A present con­solation for the sufferers of persecucion for ryghtwysenes.

All that wyll lyue faithfully and pure­ly in Chryst Iesu, shall suffer persecuciō. ij. Timothe. iij.
If any will folowe me, let him renoun­ce him selfe and take vpon him his crosse dayly and folowe me. Luke. ix.
Blessed be they that suffer persecucion for well lyuinge and iustly doinge, spekinge or wrytinge: for theirs is the kingedo­me of heuen. Matth. v.
Uerely I saye vnto you. That easier shall it be to the londe of the Sodomytes and Gomorreans in the day of iudgemēt then to that londe and cite, whiche nowe thrust awaye the gospell and preachers, offred and sent vnto them. Matt. x.

The Preface.

WHen Chryst was comē into the region of theMatth. viij. Gadarēs, and had ca­sten the legyon of de­uillis out of the naked wylde man, and at the­se deuillis desyer per­mitted them to go into the herde of h [...]gges, at whose entresse, the swyne tumbled al hedlongs into the mea­re and were drowned. The Gadarēs hea ringe of this miracle, comē forthe and be­holdinge Chryst, were greatly afrayd of him: & desyered Chryst to go out of their region. Which Gadarēs all be it they did vngodly and greatly agenst theyr owne saluacion, to desyer him to auoide frō out of their region whiche cam to caste out their deuillis, to heale and to saue thē, yet shewed they them selues more ientle and humane vnto Chryst thē these princes ma­gistrats and comon peple, to whō the wor de of god the gospell of their saluacion nowe mercifully offred them, yet cruelly and violently thei thrust it from thē with fagots fyer and swerde, blaspheminge it with a legion of deuilysshe horrible newe names. But yet, as the Gadarens were beter content to haue had still emonge thē this mischeuose mad man possessed of so many deuilis then Christ to haue dwelled [Page] in their loude. Euen so li [...]fer had these hoggishe Papistes and cruell persewers of the gospell & of the professours therof, to haue dwellinge still in their dioceses chirches and regions many legions of de­uylisshe rytes, supersticiose ceremonyes, dirtye tradicions and heythen ydolatrye, then Christ and his pure worde shulde on­ce sette in fote amonge them frely & faith­fully to be preached. And why? Chryst hathe drowned their swyne, say they. And if he shulde tary lōge emonge vs he wold drowne vs to, say they. Siche an answere made some polytyke gredy Gergesens of late possessed verely of legions of deuyls dryuinge thē yet hedlongs into the meare of almaner of mischeif, murther, lechery, dronkenes, glotony pryde ambicion en­uye &c. refrayned with no shame no reue­rence, with no feare nor lawe nether of god nor man, lyke mad wylde men cry­inge out in their pulpits and comon ta­uerus. That yf this newe lerninge and Lutherane gospell (for so call they gods holy worde) shulde come in frely to be pre­ched, oh what an innouaciō, commocions & mutaciōs wold it make in this realme▪ What sediciōs, tumults and hurle burlis shuld we haue a none in this now so peace­able a regiō? Beter it were therfor eche of vs all were still possessed and laden with [Page] legions of deuyls, fetered still in all idolatry and false religion, then that Iesus Chryst withe his worde shulde here tary any longer.

Hereof may ye se what a preposter feare and sinister iugement there is nowe in this worlde. Men to be more afrayd of Chryst & his gospell of saluacion to dwel with them, then of a legion of deuyls redy to rende them in peses. Be you (oh papy­stes) sewerer (thynke ye) vnder the deuyl then vnder Chryst: Do ye promyse your selues to be more quyet in Satans seruy­ce thē in Christs peaceable religiō? What harme (I pray you) hath our lorde Iesus Chryst & his gospell done to you, so that yf ye walke in his wais and receyue his gospell, ye shulde feare any suche perels of batail sedicions and tumults to fall vpon you? He hath drowned our swyne (say you) he is not the autor of euill say I. He came to drowne and to mortifye your swynisshe filthynes & bestly affectis and to blesse you and yours with encrease. He is the autor of peace and not of sedicion batail and tumult. Your selues thrustinge him and his worde awaye from you so truelly persecuting him in his preachers and professours be the very autors & cau­se of all batail sedicions trouble morin of your beastis derthe famyn and pestelēce. [Page] And forbecause you feare so sore these euils to fall vpon you for receiuinge and retayninge Chryst with his gospell, ther­fore be ye sewer, all these heuey heapes of calamities and yet greter & grenoser pla­ges shorteli to be powered forth vpō you.

But here obiecteth the vnfaythfull cruell Gadarens sayinge. We se it day­ly that where this newe lerninge is prea­ched, there foloweth myche trouble, in­quietnes tumult sondri sectes diuerse opi­nions. Truth it is. For neuer was the se­ad of gods worde sow [...]e & begane to ary­se, Satan beinge a sleape. And therfore trede downe this blessed sead with your filthy feet, suffocate it, burne it, thrust it from you with swerde and fyer, and nou­risshe still emonge you rather a legion of deuilis cōpellinge men to recant and re­nye the truthe openly & oft preched, orels burne them. Compell them to sayt. This is a realme of rightwijsenes where in is ministred all inste execucion and uo perse cucion. For where the heade and gouer­ner professeth Chryst there can be no per­secucion. Nether is Chryst (tell it thē) per secuted but emonge the Iewes and genti­les. Unto this I answer. That the gospel preched is the worde of the crosse, Paul to witnes. i. Cor. i. And the true preachers therof, Chrystsendeth as lombes emonge [Page] wolues, Matth. x. Wherfor where as ye haue chased awaye & suppressed the wor­de of the crosse there can be no persecuciō therof, & where as be no lōbes sent emon­ge wolues, there cā not the wolues deuou re any lombes. And thus breifly by your owne factis and recantacion wordes, you haue properly proued your selues nether to haue the gospell nor any true prechers sent amonge you purely and frely to pre­ache it, which as it is the most euident to­ken of gods heuey wrath to take awaye his worde and preachers from you, so is it the present token of his fauor to sende vs thē. Also where so euer is Christ our head, there are his members. And what the worlde and Satan did to our head and father of the houshold, the same do theiMat▪ yet still to his members and faithfull ser­uants. If the highe preistes and bisshops Caiphas and Annas with the pharisais persecuted our heade Chryst so shall their successours persecute his members, for persecucion is as comon to the body as to the heade. And therfore sayd Paul, Col. i▪ I nowe reioyse in myne afflicciōs for your sakis. For I supple that at yet remayneth and shall euer endure in the affliccions of Chryst in my fleshe for his bodye whiche is the chirche. Here is it playn, Chryst in his members to suffer persecucions vnto [Page] the worldes ende vntill his aduersaries be slayne with the breath of his mouthe, wherfore take awaye persecucion out of Englond, and so take ye awaye the wor­de of the crosse euen the gospell, the chir­che of Christ & all true preachers. Which all gone, there must the persewers & thru­sters out of Chryst and his worde be pos­sessed with legions of deuyls. For neuer was there any chirche so litle, so hole and perfit, but it had an aduersarye to perse­cute it. Chryst was euer to many mo a stomblinge stone and a signe to be ageneLuke. ij. sayd, then to be beleued & to ryse at hym. Then beginneth Satan to rustle when a strouger armed inuadeth his realme. Or­els what shuld he do but lydowun & laugh or sleape to se his realme in tranquilyte and in a paceable possessiō? Caiphas An­nas the bishops, scribes & pharisais we­re holy religiouse gostely fathers (but no lordes) till Chryst begane to preache and reueled hym self very god and man, and the beleuers in him onely to besaued. The Iewes were the peple of god agreinge in theyr religion, waitinge for Messias, ke­pinge theyr ceremonyes rites &c. quiet [...]1 and in peace till Chryst was comen & had preched his gospell, yea Christe is not so sone borne but he hath an Antichryst, as sone as he preched he had a Iudas. And [Page] shall there any man preache this gospell nowe in Englond, onely faithe to iustifye our work is not to deserue grace remissiō nor heuen, or ageynst ymages to stande in the place of worshippinge, or ageynst in­uocation of the dead sayntes, or prayinge for the dead or ageynst the popis super­sticiouse rytes & cere▪ yet maytained in the chirches of Englōd, or ageynst their pro­phana [...]io [...] of the lordis souper, and of his baptisme or agenst the wyuelesse vnchast chastite of the preistes and theyr vnlaw­full vowes, and estape persecucion?

If these blynde buzerds and wealy ve­pers whelps wolde but loke bake vnto the arke of Noe euer tossed and inquie [...]ed vpon the vehement troublous sourges, & yet neuer into any place of it receyuinge any water, or wolde they consyder the persecuted heuey state of Iacob, Genesis xxviij. what reste and lodgynge he had when he fownd out the place of the house of god. Or wold they beholde the perel­louse sharp situacion of the temple com­passed aboute with hir haythen aduersa­ries builded vpon the northe este syde of the mount Syon, euer open and redy to receyue, all the northe easte stormes and wyndes, whiche be moste rolde and bit­terreste. Agen loke with what difficultye and resistence, & how longe it was ere it [Page] coude be builden ayen after the fyrst de­struccion and ende of the Babylonike ca­ptiuite y wolde they (I say) beholde the fi­gures of Chrystis chyrche in the olde te­stament thei shulde sone se the heuey face & troblouse state of the chirche of Christe all though them selues as thei neuer we­re of this chirche, so neuer suffred they any persecucion for the gospell. Solomon in his balets described the situacion ofCant. ij. [...]. v. Chrystis spouse to be as a lyle emonge thor [...]es. And whyles she is in sekinge hir spouse, she is fownde of siche kepers as are our bisshops and theyr inquisitors in theyr questes and woluesshe honters for chrysten lombes blode, which saith Solomon, do smyte and wounde this po­re sely spouse and lytle fearefull floke of Christe, and they take awaye hir best garment, that is to saye. These bisshops whiche shulde kepe defende and edifye the walles of Hierusalem, are become very theues and cruell murtherers of the chirche of Chryst, takinge awaye hir be­ste garments, euen the holy Bybles, Te­staments the worde of our faithe and sal­uacion, storuinge the pore Hongrye sow­lis with famyn, verefyinge the prophe­tye of Amos. Thei were these buildersAmos. viij. that reiected Chryst the foundacion sto­ne of his chirche, whiche name edifican­tes [Page] our bisshoply builders haue vsurped so longe tyll thei haue nowe worthely de­stroyd all theirs, throne downe their ab­beis, & shortely shal thei throdowne their owne bishoprykes to. The scriptures, the prophetis as Daniel & the Apocalypse paynt forth christes chirche in farre other blody colours of affliccion & persecucion then do our wealy proud bulls of Basan whiche as they neuer felt trouble for the truth, so knowe they not what the chirche of Chryst is. There is nothing that so mi­che displeaseth god, as when wealy idle men sittinge in securite and ease, pite not the persecucion of the pore chirche, as Amos complayneth sayinge. Wo be toAmos. vi. the wealy riche &c. which be not moued with heuynes and pyte to se Ioseph, that is the people of god broken slayne perse­cuted &c.

But yet do our bisshops compell men to recant sayinge. That where the head & gouerner professeth Chryst, there can be no persecucion. Nether is Chryst persecu­ted but amonge the Iewes and gentyls. Ah subtyle serpentyne sead. Wyll ye yet make vs beleue the gospell not to haue ben persecuted of you in Englon­de? What thinge (I pray ye) was it, that in the Cardynall Thomas wolsaye, his days, and in that traytor syr Thomas [Page] More his tyme, beynge chanceler, and in Iohan stokisly bisshop of Londons tyme, you persecuted, when ye presoned, vndid and brent so many and chased awaye [...]oo for bringinge in, for readinge and for ha­uinge the newe Testament and other bo­kis of prayers out of the scripture in En­glish: What thinge persecuted you when ye brent at Paulis crosse 500 Testamēts with▪ wother holy bokis in Englisshe? What thinge persecuted ye, when ye com pelled doctor barnes, Master Bilney [...] master Artur to bere fagots for preching ageynst the popes falsely vsurped prima­rye, ageynst his purgatory and pardons? Ioan Fyssher bisshop of Rochester, after warde a traytour, then preachinge open­ly at Paulis crosse, and efte a nother cal­led doctor Ridleye, stokisleis chaplen and person of fulham, bothe extollinge the po pis powr supremite defendinge & mayn­tayninge his pardons purgatorie and his falsely vsurped power? Well I wot, that I my selfe was then by the bisshop of Lin colne called la [...]gley, by bysshop West of Ely, by Iohan asshwell laste priour of Newn ham abey besydes bedforde, and by syr William Gascoyne knyght and tresurer to the cardinal, persecuted & cha­sed out of the realme, cōpelled to lese my college a perpetuall sufficient lyuinge, [...] [Page] all that I had, for sayinge. That any sim­ple syr Iohan had as great power to byn de and to lose (if he coulde preche the gos­pell) as had the pope him selfe that neuer preched it. They had then brent me to for prechinge ageynst their pelgrimaginge to postes and stones, for sayinge that one­ly faith iustifieth before god, & good wor­kis to declare owr faith, our obedience to god, & our loue to god, and to our neygh­bours, for sayinge that it was godlier the bisshops, priours, abots and preistis to ha ue their owne wyues then so openly to kepe other mennis, and because I affir­med the pope, cardinalls, bisshops and all the ecclesiastike sorte to be by gods worde subiecte to the seclare ordinary powers as to their emprowr and their owne kin­ges, for thus prechinge and sayinge, thei had brent me to, if I had not fled out of the loude. Nowe I reporte me to your sel ues whether was this your execrable exe cucion, or els your pestelent persecucion? And whether may there not be persecu­cion where the heade professeth Chryst? [...] agen whether not in England there hathe ben and is yet persecuciō or onely emon­ge the Iewes and gentyls? Wyll ye yet thus contend to kouer and cloke your ow­ne open trayterouse towches? Wold ye set vs to seke persecucion emonge the Ie­wes [Page] & Turkes whyles your selues moste trayterously at home persecute not onely your owne floke the kinges subiectis but also your head & gouerner euen the kin­ges maiestye him selfe. By whose preuey [...]oniuracions, secrete conspiriso [...]s in auri­culare cōfessions and crafty consultacion were so many of the nobles of the nor­the and lyncolne shyer set on fyer Master Aske made the capitayne to lead forthe so rebelliouse a sorte of traytours ageynst our prince? Were they not the bysshops, abots & preistes which were the autours of that sediciouse insurreccion and perse­cucion of their owne kinge? And how say you, my lordis, was it iuste execucion or persecucion that ye wold haue prosecuted ageynsty our owne head & gouerner at that tyme if ye might haue had your daye so longe loked fore? To put you therfore out of dout, your owne worthei punissh­mētes & plages hitherto iustely executed vpon you and your abbayes, & your de­struccion at hāde shall no notherwyse cer­tifie you to haue had then persecuted your head & his subiectes then did the terrible example and worthey punisshment of the sonnes of Chore of Dathan & Abyrō, the erthe deuoweringe & swallowinge in thē quy [...]e downe a lyue into hell, declare thē to haue persecuted Moyses their moste [Page] mylde head & godly gouerner constituted of god to haue led thē out of that yerney fornace of bondage frō Pharao. And this is lo, the humble obedient seruice & loue that siche ingrate rebelles render to their so louinge & iētle princes. Now I aske thē ageyne whether the first chirche whiche cōsisted of Adā Eue Cain & Abel, had not Adam a godly gouerner professinge that blessed sead Chryst promised? and yet did one brother vnder the same head perse­cute the tother, Cayn slewe Abell, & now tell me my lordis, was Cayn a Iewe or a gentyle? Under Isaac a godly gouerner and head of his familye and chirche, Esau persecuted Iacob. Was Esau a Iewe or a gentyle? And as it was then so is it nowe, saithe Paul, euen one brother to persecute another, vnder Abraham, Is­mael persecuted Isaac, vnder Moses the head gouerner of gods chirche was the­re no persecutiō? Read the boke of nowm­bers. xij. and. xvi. Chapters, and ye shall see euen the cheif bysshop with his wy­fe Maria, Dathan and A [...]yron wyth theyr wycked complices to haue persecu­ted their head Moses murmuryng a­geynst him for that he was so highe in fa­uour with god, enuyinge him for his pro­phecing & interpreting so highly gods ple sure and minde, and was it execucion ore [Page] persecucion that thei prosecuted ageynst Mose [...]? Lo here may y [...] see the Christen persecuted of his owne subiectis one Ie­we to persecute an other, one brother a no ther, one gentile another, one crystian in name a nother, one englissh man a nother as Chryst sayd, Matt. x. One brother to betraye a nother vnto deathe, the father his sone, the sonnes their parents for my names sake saith Chryst. Nowe ye se that persecution is where so euer the gospell [...] Chryst be frely preached, whether it be in England, France or in Germany &c. and not onely emonge the Iewes and gentils as our bishops wolde haue men beleue it. They say they be the Iewes and Turkes that shall persecute you. But Christ sayth they shall be our owne familiare false bro therne the bisshops and the preists to per secute their head and vs to whiche shulde tender defende and fede vs. This is lo theyr olde wont facion, to set vs to loke & beware of the Iewes and gentyls perse­cucions, whyles them selues burne vs for the gospell. As did the thefe crye to the people kepe the thefe, whyles hym selfe myght rune his waye the frelyer. And if there be no persecucion in Englond, why praye ye in your newe lytanpes and suf­frages, god forgeue owr persewers and persecuters and turne their hertes, and to [Page] be desyuered from them▪ Why pray ye [...]he same in the moste parte of your Psal­mes euery haye sunge and red in your chirches?

