- T h e e x p o s i t i o n
o f t h e f y r s t e E p i s t l e
o f s e y n t I h o n
w i t h a P r o l o g g e
b e f o r e i t :
b y W . T .
C h a p i t r e . i j .
- My little chyldren / I write thies thynges vnto youe that ye synne not. And thoughe any man synne / yet we haue an Aduocate withe the father / euen Iesus Christ / whiche is righteous.
I write vnto youe on the one syde / that God is light & therfor that no man which willinglie walkyth in the vnfrutefull workes of darknes hathe eny fealowship with that light or parte in the bloude of his sonne. And this I write and testifie vnto you my deare children / that ye synne not / that is that ye consent not vnto synne / and shuld synne of lust and purpose malitiously but contrarie wise that ye feare God & resist synne with all your might and powre accordinge as ye haue promised. For who so euer synneth of purpose after the knowlege of trouthe / the same synneth against the holie gost remediles. Hebreus .vi. and also .x.
And on the other syde I testifie vnto you that we be all way sinners / though not of purpose & malice / after the nature of damned deuells / but of infirmitie & frailtie of oure fleshe / which flesh not only lettyth vs that oure workes cannot be perfect / but also nowe and then thorowe manyfold occasions and temptacions caryeth vs cleane out of the right waye spite of oure hertes. [B5] How be it (I say) if when the rage is past / we turne vnto the right way agayne / and confess oure sinnes vnto our father with a repenting hert / he hath promysed vs mearcie / & is true to fulfil it. So that if we sinne not diuellishlie againe the holie gost / refusing the doctrine which we can not improve that it shuld not be true / but after the frailtie of man / ther is no cause to dispaire: For we have an aduocat & an intercessor with the father / even Iesus Christ that is righteous.
The name of our aduocat is Iesus / that is to say a savioure. Cal his name Iesus said thaungel to Ioseph / for he shal saue his people frome their sinnes. Matth. I. And this aduocat and our Iesus to save vs from our sinnes / continueth ever / as it is writen .Hebre. 7. and hath Sempiternum sacerdotium / an everlastinge office to make an attonment for sinne. By the reason wherof saith the text / he is able ever to save them that come to God thoroue hym / with repentance and faithe / & livethe ever to speake for vs. And beside that oure Iesus is God / and almightie. He toke our nature vpon hym / and felte al oure infirmities and siknesses / and in felynge lernyd to haue compassion on vs / & for compassion cryed mightely in prayers to God the father for vs / and was herd. And the voyce of the same bloude that once cryed / not for vengeance as Abels / but for mercye only / and was herd / cryeth nowe and ever / and is ever herd / as ofte as we call vnto remembrance with repentynge faithe howe that it was shed for oure sinnes. He is also callyd Christus / that is to say king anoynted with al might and powre over sinne / deth and hel and over al sinnes / so that none that flyeth vnto hym shal ever com in to iudgement of damnation. [B5v] He is anoynted with al fulnes of grace / and hath al the treasure and riches of the sprite of God in his hande / with whiche he blessith al men according to the promyse made to Abraham / and is therto mercyful to giue vnto al that cal on hym. And howe moch he louyth vs I report me vnto the ensample of his dedes.
And he is righteous / both towarde God in that he neuer sinned / and therfor hath obtayned al his favoure and grace / and also toward vs in that he is true to fulfil al the mercie that he hath promised vs / euen vnto the vttermost Iot.
And he is the satisfaction for oure synnes / and not for oures only / but also for all the worldes.
That I cal satisfaction the Greke callithe Ilasmos / and the Hebrewe Copar. And it is first taken for the swagynge of woundes / sores / and swellinges / and the takinge away of payne and smart of them. And thence is borowyd for the pacifieng and swaging of wrath and angre / and for an amendes makyng / a contentyng / satisfaction / a raunsome / and makynge at one / as it is to se aboundantlie in the Bible. So that Christ is a ful contentynge / satisfaction and raunsome for oure sinnes. And not for oures only whiche are Apostles & disciples of Christ while he was yet here / or for oures which ar Iues or Israelits & the seed of Abraham / or for ours that nowe beleue at this present time / but for al mens sinnes / bothe for their sinnes which went before and beleved the promises to come / & for oures which haue sene them fulfilled / and also for al them which shal afterwarde beleue vnto the worldes ende / of what so ever nation or degre they be. For [B6] Paule commaundeth .1. Thimoth. 2. to pray for al men & al degrees / sainge that to be acceptable vnto our savioure God / which wil haue al men saued & come to the knowleg of the trueth / that is some of al nations and al degrees / and not the Iewys only. For (saith he) there is one God / and one mediatoure betwen God and man / the man Christ Iesus / which gaue hym self a redemption and ful satisfaction for al men.
Let this therfore be an vndoubted article of thy faythe / not of an historie faithe as thoue beleuest a gest of Alexandre / or of the olde Romaynes / but of a liuely faith and belefe / to put thy trust and confidence in / & to by & sel theron / as we saye / & to haue thy sinnes taken away / & thy soule saued therbie / if thou hold it fast: & to continewe euer in sinne / and to haue thy soule damned if thou let it slip / that our Iesus / our sauioure that savyth his people from their sinnes / and our Christ / that is our kynge ouer al sinne / deth and hel / anoynted with fulnesse of al grace & with the Sprit of God / to distribut vnto al men / hath accordinge vnto the Epistle to the Hebrues and al the scripture / in the dayes of his mortall fleshe / with fasting / praing / soffering / & cryeng to God mightilie for vs / & with shedinge his bloude made ful satisfaction both a pena & a culpa (with our holy fathers leue) for al the sinnes of the world bothe of theirs that went before / & of theers that come after in the faith / whether it be Original sinne or actual / & not only the sinnes committid with consent to evyl in tyme of ignorance befor the knouleg of the truth / but also the sins done of frailte after we haue forsaken euel & consented to the lawes of God in our hertes promising to folow Christ & walke in the light of his doctrine. [B6v] He saueth his people from their sinnes .Math. 1. and that he only. So that ther is no nother name to be saued by. Actes .4. And vnto hym bere al the Prophetes recorde / that al that beleue in hym shal receave remission of their sinnes / in his name. Actes .10. And by him only we haue an entrynge in vnto the father and vnto al grace. Ephe. 2. 3. and Rom. 5. And as many as come before him ar theves and murtherers .Iohn .10. that is who so ever preachith any other forgivnes of sinne than theroue faith in his name / the same sleyeth the soule.
This to be true / not only of original but also of actual / and aswel of that we commyt after our profession / as before / mayst thou evidently se by the ensamples of the scripture. Christ forgaue the woman taken in adulterie. Iohn .8. and a nother whome he healed Iohn .5. And he forgave publicanes and open sinners / and put none to doo penance as they cal it / for to make satisfaction for the sinne / which he forgave thoroue repentance and faith / but inioyned them the life of penance / the profession of their baptym / to tame the flesh in kepyng the commaundementes and that they shuld sinne no moare. And those sinners wer for the most parte Iewes and had their Original sinne forgiuen them before thoroue faith in the testament of God. Christ forgaue his Apostles their actual sinnes after their profession which they committed in denyeng hym / and put none to doo penance for satisfaction. Peter actes .2. absolueth the Iues thorowe repentance and faith frome their actual sinnes whiche they dyd in consentinge vnto Christes deeth / & enioyned them no penance to make satisfaction. Paule also had his actual sinnes forgiven hym frely [B7] thorow repentance and faith with out mention of satisfaction. Actes .9. So that accordinge vnto this present text of Iohn. If it chaunce vs to sinne of frailtie / let vs not despaire for we haue an aduocate and intercessour / a true attorney with the father Iesus Christ righteous toward God and man / and is the reconcilinge and satisfaction for oure sinnes.
For Christes workes are perfecte / so that he hathe obtayned vs al mercye and hathe sett vs in the ful state of grace and favoure of God / and hathe made vs as welbeloued as the Aungeles of heauen / thoughe we be yet weake. As the yonge children thoughe they can doo no good at all ar yet as tenderly beloued as the olde. And God for Christes sake hathe promised that what so euer evel we shal doo / yet if we turne and repent he wil neuer moare thinke on our sinnes.
