HAIL & FIRE - a resource for Reformed and Gospel Theology in the works, exhortations, prayers, and apologetics of those who have maintained the Gospel and expounded upon the Scripture as the Eternal Word of God and the sole authority in Christian doctrine.
HAIL & FIRE - a resource for Reformed and Gospel Theology in the works, exhortations, prayers, and apologetics of those who have maintained the Gospel and expounded upon the Scripture as the Eternal Word of God and the sole authority in Christian doctrine.

FURTHER READING:

Click to Read Doctrine on the Scripture by St. John Chrysostom - Hail and Fire

Click to Read On Godly Love by William Tyndale - Hail and Fire - Doctrine

Click to Read Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue by William Tyndale - Hail and Fire Book Library

Click to Read About the life of William Tyndale - Hail and Fire Book Library

READ ONLINE: Certain Sermons or Homilies Appointed to Be Read in Churches in the Time of Queen Elizabeth of Famous Memory - Hail and Fire

Words of Wisdom: JOHN NEWTON QUOTES

Hail & Fire Online Book Library - click here to read rare Christian, Puritan, Reformed and Protestant exhortational books, Catholic and Protestant polemical and apologetical works, bibles, histories, and martyrologies online.

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REFERENCE SCRIPTURES:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psa 119:105 KJV

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV

"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." Acts 17:11 NKJV

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." Psa 19:7-11 KJV

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb 4:12 KJV

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" Eph 6:17 KJV

ON THE SCRIPTURES
HUGH BINNING (PURITAN):

You shall all be taught of God: "Read the Scriptures as profitable Scriptures with the intention to profit. If you do not read with such a purpose, you read not the Scriptures of God, they become as another book unto you. ... But what are they profitable for? For doctrine, and a divine doctrine, a doctrine of life and happiness. It is the great promise of the new covenant, 'You shall be all taught of God.' The Scriptures can make a man learned and wise, learned to salvation, it is foolishness to the world, 'but the world through wisdom knew not God.' Alas! What then do they know? Is there any besides God? And is there any knowledge besides the knowledge of God? ... The doctrine of Jesus Christ written on the heart is a deep profound learning and the poor, simple, rudest people may, by the Spiritís teaching, become wiser than their ancients and than their ministers. Oh, it is an excellent point of learning, to know how to be saved. ... If you would seek unto God and seek eyes opened to behold the mystery of the word, you would become wiser than your pastors, you would learn from the Spirit to pray better, you would find the way to heaven better than they can teach you or walk in it."

Hugh Binning, "The Common Principles of the Christian Religion"

Illustration of the Burning of English Bible Translations in 15th century England. READ LOLLARD WRITINGS online

ON BURNING BIBLES:

"When they burned the New Testament they pretended a zeal very fervent to maintain only Godís honor, which they said with protestation, was obscured by translation in English, causing much error. But the truth plainly to be said, this was the cause why they were afraid, least laymen should know their iniquity."

A Lollard (1450ad)

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READ ONLINE:
A Proper Dialogue between a Gentleman and Husbandman each complaining to other their miserable calamite, through the ambition of the clergy.

A 15th century Apology written by an English Lollard.

HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2009

Illustration of the Burning of English Bible Translations in 15th century England. READ LOLLARD WRITINGS online

ON THE SCRIPTURES
JOHN NEWTON:

"An awakened mind that thirsts after the Saviour, and seeks wisdom by reading and praying over the Scripture, has little occasion [necessity] for a library of human writings. The Bible is the fountain from whence every stream that deserves our notice is drawn ... we have personally an equal right with others to apply immediately to the fountain-head, and draw the water of life for ourselves. The purest streams are not wholly freed from the gout de terrior, - a twang of the soil through which they run; a mixture of human infirmity is inseparable from the best human composition; but in the fountain the truth is unmixed."

John Newton, QUOTES

"Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Rom 3:27-28

HOME > Doctrine > Authority of the Scripture - an excerpt from "An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue" by William Tyndale
"When the scripture is away [taken away]; he [the pope] proveth his doctrine with the scripture, and as soon as the scripture cometh to light, he runneth away unto his sophistry and unto his sword."

"Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue" by William Tyndale

Martyrdom of William Tyndale by strangulation and burning at the stake, 1536, Foxe's Acts & Monuments

William Tyndale (1494-1536ad) Reformer, Bible Translator and Protestant Martyr, 1536

"The spiritual, which be of God, shall hear God's word; and the children of the truth shall consent unto the truth. And contrary, the fleshly and children of falsehood and of the devil, whose hearts be full of lies, shall naturally consent unto lies: as young children, though they have eat themselves as good as dead with fruit, yet will not, nor cannot, believe him that telleth them that such fruit is naught; but him that praiseth them will they hear, and eat themselves stark dead, because their hearts be full of lies, and they judge all things as they appear unto the eyes. And the fleshly-minded, as soon as he believeth of God as much as the devil doth, he hath enough; and goeth to, and serveth God with bodily service, as he before served his idols, and after his own imagination; and not in the spirit, in loving his laws and believing his promises, or longing for them: no, if he might ever live in the flesh, he would never desire them. And God must do for him again, not what God hath promised, but what he lusteth. And his brother that serveth God in the spirit, according to God's word, him will the carnal beast persecute: so that he which will godly live, must suffer persecution unto the world's end, according to the doctrine of Christ and of his apostles, and according unto the ensamples that are gone before.Ē William Tyndale, "Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue," 1531.

Authority of the Scripture

an excerpt from:

"An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue"

by William Tyndale

Published originally: 1531

"God careth for his elect; and therefore hath provided them of scripture, to try all things, and to defend them from all false prophets."

    "In his third book he [Sir Thomas More] proceedeth forth as before, to prove that the opinions which the popish teach without scripture are of equal authority with the scripture. He asketh, 'What if there there had never been scripture written?' I answer, God careth for his elect; and therefore hath provided them of scripture, to try all things, and to defend them from all false prophets. And I say moreover, that if there had been no scripture written, that God, for his mercy and fatherly love and care towards his elect, must have provided, that there should never have been heresies, or, against all times when sects should arise, have stirred up preachers to confound the heresies with miracles. Take this example: the Greeks have the scripture, and serve God therein, much more diligently than we. Now let us give that there were no scripture, but that we received all our faith by the authority of our elders, and the Greeks by the authority of their elders. When I shall dispute with a Greek about the articles of the faith which my elders taught me, and his elders deny, as ear-confession, the holy pardons of the pope, and all his power that he hath above other bishops, and many other things beside the scripture, which we hold for articles of our faith, and they deny; if there be no other proof of either part than to say, 'My elders, which cannot err, so affirm;' and that he should answer, 'His elders, which cannot err, so deny;' what reason is it, that I should leave the authority of my elders, and go and believe his; or that he should leave the authority of his elders, and come and believe mine? None at all, verily. But the one party must shew a miracle, or else we must refer our causes unto authentic scripture, received in old time, and confirmed with miracles, and therewith try the controversy of our elders.

    And when he asketh, 'whether there were no true faith Adam to Noe [Noah]?' I answer, that God partly wrote their faith in their sacrifices, and partly the patriarchs were full of miracles, as ye may see in the bible.

    And when More, to utter his darkness and blind ignorance saith, that 'they which were overwhelmed with Noe's flood had a good faith,' and bringeth for him Nicolas de Lyra; I answer, that Nicolas de Lyra delirat. For it is impossible to have a faith to be saved by, except a man consent unto God's law with all his heart and all his soul, that it is righteous, holy, good, and to be kept of all men, and thereupon repent that he hath broken it, and sorrow that his flesh moveth unto the contrary; and then come and believe that God for his mercy will forgive him all that he hath done against the law, and will help him to tame his flesh, and suffer his weakness in the mean season, till he be waxed stronger: which faith if they that perished in Noe's flood had had, they could not but have mended their livings, and had not hardened their hearts through unbelief, and provoked the wrath of God, and waxed worse and worse an hundred and twenty years, which God gave them to repent; until God could no longer suffer them, but washed their filthiness away with the flood, (as he doth the pope's shameful abominations with like inundations of water,) and destroyed them utterly.

    And when he asketh, 'whether Abraham believed more than was written for him?' I ask him how he will prove that there was no writing in Abraham's time, and that Abraham wrote not? And again, as for Abraham's person, he received his faith of God; which to confirm unto others, miracles were shewed daily.

