A supplycacion to our moste soueraigne lor­de Kynge Henry the eyght / Kynge of England of Fraunce and of Irelande / & moste ernest defender of Christes gospell / supreme heade vnder God here in erthe / next & immedyatly of his chur­ches of Englande and Irelande.

Matthei .ix.

The harweste is greate but the laborers are fewe. Wherfore praye the lorde of the harweste to sende forthe laborers into his harweste.

A supplication to our moste soueraigne Lorde Kynge Henry the eyght Kynge of England / of Fraunce / and of Irelande. &c.

MOst dreade Soueraigne lorde & most christen Prynce / whē I remembre the lamentable, & wonderfull great blyndnes wherin the most parte of all Englāde not onely of ye layete called the temporaltie / but also of the Clergie / haue pytuousely erred and wan­dered many hundereth yeres / acceptinge / reputynge / & most vngodly / erronyousely / and blyndely / estemynge the Bysshop of Rome to be supreame head ouer & abo­ue all christen congregatiōs: and in dyuerse other poyntes suche as be touchynge ye necessarye articles of our faithe. I coulde not but meruell how and by what meanes suche pestilent errours and horrible darke blyndenes coulde or myght entre / Invade & ouerflowe this your realme / & to contynewe so longe in the same / not espied / per­ceyued / nor repelled. Consideringe that by all that tyme and space this your Realme (as the most parte of men dyd then iudge [Page] and esteame) was well endowed / repleny­shed / and furnyshed wt many profounde lerned clerkes / wherof some were Bysshops Archedeacōs / Deanes / Prebendaries / Parsons / Doctours / Bachelars in deuinite / & other profounde lerned clerkes in bothe ye vniuersytees which were / graue / sage / & auncyent fathers. Contemplatinge and reuoluinge these things in my mynde: not a lytle moued / troubled / and vexed with ye same / I applyed me wt all my powre & dyli­gence exquysytely to serche & to knowe the originall grounde & cause therof. And in cō clusyon amōgest other things it chaunced me to reade in the .v. chapiter of Ezay a proposition that muche lamenteth ye captyuite and bondage which cōmeth & grow­eth to all people for lacke of knowleage in godds worde / Sayeng / Therfore cōmeth my flocke also into captyuite / because they haue not vnderstandinge / their glory is famyshed wt hunger / & their pryde mar­red wt chyrste. Therfore gapeth hell and openeth her mouthe meruelousely wyde. By this text graciouse lorde it appeareth that all myserable blyndenes captyuite & bondage vnder synne / cōmeth for lacke of knowleage in Gods worde.Mar. xij, I had forgot­ten at that tyme / that Christ reproued the [Page] Pharasees / sayeng / You erre not knowin­ge the scriptures. Which reproue and rebuke shulde haue ben a suffycient admonyciō and doctryne to me and to all other wher­by we myght haue knowen that all errou­re commeth for lacke of vnderstandinge & knowleage in the scriptures. But by what reason then coulde there be suche erroure and blyndenes for lacke of knowleage in Gods worde in this your realme most gracyouse lorde / seing there were suche profounde clerkes & auncyent fathers / Bysshops and studentes in the same / which dyd tea­che & preache vnto the people cōtynually. The Apostle Paul in the .vi. chapiter to Timothe descrybeth two kyndes of doctry­nes / the one he calleth a godly doctryne & a doctryne of helth / the other he calleth a proude doctrine full of vnprofitable questi­ons / stryuynge more for wordes than for godly knowleage / wherof spryngeth envy / stryffe / raylings / euyll surmysyngs / & vay­ne dysputacions of mē with corrupte myn­des destytute of the trueth / which thinke that lucre is godlynes. This kynde of ler­nynge and subtle dysputacyons vnto this daye we call scole matters / from the which Paul commaundeth all christyans to sepa­rate thē selues.ij. Ti. iij Soche clerkes sayeth Paul / [Page] be euer lernynge / but neuer atteyne to the knowleage of the trueth. With suche wayne vngodly and vnprofitable lerninge / this your realme most redoubted soueraigne was ouer moche replenyshed through the preachinge and teachinge of suche scole men & subtyll disputers / otherwise called deceyuers. Which was one of the causes of our myserable blyndnes / and of dyuerse errours and abuses spronge vp and crept in to this your graces realme. For certeynely if ye clerkes of this your graces realme / had bene endowed wt true knowleage of Gods worde / and had also syncerely preached the same / althoughe suche errours and blynd­nes had entered into this realme / yet they shulde neuer haue so longe contynewed in the same / but we shulde haue bene delyue­red through the worde clerely from them. As Christe saieth.Io. viij. If you continewe in my wordes / then are you my very disciples / & shall knowe the trueth / & the trueth shall delyuer yow / and make you free. Ther­fore most dread soueraigne lorde / seinge yt all erroure / spyrytuall blyndnes / myserable captyuite / and seruyle bondage vnto synne commeth for lacke of knowleage and syn­cere vnderstādinge in the holy scriptures / and of ye cōtrarye parte / through ye knowleage [Page] & syncere vnderstandinge of the ho­ly scripturs we knowe god our father and his sonne Ihesus Christ our lorde / which is eternall liffe / we be also become free frō all condempnation of synne.Io [...]. v. Io. xvij. And through the syncere and true knowleage of ye worde we be newly regenerate & become ye chil­derne of god / the habitacle and dwellinge place of the holy ghoste / which moueth & steareth vs euer to mortefye the fleshe / & all her synfull lusts and concupiscence / to abhor and resyst vice. What is then so ne­cessary good and profitable for the christian people bothe spirituall and cyuile wealthe / as the worde wherby we receyue faithe / & by faithe the holy ghoste. What troubleth all commen wealthes / but treason / murder thefte / couetuousnes / adulterye / extorcion / whordome / dronckenes / periurye / & suche other synne / as saythe the holy ghoste.Prouer. xiiij. Iu­stice and rightuousnes maketh the people wealthy / but synne maketh ye people most myserable. And all these the faithfull through ye true and syncere vnderstādinge of gods worde / doo euer studye and labour to ouercome / and vtterly to abholyshe by faythe. As Paul sayeth.Gal. v. They which be Christes / doo crucyfye the fleshe with her lustes and concupiscence. All good workes [Page] and counceyles encreased and stablyshed through faythe. There is no study / striffe / nor laboure agaynst synne but through faithe. All conscyences that be quyet from synnes / onely through faythe be made quyet.Rom. v As Paul sayeth / Because we are iusty­fyed by faithe / we are at peace with god through our lorde Ihesus Christ. What counforte hathe any Christian man in ad­uersytyes / temptacions / desperation / but onely by fayth in Gods worde. The Chri­styan man hathe noo refuge nor helpe to resyst synne / but onely by gods worde / as our sauiour christ dyd / wherin he must fyxe a sure and constāt faythe.Mat. .iiii. Faythe causeth vs and all ours / to be acceptable in ye syght of God.Roma. xiiij. For a conclusiō / whatsoeuer is not of fayth that same is synne. And wtowte a constante and sure fayth / it is impossyble to please God.Heb. xi. All men maye well perceyue / that by the lawes and by the iuste execu­tion of them / although synne may be for a tyme cohybyted and restrayned / yet it can not be suppressed and abholyshed / but onely through fayth. For there was neuer more godly lawes made for the punyshmente of synne / nor neuer more iuste and godly executyon of lawes admynistred / and yet there was neuer more synne raygnynge. For [Page] cyuyle lawes made by man / can not be of greater effycacye or strength / nor worke greater perfectyon vertue and good wyll in man / than the lawe of god: but the lawe of God not onely worketh no obedyence or vertue / but rather through occasyō takē of the infirmyte of the fleshe / steareth vp synne / as sayethe Paul.Ro. vij. I knowe not what luste dyd meane / except the lawe had sayed thow shalte not luste. But synne toke an occasyon by the meanes of the commande­mente / and wrought in me all maner of cō cupiscence / for verely wtoute the lawe / syn­ne was dead. I ones sayth Paul / lyued wt out lawe. But when the cōmandement ca­me / synne reuyued / and I was dead / and ye very same commaundement which was ordeyned vnto lyffe / was founde to be vnto me an occasyon of deathe.Ro. vij. But nowe graciouse lorde / for asmoche as it appeareth / yt the lawe of God was not geuen to take a­waye synne / but rather to declare and to punyshe synne: moche lesse any lawe ma­de by man / can auoyde and put away syn­ne. But faythe is the true Instrument ap­poynted by God / wherby synne is ouerco­me & exiled.Act. xv As the scripture sayeth / that God through faithe / dothe puryfye & ma­ke cleane all hartes.Io. xv. Also Christ sayethe / [Page] nowe are yow cleane / by the meanes of the wordes / whiche I haue spoken vnto you. This faythe shall cause / noryshe and breade / true obeydyence / and all other ver­tues in your graces subiectes