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1168 [1167]

K. Hen. 8. Allegations agaynst the Vi. Articles Priestes Mariage.

ter to the free iudgement of the Readers, which the Acte of these sixe Articles here enioyneth as necessary, vnder payne of death.

MarginaliaThe first institution of auricular confession, when and by whom it begunne. Briefly, in few wordes to searche out and notifie the very certaine time, when this Article of eareconfession first crept into the Church, & what antiquitie it hath in folowyng the Iudgement of Ioannes Scotus, and of Antoninus, it may be well supposed, that the institution thereof tooke his first origine by Pope Innocent the thyrd, in his Councell of Laterane, an. 1215. MarginaliaIoan. Scotus. Lib. 4 Sent. Dist. 17. Artic. 3. For so we read in Ioannes Scotus Lib. 4. Sent. Dist. 17. Artlc. 3. Præcipua autem specificatio huius præcepti inuenitur in illo cap. Extra. de pænit. & remiss: Omnis vtriusq; sexus. &c. And after in þe same Article it foloweth: Nam ex prima institutione Ecclesiæ non videntur fuisse Distincti proprij sacerdotes. Quando enim Apostoli hinc & inde ibant prædicando verbum Dei. &c. By the which wordes it appeareth that there was no institution of any such confession specified before the constitution of Innocentius the thyrd.

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MarginaliaAntoninus [illegible text] Histor. tit. 19. But more playnly the same may appeare by the wordes of Antoninus in 3, parte Histor. Whiche be these: Innocentius tertius in Concilio generali prædicto, circa Sacramenta confessionis & communionis sic statuit: Omnis vtriusq; sexus fidelis, postquam ad annū discretionis peruenerit, omnia peccata sua solus saltem semel in anno confiteatur proprio sacerdoti, and iniunctam sibi pœnitentiam proprijs vitibus studeat adimplere, aljoqui et viuens ab ingressu Ecclesiæ arceatur, & moriens Christiana careat sepultura. Vnde hoc salutare statutum frequenter in Ecclesijs publicetur: ne quisquam ignorantiæ cœcitate velamen excusationis assumat. &c. MarginaliaThe cōstitution of Pope Innocent 3. touching auricular confession. That is to say. Pope Innocent the 3. in his generall Councell aforesayd, touchyng the Sacramentes of confession and the communion, made this constitution as followeth: That euery faythfull person, both man and woman, after they come to the yeares of discretion, shall confesse all theyr sinnes by themselues alone, at lest once a yeare, to their owen ordinary Priest, & shall endeuour to fulfill by their owne strength, their penaunce to them enioyned. Or els who so doth not, shall neither haue entraunce into the Churche beyng alyue, nor beyng dead shall enioy Christian buriall. Wherfore this wholesome cōstitution we will to be published oftē in the Churches, lest any mā through the blyndnesse of ignoraunce may make to them selues a cloke of excuse. et cet. And thus much hetherto we haue alledged by occasion incident of these vj. Articles for some part of confutation of the same, referryng the reader for the rest, to the more exquisite tractation of Diuines, which professedly write vpon those matters.

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In the meane tyme, for asmuch as there is extant in Latin a certaine learned Epistle of Philippe Melancthon, written to kyng Henry agaynst these vj. wicked Articles aboue specified, I thought not to defraude the Reader of the fruite therof, for his better vnderstandyng and instruction. The tenour and effect of his Epistle translated into English thus foloweth. 

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Foxe's declaration that this is the 'tenour and effect' of Melanchthon's letter suggests that he has amended or abridged it. We cannot know, because unfortunately, the original has not survived. Moreover, Foxe does not supply the date of the letter. But Melancthon wrote a number of letters to Henry VIII and Archbishop Cranmer, in the spring of 1539, making similar arguments (L&P 14(1), pp. 245-6 and 333).

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¶ The Copie of Melancthons Epistle sent to kyng Henry, agaynst the cruell Acte of the vj. Articles.

MarginaliaA fruitfull epistle of Phil. Melancton sent to kinge Henry touching the vi. Articles MOst famous and noble Prince, there were certaine Emperours of Rome, as Adrianus, Pius, and afterward the two brethren Verus and Marcus, which did receiue gently the Apologies and defenses of the Christians: which so preuayled with those moderate Princes, that they swaged their wrath agaynst the Christians, and obteyned mitigation of their cruell Decrees. Euen so, for asmuch as there is a Decree set forth of late in your Realme agaynst that doctrine which we professe, both godly and necessary for the Churche, I beseeche your most honorable Maiesty fauorably both to read and consider this our complaint, especially seyng I haue not onely for our owne cause, but much rather for the common sauegard of the Churche, directed this my writyng vnto you. For seyng those Heathen Princes dyd both admitte and allowe the defences of the Christians, how much more is it beseemyng for a kyng of Christian profession, and such a one as is occupied in the studyes of holy histories, to heare the cōplaintes & admonitions of the godly in the Churche? And so much the more willyngly I write vnto you, for that you haue so fauorably heretofore receiued my letters, with a singular declaration of your Marginalia* He meaneth here the kinges liberall reward sent to hym before in money by M. Iohn Hales which money he then distributed among the ministers and learned men of Wittenberge. * beneuolence towardes me. This also giueth me some hope that you wil not vnwillyngly read these thynges, for asmuch as I see that the very phrase and maner of writyng doth playnly declare, not your selfe, but onely the Bishops to be the authors of those Articles and Decrees there set forth: Albeit, through their wily and subtile sophistications, they haue induced you (as it hath happened to many other worthy Princes besides you) to condescend and assent vnto thē: as the rulers perswaded Darius beyng otherwise a wise and a iust Prince, to cast Daniell vnto the Lyons. 

