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BY JOHN BRADFORD. 1548.
IMPRINTED BY MY F12 GWALTER LYNNE ANNO M.D. [THE Translations from Artopoeus and Chrysostom will appear in the following collection of the Writings of Bradford, after his Letters.
The Prefaces are now reprinted, first, since 1548: and, as; the earliest compositions of Bradford, known to have been published by himself, are placed at the beginning of this volume.
The name of the translator is not supplied in the original edition: but the initials “J. B.” occur at the end, above the colophon. Bishop Bale (Catalogus, 1557; 8. 87.) states, Bradfordus transtulit in Anglicum sermonem Artopoeum de lege et evangelio, lib. 1, [et] Chrysostomum de Oratione, lib. I. Bishop Tanner (Bibliotheca, 1748) adds to the entry of Bale the first words of the title, and of the printed version of Artopoeus, and of the Preface to that of Chrysostom, with the date, London, 1548.
Bradford, also, in a Letter “from the Temple, this 12th of May, 1548,” addressed to Traves, speaks of Translations executed by himself: “Hereafter, and that shortly, by God’s grace, I will send you, primitioe laborum meorum, a work or two, which I have translated into English, so soon as they be printed, which will be afore Whitsontide.” F13 Bradford writes in another Letter, “This Book, which I have sent, take it in good part. It is the first; I trust, it shall not be the last God hath appointed me to translate. The print is very false; I am sorry for it. I pray you, Be not offended at my babbling in the Prologues, etc.” F14 ] PREFACE TO THE PLACES OF ARTOPOEUS HERE hast thou, good reader, the Division of the Places of the Law and of the Gospel, gathered out of the holy scriptures by the godly learned man master Petrus Artopeus: which (the Places of the Law and Gospel, I mean) whoso truly understandeth, cannot by any man’s doctrine be seduced from the truth, or read the scriptures but to edify both himself and others: whereas he that is ignorant of the same cannot, though he were a great doctor of divinity, and could rehearse every text of the bible without book, but both be deceived, and deceive others; as the experience hereof (the more pity) hath taught, nay, seduced the whole world. For how can it be, that such as find no terror of conscience, and see not their just damnation in the law of God, which commandeth things impossible to man’s nature and power; how can it be, I say, that such should find sweetness in the gospel of Christ? How can the benefit of Christ shew itself to him that needeth it not? What needeth the whole man the physician? “The law,” saith St Paul, “was our schoolmaster unto Christ.” But unto such as perceive and feel not the law, how is it a schoolmaster unto Christ? How is the law a schoolmaster unto such as will not learn? How have they learned, which think the law not to be impossible for man to fulfill? Or else, if they had looked on it, which is a spiritual doctrine, with spiritual eyes, would they have stirred any time contentions about the justification of faith?
It appeareth, therefore, by these things, that either the law hath not been their schoolmaster; or else, that they have been negligent, forgetful, or proud and disdainful scholars. For they have not applied free pardon of sins to Christ, as all the world knoweth. But if they were brought to him, they would grant him to be a perfect workman: they would be ashamed to say or think Christ to be but a patcher. Yet it appeareth (though openly in words they will not say so; for that all christian hearts would abhor: it appeareth, I say), that they believe so.
Yea, sir, will they say, why judge you so? Judge not, saith Christ: and, wherein you judge another, saith Paul, therein you condemn yourself. It seemeth, you speak of malice, and declare yourself to be but a railer.
