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458 [458]

Actes and Monumentes Of the Churche.

But I stay wholy here vpon, that the vniuersall church, hath consented perpetually to this very doctrine, which is preached in our church wherevnto we must frame our life and deuocion conformable. And I beleue that this is the doctrine, wherof the sonne of God speketh: If any loue me, 

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John 14:15.

he will kepe my commaundementes, and my father will loue him, and we will come to him, and plāt our dwelling with him. I speake of the summe of the doctrine, as it is vnderstanded, and explaned in oure churches, by þe faithful and learned ministers. For allbeit that some one often times expoundeth the same more aptly and elegantly then some other: yet as touching the effect, the learned & faithful doo agree in al poyntes.

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MarginaliaFour chaūges synce thapostles.Then waying and perpending with my self long time the doctrine that hathe beene of all times, it semeth vnto me that since thapostles there haue bene iiii. notable alteracions after the first purity of the gospel. Origene had hys time. Allbeit there were some of a sounde and sacred opiniō as Methodius, who reproued certē suspected doctrins of Origene, yet he cōuerted the gospel into Philosophy in the harts of many that is to say: he aduaunced this perswasion, that the morall discipline of reason deserueth remissyon of sinnes, and that this is that iustice, wherof is said: The iust shal liue of his faith. That age almoste loste the whole dyfference of the law and the gospel, and forgate þe woordes of the Apostles. MarginaliaIgnorance of time marreth the sentence.For they vnderstode not the natural signification of these wordes: Letter, Spirite, Iustice, Faith. Now whē the propriety of wordes was lost, which be notes of the very things, it was necessary that other things should be contriued. Out of thys seede sprang Pelagius error, which wandred largelye abrode. And therfore allbeit the Apostles had geuen vnto the church a pure doctrine, as cleare and holsome fountains, yet Origene intermixed the same with some corruptyon in that part.

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MarginaliaS. Augustine restorer of much true doctrinThen to correct the errors of that time, or at the least some part of them, God raised S. Austen, who purged in some part the fountains, and I doubt not if he were iudge of dissenciōs at this day, but he wold speake for vs, and defend our cause. Certenlye, as concerning free remissyon, iustification by faithe, the vse of the Sacramentes and indifferent thinges he consenteth wholy with vs.

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And allbeit that in some places he expoundeth more eloquently and aptlye that he wyll say, than in some, yet if in reading, any do cary with them a godly spirit, and quick vnderstanding, and all euil iudgement ceaseth: they shal soone perceiue that he is of oure opinion. And wheras our aduersaries sometime do cite sentences selected out of his bookes againste vs, and with clamour prouoke vs to the auncientfathers, they doo it not for anye affectyon they beare vnto the truth or antiquity, but maliciously to cloke them with the authoritye of the aunciēt fathers, which antiquity, neuer knew of any these horned beastes and dombe Idols, as we haue knowen in these daies.

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Neuertheles it is certain, there were seedes of supersticion in the time of the fathers and auncient doctors, and therefore S. Austen ordained some thinge of vowes, althoughe he wrote not therof so strāgely as other. For the best some times shalbe spotted with þe blemish of suche follies as raigne in their age. For as naturally we loue our countrye, so fondly we fauoure the present fashions, where in we be trained and educated. And verye well alludeth Euripides to this.

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VVhat customes we in tender youth

by uatures lore receiue:

The same we loue and like alwaies,

and lothe our lust to leaue.

But would to God, that such as vaunt they follow S. Austen, woulde alwaies represente one like opinion and minde, as S. Austen. Certenly they woulde not clip so his sentences, to serue their purpose.

And the light restored by S. Austens works hathe much profited þe posterity. For Prosper, Maximus, Hugo, and some other like, that gouerned studies to S. Bernardes time, haue for the moost part imitated the rule of S. Austen. MarginaliaDeprauation of Ecclesiastical ministers.And this while stil, the regiment and ritches of the bishops encreased, and there of ensued a monsterous regiment, prophane and ignorāt men gouerned the church, among the whych, certain were enstructed in sciences and practises of the Romaine court, and some other exercised in pleadinges.

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MarginaliaThe begyning of ii. sortes of friers.Then the orders of Dominicke and s. Fraūces Friers began, who beholdinge the excesse and ritches of the Bishops, and contempning their vngodly manners, determined to liue in more modest order, or as I mighte saye to enclose them in the prisons of discipline: but first ignoraunce encreased the superstitions. Then after, when they considered mennes myndes wholy addicted to the study of the ciuil lawes, (for that pleading at Rome aduaunced many to greate authoritye, and enritched them) they endeuoured to reuoke men to the studye of diuinity, but they missed of their purpose, & their counsail failed them. MarginaliaThe gospel tourned into Philosophy.Albert 

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St Albertus Magnus (c.1200-1280), a leading Scholastic theologian.

and such like that were geuen to Aristotles doctrine, beganne to conuert the doctrine of the churche into prophane Philosophy.

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And the fourth age, not onlye corrupted the fountaines of the Gospell, but also gaue oute poyson, that is to say: opinions manifestly approuing al Idolatries. Thomas Aquin, Sco-

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