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925 [925]

K. Henry. 7. Prophecies concerning the Turkes and Antichrist.

Vngaria.
Buda, or Osen.
Alba regalis.

Belgradum, or
Taurinum.
Strigonium.
Varadinum.
Neapolis.
Maior.
Minor.
Pestum.
Austria.

¶ As I was writyng hereof, a certain soūd of lamentable newes was brought vnto vs, how the Turke, whom we had hoped before to haue bene repulsed by the Emperour Maximilian out of Christendome, hath nowe of late this present yere. 1566. got the towne of Gyula about Trāsyluania, after they had susteyned xvi. of his most forceable assaultes, destroyng in the same most cruelly, many thousandes of our Christen brethren, men wemē, and children: 

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The following account of a Turkish repulse when besieging thefortress of Gyula in Hungary in 1566 is reprinted from Newes from Vienna the5 day of August (London, 1566), STC 24716, sigs. B2r-B3r. In fact, the successwas epemeral; Gyula fell to the Turks on 1 September 1566.

but because we haue no full certeintie, we will referre the story therof, to further information.

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¶ The Prophesies of the holy Scriptures considered, touchyng the commyng vp, and finall ruine and destruction of this wicked kyngdome of the Turkes, with the Reuelations and forshewynges also of other authors concernyng the same. 
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Biblical prophecy and the Turks

To Foxe, all of the material on the Turks which preceded this sectionon prophecy was merely illustrative detail. This is the heart of his account of theTurks and, in fact, the reason why Foxe included a history of the Turks in his martyr-ology. The purpose of this section was to identify the Turks as a manifestation of Antichrist. Like most sixteenth-century Protestants, Foxe regarded Antichrist as a spiritual force, and not as an individual. Thus Antichrist could be the Turks, but also the papacy. This flexibility allowed Foxe (and other Protestants) to make almost every event in human history conform to Biblical prophecy. But it wasdifficult for people to accept both the papacy and the Ottomans as Antichrist.

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And, in fact, Foxe himself wavered on this point. The best summary of Foxe's complicated thoughts on the identification of the Turk as Anti-christ comes from Katherine Firth: 'Foxe described as Antichrist both the Turk andthe pope: but when by Antichrist he meant to indicate the second beast of theApocalypse, or the whore of Babylon, then he meant only the Papacy' (TheApocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain, 1530-1645 [Oxford, 1979], p. 99).Yet the fact that the tension existed in Foxe between the identification of the Papacy or the Turks as Antichrist is worth noting for several reasons.

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The first is that the Acts and Monuments was a crucial work in shaping English apocalyptic thought for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Along with the Eicasmi, Foxe's Latin commentary on the Book of Revelation, the Acts and Monuments provided what was by far and away the most detailed and authoritative historicist interpretation of that difficult Biblical text in early modern England. It is a historicist interpretation of Revelation in the sense that Foxe maintained that the book contains prophecies describing the history of the Church until the second coming of Christ and that many of the events it prophesied had already taken place. For the relationship between the Eicasmi and the Acts and Monuments, see the entry on John Foxe in the ODNB. For the importance of Revelation see Frith, Apocalyptic Tradition, pp. 109-110.

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The second is that Foxe's changing views on whether the Turks could be identified as Antichrist provide a clear example of the way in which contacts made during his exile influenced his thought. In his 1556 drama, "Christus Triumphans", Foxe explicitly rejected the suggestion that the Turks were Antichrist. (See Two Latin Comedies by John Foxe the Martyrologist, ed. J. H. Smith [Ithaca, NY, 1973}, p.353. But clearly woks that Foxe studied during his exile - in particular a compilation of histories of the Turks, De origine et rebus gestis Turcorum, and the texts bound with Theodore Bibliander's edition of the Qur'an, both works printed by Foxe's employer Johannes Oporinus - induced him to share the viewpoint, widespread among German and Swiss Protestants, that the Turks were Antichrist. In fact, the Acts and Monuments brought these views, hitherto not widely disseminated in England, into the mainstream of English intellectual life. Foxe's work also contributed to creating a demonic conception of the Ottoman Turks in England. (See Matthew Dimmock, Newe Turkes: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England [Aldershot, 2005], pp. 76-81, 135-61 and 198-207).

