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CONFECTO nunc opere, quod tuis primium auspiciis ac voluntate aggressus, summe et adorande Jesu, idemque Servator clementissime, inchoavi, quodque demum beneficio ac favore exegi atque absolvi, printer omnem aertam opinio-hem et vires meas: superest itaque pro officio meo ut animula haec, ceu pro votiva tabula, gratias, si non quantas debeat (utinam enim id possit) at quantas queat maxima, munificentissimm tuae persolvat Majestati; quae tam miserurn homuncionem, vel sypbar potius hominis, in laboribus tot tantisque istis, qui vol asellum quemvis ajcqofo>ron possent conficere, tumultuantem, berigno successu ac solario tam clementer suffulserit. Quanquam autem de operis dlfficultate nihil hic causari attinet, quae vix aestimari a multis poterit; tua tamen non ignorat omnipotens Majestas, hujus qualaeunque sit negotii con-fectio, quibus quamque non ferendis curls, vigiliis, molestiis constitit; quibus nuUo modo pares futuri essemus, nisi laventis gratim tum humeri affulsisset, ac sese quodammodo admiscuisset operi, Quidni enim fatear ac tester ingenue quod re ipsa experti sumus? Persensimus enim, peneque oculis ipsis conspeximus, singularem excelsae dextrae tuae ejnergei>an , non modo in successu negotii provehondo, sod in vita etiam spirituque: inter labores conservando. Tui igitur muneris est, clementissime Jesu, quod opus tuis susceptum auspiciis huc usque prorectum sit. Nos vicissim, quod nostri sit officii, gratias clementiae tuae cum nostro privatim, tum publico quodammodo ecclesiae tuae nomine, agimus. Vol hinc enim cornlinus quanti causam martyrum tuorum aestimes, quando eorum illustrando nomini tanta faveas propensione; quanquam vero si nulla hic extaret eorum recordatio, non possent non omnibus modis esse illus-trissimi, quorum sint nomina vitae tum libro inscripta: et tamen voluit hoc modo tua declarare Majestas, nobisque innotescere hominibus, quam honorificum sit pro tui nominis gloria fortlier dimicantes occumbere, quorum tu vitam a cinere ac rogo sic vindicas, sic causam tueris, sic dignitatem illustras, ut eandem cum gloriae foenote abs te recipiant clariorem, quam si ipsi nunquam alioqui perdidissent. Habet siquidem peculiare hoc sibi milltim tum ratio, longe a mundo hoc diversum, quod in castris tuis militantes sire vivant, sire moriantur, multo clarescant a fun ere foelicius, quam si vixissent maxime.
Sic Cranmerurn videmus, Ridleum, Latimerum Johannem Hooperurn Bradfordun caeterosque ejusdem decurim pugiles, quanto majore occubuisse cum gloria in acie tua depugnantes, quam si, relicta staftione in qua erant collocati, saluti ipsi suae causam tuam postposuissent, Quae enim gens, quae natio, quae temporum vetustas, quae hominum posteritas, eorum non cantabit laudes, non virtutem agnoscet, non magnitudinem admirabitur? Quis Wiclevum unquam, aut Cobhamum, natum fuisse existimasset, nisi tua in causa tam egissent strenue? Quanto honori illud Hussio Bohemensi, nostroque Tindalo fuit, quod vitam in evangelii tui causa perditam, magis abs te recipere, quam ipsi retinere maluerint?
Spectemus e diversa parte adversarios tuos, quorum tam multas esse constat caedes, injurias, crudelitates adversus tuos, multaque item occulte et sceleste ab iisdem perpetrata, quae nunquam sperabant fore palam: et tamen quid unquam in angulis et tenebris ab illis est designatum tam occulte adversus ecclesiaro, quod non in aprieum produxit tua producetque providentia? Atque ita produxit, ut unde ipsi laudis sibi conceperunt animo opinionem, inde summum sibi-ipsis dedecus pepererint et contumeliam, quam nec vita effugere, nec morte unquam finire poterint.
