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Author: Fox, Edward, 1496?-1538.
Title: The determinations of the moste famous and mooste excellent vniuersities of Italy and Fraunce, that it is so vnlefull [sic] for a man to marie his brothers wyfe, that the pope hath no power to dispence therewith
Date: 1531
Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 14287
No. of pages: 154 leaves
Copy from: British Library
Reel position: STC / 54:16

The determinations of the moste famous and mooste excellent vniuersities of Italy and Fraunce, that it is so vnlefull [sic] for a man to marie his brothers wyfe, that the pope hath no power to dispence therewith 347Kb

The determinations of the moste famous and mooste excellent vniuersities of Italy and Fraunce, that it is so vnlefull for a man to marie his brothers wyfe / that the pope hath no power to dispence therwith.


The determinacion of the vniuersite of Orleaunce.

NOt longe syns there were put forth vnto vs the college of doctours regent{is} of the vniuersitie of Orlea~ce, these .ij. questions, that folowe. The fyrste, whether it be leful by the lawe of god for the brother to take to wyfe that woma~ / whom his brother hath lefte. The seco~de, and if this be forbydden by the lawe of god / whether this prohibition of the lawe of god maye be remytted by the pope his dispensation· we the forsaid college of doctours regent{is} accordyng to our custome and vsage / came many tymes to gether, and dyd sit diuerse tymes vpon the discussinge of these forsaid doubtes and questiones, and dyd examine and wey, as moche as we myght, dyuerse and many places both of the olde testame~t and the new, and also the interpreters and declarers bothe of the lawe of god and of the canon lawe. And when we had weyed and co~sidered all thinges exactly and with good leyser and deliberation, we haue determined and concluded / that these forsaid mariages can not be atte~pted nor enterprised / except a man do wronge and playne co~trary to the lawe of god: yea and that all though it be done by the pardon and sufferaunce of the pope. And in witnes of this co~clusion and determination / we haue caused this present publike writynge to be sygned by our scribe of our sayde vniuersite / and to be strengthed and fortified with the seale of the same. Inacted in the chapell of our blessed lady of the annuntiation / or of the good tidinges / that she had of Christis comynge / in Orleance, the yere of our lorde .1529. the .5. day of Aprill.

The determinacio~ of the faculte of the decrees of the vniuersite of Paris.

IN the name of our lord. so be it. There was put forth before vs, the Deane and college of the ryght counseilfull faculte of decrees of the vniuersite of Paris this question, whether the Pope myght dyspense, that the brother myght 3 mary the wyfe / that his brother had lefte, if maryage betwen his brother nowe deed and his wyfe were ones consummate. we, the dean and College of the forsaide facultie, after many disputacions and reasons made of bothe sides vpon this matter, and after great and longe tournynge and serchynge of bokes bothe of the lawe of god and of the popes lawe / and of the lawe Ciuill: we cou~sel and sey / that the pope hath no power to dispense in this forsayd case. In wytnesse whereof we haue caused this present wrytinge to be strengthed with the seale of our facultie / and with the signe of our scribe our chefe bydell. Gyuen in our co~gregation or assemble at saynt Iohn~ Lateranense in Parys / the .25. day of May / the yere of our lorde .1530.

The determinatio~ of these .ii. facultes / that is / of the Popes lawe / and the Ciuill lawe / of the vniuersite of Angewe.

NOt longe tyme sins ther were proposed vnto vs, the Rector and doctours regentes in lawe Canon and Ciuile of the vniuersite of Angewe, these two questions here folowynge. That is to witte, whether it is vnleful by the lawe of god, and the lawe of nature, for a man to mary the wyfe / that is lefte of his brother and that departed without childerne, but so that the mariage was co~summate. And ageyne / whether it is leful for the Pope to dispense in suche mariage. we the fore said Rector and doctours haue, accordynge to our custome and vsage, many tymes commen to gether / and sytten to dispute these questions, and to fynde out certaynly the treuth of them. And after that we had discussed and examyned many and dyuerse places, as wel of the lawe of god, as of the lawe of man / whiche seme to perteyne to the same purpose: and after that we had brought many reasons for bothe parties / and examined them: all thynges feythfully, and after good conscience consydered, and vpon sufficient deliberation and auisement taken: we define and determine / that nother by the lawe of god / nor of nature / it is permitted for any Christen man / no nat euin with the auctorite of the seate apostolyke, or with any dyspensation graunted by the pope / to mary the wyfe / that his 4 brother had lefte / all though his brother be departed without chyldren, after that mariage is ones fynisshed and consu~mate. And for witnesse of all these forsaide thynges / we haue co~maunded our scribe of our fore sayd vniuersyte to sygne this present publike instrume~t / and it to be fortified by the greatte seale of our sayde vniuersite. Inacted in the churche of seynt Peter in Angewe by our college / the yere of our lorde .1530. the .7. day of May.

The determination of the facultie of diuinitie of the vniuersitie of Paris.

THe Deane and the facultie of the holye diuinitie of the vniuersitie of Paris to all them / vnto whom this p~sent wryti~g shal come / wyssheth safetie in our sauiour Christe / whiche is the verye trewe safetie. where of late there is rysen a controuersie of great difficultie vpon the mariage betwene the mooste noble Henry the .viij. kynge of Englande / defendour of the faythe / and lorde of Irelande. &c. and the moste noble lady Catharine / quene of Englande / doughter of the Catholike king Ferdinande, which mariage was nat onelye contracte betwene her and her former husbande / but also consummate and finysshed by carnall intermedlynge, this question also was proposed vs to discusse and examine accordynge to Iustice and treuth / that is to say / whether that to marie her / that our brother deade without chyldren hadde lefte / be so prohibite by the lawe of god and of Nature / that hit can nat be made lefull by the popes dispensations / that any christian man shulde marye the wyfe, that his brother hath lefte. we, the foresayde deane and facultie callynge vnto our remembraunce howe vertuous and howe holy a thynge and howe agreable vnto our profession, vnto our duetie of loue and charitie / hit is for vs to shewe the waye of Iustyce and ryght, of vertue and honestie to them / whiche desyre to leade and passe ouer their lyfe in the lawe of our lorde with sicker and quiet conscience: wolde nat but be redy to satisfie so iuste and honest requestes. whervpon after our olde wonte, we came to gether vpon our othe in the churche of saynt Maturin 5 / and there for the same thynge had a solempne masse with deuout prayer to the holy goste / and also we toke an othe euery man to delyuer and to study vpon the foresayde question, as shulde be to the pleasure of god / and accorgynge to conscience. And after diuerse and many sessions or syttynges, whiche were had and continued in the churche of seynt Maturin, and also in the college called Sorbone, fro~ the viii. day of Iune to the seconde day of Iuly / when we hadde serched and examined throwe and throwe, with as moche dilygence as we coulde, and with suche reuerence and religion or co~science as becometh in suche a matter, bothe the bokes of holy scripture, and also the moste approued interpreters of the same, finally the generall and synodall councelles, decrees / and constitucions of the sacre holy churche / which by longe vsage and custome haue ben resseyued and approbate: we the foresayde Dean and faculte, disputinge vpon the fore sayde question, and makynge answere to the same: and that after the iugement and full consent of the moste parte of the facultie, haue concluded and determined, that the foresayde mariage with brothers wyues, departynge without chyldren, be so forbydden, bothe by the lawe of god / and of nature, that the pope hath no power to dyspense with suche maryages, whether they be co~tracte, or to be co~tracte. And for credence and beleue and witnes of this our assertion and determination, we haue caused the seale of our facultie, with our notaris signe to be put vnto this present writinge. Dated in our general congregation, that we kepte by an othe at saynt Maturins, the yere of our lorde .1530. the seconde day of Iuly

The determinacion of the vniuersite of Biturs.

VVe the Dean and facultie of diuinite in the vniuersyte of Biturs / bycause we wyll accordynge to the ensample of Paule the doctour of the ge~tiles / whiche dothe lyke wise in many places / wyl begyn our writynge with prayer / vnto al the beloued of god / amonge whom you most dere reders / vnto who~ we write, 6 be called / grace and peace and quietnesse of conscience come vnto you from god the father / and fro~ our lorde Iesu Christe. with in the octaues of whytsontyde / whyle we were gethered to gether all into one place both in body and mynde, and were sytting in the house of the foresayde Dean, there was a question put vnto vs ageyne, which had ben proposed vnto vs often tymes before, beinge no small question, which was this: whether the brother takyng the wife of his brother now deed, and the mariage ones consummate and perfecte, dothe a thynge, that is vnlefull, or no. At the laste when we had sought for the treuth of the thynge, and had perceiued and founde it out by moche labour and studye of euery one of vs by hym selfe, and by moche and often turninge of holy bokes / euery one of vs not corrupt, wherby we might the lesse haue obeyed the treuth, began as the holy goste dyd put in his minde, to gyue euery man one arbiterment and sentence, whiche was this: I haue wel perceyued in very trouthe with out regarde or respecte of any person, that those persones / whiche be rehersed in the .xviii. chaptre of the Leuiticall / be forbydden by the very lawe of nature to contracte matrimony to gether, and that this lawe can in no wyse be released by any auctorite of any man: by the whiche ther is made an abhomynable discouering of the brothers foulnes. And this is the signe of our comen bedyl & notary, & the seale of our foresayd facultie put vnto this present writynge the .x. day of Iune, the yere from the byrthe of Christe .1530. And by cause the foote of our wrytynge shal be of one forme or fasshion with the heed, as we began with prayer / so let vs ende, after the example of Paule that we spake of before, and sey: The grace and fauour of our lorde Iesus Christe / the charite and loue of god, and the communication of the holy gost be with you al. Amen.


The determination of the facultie of diuinitie of the vniuersitie of Bononye.

GOd best, & myghtiest, taught fyrste the olde lawe or testament with his owne mouth / to forme and fasshyon accordyng to loue and charitie the maners and lyfe of men. And seconde the same selfe god dyd take afterwardes manhode vpon hym, for to be the redemer of man: and so made the newe lawe or newe testament, nat onely to forme and fasshion accordynge to loue & charitie, the lyfe and the maners of men / but also to take away and to declare doubtes / the whiche dyd aryse in many cases: whiche whan they be ones clerely determined / shall helpe greatly to pfecte vertue and goodnes / that is to say / to perfecte loue and charite. wherfore we thought it euermore / that it shulde be our parte / to folowe these moost holy doctrines & lawes of our father of heuen / and that we lyghtned by the lyghte of god aboue / & of the holy gooste, shulde gyue our sentence and iudgement in hyghe and doutfull matters / after that we haue ones leyserly and sufficiently taken aduisement vpon the cause, and haue clerely serched out & opened the thyng by many reasons and writinges of holy fathers / as well for the one parte as for the tother / doynge nothing as nighe as we can rasshely or without deliberation. Therfore where as certaine great & noble men dyd insta~tly desyre vs / that we wolde with al dilige~ce possible loke for this case / that hereafter insueth: and afterwardes to gyue our iugeme~t vpo~ the same / accordynge to most equite ryght and conscience / sticking onely to the truth / all the doctours of diuinite of this vniuersitie / whan we had euery one by hym selfe examined the matter before at home in our houses, came all to gether in to one place / and there treated vpon hit many dayes / with as moche counnynge and lernynge as we coulde: we anon loked vpon the case to gether / we examyned hit to gether / we compared all thynge to gether: we handlynge throughly euery thynge by it selfe / dydde trie them euen as you wolde saye / by lyne and rule: we brought forthe all maner of reasons / whiche we thought 8 coulde be brought for the contrary parte / & afterwardes solued them. ye euen the resones of the mooste reuerende father Cardinal Caietaine, yea more ouer the Deuteronomi dispensation of styrring vp the brothers sede, and shortly all other maner of reasons and opinions of the contrarie partie, as many as semed to belonge to this pourpose. And this question / that was asked of vs was this / whether hit was forbydden onely by the ordynaunce of the churche / or els by the lawe of god / that a man myghte nat marye the wyfe lefte of his brother: departed without children. And if it were co~maunded by both the .ij. lawes nat to be done, whether the pope may dispence with any man to make suche mariage? the whiche question nowe that we haue examined it bothe by our selfe secretely, and also openly as dyligently and exactly as we coulde possible, and discussed it after the best maner that our witte wold serue, we determine / we gyue iudgement, we sey, and as stifly as we can we witnes / and without any doute / do stedfastly hold / that this mariage shulde be horrible / accursed / to be cryed out vpon / and vtterlye abhominable, not onely for a christen man / but also for any infidell / vnfeythful, or hethen. And that it is prohibite vnder greuous peynes and punysshementes by the lawe of god of nature and of man / and that the pope / though that he almost maye do all thynges / vnto whom Christe dyd gyue the keyes of the kyngdome of heuen / hath no power to gyue a dispensation to any man for to contracte suche a mariage for any maner of cause consideration or suggestion. And all we be redye at all tymes and in al places to deende and maynteine the treuth of this our conclusion. In wytnesse wherof we haue made this present writing, and haue fortified the same bothe with the seale of our vniuersitie, and also with the seale of the college of the doctours of diuinitie, and haue subscribed & signed it with our general and accustomed subscription. In the cathedrall churche of Bonony the .10. daye of Iune / the yere of our lorde 1530. vnder the popeshyppe of Clemente the· eyght.


The determination of the faculte of diuinitie of the vniuersitie of Padway in Italy.

THey / that haue written for the mayntenaunce of the catholike feyth / affirme that god best and mightiest dyd gyue the preceptes and co~mandementes of the olde lawe with his owne mouthe, to be an exampler for vs / wherin we might se bowe we shuld order our life & our maners / and this god had done before he became ma~. And after that he had put vpon hym our manhode / and was become redemer or byer of mankinde / he made the newe lawe or testame~t / and of his mere liberalitie dyd gyue it vs nat only for the cause beforesayd, but also to take away and declare al maner of doutes and questions / that myghte arise / the whiche ones opened and declared what their very true meanynge is / to the intent that therby we myght be made perfectly good / be greatly frutefull vnto vs and holsome / and seinge that this was the mynde of god in makyng these lawes / it hath ben our intent / and euermore shal be, as it becometh christen men / to folowe these most solempne ordinaunces of the moste hygh worke mayster god / and by the helpe of light, that is aboue the capacite of nature, to vtter our iudgement in al maner of doutes and harde questions. After that we had ones consydered the thynge after the best maner, and had by suffycient leyser made it clere by many euident reasons of bothe parties, and by many auctorites of fathers of the churche, determinynge no thinge, as nere as we can, rasshely or with out conuenient deliberation: seynge therfore that certeyne great orators or ambassadours dyd humbly praye vs / that we wolde wytsaue to serche out / with all the diligence that we coulde / this case folowynge: and afterwardes to gyue our sentence vpon the same, playnely & symply loking vpo~ the only treuth / all the doctours of diuinite of this vniuersite came to geder after that we had euery ma~ examined the thynge particularly at home in our owne houses, and haue beate~ it out with all lernynge and counnyng that we were able / anon, whan we were to gether, we cosydered, examyned, and weyed all thynges by 10 them selfe, and brought in all maner of reasons / whiche we thoughte myghte in any meanes be made to the contrarye / and without all colour or cloke dyd holly and clerely dissolue them, & take them awaye: and amongest al, euyn the dispensation by the lawe of the deuteronomi of styrrynge vp the brothers sede, and all maner other reasons and determinations to the contrary, that semed to vs to perteyne any thing to the purpose / we vtterly confuted and dispatched them. And the question, that was put vnto vs is this. whether that to marye the wyfe of our brother departed without children, is forbidde~ only by the lawe of the churche, or by the lawe of god also: and if it be forbydden by both the .ij. lawis / wheder the pope may dispe~ce with any man for suche matrimonie or no. whiche question nowe that we haue discussed it / and as farre as we coulde, haue made it clere / bothe priuately euerye man by hym selfe / & all to gethers openly / we say / iuge, decree / wytnesse, and for a treuth affirme / that such mariage is no mariage: yea that hit is to be abhorred and cursed of euerye christen man / and to be abhomynate as a greuous synne / and that it is as clerely as can be forbydden vnder moost crudell penalties by the lawe of nature, of god, and of man. And that the Pope, vnto whom the keyes of the kyngdome of heuen be commytted by Christe, the sonne of god, hath no power to dispense by ryghte and lawe for any cause or suggestion, or excuse / that any suche matrimonie shulde be contracte. for tho thynges / whiche be forbidden by the lawe of god / be nat vnderneth his power / but aboue hit / nor he is nat the vicar of god / as concernynge tho thynges / but only in suche thinges / as god hath nat determined him selfe in his lawe / but hath lefte them to the determination and ordinance of man. And to mainteine the truth of this our sentence and co~clusion / and for most certaine / & vndoubted defence of the same, we all of one mynde and accorde, shall at all tymes and in euerye place be redye. In wytnesse wherof we haue made this writinge, and haue auctorised it with the accustomed seale of our vnyuersitie, and also of our college of diuines. Dated at Padway in the church of the hermites of seynt Austen the .1. day of Iuly an. 1530.


The determination of the vniuersitie of Tolose.

THer was treated in our vniuersite of Tolose a very harde question, whether it is leful for the brother to mary her, whiche had ben wyfe vnto his brother now departed, and that without childerne. There was be syde this, a nother thynge / that troubleth vs very sore, whether, if the Pope, which hath cure of Christes flocke, wolde by his dispe~satio~, as men cal it, suffer this: that tha~ at the leest wise it myght be lefull. The Rector of the vniuersite called to cou~sell all the doctours regentes, that were that tyme at Tolose, for to shewe theyr myndes vpon this questio~ / and that not ones but twyse: for he iuged / that counsell gyuynge ought not to be hasted / nor done vpon heed, and that we had nede of tyme and space to do any thynge conueniently, and as it ought. At the last there came to gether in to one place all the best lerned and counningest doctours / both of holy dyuinite, and also doctours, that were most best lerned in bothe lawes, yea and finally as many as had any experie~ce in any matter, & were able to do any thing other by iudgement and discretion / or by eloquence, or by their excelle~t wyttes: and did swere, that they wolde obey the sacre holy cou~sels, and wold folowe the decrees of the fathers, whiche no man, that hath any good conscience / will violate or breke / and so euery man sayd his mynde / and the matter was debated and resoned diffusely and at large for both parties. In co~clusion we fell so faste vnto this poynt, that this was the sentence and determination, that our vniuersite / with one voyce of all / dyd determine and conclude, with moste pure and clere conscience, and defyled with no maner of leuen or corruption: that it is lefull for no man, nother by the lawe of god nor yet by the lawe of nature, to take her to wyfe, that his brother hath lefte. And seinge that it may not be done by the lawe of god, nor of nature, we answered al / that the Pope can not lose no ma~ fro that lawe / nor dispense with hym. And as for that thynge can not be contrary to our sentence & verdicte, that the brother in olde tyme was compelled by the lawe of the Deuteronomi to mary the brothers wyfe departed 12 without issue. For this lawe was but a figure and a shadowe of thinges to come, whiche vanisshed a wey, as soone as euer the lyght and treuthe of the gosspell apered. And bycause these thynges be thus, we haue giuen our sente~ce after this forme aboue, and haue commaunded that same to be signed by our notarie, whiche is our secretarie, and to be fortified and auctorised by the puttynge to of our autenticall seale of our vniuersite aforesayde. At Tolose the calendes or fyrst day of Octobre / the yere from the birthe of Christe .1530.

[leaf motif] The preface to the reder.

GEntyll indifferent reder thou hast here before the determinations and decrees / whiche the moost famous and moste noble vniuersities of al christendome haue with great consente, great iugement, and discretion, with great faith fulnes / and without any corruption, with great regarde / clerenes / and discharge of conscience made / and by theyr auctoritie confirmed vpon those leuitical lawes: by the whiche it is forbydden / that any man shulde marie the wyfe of his brother departed without chyldren / and we doubte nat / but these decrees and determinations ought of right and good reason to be beleued / both of the and also of all other / that be men of wysedome and discretion: and that be nothynge affectionate / but indifferent. For suche men wyll be well contente and satisfied alonely with the very truth it selfe / all though it be nat fortified with any wytnesse, nor sette forthe with pompe and plentie of reasons: so that suche men wolde nothinge doute / but that thynge oughte to be iudged as certayne and trewe / as possible may be / the whiche so many of the moost absolute / and moost wyse, and moost best sene men in all kynde of lernynge haue serched / beaten out / trased out, and in conclusion decreed and determined, with so great grauitie and sobre maner / with so great studie and diligence / and with suche leysour and deliberation. But parauenture there be some / the whiche wyll lyttell be moued from their opinion / that they haue ones taken / for all 13 those decrees and verdites of so great lerned and wysemen / and for al the agrement and auctoritie of so many and so excellent vniuersities / but wyll thynke / that hit is necessarie to entre hygher and deper yet into the knowlege of the treuth / and wyll nat grounde and stablysshe theyr beleue but euen vpon the foundacions and groundes of very truth selfe / whiche they them selfe haue spyed and clerely perceyued / and nat vpon other mennes sentences and iudgementes. Therfore we haue iudged / that we shulde do a thynge worthe our labour / if we dyd gather in to one smalle boke certayne reasons and auctorities / by the whiche it might be plainly and openly declared / that ther were very weighty and ryghtfull reasons / whiche were able to brynge so many lerned men into this true opinion. And in doing our diligence in this matter / hit semed to vs conuenient to folowe, as a certayne rule and lyne / nat only the auctorities of holy scripture / of holy cou~sailes and canons, and also of the most approued and resceyued doctours of the churche: but also the wytnesse of reason and nature / and to set before mens eies / as farre as scripture or reason, or fynallye nature semed vs to helpe, for the declaration and confirmation of the iudgement and mynde of these foresayde lerned men. And if so be it gentil reder / these thynges, that we shall sey, shall not fully satisfye thy marueilous exact iudgement, and shal be sene not to be greatly necessarye, and to proue but smally this matter, that we go aboute: there shalbe no cause for all that, why thou shuldest esteme the most weightie determination, and moste hyghe wisdome and lernynge of these vniuersyties, by our power and smalle lernynge: but shalte for thy naturall gentilnes pardon our weaknesse and sklendernesse of wytte and lernynge, the whiche was not able to do no better / & shalte loke for more weightye and piththie reasons of the vnyuersyties selues / whiche reasons as these vniuersities haue them in a redynes and at ha~de, so we doubte not, but of their humanitie and gentilnes they will gladly shew them to euery man, that will desyre them / and also shortly put them out openly to all the worlde. In the meane season, gentill indefferente reder, take in good worthe 14 our studie / and faythful diligence, and this our labour and enterprise, and loke ouer these wrytinges (suche as they be) gladly and indyfferently. And let it not be paynfull vnto the good reder / yf we tary in any place in this worke somewhat longe: for bothe the diffycultie and hardnesse of this thynge, and the maner of our intent and pourpose dothe necessarely require, that we shulde touche eche one thynge somwhat depely euen from the hede and very fountayne and begynnynge of hit. And farthermore, that we shulde declare and open all thynges some what at large and plentyfully, and that specyally in the fyfte chaptre of thys boke, wherby bothe the treuthe, playnely shewed, maye the more clerely be seen, and the errour, and false opynion of them, that be of the contrarie syde, maye be the more easely perceyued. And seinge, that this verdyte and iudgement of the Vnyuersytyes conteyneth chieffely two thynges / the whiche, as ye wolde saye / be the hyghe poyntes and heedes or issues of this determynation: The fyrste, that hit is forbydden, bothe by the lawe of god / and also by the law of nature / that any christen ma~ shulde marie the wyfe of his brother dyeng with out children. The seconde / that the Pope hath nat power to dispence vpo~ any suche mariages / whether they be contracte allredy / orels yet to be contracte. It lyked vs here fyrste and formoste to loke vpon the lawe of god / that we might clerely se the glorious bryghtnes of the treuthe of our lorde. For trewly who so euer wyll diligently loke with suche eies / as he oughte vpon the lawe of god / puttyng of clene the coueryng of his flesshe and bloudde / with the desyres, affections, and lustes of the same / by the whiche a manne is blynded, that he can nat se the trewthe of god / he shall without doubte vnderstande / what thynges be of god, what thynges be of Christe, & what thinges be of the spirite or goste. For truely the same lawe doth perfectely teache / what thynges so euer belonge to the feare and drede of god, what to the euermore enduring treuth / what to the euerlasting iustice of god / what to the power and vertue of god / what to the grace and fauour and to the free benefites of god / what to feyth, beleue, and truste / 15 what to knowlegynge of synne / what to holynesse / what to perfection / to rightnes / to equitie and conscience / to loue and charitie / breuely / what thinges before god are taken for cleane or vncleane / fyled or vnfiled / comely and acceptable / abhominable and cursed / holy and vnholy. All these thynges teacheth the sayde lawe of god. And the historie of Moses (concernynge the sacrament of matrimony) is after this maner and forme folowynge.

[leaf motif] The fyrste chaptre.

GOd that is best and almightie / after that he by his power / whiche can in no wise be expressed / had made heuen & erthe, and all thynges, that be conteyned within the compasse of the same, and at the laste had made Adam also / he sawe accordynge to his incredible knowlege and wysedome / that it was nat conuenie~t, nor yet good, that Adam shuld leade his lyfe in Paradyse solitary and all alone without company / and destitute of all helpe and comforte. for god made hym naturally to lyue in amitie and frendship / in loue and good wyll / and hadde grauen nowe alredy in his soule / with his fynger of the holy goste / certayne generall vnder standynges / perceyuynges / and knowleges / the whiche shulde nat onely moue and sturre hym to the loue of god and man / to amitie and frendeshyppe / and to other dueties / dedes / and offices of vertue: but also shulde greatly helpe and strength hym / make hym able and of power to performe and fulfyll those same offices of vertue / after suche maner as they ought to be done. Therfore god / soone after he hadde made Adam / cast hym in a deed slepe / and toke out one of his rybbes of his side / and made it a woma~. And wha~ he had broght her vnto Ada~ / & had coupled them straitly to gethers, by the bo~de & knot of mariage / by and by he made the lawes of mariage / sayenge by the mouth of Ada~, Nowe this bone of my bones and flesshe of my flesshe. For the which cause a man shal leaue his father and mother / and shall stycke vnto his wyfe: and they shall be two in one flesshe or body / or two shall be made one flesshe or bodye. But the deuyll hauynge 16 enuy at their felicitie / by and by came vpo~ them by subtiltie and suche crafte / as can nat be tolde / and dyd nat ceasse tyl he had allured them into the snare of synne. And therfore they were owtlawed and dreuen forthe of Paradyse / and were co~pelled to till and labour the erth. There when they had applyed them selfe to brynge forthe children, and nowe by proces of tyme the multitude of men was increased vnto an infinite noumbre: god seynge / that moche was the malyce and vyce of men in the erth, and that all the thought and mynde of the herte of manne was sette and bent euermore and at all tymes to noughtynesse and synne, in so moche that they toke them wyues at aduentures, whome so euer they hadde chosen / sparynge or forbearynge no maner degree of affinitie or kynred: oure lorde repentynge hym selfe / that he hadde made man, brought in the waters and Noes fludde vppon the erthe / and slewe all the flesshe / in the whiche was the spirite of lyfe vnder heuen / excepte those fewe, whome he commaunded to go in to the arke or shyppe of Noe, the whiche fewe whanne after the drownynge of the worlde / they were called out of the shyppe abrode, that is to witte, whan that our lord was atone ageyne with mankinde, he gyuyng his blessing to Noe & his children / whan he was about to publisshe vnto them agayne the lawes of maryage: Fyrste and before all thynges he commanded them to do their dutie in mariage, and to encrease and multiplie / and fyl ful the erthe. But after this whan certayne hundredes of yeres were paste, and nowe the children of Israel, after theyr departyng out of Egypte (where they hadde dwelled of a longe tyme) had ben in the wyldernesse .lx. dayes more or lesse / and had pyght their tentes ageynste the mounte of Oreb, and there our lorde had shewed vnto Moses, with wonderfull religion and fearefulnes, nat onely the commaundementes and iudgementes / the whiche he wolde to be gyuen to his people: but also had instructe hym at large of the buyldynge of the tabernacle / and of the ornamentes of the same, of sacrifice doinge, and of bole bourned sacrifice / and of the place and tyme of the same / of the prestes of the kynred of Leui / of the difference 17 of meates / of the clensynges of leprijs / and of other mistycal thinges: in the whiche outwardly appered a shadowe of feythe / and of good maners / not the very thynge in dede: our lorde called Moses vnto hym agayne out of the tabernacle of witnesse or promyse / and by cause that the tyme was euen at hande, for the people of Israhell to entre into the londe, that god hadde promysed them, he commaunded Moses ageyn / that by his worde and co~maundement he shulde admonysshe the people of newe / of kepynge the moralle preceptes / and that perteyne to good maners / and to the orderyng and wel rulinge of theyr lyfe / and that he shulde make them playn and open vnto them / after the moost largest and playnest maner that he coulde. Therfore by cause, that god dyd study / and dyd care before al thinges / that his people / whom he had chosen for his owne propre flocke / shuld with suche chastitie and pure holynes / as becometh / kepe their matrimony / the whiche is in honour and reuerence amongest al folkes: And bicause they shulde kepe their beddes vnspotted and vndefiled / nor shulde nat pollute them selfe with suche maner of mariages, as he had abhorred and had in abhominacion nowe of longe tyme amongest the hethens / & had ryghtfully be reue~ged vpon them by mooste greuous punysshementes, bycause they were vncharytable / incest / and a cursed / our lorde co~maunded Moses, that he shulde prescribe vnto his people / lawes of matrimoni, that shuld be co~formable and agreing with honestie and shamefastnes naturall / and that he shulde vtterly forbydde suche maryages / whiche had foulenes and dishonestie in them. And therfore our lorde vsed these wordes vnto Moses / in the .xviij. chaptre of the Leuiticall / sayenge: O Moses / speake vnto the children of Israhell / speke and tell them / nat thy worde / nor thy commaundement / but myne. For I my selfe / their very lorde and god / do teche them this / and this commaunde them / that they lyue nother after the abhomynable custome of the Egiptiens / from whose miserable bo~dage I haue delyuered them into perfecte and full libertie, by my valiaunt arme and myghtie power: nor yet after the vngracious vsages, and maners of the Cananees / whose lande 18 I wyll gyue vnto them / and wyll brynge them into it· but that they from hensforth obserue and kepe my commaundementes / my iudgementes / and my lawes, and that they folowe them, and lyue after them. For besyde other myscheuous vices / this thyng also is leful and customable amonge those hethens / to myngle or marye them selfe by moost shamefull luste and plesure of their bodyes with women / that be most nyest of their bloud / and of their affinitie / puttynge no difference betwene them and other women. Therfore I wyll haue my people to be very farre from their maners and conditions. And therfore I myn owne selfe, theyr verye lorde and god, saye vnto them, & co~mande them / that no ma~ so hardy to come nye any woman / that is nere of his bloud / for to discouer her foulenes or shame, as to his owne mother, to his step mother, to his syster, to his nece / to his aunte or fathers syster / to his mothers syster, to the daughter of his son in lawe, to the daughter of his daughter in lawe, or to his wyues syster. Also no man shall take the wyfe of his brother, and no man shal discouer the foulenes of his brothers wyfe, bycause it is the foulenes of his brother. For who so marieth his brothers wyfe / dothe a thynge / that is vnlefull, he shall be without sonnes or heyres male. Therfore lette nat my people be polluted with none of these thynges, with whiche all the hethyns be defyled / whome I shall cast out before their faces, and with whom that lande is polluted / and I shall visite & loke on the mischeuous sins of that lande / that it shall vomette and spewe forth the inhabitantes of hit. Lette them kepe my lawes, and my iugementes / and se they do none of all these abhominacions, whether he be of the countrey borne, or a tyll man / that is a straunger amonge them. For the dwellers of this lande / whiche were in hit before them / and haue polluted hit / haue done all those cursed thynges. Therfore let them beware / lest that whan they haue done like thingis, the lande vomet & spewe them out / likewyse as it hath vomet and spewed out the nacion / that was there before them. For euery soule, that shall do any of these abhominations / shal perisshe from the myddes of my people, nor shall nat be rekened amongest my holy people. 19 ¶And trewly hytherto we haue shewed you / by a certain breue exposition / and that only vpo~ the feythe & credence of the most approued doctours, that be / and also as shortely as we coulde / almost all that euer is prescribed and commaunded in the olde testament, by the mouth of god hym selfe, vpon the begynninge and fyrst ordyna~ce of maryages / and of the lawes thereof / and more ouer vpon the impedymentes or lettes of maryage / by the meane of kynrede and affinitie / the which haue place at this day. wherby it may easely be perceyued, that suche an impedyment of mariage is expressely fou~de in the holy scripture / wher by persones be made vnlefull to contracte matrimonie / that is to say / the impedime~t by nerenesse of bloudde, as Moses called hit: by the whiche we vnderstande bothe them / that be of kynred, and them that be of affinitie also, and that nat generally in al kynsfolke / but specially in those degrees and persons, whiche bothe we haue rehersed / and they be expressely rekned vp in the foresayde .xviij. chaptre of the Leuiticall. And by the same foresayde thynges a man may also well se, that no man can pretende any colour or cloke / or fynde any maner of cauillation, wherby that man, which hath maried his brothers wyfe, shulde nat be iuged of all the holle people, nat onely to haue contemned and dispised god, the whiche hath with so great maiestie co~maunded the contrary, but also to haue offe~ded by infectynge and corruptinge the maners of the people, by suche a mischiuous example, to haue done agaynst the lawes of nature, and also to haue broken fouly and vngodly, the ryghtes and holy kepynge of shamefastnes and mariage, finally to haue hyndred vniuersally the propagacion and increasynge of loue and charitie betwene christen people. For who so euer wyll consyder aryghte, and accordynge to reason, the order, the strength, and vertue of these lawes / and also the wyse intent and reason of the makinge of them: he shal sone perceiue, howe true it is, that we haue seyde. And first of al consider / howe greatly these lawes of matrimoni do helpe for the maynteininge & exercise of vertue, of chastite, of clennes, of holynes, & puritie of mariage, of natural demurenes, shamefacidnes, & reuerence, that ought to be betwene kynsfolke, 20 specially in mariage, of propagacion or increasement of loue and charite, and finally of diuers other dueties, offices, and dedes of vertue, whiche both of them selfe be honest & good / and besydes forth be necessary also to the purchasing & obteining of euerlastinge felicitie. Ageyn ponder, how god, most of power, and most best, doth exhorte in a maner by certaine obtestations or affectuous / & harty desiringes & prayeng{is}, nat only the Iues / but also the strangers / that lyue after Moses lawe / to perfourme and fulfyll these foresayde lawes, nat onely for his benefites and goodnes, that they haue had, & shulde haue of him, but also for his owne auctorite and maieste, which is most great, and in no wise to be disobeyed. Ouer & beside al this consider, with howe great strengthe & weyghte of wordes, and with howe great care and thought god, in decreenge these lawes / doth often reherse / sayeng· It is nat for a man, it is foulenes, it is mischeuousnes, it is cursidnes / it is abhomination, it is nat to be spoken, it is nat lefull / it is agaynst the very lawes of god / breuely hit is fylthye and sklaunderous / that any man shulde do any suche thyng· Last of all & for a conclusion consider, what and howe greuous punysshementes god dothe threten them with, whan he dothe require of them the kepyng of this lawes: ye and more ouer, how sore he hath taken vengeaunce, and hath punysshed the hethens, by cause they had contracte cursed mariages within these degres, and that before this lawe was made. And he dothe threten also lyke, and not a whitte lesse punisshementes, vnto the Iues / and hethins / that professe the Iues lawe / if at any tyme they dyd co~mitte like enormities. Forsoth if any man will wey well / and examin these foresayde thynges / religiously / and with good conscience / so as they oughte to be / howe shal he nat streight approue and allowe the conclusions and determinations of those Vniuersities / and to thynke certaynely, that it is forbydden bothe by the lawe of god / and the lawe of Nature / that any christen man shulde take to wyfe his brothers wydowe. For seynge that these prohibitions (as we shall here after more largely declare) were hallowed & founded by god hym selfe vpon the feare of god / vpon the treuthe, vpon iustice / vpon holynesse, 21 and equite, and conscience, on feyth, apon perfetnesse and ryghtnes, and on charite / and for to declare and open the knowlege of our synne / for to declare the knowlege of the grace and fre goodnes of god, for clennes / for comelinesse / finally for good reasonable and holy obedience / or seruice of god / and suche as shuld be to our lorde god pleasaunt and acceptable / what man, hauynge pure conscience in his soule, doth not iudge suche forbidden mariages to be incestuous, foule, vncleane, abhominable, and a cursed before god and manne? And what man, ye though he were gouernour of all the holle worlde, if his conscience pricked hym for suche incest, wyll not feare the terrible iudgement of god? Fyrst / leest he shulde prouoke and brynge vpon hym selfe the vengeance of god / as dyd the sonnes of Cain, the whiche were drowned in Noes floudde, by cause they did fouly abuse their systers and their brothers wyues, as approued doctours do saye. Seconde, lest he shulde be constrayned to flee his countrey, and his children / either to be distroyed or disherited, lyke as the kynges of Canaan were serued / and as it came in tyme paste to the kynge Iechonias. Finally / leest that after this lyfe, he fall also into the tourmentes of euerlastynge punisshement. For here you se before your eies the sacre holy lawes of god / here you se the lyuely prophecyes, and wordes of excedynge vertue and strengthe, the whiche be more persynge, as Paule sayth / than any double edged sworde / whiche ronnethe through, til they haue diuided the life and the soule / and haue deuided the ioyntes & the mary. whiche wordes, seing they be so playne and open, that if any man will adde and put any thinge vnto them / it shulde be ieopardie, leest he shulde be reproued, and founde false, and a lyer / accordynge to Salomons sayenge: Forsothe it becometh a christen harte more to regarde the wordes and auctoritie of god / whiche so doth forbydde / so hath in abhominacion, so dothe punysshe and reuenge suche matrymonie, that is contracte with the brothers wyfe / than any maner auctoritie of men, or any felicitie of this worlde, that shulde brynge a man to so great vice and vngodlynesse, to so great dedly remorse, and tearinge a sondre of a mans mynde and conscience. For 22 who doth nat vnderstande, that we ought rather to obeye god than man / and that hit shall be smalle proffyte to a man, if he wynne all the worlde / and lose his soule. For if he lose his soule, he leseth his body also. And truely it is a heuy wynnynge / for the whiche a man leseth hym selfe: that is to saye / his bodye and his soule / into euerlastynge damnacion.

