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1380 [1380]

K. Henry. 8. An Epistle of Philip Melancthon to K. Kenry, agaynst the vj. Articles.

monly sayd) to haue a second vewe & ouersight of things before passed and decreed.

MarginaliaExample of the Athenians reuokyng their decree.The wise Athenians made a Decree when the Citie of Mitilene was recouered, which before had forsakē them, þt al þe Citizens there should be slaine, & the Citie vtterly destroyed. Wherupon there was a shyppe sent forth with þe same cōaūdement to the armye. On the next morow the matter was brought agayne before the same iudges, and after better aduise taken, there was a contrary decree made, þt the whole multitude should not be put to the sworde, but a fewe of the chiefe authors of their rebellion, should be punished and the Citie saued. There was therfore an other shyppe sent forth with a countermaūd in all hast, to ouertake and preuent the former shippe, as also it happened. Neyther was that noble Citie whiche then ruled and reigned farre and wyde, ashamed to alter & reforme their former Decree. Many such examples there be, the most parte wherof, I am sure are well knowen vnto you. But in the Church especially, Princes haue many tymes altered and reformed their Decrees, as Nabugodonosor and Darius. There was a Decree set forth in the name of Assuerus, concernyng the killyng of þe Iewes 

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See Esther 3-9.

. MarginaliaEster. 8.That decree was afterwardes called in agayn. So did Adrianus and Antonius also correct and reforme their Decrees.

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Therefore, although there bee a decree set forth in England, which threatneth straunge punishmētes and penalties, disagreing frō the custome of the true church, and swaruing from the rules and Canons thereof: MarginaliaMitigatiō of the vj. Articles desired.yet I thought it not vnseemely for vs to become peticioners vnto you, for the mitigation of these your sharpe and seuere procedings. The which when I consider, it greueth my minde, not onelye for the perill and daunger of them which professe the same doctrine that we doe, but also I do lament for your cause, that they shoulde make you an instrumēt & a minister of their bloudy tyrānie & impietie. And partlye also I lament, to see the course of Christian doctrine peruerted, supersticious rites cōfyrmed, whoredome and lecherous lustes mainteined. MarginaliaLatimer, Cromer, Shaxton, and others, imprisoned for the vj. Articles.Besides all this, I here of diuers good men, excellyng both in doctrine and vertue, to bee there deteyned in prison, as Latymer, Cromer, Shaxton and others 

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Nicholas Shaxton, the bishop of Salisbury, and Hugh Latimer, the bishop of Worcester, fought the Six Articles in the House of Lords. In July 1539, they resigned, or were forced to resign, their sees and were each imprisoned for a few months. Edward Crome, a prominent evangelical preacher, preached against the Six Articles and in defense of Shaxton and Latimer. He was not imprisoned but, in 1541, he made a public, but very qualified retraction of his sermons.

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, to whom I wishe strength, pacience, & cōsolation in the Lord. Vnto whō albeit there can nothyng happen more luckelye or more gloriouslye, then to giue their lyues in the confession of the manifest truth and veritie: yet would I wish that you should not disteyne your handes with the bloud of such men: neither would I wishe such Lanternes of lyght in your Churche, to be extinguished: neither these spitefull and malicious Phariseis, the enemies of Christ, to haue theyr willes so much fulfilled. Neither agayne would I wishe that you should so much serue the will and desire of that Romishe Antichrist, whiche laugheth in his sleue to see you now to take part with hym, against vs, hopyng wel by the helpe of hys Byshops, to recouer agayne his former possession which of late by your vertuous and godly meanes he lost. MarginaliaThe Byshops pretende outward obedience to the kyng, but their hartes be with the Pope.He seeth your Byshops, for the tyme, loyall vnto you, and obsequious to obey your wil: but in hart he seeth them lynked vnto hym in a perpetuall bond of fidelitie and obediēce. In al these feates and practises, the Romishe Byshops are not to seeke. They see what great stormes and blastes heretofore they haue passed by bearyng and sufferyng. They see that great thynges bee brought to passe in tyme. Neither do they forget the olde verse of the Poete.

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Multa, dies variusq; labor mutabilis æui
Rettulit in melius.

Many good and learned men in Germany conceaued of you great hope, that by your authoritie and example, other Princes also would be prouoked to surcease likewise from their vniust crueltie, and better to aduise them selues for the reformation of errours crepte into the Church: trustyng that you would be as a gyde and Captaine of that godly purpose & enterprise. But now seyng these your contrary procedynges, we are vtterly discouraged: the indignation of other Princes is confyrmed: the stubbernes of the wicked is augmented: and old and great errours are therby stablished.

