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1391 [1391]

K. Hen. 8. The storye and life of the Lorde Cromwell. Alexander Alesius.

such as make a perfect Christian man or no: MarginaliaFalse worshipped.Item, whether vayne seruice and false honouring of God & mans traditions, doe binde mens consciences or no. MarginaliaCeremonies.Finally, whether the ceremonies of confirmation, of orders, and of annealing, and such other (which can not be proued to bee institute of Christ, nor haue any word in them to certifie vs of remission of sinnes) ought to be called Sacramentes, and to be compared with Baptisme and þe Supper of the Lorde, or no.

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These be no light matters, but euē þe principall points of our Christian religion. Wherfore we cōtend not about wordes & trifles, but about high & earnest matters. Christ sayth: Blessed be the peace makers, for they shalbe called the sonnes of God. MarginaliaMath. 5.And Paul writing vnto Timothy, commaundeth Byshops to auoyde brauling and contention about wordes, which be profitable to nothyng but vnto the subuersion and destruction of the hearers: and monisheth him specially, that he shoulde resiste with the Scriptures when any man disputeth with hym of the fayth: and he addeth a cause, where as he saith: Doing this, thou shalt preserue both thy selfe and also them which heare thee. Marginalia2. Tim. 2. Now if ye will followe these Counsellers, Christ and Paul, all contention and brauling about wordes must be set aparte, and ye must stablishe a godly and a perfecte vnitie and concorde out of the Scripture. Wherfore in thys disputation, we must first agree of the number of the Sacramentes, and what a Sacrament doth signifie in the holy Scripture, & when we call Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord Sacramentes of the Gospell, what we meane therby. MarginaliaAll be not sacramentes of the newe Testament, which may haue the name of Sacramentes.I knowe ryght well that S. Ambrose and other authors call the washing of the Disciples feete, and other thynges, Sacramentes, which I am sure, you your selues would not suffer to be numbred among the other Sacramentes.

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When hee had ended his Oration, Cromwell commaunded Alesius whiche stoode by (whom hee perceyued to geue attentiue eare to that which was spoken) to shewe his mynde and opinion, declaryng to the Byshops before, that he was the kynges scholer, and therfore desired thē to be cōtented to heare him indifferētly.

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Alesius, after he had first done his dutie vnto þe Lord Cromwell, and to the other Prelates of the Churche, sayd in this wise.

MarginaliaAlexander Alesius reasoneth with the Byshops.Right honourable and noble Lord, and you most reuerend fathers and prelates of the Church, although I come vnprepared vnto thys disputation, yet trusting in the ayde of Christ which promiseth to geue both mouth & wysedome vnto vs when we be required of our fayth, I will vtter my sentence and iudgement of this disputation. And I thinke that my Lord Archbyshop hath geuen you a profitable exhortatiō, that ye should fyrst agree of the signification of a Sacrament, MarginaliaThe name of a Sacrament, how farre it extendeth.whether ye will call a Sacrament a ceremonie institute of Christ in the Gospell, to signifie a speciall or a singular vertue of the Gospell, and of godlines (as Paul nameth remissiō of sinnes to be) or whether ye meane, euery ceremonie generallye, which may bee a token or a signification of an holy thyng, to be a Sacrament. For after thys latter signification I will not sticke to graunt you that there be vij. Sacramentes and more too, if ye will. But yet Paul seemeth to describe a Sacrament after the first significatiō, wheras he sayth: That circumcision is a token and a seale of the rightwisenes of fayth. MarginaliaRom. 4.This definition of one particular Sacrament, must bee vnderstand to perteine vnto all Sacramentes generally, for the Iewes had but one Sacrament onely, as all the scholasticall writers doe graunt. And he describeth baptisme after the same maner, in the v. to þe Ephesians, wheras he saith: That Christ doth sanctifie þe Church (that is to say, all þt be baptised) thorow the bathe of water in the worde of life. MarginaliaEphes. 5.For here also he addeth the word & promise of God vnto the ceremonye. MarginaliaWhat is a Sacrament properly.And Christ also requireth fayth, where he sayth: Who soeuer beleueth and is baptised, shall be saued. And S. Augustine describeth a Sacrament thus: MarginaliaGods worde and promise going with an outward ceremonie, maketh a Sacrament.The worde of God commyng vnto the element, maketh the Sacrament. And in an other place he sayth: MarginaliaA definition of a Sacrament.A Sacrament is a thyng wherin the power of God, vnder the forme of visible things, doth worke secretly saluation. And the Maister of the Sentences doth describe a Sacrament no other wyse. A Sacrament (sayth hee) is an inuisible grace, and hath a visible forme: and by thys inuisible grace, I meane (sayth he) remission of sinnes. MarginaliaNo man hath power to make any Sacrament.Finally, S. Thomas denieth that any man hath authoritie to institute a Sacrament. Now ifye agree vnto thys definition of a Sacrament, it is an easye thyng to iudge of the nūber of those Sacramentes which haue the manifest worde of God, and bee institute by Christ, to signifye vnto vs the remissiō of our sinnes.

