Our sauiour Iesus Christ hath not ouercharged his chirche with many ceremonies.

The Lorde shall knit vp his mynde in fewe wordes for our rightwise making / euē by faith onely to be iustified.

Esaye. x.

M.D.XLIII. in Febru.

IT behoueth / and it is necessary also: That euerye Christen mā know & beleue / owr lord Iesus Christe not to haue ouerchar­ged his chirche with ouer ma­ny ceremonies / rites / lawes and preceptes. And also to knowe which be the principall lessons / doctrines / and preceptes all redy in nowmbre / concerning the verye trwe wor­ship of god / and owr christen religion: whereby the cōgregaciō of christe is so perfytely and sufficiēt­ly enstruct / that we can / ne oughte not to seke for / or desyer anye more.

PAul / the chosen vessel of God / writing vnto his disciple Timothe / prophesied that in the later dayes / there shulde be men all for them selues / the louers of them selues / and of no man els / couetuouse / stoute / stobborne / and prowd / which wil be sene to haue a glittering shewe of godlines:ij. Timothe .iij. but they will renownce the pithey power & effecte thereof. And the thing it self they vt­terly denie and reiecte. And therfore be they euer lerning / and neuer comen to the knowlege of the trowthe. And euen this same prophecie / many of vs reade it / but all we vnder stāde it not: as trwely in these owr dayes / as in tyme paste to be fulfylled. For the lawes concerning the welthe / gouernance / & good order of the chirche / they are nowe fermely decreed & set faste / and to morowe vnmade and marred agene / they ar treated & refrac­ted / acted & vnacted / then thei reason for the reformacion of the chirche / and of the maner of the reformacion therof / whether this ma­ner or waye ought to be directely or vndire­ctely / tolerable / iuste or absolutely / aperte / [Page] playne / or by colowr couertly brought to passe. And it is so subtyly disputed & so craf­tely hādled / that there is no maner nor me­sure / non ende / nor no certaynte / forme nor fasshiō of their wauering lawes / incōstante actes / crafty counsels / forewritinges / after­writinges / opinions / doctrines / sentences & myndes. There were once wrytē grete and many brode bokes of their decrees / decretal­les Clementines & addicions / extrauagātes wandering far beyend & oute of the trwthe. Who is able to nowmbre and recyte the bo­kes / lawes & sentēces of all them that wrote for popes and papistes pleasurs? Who cā tel vs all the actes of parlementes / ordinances / and institucions of counsells and bisshops in their owen diocesses? By the which / all the people of God hath bē so combred / snarled / tyed and perplexed / that thei strongly & stoutely did lerne / yea and that alweys at all ty­mes / and yet coude they neuer come vnto the iuste knowlege of the trwthe. Yea thou shalt fynde euen emōg the peple many that abhorre and deteft these sayd holy popes de­crees / lawes &c̄ / as roten / stinking running sores. And as touching the doctryne of the gospel / whiles theis lawers & scolemen stu­dye these decrees and scole mater / thei finde [Page] nothing in it ferme nor certayne (their iuge­mēt is so corrupt) nor obteyne thei any god­ly frute for their saluacion / but poyson & cor­rupcion of their owen soules / & of their iud­gemēt. But yet thei lerne stoutely theise de­uillisshe antichristen decrees and lawes &c̄ / and neuer come thei vnto any good and perfit ende of any good learning / so that their myndes maye be satisfied and at reste in guyette / their selues neuer hauinge in any iuste nowmbre the cheife articles and principall poyntes of the trwe religiō. Wherefore that it might apere / euē but to mene lerned & simple wittes / owr lord Iesus not to haue one­red / burdened and charged his chirche with any constitucions and rytes / ether heuye or many / or obscure derke / or harde / or vnable to be expressed / but that tharticles of owre faythe (whereby the faythefull ar made per­fet) be sewe & sone tolde: we shal laye forthe theise thinges which the lorde hathe deliue­red to vs / & which be ower articles in brief summe / where with his chirche is content & fynissed. But let no man thinke this mater to be longer in telling / then that it maye be but in fewe wordes fynished. For the trea­tese of the trwthe and religiō is contēt with very fewe wordes / nothing regarding nor [Page] requiring any curiouse & laborouse loquacite or longe babling. I therfore shall endeuour my selfe syncerely so to treate this mater so profitable and necessary / that not with oute great frute this wolde be read and herde.

