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620 [620]

K. Richard. 2. The letter of Lucifer to the pope.

the church, then other lay men may in the tyme of necessity, nor yet so truly, during their hereticall naughtynes. And yet in dede brother myne, vniuoce natura, but yet equiuoce in moribus. MarginaliaBrother in nature, in maners no brother.I do not wryte thus sharpelye vnto you, through anger or anye vnperfect hate: but thoughe the perfect hate of your horrible heresy, & denyeng the fayth of Christ, that I maye saye wyth Dauid in the Psalme: Perfecto odio oderam. &c. And I am very sory for you, that you whych in tymes past haue excellently wel, and fruitfully preached the Gospell in the pulpet, do now as well fayle in the congruitie of the latin toung, as in the other sciens naturall. For as it was heard, thrise in one lecture you sayd appetitis, that is to say pronouncing the myddle syllable long, whych thyng not onelye the maisters, but also the young scholers vnderstoode. And manye other faultes ther were in your grammer, which for shame I dare not recite. I send vnto you these. v. conclusions.

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Marginalia5. Conclusions sent.The first conclusion. It is an infallible veritye, that the wordes of the foure chief Doctours 

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The four doctors of the Church were Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine and Gregory the Great.

, expounding the holy scripture according to the verity which the wordes do pretend, are to be holden and kept.

The second: He which importeth anye equiuocation out of anye of the Doctours expoundyng, for the couloring of his text, his equiuocation is alwayes to be left.

The third: No peruersion of any reprobate is able to turne the congregation of the Elect from the fayth, because all thinges that shall come to passe, are eternallye in God deuised and ordayned for the best, vnto the Elect Christians.

The fourth: Lyke as the mistical body of Christ, is the congregation of all the Elect: so Antichrist misticallye is the church of the wicked and of all the reprobates.

The fift: The cōclusions of Swinderby, be agreable to the fayth in euery part.

¶ This letter was thus subscribed.

By the spirite of God, sometyme visi-
tyng you.

☞ Besides this epistle aboue prefixed, there is also found annexed with the same, a deuise of an other certaine letter counterfeited vnder the name of Lucifer prince of darknes: writyng to the pope and all popyshe prelates, persecuting the true and right church (with all might and maine) to maintaine their pryde and domination in this earth, vnder a colorable pretence and visoure of the catholique church, & succession Apostolicall. Which letter although it semeth in some autors to be ascribed to Ockam, aboue mētioned: yet because I finde it in the same Registre of the church of Hereford contayned, & inserted among the tractations of Walter Brute, and deuised (as the Registre sayth) by the Lollardes: I thought no meeter place, then here to annexe the same, the tenour wherof thus procedeth in wordes as folowe. 

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Foxe copied this letter, allegedly sent by Satan to the English clergy, congratulating them on the splendid job they were doing in promoting evil, from Bishop John Trefnant's register. (See Registrum Johannis Trefnant, EpiscopiHerefordensis, ed. W. W. Capes, Canterbury and York Society (London, 1916), pp. 401-5). The register claims that it is Lollard production, but as Foxe later observes, such letters were a common medieval literary device. This letter, while profoundly anticlerical, does not display any theological beliefs that are distinctively Lollard.

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¶ The deuise or counterfeate of a certaine letter fained vnder the name of Lucifer prince of darknes, writing to the persecuting prelates of the popyshe clergye.

MarginaliaThe epistle of Lucifer to the proud prelates of the popes clergy.I Lucifer prince of darkenes & profound heauines, Emperour of the hygh misteries of the kyng of Acharout 

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I.e., Acheron. In classical mythology, this was one of the rivers of the Underworld, later it became a synonym for hell.

