The Project Gutenberg eBook of The prophete Ionas with an introduccion

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Title: The prophete Ionas with an introduccion

Author: William Tyndale

Release date: March 21, 2008 [eBook #24890]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2008

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Free Elf, Louise Pryor, Early English Books
Online and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's note

The spelling and word divisions are inconsistent throughout the original. No changes have been made, but some possible typographical errors are marked with a mouse-hover like this and listed at the end of the etext.

There are no page are numbers in the original. The introduction has "The Prologe." as a running header.

The Prologe.
The Storie of the prophete Ionas.

  ¶ The prophete
Ionas / with an introducciō before teachinge to vnderstōde him and the right vse also of all the scripture / and why it was written / and what is therin to be sought / and shewenge wherewith the scripture is locked vpp that he which readeth it / can not vnderstōde it / though he studie therin neuer so moch: and agayne with what keyes it is so opened / that the reader can be stopped out with no sotilte or false doctrine of man / from the true sense and vnderstondynge therof.

    W. T. vn to the Christen reader.

As ye ēvious Philistenes stopped ye welles of Abraham ād filled them vpp with erth / to put ye memoriall out of mīde / to ye entent yt they might chalenge ye grounde: even so the fleshly mīded ypocrites stoppe vpp the vaynes of life which are in ye scripture / wt the erth of theyr tradiciōs / false similitudes & lienge allegories: & yt of like zele / to make ye scripture theyr awne possessiō & marchaundice: and so shutt vpp the kingdome of heven which is Gods worde nether enterīge in thē selues nor soferinge them that wolde.

¶ The scripture hath a body with out / ād within a soule / sprite & life. It hath wt out a barke / a shell ād as it were an hard bone for ye fleshly mynded to gnaw vppon. And within it hath pith / cornell / mary & all swetnesse for Gods electe which he hath chosen to geve them his spirite / & to write his law & ye faith of his sonne in their hertes.

¶ The scripture cōteyneth .iii. thīges in it first ye law to cōdemne all flesh: secōdaryly ye Gospell / yt is to saye / promises of mercie   for all yt repent & knowlege their sinnes at the preachīge of ye law & cōsent in their hertes that the law is good / & submitte them selues to be scolers to lern to kepe the lawe & to lerne to beleue ye mercie that is promised thē: & thridly the stories & liues of those scolars / both what chaunces fortuned thē / & also by what meanes their scolemaster taught thē and made them perfecte / & how he tried the true from the false.

¶ When ye ypocrites come to ye lawe / they put gloses to ād make no moare of it then of a worldly law which is satisfied with ye outwarde worke and which a turke maye also fulfill. Whē yet Gods law never ceaseth to cōdemne a man vntill it be written in his herte and vntill he kepe it naturally without cōpulsion & all other respecte saue only of pure love to God and his neyboure / as he naturally eateth whē he is an hongred / without cōpulsiō & all other respecte / saue to slake his hongre only.

¶ And whē they come to the Gospell / there they mīgle their leuen & saye / God now receaueth vs no moare to mercie / but of     mercie receaueth vs to penaunce / that is to wete / holy dedes yt make them fatt belies & vs their captiues / both in soule and body. And yet they fayne theyr Idole ye Pope so mercifull / yt if thou make a litle money glister in his Balams eyes / there is nether penaunce ner purgatory ner any fastīge at all but to fle to heven as swefte as a thought and at the twinkellynge of an eye.

¶ And the liues stories and gestes of men which are cōtayned in the bible / they reade as thīges no moare perteynīge vn to thē / then a take of Robī hode / & as thīges they wott not wherto they serue / saue to fayne false discāt & iuglinge allegories / to stablish their kingdome with all. And one ye chefest & fleshliest studie they have / is to magnifie ye sayntes aboue measure & aboue ye trueth & with their poetrie to make them greater then euer God make them. And if they finde any infirmite or synne asscribed vn to ye saintes / that they excuse with all diligēce / diminushīge the glorie of ye mercie of God & robbinge wretched sinners of all theyr cōforte / & thinke therby to flater the sayntes   and to obtayne their fauoure & to make speciall aduocates of thē: even as a man wold obtayne ye fauoure of wordely tirantes: as they also fayne the saintes moch moare cruell then ever was any heathē man & moare wrekefull and vengeable then ye poetes faine their godes or their furies yt torment ye soules in hell / if theyr euēs be not fasted & their images visited & saluted wyth a Pater noster (whych prayer only oure lippes be accoynted with oure hertes vnderstōdinge none at all) and worsheped wt a candell & ye offerīge of oure deuociō/ in ye place which thei haue chosen to heare ye supplicaciōs & meke peticiōs of their clientes therin.

¶ But thou reader thīke of ye law of God how yt it is all to gether spirituall / & so spirituall yt it is neuer fulfilled wt dedes or werkes / vntill they flow out of thyne herte wt as greate loue toward thy neyboure / for no deseruīge of his ye though he be thine enimie / as Christ loued ye ād did for the / for no deseruīge of thyne / but evē whē thou wast his enimie. And in ye meane time / thoroute all our infancie & childhod in Christ / tyll     we be growen vpp in to perfecte men in the full knowlege of christ & full loue of christ agayne & of oure neyboures for his sake / after ye ensample of his loue to vs / rembenbir that ye fulfillynge of ye law is / a fast fayth in christes bloud coupled wt our professiō & submyttīge our selues to lerne to doo better.

¶ And of ye Gospell or promises which thou metest in ye scripture / beleue fast yt God will fulfill them vn to ye / and that vn to ye vttemost Iott / at the repentaunce of thyne herte / whē thou turnest to hym & forsakest euell / even of his goodnesse & fatherly mercie vn to the / ād not for thy flatterīge hym with ypocritish workes of thyne awne fayninge. So yt a fast faith only with out respecte of all workes / is the forgeuenesse both of the synne which we did in tyme of ignoraunce with luste ād cōsent to synne / & also of all the synne which we doo by chaunce & of frailte / after yt we are come to knowlege ād have professed ye law out of oure hertes. And all dedes serue only for to helpe oure neyboures & to tame oure flesh that we fall not to synne agayne / & to exercice oure soules   in vertue / & not to make satisfaction to Godward for ye synne yt is once paste.