That our Lorde Iesus hath not onered his chirche / but subdewed it vnto a pleasaunt yoke of a swete seruitute / him selfe witnesseth in Math. xi. sayīg.The lorde hathe not ouercharged his chir­che. All thingis ar delyuerd to me of my father / & noman knoweth the sone but the father / nether any man knoweth the father but the sone / and vnto whom soeuer the sone will reuele him. Come ye all vnto me that labour and ar burdened / and I shall ease and refresshe you. Take my yoke vpon you / & lerne of me which am mylde / meek & humble hearted / and ye shall fynde ease and quyetnes in your soules. For my yoke is pleasaunt / & my burdē light.Iere. ij. Firste of all he saithe himself to be the fontaine of all good­nes / and euen that liuely plentuouse spring neuer to be drye drawne / which will satisfie his childerne moste plentuouslye. Then he addeth / himselfe to be that heuenly and faithfull teacher / which one onely maye trwly delyuer & geue forthe the celestiall wysedom & perfit doctrine. Hereof he exhorteth all men to come to him / how many so euer ar perple­xed [Page] / and intricated wyth any dowte of the trwth / be affl [...]ted / greued / troubled & pres­sed downe with to heuye burdēs. For vnto all mē he promiseth counforte and quietnes present helpe / remedye / and saciete / that is to satisfye their desier with all goodnes / and to be brief / euen the trewe institucion and enstrucciō in all trwthe / and a iuste tranqui­lyte of myndes.Psalm. c.ij. He exhorteth also / that (the yoke of the world caste of) mē submitte and put their neckes vnder goddes holye swete yoke. For this yoke he pronownceth it to be pleasaunt & light. Not onely be cause ther is nothing harde to a louing & willing mā / but also for that this doctrine is the moste playne and simple / And euē the worde (as saith the prophete) which is abreuiated & made shorte Where of the same prophete also prophecy­ing of the kingdō of Christ (which is his do­ctrine cryeth in the persone of God sayinge Herken you that be thirsty.Esay. x. Esa. lv. Come ye all vn­to the waters / euen he that hath no money Come / bye and eate. Come (I saye) bie with out money wyne and mylke / yea / and with oute any price. Wherfore laye ye forth your money for that at fedeth not / and spende ye your labour about that at fedeth not? Heare heare (I tell you) me / and eate that at good [Page] is / & let your soule not delight in fatnesse. Bowe downe your eares / and come to me. Heare me (I saye) and your soule shall liue: & I shall smyte vp an euerlasting couenaunt with you / euen the faithefull mercies promised to Dauid. Behold I haue geuen him to testifye of me to the gentyls / to be a leader & master to the populouse heithen. By these wordes / owre benigne and trwe god prouoketh all mortal men to come to him onely / he excludeth none at all. For he calleth thē not vnto certayne heuey burdēs to be borne / for he foreseing these heuey infinite dampnable burdens of mens ceremonies / rites and tra­dicions / institucions / inuencions / actes / articles (and I can not tell what) commaunded non to be so hardy / as to beare a tankerde of water thorowe Solomons temple. By wa­ter fetched at muddy pyttes (as Ieremy ex­powneth it) meaning the heuey vnsauerye and vnprofitable ceremonies / rytes &c̄ / invē ted of men. He calleth vs not therfore to beare these intollerable burdens vnto which (to ease vs) the makers of them / wyll not once put to their leiste fynger / but he calleth vs vnto celestiall pleasaunt riches / to be perta­kers of etrnall life.Math. xxiij. Ephe. iiij. He rebuketh also our fo­lisshnes / which ar caried aboute and diuersly [Page] vexed with varye / dyuerse / contrarye / and moste harde kyndes of sondrye doctryne / of whiche there cometh no profite / but greate hyndraunce and vndoyng to oure houshol­des and goodes. Come therfore to me (saith he) heare me / me (I saye) and your soules shall liue. For he offereth to these obayers & comers to him a greate gyfte in couenaunt / promisyng vs euē Christe him selfe / in whō onely he promiseth hymselfe / to geue vs all thinges. Let vs nowe therfore see how God hathe performed thys couenaunt and promise / and what thynges the father hath geuen vs in christe / euē christe hymselfe to witnes.

When the onely begoten sonne of God / which is in the bosome of the father / descen­ded from heuē vnto vs / and being very god and man Iesus Christe shuld preche the he­uenly wysedom / euen the gospell / vnto the hole worlde / and shuld enstructe & institute his chirche in the trwe religion:The doctrine de­liuerd of chryst to his chir­che. he wrapped not / nor combred / nor clogged not the myndes and soules of his peple with diuerse and manyfolde tradiciōs: nether disputed he nor reasoned he with them any lōge tyme / ether obscurelye / or sharpelye of the trwe saluaci­on and iustificacion / snarling their conscien­ces / inuoluing the christē religion in any subtily [Page] and harde questions: but often tymes in one lytle shorte sermone he gaue vs all thin­ge what so euer is necessary & ꝑteyning vn­to owr very saluaciō / which thinge we shall nowe clerely setforth in playne examples.

