309. ROBERT SAMUEL.
Master Foster, justice, dwelling at Cobdock in the county of Suffolk, and a little from Ipswich, being in continual hatred against the truth and the professors of the same, did not only not cease day nor night to study how to bring those in thrall and captivity, that were honest and godly inclined to religion; but also, whatsoever they were that once came in his claws, they easily escaped not without clog of conscience, or else loss of life, so greedy was he of blood. Among many whom he had troubled, there was one Samuel, in King Edward's days a very godly and right faithful preacher of God's word, who, for his valiant and constant behaviour in his sermons, seemeth worthy of high admiration. He was minister at Barfold in Suffolk,where he taught faithfully and fruitfully that flock which the Lord had committed to his charge, so Iong as the time would suffer him to do his duty.
At the last, being removed from the ministry, and put from his benefice, (as many other good pastors were beside,) when he could not avoid the raging violence of the time, yet would he not give over his care that he had for his flock, but would teach them privily and by stealth, when he could not openly be suffered so to do; at what time order was taken by the queen, to be published by the commissioners, that all priests which had married in King Edward's days, putting their wives from them, should be compelled to return again to their chastity and single life. This decree would not Samuel stand unto, for that he knew it to be manifestly wicked and abominable; but, determining with himself that God's laws were not to be broken for man's traditions, he kept his wife still at Ipswich, and gave his diligence in the mean time to the instructing of others which were about him, as occasion served. At last Master Foster having intelligence hereof, being a great doer in those quarters, foreslacked no time nor diligence, but eftsoons sendeth out his espials abroad, laying hard wait for Samuel, that if he came home to his wife at any time, they might apprehend him, and carry him to prison.
In conclusion, when such as should betray him espied him at home with his wife, they, bringing word to the officer, came immediately flocking about his house, and beset it with a great company, and so took him in the night season, because they durst not do it in the day time, for fear of trouble and tumult; although good Samuel did nothing withstand them at all, but meekly yielded himself into their clutches of his own accord. When they had thus caught him, they put him into Ipswich jail, where he passed his time meekly among his godly brethren, so long as he was permitted to continue there. Howbeit not long after, being taken from thence, he was carried, through the malice of the wicked sort, to Norwich, where the said bishop, Dr. Hopton -- whether he, or Dr. Dunnings, his chancellor -- full like unmerciful prelates, exercised great cruelty against him, as indeed they were men, in that time of persecution, as had not their matches for straitness and cruel tormenting the bodies of the saints among all the rest beside, and specially through the procuring of Dunnings. For although the others were sharp enough in their generation; yet could they be satisfied with imprisonment and death, and could go no further. Neither did I ever hear of any besides these, which so far exceeded all hounds of pity and compassion in tormenting their poor brethren, as this bishop did; in such sort, that many of them he perverted, and brought quite from the truth, and some from their wits also.
The bishop therefore, or else his chancellor, thinking that he might as easily prevail with Samuel, as he had done with the other before, kept him in a very strait prison at his first coming, where he was chained bolt-upright to a great post, in such sort, that standing only on tiptoe he was fain to stay up the whole poise or weight of his body thereby. And to make amends for the cruelty or pain that he suffered, they added a far more grievous torment, keeping him without meat and drink, whereby he was unmercifully vexed through hunger and thirst; saving that he had every day allowed two or three mouthfuls of bread, and three spoonfuls of water, to the end rather that he might be reserved to further torment, than that they would preserve his life. O worthy constancy of the martyr! O pitiless hearts of papists, worthy to be complained of, and to be accused before God and nature! O the wonderful strength of Christ in his members! Whose stomach, though it had been made of adamant-stone, would not have relented at the intolerable vexations, and extreme pains above nature? &c.
At the last, when he was brought forth to be burned, which was but a trifle in comparison of those pains that he had passed, certain there were that heard him declare what strange things had happened unto him during the time of his imprisonment; to wit, that after he had been famished or pined with hunger two or three days together, he then fell into a sleep, as it were one half in a slumber, at which time one clad all in white seemed to stand before him, who ministered comfort unto him by these words: "Samuel, Samuel, be of good cheer, and take a good heart unto thee; for after this day shalt thou never be either hungry or thirsty." Which thing came even to pass accordingly; for speedily after he was burned, and from that time till he should suffer, he felt neither hunger nor thirst. And this declared he to the end, as he said, that all men might behold the wonderful works of God. Many more like matters concerning the great comfort he had of Christ in his afflictions, he could utter, he said, besides this, but that shamefacedness and modesty would not suffer him to utter it. And yet if it had pleased God, I would he had been less modest in that behalf, that the love and care that Christ hath of his, might have the more appeared thereby unto us by such present arguments, for the more plentiful comfort of the godly, though there be sufficient testimonies of the same in the Holy Scriptures already.
