore he would not be of our Kirk: for that in plain words he declareth, &c. Now, all contention laid aside, we will desire Master Tyrie, and the rest of his faction, deeply to consider, if they be builded upon a sure foundation, while that they have none other cause why they oppose themselves to the truth of God, now of his mercy revealed to the world, but because that such as profess that truth agree not in all heads amongst themselves.

We demand then, What if they had lived in the days of the Apostles, when the preaching of Christ Jesus was no less odious to the visible Kirk, to wit, to the posterity of Aaron and Levi, who then ruled in Jerusalem, than has the light of the Evangel been of late years, to that Roman Antichrist, and unto such as live by his merchandise? Would Master Tyrie (we ask) and his faction have refused the Evangel, because that in the bosom of the Kirk there arose great controversy, and that in the especial heads of religion? For, did not some boldly affirm in the Kirk of Antioch (Acts 15), that unless the Gentiles were circumcised according to the law of Moses, they could not be saved. Which doctrine and affirmation was more dangerous and more scandalous in those days than all the controversies that yet are risen amongst such as have refused the damnable ways of the Papistry, for it concerneth the chief head of justification. And will any yet say, that therefore the Evangel was not the glad tidings of salvation? And they that embraced it truly were not the true members of Jesus Christ? {500}

We look [hope] that men will be more moderate than some show themselves to be, who, for certain controversies of far less importance than that was, dare boldly damn the truth and the professors of the same, because, say they,Proprium est hereticorum a se invicem dissentire. That is, "It is proper to heretics to disagree amongst themselves:" which sentence, how ancient that ever it be, if it should be so understood as the Papist doth - that is, whosoever disagrees amongst themselves in matters of religion they are heretics; - if the former sentence (we say) should be so understood, then shall we accuse more of heresy than can be excused in any one age from Christ Jesus to this day. For did not Paul disagree from Peter? (Gal. 2.) Yea, he did so disagree from him, that he did resist him plainly to his face, because that he walked not according to the right way of the truth of the gospel. These were two principal pillars; the one appointed to the Jews, and the other to the Gentiles. What shall we say of the hot contention which fell betwixt Barnabas and Paul, which separated them that before were joined in as straight conjunction as ever were two mortal men upon the earth? (Acts 15.) If Master Tyrie and his Jesuits will allege that these were but sudden passions, and did not concern any chief head of doctrine, the Holy Ghost will prove the contrary. For the one touched the conscience of men, concerning the freedom of meats; and the other the admission of ministers, after that they had once fallen back from that function: which heads were of greater weight in those days (as heretofore we have said) than any controversy which the Papists are able to show to be, or yet to have been, betwixt us that profess the Evangel and do abhor their abominations. Farther reasoning of this head for this present we omit, and will proceed with Master Tyrie's letter.


Wherefore, Sir, considering that in that Kirk, in the which I am by the grace of God, there is continual succession of doctrine, and that same self which is preached now, has been taught in all ages; as it is manifest to any man that has read all ancient writers afore our times. And moreover, I find it spread through all the world, as in like manner it is manifest, and the experience does teach you; for ye will come to no place where Christ's doctrine is received, but ye will find the religion, at least in many persons. Wherefore, if ye can not show in no other religion the same, it follows evidently that no other religion is the true religion. {501}


To this epilogue, and argument gathered thereof, we answer only this - That of a manifest lie there can no truth be concluded. His manifest and impudent lie, we say, is, That he affirms, that in that Kirk, in the which he is, there is continual succession of doctrine, and that the self-same which is preached now has been taught in all ages. - This, we affirm, is a most impudent lie. For now, and of late years, it hath been taught, and of the people received, that the Mass was a sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of the quick and the dead; That the Pope was the head of the Kirk, and such other heads of most heretical doctrine, approved in the Papistical Kirk: which heads we affirm were unknown in the age of the Apostles, or yet of the Fathers that immediately followed them. And for the probation thereof, we desire their writings to be produced, ever beginning at them who were appointed of God to preach, and to plant the verity in the world.

We are not bound to credit whatsoever the Fathers have spoken: but our faith, (as is before said), is builded upon the sure Rock, Jesus Christ, and upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. (Eph. 2.) So far as any Fathers agree therewith, we reverently do embrace it; but if the Fathers have affirmed anything without the warrant of the written word of the Eternal our God, to whose only voice the sheep of his pasture are bound, it is as lawful to us to reject that which proceedeth from man and not from God, as it is easy to them to affirm it. Master Tyrie may know that we use the words of the ancients.