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S. Augustine sayth, that there bee but two such Sacramentes, in the cxviij. Epistle vnto Ianuarius. His wordes bee these: MarginaliaAugust. ad Ianuarium Epist. 118.Fyrst, I would haue thee to vnderstand the summe and effecte of thys disputation, which is thys: that our Lord Iesus Christ (as he hym selfe sayth in the Gospell) hath laden vs, but with a light & easie yoke or burdē. MarginaliaChristes Church charged but with fewe and easie Sacramentes.Wherfore, he hath knitte together the fellowship of hys new people with Sacramentes, very fewe in number, very easie to be kept, and very excellent in signification, which be Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lorde, and such other, if there be any moe cōmaūded in the holy Scripture, those except which were burdens for the seruitude of the people in the olde lawe, for the hardnes of theyr hartes. &c. And agayne, in the iij. booke of the learnyng of a Christian man, he sayth: MarginaliaAugust. de Doctrina Christiana. lib. 3.The Scripture hath taught vs but fewe signes, as be the Sacrament of Baptisme, and the solemne celebration and remembraunce of the body and bloud of the Lorde. &c.

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MarginaliaStokesley replyeth agaynst Alesius.Then the Byshop of London whiche could scarsly refrayne him selfe all this while, and now could forbeare no longer, brake out in this maner. First of all (sayth he) where you alledge, that all the Sacramentes which are in the Church, instituted by Christ him self, haue either some manifest grounde in the Scriptures, or ought to shewe forth some signification of remission of sinnes, it is false and not to be allowed.

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Thē sayd Alesius, that he would proue it, not onely by manifest autoritie of Scriptures, but also by euidēt testimonies of auncient Doctours and schole writers.

MarginaliaFox Byshop of Herford speaketh.But the Byshop of Herford whiche was then lately returned out of Germany (where he had bene Ambassadour for the kyng to the Protestantes) being moued with the Byshop of Lōdons frowardnes, turnyng him self first vnto Alexander Alesius, willed him not to cōtende with the Byshop in such maner, by the testimonies of Doctours and scholemen, MarginaliaDoctours not to be stickt vnto in matters of faith, for that they varie in thē selues.for somuch as they do not all agree in lyke matters, neither are they stedfast amongest them selues in all pointes, but do varie and in many poyntes are vtterly repugnant. Wherfore if this disputation shalbe decised by their myndes and verdites, there shalbe nothyng established, neither shal appeare any way of agreement to folow. Furthermore we be commaunded by the kyng that these cōtrouersies should be determined onely by the rule & iudgement of the Scripture. This hee spake vnto Alesius. Then he turnyng him selfe vnto the Byshops, lykewise admonished them with a graue and sharpe Oration, which we thought not good to omit in this place.

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MarginaliaThe Oration of Fox Byshop of Herford, vnto the Byshops.Thinke ye not (sayd he) that we can by any Sophisticall subtilties steale out of the worlde agayne, the lyght whiche euery man doth see. MarginaliaThe Gospell shyning in all places.Christ hath so lightned the world at this tyme, that the light of the Gospell hath put to flight all mistye darkenes, and it will shortly haue the higher hand of all cloudes, though we resist in vaine neuer so much. The lay people do nowe know the holy Scripture better then many of vs. MarginaliaThe faithfull diligēce of gthe Germaines in trāslating the Bible.And the Germaines haue made the text of the Bible so playne and easie by the Hebrue and Greeke toung, that now many thynges may be better vnderstād without any gloses at all, then by al the Commētaries of the Doctours. And moreouer they haue so opened these controuersies by their writynges, that women and children may wonder at the blyndnes and falsehode that hath bene hetherto. MarginaliaThe world now able to iudge vpon errours.Wherfore ye must consider earnestly what ye will determine of these cōtrouersies, that ye make not your selues to bee mocked and laughed to scorne of all the worlde, & that ye bring them not to haue this opiniō of you, to thinke euer more hereafter that ye haue neither one sparke of learnyng, nor yet of godlynes in you. And thus shall ye lose all your estimation and authoritie with them, whiche before tooke you for learned mē & profitable members vnto the common wealth of Christendome. MarginaliaIt is a vaine hope to trust vpon the Popes authoritie.For that whiche you do hope vpon, that there was neuer heresie in the Churche so great but that processe of tyme with the power and authoritie of the Pope hath quenched it, it is nothing to the purpose. But ye must turne your opinion & thinke this surely, that there is nothyng so feble and weake, so that it

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