- 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 .
T h e f y f t C h a p t e r .
- AL that beleue that Iesus is Christe are borne of god. And all yt loue hym which begat / loue hym that is begoten of hym. In this we know that we loue the sonnes of God / when we loue God and kepe his commaunde[G2]mentes. For this is the loue of God that we kepe his commaundementes.
This is a sure conclusion that we be born of God thorowe faithe. And that faith makyth vs Gods sonnes / in that we beleue that Iesus is Christe: as the first chapitre of Iohn also testifieth / he gaue them powre to be the sonnes of God / in that they beleued in his name.
What it is to beleue that Iesus is Christe / maye be vnderstond by that which is aboue rehersed. It is a ferre other thinge then as the deuel beleued it agaynst his wil and to his great payne / or as they beleue it which to fulfil theyr synne / envye the glorie of Christe and persecute his Gospel / forbiddinge to preach it or to reade in it. To beleue that Iesus is Christe / is to beleue in Christe: that is / to beleue ernestly / and to put al thy trust therin / and to lay the price of thy soule thervpon: that the sonne of Maria whom thaungell commaunded to be called Iesus because he shuld saue his people from theyr synnes / is that Christe / that Messias / and that annoynted which God promysed the fathers shuld come and blesse all nations and annoynte them with thoyle of his spirite / and with mercie and grace / and to delyuer them from deeth of theyr soules / which is the consentynge to synne / and to make them a liue with consentynge vnto the lawe of God / and in certifienge them that they be the Sonnes of God: And to put the hole trust in all that he suffred in his fleshe for thy sake and in al promises of mercie that are in him and that thow be full persuaded that there is no nother name vnder heuen giuen vnto men to be saued [G2v] from sinne by / or to purchese forgiuenese of the lest synne that euer was committed.
A nother conclusion is this: who so euer loueth God / loueth al that beleue in God. For all that loue hym that begetteth / loue them that ar begotten of hym: and al that beleue in god are begotten of God thorow that belefe / and made his sonnes: then all that loue God / loue al that beleue in god.
A nother conclusion is this: when we loue god & his lawe / then we loue the sonnes of god. Which is this wise proved: The loue of God is to kepe the lawe of god / by the texte before & after: the lawe of god is to loue oure neyboures and therfore if we loue god in keping his lawes we must nedes loue the sonnes of god.
But Iohn shuld seme to be a very negligent disputer to many men in that he here certifieth vs of the loue of our neyboures by the loue of god / when aboue he certifieth vs that we loue god because we loue our neiboures. He semeth to do as I herde once a great clerke in oxforde stande half an houre in a pulpit to proue that christe was a true prophet by the testimonie of Iohn baptiste & a nother halfe houre to proue Iohn the baptist a true prophet bi thauctorite of christe / as we sai clawe me / clawe the: & as euery thefe might lightly proue hym selfe a true man / in beringe recorde to a nother as false as he & takinge recorde of the same agayne. Which kynde of disputing schole men cal petitio principij / the prouynge of .ij. certayne thinges / etche by the other / & is no prouing at al / as our holy father proueth thauctorite of scripture by his decrees (for the scripture is not autenctike but as his decrees admitte it) & to make his decrees shine & appere gloriouse / & [G3] to optayne auctorite / he allegeth the scripture after his iugling maner / to make fooles starkemad.
But it is not so here / for both the demonstrations ar certayne / bothe the proffe of the loue of god & his lawe by the loue of my neiboure / & the profe of the loue of my neyboure by the loue of god & his lawe. For when .ij. thinges are so ioyned to gether that thei cannot be separated / then the presence of the one vttereth the presence of the other / whether so euer thou first seist. As if I se fire I am sure that some thinge doeth burne. And if I smel burninge / I am certified of fire. Euen so the loue of god is the cause why I loue my neyboure: & my loue towarde my neyboure is theffecte of the loue of god. And theise .ij. loues ar euer inseperable / so that whether so euer I fele first / the same certifieth me of thother.
