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857 [833]

K. Henry. 8. M. Luther. Certayne greuances of the Germaynes.

cree was receaued of some of some neglected, of diuers diuersly wrasted and expounded. MarginaliaLuther expoundeth the decree of Norenberge Luther writyng his letters vpon the same decree, to the Princes, thus made his exposition of the meanyng thereof, that where as the preachers were commaunded to preach the pure Gospell, after the doctrine of the Churche receaued, he expounded the meanyng therof to be, not after the doctrine of Thomas Aquine, or Scotus or such other late schole writers, but after the doctrine of Hylary, Cyprian, & Austen, and other aunciēt Doctours, & yet the doctrine of the sayd aūciters no farther to be receaued, but as they should agree with the Scripture.

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Secondly, as concernyng new bookes not to be sold nor printed, he expounded the meanyng therof to extend no farther, but that the texte of the Bible and bookes of the holy Scripture might be Printed notwithstandyng, and published to all men.

And as for the prohibition of Priestes mariage, he writeth to the princes, & desireth thē to beare with the weakenes of men declaryng that braunch of their decree to be very herd, which though it stand with the Popes law, yet it accordeth not with the gospel, neither cōduceth to good maners, nor to honesty of lyfe. &c.

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MarginaliaAn hundreth greuaunces of the Germaynes agaynst the Pope. Furthermore, where as in the same Session of Norenberge mencion was made before of certaine greuaūces collected to the number of an hundreth, 

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This is a sharply abridged translation of the document printed in Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum ac fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos. 177v-187v. Foxe only retained the complaints which were relevant to the English situation or touched on core theological issues.

and exhibited to the Byshop of Rome, it were tedious likewise to inserte them all: yet to geue some tast of a few, I iudge it not vnprofitable: to the entent, that the world may see and iudge, not onely what abuses and corruptions most monstrous and incredible, lay hid vnder the glorious title of the holy Church of Rome: but also may vnderstand, with what hypocrisie & impudencie the Pope taketh vpon hym so greously to cōplayne vpon M. Luther, and other: when in all the vniuersall Church of Christ, there is none so much to be blamed all maner of wayes, as he hymselfe, accordyng as by these haynous complaintes of the Germaine princes, here folowyng agaynst the popes intolerable oppressions & greuaūces, may right well appeare. which greuaunces beyng collected by the Princes of Germanie at Norenberge, to the number of an hundreth, I wishe might be fully and at large set forth to the studious Reader, whereby might appeare the subtile sleyghtes and intolerable fraudes of that pretensed Church. But for somuch as it were to long to comprehend the whole, I haue thought good to exhibite some part therof for example, as geuyng only a certaine tast, whereby thou mayest more easely conceiue, what to thinke and esteeme of all the residue, which both to me would be tedious to write, and perhaps more greuous to thee, to heare.

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Certaine Greuaunces or oppressions of Germany, agaynst the court of Rome, collected and exhibited by the Princes, at the Councell of Norenberge, to the number of an hundreth, vvherof certaine specialties here folovv.

AMongest other burthēs and greuaūces, this is not least to be regarded: that many thinges are prohibited by mēs constitutions, and many thyngs exacted, which are not prohibited or commaunded by any precept of God: MarginaliaForbidding of maryage in diuers degrees, not forbidden by Gods lawe. as the innumerable obstacles of matrimony inuented and brought in, wherby mē were forbyd to mary in cases of kyndred, which stand vpon diuers degrees: as vpon affinitie, publike honesty, spirituall kindred, kyndred by law, and kindred in bloud. &c. MarginaliaForbidding of meates, not forbidden by Gods law. & likewise in forbyddyng the vse of meates, which God hath created for mans necessitie, and taught by the Apostle indifferently to be receiued with thankes geuing. By these and many other such humane constitutions, men are yoked in bondage, vntill by money they obteyne some dispensatiō of those lawes, at their handes which made thē: so that money shall make that lawfull for rich men, which is clearely prohibited vnto the poore. By these snares of mens lawes and constitutiōs, not onely great summes of money are gathered out of Germany, and caryed ouer the Alpes, but also great iniquitie is sprong vp amongest Christians: many offences and priuy hatredes do rise, by reason that poore men do see themselues intāgled with these snares, for no other cause, but for that they do not possesse the thornes of the Gospell, for so Christ doth often call riches.

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¶ Tymes forbydden.
MarginaliaTymes of mariage restrayned, and after released for money.