In Iohn / the .iij. the Lorde receyuing Ni­codemus vnto him fully and perfytlye to be taught in all that same lesson and in his institucion / he dothe nothing els teche him / but that this master of Israel might vnderstāde and knowe that who so euer will aspire vn­to life euerlasting / he muste be borne agene from aboue / euen of the holye goste: that is to saye / these same owr owne strengthe / en­forcementes innated and ingrauen in to vs from owr firste birth / to haue nothing at all no disposicion of owre selues / no inclinaci­on promptnes / nor red [...]es vnto our right wysenes & soule helthe to [...] obteyned / but that from aboue thorowe th [...] diuine and fre grace is the holye goste ge [...]en vs: which muste trāsmute / change and illumyn the hertis of men / that anon thei might see the de­praued nature and corrupt disposicon and inclinacion of mānis nature / and so dispaering of their owne strengthe & power / thei might flye vnto the mercie of god / whose mercie deliuered his sone vnto dethe / that euery one [Page] that beleueth in him / be not loste: but maye haue lyfe eternall. And also that man nowe takē vp to him from oute of the derkenes of errours and synnes / he might ꝑfitlye walke in the lyghte of trwthe and puernes. What coude haue bē spokē (I praye you) in so gre­te & waighty a mater more briefly? or coude haue ben sayd playnelier and more fullye & ꝑfetly? I thinke there can nomā this taught in this heuēly philosophie require any more Nether any other wyse or by other meanes did he instructe the woman of Samarye at the well / but that he semeth there to haue v­sed a more compēdiouse briefnes.Ioā. iiij. In the sco­le at Caperne / whē he was desyered of some men and asked what thei shuld do / that they might worke the workes of god?Ioā. vi. he answer­de them with one worde. This is the worke of god / euen to beleue in him whom he hath sent / albeit by and by he added a lytle lēger exposiciō of the same / how that him selfe be­ing the breade of lyfe was comen in to the world / howe and by what wayes he shulde prepare his owne flesshe and his bloude in to the meate and drynke which geueth life to the soule. And agene vnder what maner he wolde be eaten and dronkē / euen spiritu­ally thorowe faith. But yet is that same ex­posicion [Page] so playnly and so briefly wound vp that vnto noman it can apere to be onerouse and heuey / euen as thexposicion of the lawe in Mathew is a lytle largelyer drawen at length / but a non after it is briefly knit vp & gadered agene into this one sentēce. Mat. v.vi. & vij. Wher­fore all thynges what souer ye wolde men shuld do to you / euen so and the same do you vnto them. For into this ende tēde the lawe and prophets. Vnto this agreeth also that at the lorde on this maner saith in Iohn.Ioā xiij. and .xv. This is my precept that ye loue one a nother euen as I haue loued you / euen the same that is red in Paul / owe ye nothing to any mā but this onely / euē one to loue a nother. [...]o. xiij. For he that loueth a nother hath fulfylled the lawe Who can saye that these lessons be to longe or confusely inuolued / or to derke and obscure? In that same his laste souper when nowe he shuld opē to his disciples the greatest and hyghest mysteries and secretes of owr faith & shuld powerforth all his hole godly breste vnto sauit Thomas whē he asked him / Ma­ster / we knowe not whother thou goist / and how might we knowe the waye? With one sentence he expowning and shewing them / whother he went / wherfore he muste dye / & which is the sewerest & most certayne waye vnto heuē / sayd. I am the waye / the trowth [Page] and the lyfe. There cometh noman to the fa­ther but by me. In which wordes he expres­sed the cause and frute of his deth / & shewed them the waye vnto heuē / yea and that mo­ste playnely he shewed it them. And besy­des thys all wother wayes ordened or in­uented by mē besides this waye / he plucked them vp / he destroied / casted down / and stā ­ped thē vnder his feet for naught / euē wrōg wayes / dampnable and vngodly. Whereof verely Iohn boldened / said in hys canonik pistell. God hath geuen vs eternall life and this life is in hys sone / and whoso haue the sone hath life / and he that hath not the sone hath not life. Vnto the which saingis iustely agreeth euē the same that s. Paul ꝓpowned with a meruelous euidence vnto the Ephe­siens / God to haue rehersed / and (as in brief some) brought it / and in Christe concluded. so that nowe oute of this same only Christ / as it were oute of the barne of all goodnes / men myght fetche the thynge which before as it were by pece mele / was fetched out of many sondry partes of scripture / yea / and e­uen the Lorde Iesus himselfe in Mathew dampneth / and techeth vs to auoid / and ab­hor these men who soeuer thei be / which deuyde the myndes of the faithfull / and indu­ce them vnto many and dyuerse thinges as [Page] necessary or profitable vnto thobteyning of saluaciō. For if any mā (saith he) tell you. Lo here is Christ / or there is he / beleue him not For ther shall aryse false anoynted and false prophetes & shall shewe forth tokens & pro­dygiouse wonders / so that (if it were possi­ble) euen the very elect might be brought in to erroure.Math. xxiiij. Take heed (sayth Christe) for I haue now told it you before. If therfor they tel you / Lo he is in the deserte & solitary pla­ces of religiō / go not once forth / or say / see he is in the secrete places as in the p̄uey pixe and secrete ciborye / beleue it not. What thē shall the faithfull soule do? He shall depende of the mouthe and grace of the onlye Lorde / which hath cōmaunded his chosen tobe ware and auoide these maner abhominable decey­tes of men sondrelye knittinge / smytinge / and diuidyng into many opiniōs the hertes of the faithfull with this wyked scysme: and hath set forth before vs himself onely the teacher of the trwth and in fewe wordes thex­piacion of synnes & purging from the same euen the mercy seat of grace and forgiuenes in euery necessite to be sought / and to flye vnto him. For this is euē he / that same ma­ster geuen vnto all the worlde / whych also hath dyed for vs / yea and euen he that is ry­sen [Page] agene vnto life / and sitteth on the ryght hande of god / there makinge continuall in­tercession for vs / being that onely all alone perpetuall preist with onelye one sacrifyce for euer finisshing and perfet making them which ar sanctified. Euery man (I suppose) clerely vnderstondith and perceyueth it wel that in / and for Christe / the father hath ge­uen vs all thinges. All men see what maner teching was the doctrine of the Lorde cōcer­ning owr saluacion / wherby we be iustified and who is the life of the faithfull / a doctri­ne (I saye) which is short and brief / but yet clare / manifest / full and perfet in euery par­te. Hitherto perteynith also his tradicion of the benefittes & good will to be geuē forth / of the prayers of the faithfull / and of fasting and chastysing of the bodye / euē siche doctri­ne as is bothe brief and cleare (as ye may see in Mat. vi. cap. hauing nether any difficul­tye nor burden. Which tradicion and doctri­ne of christe notwithstōding yet apereth in­tolerable & vnable to be expressed & vnderstā dē of the laye peple / if thou estemest it of the disputaciōs of sophisters / & take it at the sub­tile setting forth of the scolastical scolders.

Here folowe all the Sacraments that Christe delyuered to his chirche.

[Page]Now as towching the sacraments / very fe­we they were which the Lorde commytted vnto his chirche / euen onely these tweyne / baptisme and the signe or remembraunce of his body and blode. For as for Iohn his baptisme / he dyspiced it not / but with the s [...]e himselfe was sanctified. And eftesone after he sending his disciples into all the worlde to preache his gospell and to declare it vnto all naciōs and gentyles sayd. See that ye be going to teache all the gentyles or nacions / who soeuer thei be / baptising them in to the name of the father / the sone / & the holy gost. In which institucion thou shalt neuer fynde any thing ether harde or heuye or not playnly spoken and expressed. And as for himself whiles he lyued vpō the erth and layd forth the holsome preching of the gospell / bapty­sed noman / but his disciples he commanded to baptise. For the worde of god is more beter and more preciouse then the sacrmentes yea / and faith its elfe is more noble then the sacramētes.Hebre. xi. For with oute faith it is vnpossible for eny man to please god. And with out faith / sacramentes may be ministred: but ꝓ­fit shall thei not. Furthermore / the souper the Lorde himselfe did firste institute and celebrate it / in no costely aparell nor in any [...] [Page] [...] (as thei saye) ornowerīg [...] [...]his table with any ryche iew­elle / [...] / chalesses / images / candle stikis [...] &c̄. There were no glitering golden no [...] syluer sewtes nor preciouse vessels / no [...] made / onerouse charcheable nor harde for any man / but all was playne simple easy to be had / moderate sobre decēt and honest. For Christe in that sober souper / with brede and wyne bothe testifyed and preched vnto vs the mysterye and benefit of owr redemp­cion / and commended and lefte vnto his pe­ple / the remembrance of his deth / and the cō ­corde and mutual amyte vnuiolable and perpetuall amongst vs to endewre. Nether did he here spinosely / that is to saye / thornisshe­ly sherpely perplexly with confusion and accombrance of owr wittis and playne vnder­standing subtily and magistrally as the dunre men speke bring in these dede dreames of thys holy sacrament which were and ar wō ­te now a days to be disputed in scholis vny­uersites and freerly in doctorissh popissh pulpittis. As whether there be the very reall [...] substanciall body of Christe really naturally substancially corporally as longe / as brode / as thyke / as heuey (& I can not tell what nor howe) as he hāged on the crosse. And agene [Page] what into what thing is cōuerted / whether brede is turned into nothinge / or in to Chri­stus body? what substance abideth still and remayneth? what substance is loste or ceasseth to be? and in so ceassing from his owne sub­stance / whether it be nothing at all / the acci­dents / that is to saye / whightnes / lightnes / heuynes / taste breking baking &c̄ / whether thei there abide still with out substance / and whether he be whol with all his membres in the wholl sacramēt or brede / and wholl in e­uery peese broken / whether one bodye may be in heuen and erth and in a thousande pla­ces at once. And howe so grete a bodye may be wholl in so lytle a crome of breade. And whether there be his gloriouse immortal impassible bodye / or his body mortall and passible as it was in his souper sittynge with his disciples? But Christe at his souper taughte thē playnely the ferme faith in / and to bele­ue in god / he disputed of brotherlye loue cle­rely / and treated of the remission of synnes / of pacience and constancye in aduersite / and preched them of the adsewered certayn hope of that blessed lyfe to come. For these thyn­ges ar holsome and aperteyning to owr sal­uaciō / & to the knowlege of god / these thin­gis requyreth he of his peple.

