W T
A prologue in to the third book of Moses, called Leviticus.

The ceremonies which are described in the book following, were chiefly ordained of God (as I said in the end of the prologue upon Exodi.) to occupy the minds of that people the Israelites, and to keep them from serving of God after the imagination of their blind zeal and good intent: that their consciences might be established and they sure that they pleased God therein, which were impossible, if a man did of his own head that which was not commanded of God nor depended of any appointment made between him and God.

Such ceremonies were unto them as an A. B. C. to learn to spell and read, and as a nurse to feed them with milk and pap, and to speak unto them after their own capacity and to lisp the words unto them according as the babes and children of that age might sound them again. For all that were before Christ were in the infancy and childhood of the world and saw that sun which we see openly, but through a cloud and had but feeble and weak imaginations of Christ, as children have of men’s deeds, a few prophets excepted, which yet described him unto others in sacrifices and ceremonies, likenesses, riddles, proverbs, and dark and strange speaking until the full age were come that God would shew him openly unto the whole world and deliver them from their shadows and cloud-light and the heathen out of their dead sleep of stark blind ignorance. And as the shadow vanishes away at the coming of the light, even so do the ceremonies and sacrifices at the coming of Christ, and are henceforth no more necessary than a token left in remembrance of a bargain is necessary when the bargain is fulfilled. And though they seem plain childish, yet they be not altogether fruitless: as the puppets and twenty manner of trifles which mothers permit unto their young children be not all in vain. For albeit that such phantasies be permitted to satisfy the children’s lusts, yet in that they are the mother’s gift and be done in place and time at her commandment, they keep the children in awe and make them know the mother and also make them more apt against a more stronger age to obey in things of greater earnest.

And moreover though sacrifices and ceremonies can be no ground or foundation to build upon: that is, though we can prove naught with them: yet when we have once found out Christ and his mysteries, then we may borrow figures, that is to say allegories, similitudes or examples to open Christ and the secrets of God hid in Christ even unto the quick, and to declare them more lively and sensibly with them than with all the words of the world. For similitudes have more virtue and power with them than bare words, and lead a man’s wits further into the pith and marrow and spiritual understanding of the thing, than all the words that can be imagined. And though also that all the ceremonies and sacrifices have as it were a starlight of Christ, yet some there be that have as it were the light of the broad day a little before the sun rising, and express him, and the circumstances and virtue of his death so plainly as if we should play his passion on a scaffold or in a stage play openly before the eyes of the people. As the scape goat, the brazen serpent, the ox burnt without the host, the Passover lamb &c. Insomuch that I am fully persuaded and cannot but believe that God had shewed Moses the secrets of Christ and the very manner of his death beforehand, and commanded him to ordain them for the confirmation of our faiths which are now in the clear day light. And I believe also that the prophets which followed Moses to confirm his prophesies and to maintain his doctrine unto Christ’s coming, were moved by such things to search further of Christ’s secrets. And though God would not have the secrets of Christ generally known, save unto a few familiar friends which in that infancy he made of man’s wit to help the other babes: yet as they had a general promise that one of the seed of Abraham should come and bless them, even so they had a general faith that God would by the same man save them, though they wist not by what means as the very apostles when it was oft told them yet they could never comprehend it, till it was fulfilled in deed.

Either other — each other, one another, each the other; Middle Eng. Dict.

And beyond all this their sacrifices and ceremonies as farforth as the promises annexed unto them extend, so farforth they saved them and justified them and stood them in the same stead as our sacraments do us: not by the power of the sacrifice or deed itself, but by the virtue of the faith in the promise which the sacrifice or ceremony preached and whereof it was a token or sign. For the ceremonies and sacrifices were left with them and commanded them to keep the promise in remembrance and to wake up their faith. As it is not enough to send many on errands and to tell them what they shall do: but they must have a remembrance with them, and it be but a ring of a rush about one of their fingers. And as it is not enough to make a bargain with words only, but we must put thereto an oath and give earnest to confirm the faith of the person with whom it is made. And in like manner if a man promise, whatsoever trifle it be, it is not believed except he hold up his finger also, such is the weakness of the world. And therefore Christ himself used oft times diverse ceremonies in curing the sick, to stir up their faith withal. As for an ensample it was not the blood of the lamb that saved them in Egypt, when the angel smote the Egyptians: but the mercy of God and his truth whereof that blood was a token and remembrance to stir up their faiths withal. For though God make a promise, yet it saves none finally but them that long for it and pray God with a strong faith to fulfill it for his mercy and truth only and acknowledge their unworthiness. And even so our sacraments (if they be truly ministered) preach Christ unto us and lead our faiths unto Christ, by which faith our sins are done away and not by the deed or work of the sacrament. For as it was impossible that the blood of calves should put away sin: even so is it impossible that the water of the river should wash our hearts. Nevertheless the sacraments cleanse us and absolve us of our sins as the priests do, in preaching of repentance and faith, for which cause either other of them were ordained, but if they preach not, whether it be the priest or the sacrament, so profit they not.