¶ And all other stories of ye bible / with out excepciō / are ye practisinge of ye law & of the Gospell / and are true and faitfull ensamples & sure erneste yt God will euen so deale with vs / as he did with thē / in all infirmities / in all temptaciōs / & in all like cases & chaunces. Wherin ye se on ye one syde / how fatherly & tendirly & with all cōpassion god entreateth his electe which submitte them selues as scolers / to lerne to walke in the wayes of his lawes / & to kepe thē of loue. If they forgatt thē selues at a time & wēt astraye / he sought thē out & sett thē agayne with all mercie. If they fell & hurte thē selues / he healed thē agayne with all compassion & tendernesse of hert. He hath ofte brought greate tribulation & aduersite vppon his electe: but all of fatherly loue only / to teach thē & to make them se their awne hertes & ye sinne yt there laye hid / that they might aftirwarde feale his mercie. For his mercie wayted vppon thē / to rid them out agayne / assone as they ware lerned & come     to ye knowlege of their awne hertes: so that he neuer cast man awaye how depe so euer he had sinned / saue thē ōly which had first cast ye yocke of his lawes frō their neckes / with vtter diffiaunce & malice of herte.

Which ensamples how cōfortable are they for vs / whē we be fallen in to sinne & God is come vppō vs with a scorge / yt we dispeare not / but repēt with full hope of mercie after ye ensamples of mercie yt are gone before: And therfore they were written for our lernīge / as testifieth Paul Ro. xv. to cōforte vs / yt we might ye better put oure hope & trust in God / whē we se / how mercifull he hath bene in tymes past vn to our weake brethern yt are gone before / in all theyr aduersities / neade / temptaciōs / ye & horrible synnes in to which they now & then fell.

¶ And on ye other side ye se how they yt hardened their hertes & synned of malice & refused mercie yt was offered thē & had no power to repēt / perished at ye later ende with all confusion & shame mercilessely. Which ensamples are very good & necessary / to kepe vs in awe & dreade in tyme of prosperite   as thou maist se by Paul. j. Cor. x. that we abyde in the feare of God / & wax not wild and fall to vanities ād so synne ād prouoke God and bringe wrath vppon vs.

¶ And thridly ye se in that practise / how as god is mercifull & longesoferynge / euen so were all his true prophetes & prechers / beringe the infirmities of their weake brethern & their awne wrōges & iniuries with all paciēce & longesoferinge / neuer castinge any of thē of their backes / vn tyll they synned agenst ye holygost / maliciously persecutinge ye open & manifest trouth: cōtrary vn to the ensample of ye Pope / which in sinninge agenst God & to quench ye trueth of his holy spirite / is euer chefe captayne and trōpetblower / to sett other awerke / ād seketh only his awne fredome / liberte / priuilege / welth / prosperite / profite / pleasure / pastyme / honoure & glorie / with ye bondage / thraldome / captiuite / miserie / wretchednesse & vile subiectiō of his brethern: & in his awne cause is so feruent / so steffe & cruell / that he will not sofre one word spoken agenst his false magiste / wily inuenciōs ād iuglynge   ypocrisie to be vnaduēged / thongh all christendome shuld be sett to gether by the eares / and shuld cost he cared not how many hundred thousande their lives.

Now yt thou mayst reade Ionas frutefully & not as a poetis fable / but as an obligacō betwene God and thy soule / as an ernist peny geuen ye of God / yt he wil helpe ye in time of nede / if thou turne to him ād as the word of god ye only fode ād life of thy soule / this marke & note. First count Ionas the frend of god ād a man chosen of god to testifie his name vn to ye worlde: but yet a younge scolar / weake & rude / after ye faciō of ye appostles / while Christ was yet with them bodyly. Which though Christ taught thē euer to be meke & to vmble thē selues / yet oft stroue amonge them selues who shuld be greatest. The sonnes of Zebede wold sitt / the one on the right hōde of Christ ād the other on ye lifte. They wold praye / that fire might descēde from heuen / and consume the Samaritanes.

¶ Whē Christ axed who saye men that I am / Peter answered / thou arte the sonne   of the lyuinge God / as though Peter had bene as perfecte as an angell. But immediatly after / when Christ preached vn to thē of his deeth & passiō / Peter was angre & rebuked Christe & thought ernestly yt he had raued & not wist what he sayde: as at a nother time / when Christ was so feruētly busied in healinge ye people / yt he had not leyser to eate / they went out to holde him / supposinge that he had bene besyde him selfe. Ande one yt cast out deuels in Christes name / they forbade / because he wayted not on them / so glorious were they yet.

¶ And though christ taughte all waye to forgeue / yet peter after longe goenge to scole / axed wether men shuld forgeue .vij. tymes / thynkinge yt .viij. tymes had bene to moch. And at ye last soper Peter wold have died with christe / but yet within fewe howres after / he denied hym / both cowardly & shamefully. And after ye same maner / though he had so lōge herd that nomā might auenge him selfe / but rather turne ye other cheke to / then to smyte agayne / yet when Christ was in takīge / peter axed whether   it were lawfull to smyte with ye swerde / ād taried none answere / but layed on rashly. So that though when we come first vn to ye knowlege of the trueth / and the peace is made betwene God & vs / & we loue his lawes & beleue & trust in hym / as in oure father & haue good hertes vn to him & be born anew in ye sprite: yet we are but childern ād younge scolars weake & foble & must have leysar to grow in ye spirite / in knowlege / loue & in ye dedes therof / as younge childern must have tyme to grow in their bodies.

