213. SUPPRESSION OF BOOKS; TYNDALE'S CONDEMNED.
Then the catholic fathers, when they had brought this Christian woman, with the residue, as above hath been declared, unto their rest, they, being now in their ruff and triumph, like as the Pharisees, when they had brought Christ to his grave, devised with themselves how to keep him down still, and to overtread truth for ever. Whereupon, consulting with certain of the council, they made out a strait and hard proclamation, authorized by the king's name, for the abolishing of the Scripture, and all such English books as might give any light to the setting forth of God's true word, and the grace of the gospel: the copy and tenor of which proclamation is this, as followeth:
"The king's most excellent Majesty -- understanding how, under pretence of expounding and declaring the truth of God's Scripture, divers lewd and evil-disposed persons have taken upon them to utter and sow abroad, by books imprinted in the English tongue, sundry pernicious and detestable errors and heresies, not only contrary to the laws of this realm, but also repugnant to the true sense of God's law and his word, by reason whereof certain men of late, to the destruction of their own bodies and souls, and to the evil example of others, have attempted arrogantly and maliciously to impugn the truth, and therewith trouble the sober, quiet, and godly religion, united and established under the king's Majesty in this his realm; his Highness, minding to foresee the dangers that might ensue of the said books, is enforced to use his general prohibition, commandment, and proclamation, as followeth:
"First, That from henceforth no man, woman, or person, of what estate, condition, or degree soever be or they be, shall, after the last day of August next ensuing, receive, have, take, or keep in his or their possession, the text of the New Testament, of Tyndale's or Coverdale's translation in English, nor any other than is permitted by the act of parliament made in the session of the parliament holden at Westminster in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth year of his Majesty's most noble reign; nor, after the said day, shall receive, have, take, or keep in his or their possession, any manner of books printed or written in the English tongue, which be, or shall be, set forth in the names of Frith, Tyndale, Wickliff, Joye, Roy, Basil, Bale, Barnes, Coverdale, Turner, Tracy, or by any of them; or any other book or books containing matter contrary to the said act made in the year thirty-four, or thirty-five; but shall, before the last day of August next coming, deliver the same English book or books, to his master in that household, if he be a servant, or dwell under any other; and the master or ruler of the house, and such others as dwell at large, shall deliver all such books of these sorts aforesaid as they have, or shall come to their hands, delivered as afore or otherwise, to the mayor, bailiff, or chief constable of the town where they dwell, to be by them delivered over openly within forty days next following after the said delivery, to the sheriff of the shire, or to the bishop's chancellor, or commissary of the same diocese; to the intent the said bishop, chancellor, commissary, and sheriff, and every of them, may cause them incontinently to be openly burned: which thing the king's Majesty's pleasure is, that every of them shall see executed in most effectual sort, and of their doings thereof make certificate to the king's Majesty's most honourable council, before the first day of October next coming.
"And, to the intent that no man shall mistrust any danger of such penal statutes as be passed in this behalf, for the keeping of the said books, the king's Majesty is most graciously contented, by this proclamation, to pardon that offence to the said time appointed by this proclamation for the delivery of the said books; and commandeth that no bishop, chancellor, commissary, mayor, bailiff, sheriff, or constable, shall be curious to mark who bringeth forth such books, but only order and burn them openly, as is in this proclamation ordered. And if any man, after the last day of August next coming, shall have any of the said books in his keeping, or be proved and convicted, by sufficient witness, before four of the king's most honourable council, to have hidden them, or used them, or any copy of any of them, or any part of them, whereby it should appear that he willingly hath offended the true meaning of this proclamation, the same shall not only suffer imprisonment and punishment of his body at the king's Majesty's will and pleasure, but also shall make such fine and ransom to his Highness for the same, as by his Majesty, or four of his Grace's said council, shall be determined, &c.
"Finally, His Majesty straitly chargeth and commandeth, that no person or persons, of what estate, degree, or condition soever he or they be, from the day of this proclamation, presume to bring any manner of English book, concerning any manner of Christian religion, printed in the parts beyond the seas, into this realm, to sell, give, or distribute any English book, printed in outward parts, or the copy of any such book, or any part thereof, to any person dwelling within this his Grace's realm, or any other his Majesty's dominions, unless the same shall be specially licensed so to do by his Highness's express grant, to be obtained in writing for the same, upon the pains before limited; and therewithal to incur his Majesty's extreme indignation."
Forasmuch as it is, and always hath been, the common guise and practice of the pope's church, to extinguish, condemn, and abolish all good books and wholesome treatises of learned men, under a false pretence of errors and heresies, whereof examples abundantly appear in this history above: now, for the better trial hereof, to see and try the impudent and shameless vanity of these catholic clergymen, in mistaking, falsifying, depraving, blaspheming, and slandering, where they have no cause, against all right and honest dealing, yea, against their own knowledge, conscience, and manifest verity of God's word; I shall therefore desire the attentive reader, before we pass any further, to consider and expend here two things by the way: First, what opinions and articles these men gather out of their books for errors and heresies. Secondly, how wittingly and willingly they wrest, pervert, and misconstrue their sayings and writings in such sense as the writers never spake nor meant; and all, to bring them into hatred of the world, after they have burned their books.
So did they before with John Wickliff, John Huss, and Jerome: so did they with Martin Luther, Tyndale, Frith, Lambert, Barnes, Joye, Roy, Seton; and, briefly, yet do still with all the protestants, either perverting their sayings otherwise than they meant, or noting for heresies such as are manifest principles and grounds of our religion: or else falsely belying them, or untruly mistaking them, either in mangling the places, or adding to their words, as may serve for their most advantage, to bring them out of credit with princes and all the people.
For the more evident probation and experience whereof, thou shalt see here, Christian reader, as in a table laid before thine eyes, the book or catalogue of such errors, blasphemies, and heresies, which the catholic papists in their own registers have extracted out of their books, whom in this, and other proclamations, they have condemned. Whereunto, moreover, we have annexed the very places also of the authors, out of which every article is gathered, keeping the same signature of verse and page, which they in their registers do send us unto. So that with little diligence thou mayest now, loving reader, easily perceive, conferring the articles and places together, what truth and fidelity these bloody catholics have used toward the children of God: first, in burning up their bodies; then, in consuming and abolishing their books; and afterwards, in drawing out articles, such as they list themselves, out of their works, to make the people believe what damnable heretics they were, as by these articles hereunder ensuing, collected and contained in their own registers, may well appear. In all which articles, there is not one (speaking of these writers which here they have condemned) but either it is a perfect truth, and a principle of Christian doctrine, or else it is falsely gathered, or perversely recited, or craftily handled, and maliciously mangled; having either something cut from it, or some more added, or else racked out of his right place, or wrested to a wrong meaning, which the place giveth not, or else which some other place following doth better expound and declare. This false and malicious dealing hath always been a common practice amongst God's enemies from the beginning, to falsify, wrest, and deprave all things, whatsoever maketh not to their faction and affection, be it ever so true and just. So began they with Stephen, the first martyr of Jesus Christ, and so have they continued still, and yet do to this present day.
Long it were to recite, but more grievous to behold, what spite and falsehood were used in the articles of the Albigenses, Waldenses, Wickliff, Swinderby, Brute, Thorpe, Armachanus, Sir John Oldcastle, John Huss, the Bohemians, and such others: which thing, if the books and places whence these articles were gathered against them had been suffered to remain, we might more plainly understand. In the mean season, as touching these articles here present, forasmuch as the bishops' own registers have offered them unto us, and do yet remain with the selfsame books from whence they be excerpted, I shall therefore desire thee, friendly reader, first to consider the articles, and lay them with the places which the registers themselves do assign, and then judge thyself, what is to be thought thereof. The articles, gathered out of the aforesaid books, with the bishops' decree prefixed before the same, are as hereunder follow:
A public instrument by the bishops, for the abolishing of the Scripture, and other books, to be read in English.
"In the name of God, Amen. Be it known to all and singular true and faithful people, to whom these present letters testimonial, or this present public and authentic instrument, shall come to be seen, read, heard, or understood, and whom this underwritten shall or may teach, or appertain unto in any manner of wise in time to come; William, by the sufferance of Almighty God, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all the realm of England, sendeth greeting in our Lord God everlasting. We signify unto you all, and let you well to wit and know by these presents, that the king, our sovereign lord, hearing of many books in the English tongue, containing many detestable errors, and damnable opinions, printed in the parts beyond the seas, to be brought into divers towns, and sundry parts of this his realm of England, and sown abroad in the same, to the great decay of our faith catholic, and perilous corruption of his people, unless speedy remedy were briefly provided; his Highness, willing evermore to employ all his study and mind, in thehigh degree which Almighty God hath called him unto, to the wealth of his subjects, that they might live not only in tranquillity and peace, but also be kept pure and clean of all contagion, and wrong opinions in Christ's religion: considering also, that he, being defender of the faith, would be full loth to suffer such evil seed sown amongst his people, and so take root that it might overgrow the corn of the catholic doctrine before sprung in the souls of his subjects: for the repelling of such books, calling unto him of his great goodness and gracious disposition, not only certain of the chief prelates and clerks of his realm, but also of each university a certain number of the chief learned men, proposed such of those books as his Grace had ready to be read unto them, requiring to hear in that behalf their advice and judgment of them: who, both by great diligence and mature deliberation, perusing over the said books, found in them many errors and heresies, both detestable and damnable, being of such sort, that they were like briefly to corrupt a great part of his people (if they might be suffered to remain in their hands any space); gathering also out of them many great errors and pestilent heresies, and noting them in writing, to the intent to show for what cause they reputed the said books damnable; of which hereafter, out of each book gathered, many do ensue: albeit many more there be in the said books, which books totally do swarm full of heresies and detestable opinions."
Heresies and errors collected by the bishops out of the book of Tyndale, named The Wicked Mammon, with the places of the book annexed to the same, out of which every article is collected.
First article. "Faith only justifieth." Fol. 62. This article being a principle of the Scripture, and the ground of our salvation, is plain enough by St. Paul and the whole body of the Scripture; neither can any make this a heresy, but they must make St. Paul a heretic, and show themselves enemies unto the promises of grace, and to the cross of Christ.
II. "The law maketh us to hear God, because we be born under the power of the devil." Fol. 62.
III. "It is impossible for us to consent to the will of God." Fol. 62.
The place of Tyndale from whence these articles be wrested, is in The Wicked Mammon, as followeth: which place I beseech thee indifferently to read, and then to judge.
"In the faith which we have in Christ, and in God's promises, find we mercy, life, favour, and peace. In the law we find death, damnation, and wrath: moreover, the curse and vengeance of God upon us. And it, that is to say the law, is called of Paul, the ministration of death and damnation. (2 Cor. iii.) In the law we are proved to be enemies of God, and that we hate him: for how can we be at peace with God, and love him, seeing we are conceived and born under the power of the devil, and are his possession and kingdom, his captives and bondmen, and led at his will, and he holdeth our hearts, so that it is impossible for us to consent to the will of God: much more is it impossible for a man to fulfil the law by his own strength and power, seeing that we are by birth and nature the heirs of eternal damnation," &c.
IV. "The law requireth impossible things of us." Fol. 62.
Read the place:
"The law, when it commandeth that thou shalt not lust, giveth thee not power so to do, but damneth thee because thou canst not so do. If thou wilt therefore be at peace with God, and love him, then must thou turn to the promises, and to the gospel, which is called of Paul the ministration of righteousness, and of the Spirit."
V. "The Spirit of God turneth us and our nature, that we do good, as naturally as a tree doth bring forth fruit." Fol. 65.
The place is this:
"The Spirit of God accompanieth faith, and bringeth with her light, wherewith a man beholdeth himself in the law of God, and seeth his miserable bondage and captivity, and humbleth himself, and abhorreth himself. She bringeth God's promises of all good things in Christ. God worketh with his word, and in his word, and as his word is preached, faith rooteth herself in the hearts of the elect. And as faith entereth, and the word of God is believed, the power of God looseth the heart from the captivity and bondage under sin, and knitteth and coupleth him to God, and to the will of God; altereth him and changeth him clean; fashioneth and forgeth him anew; giveth him power to love and to do that which before was impossible for him either to love or do, and turneth him into a new nature; so that he loveth that which before he hated, and hateth that which he before loved, and is clean altered and changed and contrarily disposed, and is knit and coupled fast to God's will, and naturally bringeth forth good works, that is to say, that which God commandeth to do, and not things of his own imagination: and that doth he of his own accord, as a tree bringeth forth fruit of her own accord," &c.
VI. "Works do only declare to thee that thou art justified." Fol. 67.
If Tyndale say that works do only declare our justification, he doth not thereby destroy good works; but only showeth the right use and office of good works to be nothing to merit our justification, but rather to testify a lively faith, which only justifieth us. The article is plain by the Scripture and St. Paul.
