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125 [125]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

I began to recken the. 42. monthes by Sabbats, first of monthes, that would not serue, thē by Sabbots of yeres wherein I began to feele some probable vnderstandyng. Yet not satisfied herewith, to haue the matter more sure, eftsoones repayred to certaine Merchaūts, of myne acquaintaūce. Of whom one is departed a true faythfull seruaunt of the Lord, the other two be yet alyue, and witnes hereof. To whom the number of these foresayd. 42. monethes, being propounded and examined by Sabbots of yeares, the whole summe was founde to surmount to. 294. yeres, conteyning the full aud iust tyme of these foresayd persecutions neither more nor lesse.

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Now this one claspe beyng opened, the other numbers that folow, are playne and manifest to the intelligent Reader to be vnderstode. For where mention is made of three yeares and a halfe: of one tyme, two tymes, and halfe a tyme, also of. 1260. dayes: all these come to one reckenyng, and signifie. 42. monethes, by whiche monethes, as is sayd, is signified the whole tyme of these primitiue persecutiōs, as here in order may appeare.

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¶ The mysticall numbers in the Apocalips opened.
Marginalia1. MCCLX. Reuelation. 11. 12. FIrst, where mention is made, Apocal. chap. 11. that the ij. Prophets shall prophesie. 1260. dayes. And also that the woman fleyng into the desert shal there be fed. 1260. dayes: who knoweth not, that 1260. dayes make three yeares and halfe: that is, monethes ------------- 42
Marginalia2. Three dayes and halfe. Reuela. 11. Secondly, where we read, chap. 11. the bodyes of the ij. foresayd Prophetes shall lye in the streetes of the great Citie vnburied, the space of iij. days and halfe, and after the sayd iij. dayes and halfe they shall reuiue agayne, &c. let the houres of these iij. dayes & halfe (whiche be 42,) bee rekened euery day for a Sabbot of yeares: or els euery day for a moneth, & they come to monethes --------------- 42
Marginalia3. A tyme, tymes and halfe a tyme. Reuela. cap. 12. Thirdly, where as in the same booke is expressed that the woman had ij. wynges geuen her to flye vnto the desert for a tyme, tymes, and halfe a tyme, geue for one tyme, one yeare, or one day: for ij. tymes, ij. yeares, or ij. dayes: for halfe a tyme, halfe a yeare, or halfe a day. And so it is manifest, that those three yeares and halfe, mounteth to monethes ------------- 42
Marginalia4. Xlii. monethes of iij. yeares and halfe. Reuel. cap. 11. Fourthly, account these 42. monethes aforesaid (which the beast had power to make. Apocal. 11.) by Sabbots of yeares, that is, vij. yeares for a moneth: or euery moneth for seuen yeares, and it amounteth to the summe of yeares ---------------- 294

And so haue ye þe iust yeares, dayes, tymes, and monethes of these foresayd persecutions vnder the beast, neither shorter nor longer, rekenyng from the death of Iohn Baptist vnder Herode the Romain kyng to the ende of Maxentius, and of Licinius, ij. last great persecutors, the one in the West the other in the East. Who were both vanquished by godly Constantinus. And so peace was geuen to the Church, albeit not in such ample wise, but that diuers tumultes and troubles afterward ensued, but they lasted not long: and the chief brunt, to speake of these Romane persecutions, which the holy ghost especially considered aboue all other, in this his Reuelation thus ended, in the tyme of this Const&tinus. Then was the great Dragon the deuill, to wytte, the fierce rage and power of his malitious persecutyng, tyed short for a thousand yeares after this, so that he could not preuayle in any such sort, but that the power and glory of the Gospel by litle and litle encreasing and spreadyng with great ioye and libertie, so preuayled that at length it got the vpperhād, and replenished the whole earth, rightly verifiyng therein, the water of Ezechiel, MarginaliaEzech. cap. 47. which ishuyng out of the right side of the alter, the farther it ranne, the deeper it grew, till at length it replenished the whole Oceane Sea, & healed all the fishes therin. No otherwise the course of the Gospell proceedyng of small & hard begynnynges kept still his streame, the more it was stopped, the swifter it ranne: by bloud it seeded, by death it quickened: by cutting it multiplied, through violēce it sprong, till at last out of thraldome and oppression it brast forth into perfect libertie, & florished in all prosperitie, had it so bene, that the Christians wisely & moderatly could haue vsed this rest & libertie, & not abused the same, forgettyng their former estate to their own pride, pompe & worldly ease: as it came afterward to passe, wherof more is to be seen and sayd (the Lord willyng) in place and tyme conuenient.