¶ And God oure father & scolemaster fedeth vs & teached vs accordinge vn to the capacite of oure stomakes / & maketh vs to grow & waxe perfecte / & fineth vs & trieth vs as gold / in ye fire of temptaciōs & tribulations. As Moses wittneseth Deutero. viij. sayēge: Remēber all ye waye by which ye lord thy God caried ye this .xl. yeres in ye wildernesse / to vmble the & to tēpte or proue the / yt it might be knowen what were in thine hert. He brougt the in to aduersite & made ye an hongred / & then feed ye with mā which nether thou ner yet thi fathers euer   knew of / to teach ye that a mā liueth not by bred only / but by all that proceadeth out of the mouth of God. For ye promises of god are life vn to all yt cleaue vn to thē / moch moare thē is bred & bodyly sustinaunce: as ye iourney of ye childern of Israel out of egypte in to ye londe promised them / ministreth the notable ensamples & yt aboundātly / as doeth all ye rest of the bible also. How be it / it is impossible for flesh to beleue & to trust in ye trueth of gods promises / vntyll he haue lerned it in moch tribulacion / after that God hath deliuered hī out therof agayne.

¶ God therfore to teach Ionas & to shew him his awne hert & to make him perfecte & to enstructe vs also bi his ensample / sent him out of ye lande of Israel where he was a prophete / to goo amonge ye heathē people & to ye greatest & mightiest citie of ye world thē / called Niniue: to preache yt within .xl. dayes they shuld all perish for their sinnes & that ye citie shuld be ouerthrowē. Which message ye frewil of Ionas had as moch power to doo / as the weakest herted womā in the world hath power / if she were cōmaunded /   to leppe in to a tobbe of lyuinge snakes & edders: as happely if God had cōmaunded Sara to haue sacrificed hir sonne Isaac / as he did Abrahā / she wold haue disputed with hī yer she had done it / or though she were strōge ynough / yet many an holy seint coud not haue found in their hertes / but wold haue disobeyed ād haue runne awaye frō ye presens of ye cōmaūdemēt of god wt Ionas if thei had bene so strōgly tēpted.

¶ For Ionas thought of this maner: loo / I am here a prophete vn to Gods people the Israelites. Which though they haue gods word testified vn to them dayly / yet dispice it & worshepe God vnder ye likenesse of calues & after all maner facions saue after his awne worde / & therfore are of all naciōs ye worst & most worthy of punishment. And yet god for loue of few yt are amonge them & for his names sake spareth them & defendeth them. How thē shuld god take so cruell vengeaunce on so greate a multitude of them to whome his name was neuer preached to ād therfore are not ye tenth parte so euel as these? If I shal therfore goo preach   so shall I lye & shame my selfe & God therto and make them the moare to dispice god and sett the lesse by him ād to be the moare cruell vn to his people.

¶ And vppon that imaginaciō he fled frō the face or presens of God: that is / out of ye contre where God was worsheped in & frō prosecutynge of Gods cōmaundemēt / and thought / I wyll gett me a nother waye amonge ye hethen people & be no moare a prophete / but lyue at rest & out of all cōbraunce. Neuer ye lesse the god of all mercie which careth for his electe childern & turneth all vn to good to them & smiteth thē to heale them agayne & killeth thē to make thē aliue agayne / & playeth with thē (as a father doth some tyme with his yoūge ignoraunt childern) & tempteth them & proueth them to make them se theyr awne hertes / prouided for Ionas / how all thinge shuld be.

¶ When Ionas was entered in to the sheppe / he layed him downe to slepe ād to take his rest: that is / his cōscience was tossed betwene the cōmaudemēt of God which sent him to Niniue / & his fleshly wisdome that     dissuaded & counseled hym ye cōtrary & at ye last preualed agēst ye cōmaundemēt & caried hym a nother waye / as a sheppe caught betwene .ii. streames / & as poetes faine the mother of Meliager to be betwene diuers affectiōs / while to aduēge hir brothers deeth / she sought to sle hir awne sonne. Where vppon for very payne & tediousnesse / he laye downe to slepe / for to put ye cōmaundement which so gnew & freate his cōscience / out of minde / as ye nature of all weked is / whē they haue sinned a good / to seke al meanes with riot / reuell & pastyme / to driue ye remenbraunce of synne out of their thoughtes or as Adā did / to couer their nakednesse with aporns of pope holy workes. But God awoke hym out of his dreame / and sett his synnes before his face.

¶ For when ye Lott had caught Ionas / thē be sure yt his synnes came to remēbraunce agayne & that his conscience raged no lesse thē ye waues of the se. And thē he thought that he only was a sinner & ye hethen that ware in ye shepp none in respecte of him / ad thought also / as veryly as he was fled frō   god / that as verily god had cast hī awaye: for ye sight of ye rod maketh ye natural child not ōly to se & to knowlege his faulte / but also to forgett all his fathers olde mercie & kindnesse. And then he cōfessed his synne openly & had yet leuer perish alone thē yt ye other shuld haue perished with him for his sake: and so of very desperacion to haue liued any lenger / bad cast him in to ye see betymes / excepte they wold be lost also.

¶ To speake of lottes / how ferforth they are lawfull / is a light questiō. First to vse thē for the breakinge of strife / as when partenars / their goodes as equally diuided as they cā / take euery mā his parte by lott / to auoyde all suspiciō of disceytfulnesse: & as ye appostles in ye first of ye Actes / whē they sought a nother to succede Iudas the traytoure / & .ii. persones were presentes / thē to breake strife & to satisfie al parties / did cast lotttes / wheter shuld be admitted / desirynge god to teper thē & to take whō he knew most mete / seynge they wist not wheter to preferre / or haply coude not all agre on ether / is lawfull ad in all like cases. But to     abuse them vn to ye temptinge of God & to cōpell him therwith to vtter thinges wherof we stōd in doute / when we haue no commaundemēt of him so to do / as these hethē here dyd / though God turned it vn to his glorie / can not be but euell.

