The prophete Ionas with an introduccion before teachinge to vnderstonde 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 vnderstonde 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.
As ye Д“vious Philistenes stopped ye welles of Abraham ДЃd filled them vpp with erth / to put ye memoriall out of mД«de / to ye entent yt they might chalenge ye grounde: even so the fleshly mД«ded ypocrites stoppe vpp the vaynes of life which are in ye scripture / wt the erth of theyr tradiciЕЌs / false similitudes & lienge allegories: & yt of like zele / to make ye scripture theyr awne possessiЕЌ & marchaundice: and so shutt vpp the kingdome of heven which is Gods worde nether enterД«ge in thД“ selues nor soferinge them that wolde.
¶ The scripture hath a body with out / ДЃd within a soule / sprite & life. It hath wt out a barke / a shell ДЃd 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 cЕЌteyneth .iii. thД«ges in it first ye law to cЕЌdemne all flesh: secЕЌdaryly ye Gospell / yt is to saye / promises of mercie for all yt repent & knowlege their sinnes at the preachД«ge of ye law & cЕЌsent 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 thД“: & thridly the stories & liues of those scolars / both what chaunces fortuned thД“ / & also by what meanes their scolemaster taught thД“ and made them perfecte / & how he tried the true from the false.
¶ When ye ypocrites come to ye lawe / they put gloses to ДЃd make no moare of it then of a worldly law which is satisfied with ye outwarde worke and which a turke maye also fulfill. WhД“ yet Gods law never ceaseth to cЕЌdemne a man vntill it be written in his herte and vntill he kepe it naturally without cЕЌpulsion & all other respecte saue only of pure love to God and his neyboure / as he naturally eateth whД“ he is an hongred / without cЕЌpulsiЕЌ & all other respecte / saue to slake his hongre only.
¶ And whД“ they come to the Gospell / there they mД«gle 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 fastД«ge 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 cЕЌtayned in the bible / they reade as thД«ges no moare perteynД«ge vn to thД“ / then a of RobД« hode / & as thД«ges they wott not wherto they serue / saue to fayne false discДЃt & 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 diligД“ce / diminushД«ge the glorie of ye mercie of God & robbinge wretched sinners of all theyr cЕЌforte / & thinke therby to flater the sayntes and to obtayne their fauoure & to make speciall aduocates of thД“: even as a man wold obtayne ye fauoure of wordely tirantes: as they also fayne the saintes moch moare cruell then ever was any heathД“ man & moare wrekefull and vengeable then ye poetes faine their godes or their furies yt torment ye soules in hell / if theyr euД“s be not fasted & their images visited & saluted wyth a Pater noster (whych prayer only oure lippes be accoynted with oure hertes vnderstЕЌdinge none at all) and worsheped wt a candell & ye offerД«ge of oure deuociЕЌ/ in ye place which thei haue chosen to heare ye supplicaciЕЌs & meke peticiЕЌs of their clientes therin.
¶ But thou reader thД«ke 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 deseruД«ge of his ye though he be thine enimie / as Christ loued ye ДЃd did for the / for no deseruД«ge of thyne / but evД“ whД“ thou wast his enimie....