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422 [398]

K. Edward. 3. Loosing of Satan. Learned men against the P. The ploughmans prayer.
MarginaliaThe ceasing of persecution in the primitiue church. The ceasing of the laste persecution of the primitiue Churche by the death of Licinius the last persecutour, began. An. 324. from the natiuitie of Christ 
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Licinius was deposed in AD 324, but he died a year later in AD 325.

, which was from the 30. yeare of hys age. 294.
MarginaliaThe binding vp of Sathan. The binding vp of Sathan after peace geuen to the church, counting from the 30. yeares of Christ, beganAn.294.
MarginaliaThe time of losing of Sathan. And lasted a thousand yeres, that is, counting from the thirtie yeare of Christe, to the yeare. 1294.
About which yeare Pope Boniface the 8. was Pope, and made the 6. booke of the decretals: confirmed the orders of Friers, and priuileged them with great fredomes, as appeareth by his constitution: Super cathedram. An.1294.
MarginaliaThe time of Antichrist, examined.Vnto the which count of yeares doeth not much disagree that I founde in a certaine olde Chronicle prophesied and wrytten in the latter ende of a booke, which booke was wrytten as it seemeth, by a monk of Douer & remayneth yet in the custodye of William Cary, 
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William Cary, a London clothworker, owned a number of manuscripts used as sources by Foxe. On Cary see Andrew G. Watson, 'Christopher and William Carye, Collectors of Monastic Manuscripts, and "John Carye"', The Library, 5th series, 20 (1965), pp. 145-42.

a Citizen of London: alledging the Prophesie of one Hayncardus a gray Frier, grounded vppon the authoritie of Ioachim the Abbot, 
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Licinius was deposed in AD 324, but he died a year later in AD 325.

prophesying that Antichrist shoulde be borne the yeare from the Natiuitie of Christ. 1260. Which is, counting after the Lordes passion, the very same yere and time, when the orders of Friers both Dominickes and Franciscans began first to be sette vp by Pope Honorius the 3. and by Pope Gregorius 9. which was the yere of our Lord counting after his passion.
And counting after the Natiuitye of the Lord, was the yeare.1260.

Whereof these verses in the author was wrytten.

Cum fuerint anni completi mille ducenti,
Et decies seni post partum virginis almæ:
Tunc Antichristus nascetur dæmone plenus.

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Verses prophesying the coming of Antichrist
Foxe text Latin

Cum fuerint anni ... nascetur daemone plenus.


John Wade, University of Sheffield

When twelve hundred and sixty years have been completed since the Blessed Virgin gave birth, then Antichrist will be born filled with the Devil.

MarginaliaVerses prophesying of the comming of Antichrist.

And these verses were wrytten, as appeareth by the sayd author. An. 1285.

These thyngs thus premised for the loosing out of Satan, according to the prophesie of the Apocal. nowe let us enter (Christe willing) to the declaration of these latter times, which followed after the letting out of Sathan into the worlde. Describing the wondrous perturbations and cruell tiranny stirred up by him against Christes Church. Also the valiant resistance of the Church of Christ against him and Antichrist, as in these our bookes heere vnder following may appeare. MarginaliaThe argument of the bookes after folowing.

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The argument of which booke consisteth in 2. partes, first to entreate of the raging furie of Satan nowe loosed, and of Antichrist: Against the saints of Christ fighting and traueiling for the maintenance of the truth, & reformation of the Church: Secondly, to declare the decay and ruine of the said Antichrist, through the power of the word of God being at length (eyther in a greate parte of the worlde) ouerthrowen, or at least vniuersally in the whole world detected.

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Thus then to begin wyth the yeare of our Lord. 1360. MarginaliaAnno. 1360. wherin I haue a litle as is aforesayd, transgressed the stint of the first loosing out of Sathan: we are come now to the time wherin the Lord, after long darknes beginneth some reformation of hys Churche, by the diligent industrie of sondry hys faithful and learned seruauntes: of whome diuers already we haue foretouched in the former booke before, as namely. MarginaliaA brief rehearsall of faythfull learned men, which withstood the proceedings of the Sancto Amore, Marsilius Patauinus: Ockam: Robertus Gallus: Robertus Grosted: Petrus de Cugnerijs: Ioannes Rupescissanus: Condradus Hager: Ioannes de Poliaco, Cesenas, wyth other moe: whych withstoode the corrupt errours, and intollerable enormities of the Byshop of Rome. Beside them which about these times were put to death by the saide bishop of Rome, as Chastilion, & Franciscus de Arcatara in the booke before recorded: also the two Franciscanes, Martyrs, which were burned at Auinion, mentioned, pag. 391.

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Now to these (the Lord willing) we will adde such other holy Martyrs and confessors, who following after in the course of yeares with like zeale and strength of Godsworde, and also with like daunger of their liues, gaue the like resistance against the enemie of Christes religion, and suffered at hys handes the like persecutions. First begynning wyth that godly man, whosoeuer he was the author of the Booke (hys name I haue not) MarginaliaThe author of the plowmans prayer not knowne.intituled the prayer and complaint of the Ploughman: wrytten as it appeareth, about thys present time. 

