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14 [936]

To the persecutours.

besides them in quene Maries time here in Englande, and besides them within these two yeares slaine in Fraunce by the Guyse, which as you know commeth to no small summe. And yet for all this horrible slaughter, and your so many fought fieldes against the poore Saintes, what is your cause the better? What haue you thereby gotte or wonne but shame, hatred, contempt, infamye, execration, and to bee abhorred of all good menne, as maye appeare not onely by youre habite and garment, the forme and wearinge whereof it shameth and abhorreth menne nowe, as you see to bee broughte vnto: but also the title and name of youre profession. For thoughe ye professe popery inwardlye in your hartes, yet whiche of you all nowe is not ashamed to bee called a Papist, and would be angry with me if I shoulde write to you vnder the name of Papistes? You see therefore how litle you haue wonne: let vs compare now your winninges and losses together. And as you haue gained but a litle, so let vs see what great thinges you haue lost, which firste haue spilt your own cause, the quiet of your cōscience (which I dare say shaketh within you) ye haue lost the fauor both of God and man, the safety of your soules, and almost the kingdome of the Lorde, except you take the better heede. What, thinke you then by these your procedinges to win any more hereafter, which haue lost so much already? Do not the very ashes of the Martyrs, which you haue slain, rise vp still against you in greater armies? Seing therefore the Lord doth and must preuaile, be counselled and exhorted in the Lord, leaue of your resisting, and yeld to the truth, which your own boiling consciences (I am sure) doth inwardly witnes and testify, if for your own wilful standing vp on your credit and reputation (as ye thinke) ye would come to the cōfession of the same. And what reputation is this of credite, to be found constant in errour against the truth, in Antichrist againste Christ, in your own destruction, against sauing of your soules? Briefelie and to be short, if my counsail may be heard, better it were for you in time to geue ouer your cause losing both thank and your cause also. For see you not daylie more and more the contrary part (the Lordes arme going with thē) to grow so strong against you, that not onely ther is no hope, but no possibility, for your obstinate errour to stand against so manifest truth? First, learning & al best wyts for the most part repugne against you. Most Nations and kingdomes haue forsaken you, as Germany, Polonye, Boheme, Denmarke, Sueuia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Epirus, and a great part of Grecia. Englande, Irelande, Scotlande: and Fraunce, God be glorified, wel fauoredly commeth on, you see, & other mo be lyke to follow. So that if thinges come handsomely forwarde, as they begyn, and are like to do, the Pope is like to pay home againe shortly his feathers that he hath so longe tyme borowed. Moreouer, Vniuersities and schooles in al quarters be set vp againste you, and youthe so trayned in the same, that you shal neuer be able to matche them. To conclude, in Countries, kingdomes, Cities, Townes, and Churches reformed, your errours and superstitious vanities bee so blotted out within the space of these forty yeares in the harts of men, that their children and youth being so long nouseled in the sound doctrine of Christ, like as they neuer heard of your ridiculous trumpery, so they wyl neuer be brought to the same. And if nothing els wyll deface you, yet printing onely wyl subuert your doinges, do what ye can, which the Lord onely hath set vp for your desolation. Wherefore forsake your cause, and your false hopes and saue your selues. And take me not your enemy in telling you truth, but rather your friende in geuing you good counsel, if you wil follow good counsel geuen. Returne therefore and reforme your selues, repent your murders, cease your persecutions, striue not against the Lord, but rather bewaile your iniquities, which thoughe they be great, and greater then you are aware: yet they are not so great, but Christ is greater. if ye repent betime. Ye see here I trust good counsel geuen. God graunt it may as wel fructifie in you, as on my part it hath proceded of an open and tender hart, wishing you wel to doo, as I pray God ye may, so that you and we may agree and consent together in one religion & truth in Christ Iesus our Lorde, to whom be praise for euer. Amen.

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A declaration concerning the vtilitie and profite of thys history.

SEing the worlde is so replenished with suche an infinite mul-titude of bookes, dayly put foorth euerye where: I shall seme (perhaps) to take a matter in hand superfluous and needeles, at thys present time to sette out so great a volume as this is, especiallye touchinge writing of historyes, considering now adaies the worlde is pestred not onelye with a superfluous plenty therof, but of all other treatises, so that bookes maye rather seme to lacke Readers, then Readers to lacke bookes. Howe be it I doubt not but manye good men doo both perceiue, and inwardlye bewayle this insatiable gredines of wryting and printing, which to say the truth, for my part I do as much lament as any man els may do beside. By reason whereof I would no man shoulde thinke that vnaduisedly and with rashnes I haue here attempted this enterprise. for assuredly I haue bene not onlye doubtfull, but also both bashful and feareful within my selfe for setting the same abrode. And why? for I perceyued well how learned this age of ours was, and I could not tell what the secrete and close iudgementes of the Readers would determine, if sodaynly one should prease in with other, taking vpon hym the person 9of a wryter in the syght of al men, which were not sufficiently furnished with such ornamentes and graces as are requisite to the accomplishing of so waighty an endeuour, which could not vtter some matter excellent and syngular, and ioyning thinges together not onely great, but also necessarye for the condition of the tyme, with lyke gift of vtterāce satisfie and encrease the industry of the learners, the vtility of the studious, and the delight of the learned.

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