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1381 [1381]

K. Hen. 8. An Epistle of Phil. Melancthon to K. Henry, against the vj. Articles.

cauillations. And why do not these Bishops as well plainly vtter & consent þt they will abyde no reformatiō of doctrine & Religion in þe Church, for that it shall make agaynst their dignitie, pompe & pleasure? Why doe not their adherētes also & such as take their part, playnly say that they will retaine still this present state of the Church for their own profite, tranquilitie, and mainteinaunce? Thus to confesse, were true and plaine dealing. MarginaliaThe cloked hipocrisie of false Papistes.Now, whiles they pretend hypocritically a false zeale and loue to the truth and sincere Religiō, they come in with their blynde sophistications, wherwith they couer their errours: for their Articles set forth in this acte be erroneous, false & impious, how glorious soeuer they seme outwardly. Wherfore it were to be wished þt these Byshops would remember Gods terrible threatnyng in the Prophet Esay 

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The following verses are quoted in this order: Isaiah 10: 1, Isaiah 10: 3 and Isaiah 5: 20.

: VVoe to you (sayth he) vvhich make vvicked lavves. VVhat vvill you doo in the day of visitation & calamitie to come? &c. MarginaliaEsa. 10.VVoe vnto you that call euill good. &c. MarginaliaEsa. 5.

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Now to come more neare to the matter whiche we haue in hand: this can not be denyed, but that long and horrible dareknes hath bene in the Church of Christ. MarginaliaMens traditions coūted for Gods seruice.Mens tradtions not onely haue bene a yoke to good mens consciences, but also (whiche is much worse) they haue bene reputed for Gods holy seruice, to the great disworshyp of God. There were vowes, thynges bequethed to Churches, diuersitie of garmētes, choise of meates, long babling praiers, pardons, imageworshyp, manifest Idolatrie committed to Saintes, the true worshyp of God & true good workes not knowen. Briefly, litle difference there was betwixte the Christian & heathen Religion, as still is yet at Rome to this present day, to be sene. The true doctrine of repentaūce, of remission of sinnes, which cōmeth by the faith in Christ, of iustification of fayth, of the difference betwene the law and the gospel, of the right vse of the Sacramētes, was hyd & vnknowen. The keyes were abused to the maintenaūce of the Popes vsurped tyranny. Ceremonies of mens inuention were much preferred before ciuile obedience and duetyes done in the common wealth.

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MarginaliaThe filthy life of the Clergie, for lacke of mariage.Vnto these errours moreouer was ioyned a corrupte life, full of all lecherous and filthy lustes, by reason of the law forbyddyng Priestes to mary. Out of this miserable darkenes God somethyng hath begon to deliuer hys Churche through the restoryng agayne of true doctrine. MarginaliaThis restoring of the Gospell is onely of God and not of man.For so we must nedes acknowledge, that these so great & long festred errours haue not bene disclosed & brought to lyght by the industrie of mā, but this light of the Gospell is onely the gift of God, who now agayne hath appeared vnto the Church. For so doth the holy ghost prophecie before, how in the latter tymes the godly should susteyne sore and perilous cōflictes with Antichrist, foreshowyng that he should come, enuironed with a mighty and strōg army of Byshops, hypocrites and Princes: that he should fight agaynst the truth, and sley the godly.

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And that now all these thynges are so come to passe, it is most euident, and can not be denied. The tyranny of the Bishop of Rome hath partly brought in errours into the Churche, partly hath confirmed them, & now maynteyneth the same with force and violence, as Daniell hath well foreshowed. And much we reioysed to see you diuided from hym, hopyng & trustyng well that the Churche of England would now flourishe. But your Byshops be not diuided from the Romishe Antichrist: hys Idolatrie, errours, & vices they defend & maynteine with toth & nayle: MarginaliaBy the vi. Articles all errours & traditions are maintayned.for þe Articles now passed, are craftely piked out. They cōfirme al humaine traditiōs in that they establish solemne vowes, single lyfe, & auricular confession. They vphold and aduaunce not onely their pride & authoritye, but all errours withall, in reteynyng the priuate Masse. Thus haue they craftely prouided that no reformatiō cā take any place, that their dignitie and wealth may still be vpholden. And this to be the purpose of the Bishops, experience it selfe doth playnly teach vs. Now what mā will not lament to see the glory of Christ thus to be defaced? For (as I sayd before) this matter concerneth not onely these Articles which there be enacted, but all other Articles of sounde doctrine are likewise ouerthrowne, if such traditiōs of men shalbe reputed as necessary, and to be reteyned. For why doth Christ say? 

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Mark 7: 7.

For they vvorshyp me in vayne vvith the preceptes of men? MarginaliaMarke 7.or why doth S. Paul so oft detest mens traditions?

