A bryefe and plaine declaracion of certayne sentēces in this litle boke folowing, to satisfie the consciences of them that haue iudged me therby to be a fauourer of the Ana­baptistes

Ecclesia xxiiii. ¶ All these thynges contayneth the booke of lyfe, the testamēt of the hyghest, and the confession of the truth
☞ Suffer the infantes to come vnto me and forbydde them not: for vn­to suche, the kyngdome of God is due.Mark. x.

To the reader.

AFter I had setfurth thys lytle booke to the intent that the faythfull reader might therby be sterred vp and proud ked to pray wout ceasyng, yt the detractours and defamours of the faythfull professours of yt faith of Christ, might ether be made fa­uourers & sette [...] furth of the same: other els so cōfounded and dashed out of countenaūce through the Godlye conuersation of the true and vnfayned professours of the pure Euan­geli [...]e doctrine, that they might not for verye worldly shame once open their lippes to speak anye euyl worde of them: incontinent the De­uyl who ha [...]h alwayes indeuoured to stoppe and hynder the glory of God and the profyte of hys membres (the faythfull congregation) put into the myndes of certayne learned men, (who also are ernest defenders & setters furth of the truthe) to reporte and affyrme thys my facte, to bee a mayntenaunce and vpholdyng of the Anabaptistes opinion, whiche denied it to be lawful to Baptise the Infantes & yong children which are not of yeares of descresion to know and confesse the fayth of Iesu Christ Not muche vnlyke is this subtyle practise of oure gostlye aduersarie, vnto that whyche he wrought in the tyme of Christes passion. He dyd then beate into the head of Pilates wyfe suche kynde of dreames: that she was thereby moued to send worde to her husbande that in no case he shoulde geue sentence agaynst that iust man Iesus Chryst, whom the Iewes had than broughte before hym, requiryng hym to geue sentence of death vpon hym, because he sayde that he was the sonne of God. Thys [Page] proceaded not of anye desyre that he had, that Pilate should not commyt so haynous a faut as to geue sentence agaynst that most innocēt and immaculate lambe Iesu Chryst: but of y greate ranker & malice that he bare towardes man, who could not otherwyse be restored thē by the bloudshed of that most pure and inno­cent lambe Iesu Chryst. Euen so (most dearly beloued) in this present practise, our gostly e­nemy intented not to roote out the erroure of the Anabaptistes oute of the myndes of men: but because he perseiueth yt the very name of thē is so odious to yt faithfull yt they thinke their bokes vnworthy to be had among christē mē: he thought yt he myghte by no meanes so sone bryng me out of credite wt the cōgregatiō as if he myght procure some man (whose au­thoritie is greate in the congregation) to geue me the name of a fauourer of that moost wic­ked and dyuelish opinion: and so to cause mē to refrayne this boke, least they should by the readyng therof, take any vtilitie or profyt.

But, as the spirit of God shalbe my guyde, so wyl I declare, not onely that I am none of the fauourers and maintainers of that desta­ble errour, but also that I do (as muche as in me lieth) impugne and resist the same, so that, that wicked serpent, shalbe by the same mea­nes defeated of his purpose: by whiche he in tended to haue spoyled the of thy commodi­tie. Fyrst thou shalt note that I am no fauou­rer of them or theyr opinions, for that I shall playnelye declare that the scriptures whyche they aledge, make nothynge for their purpose And thē, that I do in al that I may impugne [Page] them, by that I shal endeuour to establysh [...] fyrmeby the scriptures: the contrarye of their opinion. For the fyrst thou shalt note, that the ground of their opiniō is vpon the order that the Euangelis [...] Mark kepeth in the rehersing of the wordes of Christ to his Apostles when he sent thē to preach. Marke. xvi. Fayth saye they, dothe in the wordes of Chryst go before Bapt [...]me. Necessarye is it therefore, that he that shalbe Baptised do first beleue. But the Infantes (which haue not the vse of reason) cannot vnderstande the fayth of Chryst (and muche lesse embrace and professe it) wherfore, it cannot stande with the worde of God that Infantes should be baptised. No doubt (chri­sten reader it is not possible that any shoulde be acceptable before God, without fayth. For so writeth Paul to the Hebrues. xi. And truth it is also, that sayth must go before baptisme, none other wyse th [...]n the cause proceadeth or goeth before the effect or thyng that commeth thereof, as the tree must neades be before the fruit that it beareth. And it is also infallibly true, that the Baptisme whiche is acceptable before God must neades springe out of fayth But to inferré vpon this, that the Infantes and yong chyldren oughte not to be baptised: is farwyde from the true m [...]anynge of these places of scripture. And yt shal casely appeare to theim that [...]st to weygh the circumstaun­ces of the places so that thei may conceiue the whole intent and purpose of the wryter.