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Nevertheless the identification of the Turk as Antichrist largely atrophied in England during the sixteenth century. In the seventeenth century, however, it revived as Laudian writers, notably Richard Montagu and John Cosins, anxious not to identify the Papacy as Antichrist, argued - drawing on Foxe - that the Turk was Antichrist. (See Christopher Hill, Antichrist in Seventeenth-Century England [Oxford, 1971], pp. 34-40). Another controversial feature of this section of the Acts and Monuments was Foxe's use of non-Scriptural prophecies, such as those attributed to the Sibylls (legendary pagan prophetesses) and to Methodius of Patara, a third-century bishop. Many Protestants considered such sources as, at best, superfluous to scripture or, at worst, superstitious. Edward Topsell, an Elizabethan cleric, openly attacked this part of the Acts and Monuments when he deplored the fact that 'Many of the learneder sort are much affected with the prophecies of the Sibilles, Methodius and others…' (Edward Topsell, Times lamentation (London, 1599), STC 24131, p. 63). Foxe's reason for relying on these dubious sources was that they were more explicit, and conformed more closely to the history of the Turks than Biblical prophecies did.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaProphecies considered for the beginning and falling of the Turkes kingdome.FOr somuch as you haue hetherto sufficiētly heard, to what quantitie and largenes the dominion of the Turkes hath increased, and do vnderstand what cruell tyrannye these wretched miscreantes haue and do dayly practise most heynously, where soeuer they come, agaynst the seruauntes and professours of Christ: it shall not be vnprofitable, but rather necessarie, and to our great comfort, to consider and examine in þe Scriptures, with what Prophesies the holy spirite of the Lord hath premonished and forwarned vs before, of these heauy persecutions to come vpon his people by this horrible Antichrist. For as the gouernement and constitution of times and states of monarchies and policies, fall not to vs by blynd chaunce, but be administred and alotted vnto vs from aboue: so it is not to be supposed, that such a great alteratiō, and mutation of kyngdomes, such a terrible and generall persecution of Gods people, almost throughe all Christendome, and such a terrour of the whole earth, as is nowe moued & gendred by these Turkes, cōmeth without the knowledge, sufferaunce, and determination of the Lord before, for such endes and purposes, as his diuine wisedome doth best know. For the better euidence and testimonie wherof, he hath left in his Scriptures sufficiēt instruction, and declaration, wherby we may playnly see to our great comfort, how these greuous afflictions & troubles of the Church, though they be sharpe and heauy vnto vs, yet they come not by chaunce, or by mans working onely, but euen as the Lord hym selfe hath appointed it, and doth permit the same.

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MarginaliaTwo thynges to be considered in the time and order of the olde Testament
The Scriptures: and the people.
And first to begyn with the tyme of the old Testamēt, let vs seriously aduise and ponder, not onely the Scriptures and Prophesies therin conteined, but also let vs cōsider the whole state, order and regiment of that people: the Church I meane, of the Israelites. For although the Scriptures & Prophetes of þe old Testament, were properly sent to that people, and haue their relation properly to thyngs done or that should be done, in that common wealth, of whiche Prophetes, Iohn Baptiste was þe last, and made an end, as our Sauiour hym selfe witnesseth, saying: The law & Prophetes be vnto the tyme of Iohn &c: Yet notwithstandyng the sayde people of that olde Testament, beareth a lyuely image and resemblance, of the vniuersall Church, which should folow, planted by þe sonne of God through þe whole earth: So that as þe Prophetes of God, speakyng to thē frō the mouth & worde ofGod, prophesied what should come to passe in that people: so likewise þe whole course & historie of those Israelites, exemplifieth and beareth a propheticall image to vs, declaryng what is to be looked for in the vniuersall Churche of God dispersed through the world, planted in Christ Iesus his sonne, MarginaliaIn Dan. Prophet. Phil. Melancthon.accordyng as Phil. Melancthon grauely gatheryng vpon the same, testifieth in diuers places, in his commentarie vpon the Prophet Daniell.

