We poor men, treasurers of Christ and his Apostles, denounce to the Lords and the Commons of the Parliament certain conclusions and truth for the reformation of the Holy Church of England, the which has been blind and leprous many years by the maintenance of the proud prelacy, borne up with flattering of private religion, the which is multiplied to a great charge and onerous [to] people here in England.
Strive in this life to leave the fiend’s church, and to bring yourself, both body and soul, into the church of Jesus Christ while grace and mercy may be granted. Ask of Him who offered himself willingly upon the cross, to save us all when we were lost. For thus it is written of the words of God, which he speaketh to a sinful soul. Turn thee again, turn thee again, thou sinful soul; turn thee again, turn thee again, that we may behold thee. For God knoweth thy misgovernance, and will not forsake thee, if thou wilt turn again.
The Lantern of Light. Chapter Twelve: of the Fiend’s Contrivances, by Which, in His Members, He Pursues the Keepers of God’s Commands.
St. Hilary saith, “This property hath Christ’s church; when it is pursued, it flourisheth; when it is bruised down, it groweth; when it is despised, it profiteth; when it is hurt, it overcometh; when it is blamed, it understandeth; and it standeth most strongly when it seems to man’s eye to be overcome.” This church is a true soul, as we have said before.
All that ever will live meekly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. And St. Luke saith of the words of Paul, in the Deeds of the Apostles, By many tribulations it behoves us to enter into the realm of God. And thus saith the prophet in the Psalms; Many are the tribulations that fall to the righteous, and from them all, when time cometh, God shall deliver them. Christ promised this manner of life to his own disciples, and gave them comfort, that they should have a gracious deliverance.
Whoever separates from the unity of steadfast faith, and the fellowship of this church, he may neither be absolved from the bonds of his sins, neither may he come into the bliss of heaven. See now then, both learned and unlearned, how prayers and all other suffragest are in common to this spiritual church. Whence then comes to this outcry that is heard? the keen sale in every church to sell these spiritual things, with suffrages and absolutions, with many years of pardon, and a plenary indulgence from fault and punishment? Certainly, they come from beneath, of the fiend’s tempting, and are borne about of his accursed members, to poison the people in misbelief, and drive them to endless pain.
Knights also are to blame, that misuse their power and will not read in God’s law, nor learn their office, and therefore the wise man blameth them in the sixth chapter of the book of Ecclesiasticus. How should ye knights maintain peace when ye forsake it yourselves? These priests and knights, through their vicious deeds, lead the commons in their ways, and hold them in sin, so that all this world is set in uproar, in battle, and in war. But now are proved the words that God hath said by the prophet to teach his chosen servants, And shall I not visit upon these things, saith the Lord God, shall not my will be venged upon such a folk?
The kingdom of heaven is like to a net that is sent into the sea, and gathereth together of all kinds of fishes. When this net was full of fishes, the fishers drew it to the land, and they, sitting beside the sea brink, chose the good into their vessels, the evil they sent out, and cast them again into the sea. The second church here on earth is like to a net sent into the sea of this world, — The fishes that swim in this sea, are all the people that live in this world, both good and evil, of every degree, of each state, temporal or spiritual.
The second church is the coming together of good and evil, in a place that is allowed, far from worldly occupation. There sacraments should be ministered, and God’s law both read and preached. In this place our gracious Lord heareth our prayers in special manner, and boweth his ear to his servants, as he granted to Solomon, 1 Kings 9. 2 Chronicles 7. Mine eyes, saith God, shall be open, and mine ears shall be lift up to the prayer of him that hath justly prayed in this place. And this is called a material place, for it is made by man’s craft, of lime, of timber, and of stone, &c.
The Lantern of Light. Chapter Six: What Is the Church Only Belonging to God, With Her Names, Likenesses, and Conditions.
This church is likened to paradise. The trees that bear fruit are good holy livers here on earth. The fruits of those trees are the works of holy saints. The tree of life is our Lord Jesus Christ. The tree of knowing good and evil, is the free choice of man’s will. But however we speak in diverse names or likenesses of this holy church, they teach nought else but this one name, that is to say, the congregation or gathering together faithful souls that lastingly keep faith and truth, in word and in deed, to God and to man, and raise their life and sure hope of mercy, and grace, and bliss, at their end, and cover over this building in perfect charity that shall not fail in weal or in woe.
Holy David the king, had given to him the full spirit of prophecy; and he, seeing the coming of antichrist, his living, and his fall, marked five hideous assaults which he shall commit against the servants of God.
How this antichrist shall be destroyed, God himself teacheth by the prophet Daniel, and saith, This antichrist shall be destroyed without hands, that is, without power of man. For Paul saith, (2 Thessalonians 2). Christ shall slay Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth, that is, with the holy word of his law. And the Lord shall destroy him with the shining of his coming, that is, with turning of men’s hearts by his grace, to his law, a little before the doom.