First for t [...]e wordes of our sauiour Christ in Mark, thei wer the word [...]s of commission [...]euen to the Apostles, that they shuld go into [Page] the whole world and preach the Gospell vnto all creatures. These wordes sowne, that the Apostles myght not chose them anye peculiar nacion to preach vnto, nether Iewe nor Gen­tyle, nother Greke nor Romain. But their cō ­mission was into al the world, yea. & to preach to all creatures the Gospel of God. No naci­on, no estate, condicion or degree, excepted. As wel were they bound to preache to the plow­man as to the prynce, as well to the labourer, as to the lorde. God hath no respect to the per son, All the sonnes of Adam are of one degree in the syght of the Lorde. Here was no menci­on made Infantes neither of anye other age. But I am sure ther is no man so farre wyde as once to thynke that the Apostles were here in commaunded to preache vnto Infantes. For they as beastes lacking the vse of reason cannot receiue the fayth that hath his begyn­nyng of hearyng (as saynt Paull wryteth) in this text therefore is no precepte of Infantes ether for the Baptisynge of theim other elles the leauyng of them vnbaptised. The precept that is heare geuen is none other but to go in to al the world and to preach the Gospel to al nations, estates and degrees. Then is there a­nexed the promyse of the free mercye of God towardes all the worlde, that is, that whoso­euer should beleaue and be baptised should be saued, but he that wyl not beleue shalbe com­demned. Here is it manifest, that without be­leue, Baptisme auayleth not. For he that wyl not beleue shalbe condempned. But heare we must beware that we do not by these wordes condemne all Infantes and yong chyldren, be [Page] cause they haue not the power to vnderstande and beleue. For this part of y text partaineth no more vnto them, thē the other (concerning the precept of the preachyng) doth. This place of scriptur therfore, is to be vnderstanded of them onely that haue the vse of reasone to per ceiue and vnderstāde the preachyng of the go­spell: and yet wyll not embrace it, and receyue baptisme, the signe of the washynge of theyr sinnes by the preciouse bloude of our sauiour Christe shedde for the redēption of the world. As for the other texte, that is of Paule to the Hebrues the. xi. chapit. wherin is declared that without faieth non can he acceptable to God: apparteyneth also vnto suche as are of yeres of discreciō. For in al the chapter, is ther none rehersed but such as were of age & discrecion. Wherfore we maye iustly inferre herof, that it is not possible that any persone shoulde bee acceptable vnto god in hys workes, without the worke that he doeth, do proceade of a pure and sincere fayth. For as the prophet Esaye, sayth in his. lxiiii. chap. Out workes are al as the cloth yt is defiled with menstruous bloud. And further, [...]. Paule to the Romaynes. xiiii The workes that procede not of fayth are sin Fayth it is therfore that maketh our doinges acceptable vnto God, and without fayth no­thyng that we doo is acceptable. Wherupon I infer that excepte the congregation whych Baptise they [...] chyldrē do it of faith: this their Baptisyng is synne in the syght of God, and therfore not acceptable vnto God. But if the [...] do it of fayth [...]rusting that God shal plant in the hertes of the infantes that lyuynge fayth [Page] that may cause them to confesse his name whē they shal receyue the vse of reasō: then is this their facte no lesse acceptable before God the [...] the deede of Abraham was when he vpon the fayth that he had in the promyse of God: Cir­cusised al the males of hys housholde. For, as Circumcision was a signe or token to declare that all they that receiued it, trusted to bee re­deamed by the Mesias that was promysed to the sayde Abraham, and as the fathers to declare thier faythful hope, dyd not onely cyr­cumsise theim selues, but their chyldren and familes also: so is Baptisme a signe to declare that the receiuers therof, doo vnfaynedly be­leue that yt bloud of Chryst hath washed their sinnes, And vppon lyke trust as the fathers had, that God wyl extēd his mercy vnto their chyldren and famyly: they do baptise them al­so, as appeareth in the actes of the Apostles, wher is mencion made of certayne mē whose families and housholdes were Baptised whē thei, had receiued the fayth. But here it myght be sayd that in these places it is mēcioned that the whole families beleued and then receiued Baptisme. So that the infantes (whych had no beleue) remayned styll vnbaptised. Wher­vnto I aunswere, that if the Parentes were faithful, they coulde not chose but theyr faith would constrayne them to do as those fayth ful dyd yt brought their chyldren vnto Christ, Marke. x. And then the Apostles I am sure were not so forgetfull but that they bare in mynde the wordes of their maister who rebu­ked thē for forbidding the children to approch hym, whych were brought by theyr faythfull [Page] parentes that he myght put hys hand on them Yea, [...] doubte not but that after the example of theyr maister, they embraced the infantes declaring thē to be the inheritours of the king dome of God, and that none should enter that kyngdome: vnlesse he woulde become a [...] one of them. Thus haue I declared myne opinion concernynge the Baptisme of infantes (as I trust) sufficietly to satisfy them that haue in [...] ­staken me, & to declare that all such sentences (in this litle boke) as doo so greatly impugne Baptisme without faith: are to be vnderstād so, that nether they that be of age ought to be Baptised without they do fyrst beleue and cō fesse Chryst: nor the infantes onles the fayth ful congregation do with one assent offer thē at the font of regeneration with ful mynd and he [...]tie desire to haue them membres of the church of Christ, hauyng most sure and certayn hope that God [...] [...]oorke in thē such maner of fayth as shal cause thē at the yeares of discre­tion to professe and folow the doctri­ne of Christ, to whom wyth the father and th [...] holye gost bee all honour for euer and euer▪ [...]o be it

A BRIFE AND FAYTH full declaration of the true fayth of Christ, made by certeyne men susspected of heresye in these articles folowyng.

i. Thessalonians. v. ☞ Quenche not the spirite, despise not the propheciynges, but proue all thynges, and kepe that, that is good.
Esaye. v. ☞ Wo be vnto them that call good euyll, and euyl good, whyche make darke­nesse lyght, and light darke­nesse.

¶ Anno. M. D. xlvii. Per me I.D.

The Prologe.

SEynge that saynte Paule sayeth to the Ephesiās iiii. that there is but one fayth or beliefe, so may euery christen man her­tely morne, when he seeth that so manye and diuers faythes are founde, amonge them that boste them selues to be christen men. Also that the one dreadfully sclaundereth and with great tyranny persecuteth the other, and that wythout indifferencie. But also the lorde Iesu Christe hath sayed: that in the last dayes shall be many offended, and the one shall betraye the other, and the one hate the other. And that ma ny false prophetes and false christen shal aryse and seduce many. For thys cause is it very ne­cessary that euery christen man faythfully crye vnto God wyth continual prayer, that he wy [...] gyue hym a stedfast beliefe, and wyl kepe hym in the ryghte waye, that he do not go into cro­ked wayes, through the gyle or disceyt of false hypocrysye of the false christen or prophe [...]es. And God wyll doubtlesse kepe his electe from Sathan & his ministers, although the tyme be neuer so perylous, or neuer so many dampna­ble sectes be broughte forth, yea althoughe the darkenesse shouldè couer whole Egypte, yet shall God neuertheles let his face lighten ouer all trewe Israelites, so that they shall knowe his wayes vpon the earth, and his saluacion amonge the heathen. And although Himeneus and Phile [...]us do turne from the ryghte waye, neuerthelesse the sure grounde of God stan­deth euer faste, and hath thys seale, that God knoweth them that are his. For we know wel that God (howe be it') that he out of his vn­measurable n [...]ye & grace, yea out of the vn­expressable loue of his fatherly hert, defendeth [Page] his childrē frō al euyl, yet neuerthelesse wyl he be prayed vnto of them as we haue many en­samples therof in scrypture, how that the ho­ly men in theyr trybulacion or angwyshe haue called vnto god, and haue ben herd and holpen of hym. And seyng then that the ryght christen euer for theyr befifes sake greuously are trou­bled, yea as golde and syluer in the fyre bothe with bodely troble and fals doctryne vnd [...]t­sought and proued: it is therfore very necessa­rye that we praye the lorde with all dilygence for a ryght vnderstādyng of his godly worde, and for a sure vnmouable fayth for euermor. Also it is not vnnecessarye yt they beare theyr beliefe, conteyned in wrytynge alwayes about them, and dayly rede it partly to the e [...]horting and confortyng of them in all persecution and tribulacions, which may come vnto them by goddes worde Partly agayne for a defence a­gaynste all antech [...]ystes spyrytes, whyche al­wayes i [...]dae the fayth of the rightuouse, how chrystenly so en [...]r it be, and how many feste so euer it agreeth with all godly scrypture, fo [...] an heresye, yea for a deuelyshe doctryne and gvle shal it be compted. Say ii. [...]or. vi. And of this so doynge, no man shall merueyle, seynge, that all sayntes haue b [...]n taken for transgressours or seducers, of this euill blynde worlde. Yea Iesus Christe him selfe though [...]e [...]e the euer [...]astynge truth (Iohn. [...]iiii) was taken of vn­myse Scrihes and Pharises, for a b [...]gyler of the people. I [...]an. vii. yea for a mad man, and a man [...]ossessyd with the deuyl.ò lorde what a blas [...]heinye, And his doct [...]ine was not taken of them as goddes worde, but as a disseuable s [...]ducynge, not as breade of lyfe, nor as a medicine [Page] for the soule, but compted as a poyson or venym of the wycked serpent.

Seynge then that the Lorde dyd suffer, reason it is for the seruaunte to suffer also. And all that, that is come vpon the lorde, that muste (as trewlye as Goddes worde is) ouer­come the seruaunt also.

Here vpon maye euerye seruaunt or disci­ple of Iesu Christe prepare hym for he must be readye, to suffer all confusion, sclaunder, and tribulation for hys Lorde and maysters sake.