[Page]Whē owr Lorde Christe had delyuered this doctryne concerning the christē religiō / and the discipline of the sacramentes priuatly to his disciples and openly to all men dispersed thorowe Galyle and Iewrye / and also after that he had purged by his innocent dethe on the crosse the sinnes of the hole world:What thinges were delyuered vnto the chirche by the holye goste. & was bureyd / the third daye he ryseth from dethe / and by .xl. dayes he apered to his disciples / and leste thei shuld haue douted of his resur­reccion / he shewed himself vnto them by many euident profes / himselfe verelye to haue had rysen from dethe / in the mean tyme ge­uing also precepts vnto the apostles / of the chirche or cōgregacions to be called togither and constituted thorowe out all the worlde / and thus all thingis finisshed / he is ascēded into heuen: and sitteth in glorye at the right hande of the father. And the precepts which he gaue vnto his / were of this maner. That thei shuld go forth into all the rownd world and preche his gospell / that is repētāce and remissiō of sinnes in the name of christe / and that thei shuld also baptyse the beleuers therof / teaching them to kepe all thingis which himself had commaūded them. By the which thing verely he signified the moste ꝑfit kyn­de of techinge to be delyuered to them. For [Page] that at he addeth / Thei shuld abyde and wait for the coming of the holy goste / pertayneth to that purpose vnto the which many mē vi­olently pluk it / as thoughe this holye goste shuld haue delyuered to them a nother news and more large doctryne thē Christe had be­fore taught them. For euen himselfe openly sayd in his gospell. He shall not speke out of him self / but all thingis what soeuer he hath herde shall he speke / & agene.Ioā. xvi He shall recey­ue it out of my precepts and doctrine / and so shall he shewe it vnto you. Agene. That sa­me counforter and techer euen the holy spirit whom the father shall sende in my name / he shall teche you all thingis / and shall laye vp­on your hertis imprīted theryn faste all tho­se things what soeuer I haue tolde & taught you. Lo / he sayth he shall teche you all thin­gis and because thei shuld not vnderstonde it of any new doctrine / or thinke that Chryst perchaunce had not taught them all thingis necessary for theirs and owr saluacion / but had left out some vnwriten verites. He ad­deth for a more declaraciō. And shal all tho­se thingis prynte in your hertis the which I my self tolde and spake vnto you. Whereso­it folowthe that owr Lorde Christe taughte them all thīgis / but by the reason of their in­firmite [Page] and weaknes those all thingis or els many of them / thei had foregoten / so that it was necessarye for them those lessons by the holy spirit to be called agene and beaten fa­ster into their myndes and memory / & there depelyer to be infastened / & euery thing ful­lyer at large to be explicated & declared.

But now / lest any man shuld doute of these thingis / we wyll gladlye also gather agene togither into a some / what thingis the apo­stles aftir thei receyued the holy gost gaue & deliuerd to the chirchis to be obserued.What the apo­stles de­lyuered vnto the chirche And that we might begyn this demonstraciō euē of S. Peter. Ye shall see that he was called forth on a tyme vnto Cornelye the capitayn of the Italyk legiō. For the angell of the lorde had told him / that he shuld sende men vn­to Ioppen called now porte Iaph / and call Symō peter.Actu. x. For he shall tell the what thou muste do. Which when he was called & now comen / and shuld tell him what he shuld do: he prescribed him no nother thynge els then that he muste beleue in Iesus Christe. For he prechid not els to him but chryst euē to be crucified for vs / buryed / and the thirde daye to haue had rysen from deth / yea and himself in the same his preching witnesseth himselfe not to haue had receiued any thing els of the [Page] Lorde to be preched saying. The Lorde com­maunded vs to preache to the people and to testyfye that it is he which is constituted of god to be iuge of the quyk & dede. Vnto this mā all the prophetes bere witnesse that who so beleue he shall receiue remission of his sinnes thorow his name. Who here of (I praye you) vnderstāde the apostles not to haue had delyuered anye wother thingis to the peple dispersed thorow out the worlde then the sa­me which thei receiued delyuered to them of the lorde? Who seeth not thissame tradicion and doctryne delyuered to be sufficient vnto saluaciō to be obtayned / and vnto the perfitfull religion of christe? For the angell tolde him clerely that Peter shuld shew him what he muste do. And Luke added by & by what he shewed and prescribed him / euen nothing els then that at is expowned and layd forth in these fewe wordis. And a non he baptised him with his familye. Peter thrusted in no­thing into Cornelius of any auriculare con­fessiō / nor of any puate absoluciō / he taught him nothinge of cases reserued to the Pope. He forgote satisfaccion indulgēcis pardons and popisshe penaunce to be enioyned him. He deliuered him nothing of merites and celebracion of mysses or of vowes of chastite [Page] to be payd and kept. Nothtng of inuocacion of sayntes / nor worshiping of images / he cō ­maunded him nothing concerning pilgrimages to Rome or to Hierusalem / no mencion of matens euēsong ladypsalters sensing candies processions nor yet of holy brede nor holy water nor asshes: but he preched him Christe playnly and in him onely he shewed him all thīgis. And euē the same Peter the most constant and feruent affirmer and defender of the simplicite and playnesse of the faith & doctryne of christe / in the counsel holden at Hierusalem in the which this question was treated: Whether onely faith iustifieth / and whether the workes of the lawe called good werks shuld be ioyned to faith vnto the ꝑfecciō of a christē man: he riseth vp & with great grauite pronounceth into these wordes. Ye men and brethern / ye knowe that of the olde tyme god chose out among vs / that throrow my mouthe the gentyles shuld here the worde of the gospell & beleue it.Acts. xv And god which knowth mens hartis hath testifyed vnto thē geuing them the holy goste as well as vnto vs / no difference putting betwixt vs and thē when by faith he hath purifyed the hertis of them. Nowe therefore / wherefore tempte ye god / that anye yoke shulde be layd vpon the [Page] neckis of the disciples / which nether owr fa­thers nor we haue ben able to beare? But by the grace of owr Lorde Iesu christe we bele­ue to be salued euen as thei beleued and we­re saued. Hitherto haue we recyted the wor­dis of saynt Peter. Here he saith there is but one / and that is a sewer and certayne waye vnto saluacion / but one & that the moste full and perfit forme of iustifying / euen by the grace of owr lorde Iesu christe. Vnto this tradicion Cornelius with all his familye fami­liar & kinsfolk cleaued fast with all his whol herte and with trwe faith & receiued the testimony of the sones of god / in this mean cea­son (saith Peter) I nether added nor layd vp on his shuldern any burden of the lawe: onely preched I Christe into whom he beleued. Wherfore / the grace of god & faith into chri­ste is sufficient vnto saluaciō / nether is it ne­cessary any thīge to be added out of the lawe to make perfit owr iustificacion. And as for those fewe tradicyons whiche there in that chap. a non ar red & added or sayd to be put­to / were obserued for the cōsideracion of the tendernes yet of the tyme / & for the maners yet of the men of that worlde / not that they shuld be perpetuall / but for charityes sake kept in the cities for a litle time in the which [Page] cytes Moses was yet red openlye in their synagoges and scoles.