Quis Guisos, Boneros, Storios, Gardineros, tanquam execranda hominum riomina nunc non novit? non exhorret? quis eorum facinora obliterebit dies, aut sepeliet memoria? Et quid hos in tanta multitudine hostium tuorum recenseo? Cui unquam prospere cessit tuo rebel-lare numini, aut hostium se ecclesiae tuae profiteri? Papae nomeu quam erat aliquando in his tetris aelebre et gloriosum? Nunc quid putidius, quid pro-brosius? Cardinalitium fastigium coeperunt primo admirari homines, multaque prosequi reverentia sic monachorum et nonnarum collegia suum quondam habebant plausum apud plebem simplicem et credulam. At postquam spreta veritate tua coeperunt grassari contra te, tuorumque homicidse fieri, eo tandem sunt prolapsi (exceptis paucis quos tua exemit gratia) ut reliqua faex nihil aliud jam esse praeter vocabula qusedam ad ignominiam relicta videatur.
Haec nimirum, sanctissime Domine ac Deus noster! justissimi judicii tui sunt praeludia, ex quo haud difficile aestimare sit, quidnam in altero illo expaetaturi sint, quos in hoc ipso seculo, hoc est, in suo ipsorum regno, tanta accumules infamia et dedecore. Sed omissis his, ad sanctos tuos redeamus martyres, quorum nomine merito a nobis perenne velut sacrificium laudis et gratiarum tuse debetur, simul et habetur, bonitati.
Primum, quod in ecclesiae tuae causa dimieantibus tam fortem et alacrem spiritum omnibusque tormentis maiorem adversus parricidas papistas subministrasti. Deinde quod et nobis in ihorum desudantibus historia propitius adeo clementiae tuse favor affuerit. Debetur et hoc privatim meo quoque nomine singulari tuse pietati, quod vitam toties alioqui nutantem in hac tanta, quantam tu solus novisti, laboris immensitate conservatam tuo volueris beneficio. Verum illud imprimis omnes debemus pariter effusissimo tuo in nos amori, quod beatorum martyrum tuorum, quos mundi hujus ad flammas et cineres adegerit perversitas, causam et innocentiam, velut e cinere recollectam, in lucem denuo notitiamque ecclesiae tuae revocare ac patefacere dignatus sit. Etsi enim dubium non est, quin in supremo illo judicio tuo, quum virtutes coelorum movebuntur, omnis eorum adamussim excutietur causa ante tribunal tuum, est tamen aliquid hic quoque in ecclesia tua causam ipsorum, facta, vitseque virtutes caeteras non ignorari. Tunc autem ad illos uberior gloria, ad nos interea major redundabit fructus, quando ex ipsorum recte factis, integritate, innocentia, fide, ac patientia constare potetit, non quid ipsi solum fecerint, sed quid et nobis eorum sit exemplo faciendum.
Sed hic rursus, dulcissime Jesu! opus est benigno favoris tui prsesidio. Nos enim qui filii martyrum tuorum sumus, quosque maxime majores nostros imitari conveniebat, nunc nihil fere parentum tenemus, praeter vitse solam hanc, quam suo partam sanguine reliquerunt, libertatem: qua etiam ipsa nimium abuti-tour intemperanter, ut jam periculum sit, ne non filii modo martyrum, sed ne fratres quidem ipsorum haberi mereamur. Quantum enim intersit discriminis, quamque prorsus disconveniat ordine toto nostra consuetndo ab illorum vestigiis et disciplina, pudet profecto referre. Sed quid ego tibi referam, cujus nihil non perspicit Majestas ac intuetur, quanto illis studio ac curse fuit amore tui caetera quaeque adeoque seipsos ad vitae etiam contemptum abdicare, mundum cum omnibus desideriis flocci facere, voluptates tanquam nugas spernere? Nec sinebant pericula undique imminentia opibus congerendis, multoque minus honoribus cumulandis vacare. Contra vero, nostra nunc vita, studium, omnisque adeo contentio, quid nisi mundum spirat, quid aliud quam perpetuum quoddam fluxarum rerum, opum, ac honorum aucupium videtur et ambitus? Ac illi quam praeclare secum actum putassent, si vel vivere modo licuisset. Ideoque multi fuere eorum, qui Mariae reginae facultates et possessiones omnes adusque extremum assem obtulerunt, dummodo solam ipsis remitteret conscientiam. Et quae nos tanta haec habendi intemperies exagitat, quibus nec unus nec mediocris victus possit esse satis? Sine modo, sine fine, opibus, sacerdotiis, censuique dilatando inhiamus. Quanto ambitu amicos fatigamus et inimicos, non ut vivamus solum, verum ut sublimes vivamus et honorati? De fide, de mansuetudine eorum, tolerantia, simplicitate, ac patentia ineredibili, quid dici satis potest? Quanta constantia qua animi alacritate perpessi sunt quicquid infligebatur, vindictam oranera Deo remittentes, eui et causam commendabant? Nulla vis eos adversariorum dejicere, nec minae frangere, non ludibria movere, non pericula, non tormenta ulla consternere, nec delinire blanditiae potuerunt.