Iohn calleth the loue of a mans neyboure the dedes of loue / after the Ebrewe speach / as to helpe at nede. For the dede declarith what the man is within. Nether can my loue to god & faith be sene to the worlde / saue thorow the workes. And by the workes doeth christe commaunde vs to iudge. So that if a man haue euel workes & continueth therin / he loueth not god nor knoweth god / no thoughe he cal him selfe master doctour / or gods vicarie. Nether vnderstandeth he gods worde for al his hie diuinitie: but is in al his preaching an hipocrite / a false prophet / & a lier thoughe his preaching please the world neuer so wel. Neuer the latter a man is certified that he loueth God yer he come at the worke / by the testimonie of the sprite which is giuen him in ernest. The sprite saith Paule .Ro. 8. testifieth vnto our spirite / that we be the sonnes of god: and then it testifieth that we beleue in god: for thorow faith ar we son[G3v]nes. And then it certifieth me that I loue God. For faithe and loue are inseperable. The spirite thorow faithe certifieth my conscience that my synnes are forgiuen / and I receaued vnder grace and made the very sonne of god / and beloued of god. And then naturally myne harte breaketh out in to the loue of god agayne / and I seke howe to vtter my loue / and to do god some pleasure. And because I can nether do seruice or pleasure vnto his awne parsone / my neyboure is set before me / to do god seruice and pleasure in him and to be to hym as Christe is to me / because he is my brother / bought with Christes bloude as I am. And I consent vnto that lawe / 15 and loue it yer I come at the dede / and longe after the dede. And then when I loue my neyboure in the dede accordinge to this lawe / I am sure that I loue hym truly. Or else if I examened not my loue by this lawe / I might be disceaued. For some loue their neyboures for pleasure / profete / glorie and for their doinge seruice only / as our spiritualtie loue vs / and of that blessid loue / do their besie cure to kepe vs in darknes: which loue is a signe that a man hateth God and his neyboure therto / and loueth hym selfe only. But gods lawe is that I shulde absteyne from myne nawne plesure and profet / and become my neyboures seruaunt / and bestowe life and goodes vpon hym / after thensample of Christe. Wherfore if I loue my neyboure out of the loue of Christe and after thensample of his lawe / I am sure that I loue hym truely.
And his commaundementes are not grevouse. For al yt is borne of god overcometh ye worlde: & this is ye victory [G4] yt ouercommeth the world / euen our faith.
To loue is not payneful: the commaundementes ar but loue: therfore they be not grevouse / because loue maketh the commandementes easy. The seruice that a mother doeth vnto her childe is not greuouse / because she loueth it. But if she sholde do the tenth parte vnto one that she loued not / hir harte wold braste for impacience. Vnto a man that feleth not the loue of christe / it is as impossible to kepe the commandementes / as for a Camel to entre thorow the eye of a nedle. But impossible is possible & easy to / wher the loue of christe is beleued. For it foloweth / al that ar borne of god / ouercome the worlde: that is to wete / the deuel which is the ruler of the worlde: & his disciples which haue their lust in his gouernaunce & consent to sinne / both in body & soule / & giue themselues to folowe their lustes without resistence: & their awne flesh which also consenteth to sinne / do thei ouercome / with al that moueth to sinne. By what victory? Verely thorow faith. For if our soules be truly vnderset with sure hope & trust / & continual meditations of christes loue / shewed al redy / & of socoure / helpe & adsistence that is promised in his name / & with the contynual memorie of their ensamples which in times past haue fought thorow faith & ouercome: then wer it impossible for the worlde with all his chiualrie / to ouer throw vs with eny assaut or with eny ordinance that he coulde shoote againste vs. For if that faith & meditation wer euer present in vs / then loue thorow that faith / shulde easly overcome what so euer peril thou couldest imagene. Reade in the bible & se what conquestes faith hathe made / both in doinge and also soffreringe. [G4v] The .xi. chaptre vnto thebrews ministreth the ensamples aboundantlie. How mightie was Dauid when he came to fight / & howe ouercame he thorow faith? And how mightier was he when he came to suffringe / as in the persecution of the king Saul? In so moche that when he had his most mortal enimie kinge Saul / that .xij. yeares persecuted him against al right / in his handes to haue done what he wold with hym / thorowe faith he twiched him not / nor soffred any man else to do thoughe he was yet al his life a man of warre & accustomyd to murther & shedinge of bloude. For he beleued that god shuld aduenge him on his vnrighteouse kynge / vpon whom it was not lawful to aduenge hym selfe.
Who is it yt ouercommeth ye worlde / but he yt beleueth yt Iesus is ye sun of god?
If to beleue that Iesus is gods sonne be to ouercome the worlde / then our prelates vnderstonde not what belefe is / which affirme that the best beleffe & the wors man in the worlde may stande to gether.
This is he yt came by water & bloude Iesus Christe: not by water onli but by water & bloude. And it is ye sprite yt testifieth / because ye sprite is truthe. For ther ar .iij. yt beare witnesse in heaven. The father the worde & ye holy gost. And these .iii. ar one. And ther ar .iii. which beare recorde in earth / ye sprite water & bloude / & these .iii. ar one. [G5] Christe came with .iij. witnesses / water / bloude & sprite. He ordenyde the sacrament of baptyme to be his witnesse vnto vs. And he ordenyd the sacrament of his bloude / to be his witnes vnto vs. And he powerith his sprite in to the hartes of his / to testifie & to make them fele that the testimonie of those .ij. sacramentes are true. And the testimonie of thiese .iij. is / as it after foloweth / that we haue euerlastinge life in the sonne of God. And these .iij. are one full witnese sufficient at the most that the lawe requireth / which saith .ij. or .iij. at the most is one full sufficient witnes. But alas we are not taught to take the sacramentes for witnesses / but for imageseruice / & toffore the worke of them to God / with such a mynde as thold hethen offred sacrifices of bestes vnto their Gods. So that what so euer testifieth vnto vs / that we haue euerlastinge life in Christ / that mowthe haue they stopped with a leuended maunchet of their pharisaicall gloses.