Thou wilt say / God forgiveth the displeasure but we must soffre payne to satisfie the rightwisnes of God. A then God hathe a rightwisnes whiche may not forgiue payne and all / that the poore sinner sholde go scochfre with out ought at al. God was vnrightwise to forgiue the thefe his payne and al thorowe repentance and faithe vnto whom for lak of lesyure was no penance enioyned. And mi faith is / that what so euer ensample of mercy God hathe shewyd one / that same he hath promised al / ye wil he perature forgiue me / but I muste make amendes? If I owe you .xx. li. ye wil forgiue me / that is / ye wil no moare be angre / but I shal pay you the .xx. poundes. O popyshe forgiuenes with whom it goeth after the commen prouerbe / no peny no pardone. His fatherhed givethe pardon frelie / but we must pay money aboundantlie. [B7v] Paules doctrine is .Roma. 9. if a man worke / it ought not to be sayd / that his hyre was giuen hym of grace or favoure / but of dutye: But to hym that werketh not: but beleueth in hym that iustifyeth the vngodly / his faith (he sayth not his werkes although he commaundeth vs diligently to worke and despiseth none that God commaundeth) his fayth (saith he) is rekened him for his rightwisnes. Confirminge his sainge with the testimony of the Prophete Dauid in the .32. Psalme: sainge. Blessed is the man vnto whom god imputeth or rekeneth not his sinne: that is to saye / which man although he be a sinner: yet God laeth not it to his charge for his faithes sake. And in the .xi. he saithe. If it come of grace then it commeth not of workes. For then were grace no grace saithe he: For it was a very straunge speakinge in Paules eares to cal that grace that came of deservinge of workes. Or that deseruinge of workes / whiche came by grace. For he rekened werkes and grace to be contrary in siche maner of speache. But oure holye father hathe coupled them to gether of pure liberalitie I dare say / and not for couetuosnes. For as his holynesse if he haue a cause agaynst any man / immediatlie brethithe out an excommunication vpon hym and will haue satisfaction for the vttermost farthinge and somewhat aboue / to teache them to be ware agaynst a nother tyme yer he wil blise agayne frome the terrible sentence of his hevy curse / even so of that blessid complexion he describith the nature of the mearcie of God that God wil remitte his angre to vs vpon the appoyntment of oure satisfaction. When the scripture saithe Christ is oure rightwisnes / oure iustifienge / oure redemp[B8]tion / oure attonement / that hathe appeased God and clenseth vs frome oure synnes / and al in his bloude / so that his bloude / is the satisfaction only.
And that thow mayst the better perceave the falshed of oure holye fathers fleshlie imagination / call to mynde howe that the scripture saith .Iohn. the fourth Chapter. God is a spirite and must be worshipped in the spirite. That is / repentance / faith / hope / and loue towarde his lawe and oure neyboure for his sake is his worshipe in the sprite. And therfore who so euer worshepethe God withe workes / and referryth his workes to God / to be a sacrifyce vnto hym / to appease hym as thoughe he delyted in the worke for the workes sake / the same maketh of God an image or idoll and is an image server / and as wyked an Idolatre as euer was eny blynde hethene / and serveth God after thimagination of his owne hert and is abominable vnto God / as thow seist in howe many places God defieth the sacrifice of the children of Israell / for the sayd imagination. So that who so ever supposith that his candle stekynge before an Image / his puttinge a peny in the boxe / his goynge a pilgremage / his fastynge / his wolward goynge / barefoot goynge / his crowechinge / knelynge / and payne takinge / be sacrifice vnto God / as thoughe he delited in them / as we in the gestures of Iake Napes / is as blynde as he that gropithe for his way at none. Godes worship is to loue hym for his mercye / and of loue bestowe all owre workes vpon owre neyboure for his sake / and vpone the tamynge of oure fleshe / that we synne not agayne / whiche shuld be the chefyst care of a Christen man [B8v] while Christ careth for that that is once past and committed al redy / whether before oure profession or after. For the conditions of the peace that is made betwen God & vs in Christes bloude ar thiese. The lawe is set befor vs / vnto which if we consent and submit oure selves to be scholers therof / then are not only al oure forsinnes forgiuen both pena and culpa (with our holy fathers licence euer) but also al oure infirmities / weknes / pronite / redinese / and motions vnto sinne are pardoned and taken aworth and we translated frome vnder the damnation of the lawe whiche damneth as well those infirmities as the sinne that springeth of them / and putteth vs vnder grace. Roma. 7. So that we shal not henceforth / as longe as we forsake not our profession be iudged / by the rigournese of the lawe but chastised if we do amyse as children that ar vndre no lawe. Nowe then if god in Christ pardone oure infirmities / by reason of which we can not escape but that we shal nowe and then sinne it folowith that he must likwise pardone the actual sinne which we doo compelled of those infirmities in spite of oure hertes and agaynst the wil of the sprite. For if thou pardone the syknes of the syke / then must thow pardone the dedes which he doeth or leveth vndone by the reasone of his syknes. If the madnese of a mad man be pardonned and vnder no lawe / then if he murther in his madnes / he may not be slayne agayne. If children with in a certayn age ar not vnder the lawe that sleyeth theves / then can ye not of right hang them / though they stele. What popishe pardonnynge wer that? This doothe Paule .Ro. 7. so conferme that al the world can not quitch against it / sayenge. I consent vnto the lawe of god [C1] that it is good / & fayne wold I do it / and yet haue I not al wayes power so to do / but fynd a nother thinge in my fleshe rebelling against the wil of my mynd & ledinge me captyue in to sinne so that I cannot do that I wold do / but am compellyd to do that I wold not. If saith he / I do that I wold not / then I do it not / but the sinne that dwellyth in me doeth it / & then saith he: who shal delyvre me frome this body of deth / in which I am bounde prysonner agaynst my wil? Thankes be to God saith he / thorowe Iesus Christ our lord / which hath conquerid & ouercome synne / deeth / & hel / and hath put the damnation of the lawe out of the way / vnto al that professe the lawe and beleue in hym. We be vnder the lawe to lerne it / and to facion our deades as like as we canne / but not vnder the damnation of the lawe that we shulde be damned thoughe owre dedes wer not perfect as the lawe requireth / or thoughe of frailty we at a tyme brake it. As children ar vnder the lawe that they stele not / but not vnder the damnation thoughe they stele. So that al they that ar graffed into Christ to folowe his doctrine / ar vnder the lawe to lerne it only / but ar delyueryd from feare of euerlastinge deth and hel / and al the threatnynges of the lawe / & frome conscience of synne / which feared vs from god. And we ar come in to God thorowe the confidence that we haue in Iesus Christ / and ar as familier and bolde with hym / as yonge innocent children which haue no conscience of sinne ar withe their fathers and mothers / or them that nouresh them. Whiche wer impossible if God nowe (as the pope painteth him) dyd shake a rod at vs of .vij. yeares punishement / as sharpe as the paynes of hel for euery trespace we do / which tre[C1v]space for the noumbre of them were like to make oure purgatory al most as longe as hel / seynge we haue no godes word that we shal be delyuerid thence / vntil we haue paide the last ferdinge. And therfore coulde oure conscience never be at rest nor be bolde and familier with God.
If ye say the pope can delyuer my conscience from feare of purgatorie (as his poetrie only putteth me in feare) and that by this texte what so euer thou byndest on erth. & cete. If thou this way vnderstonde the text / what so euer thou beinge in erth / losest any where: then might he lose in hel & bynd in heauen. But why may not I take the texte of Christ .Iohn .16. what so euer ye axe my father in my name he wil giue it youe / & desire forgiuenesse of al to gether in Christes name both a pena & culpa / & then remayneth no suche purgatorie at al? Howe beit the texte of binding & losing is but borowyd speache howe that after the similitude of worldly binding & losing locking & vnlocking: the worde of god truely preachide doth bynde and lose the conscience.
God saith to Hieremias the prophet in his .I. chaptre. Beholde I giue the poure ouer nations & kingdoms to pluke vp by the rootes & to sheuer in peces / to destroy & cast downe / & to byld & plant. Howe dyd he destroye nations & kingdomes / & howe dyde he bylde them? verely by preaching and prophesieng. What nation kyngdome or Citie he prophesied to be ouerthrowen / was so. And what Citie he prophesyd to be bylt agayne was so and what nation / after they wer brought in to captiuitie he prophesied to be restorid againe / wer so / & whom he prophesied to perishe / perished / and whom he prophecied to be saued: was sauyd.
Euen so whom so euer a true preacher of godes wor[C2]de saith shalbe damned for his sinne / because he wil not repent & beleue in christ / the same is damned. And whom so euer a true preacher of godes word saith shalbe sauyd because he repenteth and belevyth in Christes bloude / the same is saued. And this is the bindinge and losinge that Christ ment.