hartes / wherby they shall be enforced to laboure not onely to obserue & kepe Godes lawes / but also all your graces ordynances com­maundementes and lawes / without grudge or murmuracyon. This faythe as the Apostle sayeth commethe by hearinge of Gods worde preached / wherof Byshops Parsons / Vicars / & suche other called to haue spirituall cure / be or shulde be dylygent mynisters / to whose vocatyō iustely parteyneth to declare and publyshe Gods worde syncerely & truely / to all the people cōmyt­ted to their spirituall charge.Rom. x. Most mygh­ty Prynce wherfor if the Pastours appoynted to preache & teache Gods worde / wtin this your graces realme / doo not dyligētly instructe & teache the people cōmytted to their spirituall charge wt the sayd worde / accordinge as they be cōmaunded in ye scri­ptures.Act. xx. i. Pe. v. Mal. ij. Proue. xxix. Act. xx. i. Pet. v. and Malache. xx. all kyndē of synne shall increase and a­bounde / & the people vtterly be devyded. As sayethe the holy ghoste. When ye worde of God is not preached ye people perysheth. [Page] Also the Wyse mā sayethe.Sa. xiij All men be vayne in whom there is not the knowleage of god. Wherfore without any doubt ye wāte and lacke of preaching of godes worde syn­cerely and truely hathe bene the very originall grounde and cause of all the insurrec­tion / cōmotiō / dyscention / which hathe rysen or begone within this your graces real me or any parte therof. For through the want of preachyng of Godes worde syncely haue entered in all popyshe blyndenes / vayne & dead ceremonyes / mēnes tradycy­ons be crept into the conscyences of ye symple innocentes in the steade of the lawe of God. Yea ydolatrye and all hypocrysye wt detestable superstycyon for lacke of ye lyght of Godes worde / is become Gods seruyce. And yet notwtstandinge this wante & lack of knowleage in Godes worde & the euyll which cōmethe manyfestly therof / (the more it is to be lamented / ) there be many po­pishe monckes which late were Abbottes (to whom not onely vnworthely / but also vniustely / were geven greate pensyons) and many of their covent mo [...]kes hauin­ge nother lernynge nor other godly qua­lytyes (apte meate or convenyent to be in spirituall pastours) be nowe ad­mytted to haue cure of soules. And [Page] some suche which ded neuer knowe what is a soule / nor yet be able to haue cure ouer one soule / be nowe admytted to haue charge ouer an hundreth and many moo / to the increase of all yngnorācye and all po­pishe blyndnes / the hyghe waye & meanes to let in all kynde of synne / to the vtter dampnacion of all the soules commytted to their spirituall charge. Alas doo nother ye patrones of suche benefyces / nor yet the incumbentes pōder or regarde Gods thre­atenyngs by his Prophete Ezechiell sa­yeng / As truely as I lyue sayeth the lorde for asmuche as my shepe are robbed and deuowred of the wilde beastes of the felde hauynge noo shepeherde / and seing that my shepherdes take noo regarde of my shepe / but feade them selues onely / and not my shepe.Ezech. xxxiiij. Therfore here the worde of the lorde o ye shepherdes / thus sayeth the lor­de God. Beholde I my selfe will vpon the shepherdes / and requyre my shepe from their handes / and make them cease from feadinge of my shepe. Yea the shepherdes shall feade them selues nomore / for I will delyuer my shepe owte of their mowthes / so that they shall not deuoure them after this. If this threatenynge be not suffy­cient warnynge & monycion to suche blyn­de [Page] shepherdes / yet at the lest let them fea­re Goddes curse pronownced in the same chapiter agaynst suche neglygent and ing­norāt shepherdes / sayenge. Woo be to the shepherdes of Israell that feade them sel­ues / shulde not the shepherdes feade the flocke / yow haue eaten vp the fatt / yow haue clothed yow with the wolle / the best fedd haue youe flayne / but the flocke haue yow not noryshed / heauen and erthe shall muche rather perishe / than these wordes wherwith God threatened suche pastours shalbe found vntrue / That is / I will requy­re my flocke of the handes of the shepher­de. Suerly most myghty prynce it is to busye an office / tomuche and laborouse for one spirituall shepherde (althoughe he were very expert and connynge) to guyde ordre / and kepe / two or thre flockes of she­pe / specially beyng so farre dystāt one from an other / that the sayd shepherde can not be dayly present with them / to se the go­vernaunce of them / whose nature is dayly to falle into dyuerse offences and spirituall dyseases. For the office of a good shepherd is not onely to feade his shepe in good pa­sture / but also to seke the lost shepe / to call agayne the strayed shepe in to the ryght waye / to salue and to make hole ye broken [Page] which is broken by aduersyte / the weake and sycke shepe in the faythe / with the counfortable promyses of God / declared in the gospell / to make stronge & constant: and in cōclusyon to aduenture his liffe (if nede requyre) for the defence of his shepe / ever circūspecte lyeng in wayte / to resyst the roringe lyon / whiche neuer slepeth / goin­ge abowte and seakynge whome he maye devoure.i. Pe. v. Suche I saye shulde be their dili­gence and dayly cure ouer their flocke shewed / that not onely their shepe / but also all other / seing and preceyvinge their greate paynes and labours sustayned and takē for the helpe and counforte of their shepe / the gentle entertayninge wt all pacyence / humylyte & meakenes / the fatherly love / cure / and affeccion which the said byshops and other Pastours shulde daylye shewe / exercyse & practyse towardes Christes flocke cōmytted to their spirituall charge shall iudge them not onely good shepherdes which enter in by the dore / but also shall receyue & take thē to be most gētle / prouydēt kynde / & lovinge spirituall fathers. But most prudēt gouernoure how shall this fatherly cure / love / zeale / & affection / be shewed by the pastoure to his spirituall shepe which daylye cowcheth and wayteth in [Page] your graces householde and courte / and in other noble & worshipfull mēnes howses / attendinge to please mē whych is called one­ly to serue God. And not wtstandinge his callinge to be a shepherde to feade Christes flocke / yet he will sease se and visyte them ones in the yere. And when he visyteth his shepe / what ghostely councell he geveth them / God knoweth. But for the more parte / he loketh more to his owne profett than to their wealthe. Alas the ambicyou­se appetyte & burnynge covetuouse desyre of the yerely cōmodyties / profettes and advauntages of the benefyces / hathe vtterly extynguyshed and supped vp the spirituall love / zeale and affection which ought to be in the spirituall shepherdes. So that nowe it is straunge and wonderfull to se or knowe one iustely to execute his offy­ce. Is this the honowre of any Kynge or of any other gouernowre / that vn­der the cloke and coloure of hys seruyce / a Byshope or Pryste called to seade the flocke of Christe / shall leaue the sa­me vntaught / and so transgresse the commaundement of Christe for the plea­sure of men? Haue not Kynges and other rulers sufficyent to endowe their chapelaynes / wtout retayninge suche which [Page] haue receyued lyuinge and stypende to be in their churches feadinge Christes flock. This is tomoche dishonoure to the higher powers / agaynste goddes commaundemēt & word to retayne an other mans seruaūt. But certenly althoughe your highnes or other rulers wolde nother call nor retayne suche ambyciouse blynde guydes and coue­touse pastours / yet they their selfe will by their fryndes make importunate sute and laboure to be in seruice with youre mage­stye and with other rulers. The cause is thys / (one inconuenyence graunted / many folowe.Anno. xxi. Hē rici. viij There is alawe made in this your noble realme / that all spirituall parsons of youre counsell maye haue thre benefyces with cure. And all the chaplaynes of the Kynge / quene / prynce / prynces or of any of the Kyngs children / brethren / sisters / vn­cles and auntes / maye haue lycence to ha­ue two benefyces with cure. Euery Duke / marques / erle / vycounte / archebysshope / bysshope / with dyuers other estates as­well men as women maye haue two chap­laynes which maye haue two benefyces wt cure / And also dyuerse other degres of sco­le maye haue euery one two benefyces wt cure / so that ouer one of his cures althou­ghe he take the profyttes yet from that [Page] he muste neades be no resydent and perad­uenture to bothe he wilbe no feader nor teacher. And also in the same estatute all attendaunce in the courte and all other attē ­daunces vpon suche noble and worshipfull men which be lycenced to haue chaplaynes maye be not resydent / yea pylgrymes in ye tyme of goynge and cōmynge from their pylgrymage be by that estatute dyspenced to be non resydent. O lorde where was ye light of thy worde / which shulde haue bene written in the hartes of the makers of ye estatute. If there had ben godly shepher­des which had dyligently executyd their office and callynge / we had neuer wande­red so blyndely to agree or consent to the makynge of