Nowe of the .xiij. chap. of the actes & .xv. ca. is it manyfest / that nether Paul himself the apostle taught ether other thingis / or moo / or not the same to the chirches of the genty­les. But in his pistles right diligently he declareth all faitfull / in christe to haue and fynde all thingis which ar necessary vnto the very saluacion and perfeccion of christes religion / nor to nede any other meanes els besy­des Christe or with christe to lyue blessedly. For euē in the pistle to the philippians. The things which once were lucre and plesaunte to me (he sayth) I nowe knowe the same for christis sake to be hurte and hindrance to me yea I knowe now all things to be damage / for that excellent knowleges sake of Chryst Iesu my lorde / for whose sake I reputed all thinges to be hurtfull and damage and este­med and reputed them for dunge and dyrte / that I my self might get christe for my lucre and aduauntage and that I might be founde in him / hauing not my nowne rightwysnes out of the lawe and good workis / but that same rightwysnes whiche is thorow the faith of christe. And for this cause he euery where exhorteth almē vnto the faith into owr lor­de [Page] Iesu / with the which faith also he commē deth and setteth forth as the frutes of faith / as innocency of lyuing / charite and also fer­uent prayers vnto the Lorde. And this apo­stle baptized as the Lorde had commaunded him / althowgh he confesseth himselfe in the mean ceason / very fewe or non to haue bap­tized.i. Cor. i. The souper of the Lorde he celebrated no nother wise / nor in no nother wyse com­maunded he the Corīthes to celebrate it / thē the lorde himself had instituted and fyrst or­dened it.i. cor. xi. For as for me (he sayth) I haue not delyuered vnto you any thinge concerninge this souper / but euen the very same that I haue receiued of the lorde &c̄ / the place is o­penly knowne .i. Corin. xi. These (I saye) ar the tradicions which S. Paul / at the precept of the lorde hath deliuered vnto the chirches euen an absolute perfit and full example of an absolute crystē doctryne & of a iuste chirch And now verely there is nothing more cer­tayn thē that all the mother apostles folow­ed the same self waye and maner of prechīge when thei all with one instituciō & one spirit gathered togither the cōgregaciōs of god. Owt of these all / I suppose it to be clere and playne / Owr Lorde Iesus not to haue had [...]nerated his chirche: and which be the verye [Page] principall cheife poyntes and articles fewe in nowmber by the which his congregacion and chirche is fully and perfitly so finisshed / that it want nothing:Whiche be these cheif pncipal sufficiēt ar­ticles geuen to the chir­che. that is to weit euē the doctrine of the gospell or diuine verite whe­rein / faith into god / the loue of my neighbor publik iustice / pacience in the crosse / holines in lyuinge / & that benigne holy mercifull di­stributing of owr goodis to the pore / pure & faithfull prayer / and the reuerēt religiouse right vse of the sacramētes. In these (I saye) very fewe thīgis nothing ouerouse / the chirche of chryst is perfitly finisshed / so that it is wholl and perfit in nothing diminisshed wā ting any thinge.i. Timo­the .iij. This same chirche I mean which Paul trwly calleth the house of the lyuing God / the pylar and fote of the trwth / which stōdeth faste vpō and cleaueth to that foundaciō stone Iesus chryst.i. cor. iij. And if any mā yet dowteth and thinketh many mo thingis to be requyred vnto her perfeccion: let him hear Luke in the actis of the apostles / descri­binge the primatiue or firste / that is to saye that moste of all perfit full chirche of Christe gathered to gither euen of the apostles / no moo thingis thē these there in that tyme putting in mynde vnto them: therof gathering that euen now like wyse / by the same onelye [Page] cheif principalls comitted vnto thē / that the­re oute of the fame / the perfitst congregaci­ons might be gathered / made perfit & conserued. For in the .ij. of the actes aftir Luke had shewed by what maner the holy gost had bē geuē to the apostles / anon he declareth how and in what maner Peter preched christe vnto the peple of Israel / & how that thei nowe compunct and striken in herte asked: What shall we do ye men and brethern? which Pe­ter answerde in these wordis. Resipiscite: et baptizetur vnusquisque vestrum in nomē Iesu christi ad remissionem peccatorum / Repē ­te and chaunge your lyuing and be baptized euery one of you into the name of Iesu chri­ste / so to haue remission of your synnes by faith: and ye shall receiue the gyft of the ho­ly goste. And aftir a fewe mo wordis. S. Lu­ke addeth / exhorting thē with many mo wordis saying. Be ye p̄serued and kepe your selues from this peruerse and euel generaciō. In the which answer of Peter and exposiciō of the story by Luke / fyrst we haue the cheif principals of the euangelyk doctryne / euen faith and repentāce thorow the name of chri­ste / and then an exhortacion and warninge / and at laste the sacrament of baptisme. And anone aftir Luke addeth yet vnto these wor­dis. [Page] Thei were verely perseuerīge in the do­ctrine of the apostles / and in frendely chari­table distributing their goodis & in the brec­king of the brede / & in prayers. In the whi­che wordis also / the doctrine of thapostles is regathered as it were in to a breif somme & not onely it / but also the constant perseuerā ­ce in the apostles doctrine / which cheiflye is moste necessary / also the louing distributing of their goodis / and the breking of the brede which is the souper of the lorde and faithfull praying. In these (I saye) so fewe in nowm­ber cheif principals / the wryter of the actes of thapostles clerely and perfitlye finisshed vp complete that fyrste primatiue and apo­stolik chirche the which neuer man / excepte he were vngodly / wolde saye but it was the moste full / perfit / & wholl iuste chirch. Sew­erly Luke in thende of the same chap. open­ly calleth it the chirch / saying. The lorde ad­ded dayly vnto the chirche sich as shuldbe saued / confessing also helth and saluaciō to be in sich a chirche / & as many as come into the felowship of sich a congregacion to be saued. with these very fewe principall institucions and doctrynes may the chirche therfore (as ye may here see) be gathered perfitlye fynis­shed and conserued / yea and that is the very [Page] iuste and trwe chirch which enstructed with these fewe thingis cleaueth to / and is sustayned vpon christe the very rok. But here also haue ye the testimonies of holy men. For lactancius in his boke of the trwe wisedom the v. boke of his institu. cap. xxx. sayth / That same onely is the vniuersall chirch which hol­deth the trw worship. This is the fountayn of trwth / this is the hous of faith / this is the temple of god / wherein if anye entreth not / or oute of the which if any go forth he shalbe farre from the hope of eternall life and helth But yet because heretyks thinke their chir­che to be the catholik chirch / ye shall knowe that same to be the trwe chirch in the whiche is the religiō and trwe worship of god in spirit and in no vtward ceremonies of men / in which is confession of synnes vnto god and repentance which heleth holsomly synnes & woūdes / vnto the which the weaknes of the flesshe is subiect. These wordis Lactancius wrote which disputing of the trwe worship in his .vi. boke of his institu. cap. i. saith. The holy and singulare maiesty of god desiereth nothinge els of man then onely innocencye whiche if any offreth it to god / he hath made a sufficiēt sacrifice both godly and religious­ly. Which thinge I haue added to / that thou [Page] mightest the trwlyer vnderstande that at he sayd / the catholik chirch to be euen the same which holdeth the trwe worship of god. And Austen the very trwe doctour of the chirche answering to the questiōs of Ianuary in his c.xviij. pistle writeth playnly into these wordis. Firste of all I wold thou shuldest holde in mynde the cheif poynt & principall of this disputacion / euen owr Lorde Iesus Christe (as himself sayth in his gospell) to haue sub­dewed and layd owr neckes vnder his moste pleasaunte yoke and his light easye burden. Whereby he hath bownde & yoked togither the chirch and societe of the newe peple with Sacramēts very fewe in nowmber / most ea­sye to be obserued / in significacion moste no­ble and excellent / euen Baptisme by whiche we be consecrated into the name of the trinite / and the Communion or partaking emōg many of the bodye and bloude of owr lorde / with sich like (if there be any) commended to vs in the scripturs: those excepte / whiche for the congruence of the hertis of the olde pe­ple and for the tendre tyme of the prophetes burdened their bondage: which certayne sa­craments and ceremonies be siche as ye read in the .v. bokes of Moses and so forth folowing vnto the grace of the gospell.