[leaf motif]The seconde Chaptre.

THerfore all thoughe a good and a christen reder / after that he hath ones sene these sayenges of god / can not resonably desire any thyng more to moue his co~scie~ce / that he shud surely beleue, that he can nat breake this Leuiticall forbyddynges, that a man shulde nat marie his brothers wyfe, without greuous sinne / and transgression both of the lawe of god, and of the lawe of nature also: we neuerthe lesse wyll brynge forthe also wytnesse of the lawe of the gospell, suche as shall be thought to helpe for the clerynge of this matter, and also we shall shewe / what the sacre holy counsayles / and the best lerned and moost approued doctours of the churche haue iuged in this matter. And first of al the auctoritie of saynt Iohn~ and saynt Paule doth maynteine and confyrme the sentence of these vniuersities. The auctorite of saynt Paule, where as he gyueth his iudgement, that christen men, euen at this tyme / are bounde to kepe that other Leuiticall lawe / that a man shulde nat mary his stepmother / whiche law was made and publisshed in the same place / the same text / by the same sprite / and the same selfe tyme, that this other law was / that a man shulde nat marye his brothers wyfe. And Paule calleth that vnclenlines or fornication, vtterly agaynst Nature, and beastly / that a man shulde marie his fathers wife. Ageyn the auctoritie of saint Iohn~ is playn / where as he openly rebuketh Herode the kynge / sayenge: It is not leful for the to haue thy brothers wyfe. For what so euer the interpretatio~ or vnderstandyng of those wordes is / whether they be vnderstande of his brother beyng a lyue or deed: yet this thynge is sure / as it is also sene to great lerned men, that saynt Iohn~ dydde take those wordes out of the Leuiticall 23 boke. And by cause that those thynges, whiche he did saye, shulde haue the more auctorytie, strengthe, and vertue, he pourposely did rebuke and reproue the shamelesse & incest life of Herode, not bi his owne wordes, but by the wordes of god. For it shulde haue bene to no pourpose, to haue layde any crime to kynge Herodes charge for this thynge, vpon any other cause / seinge that Herode was an alien and an heathen: and therfore was not forbydden by none other lawe, wherby he myghte not marye his brothers wyfe / ye and thoughe his brother had lefte .x. childerne by her. for as the prohibitions of the lawe Canon they were nat that tyme made / & the lawe Deuteronomi dyd bynde the Iues onely. wherfore seinge that this (no doute) most rightfull sentence of saint Iohn~ was giuen agaynst kynge Herode an hethen man, generally and without any exception / lymitation / or distinction / nor hit is nat restreined vnto the wyfe of his brother lyuyng / or of his brother leauyng children, what other thynge shulde we thinke that saynt Ihon~ did meane? then that this Leuiticall lawe / that a man shulde not marie his brothers wyfe, dothe indefferently belonge vnto all men / as well hethens as Iues / by cause it is merueilous agreable with naturall reason, and that all christe~ men are necessarely bounde vnto the obseruatyon or kepynge of the same, as well as they be to the kepynge of the co~mandement of god and of nature? For though we graunte / that Moses lawe was not taken a wey, specially amonge them / vnto whom the gospell was not yet shewed, vntyll suche tyme as the gospell / and this happy tidinges of Christ was published and openly declared vnto them / yet all that euer is conteined in Moses lawe, as many as belonge either to iudgement / or to cerimonies, they were deed by and by and of no strength vnto them, which all redy did knowe, and did preache and teache, that Christe / grace / or fauour of god / and the gospel was come. And truly it is not reasonable to beleue / that Iohn~ wolde haue vsed suche witnesse, or that he wold haue shedde his bloudde, and haue died in the quarell, to maintaine the truth of those lawes / whose credence & auctorite he knewe well before, that they were allredy vaneshed a wey, & of nomore effecte, 24 or at leste, that they shulde ceasse and be take~ awey sone after. Furthermore Paule dothe greuously rebuke the hedes and rulers, and the comunalte of the Corynthes / by cause they suffered one of the citye of Corinthe to be conuersante amonge them vnpunyshed, whiche beynge blynded, I wot not by what errour, parauenture by pretence of lybertie of the gospell, hadde take~ his stepmother to wyfe. Ye and more ouer he dothe condempne the same selfe felowe vnto the most greuous punisheme~t of exco~munication, not so moche by cause he had done agaynst the lawe / as bycause he hadde done ageinst nature, saynge / that is suche fornication, as is not euin amonge the hethens, whiche be led or ruled by the lawe of nature: menynge (no doubte) that nature dothe abhorre / that one & the same selfe flesshe / that is to sey the fader and the son / shuld haue to do with one woma~ / & by this it can not but be euide~t & clere to euery man / that seing Paule doth iudge / that this lawe of Moses / that no ma~ shuld mari his stepmoder, ought to be kept eue~ now amo~ge christe~ men. And seing that he doth openly sey / that such fornication is vtterly vnnaturall and beastly / where a man hath a do with his fathers wyfe, that is to say / with her that is nyghe vnto hym / he semeth playnely to meane thus / that surely moche lesse it is lefull for christen folkes to marye women / that be more nere of theyr bloudde / and that al those thinges / which be rekened vp in the same Leuiticall lawe / be (doubtles) in lyke maner forbydden / for as moche as al those prohibitions be grou~ded vpon one reason / that is to saye / bycause the man & the woman be one flesshe / and therfore be agaynste the honestie and shamefacednes or demurenes naturall. And this same thynge is proued also manifestly by this / that the apostel in the same place also, doth vse this worde of fornicacion, by the whiche worde not only he / but also all the other apostelles / all moste euer more in their writynges / are wonte to comprehende all those vnlefull maryages / and foule couplynges, that be forbydden in the boke Leuitical. For vnder the same maner also Paule priuely and couertly dothe (no doubte) condempne all those / which breke these prohibitions of matrymonye / and foule / vncleane / vnlefule / and to god abhomynable 25 commixtio~s / where he exhorteth the Ephesyens / that no fornication / or vnclennesse, or fylthynes shulde be ones named or spoken of amonge them / and wheras / he writinge vnto the Galates / techeth them / that fornication / vnclennesse / and lechery / be carnall workes. For saynt Hierome, declaring the same selfe place / saith: The first worke of the flesshe is fornicatio~ / the whiche amonge the other .vij. vices is the mooste greattest synne / bicause that by the vncleanes of the flesshe the temple or church of god / that is to say / the soule and the body of man, is polluted and defiled.

The seconde worke of the flesshe is called vnclenes / whom foloweth her companion lechery. For as in the olde lawe, where it is written of crimes and sinnes / that be nat to be spoken / whiche are done secretly / and it is a very foule thing euen to name them / lest the mouthe of the speaker / and the eares of the herers shuld be defiled / all suche vyces the scripture hath comprehended them generally / sayenge: Make you the children of Israhell to be shamefacid and aferde of al vnclenes. Euen after the same maner the apostel, in this place also / doth name and call all other extraordinary and vnlefull pleasures / and also the actes that be done in mariage selfe vnclennesse and lecherye / if they be nat done with shamefacidnes and honestie / and as vnder the eies and in the syght of god / and onely bicause they wil take peyne, and do their duetie to bringe forthe childerne. For saynt Augustyne writeth, that lyke wise as vnder the name of thefte in the .x. commaundementes is vnderstande all maner of vnlefull vsurpynge or medlinge with an other mans good: and vnder the name of adulterye must be vnderstande forbidden al maner of vnleful medlinge to gether, and all maner of vnleful vse of those membres: So pleinly all maner of vnlefull couplynge or maryeng to gether of man and woman is called in scripture foulenes / and all adulterie and foulenesse or foule, and vncleane marienge also, in scripture is called fornicacion. For al though, as Isodore saithe, al men / that do leudely abuse theyr bodyes / haue nat one wyll of theyr foule dealynge: yet howe some euer a man dothe pollute hym selfe by pleasure of the bodye, all is called fornicacion. For of delyte and pleasure of 26 doing fornicatio~, there come many & diuers foule lustes and vices: ageyne whiche the kingdome of heuen is shutte / and man deuided & departed fro~ god. Furthermore the apostels in the cou~cell / that they called & kept through the holy gost in Hierusale~, went about to p~scribe & shew what poynt{is} of Moses law they / that had {pro}fessed Christes religion / & were become Christes men, shuld be bou~d to kepe or to forbere, & they made a decre worde for word as here foloweth. It is thought co~uenient vnto the holy goste, & to vs, that there shuld be no further burdon laide vpon you, than these necessary thynges / that is to saye / that ye abstein from contaminations of idols, & from fornicacio~, from eatinge of beastes / that be strangled to dethe / & from eatinge of bloud of beastes. In the whiche place doubtles they couertly / vnder the generall name of fornicacion, dyd forbyd all maner of couplinge and mariage vnlefull and prohibite by the lawe / and dyd prohibyte the selfe same thynge, whiche was vnderstande vnder the name of fornicacion / after the meanyng and entent of the olde law. For seing that they do forbid fornicacio~, euen so as it is forbid by the rules and co~mandementes of the law / it can nat be / but we must nedes thinke / that here in this decre of the apostels / mariages vnlefull / contrary to the disposition of the lawe / be also forbydden. For of those mariages there was no nede for the apostels to haue made further constitutions / or newe prouisions for them. for that thinge that is nat changed, wherfore is it forbydden to stande? And seinge that these Leuitical lawes of god were nat cha~ged: it foloweth, that they dyd stande styl in their olde strengthe and auctortie: and by this reason the apostels had no nede to make a newe lawe / but forbyddynge fornication generallly / dyd forbyd all those vnlefull mariages / that god had forbydden before in the .18. chaptre of the Leuitical. ¶And therfore lette no man flatter and glose hym selfe / as though these co~mandmentes were light / or these reasons of litle weight or regarde / whan that you se euidently / that they be great fou~dacions and groundes of our feythe / layde by the holy counsaile of the apostels / and as ye wolde saye the stronge pyllers and vpholders of the churche / to dryue out fornicacion and 27 idolatrie: vnto the whiche thynge these fornicacions came verye nere. For euerye christian man doth perteyne vnto the churche or companye / for the whiche Christe / willingly gaue hym selfe to sanctifie it, and make it sacre and holy / and to purge and clense hit with the wasshynge of water through the worde of lyfe. And ageyne al we be membres & partes of Christes owne bodye, and we be of his bones. Therfore we had nede to take sure kepe / that no man with foule and vngodly mariages do defyle and pollute the temple or churche of our lordes body / wherin dwelleth the spirite of our lorde. For who so defileth the temple or churche of god / our lorde shall distroye hym. Wherfore me semeth / that it is declared manifestly inough by these forsayde reasons / that these prohybicions of mariage haue auctoritie and strength euen at this day / nat onely by Moses lawe / but also by the gospell / and by the ordynaunce of thapostels / and they be both of goddis lawe / & of the lawe of nature most hollely made / and euermore to be obserued and kepte / and at no tyme to be broken. ¶Nowe to come to the doctours of the churche. Tertulian / the most oldest writer of all that were sins the tyme of the apostels, is author and dothe wryte / that this Leuitical forbyddynge / that a man shulde not mary his brothers wyfe / was brought in / taught / and ordeyned specially and by name euen of Christe him selfe and his apostels / bycause that all the holle churche and company of Christes faith shulde obserue and kepe it with all deuocion and reuere~ce. For the same Tertulian disputeth agaynst Marcion vpon this poynt / that Christ in the gospel dyd excuse rather then distroye Moses constitution of the lawe of diuorse / or departynge of man and wyfe. This matter / saythe he / of diuorse is nat here brought in sodeinly of Christe / but it taketh his rote and grou~de of that thinge / that Iohn~ maketh mencion of. For Iohn~ did sore rebuke Herode the kyng / by cause he had, contrarye to the Leuiticall lawe / maryed the wyfe of his brother / whiche was deed, and leste a doughter / that he had of her. And therfore Iohn~ was caste into prison by kynge Herode, and afterwarde by hym slayne. Therfore saythe Tertulian / that after there was mencion 28 made of Iohn~ / and what ende folowed of hym / our lorde for an example of vnlefull maryages and adulterie dyd vehemently crie out vpon kinge Herode / sayeng openly and playnely, that euery man also was an adulter, who so euer dyd marye her / that was departed fro~ her husbande / that ther by he might make the vngodlines and abhominacion of Herode the more greuous and heinous / whiche had maried her / that was departed from her husbande / as well by his deth as if she had ben diuorsed fro~ him / specially seing that his brother had a daughter by her / so that she was maryed vnto hym vnlaufully / and hit were but for this thinge / bicause he dyd it by instinction and mocion of foule luste of the body / and nat by instinction and mocion of the lawe / and therfore slewe the prophet, which was the meynteyner of the Leuiticall lawe.

And the same Tertulian also writeth in an other place: Bycause, saythe he, that certayne persones some tyme do saye, that they haue no thing to do with Moses law / whiche Christe doutles did nat take away / but fulfylled and made hit perfecte, do some tyme take those thinges of the lawe / that lyketh them, and make for their purpose: playnly we also say this / that the law is departed and gone, as touchynge this poynte / that accordinge to the mynde and sayenge of the apostels / the burdens of the lawe / whiche our fathers were nat able to beare / be vtterly ceassed and taken aweye. But as for those thynges that perteyne to Iustyce and vertue / do remayne holle / nat onely reserued / but also amplified and increassed / so that our instyce and goodnes / whiche be christian people / shulde be moche greatter and perfecter than the iustice of the scribes and phariseis / and be suche iustyce / as a very iuste man ought to haue. And our chastite likewise shulde excel and passe theyrs / and in no poynt be lasse than theyrs. Nowe bicause it is co~manded in Moses lawe / that a man shuld take to mariage his brothers wyfe / that is departed without children / bicause he shulde stir vp sede / or gette issue to his brother: And bycause this thyng may happen often tymes to one persone / as that one woman may be maried to .vi. or .vij. bretherne / one after an other / for lacke of issue by the former brother / accordinge to the subtile question of 29 the Sadduces in the gospell: therfore some do thynke / that the oftennes of mariage is permysed also in other cases. But these men shulde haue vnderstanden first of all the reason and consideration of this precept / & so they shulde haue well knowen / that this reason is nowe ceassed and one of the thinges / whiche be nowe voide and of no strengthe nor auctoritie. For a man was bounde of necessite to marie the wife of his brother / whiche was departed without chyldren: Fyrste bycause that as yet that olde blessyng of god: Increse you and multiply, ought to run forth and continue. Seconde by cause the children were punisshed for the fathers fautes. Thirdly bycause that the drye and baren persones were had for defamed persons: therfore an ordynaunce was made / that they shulde haue issue by other of theyr kynne / as ye wold say by a proctour / and bigotten after the dethe of the father / bycause that they / whiche were departed without issue / nat by the faute of nature & by preuencion of deth shulde not therfore be iudged accursed and vnhappy. But nowe the blessynge of encresynge and multiplyeng bodily and carnally is ceassed / bicause the worlde is at an ende. For the apostle induceth & counsayleth vs / sayenge. There is no more, but that they also, whiche haue wyues, shuld be, as if they had none, bicause the tyme is shorte. And agayn, The soure grape that our fathers dyd eate / that is the sinne that they dyd / doth no more stonysshe, or set on edge, the tethe of the childerne. For euery man shall dye for his owne synne. And more ouer the baren nowe be nat all onely without infamy and rebuke, but also haue deserued thanke & fauour of god / being inuited and admitted into the kingedome of heuen. And therfore nowe this lawe, that a man shuld succede into his brothers mariage, or that he shuld marie his brothers wyfe, is nowe vtterly deed and buryed: & the contrary of this lawe hath place, that a man shuld nat succede into his brothers mariage, nor marie his brothers wife: And by this (as we said before) that lawe whiche is ceassed / and is no more of strength / by cause the reason of it is taken away or ceassed / can nat be a co~uenient prosse for an other thinge. ¶Therfore seinge that these thing{is} before said were writen of Tertulia~ / 30 at that tyme, whan the church had made very fewe lawes, or truly none at all, beside tho thi~g{is}, which Christ him selfe & his apostels had taught / it is plainly to be beleued that this law, that a man shuld nat marie his broders wife / came by the ordinance of Christ & his apostels / & that it was renued / co~firmed / & declared / as ye wolde say, by a new conuena~t & agreme~t & by a latre testame~t, as a law very worthy to be obserued of al christian men for euer more, and that ought to be kept with al reuere~ce & religio~. ¶And that holy ma~ saint Gregory, whiche for his great lernynge and vertue was named Great / dothe greatly confirme the same thinge / whiche whan saint Augustine the bysshop of the Englysshe men, had in tyme past writen to him for counsell / whether two brothers germayn myght marie ij. sisters / which were descended of a stocke farre from them, he answereth, that this thinge in all cases was lefull to be done, by cause there is nothinge fou~de in holy scripture / that is thought to speke ageynst this poynte. And agayne / whan he was asked of the same bysshoppe / vnto what degree Christis faithfuls might marye with their kynsewomen / and whether it was lefull for them to marie with their stepmothers / & with their brothers wiues / whom at that tyme they called cosyns / he answered in order to both two questions in this maner. There is a certayne erthly and worldly law within the dominio~ of Rome / that the sonne and daughter of brother and syster / or of two brothers germayns / or of two sisters / may be maried to gether. but we haue lerned by experie~ce / that ther coulde neuer issue come of suche mariage / and the holy lawe of god forbyddeth vs to discouer the foulenes of our cousyns. wherfore it muste nedes be amongest faith full or Christian people, that if they, that be of kynne, will laufully mary / that they be in the thirde or fourth degre of kynred. For they, that be in the seco~de degre / whiche we spake of before, maye in no case be maryed to gether. And as for a man to be maried with his stepmoder / it is a greuous synnne. why so? bicause it is written in the lawes of god, thou shalte nat discouer the foulenes of thy father. For although the sonne can nat discouer the foulenes of the father: yet bicause it is written / The man 31 and wife shalbe two in one flesshe or body: doutles who so shall presume to discouer the foulenesse of his stepmother / whiche hath ben one flesshe and body with his father / he in dede doth discouer the foulenes of his father. Ageyn, it is forbidden by the Leuiticall lawe, that a man shulde myngle or marye with his cosyn, that is to sey his brothers wyfe, bycause that she / being ones ioyned with the former brother, is made his flesshe: and for the same thynge saint Ihon~ Baptist loste his heed, and by an holy martyrdome was brought to his ende. Vnto whom it was not seyde / that he shulde deny Christe / yet he was slayne for confessynge Christe. But bycause our lorde Iesus Christe had sayde: I am the treuth / saynt Iohn~ truely shed his bloud for Christe / by cause he was slayne for the treuth. But bycause there be some amo~ge the Englysshe people / whiche whyle they were yet infidels or vnfaythfuls / as hit is sayde / haue myngled them selfe by suche abhomination, and not to be spoken mariages / they muste be warned / whan they come to the faith / that they absteyne and forbere their carnal pleasure betwene man and wife, and that they beleue and grau~t / that it is a greuous sinne to vse it. let them feare the terrible iudgement of god / lest for a lyttell carnall pleasure they falle into the tormentes of euerlastinge paynes. ¶Nowe reder marke diligently with me these wordes of saint Gregory, & consider me here in his writinge .iii. or .iiii. thinges. Fyrst that the most holy & most excelle~t lerned doctor, both in the law of god, & of ma~ vtterly & plainly affirmeth, these Leuitical lawes, that a ma~ shulde not mary his brothers wyfe, with the other / to be of suche auctorite, that he saythe openly, that they be the very lawe of god. Seco~de, that the same lawes be nowe at this tyme of suche auctoritie & strengthe / that it is not leful in any case to contracte matrimony contrary to that is forbidden in the same. Thirdly, that the occasion of saynt Iohn~s martyrdome was this / bicause he wold meinteyn & vphold the truth & auctorite of the same lawes ageinst Herode the king / which had maried his brothers wyfe. Fourthe, that the mariages / which certain englisshe men had co~tract with their broders wiues / and that euen before they had taken the fayth 32 vpon them / to be so vnleful / & not to be spoke~, that they could not without dedly sinne rendre their duetie of mariage one to an other / nor yet abide stil in thesame mariag{is}: the whiche thing truely we thynke ought not lightli to be passid ouer. For ones saint Paule biddeth and co~mandeth, that they, whiche be laufully maried / shulde nother be diuorsed / nor yet the ton to deny the tother the right & dutie of mariage. Agein, saint Gregory had grau~ted lice~ce vnto the said englisshemen / that they might co~tract matrimoni in the .iiij. degre / & that mariage co~tract in the .iiij. degre shuld nat be broke~. wherfore these thingis co~sidered / it must nedes be / that there was doutles some great cause / why saint Gregory wold nat admit or suffre such mariages / as the englisshme~ had co~tract with their brothers wiues / at the lest wise to haue suffred them by a dispensation or lycence, if it had ben lefull to haue dispe~sed with the~. And truli ther lacked not causes, which ought to haue moued him for to haue dispe~sed with the~: As bicause of the faith of christe~dom / the whiche some freill persons had leuer {per}aue~ture vtterly to forsake and renou~ce, tha~ to haue departed from their tenderly beloued wyues / as the tymes were than in the begynnynge of the faith. An other cause shulde haue ben this / that they had bou~de them selfe by maryage before the wasshynge of baptisme / at the whiche tyme there were no lawes wrytten, by the whiche the heathens were forbidden from suche mariage of their brothers wyues. But this moste holy and moste wyse man thought / that in all and before all a man shuld regarde the commaundement of god. And he wolde nat be author nor causer to no man for to breake that lawe. He sawe, and playnely dyd iudge / that he, whiche had maryed his brothers wyfe, hath done contrary to the principal cause of mariage / and against the naturall inclination of man / whiche he hath to haue issue and posterite / bycause that god saith: He that marieth his brothers wyfe / shall dye without children. he sawe that this is plainly an vngodly dede / abhominable before god and man / and also ageynst the nature of man / and as nygh as can be vnto the nature and lyfe of beastes. He sawe / howe greuous punisshment is abiding them / which haue defiled them 33 selfe with this foule synne. Therfore he iuged / that nother peace / nor yet faith and christendome, nor any other thinge in this worlde, beside forth, is of suche vertue and goodnes, that it is able to recompe~ce and weye out the malyciousnes of this dede. He wolde nat than that suche mariages shulde stande styll and remayne / or be called / or so moche as be thought to be mariages: but he wolde rather haue them broken and vndone / and dyd commande / that as many as had intangled them selfe with suche mariage / shuld be admonisshed and warned / that if they wolde professe Christes religion / they shulde from thens forwarde absteyne and forbere from medling the one with the other: If nat / they shuld haue for theyr carnall pleasure / the tourmentes of euerlastyng punisshment. ¶Furthermore reder there be other bysshops also / whiche in tyme passed were in very dede greattest and hyghest / nat onely for their lerninge and wysedome / but also for the holynesse of theyr lyfe / that maye clerely teache the / that these Leuitical forbyddynges of mariage haue in them the auctoritie and maiestie both of the lawe of god and of the lawe of nature / and that by very good ryght and reason. Amonge the whiche Popes be princypally / Calixtus / Zachary / and Innocent / the residue we will not speake of. For Calixtus / when he was asked why the maryages of kynsfolke were iudged to be vnlefull / he answereth: Bycause / saith he / that both goddes lawe / and mans lawe / hath forbydden them.

And truely goddes lawe dothe nat onely cast out the childerne / whiche were gotten in suche maryages / but also dothe calle them accursed: and the lawes of manne do calle them infamed persones / and do putte them backe from their fathers herytage. Further Pope Zachary aunswereth in this maner vnto Theodore the bysshop of Tycin or Pauy, askynge counsayle of hym / whether that the god doughter might be maryed with the naturall sonne: Thy holy brotherheed, saythe Zacharie, knoweth right well, that our lorde did co~mande Moses, sayenge: Thou shalte not discouer the foulenes of thy father, or mother, or syster: for it is thyn owne foulenes. Seinge therfore that we are co~manded to absteyne from our owne kynrede carnall / 34 moche more it is co~uenient, that we shuld with all straytenes beware of her / that is our faders doughter spritual. which place the gloser expou~ding doth argue / that the Pope / al though he wold / can not dispe~se i~ the .ij. degre of co~sanguinite / nor yet i~ the .ij degre of the fyrst maner of affinitie. for the ij. degre of co~sanguinite and of this affinite hath his beginning of the lawe of nature. And agayne bicause the same degre is forbidden expresly in the old testame~t of god. ¶Furthermore holy Pope Innocent the third also / when the king of Hungary had co~plained vnto him of the bisshop of Quiclesiense / that he shulde haue misused him selfe with his owne nece / he wolde gyue no eare to suche co~plaint. For who, sayth he, can lyghtly beleue, that the bysshoppe of Quinclesie~se wold be turned to so shameful passion / that he wold co~mit abhominable incest with his owne propre nece, seinge that euen after the myndes & sayenges of the hethens, the lawe of nature dothe not suffre, that we shulde suspect any greuous crime betwene suche persons. ¶And the same Pope also, folowynge the holy constitutions of the emperours in this poynt, For the same consideration / dyd make a lawe / that prestes myghte kepe theyr moders / their doughters / and their sisters germayns within their houses.

¶Furthermore the same Pope / whan the archedeacon of Byturs sent vnto him to knowe / whether that wyfe / whiche was departed from her husband without iugement of the church / bicause her husbande and she were in so nygh degree of kynred / that the sete apostolike coulde nat / nor yet was nat wont to dispense with it, ought to be restored agayn to her husbande / answereth on this maner: This woman / sayth he / which doth knowe the kinred betwene her husbande and her / specially in those degrees / whiche be forbydden by the lawe of god / can not haue to do carnally with this her husbande without deadly synne. For all that is not done with faythe and good conscience / is synne: and what so euer is done agaynste our conscience / dothe bylde to hell warde. And therfore it were but foly to yeue iugement in this case / that this woman shulde be restored agayne to her husbande, by cause she oughte not in this poynt to obeye the iudge contrarie to 35 god / but rather shulde mekely suffre to be excommunicate. For if she shulde be restored agayne vnto this man / there shulde ryse a marueylous perplexe and intricate difficultie. for she shulde be bounde to do her duetie to her husbande / bycause of the iudges sentence, and agayne she ought not to do it bycause of her owne conscience / seing she knoweth / that she is of his kinred. And so it shulde come to passe / that they shulde be greuously combred / and a snare shulde be set for them both / to bring them to helle / seynge that they can nat carnally come to gethers / nor yet be maried the ton with the other. Therfore / seythe he, as often as kinred is obiecte within the degrees forbidden by the law of god / it is thought best / that iudgement be gyuen / that restitucion be made as concernyng al other thinges / but as concernynge bedde and carnall medlynge / restitucion must vtterly be differred / seinge it is better for bothe parties to be discharged in their conscie~ce vnder this maner / than by the other wey to remayne in charge and cumbraunce of conscience. And Innocent doth co~firme in the foresaid place this iudgement of his / by dyuers reasons, fyrst by the answeres of two Popes / Lucius and Clement, of the whiche the one vtterly denieth / that there shulde be made any restitution in the foresayde case, and that they oughte in any wise to knowe of the exception / that is / whether they be in suche degre of kynrede or no, before they come to the article of restitution, wherby she shuld be restored home again to her husbande.

¶And the other Pope, all thoughe he graunt, that she shulde be restored / yet whan that is opteyned, he thynketh hit is not lefull for the manne / whiche dothe knowe of his kynrede betwene hym and the woman, nother to paye the duetie of mariage ageynste his owne conscience, nor yet that he can require the same of the woman, Bicause, saythe he, if he shulde do it / he buyldeth to hell warde: no more then he can, that is maried to his kynsewoman & hath knowlege of his kinrede / although there be no questyon nor doubte moued vpon his maryage, but onely his owne knowlege and conscience.

36 ¶Furthermore Innocent confirmed his sayenge by a commune opinion and determynacyon of the Canon lawes / by the whyche doubtlesse hit is determyned / that in degrees of kynrede / forbydden by the lawe of god / there shulde be no waye to restytution / by cause that in those degrees there canne be no dyspensacyon: But in those degrees / the whiche be forbydden by the lawe of manne / there maye be fulle and effectuall restitucyon / bycause in these degrees there maye be dyspensation. Nor be dothe not synne / whiche in this artycle dothe paye the dette of maryage at the commaundement of the Churche.

¶ And trewely manye other thynges there be wrytten of the same holye man, for this pourpose, in other places: but our boke wolde growe to an excedynge greatte volume, if we shulde wryte them all. And these thynges, that we haue shewedde, gentyll indyfferente reder, do clerelye open vnto the / what these good Popes haue determynedde vppon these Leuitycall prohybytions of matrymonie / whiche is this / that they do bynde of necessite / bycause they be both of the lawe of god / and of Nature / so that they iudge / that they ought of necessite to be obserued both amonge christian folkes / and amonge infidels and the vnfeythfuls.

¶Now besyde al this / we shal proue the same by the auctoritie of holy counsayles. For doubtles in the counsaile of Tollet it is decreed in this wyse: we decree / that no faithfull man shall desire to haue any nere kynswoman of his to be maried vnto him / bycause it is wrytten in goddes lawe: No man shal come nye her / that is next of his bloud to discouer her foulenes. And hit is written agayne: Euery soule / that shall do any of those thinges, shall perysshe from the middes of his people.

¶And in the cou~sayle of Agathe it is ordeyned in this maner: we reserue vtterly no maner of forgyuenes nor perdon / nor dispensation / for inceste maryages / but we wyl in any case / that they be punisshed, excepte onely they heale theyr adulterye by departynge the one frome the other. For as for inceste persones / we iudge them nat worthye to haue any name of maryage, 37 seynge it is a deadly thynge euen to make any token or mencion of suche persones. And we iudge them to be incest persones / whiche by carnall medlynge haue defiled his brothers wydowe / whiche was in maner his sister before / or he that hath taken to wyfe his syster germayne / and he that hath maryed his stepmother. &c. All these persones we doubte not but they haue ben before time, and by this our constitutio~ be, incest persones: and we commaunde, that they abyde and praye amonge them that be yet vnchristened, and but onely lerners of the christian faythe / and not to come amonge christian folke / tyl they haue sufficiently repented them selfe, and amended that they haue misdone.

¶Furthermore in the counsayle of Neocesar / and in the Synode of Gregory the yonger / it was decreed, accordynge to the wordis of god, that a woman / whiche had ben maried to .ii. bretherne, shulde be put backe from communion, and from receyuing the sacrament vntyl she dye. And a man that had maryed his brothers wyfe shulde be an anatheme, in the whiche synode al to gethers answered an anatheme be he / that is as moche to seye / as damnacion to euerlastynge dethe.

¶Last of all, and for a conclusion / that sentence of wiclyffe, wherin he dyd bolde that the prohibicions of matrymony, writen in the Leuiticall / be onely iudiciall preceptes of Moses, & therfore the causes of diuors brought in by the meane of kynred & affinite / to be brought in without grou~de and fou~dacio~, and onely by the ordinaunce of man / was dampned as contrarye to all vertue and goodnes, as hereticall, and expresly agaynste holy scripture, in the great conuocation, that was had fyrste at London / and after at Oxenforde / & last of all in the counsaile of Constance.

¶There be decrees of other counsailes and aunswers in writynge of other of the Popes, whiche do subscrybe and agree to these foresayde determinations / of the whiche thou shalte fynde verye many in the Popes lawe / bothe in the boke of decrees / and of the epistols decretalles also: but we truste / gentill and indifferent reder, that these forsayde thynges shall fully co~tent the. For thou seest here fyrste of all, in maner an hole commune assent and agremente 38 of the holle churche / and furthermore thou seest the Popes them selfe do gyue so great maiestie and godly auctoritie vnto these Leuiticall prohybicyons, that they do playnely affirme and holde stedfastly, that who so euer do marie contrarie to the co~mandement of these lawes / be not in very dede man and wife, nor they can not haue to do carnally to gethers, without deedly synne, and that they may departe in soundre without any ingement or decree of the Churche / and that they nother can nor oughte to be compelled by any iudgement of man, eyther to require or to perfourme the vse and custome of maryage one to an other. Thus say the Popes, and hit is to be thoughte and beleued, that bothe they dyd knowe the compasse of theyr iurisdiction / and what they were able to do, and that they had wolde rather to haue encreassed and amplifyed theyr power and auctoryte, than to haue restrayned hit and made hit lesse. And reder thou seest / that they leye none other cause herof / but onely this, that is bicause none auctorite of man can extend or stretch so farre / that it may releasse by any dispensation the forbyddynges of god.

More ouer thou seest / and excepte we be deceiued / thou dost grant and confesse also / that these decrees and lawes of these Popes and counsels, vpon the mariage of the brother with the brothers wyfe / is plainly none other thynge then a publishyng and sendyng out of the lawe of god, and of the techyng of the apostels, & no newe lawe of their owne inuention or making. For they do neuer so forbydde suche maryage / as though hit had ben lefull before tyme / but onely rehersynge vnto vs the olde lawe of god, and the receiued or approued custome and vsage of the churche. And that there hath ben suche a custome and vsage euen from the first begynnynge of the churche / and that it hath ben obserued before there was any Popes law / it is euide~tly knowen by the wordes of Tertulyan / whiche we haue before rehersed.

Finally to make an ende thou shalte vnderstande / gentill reder / that the requestes and sutes of diuers persons / whiche haue desyred dispensacyons in these degrees / haue many tymes heretofore bene denyed 39 and repelled by the Popes of Rome, whiche answered them thus: It is nat in any case lefull for vs to dispense with the lawes of god. And this we shall shewe you here after. Nowe seinge then that very natural inclination doth moue vs vnto the obseruation and kepinge of these forbiddinges, seinge reason doth leade vs, honestie stirreth vs, fere of god, and loue of god and of our neighbour, goodnesse and vertue doth desire vs / the co~modites and benefites / which come by the encrease of loue and charitie, do cou~saile vs to the same: And seing that god, moste best and almighty, made these lawes hym selfe, and that the consent and agrement of all people hath approued the same, finally seinge that the same selfe fynger of god / whiche is the holye spirite of god, whiche co~manded these prohibicions to be writen in the Leuiticall boke / doth ratifie and confirme the same prohibitions / bothe in the godspel of Christe, and in the wrytynge of his apostels, and also in the sacre holy counsailes of the churche / ruled and gouerned doubtles by the holy goste: And seinge they be co~maunded of necessite to be kepte of all christian people / it can not be, but that the sentence and determinatio~s of these vniuersities is of as vndouted credence and auctorite, as can be, where they saye, that to mary her that is lefte of his brother / dyenge without chylderne / is so forbydden / both by the lawe of god and of nature / that the Pope is not of power to dispense with any suche maryages, whether they be all redy contracte or elles to be contracte.

[leaf motif] The thyrde chaptre.