¶ The hethen scepmē asstonied at ye sight of ye miracle / feared God / prayed to him / offered sacrifice & vowed vowes. And I doute not / but that some of thē or haply all came therby vn to the true knowlege & true worshepinge of God & ware wōne to God in theyr soules. And ys God which is infinite mercifull in all his wayes / wrought their soules health out of ye infirmite of Ionas / euen of his good will & purpose & loue wherewith he loued them before the world was made / & not of chaunce / as it appereth vn to the eyes of the ignoraunt.

¶ And that Ionas was .iii. dayes & .iii. nightes in the bely of his fish: we cā not therby proue vn to te Iewes & īfideles or vn to any man / yt Christ must therfore dye ād be buried & rise agayne. But we vse ye ensample ād likenesse to strength the faith of the   weake. For he that beleaueth the one can not doute in ye other: in as moch as the hād of God was no lesse mightie in preseruīge Ionas aliue agenst all naturall possibilite & in deliuerynge hī safe out of his fish / thē in reysynge vpp Christe agayne out of his sepulchre. And we maye describe ye power & vertue of ye resurrecciō therby / as Christ hī selfe boroweth ye similitude therto Mat. xij. sayēge vn to ye Iewes that came aboute him & desyred a signe or a wōder frō heuen to certifye thē that he was christ: this euell & wedlockebreakīge naciō (which breake ye wedlocke of faith wherwith they be maried vn to God / ād beleue in their false workes) seke a signe / but there shal no signe be geuen thē saue ye signe of the Prophete Ionas. For as Ionas was .iij. dayes ād iij. nightes in the bely of the whale / euē so shall the sonne of man be .iij. dayes & .iij. nyghtes in the herte of the erth. Which was a watch word / as we saye / & a sharpe threateninge vn to ye Iewes & as moch to saye as thus / ye harde herted Iewes seke a signe: loo / thys shalbe youre sygne / as Ionas     was reysed out of the sepulchre of his fishe & then sent vn to the Niniuites to preach yt they shuld perish / euen so shall I ryse agayne out of my sepulchre & come & preach repentaunce vn to you. Se therfore when ye se ye signe that ye repēt or else ye shal suerly perish & not escape. For though the infirmities which ye now se ī my flesh be a lett vn to youre faythes / ye shall yet then be with out excuse / when ye se so greate a miracle & so greate power of god shed out vppō you. And so Christe came agayne after ye resurrecciō / in his spirite & preached repētaunce vn to them / by the mouth of his appostles & disciples / & with miracles of ye holy gost. And all that repented not perished shortly after ād were for ye most parte slayne with swerde ād ye rest caried awaye captiue in to all quarters of the world for an ensample / as ye se vn to this daye.

¶ And in lyke maner sens the world beganne / where soeuer repentaunce was offered and not receaued / there God toke cruell vengeaunce immediatly: as ye se in ye floud of Noe / in the ouerthrowēge of Sodō   & Gomor & all the contre aboute: & as ye se of Egipte / of the Amorites / Cananites & afterwarde of the very Israelites / & then at the last of the Iewes to / ād of the Assyriens and Babyloniens and so thorout all the imperes of the world.

¶ Gyldas preached repētaunce vn to ye olde Britaynes that inhabited englōd: they repented not / & therfore God sent in theyr enimies vppō thē on euery side & destroyed thē vpp & gaue the lōd vn to other naciōs. And greate vengeaunce hath bene takē in that lande for synne sens that tyme.

¶ Wicleffe preached repētaunce vn to oure fathers not longe sens: they repēted not for their hertes were indurat & theyr eyes blinded with their awne Pope holy rightwesnesse wherwith they had made theyr soules gaye agenst the receauinge agayne of ye weked spirite that bringeth .vii. worse then hym selfe with him & maketh ye later ende worse then the beginninge: for in open sinnes there is hope of repentaunce / but in holy ypocrisie none at all. But what folowed? they slew their true & right kinge ād     sett vpp .iii. wrōge kīges arow / vnder which all the noble bloud was slayne vpp ād halfe the comēs therto / what in fraunce & what with their awne swerde / in fightīge amonge thē selues for ye crowne / & ye cities and townes decayed and the land brought halfe in to a wyldernesse in respecte of that it was before.

¶ And now Christ to preach repētaunce / is resen yet ōce agayne out of his sepulchre in which the pope had buried him and kepte him downe with his pilars and polaxes and all disgysinges of ypocrisie / with gyle / wiles and falshed / ād with the swerd of al princes which he had blynded with his false marchaundice. And as I dowte not of ye ensamples that are past / so am I sure that greate wrath will folow / excepte repētaunce turne it backe agayne and cease it.

¶ When Ionas had bene in te fishes bely a space & the rage of his conscience was somewhat quieted ād swaged and he come to him selfe agayne and had receaued a lytle hope / the qualmes & panges of desperaciō which went ouer hys hert / halfe ouercome /   he prayed / as he maketh menciō in the texte sayēge: Ionas prayed vn to the lord his god out of the bely of the fishe. But the wordes of that prayer are not here sett. The prayer yt here stondeth in the texte / is the prayer of prayse & thākesgeuēge which he prayed and wrote when he was escaped and past all ieopardie.

¶ In the end of which prayer he sayth / I will sacrifice with the voyce of thankesgeuenge and paye that I haue vowed / that sauinge cometh of the lorde. For verely to cōfesse out of the herte / that all benefites come of God / euen out of the goodnesse of his mercie and not deseruinge of oure dedes / is the only sacrifice that pleaseth God. And to beleue that god only is the sauer / is the thynge that all the Iewes vowed in theyr circumcision / as we in oure baptim. Which vowe Ionas now tawght with experiēce / promiseth to paye. For those outwarde sacrifices of bestes / vn to which Ionas had haply asscribed to moch before / were but feble & childish thinges & not ordeyned / that the workes of thē selues shuld be a seruice     vn to god / but vn to the people / to put thē in remembraunce of this inwarde sacrifice of thankes & of faith to trust and beleue in God the only sauer. Which significacion when was awaye / they were abhominable and deuellysh ydolatrye and imageseruice: as oure ceremonies and sacramentes are become now to all that trust & beleue in the werke of them and ar not taught the significacions / to edifye theyr soules with knowlege and the doctrine of God.