VII. "Christ with all his works did not deserve heaven." Fol. 69.
Read the place:
"All good works must be done freely, with a single eye, without respect of any thing, so that no profit be sought thereby. That commandeth Christ, where he saith, Freely have ye received, freely give again. For look, as Christ with all his works did not deserve heaven, (for that was his already,) but did us service therewith; and neither looked [for], nor sought his own profit, but ours, and the honour of God his Father only: even so we, with all our works, may not seek our own profit, neither in this world nor in heaven; but must and ought freely to work to honour God withal, and without all manner [of] respect seek our neighbour's profit, and do him service," &c.
VIII. "Labouring by good works to come to heaven, thou shamest Christ's blood." Fol. 70. Read the place:
"If thou wouldest obtain heaven with the merits and deservings of thine own works, so doest thou wrong, yea, and shamest the blood of Christ, and unto thee Christ is dead in vain. Now is the true believer heir of God by Christ's deservings, yea, and in Christ was predestinate and ordained unto eternal life before the world began. And when the gospel is preached unto us, we believe the mercy of God; and, in believing, we receive the Spirit of God, which is the earnest of eternal life; and we are in eternal life already, and feel already in our hearts the sweetness thereof, and are overcome with the kindness of God and Christ, and, therefore, love the will of God, and of love are ready to work freely; and not to obtain that which is given us freely, and whereof we are heirs already."
IX. "Saints in heaven cannot help us thither." Fol. 70.
Whether saints can help us unto heaven, see the Scripture; and mark well the office of the Son of God, our only Saviour and Redeemer, and thou shalt not need to seek any further.
X. "To build a church in the honour of our Lady, or any other saint, is in vain; they cannot help thee, they be not thy friends." Fol. 71. Read the place of Tyndale:
"What, buildest thou churches, foundest abbeys, chantries, and colleges, in the honour of saints, to my Mother, to St. Peter, Paul, and saints that be dead, to make of them thy friends? They need it not, yea, they are not thy friends, [but theirs which lived then when they did, of whom they were holpen.] Thy friends are thy poor [which are now in thy time and live with thee, thy poor] neighbours, which need thy help and succour. Them make thy friends with the unrighteous mammon, that they may testify of thy faith, and that thou mayest know and feel that thy faith is right, and not feigned."
XI. "All flesh is in bondage of sin, and cannot but sin." Fol. 74.
This article is evident enough of itself, confirmed by the Scripture, and needeth no allegations.
XII. "Thou canst not be damned without Christ be damned, nor Christ be saved without thou be saved." Fol. 75, 76.
Read the place:
"A physician serveth but for sick men, and that for such men as feel their sickness, and mourn therefor, and long for health. Christ, likewise, serveth but for such sinners only as feel their sin, and that for such sinners that sorrow and mourn in their hearts for health. Health is the power or strength to fulfil the law, or to keep the commandments: Now, he that longeth for that health, that is to say, for to do the law of God, is blessed in Christ, and hath a promise that his lust shall be fulfilled, and that he shall be made whole: Blessed are they which hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake, (that is, to fulfil the law,) for their lust shall be fulfilled. Matt. v.
"This longing, and the consent of the heart unto the law of God, is the working of the Spirit, which God hath poured into thine heart, in earnest, that thou mightest be sure that God will fulfil all his promises that he hath made thee. It is also the seal and mark which God putteth on all men that he chooseth unto everlasting life. So long as thou seest thy sin, and mournest, and consentest to the law, and longest, (though thou be never so weak,) yet the Spirit shall keep thee in all temptations from desperation, and certify thine heart, that God, for his truth, shall deliver thee, and save thee; yea, and by thy good deeds shalt thou be saved -- not which thou hast done, but which Christ hath done for thee. For Christ is thine, and all his deeds are thy deeds. Christ is in thee, and thou in him, knit together inseparably; neither canst then be damned; except Christ be damned with thee; neither can Christ be saved, except thou be saved with him."
The like comfortable words he hath afterwards, fol. 82, which are these:
"He that desireth mercy, the same feeleth his own misery and sin, and mourneth in his heart to be delivered, that he might honour God, and God for his truth must hear him, which saith by the mouth of Christ, Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. God, for his truth's sake, must put the righteousness of Christ in him, and wash his unrighteousness away in the blood of Christ. And be the sinner never so weak, so feeble and frail, though he have sinned never so oft and so grievous; yet so long as this lust, desire, and mourning to be delivered, remaineth in him, God seeth not his sins, reckoneth them not, for his truth's sake, and love to Christ. He is not a sinner in the sight of God, that would be no sinner: he that would be delivered, hath his heart loose already: his heart sinneth not, but mourneth, repenteth, and consenteth unto the law and will of God, and justifieth God, that is, beareth record that God which made the law, is righteous and just. And such a heart, trusting in Christ's blood, is accepted for full righteousness, and his weakness, infirmity, and frailty is pardoned, and his sins are not looked upon, until God put more strength in him, and fulfil his desire.
XIII. "The commandments be given us, not to do them, but to know our damnation, and to call for mercy of God." Fol. 76.
Read the place:
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. First remember, that when God commandeth us to do any thing, he doth it not therefore, because that we, of ourselves, are able to do that he commandeth, but that by the law we might see and know our horrible damnation and captivity under sin, and so repent and come unto Christ, and receive mercy," &c.
XIV. "Fasting is only to avoid surfeit, and to tame the body; all other purposes be nought." Fol. 81.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"Fasting is to abstain from surfeiting or overmuch eating, from drunkenness and cares of the world, as thou mayest read in Luke xxi. And the end of fasting, is to tame the body, that the spirit may have a free course unto God, and may quietly talk with God. For overmuch eating and drinking, and care of worldly business, press down the spirit, choke her, and tangle her, that she cannot lift up herself to God. Now he that fasteth for any other intent than to subdue the body, that the spirit may wait on God, and freely exercise herself in the things of God, the same is blind, and wotteth not what he doth; erreth, and shooteth at a wrong mark; and his intent and imagination is abominable in the sight of God."
XV. "To bid the poor man pray for me, is only to remember him to do his duty; not that I have any trust in his prayer." Fol. 82.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"When we desire one another to pray for us, that do we to put our neighbour in remembrance of his duty, and not that we trust in his holiness: our trust is in God, in Christ, and in the truth of God's promises. We have also a promise, that when two or three or more agree together in one thing, according to the will of God, God heareth us. Notwithstanding, as God heareth many, so heareth be few, and so heareth he one, if he pray after the will of God, and desire the honour of God."
XVI. "Though thou give me a thousand pounds to pray for thee, I am no more bound now than I was before." Fol. 83.
The words be these:
"If thou give me a thousand pounds to pray for thee, I am no more bound than I was before. Man's imagination can make the commandment of God neither greater nor smaller; neither can to the law of God either add or diminish. God's commandment is as great as himself?'
XVII. "A good deed done, and not of fervent charity, as Christ's was, is sin." Fol. 83.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"Though thou show mercy unto thy neighbour, yet if thou do it not with such burning love as Christ did unto thee, so must thou acknowledge thy sin, and desire mercy in Christ."
XVIII. "Every man is lord of another man's goods." Fol. 83.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"Christ is Lord over all, and every Christian is heir annexed with Christ, and therefore lord of all, and every one lord of whatsoever another hath. If thy brother or neighbour therefore need, and thou have to help him, and yet showest not mercy, but withdrawest thy hands from him, then robbed thou him of his own, and art a thief?'
Read more hereof in the twentieth article following.
XIX. "I am bound to love the Turk with the very bottom of my heart." Fol. 84.
The place of this article is this:
"I am bound to love the Turk with all my might and power, yea, and above my power, even from the ground of my heart, after the ensample that Christ loved me; neither to spare goods, body, nor life, to win him to Christ. And what can I do more for thee, if thou gavest me all the world? Where I see need, there can I not but pray, if God's Spirit be in me."
XX. "The worst Turk living hath as much right to my goods at his needs, as my household, or mine own self." Fol. 84.
Read and mark well the place in The Wicked Mammon:
"In Christ, we are all of one degree without respect of persons. Notwithstanding, though a Christian man's heart be open to all men, and receiveth all men, yet, because that his ability of goods extendeth not so far, this provision is made, that every man shall care for his own household; as father and mother, and thine elders that have holpen thee; wife, children, and servants. If thou shouldest not care and provide for thine household, then were thou an infidel, seeing thou hast taken on thee so to do; and forasmuch as that is thy part, committed unto thee of the congregation. When thou hast done thy duty to thine household, and yet hast further abundance of the blessing of God, that owest thou to the poor that cannot labour, or would labour and can get no work, and are destitute of friends: to the poor, I mean, which thou knowest; to them of thine own parish. If thy neighbours which thou knowest be served, and thou yet have superfluity, and hearest necessity to be among the brethren a thousand miles off, to them art then debtor: yea, to the very infidels we be debtors, if they need, so far forth as we maintain them not against Christ, or to blaspheme Christ. Thus is every man that needeth thy help, thy father, mother, sister, and brother in Christ; even as every man that doth the will of the Father, is father, mother, sister, and brother unto Christ.
"Moreover, if any be an infidel and a false Christian, and forsake his household, his wife, children, and such as cannot help themselves, then art thou bound to them, and thou have wherewith, even as much as to thine own household; and they have as good right in thy goods, as thou thyself," &c.
"If the whole world were thine, yet hath every brother his right in thy goods, and is heir with thee, as we are all heirs with Christ."
XXI. "Alms deserve no meed." Fol. 84. The place is this:
"He that seeketh with his alms more than to be merciful, to be a neighbour, to succour his brother's need, to do his duty to his brother, to give his brother that be oweth him, the same is blind, and seeth not what it is to a Christian man, and to have fellowship in Christ's blood."
XXII. "There is no work better than another to please God, to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a souter, or an apostle, all is one; to wash dishes and to preach is all one, as touching the deed to please God." Fol. 85.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"As pertaining to good works, understand that all works are good which are done within the law of God, in faith and with thanksgiving to God; and understand that thou, in doing them, pleasest God, whatsoever thou doest within the law of God; as when thou pourest water, &c.
"Moreover, put no difference between works, but whatsoever cometh into thy hands, that do, as time, place, and occasion giveth, and as God hath put thee in degree, high or low: for as touching to please God, there is no work better than another. God looketh not first on thy works, as the world doth, as though the beautifulness of the works pleased him, as it doth the world, or as though he had need of them. But God looketh first on the heart; what faith thou had to his words; how thou believest him, and how thou lovest him for his mercy that he hath showed thee. He looketh with what heart thou worked, and not what thou worked; how thou acceptest the degree that he hath put thee in, and not of what degree thou art, whether thou be an apostle or a shoemaker.
"Set this ensample before thine eyes: Thou art a kitchen-page, and washest thy master's dishes. Another is an apostle, and preacheth the word of God. Of this apostle hark what St. Paul saith, If I preach, (saith he,) I have nought to rejoice in, for necessity is put unto me. As who should say, God hath made me so: woe is unto me if I preach not. If I do it willingly, (saith he,) then have I my reward; that is, then am I sure that God's Spirit is in me, and that I am elect to eternal life. If I do it against my will, an office is committed unto me; that is, if I do it not of love to God, but to get a living thereby, and for a worldly purpose, and had rather otherwise live; then do I that office which God hath put me in, and yet please not God myself, &c.
"Moreover, howsoever he preacheth, he hath not to rejoice in that he preacheth. But and if he preach willingly, with a true heart, and of conscience to God, then hath he his reward; that is, then feeleth he the earnest of eternal life, and the working of the Spirit of God in him. And as he feeleth God's goodness and mercy, so be thou sure he feeleth his own infirmity, weakness, and unworthiness, and mourneth and acknowledgeth his sin, in that the heart will not arise to work with that full lust and love that is in Christ our Lord: and, nevertheless, is he yet at peace with God, through faith and trust in Christ Jesu. For the earnest of the Spirit that worketh in him, testifieth and beareth witness unto his heart, that God hath chosen him, and that his grace shall suffice him, which grace is now not idle in him. In his works putteth he no trust.
"Now thou that ministerest in the kitchen, and art but a kitchen-page, receivest all things of the hand of God, knowest that God hath put thee in that office, submittest thyself to his will, and servest thy master, not as a man, but as Christ himself, with a pure heart, according as Paul teacheth us; puttest thy trust in God, and with him seekest thy reward. Moreover, there is not a good deed done, but thy heart rejoiceth therein; yea, when thou hearest that the word of God is preached by this apostle, and seest the people turn to God, thou consented unto the deed; thy heart breaketh out in joy, springeth and leapeth in thy breast, that God is honoured; and thou, in thine heart, doest the same that the apostle doth, and haply with greater delectation and a more fervent spirit. Now, he that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet (Matt. x.); that is, he that consenteth to the deed of a prophet, and maintaineth it, the same hath the same Spirit, and earnest of everlasting life, which the prophet hath, and is elect as the prophet is.