ANd thus we thynke, that we haue well and sufficiently confirmed and stablished our intent and purpose by the Popes lawe / and by the auctoritie of counsailes. Nowe next we will go aboute to fortifye and make good the same by the moste excellent and most faithful interpreters, and most true doctours / that expou~d holy scripture. Amonge whom Origen cometh first to our reme~braunce / for he expou~ding the .xx. chaptre of the Leuitical doth declare at large this sentence of god, 40 Kepe you all my commaundementes and my iustifienges, and my iugementes: it semeth saith he / requisite and necessary / that we shewe / what is signified by euery one of these wordes / and truly (as farre as euer I coulde perceiue) a precepte or commandement is / As for an example that, whiche is sayd in the .x. commandementes: Thou shalt not slee, thou shalte not do none adulteri. for this is only precept or co~ma~ded, but there is no punissheme~t put to, for the breking of it. but nowe these same selfe preceptes or teachynges be rehersed agayn / but here penalties be putte to them. For in this place it is sayde: what so euer man co~mitteth adultery with a mans wyfe / and with his neyghbours wife / lette them dye, both the man / that doth adultery, and the woman, that he doth it with / and he that shal slepe with his fathers wyfe / and shall discouer the foulenes of his father / bothe two lette them dye / for they be gyltie and deathe worthye. There were preceptes or reules gyuen alredye of these thynges before, but there was not putte to / what punysshement he shulde haue / that dydde breake them: Nowe therfore these same thinges be rehersed agayne / and the penalties of euery trespas is set. And therfore these lawes may well be called iustifiinges and iudgementes / by the whiche he, that doth synne, or breketh the co~maundement, is iudged to receyue / that is iuste for his trespas. But beholde the order of the godly wisedome. god doth not set punysshement by and by at the fyrste / as sone as he had yeuen the preceptes or rules / bowe men shulde lyue. for he wyl haue the kepe the preceptes of thy father / and to do as thy father wylleth and byddeth the / not for feare of punisshement / but for loue that thou haste to vertue and goodnes, and to thy father. But if thou dispysest to do as thy father techeth the, than there is a co~mandement, that thou shalt be punisshed / not bycause thou arte a man, so moche, as bycause thou art a contemner and dispiser of thy fathers teachynge. Therfore fyrste of al thou art prouoked and moued by gentylnes and fayre meanes, as a chylde. and Dauid testifieth, that we be children / wher he sayth: you al be goddes, and the children of hym that is hyghest. that if thou wilt not be obedient like a good childe, but 41 wylte be a transgressour and a dispiser of thy fathers teachynge / thou shalte be punysshed lyke a bonde man. After this he saithe furthermore. And if any man shall slepe with his doughter in law, his sonnes wyfe / let hym dye, both .ij. haue co~mytted impiete or abhominacion, and they be gyltie and deth worthie. These lawes and preceptes god had gyuen before without any punysshmentes or penalties. For he had sayde: Thou shalt not discouer the foulenes of thy sonnes wyfe / and all the other preceptes that there do folowe. And this place lyke wyse there he putteth withoute punysshementes / but here he hath put hit with dyuers kyndes of punysshementes. And in the ende, where he speaketh of the same Leuitical prohibitions, at the last he maketh this co~clusion. Therfore it is good saythe he, to take good kepe / leste at any tyme we reuerence our carnal fader, or our father of heuen with lesse honour than we ought, and they deserue. And like wise hit is good to obserue / & honour our mother, and also to obserue and kepe all other such co~mandeme~tes, what so euer they be, that commende to vs shamefacidnes, clennes, and chastite, to thentent that we shuld folowe / and lyue accordyng to the same / that we shulde nother accordynge to the carnal lawe of Moses / be in dau~ger of deth here in this present lyfe / nother after falle in to the punysshement to come, of euerlastinge fyre of helle / after the spirituall lawe of the gospel. ¶And lyke wise Chrysostome dothe agree with this sayenge of Origen, where as he doth stiffly and playnly hold, that fable & tale / that the Sadduces made vpo~ the woma~ / that they said was maried to .vij. brothers / to be but a fantasy, and a thing fained and imagined: For the Iues, saith he / be such men / that we se them euen nowe at this tyme to be mightily afferd to marie with their brothers wyues, bicause / as you wold say / they thynke surely there shulde some mischiefe come of it. And not withstanding that the law shuld constrain and binde the Iues to mary their brothers wiues, yet for all that we se them often tymes lyttell regarde it / and make lyghte of hit / and not to do hit. wherfore Ruthe / a woma~ also of Moab, was driuen to mary with one of her kynne / whiche was verye farre of. And Thamar was constrayned 42 to disguise her selfe in a common womans apparell, and to steale seade of her father in law. ¶Also Basilius the great / is of the same sentence and mynde / that these other two foresayde doctours be: whiche wrote vnto Diodore the bysshoppe of Tarsus on this wyse: There be come to my handes certayne writynges / whiche be sente out vnder the name of Diodore, but the thing{is} that were co~teyned in them / were like to be any other mans writingis rather tha~ Diodors. But me semeth / that there is some craftie felowe / that hath put vpon him thy persone / that by this meanes at the lest he might misuse the auctoritie of thy name, to gette hym credence, and to be beleued of his herers and schollers. For this man that wrote this thing, whan he was asked whether it was lefull for a man, whan his wyfe was deed / to marie his wyues syster, dyd nat abhorre this question / in so moche that he suffred to here it with a very good wyl, and dyd study and labour to promote and sette forwardes this lust, whiche is to shameles / to wanton / to foule & vncleanly. And if I had those same wrytynges with me / I wold doutles now or this time haue sent them to the / bicause thou mightest socour and helpe both thy selfe and also the treuth. But bicause the same man / whiche brought the writinges, caried them by and by away with him again / and afterwardes bore them about with him / shewyng them in euerye place / as thoughe he had gotten the victorie of vs / whiche before tyme had forbydden suche maner of maryages / and dyd boost / that he had this licence of vs in writing: I determined to write vnto the of this thinge, to thintent that we shulde of both handes go about to reproue this imagined tale / and falsly forged sayenge of this felowe, to shewe that it is nothynge but a sterke lie / lest it may hurt them, into whose handes it shal fortune to come. And truly firste of al we may leye ageynst him the co~mune custome, and suche a custome, which by ryghte and reason is as stronge as any lawe / bycause it is no newe thing, but hath continued of longe tyme, and was brought vnto vs / nat by euery body / but by the holi fathers, and the custome is this: That if any man, ouercome with a shameles and an vnclenly affection & lustynes / do fortune to ioyne so vnlefully, that he coupleth him 43 selfe by mariage with .ij. systers / this man is iuged nother to haue contracte any mariage / and that he must not be admitted in to the co~munion of the churche / or to come into the company of christian folke, before that they haue broken this so vnleful couple or bo~de / & be departed the ton from tother, in so moch that if we had none other thinge in this matter / to kepe awey this so great a mischefe, only the auctorite of this custome were sufficie~t. But bicause who so euer wrote this epistle / went onely aboute this thinge, to brynge in to the maners of men so great a pestilence & corruptio~ by colours of argumentes / by a craftie and subtile reason: it shalbe necessarie also for vs, not vtterly to absteyne from the ayde and helpe of reasons. how be it in thinges that be very plain and wel knowen / the opinion that men haue conceyued alredy / and that doth appere to haue bene receyued by the opinyons and myndes of holye men, in so moche that there is a custome brought vp by the same: ought to be of more weight & regarde with euery man, than that thyng, whiche reason inuented and imagined afterwarde / shulde be of power to persuade.

It is written / saye they / in the Leuiticall. Thou shalte nat take the syster of thy wyfe, beynge yet a lyue, to cause them stryue / whiche of them shall be beste beloued and mooste sette by / for to discouer her foulenesse vpon her. By the whiche wordis it is open / sey they / that it is suffred to take thy wyues sister / whan thy wyfe is deed. whervnto first of all I answere and say this: what so euer the lawe saith / it speketh to them, that be bou~d to kepe the law as to the Iues / but not to vs / that be christe~ folke. For by this meane we shulde be bounde to be circu~cised / to kepe the sabbat or day of rest / and to forbeare and absteine from meates. For we shuld not submit vs & binde our selfe to the yoke of the bo~dage of the lawe, where as we finde any thinge, that doth agre with our apetite & plesure / and when there appereth any thing in the lawe / that is heuy and hard, and contrary to our pleasure and appetite / then to ronne to the libertie and fredome / that Christe in his godspell and lawe hath set vs in. But if any man aske this questio~ / whether this thing be writen in the lawe or no? whether a man that hath maried the one sister may 44 also marie the other? I saye for a suertie· that whiche vnto vs is bothe manifest and true / that there is no suche thinge writte~ in the law. for a thyng that is not expressed in the text or letter / but it may be gethered of the wordes / that the lawemaker meaned so / if suche a thynge be brought in by maner of a reason / as that must nedes folowe of that is sayde there / though it be nat expressely wrytten / to saye whether the lawe maker meaned thus or no / this is a poynt that belongeth to the maker of the lawe selfe to determine / and nat to hym, whiche is desired to telle, what is expressed in the scripture. For els if euery ma~ may say, that this was the lawers mynde / & thoughe he spake it not, yet he vnderstode it, & this he did mene, as of the wordes may wel be gethred: tha~ if ther be any ma~ of so vngodly audacitie / & wicked boldnesse / whiche / euen while his wyfe is alyue / wold haue her sister to his wyfe, he shall not lacke / wherby he may proue that he maye laufully do it / by a like glose & distinction. ye & no doubt herof / for the scripture is this: Thou shalt nat take thy wyues syster, while thy wyfe is a lyue, for to make stryfe and debate betwene them / whiche of them shulde be better loued. Of this it foloweth, and so the lawemaker shuld seme to meane, that if there be no suche stryfe for preeminence of loue betwene them, tha~ it is not forbid, for a man to be maried at ones to .ij. sisters. For he that wyl set his minde vpon his lustines and pleasure, wyll holde styffly, and say / that it is nat possible, that any suche emulation or stryfe shulde chaunce betwene systers. And by this meane, syns that the cause is ceassed and gone / for the which the mariage of .ij. systers vnto one man is forbydden: what nowe can let, that it shulde not be lefull for any man to haue at one tyme .ij. systers to his wyues / if we wyl admit suche facion of reasoninge in scripture? ¶But thou wylt say to vs, this reason that we make nowe / is not in the scripture· we graunt and say like wise agayne to the / no more is that reason determined and certeyned by scripture / by the which it shuld be proued of the contrary parte / that it is lefull for a man to mary .ij. systers. For the inuention and glose / by the whiche bothe the parties saith, that their inte~t and purpose doth folowe of the scripture, though 45 it be not expressed in scripture, is all of lyke on the one syde, and on the other / and gyueth asmoche lybertye and lycence to do noughtli with as moche impunishme~t the tone glose as doth the tother. But a man ought dilygently to haue consydered the preceptis that go before / and then he shuld haue had no nede to haue taken all this labour and payne, for to inuente and imagen additions to scripture on this maner. For it appereth, that the lawemakers mynde was not to speke generally in those lawes of all maner of sinne / but to forbyd specially and onely those vices / the whiche were commonly vsed amonge the Egyptions / from whens the children of Israell came / and also that were specially vsed amonge the Chananees, into whose lande they were goinge at that time. For in this place of the Leuiticall the very texte of the scripture is thus written, worde for worde, as foloweth: you shall not do, sayth god / after the custome of the lande of Egypte, where you haue dwelled, nor you shal not do after the maner and vsage of the region of Chanaan / in to the whiche I shall bringe you / nor ye shall not lyue after their lawes / nor folowe suche thynges as be lefull amonge them. In so moche truly / that it is very likely / that as yet there had ben no suche piacull or abhominacion comitted amonge those nacions. And therfore it was thought, that there neded no lawmaker / nor lawe to forbid that kinde of synne / that was not vsed: but that the custome / vsed of longe tyme amonge them / shulde be sufficient to make men abhorre and deteste so great a vice.

¶Howe is it then / seynge he forbyddeth the greatter vice / that he speketh not also of the lesser? doubtles by cause he iudged, that there shuld come many / which wold be geue~ to pleasure, and wolde folowe the myscheuous example of the patriarche Iacob / that maried his wyfes syster, and wolde mary with theyr wyues systerne, ye and that theyr wyues beynge a lyue.

But nowe what shall we do? whether shal we confesse and graunt those thinges, that be written? or shall we apply our wyt to be somwhat curious, and to serche out those thynges / that be wrapped vp in silence? It is not prouided fore, here in this lawe, that the father and the sonne shulde 46 not vse one harlotte: and yet the prophet iudgeth them worthy of as greate rebuke as may be, where he saythe: Lo the father and the sonne go to one woman. Fynally howe many and diuerse kyndes of synne hath the crafty dyscipline and scole of the deuell inuented / the which the scripture of god passeth ouer in secret{is} & syle~ce, and that for this co~syderacion and intent / by cause the scripture of god suffereth not her honourable and reuerende maieste to be contamined and disteyned with the names of so fowle vyces / but scripture comprehendeth all maner of vnclenlynes vnder generall names. Lyke wyse as Paule the appostle, vnder this one general worde vnclenlynes, comprehendeth all maner of vnclenlynes / & not to be spoken impurites of man and woman· where as he sayeth: Let nother harlottry, nor fornicacion, nor yet no maner of vnclennesse, be ones named amonge you, as it besemeth saintes. So by this we may se, how true it is / that the sylence of scripture can not helpe vs, that we shulde haue lybertie to fulfyll our fylthy pleasures.

¶How be it we iuge / that the lawmaker did nat vtterly holde his peace in this matter / but that he hath forbidden this thing as diligently and as vehemently, and streitly as can be. For seing he saith: Thou shalt not approche to no woman, that is nere of thy flesshe and bloudde / to discouer her foulenes or priueties: This sayenge dothe comprehende also our kynne by affinitie. For what kynne can be more surely knyt, or more nere to a man / than his owne wyfe or to speake better, than his owne propre flesshe or body? For nowe they be no more two bodyes / but one flesshe or bodye. And for this cause hit is not laufull in any case for the wyues sister to approche vnto her sisters husbande, which is nere of her kyn. For like wise as we absteyne from our stepmother, as we do from our owne mother / and hit is as vnlefull to marye our wyues doughter / as our owne doughter: euen in lyke maner we maye not mary our wyues syster no more than we maye our naturall systers. And on the other syde among women this reason of kynrede hathe place in lyke maner. for women be forbydden to medle with the nigh kinsmen of their husbandes as the men maye not medle with 47 the nygh kynswoman of their wyfes / seing that the rightes and lawes of kinred do al of lyke bynde them bothe, the women, as well as the men / as it is euidently knowen. ¶But I do admonisshe and saye vnto all men, whiche thynke any thynge on mariage, that the floure and state of this world taryeth not / and there is a shorte tyme to come / to thentent that they, whiche haue wiues shulde behaue them selfe, as if they had no wyues. ¶That if any man on the other syde wyll ley ageynst me this saynge of god, Increse you & multiplie, then wold I laugh at the mans vndiscretnes / whiche dothe not consyder the tymes / whan the lawes were made / and what were the occasions of makynge of them. For seconde mariage is permised to auoyde fornicacio~, and barlatry with commune women, and concubynes / and to comfort the impotentnes & great frailtie of nature / & nat bicause it shulde be (if I may so call it) a gardeuiandes or mainteynaunce to intemperaunce and excesse of suche pleasure: and therfore sayeth the apostell. They that can not refrayne and forbeare / let them mary. Howe be it they that mary not, do nat against the lawe thoughe they marie not. But suche kynde of men, that wolde marie their wyues systerne / bicause their iugement and vnderstandinge is all blynded with a shameful and an infamous affection and lust / they loke not ones vpon nature / which long sins hath diuised certayne and speciall names, the whiche shulde shewe of whens euery man is borne. and where a ma~ marieth .ij. systers / this canne not be. for they that be borne of suche couchinge to gethers, what name shall one of them call the other, bretherne or cosyns, that is systers childerne? For soth by the meane of this mingle they may call eche other indifferently / both bretherne and also cosins, with great co~fusion both of names & of kynred also. wherfore O man, make nat thy babes a stepmother in the stede of their other mother / or aunt by the moder side. Nor arme her not with cruell ielosyes and spytes of stepmothers, whiche ought before of nature and kynde to cherisshe thy children euen lyke a mother, where as nowe vnto them / that thou haddest bi the first sister, the .ij. sister, if thou marie her, muste nedes be a stepmother. for of stepmothers only the hatred & malice is 48 so egre, that it reuengeth displeasures after the dethe of them / that they be displesed with. And where as in all other discordes deth maketh peace / the spyte and malyce reygnethe and ragethe in them euen after deathe.

¶For a conclusion of this matter, if a man desyre a wyfe / accordynge to the lawe / the world is wide, he mai haue choise inough. But if he regarde not the law / but his lust, so moche more he oucht to be withstande, for to lerne him / to kepe his vessell cleane / accordinge to honestie / not to the desire of the flesshe. I was about to write more vnto the / but it shuld be out of measure for a letter / and I pray god that other this our admonicion may preuaile ageinst all suche foule affection and lust, or els that this pestilence come no nere vs: but that it maye weare out in the same places, where as suche shamefull boldenes fyrst beganne. ¶On these mennes syde is also Isichius / Gregorie Nazianzens scholer / an excellent lerned man in holy scripture. For he expouninge this place of the Leuitical sayth thus. The intent of al this proces is this, that we shulde absteine from all vice / and do those thynges that be vertuous. For the lawemakers intent here is this / to restreine vs fro~ all lechery / and not to be spoken mariages, and from fornication, both spirituall & carnall. wherfore whan he gyueth these forsayde commandementes / he saithe: I your lorde god. whiche wordes he spake for this cause, that whan we perceyue that he, whiche co~manded vs to do these thinges / is our creatour / and made vs of noucht / and that he is our lorde and god / we shulde with all herte and mynde applie our selfe to kepe the thinges which he commaunded. For god dyd not in one place of the lawe gyue twise commaundement / that they shuld do his iudgeme~tes, and kepe his co~mandeme~tes: god made no such rehersall nor doublynge / nor said not twyse: I your lorde god: but Moses, yea rather the holy gost, that spake in Moses, doth this for this consideration, that these holy lawes shulde not be dispised or littell regarded, by cause some sayde, that they were Moses lawes. But these thynges, that be here commaunded / be not Moses preceptes, but the commaundementes of god. Agayn Moses rehersed these thinges 49 bycause there was meruaylous dilygence and studye taken, that bothe the letter and texte / and the lytterall or carnall sens and playne meanynge of these preceptes shuld be obserued and kepte / and also the spirirituall and gostly vnderstandyng / and that a great and a right lawe shulde compose and order bothe the outwarde and the inwarde man also, whiche is bounde to kepe bothe the outwarde superfyciall meanyng of this lawe / and also the inwarde and mysticall inte~t of the same. And as for the vttermore and superficial minde of this law / forbyddeth them / that be nyghe of bloud / to haue any a do to gether by the waye of mariage or other wyse, bicause that thyng also was kept amonge the hethens, whose londe god dyd take from them / to gyue it the Iues for their heritage. And by cause he wolde shewe that this co~maundement is necessary and of necessite to be kepte / he dothe nat onely recken vp the degrees of kynred / but also in rekenynge them / he setteth forthe playnely the cause, why euery lawe was made / and the co~mixtion or couplynge of suche persons he calleth it discouerynge of foulenes or shamelesnes / signifienge, that who so euer commytteth any suche dedes, euery body shulde be ashamed of him / euery body tourne their faces from hym, and that he ought to be abhorred and hated of euery body. For who so vnhelleth the foulenes / or the parties to be ashamed of, of his kynsfolke, be they of kyn gostly & spiritual, or bodili and carnal / he is fou~de to be a breker and a transgressour of al the holle lawe. For the thinge / that he doth, is contrary to loue and charite, whiche is the fulfyllynge and performing of al the holle lawe. And that a man or a woman is after no small facion polluted and defyled by these forsayde vices, the indignation vengeaunce and punysshement, that is appointed for such vice, doth euide~tly shew. And truly we ought not to pollute our selfe with neuer one of them. For who so is polluted with any one of them, is polluted with them all. Therfore whan the lawe wolde shewe / that they be all ioyned and knytte faste to gether / so that a man can not offend i~ one but he must offend in all / & so be polluted by al / for this co~sideracion the lawe hath gathered them all to gether, and couched them vp here 50 all in one place / and proueth that they be so greuous and haynous enormities / that they distroyed holle nacions / and polluted the lande, and wha~ it was polluted, made it for to be forsaken / and to vomit out and refuse them that had co~mytted suche vice in hit, not bycause the lande coulde expell, put out, or euomit them / but bycause euen the very erthe selfe, of the owne Nature / that god hathe gyuen it, doth wayle and mourne at suche abhominations: and god that is ryghtefull taketh vengeaunce both for this mournynge and heuynesse of the erth his creature, and also for breache of his lawe / and for infamie and villany done to his creature.

¶He maketh ofte rehersall / and stableth his law, and co~firmeth his thretis, and ageyn setteth punisshementes, and that for this intent, bycause he wolde feare vs, and quicken vs to forbere suche thinges, as he forbiddeth vs, that we shuld not fall in to the penaltie / that he hath thret. And truly the penaltie is the losse and destruction of the soule, which begi~neth here in this life by syn, that is deth of the soule, & is accomplisshed & ended in the lyfe to come in the euerlastinge tourmentes of hell. wherfore he byddeth bothe the Iewes / and straungers, that do professe the Iues lawe, to flie from suche abhominations, and in no case to do them, which thinges our auncientes greately vsed, and they haue polluted our lande. And yet nowe the thyrde tyme he commaunded the same thynges, to shewe that they be not the co~ma~dementes of ma~ but of god hym selfe. Laste of al sayth he / consyder with what wordes he doth confyrme this presente constitution or penall lawe: Suffre nat your selfe to be polluted with such vices: for I am your lorde god: wyllyng that we all shulde be cleane from al pollution and syn / for the image & similitude of god is with in vs, and rou~de about vs. and as often as we pollute the image of god by syn, but specially by any of these noughtie and not to be spoken dedes / that ben here forbidden, god must nedis be displeased and angry. And if we kepe this ymage of god within our sowle pure and cleane / god hath suche delyte and pleasure therein, that he vouchith saufe to inhabite within vs. Therfore who so euer doth defyle the temple or churche of god, god 51 shal distroy hym. For the temple or churche of god is holy whiche churche or temple you be, saith Paule to al christen folke. ¶Ageyn Isichius sayth a litle after / It is in very dede, quod he / vncomely and as nye to the lyfe of brute beastes as can be / for a man to be maryed and medle with his brothers wyfe / or with any of his kinsmens wyues, namely of them that be nere of bloud. wherfore god commandeth and decreeth, that he whiche marieth of this facion shall dy without children. Doutles bycause that he misusynge hym selfe doth marre and confounde / and vtterly disorder the lawe of bryngynge forth children. ¶And agayn afterwarde sayth Isichius / These thynges be not spoken of onely to the Iues / whiche by cause they be circumcised and haue Moses lawe / thynke them selfe alone from al other nations, but they be spoken to euery man woman and childe whiche intende to serue god.

¶And to this place we haue rehersed you Isichius wordes. Nowe with all these doctours opinion agreeth saynt Ambrose, saynt Hierome, and saynt Augustine. ¶Firste where one Paterne had a sonne by one woma~, and a doughter by another, whiche had also a doughter, & wold haue maryed his doughters doughter to his sonne / the maidens halfe vncle, he counsailed saint Ambrose in the case / which made hym this aunswere: I nother thynke nor iudge, that your bysshop / an holy man, doth loke after my sentence and iudgement in this matter. For if he hadde, he wold haue written to me of it / and in somoche as he wrytteth not, he sheweth playnly / that he iudgeth this no matter to be doubted on. for what doubt may be in this case, whether thy sonne, and thy doughters doughter, or thy nece by thin owne doughter, may mary to gethers? seynge the lawe of god forbyddeth, that thy sonne shulde mary with thy brothers doughter. But fyrst let vs examine the wordes of the law. for thou p~te~dest in thy letters / that by this lawe of god, mariage betwene suche pledges or childerne / as thin be / is suffred, sins that it is not forbidden. And I sey plainly / that it is forbidden. For sithins that those thynges / whiche be not so greuous vices, be forbydden, as that we sayde of brother children, moche more this, I thynke, is 52 forbydden / where is moche nerer kynred. For he that byndeth vs to flee the lesser / dothe not set vs at libertie for the greatter synne, but byndeth vs the more. Than if thou thinke it is permised for this / bicause it is not forbidden specially and expressely, and by name, no more thou shalt not finde this thynge / forbydden by the wordes of the lawe / that the father shulde not take his doughter to wife. And is it lauful therfore, by cause it is not forbydden? ye nothinge so. It is forbydden by the rycht of nature / it is forbydden by the lawe, that is in euery mans hert and conscience / it is forbidden by loue and charite, which by long vsage & custome / bi continuance & proces of time, hath gotte~ this thinge by p~scription / which forsoth is not to be broken / it is forbidde~ by title & richt of nigh kinred. howe many suche great thinges shalt thou fynd not forbydden expressely by the lawe / that Moses made? and yet the same be forbidden by a certeine playne expresse co~maundement of nature. ye and ageyne how many thinges be there, whiche are lefull to do, and yet not expedient? All thynges be leful, but al thinges do not bylde and edifie. That if the apostoll dothe calle vs backe from those thinges / that do not edifie / how can we trowe, that suche a thinge is to be done, that is not lefull by the sayenge of the lawe / nor yet doth not edifye, by cause the ordre of pitie loue and charitie is agaynst it, and it agaynste the ordre of loue and charitie? For what is more solemne, or more customably and reuerently obserued, than the charitable kysse betwene the vncle and the nece / whiche he oweth to her of duetie, as to his doughter, and she to him / as to her father? Shalt thou then go and make this innocent kysse of loue and charite, in the whiche is none offence nor suspycion of euyll, to be suspecte, whyle thou dost intende suche mariage? And wilt thou take aweye from thy dere pledges or childerne so deuout and religious a sacrement and holy token of pure and naturall loue? And beside al this / what a great confusyon of other wordes shulde there be? thou one man shalt be called of one woma~ graundefather and father in lawe. She also shall be called of the by contrarye names / as nees and doughter in lawe. Also the brother and sister shal borow contrary 53 names. For she shall be her brothers mother in lawe / and he shall be sonne in lawe to his syster. Shall the nece be maried vnto her vncle or mothers brother? and shall the pure loue and charite of thyn innocent children be tourned in to lusty and carnall loue? But thoughe thou suffre the commaundement of god go by / at the leest wise thou shuldest haue regarded the co~maundementes of the Emperours, of whome thou haste hadde great honour and preferment. For Theodos the emperour forbadde the brothers and the syster children to comme to gether in the waye of matrimonye, and hathe establysshedde verye sore punisshment, if any person be so bolde to disteyne the brethers dere gages / and yet brothers chylderne be in equalle degree / nor the one is not superyour / or as it were parent vnto the tother / as in thy children / wher the vncle shuld mary his nece. By cause brether childerne be in a maner bretherne and sistern / co~ming al of one parentes / if it were for nothing els / yet for the reuerence / that they owe to the same pare~tes, the Emperour wolde haue them absteine from marieng the one with thother. If thou say, that it hath ben dispensedde with all by god: and though it hath / yet is this no p~iudice or president vnto the lawe. For that statute, that is made in commune and generally for al, if it be releassed / it helpeth hym onely / to whome it appereth to be releassed / and none other. And though we rede in the olde testament, that some man called his sister wyfe, yet this was neuer harde / that any man shulde take his nece to his wyfe, and shulde calle her his mate. Nowe furthermore / that is the gayest thynge of all, where thou denyeste, that thy nece is nere of kyn vnto her vncle thy sonne, by cause she is not of kynne vnto him by agnation, or by her fathers side, but onely by cognation / or by her mothers syde / as who saith, that belly brotherne, that is / they that be gotten of dyuers fathers / and of one mother, myght make a maryage / and yet these persones be not of kynne by the fathers syde, but only by the moder side. wherfore no remedi thou must go from this intent and purpose / whiche & if thou mightest atteyne, yet shuld it neuer increace thy familie or linage.

¶The seconde doctour, that we mencionid, 54 is saint Hierome, which writeth thus: what kyn thinge is this / that Abraham a iust & a good man toke his fathers doughter to wyfe? seing that the fyrst men, which were Adams children / though they dyd so in dede, yet for the holynes of mens eares the scripture dothe not expresse it / but wylleth it rather to be vnderstanden than spoken, the thinge is so abhominable. And seinge ageyn that god afterwarde ordeyned a lawe for it, wherin he threteth / that who so shal take his sister, other on father side / or on mothers syde, and shall se her foulenes, it is a rebuke and shame, he shall be dryuen out of his countrey in sight of his owne kynne / he hath vnhilled the priuities of his syster, he shall receyue his rewarde for his sin. This saint Hierome speaketh· as if he wold say / that this Leuitical lawe, that a man shulde nat marye his syster, is so grounded on naturall reason, that not onely Abraham ought to haue kepte this lawe / and that before it was publysshed in wrytynge / but also as many as professe the same faythe / beleue and truste in god / that Abraham had / and that all faithfuls in Christe ought to haue. ¶Laste of all saint Augustine where he goth aboute to confounde and ouer come Faustus, that sore ennemye to Christes faythe / whiche leyde it for a foule vice and punysshable, that christian men at that tyme wolde nother admit nor yet abyde to here the lawe of Deuteronomi ones to be spoken on, that a man might mary his brothers wydowe his brother beyng dead without children, aunswerethe to Faustus on this maner. Certayne lawes of the bokes of the olde testament we do nat kepe nowe a dayes, bicause suche lawes were made onely to be a shadowe of thynges that shuld folowe. And these lawes though they were conuenient, and fit to be commaunded and suffered for that people / and for that tyme / yet we nowe a dayes that be christian people, oughte not to kepe them bodely or as the bare letter and wordes doth speke: but we muste consyder / what they sygnifye / and we be tought by the apostels owne wrytynges that we must kepe suche lawes spiritually not corporally. for whan we rede any suche thynges in the instrument of the olde testamente / whiche in the newe testament we other be not commanded to kepe 55 or vtterly forbyd to kepe them / we muste not rebuke it, but we must seke out / what is the gostly meanynge of it. For in so moche as we do no more obserue it / that proueth not, that it is damned, & in no wise to be receiued / but that it is fulfilled. And therfore this same selfe thynge / that Faustus, bycause he dothe nat vnderstande it / hathe layde against christian men, as a crime and greuous offence: serueth for nothyng elles in the worlde, but onely to shewe mistycally vnder a fygure and cloude a spirituall purpose / & it is this / that euery preachour of the godspell is bou~de so to labour in the godspell / that he stir vp sede vnto his brother departed / that is to Christe, whiche dyed for vs. And the sede that shal be stirred vppe, muste haue the name of the brother, that is departed. wherfore we be called Christia~s / and therfore without doubt, we nowe be bounde to kepe and fulfill this lawe, not carnally by bodily generacion / after the olde meanynge and takynge of it / but spiritually / and by gostly generacion, and after the trewe vnderstandynge. And for this saint Paule the apostell fulfylleth this lawe spiritually / where he is angrye with them / whom he saythe hym selfe to haue engendred and gotten throughe the godspell and the worde of god to Christe Iesus his brother, and not to him selfe / nor to none other ma~. And therfore doth sharply blame & rebuke them / whiche wolde be called Paulins, or Paulis men. what, saith he, was Paule crucified for you? or were you baptysed in the name of Paule? as if he had sayde / I begat you to my brother / whiche is deed, that is, to Christe. Be you called therfore Christians / Christes men, not Paulins or Paulis men.

¶Agayn / in his boke of questions vpo~ the Leuiticall / and in that worke also / that he named the Myrror, he saith, that this forbod, that a man shulde not marie his brothers wife / and al other thingis, that be forbyd in the .xviij. chap. of the Leuiticall / we be bounde without doubte to kepe them nowe, in the tyme of the newe testame~t and lawe of the gospell, whan the obseruaunce and kepynge of the olde shadowes / and bodily or outwarde tokens is taken away· For what soeuer thynge, as he sayth in an other place / dothe helpe and serue for vtue & good maners / lykewyse as they were not 56 ordined to betoke~ any thinge / but to shewe vs howe we muste lyue: so they ought nat by any interpretation or vnderstandyng, be applied to any signifyinge or tokenynge, as if they were but signes & tokens of thynges. But as many as be of Christes religion and beleue / be bounde of necessitie to kepe them, euen so as they be spoken.

And in an other place he saith / Although in tyme paste men maried their sisters / yet that thing was done bicause necessite compelled me~ vnto it / for as moche as tha~ were so fewe people: but this thi~g is not so olde / nor was neuer so necessary / but it is now as damnable / bicause that religion dothe forbyd it. For it ought to be done than / whan it might / bicause that by marie~ge of sisters there might be plentie of women, & so that by processe they might take wiues / whiche shulde nat be their sisters. but afterwarde ones that this necessite ceassed, & that there were women inoughe, this thynge oughte not onely to be vndone / but if it were done, it shulde be a crime not to be spoken. For I wote not howe / saith he / there is amo~ge all the poyntes of mans shamefacidnes one certayne natural & co~mendable poynt, and it is this, that to what so euer woman we be bounde to do honour with reuere~ce and shamefacidnes / our carnall luste / yea thoughe it be for generation / yet by cause it is carnall luste / we refrayne it from that woman, specially considerynge that we se maryed folke / namely that haue shame & honestie / to be ashamed of suche luste. ¶Nowe here thou seest / gentyll indiffere~t reder, what is the iugement of these great diuinis: wherin thou shalte call to thy remembrance .iiij. or .v. thynges.

Fyrste what so euer persone of Christes beleue breke any of these Leuiticall prohibitions of maryage, he shall be damned bothe bodye and soule in to euerlastynge deathe of helle. Seconde that not onely the Iues dyd absteine from marienge their brothers wyues / euen as ye wolde say / for feare of some mischiefe, & yet they mighte haue done it by auctorite of their lawe, but that the very heathens also after the deth of their wyues, dydde euer more absteyne from maryinge of their wyues sisterne / as from a certayne impietie or abhominacion agaynst nature. Thirde, that mariages contracte contrary to these prohibitions / 57 be vncomely and abhomynable, and as nere as can be to the lyfe of brute beastes / and suche as christian people shuld nother abyde to here them spoken of, nor yet to thynke on them, and that they be cleane contrarye to charitie, ye and furthermore that they be the transgression and breking of all the lawe. Fourthe / that they be so greuous and so hateful in the sight of god, that they haue distroyed hole nacions / polluted the lande, and being polluted / caused hit naturally to grudge & to put them out, which had co~mised suche thinges / doutles bicause that god did take vengeance at the grefe and complaynt of the lande. Finally that these prohibitions perteyne not onely vnto the Iues / but to all christians, whiche come to serue god: and that they / whiche be polluted and corrupte with any one of these not to be spoken dedes, is defyled with them all / and that god is angry with them, and wyll not dwell with them, and contrary that the spirite of god dwelleth in them / that kepe them selfe cleane from suche foule couples. And seynge that these foresayde thynges be true, it is prouided as playnely as can be / that these Leuitical lawes be, out of doubte / the co~mandementes of god / and that / morall co~mandementes / ordined for thincrease and mayntenaunce of honestie· and vertue, and that they muste not be kepte after a spirituall and a mysticall vnderstandynge, as Isichius saith, more than after the playne letter, and euen as they be spoken, namely amonge christian folke. For as many as be trewe Christes disciples / the spirite of god dwelleth in them / and if there be any / that hath not the spirite of Christe, he is none of Christes. And therfore christian people specially had nede to be holye, and not to suspe~de the temple or churche of god with suche abhominations, or any other vice: but it becometh them to be innocent from all maner of foulenes and vnclenlynes. ¶And marke well this thynge also / gentyll indifferent reder, that saynt Ambrose holdeth, that it is no doubte, and without question forbydden / any manne to marye his halfe systers doughter, and that for many consyderations, as for the increase or multyplyenge of stockes / or by cause of religion and reuerence, that is in the names of kynrede: whiche to be chaunged / 58 or to be confounded by the meane of vncleanly loue / he iudgeth it a thinge not to be spoken: or els bycause these maryages be forbydden bothe by the lawe of nature / and so moche more by the lawe of god: or els bycause suche couples be not conuenient nor syttynge, for as moche as the ordre of natural loue or reuerence is ageynst hit: and also bycause that moost religious and deuoute sacramente, and charytable kysse / the whiche is withoute offense / that the vncle dothe owe vnto his nece, as to his doughter, and she to her vncle, as to her father, shulde by suche maryages be taken awaye: or fynally bicause that suche mariages be forbydden euen by the lawe of manne, as by the lawe Ciuille. Howe moche more thanne ought we to thynke, that we shulde make no suche maryages / as be before forbydden in the Leuiticall? the whiche as they be full of bondes / of farre more nere kynrede thanne this, so is there more foulenesse and malyciousnesse in the doynge of them, and they lette more the multiplyenge of stockes / and they confounde more the religion and reuerence of the names of kynred / and they be also moche more vnlefull / bycause they be forbydden bothe by the expresse commandement of god / publisshed by the mouthe of Moses, and also prohibite by the lawe of nature, and beside this / they let the increase of loue and charitie a great deale more, and be agaynste naturall reuerence and shamefacidnes, and for a conclusion, they be forbydden and interdicte not onely by the lawe Ciuill, but also by the holy canons and rules of the sacre holye churche / suche no doubte as were indicted and co~manded by the holy spirite of god, whiche hath the orderinge and thadministration of the churche of god.

