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138 [1240]

Actes and Monuments of Marters.

The people were taughte to worship no other thing but that whiche they did se, and did see almost nothing which they did not worship. The churche being degenerated from the trewe Apostolicke institution aboue all measure, reseruing only the name of the apostolicke Churche, but far from the truth therof in very dede, did fal into all kinde of extreme tyranny: Wher as the pouertie and simplicity of Christ was chaunged into cruelty and abhomination of lyfe. In steade of the Apostolicke giftes and continuall labours and trauailles, slouthfulnes and ambition was crept in amongste the priestes. Besides all thys there arose and sprong vp a thousand sortes and facions of straung religions, being the only root and wellheade of all superstition. How great abuses and deprauations wer crept into the sacramentes, at what time they were compelled to worship similitudes and signes of thinges, for the very thinges them selues: and to adore suche thinges as were instituted and ordeyned onlye for memoriales? Finally what thing was there in the hole state of christen religion so sincere, so sound and pure, which was not defiled and spotted with some kind of superstition. Besides this with how many bonds and snares of dayly new fangled ceremonies, the sely consciences of men redemed by Christe to libertie, were snared and snarled? In so much that there could be no great difference almost perceaued betwene Christianitie and Iuishnes, saue only that the state & condition of the Iewes might seame somwhat more tolerable, thē oures. There was nothing sought for out of the trew foūtains, but out of the dirte pudles of the Philistians. The christian people were holly carryed away as it wer by the noses, with mere decrees and constitutions of men, euē whether as pleased the Bishops to leade them, not as Christes wil did direct thē. All the whole worlde was filled & ouerwhelmed with errours and darknes. And no great meruel, for why the simple and vnlearned people being far from all knowledge of the holy scripture thought it sufficiēt inough for thē, to know only these thinges which were deliuered them by their pastors and shepardes, and they on thother part taught, in amaner nothing els, but suche thinges as came forthe of the Court of Rome. Wherof the moste part tended to the proffit of their order more thē to the glory of Chryste, The christian fayth was estemed or counted none other thinge then, but that euery man shuld know that Christ once sufred, that is to say, that all men shulde know and vnderstand þt thing, which the diuels thēselues also knew. Hipocrisie was counted for wonderfull holines. All men were so addicte vnto outeward shewes, that euen they them selues which professed the most absolute and singuler knowledge of the scriptures, scarsly did vnderstande or know any other thing. And this euidenly did appeare not only in the common sort of doctorsand teachers, but also in the veri heddes and captaynes of the Churche, whose hole religion and holines consisted in a maner in the obseruing of dayes, meates, and garmentes, and suche lyke rethoricall circumstances, as of place, time, persone. &c. Hereof sprange so many sortes and facions of vestures, and garmentes, so many differences of colors and meates, with so many pilgrimages, to seueral places as though S. Iames at Compostella coulde doo that, whiche Christ could not doo at Canterbury: Or els that God wer not of lyke power and strengthe in euery place, or coulde not be founde, but being sought for, by running and gadding hither and thither. Thus the holines of the hole yere was transported and put of vnto the Lent season. No contrey or lande was counted holy, but only Palestina, where Chryste had walked himselfe with his corporal feete. Such was the blindnes of that time, men did striue and fight for the cros at Ierusalē, as it had ben, for the cheafe and only force and strengthe of our faythe. It is a wonder to reade the monumentes of the formore times, to see & vnderstand, what great troubles and calamities this crosse, hathe caused almost in euery christian common wealthe. For the Romishe champions, neuer ceased, by wryting, admonishing, and consayling, yea and by quarelling, to moue and stire vp Prynces mindes, to warre and battayl, euen as though the faythe and belefe of the Gospell, were of small force or litell effect, withoute that wodden crosse. MarginaliaRichard king of englande.This was the cause of thexpedition of the most noble Prince king Richard, vnto Ierusalem. Who being taken in the same iurney, and deliuered vnto themperour, coulde scarsly be ransomed home againe, for thirty thousand markes. MarginaliaFredericke Emperour of Rome.In the same enterprise or iourney, Fridericus the Emperoure of Rome, a man of most excellent vertue, was drowned in a certain riuer there, in the yeare of oure Lord. M.Clxxix. MarginaliaPhilip king of FraunceAnd also Philip the kyng of Fraunce, scersly retorned home agayn in saftye, not without great losses. So muche did they esteme, the recouery of that holy Citie and crosse. Vpon this alone all mens eyes, mindes and deuotions were so sette and bent, as though eyther there were no other crosse but that, or that the crosse of Christe were in no other place, but only at Ierusalem. Suche was the blindenes & superstition of those daies, whiche vnderstode or knewe nothyng, but suche as were outwardly sene: where as the profession of our religion standeth in muche other higher matters, and greatter mysteries. MarginaliaPope Vrbane. Lamberte Pope.What was the cause why that Vrbanus did so vexe and tormente him selfe, because that Antioche with the holy crosse was loste out of the handes of the christians? for so we doo finde it in the Cronacles, that at what tyme as Ierusalem, with the kinge Gwido, and the Crosse of oure Lorde was taken, and vnder the power of Sultane.

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