No less memorable it is, and worthy also to be noted, concerning the three ladders which he told to divers he saw in his sleep, set up toward heaven; of the which there was one somewhat longer than the rest, but yet at length they became one, joining (as it were) all three together. This was a forewarning revealed unto him, declaring undoubtedly the martyrdom first of himself, and then the death of two honest women, which were brought forth, and suffered in the same town anon after.
As this godly martyr was going to the fire, there came a certain maid to him, which took him about the neck and kissed him, who, being marked by them that were present, was sought for the next day after, to be had to prison and burned, as the very party herself informed me: howbeit, as God of his goodness would have it, she escaped their fiery hands, keeping herself secret in the town a good while after. But as this maid, called Rose Nottingham, was marvellously preserved by the providence of God; so there were other two honest women did fall into the rage and fury of that time. The one was a brewer's wife, the other was a shoemaker's wife, but both together now espoused to a new Husband, Christ.
With these two was this maid aforesaid very familiar and well acquainted, who, on a time giving counsel to the one of them, that she should convey herself away while she had time and space, seeing she could not away with the queen's unjust proceedings, had this answer at her hands again: "I know well," saith she, "that it is lawful enough to fly away; which remedy you may use, if you list. But my case standeth otherwise. I am tied to a husband, and have besides a sort of young children at home; and then I know not how my husband, being a carnal man, will take my departure from him; therefore I am minded, for the love of Christ and his truth, to stand to the extremity of the matter."
And so the next day after Samuel suffered, these two godly wives, the one called Anne Potten, the other called Joan Trunchfield, the wife of Michael Trunchfield, shoemaker, of Ipswich, were apprehended, and had both into prison together, who, as they were both by sex and nature somewhat tender, so were they at first less able to endure the straitness of the prison: and especially the brewer's wife was cast into marvellous great agonies and troubles of mind thereby. But Christ, beholding the weak infirmity of his servant, did not fail to help her when she was in this necessity; so at the length they both suffered after Samuel, in 1556, February the nineteenth, as shall be, by the Lord's grace, declared hereafter. And these, no doubt, were those two ladders, which, being joined with the third, Samuel saw stretched up into heaven. This blessed Samuel, the servant of Christ, suffered the thirty-first of August, anno 1555.
The report goeth among some that were there present, and saw him burn, that his body in burning did shine in the eyes of them that stood by, as bright and white as new-tried silver, as I am informed by some which were there and did behold the sight.
A letter or exhortation of Robert Samuel to the patient suffering of afflictions for Christ's cause.
"A man knoweth not his time, but as the fish is taken with the angle, and as the birds are caught with the snare, even so are men caught and taken in the perilous time when it cometh upon them. The time cometh; the day draweth near. Better it were to die (as the preacher saith) than to live and see the miserable works which are done under the sun; such sudden and strange mutation, such woeful, heinous, and lamentable divisions so fast approach, and none, or very few, thoroughly repent. Alas! for this sinful nation, a people of great iniquity and seed of ungraciousness, corrupting their ways. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, and are gone backward. Who now liveth not in such security and rest, as though all dangers were clean overpast? Who now blindeth and buffeteth not Christ, with 'seest me?' and 'seest me not?' yea, who liveth not now in such felicity, worldly pleasures and joys, wholly seeking the world, providing and craftily shifting for the earthly clod and all carnal appetites, as though sin were clean forgotten, overthrown, and devoured? Like hoggish Gergesites, now are we more afraid and ashamed of Christ our Messias, fearing the loss of our filthy pigs, I mean our transitory goods, and disquieting of our sinful and mortal bodies in this short, uncertain, and miserable life, than of a legion of devils, seducing and driving us from hearing, reading, and believing Christ, God's eternal Son, and his holy word, the power to save our souls, unto vanities, lies, and fables, and to this bewitching world.