[leaf motif] The fourthe Chaptre.

ANd nowe after that we haue rehersed the doctours of the churche of Christe, which be of most great auctorite / fame / and renowne: let vs come to the writinges of the other expou~ders & interpreters of scripture / which though they be not of so great auctoritie / yet for al that 59 theyr credence and lernynge is both receiued and iudged to be of grauitie.

¶Truely saint Ancelme, sometyme archebysshoppe of Caunturbury / whan one asked hym / by what reason the forbydding / that we shulde not mary any of our consanguinite or affinite, hath so great stre~gth and power in the church of god / that there can be no perdon or dispensatio~ for the brekynge of it, excepte that the mariage fyrste be broken, he answered thus, bicause / saith he / I se the here seke and demaunde not onely the auctoritie, as I might say, compellynge and constraynynge onely by force and power / but rather to seke a reason, prouynge and shewynge vnto the this thinge by reason: by cause thou shalte knowe / that I wyll satisfie and fulfyll thy wyl and desire / all be it perauenture I am nat able / yet I wyll endeuer my selfe to content the somwhat in this behalfe. The canons and lawes of the churche be full of this commaundement / and there be many decrees of the olde fathers also / that we shulde not mari with any of our bloudde / or if we haue maried, that we shulde be departed and disceuered again. And as for the cause or reason of this co~maundement, al be it I might say / that the simple & plaine reason is / to obey the power & auctoritie of them, to whom Christe sayd: It is not you your selfe truly that do speake, but the spirite of your father, whiche speaketh in you / and to folowe the custome of the holi churche, whose customes to breake and fordo is a kynde of heresy: yet for all that by the consyderation and marking also of holy scripture I am wont to thynke thus with my selfe. Amonge the olde and auncient people of the Iues / it was not leful for any persone to mary with any out of his trybe. And whan I doubted, and soughte a reason / why so: the doughters of Salphaad came to my reme~braunce. For whose mariages / whan certayne of theyr trybe and kynred dyd aske counsayle of Moses, and by Moses, of our lorde: co~mandeme~t was gyuen them of our lorde, that there shuld be no mariages made out of one tribe into a nother, whiche was ordined / bycause the inheritaunce of the tribes shulde not be diminysshed. For that carnall people could not lifte vp their hartes to heuen, but as an erthely crepynge beaste, with all their 60 breast and harte fast cleauing to the erthe, thought only of the erthely heritage / and not of the heuenly. Therfore euerye tribe had leauer to kepe their selfe within the straites of their tribe, by maryenge to gether one of the selfe same tribe with an other / then by marienge out of their stocke, to diuyde & parte out also their heritage. for suche was their heritage / & suche is all erthely heritage / that if hit be ones diuyded / it waxeth lesse and dimynissheth / nor can not come all holle to many. Therfore, as our lorde him selfe in the gospell sayth to the Iues, that Moses dyd suffre them for their vngracious stomakes and harde hartes, to put away their wyues / so that they put in a bill of diuorse: euin so in this case Moses gaue an answere to their carnalites & fleshli desires, & acording to their stubborne & hard hartes, that they shulde nat mary out of their tribe: but the goodnes and perfectnes of vs / that be christian folke, is not on this facion. For seing that our herytage is god / of whom hit is spoken, God is loue and charitie, lyke wise as the Iues vsed a lawe fit & agreable to their heritage, so we ought to mai~tein a law for our heritage / whiche is the lawe of loue and charitie. For as for loue and charite the brodder it is spredde, the more remayneth to hym, that doth spredde and caste it abrode / and the more his loue and charite dothe increace. Therfore the christian religion and perfection hath ordined, that the boundes and buttayles of consanguynite shuld be stretched forthe vnto the .vj. degree on euery syde, accordynge to the decrees of holy fathers and canons: so that kynsfolke being within the .vi. degre, may not marye to gether / betwene whom their owne naturall affection of one to a nother shulde be sufficiente to fortifye and make stronge loue and charite betwene them, the whiche natural affection it is great sinne to violate and breke / euen amonge the hethen and vnchristian people. And where that this naturall affection and loue begynneth to faile, there onely muste be putte to / the bonde of mariage / for to bynde loue & charite to gether agein / that it slyp not away, to enlarge the boundes & buttayles of our herytage, whiche is loue and charite. And it semeth moste right and reasonable, that as amonge the Iewes the transgressour of 61 theyr lawe was punisshed accordyngely / for marienge out of their tribe and kinred / for to conserue their erthely heritage: so amonge vs christian people it is ryght and resonable / that the tra~sgressor of our lawe be punisshed, to thintent our heuenly cou~trey and godly heritage may be encreased. ¶Yet an other reson. As they were forbidden to marye out of thayr trybe or stocke, euen so they were forbydden by the selfe same lawe to medle with them, that were nexte of their bloudde. For the lawe saith: No man medle with her, that is next of his bloudde: and the lawe putteth vnto / the auctoritie of the commander / sayenge / I the lorde: and as though they had required a cause and a reasone why it was so co~maunded / the lawe putteth vnto / Thou shalt not open and dyscouer thy fathers foulnes nor thy mothers / by cause it is the foulnes or fylthines of thy father and thy mother. And afterwarde streyght folowynge he reakenneth vppe in ordre those / that be nexte of bloudde, with whom we muste not medle / nor open or discouer their foulnes / that is to witte, brotherne and systerne / and other that be there described. The whiche cause and reasone may be also commune vnto vs / and to them / euen lyke as the commaundement is co~mune bothe vnto vs / and to them. Therfore let vs seke what foulnes is this, whiche who so discouereth and openneth / is wourthy to die for it. It is a foule thynge / whan one parte doth not agre with the other. And before the transgression of the fyrste man Adam, in all mannes body there was no thynge fowle fylthy or vnclene, no partie contrary nor rebellious to a nother. For while that same harmony and swete agrement / well and commely proporcioned, by the hande of the creator and maker god, did yet remayne: one partie dyd agre with an other and the soule was subiecte and obedient to god / and the body was subiect and obedient to the soule in al point{is}. But after that by breakynge of the commaundement of god / the soule was made inobedyent and stubborne and rebellious agaynste god his superiour / the body inferiour was no lenger obedie~t to the soule his superiour. For streight the tra~sgressours / Adam and Eue, had theyr eies opened. And theyr eyes, sayth he, were opened / that is to be vnderstande 62 the one to haue carnall lust vnto the tother / the whiche desyre and luste before they had not. And where as they before were naked / and were not a whit ashamed therof / streyghte whan they sawe that the partes of their bodyes were turned in to thynges to be ashamed of, went aboute to hyde and couer them / and dydde make couerynge for them. The whiche thynge we maye perceyue euen nowe in children and litle babes, whiche as longe as they fele / nor perceyue no stirrynge nor motion of concupiscence or flesshely lustes / they haue no partis that they be ashamed of / bicause they can not be ashamed of any parte of their bodies. But whan they begyn ones to perceyue and fele that concupiscence / they can not suffre their priuities to be vncouered. Therfore after this harmoni and swete agrement was broken and vndone in our fyrste parentes / there happened not a lyttell foulenes and originall punysshement / that shulde go with originall sinne / fro~ them to theyr posteritie, and to al that shulde come of them. And so by cause of this foule bodily luste & co~cupiscence, that Paule calleth the body of synne / whiche is within our body / those membres and partes / that haue ones serued to this lust and concupiscence / be named shameful partes, foulenesse / and shame, by cause they be of knowlege / and do wytnesse of our inwarde foulenes / that is to sey / of our luste and stirynge to fleshely medlynge: whiche membres euer more do require to be alway couered and hyd. And this foulenes of concupisce~ce, desire, and lust is then opened or vncouerd / wha~ it requireth and taketh vnto it the office and seruice of tho membres / that be ordyned for it, and dothe falle to practise / at whiche tyme all that myghte and power of the reasonable soule or of mans wytte is so dulled / so troubled / & so ouercome / and so oppressed / & ouerlaide by the filthy lust of the flesshe, that it may be very well sayde at that time: Adam / where arte thou? That is to say / thou that woldest haue ben lyke to god / I do not se wherto thou art come. And what is more foule than this foulenes? what greatter shame is there than this shame? The whiche the apostel rebukynge, Flie you, sayth he, fornication. All the synne, that a man doth co~mit, is without the body, but he that synneth 63 in fornication, synneth agaynste his owne body, that is to sey, all synnis truely hurteth the soule, but yet for all that they foule not the bodye: but he, that committeth fornication / doth not only offend god / and foule his soule / but also he defylethe and maketh vnhonest all the fayrnesse and goodlines of his body. For as a thefe, wha~ he is taken / hath a marke bourned in hym with an iron or with fire / to his vttre and euerlastinge shame and rebuke, so this bodely pleasure was for a punysshement of synne put into our nature / which nature by the faute of brekyng goddes commaundement was nowe holly corrupte thorowe and thorowe in euery parte of it, bycause that he, in whom al our holle nature was, and without whom there was no parte of it / was al holle corrupt. The which foulenes in all persons ought to be couered euer more with the coueryng of shamfacidnes, if it were not necessarie for the generation of man, for a peyne and punysshement of the fyrste synne. And yet there is no suche loue to the generation and encrese of man / that dothe suffre vs to discouer this foulenes in those persones / of whome the lawe saith, that thei be next of our bloudde. For these persons by the law & motio~ of nature self owe this reuere~ce of loue & charite one of them to an other, so that there can be no iust & lauful cause why they shulde shame and dishoneste their bodies on this facion / nor there can be no honeste excuse fou~de or brought in / whiche may couer & hyde this dishonestie. Not bicause I wolde sey / that mariages he nat holy, and that the bedde is not clene and without spotte & synne, in the whiche matrimony is kepte laufully, with feare of god / and for charytable loue and honestye. For by suche matrymonye they that mary / be made one spirite and one sowle, syns that they be made nowe one fleshe. And thus bothe by their honest loue / and also by their desire to engendre and gette chyldren, do so hyde and couer their dishonestie, & do, as ye wolde sey denoure & swalowe vp this penall foulenes & filthines of mans generation, that as the Apostell saythe: They, that mary / be as though they were not maried. Therfore, as we haue sayde, they that were forbydden to mary out of their tribe: by the same lawe also were forbydden to meddle & mary 64 with them / that be nexte of their bloud. But amonge the Iewes this lawe of naturall loue and affection scant did passe the thirde degre of consanguinite, but amonge vs (vnto whome the tyme of correctyon and amendement is come, by whome god hath corrected and amended the worlde / and brought it to perfection, whiche shal not be changed) loue hath growen and encressed, and honestie greatly abou~ded and multiplyed / and for to be token and declare the perfectio~ of the gospell, that nombre of 3. is doubled / & hath extende it selfe in to .6. whiche is a perfecte nombre, & stondith by his owne partes / euen as the trueth of the gospell stondeth by it selfe alone / & nedeth nothinge elles to vnderset and staye it vp. ¶But here thou wilte leye to my charge & say / that there were in the olde tyme certaine good & vtuos men, which for certain honeste causes did presume & auenture to break & disteine euen the firste & seco~d degre of co~sa~guinite, as before the lawe did Abraha~ / Isaac / & Iacob / which lately before had ben disseuered & co~manded to go aparte fro~ other nacio~s / for auoidinge the couplinge & mariage with the same nacions, and so did mary with them, that were nexte of their bloud / and this was done before the lawe was gyuen / and after that the lawe was gyuen Caleb gaue Axam his doughter in wyfe to his yonger brother Othoniel, for a rewarde of victory, whan he conquered and ouercame the cite of Letters. And also Thamar kynge Dauids doughter / whan she was oppressed of her brother, Do not brother, sayd she, but aske me of the king my father / and he wyll nat denye the. The which kyng Dauid truly / that was said to gyue the syster to her brother in wyfe / was father to them bothe. wherfore where as I say they dyd presume vpon some certain honeste causes and consyderations, that chaunsed, yet for al that christian religion & the perfectnes that ought to be in a christian man / wyll iudge nothynge to be honest, that is ageynst the honestie of nature. ¶Lo here thou haste my mynde, & what I thynke in this question of thyne, saythe saynt Ancelme, If thou be pleased and co~tented / it is well: if it displease the, I shall lyghtly get forgeuenes and perdon of the. ¶In this opinion also be Hugh Cardinal, Raufe Flauiacensis / Ruperte Tuitiensis / 65 Hildebart Cenomanense / Iuo Carnotense all bysshops / and one water of Constance / archedeacon of Oxeforthe. And trewely the first two Hugh Cardinal & Raufe Flauiacense / expoundinge the .xviij. chaptre of the Leuiticall / shewe howe that chaptre dothe hange with tho thinges / that go before. Many misticall thinges, say they, hitherto the lawe hathe gyuen to the olde people of the Iues to obserue and kepe / wherin onely was a shadowe of our faith and maners / & not the very truth in dede: and as for here the lawe instructeth and teacheth the people, and gyueth them mo preceptes, wherby they may knowe what belongeth to good maners, to vertue, and honestie. For those thynges, that folowe here, must be euen so vnderstanden / as they be spoken, wherwith the people / whiche had nowe betaken them selfe to an other lorde and maister, is informed and taught / to the intent / that they for theyr lyttell power / shulde endeuer them selfe to do some good / nor shulde not be content with the heuye bourdon of bondage / and to be vnderneth sacreme~tes, or signes and toke~s of sacre & holy thinges / the whiche shulde signifie and betoken iustyce and goodnes, not in them selfe, but in other men. Euen lyke wyse as if a Currour or poste shulde carye any kynges letters into farre countreis, by the whiche he shal shewe other, what they shall do, and yet he shal not do the same him selfe. And this same Flauiacense a litell after, saith thus. Al though, saith he, that these mariages here forbydden in forne yeres at the begynnyng of the worlde had a certaine facion of their holines / neuertheles bicause in processe of time the vertue of continence and chastitie, and refraynynge of bodily luste and pleasure / was to be promoted, set forwarde, and encreased / and the licence and lybertie of mariage to be restrayned more straytely, and not so at large as it was wonte: this Leuiticall lawe was made to forbyd suche maryages betwene them that be nygh of kyn and of affinite / for the encreasse of honestie and vertue, bicause that it was more comly to absteyne from suche maryages. And who so euer after this goddes forbod / presume to enterprise any such mariage, he is a transgressor of the lawe / and doth ron in to the abhominable crime & syn of incest. 66 ¶Forther more Rupert also, If thou askest, sayth he, whiche be those vncleanly beastes, spoken of in the olde testament / that god doth hate, they be these, you shall not do after the custome and maner of the londe of Egypt / where as you haue dwelled / nor after the custome and vsage of the countrey of Chanaan, into the whiche I shall brynge you. And afterwarde he sheweth their customes, saynge: No man come nygh to her / that is next of his bloudde. For these verely be the vnclenly beastes / these be the caroginous and stynkinge beastes, whiche the people of god is bounde not to eate / that is / not to admitte them in to their company. For all those persones, that do such thynges / that commit suche vnclenly and vnresonable & beastly vices, that discouer the foulenes or preuities of their mother, or father, that discouer the shame of their syster, other by the fathers syde, or by the mothers syde / those men I saye / that do these thinges, and in any maner of meane discouer the foulnes of their kynsfolke, and do vncouer the foulenes or priuities of a woma~, that hath the floures: that haue a do with their neighbours wyfe / that gyue of their sede vnto the image of Moloche / and do translate it vnto hym by fyre: these, and al suche other workers of wickednes, be defyled and vncleane, vnto whom nothing is cleane. For these thynges / accordynge to the true sayenge of the gospell / do defyle and pollute the ma~. For that, that cometh into the mouth / as meate and drinke / doth not defyle or pollute a man. And we waste no time in these forbiddinges, that be here rehersed / to serche out the depenes & profoundnes of mysticall meaninges or vnder standynges of these wordes. for they be plainly iuste and rightwise: and the reason why they be so / is open and playn at euery mans eie / and easye to se / by cause they do bryng great rest and quietnes of conscience to the herers / but rather I shulde haue said / to the doers and the folowers. ¶More ouer Hugh of saint Victore saith thus. The fyrst tyme, whan god dyd make mariage, he dyd forbydde vs onely to contracte matrimonie with .ij. persons, that is the father and the mother. afterwardes whan he ordined mariage / the seco~de time / whiche was done by the lawe, he dyd excepte 67 certayne other persons / both bicause nature shewed vs / that it was comely so to be / & also for the increase of shamefacidnes and chastite. Therfore I thynke / that excepte these foresayde mariages / where in nedeth regarde of shamefacidnes and chastite to be had, bicause of the horriblenes and foulenes of the same: that in al other if any man by ignorance & vnwittingly by chaunce offende in any woman / as longe as he doth not knowe it, no man can denie, but hit shall be called a lefull mariage, if that it be lefully done after the determination of the churche: so that I excepte euermore all suche maryages, in the whiche we muste nedes haue regarde of shamefacidnes and chastite. Therfore let no man obiecte vnto me the mariages bitwene bretherne and systerne, or any suche other, with whom if any persone do mary ignorantly and vnwittyngly / this ignora~ce can not excuse them, in that thynge that they do. These be horrible and terrible, and no reasonable nor excusable dedes / in the which though there be any thing done by ignorance, yet for all that shamefastnes and chastite is disteyned and loste. ¶Besyde all this saynte Hildebart, somtyme the bysshoppe Cenomanense / in a certayne epistle to the Archebisshoppe of Roan wryteth vnder this maner. As your letter sheweth, waters doughter of Meduan / whiche is maryed to the cou~tie of Moriton, men saye that she is very nygh of bloudde vnto him, and before that the forsayde persones were maryed to gethers, water secretely came and tolde me of the kynred betwene them / and craftly did aske me counsayle / what I thought in it. He thought it very good, he sayde / if loue and charite, that shulde come by this mariage myght cease the warre, that the Erle had cruelly made agaynste him of longe contynuaunce. He sayd more ouer / that you and other prelates of your prouince / had a certayned him by writynge / that this abhomination of kynred myght be suffred / for this entent, that he, the Erle, whiche had ben longe at warre myghte come to peace and quietnes / wherevpon he desyred also the consent of our churche Cenomanense / vnto the mariage that was then to come, that by the auctorite of that church also / he mighte stablysshe and make sure his 68 doughters mariage / if that at any tyme it shulde fortune a diuorse to be sued agaynst her: but he could in no meanis make me to agre to it, nor I coulde in no wise perfectly beleue, that your wisdome had fallen into the symplenes or vndiscretenes of them, whom the apostoll dothe rebuke / by cause they sey / Let vs do noughtly, that therof may come good. And therfore, as for my parte / I was ware and circumspecte. He requyred my consente: and I sente hym worde / that I wolde neuer agree vnto it, nor wolde not suffre / for regarde or consyderation of any cause of dyspensation that coulde be, persons of kynred or affinitie to contracte vnlefull and forbidden maryage. And it shalbe longe to his cure and charge into whose parisshe or diocese it is knowe~, that this woman is departed / to withsto~d and be agaynste this mariage / euen vntyll it be diuorsed.

¶Agayne the same Hildebart was ones asked of the bisshoppe Sagie~se / and of an other certayne Archidiacon / if two were spousyd and hande faste to gether, and the one of them dyed, whether the persone aliue may enter matrymony with the syster or brother of the deade? he aunswered on this wise: If crede~ce be to be giue~ to me~ of auctorite / mariage is made by consent, not by myngynge of bodies. wherfore saynte Ambrose sayth / She that is despoused / or hath made promyse vnto the man / hath taken the name of a yoked or maryed woman. For assone as she doth yoke her selfe by promyse vnto the man / and he to her agayne: then this promys of bothe sydes taketh the name of yokinge or maryage, not whan the ma~ knoweth her, by hauinge to do with her. For it is not the takynge a weye of the floure or beutie of the woma~s virginite, that maketh the yocke, but the bargayne, agrement, & co~sent to be yoked. For whan the woma~ is yoked by her promise or is handfast, then is the yokynge or mariage, not when the man dothe knowe her by hauynge to do with her. ¶Furthermore Isodore writeth: They be called more truely yoked to gether / for the fyrste fayth and promise of spousage, all though they be ignorant of medlynge to gether. ¶Also Nicolas writing to the bisshoppe Higmare. The onely consent, sayth he, betwene them / of whose mariage thou doutest 69 / is sufficient by the lawe. The whiche consent alonely if it lacke in mariage / than all that euer is done besydes forthe, is of none effecte, yea though they haue had to do to gether / as Iohn~ Chrisostome / the great doctour / doth witnesse, whiche saith, VVIL, maketh mariage / & not medlynge to gether. And therfore it is written in the Ciuill law in the boke of the constitutions. If a man vpon affection and mynde to marye leade a woman home to his house before there be any wrytynges made of the dowery / that he shall haue with her, lette hym not be so bolde to diuorse her frome hym / tylle he hath shewed a laufull cause of diuorse. These thynges, sayth Hildebert / if thou had diligently considered / forsoth this mayden shulde not haue entred maryage with that man, vnto whose brother she was coupled before by solenne mariage, and was ioyned vnto him by co~sent, all though dethe, not loked for, dyd lette the secresis of mariage. For who so euer do contracte suche matrymonie / in no case can be suffred by any dispensation / but must be punisshed by the rule of iustice and right. And of suche mariages as these be, thou shalte fynde in the counsayle Triburiense. A man was handfast to a woman, with whom he coulde not haue the secretes of maryage: that same woman / his brother dyd priuely defyle and gette with childe. It was decreed & determined / that how be it she coulde not be maried to the brother, that was her leful husbande / yet for al that the other brother, that had got her with childe, can not haue her / bicause she had made promyse before to his broder: but both he & she / that haue co~mitted adultery / let them haue the punysshement of their fornication / and let them not be denied to vse lauful mariage / the man to mary laufully to whom he wyll / and the woman also. For our fore fathers / by cause that maryage shulde be done with honestie / and the mariage bedde without spotte and vncleannes, they haue very diligently prouyded here before / that a woman / whiche had made promysse, and was spoused vnto the one broder / coulde not be maried to the other broder: and he that was confederate, or be trouthed, to one sister / shuld not mary the tother sister. For by suche libertie and licence through the crafte & disceite 70 of the deuyl / there might come many vnhonest & beastly or incestuous mariages / whiche be ceassed / al the while that the forbiddinge of the lawe is obserued.

¶And to the selfe same purpose, saint Iuo sometyme bisshop Carnotense, wrote vnto Lesiarde bisshop Swessionense. you know wel inough, saith he, that I neuer allowed the maryage betwene Peter / the sonne of Geruase / and of Galeranes doughter of Brutule / and that I neuer gaue counsaile / nor dyd neuer consente / that it shulde be done. Yea whan that Galeran, the maides father cou~sayled me in this matter / I gaue hym counsayle, by Drogon clerke / vtterly to the contrary, that it shuld in no wise be done, bycause that suche mariages might not stande / if there were any / that wolde breake it. I added also the sayinge of the lawe, that one ma~ can not be maried to .ij. sisters, likewise as one woman can not laufully be maried to .ij. brothers. For Sinegund / the sister of this maiden / whom this forsayd Peter hath nowe maried, was the same selfe Peters wyfe, not only made sure and handfaste vnto hym by promysse / but also yoked and conioyned by the preestes beneson and prayer. And if you lay against me / that ther was no yoking or mariages / where it is well knowen, there folowed no carnall medlinge betwene the man and the woman: I answere by the auctorite of the fathers, that the yocke and maryage can neuer be vndone / seinge there was ones a stedfast conuenant & promisse of yoking or mariage betwene them. wherfore, as saint Augustine sayth, the aungell sayde true to good Ioseph: Feare not to take Marye thy wyfe to the. for he dyd truely calle her Iosephs wyfe, whom he had not knowen by secresye of maryage / nor neuer shulde knowe. And whan he had brought many auctorities of the fathers / to this pourpose, the whiche were cited before of Hildebarte, It is, sayth he, a canonicall lawe, that no man can marie that woman, whiche hath made promisse of mariage to an other man. Nor contrarie / if the man that hath made promysse, wolde be maryed to an other woman. For bothe the lawes of god and man forbydde these promysses to be broken. ¶This same saynte Iuo also writeth to Odon, the archidiacon. Euen from the begynnynge of the worlde, sayde 71 he, the sacrament of maryage remaynethe styll / as of the lawe of Nature / and in no poynt broken nor changed / so that nother original sinne, or Adams trespas toke that away / nor the iudgement of drownyng the worlde / wherby synnes and naughty thinges were wasshed away / dyd take away or chaunge maryage. Therfore that thynge that is ordyned by the co~maundement of god / & that god wold haue to be vnchaungeable / ought not be broken by no mannes commaundement / except the mariage were made without consent of the parties / or els dampnable of it selfe, that is: falsely forged and vntrue / or els incestuouse and agaynste Nature and kynde. That if any of those thinges do chance / there must be no delay / but suche mariages muste be healed out of hande by departing and diuorse. Therfore though the kyng do promisse, that he wyll forgyue many displesures / done vnto hym, and leaue many displeasures / that he inte~ded, and that he woll do many good thinges and many plesures, if he may kepe still for a tyme this woman / whiche he vnlaufully hath / and the seate apostolyke to be co~tent withal, and he to be styl in the company of christian men: yet for all that I say and aunswere vnto you thus / by the auctorite of god and diuine scripture, that it is not possible for him to haue forgiuenes of his synne / gyue he neuer so moche / or do he neuer so many good dedes in reco~ / pence, as longe as he hath wyll and minde to abyde in the same synne, acordynge to the sayinge of the appostel: There is none hoste, sacrifyce / nor amendes / nor forgyuenesse / for the synne of them, that synne wylfully. whiche in other wordes is as moche to say / that no persone / hauynge wyll and mynde to contynue in his synne / can haue forgyuenes of his synne by any maner of almes / or by any maner of good dedes, or by any maner of offrynge, or bestowyng of his goodes. wherfore we rede that our lorde also did answere Cain / wha~ he offred vp his goodes, and for all that did intende murder: Yf thou, sayde god, doste offer a ryght, and doste not diuide a ryght, thou hast synned / Ceasse & leaue of? as though he had sayd, thou dost synne / bi cause thou dost not departe & diuide wel / which dost bring me thy goodes, & thi~king vpon murder / dost take fro~ me thyne owne 72 selfe which art better to me tha~ thi good{is}. ¶Her fore also that good Pope Gelasius saythe. It is not redde, syns Christes relygion began, nor there can none example begeuen in the churche of god / that this thinge was euer done or euer co~maunded to be done, other of any bysshoppes, or by the apostels them selfe, or els by our lorde & sauiour him selfe: that any man shulde be assoiled fro~ his syn / that intended to co~tynue in the same, & dyd not fully purpose for euer to forsake & vtterly to renounce / bothe that & al other synne / or thinge that shuld displese god. ¶More ouer the same saint Iuo did write vnto He~ry kyng of Engla~d / that wolde haue maried his doughter to one Hugh, a kinsma~ of his, answeri~g i~ this wise. Bicause it is not comeli, that so noble bloud shuld be steined with so ope~ i~cest, & that the wyl & minde of carnal {per}sons shuld thorow this bestly exa~ple be encoragid to co~mit like incest & mariage again nature & kinde: for the reuere~ce, that we haue vnto you / & true loue, that we bere you, we desire to admonisshe your maieste before / that while you may do it with your honestie, you suffre no such mariage to be made: leste that suche mariage / seinge it is presumed to be agaynste the lawe, be worthily and of right broken and vndone agayn by the lawe. And doubtles it becommeth not a kynges maieste to co~mit any suche faulte in his owne persone / the whiche ought to be punysshed in other with the rygor and extremite of the lawe. For sothe we can in no case swarue from the course and ordre of the lawe. If we se our parisshon / or one of our diocese co~mitte any abhomination / specially in mariage / bycause of the decree of the seate apostolike: VVE reserue no maner of forgyuenes / no maner of perdon or dispensation for incest mariages / & suche as be against nature and kynde, vntil they haue healed their adultery by departynge and diuorce. For seynge that we do reuerence and feare the power of temporal kinges: moche more we are bounde to reuerence and dred the almighty power of the euer lastynge kynge. And by this meanes we may gyue Cesar / that is Cesars, & god that is goddis.

¶And the same saynt Iuo answered one Geffrey the erle Vindocinense / desyrynge to haue to wyfe Matylde vycountesse of 73 Blois / whiche was maryed before to one Robert / kynsman to the sayde Geffrey: I co~maunde, sayth he, and by the lawe of Christe I forbid the to contract this bestly vnkinde or vnchast mariages / which thou canst nother defende by the law / nor yet be gette by them laufull heyres, that by the lawe can succede the.

¶And he agayne wryteth to Damberte / the Archebysshop of Senon / of a knight / whiche before laufull maryage with his wyfe / laye with her syster, and dyd confesse his faute openly / wherevpon saynt Iuos wordes be these. I answere vnto your fatherheed / that thinge, whiche you knowe well inough / that if he had brought vp an ope~ infamy and sklander / and that against an honeste persone / that hath deserued no suche thing / hereafter he can nother accuse nor yet be wytnesse. But bycause no man, that is gilty, can make no confession, except it be of some naughtie thynge / we can not denye, but we oughte to receyue and take suche confessions, as they that be penitent or sorye for that they haue myssedone, do make against their owne selfe / for the feare and drede of god / and for the helth of their owne soules. nor we deny not also, but that we ought to i~ioyne them lauful pena~ce / the whiche if we shulde deny them / we shuld caste them euen to the mouthe of the inuisible wolues to be deuoured. And if we suffre suche accusors of them selfe lyghtly to passe / and to skape withoute punysshement, the goodnesse and honestie of mariage / whiche frome the begynnynge was co~maunded to be kepte holyly / bothe by nature, and also by lawe, we putte it perillously in daunger to be steined and distroyed. Bicause therfore that the ende of all stryfe and controuersie / that belongeth to the determinacion of the Churche, is an Othe, after the sayenge of the apostel / this confession muste be confirmed / and proued by seuerall othes of euery persone / and by vi. sufficient and honest persones: the whiche either were present, & knewe the thinge done, or elles maye by profe of that / that they beleue and thynke lykely / affirme and vpholde the trouthe. Bycause that newe kyndes of diseases compelle vs to seke experience of newe medicines. Therfore wha~ this confession shall be thus confyrmedde and prouedde / than it shall be open and 74 playne, that this mariage is vnchaste, and vnkynde. And we reserue no maner of forgyuenesse for vnchaste mariages / after the canons, vntyll they haue healed suche synfull mariages by departinge and diuorse. And he that did contrarie to the lawes of matrimony, and did accuse hym selfe, lette hym abide vnmaried, either for euermore, or at the least til the time that he hath fulfylled his pena~ce. This alweys vndersta~d, that the woman, whiche shal be diuorsed from hym, lese not her dowere, whiche is the price of her chastite. And by this meanes we shal do al, that his co~fession requireth: and shal make a profitable and a sufficient prouision for the honestie of mariages for the tyme to come.

¶Finally walter of Constance, Archidiacon of Oxforthe, wrote vnto the bysshop of Exceter worde for worde, as here after folowethe. Seinge that bothe great lernynge, and also vse and experience of matters, hath made you wise and circumspect in iugement and decision of causes, we maruayle, & other also, whiche be very wel lerned in both the lawes maruayle / wherfore you haue so longe time differred to make a diuorce betwene Roberte and Ismen his kynswoman, specially seing that you haue expresse co~mandement of the Pope for the same, and seynge that holy Canons do repute and compte it for a damnable and abhominable synne / to suffre suche persones to dwelle to gether. Trewely there were brought forthe laufull wytnesse, and suche as no exception / nor refuse or chalenge can be layde agaynste them: whiche if they haue not made full profe vnto you in this matter / than (as well accordynge to the clause of the Popes letters / where as he saythe, you may proue the matter by many other / as also by auctoritie of Fabian and Celestine / and other holy fathers) you muste admytte them, whiche after these forsayde men, be moste nigh vnto you / and of moste sage counsaile / that suche diligent inquisition and serchynge out of the truth may be a lanterne to your feate, that you may tourne iustice into iugement. For the more abhominable and beastly synne that incest is, so moche the more scrupulouse & curious you must be / to fynde out the certeinte of this kynrede: so that in makynge the diuorce, the iuges sente~ce do not wauer 75 or hange doutfull. It is not leful for a iuge in this matter to dissemble or to vse any cloke or colour / and to make as he dyd not knowe that thing, that he knoweth in such a matter / wherin stondethe the perylle of mens soules. More ouer there is one thing in this matter / that troubleth vs aboue al. For wher as the said Robert is myn eldest brothers eldest son / and bicause that al the progenie of our stocke dothe hange vpon hym, as of the heed / by reason of his father: we feare leaste this synne of inceste or vnchaste mariage shulde passe from hym into his posterite / and to al that euer shuld come of hym. For all the holle succession and generation shall receyue and take corruption and infection / if the membres come not laufully and without corruption from the heed: if the riuers come not pure from the spryng / and the braunches without corruption from the body of the tree / as holy scripture also dothe witnes, sayinge: The childerne of inceste persones be abhominable before god. And as saynte Gregorye dothe playnly saye, There cometh no laufull nor good issue of vnchast or inceste and vnkynde medlinge to getheer.

¶Nowe for to come also to the scole doctours / whiche do vpholde and mainteine bothe with great nombre / & great consent / this iugement of these forsaid fathers, vpo~ the Leuiticall prohibitio~s. Forsothe saint Thomas saith. In co~uersacion of persons, that be of kynrede or of affinite, we fynde that ther shuld be no venereous medlyng, for .iii. resons. And first bicause that naturally a ma~ oweth a certayne honor & reuerence / & feare to his parentes, and therfore also vnto other of his kyn, which come very nigh of the same parentes. In so moche that in olde tyme, as Valerius Maximus sheweth, hit was not leful for the sonne to baath in one place with his fader / lest they shuld se eche other naked. And it is manifest, that in venereous dedis / there is a certaine foule vse of medling and homelynes / whiche is co~trarie to honour & reuerence. wherfore men do blusshe & be asshamed of suche dedes. And therfore it is vncomely, that there shulde be any suche wantonne medlynge betwene suche persones. And this reason semethe to be expressed in the xviij. chapitre of the Leuiticall / where it is sayde: She is thy mother / thou shalte 76 not vncouer her foulenes or priueties. And the same selfe thynge is sayde there also afterwardes on other persones. The seconde reason is, bybause persones that be of one bloudde / muste nedes be conuersant and in company to gether. wherfore if suche persons shulde not be forbidden to vse suche wanton pastimes / one with an other / men shuld haue to moche oportunite and occasion to vse suche lustful intermedlyng. And so the stomakes of men shulde be out of courage, and their hartes cowardelike, and as it were woma~s hartes, by the meanes of lechery and beastly pleasure of the bodye. And therfore in the olde Leuitical lawe, those persones seme specially to be forbydden maryage, whiche muste nedes dwell to gether. The thyrde reason is / bicause that by suche mariages / shulde be lettedde the multyplyenge and increace of frendship. For whan a man dothe take a wyfe / that is a straunger to hym / all the kynsfolke of his wyfe be knytte vnto hym by certayne frendeshyppe and loue / as if they were his owne kynsfolke. wherfore Augustin sayth, There was very great regarde taken of loue and charite / and that accordynge to ryght and reason, to the intent that men, vnto whom loue and concorde is bothe profitable and also honeste / shulde be knytte to gether by sondry degrees of kynred. And that one man shulde not haue many / but sondry to be disseuered in sondry persones. And Aristotell, an heathen man / in the .ij. boke of the politikes, putteth to, the .iiij. reason / bicause that where a man doth loue his kinswoman by Nature / if there shulde be put to the loue that comethe of bodely medlynge / there shuld be to moche heate and feruentnes of loue / and to great a prouocation of flesshly luste, whiche is contrary to the chastite of mariage / where suche pastime is to be vsed for necessitie, and not for pleasure. Thus sayth saint Thomas here. And in an other place he sayth thus, That thynge in mariage / is cleane contrarye to the lawe of nature, wherby matrimony cometh not vnto the ende / whiche it was ordyned for / by co~uenient meanes. And the chiefe and fyrste ende of mariage of it selfe, is the good or benyfite of issue / the whiche doubtles by some certayne degrees of kynrede is lette / as betwene the father and the doughter, 77 the mother and the sonne, not bicause that issue here is vtterly taken a waye, (for the doughter maye haue issue of her fathers sede, and nourysshe it vp with the father / and teache and instructe it, in the whiche thyng stondeth the benifite of issue) but by cause that this ende of mariage, that is to haue issue & childre~, can not be brought to passe in this case by any lefull & honest maner. For it is ageynst all good ordre & reason / that the doughter shuld be coupled bi mariage with her owne fader / to be his co~panion to bringe hym forthe children / & to brynge them vp, seinge that she ought to be subiecte to her father in all thynges, as that dothe come of hym, and hath her beinge of hym / and therfore by the lawe of nature hit is forbydden, that any persone shulde marie father or mother / & yet more with the mother, than with the father, by cause that hit is more contrarie to the honour and reuere~ce / that is due vnto the parentes, if the sonne take his moder to wife / than if the father shuld take his doughter to his wyfe, bicause that the wife is bou~de by the co~mandement of god / to be subiecte and obedient vnto her husbande.