No, sir, herein I do not slander you, nor do none otherwise than Christ himself teached: “You shall know the tree,” saith he, “by his fruit.” If I see a man rob his neighbor, do I evil, if I think him to be a thief? If I see a man lie with his neighbor’s wife, do I evil, if [I] judge him to be fornicator? If I hear a man unadvisedly (as not called in judgment) to swear by the mighty and most reverend name of God, do I naught, if I judge him to be a blasphemer? Nay, you will say, what is this to the excusing of your rashness and uncharitableness in judging us? For, though you belie us, yet we trust to be saved by Christ our Savior. You say well, sir: I would your doings agreed to your sayings, and then were I a liar. But if you do so, let other men judge. Wherefore, I pray you, say you mass? Is not the mass, as you have taught and as you say it, a sacrifice propitiatory to take away sins, both of the quick and dead? Where is this taught you? Doth this law bring to Christ? Yea, you will say, for we offer there Christ. And St Paul saith, “Christ offered himself once for all.” But, I pray you, look on the nature of the law, which is, by God’s teaching and speaking, to open to man the poison of his own heart: the law will not leave man in arrogancy or presumption, but will rather bring him to desperation. The law pulleth man down, and leadeth him into hell’s mouth, as it is written, “Thou art he that leadest to hell,” etc. The law filleth man full of grief and heaviness; and, if succor come not from heaven, full of blasphemy even against God and his ordinances, as the history of Job, well weighed of a godly wit, will declare.
Therefore, ye offerers, (for you say ye offer Christ,) what humbleness of mind is in you (if a man should grant you offered Christ), when you will offer that thing that no angel, no saint, no patriarch, no prophet, no man might or could offer? Are you not good scholars, when you are taught to be humble, and yet extol yourselves above angels? I say, none could be found meet in heaven nor in earth to offer that offering, wherewith God’s wrath, deserved by our sins, was appeased and extinct, but even he that was of both natures, both God and man, Jesus Christ. He was the sacrificer and the sacrifice: he was the offerer and the lamb slain: slain, I say, for our sins. Alas, that ever such arrogancy should be crept into man’s heart, not only to spoil Christ of his most glorious office, but to extol yourselves above angels, and to make yourselves check-mate with F15 Christ!
The law, I say, never taught you this horrible presumption. No, say ye, Christ taught us. Did Christ teach you? When, or where? I provoke ye all to answer. Ye can never find it, I must needs still say, till I see you write it or speak it, out of the scripture, that you have authority to offer. In the meantime, I beseech you, good brethren, to leave off your arrogant presumption, and repent, and give to our good Christ his due honor and dignity.
Mark, also, doth not your offering, as you would have it, make, as I said, Christ a patcher? St Paul saith, “By one offering he hath made perfect them which are sanctified forever.” How say you to this? Doth not your offering make the offering which Christ made imperfect? For whatsoever is added to a perfection doth imply an imperfection. Take heed, good reader, therefore, if thou be sanctified, purged from thy sins, anointed with the Holy Ghost, and made the child of God, it is done all by that one oblation of Christ’s body on the cross, brought into thee by the faith that thou hast in the same oblation. Or, if that thou be not now sanctified, if ever thou look to be sanctified or saved, it must be only by this work, wrought of\parCHRIST in his own person.
Yet a little more. Where learned you to apply the mass for the sins of the quick and dead? Yea, even the bread and wine afore the words of consecration, as you call them, when you say, Suscipe sancta Trinitas, F16 is applied for the salvation of the quick and the rest of the dead.
Scripture never teacheth you this word of application, nor giveth you this authority to apply the sacrifice of Christ’s body, as you say, to whom you will. You will make Christ, to whom the Father hath given “all power in heaven and earth,” under your power and your bondman, to serve as it pleaseth you, to whom, when, where, and how much shall be your will. So may you set Cain, if any man would give you a groat, out of hell. So may you falsify the true history of the rich glutton. You have not learned this of the law. For the law bringeth to Christ: but you bring from Christ. Leave off and cease your application therefore. Repent, and embrace by faith that only sacrifice which Christ himself made once for all: or else, I will be so bold to say, you shall never be saved. Thus you see, I judge you not amiss.
Hereby it is evident, that these men, for all their great learning (as some of them have had), that yet they did never understand the law of God. For they never found sweetness in the gospel of Christ. Hath there not been great learned men, think you, that, besides this, have taught abstaining from certain kinds of meat, auricular confessions, worshipping of images, creeping to the cross, holy water, holy bread, pilgrimages, pardons, and I cannot tell what, necessary to salvation? And this verily hath come hereof, that they have not known the law nor the gospel, though they could both preach, and teach, and say all the bible without book. For he that feeleth the law working in his heart, can never be satisfied, but despair, except the gospel and joyful tidings of Christ be brought unto him.