"O perilous abundance of goods, too much saturity of meats, wealth, and quietness, which destroyed, with so many souls, those goodly cities, Sodom and Gomorrah! Jeroboam, so long as he was but a poor man, not yet advanced to his dignity, lived in the laws of God without reprehension; but, brought once to wealth and prosperous state, he became a wicked and most shameful idolater. And what made the covetous young man so loth to follow Christ, when he was bidden to forsake but worldly wealth which he then enjoyed? Woe be unto these false illusions of the world, baits of perdition, hooks of the devil, which have so shamefully deceived and seduced full many from the right path unto the Lord, into the high-ways of confusion and perpetual perdition!
"We might now worthily, dear Christians, lament and bewail our heavy state, miserable condition, and sorrowful chance; yea, I say, we might well accuse ourselves, and with Job curse these our troublous, wicked, and bloody last days of this world, were it not that we both see and believe, and find in God's sacred book, that a remnant God hath in all ages reserved, I mean the faithful, as many as have been from the beginning of the world exercised, whetted, and polished with divers afflictions, troubles, and tossings, cast and dashed against all perils and dangers, as the very dross and outcasts of the earth, and yet will in no wise halt between God and Baal; for God verily abhorreth two men in one: he cannot away with them that are between both, but casteth them away as a filthy vomit. Christ will not part spoil with his mortal enemy the devil; he will have all, or lose all: he will not permit the devil to have the service of the body, and he to stand contented with the heart and mind: but he will be glorified both in your bodies and in your spirits, which are his, as St. Paul saith. For he hath made, bought all, and dearly paid for all, as St. Peter saith. With his own immaculate body hath he clean discharged your bodies from sin, death, and hell, and with his most precious blood paid your ransom and full price once for all and for ever.
"Now what harm, I pray you, or what loss sustain you by this? Why are you, O vain men, more afraid of Jesus your gentle Saviour, and his gospel of salvation, than of a legion of cruel devils, going about with false delusions utterly to destroy you, both bodies and souls? Think you to be more sure than under your Captain, Christ? Do you promise yourselves to be more quiet in Satan's service, than in Christ's religion? Esteem you more these transitory and pernicious pleasures, than God, and all his heavenly treasures? O palpable darkness, horrible madness, and wilful blindness, without comparison too much to be suffered any longer! We see and will not see; we know and will not know; yea, we smart and will not feel, and that our conscience well knoweth. O miserable and brainless souls, which would, for foolish pleasures and slippery wealth, lose the royal kingdom and permanent joys of God, with the everlasting glory which he hath prepared for them that truly love him, and renounce the world. The children of the world live in pleasure and wealth; and the devil, who is their god and prince of this world, keepeth their wealth which is proper unto them, and letteth them enjoy it. But let us which be of Christ, seek and inquire for heavenly things, which, by God's promise and mercy in Christ, shall be peculiar unto us. Let, I say, the Cretians, Epicures, and such other beastly Belials and carnal people, pass for things that be pleasant for the body, and do appertain to this transitory life: Yet shall they once, as the kingly prophet saith, run about the city of God to and fro, howling like dogs, desiring one scrap of the joys of God's elect; but all too late, as the rich glutton did.
"Let us therefore pass for those things that do pertain to the spirit, and be celestial. We must be here, saith Paul, not as inhabiters, and home-dwellers, but as strangers: not as strangers only, but, after the mind of Paul, as painful soldiers appointed of our Governor to fight against the governor of the darkness of this world, against spiritual craftiness in heavenly things. The time is come; we must to it; the judgment must begin first at the house of God. Began they not first with the green and sappy tree? and what followed then on the dry branches? Jeremy speaking in the person of God, saith; In the city wherein my name is invocated, will I begin to punish: but as for you, (meaning the wicked,) shall you be as innocents, and not once touched? For the dregs of God's wrath, the bottom of all sorrows, are reserved unto them in the end: but God's household shall drink the flower of the cup of his mercy. And therefore let us say with Hezekiah, Play the men, and shrink not. Let us comfort ourselves, for the Lord is with us our helper, and fighteth for us. The Lord is, saith he, with you, when you be with him; and when you seek him, he will be found of you: and again, When you forsake him, he will forsake you.