If we receaue the witnesse of men / the witnesse of god is greater. For this is the witnesse that God hathe borne of his sonne.
If the witnesse of men / so they be .iij. is to be receaued / moche more is the witnesse of God to be receaued. Nowe the witnesse that these .iij. water bloude / & sprite beare / is the witnesse of god and therfore the moare to be beleued.
He that beleueth in the sonne of God hathe witnesse in hem selfe. And he that beleueth not God / makith [G5v] hym a lyar / because he doeth not beleue the witnesse that God hath testified of his sonne. And this is the witnese / that God hathe giuen vs eternall life: and this life is in his sonne. He that hath ye sonne / hath life. And he that hathe not the sonne of God / hath not life.
The true beleuers haue the testimonie of God in their hertes / & they glorifie God witnessinge that he is true. They haue the kyngdome of God with in them & the temple of God with in them / & God in that temple / and haue the sonne of God & life thorouwe hym. And in that temple they seke God / & offre for their synnes the sacrifice of Christes bloude / & the fatte of his mercies in the fyre of their prayers / & in the confidence of that sacrifice go in boldly to god their father.
But the vnbeleuers blaspheme God and make hym false / discribing hym after the complextion of their lieng nature. And because they be so full stuffed with lies that they can receaue no thinge else / they looke for the kyngdome of God in outwarde thinges & seke God in a temple of stone where they offer their imageseruice and the fate of their holy dedes: in confidence wherof they go in to God & trust to haue euerlasting life. And thoughe the texte testifieth that this life is only in the sonne / yet they will come at no sonne nor sonne shynyng but as vncleane byrdes hate the lighte.
These thinges haue I writen vn[G6]to you that beleue in the name of the sonne of God / that ye may knowe that ye haue euerlastynge life / & that ye may beleue in the sonne of God.
They that haue the faith of Christes Apostles / knowe that they haue eternall life. For the sprite testifieth vnto their sprites that they are the sonnes of God .Ro. viij. and receaued vnder grace. Oure doctours say they can not knowe whither they be in the state of grace: therfore they haue not the faith of thapostles. And that they knowe it not / is the cause why they rayle on it.
This is ye confidence that we haue in hym / that if we axe ought accordinge to his will / he hearyth vs. And if we knowe that he hearith vs / what so euer we axe / we knowe that we haue the petitions that we axe of hym.
Christe saith Mat. vij. axe and it shalbe geuen you. And Iohn in the .xvi. cha. What so euer ye axe in my name / he shall giue it you. To axe in the name of Iesu Christe and accordinge to his will be both one / and are no things elles but to axe the thinges contayned in the promises and testament of God to vs warde / that God wilbe oure father and care for vs bothe in body and in soule: and if we synne of frayltie and repent forgiue vs / and ministre all thinges [G6v] necessarie vnto this life / and kepe vs that we be not ouercome of euell &c. Nowe if they which beleue in Christ are bold with God that he hearith them & sure that he graunteth their petitions / it foloweth that they whiche are not bolde that he heareth them ner sure that he graunteth their petitions / doo not beleue in Christe. They that goo to deed sainctes with which they neuer speake ner wotte wher they be / be not bolde that God will here them / ner sure that he will graunte their petitions therfore they beleue not in Christe. That they be nether bolde nor sure / apperethe first by their dedes / and secondarely by their awne confession: for they say what shuld God heare them or graunte them ought seinge they be vnworthy / ye and they confirme it with a similitude of worldly wisdome / that they shulde be put backe for their malapertnes / & fare the worse / as if a rude felowe shulde breake vp in to the kinges priue chambre / and prece vnto his awne parson without knockyng or speaking to eny other officer: so that they beleue it an augmentinge of synne / to go to God them selues in the confidence of Christes bloude as he bad them.
If a man se his brother synne a synne not vnto deeth / let him axe: and he shall giue hym life for them that synne not vnto deathe. Ther is a synne vnto deathe / and for it say I not that thou shuldest pray. All vnrightwisnes is synne. And ther is a synne not to deathe.
[G7] What so euer synne we se in the worlde / let vs pray and not dispeare. For God is the God of mercie. But for the sinne to death which is resistinge grace & fightinge agaynst mercie & open blaspheming of the holy gost / affirminge that Christes miracles are done in Beelsabub / & his doctrine to be of the deuell / I thinke that no Christen man if he perceaue it / can otherwise pray / then as Paule prayed for Alexandre the coppersmyth the .ij. Tim. the last: that God wolde rewarde him accordynge vnto his workes. They that go backe agayne after they knowe the trouthe / & giue them selues willinglye to synne / for to folowe it and persecute the doctrine of trouthe by profession to maynetene falshed for theyr glorie and vauntage / are remedilesse: as ye may se. Heb. vj. and .x. Balam so synned: the false prophetes in tholde testament so synned: the Pharises so sinned: Alexandre so synned: and nowe many so synne: folowyng their pride and couetousnes.