We therfore perceyuynge thys, wyll not be moued wyth the scaunder of the wycked peo­ple, the whyche sclaunder oure fayth for here­sy, and yet many of them knowe not what we beleue, but as they here of oure aduersaryes, and therafter do they iudge vs. Notwithstan­dynge though we do not regarde theyr sclaun­der, yet neuerthelesse wyll we (so farre as it is possible) mete them, & wryte (through the grace of God) oure fayth: bycause that euerye man maye reade it, and then may they wyth vnder­standing and with christen charitie iudge. The which we, both of al good dili­gent readers, and also of oure aduersaryes frendely desyre, and mekely pray.

¶ Here endeth the Prologe.

The articles of the chri [...]ten fayth.

I Beleue in God the father almighty, ma­ker of heauē & earth. And in Iesu Christ hys onely sonne oure Lorde, whyche was con­ceyued by the holye gooste, and borne of Ma­rye the virgyn. He suffered vnder Poncius Pylate, he was crucifyed, dead and buryed. He desended to hell, and rose the thyrde daye from death. He ascended to the heauens, and syttteth on the ryght hande of God the father almyghty. And frō thens shal he come to iudge the quicke and dead. I beleue in the holy goost the holy churche catholyke, to be a congrega­cion of sayntes, to haue remission of synnes, the resurrection of the fleshe, and the euerla­stynge lyfe.

☞ At the fyrst we beleue in one God. Deut. vi. & father of our lorde Iesus Christ. ii. Cor. i. the whyche is the Lorde of heauen and earth. Luke. xi. and creatour of al creatures. Hebre. i. Yea he is father of vs all. Ephe. iiii. the which hath elected vs to be his crildren through Iesu Christe. Ephe. i. And therfore shall we hym all onely worship, & besyde hym none other gods. Deut. v [...]. Also we shall feare him as an almigh ty god. Psal. xxxiiii. and as a mercyfull father we shal loue him wyth al oure hertes, with all our soule, and wyth al our power and mynde. Mat. xxii. and vpon him muste stande all oure hope. Hiere. vii. For he is the father of lyghte. Iacob. i. of the whythe all mankynde lyueth, Actu. xvii. both [...]odelye goodes Prouerbeo. x. euerlastynge saluacion. Psalm. xxxvii. togy­ther wyth al perfyte gyftes come, and descen­ded. Iacob. i.

☞ Forthermore we beleue in Iesu Christe, the sōne of the lyuing god our lorde. i. Cor. vii [Page] The whiche is the very bryghtnesse of his fa­thers glorye, and the verye ymage of his sub­staunce. Hebre. i. Yea he is the onely begotten sonne of the father. Iohn. i. come forth out of the mouth of the moste hyghest God. Eccles. i. xxiii. fyrst borne before all creatures. Collos. i. Thorowe the whiche all thynges are created. Heb. i. In whom we haue redempcion, namely remission of synnes thorow his bloude. Col. i. wyth the whyche he hath wasshed vs. Apoc. i. and hath also recōciled vs agayne to hys most holy and gloriouse father. Ephes i. ii. that were afore enemyes to God. Roma. viii.

¶ For after the tyme that god had made man after his ymage and similitude, he set hym in­to Paradise, that he shoulde eate of al the fru­ites of the garden of pleasure, exceptynge hym the tre of knowledge of good & euyil. Gene. ii. But man hath disobeyed the Lorde his God, and transgressed his commaūdement. Gen. iii. Thorowe the whyche disobedience and trans­gression of the godlye commaundement, death and curse is come ouer all mankynde. Rom. v. And when there was no helpe nor comfort for man, wherby he myghte haue bene redemed or delyuered out of Sathans power. Then had God the merciful father pitie vpon mankinde and promised thē a sead namely Iesus Christ, his onelye begotten sonne, the whiche shoulde treade vpon t [...]e head of the serpent, and ouer­come the deuyll, and restore thē to lyfe agayne. Gene. iii. And lyke wyse as god is ryghtuouse in al his wayes, and holye in all his workes. Psal. criv. and [...]ew in al his wordes. Psal. li. so hath he kepte all his promyses truely. And as the tyme was fulfylled. Gala. iiii. God let [Page] hys worde descende into the wombe of the vyrgyn Marye, and by the workynge of the holy gooste be came fleshe: as Iohn wytnesseth saiyng: The word became flesh & dwelt amonge vs, & we saw his glory, as the glory of the one­ly begottē sonne of the father ful of grace and verite Iohn. i. Also thys onely begotten sone of god by the powre of the holy ghoste became man and is become lyke vnto vs in all thinges except synne Hebre. ii. He hathsuffered death for our sake. Esay. liii. and hath taken awaye Sathans powre, and restored lyfe in agyne. i. Timot. vi. yea he is made vnto vs wysdome and ryghtwysnes, sanctyfyenge and redemp­tion. i. Cor. i. And lykewyse as he dyed for our synnes. Hebre. ii. so is he rysen agayn through the powre of his father Roma. vi. for our righ tuousnes Roma. iiii. And as he oftentymes shewed hym felfe after his resurreccyon, vnto his dyscyples. Acti. i. so is he ascended into hea uen in thyr presence. Luke. xxiiii. And sytteth at the right hande of the almighty rather. Ro. viii. Aboue all rule, and myght, and dominion and aboue all that maye be named, not onely in thys world, but also in the world to come [...]phesi. i. And hath subdewed all thynges vn­der hys fete. Hebre. ii. in summa, he is alorde a­boue all lordes, and a kyng aboue all kynges. Apo. xix. yea he is an almighty god with his fa ther. Apo. xxii. Iohn. x. And neuerthelesse he is also our onely aduocate and mediator. i. Iohn. ii. Tymo. ii. our onely hye priest. Hebre. v. the sacrifyce that he hath done for our synnes, a­bydeth of valure for euermore. [...] ebre x.

☞ Forthermore likewyse as Christ our lord is ascended vp into heauen, so shall he come a­gayne [Page] from heauen Act. i. wyth the dominion of his father, & with the angels. Mat. xxv. for to gyue euery man rewarde after his workes, yea for to iuge yt quicke & dead. Act. x. Tim. iiii

☞ We beleue also in the holy gost god with the father & the sōne, which holy goste is a tea­cher of all chrysten. Ioh. xiiii. and he doth cloth them with his gyftes, and giueth euery one the measure of feyth after his owne wyll. i. Corin xii. and kepeth them vnmouable in one fayth, for he is a ruler of the christian congregacyon Acti. xx. He is also the anoyntement. i. Iohn. ii. wherwith all christē are anoynted, and of that behalfe are called the anoynted of the lorde. Psal. ciiii.

☞ So is this holy gost geuē vnto the christē as an erneste of theyr inherytaunce to theyr re dempcyon, and they agayne be his owne to the prayse of his glorye Ephesi. i. In summa it is impossible without this holy ghoste to knowe god ryghtly. i. Cor. ii. or with all the hole herte to beleue vpon hun. i. Corin. xii. or to call vpon him as a father. Roma. viii. And therfore doth god poure this his holy ghoste vpon his chil dren, wherby thei may rightly knowe him, and ryghtly beleue in hym, and as a ryght father call vpon hym. Sata. iiii.

☞ This is our belefe to the father sōne and holy ghoste, which thre we knowledge to be one god. Deut. vi. whose seate is the heauen, and the erth is a benche of his fete. Esay. xivi. yea the which is an euerlastynge. ii. Mach. i. an almyghty. Psal. [...]v. a ryhgtuouse. Psa. ii. and a mercyfull god. Psal. cxiv. The which alone wylbe worshypped and serued. Deu. vi. For he can alone helpe vs. Esaye. xliii. whyche [Page] he doth for his names sáke & not for oure rygh tuousenes sake Esay. rliii.

