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and glory of his most blessed name; as he gave the like spirit unto the most noble and famous princes, Josaphat, Josias, and Ezechias. God grant all us, the King's Highness' faithful and true subjects, to feed of the sweet and savoury bread of God's own word, and (as Christ commanded) to eschew all our Pharisaical and Papistical leaven of man's feigned religion : which, although it were before God most abominable, and contrary to God's comniandments and Christ's pure religion, yet it was (1) extolled to be a most godly life, and highest state of perfection : as though a man might be more godly, and more perfect, by keeping the rules, traditions, and professions of men, than by keeping the holy commandments of God. (m) And briefly to pass over the ungodly and counterfeit religions, let us rehearse some other kinds of Papistical superstitions and abuses; as of beads, of lady psalters, and rosaries, of fifteen oes, of St. Bernard's verses, of St. Agathe's letters; of purgatory, of masses satisfactory, of stations and jubilees, of feigned relicks ; of hallowed beads, bells, bread, water, palms, candles, fire, and such other; of superstitious fastings; of (n) fraternities; of pardons, with such like merchandise; which were so esteemed and abused to the great prejudice of God's glory and commandments, that they were made most high and
(m) Other devices and superstitions. (n) “ fraternities or brotherhoods."
most holy things, whereby to attain to the () eter- • nal life, or remission of sin: Yea, also vain inventions, unfruitful ceremonies, and ungodly laws, (p) decrees, and councils of Rome, were in such wise advanced, that nothing was thought comparable in authority, wisdom, learning, and godliness, unto them; so that the laws of Rome, as they said, were to be received of all men as the four Evangelists; to the which all laws of princes must give place: And the laws of God also partly were (9) omitted and less esteemed, that the said laws, decrees, and councils, with their traditions and ceremonies, might be more duly kept, and had in greater re
Thus was the people through ignorance so blinded with the goodly shew and appearance of those things, that they thought the keeping of them to be a more holiness, a more perfect service and honouring of God, and more pleasing to God, than the keeping of God's commandments. Such hath been the corrupt inclination of man, ever superstitiously given to make new honouring of God of his own head, and then to have more affection and devotion to (r) observe that, than to search out God's holy commandments, and to keep them; and furthermore, to take God's commandments for men's commandments, and men's commandments for God's
(o) everlasting, (9) left off
(v) Decrees and decretals.
commandments, yea, and for the highest and most perfect and holy of all God's commandments. And so was all confused, that scant well-learned men, and but a small number of them, knew or at the least would know, and durst affirm the truth, to (s) separate God's commandments from the commandments of men. Whereupon did grow much error, superstition, idolatry, vain religion, (t) preposterous judgement, great contention, with all ungodly living
(u) Wherefore, as you have any zeal to the right and pure honouring of God; as you have any regard to your own souls, and to the life that is to come, which is both without pain and without end; apply yourselves chiefly, above all things, to read and to hear God's word; mark diligently therein what his will is you shall do, and with all your endeavour apply yourselves to follow the same. First, (w). you must have an assured Faith in God, and give yourselves wholly unto him; love him in prosperity and adversity; and dread to offend him evermore: Then, for his sake, love all men, friends and foes, because they be his creation and image, and redeemed by Christ, as ye are. Cast in your minds,
separate or sever.”
(t) overthwart. (u) An exhortation to the keeping of God's commandments. (w) A brief rehearsal of God's commandments.
how you may do good unto all men unto your powers, and hurt no man. Obey all your superiors and governors ; serve your masters faithfully and diligently, as well in their absence as in their presence, not for dread of punishment only, but for conscience sake, knowing that you are bound so to do by God's commandments. Disobey not your fathers and mothers, but honour them, help them, and please them to your power. Oppress not, kill not, beat not, neither slander, nor hate any man; but love all men; speak well of all men; help and succour every man as you may, yea, even your enemies that hate you, that speak evil of you, and that do hurt you. Take no man's goods, nor covet your neighbour's goods wrongfully; but content yourselves with that which ye get truly; and also bestow your own goods charitably, as need and case requireth. Flee all idolatry, witchcraft, and perjury; commit no manner of adultery, fornication, nor other unchasteness, in will nor in deed, with any other man's wife, widow, maid, or otherwise. And travailing continually (during your life) thus in (.x) the observing the commandments of God, (wherein(y) consisteth the pure, principal, and (x)direct honour of God, and which wrought in Faith God hath ordained to be the right trade and path-way unto heaven,) you shall not fail, as Christ hath promised, to