any suche estatute. Doo we which thinke vs Christen men esteame spirituall benefyces to be nothinge els but ly­vinges to be geuen at owre pleasure to pry­stes for seruyce done? Is not the benefyce geuen in respecte of a spirituall offyce to be executyd & done? Doth not God cōmaun­de straytely shepherdes to feade their floc­ke dyligently? Can man or any lawe made by man dyspence with Gods commaunde­ment? O lorde in thy handes be the hartes of all Kynges and other rulers / enlyghten theyr hartes lorde with the light of thy [Page] worde that they maye knowe and see this pestylent yll blyndenes / which so longe ha­the caused thy shepe to wander in darcke­nes. And when they perceyue it they ma­ye haue grace and tyme to reforme the sa­me to thy glory and the helpe of this real­me. And I shall euer desyer of God and wishe in my harte to all suche as be called to be attendaunte nere youre magestie and all other gouernowres / that for any car­nall loue / fauoure / or affectyon whiche they beare to any man for kyndred / frendshipe / luker / or otherwise / they doo not make any suche vngodly suytes petycions or reque­stes to your highnes or to any other gouernowre for any parson to be admytted to a­ny offyce other spirituall or temporall / whome they doo not certeynly knowe by most certeyne and sure proues and witnesses / to be apte / meate / and conuenyent aswell in lernynge as in condycions / to excercise vse and to occupye suche offyce and rome / wherunto he by suche their sute made / shulde be called / appoynted and admytted (not onely for the shame rebuke and troble whiche vpon dewe examynacion had and founde contrary to their vntrewe sute) myght come and growe to them / but also for the euyll incommodyte and pestilent myschef [Page] which shall ensewe to all suche which shalbe commytted to his or their gouernaunce & charge. Alas that euer amongest the chry­sten flocke shulde be knowen or sene that suche office which in Christes churche shulde be the most godly / most necessary / most spirituall and most profytable bothe to the bodye and sowle / nowe is become a worl­dely honowre / a lordely dygnyte / a riche carnall prowde lyuinge estate and counte­nance / and the possessor therof hauinge onely the name of a spirituall minyster / but no vertue nor godly qualyte which of right ought to be in euery suche minister. If this be well pondered and remembred most mercyfull gouernowre / it is most to be lamen­ted. But seynge this blyndnes hathe so lō ­ge cōtynewed & somoch ewill hathe ensewed & folowed therof in the defaulte of godly postours / it is not onely nedefull aboue all thinges to be circūspect in chosynge ernestly cryed / expecte / and well lerned mini­sters to preache Gods worde syncerely / but also to compell the same to be demurante abydinge and resydent vpon their cu­res. And all suche whiche be crepte into benefices for luker & aduauntage vpō vn­trewe suggestion and false fayned sutes made / which can not or doo not feade their [Page] flocke / to depryue thē of suche benefyces because they other can not or doo not execute the offyce to that belonginge. Suerly no wyse man lyghteth a cādell and putteth hym vnder a bushell. And if he set vp a cādell (which other for lacke of talowe or for o­ther cause can not geue light) shortely he taketh hym downe and putethe an other which can geue good light in his place. So all godly wyse men will order all spirituall lightes which in dede can not geue godly lighte for lacke of spirituall grace which shulde be in them. For Byshops and other Pastors which be chosyne & instytuted cō trary to the ordynaunce appoynted & pre­scribed by Gods worde / which other doo not or can not execute the offyce perteyninge to his or their callynge / be not godly & trewe Byshops but rather Images & Idolles hauinge and bearinge onely the name and outwarde apparance of a Byshoppe or Pastor. But as concernynge the lernynge vertue & other godly qualyties whiche parteyne & be of greate necessyte and iu­styce requysyte to be in euery godly pastor / they haue nothinge lesse. For if Christ (which sayed to Peter from henceforthe I make the a fysher to catche men) doo not endowe ye offycer wyth lernynge / grace / [Page] power & good will to preache his worde before Patrons present hym to any suche spirituall office / the electe and admytted notwithstandinge the admyssion and Pa­trons presentment / Ioan. x shall contynually abyde and remayne an hypocryte / and suche one which dothe not enter in by the dore / Math. xxij. but presumeth to enter withowte a weddyn­ge garment / whom Christ condempneth to owtwarde darckenes / and also callethe hym a thef / whose rewarde withowte doubt / shalbe at the daye of the laste iudgement with thefes / if he repent not and reasygne vp hys offyce which he can not ex­ecute fulfyll and performe. Wherfore I mystruste not but that all suche which ha­ue power to present and to admytte theyr clerkes to spirituall offyces readynge this wele boke for the dyscharge of theyr con­scyence and for the glory of God / the com­modyte and vtylite of the cōmon wealthe (which will ensewe the godly presentacyon and admyssion of well lerned / approued & godly clerckes to spirituall offyces) will from thenceforthe applye and conforme them to the forme and maner of electyon of spirituall mynisters appoynted prescrybed and lymytted by Godes worde / which is this. That euery man chosyn to vse any [Page] spyrituall offyce / shulde be fyrste well pro­ued aswell for theyr lernynge as also for theyr other vertuouse condycions. Fyrst for theyr lernynge wherwith they muste not onely be able to enstructe and teache the people commytted to theyr spyrytuall charge / but also able to reproue other which resyst the same doctrine / with many other godly qualyties. As it apperethe in the fyrste Epistle of Paul to Tymothe and also to Tyte.Tim. iij Tyt. i. Nowe moste myghty defender of the Christyan religyon / seinge that Godds worde hathe prescrybed and declared that euery man which shalbe cal­led and appoynted to be a spyrituall my­nister muste fyrste be proued and knowen howe godly and spirytually he hathe in­structe and teached the people / what ler­nynge he hathe in the scriptures / and not in the lawes / to reproue errours and to condempne heresyes. What paynes he hathe taken in preachynge Godes worde / and also whether he hathe geuen good ex­ample of lyuinge accordinge to his doctry­ne. In this maner euery christian ought to proue his clerke before he other present or admytt hym. But nowe also moste be­nyngne lorde / cōsydre of the cōtrary parte & remembre for what causes the Kynges [Page] your noble progenitors in tymes paste haue chosen Bysshopps / & other patrons haue presented theyr clerckes to personagyes & Vicaragyes to haue cure of sowles. These bothe causes well consydered no man wyll greately meruell that we haue wandered so longe in blyndenes. For in tymes paste Kynges haue geuen theyr Bysshoprycks to theyr Councellers / chaplaynes whiche haue bene daylye attendauntes in ye cour­te / which also haue done to them good seruice / as enbasadoures / or to suche which haue taken paynes in theyr householde / as amners & deanes of ye chappell / clercks of theyr closett & suche other officers / where gods worde dothe not approue any byshopricke to be geuē to any mā for any suche seruice done / or for any suche paynes takē / but onely for ye gifte whiche he hathe frō God to preache his worde / & for ye paynes & la­boures susteyned in preachinge of the sayd worde And as Kynges in tymes paste haue abused their giftes of byshoprikes / so noble men & worshipfull mē aswell of ye clergie as of ye layere haue abused their presentaciōs to their prebēdes personages & vicarages / geuing thē to their chaplaynes / or to other for kyndred in bloude or for alyaunce / or els to suche as haue ben surueyours of thier [Page] landes / receyuoures of their rentes / stuar­des of their housholde / faconers / gardyners or to suche other whom they fauoure for su­che worldely seruice & qualyties. To suche they geue their benefyces as rewardes or wagies to hyrelynges for suche seruice do­ne / or to be done / hauinge lytle or noo re­garde to the great charge and spirituall cure which by Goddes worde belongeth to all suche spirituall offices. For Kynges and rulers in tymes paste had noo lesse know­leage of any thynge / then of Godes worde which the subtyll byshops & crafty prystes were euer studiouse and desyrouse to kepe secrete from the hygher powers. For so lō ge as Godes worde was kepte secrete and hydē from gouernours / so longe ye clergye dyd leade not onely the Kynges / but also all gouernowres & the cōmons whyther they wolde. Thys was the crafty polycye of the clergye / to kepe ye knowleage of Gods worde from all men / that they myght vnlaw­fully and vnworthely be promoted to spiri­tuall cures / and vse the profettes of them vngodly / and that they myght also conty­nually exercyse their lustes and iniquyties. As Paul saythe They be agaynste all men forbyddinge vs to speake to the people wherby they myght be saued / The .ij. that they [Page] myght fulfyll their iniquyte and synne contynually. Haue not some of the byshops wt their retynewe at this daye practysed their olde polycy to extinguyshe ye light through all Englande / that they myght ones agayne leade vs quyetly in darckenes. Is not there a lawe made through their crafte & subtylte which geueth power to certayne cōmyssioners wherof the byshoppes cha­unceler or cōmyssarye shalbe named to be two of the cōmyssioners / which shall haue full power to take into their custodye all su­che bokes wherin is conteyned any clause or artycle repugnaunte to any of the syx artycles / and ye same bokes to burne and dystroye as to the discretion of thre of them shalbe thoughte expedyent. Marke well what they purpose by this estatute. Are there any bokes which write agaynste the popes prymacie / but they also write agayn­ste some of the syx artycles? Their coloure is to take awaye all bookes which wryte agaynste the syx artycles / but their very intēte purpose and meanyng is to take awa­ye all bookes whiche conteyne any godly lernynge that write agaynste ye byshop of Romes prymacy. Howe cruelly doo the by­shops punyshe all thē which pretende to haue lernynge and specially in Godds worde? [Page] Suche they call heretyques and persecute wich puttynge them to open shame / with enprysonmēte / and in conclusyō with dea­the most fearefull and paynefull. All this they doo to dyscorage all men from the stu­dye of Gods worde / fearinge leaste that by suche studiouse braynes which learne Gods worde and publyshe the same their iniquy­te shulde be made manyfest. What studye and paynes they take to kepe ye light from the people. But no man which knowethe ye scriptures will meruell of this their policye and crueltye.Io [...]. iij. For saynt Iohan declarethe their practyse playnely sayenge. He that doth euyll hateth the light / and why? becau­se his workes whiche be euill shulde not be reproued by the light. And for asmuche as oure byshops countenaūce of lyuinge / their greate possessyons / and lordely domynyons in them agreeth wt Godds worde / as dea­the with lyffe / God with the deuill / light with darckenes / therfore they hate ye light which declarethe the same / and studye to suppresse the same by all chaft and polycye. And seinge they can so craftely iuggle and haue suche frendshipe and fououre to con­uey / brynge to passe / that all bookes shall come into their hande & vndre the coloure of the syx artycles / it is to be feared that [Page] shortely they will by lyke crafte subtyl­te and frendshipe procure the Byble in Englyshe to be taken from the layete / & then we shalbe ledd in darcknenes by our Byshops and other blynde gydes and not Pastoures at theyr pleasure and will / whi­che is the effecte of all theyr study laboure and purpose. Nowe most valeaunt defen­der of Christ / it appearethe playnely ho­we many myseryes we be wrapte in / through the vngodly electyon of suche as be admytted to haue spirytuall cure and offyce to teache Godds worde / whiche not onely haue lytle lernynge / but also they be enemyes to all men whiche can and doo preache Gods worde sycerely and trewly / because they lyue contrarye to the same / as I haue before declared / And this is the origynall grownde / and cause of the a­bundaunce and increase of darkenes and of synne / as also of the longe contynnaunce of popishe blyndnes whiche hathe raigned in this realme so longe. Wherfore yf the byshops and other elected and appoynted to be shepherdes accordinge to theyr vocacyon and callinge / be not fyrste knowen and well proued to haue suche knowleage & godly doctryne / so that they can & also doo instantely & dyligētly preache Gods worde, [Page] whiche is ye light expellinge all darckenes of synne / then muste nedes synne encrease & abounde without any restraynte or brydle. For if the light whiche is amongest yow be darckenes / howe muche shall the darke­nes be?Matt. vi. Youre grace and your cyuile power doo punnyshe synne / when it is done and cōmytted / accordinge to the iustyce of la­wes / as to your vocatyon & office of right belongethe to doo. But the office and dewtye of the Pastor is to preache Goddes worde / wherby he shall conuert the hart of the synner / whiche is willinge & dissposed to doo synne / so that he shall not breake fourthe to doo synne in the acte / which ye cyuyle powre for the example of other by equyte and iustyce is bounde to punyshe. Therfore the dyligent executyon of the of­fice of the pastoure shalbe the pryncipall meane and occasyon that lesse synne shalbe cōmytted / and so the higher powers shall haue lesse occasyon to execute the extreame iustyce of lawes / and consequently many mens ly [...]es whiche nowe for lacke of the knowleage of Godes worde shuld be loste for cōmyttinge murder / felonye / and suche other offences / shall then be preserued that they shall not commytte suche offences / which the hygher powers by the lawes of [Page] equyte & iustyce be compelled to cōdempne and to punyshe with deathe. Wherfore ye godly tranquyllyte reste and peace of all this your realme soueraygne lorde / and the good order of the same hangeth and reste­th moche vpon the godly and dyligent ex­ecutyon of the office of pastors and of the spirituall shepherds dewly called and ad­mytted accordinge to Godes worde. Ther­fore it behoueth the presenter of the clercke to a benefyce and cure of sowles to be cyr­cumspect and well ware what clerke he do­th present / and that he haue good knowleage experience and proue of his clercke before he present hym. For if a pastour doo not feade the flocke of Christe cōmytted to his charge / the deathe of their sowles shalbe required of his handes. As the Prophete Ezechiell sayeth in the .xxxiij.Ezech. xxxiij. chapi. And if the patron willingely / other for kyndred / fauoure / frendshippe / seruice or mo­ney / present a clerke which he knoweth not to be so lerned in Gods worde / that he be able to instructe and teache the people cōmytted to his charge bothe wt the lawe of God and withe the gospell / every suche patron cōsenteth to the deathe & dāpnaci­on of the sowles cōmytted to the charge of suche vnlerned preste. And therfore suche a [Page] Patron shall also be punyshed with lyke payne / whiche is eternall / as the Apostell sayeth.Rom. i. Not onely they that doo euill / but also they whiche consent therunto shalbe punyshed with lyke payne. What wyse man liuynge wolde hyer a shepherde to gouerne hys beastly & worldly shepe which nother wolde nor coulde feade / handle / sal­ue nor ones see his shepe cōmytted to his charge. Suche a wyse shepherde wolde shortely make his masters profet come to lytle aduauntage. Surely a wyse man wol­de chose no suche shepherde. And if he were deceyued through the persuasyon of some of his frendes / yet when he hathe proued that he hathe no connynge nor dyligence / he will shortely dyscharge hym of his cure and seruice. Shall we be estemed christen men whiche haue more tēder loue and affectyon to owre corruptyble profett / than we haue to the honowre of God & the eternall wealthe of ye immortall sowles of owre christen bretheren / whom Gode commaundeth to loue as owre selfe.Io. xxi. Christ ded not commytt to Peter the cure and charge of his shepe before he asked thryse of Peter whether he loued hym. As who shulde saye. I wolde not commytt my best beloued Ioywell and treasure vnto the / [Page] vnlesse thowe loue me hartely. I wolde wyshe that all gouernowres and rulers in this case wolde take example and folowe Christ whiche knowynge ye Good wyll of Peters harte / yet as one ingnorāte therof ded demaunde this questiō of Peter before he ded cōmytt ye cure of his flocke to hym / therby to geue example & cōmon doctryne to all his faythfull folowers yt they shulde haue suche tender and feruent loue towardes the Christen sowles / that they wolde not commytt the gouernaunce and cure of them to any man / but vnto suche of whom they haue proue & sure knowleage / that aswell by their preachinge & syncere tea­chinge of Gods worde / as also by their vertuouse lyuinge cōsonante to ye same worde they had vnfaynedly a faythfull harty loue towardes Chrystes flocke. A blynde eye which can not dyrecte and leade the bodye is a blemyshe and a burden to the naturall bodye / and noo commodyte. In lykewyse a man chosen to be a spyrytuall Pastour which hathe not the knowleage and gra­ce to preache the lawe and the gospell / is but a blynde eye not able to dyrecte and leade the spyrytuall bodye. Wherfore if any patrō chose any suche ingnorāte mā to be a pastoure / a spirituall eye and light [Page] to leade the spirituall sowles / he not onely deceyueth them but also asmoche as lyeth in hym kyllethe the bodye / and dothe greate iniurye to Christes bloode. Now it ma­ye please yowre highnes to note and mar­ke what myschef and incōuenyence folowe the electyon and admyssion of an ingno­rante postour. Fyrste if an ingnorante by­shope in Gods worde be admytted / he can not execute his office because he knoweth not the scryptures whiche teacheth hym what shulde perteyne to his owne office. And as the byshop