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Upon this beginning his resolution, and intended obedience to that Church, were fomewhat fhaken, and by little and little followed fome diflike to the reft.His firft care was to look into both the ancient, and modern Hiftory of the Church: to learn what beginning it had: what growth, and increafe; by what arts it flourifbed, and by whaterrours it began to decline ; to confider the caufes of all thofe controverfies which in the mean fpace had fj rung up, and to weigh diligently of what moment they were, and what on either fide was produced' found, or infirm.How many nights he watched in thefe folitary walks; what combats, and wraftlings he fuffered within himfelf ; how many heavy fighes, and fobbs, and tears he powred forth with his prayers to Almighty God ; I had rather might be fpared from this difeourfe, then touched with opinion of oftentation : But there*- fore of neceffity, was it to be femembredi, becaufe from hence fprang the firft fufpition of his alienated affe&ions.For no fooner was the fame fpread of his nightly retirements; but that the more understanding fort out of their own wife- dome; others according as they flood inclined towards him, wereapt to inter- pret all to the worft fenfe.The firft news of the aboliftiing the Popes iupremacy was as profperous as welcome to the Reformers ; and divers joyned A 4 v themlelve^ The Life of M after John Fox, thcmfclvesto'themoutof love to the truth, being further allured of the Kings intentions, by the punifhment taken on fome of the contrary part, and efpecially when the Abbies.were diffolved; nor was their hope a little increafed, when they perceived the Noblemen more or lette to rife in the good opinion and fa- vour of the King, as any of them moft oppofed the Popes dominion.By which vermes, when in a fhort fpace he had wonne the admi- ration of all, and the love of many, in reward of his learning, and good beha- viour he was chofen Fellow of Magdalen Colledge ; which being accounted a principall honour in the Univerfitie , and ufually due to the Students of that Houfe, was fcldome, and not unlefle in regard of Angular defcrts, beftowed upon any others.
So that as long as the King held the middle way between his own Genius, and the advice of his Counfel- lors, feeding them with favours, upon which they could build no aflurance, and pleaiing himiclf inhis own feverity, fear, and hope, equally prevailed.The native excellence, and fharpncfle of his wit, were well feconded by thefitnel Tc of the place; where the emulation of equals was frequent; and where each Students proficiency was narrowly fought into: neithei?wasinduftry wanting, which as it ieldome accompanyeth thegreateft wits, fo where it is conjoyned is moft availeablc.Never be- fore were the people in more diftraition, orlef Te fecurity of their lives, ande- ftates,there being in the Laws fuch contrarieties, as no rrian could tell what to take to with fiifty,or what to avoid.For although the Popes fupremacy had bin renoun- ced,}^ was his doctrine ftill retained.
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This he performed with fuch heat of Study, and in fo fhorta time ; that be- fore the thirtieth yeer of his age, he had read over all that either the Greek, or Latine Fathers had left in their writings; the Schoolmen in their difputations : the Counfels in their Acfs : or the Confiftory in their Decrees ; and acquired no mean skill in the Hebrew Language.