"Now if thou compare deed to deed, there is great difference betwixt washing of dishes and preaching the word of God: but, as touching to please God, none at all. For neither that nor this pleaseth, but as far forth as God hath chosen a man; hath put his Spirit in him, and purified his heart, by faith and trust in Christ," &c.
XXIII. "Ceremonies of the church have brought the world from God." Fol. 86.
Read the place of Tyndale:
"Seek the word of God in all things, and without the word of God do nothing, though it appear ever so glorious. Whatsoever is done without the word of God, that count idolatry. The kingdom of heaven is within us. Wonder therefore at no monstrous shape, nor at any outward thing without the word. For the world was never drawn from God, but with an outward show, and glorious appearance and shining of hypocrisy, and of feigned and visored fasting, praying, watching, singing, offering, sacrificing, hallowing of superstitious ceremonies, and monstrous disguising."
XXIV. "Beware of good intents: they are damned of God." Fol. 87.
XXV. "See thou do nothing but that God biddeth thee." Fol. 87.
The words of Tyndale out of which these two articles be gathered are these:
"Beware of thy good intent, good mind, good affection or zeal, as they call it. Peter, of a good mind, and of a good affection or zeal, chid Christ, because he said that he must go to Jerusalem and there be slain. But Christ called him Satan for his labour, (a name that belongeth to the devil,) and said that he perceived not godly things, but worldly.
Of a good intent, and of a fervent affection to Christ, the sons of Zebedee would have had fire to come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans; but Christ rebuked them, saying, that they wist not of what spirit they were; that is, they understood not how that they were altogether worldly and fleshly minded. Peter smote Malchus of a good zeal, but Christ condemned his deed. The very Jews, of a good intent and of a good zeal, slew Christ, and persecuted the apostles, as Paul beareth them record. I bear them record (saith he) that they have a fervent mind to God-ward, but not according to knowledge. It is another thing, then, to do of a good mind, and to do of knowledge. Labour for knowledge, that thou mayest know God's will, and what he would have thee to do. "Our mind, intent, and affection or zeal, are blind, and all that we do of them is damned of God; and for that cause hath God made a testament between him and us, wherein is contained both what he would have us to do, and what he would have us to ask of him. See, therefore, that thou do nothing to please God withal but that he commandeth; neither ask any thing of him but that he hath promised thee."
XXVI. "Churches are for preaching only, and not as they be used now." Fol. 87.
This article containeth neither error nor heresy, but is plain enough of itself, to all them that have their minds exercised in the Scriptures of God.
XXVII. "To worship God otherwise than to believe that he is just and true in his promise, is to make God an idol." Fol. 87.
Read the words of Tyndale with this article.
"God is honoured on all sides, in that we count him righteous in all his laws and ordinances, and also true in all his promises. Other worship of God is none, except we make an idol of him."
XXVIII. "Pharaoh had no power to let the people depart at God's pleasure." Fol. 95.
XXIX. "Our prelates, in sin say they have power." Fol. 95.
Read the place in The Wicked Mammon, out of the which these two articles are gathered.
"Paul saith, if thou confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and believe with thine heart that God raised him from death, thou shalt be safe: that is, if thou believe he raised him up again for thy salvation. Many believe that God is rich and almighty, but not unto themselves: and that he will be good to them, and defend them, and be their God. Pharaoh, for pain of the plague, was compelled to confess his sins; but had yet no power to submit himself unto the will of God, and to let the children of Israel go, and to lose so great profit for God's pleasure: as our prelates confess their sins, saying, Though we be never so evil, yet have we the power. And again, The scribes and the Pharisees, say they, sat in Moses' seat: Do as they teach, but not as they do. Thus confess they that they are abominable."
Here follow other heresies and errors, collected by the bishops out of Tyndale's book named The Obedience of a Christian Man, with the places of the book annexed to the same.
First Article.--"Tyndale saith, 'We are bound to make satisfaction to our neighbour, but not to God."'Fol. 132.
"Satisfaction is a full recompence or amends-making to him whom we have offended, which recompence we are able to make one man to another, and are bound so to do; but to God no man can make any amends or recompence, but only God's own Son Christ Jesus our Saviour: for else, if man could have made satisfaction to God, then had Christ died in vain."
Lo! what heresy or error is in this article?
II. "He saith, that children ought not to marry without the consent of their parents." Fol. 120. The words of Tyndale in The Obedience, be these:
"Let the fathers and mothers mark how they themselves were disposed at all ages, and, by experience of their own infirmities, help their children, and keep them from occasions. Let them provide marriages for them in season, teaching them also to know, that she is not his wife which the son taketh, nor he her husband which the daughter taketh, without the consent and good will of their elders, or them that have authority over them. If their friends will not marry them, then are they not to blame, if they marry themselves. Let not the fathers and mothers always take the uttermost of their authority of their children, but, at all times, suffer with them, and bear their weakness, as Christ doth ours."
III. "He saith, that vows are against the ordinance of God." Fol. 109.
They that say that this article is a heresy, let them show where these vows in all the New Testament be ordained of God; especially such vows of single life, and wilful poverty, as by the canon law be obtruded on young priests and novices. St. Paul plainly forefendeth any widows to be admitted under the age of threescore years. Is not here, trow you, a perilous heresy?
IV. "He saith, that a Christian man may not resist a prince being an infidel and an ethnic. This taketh away free-will." Fol. 112.
St. Peter willeth us to be subject to our princes. St. Paul also doth the like; who was also himself subject to the power of Nero; and, although every commandment of Nero against God he did not follow, yet he never made resistance against the authority and state of Nero; as the pope useth to do against the state not only of infidels, but also of Christian princes.
V. "'Whatsoever is done before the Spirit of God cometh and giveth us light, is damnable sin.' This is against moral virtues." Fol. 113.
What heresy Aristotle in his Ethics can find by this article, I cannot tell. Sure I am, that the Word and Spirit of God, well considered, can find none, but rather will pronounce the contrary to be a damnable heresy.
VI. "He reproveth men that make holy saints their advocates to God, and there he saith, that saints were not rewarded in heaven for their holy works." Fol. 114.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"They turn from God's word, and put their trust and confidence in the saint and his merits, and make an advocate, or rather a god, of the saint." * * * "They ascribe heaven unto their imaginations and mad inventions, and receive it not of the liberality of God, by the merits and deserving of Christ."
VII. "God-moved the hearts of the Egyptians to hate the people; likewise he moved kings," &c. Fol. 118.
The words in The Obedience be these:
"In Psalm cvi., thou readest, He destroyed the rivers, and dried up the springs of water, and turned the fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of the inhabitants thereof. When the children of Israel had forgotten God in Egypt, God moved the hearts of the Egyptians to hate them, and to subdue them with craft and wiliness."
"In 2 Kings ii., God was angry with his people, and moved David to number them, when Joab and the other lords wondered why he would have them numbered; and because they feared lest some evil should follow, dissuaded the king: yet it holped not. God so hardened his heart in his purpose, to have an occasion to slay the wicked people."
VIII. "Paul was of higher authority than Peter." Fol. 125.
The words in "The Obedience" be these:
"I suppose; saith he, (meaning Paul,) that I was not behind the high apostles; meaning in preaching Jesus Christ and his gospel, and in ministering the Spirit. And, in the same chapter, he proveth by the doctrine of Christ, that he was greater than the high apostles: for Christ saith, To be great inthe kingdom of God, is to do service, and take pain for other." Upon which rule Paul disputeth, saying, If they be the ministers of Christ, I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prison more plenteous, in death oft, &c. If Paul preached Christ more than Peter, and suffered more for his congregation, then is he greater than Peter, by the testimony of Christ."
IX. "A priest ought to have a wife for two causes." Fol. 133.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"He must have a wife for two causes; one, that it may thereby be known who is meet for the room; he is unapt for so chargeable an office, which had never household to rule. Another cause is, that chastity is an exceeding seldom gift, and unchastity exceeding perilous for that degree, inasmuch as the people look as well onto the living as unto the preaching, and are hurt at once if the living disagree, and fall from the faith, and believe not the word."
X. "He condemneth auricular confession." Fol. 140.
Of this read above.
XI. "Every man is a priest, and we need no other priest to be a mean for us unto God." Fol. 144.
The words in The Obedience be these:
"There is a word called in Latin, sacerdos, in the Greek, ιερευς[iereus], in Hebrew, cohan; that is, a minister, an officer, a sacrificer, or priest, as Aaron was a priest, and sacrificed for the people, and was a mediator between God and them; and in the English it should have had some other name than priest: but antichrist hath deceived us with unknown and strange terms to bring us into confusion and superstitious blindness. Of that manner is Christ a priest for ever, and all we are priests through him, and need no more of any such priest to be a mean for us unto God," &c.
XII. "He destroyeth the sacraments of matrimony and orders." Fol. 144.
As truly as matrimony and orders be sacraments, so truly is this article a heresy.
XIII. "He saith that purgatory is the pope's invention, and, therefore, he may do there whatsoever he will." Fol. 150.
One of the pope's own writers saith thus: "Souls being in purgatory, are under the pope's jurisdiction, and the pope may, if he will, evacuate all purgatory." Furthermore the old fathers make little mention of purgatory; the Greek church never believed the purgatory; St. Augustine doubteth of purgatory; and the Scriptures plainly disprove purgatory. St. John saith, "The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God purgeth us from all sin;" and the pope saith," Sin cannot be purged but by the fire of purgatory." Now, whose invention can purgatory he, but only the pope's?
XIX. "Saints be saved not by their merits, but only by the merits of Christ." Fol. 151.
What can be more manifest and plain by the Scriptures, than this? Isaiah saith, "All we have erred, every man in his own ways, and God hath laid upon him all our iniquities," &c.
XV. "He saith, 'No man may be hired to pray.' "Fol. 155.
The words in The Obedience be true, which are these:
"To pray one for another, are we equally bound: and to pray, is a thing that we may always do, whatsoever we have in hand: and that to do, may no man hire another: Christ's blood hath hired us already; "&c.
XVI. "He saith, Why should I trust in Paul's prayer or holiness?' If St. Paul were alive, he would compare himself to St. Paul, and be as good as he." Fol. 159.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"Why, am not I also a false prophet, if I teach thee to trust in Paul, or in his holiness or prayer, or in any thing save in God's word, as Paul did? If Paul were here, and loved me as he loved them of his time, to whom he was a servant to preach Christ, what good could he do for me, or wish me, but preach Christ, and pray to God for me, to open my heart, to give me his Spirit, and to bring me to the full knowledge of Christ? Unto which port or haven when I am once come, I am as safe as Paul, joint-heir with Paul of all the promises of God;" &c
XVII. "He saith, that all that be baptized, become Christ himself." Fol. 163.
With this article confer the words of The Obedience, which be these:
"In Matt. xxv., saith Christ, Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of them my brethren, ye have done it to me: and inasmuch as ye have not done it unto one of the least of these, ye have not done it unto me. Here seest thou that we are Christ's brethren, and even Christ himself, and whatsoever we do one to another, that do we to Christ?" &c.
XVIII. "He saith, that the children of faith be under no law." Fol. 163.
The words of Tyndale be these:
"I serve thee not because thou art my master or my king, for hope of reward or fear of pain, but for the love of Christ. For the children of faith are under no law, as thou seest in the Epistles to the Romans, to the Galatians, and the First of Timothy, but are free. The Spirit of Christ hath written the lively law of love in their hearts, which driveth them to work of their own accord, freely and willingly, for the great love's sake only which they see in Christ; and, therefore, need they no law to compel them," &c.
XIX. "There is no deed so good, but that the law condemneth it." Fol. 167.
The place in The Obedience is this:
"Thou hast the story of Peter, how he smote Malchus' ear, and how Christ healed it again. There hast thou, in the plain text, great learning, great fruit, and great edifying, which I pass over. Then come I, when I preach of the law and the gospel, and borrow this example, to express the nature of the law and of the gospel, and to paint it unto thee before thine eyes; and of Peter and his sword make I the law, and of Christ the gospel, saying, As Peter's sword cutteth off the ear, so doth the law. The law damneth, the law killeth, and mangleth, the conscience. There is no ear so righteous, that can abide the hearing of the law. There is no deed so good, but that the law damneth it. But Christ (that is to say, the gospel, the promises and testament that God hath made in Christ) healeth the ear and conscience, which the law hath hurt"
XX. "To ask of God more than he hath promised, cometh of a false faith, and is plain idolatry." Fol. 171.
The words of Tyndale are these:
"Look wherein thou canst best keep the commandments; thither get thyself, and there abide," &c. "If we have infirmities that draw us from the laws of God, let us cure them with the remedies that God hath made. If thou burn, marry; for God hath promised thee no chastity, as long as thou mayest use the remedy that he hath ordained; no more than he hath promised to slack thine hunger without meat. Now, to ask of God more than he hath promised, cometh of a false faith, and is plain idolatry," &c.
XXI "Our pains-taking in keeping the commandments, doth nothing but purge the sin that remaineth in the flesh; but to look for any other reward or promotion in heaven, than God hath promised for Christ's sake, is abominable in the sight of God." Fol. 171.