"Wherefore we ought not to be dismayed, or discourage ourselves, but rather to be of good comfort; not to be sad, but merry; not sorrowful, but joyful, in that God of his goodness will vouchsafe to take us as his beloved children, to subdue our sinful lusts, our wretched flesh and blood, unto his glory, the promoting of his holy word, and edifying of his church. What if the earthly house of this our habitation (Paul meaning the body) be destroyed? We know assuredly we shall have a building of God not made with hands, but everlasting in heaven, with such joys as faith taketh not, hope toucheth not, and charity apprehendeth not. They pass all desires and wishes. Gotten they may be by Christ; esteemed they cannot be: wherefore the more affliction and persecution the word of God bringeth, the more felicity and greater joy abide in heaven. But the worldly peace, idle ease, wealthy pleasure, and this present and pleasant transitory life and felicity, which the ungodly foolishly imagine to procure unto themselves by persecuting and thrusting away the gospel, shall turn unto their own trouble, and at last unto horrible destructions and mutations of realms and countries; and, after this life, if they repent not, unto their perpetual infelicity, perdition, and damnation. For they had rather with Nabal, and his temporal pleasures, descend to the devil, than with poor Christ, and his bodily troubles, ascend unto the kingdom of God his Father. But an unwise man, saith the psalmist, comprehendeth them not; neither doth the foolish understand them: that is, these bloody persecutors grow up and flourish like the flower and grass in the field. But unto this end do they so flourish, that they might be cut down and cast into the fire for ever. For, as Job saith, Their joy lasteth but the twinkling of an eye, and death shall lie gnawing upon them, as doth the flock upon the pasture; yea, the cruel worm, late repentance,(as in Mark is said,) shall lie gnawing, tormenting, and accusing their wretched conscience for evermore.
"Let us therefore, good Christians, be constant in obeying God, rather than men. For although they slay our sinful bodies (yea, rather our deadly enemies) for God's verity, yet they cannot do it, but by God's sufferance and good-will, to his praise and honour, and to our eternal joy and felicity. For our blood shed for the gospel shall preach it with more fruit, and greater furtherance, than did our mouths, lives, and writings, as did the blood of Abel, Stephen, with many others more. What though they laugh Christ and his word to scorn, which sit in the chair of perverse, pestilent scorners? to whom, as to the wise Gentiles of the world, the gospel of Christ is but foolishness, as it was to the Jews a slander and a stumbling-stone, whereat they now, being fallen, have provoked the wrath and vengeance of God upon them.
"These are the days of vengeance, saith Luke, that all things written may be fulfilled. And surely it shall be no less than a huge storm of evils that shall come upon us, because that a long and cursed obstinate maliciousness of us hath gone before, crying in the ears of the Lord God of hosts; who, so many times and so many ways, have been provoked with the unspeakable riches of his goodness, his patience and long-suffering, to amendment, and have nevertheless contemned the same, and proceeded forward to worse and worse, provoking and stirring the presence of God's majesty unto anger.
"Now therefore, saith God, by the mouth of his prophet, I will come unto thee, and I will send my wrath upon thee. Upon thee, I say, O England! and punish thee according to thy ways, and reward thee after all thine abominations. Thou hast kindled the fire of God's wrath, and hast stirred up the coals: for thou wast once lightened, and hadst tasted of the heavenly gift, and wast become partaker of the Holy Ghost, and hadst tasted of the good word of God; yea, it is yet in thy mouth, saith the prophet. Alas, O England! thou knewest thy Lord and Master's will, but didst nothing thereafter: Thou must therefore, saith he, suffer many stripes, and many sharp strokes, and walk in the glittering and hot flame of thine own fire, and in the coals that thou hast kindled. This cometh to thee from my hand, saith the Lord, namely, that thou shalt sleep in sorrow; yea, even so thou shalt. The plain truth telleth the tale; the immutable justice of the ever-living God, and the ordinary course of his plagues from the beginning, confirm the same. The joy of our heart, saith Jeremy, is gone, our glory is fallen away, our merry singing is turned into mourning, the garland of our head is fallen. Alas, and weal away, that ever we sinned so sore: woe worth all abominations and wickedness; woe worth cloaked hypocrisy; woe worth our carnal liberty; woe worth our most cursed idolatry. For, because of these things, saith the Lord, ye shall perish with sword, hunger, and pestilence.
