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HENRY THE EIGHTHPICTURE: King Henry the Eighth in Council NOTES SUMMARILY COLLECTED AND REPEATED OF THINGS DONE IN THE TIME OF KING HENRY VII As touching the civil state and administration of the commonwealth, and likewise of the state of the church under the reign of king Henry VII; how he entered first into possession of the crown; how the two houses of York and Lancaster were in him conjoined through marriage with Elizabeth, the eldest daughter to king Edward IV, by the prudent counsel of John Morton, then bishop of Ely, after archbishop of Canterbury, and cardinal; how long the said king reigned, and what persecution was in his time for lack of search and knowledge of God’s word, both in the diocese of Lincoln under bishop Smith (who was erector of the house of Brazennose in Oxford), as also in the diocese of Coventry, and other places more: and further, what punishment and alteration God commonly sendeth upon cities and realms public, for neglecting the safety of his flock, sufficiently in the former book hath been already specified; wherein many things more amply might have been added, incident in the reign of this prince, which we have for brevity pretermitted. For he that studieth to comprehend in story all things which the common course and use of life may offer to the writer, may sooner find matter to occupy himself, than to profit others.
Otherwise I might have inferred mention of the seditious tumult of Perkin Warbeck, with his retinue, A.D. 1494, also of Blackheath field by the blacksmith, A.D. 1496. I might also have recited the glorious commendation of George Lily 2 in his Latin chronicle, testifying of king Henry VII, how he sent three solemn orators to pope Julius II, to yield his obedience to the see of Rome, A.D. 1506; and likewise how pope Alexander VI, Pius III, and Julius II, sent to the said king Henry VII, three sundry famous ambassadors, with three swords and three caps of maintenance, electing and admitting him to be the chief defender of the faith: the commendation of which fact, how glorious it is in the eyes of George Lily and Fabian, that I leave to them. This I suppose, that when king Henry sent to pope Julius three orators with obedience, if he had sent him three thousand harque-bussiers to furnish his field against the French king fighting at Ravenna, he had pleased pope Julius much better. If George Lily had been disposed to illustrate his story with notes, this had been more worthy the noting, how Ludovic XII, the French king, calling his parliament, moved this question against pope Julius, whether a pope might invade any prince by warlike force without cause, and whether the prince might withdraw his obedience from that pope or not? And it was concluded in the same parliament with the king, against the pope. 3 Also it was concluded the same time (which was in the reign of this king Henry VII), that the Pragmatical Sanction 4 should be received in full force and effect through all the realm of France.
And forasmuch as we are fallen into the mention of George Lily, this in him is to be found not unworthy noting, how, after the burning of Thomas Noris above mentioned, 5 at the city of Norwich, the same year followed such a fire in Norwich, that the whole city well near was therewith consumed. Like as also after the burning of the aforesaid good aged father in Smithfield the same year, A.D. 1500, we read in the chronicle of Fabian, that a great plague fell upon the city of London, to the great destruction of the inhabitants thereof: wherein again is to be noted, as is aforesaid, that according to the state of the church the disposition of the commonwealth commonly is guided, either to be with adversity afflicted, or else in prosperity to flourish. But after these notes of king Henry VII, now to the story of king Henry VIII This king Henry VII, finishing his course in the year abovesaid, which was 1509, had, by Elizabeth his wife abovenamed, four men-children, and of women-children as many; of whom three only survived, to wit, prince Henry, lady Margaret, and lady Mary: of whom, king Henry VIII succeeded his father; lady Margaret was married to James IV, king of Scots; lady Mary was affianced to Charles king of Castile.
Not long before the death of king Henry, prince Arthur his eldest son had espoused lady Katharine, daughter to Ferdinand, being of the age of fifteen years, and she about the age of seventeen; and shortly after his marriage, within five months he departed at Ludlow, and was buried at Worcester.
After his decease, the succession of the crown fell next to king Henry VIII, who, being of the age of eighteen years, entered his reign A.D. 1509, and shortly after married with the aforesaid Katharine, his late brother prince Arthur’s wife, to the end that her dowry, being great, should not be transported out of the land; in the which his marriage (being more politic than scripture-like), he was dispensed with by pope Julius, at the request of Ferdinand her father. The reign of this king continued with great nobleness and fame the space of thirty-eight years; during whose time and reign was great alteration of things, as well to the civil state of the realm, as especially to the state ecclesiastical and matters of the church, appertaining. For by him was exiled and abolished out of the realm the usurped power of the bishop of Rome, idolatry and superstition somewhat repressed, images and pilgrimages defaced, abbeys and monasteries pulled down, sects of religion rooted out, Scriptures reduced to the knowledge of the vulgar tongue, and the state of the church and religion redressed. Concerning all which things, in the process of the volumes here following, we will endeavor (Christ willing) particularly and in order to discourse; after that first, we shall comprehend a few matters, which, within the beginning of his reign, are to be noted and collected: where (leaving off to write of Empson and Dudley, who, in the time of king Henry VII, being great doers in executing the penal laws over the people at that time, and purchasing thereby more malice than lands, with that which they had gotten, were, shortly after the entering of this king, beheaded, the one a knight, the other an esquire: leaving also to intermeddle with his wars, triumphs, and other temporal affairs), we mean in these volumes principally to bestow our travail in declaration of matters concerning most chiefly the state of the church and of religion, as well in this church of England, as also of the whole church of Rome.
Herein first cometh to our hands a turbulent tragedy, and a fierce contention, which long before had troubled the church, and now this present year, 1509, was renewed afresh between two certain orders of Begging Friars, to wit, the Dominic Friars and the Franciscans, about the conception of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ.
The Franciscans were they who did hold of St. Francis, and followed the rule of: his testament, commonly called Gray Friars or Minorites. Their opinion was this, that the Virgin Mary, prevented by the grace of the Holy Ghost, was so sanctified, that she was never subject one moment in her conception to original sin. The Dominic Friars were those, who, holding of Dominic, were commonly called Black Friars, or preaching friars. Their opinion was this: that the Virgin Mary was conceived as all other children of Adam be; so that this privilege only belongeth to Christ, to be conceived without original sin: notwithstanding, the said blessed virgin was sanctified in her mother’s womb, and purged from her original sin, so as was John Baptist, Jeremy, or any other privileged person. This frivolous question kindling and engendering between these two sects of friars, burst out into such a flame of parts and sides-taking, that it occupied the heads and wits, schools and universities, almost through the whole church; some holding one part with Scotus, some the other part with Thomas Aquinas. The Minorites holding with Scotus their master, disputed and concluded, that she was conceived without all spot or note of original sin; and thereupon caused the feast and service of the conception of St. Mary the Virgin to be celebrated and solemnized in the church.
Contrary, the Dominic friars, taking side with Aquinas, preached, that it was heresy to affirm that the blessed virgin was conceived without the guilt of original sin; and that those who did celebrate the feast of her conception, or said any masses thereof, did sin grievously and mortally.
In the mean time, as this fantasy waxed hot in the church, the one side preaching against the other, came pope Sixtus IV, A.D. 1476, who, joining side with the Minorites or Franciscans, first sent forth his decree by authority apostolic, willing, ordaining, and commanding all men to solemnize this new-found feast of the conception, in holy church for evermore: offering to all men and women, who, devoutly frequenting the church, would hear mass and service from the first even-song of the said feast to the octaves of the same, as many days of pardon as pope Urban IV, and pope Martin V, did grant for hearing the service of Corpus Christi day, etc. And this decree was given and dated at Rome, A.D. 1476.
Moreover the same pope, to the intent that the devotion of the people might be the more encouraged to the celebration of this conception, added a clause more to the Ave Maria, granting great indulgence and release of sins to all such as would invocate the blessed Virgin with the same addition, saying thus: “Ave Maria gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus Christus; et benedicta sit Anna mater tua, de qua, sine macula, tua processit caro virginia. Amen.” That is, “Hail! Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ; and blessed is Anna thy mother, of whom thy virgin’s flesh hath proceeded without blot of original sin. Amen.”
Wherein thou mayest note, gentle reader! for thy learning three things:
First, how the pope turneth that improperly into a prayer, which properly was sent of God for a message or tidings. Secondly, how the pope addeth to the words of the Scripture, contrary to the express precept of the Lord. Thirdly, how the pope exempteth Mary the blessed Virgin, not only from the seed of Abraham and Adam, but also from the condition of a mortal creature. For if there were in her no original sin, then she bare not the image of Adam, neither did she descend of that seed, of whose seed evil proceedeth upon all men and women to condemnation; as St. Paul doth teach, Romans 5: Wherefore if she descended of that seed, then the infection of original evil must needs have proceeded unto her. If she descended not thereof, then came she not of the seed of Abraham, nor of the seed of David, etc. Again, seeing that death is the effect and stipend of sin by the doctrine of St. Paul [Romans 6], then had her flesh injury by the law, as Christ himself had, to suffer the malediction and punishment of death; and so should she never have died, if original sin had no place in her, etc. But to return unto our story: This constitution of the pope being set forth for the conception of the blessed Virgin, which was A.D. 1476, it was not long after but the said pope Sixtus, perceiving that the Dominic friars with their complices would not conform themselves hereunto, directed forth, by the authority apostolical, a bull in effect as followeth: 6 THE TENOR OF THE POPE’S BULL, FOR THE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN TO BE WITHOUT ORIGINAL SIN.
Whereas the holy church of Rome hath ordained a special and proper service for the public solemnizing of the feast of the conception of the blessed Virgin Mary; certain orders of the Black Friars, in their public sermons to the people in divers places, have not ceased hitherto to preach, and yet daily do, that all those who hold or affirm the said glorious Virgin to have been conceived without original sin, be heretics; and those who celebrate the service of the said her conception, or do hear the sermons of those who do so affirm, do sin grievously Also, not contented herewith, they do write and set forth books moreover maintaining their assertions, to the great offense and ruin of godly minds: We, therefore, to prevent and withstand such presumptuous and perverse assertions as have arisen, and more hereafter may arise, by such opinions and preachings aforesaid, in the minds of the faithful; by the authority apostolical, do condemn and reprove the same; and by the motion, knowledge, and authority aforesaid, decree and ordain, That the preachers of God’s word, and all other persons, of what state, degree, order, or condition soever they be, who shall presume to dare affirm, or preach to the people these aforesaid opinions and assertions to be true, or shall read, hold, or maintain any such books for true, having before intelligence hereof, shall incur thereby the sentence of excommunication, from which they shall not be absolved otherwise than by the bishop of Rome; except only in the time of death.
This bull, being dated A.D. 1483, gave no little heart and encouragement to the Gray Friars Franciscan, who defended the pure conception of the holy Virgin against the Black Dominic friars, with their confederates, holding the contrary side; by the rigor of which bull, the gray order had got such a conquest of the black guard of the Dominics, that the said Dominics were compelled at length, for a perpetual memorial of the triumph, both to give to the glorious Virgin every night an anthem in praise of her conception, and also to subscribe unto their doctrine; in which doctrine these, with divers other points, be contained. 1. That blessed Mary the Virgin suffered the griefs and adversities in this life, not for any necessity inflicted for punishment of original sin, but only because she would conform herself to the imitation of Christ. 2. That the said Virgin, as she was not obliged to any punishment due for sin, as neither was Christ her Son, so she had no need of remission of sins; but instead thereof had the divine preservation of God’s help, keeping her from all sin, which grace only she needed, and also had it. 3. Item, That whereas the body of the Virgin Mary was subject to death and died; this is to be understood to come not for any penalty due for sin, but either for imitation and conformity unto Christ, or else for the natural constitution of her body, being elemental, as were the bodies of our first parents: who, if they had not tasted of the forbidden fruit, should have been preserved from death, not by nature, but by grace, and strength of other fruits and meats in Paradise: which meats because Mary had not, but did eat our common meats, therefore she died, and not for any necessity of original sin. 4. The universal proposition of St. Paul, which saith, That the Scripture hath concluded all men under sin, is to be understood thus; as speaking of all those who be not exempted by the special privilege of God, as is the blessed Virgin Mary. 5. If justification be taken for reconciliation of him that was unrighteous before, and now is made righteous; then the blessed Virgin is to be taken, not for justified by Christ, but just from her beginning by preservation. 6. If a Savior be taken for him who saveth men fallen into perdition and condemnation; so is not Christ the Savior of Mary, but is her Savior only in this respect, for sustaining her from not falling into condemnation, etc. 7. Neither did the Virgin Mary give thanks to God, nor ought so to do, for expiation of her sins, but for her conservation from case of sinning. 8. Neither did she pray to God at any time for remission of her sins, but only for the remission of other men’s sins she prayed many times, and counted their sins for hers. 9. If the blessed Virgin had deceased before the passion of her Son, God would have reposed her soul not in the place among the patriarchs, or amongst the just, but in the same most pleasant place of Paradise, where Adam and Eve were, before they transgressed.
These were the doting dreams and fantasies of the Franciscans, and of other papists, commonly then holden in the schools, written in their books, preached in their sermons, taught in churches, and set forth in pictures. 9 So that the people were taught nothing else almost in the pulpits all this while, but how the Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate and holy, without original sin, and how they ought to call to her for help, whom they with special terms do call, ‘the way of mercy,’ ‘the mother of grace,’ ‘the lover of piety,’ the comforter of mankind,’ ‘ the continual intercessor for the salvation of the faithful,’ and ‘an advocate to the King her Son that never ceaseth,’ etc. 10 And although the greatest number of the school-doctors were of the contrary faction, as Peter the Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, Bernard, Bonaventure, and others; yet these new papists shifted off their objections with frivolous distinctions and blind evasions, as thus: “Peter the Lombard,” they said, “is not received nor holden in the schools as touching this article, but is rejected” Bernard, 12 although he seemeth to deny the conception of the blessed Virgin to be void of original sin, saying, that she could not be holy when she was not, and lived not: to this they answer, that albeit she was not yet in essence, yet she was holy in her conception, and before conception, in the divine prescience of God, who had chosen and pre-elected her before the worlds, to be the mother of the Lord.
Again; where Bernard doth argue, that she was not without original sin conceived, because she was not conceived by the Holy Ghost: to this they answer, that the Holy Ghost may work two ways in conception; either without company of man, and so was Christ only conceived; or else with company and help of man, and thus was the blessed Virgin conceived. Bonaventure (say they) was a holy father, but he spake then after the custom and manner of his time, when the solemnity and purity of this conception was not yet decreed nor received by the public consent and authority of the church. Now, seeing the authority of the church of Rome hath established the same, it ought not to be contraried, nor can, without dangerous disobedience. In all men’s actions diligent respect of time must be had. That which bindeth not at one time, afterwards the same by law being ratified, may bind at another. Finally, for the number and multitude on the contrary side, thus they answer for themselves, as we now in these our days likewise, in defense of the truth, may well answer against the pope, and all his popish friars, turning their own weapons against themselves “Multitude,” say they, “ought not to move us; victory consisteth not in number and heaps, but in fortitude and hearts of soldiers; yea, rather fortitude and stomach cometh from heaven, and not of man. Judas Maccabeus, with a little handfull, overthrew the great army of Antiochus. Strong Samson, with a poor ass’s bone, slew a thousand Philistines. David had no more but a silly sling, and a few stones, and with these struck down terrible Goliath the giant,” 15 etc.
With these and other like reasons the Gray Franciscans voided their adversaries, defending the conception of the Virgin Mary to be unblemished, and pure from all contagion of original sin. Contrariwise, the black guard of the Dominic friars, for their parts, were not all mute, but laid lustily from them again, having great authorities, and also the Scripture on their side. But yet the others, having the see apostolical with them, had the better hand, and in fine got the victory triumphantly over the others, to the high exaltation of their order. For pope Sixtus, as I said, by the authority apostolical, after he had decreed the conception-day of the Virgin perpetually to be sanctified, and also, with his terrible bull, had condemned for heretics all those who withstood the same; the Dominic friars, with authority oppressed, were driven to two inconveniences: the one was, to keep silence; the other was, to give place to their adversaries the Franciscans. Albeit, where the mouth durst not speak, yet the heart would work; and though their tongues were tied, yet their goodwill was ready by all means possible to maintain their quarrel and their estimation.
Whereupon it happened the same year, A.D. 1509, after this dissension between the Dominic friars and the Franciscans, that certain of the Dominics, thinking by subtle sleight to work in the people’s heads that which they durst not achieve with open preaching, devised a certain image of the Virgin 16 so artificially wrought, that the friars, by privy gins, made it to stir, and to make gestures, to lament, to complain, to weep, to groan, and to give answers to them that asked; insomuch that the people therewith were brought in a marvelous persuasion, till at length the fraud being espied, the friars were taken, condemned, and burnt at Berne, in the year above-mentioned. In the story of John Stumsius, this story aforesaid doth partly appear: but in the registers and records of the city of Berne, the older and circumstance thereof is more fully expressed and set forth both in metre and prose, and is thus declared:
In the city of Berne 18 there were certain Dominic friars 151a , to the number chiefly of four principal doers and chieftains of that order, who had inveigled a certain simple poor friar, who had newly planted himself in the cloister; whom the aforesaid friars had so infatuated with sundry superstitions, and feigned apparitions of St. Mary, St. Barbara, and St.
Katharine, and with their enchantments, and imprinting, moreover, in him the wounds of St. Francis, that he believed plainly that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him, and had offered him a red host consecrated with the blood also of Christ miraculous; which blessed Virgin also had sent him to the senators of Berne, with instructions, declaring unto them from the mouth of the Virgin, that she was conceived in sin; and that the Franciscan friars were not to be credited, nor suffered in the city, who were not yet reformed from that erroneous opinion of her conception. He added moreover, that they should resort to a certain image there of the Virgin Mary (which image the friars by engines had made to sweat), and should do their worship, and make their oblations to the same, etc.
This reigned device was no sooner forged by the friars, but it was as soon believed of the people; so that a great while the red-colored host was undoubtedly taken for the true body and blood of Christ, and certain colored drops thereof sent abroad to divers noble personages and states for a great relic; and that, not without great recompense. Thus the deceived people in great numbers came flocking to the image, and to the red host and colored blood, with manifold gifts and oblations. In brief, the Dominic friars so had wrought the matter, and had so swept all the fat to their own beards from the order of the Franciscans, that all the alms came to their box. The Franciscans, seeing their estimation to decay, and their kitchen to wax cold, and their paunches to be pinched, not able to abide that contumely, and being not ignorant or unacquainted with such counterfeited doings (for as the proverb saith, “It is ill, halting before a cripple”), eftsoons espied their crafty juggling, and detected their fraudulent miracles.
And thus much touching the beginning and end of this tumultuous and popish tragedy, whereto evidently it may appear to the reader, how neither these turbulent friars could agree among themselves, and yet in what frivolous trifles they wrangled together. But to let these ridiculous friars pass with their trifling fantasies, most worthy to be derided of all wise men, in the mean time this is to be lamented, to behold the miserable times of the church, in which the devil kept the minds of Christ’s people so attentive, and occupied in such friarly toys, that nothing else almost was taught or heard in the church, but only the commendation and exaltation of the Virgin Mary: but of our justification by faith, of grace, and of the promises of God in Christ, of the strength of the law, of the horror of sin, of difference between the law and the gospel, of the true liberty of conscience, etc., no mention, or very little, was heard. Wherefore in this so blind a time of darkness it was much needful and requisite, that the Lord of his mercy should look upon his church, and send down his gracious reformation, which also he did: for shortly upon the same, through the gracious excitation of God, came Martin Luther, of whom the order of story now requireth that we should, and will entreat (Christ willing), after the story of Richard Hun, and a few other things premised, for the better opening of the story to follow.
Mention was made sufficiently before of the doings of pope Julius, and of his warlike affairs, for which he was condemned, and not unjustly, in the council of Tours in France, A.D. 1510, and yet all this could not assuage the furious affection of this pope, but the same year he invaded the cities of Modena and Mirandola in Italy, and took them by force of war. This pope Julius not long after, A.D. 1512, refusing peace offered by Maximilian the emperor, was encountered by Louis the French king about Ravenna, upon Easter-day, where he was vanquished, and had of his army slain to the number of sixteen thousand. 19 And the year next following, A.D. 1518, this apostolical warrior, who had resigned his keys unto the river Tiber before, made an end together both of his fighting and living, after he had reigned and fought ten years. After whom succeeded next in the see of Rome, pope Leo X.; about the compass of which time great mutations and stirs began to work, as well in states temporal, as especially in the state of the church.
PRINCES A.D. Reigned (years) Pope Leo X., in Rome 1513 Charles V, emperor of Germany 1519 Francis, king of France 1515 Henry VIII, king of England 1509 James V, king of Scotland 1514 In the time of which pope, emperor, and kings of England, France, and Scotland, great alterations, troubles, and turns of religion were wrought in the church, by the mighty operation of God’s hand, in Italy, France, Germany, England, and all Europe; such as have not been seen (although much groaned for) many hundred years before: as in further discourse of this history, Christ willing, shall more manifestly appear.
But before we come to these alterations, taking the time as it lieth before us, we will first speak of Richard Hun, and certain other godly minded persons here in England, afflicted for the word of Christ’s gospel in great multitudes, as they be found and taken out of the registers of Fitzjames, bishop of London, by the faithful help and industry of R. Carket, citizen of London.
THE HISTORY OF DIVERS GOOD MEN AND WOMEN, PERSECUTED FOR RELIGION IN THE CITY AND DIOCESE OF THE BISHOP OF LONDON; BRIEFLY EXTRACTED OUT OF THE REGISTERS OF RICHARD FITZJAMES Amongst and besides the great number of the faithful martyrs and professors of Christ, that constantly, in the strength of the Holy Ghost, gave their lives for the testimony of his truth, I find recorded in the register 20 of London, between the years of our Lord 1509 and 1527, the names of divers other persons, both men and women, who, in the fullness of that dark and misty time of ignorance, had also some portion of God’s good Spirit, which induced them to the knowledge of his truth and gospel, and were diversely troubled, persecuted, and imprisoned for the same.
Notwithstanding by the proud, cruel, and bloody rage of the Catholic seat, and through the weakness and frailty of their own nature (not then fully strengthened in God), it was again in them for the time suppressed and kept under, as appeareth by their several abjurations made before Richard Fitzjames, then bishop of London (in his time a most cruel persecutor of Christ’s church), or else before his vicar-general, deputed for the same.
And forasmuch as many of the adversaries of God’s truth have of late days disdainfully and braggingly cried out, and made demands in their public assemblies, and yet do, asking, Where this our church and religion was within these fifty or sixty years? I have thought it not altogether vain, somewhat to stop such lying crakers, both by mentioning their names, and likewise opening some of the chief and principal matters for which they were so unmercifully afflicted and molested: thereby to give to understand, as well the continuance and consent of the true church of Christ in that age, touching the chief points of our faith (though not in like perfection of knowledge and constancy in all), as also by the way something to touch what fond and frivolous matters the ignorant prelates shamed not in that time of blindness to object against the poor and simple people, accounting them as heinous and great offenses, yea, such as deserved death both of body and soul. But lest I should seem too prolix and tedious herein, I will now briefly proceed with the story, and first begin with their names, which are these:
A.D. 1510 Joan Baker William Pottier John Forge Thomas Goodred Thomas Walker, alias Talbot Thomas Forge Alice Forge John Forge, their son William Cowper John Calverton John Woodrof A.D. Richard Woolman Roger Hilliar Alice Cowper Thomas Austy Joan Austy Thomas Grant John Garter Christopher Ravins Dyonise Ravins Thomas Vincent Lewis John Joan John A.D. John Webb, alias Baker A.D. John Houshold Robert Rascal A.D. Elizabeth Stanford George Brown John Wikes John Southbake Richard Butler John Samme A.D. William King Robert Durdant Henry Woolman Edmund Spilman A.D. John Higges, alias Noke, alias Johnson Henry Chambers John Higgins A.D. Thomas Egleston THE PARTICULAR EXAMINATION OF ALL THOSE ABOVE NAMED HERE FOLLOWETH To these were divers and sundry particular articles (besides the common and general sort accustomably used in such cases) privately objected; even such as they were then accused of either by their curate, or others their neighbors. And because I think it somewhat superfluous to make any large recital of all and every part of their several process, I mind therefore briefly only to touch so many of their articles as may be sufficient to induce the Christian reader to judge the sooner of the rest; being (I assure you) of no greater importance than these that follow: except that sometimes they were charged, most slanderously, with horrible and blasphemous lies against the majesty and truth of God; which as they utterly denied, so do I now for this present keep secret in silence, as well for brevity’s sake, as also somewhat to color and hide the shameless practices of that lying generation. But to our purpose.
JOAN BAKER AND THIRTY-NINE OTHERS The chief objections against Joan Baker were as follows: That she would not only herself not reverence the crucifix, but had also persuaded a friend of hers, lying at the point of death, not to put any trust or confidence in the crucifix, but in God who is in heaven, who only worketh all the miracles that be done, and not the dead images, which be but stocks and stones; and therefore she was sorry that ever she had gone so often on pilgrimage to St. Savior and other idols. Also, that she did hold opinion, that the pope had no power to give pardons, and that the lady Young (who was not long before that time burned) died a true martyr of God; and therefore she wished of God, that she herself might do no worse than the said lady Young had done.
Unto William Pottier, besides divers other false and slanderous articles (as that he should deny the benefit and effect of Christ’s passion) it was also alleged as under: That he should affirm there were six Gods: the first three were the holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; the fourth was a priest’s concubine being kept in his chamber; the fifth was the Devil; and the sixth, that thing that a man setteth his mind most upon.
The first part of this article he utterly denied, confessing most firmly and truly, the blessed Trinity to be only one God in one unity of Deity. As to the other three he answered, that a priest delighting in his concubine, made her as his God: likewise a wicked person, persisting in his sin without repentance, made the devil his God: and lastly, he granted, that he once, hearing of certain men, who by the singing and chattering of birds would seek to know what things were to come either to themselves or others, said, That those men esteemed their birds as gods; and otherwise he spake not.
Amongst the manifold and several articles objected against Thomas Goodred, Thomas Walker, Thomas Forge, Alice Forge his wife, John Forge their son, John Calverton, John Woodrof, Richard Woolman, and Roger Hilliar (as that they should speak against pilgrimages, praying unto saints, and such like), this principally was propounded: That they all denied the carnal and corporal presence of Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament of the altar; and further, had concealed and consented unto their teachers and instructors in that doctrine, and had not, according to the laws of the church, accused and presented them unto the bishop or his ordinary.
Also great and heinous displeasure was conceived against Richard Woolman, for that he termed the church of Paul’s a house of thieves, alarming, that the priests and other ecclesiastical persons there were not liberal givers unto the poor (as they ought to be) but rather takers-away from them of what they could get.
Likewise as Thomas Austy, Joan Austy his wife, Thomas Grant, John Garter, Christopher Ravins, Dyonise Ravins his sister, Thomas Vincent, Lewis John, Joan John his wife, and John Webb, were of one fellowship and profession of faith with divers of the last before recited; so were they almost all apprehended about one time, and chiefly burdened with one opinion of the Sacrament: which declareth evidently, that notwithstanding the dark ignorance of those corrupted times, yet God did ever in mercy open the eyes of some to behold the manifest truth, even in those things whereof the papists make now greatest vaunt, and brag of longest continuance.
Furthermore, many of them were charged to have spoken against pilgrimages, and to have read and used certain English books repugning the faith of the Romish church, as the four Evangelists, Wickliff’s Wicket, a Book of the Ten Commandments of Almighty God, the Revelation of St.
John, the Epistles of Paul and James, with other like, which those holy ones could never abide. And good cause why: for as darkness could never agree with light, no more can ignorance, the maintainer of that kingdom, with the true knowledge of Christ and his gospel.
It was further particularly objected against Joan John, the wife of Lewis John, that (besides the premises) she learned and maintained, that God commanded no holy days to be kept, but only the Sabbath-day, and therefore she would keep none but it; nor any fasting days, affirming, that to fast from sin, was the true fast. Moreover, that she had despised the pope, his pardons and pilgrimages; insomuch that when any poor body asked an alms of her in the worship of the Lady of Walsingham, she would strait answer in contempt of the pilgrimage, “The Lady of Walsingham help thee:” and if she gave any thing unto him, she would then say, “Take this in the worship of our Lady in heaven, and let the other go.” Which declareth, that for lack of better instruction and knowledge, she yet ignorantly attributed too much honor to the true saints of God departed, though otherwise she did abhor the idolatrous worshipping of the dead images. By which example, as also by many others (for shortness’ sake at this present omitted), I have just occasion to condemn the willful subtlety of those, who, in this bright shining light of God’s truth, would yet, under color of godly remembrance, still maintain the having of images in the church, craftily excusing their idolatrous kneeling and praying unto them, by affirming, that they never worshipped the dead images, but the things that the images did represent. But if that were their only doctrine and cause of having of them, why then would their predecessors so cruelly compel these poor simple people thus openly, in their recantations, to abjure and revoke their speaking against the gross adoration of the outward images only, and not against the thing represented; which many of them (as appeareth partly by this example), in their ignorant simplicity, confessed might be worshipped? Howbeit, God be thanked (who ever in his mercy continue it!) their colorable and hypocritical excuses cannot now take such place in the hearts of the elect of God as they have clone heretofore, especially seeing the word of God doth so manifestly forbid as well the worshipping of them, as also the making or having of them for order of religion.
It was alleged against William Cowper, and Alice Cowper his wife, as follows: That they had spoken against pilgrimages, and worshipping of images; but chiefly the woman, who, having her child, on a time, hurt by falling into a pit or ditch, and being earnestly persuaded by some of her ignorant neighbors to go on pilgrimage to St. Laurence for help for her child, said, That neither St. Laurence, nor any other saint could help her child, and therefore none ought to go on pilgrimage to any image made with man’s hand, but only to Almighty God; for pilgrimages were nothing worth, saving to make the priests rich.
Unto John Houshold, Robert Rascal, and Elizabeth Stamford, as well the article against the sacrament of the altar was objected, as also that they had spoken against praying to saints, and had despised the authority of the bishop of Rome, and others of his clergy. But especially John Houshold was charged to have called them antichrists and fornicators, and the pope himself a strong strumpet, and a common scandal unto the world, who with his pardons had drowned in blindness all Christian realms; and that for money.
Also among divers other ordinary articles propounded against George Browne, these were counted very heinous and heretical: First, that he had said, that he knew no cause why the cross should be worshipped, seeing that the same was a hurt and pain unto our Savior Christ in the time of his passion, and not any ease or pleasure; alleging for example, that if he had had a friend hanged or drowned, he would ever after have loved that gallows or water, by which his friend died, rather worse for that, than better. Another objection was, that he had erroneously, obstinately, and maliciously said (for so are their words), that the church was too rich. This matter, I may tell you, touched somewhat the quick, and therefore no marvel that they counted it erroneous and malicious; for take away their gain, and farewell their religion. They also charged him to have refused holy water to be cast about his chamber, and likewise to have spoken against priests, with other vain matters.
