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naturally written in the heart of every man. He that will diligently search himself shall soon find the same; and in case man should behold his own image both in body and in soul, although there be no law written, nor heaviness over our heads to testify the goodness and the justice of God, and the equity of an honest life, man's conscience would tell him, when he doth well, and when evil.
Further, the judgment and discourse of reason desireth not only to live justly in this world, but also to live for ever in eternal felicity without end, and cometh by the similitude of God, which yet remaineth in the soul after the sin of Adam. Whereby we see plainly, that those excuses of ignorance be damnable, when man seeth he could do well if he followed the judgment of his own conscience; so that we see that the law of God is either outwardly or inwardly, or both ways, opened unto man; and by God's grace he might do the good, and leave the evil, if it were not of malice and accustomed doing of sin. The which excuseth the mercy and goodness of God, and maketh, that no men shall be excused in the latter judgment, how subtilly soever they now excuse the matter, and put their evil doings from them, and lay it upon the predestination of God, and would excuse it by ignorance; or say, they cannot be good, because they be otherwise destined.
This stoical opinion reprehended Horace: "No man is so cruel (saith he), but may wax meek, so that he give a willing ear to discipline."
Although thou canst not come to so far knowledge in the Scripture as others that believed, by reason thou art unlearned, or else thy vocation will not suffer thee all days of thy life to be a student; yet mayest thou know, and upon pain of damnation art bound to know the articles of thy faith; to know God in Christ, and the holy catholic church by the
word of God written; the Ten Commandments, to know what works thou shouldest do, and what to leave undone ; the Paternoster, Christ's prayer, which is an abridgment, epitome, or compendious collection of all the Psalms and prayers written in the whole Scripture: in the which thou prayest for the remission of sin, as well for thyself as for all others, desirest the grace of the Holy Ghost, to preserve thee in virtue, and givest thanks for the goodness of God towards thee and all others.
He that knoweth less than this cannot be saved; and he that knoweth no more than this, if he follow his knowledge, cannot be damned. There be two common verses that all men in a manner know, that teach us that to know Christ, though we know no more, is sufficient; that is to say, "To be ignorant, is to know many things without Christ. If thou know Christ well, it is sufficient, though thou be ignorant of all other things."
Thus I have written on the ten holy precepts of Almighty God according unto the Scripture. Fare ye well, in our only and sole joy and consolation, Christ Jesu.
BRIEF AND CLEAR CONFESSION
AN HUNDRED ARTICLES, ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF THE
WRITTEN BY THAT LEARNED AND GODLY MARTYR,
SOMETIME BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER.
Imprinted at London by Christopher Barker, Printer to the Queen's most excellent Majesty. 1584.
REPRINTED FROM THE ORIGINAL EDITION.