"Wherefore, let all the wicked enemies of Christ, and all the unbelievers, look to be tormented and vexed with all hellish furies, and clean without hope at God's accounting day, which know not God in Christ to be their very righteousness, their life, their only salvation and alone Saviour, nor believe in him. They must, saith St. John, needs abide and perish with their sins in death, and in eternal damnation. But we be the children of saints, as the elder Toby did answer, and look for another life, which God shall give to all them which change not their faith, and shrink not from him. Rejoice, therefore, ye Christian afflicted brethren; for they cannot take our souls and bodies out of the hands of the Almighty, which be kept as in the bosom of our most sweet and loving Father: and if we abide fast in Christ, and turn not away like weathercocks, surely we shall live for ever. Christ affirmeth the same, saying, My sheep hear my voice; I know them; they hearken unto me, and to no strangers; and I give them everlasting life, for they shall not be lost, and no man shall pluck them out of my hands: no, nor yet this flattering world with all his vain pleasures, nor any tyrant with his great threats and stout brags, can once move them out of the way of eternal life. What consolation and comfort may we have more pleasant and effectuous than this? God is on our side, and fighteth for us; he suffereth, he smarteth, and is afflicted with us. As the world can do nothing against his might, neither in taking away or diminishing of his glory, nor putting him from his celestial throne; so can it neither harm nor hurt any one of his children, without his goodwill. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, and as dear to him as the apple of his eye.
"Let us therefore, with an earnest faith, set fast hold and sure feeling upon the promises of God in the gospel, and let us not be sundered from the same by any temptation, tribulation, or persecution. Let us consider the verity of God to be invincible, inviolable, and immutable, promising and giving us his faithful soldiers life eternal. It is he only that hath deserved it for us. It is his only benefit, and of his only mere mercy; and unto him only must we render thanks. Let not therefore the vain fantasies and dreams of men, and foolish gauds and toys of the world, nor the crafty delusions of the devil, drive and separate us from our hope of the crown of righteousness, that is laid up in store for us against the last day. Oh! that happy and merry last day, (I mean to the faithful,) when Christ by his covenant shall grant and give unto them that overcome, and keep his words to the end, that they may ascend and sit in seat with him, as he hath ascended and sitteth on throne with his Father. The same body and soul that is now with Christ afflicted, shall then be with Christ glorified: now in the butcher's hands, as sheep appointed to die; then sitting at God's table with Christ in his kingdom, as God's honourable and dear children, where we shall have for earthly poverty, heavenly riches; for hunger and thirst, saturity of the pleasant presence of the glory of God; for sorrows, troubles, and cold irons, celestial joys, and the company of angels; and for a bodily death, life eternal. O happy souls! O precious death, and evermore blessed! right dear in the eyes of God: to you the spring of the Lord shall ever be flourishing. Then, as saith Isaiah, The redeemed shall return and come again into Sion, praising the Lord; and eternal mercies shall be over their heads: they shall obtain mirth and solace; sorrow and woe shall be utterly vanquished. Yea, I am he, saith the Lord, that in all things giveth you everlasting consolation. To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory and praise for ever, Amen.
Another letter written to the Christian congregation by Robert Samuel, wherein he declareth the confession of his faith.
"The belief of the heart justifieth, and the knowledge with the mouth maketh a man safe."
"Fear not the curse of men; be not afraid of their blasphemies and revilings; for worms and moths shall eat them up like cloth and wool; but my righteousness shall endure for ever, and my saving health from generation to generation.
"Considering with myself these perilous times, perishing days, and the unconstant and miserable state of man, the decay of our faith, the sinister report and false slander of God's most holy word, these urgent causes in conscience do constrain me to confess and acknowledge my faith and meaning in Christ's holy religion, as St. Peter teacheth me, saying, Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, and that with meekness and fear, having a good conscience; that when they backbite you as evildoers, they may be ashamed, forasmuch as they have falsely accused your good conversation in Christ."
"As touching my doctrine, for that little talent that God hath given me, God I take to record, mine own conscience and mine auditory knoweth, that I neither in doctrine nor manners willingly taught any other thing than I received of the holy patriarchs, prophets, Christ, and his apostles. For it were not only sin, but also the very part of a cursed miscreant, to deny, belie, or betray, the innocency of that heavenly doctrine, or to be ashamed to confess and stand to the defence of the same, seeing that Christ planted it with his most precious blood, and all good men have more esteemed the true and infallible word of God, than all this transitory world, or their own mortal lives. And I believe this doctrine of the patriarchs, prophets, Christ, and his apostles, to be sufficient and absolutely perfect to instruct and teach me and all the holy church, of our duties towards God, the magistrates, and our neighbours.
