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AND PRISON-CONFERENCES, 1555. [The ‘Examinations’ of Bradford were forwarded in MS. by Archbishop Grindal from Strasburgh, November 28, 1557, to Foxe the martyrologist. The archbishop wrote: ‘I now send to you the examinations of Bradford, and some of his other writings, that you may employ yourself as you please in translating them.’ To this Foxe replied: ‘I have received the narrative of Bradford, with various letters of his, which had been sent to different persons. I perceive in this matter, my Edmond, how faithful you are to your promise, and without fault, as they say. Would that we had all other remains of the martyrs brought together with equal care!’ The ‘examinations’ and a large portion of the ‘conferences’ appeared in Latin, in the edition of the ‘Acts and monuments’ of Foxe printed in that language, the Rerum in ecclesia gestarum commentarii, Basil. 1559; and nearly the whole is given in the first English impression, 1563, of the ‘Acts’ of Foxe, and in all subsequent editions.
The ‘Examinations and conferences,’ printed separately by Griffith 1561, alone supply the ‘conferences,’ p. 493 ¾ 552, in the form in which they were penned, at least for the most part, by Bradford himself; for that impression supplies words and phrases throughout, sentences occasionally, and in one place (515 — 8) three pages not given in any edition of Foxe. The ‘Prison-conferences’ are also written throughout in the edition of 1561 in the first person; and sometimes convey the feelings of Bradford in that edition in brief colloquialisms, which could scarcely have been employed by anyone else. The present follows the text (unless where otherwise noted) of a copy of the exceedingly scarce edition of Griffith, 1561, in the possession of the editor. The ‘Reasons against transubstantiation,’ p. 544 — 6, are printed from the ‘Acts,’ etc. of Foxe, 1563; see p. 544, note 3: and the ‘Colloquy between Bradford and a gentlewoman’s servant,’ p. — 6, is taken from the ‘Acts,’ etc. of Foxe, 1570, where it was first published.
The text of the ‘Examinations and conferences,’ Griffith 1561, has been compared throughout with the Latin edition of Foxe, 1559, and with the English editions of 1563 and 1583. The ‘first examination,’ the conferences with Harpsfield, and part of that with Archbishop Heath and Bishop Day, have also been compared with early transcripts in the British Museum and Emmanuel College, Cambridge: and nine lines are now first printed at p. 472. A few of the most important differences are mentioned in the notes; and the minutest variations are specified whenever the text of 1561 is not followed.
It deserves to be recorded, that the line which Bradford pursued in his three Examinations obtained the most cordial approbation from his illustrious friend and patron, Bishop Ridley. That prelate, on receiving the documents, while in prison at Oxford, wrote to Bradford as follows: “Blessed be the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for your threefold confession. I have read all three with great comfort and joy, and thanksgiving unto God for his manifold gifts of grace, wherewith it is manifest to the godly reader that God did assist you mightily. And blessed be God again and again, which gave you so good a mind and remembrance of your oath, once made against the bishop of Rome; (lest you should be partaker of the common perjury, which all men almost are now fallen into, in bringing in again that wicked usurped power of his:) which oath was made according to the prophet in judgment, in righteousness, and in truth; and therefore cannot without perjury be revoked, let Satan roar and rage, and practice all the cruelty he can. “O good Lord, that they are so busy with you about the church! It is no new thing, brother, that is happened unto you; for that was always the clamor of the wicked bishops and priests against God’s true prophets, ‘The temple of the Lord,’ ‘the temple of the Lord,’ ‘the temple of the Lord:’ and they said, ‘The law shall not depart from the priest, nor wisdom from the elder;’ and yet in them whom they only esteemed for their priests and sages, there was neither God’s law, nor godly wisdom.” ] THE EFFECT OF