It appeareth to us, to be the whole progress of Master Tyrie's letter, that he and his faction can acknowledge no Kirk which, in all ages, has not been visible to the eyes of men, having likewise a visible succession. For, first, he affirms, that the Kirk whereof the Prophet Isaiah speaks, should be manifest and visible through all the world. And here, last, he allegeth, that we can come in no place where we shall not find that Religion spread, at the least in many persons. And thereof he concludes, that if we can not prove the like of our Religion, it follows that it is not the true Religion.

If Master Tyrie recant not this assertion, he must correct his creed. And where universally before we used to say,Credo sanctam Ecclesiam, &c., he must say Video sanctam Ecclesiam. [That is, as before we used to say, "I believe in the holy Church," he must say, "I see the holy Church."] For if there be no Kirk upon the face of the earth, but that which is visible, and that which may be shown first by certain notes external, then superfluous and vain it were to us to say, I believe the holy Kirk universal; but confidently we might affirm, I see the holy Kirk. If Master Tyrie will say, We may {502} both see and believe, and by our sight our faith may be strengthened; for Thomas saw the wounds in the hands, feet, and side of Christ Jesus, and believed; and so may we see the Kirk, and yet believe it. If we should grant so far to Master Tyrie, yet were his argument nothing helped; for the question is not, Whether that we may notify those things that we are bound to believe? but the question is, If that we are not bound to believe those things which sometimes are utterly removed from the external senses of men? Master Tyrie will acknowledge no Kirk except that which has been, and is visible. We, in the contrary, acknowledge and reverence the spouse of Christ Jesus, sometimes exiled from the world (Rev. 12), receiving sometimes the wings of an eagle that she may fly to the wilderness, where of God, and not of man, she hath her place prepared. We reverence her which doth complain, that she hath been desolate, barren, a captive, and a wanderer to and fro. That spouse of Jesus Christ brags so little of her succession, visible to man's eyes, that she is rest in admiration, who should have nourished her children during the time of her banishment. (Isa. 49.)

If Master Tyrie be so well read in the ancient writers, as in his writing he would show himself to be, then can he not be ignorant, that it is not without great cause that the Holy Ghost hath taught us to say, "I believe the holy Kirk universal:" to wit, because that oftentimes it is that the Kirk militant is so afflicted, yea, the beauty thereof is so obscured to the most part of the world, that the synagogue of Satan usurps the title of the true Kirk, and Babylon is preferred to Jerusalem; so that the elect are compelled to complain, and say, "We see not our own signs, now is there no prophet any more amongst us." (Psalm 71.) Let the days of Elias and his complaint witness whether that the Kirk of God is always so visible, that it may be pointed forth with the finger of man. Thus we write shortly, to give occasion to master Tyrie, and to such as are blinded with that error, more deeply to consider that article of their belief, and not so rashly to condemn such as God of his mercy calls from darkness to light. Now to the rest of his letter.


There is some, I know, perchance for lack either of good discourse or wit, measures the verity of the things they follow by the worldly success they have in the following of it. But surely I can not esteem you to be of that rank; and if ye were, I would exhort you to read amongst the rest the seventy-second psalm (Psalm 73), and the one-hundred-forty-third Psalm; whereby ye will easily understand, that neither the prosperous success of your part, (in worldly things I mean), proves that which ye follow {503} to be verity, nor yet our decay and adversity makes our part to be convicted; yea, rather, the matter being considered as it ought to be, your prosperity is rather a manifest argument of God's wrath, nor [than] of any truth of verity. For it is said by one godly, holy, cunning man, an eleven-hundredth year bypast, "Quod nihil infelicius felicitate peccantium quia et penalis nutritur impunitas, et mala voluntas, velut interior hostis roboratur," &c.