Sim. pollar: poller —extortioner; polling —unfair exaction.

And if a man allege Christ John in the third chapter saying: Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot see the kingdom of God, and will therefore that the Holy Ghost is present in the water and therefore the very deed or work doth put away sin: then I will send him unto Paul which asks his Galatians whether they received the Holy Ghost by the deed of the law or by preaching of faith, and there concludes that the Holy Ghost accompanies the preaching of faith, and with the word of faith, enters the heart and purges it, which you may also understand by saint Paul saying: you are born anew out of the water through the word. So now if baptism preach me the washing in Christ’s blood, so does the Holy Ghost accompany it and that deed of preaching through faith doth put away my sins. For the Holy Ghost is no dumb god nor no god that goes a mumming. If a man say of the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood that it is a sacrifice as well for the dead as for the quick and therefore the very deed itself justifies and puts away sin. I answer that a sacrifice is the slaying of the body of a beast or a man: wherefore if it be a sacrifice, then is Christ’s body there slain and his blood there shed: but that is not so. And therefore it is properly no sacrifice but a sacrament and a memorial of that everlasting sacrifice once for all which he offered upon the cross now upon a fifteen hundred years ago and preacheth only unto them that are alive. And as for them that be dead, it is as profitable unto them as is a candle in a lantern without light unto them that walk by the way in a dark night, and as the gospel song in Latin is unto them that understand none at all, and as a sermon preached to him that is dead and hears it not. It preaches unto them that are alive only, for they that be dead, if they died in the faith which that sacrament preaches, they be safe and are past all jeopardy. For when they were alive their hearts loved the law of God and therefore sinned not, and were sorry that their members sinned and ever moved to sin, and therefore through faith it was forgiven them. And now their sinful members be dead, so that they can now sin no more, wherefore it is unto them that be dead neither sacrament nor sacrifice: But under the pretense of their soul health it is a servant unto our spiritualties’ holy covetousness and an extortioner and a builder of Abbeys, Colleges, Chantries and cathedral churches with false gotten good, a pick purse, a pollar, and a bottomless bag.

Some man would happily say, that the prayers of the mass help much: not the living only, but also the dead. Of the hot fire of their fervent prayer which consumes faster than all the world is able to bring sacrifice, I have said sufficiently in other places. Howbeit it is not possible to bring me in belief that the prayer which helps her own master unto no virtue, should purchase me the forgiveness of my sins. If I saw that their prayers had obtained them grace to live such a life as God’s word did not rebuke, then could I soon be borne in hand that whatsoever they asked of God their prayers should not be in vain. But now what good can he wish me in his prayers that envies me Christ the food and the life of my soul? What good can he wish me whose heart cleaves asunder for pain when I am taught to repent of my evil?

Furthermore because that few know the use of the Old Testament, and the most part think it nothing necessary but to make allegories, which they fain every man after his own brain at all while adventure without any certain rule: therefore (though I have spoken of them in another place) yet lest the book come not to all men’s hands that shall read this, I will speak of them here also a word or twain.

We had need to take heed everywhere that we be not beguiled with false allegories, whether they be drawn out of the New Testament, or the old, either out of any other story or of the creatures of the world, but namely in this book. Here a man had need to put on all his spectacles and to arm himself against invisible spirits.

First allegories prove nothing (and by allegories understand examples or similitudes borrowed of strange matters and of another thing than that thou entreatest of.) As though circumcision be a figure of baptism, yet thou canst not prove baptism by circumcision.