¶ When Ionas was cast vppō lond agayne / then his will was fre ād had power to goo whother God sent him & to doo what God bade / his awne imaginacions layed a parte. For he had bene at a new scole / ye ād in a fornace where he was purged of moch refuse & droshe of fleshly wisdome / which resisted ye wisdome of god & led Ionases wil cōtrary vn to ye will of god. For as ferre as we be blynd in Adam / we can not but seke & will oure awne profitt / pleasure & glorie. And as ferre as we be taughte in the sprite / we can not but seke & wyll the pleasure and glorie of God only.

  ¶ And as for the .iij. dayes iourney of Niniue / whether it were in length or to goo rounde aboute it or thorow all the stretes / I cōmitte vn to the discreciō of other men. But I thinke that it was then the greatest citie of the world.

¶ And that Ionas wēt a dayes iourney in the citie / I suppose he did it not in one daye: but wēt fayre & easyly preachīge here a sermon & there a nother & rebuked the synne of the people for which they must perishe.

¶ And when thou art come vn to the repētaunce of the Niniuites / there hast thou sure ernest / that how soeuer angre god be / yet he remembreth mercie vn to all that truly repent and beleue in mercie. Which ensample oure sauioure Christ also casteth in the teeth of the indurat Iewes sayenge: the Niniuites shall rise in iudgemēt with this nation and condemne them / for they repented at the preachynge of Ionas / and beholde a greater thē Ionas here / meanynge of hym selfe. At whose preachinge yet / though it were neuer so mightie to perce the herte / & for all his miracles therto / the hard herted   Iewes coude not repent: when the heathen Niniuites repented at the bare preachynge of Ionas rebukinge theyr synnes with out any miracle at all.

¶ Why? for ye Iewes had leuēded the spirituall law of God and with theyr gloses had made it all to gether erthie ād fleshly / and so had sett a vayle or coueringe on Moses face / to shodowe and darken ye glorious brightnesse of his contenaunce. It was synne to stele: but to robbe wedowes howses vnder a coloure of longe prayēge / & to polle in the name of offeringes / and to snare ye people with intollerable cōstitucions agēst all loue / to ketch theyr money out of theyr purses / was no synne at all.

¶ To smyte father ād mother was synn: But to withdraw helpe frō them at theyr nede / for blynde zele of offeringe / vn to the profytt of the holy phareses / was then as meritorious as it is now to let all thy kynne chose wheter they will synke or sweme / while thou byldest and makest goodly fundatiōs for holy people which thou hast chosen to be thy christe / for to sowple thy soule   with the oyle of theyr swete blessynges / & to be thy Iesus for to saue thy soule from ye purgatory of the bloud that only purgeth synne / with theyr watchīge / fastīge / wolward goinge & rysynge at mydnyght etc. where wyth yet they purge not them selues from theyr couetousnesse / pryde / lechury or any vyce that thou seyst amonge the laye people.

¶ It was greate synne for Christ to heale the people on the sabboth daye vn to the glorie of God hys father / but none at all for them to helpe theyr catell vnto theyr awne profett.

¶ It was synne to eate wyth vnwashen handes or on an vnwashen table / or out of an vnwashen dish: but to eate out of that purifyed dysh that which came of brybery / theft & extorsion / was no synne at all.

¶ It was exceadynge meritorious to make many dyscyples: But to teach them to feare God in hys ordynaunces / had they no care at all.

¶ The hye prelates so defended the ryght of holy church ād so feared the people with   the curse of God & terreble paynes of hell / that no man durst leaue the vilest herke in hys gardeyne vntythed. And the offerynge and thynges dedycat vn to God for the profitt of hys holy vycars where in soch estymacion and reuerēce / that it was moch greater synne to sweare truly by them / thē to forswere thy selfe by God: what vengeaunce then of God / and how terreble and cruell damnacion thynke ye preached they to fall on thē that had stolen soch holy thīges? And yet sayth Christ / that ryghtwesnesse ād faith in kepynge promise / mercie and indyfferent iudgement were vtturly troden vnder fote and cleane dispysed of those blessed fathers / whych so mightely mayntened Arons patrimony ād had mad it so prosperous ād enuironed it and walled it aboute on euery syde with ye feare of god / that noman durst twech it.

¶ It was greate holynesse to garnysh ye sepulchres of ye prophetes & to cōdemne their awne fathers for sleynge of them: and yet were they thē selues for blinde zele of their awne cōstituciōs / as ready as their fathers   to sle whosoeuer testified vn to them / the same trueth which the prophetes testified vn to theyr fathers. So that Christ cōpareth all the rightwesnesse of those holy patriarkes vn to the outwarde bewtye of a paynted sepulchre full of stench and all vn clennesse wythyn.

¶ And finally to begyld a mans neyboure in sotle bargeninge and to wrappe and cōpase him in with cauteles of the law / was then as it is now in the kingdome of ye Pope. By the reason where of they excluded the law of loue out of theyr hertes / ād cōsequētly all true repentaunce: for how coude they repēt of yt they coude not se to be sinne?

¶ And on the other syde they had sett vpp a rightwesnesse of holy workes / to clense theyr soules with all: as the Pope sanctifieth vs with holy oyle / holy bred / holy salt / holy candels / holy dome ceremonies ād holy dome blessynges / and with what soever holynesse thou wilt saue with the holynes of Gods worde which only speaketh vn to the herte and sheweth the soule hir filthynesse and vnclennesse of synne / and leadeth   hir by ye waye of repentaunce vn to ye fountayne of Christes bloude to washe it awaye thorow faith. By the reason of which false rightwesnesse they were dysobedient vn to the rightwesnesse of God / which is the forgeuenesse of synne in Christes bloude and coude not beleue it. And so thorow fleshly interpretynge the law ād false imagined rightwesnesse / their hertes were hardened ād made as stony as clay in an hote furnace of fire / that they coude receaue nether repentaunce ner faith or any moyster of grace at all.

