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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 476. THE CONCLUSION OF THE WORK.


            And thus to conclude, good Christian reader, this present tractation, not for lack of matter, but to shorten rather the matter for largeness of the volume, I here stay for this present time, without further addition of more discourse, either to overweary thee with longer tediousness, or overcharge the book with longer prolixity; having hitherto set forth the acts and proceedings of the whole church of Christ, namely, of the church of England, although not in such particular perfection, that nothing hath overpassed us; yet in such general sufficiency, that I trust not very much hath escaped us, necessary to be known, touching the principal affairs, doings, and proceedings of the church and churchmen. Wherein may be seen the whole state, order, descent, course, and continuance of the same, the increase and decrease of true religion, the creeping in of superstition, the horrible troubles of persecution, the wonderful assistance of the Almighty in maintaining his truth, the glorious constancy of Christ's martyrs, the rage of the enemies, the alteration of times, the travails and troubles of the church, from the first primitive age of Christ's gospel, to the end of Queen Mary, and the beginning of this our gracious Queen Elizabeth. During the time of her happy reign, which hath hitherto continued (through the gracious protection of the Lord) the space now of twenty-four years, as my wish is, so I would be glad the good will of the Lord were so, that no more matter of such lamentable stories may ever be offered hereafter to write upon. But so it is, I cannot tell how, the elder the world waxeth, the longer it continueth, the nearer it hasteneth to its end, the more Satan rageth; giving still new matter of writing books and volumes: insomuch that if all were recorded and committed to history, that within the said compass of this queen's reign hitherto hath happened, in Scotland, Flanders, France, Spain, Germany, besides this our own country of England and Ireland, with other countries more, I verily suppose one Eusebius, or Polyhistor, which Pliny writeth of, would not suffice thereunto.

            But of these incidents and occurrents hereafter more, as it shall please the Lord to give grace and space. In the mean time, the grace of the Lord Jesus work with thee, gentle reader, in all thy studious readings. And while thou hast space, so employ thyself to read, that by reading thou mayest learn daily to know that which may profit thy soul. may teach thee experience, may arm thee with patience, and instruct thee in all spiritual knowledge more and more to thy perpetual comfort and salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord; to whom be glory in secula seculorum, Amen.


Illustration -- Colophon