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Our sin is the cause
highest degree, that for the sin of the people
hypocrites shall reign over them. What shows, that hypo- what faces and contrary pretences are made, reign.
and all to stablish them in their theft, falsehood,
tions of the
which every man may do of his own power, and in doing with works,
SIR THOMAS MORE'S DIALOGUE,
MADE BY WILLIAM TYNDALE, 1530.
WHAT THE CHURCH IS.
First Significa: it signifieth a place or house, whither Christian people word were wont in the old time to resort at times convenient, church are for to hear the word of doctrine, the law of God, and the faith of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and how and what to The minispray, and whence to ask power and strength to live godly. church are For the officers thereto appointed preached the pure word ap poriented of God only, and prayed in a tongue that all men under- to the peo
ple surely stood. And the people hearkened unto his prayers, and the word of said thereto Amen; and prayed with him in their hearts, God, and and of him learned to pray at home, and every where ; atorgue and to instruct every man his household.
Where now we hear but voices without signification; and buzzings, howlings, and cryings, as it were the halloo
of foxes, or baitings of bears; and wonder at disguisings and toys whereof we know no meaning. By reason whereof we be fallen into such ignorance,
we know of the mercy and promises which are in And of the law of God we think as do the Turks, and did the old heathen people, how that it is a thing cannot be
fulfilled thereof becometh good, and waxeth righteous, and de- be the younger serveth heaven; yea, and are yet more mad than that.
holy. we imagine the same of fantasies, and vain ceremonies of our own making; neither needful unto the taming
our own flesh, neither profitable unto our neighbour, neither honour unto God.
ters of the
that all men understand.
And of prayer we think, that no man can pray but at abuse in
church, and that it is nothing else but to say Pater nosier prayer.
unto a post. Wherewith yet, and with other observances of our own imagining, we believe we deserve to be sped
of all that our blind hearts desire. The church In another signification it is abused and mistaken for a taken for
multitude of shaven, shorn, and oiled, which we now call the spiritualty. the spiritualty and clergy. As when we read in the chroKing Wil- nicles, king William was a great tyrant, and a wicked man liam.
unto holy church, and took mnch lands from them. King John. King John was also a perilous man, and a wicked unto
holy church, and would have had them punished for theft, murder, and whatsoever mischief they did, as though they had not been people anointed, but even of the vile rascal and common lay people.
And Thomas Becket was a blessed and an holy man, St. Thomas of Cauter- for he died for the liberties (to do all mischief unpunished) bury. and privileges of the church. Is he a layman, or a man
of the church? Such is the living of holy church. So Holy church men say of holy church. Ye must believe in holy church bath Lurne a great
and do as they teach you. Will ye not obey holy church? swinge. Will ye not do the penance enjoined you by holy church?
Will ye not forswear obedience unto holy church?
lest they curse you, and so forth. In which all we underand his rab- stand but the pope, cardinal, legates, patriarchs, archble taken
bishops, bishops, abbots, priors, chancellors, archdeacons, church. commissaries, officials, priests, monks, friars, black, white,
pied, grey, and so forth, by (I trow) a thousand names of blasphemy, and of hypocrisies, and as many sundry fashions of disguisings.
It hath yet, or should have, another signification, little The church isa congre- known among the common people now-a-days. That is to gation of
wit, it signifieth a congregation, a multitude or a company people of all sorts ga- gathered together in one, of all degrees of people. As a gether.
man would say, the church of London, meaning not the spiritualty only (as they will be called for their diligent
it is taken
serving of God in the Spirit, and so sore eschewing to
of God how Christ taken in the Scripture, even for the whole multitude of all them that receive the name of Christ to believe in in Scriphim, and not for the clergy only. For Paul saith (Gal. i.)
Gal. i. persecuted the church of God above measure: which was not the preachers only, but all that believed generally. As it is to see Acts xxii, where he saith : I persecuted this
Acts xxii. way even unto the death, binding and putting in prison both men and women. And (Gal. i.) I was unknown con- Gal. i. cerning my person unto the congregations of the Jews which were in Christ. And (Rom. xvi.) I commend unto Rom. xvi. you Phebe the deaconess of the church of Cenchris. And the churches of Asia salute you. (1 Cor. the last.)
I Cor. xvi. And if a man cannot rule his own house, how shall he take the care of the church of God? (1 Tim. iii.) If I Tim. iii. any faithful man or woman have widows, let them find them, that the church be not charged. (1 Tim. v.) And 1 Tim. 5. (Matt. xviii.) If thy brother hear thee not, tell the church The church or congregation, and so forth.
In which places, and tude of all throughout all the Scripture, the church is taken for the them that
multitude of them that believe in Christ in that Christ place,
wheresoin that parish, town, city, province, land, or through
ever they out all the world, and not for the spiritualty only.
be gatherNotwithstanding, yet it is sometimes taken generally for
ther. allthen that embrace the name of Christ, though their faiths be nought, or though they have no faith at all. And some significa
it is taken specially for the elect only, in whose tion of this
God hath written his law, with his holy Spirit, and church. given them a feeling faith of the mercy that is in Christ
Jesu our Lord.
WHY TYNDALE USED THIS WORD CONGREGATION,
WHEREFORE inasmuch (as the clergy, as the nature
of those hard and indurate adamant stones is to draw all to them) had appropriate unto themselves the term that of right is common unto all the whole congregation of them that believe in Christ, and with their false and subtle wiles had beguiled and mocked the people, and brought them into the ignorance of the word; making them understand
by this word church, nothing but the shaven flock; of them The cause
that shore the whole world; therefore in the translation of why Tyn- the New Testament, where I found this word ecclesia, I dale translated the interpreted it, by this word congregation. Even, thereword church into
fore did I it, and not of any mischievous mind or purthis word
pose to stablish heresy, as master More untruly reporteth congregation. of me in his dialogue, where he raileth on the translation
of the New Testament.
And when M. More saith, that this word church is known well enough, 1 report me unto the consciences of all the land, whether he say truth or otherwise, or whether the lay-people understand by church the whole multitude of all that profess Christ, or the juggling spirits only. And
when he saith that congregation is a more general term, Congrega
if it were, it hurteth not. For the circumstance doth tion is un ever tell what congregation is meant. Nevertheless, yet derstood by the cir- saith he not the truth. For wheresoever I may say a concumstance. gregation, there may I say a church also, as the church of
the devil, the church of Satan, the church of wretches, the church of wicked men, the church of liars, and a church of Turks thereto.
For M. More must grant (if he will have ecclesia