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1365 [1365]

K. Henry. 8. The Epistle of Volusianus, for Priestes Mariage.

the spirite of leuitie: but to destroye hym in the spirite of bytternes and rigour, as the Apostle sayth 

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Gal. 6: 1.

: If a man be taken in any fault, you that are spirituall informe such in the spirite of leuitie, considering thy selfe lest thou also bee tempted. MarginaliaGal. 6.

To oppresse our neyghbour with violence, is to exact any thyng of hym aboue hys power, and to lay vpō hym more then he is hable to beare, and more peraduenture then they thē selues are hable to wielde which lay it vpō hym: where as the Lord speaking of þe Phariseis to his Disciples, forbiddeth them the same, saying 

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Matt. 23: 2.

: The Scribes and Phariseis do sit vpon the chayre of Moyses. &c. And the Apostle Peter 
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1 Pet. 5: 2.

: Feede (sayth he) as much as in you lyeth, the Lordes flocke, prouidyng for them, not by constraint, but vvillyngly after a godly sorte, and not for filthy luker, but of a ready mynde: not as though ye vvere Lordes ouer the Clergie, but be you as an example to the flocke, of good vvill. Marginalia1. Pet. 5.

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MarginaliaLordship ouer the Clergie forefended.This shepheard of shepheardes and prince of the Apostles doth playnely and euidently declare and insinuate what all other Pastours and Apostles ought to do: How to entreate the flocke of the Lord committed vnto them, and what great care and compassiō of mynde they ought to haue towardes their cure: and remoueth farre out of their hartes all power of Tyrannicall Lordshyp and all ambition, whiche some do exercise with gredines vpon those that are committed to their charge, and pronounceth that they ought not to be Lordes, but fathers ouer theyr flocke: and not imperiouslye to commaund them, as exercisyng stately authoritie and power vpon them, but gētly to admonish them and besech them in the zeale of pietye, accordyng to the strength of euery person, after the Lord, and not after the affection of their owne will, or ambitiouslye settyng forth their owne power, and iurisdiction, & that they ought to be an example to þe flocke, doyng first thē selues that thing, which they cōmaund others, & so to teach thē no lesse by exāples thē by words. Willingly (sayth he) & not by constraynt: of charity, & not for gredy gayn. For there be many which being inflamed with affection, not of charitie, but of couetous gredines & ambition, commaund others that whiche they are not hable to accomplishe, and while they pretende to seke the gayne of soules, they hunt and seeke rather for wordly lucre. Which Baalam the Prophet 

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See Numbers 22-24.

dyd well expresse: MarginaliaNum. 22.who conuerted the gift of Prophecie, and the grace of blessyng whiche he had receyued of God, not to the profyte of others, but to hys owne commoditie.

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And some there be, which whiles they correct others, they pretende to do it with the zeale of God: and whiles they would seme to be better thē other, this they do with a certeyn presumption and rashnes, and so fall in theyr owne presumption and temeritye. Of whome the Apostle speaketh 

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Rom. 10: 2.

: VVhiche haue a zeale of God, but not accordyng to knovvledge. MarginaliaRom. 10.
Zeale without knowledge, what it is.
To haue a zeale of God accordyng to knowledge, is to do any thing in Gods matters prudētly and circumspectly. Of whom Oza 
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I.e., Uzzah; see 2 Sam. 6: 6-7.

beareth a type and resemblaunce: Who whiles that he went about with hys hand to staye the Arke of the Lord staggeryng a litle by reason of the kickyng of the Oxen whiche caryed it, fell downe therfore dead. Marginalia2. King. 6.The Arke of the Lord to stagger or miscarye by the kickyng of the Oxē, signifieth the law of the Lord (which þe Priestes thē selues ought to beare & hold vp) to bee contraried of them in not obseruyng the same, and to be turned out of the right course to þe cōtrary part, MarginaliaOza punished for holdyng vp the Arke.which Oza, who is interpreted to bee a helper of God, attempteth to holde vp. For there be certeine Prelates, whiche while they see the order of Priesthode by some enormitie or excesse, to strayne the lawe of God neuer so litle out of the right course, and labour to redresse and rectifie that misorder, rather by vayne ostentation of their owne strength, then for any pure zeale to God, while they thus presume inordinatly to do, thinkyng to seme to be the helpers of God, many tymes do mortally fall, and incurre therby great daunger and perill.

