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717 [693]

K. Edward. 4. Prophecies cause of much mischiefe.

Prophecie, began rebellously to hope for the crowne, & for his labour felt the paynes of a traytour. Notwithstandyng the effect of the Prophecy folowed: For after Valence suceded Theodosius. MarginaliaThree thinges to be noted concerning false prophesies. Wherfore Christen Princes, and noble men, & all Christes faythfull people must beware & learne

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1. First, that no mā be inquisitiue or curious in searching to know what thinges be to come, or what shall happen, beside those thynges onely which are promised, and expressed in the word.

2. Secondly to vnderstand what a difference there is, and how to discerne the voyce of God, frō the voyce of Sathan.

3. Thirdly, how to resiste and auoyde the daunger of false and deuilish Prophecies.

Many there be, which beyng not contēted with thyngs present, curiously occupy their wyttes to search what is to come, and not geuyng thankes to God for their life whiche they haue, will also know, what shall be chaunce them, how & when their end will come, how long Princes shall reigne, and who after shall succede them, and for the same, get vnto them southsayers, astrologers, sorcerers, cōiurers, or familiars. And these are not somuch inquisitiue to searche or aske, but the deuill is as ready to aunswere them: who either falsly doubleth with them, to delude them: or els telleth them truth, to worke thē perpetuall care and sorow. Thus was Pope Siluester, the sorcerer, circumuented by the deuill, who told him that he should be at Hierusalem, before he dyed, and so it fell. MarginaliaVid. sup. pag. 180. For as he was saying his Masse, at a chappell in Rome, called Hierusalem, there he fell sicke, and within iij. dayes after dyed. vide sup. pag. 180. To kyng Hēry 4. also it seemeth it was Prophecied, that he should not dye, before he went to Hierusalem. MarginaliaVid sup. pag. 535. Who beyng brought to the Abbotes chāber of Westminster, and hearyng the name of the chamber to be called Hierusalem, knew his tyme to be come, and dyed. pag. 535. 

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For Foxe's sources for the prophecies of Sylvester II's and Henry IV's deaths, see 1570, p. 663; 1576, p. 535; 1583, p. 557.

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MarginaliaFalse trust by deuilishe prophesies. By such deceitfull Prophecies, it can not be lamented inough to see what inconuenience both publickely and priuatly groweth to the lyfe of men, either causing them falsly to trust where they should not, or els wickedly to perpetrate that they would not: as may appeare both by this K. and also diuers moe. So was Pompeus, Crassus, and Cæsar (as writeth Cicero) deceaued by the false Chaldeis, in declaryng to thē, that they should not die but in their beds & with worshyp, and in their old age. Of such false trust, rysing vpon false prophecies, S. Ambrose in his booke of Exameron writeth, speakyng of rayne, whiche beyng in those parties greatly desired, was promised and Prophecied of one certeinly to fal vpō such a day, which was at the chaūgyng of the new Moone: but (sayth S. Ambrose) MarginaliaAmbrosius in Exameron. there fell no such rayne at all, till at the prayers of the Churche, the same was obteined: geuing vs to vnderstand, that rayne cōmeth not by the word of man, nor by the begynnynges of the Moone, but by the prouidēce and mercy of our creatour. MarginaliaIoan. Pic. Mirandul. cōtra Astrolog. lib. 2. ca. 9. Ex Ambros. in Examer.

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Ioan. Picus Earle of Mirandula, in hys excellent bookes writen agaynst these vayne startellers and Astrologers, Lib. 2. writeth of one Ordelaphus a prince, to whom it was Prognosticate by a famous cunnyng mā in that science, called Hieronimus Manfredus, that should enioy long continaunce of health, and prosperous lyfe. MarginaliaExperience of false prophesies. Who notwithstandyng, the self same yeare, and in the first yeare of hys Mariage, deceased: and after diuers other examples added more ouer vpon the same, he inferreth also mention, and the name of a certaine rich matrone in Rome, named Constātia, who in lyke maner departed the same yeare, in which she receaued great promises, by these Southsayers & Astrologers, of a long & happy lyfe, saying to her husband these wordes: beholde (sayth shee) how true be the Prognostications of these southtellers? If it were not for noting of them, which now are gone, and whose names I would in no case to be blemished with any spot, otherwise I could recite þe names of certaine, especially one 

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Foxe is referring to Sir John Cheke. Foxe is being this circumspect because Cheke was the mentor of William Cecil, Foxe's patron.

, which takyng his iourney, in a certaine place, after diligent calculation and forecastyng of the successe and good speede of his iourney, was notwithstandyng in the same iourney, apprehended and brought where he would not, after that neuer enioyng good day, in short tyme he departed 
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By 'departed' Foxe means that Cheke died. Foxe is being so guarded in his description of what happened, that a word of explanation is desirable. Cheke, who had been Edward VI's principal secretary, was in exile in Strasbourg in 1556. He journeyed to Antwerp to meet his wife and was kidnapped enroute and brought to England. There he was forced to publicly recant and affirm his belief in the real presence. Cheke died on 13 September 1557.