[Page]But / mennis testimonies left / let vs return to the wittnesses of god / and agene to the testimonies of the most excellent apostles Pe­ter Ihon and Paul / whom I shall yet more largelye allege / that in the mouthe of .ij. or iij. this inuicte verite / that is to weit / that in these fewe poyntis and principals in nowmber / the chirch be made perfit / might be affir­med the fastlyer and the stronglyer proued. For Peter after that he hade put forth a cer­tayn fewe doctrynes & precepts of the faith / charite / pacience and beneficence / and had exhorted the godly to expresse thē in holy wor­kes: a non he addeth. These thinges if ye do: ye shal not slyde at any tyme. For verely by this maner shall the entrese into the eternall kingdom of owr Lorde & sauiour christe Ie­su be aboundantly ministred vnto you. But & if he had not beleued this kynde of doctry­ne which now we haue recyted / to be suffici­ent vnto that life to be obtayned & for the peple of god to be made ꝑfit / he had neuer sayd By this maner or wayes aboundantly (ob­serue the pithei waight of this word Aboū ­dātly) shal thentres into his kingdō be mynistred vnto you. Then / verely were not these monkisshe and fryerlye odiouse orders / ne­ther their vngodly rules of mōkis friers &c̄ / [Page] nor yet them selues. Thē were there no mis­ses / no siche maner of questions or tradiciōs as haue owr idle belled bisshops and skoldīg scolemen many yeres aftyr at laste dreamed and broughte into the chirche. And yet with out these dead dreames (sayth S. Peter) A­boundant and plentuouse entresse by the do­trine of the apostles to be layd open vnto all men desyeringe to com to that lyfe eternall. Saynt Ihon in his pistle / sayth. The thinge which ye haue herd from the beginnyng / a­byde there in / or let it abyde in you. If that doctrine whiche ye haue herde from the begī ning abyde in you / then shall you also abyde and dwell in the sone & in the father. Lo / here he promiseth to them a perfit and full felow­ship and coniunccion of the father and of the sone with those faithfull which continewe & abyde in that kynde of doctrine which thapo­stles from the begynning of their prechinge delyuered thē. But from that begining thei gaue them no nother doctrine then the same which (thei sayd) we haue herde. Wherfore that tradicion muste be sufficient vnto perfeccion. S. Paul not onely bindeth the preacher of the gospell vnto the same breif and simple playne kynde of doctryne / but besydes that / he prophecieth certayne pestelent pharisais [Page] and papistis to come / which (euē as we now see them) will not heare that same trwth de­lyuered to the chirches / confessed and confir­med with myracles / but will turne themsel­ues vnto vayne fables and most vayne lyes and trifles.ij. Timo iij. & iiij. For thus writeth he vnto Timo­the. I beseche the humbly before god & owre Lorde Iesu christe whiche shall come to iuge the quik & deade in his owne aperaunce & in his kingdom / preche thou the worde & sermone / be feruent in tyme / oute of tyme / rebuke blame / reproue / exhorte with all lenite soft­nes and doctryne. For the tyme shall come when men will not suffer nor abyde the trw doctrine / but aftir their owne voluptuouse lustes and desyers thei shall heap vnto them selues techers / euen them which mustetykle their eares / and shall auerte their eares from t [...]e trwth / euen vnto vayne fables shall thei be conuerted. These wordis without dowte had not that diuine breste and godlye herte / pronownced with so greate feruencye and feruent affect / but that he knew it right wel / that that same doctryne which himselfe with also the mother apostles had preched and de­lyuered to the chirches in writing / was iust / perfit / and sufficiēt / & the innumerable chir­ches now constituted welnighe thorow oute [Page] all the worlde to be trwe and perfit full chir­ches. Wherfore these same fewe institucions muste nedis be sufficient for the congregaci­ons with which as necessarye doctrynes the lorde wold instructe his chosen and not one­rate and ouerburden them / yea and that euē for this entent / that we shuld not nowe be e­uer in lerning / neuer comen to knowlege of the trwth. For all these thingis ar certayne / in a iust litle nowmber / yea and euē the most easyest lessons thorow christes helpe / so lon­ge as we ceasse not from owr office and ap­plye owr callinge.

