Page images
PDF
EPUB

A GODLY CONFESSION, &c.

DEDICATION. To the most virtuous and mighty Prince Edward the Sixth, our most redoubted Sovereign Lord, King of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, and in earth, next and immediately under God, the supreme head of the churches of England and Ireland : and also to the most wise, godly, and honourable Lords of his Highness's Privy Council, and unto the rest of the most wise, godly, and learned assembly of all the Honourables and others appointed to be of His Majesty's most high and godly court of Parliament; I, John Hooper, his most huinble, loving, and obedient subject, wish all grace and peace from God, with long, godly, and most prosperous reign over us in all godly knowledge, honour, health, and perpetual felicity.

The wise man Cicero (most gracious and nighty Prince) saith, that he doth not only wrong, that by violence oppresseth wrongfully another man ; but also he that defendeth not (if it lie in his power) the wrongs offered, and is no less faulty than though he had forsaken parents, friends, or country. The same doctrine practised he in defence and propulsing the injuries and wrongs attempted wrongfully against Milo by the friends of Clodius, as it appeareth by his eloquent and facundious oration made for that purpose

in the senate of Rome. Tlie same kind of injuries other godly men in the Scriptures of God have always, according to the law, eschewed : for it is written; “ If a man see his neighbour's ass fall under his burden, or bis ox to go astray, his neighbour is bound to help them both, the ass from burden,

and the ox from his straying.". The same practised Abraham, when he perceived his nephew Lot op. pressed with the wars of the infidels, propulsed and revenged the injuries, and set his nephew at large and liberty,

Even so be there two sorts of people, that two sorts of ways do injuries and wrongs unto the soul and conscience of men. The one of them by force or subtilty defraudeth them from the truth and perfection of God's words, as heretical and superstitious minis. ters. The other, at such time as they should with prayer, diligence, and preaching, defend the people of God from such injuries and wrongs, are negligent or dumb. The which kind of injury doubtless the Lord God Almighty will at length grievously revenge. Therefore against this kind of injury, he spake unto the Prophet Ezekiel : “ If I purpose to send a plague upon the people, and thou give them not warning thereof, I will require their blood at thy hand.” The same said he unto St. Peter : “ Feed my lambs," feed my sheep.” And unto all the Apostles he said, “ Make ye all Gentiles my disciples.” And St. Paul, fearing to fall in the danger of the second kind of doing wrong, in saving the wrongs of false religion from the church of Christ, said, “ Wo be unto me, if I preach not."

Upon the consideration of the premises, seeing all things be written for our doctrine, I have thought it good to write and set forth this confession and protestation of my faith, submitting myself and my faith also most humbly to be judged by your Majesty, your most honourable council, with the godly assemblance of your Majesty's most high court of Parliament, according to the word of God: that by this means I may avoid the pain and danger due unto all them that neglect or omit the injuries and wrongs that may happen and chance by sinister report, and

false slander of God's word, to the conscience of any of

your Majesty's subjects. For I am credibly informed, that many false and erroneous opinions are entered into their heads of me (God forgive them that have been the occasion thereof). If any way these injuries and dangerous slanders may be holpen, I think this to be the way, to offer most humbly myself and my faith to be known and judged by your Majesty after the word of God. I protest before God and your Majesty, I write not this confession for any apology or defence to contend or strive with any man in any matter, nor for any private affection or displeasure I bear unto any man living, or for any inordinate or partial love unto myself, but for the cause and to the same end before rehearsed.

Likewise for three other great causes that shall follow. The one toucheth God, the other your Majesty, the third your loving subjects. As concerning God, seeing both his Majesty, mine own conscience, and my auditory know, that I have neither in doctrine, neither in manners, taught any other thing than I received of the Patriarchs, Prophets, and the Apostles, it were not only sin, but also the very part of a miscreant, to deny or betray the innocency of that doctrine, or to be ashamed to stand to the defence thereof, seeing all godly men have esteemned more the true word of God, than their own mortal lives.

The second cause that toucheth your Majesty and your most honourable council, is, because upon credit and good opinion, and partly by experience that your Majesty had both of my true faith and godly zeal, you appointed me (among other of your preachers), though most unworthy, to teach your subjects their duty to God and man. What true subject can hear and understand such untrue bruits of those that a King's Majesty shall appoint to preach, and would

not be glad, both for God's sake and his King's, to remove such ungodly bruits if he can, for the peace and quietness of their subjects ?

As for the cause that toucheth the people, it is no less worthy than eternal damnation. In case he be worthy of judgment, and in danger of hell fire, that is angry with his brother, and calleth him fool, how much more if he call his brother heretic and a denier of God? If the first be worthy hell fire, much more the last. Therefore lest my brother should die, and then receive condign reward due for a slanderer, what it lieth in me, I do by this protestation of my faith call him to repentance.

And in case any man stand in doubt of mine opinion and meaning in religion, let him not condemn me beforetime, but use the means with me that the ten tribes of Israel used with the tribe of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, that built, at their return to their possessions, an altar upon the borders of Jordan, the which fact was like to have engendered great wars. But it was stayed by the means of consultation and communication had with those that builded it: and, their minds known, the dissension was ended and appeased. Even so I would desire my Christian countrymen to use me (for I have built no altars of idolatry), if they be in doubt of me in any thing, and not to kill by hearsay, neither before they have heard me speak. Thus I pray God, both they and I may search always to live in his fear, to obey our King, and to be profitable and true members of this realm of England. So be it. The 20th day of December, in the ycar of our Lord God 1550.

THE CONFESSION AND PROTESTATION OF JOHN

HOOPER'S FAITH.

I. I believe, according to the holy Scripture, to be things without time and before time; also to be things with time and made in time. The thing without time and before time is God only and solely : three in diversity of persons, and one in essence and equality of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost : not three Gods, but one God. Things with time and in time be all things that ever were, now are, or ever shall be created in heaven or in earth, until the day of the last general judgment, when both body and soul shall begin together (for the soul ever liveth) immortality and joys without time, of such as be ordained of God to eternal salvation : and of such as be appointed, and have deserved it, to eternal damnation, to begin eternal pains, and so to endure without time.

II. I believe the spirits, both good and bad, and likewise the souls of men and women created by God, to be iinmortal, and from their creation to live for ever, and never to die. I believe all things created by God, as concerning their creation, to be perfect and good : without hatred, displeasure, grudge, contumacy, rebellion, disobedience, or pride, against their Maker.

III. I believe, that of things created by God, part of them, by grace of God's favour, hath and ever shall persevere and continue in the perfection and excellence of their creation ; as the spirits or angels that never fell, nor hereafter shall fall, through the means of Christ.

I believe, that part of those creatures, which God made in their perfection, now to be subject, part of them to immortal pains, part to mortal pains, part unto both: as the devil and man, that fell into this

« PreviousContinue »