I meruell of what lerninge and reli­gion these bisshops be, that graunte the gospell to be in Englond, and not to be persecuted. The scripture techeth play­nely, Matth. xvi. that emonge men, there was, and shall be euer, diuerse and sondre opinions of Christe and his religion and the worde of god euer to be agene sayd & persecuted as longe as this worlde stan­deth. Who resisted Moses bringinge gods message and gospell into Egipt but the preistes of Egipte? In Israel, Helias prechynge gods worde, had he not the preistes of Baal his aduersaries and per sewers? The false prophetes resisted Ie­remye▪ The Pharisais persecuted Chryst. And not only the false Apostles but also the hole worlde persecuted the trwe Apo­stles. Of this lecte, sayd they to Paule we knowe it to be ageyn sayd and per­secuted euery where. After the ApostlesAct. xxviij. tyme the worde of god was not onely re­sy [...]ted withe the persecucion of tyrants, but also with the wicked doctrynes of he­retiques. In the popis kingdome, vntill Erasmus, Ioha Hasse & Wycleue, Mar­tyn Luther, & other men begane to wryte, [Page] there semed to be a good quiete concorde of the chrysten religion, as longe as men beleued in the pope to be head of Chrysts chirche, receyued his false doctryne, ry­tes cere, tradicions, pardons, satisfacciōs, merits, prayd for the dead and to sayuts, and for the souls in purgatory, pelgrima­ged, worshipped stockes and stones, and his misse as a sacrifice for the syunes of the quike and dead. Whiche was euē the same that Chryst sayd in his gospell. As longe as the strong armed kepeth his fo­re courte and castel gates, all thinges are in peace and salf gard that he hathe. For where Satan hath the rule and domini­on ouer the comon doctryne and techers there taketh he diligent heed lest any or many externe dissensions or tumults ary­se, nether stereth he vp there many here­spes, no not in the Turkes nor Iewes chirches in these dayes, because he hath them sewer at his pleasure beinge lorde head and kinge openly ouer their religiō. And euē so, in the popis kingedom hathe he kept & pet dothe he kepe his fore cast­le gates, that those thinges whiche he yet possedith myght continewe in peace. Un­to this Satans peaceable possession haue our bisshops brought, orels entend they to bringe ageyue their chirche of Englōd lo, so that nowe, thanked be their father [Page] Satan, all is in peace without persecuciō (say they) turned into iuste execucion af­ter theyr owne crafty construccion and execrable exposicion.

But when the stronger armed cometh vpon hym, then rustleth Satan his har­ [...]es, then stereth he vp tumults, then blo­weth he forth bataill, sedicions, conspiri­sons, insurreccions, rebellions, amōge his bishops & preists that yet by these means were it possible, he might kepe stil his kin­gdome and be not thrust out of his castle. So that there is no certayner argument and more euident token of the gospell to be vtterly oppressed, & of Satan to raigne in peace, as to se the publike concorde of, and in the religion. And there is no tokē so certayn manifest and euident of the worde of god arysing and cominge forth into syght, as when ye se a comon publike discorde in, and of the religion. For and yf euer men shuld haue loked and trusted for any open and generall concorde of, & in the religion in the worlde, at the reue­lynge and open prechinge of the gospell, it shuld haue ben at that tyme when our lorde Iesus Chryst him selfe reueled and preached it emonge the Iewes. He is the sone of god by whom al things were cre­ated, no aposte, nor prophete to be compa [...]ed to him. And yet whē he shulde preche [Page] forth with great honour and created the prince of all Egipt. Iob loste all his good but double was restored him. Dauid was caste out into exile of Saul, but yet was he called home agen and exalted in­to the regall maiestye. Daniel was cast in to the lyons, and a non made the prin­ce of the Persians. And as ye se, that if our god in this worlde promoueth his, out of affliccion and persecucion into glo­rye honor and felicite, miche more tran­slateth he his derely beloued chosen out of these miserable and heuey present per­secucions into that heuenly perpetuall ioye and felicite in the other worlde. And the lenger it is differred the more sweter it is when we haue it, our lorde god yet counfortinge vs with his assewered pro­mises sayinge. I shall delyuer mi people frō all their tribulaciōs. Soner shall heuē and erth passe awaye then mi wordis to passe vnfulfilled, hills and mountayns shal be shakē down but my mercy shal not go fro me, & the couenāt of mi peace shall not be moued saith the lorde god moste mercifull. Loke vpon Christe the sone of god whiche aftir he was deiected vnto the dethe of the crosse, was he not exalted into the moste hyghe honor & glory, & had geuen him a name aboue al names so that in the name of Iesu euery since boweth [Page] downe bothe in heuen erthe & in hell? and what is done in the head shall not the sa­me be done in the mēbers? Wherfore the more affliccion and persecucion the worde of the crosse bringeth to vs, the more feli­cite and greter ioye abideth vs in heuen. But the worldly peace, idle ease, welthey pleasure and this present transitory feli­cyte which the vngodly imagin to procu­re them selues here by persecutinge and thrustinge awaye the gospell, shal be tur­ned here into their owne trouble bataill (as ye now this daye see it) and at laste into the horrible destruccions and muta­cions of their realmes, and aftir this (if they repent not) into ther own perpetual infelicite, perdicion and dampnacion. And if our lordely prowed bishops wolde con­sider and measure the state of the christen chirche by the actes of the Apostles, they shuld see in howe greuouse persecucion it was, when the moste nowmber of disci­plesAct. vi. encreased. Agen if they wolde read the storyes ether of the holy or haithen, they shulde see that when the chyrche was in moste welthe and ease, the prelats in idlenes aspiringe for riches and honor, then entred into it, the most pestelēt poy­son and destruccion of all godly doctrine, then encreased all ydolatry heresyes su­persticion, and mens deuilyssh tradicions [Page] as ye may see in constantyne the empe­rours dayes, and in gregoryes the grete his tyme, howe Chrystes religion then began to dekaye. And sone aftir, or in Heraclius tyme howe the deuill did put forth his two litle great Antichristē hor­nes Mahumet and the Pope of Rome. So that where as is no persecucion of Christes religion but all in securite and reste there is that chirche lykely not to continewe longe in the trwe faithe. For Christe is no where borne, be he neuer so lytle without tumulte & blodshedinge of innocents as it is wryten, Matth. i [...]. Trowth it is that Huldrike Zwing lius sayd. In blode is the gospell planted, wyth blode therfore must it be conserued and defended.

Let vs therfore (chrysten brethren) be constant in obeyinge god rather then men, although they slay vs for the veri­te. For our innocent blode shed for the gospell, shall preache it with more fru­te (as did abelis, steuens etc) then euer did our mouthes and pennes. Consyder the begynninge of the chrysten religion, and the fyrste frutes of the prymitiue chirche, and we shall se innumerable in­nocents slayne, as it hath ben these. 20. yeres paste, for the preachinge and brin­ginge in agen of the gospell. For neuer [Page] did the [...]aythe nor innocent lyuinge more flor [...]sshe then in those dayes. Let vs ther­fore reioyse and thanke▪ God that it wold please him to vse our bodyes and bloude vnto his glorye and promouinge of his worde and edifyinge of his chirche. For the lordis felde when it wexeth drye, lea­ [...]e and baryn, it must be watered, made fat, dunged and composed with the inno­cent blode and bodyes of his faithfull. For what profit, sayd Dauid, comethePsalm. xxix. of my blode if it be layd downe with my body in graue to be corrupted? Is it not beter spent powered forth vpon the lor­dis felde to be there wyth made fatte fe­ [...]unde and fertyle▪ Nowe thou seest chri­sten reader, that they that wrote and pre­ [...]hed, persecucion to be a perpetuall inse­perable companion of the gospell, erred not, as it was wel vere fyed of them sel­ues beynge compelled to recant this ma­nyfeste verite. But of whom were they compelled? verely of them that yet bele­ue not the gospell to be the worde of the crosse euen the very enemyes vnto the crosse of Chryste, of thē, I say, that laugh Chryst and his worde to skorne, which yet sit in the chayer of the peruerse pe­stelent skorners, to whom (as to the wy­se gentilis of the worlde) the gospell of Chryst is but folisshnes, and (as it was [Page] [...]o the Iewes) a sclaunder and▪ stomblin­ge stone: where at thei now fallen haue prouoked the wrath of god vpon thē De­us misereatur nostri et benedicat nobis: vt cognoscamus in terra viam suā, Amē. I thought not (when I began) to haue di­gressed so farre. I returne therfore to our Gadarens. Of whiche some ther be fe­ble saythed, a fraid greatly of the losse of their litle pigges; sayinge. Yet we set si­che as professe Chryste and his gospell to be cruelly hādled and to suffer miche mi­sery, presone, affliccions, persecucion and losse of all they haue. And therfore al­though we know it to be the trwth which is now restored by prechers brent, & bo­kes banisshed and restrayned, yet be we more a fraid of Chryst for feare of the losse, of our litle goodis and disquietinge of our mortall bodyes in this transitory lyfe, then of a legion of deuils drawin­ge vs by litle and litle from hearinge and readinge the worde of this crosse vnto vanites, lyes fables, and to this flaterin­ge welthey worlde. Unto you therfore, whiche yet do not cruelly resiste nor we­tingly persecute Christe in his members and in his gospell, but for feare, for wea­knes, and as it were iently with the Ga­darens pray Christe withe his Byble and bokes to passe from you: and also vnto [Page] them whiche haue fermely receyued and constantly professe Chryst and his wor­de now suffering for their sakes the cros­se of persecucion, euen the inseperable companion of Chryst and his worde: do I wryte this counfortable boke, by the grace of our almighty god to animate & to acourage you in your affliccions, to de­syer Chryst to dwell still with you and not to take his worde of trwth at any ty­me oute of your mouthes, to strengthen you with his holy spyryte, to confirme and counfort you in these your heuey af­fliccyons and greuouse persecucyons, ioyously and paciently to bere them, as the swete crosse and lyght burdens of ou [...] moste mercyfull louinge father, ther by to be facioned and formed lyke vnto his owne sone our sauiour Christe, that we might with ioye and felicite be also glorifyed with him in heuen. So be it.

EXcept the faithfull, as many as haue ben frō the begīnīg of the worl de excercised & whetted with diuerse afflicciōs, had ben casten ageynst innumerable perels & tribulacions: we might worthely (crysten brethern) now lament our heuey state, miserable chaunce and sorowfull condicion. Yea we might well accuse, and with Iob curse these our trou­blous corrupt and blody laste dayes of this worlde. In whiche most gilties, we for onely the trwthes sake and for Chry­stes name suffer persecuciō, sustayne most bitter and cruell hatered, we be afflicted, scourged, castē out of our countrye▪ And euen we whiche seme to some men to be best at ease, yet be we no where at any tyme sewer and quyet, but as shepe be we apoynted to be slayne. For euen our owne false brethrē spekinge fayer to our faces. pretendinge to be chased out of theyr countrye for the same gospel, in no­thinge at all folowing it, but opēly slaun­dering it, vex vs, molest vs belye vs, depra ue vs, slaunder & hurt vs, no lesse cruel­ly persecutinge vs then the open papi­stes. Which thinge verely is euen the sa­me that our lord and master Chryst told [Page] vs before, saying our owne brothern and moste familiare to be our moste deadly enemyes, one brother to betray another.Ion̄. xv i And the tyme to come where in who soMarc. xiij. slayeth vs shall thinke them selfe to do highe seruice to their god euen ther owne bellyes vntill their synnes yet at resteMat. x. lyinge with Cayns murther in securyte, shall be layde open in the gates beforeGenesi. iiij. ij. Tim. iij. all men. For these deceitful false brethern shall vnder the vysar of hypocrisye go­forth worse & worse, whylis they bothe lead wother into errours and erre also theyr owne selues renye god in their de­disTit. i▪ beinge abhominable, inobedient, re­probated caste awayes and yet with their mouthes cōfesse they god. Wherfore (de­re brothern) we be happye whiche haue the trwthe all though before the worlde we seme to be the most vnhappy and mi­serable. For vnto vs that perseuer in it there is layd vp promised of god the most ioyouse and plentuouse rewarde. I kno­we how greuously many men be tempted and troubled for that they not remēbrin­ge the olde examples, or not wel taught in the lawe of god, do measure the treuth of chrystes religion & faithe▪ bothe by the moste parte, and also by the felycyte and prosperouse present successe of the worl­de thynkinge the veryte to stande vpon the [Page] [...] multitude, and on theyr sydis which haue the victoryes, lyue in sauegarde at theyr owne lustes, whiche haue the praises and reuerent salutacions of men, and them to be but lyers heretiques vngodly &c. whi­che as they be contempned, punished, per­secuted and exyled, so be they but a fewe simple sely pore lombes. But so farre from mannis reason are the iugements of god, that euen the Prophetis often tymes contended with god and reasoned with him in this mater. Abacuck thusAbac. i. sayinge how longe lorde shall I crye and thou wilt not heare? Wherfore hast thouPsalm. xxxvi. & xxxvij. reserued me into these wiked and vniuste dayes? Wherfore beholdest thou these despysers and holdest thy peace whylesPsalm. lxxiij. the wyked treddowne the man iuster them him self. For this cause is the lawe torne in pesis whylis the vngodly thus preuaile sendynge forth peruerse iuge­ments actis, lawes and antichrysten in­struccions.