The greatest matter wherewith they burdened John Wikes was, that he had often and of long time kept company with divers persons suspected of heresy (as they termed them), and had received them into his house, and there did suffer and hear them sundry times read erroneous and heretical books, contrary to the faith of the Romish church; and did also himself consent unto their doctrine, and had many times secretly conveyed them from the taking of such as were appointed to apprehend them.
Like as the greatest number of those before-mentioned, so were also John Southake, Richard Butler, John Sam, William King, Robert Durdant, and Henry Woolman, especially charged with speaking words against the real presence of Christ’s body in the sacrament of the altar, and also against images, and the rest of the seven sacraments. Howbeit they burdened the last five persons with the reading of certain English heretical books, accounting most blasphemously the gospel of Jesus Christ, written by the four evangelists, to be of that number, as appeareth evidently by the eighth article objected by Thomas Bennet, doctor of law, chancellor and vicar-general unto Richard Fitzjames, then bishop of London, against the said Richard Butler; the very words of which article, for a more declaration of truth, I have thought good here to insert, which are these: “Also we object to you, that divers times, and especially upon a certain night. about the space of three years last past, in Robert Durdant’s house of Iver-court, near unto Staines, you erroneously and damnably read in a great book of heresy of the said Robert Durdant’s, all that same night, certain chapters of the evangelists in English, containing in them divers erroneous and damnable opinions and conclusions of heresy, in the presence of the said Robert Durdant, John Butler, Robert Carder, Jenkin Butler, William King, 1 and divers other suspected persons, of. heresy, then being present, and hearing your said erroneous lectures and opinions.”
To the same effect and purpose tended the tenor of some of the articles propounded against the other four; whereby (as also by other like ones before specified) we may easily judge what reverence those, who yet will be counted the true and only church of Christ, did bear to the word and gospel of Christ; who shamed not to blaspheme the same with most horrible titles of erroneous and damnable opinions and conclusions of heresy. But why should we marvel thereat, seeing the Holy Ghost, in sundry places of the Scripture, doth declare, that in the latter days there should come such proud and cursed speakers, who shall speak lies through hypocrisy, and have their consciences marked with a hot iron? Let us therefore now thank our heavenly Father for revealing them unto us; and let us also pray him, that of his free mercies in his Son Christ Jesus, he would (if it be to his glory) either turn and mollify all such hearts, or else (for the peace and quietness of his church) he would, in his righteous judgment, take them from us.
About this time Richard Fitzjames ended his life, after whose death Cuthbert Tunstall (afterwards bishop of Durham) succeeded in the see and bishopric of London; who soon, upon his first entry into the room, minding to follow rightly the footsteps of his predecessor, caused Edmund Spilman, priest, Henry Chambers, John Higgins, and Thomas Eglestone to be apprehended, and so to be examined upon sundry like articles as before are expressed; and in the end, either for fear of his cruelty, and the rigor of death, or else through hope of his flattering promises (such was their weakness), he compelled them to abjure and renounce their true professed faith touching the holy sacrament of Christ’s body and blood; which was, that Christ’s corporal body was not in the sacrament, but in heaven; and that the sacrament was a figure of his body, and not the body itself.
Moreover, about the same time there were certain articles objected against John Higges, alias Noke, alias Johnson, by the said bishop’s vicar-general, amongst which were these: First, that he had affirmed, that it was as lawful for a temporal man to have two wives at once, as for a priest to have two benefices. Also, that he had in his custody a book of the four evangelists in English, and did often read therein; and that he favored the doctrines and opinions of Martin Luther, openly pronouncing, that Luther had more learning in his little finger, than all the doctors in England in their whole bodies; and that all the priests in the church were blind, and had led the people the wrong way. Likewise it was alleged against him, that he had denied purgatory, and had said, that while he was alive he would do as much for himself as he could, for after his death he thought that prayers and alms-deeds could little help him.
These and such like matters were those wherewith these poor and simple men and women were chiefly charged, and as heinous heretics excommunicated, imprisoned, and at last compelled to recant: and some of them, in utter shame and reproach (besides the ordinary bearing of faggots before the cross in procession, or else at a sermon) were enjoined for a penance, as they termed it, as well to appear once every year before their ordinary, as also to wear the sign of a faggot painted upon their sleeves, or other part of their outward garment; and that, during all their lives, or so often and long as it pleased their ordinary to appoint. By which long, rigorous, and open punishing of them, they meant, as it should seem, utterly to terrify and keep back all others from the true knowledge of Jesus Christ and his gospel. But the Lord be evermore praised, what effect their wicked purposes therein have taken, these our most lightsome days of God’s glorious gospel do most joyfully declare.
There were also troubled, besides these, certain others more simple and ignorant, who, having but a very small smack or taste of the truth, did yet at first (as it may seem) gladly consent unto the same; but, being apprehended, they quickly again yielded, and therefore had only assigned them for their penance, the bearing of a little candle before the cross, without any further open abjuring or recanting. Amongst these I find two especially; the one a woman called Ellen Heyer, to whom it was objected, that she had neither confessed herself unto the priest, nor yet received the sacrament of the altar by the space of four years; and notwithstanding, had yearly eaten flesh at Easter, and after, as well as others that had received the same, contrary to the usual manner and conversation of all other Christian people.
The other was a man named Robert Berkeway, who (besides most wicked blasphemies against God which he utterly denied) was charged to have spoken heinous words against the pope’s holy and blessed martyr, Thomas Becket, calling him micher 2 and thief, for that he wrought by crafts and imaginations.
Thus have I, as briefly as I could, summarily collected the principal articles objected against these weak, infirm, and earthy vessels; not minding hereby to excuse Or condemn them in these their fearful falls and dangerous defections: but, leaving them unto the immeasurable rich mercies of the Lord, I thought only to make manifest the insatiable bloody cruelty of the pope’s kingdom against the gospel and true church of Christ; nothing mitigating their envious rage, no, not against the very simple idiots, and that sometimes in most frivolous and irreligious cases. But now, leaving to say any further herein, I will, by God’s grace, go forward with other somewhat more serious matters.
THE DEATH AND MARTYRDOM OF WILLIAM SWEETING, AN JOHN BREWSTER In searching and perusing of the register, for the collection of the names and articles before recited, I find that within the compass of the same years there were also some other, who, after they had once showed themselves as frail and inconstant as the rest (being either therewith pricked in conscience, or otherwise zealously overcome with the manifest truth of God’s most sacred Word), became yet again as earnest professors of Christ as ever they were before; and for the same profession were the second time apprehended, examined, condemned, and in the end were most cruelly burned. Of this number were William Sweeting, and John Brewster, who were both burned together in Smithfield, the 18th day of October, A.D. 1511.
The chief case of religion alleged against them in their articles, was their faith concerning the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, which, because it differed from the absurd, gross and Capernaitical opinion of the new schoolmen, was counted as most heinous heresy. There were other things besides objected against them, as the reading of certain forbidden books, and accompanying with such persons as were suspected of heresy. But one great and heinous offense counted amongst the rest, was their putting and leaving off the painted faggots, which they were at their first abjuring enjoined to wear as badges during their lives, or so long as it should please their ordinary to appoint, and not to leave them off upon pain of relapse, until they were dispensed withal for the same. The breach of this injunction was esteemed to be of no small weight, and yet the matter well and thoroughly considered, it seemeth by their confessions, they were both thereunto by necessity enforced. For the one, named Sweeting, being for fear of the bishop’s cruelty constrained to wander the countries to get his poor living, came at length unto Colchester, where, by the parson of the parish of Mary Magdalen, he was provoked to be the holy water clerk, and in that consideration had that infamous badge first taken away from him. The other (who was Brewster) left off his at the commandment of the comptroller of the earl of Oxford’s house, who, hiring the poor man to labor in the earl’s household business, would not suffer him, working there, to wear that counterfeit cognizance any longer: so that, as I said, necessity of living seemeth to compel both of them at first to break that injunction. And therefore, if charity had borne as great sway in the hearts of the pope’s clergy, as did cruelty, this trifle would not have been so heinously taken, as to be brought against them for an article, and cause of condemnation to death. But where tyranny once taketh place, as well all godly love, as also all human reason and duties, are quite forgotten.
Well, to be short, what for the causes before recited, as also for that they had once already abjured, and yet, as they term it, fell again into relapse, they were both, as you have heard, in the end burned together in Smithfield; although the same parties, as the register recordeth, did again, before their death, fearfully forsake their former revived constancy, and submitting themselves unto the discipline of the Romish church, craved absolution from their excommunication. Howbeit, because many of the registers’ notes and records in such eases may rightly be doubted of, and so called into question, I refer the certain knowledge hereof unto the Lord (who is the trier of all truths), and the external judgment unto the godly and discreet reader: not forgetting yet by the way (if that the report should be true) upon so just an occasion, to charge that catholic clergy, and their wicked laws, with a more shameless tyranny and uncharitable cruelty than before: for if they nothing stay their bloody malice towards such as so willingly submit themselves unto their mercies; what favor may the faithful and constant professors of Christ look for at their hands? I might here also ask of them, how they follow the pitiful and loving admonition (or rather precept) of our Savior Christ (whose true and only church they so stoutly brag to be), who in Luke 17: saith, “Though thy brother sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying, It repenteth me; thou shalt forgive him.” But what go I about to allure them unto the following of the rule and counsel of Him, unto whose word and gospel they seem most open and utter enemies? Wherefore not purposing to stay any longer thereupon, I will leave them unto the righteous revengement of the Lord.
JOHN BROWNE, MARTYR154 The occasion of the first trouble of this John Browne, was by a priest sitting in a Gravesend barge. John Browne, being at the same time in the barge, came and sat hard by him; whereupon, after certain communication, the priest asked him; “Dost thou know,” said he, “who I am? thou sittest too near me, thou sittest on my clothes.” “No, sir,” said he, “I know not what you are.” “I tell thee I am a priest.” “What, sir! are you a parson, or vicar, or a lady’s chaplain?” “No,” quoth he again, “I am a soul-priest, I sing for a soul,” saith he. “Do you so, sir?” quoth the other, “that is well done; I pray you sir,” quoth he, “where find you the soul when you go to mass?” “I cannot tell thee,” said the priest. “I pray you, where do you leave it, Sir, when the mass is done?” “I cannot tell thee,” said the priest. “Neither can you tell where you find 155 it when you go to mass, nor where you leave it when the mass is done; how can you then have the soul?” said he. “Go thy ways,” said the priest, “thou art a heretic, and I will be even with thee.” So at the landing, the priest, taking with him Walter More, and William More, two gentlemen, brethren, rode straightways to the archbishop Warham. Hereupon the said John Browne within three days after, his wife being churched the same day, and he bringing in a mess of pottage to the board to his guests, was sent for, and his feet bound under his own horse, and so brought up to Canterbury; neither his wife, nor he, nor any of his, knowing whither he went, 2 nor whither he should: and there continuing from Low-Sunday 156 , till the Friday before Whitsunday (his wife not knowing all this while where he was) he was set in the stocks overnight, and on the morrow went to death, and was burned at Ashford, A.D. 1517 157 . The same night, as he was in the stocks at Ashford, where he and his wife dwelt, his wife then hearing of him, came and sat by him all the night before he should be burned: to whom he, declaring the whole story how he was handled, showed and told, how that he could not set his feet to the ground, for they were burned to the bones; and told her, how by the two bishops, Warham and Fisher, his feet were heated upon the hot coals, and burned to the bones, “to make me,” said he, “to deny my Lord, which I will never do; for if I should deny my Lord in this world, he would hereafter deny me.” “I pray thee,” said he, “therefore, good Elizabeth! continue as thou hast begun, and bring up thy children virtuously, and in the fear of God” And so the next day, on Whitsunday even, this godly martyr was burned. Standing at the stake, this prayer he made, holding up his hands: ‘O Lord, I yield me to thy grace, Grant me mercy for my trespass; Let never the fiend my soul chase.
This blessed martyr, John Browne, had borne a faggot seven years before, in the days of king Henry VII.
As it is the property of Satan ever to malice the prosperous estate of the saints of God, and true professors of Christ; so ceaseth he not continually to stir up his wicked members to the effectual accomplishing of that which his envious nature so greedily desireth; if not always openly by color of tyrannical laws, yet, at the leastwise, by some subtle practice of secret murder; which thing doth most plainly appear, not only in a great number of the blessed martyrs of Christ’s church, mentioned in this book, but also and especially in the discourse of this lamentable history that now I have in hand, concerning the secret and cruel murdering of Richard Hun, whose story here consequently ensueth, decerped and collected partly out of the registers of London, partly out of a bill exhibited and denounced in the parliament-house.
THE STORY OF RICHARD HUN, MARTYRPICTURE: The Murder of Richard Hun There was in the year of our Lord 1514, one Richard Hun, merchant-tailor, dwelling within the city of London, and freeman of the same, who was esteemed during his life, and worthily reputed, and taken not only for a man of true dealing and good substance, but also for a good catholic man.
Mary Matfilon 159 , which died; by the occasion whereof one Thomas Dryfield, clerk, being parson of the said parish, sued the said Richard Hun in the spiritual court, for a bearing-sheet, which the said Thomas Dry field claimed unjustly to have of the said Hun, for a mortuary for Stephen Hun, son of the said Richard Hun; which Stephen being at nurse in the said parish, died, being of the age of five weeks, and not above. Hun answered him again, That forasmuch as the child had no propriety in the sheet, he therefore neither would pay it, nor the other ought to have it. Whereupon the priest, moved with a covetous desire, and loath to lose his pretended right, ascited him to appear in the spiritual court, there to answer the matter: whereupon the said Richard Hun, being troubled in the spiritual court, was forced to seek counsel of the learned in the law of this land, and pursued a writ of praemunire against the said Thomas Dryfield, and others his aiders, counselors, proctors, and adherents, as by the process thereof is yet to be seen. Which when the rest of the priestly order heard of, greatly disdaining that any layman should so boldly enterprise such a matter against any of them, and fearing also, that if they should now suffer this priest to be condemned at the suit of Hun, there would be thereby ever after a liberty opened unto all others of the laity to do the like with the rest of the clergy in such like cases, they straightways, both to stop this matter, and also to be revenged of him for that he had already done, sought all means they possibly could how to entrap and bring him within the danger of their own cruel laws. And thereupon making secret and diligent inquisition, and seeking all corners they could against him, at length they found a means how to accuse him of heresy unto Richard Fitzjames then bishop of London, and so did; who (desirous to satisfy the revenging and bloody affection of his chaplains), caused him thereupon to be apprehended and committed unto prison within the Lollards’ tower at Paul’s, so that none of his friends might be suffered to come to him. Thus Richard Hun, being clapt in the Lollards’ tower, shortly after, at the earnest instigation of Dr. Horsey, the bishop’s chancellor (a man more ready to prefer the clergy’s cruel tyranny, than the truth of Christ’s gospel), was brought before the bishop at his manor of Fulham, the second day of December, in the year before mentioned, where, within his chapel, he examined him upon these articles following, collected against him by the said Homey and his accomplices:
ARTICLES OBJECTED AGAINST RICHARD HUN. 1. That he had read, taught, preached, published, and obstinately defended, against the laws of Almighty God, that tithes, or paying of tithes, was never ordained to be due, saving only by the covetousness of priests. 2. Item, That he had read, taught, preached, published, and obstinately defended, that bishops and priests be the Scribes and Pharisees that did crucify Christ, and damned him to death. 3. Item, That he had read, taught, preached, etc., that bishops and priests be teachers and preachers, but no doers, neither fulfillers of the law of God; but catching, ravening, and all things taking, and nothing ministering, neither giving. 4. Item, Where and when one Joan Baker was detected and abjured of many great heresies (as it appeareth by her abjuration), the said Richard Hun said, published, taught, preached, and obstinately took upon him, saying, that he would defend her and her opinions, if it cost him five hundred marks. 5. Item, afterwards, where and when the said Joan Baker, after her abjuration, was enjoined open penance according to her demerits, the said Richard Hun said, published, taught, and obstinately did defend her, saying, ‘The bishop of London and his officers have done open wrong to the said Joan Baker, in punishing her for heresy; for her sayings and opinions be according to the laws of God: wherefore the bishop and his officers are more worthy to be punished for heresy than she is.’ 6. Item, That the said Richard Hun hath in his keeping divers English books prohibited and damned by the law; as the Apocalypse in English, epistles and gospels in English, Wickliff’s damnable works, and other books containing infinite errors, in which he hath been a long time accustomed to read, teach, and study daily.
Particular answer unto these several objections in the register I find none, saving that next under them there is written in his name, with a contrary hand, these words following 160 : “As touching these articles, I have not spoken them as they be here laid; howbeit unadvisedly I have spoken words somewhat sounding to the same, for which I am sorry, and ask God mercy, and submit me to my lord’s charitable and favorable correction;” which they affirm to be written with Hun’s own hand: but how likely to truth that is, let the discreet wisdom of the reader indifferently judge by the whole sequel of this process. And further, if it were his own act, what occasion then had they so cruelly to murder him as they did? seeing he had already so willingly confessed his fault, and submitted himself to the charitable and favorable correction of the bishop (for which, even by their own law, in cases of most heinous heresy, he ought to be again received and pardoned); except perhaps they will account horrible murder to be but the bishop’s favorable correction. Again, it seems they had very few credible witnesses to prove certainly that this was his answer and handwriting; for the registrar, or some other for him, appointed to record the same, hath certified it as of hearsay from others, and not of his own proper sight and knowledge, as the words noted in the margin of the book, adjoining to the aforesaid answer, plainly do declare, which are these: “Hoc fuit scriptum manu propria Ricardi Hunne, ut dicitur.” Now if he had any sure ground to establish this certificate, I doubt not but he would, instead of “ut dicitur,” have registered the names of the assistants at the time of his examination (which he confesseth to be many), as generally they do in all their acts, especially in cases of heresy, as they term it. But how scrupulous those good fellows that spared not so shamelessly to murder him, would be to make a lie of him that was already dead, let, as I said, the indifferent judgment of the godlywise discern.
This examination ended, the bishop sent him back again the same day unto the Lollards’ tower; and then, by the appointment of Dr. Horsey, his chancellor, he was colorably committed from the custody of Charles Joseph the sumner, unto John Spalding the bellringer, a man by whose simpleness in wit (though otherwise wicked) the subtle chancellor thought to bring his devilish pretended homicide the easier to pass; which most cruelly he did, by his ministers suborned, within two nights next then following accomplish, as is plainly proved hereafter, by the diligent inquiry, and final verdict of the coroner of London and his inquest, made by order of the laws in that behalf limited. But when this usual practice of the papists was once accomplished, there wanted then no secret shifts nor worldly wiles for the crafty coloring of this mischief; and therefore the next morning, after they had in the night committed this murder, Spalding (I doubt not but by the counsel of his master chancellor) gat himself out of the way into the city, and leaving the keys of the prison with one of his fellows, willed him to deliver them unto the sumner’s boy who accustomably did use to carry Hun his meat and other necessaries that he needed: thinking that the boy, first finding the prisoner dead, and hanged in such sort as they left him, they might by his relation be thought free from any suspicion of this matter. Which thing happened in the beginning almost as they wished; for the boy, the same morning (being the 4th day of December), having the keys delivered to him, accompanied with two other of the bishop’s sumners, went about ten o’clock into the prison, to serve the prisoner as he was wont to do; and when they came up, they found him hanged, with his face towards the wall. Whereupon they (astonished at this sight) gave knowledge thereof immediately unto the chancellor, being then in the church, and watching, I suppose, of purpose for such news; who forthwith got unto him certain of his colleagues, and went with them into the prison, to see that which his own wicked conscience knew full well before, as was afterwards plainly proved; although then he made a fair face to the contrary, blazing abroad among the people, by their officers and servants, that Hun had desperately hanged himself. 2 Howbeit the people having good experience as well of the honest life and godly conversation of the man, as also of the devilish malice of his adversaries the priests, judged rather, that by their procurement he was secretly murdered.
Hereof arose great contention; for the bishop of London, on the one side, taking his clergy’s part, affirmed stoutly that Hun had hanged himself. The citizens again, on the other side, vehemently suspecting some secret murder, caused the coroner of London, according to law, to choose an inquest, and to the good view of the dead body, and so to try out the truth of the matter; whereby the bishop and his chaplains were then driven to extremity of shifts: and therefore, minding by some subtle show of justice to stop the months of the people, they determined that in the meanwhile, as the inquest was occupied about their charge, the bishop should for his part proceed ‘ex officio,’ in case of heresy against the dead person: supposing, most likely, that if the party were once condemned of heresy, the inquest durst not then but find him guilty of his own death, and so dearly acquit them from all the former suspicion of privy murder. This determination of theirs they did immediately put in practice, in order as followeth:
First, besides the articles before mentioned, which they affirm were objected against him in his life-time, Dr. Hed did now also after his death collect certain others out of the prologue of his English Bible, remaining then in the bishop’s hands, which he diligently perused, not to learn any good thing therein, but to get thereout such matter as he thought might best serve their cursed purpose; as appeareth by the tenor of the articles, which are these: NEW ARTICLES COMMENCED AGAINST HUN AFTER HIS DEATH. 1. First, The said book damneth all holy canons, calling them ceremonies and statutes of sinful men and uncunning, and calleth the pope Satan, and Antichrist. 2. Item, It damneth the pope’s pardons, saying they be but leasings. 3. Item, The said book of Hun saith, that kings and lords, called Christian in name, and heathen in conditions, defile the sanctuary of God, bringing clerks full of covetousness, heresy, and malice, to stop God’s law, that it cannot he known, kept, and freely preached. 4. Item, The said book saith, that lords and prelates pursue full cruelly them that would teach truly and freely the law of God, and cherish them that preach sinful men’s traditions and statutes; by which he meaneth the holy canons of Christ’s church. 5. Item, That poor men and idiots have the truth of the holy Scriptures, more than a thousand prelates, and religious men, and clerks of the school. 6. Item, That Christian kings and lords set up idols in God’s house, and excite the people to idolatry. 7. Item, That princes, lords, and prelates so doing, be worse than Herod that pursued Christ, and worse than Jews and heathen men that crucified Christ. 8. Item, That every man, swearing by our lady, or any other saint or creature, giveth more honor to the saints than to the Holy Trinity; and so he saith they be idolaters. 9. Item, He saith that saints ought not to be honored. 10. Item, He damneth adoration, prayer, kneeling, and offering to images, which he calleth stocks and stones. 11. Item, He saith, that the very body of the Lord is not contained in the sacrament of the altar, but that men receiving it, shall thereby keep in mind that Christ’s flesh was wounded and crucified for us. 12. Item, He damneth the university of Oxford, with all degrees and faculties in it, as art, civil, canon, and divinity; saying, that they hinder the true way to come to the knowledge of the laws of God and holy Scripture. 13. Item, He defendeth the translation of the Bible and the holy Scripture into the English tongue, which is prohibited by the laws of our mother, holy church. These articles thus collected, as also the others before specified, they caused, for a more show of their pretended justice and innocency, to be openly read the next Sunday following, by the preacher at Paul’s Cross, with this protestation made before. “Masters and friends, for certain causes and considerations, I have in commandment to rehearse, show, and publish here unto you, the articles of heresy upon which Richard Hun was detected and examined, and also other great articles and damnable points and opinions of heresy contained in some of his books, which be come to light and knowledge here ready to be shown.”
And therewith he read the articles openly unto the people, concluding with these words: “And masters, if there be any man desirous to see the specialty of these articles, or doubt whether they be contained in this book or not, for satisfying of his mind let him come to my lord of London, and he shall see it with good will.
Moreover, here I counsel and admonish, that if there be any persons that of their simpleness have been familiar and acquainted with the said Richard Hun in these articles, or have heard him read upon this book, or any other sounding to heresy, or have any like books themselves, let them come unto my lord of London betwixt this and Candlemas next, and acknowledge their fault, and they shall be charitably treated and dealt withal, so that both their goods and honesty shall be saved: and if they will not come of their own offer, but abide the process of the law, then at their own peril be it, if the rigor of the law be executed against them.”
After which open publication and admonition, the bishop at sundry times examined divers of his priests, and other lay-persons, upon the contents of both these articles. Among which examinates there was a man-servant and a maid of the said Hun’s, who, although they had of long time dwelt with him, were not able to charge him with any great thing worthy of reprehension, no, not in such points as the bishop chiefly objected against him. But yet the priests (through whose procurement this mischief was first begun) spared no whit stoutly and maliciously to accuse him, some in the contents of the first articles, and some in the second. Wherefore having now, as they thought, sufficient matter against him, they purposed speedily to proceed to his condemnation; and because they would seem to do all things formally, and by prescript order, they first drew out certain short and summary rules 5 by which the bishop should be directed in this solemn session; which are these: 1. First, Let the bishop sit in his tribunal-seat in our lady’s chapel. 2. Secondly, Let him recite the cause of his coming, and take notaries to him, to enact what shall be there done. 3. Thirdly, Let him declare, how upon Sunday last, at Paul’s Cross, he caused to be published a general monition or denunciation, that all fautors and maintainers of Richard Hun should come in as by this day, and submit themselves: and let him signify withal, how certain have come in, and have appeared already. 4. Fourthly, Let him protest and say, that if there remain any yet behind, who have not appeared according to the former monition and denunciation, yet if they will come and appear, and submit themselves, they shall be heard and received with grace and favor. 5. Fifthly, Let the bishop, or some other at his appointment, recite the articles objected against Richard Hun in the time of his life, and then the other articles likewise, which were out of his great book of the Bible extracted. 6. Sixthly, Let the answers and confessions of the said Richard Hun summarily be recited, with the attestations made to the same articles.
Also let his books be exhibited, and then Thomas Brooke, his servant, be called for. 7. Seventhly, Let it be openly cried at the choir door, that if there be any who will defend the articles, opinions, books, or the memory of the said Richard Hun, let them come and appear, and they shall be heard as the law in that behalf shall require. 8. Eightly, Let it be openly cried, as in manner before, for such as be receivers, favorers, defenders, or believers of the said Richard Hun, that all such do appear and submit themselves to the bishop, or else he intendeth to proceed to the excommunication of them in general, according to the exigency of the law in that behalf. 9. Ninthly, Let the bishop speak to the standers-by, and to those of the clergy who sit with him upon the bench, demanding of them, what their judgment and opinion is touching the premises? and whether they think it convenient and agreeable for him to proceed to the sentence against the said Richard Hun, in this part to be awarded? 10. Tenthly, After their consent and counsel given, let the bishop read out the sentence. 11. Finally, After the sentence read, let the bishop appoint the publication and denunciation of the aforesaid sentence to be read at Paul’s Cross, or elsewhere, as to him shall seem expedient; with a citation likewise generally against all those that be receivers, favorers, and believers of the said Hull, to give to understand why he ought not further to proceed against them, etc.
A SOLEMN PROCESS OF FITZSAMES, BISHOP OF LONDON AGAINST HUN, BEING DEAD Now according to the tenor of these prescripts and rules, the bishop of London, accompanied with the bishops of Durham and Lincoln and his own suffragan, Dr. John Young 161 , titular bishop of Callipolis, sat in judgment the 16th day of December then next following, within the place by the same appointed; adjoining also unto them, as witnesses of their proceedings, six public notaries, his own register, and about twenty-five doctors, abbots, priors, and priests of name, with a great rabble of other common anointed catholics: where, after a solemn proclamation made, that if there were any that would defend the opinions and books of Richard Hun, they should presently appear and be heard according to law, he commanded all the articles and objections against Hun openly to be read before the assembly: and then, perceiving that none durst appear in his defense, by the advice of his assistants he pronounced the sentence definitive against the dead carcase, condemning it of heresy; and therewith committed the same unto the secular power, to be by them burned accordingly. This ridiculous decree was as fondly accomplished in Smithfield on the twentieth day of the same month of December (being full sixteen days after they had thus horribly murdered him) to the great grief and disdain of all the people. And because the bishop, in his sentence definitive, useth a more formal and ample order of words than accustomably is used in others, and also pre-tendeth full hypocritically in the beginning, as it were by way of induction, divers causes that moved him to proceed against the dead carcase; I thought good therefore here to adjoin the same, as a final conclusion of their crafty colored tragedy, the tenor whereof is hereunder written. Notwithstanding, after all this tragic and cruel handling of the dead body, and their fair and colorable show of justice, yet the inquest no whit stayed their diligent searching out of the true cause and means of his death.
Insomuch that when they had been divers times called both before the king’s privy-council (his majesty himself being sometimes present), and also before the chief judges and justices of this realm, and that the matter being by them thoroughly examined, and perceived to be much bolstered and borne withal by the clergy, was again wholly remitted unto their determination and ending; they found by good proof, and sufficient evidence, that Dr. Horsey the chancellor, Charles Joseph the sumner, and John Spalding the bell-ringer, had privily and maliciously committed this murder; and therefore indicted them all three as willful murderers.
Howbeit, through the earnest suit of the bishop of London unto cardinal Wolsey (as appeareth by his letters hereafter mentioned), means were found, that at the next sessions of gaol-delivery the king’s attorney pronounced the indictment against Dr. Horsey to be false and untrue, and him not to be guilty of the murder; who, being then thereby delivered in body, having yet in himself a guilty conscience, gat him unto Exeter, and durst never after for shame come again unto London. But now that the truth of all this may seem more manifest and plain unto all men’s eyes, here shall follow, word by word, the whole inquiry and verdict of the inquest, exhibited by them unto the coroner of London, and so given up and signed with his own hand. THE VERDICT OF THE INQUEST.
The fifth and the sixth day of December, in the sixth year of the reign of our sovereign lord king Henry VIII, William Barnwell, coroner of London, the day and year abovesaid, within the ward of Castle-Baynard of London, assembled a quest, whose names afterward do appear, and hath sworn them truly to inquire of the death of one Richard Hun, which lately was found dead in the Lollards’ tower within Paul’s church of London: Whereupon all we of the inquest together went up into the said tower, where we found the body of the said Hun hanging upon a staple of iron, in a girdle of silk, with fair countenance, his head fair kemped, and his bonnet right sitting upon his head, with his eye and mouth fair closed, without any staring, gaping or frowning, also without any drivelling or spurging in any place of his body: Whereupon by one assent all we agreed to take down the dead body of the said Hun, and as soon as we began to heave the body it was loose: whereby, by good advisement, we perceived that the girdle had no knot about the staple, but it was double-cast; and the links of an iron chain, which did hang on the same staple, were laid upon the same girdle whereby he did hang; Also the knot of the girdle that went about his neck, stood under his left ear, which caused his head to lean towards his right shoulder. Notwithstanding there came out of his nostrils two small streams of blood to the quantity of four drops. Save only these four drops of blood, the face, lips, chin, doublet, collar, and shirt of the said Hun were clean from any blood. Also we find that the skin both of his neck and throat, beneath the girdle of silk, was fret and failed away, with that thing which the murderers had broken his neck withal. Also the hands of the said Hun were wrung in the wrists, whereby we perceived that his hands had been bound.