¶ But the hethen Niniuites / though they were blynded with lustes a good / yet were in thofe .ii. poyntes vncorrupte and vnhardened / & therfore with the only preachinge of Ionas came vn to the knowlege of their synnes and confessed them & repented truly & turned euery man from his euell dedes & declared theyr sorow of hert & true repentaunce / with theyr dedes which they dyd out of faith & hope of forgeuenesse / chastysinge their bodies with prayer & fastinge & with takinge all pleasures from the flesh:   trustynge / as god was angre for their wekedness / even so shuld he forgeue them of hys mercye / yf they repēted & forsoke their mysse lyuinge.

¶ And in the last ende of all / thou hast yet a goodly ensample of lernynge / to se how erthye Ionas is styll for all hys tryenge in the whales bely. He was so sore displeased because the Niniuites perished not / that he was wery of hys lyfe and wished after the deeth for very sorow & payne / that he had loost the glorie of his prophesienge / in that his prophesie come not to passe. But god rebuked him with a likenesse sayenge: it greueth thyne hert for the losse of a vile shrobbe or spraye / wheron thou bestoweddest no loboure or cost / nether was it thyne handwerke. How moch moare then shuld greue myne herte / the losse of so greate a multitude of innocētes as are in Niniue / which are all myne handes werke. Nay Ionas / I am God ouer all / and father as well vn to the hethen as vn to the Iewes ād mercifull to all and warne yer I smyte: nether threte I so cruelly by any prophete / but that I wyll     forgeue yf they repent ād ax mercie: nether on the other syde / what soeuer I promyse / wyll I fulfyll it / saue for theyr sakes only whych trust in me and submitte them selues to kepe my lawes of very loue / as naturall chyldern.

On thys maner to read ye scripture is ye right vse therof & why ye holy gost caused it to be writtē. That is yt thou first seke out ye law / what god will haue the to doo / interpretinge it spiritually with out glose or coueringe the brightnesse of Moses face / so yt thou fele in thyne hert / how that it is damnable synne before god / not to loue they neyboure that is thyne enimie / as puerly as Christ loued the / and yt not to loue thy neyboure in thyne herte / is to haue cōmitted all ready all synne agenst him. And therfore vn tyll that loue become / thou must knowlege vnfaynedly that there is synne in the best dede thou doest. And it must ernestly greue thyne hert and thou must washe all thy good dedes in christes bloude / yer they can be pure and an acceptable sacrifice vn to God / and must desire   god ye father for his sake / to take thi dedes aworth & to pardō ye imperfectenesse of them / & to geue the power to doo thē better and with moare feruent loue.

¶ And on the other syde thou must serch diligently for the promises of mercie which God hath promised the agayne. Which .ii. poyntes / that is to wete / ye lawe spiritually interpreted / how that all is dānable synne that is not vnfayned loue out of the grownde and botom of the herte after the ensample of Christes loue to vs / because we be all equally created ād formed of one god oure father / and indifferently bought & redemed with one bloud of oure sauioure Iesus Christe: ād that the promises be geuen vn to a repentynge soule that thursteth and longeth after them / of the pure and fatherly mercie of god thorow oure faith onely with oute al deseruinge of oure dedes or merites of oure werkes / but for Christes sake alone and for the merites ād deseruinges of his werkes / deth and passions that he sofered all to gether for vs & not for him selfe: whych .ii. poyntes I saye / if they be     written in thine herte / are the keyes which so open all the scripture vn to the / that no creature can locke the out / and with which thou shalt goo in and out / and finde pasture and fode euery where. And yf these lesons be not writtten in thyne herte / then is all the scripture shutt vpp / as a cornell in the shale / so that thou mayst read it and comen of it and reherse all the stories of it and dispute sotilly and be a profounde sophister / and yet vnderstond not one Iot therof.

¶ And thridly that thou take the stories & liues which are cōteyned in the bible / for sure ād vndowted ensamples / yt God so will deale with vs vn to the worldes ende.

¶ Here with Reader farewell and be commended vn to God / and vn to the grace of hys spryte. And first se that thou stoppe not thyne eares vn to the callynge of god / and that thou harden not thine herte begyled with fleshly interpretinge of the law & false imagined and ypocritish rightwesnesse / and so the Niniuites ryse with the at ye day of iudgement & condemne the.

  ¶ And secōdarily if thou finde ought amisse / when thou seyst thy selfe in the glasse of Gods worde / thynke it cōpendious wisdome / to amende ye same betymes / moneshed & warned by the ensample of other men / rather thē to tary vntill thou be beten also.

¶ And thridly if it shall so chaunce / that ye wild lustes of thy flesh shall blynd the and carie the cleane awaye with them for a tyme: yet at the later ende / when ye god of all mercie shall haue compased the in on euery syde with tēptaciōs / tribulacions / aduersities & cōbraunce / to bringe ye home agayne vn to thyne awne herte / & to set thy sinnes wich thou woldest so fayne couer & put out of mynd with delectaciō of voluptuous pastymes / before ye eyes of thy cōscience: then call ye faithfull ensample of Ionas & all lyke stories vn to thy remēbraunce / ād with Ionas turne vn to thi father that smote ye: not to cast ye awaye / but to laye a corosie ād a freatīge playster vn to ye pocke that laye hid & fret inwarde / to draw ye disease out & to make it appere / yt thou mightest feale thy seckenes & ye daunger therof & come & receaue     the healynge playster of mercie.

¶ And forget not yt what soeuer ensample of mercie god hath shewed sens ye beginninge of ye world / the same is promised the / yf thou wilt in like maner turne agayne and receaued it as they dyd. And with Ionas be aknowen of thy synne & cōfesse it & knowlege it vn to thy father.

¶ And as ye law which freteth thy cōscience / is in thyne herte & is none outwarde thīge / evē so seke within in thine herte / ye playster of mercie / the promyses of forgeuenesse in oure sauioure Iesus Christe / accordinge vn to all the ensamples of mercie that are gonne before.