We might have passed by this parcel without answer, because that nothing in it, conceived justly can be laid to our charge. For our worldly felicity, prosperity, and rest, neither is, neither yet has been, at any time since we have embraced the Evangel of Jesus Christ, such as may nourish us in wickedness; neither yet are the Papists able to convict us of such impiety, as all the world know hath reigned among them of more years than an hundred thrice told. And in the mean time, to what honour and worldly dignity they are ascended, we make themselves judges. If they say, the doctrine which we teach is wondrously spread within this hundred years, so that now it has almost freed itself from bondage, we would demand of the Papists, If the Evangel of Jesus Christ ceased to be the doctrine of salvation, what time the Kirks gat rest in Judea and elsewhere in the days of the Apostles? If they answer, that they mean no such thing; then yet we demand, if the hand of the Lord be more shortened now than that it was in the primitive Kirk, so that now He may not as well maintain his truth, and enlarge the kingdom of his only Son, as that he did in the days of the Apostles? Whatsoever the Papists shall answer, we are assured, that neither is his power diminished, so that he may not maintain his truth, neither yet is his love so waxen cold towards his Kirk, but that he will in his anger remember upon mercy.

Why do not those cruel men consider, what innocent blood hath been shed for the testimony of Christ's Evangel within these three-score years? Would they that God at no time should show pity upon the patient suffering of his afflicted Kirk? Would they that the sword should still devour? Would they that the flaming fires should never be quenched? If that so they would, they show themselves the sons of him who hath been a murderer from the beginning, and yet continue in the same malice. But our God beareth towards his weak children a fatherly affection, whereby he is moved sometimes to stay the fury and rage of Satan for a season, to the end that his chosen more gladly may prepare themselves to a new battle. True it is, the doctrine of salvation is greatly enlarged; and thereof we praise God: true it is, that Satan hath not universally such power to persecute, as sometimes he hath had; but will Master Tyrie thereof conclude, that {504} in our Kirk there is no strength? But now to the Scriptures which Master Tyrie quoteth

True it is that David, in his seventy-third Psalm, (according to the count of the Hebrews,) affirms, that neither the worldly prosperity of the ungodly, nor yet the affliction of the godly, ought to discourage such as fear God. In this general head, we agree with Master Tyrie and with all Papists. But we affirm, that the notes and signs, which the Holy Ghost giveth in that place, by the which the wicked shall be known, do no wise appertain to us; but of many years most evidently have appeared, and to this hour do yet appear, in the Pope, and in many of those that maintain his kingdom. For, whether that the generation of that Roman Antichrist hath been exempted from the troubles of men; whether that their pride has been as visible as ever was their garment; whether that their eyes have start out for fatness; and finally, whether that their licentious livings, their oppression and presumption, have not plainly declared that they have set their mouth against the heaven, we are content that the world (be it never so blind), the histories of their lives, (not written by us, but by their own scribes), and the very experience which all men now have, and heretofore have had of their proceedings, bear record whether that they or we be noted in that Psalm. We give Master Tyrie to understand, that we are better acquainted with the lives and conversations of the Popes and Cardinals than they think us to be; and that we know the strength of their laws, decrees, statutes, and councils, better than the Jesuits know the rule of Jesus, albeit that presumptuously they have usurped his name. And therefore we will crave of Master Tyrie and of all his faction, that in writing either to us, or yet to such as they would persuade, that they use truth and simplicity; and so shall they find themselves better contented, in reading of our answers. For this, before the Lord Jesus, we protest, that it is the truth which we teach, and wherein we delight; the love whereof causes us abhor all man's invention, superstition, and idolatry. And thus far to the answers of the Scriptures which Master Tyrie quoteth.

Now to the sentence of the ancient writer, whose name he suppresseth, we answer, That his words cut the throats of the proud Papists of that age, and of all their followers since those days. For then began the tail of the Dragon to draw the stars from the heaven to the earth (Rev. 12); then began the fountains, which sometimes gave clear and wholesome water to become bitter, yea, to be turned unto blood: and yet did they prosper in all worldly felicity, which was the cause that many godly men, lamenting that public corruption, were compelled to pronounce that and like sentences against the very Kirk-men that then lived. And lest that Master Tyrie should think that this we affirm {505} without authority, we remit him to the writings of Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, Bernard, and others, that were neither come long before, nor after the time that he notes; whose writings, if he shall diligently examine, he shall find what was their judgment of the seat of Rome in their days. And what others, that after followed added to the former impiety of their fathers, from the day that once the Pope were decored [adorned], or rather deformed, with a triple crown, let the writers of all ages since bear witness

And lest that Master Tyrie shall think that we put him to too much pain, when that we send him to all writers in general, we shall relieve him somewhat, and appoint him to two only, whom justly he cannot suspect to have been corrupted by us. The one is Abbas Joachim, a man sometimes of great authority and reputation amongst the Papists; the other is Joannes Aventinus, [Note 2] historiographer, whose history was printed by command and with the privilege of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. Let the writings, we say, of these two, bear witness what has been the judgment of divers men in divers ages, of Rome, of the pride of the prelacy, of their corruption in life and doctrine, and finally, of their defection from the truth.

