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452 [452]

Actes and Monuments Of the Churche.

man, then of the Pope, as in the councell of Constance, Bernard was more estemed then Eugenius. Also that if the Pope with his prelats gouerne and rule euil, that the inferiors be they neuer so base ought to resist him.

Writing moreouer of two Popes, Pius the second and Sixtus the fourth, he saieth: That Pius the second did vsurpe vnto him selfe, all þe kingdoms of the whol world, & that Sixtus the Pope, did dispence with al manner of othes in causes temporall, not only with such othes, as haue bene already, but also with all such as shallbe made hereafter, which was nothinge ells but to giue liberty and licence for men to forsweare thē selues & to deceiue one an other.

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MarginaliaEx Noueomigo. MarginaliaA prophecy of WeselusThis Weselus being a Phrisean borne and now aged in yeares, vpon a certain time, whē a certain yong mā called M. Iohannes Ostendorpius came to him & said these wordes: Wel my child, thou shalt liue to that day, whē thou shalt see the doctrine of these new and contentious deuines of Thomas and Bonauenture, with others of the same sort, shalbe vtterly deiected and exploded from all trew christen deuines. And this which Ostendorpius then being yong hard Weselus to speake, reported himselfe to him which wrote this story.

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Phillippus Melanchton writing of the life of Rodolphus Agricola, saieth: That Iosquinus Groningensis, an auncient and a godly man, reported that when as he was yong, he was oftentimes present at the sermondes of Rodolphus aud Weselus wherin they many times lamented the darknes of the church and reprehended the abuses of the masse, and of the single liefe of priestes. Item when they disputed oftentims of the rightuosnes of faith, why saint Paule so oftentimes did inculcate, that men be iustified by faithe and not by workes, the same Iosquine also reported, that they did openly reiect & disproue the opiniō of Monkes which say that men be iustified by ther works. Item concerning mens traditions their opinion was, that all suche were deceaued. Who so euer attributed vnto those traditions anye opinion of Gods worship, or that they coulde not be broken. And thus muche for the storie of doctor Wesellianus and Weselus. Thus farre proceading in our storie, at the lengthe (through the ayde of Christ) we approche now nere to the tyme of Martin Luther, at what time it pleased the Lorde through his great mercie, to reforme and reedifie againe the desolate ruynes of his religion, by the meanes and industrie of this Martyn Luther, sent and set vp by the mightie spirite of Christ, to abolishe the abuses & pryde of Antichrist, which so long had abused and deceiued the simple flocke of Christes churche. But before we enter to declare the actes and doinges of him, we wil first declare what went before, touching what pro-phecies went before him, and howe God prepared the hartes of people before he began.

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MarginaliaNote that þe very hundreth years after the death of Iohn Husse, and Hierome was 1415. vnto the tyme of Luther whiche began to wryte An. 1516.First besides  

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Prophecies preceeding Luther

The purpose of this section is threefold. One is to underscore the importance of Martin Luther (and consequently his doctrine of justification by faith; notice how Foxe begins this section with a little lecture on the insufficiency of works to obtain salvation) in the history of the Church. (It is worth remarking that it is Luther, not Wiclif, whom Foxe sees as the central figure in initiating the reform of the Anti-Christian Church). Secondly, it is a way to invoke the miraculous to support the Protestant cause. If, as Foxe is claiming here, the advent of Luther was prophesied and, if it was heralded by portents, than who could doubt that his teachings were God's word? The drawback was that, as with Foxe's collection of prophecies of the rise of Islam and of the Ottoman Empire, these prophecies were extra-Biblical and, while some of them came from what, to Foxe and his readers were reliable sources, such as Jan Hus, other came from people, such as Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, whom even Foxe was wary of crediting with the spirit of prophecy. A third purpose of this section was to underscore the corruption of the medieval Church. This was a relatively easy task, since many of these prophecies were contained in writings denouncing the pope and the clergy.

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Most of the material in this section came from the basic works which Foxe relied on for his interpretation of Church history: John Bale's Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557) and Matthias Flacius's Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1556). Foxe also drew on another work of Flacius: his two volume edition of the writings of Jan Hus: Ioannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi historia et monimenta (Nuremburg, 1558).

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

other diuers and sondrie prophecies, whiche went vpon the time of Martin Luther, as the prophecie of Ioachim, & of Iohn Husse, and Hierome, who at that time prophecied vnto his enemies that oo. yeares gone & come, they should geue accompt to God and to him, specially one prophecie cometh to our hādes which we can not leaue vntouched, the autour of whiche prophecie was Iohn Hylton, wherof Philippe Melanchton maketh mentiō in his appollogie. Cap. de Volis Monasticis. The storie is thus, that about fifty yeares ago, there was a certaine monke in Thuringe, named Iohn Hilton, who for speaking against certaine abuses of the place and order where he liued, was cast in pryson. At length beynge weake and feble, through imprysonment, sent for the warden of the couent, desiring and beseching him, to haue some respect, of his wofull state, and pitifull case. The warden rebukinge and accusing him, for that he had done & spokē He answered againe and sayde: that he hadde spoken nothing whiche might be preiudiciall or hurtful to their monkerie, nor against their religion. MarginaliaA maruelous prophecie vpon the cominge of Luther.But there should come one, (and assigned thre yeare) An. 1516. Whiche shoulde vtterly subuert all monkery, and they shoulde neuer be able to resist him &c.

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I touched before 

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The stories of Alexander VI's death and of the statue of the angel struck by lightning are from Bale, Catalogus, p. 634

in the time of Pope Alexāder the sixt, how the Aungell standing vpon þe hyghe pynacle in the mount of Hadrian, fell down into the ryuer of Tibris about the year of our lorde. 1500. which might wel appeare to portende a declaration of the decay & ruine of the Romysh byshop.

MarginaliaCrosses sene vpō mēs garmentes in germanie Ex Paralip. Vrspergensis.Hetherto also perteineth that which we read in Paralipomenis Vrspergensis, how that in the yeare of our Lord. 1501. In diuerse places in Germanie, crosses were seene vpon mens garmentes, and not only crosses, but also fygures of the thorny crowne, and similitude of the nayles, and droppes of bloud fel from heauen, in so muche that many daies after, the wemen caried them about vpon their gownes & peltches. 

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I.e., caps

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To this also may be adioyned 

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The portents in 1505 and 1516 come from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), pp. 645-6.

a certaine propehticall vision or dreame, which chaunced to maister Iohn Husse 
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The following extracts from the writings of Jan Hus are taken from the two volume compendium of Hus's works, edited by Mathias Flacius, Ioannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi historia et monimenta (Nuremburg, 1558), I, fos. 71r-71v, 72v and 418.

, liyng in the dungeon at the fryers in Constance, a litle before he was burnt, this dreame as he reported him selfe in his epistles writing to maister Iohn of Chluni so will I expresse it in his owne wordes as he wrote it him selfe in Latin. The wordes wher of be these.

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MarginaliaEx Epistola Ioan Huss.Somnium huius noctis exponatis. Videbam quod in bethlem volebant delere omnes imagines Christi, et delebant. Ego surrexi sequēti die, et vidi multos pictores, qui pulchriores imagines et plures fecerant, quas læte aspexi, et pictores

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