Consider the place in The Obedience, which is this:
"To look for any other reward or promotion in heaven, or in the life to come, than that which God hath promised for Christ's sake, and which Christ hath deserved for us with his pain.taking, is abominable in the sight of God; for Christ only hath purchased the reward. And our pain-taking to keep the commandments, doth but purge the sin that remaineth in the flesh, and certify us that we are chosen and sealed with God's Spirit, unto the reward that Christ hath purchased for us."
XXII. "The pope hath no other authority but to preach only." Fol. 173.
Christ said to Peter, "Feed my sheep;" "and thou being converted, confirm thy brethren." And to his apostles he said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," &c. Again, St. Paul saith, that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach: to what other office or function he sent the pope, let them judge, which consider the Scriptures.
XXIII. "If thou bind thyself to chastity, to obtain that which Christ purchased for thee, so surely art thou an infidel." Fol. 175.
Read and confer the place of Tyndale, which is this:
"Chastity canst thou not give to God, further than God lendeth it thee. If thou canst not live chaste, thou art bound to marry, or to be damned. Last of all, for what purpose thou bendest thyself, must be seen. If thou do it to obtain thereby that which Christ hath purchased for thee, so art thou an infidel, and hast no part with Christ. If thou wilt see more of this matter, look in Deuteronomy, and there thou shalt find it more largely treated of."
XXIV. "He denieth, rebuketh, and damneth miracles." Fol. 176.
The words in Tyndale's Obedience be these:
"And when they cry Miracles, Miracles, remember that God hath made an everlasting testament with us in Christ's blood; against which we may receive no miracles, no, neither the preaching of Paul himself, if he came again, (by his own teaching to the Galatians,) neither yet by the preaching of the angels of heaven," &c.
"The end of God's miracles is good: the end of these miracles is evil. For the offerings, which are the cause of the miracles, do but minister and maintain vice, sin, and all abomination, and are given to them that have too much, so that for very abundance they foam out their own shame, and corrupt the whole world with the stench of their filthiness." Fol. 159.
XXV. "He saith, that no man should serve God with good intent or zeal; for it is plain idolatry." Fol. 177.
The place is this in The Obedience:
"Remember Saul was cast away of God for ever, for his good intent. God requireth obedience unto his word, and abhorreth all good intents and good seals which are without God's word; for they are nothing else but plain idolatry, and worshipping of false gods."
Here follow other heresies and errors, collected by the bishops, out of the book called The Revelation of Antichrist, with the places of the book, out of which they were gathered, annexed to the same.
I. "To bind a man perpetually to any vow of religion, is without doubt an error." Fol. 19. The place of the book called The Revelation, whence this article is gathered, is this that followeth; "Which the fathers did neither make nor keep: he meaneth vows, but, with the liberty of the spirit, binding no man perpetually to them. For, if they did, without doubt, they erred according to man's fragility."
II. "To say the constitutions of religion are good, because holy men did ordain them, as Augustine, Benedict, Francis, Dominic, and such others, and to follow such examples of fathers, is to leave the faith." Fol. 19.
The place of the article is this:
"But they object, The statutes and ordinances are good: holy men did make them, as Augustine, Benedict, Bernard, Francis, Dominic, and such others. To this I answer, that is even it that Christ and the apostles did mean, that these works should be like to those things which are taught in the gospel, for that they call counterfeiting of the doctrine, and privily bringing in of sects and heresies, because they take only of the fathers' examples of works, and leave the faith," &c.
III. "All moral divines have a wicked conscience, full of scrupulosity." Fol. 3.
Moral divines be they, whose doctrine and hope of salvation consisteth in moral virtues, rather than in Christian faith, apprehending the free promises of God in Christ. And they that be such, can never be certified in conscience of their salvation, but always be full of fear and scrupulosity. St. Paul, therefore, saith, It is therefore of faith, that it might come by grace, and the promise might be firm and sure to the whole seed.
IV. "Moral virtues, as justice, temperance, strength, chastity, described by natural reason, make a synagogue, and corrupt Christ's faith." Fol. 64.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"So many he (the pope he meaneth) corrupteth, as he hath subdued and led under his laws and empery. And who is be in the world that is not subject under him, except they be infants, or peradventure some simple persons, we reserved by the inscrutable counsel and provision of God? O thou man of sin! O thou son of perdition! O thou abomination! O thou corrupter! O thou author of evil consciences! O thou false master of good consciences! O thou enemy of faith and Christian liberty! Who is able to rehearse, yea, or to comprehend in his mind, the infinite waves of this monstrous king's evils?"
"If he had ordained these his laws in those works of virtues that are commended in the ten precepts, or else in such as the philosophers and natural reason did describe, as are justice, strength, temperance, chastity, mildness, truth, goodness, and such others, peradventure they should only have made a synagogue, or else have ordained in the world a certain civil justice; for, through these, faith also should have been corrupted, as it was among the Jews. Howbeit, now he keepeth not himself within these bounds, but runneth at riot, and more at large, raising infinite tempests of mischief, enticing and drawing us to ceremonies, and his own feigned traditions, and bindeth us like asses and ignorant fools, yea, and like stocks unto them," &c.
V. "Christ took away all laws, and maketh us free and at liberty; and most of all be suppresseth all ceremonies." Fol. 63, 65.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"Christ, taking away all laws to make us free and at liberty, did most of all suppress and disannul the ceremonies, which did consist in places, persons, garments, meats, days, and such other; so that their use should be to all men most free and indifferent," &c.
What he meaneth by taking away all laws, he declareth a little before, saying:
"He hath not delivered us from the law, but from the power and violence of the law, which is the very true loosing. But, for all that, he hath not taken away from the powers and officers, their right, sword, and authority to punish the evil: for such pertain not to his kingdom, until they are made spiritual; and then freely and with a glad heart they serve God."
VI. "If the pope would make all the observations of the ceremonies, as Lent, fasting, holy-days, confession, matrimony, mass, matins, and relics, &c., free and indifferent, he should not be antichrist; but now, because he commandeth them in the name of Christ, he utterly corrupteth the church, suppresseth the faith, and advanceth sin?" Fol. 67.
If the pope will infer a necessity of those things which Christ leaveth free and indifferent, then what doth he make himself but antichrist? The article is plain, and is founded upon the doctrine of Christ, and St. Paul.
VII. "To believe in Christ, maketh sure inheritors with Christ." Fol. 1.
VIII. "If a man say, 'Then shall we do no good works?' I answer as Christ did: 'This is the work of God to believe in him whom he hath sent'" Fol. 1.
The place of these two articles, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"Who is this light, that we are exhorted to believe in? Truly it is Christ, as St. John doth testify. He was the true light, that lighteneth all men who come into the world. To believe in this light, maketh us the children of light, and the sure inheritors with Jesus Christ. Even now have we cruel adversaries, who set up their bristles, saying, Why! shall we then do no good works? To these we answer, as Christ did to the people, in the sixth of St. John, which asked him what they should do, that they might work the works of God. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent, And after it followeth, Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. To this also consenteth St. John, in his Epistle, saying, These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may surely know, how that you have eternal life.-- What is the name of the Son of God? Truly his name is Jesus, that is to say, a Saviour; therefore thou must believe that he is a Saviour.
"But what availeth this? The devils do thus believe and tremble. They know, that he is the Son of God, and said unto him, crying, O Jesu, the Son of God! what have we to do with thee? They know, that he hath redeemed mankind by his passion, and they laboured to let it: for when Pilate was set down to give judgment, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in my sleep about him. No doubt she was vexed of the devil, to the intent that she should persuade her husband to give no sentence upon him, so that Satan might the longer have had jurisdiction over mankind. They know, that he hath suppressed sin and death; as it is written, Death is consumed into victory. Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be unto God which hath given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ: who by sin damned sin in the flesh. For God made him to be sin for us, that is to say, a sacrifice for our sin, (and so is sin taken in many places,) which knew no sin, that we, by his means, should be that righteousness, which before God is allowed. It is not, therefore, sufficient to believe that he is a Saviour and Redeemer; but that he is a Saviour and Redeemer unto thee," &c.
IX. "Numbering of sins maketh a man more a sinner, yea, a blasphemer of the name of God." Fol. 3.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"Knowledge thyself a sinner, that thou mayest be justified. Not that the numbering of thy sins can make thee righteous, but rather a greater sinner, yea, and a blasphemer of the holy name of God, as thou mayest see in Cain, which said that his sins were greater than that he might receive forgiveness; and so was a reprobate," &c.
X. "God bindeth us to that which is impossible for us to accomplish." Fol. 3.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"If thou ask of me, why he bindeth us to that which is impossible for us to accomplish, thou shalt have St. Augustine's answer, who saith, in the second book that he wrote to Jerome, that the law was given us, that we might know what to do, and what to eschew; to the intent that when we see ourselves not able to do that which we are bound to do, nor avoid the contrary, we may then know what we shall pray for, and of whom we shall ask this strength, so that we may say unto our Father, Good Father! command whatsoever it pleaseth thee, but give us thy grace to fulfil what thou commandest. And when we perceive that we cannot fulfil his will, yet let us confess that the law is good and holy, and that we are sinners and carnal, sold under sin. But let us not here stick; for now we are at hell-gates, and doubtless should fall into utter desperation, except God did bring us again, showing us his gospel and promise, saying, Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's pleasure to give you a kingdom," &c.
XI. "Sin cannot condemn us, for our satisfaction is made in Christ which died for us." Fol. 4.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"Sin hath no power over us, neither can condemn us, for our satisfaction is made in Christ, which died for us that were wicked and naturally the children of wrath. But God, which is rich in mercy, through the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through sin, hath quickened us with Christ, and with him hath raised us up, and, with him hath made us sit in heavenly places, through Jesus Christ; for to show, in times to come, the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God, and cometh not of works, lest any man should boast himself," &c.
XII. "I will show thee an evident argument and reason, that thou mayest know without doubt, who is antichrist. All they that do pursue, are antichrist. The pope, bishops, cardinals, and their adherents do pursue: therefore the pope, bishops, and cardinals, and their adherents, are antichrists. I ween our syllogismus be well made." Fol. 9. The place of this article gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"I will show thee an evident reason, that thou mayest know without doubting who is the very antichrist: and this argument may be grounded upon their furious persecution, which Paul doth confirm, writing to the Galatians. We, dear brethren, are the children of promise, as Isaac was; not the sons of the bondwoman, as Ishmael. But, as he that was born after the flesh did persecute him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Mark Paul's reason. By Isaac, are signified the elect; and by Ishmael, the reprobate. Isaac did not persecute Ishmael; but, contrary, Ishmael did persecute Isaac. Now let us make our reason:
"All they that do persecute as Ishmael, be reprobates and antichrists.
"But all the popes, cardinals, bishops, and their adherents, do persecute.
"Therefore all the popes, cardinals, bishops, and their adherents, be Ishmael; reprobates and antichrists.
"I ween our syllogismus is well made, and in the first figure."
Read the place, and see how he proveth the parts of this argument more at large.
XIII. "I think verily, that so long as the successors of the apostles were persecuted and martyred, there were good Christian men, and no longer." Fol. 10.
The bishops of Rome in the primitive church, were under persecution the space of well near three hundred years, under the which persecution, as good as thirty of them, and more, died martyrs. Since that time have succeeded two hundred and four popes, which have lived in great wealth and abundance, amongst whom if the book of The Revelation think that there be not four to be found good Christian men, I think no less but that he may so think without any heresy.
XIV. "It is impossible that the word of the cross should be without affliction and persecution." Fol. 10.
St. Paul saith, Whosoever will live virtuously in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. And how then can this be truth in Paul, and in this man heresy.
XV. "That the apostles did ever curse any man, truly we cannot read in Scripture: for Christ commanded them to bless those that cursed them." Fol. 11.
Upon what good ground of The Revelation this heresy is wrung out, let the place be conferred, which is written in these words following:
"They are as merciful as the wolf is on his prey. They were ordained to bless men; but they curse as the devil were in them. Paul saith, that he hath power to edify, and not to destroy. But I wot not of whom these bloody beasts have their authority, which do so much rejoice in cursing and destruction. We read how Paul did excommunicate the Corinthian, (and that for a great transgression,) to the intent that he might be ashamed of his iniquity, and desired again the Corinthians to receive him with all charity: but, that the apostles did curse any man, truly we cannot read in Scripture; for Christ commanded them to bless those that cursed them, and to pray for those that persecuted them," &c.
XVI. "By works, superstitions, and ceremonies, we decay from the faith, which alone doth truly justify and make holy." Fol. 15.
Note here, good reader, how perversely and corruptly this article is drawn. For whereas the place of this book, which is written in fol. 15, expressly speaketh of trusting to works, meaning that we should put no confidence in works, but only in faith in Christ Jesus, this article, to make it appear more infamous and heretical, leaveth out the false trust, and speaketh simply as though works should decay faith. Read the place, which is written in these words following:
"Daniel calleth not this word peschiam, any manner of sin, but those special and chief sins, which resist and fight against the troth and the faith: as are the trusting in works, superstitions, and ceremonies, by which we decay from the faith," &c.