¶But the seconde ende of mariage is repressynge and quenchinge of bodely luste, and concupiscence / whiche restraint of carnall luste / though it be not the fyrst & chiefe ende of mariage / but the seconde / yet of it selfe it is an ende of mariage. And this ende also shulde perysshe and be loste / if a man myght marye whiche of his kynswomen he wolde. For there shulde be opened a great wycket vnto lustes of the bodye / except there were some restraint / and flesshly medling forbidden amonge those persons, whiche muste nedes be conuersaunt to gether in one house. And therfore the lawe of god hath not only forbidde~ mariage with the father and the mother, but also with other persons / that be of our kynred, whiche muste nedes company to gethers / and are bounde to conserue / the one the others chastite and honestie. And the lawe of god doth assygne this cause / sayenge: Vnheale not the foulenes of suche & suche persones / bicause it is foulenes. But an other ende of matrimony not properly and of it selfe, but ioyned vnto it / is byndynge and knyttynge to gether of men, and multiplyenge and increasse of frendshyppe, loue, and charitie, 78 while a man is in lyke maner to his wynes kynsfolke / as he is to his owne kynsfolke· therfore this increase of loue and charite shulde wrongfully take harme / if any man shulde mary her / that is knytte vnto hym all redy by bloudde. For by this mariage there shulde be none increasse of any newe frendeship loue and charite. And therfore by the lawes of man / and also by the estatutes of the church / there be many degres / in the whiche folke are forbidden to mary. ¶Ande saynt Thomas sayth in an other place on this wyse. Accordynge to dyuers tymes it is founde, that kynrede hath lette mariage in diuers degres. for in the beginnynge of mankynde father & mother were onely forbydden to marye with, by cause there were fewe men / and of necessite men were bou~de to do al their labour & dilige~ce that they coulde / for the increase of mankinde. & therfore there were no more {per}sons to be except, but those / whiche were not fit to be maried withal, & I say fit, as concerning the principal ende & cause of mariage, which is the good or benifit to haue issue & childre~, as I said before. But afterwardes / whan mankinde was increased and multiplied / there were many mo persons excepte by Moses lawe / whiche began euin at that time to restrayne and refrayne mans concupiscence & luste. wherfore (as sayth Rabbi Moses) al those persones be excepte from mariage / whiche be wonte to dwelle to gether in one house. For seinge it must nedes be, that they / whiche come of one pare~tes, or of one father and mother, bothe men & women indifferently, company to gether of lo~ge tyme in one house, plainly they shuld haue great prouocacio~ & stirringe to flesshly luste / if it were not forbidden, that there shulde be no suche medley betwene those persons. And now, whan that they thinke sureli and beleue, that there can in no meanes mariage be contracte & made betwene them laufully, streight wayes that filthie luste and plesure is quenched & ceassed / nor doth not prouoke nor stirre their myndes any longer / to desyre tho thynges, that be vnpossible, & can not be done. wherby they instructe and taught to tame and refrayne their fylthy desire, as it were by a certayne former exercise & practise, and assayenge of them selfe: no doubte but by this custome they shal the better absteyne afterwardes 79 from other women. for (as saynt Augustin saythe) custome to a thynge maye do very moche / either to prouoke mans appetite / and to make him haue a lust or desire to it, or to turne away his appetite from it, and to make hym to abhorre it. And therfore seinge that custome doth kepe in & restrayn our vnmoderate luste and concupiscence in this matter: men do well to iudge / that it is a shamfull thynge to breke and corrupt it. For if hit be ageynst right, for desire of possession, to passe or breake the buttels of londes: howe moche more vnrightfull is it, for the lustnes of bodely plesure, to passe or breake the buttayles of good maners & customes? ¶Furthermore saint Thomas sayth agayne / in an other place. Affinite, that is betwene persones before mariage, doth let the mariage / that is to be contracted, and dothe breke the mariage / that is contracted al redy / euen like wyse as dothe consanguinitie. ¶And in an other place. Infidels or vnfaythfuls, that be not baptised / be not bou~d to the lawes of the churche / but yet they be bou~de to the ordinance of the lawe of god. And therfore if any infidels shulde co~tracte within the degrees forbydden in the .xviij. chaptre of the Leuiticall / contrary to the lawe of god, whether both .ii. or one of them be conuerted to the feythe / they may not byde styll to gether in suche maryage. but if they haue contracte with in the degres prohibite by the ordinaunce of the churche, they may abyde styll to gether / if bothe of them be conuerted and tourned to the faithe: or if the one be tourned / and there is hope, that the other also wyll be conuerted.

¶More ouer and beside all these thinges, the same saint Thomas / where as he goth aboute to shewe what is the Popes auctoritie / and what thynges be in the Popes power / & what thinges be not: The Pope, saithe he, hath full power in the churche / that is to be vnderstanden, that the Pope may dispense with all maner of thynges / that be institute & ordeined by the church, or by the prelates of the churche, for these be tho thynges, whiche are saide to be of the lawe of man, or of the lawe positiue, which be no suche maters / that they binde of them selfe / but only by cause they be co~maunded. But in suche ordinaunces, whiche be of the lawe of god / or of the lawe 80 of nature / the Pope hath no power to dispense: bicause these lawes haue strengthe and vertue by the ordinaunce of god / and they be vpon suche matters / that be necessarie of their owne selues vnto the helthe of mannes soule. And vnder this maner these lawes muste be obseruid and kepte in all cases / and euery man is bounde to kepe them without dispensation. For lyke wyse as in the comune lawe of man, no man can dispense / but he / of whom the lawe hath auctorite & strength / & that is the maker of the lawe / or els he / to who~ the maker of the lawe hath giuen suche power: so in the statutes of goddes lawe / whiche be of god / & haue their auctorite & strength of god, no man hath power to dispe~se / but only god, or he / vnto who~ god hath specially gyuen suche power & auctorite. For euery ma~, of what so euer auctorite or power he be / is in co~parison to the lawe of god / euen as a priuate {per}son, haui~g no power nor auctorite / is in co~parison to a comun lawe of the people. Nowe the lawe of god is what so euer belo~geth to the new lawe of the gospell, orels to the olde lawe of Moses, but this is the differe~ce bitwen the two lawes, for the olde lawe did appoynt & set fourthe many thinges / and gaue many preceptis, about ceremonies and outwarde thinges, perteyning vnto the honour of god, and also diuerse preceptes of iugementes, that do serue for to kepe iustice amonge men: but the newe lawe of Christe / and the law of the gospel, the whiche is the lawe of libertie and fredome, hath no suche determinations, appoyntmentes, or boundes / but is contente with preceptes & instructions of good maners of the lawe of nature / and with the articles of the faythe, and with sacramentes of grace. And for this cause it is called the lawe of faythe / & the lawe of grace / bicause it dothe determine, whiche be the articles of the faithe, and what is the vertue of the sacramentes. As for al other thinges, whiche perteyne to the determinacion and certeyne orderinge of suites and iudgementes betwene man and man, orels to the orderinge of the seruice of god: Christe / the maker of the newe lawe, did leaue them frely to be determined & ordred by the prelates of the church / and by the princes & kinges, that haue the rewle of Christes people. wherfore all suche maner determinations 81 and ordinances do perteyne to the lawe of man, wherin the pope hath power to dispense: but those thinges, that be onely of the law of nature, and in the articles of the fayth, and in the sacramentes of the newe lawe, he hath no power to dispe~se. for that shulde not be to haue power for to meynteine the truthe, but to haue power to distroye the truthe. ¶And a littell after he sayth, that the apostel in his doctrine gaue instructions two maner of wayes. for some thinges he taught, not as his owne, but as publisshing vnto them the lawe of god, as is this: If you be circumcised, Christe shal helpe you nothinge at all / and many suche other thinges: and in these the pope hath no power to dispense. And certain thinges he techeth, as makinge ordinances by his owne auctorite & power. For he saith: wha~ I come, I shal set an ordre vpon the other thinges. Also he co~maunded / that the getheringes of money for pore people shuld be done on one of their holy days, or days of reste: the whiche perteyneth not to the lawe of god. And like wise also where he writeth, that he, which is bigam{us} or twise maried, shulde not be promoted to presthod: that is not of the lawe of god / but an ordinaunce by the auctorite of man / gyuen vnto hym by god. ¶And hytherto we haue rehersedde the wordes of Thomas. Nowe beside hym Altissiodorense saythe thus. Euery persone is laufull to contracte mariage with any other {per}son, by the lawe of nature, a fewe excepte, as the father and the doughter / the mother and the sonne: whiche were except at the beginninge. And excepte those persones also / whiche be except by the Leuitical. For those preceptes / that be there / be no iudiciall preceptes / but moral / and perteininge to vertue and good maners. ye and we calle them morall preceptes, or rules of vertue, not of mans teachynge, but euen of nature. And we saye more ouer / that al preceptes of moralite naturall can not be chaunged, nor dispensed withal, as touchinge the substance of vertues. But by the lawe positiue / or the lawe of man / matrimonie in tymes passed hath ben forbidden, vnto the .vii. degree of consanguinitie or kynrede: but nowe a dayes onely vnto the .iiii. degree. ¶Ageyn Peter of Palude resoninge, whether the pope hath auctorite and power, for to releasse & 82 dispense with these Leuitical prohibicio~s. The pope, sayth he, hath no power to dispense in the fyrst degree of affinite / no more than he hath in the fyrst degree of consanguinitie: bycause that it is contrary to the lawe of Nature and of god also. For we do reuerence vnto our fathers wyues / as we do to our owne mothers. Maryage also is forbydden by the lawe of god betwene these persones / whiche be in the first degree of consanguinite or affinite / not the one streight aboue the tother / but the one of side halfe to the tother, as brother & syster. and therfore in this degree also the pope hath non auctorite to dispe~se / bicause that this dispensation also is some wise agaynst nature. And therfore the loue and bonde, that is betwene suche persons naturally / doth not suffre vs to suspect or surmyse / that there shulde be any heuy crime commytted betwene suche persones. And for this men beleue, that euen before the lawes of Moses, wha~ that mankinde was ones encreased / other before the fludde, or after, they dyd absteyne from their owne systers / and from their brothers wyues, but if it were to stirre vppe sede to the brother / that was deade, as it is manifeste in Thamar, and in Iudas children. Nor it is nothinge ageynst this / that we say / that is writen of the wyues of Abraham & Isaac / whom their husbondes called systers / by cause doubtles they were of their bloudde or kinrede / euen like wise as Loth was called Abrahams brother, whiche was i~ dede Abrahams brother sonne, and not his brother. No more the Pope hath no power to dispense, that a man shulde marie the wife of his brother / although he died with out children. For howe be it men were suffered to do thus in tyme passed: yet that was nat but by dispensation / yea and that dispensation was by the lawe of god, & not by no ma~. For co~munly by the lawe of god they did absteine from their brothers wife / as from their owne sister: but it was suffered in that case. wherfore like wise as the Pope hath no power nor auctorite to disspense for a pluralite of wyues, al though it was suffred in time passed / bicause it was suffred by a certayne dispensation and priuilege granted by god, and was forbidden by the co~mun lawe: no more auctorite nor power hath the pope to dispe~se in the matter 83 / that we speke of / that a man may mary the wife of his brother / departed without children / for to stirre vp the sede to his brother: bicause that wher that thing was suffred afore times, it was suffred only by dispensation of god / for a certayne tyme, lyke as it was to haue many wyues, & was forbydden generally by the commune lawe. Nor ageyn he can not dispense with them that be in the seconde degree, the tone aboue the tother: but on the syde halfe, as to marie with the father or mothers sister. for this is forbidden by the lawe of god. ¶And with this dothe agre in this matter Antonine, archebisshop of Florence / Ihon~ de Turre cremata / some tyme Cardinall of saynt Syxt. for Iohn~ partly vpo~ the auctorite of Pope Innocent, and Peter of Palude / and of Alexander de Hales, & partly of .iii. other fou~dations / or resons at the last / after that he had co~fou~ded his aduersaries sayenges and opinions, he co~cluded / that al the degres of consanguinite and affinite, whiche be forbydden by the lawe of god, procede and come by the shewynge and instruction of naturall reason. and that therfore these preceptes were not taken away in the tyme of grace, that is to say, whan the lawe of grace / and of the godspell began, and that the Pope can not dispense with them. And the selfe same Iohn~ writeth / howe that Eugenius and Pius, beynge Popes and rulers of the churche of Rome, when that the kynge some tyme of Fraunce and the Erle of Arminache did instantly desire the forsayde two Popes, that they wolde do them so moche pleasure, as to dispense with them / that the Erle myght marye his naturall syster, and that the kynge might mary the syster of his wyfe, that was departedde: these forsayde Popes did co~mitte these .ij. matters vnto the preside~tes of the audie~ce of the Rote of the courte of Rome, amo~ge whom was this forsaide Iohn~ of no small reputation / and to all the other great lerned men / whiche at that tyme chaunced to be at Rome / that this matter shulde be examined by their lernynge and discrecion / that is to wit, whether it was lefull for the Popes to dispense in these cases. And after that they had disputed longe tyme vpon this matter, and had taken as moche deliberation in it, as the thynge required, all 84 those lerned and wyse men / with one consent and agrement / came to this poynte / gaue this sentence, and made answere on this maner / that the Popes had no power nor auctorite to dispense in these degrees. Their reasone was this, bicause that these degres were forbidden by the lawe of god. The whiche verdit and sentence was of so great auctorite and strengthe, that afterwardes / when a certayne bishop had forgid a false bull / by the colour and pretense of the whiche the Erle was maried vnto his owne sister: the bisshop was bothe depriued from his dignitie, & was co~demned to perpetuall prisone. That if so be (quod Iohn~) that euer any Pope had dispensed in these degres, bycause that either he was ignorant in the scripture of god, or elles all to blynded with couetous of money / whiche customably be wonte to be offered for suche vnreasonable and shamfull dispensacions, contrary to all goddes lawe / and mans: or by cause he wolde please men rather then god: it foloweth not for all that / that he myght do it iustly and ryghtfully. For the churche of god muste be ruled by ryght and lawe, not by suche dedes or by [...] sone, that is ouer vs side wise.

¶And thus also Astexan sayth / that the Pope can not dispense in the degrees / that be forbidde~ by the law of god, in the .xviij. chapter of the Leuiticall: and yet in degres forbidden bi the lawe of man he may. Agayne / he saith. If vnfaithfuls haue co~tracte in any degree forbidden by the lawe of nature, or by the lawe of god: the mariage betwene them is no mariage, nor yet neuer was. For all be bounde to obeye the lawe of god / and the lawe of Nature, be they faithfull or other. And therfore after that they be conuerted to the fayth / they muste be departed. But if they haue contracte in any degre, that is forbydden onely by the churche / seinge that the lawes of the churche made for christian men be not extended vnto the vnfaithfuls or hethens, that were neuer baptisid / the mariage that was contracte betwene them was laufull / and therfore after that they be conuerted vnto the faith, they ought not to be diuorsed. And the same man saith furthermore, that if mankynde shulde fayle and decay, as hit dydde in the tyme of Noe: yet hit shulde not be lefull for the brotherne, by 86 their owne auctoritie / to mary their sisters, bicause it is forbidde~ bi the law of god / but it might be leful for them by the dispe~satio~ of god. ¶Beside all this Iohn~ Bacon / an englissheman / was in time passid clapped & whistled out at Rome, bycause a while he helde the co~trari opinion, that is, that the Pope might dispe~se with degres / forbidde~ bi the law of god. But at the last he knowleged his errour, and sayd, that the Pope had no power to dispense in the degrees forbydden by the lawe of god / in the .xviij. chaptre of the Leuitical. And afterwarde, whan he had asked this question / whether we kepynge the Leuiticall lawe of the Iues, be our selfe Iues also or no, in so doyng / did make answere him selfe. That the lawe of the gospell doth admyt the lawe of nature. But naturall reason, dothe abhorre / that a woma~ shuld be subiect vnto a ma~ / which is her kinsman in the first degre. ¶Also walden / widforde / and Cotton, very christian and catholic authors / reproue diuers other cursed heresies of wyclefe / and that stoutely, and with great profette of Christes churche: & amonge al other they do damme also this hereticall and more than phrenetical and madde opinio~, where he did holde, as some wolde nowe a days / that these Leuitical prohibitions be onely iudicial preceptes / and that it is ordined at this tyme by man / without foundacion or grounde / that consanguinite betwene persons of side halfe: yea and more ouer that affinite in the first degree is an impediment and let of mariage: and they do clerely and plainly proue / that those Leuitical forboddes, whiche there do prohibite to vncouer the foulenesse of our kynne or affinite, that they be nat only no ceremones of the Iues / as wiclefe wold / but that eueri one of them euin at this day, do bynde all christia~ folke by the lawe of god: and that by al right & reason they ought to be nombred amonge the moral preceptes of the .x. commaundementes. For walden sayth / that the Leuitical lawes do binde vs as well as they did the Iues, as concerninge the very substa~ce & pithe of the lawe, but not as concerninge the penalties put vnto them. For consideringe the lawes in them selfe onely, they be morall / and of the preceptes of the .x. commandeme~tes / and that euin to so many degrees, as be rekened vp there, al thoughe 87 they be mere and vtterly iudiciall, as concerninge the penaltie adioyned. This lawe from the first begynninge of Christes faith, by all the fathers, that haue ben hitherto one after an other / was iuged to bynde, by cause it was the commaundement of god. And howe it is expired and vanyssed awey nowe at wiclefes co~mynge / that it shulde be no more of the makynge or ordinaunce of god, but the handy worke and ordina~ce of man: this thinge lette wiclefe and his scholers trie oute. Certaynly he dothe offende and breke the honestie and shamefacidnes naturall / who so euer discouerethe the priuey partes of his owne flesshe and bloud / as it were the priueties of a strange persone. ¶And the same opinion of walden Pope Martine the fyrste did approue & confirme it / and that not without discrecion & sufficient deliberation. For fyrst of al he toke it to the best lerned men he coulde fynde, that they shulde with all diligence they myght examin the sayde opinion. and when it was examined / alowed, and commended by agreme~t of all them, to whom the examination of it was co~mytted: than the Pope, by his auctorite and power did [...] 86 [...] [...] 87 [...] confirme it.

¶with these men doth agre / amonge the diuines Peter of Tarantase / Dura~de / Stephan Brulifer, Richarde de Media villa, Guy Brianson / Gerson / Paule Rice / and al moste all the schole doctours / whiche with one assent, do stedfastly holde / that Infydels or vnfaithfulles / al though they be not vnder neathe the lawes of the churche, yet they be bounde to kepe the lawe of nature, & of god. And therfore suche mariages, as they haue contract in any degre of consanguinite / that is forbydden by the lawe of god / be no mariages: and that thei muste nedes be dyuorsed. And they thinke that the contrary custome of certayne barbarous & bestly people do nothynge make to the contrary. For / saye they, the heate and feruentnes of carnall luste and concupiscence / hath ouer caste and blynded in them the preceptes and reules of the lawe of nature.

¶And amonge the glosers and doctours of the lawe canon, Iohn~ Andre, and Iohn~ of Imola do gather and conclude, bothe by the wordes of the very text of the chaptre / Literas, and also by the wordes of the 88 gloses there / that the degres writen in the Leuitycall / be the same selfe degres / in the whiche Pope Innocent him selfe doth say, that the Pope hath no power to dispense. And they holde vtterly / that these wordes THE POPE CAN NOT, be put there in their owne propre signification / and that this takynge and vnderstandynge / to say / the Pope can not / and to vnderstonde it / for, he wil not / or that it is not expedient / that this glosinge dothe distroye the texte. ¶And mayster Abbate also doth holde the same opinio~, sayeng / that the preceptes Leuiticall be morall / and denyenge preceptes / whiche do bynde for euermore, that is to say / at al tymes: and that the Pope is neuer a boue this lawe of god. Ye more ouer that he is bounde to defende it / and mainteine it with al that euer he can make and do, and to lease therfore / not onely all his goodes and landes temporall, but also his bloudde and his lyfe. And the same Abbate sayth also in a nother place: I say, sayth he, that the very wordes of goddes lawe muste be pondered and wayed: and if this seconde degre be forbydden by the lawe of god / doubtles the churche can not dispense therin / and in lyke maner / seynge that bi the very wordes of the law of god, wayed and ponderd / the brother is forbid by the lawe of god, to take his brothers wyfe / it folowith / that the churche can not dispense in that case / that a man shuld mary his brothers wyfe· The whiche thynge sayth he, is worthy to be noted in practisynge of the lawe / by cause of these great princes / the whiche do many tymes desire dispensations of the Pope. And likewyse / sayth the glose in the Chapter, Pitatium, And Mathewe Nerew of saynte Gemin / in his laste question / of his tree of consanguinite and affinite, dothe also folowe the same opinion, as the vniuersall opinion of all the doctours of Canon. And Vincent, and Innocent, and Ostiense, and Abbate folow the same opinion. ¶But here had nede to be some measure in citynge and rekenynge vppe of Auctors / for this worke shuld increase & growe to an infynit thing, if we shulde reken vp here all the names and sayenges of all doctours, whiche with hande and foote, do approue and folowe this opinion of ours.

¶And by the witnesse & sayenges of those 89 auctors, that we haue cited, thou mayste well and sufficiently knowe and perceyue, gentyll indifferent reder, fyrst that in those persones / whiche the lawe of god dothe calle nyghest of bloudde / there can be no good and iuste cause or excuse / for the whiche it myght be suffred or dispensed with, that one of them shuld discouer the foulenes of an other / nor there can not be alleged any thynge so honeste, that is able to couer the dishonestie of this thynge.

Seconde, that all suche foule medles dothe so defyle and corrupte vs, not onely outwardely / but also inwardelye / and in our soule, euen after the trouthe and teachynge of the gospell, that we shall haue no reste or quietnes of conscience here / and afterwarde shall be sure to haue euerlastynge damnacion / excepte we forbeare suche mariages. Thyrdly / that these mariages / whiche be made contrary to these Leuiticall prohibitions, be so full of horrible abhomination and foulenes, so openly contrarye vnto the actes and dedes of vertue morall, as be reuerence and honour to our pare~tes and kynne / chastite / loue / and charite: yea and more ouer, they be playne agaynst the endes and causes for the which matrimonye was ordyned / that they be not to be excused for none ignoraunce / nor to be suffered, wolde a man gyue neuer so moche / or do neuer so many good dedes in recompence: nor that they be not to be let stonde for regarde of no maner of dispensation, no not though it were to make peace betwene great princes / but that thei ought and muste be punysshed by the streyte ordre of iustice.

¶Fynally that euery one of those prohibitions of mariages, whiche be commanded in the Leuitical / be commaunded for a playne and a clere reason of iustice and honestie, that is in them / and that is appare~t, and euident at the eie without any mistical meanyng or vnderstandynge. Ye and more ouer that it is vtterly a poynt of heresye / to saye / and holde that they be not but iudiciall ordinances of Moses, and that they be at this daye abrogate and taken awaye / as wyclefe did holde, and that they ought to be obserued and kepte with al reuerence amonge all christian people, as morall preceptes of natures teaching / and that man in no case can dispense with them.

90 ¶And amonge al / there is one thing, that I wold haue the / gentyl indifferent reder / specially to marke / whiche dyuers of these holy & approued doctours do holde also / that the brother can not marye a woman / that is but onely handefaste vnto his brother / & if he do / the mariage can not stande by helpe of any dispensation, and that all suche mariages must nedes be vtterly broken, leste carnall persons shuld apply their mindes, and be incouraged by suche bestly exemples to do likewise.

¶And in this opinion both Lire him selfe is, whiche saith that Adonias, kinge Dauids sonne / dyd synne, and dyd agaynst the helth of his owne soule, and contrarye to the lawe of god, written in the Leuiticall, and that therfore he had well deserued to be slayne of Salomon his brother / beynge kyng / bicause that he desyred to haue Abisaac, one of the spouses of Dauid his father: and yet Dauid neuer touched her, but lefte her a cleane virgin.

¶Agein that noble diuine Hugh of saynt Victore is also in the same opynyon. For all though, saythe he, that the woman, with whom it is knowen / that the man had no carnall medlinge / doth not perteine to that sacrement or holy mistery, whiche Paule calleth a great sacrament / that is betwene Christe and his churche, or company or faithfull christian people / yet verely it perteyneth to an other sacrament or holy misterie / the which is moche greatter that is betwene god & mannes soule. For what? if it be a great mistery / that is in the flesshe / is hit not as great a mysterye / yea and moche greatter, that is in the spirite? for the flesshe doth nothynge helpe, it is the sprite, that quickeneth and giueth life. Therfore it is trewe mariage / and the very sacrament of maryage, all though there neuer folowed no flesshly a do / ye to speke better / bothe the mariage & the sacrament is so moche the trewer, and the holyer, in so moche as there is nothinge in it / wherof chastite shulde be asshamed / but wherof loue may reioyce and glory. For if god by scripture be well called spouse of mannes soule / & the soule ageyn the spouse of god, forsothe there is some thinge bytwene the soule and god, wher of this thynge, that stondeth in mariage betwene man and woman, is the sacrament and image / and likelihode 91 and holy signe or token. And perauenture, for to speke more playnly in this matter / the very company / which is kepte outwardly in mariage, accordynge to the promys, that eche made to other, is the sacrament, and sygne or token. And the thinge selfe of this sacrament, is the loue of myndes of one to the other / whiche is kepte betwene them in this bonde of company, and leage of mariage. And agayne the same loue and fauour in their mindes, the tone to the tother, is the sacrame~t and token of that loue and charite, by the whiche god ioyneth him selfe vnto mans soule inwardly / by putting in to the soule, of his grace and by sendinge into the soule parte of his godly spirite, by the which the soule is made one spirite with god. Therfore the flesshly couplyng, which before the sinne of Adam / was in mariage an office or vertuous dede, and after the synne / it was grau~ted in the same maryage for a remedy: so bothe tymes it is put vnto mariage, but so that it is with mariage / but mariage hangeth not of it. For trewe mariage is before any flesshely medlynge / and mariage may be holy without any suche thing / it shulde doubtles not be so fructefull, if suche medlinge were not, but mariage is moche cleaner, if no suche thynge be in it. For that after synne, flesshely medlynge is suffered in maryage / it is rather of great sufferaunce & compassion / lest the vice of concupiscence and lustines / whiche after that synne was roted in mans flesshe / shulde contrary to all honestie, and without measure / breke forthe and flowe abroode in euery place without any regarde, if there hadde ben no certayne place prouyded by the lawe, where hit maye be laufullye receyued. wherfore the verye true perfecte, and full mariage / is the same company, conuersation, and lyuynge to gether / the whiche is consecrate by the leage or bonde of spousage or promysse, that one dothe make to the tother, whan bothe of them by theyr free and wyllinge promysse / do make them selfe detters / the tone to the tother: and do wyllyngly bynde them selfe by conuenant, that fro hense forthe the tone wyll neuer depart from the tother to the company of none other persone, while thother is aliue / nor that they wil neuer diuorce them selfe, nor breake of from this companye / that 92 nowe is betwene them. And if so be it / that vnto this conuenant and agrement of conuersation and company to gether, there be put to also in the first metynge a conuenant and bargayne of carnall medlynge / than the man and the woman be afterwardes bounde / the tone to the tother / of duetie to this flesshely medling. And if perauenture at the makyng of the mariage this carnall couplynge be remytted on bothe parties / by the vowe & consent or promysse of them both, afterwardes they be no more detters the tone to the tother for this thynge. For that thinge / whiche by equale consent and agrement was remytted of bothe parties / and confirmed by their vowe and promis / it can not be iustely required afterwardes of other of them, and yet for all that / the sacrament of maryage stondethe euen in this case stedfaste and sure / wherof the carnall couplynge is nother cause of the vertue and goodnesse of it, whan it is there / nor can not take away the vertue and perfectnes of mariage, if it be not there. And therfore this onely consent and agrement of their myndes is thoughte to vpholde and contynewe this vnpartable conuersation and lyuynge to gether. And this consent was ordyned for this cause, that this company of the tone with the tother / the whiche was begonne betwene them by this consent and agrement, shulde not be suffered to be broken at any tyme, as longe as they were bothe alyue. ¶So that now, reder, as thou hast seen by these two auctours, it is playne and open, that not onely the fyrste degree of consanguinitie and affinite / but also the fyrste degre / wherin maryage is forbydden, for a Iustyce grounded onely vpon acertayne commune honestie and comelynes, is forbydden by the lawe of god / in the Leuiticall, and can not be dispensed withall by men.

¶And that this thynge is very certayne and trewe / thou mayste take this for a good profe / that Alexander in tyme passed / the thyrde Pope of that name, hadde leauer to suffre Henry / a citizin of Papi, to be periured / than that he wolde take vpon hym the auctoritie to dispense with hym for his othe / by the whiche he hadde bounde hym selfe to marye a maydden to his yongeste sonne, whiche hadde bene made sure before to his eldest sonne / nowe 93 beynge departed. For he aunswered the bysshoppe of Papi on this maner: Bycause, saythe he, that it is wrytten in the Leuiticall, that the brother can not haue the brothers spouse, we commaunde the, that thou suffre not this fore sayde Henry to fulfyll his purpose / and that thou compelle hym by the ordre of the churche to do penaunce for his vnleafull othe.

¶wherfore seynge that these thynges be thought trewe to so many and so discrete auctours / that it is not laufull for a man to marye his brothers spouse: howe moche more vnlaufull oughte we to thynke this thynge, that a man shulde marie his brothers wydowe, with whome his brother hadde carnally a do, and that he shulde vncouer the priuities of her / whiche before is one flesshe with his brother / not onely by the bonde of mariage selfe, with the other brother / but also by reason of carnall commixion and medlynge with the same? And therfore doubtles euery man ought greatly to approue and commende this determination of these vniuersities / whiche do holde and conclude / that to marye her, whom the brother, departed without children, hath lefte, is so forbydden by the lawe of god, and also by the lawe of Nature / that the Pope hath none auctorite nor power to dispense with suche mariages, whether they be contracte all redye, or for to be contracte: excepte perauenture there be any man, whiche hath a pleasure to calle agayne into lyghte / olde reproued errours and heresies, that of many yeres haue ben condemned.


[leaf motif]The fyfte Chaptre.

THus nowe we haue rehersed and shewed before, faithfully and truely / what the sacre holy auctorite of the olde testament and the newe / what the vse and custome / consente or agrement of the hole christian churche, what the Popes / what the doctours, interpreters and declarers of holye scripture / finally / what the assent of wise and wel lerned men / both in mans lawe and in goddis law / do thinke and iudge of these Leuitical prohibitions, and specially that a man shulde not mary his brothers wyfe. And we doubt not / but that these auctorities and iudgementes be of suche strengthe / that there is no reasonable nor indifferent man, but they ought so to satisfie his iugement and conscience, that he shulde desyre no further proues vpon these conclusions of the vniuersities, and vpon this sentence, that they haue determined and decreed: but that these foresayde thynges be sufficient and able to defende them vtterly from all maner of cauillation. Howe be it for as moche as ther be some, that loue well reasons, and there be many, and that stronge and inuincible reasons, the whiche maye seme to lyghten and declare this sentence of the vniuersities / and also greatelye to confirme and proue the same: the nexte thynge that we must do nowe / is to vse the helpe of them also in this matter / and to bringe forthe & shewe some of them, as we toke vpon vs and promysed before to do. All the doubte and question of this our matter is dissolued and vndone, rather by definitions and by shewynge playnly / what euery thynge is, than by argumentes and reasons. For this question is growen and spronge vp, by the errour and false opinion of men / that were ignorant / and did not knowe the very true and naturall propertie or propre nature, of the lawe of god / the lawe of nature and of the lawe morall. And for this cause firste of all it shalbe very well done and necessari / to define and to shewe proprely and certaynly / as a man wolde say by a certayn portrature / what goddis lawe is / what the lawe morall / and the lawe of Nature is. And to sette these definitions, as ye wolde say for certayn principalles and chiefe pointes 95 of our disputation: of the whiche we may take all our reasons and proues. And we wyl not folowe here the scrupulose and curious labour and diligence of some men, whiche diuide and drawe into ouer many gobettes and peaces / the true signification / meanynge / and nature of these wordes. Surely we wyll not medle with no suche thynges, whiche all though they seme at other tymes / quicke or sharpe, and maye gyue and shewe to thorny, crabbed, and comberous wittes stertyng holes to skape out bi / if at any time their armi be brought into a streyte: yet doutles, as for this matter, they do nothinge but make it darker / and incombre mens iugement. And if this treatise that hereafter foloweth, gentyl indifferent reder, shall seme vnto the somewhat strange and harde / yet hardely take the peyne to rede it / and I doubte not, but thy labour shall not be so great, but the profet hereof shall be moche more / not only for the vnderstandynge of this matter, but of many other / whiche be very necessarie for christian men to knowe. Therfore to come to our purpose / the definition of goddis lawe is this. ¶The lawe of god is the worde or minde of god, co~ma~ding thinges / that be honest, or forbidding thinges / that be co~trary to honestie / whiche lawe the sacre holy vniuersall churche hath of longe time, by her auctorite, receiued & co~firmed as other beinge sowed & pla~ted in the resonable creature of god, by the mouth & spirite of almighty god, orels shewed to him bi reuelation. ¶Here if we chance to mete with a froward and to curious a reder, we feare, lest that we shal not obteyne of hym, that he wyl be conte~t with this definition. He wyll streicht condemne it, as falsly forged & cou~terfet / & shal reason, and say / that it is not made formally, clarkly, maisterly / nor after schole lernynge. And agayne he wyll fynde cauillations / and say, that it is not large and generall inough: For that it doth not conteyn the lawes other co~sultori or permissiue / that is to saye / lawes that giue cou~saile / and lawes that do suffre and permit / and this he wyl obiecte, bicause we haue defined / that onely to be the lawe of god / which doth bid or forbid. Moreouer he shal cry out / & say / that ther lacketh the finall cause or ende, that is / gettynge of the eternal blis. so that by this note or marke 96 goddes law might be distinct and knowen a sondre fro~ the iudiciall, ceremonial, and mans lawes, the whiche / he wyl say / be not the lawes of god / by cause that the nexte and streicht intent of them is not to ordre & leade man to that ende / whiche is laste of al / and aboue or beyonde nature / and how that he shall lyue with god in heuen / but only to an ende natural, howe he may lyue in a co~men welthe / and in company of men, whiche is called a politike or a ciuill ende. Fynally he wyll fynde cauillations, & say, that it is a new or a strange definition / and made of our owne heed / and far vnlike the definitions, whiche haue ben so lo~ge vsed & receyued in the scoles. Of the whiche this is one, that goddis lawe is a true signe or toke~ notificatiue / which sheweth to a resonable creture the richt & true reson & minde of god / willi~g the same creature to be bo~de to do somwhat or not to do, & to suche like definitio~s as this is. These & such other resons he wil perauenture forge and imagin, who so euer he shalbe, that wil be curious in weying & examininge this matter / more than richt and reson requireth. But we do appele fro~ suche iugementes to a resonable indifferent / and a lerned reder / to whome we doubte not / but that we shall lyghtely persuade and proue / that it was neuer our mynde to plucke downe or breke tho thynges, that haue ben receiued and approued. and that we haue expressed and declared, not vndiscretely and without consideratio~ / but perfectly inough, by this definition the substaunce or nature of the lawe of god. ¶For fyrste seinge that al lawes either be the lawes of god or man, and the lawes of man be all those, that be ordyned & made, not by the mouthe and spirite of god, but immediatly of man / and by the wyll, tradicion, and auctorite of man / and that commande thinges, that be honeste / or forbyd thinges that be vnhonest / for some cause agreable to reason: whether this cause be euerlastyng, or during for a tyme: Furthermore seinge that all that euer god dydde speake in approued scriptures, thou canste not co~ueniently call them lawes or co~mandementes / but them onely / whiche do co~maunde or forbyd any thyng, and the whiche of necessitie bynde vs / to do as they bid and commande vs: Finally seinge that all men do surely beleue / and so ought to beleue, 97 that the vniuersal church alone hath that key of knowlege / and also of power, wherby she may discerne and iuge, by her auctorite / the wordes of god / fro~ the wordes of men: By these forsayd .iii. reasons / we knowe / that a gentyll and an equall reder can require nothinge more in this our definition. And we trust / that he wyl openly graunt / that it is not vnlyke or disagreynge from those definitions, that be receyued and approued, for as moche as is perteynynge to this purpose / ye and that it is also somwhat more fytte, and conuenient, tha~ these other be. This chiefely was our intent and pourpose, that we myghte declare and set forthe the lawe of god / after suche maner, that it shulde not alonely be euide~t and playn, wherby it differeth from mans lawe: but also that we shulde ascertayne you, what it is / as it dothe comprehende the lawes / moral, iudicial / and ceremonialles / as many as be rehersed in holy scripture to haue ben ordined and made of god, and as do bydde or commaunde any thynge to be done, or not done: whiche all alyke we compte to be the lawes of god. ¶For as for the streyt or streytest takyng or definition of the lawe of god, we did not so moch regarde it / and of purpose / and for the nonse, we dyd leaue out the lawes consultory and permissiue. For when the scripture dothe counsayle, or suffre vs to do / or not to do any thynge, this is gentylnesse, goodnes, and perfectnes of lawes, rather tha~ the lawes selfe, bicause it is a point of a good and a perfect lawe / to counsayle and suffre those thinges / which be nother to be bidden nor forbydde~. And yet if any body wyll examine and trie out this definition of ours / by the rules of logike, perchaunce he shal fynde / that it is absolute and perfet in al pointes. But it is no tyme here to playe the logition / and to brynge proues not necessary nor requisite / in a matter playn and euident inough.