For this argument were very feeble, the Israelites were circumcised therefore we must be baptized. And in like manner though the offering of Isaac were a figure or ensample of the resurrection, yet is this argument naught, Abraham would have offered Isaac, but God delivered him from death, therefore we shall rise again, and so forth in all other.

But the very use of allegories is to declare and open a text that it may be the better perceived and understood. As when I have a clear text of Christ and of the apostles, that I must be baptized, then I may borrow an ensample of circumcision to express the nature power and fruit or effect of baptism. For as circumcision was unto them a common badge signifying that they were all soldiers of God to war his war and separating them from all other nations disobedient unto God: even so baptism is our common badge and sure earnest and perpetual memorial that we pertain unto Christ and are separated from all that are not Christ’s. And as circumcision was a token certifying them that they were received unto the favour of God and their sins forgiven them: even so baptism certifies us that we are washed in the blood of Christ and received to favour for his sake. And as circumcision signified unto them the cutting away of their own lusts and slaying of their free will, as they call it, to follow the will of God even so baptism signifies unto us repentance and the mortifying of our unruly members and body of sin, to walk in a new life and so forth.

And likewise though that the saving of Noah and of them that were with him in the ship, through water, is a figure, that is to say an ensample and likeness of baptism, as Peter maketh it I Petri. 3 yet I cannot prove baptism therewith, save describe it only. For as the ship saved them in the water through faith, in that they believed God and as the others that would not believe Noah perished: even so baptism saves us through the word of faith which it preaches when all the world of the unbelieving perish. And Paul I Corin. 10 makes the sea and the cloud a figure of baptism, by which and a thousand more I might declare it but not prove it. Paul also in the said place makes the rock out of which Moses brought water unto the children of Israel a figure or ensample of Christ not to prove Christ (for that were impossible) but to describe Christ only: even as Christ himself John 3 borrows a similitude or figure of the brazen serpent to lead Nicodemus from his earthly imagination into the spiritual understanding of Christ saying: As Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that none that believe in him perish but have everlasting life. By which similitude the virtue of Christ’s death is better described than you could declare it with a thousand words. For as those murmurers against God as soon as they repented were healed of their deadly wounds through looking on the brazen serpent only without medicine or any other help, yea and without any other reason but that God hath said it should be so, and not to murmur again, but to leave their murmuring: even so all that repent and believe in Christ are saved from everlasting death, of pure grace without and before their good works, and not to sin again, but to fight against sin and henceforth to sin no more.

Even so with the ceremonies of this book thou canst prove nothing save describe and declare only the putting away of our sins through the death of Christ. For Christ is Aaron and Aaron’s sons and all that offer the sacrifice to purge sin. And Christ is all manner offering that is offered: he is the ox, the sheep, the goat, the kid and lamb: he is the ox that is burnt without the host and the scapegoat that carried all the sin of the people away into the wilderness. For as they purged the people from their worldly uncleanesses through blood of the sacrifices, even so doth Christ purge us from the uncleanesses of everlasting death with his own blood. And as their worldly sins could no otherwise be purged than by blood of sacrifice, even so can our sins be no otherwise forgiven than through the blood of Christ. All the deeds in the world, save the blood of Christ, can purchase no forgiveness of sins: for our deeds do but help our neighbor and mortify the flesh and help that we sin no more, but and if we have sinned, it must be freely forgiven through the blood of Christ or remain ever.

And in like manner of the lepers thou canst prove nothing: thou canst never conjure out confession thence, howbeit thou hast an handsome example there to open the binding and loosing of our priests with the key of God’s word. For as they made no man a leper even so ours have no power to command any man to be in sin or to go to purgatory or hell. And therefore (inasmuch as binding and loosing is one power.) As those priests healed no man, even so ours cannot of their invisible and dumb power drive any man’s sins away or deliver him from hell or fained purgatory. howbeit if they preached God’s word purely which is the authority that Christ gave them, then they should bind and loose, kill and make alive again, make unclean and clean again, and send to hell and set thence again, so mighty is God’s word. For if they preached the law of God, they should bind the consciences of sinners with the bonds of the pains of hell and bring them unto repentance. And then if they preached them the mercy that is in Christ, they should loose them and quiet their raging consciences and certify them of the favour of God and that their sins be forgiven.

Carrion lean, (orig.) caren leane —skeleton.

Murdering: (orig.) nurteringe.