Notwithstonding ye must vnderstond that when we haue sinned though our hertes wer not to sinne / & thoughe we repent / yer the dede be done / yet the body in sinning hath ouercome the sprite / and hath got the mastry. So that the sprite is nowe weaker & feabler to vertue & to folowe the lawe of God & doctrine of Christ / & the fleashe stronger to foluwe vice & sinne. Wherfor as when an old sore is broken forth agayne / we beginne as it wer a newe cure with gretter diligence & moar care then before: euen so here must renewe our olde battayle against the flesh / & mor strongli go to work / to subdue it & to quench the lustis therof / which ar waxen so ranke that they bud out openly / according to the profession of our baptim which is the veri sacrament or signe of repentance / or if thei wil so haue it callede penance / by the interpretation of Paule Rom. 6. For the plunging in to the water / as it betokenith on the one parte that christ hathe washed oure soules with his bloude / euen so on the other parti it signifieth that we haue promised to quench & sley the lustes of the fleashe / with prayer / fasting / & holy meditacion / after the doctrine of Christ / & with al godly exercise that tame the fleshe & kille not the man.
Wher vpon the busshopes that succedyd the apostles / when men had done eny open synnes enioyned them penance as they cal it / by the auctorite of the congregation & gouerners ther of / & aduise of the most wise & discret / & with the willing [C2v] consent of the trespasers / to tame the fleshe / as to go wolward to were shurtes of heyre / to go bare foote and bare heade / to pray / to fast breade and water / some once in the weke / some twise / or al the weke / an hole yeare .ij. yeres .iij. yeres .vij. yeres .xx. yeres / and some al their lives longe. And to go in pilgrimage to viset the memoriall of Sainctes to strengthe them the better to folowe thensample and suche lyk / and al to sley the worldly mynde of the fleshe. Which maner when it was once receavid of the people by custome / it became a lawe. And the bushopes by litle & litle gat it hole in to their awne handes.
When the bushopes sawe that / howe they had got the simple people vnder them in soche humble obedience / they beganne to set vp their crestes and to raigne ouer them as princes & to enioyne sore penance for smalle trifeles / nameli if ought were done agaynst their pleysure / and bet some sore and spared other & solde their penance to the riche / and overladyd the poore / vntil the tyranny was waxid so greuouse that the people wold beare it no lenger. for by this tyme / what with the multitude of Cerimonies and heape of mennis constitutions whose right vse was therto cleane forgoten / and partely because our shepardes wer busyde to seke them selfes & their hie authorite / and exalted euery man his throne / and wer become wolfes vnto the flocke: the cause why the people wer disobedient vnto holsome counsel: the word of God was sore darkened and no where puerly preachyd. And therfor the prelats loothe to loose their hie auctorite and to let the people go fre out of their yoke begane to turne their tale & singe a newe songe howe that this penance was enioyned to make satis[C3]faction to god for the synne that was committed Robbyng our soules of the frute of Christes bloude and making vs imageservantes / referring oure dedes vnto the parson of God and worshiping him as an image of our owne imagination with bodely werke / sainge morover / if we wold not do suche penance here at their iniunctions / we must do it in a nother worlde / & so fayned purgatorie wher we must sofre .vij. yeres for euery synne. And when the kyngdome of Antichrist was so enlarged that it must haue an heade / they set vp our holy father of Rome / or he rather vsurped the Roome with violence / & to him was giuen this prerogatiue to selle whome he wold frome purgatorye.
And the sacrament of penance they thus describe. Contrition / Confession / and Satisfaction. Contrition / sorowe for thy sinnes. Confession not to God and them whom thou hast offendyd but tel thy sinnes in the prestes eare. Satisfaction to do certayne dedes inioyned of them to bye out thy sinnes. And in their description they haue cleane excluded the faithe in the satisfaction of Christes bloude / which only bringeth life & the sprite of life and rightwisnes / and with out the which it is impossible to please god. Hebre. xi. In whose steade they haue put in the presumption of oure awne workes. And for lak of trust in Christes bloude oure contrition is but a frutelese sorowe in the respecte of hel which makith vs hate the lawe styll and consequently God that made it / where true contrition annexyd with faithe is sorowe in respect of the lawe / vnto which we consent that it is good and loue it and therfore moorne partely because we haue offendyd it and partely because we lacke pour to ful[C3v]fill it as we wold.
These thinges to be true oure prelates knowe by open histories as well as it is none when the soone is flat sowthe: but it delyteth them to resiste the holy gost & to persecute the preachers of tho thinges which if they as well louid as they knowe to be true / they wold preche the same them selues and lyue therafter. Herof ye may se oure workes are but to tame the fleshe only / and can be no satisfaction to God / except we make hym an image and oure selfes imageseruantes. And herof ye may se howe out of this open penance came the eare confession / satisfaction of workes / purgatorie and pardones. For when they had put the satisfaction of Christes bloud out of the way / then as they compellyd to confesse open synnes and to take open penance / euen so they compellyd to confesse secret synnes & to take secret penance. And as they made marchaundice of open penance / so dyd they of secrete. And for them that wold not receaue suche pardone / fayned they purgatorie / and for them that receauyd them fayned they pardone / turnyng byndyng and losyng with preaching Godes worde vnto byeng & selling synne for money. And sence that time hither to / the worse the people were the better were the prelates content / euer resisting that they shuld be made better thoroue their blessid couetousnes and proude desire of honoure.
And out of this false presumption of workes / sprange the wycked vowes of religion which they vowe to make satisfaction for synne / & to be hier in heauen / in steade of the life of penance which Christ taught vs in the Gospell to tame the flesshe and to crucify the membres with all / that we hensforthe shulde walk in the wayes of Go[C4]des lawe / and synne no moare.
And to speak of worshiping of sainctes & praying vnto them & of that we make them oure aduocates well nye aboue Christ or all to gether / thoughe it require a longe disputation / yet it is as bright as the day to all that knowe the truth / howe that oure fastinge of their euens & keping their holy dayes going bare foote / steking vp of candels in the bryght daye in the worship of them to optayne their fauoure / oure giuing them so costly Iuelles / offering in to their boxes / clothing their images / shooing them with syluer shoes with an ouche of Christall in the myddes / to stroke the lippes & eyes of the ignorant as a man wold stroke yonge childrens heades to entice them & bring them in / & rocke them a slepe in ignoraunce are with all like seruice playne idolatrie / that is in Englishe imageseruice. For the sainctes ar sprites & can haue no delectation in bodely thinges. And because those bodely dedes can be no seruice vnto the spirituall sainctes / & we do them not to be a seruice to oure selues or oure neyboures: we serue the worke & the false imagination of oure fleshly witte / after the doctrine of man / & not of God / and are image seruantes. And this is it that Paule callith seruire elementis mundi / to be in captiuite vnder dome ceremonies & vayne traditions of mens doctrine and to doo the worke for the worke it self / as thoughe God delyted therin / for the dede it self with out all other respecte.
But and ye wyll knowe the true whorshippinge of sainctes / herken vnto Paule Philip. ij. wher he saith. Ye shyne as lightes in the worlde holdinge fast the word of lyfe vnto my glorye or worshipe againe the day of Iesu Christ / that I haue not run nor laboryd in vayne. [C4v] That is to wete the worshipe which al true sainctes nowe seke and the worshipe that al the true messingers of God seke this day or euer shal seke / is to drawe al to Christ with preachinge the true word of god / and with the ensample of puere liuing facioned therafter. Wil ye therfor worship sainctes truely? then hear what they preachyd / and beleue their doctrine. And as they folowyd that doctrine so conforme youre liuinge like vnto theirs. And that shalbe vnto their hie worshipe in the comynge agayne of Christ (when al mens dedes shal apeare and every man shalbe iudged and receaue his reward according vnto his dedes) howe that they not only while they here liuid / but also after their dethe with the ensample of their doctrine and liuing lefte behinde in writing and other memorialls vnto thensample of them that shulde folowe / whan vnto Christ them that wer borne .v. hundreth / ye a thousand yeares after their deeth. This was their worship in the sprite at the begynnynge as they were sprites / & lightes were steked befor their memoriales at the beginninge to be a Cerimonie to put vs in remembrance that we so praysed the sainctes and bosted their liuinges that we folowed their ensamples in our dedes / as Christ saith Matth. 5. Let your light so shyne before men that they se youre good workes and glorifie youre father that is in heauen. For preachinge of the doctrine which is light hath but smal effecte to moue the herte if the ensample of liuing do disagre.