Abbas Joachim, [Note 3] writing upon the words of the Revelation of John, "the sixth angel poured forth his vial upon the great flood Euphrates," &c. has this sentence, Si autem aquæ hujus fluminis quod vocatur Euphrates, populi sunt, et gentes, et linguæ, quæ parent Romano imperio; si quidem civitas Romana ipsa, est nova Babilon, &c. "That if (sayeth he) the waters of this flood that is called Euphrates, be people, nations, and tongues that obey the Roman empire, for the city of Rome itself is new Babylon." This place, and that which ensues of the drying up of the waters, evidently shows {506} what was the judgment of the writer in his days of Rome; to wit, that it was become new Babylon. And lest that any should think that the author meaneth of the ancient Roman empire, and not of the regiment of the Kirk that was in it, or in the dominion thereof, he explains himself after a while, that he interprets the great whore, and the kings of the earth who commit whoredom with her. The great whore, he says, the universal Fathers affirmed to be Rome: not, says he, as concerning the congregation of the just, which sometimes was a pilgrimer in it, but as concerning the multitude of the reprobate, who by their wicked works blasphemeth and impugneth the same Kirk, being a pilgrimer with her. Let Master Tyrie mark, that the writer saw in Rome two Kirks: the whore, and her multitude dispersed in all the places of the empire; and the Kirk which was a stranger, blasphemed and impugned by the multitude. And yet after he explains himself more plainly, saying,Reges vero terræ, dicti sunt prælati, quibus concessum est regimen animarum. Quorum nonnulli fornicantur cum Babilone, quumquidem ut placeant hominibus parvipendunt et negligunt mandatum Dei; "The kings of the earth (says he) are called the prelates, to whom the regiment of souls is committed, of whom, nevertheless, some commit fornication with Babylon; because that they, for the pleasure of men, neglect and despise the commandment of God." And lest that any should think that such a sentence has recklessly escaped him, he doubles the same words over again, saying, Reges vero terræ esse prælatos Ecclesiarum, quorum aliqui fornicantur cum Babilone, superius dictum est; "It is before said (sayeth he), that the kings of the earth are the prelates of the Kirks, of whom some commit whoredom with Babylon." And proceeds further, saying, Et quod sequitur: Et mercatores terræ de virtute deliciarum ejus, divites facti sunt ad falsos sacerdotes et hipocritas, referendum est, qui negotiantes regnum Dei temporalibus lucris, &c. That is, "and that which followeth, (sayeth he), and the merchants of the earth were made rich of the power of her pleasures; that is to be referred to the false priests and hypocrits, who, making merchandise of the kingdom of God, gapes for temporal advantage," &c. And after a little, upon these words, and the merchants of the earth shall mourn, &c., he says, Negotiatores terræ qui sicut superius dictum est, ipsi sunt sacerdotes bruti qui nesciunt que Dei sunt. Sacerdotes animales qui dati sunt in atrium exterius, ut manducent peccata populi: qui vendunt orationes et missas pro denariis facientes domum orationis apothecam negotiationis, facientes inquam forum publicum et speluncam latronum, &c. That is, "The merchants of the earth, (as is before said), they are the brutish priests, that know not those things that appertain to God; sensual priests that are placed in the outward court, that they may eat the sins of the people; who sell prayers and masses for money; making the house {507} of prayer a shop of merchandise, yea, making it (I say) a public and open market, and a den of thieves," &c.

If Master Tyrie, or any other of that sect, blame us of railing (as commonly they use to do, when that we speak the truth), then let him and them consider, that we learned not of Martin Luther what kind of men the Papists were, but that which we speak and affirm now, we have received of the Papists themselves. For this hath been the merciful providence of God towards his little flock ever from the beginning, that when an universal corruption began to spread itself, then were raised some, as it were one or two amongst the whole multitude, to admonish the present age and the posterities to come, how far men had declined from the original purity, that at least God might have some testimony that the verity of God was not altogether buried in the earth. But now let us hear the judgments of others.

