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our Lord says, “If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the
ditch.” Then it is not enough to say, Sir John our priest
taught me thus: for surely, if he be as bold as blind Bayerd'
to lead thee wrong, and thou be so mad to follow him, thou
shalt be condemned as well as he. If he alone might fall
in the ditch, thou might more boldly follow him: but now
thou art warned, learn and take heed; for ignorance will not
excuse thee.
The hospitality and alms of abbeys is not altogether to be
either allowed or dispraised. The most of that which they did
bestow was on the rich, and not the poor indeed, as halt, lame,
blind, sick, or impotent, but lither lubbers, that might work
and would not: insomuch that it came into a common proverb
to call him an abbey lubber, that was idle, well fed, a long lewd
lither loiterer, that might work and would not. On these and
the richer sort was the most part of their liberality bestowed,
that I need not to speak of any worse: the smallest portion was
on them that needed most, not according to their foundation.
Polychronicon says, lib. v. cap. xxxii, that abbeys “wasted their
goods in gluttony and outrage";” lib. vii. cap. vi, that “monks
used hawking, hunting, dicing, drinking;” and therefore under
king Richard I. monks were put from Coventry and clerks
brought in, lib. vii. cap. xxv. and Baldwin a monk, and bishop
of Canterbury, did the like with his monks the same time,
cap. xxviii. But whether the new monks with their short
coats, and almost without all religion, keeping a shepherd and
a dog, where all this good cheer was afore, be worse than
the monkish idolatrous popish creatures, which devised a reli-
gion of their own, shewing their holiness in their long coats,
I leave it to the disputation of the learned. Look into Lon-
don, and see what hospitals be there founded in the gospel
time, and the poor indeed relieved, youth godly brought up,
and the idle set to work. Popery would sometime feed the
hungry, but seldom correct the unprofitable drones that sucked

[' Bayard, a name commonly applied to a horse. The proverb here used is frequent in Chaucer and the old writers. Ed.]

[*But in our time covetyse (covetousness) and pride hath so changed all things in England, that things that were given to abbeys in old time be now more wasted in gluttony and outrage of owners than in sustenance and help of needy men and guests. Chap. xxxii. fin. Ep.]

the honey from the labouring bees, nor bring up children in
the fear of God: but to fill the belly, and not to teach virtue,
is to increase vice. Well worth Bridewello therefore, for it is
a good school.
Therest of his railing is not worthy answering, for there is as
much and more virtue and keeping God's commandments used
now as was then, and more; though both sorts be bad enough,
and the best may be amended. Ask an old papist of the com-
mon sort, how many commandments of God, and what they be,
and he cannot tell. Ask a protestant's child of seven year old
that has learned his catechism, and he can tell his duty to God
and man, how to live and die, what to love, and what to flee,
better than all their popish priests. Is it like that he keeps
God's commandments, which knows not what they be? How
many of the people were taught then, would learn, or were moved
to learn, their commandments? No: few such at these days are
willing to hear them, or learn them; how much less to practise
them What a wicked opinion is this, to think that igno-
rance is better than learning, or that a man shall better
serve God without knowledge of God, his duty and his word,
rather than by knowing, feeling, and understanding God's good-
ness and man's frailness, God's mercy and man's misery, our
wretched worldly state and God's everlasting blessed felicity
God give us grace to think and thank!
The last reason that he lays for maintaining his superstition,
declares what religion and opinion he is of “Then was plenty,”
he says, “and now is scarceness of all things:” which how true
it is, let the world judge.” Look at the late days of popery,
and see what dearth, death, and scarceness was then; and com-
pare it with these days, and the plenty of God's undeserved

blessing poured on so unthankful a people. Then acorns were Dearth.

good to make bread of, and under Henry the Sixth they made bread of fern roots, as Polychronicon says, lib. viii. cap. 21: now commonly the poorer sort almost have disdained with brown bread. Then scholars of the universities brake up their houses, went and lived abroad with their friends, being not able to continue at their study: then was such dearth and scarcity, as the

[* Bridewell was one of the hospitals founded by king Edward VI. whose reign is meant by “the gospel time.” It was especially designed for the employment of the idle. ED.]

