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762 [738]

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

Countreys. Cities.

Seruia.
Samandria.
Columbetz.
MarginaliaAt Columbetz, Sigismund lost the fielde fighting agaynst the Turks. vide supr. pag 694.
Rascin.
Walpo. Vid. sup. pag.
(728
Nouigradum.
Varna.
MarginaliaIn Varna, a Citie in Rascia, Ladislaus king of Hungary, fought with the turke, and was ouercome, an. 1444. Vide supra, pag. 716.
Moldauia.
Hungaria.
Buda or Osen.
Alba regalis.
Belgradum
or Tau-
rinum.
Strigonium.
Varadinum.
Neapolis.
Maior.
Minor.
Pestum.
Austria.

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¶ As I was writyng hereof, a certain sounde of lamentable newes was brought vnto vs how the Turke, whō we had hoped before to haue bene repulsed by the emperour Maximilian out of Christendome, hath now of late this present yeare. 1566. got the towne of Gyula about Transyluania, after they had susteined 16. of his most forceable assaultes, destroyng in the same most cruelly, many thousād of our christen brethrē, men women, & 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 certaintie, we will referre the story therof, to further information.

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¶ The prophesies of the holy scriptures considered, touching the comming vp. and finall ruine and destructiō of this wicked kingdom of the Turkes, with the Reuelations and forshewynges also of other authours concerning 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 cōsidered for the beginning & falling of the Turkes kingdome. FOr so much as you haue hitherto sufficiently heard, to what quantitie & largenes the dominion of the Turkes hath increased, and do vnderstand what cruell tiranny these wretched miscreantes haue and do dailye practise most haynously wheresoeuer they come, against the seruauntes and professours of Christ: it shall not be vnprofitable, but rather necessary, and to our great comfort, to consider and examine in the Scriptures, with what prophesies the holy spirite of the Lord hath premonished and forewarned vs before, of these heauy persecutions to come vppon hys people by this horrible Antichrist. For as the gouernment and constitution of tymes and states of monarchies and pollicies fall not to vs by blynd chaunce, but be administered and alotted vnto vs from aboue: so it is not to be supposed, that such a great alteration and mutation of kyngdomes, such a terrible and generall persecution of Gods people, almost through all Christendome, and such a terrour of the whole earth, as is now moued and gendred by these Turkes, commeth without the knowledge, sufferaunce, and determination of the Lord before, for such endes and purposes, as his deuine wisedome doth best know. For the better euidēce & testimony whereof, he hath left in his scriptures sufficient instruction, & declaration, wherby we may plainly see to our great comfort, how these greuous afflictions and 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 hymself hath appointed it, and doth permit the same.

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MarginaliaTwo thynges to be considered in the tyme & order of the olde Testament.
The scriptures, and the people.
And first to begin with the tyme of the old Testament let vs seriously aduise and ponder, not onely the Scriptures and prophesies therin conteyned, but also let vs consider the whole state, order and regiment of that people: the Churche I meane of the Israelites. For although the Scriptures and Prophetes of the old Testament, were properly sent to that people, and haue their relation properly to thinges done or that should be done, in that common welth, of which prophetes, Iohn Baptist was the last and made an end, as our Sauiour hymselfe witnesseth, saying: The law and Prophetes be vnto the tyme of Iohn &c: Yet notwithstādyng the sayd people of that old Testament, beareth a lyuely Image and resemblance, of the vniuersall Church, which should folow, planted by the sonne of God through the whole earth: So that as the Prophetes of God speakyng to them from the mouth and word of God, prophesied what should come to passe in that people: so likewise the whole course and hi story of those Israelites, exemplifieth and beareth a propheticall image to vs, declaring what is to be looked for in þe vniuersall church of God dispersed through the world, planted in Christ Iesus his sonne, MarginaliaIn Dan. Prophe. Phil. Melanct. according as Phil. Melancthon grauely gathering vpon the same, testifieth in diuers places in his commentary vpon the prophet Daniell.

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As first the history of godly Abel slayn by wicked Cain, MarginaliaGen. 4. what doth it importe, or Prophesie, but the condition of the people & seruauntes of God, which commonly go to wrack in this world, and are oppressed by the contrary part, which belongeth not to God.

The lyke may be sayd also of Isaac, and Ismaell: of Iacob and Esau. Of whom, those ij. whiche were the children of promise, and belonged to the election of God, were persecuted in this world, of the other, which were reiected. MarginaliaThe Saracens come of Ismaell. Where moreouer is to be noted concerning Ismael, that of hys stocke after the flesh, came the Saracens: whose secte the Turkes do now professe and mainteine. MarginaliaResemblāce betwene the xij. sonnes of Ismaell: and the xij. Ottoman turkes. And as Ismael had but xij. sonnes: so it were to be wished of God, that this Solyman which 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, that after they had a long season continued together, by the space of. 8. or. 9. C. yeares, at length, for their idolatrie, and trāsgression of their forefathers, x. tribes of them were cut of, and dispersed among the Gentiles, 130 yeares before the captiuitie of Babilon: so that but ij. tribes onely remayned free, and they also at last, after a 130. yeares, were captiued vnder the Babylonians, for a certeine tyme. 

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2 Kings 18-23 and 2 Chronicles 36.

Marginalia4. Reg 17 No otherwise hath it happened with þe Church of Christ almost in the vniuersall world, MarginaliaThe olde church of the Israelites beare a representation or image of the publicke church of Christ Iesus of which Churche the greatest part both in Asia, in Africa, and almost in Europe (where the holy Apostles so laboured and 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 remayne cleare, & they how long they shal so continue, þe lord knoweth: And albeit through the mercy of the Lorde, they escape the daunger of the Turkes, yet haue they bene so beaten with the Pope, that they had bene better almost to haue bene 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, and what afflictions they susteined in the time of the Machabees: and we shal 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 tymes of the whole church vniuersally in Christ collected.

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MarginaliaThe church of the Iewes a figure of Christes church. So the transmigration & 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 manyfold examples of the Church hetherto may well appeare.

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Agayne, the continuance of the law first geuen by Moses, vnto the destruction of the sayd people by Titus, amounteth to. 1564. yeares: MarginaliaEx Phil. Melanct. in Danielē. cap. 9. So we countyng the age of the new Testament, and 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 & yeares of the olde church, compared with the new. Lykewise in countyng the yeares from theyr deliuerāce out of captiuitie, to the ende of their dissolution, we fynde, 564. yeares, duryng which yeares, as the Churche of the Iewes was not gouerned vnder the authoritie of kynges, but the hyghe priestes tooke all the power and authoritie to themselues: so we Christians MarginaliaThe rule and dominion of the hygh priestes in the Iewes common wealth, and of our prelates, compared. for þe space especially of these later. 564. yeares, what haue we sene and felt, but onely the Iurisdictiō and domination of the Pope and his hyghe Priestes, playing the Rex in all countreys, and rulyng the whole? whereby, by the count of these yeares, it is to bee thought the day of the Lordes commyng not to be farre of.

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Furthermore in those latter yeares of the Iewes kingdome, what troubles and afflictions that people susteyned three hundreth yeares together, but chiefly the last 166. yeares before the commyng of Christ, by Antiochus and his felowes, the history of the Machabees cā report. Wherin we haue also notoriously to vnderstād the miserable vexations, and persecutions of Christian Churches in these latter endes of the world by Antichrist: MarginaliaAntiochus beareth a figure of Antichrist. For by Antiochus Antichrist (no doubt) is figured and represented. MarginaliaThe familie of Antichrist. Thys Antiochus surnamed Magnus, and Antiochus Epipha-

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nes
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