The soul that is chaff, shall ever suffer, and never die, as the prophet saith, Isaiah 9. Six sins there are against the Holy Ghost, that turn the wretched soul into this chaff. The philosopher saith, “There is no evil fled unless it be known.” Therefore we shall name them in this little treatise for the more learning of small understanders.
For the apostles of Christ and his other followers were not graduate men in schools, but the Holy Ghost suddenly inspired them, and made them plenteous of heavenly lore. And they that have laboured in mortal learning, humbled themselves as simple men, as St. Jerome saith, “Preachers unlettered are sent to preach, that the faith of true believers should be hoped to be brought in, not by man’s virtue, but by speech and doctrine of God.” And so saith St. Augustine, writing to Simplician, ” Untaught men rise and catch heaven, and we, with our clergy, are drowned to hell.” And St. Gregory saith, “Right as truth incarnate, that is, Christ in his manhood, chose poor simple men for his preaching, so antichrist is to choose sturdy and double-minded men, having the wisdom of this world, to preach his falsehood.”
Therefore, in this time of hideous darkness, some seek the Lantern of Light, of which spake the prophet, (Psalm 119). Lord, thy word is a lantern to my feet. For as far as the light of this Lantern shineth, so far darkness of sin, and clouds of the fiend’s temptations vanish away, and may not abide. And always, when the Lantern giveth light into the heart, it cleanseth from corruption, and assuageth and healeth spiritual sores.
Then said I to the archbishop, Sir, since ye deem me a heretic, and out of belief, will you give me here audience to tell my belief? And he said. Yea, tell on. And I said, I believe that there is but one God almighty, and in this Godhead, and of this Godhead are three persons, that is, the Father, the Son, and the soothfast Holy Ghost. And I believe that all these three persons are even in power and in knowledge, and in might, full of grace and of all goodness. For whatsoever the Father doth, or can, or will, that also the Son doth and can and will; and in all their power, knowledge, and will, the Holy Ghost is equal to the Father, and to the Son.
Now, God who alone is unbegotten, and the Maker of the whole world, unite you all through His peace, in the Holy Spirit; perfect you unto every good work, immoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable; and vouchsafe to you eternal life with us, through the mediation of His beloved Son Jesus Christ our God and Saviour; with whom glory be to You, the God over all, and the Father, in the Holy Spirit the Comforter, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.
You are blessed, O Lord, who nourishest me from my youth, who givest food to all flesh. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that having always what is sufficient for us, we may abound to every good work, in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom glory, honour, and power be to You forever. Amen.
We, who are the children of God and the sons of peace, do preach the holy and right word of piety, and declare one only God, the Lord of the law and of the prophets, the Maker of the world, the Father of Christ; not a being that caused Himself, or begot Himself, as they suppose, but eternal, and without original, and inhabiting light inaccessible; not two or three, or manifold, but eternally one only; not a being that cannot be known or spoken of, but who was preached by the law and the prophets.
When we are persecuted, let us not think it strange; let us not love the present world, nor the praises which come from men, nor the glory and honour of rulers, according as some of the Jews wondered at the mighty works of our Lord, yet did not believe in Him, for fear of the high priests and the rest of the rulers: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Therefore maintain and clothe those that are in want from the righteous labour of the faithful. And such sums of money as are collected from them in the manner aforesaid, appoint to be laid out in the redemption of the saints, the deliverance of slaves, and of captives, and of prisoners, and of those that have been abused, and of those that have been condemned by tyrants to single combat and death on account of the name of Christ.
Let him that is to be baptized be free from all iniquity; one that has left off to work sin, the friend of God, the enemy of the devil, the heir of God the Father, the fellow-heir of His Son; one that has renounced Satan, and the demons, and Satan’s deceits; chaste, pure, holy, beloved of God, the son of God.
It is to be hoped that these three short papers will be read by many who find the Northside position unfamiliar, or who have thought of it as an extraordinary whim of Cranmer’s which the Church was right to forget and to ignore when alternatives became available. The theme of these papers is entirely to the contrary. They seek to indicate not only the origins and meaning of the position, its essentially English character, and its proud position in the history of our Church, but also the weakness of suggested alternatives.
No one can be made perfect in a day. A man must begin by denying himself, and willingly forsaking all things for God’s sake, and must give up his own will, and all his natural inclinations, and separate and cleanse himself thoroughly from all sins and evil ways. After this, let him humbly take up the cross and follow Christ.
A bishop must be no accepter of persons; neither revering nor flattering a rich man contrary to what is right, nor overlooking nor domineering over a poor man. For, says God to Moses, You shall not accept the person of the rich, nor shall you pity a poor man in his cause: for the judgment is the Lord’s.