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like has not oft been read of: then a bishop of Mentz was so
pursued with rats in a time of dearth, that he was compelled to
flee to his tower standing in the midst of the river Rhine, a
mile from any land; yet the rats followed him and devoured him
there, for his unmercifulness, and therefore is called the rats'
tower to this day". This bishop was no protestant. Whether
the like be now, the blind may see. Who feels it? God gives
his blessing plentifully, if man could consider it thankfully, and
use it liberally. Who has cause to complain, or where is it
seen! I think, England had not the like plenteous time so
commonly these many years, although this year corn be dear,
and somewhat scarce”.
But I put the case, that there were scarceness and dearth
of all things, plagues and war, &c. Were this a sufficient
cause to condemn our religion? No, sure: no worldly thing,
good or evil, will move God's people to judge God's truth by
any other thing than by God's holy book. Should we condemn
St Austin, because the city where he was bishop was besieged
and won by God's enemies, Austin himself being within it, and
died a little before the winning of it? Should Elias and Eliseus
have forsaken God's law, because there was so great dearth
and scarceness in their times? Should Daniel for the lions'
den, or Paul for his chains, have forsaken their God? In the
days of Elias it rained not the space of three year and a half:
under Eliseus, in the siege of Samaria, women eat their children,
and dove's-dung was good meat. Only the worldlings judge
by their belly their religion. The godless people said to Jere-
miah, “We will not hear the word of God of thee: for while
we worshipped the moon and stars, we had plenty of all things;
but since we heard the word of God of thee, we have had
scarceness of all things.” This is the reason that led the
Jews, and by the same is this Jewish papist moved to judge
of God's truth. Therefore I cannot judge him to be of another
religion than those, whose belly is their God.
Let us praise God for our health, wealth, and liberty, that he
bestows on us undeserved so plenteously, lest in not thankfully

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receiving his word, and murmuring against his blessings, we provoke him to plague us worse than afore. If wealth may move, consider what great things the Lord has wrought by the queen's majesty, and then judge. When the realm was in danger to be given into strangers' hands, and none could tell how to deliver themselves, God of his undeserved goodness set up the queen our mistress, who quietly, contrary to all men's expectation, avoided them all. What danger was Scotland in: Yet so God blessed the queen's majesty, that she not only delivered us, but them from their enemies' hands. What release in France the poor oppressed have had at her highness' hands, the blind see, all her loving subjects rejoice, though the envious papists murmur and grudge. God grant her highness grace to be thankful to God's majesty, who does so past all man's expectation prosper her doings, that he only may have the praise ! What cause we have to praise God for restoring religion through the queen's travail, all men of God do see and praise him for it, though blind papists be sorry therefore. What cost her highness has sustained in restoring us a fine coin from so base, wise men rejoice, though this malicious fool say we be in great poverty. Look how few taxes she has taken to do this withal, and how many and how great were levied afore. How was this realm pestered with strange rulers, strange gods, strange languages, strange religion, strange coins; and how is it now peaceably rid of them all, to the great glory of God, that has wrought so many wonderful, strange, great things in so short a time in a weak vessel, which he never did by any her noble progenitors, which have been so many and so worthy! Could any be so blind, but that malice has bewitched, to not see, or not praise God for these worthy deeds? I would have wanted the suspicion of flattery in rehearsing these things, but that I would the unthankful world should see the disdainful blind malice of popery, which cannot say well by God's good blessings. The foolish linking and clouting of the scriptures together which follows, declares what wit he has: they may be applied all against himself, and such as he is, rather than against the professors of God's truth. What blasphemy is it to lay all kind of wickedness on God's word ' What evil soever reigns in the world, it is to be imputed to man, and not to God; to man's frailness, and not to God's truth and goodness. God and his

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holy word punish and condemn all false doctrine and filthiness: therefore God will confound all such filthy mouths, as blaspheme him or his holy word, to be the cause of any kind of naughtiness.

XIII. “All liberty is now used,” he says:

where indeed justice was not better ministered these many years, even as the wiser and indifferenter sort of papists do grant. Call to remembrance how sharply unnatural lust', conjuring, witchcrafts, sorcery, &c. were punished with death by law in the gospel time of blessed King Edward. When were these laws repealed, but in the late days of popery? Then judge, whether there was greater liberty to sin under the christian king, or under superstitious popery. But the sodomitical papists think these to be no sins, and therefore beastly do misuse themselves, defiling themselves both with spiritual and sodomitical uncleanness. Whether is there more liberty given to sin, when such sins be made death by order of law, or when the laws appoint no punishment for them? Surely the gospel is unjustly blamed in giving carnal liberty, and popery rightfully condemned in taking away the pain, and opening a door to all mischiefs. Who lives more licentiously than the pope himself, without all fear of God, good order, and God's law, doing what he will? So be all his scholars, following their own father's steps.

In these my sayings I go not about to prove us angels, yet surely not such devils as he would make us, but in comparison of them we be saints. Therefore let us both amend, that God may be merciful to both, and glorified in both. And as the examples in his beginning were good, if they had been well applied, so is his conclusion.

[* This expression is altered from the original—“This offence, being in the times of popery only subject to ecclesiastical censures, was made felony without benefit of clergy by statute 25 Henr. VIII. c. 6. revived and confirmed by 5 Eliz. c. 17.” Blackstone's Commentaries, Book rv. chap. 15. Vol. Iv. p. 216. Lond. 1791.-It was made felony, punishable with death, loss of lands, &c. by the statute of Henry, which was so for repealed by 2 and 3 Edw. VI. as to remit the forfeiture of lands, &c. and wholly repealed, with several other penal statutes, by 1 Mar. c. 1. Ep.]

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