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137 [1239]

THE SECOND PARTE OF THIS ecclesiasticall historie contening the Actes of Martirs.

MarginaliaAn. 1371.ALlthoughe it be manifest and euident inough, þt there were diuers and sondry before Wickliffes time, whiche haue wrasteled and laboured in the same cause & quarel, that our countreyman Wickleffe hath done: 

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Church in Wiclif's time

These passages first appeared in the Commentarii (fos. 1r-8r), where they formed the beginning of the work. They also appeared, unchanged, at the beginning of the Rerum (pp. 1-4). They were faithfully translated in 1563, where they appear at the beginning of Book Two. They served as an introduction to Foxe's view of history in the editions where his history essentially began Wiclif. (The first book of the 1563 edition was a late addition to the work, as can be seen by its irregular, indeed chaotic, pagination). The passages - and thus the early editions of Foxe - began with an idea that would remain central to Foxe's interpretation of history: that in every age the Holy Spirit raised up champions of true doctrine even in the dark ages before Wiclif. This followed by praise of Wiclif, including the comparision, coined by Bale in 1548 (in his Illustrium maioris Britanniae scriptorum…summarium [Wesel, 1548], fo. 154v) , of Wiclif as the morning star. There follows a long diatribe on the superstition and corruption of the Church in Wiclif's time, with particular emphasis laid on the folly of the Crusades. (Foxe was all for a war against Moslems if its goal was to liberate Christian peoples, but the recovery of the Holy Land was, in his eyes, not worth fighting for). Foxe then moved to a discussion of the source of this evil, the Papacy, and attacked the idea of the Petrine succession and papal claims to authority over the Church. These passages were not reprinted in subsequent editions. This was probably not because Foxe had lost confidence in these ideas but because the expanded coverage in the Acts and Monuments of the eras before Wiclif, made this summary overview and introduction unnecessary.

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Thomas S. Freeman

whom the holy ghost hathe from time to time, raised and stirred vp in the churche of God, to vanquish and ouerthrow the great errours which daily did grow and preuayle in the world. MarginaliaBerengarius. I. Scotus Bruno, Okleus. Walden. Marsilius. Iohn of Ganduno. 1326.Amongst the which nomber in the monuments of histories are remembred, Berengarius in the time of Henry the third emperour in the yere of our Lorde. M. Li. and Iohn Scotus whiche toke away the veritie of the body and bloud from the sacramente: Bruno of Aniow, Okleus the second, Valden: Marsilius of Padway: Iohn of Ganduno: MarginaliaOccamus.Okchamus with diuers other of þe sect or schole: yet notwithstanding for so muche as they are not many in nomber nether yet very famous or notable, we wyll begin thenarration of this our history, with Wickliffe: at whose time this furio9 fier of persecutiō semed to take his first original & begīning.

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Marginalia1326After all these whom we haue here tofore rehersed (thorow God his prouidence) stepped forth the valiant champion of the truth, Iohn Wickleffe a famous diuine and no lesse experte in all kind of philosophie. The whiche doth not onlye apeare by his owne moste famous and learned writinges and monuments: but also by the confession of Walden his most cruell and bitter enemie, who in a certaine epistle written vnto pope Martine the v. sayth that he was wonderfully astonished at his moste stronge argumentes with the places of auctoritie, which he had gathered wt the vehemēcy & force of his reasons &c. And thus muche oute of Walden. It apeareth by suche as haue obserued the order and course of times that this Wickleffe florished about the yearre of our Lorde. MCCClxxi. MarginaliaEdwarde the thirde king of Englande.Edward the third raigning in England, for thus we do find in the cronicles of Caxton: In the yere of our Lord M.CCClxxi (sayth he) Edward the third, king of England in his parliament was against the popes clergy: he willingly harkned and gaue eare to the voices & tales of Heretickes, with certaine of his counsel conceuing and folowing sinister opinions, against the clergy. Wherfore afterward he tasted & suffred much aduersitie & trouble. And not lōg after, in þe yere of our lord (saith he) 1372. he wrot vnto the bishop of Rome, that he should not by any meanes entermedle any more within his kīgdome as touching the reseruations, or distributition of benefices: And that al such bishops as wervnder his dominion should inioy their former & auncient lybertie, & be confirmed of their metropolitanes, as hath ben accostomed in times past. &c. Thus much writeth Caxtō: But as touching the iust nūber of the yere & time, we will not be very curious or carefull about, at this presente. MarginaliaA description of Wickliffes time.This is out of al doubt, that at what time al the world was in most desperate and vile estate, and that the lamentable ignorance & darknes of god his truth had ouershadowed þe hole earth: This man stepped forth like a valiant champion: vnto whom it may iustly be applied that was spoken in the boke called Ecclesiasticus of one Simon the sonne of Onias. Euen as the morning starre being in the middest of a cloud, and as the mone being full in her course, & as the bright bemes of the sonne: so dooth he shine & glitter in the temple and church of God. Thus doth almighty god continually succour and helpe when all thynges are in dispaire: being alwayes (according to the prophecy of the psalme) a helper in time of nede. The which thing neuer more plainly apered thē in these latter dayes & extreme age of the church, when as the whole state & condition not only of worldly things, but also of religiō was so deprauid & corupted, that like as the disease named Lethargus amongst the phisicions, euen so þe state of religion amongst þe diuines was past al mens help & remedy. The only name of Christ remayned amongst christians. But his true and liuely doctrine was as far vnknowne vnto the moste part, as his name was comen vnto all men. As touching faithe, consolation, the end and vse of the lawe, the office of Christe, of our impotency and weaknes, of the holy ghost, of the greatnes and strength of sinne, of trewe works, of grace & free iustification, and liberty of a Christian man, wherin cōsisteth and resteth the whole sum and matter of our profession, there was no mention nor ani word almost spoke of. Scripture lerning & diuinitie was knowne but vnto a fewe, & that in the scholes only, & there also turned & cōuerted almost all into sophistry. In stede of Peter & Paul men occupide their time in studying Aquinas & Scotus. The world leauinge & forsaking the liuely power of Gods spirituall word & doctrine, was altogether led & blinded wt outwarde ceremonies and humaine traditions, wherin the whole scope, in a maner of al christian perfection did cōsist & depēd. In these was al the hope of obteining saluatiō fully fixed: here vnto all things wer attributed: In so much that scarsly ani other thinges was seene in the temples or Churches taught or spoken of in sermons, or finally intended or gon about, in their hole life but only heaping vp of certain shadowed ceremonies vpō ceremonies, nether was their any end of this their heaping.

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