Finally beware of allegories, for there is not a more handsome or apt a thing to beguile withal than an allegory, nor a more subtle and pestilent thing in the world to persuade a false matter than an allegory. And contrariwise there is not a better, vehementer or mightier thing to make a man understand withal than an allegory. For allegories make a man quick witted and print wisdom in him and makes it to abide, where bare words go but in at the one ear and out at the other. As this with such like sayings: put salt to all your sacrifices, instead of this sentence, do all your deeds with discretion, greets and bites (if it be understood) more than plain words. And when I say instead of these words boast not yourself of your good deeds, eat not the blood nor the fat of your sacrifice, there is as great difference between them as there is distance between heaven and earth. For the life and beauty of all good deeds is of God and we are but the carrion lean, we are only the instrument whereby God worketh only, but the power is his. As God created Paul anew, poured his wisdom into him gave him might and promised him that his grace should never fail him &c. and all without deservings, except that murdering the saints and making them curse and rail on Christ be meritorious. Now as it is death to

eat the blood or fat of any sacrifice,
is it not (think ye) damnable to
rob God of his honor and
to glorify myself
with his
honor?

 

 

 

W T
A prologe in to the thirde boke of Moses, called Leuiticus.

The ceremonies which are described in the boke folowinge, were cheflye ordined off God (as I sayde in the ende of the prologe vppon Exodi) to occupye the mindes of that people the Israelites, and to kepe them from servinge of God after the imaginacyon of their blinde zele and good entent: that their consciences might be stablished and they sure that they pleased God therein, which were impossible, yf a man did of his awne heed that which was not commaunded of God nor depended of any appoyntement made betwene him and God.

Soch ceremonies were vnto them as an A. B. C. to lerne to spelle and read, and as a nurce to fede them with milke and pappe, and to speake vnto them after their awne capacyte and to lispe the wordes vnto them acording as the babes and childern of that age might sounde them agayne. For all that were before Christ were in the infancye and childhod of the worlde and sawe that sonne which we se openlye, but thorowe a cloude and had but feble and weake imaginacions of Christ, as childern haue of mennes deades, a fewe prophetes excepte, whiche yet described him vnto other in sacrifices and ceremonies, likenesses, rydles, prouerbes, and darke and straunge speakinge vntyll the full age were come that God wold shewe him openlye vnto the whole worlde and delyuer them from their shadowes and cloudelight and the hethen out of their dead slepe of starcke blinde ignorancye. And as the shadowe vanisheth awaye at the comynge of the light, euen so doo the ceremonyes and sacrifices at the comynge of Christ, and are henceforth no moare necessarye then a token left in remembraunce of a bargayne is necessary when the bargayne is fulfilled. And though they seme playne childish, yet they be not altogither frutelesse: as the popettes and .xx. maner of tryfles which mothers permitte vnto their yonge childern be not all in vayne. For all be it that soch phantasyes be permytted to satisfie the childers lustes, yet in that they are the mothers gifte and be done in place and tyme at hir commaundement, they kepe the childern in awe and make them knowe the mother and also make them more apte agenste a more stronger age to obaye in thinges of greater erneste.

And moraouer though sacrifices and ceremonies can be no ground or fundacion to bild apon: that is, though we can proue noughte with them: yet when we haue once found oute Christ and his misteries, then we maye borow figures, that is to saye allegoryes, similitudes or examples to open Christ and the secrettes off God hyd in Christ euen vnto the quycke, and to declare them more lyuely and sensebly with them than with all the wordes of the worlde. For similitudes haue more vertue and power with them than bare wordes, and lead a mans wittes further in to the pithe and marye and spirituall vnderstondinge of the thinge, than all the wordes that can be imagined. And though also that all the ceremonies and sacrifices haue as it were a sterrelyght of Christ, yet some there be that haue as it were the lighte of the brode daye a litle before the sonne risinge, and expresse him, and the circumstaunces and vertue of his deth so playnly as if we shulde playe his passyon on a scaffold or in a stage play openlye before the eyes of the people. As the scape gote, the brasen serpent, the oxe burnt without the hoste, the passeouerlambe &c. In so moch that I am fully persuaded and can not but beleue that God had shewed Moses the secrettes of Christ and the verey maner of his deth before hande, and commaunded him to ordene them for the confirmacion of oure faythes whiche are now in the cleare daye lighte. And I beleue also that the prophetes whiche folowed Moses to confirme his prophesyes and to mayntayne his doctrine vnto Christes cominge, were moued by soch thinges to serche further of Christes secrettes. And though God wold not haue the secrettes of Christ generallye knowne, saue vnto a few familier frendes which in that infancye he made of mans witte to helpe the other babes: yet as they had a generall promysse that one of the seed of Abraham shuld come and blesse them, euen so they had a generall fayth that God wold by the same man saue them, though they wist not by what meanes as the very apostles when it was oft told them yet they coude neuer comprehend it, till it was fulfilled in deade.