Trew [...]h it is that god promysed his blissinges vnto them that herken to hisDeute. vij. xviij xxviij. voyce, beleue his wordes and kepe his commandements. Sayinge I shall sette the aboue all the nacyons of the erthe: And all these blessinge shall come ouer the. Blessed shalt thou be in towne and [Page] felde. Blessed shall be the frute of thy­bodye, the frutes of thy grwnde, of thy catell, of thy shepe oxen etc. Blessed shall be thyne almery and store howse. Bles­sed shalt thou be, whether thou goist forth are comest in. The Lorde shall smyte thy­ne enimies, that ryse ageynst the, yea and that before thy face shall he smyte them downe. They shall come ageynst the one waye, and flye away frome the se­uen wayis. All thynges thou takest in hande shall be blessed, that is to saye, they shall encrease and haue a prosperouse suc­cesse &c.

Ageyne these be his curses and pla­ges whiche god threatenethe and casteth vpon them that herken not to his voyce, beleue not his wordis, nor kepe not his commandements sayinge.

Cursed shalt thou be in felde and tow­ne. Cursed be thyne Almery and store house. Cursed shall be the frute of thy bodye, the frutes of thyne heardes of neat and flockis of shepe. Cursed be thyne incominge and out goinge. I shall sende the skarsnes derthe honger and all thynges to go to naught, what so euer thou goiste about, vty [...]l it be vtterly de­stroyd and waasted yea and that shortely & sodenly, for thy nowne wycked inuen­cions [Page] by whiche thou haste forsaken the lorde. I shall caste pestelence vpon the▪ with famyn, pouertye, feuers, swellings colde, heat burnings, corrupt ayers, bla­stings and with [...]aiaill shalt thou be con­sumed vntill thy loude nowe so fertyle and pleasaunt hath spewed the forth all togyther &c.

But (oh Lorde sayth Ieremye) albeitIer. xij. thou beiste to iuste a dealer and to [...]we a promiser then that I shuld reason wyth the tell me. Why (as it mesemeth) cōtra­ry to thy promises, do the vngodly enioye thy blissingis, and the good men be pla­ged with thy cursinges? But yet let me comon with the (oh Lorde) of ryghtwi [...]e­nes or of thy iugements. How is it that the waye of the vngodly thus prospereth and that all these shameles synners lyue yet in welthe and in theyr owne lustis vnpunisshed? Thou hast so planted them that they be depe roted, they profit and be ryche. Thou art redy at theyr lippes to geue them theyr desyers, albeit theyr hertes be farre from the.

Asaph lykewyse beinge offended at the prosperite of the wyked, and at the cur­ses casten vpon the godly men complay­ned to god on this maner sayinge. My fefe verely were almost gone, mifotinge begu [...]ne to faile me, wellnyghe fallen in­to [Page] a fonde angrye mynde, zelouse to folo­we the wyked, when I dyd see all thinges so prosperously to succede wyth the vn­godly. They bere no deadly burdens, but sit fast in all ease and ryches. They be not oppressed wyth the mortall myseries of men nother punyshed lyke other men. And therfore are they thus puft vp wyth pryde, that they be drowned in mischeif & iniurye. So that for theyr wealy ryches they be geuen ouer vnto all lustes folo­wynge theyr owne hertes desyres to do violence and tyrannye. All thinges they abhorre and dysdayne, saue those onely whych their selues saye enacte and de­cree, yea and that so proudly. Their eyes can not se for fatte, they speake frō a loft euē agaynst the most hyghest. Thei stret­che forth theyr mouthes vnto heauen but their tongues walke vpon the erth, wher fore theyr folke shall fall into their seruice and all for great lucre. Tusshe saye they, doth God know thys? can the moost hy­ghest see vs? Lo sayde I, they are the vn­godly that enioye these ryche blessinges in this worlde: In vayne therfore do I clē se myne herte: In vayne wasshe I my han des in innocencye: wherfore shuld I then be thus punysshed euery daye, and chaste ned all the nyght longe: whyles (I saye) I thus consydered wyth my selfe, I had al [Page] almost slipt awaye from the felowshipp of thy floke. Then thought I, how myght I vnderstande this thynge: It was to hard for me to know it. And here goth Asaph and Ieremy into the secrete holy place of the Lorde, where stode the arke and the propye [...]a [...]orye, which is Christ, euen that blessed [...]eade in whome we be all blessed, althoughe he was made the curse to blesse vs. Here at hym and hys worde they fet­ched the answere to certyfye owr flesshly iugement of the will of God in this mat­ter. Here were they boden to marke the ende of these vngodly so gretely prospe­rynge wyth Godes blessynges, and also the ende of the godly whych semed to be vnder the curses. For how soeuer manys fonde reason iugeth of God, that he shuld ether neglect hys promyses, or to be the author of euell, yet is he iust in all hys wayes and holy in all hys workes, hys wayes are not lyke ours, nor hys though­tes as be owrs, nother his counsels and mynde correspōdēt to owr reason. ChrystPsalm. exlv. Isay. lv. answerd the murmurer, at hys vnlyke payment to the labourers in hys vyne yarde, sayinge: Frende I do the no wrōg, I wyll do with my nowne what my lyst.Matth. xx. But beware thou, that iugest of God af­ter thy nowne reason to do euyll, lest the same thynge that thou iugest to be euyll, [Page] beinge ryght good in dede, because God doth it, be turned into thy damnacyon, for so peruersely iugynge of the moost best goodnes. For what or how so euer the claye iugeth and reasoneth wyth the pot­ter, yet wyll the potter haue the vyctory.Psal. li. Beware (I saye) lest thyne eye, that is thy best reason be euyll, because God is good and doth good, whan thou thynkest and iugest hym to do euyll. Beware lest by thy nowne folyshe corrupte reasonynge wyth God for hys hardenynge of Pha­rao, and leadynge men into temtaciō, and geuynge hys blessynges to the wycked contrary to hys promyses (as to the naturall man it appereth) and hys curses to the good: and breakyng of his vesseles of wrath▪ to declare hys iustice and glory, thou turnest hys iuste and wel doinge in­to thy nowne hurte. But heare thou reuerentlye with feare the dyuyne oracle and answere of God at thys propyciatory and stole of hys mercye, Asaph, Dauid, and Ieremy there fetchynge it, warnyng the, not to be moued nor offended at the felycyte and prosperite of the vngodly. But to marke the ende of thē, for he hath so sett them a loft in a slybery place to castPsalm. lxxiij. them downe sodenly. Oh Lorde, how so­denly are they gone, consumed wyth dy­uerse deathes? No notherwyse (sayth he) [Page] then a dreame, whē the man waketh, doist thou awaye their image out of the cyte▪ For sodenly lyke haye or grasse are they smyten downe and wy [...]hered. The scrip­ture lykeneth them to grasse, whyche the hygher if groweth the more present is the syith to kut it downe. They be compared to smoke, whych the hygher it ascendeth, the more it vanyssheth awaye. They arePsalm. xxxvij. lykened to the euenyng shadowe of a mā, whych the longer it reacheth and wexeth on the erthe (the sonne going downe) the soner sodenly is it gone. They be lykened to the fresshe baye tree that roteth so depe and spredeth so wyde, whych sodenly cut downe, no man seith wheere it stode. And agayne in the Psalm. xci. Oh Lorde, how excellent clere are thy workes, beyonde all mesure so profounde are thy counsels. An vnwyse man comprehendeth thē not, nother the folysh vnderstādeth thē. That is to weite when these mischeuouse blody tyraunts grow vp flourisshinge lyke the flowers and grasse in the felde, into this ende do they so flourisshe that they might be cut downe and caste into the fyer for euer. Agene Psalm. xxxvij. At the wealy prosperite of the vngodly cruell, be thou not moued once to turne thy fote into his steapes. For sodenly lyke the grasse is he smyten downe and as the greue he [...]bes is [Page] he withered awaye. Also vnto Ieremey thus did god answer. That he did put the­se greate steres into his ranke fatte pa­stures, that assone as they be fed to the hi­gheste they myght be brought to the slaughter house. Thus haue ye the answe re of god wherfore he geueth his blessin­ges to the wyked, commandinge vs not to folowe theyr stepes, nor yet zelously to enuye their prosperite, but paciently to a­byde a lytle, and then they shall be taken awaye sodenly. And death shall lye gna­wingePsalm. xlix. and fedinge, vpon them as dothe the floke vpon the pasture. But the iuste shall be in the light when the treasure of the vngodly shall be cōsumed & hell shall be theyr perpetuall hospitall. Be not af­fraid therfore when thou seist siche a man made riche and the bewtye of his palaces encrease. For at his death nothinge of thē all, shall he karye away with him, nether shall his gloriouse pōpe folowe him. But yet whilis he lyueth he is called graciou­se and happye, he is praised whyles he is in prosperite. But when he shall passe his waye to his fathers familye, he shall ne­uermore see lyght. Thus lo, when a man is in prosperyte and honor he is without vnderstandinge, compared vnto the brute beastes, for that he is euen lyke thē. God therfore casteth his blessinges vpon the [Page] wyked that yet fight ageynst him, to ex­cercyse our faith, sendinge vs in our afflic cions vnto his propiciatory Chryst & to his worde there to serche oute, as ye here see, the cause of their prosperite, and of our owne affliccions into owr present cō ­solacion, declaringe vnto vs howe vyle he estemeth these ryches, these welthy pros­perities and transitorye blessings of the worlde, especially in vnthankfull tyrants, techinge vs howe terrible are his iuge­ments, so hyghe to lyft a man vp, to then­tent he wold sodenly caste him downe the more greuously. Here gaue he the ryche gloton his heuen, here aftir to haue his hell. Here he gaue Lazarus his hell, after this to haue his heuen. Reioyse we ther­fore, (afflicted Christen brethern) in owr trowblouse persecucions and heuye exy­le. For if we here paciētly, suffer with chri­ste, we shallbe also glorifyed with him in heuen. Nether do I (saith saynt Paul) re­puteRo. viij. the afflicciōs of this worlde worthei of the glory tocome which shalbe openly geuen vs. Unto vs therfore his childern the curses are become his blessingis and sweete crosse whiche our father laith vpō vs to folowe his deare sone owr sauiour Chryst, that we might be trwly fasshoned vnto his image once lost in paradise. For as we haue borne the image of the erthy [Page] Adam, so muste we bere the image of our heuenly Adā Chryste. He thus spekingei. C [...]n. xv. vnto vs. My childerne neglecte not my correccion, nore faint not when ye be cha­stened, for whom I loue, them I chastē, & beat euery childe whom I receyue. If ye paciently suffer my chastysinge. I will of­fer my self vnto you alouinge father. For what chylde hathe the father whō he cor­recteth not? If ye shulde be fre fro my cor­reccion so were ye not my childerne, but bastards. Now by faith and this know­lege are the curses turned into our bles­sed and sacred crosses ioyfully and glad­ly to be borne aftyr Chryste, for our cor­reccion, lest we be condempned with the wealy wyked worlde, God workinge in vs a strange worke to worke his owne, as Isay saith. This is the rok whom god she­wedIsay. xxviij. to Moses Exo. xxxiij. aftir he was ta ken out of the water of afflicciō, vpon the which rok god cōmāded him tostōde whi­les his glorie was in passing foreby, whe­re he did sette Moses in the riftes of the same rok defending him with his almigh­ty hande & koueringe him, vntill his hāde takē of, he shewed him his hinder parties euen Chryste him selfe & his members at laste to come by, & thorowe the crosse to entre into his glorye. And to exclude his & our merits for so suffeirnge he tolde him, [Page] for all that he spake so famyliarely with him, that he wolde be mercyfull, to whō he listed to be piteous. Heere also beholde the tree which when Moses Exo. xv. did put into the bitter waters of marath, auō they were made swete, so that the people of god myght well drynke of them. Be­holde the bitter passiō of Christe hangin­ge vpon the crosse of tre sufferynge for thy synnes: and what water of tribulaciō is so bitter to the, but in him, and for his sake layinge it vpon the, is not swete and ioyfully dronken of? yea it is to the tur­ned into the swete wyne so changed from water at the mery meriage. What childeIoan. ij. of god will thinke him selfe so innocent that he is worthei no chastement? Let vs therfore (christen persequnted brethern) ascende paciently into this secrete holy place euen owr mercye seat Chryst, be­holdinge all these heuye curses to be castē vpon him beringe awaye all our synnes and sustayninge the paynes dewe vntoRo. iij. Gal. iij. them for owr sakis and saluacion, made for vs the curse and execracion to redeme vs frō the curse of the lawe, made for vs the malediccion, that thorowe him they might be turned into our blessings, made (I saye) for vs vnrightwysenes and syn­ne, that we thorowe him myght be reke­ned of god ryghtwyse and iustyfyed or [Page] absolued from synne. Thus be we blessed in owr sauiour whilis we suffer persecu­tion for his names sake, here aftir to heareMat. v. it of his owne mouthe openly callynge vs sayinge. Come ye my blessed and possede the kingedom prepared for you from theMatth. xxv. beginninge.

