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216 [216]

King Edgar. Monkes. K. Edgar. Monkerie.

monasticall sort of mē, which exāples do not lacke: if laysure rather did not lacke to bring thē in. But ij. or iij. shal suffice for many: Which I purpose (þe Lord willyng) here to inserte: to thentēt þe mind of þe godly reader may þe better consider & vnderstand, howe shortly after the tyme of Christ and his Apostles, the doctrine of Christiane iustification began to be forgotten: true religion turned to superstition: And the price of Christes passion to be obscured through the vayne opinion of mēs merites. &c. A certeine abbot named Moses thus testifieth of hym selfe, in the Collations of Cassianus: MarginaliaEx Cassia. cap. 17. collat. 2.that he so afflicted him selfe with much fasting and watching, that sometimes for ij. or iij. daies together, not only he felt no appetide to eate, but also had no remembraunce of any meate, at all: and by reason therof was driuē also from sleape. MarginaliaExamples declaring the blinde superstitiō of the monkes of the olde tyme.In so much that he was caused to pray to God, but for a litle refresshing of sleepe to be geuen him some peace of þe night. In the same autor, mention is made of a certein old man an heremite: who because he had cōceiued in hym self such a purpose neuer to eate meate without he had some gest, or straunger with hym: some tyme was constreyned to abesteine v. dayes together vntill Sonday, while he came to the churche and there brought some straūger or other home with hym.

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Two other examples yet more wil I adde out of þe said Cassianus, to declare how þe subtilitie of Satan, through superstition and false colour of holynes blyndeth the miserable eyes of such, whiche rather attende mens traditions, then the word of God. In the xl. chap. of the sayd autor in his booke de Gastrimargia, MarginaliaCassianus lib. de spiritu Gastrinarg. cap. 40.is told of a certain abbat named Ioannes in þe desert wildernes of Schythia: who sent ij. of his nouecies with figges vnto one þt was sicke in the wildernes xviij. miles of from the church. It chaūced these ij. yong nouicies missing the way, wandered so long in the wylde forest or wyldernes, and could not find the Celle, that for emptines & werines they waxed faint and tyred. MarginaliaSuperstitiō.And yet rather would they dye, then taste the fygges committed to them to cary. And so dyd, for shortly after they were founde dead, their figges lyeng whole by them.

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MarginaliaCassian. li. 6. cap. 2.An other story he also reciteth of ij. monasticall brethren, who makyng their progresse in the desert of Thebalde: purposed with them selues, to take no sustenance but such as the Lord should minister him selfe vnto thē. It happened, as they were wanderyng desolate in the desert, and feyntyng almost for penury, certeyne Mazices, a kynd of people by nature fearce and cruell: notwithstāding, beyng sodenly altered into a new nature of humanitie, came forth and of their owne accord offered bread vnto them. Which bread thone thankefully receaued as sent of God. The other as countyng it sent of man & not of God refused it, and so for lacke perished.

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Hereunto might I also annexe the story of Mucius, who to declare his obediēce, did not sticke at the cōmaūdement of his Abbat, to cast hys sonne into þe water, not knowing whether any were appoynted there readye to rescue hym from drowning: so farre were the Monkes in those dayes drowned in superstition. What is thys, but for mans traditions and cōmaundementes, to trāsgresse the commaundement of God, which sayth: Thou shalt do no murther. Thou shalt not tempt the Lorde thy God: MarginaliaMonkery mother of superstition and hipocrisie.What man is so blind, that seeth not by these and infinite examples mo: what pernitious superstition hath begon by reason of this Monkery, almost from the beginning, to creepe into the church. Wherfore I cānot maruel inough, that seing that age of the church, had in it so many learned and famous Doctors, they not onely did approue and allow these monastical sectes of life: but also certayne themselues were the authors and institutors of the same, yea and of mens traditiōs made, the seruice of God. MarginaliaBassilus Magnus. Nazianzenus.In number of whom may be reckoned Bassilus Magnus, and Nazianzenus, who with immoderate austeritie did so plucke downe them selues, that when they were called to the office of bishops, they were not able to sustayne the labour therof.