Moreover, we find that within the said prison was no mean whereby a man might hang himself, but only a stool; which stool stood upon a bolster of a bed, so tickle, that any man or beast might not touch it so little, but it was ready to fall: whereby we perceived, that it was not possible that Hun might hang himself, the stool so standing. Also all the girdle from the staple to his neck, as well as the part which went about his neck, was too little for his head to come out thereat. Also it was not possible that the soft silken girdle should break his neck or skin beneath the girdle. Also we find in a corner, somewhat beyond the place where he did hang, a great parcel of blood. Also we find upon the left side of Hun’s jacket, from the breast downward, two great streams of blood.
Also within the flap of the left side of his jacket we find a great cluster of blood, and the jacket folden down thereupon; which thing the said Hun could never fold nor do after he was hanged: whereby it appeareth plainly to us all, that the neck of Hun was broken, and the great plenty of blood was shed, before he was hanged. Wherefore all we find, by God and all our consciences, that Richard Hun was murdered. Also we acquit the said Richard Hun of his own death.
Also there was an end of a wax-candle, which, as John the bellringer saith, he left in the prison burning with Hun that same Sunday night that Hun was murdered; which wax-candle we found sticking upon the stocks, fair put out, about seven or eight foot from the place where Hun was hanged, which candle, after our opinion, was never put out by him, for many likelihoods which we have perceived.
Also at the going up of master chancellor into the Lollards’ tower, we have .good proof that there lay on the stocks a gown, either of murrey, 8 or crimson in grain, furred with shanks: whose gown it was we could never prove, neither who bare it away. All we find, that Master William Horsey, chancellor to my lord of London, hath had at his commandment both the rule and guiding of the said prisoner. Moreover, all we find, that the said Master Horsey, chancellor, hath put Charles Joseph out of his office, as the said Charles hath confessed, because he would not deal and use the said prisoner so cruelly, and do to him as the chancellor would have had him to do. Notwithstanding the deliverance of the keys to the chancellor by Charles, on the Saturday night before Hun’s death, and Charles riding out of the town on that Sunday in the morning ensuing, was but a convention made betwixt Charles and the chancellor to color the murder. For the same Sunday that Charles rode forth, he came again to the town at night, and killed Richard Hun, as in the depositions of Julian Littel, Thomas Chicheley, Thomas Simondes, and Peter Turner, doth appear.
After coloring of the murder betwixt Charles and the chancellor conspired, the chancellor called to him one John Spalding, bellringer of Paul’s, and delivered to the same bellringer the keys of the Lollards’ tower, giving to the said bellringer a great charge, saying, I charge thee to keep Hun more straitly than he hath been kept, and let him have but one meal a day; moreover, I charge thee let nobody come to him without my license, neither to bring him shirt, cap, kerchief, or any other thing, but that I see it before it come to him.
Also before Hun was carried to Fulham, the chancellor commanded to be put upon Hun’s neck a great collar of iron, with a great chain, which is too heavy for any man or beast to wear, and long to endure.
Moreover, it is well proved, that before Hun’s death the said chancellor came up into the said Lollards’ tower, and kneeling down before Hun, held up his hands to him, praying of him forgiveness of all that he had done to him, and must do to him. And on Sunday following the chancellor commanded the penitentiary of Paul’s to go up to him and say a gospel, and make for him holy water, and holy bread, and give it to him, which he did: and also the chancellor commanded that Hun should have his dinner. And the same dinner-time Charles, the boy, was shut in prison with Hun, which was never so before; and after dinner, when the bellringer let out the boy, the bellringer said to the same boy, “Come no more hither with meat for him till to-morrow at noon, for my master chancellor hath commanded that he should have but one meal a day.’ And the same night following Richard Hun was murdered, which murder could not have been done without consent and license of the chancellor, and also by the witting and knowledge of John Spalding, bellringer; for there could no man come into the prison but by the keys, being in John the bellringer’s keeping.
Also, as by my lord of London’s book doth appear, John the bellringer is a poor innocent man. Wherefore all we do perceive, that this murder could not be done but by the commandment of the chancellor, and by the witting and knowing of John the bellringer.
Charles Joseph, within the Tower of London, of his own free will, and unconstrained, said, That master chancellor devised, and wrote with his own hand, all such heresies as were laid to Hun’s charge; record John God, John True, John Pasmere, Richard Gibson, with many others. Also Charles Joseph saith, That when Richard Hun was slain, John the bellringer bare up the stairs into the Lollards’ tower a wax-candle, having the keys of the doors hanging on his arm; and I Charles went next to him, and master chancellor came up last: and when all we came up, we found Hun lying on his bed; and then master chancellor said, ‘ Lay hands on the thief;’ and so all we murdered Hun: and then I Charles put the girdle about Hun’s neck; and then John bellringer and I Charles did heave up Hun, and master chancellor pulled the girdle over the staple; and so Hun was hanged.
THE DEPOSITION OF JULIAN LITTELL Late servant of Charles Joseph, by her free will, unconstrained, the sixth year of our Sovereign Lord King Henry the Eighth, within the chapel of our Lady of Bethlehem, showed to the Inquest.
First, Julian saith, That the Wednesday at night, after the death of Richard Hun, Charles Joseph her master came home to his supper: then Julian said to him, “Master, it was told me that ye were in prison.” Charles answered; “It is merry to turn the penny:” and after supper Charles trussed up a parcel of his goods, and with help of Julian, bare them into Mr. Porter’s house to keep: and that done, Charles said to Julian; “Julian, if thou wilt be sworn to keep my counsel, I will show thee my mind.” Julian answered, “Yea, if it be neither felony nor treason.” Then Charles took a book out of his purse, and Julian sware to him thereupon. Then said Charles to Julian, “I have destroyed Richard Hun!” “Alas, master,” said Julian, “How? He was called an honest man.” Charles answered, “I put a wire in his nose.” “Alas,” said Julian, “now be ye cast away and undone.” Then said Charles, “Julian, I trust in thee that thou wilt keep my counsel.” And Julian answered, “Yea, but for God’s sake, master, shift for yourself.” And then Charles said, “I had lever than 100 pound it were not done, but what is done cannot be undone.” Moreover, Charles said then to Julian, “Upon Sunday, when I rode to my cousin Barington’s house, I tarried there and made good cheer all day till it was night; and yet before it was midnight I was in London, and had killed Hun. And upon the next day I rode thither again, and was there at dinner, and sent for neighbors, and made good cheer.” Then Julian asked Charles, “Where set you your horse that night you came to town, and wherefore came you not home?” Charles answered, “I came not home for fear of bowraying.” And then Julian asked Charles, “Who was with you at the killing of Hun?” Charles answered, ‘I will not tell thee.’ And Julian saith that upon the Thursday following Charles tarried all day in his house with great fear: and upon Friday following, early in the morning before day, Charles went forth, as he said, to Paul’s; and at his coming in again he was in a great fear, saying hastily, “Get me my horse;” and with great fear and haste made him ready to ride; and bade Master Porter’s lad lead his horse into the field by the backside. And then Charles put into his sleeve his mase, or masor, with other plate borrowed of Master Porter, both gold and silver; but how much I am not sure: and Charles went into the field after his horse, and Julian brought his budget after him. Also upon Friday in Christmas week following, Charles came home late in the night, and brought with him three bakers and a smith of Stratford, and the same night they carried out of Charles’s house all his goods by the fieldside to the Bell in Shoreditch, and early in the morning conveyed it with carts to Stratford.
Moreover Julian saith, That the Saturday at night before the death of Hun, Charles came home, and brought with him a gurnard, saying, it was for Hun: and Charles’s boy told Julian, that there was also ordained a piece of fresh salmon, which John Belringer had.
Also Charles said to the said Julian, “Were not this ungracious trouble, I could bring my lord of London to the doors of heretics in London, both of men and women, that be worth a thousand pounds; but I am afraid that the ungracious midwife shall bewray us all.”
Also Charles said unto Mrs. Porter in likewise and more larger, saying of the best in London: whereto Mrs. Porter answered, “The best in London is my lord mayor.” Then Charles said, “I will not scuse him quite, for that he taketh this matter hot.”
Whereas Charles Joseph saith he lay at Neckhill with a harlot, a man’s wife, in Barington’s house, the same night, and there abode until the morrow at eleven of the clock, that Richard Hun was murdered; and thereupon brought before the king’s council, for his purgation, the foresaid Baude Barington’s wife, and also the foresaid harlot: this purgation we have proved all untrue, as right largely may appear, as well by the deposition of Julian Littel, as of Thomas Chicheley, tailor, Thomas Simondes, stationer, of Robert Johnson and his wife, of John Spalding, Belringer: also of Peter Turner, son-in-law of the foresaid Charles Joseph; who said before to an honest woman, a wax-chandler’s wife, that before this day seventh night Hun should have a mischievous death, etc.: also of John Enderby, barber 162 , to whom John Spalding himself declared these words, That there was ordained for Hun so grievous penance, that when men hear of it, they shall have great marvel thereof, etc.; besides the deposition moreover of Allen Creswell, wax-chandler, and Richard Horsenail, bailiff of the sanctuary town called Godsture, in Essex. Which testimonies and depositions hereafter follow.
THE DEPOSITION OF THOMAS CHYTCHELEY, TAILOR. The said Thomas sayeth: The same Monday that Richard Hun was found dead, within a quarter of an hour after seven a clock in the morning, he met with Charles Joseph, coming out of Poules at the nether north door, going toward Pater noster row, saying, ‘Good morrow, Master Charles!’ and the said Charles answered, ‘Good morrow!’ and turned his back, when he was without the church door, and looked upon the said Chitchelay.
THE DEPOSITION OF THOMAS SIMONDES, STATIONER.
He sayeth, That the same morning that Hun was dead, within a quarter of an hour after seven a clock in the morning. Charles Joseph came before him at his stall, and said, ‘Good morrow, goship Simondes!’ and the same Simonds said, ‘Good morrow’ to him again; and the wife of the same Simons was by him; and because of the deadly countenance and hasty going of Charles, the said Thomas bade his wife look whither Charles goeth; and as she could perceive, Charles went into an ale house standing in Pater noster row, by the alley leading into the rode of Northern 163 , or into the alley, whither, she could not well tell.
THE DEPOSITION OF ROBERT JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE, DWELLING AT THE BELL, IN SHOREDITCH. The said Robert sayeth, That Charles Joseph sent his horse to his house upon a holiday, at night, about three weeks before Christmas, by a boy; which horse was all besweat and all bemired: and the said boy said, ‘Let my father’s horse stand saddled, for I cannot tell whether my father will ride again to night or not;’ and the said horse stood saddled all night, and in the morning following, Charles came booted and spurred about eight of the clock, and asked if his horse was saddled? and the servant answered, ‘Yea.’
And the said Charles leaped upon his horse, and prayed the host to let him out of his back gate, that he might ride out by the field side; which host so did. And, because he was uncertain of the day, we asked him if he heard speak of the death of Hun at that time or not, and he answered, ‘Nay!’ But shortly after he did. Nevertheless Peter Turner, Charles’s son-in-law, who brought the horse by night into the Bell, Robert Johnson’s house, confessed it was the same night before that Hun was found dead in the morning. Moreover the Friday before Hun’s death, Peter Turner said to an honest woman, a wax-chandler’s with, dwelling before St. Mary’s Spiral gate, that before this day seven-night Hun should have a mischievous death.. And, the same day at afternoon this Hun was found dead, the said Peter came to the same wife and told her that Hun was hanged; saying, ‘ What told I you?’
Also James, the chancellor’s cook, the Friday before Hun’s death, said to five honest men, that Hun should die or Christmas, or else he would die for him. And on the Monday that Hun was found dead, the said James came to the same men and said, ‘What told I you? is he not now hanged?’ And we of the inquest asked both of Peter Turner, and of James Cook, where they had knowledge that Hun should so shortly die? and they said, ‘In Master Chancellor’s place, by every man.’
THE DEPOSITION: OF JOHN SPALDYNG, BELRYNGER.
First the said deponent sayeth, That on Saturday the second day of December, A.D. 1514, he took the charge of the prison at four of the clock at after noon, by the commandment of Master Chancellor, and so took the keys; whereupon he gave commandment to the deponent, that he should let no manner of person speak with the prisoner, except he had knowledge of them; and so at five of the clock the same day, the said deponent went to the prisoner himself alone, and saw him, and cherished him, where he gave the said deponent a piece of fresh salmon for his wife 164 .
And after that, the said deponent sayeth, that he went to Master Commissary’s, to supper with his fellow, where he remembered that he had left his knife with the said prisoner; whereupon, by the counsel of Master Commissary, he went to the prisoner and fetched his knife, where he found the prisoner saying of his beads, and so the said deponent required his knife of the said prisoner, and the said prisoner delivered the knife to the said deponent gladly; and so he departed for that night.
And after that, on the Sunday next following, the said deponent came to the prisoner at nine o’clock, and asked him what meat he would have to his dinner? and he answered, ‘but a morsel;’ and so the said deponent departed and went to the chancellor into the quier, and he commanded that he should take the penitentiary up to the prisoner with him, to make him holy water and holy bread, and made the said deponent to depart the prison-house for a while; and after that he brought him his dinner, and locked Charles’s boy with him all dinner while, unto the hour of one o’clock, and so let the lad out again, and asked him what he would have to his supper? and he answered, that he had meat enough; and so departed until six of the clock; and then the said deponent brought him a quart of ale. And at that time one William Sampson went with the said deponent to see the prisoner where he was, and saw him, and spake together; and so, from the hour of six aforesaid unto twelve o’clock on the morrow, the said deponent came not there, and when he came there, he met the chancellor, with other doctors, going to see the prisoner where he hanged.
THE DEPOSITION OF PETER TURNER, SON-IN-LAW OF CHARLES JOSEPH.
First, he sayeth, That his father-in-law rode out of the town, upon Sunday the 3rd 165 day of December, A.D. 1514, at six o’clock in the morning, wearing a coat of orange tawny, on a horse, color grizzle, trotting.
He saith the Sunday next before that, one Button’s wife gave knowledge to the said deponent, that his father should be arrested by divers sergeants as soon as he could be taken; and thereupon the said deponent gave knowledge to the said father-in-law at the Black Friars at the water side, whereupon he avoided; and the same night, Master Chancellor gave the keys to John Belringer, and gave him charge of the prisoner. And on the said Sunday the said deponent, with John Belringer, served the said prisoner with his dinner at twelve o’clock, and then John belringer said to the deponent, that he would not come to him unto the morrow, for my lord had commanded him that the prisoner should have but one meal’s meat of the day. Notwithstanding that, the said John Bellringer, after that he had shut Poules church doors, went to the aforesaid prisoner, with another with him, at seven of the clock at night the said Sunday.
And the said deponent sayeth, That he came on the Monday, at the hour of eight o’clock in the morning, to seek John, Bellringer, and could not find him, and tarried until the high mass of Poules was done, and yet he could not find the said John; and then one William, John Belringer’s fellow, delivered the keys to the said deponent, and so the said deponent, with two officers of my lord’s, being somners, went to serve the said prisoner, and when they came, the prisoner (they said) was hanged; his face to the wallward. And, upon that, the said deponent immediately gave knowledge to the chancellor, whereupon the chancellor went up with the Master of the Rolls, and Master Subdean, with other doctors unknown, to the number of a dozen, and their servants.
THE DEPOSITION OF JOHN ENDERBY, BARBER.
The said John Enderby saieth, The Friday before the death of Richard Hun, betwixt eight and nine of the clock in the morning, he met with John Belrynger in Estcheap, and asked of him how Master Hun fared? the said Belrynger answered, saying: There is ordained for him so grievous penance, that when men hear of it, they shall have great marvel thereof.
Witnesses that heard John, Bellringer, say these words: John Rutter, scrivener, and William Segar, armourer.
Also the said John Enderby saith, The same Monday that Richard Hun was found dead, he met with the said John Belringer at the conduit in Gracious street,11 about nine of the clock in the morning.
Asking the said Belringer how Master Hun fared, the said Belringer answered, saying: he fared well this day. In the morning betwixt five and six of the clock; howbeit, I am sorry for him, for there can nobody come to him until I come, for I have the keys of the doors here by my girdle; and showed the keys to the said Enderby.* THE DEPOSITION OF ALLEN CRESWELL, WAXCHANDLER.
The said Allen saith, That John Grandger, servant with my lord of London, in my lord of London’s kitchen, at such time as the said Allen was sering of Hun’s coffin 166 , that Grandger told to him, that he was present with John Belringer the same Sunday at night that Richard Hun was found dead on the morrow, when the keepers set him in the stocks; insomuch that the said Hun desired to borrow the keeper’s knife: and the keeper asked him what he would do with his knife; and he answered, ‘I had lever kill myself than to be thus entreated.’ This deposition the said Allen will prove as far forth as any Christian man may; saying, that Granger showed to him these words, of his own free will and mind, without any question or inquiry to him made by the said Allen. Moreover the said Allen saith, that all that evening Grandger was in great fear.
THE DEPOSITION OF RICHARD HORSENAIL, BAILIFF OF THE SANCTUARY-TOWN CALLED GODSTURE IN ESSEX.
The said Richard saith, That the Friday before Christmas-day last past, one Charles Joseph, sumner to my lord of London, became a sanctuary-man, and the aforesaid Friday he registered his name; the said Charles saying it was for the safeguard of his body, for there be certain men in London so extreme against him for the death of Richard Hun, that he dare not abide in London. Howbeit the said Charles saith, he knowledgeth himself guiltless of Hun’s death; for he delivered the keys to the chancellor by Hun’s life. Also the said bailiff saith, that Charles paid the duty of the said registering, both to him and sir John Studley, vicar.
COPY OF THE LETTER OF RICHARD FITZJAMES; THEN BISHOP OF LONDON, SENT TO CARDINAL WOLSEY.
I beseech your good lordship to stand so good lord unto my poor chancellor now in ward, and indicted by an untrue quest, for the death of Richard Hull, upon the only accusation of Charles Joseph made by pain and durance; that by your intercession it may please the king’s grace to have the matter duly and sufficiently examined by indifferent persons of his discreet council, in the presence of the parties, ere there be any more done in the cause: and that upon the innocency of my said chancellor declared, it may further please the king’s grace to award a placard unto his attorney, to confess the said indictment to be untrue, when the-time shall require it: for assured am I, if my chancellor be tried by any twelve. . , men in London, they. be so maliciously set, ‘in favorem haereticae pravitatis,’ that they will cast and condemn any clerk, though he were as innocent as Abel. ‘Quare si potes beate Pater, adjuva infirmitates nostras, et tibi in perpetuum devincti erimus!’ Over this, in most humble wise I beseech you, that I may have the king’s gracious favor, whom I never offended willingly; and that by your good means I might speak with his grace and you: and I with all mine shall pray for your prosperous estate long to continue.
Lastly, now it remaineth to infer the sentence of the questmen, which followeth in like sort to be seen and expended, after I have first declared the words of the bishop spoken in the parliament-house.
THE WORDS THAT THE BISHOP OF LONDON SPAKE BEFORE THE LORDS IN THE PARLIAMENT-HOUSE.
Memorandum, That the bishop of London said in the parliamenthouse, that there was a bill brought to the parliament,, to make the jury that was. charged upon the death of Hun, true men; and stud and took upon his conscience, that they were false perjured caitifs.
And said furthermore to all the lords there being, ‘For the love of God look upon this matter; for if you do not, I dare not keep mine house for heretics:’ and said, that the said Richard Hun hanged himself, and that it was his own deed, and no man’s else. And furthermore said, that there came a man to his house, whose wife was appeached of heresy, to speak with him; and he said that he had no mind to speak with the same mail: which man spake and reported to the servants of the same bishop, that if his wife would not hold still her opinions, he would cut her throat with his own hands; with other words.
THE SENTENCE OF THE INQUEST, SUBSCRIBED BY THE CORONER.
The inquisition intended and taken at the city of London, in the parish of St. Gregory, in the ward of Baynard Castle in London, the sixth day of December, in the sixth year of the reign of king Henry VIII, before Thomas Barnwell: coroner of our sovereign lord the king, within the city of London aforesaid. Also before James Yarford and John Mundey, sheriffs of the said city, upon the sight of the body of Richard Hun, late of London, tailor, who was found hanged in the Lollards’ tower; and by the oath and proof of lawful men of the same ward, and of other three wards next adjoining, as it ought to be, after the custom of the city aforesaid, to inquire how, and in what manner-wise the said Richard Hun came unto his death: and upon the oath of John Bernard, Thomas Slept, William Warren, Henry Abraham, John Aborow, John Turner, Robert Allen, William Marler, John Burton, James Page, Thomas Pickhill, William Burton, Robert Bridgwater, Thomas Busted, Gilbert Howell, Richard Gibson, Christopher Crafton, John God, Richard Holt, John Pasmere, Edmund Hudson, John Arunsell, Richard Cooper, John Tyme: who said upon their oaths, that whereas the said Richard Hun, by the commandment of Richard bishop of London, was imprisoned and brought to hold in a prison of the said bishop’s, called Lollards’ tower, lying in the cathedral church of St.
Paul fit London, in the parish of St. Gregory, in the ward of Baynard Castle aforesaid; William Horsey, of London, clerk, otherwise called William Heresie, chancellor to Richard bishop of London; and one Charles Joseph, late of London, sumner, and John Spalding of London, otherwise called John Bellringer, feloniously as felons to our lord the king, with force and arms against the peace of our sovereign lord the king, and dignity of his crown, the forth day of December, the sixth year of the reign of our sovereign lord aforesaid, of their great malice, at the parish of St. Gregory aforesaid, upon the said Richard Hun made a fray, and feloniously strangled and smothered the same Richard Hun, and also the neck they did break of the said Richard Hun, and there feloniously slew him and murdered him. And also the body of the said Richard Hun, afterward, the same fourth day, year, place, parish, and ward aforesaid, with the proper girdle of the same Richard Hun, of silk, black of color, of the value of twelve pence, after his death, upon a hook driven into a piece of. timber in the wall of the prison aforesaid, made fast, and so hanged him, against the peace of our sovereign lord the king, and the dignity of his crown. And so the said jury have sworn upon the holy evangelists, that the said William Horsey, clerk, Charles Joseph, and John Spalding, of their set malice, then and there feloniously killed and murdered the said Richard Hun in manner and form above-said, against the peace of our sovereign lord the king, his crown and dignity.
Subscribed in this manner:
Thomas Barnwell, Coroner of the city of London.
After that the twenty-four had given up their verdict, sealed and signed with the coroner’s seal, the cause was then brought into the parliamenthouse, where the truth was laid so plain before all men’s faces, and the fact so notorious, that immediately certain of the bloody murderers were committed to prison, and should no doubt have suffered what they deserved, had not the cardinal, by his authority, practiced for his catholic children, at the suit of the bishop of London. Whereupon the chancellor, by the king’s pardon, and secret shifting, rather than by God’s pardon and his deserving, escaped, and went, as is said, to Exeter, etc. Nevertheless, though justice took no place where favor did save, yet because the innocent cause of Hun should take no wrong, the parliament became suitors unto the king’s majesty, that whereas the goods of the said Hun were confiscate into the king’s hands, it would please his grace to make restitution of all the said goods unto the children of the said Hun. Upon which motion, the king, of his gracious disposition, did not only give all the aforesaid goods unto the aforesaid children under his broad seal yet to be seen; but also did send out his warrants (which hereafter shall follow) to those that were the cruel murderers, commanding them, upon his high displeasure, to re-deliver all the said goods, and make restitution for the death of the said Richard Hun: all which goods came to the sum of fifteen hundred pounds sterling, besides his plate and other jewels.
The Tenor of the King’s Letter in behalf of Richard Hun 167 .
Trusty and well-beloved! we greet you well. Whereas by the complaint to us made, as well as also in our high court of parliament, on the behalf, and part of Roger Whapplot of our city of London, draper, and Margaret his wife, late the daughter of Richard Hun: and whereas you were indicted by our laws, of and for the death of the said Richard Hun, and the said murder cruelly committed by you, like as by our records more at large plainly.it doth appear, about the fifth day of December, in the sixth year of our reign; the same we abhor: nevertheless we of our special grace, certain science, and mere motion, pardoned you upon certain considerations us moving: for the intent that the goods of the said Richard Hun, and the administration of them, were committed to the said.
Roger Whapplot. We then supposed and intended your amendment, and restitution to be made by you to the infants, the children of the said Richard Hun; as well for his death, as for his goods, embezzled, wasted, and consumed, by your tyranny and cruel act so committed, the same being of no little value; and as hitherto ye have made no recompense, according to our laws, as might stand with equity, justice, right, and good conscience, and for this cause due satisfaction ought to be made by our laws: wherefore we will and exhort, and otherwise charge and command you, by the tenor of these our special, letters, that ye satisfy and recompense the said Roger Whapplot, and the said Margaret his wife, according to our laws in this cause, as it may stand with right and good conscience, else otherwise at your further peril; so that they shall have no cause to return unto us, for their further remedy eftsoons in this behalf, as ye in the same tender to avoid our high displeasure: otherwise that ye upon the sight hereof, set all excuses apart, and re-pair unto our presence, at which your hither coming you shall be further advertised of our mind.
From our manor, etc.
A DEFENSE OF RICHARD HUN AGAINST SIR THOMAS MORE AND ALANUS COPUS I doubt not but by these premises, thou hast, Christian reader! sufficiently to understand the whole discourse and story of Richard Hun, from top to toe. First, how he came in trouble for denying the bearing-sheet of his young infant departed; then how he was forced, for succor of himself, to sue a praemunire; and thereupon what conspiracy of the clergy was wrought against him, what snares were laid, what fetches were practiced, and articles devised, to snarl him in the trap of heresy, and so to imprison him. Furthermore, being in prison, how he was secretly murdered; after his murder, hanged; after his hanging, condemned; after his condemnation, burned; and after his burning, lastly, how his death was required by the coroner, and cleared by acquittal of the inquest. Moreover, how the case was brought into parliament, and by parliament the king’s precept obtained for restitution of his goods. The debating of which tragic and tumultuous story, with all the branches and particular evidences of the same, taken out as well of the public acts, as of the bishop’s registers and special records remaining in the custody of Dunstan Whapplot, the son of the daughter of the said Richard Hun, there to be seen, I thought here to unwrap and discover so much the more, for three special purposes: First, as is requisite, for testimony and witness of truth falsely slandered, of innocency wrongfully condemned, and of the party cruelly oppressed.
The third cause which constraineth me, be the Dialogues of Alan Cope; which two, the one in English, the other in Latin, railing and barking against Richard Hun, do double-wise charge him, both to be a heretic, and also a desperate homicide of himself: which as it is false in the one, so it is to be found as untrue in the other, if simple truth, which hath few friends, and many times cometh in crafty handling, might freely come to indifferent hearing. Wherefore, as I have hitherto described the order and manner of his handling, with the circumstances thereof, in plain and naked narration of story, simply laid out before all men’s faces; so something here to intermit in the defense as well of his oppressed cause, as also in discharge of myself, I will now compendiously answer to both these aforesaid adversaries, stopping, as it were, with one bush two gaps; and the mouths also, if I can, of them both together. And, first, against sir Thomas More, albeit in degree worshipful, in place superior, in wit and learning singular, if his judgment in Christ’s matters had been correspondent to the same, being otherwise a man with many worthy ornaments beautified: yet, being but a man, and one man, I lay and object against the person of him, the persons and censures of twenty four questmen, the deposition of so many jurats, the judgment of the coroner, the approbation of the parliament; and, lastly, the king’s bill assigned for restitution of his goods, with his own broad seal confirmed, etc. And thus much to the person and credit of sir Thomas More.
Now as touching his reasons: whereas he, coming in with a flim-flam of a horse-mill, or a mill-horse (in his own terms I speak), thinketh it probation good enough, because he could not see him taken by the sleeve who murdered Hun: against these reasons unreasonable of his, I allege all the evidences and demonstrations of the history above prefixed, to be considered, and of all indifferent men to be poised.
First, how he was found hanging, with his countenance fair, with his beard and head fair kemped, his bonnet right set on his head, with his eyes and mouth fair closed, without any driveling or spurging. His body being taken down, was found loose (which by hanging could not be), his neck broken, and the skin thereof beneath the throat, where the girdle went, fretted and faced away 169 ; his girdle notwithstanding being of silk, and so double cast about the staple, that the space of the girdle between the staple and his neck, with the residue also that went about his neck, was not sufficient for his head to come out at. His hands, moreover, wrung in the wrists; his face, lips, chin, doublet, and shirt-collar, unstained with any blood: when, notwithstanding, in a manner somewhat beyond the place where he did hang, a great quantity of blood was found. Also, whereas the staple whereon he hanged was so that he could not climb thereto without some mean, there was a stool set up upon the bolster of a bed, so tickle, that with the least touch in the world it was ready to fall: and how was it possible that Hun might hang himself upon that staple, the stool so standing? besides the confession, moreover, of Charles Joseph’s own mouth to Julian Littell, of Robert Johnson, John Spalding the bellringer, Peter Turner, and others. All which testimonies and declarations being so clear and undeniable, may suffice, I trust, any indifferent man to see where the truth of this case doth stand: unless Master More, being a gentleman of Utopia, peradventure after some strange guise of that country, useth to carry his eyes not in his head, but in his affection; not seeing but where he liketh, nor believing but what he listeth.
Finally, where sir Thomas More, speaking of himself, so concludeth, that he, hearing the matter what well might be said, yet could not find contrary, but Hun to be guilty of his own death: so in as many words to answer him again, I, perusing and searching in the story of Richard Hun what may well be searched, cannot but marvel with myself, either with what darkness the eyes of Master More be dared,13 not to see what is so plain; or else with what conscience he could dissemble that which shame cannot deny. And thus by the way to the Dialogues of sir Thomas More.
Thirdly, touching the Dialogues of Alan Cope, who had rather the bishop’s chancellor and officers to be accounted among thieves and murderers, than Hun to be numbered among the martyrs, I have herein not much to say, because himself saith but little: and if he had said less, unless his ground were better, it had made as little matter. But forasmuch as he, saying not much, sendeth us to seek more in More; so with like brevity again I may send him to William Tindall, to shape him an answer. Yet notwithstanding lest Cope, in saying something, should think Hun’s innocent cause to lack some friends, who will not, or dare not, adventure in defense of truth; somewhat I will answer in this behalf.