is ignorante in Godes worde / so he admytteth suche as be vnler­ned in Gods worde / evyn suche as by noo possybylite can execute the office of their callinge. Idle parsons / vnhappy / droncker­des / swerers / common players at all vn­thryftye games / in whom there is no cha­styre / noo humylyte / iustyce / nor temperan­ce. For a conclusion / suche they admytte in whom there is noo holynes / godly doctry­ne / nor good example of lyuinge. To suche they commytte ye healthe of sowles / the flocke of Christe dearely bought with his bloode / by suche ydle and wicked harlottes the enheritaunce of Christe is troden vn­der fote. All euyll condycions maners and doctrynes by them be tawght / so that in [Page] the steade of holy scripture is crepte in the doctryne of lyes / all superstycions / dead & vayne ceremonyes / and lycence to doo all kynde of synne. Some of the blynde igno­rante prestes teache the people that God is honowred / and soules releued of their paynes through the rynginge of belles / painting of postes / and settynge vp tapers and candelles before the sayd postes / whō the blynde prestes doo bothe sence & spryn­cle with holy water. An other sorte of blynde shauelings teache the people to gett he­uen with tastynge / this prescripte daye & that daye / with trentalles and masses of scala celi / with forbearinge of bodely wor­kes & kepinge ydle holy dayes / they prea­che muche holynes and Gods seruice to stande in their holy oyle / holy creame / holy water / holy asshes / hallowed bedes / mumblynge of a numbre of psalmes in laten / keapinge of church ales in the whiche with leappynge / daunsynge / and kyssyng they maynteyne the profett of their churche (to the honoure of God as they both saye and thyncke.) And thus the blynde leadeth the blynde / that both fall hedlonge into the lake of eternall brenninge fyer. What natu­rall harte is there whiche will not lamente the misery / yea the dampnaciō most certēly [Page] thretenede by Gods worde vnto all ing­norante and neglygent bysshopps and other spyrytuall shepherdes which doo not dylygently execute theyr offyce and vocation? What honest louinge harte doth not bewayle the habundaunce of syn­ne / the longe myserable blyndnes wherin this realme hath ben ledd and wrapped in through the yngnorancye and neglygence of suche blynde guydes. But is there any chrysten harte which can forbere contynuall syghinge and mornynge / re­membringe the multytude yea the infy­nyte numbre of sowles (whiche without the greate mercye of God passinge all his worckes) through ingnorancye & negligē ­ce of suche blynde shepherdes / be vtterly cast awaye & dampned. What good cyuyle harte wolde not I saye lament and be­wayle the greate burden wherwith this your realme (gracyouse lorde) is ouerchar­ged through the greate multytude of chauntery prestes / soule prestes / chanons / resydensaryes in chathedrall churches / prebendaryes / muncke pencyons / moro­we mas prestes / vnlerned curattes / pre­stes of gyldes and of fraternytees or bro­therhedes / rydinge Chaplaynes / and suche other ydle parsons / whyche yf [Page] they be well noted / and also what frute spryngethe of them indyfferētly valewed / consydered / and pondered / it will appe­re manyfestly to all reasonable and godly wyttes / that they do brynge noo maner commodyte profett or vtylyte other spyrituall or temporall to this your publycke wealthe. No / no / they be not onely no commodyte nor profett to the common wealthe / but rather moche hynderance. And truly no lytle wasters / spoylers / and robbers / and that of the most poore / in dygēt and neadye of youre louinge subiec­tes / which be most craftely / subtelly / and vnrightuousely depryued of ye charytable succoure and almes of many symple vn­lerned innocentes / through a vayne hope and false confydence that theyr sowles shulde be releued and released of theyr paynes and tormentes dewe for theyr synnes / when they be departed this worlde / by the longe prayers of pre­stes. And (the more it is to be lamen­ted) noo lytle nombre of your subiec­tes through suche vngodly truste and confydence in masses and dyryges to be songe and celebrated for them when they be dead / be greatly encoraged to lyue both wickedly towardes God / and [Page] also vnfrutefully towardes the worlde / lyt­le remembrynge and estemynge their vocacion & callinge wherin God hath appoyn­ted them to walke / and moche lesse the ex­treame necessyte of their christen brethe­ren. This vayne hope in the lōge prayers of prestes (no doubt graciouse lorde) is a greate occasyon of moche pouerte amōgest the poore and neady of this yowr realme. For the spedy remedy of this pouerte a­mongest your louinge subiectes / and the vtter suppressyon of suche vayne hope in ye prayers of prestes to be made for your sub­iectes when they be deade / whiche is the greate cause of this myserable pouerte / it may please your magestye of your accustomed goodnes to call to your graciouse re­membrāce that all the people of this your regyon be subiect vnto yowr gracyouse power / rule / and dominion as vnto their supreme hedd and gouernowre dewly by God appointed to gouerne them onely du­rynge their naturall lyues / but when it pleaseth God to take their sowles owt of this myserable worlde / than yowr grace is dyscharged of all gouernance / cure & char­ge ouer thē / as of suche which after their death doo not appertayne to yowr grace / nor be of your Kyngedome / but onely of ye [Page] Kyngedome of God, vnder his gouernaunce prouysion and rule. Into the whyche Kyn­gedome nother your grace nor noo other erthe­ly prynce maye lawfullye vsurpe or take anye rule prouisyon care or gouernance, for the sou­les entered therunto. Seynge that your grace haue no auctoryte nor power ouer the soules departed, you be not onelye dyscharged to go­uerne to care or to prouyde for them beinge deade, but muche rather to prouyde that they maye not be deceyuedde so vnder the coloure of longe prayer, but that they maye be taughte syncerelye GODS worde whyle they be ly­uynge vnder youre subiection so that they maye beleue constantelye and lyue godlye, and then by Christes promesse bell gates shall not preuayle agaynste them, moche lesse they shal haue any neade of suche straunge succoure and helpe of menne, nothynge appoyntedde nor taughte by Goddes worde to be profitable or necessarye fortheyre soules after theyre deathe. Wherfore I mystruste not butte that youre magestye when you shall nexte intreate for the reformation of the enormytyes and abu­ses spronge [...] vp in the christenne religion, you wyll godlye reforme suche abuse and dissem­bled [...] couetousenes, and certeynelye beynge to godlye remedye nor helpe for sowles depar­ted [Page] whiche hathe noo strengthe nor effycacye of GODS worde, whyche is the verye trewe foundacion of all the Christen religion and helpe for soules. And in the meane season I doo no lesse thyncke and also praye hartelye to GOD that youre magestye wyll prouyde and make ordinaunce, that all suche landes and possessyons whervpon so manye ydle hy­pochrytes and deceyuers be greate burdeyne and charge to youre realme, whyche hytherto haue lyued vngodly and vnprofytablely, maye from henceforthe be partelye conuerted to the supportation and mayntenaunce of common stooles, whereby erroures crepte vp throughe ingnorance maye be throughe knoweledge re­pressedde, and godlye learnynge and knowled­ge more plenteouslye planted and admynistred and partelye that youre poore louynge subiec­tes maye be more mercyfullye releued and suc­coured, whyle they lyue vnder youre subiecti­on charge and gouernaunce. Thys godlye dystrybution (most prudent Soueraygne) of the landes and possessions ordeynedde and ap­poyntedde for the comforte succours and helpe of yowre poore louynge and lyuynge [...], is muche more consonante and agre­able to GODDES worde and more certayne dyscharge of youre graces conscyence then to [Page] suffer the same possessions to be vngodly caste awaye and consumed vnder suche false colow­re and pretence to releue sowles departed, of whome youre magestye haue nother cure nor charge, nor can not assure to them by God­des worde throughe suche longe prayers of prestes relesse of paynes after their deathe, or anye other ayde comforte or succoure. For wythoute anye doubte (gracyouse Lorde) yf suche hyredde prayers hadde bene godlye and necessarye for the sowles departedde, other Chryste or his Apostelles wolde haue taughts it, or at the least haue praysed or practisedde it, and not so manifestlye reproued and thretened it, sayenge.Marc. xii. Beware of them whych deuou­re wyddowes howses vnder coloure of longe prayerres, theyre iudgemente shalbe muche longer. In all the newe Testamente the­re is no mencyonne made of anye suche offy­cer nor offyce institutedde nor appoyntedde to praye for the deade. And yet all menne I thyncke wyll confesse that the truethe of GODS worde was mooste syncerelye set­forthe and preached in the tyme of Chryste and of his Apostelles, in whose tyme there was no suche craftye learnynge publyshedde nor taughte by them, nor longe tyme after.

