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520 [520]

Actes and Monuments of the church.

masses, in al which things as I now vnderstād they sought rather ther own gaine then the saluation of the sicke diseased soule.

But at the last I harde speake of Iesus, verely when the new testamēt was set fourth by Erasmus, 

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The book Bilney was reading was the Novum Instrumentum, the first version of the New Testament that Erasmus issued in 1516 that printed the original Greek of scripture in parallel columns with the Latin Vulgate.

which when I vnderstode to be eloquently done by him, being allured rather for the latten then for the word of god, 
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The sentence that matters here is read in Latin: 'Sed tandem de Iesu audiebam, nimirum tum, cum nouum Testamentum primum ad Erasmo aederetur'.

(which at þt time I knew not what it mēte) I bought it, euen by the prouidēce of God, as I doo now well vnderstand and perceiue. And at the first reding as I remēber, I chāced vpon this swet sentence of saint Paule, in his first Epistle to Timothy and first chapter. It is a trew saieng and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Iesus cam into þe world to saue sinners of which I am the chiefe and principall. This one sentence through Gods instruction, did so exhilerate my hart, beyng before woūded with the gilte of my sinnes, and beyng almooste in dispayre, that euen immediatly I semed vnto my selfe inwardly, to feele such a comfort and quietnes, as I my self would not discerne and iudge, in so muche that my brused bones lepte for ioye. After this the scripture began to bee more pleasaunt vnto me then the hony or the hony combe, wherin I learned, that al my trauailes, all my fasting and watching, all the redemption of masses and pardons, beyng done without trust in Christ, which only saueth his people from their synnes. These I saye I learned to be nothing els, then (as saint Augustin saith) a hastie and swift course out of the right waye, then that same vesture made of fygge leaues, wherewithall Adam and Eue, went about in vayne to couer their priuie members, and could neuer before obteyne quietnes and rest, vntyll they beleued in the promis of God that Christe the seede of the woman shoulde treade vpon the serpentes head, neyther could I be releued or holpen from the sharpe prickes or bytinges of my synnes, before that I was taught of God that lesson, which Christe speaketh of in the thyrd chapter of Iohn, euen as Moyses exalted the serpēt in the desert, so shal the sonne of man be exalted, that all which beleue of hym should not perishe, but haue lyfe euerlasting. As sone as (accordinge to the measure of grace geuen me of God) I began to tast and sauour of this diuine lesson, which no mā can teache me, but only God, whiche reueled the same vnto Peter, I desyred the Lorde to encrease my faithe. And at the last I required nothing more then that, I beyng so comforted by hym, that he would also strengthē me with his holy spirite, þt I being endewed with some strength frō aboue, may teache the wicked his wayes whiche are mercy and truthe, and that the wicked myght be conuerted vnto him by me, whiche sometime was also wicked, which thing whylest that with al my power I did endeuour, Christ was blasphemed thorowe me, before my lorde Cardinall and your lordshyp. This is my onely trust in these tribulations whome with my whole power I do teach and set fourth, that he was made for vs by god his father, our wisdome, rightuousnes, sanctification and redemption, and finally our satisfaction, and became synne for vs, that is to say, a sacrifice for sinne, that we through him should be made the rightuousnes of God. 2. Cor. 5. who became accursed for vs to redeme vs frō the course of the lawe, and came not to cal the rightuous but synners to repentance. I call them rightuous, which falsly surmise & thinke them selues sound. For all men haue synned and lacke the glory of God, whereby he frely forgeueth þe synnes vnto al beleuers through the redēption whiche is in Christ Iesu. Rom. 3. because that al mankynd was greuously woūded in that they fell amongst theues, betwene Hierusalem and Ierico, and therfore withall my whole power I teache that al men should first acknowledge their sinnes and cōdempne them, and afterward hunger and thirste for that rightuousnes, whereof saint Paule speaketh. Rom. 3. The rightuousnes of God by fayth in Iesu Christ, is vpon all them whiche beleue in him, for there is no difference, all haue synned, and lacke the glorie of God, and ar iustified frely through his grace by the redemption which is in Iesus Christ, the which who soeuer doth hūger or thirst for, without doubt they shal at the length so be satisfied, that they shall not hunger and thirst for euer. But forsomuch as this hunger & thirst was wont to be quenched with the fulnes of mans rightuousnes, which is wrought through þe faith of our owne elect and chosen workes, as pylgrimages, bying of pardons, offring of candels, elect and chosen fastes, & oftentimes supersticions, and finally all kynde (as they cal them) of volūtary deuotions, against the which gods word speaketh plainly in the fourth of Deute. and in the xii. saying: Thou shalt not do þt whiche semeth good vnto thy selfe, but that whiche I commaund thee for to do, that do thou, neither adding to, neither diminishing any thing frō it. And therfore I oftentimes haue spoken of those workes, not cōdempning them (as God I take to my witnes) but reprouing their abuse, making the lawful vse of thē manifest, euen vnto children, exhorting all men, not so to cleue vnto them that being satisfied therewith they should lothe, or waxe wery of Christe as many doo. In whome I bid your fatherhode mooste prosperously well to fare. And this is the whole somme. If you wyll appoynt me to dilate all thinges, I will not refuse to do it, so that you will graunt me time, for to do it out of hand. I am not able, being redy always if I haue erred in any thing, to be better instructed.

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