And first, touching this murder of Hun not to be his own willful act, but the deed of others: besides the demonstrations above premised to sir Thomas More, now to Master Cope; if I had no other evidences but only these two, I would require no more; that is, his cap found so straight standing upon his head, and the stool so tottering under his feet. For how is it, I will not say likely; but how is it possible, for a man to hang himself in a silken girdle double cast about a staple, in such shortness, that neither the space of the knot could well compass his head about, and yet have his cap so straight set upon his head as his was?
Again, how is it possible, or can it be imagined, for him to hang himself, climbing up by a stool which had no stay for him to stand upon, but stood so tickle, that if he had touched the same never so little, it must needs have fallen?
But Cope, being something more provident in this matter, seemeth to exceed not altogether so far as doth Master More. For he, understanding the case to be ambiguous and doubtful, so leaveth it in suspense; neither determining that Hun did hang himself, and yet not admitting that he died a martyr, no more than those who are quelled by thieves and murderers in high-way sides. Well, be it so as Cope doth argue, that those who die by the hands of felons and murderers in thievish ways, be no martyrs; yet, notwithstanding this, his own similitude, comparing the bishop’s chancellor and officers to thieves and murderers, doth grant at least that Hun died a true man, although no martyr. Now if the cause be it, and not the pain, that maketh a martyr, in pondering the cause why Hun was slain, we shall find it not altogether like to the cause of those who perish by thieves and robbers. For such commonly, because of their goods, and for some worldly gain to be sought by their death, are made away, and being true men, may peradventure have the reward, although not the name of martyrs: whereas this man’s death being wrought neither for money, nor any such temporal lucre to redound to his oppressors; as it hath another cause, so may it have another name, and deserve to be called by the name of martyrdom. Like as Abel, being slain by wicked Cain, albeit he had no opinion of religion articulated against him, but of spite only and of malice was made away, yet notwithstanding is justly numbered among the martyrs: so what let to the contrary, but that Hun also with him may be reckoned in the same society, seeing the cause wherefore they both did suffer proceedeth together out of one fountain? And what, moreover, if a man should call Naboth (who for holding his right inheritance was slain) a martyr, what great injury should he do either to the name, or cause, of the person, worthy to be carped at? Against Thomas Becket, you know Master Cope, no special article of faith was laid, wherefore he died: 14 and why then do you bestow upon him so devoutly the title of a martyr, for withholding that from the king, which by the law of God, and of the realm, did belong unto him; and cannot suffer Hun to be entitled a martyr, dying in his own right, by the hands of spiritual thieves and homicides, as you yourself do term them? But what do I strain my travail any further to prove Hun a martyr, when Copes own confession doth import no less, though I said nothing? For, if I should take no more but his own very words, and say, that he was known to be a heretic, as Cope doth affirm, what could I say more, seeing he died for their heresy, to prove him to die a martyr? for to die a heretic with the papists, what is it else (to say truth) but to die with God a martyr? But howsoever it pleaseth either sir Thomas More to jest, or Alan Cope to scold out the matter, and to style Richard Hun for a known and desperate heretic: yet to all true godly disposed men, Hun may well be known to be a godly and virtuous person, no heretic, but faithful and sound, save that only he seemed rather half a papist; at least no full protestant, for that he resorted daily to mass, and also had his beads in prison with him, after the catholic manner; albeit he was somewhat inclining (as may appear) toward the gospel. And if the name of a martyr be thought too good for him, yet I trust Master Cope will stand so good master to him, to let him at least be a martyr’s fellow. But what now if I go further with Master Cope, and name Richard Hun, not only for a martyr, but also commend him for a double martyr? Certes, as I suppose, in so saying, I should affirm nothing less than truth, nor any thing more than may truly be said, and justly proved. But to give and grant this confession unto the adversary, which notwithstanding might be easily proved, let us see now the proofs of Master Cope, how he argueth that Richard Hun is no martyr “because,” saith he, “true men, being killed in high-ways by thieves and murderers, are not therefore to be counted martyrs,” etc. And was there nothing else in the cause of Hun, but as in true men killed by thieves and murderers? They that are killed by thieves and murderers, are killed for some prey, or money about them: and what prey or profit was in the death of Hun, let us see, to redound to those who oppressed him? If it were the mortuary, or the bearing-cloth, that was a small thing, and not worthy his death. If it were the ‘praemunire,’ the danger thereof pertained to the priest, and not to them. If they feared lest the example thereof once begun, should afterward redound to the prejudice of the whole church, then was the cause of his death not private but public, tending to the whole church and clergy of Rome: and so is his death not altogether like to the death of those, who, for private respects, are killed by thieves and murderers. “But he was a heretic,” saith Cope. By the same reason that Cope taketh him for a heretic, I take him the more to be accepted for a martyr: for by that way which they call heresy, the living God is served, and by no way better. And if he were a heretic, why then did they not proceed against him as a heretic while he was alive? When they had him at Futham before them, if they had been sure to entrap him in that snare, why did they not take their advantage, when they might with ]east jeopardy? why did they not proceed and condemn him for a heretic? why made they such haste to prevent his death before? why did they not tarry the sentence of the law, having the law in their own hands? But belike they perceived that he could not be proved a heretic while he lived, and therefore thought it best to make him away privily, and to stop the praemunire, and afterwards to stop the pursuit of his death by making him a heretic. And therefore were articles devised by the chancellor (as is proved before by the witness of Charles Joseph and another) against him, and he condemned for a heretic, and all his favorers also, whosoever durst stir to take his part; and so thereupon was recommitted to the secular power, and burned: wherein they did him double wrong; first, in that they burned him for a heretic, having before submitted himself to their favorable correction, as it appeareth yet in the bishop’s registers by his own hand, as it is there pretended; which was against their own laws. Again, if he had not submitted himself at that time, yet did they him wrong to burn him before they knew him and heard him speak (as Tindall saith) whether he would recant or no. And yet, admit that he was condemned and burned for a heretic, yet to be killed and burned of them for a heretic, that taketh not from him the name of a martyr, but rather giveth him to be a double martyr.
But Cope yet proceeding in his hot choler against Richard Hun, after he had made him first no martyr, and then a heretic, thirdly he now maketh him also a murderer of himself, and saith, that no other man was any part of his death but only his own hands, and that, either for indignation and anger, or for desperation, or for some cause he knoweth not what. And in his Epilogue, to make it probable, he allegeth the example of one, but nameless, who, in queen Mary’s time, in like sort went about to hang himself, had he not been taken in the manner and rescued.
Furthermore, as touching the chancellor he argueth, that there was no cause why he should attempt any such violence against him, both for his age, for his dignity, for his learning, and for the greatness of his own peril which might ensue thereof; who, if he had maligned the man, and had been so disposed to work his destruction, had means otherwise, without danger, to bring that about, having him within his danger convicted and fast tied for heresy. Whereunto I answer, that to all this matter sufficient hath been answered by the story itself of his death, above specified; namely, by the manner of his death, by circumstances of his handling and hanging, by his neck broke, by his body loose, by his skin fretted, by his wrists wrung, by his girdle in such shortness double east about the staple, by his cap right upon his head, by his hair kemped, by his eyes closed, by the cake of blood found on the floor, by his shirt-collar, doublet, jacket, and other outward parts of his garments without drop of blood, unspotted; by the stool so standing upon the bolster, by the chancellor’s murrey gown, found the day after upon the stocks, the wax candle fair put out:
Furthermore, by the verdict of the inquest, by the attestation of the witnesses sworn, by the coroner’s judgment, by the assent of the parliament, by the king’s letters assigned, and broad seal for restitution of his goods; and finally, by the confession of the parties themselves who murdered him, etc. And yet thinketh Cope to make men such fools, having yet their five wits, to ween yet that Hun did hang himself, after so many demonstrations and evidences to the contrary, as in every part of this story may appear? And though it were, as it was, unlikely and hard for a man to believe, that Dr. Horsey, a man of such age, dignity, and learning, would so much forget himself to attempt such a villany; yet so great is the devil sometimes with man, where God permitteth, that he worketh greater things than this, and more incredible. For who would have thought it likely that Cain would ever have killed Abel, his own natural brother? which was more than for a bishop’s chancellor to kill a citizen: yet so he did. And where Cope pretendeth the causes of anger and desperation whereby Hun did hang himself, how is it like, or who ever did hear, a man being in such extremity of desperation, to stand first trimming himself, and kemping his head, before he go to hang himself? No more credit is also to be given to that which followeth in the same Cope, where he saith, that Richard Hun being in prison, was convicted of heresy: by which word convicted, if he mean that Hun was proved a heretic, that is false; for that he, being at Fulham examined upon certain articles, both denied the articles to be true as they were objected; and also if they were true, yet he submitted himself to their favorable correction; and therefore, not standing obstinately in the same, could not be proved a heretic. And if by this term convicted, he mean that he was by sentence cast; so was Hun never cast by any sentence for a heretic, so long as he lived, but after his death, when he could nothing answer for himself. And because this untruth should not go without his fellow, see how he huddleth up one false narration on the neck of another; affirming moreover, that Hun was cast into prison before he entered his suit of praemunire against the priest: which is utterly false and untrue, both disagreeing to other stories, and also refuted by the words of sir Thomas More, his own author; who reporteth, that Hun (in suing his praemunire against the priest), being set upon a glory of victory, made his boasting among his friends, that trusted to have the matter long spoken of, and to be called Hun’s case. Whereby it appeareth that Hun was not then in prison clapt up for heresy, but was abroad seeking counsel among the lawyers, and boasting among his friends, as writeth More. After this heap of untruths above passed, add yet further another copy of Cope’s false dealing; who, seeking all corners and everywhere how to pick matter against my former history, 17 chargeth me with arrogancy, as though I took so highly upon me to undo and derogate the king’s acts and judgments in the acquittal of Dr. Horsey. If it so pleased the king to acquit Dr. Horsey by his gracious pardon, I am not against it, neither do I deny but the king so did: neither do I say, nor ever did, but the king, of his supereminent prerogative, may so do: and wherein then do I unrip or loose the king’s acts here done and concluded? But if the question be this, Whether Dr. Horsey with his conjurats, did kill Richard Hun or no? then do I say, that the pardon of the king doth not take away the verity of the crime committed, but removeth away the penalty of the law deserved: and so if the lives of them were saved by way of pardon (as Mr. More himself seemeth not to deny), then was it not through their innocency claiming justice, that they escaped, but through petition standing in need of mercy.
For what needeth pardon, where justice absolveth? yea, who sueth pardon, but in so doing must yield himself guilty? for pardon never cometh lightly, either with God or man, except the crime be first confessed. Wherefore if they escaped by justice, as Cope pretendeth, how then doth Master More say, they were saved by pardon? And if they escaped by pardon, how then doth Cope say they were not guilty? And be it admitted, that the sentence of the king’s attorney in the king’s name did absolve them as unguilty, according as the king was then informed by the cardinal and suit of friends; yet afterwards the king, being better informed by the parliament, and the truth better known, detested and abhorred their fact, and yet continued his pardon unto them, as by the king’s own acts and his broad seal appeareth, yet remaining in records to be seen.
And as touching my former histories set forth in Latin and in English, which spake first of the foreman of the quest, then of the king’s attorney, to be labored with some gifts or money: 18 as Cope hath yet proved no untruth in my saying, so less can he find any repugnance or disagreeing in the same. For he that speaketh of bribing, first of one person, and then afterwards of another, where both might be bribed together, is not contrary, I think, to himself, but rather doth comprehend that in the one book, which he before leaveth out in the other; and yet no great repugnance either in the one or in the other, seeing that which is said may be verified in both, as it is no other like but in this matter it was. For how is it otherwise likely or possible, but that there must needs be found some privy packing in this matter, seeing after such evidence found and brought in by the coroner’s inquest and jury of twenty-four chosen persons, after so many marks and tokens of the murder so clear and demonstrable, and laid forth so plain to the eyes of all the world, that no man could deny, or not see the same; yet through the handling of the aforesaid attorney, and of the foreman of the quest, the murderers were borne out and confessed to be no murderers. If such bolstering out of matters and partiality were then such a rare case in the realm of England, in the time of cardinal Wolsey (who then under the king and in the king’s name did what he list), then let it seem untrue what I have written in my former stories. And yet the words of my story, which Cope carpeth at so much, be not mine, but the words of Edward Hall, his own author. 19 Wherefore, if his disposition be so set, that he must needs be a censor of other men’s writings, let him expostulate with Hall, and not with me.
But I trouble the reader too much in this matter of Richard Hun, being of itself so clear, that no indifferent judge can doubt thereof. As for wranglers and quarrelers, they will never be satisfied. Wherefore I return again to the purpose of our story intermitted.
ELIZABETH STAMFORD, AND OTHERS In the table above, containing the names of those who, about this time of Richard Hun, were forced to deny and abjure their professed opinions, mention was made of Elizabeth Stamford, John Houshold, and others, abjuring about A.D. 1517; whose vexation and weakness, although it be pitiful to behold, yet to consider the confession of their doctrine in those ancient days, it is not unprofitable; wherein we have to see the same form of knowledge and doctrine then taught and planted in the hearts of our fore-elders, which is now publicly received, as well touching the Lord’s sacrament of his body, as also other specialties of sincerity. And although they lacked then public authority to maintain the open preaching and teaching of the gospel, which the Lord’s merciful grace hath given us now: yet in secret knowledge and understanding they seemed then little or nothing inferior to these our times of public reformation, as may appear by this confession of Elizabeth Stamford hereunder written; which only may suffice for example, to understand what ripe knowledge of God’s Word was then abroad; although not in churches publicly preached, for danger of the bishops, yet in secret wise taught and received of divers, in number of whom was this Elizabeth Stamford; who, being brought and examined before Fitzjames bishop of London, A.D. 1517, confessed, that she was taught by one Thomas Beele (sometime dwelling at Henley) these words eleven years before: “Christ feedeth, and fast nourisheth his church with his own precious body, that is, the bread of life coming down from heaven: this is the worthy Word that is worthily received, and joined unto man, to be in one body with him. Sooth it is, that they be both one, they may not be parted: this is the wisely deeming of the holy Sacrament, Christ’s own body: this is not received by chewing of teeth, but by hearing with ears, and understanding with your soul, and wisely working thereafter. Therefore, saith St. Paul, I fear me amongst us, brethren, that many of us be feeble and sick; therefore I counsel us, brethren, to rise and watch, that the great day of doom come not suddenly upon us, as the thief doth upon the merchant.”
Also the said Beele taught and showed her, that the sacrament of the altar was not the very body of Christ, but very bread: and that the sacrament was the very body of Christ put upon the cross, after a divine and mystical manner. And moreover, that the said Thomas Beele did many times and oft teach her this aforesaid lesson, that she should confess her sins to God, and that the pope’s pardons and indulgences were naught worth, and profited not, and that worshipping of images and pilgrimages is not to be done.
To this Elizabeth Stamford, may also be annexed the doctrine and confession of Joan Sampson, wife of John Sampson, carpenter, of Aldermanbury in London: against whom, being cited and examined before the bishop of London, certain witnesses were producted; who, upon their oath, being sworn, did detect and denounce the said Jean Sampson in these articles and opinions following: 1. That she being in her labor, what time Joan Sampson her predecessor then being alive, was with her, and after the manner then of women, called much upon the help of the Virgin Mary, she, spitting thereat, was in such sort aggrieved, that the other party was compelled to forsake the house. 2. Also, that she spake against pilgrimage, and the worshipping of the blessed Virgin, and of all saints, affirming that there is none holy but one. 3. Item, Another time, in the hearing of one Margaret Anworth, when she and other women were invocating the blessed Virgin to help in woman’s labor, she stood against them, and contumeliously spake against the invocators. 4. Item, That she, speaking against the pilgrimage of our lady of Wilsdon (as she was then called) and of St. Saviour at Bermondsey, called the said St. Savior, St. Sawyer. 5. Item, For having two certain books in English, one bigger, and another lesser, which she committed to one John Anstead a cook; which books in the register be not named. 6. Item, That the said Joan Sampson, at a supper, in the hearing of certain men, and of a certain widow named Joan White, spake openly in contempt of the sacrament of the altar; saying, that the priests were idolaters who did lift up the bread over their heads, making the people to worship it, and making the people to believe that it was the Lord’s body; and that it was better to eat the altar-cloth, if it might be eaten and digested as easily as the other.
Here follow, moreover, the names of divers others who, in the registers, be specified to abjure:
DIVERS William Jacum, carpenter John Hatchot Geo. Laund, prior of St Sithe John Stradling Jacob Sturdey John Newman, shereman Thomas Purual, tailor Henry Coil Robert Boshel John Bitam William Man Thomas Edward, dyer Robert Hutton, pinner William Sweting Richard Dewar Robert Pope Jacob Brewster Richard Apulby John Geeste of Stafford Sabine Manne John Osburn John Brian of the parish of St. Stephen John Spencer Robert Roger Patrike Dowdal, alias Capper John Eton John Bol John Chapman Richard Wescot Robert Aleyn William Chakon William Crosse John Finch, cook Richard Mildnal John Southwick JOHN SOUTHWICK Against this John Southwick last named, it was laid and objected, that when one Rivelay, coming from the church of the Gray Friars in London, had said to his wife (asking where he had been), that he had heard mass, and had seen his Lord God in form of bread and wine over the priest’s head, the aforesaid John Southwick there present answered again and said; “Nay, William! thou sawest not thy Lord God, thou sawest but bread, wine, and the chalice.” And when the said William answered again in the same words as before, saying, “I trust verily that I saw my Lord God in form of bread and wine, and this I doubt not;” the other replying again, answered and said as before, “Nay, I tell thee thou sawest but only a figure or sacrament of him, which is in substance bread and wine,’ etc.
This was A.D. 1520, in which he was compelled to abjure.
All these abovenamed, in one key of doctrine and religion, did hold and concord together: against whom were objected five or six special matters; to wit, for speaking against worshipping of saints, against pilgrimage, against invocation of the blessed Virgin, against the sacrament of the Lord’s body, and for having Scripture books in English; which books I find to be especially named, as these; the book of the four evangelists, a book of the epistles of Paul and Peter, the epistle of St. James, a book of the Apocalypse and of Antichrist, of the Ten Commandments, and Wickliff’s Wicket, with other such.
JOHN STILLMAN, MARTYR It would ask a long tractation, and tedious, to recite in order the great multitude and number of good men and women, besides these aboverehearsed, who, in those days, recanted and abjured about the beginning of king Henry’s reign and before: among whom, yet notwithstanding, some there were whom the Lord reduced again, and made strong in the profession of his truth, and constant unto death; of which number one was John Stillman by name, who, about Sept. 24, A.D. 1518, was apprehended and brought before Richard Fitzjames then bishop of London, at his manor of Fulham, and by him was there examined and charged, that notwithstanding his former recantation, oath, and abjuration, made about eleven years then past, before Edmund then bishop of Salisbury, as well for speaking against the worshipping, praying, and offering unto images; as also for denying the carnal and corporal presence in the sacrament of Christ’s memorial: yet since that time he had fallen into the same opinions again, and so into the danger of relapse, and further he had highly commended and praised John Wickliff, affirming that he was a saint in heaven, and that his book called The Wicket was good and holy. 1 Soon after his examination he was sent from thence unto the Lollards’ tower at London, and on October 22, then next ensuing, was brought openly into the consistory of Paul’s, and was there judicially examined by Thomas Hed the bishop’s vicar-general, upon the contents of these articles following:
ARTICLES LAID AGAINST JOHN STILMAN. 1. First I object unto you, that you have confessed before my lord of London, and me Dr. Hed, his vicar-general, that about twenty years past, one Stephen Moone of the diocese of Winchester (with whom you abode six or seven years after), did teach you to believe that the going on pilgrimage and worshipping of images, as the lady of Walsingham and others, were not to be used. And also that afterwards one Richard Smart, who was burned at Salisbury about fourteen or fifteen years past, did read unto you Wicklift’s Wicket, and likewise instructed you to believe that the sacrament of the altar was not the body of Christ: all which things you have erroneously believed. 2. Item, You have divers times read the said book called Wickliff’s Wicket, and one other book of the ten commandments, which the said Richard Smart did give you; and at the time of your first apprehension you did hide them in an old oak, and did not reveal them unto the bishop of Salisbury, before whom you were abjured of heresy about eleven years since; where you promised, by oath upon the evangelists, ever after ‘to believe and hold as the Christian faith taught and preached, and never to offend again in the said heresies, or any other, upon pain of relapse. And further, you there promised to perform all such penance as the said bishop of Salisbury did enjoin you: who then enjoined you, upon the like pain, not to depart his diocese without his special license. 3. Item, It is evident that you be relapsed, as well by your own confession, as also by your deeds, in that about two years after your abjuration you went into the said place where you had hidden your books; and then taking them away with you, you departed the aforesaid diocese without the license of the bishop, and brought them with you to London; where now, being attached and taken with them upon great suspicion of heresy, you are brought unto the bishop of London: by reason of which your demeanor, you have showed by your impenitent and dissembled conversation, both your errors, and also your unfaithful abjuration and disobedience unto the authority of our mother holy church, in that you performed not the penance: in which behalf you be voluntarily perjured, and also relapsed, in that you departed the said diocese without license. 4. Item, You be not only (as afore is said) impenitent, disobedient, voluntarily perjured and relapsed, by this your aforesaid heretical demeanor, but also, since your last attachment upon suspicion of heresy, you have maliciously spoken erroneous and damnable words, affirming before my lord of London, your ordinary, and me, judicially sitting at Fulham, that you were sorry that ever you did abjure your said opinions, and had not suffered then manfully for them, for they were, and be, good and true; and therefore you will now abide by them to die for it. And furthermore, you have spoken against our holy father the pope and his authority, damnably saying that he is Antichrist, and not the true successor of Peter, or Christ’s vicar on earth; and that his pardons and indulgences, which he granteth in the sacrament of penance, are naught, and that you will none of them. And likewise that the college of cardinals be limbs of the said Antichrist: and that all other inferior prelates and priests are the synagogue of Satan. And moreover you said, that the doctors of the church have subverted the truth of holy Scripture, expounding it after their own minds, and therefore their works be naught, and they in hell: but that Wickliff is a saint in heaven, and that the book called his Wicket is good, for therein he showeth the truth. Also you did wish that there were twenty thousand of your opinion, against us scribes and Pharisees, to see what you would do for the defense of your faith. All which heresies you did afterwards erroneously affirm before the archbishop of Canterbury, and then said that you would abide by them to die for it, notwithstanding his earnest persuasions to the contrary: and therefore, for these premises you be evidently relapsed, and ought to be committed unto the secular power.
All these articles thus propounded, and his constant persevering in the truth perceived, Dr. Hed, vicar-general, Oct. 25, by his sentence definitive, did condemn him for a relapsed heretic, and so delivered him the same day unto the sheriffs of London, to be openly burned in Smithfield.
THOMAS MAN, MARTYR Next to John Stilman abovementioned, followeth in this order of blessed martyrs, the persecution and condemnation of Thomas Man; who, March 29, A.D. 1518, was burned in Smithfield. This Thomas Man had likewise been apprehended for the profession of Christ’s gospel about six years before (Aug. 14, 1511), and being at that time brought before Dr. Smith, bishop of Lincoln, was by him examined upon divers and sundry articles, the effect whereof is this:
THE ARTICLES OF THOMAS MAN. 1. First, That he had spoken against auricular confession, and denied the corporal presence of Christ’s body in the sacrament of the altar. 2. Item, That he believed that all holy men of his sect were only priests. 3. Item, That he had affirmed that the Father of heaven was the altar, and the Second Person the sacrament; and that upon the ascension day the sacrament ascended unto the altar, and there abideth still. 4. Item, That he believed not aright in the sacrament of extreme unction. 5. Item, That he had called certain priests, meanly arrayed, pilled knaves. 6. Item, That he had said that pulpits were priests’ lying stools. 7. Item, That he had believed that images ought not to be worshipped, and that he neither believed in the crucifix, nor yet would worship it. 8. Item, That he had affirmed that he heard say, the word of God and God to be all one, and that he that worthily receiveth the word of God, receiveth God. 9. Item, That he had said that the popish church was not the church of God, but a synagogue; and that holy men of his sect were the true church of God.
For these and such like matters was he a long time imprisoned, and, at last, through frailty and fear of death, was content to abjure and yield himself unto the judgment of the Romish church, and thereupon was enjoined, not only to make his open recantation, but also from thenceforth to remain as prisoner within the monastery of Osney beside Oxford, and so to bear a faggot before the first cross, at the next general procession within the university. Howbeit not long after, the bishop having need of the poor man’s help in his household business, took him out of the said monastery, and placed him within his own house until his business was ended; and then (his turn once served) he appointed Dr. Wilcocks his vicar-general, that in his next judicial session within the priory of Frideswide at Oxford, he should assign him to remain within the said priory, and not to depart thence without license of the prior for the time being, upon pain of relapse: and upon like pain he also enjoined him to wear the sign of a faggot under his uppermost garment, until he were dispensed withal for the same. All which notwithstanding (being belike both sorry for his offense in denying the truth, and also weary of his servile and prison-like bondage), he bethought himself how he might best escape their cruel hands; and therefore, after a while, seeing good opportunity offered him, he fled the diocese and jurisdiction of Lincoln, and seeking abroad in other counties for work, thereby to sustain his poor life, he most commonly abode, sometimes in Essex, sometimes in Suffolk; where also he associated and joined himself unto such godly professors of Christ’s gospel, as he there could hear of. But within few years after (such is the cruel rage of Satan and his wicked members, who never suffer the godly long to continue untroubled,) he was again accused of relapse by the inquest of the inquisition of London, and thereupon was apprehended and brought before Richard Fitzjames then bishop of London, and, Feb. 9th, 1518, he was examined by Dr. Hed, the bishop’s near-general, within his palace at London: where the said Hed, judicially assisted by divers of his complices, declared first unto Man, that forasmuch as he was, since his first abjuring, again detected and accused, by certain credible and honest persons, of the same heresies which he had once before recanted: and further (contrary to the order of penance enjoined him by the late bishop of Lincoln), he had departed the priory of St. Frideswide, and the diocese of Lincoln, without leave either of the bishop or prior; and was now also found within the diocese of London, and that without his badge assigned him by the said bishop’s vicar-general: he therefore, as chancellor and vicar-general unto the bishop of London, deputed for that purpose, did then mean to proceed against him as a relapse, by order of the ecclesiastical laws in that behalf provided. Wherefore he appointed him to appear again in the consistory of Paul’s, on the 12th of February next after, there to answer unto such articles as then should be propounded against him. At which day and place, the chancellor (first reciting the causes above mentioned, why he did then proceed against him) objected unto him these articles following:
ARTICLES AGAIN OBJECTED AGAINST THOMAS MAN. 1. First, That he was of the diocese of London. 2. Item, That he was a Christian man, and professed Christ’s faith, and the determinations of holy church concerning the seven sacraments, and other articles of the catholic faith. 3. Item, That it was not lawful for any man (especially a layman) erroneously and obstinately to hold, teach, or defend any opinion contrary unto the determinations of the said church; and that the person so doing is a heretic. 4. Item, That within one of the twelve months of the year of our Lord 1511, he had been detected before the bishop of Lincoln that then was, of divers points of heresy; as that he had affirmed, that the very body and blood of Christ was not in the sacrament of the altar, but material bread and wine, and that he had received it at Easter as holy bread: and likewise had affirmed, that the crucifix and other images in the church were not to be worshipped; and also, that confession made unto a priest was of no effect; with divers other like opinions and heresies. 5. Item, That for these and such like points of heresy he had been abjured in St. Mary’s church at Oxford, before Dr. Wilcocks, chancellor unto the said bishop of Lincoln, in the month of October, in the year last above-said, and there did renounce them and all other, promising to fall no more into the like. 6. Item, That there also he had taken a solemn oath, to do such penance as should be enjoined him by the authority of the said bishop. 7. Item, That then he was enjoined to abide within the monastery of Osney by Oxford; and also there to bear a faggot before the first cross in the general procession. 8. Item, That after a certain time that he had been in the monastery of Osney, the bishop of Lincoln (for certain causes) took him into his own house and service, respiting his penance for a time. 9. Item, That afterwards, which was on the 9th of October, 1512, the said bishop’s chancellor, judicially sitting in the chapter-house of the priory of St. Frideswide, in Oxford, did enjoin him that he should tarry within the said priory, and not go out of the gates thereof without license of the prior for the time being, until he had other commandment from the bishop; upon pain of relapse: and further, that he should from thenceforth, upon the like pain, wear a sign of a faggot under his uppermost garment. 10. Item, That after his abjuration, and since the premises thus done, he was yet again detected to the bishop of London by open fame, and denounced by worshipful and credible persons, that he had used like false errors and heresies, and had spoken and taught certain conclusions of heresy against the Christian faith, and determinations of holy church: and that he had fallen into the like heresies as before his abjuration, both against the sacrament of the altar, against pilgrimages and worshipping of images: and had blasphemed our blessed lady, calling her Mably. 11. Item, That when he wrought with one John Bates, in Stratford Langthorn, in Rogation-week then three years past, and being bidden by the said Bates’s wife to go and hear the gospel, he answered and said unto her, ‘I will not go there; go you if you list; ye shall have as much need for in as to put your finger in the fire and to burn it.’ 12. Item, That in times past; for fear of abjuration he had fled from Colchester to Newbury, and after that unto Amersham, and had there damnably accompanied with heretics, and had taught heresies among them: and also since the time of his abjuration he had said, that he and his wife had turned six or seven hundred people unto those opinions which he was abjured of, and others also, contrary to Christ’s faith, and determinations of holy church.
His answer unto these articles was, that as touching the first nine, he granted them in part to be true; confessing to the second, that he was a true Christian, and did profess the true Christian faith: but the contents of the last three he utterly denied to be true; affirming for certain answer unto the eleventh article, that at the time mentioned in the same he did not work in the town of Stratford. Upon which answer, the chancellor called forth two witnesses to be sworn and examined against him, willing him that if he had any just matter against any of them, he should refuse them. But to what purpose this his fair offer and trim show of upright justice served, I cannot see, for, notwithstanding that he charged one of the witnesses with theft and adultery (for that having a wife of his own, he did yet run away with another man's wife and goods), and also alleged that the other was too young to be a sworn witness in case of life and death: yet were they both still retained and allowed by the chancellor, and sworn not to depart away or hide themselves, but to be always ready to justify that which they had to say against the said Thomas Man. And so for that time, as well they as also all the rest were commanded to depart, and the prisoner sent again to his prison.
And here, in the order of the oath ministered unto these witnesses, I find one note, me thinketh, worthy of present remembrance, both for that it is mentioned in this process, and also because it somewhat openeth the foolish, ridiculous, and reigned figurative ceremonies of the papists, who do attribute a spiritual signification unto almost all their doings. The register, discoursing at large the manner of their oath, hath these words: “He caused them to swear upon the holy evangelists, with their three middle fingers stretched out right, and laid upon the book in sign of the Trinity and catholic faith; and the other two (to wit, the thumb and the little finger) put downwards under the book, in token of damnation of body and soul, if they did not depose the truth in the matter.” This ceremonial order and exposition of theirs, as it is of their own fond invention, without any ground or example of the Scriptures of God, so mind I to leave it still unto themselves, with other their apish toys and ridicules, as things worthy to be laughed at; and will now further proceed with the rest of this process which I have in hand.
