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(p) omitted. And, to be short, they were of so blind judgement, that they stumbled at a straw, and leaped over a block; they would, as it were, nicely take a fly out of their cup, and drink down a whole camel; and therefore Christ called them blind guides, warning his disciples, from time to time, to eschew their doctrine. For although they seemed to the world to be most perfect men, both in living and teaching, yet was their life but hypocrisy, and their doctrine but sour leaven, mingled with superstition, idolatry, and (9) preposterous judgement; setting up the traditions and ordinances of man, in the stead of God's commandments,

Thus have you heard how much the world, from the beginning until Christ's time, was ever ready to fall from the commandments of God, and to seek other means to honour and serve him, after a devotion (r) imagined of their own heads; and how they (s) extolled their own traditions as high or above God's commandments; which hath happened also in our times (the more it is to be lamented) no less than it did among the Jews, and that by the corruption, or at least by the negligence, of them that chiefly ought to have preferred God's commandments, and to have preserved the (t) sincere and heavenly doctrine left by Christ. What man, having any

(p) left undone.

(9) overthrart.
(t) pure.

(r) found out.

(s) did set up.


judgement or learning, joined with a true zeal unto God, doth not see and lament to have entered into Christ's religion such false doctrine, superstition, idolatry, hypocrisy, and other enormities and abuses, so as by little and little, through the sour leaven thereof, the sweet bread of God's holy word hath been much hindered and laid apart? Never had the Jews in their most blindness so many pilgrimages unto images, nor used so much kneeling, kissing, and censing of them, as hath been used in our time. . (u) Sects and feigned religions were neither the fortieth part so many among the Jews, nor more superstitiously and ungodly abused, than of late days they have been among us: which sects and religions had so many hypocritical and feigned works in their state of religion, as they arrogantly named it, that their lamps, as they said, ran always over, able to satisfy not only for their own sins, but also for all other their benefactors, brothers, and sisters of religion, as most ungodly and craftily they had persuaded the multitude of ignorant people; keeping in diverse places, as it were, marts or markets of merits, being full of their holy relicks, images, shrines, and works of (w) supererogation, ready to be sold; and all things which they had were called holy; holy cowls, holy girdles, holy pardons, holy beads, holy shoes, holy rules; and all full of

(u) Sects and religions amongst Christian men. (w) overflowing abundance,



holiness! And what thing can be more foolish, more superstitious, or ungodly, than that men, women, and children, should wear a friar's coat to deliver them from agues or pestilence? or when they die, or when they be buried, cause it to be cast upon them, in hope thereby to be saved ? Which superstition, although (thanks be to God) it hath been little used in this realm, yet in diverse other realms it hath been and yet is used among many, both learned and unlearned. But, to pass over the innumerable superstitiousness that hath been in strange apparel, in silence, in dormitory, in cloister, in chapter, in choice of meats and drinks, and in such like things; let us consider what enormities and abuses have been in the three chief principal points, which they called the three essentials, or three chief foundations of religion; that is to say, obedience, chastity, and wilful poverty,

First, (2) under pretence or colour of obedience to their father in religion, (which obedience they made themselves,) they were (y) exempted, by their rules and canons, from the obedience of their natural father and mother, and from the obedience of emperor and king, and all temporal power, whom of very duty by God's laws they were bound to obey. And so the profession of their

(r) The three chief vows of religion. fy) made free.


obedience not due was a (x) renunciation of their due obedience.

And how their profession of chastity was (a) observed, it is more honesty to pass over in silence, and let the world judge of that which is well known, than with unchaste words, by expressing of their unchaste life, to offend chaste and godly ears.

And as for their wilful poverty, it was such, that when in possessions, jewels, plate, and riches, they were equal or above merchants, gentlemen, barons, earls, and dukes; yet by this subtile sophistical term Proprium in (b) communi, they (c) deluded the world; persuading, that notwithstanding all their possessions and riches, yet they (d) observed their vow, and were in wilful poverty. But for all their riches, they might neither help father or mother, nor other that were indeed very needy and poor, without the licence of their father abbot, prior, or warden ; and yet they might take of every man; but they might not give aught to any man; no, not to them whom the laws of God bound them to help : And so, through their traditions and rules, the laws of God could bear no rule with them : and therefore of them might be most truly said that which Christ spake unto the Pharisees, (e) You break the commandments of God by your traditions : you honour God with your lips,

(z) forsaking.

(u) kept. (6) Later edit. add " that is to say, Proper in common. (c) mocked.

(d) kept (e) Matt, xv.


but your hearts be far from him. And the longer prayers they used by day and by night, under (f) pretence of such holiness, to get the favour of widows and other simple folks, that they might sing trentals and service for their husbands and friends, and (8) admit them into their suffrages; the more truly is verified of them the saying of Christ, (h) Woe be unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for you devour widows' houses under colour of long prayers; therefore your damnation shall be the greater. Woe be to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you go about by sea and by land to make more novices, and new brethren; and when they be (i) admitted of your sect, you make them the children of hell worse than yourselves be.

Honour be to God, who did put light in the heart of his faithful and true minister of most famous, memory, King Henry the eighth ; and gave him the knowledge of his word, and an earnest affection to seek his glory, and to put away all such superstitious and Pharisaical sects, by Antichrist invented, and set up (k) against the true word of God

UI" pretence or colour.
(g) admit or receive them into their

prayers." (h) Matt. xxiii. (i) be let in and received,

(k) Several editions read" and set up again the true word," &c, The reading of Archbishop Cranmer is against. The edition of 1562 reads, like the modern, again; that of 1595, against. The Saxon agen and the old English again have indeed the meaning of against, in opposition to, and therefore countenance again ; but the original reading makes the passage at once perspicuous,


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