And that we worship sainctes for feare lest they shuld be displesid and angrie withe vs and plage vs or hurte vs (as who is not a frayed of S. Laurence? who dare denye .S. Anthony a flese of wol for feare of his terrible fire or lest he [C5]sende the poxe amonge oure shepe) is hethen imageseruice and cleane agenst the first commaundment which is. Heare Israel / the Lord thy god is one God. Nowe God in the hebrewe is called El or Elohim in the plurel numbre / strength or mighte. So that the commaundment is / Heare Israel he that is thy powre and might / thy swerd and shyld is but one / that is / ther is none of might to healpe or hurt the save one / whiche is al to gether thyne and at thy commaundment if thou wilt heare his voice. And al other might in the worlde / is borowyd of hym. And he wil lend no mighte against the contrary to his promyses. Kepe therfore his commaundmentes and he shal kepe the. And if thou haue broken them / and he haue lent of his powre agaynst the / repent and come agayne vnto thi profession and he wil returne agayne vnto his mercie and fetch his pour home agayne / which he lent to vexe the / because thou forsokest hym and brackest his commaundementes. And feare no nother creature / for false feare is the cause of al Idolatrie.
More ouer al we that are baptised in Christ haue professed to do good for euel and not to avenge oure selues. And many of vs come vnto suche perfection that we can be prouokyd by no temptation to desyre vengeaunce / but haue compassion & mekely pray for them that sley vs.
Howe wycked a thing then is it to thinke that the sainctes plage vs / because we do them not suche superstitious honoure whiche is their dishonour and our shame? It is verely a popishe imagination / and euen to describe the sainctes after the nature of our prelates which be meke and lowly til they be where they wolde be. But when they be once a lofte thei play the tur[C5v]mentoures if we will not honour them & do what so euer they commaunde / moare ernestly then that which God hym self hath commaunded / & feare thez aboue God himselfe.
And it can be but lyke abhomination also / that we chose of a fleshly minde euery man his seuerall saincte or rather seuerall God / to be oure aduocates / attorneys / mediatours (when ther is but one .i. Tim. ij.) & intercessours / & cal them oure aduouryes / when we might better cal them oure adulterers / & serue them or rather a painted poste in their stede / with oure imageseruice / therwith to binde them for to healpe vs when so euer & for whatso euer we call vnto them / & to saue oure soules ther to with their prayers & merites / & will yet nether heare the doctrine or folowe thensample of lyuinge (which is their only honoure in the sprite) of eny saint whose doctrine & liuinge is autentike.
For first / God which alone hath powere to helpe or hurte / hath made apoyntment betwixt hym & vs in Christes bloude & hath bounde hym self to giue vs what so euer we axe in his name / testifiynge therto that ther is no nother name to be sauyd by / & that he wilbe a father vnto vs & saue vs bothe in this life & in the lyfe to come / & take vs from vnder the damnation of the lawe / & set vs vnder grace and mercie / to be scholers only to learne the lawe / and that oure vnperfect dedes shalbe taken in worth / ye and thoughe at a tyme we marre al thoroue oure infirmitie / yet if we turne agayne / that shalbe forgeuen vs mercifully / so that we shalbe vnder no damnation: which testament is confirmed with signes and wondres wrought thorowe the holy gost. Nowe this indentyd obligation layde aparte / we make a nother of oure owne imagination betwen the [C6] sainctes and vs / in their merites for oure image seruice. Which can be but a false faith / seinge it hath not Gods worde (vnto which alone we ought to cleue) but is also cleane contrarie therto.
And againe the saincts were not sauyde thoroue their awne merites / but thorou Christes. Netheir were their dedes which they dyd after they were receauyd vnder grace sufficient in them selues to fulfill the lawe for the present tyme / saue as Christes merites did supplie thimperfectnes of them and that whiche was lacking on their parte thoroue their infirmities. And therfore as the sainctes holy workes made no satisfaction for the synne they dyd before they were receaued vnder mercie / euen so made they none for the dedely synnes which they dyd vnder mercie: seynge the dedes were vnparfecte and had synne annexed vnto them by reason of the flesh & were insufficient to excuse their awne mastres. What merites haue they in store for vs then seyng by al mennys confession they nowe merite not? If the most obedient childe in the worlde disobey his fathers commaundementes / his fore good dedes can not make that disobedience no synne or to be a satisfaction / that the childe shulde presume in the confidence of his olde dedes and think his father shuld do hym wronge to punyshe hym. But he must knowlege his fault / & that he hath deseruyd punyshement / & desire forgiuenes vnto the glorie of his fathers mercifulnes and not of his olde dedes thoughe his olde obedience be a greate presumption that he synned of frailtie and not of purpose. Euen so if I being as holie as euer was Paule in his most holynese / synne this day throwe frailte of my fleshe / myne olde dedes can be no satisfaction. [C6v] But I must knowlege my sinne vnto my father and graunte that I haue deseruyde domnation and mekely desire forgivenes / and calenge it by the obligation wherin God hathe bounde hym selfe to me / vnto the glorie of the mercie of God and not to the glorie of my holy dedes. For if my dedes saue me it is my glorie. But if he forgive frely with out respect of my dedes then it is the glorie of his mercie by Paules doctrine vnto the Romaynes.
Morover if the sainctes be in heauen then can they be ther in no nother case then the aungels / in which state Christ testifieth they shalbe in the resurrection. Nowe the aungels are ministres sente of God to do seruice vnto the electe which shalbe saued. Hebre. 1. And God hath bounde hym self that if I come in the right waye by the dore of Christes bloude & axe helpe / that he wil sende me if nede be / an hundreth legiones of Aungels or sainctes. But when God hath bounde hym self to sende me Angels or sainctes / or an angel or saincte / he hath not promised to send this angel or that / or this or that saincte. And therfore when I apoynte God whom he shal sende and bynde hym wher he hathe not bounde him self / to send me what saincte I wil / I tempte God. And thus this chosing of seueral sainctes is but temptyng of God. And yet we do worse then this: for we leave the waye of Christes bloude and go not to God thorowe hym. But run to the sainctes in a testament of owre owne makinge and wil that they ether saue vs them selues for our imageseruice / or compel God for their merites sakes to saue vs. Why goist thow not vnto thy father thyne owne self? I am a sinner wil they saye and dare not. If thow go in [C7] the right waye / thou hast no sinne. Christe hathe taken al thy sinnes from the / and God hathe no rodde in his hand nor lokyth sowre but merely / that it is a lust to beholde his cherful countenaunce / and offerith the his hande. But this waye is stopped vp thoroue vnbelefe / and therfor we seke a nother which is no waye to life / but vnto everlastinge dethe. We wil not loke on the law with open eyes / and therfore haue we no due repentance / and so no lust to harken vnto the gospel of glad tidinges in Christes bloude. And where the right waye is set befor vs and we of malice wil not walke therin / God cannot but let the devel playe with vs and iugle oure eyes to confirme vs in blyndnes.
But after what maner dothe Christ praye for vs? verily Christ in the dayes of his mortall fleshe soffred and prayed for al that shalbe saued and optayned and was herd and had his peticions graunted. And he made satisfaction and purged and purchassed forgivnes / euen then for all the sinne that ever shalbe forgiuen: And his praynge for vs and beyng a mediatour nowe / ys that the remembrance of al that he dyd for vs / is present in the sight of God the father as fresh as the houre he did them / ye the same houre is yet present and not past in the sight of god. And Christ is nowe a kinge and raigneth and hathe receavyd powre of al that he prayed for / to do it hym self. And that when so ever thelect cal for ought in his name / he sendeth helpe even of the powre whiche he hathe receauyd: ye yer they axe / he sendith his sprite in to their hertes / to moue them to axe. So that it is his gifte that we desire ought in his name. And in al that we do or thinke wel / he preuentyth vs with his grace. [C7v] Ye he careth for vs yer we care for ourselues / & when we be yet euel he sendith to cal vs / & draweth vs with suche powre that our hertes cannot but consent & come. And the angels stond by and beholde the testament of thelecte / howe we shalbe receauyd in to their feloweship & se al the grace that Christ shal powre out vpon vs. And they reioyse and prayse God for his infenite mercye and are glad and longe for vs / and of very loue ar ready agaynst al houres when we shal cal for helpe in Christes name / to come and helpe. And Christ sendith them when we cal in his name. And yer we cal / euen while we be yet euel and hapely persecute the truthe of ignorance (as Paule did) the Angels wayte vpon vs to kepe that the deuels sleye vs not before the tyme of oure callinge be come.
