According to Tyndale experts, the translator’s basic purpose in this treatise was to set forth, based on Scripture alone, his understanding of the real duties of a Christian—and to show how the abuses and imbalances of the institutional church of the time were leading people away from these “true duties.” In the book’s several chapters, Tyndale treats, in order, the expectations God outlines in Scripture for children, wives, servants, and the king’s subjects. He then proceeds to God-ordained duties for husbands, masters, landlords, judges and king’s officers, showing how, in his interpretation, each ought to rule. Then he suggests ways in which the papacy’s abuses had usurped the authority allotted to these other powers, hence dealing with the sacraments, the Antichrist, baptism, wedlock, monastic orders, penance, confession, contrition, absolution, anointing, miracles, the adoration of saints, and prayer. He then analyzes and critiques the four approaches to Scripture interpretation that were prevalent at the time, and concludes with “a compendious rehearsal of that which goeth before.” This extract is from that “rehearsal.”

I have described unto you the obedience of children, servants, wives, and subjects. These four orders are of God’s making, and the rules thereof are God’s Word. He that keeps them shall be blessed—yea, is blessed already—and he that breaketh them shall be cursed.

If any person, from impatience or a stubborn and rebellious mind, withdraw himself from any of these, and get him to any other order, let him not think thereby to avoid the vengeance of God in obeying rules and tradition of man’s imagination.

If thou shavest shine head in the worship of thy Father, and breakest His commandments, shouldest thou ...

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