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525 [525]

place of scripture. God hath dispersed þe bones of them, whyche please menne, that saye vnto them, speake vnto vs pleasaunt thinges. But now we will let these matters passe and come vnto the second poynte, howe a manne should preach better? MarginaliaAn information to preachers to preach rightly.Truelye if we had harde him, of whom the father spake saying, this is my dear beloued sonne in whome I am well pleased, heare him: and he speaking of him selfe sayde, it was meete that Christe shoulde suffer and rise againe the third daye from deathe, and to preach in his name repentaunce and remissyon of sinnes vnto al people. What other thing is that then that which thother Euangelistes doo wryte, goo ye into the whole worlde, and preach the Gospell vnto euerye creature, he that beleueth and is baptised, shall be saued. what can be more pleasaunt, swete, or acceptable, vnto the afflicted conscience being almost in dispaire, then this moost ioyfull tidinges? But here whether Christe haue beene a longe time hard I know not, for þt I haue not harde all the preachers of England, neyther if I had hard them, yet coulde I not sufficientlye iudge of them vnder a yere or ii. that I had hard thē. But this I dare be bold to affirm, that as many as I haue hard of late preach, I speake euen of the moste famous, they haue so preached repentaunce and penaunce that if I hadde harde suche preachers of penaunce in times paste I shoulde vtterlye haue bene in despaire. And to speke of one of those famous men, 

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The famous preacher Bilney mentioned here cannot be identified.

but to passe him ouer without name, after he had sharplye inuayed againste vyce, (wherin be pleased euery godlye manne, for so muche as it coulde not be sufficientlye cried oute vpon) he concluded, MarginaliaA grose saing of a popish preacher.beholde (sayeth he) thou haste lien rottinge in thine own lustes, by the space of these lx. yeres euen as a beast in his fylth and carnalitye, and wilt thou presume in one yere to go forwarde toward heauen, and that in thine age, asmuch as thou wentest backwardes from heauen into hel in lx. yeres? Was not this a fytte matter for christen people? is this the preaching of penaunce in the name Iesus? or rather to tread downe Christ with Antichrist? for what other thing did he speake in effect, then that Christe died in vaine for thee. He wil not be they Iesus or sauioure, thou muste make satisfaction for thy selfe, or els thou shall pearishe eternallye. Then doth S. Ihon lie which sayeth: behold the Lambe of God which taketh away the sinnes of the world. And in a nother place, his bloude hath cleansed vs from al our sinnes. And again he is the propitiation for the sinnes of þe whole world, beside an infinite nombre of other lies, what other thing is this then that which was spoken by the holy ghost, by the mouth of Peter, sayinge. There shall be false teachers that shall deny the Lord Iesus which hath redemed them, and what foloweth vpon the doctrin ofsuch deuils speaking lies throughe hipocrisye, but onlye the conscience troden downe in despaire, geuing him selfe ouer vnto his owne lustes, according to the saying of S. Paule. After that they be come to this poynte that they sorow no more, they geue them selues ouer vnto wantonnesse, to commit all kinde of fylthinesse, euen with a gredy desire, seing that it is impossyble for them to make satisfactyon. Thē they murmurre against God, for being so cruel as they do preache and declare hym to be, or els doo not beleue vpon him. The lacke of paper wil not suffer me to wryte anye more, and I hadde rather to speake it openlye vnto you, whervnto if you would admit me, I trust you should not repent you therof. And vnto me, it would be greate comforte and consolatyon, as Christ I take to my witnesse, in whō I wyshe you withall your flocke hartelye to lyue and well to fare.

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Your prisoner and humble beadman
vnto God for you Tho. Bilney.

¶ Here ensueth a briefe somarye or collection of certaine depositions, deposed by the seueral witnesses a forenamed vpon certeine interrogatories ministred vnto them for the inquiry of maister Bilneyes doctrine and preaching.

FIrst it was deposed that in his sermon in Christes church in Ipswitch he shoulde preache and saye, oure sauioure Christe is our mediator betwene vs and the father, 

Commentary  *  Close

To write that Christ is our only mediator, as Foxe does here, is meant to dismiss the role that any of the saints had in salvation, and most particularly was a criticism of the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

what should we nede to seke to any sainct for remedie, wherefore it is greate iniurye blood of christ to make such peticions phemeth our sauiour.

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That mā is so vnperfect of him selfe, can in no wise merite by his owne

Also that the comming of Christ was longe prophecied before and desired by the prophets, but Iohn baptist beinge more then a prophet, did not only prophecie, but with his finger shewed him, saieng: Ecce agnus dei qui tollit peccata mundi, Then if this were the very lambe which Ihon did demonstrat that taketh away the sinns of the world, what iniury is it to our sauiour christ, that to be buried in Sainct frances cowle, 

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For the practice of burying the dead in the cowls of Franciscan friars, see Susan Wabuda, Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 108, 122-139.

should remit. iiii. parts of penance: what is then left to our sauiour Christ which taketh away the sinnes of the worlde? This I will iustifie to be a great blasphemie to þe blood of christ.

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Also that it was great folly to go on pilgrimage, 

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The famous pilgrimage shrines to the Blessed Virgin Mary at Walsingham in Norfolk (which was established soon after the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century); St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury (Becket was murdered in the Cathedral in 1170), and the shrine to Our Lady of Grace in Ipswich (dating from the 1100s). Willesden also had an important pilgrimage site in its shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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and that preachers in times paste haue bene Antichrists, and now it hath pleased god somwhat to shew fourth there falshode and erroures.

Also that the miracles done as Walsingham and Cāterbury & there in Ipswitch were done by the deuill, by the sufferance of God to blind the pore people. And that the Pope hathe not the keies that Peter hadde, excepte he followe

Peter
Vv.iii.
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