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MarginaliaThe Byshops maintayne errours against their knowlege.But here your Byshops will say agayne (no doubt) that they defend no errours, but the very truth of Gods holy worde. And although they bee not ignoraunt that they striue in very deede, both agaynst the true worde of God, & the Apostolicke Churche, yet lyke crafty Sophisters, they can finde out fayre gloses, pretending a goodly shewe outwardly, to colour their errours and abuses. And this sophistication not onely nowe in England is had in great admiration, and esteemed for great wisedome, neither in Rome onely reigneth, where Cardinall Conterrenus, Sadolet, and Cardinall Pole, goe about to paynt out abuses with new colours & goodly gloses: but also in Germany diuers noble men are likewise corrupted and seduced with the lyke sophistication. And therfore I nothyng maruel that so many there with you be deceaued with these craftie iuglynges. And although you for your parte, lacke neither learnyng nor iudgement, yet some tymes we see it so happen, that wise men also be caryed away by faire & colourable persuasions, from the veritie. The saying of Simonides is prayse worthy: Opinion (sayth he) many times peruerteth veritie. MarginaliaFalsehode oftentimes beareth a fayrer shewe, then truth.And many times false opiniō hath outwardly a fairer shew, then simple truth. And specially it so happeneth in cases of Religiō, where the deuill transformeth hym selfe into an Aungell of light, settyng forth with all colourable and goodly shewes, false opiniōs. How fayre semeth the glose of Somosatenus, vpon the Gospell of S. Iohn: In the beginning vvas the vvord. &c. MarginaliaIohn. 1.and yet is it full of impietie. But I omitte foreine examples.

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In these Articles of yours, how many thinges are craftely and deceitfully deuised? MarginaliaConfession.Confession sayth the Article, is necessarie, and ought to be reteined. And why say they not playnly, that the rehearsyng and numbryng vp of sinnes is necessary by Gods word? This the byshops knew well to be very false, and therfore in þe Article they placed theyr wordes generally, to bleare the eyes of the simple people, that when they heare confession to bee necessarye, they should thereby thinke the enumeration of sinnes to be necessary by Gods worde.

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MarginaliaPriuate Masses.The like legerdimaine also they vse in the Article of priuate Masses: albeit the beginnyng of the sayd Article conteyneth a manifest vntruth, where they say that it is necessary to reteyne priuate Masses. What man in all the primitiue Church, more then iiij. hundreth yeares after þe Apostles tyme, did euer so say or thinke, at what tyme there were no such priuate Masses vsed? But afterward in þe processe of þe Article, folowe other blind sophistications, to make þe people beleue þt they should receiue by thē, diuine consolations & benefites. And why do they not plainly declare what cōsolatiōs & benefites those be? The Byshops here do name no application MarginaliaBy application of Masses, is ment, when the passion and merites of Christ is applyed to any by vertue of the Masse. & merite, for they know þt they cā not be defended. Yet they dally with glosyng wordes, wherby they may winde out & escape, if any should improue their application. And yet notwithstāding they would haue this their application to be vnderstanded and beleued of the people. They would haue this Idolatrous persuasion confirmed: to wytte, that this sacrifice doth merite vnto others, remissiō a pœna & culpa: release of all calamities, and also gayne and luker in common trafficke, and to conclude, what so euer elles the carefull hart of man doth desire.

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MarginaliaPriestes mariage.The lyke sophistication they vse also, where they say that Priestes Mariage is agaynst the law of God. They are not ignoraunt what S. Paul sayth 

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1 Tim. 3: 2.

: A Byshop ought to be the husband of one vvife: Marginalia1. Tim. 3.and therefore they knowe right well that Mariage is permitted to Priestes by the lawe of God. But because nowe, they say, they haue made a vow, they go craftely to worke, & do not say that priestes for their vowes sake can not mary, but playnly giue out the Article after this sorte: that Mariage of Priestes is vtterly agaynst the law of God. Agayn, what impudencie and tyranny do they shew moreouer, when they compell Mariages to be dissolued, and commaunde those to be put to death, whiche will not put away their wyues, and renounce their matrimonye? Where as the vowe of Priestes, if it had any force at al, should extend no further but onely to put them from the ministery if they would mary. And thys (no doubt) is the true meanyng of the Councels and Canons.

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MarginaliaWinchester cunning in the arte of iugling, called deceptio visus.O Cursed Byshops. O impudent and wicked Winchester, who vnder these colourable fetches, thincketh to deceiue the eyes of Christ, and the iudgementes of all the goldy in the whole world. These thinges haue I writtē that you may vnderstand the craftie sleightes & so iudge of the purpose and policie of these Bishops. For if they would simply & hartely search for the truth, they woulde not vse these crafty collusions and deceitful iugglynges.

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MarginaliaThe worde of God ought simply to be handled without all sophistrie.This sophistication, as it is in all other affaires pernicious and odious, so aboue all thinges, most specially it is to be auoided in matters of Religion: wherin it is a heynous impietie to corrupt or peruerte the pure word of God. And hereof the deuill which is called Diabolus, specially taketh his name, because he wrasteth þe word of God out of mēs hartes by such false iugling & sophistical

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cauillations.
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