Wonder it is, that amongest so many pregnant wittes as the Ile of greate Brittanny hath produced, so many godlie and zelous preachers as England did somtime norishe, and amongest so many learned and men of graue iudgement, as this day by Iesabel are exiled, none is found so stowte of courage, so faithfull to God, nor louing to their natiue countrie, that they dare admonishe the inhabitantes of that Ile how abominable before God, is the Empire or Rule of a wicked woman, yea of a traiteresse and bastard. And what may a people or nation left destitute of a lawfull head, do by the authoritie of Goddes worde in electing and appointing common rulers and magistrates. That Ile (alas) for the contempt and horrible abuse of Goddes mercies offred, and for the shamefull reuolting to Satan frome Christ Iesus, and frome his Gospell ones professed, doth iustlie merite to be left in the handes of their own counsel, and so to come to confusion and bondage of strangiers. Negligence of watchemen. But yet I feare that this vniuersall negligence of such as somtimes were estemed watchemen, shall rather aggrauate our former ingratitude, then excuse this our vniuersall and vngodlie silence, in so weightie a mater. We se our countrie set furthe for a pray to foreine nations, we heare the blood of our brethren, the membres of Christ Iesus most cruellie to be shed, and the monstruous empire of a cruell woman (the secrete counsel of God excepted) we knowe to be the onlie occasion of all these miseries: and yet with silence we passe the time as thogh the mater did nothinge appertein to vs. The diligence of the olde prophetes of God. But the contrarie examples of the auncient prophetes moue me to doubte of this our fact. For Israel did vniuersalie decline frome God by embrasing idolatrie vnder Ieroboam.1. Reg.12 In whiche they did continue euen vnto the destruction of their common welthe. And Iuda withe Ierusalem did followe the vile superstition and open iniquitie of Samaria.Ezech.16 But yet ceased not the prophetes of God to admonishe the one and the other: Yea euen after that God had poured furthe his plagues vpon them. Ierem.29. For Ieremie did write to the captiues of Babylon, and did correct their errors, plainlie instructing them, who did remaine in the middest of that idolatrouse nation. Ezechiel Ezech.7, 8, 9. frome the middest of his brethren prisoners in Chaldea, did write his vision to those that were in Ierusalem, and sharplie rebukinge their vices, assured them that they shuld not escape the vengeance of God by reason of their abominations committed.
God alway had his people amongst the wicked, who neuer lacked their prophetes and teachers. The same prophetes for comfort of the afflicted and chosen saintes of God, who did lie hyd amongest the reprobate of that age (as commonlie doth the corne amongest the chaffe) did prophecie and before speake the changes of kingdomes, the punishmentes of tyrannes, and the vengeance Isaie 23.
Ezech.36 whiche God wold execute vpon the oppressors of his people. The same did Daniel and the rest of the prophetes euerie one in their season. By whose examples and by the plaine precept, which is geuen to Ezechiel, commanding him that he shall say to the wicked: Thou shalt die the death. Examples what teachers oght to do in this time. We in this our miserable age are bounde to admonishe the world and the tyrannes thereof, of their sodeine destruction, to assure them, and to crie vnto them, whether they list to heare or not. Ezech.2. Apoca.6. That the blood of the saintes, which by them is shed, continuallie crieth and craueth vengeance in the presence of the Lorde of hostes. And further it is our dutie to open the truthe reueled vnto vs, vnto the ignorant and blind world, vnlest that to our owne condemnation we list to wrap vp and and hyde the talent committed to our charge. I am assured that God hath reueled to some in this our age, that it is more then a monstre in nature, that a woman shall reigne and haue empire aboue man. And yet with vs all, there is suche silence, as if God therewith were nothing offended. The naturall man, ennemy to God shall fynd, I knowe, many causes why no suche doctrine oght to be published in these our dangerous dayes. Thre chef reasons, that do stay man from speaking the truthe. First, for that it may seme to tend to sedition: secondarilie, it shal be dangerous, not onlie to the writer or publisher, but also to all such as shall reade the writinges, or fauor this truth spoken: and last it shall not amend the chief offenders, partlie because it shall neuer come to their eares, and partlie because they will not be admonished in such cases. I answer, yf any of these be a sufficient reason that a truth knowen shalbe conceled, then were the auncient prophetes of God very fooles, who did not better prouide for their owne quietnes, then to hasard their liues for rebuking of vices, and for the opening of such crimes, as were not knowen to the world, And Christ Iesus did iniurie to his Apostles, commanding them to preache repentance and remission of synnes in his name to euerie realme and nation. And Paule did not vnderstand his owne libertie, when he cried, wo be to me, if I preache not the Euangile.1. Cor.9. Yf feare, I say, of persecution, of sclander, or of any inconuenience before named might have excused, and discharged the seruantes of God, Mat.26.