¶For we haue declared, as we thinke, sufficie~tly inough / what goddes lawe is / and also, what lawes be worthy to be referred and counted in the ordre and noumbre of goddes lawes / and what lawes agayne oughte to be banysshed out amonge the sorte and route of mans lawes. Morouer of goddis lawes the diuines make thre kindes / that is to sey moralles / whiche also be 98 called naturals: and iudicials: and ceremonials. The difference of these, the Diuines fynde out on this maner.

¶They calle morals, whiche teache and gyue preceptes of the actes, offices or dueties of morall vertue, that is to saye / they shew howe a man shall do vertuously and after good maners / & what dedes be good and what be not. ¶Iudicials they calle those lawes / whiche giue preceptes of particuler actes of Iustice betwixte man and man, and preceptes of punishementes and rewardes, as euery man deserueth.

¶And ceremonials they call / whiche commande vs to do certayne outwarde dedes to the worshipping of god / from whe~s the name of ceremonies seme to haue spro~ge & come vp. ¶we will speke nothinge here of ceremonials / whiche pertayne nothinge to our purpose, by cause that our matter is no cerimonie. As for the difference or diuersite of the moralles and iudicials / howe thei ought to be take~ & vndersta~d, we must nedes declare more plainly. For herebi we haue sene men / & that wel lerned, ofte~times blynded & deceyued, while they thought that this worde, Iustice, whiche is large & conteyneth many kyndes vnderneath it / to be single, and conteyne but one kynde / nor to be taken but one weyes onely, where as in dede there be diuers kyndes of Iustyce. ¶One kynde of iustyce is called Legall, vniuersall or generall / an other is called particular.

¶Legall or generall Iustice is, whiche generally conteyneth all vertues vndernethe it / and it by it selfe alone, is all hole vertue / that is: euen, as scripture dothe calle a iuste man for a good and a vertuous man, and iustice for goodnes and vertue / as contrary wyse / iniustice generall is not part or a kynde of vice / but it hathe in it holly all vice and synne that is.

¶And nowe of particular iustice there be ij. kyndes Distributiue / and Co~mutatiue. ¶Iustice particular distributiue standeth in distribution or partynge of honour / promotion, or of money / or of other thinges / whiche maye be distribute amonge them / that be felowes of one citie or co~munalte. For these thinges may be diuided amonge vs equally and vnequally, and so iustely or iniustly. ¶Particuler iustice co~mutatiue is ordined to mende and correcte suche bargaynes, 99 as we make one with an other. Therfore when there is ani doubte or question of this poynte of iustice / we go to a iudge, whose office and deutie is to make them euin / whiche be not euin: as when he dothe condemne a man in a summe of money, and so taketh awey the wynnynge from him / whiche had more than ryght afore by deceyte and wronge. Than whan the hurte is ones measured and estemed / one parte is called losse / thother wynnyng: and he is called the wynner, that putteth the other to losse / and he the loser, that hath losse.

¶These thynges we haue spoken for this pourpose / that we shulde vnderstonde, that the Diuines, while they say / that the iudiciall lawes do treate vpon particular actes of Iustyce, betwene man and manne / they wyll and meane / that the Iudicials onely commaunde and teache / by what meanes and punisshementes those thingis maye be correcte, amended / and brought to a iuste and an euen poynte / whiche belonge to particuler iustice to order / likewise as morall preceptes belonge to general iustice / to order. And plainly if any man wyll serche & seche out the exacte meaning & definition of the iudiciall preceptes, specially that be spoken of / in the olde testament / he shall fynde, that they only be iudiciall, and so ought to be called, whiche be statutes of peynes, or at the leest, those / whiche god in tyme passed dyd answere vnto Moses, whan that he asked hym counsaile of the sutes and controuersies of the Iues. For seynge the begynnynge of wysedome is the feare of our lorde, that same people so stubbourne and intractable, oughte for feare of punysshement to haue ben moued and prouokedde to vertue / and to be drawen backe from their wonte and accustomed synne, leste that they, as men vnreuly and intractable, shulde by theyr synne so greatly haue moued and prouoked god, that they shulde rightfully, and of their deseruing, haue gone downe quicke to hell. Therfore afterwarde that the morall preceptes were gyuen / in the mount called Syna / with incredible feare and horrour or quakynge of the herers: anon after were gyuen them also the iudiciall preceptes, in the whiche god did nothing els, but teache and shewe what vengeaunce oughte to be 100 taken vpon them / that do trespas / and tra~sgresse those forsayd morall preceptes. For the iudicials, as Thomas saythe, haue their name of this worde iudgement. And as for this worde, iudgement, betokeneth exercysynge of iustice / whiche is done by reason, applienge the lawes or rules of iustice certainly to suche speciall cases, as belonge only to the ordryng of some certaine people amonge them selfes, & that considering the state of that people only. for, saith he, seing the moral preceptes be co~mune to al people, and that many of them, specially of the affirmatiues / do apoint neither time / place, nor maner, how to kepe them: it is necessarie / that these circu~stances be specified & determined by some lawe, either of god, or man. And therfore as that general commaundement / that god must be honoured and worshypped, is specified and declared outwardely by ceremoniall preceptes: so lyke wise that same co~mandme~t of kepyng iustice amonge men / called the lauful or generall iustice / is determined by the iudiciall preceptes / that is done by a iudge, applyenge the vniuersall & fyrste rule of generall iustice, to some particuler matter / & to the priuate state of some one co~mun welth / and to the profet and benifyt of the same only. ¶By these foresayde thinges we thynke, that it is euident and playne, what lawes ought of rycht to be called iudiciall lawes of god. Truly those whiche haue be~ made & ordined of god him selfe i~ holy scripture, to the gouernynge, not of all people / but of the Iues to gether amonge them selfe, and that in suche thinges as perteyne to particular iustice / and haue no morall reason in them selfes, nor shulde be of no strengthe nor auctoritie, if there were nothynge but reasone to moue thereto: but the cause of their makynge was the state of that people, and other auctoritie and strength haue they none / but onely by cause they were made. for their auctorite sta~deth rather in that they be decreed and commaunded, tha~ in any reason of general iustice of god / as whiche stonde more in decrees and penalties / then by reule or by reason of commune iustice. For there is no commune nor generall iustice in them, but they be onely iuste for them that they were made for. ¶And thus we haue shewed the, what is the iudicial law of god. Now i~ the definitio~ 101 or certeintie of the morall & naturall lawe, is great derkenes and doubtfulnes / bicause it is co~munly vnknowen, nor hath not ben written nor declared clerely and diligently of any diuine (as farre as we haue redde) by what shorte and substanciall waye / we myght fynde out by a sure facion of reasonynge, what is the lawe of nature, howe many kyndes there be of it, and also whiche be the thynges, that natural reasone shulde shewe and teache vs. These thynges doutles be very darke and ouer rolled and wrapped in moste depe and thicke derkenes, by cause that all people on al sydes / in maner by a commune consent and agrement, folowe vice & synne / and of so longe tyme hath fallen away and cleane forsake their very propre nature, so that partly by cause there be so many vicious customes, partly by cause there be so many vayne opinions, & misordered iugementes, so many croked errours / and ignorance / so many frowarde maners / fynally bicause there is so great diuersitie, bothe of mens wyttes / and of mens appetites and disposytions / the holy light of nature is in maner vtterly extincte and put out, and skante appereth or sheweth it selfe at all any where, and the sharpe or quicke syght and trewe iugement of mans reason, by the whiche he shulde knowe / what is good / what is yll / what is true, and what is false, destitute of his lyght and rightnesse / and lackynge the holy goste or spyrite of god / whiche is the ruler and gouernour of reasone / is vtterly become obscure and darke. Therfore here we muste reste and tarye a lytle whyle / that as farre as our wytte & capacite will serue vs / and this our matter wyll suffre / we may gyue lyght to these darke thinges / and vndo the knott{is} of the doubtes so as it may be. ¶Ther is in ma~ / all though it be meruailously blinded and darkenedd, a certayne prudence, or commune wytte ingendred in hym, grauen in him bi god his maker at his first creation / and this wyt or reason they calle naturall light / & light of vnderstanding / & the light of the visage of god, the ymage of god / the eye of the reasonable mynde, a parceiuinge of good & euil, right & wronge, finally they call it natural reson. ¶Beside this ther be write~ in the hart of man with the finger of god certain rulis or lawis of general iustice 102 vertue & honestie, whiche they cal the fyrst principils to liue by, accordinge to vertue / the fyrste rules to do iustly, whiche were to man as exe~plars or patrons for to folow / & to shewe him howe he shuld do iustly / the first truthes / sedes of vtues / sparcles of nature, imperfecte vnderstondinges / general knowleges, co~mun sense or perceuera~ce, co~mun wisdome / finalli beginninges to al moral iustice & vertue. Nowe the office of the forsaid natural reson & prude~ce is to shew, that we ought to do / or leaue those thing{is}, what so euer these rules of co~mune iustice or vertue doth shew vs. And bicause that the same rules of general iustice co~teine the perfecte & true nature of vtue / they teache / that those thingis only, whiche in the maners of al men vniuersally, be good or euil, right or wro~ge, ought to be folowed, or auoided / euin for the thinges them selfe / and for obteining of euerlastinge blis. For this rule is no other thynge in dede, then a certain line leading vs to honestie and vertue, and fro~ disonestie and vice. So that what so euer is done, accordynge to this reule / it muste nedes haue the name of vertue, by the whiche vertue man is called good / what so euer is done contrary to this rule, it must haue the name of vice. This reule therfore ioyned with that commune prudence or wysedome, we call the lawe of nature. If thou wilte defyne it: it is a general knowlege and iudgement, whiche god dyd graue in the mynde of euery man, to helpe hym / for to fourme and facion his maners and lyuynge. And it nedeth not vs to go farre to seche the profe of these thynges / that we haue spoken / seing that there is no man, but that he hath in him sometime an examynation and remembraunce of hym selfe, and remorse or conscience / that dothe iuge & co~de~ne hym. and wher so euer these be / there muste nedes also be some lawe / fro~ whose techynge the misdoer maye perceyue, that he hath swarued, and that he hath not performed tho thynges / whiche the lawe co~maunded him. And as for this lawe both Paule hym selfe / and almoste al the diuines and the philosophers / call the lawe of nature, and sey, that it is a certayn commune sentence or iudgement / condemnynge or allowinge the dedes of men, the whiche god did graue in the herte of man with his fynger. In so moche that vnto vs 103 truly the lawe of nature / to speake of it generally, semeth to be no other thynge / but these fyrste reules, and fyrste iudgementes, that man hadde / whiche were made with man / or rather borne with him / & grauen in hym of god. But to speake of it specially and properly / and to shewe howe it differethe from all other thynges / these two thinges folowynge, seme to vs to haue ben added to the definition very conueniently and to the purpose, that is to saye / whiche god dyd graue in euery mans mynde / and agayne whiche is fytte and conuenient to forme and facion the maners and lyuynge of men. The fyrste is added bycause we shulde vnderstande, that they onely be naturall lawes, whiche haue ben writen with the fynger of god / or rather borne in the harte of man / stablysshed and confyrmed by agrement of all nations / and not made by the ordinance of men / or by their lawis / their counnynge / opinion, or reasonynge / nor finally by no vsage or custome of men. The seconde is added bicause, that where there be many knowleges and iugementes in vs, all alyke can not be called lawes of nature. But to open this thynge some what plainly / you shal co~sider, that in ma~s reason there be .ij. partes, the one is occupied about study of sciencis / that is called Speculatiue, the other about the ordring of his life / whiche is called Actiue. And as this parte, that longeth to studie / hath his natural principils / and them most true / and so plaine of them selues / that they nede nor can not be proued by none other meanes but onely by them selfe, of whose trewthe and knowelege hangeth the trouthe and knowlege of all other thinges, that be treated in any of the speculatiue sciences: So truly god, that is moste good, moste wisest, & moste of power / after that he had made man vnto his owne image & lykenes, richt and without any crokednes / without any vice / streicht wayes he put in hym his spirite and holy goste, whiche shuld enflame and kyndle hym to goodnesse and vertue: and dyd by and by graue in his mynde / in the other parte of his reasone / that serued to the orderynge of his lyfe / certeyne generall knoweleges / and generall reules / vpon vertue, and vpon all thinges / that he shulde do, whiche shulde be as you wolde saye / certeyne principilles, groundes / and 104 chiefe conclusions / and that as it were certeyne, moste sure, and moste true reules to iudge by, with richt, and according to reason vpon all the maners and dedes / that belonge to man. And truely these generall rules of co~mune iustice or vertue, we calle lawes of nature.

¶Nowe to shewe you, what is the moralle lawe of god: what so euer is commaunded of god in holy scripture, and is shewed vnto vs inwardly in our hartes bi these fore sayde generall rules / or that in a good and formal reason folowith of them / or elles that agreeth with them / thoughe it dothe not folowe of them: all these the Diuines calle the lawes morall / whiche lawe they defyne and determyne on this maner.

¶The morall lawe of god / is the worde or mynde of god / co~maundynge those honeste thynges / and forbyddynge those vnhoneste thynges, whiche the naturall reasone of man lychtened with the lychte of the worde of god, dothe, accordynge to the rules and teachynge of commune iustice or vertue, teache vs to do / or to leaue: and whyche the same naturalle reasone selfe so lightened, dothe shewe vs / that we be bounde to kepe them / al thoughe they were neuer co~manded by none other lawe. ¶These thinges well knowen and vnderstande, it shalbe easy and playne to knowe the difference betwene the lawes moralles and iudicials. For the lawes morals were graffed and planted in man bi nature / or at the least came of naturall reason / and this natural reason euer and at all times before any lawe was wrytten / or any citie made, god hym selfe dyd plante in man: but the Iudicial lawes were shewed to man afterwarde / nor stonde not by nature, but by ordinaunce, and makynge. Ageyne, morall lawes serue to order, according to the rule or prescript of general iustice, all vertuous dedes / by the which a man is made good. And as for those iudicial lawes / serued not but onely to the orderynge of the Iues amonge them selfe, and in those thynges onely that belonged to particular Iustice. The lawes morall haue of them selfe a naturall and morall cause generally to all nations why they were made: but there was no cause, why the iudiciall lawes of god were made / but only the state or condicion 105 of the Iues. The lawes moral be perpetual and vnchaungeable, by the consent of al nacions / and so remayne and endure, by cause they haue their strength and power by the teachynge of naturall reason, so illightened, although they were neuer commanded by none other lawe. These iudiciall lawes be vsed and accustomed onely by ordynaunce.

[leaf motif] The syxte Chaptre.

BVt of the licht and trouth of our two worthye groundes & principilles / that is / the definicion of the lawe morall, and the lawe iudicial, of the whiche two we wyll make a sylogisme or perfecte reason, we haue spoken sufficientely. Therfore nowe we wyll go forthe with other thinges, that pertein to our purpose, and shal endeuour our selfe, to shewe and declare / that tho Leuiticall prohibitions / whereby we are forbydden to marye our brothers wyfe, and to shewe his filthines, is a lawe moral, comminge of nature. And this thinge we shall brynge to passe / perauenture / if we make you a reason out of the definitions after this maner.

¶Euery sayenge of god / that commaundethe honeste thynges / and forbyddethe vnhoneste thynges, whiche the naturall reason of man / clered by the lychte of the worde of god / commaundeth to be done, or to be eschewed / accordynge to the rule and teachynge of generall Iustyce or vertue, and that hath auctoritie and strength euen by naturall reason onely, all thoughe it hadde neuer ben ordyned by none other lawe: is a lawe diuine, morall / and naturall. But these Leuitical prohibitions, be sayenges of god / that do forbydde vnhonest thynges, whiche the natural reason of man, lychtened by the worde of god, commandeth to be eschewed, after the rule of generall iustice and vertue / and haue their auctoritie and strengthe, euen by naturall reason onely, all thoughe they had neuer ben forbydden by none other lawe. Therfore they be godly, morall, and naturalle lawes.

¶But if that any man here by chaunce wyll / by his crafty witte, reason, and bolde stubbournely, that some of those thynges / 106 whiche we haue taken to proue our co~clusyon with all, be not trewe: the texte and the order of the historie / and of the place, that we haue before rehersed, out of the Leuiticall / shall sone ouercome him. ¶For truely fyrst of all, that those lawes be sayenges, co~maunded to the reasonable creature, not by the wyl of man / but by the auctoritie or teachynge of god hym selfe: the maner / the tyme, and causes of theyr institution, or fyrst ordynaunce do playnely declare. yea and this thinge also, that is so often rehersed there / declareth & sheweth the same / that is, I your lorde god. So that we nede no more to doubte of the auctor or maker of these lawes.

¶Seconde the vniuersall catholyke and apostolyke churche hathe shewed / that those lawes were taughte vs by the spirite of god, and by god / by cause that the churche hath putte the .v. bokes of Moses / and amonge them the holle boke Leuiticall in the noumbre of these werkes / whiche by vndoubted vsaunce and consent of longe tyme / the churche hath approuedde and confyrmedde / to haue ben wrytten by the spirite of god. This same thinge truely the sacre holy cou~sayles, the honorable Seanis haue decreed / the holy fathers priuatly euery man in his workes hath iudged / the same thinge till this day hath ben beleued and receiued of all christian men. And forsothe / seynge that the catholic church hath approuid this thing as strongly as can be / and hath publisshed and wytnessed the same openlye to all the worlde, that those prohibitio~s / the which we nowe speke of, be expressely and plainly written in the boke Leuitical / and that the boke Leuiticall / which can not erre nor lye / dothe playnely shewe and declare / that these lawes were shewed and spoken by the spirite of god, through the mouthe of Moses to the people of the Iues: truely no man can say naye, but that these Leuiticall lawes be oracles or sayenges / that came oute of the mynde of god / nor were not made by the ordinance of any man. ¶Thirde, and that these Leuitical prohibitions be sayinges / whiche do forbydde suche thinge / that of it selfe is nought and agayne honestie / and suche a thynge truly as the naturall reasone of man / lychtened with the licht of the worde of god, dothe 107 shewe / shulde be auoyded / that is to saye / the fylthy, foule / and shameful couplynge with our brothers wife, the pith & stre~gth of this word MAN sheweth & declareth: by the whiche worde it is signified, that they, which so come to their broders wife / be no lo~ger men, but brute bestes / in so moche that god calleth it fylthines / a mischeuous and acursed dede / abhomination and infamy / and a thynge vnlaufull / that any man shulde mary his brothers wyfe. And this thynge is playne / also by cause that god dothe threten to punysshe greuously and sharpely the breakers of these lawes / that is to saye / that they shall be blotted and cleane wyped out of the myddes of his people / and that they shulde be spued out of their lande / and they shall dye without chylderne / and yet we wyll not speake one whit of the more greuouse and sorer punisshementes. For marke wel / god threteneth .iij. maner punysshementes to the breakers of these lawes: fyrste temporall punisshmente, that they shall be caste and banysshed out of their countrey. Seconde, that they shalbe without children / whiche punisshment cometh onely of god. And thyrdly euerlastynge punysshement, that is the banisshment of the soule out of the company of god for euermore. For as this seyinge / to be put oute of the myddes of his people / meaneth not that we shulde be punysshed by any bodely deathe, but that we shall not be reckened nor compted in the nombre of saintes or of chosen people. And not onely they were thus punysshed / but also their bastardes / that came of suche forbydden mariages, whiche in Hebrewe be called Manzer, were forbidden the temple. for the Iues call him Manzer, whiche is begotten by any of these forsaid fylthy couplinges / & reken him as a bastarde / and borne of an harlot. All these trewely were thoughte vnworthye and vnmete to come in co~pany of the people / whiche was gathered to kepe and celebrate the feastes and holy dayes / or vnworthie to haue any thinge a do / or any office in the churche of our lorde / wherof this thynge semeth to haue come vp, that nowe vnder the gospell, bastardes can not be promoted to holy orders. ¶Therfore seynge that god him selfe here doth plainly pronounce and gyue sentence, that the Chananes and the 108 Egyptions did defile their lande, and spotted it with filthines / while that they didde contracte mariage with their brothers wiues, and that he for that cause dyd greatly abhorre them, and dyd mooste richtefully take vengeaunce vpon them / and punysshed them most sharpely / it can be none other wyse, but it muste nedes folowe / that god hath iudged this thynge to be shamfully vnhoneste and of them selfe / as they sey / morally euil & nought / and also ageinst the richtnes of naturall lawe and reasone, yea to be abhominable and abhorred. For wherfore elles wolde god haue punysshed so greatly and so greuously the Chananeis and the Egyptions for these synnes and mischeuous dedes? For truely it was neuer harde, that the transgression of the iuditiall or ceremonialle preceptes, whiche onely were giuen to the children of Israel / dyd at any tyme so greatly displease god, that he wold vtterli distroy them therfore. For seing the iudicial & ceremoniall lawes, haue no power nor stre~gth to binde vs but onely after they were made, truly the same prohibition / breakinge of the whiche god euen amonge the heathens, yea and that before the lawe was made / dyd so greately abhorre and turne his face from it / can not be iudiciall, but plainly morall, as that is agreinge with the very teaching of nature / and that shulde be written in euery mans herte / al though in some men it be blotted out with wickedde and noughty maners, and vngracious custome. For els what reson shulde that be / and what richt or conscience / to punisshe for doinge that thinge / that is not forbydden by any lawe? For as god is not wonte to punisshe iniustly, and ageinst right, so he is not wont to punisshe but for transgression of some lawe. And as for the Egyptions and the Chananeis / at that tyme had no lawe of god written / but the lawe of nature, whiche ought to haue ben writen in their hertes.

¶But if any body wil say here / that these wordes, wher he calleth them mischeuous & abhominations, and also these punisshementes and thretes / whiche he puttethe there / belonge not to the first prohibitio~s / whereby we are commaunded to auoyde mariage with them / that be of our bloud / but that they ought to be referred to the latter prohibitions: here let hym dilige~tly 109 marke & co~sider the order & processe of the xviii. Chapiter of the Leuiticall / and what the lawe maker inte~ded to do in it, and after what maner he hath diuided and parted the order of his holle matter / and at the laste let him compare and set to gether the forsaide .xviii. Chapiter, with the .xx. of the same boke / and there truely he shall perceiue / that the saide .xviii. Chapiter of the Leuitical / euen throw out / partly doth moue vs, partly dothe teache vs. He moueth his people of the Iewes to absteyne from the most cursed and vngracious maners and customes / and from such thinges / as amo~ge them were taken for laufull, and this his intent / he setteth forthe in the beginnynge of the chaptre. And afterwarde, leste the people / as yet rude and vnlerned / by cause they knewe not the lawe, shulde haue ben ignorant, and not haue knowen / from what maners and lawes they shulde refrayne them selfe, he toke vpon hym the office of a mayster: and whan he had reckened vp their mooste vngratious facions of maners, he teacheth them, from whiche maners they shuld absteine / & streycht after, whan he had made an ende and performed the office of a teacher, he tourneth hym backe agayn to the crafte and policie of dissuading, and moueth them to abstein from the forsaide crimes / partely for feare of punisshemente, partly by the examples of the Chananees and the Egiptiens / of whom he sheweth / that he toke great vengeance and punisshementes, by cause they had spotted and defyled them selfe / theyr land and countrey, with these vngracious vices. Nowe if the lawmaker had vnderstonde this laste ende of the chapiter, on the latter prohibitions only / by and by he shulde haue fallen oute of his purpose, as though he had forgotten in the laste ende of the Chapiter, what he intended in the begynnynge. And trewely thus he shulde haue done in a maner as vncomly, as if ani sory oratour or preacher in the begynnyng of his oration or sermon wolde promysse / that he wold dissuade men to absteyn from all vices, and afterwarde whan he had dehorted and moued the people from one or two vices / wolde go his wayes leauing the reste / and so mocke and deceyue the expectation of the herers.

100 ¶And also he shall perceyue this / that here, where as the lawemaker gothe aboute to dehorte the people of the Iewes to absteyne from tho thynges, that were laufull amonge the hethens, he doth calle them cursed abhominations / and so augmenteth and increasseth the greuousnes & greatnes of them, so that he iudgeth euery one of the crimes to be sufficient / to thruste out the Chananeis from their seates & natural countrey. For as for adulterie, or the synne agaynst nature, was neuer laufull amonge them, but these inceste and beastely mariages. why than shuld we not thinke, that the lawemaker did meane on the fyrst prohybitions? and why shulde not the wordes of abhominacion and execration, and lykewyse the peynes & punyssheme~tes there put, belonge as well to them / as to the latter prohibicions? Certaynely in the .xx. Chapiter / this is the laste prohibition of all / that we shall not marye our brothers wyfe. And streyghte after that followeth: all these thynges the gentyls and hethe~s haue done / and therfore I did abhorre them, so that it is resonable & fyt for vs to beleue / that the lawemaker dyd myngle and confou~de to gether these thinges a purpose and for the nonste / doubtles to thentent that we shulde perceyue & vnderstonde / that thei were al to gether acursed and all worthy of punisshement· ¶Furthermore it semed to the holye fathers, whiche were chiefe heedes in the counsayle Tolletan, and Agathense / that these peynes and punissheme~tes shuld be referred to these, inceste, beastely, and vnkynde mariages.

¶Finally Isichius / Rabanus, Rupert / & william of Parris, folowyng the sayd Isichius, playnely dothe referre and applye those wordes / and those penalties to the breakynge of this commaundement, that a man shulde not mary his brothers wife. And truely we haue broughte forthe hereto fore / for wytnesse and confyrmation of this sentence, many other proues / bothe of holy counsayles / & also of lerned men of great auctorite and crede~ce / so that it shal be voyde and superfluous to tary in this. ¶Moreouer that naturall reason dothe shew and proue, that it is sinne and vnhoneste, to couple our selfe to our brothers 111 wyfe / euen this thyng doth easily confirme and proue / by cause that there was neuer nation so beastly / none so without all humanite / but that thei perceiued and knew / that they ought this honor / dutie / & reuere~ce to theyr bretherne & brothers wiues, that they shuld refrayne from their mariages. Many didde violate and breke this lawe. For this thinge truly is wonte to be done, by the fauty and vicious custome of men / that folke do sacrifice euery where to idolles / and slee, and steale / and commytte adultry, and finally wycked sinners treade vnder their feate all goddes lawes, and mannes, yet for all that / all these do thinke surely / that these thinges ought not to be done, and thus they thinke, not taught by mans lawes, but by a certeyne vertue and licht of naturall reason, planted and grou~ded in them. For els howe shulde this be / that these hethen Poetis, hethen hystory writers / and heathen lawemakers, shulde almoste in all their workes speke so moche of this kynde of Incest, and of the peynes and punisshementes / with the whiche all nations were wonte to reuenge this not to be spoken vice? And who is he / whiche hath sene any thinge in the writinge of the olde histories and lawes / but he knoweth, that this maner of inceste hath ben hadde in great infamy, reprofe, and sclander / and that not in one citie or countre / but almoste in euery place, and amonge all men, hath ben condemped as a certaine wickednes agaynste nature.

¶Abimelech, a good and a iust man, after the maner of the lawe of Nature / and also greatly lauded and commended of god, dyd he not thinke and iudge / that it coulde nat be possible / that Sara might be bothe syster & also wife to Abraham? the whiche Abraham / whan he went about by al meanes / that he coulde, to kepe it close / that Sara was his wyfe / he had no stro~ger reason for him / than for to say / that she was his syster. The whiche answere of Abraham, shulde in no wyse haue pleased and contented the Egiptions and Gerarites, if those nations had thought, that the sayd Sara coulde haue ben bothe his syster and his wife. As if a greke wolde aske me / whether I were a maryed man / & I shulde folysshely answere him agayne, and say, that I am a preest / where the greke knoweth 112 well ynoughe / that one and the same selfe man may be bothe a preest and a maryed man, and all at ones. So Aristotell a great philosopher, it is an vnreasonable thinge, saith he, that Socrates did forbyd the mariage of them that be of one bloud / for none other cause, but that there shulde haue come to moche pleasure of it / and that it maketh no matter, whether he marye his mother, his doughter / or his sister.

¶And a man maye here of the hystoryes and the Poetes, what infamye and shame is spoken of Macareus, Caunus, Cydon, Pub. Clodius, whom Cicero accused of incest / Marcus Antonius themperour, Ptolomeus Euergetes, Cesar Caligula, Co~modus the emperour, Ptolomeus Philadelphus / brother to Hypermestra, Cambises kyng of Perse, and all bicause they defiled their sisters, by the not to be spoke~ plesure & lust of the flesshe. Nor truly it is no smal infami / nor can not be lichtly wasshed out / wherwith these persons, here folowynge, be noted in the histories. Thereus kyng of the Thraciens / bycause he had to do with his wyues syster. Thiestes by cause he had to do with Europa his brothers wyfe, and also with his doughter Pelopeia / & Aufilena / by cause she had a do with her fathers brother, Hypermestra / bycause she did by deceyte obteyne her pleasure of her husbandes brother / and also Flauius Domitian / Theodorycke the Frenche kynge. Leucon, and Philippe, brother to Alpho~s the king of Hyspayne / those truely bicause they dyd corrupte their brothers doughters, and these bycause they coupled them selfe with their brothers wyues.

¶And more ouer the prudence and wysedome of the Emperours hathe thought, that the naturall bonde or leage wyll not suffre, that we shulde suspecte or presume any suche heuy cryme betwene these persones / yea & it is prouided for also by the sacre lawes of the same emperours / and openly commaunded, that no man shulde marie his brothers wyfe, or .ij. systers / no not al though the mariage be by any meanes broken & vndone / but that they shulde al absteyne from incest mariages. And leste this vngracious licence and leude libertie / shulde be strengthed by any damnable colour or cloke, it pleased themperours also that al suche rescriptes and writtes and licences 113 graunted bi the emperour and that with the aduise of his counsayle / & also all maner of other lawes & co~stitutio~s, shulde vtterly be anulled and taken a waye, whiche hath giuen licence to certeine persones in the tyme / whan tyrannye reigned, that suche vngracious mynglinge shulde haue the name of matrimoni / and that it shulde be lefull to couple our selfe by most foulest medlynge or couplynge that can be, to our broders doughter, or our sisters doughter / or her / whiche had dwelled with our brother in tyme passed vnder the rycht & title of mariage. ¶And that the lawemakers haue euermore taught & iudged to be most shameful and abhominable, that any man shuld marie him selfe to his brothers wife / it is euident and playn by this reason, bycause all heathens / euery one after the custome and maner / did with diuerse & sore punisshementes execute the lawe of these incest and filthi mariages / somtyme buryenge suche vnchaste women quicke, sometyme gyuynge them libertie to chose their deathe / and as for the corrupters of them, some al their goodes were confyscate and escheted / and they banysshed / nor coulde not be suffered to make any testament / nor to haue their children / their heires / & some commaunded to be beaten to deathe with roddes in the comen place, and in the sight of al the people / And some that their sheldes and armes shulde be plucked downe, and their titylles, and feates to be scraped out / And did also decree / that all mencion, remembrance / & memoriall of them / shulde be fordone. ¶But truely it shulde be infinite and an endles labour, to reken vppe al the incest persones / or the peynes giuen them by the lawe, the infamy, commune hatrede, and sclaunder, whiche they were in / not in one or two cities or nations, but euery where, as far as the worlde is wyde / whiche dyd not refrayne them selfe from this kynde of incest.

¶Furthermore that to marie our systerne / is forbydden by the lawe of nature, appereth playnly by this, that al the most approued doctours of the Churche do excuse suche mariages bi necessite. and what shulde it haue ben nede to excuse them / vnder colour and prete~se of necessite / if it had not ben of it selfe· vnleful and euill.

¶But let vs harken, what Chrysostomus 114 sath, vvilt thou knowe, saith he, by what meanes it was lefull somtyme / to haue our sisters to our wyues? Howe hadde Cain and Abel, Rasan and Edodam their sisters / and did nat sinne? bycause the scarsenes of men and women / and the necessitie / excused that sinne. Afterwarde when the nombre of men and women was increased, the said euill came into his owne nature / and began to be sinne. And at that tyme it was in vse and custome / that one man mycht laufully haue many wyues, but afterwarde the worlde ones increased and multiplied / than this iuell also came to his owne nature, and began to be sinne.

¶Also saint Hierome doth plainly meane bi those wordes, that were rehersed before out of him / that nature doth so greatly abhorre suche mariage, that it ought not to be named or spoken / leste that the deuoute earys be sore offended with so abhominable a worde.

¶Also saynte Augustyne agreeth to the same. For he saith, when mankynde after the fyrste mariage of Adam, whiche was made of duste / and Eue his wyfe, made out his syde, coulde not be increassed without commynge to gether of man and woman / and there was tha~ nother man nor woma~ / but that came of them two: the bretherne toke their systers to wyfe. The whyche thing the more older that it is / in so moche that it was done at that tyme onely, whan necessitie droue them to it / so moche the more it was afterwarde damnable / whan that shame drewe them from it. For they had consideration / as it was mooste richt and conuenient, of loue and charite, that men / to whom it was {pro}fitable and honeste to be in vnite and concorde: shulde be knit and ioyned to gether by sondry degrees of kynred, and that one man or woman to an other shulde not haue many degrees, but with sondry and dyuers degrees shulde be departed amonge sondry and diuers persones: and euery persone to haue but one degree to an other persone: but at that tyme there was not wherwith these thynges micht be brought to passe, seynge that of these twayne, Adam and Eue / ther were no men nor women, but all bretherne and systerne. Therfore at that tyme, that thing ought to be done, whan it was possible to be done: that whan there was plentye of 115 women / men shulde take suche wyues, as were not theyr systers. At whyche tyme there was not only no necessitie to do it / but also if it were done / it shulde be a sinne not to be spoken. The which thinge we se was so well obserued, euen among hethens and idolaters and wicked worshippers of many and false goddes / after that mankynde was ones increased and multiplied / that al though it was suffred by noughty and corrupt lawes / to marye with our brothers wyues, yet for all that, the custome amo~ge them was moche better / wherby thei were brought to this, that they wolde in no wise vse this licence, but vtterly dyd abhorre the dispensacion of the lawe, and so helde againste it, as though it coulde neuer haue ben laufull.

¶Therfore seynge that these so holy and deuoute men do call those lawes corrupte and noughty, which suffre, that bretherne and systerne shulde marie to gether, and syenge they affirme, that these / whyche worshippe false goddes / did neuer vse suche mariages, bud did abhorre the same licence and dispensation of the lawe, fynally / seing that they sey / that it was not leful for the fyrste men and women / but onely bycause of necessitie / truely it is playne, that suche maner of mariages were not of their owne nature laufulle / euen at that tyme / when they were not yet forbidden by Moses lawe.