Nowe therfore let vs paciently suffer dependinge vpon our fathers pleasure whyles his aduersaries persecute vs for preachinge and wrytinge vnto them the trwth: let vs constantly suffre to be exy­led for that we abhorre theyr idolatry theyr antichrysten rytes and superstici­ous ceremonyes, let vs flye in holy der­kenesse out of Babylon into the deserte with our pore lawfull wyues rather then wykedly to suffer our selues violently cō ­trary to gods lawe to be separated, whō god hath ioyned. This is owr crowne & praise (as Peter saith) vnworthely to suf­fer with a good consciens for the trwthes sake, and not as any malefactours. Hap­py be we whiche haue the worde of owr counfort, the doctryne of our faithe, con­fidence hope and ioye in the holy goste to bolden and to confirme vs in these our heuye affliccions for well doinge. And wo be vnto thē whiche haue taken awaye the worde of consolacion from the laye peple whiche soernestly in their anxt thir­ste [Page] for it & in stede of the same haue thru­ste into the cōgregacions erroneouse doc­tryne, idolatrye, supersticion, and decey­uable sermons and institucions into the dampnacion of many men. Them selues not onely seducinge the vnlerned, but al­so with theyr synfull & dampnable lyuin­ge drawinge many aftir thē vnto perdi­cion. Whereby thei declare thē selues to haue dronkenin that pharisaicall blodye tyrannouse spirite which may not abyde to heare the verite. Which serpētyne spri­te went euer about to take & trap Christe in his wordis, deprauinge euery facte, mi­racle, & worde whiche he wrought or sayd yea although their owne consciences tol­de it thē, the same to be done & spoken of the holy goste very god. This did they to bringe Christe & his doctrine into the ha­tered of all men, to be detested & abhorred as an heretique, a deceyuer, a sediciouse persone & traytor ageynst the emperowr belyinge him moste deadly & moste sha­mefully. For when in iugemēt Pilate af­firmed him innocēt & to haue fownde no capitall cryme in him, there this pharisai­call spryte rored out furiously krying. He maketh cōmocion and sediciō thorowt all Iewrye and Galile. Away with him cru­ [...]ifye crucifye him. And euē so is our po­re afflycted chirche vexed and oppressed with the [...] calamities, iniuries lyes [...] [Page] tyrānie. The same rebukes iniuste ver [...] ­rious and cruell persecuciōs do we suffer this daye. But let vs be of good chere, se­inge we suffer all this for rightwisenes & wel doinge. For what thinge do thei per­secute vs? verely for no nother cause then that we desyer to know, & to teche the pu­re clere knowledge of Chryst & the very waye of our saluaciō & of the christē reli­gion, that we & other might se the immē ­se riches of the mercye, rightwysenes, ly­fe & helthe whiche we shuld haue & posses­se thorowe our faith in onely Chryst. We thirste intirely to heare the pure gospell frely & faithfully preached whereby we obtayne rightwysenes & saluacion, when euē the aungels desier to beholde & vnder stande those thing is whiche are preched in the gospel of chryst. And for this our god­lyi. Petr. i desyre, Satā roreth & is wode with vs & stereth vp his impes the popishe bishops & preistes thus tyrānously to hādle & hon [...]e vs frō place to place. But & if we wolde li ue so viciously so prowdly so prodigi [...]use­ly & so prophanely in al maner of idolatry sinne & wikednes approuinge their peste­lēt popishe doctrine & winke at their leche rouse licencyouse liuinge, and rebuke not their open whoredō, ypocrisy dampnable doctrine with their infinite fraudes wher bye they seduce bothe princes and theyr subiectis then were we at peace with thē [Page] and Satan with his serpētyne seade wol­de fauour exalt & defend vs. But becau se we desyer a chrysten lyfe and a purer doctryne in owr clergy wherby we & almē might knowe the benefit of Chrystes pas sion, and false religion might be knowen and estiewed, therefor this Satanike spi­rit of the spiritalty can not abyde vs. We haue thorowe our lordis grace and helpe forsaken his Satanike fraternite and sy­nagoge, and casten of his dāpnable yoke, and sayd him adiew, & therfore hathe he stered vp this hatered enuye and persecu­ciō of the pharise is ageynst vs. Nether is this any newe thinge. For it is the wont crafte and deceytfull deuelry of the olde serpent now most fyercely excercesed & whetted whyles he seith his kyngedom almost at an ende and his heuey iugemēt at hand, manis wikednes beinge al moste at the rypiste and higheste.

But let vs be stronge mynded & con­stant in our lorde god, knowinge that this vnclene spyrite of the spiritualty shall be compellled to auoyde and geue place to the finger of god. And euen nowe begin­neth the fynger of god to worke with vs and to stretche forth his almighty arme. For it is the most sing lare inestimable be nefit of god, that there is nowe to coun­fort vs in our persecucion, sprongen vp [...] [Page] geuen the moste clere confortable lyght of the gospell. Wherby we knowe the prin­ce of Derkenes, we espye and may auoid his craftye fraudelēt seduccions and pre­u [...]y enginnes. And herof is it that he ro­reth and his impes the clergye wepe for anger and fight so cruelly, and grinne a­geynste vs and gods anoynted with his worde, for this cause they threaten they persecute, they faget they preson they bur ne &tc. here we muste arme our soulis with the worde of god leste in this bataill we shrynke and fall, here muste we fyght manfully in faithe in our master Christe and so haue we in him, and for his sake, the victorye of these owr spirituall ene­mies. But verely this may we not do on­lesse we be continually counforted & con­firmed with the ferme euerlastinge wor­deRoma. xv. of god. For all things that be wryten, are wryten for our doctryne that thorowe pacience and consolacion of the scriptures we myght haue hope. There be yet many of vs whiche haue not herde the gospell opēly and frely preched which bere good zele therto, but yet are they but tender & weake and not waxen so stronge braun­ches in the vyne yarde of Chryst as some whother be: which must with great diligē ce cure and studye be planted watered & roted with continuall readinge & teachin­ge [Page] till they be stronge and constant. Sa­tanSatan. is olde and subtyle, and knowth whi­che parte of Christes chirche is weakest & with what kynd of tentaciō he may sonest ouerthrowe vs, & where he seeth vs most weake there with moste violēce and craftWorld. he fyercely inuadeth. The worlde is full of slaunders and exāples of the most sin­full & abominable lyuinge withe the pro­uocacyōs vnto almaner myscheif & vice & pluckinges frō godlines & vertewe. The fleshe is faynt ād febleferefull, ād vnsted­fasteFlesh. prone vnto desperacion. But assone as we be tempted ether of Satā, or of the worlde, or of our flesshe so ferefull and fe­ble: let vsflye vnto the worde of god kno­winge it & vnderstāding it fermely that it is the mercifull will & most beste counsell of god, & euē the most certayn testimonye of his graciouse diuine beneuolēce tower­de vs so to excercyse & to proue our faith paciēce hope loue &c. & that al these sharpe assawtes of our enemyes shall be turned into our saluaciō. Let vs euer haue it befo­re our eyes for whō we suffer & for what gospel we be thus persecuted, remēbring his fatherly promise so ful of cōsolacion & so oft promised vs in Chryst. And thē shal we fynde a mighty and present counfort. For it is decreed in the immutable eternal counsell of god that whō god hathe fore­sene [Page] chosen in Christe, the same hathe he predestined to be made lyke the image of his sonne, that he might be the firste be­goten emonge his many brethern.

Nowe we see and fele the benigne ād merciful will of god towerde vs, sending vs tribulaciōs and castinge vs vnder his crosse, not to leese vs but to proue ād trye vs ād to declare vs to be his very owne sonnes. As ye knowe it, Chryst by the crosse to haue had entred into his glorye, euen so the feithful of Chryst hath god or­dined by his moste beste and inscrutable counsell first to trye and proue thē by the crosse & then at laste to glorifye thē. God now calleth vs by his gospell to make vs iuste ād salfe, and to seperat ād call vs frō this sinful worlde ouerwhelmed with syn that we might be made the vessells of glo rye. For whoso beleue not the gospell of Chryst, thei shall contine we the vessels of shame and of his wrathe vnto euerlasting dāpnaciō. For this our graciouse vocaciō let vs incessantly geue god thākis cōmit­ting our selues gladly to his plesure wil­lingly geuing our selues ouer into his hā ­dis to fasshion vs bi his crosse to excercise whet, hewe, square and polisshe vs at his benigne will to make vs lyke his sone our sauiour. If we will be iustifyed of him, be must blot out take away quench out [Page] and pardone all our synnes. If we will haue him to geue vs a beter lyfe then is this present, he must nedis take vs awaye and delyuer vs out of this worlde and lyfe replenisshed with all mischeif myse­ry and synne. Which thinge is very har­de and▪ sharpe vnto our fleshely nature, fithe we be from our yeughth euen from our birthe euyll corrupt and prone to synGenesi. viij. ageynst gods will. This olde man must dye in vs that we might be a newe crea­ture in Chryste, of which thinge, Baptis­me is the signe, sacrament and figure. ForRom. vi into Christes death be we baptised to dye with him and to ryse with him aftir owr synnes be buryed in his woundes so to walke in a newe lyfe to glorifye our fa­ther in heuen. This our olde man is cru­cifyed with Chryst, to abolisshe the bodye of syn, so that here after we be no more bonde men vnto synne.

Once were we with great paynes pe­rells anxt and heuines brought forthe in­to this worlde, but this carnall birth brin­geth not forth els then synners & the chyl­derne of Adam iuged to eternall death & dampnacion. It is therfore necessarie that we be borne agene of the spirit frō aboue orels we maye not come into the kingdo­me of god. This our tother spiritual birth and regeneracion bringeth forth iuste and [Page] faithfull, euen the sonnes of god ordined and predestined vnto eternal lyfe and sal­uation. But as in our naturall natiuyle before we be borne, there are not els but sorows heuines anguisshe afflicciōs pa [...] ­ges and perels euen the image of deathe: Euē so must it be with vs in this our spi­rituall regeneracion before we be fully regenerated of the holy goste, as ChrystIoā. xvi &▪ iij. testifieth. For he that shall be borne agene of the spirit, must haue his olde man mor­tifyed, be made a newe man, dead frō syn and from this worlde trustinge nothinge to his own strength nor meritis, attribu­tinge nothinge to him selfe, abnyinge him self renown [...]inge the worlde, with all his pleasures, onely to folowe Chryst. And thus doinge we incense and prouoke the worlde ageynst vs: Whose hatered and wrath we must contemne. And if the cal­linge of god requyreth it, father and mo­ther, wyfe and childern, howse and londis bodye and goodis all must be forsakē ra­ther then we shulde falbak from Chryst and frome the doctrine of his gospell. All temporall and corporall tranquillite and quietnes, commodities, be they neuer so pleasaunt and greate, all lucre and profi­te, frendes kinsfolke muste be forsaken gladly for the trwths sake, yea all things must be left rather then the trw religion, [Page] worship and doctryne of Chryst shuld be forsakē dissembled or r [...]canted, all things must be cast awaye for the verite ād glo­rye of Chryste. Wherfore we muste be borne ageyn yf we will be saued, we may not now lyue aftir the wille ād mynde of the flessh, but the spirit of god must reig­ne and dwell in vs. Owr old mā with his cōcupiscēses must be crucified in the worl de, we must rune our course vnto the ende emonge vipers and s [...]orpions and emon­ge our▪ most deadly and cruell enemies. We which be regenerated of god may not loke for our paradise vpō this sinfull erthe. We may not loke here to lyue in peace tranquilyte securite in riches com­modities and pleasures. For this is not the chaunce and fortune of the very god­ly vpon this erthe, but we must be excer­cised here with many affliccions, calami­ties, persecucions, smyten thorowe with anguisshe henines and sorows right gre­uouse, pressed downe with the crosse, laid forthe opē ageynst many pereles. Which crosse is a very bitter herbe vnto the fles­she. For the flesshe wolde gladly be at ea­se & salf in reste with out sorowe payne & trowble. When calamities perels afflicci­ous feare & persecuciōs arise and euen the image of terrible death is present, then the flessh trēbleth & quaketh, [...]he staggereth & [Page] flyethe bak, falleth downe faynt and fe­ble, so impacient and angrye is she vnder the crosse. For she had liefer dwell euer in hir olde skinne then to be renewed name­ly when she seeth them thus cruelly to be handled which embrace the gospel & must be thus borne a newe. Here, here, therfore it behoueth the consolacion & exhortaciō of the scriptures, whiche bolden and ani­mate vs with the moste ferme ād present counforte, confirminge our heriis so, that euermore we may endure constāt in faith, ferme in hope, glewed vnto the gospell, to perseuere in this stronge ieoperdouse bataile ageynst Satan, the worlde, and a­geynst owr owne selues.

The first consolacion is. That Cryst himselfe hathe also suffred.

FIrst of all, we that be in trouble and heuynes for the trw [...]h, must sette the example of Cryst before our eyes (I mean not our bodely eyes fastened vpon any image forboden of God) but before the eyes of our faithe, seynge his passyon paynted and engra­uen in his holy worde Paul thus exhor­tinge vs sayinge, In pacience let vs run­ne in this bataill before vs hauinge re­specte vnto the goyd of our faythe and fiuissher of our bataill euen Iesu Chryst, [Page] which beholdinge the ioye set forth before him suffred the crosse (all shame despysed and set a parte) and is sittē downe on the right hande of the seat royall of god. Cō ­sider and loke well vpon him, for it was he that sustayned and suffred so to be a­geyn sayd, that you shulde not faynte and be feble mynded. Here we see Chryst the sone of god, euen the powr of god to suf­fer for vs, how he wold for our sakis be humbled and deiected vnder all men euen vnto the death of the crosse to exalt vs in­to the most highe dignitie and to lifte vs vp into the glorye celestiall. And therfore did god exalt him into so highe glorye. If Chryst therfore our lorde hathe sufferd for vs, so many, so great obprobries, cala­myties ignominyes reuylinges shames iniuries sorowes and euen the moste bit­ter and ignominiouse death, what delicate softlings be we if ayen, for his sake, we refuse thorowe lyke affliccions to go to him bi the same waye? For verely we be called vnto the same pathe, peter thus af­firminge. Chryst to be [...]courged and af­flicted for vs, leauinge vs an example to folowe his steapes, euen to suffer afflicci­ons also in this worlde. The worlde ha­ted Chryst, and no doute but it will neuer loue his members, but with the same bit­ter hatered persecute vs which be Chry­stes [Page] floke. The worlde loueth his owne. And because we be not the worldis, butIoā. xv. chosen out of it, therfore dothe the worlde hate vs. Let vs not forgete these wordes of owr sauiour Chryst. The seruant is not beter then his master. If they haue persecuted me they shal persecute you al­so. Wherfore and if there be no persecu­cion at any tyme in Englond, so is there nether Chryste nor any of his members.

This therfore is vnto vs all, the most greateste counfort. That if we suffer with Chryst for his names glorye: sewer and certayn be we that god loueth vs ād hath chosen vs to be his sonnes ād ayers of theij. Tim. ij. celestiall kingedom, and that he hathe put vs a parte from this sinfull dampnable worlde, that we shuld not be dāpned with the wyked, but glorifyed with Christe. Thus did Paul sende his sone Timothei. Tessa. iij. to the Thessalonions to counfort and cō ­firme them in faith, exhortinge thē to con­stancye in their affliccions and persecuci­ons which theyr owne countrymen and kynsfolke brought vpon them: thus wry­tinge to them. Your selues knowe it, that we be ordined vnto this vse. For whē we were with yon, we tolde you before in our sermons that we and you shuld suffer trouble and persecucion. Also when Paul and Baruabas came to listram Iconiun [Page] and to Antioch to confirme the brethern, they exhorted them to perseuere in faith and not to be plukt from Chryst with no threates no feare, nor persecucion telling them that thorowe many tribulaciōs we must entre into the kingedom of God. But se onely that none of you suffer and be troubled as a murtherer, or a these, ori. Petr. iiij. as a malefactour and a b [...]ye bodye to curiose in other mens maters. For if any suffer and be punysshed as a crystiane,Pro. xi. Ier. xlix Ezec. ix. Lu. xxiij let him not be asshamed, but glorifye god in so suffering. For the tyme is come that the iudgement or plage muste beginne at the house of god. Which sithe it begin­neth at vs, what shall become of thē that beleue not the gospell of God? And if the iuste be saued by siche difficultye, whe­re shall the vngodly appere? Wherfore they that be persecuted and troubled at the will of god, let them lay vp, and com­mitte their soules vnto their faithful ma­ker in wel doinge. Let vs set before our myndes all the constant faithfull mar­tyrs which haue confessed god and for Crystes sake forsaken the glorye of the worlde honours riches pompe, yea and their owne lyues to. If these men tho­row Christe haue ouercomen the worl­de & might haue suffered so miche, wher­fore shall not we truste, god with his gra­ce [Page] to strengthen vs and to be present to confirme vs and to delyuer vs from all theis calamyties and to imparte vnto vs his glorye? He neuer yet forsoke any that faithfully trusted in him and suf­fred for his gloriouse names sake.

