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182 [1718]

Actes and Monumentes of Martyrs.

Lordes therof.

Saint Ambrose also vpon this saying of the Gospell. Luke the xvi. Geue accompt of your bailyship, or stewardship: Hereby then do we learne, that they are not Lordes, but rather stewardes and Bailies of other mennes substaunce.

And S. Ierome, wryting to Nepotianus saieth, how can they be of the cleargie, which are commaunded to contemne and dispise their owne substaunce, and to take away from a frend, it is theft, to disceiue the church, it is sacriledge, and to take a way that, whiche should be geuen vnto the pore.

MarginaliaThe clergi are stewardes of the church goodes, & not Lordes therof.And Saint Bernard in his Sermon, vppon these wordes (Simon Peter said vnto Iesus, chap. xvij) said. Truely the goodes of the church, are the patrimony of the pore: And whatsoeuer thing the ministers and stewardes of the same, not Lordes or possessoures do take vnto thē selues more then suffycient, for a competent liuing, the same is taken away from the pore, by a sacrilegious cruelty.

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And Eusebius in his treatise vpon the pilgrimage of Saint Ierome wryteth thus, if thou dost possesse a garment, or any other thinge, more then extreme neceßity doth require: and dost not helpe the neady, thou art a theefe and a robber. Wherefore dearlye beloued children, let vs be stewardes of our temporallities, and not posseßors.

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And Isidore in his treatise. De summo bono chap. xlij saith. MarginaliaIsidorus de summo bono.Let the bishop know that he is the seruaunt of the people, and not Lord ouer them.

Also in the v. boke of decretals, extra. de donationibus, sub authoritate Alexandri tertij Episcopi parisiensis. He sayeth, we beleue that it is not vnknowen vnto your brotherhode, that a Bishoppe, and euery other Prelate is but a steward of the church goodes, and not Lord therof. By those sayinges of these holy men, it is euidently declared, that not only tithes, but also all other substaunce which the cleargie hath by gifte of worke of mercy, are pure almes, which after the necessity of the cleargie once satisfyed, ought to be transported vnto the pore.

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Secondly it is declared how that the cleargie are not Lordes and possessoures of those goodes, but ministers and stewardes therof.

Thirdly it is shewed, that if the cleargie do abuse the same, they are theues, robbers, and sacrilegious persons, and except they do repent, by the iust iudgement of God, they are to be condempned.


Commentary  *  Close
Against persecution and the execution of heretics

This long denunciation of the execution of heretics as an absolute evil, unpractised in the early Church, is Foxe's own personal and rather idiosyncratic opinion. These passages were first printed in the Commentarii (fos. 50v-51v) and reprinted in the Rerum (pp. 52-57) adding the denunciation of clerical celibacy and the citations from Gration. These passages were translated and reprinted in the 1563 edition, with the addition of a denunciation of Bonner and persecuting bishops. This entire section was omitted from the 1570 edition, not because Foxe had changed his mind on these issues, but as part of a cutback in this edition of lengthy rhetorical passages, which grew out of the need to conserve paper. These passages were never reprinted.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

ANd thus hetherto I may paraduenture seme to haue made sufficient longe resitall oute of Ihon Hus, but so notwithstanding that the commodity of those thynges, may aboundauntly recompence the prolixitye therof. Wherfore if I shall seme vnto any man in the rehersall of this disputation to haue passed very farre the boundes of the history: let him thincke thus of me, that at what time I toke in hand to wryte of these Ecclesiasticall matters, I could not omit these thinges which were so straitly ioyned wyth the cause of the churche. Nether that I did make more account of the history which I had taken in hand then of the cō-mon vtilitie, whereunto I had chefe respect. There wer besides these certain other articles. Whervpon the said Ihon Hus had very wisely and learnedly disputed, but these shall suffise vs for this present. And for the residue we wil passe them ouer, to the entent we may the more spedely retourne, wheras our story left, the whyche brake of at the fauourers of Ihon Wickleffe, who at that present were a great nomber, and specially in Oxford, & also in Boheme. Amongst the which his fauourers, I haue only as yet rehersed such, vnto whome the professyon of the Gospell was peryllous, and an heauy burden: whome notwithstanding I thought not worthy to be defrauded of their praise: but now we will conuerte oure stile vnto those whiche continuyng vnto the end, haue folowed the Lambe whether soeuer he went: euen vnto the losse of their liues. And here I am minded first of all, if the breuitie of the matter would suffer it, somewhat to expostulate wyth the crueltye of the world.

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For so much as all mankinde hauinge put a part all vse of humanitie, they haue so farre degenerate euen vnto the iron age, or rather vnto a beastly cruelty: that neuer as I thincke, sence the beginning of the world was Plautus prouerbe more verified (one manne is a Wolfe vnto an other) but amongest all the Wolfes they are most cruellest, which are clothed in Lambes skinnes, who also do most professe peace.

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In times past amongst the Israelites in the time of Christe and his Apostles, the worshypping and religion of God, began to be aultered vnto Pharesical superstition: but now þe same Pharesicall superstition: (I knowe not by what meanes) amongst Christians, it is growen into extreame tiranny. Allbeit that a small portion of thys incommoditie or euel doth fal vppon those, which for the loue of Christe do suffer violence. For where as all other be dead, they only do verely liue againe which die in Christ. This therfore is a most rare dignitie, whiche happeneth but vnto a fewe, in so much that if we do diligently way the matter, this onlye happenes hath our miserable life, if that it may happen to any man to suffer for Christes sake. Again I do repeat the same: nothing truely is to be estemed in this world, but only the name of Christe, and to suffer for his name.

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Wherfore S. Paule doth not vnworthely cōmand, that we shoulde not onlye haue stedfast hope thorow him: But also suffer afflictyon for hys sake. For howsoeuer the iudgementes of men do esteme it, there is no truer life then that which is laid vp in Christ as a gage: none more absolute renowne, then to be slain for the sonne of God. But this glory doth not yet appeare vnto our humaine sences which are ouerwhelmed wyth the filth of thys world: But at the lengthe it shall appeare, and paraduenture soner then

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