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loved God in the sight of the world, and had great advantage by his word, are become his very enemies, and not only his, but also enemies to his members.
But yet as King David knew his foolish folly, and with repentance repented and found grace: so it may please God to give us of his grace and holy Spirit, to amend our faults in the like offences, and help us, as he did him. But doubtless, great is our iniquity. For there was never so great abomination read of and so quickly to prevail, as this abomination of the wicked mass hath prevailed in England. And all Christian men know that the Turks and heathens neither have, nor yet had ever, any so sensibly known, and manifest an idol.
Wherefore, that Almighty God of his mercy may preserve his people in this noble city of London, Í have written upon the 23d Psalm of King David, to advertise men how they shall beware of heresies and false doctrine, and so to live to his honour and glory. Albeit, I know (dearly beloved) that all those which seek God's honour, and the furtherance of his Gos, pel, be accounted the Queen's enemies, although we daily pray for her Grace, and never think her harm: but we must be content to suffer slander, and patiently to bear all such injuries. Nevertheless, this is out of doubt, that the Queen's Highness hath no authority to compel any man to believe any thing, contrary to God's word, neither may the subject give her Grace that obedience : in case he do, his soul is lost for ever. Our bodies, goods, and lives be at her Highness's commandment, and she shall have them as of true subjects: but the soul of man for religion is bound to none but unto God and his holy word.
An Answer to a Friend of his for a Woman that was
troubled with her Husband in Matters of Religion, how she should behave herself towards him.
The grace and peace of God, our dear Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be with you. Amen.
As concerning the party whom you wrote unto me of, I have here sent you mine advice, and what I think is best in this case to be done. First, she shall remember the counsel of St. Paul, 1 Cor. vii. where he speaketh to such as be compelled in matrimony, and be of two sundry and divers religions : if the unbelieving man will dwell with the faithful woman, the wife cannot forsake him.
Or in case the unbelieving woman will dwell with her believing husband, the husband cannot forsake her. But if the unbelieving party (whether it be husband or wife) will depart, the believing party is at liberty. Now in this time, to believe that the priest can make God, or to believe that which was not God yesterday, can be both God and man to-day, and so to honour that which was but very bread * yesterday,
* Among many other memorable acts and notes worthy to be remembered in the history of Master Hooper, this is also not to be forgotten which happened between him, and a bragging friar, a little after the beginning of his imprisonment: the story whereof here followeth.
A friar came from France to England with great vaunt, asking who was the greatest heretic in all England, thinking belike to do some great act upon him. To whom answer was made, that Master Hooper had then the greatest paine to be the chiefest ringleader, who was then in the Fleet prison. The friar coming to him, asked why he was committed to prison.
He said, “ for debt."
Which when the other had denied, “ What sayest thou" (quoth be), “This is my body ?"
Master Hooper, being partly moved at the sudden question, desired that he might ask of him again another, which was this :
for the true God that made both heaven and earth and all that be in them, and for the body and sout of Christ that suffered for our redemption, and took from us our sins upon the cross ; is
idolatry, and to be committed of no Christian man ; for the pain of it, without repentance, is everlasting damnation,
In matrimony it is meet therefore, that which party soever be persuaded and knoweth the truth, be it the husband or the wife, the truth be spoken, taught, and opened unto the party that is not per suaded. For as St. Paul saith, “How knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? or how knowest thou, O woman, whether thou shalt save thy husband ?" Therefore let the best and more godly party be diligent in saving (by his or her labours) the party that is not instructed nor persuaded in the truth. If it prevail, then is the worse part amended, and the best part hath done his or her duty and office, as it is commanded, Ephes. iv. Colos. jii. 1 Peter, iïi.
In case the worse part will not be amended, but tarry still in error, and so offend the Almighty God the author of marriage, let the best part that is persuaded and knoweth the truth, as, in this case, the woman, labour with her companions to be free and at
or What remaineth after the consecration in the sacrament, any bread or no?"
" “ No bread at all," saith he.
" And when re break it, what do ye break; whether bread or the body?" saith Master Hooper.
“ No bread," saith the friar, “but the body only."
“ If ye do so," saith Master Hooper, “ye do great injury, not only to the body of Christ, but also ye do break the Scriptures, which say ; ye shall not break of him one bone.”
With that the friar, having nothing belike to answer, recoiled back, and with his circles and crosses began to use exorcisins against Master Hooper, as though the devil had been present in the place.
fiberty, and not to be compelled to honour any false God, or to serve God otherwise than she knoweth she may do with a good conscience, as she is taught by the word of God. And if she may thus obtain to be at liberty, and be not compelled to do things against her conscience, she may not in any wise depart from him that she is married unto. If this woman cannot win her husband to the truth, nor obtain to live freely and at liberty in the faith of Christ herself, let her cause some godly and grave man or woman to persuade with her husband, as well for his own better knowledge, as for the freedom and liberty of herself, and let her, and whosoever entreateth of the matter, use modesty, soberness, and charity, and pray unto God that their doings may take virtuous and godly success.
In case (which God forbid) the husband would not reform himself of his error, nor suffer his wife to refrain the company and fellowship of such as be present at the mass, where an idol is honoured for God: this wife must make answer soberly and christianly, that she is forbidden by God's laws to commit idolatry, and that God is more to be obeyed than man, and so in any case beware she 'offend not against the first commandment, which is, “ Thou shalt have no other gods but me.
It may come to pass, that when the husband shall perceive the wife's love and reverence towards him, and also her constancy and strength in the truth and true religion of God, although he be not converted unto the truth by her, yet he will be contented to suffer her to ise the liberty of her conscience, without compulsion to any religion that she doth by God's word detest and abhor. But if there be no remedy, but either the wife must follow in idolatry her husband's commandment, or else suffer the ex, tremity of the law: here must the wife remember
and learn whether there be any law or not, that can compel her ordinarily to come to the mass, where idolatry is committed. If there be no law or other means to compel her than her husband's foul words, which be nothing else but threatenings to put her in fear, she must, if she can with wisdom and womanhood, amend the same : if she cannot, then must she christianly and patiently bear them as a woman of God, that for his sake must suffer as much, as his pleasure is to lay upon her. .
In case there be a law to compel her and all others, if otherwise she will not obey, to come to the mass : first, she must wisely and discreetly weigh her husband's nature, whether he is wont to be in deed, works, and offers, cruel as he is in words. If she can find that his nature is (as the most part of men be) more churlish and cruel in words than in works, then howsoever he threateneth by dangerous words, he will not accuse his wife to harm her, but rather excuse her. In case either for lack of love, or for fear of losing of his goods, she perceive verily that he mindeth to bring her in danger by a law : then must she pray to God, and use one of these extreme remedies. First, if she find by prayer herself strong to abide the extremity of the law, yea, though she should die, let her in no case depart from her husband. In case she finds herself too weak to suffer such extremity, then rather than to break company and marriage between God and her, conjoined by the precious blood of Christ, she must convey herself into some such place, as idolatry may be avoided.
For if the husband love the wife, or the wife the husband, more than Christ, he nor she be not meet for Christ. Matt. X. 16. Luke, xiv. 9. Yes, if a man love his own life more than Christ, he is not meet for Christ. And what doth it avail a man to