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Some other also there be whiche hauyng before theyr eyes no consideration of mans infirmitie, neither beyng touched with any respect of mercy and compassion, nor knowyng how to say with the Apostle: VVho is infirme and I am not infirme? Marginalia2. Cor. 11.these whiles they compare them selues to such as be vnder their charge, not in condition wherein they are equall, but in authoritie wherein they are superiours, & couet to be their masters, & more to rule ouer them then to profite thē: they oppresse the weakenes of them by force and violence of authoritie, and compell them to their obedience: which is rightly figured by that facte, whiche is read in the Gospell MarginaliaLuke. 23.of Symon Cyrenæus, whom 

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See Luke 23: 26.

the persecuters of the Lord constreyned to takevp the crosse of Christ. Whose name also doth fytly agree with the same figure. For Simon by interpretation is called obedient. Symon then, that is to say, the obediēt man is forced to beare the Crosse of the Lord, when as subiectes beyng constreyned of their masters by the rigour either of Lordshyp, or authoritie, or feare of their curse, and so compelled to obey them, are driuen to susteyne the Crosse of continencie agaynst theyr willes: who neither do loue the Crosse whiche they beare, because they beare it rather to theyr destruction then to theyr health: neither by bearing the Crosse do dye vnto synne, but by the bearyng therof are rather quickned vnto sinne. For therof ryse diuers other more greuous synnes. MarginaliaWhat inconueniēce riseth of coacted matrimonye.For by þe inhibityng of lawfull and naturall mariage with one woman, ryseth the vnnaturall and most execrable Sodomiticall fornication: riseth also the vnlawful and damnable defillyng of other mens wiues: ryseth furthermore cursed and whoryshe filthynes and pollution: and moreouer riseth most abominable incest against all nature, with their own kyndred, with a heape of manifold other filthy abominations and lecherous pollutions, wherby the fraile infirmitie of man is brought (no doubt) into great peril.

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Wherfore Loth beyng 

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See Genesis 19: 1-26.

delyuered from the burnyng of Sodome through the guiding of the Lordes Aungel and beriued of the felowship of hys wife, whiles that he consideryng hys owne infirmitie durst not ascende vnto the mountayne as the Aungell badde him, did choose rather to dwell in Segor a litle Citie nere by, the Aungell thus byddyng hym and speakyng vnto hym: Saue thy soule and looke not behynde thee, but saue thy selfe in the mountayne lest thou also perish. To whom Loth aūswered: I pray thee Lord, because thy seruaunt hath founde such grace in thy sight that thou vvilt saue me, I can not be saued in the mountayne, lest perhappes some euill take me and I dye: There is a litle Citie hereby vvherunto I may flye and may be saued in it. MarginaliaGene. 19.

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MarginaliaLothes refusing to go vp to the moūtaine, what it meaneth.What meaneth this that Loth flying from Sodome by the commaundement of the Aungell to bee saued in the moūtayne, would not ascend vp to the hill fearyng there to perishe, but dyd chose rather to dwell in Segor a small City nere vnto the hyll, there to be saued, but that euery faithfull mā couetyng to escheue the burning & daūger of Sodomiticall lust, while neither he is able to mount vp to the toppe of virginitie, & also is afeard to ascend to the moūtaine of the state of widowhode, lest he perishe therin, flyeth therefore to the state of matrimony, whiche is a small continēcie in respect of the other two, and also nere vnto them both. MarginaliaThe chastitie of mariage, as neare to heauen as virginitie.For after those two kyndes of continēcie, this chastitie is also proued to be laudable, and is not depriued of the reward of the kyngdome of heauen.

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Vnto this chastitity he is commaunded to flye which can not otherwise cōteine, and to bee saued in it, lest peraduenture if he clyme vp to the mounte, he fall into incōuenience and perishe therin: that is, lest if hee shall attēpt to obteyne by hys owne strength the continencie which is not giuen vnto hym of God, the euill of incontinency or fornication, or of some of the other euils afore rehearsed, do fall vpon him, and so he perishe in them mortally. For there bee many who, while they consider not theyr own infirmitie, and while they stryue to achyue greater thynges then they are hable to reache: in this their clymyng doe fall headlong into worse inconuenience, and while they foolishly seeke for great thynges, do lose the lesse, whiche before they semed to haue. Which we may well vnderstand by the example of Loth aforesayd: Who what tyme he left the small Citye Segor, whiche he chose before to inhabite, in the whiche hee sought to be saued: went vp to the mountaine and there abydyng fell into the stolne inceste of hys owne daughters, as þe Scripture witnesseth, saying: Loth vvent vp from Segor and remayned in the mountayne, and his daughters gaue to their father vvyne to drinke that night. And the elder of them vvent and lay vvith her father. Whiche thyng had not happened vnto hym, if hee had kept hym selfe still in Segor, where hee myght haue bene saued at the byddyng of the Aungel, as he hym selfe required. But because he forsoke that, which was graunted to him of the Aungell, and presumed to that vpon his owne will, contrary to the precept of the Aungell, which was not graunted: therfore he fell into great daunger of hys soule and committed the greuous synne of incest. MarginaliaEuery mā ought to be contented with hys own gifte.

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No otherwise doth it happen to many other, who while eyther they forsake that thyng whiche is graunted them of God, or ambitiously clyme after that whiche is to them not graunted, both they lose that which they had graunted vnto them, and fall into that whiche to them was not graunted. For diuers there be, whiche whyle they forsake either willyngly or agaynst theyr will, the

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