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MarginaliaGod will not be worshipped but after his worde.It is no light offence to set vp new kindes of worshippyng and seruyng of God without hys worde, or to defend the same. Such presumption God doth horribly detest, which will be knowen in hys worde onely. He will haue none other religions inuēted by mans deuise: for els al sortes of religiōs of al nations might be approued and allowed. Leaue not (sayth hee) 

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Proverbs 3: 5.

to thyne ovvne vvisedome. MarginaliaProu. 3.But he sent Christ, and commaundeth vs to heare hym, and not the inuention of subtile and politicke heades, which applye Religion to their own luker & cōmoditie.

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Furthermore, priuate Masses, vowes, the single lyfe of Priestes, numbryng vp of sinnes to the Priest, with other thynges moe, beyng but mere ordinaunces of men, are vsed for Gods true seruice and worshyppe. MarginaliaAgainst priuate Masses, & the Canon of the Masse.For although the Supper of the Lorde was truely instituted by Christ, yet the priuate Masse is a wicked prophanation of the Lordes Supper. For in the Canon what corruption is conteyned in this, where it is sayd that Christ is offered, and that the worke it selfe is a sacrifice whiche redemeth the quicke and the dead? These thyngs were neuer ordeined of Christ: yea manifold wayes they are repugnant to the Gospell. MarginaliaChrist but once offered.Christ willeth not hym selfe to bee offered vp of Priestes, neither can the worke of the offerer or of þe receiuer, by any meanes, bee a sacrifice. This is manifest Idolatrie, and ouerthroweth the true doctrine of fayth and the true vse of þe Sacramētes. By faith in Christ we are iustified, and not by any worke of the priest. MarginaliaThe true vse of the Lordes Supper.And the Supper is ordeined that the Minister should distribute to others, to the intent that they repentyng for their sinnes, should bee admonished firmely to beleue the promises of the Gospell to perteyne vnto them: Here is set a playne testimonye before vs, þt we are made the members of Christ, and washed by his bloud.

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And this is the true vse of that Supper, which is ordeyned in the Gospel, and was obserued in the primatiue Church 300. yeares and more, from the whiche we ought not to be remoued. MarginaliaSacramentes ought not to be remoued out of theyr right vse.For it is playne impietie to transferre the Lordes institution to any other vse, as we are taught by the second cōmaundement. Wherfore these priuate Masses, for asmuch as they swarue frō the right institution of Christ manifold wayes, as by oblation, sacrifice, application, and many other wayes besides, they are not to be reteyned but to be abolished. Flye (sayth S. Paul) 

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1 Cor. 10: 14.

frō all Idolatry. Marginalia1. Cor. 10.In these priuate Masses much Idolatry is committed, whiche we see our Byshops now so stoutly to defend: and no maruel. For in the latter tymes the Scripture playnly sheweth that great Idolatry shall reigne in the Churche of God. As Christ hym selfe also signifieth, saying 
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Matt. 24: 15.

: VVhen ye shall see the abomination of desolation, vvhiche is foretold of the Prophet Daniell, standyng in the holy place, he that readeth, let hym vnderstand. MarginaliaMath. 24.And Daniell in the xi. chap. 
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Daniel 11: 38.

And he shall vvorship the God Maozim in his place, and shall adore the God vvhom his fathers knevv not, vvith golde, siluer, and precious stones. MarginaliaDan. 11.Both these places speake of þe Masse.

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This kinde of worship & horrible prophanation of the Sacrament, God abhorreth. For howe many sundry kyndes of manifest impietie are here committed in thys one action of þe Masse? MarginaliaWhat impietie is in the Masse.First, it is set forth to sale. Secōdly they that are vnworthy, are compelled to receiue whether they will or no. Thirdly, it is applyed for meritorious & satisfactory for þe quicke & the dead. Fourthly, many thinges are promised therby, as prosperous nauigation, remedies agaynst disseases both for man and beast, with other infinite moe. These be most manifest and notorious abominations. But besides these, there be other also no lesse to bee reprehended whiche the simple people do not so playnly see. Such worshyppyng and seruyng of God is not to bee set vp after the phantasie of men. Wherefore they do wickedly when they offer sacrifice to God without hys commaundement. For when of this worke they make a sacrifice, they imagine that priuate Masses are to be done, because God would be worshipped after this sorte. And we see that Masses are bought with gold and siluer, great riches and sumptuous charges: also the Sacrament to be caryed about in gold and siluer to be worshipped, whereas the Sacramēt was neuer ordeyned for any such purpose. Wherefore seyng the commaundement of God byddeth, flye from Idolatrye, priuate Masses are not to be mainteyned. MarginaliaNo priuate Masses vsed in the olde tyme.And I maruel why they say that such priuate Masses are necessarilye to bee reteyned, when it is euident that in the olde tyme there was none such. Shall we thinke that thynges perteynyng to the necessary worshyp of God, coulde so long be lackyng in the primatiue Churche 300. yeares after the Apostles and more? What can bee more absurde and agaynst all reason?

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We se these priuate Masses to be defended with great labor and much adoe: of some, for feare lest theyr gayne should decay: of some, because they would serue the affection of the vulgare people (which thinketh to haue great succour therby, and therfore are loth to leaue it) rather then for any iuste cause or reason to lead them. But how

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