We knowe that all yt are borne of God synne not: But he that is borne of God kepeth hym selfe / and the wicked twicheth hym not.
As thou readest in the thirde chaptre / they that are borne of God cannot synne / for the seede of God kepeth them. They cannot cast of the yocke of Christe & consent to contynewe in synne ner defye his doctrine / ner persecute it / for to quenche it or to mayntene any thinge contrarie vnto it. But in what so euer captiuitie they be in the fleshe / their hertes yeld not: but imagen to breake lowse and to escape / and flye away / vnto the partie and standart of their lorde Christe. [G7v] And as men of warre they euer kepe watche and prepare them selues vnto warre / and put on the armure of God / the which is Gods worde / the shyld of faith / the helmet of hope / & harnesse them selues with the meditation of those thinges which Christe soffred for vs / & with thensamples of all the sainctes that folowed hym / & thinke ernestly that it is their parte to liue as purely as the best & come after as fast as they can. And yet in all their workes they knowlege them selues sinners vnfaynedly / as longe as one iot of the perfectnes that was in the dedes of Christ / is lackyng in theirs. So that the deuell cannot twyche the hertes of them / nether with a pride or vayne glorie of pure lyuinge / nether to make them consentyng vnto the fleshe in grosse synnes / if at a tyme they be taken tardy and ketch a fall. What so euer chaunce them / the deuell can ketche no hold of them / to kepe them still in captiuitie: but they will breake lose agayne / & repent & doo penaunce / to chast theyr flesh that they come no moare vnder the deuels clawes.
We knowe that we be of God / & that the hole worlde is set on myscheue.
They that beleue: that is to say / put their trust in Christ / se both their owne glorious state in God / & also the wretchyd estate of the worlde in their wickednes. But the worlde as they knowe not God / ner the glorie of the sonnes of God: Euen so they se not their awne miserable estate in wickednes and damnation vnder the lawe of God / but the worse they are / the bolder they be and the surer of them selues / the further from [G8] repentaunce and the moare stondyng in their awne conceytes / for the darkenes that is in them. And therfore say oure doctoures / a man cannot knowe whether he be in the state of grace or no nor nedeth to care therfore. And they be therfore the blynde leaders of the blynde.
We knowe that the sonne of God is come / and hath giuen vs vnderstondinge to knowe hym that is true: and we be in the trueth thoroue Iesus Christe. He is very God and eternall life.
Christ is all and the fontayne of all & of his fullnesse receaue we all. And as he powreth the giftes of his grace vpon them that beleue in hym so he gyueth them vnderstondinge to knowe the very God / and that they be in the very God and that they have optayned that thoroue his purchasinge: and leueth not his shepe in darknes. And the same Iesu Christ is very God and eternall lyfe: God and eternall lyfe was he from the beginnynge / and became man for the greate loue he had to vs / for to brynge vs vnto his eternall life. And he that hath ony other way thither / whether his owne workes or other mens / or workes of cerimonies / or sacramentes / or merites of sainctes / or of ought saue Iesu Christe only / shall neuer come thither. The world seith the pope / and seith that they whiche be in the pope / be lordes in this worlde: and therfore they care to be in the pope: but whether they be in God or not they say / it is not necessaire to knowe.
[G8v] Litle children beware of ymages.
Serue none ymage in your hertes. Idolatre is Greke / and Thengleshe is imageseruice: And an Idolater is also Greke / and Thenglishe an imageseruaunt. Be not ydolatres nor commyt ydolatrie / that is be none imageseruauntes / ner doo any imageseruice / but beware of seruinge all maner images. And thinke it not ynoughe to haue put all thimages of false Gods out of the way / yf ye nowe set vp thymage of very God & of his true sainctes in their rowmes / to do the same seruice vnto them / which ye did vnto the other. For ye maye do as stronge imageseruice vnto the ymage of God & of his sainctes / as vnto thimages of false Gods: ye thou maist committe as greate idolatrie to God / and yet before none owtwarde ymage / but before thymage which thou hast fayned of God in thyne herte / as thou maist befor an outwarde image of the deuell. The iues in the temple of God wher was none image of God / did as greate imageseruice to God / as the hethen vnto their falce goddes: ye the Iues in doinge to God the thinges which God commaundid them / did committe worse Idolatrie and synned greuouserly agaynst God / then the hethen did in offeringe vnto their false Goddes / which thinge to be true / the prophetes testifye. For when the Iues dyd their cerimonies and sacrifices: the meanyng and signification loste / and the cause forgoten which God ordenyd them for: to flater and please God with the gloriousnes of the dede in it selfe / & to purchase ought of hym for the costlynes or propernes of the present / what other made they of god in their imagination / then a childe whom if he crie or be displeased / men still with a popet / or if [H1] we will haue hym to do ought make hym an horse of a sticke.
