fest in the sight of the world, yet was it the onely true Church in the sight of God. Of this Church ment Christ speaking of the Temple, which he would rayse againe the third day. And yet after that the Lord was risen, he shewed not him selfe to the worlde, but onely to his elect which were but few. The same Church after that encreased & multiplyed mightely amōg the Iewes, yet had not the Iewes eyes to see Gods Church, but did persecute it till at length all their whole nation was destroyed.[Back to Top]
After the Iewes, then came the heathen Emperours of Rome, who hauing the whole power of the worlde in their handes, did what the world could do, to extinguish the name and Church of Christ. Whose violence continued the space of iij. hundreth yeares. All which while the true Church of Christ was not greatly in sight of the world, but rather was abhorred euery where and yet notwithstanding the same small selly flocke so despised in the world, the Lord highly regarded and mightely preserued. For although many then of the Christians did suffer death: yet was their death neither losse to them, nor detriment to the Church: but the more they suffered, the more of their bloud encreased.[Back to Top]
In the tyme of these Emperours, God raised vp then in this Realme of Britaine diuers worthy teachers and witnesses, as Elnanus, meduinus, Meltiuianus, Amphibolus, Albanus, Aaron, Iulius and other moe. In whose time the doctrine of faith without mens traditions was sincerely preached. After their death and Martirdome, it pleased the Lord to prouide a generall quietnes to his Church, wherby the nūber of his flocke began more to encrease.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe antiquitie of the Church here in England with the descent of the same.In this age then followed here in the said land of Britaine Fastidius, Niuianus, Patricius, Bacchiarius, Dubricius, Congellus, Kentigernus, Helmotus, Dauid, Daniel, Sampson, Elnodugus, Asaphus, Gildas, Henlanus, Elbodus, Dinothus, Samuel, Niuius and a great sort moe, which gouerned the Church of Britaine by Christen doctrine a long season, albeit the ciuill gouernours for the time were then dissolute and careles, as Gildas very sharply doth lay to their charge, and so at length were subdued by the Saxons.[Back to Top]
All this while about the space of foure hundreth yeares, Religion remained in Britaine vncorrupt, and the word of Christ truely preached, till about the comming of Austen and of his companions from Rome, many of the said Britaine preachers were slaine by the Saxons. After that began Christen faith to enter and spring amōg the Saxons, after a certaine Romish sort, yet notwithstanding somewhat more tollerable, then were the times, which after followed, through the diligent industry of some Godly teachers, which then liued amongest them: as Aidanus, Finianus, Coleman Archbishop of Yorke, Beda, Iohn of Beuerlay, Alcuinus, Noetus, Hucharius, Serlo, Achardus, Ealredus, Alexander Neckam, Nigellus, Fenallus, Aelfricus, Sygeferthus and such other: who though they erred in some few thinges, yet neyther so grossely, nor so greatly to be complained of in respect of the abuses that folowed. For as yet, all this while, MarginaliaTransubstantiation not yet receaued for a publicke doctrine.the errour of Transubstantiation and leuation, with auricuer confession was not crept in for a publicke doctrine in Christes Church as by their own Saxon Sermon, made by Aelfricus and set out in the second Volume of this present history may appeare pag. 1114. During the which meane time, although the Bishops of Rome were had here in some reuerence with the Clergy: yet had they nothing as yet to do in setting lawes touching matters of the church of England: but that onely appertained to the kings and gouernours of the land as is in this story to be sene. pag. 754.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe Church when it began to fall from God.And thus the Church of Rome albeit it began then to decline a pace from God, yet during all this while it remayned hetherto in some reasonable order, till at length after that the said Bishops began to shout vp in the world through the liberalitie of good Princes, and especially by Mathilda a noble Duches of Italy. Who at her death made the Pope heyre of all her landes, & endued his sea, with great reuenewes.
MarginaliaAeneas Siluius sayth that Mathilda made the Pope heyre of these landes, which is called the Patrimonye of S. Peter.
Ex Auen. lib. 6.Then riches begot ambition. Ambition destroyed Religion, so that all came to ruine. MarginaliaMonkery when it beganne to reigne in England.Out of this corruption sprang forth here in England (as did in other places more) an other Romish kynde of Monkery, worse thē the other before, beyng much more drowned in superstition and ceremonies, which was about the yeare of our Lord. 980. Of this swarme was Egbertus, Aigelbart, Egwine, Boniface, Wilfrede, Agathon, Iames, Romaine, Cedda, Dunstane, Oswolde, Aethelwold, Aethelwine Duke of Eastangels, Lancfrancke, Anselme and such other.
And yet in this time also through Gods prouidence, the Church lacked not some of better knowledge and iudgement, to weygh with the darkenes of those dayes. For although king Edgar, with Edward his base sonne being seduced by Dunstane, Oswolde and other Monkish Clerkes, was then a great author and fautor of much superstition, erecting as many Monasteries, as were Sondayes in the yeare: yet notwithstandyng this cōtinued not lōg. For eftsoones after the death of Edgar came kinge Ethelrede and Queene Elfthred his mother, with Alferus Duke of merceland, and other peeres and nobles of the Realme, who displaced the Monkes againe, and restored the maryed Priestes to their old possessions and liuinges. Moreouer after that followed also the Danes which ouerthrew those Monkish foundations, as fast as king Edgar had set them vp before.[Back to Top]
And thus hetherto stode the condition of the true Church of Christ, albeit not without some repugnance & difficultie, yet in some meane state of the truth & veritie, til time of Pope Hildebrand, called Gregory vij. which was nere about the yeare. 1080. And of Pope Innocentius iij. in the yeare. 1215. By whō all together was turned vpside downe, all order broken, discipline dissolued, true doctrine defaced. Christen fayth extinguished. In sted wherof was set vp preaching of mens decrees, dreames, and Idle traditions. And whereas before truth was free to be disputed amongest learned men, now libertie was turned into law, Argument into Authoritie. Whatsoeuer the Bishop of Rome denounced, that stode for an oracle, of all men to be receaued without opposition or contradiction: what soeuer was contrary, ipso facto it was heresy, to be punished with fagot and flamyng fire. MarginaliaThe true church when it began first to decay.Then began the sincere fayth of this English Church, which held out so long, to quayle. Thē was the clere sunne shine of Gods word ouershadowed, with mistes and darknes, appearyng like sackcloth to the people, which neyther could vnderstand that they read, nor yet Permitted to read that they coulde vnderstand. In these miserable dayes, as the true visible Churche began now to shrinke and kepe in for feare: so vpstart a newe sort of players to furnish the stage, as schole Doctours, canonistes, and foure orders of Friers. Besides other Monasticall sectes and fraternities of infinite varietie. Whiche euer since haue kept such a stirre in the Churche, that none for them almost durst route, neyther Cæsar, king, nor subiect. What they defined, stode. What they approued, was Catholicke: What they condemned, was heresy: whom soeuer they accused, none almost coulde saue. And thus haue these hetherto continued or raigned rather in the church, the space now of four hundreth yeares and odde. Duryng which space, the true church of Christ, although it durst not openly appeare in the face of the world, oppressed by tyranny: yet neyther was it so inuisible or vnknowne, but by the prouidence of the Lord, some remnaunt alwayes remayned, from tyme to tyme, whiche not onely shewed secret good affection to sincere doctrine, but also stode in open defence of truth agaynst the disordered Church of Rome.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe true Church cōtinueth in middest of their enemies.In which Cataloge, first to pretermit Barthramus and Berengarius, whiche were before Pope Innocent the iij. a learned multitude of sufficient witnesses here might be produced, whose names neyther are obscure nor doc-