Nowe if an Angell shulde appere vnto the what weldest thow saye vnto hym? If thou pradest him to helpe / he wold aunswer. I do. Christ hathe sent me to healpe / and beleue that thaungels be euer aboute the to helpe. If thou desyredest him to pray for the to optayne this or that. He wold saye. Christ hath prayed & his prayer is herd for what so euer thow axest in his name & wold shew the all that God wold do to the / & what he wold also haue the to do. And if thow belevest / so were thou safe. If thou desyerdest hym to saue the with his merites. He wold aunswer that he had no merites: but that Christe only is lorde of al merites: ner saluation / but that Christ is lorde of saluation. Wilt thou therfor be saued by merites wold the Angel saye: then prai to God in Christes name and thou shalt be saued by the merites of hym / & haue me or some other thy seruant immediatly to helpe the vnto the vtt[C8]ermost of our power / & to kepe the & bringe the vnto the rewarde of his merites. If thou woldest promyse hym to worshipe hym with image seruice / that is to stycke vp a candle before his image or suche an image as he apperyd to the in He wold aunswer that he were a sprite & delited in no candle light / but wold bid the giue a candle vnto thy neyboure that lacked / if thou haddest to many. And so wold he answer the if thou woldest put money in a boxe for hym or clothe his image in clothe of gold or put golden shoose vpon his images foote. If thow saidest that thou woldest bylde a chappel in his name / he wolde answer that he dwelt in no howse made with stones / but wolde byd the go to the churches that ar made al readye and learne of the preacher there how to beleue and how to liue and honoure god in the sprite / for the which cause chyrches were chefelye bylded / and for quietnes to praye. And if there be no churche then to giue of that thou maist spare to helpe that one were buylded to be a preachinge & a prayinge house & of worsheping god in the spret & not of imageseruice.
And if Paule apperyde vnto the / what other thinge coulde he answer also then that he were a sprite and wold refuse al thy imageseruice. And if thou speake to Paule of his merites / he can no nother wise answere the / then he answered his Corinthians: that he dyed for no manes synnes and that no man was baptised in his name to trust in his merites. He wold say I buyldyd all men vpon Christes merites: preachinge that al that repented and beleuyd in his name shulde be sauyd and taken frome vnder the wrathe / vengeaunce and damnation of the lawe and be put vnder mercye and grace. [C8v] And by this faith was I saued from damnation and put vndre mercie & grace and made one with Christ to haue my parte with hym and he withe me / or rather to make a chaunge that he shuld haue al my synnes and I his mercie and the giftes of his grace / and become gloriouse with the ornamentes of his riches. And of my sauioure Christ I receaued this lawe / that I shulde loue my brethren / all goddes electe as tendrely as he louyd them. And I consentyd vnto this lawe / for it semyd right / and became a scolar to learne it. And as I profeted in the knowlege / faithe & loue of Christ / so I grewe in the loue of my brethren and sofferyd al thinges for their sakes and at the last wexed so perfecte that I wyshed my self damned (if it might haue ben) to saue my brethren. And all my brethren that receauyd Christ receauyd the same commaundement and grewe therin. And they that were perfecte loued me and al their other brethren no lesse then I loued them. And loke with what loue I ministred the giftes of grace which I receaued of Christ for the edifieng of his congregation / vpon my brethren / with the same loue dyd they ministre their giftes againe on me which thei had & I lackyd. And so loue made al comen. And morouer if they cal my workes my merites / I bestowed al my workes vpon my brethren to teache them / and reped the frute ther of / euen my brethrens edifienge & soules healthe / ye and reape dayly / in that I left my doctrine and ensample of liuinge behynd me by which many are conuertyd vnto Christ daily. If thou desire therfore to enioy parte of my merite / go & reade in my gospel & thou shalt fynde the fruyte of my labour / the knowlege of christ / the healthe of thy soule / & euerlastinge life.
[D1] And as I louyd my brethern when I lyued so I loue them styll / and nowe more perfectlie. How be it my loue then was painfull: for the moare I loued the moare I sorowed / feared & caryd for them to bringe them in to the knowlege of the trueth / and to kepe them in vnitie of faith lest the false Prophetes shulde deceaue them / or their awne infirmities shulde breake peace and vnitie / or cause them to fall in to any synne.
But now my loue is without payne. For I se the will and prouidence of God / and how the ende of al thinges shalbe vnto his glorie & profecte of thelecte. And thoughe I se thelecte shall somtyme fall / yet I se how they shall arise agayne and how that their fall shalbe vnto the glorie of God and their awne profecte. And we that are in heauen / loue you al a lyke: nether we loue one moare and a nother lesse. And therfore if ye loue vs moare one then a nother / that is fleshely as myne olde Corinthians once loued / & I rebukyd them. Nether can we be moued to come moare to helpe one then a nother. But we wayte when God will sende any of vs vnto thelecte that call for helpe in Christes name. Wherfore if thou wilt be holpe of eny of vs praye in Christes name. And God shal sende one of vs / an angell or a saincte / to kepe the power of the deuells from youe: but not whom thou woldest chose temptinge God: but whome it pleasithe God to sende.
And if youre preachers loue you not after the same maner / to edifie youe with the true doctrine of Christ & ensample of liuinge therafter / & to kepe youe in vnitie of faithe & charitie / they be not of Christes Disciples / but Antichristes which vnder the name of Christ / seke to raigne ouer youe as temperall tyrauntes. And in lyke [D1v] maner if this be not writen in your hertes / that ye ought to loue one a nother as Christe loued youe / & as ye had ensample of vs his apostles / ye go astraye in vanities & are not in the right way.
And herby ar we sure that we know hym / if we kepe his commandementes.
This is cleane against the doctrine of them which saye that we cannot know whether we be in the state of grace or no. Iohn saithe if we kepe his commaundementes / then we be sure that we knowe Christe is euerlastinge life Iohn .xvij. Then contrarie to the pope: christen men haue doctrine to know whether they be in grace or no.
The keping of gods commaundementes certifieth vs that we be in the state of grace. But oure doctors haue no doctrine to knowe when a man is in the state of grace / wherfore it is manifest that they kepe not gods commaundementes / nor be in state of grace / but of al vngratiousnes.
Oure doctours know not whether they be in state of grace. Oure doctors kepe mens commaundementes / ergo mens commaundementes certifie not that we be in state of grace. Thoughe thou haue a deuotion to steke vp a candle before a poste / and so forthe / yet thou canst neuer be sure therby that thou arte in the fauoure of God. But if thou haue deuotion to helpe thy brother in al his misfortunes / because he is thimage of God and price of Christes bloude / then thy deuotion certifieth the that thou arte in the fauoure of God or state of grace.
He that saith I knowe hym & yet kepeth not his commaundementes / is a lyer / and the truthe is not in hym.
[D2] When our pharisaes say / do as we byd you & not as we doo / thei testifie that they kepe not Gods commaundementes / vnto which testimonie our eyes also beare recorde: And they that kepe not Gods commaundementes / be lyers & haue no truth in them. And then when they preache / they cannot but preache lyes. And then thoughe they preache Christ / they preache hym falslye / vnto their fleasly vauntage & not our soules healthe. And for as moche as we may haue no felowship with them that kepe not Gods commaundementes .i. Cor. v. and in as moche as al such ar falseprophetes voyde of al truthe / it foloweth that we owght to geue our doctors none audience / thoughe their defenders stoode by them with their swerdes drawne / but rather to lay downe oure hedes & stretch forth our neckes / to be slayn.
He that kepithe his worde: in him verilye is the loue of God perfecte / & herbie knowe we that ar in hym.
That is / he that kepeth his commaundementes / loueth vnfaynedlye / and is therby sure that he is in god. For to be in God is to beleue in the mercie of god: And to beleue in mercie is cause of loue / and loue cause of working. And therfor he that workyth for gods sake / is sure that he loueth and that he trusteth in God: which is to be in God or in Christ. And as by wilful kepinge of the commaundement we be sure that we loue god & beleue in god / euen so thorowe wilful breaking of them we may be sure that we nether loue ner beleue in him / & therfor that we be not in him.
He that saythe he abidethe in him ought to walke as he walked.