Componamus nunc nostram cum his mollitiem. Sed pudor prohibet. Nam quae tam levis nos tentationis aura afflare possit, quae non illico praecipites ac transversos rapiat in avaritiam, in fastum, voluptates, turpitudinem, vindictam, et in quid non malorum? Quae tam levis objiei poterit injuriola, pro qua non coelum terrae miscemus, mariaque turbamus ab imo? Ex quo in promptu est colligere, quantum ab eo absumus, ut mortem simus unquam tua causa subi-turi, si quando res martyrium flagitet, quum nec affectus quidem istos tuo am-putare jussu velimus.
Quapropter ut martyrum quidera illorum causa gratias aoimus nomini tuo sancto; ita nostra vicissim causa depraeamur, ut qui largitus sis ipsis vincendi facultatem, nobis itidem pia eorundem exempla imitandi felicitatem aspires, sicque ecclesiae tuae affulgeat tua gratia; nec ubi sedueti hujus mundi illecebris, socordiores ipsi in retinenda evangelii tui victoria, quam illi in comparanda strenui, videamur. Postremo, quoniam historiam hanc tuo nutu ac voluntate aggressi, in ea re operam studiumque posuimus, quo facta gestaque sanetorum tuorum, sanctissime Jesu! ad nominis tui gloriam et in commodum ecelesiae publicum emergerent, adde nunc labori fructum, simulque historiae rutelam in te raeipias magnopere petimus; cui et opus ipsum totumque me ipsum, quem tot modis tuae misericordlae debeo, toto corpore et anima totisque viribus commendo, dedico, consecroque: cui omne cadat genu, omnisque vox et lingus confessionis gloriam per omnes ecclesias tribuat personetque! Amen.
TO THE RIGHT VIRTUOUS, MOST EXCELLENT, AND NOBLE PRINCESS, QUEEN ELIZABETH, Our dread Lady, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of Christ’s Faith and Gospel, and principal Governor both of the Realm, and also over the said Church of England and Ireland, under Christ the Supreme Head of the same, etc.,JOHN FOXE, her humble Subject, wisheth daily increase of God’s Holy Spirit and Grace, with long Reign, perfect Health, and joyful Peace, to govern his Flock committed to her Charge; to the Example of all good Princes, the Comfort of his Church, and Glory of his blessed Name. CHRIST, the Prince of all princes, who hath placed you in your throne of majesty, under him to govern the church and realm of England, give your royal highness long to sit, and many years to reign over us, in all flourishing felicity, to his gracious pleasure, and long lasting joy of all your subjects. Amen!
When I first presented these Acts and Monuments unto your majesty (most dear sovereign, queenELIZABETH our peaceable Salome! ), which your majesty’s rare clemency received in such gentle part, I well hoped that these my travails in this kind of writing had been well at an end, whereby I might have returned my studies again to other purposes after mine own desire, more fit than to write histories, especially in the English tongue. But certain evil-disposed persons, of intemperate tongues, adversaries to good proceedings, would not suffer me so to rest, fuming and fretting, and raising up such miserable exclamations at the first appearing of the book, as was wonderful to hear. A man would have thought Christ to have been new-born again, and that Herod, with all the city of Jerusalem, had been in an uproar. Such blustering and striving was then against that poor book through all quarters of England, even to the gates of Louvain, so that no English Papist:, almost in all the realm, thought himself a perfect catholic, unless he had cast out some word or other to give that book a blow.
