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Away! away! I pray you, with this opinion, that thinketh a man to owe no more unto himself for religion, than to learn by rote the creed, ten commandments, and Paternoster. St. Paul rebuketh that opinion, as it is to be seen in his Epistles.
We owe unto ourselves due labour in praying unto God daily for the necessities of both body and soul, and likewise to give him thanks for all the goodness that he hath given unto us.
Also we owe unto ourselves, the eschewing and avoiding of idleness and oisivity : also we owe ourselves the labours of our own hands, with the industry and gift of reason, learning, and wit, to eat our own bread with the sweat and pain of our own bodies, according to the commandment of God.
Thus I conclude my faith ; the which, being examined by the word of God, is catholic and godly; who send us of his grace to fear him, honour the King, and to love one the other, as Christ loveth all. So be it. The 20th of December anno Domini MDL. Lord bless thy church, and save our King.
TO BE READ IN
THE TIME OF PESTILENCE;
THE TRUE CAUSES OF
THE SAMB; AND LIKEWISE A MOST
GATHERED OUT OF THE HOLY SCRIRTURES,
BISHOP OF WORCESTER AND GLOUCESTER,
A. D. 1553,
To all Pastors and Curates within the King's
Majesty's Diocese of Worcester and Gloucester. Even as we be blind and unthankful for God's favourable mercies, wherewithal he followeth us in health, wealth, and prosperity ; so we be blind, and unsensible for his most just plagues, wherewithal he punisheth us in sickness, scarcity, and troubles. And now, amongst other tokens of his displeasure. and wrath, he hath sent us in divers places one of the extremest plagues that ever he devised to punish man withal in this life, the plague of pestilence.
Forasmuch as he meaneth thereby not only to kill and destroy the bodies of such, as by this plague he purposeth to take out of this inortal life : but also without repentance and turning of his mercy in Christ before death, the souls of such as depart from hence, must needs perish by God's just judgment. And not only this will be the end of such as it pleaseth God to strike to death by this his servant and messenger, the plague of pestilence ; but also the like danger of his displeasure remaineth to me, and to all others that have the cure and charge of the people's souls in this the King's Majesty's most noble realm, over whom God and he hath made us watchmen and overseers, to admonish and warn the people of all dangers and plagues that God shall send for their punishment; in case we admonish not in time the people committed unto our charge of such plagues as for sin he purposeth to punish us withal : for then their loss and damnation shall be required at our hands.
For the discharge of myself, and also for the better instruction of such as have cures within this diocese of Worcester and Gloucester (and yet not best able to discharge them), and furthermore for the profit and salvation of the people, amongst whom it may