    And when he feigneth forth, that 'they believed only because they knew their elders could not err:' how could they know that without miracles, or writing confirmed with miracles, more than the Turk knoweth that his elders, so many hundred years, in so great a multitude cannot err; and teach false doctrine, to damn the believers? And the contrary doth Master More see in all the bible, how after all was received in scripture, confirmed with miracles, and though miracles ceased not, but were shewed daily, yet the elders erred and fell to idolatry, an hundred for one that bode in the right way; and led the younger into error with them so sore, that God, to save the younger, was fain to destroy the elders, and to begin his testament afresh with the new generation.

    He seeth also that the most part were alway idolaters, for all the scripture and true miracles thereto, and believed the false miracles of the devil, because his doctrine was more agreeable unto their carnal understanding than the doctrine of God's Spirit; as it now goeth with the pope. Did not scribes, Pharisees, and priests, which were the elders, err?

    And when he asketh, 'who taught the church to know the true scripture from false books'? I answer, true miracles, that confounded the false, gave authority unto the true scripture. And thereby have we ever since judged all other books and doctrine; and by that we know that your legends be corrupt with lies: as Erasmus hath improved many false books, which ye have feigned and put forth in the name of St Jerome, Augustine, Cyprian, Dionyse, and of other, partly with authentic stories, and partly by the style and Latin, and like evident tokens.

    And when M. More saith, 'unto them that believe nought but the scripture he will prove with the scripture, that we be bound to believe the church in things, wherefor they have no scripture; because God hath promised in the scripture that the Holy Ghost shall teach his church all truth:' nay, that text will not prove it. For the first church taught nought, but they confirmed it with miracles, which could not be done of God, till the scripture was authentically received. And the church following teacheth nought that they will have believed, as an article of the faith, but that which the scripture proveth and maintaineth: as St Augustine protesteth of his works, that men should compare them unto the scripture, and thereby judge them, and cast away whatsoever the scripture did not allow. And therefore they that will be believed without scripture are false hypocrites, and not Christ's church. For though I know that that messenger which Christ sendeth cannot lie; yet in a company where many liars be, I cannot know which is he, without a token of scripture or of miracle.

    And when he saith 'the scripture itself maketh us not to believe the scripture, but the church teacheth us to know the scripture; for a man might read it, and not believe it:' and so I say, that a man might hear you preach, and yet believe you not also. And I say thereto, that your church teacheth not to know the scripture, but hideth it in the Latin from the common people; and from them that understand Latin they hide the true sense with a thousand false glosses. And I say moreover, that the scripture is the cause why men believe the scripture; as well as a preacher is the cause why men believe his preaching. For as he that first told in England that the Rhodes was taken, was the cause why some believed it; even so might writing, sent from those parts, be the cause that some men which read it believed it. M. More will say, that letter had his authority of the man that sent it; and so hath the scripture her authority of the church. Nay, the scripture hath her authority of him that sent it, that is to wete, of God, which thing the miracles did testify; and not of the man that brought it.

    He will say, thou knowest the scripture by their shewing. I grant, at the beginning I do. Then will he say, 'Why should ye not believe them, in all their other doctrine besides the scripture, and in all their expositions of the scripture, as well as ye believe them, when they tell you that such and such books are the scripture? May they not shew you a false book?' Yes, and therefore at the beginning I believe all alike.
"I find in the scripture, that they which submit not themselves to do the will of God, cannot know what doctrine is of God, and what not (John vii.). I find in the scripture, (Jer. xxxi. and Heb. viii.), that all the children of God, which only are the true members of his church, have every one of them the law of God written in their hearts; so that if there were no law to compel, they would yet naturally, out of their own hearts, keep the law of God; yea, and against violence compelling to the contrary."
Every lie that they tell, out of their own brains, we believe to be scripture; and so should I believe them if they shewed me a false book: but when I have read the scripture, and find not their doctrine there, nor depend thereof, I do not give so great credence unto their other doctrine, as unto the scripture. Why? For I find more witnesses unto the scripture than unto their other doctrine. I find whole nations and countries that receive the scripture, and refuse their other doctrine, and their expositions in many places. And I find the scripture otherwise expounded of them of old time, than they, which now will be the church, expound it: whereby their doctrine is the more suspect. I find mention made of the scripture in stories, that it was, when I can find no mention or likelihood, that their doctrine was. I find in all ages that men have resisted their doctrine with the scripture, and have suffered death by the hundred thousands in resisting their doctrine. I see their doctrine brought in and maintained by a contrary way to that by which the scripture was brought in. I find by the self-same scripture, when I look diligently thereon, that their other doctrine cannot stand therewith. I find in the scripture that they which have not Christ's Spirit, to follow the steps of his living, pertain not unto Christ (Rom. viii.). I find in the scripture, that they which walk in their carnal birth, after the manner of the children of Adam, cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. ii.). I find in the scripture that they which seek glory cannot believe Christ (John v.). I find in the scripture, that they which submit not themselves to do the will of God, cannot know what doctrine is of God, and what not (John vii.). I find in the scripture, (Jer. xxxi. and Heb. viii.), that all the children of God, which only are the true members of his church, have every one of them the law of God written in their hearts; so that if there were no law to compel, they would yet naturally, out of their own hearts, keep the law of God; yea, and against violence compelling to the contrary.