[D2v] All that be baptised in Christ / are washed in hym / to put of pride / wrathe / hate and enuie / with all their old conuersation by which they oppressyd their neybours / and haue promysed to become euery man euen as Christ hym self vnto his brethern in loue and kyndenes bothe in worde and dede. They therfore which resiste Christes testament and will not let it be knowen / and walke in the testament of the pope / with vnions pluralities / and totquots / some one of them robbynge .x. parishes of the tenth of all their yerely encrease / and withdrawing frome them Godes worde / the foode of their soules / and frome the poore their daily sustenance / which ought to haue their parte in the tythes and other rentes / when the preacher and other necessarie ministres haue oute their partes / a due and lawfull stipend: are not in Christe. For Christ nether so walkyd ner so taughte.
Brethern I write no newe commaundement vnto youe / but an olde commaundement which ye had at the begynnynge. For an olde commaundement is the worde whiche ye harde from the begynnynge.
I write no newe precepte / but only put youe in remembraunce of that olde which was taught youe when ye were first baptised in Christe / to loue eche other as he dyd youe. Which is an olde commaundement and was giuen at the begynnynge of the worlde / and hath euer sence ben writen in the herte of all that put their hope in God.
[D3] Agayne / a newe commaundemente I write vnto youe / whiche is true in him and also in youe: for the darknese is past & the true light nowe shyneth.
The devel hath sowen his darkenese in the feld where this commaundemente shold growe and the wedes of mens traditions had ouer growen the corn of this old commaundement: so that it was antiquate and clene out of knowlege. But Christe the light of al true doctrine nowe shyneth / and hath scateryde the darknese & pluckyd vp the wedes by the rootes and restoryd this old commaundement agayne. And in hym it is a true commaundement / for he loued truely. And in you it is a true commaundement for ye for his sake / loue one a nother truely also. And by the reason of this reneweng / it is called a newe commandement / as it is nowe called newe lerning / and may wel so be: for it hath lien longe in darkese / and that in suche darknes / that many be shryned for holie sainctes / whose dedes and livinge / when thou lokest vpon them in the light of this olde doctrine that nowe shyneth agayne out of darknes / ar more abominable then the dedes and liuinge of hym whiche of late for al his exaltinge his throne and sweringe by his hie honoure / and for al the worship of his hat and glorie of his precious shoes when he was payned with the colicke of an euel conscience hauynge no nother shift / bycause his soule coulde fynde in nother issue / toke hym selfe a medicine / vt emitteret spiritum per posteriora.
He that saythe he is in the light: & [D3v] yet hateth his brother: is in darknese.
For who so euer fealeth his awne damnation vnder the lawe / and beleueth in the mercie that is in Christ / the same cannot but loue christ and his neyboure for his sake. And therfore he that hateth his brother for any offence done to hym the same seith not what christ hath done for him but is in darkenes stil.
He yt loueth his brother: abideth in ye light: & there is none offending in hym.
Abydeth in the light / that is continueth in the knowlege of Christ. And ther is none offending in hym / that is. First he wil willingly do no thinge ether in worde or in dede that shal offende his brother. For loue wil not let hym. And secondarilie if ought be done or sayde / that may be well done or saide / he takyth it to the best and is not offendyd. And thus ye se that the knowelege of Christ is cause of al goodnese / & the ignorance of Christ cause of al euel. And so the doctrine of them is not false which say that faithe in Christ is roote of all godly vertue and the cause of kepinge the commaundementes: & where faith ys / ther to be no synne / nor damnation: & that saye / vnbelefe to be the mother of all vice / & cause of breaking the commaundementes / & to kepe men in sinne & damnation only / as faith only loseth vs thence.
And he that hateth his brother is in darknese: and walketh in darknese & knoweth not whither he goeth. For darknes hathe blynded his eyes.
He that hateth his brother / is in the ignorance of Christe and of his awne synne / & withe [D4] out repentance & faith that his synnes be forgiuen him in christ / and therfore is mercilese vnto his brother whom christ commaundeth him to pytie & loue. And in that ignorance he walketh: that is worketh euel / & loueth the thinges of the world & seketh in them the lustes of the fleashe / which are the quenchinge of the sprite and dethe of the soule / and for loue of them hatethe his brother. And thys ignorance of Christe which is vnbelefe is cause of al the wickednes that we do vnto oure brethern.
I write vnto youe litle children / yt youre synnes ar forgiuen youe for his names sake. I write vnto youe fathers / that ye knowe hym that was frome the begynnynge. I write vnto youe young men / howe that ye haue ouercome the wekyd.
I write vnto youe that are younge in the faith & yet weake & therfore falle nowe and then howe that youre synnes are forgiuen youe / as sone as ye repent and reconsyle youre selues vnto your brethren whom ye haue offended / euen for his names sake only / and not for our awne dedes whether afore or after / or for any other mans dedes or satisfaction / saue for his only.
I write vnto youe that ar fathers in the doctrine of God / to teache other / howe that ye knowe hym that was from the beginninge & is no newe thinge / thoughe he newly receaued our nature. And thorowe knowlege of him which is the only light and the dore vnto the knowlege of God / ye are become fathers in the scriptures. [D4v] Or eles ye had neuer vnderstonde it / though ye had studied never so moch / as it apperith by the indurat Iues / and also by oure newe pharisies which persecute the scripture and the true sence therof / because they be drowenyd in thignorance of Christ / as their dedes and contrarie liuinge wel testifie.
I write vnto youe younge men that are stronge in sufferinge persecutions and fight for youre profession / not withe the swerde / but withe sofferinge / howe that ye haue ouercome that wicked which poisonned the world at the begynnynge and yet worketh in the children of darknes and vnbeleife: & that in beleuinge the worde of trueth / as it foloweth anone after.
I write vnto youe yoinge children how that ye knowe the father. I write vnto youe fathers how that ye knowe hym that was from the beginninge. I write vnto youe younge men / that ye be stronge / & the worde of god dwelleth in youe and that ye haue ouercom the wickyd.
I write to you young children how that ye knowe the father / whome ye loue thorou knowlege of the sonne / or elles ye had neuer knowen hym as a father / but as a Iudge and a tyrante / and had hated hym. I write vnto youe fathers as before / howe ye are fathers of al trueth in knowynge the sonne. Or else ye had ever continued in darknese remedelese.
I write vnto youe younge men / how that [D5] ye ar stronge & that youre strengthe is the word of God which dwellyth in youre brestys thoroue faith / in which ye haue ouercome the wicked deuel and al his pompe: as it folowith in the .v. Chaptre / this is the victorie that ouercommeth the world / euen oure faith.
Loue not the world nor the thinges that are in the worlde. If a man loue the worlde the loue of the father is not in hym. For all that ys in the worlde as the luste of the fleshe / the luste of ye eyes / and the pride of good / are not of the father / but are of the worlde. And the worlde vanisheth away and the lust therof. But he that doeth the wil of God abideth ever.
The loue of the worlde quencheth the loue of God. Balaam for the loue of the worlde closed his eyes at the cleare light which he well sawe. For loue of the worlde tholde phariseis blasphemed the holy gost and persecuted the manifest truth which they could not improue. For loue of the world many ar this day fallen away. And many which stoode on the truthes syde and defendyd it a while / for loue of the world haue goten them vnto the contrarie parte / and are become the popes mamalukes / and are wexed the most weked enimyes vnto the trueth and most cruel against it. They know the truth / but they loue the worlde. And when they espied the trouthe coulde not stonde with the honoures which [D5v] they sought in the worlde / they hated it deadly / & both wittinge & willinge persecute it / sinning against the holy gost. Which synne shal not escape here vnpunyshed as it shal not be without damnation in the world to come / but shal haue an ende here with confusion & shame as had the glorie of oure right reuerend father in god Thomas / wolfese Cardinal & legate a latere. & cete. Whome after his shitten deeth as the sayenge is / his awne seruantes which before exalted his glorie / haue sent to hel with grace & priuilege.
By the lust of the fleshe is vnderstande lecherie which maketh a man al to gether a swyne. And by the lust of the eyes is vnderstonde couetuousnes which is the rote of al euel / & maketh to erre from the faithe .i. Timoth. the last. And then foloweth pride: which .iij. are the world & capitaynes ouer al other vices / & occasions of al mischefe.