☞ Forthermore as we haue said that al they that do beleue are ioyned togyther, & through the holy goost knitte in vnitie, so is there a chri sten church, the with is buylded of lyuing sto­nes. i. Pet. ii. which church is the house of god. Heb. iii. & the house of god is the congregacion of God. i. Timoi. iii. and the congregacyon of God is the bodye of Christ. Ephesians. i. And seynge that al right christians are one bodye. [...]. Cor. r. in the which they al through one spirite are baptised. i. Cor. rii. So muste there be a cō ­munion of sayntes, namely that al sayntes or true beleuers are also ioyned togyther in vni­tie, as the membres of one body. Rom. xii. And in this cōmuniō of saintes is remission of sin­nes, & that wout it is no sinne forgiuē, nor any hope of saluacion. Ephe. ii. yea like as it is vn­possible yt a mēbre cā lyue that is not in the bo dy, so is it possible yt any man may lyue in hys soule, & cā be releaced out of death by remissiō of synne, the which is not a mēbre of the body of Christ. For Christ hath recōciled vs al vnto god his father in one bodye. Ephe. ii. And ther fore must al they stāde in variaūce yt are no [...] bres of this body, of yt which Christ is yt head. Eph. i. to the which he giueth saluaciō. Eph. [...]

☞ Now must we also knowe that howe be it that God alwayes forgyueth synnes. Esay. xliii. yet hath Christ giuen vnto his congrega­cion power to bynde and to lowse which shall not be vnderscāde after the antichrist doctrine the byshoppe of Rome hath power to remitte synnes, but the christen congregacion whose heade is Christe, and not the Romyshe Ante­christ, [Page] and is rewled of the holy gooste and not of the fornicatyshe spirite of the Prophetysse Iesabell. Thys congregacion I saye hath po­wer to bynde & lowse (that is to saye) all what she byndeth other lowseth is done by the po­wer of oure Lorde Iesu Christe. i. Cor. v. and thorow the holy goste, as a rewler of the chri­sten congregacion. Actu. xx. so is there in the christen congregacion remission of synnes.

☞ There shal be also a general resurrection of the fleshe, namely that all they that are dead shal ryse agayne, some to euerlastyng lyfe, and some to euerlasting dampnacion. Iohn. v And they that shall lyue and remayne vntyl the cō ­myng of our Lorde Iesu Christe, they shall be chaunged in the twynkelynge of an eye, at the tyme of the last [...]ompet. i. Corhin. xv. For the trompet (sayth Paule) shal blow, and the dead shal ryse vncorruptible, and we shalbe chaun­ged. For this corruptible body must put on vn corruptibilitie, and thys mortall bodye muste put on immortalitie. i. Corhin. xv.

☞ At the laste is there also an euerlastynge lyfe. Iohn. xvii. whyche all they shall receyue that beleue on Iesu Ihrist. Iohn. vl. and sted­fastlye abyde in good workes sekynge prayse honour, and immortalitie. Roma. ii.

☞ Thys is the summe of oure beliefe, yea and a ryght christen beliefe, thorowe the which fayth all ryghtuouse lyue. A [...]ac. ii. And wyth out the whyth beliefe no man may please god. Heb. xv. Therfore must the euerlastynge God be blessed, that out of his immeasurable mercy and grace, hath gyuen vs thys fayth thorowe Iesu Christe. Ephe. ii. And this is the some of our fayth wyth the shortest.

¶ The sacrament of Baptysme.

BAptysme is a sacramenttall token, the whiche is geuen vs of Christe. Math. xxviiii. And is at the fyrste an entrynge into the christen congregacyon (as Paule sayth) we are baptysed in one spirite to be one bodye. i. Corhi. xii.

☞ Secondarily, it is a fountayne of regene­racion, as Paul witnesseth, saying that Christ hath saued vs by the fountayne of the newe byrthe, and renewynge of the holy gooste. Tit. [...]. Not that the water doth saue vs, for no­thynge can saue vs, but ouely god, Esay. xliii. But after that our Lorde Iesu christ hath spo ken: that he that beleueth and is baptised shal be saued. Mar. xvi. and Goddes worde is ve­ritie. Iohan. xvii and his promyses maye not fayle. Psal. cxlvii. Therefore muste baptisme nead [...]s bringe saluacion vnto them that in be­liefe are baptised, not for the workes sake, but for goddes worde and promises D [...]u. viii.

☞ Thyrdely baptysme is a couenaunt of a good conscience to god. i. Pet. iii. namelye that he that in beliefe is baptised, bindeth him selfe or maketh a couenaunt with god: that from thens forth he wyll lyue after hys wyll. And of this couenauntes behalfe, whiche muste be done out of a cleane faythfull herte, hath the baptysme powre, and not for the waters sake, wherwith the fylthynesse of the fleshe myghte be washed awaye. But wythout it be that the hertes of them that are baptysed, be cleansed. Act. xv. thorowe Goddes worde. Iohn. rv. the water can not [...] them. Wherwith it is also proued, that baptisme without fayth may in no wyse be broked.

☞ Forthly baptisme sygnifieth an offeryng [Page] of the fleshe, and a resurrectyon into a newe lyfe, as we haue vnto the Romaines, know ye not (sayeth Paule) that al we whiche are bap­tysed, in the name of Iesu Christe, are bapty­sed, to dye wyth him. Therfore are we buryed wyth hym by baptysme for to dye, that lyke wyse as Christ was raysed vp from death, by the glory of the father, euē so we should walke in a newe lyfe. [...]. Rom. vi. This is now short­ly expressed what baptysme is, and what it signifyeth. Nowe muste we also knowe, that se­ynge no good worke wythout fayth maye be done. Rom. xiiii. So muste he that shal be bap­tysed beleue, or els he can not ryghtly be bapti­sed, as we maye clearelye vnderstande in the wordes of Christ Iesu, wherwyth he hath institute this baptysme, and commaunded his a­postles, sayinge: Go and preache the gospell to [...] creatures, he that beleueth and is baptysed, shalbe saued. Mar. xvi. Here wyll no sophisti­ [...] reasonynges and dreames be alowed, for the Lorde wyll destroye the wysedome of the wyse, and wyll take awaye the vnderstanding of the prudent, and wyl make the wisedome of thys worlde folishnesse. i. Cor i. and. iii. But the worde of God shal abyde for euer. i. Pet. i. And Christe sayeth: that heauen and earth shal perishe, but my wordes shal abide. Mat. xxiiii. Therfore muste also the wordes of Christe (he that beleueth and is baptysed &c.) not be alte­red or chaunged. And seynge that Christe hath instituted or ordeyned fayth afore baptisme, so muste he that shal be baptised beleue, or els the wordes of Christ suffereth force, and are wholye and fals [...]lye altered and chaunged, as we now a dayes alas may [...]e, and it is a miserable [Page] thynge, that thys baptysme is so euyll vnder­stande, and so shamefully broken. And seynge that the scripture doth so clearely therof wyt­nesse. Though that all the wytnesses of scrip­ture perteynyng to thys matter, be not here al­ledged for the shortnesse sake, yet do we take out one of them, namely the example of the A­postle Philip, which when he shewed Goddes worde vnto the gelded man, whyche was the chamberlayne to Candas, Quene of the Mo­ryans, and he him selfe desyred to be baptised, but the [...]ewe minister of god Philip, woulde not baptyse hym, excepte he dyd not onely be­leue, but also openly cōfessed it. Act. viii. This example is well worthye to be marked, for [...]t the fyrste we maye se here the greate diligence and howe desyrous the chamberlayne was of baptysme, whyche is a learnyng vnto al them that loue theyr saluacion, that they shal desyre thys worke hertelye, and not deferre it, b [...] as sone as they by hearyng of the worde of [...]. Roma. x. wyth the operacion of the holy go [...]st i. Cor. xi [...]. hath receyued fayth. And yf there be any mā that wyl not be satisfied with this en­sample of Philip, let hym perceyue also howe Ananias dyd compel Paule, saying vnto him: why taryest thou? aryse and be baptysed, and washe a waye thy synnes. A [...]tu. xxii. Here we se that Baptysme, after the fayth is receyued, maye not be deferred. Therfore hath the cham berlayne with greate diligence desyred baptis­me after that he dyd beleue, saying vnto Phi­lip: Beholde here is water, what shoulde lefte me to be baptysed? Actuum. viii. Forthermore seynge [...]he trewe minister of God Philippe, woulde not baptyse hym, excepte he confes­sed [Page] his fayth: doubtlesse he hath therwyth tea­ched vs, that all they that wyll be baptysed, muste confesse theyr beliefe, as ye se the cham­berlayne dyd.

