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The works of Fuller are numerous; of which
the first was:
1. "The History of the Holy War." Cambridge, folio, 1640.
2. "The Holy State." Cambridge, folio,1642. 3." Pisgah-Sight of Palestine, and the Confines thereof, with the History of the Old and New Testament acted thereon," 1650, folio, embellished with a frontispiece, and many other copper-plates. It is divided into five books.
4. "Abel Redivivus," 4to. 1651. This consists of some particular lives of religious reformers, martyrs, confessors, bishops, doctors, and other learned divines, foreign and domestic.
5. "The Church History of Britain, from the Birth of Jesus Christ to the Year 1648;" to which work are subjoined, "The History of the University of Cambridge since the Conquest; and the History of Waltham Abbey, Essex, founded by King Harold."
On the Prodigious Number of Monasteries, Ann. 977.
Another humour of the former age (to make one digression for all) still continued and increased, vent
ing itself in the fair foundations and stately struc tures of so many monasteries. So that one beholding their greatness (being co-rivals with some towns in receipt and extent) would admire that they could: be so neat; and considering their neatness, must wonder they could be so great; and lastly, accounting their number will make all three the object of his amazement. Especially, seeing many of these were founded in the Saxon heptarchy, when seven kings put together did spell but one in effect. So that it may seem a miracle, what invisible Indies those petty princes were masters of, building such structures which impoverish posterity to repair them. For although some of these monasteries were the fruit of many ages, long in ripening, at several times, by sundry persons, all whose parcels and additions met at last in some tolerable uniformity; yet most of them were begun and finished, absolute and entire,. by one founder alone. And although we allow that in those days artificers were procured and materials purchased at easy rates; yet there being then scarce ness, of corn (as a little money would then buy much ware, so much ware must first in exchange be given to provide that little money) all things being audited proportionably, the wonder still remains as great as before. But here we see with what eagerness those designs are undertaken and pursued, which proceed from blind zeal; every finger being more than a
hand to build, when they thought merit was annexed to their performances. Oh! with what might and main did they mount their walls, both day and night; erroneously conceiving, that their souls were advantaged to heaven, when taking the rise from the top of a steeple of their own erection.
Abbeys engrossed Trade, impoverished Parish Priests, encouraged Offenders.
The specious pretences of piety, and contempt of the world, abbots and monks, were notoriously covetous, even to the injury of others. Witness their renting and stocking of farms, keeping of tan-houses and brew-houses in their own hands. For though the monks themselves were too fine-nosed to dabble in tan-fatts, yet they kept others (bred in that trade) to follow their work. These convents having bark of their own woods, hides of the cattle of their own breeding and killing; and (which was the main) a large stock of money to buy at the best hand, and to allow such chapmen as they sold to a long day of payment, easily eat out such who were bred up in that vocation. Whereupon, in the one-and-twentieth of king Henry VIII. a statute was made, "that no priest, either regular or secular, should, on heavy pe
nalties, hereafter meddle with such mechanic employments."
2. Secondly, They impoverished parish priests by decrying their performances, and magnifying their own merits. Alas! What was the single devotion of a silly priest, in comparison of a corporation of prayers (twisted cables to draw down blessings on their patrons' heads) from a whole monastery? And suppose (which was seldom done) the parson in the parish preaching to his people, yet sermons in a church once constituted were needless, as ministring matter of schisms and disputes, and at the best only profiting the present; whilst prayers benefitted as well the absent as the present, dead or living. But especially prayers of monasteries commanded heaven, pleased with the holy violence of so many and mighty petitioners. By these and other artifices, they undermined all priests in the affections of their own people, and procured from pope and prince, that many churches presentative, with their glebes and tithes, were appropriated to their convents, leaving but a poor pittance to the parish vicar; though the pope (as stiling himself but a vicar) ought to have been more sensible of their sad condition.
3. Besides appropriation of such churches, abbeys also wronged parish priests by procuring from the pope Paschal the Second, Anno Domini 1100, in the council of Mentz, that their demesnes, farms, and
granges (anciently paying tithes like the lands of other laymen) should hereafter be free from the same; but this exemption was afterwards, by pope Adrian the Fourth, about the year 1150, justly limitted and restrained; religious orders being enjoined the payment of tithes, of whatsoever increase they had in their own occupation (save of new improvements by culture of pasture of their cattle, and of garden fruits). Only three orders, namely, the Cestertians, Templers, and Knights Hospitallers, (otherwise called St. John's of Jerusalem) were exempted from the general payment of all tithes whatsoever.
4. And why Cestertians rather than any other order? Give me leave to conjecture three reasons thereof. 1. Adrian the Fourth, our none countryman, was at first a Benedictine monk of St. Albans, and these Cestertians were only Benedictines refined. 2. They were the Benjamins, one of the youngest remarkable orders of that age, and therefore made darlings (not to say wantons) by the holy father the pope. 3. It is suspicious, that by bribery in the court of Rome they might obtain this privilege so beneficial unto them. For I find that king Richard I. disposed his daughter Avarice to be married to the Cestertian order, as the most grasping and griping of all others.
I leave it others to render reasons why Templers and Hospitallers, being mere laymen, and divers times