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MarginaliaMonkes of the middle & latter age of the church described.After these foresayd Monkes of that tyme aboue recited, followed other Moonkes of the middle age of the church: who as in multitude, so also in superstition increasing, began by litle and litle frō their desolate dens in the vaste wildernes, to approche more neare to great townes: where they had solemne monasteries founded by Kinges and Quenes, and kinges daughters, and other rych Consuls, as is partly before touched, pag. 177. MarginaliaCauses of the founding of monasteryes and nonneryes tending to the derogation of Christs passion & to christian fayth.And the causes also touched withall, for the which they were first founded, as these: pro remedio animæ meæ: pro remissione peccatorum meorum pro redemptione peccatorum meorum, et pro salute regnorum, quiq; meo subiacent regimini populorum. In honorem gloriosæ virginis. &c. For, all these impious and erroneous titles and causes, we finde alledged in stories, as in Malmesburiensis, Iornalensis, Henricus, & other mo. MarginaliaMost parte of monasteries were builded vpon some murther.In which histories I also note, þt the most part of these forsayd monasteries were erected fyrst vpon some great murther, eyther by warre in the field, or priuatelye committed at home: as shal well appeare to them which reade the bookes whō I haue alledged. But to returne to our Monkes again, who (as is sayd) fyrst began to creepe from the cold field into warme townes and cloisters: from townes, then into cities, and at lēgth from the close celles and cities, into cathedrall churches (as here appeareth by this story of king Edgar) where, not onely they dyd abound in wealth and riches (especially these Monkes of our later tyme) but much more did swymme in superstition, and pharisaicall hipocrisy, beyng yoked and tyed in all their doinges, to certayne prescript rules and formall obseruancies: in watching, in sleeping, in eating, in rysyng, in praying, in walking, in talking, in looking, in tastyng, in touching, in handling, in their gestures, in their vestures, euery man apparelled not as the proper condicion of other would require, nor as the seasō of the yere did serue: but as the coacted rules and order of euerye sect did enforce them. The number of which sectes was infinitelye diuers: some after Basilius rule, went in whyte: some after Benetes rule, in blacke: MarginaliaThe order of monks Cluniack, by Otho set vp in kyng Edgars time.some Cluniacenses fyrst set vp by Otho in the tyme of this kyng Edgar, wearing after the rule of Benets order: Some after Hieromes rule, leather gyrdled, and coaped aboue their white coate: Some Gregorians, copper coulored: some de valle vmbrosa gray Monkes: Some Grandimōtēses, wearing a coate of mailes vpō their bare bodies, with a blacke cloke their vpon. Some Cistercianes, who had whyte rochets on a blacke coate: Some Celestines, all in blew, both cloke, coule, and cap: Some Chartere Monkes, wearing hearecloth next their bodies: MarginaliaMonachi flagellantes.Some Flagellantes, going barefoote in long whyte lynnen shyrtes, with an open place in the backe, wher they beat them selues with scourges on the bare skyn euery day, before the peoples eyes, tyl the bloud ran down: saying that it was reuealed to thē by an Angel, that in so scourging themselues, within. xxx. dayes and. xij. houres, they should be made so pure from synne, as they were when they fyrst receaued baptisme. Some starred moonkes. Some Iesuites, with a white gyrdle and a russet coule. Briefly, who can recken vp the innumerable sectes and disguised orders of their fraternities: some holdyng of S. Benet, some of S. Hierome. Some of Basil: Some of S. Bernard, some of S. Briget, some of S. Bruno, some of s. Lewes, as though it were not inough for christē mē to hold of Christ only: so subiect were they to seruile rules, þt no part of Chistē libertie remayned amōg them. So drowned and suncke in superstition: that not onely thei had lost Christes religion, but also almost the sense and nature of men. For where men naturally are

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