    And I see that they which will be the church, (and to prove it, have not so great trust in the scripture as in their sophistry, and in the sword which they have set up in all lands, to keep them with violence in the room,) are so far off from having the laws of God written in their hearts, that they neither by God's law, nor man's, refrain from their open outward wicked living. Look in the chronicles, what blood it hath cost England, to attempt to bring them under the law! Yea, and see what business the realm hath had to keep the prelates within the realm from taking the benefices with them, and lying at Rome, and yet scarcely brought it to pass, for all that the pope hath the stint of every bishoprick and of every great abbey thereto, as oft as any is void, ere a new be admitted to the room. And I see them bond unto their own will, and both to do, and to consent unto other to do, all that God hath forbidden. I see them, of all people, most vain-glorious.
"because they neither can believe it false, neither consent that it is true as it soundeth plainly in their ears, in that it is so contrary unto their fleshly wisdom, from which they cannot depart; they seek a thousand glosses, to turn it into another sense, to make it agree unto their beastliness; and where it will receive no such glosses, there they think that no man understandeth it."
I see them walk after their fleshly birth. I see them so far off from the image of Christ, that not only will not die for their flock after his ensample, but also ere they would lose one town, or village, any polling, or privilege which they have falsely gotten, bringing themselves into good pastures with wiles, and shutting their flock without, they would cast away an hundred thousand of them in one day, and beggar their realms, yea, and interdict them, and bring in strange nations, though it were the Turks, to conquer them and slay them up, so much as the innocent in the cradle. And I see that their other doctrine is for their vantage only, and that therewith they have gotten all that they have.

    And I find in the scripture that the Jews, before the coming of Christ, knew that those books were the scripture by the scribes and the Pharisees. And yet as many as believed their other doctrine, and many expositions of the scripture, were deceived, as ye see; and how Christ delivered them out of error. And I see again (which is no small miracle), that the merciful care of God to keep the scripture to be a testimony unto his elect is so great, that no men be more jealous over the books, to keep them, and shew them, and to allege that they be the scripture of God and true, than they which, when it is read in their ears, have no power to believe it; as the Jews and the popish. And therefore, because they neither can believe it false, neither consent that it is true as it soundeth plainly in their ears, in that it is so contrary unto their fleshly wisdom, from which they cannot depart; they seek a thousand glosses, to turn it into another sense, to make it agree unto their beastliness; and where it will receive no such glosses, there they think that no man understandeth it.

