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648 [592]

Actes and Monumentes Of the Churche.

what meanes soeuer he may laye holde of it, vpon moste extreame riot and fylthy pleasure?

Moreouer, woulde he not forsee to leade a lyfe wholly in idlenes without all sorowe, care or trouble? Furthermore I do not thynke hym so holy, that in this delicate lyfe he wold also lyue chast: neyther yet that he wylbe troubled with the care or chardge of a wyfe, but rather chuse a myddle or meane waye, the which through the wanton luste hath more delectation lesse charge, but no true holynes in it at all. Then he which from the beginnyng hathe bene a murtherer and lyer, and the father therof, retayneth so the same nature styll, that he reioyseth in nothyng more then in the contynuall slaughter and destruction of menne. Neither is it to be doubted but that when as he can not be suffered openly to rage, but that by all crafty meanes and wayes he wyll at the last satisfie his cruell mynde.

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And what waye would Sathan hym selfe if he were present (gētle reader if I may by your licence speake the truthe) fynde more crafty or subtyle then the byshoppe of Rome hath nowe founde? whiche vnder the person and vicarage of moste meke and genle Christ, vnder the beutiefull shadowe of the churche and peace, dothe practise his extreame crueltie and madnes, mixing and confounding all thyng with bloude. And albeit that dayly with greater outrage he exercyseth the same throughout all Christendome: yet the Christian princes and noble coūselours are so blynde and voyde of iudgement, that thei do no see what difference is betwene Christe and Antechrist, lyghte and darkenes, truthe and falshode, they do lytle regarde it, & nothyng at all seeke to helpe it. So that we may seme eyther to be fallen in Esaies tyme, or those dayes to be happened vpon vs. The iust man sayeth, he perysheth, and there is no man that taken any care for hym. This great rage and tempest of crueltie, requyred a publyque reformation of all good prynces. Now forsomuch as their power and authoritie doth slepe in so necessary and wayghtie matters, by whome it were conuenient the Christian common wealth to be restored: I may not pronosticate that whiche my mynde doth forshewe vnto me. This only I do wyshe that God do not bryng that to passe by the Turke whiche christian prynces ought to haue done.

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But nowe to retourne to our christian Camyllus, beyng suche a one as if the courtes of prynces had but a fewe suche counsellers, the Christian common wealthes woulde at this daye be in a farre better estate. This Cromewell (as I haue sayd) was but of a base stock, but of suche vertue, as not without sorow we may wyshe for euen in the mooste noble families nowe a dayes. He was fyrst brought vp in the Cardinals court, where as he did beare se-ueral offices, wherein he shewed suche tokens, and likelyhode of excellent wyt and fydelitie, that in short space he semed more mete for the kyng then for the Cardinall.

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MarginaliaThomas More Steuen Gardener & thomas Cromwell, companions in the Cardinals house.There was also about the same tyme, or not muche different, in the housholde of the sayde Cardinall Woolsey, Thomas Moore, & Steuen of Wynchester, brought vp together with the sayde Cromwell euen from their youthe. Whose age as it was not greatly different, so was not their fortune also verie diuerse, although that their dispositiōs and studies were moste contrarie. For albeit, these thre were men in a maner of lyke learnyng and vnderstanding, and became of lyke estimation in the common wealth, and that in Moore and Winchestr there was peraduenture more learning, yet notwithstanding there was in this man a more heauenly lyghte of mynde, and more prompt and ready iudgement, equal eloquēce, and as it is supposed, more ready in this man, and finally in hym there was a more heroycall or pryncely disposition, borne to greater and weygtier matters. By these begynnings, whē as they promptnes of his wytte dayly appeared more and more, he was cōmended by the Cardinall vnto the kyng, and after that, he was translated into his court, by and by he was set to beare office, wherein he behaued hym selfe so grauely through his vertue & pollicie, that in shorte space after, he opened a waye vnto hym selfe to more hygher promotion and honour. In the meane tyme whiles he thus with great prayse and commendation was in this waye of promotion, beyng by chaunce amōgst them, whiche in the courte, ruled the kynges treasure, it happened where as Cromewell was, that there was talke of the kynges substaunce and treasure. Then sayde Cromwell, if the kynge woulde admytte my counsayle, I woulde bryng to passe that he alone shoulde sone become the rychest Prynce of all christian Prynces. These wordes the more they semed to tende to the kynges profyte, the soner as it happened it was brought vnto the kynges eares. From that tyme forwarde Cromewel beganne to be better knowen and dearer vnto the kyng. His counsell was as touchinge Abbays, whose ryches and reuenues he shoulde conuert into his owne treasure, thrusting out the vnprofytable multitude of idle Epicures. This connsell as it was profytable for the kyng, so came it also in good season, for the kyng was not a lytle offended at that tyme agaynst the byshoppe of Rome, for the mariage of the lady Anne Bulleyne. In whiche matter it is worthye to marke the synguler deuyne prouydence in worldly matters, wyth what happye successe and oportunytie, all thynges succeded in their time: how that first the Popes

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