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196 [128]

Actes and Monuments of Martyrs.
¶ The Preface of maister William Thorpe vnto the Reader.

THe Lorde God that knoweth al thinges wotteth well that I am right sorrowfull for to wryte or to make knowen this sentence beneth written where þt of mine euen christē set in hie state & dignitie, so great blyndnes and malice may be knowē, that they that presume of them selfe to distroy vices and to plante in men vertues, neither drede to offende God nor luste to please hym as their workes showe. MarginaliaGods lawes must bee knowē and folowed.For certes the bidding of God and his law, which in the praysing of his most holy name, he commaundeth to be knowen & kept of all men and women, yonge and olde: after the conning snd power that he hath giuē to them, the Prelates of this lande and their Ministers, with the couent of priestes chiefly consenting to them, enforce them moste besely to withstande and destroy the holy ordinaunce of God. And there thorowe, God is greatlye wroth and moued to take harde vengeaunce, not only vpon them that doo the euill, but also on them that consent to these Antichristes limmes: Whiche knowe or might know their malice and falshod, and dresse them not to withstande their malice and their great pryde. Neuerthelesse thinges moueth me to wryte this sentence beneth. MarginaliaFoure causes of settīg forth his examination.The first thing that moueth me hereto is this, that where as it was knowē to certain frendes, that I came from the prison of Shrewisbury: and as it befell in dede, that I should to the pryson of Caunterbury: than diuers frendes in diuers places, spake to me ful hartefully and full tenderly: and commaunded me then if it so were that I should bee examined before the Archebyshop of Caunterbury, that if I myght in any wyse, I should wryte myne apposing and mine aunswering. And I promised to my special frendes, that if I might I would gladly do their biddings as I might. MarginaliaThe second cause.The second thing þt moueth me to write this sentence is this, diuers frendes whiche haue heard that I haue bene examined before the Archebyshop, haue come to me in pryson and counselled me besely, and coueted greatly that I should do the same thyng. And other brethrē haue sent to me and required me on Gods behalf that I should wryte out and make knowē both mine apposing and mine aunswering for the Profet that (as they say) ouer my knowleging may come therof. But this they bad me that I should be besye in all my wittes to goo as nere the sentēce and the wordes as I could both that were spoken to me and that I spake. Vp auenture this writing may come an other time before the Archebishop and his counsell. And of this counselling I was right glad: for in my consciēce I was moued to do this thingand to aske hetherto the speciall help of God. And so than I considering the great desire of diuers frendes of sondrie places according all in one: I occupied all my mynde and my wittes so besely that thorowe Gods grace I perceiued by their meaning and their charitable desire some profit might come there thorowe. Forsothfastenesse and truth hath these conditions. Where euer it is impugned, it hath a swete smell and therof comes a swete sauour. And þe more violently þe enemies dresse thē self to oppresse and to withstand the truth the greater and the sweter smell cometh therof. And therfore this heauenly smell of Gods worde, wil not as a smoke passe away with the wind: but it will descend and rest in some clene soule that thrusteth there after. And thus somedele by this writing may be perceiued through Gods grace how that the enemies of the truth standing boldely in their malice enforce them to withstande the fredom of Christes Gospell, for whiche fredome Christ became man, and shed his harte bloud. And therfore it is great pitie and sorowe that many men and women doo their owne weywart will: nor besie them not to knowe nor to doo the pleasant will of God.

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MarginaliaGodly coūsell geuen, if it may be folowed.Ye, men and women that heare the truth and sothfastnesse, and heare or knowe of this, perceiuing what is now in the churche, ought here thorow to be the more moued in all their wittes to able them to grace, and to set lesser pryse by them selfe, that they without tariyng forsake wilfully and bodely all the wretchednesse of this lyfe, since they knowe not howe sone, nor whan, nor where, nor by whom God will teache them and assay their pacience. For no doubt who that euer wil liue piteously that is charitably in Christ Iesu, shall suffer nowe here in this life persecution in one wyse or an other, that is if we shalbe saued, It behoueth vs to imagin full besely, the vilite and foulnesse of sinne and howe the Lorde God is displeased therfore: and so of this vilitie of hidousnesse of sinne it behoueth vs to besie vs in all our wittes for to abhorre & holde in our mind a great shame of sinne euer, and so than we owe to sorow hartely therfore, and euer fliyng all occasion therof. And than behoueth vs to take vpon vs sharpe penaunce cōtinuing therin for to obteine of the Lorde forgeuenesse of our fordone sinnes, and grace to abstayne vs hereafter from sinne. And but if we enforce vs to doo this wilfully, and in conuenient tyme, the Lorde (if he will not vtterly destroye and cast vs away) will in diuers maners moue tyrantes against vs for to constraine vs violently for to doo penaunce, whiche we would not doo wilfully. And truste that this doyng is a speciall grace of the Lorde, and a great token of lyfe and mercy. And no doubt who euer wil

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