    Then in the end of the chapter M. More cometh unto his wise conclusion, and proveth nothing, save sheweth his ignorance, as in all things. He saith, 'We believe the doctrine of the scripture without scripture, as for an ensample, the pope's pardons, because only that the church so teacheth, though no scripture confirmeth it.' Why so? 'Because,' saith he, 'the Holy Ghost by inspiration, if I do my endeavour, and captivate mine understanding, teacheth me to believe the church concerning God's word, taught by the church and graven in men's hearts without scripture, as well as he teacheth us to believe words written in the scripture.' Mark where he is now. Afore he saith, 'the scripture causeth us not to believe the scripture; for a man may read it and believe it not.' And much more the preacher maketh us not to believe the preacher; for a man may hear him and believe him not also: as we see the apostles could not cause all men to believe them.
"the Spirit of God teacheth his children to believe; and the devil blindeth his children, and keepeth them in unbelief, and maketh them to consent unto lies, and think good evil, and evil good: as the Acts of the apostles say in many places, 'There believed as many as were ordained unto everlasting life.' And Christ saith (John viii.), 'They that be of God hear God's word.'"
For though the scripture be an outward instrument, and the preacher also, to move men to believe, yet the chief and principal cause why a man believeth, or believeth not, is within: that is, the Spirit of God teacheth his children to believe; and the devil blindeth his children, and keepeth them in unbelief, and maketh them to consent unto lies, and think good evil, and evil good: as the Acts of the apostles say in many places, 'There believed as many as were ordained unto everlasting life.' And Christ saith (John viii.), 'They that be of God hear God's word.' And unto the wicked Jews he saith, 'Ye cannot believe, because ye be not of God.' And in the same place saith he, 'Ye be of your father the devil, and his will ye will do; and he bode not in the truth,' and therefore will not suffer his children to consent to the truth. And (John in the xth) saith Christ, 'All that came before me be thieves and murderers, but my sheep heard not their voices:' that is, all that preach any salvation save in Christ, murder the souls. Howbeit, Christ's sheep could not consent to their lies, as the rest cannot but believe lies; so that there is ever a remnant kept by grace. And of this I have seen divers examples. I have known as holy men as might be, as the world counteth holiness, which at the hour of death had no trust in God at all, but cried, 'Cast holy water, light the holy candle,' and so forth; sore lamenting that they must die. And I have known other which were despised, as men that cared not for their divine service, which at death have fallen so flat upon the blood of Christ as is possible, and have preached unto other mightily, as it had been an apostle of our Saviour, and comforted them with comfort of the life to come, and have died so gladly, that they would have received no world's good to bide still in the flesh. And thus is M. More fallen upon predestination, and is compelled, with violence of scripture, to confess that which he hateth and studieth to make appear false, to establish free will withal, not so much of ignorance, I fear, as for lucre sake, and to get honour, promotion, dignity, and money, by help of our mitred monsters. Take example of Balaam, the false prophet, which gave counsel and sought means, through like blind covetousness, to make the truth, and prophecy which God had shewed him, false. He had the knowledge of the truth, but without love thereto, and therefore for vantage became enemy unto the truth: but what became of him?

    But M. More peppereth his conclusion, lest men should feel the taste, saying, 'If we endeavour ourselves, and captive our understanding to believe.' O how beetle-blind is fleshly reason! The will hath none operation at all in the working of faith in my soul, no more than the child hath in the begetting of his father: for, saith Paul, 'It is the gift of God,' and not of us. My wit must conclude good or bad, ere my will can love or hate. My wit must shew me a true cause, or an apparent cause why, ere my will have any working at all. And of that peppering it well appeareth what the pope's faith is; even a blind imagination of their natural wit, wrought without the light of the Spirit of God, agreeing unto their voluptuous lusts, in which their beastly will so delighteth, that he will not let their wits attend unto any other learning, for unquieting himself, and stirring from his pleasure and delectation.

    And thus we be as far asunder as ever we were, and his mighty arguments prove not the value of a poding-prick. M. More feeleth in his heart by inspiration, and with his endeavouring himself and captivating his understanding to believe it, that there is a purgatory as hot as hell; wherein if a silly soul were appointed by God to lie a thousand years, to purge him withal, the pope, for the value of a groat, shall command him thence full purged in the twinkling of an eye; and by as good reason, it he were going thence, keep him there still. He feeleth
"And I clean contrary feel, that there is no such worldly and fleshly imagined purgatory. For I feel that the souls be purged only by the word of God, and doctrine of Christ; as it is written (John xv.), 'Ye be clean through the word,' saith Christ to his apostles. And I feel again, that he which is clean through the doctrine needeth not but to wash his feet only, for his head and hands are clean already (John xiii.); that is, he must tame his flesh, and keep it under, for his soul is clean already through the doctrine. I feel also that bodily pain doth but purge the body only; insomuch that the pain not only purgeth not the soul, but maketh it more foul, except that there be kind learning by, to purge the soul: so that the more a man beateth his son, the worse he is, except he teach him lovingly, and shew him kindness besides; partly to keep him from desperation, and partly that he fall not into hate of his father and of his commandment thereto, and think that his father is a tyrant and his law but tyranny."
by inspiration, and in captivating his wits, that the pope can work wonders with a calf's skin; that he can command one to eat flesh, though he be never so lusty, and that another eat none on pain of damnation, though he should die for lack of it; and that he can forgive sin and not the pain, and as much and as little of the pain, or all if he lust, and yet can neither help him to love the law, or to believe, or to hate the flesh, seeing he preacheth not. And such things innumerable M. More feeleth true; and therefore believeth that the pope is the true church.