Act.18, 21. from plainlie rebuking the sinnes of the world; iuste cause had euerie one of them to haue ceased frome their office. For sodeinlie their doctrine was accused by termes of sedition, of newe learning, and of treason: persecution and vehement trouble did shortlie come vpon the professours with the preachers: Psalm.2. Act.4. kinges, princes and worldlie rulers did conspire against God and against his anoynted Christ Iesus. But what? Did any of these moue the prophetes and Apostles to faynt in their vocation? no. But by the resistance, whiche the deuill made to them by his suppostes, were they the more inflamed to publishe the truthe reueled vnto them and to witnesse with their blood, that greuous condemnation and Goddes heuie vengeance shuld folowe the proude contempt of graces offred. The fidelitie, bold courage, and constancie of those that are passed before vs, oght to prouoke vs to folowe their footsteppes, onles we loke for an other kingdome then Christ hath promised to such as perseuere in profession of his name to the end. Yf any think that the empire of women, is not of such importance, that for the suppressing of the same, any man is bounde to hasarde his life, I answer, that to suppresse it, is in the hand of god alone. But to vtter the impietie and abomination of the same, I say, it is the dutie of euerie true messager of God, to whome the truth is reueled in that behalfe. It is necessarie for everie man to open the impietie, whiche he knoweth to hurt his commonwelth. For the especiall dutie of Goddes messagers is to preache repentance, to admonishe the offenders of their offenses, and to say to the wicked, thou shalt die the death, except thou repent. This, I trust, will no man denie to be the propre office of all Goddes messagers to preache (as I haue said) repentance and remission of synnes. But nether of both can be done, except the conscience of the offenders be accused and conuicted of transgression. For howe shall any man repent not knowing wher in he hath offended? No man can repent except he knowe his synne. And where no repentance is founde, there can be no entrie to grace. And therfore I say, that of necessitie it is, that, this monstriferouse empire of women, (which amongest all enormities, that this day do abound vpon the face of the hole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openlie reueled and plainlie declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and be saued. And thus farre to the first sorte.
To such as thinke that it will be long before such doctrine come to the eares of the chief offenders, I answer that the veritie of God is of that nature, that at one time or at other, it will pourchace to it selfe audience. It is an odour and smell, that can not be suppressed, The propertie of Goddes truth. yea it is a trumpet that will sound in despite of the aduersarie. It will compell the verie ennemies to their own confusion, to testifie and beare witnesse of it. For I finde that the prophecie and preaching of Heliseus was declared in the hall of the king of Syria by the seruantes and flatterers of the same wicked king, 2. Reg.6. making mention that Heliseus declared to the king of Israel, what so euer the said king of Syria spake in his most secret chamber. And the wonderous workes of Iesus Christ were notified to Herode, Mat.14. not in any greate praise or commendation of his doctrine, but rather to signifie that Christ called that tyranne a fox: and that he did no more regarde his authoritie then did Iohn the Baptist, whom Herode before had beheaded for the libertie of his tonge. But whether the bearers of the rumors and tidinges were fauourers of Christ or flatterers of the tyranne, certain it is that the fame, as well of Christes doctrine, as of his workes came to the eares of Herod: euen so may the sounde of our weake trumpet, by the support of some wynd (blowe it from the south or blowe it from the northe it is no mater) come to the eares of the chief offenders. But whether it do or not, yet dare we not cease to blowe as God will giue strength. Rom.1. For we are debters to mo then to princes, to witte, to the multitude of our brethren, of whome, no doubte a greate nomber haue here to fore offended by errour and ignorance, geuing their suffragies, consent and helpe to establishe women in their kingdomes and empires, The ignorant multitide hath set up the authoritie of women not knowinge the danger. not vnderstanding howe abominable, odious and detestable is all such vsurped authoritie in the presence of God. And therfore must the truthe, be plainlie spoken, that the simple and rude multitude may be admonished.
