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A Protestation to the whole Church of England.

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 trauayle, 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 therefore 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 bene 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 times, and true descent of the Church, it pitied me, that part of diligence so long to haue bene vnsupplyed in this my countrey Church of England. Agayne considering 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 dealyng of story writers.Whose painefull trauaile albeit I cannot but comend, in committing diuers thinges to writing, not vnfruitfull to be knowen, nor vnpleasaūt to be read: yet it lamented me to see in their Monmentes the principall pointes, which chiefly concerned the state of Christes Church, and were most necessary of all Christen people to be knowen, 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 owne sect of Religion. Wherby the vulgare sort, hearing and reading in their writings no other Church mentioned or magnified but onely that Church which here florished in this world in riches and iollitye, were drawne also to the same persuasion, to thinke no other Church to haue stand in all the earth, but onely the Church of Rome.

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In the number of this sort of writers, besides our Mōkes of Englād ( for euery Monastery almost had his Chronicler) I might also recite both Italian, & other coūtrey authors, as Platina, Sabellicus, Nauclerus, Martinus, Antoninus, Vincentius, Onuphrius, Laziardus, Geogius Lillius, Pollid. Virgilius, with many more, who taking vpō them to entermeddle with matters of the Church, although in part they expres some truth in matters concerning the Bishops and sea of Rome: yet in suppressing an other part, they play with vs, as Ananias and Saphira did with their money, or as Apelles did in Pliny who painting the one halfe of venus cōming out of the Sea, left the other halfe vnperfect. So these writers while they shew vs one halfe of the Bishop of Rome, the other halfe of him they leaue vnperfect, and vtterly vntold. For as they paint him out on the one part glistering in wealth & glory, in shewing what successiō they Popes had frō the chaire of S. Peter, when they first begā, and how long they sate, what Churches and what famous buildings they erected, how farre their possessions reached, what lawes they made, what counsels they called, what honor they receaued of Kinges & Emperours, what Princes and countreys they brought vnder their authoritie, with other like stratagemes, of great pōpe and royaltie: so on the other side what vices these Popes brought with them to their seat, what abominations they practized what superstitiō they maintayned, what Idolatrie they procured, what wicked doctrine they defended cōtrary to the expresse word of God, to what heresies they fell, into what diuisiō of sectes they cut the vnitie of Christian Religiō, how some practized by Symonie, some by Necromancy, and sorcery, some by poysoning, some endenting with the deuill to come by their Papacy, what hypocrisie was in their liues, what corruption in their doctrine, what warres they raysed, what bloudshed they caused, what trachery they trauersed against their Lordes and Emperours, imprisoning some, betraying some to the Templaries and Saracens, in bringing other vnder their feete, also in behedding some, as they did with Fredericus and Conradinus, the heyres and offspring of the house of Fredericus Barbarossa. an. 1269: furthermore how mightely almighty God hath stand against them, how their warres neuer prospered against the Turke, how the iudgements of the godly learned from time to time haue euer repugned agaynst their errours &c. of these and a thousand other moe, not one word hath bene touched, but all kept as vnder Benedicite in Auricular confession.

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This partiall dealing and corrupt handling of histories, when I considered, I thought with my selfe nothing more lacking in the Church, then a full and a conplet history which being faithfully collected out of all our Monasticall writers and written Monumentes, should containe neither euery vayne written fable, for that would be to much, nor yet leaue out any thing necessary, for that would be to litle: but with a moderate discretion taking the best of euery one should both ease the labour of the reader from turning ouer such a number of writers: and also should open the plaine truth of times lying long hid in obscure darknes of antiquitie. Wherby all studious readers, beholding as in a glasse the state, course, and alteration of Religion, decay of doctrine, and the controuersies of the Chnrch, might discerne the better betwene antiquitie and noueltie. For if the thinges which be first (after the rule of Tertullian) are to be preferred before those that be latter, thē is the reading of histories much necessary in the Church, to know what went before, and what followed after. MarginaliaPrimū quoq; vtrissimum est Tertul.And therefore not without cause Historia, in old authours is called, the witnesse of tymes, the light of veritie, the lyfe of memory, teacher of lyfe and shewer of antiquitie. &c. Without the knowledge wherof mans life is blind, and soone may fall into any kinde of errour, as by manifest experience we haue to see, in these desolate latter times of the Church, when as the Bishops of Rome vnder collour of antiquitie haue turned truth into heresie and brought such new found deuises of straunge doctrine and Religiō as in the former age of the Church were neuer heard of before, and all through ingoraunce of times, and for lacke of true history.

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For to say the truth, if tymes had bene well searched, of if they which wrote histories had without

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