And beyonde all this their sacrifices and ceremonies as farforth as the promyses annexed vnto them extende, so farforth they saued them and iustified them and stode them in the same steade as oure sacramentes doo vs: not by the power of the sacrifice or deade it selfe, but by the vertue of the faith in the promysse whiche the sacrifice or ceremonye preached and wherof it was a token or sygne. For the ceremonies and sacrifices were lefte with them and commaunded them to kepe the promysse in remembraunce and to wake vpp their fayth. As it is not ynough to sende manye on errandes and to tell them what they shall doo: but they must haue a remembraunce with them, and it be but a ringe of a rush aboute one of their fingers. And as it is not ynough to make a bargayne with wordes onlye, but we must put thereto an oth and geue ernest to confirme the faithe off the person with whom it is made. And in like maner yf a man promysse, what soeuer trifull it be, it is not beleued excepte he hold vppe his finger also, soch is the wekenesse of the world. And therfore christ him silf used oftymes diuerse ceremonyes in curynge the seke, to sturre vpp their faith with all. As for an ensample it was not the bloud of the lambe that saued them in Egipte, when the angell smote the Egiptians: but the mercye of God and his truth wherof that bloude was a token and remembraunce to sturre vppe their faythes wyth all. For though God make a promysse, yet it saueth none finallye but them that longe for it and praye God with a stronge fayth to fulfill it for his mercye and truthe onlye and knowlege theyr vnworthynesse. And euen so oure sacramentes (yf they be truelye ministred) preach Christ vnto vs and leade oure faythes vnto Christ, by whiche faithe oure synnes are done awaye and not by the deade or worke of the sacrament. For as it was impossible that the bloude off calues shuld put awaye synne: euen so is it impossible that the water of the ryuer shuld wash oure hartes. Neuerthelesse the sacramentes clense vs and absolue vs of oure synnes as the preastes doo, in preachinge of repentaunce and faith, for which cause ether other of them were ordened, but yf they preach not, whether it be the preast or the sacrament, so profitte they not.

And yf a man allege Christ Iohan in the .iii. chapter sayeng: Excepte a man be borne agayne of water and the holye goste he can not se the kingdome of God, and will therfore that the holy gost is present in the water and therfore the verye deade or worke doth put awaye synne: then I will send him vnto Paule which axeth his Galathians whether they receaued the holy goste by the deade of the lawe or by preachinge of faith, and there concludeth that the holy gost accompanyeth the preaching of faith, and with the worde of faith, entreth the harte and purgeth it, which thou mayst also vnderstonde by saynt Paule sayenge: ye are borne a new out of the water thorowe the worde. So now if baptim preach me the wasshing in christes bloude, so doth the holy gost accompany it and that deade of preachinge thorow fayth doth put awaye my synnes. For the holy gost is no dome god nor no god that goeth a mumminge. Yf a man saye of the sacrament of Christes bodye and bloude that it is a sacrifice as well for the dead as for the quycke and therfore the very deed it self iustifieth and putteth away synne. I answere that a sacrifice is the sleynge off the body of a beest or a man: wherfore yf it be a sacrifice, then is christes body there slayne and his bloude there shed: but that is not so. And therfore it is properly no sacrifice but a sacrament and a memoriall of that euerlastinge sacrifice once for all which he offered apon the crosse now apon a .xv. hundred yeres a go and preacheth only vnto them that are alyue. And as for them that be dead, it is as profitable vnto them as is a candell in a lantrene without light vnto them that walke by the waye in a darke night, and as the gospell song in laten is vnto them that vnderstond none at all, and as a sermon preached to him that is dead and hereth it not. It preacheth vnto them that are a lyue only, for they that be dead, yf they dyed in the faith which that sacrament preacheth, they be saffe and are past all ieopardye. For when they were alyue their hartes loued the lawe off God and therfore synned not, and were sory that their membres synned and euer moued to synne, and therfore thorow faith it was forgeuen them. And now their synnefull membres be dead, so that they can now synne no more, wherfore it is vnto them that be dead nether sacrament nor sacrifice: But vnder the pretence of their soule health it is a servaunt vnto oure spiritualtyes holy couetousnesse and an extorcyonar and a bylder of Abayes, Colleges, Chauntryes and cathedrall chirches with false goten good, a pickpurse, a pollar, and a bottomlesse bagge.