But yet if our mindes be but weake aud we so false hert [...]d as to thinke, that Chryste for that he is very god myght well suffer and haue the victory, and al­so geue his holy martyrs lyke grace, and as for vs because we be men and synners fayntly faithed, we cannot ther­fore but feare and [...]lye from this perse­cucion and mar [...]yrdom beinge not able to abyde it. When this tentacion come ouer vs, then let vs ru [...]e to the scriptu­res whiche shall counfort vs meruellon­se strongly ministringe to owr soulis si­ [...]he helpe, and addinge to vs siche inuin­ [...]ble strengthe and alacryte of mynde with so great constancye, that we shall suffer all thinges gladly and bere awaye the most gloriouse victorye into our feli­cite moste ioyouse thorowe Chryste.

Here folowth the seconde conso­lation. That Chryste him selfij is present with his helpe for his faith­full.

THis also hold fast in mynde. That Chryste is geuen vs not onely for an example vs to suffere with him but also an helper a defender and preser­uer in all our affliccions and troubles, ād will not at any tyme forsake vs, nor leaue vs a lone in our bataill and perell. But who so toucheth vs, he toucheth the apple of his eye, and he that dothe vs iniurye dothe iniury to Chryst, as he said to Paul. Saul, Saul, why persecutest me▪ He per­secutedAct. ix. the crystians whom Christe este­meth and calleth as him selfe, and repu­teth the same persecucion done to his own persone which is done to vs.

Let euery faithfull here consider with him self, howe great a faithfull helper we haue of Chryste whyles for his sake we suffer persecucion. For if we belene in Chryst and suffer for his sake, we are ve­rely crystiās and the sonnes of god. And if god be our father, Chryst our lorde, our head ād our brother, no doute, god behol­deth vs tenderinge vs as diligently as any father may loue his owne derely be­loued sonne, as the Psalme witnesseth. Owr helpe to be of the lorde whiche hath made heuen and erthe. He shall not once suffere our feet to slyde. He sleapeth not that kepeth vs. The eyes of the lorde are set vpon the rightwyse and his ears en­clyned [Page] to their prayers. When we crye he heareth vs and deliuereth vs from al ourPsalm. xxiij. troubles. He is present with vs troubled in herte, and saueth the humble in spyrit. Many trybulacions come ouer the iuste, but the lorde delyuereth vs from thē all. He kepeth all our bones, so that not one of them be brokē. In the. xl. Psal the Pro­phete complayneth to god of his trouble but anon he saith▪ The Lorde is tender ād taketh the cure ouer me. Agene, Behold the eyes of the lorde are bent vpon themPsalm. xxxiij. that feare him & truste vnto his mercye, it is he that delyuereth owr soulis from dethe & fedeth vs in tyme of famyn. We therfore depende vpon the Lorde for he is owr helper & defender. In him our hertes reioyse and in his holy name is our tru­ste, also Dauid counforteth himself in this worde. The Lorde is my lyght and my sa­uinge helthe, whom shal I feare? The lor­de is the defender of my lyfe, of whō thenPsalm. xxvi. shall I be afrayd? If neuer so great an hoste so strongly apoynted be bent agenst me, yet shall not my hert be afraid, If ba­taill ryse agey [...]st me, then am I moste se­wereste. For the aungel of the lorde com­passeth thē rownd about that feare him, to delyuer them. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him. And if I walke (faith he) in the middis of the shade we of death, yet [Page] feare I non euill: For thou (Lorde) art with me: The sonnes of Korath syng alsoPsalm. xxij. thus. God is owr refuge and strengthe vnable to be expressed. Wherfore we fea­re not although the hole erthe be turnedPsalm. xlv. vp se downe and the mountayns be de­uolued into the middes of the sea. These be doutlesse the most ferme promises of the myghty helpe & presence of god with vs in our affliccions. Which can not de­ceyue vs. All the faithfull had and haue experiēce of this helpe neuer to haue fay­led them. And seinge god is thus present with vs, wherfore shulde we be a fraid of dethe? or be troubled in myde as mē with out hope or counforte? If god be on our syde, who can be ageynst vs? Which spa­red not his owne sonne but deliuered himRo, viij. vp to deathe for vs all. And howe then may it be other wyse but that with him he muste geue vs all thinges? Who shall laye any cryme to our charge seinge we be the oute chosen of god? It is god that iustifieth vs, what is he that may condēp­ [...]e vs? It is Cryst that dyed for vs, yea it is he that is rysen agen for vs and sitteth at the right hande of god makinge inter­cession for vs. What consolacion may we haue more plentuouse more present ād ef­fectuouser then this? Where he said. God is on our syde, god fyghteth for vs. How [Page] almighty is god one alone for vs al suffi­ciēt: What is the worlde in his hādis? All naciōs are nothing in his hādis, saith Isa­ye.Isay. xl. If the worlde can do nothing ageynst his might not her in taking away nor mi­ [...]sshing his glorye, nor to put him frō his celestiall trone, so can it not hurt any one of his childern without his godly will. Let vs therfore (oh dere brethern) beholde ho­we great a consolacion this is. That god is on our syde to fyght for vs, to tender, defende and to preserue vs. He hathe ge­uen vs his owne sone Chryst. Can he thē denye vs thingis of lesse valewe sithe he hath geuē vs so riche a treasure? Who cō ­sideringe these inestimable benefit is can be careful, heuye, false herted & hopelesse? If many worldis were ageynst vs, & all the wiked spirites of helleet lose to deuou [...]e vs, yet is there no perell towerd vs, if Chryst be on our parte. Thorowe Cryst haue we peace. For this his derely belo­ued sones sake god our father loueth vs. For the preciouse blodis sake of his own innocēt sone, we obtayn remissiō of al our synnes, & also victory agenst deathe & satā. For where as synne hath no dominiō the­re bere deathe no rule, there hath Satan lost his powr. What thē shuld we feare? shulde we feare this temporall deathe. No. For that is nowe to vs but a sleape & [Page] reste. For Christe hathe so ouercome [...]t,Isa. xxv. Act. vij. Ioan. xi Ose. xiij Ro. viij. that vnto vs whiche be his faithful, death is become an ingresse vnto saluacion and lyfe eternall. For Christe hath abolesshed and destroyed the body of syn to then [...]ēt we shuld be led into lyfe. Wherfore let vs with constant faith cleaue vnto our lorde Chryst, besechinge our father in heuē for Chrystes sake to augment our faithe. Which thinge if we do it, so be we salfe without all feare and perell, sewer enou­ghe ageynst all stormye tempestes. If ourConso­lacion a­geynst our syn­nes. i. Cori. i. synnes feare and trouble vs, let vs sette vp ageynst them the inuincible innocēcye and infinite rightwysenes of our Lorde Iesus Chryst, geuen vs of his father to be our rightwysenes. Which once done, our sinnes a non vanisshe awaye as dothe waxe ageynst the fyer. For Chryst vere­lyPsal. iiij is by an holy othe cōstituted of the fa­ther to be an euerlastinge kinge & preiste, whiche for our synnes offred vp him selfe the very sacrifice of our reconciliacion ādHebre. i. expiacion by the shedinge of his preciouse blode and sitteth on the right hande, of the diuine highe maiestye, there makinge intercession for vs, he beinge our lorde al­myghtye, all thinges subiecte vnto him,Conso­lacion a geynst dethe. bothe aungels and powres celestial at his bek. i. Pet. iij. If death feareth vs. Let vs remember Chryst to be our lyfe. It is he [Page] that once dyed for our synnes, and is ry­senRom. x. ayen neuer more to dye. It is he that hathe swallowd vp death and hath castenIsa. xxv it vnder his fote for euer. If aftir this ly­fe there were no nother, then might we worthely sorowe and feare, then were we the moste miserable of all creatures. Buti. cor. xv for asmiche as our lyfe heginneth aftir this is here ended, let vs be layd downe in bodye to sleap in the ferme hope of our resurreccion, and be neuer afraide to dye. Christ our head is rysen, we being his bo­dye and mēbers muste folowe our head. Which said. I am the resurreccion which is lyfe. Who so beleue in me, he shall lyue yea although he were dead. And all that beleue in me shall neuer dye. We verely knowe and beleue the resurreccion of our bodyes and to haue lyfe eternal promised in Chryst and for christes sake. And ther­fore our faith cannot be frustrated. For he that beleueth in criste hath lyfe eternall. These be crystes owne wordes whiche isIoan. iij the verite and may not lye. What nowe can death to vs in his moste furye? Uere­ly nothinge els then for a litle tyme sepa­rat our bodies from our soulis, & so sende owr soulis out of this miserable synfull lyfe combred with all calamites vnto that moste blessed felicite. Our bodyes cannot be so vtterly destroyd but they shalbe on­ce [Page] restored gloriously vnto our soulis. Ne­theri. cor. xv may they slaye our soulis: for thei be immortall. Thei can not take our bodyesMat. x. nor soulis out of the hādis of god. Whiche if we be kept in the hādis of god as in the bosome of our most louing father, & if we abyde in Cryst & Chryste in vs; sewerly we shall lyue for euer. Chryst thus affir­minge.Ioan. x. My shepe he are my voice, I kno­we them, thei folow me, and I geue them euerlastynge lyfe. Nether shall they be lost: nor noman shall pluk them out of my handis.

Wherfore let the wiked haithen & vn­beleuers be afraid, tormēted, and be with out hope at the syght of dethe which kno­we not god in Chryst, whiche when they knowe not Chryst to be their very right­wysenes, their lyfe & their onely sauiour nor beleue not in him, thei must nedis abi­de & perisshe in their sinnes, in deathe and in eternall dampnacion. But we ought not to feare nor to be heauye and tormen­ted in mynde, as do thei which haue no hope, for we se a beter lyfe aftir this aby­dinge vs. Whiche the ignorant vnbele­uers in Chryste know not. And albeit he­re for a tyme we passe forthe laid agaynst many perells, molested and whetted with diuerse and many greuouse afflicciōs, yet at last, all the laboriouse myseries of this [Page] lyfe passed ouer, the glorye of the sonnes of god shall be shewed and declared vpon vs, euen as we here vpon erthe haue ben in hope salfe and blessed. Nowe we we­pe and be heuye, but the daye of our glad­nes is not farre of in the whiche our Lor­de God shall wype awaye the teares from the chekis of vs that beleue in him, and shall happely change our heuynes into an infinite perpetuall ioye: then to singe this triumphe. Death is swallo­wed vp into victorye. Oh deth where is thy stinge? Oh hell where is thy victo­rye? Oh syn where is now thy myght? Thākes be to our God and father which hath geuen vs the victory, by our Lorde Iesus Chryste. i. Corin. xv.

If the feare of dampnacion and per­petuallConso­laciō a­geynst the fere of dāp­nacion. death shulde vexe vs, then let vs remember our selues to haue ben bap­tyzed into Chryst, ingraffed into his de­ath, owr synnes buryed in his woundes, and rysen with him into glorye and ly­fe. And so is there no condempnacion,Ro. viij. as saynt Paul sayth, vnto them whiche are thus by faith ingraffed into Iesu cry­ste, which walke not after the flesshe but aftir the spyrite. In this our swete and plentuouse vynestok, yf we as lyuely faithfull braunches abyd by constant fai­the, our sinnes are neuer more imputed [Page] vnto vs. By this faithe we be made the sonnes of god and the ayers of eternall lyfe, euen the felowe ayers with Christe. If we haue Chryst in vs, (by faith we fe­le him presēt in our hertes) so feare we no condempnacion. For Chryst is our lyfe and our sauinge helthe eternall, dwellin­ge in vs, ageynst whom nether hell nor death nor synne can preuaile. Let vs the­fore abyde by constant faith in our saui­our Chryst walkinge in him roted ād fra­med vpon him, perseueringe in faithe cō ­stantly cleauinge to him, committing our selues hole vnto his goodnes & mercye, and let vs with hert mouth and lyfe te­stifye and declare our faith obedience and thankfulnes vnto him for his inestimable ryches of his gospell now geuen vs.

What can I more saye? We haue our celestiall father, our father (I say) of an infinite clemencie goodnes and mercye, which can no lesse forget vs then any er­thely father his owne derely beloued so­ne or any mother hir owne tendre frutes of hir owne bodye soukinge at hir brests. And were it in case that the mother per­chaunce might forgete hir yonge lytle in­fant, yet shall our mercifull father neuer forgete vs, Isay. xlix.

We haue a redemer and a delyuerer, euen the moste myghtiest Lorde Christe [Page] Iesu to whom is geuen all powr in heuen and erthe. Whiche raigneth our all, he loueth vs, he hath taken vs to be his bre­thern, we are his members, he hathe de­serued for vs all goodnes and all felicite. He hath geuen vs the glorye whiche hisIoan. xviij. father gaue him that we shulde be all one in Chryst and in the father, as the father and sonne be one, out of the whiche vnite all the treasures of the diuine goodnes, of rightwysenes, lyfe, consolacion and helthe be geuen vnto vs. Thorowe owr faith in Christe and for Chrystis sake we are one that is to saye, of one consent mynde and felowship with the father and the sonne and the holy goste, so that as the sone can­not be diuidid from the father, nor the ho­ly gost from them bothe, nomore may we beinge the faithfull in Chryste, be separa­ted from Cryste. For Christe wolde that where so euer him selfe were, there shuld we be with him, whiche thinge aftir ourIoan. xvij. departure is as certaynly trwe as is him self the verite which so said it, prayd for it and obtayned it for vs of his father.

Furthermore. If our faith be yet to weake to apprehende fermely these in­finite so riche benefits, thē let vs flye vn­to the promises of god, which as they be right many, so are they the most trwest & certayne, whiche ought to be depely prin­ted [Page] into our hertis neuer to be forgoten▪ Owr hertis verely are [...]o narow and to skant to receyue the greatnes & the mul­titude of these riche tresures ād goodnes. For these benefits be immense and infini­te. And therfore let vs thus thinke, that right great and mighty is he which pro­miseth these riches to vs, ād that he is the very god him self, euen owr god. Whiche in, and for his owne onely begoten derely beloued sonne, hathe he promised vs this lyfe euerlastinge. For all the promises of god are made in, and for Chrystes sake to be ferme and fast and inuiolable Certaynij. cor. i. it is that god sent vs his sonne in that full apoynted tyme as the prophetes had pro­phecied it, [...]o fulfyll these his cleare and gloriouse mighty riche promyses. This is trwthe. For we haue them confirmed ād sealled wi [...]he his owne spirite of trowthe with his gospel preched and with his ow­ne blode shed in his passion, and autorysed with his owne gloriouse resurrecciō which is owr head and raigneth aboue all both in heuen and in erthe and in hell. And ho­we then maye we his members, for who­se sake all these things he hath done and suffered, [...]arye in synne and in deathe?