"First and principally I do assuredly believe, without any doubting, that there is one Deity or Divine essence, and infinite substance; which is both called, and is indeed God everlasting, unbodily, unpartible; unmeasurable in power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things, as well visible as invisible: and yet there be three distinct persons, all of one Godhead or Divine being, and all of one power, coequal, consubstantial, coeternal -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, &c. As touching God the Father of heaven, I believe as much as Holy Scripture teacheth me to believe. The Father is the first person in the Trinity, first cause of our salvation, which hath blessed us with all manner of blessings in heavenly things by Christ; which hath chosen us before the foundations of the world were laid, that we should be holy and without blame before him; who hath predestinated usand ordained us to be his children of adoption, through Christ Jesu; in him, as it is said, we live, we move, and have our being; he nourisheth, feedeth, and giveth meat to every creature.
"And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord. I believe that the Word, that is, the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, did take man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; so that there be in him two natures, a Divine nature, and a human nature, in the unity of one person inseparable, conjoined and knit in one Christ, truly God and truly man, the express and perfect image of the invisible God, wherein the will of God the Father shineth apparently, and wherein man, as it were in a glass, may behold what he ought to do, that he may please God the Father.
"Born of the Virgin Mary; truly suffering his passion; crucified, dead, and buried, to the intent to bring us again into favour with God the Father Almighty, and to be a sacrifice, host, and oblation, not only for original sin, but also for all actual sins of the whole generation of mankind. For all the works, merits, deservings, doings, and obedience of man towards God, although they be done by the Spirit of God, in the grace of God, yet being thus done, be of no validity, worthiness, nor merit before God, except God for his mercy and grace account them worthy for the worthiness and merits of Christ Jesus.
"The same Christ went down to the hells, and truly rose again the third day, and ascended into the heavens, that he might there still reign, and have dominion over all creatures: and from thence shall come, &c.
"I believe in the Holy Ghost, coequal with God the Father and the Son, and proceeding from them both; by whose virtue, strength, and operation, the true catholic church, which is the communion and society of saints, is guided in all truth and verity, and kept from all errors and false doctrine, the devil, and all power of sin: which church is sanctified and hallowed with the precious blood and spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ; which hath also her sign and mark, that she heareth and followeth the voice of her only and true pastor Christ, and no strangers. This church also is the house of God, the congregation of the living God, the pillar of truth, the lively body of Christ, a church both in name and in deed.
"I believe the remission of sins, by the only means and merits of Christ's death and passion; who is made unto us, of God, that only sacrifice and oblation offered once for all and for ever, for all them that be sanctified.
"I believe the resurrection of the body, whereby in the last day all men shall rise again from death, the souls joined again to the bodies, the good to everlasting life, the wicked to everlasting pain and punishment. And nothing may more certainly establish and confirm our faith, that we shall rise again immortal both in body and soul, than the resurrection of Christ our Saviour, and first-fruits of the dead. Now that Christ our Head is risen, we, being his body and members, must follow our Head. Death, hell, and sin cannot sunder nor pluck us from him; for as the Son cannot be divided nor sundered from the Father, nor the Holy Ghost from them both, no more may we, being the faithful members of Christ, be separated from Christ. And for a confirmation of our resurrection, Christ would be seen after his resurrection in his most glorious body, his wounds being handled and felt, speaking and teaching, eating and drinking, &c. We look, saith St. Paul, for Jesus Christ our Saviour, which shall transfigure our vile bodies, and conform them to his glorious body, by the same power and virtue wherewith he is able to subdue all things: even like as the grain of wheat sown in the ground is first putrefied and brought as into a thing of nought; yet, after that, it springeth up freshly with a more goodly colour, form, and beauty than it had before. The body is sown in corruption, and riseth in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, and riseth in honour.
