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414 [414]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

The articles which they falslye gathered against this man, are affyrmed by some to be theese.

That the churche lacketh reformation, that it shalbe punished and reformed.

That Infidels, Iewes, Turkes and Mores shall be conuerted vnto Christe in the latter dayes.

That abhominations are vsed at Rome.

That the vniust excōmunication of þe Pope, is not to be feared. And those which doo not obserue the same, do not synne or offend.

But yet there lacked a minister for these articles, allbeit he could not long be wanting at Rome, where all thinges are to be solde, euen mennes soules. For this office and ministery, there was no man thought more meete, then William of Rone, Cardinall of S. Martines in the mount, vice chauncelor of the courte of Rome. Eugenius at that time was pope, but only in name, this good man Thomas Rhedon being taken was brought before him, and from thence, sent vnto prison. And againe after his imprisonment, and diuers and sondrye greuous torments, he was brought before the iudges. The wolfe sate in iudgemēt, the lamb is accused. Why? because he hath troubled the spring. But here nead not many wordes, this good man Thomas, not beinge able to resyst the malice of these mighty potentates, had offended inoughe, and was easilye conuicte and condempned to be burned. But in such sorte as first of all he should be depryued of all such degrees as he had taken to priesthode. For it is counted an vnlawfull thinge, that a priest shoulde be punished with prophane punyshment, when as notwithstandinge it is lawfull inough for priestes to put anye laye menne to death, be he neuer so giltles.

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How religiously and earnestly do they forsee, that the maiesty of priestly dignity, should not in any case be hurte. But howe little care haue they, that their consciences be not hurte with false iudgementes, and oppressynge the giltles? Wherfore before that he should come vnto punishment, this good manne Thomas muste be disgraded. These degrees because ye shall not be ignoraunte, are not suche, whyche may be counted amonges the differēces, wherby we are knowne from other. Neither amonges the propers which are alwaies agreable vnto vs, but amongest those common accidents, which we both may haue, and may be taken away from vs at the will and pleasure of the byshoppes. For thus we are taughte, of such as wryte of Philosophie, that there is an apt and easy motion from the habite to depryuatiō, but contrariwise frō priuation vnto the habite, there is no retourne. Wherfore gentlereader, it is not to be meruailed at, whye that he beinge nowe become a laye manne shoulde die, whiche liued being a priest. But this thou mayest more maruaile at, what folly and madnesse was in those mennes myndes, whyche throughe suche actes and doinges, would set them selues forthe to be a mocking stocke vnto all the whole worlde, and not onlye to be derided of menne, but to be abhominable and accursed before God.

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After that it hadde pleased the bishoppes to disgrade this man, frō the degrees wherwyth before they had consecrated him, and thought not that suffycient, by and by after they depriued him of his life also, and burned hym, foure yeares after that he came to Rome. In the yeare of our Lord M.CCCC.xxxvi. And thus thorow the cruelty of these mooste tirannous prelates, this blessed martir died. Allbeit it is not to be thought that he died, but made a los of this body, for a greater gaine of saluation, before the iuste iudge God. Neither is it to be doubted but that he liueth eternally in heauē, with them whose bloud the Lord wil reuenge peraduenture to sone, for some of them whome the earth hath here so long maintained wythout vengaunce.

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Marginalia1440. The art of printing inuented.IN followinge the course and order of yeares, we finde this yeare of our Lord M.CCCC.xl. to be famous and worthye of remembraunce.  

Commentary  *  Close
Invention of Printing

Foxe's account of the invention of printing is one of the most famous and often-quoted sections of the Acts and Monuments. However, most citations of it and quotations from it, fail to appreciate a crucial dimension to these passages: Foxe saw the invention of printing as a milestone in the unfolding of the end times. In the 1563 edition (p. 362), Foxe printed a declaration that the invention of printing had been prophesied by the Sibyls. This declaration was never reprinted, but was replaced in a much longer and more detailed account in the 1570 edition. Although no mention was made of the Sibyls in the revised account, Foxe insisted on the providential timing of the invention, which he saw as a divine response to the burnings of Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague. Foxe never lost his belief in the apocalyptic significance of printing. In his commentary on Revelation, he maintained that the invention of printing had been prophesied by St. John (See John Foxe, Eicasmi seu meditationes in sacram Apocalypsim [London, 1587}, STC 11237, p. 107). Foxe's narrative of the invention of printing contains a great deal that was his own opinion and his own writing - including the well-known passage that printing-presses were blockhouses against the Castel St Angelo. He also provided the first account of Gutenberg and the invention of printing in English. Foxe drew this material from two sources. The first was a treatise, De typographiae inventione by the Lutheran reformer, Matthaeus Judex. This provided almost all of Foxe's narrative of Gutenberg, Schaeffer and Faust. (See Matthaeus Judex, De typographiae inventione [Copenhagen, 1566], pp. 14 and 29). The citations of Wimpheling and Ziegler came fom Caspar Hedio's continuation of the chronicle attributed to Conrad of Lichtenau, the abbot of Ursperg. Also from Hedio is the material on John Mentell, Ulrich Han and the Latin poems in this account. (See Abbatis Urspergensis Chronicum, ed. Caspar Hedio [Basel, 1569], pp. 403-4).

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Thomas S. Freeman

For the maruailous inuention of printing, whiche that yeare was fyrste inuented and found oute, by one Ihon Guttenbergh in Strawsborow, and afterward by him made perfecte and complete in Mentz.

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This art and science, how profitable it hath beene vnto all the whole worlde, theese oure dayes doo suffyciently declare, if that we dilygentlye waye and consyder, howe that thereby ignoraunce is vtterly banyshed, and truthe manifested and declared, and finally the poope and Antichriste there by vtterlye subuerted, whiche coulde neuer haue come to passe, if this mooste worthye science hadde not beene founde oute. For so much as otherwise, bokes were so skarse, and there wyth all of suche excessyue price, that fewe menne coulde there by attayne to knowledge or vnderstandynge, whiche now by this meanes, is made easy vnto all men.

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Here in also appeareth the prophecy of the Sibilles to be fulfilled, who longe time before hadde prophesyed, that flaxe and line, shoulde subuert and ouerthrowe Antichriste Goddes ennemy. Wherefore as God by his meruelous prouydence, for the aduauncemente

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