But for as muche as all the former scriptures are spoken of them onelye that bee of yeres of discretion before they receyue the fayeth of Christ: It is no altering of the institution and worde of Christe, to baptyse the innocentes and vnbeleuynge infauntes, whyche haue not as yet receyued the vse of reason, wherby they myght decerne fayth to beleue and professe the name of Christe. For as in the circumsition of the olde lawe the fayth of the parentes suffi­ced to make the chylde one of the chosen peo­ple of God, notwythstandyng that the circum­sicion of the flesh is not circūsicion (as Paule wrytteth to the Romaynes) but the circumsi­on of the herte, euen so in the baptisme of our infantes, notwythstandynge that the washing of the body in water is not baptysme, but the washynge of the soule in the bloude of Christe by fayth: yet shall the fayth of the parentes be accepted of God and theyr chyldren made mē ­bers of the churche of Christe therby. Yf anye require wytnesses of the scripture for thys as­sersion: lette hym reade and consyder well the storye of Samson, and Samuell, wyth other lyke storyes of the olde testament, wherin may easilie be perceyued how god dyd then accepte the chyldren for the parentes fayth. Let him cō syder also the stories of the gospel, wherin ap­peareth how Christ woulde not haue the chyl­drē kepte frō him when theyr parētes brought them to hym that he myght laye his handes v­pon them, and how certeyne chyldren were cu­red [Page] of diseases euen for the fayeth that was founde in theyr parentes. And laste of all it is euident both in the Actes, and Epistles of the Apostles, that when certeyne men receyued the gospell, both they and theyr whole housholdes were baptysed. Where it is not to be thought that the infantes were reiected, bycause they could not vnderstande the Apostles preaching. For saynte Paule wrytiynge to the Corhin­thians as concernynge the chyldren begotten betwene an heathen man and a faythfull wo­man, or betwene an heathen woman & a fayth­full man: sayeth that the chyldren are cleane by the reasone that one of his parentes is fayth­full. And what other thynge shoulde [...]e meane ther [...]y but that God accepteth those chyldren for members of his churche, whom the fayth­full parentes do wyllyngly brynge to the foun tayne of regeneratiō, there to receyue the signe of the euerlastynge couenaunte betwene God and vs? And yf any man wyl wyllingly with­stande Christe and his Apostles, and do other wyse then Christe hath commaunded, and his Apostles taughte and dyd, he is blynded, but his blyndnesse shall waxe mani­fest well ynough. Lykewyse as the Egypcians sorcerars, the whiche wythstode Moy­ses and Aaron, but at the laste were ma­nifestlye seen and kno­wen. ii. Timo. iii. Thys is wyth the shortest the fayth of our baptisme.

¶ Of the supper of the lorde.

THe supper of the lorde, is a memoriall tokē of the suffering and death of Ie­su Christe and is instituted of Chryste for this cause, that the faythfull congregacyon of Ie­su Chryst, sholde come togyther, for to shewe the death of Iesu Chryst, and his benefytes, laudynge and thankynge hym, magnyfyenge his holy name, and then also eate of this bread and dryncke of thys wyne, to a remembraunce that Chryste hath gyuen his body and shed his bloude for vs. Math xxvi. And because that it is a comyn vse that a token of remembraunce hath the name of the thynge that is remenbred by it. Therfore hath Chryst called the breade his bodye, and the wyne his bloude: not that his substaunce is in the breade and wyne, but that we sholde remember hym therby. Lyke­wyse as the [...]aster lābe was called the passyng by, and yet was it not in it selfe the very pas syng by, but a token or remembraunce of the passyng by. Deynge now that the easter lambe hath the name of the thing that the Israelites remembred by it, and wherby they myght euer lastyngly kepe in remembraunce the benefytes of god, right conuenient is it that Christe hath called the breade his body, and the wyne hys bloud bicause that we shoulde remēber therby his death and passion, yea the only sacrifice of his body, whiche he hath sufferyd to be broken and his bloud to be shed for vs. Neuerthelesse how be it that the materyall body of Chryste is not in the bread, nor his bloude in the wyne, yet neuerthelesse is the supper of the Lorde [...] parttakynge (but spyrytually) of the body and bloud of Chryste, as Paule sayth: Is not the [...]uppe of thankes geuyng wherwith we gyue [Page] thākes, a parte taking of the bloud of Christ? And the bread that we breake, is it not the [...] takyng of the body of Chryste? These wordes of Paule do witnesse clerely that the faythful eate the body of Christ spiritually, vnder the breade and wyne yea lykewyse as a bryde re­ceyueth her housbande with a rynge, euen so receyue the faithfull Christe to be theyr owne and euerlastynge saluacyon. But that some men wyll haue that the bodyly presence sholde be in the breade, is a great mysse vnderstan­dynge of the godly worde: yea it is an ante­chrystes doctryne, which is contrary bothe to our fayth and to al holy scrypture. For we be leue and holy scrypture beareth wytnes, that Chryste after his resurrection is ascended vp into heauen, and sytteth vpon the ryght hand of his almighty father. Rom. viii. And bideth ther as concernynge hys bodyly presence, but spiritually he hath promised to abide with vs to the ende of the worlde in hys worde Mat. xxviii. And seynge that now Chryste as concer nyng his bodely presence abydeth at the ryght hand of his father Hebre. x. so may not the bo­dy of Chryste be in the breade. And agayne it is agaynst all truth that Chryste at one tyme hath ben in many or diuers places, as touching his body. Forthermore we do dayly se what dredful ydolatrye is s [...]rong out of the carnall vnderstandynge of these wordes of Chryste: This is my body, and yet dayly spryngeth, to the great and abominable slaunder of the ho­noure of god so that men worshype a piece of breade for theyr god, yea and holde that to be theyr maker. And the papystes locke hym in [...]olde and syluer, not remēbrynge what Paule [Page] and Stephen wytnesse sayenge: The mooste hyghest wyll not dwell in temples made wyth mannes handes. Actes. vii. and. xvii. O blynde men that are so bewytched of the whore, that ye can not nor wyll not beleue the manifeste truth, O blyndnesse and great presumptuous­nesse of the papistes, that wyll take vpon them to fetche Iesu Christe out of heauen, into a piece of breade, whyche is consumable, as we clearelye se by experience, and that it shoulde be worshypped for God, whyche is euerlastynge and vnchaungeable. Nowe what remedye for we can not helpe it, therfore muste we do as the Lorde Iesu Christe spake vnto hys apo­stles of the phariseis, sayinge: Let them go for they are blynde, and leaders of the blinde, whē one blynde leadeth an oth [...]r, so fall they both into the dytche. Mat. xv. But the Lorde muste be thāked that out of his vnmeasurable grace hath [...]ned our eyes, that we can se & knowe, wherfore we shal take the bread and the wyne in the supper, namely for a memoriall and to­ken of the sufferyng and death of Iesu Christ yea for the body and bloud of Christe: but that for the by names sake, and not of the material thynges behalfe, as is aboue rehearsed of the Easter Lambe.