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Prayer of the Ploughman

In what follows Foxe is reprinting The prayer and complaynte of the Ploweman (STC 20036), a treatise which was printed in Antwerp in 1531. This work was originally an anonymous Lollard tract against clerical abuses dating from the early fifteenth century. The editor (probably William Tyndale) of this work stated on the title page that it dated from 1300. Foxe is claiming here that it first appeared around 1360. Notice that Foxe barely mentions that he is drawing on a sixteenth-century edition of the work. He is anxious to emphasize its medieval origins in order to show that there was a 'True Church' opposed to the Papacy, even in the period before Luther.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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Which booke as it was faithfully set foorth by William Tindall, 

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Foxe is probably correct in attributing the 1531 edition of this work to Tyndale. Firstly, it was printed in Antwerp and Tyndale was residing there at the time. In addition, an address to the reader (Prayer…of the Ploweman, sigs. a2r-a3v) is signed by 'W. T.'.

so I haue as truely distributed the same abroade to the Readers handes: neyther chaunging any thying of the matter, neyther altering many woordes of the phrase thereof. Although the oldnesse and age of hys speache and termes be almost growne nowe out of vse: yet thought I it so best, both for the vtilitie of the booke to reserue it from obliuion, as also in his owne language to let it go abroad, for the more credite and testimonie of the true antiquity of the same. Adding withal in the margent for the better understanding of the reader, some interpretation of certaine difficult termes and speches, as otherwise might perhaps hinder or stay the reader. 
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The decision not to modernize the language of The prayer and complaynte of the Ploweman was made, as Foxe indicates, to reassure his readers - and his critics - that the document was genuine. However, it came at a price; it was a difficult read even in the sixteenth century. This may be why it was dropped from the 1576 edition, although it was restored in the 1583 edition.

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The matter of this complaining prayer of the ploughman, thus proceedeth.

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An olde auncient wryting, intitled, The prayer and complaint of the Ploughman.

MarginaliaAn olde booke intituled, the ploughmans prayer, written as seemeth about Wickliffes tyme. IESV CHRIST that was ybore of the maid Marie, haue on thy poore seruauntes mercie and pitie, and helpe them in their great nede to fight against sinne, and against the deuill that is author of sinne, and more nede nes there neuer to cry to Christ for helpe, then it is ryght nowe. For it is fulfilled that God sayde by Isay the Prophet: MarginaliaThe complaynt of Esai applied to these times. ye riseth vp erlich to follow drunkennesse, and drinke till it be euen, the harpe and other minstrelsies beeth in your feastes and wine. But the woorke of God ye ne beholdeth not, ne taketh no kepe to the workes of his handes: And therfore my people is take prisoner, for they ne had no cunning. And the noble men of my people deyeden for hunger, and the multitude of my people weren dry for thirst, and therefore hel hath drawen abroade theyr soule, and hath yopened hys mouth wythout any ende. And eftsoones sayeth Isay the Prophet: The worde is floten away, and the highnesse of the people is ymade sicke, and the earth is infecteof his wonnyers, for they haue broken my lawes, and ychaunged my right, and han destroyed mine euerlastynge bond and * Marginalia* Forward, that is, couenant. forward betwene them & me. And therfore cursing shal deuour the earth, and they that wonneth on the erthly shallen done sinne. And therefore the earth tilyars shullen waxe woode, 

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i.e. 'grew mad'.

and fewe men shullen cen yleft vpon the earth. And yet sayth Isay the Prophet, this sayeth God, for as much as this people nigheth me with their mouth, & glorifieth me with their lippes, and their hart is farre from me. And they had ydrad 
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i.e. 'feared'.

more mens commandement, then mine, and more draw to their doctrines, then mine. Therefore will I make a great wondring vnto this people, wisedome shall perish away from wise men, and vnderstanding of ready men shall be yhid. And so it seemeth that an other saying of Isay is fulfilled, there as God bad hym goe teach the people, and sayd go forth and say to this people: eares haue ye, and vnderstād ye not, and eyes ye haue and sight ne know ye not. Make blinde the hart of this people, & make their eares heauy, and close their eyen, least he see with his eyen, and yheare with his eares, and vnderstand with his hart, and by yturned, and ych heale him of his sicknes. And Isay sayd to God: how long Lord shall this be? And God sayd: for to that the cities ben desolate withouten a wonnier, 
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i.e. 'inhabitant'.

and an house withouten a man.

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Here is mychel nede for to make sorow, & to cry to our Lord Iesu Christ hertilich for helpe and for succour, that he wole forgeue vs our sinnes, and geue vs grace and cōning to seruen him better here after. And God of his endles mercy geue vs grace and cōning trulich to tellen which is Christes law in helping of mens soules, for we beth lewde men, and sinfull men, and vnconning, and if he woll be our helpe and our succour, we shullen wel perfourme our purpose. And blessed be our Lorde God that hideth his wisdome from wise men, and fro ready men, and teacheth it to small children, as Christ teacheth in the Gospell.

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Christen men haue a law to keepe, the which lawe hath twe parties. MarginaliaThe law of Christ standeth on two partes.Beleue in Christ that is God, & is the foundmēt of their law, and vpon this foundement, as he sayde to Peter, and the gospel beareth witnes, he woll byelden his Churche, and thys is the first party of Christes law. The secōd party of this law beth Christes commaundements that beth written in the gospel, and more verilich in christen mens hartes.

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And as touching the beleue, we beleuen that Christ is God, and that there ne is no God but he. We beleuen neuertheles that in the Godhead there bene three persons, the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost, and all these three persons ben one God, and not many Gods, and all they beth ylich mighty, ylich good, and ylich 

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i.e. 'equally'.

wise, and euer haue bene, and euer shullen ben. We beleuen this God made the worlde of nought, and man he made after hys owne likenesse in Paradise that was a land of blisse, and gaue him

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