The commentary on this block is at a preliminary stage. The project has not yet completed all its work on this portion of the text. Foxe's title to the first book of the 1563 martyrology foreshadowed that it was to concentrate on 'things DONE AND PRACTISED BY THE Prelats of the Romishe Churche, specially in this Realme of England and Scotland, from the yeare of our Lord a thousand vnto the tyme nowe present.' The revised title for the 1570 edition contained a much more ambitious agenda: 'the ful History of thinges done and practiced in the same, from the time of the first Christened King Lucius, King of this Realme of England, which is from the yeare of our Lord 180. vnto the tyme now present'. The shift of emphasis indicated in the title is a measure of the extent to which Foxe reorchestrated the whole underlying architecture for the martyrology between these two editions. The full measure of that change is reflected in this early section of the text. The first paragraph, however, remained unchanged. Like all the Renaissance humanist historians, Foxe aspired to follow the 'leges historiae' famously expounded in Cicero's De Oratore (books I-II). The first 'law' was the priority of truth. As Cicero put it: 'For who does not know history's know history's first law to be that an author must not dare to tell anything but the truth? And its second that he must make bold to tell the whole truth?' (De Oratore, II, xi). These 'laws' had frequently been adduced by humanist historians in precisely the way that Foxe already does in his opening paragraph: to scorn the credulity of medieval chroniclers. He takes the argument one step further, indicating that it was not mere credulity. The 'barbarousnes of those daies, and partly negligence in the learned sort' had contributed to creating a willful silence which had 'misshadowed & corrupted' the past. By recovering the truth, Foxe expected to 'profit the Church of Christ' and contribute to the 'sweete and mercyful reformation' of 'these reformed daies'.[Back to Top]
Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield
For the better accomplishing wherof, so to prosecute the matter, as may best serue to the profit of the reader,
MarginaliaThe order or dispositiō of this history.I haue thought good first, beginning from the tyme of the primitiue Church, and so continuyng (by the Lordes grace) to these latter yeares to runne ouer the whole state and course of the Churche in generall, in such order as digestyng the whole tractation of this historie, into fiue sundry diuersities of tymes:
The sufferyng tyme of the Church.First I wil entreat of þe suffering time of þe Church, which continued from the Apostles age about. 300. yeares. Secondly, of the flourishyng time of the Churche, which lasted o- Marginalia2.
The florishing time of the Churchther. 300. yeares. Marginalia3.
The declining time of the Church.Thirdly, of the declinyng or backeslidyng time of the Churche, which comprehendeth other. 300. yeares, vntil the loosing out of Sathan, whiche was about the thousand yeare after ceasing of persecution.
During which space of tyme, the Churche, although in ambition and pride it was muche altered from the simple senceritie of the primitiue tyme, yet in outwarde professioō of doctrine and religiō it was something tollerable, and had some face of a Church: notwithstandyng some corruption of doctrine, with superstition and hypocrisie was then also crept in. And yet in comparison of that as followed after, it might seeme (as I sayd) something sufferable.
The tyme of Antichrist in the ChurchFourthly followeth the tyme of Antichrist, or desolation of the Churche, whose full swyng conteineth the space of. 400. yeares. In whiche tyme both doctrine, and sincerity of life was vtterly almost extinguished, namely in the cheif heads and rulers of this west Church, through the meanes of the Romane Bishops, especially countyng frō Gregory the. vij. called Hildebrand, Innocentius the. iij. & Friars which with him crept in, til the time of Iohn Wickliffe and Iohn Husse, during. 400. yeares. Marginalia5.
The reformatiō of the Church.Fiftly and lastly after this tyme of Antechrist, raignyng in the Church of God by violence & tyranny, foloweth the reformation and purging of the Church of God, wherein Antichrst beginneth to be reueled, and to appeare in his coulours, and his antichristiā doctrine to be detected, the number of his church decreasing, and the number of the true Church increasing. The durance of which tyme hath continued from. 260. yeares & how long shall continue more, the Lord & gouernour of all tymes onely knoweth. For in these fiue diuersities and alteraciōs of tymes, I suppose the whole course of the Church may well be comprised. The which Church, because it is vniuersall, and sparsedly through all countreys dilated, therfore in this history standing vpō such a generall argumēt I shall not be boūd to any one certaine nation, more then an other: yet notwithstanding, keepyng mine argument aforesayd, I haue purposed principally to tary vpon suche historical actes and recordes, as most appertaine to this my countrey of England & Scotland.
MarginaliaThe Churche of RomeAnd forsomuch as the Church of Rome, in all these ages aboue specified, hath chalenged to it self the supreme title, & ringleadyng of the whole vniuersal Churche on earth, by whose direction all other Churches haue bene gouerned, in writyng therefore of the Churche of Christ, I can not but partly also intermedle with the actes and procedynges of the same church, for somuch as the doynges and orderinges of all other Churches from time to time, as well here in England, as in other nations, haue this long season, chiefly depēded vpon the same. Wherfore, as it is much nedefull and requisite to haue the doynges & orderings of the sayd Church to be made manifest to all Christen congregations: so haue I framed this history, accordyng to the same purpose. First in a generall descriptiō briefly to declare as in a summary table, the misguidyng of that Church, comparing withall the primatiue state of the forenamed Churche of Rome, with these latter tymes of the same. Whiche done, then after in a more special tractatiō, to prosecute more at large all the particulars therof, so farforth as shall seme not vnprofitable for the publike instruction of all other Christen Churches, to behold and cōsider the maner and dealyng of this one.
MarginaliaFoure thynges to be considered in the Church of Rome.
4. Doctrine. In the which one Churche of Rome foure thynges, as most speciall pointes, seeme to me chiefly to be considered. To wit, Title, Iurisdiction, Life, and Doctrine, wherin I haue here to declare, first cōcerning the title or primacie of þt Church, how it first began, & vpon what occasion. Secondly, concerning the iurisdiction and authorite therof, what it was, and how farre it did extend. Thirdly, touchyng the misorder of life and conuersatiō, how inordinate it is. And fourthly, the forme of doctrine, how supersticious and idolatrous it was. Of the which foure the first was preiudiciall to all Byshops, the second deregatorie to Kynges and Emperours. The third detestable to al men. The fourth iniurious agaynst Christ.
MarginaliaThe title of Pope.For first, the title and stile of that church was such, that it ouerwent all other Churches, beyng called the holy vniuersall mother Church, which coulde not erre, & the Bishop thereof holy father the Pope, Byshop vniuersall, prince of Priests, supreme head of the vniuersall Church, and Vicare of Christ here in earth, whiche must not be iudged, hauyng all knowledge of Scripture and all lawes contained with in the chest of his brest.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe iurisdiction of the Pope.Secondly the iurisdictiō of that Byshop was such, that chalengyng to him selfe both the swordes, that is, both the keyes of the spiritualty, and the scepter of the Laytie: not onelye he subdued all Byshops vnder him, but also extended him self aboue Kyngs and Emperours, causing some of them to lye vnder his feete, some to hold his sturrup, Kinges to leade his horse by the bridle, some to kisse his feete, placyng and displacing Emperours, Kynges, Dukes and Earles, whom and when he listed, takyng vpon him to translate the Empire at his pleasure. First from Grece to Fraūce, from Fraunce to Germany, preferryng and deposing whom he pleased, confirming them whiche were elected. Also beyng Emperour him selfe sede vacante, pretendyng authoritie or[Back to Top]