And if pride / couetuousnes / & lechurie be the worlde as sainte Iohn saieth then turne your eyes vnto the spiritualtie: vnto the pope / Cardinales / bisshopes / abbates / & al other prelates & se whether such dignities be not the world / & whether the way to them be nat also the worlde. To get the olde Abbats tresure I thinke it the rediest waye to be the newe. Howe fewe come by promotion / except they by it or serue longe for it / or both? To be wel scylled in warre and in pollinge / to mayntain warre and lustes / and to be a good ambassiadoure / is the only waye to a busshopericke / or to paye truely for it. Se whether pluralities / vnions / totquots / and chaungynge the lesse benefice and busshapericke for the greater (for the contrarie chaunge I trowe was never sene) maye be without couetuousnes and pride. And then if soche thinges be the worlde / [D6] & the worlde not of god / howe is our spiritualtie of God? If pride be sekinge of glorie / & they that seke glorie cannot beleue .Iohn .v. Howe can our spiritualtie beleue in Christe? If couetuousnes turne men from the faithe / howe ar our spiritualtie in the faithe? If Christ when the deuel proferred hym the kyngdomes of the worlde and the glorie therof / refused them as thinges vnpossible to stande with his kyngdom which is not of the worlde: of whome are our spiritualtie which haue receauyd them? If couetuousnes be a treatoure and taught Iudas to selle his Master: howe shulde he not in so longe tyme teache our spiritualtie the same crafte? Namelye when they be of al kinges secretes & thambassiadoures of their secretes & haue therto thorout al christendome a secreet counsel of their awne / of which neuer laye man was partaker / & with which they turne thende of al appoyntementes vnto their awne honoure & profect? Couetousnes hathe taught them to bringe in damnable sectes according vnto the prophesie of Petre / & to corrupte the scripture with false glosses / & to turne euerye goode ordinance that had a vertuouse beginning vnto a viciouse ende. The promotions of the spiritualtie corrupt theyr myndes while they be yet in the shel & vnhatched. For they come thether but for couetousnes / & to auoyde the crosse of christe in the worlde: except them that be compelled of their frendes / or be so simple that they marke not their falshed beforhande. Who knowing the truth & louing it / wolde put his heade in the popes haltre that so moseleth menes mowthes that thei cannot open them to defende ani truth at al? When the temporal kinges wer in their hie autorite / then the general consel repressed the normites of the spiritualtie. [D6v] But sence the pope / cardinales & busshopes were exalted / and themproure and kynges became their seruauntes: they wolde soffre nought to be determyned in their counselles that shulde reforme the worlde of their deuellishe pryde / insaciable couetousnes and stynking lecherie / which may stonde with no godlie vertue. But the world which is not of God / shal at the last haue an ende with confusion / and they onlye abide that doo the wil of the father: which wil is / that we beleue in the sonne and loue one a nother. Let them therfor that haue the worldes good (I might saye the worldes god) vse it / but not loue it that they maye be readi to bestowe it at the pleasure of God. And let them which haue it not / desire it not / for it blyndeth the eyes of the seing / Deute. xvij. But let them put their trust in God which shal not faile them nor leaue them destitute of raymente and foode / which Paule counseleth to be content with. The rich as Iames saithe / persecute the true beleuers. The rich will neuer stonde forthe openlye for the worde of god. If of .x. thousande there springe one Nichodemus / it is a greate thinge.
Little children it is now the last houre / and as ye haue herde that Antichriste shulde come: euen so nowe are many Antichristes come al redy. Wherby we knowe that it is the laste houre. They went out of vs / but were none of vs. For had they bene of vs they had continued with vs. But that [D7] fortuned that it might apere howe thei were not all of vs.
Howre is here taken for tyme: the last houre is as moche to say / as the last tyme. Thoughe thapostles might not knowe when the last daye shalbe and how longe the worlde shulde endure yet this was shewid them / and vs by them / that Antichriste shulde first come / and not only come but also preuayle and be receauyd after a worldly maner and raigne ouer al / and set vp a longe contynuenge kyngdome with damnable sectes and wondreful kyndes of hypocrisie that ys to say / falshed cloked vnder a contrarie pretence as testifieth Paule and also Peter. Which Antichrist began with thapostles and sue his doctrine amonge the doctrine of the Apostles / preachinge many thinges as thappostles dyd and addinge euer somewhat of his awne / that the wedes myght euer growe vp to gether with the corne. Of which Iohn gathered a signe / that the last daye drewe nye / thoughe he coulde not be sure how longe it were therto.
Antichrist is one of the first that seeth the light and commyth and preacheth Christe a while / and seketh his glorie in Christes Gospell. Butt when he espieth that there will no glorie cleue vnto that preachinge / then he getteth hym to the contrarie partie and professyth hym selfe an open enymye / yf he cannot disgise hym self & hide thangle of his poysoned heresie vnder a bayte of true doctrine.
Thappostles were cleare eyed and espied Antichrist attonce / and put hym to flight & weded out his doctrine quickly. But when charite wexed colde / & the preachers began to seke them [D7v] selues & to admit glorie & honoure of riches / then Antichrist disgised hym self after the facion of a true appostle & preached Christ wylylye / bringinge in nowe this tradition & nowe that / to darken the doctrine of Christe / & set vp innumerable cerimonies and sacramentes & imagerie: givenge them significations at the first: but at the last the significations layed aparte / preached the worke as an holye dede / to iustifie & to put away synne & to saue the soule / that men shulde put their trust in workes & in what soeuer was vnto his glorie and profecte / and vnder the name of Christe / ministred Christe out of al to gether and became heade of the congregation hym selfe.
The pope made a lawe of his awne to rule his churche by / and put Christes out of the waye. Al the busshopes swere vnto the pope / and al curates vnto the busshopes / but al forswere christ and his doctrine.
But seinge Iohn toke a signe of the last daie that he sawe antichriste beginne / howe nye ought we to thynke that it is / which after .viij. hundreth yeares rayninge in prosperite / se it dekaie agayne / and his falshed to be disclosed and him to be slayne with the sprite of the mowthe of christe: that is / with that olde doctrine that proceded out of Christes mouthe? for Paule saith when antichriste is vttered / then commyth thende.
But ye haue an oyntyng of that holie / & knowe all thinge. I write not vnto youe as thoughe ye knewe not ye trouthe / but as vnto them that knowe it / & how that no lye is of trouth.
[D8] Christ in the scripture is called the holy / because he onlye sanctifieth and haleweth vs. And he is called Criste: that is to saye / anoynted / because he anoynteth our soules with the holy gost & with al the giftes of the same. Ye are not anoynted with oyle in youre bodies / but withe the sprite of Christe in youre soules: which sprite teacheth youe al truthe in Christ and makyth youe to iudge what is a lye and what trueth / and to knowe Christe from antichriste. For except he taught youre soules within / the powringe in of wordes at youre eares were in vayne. For they must be al taught of God. Iohn .vi. And the thinges of God noman knoweth / saue the sprite of God: and the carnal man knoweth not the thinges of the sprite of God: when contrarye the spiritual that is anoynted with the sprite / iudgeth al thinges. 1. Cor. 2. And therfore we are forboden to cal vs any Master vpon erth . Matt. 23. seinge we haue al one master nowe in heauen which only teacheth vs with his sprite thoughe by the administration and office of a faithful preacher. Which preacher yet cannot make his preachinge springe in the herte / no moare then a sower can make his corne growe / ner can saye this man shal receaue and this not: but soweth the worde only and commytteth the growinge to God whose sprite bretheth where he listeth and maketh the grounde of whose harte he lusteth fruteful / and choseth whome he wil at his awne pleasure / and for no nother cause knowen vnto anye man.
Who is a lyer but he yt denieth that Iesus is Christe? The same is antichriste yt denieth ye father and the sonne.