There may nothinge more certaynlyThe ver tewe of the x [...]. stablisshe and confirme our myndis, our selues to ryse agen immortal bothe in bo­dy [Page] and soule, then the resurreccion of ery­ste.surrec­cion. We can haue no fermer nor stronger argument of our resurreccion, then the re­surreccion of our Lorde Chryst whiche is the most certayn and sewerest. The very sonne of god is made man, and toke our nature vnto him selfe, which willingly & not constrayned suffred death for vs vpō the crosse. But yet he arose ageyne, & wol­de aftir his resurreccion be sene, handled his woundes sene and felt, herde spekinge and teachinge his disciples eatinge and drinkinge with them, of the whiche his re surreccion, his disciples were so certayne that aftirward, withe their owne deathes thei cōfirmed it. And if Chryst be rysen from death, so be we certayn that our syn­nes be cle [...]sed ād deathe deuicted. Wher­fore in the Lorde we ought to reioyse for euer ād to geue him high thanks immor­tall for these inestimable immense bene­fits. Let Satan with his wyked whelpes freat, fume and gry [...]ne with all his idle emnio [...]s impes whom eternall dampna­cion abideth. But let vs abyde in the faith of the gospell, and so abyde we the lyuely members of Chryste. And then where so euer is Chryste, there are we also. De­ath cannot pluk vs from Chryste. For we are the members of his bodye out of his owne flesshe and bones, Ephe. v.

[Page]But & if our ferefull infirme conscien­ces doutinge of these so certayn promise [...] An ob­ieccion. for that we be all sinners, caste awaye all hope, thinkinge our selues therfore to ha­ue lost all these benefits promised vs, say­inge with owr selues. We heare god [...]o haue promised vs all these riche benefits, but because we so syn dayly ād fall from him doinge no good thing perfitly we are vnworthei to haue thē. With siche though tis verely satan tempteth and troubleth many a good man. But this do I answe­re. That if our rightwysenes and salua­cionThan­swer. shuld stande vpon our owne good workes and worthynes, then sewerly had we lost in euery minute all these riche be­nefits of god, then might we be vncertay ne of all these promyses, and of any re­mission of our synnes and lyfe eternall, if lyfe and remission were promised vs vpō siche a cōdicion, that is, if we fulfill gods preceptis and so by owr good dedis merit our saluaciō, so were we without all hope of saluaciō. For we are euery hower syn­ners and all our beste works are imper­fect, yea thei be (as Isaye saith) corrupt & sinfull, if they shulde be expended & tryed in the rigour of gods lawe and exammed at his straight iugement. If the hope of our saluacion shulde stande vpon the me­rits & worthines of owr workis, we must [Page] nedis despeyre neuer to haue peace in our consciences, when there is no man so holy and perfit of lyuinge whiche may verely glorye him self at altymes so to haue had fulfilled the lawe as it ought to be fulfil­led. But prayse be vnto god our moste mercifull father whiche hath so intyrely loued vs for Christes sake, that he hath taken our saluacion out of owr owne fe­ble handis ād hathe set it vpon a sewerer and more certayne foundacion, that is to weit euen vpon his mere grace and mer­cye promysed in Christe, our faithe rea­chinge it vnto Chrystes blode wasshinge away al our sinnes. If we beleue this promise so be we iustified, absolued & saued. Nothinge els requireth he of vs concer­ninge our remission and saluacion, then thus to beleue in Chryste euen him selfe by his death to haue obtayned vs remis­sion an lyfe eternall. Wherfore when si­che temptacions assawte vs, then let vs crye for faithe to beleue these promyses in Cryste. And suffer not our selues to be thruste from them. Of the whiche thusRo. iiij. saith Paul. For owr faith, is the heretage geuen vs, that frely of grace and fauour, ferme fast and sewer shulde the promise stande vnto all the sead, not to it that is of the lawe onely, but vnto them that are of the faith of Abraham.

[Page]This is our consolaciō, this is our ho­pe onely. Who so reacheth this promyse with his faith he shal neuer despeper. For certain it is, the some of our helthe to stād vpon fayth in Iesu Chryste vpon this growndsole is the dore of our saluacion turned and returned. Let vs therfore ap­prehende with our faith this diuine pro­mise whiche we nother may nor can deser ue, and we haue all these celestiall benefi­tis, euen remission of our sinnes, the holy goste and eternall lyfe. All these hath god promised vs in Christe and for Chrystis sake. In this promise consisteth all our cō ­solacion, our hope, our rightwysenes, re­conciliacion and helthe. Beleue god to be trwe of his promise, and caste not awaye the gospell of his sone preched vnto the, but receyue it thankfully with all thy her­te, enbrace it with bothe thyne armes, ād dout it not, this gospell to be as well thy­ne, as Pauls and Steuens, & as migh­tely to saue the, as it saued them. Dou­te not of the grace mercye powr & trowth of God, and thou art iustifyed and as salfe as is Abraham and all the sayntis in heuen. To do good workes comman­ded of god studye and endeuour thy sel­fe ernestly with all diligence, so that thou doiste nothinge els but well. Studye to excell almen in innocencye of lyuinge, in [Page] al [...]ose dedis doing, be merciful, counfor­table, piteouse and helping all men, yea and euen thyne enemyes. But vse these deadis continually as thy dewtye & serui­ce dewe vnto god as testimonyes of thy faithe and obedience vnto his lawes. Euermore aknowledginge them to be farre inferiour vnpurer weaker and vn­perfitter, then that thou maist of them reioyse and glorye before god or by thē to deserue any rightwysenes. Think thy self an vnprofitable seruant, yea when thou haste done all, which is but thy dewtye and no deseruinge. And beware lest thou thinkest thy workis to be meritis of right wysenes and helthe before God. For this opinion and persuasion is an vngod­ly blasphemie ageynst Chryste. For in the cause of our saluaciō we may not tru­ste in any parte to our owne workis but onely by faithe cleaue to the promises of God in Chryst. The workis & merits of Christe onely geue vs frely our saluacion & not ours, nor yet the workes of any cre­ature els. Let vs therfore with faithset fast holde vpon the promyses of god in the gospell, nether be we diuelled from them by any engyne of tentacion or persecuci­on. Let vs consyder the verite of God to be inuiolable promisinge and geuin­ge vnto vs his faithfull in Chryste lyfe [Page] eternall for Chrystis sake. It is he onely that hath deserued it for vs. It is his one­ly benefit, vnto him onely must we [...] ­der the thankis. Unto him onely must we cleaue by faith. And so shall we with stand all temtacions, wrestle out of, and ouercome all difficulties. If the promyse, as concerninge vs, shulde not be out of fauour frely made, so could it not be fer­me and certayn because our workis and obedience to the lawe of god be so vnpu­re, miserable, filthei and so imperfit and naught if they shulde be compared & layd ageynst the severe iugement and extre­mite of the lawe of god,

Thus therfore dothe the holy goste counfort vs vtwardly in the holy scryp­tures and inwardly with this lyuely te­stimonye of the spirit, as Paul affirmethRo. viij. sayinge. Ye haue not receyued the spirit of bondage ageyne vnto feare: But ye haue receyued the spirit of adopcion by whom we crye father father. The same spirit witnesseth vnto ours that we be the sonnes of god. If we be his sonnes, so be we the ayers of god, and euen the felowe ayers with Chryste if we suffer with him to be also glorifyed with him. Which con firmeth vs also in Cryst, for it is god thatij. Cor. i. hath anoynted vs and sealled vs vp & ge­uen vs the pledge of his spirit in ou [...] her­tis, [Page] Agene saith Paul. Aftir ye had bele­ued the gospell of your saluacion ye were vp sealed with the holy promised spirit,Ephe. i. which is the pledge of our heretage into the redempcion of our purchased possessi­on, into the prayse of his glorye. Also the spirit helpeth our weaknesses. For trew­ly,Ro. viij. the thinge that we shuld prayfore and how to aske it, we knowe not. But the spi rit him selfe maketh intercession for vs with sythes vnable to be expressed.

Nether is it any lesse counfort, whiche our god and father hath ordined for vs in his great felowship emonge the faithfull congregaciōs of whom mencion is made emonge the articles of our faithe. We be­leuinge thē to be the holy catholyke chir­che. Whiche all, be our members, we all togither beinge one bodye, as techeth vs Paul right counfortably, i. Cor. xij. One mēber to be carefull for a nother, of whi­che, if one of vs suffer, all the rest haue compassion, and if one of vs be hole and well, all the other membres reioyse with the fame. So that we beinge thus k [...]it to gither with the bondis of loue, haue all thing is hothe mierth and sorowe, heuines and ioye, comon. And if one of vs suffer for Chrystis sake in Englōd, all the trwe brethern and sisters in the same londe, in France, in Germany orels where, suffer [Page] the same. And where one of vs being p [...] sent cannot counfort another, yet beinge neuer so farrof, we praye incessauntly one for other vnto god our father to be coun­forted with his holy spirit, & that it wolde please his goodnes for Chrystes sake to lyft vp, to restore and confirme our per­secuted brethern and syste [...], and to make thē constāt in all Crysten paciēce, strong­ly in faithe to endure in our affliccion to perseuer & [...]o bere awaye a gloriouse vic­torye. And if the prayer of one faithfull mā may do so miche with god as the scri­pture teacheth, of howe mighty efficacyeIacob. v muste then be the comō prayers of all the hole holy congregacions ioyned togither in faith and loue? Uerely we are not a lo­ue in our affliccions, we wrestle and fight not aloue in these labours, nether suffer we a lone persecucions. But euen Chry­ste suffereth with vs. For who so thus per secuteth and molesteth vs he iniuriethe & persecuteth Christ and all the hole chir­ches of Chryst. For we be al one bodye, hauinge one head euen Chryst, & one ho­ly spirit withe all his spirituall giftis co­mon to vs all. And whiles we thus praye together, we doutles be herde of god. For we haue the moste grave and plentuouse, yea many, ād that the moste present pro­mises of god, full of all consolacion, that [Page] he will heare our mutuall prayers, ād be present with his helpe in all our distresses nede and trouble. If we shuld here a lone wrestle and buckle with Satane, we were all to weake and shulde despayer ouerco­men in our affliccions, whiche is our own pusilla [...]i [...]ite and naturall feare. But sith we be sewer to haue Chryste with all the hole chirche of Chryst on ower sydes to fyght for vs with their mutuall and con­tinuall prayers, yea and all the aungels of heuen defending and fightinge for vs, howe can we shrinke, fall & perissh in this batail: Sithe Chryst is present, we muste nedis haue the victory. And where soeuer is Chryste, there be all his faithfull, yea & all his aungels, wherfore we beinge his chosen muste nedis be withe them. The aungels of the Lorde pitche their tentes rownde aboute vs. The aungels delyuer vs that feare the Lorde, Psalm. xxxiiij.

The thirde consolacion. Owr cause is goddis cause, and it is the moste iuste cau­se.

FUrthermore this thinge ought to confirme and counfort vs most es­pecially: for that we haue so iust, so good and so godly a cause, for it is not our cause wherfore we suffer, but is is goddis cause euen his own holy gospel, bi Chry­ste and the holy gost sent vs from heuen. [Page] For as for vs, we neuer thought to do any man iniurye nor hurte, we take no mans goodis from him. But we study to mo­nishe and to profit all men vnto their sal­uacion. We desyer onely and receyue the infinite and inestimable riches of the gos­pell with ioye at gods hande. In which worde not els then the mere grace, right­wisenes, peace delyuerance from all euils helpe and helthe are promised and geuen vs in Chryst and for his sake to as many as beleue in him. And this same so riche & inestimable glorye of the grace of god in Chryste, we wolde it purely and frely to be shewed, tought, preched and writen to all men vnto the glorye and sanctifyinge of the name of god, for the right wysema­kinge and saluaciō of many men. For theRom. i. gospell is the powr of god vnto saluacion to all them that beleue. For this studye, for this owr dewtye in spekinge & wry­tinge and good willis to profite and to sa ue all men, and to bringe thē to the know­lege of god in Chryste, do the world ren­der to vs the same thankes whiche were once rendred to Chryste and his apost­les, and paynteth vs with the same sedi­riouse and obprobrious names. For whi­lis we wysshe preache and wryte to them eternall peace, thei accuse vs of the moste ha [...]ouse cryme of sedicion. When we te­che [Page] them the moste certayn verite out of gods owne mouth, they cal vs heretiques notinge and slaunderinge vs with al thē moste infamie and ignominye they can imagine, then they rage and rase, runinge vpon vs lyke wylde beastes and wode dogges, enforcinge to throdowne to sub­uerte and extinguisshe bothe Chryste and all chrysten faithfull with the gospell to. And yet make the bisshops of Englond men to recant that there is any persecuci­on in the realme, but all is iuste execuciō. As though it were nowe the same para­dise alredye whiche first was created, vpō the whiche erthe, there dwelt [...]o [...]o but Adam and Eue in the state of innocencye before any serpentyne sead tempted thē. And as thoughe Englond were the same paradyse and londe of the perpetuall ly­ninge immortall bodyes now rysen ayen wherof Peter saythe. Rightwysenes toi [...]. Petr. iij. dwell vpon it, euen the same newe erthe kouered with a newe heuē and newe ele­ments purged with fyer mencioned of I say and Iohan in the Apocalypse.

There is mencion in Luke and Matt. of a standing water called a Mear, whichLuk. viij was a comon passage oute of Galile into the londe of the Gadarens, which Chry­stis disciples and all men passed oft ouer without any perell. But whē thei chaun­ced [Page] [...]to, are the bisshops of Englond [...]e [...] [...]ow­pled and c [...]fede [...]ed with the bisshop o [...] Romes bisshops ād his whe [...]is in [...]ew [...] Iudi. xv the sonde, as once were Sampsons foxes tayles tyed togither withe fyer brandisPsal. ij. ageynst the Lorde & his audinted to bur­ne vp the Philynstens good vyneyardis, euen the pore sely persecuted chirche of Chryste. But let vs not be abasshed no [...] yet afrayd it is the truth that we set for­the. It is the eternall and immutable will and counsell of god, that Chryste shulde make sinners iuste & salfe out of his mere grace, and that this shuld be reueled and preached before all the worlde. This ma­ter wolde he to consiste in and vpon faith that who so beleue in Chryst shulde haue forgeuenes of his synnes and lyfeeternal not for his owne, but for Christes merits. This glorie of our fathers diuine mercye ought to be preched and setforthe before all men, that thorowe Christe they might come vnto the father, which hath sette Christ at his right hande and made him Lorde of the aungels, of men, and of all creatures celestiall and terrestriall, and to be iuge ouer the lyuinge and dead and to raigne in the glory of the father with all the faithfull and chosen in Chryst. This is the constant & immutable will of god. This is his eternall sentence, God will [Page] therfore defende & fight for his own cau­se, nother may any man resiste him. Christ will raigne and put all his enimies vnder his feet. And who shall let it: He is of an infinite almighty powr, and will sone de­fende his cause euē ageynst all the power of the spirituall antichristis, and let them take all the seculare swerdes and the de­uill to, to helpe them. If this our cause might be ether weakened or ouercomen so were God and Chryste febled & ouer­comen. But Chryste is allmighty vnable to be ouerthrone & abideth for euer, wher fore this his cause and owrs and his gos­pell and all that beleue it shall stand for euer inuincible. For who so beleue in himIsa. viij. shall neuer be confounded. Mightier is Christe and his worde then all the worlde and Satan to, with all his preistly prela­tes, and shall bringe them all into an he­uey dampnable destruccion whyles they enforce to subuerte vs & Crystes gospell.