¶ And with Ionas let thē that wayte on vanities & seke god here & there & in euery tēple saue in their hertes goo / & seke thou ye testamēt of god in thyne hert. For in thyne hert is the worde of ye law / & in thyne hert is ye worde of fayth in the promises of mercie in Iesus Christe. So that yf thou cōfesse with a repentynge herte & knowlege ād surely beleue yt Iesus is lorde ouer all synne / thou art saffe.

  ¶ And finally when the rage of thy cōscience is ceased and quieted with fast faith in the promises of mercie / then offer with Ionas the offeringe of prayse and thankesgeuinge / & paye the vowe of thy baptim / that God only saueth / of his ōly mercie & goodnesse: that is / beleue stedfastly & preach cōstantly / that it is God only that smyteth / and God only that healeth: ascribynge ye cause of thy tribulation vn to thyne awne synne / and ye cause of thy deliueraunce vn to the mercie of God.

¶ And be ware of the leuē yt saith we haue power in oure fre will before ye preachinge of ye Gospell / to deserue grace / to kepe ye law / of cōgruite / or god to be vnrightwesse. And saie with Ihon in the first / yt as ye law was geuē by Moses / euē so grace to fulfill it / is geuē by christe. And whē they saye oure dedes with grace deserue heuen / saye thou wt Paule Ro. vj. yt euerlastīge life is the gifte of god thorow Iesus Christ oure lorde / & yt we be made sonnes by faith Ihon. j. & therfore heyres of god with christ Ro. viij. And saye that we receaue al of god thorow faith     that foloweth repentaunce / & yt we doo not oure werkes vn to god / but ether vn to oure selues / to sley ye sinne that remayneth in ye flesh & to waxe perfecte / ether vn to oure neyboures which doo as moch for vs agayne in some other thīges. And whē a mā exceadeth in giftes of grace / let hī vnderstōde that they be geuē him / as wel for his weake brethern / as for him selfe: as though all the bred be cōmitted vn to the panter / yet for his felowes with hym / which geue the thankes vn to theyr lorde / and recompence the panter agayne with other kynde seruice in theyr offices. And when they saye that Christ hath made no satisfaccion for the synne we doo after oure baptym: saye thou wyth the doctrine of Paule / that in oure baptym we receaue the merytes of Christes deeth thorow repentaunce and fayth of which two / baptim is the sygne. And though when we synne of frailtie after oure baptym we receaue the sygne no moare / yet we be renewed agayne thorow repentaunce and faith in Christes bloude / whych twayne / the sygne of baptym ever   contynved amonge vs in baptisynge oure younge childern doeth euer kepe in mynde and call vs backe agayne vn to oure profession if we be gonne astraye / & promiseth vs forgeuenesse. Nether can actuall synne be washed awaye with oure werkes / but with Christes bloude: nether can there be any other sacrifice or satisfaccion to Godward for them / saue Christes bloude. For as moch as we can doo no werkes vnto God / but receaue only of his mercie with oure repentynge fayth / thorow Iesus Christe oure lorde and only sauer: vnto whom & vn to God oure father thorow him / and vn to hys holy spirite / that only purgeth / sanctifieth & washeth vs in the innocēt bloude of oure redemption / be prayse for ever AMEN.

    ¶ The Storie of the prophete Ionas.

The first Chapter.

The worde of the lorde came vn to the prophete Ionas ye sonne of Amithai sayenge: ryse & gett the to Niniue that greate citie & preach vn to thē / how that theyr wekednesse is come vpp before me.

¶ And Ionas made hī ready to fle to Tharsis frō the presens of ye lorde / & gatt hym downe to Ioppe / and founde there a sheppe ready to goo to Tharsis / & payed his fare / & wēt aborde / to goo with them to Tharsis frō the presens of the lorde.

¶ But ye lorde hurled a greate winde in to ye se / so that there was a myghtie tēpest in the se: in so moch yt the shepp was lyke to goo in peces. And the mariners were afrayed & cried euery man vn to his god / & cast out ye goodes yt were in ye sheppe in to ye se / to lighten it of thē. But Ionas gatt him vnder the hatches & layed him downe and slombrede. And ye master of the sheppe came to him & sayd vn to hī / why slomberest thou? vpp! & call vn to thy god / that God maye thinke on vs / that we perish not.

  ¶ And they sayde one to a nother / come & lett vs cast lottes / to know for whose cause we are thus troublede. And they cast lottes. And ye lott fell vppon Ionas.

¶ Thē they said vnto hī / tel vs for whose cause we are thus trowbled: what is thine occupaciō / whence comest thou / how is thy cōtre called / & of what nacion art thou?

¶ And he answered thē / I am an Ebrue: & the lord God of heuen which made both se and drie land / I feare. Then were the men exceadingly afrayd & sayd vn to him / why diddest thou so? For they knew that he was fled from the presens of the lorde / because he had told them.

¶ Then they sayd vn to hym / what shall we doo vnto the / that the se maye cease frō trowblinge vs? For the se wrought & was trowblous. And he answered them / take me and cast me in to the se / & so shall it lett you be in reste: for I wotte / is is for my sake / that this greate tempest is come oppon you. Neuerthelesse the men assayed wyth rowenge to bringe the sheppe to lande: but it wold not be / because the se so wrought &   was so trowblous agenst them. Wherefore they cried vn to the lorde & sayd: O lorde latt vs not perih for this mans deeth / nether laye innocēt bloud vn to oure charge: for thou lorde even as thy pleasure was / so thou hast done.

¶ And thē they toke Ionas / & cast hī in to ye se / & the se left ragynge. And ye men feared the lorde excedingly: & sacrificed sacrififice vn to the lorde: and vowed vowes.

¶ The seconde Chapter.

But ye lorde prepared a greate fyshe / to swalow vp Ionas. And so was Ionas in ye bowels of ye fish .iij. dayes & .iij. nightes. And Ionas prayed vnto ye lord his god out of ye bowels of the fish.

