Thematic Divisions in Preface
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TO THE TRVE AND FAITHFVLL CON-
gregation of Christes vniuersall Church, with all and singular the members
thereof, wheresoeuer congregated, or dispersed through the Realme of England, A
Protestation or petition of the author, wishyng to the same aboundance of all peace and
tranquilitie, with the spedy commyng of Christ the spouse, to make an ende
of all mortall miserie.

SAlomon the peaceable Prince of Israell, as we read in the thyrd of Kynges, after he had finished the buildyng of the Lordes Temple (which he had vij. yeares in hand) made his petition to the Lord for all that should pray in the sayd Temple, or turne theyr face toward it, And his request was graunted, the Lord aunsweryng him, as we read in the sayd booke. cap. 6. I haue heard (saith he) thy prayer and haue sanctified this place. &c. Albeit the infinite Maiesty of God is not to be compassed in any materiall walles, yet it so pleased hys goodnes to respect this prayer of the kyng, that not onely he promised to heare them which there prayed, but also replenished the same with hys owne glory. For so we read agayne in the booke aforesayd: Et non poterant ministrare propter nebulam, quia repleuit gloria Domini, domum Domini. 3. Reg. 7.

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Vpon lyke trust in Gods gracious goodnes. If I sinneful wretch, not comparyng with the building of that Temple but followyng the zeale of the builder might either be so bold to aske, or so happy to speed, after my vij. yeares trauaile about this Ecclesiasticall history, most humbly would craue of almighty God to bestow hys blessing vpon the same, that as the prayers of them, which prayed in the outward Temple were heard: so all true disposed mindes which shall resort to the readyng of this present history contaynyng the Actes of Gods holy Martyrs, and Monumentes of his Church, may by example of theyr lyfe, fayth, and doctrine, receiue some such spirituall fruit to their soules through the operation of his grace, that it may be to the aduauncement of his glory, and profite of his Church, through Crist Iesus our Lord. Amen.

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But as it hapned in that Temple of Salomon, that all which came thether, came not to pray but many to prate, some to gaze and see newes, other to talke and walke, some to buye and sell, some to carpe and find fault, and finally some also at the last to destroy and plucke downe, as they did in deede. For what is in this world so strong but it will be impugned? what so perfect, but it will be abused? so true, that will not be contraryed? or so circumspectly done, wherein wranglyng Theon will not set in his toothe? Euen so neither do I looke for any other in this present history: but that amongest many well disposed readers some waspes nest or other will be styrred vp to busze about myne eares. Such a daungerous thyng it is now a dayes to write or do any good, but either by flatteryng a man must offende the godly, or by true speakyng procure hatred with the wicked. Of such stingyng waspes & buszyng drones I had sufficient triall in my former edition before, who if they had found in my booke any iust cause to carpe, or vpon any true zeale of truth had proceded agaynst the vntruthes of my story, and had brought iust profes for the same, I could haue right well abyde it. For God forbid, but that faultes wheresoeuer they be, should be detected and accused. And therfore accusers in a common wealth after my minde do serue to no small stead.

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But thē such accusers must beware they play not the dogge, of whom Cicero in his Oration speaketh, which beyng set in Capitolio to fray away theeues by night, left the theeues and fell to barke at true men walkyng in the day. Where true faultes be there to bay and barke is not amisse. But to carpe where no cause is, to spye in others strawes, and to leape ouer their owne blockes: to swallow camels, and to strayne gnattes: to oppresse truth with lyes, and to set vp lyes for truth, to: blaspheme the deare Martyres of Christ, and to canonize for Saintes, whom Scripture would scarce allow for good subiectes, that is intollerable. Such barkyng curres, if they were well serued, would be made a whyle to stoope. But with these braulyng spirites I entend not at this tyme much to wrastle.

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Wherefore to leaue them a while, till further leasure serue me to attend vppon them, thus much I thought in the meane season by way of Protestation or petition, to write vnto you both in generall and particular the true members and faythfull congregation of Christes Church, wheresoeuer either congregated together, or dispersed through the whole Realme of England: that for somuch as all the seekyng of these aduersaries is to do what they can, by discredityng of this history with slaunders and sinister surmised, how to withdraw the readers frō it: This therfore shalbe in few wordes to premonish and desire of all & singular of you (all well mynded louers & partakers of Christes Gospell) not to suffer your selues to be deceaued with the bigge bragges, and hyperbolicall speaches of those slaundryng tounges, what soeuer they haue or shall hereafter exclame agaynst the same. But indifferently staying your iudgement till truth be tryed, you will furst peruse, and then refuse: measuryng the vntruthes of this history, not by the scoryng vp of their hundredes and thousands of lyes which they giue out, but wisely weyng the purpose of their doynges, accordyng as you finde, and so to iudge of the matter.

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To read my bookes I allure neither one nor other. Euery man as hee seeth cause so lyke as he lyste.

If
.ij.
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