But then menne stablyshedde and grounded [Page] their religion and hope of healthe vpon God­des worde, whyche teachethe vs that who so beleuethe is saued and hathe no neade of longe prestyshe prayers, and who so beleuethe not, shalbe condempned. Betwene these extreame contraries there is no meane, as saint Augu­stine sayethe.Note here. s. August in hys boke en­tyteled Hypognosticō, fol. ix. Wherfore I exhorte all them (whiche contrary to all holy scriptures) truste to the thyrd place & there to haue release of pay­nes throughe the songe prayers of preastes, that they wolde geue ouer suche fayned fanta­sye of men (subtilly ymagyned onely throughe insaciable couetousenes of ambiciouse prestes to gette moneye (therewythe to mayneteyne theyr vngodlye lustes, and to lyue ydlely and delycately and to truste rather to the sure and infallyble trewethe of Goddes worde, whyche wythoute doubte is to repent and beleue, and vtterlye to forsake all synne, and than con­stantelye to truste to Goddes promesse of mercye. Here manifestly apperethe souerayg­ne Lorde, in what myserable blyndenes the mooste parte of this youre realme haue longe tyme be led, yea and almost drowned throughe the longe custome vsed therin. Who is it that can not lamente (I saye) this deplorate and miserable sorte of blynde shepherdes? Be not they boughte withe the same price wherwythe [Page] wede bought to be members of one bodye wherof Christ is heade. If we be members of one bodye certeynlye we can not then but caste and feale not onely theyr euyll, but also the lamentable estate of all other cast awaye through the Lorde I truste the punyshment is pa [...]e wher­withe thou hall threatned the worlde to be punishedde wythe hunger and chryste not wythe hunger and thryste of breade and drynke,Amos. viii. but for lacke of hearynge thy worde. Yt is nowe tyme lorde to shewe thyne accustomedde good­nes and mercye, for the whyche we doo dayly and hartelye praye, sayenge. Throughe the tender mercye of God wherwithe he hathe dysyred vs,Luce. i geue lyghte to vs whych fyfte in darckenes and in the shaddowe of deathe, to guyde oure [...] into the waye of peace.

Also it is a daungerouse thynge to admitte one to be aspyrytuall pastoure whose pro­fessyon and studye all hys youthe hathe bene in decrees and popyshe lawes. For suche a studye for the mooste parte ingenderethe a popyshe harte. If any suche be admittedde to be a pastoure, he shall not onelye other se­ [...]e [...]ely in confessyon or by some other craftye meanes, poyson hys flocke with mans tradicions and popyshe doctrine, but all shall aug­mente the popishe power, forthe abrogacion [Page] wherof youre grace and youre honorable coū ­cell haue taken greate paynes and trauayle.

Nowe eftsones I truste that all men whyche reade this lytle boke shal perceyue therby what inconuenyence and dampnable euyll enseweth the vngodlye presentacyon and admyssyon of the vnlearned in Goddes worde, and carnall prestes to spirituall offyces. And althoughe suche Patrons haue lytle zeale and loue to the common and publyke wealthe, yet for the syn­guler and carnall loue whyche they beare to theyr clerkes (whome they addycte and bynde surelye to eternall dampnacion, yf they geue them suche spyrytuall offyces, whyche they neyther canne nor wyll excute and perfourme or for the tender zeale and loue whyche they haue to the soules so derely boughte withe Chri­stes bloode, they wyll wyth all circumspection prou etheyr clerkes that they be not onelye well learned in Goddes worde but that they also haue taken greate paynes in preachynge the fame, and that they haue also [...] ac­cordynge to theyr preachynge. Suche expery­ment and proue was commaunded to be made of weddowes, before they were [...] to lyue vpon the charge of the congregacyon. As it appearethe in Tymotheye.

i. Ti. v.Muche more than euydente and sure proue [Page] of Pastoures (whose offyce is soo necessa­rie) shoulde be hadde and made before they be admyttedde to theyr spyrytuall offyce and charge. And althoughe the election of the Bysshoppe and of other spyrytuall Pastours in euery paynte be hadde and done accordynge as I haue before wrytten, yet (moost dreade soueraygne Lorde) I see twoo fowle deformy­ties and greate lamentable myschefes annex­ed to the vocacyon and offyce of Bysshoppes, whyche not refourmedde wyll poyson and vt­terlye corrupte the godlye vocacyon and elec­tyon of the sayde Bysshops. The one infec­tion and pestylente poysonne is there greate Lordeshyppes and domynions wythe the yea­rely prouentes of the same. Whyche hath so fasshynonedde them in proude countenaunces and worldelye behauoure, that nowe they be moste lyke to the Heathen Prynces and moste vnlyke vnto Christe, althoughe they woulde be esteamedde of al men to be hys trewe succes­soures, yet poore Chryste sayethe. The foxes haue hooles, the byrdes of the ayre haue ne­stes, but the sonne of manne hathe not wherin to laye hys heade. But oure Bysshops haue gorgeouse and sumptuouse buylded how­ses maners and castelles pleasauntelye set a­boute wt parches well replenished wyth deare, [Page] warrens [...] full of conyes, and fysshe pooles well scored wyth dyuerse kyndes of fys­shes. And not onelye these commoddities and pleasures, but also diuerse other pleasures.