In this book, therefore, thou hast the places of the Law and the Gospel divided, wherein I exhort thee to prove thyself. For though thou learnest them by heart, yet that is not the thing which maketh thee happy: for so the other men which make Christ but a party F17 savior, could do. But if thou wilt profit, it behoveth thee to have experience and practice of them.
Prove, therefore, thyself in the law: see if the texts and sentences of the law do fear thee, make thee dread, yea, tremble and quake at the justice of God: for God himself hath spoken it, and his word must needs be true, “Heaven and earth shall pass, afore one tittle or iota of the law be unperformed.” For in whose heart the law worketh no fear, yea, horrible fear of God’s wrath, surely they are in an evil case. Unto such the doctrine is no law, nor God is no God: their hearts be hardened, God unto them seemeth false: for if they knew, that God would damn all such as walk not in his ways, they would not do as they do; they would not only leave off their wickedness, but also in looking in the law they would horribly fear the vengeance of God for transgressing the law.
But, alas! it is to be pitied, it is to be lamented: we ought to fear the plagues of God hanging over our heads. For notwithstanding God’s most abundant mercy upon us, which should provoke us to repentance, when or where was there more security, and less fear of God, than is even in this realm of England at this day ?
The laws of God were never more plentifully nor more plainly set forth amongst any other people, than they be amongst us. The commandments of God are continually, in the ears of all people, read openly in the churches, yea, written upon the walls, so that all men know them: yet is there none amendment. “Who shall I speak unto,” saith the prophet Hieremy, “whom shall I warn, that he may take heed? Their ears are so uncircumcised, that they may not hear. Behold, they take the word of God but for a scorn, and have no lust thereto.”
It is true, say these our carnal gospellers, these papists will never have lust unto God’s word, they will never look upon the Testament. Mary, F18 saith the papists, these fellows of this new learning, see how they live; they read the scriptures, and they are worse than all other, they will swear wounds, heart, sides, etc. F19 The scripture would make us heretics: we will not be like these knaves,. etc.
Look, I pray you, what hatred is betwixt these two kinds of people: the one loveth the other so well, that, as the saying is, they would eat the other’s heart F20 in garlick. Yet, for all this envy and malice, (which God of his gracious mercy reform!) mark, and you shall, I warrant you, see them agree both against God, even as the Pharisees and Sadducees, notwithstanding their contrary religions, agreed against Christ. Do not you both hear and read, “Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his name in vain?” Again, do you not hear, “The man which useth swearing shall be filled with iniquity, and the plague shall not depart from his house?” What think you, is there a God? You tear a-pieces his most holy name in your mouths: for “By God,” is a most common oath with you both. What, do you think in deed, that God is true? I am sure you do not: for then were you worse than devils, for the devil feareth God; but you do not, seeing you know God saith, that his plague shall not depart from that man which useth swearing, and yet continue still to blaspheme that most holy, reverend, and terrible name of God. But unto you which yet continue to swear by God, it is not so. “O Lord,” saith David, “how wonderful reverend is thy name in all the earth !”
Do you not read, that God commanded him which blasphemed his name to be stoned to death? Yea, you will say, to swear by God is not to blaspheme God’s name: the story saith, he blasphemed and cursed by that name. Yes, to swear by God is to blaspheme God, as may be proved by the very text: for some texts have for blasphemavit, F21 diserte expressit nomen illud, et vilipendit : “he did plainly express that glorious name, and set nought by it,” as you all do, that so swear. I pray you, mark the history, and know, that it is written to be your warning and for your doctrine; as, if you repent not, you shall feel it: for God hateth the blaspheming his holy name as much now as he did then; and the longer he suffereth, the greater, if we repent not, will be our punishment.
