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

ctours, which as it seemed vnto them, dissented & disagreed among them selues, the Archbishop of Cāter. at the last spake and sayd thus vnto them.

MarginaliaThe Archb. of Canterburies Oration to the Bishops. It beseemeth not men of learning and grauitie to make much babling and brauling about bare wordes, so that we agree in the very substaunce and effect of the matter. MarginaliaSophistication of wordes to be auoyded in matters of weight. For to braule about wordes, is the propertie of Sophisters & such as meane disceite and subtiltie, which delight in the debate and dissēsion of the world, & in the miserable state of the Church: and not of them which should seeke the glory of Christ, and should studye for the vnitie and quietnes of the Church. There be waightie controuersies now moued & put forth not of ceremonies and light thynges, but of the true vnderstandyng, and of the right difference of the lawe and of the Gospel: MarginaliaQuestions and controuersies of religion necessary to be discussed. of the maner and waye how sinnes be forgeuen: of comfortyng doubtfull and wauering consciences, by what meanes they may be certified, that they please God, seeyng they feele the strength of the Lawe, accusing them of sinne: of the true vse of the Sacramentes, whether the outwarde worke of them doth iustifie man, or whether we receiue our iustification by fayth. Item, which be the good workes, and the true seruice and honour which pleaseth God: & whether the choyse of meates, the difference of garmentes, the vowes of Monkes and priestes, and other traditions which haue no worde of God to confirme them: whether these (I saye) be right good woorkes, and suche as make a perfecet Christian man or no: MarginaliaFalse worshipping. Item, whether vaine seruice. and false honouring of God, and mans traditions, doo binde mens consciences, or no? MarginaliaCeremonies. Finally, whether the ceremonie of Confirmation, of orders, and of annealing, and suche other (whiche can not be proued to be institute of Christ, nor haue any worde in them to certifie vs of remission of sinnes) ought to be called Sacraments, and to be compared with Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord, or no?

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These be no light matters, but euē the principal points of our Christian religion. Wherfore we contend not about wordes and trifles, but about high & earnest matters. Christ saith: Blessed be the peace makers, for they shalbe called the Sonnes of God. MarginaliaMath. 5. And Paul writing vnto Timothie, commaundeth Bishops to auoyde brawling and contention about wordes, which be profitable to nothing but vnto the subuersion and destruction of the hearers: and monisheth him specially, that he should resist with the scriptures whē any man disputeth with him of the faith: and he addeth a cause where as he saith: Doing this, þu shalt preserue both thy selfe, and also them which heare thee. Marginalia2. Tim. 2. Nowe if ye wyll folowe these Counsailers, Christe and Paul, all contention and brawling about wordes must be set apart, and ye must stablish a godly and a perfecte vnitie and concord out of the Scripture. Wherfore in this disputation, we must first agree of the number of the Sacramentes, and what a Sacrament doth signifie in the holy scripture, and when we cal Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord Sacramentes of the Gospel, what we meane thereby. MarginaliaAll be not sacramentes of the new Testament, which may haue the name of Sacramentes. I knowe right well, that S. Ambrose and other Authours call the washing of the Disciples feete and other thynges, Sacramentes: whiche I am sure, you your selues would not suffer to be nūbred among the other Sacramentes.

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When he had ended his Oration, Cromwel commaunded Alesius which stoode by (whom he perceyued to geue attentiue eare to that whiche was spoken) to shewe his mynd and opinion, declaryng to the Bishops before, that he was the kynges scholer, and therfore desired them to be cōtented to heare hym indifferently.

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

MarginaliaAlexander Alesius reasoneth with the Byshops. Right honourable & noble Lord, and you most reuerend Fathers and Prelates of the Churche, although I come vnprepared vnto this disputation yet trusting in the ayde of Christ which promiseth to geue both mouth and wisedome vnto vs when we be required of our fayth, I wyl vtter my sentence and iudgement of this disputation. And I thinke that my Lord Archbishop hath geuen you a profitable exhortation, that ye shoulde first agree of the signification of a Sacrament, MarginaliaThe name of a sacrament how farre it extendeth. whether ye wyl cal a Sacrament, a ceremonie institute of Christ in the gospel, to signifie a special or a singular vertue of the Gospel, and of godlynes (as Paul nameth remission of sinnes to be) or whether ye meane, euery ceremonie generally, which may be a token or a signification of an holy thing, to be a sacrament. For after this latter signification, I wyl not sticke to graunt you that there be seuen Sacramentes and more too, if ye wyll. But yet Paul seemeth to describe a sacrament after the first signification, where as he sayth: That circumcision is a token & a seale of the righteounesse of fayth. MarginaliaRom. 4. This definitiō of one particular sacrament, must be vnderstand to perteyne vnto al sacramentes generally, for the Iewes had but one Sacrament only, as al the scholasticall writers do graunt. And he described Baptisme after the same maner, in the fift. to þe Ephesians, whereas he sayth, That Christe doth sanctifie the Churche (that is to saye, all that be baptised though the bath of water in þe word of lyfe. MarginaliaEphes. 5. For here also he addeth the woorde and promise of God vnto the ceremonie. MarginaliaWhat is a Sacrament properly. And Christe also requireth fayth, where he sayth: Who soeuer beleueth, and is baptised, shall be saued.