On the 15th of February, Dr. Hed the chancellor, again judicially sitting in the consistory at Paul’s, commanded Thomas Man to be brought before him, and there causing the articles objected against him by the bishop of Lincoln, with his order of abjuration and penance, and also his own articles last propounded, to be first read; he called forth a third witness to be sworn and examined upon the same. But because he would seem to do all things by order of justice, and nothing against law, he therefore appointed unto the said Thomas Man certain doctors and advocates of the Arches, as his counselors to plead in his behalf; which was even like as if the lamb should be committed to the defense and protection of the wolf, or the hare to the hound. For what good help could he look for at their hands, who were both most wicked haters and abhorrers of his Christian profession, and also stout upholders and maintainers of that anti-Christian law, by which he was for the same condemned? And that full well appeared by the good advice and profitable counsel which they gave him against his next examinations. For as well upon the twentieth, and also the twenty-third of the same month of February, in their several sessions, he seeing his own negations to their objections to take no place against their sworn witnesses, had no other thing to allege for himself, but that, through his twenty weeks of hard imprisonment under the bishop of Lincoln, he was forced to recant and abjure; which was a poor shift of counsel, God knoweth: and yet Dr. Raynes being one of his chief assigned advocates, instead of advice, could, by his subtle questioning, then make him confess, that certain talk whereof one of the witnesses had accused him, was spoken about five years before past: which, because it was since his recantation, was rather an accusation of himself, than an excusing: and therefore it is easy to judge with how favorable and uprightful hearts they took upon them to be his advocates and defenders. The chancellor likewise charged him upon the same twenty-third day, that since his last imprisonment, he had said unto Robert Cluny the bishop's sumner, and his keeper, that as far forth as he could see or perceive for his part in this his matter, the laws of the church were grounded upon Pilate and Caiaphas: which objection he granting to be true, the chancellor did for that time dismiss the court, until the first day of March next following. Upon that day (minding to make quick dispatch) he in few words asked Man, what matter he had to allege for himself why he should not then (considering the premises) be pronounced a relapsed heretic, and receive such punishment by the secular power, as to such was due by order of law? But he, having no other allegations than before, which might take place with them, was finally condemned as a heretic; and notwithstanding that, as the register noteth (but how truly, God only knoweth), he did again forsake his former renewed profession of Christ's gospel, and yielded himself unto the bishop of Rome, requiring to be absolved from his curse of excommunication, and contented to do such penance as they should enjoin him, he was yet, the 29th of March, delivered by Dr. Hed to the sheriff of London, to be then presently burned, with this protestation made before, that he might not consent to the death of any, and therefore he desired the sheriff that he would receive this person as relapsed and condemned, and yet to punish him otherwise than by rigorous rigor. 3 The words to be marked in their sentence be these: 4 “We desire, in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the punishment and execution of due severity, of thee and against thee, in this part, may so be moderated, that there be no rigorous rigor, nor yet no dissolute mansuetude, but to the health and wealth of thy soul,” etc. Wherein these catholic church-men do well declare, according to the words of Thomas Man before expressed, that the laws of their church be grounded upon Pilate and Caiaphas. For like as Caiaphas, with his court of Pharisees, cried against Christ unto Pilate: “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death,” but “if thou let him go, thou art not Caesar's friend;” even so they, first condemning the saints of God to death, and then delivering them unto the secular magistrate to be thereupon executed, would yet cover their malignant hearts with the cloak of hypocritical holiness and unwillingness to shed blood. But God be thanked, who bringeth all things to light in his due time, and uncovereth hypocrisy at last, that she may be seen and known in her right colors!
Thus Thomas Man, the manly martyr of Jesus Christ, being condemned by the unjust sentence of Hed the chancellor, was delivered to the sheriff of London sitting on horseback in Paternoster-row, before the bishop’s door (A.D. 1518), he protesting to the said sheriff, that he had no power to put Man to death; and therefore desiring the sheriff to take him as a relapse and condemned, to see him punished; ‘et tamen citra mortem,”that is, “without death,” as the words stand in the register. The sheriff receiving neither articles to be read at his burning, nor any indentures of that his delivery, immediately carried him to Smithfield, and there, the same day in the forenoon, caused him to be “put into God’s angel;” according to the words of the said Thomas Man before, saying, that if he were taken again of the pilled knave priests, as he called them, he wist well he should go to the Holy Angel, and then be an angel in heaven.
In the deposition of one Thomas Risby, weaver, of Stratford-Lungthorn, against the aforenamed martyr Thomas Man, it appeareth by the registers, that he had been in divers places and countries in England, and had instructed very many, as at Amenham, at London, at Billericay, at Chelmsford, at Stratford-Langthorn, at Uxbridge, at Burnham, at Henleyupon- Thames, in Suffolk and Norfolk, at Newbury, and divers places more: where he himself testifieth, that as he went westward, he found a great company of well-disposed persons, being of the same judgment touching the sacrament of the Lord’s supper that he was of, and especially at Newbury, 5 where was (as he confessed) a glorious and sweet society of faithful favorers, who had continued the space of fifteen years together, till at last, by a certain lewd person, whom they trusted and made of their counsel, they were bewrayed; and then many of them, to the number of six or seven score, were abjured, and three or four of them burnt. From thence he came then (as he confessed) to the forest of Windsor, where he, hearing of the brethren who were at Amersham, removed thither, where he found a godly and a great company, which had continued in that doctrine and teaching twenty-three years, which was from this present time seventy years ago. And this congregation of Buckinghamshire men remained till the time of John Longland, bishop of Lincoln, whereof we shall (Christ willing) hear more anon.
Against these faithful Christians of Amersham, were great trouble and persecution in the time of William Smith bishop of Lincoln, about A.D. 1507, at which time divers and many were abjured, and it was called ‘abjuratio magna,’ ‘the great abjuration;’ and those who were noted of that doctrine and profession, were called by the name of ‘known men,’ or ‘justfast men,’ etc. In this congregation of the faithful brethren, were four principal readers or instructors; whereof one was Tylsworth 170 , called then Dr. Tylsworth, who was burnt at Amersham, mentioned in our history before, by the name of William Tilseley, whom I suppose to be rather called Tylsworth. Another was Thomas Chase, called amongst them Dr.
Chase, whom we declared before to be murdered and hanged in the bishop of Lincoln’s prison at Woburn, called Little-ease. 6 The third was this Thomas Man, called also Dr. Man, burned as is here mentioned in Smithfield, A.D. 1518, who, as by his own confession, and no less also by his travail appeareth, was God’s champion, and suffered much trouble by the priests for the cause and law of God. He confesseth himself in the same register, that he had turned seven hundred people to his religion and doctrine, for which he thanked God. He conveyed also five couples of men and women from Amersham, Uxbridge, Burnham, and Henley-upon- Thames, (where they dwelt), unto Suffolk and Norfolk, that they might be brought (as he then termed it) out of the devil’s mouth. The fourth was Robert Cosin; named likewise among them Dr. Cosin.
ROBERT COSIN, OF BUCKINGHAM, MARTYR This Robert Cosin seemeth to be the same who in the former part of this history is mentioned, being called by the name of father Robert, 1 and was burnt in Buckingham. Of this Robert Cosin, I find in the registers of Lincoln, that he, with Thomas Man, had instructed and persuaded one Joan Norman, about Amersham, not to go on pilgrimage, nor to worship any images of saints. Also when she had vowed a piece of silver to a saint for the health of her child, they dissuaded her from the same, and said, that she needed not to confess herself to a priest, but that it was sufficient to lift up her hands to heaven. Moreover, they were charged by the bishop, for teaching the said Joan, that she might as well drink on the Sunday before mass, as on any other day. And thus you see the doctrine of these good men, for which they were in those days abjured and condemned to death. WILLIAM SWEETING, ALIAS CLERKE, MARTYR William Sweeting, otherwise named Clerke, first dwelt with the lady Percy, at Darlington, in the county of Northampton, for a certain space, and from thence went to Boxted, in the county of Essex, where he was the holy-water clerk the space of seven years: after that, he was bailiff and farmer to Mrs. Margery Wood, the term of thirteen years. From Boxted he departed and came: to the town of St. Osithe, where he served the prior of St. Osithe’s, named George Laund, the space of sixteen years and more; where he had so turned the prior by his persuasions, that the said prior of St. Osithe was afterwards compelled to abjure. 1 This William Sweeting, coming up to London with the aforesaid prior, for suspicion of heresy was committed to the Lollards’ tower, under the custody of Charles Joseph, and there, being abjured in the church of St. Paul, was constrained to bear a faggot at Paul’s Cross, and at Colchester; and afterwards to wear a faggot upon his coat all his life, which he did two years together upon his left sleeve, till at length the parson of Colchester required him to help him in the service of the church; and so plucked the badge from his sleeve, and there he remained two years, being the holy-water cleric. From thence afterward he departed, and traveling abroad, came to Rederiffe, in the diocese of Winchester, where he was holy-water clerk the space of a year.
Then he went to Chelsea, where he was their neatherd, and kept the town beasts; in which town, upon St. Ann’s day in the morning, as he went forth with his beasts to the field, the good man was apprehended and brought before the bishop, and his chamber searched for books; this was A.D. 1511.
First, For having much conference with one William Man, of Boxted, in a book which was called Matthew. ITEM , That he had familiarity, and frequented much the company of James Brewster, who had been before abjured. ITEM , That when his wife should go on pilgrimage, he asked of her, what good she would receive by her going on pilgrimage? adding moreover, that as he supposed it was to no purpose nor profit; but rather it were better for her to keep at home, and to attend her business. ITEM , That he had learned and received of William Man, that the sacrament of the priests’ altar was not the present very body, but bread in substance, received in memorial of Christ. ITEM , That he had propounded and affirmed the same doctrine to James Brewster. ITEM , Because he had reprehended his wife for worshipping the images in the church, and for setting up candles before them.
And thus have you all the causes and crimes laid against this William Sweeting wherefore he was condemned: who then being asked what cause he had, why he should not be judged for a relapse, said, he had nothing else, but only that he committed himself to the mercy of Almighty God.
JAMES BREWSTER, COLCHESTER, MARTYR With William Sweeting also the same time was examined and condemned, James Brewster, of the parish of St. Nicholas, in Colchester. This James Brewster was a carpenter, dwelling ten years in the town of Colchester; who, being unlettered, could neither read nor write, and was apprehended upon the day of St. James, in one Walker’s house, in St. Clement’s parish.
About six years before, which was A.D. 1505, he had been abjured by William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, the see of London being then vacant; and after other penance done at Colchester, was enjoined to wear a faggot upon his upper garment during his life, which badge he did bear upon his left shoulder near the space of two years, till the comptroller of the earl of Oxford plucked it away, because he was laboring in the works of the earl.
First, That he had been five times with William Sweeting in the fields keeping beasts, hearing him read many good things out of a certain book: at which reading also were present at one time Woodroof or Woodbinde, a netmaker, with his wife; also a brotherin- law of William Sweeting; and another time Thomas Goodred, who heard likewise the said William Sweeting read. ITEM , Because he used the company and conference of Henry Hert, carpenter, of Westminster, and wrought with him in his science at Westminster. ITEM , For having a certain little book of Scripture in English, of an old writing almost worn for age, whose name is not there expressed. ITEM , Because he, hearing upon a time one Master Bardfield, of Colchester, thus say: ‘He that will not worship the Maozim 2 in heart and thought, shall die in sight,’ he asked afterwards of William Man, what that word Maozim should mean? who told him, that it signified as much as the masing 3 God, to wit, the sacrament of the altar. ITEM , That he had much conference with Henry Hert, against oblations and images, and that it was better bestowed money which was given to the poor, than that which was offered in pilgrimage. ITEM , For that he had communication and conference with Roger Helliar, and one Walker, a thicker of St. Clements, concerning divers such matters of pilgrimage, offering to images, worshipping of saints, and the sacrament of the altar. ITEM , When Thomas Goodred, William Sweeting, and he, in the fields keeping beasts, were talking together of the sacrament of the Lord’s body, and like matters, this James Brewster should thus say: ‘Now the Son of the living God help us: unto whom William Sweeting again should answer: ‘Now Almighty God so do.”
And thus have you the causes likewise and crimes laid against James Brewster, upon which he, with William Sweeting, were together examined and condemned. Then being asked, as the Romish manner is, Whether he had any cause why he should not be adjudged for a relapse; he, trusting to find favor and grace in submitting himself, said, that he submitted him to the mercy of Almighty God. and to the favorable goodness of him his Judge. And likewise did William Sweeting submit himself; trusting belike that they should find some favor and relief in this humble subjecting themselves unto their goodness.
But note here the unmerciful and unchristian dealing of these catholic fathers, who, upon their submission, were contented to give out a solemn commission, the tenor whereof was to release and pardon them from the sentence of excommunication, which they had incurred: but immediately after upon the same, the bishop, all this notwithstanding, pronounced upon them the sentence of death and condemnation; whereupon they were both delivered to the secular power, and both together burnt in Smithfield at one fire, the 18th day of October, A.D. 1511.
CHRISTOPHER SHOEMAKER, OF GREAT MISSENDEN, MARTYR To these blessed saints before-named, we will also adjoin Christopher Shoemaker, of whom this I find briefly in the register of sir John Longland; that the said Christopher Shoemaker, a parishioner of Great Missenden, came to the house of John Say, and after other matters of talk, read to him out of a little book the words which Christ spake to his disciples. And thus coming to his house about four times, at every time he read something out of the same book unto him, teaching him not to be deceived in the priests’ celebration at mass; and declaring that it was not the same very present body of Christ, as the priests did fantasy; but in substance bread, bearing the remembrance of Christ: and taught him moreover, that pilgrimage, worshipping and setting up candles to saints, were all unprofitable. And thus the said John Say, being taught by this Christopher, and also confirmed by John Okenden and Robert Pope, was brought to the knowledge of the same doctrine. Thus much briefly I find in that register concerning Christopher Shoemaker: declaring further, that he was burned at Newbury about this time, which was A.D. 1518. And thus much out of the registers of London.
In turning over the registers and records of Lincoln likewise, and coming to the year of our Lord 1520, and to 1521, I find that as the light of the Gospel began more to appear, and the number of professors to grow, so the vehemency of persecution, and stir of the bishops ‘began also to increase; whereupon ensued great perturbation and grievous affliction in divers and sundry quarters of this realm, especially about Buckinghamshire and Amersham, Uxbridge, Henley, Newbury, in the diocese of London, in Essex, Colchester, Suffolk, and Norfolk, and other parts more. And this was before the name of Luther was heard of in these countries among the people. Wherefore they are much beguiled and misinformed, who condemn this kind of doctrine now received, of novelty; asking, “Where this church and religion forty years ago, before Luther’s time?” To whom it; may be answered, that this religion and form of doctrine was planted by the apostles, and taught by true bishops; afterward decayed, and now reformed again. Although it was not received nor admitted of the pope’s clergy before Luther’s time, neither yet is; yet it was received of others, in whose hearts it pleased the Lord secretly to work; and that of a great number, who both professed and suffered for the same, as in the former times of this history may appear. And if they think this doctrine be so new that it was not heard of before Luther’s time, how then came such great persecution before Luther’s time here in England? If these were of the same profession which they were of, then was their cruelty unreasonable, so to persecute their own catholic fraternity. And if they were otherwise, how then is this doctrine of the gospel so new, or how are the professors thereof so late started up as they pretend them to be? But this cometh only of ignorance, and for not knowing nor considering well the times and antiquities of the church which have been before us; which if they did, they should see and say, that the church of England hath not lacked great multitudes who tasted and followed the sweetness of God’s holy word almost in as ample manner, for the number of well-disposed hearts, as now. Although public authority then lacked to maintain the open preaching of the gospel, yet the secret multitude of true professors was not much unequal: certes the fervent zeal of those Christian days seemed much superior to these our days and times; as manifestly may appear by their sitting up all night in reading and hearing; also by their expenses and charges in buying of books in English, of whom some gave five marks, 1 some more, some less, for a book: some gave a load of hay for a few chapters of St. James, or of St. Paul in English. In which rarity of books, and want of teachers, this one thing I greatly marvel and muse at; to note in the registers, and to consider how the word of truth, notwithstanding, did multiply so exceedingly as it did amongst them: wherein is to be seen no doubt the marvelous working of God’s mighty power. For so I find and observe in considering the registers, how one neigh bout, resorting and conferring with another, eftsoons with a few words of the first or second talk, did win and turn their minds to that wherein they desired to persuade them, touching the truth of God’s word and his sacraments. To see their travails, their earnest seekings, their burning zeal, their readings, their watchings, their sweet assemblies, their love and concord, their godly living, their faithful demeaning with the faithful, may make us now, in these our days of free profession, to blush for shame.
Four principal points they stood in against the church of Rome: in pilgrimage, in adoration of saints, in reading Scripture-books in English, and in the carnal presence of Christ’s body in the sacrament.
After the great abjuration aforesaid, which was under William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, they were noted and termed among themselves by the name of known-men,’ or ‘just-fast-men:’ as now they are called by the name of Protestants.
As they were simple, and yet not uncircumspect in their doings, so the crafty serpent, being more wily than they, by fraudulent subtlety did so circumvent them, that he caused the wife to detect the husband, the husband the wife, the father the daughter, the daughter the father, the brother to disclose the brother, and neighbor the neighbor. Neither were there any assemblies nor readings kept, but both the persons and also the books were known; neither was any word so closely spoken, nor article mentioned, but it was discovered. So subtiley and sleightly these catholic prelates did use their inquisitions and examinations, that nothing was done or said among these ‘known-men,’ so covertly, fifteen or twenty years before, but it was brought at length to their intelligence. Such captious interrogatories, so many articles and suspicions they had, such espials and privy scouts they sent abroad, such authority and credit they had with the king, and in the king’s name; such diligence they showed in that behalf, so violently and impudently they abused the book of the peaceable evangelists, wresting men’s consciences upon their oath, swearing them upon the same to detect themselves, their fathers and mothers, and other of their kindred, with their friends and neighbors, and that to death. All which things in the further process of the table ensuing (Christ willing), which we have collected out of some part of the registers of Lincoln, shall appear.
For the better declaration whereof, first here is to be premonished by the way, touching the see of Lincoln, that after William Smith succeeded John Longland. This William Smith, although he was somewhat eager and sharp against the poor simple flock of Christ’s servants,, under whom some were burned, many abjured, a great number molested, as partly hath been afore declared; yet was he nothing so bloody or cruel as was the said Longland, who afterwards succeeded in that diocese; for so I find of him, that in the time of the great abjuration and troublesome affliction of Buckinghamshire men, wherein many were abjured, and certain burned; yet divers he sent quietly home without punishment and penance, bidding them go home and live as good Christian men should do; and many who were enjoined penance before, he did release. This Smith died about A.D. 1515, by whom was builded, as is aforesaid, the college of Brazennose in Oxford.
Not long after him followed John Longland, a fierce and cruel vexer of the faithful poor servants of Christ; who, to renew again the old sparkles of persecution which were not yet utterly quenched, first began with one or two of those who had been abjured, whom he thought to be most notorious, causing them, by force of their oath, to detect and bewray, not only their own opinions touching points of religion, but also to discover all others of their affinity, who were either suspected or abjured before. And them likewise he put to their oath, most violently constraining them to utter and confess both themselves, and whom else soever they knew: by reason whereof an incredible multitude of men, women, and maidens, were brought forth to examination, and straightly handled; and such as were found in relapse were burned. The rest were so burdened with superstitious and idolatrous penance and injunctions, that either through grief of conscience they shortly died, or else with shame they lived. All which tragical ,doings and proceedings of the bishop against these ‘known’ and ‘just-fast-men,’ in these tables hereunder following (Christ granting) shall appear, both with the accusers, and with the parties themselves accused, and also the crimes objected.
But before we enter into the table, it shall be requisite first to hear the order and copy of his captious and crafty interrogatories, whereby he constrained the simple poor men to accuse and impeach one another: which interrogatories were these in order as followeth.
CAPTIOUS INTERROGATORIES MINISTERED COMMONLY BY THE BISHOP OF LINCOLN, AGAINST THESE EXAMINATES HERE FOLLOWING.
The interrogatories or articles which Longland, bishop of Lincoln, used most commonly to minister to these examinates or ‘known-men,’ in number were nine, and are these as followeth. 1. First, Whether they or any of them did know, that certain of the parish of Amersham had been convented before William Smith, late bishop of Lincoln, for heresy? 2. Item, Whether they knew that they, so convented before the said bishop, did err in the sacrament of the altar, or in any other sacrament of the church: and if they did, in what sacraments, and in which of them? Also whether they knew that the said parties so covented did confess their errors, and receive penance for the same? 3. Item, Whether they, or any of them, were of the society of those so convented for heresy: and if they were, what fellowship they had with them, and with whom? 4. Item, Whether they, or any of them, were ever conversant with such a one (naming the person whom they knew suspected, as with Thurstan Littlepage)? And if they were, what conversation they had with him, how long, and when and whether they knew the said person to have been suspected of heresy? 5. Item, Whether they, or any of them, were ever conversant with him; or with him (naming some other person whom they suspected, as Alexander Mastall)? and if they were, how, and how long? and whether they knew the said person to be suspected of heresy? 6. Item, Whether they or any of them had been beforetime detected of heresy, to the office of the aforesaid William bishop of Lincoln: and if they were, by what person or persons they were detected? or else, whether they only were called by the aforesaid William bishop for heresy? 7. Item, Whether he or they be noted and holden for heretics; or be reputed and defamed to be of the sect of those who were convented for heresy I and whether he or they be named for a ‘known-man’ amongst them? 8. Item, Whether he or they have been ever at any readings of such as have been so convented for heresy’? 9. Item, Whether he or they were ever in any secret communication or conventicle with them? whom or which of them he knew to be named and reputed for a ‘known-man,’ or holding against the sacrament of the altar, or other sacraments and articles of faith? and if they knew any such, to declare where and when, and what they were, and who were present the same time?
These articles and interrogatories thus declared, now followeth to be showed a certain brief sum compendiously collected out of the registers of John Longland, bishop of Lincoln, declaring, in order of a table, the names first of those who by oath were constrained against their wills to detect and accuse others. Secondly, The persons that were accused. Thirdly, The crimes to them objected; as in the process of this table shall follow to be seen.
And first; forasmuch as the bishop perceived that Roger Bennet, William Chedwell, Edmund Dormer, Thomas Harding, Robert Andrew, with such others, were men especially noted to be of that side, therefore, to work his purpose the better, he began with them; producing the same as witnesses, to detect first Robert Bartlet of Amersham, and Richard his brother; understanding that these afore-named witnesses, because they had been abjured before, durst now do no other, upon pain of relapse, but needs confess whatsoever was put unto them. And therefore, because Robert Bartlet and Richard his brother, being called before the bishop, and sworn upon their oath, would confess nothing against themselves; the bishop, to convict them by witnesses, went first to William Chedwell, lying sore sick in his bed, causing him upon the evangelists to swear, whether he knew the aforesaid Robert and Richard Bartlet to be ‘known-men.’ Which being done, the bishop then called before him Robert Andrew, Roger Bennet, John Hill, Edmund Dormer, John Milsent, Thomas Bernard, Thomas Littlepage, John Dosset (all Amersham men), who, being abjured before, as is said, durst no otherwho do but confess upon their oath that Robert and Richard Bartlet were ‘known-men.’ And yet the bishop, not contented with this, caused also their two wives, to wit, Margaret the wife of Robert Bartlet, and Isabel the wife of Richard Bartlet, to depose and give witness against their own natural husbands. Albeit Isabel Bartlet, being somewhat more temperate of her tongue, refused utterly to confess any thing of her husband, and denied her husband’s words to be true; till at last, she being convicted of perjury, was constrained to utter the truth, as in the process of this table following, more particularly followeth to be seen.
TABLE, DESCRIBING THE GRIEVOUS AFFLICTIONS OF GOOD MEN AND WOMEN IN THE DIOCESE OF LINCOLN, UNDER JOHN LONGLAND THE BISHOP; WITH THE NAMES BOTH OF THE ACCUSERS, AND OF THEM THAT WERE ACCUSED: ALSO WITH THE CRIMES TO THEM OBJECTED: OUT OF THE REGISTERS OF THE SAID DIOCESE, A.D. 1521 William Chedwell, sick in his bed; Robert Andrew, Robert Bennet, John Hill, Edmund Dormer, John Milsent, Thomas Bernard, Thomas Littlepage, John Dosset, Margaret Bartlet, Isabel Bartlet: these being before abjured, were now compelled by oath to detect ROBERT BARTLET, AND RICHARD BARFLET, HIS BROTHER.
This Robert Bartlet, and Richard his brother, were detected by these aforesaid accusers to be ‘known-men,’ that is, to be of the same company and affinity with these jurats, and others who had been abjured before in the time of William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, about A.D. 1508; and that in the house of Thomas Harding they were so noted, by the words of Harding’s wife, who, speaking to Robert Bartlet, said, That she was glad that he was converted to grace, and chosen to Almighty God; requiring him never to forsake that he was called to; for if he did, there was no sacrifice left for him. Also the said Harding’s wife, speaking to Richard Bartlet coming into her house, said, ‘Here cometh a good man, and I hope he will be a good man: but he hath so much mind of buying and selling, and taking of farms, that it putteth his mind from all goodness.’ ‘By which words it appeareth,’ said they, ‘that he is a known-man.’ Item, That Robert Bartlet, speaking to Harding’s wife, said, he had thought to have called William Tylsworth false heretic; but now he was better advised. Item, That they used the lectures and readings of that company.
Wherefore incurring into greater danger, they were constrained at their next examination to utter themselves, and confess what they had both done and said; that is, that the said Robert had read unto Richard his brother a parcel of Scripture beginning thus: ‘James the servant of God, to the twelve kinds,’ etc. Item, that he heard William Tylsworth say, that images of saints were but stocks and stones, and dead things; and that he taught the same to his brother Richard, and concealed the words of William Tylsworth. Item, That he partly believed Thomas Mastal, teaching him that the true presence of Christ was not in the sacrament; and likewise of images and pilgrimages. Item, for receiving the communion at Easter without shrift, etc.
RICHARD, HIS BROTHER.
The crime whereof Robert Bartlet impeached his brother Richard was this: Because, he said, his brother Richard had been much conversant with Thurstan Littlepage, and had learned of him the counsels and secrets of those men: also that he had learned of him some of the epistle of St. James, thus beginning: ‘James the servant of God, to the twelve kinds,’ etc.
ISABEL BARTLET, HIS WIFE.
The cause wherein Robert Bartlet did detect his wife, was this:
Furthermore, the said Robert being demanded of the bishop, whether he knew Isabel his wife to be of the sect of heretics before he married her, said, ‘Yea.’ Being asked again, if she had not been of that sect, whether then he would have married her? he granted the same likewise.
AGNES WELLIS, HIS SISTER.
The said Robert Bartlet detected also these to be of the number of ‘known-men,’ for that they resorted many times together, reading and conferring among themselves, and talking against worshipping of images, and pilgrimage. And if any came in amongst them that were not of their side, then they would say no more, but keep all silence, etc.
Elizabeth Dean, wife of Richard Dean of West Wycombe, Emme Tylsworth, wife of William Tylsworth, William Grinder and his wife, John Scrivener, Alexander Mastal, William Tylsworth, Thurstan Littlepage, and John Bartlet, his brother.
AGNES WELLIS, WIFE OF JOHN WELLIS, HIS SISTER.
This Agnes was detected of her brother in three points; first, for learning the epistle of St. James in English of Thurstan Littlepage; secondly, for not believing the bodily presence in the sacrament; thirdly, for speaking against worshipping of images, and going on pilgrimages.
ALSO OLD FATHER BARTLET, HIS OWN FATHER.
This Richard Bartlet also in his confession said of his father, that he was a better man than he was taken for: for the other day there came a man to him as he was threshing, and said, ‘God speed, father Bartlet, ye work sore:’ ‘Yea,’ said he, ‘I thresh God Almighty out of the straw!’ Against this Agnes Wellis brought and examined before the bishop, were ministered these interrogatories, which for certain causes I thought here to insert, for our posterity to note and consider; and they are these that follow: 1. Whether she knew that certain of the parish of Amersham were convented before William Smith, late bishop of Lincoln, for heresy? 2. Item, Whether she knew that certain of them, so convented before the bishop for heresy, did err in the sacrament of the altar, or in other sacraments, and what errors they were, and wherein? 3. Item, Whether she knew any others to be suspected of the same heresy or sect, beside those of Amersham so convented? who they were, and how many? 4. Item, Whether she had been of the same company, or sect, or opinion with them that were convented before the bishop for heresy? and if she were, what company she used, and whose? 5. Item, Whether she was at any time conversant with Thurstan Littlepage? and if she were, how off she had been in his company, how, what time, in what place, who else were present, for what causes, and whether she knew him to be suspected for heresy? 6. Item, Whether she knew and had been conversant with Alexander Mastal? and if she were, how, when, in what place, who were present, for what causes, and whether she knew him suspected for heresy? 7. Item, Whether she was ever detected to the office of William Smith, late bishop of Lincoln, at what time, or since the time that Littlepage and Mastal were convented before the bishop for heresy? and whether she was then called and convented before the bishop for heresy, or not? 8. Item, Whether she had been, or is now noted, had, holden, reputed, or defamed to be of the same sect with Thurstan Littlepage, or others convicted of heresy? and whether she be, or hath been nominated for a ‘known woman’ among them? 9. Item, Whether she had been present at any time at the readings or conferrings between Thurstan Littlepage and other convicts? 10. Item, Whether Thurstan Littlepage did ever teach her the epistle of St. James, or the epistles of St. Peter or Paul in English? and whether she had repeated ofttimes the epistle of St. James unto the said Thurstan, in the presence of Richard Bartlet her brother? 11. Item, Whether Richard Bartlet her brother did teach her at any time the epistle of St. James? and if he did, how off, and in what place? 12. Item, Whether she had been instructed by Thurstan Littlepage, or by any other in the aforesaid sect, that in the sacrament of the altar was not the true body of Christ, but only the substance of bread? 13. Item, Whether she had been instructed by Thurstan Littlepage, or any other, that pilgrimage was not to be used, nor the images of saints to be adored? 14. Item, Whether she did credit the said Thurstan Littlepage, or any other, teaching her in the premises? and whether she did believe or expressly consent with them in the foresaid articles? 15. Item, Whether Robert Bartlet her brother did ever teach her the epistle of St. James? and if he did, how often, and where? 16. Item, Whether the said Robert Bartlet had taught her, that pilgrimage was not to be used, and that images were not to be adored? 17. Item, Whether she knew such a law and custom among them, that such as were of that sort did contract matrimony only with themselves, and not with other Christians? 18. Item, Whether she did ever hear Thurstan or any other say, that they only who were of their doctrine were true Christians? 19. Item, When she came to receive, and was confessed, whether she did utter and confess her heresies to the priest?