    And I clean contrary feel, that there is no such worldly and fleshly imagined purgatory. For I feel that the souls be purged only by the word of God, and doctrine of Christ; as it is written (John xv.), 'Ye be clean through the word,' saith Christ to his apostles. And I feel again, that he which is clean through the doctrine needeth not but to wash his feet only, for his head and hands are clean already (John xiii.); that is, he must tame his flesh, and keep it under, for his soul is clean already through the doctrine. I feel also that bodily pain doth but purge the body only; insomuch that the pain not only purgeth not the soul, but maketh it more foul, except that there be kind learning by, to purge the soul: so that the more a man beateth his son, the worse he is, except he teach him lovingly, and shew him kindness besides; partly to keep him from desperation, and partly that he fall not into hate of his father and of his commandment thereto, and think that his father is a tyrant and his law but tyranny.

    M. More feeleth, with his good endeavour and inspiration together, that a man may have the best faith coupled with the worst life and with consenting to sin. And I feel that it is impossible to believe truly, except a man repent; and that it is impossible to trust in the mercy that is in Christ, or to feel it, but that a man must immediately love God and his commandments, and therefore disagree and disconsent unto the flesh, and be at bate therewith, and fight against it. And I feel that every soul that loveth the law, and hateth his flesh, and believeth in Christ's blood, hath his sins which he committed, and pain which he deserved, in hating the law and consenting unto his flesh, forgiven him by that faith. And I feel that the frailty of the flesh, against which a believing soul fighteth to subdue it, is also forgiven, and not reckoned or imputed for sin, all the time of our curing: as a kind father and mother reckon not, or impute the impossibility of their young children to consent unto their law; and as when the children be of age and consent, then they reckon not nor impute the impossibility of the flesh to follow it immediately, but take all aworth, and love them no less, but rather more tenderly than their old and perfect children that do their commandments, so long as they go to school, and learn such things as their fathers and mothers set them to.

    And I believe that every soul that repenteth, believeth, and loveth the law, is through that faith a member of Christ's church, and pure, without spot or wrinkle,
"Every soul that repenteth, believeth, and loveth the law, is through that faith a member of Christ's church, and pure, without spot or wrinkle, as Paul affirmeth (Eph. v.) ... every soul that believeth, and consenteth unto the law, and here in this life hateth his flesh and the lusts thereof, and doth his best to drive sin out of his flesh, and for hate of the sin gladly departeth from his flesh; when he is dead, and the lusts of the flesh slain with death, needeth not as it were bodily tormenting, to be purged of that whereof he is quit already. And therefore, if aught remain, it is but to be taught, and not to be beaten. And I feel that every soul, that beareth fruit in Christ, shall be purged of the Father to bear more fruit day by day ... such fruit as is unto his neighbour's profit"
as Paul affirmeth (Eph. v.): And it is an article of my belief, that Christ's elect church is holy and pure without sin, and every member of the same, through faith in Christ; and that they be in the full favour of God. And I feel that the uncleanness of the soul is but the consent unto sin and unto the flesh. And therefore I feel that every soul that believeth, and consenteth unto the law, and here in this life hateth his flesh and the lusts thereof, and doth his best to drive sin out of his flesh, and for hate of the sin gladly departeth from his flesh; when he is dead, and the lusts of the flesh slain with death, needeth not as it were bodily tormenting, to be purged of that whereof he is quit already. And therefore, if aught remain, it is but to be taught, and not to be beaten. And I feel that every soul, that beareth fruit in Christ, shall be purged of the Father to bear more fruit day by day, as is written (John xv.), not in the pope's purgatory, where no man feeleth it, but here in this life such fruit as is unto his neighbour's profit; so that he which hath his hope in Christ purgeth himself here, as Christ is pure (1 John iii.); and that ever yet the blood of Jesus only doth purge us of all our sins, for the imperfectness of our works. And I feel that the forgiveness of sins is to remit mercifully the pain that I have deserved. And I do believe that the pain that I here suffer in my flesh is to keep the body under, and to serve my neighbour, and not to make satisfaction unto God for the fore sins.