☞ Forthermore the supper of the Lorde is also a ioynynge togyther of the christen cō [...]re­gacion in loue. And also the congregacion that wyl holde thys supper, muste be well appoyn­ted and ioyned togyther in brotherly loue, yea they must stande in one spirite and soule. Phi­lip. i. hauing a burning loue. For Paule sayth: we many are one breade and one bodye, in as muche as we are partakers of one bread. Lyke [Page] wise as yt mebres of one body are not in stri [...] one agaynste an other: but in a charitable vni­tie seruynge one an other. i. Corhi. xii. so maye there no stryfe nor debate be founde in the con gregacion of God. i. Corhin. i. so that any man shoulde onely care and take thought for hym selfe, and not care nor loke vpon his brothers lacke, but the one muste helpe and care for the other in al thynges necessary, where he can or maye Gal. vi. and no man must seke that, that is his, but euery one the others wealth. Phi­lip. ii. And lykewise as of the graynes of corne can not be baken breade, but through fyre: euē so can not the congregacion be a right spiritu­all lofe (wherof Paule speaketh) but through burning loue & charitie. And so ought yt christē congregacion to be one lofe. i. Cor. x. For lyke­wyse as many graynes are sowen to the entēt that breade shoulde be baked of it. So soweth the greate father of housholde his preciouse wheate into the acre or grounde of this world, to the entent that they all shoulde become one lofe, and breake the supper of the Lorde right­ly after the wordes of Paule: we many are all one breade and one body, in as much as we are parte takers of one breade. i. Cor. x. And where so euer the congregacion is not so apoynted and the breade broken in thys maner, there is the bread eaten, and the wyne drōken to a iud­gement, from the whiche God the merciful fa­ther wyll defende and kepe all diligent lo­uers of the euerlastyng trueth tho­ [...]owe his vnexpressable goodnesse and mercye.


¶ Of the very chrstian kyngdome.

VVE beleue also that god the heauēly fa­ther, hath gyuen to his onely begotten sone Iesu Christe, al powre in heauen and erth Math. xxviii. yea as Paule sayth: He hath set hym on his ryght hande in heauenly thynges aboue all powre, rule, myght and domynyon, and a boue al that maye be named not onely in this worlde, but also in the worlde tocome. Ephe. i. Aboue all this hath the heauēly father especyally instituted and ordeined Iesu Christ his onely begotten sonne, to be a kyng ouer the mount of Syon that is to say, ouer the faythfull congregacyon. Psalm. ii. whiche faythful congregacion is the kyngdome of Chryst. Col. i. And the domynyon of thys kyngdome stan­deth not in a carnall dominion or powre: But lykewise as the lorde is a spirite. ii. Corhinthi­ans. iii. euen so is hys kyngdome spirituall in­wardly within vs. Luke. xvii. and not of this worlde. Iohn. xviii. wherefore the prophete za­charie promysed vs a kynge thorough the holy ghoste, the which shold not come with vi [...]iable dominion, nor great worldly tryumphe, but wt an humble and a meke spyrite, And shoulde not [...]ule as a worldly kynge ouer the carnal Sy­on or Israel, but shoulde rayngne a spirytuall kynge, and rule the spirituall Israelytes with the scepter of his godly worde. And these are the wordes of the prophet. Reioyse thou great lye O doughter Syon, be glad O doughter Ierusalem, beholde thy kynge cometh vnto the [...]owly and symple is he, he rideth vpon an Asse and vpon the foele of an Asse, euen thy right­wyse and sauyour, and he hym selfe is poore [...]. ix. These wordes of the prophete wytnesse [Page] clearely that Christes kyngdome is spirituall, and standeth not in any outward dominion. Iohn. xviii. And lykewyse all these prophetes do witnesse in these chapyters folowing. Esa. iiii. ix. Ierem. xxiii. xxxii. Esechi. xxxiiii. xxxvii. Myth. iiii. Therfore do we holde the doctryne of the carnal kingdome of Christ to be a dred­full errowr, and a great heresye, yea we holde it to be an heresye, of the Chilcastes, the which now agayne is raysed amongest thē of Myn­ster, & hath breyded her out in other places, to the great slaunder and hinderaunce of the true gospel of god. Forthermore yf any man take vpon him and presume to be the promysed Da uyd or a kynge of Syon as Iohn Layden at Mynster hath done, hym do we holde for an antechriste aboue all antichristes, yea boue the Romysh Antechryste. How dredful so euer he hath slaundered god, and exalted hym selfe a­gainst the almighty god, and yet it is not com to suche an abhominacion, as to put hym selfe a kynge of Sion, or to take vpon hym to be a promysed dauyd: But in these dayes ryse so many abhominable and presumptuous spirite fulfylled with all maner of wyckednes, and sathans pride, that take vpon them to rebbe Iesu Christe of his kingli sc [...]pter, and to take it vnto them selfes: wo be vnto all suche dred ful slaunderers of the godly maiesty or powre. wo be also vnto the seduceres which go about with witchecrafte wherwith they haue begy­led many men. Wooe be also vnto all them whyche do not seperate them selues frō those antechrystes and seducers, but yet do seke help or comforte of them, yea that leaue the verye Moy [...]en Iesu Christ and desire other goddes [Page] to go afore them, vpon thē shal fal that which is spoken of by the prophete Ieremye: Lorde they that do forsake the shalbe destroyed, and they that turne from the shall be ashamed, and theyr names shall be wrytten in the earthe, for they haue leaft the, the lyuynge fountayne of water. Beholde therfore wyll we by the grace of God, abyde by oure spirituall Kynge Iesu Christe, and pray hym that his kyngdome may encrease in vs, yea that he wyll defende vs from all euyll and reserue vs to his euerlastyng heauenly kyngdome, to his glory and honoure for euer.


¶ The weapons wherwyth a very christian ought to fyght.