¶The whiche thynge also in an other place saynt Augustine dothe witnesse: For, saith he, Abraham dyd lyue in the worlde at that time / in the whiche selfe same time it was not laufull for bretherne & systerne to mari to gether, whether they had both one father and mother or diuers.

¶Also Isichius vpon the Leuitical saith, It was thought tollerable of many, that brothers and systers mycht marye to gether / by cause Abraham sayde of Sara / she is my syster by my fathers syde / and not of my mothers syde. The whiche vtterly is not, as men thynke the historie is. For Moses rekennynge vp all those / that were begotte of Thare, Abrahams father, maketh no mention at all of Sara. And it so were / that Abraham dydde marye his owne sister: yet it was before he knewe god. Therfore it is synne to couple our selfe to our syster by bonde of maryage. 116 ¶wherfore it is clere by this auctour Isichius, that maryages betwene bretherne and sisterne were not leful before the lawe, that is to saye, in Abrahams tyme / whiche was afore the lawe of Moses more than. yere.

¶So Methodius and Berosus, whiche rekenynge vp the causes of Noes floudde, telle bothe one cause. The one of them saythe, it was by cause brotherne shamefully had a do with theyr systers. The tother, bycause Cains chylderne beganne to abuse theyr brothers wyues by abominable fornicacion.

¶But we nede not to tarye in rehersynge vppe the auctours, whiche make to our pourpose in this behalfe. Truely if they, whiche were wrapped in so greatte darkenesse / that they dydde not perceyue / that they shulde worshyppe one god, dydde yet perceyue / that they shulde not marie theyr systers / but dydde naturally abhorre suche maryage / euer more hated and condemned them / as cursed, and inceste, and not onely they / but also the most holy and moost true interpreters of the holye scripture do wytnesse the selfe same thynge to vs in their wryting{is}, it is as clere as can be / that these prohibitions were brought in by the lawe of nature, and that the law of nature and reasone, moued by the lawe and the worde of god, dothe commaunde and teache vs, that suche coniunction muste be vtterly abhorred / as a wicked sinne ageynst nature.

¶If any man here will saye, be it, that we graunte, that these thinges be true / as touchinge the mariages of bretherne and systerne, yet it is far a nother maner of rekenynge / as touchinge our brothers wyues. Let hym vnderstande / that he is greatly blynded and deceyued. For if it be against the lawe of nature, that any man shulde mary his owne naturall syster, bicause it is not lefull by the lawe of nature to discouer her foulenes, & he, whiche marieth his brothers wyfe / discouereth the foulenes of his brother / he also shal breke the lawe of nature / which coupleth vnto him bi mariage his brothers wife. ¶Although we haue made it playne and euident inough before, yet we shall put to these .ij. reasones, that folowe, whiche shall proue the same as openly as can be, that a man can not mary 117 his brothers wyfe. Fyrste / bicause affinitie doth as well let mariage / as dothe consanguinite. Seconde, by cause he that so marieth, dothe shame & dishonestie to his father by the meanes. Of the firste if any man do doubte / he maye wel vnderstande / that this thynge is very trewe, and it were but by this reason only, that not all onely by the lawe of god, so manye persones be excluded from maryage in the lyne of affinitie / as be excluded and forbyd in the lyne of consanguinitie: but that also the lawe of the churche is compelled to sette the bondes of mariage in the lynes bothe of affinitie and consanguinitie / in a lyke distaunce or degre. And this thinge is playne by the auctoritie not onely of Iuly and Gregory Popes / and also of saynt Augustyne, and Isodore, whose sayenges be receyued and approued in the lawe of the churche, but also of Abbate / and of all those that write vpon the chapter PITATIVM, And the chapter CVM AD MONASTERIVM DE STA. MONA. And the Chapiter NON DEBET. DE CONSANG. ET AFFIN. That if there hadde not ben as great cause, why they / that be of affinite shuld haue ben as wel forbidden to mary, as they that be of consanguinite, but there hadde ben a greatter cause, why they that be of consanguinite shulde be forbidden / then they that be of affinite / truly so wise lawe makers wolde haue bou~de these persones of consanguinite, vnto a streiter bond of mariage, then persons that be onely of affinite / and not bothe vtterly of lyke and in one degre. But nowe / seynge one selfe same prohibicion of the lawe of god dothe conteyne all persons / aswell of consanguinite, as of affinite in the fyrste degre, and of the fyrst kynde / and that bothe by the lawe of god / and the lawe Canon / we ought to absteyne aswell from these persons / that be of our wyues bloudde, as from them that be of our owne bloudde / by cause that man & wife be bothe one flesshe & bloud / as witnesseth this sayinge of god: They shal be .ij. in one flesshe: And bycause that the kynred of bothe sydes / that is to say, of the mans side / and the womans side / ought to be compted co~mune to them bothe, truly we shulde take our brothers wyfe euen as our owne natural sister, as touching the {pro}hibition of mariage / like as our doughter 118 in law ought to be taken of vs, euen as our owne doughter, as saint Augustine sayth. ¶And that the seco~de also is very true / it is very euident & playne. For he that marieth his broders wife / taketh his fathers flesshe & bloudde to mariage. The whiche thing plainly is ageynst the law of nature. For seinge the husbande & the wife be one flesshe & bloud: truely he / that taketh his brothers wife, takethe also the flesshe and bloud of his brother / & as for our brother is the flessh & bloud of our fader & moder, & that more nerer vnto them, than any of both theyr sisters / bicause he is their owne son. Therfore if it be forbidde~ by the lawe of god / & also by the lawe of nature to marie our fathers sister, or our mothers sister / or els the wyfe of our fathers brother / or mothers brother / whose wyues be but of affinite to vs, & that onely in the seconde degre: truly moche more it shuld be ageynst nature, to mary our brothers widow. For the nerer that they come to the stocke, & to be one flesshe & bloud, the more thei ought to be forbid. But our brother is more nerer vnto our fader, as it is aboue sayd, then is either of our vncles or auntes.

¶And here be proues inough / by the whiche we haue shewed, as it becommed vs, that these Leuiticall prohibitions / that we shulde not marye our brothers wyfe. &c. come of naturall reason.

¶Nowe there remaineth, to shewe / how the same be toucht vs by the sayde naturall reasone / accordynge to the reules and teachynge of generall iustice or vertue, for to fourme and ordre the maners of men. And this we dyd proue partly before / and nowe we shall speake of this same matter more largely. For the reule of commune Iustice or vertue dothe teche vs tho thinges only, whiche in the maners of all men vniuersally be good / euyll, rychte, croked, iuste, vniuste / and suche as ought to be folowed or auoyded / euen of them selfe and for the obteynynge of euerlastynge blysse. And truly there is no man, but sayth, that tho thinges / whiche be forbyd in the Leuitical lawes / be such thinges. For fyrst they perteine and serue to facion and order mennes maners. For here truely we calle the MANERS of men, the outwarde dedes of men, and also the inwarde affectio~s and disposytions of the mynde / what so euer 119 they be, that come of morall vertue / the whiche who so euer dothe kepe and performe / it shall be sayd / that he lyueth well / and doth well / and he shalbe called verely and truly a good man. Nowe as for these Leuyticall lawes / do not onely belonge to chastite / but also to PIETIE, by the whiche, as Cicero defineth / we be taught to do our duetie and dyligente honoure and seruice to our countrey, to our parentes / and to them of our bloudde / and vtterly to all men, all that ryght and reasone wyll we shall do. This thynge the fyrste lawe of maryage declarethe playnely inoughe, whiche is this, THIS BONE nowe is of my bones / and this flesshe and bloudde of my flesshe and bloudde: For the whiche thynge a man shall leaue his father and his mother / and shall stycke to his wyfe. The whiche sayenge all be it other men drawe it to the dwellynge to gether of man and wyfe, and other to the loue that ought to be betwene them / to vs it semeth / that these two thinges were chieffly commaunded vs in this lawe. Firste that the housbande shuld euermore / with out any departynge, sticke to his wyfe, Seconde, that no sonne shulde mary with his mother, nor no doughter with her father. But for this thinge, that is to saye, bicause the strength and power of mariage is suche, that it gleweth faste to gether with streite and moste holy bonde the man and the woman, and dothe make of them / that be .ij. seuerall and distincte persons / one body and one flesshe? therfore shall man leaue his father & his mother, & shall sticke to his wife / that is to saye / man shal absteyne from the mariages of father and mother / nor shall not disclose their foulenes, nor shame them, agaynste the holines and chastite of maryage, and agaynst naturall honeste and shamefacidnesse, and against reuerence, whiche by nature is due vnto them. For seynge that those persons be ioyned moste nye vnto vs / longe syns / by the bonde of bloudde and co~sanguinite / to whome also nature teacheth vs, that we shulde owe other loue / shamfacydnes, and reuerence / be syde the loue and reuerence of mariage, truly if they shulde ioyne them selfe to vs by maryage / bothe the cause / why maryage was ordined / shulde lacke the chiefeste and beste ende / nor shuld 120 not take effecte, and shamefacydnes, honor, and reuerence naturall shulde be vyolate and broken, contrary to all comelynes and goodly behauour.

¶And that this was the very reasone, and intente of the Leuiticall prohibitions / this thynge playnly declareth. For god / did put to the cause of the forbyddyngis after the~ / which is this. For it is the foulenes or shame of the father, & it is the foulenes & shame of the brother / & so forthe: so that if one wolde aske, why it is not lauful for vs to mary our stepmother, to discouer her foulnesse / there it is answered, For her foulenes is the fathers foulenes, whiche is one body and one flesshe with the father. And if a man wolde demaunde agayne / why it is not laufull to discouer the foulenesse of thy father, the answere is by cause he is nieste of bloud to the, to whome thou must before al other do honour & reuere~ce / & co~trary to do him sham & villany / it is an vnlouinge and not to be spoken dede. And plainly so did Sem & Iaphet iudge / which tought by the prescriptes of nature / before any lawe was written / couered them selfe with a cloke, & going backewarde did hide and couer their fathers priuities / by cause they wold not se their faders priuie membres. And so doing they had their fathers blessynge, and Cam hadde his curse. On this maner ought tho prohibitions, that we shuld not marie our brothers wyfe. &c. to be weyed and examined. For seynge our brothers wyfe is one flesshe and bloudde with her husbande, and he lykewyse one flesshe and bloudde with his brother, it foloweth well / that the brother and the brothers wyfe, be not .ij. but one flesshe and bloud, and so consequently, that they can not be ioyned to gether by mariage, seinge that it is necessary before they mary, that they be diuers flesshe and bloudde, and so by maryage / be no longer .ij. bodyes / but be made one fleshe and bloud.

¶For matrimonie is forbydden betwene persones of consanguinite and affinite / bycause that betwene these persones there is a certayne naturall amitie and frendship / made by the institution of nature, whiche dothe not nede the helpe of maryage to strength it, but those persones ought to be coupled to straungers and nothynge of bloudde to them / to increasse amitie / loue / 121 and charitie, whiche is increassed by marienge of straungers to gether. By cause that these persones, whiche before were not bounde to gether one to the other, by any specyall bonde, shulde nowe be made frendes and louers by the richtes and lawes of maryage / in the whyche frendeshyppe and loue standeth the faste knyttynge to gether of hartis and myndes / and vnitie of wylles. And likewise as there nedeth no maryage betwene them that be of consanguinitie and affinitie to make loue and charite, and to be of one wyll & minde / no more there nedethe no maryage for to make them of one flesshe and bloudde. But those persons must be coupled by mariage to them, that be straungers and nothyng of their bloud to make mo persones of one flesshe and one bloud, that by this meane they / whiche before were not bou~de one to an other naturally by any bonde of carnall co~iunction, now by mariage shuld be made one flesshe and one bloud / by the whiche mariage diuerse persons be ioyned to gether and made one body. For by carnall copulation the man and the woman be made one body, and by maryage they, the whiche were twaine before, be nowe no more tweyne but one flesshe and bloudde. The whiche reason also our sauiour Christ in his godspell / doth not abrogate nor take a way / but renueth it / sayenge: Therfore now they be no more tweyn / but one flesshe and bloudde. By the whiche wordes it is euidente and playne inough, that the lawe in the boke of Genesis / wherin it is sayde, THAT a man shuld leaue his father and mother and sticke to his wyfe, dothe not seme to be put as a rule of graunte and lycence to mary in all other degrees / onely the father and mother except, but that it shulde rather teache vs / that the vnite of flesshe and bloudde / betwene man and wife ought to be indissoluble and neuer to be broken. And that the same vnite of flesshe and bloudde / seynge that it is amonge the parentes and the children, betwene whom also is naturally vnite of persons, and that they be naturally as it were one selfe same persone, it dothe let mariage betwene them specially and generally be twene all other, that be forbydden.

¶And this forbyddynge of maryage / by the meanes of VNITIE of the flesshe and 122 bloudde / if we wyll knowe howe farre it extendith / we must loke for it in the Leuiticall lawe. For all though / as Dunse wrytethe, euen after the multiplication or increasse of mankynde, if they had perseuered and abydden in their innocencie and goodnesse / god wolde haue forbydden other degrees besyde the fyrste, (For truely there is nothynge almoste so necessarye to men / as to knowe the natural lawes of marieng) yet for al that god hath in no place, in the olde Testament / expressed those degrees so playnely / and shewed howe farre their bondes do exte~de, and what persons nature abhorreth to be maryed to gether, as he hath done in the Leuiticall.

¶And nowe to retourne backe to our purpose / where as we lefte. Truely if it be a poynt of chastite, and a poynt of naturall loue, not to discouer the dishonestie of thy brothers wife, and if these Leuitical lawes co~maunde the to do them this duetie, this honour / and this reuere~ce / and to restreyne thy luste and desyre of incest pleasure, from them / and to absteyne and kepe backe thy handes from so fylthye and abhominable a dede: Fynally if the same prohibitions be greatly profytable to increasse and inlarge loue and charitie betwene christian men, which loue and charite by this thing chiefly doth increasse, if there be made fre~deshipe amonge them, whiche be not coupled before by none other naturall bonde of loue: playnely we muste nedes confesse and graunte / that those Leuitical lawes be fit and co~uenient to forme and ordre mens maners / and that they do agre with the teachinge of commune Iustice, or honestie and vertue / and that they belonge to the dedes and duties of the morall vertues. For they truly forbydde the / that thou discouer not the foulnes and dishonestie of thy brothers wyfe / for the whiche thynge our lorde reproueth and dampneth bothe the Chananeis / and also the Egyptions. wherfore if thou discouer it / streicht thou haste broken the rule and the order of vertue. And the lawe of nature, and naturall reasone, as soone as they be illychtenedde with the lawe of god / they shall crye oute agaynste the / and thou muste nedes be called playnly an euel an & vnreuerent man to thy kyn / and an inceste persone. For who wyll denie, but that piete and chastite, and 123 holy kepynge of mariage / cleannes, shamfacidnes of nature, shame / reuerence towarde our kynsfolke / and spreddynge abrode of loue and charitie / be conteyned vnder the rule of co~mune Iustice or vertue? The whiche vertues all / no doubte, were the cause, why these prohibitions were ordyned, and they be the thynges / that of them selfe be honeste / & are to be beloued and desired for them selfe, and do promote and helpe a man to the obteynynge of the eternall blysse. Al be it truely there be many other morall resons or vertuous & honeste causes / whiche a man maye gether / partly of the very nature and qualities of the dignitie or worthynes of maryage, of subduynge or repressynge of bodyly pleasure / and partly of comlynesse / and partly of other circumstances / whiche were the cause / without doubte / why these prohibitions were ordyned. And seing the causes / why these thinges shulde be forbidden, be so honeste and necessarye: truely the forboddes and lawes them selfe muste nedes also be honest and necessary.

¶But it passeth mans capacitie to entre ouer far i~ to the cou~sailes of god, beginner [...] 123 [...] [...] For seinge loue and charitie is the marke / perfection, and ende of all the hole lawe of the gospell / and the lawe of the gospell is the lawe of loue and charitie: and seynge that Christe toke moste thought and care for this thing / to encreasse amonge vs loue and charite: and ageine seing that he hym selfe dyd co~maunde vs / that our iustice and goodnesse shulde passe the Iustice of the Scribes and Phariseis, And be suche iustice as a pure iust man ought to haue / and our chastite lykewise: Playnely if Christe wolde haue excepte vs from the bondes of these most holy lawes / so that they shulde haue no power in these dayes vpon christian men, where as we canne not denye, but they haue had power & strengthe amonge the Iewes in tyme passed: forsothe besyde many other absurde and vnresonable thinges, these .ij. chieffly shulde folowe. The one / that the olde law, and Moses, the auctour therof, shulde be farre more perfecte than Christe / & his newe lawe. The tother / that Christe hym selfe shuld seme to haue giuen more large and fre libertie to fylthy luste and pleasure euen vnto vs / whiche be christian men & spirituall people / and that 125 lyue by the spirite of Christe / and by the holy goste, than he did giue before tyme to the carnal Iues. The whiche .ij. thynges, it is euide~t & playne, that they be most absurde, and as moche agaynst all reason as can be. ¶For Moses neuer ordined nothinge / that doth leade a man immediatly & streicht to any vertue or morall perfection, but the same thing is also commanded orels confirmed in the lawe of the gospel, by Christe him selfe, other by expresse wordes, orels so, that it might be vnderstande. And al that euer do expoune this place of Matthewe, where he saith, I am not come to breke the lawe / but to fulfyl it, do shewe this thynge as euidently as can be: For al they, with one voyce / and with one spirite or mynde / do agree to this thynge / that as Christe did take awei none of those lawes / that were but sygnes or tokens / or shadowes of thinges to come, but rather did fulfyl them, and that by .iii. meanes: Fyrst bicause he did finysshe and ende the fygures of the olde lawe: Seconde / bicause he did performe them in dede: Thyrde bicause he declared, what they meaned: Eue~ likewise he did fulfyl al the morall preceptes / bothe as touchinge the perfecte knowlege and vnderstondinge of vertue & goodnes, whiche he hadde and also taught it vs: and ageine as touchinge the execution and doynge accordinge to the same knowlege: and more ouer as touchinge the relyfe and remedy, wherby he saued mankynde from euerlastynge damnation after the fall of Adam, or els, as Duns saythe, in other wordes / Christe did not take a wey the morall lawe of Moses, but onely did declare it more playnly then the Iues did vnderstonde it / and did make & adde to more perfecte reamedies for our saluation then Moses. ¶For thus sayth saynte Augustine, By cause, sayth he, the Iues vnderstode manslaughter / to be nothinge, but onely the sleinge of a mans body, wherby he shuld lose his lyfe, & bycause they thought & vnderstod, that adultery or fornication was onely the vnlefull bodely copulation with a woman / Christe opened & taught / that all and euery ill motion, pourpose / will, or consent to do our brother harme, is compted for a kynde of manslaughter, and that euery vnlefull desyre to bodely pleasure is fornication & adultery. Ageyne / THESE 126 PROVD folke / whiche iustify them selfe / and in their owne conceit thinke them selfe good, the lawe hath got them in her bondes and daunger / by their gylte and faute of transgression or breakyng the lawe, and so the lawe increasseth their syn / in that it byddeth them to do that / whiche they be not of power to fulfyll / and therfore the iustice or goodnes, that the law doth teche vs / is fulfylled and perfourmed by the spirite of Christ. And bicause truly it is harde euen for them, that be vnder the grace of god / and be ruled by the grace of god to fulfyl and vtterly to kepe this, that is writen in the lawe: Thou shalte not desyre: Christ became the sacre prest / & bi the sacrifice or offerynge vp his body dothe get vs perdon / remission / and forgyuenesse of our synnes / and so he dothe fulfylle the lawe in this poynte for vs / so that that thinge / whiche we be not able to do our selfes, bycause of our infirmite and weakenes, is recouered & made vp by the perfect goodnes of him, whiche is our heed / and al we christian folke membres to the same heed. For the hole church of Christ or al christia~ people make one body, wherof Christ is heed. ¶To the whiche sentence agreethe also saint Ireneus / Our lorde, saith he, did not fordo the natural preceptes of the lawe / by the which a man is iustified & made good / the whiche lawe euen syns it was gyuen / all they kepe, that were iustified by theyr faith / and pleased god. Our lorde, I saye, dyd not adnull them, but he dyd extende and enlarge them, ye and fulfilled them / or made them perfecte, as is playne by his owne wordes / which be these. It was said to the Iues in the olde lawes / thou shalte not commytte adulterye / but I saye vnto you, that who so euer dothe loke vpon an other mans wyfe / with mynde and wyll to medle with her, hath committed adultery nowe al redy euin in his harte. All these wordes truly, sayth Ireneus, do not contrarye nor anull these thynges, that were writen before in the olde law, as they whiche folowe Marcion saye / but fulfyll and make them perfecte / as Christe hym selfe sayth, Excepte your iustenes and goodnes passe the iustyce and vertue of the scribes and Phariseis / you shal not haue the king dome of heuen. And wherin, sayth Ireneus, shuld we passe and excelle the Scribes 127 and the Phariseis? Firste truely that we shulde beleue, not onely in the father / but also in his sonne, whiche is nowe manifestly knowen amonge vs. Moreouer that we shulde not onely speake well / and after the lernynge of Christe, but also do accordyng to the same, which the scribes and Phariseis dyd not: whiche somtyme spake well / and did not therafter. Last of all, that we must absteine, not onely from yll dedes, but also from the thoughtes, wylles / & desires of all euyll. And as for these thynges he taught not as contrary to the law, but put them vnto it to fulfyll and make it vp / and to roote in vs the iustifications and perfectnes of the lawe. For where as Christe did co~mande vs to abstein / not only from those thynges / that were forbydden by the olde law, but also from the noughty lustes / desires / and wyll of the same: this thynge is not contrari to the lawe / as we said before / nor breketh not the lawe / but fulfilleth and increasseth the lawe.

¶Therfore by cause all the naturall preceptes be commune to vs and to them / and we be as well bounde vnto them / as they were amonge them, trewly they had their beginning & first springynge vp / in vs they toke their ful perfectnes. For truly to submit our selfe vnto god, to folow his worde and co~mandement, and aboue all thynges to loue him / and to absteyne from all euyll doinge / and all other lyke thinges, whiche be co~mune both to them and to vs / shewe and witnesse, that both they and we haue one selfe same god, whiche as he did firste begin such lawes, so he did neuer after adnull them / but dyd fulfyll and make them more perfect / and did increase, and inlarge them amonge vs christians and faithfuls. ¶And to this purpose writeth saint Augustyne also. Certeynly, saith he, no man shulde doubte / but that the olde lawe of god / whiche hath toucht vs suche thynges, as belonge to vertue and to good maners, is as necessarye for vs nowe to leade and instructe our lyfe withall / as it was at that tyme to the people of the Iues. For who wyll say, that that commandement, whiche is written in the olde lawe: That who so euer hath founde any thynge / he muste restore it vnto hym / whiche hath loste it, and many other lyke, by the whiche we lerne to lyue louyngely and vertuously, 128 do not belonge vnto vs, that be christian men, and specially the .x. commandmentes, whiche are conteyned in the two tables of stone. For who is so wycked / to say, that he ne wyll kepe the commaundementes of the olde lawe, bycause he is a christian man / and therfore is not vnder the lawe, but fre and vnder grace?

¶To the whiche thynge agreeth Marcus Marulus Euangelistarius, seyenge, That what so euer is in the lawe, that belongeth to the instruction and ordrynge of our lyfe and of our maners, ought as well to be obserued amonge vs, that be nowe newe men in Christe, as it was amonge the Iues and the olde men, that were in tyme passed, and that we ought to make it commune with the godspel / and to take it as a parte of the godspell / and that of the morall preceptes, both of the newe testament and the olde / we oughte to saye as Dauid sayth: The wordes of god be tried & pure wordes.

¶Nor truely it is not with out maruailous great reason, why that moral preceptes of the olde law shulde styll yet endure, & shuld bynde christian men to kepe them. ¶For as saint Thomas saith, Euery man / as sone as he is lyghtened by the lawe of god / hath a certayne naturall motion or inclination planted in hym, for this pourpose / that he may do accordinge to vertue. for euery thinge naturally is inclined to do that worke / whiche is agreable with the propre nature of it: as fyre to heate. Now mans soule / folowinge reason / is the chiefe part of the nature of man / which lichtened with the worde of god, teacheth, that we shuld do tho thinges onely / which of their owne selues be good & vertuos. For truly euery mans owne reasone, lichtned by the word of god, doth naturally teache hym / that he shuld liue vertuosly and honestly: And playnly / seynge that all morall preceptes in the olde testament do nothynge, but commande vertuos dedes / by the whiche the soule of man may ordre it selfe wel, as it ought to do, not onely to god, but to his neihgbour alhso: terfore Christ did not adnulle any of these preceptes by his comminge. For euen as the grace and fauour of god / dothe presuppose our nature, yea maketh it full & perfet / so truly the godspel did neuer breke and adnulle the naturall 129 lawes / but did stablisshe and make them perfecte / and brocht them agayne to their fyrste perfectnesse of nature, in so moche that what so euer morall preceptes of the olde lawe, do agree with the lawe of nature, whiche Paule saith, is written in our hertes, do euermore endure and remayne in their power and auctoritie, nor no christian man is fre and lose from them, but all persons / as concerninge the playne vnderstondynge of them, of necessite be subiecte and bou~de vnto them / although they had neuer be ordined by no mans lawe. For all the lawes of the olde testament / whiche so euer agree with the lawe of Nature and with vertue, nor do not onely withdrawe the hande and body / but also the mynde and will of man / why shulde they not be receyued amonge christian men?

¶For god forbid / that any christian man shulde contracte suche mariages / whiche, as saynte Augustyne writeth before / euen the cruell hethens and barbarous people, without all ciuilite hath for very honesties sake, euermore abhorred. The whiche vnlefull mariage Christe dyd so greately abhorre, that he semed rather to go aboute to drawe backe the bondes of mariages to the olde and fyrste state of nature whan it was create. And for this cause he brought mariage home agayne to his firste begynnynge / that one man shulde haue but one wyfe, and that he shuld be bou~de to kepe her euermore / and neuer to put her away: For bycause, saith Christe, it was so at the begynnyng. and he wolde haue made and brought to passe, if the present myserable wretched state of our exile and banysshing wolde haue suffred it, that there shulde haue ben no foulenes nor fylthynes in the workes of mariage, and that it shulde be euen so / as saint Augustine sayth, it was in the begynninge of the worlde / THAT all our mariages shuld be so clene / that they micht wel become them, that shulde lyue in the felicite of Paradise / bothe hauynge childerne, that they shulde loue / and no fylthy pleasure / that they shulde be ashamed of.

¶Furthermore wherto shulde Christe haue antiquate and annulled the Leuitical lawes / the whiche streicht after he wolde inspire in to the fathers of his fyrste and primitiue churche / and wolde commaunde 130 them to make those lawes of newe? wolde Christe haue exempte vs from the lawe of god / and that in tho thinges / whiche haue so euident and playne token of vertue in them, vnto the whiche he wolde streichte after that we shulde be bounde / by the decrees of the Churche?

¶And finally / why dydde the sacre holye churche forbid vs to do those thinges, but bicause it iudged them / to be maruaylous foule / vnhoneste, and vncleane· But howe or wherby may that / that is cleane or honeste be discerned and knowen a sonder fro~ that, that is foule and vnhonest / but by the co~mandmentes of god? For if the churche hadde forbydden suche maryages / and had iudged them foule and vncleane, for none other thinge / but by cause they were forbydden in the olde testament vnder the name of ceremonies / as diuersyte of meates / of dayes / and of places / and suche like thynges / as be forbydden in the olde testamente, it mycht be lefull to make an obiection / and to lay agaynst the church that thing, whiche is said bi god vnto Peter in the actes of the apostols / whiche wold not eate of al maner of meates, but did forbere certayne meates / that were forbydden in the olde lawe / vnto whom god saith thus: That thynge, whiche god hath puryfied and made cleane / call not thou it foule or vncleane.

¶But seinge that the ende, the intent / the pythe / the strengthe, the reasone of these Leuiticall prohibitions do yet remayne amo~ge christian men / & be written in heuen / & euermore indure: truly a christian man / whiche doth take vpon him more perfecte faith, hope, & charitie / than the Iue / muste be moued to kepe these forbiddynges only by his feith / & by the holy goste, more tha~ the Iues by the letter & law. For god forbyd / that the holy bonde of loue & charite betwene kinsfolke / that the faste knotte of mariage whiche in no wise oucht to be vndone / & the working of the lyuely trewth and of reasone / whiche naturally moue a man to goodnesse, shulde not be iudged as holy, as cleane / as vnfilthy, as pure, as chaste, and as well to be obserued amonge christian men / as they were in tyme passed amonge the heathens / and the Iues. And god forbydde / that christian men shulde chaunge the libertie of the spirite, in to the 131 fylthines of the body. for if they that flee the foule pleasures of the worlde / for the knowlege of our sauiour Iesus Christe / be agayne intangled and ouercome with the same / they be in worse case nowe than they were before at the begynnyng. For it were better for them neuer to haue knowen the wey of iustice and vertue / then after that they knowe it, to tourne away ageyn from that thynge / that was geuen to them by a great and a holy commaundement. ¶Certes if Noes sonne did not escape vnpunisshed, for discoueringe the foulenes of his father, nor the Egiptions / nor the Chananeis, for the discoueringe of their owne kynsfolke / and of them that were nigh of their bloudde / for the whiche dede god, by his godly iudgement and sentence / dydde spue them out of their lande, whiche were heathens: Howe shall a christian man auoyde the displeasure and vengeaunce of god, if he committe the same thinges, that they were punisshed for. For knowe you this well / and take good hede of it, that no fornicator, nor lecher, nor fylthy persone / shall haue herytage in the kyngedome of Christe and god.

¶Nor truely it nedeth not, that our aduersaries shuld dema~de of vs / why Christ did not make expresse mention of the Leuiticall lawes in the godspell, if he wolde haue had them liued and indured amonge vs still after the Synagoge or olde lawe was deed. For truly he did not make expresse mention of them, by cause he hadde co~maunded longe before, that they shuld euer to come continue / and neuer fayle / seinge that he dothe abhorre suche fylthy mariages / and curseth them not onely amonge the Iues, but also amonge the heathins / meaninge / that he will moche more abhorre them, if they be a monge chrystyan men.

¶And bycause he did commaunde playnly in the gospell / that the iustice and goodnes of vs, that be christians / shulde passe the iustice of the Scribes and the Pharyseis / where in a generall rule that we / whiche be called christian men, shulde not be wors in any thing then the carnall people, but that we shulde be better then they in all poyntes.

¶Nor we must not thinke / that no thinge is forbid bi the law of god / but that / which 132 is expresli and plainly set out in the gospel. For the apostols write and publisshe many thynges, whiche they toke of the very mouth of Christe / and yet they be not written in the boke of the newe testament. ¶And the catholike and vniuersal church hath approued many thynges for goddes lawes / of the which there is neuer a worde spoken in the newe testament, as is this / That confession in no case ought not to be disclosed, and suche other thynges. For so doth Dunse also proue / that the secrete confession in the eare is of the lawe of god, not bi cause it is written in the newe testament / but by cause it can not be shewed / whan it was fyrste begonne. Playnly it is heresye to affirme, that there is nothynge goddes lawe, but that, whiche a man may poynte vnto with his fynger in the newe testament. For by this meanes the sacramentes shulde be taken a wey, & shulde be receyued onely by the constitution of man. Nor truly there is no mention made in the new testame~t of the forbidding of mariage betwene the father in law and the doughter in lawe, whiche thynge neuerthelesse to be forbidden by the lawe of god / saynt Hierome doth testifye.

¶And also if our aduersaries wyll stycke and holde them to this, than let vs occupie vsurye / and lette vs gyue money by exchaunge / and require it ageyn with vsury, lette vs also haue many wyues / and lette vs couple our selfe with al maner of bestes / nor lette vs not paye the tythes of all our frutes to the prestes / nor let vs not confesse our synnes to them / nor lette vs not go to them / whan so euer there is any doubte betwene bloudde and bloudde / betwene lepri and no lepri. For there is none of these expressely commaunded or forbydden in the godspel, or in the writinge of the apostols / but for to bynde vs to the keping of them, be cyted and alledged the wrytynges of the Prophettes.

¶But this thynge dyd lychtly deceyue them / that be ageynst the libertie and fredome / whiche we haue by the gospell, bycause they did not knowe the difference betwene the newe testament and the olde / the gospell and the lawe, Christe and Moses: whiche if they had knowen very wel, they shulde not haue ben so foule deceyued and blynded in this matter. And contrary bycause 133 they did not discusse them, and seke them out to the vttermoste / nor did ponder and way them so diligently as they shulde haue don / we se / that by this meanes they were brought in to this errour / that they thought / that euery thinge, whiche is not expresly forbidden in the newe testament, is laufull for christian men to do. By the whiche errour, we do thinke / that the same man of Corynthe was deceyued / whiche maryed his stepmother. For seynge that he harde the lybertie of the godspell / by the whiche we were made free frome the lawe of Moses / greately commended and preysed of the apostols / and knewe that it was forbydden by no lawe of the godspell / to marye whome so euer he wolde, streychte he, abusynge the sayde libertie, dydde agaynste the Leuiticall lawe / marie his fathers wyfe. But he was mooste rychtfully condemned of Paule / not only bycause he had broken Moses lawe / whiche forbiddeth it, but bicause he was disobedie~t to the honestie of nature / whiche naturall honestie the godspell hath euer approued. and it shuld be suche a pestile~t exemple of a mooste leude libertie amonge christian men / as euen amo~ge the hethins / bycause of the reuerence of nature, coulde in no wise be suffred to be don.

AND TRVELY HITHERTO, most gentyll reder, we haue serched out the holy secresy of the scripture of god, deuoutly and reuerently, for this intent onely, with peyn and labour to seke out and to mayntein the truthe, and suche argumentes and reasons / as semed after our iudgement to make most for this matter, we haue soucht them oute of the definition and very substance and nature of those thinges, that we treate vpon, wherby thou mayst playnly perceiue / moste gentil reder / that these Leuiticall lawes / whiche forbydde / that we shulde marie our brothers wyfe / be the lawes of god. And more ouer lawes moral / longynge to vertue and good maners / and not iudiciall. And this is no doubte / seing that they haue in them naturall reasone / fetched from the begynnynge of the worlde, euen out of the secrete ordinaunces of nature. For we haue proued by the auctorite of god / or of holy scripture, that as it was ordyned of the moost beste mynde, 134 which is god / euen so it was ordined vpon the moost beste reason and consyderation: that is / onely for a zele of chastite / of naturall shamfacidnes / and other vertues / that no man shulde marye his brothers wyfe. we haue shewed howe agaynste nature / howe fylthy and abhominable it is / and vtterly vnmete for a christian man / to contracte mariages in that degree. we haue shewed howe greatly contrary it is to the ordre of loue / and of the reuerence, that shulde be betwene kynsfolke / and what a confusion it shulde cause of names of kynrede, & how moche it is ageyn the increase of loue & charitie: we haue shewed / that holy & deuoute christian eares / do abhorre it / and can not suffre to here it spoken: we haue shewed / that besyde the great punisshmentes and vengeaunce, that god taketh on men in this lyfe, that also the punisshement of the euerlastinge fyre of helle abydeth them / whiche be not afrayde to commit this syn. By the whiche reasons without doubte it is euident and playne, that these Leuiticall prohibitions be the lawes of god / and morall / bicause they co~mande those thinges to be don / that be honeste / and forbydde tho thynges, that be foule and inhoneste, and suche thynges, as the naturall reasone of man clered by the lychte and bryghtnes of the worde of god / sheweth / that they ought to be done / or not done, accordynge to the rule of generall iustice / otherwyse calledde vertue and honestie, and so they be of strengthe and auctorite to bynde man to kepe them, euen by the instruction of reasone / so illychtned and restored / and that, thoughe they were neuer commaunded by none other lawe.


[leaf motif] The seuenth Chapter.

NOwe seyng that the commun consent of all wryters / and expouners of mannes lawe and goddes lawe, specially those that be approued by the iudgement of the churche / hath stedfastly holden and obteyned, as a thynge to be taken for a treuthe, that all the morall preceptes of goddes lawe, do yet indure sacre and holye / and by the lawe of god do bynde vs so streytely / and of suche necessite, that they be not vnder the power of the churche / and that no persone, vnder god hym selfe, can release the streite bonde of them / and lose from them / whom it pleseth him: Truly it is euident, that no pope can bi any dispensation giue licence / that a man shuld mary her / that was his brothers wife: the whiche, as we haue shewed you before, is forbidde~ / and that the prohibicion is both the lawe of god / and the lawe morall grou~ded vpon honestie and vertue. But bicause that this our conclusion may stonde yet the more stedfastly ageynst al cauillacions / false accusations, and vnrichtfull out cries and sclaunders of all persones / we wyll assaye to declare & stablysshe these thynges more largely / bothe by other reasons / and by other sayenges of auctours. In the whiche thinge we be all mooste ouercome with the multitude and great noumbre of them / so that scante we can telle, where we shall fyrste begynne.