Some man wold happely saye, that the prayers of the masse helpe moch: not the lyuinge only, but also the dead. Of the hote fire of their farvent prayer which consumeth faster then all the world is able to bringe sacrifice, I haue sayde sufficiently in other places. Howe be it it is not possible to bringe me in beleffe that the prayer which helpeth hir awne master vnto no vertue, shuld purchesse me the forgeuenesse of my synnes. If I sawe that their prayers had obtayned them grace to lyue soch a liffe as goddes worde did not rebuke, then coud I sone be borne in hande that what soeuer they axed off God their prayers shuld not be in vayne. But now what good can he wysh me in his prayers that envieth me Christe the fode and the liffe of my soule? What good can he wish me whose herte cleaveth a sundre for payne when I am taught to repent of my euell?

Forthermore because that fewe knowe the vse of the olde testament, and the moste parte thinke it nothinge necessarye but to make allegoryes, which they fayne euery man after hys awne brayne at all wyle adventure without any certayne rule: therfore (though I haue spoken off them in another place) yet lest the boke come not to all mennes handes that shall reade this, I will speake off them here also a worde or twayne.

We had nede to take hede euery where that we be not begyled with false allegories, whether they be drawne out of the new testament, or the olde, ether out of any other storye or off the creatures of the worlde, but namely in this boke. here a man had nede to put on all his spectacles and to arme him selfe agenst invisible spretes.

First allegories proue nothinge (and by allegories vnderstonde examples or similitudes borowed of straunge matters and of another thinge than that thou entreatest off) As though circumcysyon be a figure of baptim, yet thou canst not proue baptim by circumcysion.

For this argument were verye feble, the Israelites were circumcysed therfore we must be baptised. And in like maner though the offering of Isaac were a figure or ensample off the resurrection, yet is this argument nought, Abraham wold haue offered Isaac, but God delyuered him from deth, therfore we shall ryse agayne, and so forth in all other.

But the very vse of allegories is to declare and open a texte that it maye be the better perceaved and vnderstonde. As when I haue a cleare texte of Christ and of the apostles, that I must be baptysed, then I maye borowe an ensample of circumcysion to expresse the nature power and frute or effecte of baptim. For as circumcysion was vnto them a comen bagge sygnifienge that they were all sodiars off God to warre his warre and separatinge them from all other nacyons disobedient vnto God: euen so baptim is oure comen bagge and sure ernest and perpetuall memoriall that we pertayne vnto Christ and are separated from all that are not christes. And as circumcision was a token certifyenge them that they were receaved vnto the fauoure off God and theyr synnes forgeven them: euen so baptim certefyeth vs that we are wasshed in the bloude of christ and receaued to fauoure for his sake. and as circumcysion signifyed vnto them the cuttynge awaye of theyr awne lustes and sleynge of their fre will, as they call it, to folowe the will of god even so baptim signyfyeth vnto vs repentaunce and the mortefyinge of oure vnruly membres and body of synne, to walke in a newe lyffe and so forth.

