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840 [816]

K. Henry. 8. Prophesies and prouerbes against the Church of Rome.

reformatiō to come, declared: That the Priestes should make battaile, and haue the vpperhand a while, but shortly they should be vanquished, and ouerthrowen for euer.

MarginaliaThe fall of the Popedome signified by the fall of the Angell, from the Church toppe of the popes Castle. In the tyme of Pope Alexander the vi. and about the yeare of our Lord. 1500. as is before specified, 

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The stories of Alexander VI's death and of the statue of the angel struck by lightning are from Bale, Catalogus, p. 634

pag. 870. the hygh angell, which stode in the toppe of the Popes church and Castle of S. Angell, was throwen downe with a terrible thunder, into the ryuer of Tybris: whereby might seme to be declared the ruine and fall of the Popedome.

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To this may be adioyned, 

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The portents in 1505 and 1516 come from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), pp. 645-6.

whiche in certeine Chronicles, and in Iohn Bale is recorded: MarginaliaEx Baleo Centur. 8. which sayth, that in the yeare of our Lorde. 1516. which was the same yeare when Martin Luther begā. Pope Leo the x. dyd create xxxi. Cardinals: In the which yeare and day of their creation, there fell a tempest of thunder and lightnyng in Rome, which so strake the Church where the Cardinals were made, MarginaliaAn other signification of the popes subuersiō. that it remoued the litle childe Iesus out of the lappe of his mother, and the keyes out of S. Peters hand. Which thyng many then did interprete to signifie and forshow the subuersion and alteration of the sea of Rome.

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Hetherto perteineth also a straunge portente and a prodigious tooken from heauen in the yeare of our Lord. 1501. MarginaliaEx Ioan. Carione.
Franc. Mirandula. & alijs.
In the which yeare, vnder the reigne of Maximilian Emperour, MarginaliaBloudy markes of the Lordes passiō, seene vpō mens garments. there appeared in Germany, vppon the vestures of men as well of Priestes, as laymen, vpon womens garmentes also, and vpon their rockes as they were spynnyng, diuerse printes and tokēs of the nayles, of the spunge, of the spayre, of the Lordes coate, and of bloudy Crosses. &c. All whiche were sene vpō their cappes and gownes, as is most certeinly testified and recorded by diuers, which both did see, and also did write vpō the same. Of whom first was Maximilian the Emperour, who both had, and shewed the same to Franciscus Mirandula, which wrote thereupon a booke in Latin meter called Staurostichon: 

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I.e., the Stauristichon of Giovanni Pico della Miarandola.

wherein for the more credite, these Verses be conteyned.

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Non ignota cano, Cæsar monstrauit, & ipsi
Vidimus: Innumeros prompsit Germania testes. &c.

Of thys also writeth Iohn Carion, Functius, Phil. Melanct. Flaccius, with diuers moe. 

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The references to all of these writers, including Pico della Mirandola, is from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), p. 646.

MarginaliaThe exposition of this portent. These markes and tokens, as they were very straunge, so were they diuersly expounded of many, some thinking that they protended affliction and persecution of the Church to draw neare: some, that God by that token did admonishe them, or foreshewed vnto them, the true doctrine of their iustificatiō, which onely is to be sought in the Crosse and Passion of Christ, and no other thyng. This I maruell, thac Christianus Masseus, and other of that profession, doe leaue it out. Belyke they saw some thyng in it, that made not to their lyking. For whether it signifieth persecution to come vpon the Germanes, they cannot be euill that suffer and beare þe Crosse with Christ: Or whether it signifieth the true doctrine of Christ commyng to the Germaines, it can not otherwise be, but that the doctrine of the Bishop of Rome must neede be wrong, which is contrary to thys which God hath styrred vp in Germany.

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By these and such lyke prophecies it is euident to vnderstand, the time not to be farre of, when God of his determinate prouidence was disposed to reforme and to restore his Churche. And not onely by these Prophecies the same might well appeare but also, and much rather by the harts of the people at that tyme, whose myndes were so incensed and inflamed with hatred agaynst the pompe and pride of Rome, both through all nations, and especially the people of Germany, that it was easie to perceiue the tyme was neare at hand, whē the pride of Popish prelacie would haue a fall. Such disdeyne there was, such contempt and derision begā to rise on euery side then agaynst the pope and the Court of Rome, that it might soone appeare by the hartes of the people, that God was not disposed to haue it long to stand. For neither were their detestable doynges so secret that men did not see them: neither did any man behold them, hauyng any sparcle of godlynes, that could abyde them. And therupon grew these prouerbes to their derision, in euery coūtrey: As in Germany it hath bene a Prouerbe amongest them.