¶But let this be the fyrste / That all preceptes / whiche be commanded by the lawe of god / & the law moral / do bynde vs to do them / so that without remedye we muste nedes kepe them, if we wyll be saued. For suche co~mandeme~tes do so expresse and declare the minde of god, our lawmaker, and be so grounded vpon the precise rule and teachinge of co~mune iustice (whiche rule of co~mune Iustice or vertue came of the wyll of god / that is moste iuste / and moste beste, to forme and ordre vniuersally the maners and lyfe of man) and finally haue so moche of the nature of very true vertue in them, that there can chaunce no case, nor no resonable cause be imagened, but that if we do contrary to them / streicht waye we do contrary to the wyll and pleasure of god / whiche specially regardeth the commun helth 136 and saluation of all / and do peruerte and tourne vp sette downe the ordre of verye richt and honesti, destrue al the nature and course of vertue / and fynally it can not be chosen, but that we muste falle foulye and wretchedly into shamefulll vice and synne. In so moche that what so euer pope wyll go aboute to dyspense with the bonde of them, he truely shall do nothinge els / but peruerte the ordre of iustice, or vertue / and breake the course of vertue, and giue leude liberte to synne / that is, to abuse his auctoritie and power to destruction / not to buyldynge and settynge vp / contrari to the sayenge and mynde of thapostol. For thus vsynge his power, he shulde destroye vertue / and set vp vice. For what licence can be gyuen? or what recompense can there be, for this, that a man might haue libertie to synne / and not to kepe hym selfe from vice? what perdon or dispensation can there be, that god shulde not be worshypped / and it to be no synne? what cloke or colour can be founde, that a man mychte commytte adulterye, but that the selfe same colour shulde tourne vp so downe all vertue / and publyke iustice? what power maye make it laufull for vs to murdre and steale, these thynges kepynge their names / and theyr natures of murderynge and stealynge? ¶Nowe then seynge that nothynge can perteine more to the .x. commandmentes, nor more strongly moue the iudgement of the richt reason, then can natural reuere~ce / the holynes of chastite, the increase of loue and charite / the holy kepynge of mariage / shamefacydnes and loue towarde them, that be of our bloud and our affinite / and finally al other vtues , whiche as we shewed sufficiently before / were the cause / that these prohibitio~s were made / we ought to beleue, that with them truely the pope can in no wise dispense. And this thing is easie to se / bycause that the reason of these Leuitical lawes is suche / that in no case it can not be disseuered from them, by cause the reasone is grounded vpon suche naturall vertue and honestie / whiche must neuer be lefte vndone. yea and seing that now there is suche multitude both of mankynde and womankynde / there can be no case imagyned for the breakynge of those prohibitions, whiche for any profet or nede / shulde do so moche good, as is the goodnes / that 137 cometh by kepinge of the same.

¶yea and more ouer / many wytnesses of scripture do euidently proue, that in these thinges / whiche be commaunded by the morall lawe of god, we shuld euer do and teache that, that is co~maunded: hauynge no regarde of sclaunder or of necessite. amonge the whiche be these places chiefly, HE that loseth any of these least co~maundementes / shall be called the leaste in the kyngdome of heuen. Agayn this. IF thou haste brought thy offerynge vp euen vnto the altar / and there doste remembre, that thy brother hath any thinge agaynste the· leaue thy offring there, and go thy wayes / and fyrst reconcile thy selfe to thy brother / and be at a grement and accorde with him and then come and offer vp thyn offringe. Also this place, LET the deade bury the deade. Ageyn / IF you knewe what this is that god sayth, I VVIL haue piete / mercy and compassion, loue and charite / and not sacrifice, you wold neuer haue condemned the innoce~tes or the fautles. Ite~, VVHER fore do you breake the commaundement of god / for your lawes traditions and teachinges. Ite~, COME behynde me Satanas. for thou sauerest tho thinges, that be of man & not of god. Item, SCRIPTURE may not be losed or dispe~sed with. Item, THE prophetical scripture belongeth not to the interpretatio~ of man, and suche like. Of the which placis it is euident & playn, that no seruyce or obedyence, no sacrifyce nor offeryng / no werke / be it neuer so good to our syght and fantasye / nor no tradition or ordinaunce of man / is acceptable to god / if that it withdrawe vs by any maner of thynge / from the obseruation and kepinge of the commaundementes of god / and the moral preceptes / as these Leuiticall prohibitions be.

¶And these thynges saynt Cyprian also / proueth / and confirmeth / beside those auctors, that we haue rehersed before. For he saith, it is necessary, that in al our werkes we be subiecte and obedient to the co~mandeme~tes of god, nor no man for fauor or respecte to any person in suche thynges may graunt any perdon / where as the law of god commaundeth the contrary. ¶Also Basilius proueth the same. Bycause, sayth he, that amonge all causes, that chance amonge vs / whether they be i~ 138 wordes or in dedes, some be distinctely determined in holy scripture, bi the worde of god, some be passed ouer and not spoke~ of at all: As for those, whiche be wrytten in scripture / there is no lice~ce at al grau~ted to any ma~, either to do that, that is forbydden, or to leaue that vndon / whiche is commanded. For our lorde him selfe hath gyuen this commandment, and sayth vnder this wise / AND kepe thou this worde / which I co~mand the this day. Thou shalt nother put any thing to it / nor thou shalte not take any thing from it. yea and moreouer there shalbe a terrible expectation of the day of iudgement / and of the fyre / that shall come from heuen, whiche shall consume all them / which haue ben so bolde to do any suche thinge. ¶And the said Basilius in another place saith, That he, whiche is a p~sident / & a spiritual ruler oucht to be as a minister of Christ / & a distributor & almosynar of the misteres of god / & to fere lest he shuld other speake or commande any thinge beside the will of god / and beside that / whiche is euidently co~manded in holy scripture, leste he shulde be founde as a false witnesse of Chryste / or a thefe of sacre holy thinges, other bringyng in any thing / which is strange vnto the doctrine of god / orels leauinge out some of those thinges / whiche be to the pleasure of god.

¶Also saint Ambrose maketh to this purpose, for he, expouninge, in the .iij. of Genesis / the answere of Eue, sayth thus. The proces of all this present lesson teachethe vs / that we oughte nother to take awaye any thynge from the commaundementes of god, nor yet to putte more vnto them. For if saynt Iohn~ gaue this iudgement of his owne writynges, saynge thus, IF any man shall adde vnto them / god shall cast vnto hym those plages and vengeances, whiche be wrytten in his boke of reuelations: and who so euer shall take away any thinge from the wordes of this prophecy / god shal wype his parte cleane out of the boke of lyfe: Howe moche more muste we be ware, that we take away nothinge from the commau~dementes of god / nor put nothynge to them?

¶Also saynte Barnarde maketh for this pourpose. I vnderstonde, saithe he, that thinge to be so necessarie / that it can not be broken, not that, whiche is ordined by 139 manne / but by god / and can not be chaunged in any case / excepte it be by god / whiche made it.

¶And a litell after / in the same boke / the said saint Barnard saith, That he, whiche is of lesse power, can not dispense in those thinges / whiche be ordyned by hym / that is of greatter power.

¶And also pope Fabian maketh for this pourpose. He truely, saith Fabian, that dredeth god, doth not consent in any wise / to do any thinge contrary to the godspell, contrary to the apostols / contrarye to the Prophettes, or contrary to the ordynaunces of holye fathers.

¶Also in this thynge agreeth Isodore, and saythe: If that he, whiche hath rule, do him selfe, or commaunde any other to do / any thynge / that is forbydden of god / orels if he do leaue vndone, or bid any man leaue vndone that, whiche god hath commanded: the sayenge of the holye apostoll saynt Paule muste be rehersed vnto hym, YEA if we our own selfe / saith sai~t Paule / or an angell of heuen do teache you any otherwise / tha~ we haue toucht / cursed be he: And if any man do forbid you that, which [...] shulde do ageynst god / obeieng the iudge / whan he commandeth: moche more then shulde he do ageynst god, folowyng onely the dispensation and licence of the iudge. ¶Saint Thomas also is of the same opinion. for he in many places of his werkes, which partli we haue afore rehersed, doth plainly shewe / that the prohibition of mariage / as concernynge degres of consanguinite and affinite / whiche be expressed in the olde lawe, do belonge to the naturall and morall preceptes. And that the pope can in no case dispe~se with those thinges / whiche belonge to the natural law / and to the lawe of god.

¶with saint Thomas agreeth Alexander de Hales, Dunse, Richarde de Media villa, Durandus, Albertus magnus, Franciscus Maro, Gerson, Gabriell Biel, Herueus, Iacob Almain, Barnardus de Trilla, Antoninus Florentinus / and many other beside these / whiche playnely do saye, and holde stiffely / that it can not be proued by no good richt / that the pope can in ani case dispe~se with any of those prohibicio~s / that be made by the lawe of god and by the lawe of nature. For they saye, that it is 141 not resonable, that they / whiche be of lyke power / shulde haue power one ouer thother / tha~ it shuld be moche ageinst reason / that the inferior shulde lose or dispense with that the superior hath bounde: or bynde men to that thinge, whiche the superiour hath not bounde men vnto. ¶FVRTHERMORE besyde these reasons of natural honestie / shame, and reuerence / whiche we haue shewed afore, an other cause of this Leuiticall prohibicion, That a man shuld not marie his brothers wife / is the wyl of god, whiche is the very and trewe Iustice. For god wyll not this thinge or any other, bycause it is iuste and richt, but therfore it is iuste and richt / bycause god wylleth it / as saynte Augustyne saith. Therfore seyng that from this dede, nother the ylnes of it can be taken awaye / nor any goodnes put vnto it by any other maner of meanes / but that the mynde and wyll of the lawemaker must be chaunged: truely there can none dispense with suche lawe / but he that shalbe able to cha~ge also the wyl and minde of the lawemaker. For the dyspensation causeth, that he, with whom we dispense / is not bounde to that thinge / to the whiche before it apered / that he was bounde by the wordes of the law. But no pope of Rome can change the wyl of god. For he / seinge he is Christis vicar, oucht to folowe Christe / & to do as Christe did, and not to contrarie him in any thing, nor in any thynge to swarue from his doynge: and Christe nother did nothing, nor sayde nothinge / but onely that he had taken of his father / nor brake nothing of the~ / whiche his father commanded and wolde haue done. And seinge that the pope hath taken of Christe / shepe and lambes to fede with the lernynge of the churche, or of the gospell, and is onely made a minister and Almoysnar or dispenser by Christe of the sacramentes / which be ordined of god and Christe, Finally seynge our lorde did commaunde hym to teache all men to kepe all maner of thynges, what so euer he hadde commaunded them: god forbyd, that the Pope of Rome shulde thynke it lefull for hym to chaunge the wyll of god, and that he hadde power to couple those persones to gether by mariage, whom the law of nature & of Moses / wherof god him selfe is the auctor, hath forbidde~ to be coupled to 142 gether. For if he shulde do it, plainly he shulde not be that blessed and faythefull almosynar and dispenser of the worde of god, gyuynge in tyme measure of corne / by the whiche mens spirites shulde be refresshed, and their soules shulde lyue, but he shulde rather be a wretched vnhappy waster and a spender, that shall be cast out in to extreme darkenes / and shulde be the enuious felowe, whiche sowed amonge the good corne / that is to say / i~ the scripture of god plenty of Cockel or Darnel / and suche other wedes / whereby the soules shulde waxe lene and perisshe for euer. For Christ him selfe saith, HE, that hath my COMmandeme~tes / and kepeth them, that is he, that LOueth me: and he that LOuith me not / doth not kepe my commandementes. ¶Vpon the which sayenge Cyril writeth thus. These thinges, saith he, ha~ge merucilously well to gether / so that the tone must nedes folowe of the tother. For if to kepe the co~mandme~tes of god, is to loue god, it must nedes be / that to breke the co~mandeme~t{is} of god / is to hate god. and seing that no ma~ can loue god, and breke the co~mandementes of god: howe then by any maner of iuste and laufull cause maye the Pope gyue lycence, that a man shulde discouer the foulenesse of his brother / the whiche dede nature and the lawes of god do abhorre? except he wyl runne into that moost rychtefull condemnation / whiche Paule threteneth them / whiche do euyl thynges / that there may come some good of them. ¶Truely pope Zosimus saythe / That the auctorite of this seate of Rome can change nothynge ageynste the decrees of the holy fathers.

¶Also pope Leo writeth to Anatholius and saith, that the ordynaunce of the Nicean counsaile coulde in no case be dispensed withall at any tyme.

¶And so Isodor, in the boke of the councels, citeth / that pope Damase sayth: Bicause that suche persones may (and that not without reason, sayth he) be thought to blaspheme and speake vnreuerently ageinst the holy gost / whiche constreined by no necessite / but of their owne plesure / and of a frowardenes / do take vpon them any thinge, that is ageynst the holy canons, or els consent willyngly to other / that wyl do any suche thynge: Therfore the rule of the 143 holy canons / whiche be consecrate by the spirite of god / and by the reuerence and allowyng of al the worlde / we oucht faithfully to knowe, and we must handle them diligentely, lest that we do breake by any meanes (whiche god forbyd) the statutes and decrees of the holy fathers, without ineuitable necessitie.

¶And the selfe same Pope Damas wold not take vpon him to determine the cause of Bonosius the bishoppe, by cause that the Synod of Capua had committed it be fore to be examined of other iudges, playnly shewynge, that it was not his parte to medle with those matters, in the whiche the Synode had medled before.

¶And finally pope Hilarius wolde haue his decrees confirmed by the counsell. ¶By all the whiche reasons it is euident and playne, that euin in those lawes / whiche be only the constitutions and ordinances of the holy fathers, the Pope can not dispense without in euitable necessitie / and suche necessite as can not be other wyse auoyded. Nor truly it is not conuenient for a prince or a reuler to desire to abrogate and adnull without consideration & cause / that thinge, that a nother prince or gouernour hath ordyned with great studye and peyne, and for weighty causes: howe moche lesse than oucht that to be suffred / that other the pope him selfe doth ageynst the lawe of god, or gyueth lycence to other men to do it? Specially seynge it is not founde in no place of goddes lawe, nor yet in the ordynances of the fathers / that any suche power is grau~ted to the pope. ¶For by these wordes, VVHAT so euer he shal lose vpon erthe, shall be loosed in heue~. And VVHAT so euer he shal binde in erthe, shall be bounde in heuen / he hath doubtles power giuen him: not wherby he micht reuoke the lawe of god / or breke and dispense with any parte of it: but he hath power to bynde mennes synnes / and that not generally and in all cases / but fyrste it muste be supposed / that he vseth his Keye with such discrecion and richt iudgement, as he ouchte to do. Therfore Christe, before he spake these forsayde wordes / sayde thus as folowethe: I, SHAL gyue the, the keyes / that is to saye / I shall gyue the power to discerne and iudge leprye / 144 from no leprie / and power to lette in / and shutte out from the kyngedome of heuen, all suche as thou haste so iudged by rychte. And nowe, what discrecion / and rychte iudgemente shulde this be / if the Pope wolde take vpon hym for to coupul to gether in mariage, by his dispensacion those persones, whome the lawe of god & of nature doth forbyd to come together, seynge, GOD hath commaunded, that his commaundementes shulden be kepte to the vttermoste poynte? Truely though in the orderynge of those actes / whyche of them selfe be indyfferent / and nother good nor badde / his Keye of power in a maner reuleth more thanne his Keye of lernynge and scyence: yet for all that / in the determinacion and orderynge of thoo thynges / that perteyne to our beleue / to honestie / to vertue / and to good maners / it is contrary. For in these thinges his power determineth nothing, but that lerning hath determined / & power here oucht in al cases to be ruled & ordred by lerning. For here if power in the least thing that can be, be contrarye to the keye of LERnynge, that is the cnowlege of the law of god / the determination shulde be nothinge worth. For if the Pope wolde by any maner of power determyne any thynge other wyse than lernyng, that is the cnowlege of goddis lawe / wolde haue it be determyned, other in our fayth, or in good maners: his determinacion shulde be vtterly nothinge worthe at al / yea it shulde be lefull for euery christian man, that knoweth this / to crie out ageinst it / and all to be spyt & be spue it / and to reproue and damne it as hereticall. For if any power do commaunde the to do any thinge, that thou oughtest not to do / then doubtlesse contemne and dispice that power, as saynt Austine sayth. For, saith he, take hede of the degrees / that be in worldly thynges. For if the Marshall of the hoste bidde vs do any thynge / shall we do it / if it be ageynst the grande capitayne? Agayne, if the graunde Capitayne byd vs do any thinge, and the kynge or Emperour commaundeth vs to do a nother / dost thou doubt / but that we muste obey the co~mandement of the kynge or the emperour / and contemne the co~mandement of the grande Capitayne? Therfore if the kynge or the emperour bydde one thinge / and god an other, 145 we must obey god, & conte~ne & not regard nother kyng nor emperour. Therfore we may not thinke / that the Popes licence in the degrees forbydden by goddis lawe, is iuste and a richtfull dispensation? but rather an vnrichtfull and an vnresonable dissipation / and mysorderynge of the lawes of god. For truli god doth not alowe such maryages, whiche be ageynste his owne lawe / nor yet suche ouchte not to be called trewe mariages. For that oucht not to be iudged mariage, whiche is made ageynste the lawe of god. But when it is ones knowen / it muste nedes be amended, as saynte Ambrose sayth.

YEA AND besyde al this, though we wolde euen grau~t neuer so moche, that the popes haue ben wont of custome to put to, or to take awey from the lawe of god / and so to make expositions & restreyntes vpon goddis lawe: yet for all that the doctours of the lawe do thynke / that it is lefull for them / but only in .ij. cases.

¶One case, whan that one lawe of god is expouned and restreyned by an other lawe of god / as this commaundement, THOV shalt not slee / is lymytted and expouned thus / that it is lefull to slee mysdoers. ¶An other case / whan the pope of a iust and a leful cause, and suche as is without synne / doth put to / or take away some parte / from the lawe of god, as to this co~maundement: IN the mouth or wytnesse of .ij. or .iij. standeth all the profe, the pope for a iust cause, vseth somtyme to put more wytnesse than .ij. or .iij.

¶But the pope can by none of these .ij. weyes expoune or restreyne this Leuiticall commaundement, That a man shulde not marie his brothers wyfe. For all thoughe that it was limitted and restreyned before tymes of god in the Deuteronomi, yet for all that bycause afterwarde the sayde restreint was taken awey of god hym selfe bi the co~minge of Christe: truly the pope can not brynge vp agayne nowe in these dayes the same restreynt. For if the pope now of dayes coulde by dispensation cause / that a man micht mary after the law of the Deuronomi, his brothers wyfe, whiche dothe dye hauynge no issue, for to reyse vp sede to his brother: without doubte he shulde make christian me~ at this day to folow the Iues cerimones & supersticiousnes / which 149 the pope can not do, no more then he can cause that we shuld kepe their sabbat dai / or that there shulde be circumcisyon, as saint Gregory saith. After that the grace & fauour of almichtie god appered, the co~mandme~tes of the law / which were spoken bi figure & mystically / can not be kepte, as we haue shewed you before of the sabbat day / & of circu~cisio~ / & other figural or mystical lawes, as is also that co~ma~dme~t of the Deuteronomi, That we shulde marie our brothers wyfe. wherfore if the pope wold brynge vp this nowe amonge vs christian men / he could not. For he can by no meane bringe vp ageyn the customes and ceremonies of the Iues / whiche were abrogate & clene taken awey bi the co~ming of Christe. This saint Paule proueth, saying, IF you be circu~cised / Christ shal {pro}fet you nothing at al / which did speke ageinst Peter to his face / bicause he co~streined the ge~tils to folowe the Iues ceremonies. And also saint Thomas saith / that whan thapostol doth publisshe the law of god, it is nat leful for the pope to dispense / as for an exemple, where the apostoll sayth, IF you be circu~cised / Christe shall profette you nothinge, whose sayenge also Ioannes de Turre cremata doth folowe. Therfore the pope can not restreyne this Leuitical lawe in the first case, that is, by cause it is restreyned by the Deuteronomi lawe / whiche is but a mystery and a ceremony.

¶And agayne in the seconde case, that is to say, for a cause or consideration the pope can moche lesse dispense in this Leuiticall lawe / seynge there can be no cause founde lefull inough, and that shulde be without synne / for the whiche he may dispense. For to discouer the foulenes of our brother / is in the maners of men foule and shamefull / and suche couplynge is called inceste: and incest is as greuous a synne as can be. And therfore playnely euin as the pope can not dispense, that a man may commytte adultery / or to kepe a concubyne or le~man / or to haue many wyues at ones, and in suche other lyke, by cause they be of them selfe, and by their owne nature, euermore yl and nouchty: so nother in this kynde of inceste mariage, where as is deadely synne after the law of god / ther can be no cause fou~de / whiche can excuse that synne. For seynge that honestie is cause of this prohibition / 147 whyche is the contynuall companyon of mariage, this kynde of mariage playnly is to be thoucht so euyl in the maners of me~, and also so myscheuous in example / that it can not be mainteined in no case, nother by man / nor by aungell / nor by apostoll, nor by any apostollyke man.

¶Nor let not the Pope here lay ageynste vs his full power. For we graunt / that the Pope hath in dede a fulle power, and not yet all thinge so full as the worde souneth: so that this full power shulde be able to do any dede that is possible to be done, or any thynge that hym lustethe to do / as though there were no superior. For suche power is onely mete for Christe, according to that sainge of Christe, VNTO me is giuen all power bothe in heuen and in erthe / but this power of the Pope is restreyned and drawen in / to tho thinges / whiche belonge to the pastorall or sheperdly cure of soules. And for orderynge of this power / bycause the pope is nat suche one / that can not synne, nor is not confyrmed in grace / Christe hath made his rule of the godspel / after the whiche the pope shulde order all his doynges: from the whiche rule of the gospel if the pope wolde vary and swarue, and wolde grau~te any thinge, that shulde be contrary to the preceptes of the same godspell / he doth not followe that power, that god hath gyuen hym / nor god doth not approue that, that he doth. ¶And as for that, whiche Pope Innocent, & Pope Nicolas do saye, That it is not lefull for any man to iudge of the iudgement of the seate of Rome / nor lefull for any man to reuoke or reuerse the sentence or iudgement of that seate / for bicause of the preemynence of the churche of Rome: This sayinge of them ought not greatly to moue vs. For we thinke / that tho wordes muste be vnderstonde thus: That it is not lefull for any inferior power to reason vndiscretly on the iudgement and determination of that seate / nor to affirme and holde openly any thinge co~trary to that determination: excepte that it be euident and playne / that the iudgement of that seate be erroneous & wronge (As master Gerson writith) And that it is not leful for ani inferior person, to iudge as it were by auctorite vpo~ the iudgeme~t & determinaitio~ made bi the pope, & as though he had iurisdiction & power ouer 148 the pope, for bi cause of the preeminence of the seate of Rome. But if that any pope do decre any thing ageynst the lawe of nature and goddes lawe: there if any ma~ do iudge & reson of his determinatio~ & iugeme~t wisely / discretly / & clarkely, & not as it ware by auctorite / & doth labor with all his might / that his sentence & determination maye be reuoked and called agayne: This thynge is (as we thynke) so far of from sacrilege / pride / and presumption / or any other vice / that we beleue / there can be nothinge more godlye or more nere vnto the religyon of Christe. For doth not the Churche often times by recht and good lawe / reuoke correct and reproue the dedes and determinations of the Popes / whiche haue not bene very wel and conuenyently done of them, or dothe it let to chaunge them and make them better? yea furthermore, hath not al so meane bisshopes resisted & withsto~de the wronge & vnreasonable sentencis & co~mandeme~tes of the popes / not regardinge their cursynges / exco~municaotins, & al punissheme~tes / that the churche doth vse? And bycause we will not seke far in histories for an exemple in this matter / we shall shewe you a thinge or .ij. that was done here in Englande / and in Fraunce here by.

¶Laurentius, successor to Austine in the archebysshopprike of Canturburye, after that he had cursed Edbalde the kynge, for marienge of his stepmother / coulde not be moued by no prayenge nor requeste of the Pope, nor by drede of cursynge / to absoile the saide kynge / tyll he had renounced, and forsaken that fylthy and incest mariage. ¶And Dunstan, archebesshop of the said seate / folowinge the forsayde Laurence / after that he had excommunicat and cursed the erle Edwyn / bicause he had maried his brothers wyfe, coulde not be moued by no meanes to obei the pope, that desired him / charged and co~manded hym most sharply and streitely to assoyle the sayde Edwyn: vntyl he hadde forsaken his vnlefull wyfe.

And more ouer it is written, that he was euer wo~t to haue this saieng in his mouth: GOD forbid / that I shulde, for any mortall man, not regarde the lawe of my god.

¶And thus also Sampson / some tyme archebisshoppe of Rein / had leauer haue suffered the most extreme punisshementes, that coulde be / and al ieopardies of excommunicacion 149 and cursynge: then he wolde anoynte Alam, douchter to the erle Theobald / for quene, whom at that time Lewes the frenche kynge had maryed / bycause he hadde diuorsed before / Alams syster from Philip, brother to the sayd kynge Lewes, by reason of consanguinite.

¶And no lesse worthy to be reme~bred is that / whiche Grosseheed / somtime bisshop of Lincolne dydde. For when Pope Innocent wolde haue constreyned hym to make the Popes neueu a canon / whiche was an vngracious felowe, and vtterly vnworthye and vnmete / he wrote ageyn these wordes. There can no man, sayth he, beinge subiect and feythfull to the seate of Rome / with cleane and pure obedience / and not cut of by diuision from the body of Christe / and from the same holy seate, obey suche commaundementes or any other maner enterprises / from whense so euer they came, yea and though it were from the highest order of aungels, but he muste and is bounde of necessitie both to speake agaynst them / and to fyght and rebell ageynst them to the vttermoste of his power. Therfore reuerende syr, for the duetie of obedience and fidelite / that I owe to both my parentes and to the holy seate of Rome, and agayne bycause we bothe be ioined to gether / as membres in one body of Christe: I, lyke a catholyke man / and as one of the body of Christe / and lyke a good childe, do not obey / but gaynsay and rebell agaynste those thinges, that be conteined in your letter, bycause they swarue as playnly as can be in to that forsayde synne / whiche is to our lorde Iesus Christe mooste abominable / and of it selfe moste myscheuous and pestilent, and vtterly contrary to the holines of the seate apostolye. Nor your wisedome and discretion can not decree any sharpe punisshment agaynste me for this cause / if you will do nothynge / but that, whiche is rycht and resonable. Bothe by cause all my sayeng and doing in this behalfe / is nother geinsaieng / nor geynstriuinge, or rebellion / but honour & reuerence / suche as a good childe oweth to his father and his mother: and agayne bycause the holines of the seate apostolye can do nothynge but that, whiche shulde be to edyfienge / and not to destruction. ¶O the great co~stancy / & the saieng moste comely, for a christian bysshop. For howe 150 peruerse a thing / & what a co~fusion shulde it be (as saint Barnarde saith) bi obeyeng to euyll & nauchtie co~mandeme~tes / wherin thou semest to be obedie~t to ma~ / to shewe thy selfe inobedie~t to god / which hath forbidde~ al that is ill done? For if god forbiddeth that, whiche man co~mandeth, shal I here man, and be deafe and not here god? ¶Therfore (that we mai come to our matt~ agein wher as we lefte). Truely if the pope do suffre / bi his auctorite and power / incest mariages to be made, or wyll not breake them, when they be made, which (as Gregory saith) be abhominable to god & to all good men / it shall be the dutie of a louing & a deuout bisshop / not only to withstande the pope openly to his face, as Paule dyd resist Peter / bicause the pope verili is to be reprehended & rebuked: but also with all faire meanes & gentylnesse, and lernynge, in tyme and out of tyme / oucht to crye vpon hym / to rebuke / reproue / beseche / exhorte hym / that the persones, so coupled to gether / maye forsake suche maryages. And if they wyll not take the good lernynge and counsaile of theyr bisshop, but wyl folowe their owne voluptuous plesure / than at the last the bysshoppe ouchte to plucke forthe his spirituall sworde of excommunication and cursyng, and to shake it vpon suche persones, and to be take them to the diuol, to the punisshement of their flesshe, so that their spirite or soule be saued in the day of our lorde Iesus / accordynge to the co~maundment of Christe, and the exemple of Paule. For els howe shal these prelates do the dutie of bysshoppes and ouerseers, as they oucht to do, if that for the cruelte, & thretes of the popes, they shall not dare calle backe theyr shepe in to the waye of truthe, that be out of the wey and loste, for whom they shal gyue a compte in the terrible and dredefull iudgement of god? Or how shal they escape the greuos & sharpe punysshementes of god / with the whiche god thretneth them, that wyll not shewe the wycked synner his fautes, nor wyll not crye and gyue warnynge, whan they se the swerde commynge, that the synner may be conuerted fro~ the wronge wey to the richt wey / and to the trouth? I, AM alyue, saith our lorde, bycause that my flocke is rauysshed / and my shepe deuoured of al beastes of the felde / bicause they had no herdeman 151 nor ouerseer. For trewely the sheperdes soucht not for their flocke, that, that was weake and feble they did not stre~gth, that was sycke / they didde not heale, that was broken / they dyd not bynde to gether, and that, that was lost they did not seke for it, BEHOLDE saith our lorde, I shall aske a count of my shepeherdes for the death of my flocke / and I wyll cause them to ceasse and to feade my flocke no lenger. ¶And nowe euin as bisshops, for bicause of their office and duetie, oucht not to here or obey the popes co~mandmentes in those thinges, that we haue rehersed before, euin so truely al other christian men / be thei neuer so meane or of lowe degre, as many as beinge toucht by the holy gost, do ones playnely perceiue, that they do kepe suche mariages, as be incest: they may / yea and are bounde for the loue and religion that they owe to god / not only to breke streicht wey suche mariages / but also with a stable and stedfast stomac / and suche as a christian man oucht to haue / be bonde to with stande and resyste valiantly the Pope / all thoughe he wolde threten them by a .M. cursynges and exco~munications, that they shulde do the contrary.

¶For there be two lawes saith pope Vrban, one public / an other priuate. And the public lawe is that, whiche hath ben confirmed by writynge of the holye fathers. The priuate lawe is the lawe / that is written in mennes hartes / by the inspiration of the holye goste / as thapostoll speaketh of certeyne, VVHICHE haue the lawe of god written in theyr hartes. ¶And in an other place he sayth, VVHAN the heathens / which haue no lawe / do NATurally / that is to say / by the inspiration of the holy goste onely / without any lawe writen / tho thynges that the lawe commandeth, they be the lawe to them selfe. Therfore if any of these, saith Vrbane, hath people in his gouernaunce vnder the bysshop / in his churche, and dothe lyue secularly, and if that he, inspired with the holy goste, wyll saue him selfe in some monasteri / or amo~ge regular chanons: bicause this man is moued by the priuate lawe of his conscience / that is, by the motion of the holye goste, there is no reason, that he shuld be bonde to the public lawe. For the priuate lawe is of more dignitie than the publike lawe. 152 FOR doubtlesse the spirite of god is the lawe, and, THEY that be ledde by the spirite of god, be ledde by the lawe of god / and, VVHAT persone is it / that can of richt withstande the spirite or holy goste? Therfore who so euer is led with this spirite / lette hym go his wayes free, euen by our auctoritie / yea although his bysshop say nay. FOR there is no lawe nor bonde made for a richtwyse and a good man / but where as is the spirite of god, there is libertie and fredome / and, IF ye be led with the spirite of god, ye be not vnder the law, that is to saye / if we folowe the motion of the holy spirite and of our conscience / we be not vnder the commune lawe / whiche euer ouchte to gyue place to the pryuate law. For in tho thinges / that be forbidden by the lawe of god / we must obey our conscience: and in other thinges the churche. Nowe fyrst the churche can not binde any persone to synne by her commaundement. Seconde, it can not be auoyded / but that suche persons, whiche by the lawe of god & nature be vnlaufull to marie / and yet be coupled by mariage, or at the leste / that is presumed to be mariage / do lyue in synne / onely excepte that they be maried by ignorance, and that by such ignorance, as could not be auoyded. Finally Paule saith, HE that putteth difference betwene meate and meate, if he eate / then he is condemned / by cause that / that he dothe is not done with faith, and good conscience. For all that is not done with faith is synne.

¶Of these .iij. reasons / it foloweth / that al christian men / if their priuate conscience, lichtned with the holy gost / and knowlege of holy scripture, as it ought to be, hath moued them vnto it / they may without any ieopardie / yea and are bonde to make a diuorse with her, whom bothe nature and the lawe of god doth forbid them to haue to their wyfe: and to delyuer them selfe from that vntrue and onely presumed and prete~sed mariage: the co~mune lawe / what so euer it be / notwithstandyng and co~mandynge the contrary. Lykewise as a secular preest / moued by his owne conscience / and not by any lichtenes or inconstancye maye laufully go to an other bysshoppryke ageynste his owne Bysshoppes wylle, no maner of decree of the fathers to the contrarye withstandynge: and as a regular 153 professed, or the bysshoppe of a churche / thouch his prelate and the pope be ageinst it / maye laufullye go to a streyter maner of lyuing the co~mun lawe notwithstanding and byddynge the contrarye. For suche a one, as Innocente sayde, after that he hathe asked lycence of his prelate to go his waye, vpon his priuate lawe, whiche is to be preferred before the commun lawe he is absoyled and losed, and may frely fulfyll his purpose of a more holier lyuing / the sayenge nay and frowarde forbiddyng of his indiscrete prelate not withstandinge. For who so euer abuseth the power, that is giue~ him / deserueth to lese his priuilege. And euen so it is in the maryage / that if a mans conscience moue him to diuorse / that he diuorse hym selfe, thoughe the churche say co~trary. For truly al though the churche doth not declare suche maner of diuorsis, yet the churche is bonde of deute to declare them, & to bid openly such diuorsis to be made. And all though the Pope by his prepensed & expresse acte, doth not agre to this diuorse / yet for all that by his secrete acte & of duetie he vtterly agreeth vnto it. ¶AND HITHERTO we haue shewed well and sufficie~tly / by very many reasons, as far as it perteyneth to this pourpose / that the prohibition / THAT we shulde not mary our brothers wyfe / whiche is deade without issue / is not suche a {pro}hibition, as stondith by constitution of man / but as nature fyrst did plant in mannes mynde / and afterward chastite and reuerent sham facidnesse hathe kepte it before the lawe: and our lorde shewed it vnto his chosen people by Moses, and such as the custome of christian men, with great consent and agrement of them that vseth it, hath from the beginnynge of the christian fayth many yeres folowed and obserued / whiche hath so often ben renewed by counsayles, receiued and confyrmed by latter lawes. And fynally we haue proued, that the Popes auctoritie can not stretche so far / that he may dyspense with suche maryages / whether they be made all redye, or be yet to be made. The whiche thinges / moste gentyll reder / bycause we truste they will so satisfye and content the, that we thiinke it but labour vtterly loste to seke for ayde any farther in this matter / either of holy scripture / or of the decrees of the churche, 154 or of the determinatio~s of the vniuersities, that be in Italye, Fraunce, and Englande, or of the suffragis and voycis of the greatteste lerned men that be / as yet there be a great many behynde, it semeth to vs beste here, to conclude and make an ende of our worke, and not to tary the any longer in rekenninge them vp. And this one thinge / moste indifferent reder / we beseche the for the loue that thou haste to god, to vertue & goodnes / that as thou seest the consente and agrement of so many vniuersities / the fauour and studies of so great lerned men, to bende and inforce them selfe so louingly and religiously, onely to mainteine and defende the auctorytie of the lawe of god: that thou agayne, bothe with thy lerninge and auctoritie, will farther and set forward theyr enterprises, wylles, and desires, by all meanis that thou canste / remembrynge howe fearfull and greuous that punisshement is, whiche Christe threatenith them withall, that vsurpe and wrongfully take vpo~ them the key of godly cnowlege & lerninge, & nother they them selfe do entre in to it / and yet do let & stoppe out other / whiche do all that they can to breke in to it.

¶Imprinted at London in the house of Thomas Berthelet printer to the kinges most noble grace. the .7. day of Nouembre.