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785 [785]

towne of Portesmouth, where the images of Christ & his sainctes haue ben most contemptuously pulled downe and spitfully handled. Herein I thought good both to write to you, & the maior, the kinges maiesties chefe ministers as well to know the truth, as to consult with you for the reformation of it, to the intente I may be sene to discharge my dewtie, and discharge it in dede bothe to God and the kinges maiestie, vnder whom I am here appyinted to haue cure and care, to reliue suche as be by any wayes fallen, and preserue the rest that stande from like daunger, ye are a gentelman with whom I haue had acquaintance, and whom I know to be wise, & esteme to haue more knowledge, wysdom, & discretion then to allow any suche enormities and therfore do the more willingly consult with you herein, whiche request frendly to know of you the very truthe in the matter, who be the doers, and the circumstance of it, and whether ye think the matter so farre gon with the multitude, & whether the reprofe & disprouing of the dede, might without a further danger be enterprised in the pulpit or not, minding if it may so be, to send one thither for that purpose vpon sonday nexte comming, I woulde vse preaching as it should not be occasion of any further folly, where a folly is begō, and to a multitude perswaded in that opinion of distructiō of images I would neuer preache, for as scripture willeth vs, we shoulde cast no precious stones before hogges. Such as be infected with that opiniō, they be hogges & wors then hogges, if there be any grosser beastes thē hogges be, and haue ben euer so taken, MarginaliaThe were the olde fathers & bishops in the primitiue Churche with Epiphanius, & Carolus Magnus, & all the councell of Frācforde, hogs and doggesand in England they are called lollards, who denying images, thought therwith, al the crafts of painting, grauing to be generally superfluous and naught, and against Gods lawes. In Germany such as maintayned that opinion of dissroying of images, were accompted the dreggs cast out by Luter, after he had tonned all his brewings in Christs religion and so taken as hogs meat, for the reprofe of whom Luther wrote a boke specially: and I haue with mine eies sene the images standing in al such churches where Luther was had in estimatiō: For the destruction of images conteineth an enterprise to subuert religion, and the state of the worlde with it, and specially the nobilitie, who by images set forth and spread abrode, to be red of all people their linage, parentage, with remembrance of their state & acts: and the Pursiuant carieth not on his brest the kinges names written in such letters as a few can spell, but suche as all can reade, be they neuer so rude, being greate knowen letters in images of three Lyons and three floures deluce, and other beastes holding those armes: and he that cannot rede the scripture written about the kinges greate seale, either because he cānot rede at al or because the way doth not expresse it, yet he can rede sainct Georg on horsback on the on side, & the kinge sitting in his maiestie on the other side, & readeth so much written in those images, as if he be an honest man he wil put of his cap, and although if the seale were broken by chaunce hewoul & might make a cādel of it, yet he would not be noted to haue broken the seale for that purpose, or to cal it a pece of waxe only whiles it cōtinueth whole: And if by reuiling of stockes & stones in which matter images be grauē, the setting of the truth to be red in them, of all men shalbe contemned, how shal such writing continue in honor as is comprised in cloutes & pitch, wherof & wherupon our bokes be made, such as few can skil of, & not the hundreth part of the realme. And if we a few that can reade, because we can reade in one sorte of letters so priuileaged as they haue manye reliefes, shall pull the bookes of the reste, and woulde haue our letters only in estimation & blind al them, shall not they haue iust cause to mistrust what is ment? And if the crosse be a truthe: and it be true that Christ suffred, why may we not haue a writyng therof, suche as all can reade, that is to say an image. If this opiniō should procede, whē the kings maiestie hereafter should shew his person, his liuely image, the honor dew by gods law emonge such might cōtinue, but as for the kings stādards, his bāners, his armes, should hardly continue in theyr dew reuerēce, for feare of Lollards idolatrie, which they, gather vpon scripture beastly not only vntrulye. The scripture reproueth fals images made of stockes and stones, & so it doth fals men made of flesh & bones. When the Emperours mony was shewed to Christ, wherin was the image of the Emperour Christe contemned not that image, calling it an idol, nor noted not the mony to be against Gods law because it had an image in it, as though it were against the precept of god. Thou shalt haue no grauē image, but taught them good ciuilitie in calling it the Emperours image, & bad them vse the monie as it was ordered to be vsed in his right vse. There is no scripture that reproueth truth, & al scripture reproueth falsehod. False writings, false bokes, false images and false men, all be naught, to be contemned, & despised, as for paper, inke, perchemente, stones, wood, bones, A. B. of the chancery hande, & a. b. of the secretary hand a letter of Germany fasshion, or of any other forme, be all of one estimation, and may be of man (enclining to the deuel) vsed for falshod, or applying to gods gratious calling, vsed to set forth truth It is a terible matter to think that this false opinion cōceaued against images should trouble any mans head: & suche as I haue knowen vexed with that deuill, as I haue known som, be neuertheles wonderously obstinate in it: and if they can finde one that can spel latten to helpforth their madnes, they be more obdurate then euer were the Iewes & slander what so euer is saide to them for their relief: of this sort I know them to be, and therfore if I wist there wer many of that sort with you, I woulde not irritate them, by preaching without frute, but labour for reformation to my Lord Protector: But if you thought there might be otherwaies vsed, first to a good effect I would follow your aduice & proceding with you & the maior with bothe your helps to doo that may lie in me to the redresse of the matter

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