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MarginaliaProuerbes agaynst the corrupt sea of Rome. 

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These anticlerical proverbs and quotations, down through the quotation from Becket, are all taken from Mathias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 564.

Was ist nu in der werlt fur ein wesen,
Wir moegen fur den pfaffen nicht genesen.

What is this to see the world now round about,
That for these shauelyng Priestes no man that once may

Quam primum clericus suscipit rasuram, statim intrat in eū
That is.
So soone as a Clerke is shorne into his order, by and by the
deuill entreth into him.

In nomine Domini incipit omne malum. That is:
In the name of GOD begynneth all euill: alludyng to thePopes Bulles, which commonly so begyn.
Item, when Bulles come frō Rome, binde well your purses.
The nearer Rome, the farther from Christ.
Item, he that goeth once to Rome, seeth a wicked man.
He that goeth twise, learneth to know him.
He that goeth thrise, bryngeth him home with him.
Item, the Court of Rome neuer regardeth the sheepe without the woll.
Once were wodden chalices and golden Priestes:
Now we haue golden chalices, and wodden Priestes.
MarginaliaEx Auent. Once Christen men had blind Churches and light hartes:
Now they haue blynd hartes and light Churches.
Item, many are worshypped for Saintes in heauen, whose soules be burnyng in hell.

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What should I speake of our English prouerbe which so vily estemeth the filthy Friers, that it compareth them (sauing thy reuerence good reader) to a fart?

In Fraunce, Gallus Senonensis writeth. 400. yeares ago, that amongest them it was an old saying: Romæ solui Satanam in perniciem totius Ecclesiæ. That is: That Sathan was let lose at Rome to distroy the whole Church.

Thomas Becket himselfe, in his tyme writyng to the Colledge of Cardinals, denieth it not, but to be a common word both through towne and Citie, Quod non sit iustitia Romæ. That is: That there is no right at Rome.

To these may be adioyned also the A. B. C. Whiche we finde in the margent of a certaine old register, to be attributed to William Thorpe, 

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Foxe's meaning is obscured by his tortured syntax. What he is saying is that an annotation in a register attributed the work to William Thorpe, not that the register was attributed to Thorpe. In fact, Foxe is probably referring to the marginal note in Bishop Tunstall's register (Guildhall Library MS 9531/10, fo. 143v).

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whose story we haue comprehēded in the booke before. 
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See 1583, pp. 527-43; 1576, pp. 511-27; 1570, pp. 629-49; 1563, pp. 143-72.

MarginaliaThe A. B. C. against the pride of the clergie.


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Foxe is quoting an anticlerical tract, A proper dyaloque betweene a gentillman and a husbandman, printed c. 1529 (STC 1462.3). It takes its popular name, the A.B.C., from the acrostic verses printed on its title page. These verses are printed by Foxe.

ye gostly persones, awake, awake,
oth Priest, Pope, Byshop and Cardinall.
onsider wisely, what wayes that ye take,
aungerously beyng like to haue a fall.
uery where the mischief of you all,
arre and neare, breaketh out very fast:
od will nedes be reuenged at the last.


ow long haue ye the world captiued,
n sore bondage, of mens traditions?
ynges and Emperours ye haue depriued,
ewdly vsurpyng, their chief possessions:
uch miserie ye make in all regions.
ow your fraudes be almost at the latter cast,
f God sore to be reuenged at the last.


oore people to oppresse, ye haue no shame,
uakyng for feare of your double tyranny.
ightfull iustice ye haue put out of frame,
eekyng the lust of your God, the belly.
herfore I dare you boldely certifie,
ery litle though ye be therof a gast,
et God will be reuenged at the last.

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By these and such like sayinges, which may be collected, innumerable, it may soone be sene what hartes and iudgementes the people had in those dayes of the Romishe Clergy. which thyng, no doubt, was of God, as a secret prophecie, that shortly Religion should be restored: accordyng as it came to passe, about this present tyme when Doct. Martin Luther first began to write, 

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Martin Luther

Despite his occasional disagreements with Luther over theology, Foxe never lost sight of Luther's historical importance. And while Foxe insisted that there was a True Church before Luther and also that the way for Luther had been prepared by Erasmus and others, Foxe saw Luther's doctrine of justification by faith as a divinely inspired revelation. (The section introducing the life of Luther, describing prophecies of Luther's advent reveal Foxe's commitment to the concept of Luther as a divine agent). Far more than even Wiclif or Hus or Tyndale, Luther was, to Foxe, the most important figure in human history since the apostolic era.

