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EPISTLES

OF

BISHOP HOOPER,

TO

DIVERS FRIENDS.

A Letter which Master HOOPER did write out of Prison to certain of his Friends.

THE grace of God be with you. Amen. I did write unto you of late, and told you what extremity the Parliament had concluded upon concerning religion, suppressing the truth, and setting forth the untruth, intending to cause all men by extremity to forswear themselves, and to take again, for the head of the church, him that is neither head nor member of it, but a very enemy, as the word of God and all ancient writers do record: and for lack of law and authority, they will use force and extremity, which have been the argument to defend the Pope and Popery, since this authority first began in the world. But now in the time of trial, to see whether we fear God or man, it was an easy thing to hold with Christ whiles the prince and world held with him: but now the world hateth him, it is the true trial whọ be his.

Wherefore in the name, and in the virtue, strength, and power of his holy Spirit, prepare your selves in any case to adversity and constancy. Let us not run away when it is most time to fight; remember none shall be crowned, but such as fight manfully and he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Ye must now turn all your cogitations from the perils you see, and mark the felicity that followeth the peril, either victory in this world of your enemies, or else a surrender of this life to inherit the everlasting kingdom. Beware of beholding too much the felicity or misery of this world; for the consideration and too earnest love or fear of either of them draweth from God.

Wherefore think with yourselves as touching the felicities of the world, it is good: but yet none other,

wise than it standeth with the favour of God. It is to be kept; but so far forth, as by keeping of it we lose not God. It is good abiding and tarrying still among our friends here: but yet so, that we tarry not therewithal in God's displeasure, and hereafter dwell with devils in fire everlasting. There is nothing under God but may be kept, so that God, being above all things we have, be not lost.

Of adversity judge the same.

Imprisonment

is painful, but yet liberty upon evil conditions is more painful. The prisons stink: but yet not so much as sweet houses, where the fear and true honour of God lacketh. I must be alone and solitary. It were better so to be and have God with me, than to be in company with the wicked. Loss of goods is great but loss of God's grace and favour is greater. I am a poor simple creature, and cannot tell how to answer before such a great sort of noble, learned, and wise men it is better to make answer before the pomp and pride of wicked men, than to stand naked in the sight of all heaven and earth before the just God at the latter day. I shall die then by the hands of the cruel man: he is blessed that loseth this life full of miseries, and findeth the life of eternal joys. It is pain and grief to depart from God and friends: but yet not so much, as to depart from grace and heaven itself. Wherefore there is neither felicity nor adversity of this world, that can appear to be great, if it be weighed with the joys or pains in the world

to come.

"I can do no more, but pray for you; do the same for me, for God's sake. For my part (I thank the heavenly Father), I have made my accounts, and appointed myself until the will of my heavenly Father as he will, so will I by his grace. For God's sake, as soon as ye can, send my poor wife and chil dren some letter from you, and my letter also which

I have sent of late to D. As it was told me, she never had letter from me since the coming of M. S. unto her: the more to blame the messengers, for I have written divers times. The Lord comfort them, and provide for them; for I am able to do nothing in worldly things. She is a godly and wise woman. If my meaning hath been accomplished, she should have had necessary things: but what I mean, God can perform, to whom I commend both her and you all. Į I am a precious jewel now, and daintily kept, never so daintily for neither mine own man, nor any of the servants of the house, may come to me, but my keeper alone: a simple rude man, God knoweth, but I am nothing careful thereof. Fare you well. The 21st of January 1555.

Yours bounden,

JOHN HOOPER.

A Letter of Master HOOPER to certain godly Professors and Lovers of the Truth, instructing them how to behave themselves in that woful Alteration and Change of Religion.

The grace, mercy, and peace of God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you, my dear brethren, and with all those that unfeignedly love and embrace his holy Gospel. Amen.

It is told me that the wicked idol the mass is established again by a law, and passed in the Parliamenthouse. Learn the truth of it, I pray you, and what penalty is appointed in the act to such as speak against it also whether there be any compulsion to constrain men to be at it; the statute throughly known, such as be abroad and at liberty may provide for themselves, and avoid the danger the better. Doubtless there hath not been before our time such a Parliament as this is, that as many as were suspected

VOL, V.

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