And likewyse though that the savinge of Noe and of them that were with him in the shyppe, thorow water, is a figure, that is to saye an ensample and likenesse of baptim, as Peter maketh it .I. Petri 3. yet I can not proue baptim therwith, saue describe it only. for as the sheyppe saued them in the water thorow faith, in that they beleved god and as the other that wold not beleve Noe peryshed: even so baptim saveth vs thorow the worde of faith which it preacheth when all the world of the vnbelevinge perysh. And Paule .I. Corin. 10. maketh the see and the cloude a figure of baptim, by which and a thousand mo I might declare it but not proue it. Paule also in the sayde place maketh the rocke out of which Moses brought water vnto the childerne of Israel a figure or ensample of christ not to proue christ (for that were impossible) but to describe christ only: even as christ him silf Iohannins .3 boroweth a similitude or figure of the brasen serpent to lead Nichodemus from his erthy imaginacyon in to the spirituall vnderstondinge of christ sayenge: As Moses lyfted vpp a serpent in the wildernesse, so must the sonne of man be lifted vpp, that none that beleue in him perysh but haue everlastinge liffe. by which similitude the vertue of christes deth is better described then thou coudest declare it with a thousande wordes. for as those murmurars agenst god as sone as they repented were healed of their deadly woundes thorow lokynge on the brasen serpent only without medicyne or any other helpe, yee and without any other reason but that god hath sayed it shuld be so, and not to murmoure agayne, but to leue their murmuringe: even so all that repent and beleue in christ are saved from euerlastinge deth, of pure grace without and before their good workes, and not to synne agayne, but to fight agaynst synne and henceforth to synne no moare.

Even so with the ceremonyes of this boke thou canst prove nothinge saue describe and declare only the puttyng awaye. of oure synnes thorow the deth of christ. for christ is Aaron and Aarons sonnes and all that offer the sacrifyce to purge synne, And christ is all maner offering that is offered: he is the oxe, the shepe, the gote, the kyd and lambe: he is the oxe that is burnt without the host and the scapegote that caryed all the synne of the people awaye in to the wildernesse. for as they purged the people from their worldly vnclennesses thorow bloud of the sacrifices, even so doth christ purge vs from the vnclennesses of everlastinge deth with his awne bloude. and as their worldly synnes coude no otherwyse be purged then by boude of sacrifyce, even so can oure synnes be no otherwyse forgeven then thorow the bloude of christ. All the deades in the world, saue the bloude of christ, can purchase no forgevenesse of synnes: for oure deades do but helpe oure neyghboure and mortefye the flesh and helpe that we synne no moare, but and if we haue synned, it must be frely forgeven thorow the bloude of christ or remayne ever.

And in lyke maner of the lepers thou canst prove nothinge: thou canst never coniure out confession thense, how be it thou hast an handsome example there to open the bindinge and lowsinge of oure preastes with the kaye of goddes word. for as they made no man a lepre even so oures haue no power to commaunde any man to be in synne or to go to purgatory or hell. And therefore (in as moch as bindinge and lowsinge is one power) As those preastes healed no man, euen so oures can not of their inviseble and domme power dryve any mannes synnes awaye or delyver hym from hell or fayned purgatorye. how be it if they preached gods word purely which is the authorite that christ gaue them, then they shuld binde and lowse, kylle and make alyue agayne, make vncleane and cleane agayne, and send to hell and sett thence agayne, so mighty is gods word. for iff they preached the lawe of god, they shuld bind the consciences of synners with the bondes of the paynes of hell and bringe them vnto repentaunce. And then if they preached them the mercye that is in christ, they shuld lowse them and quiet their raginge consciences and certefie them of the fauoure of god and that their synnes be forgeven.

Fynallye beware of allegoryes, for there is not a moare handsome or apte a thinge to be gile withall then an allegorye, nor a more sotle and pestilent thinge in the world to persuade a false mater then an allegorye. And contrary wyse there is not a beter, vehementer or myghtyer thinge to make a man vnderstond with all then an allegory. For allegoryes make a man qwick witted and prynte wysdome in him and maketh it to abyde, where bare wordes go but in at the one eare and out at the other. As this with soch like sayenges: put salt to all youre sacrifices, in steade of this sentence, do all youre deades with discrecion, greteth and biteth (yf it be vnderstond) moare then playne wordes. And when I saye in stead off these wordes bost not youre self of youre good deades, eate not the bloude nor the fatt of youre sacrifice, there is as great difference betwene them as there is distaunce betwene heauen and erth. For the liffe and beutye of all good deades is of God and we are but the caren leane, we are only the instrument wherby god worketh only, but the power is his. As god created Paule a newe, poured hys wisdome in to him gaue him mighte and promysed him that his grace shulde neuer fayle him &c. and all without deservinges, excepte that nurteringe the sayntes and makinge them curse and rayle on Christ be meritorious. Now as it is death to eate the bloude or fatte of any sacrifice, is it not (thinke ye) damnable to robbe god of his honoure and to glorifye my self with his honoure?