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And S. Augustine describeth a Sacrament thus: MarginaliaGods worde and promise going with an outward ceremonye, maketh a Sacrament. The word of God comming vnto the element, maketh the Sacrament. And in an other place he sayth: MarginaliaA definition of a Sacrament. A sacrament is a thing wherin the power of God, vnder the forme of visible thinges, doth worke secretly saluation. And the Maister of the Sentences doth describe a Sacrament no other wise. A Sacrament (sayth he) is an inuisible grace, & hath a visible forme: & by thys inuisible grace, I meane (sayth he remission of sinnes. MarginaliaNo man hath power to make any Sacrament. Finally Saint Thomas denieth that any man hath authoritie to institute a Sacrament. Now if ye agree vnto thys definition of a Sacrament, it is an easye thyng to iudge of the number of those Sacramentes which haue the manifest word of God, and be institute by Christ to signifie vnto vs the remission of our sinnes.

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S. Augustine sayth, that there be but two such Sacramentes in the cxviij. Epistle vnto Ianuarius. His words be these: MarginaliaAugust. ad ianuarium Epist. 118. First, I would haue thee to vnderstand the summe and effecte of this disputation, which is this: that our Lord Iesus Christ (as he himselfe sayth in the Gospell) hath ladē vs, but with a light and easye yoke or burden. MarginaliaChristes Church charged but with few & easie sacramentes. Wherefore he hath knitte together the fellowship of his new people with Sacramentes, very few in number, verye easie to be kept, and very excellent in signification, which be Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lord, and such other, if there be any moe cōmaunded in the holy Scripture, those except which were Burdens for the seruitude of the people in the olde lawe, for the hardnes of their hartes. &c. And againe, in þe iij. booke of the learning of a Christian man, he sayth: MarginaliaAugust. de Doctrina Christiana. lib. 3. The Scripture hath taught vs but few signes, as be the Sacramēt of Baptisme, and the solemne celebration and remembraūce of the body and bloud of the Lord. &c.

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MarginaliaStokesley replyeth agaynst Alesius. Then the Byshop of London which could scarsly refraine hymselfe all this while, and now could forbeare no lōger, brake out in this maner. First of all (sayth he) where you alledge, that al the Sacramēts which are in þe Church instituted by Christ hymselfe, haue either some manifest ground in the Scripturs, or ought to shewe forth some signification of remission of sinnes, it is false and not to be allowed.

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Then sayd Alesius, that he would proue it, not onely by manyfest autoritie of scriptures, but also by euident testimonies of auncient Doctours and schole writers.

MarginaliaFoxe 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 Londons frowardnes, turning him selfe first vnto Alexander Alesius, willed hym not to contend with the Byshop in such maner, by the testimonies of Doctours & scholemen, MarginaliaDoctours not to bee stickt vnto in matters of fayth, for that they varye in them selues. for somuch as they doe not all agree in like matters, neither are they stedfast among them selues in all poyntes, but do varye and in many poyntes are vtterly repugnaunt. Wherefore if this disputation shalbe decised by their mindes and verdites, there shalbe nothing established neither shall appeare any way of agreement to folow. Furthermore we be commaunded by the kyng that these controuersies should bee determined onely by the rule and iudgement of the Scripture. This he spake vnto Alesius. Then he turning himselfe vnto the Byshops, likewise admonished them with a graue and sharpe Oration, whiche we thought not good to omit in this place.

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MarginaliaThe Oration of Foxe Byshop of Herford, vnto the Byshops Thinke ye not (sayd he) that we can by any Sophistical subtilties steale out of the worlde agayne, the light which 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 al mistye darckenes, and it will shortly haue the higher hand of all cloudes, though we resist in vaine neuer so much. The lay people do now know the holy Scripture better then many of vs. MarginaliaThe faythfull diligence of the Germaines in translating the Bible. And the Germaines haue made the text of the Bible so playne and easie by the Hebrue and Greeke tōgue that now many thinges may be better vnderstand without any gloses at all, then by all the commentaries of the doctours. And moreouer they haue so opened these controuersies by their writinges, that women and children may won

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