, Captaine of the dougeon, Erebus, kyng of hel, and comptroler of the infernall fier: To all our children of pride, & companiōs of our kyngdome, and especially to our princes of the churche of this later age and tyme (of whiche our aduersary Iesus Christ, accordyng to the Prophet, sayth: I hate the churche, or congregation of the wicked) send gretyng, and wishe prosperitie to all that obey our commaundementes, as also to those that be obedient to the lawes of Sathan already enacted, & that are diligent obseruers of our behestes, and the preceptes of our decree. MarginaliaThe difference betwene the bishops of the primitiue church and of the latter church.Know ye, that in tymes past, certein vicares or vice gerentes of Christ, folowing his steppes in miracles and vertues, liuing and continuyng in a beggerly lyfe, cōuerted (in a maner) the hole world from the yoke of our tyrāny, vnto their doctrine and maner of life: To the great derision and contempt of our prison house and kyngdome: and also to thee no litle preiudice and hurt of our iurisdiction & authoritie, not fearyng to hurt our fortified power & to offend the maiestie of our estate. For thē receaued we no tribute of the world, neither did the miserable sort of commune people, rushe at the gates of our deape don-geon as they were wont to do with continuall pealyng and rapping, MarginaliaHumilitie edifieth.
Pride destroyeth.
but thē the easy, pleasaunt, and broad way, whiche leadeth to death, lay still without great noyse of trampleling trauelers, neither yet was trode wt the fete of miserable men. And when all our courtes were without suters, Hell then began to houle: and thus continuyng in great heauynes and anguish, was robbed and spoyled. Which thyng considered, the impacient rage of our stomacke could no lenger suffer, neither the ougle rechelous negligence of our great captaine general could, any lenger indure it. But wee, sekyng remedy for the tyme that should after come, haue prouided vs of a verye trymme shift: For in steade of these Apostles, and other their adherentes which draw by the same lyne of theirs, as well in maners as doctrine, and are odious enemyes vnto vs: MarginaliaPlacyng of proud prelates, the cause of all mischiefe.We haue caused you to bee their successours, and put you in their place, whiche be prelates of the churche in these later tymes, by our great might and subtiltie, as Christ hath sayd of you, they haue raigned but not by me. Once we promised vnto him all the kyngdomes of the world, if he would fall downe and woorship vs. But he woulde not, saying: my kingdome is not of thys worlde, & went hys way, when the multitude woulde haue made hym a temporall kyng. MarginaliaThe Church neuer well gouerned since the Deuils offers were taken of the church mē.But to you truly which are fallen from the state of grace, and that serue vs in the earth: is that my promyse fulfylled, and all terrene thynges by our meanes whych we haue bestowed vpon you, are vnder gouernment. For hee hathe sayde of vs as ye knowe: The prince of the world commeth. &c. and hath made vs to raygne ouer all children of vnbeliefe. Therefore, our aduersaries before recited, did paciently submit themselues vnto the princes of the world, & dyd teache that men should do so saying: Be ye subiect to euerye creature for Gods cause, whyther it be to the kyng as most chiefest. And agayne: Obey ye them that are made rulers ouer you. &c. For so theyr maister commaunded them saying: The kings of the Heathen haue dominiō ouer them. &c. But I thynke it long tyll wee haue poured our poyson vpon the earth, and therefore fyll your selues full. MarginaliaPride in prelates noted.And now be ye, not onely vnlyke those fathers, but also altogether contrary vnto them in your lyfe and conditions, and extoll your selues aboue all other men. MarginaliaPopish prelates neither geue to God, not to Cæsar, that which belongeth to God, and Cæsar.Neither do ye geue to God that which belongeth vnto hym, nor yet to Cesar þt which is hys: MarginaliaThe double iurisdictiō of the popes 2. swords commeth of Lucifer.But exercise you the power of both the swords, according to our decrees, making your selues doers in worldly matters, fighting in our quarel, intangled wyth secular labours and busines: And clyme ye by litle and litle from the miserable state of pouerty, vnto the hyghest seates of all honours, and to the moste princely places of dignitie by your deuised practises, and false and deceitfull wyles and subtilty: that is, by hipocrisie, flattery, lying, periury, treasons, disceites, symonye, and other greater wyckednes then which our infernall furies may deuise. MarginaliaThe outragies of the popes cleargy, described.For after that ye haue by vs been aduanced thether, wher ye would be: yet doth þt not that suffice you, but as gredye staruelynges more hungrye then ye were before, ye suppresse the poore, scratch and racke together all þt comes to hand, peruerting & turning euery thing topse tooruey: so swollē, that redy ye are to brust for pride, liuing like Lechers in all corporal delicatnes, & by fraud directing all your doings. MarginaliaDominos.
You chalēge to your selues, names of honour in the earth, calling your selues lordes, holy, yea and most holy persons. Thus, either by violence ye rauen, or els by ambitiō, subtillie ye pilfer awaye, and wrongfully wraste, and by false title possesse, those goodes whiche for the sustentation of the poore mēbers of Christ (whom from our first fall we haue hated) were bestowed and geuen: consumyng them as ye your selues lyst, MarginaliaThe lasciuious and whorish lyfe of the Romish cleargy.and therewith ye cherishe and mayntayne an innumerable sorte of whoores, strumpets, and bawdes, wt whō ye ryde pompously like mighty princes, far other wise going, thē those poore beggerly priests, of þe primatiue church. For I would ye shuld build your selues rich & gorgeous palacies, ye fare like princes, eating and drinkyng the most dayntest meats, & pleasātest wynes þt may be gottē: ye hoord & heape together an infinite deal of tresure, not lyke to hym þt sayd, gold & siluer I haue none, ye serue & fight for vs according to your wages. O most acceptable societye or felowship, promised vnto vs by þe prophet, & of those Fathers long ago reproued: MarginaliaThe whorish latter church of Rome.Whylest that Christ called thee the synagog of Sathan, & lykened thee to þe myghty whore whych cōmitted fornicatiō with the kinges of the earth, the adulterous spouse of Christ, & of a chaste persō made a strōpet. Thou hast left thy first loue and hast cleaued vnto vs. O our beloued Babilon

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