Howe this Lordely and worldely Bysshop lyke estate agreeth wyth Christes wordes, I thin­ke a man can not reasonablye conyecture or ymagen by theyr countenaunce and lyuynge, that they be Christes trewe disciples. The o­ther myschefe and euell is that they haue to many worldly c [...]res and busynes. For to these manners and Lordeshyppes belonge manye tenauntes, for whose leases to be made fy­nes and haryottes to be appoyntedde and ta­ken, a mercyamentes to be affessed taxed and also forgeuen and dispencedde, there be noo fewe sutes made to my Lorde Bysshoppe, also the hearynge of testamentorye causes, dy­uorses, causes of matrymonye, of sclaun­ders, of [...], adulterye, and punyshe­ment of [...], and suche other [...] courte matters▪ Whereof not one belonge to hys offyce and vocacion appoynted by Goddes worde. My lorde byshoppe is so occupyed and vnquycted, that he hathe noo leasure to studye nor to preache GODS worde. But suche affayres and worldelye busynes nothynge per­teyneynge to hys vocation be [...] greate [Page] hynderance and lett to my lorde Byshop that he can not applye hym to exercyse his owne offyce.Mat. v For no man can serue two masters sayeth Christ. The Apostles thought it not iuste and equall to prouide for the necessary lyuinge of the poore / leauinge Godds worde vntawght.Act. vi. But my lorde Byshoppe doinge these things no­thing perteyninge to his office / thincketh that he hathe exactely done his offyce. From these greate maners commeth ye­rely greate rentes pleasures & profettes / which althowghe they be the good crea­tures of God / yet thabundaunce of them (beinge where they be more impedyment than helpe) be a greate occasyon of corrup­cion in the vser of them. And peraduentu­re they wolde allure and intyse a Byshops harte to truste in thē and so corrupte hym / as the scripture sayeth. Blessed is the ry­che which is founde withowt blemyshe & hathe not gone after golde nor hoped in money and treasures / where is there suche a one and we shall commende hym and call hym blessed / for greate things dothe he amonge his people. And if my lorde Bys­shoppe shulde geue the superfluyte of his goodes to the poore (whose goodes iustely they be) as the Prophete Ezay sayethe / ☜ Esa. iij. [Page] Than my lorde shulde lacke thē to furny­she his lordely countenaunce / and so my lorde shulde loose his lordely honoure and prayse of the worlde Wherfore as these superfluouse possessions be annexed to esta­tes of Bysshops by mans vayne fantasye and not by Gods worde / so my lorde Byshoppe wyll other keape them to ma­ke hym more fryndes / remembrynge that ryches makethe many fryndes / but the poore is forsaken of his neyghbowre / or deuyse the exspence of them contrary to Godes worde / other to make sure fryndes in the courte aboute ye kynge to obtey­ne more promocions & benefices / or in cu­riouse buyldinge / sumptuouse and delyca­te fare / well appareled seruauntes / try­me decked horses to ryde pompeousely ly­ke a lorde. Althoughe there were no auc­torite to proue this / yet the lordely counte­naunce & fasshyon of byshops / yea their common exercyse and also practyse cā well proue and testyfye this playnely before the face of all men which knoweth the lor­delynes of bysshopps. As the Prophete Ezay sayethe.Esa. iij. The chaungynge of their countenaunce bewrayeth them / yea they declare theyr owne synnes them selfes as sodomytes / and hyed them not. Doo [Page] not these thinges fayntely agree with the sayenge of theyr predecessour Paule the Apostle which sayeth.i. Ti. vi. When we haue foode and raymente we muste be con­tented. Is not this lordely honoure dyrectely agaynste Chrystes wordes / which sayethe.Iu. xxij. The Kynges of nacyons raygne ouer them / and they that haue auctoryte ouer them are called graci­ouse lordes. But yow shall not be so. Also Peter speakethe to his trewe suc­cessoures sayenge. Feade yow Christes flocke asmuche as lyeth in yow / takynge the ouersyght of them not as compelled therunto / but wyllyngelye / after a god­ly sorte / nor for the desyer of fylthy luker / but of a good mynde / not as thou­ghe yowe were lordes ouer the paryshes / but that yowe be an example to the flocke / and that withe good will. But owre lordely Byshops estate and proude coun­tenaunce of lyuynge (as it is nowe vsed) is contrarye to Godes worde / as it appearethe by these wordes. But yow shall not be so. And also by these sayengs. Not as thoughe yow were lordes ouer the paryshes.Math. xij. And Chryst sayethe. He that is not with me / is agaynste me. Wherefore so longe [Page] as they raigne so lordely in the clergie contrary to Godds worde / so longe be they a­gainste God. And so longe as they be aga­ynste God / they be not sente from God / and then can they not preache trewly and syncerely his morde. For howe can they preache excepte they be sente sayeth Paul.Rom. x. Christe was sente to preache as it appea­rethe. Marc. i. Luce. iiij. and Ezaye. lxi. And Christe sayeth to all his trewe dysciples. As my father sente me / so I do sende yow.Ioan. ij And commaundeth also all his Apostles & trewe successors of the Apostles to preache the gospell to the holle worlde and not lor­dely to raigne in the clergye. Whom Paul teacheth to be as mynisters / sayeng. Lett a man this wise esteame vs / euyn as the mynisters of Christe and the stuardes of the secretes of God.i. Cor. .iiij. To preache the gospell therfore (most gracyouse and prudente lorde) is the trewe vocacyon and offyce of all godly Byshops / Parsons / Vycars and of other shepherdes / and not to be enbasa­dowrs to prynces / nor to be iudges to he­re matters of contencyon / testamentarye causes / dyuorses / selaunders / bawdery / and suche other. Your grace hathe of your laye fee suffycient bothe in lerninge and wyse­dome and of good conscyence to here and [Page] iudge suche causes and varyaunces / re­myttynge Byshops to attende their of­fyce and vocacyon by God (and not by man) appoynted. And therfore they shulde not excercyse any other of­fyce than God hathe appoynted to them.Mat. vi For no man can serue two ma­sters. And if Byshops and other Pa­stoures wolde dyligently execute theyr vocacyon and offyce / moche fewer of these matters of contencyon shalbe in vre and experience other to be harde or iudged. Seinge the scriptures commaundeth so ernestly euery man to walke as he is called. Many Christen men mer­uell gretly why the Byshops desyre and procure so greadely to exercyse the offy­ce perteyninge to an other vocacyon / and to leue their vocacyon and offyce (appoynted by God to them to be exer­cysed) not executed nor performed and done.Ioā. ix. Verely bycause they loue the glo­rye of men / more then the glorye of God. And surely euen as Cayphas and Annas beinge Byshops and exercysyn­ge the offyce of seculer and temporall iudges ded iudge Christ to be crucifyed / so owr Byshops so longe as they contrarye [Page] to their callynge doo exercyse thē of­fyce of temporall iudges / so longe shall they persecute Christe and his membres / and studye to suppresse his worde / and not to preache the same. Haue not they busynes suffycyent wherwith to occupye them in their owne offyce? If they wolde loke well therunto / doo not they see on euery syde detestable synne raigne throughowt all this your realme. Is there not suche excesse and costelynes of apparell / bycause of dyuersyte and chaū ­ge of fasshyons that scarce a worshipfull mans landes which in tymes paste was wonte to fynde and maynteyne twenty or thirty tall powemen / a good plenty­full howsholde for the releyfe and coun­force of many poore and neadye / and the same nowe is not suffycyent and able to maynteyne the heyre of ye same landes / his wiffe / her gentle woman or mayde / two yowmen / and one lackey. The pryncypall cause herof is their costly apparell / and specially their manyfolde and dy­uerse chaunges of fasshyons whiche the man and specially the woman muste weare vpon bothe headde and bodye. Som­tyme cappe / somtyme hoode / nowe the [Page] frenshe fasshyon / nowe the spanyshe fas­shyon / than the Italyan fasshyon / and then the myllen fasshyon / so that there is noo ende of consumynge of substaunce and that vaynely and all to please the prowde folyshe man and womens fanta­sye. Hereof spryngethe great myserye and neade. The fathers consumynge theyr goodes in vayne / pryde / and wan­ton lustes (called vpon by yowr grace to serue yowr magestye for the defence of this yowr realme) haue not to doo their dewtye / wherby they be compelled to sell theyr landes / or els to burdeyne their fryndes / or els to daunger them selfe in dette to many. Hereof rysethe it that the father is compelled to declare his will vpon hys landes to be executed after his deathe (when he can not occupye the sa­me hym selfe) for the aduauncement and helpe of his children and the payment of his dettes / whom easely he myght in his lyffe haue aduaunced holpen and dys­charged / yf suche ryotuouse expenses had ben auoyded.Ose. iiij The Prophete Osee sa­yethe. There is noo trewethe / no mer­cye / no knowleage