Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
By William Tyndale (c. 14901536)
TO speak of pilgrimages, I say that a christian man, so that he leave nothing undone at home that he is bound to do, is free to go whither he will, only after the doctrine of the Lord, whose servant he is and not his own. If he go and visit the poor, the sick, and the prisoner, it is well done, and a work that God commandeth. If he go to this or that place to hear a sermon, or because his mind is not quiet at home; or if because his heart is too much occupied in his worldly businesses, by the reason of occasions at home, he gets him into a more quiet and still place where his mind is more abstract, and pulled from worldly thoughts, it is well done. And in all these places, if whatsoever it be, whether lively preaching, ceremony, relic, or image, stir up his heart to God, and preach the Word of God, and the ensample of our Saviour Jesus, more in one place than in another; that he thither go I am content. And yet he bideth a lord, and the things serve him, and he not them. Now whether his intent be so or no, his deeds will testify; as his virtuous governing of his house, and loving demeanour toward his neighbours. Yea, and Gods Word will be alway in his heart, and in his mouth, and he every day perfecter than other. For there can nothing edify mans soul, save that which preacheth him Gods Word. Only the Word of God worketh the health of the soul. And whatsoever preacheth him that, cannot but make him perfecter.
But to believe that God will be sought more in one place than in another, or that God will hear thee more in one place than in another, or more where the image is than where it is not, is a false faith, and idolatry or image-service. For first, God dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts xvii.). Item, Stephen died for the contrary, and proved it by the prophets (Acts vii.). And Solomon in the eighth of the third of the Kings, when he had built his temple testified the same, and that he had not built it for God to dwell in; yea, and that God dwelleth not in the earth; but that he should out of Heaven hear the prayers of them that prayed there. And the prophets did often testify unto the people, that had such a false faith that God dwelt in the temple, that he dwelt not there. Moreover, God in his testament bindeth himself unto no place, nor yet thee; but speaketh generally (concerning where and when) saying (Psalm xlix.): In the day of the tribulation thou shall call on me, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. He setteth neither place nor time; but wheresoever and whensoever, so that the prayer of Job upon the dunghill was as good as Pauls in the temple. And when our Saviour saith (John xvi.): Whatsoever ye ask my Father in my name, I will give it you; he saith not in this or that place, or this or that day; but wheresoever and whensoever, as well in the fields as in the town, and on the Monday as on the Sunday. God is a spirit, and will be worshipped in the spirit (John iv.): that is, though He be present everywhere, yet He dwelleth lively and gloriously in the minds of angels only, and hearts of men that love his laws and trust in his promises. And wheresoever God findeth such an heart, there He heareth the prayer in all places and times indifferently. So that the outward place neither helpeth or hindereth, except (as I said) that a mans mind be more quiet and still from the rage of worldly businesses, or that something stir up the Word of God and example of our Saviour more in one place than in another.