    And therefore, when the pope describeth God after his covetous complexion, and when Master More feeleth by inspiration, and captivating his wits unto the pope, that God forgiveth the everlasting pain, and will yet punish me a thousand years in the pope's purgatory, that leaven savoureth not in my mouth. I understand my father's words as they sound, and after the most merciful manner; and not after the pope's leaven and M. More's captivating his wits, to believe that every poet's fable is a true story.
"There is no father here that punisheth his son to purge him, when he is purged already, and hath utterly forsaken sin and evil, and hath submitted himself unto his father's doctrine. For to punish a man that has forsaken sin of his own accord, is not to purge him, but to satisfy the lust of a tyrant ... when the pope saith it is done to satisfy the righteousness, as a judge, I say we that believe have no judge of him, but a father; neither shall we come into judgment, as Christ hath promised us, but are received under grace, mercy, and forgiveness."
There is no father here that punisheth his son to purge him, when he is purged already, and hath utterly forsaken sin and evil, and hath submitted himself unto his father's doctrine. For to punish a man that has forsaken sin of his own accord, is not to purge him, but to satisfy the lust of a tyrant: neither ought it to be called purgatory, but a jail of tormenting, and a satisfactory. And when the pope saith it is done to satisfy the righteousness, as a judge, I say we that believe have no judge of him, but a father; neither shall we come into judgment, as Christ hath promised us, but are received under grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Shew the pope a little money, and God is so merciful that there is no purgatory. And why is not the fire out as well, if I offer for me the blood of Christ? If Christ hath deserved all for me, who gave the pope might to keep part of his deservings from me, and to buy and sell Christ's merits, and to make merchandise over us with feigned words? And thus, as M. More feeleth that the pope is holy church, I feel that he is antichrist; and as my feeling can be no proof to him, no more can his, with all his captivating his wits to believe phantasies, be unto me. Wherefore, if he have no other probation, to prove that the pope is holy church, than that his heart so agreeth unto his learning, he ought of no right to compel with sword unto his sect. Howbeit there are ever two manner people that will cleave unto God, a fleshly and a spiritual. The spiritual, which be of God, shall hear God's word; and the children of the truth shall consent unto the truth. And contrary, the fleshly and children of falsehood and of the devil, whose hearts be full of lies, shall naturally consent unto lies: as young children, though they have eat themselves as good as dead with fruit, yet will not, nor cannot, believe him that telleth them that such fruit is naught; but him that praiseth them will they hear, and eat themselves stark dead, because their hearts be full of lies, and they judge all things as they appear unto the eyes. And the fleshly-minded, as soon as he believeth of God as much as the devil doth, he hath enough; and goeth to, and serveth God with bodily service, as he before served his idols, and after his own imagination; and not in the spirit, in loving his laws and believing his promises, or longing for them: no, if he might ever live in the flesh, he would never desire them. And God must do for him again, not what God hath promised, but what he lusteth. And his brother that serveth God in the spirit, according to God's word, him will the carnal beast persecute: so that he which will godly live, must suffer persecution unto the world's end, according to the doctrine of Christ and of his apostles, and according unto the ensamples that are gone before.

    And finally, I have better reasons for my feeling that the pope is antichrist, than M. More hath for his endeavouring himself, and captivating his wits, that he is the true church. For the church that was the true messenger of God, hath ever shewed a sign and a badge thereof, either a present miracle or authentic scripture; insomuch that Moses, when he was sent, asked, 'How shall they believe me?' And God gave him a sign, as ever before and since. Neither was there any other cause of the writing of the new and the last and everlasting Testament, than that when miracles ceased, we might have wherewith to defend ourselves against false doctrine and heresies; which we could not do, if we were bound to believe that were nowhere written. And again, if the pope could not err in his doctrine, he could not sin of purpose and profession, abominably and openly, above the Turks and all the heathen that ever were; and defend it so maliciously as he hath, eight hundred years long; and will not be reformed; and maketh them his saints and his defenders, that sin as he doth. He persecuteth as the carnal church ever did, when the scripture is away; he proveth his doctrine with the scripture, and as soon as the scripture cometh to light, he runneth away unto his sophistry and unto his sword. We see also by stories how your confession, penance, and pardons, are come up; and whence your purgatory is sprung. And your falsehood in the sacraments we see by open scripture. And all your works we rebuke with the scripture; and therewith prove that the false belief, that ye couple to them, may not stand with the true faith that is in our Saviour Jesus.

William Tyndale - an exerpt from:
"Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue." (Read the full text edition online Free) »



"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV
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