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ask and say thus-- Where findest thou it grounded in holy scripture ?” As tho' else it is not worthly' to be take for true, whenever any governance, or truth, sufficiently grounded in law of kind, and in moral philosophy, is affirmed and ministered to ! them; as ben many of tho eleven governancies and truths, which schullen be treated upon after, in this present book; which ben setting up of images in high places of the bodily church; pilgrimages done prively, and pilgrimages done openly, by laymen, and by priests, and by bishops, unto the memorials, or mind-places of saints; and the endowing of priests by rents and by unmoveable possessions, and such other. Asken tho whilst* in like manner unreasonably, and like unskilfully, and like reprovably, as if they would ask and say thus: “Where findest thou it grounded in holy scripture, when a truth and conclusion of grammar is affirmed, and said to them," &c.
The language in which this last conclusion is expressed, being involved, the sentiment intended to be conveyed, is somewhat obscure. He means to say, that to expect the authority of scripture for all moral truths (which species of truths is discoverable by reason,) were
They ask at the same time.
equally absurd, as to expect a revelation to establish the rules of grammar.
It is remarkable, that in the foregoing Conclusions of bishop Pecock, a cast of thought is perceivable similar to that which pervades the Ecclesiastical Polity of Hooker, as will be seen when we come to treat of that celebrated book.
The other work I proposed to speak of is his « Treatise of Faith,” which is a dialogue between a father and his son, divided into two books; of which the first professes to treat of the most probable means of gaining over the Lollards to the church; which he affirms to be an entire submission of their judgment to the decrees of the church, though supposed fallible; unless they could demonstrate such decrees to be founded in error. This book contains, perhaps, a still fuller developement of his religious opinions. In a long digression, he discusses the foundations of our faith; and allows that faith in this life, is only probable, or opinional, not sciential; which, he says, is to be obtained only in the bliss of heaven ; and
that the truth of the Christian religion is not to be proved by demonstrative, but only by probable arguments. The book abounds in , scholastic learning and logicalsubtleties, in both of which our author was a great proficient.
Reynold Pecock was evidently a man of strong parts, and of learning far superior to those of his time. He was not only skilled in all the subtleties of the logic and divinity of the schoolmen, but had studied with deep attention the law of nature and nations. He was at once acute and eloquent. But his talents were unhappily engaged in the hopeless attempt to defend the absurd doctrines and usages of the church of Rome, on the principles of reason. To his praise, however, be it said, that he always conducted his opposition with great moderation and candour. He patiently listened to the arguments of his antagonists,' without replying to them, as was the custom with the rest of his order, with insult and outrage. This gentleness and forbearance towards heretics, (even more than his heretical opinions,) were the cause of his persecution. The following short prayer, composed by 'himself in English, as it exhibits a picture of the benignity and candour of his mind, deserves to be transcribed:
O thou Lord Jesu, God and man, head of thy Christian church, and teacher of Christian belief, I beseech thy mercy, thy pity, and thy charity ; far be this said peril [of implicit faith] from the Christian church, and from each person therein contained; and shield thou, that this venom be never brought into thy church; and if thou suffer it to be any while brought in, I beseech thee, that it be soon again outspit ; but suffer thou, ordain, and do, that the law and the faith, which thy chosen at any time keepeth, be received and admitted to fall under this examination---whether it be the same very faith which those of thine apostles taught or no, and when ther it hath sufficient evidences for it to be very faith or no.
SIR JOHN FORTESCUE.
An eminent lawyer and statesman, was descended from an ancient family in Devonshire, but neither the time nor place of his birth is precisely known. He is supposed to have been educated at Oxford, and bishop Tanner affirms him to have been of Exeter College, though these circumstances are also uncertain. That he was a student of Lincoln's Inn, however, is a fact better authenticated : for it is well known that he distinguished himself there by his knowledge of the civil and common law.
In the fourth year of Henry VI. or in 1426, he was made one of the governors of Lincoln's Inn, which honour was conferred upon him, a second time, three years after. In 1430, he was made a serjeant at law; in 1441, a king's serjeant at law; and the year after, chief justice of the king's bench. This office he held through the reign of Henry VI. to whom he steadily adhered in all his misfortunes. In