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And thus much touchyng the propheticall numbers in the Apocalips. Wherin is to be noted and magnified the e- ternall wisedome, and hye prouidence of almighty God, so disposing and gouernyng his Church, that no aduersitie or perturbation happeneth at any time vnto it, which his prouidēt wisedome doth not foresee before and preordaine, neither doth he preordaine or determine any thyng, whiche he doth not most truly performe, both foreseyng the begynnyng of such persecutions, and limityng the end therof how long to continue and when to cease. In much like sort we read in the booke of Genesis, how the stocke of Israell, was. 400. yeares in the lande of Egypt. MarginaliaThe persecuted Israelites bearing a figure of the persecuted church of Christ. Duryng the space of whiche. 400. yeares, after the death of Ioseph, (who beareth a playne figure of Christ) they were hardly intreated and cruelly afflicted of the Egyptians, about the space of. 300. yeares, reckenyng from atter the death of Ioseph, to their deliuerance out of the bondage of Egypt, semblably as these Christians, after Christes tyme suffered the lyke bondage vnder the Romane tyrauntes.

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Thus much by the way I thought to insinuate, least any should muse, or take any offēce in him selfe, to see or read of the Church, so lōg and so many yeares to be vnder so miserable and extreme afflictions. Wherin neither chaūce nor fortune, nor disposition of man, hath had any place: but onely the forecounsaile and determination of the Lord so gouerned and disposed the same. MarginaliaFrom the first persecution of the primitiue Church to the last persecution 294. yeares.
Vniuersall persecution ceaseth for a 1000. yeares in the Church.
Apoc. 10. From the tyme of Licinius, to Wickliffe 1000. yeares.
Sathan bound vp for a thousand yeares.
Who not onely did suffer them to fall, and foresee those persecutions before they fell: but also appointed the tymes and yeares how long they should last, and when to haue an end. As hath by the foresayd. 42. monethes in the. 13. and. 11. chap. of S. Iohns Apocalips hath bene declared. Which monethes containyng. 294. yeares, if they be rightly gathered, make the full tyme betwene the first yeare of the persecution of Christ vnder the Iewes & Herode, till the last yeare of persecution vnder Licinius, which was from the Natiuitie of Christ, an. 324. from the first persecution of Christ, an. 294. as is aforesayd. After the which yeare, accordyng to the preordinate counsaile of God, when his seueritie had bene sufficiently declared vpon his owne house, it pleased him to shew mercy agayne, & to binde vp Satan the old Serpent, accordyng to the. xx. chap. of the Reuelation, for the space of a thousand yeares, that is, from this tyme of Licinius, to the tyme of Iohn Wickleffe, & Iohn Husse. Duryng all which tyme, albeit certaine conflictes & tumultes haue bene amōg Christian Bishops themselues in the Church, yet no vniuersal murderyng persecutiō was styrring, before the preachyng of Iohn Wyckleffe, of Husse, & such other, MarginaliaThe time of Sathans bynding opened. as in the further processe of this history (Christ willyng and ayding vs) shall more appeare hereafter.

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MarginaliaDoxologia. Thus hauyng at large discoursed these horrible persecutions past, and heauy afflictions of Christian Martyrs, 

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now by the grace of God, commyng out of this redde sea of bloudy persecution, leauyng Pharao and his host behynde: let vs sing gloriously to the worthy name of our God, who through the bloud of the lambe, after long and tedious afflictions at length, hath visited hys people with comfort, hath tyde vp Sathan short, hath sent hys meke Moses (gentle Constantine I meane) by whom it hath so pleased the lord to worke deliuerance to hys captiue people, to set hys seruantes at liberty, to turne their mournyng into ioy, to magnifie the church of hys sonne, to destroy the Idoles of all the worlde, to graunt life and libertye, (and woulde God also not so much riches) vnto them which before were the abiectes of all the world: and all by the meanes of godly Constantinus, the meeke and most christian Emperour, of whose diuine victories agaynst so many tyrantes and Emperors, persecutors of Christes people, and lastly agaynst Lincinius, an. 324. of whose other noble actes and proweses, of whose blessed vertues and his happy birth and progeny, part we haue comprehended before, part now remayneth (Christ willing) to be declared.

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This Constantine was the sonne of Constantinus the Emperour, a good and vertuous childe, of a good and vertuous father, borne in Britaine, as saith Eutropius whose mother was named Helena, daughter in deede of kyng Coilus, although Ambrosius in his funerall Oration of the death of Theodosius, sayth was an Inholders daughter. MarginaliaThe good qualities of Constantinus. He was a most bountefull and gracious Prince, hauyng a desire to nourishe learnyng and good artes, and did oftentymes vse to read, write, and study himselfe. MarginaliaThe cause of all his prosperous successe. He had marueilous good successe and prosperous atchieuyng of all thynges he tooke in hand, whiche them was (and truly) supposed to proceede of this, for that he was so great a fauourer of the Christian fayth. Whiche fayth when he had once embraced, he did euer after most deuoutly and religiously reuerence: and commaunded by especiall Commission and proclamations, that euery man should professe the same religion thoroughout al the Romain Monarchy. The worshipping of Idoles, wherunto once he was addict, by

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