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1390 [1390]

K. Henry. 8. The storye and life of the Lorde Cromwell.

Realme, is to do with their houses and possessions as kyng Henry here did, throughe the motion and Counsell of Cromwell. For els who seeth not in Queene Maryes tyme, if either the houses of Monkes had stād, or their landes had ben otherwise disposed then into þe hādes of such as they were, how many of thē had bene restored, & replenished againe with Monkes & Friers, in as ample wise, as euer they were? And if Dukes, Barons, and the nobilitie scarse were able to reteyne the landes and possessiōs of Abbayes distributed to thē by kyng Henry, from the deuotion of Queene Mary, seekyng to builde agayne the walles of Hierico: what then should the meaner sorte haue done, let other men cōiecture. MarginaliaThe vtter ruine of Monasteries, was Gods worke.Wherfore it is not vnlike, but þt Gods heauenly prouidence did well foresee and dispose these things before by this mā, in working the destruction of these Abbayes: wherupō as oftē as he sent out any mē to suppresse any Monasterie, he vsed commōly to send them with this charge, that they should throwe downe those houses euen to the foundation.

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Whiche wordes although may seme percase to some to be cruelly spoken of him: yet contrarywise do I suppose the doyng therof not to be without Gods speciall prouidence, and secret guiding: Or els we might perauenture haue had such swarmes of Friers & Monkes possessed in their nestes agayn, before this day in England, in so great a nūber, that x. Cromwels afterward vnneth should haue sufficed to haue vnhoused them. Wherfore if the plantation whiche the Lord God neuer planted, be pluckte vp by the rootes 

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Matt. 15:13.

, MarginaliaMath. 15.let God alone with his working, and let the Monasteries go.

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MarginaliaMalleus Monachorū Cromwellus.Now that you haue sene, what this Malleus Monachorum 

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Literally, 'hammer of the monks'.

hath done in defacyng the Synagoge of the Pope: let vs see how the said Cromwell agayn did trauaile in setting vp Christes Churche & congregation.

After that the Bishop of Romes power and authoritie was banished out of England, the Bishops of his Secte neuer ceased to seeke all occasions, howe either to restore his head againe, being broken and wounded, or at the least to keepe vprighte those thinges, whiche yet remayned: wherin although their labours were not altogether frustrate, yet had they brought much more to passe, MarginaliaCromwell the Forte & defence of the church.if Cromwell (as a mighty wall and defence of the Churche) had not resisted continually their enterprises.

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It happened that after the abolishyng of the Pope, certeine tumultes begā to rise about Religion. MarginaliaAn assemblie of learned mē appoynted by the kyng.Wherupon it semed good vnto kyng Henry to appoint an assemblie of learned men and Byshops, which should soberly and modestly entreat & determine those thinges which perteyned vnto Religion. Briefly, at the Kinges pleasure all the learned men, but specially the Bishops assembled, to whom this matter seemed chieflye to belong 

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This detailed account of a vice-gerential synod, including Cromwell's oration and the other sppeeches, summoned by Cromwell in February 1537 (not 1536 as Foxe claims) is taken by Foxe from Alexander Alesius, Of the auctoritie of the word of God (Strausburg, 1548?), STC 292, sigs. A5r-B7v. As Cromwell's speech will make clear the object of the synod was to determine the number of sacraments. Bishop Stokesley of London led the defence of retaining the seven sacraments, basing his arguments on unwritten tradition.

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. MarginaliaCromwell with Alex. Alesius resort to the assemblie.Cromwell thought also to bee present him selfe with the Bishops, who by chaunce meeting with Alexander Alesius by the way a Scottishe mā, brought him with hym to þe Parlament house, where all þe Bishops were assembled together. Which was in the yeare. 1537. The Byshops and Prelates attending vpon the comming of Cromwell, as hee was come in, rose vppe and dyd obeysaunce to hym as to their Vicar generall, and he again saluted euery one in theyr degree, & satte down in the highest place at the table, accordyng to hys degree and office, and after hym euery Byshop in his order, & Doctors. First ouer agaynst hym sat the Archbishop of Caunterburye, then the Archbishop of Yorke, the Bishops of London, Lyncolne, Salisbury, Bathe, Ely, Herford, Chychester, Norwyche, Rochester, and Worcester. &c. There Cromwell in the name of the king (whose most deare and secret Counseller at that present he was, and Lord preuy Seale, and Vicar generall of the Realme) spake these wordes in maner folowyng.