"Thus I verily know, and assuredly believe, the resurrection of our bodies, and to have life eternal by Christ, and for Christ's sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, saith Christ, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into damnation, but is escaped from death to life. It is Christ that died once for our sins, and is risen again, never more to die. It is he that swallowed up death, and hath cast it under his feet for ever. What now can death do unto us? Verily nothing else, but for a little time separate our precious souls from our wretched bodies, that divine substance from a mass of sin, that eternal life from a body of death, and so send our souls out of this miserable, wretched, and sorrowful life, cumbered with all calamities, unto that most blessed felicity, and joys eternal.
"As concerning the holy and reverend sacraments of Christ's church, which be in number two, the sacrament of baptism, and the supper of the Lord: I believe them to be as St. Paul calleth them, confirmations or seals of God's promises, which have added to them a promise of grace; and therefore they are called visible signs of invisible grace.
"The sacrament of baptism is a mark of Christ's church, a seal and confirmation of our acception into the grace and favour of God for Christ's sake. For his innocency, his righteousness, his holiness, his justice, is ours, given us of God; and our sins and unrighteousness, by his obedience and abasing of himself to the death of the cross, are his, whereof baptism is the sign, seal, and confirmation.
"Baptism is also a sign of repentance, to testify that we be born to the waves of perils, and changes of life, to the intent that we should die continually, as long as we live, from sin, and rise again like new men unto righteousness.
"The other sacrament, which is the supper and holy Maundy of our Saviour Christ, whereby the church of Christ is known, I believe to be a remembrance of Christ's death and passion, a seal and confirmation of his most precious body given unto death, even to the vile death of the cross, wherewith we are redeemed and delivered from sin, death, hell, and damnation. It is a visible word, because it worketh the same thing in the eyes, which the word worketh in the ears. For like as the word is a mean to the ears, whereby the Holy Ghost moveth the heart to believe, so this sacrament is a mean to the eyes, whereby the Holy Ghost moveth the heart to believe: it preacheth peace between God and man; it exhorteth to mutual love and all godly life, and teacheth to contemn the world for the life to come, when Christ shall appear, which now is in heaven, and no where else as concerning his human body.
"Yet do I believe assuredly, that his very body is present in his most holy supper at the contemplation of our spiritual eyes, and so verily eaten with the mouth of our faith. For, as soon as I hear these most comfortable and heavenly words spoken and pronounced by the mouth of the minister, This is my body which is given for you; when I hear (I say) this heavenly harmony of God's infallible promises and truth, I look not upon, neither do I behold, bread and wine; for I take and believe the words simply and plainly, even as Christ spake them. For hearing these words, my senses be rapt and utterly excluded; for faith wholly taketh place, and not flesh, nor the carnal imaginations of our gross, fleshly, and unreverent eating after the manner of our bodily food, which profiteth nothing at all, as Christ witnesseth; but with a sorrowful and wounded conscience, a hungry and thirsty soul, a pure and faithful mind, do fully embrace, behold, and feed and look upon, that most glorious body of Christ in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father, very God and very man, which was crucified and slain, and his blood shed for our sins, there now making intercession, offering and giving his holy body for me, for my body, for my ransom, for my full price and satisfaction, who is my Christ, and all that ever he hath; and by this spiritual and faithful eating of this lively and heavenly bread, I feel the most sweet sap and taste of the fruits, benefits, and unspeakable joys of Christ's death and passion, fully digested into the bowels of my soul. For my mind is quieted from all worldly adversities, turmoilings, and troubles; my conscience is pacified from sin, death, hell, and damnation; my soul is full, and hath even enough, and will no more; for all things are but loss, vile dung and dross, vain vanity, for the excellent knowledge-sake of Christ Jean my Lord and Saviour.
"Thus now is Christ's flesh my very meat indeed, and his blood my very drink indeed, and I am become flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones. Now I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: yea, I dwell in him, and he in me; for, through faith in Christ and for Christ's sake we are one, that is, of one consent, mind, and fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Thus am I assured and fully persuaded, and on this Rock have I builded, by God's grace, my dwelling and resting-place for body and soul, life and death. And thus I commit my cause unto Christ the righteous and just Judge, who will another day judge these debates and controversies; whom I humbly beseech to cast his tender and merciful eyes upon the afflicted and ruinous churches, and shortly to reduce them into a godly and perpetual concord. Amen.
"Thus do I believe, and this is my faith and my understanding in Christ my Saviour, and his true and holy religion. And this whosoever is ashamed to do, among this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.