Unto these captious and cruel interrogatory articles ministered against Agnes Wellis, she answered negatively almost to all of them, refusing to utter any person unto the bishop. But soon after, being otherwise schooled, I cannot tell how, by the Catholics, she was compelled to detect both herself, her brother Robert Bartlet, Thurstan Littlepage, and also Isabel Morwin, wife of John Morwin, etc.
EXAMINATION OF ISABEL BARTLET Isabel Bartlet was then brought and examined before the bishop: where she being asked whether she spake these words following to her husband, at the coming of the bishop’s man: ‘Alas! now are you an undone man, and I but a dead woman?’ First, she stood in long denial of the same; and although her husband gave witness against her, yet stood she that her husband said not truth. At last she was compelled to grant those words to be spoken; and then being asked what she meant by them? thus she excused herself, that her husband had been unkind to her a long time, and therefore she desired to depart from him; whereupon now for sorrow she spake these words, etc. which words her husband did excuse something otherwise, saying, that his wife spoke those words between the threshold and the hall-door, because of a vehement fear for the loss of her goods.
William Chedwel of Amersham accused John Stamp, wheeler, of Amersham; and Alice Harding, wife of Thomas Harding. The crime laid to Alice Harding was this: because when the priest was coming to Richard Bennet to give him the housel, she went before, and instructed him what he should do.
ROGER BENNET, BY LIKE COMPULSION OF HIS OATH, WAS CAUSED TO DETECT THESE PERSONS:
William Rogers, tiler; William Harding, Roger Harding. These were detected by Roger Bennet, for that they being admonished to appear before the bishop’s chancellor at Amersham, neglected so to do.
These were detected for carrying about certain books in English.
These good women here named were detected to the bishop by Roger Bennet, for that upon the holidays, when they go and come from the church, they use to resort unto one J. Collingworth’s house, and there to keep their conventicle.
The wife of David Lewis, and her father. This woman was charged for speaking these words: That the churchmen in the old time did lead the people as the hen doth lead her chickens; but our priests do now lead the people to the devil.
THOMAS ROWLAND, PUT LIKEWISE TO HIS OATH, DID DETECT:
Agnes Frank, wife of William Frank, because she turned away her face from the cross, as it was carried about on Easter-day in the morning of the resurrection. Also J. George, J. Gardiner, J. Samme, and James Morden.
John Scrivener, the elder; for carrying about books from one to another.
James Morden, compelled in like manner by his oath, did detect:
Thomas Rowland; for these words following: ‘If I lie, curse, storm, swear, chide, fight, or threat, then am I worthy to be beat; I pray you, good master of mine, if I offend in any of these nine 172 , amend me with a good scouring.’
James Morden, compelled in like manner by his oath, did detect:
James, beginning, ‘James, the servant of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve kinds,’ etc. Also for these words: ‘It was in the days of Herod, king of the Jews, that there was a priest, Zachary by name, and he came of the sort of Abias, and his wife of the daughters of Aaron; both they were just before God, going in all the commandments,’ etc.
Also William Norton, and Agnes Ashford, of Chesham. ‘The cause laid to this Agnes was for teaching this James Morden the words following: ‘We be the salt of the earth; if it be putrefied and vanished away, it is nothing worth. A city set upon a hill may not be hid. Teen ye not a candle, and put it under a bushel, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give a light to all in the house. So shine your light before men, as they may see your works, and glorify the Father that is in heaven. No tittle nor letter of the law shall pass over till all things be done.’ And five times went he to the aforesaid Agnes to learn this lesson. Item, That the said Agnes did teach him to say this lesson: ‘Jesus, seeing his people, as he went up to a hill, was set, and his disciples came to him; he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed be the poor men in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed be mild men, for they shall weld the earth.’ And twice he came to her to learn this lesson. And these lessons the said Agnes was bid to recite before six bishops, who straightway enjoined and commanded her, that she should teach those lessons no more to any man, and especially not to her children. The aforesaid James Morden detected Richard Ashford, smith; also Agnes Ashford, and Thomas Chase; because these two did exhort him thrice, that he should keep the things they spake of, as secret in his stomach, as a man would keep a thief in prison.
Thomas Tredway of Chesham: also Robert Pope, John Morden, and his wife; because they were heard, in the presence of this James Morden their nephew, to recite the Ten Commandments in their house in English. Alice Atkins, because of him she learned the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Creed in English, and the five Marvels of St. Austin; also another piece of an English book, beginning, ‘Here ensue four things by which a man may know whether he shall be saved,’ etc.
Also Marian Morden, his own sister, because she did not worship images; and after these little things he intended to teach her of the sacrament. Also he detected W. Africke or Littlepage, John Africke or Littlepage, Emme Harding or Africke, and John Phip, physician.
To this James Morden, with other abjurers, it was enjoined by bishop Smith, for seven years to visit the church of Lincoln twice a year from Amersham. And when divers had got license of the bishop, for length of the journey, to visit the image of our Lady of Missenden for the space of five years, this James Morden, when he could not obtain license so to do, yet notwithstanding, for the tediousness of the way, went with them to the same image; and thereupon was charged for violating the bishop’s injunction.
Also because, to get his living, he wrought half a year out of the diocese, when he had been enjoined by the bishop not to go out of the diocese of Buckingham. This James Morden confessed, that he used his Pater Noster and Creed so much in English, that he had forgotten many words thereof in Latin; and therefore was enjoined by bishop Smith to say it no more in English, but only in Latin; and because he kept not this injunction, he fell therefore into relapse.
Roger Bennet, by like compulsion of his oath, was caused to detect these following to be ‘known persons:’ William Rogers, tiler, and his wife; W. Harding; Roger Harding; Joan Jenings; George, servant to Thomas Tochel; Thomas Gray, servant of Roger Bennet; Agnes Franke; Joan Coilingworth; W. Smith; the wife of John Milsent; Robert Stampe and his wife; the wife of Robert Bartlet; the wife of David Lewis of Henley; John Frier, servant to Master Penn; John Tracher; John Morden’s wife; Richard Ashford; W. Littlepage, some time apprentice of John Scrivener; Emme his wife; John Scrivener: also Isabel Morwin, for teaching Copland’s wife her errors.
Harding and his wife; Katharine Bartlet, the mother of Robert and Richard Bartlet; Thomas Harding and his wife; W. Frank and Agnes his wife: because these, coming to the church, and especially at the elevation-time, would say no prayers, but did sit mum (as he termed it) like beasts. Also Katharine Bartlet, because she, being of good health, came but seldom to the church, but reigned herself sick. And because William Frank married Agnes his wife, she being before abjured.
This Halfeaker also detected Robert Pope, because he fled away when the great abjuration was at Amersham; also for having certain English books: 8 Also Emme Afrike, alias Harding; John Afrike; Henry Milner; Herne’s wife, now the wife of Waiver; William Tilseworth; Emme Tilseworth, of London; Thomas Tilseworth and his wife; the wife of Robert Tilseworth; William Glasbroke:
Thomas Holmes detected Henry Milner, counted for a great heretic, and earned in the Scripture; John Schepard; the wife of John Schepard of Dorney; the elder daughter of Roger Harding of Amersham; Nicholas Stokeley, cooper, and his wife, of Henley; John Clerke; Thomas Wilbey of Henley; W. StokeIcy; Hobs, with his sons, of Hichenden; the wife of John Scrivener, smith, of Woburn; Thomas Clerke the elder; Thomas Clerke the younger; Wigmet, farmer, of Hichenden; Robert Carder, weaver; John Filer, servant to Master Penn; John Morwin and Isabel his wife; Elizabeth Hover, wife of Henry Hover of Little Missenden; Richard White, fuller, of Beaconsfield. Andrew Randal and his wife of Rickmansworth: because they received into their house Thomas Man flying for persecution, and for reading Wickliff’s Wicket.
Also Bennet Ward, fuller. This Bennet Ward was denounced by John Merston, for saying, ‘That it booteth no man to pray to our Lady, nor to any saint or angel in heaven, but to God only, for they have no power of man’s soul.’
Also the said Thomas Holmes denounced the wife of Bennet Ward and her daughter, for saying that Thomas Pope was the devoutest man that ever came in their house; for he would sit reading in his book to midnight many times.
Also he denounced Thomas Tailor and his wife of Uxbildge; Robert Quicke; Robert Cosine; Thomas Clerke and his wife of Ware; one Geldener about Hertford; John Say and W. Say his son, of Little Missenden; the wife of John Wellis of Amersham; Joan Glasbroke, sister to William Glasbroke of Harrow on the Hill; Thomas Susan, wheeler; John a Lee, smith; John Austy, shearman; John Filer; Edmund Harding; John Heron 173 , carpenter of Hambledon; Henry Miller. Also John Phips. He was very ripe in the Scripture. Emme wife of Richard Tilseworth. John Phip. He was a reader or rehearser to the other. John Say of Missenden; William Stokeley; also Roger Squire, for saying to Hohnes, ‘This is one of them that make all this business in our town with the bishop; I pray God tear all the bones of him!’
Also Roger Herne, and a certain tanner.
The said Thomas Holmes also detected John Butler, carpenter; Richard Butler; William King, of Uxbridge: these three sat up all night in the house of Durdant of Iver Court by Staines, reading all the night in a book of Scripture.
Thomas Holmes also detected these: Richard Vulfard, of Riselip; one Hackar; Thomas King. Also Joan Cocks, the wife of Robert Wywood, husbandman; for desiring of Durdant her master, that he, being a ‘known-man,’ would teach her some knowledge of God’s law; and desiring the same also of the Butlers.
Robert Carver, of Iver, detected these: Nicholas Durdant, of Staines; Davy Durdant, of Ankerwick; the wife of old Durdant; the wife of Nicholas Durdant. These were detected, for that old Durdant of Ivercourt, sitting at dinner with his children and their wives, bidding a boy there standing to depart out of the house, that he should not hear and tell, did recite certain places unto them out of the Epistles of St. Paul, and of the Gospels.
Richard White, father-in-law to Bennet Ward of Beaconsfield. He was detected, by Robert Carder, to be a ‘known-man,’ because, after the death of bishop Smith, he was heard to say these words; ‘My lord that is dead, was a good man, and divers known-men were called before him, and he sent them home again, bidding them that they should live among their neighbors as good Christian men should do.’ ‘And now,’ said he, ‘there is a new bishop, who is called a blessed man; and if he be as he is named, he will not trouble the servants of God, but will let them be in quiet.’
Marian Morden was forced upon her oath to utter, James Morden, her own brother, for teaching her the Pater Noster, Ave, and Creed in English; and that she should not go on pilgrimage nor should worship saints or images, which she had not done by the space of six years past, following and believing her brother.
James Morden was forced upon his oath to utter, John Littlepage; Henry Littlepage; William Littlepage; Joan Littlepage; Richard Morden, his brother, of Chesham; and Emme his wife: Alice Brown, of Chesham; Radulph Morden his brother, of Chesham, and his wife; John Phips; Elizabeth Hamon.
Thomas Coupland, forced by his oath, detected a canon of Missenden; Thomas Grove, of London; Isabel Morwin; the wife of Norman of Amersham; Thomas Cowper, of Woodrow: also Roger Harding, and W. Grinder; because these two could not say their creed in Latin. Coupland also detected the wife of Robert Stamp of Woodrow T. Rowland, T. Coupland, Richard Stephens, and Roger Bennet, were forced by their oath to accuse, Thomas Harding, of Amersham, and Alice Harding his wife, because, after their abjuration in bishop Smith’s time, divers ‘known-men,’ as they then termed them, who were abjured before, had much resort to their house. Also they accused Agnes Squire, for speaking these words: ‘Men do say, I was abjured for heresy; it may well be a napkin for my nose, but I will never be ashamed of it.’
John Sawcoat, upon his oath, did impeach the vicar of Little Missenden; also Thomas Grove, and his wife. Grove was detected, for that he did give to Dr. Wilcocks twenty pounds, to excuse him that he might not be brought to open penance.
Also Thomas Holmes, for that he was heard to say these words, after the great abjuration, when he had abjured, that ‘the greatest cobs were yet behind;’ and Richard Sanders of Amersham, because he ever defended them that were suspected to be ‘known-men.’
Also because he bought out his penance, and carried his badge in his purse.
Bishop Longland, seeking how to convict John Phip of perjury (who, being charged with an oath, did not answer affirmatively unto such suspicions as were laid unto him by Thomas Holmes and other several accusers), did examine Sybil Africk, his own sister, upon her oath to detect John Phip, her brother, of relapse; but she so answered, that the bishop could take by her no great hold of relapse against him. Wherein is to be noted the singular iniquity and abuse in the church of Rome, which, by virtue of oath, setteth the sister to procure the brother’s blood. The like also was sought of Thomas Africk, his sister’s husband; but they had by him no advantage.
Jenkin Butler did impeach John Butler, his own brother, for reading to him in a certain book of the. Scripture, and persuading him to hearken to the same also Robert Carder; Richard Butler, his brother; Henry Vulman, of Uxbridge; Richard Ashford, of Walton (otherwise called Richard Nash, or Richard Tredway); and William King, of Uxbridge.
He did also detect the following: Isabel Tracher, wife of John Tracher, because she came not to the church oftener on the workdays, being admonished both by the churchwardens, by the graduates of the church, and by Dr. Cock’s commissary, but followed her business at home. Also because she pupposed to set her daughter to Alice Harding, saying, that she could better instruct her than many others. Also, because she cursed the priest after he was gone who had given to her the eucharist, saying, that he had given to her bitter gall. Also Jenkin Butler did detect Thomas Clement, of Chesham.
William Ameriden did detect Alice Holting, for that she, being great with child, did dine before she went to church to take her rites; saying, that Isabel Trecher did so tell her, that she might dine before she received the sacrament.
Also for saying, that she needed not to confess to a priest, but that it was enough to lift up her hands to heaven. Also for saying, that she might as well drink upon the Sunday before mass, as any other day, etc.
John Scrivener, forced by his oath, did accuse the following persons: Henry Miller, wire-drawer, who from Amersham fled to Chelmsford: that he abjured and did penance in Kent before, and afterwards coming to Amersham, taught them (as he said) many heresies.
John Barter, goldsmith, of London; with Joan Barret, his wife; and Jude, his servant: because he, John Barret, was heard in his own house, before his wife and maid there present, to recite the epistle of St. James, which epistle, with many other things, he had perfectly without book. Also Joan his wife, because she had lent to this John Scrivener the gospel of St. Matthew and Mark, which book he gave to bishop Smith.
The aforesaid John Scrivener was also forced by his oath to accuse the following persons: John Merrywether, his wife, and his son; Durdant by Staines; Old Durdant; Isabel, wife of Thomas Harding; Haptop, of Windsor; Joan Barret, wife of John Barter, of London; Henry Miller; one Stitman, tailor. All these were accused, because at the marriage of Durdant’s daughter they assembled together in a barn, and heard a certain epistle of St. Paul read; which reading they well liked, but especially Durdant, and commended the same.
Thomas Grove, of London, butcher; William Glasbroke, of Harrow on the Hill; Christopher Glasbroke, of London; William Tilseworth, of London, goldsmith (apprentice sometime to John Barret). These were impeached because they used to resort and confer together of matters of religion in the house of Thomas Man, of Amersham, before the great abjuration.
John Newman was impeached, because he was present in the house of John Barret, at the reading of Scripture.
John Wood, of Henley; William Wood; Lewis, of Henley, a serving-man; Wilie, and his son. This Wilie was impeached because he taught the gospel of Matthew to John Wood and William Wood, after the great abjuration; and father Robert did teach them St.
William Littlepage, forced by his oath, did accuse the following persons: Thurstan Littlepage, and Emme his wife. This Thurstan had taught him the saying of Solomon, that ‘wrath raiseth chiding;’ had taught him also the Pater Noster and Ave in English. His Creed in English he learnt of his grandmother. The said Thurstan also taught him, Christ not to be corporally in the sacrament.
John Littlepage, his brother, and Alice, wife of Thurstan Littlepage; because the said John was said to have learned the ten commandments in English of Alice, Thurstan’s wife, in his father’s house. John Frier: because he had taught him, the said William, the Ten Commandments in English.
John Horne, of Ambleden.
John Gardiner did appeach the following persons: his sister, Agnes Ward; Ward’s wife, of Marlow; and Nicholas Stokeley; because that when this Gardiner said, ‘God help us, and our Lady, and all the saints of heaven;’ then she said, ‘What need is it to go to the feet, when we may go to the head?’
John Say did detect Christopher Shoemaker; John Okenden; and Robert Pope. This Christopher Shoemaker had been burned a little before, at Newbury.
Bishop Longland, seeking matter against Isabel Morwin (of whom he could take no great advantage by examination), called and caused Elizabeth Copland, her own sister, to testify against her in manner as followeth: First, because in talk together, coming from their father being at the point of death, Isabel said to her sister Elizabeth, that all who die, either pass to hell or heaven: ‘Nay,’ said the other, ‘there is between them purgatory.’ Again; when Elizabeth came from the rood of rest, Isabel said, that if she knew so much as she had heard, she would go no more on pilgrimage while she lived; for all saints, said she, be in heaven. Then asked Elizabeth, wherefore pilgrimage was ordained by doctors and priests? The other said, for gain and profit. ‘Who hath taught you this?’ quoth Elizabeth, ‘man or woman? Your curate, I dare say, never learned you so.’ ‘My curate,’ said she, ‘will never know so much.’ And moreover, Isabel said to Elizabeth her sister, that if she would keep counsel, and not tell her husband, she would say more.
Alice Brown was forced by her oath to detect John Tracher, of Chesham.. The cause why this John Tracher was denounced was this: for that he taught her in the gospel this saying of Jesus, ‘Blessed be they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’ Also because he taught her the eight beatitudes in English.
Likewise Emme Tilseworth, because she refused to detect others by virtue of her oath, and denied such matter as by witness and by the bishop’s acts were proved against her; in pain of relapse the bishop enjoined her to make certain faggots of cloth, and to wear the same both before her upper garment and behind so long as she lived.
Also he detected Roger Parker, deceased; John Phip, for saying that images are not to be worshipped, because they are made and carved with man’s hand, and that such ought not to be worshipped; John Gardiner, for that to the said William, this Gardiner said, that all who are burned for this sect are true martyrs.
Also John Stilman.
John Butler, by his oath, was forced to detect Thomas Geffrey, first of Uxt bridge, then of Ipswich, tailor; for reading and teaching him in the Acts and preachings of the Apostles. ITEM , for having a Scripture-book in English; which book the said Geffrey gave to the bishop of London when he was accused. ITEM , that the said Geffrey said, that true pilgrimage was, barefoot to go and visit the poor, weak, and sick; for they are the true images of God.
Also he was forced to detect Richard Vulford. This Vulford and Thomas Geffrey told the said John Butler, that the Host consecrated was not the very true body of Christ; in proof whereof they said, that let a mouse be put in the pix with the Host, and the mouse would eat it up. And for more proof they a declared unto the said John Butler, that there were two priests in Essex, who put a mouse in the pix to a consecrated Host, and the mouse did eat it: afterward, the fact of these priests being known, and brought to the bishop, one of the priests was burned for the same.
The aforesaid John Butler did also detect John Clerke, of Denham, for that the same Vulford and Geffrey told him and the said John Clerke, that holy bread and holy water were but a vain-glory of the world; for God never made them, but they were men’s inventions; and that God neither made priests, for in Christ’s time there were no priests. Moreover, that Thomas Geffrey caused this John Butler divers Sundays to go to London, to hear Dr. Colet.
Also John Butler detected Andrew Fuller, of Uxbridge, because this John Butler had an old book of Richard Vutford. Also another great book of Andrew Fuller, for which he paid six shillings and fourpence; and another little book of Thomas Man, which he brought to the bishop.
Moreover, this Thomas Man was impeached, because he read to this deponent ten years ago, how Adam and Eve were expelled out of Paradise; and far speaking against, pilgrimage, and worshipping, of images, and against the: staging-service used then in churches ¾ This Thomas Man was burnt and died a martyr, of whom mention is made before, page 208.
William King. This William King was appeached because he lodged Thomas Man in his house upon a certain holy day at divine, service; unto whom resorted Richard Vulford, and John Clerke, and thin John Buffer: to whom the said Thomas Man declared that pilgrimage was nought, and that images were not to be worshipped.
The aforesaid John Butler did likewise detect Robert Carder; one Durdant; Richard Butler, his own brother; and William King: to these was laid, that Thomas Carder brought this John Butler to Durdant’s house at Iver-court by Staines, where was Richard Butler his brother, and William King, reading in a certain English book; at which time Durdant desired them not to tell that he had any such English book in his house, lest he should be burned for the same.
Also another time, that he, the aforesaid John Butler, with Richard Butler his brother, and Robert Carder, went to the house of Richard Ashford or Nash, to hear the same Ashford read in a certain little book, but which contained many good things.
Richard Vulman, of London ¾ This Vulman was detected upon this, for that he would have read to this John Butler a certain English book, and spake against pilgrimages and images.
John Butler was also compelled by his oath to detect Henry Vulman and his wife, of Uxbridge; Rafe Carpenter, of London; a daughter of John Phip; a daughter of William Phip. This Rare Carpenter was detected for having certain books of the Apocalypse in English. Also for that this Carpenter and his wife did bring him, and the wife of Henry Vulman, to a corner house of Friday-street, where the good man of the house, having a stump foot, had divers such books, to the intent they should hear them read.
R. Buffer, Jenkin Butler, his own brethren; the mother of Richard Ashford; and J. Butler his other brother: these were detected, partly for holding against the sacrament of the altar; partly also because they were reading two hours together in a certain book of the Acts of the Apostles, in English, at Chesham, in Ashford’s house.
Also the wife of Robert Pope, for having certain books in English, one bound in boards, and three with parchment coverings, with four other sheets of paper written in English, containing matter against the Romish religion. Also another book of the service of the Virgin Mary in English.
John Phip was compelled by his oath to detect Thomas Stilman, for that he told William Phip, how that he, being in Lollards’ tower, did climb up the steeple where the bells were, and there, cutting the bell-ropes, did tie two of them together, and so by them slipped down into Paul’s church-yard, and escaped.
Thomas Trodway compelled by his oath to detect John Morden, of Ashley-green, and Richard Ashford, his brother. These were accused and detected, because John Morden had in his house a book of the Gospels, and other chapters, in English, and read three or four times in the same; in which book his brother Ashford also did read once. Item, because John Morden spake against images, arid said these words: ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ saith in his gospel, Blessed be they that hear the word of God, and keep it,’ etc.
Likewise Joan Bernard, being accused by Robert Copland, was sworn by her oath to detect Thomas Bernard her own natural father, for speaking against pilgrimage, against worshipping of saints, and against dirges, and praying for the dead; and for warning his daughter not to utter any of all this to her ghostly father.
The like oath also was forced on Richard Bernard, that he should in like manner detect Thomas Bernard his own natural father, for teaching him not to worship images, nor to believe in the sacrament of the altar, but only in God who is in heaven; and that he should not utter the same to the priest.
The vicar of Iver, and Richard Tailor witness, accused Richard Carder, for defending the cause of Jenkin Butler, and for saying that the bishop did him injury. ITEM , for saying, that if he had known the bishop’s man would have fetched him so to the bishop, he would have given him warning thereof before. ITEM , for saying, that if he should call him, he would confess nothing, although he burned him.
Agnes Carder, wife of Richard Carder, detected Richard Carder, her husband, for saying that he suspected that she was too familiar with the vicar of Iver; and when she answered again, How could he be evil with her, seeing he saith mass every day, and doth confess himself before? Then her husband said, that he could confess himself to a post, or to the altar.
Here note, that the bishop then examining her of that offense, whether she was culpable, and whether she was commonly in the voice of the people defamed with him or no? she confessed it so to be. Whereupon no other penalty or penance for’ that crime of adultery was enjoined her of the bishop, but only this, that she should frequent the vicar’s house no more.
John Clerke, of Denham, forced by his oath to detect Richard Vulford, of Riselip, for speaking against images, pilgrimages, oblations, and against the sacrament of the altar ITEM , When this John Clerke had made a weele 174 for fish, Richard Vulford coming by asked him, when he had made his weele, whether the weele now could turn again, and make him? and he said, No. ‘Even so,’ quoth he, ‘God hath made all priests, as thou hast made the weele; and how can they turn again, and make God?’
Also John Clerke detected John Butler.
Robert Rowland, William Frank, Thomas Houre, Thomas Rowland, Joan Frank, John Baker, all detected certain persons, namely Alice Sanders, wife of Richard Sanders, of Amersham, for giving twelve-pence to Thomas Holmes, to buy a certain book in English for her daughter; to whom Thomas Holmes answered again, that a noble would not suffice to buy it. Another time, for giving six-pence to the buying of a certain book in English, which cost five marks. Another time Thomas Houre coming from Woburn, she asked, What news? and he said, that many were there condemned of heresy, and therefore he would lean to that way no more. Then said she, If he did so, he would gain nothing thereby. Whereby he had no more work with her husband, and after was put from his holy-water clerkship in that town. Another time, for saying to Thomas Rowland these words: ‘Ye may see how Thomas Hotire and others, who labored to have heretics detected before bishop Smith, are brought now to beggary; you may take example by them.’
Joan Franke, William Franke the elder, William Franke the younger, and Alice Tredway detected Joan Coilingborne, for swing to one Joan Timberlake, and Alice Tredway, ten years ago, That she could never believe pilgrimages to be profitable, nor that saints were to be worshipped; and desired them not to tell their curate: which Alice immediately caused her to be called before the bishop.
William Carder upon his oath was forced to detect Isabel Tracher, his mistress, the wife of William Tracher; for that she being not sick, but in good health, and being rebuked divers times of her husband for the same, yet would not go to the church, but tarried at home, and kept her work, as well holy-day as work-day, the space of three years together.
Isabel Gardiner and John Gardiner were forced by their oath 175 to detect Thomas Rave, of Great Marlow for speaking against pilgrimages in the company of John and Elizabeth Gardiner, as he was going to our lady of Lincoln for his penance enjoined by bishop Smith; also the same time as he met certain coming from St.
Also in the same viage, when he saw a certain chapel in decay and ruin, he said, ‘Lo, yonder is a fair milk-house down.’ Item, when he came to Lincoln, he misbehaved himself in the chapel, at masstime, excusing himself afterwards that he did it of necessity. Item, the same time, speaking against the sacrament of the altar, he said, that Christ sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the Father Almighty: and brought forth this parable, saying, that Christ our Lord said these words when he went from his disciples, and ascended to heaven, that once he was in sinner’s hands, and would come there no more. Also that when the said Rave came to Wycombe, there to do his penance, he bound his faggot with a silken lace. Also being demanded of Dr. London, whether he had done his penance in coming to our Lady of Lincoln? he answered, That bishop Smith had released him to come to our Lady of Missenden for six years; and three years he came, but whether he came any more, because he did not there register his name, therefore he said he could not prove it.
Roger Bennet, forced by his oath to detect the wife of William Tilseworth, now of Hawkwell, for not thinking catholicly, that is, after the tradition of Rome, of the sacrament of the altar. Also the wife of Robert Stampe, for not accomplishing her penance enjoined by bishop Smith.
Richard Vulford detected these persons: his own wife, deceased; and John Clerke, of Denham; for communing with him against images, pilgrimages, and the sacrament of the altar. Also Thomas Geffrey, of Uxbridge, and his wife departed; for communing against the sacrament of the altar, worshipping of saints, pilgrimages, etc.
Henry Vulman of Uxbridge, for speaking and teaching against the sacrament of the altar eleven years ago, and saying it was but a trifle.
Also the mother of William King, of Uxbridge; William King, Robert Carder the elder, John Baker, of Uxbridge.
John Scrivener the elder detected Geldener the elder, and his two daughters, for being present and hearkening unto Richard Bennet, reading the epistle of St. James in English. Also Emme, sister of William Tylsworth, martyr; and John Lee, carpenter, of Henley.
Here is to be noted, that in the town of Chesham were two men, one named Robert Hutton, the other John Spark; of which two, the one called the other heretic, the other called him again thief. Sparke, who called Hutton thief, was condemned to pay for his slander ten shillings; but Hutton, who called the other heretic, paid nothing. It happened that the wife of this Sparke not long after had certain money stolen, for which the said Sparke her husband sent for the counsel of two friars, who gave him counsel to make two bails of clay, and to put them in the water, and in the same bails to enclose the names of them whom he suspected, and so doing, the said Sparke came to his money again. And this was detected to bishop Longland the same time by Thomas Clement. But of all this matter there was no inquisition made, nor interrogateties ministered, nor witness produced, nor any sentence given. John Grosar, being put to his oath, detected Thomas Tykill, Thomas Spencer, and his wife; and John Knight. This John Grosar was examined whether he had a book of the Gospels in English; who confessed that he received such a book of Thomas Tykill, morrow-mass priest in Milk-street, and afterwards lent the same book to Thomas Spencer, which Thomas Spencer with his wife used to read upon the same. After that it was lent to John Knight, who at length delivered the book to the vicar of Rickmansworth.
John Funge was forced by his oath to detect Francis Funge, his brother, and Thomas Clerke. Francis Funge was examined for speaking these words to his brother John, which words he hadlearned of Thomas Clerke: ‘If the sacrament of the altar be very God and man, flesh and blood, in form of bread, as priests say that it is, then have we many gods; and in heaven there is but one God.
And if there were a hundred houseled in one parish, and as many in another, then there must needs be more than one God. I will not deny but it is a holy thing, but it is not the body of the Lord that suffered passion for us; for he was once in man’s hands here, and ill entreated, and therefore he will never come in sinful men’s hands again.’ Also for speaking these words: ‘The pope hath no authority to give pardon, and to release any man’s soul from sin, and so from pain; it is nothing but blinding of the people to have their money.’ Also for these words:, or such like: ‘If a man do sow twenty quarters of corn, as wheat, or barley, or other corn, he ought to deduct his seed, and of the residue to tithe, or else he hath wrong,’ etc.
Francis Funge and Alice his wife were put to their oath to detect Thomas Clerke, for speaking against the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, unto Francis Funge, as before, etc. Also Robert Rave, of Dorney, for saying these words, that the sacrament of the altar is not the body which was born of the blessed Virgin Mary. Item, For speaking such words fourteen years past: That folks were ill occupied, that worshipped any things graven with man’s hand; for that which is graven with man’s hand is neither God nor our Lady, but made for a remembrance of saints. Nor ought we to worship any thing but God and our Lady; and not images of saints, which are but stocks and stones.