If a man blame a papist now for swearing by God, Oh, saith he, I will be no loller: F22 you may see I remember him. Blame a carnal gospeller for swearing, and he will say, No, I will be no papist. Alas! whose heart shaketh not for fear of God’s vengeance? For, as God is above all things, so is “By God” the greatest oath, and the greatest sin next unto idolatry.
Say not but ye be warned.
I cannot leave it, saith another; howbeit I think none evil. O thou man, that sayest so, thou haddest most need to tremble: for upon thee God hath already poured his most horrible plague. Yea, sayest thou, how so? I feel no sickness, pocks, plagues, etc. No, no, man, the horriblest plague of God is, to be given up of God, as thou art that sayest, thou canst not leave it: for thou despisest God, and nothing regardest his threats. And yet thou canst leave from speaking that which the king enacteth for treason. But God hath enacted, “Thou shalt not swear at all: for whatsoever is more than Yea, yea, or Nay, nay; cometh of naught.” And yet thou regardest not that. Say not but thou art warned.
Again, what malice, hatred, envy, whoredom, uncleanness, lechery, divorcements, bribing, theft, ravin, slanders, filthy talk, pride, covetousness, gluttony, drunkenness, lying (and who can tell all?) is amongst us! Surely, the most horrible plagues of God, that ever were upon any nation, are upon us (us Englishmen, I say), except we earnestly repent.
Thus it is manifest, the law of God is not feared; so is not God feared, which proveth there is no faith: for how canst thou believe that God will perform his promise to thee, when thou fearest not his truth to perform his word and threat? God is no liar. Deceive not thyself, therefore: but prove whether thou be in faith. For except thou tremble and quake at God’s justice in the law, thou hast no faith, but art an hypocrite: for faith is not, where the fear of God is not; and the fear of God is not, “where God’s law is not believed. Therefore, I say, take to thee the glass of God’s law; look therein, and thou shalt see thy just damnation, and God’s wrath for sin, which, if thou dreadest, will drive thee not only to an amendment, but also to a sorrow and hatred of thy wickedness, and even to the brim of despair, out of which nothing can bring thee but the glad tidings of Christ, that is, the gospel: for as God’s word doth bind thee, so can nothing but God’s word unbind thee; and until thou comest to this point, thou knowest nothing of Christ. Therefore, exercise thyself in this book. Make unto thee a sure foundation; begin at the Law: and if it fear thee, and bring thee to hell’s mouth in consideration of thy sin and sinful nature, then come to Christ, come to the gospel: then shalt thou be a good scholar, and praise thy schoolmaster: then shalt thou feel the benefit of Christ; then shalt thou love him, and thy neighbor for his sake. Then will it make thine ears to glow, and thy heart to bleed, to hear or see any thing set in Christ’s place.
TO THE READER GRACE AND PEACE ETC.