[D8v] For asmoch as Antichrist and Christ ar .ij. contraries / and the studie of Antichrist is to quenche the name of Christ / how can the pope & his sectes be Antichrist / when they all preache Christ? Howe was say I agen to the / Pelagius whose doctrine the pope defendeth in the hiest degre / Antichriste / and al other heretikes? Verely syr the pope seketh hym self as al heretikes dyd and abuseth the name of Christ / to gether offeringes / tithes and rentes in his name / to bestowe them vnto his owne honoure and not Christes / and to brynge the conscience of the people in to captiuitie vnder hym thorou superstitious feare / as thoughe he had suche auctorite giuen him of Christ. And euerie sillable that hath a sounde as thoughe it made for his purpose / that he expoundeth falslye and fleshlie / and therwith iugleth and bewitcheth the eares of the people and maketh them his awne possession / to beleue what hym lusteth / as thoughe it made no matter to them whether he preachid true or false / so thei beleue and do as he biddeth them. But al the textes that shewe his dutie to doo / he putteth out of the waye / and al the textes therto that set the consciences at libertie in Christ and proue oure saluation to be in Christ only. And with Pelagius he preacheth the iustifieng of workes / which is the denieng of Christ. He preacheth a false bindinge and losinge with eare confession whiche is not in the trust and confidence of Christes bloudeshedinge. He preacheth the false penaunce of dedes / not to tame the fleshe that we sinne no moare / but to make satisfaction and to redeme the synne that is past. Whiche what other can it be saue the denienge of Christ / which is only redemption of synne. He maketh of the workes of [E1] the cerimonies which wer wont to be signes and remembraunces of thinges to be beleued or done imageseruice vnto God and his sainctes whiche are spirites / to purchease with the merites of them / what so euer the blynde soule imageneth which al are the denienge of Christ. For if thou wilt receaue any anoyntinge of grace or mercie any whence / saue of hym / he is no lenger Christ vnto the. Christ is called Iesus / a saviour / he is callid Christus / kynge anoynted ouer all men / of whom they must hold / & whose benifite must al they haue be. He is called Emanuel / God is with vs. For he only makyth god our god / our strengthe / powre / swerd and shild / and shortlie oure father. He is called Sanctus / that is / holy that holoweth / sanctifieth / and blessith al nations. And these be his names for euer / & be no names of ypocrisie / as we some tyme cal hym Thomas Curteise / which is but a churle: and as we cal them curates which care for their parishes as the wolfe for the flocke / and them busshopes that is ouersears / which wil so ouer se / that they wil soffre nought to be prosperouse saue their awne commen wealth: and as some cal them selues deade which liue in al voluptuousnes / and as some cal them selues poore without hauinge eny thinge proper / and yet liue in al habundance: and as they shaue and disgise them selues with garmentes and ornamentes / to signifie euer a contrarie thinge then that they be.
Nay Christ is no hypocrite or disgised that playeth a parte in a play and representeth a persone or state which he is not: But is alwaye that his name signifieth / he is euer a sauer / and euer anoynteth with grace / & euer maketh God with vs / & euer sanctifieth. Nether is ther any other [E1v] to saue and sanctifie from synne or annoynte with grace / or to set God at one with men. And these thinges which his name signifie dothe he euer vnto all that haue trust & confidence in his bloude / assone as they repent of the sinne whiche they desire to be saued and sanctified from.
Nowe thoughe the pope and his sectes giue Christ these names / yet in that they robbe hym of theffecte / and take the significations of his names vnto them selues / and make of hym but an hypocrite / as they them selues be / they be right Antichristes and denye both the father and sonne. For they denye the witnesse that the father bare vnto his sonne / and depryue the sonne of all the powre & glorie that his father gaue hym.
Who so euer denieth the sonne / the same hathe not the father.
For no man knoweth the father but the sonne and to whome the sonne sheweth hym. Mat. xj. Mor ouer if thou knowe not the mercie that God hath shewed the in Christ / thou canst not knowe hym as a father. Thou maist well besides Christ knowe hym as a tyrante. And thou mayst knowe hym by his workes as tholde philosophers dyd / that ther is a God / but thou canst nether beleue in his mercie nor loue his lawes / which is his only worship in the sprite / saue by Christ.
Let therfore abyde in you that whiche ye herde at the begynnynge. If that whiche ye herde at the begynnynge shall remaine in you / then shall ye contynewe in the sonne and in the fa[E2]ther. And this is the promise yt he hathe promised vs / euerlastynge life.
If we abide in tholde doctrine whiche thappostle taught & herken to no newe: then abide we in the sonne (for vpone the sonne build they vs) & in the father thoroue confidence in the sonne / and are heires of euerlastinge life.
Thiese thinges haue I writen vnto you because of them that deceyue you. And the annoyntynge that ye receaued of hym dwellyth in you and ye nede not that any man teache youe / but as that annoyntynge teachithe youe of all thinges & is true / & is no lie: Euen as it hath taught you so abide therin.
When a true preacher preacheth / the sprite entreth the hertes of thelecte & makyth them feale the rightwisnes of the lawe of God / and by the lawe the poyson of their corrupte nature / & thence leadeth them thorowe repentaunce / vnto the mercie that is in Christes bloude. And as an oyntment healeth the bodie / euen so the sprite thorowe confidence & trust in Christes bloude / healeth the soule & maketh her loue the lawe of God & therfor is called annoyntynge or an oyntement and may welbe signified by the oyle of oure sacrament. But outward oyle can nether heale the soule nor make hyr fele / saue as a signe / or as a bushe at a tauern dore quenchith a mans thirste / ner is it a thing to put trust in / let vs therfor folowe the teachinge of the sprite which we haue receaued (as Paule sayth) in ernest / to certifie oure [E2v] hertes and to make vs fele the thinges of God and not cleue vnto the traditions of men / in which is no felinge / but that one saith so and a nother thus confirminge their assertions with glorious persuations of wisdome / but not after the wisdome of God. Which reasones a nother denieth with contrarie sophismes: and so ryseth braulynge about vayne wordes without al certentie.
And nowe litle children abyde in him / that when he shal apere we may haue confidence / and not be made asshamed of hym at his commynge.
Here are .ij. thinges to be marked: one / if we cleue vnto Christ after the doctrine of thappostles and as they bilt vs vpon hym / we shalbe bold and sure of oure selues at his commyng. As a seruant which in his masters absens doeth only his masters commaundementes / cannot be confounded at his commynge home agene. But & if we folowe mens doctrine / how can we be bolde: ye howe sholde we not be asshamed with our teachers / vnto whom then he shal say (when they boste them selues howe that they haue bene his vicares) I knowe you not / departe frome me ye that haue wrought wickednes and vnder my name haue brought in damnable sectes / and haue taught youre disciples to beleue in other thinges then in me. Nowe the somme of al that the appostles taught / and howe they bilt vs vpon Christ / is the newe testament. But the popes doctrine is not there founde / but improued. Confoundyd therfore shal he be which wyttinge & willinge shutteth his eyes at the true light / and openeth them to beleue his lyes.
[E3] A nother thinge is this / al the scripture makyth mention of the resurrection and commyng agene of Christ: and that al men / both they that go before / and they that come after shal then receaue their rewardes to gether / and we are commaundyd to loke euerye houre for that daye. And what is done with the soules frome theyr departinge their bodies vnto that daye / doethe the scripture make no mention / 20 saue only that they rest in the lorde and in their faith. Wherfore he that determyneth ought of the state of them that be departed / doeth but teach the presumptuouse imaginations of his awne brayne: Nether can his doctrine be any article of our faith. What God doeth with them is a secret laide vp in the treasury of God. And we ought to be patient / beinge certified of the scripture that they which die in the faith are at rest / & ought no moare to serche that secret / then to serche the houre of the resurrection whiche God hath putt only in his awne power. But this remembre / that the hole nature of man is poysonned and infecte with synne. And the hole life of synne must be mortified. And the roote of al sinne and first vice we were infecte with / is that we wold be wise where God hath not taught vs / as ye se how Eue wold haue bene as god in knowlege of good and bad. And therfore hath god hid many thinges in his power and commaundyd that we shal serch none of his secretes further / then he hath openned them in his scripture / to mortifie this poysen of al poysens / the desire to appere wise and that we be asshamed to be ignorant in eny thinge at al. Wherfore they that violently make articles of the faith without Gods worde ar yet aliue in the roote of al sinne and vice / & [E3v] growe out of the deuell and not out of Christ. And their articles are of the blindnes of the deuell / & not of the light of Christ / for Christes light hath testimoni of the scriptur euery where.
If ye knowe that he is righteous / knowe that all that worke rightwisnes are borne of hym.
Oure nature is to worke wickednes and so blinde therto that it can se no rightwisnes. And then it foloweth that we must be borne a newe in Christ / yer we can ether doo or yet knowe what is righteous. And in hym we must first be made righteous our selues / yer we can worke righteous workes / which conclusion is contrarie vnto the pope / for he saith that the workes doo make the man righteous. And Christes doctrine saith that the man maketh the workes righteous. A righteouse man springeth out of righteous workes / saith the popes doctrine. Rightous workes springe out of a righteous man / and a righteous man springeth out of Christe / saith Christes doctrine. The workes make the man righteous which before was wicked saithe the pope. The workes declare that the man is righteous saith Christes doctrine / but the man was first made righteous in Christ / and the sprite of Christ taught him what righteousnes was / & healed his herte & made him consent therto / & to haue his lust in rightuousnes / & to worke rightwislie.