SEynge that the whole Gospell of our [...] Sauiour wytnesseth that the christian must suffer, & in no wyse may reuenge the euil. So that we thynke by the helpe of god, not to turne from the holsome doctrine of our Lorde Iesu Christ. For it is righte conuenient that a seruaunt wyth his lordes cōmaundement, and a disciple wyth his maysters doctrine to be cō ­tented. Mat x. And here now may no sophisti­cal cauillacions nor fonde ymaginacions be a­lowed, as though the wordes of Iesu Christe shoulde nowe be at an ende. And seynge that Christ sayth vnto his apostles: what I say vn to you, that do I saye vnto al, watche ye, hea­uen and earth shal perishe, but my wordes shal neuer peryshe. Therfore do we holde them for dreadful seducers and abominable heretykes, that w [...]ll pre [...]ume to saye, that the doctrine of [Page] Iesu Christ (as cōcernyng suffering) should be [...]t an ende, & that the christen shoulde no more nede to suffer, but that they shoulde cast away the weapons wher wt the apostles haue fought as theyr epistles rchearse, & put vpon them the harneys of Dauid, yea that they shoulde de­stroy the whole worlde wt the material sworde and also take the worlde vnto them selues. O what a blinde dreame is this, which is spronge out of Sathā, & is cōtrary to the whole gospel of our lorde Iesu Christ. O what an iniquitie is this of thē, that wyl with the chyldrē of Is­rael leaue the lorde the foūtayne of lyuing wa­ters, & dygge them selues pyttes the whyche do seme fay [...]e, but they cā giue no water. O what a blindnes, yea what a folyshnes is it of them, that for the sayinges of the prophetes, whyche they vnderstande not, wyll refuse & leaue the moste highest prophet, the onely begottē sonne of god, & the euerlastynge veritie Iesu Christe and do not dreade to exalte the olde testamente aboue the new, & to set Moyses aboue Christ? O god shal now the new testament auoyed for the olde, & shal the preciouse bloud of the inno­cent lambe Iesu Christ be coūted lesse then the bloud of calues? O lorde how are these mē so blynded that they with the styffenecked Isra­elites do abhorre the lyuing breade of heauen, and do desyre [...]he flesh of Egypt, that is to say they do refuse Iesu Christe the very breade of heauen, & do huger after mennes doctrine and inuēted dr [...]es, & after [...]isceyuable prophetes? But we wyl by the grace of god abyde by our lorde & maister Iesu Christ, & holde it vnd [...]ni­able, that no vncleane doctrine whiche myghte be agaynst the gospel of our lorde Iesu Christ [Page] maye be broughte in or suffered, but he alone muste be allowed, for he is lorde maister & Sa­uiour, & besydes him is none other. In summa we know of none other veritie, nor of none o­ther waye, of none other lyfe, but onely of Ie­su Christe. Iohn. xiiii. For thys cause yf there come any prophecies or visions that wil draw vs from this holsome doctrine of Iesu Christ they muste be accursed. Furthermore how and wyth what weapons that the christian shall fyghte, doth Paule clearelye teache vs to the Ephesians in the syxte Chapter wyth these wordes: Stande therfore and your loynes gyr ded about wyth the truth, hauyng on, the brest plate of rightuousenes, and shodde vpon your fete wyth the gospell of peace, that you maye be prepared, a [...]oue all thynges take holde of the shelde of fayth, wher wyth ye may quentch the fyry dartes of the wycked, & take the helme of saluacion, and the sworde of he spirite, whyche is the worde of God. And Iohn sayth Al that is borne of god ouercometh the world. And thys is the victorye that ouercometh the worlde, euen our fayth. Who is it that ouer­cometh the worlde, but he that beleueth that Iesus is the sonne of God. Out of these wor­des of Iohn maye all ryght christians wel vn­derstande that the victorye standeth in an vp­ryghte fayeth, and not in anye carnall and outward [...] weapon. And we do holde it wyth the Apostle Iohn, and are also content wyth Paule, so that we wyl holde wyth them, all straunge doctrine whyche myght be contrary to the Gospell of Iesu Christe, for vtter­ly accursed.

Gala. i.

¶ Of Matrymonye.

OF matrymonye we do hold now in the newe testament not after the wyl of Moyses nor after the ensampel of the patriat ches, but as god instytuted it in paradyse, and as it was restituted agayne of Chryste, and brought agayn to the fyrst institucion, namely that Matrimony is a ioynynge togyther of [...] persons, that is to say a man and a woman, af ter the wordes of the lord: They two shall be one fleshe. Genes. ii. And for this cause hath Paule commaunded the byshopes & deacons, euery one of thē to be a housband of one wyfe Out of the whiche texte muste nedes folowe, that no chrysten man may haue more then one wife, or els had Paule robbed the byshoppes and deacons of theyr comon chrystian lyber­tye, yea he had tangled them in a snare, which is vnpossyble. i. Cor. vi. so is it not to be foūde in any apostels wrytynge, that any Chrysten man in or after the apostels tymes hath bene Polygamus (that is to saye) hath had manye wyues. What yt the apostles haue not taught nor vsed, in theyr congregacyon, that shal not wee teache nor vse as an necessarye thinge [...]o mans saluacyon. For els muste it folowe that the apostels had not knowen nor taught all the trueh, which is against the words and promise of Iesu Christ, which promised to his apostels sayeng: when the conforter the holy ghoste shal come he shall teache you all the trueth. Ihon. xiiii. And Paul toke god to witnesse yt present day that he was pure from the bloud of al mē for he had kept nothing backe but had shewed them all the coūsell of god, Acti. xx. Nowe is it well knowen that Paule taughte not that a Chrysten man shoulde haue many wyues, and [Page] therfore it is not the counsell or wyll of God: but muche more is the counsel and wyl of god, that a christian shall haue but one wyfe. Se­ynge that all the newe Testament alway spea keth of one man and one wyfe, as appeareth by these chapirers. Mathewe. xix. Marke. x. [...]. Timothe. iii. Titu. i. i. Corhinth. vii. Ephe. v. And therfore can not we approue the Iewes Poligamians the whyche some haue begonne. But we holde vs after the ensample of Adam and Eue, and also in thys matter it is restitu­sted agayne by Christe. Mathew. xix. Marke. x. we are also wel cōtented with Paule, which doth saye that for auoydyng fornicacion eue­rye man shall haue his owne wyfe, and euerye woman her owne husbande Also that Matri­mony is a soy [...]ynge togyther of man and wo­man, after the worde of the Lorde: These two shall be one fleshe. Genesis. ii. Mathewe. xix. Marke. x. Ephesians. v.