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See Daniel 6: 1-24.

MarginaliaDan. 3.

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It was neuer vnseemely for a good Prince to correct and reforme cruell and rigorous lawes, and (as it is commōly sayd) to haue a second vewe and ouersight of thynges before passed and decreed.

MarginaliaExample of the Athenians reuoking their decree The wise Athenians made a Decree when the Citie of Mitilene was recouered, which before had forsaken thē, that all the Citizēs there should be slayne, and the Citie vtterly destroyed. Wherupon there was a shyp sent forth with the same comaundement to the armye. On the next morow the matter was brought agayne before the same iudges, and after better aduise taken, there was a contrary decree made, that the whole multitude should not be put to the sword, but a fewe of the chief authours of their rebellion, should be punished and the Citie saued. There was therfore an other shyp sent forth wt a countermaude in all hast, to ouertake and preuent the former shyppe, as also it happened. Neither was that noble Citie which then ruled and reigned farre and wyde, ashamed to alter and reforme their former Decree. Many such examples there be, the most parte wherof, I am sure are well knowen vnto you. But in the Church especially, Princes haue many tymes altered and reformed their Decrees, as Nabugodonosor & Darius. There was a Decree set forth in the name of Assuerus, cōcernyng the killyng of the Iewes 

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See Esther 3-9.

. MarginaliaEster. 8. That Decree was afterwardes called in againe. So did Adrianus & Antonius also correct and reforme their Decrees.

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Therfore, although there be a Decree set forth in England, which threatneth straunge punishmentes and penalties, disagreeyng from the custome of the true church, and swaruyng from the rules and Canōs therof: MarginaliaMitigation of the vi Articles desired. yet I thought it not vnseemely for vs to become peticioners vnto you, for the mitigation of these your sharpe and seuere procedynges. The whiche when I consider, it greeueth my mynde, not onely for the perill and daunger of them whiche professe the same doctrine that we doe, but also I doe lament for your cause, that they should make you an instrument and a minister of their bloudy tyranny and impietie. And partly also I lament, to see the course of Christian doctrine peruerted, supersticious rites confirmed, whoredome and lecherous lustes mainteyned.

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MarginaliaLatimer, Cromer, Shaxton, and others, imprisoned for the vi. Articles. Besides all this, I here of diuers good mē, excelling both in doctrine and vertue, to be there deteyned in prison, as Latymer, Cromer, Shaxton and others 

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Nicholas Shaxton, the bishop of Salisbury, and Hugh Latimer, the bishop of Worcester, fought the Six Articles in the House of Lords. In July 1539, they resigned, or were forced to resign, their sees and were each imprisoned for a few months. Edward Crome, a prominent evangelical preacher, preached against the Six Articles and in defense of Shaxton and Latimer. He was not imprisoned but, in 1541, he made a public, but very qualified retraction of his sermons.

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, to whom I wish strength, pacience, and cōsolation in the Lord. Vnto whom albeit there can nothyng happen more luckely or more gloriously, then to giue their lyues in the confession of the manifest truth and veritie: yet would I wish that you should not disteyne your handes with the bloude of such men: neither would I wishe such Lanternes of lyght in your Churche, to bee extinguished: neither these spitefull and malicious Phariseis, the enemyes of Christ, to haue their willes so much fulfilled. Neither agayne would I wishe that you should so much serue the will and desire of that Romishe Antichrist, which laugheth in his sleue to see you now to take part with hym, agaynst vs hopyng well by the helpe of his Byshops, to recouer agayne his former possession whiche of late by your vertuous and godly meanes he lost. MarginaliaThe Byshops pretende outward obedience to the kyng, but their hartes be with the Pope. He seeth your Byshops, for the tyme, loyall vnto you, and obsequious to obey your will: but in hart he seeth them lynked vnto him in a perpetuall bond of fidelitie and obedience. In all these feates and practises, the Romishe Byshops are not to seeke. They see what great stormes and blastes heretofore they haue passed by bearyng & sufferyng. They see that great thynges bee brought to passe in tyme. Neither do they forget the old Verse of the Poete.

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Multa, dies variusq; labor mutabilis æui
Retulit in melius.

Many good and learned men in Germany conceaued of you great hope, that by your authoritie and example other Princes also would be prouoked to surcease lykewise from their vniust crueltie, and better to aduise them selues for the reformation of errours crept into the Church: trustyng that you would be as a guyde and Captaine of that godly purpose and enterprise. But now seyng these your contrary proceedynges, we are vtterly discouraged: the indignation of other Princes is confirmed: the stubburnes of the wicked is augmented: and old and great errours are thereby stablished.

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MarginaliaThe Byshops maintaine errours against their knowlege. But here your Byshops will say agayne (no doubt) that they defend no errours, but the very truth of Gods holy worde. And although they be not ignoraunt that they striue in very deede, both agaynst the true word of God, and the Apostolicke Churche, yet lyke craftie Sophisters, they can finde out fayre gloses, pretendyng a goodly shew outwardly, to colour their errours and abuses.

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