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¶ TO THE TRVE AND FAITHFVLL CONGRE-
gation 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, wishing to the same a-
boundance of all peace and tranquilitie, with the spedy comming of
Christ the spouse, to make an ende of all mortall miserie.

SAlomon the peaceable Prince of Israell, as we read in the thyrde 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 al that should pray in the sayd Temple, or turne their face towarde 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 thys prayer of the Kynge, that not onely he promised to heare them which there prayed, but also replenished the same with his own 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 sinnefull wretch, not comparyng with the buildyng of that Temple, but following the zeale of the builder might eyther be so bolde to aske, or so happy to speede, after my vij. yeares trauaile about thys 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 myndes which shall resort to the readyng of this present history contaynyng the Actes of Gods holy Martyrs, and Monumentes of hys Church, may by example of theyr lyfe, fayth, & doctrine, receiue some such spiritual fruit to theyr soules through the operation of hys grace, that it may be to the aduauncement of hys glory, and profite of hys Church, through Christ Iesus our Lord. Amen.

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But as it hapned in that Temple of Salomon, that all whiche 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 & finde fault, & finally some also at the last to destroy & pluck downe, as they did in deede. For what is in this world so strōg, but it will be impugned? what so perfect, but it will be abused? so true, that will not be cōtraryed? or so circumspectly done, wherein wranglyng Theon will not set in his toothe? Euen so neyther 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 eyther by flatteryng a man must offende the Godly, or by true speakyng procure hatred with the wicked. Of such stinging waspes and buszyng drones I had sufficient triall in my former edition before, who if they had founde in my booke any iust cause to carpe, or vppon any true zeale of truth had proceded agaynst the vntruthes of my story and had brought iust profes for the same, I coulde haue right well abyde it. For God forbid, but that faultes, whersoeuer they be, should be detected and accused. And therfore accusers in a commō wealth after my minde do serue to no small stead.

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But then such accusers must beware they play not the dogge, of whome Cicero in his Oration speaketh, which beyng set in Capitolio to fray away theeues by nyght, 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 Martyrs 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 while 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 vpon them, thus much I thought in the meane season, by way of Protestation or petition, to write vnto you both in general and particular the true members and faythfull congregation of Christes Church, wheresoeuer either congregated together, or dispersed through the whole Realme of Englād, 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 surmises, how to withdraw the readers frō it: This therefore shalbe in few wordes to premonish and desire of all and singular of you (all well mynded louers and 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 first peruse, and thē refuse: measuryng the vntruthes of this history, not by the scoryng vp of their hundreds 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 he seeth cause so lyke as he lyste. If any shall thinke hys labour to much in readyng this history, his choyce is free either to read this, or any other which he more mindeth. But if the fruite therof shall recompence the readers trauaile, then would I wish no man so light eared, to be caryed away for any sinister clamour of aduersaries, who many tymes depraue good doynges, not for the faultes they finde, but therfore finde faultes because they would depraue. As for me and my history, as my will was to profite all and displease none: so if skill in any part wanted to will, yet hath my purpose ben simple, and certes the cause no lesse vrgent also, which moued me to take this enterprise in hand.

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For first to see the simple flocke of Christ, especially the vnlearned sort, so miserably abused, and all for ignoraunce of history, not knowing the course of tymes, and true descent of the Church, it pitied me, that part of diligence so long to haue ben vnsupplyed in this my countrey Church of England. Agayn consideryng the multitude of Chronicles and storywriters, both in England, and out of England, of whom the most part haue bene either Monkes or clientes to the sea of Rome, it greued me to behold how partially they handled their stories. MarginaliaThe partiall dealing of story writers.Whose painefull trauile albeit I cannot but commend, in committing diuers thinges to writing, not vnfruitfull to be knowen, nor vnpleasaunt to be read: yet it lamented me to see in their Monumētes the principal pointes, which chiefly cōcerned the state of Christes Church, and were most necessary of al Christē people to be knowē, either altogether pretermitted, or if any mention therof were inserted, yet were all thinges drawen to the honour specially of the Church of Rome, or els to the fauour of their own sect of Religion. Whereby the vulgare

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