¶ And he sayde: in my tribulacion I called vn to the lorde / and he answered me: out of the bely of hell I cried / ād thou herdest my voyce. For thou hadest cast me downe depe in the middes of the se: & the floud cōpased me aboute: and all thy waues & rowles of water wēt ouer me: & I thought yt I had bene cast awaye out of thy sight. But I will yet agayne loke towarde thy holy temple.   The water cōpased me euē vn to the very soule of me: the depe laye aboute me: ād the wedes were wrappte aboude myne heed. And I wēt downe vn to the botome of the hylles / and was barredin with erth on euery syde for euer. And yet thou lorde my God broughest vp my life agayne out of corrupcion. When my soule faynted in me / I thought on the lorde: & my prayer came in vn to the / even in to thy holy temple. They yt obserue vayne vanities / haue forsakē him that was mercifull vn to them. But I wil sacrifice vn to the with the voce of thankesgeuinge / & will paye that I have vowed / that sauinge cometh of the lorde.

¶ And the lorde spake vn to the fish: and it cast out Ionas agayne vppon ye drie lande.

¶ The .iij. Chapter.

Then came the worde of the lorde vn to Ionas agayne sayenge: vpp / ād gett ye to Niniue that greate citie / & preache vn to thē the preachynge which I bade ye. And he arose & wēt to Niniue at ye lordes cōmaundmēt. Niniue was a greate citie vn to god / cōteynīge .iij. dayes iourney.

  ¶ And Ionas went to & entred in to ye citie euen a dayes iourney / and cried sayenge: There shall not passe .xl. dayes but Niniue shalbe ouerthrowen.

¶ And the people of Niniue beleued God / and proclaymed fastynge / ād arayed them selues in sackcloth / as well the greate as the small of them.

¶ And ye tydinges came vn to the kinge of Niniue / which arose out of his sete / and did his apparell of & put on sackcloth / & sate hī downe in asshes. And it was cried ād commaunded in Niniue by ye auctorite of ye kinge ād of his lordes sayenge: se that nether mā or beest / oxe or shepe tast ought at al / & that they nether fede or drinke water.

¶ And they put on sackcloth both man ād beest / & cried vn to God mightily / ād turned euery man from his weked waye / and frō doenge wrōge in which they were acustomed / sayenge: who can tell whether god will turne & repent / & cease from his fearce wrathe / that we perish not? And when god saw theyr workes / how they turned from theyr weked wayes / he repented on ye euell   which he sayd he wold doo vn to them / ād dyd it not.

¶ The .iiij. Chapter.

Wherfore Ionas was sore discontent ād angre. And he prayed vn to the lorde ād sayd: O lord / was not this my sayenge when I was yet in my contre? And therfore I hasted rather to fle to Tharsis: for I knew well ynough that thou wast a mercifull god / ful of cōpassion / long yer thou be angre and of great mercie and repentest when thou art come to take punishment. Now therfore take my life from me / for I had leuer dye then liue. And the lorde said vn to Ionas / art thou so angrie?

¶ And Ionas gate him out of the citie and sate him downe on the est syde theroffe / ād made him there a bothe ād sate thervnder in the shadowe / till he might se what shuld chaunce vn to the citie.

¶ And ye lorde prepared as it were a wild vine which sprāge vp ouer Ionas / that he might haue shadowe ouer his heed / to deliuer him out of his payne. And Ionas was exceadynge glad of the wild vine.

  ¶ And the lorde ordeyned a worme agenst the springe of ye morow mornīge which smote the wild vine / that it wethered awaye. And assone as the sonne was vpp / God prepared a feruent eest winde: so that ye sonne bete ouer the heed of Ionas / that he fainted agayne ād wished vn to hys soule that he might dye / and sayd / it is better for me to dye then to liue.

¶ And god sayd vn to Ionas / art thou so angre for thy wild vine? And he sayde / I am angrie a goode / even on to the deeth. And the lorde sayde / thou hast compassion on a wild vine / wheron thou bestoweddest no laboure ner madest it growe / which sprange vp in one night and perished in a nother: and shuld not I haue compassion on Niniue that greate citie / wherin there is a multitude of people / euen aboue an hundred thousande that know not theyr right hand from the lyfte / besydes moch catell?

Transcriber's note

During transcription, a number of possible typographic errors and doubtful readings were found, as listed below. No changes were made.

"then a take of Robī hode" possible error for "then a tale of Robī hode"

"rembenbir that ye fulfillynge of ye law" possible error for "remenbir that ye fulfillynge of ye law"

"agenst ye holygost" possible error for "agenst ye holy gost"

"thongh all christendome" possible error for "though all christendome"

"an obligacō betwene God and thy soule" possible error for "an obligaciō betwene God and thy soule"

"younge scolars weake & foble" possible error for "younge scolars weake & feble"

"He brougt the in to aduersite" possible error for "He brought the in to aduersite"

"the cōmaudemēt of God" possible error for "the cōmaūdemēt of God"

"none in respecte of him / ad" possible error for "none in respecte of him / ād"

"did cast lotttes" possible error for "did cast lottes"

"to teper thē" possible error for "to tēper thē"

"is lawfull ad in all like cases." possible error for "is lawfull ād in all like cases."

"proue vn to te Iewes" possible error for "proue vn to the Iewes"

"Ionas had bene in te fishes bely" possible error for "Ionas had bene in the fishes bely"

"for ye Iewes had leuēded" possible error for "for ye Iewes had leuēed"

"leaue the vilest herke" possible error for "leaue the vilest herbe"

"in thofe .ii. poyntes vncorrupte" possible error for "in those .ii. poyntes vncorrupte"

"to loue they neyboure" possible error for "to loue thy neyboure"

"writtten in thyne herte" possible error for "written in thyne herte"

"contynved amonge vs" possible error for "contynued amonge vs"

"latt vs not perih for this mans deeth" possible error for "latt vs not perish for this mans deeth"

"& sacrificed sacrififice" possible error for "& sacrificed sacrifice" (hyphenated over line break)

"and was barredin" possible error for "and was barred in"