If thou bringe a bolle of bloude & set it before God / to flatter hym / to stroke hym / and to cory and clawe hym / as he were an horse / and imaginest that he hathe pleasure and delectation therin / what better makest thou of God / then a bocchers dogge? If thou bringe the fat of thy bestes to God / for the same imagination / what makest thou of God / then one that had nede of grease to grease showes or smeere bootes? If thou burnest bloude & fat together to please god / what other thinge doest thou make of God / then one that had lust to smell to burnt flotesse?
God commaundyd a curtesye of all first ripe fructes to be offred: not to be an imageseruice / but a witnesse and testimonie that he had made them growe / that the poeple shuld not forget God / but thinke on his benefites and loue hym and of loue kepe his commaundementes. And likewise if any had synned agaynst Gods lawe God commaundyd that they shuld repent / and then bringe a beste & sley it & offre the bloude & the fat of thinwardes: not to make satisfaction / but to testifye only that God was peased / and had of his mercie at the repentaunce of the herte forgiuen the sinne. The sacrifices of bloude were ordenyd partely to be a secret prophesyeng of Christes bloudeshedinge / and partely to be a testimonie and certifieng of oure hertes / that the synne was forgiuen and peace made betwen vs and God / and not to be a satisfaction. For that were imageseruice / and to make an image of God.
We reade in the hystories that when a loue day or a truse was made betwene man and man [H1] the couenauntes were rehersid: and vpon that / they slewe bestes in a memoriall and remembraunce of thappoyntement only. And so were the scrifices signes and memorialles only / that God was at one with vs. For the Iue could beleue no wordes thoughe an aungell had spoken / without a token / as we holde vp oure fingres and clappe handes. And likewise what so euer they were bidde to doo / they must haue had a token of remembraunce / thoughe it had bene but a ringe of a rushe / as it is to se in the Bible.
Euen so oure images / reliques / cerimonies and sacramentes were oure memorialles & signes of remembraunce only. And he that giueth in his harte moare to them then that / is an imageseruaunt. But when God is a sprite and worshiped in the spirite / we for lacke of faith / beinge spiritles / and hauinge no powre to desire of God any spirituall thinge / serue God in the body / with imagined seruice / for suche worldly thinges as oure profession is to defye. Who kysseth a relique or beholdeth an image for loue of the sainctes liuinge / to folowe thensample? Nay we will fast the sainctes euens and go barefoot vnto their images and take payne / to obtayne greater pleasure in the worlde / and to purchase worldly thinges as mayntene the body in lustes that the soule cannot once wishe for powre to liue as the sainctes liued or to longe for the life to come. If we went in pilgrimage to kepe the remembrance of the sainctes lyuinge in mynde for oure ensample / and fasted and went barefote to tame the fleshe that it shulde not lust after suche worldly thinges which we nowe desire of the sainctes / then did oure fastynge and pilgrima[H2]ge goinge serue vs / ye and the saincte were yet oure seruaunt to edifye vs in Christe with the remembrance of his life left behinde / to preache and to prouoke vs to folowe thensample. For oure bodely seruice can be no seruice vnto the saincte which is a spirite / except we imagen hym to be an image.
Saincte White must haue a chese once in a yere / and that of the greatest sorte whiche yet eateth no chese. It shalbe giuen vnto the poore in hir name saye they. First that to be false we se with oure eyes. Secondarely Christe commaundeth to care for the poore / and giue them all that we may spare in his name sayeng that what is giuen them is geuen hym / and what is denyed them is denyed hym. If the lawe of Christe be written in thyn harte / why distributest thou not vnto thy brethern with thyne awne handes / in the name of thy sauioure Iesu Christe which dyed both for them & the / as thou hast vowed and promysed to hym in the baptyme?
It is giuen vnto saincte whites chappeleyn. Saincte whites chappellayne hath a stipend all ready sufficient for a Christen man / and ought to receaue no moare / but therwith to be content and to be an ensample of despisinge couetousnes. Moar ouer that prest that wold folowe the lyuinge of Iesu Christ as saincte white did and teache his parisshens to do so / were a right chaplayne of Christe. And they haue a promise to be feade and clothed as well as euer was their master in the name of Christe. And so be they and euer ware / so that they nede not to begge in the name of saincte white. [H2v] What shall saincte white doo for the agayne for that greate chese? (for I wot wel it is not giuen for nought) giue abundance of mylke to make butter & chese? All we that beleue in Christe / are the sonnes of God / and God hath promised to care for vs / as moche as we care for the kepinge of his commaundementes / and hath promised that we shall receaue what so euer we axe to his honoure and oure nede / of his hande. If then we be the naturall sonnes of God / why run we from oure father / a begging to sent white? Sainct white sendeth no rayne vpon the erthe ner maketh the sonne shyne theron ner maketh the grasse growe. Nether is ther any gods worde that he will nowe doo so moche for vs at hyr request. But God hath promised if we will kepe his lawes to doo so moche for vs at oure awne request / for the bloude of his sonne Iesu. What other thinge then is thy seruinge of saincte white / then lacke of faith and trust to godwarde in Christes name / and a false fayth of they nawne faynynge to saincte white warde for thyne imageseruice or seruinge hir with chese / as thoughe she were a bodely thinge? And like disputation is it of all other sainctes.