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As first the historie of godly Abel slayne by wicked Cayn, MarginaliaGen. 4.what doth it importe, or Prophesie, but the condition of the people and seruauntes of God, whiche cōmonly go to wracke in this world, and are oppressed by the cōtrary part, which belongeth not to God.

The lyke may be sayd also of Isaac, and Ismael: of Iacob and Esau. Of whom, those ij. whiche were the children of promise, & belonged to the election of God, were persecuted in this world, of the other, whiche were reiected. MarginaliaThe Saracens come of Ismaell.Where moreouer is to be noted concerning Ismael, that of hys stocke after the fleshe, came the Saracens: whose secte the Turkes do now professe and mainteine. MarginaliaResemblance betwene the xii. sonnes of Ismaell: and the xii. Ottoman Turkes.And as Ismael had but xij. sonnes: so it were to be wished of God, that this Solyman whiche is the twelfe of the Turkishe generation, may be the last. But of this, better occasion shall folow (the Lord willyng) hereafter.

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Furthermore, of the xij. tribes of Israell, the sacrate history so reporteth, þt after they had a long season continued together, by þe space of. 8. or. 9. C. yeares, at lēgth, for their idolatrie, & transgression of their forefathers, x. tribes of them were cut of, & dispersed among þe Gentiles, 130. yeares before the captiuitie of Babylon: so that but ij. tribes onely remained free, and they also at last, after a 130. yeres, were captiued vnder the Babylonians, for a certeine tyme. 

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2 Kings 18-23 and 2 Chronicles 36.

Marginalia4. Reg. 17No otherwise hath it happened with the Churche of Christ almost in the vniuersall worlde. MarginaliaThe olde church of the Israelites beare a representation or Image of the publike church of Christ Iesus.Of which Church, the greatest part both in Asia, in Africa, & almost in Europe (where the holy Apostles so laboured & trauayled) we see now to be disparcled among the Turkes, and their candlestickes remoued 
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See Rev. 2:5.

(the Lord of his great grace, reduce them agayne, Amen:) So that of xij. partes of Christendome, whiche was once planted in Christ, skarse ij. partes remaine cleare, and they howe long they shal so continue, the Lord knoweth: And albeit through the mercy of the Lord, they escape the daunger of the Turkes, yet haue they bene so beaten with the Pope, that they had bene better, almost, to haue ben in the Turkes handes.

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Agayne, after the sayd Israelites returned, beyng restored of Cyrus, let vs consider well their story, the continuance of tyme, the maner of their regimentes, & what afflictions they susteined in the time of þe Machabees: and we shall see a lyuely representation of these our dayes expressed in that Propheticall people, accordyng as s. Paul writyng of them, sheweth how all thynges happened to them in figures: 

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1 Cor. 10:11.

Marginalia1. Cor. 10.that is, the actions and doynges of that one nation, be as figures and types of greater matters, what shall happen in these latter times of þe whole church vniuersally in Christ collected. MarginaliaThe church of the Iews, a figure of Christes Church.So the transmigration and delyuerance agayne of those ij. tribes, declareth to vs the affliction of Christes churche for sinne: and yet that God will not vtterly reiect his people, for his sonnes sake, as by manifold examples of the Churche hetherto may well appeare.

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Agayne, þe continuance of the law first geuē by Moses, vnto þe destructiō of the said people by Titus, amounteth to. 1564. yeares: MarginaliaEx Phil. Melant. in Danielē cap. 9.So we counting þe age of the new Testament, & reckening frō the day of our redemption vnto thys present, be come now to the yeare 1534. lacking but onely. 33. yeares of the full number. 

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Phillip Melanchthon, In Danielem prophetam Commentarius (Wittenberg, 1543), fos. 52v-57v.

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MarginaliaThe tymes and yeares of the olde church, cōpared with the newe.Likewise in countyng the yeares from theyr deliuerance out of captiuitie, to the ende of their dissolution, we fynde. 564. yeares, duryng whiche yeares, as the Churche of the Iewes was not gouerned vnder the authoritie of kynges, but the heygh priestes tooke all the power and authoritie to them selues: so we Christians

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