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THE

PREFACE TO THE READER,

CONTAINING THE

Sum of my State before I fell into any doubts about Reli

gion; and how I came into the said doubts.

To the end, gentle reader, that thou mayest better understand the quality of the case that fell out to me these years past with his Excellent Majesty, I have thought expedient to lay down briefly here at the beginning a sincere relation of my state and condition before I fell into any doubt about religion at all. Thus, then, in brief, the matter passed with me. I being brought up from my tender years in London, by the care of the Right Honourable (my very good patron) Sir Francis Walsingham, counsellor and secretary to the late Queen, under the fatherlike tuition and discreet government of Mr. Humphrey Walsingham, my near kinsman and citizen of that city, I was by him placed there for divers years in the common school of Paul's, where I had my first beginnings, and laid some foundation both of learning and Protestant religion, which I continued after, and increased as my years and ability or favour of friends served me, never so much as once doubting of any position held in the said religion by Protestants, but that it was the very truth, indeed, as they professed the same.

2. And when I came to sufficient years and judgment to be able not only to follow sermons but to read books also of controversies written by Protestant authors, I was not altogether negligent therein, as my often and diligent reading in Mr. Fox's “ Acts and Monuments,” Mr. Jewell's writing against Mr. Harding, and Mr. Nappier's “ Exposition upon the Revelations,” with others; and, among strangers, the works of Mr. Calvin and Mr. Beza may bear me witness. By which readings and conferences with others that were of the same religion, I became so earnest and fervent therein, as I resolved not only to continue that profession during life, but further also to make myself one of that clergy. And for the accomplishing thereof, upon the year of Christ 1603, I procured myself to be made deacon by the hands of my Lord of Ely, and, having taken that degree, I thought it incident to the same, not only to confirm myself, but others also, whomsoever I could, in that way.

3. Hereupon I took all occasions to deal with others, either for their confirmation or gaining to Protestant religion. And to this effect was I wont gladly to lend books of that profession to any that would read them, inducing them also earnestly to the same. By which occasion it fell out that one of my acquaintance that seemed to me somewhat backward in this zeal, being offered a Protestant book by me, was content to receive the same with this condition, that I should promise him to read another book that he would lend me in lieu of mine, whereof I accepted, though at that time I neither knew the argument nor the author thereof.

4. This book was entitled, “ A Defence of the Censure," given upon two books of William Charke and Meredith Hanmer, ministers, which they wrote against Mr. Edmund Campian, priest of the Society of Jesus, and against his offer of disputation, taken in hand since the death of the said Mr. Campian, &c. Which book I little esteeming at that time, and thinking to have made a good exchange by procuring my said friend to read the Protestant book which I lent him, for that (as I have said) I somewhat suspected his soundness of religion; I carried this other home with me, not meaning that ever it should come so near my heart, as afterward it did, but rather that it should serve me for some disport, or passing away the time, but especially for gathering out some absurdities against Papists, wherewith I did imagine all their books to be abundantly stuffed. And, therefore, when I came home, I began presently to play with it as with a trifle; but finding wheresoever I lighted certain passages which I could not well digest, and many proofs alleged whereunto I could not answer, I cast it often aside and then took it in hand again. And finally, after many diversities of usage towards it, I resolved to read and pass it over hastily as men take pills, with no good taste at all, but aversion rather of stomach: yet soon after I felt myself so strangely troubled and turmoiled in judgment and conscience upon the reading thereof, as if my soul had taken pills indeed, and could not bear their operation.

of mind which

5. Wherefore I turned often from this place the troubles to that in the book, to find some ease, but that in peaton everywhere I felt grief and affliction. I thought ing the book. with myself to contemn it, but this endured not long. Then I imagined to confer the same with others, but I had them not present, nor durst I utter that I had with me any such Papistical book; and seemed to be somewhat ashamed that I should find matter in so small a book which myself could not answer: yet afterward I conferred divers of my difficulties with sundry ministers, without specifying that I had them out of such a book, but they could give me very little satisfaction, or none at all. Whereupon I made divers journeys to London, as well to see books of sundry sorts, as also to confer with some of my friends. And having wearied myself in this sort for the space of divers months, at last I betook myself to a more strange resolution, but yet such as then seemed to me most necessary for appeasing of my mind; and this was, that forsomuch as I had taken two or three several times the oath of supremacy, first to the Queen that was then living, and afterward to his Majesty that now reigneth, protesting and swearing by the same that I held them for supreme heads of the church in all causes as well spiritual as temporal, I did persuade myself that my best comfort of conscience and full satisfaction of my judgment would

to deliver the book to his Ma. jesty.

come from my said superior powers, but especially from his learned Majesty, who now governed the crown, as from God's lieutenant and substitute in all causes and affairs whatsoever.

6. Wherefore, after much deliberation, and beating my head this way and that way, not daring to confer with any Papist, or almost to entertain any good thought of thein or of their religion, I determined with myself to How I resolved make a short memorial unto his said Majesty,

a. and to deliver him the sum of my afflictions

and doubts, together with the book itself which had been the cause thereof; and to entreat him, by his supreme authority, to give order for my sound satisfaction herein. And so, binding up the old worn-out book which I had in the comeliest manner that I could, I got me to London, and thence to Greenwich; and there, after many difficulties of audience, I exhibited the same, together with my memorial, both tied and conjoined in one, as his Majesty was going unto the chapel, upon Good Friday in the morning, in the year 1604, and thereof had the answer and issue, which afterward I shall set down more at large, with the causes and occasions that were · offered unto me to enter further into the search of divers books and controversies of religion than at the beginning I had determined. My pondera- 7. But here I would advertise thee, gentle ter all reader, of a certain ponderation which I made,

after all my searching and inquiring into matters of controversies, which was this: that whensoever in impugning any point of Catholic belief, as namely, purgatory, prayer for the dead, prayer to saints, real presence, or the like, the learned Protestants are found to be constrained (through necessity of their cause, for otherwise I suppose they would not) to falsify and corrupt, by cutting off or adding to, or otherwise embezzling some authorities of the ancient fathers or councils, which Catholics do sincerely and truly bring against them for the truth of the said doctrines, it seemed to me that the same doctrines are generally believed and practised by the most ancient Christian church wherein those fathers

my search made.

lived, and consequently I might with far more security believe and follow the same with venerable antiquity, than deny it to be a truth with fallible novelty. And, therefore, I commend unto thy diligent perusal the second and third parts of this Treatise, wherein thou shalt find many principal points now in controversy briefly touched after this manner. So that, in my opinion, the attentive reading of this book alone will give thee sufficient light and ground to resolve thyself, where truth and true dealing doth only remain, whether in the Catholic or Protestant party.

8. But if thou have a desire to satisfy thyself by reading of all that write, especially Protestants (which yet myself sometimes desiring have found to be far more painful than profitable), I would wish thee Observations first to read and consider well those six or in

icon wou thoon siyor about the readseven notes or animadversions in the tenth controversies. chapter of the third part of this book; which notes, for that I received them from a very grave and learned man, and by experience found them to be very necessary to be known and observed for the profitable reading of books of controversies, I could not omit to impart the same unto thee, good Christian reader, and my dear countryman, for whose sake, after many difficulties, much travail and pains, I have set forth this no less painful Search, and for whose better information and direction to ascend with me unto the mountain of our Lord, the Holy Catholic Church, where only remission of our sins can be obtained, [in this life, and consequently everlasting bliss in the next], I shall ever be willing to undergo far greater.

Thy hearty well-willer in Christ Jesus,

ing of books of

FRANCIS WALSINGHAM.

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