And as we worshipe the sainctes with imageseruice to obtayne temporall thinges: euen so worshipe we God. And as the Iewes turned their sacrifices vnto image seruice whiche were giuen them of God to be signes to moue them to serue God in the spirite: Euen so haue we oure sacramentes. And for an ensample lat vs take the masse / which after the popes abuse of it / is the most damnable imageseruice that euer was sence it beganne. Christe accordinge to the testimonie of the scripture / made in the dayes of his [H3] fleshe / satisfaction for all the synne of them that had or shulde beleue in his name / and obtayned that they shulde be the sonnes of God / & taken from vnder the damnation of the lawe and put vnder grace and mercie / and that God shuld henceforth deale with them as a mercifull father dealeth with his chyldren that run not away from hym / no thoughe ought be at a tyme chaunced amysse: but tary euer still by their father and by his doctrine / and confesse their trespase / and promise henceforthe to enforce them selues vnto the vtmost of their power that they doo no moare so negligentlye. And this purchase made he with the thinges whiche he soffred in his fleshe / and with the stronge prayers which he prayed. And to kepe this testament / euer fresh in mynde / that it were not forgotte / he left with vs the sacrament or signe of his body and bloude / to strengthe oure faithe and to certifye oure conscience / that oure synnes were forgiuen asssone as we repentyd and had reconcyled oure selues vnto oure brethern: & to arme oure soules / thorou the contynuall remembrance of Christes deeth / vnto the despisinge of the worlde / mortifyeng of the fleashe / and quenching of the lustes and thurst of wordly thinges. As they whiche haue dayly conuersation with the sicke and miserable and are present at the deethes of men / are moued to diffie the world / and the lustes therof.
And as Christ had institute the sacrament of his body and bloude / so the busshopes in the processe of tyme / set signes of all the rest of Christes passion / in the ornamentes and gestures of the masse: so that the hole passion was dayly described before our eyes / as thoughe we had presently loked vpon it. [H3v] And that thou maist se for what cause they came vnto the sacrament / they reconsiled them selfes echone to other / if any man had offended his brother / yere they were admitted in to the congregation or bodye of Christe to be membres of eche other knit togither in one faith and loue to eate the lordis sowper (as Paul callith it) for the congregation thus gatherd is called Christis body & Christ their hed. And likewise if a man had be taken in open synne / agenste the profession of his baptisme / he was rebuked openly. And he confessed his synne openly / and axed forgiuenes of God and of the congregation whom he had offended with thensample of his euell dede: and toke penaunce as they call it / of the congregation / that is / certayne discret iniunctions howe he shulde liue and ordre hym selfe in tyme to come and tame his flesh / for thauoydinge of the saide vice: because his confession and repentaunce whiche he semed to haue / shuld be none hypocrisie / but an ernest thinge. For if an open synner be founde amonge vs / we must immediatlie amende hym or cast hym out of the congregation with defiaunce and detestation of his synne / as thou seist howe quyckly Paule cast out the Corinthian / that kept his fathers wife / and when he was warned wold not amende. Or else if we soffre soch to be amonge vs vnrebuked / we can not but atttonce fall from the constancie of oure profession / and laughe and haue delectation and consent vnto their synne / as it is come to passe thorowe out all Christendome. Which is .x. thousande tymes moare abominable then if we synned oure selues. For the best man in the world that hateth synne / might at a tyme thorowe frailtie of the fleshe be drawne to synne. But it [H4] is all together deuellishe and a sure token that the spirit of Christe is not in vs ner the profession of oure baptisme writen in the herte / if we laughe at a nother mans synnes / thoughe we oure selues absteyne for shame or feare of hell or for what so euer imagination it be / or that we be so blynde that we se no nother synne in vs / then oure outwarde dedes. And the penaunce enioyned fraile parsones / that coulde not rule them selues was vnder thauctorite of the curate / and the sad and discrete men of the parish to releisse parte or all at a tyme if necessite required / or when they sawe the parsone so growne in perfectnes that he nedyd it not. But se wherto it is nowe come / and after what maner oure holy father that is at Rome dispenseth with all together? And se what oure busshopes officers doo / and wher thauctorite of the curate and of the Parishe is become. If in .x. parishes rounde ther be not one lerned and discrete to healpe thother / then the deuell hath a greate swynge amonge vs: that the busshopes officers that dwell so ferre of / must abuse vs as they doo. And if within a diocese or an hole lande / we can fynde no shyft / but that the pope that dwellyth at the deuell in hell / must thus mocke vs / what a stroke thinke ye hath Sathan a monge vs? And all is because we be hypocrites and loue not the way of trueth / for all oure pretendinge the contrarie.
