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TO THE MOSTE EXCELLENT PRINCE
EDWARD THE. VI.
By the grace of God Kyng of Englande, Fraunce
and Irelande, Defendour of the Fayth, and in earth of the Churche of Englande and Irelande immediatly under God Supreme Heed, youre Graces humble Subiecte and Chaplayne Thomas Archebysshop of Canterbury, wissheth aboundance of al grace and godlynes with a longe and prosperous raigne.
IT is not vnknowen vnto the hole world (most excellent prince) that your graces father a kynge of mooste famous memorie of a feruent and ernest godly disposition and tender zele towardes the settyng forth of Goddes glorie, moste diligently trauaylled for a trewe and a ryght reformation and a quiet concorde in Christes religion thorowout al hys dominions, wherin vndoubtedly he brought many thynges to a godlye purpose and effecte, and dyd abolyshe and take away muche blyndnes and ignorance of God, many great errors, fonde and pernitious superstitions and abuses, that had crepte into thys churche of Englande, and Irelande a longe time. And I perceiuing that your magestie by thaduyse of youre moste dere vncle my lorde protector, and the reste of youre graces moste honorable counsel, is moste desyrous perfytly to finyshe and brynge to passe, that your father dyd mooste Godlye begynne, do thynke that there is no thynge more necessarye, for the furtherance hereof, then that it myghte be forseen, howe the youthe and tender age of youre louynge subiectes, maye be broughte vp and traded in the trewth of Goddes holy worde. For it is thought not to me onely, but to manye others, that neyther your graces father shoulde haue been inforced in hys tyme, to haue taken so greate paynes for the reformation of Christes religion, neyther yet youre hyghnes in thys your time, shoulde nede with suche greate difficultie go about to further goddes cause and hys trewe seruice, with so many lawes, iniunctions and proclamations yf so greate negligence of theducation of the youth had not bene so much suffered, and the necessarie poyntes and articles of our religion and profession omitted of those whose office and bounden dewty was to haue moste diligently instructed the youth in the same. Or yf the aunciente and laudable ceremonie of Confirmation hadde continued in the olde state, and bene duely vsed of the ministers in time conuenient, where an exacte and strayghte examination was had of all suche as were of ful age, bothe of theyr profession that they made in baptisme touching theyr belefe and kepyng of goddes commaundementes, with a generall solemne rehersall of the sayde commaundementes and of all tharticles of theyr fayth. Surely there cath be no greater hope of any kinde of persones, other to be brought to all honest conuersation of lyuynge, or to be more apte to set forth and mayntayne all godlynes and trewe religion, then of suche as haue ben from childhode noryshed and fed wyth the swete milke, and as it were the pappe of goddes holy worde, and brydled and kept in awe with hys holy commaundementes. For commenly as we are in youth brought vp, so we continue in age, and sauer longest of that thynge that we fyrste receaue and taist of. And as a fayre table fynely pulyshed, tho it be neuer so apte to receaue eyther pyctures or wrytinges, yet it doth neyther delyte any mens eyes, neither yet profyte any thing, except the paynter take hys pensill, set to hys hande, and wyth labour and cunnyng replenyshe it wyth scriptures or fygures as apertaineth to hys science, euen so the tender wyttes of yonge chyldren, beynge yet naked and bare of all knowledge thorow the grace of God be apte to receaue goddes gyftes, yf they be applyed and instructed by suche schole maysters, as haue knowledge to brynge them vp and leade them forwardes therin. And what can be more apte to be grauen or paynted in the tender hertes of youthe, then Goddes holy worde? what can lead them a ryghter way to god, to thobedience of theyr Prince and to al vertue and honestie of lyfe, then the syncere vnderstandyng of Gods worde? whyche alone sheweth the waye howe to knowe hym, to loue hym and to serue hym. What can better kepe and staye them, that they do not sodenly and lyghtly fall agayne from theyr fayth? What can cause them more constantly to wythstande thassaultes of the Deuyll, the worlde and the feshe, and manfullye to beare the crosse of Christ, then to lerne in theyr youth to practise the same? And verely it semeth no new thing that the children of them that be godly, should be thus instructed in the faythe and commaundementes of God, euen from theyr infancye. For Deut. xi. doeth not God commaunde hys people to teache hys
lawe, vnto theyr chyldren and chylders chyldren? Hath not thys knowledge continued from tyme to tyme, amongest them to whome God promysed to be theyr God, and they hys people? Doeth it not appeare by
playne expressed wordes of Paule, that Timothe was ii. Tim. iii. broughte vp euen from a chylde in holy scriptures ?
Hath not the commaundementes of Almyghtye God, thartycles of the Christian faythe, and the Lordes Prayer, been euer necessarelye (sence Christes tyme) requyred of all, both yonge and olde, that professed Christes name, yea though they were not learned to reade? For doutles in these thre pointes is shortlye and playnlye included the necessarye knowledge, of the whole summe of Christes religion, and of all thynges appertaynyng vnto euerlastyng lyfe. In consyderation wherof in thys tyme of your gratious reformation of all vngodlynes, and the setting forth of Goddes trewe glorie. I knowyng my selfe as a subiecte greatly bounden, (and muche the more by reason of my vocation) to set forward the same, am persuaded that thys my smal trauayll in thys behalfe taken, shall not a lytle helpe the sooner to brynge to passe your godly purpose. For by thys lytle treatyse, not only the youth of your graces realme, may lerne to know God, and howe they maye mooste purelye and syncerelye honoure glorifie and serue hym, and may also learne their office and dewtie, howe they oughte to behaue themselfes, first towarde God, secondly towardes your Magestie, and so towardes all ministers vnder the same, towardes theyr fathers and mothers, and all other persones of what sorte or degree soeuer they be: but also manye of the older sorte, (suche as loue God, and haue a zele to hys honoure and glorye, and yet in theyr youth throughe negligence were brought vp in ygnoraunce) may by hearyng of their children, learne in theyr age, that which passed theym in theyr youth.
And as myne intente and endeuoure is to profytte both, and accordynge to myne office, to bryng bothe to the righte knowledge of God, so my most earnest and humble prayer vnto God contynuallye, shalbe that my good mynde and desyre maye haue good successe, and take effecte accordynge to myne expectacion. Whiche thing I assuredly hope shal come to passe, yf it woulde please youre highnes, to suffer this lytle boke by me offered vnto youre Magestie to be redde, taughte and learned of the chyldren of youre moste louyng subiectes, in whome is great hope of al grace godlynes and vertue. Youre Graces humble Subiecte and Chaplayne
Thomas Archbishoppe of Canterbury.