☞ Thys is the confession of oure fayth, in the which we hope that nothyng shal be foūde but the pure trueth of the Gospell, yf so be that it be not iudged after mannes good thyn­kynge, but onelye after the rule of thy Godlye worde. And notwythstandynge bycause that we wyll gyue no plase vnto the sclaunderers, that of a presumptuouse hygh mynded spirite myghte sclaunder or rayse vpon vs, we are al­wayes readye, and offer our selues, that yf a­ny christen man beyng learned in the scripture, can reproue vs wyth Goddes worde in anye thynge that shoulde fayle vs of the trueth, to hym we shall and wyll alwayes gladly as dis­ciples vnto ther [...] maiste [...] gyue place, and glad­ly wyth all toy sulnesse of the spirite, recey [...]e al [Page] christen doctrine of hym. Seynge that Peter a prince of the Apostles muste suffer that he was rebulted of Paule, reasone it is that we shoulde suffer to be rebuked, yf we throughe mannes ignoraunce were fallen in erroure, we that are poore seruaūtes of the Lorde, & skant­ly haue receyued one pounde, where as Peter had receyued fyue, the whyche our vnderstan­dyng is no more to be lykened to the high apo­stles wisdome, then a gnat by a camell. And we know also that Solomon sayth: Be not wyse in thyne owne conceyte. And agayne: He that refuseth to be refourmed, despiseth his owne soule, but he that submitteth hym selfe to cor­rection is wyse. And for thys cause wyl we al­wayes be diligent to heare, and with all m [...]ke­nes submitte our selues vnto him, that coulde teach vs any doctrine, more agreable to the ho­ly scripture: But yf any man wyll condempne our fayth without the iudgement of scripture & iudge it after the prouerbe: as the blinde iug­geth the colour, that muste & wyl we suffer for gods sake. Also yf any mā wil be our Pharao and treade vs downe bicause yt we be Ilsrae­lites or fayne would be, in this wyl we aso cō fort vs wt the holy scripture, hoping yt our hea uēly father shall haue mercy ouer vs, through Iesu Christ, & strēgth vs so wt his holy goste, yt we shal not care for the dreadful sclaūder o­uer our fayth. And we perceyuing yt blyndnes of the comō people, & the great tyrāny of certē princes, so yt the comō people are so blinded in their memory, yt they cā not iudge the light frō darkenes nor the right frō vnrightuousnes or lyes frō the truth, yea they crie ouer Iesu that be shalbe crucified, and Bara [...]as shalbe let go. [Page] And also dyuers prynces are so full of tyrāny that they do persecute the chrysten, and wyth­out any mercy put them to the moste greuous and cruell death, not remembryng that the in­nocent bloude of the ryghtuouse Abell cryeth for vengeaunce, agaynste the murderer Cain, vnto God in heauen. Neuerthelesse the scrip­ture must be ful [...]illed, namely that all they that wyll lyue godly in Chryste Iesu, muste suffer p [...]rsecucyon. And chryst sayth to his apostels: Haue they persecuted me, they shall also perse­cute you. And therfore saith Iohn in his epis­tle: Be [...]old what loue the father hath shewed on vs, that we should be called his chylderne: Therfore the world doth not knowe you, by­cause it knoweth not hym. With those and more other scriptures, maye wee comforte our selues, and especyallye wyth the wordes of Chryste, sayeng: Blessed are they that suffer persecucyon for ryghtuousnes sake, for theyrs is the kyngdom of heauen. Blessed are ye whē men r [...]uyle you and persecute you, and falsely say all maner euill sayenges agaynste you, for my names sake. Reioyse and be glad, for great is your rewarde in heauen And we praye god our heauenlye father, thorow oure lorde Iesu Chryste▪ the which out of his vnmeasurable mercye and grace, hathe gyuen vs a cleare vp­ryght f [...]yth, that he kepe and reserue vs forth in thys peryllous tyme, frome all false doc­trynes of the mynisters of the hellish Sathan And that we thorowe the Aungells coloure, which they often tymes haue vpon them, may not be per [...]erted to [...]aue the trueth of god And forther [...]e do wee praye vnto the lorde. that he wyll so strength and fortyfye vs with [Page] his holy gooste, that we do not ware wery of [...]s sufferynge persecution for the ryghtuousnesset sake: but that we maye be able to stande in all dreadfull sclaunder, and tyrannous persecuci­ons of the wycked Antechristes spirites, yea and that we rather, yf it be neade suffer thys bodely death, byding in our fayth, then we shoulde forsake it, and dye eter­nally. Frō the which eternal death the Lorde God preserue [...] them that loue and seke hym wyth all theyr hert through Iesu Christe our Saui­our. To whom be laude, prayse, honour, ma­ [...]estie, and domi­nion, for euer.


To the reader.

NOthing cā be so plain, so manifest or op [...]: but the cauillour (who seketh nothing els but doubtes) wil finde abosidaunce of mattier therin, to make the same, at the fyrste syght to appeare harde, obscure and darke. In like ma­ner, he the lyueynge of the faythfull beleauers in C [...]histe neuer so Godly and agreable to the truth, be it neuer so quiet, peaceable and ciuile: yet wyl the aduersaries fynde mattier ynough to deface it so, that the simple people shal iudge none other but that they be heretykes, & they [...] lyues, a [...]ominable, theyr sayinges & doynges sediciouse, disquiet and sclaunderouse. What man can deuyse to wryte more Godlye then Paule dyd to the Romaynes? And yet were there some that sayed he woulde haue men to synne, [...]o the intente that the mercye of God myght be the more aboundaunt in the forgiue­ynge of the same Roma. iii. Who coulde leade so godly a lyfe, in suche austeritie, and harde­nesse as Iohn the Baptiste dyd? And dyd not the Iewse saye that he had a dyuell in hym? To be b [...]fe, who conlde frequent the compa­ny of synners and misleueynge people, wyth so perfyte crample of lyueynge, haueynge so great force to drawe them from theyr wicked­nesse to folowe his example, as Christe dyd? And dyd not the Pharisies reporte hym to be a frende and maynteyner of euyll lyuers and open s [...]ners? Math. ri. The same schole mai­ster that instructed these false detractours: hath also, and doeth daylye, instructe oure pa­pistes, in the [...]ame his documentes, and playne lections. The deuyll I saye, leaueth not hys olde pr [...]actyse, but kepeth his dearelye beloued [...]n [...]re wythal. Yf any man preache or wryte of [Page] the iustificacion by fayeth, and doe therin de­clare the vnworthinesse of vs and our workes whyche can desetue nothinge towarde our iu­stification: incōtinent they c [...]e out vpon hym heretyke, he sayeth men shal be saued thought they lyue neuer so vngodlye. Vf he speake any thynge concernynge the abuse of the ceremo­nies and sacramentes: what [...]rclamacions do they make? howe do they reporte hym to be a sacramentarye? Yf he speake anye thynge of Baptisme: declaryng that neyther the holynes of the water, neyther of the oyle, can gyue the grace therin promised, and that the was shynge in the founte auayleth not them that obserue not the profession they make there: howe de­testable an anabaptiste shall he be compted? Of the supper of the Lorde, who can wryte or speake any thynge concernyng the abuse ther­of, but he is charged wyth the vtter deniall of the same? That thou therfore (christen reader) mayst so wythdrawe thy credyt frō these false reporters, that thou wylte but once thynke it possible that they maye belye these men, whom they cal men of the newe learnyng: I haue set forth thys lyttle boke wherein thou mayste se what fayth they haue, that beare thys euyl re­porte. And that thou mayste thereby be prouo­ked fyrste to trye the spirites whether they be of God or not, and after to credyt them euen as thou shalte fynde them worthye. The pro­uerbe teacheth the, that it is not all golde that glyttereth, and we haue learned by experience, that it is not all Gospell that the prieste prea­cheth. Trye the golde therfore by the toutche stone▪ & the priestes preachinge by the worde of God. Prou [...] the spirites, and knowe for cer­tentie [Page] that, that spirite is not of God? whyche denieth that Christe is come in the fleshe. And what other thynge is that, then to denye that hys comynge in the fleshe is the sufficient and onelye satisfaction for oure synnes? Who so euer he be therfore, that denieth vs to be frelye redeamed by Christe wythout any part of our desertes: the same denyeth Christe to be come in the fleshe. If thou proue them therfore, once to haue denyed on thys wyse that Christ came in the flesh: I besech y, euen for Christes sake: to trye theyr reportes by the scripture or thou credyt them. And thē as thou fyndest them so take them. The Lorde open the eyes of thyne herte that thou mayst se the hydde and secretes ab­hominacions.


☞ Praye Christian reader that the worde of the Lord may haue free passage, and that we may lyue a God ly lyfe there after, that it may be acceptable in hys syght.


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