And to begynne with all / they said Confiteor and knowleged them selues to be synners. And then the prest prayed in generall for all estates and degrees and for encreace of grace / and in especially if nede required: vnto whiche prayers the people harkened and said Amen. [H4v] And then the Gospell and glad tydinges of forgiuenes of synnes was preached / to ster vp oure faithe. And then the sacrament was ministred for the confirmation of the faith of the gospell / & of the testament made betwen God and vs of forgiuenes of synnes in Christes bloude / for oure repentaunce and faith: as ye se howe after all bargens there is a signe therof made / ether clappinge of handes / or bowyng a peny or a grote / or a pece of golde / or giuinge some ernest / and as I shewyd you / howe after a truse made they slewe bestes / for a confirmation. And then men departed / euery man to his busynes / full certified that their synnes wer forgiuen / and armed with the remembraunce of Christes passion and deeth for the mortifieng of the fleshe all the daye after. And in all these was nether the sacrament nether other cerimonies of the masse imageseruice to God / and holy dedes to make satisfaction for oure synnes / or to purchese suche wordly thinges as the gospel teacheth vs to dispise. And nowe compare this vse of the masse to oures / and se whether the masse be not become the most damnable ydolatrie and imageseruice that euer was in the worlde.
We neuer reconcyle oure selfes vnto oure brethern which we haue offendid: we receaue vnto oure masse the open synners / the couetouse / thextorcioners / the adulter / the bacbiter / the comen whore / and the whore keper / which haue no parte in Christe by the scripture / ye suche are soffred to say the masse / as the vse is nowe to speake / ye suche are we compellyd with the swerde to take for oure pastores and curates of oure soules and not so hardy to rebuke them. Nether doo they repent and confesse their synnes / [H5] and promise amendment / or submitte them selues to holsome iniunctions for thavoydinge of such synnes / and tamyng of their fleshe. We sai Confiteor and knowlege oure selues to be synners in latyne / but neuer repent in Englishe. The priest prayth in laten and saith euer more a stil Masse / as we saye. For thoughe he synge & streyne his throte to crye lowd vnto them that be by hym / yet as longe as no man woteth what he prayeth / or whether he blesse or curse / he is dome and spechles. And so in that parte we abide fructlesse & vntaught howe to praye vnto God. And the gospel is songe or sayd in latyn only and no preachinge of repentaunce toward the lawe & faith towarde Christ had. And therfore abyde we euer faytheles & without studienge to amend oure liuinges. And of the cerimonies of the masse we haue no nother imagination / then that they be an holy seruice vnto god which he receaveth of oure handes and hath greate delectation in them and that we purchase greate fauoure of god withe them / as we do of greate men here in the world with giftes and presentes. In so moche that if the priest said messe without those vestimentes or left thother cerimonies vndone / we shulde al quake for feare / and thinke that there were a synne committed ynoughe to sinke vs al and that the priest for his laboure wer worthie to be put in the popes purgatorye and there to be brent to asshes.
And of the very sacrament it selfe we knowe no nother thinge then that we come thither to se an vnseable myracle / which they affirme / the angels in heuen haue no power to do: sed solis presbyteris / quibus sic congruit / vt sumant nec dent ceteris: howe that bred ys turned in to [H5v] the body / and wine in to the bloude of Christ / to mocke our seinge smellinge / felinge & tastinge / which is a very stronge faith / & moare a greate deale (I thinke) then the texte compelleth a man to. Neuer the later it were some what yet / if they had bene as louinge / kynde / careful and diligente to teache the people to repente / and to beleue in the bloude of Christ for the forgeuenes of theyr sinnes vnto the glorie of the mercie of god & of his excedinge loue to vs / and vnto the profite of oure soules / and apon that preachinge to haue mynistred the sacramente as a memoriall / remembrance / signe / token / ernest / the seale of an obligation and clappinge of handes to gether for the assuerance of the promise of god / to quiet / stablissh and certifie oure consciences / and to put vs out of al waueringe & doute that our sinnes were forgeuen vs and god become oure father & at one with vs / for which cause only christ ordened it: as they were zelouse and feruente to mayntene the opinion of so turnynge bred and wine in to the body & bloude of Christ / that it ceaseth to be bred & wine in nature / vnto their awne glorie and profit / with out help of scripture / but with sotle argumentes of sophistrie and with crafty wiles. First with takinge awaye halfe the sacramente / lest if the people shulde haue dronk the bloude of Christ / they shulde haue smelt the sauoure and fealte the tast of wine / & so haue bene to weake to beleue that there had bene no wine. And secondarily when they durst not robbe the people of al the sacramente / they yet toke awaye comen bred / & imagined maunchetes which maye not be handled / and in sight haue no similitude of bred / & in eatinge very litle tast / if there be any at al. And thridly whom they coulde not [H6] catch with those craftes / agenst hym they disputed with the swerde. For when they had taken awaye the signification & very entente of the sacramente / to stablish the eare confession / their merites / deseruinges / iustifienge of workes & lyke inuencion vnto their awne glorie & profit: what had the sacramente bene / if they had not made of that other opinion an article of the faith? But now when they haue destroyed for the nonce that faith which profited / & haue set vp with wiles / sotiltie / falshed / gyle and with violence / that faith which profiteth not / we haue good cause to iudge & examine the doctrine of the spirites / whether it be grounded vpon gods worde or no.