Whereupon, considering with myself what should move them thus to rage, first I began with more circumspect diligence to overlook again that I had done. In searching whereof I found the fault, both what it was, and where it lay; which was indeed not so much in the book itself (to say the truth) as in another certain privy mystery and working of some; of whom John of Aventine shall tell us in his own words, and show us who they be: “Quibus,” says he, “audiendi quae fecerint pudor est, nullus faciendi quae audire erubescunt. Illic, ubi opus, nihil verentur; hic, ubi nihil opus est, ibi verentur,” etc. Who, being ashamed belike to hear their worthy stratagems like to come to light, sought by what means they might [work] the stopping of the same. And because they could not work it per brachium seculare, “by public authority,” (the Lord of heaven long preserve your noble majesty! ) they renewed again an old wonted practice of theirs; doing in like sort herein, as they did sometimes with the Holy Bible in the days of your renowned father of famous memory, king Henry the Eighth who, when they neither by manifest reason could gainsay the matter contained in the book, nor yet abide the coming out thereof, then sought they, by a subtle devised train, to deprave the translation, notes, and prologues thereof, bearing the king in hand and all the people, that “there were in it a thousand lies,” and I cannot tell how many more. Not that there were in it such lies in very deed, but that the coming of that book should not bewray their lying falsehood, therefore they thought best to begin first to make exceptions themselves against it; playing in their stage like as Phormio did in the old comedy, who, being in all the fault himself, began first to quarrel with Demipho, when Demipho rather had good right to lay Phormio by the heels.
With like facing brags these catholic Phormiones think now to dash out all good books, and, amongst others also, these Monuments of Martyrs: which godly martyrs as they could not abide being alive, so neither can they now suffer their memories to live after their death, lest the acts of them, being known, might bring perhaps their wicked acts and cruel murders to detestation; and therefore spurn they so vehemently against this book of histories, with all kind of contumelies and uproars, railing and wondering upon it. Much like as I have heard of a company of thieves, who in robbing a certain true man by the highway side, when they had found a piece of gold or two about him more than he would be known of, they cried out of the falsehood of the world, marvelling and complaining what little truth was to be found in men. Even so these men deal also with me; for when they themselves altogether delight in untruths, and have replenished the whole church of Christ with reigned fables, lying miracles, false visions, and miserable errors, contained in their missals, portuses, breviaries, and summaries, and almost no true tale in all their saints’ lives and festivals, as now also no great truths in our Louvanian books, etc.; yet notwithstanding, as though they were a people of much truth, and that the world did not perceive them, they pretend a face and zeal of great verity; and as though there were no histories else in all the world corrupted, but only this History of Acts and Monuments, with tragical voices they exclaim and wonder upon it, sparing no cost of hyperbolical phrases to make it appear as full of lies as lines, etc. Much after the like sort of impudency as sophisters used sometimes in their sophisms to do (and sometimes is used also in rhetoric), that when an argument cometh against them which they cannot well resolve indeed, they have a rule to shift off the matter with stout words and tragical admiration, whereby to dash the opponent out of countenance, bearing the hearers in hand the same to be the weakest and slenderest argument that ever was heard, not worthy to be answered, but utterly to be hissed out of the schools.
With like sophistication these also fare with me, who, when they neither can abide to hear their own doings declared, nor yet deny the same which they hear to be true, for three or four escapes in the book committed (and yet some of them in the book amended), they, neither reading the whole, nor rightly understanding that they read, inveigh and malign so perversely the setting out thereof, as though neither any word in all that story were true, nor any other story false in all the world besides. And yet in accusing these my accusers I do not so excuse myself, nor defend my book, as though nothing in it were to be sponged or amended. Therefore I have taken these pains, and reiterated my labors in travailing out this story again; doing herein as Penelope did with her web, untwisting that she had done before: — or, as builders do sometimes, which build and take down again, either to transpose the fashion, or to make the foundation larger; so, in recognizing this history, I have employed a little more labor, partly to enlarge the argument which I took in hand, partly also to assay, whether by any painstaking I might pacify the stomachs, or satisfy the judgments of these importune quarrellers: — which nevertheless I fear I shall not do, when I have done all I can. For well I know, that all the heads of this hissing hydra will never be cut off, though I were as strong as Hercules; and if Apelles, the skilful painter, when he had bestowed all his cunning upon a piece of work, which no good artificer would or could greatly reprove, yet was not without some controlling sutor, which took upon him ultra crepidam , much more may I look for the like in these controlling days.