Such as be any thing acquainted with the histories of the antiquity, can not be ignorant how vehement was the contention betwixt Nicolas the first, and certain of the bishops of Germany, for the divorcement and second marriage of Lotharius King of Hungary. Which of the two parties had the just action, we dispute not; but what were the crimes laid to the Pope in those days we shall shortly touch. After that Tetogandus [Note 4] and Guntherus, who were the two chief bishops that opposed themselves to the pride of the Roman Bishop, had largely purged themselves of all things wherewith he charged them, they enter in into most bitter accusation of the said Nicolas Pope. And after other things, they laid to his charge, that most tyrannically he had oppressed the liberty of the spouse of Jesus Christ. And after that they have rehearsed the principal ornaments wherewith the true Kirk was adorned, they say, Quæ beneficia tu veluti latro intercipis, templo Dei præripis, in teque; transfers, &c. And after,Tu Pontificis quidem personam præ te fers, at tyrannum agitas: sub habitu, et cultu pastoris, lupum sentimus: titulus Parentem mentitur, tute factis Jovem ostentas. [Note 5] That is, "Which benefits thou as a murderer cutteth off, and takest away from the Kirk of God, transferring them unto thyself. Thou showest the person of a pastor, but plainly thou playest the tyrant: under the habit and clothing of a shepherd, we feel the cruelty of a wolf." The title lies, for it calleth thee Father, but thou thyself in thy works showest the thundering of Jupiter, &c. "And therefore (say they) we know not thy voice, we regard not thy statutes, neither yet fear we thy bulls, nor thunderings. If thou pretend to interdict us, we fear not to cut thy throat with thy own sword; for the Holy {508} Ghost is author of all the Kirks wheresoever they be dispersed upon the face of the earth." This was the judgment of many others then of these before expressed, of the Seat of Rome in those days, about 800 years after the ascension of Christ; and how the pride and iniquity of that Seat augmented, as also the free speaking of men against the same, the subsequents will declare.

What lamentable tragedy as played betwixt Hildebrand, called Gregory the Seventh, and Henry the Fourth, Emperor of Rome, [Note 6] more historiographers than one or two do witness. Neither yet do those writers who were most dedicated to the faction of the Pope, to wit, Gerochus, and Paulus, so cover the shame of that deceiver, but that they give sufficient light to men, to see what mischief lurked within the bosom of that pestilent Seat. For writing what the said Hildebrand did, what time that he was first deposed from that seat, which by craft and without all order he did usurp, they say that he spared not largely to bestow the patrimony of the Kirk upon soldiers, and upon captains of war, upon the which, the poor chiefly should have been sustained; yea, they affirm, that he shew himself more rigorous against the Emperor than it became a pastor to have done. If this was their judgment who took upon them to defend his action and cause, what think we was the judgment of others? That shall we better understand by his accusation, and by the sentence pronounced against him by all the bishops of France and Germany, who with one voice, concluded, that Hildebrand was ambitious, perjured, an usurper of the Emperor's authority; one that violated and brake the concord of the Kirk; and therefore, that he was unworthy of that seat. This sentence was pronounced in his own face, while that he was sitting in council at Rome, by one Rulandus, chief priest of Parma, who boldly, and without any salutation, offering the decree of the Council, together with the Emperor's letters, said, "This Hildebrand is no bishop, no father, no pastor: he is a thief, a wolf, a murderer, a tyrant; and therefore let him be deposed," &c.

We are not ignorant that hereof ensued great tumult, sedition, and trouble. But as that purged nothing his former infamy, so did it not stop the mouths of many, plainly to pronounce what judgment they had of him and of that seat; to wit, that he, under the title of Christ, did the very work of the Antichrist; that he sat in the Temple of God, which then was become Babylon; that he was worshipped and extolled above all that which was called God; that he glorified as if he could not err, &c. These, and other crimes of {509} no less weight, were laid in that age to the bishops and seat of Rome; and this was far without the term of three hundred years, within the which Master Tyrie would limit the doctrine of our Kirk. But let us hear farther.