Henry Dein, forced by his oath to detect Edmund Hill, of Penne; likewise Robert Freeman, parish-priest of Orton by Colebrook, for having and reading upon a suspected book, which book, when he perceived to be seen in his hand, he closed it, and carried it to his chamber.
John Hill, forced by his oath, did detect Thomas Grove and his wife, of Amersham; also Matild Philby, wife of Edward Philby, of Chalvey; likewise Joan Gun, of Chesham, because she instructed and taught the said Hill, before his abjuration, in the Epistle of St.
James, and other opinions. Also William Atkins, of Great Missenden; Richard Murden, of Chesham; Emme Murden, his wife.
William Gudgame, forced by his oath to detect Joan Gudgame, his own wife, for being in the same opinion of the sacrament that he was of; who notwithstanding did swear the same not to be true that her husband said. Also Alice Nash, or Chapman, of Missenden.
Matild Symonds, and John Symonds her husband, put to their oath, detected one Haggar, of London, for speaking in their house, A.D. 1520, these words: ‘That there, should be a battle, of priests, and all the priests should be slain, and that the priests should awhile rule; but they should all be destroyed, because they hold against the law of holy church, and for making of false gods; and after that they should be overthrown. Item, Another time he said, ‘That men of the church should be put down, and the false gods that they make; and after that, he said, they should know more, and then should be a merry world.
Thomas Clerke, forced by his oath, did detect Christopher, tinker, of Wycombe. The cause of this tinker’s trouble was, for that he coming to this man’s house, and complaining, to him. of the poverty of the world, had these words: That there was never so misgoverned a people; and that they bare themselves so bold upon pardons and pilgrimages, that they cared not whatsoever they did: and so he departed. And seven days after that, this tinker, coming again, asked him, how his last communication with him did please him; and he said, Well. Then the tinker said, he knew more, and that he could tell him more: and bade him that he should believe in God in heaven; for here be many gods in earth, and there, is but one God; and that he was once here, and was ill dealt with, and would no more come here till the day of doom: and that the sacrament of the altar was a holy thing, but not the flesh and blood of Christ that was born of the Virgin; and charged him not to tell this to his wife, and especially not to his wife’s brother, a priest. Afterwards, as the priest was drying singing-bread, being wet, which his sister had bought, the aforesaid Thomas Clerke said, that if every one of these were a god, then were there many gods. To whom the priest answered, That till the holy words were spoken over it, it was of no power, and then it was very God, flesh and blood; saying moreover, that it was not meet for any layman to speak of such things. These words of the priest being after recited to the tinker by the said Clerke, then said he, ‘Let every man say what they will, but you shall find it as I show you,’ etc.; ‘and if you will take labor to come to my house, I will show you further proof of it, if you will take heed,’ etc.
Robert Pope, first of Amersham, after of West Hendred, caused by his oath, did detect these following: Thomas Africk, alias Littlepage, and his wife. To these was objected, that they had communication and conference with this Robert Pope in the Gospel of St. Matthew, before the great abjuration, in the town of Amersham.
Bennet Ward, of Beaconsfield, and his father, Edmund Dormer. To Ward, this was laid, that the aforesaid Pope had received a book of the Ten Commandments. He had also the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Of the same Ward he learned his Christ-Cross row: five parts of the eight Beatitudes.
These were detected for this, because they had communed and talked with the said Robert Pope oftentimes in books of Scripture, and other matters of religion, concerning pilgrimage, adoration of images, and the sacrament of the Lord’s body.
The same Robert Pope did detect these who follow: Thomas Bernard; Thomas Grove; Thomas Holmes; Robert Rave; William Gudgame, and his wife; Nash the elder, and his wife; William Gray, of East Hendred, miller; Edward Gray and his wife, of East Hendred; Margery Young, widow, of East Hendred; Isabel More, sister to the said Margery, of East Hendred; Richard Nobis, fowler, and his wife, of East Hendred.
Robert Pope did also detect William Colins, brother of Richard.
Also Thomas Colins, the father of Richard and William. He had a book of Paul, and a book of small epistles. Also, John Colins, of Betterton; Robert Lyvord, of Steventon; William Lyvord, of Steventon; father Amershaw, of Steventon; one Smart, of Steventon, miler; Thomas Hall, of Hungerford; John Eden, of Hungerford; John Ludlow, of Hungerford; Thomas New, of Wantage, thatcher; Joan Taylor and her mother, of Bisham; Humfrey Shoemaker, of Newbury; John Seroand, of Newbury, fishmonger; Robert Geydon and his wife, of Newbury, weaver; and John Edmunds, of Burford.
This John Edmunds was charged for having a book named ‘William Thorpe;’ also for reading in an English book after a marriage.
Robert Pope did likewise detect the following: Robert Burges and his wife, of Burford; John Colins, of Burford; John Colins and his wife, of Asthall; John Clerke, of Claufield. This Clerke was heard say, that all the world was as well hallowed as the church or church-yard; and that it was as good to be buried in the field, as in the church or church-yard. Also, William Gun and his wife, of Witney, tanner; John Baker, of Witney, weaver; John Brabant the elder, of Stanlake; John Brabant the younger, of Stanlake; John Kember, of Hennybarkes; Walter Kember his brother, of Hennybarkes; John Rabettes, of Chawley, and Thomas Widmore, of Hichenden; also John Phip, and William Phip, for reading a certain treatise upon the Pater Noster in English, which this John Phip did read to him, and to his father.
This aforesaid Robert Pope moreover detected Edward Pope, his own father, of Little Missenden, for hearing the Gospel of Matthew read unto him, and for communing upon the same with this Robert Pope his son. He detected likewise Edward Pope his brother.
This Robert Pope, being before abjured, did further detect these here following: Thomas Clerke the elder, of Hichenden; Lawrence Herne, of Hichenden; William Haliday, of East Hendred. This Haliday was detected for having in his custody a book of the Acts of the Apostles in English, which the said Robert Pope brought unto him at the taking of Roger Dodd.
William Squire and his brother, of Shaw; Thomas Stephenton and Matild his daughter, of Charney. Also Thomas Philip, painter; and Laurence Tailor, of London; for that these two, being in the house of Richard Colins at Ginge, there did read in an English book the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans; and Laurence did read the first chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel.
Andrew Maysey, of Burton. Also the wife of Richard Colins, of Ginge. John Harris’s wife; and Alice Colins, wife of Richard Colins. These two, being together at Upton in John Harris’s house, did talk of the Apocalypse, and of the Acts of the Apostles, and therefore were suspected, and thus detected. 10 Item, Because John Harris spake against pilgrimage, images, and was heard to talk of seven lean and seven fat oxen.
Robert Colins, of Hertford-Wallis, mason; also Thomas Gray, of West Hendred, for receiving certain books of this Robert Pope.
John Nash, of Little Missenden; Henry Etkin and his mother, of Little Missenden; and Richard Dell, of Missenden.
Robert Colins, being sworn upon the evangelists, did detect Richard Colins, of Ginge, first, for that this Richard Colins did read unto the said Robert Colins the Ten Commandments, and after taught him the Epistle of St. James, and another small Epistle of Peter; and, after that, took him the Gospel of St. John in English, and bade him read therein himself. Also for teaching him not to worship images, nor to set up candles, nor to go on pilgrimage.
Another crime against Richard Colins was because he taught this Robert, that in all such things wherein he offended God, he should only shrive himself to God; and in what things he offended man, he should shrive himself to man. Also for teaching him, that the sacrament of the altar is not very God, but a certain figurative thing of Christ in bread; and that the priest hath no power to consecrate the body of Christ. Also, for that the said Richard did teach him, in Wickliff’s Wicket, how that a man may not make the body of our Lord, who made us; and how can we then make him again? The Father is unbegotten, and unmade; the Son is only begotten, and not made: and how then can man make that, which is unmade? said he. And in the same book of Wickliff’s Wicket follow the words of Christ thus speaking: ‘If my words be heresy, then am I a heretic; and if my words be leasings, then am I a liar,’ etc. Also another crime against Richard Colins, for having certain English books, as Wickliff’s Wicket, the Gospel of St. John, the Epistles of St. Paul, James, and Peter in English, an Exposition of the Apocalypse, a book of our Lady’s Matins in English, a book of Solomon in English, and a book called ‘the Prick of Conscience.’
John Edmunds, of Burford, tailor, and John Harris. The crime against John Edmunds, was for having a certain English book of the commandments. The crime against John Harris was, for communing with him of the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God,’ etc. Also for communing of a chapter in Matthew, of the eight Beatitudes. Item, Thomas Hall, for counseling him not to go on pilgrimage to saints, because they were idols.
The aforesaid Robert Colins, being sworn upon the Evangelists, did detect also these persons: ¾ Robert Livord; W. Livord; one Bruges and Joan his wife; one Harris and his wife; and Richard Collins. All these were detected, for that they, being together in Bruges’s house at Burford, were reading together in the book of the exposition of the Apocalypse, and communed concerning the matter of opening the book with seven clasps, etc.
John Ledisdall, or Edon, of Hungerford; John Colins, of Burford; John Colins and his wife of Asthall; John Clerke, of Claufield. The wife of Richard Colins, of Ginge; Thomas Colins and his wife, of Ginge. This Thomas Colins was charged for having a book of Paul and James in English.
Joan Colins his own sister, of Asthall; Thomas Colins his cousin, of Asthall; Mistress Bristow, of London; John Colins, son of Richard Colins, of Ginge; Joan Colins, daughter of Richard Colins, of Ginge; Henry Stacy, son of Stacy, of Coleman-street; Thomas Steventon of Charney, in Berkshire; John Brabant, in Stanlake; and John Baker, weaver, of Witney.
John Colins, of Burford, impeached to the bishop the persons here named: Richard Colins. The words of Richard Colins were these: that the sacrament was not the true body of Christ in flesh and blood; but yet it ought to be reverenced, albeit not so as the true body of Christ.
Thomas Colins, of Ginge, his own natural father: the crime against Thomas Colins was, that for eight years past this Thomas Colins the father had taught this John his son, in the presence of his mother, the Ten Commandments, and namely, that he should have but one God, and should worship nothing but God alone; and that to worship saints, and go on pilgrimage, was idolatry. Also, that he should not worship the sacrament of the altar as God, for that it was but a token of the Lord’s body: which thing so much discontented this John Colins, that he said he would disclose his father’s errors, and make him to be burned; but his another entreated him not so to do.
Robert Colins, of Asthall. The crime against Robert Colins; that this Robert read to him in a certain thick book of Scripture in English.
John Edmunds and his wife. The crime laid to John Edmunds was for that he read to this John the Ten Commandments, and told him that John Baptist said, that one should come after him, whose buckle of his shoe he was not worthy to undo.
Alice, wife of Gunn, of Withey; and John Hakker and his son, of London. This John Hakker, of London, coming to Burford, brought a book speaking of the ten plagues of Pharaoh. Also after that, another book treating of the seven sacraments.
Laurence Tailor, of Shoreditch; Thomas Philip, of London; Philip, servant of Richard Colins; Waunsell, fishmonger, of the Vise; Joan Robert; Burges’s wife; John Boyes and his brother; a monk of Burford; Thomas Baker, father to Gunn’s wife, of Whateley; Agnes, daughter of John Edmunds; the mother of John Boyes, of Sudbury; Edward Red, schoolmaster, of Burford; Robert Hickman, of Lechelade.
John Through, of the priory of Burford. The mother of Robert Burges’s wife.
Roger Dods, of Burford, by his oath was compelled to utter the person here named: ¾ Sir John Drury, vicar of Windfish, in Worcestershire. The crime against this sir John Drury was, for that when Roger Dods came first to him to be his servant, he sware him upon a book to keep his counsel in all things; and after that he showed him a certain woman in his house, whom he said to be his wife: counseling moreover the said Roger Dods, upon an Ember day, to sup with bread and cheese; saying, that which goeth into a man’s body, defileth not a man’s soul; but that which goeth out of the body, defileth both body and soul. Also that the said vicar taught him the A, B, C, to the intent he should have understanding in the Apocalypse, wherein he said, that he should perceive all the falsehood of the world, and all the truth. He said furthermore unto him, when he had been at the Lady of Worcester, and at the blood of Hallos, which had cost him eighteen pence, that he had done as an ill husband that had ploughed his land, and sown it, but nothing to the purpose; for he had worshipped man’s handy-work, and cast away his money, which had been better given to the poor: for he should worship but one God, and no handy-work of man. Item, When the people would offer candles, where he was vicar, to Mary Magdalen, he would take them away, and say that they were fools that brought them thither.
Also the same Roger Dods by his oath was compelled to utter these other persons here named: ¾ Elizabeth More, of East Hendred; Robert Pope, of West Hendred; and Henry Miller, of Tucke-by-Ware. This Henry did show to Roger Dods a certain story of a woman in the Apocalypse, riding upon a red beast. The said Henry was twice abjured.
John Phip, of Hichenden; for reading unto the said Roger Dods a certain Gospel in English.
William Phip, of Hichenden, and Henry his son. This William had exhorted Roger Dods that he should worship no images, nor commit idolatry, but worship one God; and told the same Roger, that it was good for a man to be merry and wise, meaning that he should keep close that was told him; for else strait punishment would follow.
Roger Parker, of Hichenden. This Parker said to John Phip, for burning of his books, that he was foul to blame, for they were worth a hundred marks. To whom John answered, that he had rather burn his books, than that his books should burn him.
The wife of Thomas Widemore, daughter of Roger House, of Hichenden; old Widemore’s wife, sister to John Phip, of Hichenden. Also John Ledisdall, of Hungerford, for reading of the Bible in Robert Burges’s house at Burford, upon Holyrood day, with Colins, Lyvord, Thomas Hall, and others.
The aforesaid Roger Dods, by his oath, was also compelled to utter these persons here named: The father of Robert Colins, who had been of this doctrine from A.D. 1480. Also Thomas Baker, of Whatcloy; Robert Livord; John Syrupson, of Steventon; Thomas Reiley, of Burford; John Clemson, servant to the prior of Burford; James Edmunds, of Burford; William Gun, of Witney. To these was laid, that they being in the house of John Harris, of Upton, at the marriage of Joan the wife of Robert Burges, did read in a book called Nicodemus’s Gospel, who made the cloth which our Lord was buried in (as the register saith), and in that book is the story of the destruction of Jerusalem.
John Baker, weaver, of Witney; the bailiff of Witney; John Hakker; John Brabant and his wife; John Brabant his son, with his wife; John Brabant the younger son, with his wife; Reginald Brabant of Stunlake, for reading in a certain English book of scripture, they being together in John Brabant’s house of Stunlake.
Also Henry Phip. The crime and detection against this Henry, was, for that he, being asked of this Dods, A.D. 1515, whether he would go to Wycombe or not? answered, that he was chosen roodman, that is, keeper of the roodloft, saying, that he must go and tend a candle before his ‘Block Almighty.’
Oliver Smith, of Newline, and his wife; and William Hobbis. This William Hobbis was detected first by Radulph Hobbis his brother, to bishop Smith; but was delivered through the suit of the curate of West Wycombe.
John Edmunds, otherwise called John Ogins, of Burford, did detect Philip Brabant, servant of Richard Colins, for saying that the sacrament of the altar was made in the remembrance of Christ’s own body, but it was not the body of Christ.
The Shepherd’s Kalendar was also accused and detected, because the same Edmunds said, that he was persuaded by this book, reading these words, That the sacrament was made in the remembrance of Christ.
The book of William Thorpe likewise was much complained of, both by this John Edmunds and divers others.
Richard Colins, of Ginge. This Richard Colins, as he was a great doer among these good men, so was he much complained upon by divers, and also by this Edmunds, for bringing with him a book called ‘ The King of Beeme’ into their company, and that he did read there of a great part unto them, in this Edmund’s house of Burford.
Alice Colins, wife of Richard Colins. This Alice likewise was a famous woman among them, and had a good memory, and could recite much of the Scriptures, and other good books; and therefore when any conventicle of these men did meet at Burfords commonly she was sent for, to recite unto them the declaration of the Ten Commandments, and the Epistles of Peter and James.
Joan Colins, daughter of Richard and of Alice Colins. This Joan also, following her father’s and mother’s steps, was noted, for that she had learned with her father and mother the Ten Commandments, the seven deadly sins, the seven works of mercy, the five wits bodily and ghostly, the eight blessings, and five chapters of St. James’s epistle.
John Edmunds also did detect Agnes Edmunds, his own daughter.
This Agnes Edmunds was detected by her father, that he brought her to the house of Richard Colins to service, to the intent she might be instructed there in God’s law; where she had learned likewise the Ten Commandments, the five wits bodily and.ghostly, and the seven deadly sins.
John Edmunds also did detect Alice Gunn, W. Russel, of Colemanstreet; one mother Joan; father Joan, of Hungerford; John Taylor, servant of John Harris, of Burford; Thomas Quicke, weaver, of Reading; Philip Brabant, weaver; John Barbar, clerk, of Amersham; John Eding, of Hungerford; one Brabant, brother to Philip Brabant, of Stanlake.
Thomas White, and Thomas Clerke, did impeach Robert Butterfield, and William Dorset. The words of William Dorset were these: That pilgrimage was of none effect; and offering candles or other things to saints, stood in no stead, and was but cost lost. Also when his wife was going on pilgrimage, and he asked, ‘Whither?’ and she said, ‘To our Lady of Willesdon:’ ‘Our lady,’ said he, ‘is in heaven.’
John Baker, being urged upon his oath, did disclose John Edmunds.
This John Edmunds was detected, because that he, talking with the said Baker, of pilgrimage, bade him go offer his money to the image of God. When the other asked what that was, he said, that the image of God was the poor people, blind and lame; and said. that he offended Almighty God in going on pilgrimage.
Henry Phip, being examined and abjured by the bishop, was compelled to disclose his own words spoken to Roger Dods, saying to him, that he must light a candle before his ‘Block Almighty,’ being then roodman. Also he was compelled to accuse Roger Barker, and William Phip, his own father, for talking together against pilgrimage and idolatry.
John Brabant, the elder son of John Brabant, did nominate the following: John Hakker, and Robert Pope, for reading the holy Scripture in his father’s house, and for saying these words: ‘Christ made his Maundy, 11 and said, Take this bread, eat it; this is my body: Take this wine, drink it; this is my blood: and priests say by these words, that the sacrament of the altar is the body of Christ.’
Concerning this John Brabant, here is to be noted, the form and effect of the bishop’s examination, asking and demanding thus of the said Brabant: Whether he ever heard John Hakker read the holy Scripture, against the determination of the church? 12 By which words, if they mean that it is against the determination of the church to read the holy Scripture, it may thereby appear to be a blind church. And if they mean that the holy Scripture containeth any such thing in it which is against the determination of the church, then it appeareth their church to be contrary unto God, seeing it determineth one thing, and God’s Word another.
John Baker did detect Robert Pope, Richard Nobbis, and John Edmunds; for speaking against going on pilgrimage, and against image worship.
John a Lee denounced John a Weedon. When this John a Lee had told the said Weedon, how the bishop had said in his sermon these words; That all who were of the sect of heretics, believed that God was in heaven, but they believed not that the body of Christ on the altar was God. To this he, answering again, said, ‘Ye be bold upon that word,’ deriding the bishop in so saying.
Also William Dorset, of King’s Langley; for saying that images stood for nothing, and that pilgrimage served to spend folks’ money, and nothing else.
Joan Steventon denounced Alice Colins, for teaching the said John Steventon, in Lent, the Ten Commandments, thus beginning ‘I am thy Lord God, which led thee out of the land of Egypt, and brought thee out of the house of thraldom: thou shalt have no alien gods before me; neither make to thee any image graven with man’s hands, that is in heaven above, neither in the earth beneath,’ etc. Item, For teaching her the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel: ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ etc.
Also John Harris, for teaching her the first chapter of Peter.
Sir John, 13 a priest, and also Robert Robinson, detected Master Cotismore, of Brightwell. Also Mistress Cotismore, otherwise called Mistress Dolly, for speaking these words to one John Bainton, her servant: That if she went to her chamber, and prayed there, she should have as much merit as though she went to Walsingham on pilgrimage. Item, When the said Sir John came to her after the death of Master Cotismore his master, requiring her to send one John Stainer, her servant, to our Lady of Walsingham, for Master Cotismore, who in his lifetime, being sick, promised in his own person to visit that place, she would not consent thereto, nor let her servant go. Item, for saying, that when women go to offer to images or saints, they did it to show their new gay gear: that images were but carpenters’ chips; and that folks go on pilgrimage more for the green way, than for any devotion.
John Hakker did detect Thomas Vincent, of London, to whom it was objected for giving this Hakker a book of St. Matthew in English. Also Mistress Cotismore, otherwise Dolly, and Richard Colins. The latter for receiving of the said Hakker a book of the Ten Commandments in English. Hakker did also detect the following: Goodwife Bristow, of Wood-street, in London; William Ounn, for receiving of Hakker a book of the ten plagues sent of God to Pharaoh; the wife of Thomas Widmore, of Chichenden; Elizabeth, the daughter of this Hakker, and Robert her husband, otherwise called Fitton of Newbury; William Stokely, of Henley; John Simonds and his wife, of Great Marlow; John Austy of Henley; Thomas Austy, of Henley; Grinder, of Cookham, and John Heron for having a book of the exposition of the Gospels fairly written in English.
Thomas Grove, and John of Reading, put to their oath, did detect Richard Grace, for speaking these words following: That our blessed lady was the godmother to St. Katharine; and therefore the legend is not true, in saying that Christ did marry with St.
Katharine; and bid Adrian put on his vestment, and say the service of matrimony; for so Christ should live in adultery for marrying with his god-sister; which thing if he should do, he should be thought not to do well. Item, For saying by the picture of St.
Nicholas being newly painted, that he was not worthy to stand in the rood-loft, but that it better beseemed him, to stand in the belfry, etc.
In this table above prefixed, thou hast, gentle reader! to see and understand; first, the number and names of these good men and women, troubled and. molested by the church of Rome, and all in one year; of whom few or none were learned, being simple laborers and artificers; but as it pleased the Lord to work in them knowledge and understanding, by reading a few English books, such as they could get in corners: Secondly, What were their opinions we have also described: And thirdly, Herein is to be noted moreover the blind ignorance and uncourteous dealing of the bishops against them, not only in that they, by their violent oath and captious interrogatories, constrained the children to accuse their parents, and parents the children, the husband the wife, and the wife the husband, etc.; but especially in that most wrongfully they so afflicted them, without all good reason or cause, only for the sincere verity of God’s Word, and reading of holy Scriptures.
Now it remaineth, that as you have heard their opinions (which principally in number were four), so also we declare their reasons and Scriptures whereupon they grounded; and after that consequently the order and manner of penance to them enjoined by the bishop. And first, against pilgrimage, and against worshipping, of images, they used this text of the Apocalypse, chap. 9. ‘I saw horses in a vision, and the heads of them as the heads of lions; smoke, fire, and brimstone came out of their mouths. With these three plagues, the third part of men were slain of the smoke, and of the fire, and of the brimstone, that came out of the mouths of them. They that were not slain of these three plagues, were such as worshipped not devils, and images of gold and silver, of brass, of tree, and of stone.’ Also they used and alleged the first commandment, that there is but one God, and that they ought not to worship more gods than one. And as touching the sacrament, and the right doctrine thereof, they had their instruction partly out of Wickliff’s Wicket, 15 partly out of the Shepherd’s Kalendar; where they read that the sacrament was made in remembrance of Christ, and ought to be received in remembrance of his body, etc.
Moreover they alleged and followed the words of Christ spoken at the supper, at what time he, sitting with his disciples, and making with them his Maundy, took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to his disciples, and said, “Eat ye this,” reaching forth his arm, and showing the bread in his hand; and then noting his own natural body, and touching the same, and not the bread consecrated, “This is my body, which shall be betrayed for you; do this in remembrance of me.” And he likewise took the wine and bade them drink, saying, “This is my blood which is of the New Testament,” etc. ITEM , That Christ our Savior sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and there shall be unto the day of doom. Wherefore they believed that in the sacrament of the altar was not the very body of Christ. ITEM , said one of them, “Men speak much of the sacrament of the altar: but this will I abide by, that upon Share Thursday, 17 Christ brake bread unto his disciples, and bade them eat it; saying, it was his flesh and blood.
And then he went from them, and suffered passion; and then he rose from death to life, and ascended into heaven, and there sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and there he is to remain unto the day of doom, when he shall judge both quick and dead;” and therefore how he should be here in the form of bread, he said, he could not see.
Such reasons and allegations as these and other such like, taken out of the Scripture, and out of the Shepherd’s Kalendar, Wickliff’s Wicket, and other books they had amongst them. And although there was no learned man with them to ground them in their doctrine, yet they, conferring and communing together among themselves, did convert one another, the Lord’s hand working with them marvelously: so that in short space the number of these ‘known’ or ‘just-fast-men,’ as they were then termed, did exceedingly increase; in such sort that the bishop, seeing the matter almost past his power, was driven to make his complaint to the king, and required his aid for suppression of these men. Whereupon king Henry, being then young, and inexpert in the bloody practices and blind leadings of these apostolical prelates, incensed with his suggestions and cruel complaints, directed down letters to his sheriffs, bailiffs, officers, and subjects, for the aid of the bishop in this behalf; the tenor of which letters here ensueth:
THE COPY OF THE KING’S LETTER FOR THE AID OF JOHN LONGLAND, BISHOP OF LINCOLN, AGAINST THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST, FALSELY THEN CALLED HERETICS.
Henry the Eighth, by the grace of God king of England and of France, lord of Ireland, defender of the faith: to all mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, and constables, and to all other our officers, ministers, and subjects, these our letters hearing or seeing, and to every of them, greeting. Forasmuch as the right reverend father in God, our trusty and fight well-beloved counselor the bishop of Lincoln hath now within his diocese no small number of heretics, as it is thought, to his no little discomfort and heaviness: we therefore, being in will and mind safely to provide for the said right reverend father in God and his officers, that neither they, nor any of them, shall bodily be hurt or damaged by any of the said heretics or their rantors, in the executing and ministering of justice unto the said heretics, according to the laws of holy church: do straightly charge and command you, and every of you, as ye tender our high displeasure, to be aiding, helping, and assisting the said right reverend father in God, and his said officers, in the executing of justice in the premises, as they or any of them shall require you so to do; not failing to accomplish our commandment and pleasure in the premises, as ye intend to please us, and will answer to the contrary at your uttermost perils.
The bishop, thus being armed no less with the authority of the king’s letter, than incited with his own fierceness, foreslacked no time, but eftsoons, to accomplish his moody violence upon the poor flock of Christ, called before him, sitting upon his tribunal-seat, both these afore-named persons, and all other in his diocese, who were ever so little noted or suspected to incline towards those opinions; of whom to such as had but newly been taken, and had not before abjured, he enjoined most strait and rigorous penance. The others in whom he could find any relapse, yea, albeit they submitted themselves ever so humbly to his favorable courtesy; and though also, at his request, and for hope of pardon, they had showed themselves great detecters of their brethren, being moreover of him fee’d and flattered thereunto; yet notwithstanding, contrary to his fair words, and their expectation, he spared not, but read sentence of relapse against them, committing them to the secular arm to be burnt.
And first, as touching those, who being brought to abjuration, were put to their penance; long it were to recite the names of all. Certain I thought to recite here in a catalogue: first reciting the persons; afterwards the rigorous penance to them enjoined.
THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO WERE ABJURED IN THE DIOCESE OF LINCOLN, A.D. 1521.
NAMES William Colins Edward Pope John Phip John Colins Henry Phip Thomas Couper Joan Colins John Steventon William Littlepage Robert Colins Joan Steventon John Littlepage John Hacker Robert Bartlet Joan Littlepage John Brabant the father Thomas Clerke John Say John Brabant his son John Clerke John Frier John Brabant the younger son Richard Bartlet Richard Vulford John Edmonds William Phip Thomas Tredway William Gudgame Robert Bruges Agnes Wellis Roger Heron John Stampe Marian Morden Francis Funge Joan Stampe Isabel Morwin Robert Pope Richard White John Butler Roger Dods Benet Ward John Butler the younger John Harris John Baker Richard Carder Richard Bernard Joan Bernard John Grace John French John Edings THE TOWNS, VILLAGES, AND COUNTRIES WHERE THESE AFORESAID PERSONS DID INHABIT, ARE NAMED CHIEFLY TO BE THESE.
TOWNS, VILLAGES & COUNTRIES Amersham Missenden the Great West-hundred Asthall Ginge Scanlake Claufield Dorney Uxbridge Beaconsfield Missenden the Less Woburn Chesham Betterton Hungerford Walton Iver Shoreditch by London Hichenden East-hundred Henley Denham Charney Upton Marlow Burton St. Giles in London Wycombe Windsor Essex West-Wycombe London Suffolk Newbury Coleman-street in London Norfolk Burford Norwich Witney Cheapside in London The books and opinions which these were charged withal, and for which they were abjured, partly are before expressed, partly here follow, in a brief summary to be seen.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THEIR OPINIONS.
The opinions of many of these persons were, That he or she never believed in the sacrament of the altar, nor ever would; and that it was not as men did take it. For that he was known of his neighbors to be a good fellow, meaning, that he was a known-man. For saying, that he would give forty pence on condition that such a one knew as much as he did know. Some for saying, that they of Amersham, who had been abjured before by bishop Smith, were good men, and perfect Christians, and simple folk who could not answer for themselves, and therefore were oppressed by power of the bishop. Some, for hiding others in their barns. Some, for reading the Scriptures, or treatises of scripture, in English: some, for hearing the same read.
Some, for defending, some for marrying with, them that had been abjured. Some, for saying that matrimony was not a sacrament. Some, for saying, that worshipping of images was mawmetry; some for calling images carpenters chips; some for calling them stocks and stones; some for calling them dead things.