Nevertheless, committing the success thereof unto the Lord, I have adventured again upon this story of the church, and have spent not only my pains, but also almost my health therein, to bring it to this. Which now being finished, like as before I did, so again I exhibit and present the same unto your princely majesty; blessing my Lord my God with all my heart; first, for this liberty of peace and time, which, through your peaceable government, he hath lent unto us for the gathering both of this and other like books, tractations, and monuments, requisite to the behoof of his church, which hitherto, by iniquity of time, could not be contrived in any king’s reign since the conquest, before these halcyon days of yours.
Secondly, as we are all bound, with public voices, to magnify our God for this happy preservation of your royal estate, so, privately for my own part, I also acknowledge myself bound to my God and to my Savior, who so graciously in such weak health hath let me time, both to finish this work, and also to offer the second dedication thereof to your majesty; desiring the same to accept in good worth the donation thereof, if not for the worthiness of the thing given, yet as a testification of the bounden service and good will of one, which, by this he here presenteth, declareth what he would, if he had better to give.
And though the story, being written in the popular tongue, serveth not so greatly for your own peculiar reading, nor for such as be learned, yet I shall desire both you and them to consider in it the necessity of the ignorant flock of Christ committed to your government in this realm of England; who, as they have been long led in ignorance, and wrapped in blindness, for lack especially of God’s word, and partly also for wanting the light of hislory, I thought pity but that such should be helped, their ignorance relieved, and simplicity instructed. I considered they were the flock of Christ, and your subjects, belonging to your account and charge, bought with the same price, and having as dear souls to the Lord as others; and, though they be but simple and unlearned, yet not unapt to be taught if they were applied.
Furthermore, what inconvenience groweth of ignorance, where knowledge lacketh, both I considered, and experience daily teacheth. And therefore, hearing of the virtuous inclination of your majesty, what a provident zeal, full of solicitude, you have, minding (speedily I trust) to furnish all quarters and countries of this your realm with the voice of Christ’s gospel and faithful preaching of his word, I thought it also not unprofitable to adjoin, unto these your godly proceedings and to the office of the ministry, the knowledge also of Ecclesiastical History, which, in my mind, ought not to be separate from the same: that like as by the one, the people may learn the rules and precepts of God’s doctrine, so by the other, they may have examples of God’s mighty working in works to his church, to the ccnfirmation of their faith, and the edification of christian life. For as we see what light and profit cometh to the church, by histories in old times set forth, of the Judges, Kings, Maccabees, and the Acts of the Apostles after Christ’s time; so likewise may it redound to no small use in the church, to know the acts of Christ’s martyrs now, since the time of the apostles, besides other manifold examples and experiments of God’s great mercies and judgments in preserving his church, in overthrowing tyrants, in confounding pride, in altering states and kingdoms, in conserving religion against errors and dissensions, in relieving the godly, in bridling the wicked, loosing and tying up again of Satan the disturber of common-weals, in punishing transgressions, as well against the first table as the second; — wherein is to be seen idolatry punished, blasphemy plagued, contempt of God’s holy name and religion revenged, murder, with murder, rewarded, adulterers and wedlock-breakers destroyed, perjuries, extortions, covetous oppression, and fraudulent counsels come to nought, with other excellent works of the Lord: the observing and noting whereof in histories minister to the readers thereof wholesome admonitions of life, with experience and wisdom both to know God in his histories, works, and to work the thing that is godly; especially to seek unto the Son of God for their salvation, and in his faith only to find that they seek for, and in no other means. The continuance and constancy of which faith the Lord of his grace and goodness grant to your noble majesty, and to his whole beloved church, and all the members of the same to everlasting life. Amen.
AD DOCTUM LECTOREM,