But I aske / wherfore we beleue that Christes body and his bloude ys there presente? verely as many heads as many wittes / euery man hath his meanynge. We take paynes to come thither to se strange holy gestures / wherof / saye they to their shame / who knoweth the meanyng ye or of the other disgisinge: & to heare straunge holy voyces / where of / saye I also that no man knoweth the vnderstondinge: & to loke vppon the sacramente: & al to obteyne worldly thinges / for that seruice. Why maye not a man desire worldly thinges of god? yes / we ought to aske of god only sufficiencie of al worldli thinges / as we do spiritual thinges / yet not for bodily seruice / when god is a spirite: but for the goodnesse & mercie of our father & for the trueth of his promyse & deseruinges of his sonne. And so when we do men bodili seruice / we ought to loke for our wages of god: lest if he moue not the hartes of our masters / we be shrewdly payed: & like wise when we lende or bargen / we ought to desire god for payment / lest thorou our negligence he forget vs / & [H6v] the appoyntmentes be not truly kepte. Some there be yet / that aske heuen. But for bodyly seruyce: which is lyke abhominacion.
But who cometh thither with repentaunce and faith / for to obtayne forgeuenisse of his sinnes / and with purpose to walke in the life of penaunce for the tamynge of the flesh that he sinne no moar? and to stablish his herte in that purpose / and to arme his soule agenst al that moue to the contrary / and when he goeth home is certified in his conscience / thorow that signe and token / that his sinnes ar forgeuen him: as Noe was certified bi the signe of the raynbow that the worlde shuld no moare be ouerrunne with water: and as Abraham was certified by the signe of circuncision that god wolde fulfil to hym and his offspringe al the mercies that he had promised: & as Abraham Genesis .xv. when he asked a signe to be sure that he shuld possesse that lande of Canaan / was certified thorowe the signe that God gaue hym there of / and of the foure hundred yeres that his posterite shulde be in thraldome in Egipte and of theyr delyueraunce: and as Gedion was certified by the signe of hys flese / of the victory that god had promysed hym: and as many other that beleued in God / were certified by the signes that god gaue them / of the promyses which god made them? Verely no man. For our prelates which laye for them selues / compelle intrare / compel not vs to entre in to any soch feest ner wil sofre any soch meate to be set before vs: for feare of ouerthrowinge the foundacion of their false bylding wherof springeth so gret glorie & profit vnto them / which foundacion to bylde their lyes vpon / they could neuer haue layed / excepte they had first thrust this doctrine of oure soules [H7] health cleane out of knowlege. And as sone as they had blynded that light / they became leaders in derkenes: and made of the messe Imageseruice: so that the strange holy gestures / and the strange holy voices / and strange holy vesturs / with al other strange holy ceremones / muste be meritoreus werkes to deserue longe life / helth / ryches / honoure / fauour / dignite and aboundance of al that we haue / forsakinge our baptym / & to arme vs frome bearinge of the crosse with christe. And they haue made of it a pil of two contrary operacions: so that the same medicine that preserueth oure soules frome purgatory / dothe purge the bodye of house / landes / rentes / goodes and money / that it is made as bare as Iobe and as baulde as a coote. And the light that rebuketh them / they cal sediciouse / that it maketh the subiectis to ryse agenste their princes. Which thinge the ypocrites layed sometyme vnto the prophetes / as ye may see in the olde testamente. And at laste they layed it vnto Christis charge / as ye may see in the gospel / and to the charge of the apostles / as ye may see in their actes. But at al sich tymes / the ypocrites their selues stered vp sich a swerde to mayntene their falshed / that euermore a grete parte of the worlde peresshed thorow their owne myschevouse incensinge and prouokynge princes to batayle.
These ypocrytes layed to wycleues charge (and do yet) that his doctrine caused insurrection: but they / to quenche the truthe of his preachinge / slew the right kinge / and set vp .iij. false kinges a rowe: by which myschevouse sedicion / they caused halfe englonde to be slayne vp / and brought the realme in to siche ruyne and desolacion that .M. More coulde saye in his vtopia / that [H7v] as englisshmen were wonte to eate shepe / euen so their shepe now eat vp them by hole paresshes at once / besydes other inconuenientes that he then sawe. And so the ypocrytes saye now lykewise: that Gods worde causeth insurrection: butte ye shal see shortely that these ypocrites themselues aftir their olde wonte and ensamples in quenchinge the truthe that vttereth their iuglinge / shal cause al realmes Christen to ryse one agenst a nother / and some agenste themselues. Ye shal see them tunne out before the year come aboute / that which they haue bene in bruwing (as I haue marked) aboue this dosen yeares. & cetera.
This moch I haue sayd because of them that disceaue you / to geue you an occasion to iudge the spirites.
The yere of our lorde .1531. in September.