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. MarginaliaThis mā by false dissemblers, was takē, betrayed & brought into Englād In Basill this I my selfe heard of one, which knew and was cōuersaūt with the partie, who hauyng a curious delight in these speculations of chaūces and euētes to come, by his calculatiō noted a certaine day, which he mistrusted should be fatal vnto him, by some thing, which at that day should fall vpon him. Wherupon he determined with himselfe, all that day to keepe him sure and safe within his chāber. Where he reachyng vp his hand to take down a booke, the booke fallyng downe vpon his head, gaue him his deathes wounde, & shortly after he dyed vpon the same. MarginaliaA perilous matter for a man to curious, of tymes and thinges to come. Of these and such lyke examples, the world is full, and yet the curiousnesse of mās head will not refrayne, still to pluck the aple of thys vnluckye and forbidden tree.

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Beside all this, what murder and parricide commeth by the feare of these Prophecies, in great blouds and noble houses, I referre it vnto them, which read and well aduise the stories, as well of our kynges here in England, as in other kyngdomes moe, both Christened, and Turkishe. Whereof an other place shal serue as well (Christ willing) more largely to entreat, and particularly to discourse. To this perteineth also the great inconuenience and hinderaūce that groweth by the feare of such Prophecies, in the vocation of men, for somuch as many there be, which fearyng some one daunger, some an other, leaue their vocations vndone, and followe vnordinate wayes. As if one hauing a blynde Prophecie, that his destructiō should be on the day, would wake and do all his busines by night & candle light: and so forth in other seuerall cases of men and women, as euery one in his own cōscience knoweth his owne case best.

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MarginaliaThe second part, how Prophecies are to be discerned. The second thing to be considered in these Prophecies, is rightly to discerne and vnderstand, as neare as we can, the difference betwene the Prophecies proceeding frō God, and the false Prophecies counterfeited by Sathan. For Sathan sometyme playeth Gods Ape, and transformeth hymselfe into an Aungell of lyght, bearing such a resemblaunce and colour of truth and Religion, that vnneth a wise man is able to discerne the one from the other, and the most part is beguiled. MarginaliaIn the second part 3 thinges to be considered. Concerning Prophecies therefore, to know which be of God, which be not, three thinges are to be obserued.

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1. First, whether they goe simply and playnely, or whether they be doubtfull and ambiguous: wherof the one seemeth to tast of Gods spirite, such as be the Prophecies of the Scripture: the other to come otherwise, hauing a double or doubtfull interpretation. Although the tyme of Gods Prophecies, as also of myracles is commonly, and ordinaryly expired: yet if the Lord in these dayes, now extraordinarily do shewe any Prophecie, by the simplenes & playnenes therof, partly it may be discerned.

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MarginaliaThe secōd thing to be cōsidered in prophesies. 2. Secondly, this is to be expended, whether they be priuate, tending to this familie, or that familie, or publicke. For as the Scriptures, so commonly the Prophecies of God haue no priuate interpretation, but generall: for so much as the care of Gods holy spirite is not restrayned partially to one person, more then to an other, but generally & indifferently respecteth the whole Church of his electe in Christ Iesus his sonne. Wherfore such Prophecies as priuately are touching the armes of houses, or names of men, rising or falling of priuate and particular families, are worthely to be suspected.

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MarginaliaThe third thyng to be considered in prophesies. 3. The third note and speciall argument to discry the true Prophecies of God, from the false Prophecies of Sathan and his false Prophetes, is this, to consider the matter and the end thereof, that is, whether they be worldly, or whether they be spirituall, or whether they tende to any glory or state of thys present world, or whether they tende to the spirituall instruction, admonition, or comfort of the publicke Church.

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MarginaliaThe. 3. part how to auoyde the daunger of sinister prophesies. Now remayneth thirdly, after we know what prophecies be of God, and what not, that we be instructed next, how to eschew the feare and perill of all deuilishe Prophecies, which make agaynst vs. MarginaliaTwo remedies agaynst deuilishe prophesies. Wherein two speciall remedies are to be marked of euery Christen man, whereby he may be safe and sure agaynst all daūger of the enemie. MarginaliaThe first remedy. The first is, that we set the name of Christ Iesus the sonne of God agaynst them, through a true fayth in him: knowyng this, that the sonne of God hath appeared, to dissolue the workes of the deuill. And agayne, this is the victorye (saith the Scripture) that ouercommeth the world, euē our faith. Whatsoeuer then Sathan worketh or can worke agaynst vs, be it neuer so forceable, fayth in Christ will vanquishe it. Such a maiestie is in our fayth, beleuing in the name of the sonne of God.

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MarginaliaThe second remedye agaynst daungerous prophesies. The other remedy is faythfull prayer, which obteineth in the name of Christ, all thinges with the Lord. So that wicked feende, which had killed before vij. husbands of Tobias wife, could not hurt him, entring his matrimonie with earnest prayer: so no more shall any sinister Prophecie preuaile, where prayer out of a faithfull hart, doth striue agaynst it 

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Foxe is referring to the Book of Tobit, one of the books in the Apocrypha.

. Neither am I ignoraunt, that agaynst such temporall euils and punishementes to this life inflicted, a great remedy also lyeth in this, when Sathan findeth nothyng, wherein greatly to accuse our conscience. But because such a conscience is hard to be founde, the next refuge is to flye to repentaunce, with amendment of lyfe. For many times, where sinne doth reigne in our mortall bodyes there also the operation of Sathan is stronge agaynst vs, to afflicte our

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