XVII. "The abusion of the mass with all its solemnities, with vigils, year-minds, foundations, burials, and all the business that is done for the dead, is but a face and a cloak of godliness, and a deceiving of the people; as they were good works rather for the dead than for the quick." Fol. 24.
True godliness consisteth in faith, that is, in the true knowledge of the Son of God, whom he hath sent, and in the observation of God's commandments. All their rites and additions instituted by man, are no part of true godliness. And whoso putteth trust and confidence therein, as being things meritorious for the dead, is deceived. Such funerals St. Augustine calleth rather refreshings of the living, than relievings and helps of the dead.
XVIII. "To keep and observe one day to fast, another to abstain; to forbear such a meat upon the fasting day to deserve heaven thereby; is a wicked face and cloak, and against Paul." Fol. 29.
The truth of this article is manifest enough to be void of all error and heresy, unless it be heresy to believe and hold with the Scripture. St. Paul saith, If heaven, and our righteousness, come by the law, then Christ died in vain.
XIX. "The multiplication of holy-days, of feasts of Corpus Christi, of the Visitation of our Lady, &c., is a wicked face and colour; and indeed foolish, unprofitable, and vain." Fol. 30.
This article, likewise, needeth no declaration, containing in it a true and necessary complaint of such superfluous holy-days of the pope's making: which, as they bring with them much occasion of wickedness, idleness, drunkenness, and vanity, and so having also joined unto than opinion of religion, and meritorious devotion and God's service, they gender superstition, and nourish the people in the same.
XX. "Keeping of virginity and chastity of religion is a devilish thing." Fol. 30.
The place, cited in the book of The Revelation of Antichrist, doth sufficiently open itself, speaking and meaning only of those monkish vows, which, by the canonical constitution of the pope, are violently forced upon priests and monks, the coaction whereof St. Paul doth rightly call the doctrine of devils. And here note by the way another trick of a popish caviller: for, where the words of the book speak plainly of the chastity of the religious, he, fraudulently turning it to a universality, saith, "the chastity of the religion," whereby it might seem to the simple reader more odious and heretical. The words of the place be these:
"Keeping of virginity and chastity of the religious seemeth to be a godly and a heavenly thing; but it is a devilish thing: of the which it is spoken in I Tim. iv., Forbidding to many, &c. Whereas, again, our most reverend father maketh that thing necessary, that Christ would have free, whereof Daniel speaketh, He shall not be desirous of women. Here Daniel meaneth, that he shall refuse and abstain from marriage, for a cloak of godliness, and not for love of chastity."
XXI. "Worshipping of relics is a proper thing, and a cloak of advantage against the precept of God, and nothing but the affection of men." Fol. 30, 31.
These be the words in The Revelation:
"This (the worshipping of relics he meaneth) is a proper and most fruitful cloak of advantage. Out of this were invented innumerable pilgrimages, with which the foolish and unlearned people might lose their labour, money, and time; nothing, in the mean season, regarding their houses, wives, and children; contrary to the commandment of God; when they might do much better deeds to their neighbours, which is the precept," &c.
XXII. "There is but one special office that pertaineth to thine orders, and that is, to preach the word of God." Fol. 36.
Of this matter sufficient hath been said before in the twenty-second article alleged out of the book of The Obedience.
XXIII. "The temple of God is not stones and wood, neither in the time of Paul was there any house which was called The temple of God." Fol. 37.
The place of this article is this:
"Which is an adversary, (the pope he meaneth,) and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he shall sit in the temple of God, and show himself as God. Doth he not sit in the temple of God, which saith and professeth himself to be the master in the whole church? What is the temple of God? Is it stones and wood? Doth not Paul say,.The temple of God is holy, which temple are ye? Neither in the time of Paul was there any house, which was called the temple of God, as we now call them. What meaneth this sitting, but reigning, teaching, and judging? Who, since the beginning of the church, durst presume to call himself the master of the whole church, but only the pope?" &c.
XXIV. "He that fasteth no day, that saith no matins, and doth none of the precepts of the pope, sinneth not, if he think that he doth not sin." Fol. 43.
The place in The Revelation is this:
"Because he feareth the consciences under the title and pretence of Christ's name, he maketh of those things which in themselves are no sins, very grievous offences. For he that believeth that he doth sin if he eat flesh on the apostles' even, or say not matins and prime in the morning, or else leave undone any of the pope's precepts, no doubt he sinneth; not because the deed which he doth is sin, but because be believeth it is sin, and because against this foolish belief and conscience he offendeth; of which foolish conscience the pope only is head-author; for another, doing the same deed, thinking that he doth not sin, truly offendeth not. And this is the cause, that the spirit of Paul complaineth that many shall depart from the faith. And for this foolish conscience men's traditions be pernicious and noisome, the snares of souls, hurting the faith and the liberty of the gospel. If it were not for this cause, they should do no hurt. Therefore the devil, through the pope, abuseth these consciences to establish the laws of his tyranny, to suppress the faith and liberty, and to replenish the world with error, sin, and perdition," &c.
XXV. "Christ ordained the sacrament of the altar only to nourish the faith of them that live; but the pope maketh it a good work, and a sacrifice to be applied both to the quick and dead." Fol. 48.
The place is this:
"Satan hated the sacrament, and knew no way how to suppress and disannul it; therefore he found this craft: that the sacrament, which Christ did only ordain to nourish and establish the faith of them that live, should be counted for a good work and sacrifice, and bought and sold. And so faith is suppressed, and this wholesome ministry is applied, not to the quick, but unto the dead; that is to say, neither to the quick, nor yet to the dead. Oh this incredible fury of God!" &c.
XXVI. "These signs (he speaketh of miracles and visions, or apparitions) are not to the increase of faith and gospel, for they are rather against the faith and gospel, and they are the operation of Satan, and lying signs." Fol. 49.
The place is as followeth:
"Who is able to number the monstrous marvels only of them that are departed? Good Lord! what a sea of lies hath invaded us, of apparitions, conjurings, and answers of spirits? by which it is brought to pass, that the pope is also made the king of them that are dead, and reigneth in purgatory, to the great profit of his priests, who have all their living, riches, and pomp out of purgatory. Howbeit they should have less, if they did so well teach the faith of them that live, as they do [teach] riddles of them that are dead: neither was there, since the beginning of the world, any work found of so little labour and great advantage. For truly to this purpose were gathered almost the possessions of all princes and rich men; and, through these riches, sprang up all pleasures and idleness, and of idleness came very Babylon and Sodom, &c.
"Neither are these signs to the increase of the faith and gospel (for they are rather against the faith and gospel); but they are done to establish the tyranny of these faces and riddles, and to set up and confirm the trust in works. Among these illusions are those miracles to be reputed, which are showed in visions, pilgrimages, and worshippings of saints, as there are plenty now-a-days, which the pope confirmeth by his bulls, yea, and sometimes doth canonize saints that he knoweth not. Now behold what is the operation of Satan in lying signs," &c.
XXVII. "The people of Christ do nothing because it is commanded, but because it is pleasant and acceptable unto them." Fol. 63.
The words out of which this article is gathered, are these:
"They are the people of Christ, which willingly do hear and follow him, not for any fear of the law, but only enticed and led with a gracious liberty and faithful love; not doing any thing because it is commanded, but because it is pleasant and acceptable unto them, though it were not commanded: for they that would do otherwise, should be counted the people of the law and synagogue," &c.
XXVIII. "In the whole new law is no urgent precept, nor grievous; but only exhortations to observe things necessary for soul's health." Fol. 63.
The place of this article, gathered out of The Revelation, is this:
"A Christian should work nothing by compulsion of the law, but all through the spirit of liberty, as Paul saith: The law is not given to a righteous man. For whatsoever is done by compulsion of the law, is sin, for it is not done with a glad and willing spirit, but with a contrary will, and rebelling against the law; and this truly is sin. Therefore, in Corinthians, he calleth the preachers of the New Testament the ministers of the Spirit, and not of the letter, because they teach grace, and not the law. Wherefore in the whole New Testament are there no urgent or grievous precepts, but only exhortations to observe those things which are necessary to our health: neither did Christ and his apostles at any time compel any man. And the Holy Ghost was for that cause called Paracletus, that is to say, an exhorter and comforter," &c.
XXIX. "All things necessary are declared in the New Testament, but no man is compelled, but to do according to his own will. Therefore Christ teacheth, that a rebel should not be killed, but avoided." Fol. 63, 66.
The words in The Revelation are these:
"In the New Testament are all things declared, which we ought to do and leave undone; what reward is ordained for them that do and leave undone; and of whom to seek, find, and obtain help to do and to leave undone. But no man is compelled, but suffered to do according to their own will. Therefore in Matthew, he teacheth that a rebel should not be killed, but avoided, and put out of company like a Gentile," &c.
XXX. "Christ forbade that one place should be taken as holy, and another profane; but would that all places should be indifferent." Fol. 68.
The place is this:
"Christ taketh away the difference of all places; will be worshipped in everyplace. Neither is there in his kingdom one place holy, and another profane, but all places are indifferent; neither canst thou more heartily and better believe, trust, and love God, in the temple, at the altar, in the church-yard, than in thy barn, vineyard, kitchen, or bed. And, to be short, the martyrs of Christ have honoured him in dark dungeons and prisons," &c.
XXXI. "He raileth against all the rites and ceremonies of the mass, as he were mad." Fol. 68.
The place out of which this article is collected, is as followeth:
"If a nun touch the altar-cloth, or corporal, (as they call it,) it is a sin. To touch the chalice is a great transgression. To say mass with an unhallowed chalice, is a grievous offence. To do sacrifice in vestments which are not consecrated, is a heinous crime. It is reputed for a sin, if in ministering any sacrament, the priest doth lack any ornament that pertaineth thereunto. If he call a child, or speak in the words of a canon, it is a sin. He offendeth also that doth stutter or stammer in the words of the canon. He sinneth that toucheth the holy relics of saints. He that toucheth the sacrament of the altar either with hand or finger, though it be for necessity, to pluck it from the roof of his month, committeth such villanous iniquity, that they will scrape and shave off the quick flesh from the part which did touch it. I think, at length, they will flay the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the throat, and the belly, because they touch the sacrament. But to hurt thy neighbour, or privily to convey away any of his goods, or not to help him in his need, is in a manner counted for no sin, nor yet regarded," &c.
XXXII. "No labour is now-a-days more tedious than saying of mass, matins, &c., which, before God, are nothing but grievous sins." Fol. 70.
XXXIII. "The sins of Manasseh, and other wicked kings, sacrificing their own children, are but light and childish offences to those. The cursed sacrifices of the Gentiles my not be compared to ours; we are seven times worse Gentiles than we were before we knew Christ." Fol. 70.
The words out of which these two articles are gathered, are these:
"They are so oppressed, (those he meaneth who are under the servitude of the pope's laws and decrees,) that they fulfil them only with the outward work; for their wills are clean contrary, as we see by experience in the troublesome business of vigils, masses, and hours, which must be both said and sung: in the which they labour with such weariness, that now-a-days no labour is more tedious. Yet, nevertheless, the cruel exactors of these most hard works compel men to work such things without ceasing, which before God are nothing but grievous sins; although before men they be good works, and counted for the service of God. Here are invented the enticements of the senses through organs, music, and diversity of songs; but these are nothing to the spirit, which rather is extinct through these wanton trifles. Ah, Christ! with what violence, with what power, are they driven headlong to sin, and perish through this abomination.
"It is horrible to look into these cruel whirlpools of consciences, which perish with so great pains and labour. What light offences to these are the sins wherein Manasseh and other wicked kings sinned, by doing sacrifice with their own children and progeny! Truly, the cursed sacrifices of the most rude Gentiles, no not of the Lestrigones, may be compared unto ours. The saying of Christ may be verified in us: seven more wicked spirits make the end worse than the beginning. For I say, that we are worse Gentiles seven times, than we were before we knew Christ," &c.
XXXIV. "It were better to receive neither of the parts of the sacrament of the altar, than the one alone." Fol. 73.
The words be these:
"Plainly I think that the whole is taken away, since I see manifestly the one part gone (for the bread and the wine is but one sacrament); the other is left only for a laughing-stock. For he that in one part offendeth against God, is guilty in at Therefore it were better to receive neither of the parts, than the one alone; for so we might the more surely eschew the transgression of that which Christ did institute," &c.
XXXV. "The law of the pope, that commandeth all men to communicate together upon one day, is a most cruel law, constraining men to their own destruction." Fol. 73.