For Chryste is verely the stomblinge stone, at whom whoso stomblethe, he hur­teth him selfe greuously. But this stonne it selfe is not hurte, nor once moued, but standeth ferme and fast ageynst all his aduersaries assawtes vnhurte. And whoMatth. xxi. so falleth at him is all to broken, ād vpon whom this stonne falleth he is all to pres­sed and grownden into powlder. Singe [Page] and reade we the. ix. x. xi. and▪ xij. and siche lyke Psalmes, and there let vs seke & fyn de consolacion. Nether let vs cesse at any tyme to heare and reade the scriptures, & the swete promises let vs engraue into our brestes and cleane to them constātly. For they be the moste certayne and asse­wered consolacions to vs in this heuey exyle and harde persecucion. Faithfull is our Lorde God and trewe in all his wor­dis.Psal. c. xv. But as in Englonde the realme of ryghtwisenes lo, there is no siche stonne to stomble therat, so be there non that stō ­ble at Chryst, but they leape quyte ouer him. He falleth there vpon nomā, our no­man vpon him. There is no persecucion but all iuste execucion lo. And therfore is there no siche cōsolacion nor Psalmes nor scripture to lyft them vp agene. But in a full heuey state be they that be fallen and dedely hurte, and yet beleue they thē sel­ues to stād vpright hole ād sow [...]de. Full wo, and ferefull may our aduersaries be which haue so vniuste, so euill, & the most vngodly cause defendinge the most open errours and manifeste idollatrye, and so false a popisshe religion. And euen there owne consciences telle them selues, their cause to be so vniuste and so manifestly wyked their doctryne & faith so false that they be bothe asshamed and affrayd there [Page] of and dirste neuer teche nor preche it op [...] ly onlesse thei were sewer of the seculare swerde to defende it and them selues to. For thei be afraid to iustifye their owne bokes with their owne tytles ād names. But our doctryne and the confession of our faith be not afraid to stād forth in the face of emprowrs, kinges and princes of the worlde, yea and is offred to be loked vpon and iudged of all the hole worlde, our doctryne fereth not the light, al beit prince ceasers and all the worlde stande with naked swerdes agenst it to slaye the professours therof, so farre of be they to defende it. Owr doctryne and faithe de­syereth to be t [...]yed and examined at the trwe twiche stone of the holy scriptures. But the doctryne and faithe of owr anti­christen aduersaryes, refuse & are a fraid of the scriptures, and flye vnto longe cu­stomes, popishe fathers, canō lawes, coun sels of popes and so persecution of vs, & to deuelisshe doctours, and when all these will not serue, then flye they to the secla­re policye of the realme and vnto their princes swerde and actis af parlements therby to be holpen and defended. But all the prophetis of god constantly affir­me it, and ernestly threatenthe theis their weake reedis and roten staues to be now shortely all to broken.

[Page]When the emprowr and the godly ler­ned withe the nobles of Germany did sit laste at Auspurgh consultinge and en­quiring of the religion and faithe: Meu did ernestly desper our aduersaries to ge­ue vs forthe the accompte, rekeninge and confession of their faithe and religion in wrytinge: but thei coulde not gette it thei dirste not wryte it, thei were asahamed or afraid to let their faith come into lyght, orels thei coulde not wryte it. A goodly godly faithe I warant you, that so mise­rably feared, and was asshamed to be se­ne in wrytinge of so many noble and ler­ned men. But they be to wyse, to suffer si­che a grosse carnall shameles religion ād so weake and incoustant a faithsesse faynt faith to come into wrytinge. And therfo­re thei there desyered instantly to dispute with vs with fagots fyer and swerde, ād euen a certayn blody cardinall, offred him selfe to wryte vs an answer with our ow­ne blode. Oh blodye beastes abhorred ād detested of god casten vp into a reprobate mynde worthy to be perpetually dāpned. This was all their importune labour and blody dryfte at that cownsell, and hathe ben euer sence, to devolue peaceable assem bles for the reformacion of the chrystē re­ligion vnto bloudye batai [...]es. And nowe this daye haue thei thorow Satan & Paul [Page] the thirde, Pope of Rome with his blody bisshops brought their blody purpose to passe in that thei cōfedered withe the Tur ke, had leifer the Turke to inuade & ouer­rune al Chrystendom then the gospell of Chryst shulde haue any fre course in any one of their dicions and dioceses. This is lo, their deuilisshe dryft, when thei cannot defende their false religion and faithe by no worde of god. It wolde haue abhorred any chrysten man to haue sene the synfull and viciouse conuersacion of these papisti ke prelates with their patrones in that towne at that counsell, howe openly thei kept their whores howe lordely thei lo­ked howe dronken thei went euery night to bed, how beastly thei banketted, vomi­ted ād spewed out their swete sinfull sur­fettes. And yet wolde the belly bawdy be astis there stoutely and gloriously dispute of fastinge of chastite, of temperancye āl. of sobriete, to fulfill the schriptures sayin­ge. In the laste dayes, there shall comeij. Tim. iij. vpon you perellouse tymes for there shal be men all for their owne lustes louinge thēselues, couetuouse, pu [...]t vp with pry­de, mischeuouse bitterly cursinge, false of their promise, vniustly vexinge good mē, lecherouse, glotenouse dronkerdes, arro­gant, the louers of their owne lustes ra­ther then of god. Hauinge a shew of god­ly [Page] religion, but the verye trwe religion it self thei haue vtterlye ab [...]yed ād renown­ced it. And these men auoyde estiewe be­ware of, and thruste thē out of thy syght.

The. iiij. consolacion. Owr aduersaries vnderstande not this great ād godly cau­se. Nether shall, nor may thei at any ty­me defende it with any ferme argumēts.

ANd nowyet for our more counfort, let vs cōsyder how weake are owr aduersaries euē thei that be yet cal­led the most prudēt and wold be sene the highe lerned, misshapē or bisshapen bissho pis. What thing haue thei (I praye you) to fraye vs? haue they any wysedō? But craftynes, subtyle serpētyne fraudes ap­parent sophistical reasons without scrip­ture, malice and mischeif thei haue to mi­che [...]bu [...] as for any godly vnderstandinge, good lerninge, and trwe wysedome they haue [...]on at all. They wryte preache and speke so childysshe, so fonde, so inconstant impertinent and repugnant things in so [...]aigh [...]y a cause: and wreste the scriptu­res so violently to stablisshe their errours and recyte them so folisshely▪ that the ve­ry b [...]es in the grammer stoles, and the ploughe men, shomakers & wyues spin­ninge at their rockis ieste one them andIsay. xxix. laughe them worthely to skorne, so that the prophecye of Isaye is nowe well verifyed [Page] vpon them, wysedom shall pe­risshe in the wyse and the vnderstandinge of the prudent shall be put out, their wy­sedom and koninge shal be reiected of god and come all to naught. So that it is as­ked of them into their owne shame and confusion of Paul. Where is nowe youri. Cor. i. wyse man? where be nowe your writers for your pope and his religion? Where are your disputers for your faithe? haue not god made thē all folis? Thei consult miche and oft togither, thei imagyne en­force ād tempte to proue many and diuer­se wais, thei conspire, thei coniure ād clu­ster vpon heapes, they wryte, they sende, thei runne to eche other. Thei haue their secrete conuenticles, open conuo [...]a [...]ious, conciliables and counsels, thei furnesshe & vpholde their popisshe preistes, scholes ād vniuersities. Thei hyerd Rochester, syr Thomas More & promoted Eccius, Em­ser, Cocleus, Piggius, Latomus with ly­ke drafe ād dregges to wryte ageynst vs their lyinge & fonde bokis full of threatis mockis tauntis & reuylings. But of their blodye counsells to destroye the parties of Germanye whiche haue receyued the go­spell. I will not nowe speke therof. But what (I praye ye) haue they goten by all these cruell meanes? The gospell standeth and shall stande neuerthelesse, [Page] and will be spred into all the worlde ac­cordinge to gods ordinance which no en­forcements no counsels of men, nor powr may let it, nor tarye it, although these pa­pists wolde breake their beastly bellis therfore.

At Auspurgh and at Batisbone, their drift was to haue vtterly extinguysshed the gospell, and what successe had their wyked enforcements? Uerely in bothe the same cities & in all the countrye abou­te, their owne fylthey fasshons and cruell conuersacion so promoued it, and stablis­shed it that they shal neuer be able to quē ­che it. For euery man sawe howe fonde & weake were their reasons and foundaci­ons, thei espyed their cruell false and sub­tyle dryftis to depresse gods wordis. All men sawe their abhominable shameles lyues, thei perceyued howe gretely thei we­re afrayd to let their faithe and doctryne come into light. Many wyse and noble men there were whiche merueled greate­ly to se these men so fyercely and so furi­ously to take on with the gospellers reui­linge and spittinge out their venome at them as at the moste pestelent heretiques and so callinge them, prechinge and affir­minge so boldely the popes cause and his doctryne to be the trwe iuste and godly religion. And when thei shulde bothe co­me [Page] to the tryoll treatinge and disputinge of the causes, then were thei asshamed to bring forth their popisshe doctryne or to wryte their religion openly, whiche they so gloriously and so stoughtly had bosted before to be the very trwe catholike faithe and doctryne of god ād of their holy mo­ther the chirche vnable to be resisted or once spotted. Euen here begane many good men and euen the laye peple to dou­te & mistrust their doctrine so highly cra­ked of, and bosted before, euen here per­ceyued the people there doctryne and re­ligion to be starke naught, vncertayne ād false, for that whē a rekening therof was asked them, thei feringe the lyght, sought blody shiftes and leet their owne religion lye still lurkinge in derke dennes. Then sayd the nobles and comon people, who shall beleue theire doctryne, sithe the de­fenders therof dare not let it be sene in wrytinge, but seke howe to defende it wi­the violence and murther? Sewrly (said thei) this their cause can not be iuste and good as they boste ād crake it. Trwly the verite flieth not from the light but dare be sene tryed and iuged of all men. And euen thus said many whiche came out of al cooltes, as out of Spayne, Italye, Por­tugale and out of the nether Germanye and oute of the other partes of Europe [Page] to these counsels, whiche before were thought to stande of the papystes syde. Whiche when thei had sene ād herd owr doctryne and red it, euery where mighte­ly confirmed with the testimonies of the holy scriptures clerely and iustely alled­ged, and also approued withe the hole consent of the olde holy doctours of the chirche immediately after the Apostles, seinge the chrysten men constātly offerin­ge vp this owr faithe religion and doctri­ne before all the worlde, and that their ad uersaries coulde not by no scriptures tru­ly taken, conuince and ouerthroe owr doctryne, but were bothe asshamed, con­fownded and afrayd: they repented them selues that euer they had other mayn­tayned it, or beleued it so longe. Then all these nacions returned home, apply­ed them selues to readinge and hearin­ge the scriptures and sought out lerned and faithfull preachers, so that sence that tyme, they haue in many countryes ca­ste awaye the Pope with his Autichry­sten relygion and by Gods grace are they called vnto the very gospell. And nowe is it openly knowne with what, and howe blody counsels, with whom they conspyred, whom they encensed to murther the holy innocent chyrches of Cryste and violently with swerde and [Page] fyer to oppresse the gospell of Chryst, so that all the worlde seeth all their ho­pe and shote ancore of their helthe not to stande in the arme of god, but their hole confidence to consist in the multitu­de of papistes in worldly powr and po­licye in a flesshely arme, and in lordis ād princes whom they so perswaded withe all maner kyndes of flaterye, obsequye, carnall pleasurs and reasons and withe the moste shamefull lyes encensinge them that their owne patrones and pylars, if they were not bewitched & blinde, might perceyue them openly to go about to sta­blisshe and defende the very tyranni of Antichryste. If their doctryne were god­ly and right wherfore shulde they hyde it? what nede they ageynst vs swerde and fyer? But all the worlde seeth it to be false and vngodly for that thei seke siche crafty tyranny and violent engyus to de­fende it. For the verite defendeth hir sel­fe with hi [...] owne weapen euen with the swerde of the worde of God. Nowe ye se what soft solgiers and cruell knyghtes they be, and vnto what bataill (them sel­ues layd downe to sleape) thei stere vp other men to fight for them, but praysed be god our almighty Lorde one alone for vs sufficient, out of whom procedeth our victorye, Prouerb. xxi.

[Page]But here peraduēture will some saye. Howe shulde we but feare their violent powr and greuouse threates, seinge they be so many, so myghtye, so riche ād so hi­ghe exalted aboue vs so fewe so pore we­ake ād feble? I answere. That in the apo­stles tyme very small was the nowmber of the crystians compared vnto the hai­then & infidels all the worlde then being full of gentyles yet not conuerted to the faith. Skant one e [...]ōge a thousande then dirst professe Chryst euen emonge the pe­ple of god whiche were the Iewes. And sone aftir that the faith begane to take ro­re emonge the gentyles, what els did the tyrannouse emprowrs of Rome but play the bochers in slayinge the Christiās. Ne­thelesse yet with no kinde of tormēts (we­re thei neuer so cruell sharpe ād terrible) nether with their insaciable blod thirstin­ge, coulde the persecutours put away and quenche the chrysten faith. But the cruel­lier thei persecuted the faith in Chryst, the wyder it spred, the deper it roted, and the higher it grewe and encreased, ād the mo­re and mightier was the nowmber of the crystianes. This was verely a meruelou­se thinge. But it was god whiche assisted defended ād animated his chirche, the lor­de faught for them mightely, Deuter. xx.

