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1110 [1110]

K. Henry. 8. A comfortable letter of a Martyr in Italie.

PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

The Ma
of Ve-

At Rome.
an. 1555.

Venice, caused hym to be appre-
hended at Padua, and caryed to
Venyce, where hee was long de-
teined in prison and bandes, till
at last the Pope commaunded
the Magistrates there to send
him vp boūd vnto Rome: which
the Venitians eftsones accompli-
shed. After he was brought to
Rome, manifold persuasions and
alurementes were assayed to re-
moue the vertuous and blessed
yong man, from his sentence. But

when no worldly persuasions could preuaile agaynst the ope-
ration of Gods spirite in him, then was he adiudged to bee
burned alyue, whiche death most constantly he susteined to
the great admiration of all that behelde him.
Beyng in prison at Venyce, he wrote an Epistle to the af-
flicted Sainctes, which for the notable swetenes and most

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PersecutersMartyrsThe Causes.

wonderfull consolation conteined in the same, in shewyng
forth the mightie operation of Gods holy power working in
his afflicted Sainctes, that suffer for his sake: I haue thought
good and expedient, to communicate, as a princi-
pall monument amongest all other Martyrs letters, not
onely with the other letters, whiche shalbe inserted hereaf-
ter (the Lord willing) in the end of the boke, but also in this
present place to be redde, to the entent that both they whiche
be, or shalbe hereafter in affliction, may take consolation, and
also that they whiche yet folowe the trade of this present
worlde, in comparyng the ioyes and commodities therof,
with these ioyes here expressed, maye learne and consi-
der with them selues, what difference there is, betwene
them both, and therby maye learne to dispose them sel-
ues, in such sort, as may be to their edification, and perpetuall
felicitie of their soules. The copie of the letter, first written in
Latine, we haue translated into Englishe: the tenour wherof
here vnder ensueth.

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¶ A comfortable letter of Pomponius Algerius,
an Italian Martyr.

¶ To his most dearely beloued brethren, and felow ser-
uauntes in Christ, whiche are departed out of
Babylon, into Moūt Sion: Grace, peace, and
health, from God our father, by Iesus
Christ our Lord and Sauiour.

TO mitigate your sorowe, whiche you take for me,
I can not but imparte vnto you some portion of my
delectations and ioyes, whiche I feele and finde, to the
entent you with me, may reioyce, and sing before the
Lord, geuyng thankes vnto hym. I shall vtter that,
whiche no man will beleue, when I shall declare it. I
haue founde, a neste of hony and hony combe in the in-
trals of a Lyon. 
Commentary  *  Close

Judges 14:2

Who will euer beleue þt I shall say? or
what mā will euer thinke, in the deape darke dungeon,
to finde a Paradise of pleasure? in the place of sorowe
and death, to dwell tranquillitie and hope of lyfe?
in a caue infernall, to bee founde ioye of soule? and
where other mē do weepe, there to be reioysing? where
other do shake and tremble, there strength and boldnes
to be plentie? Who will euer thinke, or who will beleue
this? in such a wofull state, such delectation? in a place
so desolate, such societie of good men? in straite bandes
and cold yrons, such rest to be had? All these things, the
swete hand of the Lord (my swete brethren) doth mini-
ster vnto me. Behold, he þt was once farre frō me, now
is present with me. Whō once scarse I could feele, now
I see more apparantly: whō once I saw a farre of, now
I beholde nere at hand: whom once I hungered for,
the same now approcheth & reacheth his hand vnto me.
He doth comfort me, & heapeth me vp with gladnes: he
driueth away al bitternes: he ministreth strēgth & cou-
rage: he healeth me, refresheth, auaunceth, & comforteth
Commentary  *  Close

1 Corinthians 10: 13

O how good is the Lord, whiche suffereth not hys
seruauntes to be tempted aboue their strength? 
Commentary  *  Close

Matthew 11: 13

O how
easy and swete is his yoke? Is there any like vnto the
hyghest, who receaueth þe afflicted, healeth þe woūded, &
nourisheth them? Is there any like vnto hym? Learne
ye welbeloued, how amiable the Lord is, how meake
and mercifull he is, whiche visiteth his seruauntes in
tentatiōs, neither disdayneth he to kepe company with
vs in such vile and stinkyng caues. Will the blynd and
incredulous world (thinke you) beleue this? or rather
will it not say thus? No thou wilt neuer be able to a-
byde long, the burnyng heate, the cold snow, and the
pinchyng hardnes of that place: the manifold miseries,
and other greuaunces innumerable: the rebukes, and
frownyng faces of men how wilt thou suffer? Doest
thou not consider and reuolue in thy minde thy plea-
saunt countrey, the riches of the world, thy kinsfolkes,
the delicate pleasures, and honours of this life? Doest
thou forget the solace of thy Sciences, & fruite of all thy
labours? Wilt thou thus loose all thy labours, which

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thou hast hetherto susteined? so many nightes watched?
thy painefull trauails, and all thy laudable enterprises,
wherin thou hast bene exercised continually, euen from
thy childhode? Finally, fearest thou not death, which hā
geth ouer thee, and that for no crime cōmitted? O what
a foole art thou, which for one word speakyng, mayst
salue all this, and wilt not? What a rude and vnmaner-
ly thyng is this, not to be entreated at the instant peti-
ons and desires of such, so many and so mighty, so iust,
so vertuous, so prudent, and gracious Senatours, and
such noble personages? &c.
But now to aūswere, let this blind world hearken to
this agayne: What heate can there be more burning, thē
that fire, which is prepared for thee hereafter? And like-
wise what snow cā be more cold, thē thy hart which is
in darkenes, & hath no light? What thing is more hard
and sharpe, or crooked, thē this present life, which here
we lead? what thyng more odious & hatefull, then this
world here present? And let these worldly men here aun
swere me: what countrey can we haue more swete, then
the heauenly countrey aboue? what treasures more rich
or precious, thē euerlastyng life? And who be our kins-
men, but they whiche heare the word of God? where be
greater riches, or dignities more honorable, then in hea
uen? And as touchyng these Sciences, let this foolishe
world consider, be they not ordeined to learne to know
God? whom vnles we do knowe, all our labours, our
nyght watchynges, our studies, and all our enter-
prises serue to no vse nor purpose, all is but labour lost.
Furthermore let the miserable worldly man aunswere
me, what remedy or safe refuge can there be vnto him, if
he lacke God, who is the life and medicine of all men?
And how cā he be sayd to flye from death, when he him
self is already dead in sinne? 
Commentary  *  Close

John 14: 6

If Christ be the way, veri-
tie, & life, how cā there be any lyfe then, without Christ?
The soolye heate of þe prison, to me is coldnes: the colde
wynter to me is a freshe spryng tyme in the Lord. He
that feareth not to bee burned in the fire, how will hee
feare the heate of weather? or what careth he for the pin
chyng frost, whiche burneth with the loue of the Lord?
the place is sharpe and tedious to them that bee gyltie,
but to the innocent and giltles, it is mellifluous. Here
droppeth the delectable dew, here floweth the pleasaunt
nectar, here runneth the swete milke, here is plentie of
all good thinges. And although the place it selfe bee de-
serte and barren, yet to me it semeth a large walke, and
a valley of pleasure: here to me is the better and more
noble part of the worlde. Let the miserable worldlyng
say & confesse, if there be any plotte, pasture, or medowe
so delightfull to the minde of man, as here? Here I see
kynges, princes, cities, and people: here I see warres,
where some be ouerthrowen, some be victours, some

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