The place is this:
"He (the pope he meaneth) setteth a most cruel and deadly snare to tangle the consciences; suffereth not the use of this sacrament to be free; but compelleth all together, on one certain day once in the year, to communicate. Here, I pray thee, Christian brother! how many dost thou think to communicate only by the compulsion of this precept, who truly, in their heart, had rather not communicate? and all these sin, (for they do not communicate in spirit, that is to say, neither in faith nor will, but by the compulsion of this letter and law,) since this bread requireth a hungry, and not a full heart, and much less a disdaining and hateful mind. And of all these sins the pope is author, constraining all men, by his most cruel law, to their own destruction; whereas he ought to. leave this communion free to every man, and only call and exhort them, and not compel and drive them unto it," &c.
XXXVI. "The Spirit would that nothing should be done, but that which is expressly rehearsed in the Scripture." Fol. 81.
In things appertaining to God's worship and service, true it is that he is not to be worshipped, but only according to that which he hath revealed and. expressed unto us in his own word. And this is the meaning of the author, as by his words doth plainly appear.
XXXVII. "St. Thomas Aquinas savoureth nothing of the Spirit of God." Fol. 83.
The doctrine of Thomas Aquinas referreth the greatest, or a very great part of our righteousness to opus operatum, and unto merits. The Spirit of God referreth all our righteousness before God, only to our faith in Christ. Now, how these savour together, let any indifferent reader judge.
XXXVIII. "The pope did condemn the truth of the word of God openly at Constance in John Huss, persevering unto this day in the same stubbornness." Fol. 86.
Touching the condemnation of John Huss, and the manner of his handling, and the cause of his death, read his story before; and consider, moreover, his prophecy of the hundred years after him expired, how truly the sequel did follow in Martin Luther, and then judge of his cause, good reader, as the truth of God's word shall lead thee. And thus much concerning these slanderous articles.
Here follow other heresies and errors, collected by the bishops out of the book named The Sum of the Scripture, with the places of the book annexed to the same.
I. First article:--"The water of the font hath no more virtue in it than hath any other water." Fol. I.
II. "The virtue of baptism lieth not in hallowed water, or in other outward thing, but only in faith." Fol. 6.
The place of these two articles gathered out of The Sum of the Scripture, is this:
"The water of baptism taketh not away our sin; for then were it a precious water, and then it behoved us daily to wash ourselves therein; neither hath the water of the font more virtue in itself, than the water that runneth in the river of Rhine. When Philip baptized the eunuch, the servant of Candace the queen of Ethiopia, there was then no hallowed water, nor candle, nor salt, nor cream, neither white habit; but he baptized him in the first water they came to upon the way. Here mayest thou perceive that the virtue of baptism lieth not in hallowed water, nor in the outward things that we have at the font, but in the faith only, &c. Christ hath healed us (saith St. Paul) by the hath of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost"
III. "Godfathers and godmothers be bound to help their children that they be put to school, that they may understand the gospel, and the epistles of St. Paul." Fol. 15.
The place of this article, gathered out of the said book, is this:
"The godfathers and godmothers be bound to help the children that they be put to school, to the intent that they may understand the gospel, the joyful message of God, with the epistles of St. Paul. God hath commanded to publish, and to show the gospel, not only to priests, but to every creature: Go ye (saith Christ unto his disciples) into the universal world, and preach the gospel to every creature. For we be all equally bound to know the gospel and the doctrine of the New Testament, &c. And St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, confesseth that he sendeth his epistles to all the church; that is to say, to all the assembly of Christian men, and to all them that call on the name of Jesus," &c.
IV. "We think, when we believe that God is God, and ken our creed, that we have the faith that a Christian man is bound to have; but so doth the devil believe." Fol. 17.
V. "To believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be one God, is not the principal that we must believe: our faith doth not lie principally in that; for so believeth the devil." Fol. 18.
The place out of the which these two articles are collected, is this:
"We think, when we believe that God is God, and ken our creed, that we have the faith which a Christian is bound to have. The devil believeth also that there is a God, and life everlasting, and a hell, but he is never the better for it; and he trembled always for his faith, as saith St. James, The devils believe, and they tremble. A man might ask, What shall I then believe? Thou shalt believe plainly and undoubtedly, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is one only God, &c. But this, likewise, believeth the wicked spirits, and are nothing the better therefor. There is yet another faith which Christ so much requireth of us in the gospel, and whereunto, St. Paul in almost all his epistles so strongly exhorteth us; that is, that we believe the gospel. When-our Lord first began to preach, he said, (as rehearseth St Mark,) Repent and believe the gospel."
Of this faith read before in the first article gathered out of The Wicked Mammon, and in the ninth and tenth of The Revelation of Antichrist.
VI. "If we believe that God hath promised everlasting life, it is impossible that we should perish." Fol. 20.
Lo here, good reader! another manifest example of the unhonest dealing and false cogging of these men. For where the place of the author speaketh expressly of putting our trust in God and his promises, the article prettily leaveth out our trusting in God's promise, and saith only, if we believe that God hath promised. Read the place, and confer it with the article, and then judge whether there be no difference betweentrusting in the promise that God hath made of everlasting life, and believing only that God hath made the promise of everlasting life. The place here followeth as it is there written:
"When with a perfect courage we put all our trust in God and in his promises, it is impossible that we should perish, for he hath promised us life everlasting. And forasmuch as he is Almighty, he may well perform that which he hath promised; and in that he is merciful and true, he will perform his promise made unto us, if we can believe it stedfastly, and put all our trust in him."
VII. "If thou canst surely and stedfastly believe in God, he will hold his promise: for he hath bound himself to us, and by his promise he oweth us heaven, in case that we believe him." Fol. 21.
Seeing all our hope standeth only upon the promise of God, what heresy then is in this doctrine, to say that God oweth us heaven by his promise, which is to mean no other but that God cannot break promise? And now judge thou, good reader, whether is more heresy to say, that God oweth us heaven by his promise, as we say; or this, that God oweth us heaven by the condignity and congruity of our works, as the papists say.
VIII. "All Christ's glory is ours." Fol. 27.
IX. "We need not to labour for to be Christ's heirs, and sons of God, and to have heaven; for we have all these things already." Fol. 24.
The words out of the which these two heresies are gathered, be these:
"We be made his heirs, and all his glory is ours, as St. Paul largely declareth. This hath God given us without our deserving, and we need not to labour for all these things, for these we have already," &c.
They which note these articles for heresy, by the same judgment they may make heresy of St. John's Gospel, and of Paul's Epistle, and of all together. St. John saith, The glory which thou gayest me, I have given them, that they may be one, as we also are one. As many as received him, to them gave he power to be the sons of God. St. Paul saith, The same Spirit certifieth our spirit, that we are the sons of God. If we be sons, then are we also heirs, the heirs I mean of God, and heirs annexed with Christ.
X. "We need not to labour, by our good works, to get everlasting life, for we have it already; we be all justified; we be all the children of God." Fol. 28.
XI. "All that think that good works help or profit any thing to get the gift of salvation, they blaspheme against God, and rob God of his honour." Fol. 28.
XII. "If we be circumcised, that is to say, if we put any trust in works, Christ shall not help us." Fol. 18.
XIII. "We deserve nothing of God.," Fol. 30.
XIV. "We deserve not everlasting life by our good works; for God hath promised it unto us, before that we began to do good." Fol. 40.
XV. "Every Christian man must keep God's commandments by love, and not by hope to get for his service everlasting life." Fol. 42.
XVI. "The Jews kept the commandments, and the law of God; yet they could not come to heaven." Fol. 43.
XVII. "Men, trusting in their good works, are like to the thief on the left side, and are such men as come to the church daily, keep holy-days and fasting-days, and hear masses, and these people be soonest damned; for this is one of the greatest errors in Christendom, to think that thy good works shall help thee to thy salvation." Fol. 47.
If these articles be made heresies, which refer the benefit of our inheritance of life and salvation to God's gift, and not to our labours; to grace, and not to merits; to faith, and not to the law of works; then let us shut up clean the New Testament, and away with God's word, and set up a new divinity of the pope's making; yea, let us leave Christ with his heretical gospel, and, in his stead, set up the bishop of Rome with his Talmud, and become the disciples of his decretals. And, certes, except Christian princes begin betimes to take some zeal of God unto them, and look more seriously upon the matter, the proceedings of these men seem to tend to little better, than to drive us at length from true Christianity, to another kind and form of religion of their own invention, if they have not brought it well near to pass already.
XVIII. "To serve God in a tediousness, or for fear of hell, or for the joys of heaven, is but a shadow of good works, and such service doth not please God." Fol. 41.
The place is this:
"Works done in faith be only pleasant unto God, and worthy to be called good works; for they be the works of the Holy Ghost, that dwelleth in us by this faith. But they that are done by tediousness, and evil will, for fear of hell, or for desire of heaven, be nothing else but shadows of works, making hypocrites. The end of our good works is only to please God, knowledging that if we do ever so much, we can never do our duty; for they that for fear of hell, or for the joys of heaven, do serve God, do a constrained service, which God will not have. Such people do not serve God, because he is their God and their Father, but to have their reward, and to avoid his punishments; and such people are hired men and waged servants, and are not children. But the children of God serve their Father for love," &c.
XIX. "We must love death, and more desire to die, than to fear death." Fol. 36.
Although our nature be frail, and full of imperfection, so that we do not as we should, yet doing as we ought, and as we are led by the Scriptures to do, we should not dread, but desire rather to die, and be with Christ, as the place itself doth well declare, which is this:
"We must love death, and more desire to die, and to be with God, as did St. Paul, than to fear death. For Jesus Christ died for us, to the intent that we should not fear to die; and he hath slain death, and destroyed the sting of death, as writeth St. Paul, saying, death, where is thy sting? Death is swallowed up in victory! And to the Philippians, Christ is to me life, and death is to me advantage."
XX. "God made us his children and his heirs, while we were his enemies, and before we knew him." Fol. 44.
I marvel what the papists mean in the registers to condemn this article as a heresy, unless their purpose be utterly to impugn and gainstand the Scripture, and the writings of St. Paul, who, in the fifth chapter to the Romans, and other his epistles, importeth even the same doctrine in all respects, declaring, in formal words, that we be made the children and heirs of God, and that we were reconciled unto him when we were his enemies.
XXI. "It were better never to have done good works, and ask mercy there-for, than to do good works, and think that for them God is bound to a man by promise." Fol. 48.
XXII. "We can show no more honour to God, than faith and trust in him." Fol. 48.
The place out of which these two articles be gathered, is this:
"It were better for thee a thousand fold, that thou hadst been a sinner, and never had done good deeds, and to acknowledge thine offences and evil life unto God, asking mercy with a good heart, lamenting thy sins, than to have done good works, and in them to put thy trust, thinking that therefore God were bound to thee. There is nothing which (after the manner of speaking) bindeth God, but firm and stedfast faith and trust in him and his promises, &c.: for we can show unto God no greater honour; than to have faith and trust in him: for whosoever doth that, he confesseth that God is true, good, mighty, and merciful," &c.
XXIII. "Faith without good works, is no little or feeble faith, but it is no faith." Fol. 50.
XXIV. "Every man doth as much as he believeth." Fol. 50.
The place out of the which these two articles be gathered, is this:
"If thy faith induce thee not to do good works, then hast not thou the right faith, thou doest but only think that thou hast it. For St. James saith, That faith without works is dead in itself. He saith not, that it is little or feeble, but that it is dead; and that which is dead, is not. Therefore, when thou art not moved by faith unto the love of God, and by the love of God unto good works, thou hast no faith, but faith is dead in thee; for the Spirit of God, that by faith cometh into our hearts to stir up love, cannot be idle. Every one doth as much as he believeth, and loveth as much as he hopeth, as writeth St. John: He that hath this hope, that he is the son of God, purifieth himself as he is pure. He saith not, he that purifieth himself hath this hope, for the hope must come before, proceeding from the faith; as it behoveth that the tree must first be good, which must bring forth good fruit."
XXV. "We cannot be without motions of evil desires; but we must mortify them in resisting them." Fol. 52.
They that note this article of heresy, may note themselves rather to be like the Pharisee, who, foolishly flattering himself in the false opinion of his own righteousness, was not subdued to the righteousness which standeth before God by faith; and, therefore, went home to his house less justified than the publican. If the Scriptures condemn the heart of man to be crooked, even from his youth; and also condemn all the righteousness of man to be like a dyed cloth; and if St. Paul could find in his flesh no good thing dwelling, but showeth a continual resistance between the old man and the new; then must it follow, that these Pharisees, who condemn this article of heresy, either carry no flesh and no old man about them to be resisted; or, verily, say what they will, they cannot choose but be cumbered with evil motions, for the inward man continually to fight against. The place of the author sufficiently defendeth itself, as followeth:
"St. Paul biddeth us mortify all our evil desires and carnal lusts, as uncleanness, covetousness,wrath, blasphemy, detraction, pride, and other like vices. And unto the Romans, he saith, Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies: that is to say, albeit that we cannot live without the motion of such evil desires, yet we shall not suffer them to rule in us, but shall mortify them in resisting them," &c.