The gentyles had slayne so many and [Page] that so cruelly for the gospell that they beinge wery of tormentinge might mar­tirLi. viij. &. ix. no moo, as witnesseth Iosephu [...]. For the mo the tyrants killed, the mightelier the christianes encreased vnder their han­dis, euen as the kinge Pharao of Egipt the greuouslier that he oppressed ād slew the Israelitis the more were thei multi­plied, in so mich that he was afrayd of thē at laste. The worlde euer contendeth to pluke the crystians frō the trwe worship vnto idolatrye ād to papistrye now with fayer promises and then with greuouse threates and bitter terrible deathes. But the chosen of god shall euer stande con­stantly and the sewerer in Chryst vnable to be ouercomen, whose crysten constan­cye so angreth the vngodly that their fier­re furye rageth into wodenes madnes ād murther. Whose fyerce madnes when it rageth moste tyrannously, yet can it not slaye the sowle but onely our mortall bo­dies, wherfore the very crystians do lau­ghe at their threates and torments. For we be perswaded certainly in our faithe, Chryste to haue ouercomen dethe for vs, so that death is no death to vs but a ioy­full ende of synne and a glad passage to perpetuall lyfe. We are sewer that our bodyes shall ryse ageyne gloriouse and immortall, vnto the whiche gloriouse im­mortalyte [Page] we daily aspire ād clyme, kno­winge that this corporall dethe is not els then a nightis sleape to vs that beleue in Chryste, and so at laste to be with Christe in ioye bothe body and sowle. This faith and hope of any other lyfe aftir this haue not our cruell haithen persewers, albeit thei speke it with their lippes, and therfo­re thei feare flye and abhorre dethe so mi­che. But we haue the worde of our Lor­de and god, that he hathe for vs taken a­waye broken and ouercomen the powr and stinge of death. This our victoriouse Lorde and destrier of dethe, to animate to confirme and to counfort vs in all our pe­rels and calamities saith vnto vs. I tellLuk. xij. you my frendes, be not afraid of thē that slaye your bodies, ād then can the [...] do no­more to you. But I shall shewe you whō ye shall feare, feare him whiche aftir he hath slayne your bodyes, he hath power to caste bothe bodye and soule into hell fyer. There is not so lytle a byrde that di [...]the without our fathers will, he hath tolde all the heares of our headis of whi­che not one shall be brent without our fathers will. And are not we of a ry­cher pryce then sparows and heares? But I shall t [...]ll you saith Chryste. Who­so confesse me before men I shall aknow­ledge him before my father & all the aun­gels [Page] in heuen. Reioyse ye therfore. For I haue ouercomen the worlde, and your he­uinesIo. xvij. shall be turned into gladnes which no man shall take from you. Chrystis vic­tory is owrs. If we beleue in Cryste, ouri. Ioan. v. faith is the victory that ouercometh the worlde.

Our persewers thinke to hurte vs mi­che in killing our bodies, and we thinke & knowe it, therby to haue great lucre as saith Paul: Chryste is to me lyfe, and de­athPhili. i. is to me lucre. And albeit our flesshe be infirme and weake, yet a godly mynde in his inwarde man desyereth with Paul to be dissolued out of this miserable sin­full worlde and to be with Chryste. For Christe hath so promised me to be where so euer him silf is, and hath obtayned it me bi his prayer of his father. What now can all the antichristē vngodly do ageyn­ste vs? verely nothing at all vnto our hur­te, thei can not take faithe and Chryste from our hertis, they may with violence kut out our tongues, but from our hertis may they not take our faithe our profes­sion and praise of crystis glorye. And yet what so euer they do, it is by the suffe­rance of god for our saluacion and into their owne dampnacion. They may take awaye our corporall & transitory goodis, [Page] whiche we set not miche vp, seinge for thē god geueth vs goodis eternall and cele­stiall. They kyll our bodyes, but thei sen­de our soules into the handis of our heuē ­ly father, and make our dethe preciouse in the syght of god. Whē their deathes shall be moste horrible and terrible to departe from so many pleasures into perpetuall tormentinges. Wherfore Paul exhorting vs vnto constancye biddeth vs to helpe eche other with prayers that we might with a manly faith fight in the gospels quarell, beinge not afraid of our aduersa­ries. Unto whom that at is to them thePhili. i. cause of their owne perdicion, the same is vnto vs the cause of our saluacion, yea ād that of god. When our aduersaries and persewers thinke to slaye vs, thei slaye them selues bodye ād soule withe the de­ath of euerlastinge dampnacion. Is not this then a miserable & an execrable powr at whiche our persewers enioye and re­ioyse so detestably into their owne euer­lastinge destruccion & dampnacion? This is sewer that all the faithfull departed cō ­stantly professinge Chryst, lyue with him nowe in ioye. But where be now the eni­mies of Chryst and the persewers of the crystiās? Where is decius whiche so cru­elly persecuted the exystians? Where is Dioclesiane whiche proclamed all holy [Page] bokis to be brent, & all that professed Chri ste to be cruelly slayne? where be now Ua lerius, Maximinianus, Maximius, Luci­nius, Iulianus? where is Aurelius cesar with al the other tiraunts? And if we shul de descende into our dayes, we might as­ke where be nowe the popes, cardinals, bisshops withe their coniured papistike complices ageynst the gospell and Bible to be brought in trāslated into Englisshe? where are they that brent so many newe testaments at Pauls crosse and so many lerned men & trwe crystianes which pre­ched and professed constantly gods holy worde? where is Thomas wolsaye cardi­uall bisshop of Yorke, where is Iohan sto­kesley bisshop of London? where is west of Ely, fox of Herforde, doctour London all the abbots, priours, fryers, commissa­ [...]ies. Syr Thomas More, ād Iohan Fis­sher bisshop of Rochester, withe all the cloysters and abbeys, monkes and prei­stes which haue these. xvi. yeres persequu­ted the gospell? Are they not all whiche beleued not the gospell condempned with Satan and his aungels vnto euerlastinge dampnacion? nowe lyinge in moste gre­uouse tormentinges? what hurt then did their transitorye persecucion and crosse to the martires of god? Ageyne what nowe profiteth them their transitory pleasure [Page] in kyllinge and burninge the pore inno­cent lombes of Chryst? Are thei not now tormented in hell in perpetuall fyer for burning gods worde and the professours therof?

Thei labored by temporall death to pluke pore men from god and his gospell facinge and fering them in their courtes and ingement seates vnder their canopeis but shortely cometh the great terrible daye in which thei muste all stande before the iugement seat of Cryste in great fea­re and tremblinge, dead for anxt and he­uines, there to receyue their generall and laste sentence of eteruall dampnaciō both in bodyes and soulis. Then shall it be ve­rifyedSapi. iij iiij. v. of vs bothe whiche is wryten.

The souls of the iuste are in the han­dis of god and the tormēts of death shall not touche them Thei apered to the eyes of the folisshe vngodly to haue dyed, and their death to haue had ben an heuey payne, but they went quyetly into relte. And albeit before men they suffered tor­ments yet was their hope full of immor­taly [...]e. Their [...]exacion was to them a swete crosse, for they had ample bene­fits. For God tempted them and fownd them worthei for him selfe. Then shall the rightwyse stand in great constancye before their oppressers & reuylets. Whō [Page] when they beholde, they shall be smyten with soden great feare and be astonned at their soden saluaciō. Then they touched with penance, and wailinge for anguishe of mynde, shal thus saye with thē selues. Is not this he whom we once laughed to skorne, iested vpon him cōtumeliously: fo­les that we were then our selfs & had wēt his lyfe to haue ben madnes and to haue dyed an heretique. And see he is nowm­bred emonge the sonnes of god haninge his reward emonge the rightwyse? We we our selues then erred frō the way of trwthe, the lyhht of the trwe forme of iu­stificacion did not shyne vpon vs, nether did the sonne of the trwe vnderstandinge of the scriptures spring vnto vs. We we­ried our selues in the way of wykednes walkinge as it were in an hard wilder [...]es but the way of the Lorde we knew it not. What did our pryde and highe lokis pro fit vs? what gote we by our bragginge & bosted forthe ryches? As a shade we and a runner on poste all these thing is be passed awaye neuer to come agene. In our owne mischeif be we consumed. These are the wordes of the dampned in hell. Whiche haue persecuted vs nowe lyuinge perpe­tually with Chryste. Thus do the god for our sakes arme him selfe to punisshe our persewers to be auenged of his enimies.

[Page]These thinges shall sewerly come vpō them. Wherfore let them rage and bewo­de as dogges into their own destruccion. Thei thinke here to raigne and rule, to sa­ue and to slaye, to change and transpose what they liste for euer, and to excercyse their tyrannye and their lustes: but oh wretched mortall men ye be gretely de­ceyued, full nighe in the twinklinge of an eye is your soden fall and heuey dethe at hande, when ye leste thinke there vpon, albeit you readinge this moniciō will lau­ghe swetely therat, kindlinge and encrea singe your cruell mischeif agenst vs. But he that sitteth in heuen laugheth you to skorne. Oh miserable feble madde men oh folisshe, oh blinde beastes, oh mische­nouse tyrannouse fyercenes of miserable creatures ageyust their owne almightye maker, whose powr is almighty ād euer­lastinge vnable to be resisted. It is he that throith downe your prowd lokis.

All the powr and enforcements of theDanie, iiij. worlde ageynst vs and Chryste are but vayne and frultrate, for our capitall eny­mye Satan is ouercomen God hathe ge­uen vs his owne most stronge weapens ageynst all his enginnes openinge vnto vs his holy scriptures where in we fynde redye all maner of strengthe redy wayes and howe to resiste and to ouercome him, [Page] euē the sewer verite to cōfute all his lyes and the sharpe swerde and sewer bukler of faithe constantly to put of his falshed and to wype it cleane awaye. Let vs not therfore nowe (crysten brethern, be to se­wer idle and sloughisshe in owr giftis re­ceyued, but praye incessantly god to en­crease in vs faithe in Cryste. Let vs abyde in the faithe of his gospell cleuinge vnto it ernestly. And so be we with out perell in all salfgard and sewertye. Faith glueth vs and Chryste togither neuer to be di­uelled. And if we haue Cryste, so can the­re no thinge hurte vs nether synne nor deathe, nor hell, nor yet Satan, nor all his ministers in the worlde.

The fifte consolacion is. The rewar­de and ende of the faithfull in Chryste is lyfe euerlastinge.

FYftly let vs be conforted and con­firmed in our hertis whiles yet we lyue in our persecucion. For that there abydeth vs the moste inestimable & most ioyfull felicite promised vs of god, if we constantly contine we and perseuer vnder this our crosse vnto the ende, for a transitory light payne we be sewer of an euerlastinge ferme ioye. What paynes, what trauels and perels do the marchant man take bothe by sea and Londe to ga­ther [Page] and get him but transitorye and sone lost goodes? And shall we ether with fea­re be deiected, or for a lytle paynes taking be repelled, from that inestimable ioy ād felicite which as no man can take it from vs, so shall we enioye them euerlastinge. Owr tresure for whiche we trauell and are sewer to obtayur it, no mortall eye ha ue sene it, no care may heare it, nor hert may comprehende it, whiche treasure god hathe prepared for vs that loue him. And as for the affliccions and persecucions of this tyme saith Paul, thei be not to be cō ­paredRo. viij. as worthei the glorye which shall be openly geuen vs here aftir. For the transitory lyghtnes or easynes of our gre uouse afflliccions aboue measure, brin­geth forth vnto vs the euerlasting waigh­ty glorye, whylis we beholde not things sene but thing is not yet sene. For the thin­gesij. cor. iiij sene, are transitorye, but the things not sene are eternall. Nowe if the worlde take so greate paynes and labours put­tinge it selfe into so great perels, sufferin­ge ād trauellinge from place to place for transitorye shadews euen ryches shorte­ly to be loste and lefte, in whose gettinge men be oftentymes caste behynde, and their hope frustrated, and if they be goten thei be but for a litle tyme kept & posses­sed and that with grete care inquietnes▪ [Page] trouble, and feare, and at laste, loste and forsaken with miche more heuynes soro­we and affliccion of mynde, what chrystē faithfull will not constantly with the mo­ste paynes perels and afflliccions ād euen with many sharpe deathes sufferinge, con tend and aspire withe the moste assewe­red hope vnto his eternall ioyes and fe­licite promised and reposed for him in he­uen, euen to be made the sonne and ayere of god there to lyne for euer and euer? Sewerly all the affliccions, heuynesses and persecucions here, are very light and litle to vs, if we well ponder owr feli­cite and blessed ioyouse state shortely to come. The Lorde mought illumyn the eyes of owr vnderstandynge that we might lerne what is the hope of our vo­cacion, and what be the ryches of the glorye of the heretage of the faithfull. So be it.

Nowe (moste dere brethern) do I warne and warne you yet ageyne to be­ware and estiewe the leauyn of hipocri­tis, that is their false erro [...] use damp­nable doctryues. And let vs not curse ād caste our aduersaries into hell pitte, but let vs rather pytie their miserable blind­nes, remembringe in what a dampnable state they stande tormented in mynde bownd [Page] [...]For I remember the woundis of my sa­uiour, whiche is wounded for myne infir­mities. What sinne is so vnto death, whi­che by Crystis deathe may not be forge­uen? When I therfore remember so effec tuouse and so mighty a medicyne, there can no sinfull sykenes make me afraide. And therfore he erred & sinned greuously whiche said. Greater is my iniquitie then godis mercye maye forgeue it. But that man, as he was non of crystis members, so did not crystis meritis and his satisfac cion pertaine vnto him. But I shall with confidence in faith call them my merits, my rightwysenes, my reconciliacion and my satisfaccion with my faith fermely to setholde vpon them euen as thei were my nowne good. But yet do I chalenge and receyue them oute of the bowells & brest of my Lorde, euen those things whiche I haue not of my selfe. For his holy bodie dropeth oute, yea it floweth forth mercye and forgeuenes, nether wāteth there any holes wherbye thei may flowforth aboun dantly and iucessantly. For with the eyes of mi faithe in continuall rememberance I see his hādis and feet digged thorowe, and a speare pearsinge his syde. Thorow these swete holes, I souke me hou [...]y out of the rocke ād oyle out of the harde ston­ne. Here I taste and fele (oh my father) [Page] howe swete is my Lorde Chryste Iesus. To whō with my father & the holy goste be glorye prayse and thankis for euer ād euer.

So be it.

LEt vs (dere brethern) take it forIacob. i. great ioye as oft as we fall into son drye tentacious and troubles kno­wingei. Pet. i. that it is for the tryoll of our faith and it bringeth forth pacience. Unto good myndes regenerated of the spirit all per­turbacions, temptacions and affiliccions be good and profitable to excercise paciē ­ce, encrease constancye and faith, and to proue owr hope to kindle loue & to nour­ [...]re vs in crystis religion For owr faith and all the giftes of god be encreased by this vse and excercyse. Which thus encre ased, are also by affliccion and the crosse defended. Unto whiche pertaineth. ThatExo. xiij and. xiiij i. Cor. x. our fathers all were vnder the clowde ād passed thorowe the sea, and all were bapti sed into Moses in the clowde & in the sea. Wherby the apostle shewth in how great feare were the Israelits, the sea lyinge be­fore their eyes and their mortall enimies the Egipcians beinge at their heelis. It was a fearefull syght to see them in this distresse passinge downe into the botome [Page] the sea, the waters lyke heuey walles swellinge vp one echesyde lykely euer to ouerwhelme them. But yet here were thei baptised into Moses scole him to be their teacher and scolemaster to take them for the from vnder the lawe that they and we also at laste myght be baptysed into Cryste to do him vpon vs perfitly en­structe and confirmed in the faith of his promises reueled and performed vnder the grace of the gospell. So that by this baptisme euen the face of our perpetuall repentance, we be taught and warned of our Crysten profession that is to take the crosse of Cryst vpon vs and to folo­we him by paciently sufferinge, into his perpetuall glorye. So be it.

G. I.

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