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1480 [1480]

K. Henry. 8. Good bookes inhibited. Agrogation of holy dayes.

MarginaliaComparison betwen the doctrin of the Papistes & of the Protestantes.fayle. Now iudge I beseche thee, who soeuer knowest the doctrine of them both, whether of these ij. do ascribe more or lesse to þe Maiestie of Christ Iesus our kyng & Lord: the Protestātes which admitte none other head of the Churche, nor iustifier of our soules, nor forgyuer of our sinnes, nor Aduocate to his father but hym alone: Or els the Papistes which can abyde none of all these Articles, but condemne the same for heresie. Whiche beyng so, (as they them selues will not deny) now iudge (good reader) who hath set the citie of Rome on fire, Nero, or els the Christians.

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But to returne agayne to the purpose of our former matter, whiche was to shew forth the proclamation of the Byshops for the abolishyng of Englishe bookes aboue rehearsed, as beyng corrupt and full of heresie, whiche notwithstandyng we haue declared to conteine no heresie, but sound and holesome doctrine, according to the perfect worde and Scripture of God:

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Here now when the Prelates of the Popes side had procured this Edict and proclamation aforesayd, for the condemnation of all such Englishe bookes Printed or vnprinted, which made agaynst their aduauntage, they triumphed not a litle, weenyng they had made a great hand agaynst the Gospell for euer to rise agayn, and that they had established their kyngdome for euer, as in dede to all mans thinkyng, it might seme no lesse. MarginaliaGods mercifull helpe in tyme of neede.For who woulde haue thought, after so straite, so precise and so solemne a proclamation set foorth and armed with the kynges terrible authoritie: also after the cruell execution of Anne Askewe, Lacels and the rest: Item after the busye searche moreouer and names taking of many other, of whom some were chased away, some apprehended and layd up, diuers in present perill and expectation of their atachment: who would haue thought (I say) otherewyse possible, but that the Gospell must nedes haue an ouerthrow, seing what sure worke the Papists here had made, in setting vp their side, and throwing downe the contrary.

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MarginaliaGods power cōmonly worketh against mās presumption.But it is no new thing in the Lord, to shewe hys power against mans presumption, that when he counteth him selfe most sure, then he is furthest of, and whan he supposeth to haue done all, then is he new to begyn agayne. So was it in the primitiue church before Constantinus time, that when Nero, Domitianus, Maxentius, Decius, and other Emperours impugning the Gospell and profession of Christ, did not onely constitute lawes and proclamations against the Christians, but also did ingraue the same lawes in tables of brasse, mynding to make all thinges firme for euer and a day: yet we see, how wyth a litle turning of Gods hand, all their paissant deuises, and brasen lawes turned all to wynde and dust. So little doth it auayle for man to wrastle agaynst the Lorde and hys procedinges. Howsoeuer mans building is mortall and ruinous, of brikle bricke, & mouldring stones, the Lord neuer taketh in hand to build, that either tyme can waste, or man can plucke downe. What God setteth vp, there is neither power, nor striuing to the contrary. What he entendeth, standeth: what he blesseth, that preuaileth. MarginaliaTowers of Babell agaynst the Lorde.And yet mans vnquiet presumption wyll not cease styll to erect vp towers of Babel agaynst the Lord, which the higher they are builded vp, fall with the greater ruine. For what can stand, that standeth not with the Lord? Which thing as in example of all ages is to be sene: so in this late proclamation diuised by the Bishops, is in like maner exemplified.

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MarginaliaMans deuise against the lorde ouerthrowē.The which proclamation, thoughe it was sore and terrible for the time, yet not long after, by reason of the kinges death (whom the Lord shortly therupon tooke to hys mercye) it made at length but a Castle come downe. So that where the Prelates thought to make thier Iubilie, it turned thē to the Threnes of Ieremy. Such be the admirable workinges of the Lord of holies, whose name be sanctified for euer.

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This I doe not inferre for anye other purpose,but onely for the workes of the Lord to be seene: premonishing thee (good Reader) wythall, that as touching the king (who in this proclamation had nothyng but the name onely) here is nothing spoken but to hys laud and prayse. MarginaliaThe praise of K. Henry the 8.Who of his owne nature and disposition, was so inclinable and forward in all things vertuous and commendable, that the like enterprise of redresse of Religion, hath not lightly bene seene in any other Prince christned: As in abolishing the stoute and almost inuincible authority of the Pope, in suppressing Monasteries, in repressing custome of idolatry and pilgrimage. &c. Which enterprises, as neuer king of England did accomplish (though some beganne to attempt them) before him: so yet to this day we see but fewe in other realmes dare follow the same. If Princes haue alwayes their Counsell about thē, that is but a cōmon thing. If some time they haue euyll counsel ministred, that I take to bee the fault rather of such as are about them, then of Princes them selues. So long as quene Anne, T. Cromwell, B. Cranmer, M. Denny, D. Buts, with such like were about him, and could preuayl with him, what organe of Christes glorye did more good in the Churche then he? As is apparant by suche muniments, instruments and actes set foorth by hym, in setting vp the Bible in the church, in exploding the Pope with his vile pardons, MarginaliaMuch superstition purged by K. Henry.in remouing diuers superstitious ceremonies, in bringing into order the inordinate orders of Friers and sectes: in putting Chauntrye Priestes to their pensions: in permitting white meate in Lent: in destroying pilgrimageworship: in abrogating idle & superfluous holy dayes, both by acte publick, and also by priuate letters sent to Boner, tending after thys effect.

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By the king.

MarginaliaThe kinges briefe to Boner.Right reuerent father in God, right trusty and welbeloued, we greete you well. And whereas consideryng the manifold incōueniences which haue ensued and dayly do ensue to our subiectes by the great superfluity of holy dayes, MarginaliaAbrogation of holy dayes.we haue by the assentes and consents of all you the Byshops and other notable personages of the Clergie of this our Realme, in full congregation and assembly had for that purpose, abrogated and abolished such as be neither canonicall, ne meete to be suffered in a cōmon wealth, for the manifold inconueniences whiche do ensue of þe same, as is rehearsed: and to the intent our determination therein may be duely obserued & accomplished we haue thought conuenient to commaūde you immediatly vpon the recept hereof, to addresse your commaūdementes in our name to all the Curates, religious houses, & Colledges within your Dioces, with a copye of þe Acte made for þe abrogatiō of þe holy daies aforesayd, a trāsumpt wherof ye shall receaue herewith, commaundyng them and euery of them in no wise, either in the Church or otherwise, to indict or speake of any of the said dayes and feastes abolished, whereby the people might take occasion either to murmure or to contemne the order taken therin, and to cōtinue in their accustomed idlenes, the same notwithstandyng: but to passe ouer the same with such secrete silence, as they may haue lyke abrogation by disuse, as they haue alreadye by our authoritie in conuocation. And for as much as the tyme of haruest now approcheth, our pleasure is, ye shall with such diligēce and dexteritie, put this matter in executiō, as it may immediatly take place for þe benefite of our subiectes at this tyme accordyngly without faylyng, as ye will aunswere vnto vs for the contrary. Geuen vnder our signet at our Monastery of Chertesey the xj. day of August.

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MarginaliaK. Henry according as hys Counsell was about him, so was he lead.Thus while good Counsell was about hym, and could be heard, he did much good. So agayne when sinister and wicked Counsaile vnder subtile and crafty pretences had gotten once the foote in, thrustyng truth and veritie out of the Princes eares, how much Religion and all good thinges went prosperously forward before, so much on the contrary side all reuolted backward agayne. Wherupon proceded this proclamation aboue mentioned, concernyng the abolishyng and bur-

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