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Right reuerend fathers in Christ: The Kinges maiestie geueth you high thankes that ye haue so diligently MarginaliaCromwells Oration to the Bishops.without any excuse, assembled hether accordyng to his commaundement. And ye bee not ignoraunt that ye bee called hether to determine certayne controuersies, which at thys tyme be moued concerning the Christian Religion and fayth, not onely in thys realme, but also in all nacions through the worlde. For the kyng studyeth day and night to set a quietnes in the Church, and he can not rest, vntill all such controuersies be fullie debated and ended, through the determination of you and of hys whole Parlament. For although hys speciall desire is to set a stay for the vnlearned people, whose consciences are in doubt what they may beleue: and he him self by his excellent learning, knoweth these controuersies wel inough, yet he will suffer no common alteration, but by the consent of you and of hys whole Parlament. By the which thyng ye may perceaue both hys high wisedome, and also hys great loue toward you. MarginaliaThekinges request to the Byshops.And he desireth you for Christes sake, that all malice, obstinacie, and carnall respecte set aparte, ye will frendly and louingly dispute among your selues, of þe controuersies moued in þe church, and that ye will conclude all thynges by þe word of God, without all brauling or scoldyng: neyther will hys maiestie suffer the Scripture to bee wrasted and defaced by any gloses, any papisticall lawes, or by any authoritie of Doctours or Councells, and much lesse will hee admitte any articles or doctrine, not conteyned in the Scripture, but approued onely by continuaunce of tyme and olde custome, and by vnwritten verities, as ye were wont to doe. Ye know well inough that ye bee bound to shewe thys seruice to Christ and to hys Church, and yet notwithstanding, hys maiestie will geue you high thankes, if ye will set and conclude a godly and a perfect vnitie: wherunto thys is the onely waye and meane, if ye will determine all thynges by the Scripture as God commaundeth you in Deuteronomie, which thyng hys maiestie exhorteth and desireth you to doe.

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When Cromwell had ended this his Oration, the Byshops rose vp altogether geuyng thankes vnto the kynges Maiestie, both for his great zeale towarde the Churche of Christ, and also for his most godly exhortation, worthy so Christian a Prince.

MarginaliaStokesley defendeth the vij. Sacramentes.Immediatly they rose vp to disputation, whereas Stokesley Byshop of London, first of all, beyng þe most earnest champion and mainteiner of the Romishe Decrees, (whom Cromwell a litle before had checked by name for defendyng vnwritten verities) endeuoured him selfe with all his labour and industrie, out of þe old schole gloses, to mayntayne the vij. Sacramentes of the Churche. The Archbyshop of Yorke, Lyncolne, Bathe, Chichester & Norwiche also fauoured his part and Sect. On the contrary part, was the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Byshops of Salisburye, Elye, Harford, and Worcester, with many other.

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After much cōmunication had on either part, & that they had long contended about þe testimonies of þe Doctours, which as it semed vnto thē, dissented & disagreed amongest them selues, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the last, spake and sayd thus vnto them.

MarginaliaThe Archb. of Canterburies Oration to the Byshops.It beseemeth not men of learning and grauitie to make much babling and brauling about bare wordes, so that we agree in the very substaunce and effecte of the matter. MarginaliaSophistication of wordes to be auoyded in matters of weight.For to braule about wordes, is the propertie of Sophisters and such as meane disceite & subtiltie, which delight in the debate and dissension of the worlde, and in the miserable state of the Church: and not of them which shoulde seeke the glorye of Christ, and shoulde studye for the vnitie and quietnes of the Church. There be waightie controuersies now moued and put forth, not of ceremonies and light thinges, but of the true vnderstāding, and of the right difference of the law and of the Gospell: MarginaliaQuestions and controuersies of religion necessary to be discussed.of the maner and way how sinnes be forgeuen: of comforting doubfull and wauering consciences, by what meanes they may be certified that they please God, seing they feele the strength of the lawe accusing them of sinne: of the true vse of the Sacramentes, whether þe outward worke of them doth iustifie man, or whether we receaue our iustification thorowe fayth. Item, which be the good workes, and the true seruice and honour which pleaseth God: and whether the choise of meates, the difference of garmentes, the vowes of Monkes and Priestes, and other traditions which haue no worde of God to cōfirme them: whether these (I say) be ryght good workes, and

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