And as concerning the danger, which may hereof insue, I am not altogether so brutishe and insensible, but that I haue laid mine accompt what the finishinge of the worke may coste me for mine own parte. A very dangerous thing to speake against olde errors. First, I am not ignorant howe difficile and dangerous it is to speake against a common error, especiallie when that the ambitious mindes of men and women are called to the obedience of goddes simple commandement. For to the most parte of men, laufull and godlie appeareth, what soeuer antiquitie hath receiued. And secondarilie, I looke to haue mine aduersaries not onlie of the ignorant multitude, but also of the wise, politike, and quiet spirites of this worlde, so that aswell shall suche as oght to mainteine the truth and veritie of God become ennemies to me in this case, as shall the princes and ambitious persons, who to mainteine their vniust tyrannie do alwayes studie to suppresse the same. And thus I am most certeinlie persuaded, that my labour shall not escape reprehension of many. Accomptes will be had of Goddes giftes. But because I remembre that accomptes of the talentes receiued must be made to him, who nether respecteth the multitude, nether yet approueth the wisdome, policie, peace, nor antiquitie, concluding or determining any thinge against his eternall will reueled to vs in his moste blessed worde, I am compelled to couer myne eyes, and shut vp myne eares, that I nether se the multitude, that shall withstand me in this mater, nether that I shall heare the opprobries, nor consider the dangers, which I may incurre for vttering the same. I shalbe called foolishe, curious, despitefull, and a sower of sedition: and one day parchance (althogh now I be nameles) I may be attainted of treason. The cause mouing the author to write. But seing that impossible it is, but that ether I shall offend God, dailie calling to my conscience, that I oght to manifest the veritie knowen, or elles that I shall displease the worlde for doing the same, I haue determined to obey God, not withstanding that the world shall rage therat. I knowe that the world offended (by Goddes permission) may kill the bodie, but Goddes maiestie offended, hath power to punishe bodie and soule for euer. His maiestie is offended, when that his preceptes are contemned, and his threatninges estemed to be of none effect. And amongest his manifold preceptes geuen to his prophetes, and amongest his threatninges, none is more vehement, then is that, which is pronounced to Ezechiel in these wordes: Ezech.33. Sonne of man, I haue appointed the a watchman to the house of Israel, that thou shuldest heare from my mouthe the worde, and that thou maist admonishe them plainlie, when I shall say to the wicked man: O wicked, thou shalt assuredlie die. Then if thou shalt not speake, that thou maist plainlie admonishe him, that he may leaue his wicked way, the wicked man shall die in his iniquitie, but his blood will I requier of thy hand. But and if thou shalt plainlie admonishe the wicked man, and yet he shall not turne from his way, such a one shall die in his iniquitie, but thou hast deliuered thy soule.
This precept, I say, with the threatning annexed, togither with the rest, that is spoken in the same chapter, not to Ezechiel onlie, but to euerie one, whom God placeth whatchman ouer his people and flocke, (and watchman are they whose eyes he doth open, and whose conscience he pricketh to admonishe the vngodlie) compelleth me to vtter my conscience in this mater, notwithstanding that the hole worlde shuld be offended with me for so doing. Yf any wonder, why I do concele my name, let him be assured, that the feare of corporall punishement is nether the onlie, nether the chef cause. My purpose is thrise to blowe the trumpet in the same mater, if God so permitte: For the Authors name. twise I intende to do it without name, but at the last blast, to take the blame vpon my selfe, that all others may be purged.