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Unsurprisingly then, Foxe devoted a great deal of space to Luther in every edition of the A&M. In 1563, the account of Luther's life through the Diet of Worms (1521) was taken from Henry Bennet's translation of Philip Melancthon's Historia de vita et actis…Martini Lutheri (cf. A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet [London, 1561], STC 1881, sigs. B5v-F8r with 1563, pp. 402-15). Foxe followed this translation closely, often on a word-for-word basis. The difficulty with Melanchthon's account is that it really was two separate histories, one of Luther's background and early life, and one of the Diet of Worms. The crucial years between, including the Liepzig disputation, were not covered in it.

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In the 1570 edition, Foxe filled this gap with two additional sources. The most important of these, at least for the life of Luther, was an expanded version of Caspar Hedio's continuation of the chronicle attributed to Burchard of Ursburg (Caspar Hedio, Paralipomena rerum memorabilium [Basel, 1569]). This expanded edition contained not only Hedio's chronicle, but also his reprinting of Melanchthon's 'Epistola Lipsica disputatione', which supplied a detailed account of the Leipzig disputation. (Foxe's awareness of this text by 1570, is an indication of how closely he followed Continental scholarship. It is also important to note how much of Foxe's account of Luther came, directly or indirectly, from Melanchthon). For background, particularly the political situation, Foxe also relied on Sleidan's Commentaries and he drew slightly on Bale's Catalogus and Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle. The 1570 account of Luther was unaltered in subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaLaurentius Valla.
Picus Mirandula.
Erasmus Roterodamus.
M. Luther.
after that Picus Mirandula, and Laurentius Valla, and losse of all, Erasmus Roterodamus, had somewhat broken the waye before, and had shaken the Monkes houses. But Luther gaue the stroke, and pluckt down the foūdation, and all by openyng one vayne, long hid before, MarginaliaThe article of our free iustification beateth downe all errours. wherin lyeth the touchstone of all truth and doctrine, as the onely principal origine of our saluatiō: which is our free iustifiyng by fayth onely in Christ the sonne of God. 
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This is an important statement of Foxe's belief that Erasmus, Valla and others prepared the way for Luther, but also of Foxe's profound appreciation of the seminal importance of justification by faith alone.

The laborious trauailes, and the whole processe, and the constant preachynges of this worthy man, because they are sufficiently and at large in the hystory of Iohannes Sleidanus, I shall the lesse neede to stād long therupon, but one, ly to runne ouer some principal matter of his lyfe and actes as they are briefly collected by Philip Melancthon.

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¶ The history of D. Martin Luther, with his lyfe and doctrine described.

MarginaliaThe historye of M. Luther, wyth hys life and doctrine described. MArtin Luther, after he was growen in yeares, 

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The first sentence, on Luther's life before he attended the University of Erfurt, is based on A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), sigs. B2r-B3r. Foxe's lack of interest in the details of Luther's childhood and his parents (of Melancthon provides a detailed account), is in marked contrast to modern scholars, particularly Eric Erikson.

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beyng borne at Isleben 
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I.e., Eisleben.

in Saxonie, an. 1483. was set to the Vniuersitie, first of Magdeburg, then of Erford. In this Vniuersitie of Erford, 
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All of the material from here down to the accession of Leo X, is drawn from A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), STC 1881, sigs. B5v-C1r.

there was a certeine aged man, in the Couent of the Augustines (who is thought to be Weselus aboue mentioned) 
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The claim that this elderly man was the noted theologian John of Wesel, is Foxe's baseless speculation. In fact, John died in 1481, two years before Luther was born.

with whom Luther beyng then of the same order 
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This is all that Foxe has on Luther's becoming an Augustinian friar and his zeal in trying to live the monastic life, which are covered in some detail by Melanchthon. These details were probably somewhat distasteful to Foxe.

a Frier Augustine, had conference vppon diuers thynges, especially touchyng the Article of remission of sinnes: the whiche Article the sayd aged father opened vnto Luther after this sorte, declaryng, that wee must not generally beleue onely forgeuenesse of sinnes to be, or to belonge to Peter, to Paule, to Dauid, or such good men alone: but that Gods expresse com-

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