FORASMUCH, good reader, as the Almighty Lord, of his secret wisdom and mere goodness, hath so liberally, so fatherly, so lovingly, so mercifully visited us most unworthy wretches, and of all nations the most abominable sinners, with his most gracious blessing of his precious, sacred, holy word and gospel, in such abundance and plenteousness, as no people heretofore hath had or now hath such cause and so great occasion (if we will ponder the same) to be thankful, as we have: It is our duties again to kiss and embrace the Son, lest the Lord be angry, and so we perish from the right way. It is our duties to arise forth of sleep, and to know the time of our visitation. It is our duties to bring honor and praise unto the Lord, well worthy his name, to bring forth gifts, and come into his temple. Let the manifold examples of ingratitude and unthankfulness, and of God’s vengeance for the same, both in the old Testament and in the new, be a warning unto us. Let the examples of late days, as well in this realm as in other countries, be monitions and lessons for us. God is the same God now he always hath been. And as much doth our sins, our obstinacy, and our wanton receiving of God’s holy gospel, kindle the wrath of that patient and long-suffering Lord against us, as did the wickedness of others, upon whom, for our example, he hath taken punishment already. Let us learn, that “the long sufferance of God doth draw us to repentance” and to amendment of life: beware, lest we harden our hearts, and heap against and upon ourselves “the just judgment of God, the treasure of his wrath, against the day of vengeance,” when his righteousness shall be opened, and he shall “reward every man according to his deeds.” How long shall God thus cry unto us: O ye Englishmen, “How long will you blaspheme mine honor? Why have ye such pleasure in vanity, and follow lies?” “Let us,” I say, therefore, which have been drowned in darkness, and now come into the sunshine of God’s most glorious gospel, “cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armors of light; let us walk honestly as in the day time.” Let us with all humbleness bewail our wickedness, our obstinacy, and resisting God’s truth, our wanton carnal gospelling: and let us embrace it, let us follow it, let us not only be hearers, but also doers of the word. It crieth for amendment of living: let us therefore give it his due honor. God regardeth more obedience than sacrifice. If we will obey him, we shall eat the good things of the land. Let us, therefore, get up, and arise with the lost son, and say unto him, “Father, we have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” etc. Let us fall before the throne of his mercy, and beg of him, by continual prayer, a thankful and an obedient heart, and therein to exercise our faith. For “this kind of devils is not cast out, but by prayer and fasting.” Yea, faithful prayer is the only mean, whereby through Christ we both obtain all things necessary and convenient, and also retain and keep still the grace of God given unto us. Now, seeing that amongst the many good and godly travails taken by divers men, as well in compiling as in translating into this our English tongue sundry learned and profitable books, there is but little of this most necessary exercise of faith, true prayer I mean; (for in all the external worshippings of God there is none so difficile and hard:) therefore I have thought necessary to translate something of the same; whereby we might learn, as well what true prayer is, as also the dignity and worthiness thereof. Which thing once known may give occasion and spur (if I may say so) to the slothful and negligent, to be more earnest therein; and also may instruct others which have continually exercised themselves, as they think, in true prayer, to be no longer vain mumblers, but true worshippers of God in spirit and verity; for God requireth such.
But, forasmuch as the most part of this sort, of a blind zeal, but not according to knowledge, seeking to establish their own righteousness, and not that which cometh only by Christ, despise and may not abide the names and works of godly men of this late time, whom they call new fellows, which most fruitfully, as of other matters, so no less godly have written of this; but do take all that they say to be rank heresy: to the intent these men, also, might by some means come into the knowledge of their abuses in prayer, wherein they put too much confidence and trust; I have, therefore, according to my little power and knowledge, where with I desire to edify, though most rudely, yet truly and plainly, translated these two notable Orations or Homilies of the most eloquent learned doctor, St John Chrysostom, which he entitled, Of praying to God. The which Homilies, being diligently read and weighed, shall, I doubt not (obstinacy put aside), cause thee, O good reader, to give thanks to that Spirit, which moved, yea, wrote herein, by ‘that doctor; and also give thee occasion, not only to love prayer the better, but also to exercise thyself more earnestly in the true worshipping of God, and in exhorting and giving good example to all others to be the like, to the praise of God’s most holy name. Which thing the most merciful Father grant through his dearly beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which reigneth with him and the Holy Ghost for ever. \\ AMEN. [The Translation from Melancthon will appear in the present collection of the Writings of Bradford (with those from Artopoeus and Chrysostom), after his Letters.
The Preface is taken from the edition, without a date, by John Wight. F23 The volume of which it is a part probably was printed in July or August, 1553; because the Preface, which, from internal evidence, certainly was written at that time, speaks of the Treatise, as being then “put forth “ F24 It is placed here, both on account of connection, in point of time, with the Sermon on Repentance, which it mentions to be “presently put foorth;” F24 and as probably published, as well as written by Bradford.
This short Address (not, I believe, reprinted hitherto in our day,) is of interest, in shewing the feeling entertained in England, by the faithful worshippers, during the brief periods F25 between the decease of Edward VI. and the imprisonment of the godly Protestant Bishops and other Clergy.] PREFACE TO A