Furthermore / leste anyman complayn say­ing these owr sayinges to be to skant & init­of vnfinisshed / it shall be necessary to expres some of these thinges more at large that it may be manyfest vnto almen / vs to haue sufficienly in these fewe principals / all thinges pertayning vnto the perfecciō and fulfilling of the chirche. The doctrine of the apostles / the preching of the trowth / the worde of the Lorde / the holye scripture or gospell of Iesu christe / obtayneth the fyrste place in these sa­yd principals.What ar comp̄ hended in these pncipal­les. For it prescribeth this thing / the lawes of lyffe to be moste absolute and ꝑfit: this place techeth / it rebuketh / it deiec­teth and casteth downe and lifteth vp agene [Page] heuey myndis / it exhortethe / it counforteh / it threateneth / it bendeth and menaceth and decreeth punisshmēts / it setteth forth rewardes both of god and man / and to be short / all diuine and humane thingis / ecclesiastik and polityk / yea all the partes of owr lyffe / all a­ges and all offices it informeth and institu­teth most plentuously / and perfitly yea and it absolueth and maketh them all perfit and ful / nothing wāting. This witnesseth Paul the moste wysest in the lawe / writing to Ti­mothe / saing. Thou / see that thou standeste faste and perseuere in those thingis whiche thou lernedst & which ar cōmitted vnto the / knowing of whom thou haste lerned them / and that from thy childhod thou hast know­ne the holy letters which may make the wy­se & perfit vnto thy saluacion thorowe faith which is in Christe Iesu. For the hole and ꝑfit scripture godly inspired is profitable vn­to teching and lerning / to rebuke / to correck to institute / and enstruct / in all good works that anye man of god may be entire perfit & redye vnto euery good worke.

Also the worde of the lorde / in a maner and as farre as it perteineth vnto vs / is idle wā ­tinge her frute and operacion / excepte there be mē that will exercyse / stere vp & whett it / [Page] in tyme and place / applyinge and layinge it vnto men / teaching it / ernestly prouoking it settinge it forthe at lybertye and defende it. And here haue the mynisters of the chirche their place / & cheifly the techers of the trwth the goydes of the congregacions / the inter­pretours of scripturs / prechers / the masters of lyuing & good maners. For as miche therfore / that there is noman sodenly full made / nor borne a perfit artificer: the chirche muste nedis haue scolis / scolis (I saye) in which tongues / artes / liberall disciplines / but yet in a sobriete and mean / but cheifly the holy insti­tucion & godly bringing vp of children be de­lyuered and taught religiously vnto the dis­ciples which may be here aftir apoynted and promoued vnto the ministracions of the chirche / and taught also them which ar apte vn­to erudicion and wysedome. For that there were flourisshīg scoles or vniuersites as thei now call them / in the tyme of the apostles & so flourisshed longe aftir their dayes / Luke affirmeth the autour of this in the Actis cap. xiij. And Paul in the .i. pistle to the Corīthi­ans in the .xix. cap. Also Eusebius in his ec­clesiastik storye / and wother ecclesiastik wri­ters witnesse the same. And out of these ma­ner scoles / the moste faithfull / moste excerci­sed [Page] / the godlyest / the moste eloquent men / & of moste experience and wysedome were e­uer calld vnto the ministracions / gouernāce and teching of the congregacions. Also whē it is so that in the chirche or congregacion in which doctrine flourissheth / this vngraciou­se kocle / drake / and dernell also wyll growe vndere & preuely encrease / so that there will very many stourdye prowde rebelles budde and wexe rype / which as thei cā craftely fay­ne themselues faithfull / euen so do thei no­thing worthei and correspondēt to faith. yea and thei will not sett a strawe by it if thei be taughte an .C. tymes and be rebuked neuer so openly and greuouslye. Netheles thei go forth stil in their mischeif synnes. Wherfore it is necessarye that the congregacions haue not onely their ministers and techers / but also their elderly sage wyse men / yea & the se­clare magistrates to / whiche muste with the lawes bring into order and with disciplyne constrayne and bynde faste these contumate stifnecked vnshamelesse criminouse synners And these mynisters & magistrates it beho­ueth to be right good mē / holy / faithful / godly iuste / tēperate / sobre / stronge and constāt and siche as fere god / which bothe wyll and maye do their office and dewtye. And vnto [Page] this pertayneth the eleccion and office of the seclare Magistrates / hitherto ꝑtayn the sūptuarye and penall lawes agenst eting surfetting dronkenes / superfluite / excesse / vicious­nes rybaldrye / whorehunting / filthy comu­nicacion: also the lawes agenst aduonterers and whoremongers / and lawes of matrimo­nye iustely to be contracted / lawfullye to be kepte in reuerence and iustlye to be diuorsed lawes of the bringinge vp of children / of the pubyk iustice / of bying and sellinge or anye wother doingis / agenste thir euell deccate [...] / false wares &c̄ / agenste vserars and corrup­ters and minisshers of coynes / of iugemētes of the pore and destitute nedye / orphanes & frendles to be defended / of tranquilite and publyk peace / agenste hyered batail and wa­ges to corrupt men / lawes of beneficence al­mose and helpe of the pore and of the lawful vse of the goodes of the chirches. These thingis wold I incidently and as it were by the waye poynte men to breifly / concerning the doctrine of the apostles or of the trwth / and of the ministers therof / that is to saye / of the lerners / techers / professours / prechers and of the holy senate & sage counsell of the chir­che. Of syngers quere men and their ecclesi­astik songe / I can saye nothing taken out of [Page] the institucion of the apostles. Paul commā ­deth his chirches to synge in spirit and myn­de. Wherfore it is sufficient to the iuste chir­che if with trwe faith thei offer thorow chri­ste their pure prayers vnto the Lorde.