As the practices of the bishops of Rome were more and more espied, the bishops of Germany assembled themselves in Council at Regensburg; where the bishop of that same country, in his most vehement oration, made against the authors of sedition, amongst other things, pronounced this sentence against the bishops and seat of Rome. "Christ our Saviour, (says he), most diligently forewarned us to beware of false Christs, and false prophets, whom he willed us to discern and know by their works, whom presently, unless we be more blind, we may see." For (says he) Romani flamines arma in omnes habent Christianos, audendo, fallendo, et bella ex bellis serendo magni facti, oves trucidant, occidunt, pacem, concordiam terris depellunt, &c. That is, "These Roman Priests (he notes the whole rabble) make war against all Christians, sometimes malepartly [arrogantly, presumptuously], sometimes craftily, and by deceit they still continue war upon war; they themselves, being made great, murder and slay the sheep; briefly, they take peace and concord from the earth." And after a little, in the same oration, which is to be found in the seventh book of the History foresaid, he says, Hildebrandus ante annos centum atque septuaginta, primus specie religionis Antichristi imperii fundamenta jecit. Hoc bellum nefandum primus auspicatus est, quod per succesores huc usque continuatur, [Note 7] &c. That is, "Hildebrand (says he), before an hundred and seventy years, first under appearance of Religion, laid the foundation of the empire of the Antichrist. He first began this unhappy war, which to this day is continued by his successors." He farther proceeds and says, "Believe the man that has experience: these priests of Babylon desire to reign alone; they shall not cease until such time as that they have oppressed the honour of the Roman empire: and consequently, the true pastors that would feed the flock being oppressed, and the barking dogs being removed, they shall extinguish the truth, they shall murder, and trod all things under their feet; they shall sit in the temple of God, and be extolled above all that is worshipped," &c.

These, and many other grave sentences, were pronounced by the said Ebirhardus, and were ratified and confirmed by the whole Bishops, and Senate of Germany; whereby it is evident what judgment that age had of the Bishops of Rome and their Colleges. To avoid further prolixity, we omit the oration and judgment of Probus, the Bishop of {510} Tullos; [Note 8] the public edict set forth against the Pope and against his practices in the days of Lodovicus the Fourth, Emperor, [Note 9] together with the judgments of many others, which such as are exercised in reading of histories may note. So that, if Master Tyrie, or any of his sect, shall after this accuse us, that we are the first that have disclosed that man of sin, the most ancient writers shall convict him, and purge us. Now shortly to the rest of his letter.


Since my departing from you, I have seen sundry congregations, especially in Germany, professing, as they pretended, the true word of God and his Evangel; but, in verity, betwixt them their selves, and them and you, I find so great difference and repugnance in matters of great consequence, that if there were no other argument to let me not depart from the Catholic Kirk, in the which I was baptized, that were sufficient, &c.


When Master Tyrie shall accuse, in special, wherein the congregations in Germany differ amongst themselves, and that we differ from them, then shall we show our judgments, whether the difference be of such importance as it ought to dissolve the unity of the Kirk. The Confession of our Faith, and the Order of our Kirk, is patent [apparent] to all that list [desire] to read the same; when either he, or any other, shall oppugn any one or two heads of the same, so long as God pleases to retain in this miserable life, such as of his mercy he has made his ministers, to blow the trumpet of his judgments to this most wicked generation, neither he, nor any other, that please to oppose themselves to our Confession, shall long crave an answer; an answer we say, of any one or two heads which they please to oppugn. For Master Tyrie ought to understand, that the preaching ministers within the Realm of Scotland are oxen, even labouring under the yoke, and that in the husbandry of the Lord; and therefore they can have no time vacant from their necessary cures [charges], to compass countries with Jesuits, (who are subject to none other yoke, than to that of their own election [choice],) to espy what faults they can find amongst the congregations. As we have no vacants, (we say), to consider all trifles that offend delicate men, who {511} can acknowledge no Kirk but that which in all points be absolute and perfect; so, albeit that both we did consider them and condemn them, yet we usurp no authority above our brother, but remit all men to their own judge, and do reverence all congregations, who do agree with us in the principles of our faith, as the particular Kirks of Jesus Christ. Albeit that in all ceremonies there be not uniformity; yea, and albeit that in some heads of doctrine also there appear repugnance, yet will we not break brotherly concord, providing that we agree in the principals. Principals, we call those heads of doctrine, without the confession and consent whereof the Kirk was not planted. By these few words Master Tyrie, (if he be wise), may understand what we mean: and so we proceed to the conclusion of his letter.