XXVI. "All true Christianity lieth in love of our neighbours for God: and not in fasting, keeping of holy-days, watching, praying, and singing, and long prayers, daily and all day long hearing mass, running on pilgrimage," &c. Fol. 52.
The place of this article is this:
"Thou hast always occasion to mortify thine evil desires, to serve thy neighbour, to comfort him, and to help him with word and deed, with counsel and exhortation, and other semblable means. In such love towards our neighbour for the love of God, lieth all the law and the prophets, as saith Christ, yea, and all Christianity; and not in fasting, keeping of holy-days, watching, singing, and long prayers; daily and all day long hearing of masses, setting up of candles, running on pilgrimages, and such other things, which as well the hypocrites, proud people, envious, and subject to all wicked affections, do," &c.
XXVII. "Many doctors in divinity, and not only common people, believe that it is the part of Christian faith only to believe that Jesus Christ hath lived here on earth." Fol. 53, 54.
The place is this:
"We believe that Jesus Christ hath here lived on earth, and that he hath preached, and that he died for us, and did many other things. When we believe these things after the story, we believe that this is our Christian faith. This not only the simple people believe, but also doctors in divinity, which are taken for wise men. Yea, the devil hath also this faith; as saith St. James, The devils believe, and they tremble. For, as we have said before, the devil believeth that God is God, and that Jesus Christ hath here preached, that he died, was buried, and rose again. This must we also believe, but this is not the faith whereof speaketh the gospel, and St. Paul," &c.
Of this faith, and what it is, read before in the place of the fourth and fifth articles of this book, and of the first article gathered out of The Wicked Mammon, and the ninth and tenth articles of The Revelation of Antichrist.
XXVIII. "He that doth good against his will, he doth evil." Fol. 56.
The place is this:
"All good deeds, which are not done by love and good will, are sin before God, as saith St. Augustine: He that doth good against his will, doth evil; albeit that he doth good: for that which I do against my will, I hate; and when I hate the commandment, I hate also him that hath commanded it," &c.
XXIX. "No man doth more than he is bound to do, and therefore no man may make others partakers of their good works." Fol. 59.
The words be these:
"The prophet Isaiah saith, We are all as an unclean thing, and all our justice is as it were a filthy cloth: and therefore I can never marvel enough, that many of the religious persons would make others partakers of their good works, seeing that Christ saith in the gospel, When ye have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done but that which was our duty to do. For none can do too much. None doth more than he is bound to do, but only Jesus Christ (which only, as saith St. Peter, never did sin, neither was there deceit found in his mouth) hath done that he was not bound to do; and, as the prophet Isaiah saith, hath taken upon him our infirmities, and borne our sorrows; he was wounded for our offences, and smitten for our wickedness, and by his stripes are we made whole," &c.
XXX. "Christ hath gotten heaven by his passion; but that right hath he no need of, but hath granted it to all them that believe in his promises." Fol. 59.
Read the place:
"Jesus Christ possesseth the kingdom of heaven by double right: first, because he is the Son of God, and very inheritor of his kingdom: secondly, because he hath gotten it by his passion and death. Of his second right he hath no need, and therefore he giveth it to all them that believe and trust in him and his promises."
XXXI. "If God had promised us heaven for our good works, we should ever be unsure of our salvation." Fol. 59.
XXXII. "Be our sins ever so great, so that it seemeth impossible to us to be saved, yet without any doubt we must believe to be saved." Fol. 59.
The words out of the which these two articles be gathered are these:
"If God had promised heaven unto us because of our works, we should ever then be unsure of our salvation: for we should never know how much, nor how long, we should labour to be saved, and should ever be in fear that we had done too little, and so we should never die joyfully. But God would assure us of heaven by his promise, to the intent we should be certain and sure, for he is the truth, and cannot lie; and also to the intent that we should have trust and hope in him. And, notwithstanding that after the greatness and multitude of our sins, it seem to us a thing impossible, yet always we must believe it without any doubt, because of his sure promise: and whosoever doth this, he may joyfully die, and abide the judgment of God, which, else, were intolerable."
Read more hereof before in the eleventh article taken out of The Wicked Mammon.
XXXIII. "If thou love thy wife because she is thy wife, that is no love before God, but thou shalt love her because she is thy sister in God." Fol. 83.
The words be these:
"Our Saviour Christ hath commanded nothing so straitly, as to love one another; yea, to love our enemies also: then how much more should the man and wife love together! But there be but few that know how to love the one the other as they ought to do. If thou love thy wife only because she is thy wife, and because she serveth and pleaseth thee after the flesh, for beauty, birth, riches, and suchlike, this is no love before God. Of such love speaketh not St. Paul, for such love is among harlots, yea, among brute beasts: but thou shalt love her because she is thy sister in the Christian faith; and because she is inheritor together with thee in the glory of God; and because ye serve together one God; because ye have received together one baptism, &c. Thou shalt also love her for her virtues, as shamefacedness, chastity, and diligence, sadness, patience, temperance, secrecy, obedience, and other godly virtues," &c.
XXXIV. "It is nothing but all incredulity, to run in pilgrimage, and seek God in one certain place, which is alike mighty in all places." Fol. 62.
The matter of this article is evident to all indifferent and learned judgments, to be void of all doubt of heresy.
XXXV. "Men should see that their children come to church, to hear the sermon." Fol. 89. The place of this article is this:
"On the festival days thou shalt bring thy children to the church, to hear the sermon; and when thou shalt come home, thou shalt ask them what they have kept in memory of the sermon. Thou shalt teach them the Christian faith. Thou shalt admonish them to live well, and to put all their hope and trust in God, and rather to die, than to do any thing that is against the will of God; and principally, thou shalt learn them the contents of the prayer of our Saviour Christ, called the Pater-noster; that is to say, how they have another Father in heaven, of whom they must look for all goodness, and without whom they can have no good thing; and how that they may seek nothing in all their works, and in all their intents, but the honour of their heavenly Father: and how they must desire that this Father would govern all that they do or desire: and how that they must submit all to his holy will, which cannot be but good, &c. Thou shalt buy them wholesome books, as the holy Gospel, the Epistles of the holy apostles, yea, both the New and the Old Testament, that they may understand and drink of the sweet fountain and waters of life."
XXXVI. "Thou shalt not vex or grieve, by justice or otherwise, the poor that oweth unto thee: for thou mayest not do it without sin." Fol. 97.
The place is this:
"Thou shalt not vex or grieve by justice, &c., as Christ saith, Resist not evil, but whosoever striketh thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, &c. St. Paul saith, Render not evil for evil; and, if it be possible, and as much as is in you, live in peace with all men, not revenging yourselves, my well-beloved, but give place to wrath: for it is written, To me be the vengeance, and I will render it, saith the Lord God."
XXXVII. "Some text of canon law suffereth war, but the teaching of Christ forbiddeth all wars. Nevertheless, when a city is besieged, or a country invaded, the lord of the country is bound to put his life in jeopardy for his subjects." Fol. 119.
XXXVIII. "So a lord may use horrible war charitably and Christianly."
As touching war, to be moved or stirred first of our parts against any people or country, upon any rash cause, as ambition, malice, or revenge, the gospel of Christ giveth us no such sword to fight withal. Notwithstanding, for defence of country and subjects, the magistrate, being invaded or provoked by others, may lawfully, and is bound to do his best: as the city of Marburg did well in defending itself against the emperor, &c.
XXXIX. "The gospel maketh all true Christian men servants to all the world." Fol. 79.
He that compiled this article, to make the matter to appear more heinous, craftily leaveth out the latter part which should expound the other, that is, "by the rule of charity;" for that the author addeth withal. By which rule charity, and not of office and duty, every Christian man is bound one to help another; as Christ himself, being Lord of all, yet, of charity, was a servant to every man to do him good.
Read the place of the Sum of the Scripture, in the page as in the article it is assigned.
XL. "The gospel is written for persons of all estates, prince, duke, pope, emperor." Fol. 112.
They which noted this article for a heresy, I suppose could little tell either what God, or what the Scripture, meaneth.
XLI. "When judges have hope that an evildoer will amend, they must be always merciful, as Christ was to the woman taken in advoutry. The temporal law must obey the gospel; and them that we may amend by warning, we shall not correct by justice." Fol. 113.
The purpose of the book whence this article is wrested, being well understood, intendeth not to bind temporal judges and magistrates from due execution of good laws, but putteth both them, and especially spiritual judges, in remembrance, by the example of Christ, to discern who be penitent offenders, and who be otherwise; and where they see evident hope of earnest repentance and amendment, if they be ecclesiastical judges, to spare them; if they be civil magistrates, yet to temper the rigour of the law as much as conveniently they may, with merciful moderation, which the Greeks do call επιεικεια [epieikeia].
And thus much hitherto of these heresies and articles collected by the bishops, and inserted in their own registers out of the books above specified. The names of the bishops and collectors were these, Sir Thomas More, lord chancellor; William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury; Tonstall, bishop of London; Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester; Richard Sampson, dean of the chapel; Richard Woolman, master of the requests; John Bell, Dr. Wilson, with a great number more, as in the registers doth appear.
I shall not need, I trust, gentle reader, further here to tarry thee with reciting more places, when these already rehearsed may suffice for a taste and a trial for thee, sufficient to note and consider how falsely, and most slanderously, these catholics have depraved and misreported the books and writings of good men, who might almost gather heresies as well of St. John's Gospel, and St. Paul's Epistles, as out of these places. Thus may we see, what cannot malice do, being set on mischief? or what cannot the spirit of spite and cavilling find out, being inflamed with hatred, and blown with the bellows of ambition and iniquity? And as they have done with these, the like parts they have and do practise still against all others, whosoever, in defence of troth, dare touch ever so little either the pope's crown, or the bellies of his clergy: for these two sores in no case they can abide to be touched.
And hereof only cometh all this crying out, Heresy, Heresy; Blasphemy, Error, and Schism. Although the doctrine be ever so sound and perfect after the Scripture, yet if the writer be not such, in all points, (especially in these two above touched,) as will sing after their tune, and dance after their pipe, he is by and by heretic, by virtue of their inquisition. So did they with the articles of the learned Earl Johannes Picus Mirandula. So did they also with John Reveline or Capnion. So did they also with good John Colet here in England. Also, with the like spirit of lying and cavilling, the catholic faculties of Louvain, Spain, and Paris, condemned the works and writings of Erasmus, and many more. So full they are of censures, articles, suspicions, offences, inquisitions. So captious they be in taking, so rash in judging, so slanderous of report, so practised in depraving, misconstruing, and wresting, true meanings into wrong purposes. Briefly, so pregnant they be in finding heresies where none are, that either a man must say nothing, or serve their devotion, or else he shall procure their displeasure, that is, shall be deemed for a heretic. Yea, and though no just cause of any heresy be ministered, yet where they once take disliking, they will not stick sometimes, with false accusations, to press him with matter which be never spake nor thought. If Luther had not stirred against the pope's pardons and authority, he had remained still a white son of the mother catholic church, and all had been well done, whatsoever he did. But, because he adventured to touch once the triple crown, what floods of heresies, blasphemies, and articles were cast out against him, enough to drown a whole world! what lies and forged crimes were invented against him!
Here now cometh Staphylus and furious Suring, with their fraternity, and say, that he learned his divinity of the devil. Then followeth another certain chronographer, who, in his lying story reporteth most falsely, that Luther died of drunkenness. With like malice the said chronographer writeth also of Master Bucer, falsely affirming upon his information, that he should deny at his death Christ our Messias to be come; when not only Dr. Redman, who preached at his burial, but also all Englishmen who knew the name of Bucer, did know it to be contrary.
So was it laid against one Singleton, chaplain some time to Queen Anne Bullen, that he was the murderer of Packington, and afterwards, that he was a stirrer-up of sedition and commotion; who also suffered as a traitor for the same. Whereas,:in very deed, the true cause was for nothing else, but for preaching the gospel unto the people; whose purpose was ever so far from stirring sedition, that he never once dreamed of any such matter, as he himself declared and protested to one Richard Lent his scholar, who is yet alive, and can testify the truth hereof. But this is no new practice amongst the Romish bishops; whereof enough hath been said before in the story of Sir John Oldcastle, and Sir Roger Acton, &c.
Another like practice of such malicious slander we find also in one Merial a bricklayer, whose name, with his abjuration, remaineth yet in the registers of the bishop of London.
The story is this, and not unworthy to be remembered. In the year of our Lord 1534, which was about the first beginning of Queen Anne Bullen, at what time purgatory and such trumpery began to grow in contempt, Stokesley, bishop of London, made a sermon in the Shrouds, upon the Sunday before May-day; where he, preaching in the commendation and virtue of masses, declared to the people, that, for a little cost, if they procured masses to be said, wives might deliver their husbands, and husbands their wives, out of the bitter pains of purgatory. At this sermon, besides many others, was Thomas Merial, a zealous favourer of God's word; who, being in the watch on May-even, made relation of these words of the bishop unto the company about him, amongst whom then was one John Twyford, a furious papist, and who had the same time the setting up of the stakes in Smithfield, whereat the good saints of God were burned.