of God in earthe / cursynge / lyenge / murdre-thefte / adul­terye [Page] hathe broken in / and yet doo owre shepherdes holde theyr peace. What commessacyon / dronckenes / detestable swearinge by all the partes of Christes bodye (and yet callynge them in scorne huntinge othes) extorcyon / pryde / couetuousenes / and suche other detesta­ble vyce raigne in this yowr realme / agaynste the whiche owre Byshops and other Pastoures shulde contynually crye owt / as the Prophete sayethe.Esa. v. Crye nowe as lowed as thow canste / leaue not of / lyfte vp thy voyce lyke a trom­pett / and shewe my people their offen­ces and the howse of Iacob their syn­nes. But alas they be become bothe blynde and dome / as the Prophete sa­yethe.Esaye. lxvi. His watchmen are all blynde they haue all together noo vnderstan­dinge / they are all dome dogges not able to barcke / they are slepye / folyshe are they and lye snortinge / they are shameles dogges that be neuer satysfyed. The shepherdes also in lyke maner haue no vnderstandinge / but euery man turnethe his owne waye / euery one after his owne couetuousenes wt all his pow­re. What is the cause that they doo [Page] not execute this their offyce? Other by­cause they can not / or bycause they haue somoche worldely busynes that they will not apply them selfes to perfourme bo­the. Or els they be afrayed to spea­ke the trwethe / lest they shulde dys­please men. Whom Paul reproueth sayenge. If I shulde please men I shulde not be the seruaunte of Christe.Gal. i. Psal. lij Also the Prophete sayethe. God breakethe the bones of them whiche studye to please men / they be confounded / be­cause the lorde dispyseth them. Notwithstandynge owr byshops loue so well their greate domynions wherby they maynteyne their lordely honoure / that they will not dysplease men with prea­chynge the treuth / lest they shulde then loose their greate possessyons / and consequently their lordely glorye. But surely as longe as they possesse theyr greate domynions / so longe they wyll contynewe and maynteyne their pry­de. And so longe as they contynewe in pryde / so longe they shall not receyue the holy ghoste / whiche shall teach-them to speake the treuthe. For vpon whom shall my sprete reaste (sayeth the [Page] Prophete Esaye) but vpon the meake and lowely / and vpon hym which fea­rethe my sayengs.Esa. vi. Also the Prophete sayeth. God resysteth the prowde / and vnto the meake and lowely he geuethe his grace. Wherfore so longe as the byshops contynewe in this worldely we althe and honowre / so longe will they neuer do their dewtye and offyce / but rather persecute the worde of God whiche declarethe and shewethe what is their offyce and their dewtye. And so longe as they do not exercyse their of­fyce and vocatyon / but doo persecute the worde and suche as syncerely preache the same / so longe shall synne increase. For if the eye be wicked / all the body shalbe full of darcknes. For euen as at suche tyme when the Byshoppe of ro­me was fyrste endowed with greate possessyons / a voyce was harde / seyinge. Nowe venome and poyson is caste and shed forthe into the churche of God. In lykewyse no doubt most godly go­uernoure / semblable voyce and sayenge maye be veryfyed in and vpon all the churche of Englande / sythen yowr By­shops were endowed with so greate pos­sessyons [Page] and lordely domynions. No dou­bt gracyous lorde / so longe as grete lor­dely domynions / wordely honours and wealthe / be anexed and knyt to the vo­cacyon and offyces of Byshops and o­ther Pastours / these myscheues & inconuenyēces shall euer ensue & folowe. Fyr­ste the moste prowde and ambycyouse / the moste couetuouse and wycked / which other by money frendshyp or flattery can obtayne the benefyce / wyll laboure with all study and polycye to gett the be­nefice / only for the worldely honoure and not for the zeale and loue which he shulde haue to enstructe and tea­che the people commytted to his cure and charge. And for the profett which belongethe and apperteynethe to the same benefyce / they wyll dyssemble hu­mylyte and despeccyon of all worldely profettes and pleasures / so colorablye and subtelly / that yt shall be very harde for youre magestye or any other hauynge aucthoryte to geue benefyces to perceyue them. And when they ha­ue obteyned the benefyce / than euery Christen man shall well perceyue that he hathe not entered in by the dore: that [Page] is for the zeale and loue to doo and exe­cute the offyce / but hathe clymmed vp and assended by a nother waye / that ys for the luker and honoure annexed to the offyce. And than certenly whosoeuer assendeth and enterethe in by a no­ther waye / can not be but a thefe / by daye and by nyght / whose study and laboure muste be to steale / kyll / and to destroy. As Christe (whose wordes muste euer be true) sayethe. The the­fe commethe not but to steale / to kyll / and to destroye.Ioan. x. So that so longe as so moche worldely profett and honoure be longethe to the benefyce: so longe wyll he that for wante and lacke of lernynge can not doo the offyce / and also the mo­ste couetuouse and proude / wyll laboure to haue the offyce / whereby the people commytted to his cure / shall not onely be vntawgth / and not lerned in Gods worde / but also all they which can preache and teache Godds worde and loue the same / by suche a worldely wolfe / shall be extremely persecuted and tormen­ted. For he can not but steale / kyll / and destroye / and vtterly abhore / and hate the godly / as Christe sayethe. Yf you [Page] were of the worlde / the worlde wolde loue his owne. But because you be not of the worlde / but I haue chosen you from the worlde / therfore the worlde dothe hate you. No doubt a man shall moche rather vpon thornes gather grapes / and vpon brambles and bryres gather fygges / than of soche gredy the­ues to haue any Chrysten relygyon: other setforthe / preached / or stablyshed. Wherfore (moste redoubted Prynce) sein­ge that theyr greate possessyons / ry­ches / worldely offyces / cures / and busynes / be the impedyment and let that they do not execute theyr vocacyon and offyce / whiche is so godly profytable and necessarye for this yowr common wealthe / yowe beinge owr soueraigne lorde and Kynge (whom God hathe called to gouerne this yowr realme / and to redresse the enormytyes and abuses of the same) by all iustyce and equyte are bounden to take awaye from Byshoppes and other spirytuall shepherdes su­che superfluyte of possessyons and ryches and other seculer cures busynes and worldely offyces / whiche be the cause of mo­che synne in them / and no lesse occasyon [Page] whereby they be letted to execute their offyce / to the greate losse and hynderance of moche faythe vertue and goodnes / which myght be admynistred to your subiectes / through the trew preachynge of Godes worde. And that done / than circumspectly to take heade that no­ne be admytted to be Pastoures / but su­che as cā preache and haue preached syncerely Godes worde. And all suche as will not / to remoue them from theyr cures. This godly ordre obserued in the electy­on of spirituall pastoures / and the pesty­lent poyson moued and taken away from theyr vocatyon / faithe shall increase / and synne shall decrease / trewe obedience shall be obserued wyth all humylite to your magestye and to the hygher powers by your grace appoynted in office. Cyuile quyetnes reste and pea­ce shalbe stablyshed / God shalbe feared honoured and lo­ued / whiche is theffec­te of all Chri­sten lyuinge.

O Lorde saue our moste soueraygne lorde Kynge Henry the eyght / and graunte that he may ones throughly feale and perceyue what myserable calamy­te sorowe & wretchednes we suffer now in these dayes a brode in the countre / by these vnlerned / popyshe / and moste cruell tyrauntes / euen the very ene­myes of Chrystes crosse / whose payne shall be withowt ende / whan we shall lyue in Ioye for euer. Graunte yet ones agayne I say goode lorde and mo­ste mercyfull father through thy sone Ihesus Christe / that whan his grace shall knowe and perceyue (by thy gyfte & goodnes) theyr most detestable wayes in mysusynge thy heretage / that he wyll ernestly go aboute to se a redresse amonge them / and to the penytent and contryte in harte to shewe his accusto­med goodnes / and to the other his iu­styce / accordinge to saynt Paules doctry­ne / and his graces lawes.

And moste dreade soueraygne (with all humylyte and humblenes of harte) I be­seche your grace / (accordinge to your ac­customed goodnes) to take this my rude [Page] supplycacyon to the beste / as a frute of my obedyence / wheryn I haue not dys­sembled / but haue opened fully vnto your grace the grounde and very bot­tome of my hart / not of any grudge euyll wyll or malyce that I beare to any spirytuall shepherde (God I take to recorde) but onely for the glory of God / the honoure of your grace / and the wealthe and profett of your moste naturall and louinge subiec­tes.


¶ Enprynted in the yeare of our Lorde. M.CCCCC.xliiij. in the moneth of Decembre.

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