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SUITORS PUT OFF.
of them, he said, What fellow is it that giveth these folk counsel to be so importunate ? He would be punished and committed to ward. Marry, sir, punish me then; it is even I that gave them counsel ; I would gladly be punished in such a cause. And if ye amend not, I will cause them to cry out upon you still, even as long as I live. I will do it indeed: but I have troubled you long. As I began with this sentence, “Quæcunque scripta sunt," &c., All things that are written, &c., So I will end now with this text, “Beati qui audiunt verbum Dei, et custodiunt illud,” Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
There was another suit, and I had almost forgotten it. There is a poor woman that lieth in the Fleet, and cannot come, by any means that she can make, to her answer, and would fain be bailed, offering to put in sureties worth a thousand pound; and yet she cannot be heard. Methinks this is a reasonable cause, it is a great pity that such things should so be. I beseech God that he will grant, that all that is amiss may be amended, that we may hear his word and keep it, that we may come to the eternal bliss, to the which bliss I beseech God to bring both you
PREACHED BEFORE KING EDWARD,
MARCH 22 d.
ROMANS xv. 4.
Quæcunque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt.
All things that are written, are written to be our doctrine.
In the popish mass-time, there was no gainsaying; all things seemed to be in peace, in a concord, in a quiet agreement. So long as we had in adoration, in admiration, the popish mass, we were then without gainsaying. What was that? The same that Christ speaketh of, “ Cum fortis armatus custodierit atrium," &c. When satan, the devil, hath the guiding of the house, he keepeth all in peace that is in his possession. When satan ruleth, and beareth dominion in open religion, as he did with us when we preached pardon matters, purgatory
matters, and pilgrimage matters, all was quiet. He is ware enough, he is wily, and circumspect for stirring up any sedition. When he keepeth his territory, all is in peace. If there were any man that preached in England in times past, in the pope's times, (as peradventure there was two or three,) straightways he was taken and nipped in the head with the title of a heretic. When he hath the religion in possession, he stirreth up no sedition, I warrant you.
How many dissensions have we heard of in Turkey ? But a few, I warrant you. He busieth himself there with no dissension. For he hath there dominion in the open religion, and needeth not to trouble himself
further. There is a certain man, that shortly after my first sermon, being asked if he had been at the sermon that day, answered, Yea. “I pray you," said he, “how liked you him ?” “Marry,” said he, “ even as I liked him always; a seditious fellow." Oh Lord, he pinched me there indeed; nay, he had rather a full bite at
Yet I comfort myself with that, that Christ himself was noted to be a stirrer up of the people against the emperor, and was contented to be called seditious. It becometh me to take it in good worth ; I am not better than he was. In the king's days that dead is,
a many of us were called together before him, to say our minds in certain matters. In the end, one kneeleth me down, and accuseth me of sedition, that I had preached seditious doctrine. A heavy salutation, and a hard point of such a man's doing, as if I should name him, ye would not think it.
The king turned to me and said, “What say you to that, Sir ?" Then I kneeled down, and turned me first to mine accuser, and required him : “ Sir, what form of preaching would you appoint me to preach before a king? Would you have me for to preach nothing as concerning a king in the king's sermon ? Have you any commission to appoint me what I shall preach ?” Besides this, I asked bim divers other questions, and he would make no answer to none of them all : he had nothing to say: Then I turned me to the king, and submitted myself to his grace, and said, “I never thought myself worthy, nor I never sued to be a preacher before your grace, but I was called to it, and would be willing, if you mislike me, to give place to my betters; for I grant there be a great many more worthy of the room than
And if it be your grace's pleasure so to allow them for preachers, I could be content to bear their books after them. But if your grace allow me for a preacher, I would desire
your grace to give me leave to discharge my conscience ; give me leave to frame my doctrine according to mine audience. I had been a very dolt to have preached so, at the borders of your realm, as I preach before your grace.”
And I thank almighty God, which hath always been my remedy, that my sayings were well accepted of the king, for like a gracious lord, he turned into another communication. It is even as the Scripture saith, “Cor regis in manu Domini,” The Lord directed the king's heart. Certain of my friends came to me with tears in their eyes, and told me they looked I should have been in the Tower the same night. Thus have I evermore been burdened with the word of sedition. I have offended God grievously, transgressing his law, and but for this remedy and his mercy, I would not look to be saved. As for sedition, for aught that I know, methinks I should not need Christ, if I might so say. But if I be clear in any thing, I am clear in this. So far as I know my own heart, there is no man further from sedition than I, which I have declared in all my doings, and yet it hath ever been laid to
Another time, when I gave over mine office, I should have received a certain duty that they