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413 [413]

That nowe there remained no more anye place or liberty, for a man to learn that which he knew not, or to teach that which he perfectly vnderstode.

Fynally all thinges were turned arsy versy, all thinges happened vnto him contrarye to his expectation where so euer he wente.

But nothinge so muche offended thys good mannes minde, as the intollerable ambityon, and pompous pride in them, whome example of humility shoulde especially commende and praise to the whole worlde. And allbeit that he saw here nothing, which did accorde and agree with the rule of the Apostles: yet those thinges did so much passe all measure and pacience: that he coulde by no meanes refraine his tongue, in so great abuse and corruption of the church. Seing such ambitious pryde in their buildinges, apparell, in their pallaces, in their dainty fare, in their greate traynes of seruauntes, in their horse and armour, and finallye in all thinges pertaininge vnto them. Which thinges, by how much they did varye from the prescript rule of the gospel, so muche the more was this good man forced to speake. All be it he did well vnderstande howe litle he should preuaile by speakinge, for if admonityon woulde profyt any thinge at al the bookes of Wyckleffe and diuers other were not wanting.

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The famous testimonyes of Ihon Husse, and of Ierome of Prage, and their bloud shed for the same was yet present before their eies, at whose most effectual exhortacions, they are so little correct and amended, that they seeme twise so cruell as they were before: Yet, all this coulde not feare this good manne Thomas, but that is so necessary and wholsome an offyce, he would spend his life if nead shoulde be. So by this meanes, he which came to be a scholer vnto others, is nowe forced to be theyr teacher. And he whiche determined to followe other mennes liues and manners, hathe now contrariwise sette before them his lyfe to be marked and followed. For he liued so amōges them, that his life might be a rule vnto them all, and so taughte as he mighte also be theyr schole master. For euen as Paule hadde forshewed vnto such as desyred to lyue godlye in Christe, that they shoulde suffer persecutyon, suche like rewarde happened vnto this man. He gaue vnto them the fruicte of godlinesse, whyche they shoulde followe: they againe set vppon his heade the dyademe of martirdome, he shewed them the waye to saluation, and they for the benefite of life rewarded him with death. And wheras no rewards had bene worthy for his great laboures and trauailes, they with most extreme ignominy, persecuted hymeuen vnto the fyre.

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For when as by continuall preachinge, he had gotten great enuy & hatred, the rulers began to consult together by what meanes they might circumuēt this mannes life. Here they had recourse to their accustomed remeadies, for it is a peculier and continuall custome amonges the prelates of the church, that if any man displease them, or that his talke be not according to their mind, or by any meanes hurtfull or hinderaunce to their luker and gaine, by and by they frame out articles of some heresy, which they charge him wythall: and like as euery liuing thing hath their peculier and proper weapon to defend him self from harm, as nature hathe armed the Bore wyth hys Tuskes, the hedge hogge wyth his prickels, the Lion is feared for his clawes, the dogge for his bitinge, the Bull fyghteth wyth hys hornes, neither doth the Asse lacke hys houes to strike wyth all. Euen so this is the only armor of the bishoppes, to strangle a man wyth heresy, if he once go about to mutter agaynste their wil and ambition, which thing maye be easely perceiued and seene in this moost holye manne, besyde a great nomber of other. Who when as now he began to waxe greuous vnto them, and could no longer be suffred: what did they then? Straightwaies flee vnto theyr olde pollicies. And as they had doone wyth Hus and Ierome of Prage, euen so went they about against this manne. They ouerwhelme hym with suspition, they seeke to intangle him with questions, they examine hym in iudgement, they compile articles agaynst him and lay heresy vnto his charge, they condemn him as an hereticke, and beinge so condempned, they destroy and kill him. This is theyr godlinesse. This is the peasyble order of oure priestes. Whose religion is to weare sworde and shielde, when as notwithstandinge they beare in their heartes, malice, rancoure vengeaunce, poyson, crafte and disceite, sharper then anye sword, With how great care and pollicye is it prouided by lawe, that none of them shoulde fight with sword in the streates when as in iudgement and accusations, wher as it is lawfull for a manne to oppresse hys brother, there is no murtherer whyche hathe more ready vengeaunce, or that doothe more vilye esteame his brothers soule. They shedde no bloude them selues, they strike not, nor kil, but deliuer them ouer vnto others to be slain. What difference is there I praye you, but that they are the authoures, and the other are but the ministers of the cruell facte? they kyll no man as murtherers doo. Howe then? Although not after the same sort, yet they doo it by a nother meane.

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