THe like practise also is to be sene in the tymes restrayned from Mariage, by the heades of the Church of Rome, from the Septuagesima Sonday, somewhat before Lent: when as notwithstandyng both the Clergy and the seculars in the meane tyme will lyue licenciously, and that openly in the face of all the world. But this interdict procedeth to this effect: if a man shall presume so to do vpon his owne libertie, without compoundyng. But otherwise if there be any hope of money, then that which was before vnlawfull is nowe made lawfull for euery man to do frely. And this is also an other drawyng net, wherby greate summes of money are dragged out of the Germaines purses. Whereupon also hangeth an other greuaunce as great as this, that in suyng out a dispensation, the state of the poore and of the rich is not indifferently weyed: For where the rich escapeth many tymes for litle or naught, and goeth cleare away, the poore man shall be sure to pay for the shot.

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¶ A complaynt for sellyng remission of sinnes for money.

BVt especially the burden & greuaunce 

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This complaint was not included in the 1563 edition, probably because it had little relevance to the English situation. It was added to the 1570 edition, possibly because it added background to the initial reason for Luther's opposition to the papacy.

of the Popes Indulgences and Pardons be most importable: when as the Byshops of Rome, vnder pretense of buildyng some churche in Rome, or to warre against the Turke, do make out their Indulgēces with their Bulles, persuadyng and promising to the simple people, straunge and wonderfull benefites of remission a Pœna & culpa, that is, from all their sinnes, and punishment due for the same, and that not in this lyfe onely, but also after this lyfe, to them that be dead burnyng in the fire of Purgatory. Through the hope & occasiō wherof, true piety is almost extinct in all Germany, whyle euery euill disposed persō promiseth to himselfe for a litle money, licence & impunitie to do what him lusteth: Wherupō foloweth fornication, incest, adultery, periury, homicide, robbyng and spoylyng, rapine, vsury, with a whole floud of all mischiefes. &c.

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A complaynt agaynst the Immunites of Clergy men.

Item, whosoeuer he be that hath receaued any Ecclesiasticall orders, great or small, thereby he doth contend to be freed from all punishment of the secular Magistrate, how great offence soeuer he do: neither doth he vnaduisedly presume thereupon, but is mainteyned in that libertie to sinne, by the principall Estates of the clergy. For it hath oftē bene sene, that whereas by the canonicall lawes, priestes are forbidden to marry, afterward they diligently labour and go about day and nyght to attempt and try the chastitie of matrones, virgines, and of the wiues, daughters, & sisters of the lay men: & through their continuall instance and labour, partly with giftes & rewardes, & flatteryng wordes, partly by their secret cōfessions (as they call them) as it hath bene founde by experience, they bryng to passe that many virgins and matrones, which otherwise would be honest, haue bene ouercome & moued to sinne and wickednes: & it happeneth oftentymes, that they do detayne & keepe awaye the wiues, & daughters from their husbandes and fathers, threatnyng them with fire & sword that do require them agayne. Thus through their ragyng lust, they heape and gather together innumerable mischieues and offences. MarginaliaThe lycentious lyfe of Priestes. It is to be meruailed at, how licentiously without punishment they dayly offend in robberies, murther, accusing of innocentes burning, rapine, theft, and coūterfaityng of false coyne, beside a thousand other kyndes of mischieues, contrary and agaynst all lawes both of God and man, not without great offence of others, trustyng onely vpon the fredome and libertie of sinne, which they vsurpe vnto thēselues by the priuiledge of their Canons. For when as they once perceiue that it is lawfull for them to do what they lust without controlment, then they do not onely contemne the ciuill Magistrates, but also their Byshops and superiours, whatsoeuer they either cōmaunde or forbyd them to do.

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And moreouer, to the intent they may be the more mainteyned in their mischief and wickednes, contrary to all reason and equitie, it is partly forbydden the Archbyshops and Byshops, to condemne these malefactours openly, except they be first disgraded, which must be done with sumptuousnes and pompe: wherby it happeneth very seldome, that those annoynted naughty packes, do receiue condigne punishment. Besides that, the Byshops are so bound by their Chapters, that they dare not punish any person which hath taken orders by the Canonicall lawes, be the punishement neuer so light or small. By reason wherof the matter so falleth out, that through this vnequall partialitie betwene the laity and the Clergy, great hatred, discorde, and dissension is sprong and rysen. It is also not a litle to be feared, that if the Clergy which are the cause of this greuance, and of other mischiefes, (whiche dayly they do procede to perpetrate) haue not lyke lawes, equall iudges, and lyke punishement their offensiue life will moue and styrre vp some great tumultes and sedition amongest the commō people, not onely agaynst the Clergy themselues, but also agaynst the superiours and magistrates, for that they leaue so notorious offences vnpunished.

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Wherfore necessitie and iustice doth require, that the sayd preiudiciall priuiledges of the Clergy should be abrogate &

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