This Twyford, who then kept a tavern, and had an old grudge against the said Merial for striking his boy, hearing these words, allured home to his house certain lewd persons, to the number of ten, whose names were these: Blackwell, Laurence, Wilson, Thomas Clark, John Duffield, William Kenningham, Thomas Hosier, Worme, a cutler, Allen Ryse, with another that was the tenth. Besides thesehe procured also secretly Master Chambers's clerk, whose name was Bright. And when he had craftily overcome them with wine, and made them to report what words he listed, and which they knew not themselves, the clerk by and by received the same in writing. Whereupon this article was gathered against Merial, that he should hold and affirm, that the passion of Christ doth not help them that came after him, but only them that were in limbo before: and also that he should say, that his wife was as good as our Lady. Upon this writing of the notary, he was immediately brought to Bishop Stokesley, and there, by the deposition of these ten false witnesses, wrongfully accused, and also for the same should have been condemned, bad not Dr. Barret the same time bid him speak one word (which he knew not) as the sentence was in reading, whereby the condemnation was stayed, and be put to do open penance, and to bear a faggot. Notwithstanding the said Merial sware before the bishop that he never spake nor meant any such word as there was said unto him, but only recited the words of the bishop's sermon, reporting the same in the person of the bishop, and not his own; which also was testified to be true, by the oaths of three others, to wit, William Tompson, Gregory Newman, and William Wit, who, being in the aforesaid watch the same time, did take upon their oath before the bishop, that his words were no other, but as is above declared. These three witnesses, at the second edition hereof, were also living, with the wife of the aforesaid Merial, who would then also be sworn that the same was true: whereas, contrary, the other ten persons be all gone, and none of them all remaining. Of whom, moreover, the most of all the said ten came to a miserable end; whereas the other three who testified the truth with Merial, being living at the second edition hereof, did see the end of all the others. And as for Twyford, which was the executioner of Frith, Bayfield, Bainham, Tewkesbury, Lambert, and other good men, he died rotting above the ground, that none could abide him, and thus came to a wretched end.
Of this malicious and perverse dealing of these men contrary to all truth and honesty, in defaming them for heretics which indeed are none, and with opprobrious railing to slander their cause, which is nothing else but the simple truth of Christ's gospel, whoso listeth to search, further, (if these examples hitherto recited do not suffice,) let him read the story of Merindol and Angrogne. Let him consider the furious bull of Pope Martin, the like slanderous bull also of Pope Leo the Tenth, with the edict of Charles the emperor against Luther. Also let him survey the railing stories of Surius the monk of Cologne; the book of Hosius; of Lindanus; the chronography of Genebarde; the story of Cochleus against the Hussites and the Lutherans, with the preface of Conradus Brunus the lawyer prefixed before the same, wherein he, most falsely ad untruly railing against these protestants, whom he calleth heretics, chargeth them to be blasphemers of God, contemners of God and men, church-robbers, cruel, false liars, crafty deceivers, unfaithful, promise-breakers, disturbers of public peace and tranquillity, corrupters and subverters of commonweals, and all else that naught is.
In much like sort was Socrates accused of his countrymen for a corrupter of the youth, whom Plato notwithstanding defendeth. Aristides the just lacked not his unjust accusers. Was it not objected unto St. Paul, that he was a subverter of the law of Moses, and that we might do evil that good might come thereof? How was it laid to the Christian martyrs in the primitive church, for worshipping of an ass's head, and for sacrificing of infants. And, to come more near to these our latter days, you heard likewise how falsely the Christian congregation of the Frenchmen, gathered together in the night at Paris, to celebrate the holy communion, were accused of filthy commixion of men and women together, and the king the same time (Henry the Second) was made to believe that beds with pillows and mats were found there on the floor where they lay together; whereupon the same time divers were condemned to the fire, and burned. Finally, what innocency is so pure, or truth so perfect, which can be void of these slanders and criminations, when also our Saviour Christ himself was noted for a wine drinker, and a common haunter of the publicans, &c.
Even so, likewise, it pleaseth our Lord and Saviour Christ to keep and to exercise his church under the like kind of adversaries now reigning in the church, who, under the name of the church, will needs maintain a portly state and kingdom in this world; and because they cannot uphold their cause by plain Scripture and the word of God, they bear it out with facing, railing, and slandering; making princes and the simple people believe, that all be heretics, schismatics, blasphemers, rebels, and subverters of all authority and commonweals, whosoever dare reply with any Scripture against their doings.
It is written of Nero, that when he himself had burned the city of Rome six days and seven nights, he made open proclamations that the innocent Christians had set the city on fire, to stir the people against them, whereby he might burn and destroy them as rebels and traitors.
Not much unlike seemeth the dealing of these religious catholics, who, when they be the true heretics themselves, and have burned and destroyed the church of Christ, make out their exclamations, bulls, briefs, articles, books, censures, letters, and edicts against the poor Lutherans, to make the people believe, that they be the heretics, schismatics, disturbers of the whole world; who, if they could prove them, as they reprove them to be heretics, they were worthy to be heard. But now they cry out upon them heretics, and can prove no heresy; they accuse them of error, and can prove no error. They call them schismatics, and what church since the world stood hath been the mother of so many schisms as the mother church of Rome? They charge them with dissension and rebellion; and what dissension can be greater than to dissent from the Scripture and word of God? or what is so like rebellion, as to rebel against the Son of God, and against the will of his eternal Testament? They are disturbers, they say, of peace and public authority; which is as true, as that the Christians set the city of Rome on fire. What doctrine did ever attribute so much to public authority of magistrates, as do the protestants? or who ever attributed less to magistrates, or deposed more dukes, kings, and emperors, than the papists? He that saith that the bishop of Rome is no more than the bishop of Rome, and ought to wear no crown, is not by and by a rebel against his king and magistrates, but rather a maintainer of their authority; which, indeed, the bishop of Rome cannot abide. Briefly, wilt thou see whether be the greater heretics, the protestants or the papists? Let us try it by a measure, and let this measure be the glory only of the Son of God, which cannot fail. Now judge, I beseech thee, whosoever knowest the doctrine of them both, whether of these two do ascribe more or less to the majesty of Christ Jesus our King and Lord; the protestants, which admit no other head of the church, nor justifier of our souls, nor forgiver of our sins, nor advocate to his Father, but him alone; or else the papists, who can abide none of these articles, but condemn the same for heresy? This being so, (as they themselves will not deny,) now judge, good reader, who hath set the city of Rome on fire -- Nero, or the Christians.
But to return again to the purpose of our former matter, which was to show forth the proclamation of the bishops for the abolishing of English books above rehearsed as being corrupt and full of heresy, which, notwithstanding, we have declared to contain no heresy, but sound and wholesome doctrine, according to the perfect word and scripture of God.
Here now, when the prelates of the pope's side had procured this edict and proclamation aforesaid, for the condemnation of all such English books, printed or unprinted, which made against their advantage, they triumphed not a little, weening they had made a great hand against the gospel's ever rising again, and that they had established their kingdom for ever; as indeed, to all men's thinking, it might seem no less. For who would have thought, after so strait, so precise, and so solemn proclamation, set forth and armed with the king's terrible authority; also after the cruel execution of Anne Askew, Lacels, and the rest: item, after the busy search, moreover, and names-taking of many other, of whom some were chased away, some apprehended and laid up, divers in present peril, and expectation oftheir attachment, who would have thought it (I say) otherwise possible, but that the gospel must needs have an overthrow, seeing what sure work the papists here had made, in setting up their side, and throwing down the contrary?
But it is no new thing with the Lord, to show his power against man's presumption, that when man counteth himself most sure, then is he furthest off, and when he supposeth to have done all, then is he anew to begin again. So was it in the primitive church before Constantine's time, that when Nero, Domitian, Maxentius, Decius, and other emperors, impugning the gospel and profession of Christ, did not only constitute laws and proclamations against the Christians, but also did engrave the same laws in tables of brass, minding to make all things firm for ever and a day; yet we see how, with a little turning of God's hand, all their puissant devices and brazen laws turned all to wind and dust: so little doth it avail for man to wrestle against the Lord and his proceedings! Howsoever man's building is mortal and ruinous, of brittle brick and mouldering stones, yet that which the Lord taketh in hand to build, neither can time waste, nor man pluck down. What God setteth up, there is neither power nor striving to the contrary. What he intendeth, standeth; what he blesseth, that prevaileth. And yet man's unquiet presumption will not cease still to erect up towers of Babel against the Lord, which, the higher they are builded up, fall with the greater ruin: for what can stand, that standeth not with the Lord? Which thing, as in example of all ages it is to be seen, so, in this late proclamation devised by the bishops, is it in like manner exemplified; the which proclamation, though it was sore and terrible for the time, yet, not long after, by reason of the king's death, (whom the Lord shortly thereupon took to his mercy,) it made at length but a castle come down. So that where the prelates thought to make their jubilee, it turned them to the "threnes" of Jeremy. Such be the admirable workings of the Lord of hosts, whose name be sanctified for ever!
This I do not infer for any other purpose, but only for the works of the Lord to be seen; premonishing thee, good reader, withal, that as touching the king, (who in this proclamation had nothing but the name only,) here is nothing spoken but to his laud and praise; who, of his own nature and disposition, was so inclinable and forward in all things virtuous and commendable, that the like enterprise of redress of religion hath not lightly been seen in any other prince christened: as in abolishing the stout and almost invincible authority of the pope, in suppressing monasteries, in repressing custom of idolatry and pilgrimage, &c.; which enterprises, as never king of England did accomplish (though some began to attempt them) before him, so, yet to this day, we see but few in other realms dare follow the same. If princes have always their council about them, that is but a common thing. If sometimes they have evil counsel ministered, that I take to be the fault rather of such as are about them, than of princes themselves. So long as Queen Anne, Thomas Cromwell, Archbishop Cranmer, Master Denny, Doctor Butts, with such like, were about him, and could prevail with him, what organ of Christ's glory did more good in the church than he? as is apparent by such monuments, instruments, and acts set forth by him, in setting up the Bible in the church, in exploding the pope with his vile pardons, in removing divers superstitious ceremonies, bringing into order the inordinate orders of friars and sects, in putting chantry priests to their pensions, in permitting white meat in Lent, in destroying pilgrimage-worship, in abrogating idle and superfluous holy-days, both by act public, and also by private letters sent to Bonner tending to this effect.
A private letter of the king to Bishop Bonner.
"Right reverend father in God, right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well! And whereas, considering the manifold inconveniences which have ensued, and daily do ensue to our subjects, by the great superfluity of holy-days, we have, by the ascents and consents of all you the bishops and other notable personages of the clergy of this our realm, in full congregation and assembly had for that purpose, abrogated and abolished such as be neither canonical, nor meet to be suffered in a commonwealth, for the manifold inconveniences which do ensue of the same, as is rehearsed. And to the intent our determination therein may be duly observed and accomplished, we have thought convenient to command you immediately upon the receipt hereof, to address your commandments, in our name, to all the curates, religious houses, and colleges within your diocese, with a copy of the act made for the abrogation of the holy-days aforesaid, a transumpt whereof ye shall receive herewith; commanding them and every of them, in no wise, either in the church or otherwise, to indict or speak of any of the said days and feasts abolished, whereby the people might take occasion either to murmur at, or to contemn the order taken therein, and to continue in their accustomed idleness, the same notwithstanding; but to pass over the same with such secret silence, as they may have like abrogation by disuse, as they have already by our authority in convocation. And forasmuch as the time of harvest now approacheth, our pleasure is ye shall, with such diligence and dexterity, put this matter in execution, as that it may immediately take place for the benefit of our subjects at this time accordingly, without failing, as ye will answer unto us for the contrary.
"Given under our signet, at our monastery of Chertsey, the eleventh day of August."
Thus, while good counsel was about him, and could be heard, the king did much good. So again, when sinister and wicked counsel, under subtle and crafty pretences, had gotten once the foot in, thrusting truth and verity out of the prince's ears, how much religion and all good things went prosperously forward before, so much, on the contrary side, all revolted backward again. Whereupon proceeded this proclamation above mentioned, concerning the abolishing and burning of English books: which proclamation, bearing the name of the king's Majesty, but being the very deed of the popish bishops, no doubt had done much hurt in the church among the godly sort, bringing them either into great danger, or else keeping them in much blindness, had not the shortness of the king's days stopped the malignant purposes of the aforesaid prelates, causing the king to leave that by death unto the people, which by his life he would not grant. For, within four months after, the proclamation coming out in August, he deceased in the beginning of January, in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, A.D. 1547; leaving behind him three children, who succeeded him in his kingdom, King Edward, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth; of whom it remaineth now to prosecute (by the permission and sufferance of Christ our high Lord and Prince) in the process of this history, according as the order of their succession, and acts done by them in the church, shall require; after that, first, I shall have prosecuted certain other matters by the way, according to my promise here to be inserted.