Bilson, in this exception, confesseth that laboring belongs to ordinary fixed pastors, and therefore contradicts himself in his former objection, wherein he would have appropriated it to unfixed apostles and evangelists; yea, by this gloss it is granted, that preaching presbyters are to be more honored than non-preaching ruling prelates.
Rather than grant to the civil magistrate the absolute power of nominating spiritual pastors, the ministers of the Church of Scotland, in our time, resigned their livings by hundreds. The Church of England had no such scruples. By the royal authority alone her prelates were appointed. By the royal authority alone her Convocations were summoned, regulated, prorogued, and dissolved.
He did not even wait for the sentence of excommunication to fall, that now hung by a hair above his head, but began the attack, as if resolved to have the advantage of the first blow. Couriers were despatched to every part of the empire, with commands to all the prelates and nobles upon whom he could rely, to assemble at Worms, where he promised to meet them without fail.
"And yet they say at Paris that the bishopric of Vannes is one of the best in France." "Ah! you are now speaking of temporal wealth," said Aramis, with a careless air. "To be sure, I wish to speak of that; I hold by it, on my part." "In that case, let me speak of it," said Aramis, with a smile. "You own yourself to be one of the richest prelates in France?"
With the exception of a very small number of prelates acquainted with the negotiations of Savona, or in the confidence of the emperor, the mass of the bishops, come from a distance, ignorant or deceived, thought to find peace accomplished, or on the way of being accomplished, in the Church between the civil power and the holy see.
Of the other six Commissioners three were prelates and three laymen. The name of Archbishop Sancroft stood first. But he was fully convinced that the court was illegal, that all its judgments would be null, and that by sitting in it he should incur a serious responsibility. He therefore determined not to comply with the royal mandate.
The Bishops of Limerick, Cork, and Waterford, liable to have their revenues cut off, and their personal liberty endangered by sea, were almost invariably nominees of the English Court; those of the Province of Dublin were necessarily so; but the prelates of Ulster, of Connaught, and of Munster the southern seaports excepted were almost invariably native ecclesiastics, elected in the old mode, by the assembled clergy, and receiving letters of confirmation direct from Avignon or Italy.
They are the outcome of an utterly un-English tone of thought; and the so- called 'ages of faith' are pleasant and useful to them, principally because they are distant and unknown enough to enable them to conceal from their readers that in the ages on which they look back as ideally perfect a Bernard and a Francis of Assisi were crying all day long 'O that my head were a fountain of tears, that I might weep for the sins of my people! Dante was cursing popes and prelates in the name of the God of Righteousness; Boccaccio and Chaucer were lifting the veil from priestly abominations of which we now are ashamed even to read; and Wolsey, seeing the rottenness of the whole system, spent his mighty talents, and at last poured out his soul unto death, in one long useless effort to make the crooked straight, and number that which had been weighed in the balances of God, and found for ever wanting.
Half-a-dozen Scotch prelates were killed at Flodden; and, late in the reign of Henry the Eighth, no fitter person could be found than Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry, to take command of the Welsh Marches, and harry the freebooters of Llangollen.
In another wide, low room, with white pillars, some eighteen years later, the baby Princess, become a maiden Queen, held her first Council, surrounded by kindred who had stood at her font hoary heads wise in statecraft, great prelates, great lawyers, a great soldier, and she an innocent girl at their head. No relic could leave such an impression as this room, with its wonderfully pathetic scene.
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