As for the Sacraments S. Austen very godly and lernedly affirmed very fewe to be in­stituted of the Lord / euen Baptisme and the sacrament of thankes geuing / the moste ea­syest sewerly in their obseruacion and kepīg of them / but in sence and significacion moste noble and excellent. For thei cary no greate coste with them / nor yet no difficulty (I spe­ke of the apostles sacramētes / and not of the popishe sacramēts) and in fewe wordis / thei haue no worldly shyning shewes and glytering vayne glorye. For all their vertew and strength consisteth of / and in their instituci­on and significacion. The faithfull saynts in the congregaciō ar iustifyed and absolued by faith onely / and not by sacramēts. For sacra­ments excercise and in a maner excite and stere vp faith▪ for thei ar visible accions institu­ted of the lorde / to the entent he might represent vnto vs his mysteries and giftis / and so testifye towarde vs his good wille / exrercise and whett owr faith / gather and binde vs to gither into owr religion / and to admonisshe [Page] vs of owr offyce. As ye may see in Baptisme For that representeth vnto vs that it is he onely which wassheth vs from owr synnes / by it witnessing that he fauoureth vs / yea & that he will be owr god one alone for vs all sufficient. Howe oft so euer baptisme is geuē in the cōgregaciō / the faith of holy men is excercised. Besides that it gathereth and brin­geth vs togither vtwardly into his peple / & warneth vs to mortifye & slaye owr carnall affectes / that dayly we mought dye with the Lorde and ryse agene with him into a newe life. Agene / in the Souper of the lorde / it is signified that the bodye and blode of owr lorde ar spent and laid forth for vs in the crosse to satisfye owr fathers iustice / and gyue mo­re life to the beleuers. Wherfore / when the brede is raught vnto vs / which brede the lorde called as it were in signe and token or af­tir the similitude and aftir the maner of spe­king appropriated to sacraments / his bodye a manifest token is geuen / that the Lord of­fred hīself all whol vnto vs that we mought haue owr fruicion and sighte of him in faith. And thus owr faith is excercised in that my­styk acciō. And as out of many graynis one loffe is made / & of manye grapes the liquor of wyne floweth forth: euen so ar we monis­shed [Page] of mutuall loue in the percepciō and re­ceiuinge of the signes and sacramentes / and that with Christe and emong owr owne sel­ues we be made one bodye / and to geue thā ­kis to christe owr deliuerer. This is dowtles the vse and forme of the sacraments / hauing nothinge which hitherto hath not bene pro­posed and setforth in the doctrine of the gos­pell / saue that it hath pleased the Lorde for our infirmite to haue to do with vs accordīg to owr capacite by these signes sacramētals as it were with visible wordes: and in a ma­ner to laye before owr eyes the moste greate and excellente thingis / that thei mought be the more commēded praysed and accepted of euerye christen man: and so by the one sacra­ment to iniciate and professe (as they saye) the faithfull / oute of whose felowship he ex­cluded not euen the infantes. And by the to­ther sacramēt for the waren peple to retayn in memorye the deathe of the sone of God. And thus ye see it moste manifeste / the vse of the sacraments to be moste playn and single moste holsome and most full of the most swetest frutes. Whiche vse many make it more thē ingrate and vnthankfull / by those their thornye spinose disputacions fonde questiōs and withe their skoldinge cauillacions and [Page] sophisticall besye brawlynges.

Of these thingis hitherto writē (I suppose) euery reader perceiueth / that we which glo­rie & reioyce in the gospell & name of christe / haue in fewe principales shewed all thingis which perteyne vnto the full perfecciō of the chirche / & therfore owr lorde with these fewe in no wise to haue onerated his chirche. For these fewe things / albeit of their nature thei be the moste diuyne and incomprehensyble / yet vnto the faithfull ar thei the moste easye and moste iocunde and ioyfull in thobserua­cion and in the keping of them. Wherfore / what soeuer coste / what charge and burdens the congregacions this daye sustayne: with what soeuer lawes rytes ceremonies tradicions of men / apere thei neuer so comelye and decent (as thei saye) with what and how ma­ny soeuer decrees and disputacions the con­gregacions be yet snarled combred and clogged / nether of the Lorde / nor of the apostles / nor of non apostelyk men haue thei receiued them / but of the euill idle bellye burdens of the erthe / of the supersticiouse papistes / and of these couetuouse preistes and greadye bis­shops / which as thei haue hitherto ben euer in lerning and neuer comē to the knowelege of the trweth / euen so playnlye haue they [Page] thought and made godlynes to be lucre and to serue their insaciable lustes: of whom the apostle wrytinge to Timothe / sayth. Auoid from these persons which be of siche couetu­ouse condicions and abhominable lyuinge. Cast of therfore (oh christē reder) these their importable burdēs of heuey vnprofitfble su­persticiouse ceremonies / whiche to ease you thei will not once put forthe their fynger to bere them their selues / which burdēs in that (as Paul sayth) thei punisshe the bodye / thei apere to haue some vtwarde holynes / & yet ar thei with out all honour & godlines / euen their rytes & choise of meates to fede the flesshely lustes of their bellyes.Collo. ij And putt your neckes vnder the swete yoke of Chryst / and submitte your shulders vnder his light bur­dens (light it is that loue bereth) that as we be lyke Christe in gladlye suffrering / so we may be lyke him in glorye / vnto the whiche / he with the father / and his moste ho­lye spririt / bringe vs all. A­men.

At Zijr [...].

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