Wherefore, Sir, I exhort you, as I began, to think on this matter as deeply as it becomes a Christian man; and when ye have so done advertise me of your sentiment. In the mean time, I shall pray Almighty God by his grace to illuminate your spirit, to know in this matter the right way, and to give fortitude and strength, when ye have known it, to profess it so far as shall be convenient to your estate and salvation. Having no further occasion of writing, I commit you to the protection of Almighty God.

Written at Paris, the sixth of December, by your most humble servant and brother,


If ye please to answer, ye may send your writing to the Baillie of Erroll, who will cause it to be sent to me.


Against this exhortation will we object nothing; for our earnest desire is, that men diligently consider what doctrine they embrace, what foundation and ground their faith has, and, finally, what way they follow, thinking thereby to attain to eternal felicity. For this careless security, that universally may be espied in men, we damn, and ever have damned. But this we fear not to affirm, as before we have written; that the doctrine of the Papistical Kirk, now many years bypast, hath been altogether corrupt; that their opinion, which they call their Catholick faith, has no sure ground within the word of God; and that the way, which they for the most part have followed, was the very way of perdition to all such as without true repentance departed this life in that blindness; and much more shall be to all persons and {512} estates that now shall maintain those abominations, because the light is come, and has sufficiently declared the former darkness. That man of sin is so manifestly revealed, that excuse of ignorance there resteth none; but a fearful judgment abides all such, that yet further will follow his damnable ways.

This, Sir, ye have our judgment, which albeit ye shall receive later than we would, yet, the state of time being considered, we doubt not but ye shall interpret all things to the best. Use our letter so, we pray you, that it may come to the knowledge of the writer to you, whose conversion we no less seek than he appears to seek yours. And thus we heartily commit you to the protection of the Omnipotent.

Of Edinburgh, the tenth of August, Anno Do. 1568.


1 - The death of David Rizzio, at Edinburgh, on the 9th of March 1565/6. Back to Text

2 - John Aventinus, a native of Bavaria, and the author of several historical works. The one here mentioned is his great work, "Annalium Boiorum Libri Septem. Excusum Ingolstadii, 1554," folio. The privilege of the Emperor Charles V. is dated Bruxellis, pridie Idus Junii, 1554. The editor of the British Reformers remarks, "The Jesuits have alleged that Aventinus was a Lutheran in sentiment, as they desire to weaken the force of his testimony against the evil conduct of the Popes, and the vicious lives of the Romish priests." Back to text

3 - "Joachim, Abbot of Corazzo, and afterwards of Florence, flourished in the twelfth century. He was revered by the people as a saint and a prophet. He wrote some mystical commentaries upon the Scriptures, in which he spoke of the necessity of a reformation in the Church, and animadverted strongly upon the corrupt state in which it then was. The comment on the Revelation has been ascribed to one of his disciples." - See Dupin, Cent. 13. (Editor of the British Reformers, 1830.) - There are several editions of the "Vaticinia sive prophetiæ Abbatis Joachimi et Anselmi episcopi Marsicani." A life by D. Gervaise, is entitled, "History de l'Abbé Joachim, surnommé le Prophète, avec Panalyse de ses ouvráges." Paris, 1745, 2 vols. 12mo. Back to text

4 - In Aventinus, the name is printed Tetgandus. A full account of this affair is given by Fleury, in his Historic Ecclesiastique, Liv. 50. Back to text

5 - Aventi. lib. 4. foli. 428. Back to text

6 - The Emperor Henry IV. was deposed by Gregory VII., usually called Pope Hildebrand. The account of his treatment in the depth of winter, A.D. 1077, when the Emperor appeared at the gates of Canossa (where the Pope then was), barefooted, etc., attended by his wife and child, is fully described in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and other works. Back to text

7 - Aven, lib. 7. (p. 683.) Back to text

8 - At the Council of Wurtzburg, A.D. 1237. Back to text

9 - Or rather Lewis the Fifth, elected Emperor in the year 1314. Back to text

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