Others for saving, that nothing graven with man’s hand was to be worshipped. 25 Some, for calling them fools who came from Master John Shorne in pilgrimage. Another, for calling his vicar a poll-shorn priest. Another, for calling a certain blind chapel, being in ruin, an old fair milk-house. Another, for saying that he threshed God Almighty out of the straw. Another for saying that alms should not be given before they did sweat in a man’s hand. Some, for saying., that those who die, pass straight either to heaven or hell. Isabel Bartlet was brought before the bishop and abjured, for lamenting her husband, ‘when the bishop’s man came for him; and saying, that he was an undone man, and she a dead woman. For saying, that Christ, departing from his disciples into heaven, said that once he was in sinner’s hands, and would come there no more. Robert Rave, hearing a certain bell in an uplandish steeple, said, ‘Lo, yonder is a fair bell, an it were to hang about any cow’s neck in this town;’ and therefore, as for other such like matters more, he was brought ‘coram nobis!’ ITEM , For receiving the sacrament at Easter, and doubting whether it was the very body of Christ, and not confessing their doubt to their ghostly father:
The penance to these parties enjoined by this John Longland, bishop of Lincoln, was almost uniform, and all after one condition; save only that they were severally committed and divided into several and divers monasteries, there to be kept and found of alms all their life, except they were otherwise dispensed with by the bishop. As for example, I have here adjoined the bishop’s letter for one of the said number, sent to the Abbey of Ensham, there to be kept in perpetual penance; by which one, an estimation may be taken of the rest, who were bestowed likewise sundrily into sundry abbeys, as to Osney, to Frideswide, to Abingdon, to Thame, to Bicester, to Dorchester, to Netley, to Ashridge, and divers more. The copy of the bishop’s letter, sent to the abbot of Ensham, here followeth under written.
COPY OF THE BISHOPS LETTER TO THE ABBOT OF ENSHAM.
My loving brother, I recommend me heartily unto you: And whereas I have, according to the law, put this bearer R.T. to perpetual penance within your monastery of Ensham, there to live as a penitent, and not otherwise; I pray you, and nevertheless according unto the law command you, to receive him, and see ye order him there according to his injunctions, which he will show you, if ye require the same. As for his lodging, he will bring it with him; and for his meat and drink, he may have such as you give of your alms. And if he can so order himself by his labor within your house in your business, whereby he may deserve his meat and drink; so may you order him as ye see convenient to his deserts, so that he pass not the precinct of your monastery. And thus fare you heartily well: From my place, etc.
As touching the residue of the penance and punishment inflicted on these men, they do little or nothing disagree, but had one order in them all; the manner and form whereof in the said bishop’s register doth proceed in condition as followeth:
PENANCE ENJOINED UNDER PAIN OF RELAPSE, BY JOHN LONGLAND, BISHOP OF LINCOLN, THE 19TH DAY OF DECEMBER, A.D. 1521 In primis, That every one of them shall, upon a market-day, such as shall be limited unto them, in the market-time, go thrice about the market at Burford, and then to stand up upon the highest greece 35 of the cross there, a quarter of an hour, with a faggot of wood every one of them upon his shoulder, and every one of them once to bear a faggot of wood upon their shoulders, before their procession upon a Sunday, which shall be limited unto them at Burford, from the choir-door going out, to the choir-door going in; and all the high mass time to hold the same faggot upon their shoulders, kneeling upon the greece afore the high altar there; and every of them to do likewise in their own parish church, upon such a Sunday as shall be limited unto them: and once to bear a faggot at a general procession at Uxbridge, when they shall be assigned thereto; and once to bear a faggot at the burning of a heretic, when they shall be admonished thereto.
Also every one of them to fast, bread and ale only, every Friday during their life; and every Even of Corpus Christi, every one of them to fast bread and water during their life, unless sickness unfeigned let the same.
Also neither they, nor any of them, shall hide their mark upon their cheek, neither with hat, cap, hood, kerchief, napkin, or none otherwise; nor shall suffer their beards to grow past fourteen days; nor ever haunt again together with any suspected person or persons, unless it be in the open market, fair, church, or common inn or alehouse, where other people may see their conversation.
And thus have you the names, with the causes and the penance of those who were at this present time abjured. By this word ‘abjured’ is meant, that they were constrained by their oath, swearing upon the evangelists, and subscribing with their hand, and a cross to the same, that they did utterly and voluntarily renounce, detest, and forsake, and never should hold hereafter these or any other like opinions, contrary to the determination of the holy mother church of Rome: And further, that they should detect unto their ordinary, whomsoever they should see or suspect hereafter to teach, hold, or maintain the same.
THE NAMES OF THEM THAT WERE CONDEMNED FOR RELAPSE, AND COMMITTED UNTO THE SECULAR POWER Among these aforenamed persons who thus submitted themselves, and were put to penance, certain there were, who, because they had been abjured before, 36 is above-mentioned, under bishop Smith, were now condemned for relapse, and had sentence read against them, and so were committed to the secular arm to be burned: whose names here follow:
Thomas Bernard, James Morden, Robert Rave, and John Scrivener, martyrs.
Of these mention is made before, both touching their abjuration, and also their martyrdom; unto whom we may adjoin, Joan Norman, and Thomas Holmes.
This Thomas Holmes, albeit he had disclosed and detected many of his brethren, as in the table above is expressed; thinking thereby to please the bishop, and to save himself, and was thought to be a free'd man of the bishop for the same: yet, notwithstanding, in the said bishop’s register appeareth the sentence of relapse and condemnation, written and drawn out against him; and most likely he was also adjudged and executed with the others.
As touching the burning of John Scrivener, here is to be noted, that his children were compelled to set fire unto their father; in like manner as Joan Clerke also, daughter of William Tylsworth, was constrained to give fire to the burning of her own natural father, as is above specified. The example of which cruelty, as it is contrary both to God and nature, so it hath not been seen or heard of in the memory of the heathen.
Where moreover is to be noted, that at the burning of this John Scrivener, one Thomas Dotman, 38 mentioned before, was present, and bare a faggot, at Amersham; whose abjuration was afterwards laid against him, at what time he should depose for recovery of certain lands from the school of Berkhamstead. This Thomas Dorman 39 (as I am credibly informed of certain about Amersham) was then uncle to this our Dorman, and found him to school at Berkhamstead, under Master Reeve; who now so uncharitably abuseth his pen in writing against the contrary doctrine, and raileth so fiercely against the blood of Christ’s slain servants, miscalling them to be a dunghill of stinking martyrs.
Well, howsoever the savor of these good martyrs do scent in the nose of Master Dorman, I doubt not but they give a better odor and sweeter smell in the presence of the Lord: “Pretiosa enim in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus;” “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” And therefore, howsoever it shall please Master Dorman with reproachful language to mistern the good martyrs of Christ, or rather Christ in his martyrs; his unseemly usage (more cart-like than clerk-like) is not greatly to be weighed. For, as the danger of his blasphemy hurteth not them that are gone, so the contumely and reproach thereof as well comprehendeth his own kindred, friends, and country, as any others else; and especially redoundeth to himself, and woundeth his own soul, and none else, unto the great provoking of God’s wrath against him, unless he be blessed with better grace, by time to repent.
DOCTOR JOHN COLET, DEAN OF ST. PAUL’S Much about this time, or not past two years before, died Dr. John Colet, of whom mention was made in the table above; 1 to whose sermons these ‘known-men,’ about Buckinghamshire, had a great mind to resort. After he came from Italy and Paris, he first began to read the epistles of St. Paul openly in Oxford, instead of Scotus and Aquinas. From thence he was called by the king, and made dean of Paul’s; where he accustomed much to preach, not without a great auditory, as well of the king’s court, as of the citizens and others. His diet was frugal, his life upright; in discipline he was severe, insomuch that his canons, because of their straiter. He complained that they were made like monks. The honest and honorable state of matrimony he ever preferred before the unchaste singleness of priests. At his dinner commonly was read either some chapter of St. Paul, or of Solomon’s Proverbs. He never used to sup. Although the blindness of that time carried him away after the common error of popery, yet in ripeness of judgment he seemed something to incline from the vulgar trade of that age. The religious order of monks and friars he fantasied not; as neither he could greatly favor the barbarous divinity of the school-doctors, as of Scotus, but least of all of Thomas Aquinas: insomuch that when Erasmus, speaking in the praise of Thomas Aquinas, did commend him, that he had read many old authors, and had written many new works, as ‘Catena Aurea,’ and such like, to prove and to know his judgment; Colet, first supposing that Erasmus had spoken in jest, but after supposing that he meant good faith, bursteth out in great vehemency, saying, “What tell you me,” quoth he, “of the commendation of that man, who, except he had been of an arrogant and presumptuous spirit, would not define and discuss all things so boldly and rashly; and also, except he had been rather worldly-minded than heavenly, would never have so polluted Christ’s whole doctrine with man’s profane doctrine, in such sort as he hath done?”
The bishop of London at that time was Fitzjames, of age no less than fourscore; who (bearing long grudge and displeasure against Colet), with other two bishops taking his part, like to himself, entered action of complaint against Colet to the archbishop of Canterbury, being then William Warham. The matter of his complaint was divided into three articles: the first was for speaking against worshipping of images. The second was about hospitality, for that he, treating upon the place of the gospel, “Paste, paste, paste,” “Feed, feed, feed:” when he had expounded the two first, for feeding with example of life, and with doctrine; in the third, which the school-men do expound for feeding with hospitality, he left out the outward feeding of the belly, and applied it another way. The third crime wherewith they charged him, was for speaking against such as used to preach only by bosom sermons, declaring nothing else to the people, but what they bring in their papers with them; which, because the bishop of London used then much to do for his age, he took it as spoken against him, and therefore bare him this displeasure. The archbishop, more wisely weighing the matter, and being well acquainted with Colet, so took his part against his accusers, that he at that time was rid out of trouble.
William Tyndale, in his book answering Master More, addeth moreover, and testifieth, that the bishop of London would have made the said Colet, dean of Paul’s, a heretic, for translating the ‘Pater Noster’ into English, had not the bishop of Canterbury holpen the dean.
But yet the malice of Fitzjames the bishop so ceased not; who, being thus repulsed by the archbishop, practiced by another train how to accuse him unto the king. The occasion thus fell. It happened the same time, that the king was in preparation of war against France; whereupon the bishop with his coadjutors, taking occasion upon certain words of Colet, wherein he seemed to prefer peace before any kind of war, were it never so just; accused him therefore in their sermons, and also before the king.
Furthermore it so befell at the same time, that upon Good Friday Dr.
Colet, preaching before the king, treated of the victory of Christ, exhorting all Christians to fight under the standard of Christ, against the devil; adding moreover, what a hard thing it was to fight under Christ’s banner, and that all they that upon private hatred or ambition took weapon against their enemy (one Christian to slay another), did not fight under the banner of Christ, but rather of Satan: and therefore concluding his matter, he exhorted that Christian men, in their wars, would follow Christ their prince and captain, in fighting against their enemies, rather than the examples of Julius or Alexander, etc. The king, hearing Colet thus speak, and fearing lest by his words the hearts of his soldiers might be withdrawn from his wars which he had then in hand, took him aside and talked with him in secret conference, walking in his garden. Bishop Fitzjames, Bricot, and Starndish, who were his enemies, thought now none other, but that Colet must needs be committed to the Tower; and waited for his coming out. But the king, with great gentleness entertaining Dr. Colet, and bidding him familiarly to put on his cap, in long courteous talk had with him in the garden, much commended him for his learning and integrity of life; agreeing with him in all points, but that only he required him (for that the rude soldiers should not rashly mistake that which he had said)more plainly to explain his words and mind in that behalf; which after he did. And so, after long communication and great promises, the king dismissed Colet with these words, saying: “Let every man have his doctor as him liketh, this shall be my doctor;” and so he departed. Hereby none of his adversaries durst ever trouble him after that time.
Among many other memorable acts left behind him, he erected the worthy foundation of the school of Paul’s (I pray God the fruits of ‘ the school may answer the foundation), for the cherishing up of youth in good letters, providing a sufficient stipend as well for the master, as for the usher; whom he willed rather to be appointed out of the number of married men, than of single priests with their suspected chastity. The first moderator of this school was William Lily, a man no less notable for his learning, than was Colet for his foundation. 3 This Colet died the year of our Lord 1519.
Not long before the death of this Colet and Lily, lived William Grocine and William Latimer, both Englishmen also, and fatuously learned. This Grocine, as he began to read in his open lecture, in the church of St. Paul, the book of Dionysius Areopagita 177 , commonly called Hierarchia Ecclesiastica (for the reading of the holy Scriptures in Paul’s was not in use), in the first entry of his preface cried out with great vehemency against them, whosoever they were, who either denied or stood in doubt of the authority of that book: in the number of whom he noted Laurence Valla, and divers others of the like approved judgment and learning. But afterwards the same Grocine, when he had continued a few weeks in his reading thereof, and did consider further in him, he utterly altered and recanted his former sentence, protesting openly, that the aforenamed book, in his judgment, was never written by that author whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles to be called Dionysius Areopagita. The tractation of these two couples above rehearsed doth occasion me to adjoin also the remembrance of another couple of like learned men: the names of whom, not unworthy to be remembered, were Thomas Linacre, and Richard Pace; which two followed much upon the time of Colet and William Lily. But of Richard Pace, who was dean next after the aforesaid John Colet, more convenient place shall serve us hereafter to speak, coming to the story of cardinal Wolsey.
Moreover, to these two I thought it not out of season, to couple also some mention of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower; who, although being much discrepant from these in course of years, yet .may seem not unworthy to be matched with these aforenamed persons, in commendation of their study and learning. Albeit concerning the full certainty of the time and death of these two, we cannot find; yet it appeareth in the prologue of Gower’s work, entitled ‘Confessio Amantis,’ that he finished it in the sixteenth year of king Richard II. And in the end of the eighth book of his said treatise, he declareth that he was both sick and old when he wrote it; whereby it may appear that he lived not long after. Notwithstanding, by certain verses of the said Master Gower, placed in the latter end of Chaucer’s works both in Latin and English, it may seem that he was alive at the beginning of the reign of king Henry IV, and also by a book which he wrote to the same king Henry. By his sepulture within the chapel of the church of St. Mary Overy’s, which was then a monastery, where he and his wife lie buried, it appeareth by his chain and his garland of laurel, that he was both a knight, and flourishing then in poetry; in which place of his sepulture were made in his grave-stone three books: the first bearing the title, ‘Speculum meditantis;’ the second, ‘Vox clamantis;’ the third, ‘Confessio amantis.’ Besides these, divers chronicles and other works more he compiled.
Likewise, as touching the time of Chaucer, by his own words in the end of his first book of Troilus and Cressida, it is manifest that he and Gower were both of one time, although it seemeth that Gower was a great deal his ancient; both notably learned, as the barbarous rudeness of that time did give; both great friends together, and both in like kind of study together occupied; so endeavoring themselves, and employing their time, that they, excelling many others in study and exercise of good letters, did pass forth their lives here right worshipfully and godly, to the worthy fame and commendation of their name. Chaucer’s works be all printed in one volume, and therefore known to all men.
This I marvel to see the idle life of the priests and clergymen of that time. seeing these lay-persons showed themselves in these kinds of liberal studies so industrious and fruitfully occupied. But much more I marvel to consider this, how that the bishops, condemning and abolishing all manner of English books and treatises which might bring the people to any light of knowledge, did yet authorize the works of Chaucer to remain still and to be occupied; who, no doubt, saw into religion as much almost as even we do now, and uttereth in his works no less, and seemeth to be a right Wicklevian, or else there was never any. And that, all his works almost, if they be thoroughly advised, will testify (albeit it be done in mirth, and covertly); and especially the latter end of his third book of the Testament of Love, for there purely he toucheth the highest matter, that is, the communion. Wherein, except a man be altogether blind, he may espy him at the full: although in the same book (as in all others he useth to do), under shadows covertly, as under a visor, he suborneth truth in such sort, as both privily she may profit the godly-minded, and yet not be espied of the crafty adversary. And therefore the bishops, belike, taking his works, but for jests and toys, in condemning other books, yet permitted his books to be read.
So it pleased God then to blind the eyes of them, for the more commodity of his people, to the intent that through the reading of these treatises, some fruit might redound thereof to his church; as no doubt it did to many.
As also I am partly informed of certain who knew the parties, who to them reported, that by reading of Chaucer’s works, they were brought to the true knowledge of religion. And not unlike to be true: for, to omit other parts of his volume, whereof some are more fabulous than others, what tale can be more plainly told than the Tale of the Ploughman? or what finger can point out more directly the pope with his prelates to be Antichrist, than doth the poor pelican reasoning against the greedy griffin?
Under which hypotyposis, or poesy, who is so blind that seeth not by the pelican, the doctrine of Christ and of the Lollards to be defended against the church of Rome? or who is so impudent that can deny that to be true which the pelican there affirmeth, in describing the presumptuous pride of that pretensed church? Again, what egg can be more like, or fig, unto another, than the words, properties, and conditions of that ravening griffin resembleth the true image, that is, the nature and qualities of that which we call the church of Rome, in every point and degree? And therefore no great marvel if that narration was exempted out of the copies of Chaucer’s works; which notwithstanding now is restored again, and is extant for every man to read who is disposed. This Geoffrey Chaucer, being born, as is thought, in Oxfordshire, and dwelling in Woodstock, lieth buried in the church of the minster of St. Peter at Westminster, in an aisle on the south side of the said church, not far from the door leading to the cloister; and upon his grave-stone first were written these two old verses: ‘Galfridus Chaucer Vates et fama Poesis Maternae, hac sacra sum tumulatus humo.’ Afterwards, about A.D. 1556, one Master Brickham, bestowing more cost upon his tomb, did add thereunto these verses following: ‘Qui fuit Anglorum Vates ter maximus olim, Galfridus Chaucer conditur hoc tumulo.
Annum si quaeras Domini, si tempora mortis, Ecce notae subsunt, quae tibi cuncta notent. 25 October. Anno 1400.’ HERE BEGINNETH THE REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, IN THE TIME OF MARTIN LUTHER Although it cannot be sufficiently expressed with tongue or pen of man, into what miserable ruin and desolation the church of Christ was brought in those latter days; yet partly by the reading of these stories afore past, some intelligence may be given to those who have judgment to mark, or eyes to see, in what blindness and darkness the world was drowned, during the space of these four hundred years heretofore and more. By the viewing and considering of which times and histories, thou mayest understand, gentle reader, how the religion of Christ, which only consisteth in spirit and verity, was wholly turned into, outward observations, ceremonies, and idolatry. So many saints we had, so many gods; so many monasteries, so many pilgrimages; so many churches, so many relics forged and reigned we had: again, so many relics, so many lying miracles we believed. Instead of the only living Lord, we worshipped dead stocks and stones: in place of Christ immortal, we adored mortal bread: instead of his blood, we worshipped the blood of ducks. How the people were led, so that the priests were fed, no care was taken. Instead of God’s Word, man’s word was set up: instead of Christ’s Testament, the pope’s testament, that is, the canon law: instead of Paul, the Master of Sentences took place, and almost full possession. The law of God was little read, the use and end thereof was less known; and as the end of the law was unknown, so the difference between the gospel and the law was not understood, the benefit of Christ not considered, the effect of faith not expended: through the ignorance whereof it cannot be told what infinite errors, sects, and religions crept into the church, overwhelming the world as with a flood of ignorance and seduction. And no marvel: for where the foundation is not well laid, what building can stand and prosper? The foundation of all our Christianity is only this: The promise of God in the blood of Christ his Son, giving and promising life to all that believe in him, (Romans 3:22) giving (saith the Scripture) unto us, and not bargaining or indenting with us: and that freely (saith the Scripture) for Christ’s sake; and not conditionally for our merit’s sake. (Romans 4:5) Furthermore, freely (saith the Scripture) by grace, (Romans 4:6) that the promise might be firm and sure; and not by the works that we do, which are always doubtful. By grace (saith the Scripture) through promise to all and upon all that believe, (Romans 3:22) and not by the law, upon them that do deserve. For if it come by deserving, then it is not of grace: if it be not of grace, then it is not of promise, (Romans 11:6) and contrariwise, if it be of grace and promise, then is it not of works, saith St. Paul. Upon this foundation of God’s free promise and grace first builded the patriarchs, kings, and prophets: upon this same foundation also Christ the Lord builded his church: upon which foundation the apostles likewise builded the church apostolical or catholical.
This apostolical and catholic foundation so long as the church did retain, so long it continued sincere and sound: which endured a long season after the apostles’ time. But after, in process of years, through wealth and negligence crept into the church, as soon as this foundation began to be lost, came in new builders, who would build upon a new foundation a new church more glorious, which we call now the church of Rome; who, not being contented with the old foundation, and the Head-cornerstone, which the Lord by his word had laid, in place thereof hid the groundwork upon the condition and strength of the law and works. Although it is not to be denied, but that the doctrine of God’s holy law, and of good works according to the same, is a thing most necessary to be learned, and followed of all men; yet it is not that foundation whereupon our salvation consisteth: neither is that foundation able to bear up the weight of the kingdom of heaven, but is father-the thing which is builded upon the foundation; which foundation is Jesus Christ, according as we are taught of St. Paul, saying; “No man can lay any other foundation beside that which is laid, Christ Jesus,” etc.
But this ancient foundation, with the old ancient church of Christ, as I said,, hath been now of long time forsaken; and instead thereof, a new church with a new foundation hath been erected and framed, not upon God’s promise, and his free grace in Christ Jesus, nor upon free justification by faith, but upon merits and deserts of men’s working. And hereof have they planted all these their new devices, so infinite, that they cannot well be numbered; as masses-trecenaries, dirges, obsequies, matins, and hours-singing-service, vigils, midnight- rising, bare-foot-going, fishtasting, Lent-fast, ember-fast, stations, rogations, jubilees, advocation of saints, praying to images, pilgrimage-walking, works of supererogation, application of merits, orders, rules, sects of religion, vows of chastity, willful poverty, pardons, relations, indulgencies, penance, satisfaction, auricular confession, founding of abbeys, building of chapels, giving to churches: and who is able to recite all their laborious buildings, falsely framed upon a wrong ground; and all for ignorance of the true foundation, which is the free justification by faith in Christ Jesus the Son of God.
Moreover note, that as this new-found church of Rome was thus deformed in doctrine, so no less was it corrupted in order of life and deep hypocrisy, doing all things only under pretenses and dissembled titles. So, under the pretense of Peter s chair, they exercised a majesty above emperors and kings. Under the visor of their vowed chastity, reigned adultery; under the cloke of professed poverty, they possessed the goods of the temporality; under the title of being dead to the world, they not only reigned in the world, but also ruled the world; under the color of the keys of heaven to hang under their girdle, they brought all the states of the world under their girdle, and crept not only into the purses of men, but also into their consciences. They heard their confessions; they knew their secrets; they dispensed as they were disposed, and loosed what them listed. And finally, when they had brought the whole world under their subjections, yet neither did their pride cease to ascend, nor could their avarice be ever satisfied. 5 And if the example of cardinal Wolsey and other cardinals and popes cannot satisfy thee, I beseech thee, gentle reader! turn over the aforesaid book of ‘the Ploughman’s Tale’ in Chaucer, above-mentioned, where thou shalt understand much more of their demeanour than I have here described.
In these so blind and miserable corrupt days of darkness and ignorance, thou seest, good reader! I doubt not, how necessary it was, and high time, that reformation of the church should come, which now most happily and graciously began to work, through the merciful and no less needful providence of Almighty God; who, although he suffered his church to wander and start aside, through the seduction of pride and prosperity a long time, yet at length it pleased his goodness to respect his people, and to reduce his church into the pristine foundation and frame again, from whence it was piteously before decayed. Hereof I have now consequently to entreat; intending by the grace of Christ to declare how, and by what means this reformation of the church first began, and how it proceeded, increasing by little and little unto this perfection which now we see, and more I trust shall see.
For as the first decay and ruin of the church before began of rude ignorance, and lack of knowledge in teachers; so, to restore the church again by doctrine and learning, it pleased God to open to man the art of printing, the time whereof was shortly after the burning of Huss and Jerome. Printing, being opened, incontinently ministered unto the church the instruments and tools of learning and knowledge; which were good books and authors, which before lay hid and unknown. The science of printing being found 178 , immediately followed the grace of God; which stirred up good wits aptly to conceive the light of knowledge and judgment: by which light darkness began to be espied, and ignorance to be detected; truth from error, religion from superstition, to be discerned, as is above more largely discoursed, where was touched the inventing of printing. Furthermore, after these wits stirred up of God, followed others besides, increasing daily more and more in science, in tongues, and perfection of knowledge; who now were able not only to discern in matters of judgment, but also were so armed and furnished with the help of good letters, that they did encounter also with the adversary, sustaining the cause and defense of learning against barbarity; of verity against error; of true religion against superstition. In number of whom, amongst many other here unnamed, were Picus and Franciscus Mirandula, Laurentius Valla, Franciscus Petrarcha, Doctor de Wesalia, Revelinus, Grocinus, Doctor Colet, Rhenanus, Erasmus, etc. And here began the first push and assault to be given against the ignorant and barbarous faction of the pope’s pretensed church; who, after that by their learned writings and laborious travail, they had opened a window of light unto the world, and had made, as it were, a way more ready for others to come after: immediately, according to God’s gracious appointment, followed Martin Luther, with others after him; by whose ministry it pleased the Lord to work a more full reformation of his church, as by their acts and proceedings hereafter shah follow (Christ willing) more amply to be declared. 7 And now coming to the time and story of Martin Luther, whom the Lord did ordain and appoint, *through his great mercy, *to be the principal organ and minister under him, to reform *and re-edify again the desolate ruins of his *religion; to subvert the see of the pope;* to abolish the abuses and pride of Antichrist, which so long had abused and deceived the simple flock of Christ’s church;* first, before we enter into the tractation hereof, it shall not be impertinent to the purpose, to suffer such prophecies and forewarnings as were sent before of God, by divers arid sundry good men, long before the time of Luther, who foretold and prophesied of this reformation of the church to come.
PROPHECIES, GOING BEFORE MARTIN LUTHER, TOUCHING THE REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH.
And first to begin with the prophecy of John Huss and Jerome, it is both notable, and also before-mentioned, what the said John Huss, at the time of his burning, prophesied unto his enemies, saying: That after ‘a hundred years come and gone, they should give account to God and to him.’ Here is to be noted, that counting from the year 1415 (in which year John Huss was burned), or from the year 1416, (when Jerome did suffer), unto the year 1516 (when Martin Luther began first to write), we shall find the number of a hundred years expired.
Likewise to this may be adjoined the prophetical vision or dream, which chanced to the said John Huss, lying in the dungeon of the Friars in Constance, a little before he was burned. His dream, as he himself reporteth in his epistles writing to Lord John de Clum, and as I have also before recorded the same, 8 so do I now repeat the same again, in like effect of words hereunder written, as he wrote it himself in Latin,9 the effect of which Latin is this: ‘I pray you expound to me the dream which I had this night. I saw that in my church at Bethlehem (whereof I was parson) they desired and labored to abolish all the images of Christ, and did abolish them. I, the next day following, rose up, and saw many other painters, who painted both the same, and many more images, and more fair, which I was glad to behold. Whereupon the painters, with the great multitude of people, said: Now let the bishops and priests come, and put out these images if they can. At which thing done, much people rejoiced, in Bethlehem, and I with them. And rising up, I felt myself to laugh.’
This dream Lord John of Clum first expounded. Then he, in the next epistle after, expounded it himself to this effect: ‘The commandment of God standing, that we must observe no dreams, yet, notwithstanding, I trust that the life of Christ was painted in Bethlehem by me, through his word, in the hearts of men; which preaching they went about in Bethlehem to destroy, first, in commanding that no preaching should be, neither in the church of Bethlehem, nor in the chapels thereby: secondly, that the church of Bethlehem should be thrown down to the ground. The same life of Christ shall be painted up again by more preachers much better than I, and after a much better sort, so that a great number of people shall rejoice thereat; all such as love the life of Christ: and also I shall rejoice myself, at what time I shall awake, that is, when I shall rise again from the dead.’
Also in his forty-eighth epistle he seemeth to have a like prophetical meaning, where he saith; that he trusted that those things, which he spake then within the house, should afterwards be preached above on the house top, etc.
And because ye are here in hand with the prophecies of John Huss, it is not to be omitted what he writeth in a certain treatise, “De Sacerdotum et Monachorum carnalium abominatione,” thus prophesying of the reformation of the church. ‘The church cannot be reduced to its former dignity, and reformed, before all things first be made new (the truth whereof appeareth by the temple of Solomon); as well the clergy and priests, as also the people and laity. Or else, except all such as now be addicted to avarice, from the least to the most, be first converted and renewed, as well the people as the clerks and priests, things cannot be reformed. Albeit, as my mind now giveth me, I believe rather the first, that is, that then shall rise a new people, formed after the new man, which is created after God: Of which people, new clerks and priests shall come forth and be taken, who all shall hate covetousness and glory of this life, laboring to a heavenly conversation. Notwithstanding, all these things shall be done and wrought in continuance and order of time, dispensed of God for the same purpose. And this God doth, and will do of his own goodness and mercy, and for the riches of his patience and sufferance, giving time and space of repentance to them that have long lain in their sins, to amend and flee from the face of the Lord’s fury, until at length all shall suffer together, and until both the carnal people, and priests, and clerks, in process and order of time, shall fall away and be consumed, as is the cloth consumed and eaten by the moth,’ etc. With this prophecy of John Huss above-mentioned, speaking of the hundred years, accordeth also the testimony of Jerome, his fellow-martyr, in these words: “And I cite you all to answer before the most high and just Judge, after a hundred years.”
Philip Melancthon, in his Apology, 13 testifieth of one John Hilton, a monk in Thuringia, who, for speaking against certain abuses of the place and order where he lived, was cast into prison. At length, being weak and feeble through imprisonment, he sent for the warden of the covent, desiring and beseeching him to have some respect of his woeful state and pitiful ease. The warden rebuking and accusing him for what he had done and spoken; he answered again and said, That he had spoken nothing which might be prejudicial or hurtful to their monkery, or against their religion: but there should come one (and assigned the year 1516), who should utterly subvert all monkery, and they should never be able to resist him, etc. Long it were to induce here all prophecies that be read in histories: certain I mind briefly to touch and pass over. And first to omit the revelations of Briget 15 (whereunto I do not much attribute), who, prophesying of the destruction of Rome, saith: ‘Rome shall be scoured and purged with three things ¾ with sword, fire, and the plough. Resembling, moreover, the said church of Rome to a plant removed out of the old place into a new: also to a body condemned by a judge to have the skin flayed off; the blood to be drawn from the flesh; the flesh to be cut out in pieces; and the bones thereof to be broken; and all the marrow to be squeezed out from the same; so that no part thereof remain whole and perfect,’ etc.
But to these speculations of Briget I give no great respect, as neither do I to the predictions of Katharine of Sienna And yet notwithstanding, Antoninus, 16 writing of the same Katharine in this third part, reciteth her words thus (prophesying of the reformation of the church) to friar Reymund her ghostly father: ‘By these tribulations (saith she) God after a secret manner unknown to man, shall purge his holy church; and after those things, shall follow such a reformation of the holy church of God, and such a renovation of the holy pastors, that only the cogitation and remembrance thereof maketh my spirit to rejoice in the Lord.
And, as I have oftentimes told you heretofore, the spouse, which is now all deformed and ragged, shall be adorned and decked with most rich and precious ouches 17 and brooches; and all the faithful shall be glad and rejoice to see themselves so beautified with so holy pastors. Yea, and also the infidels, then allured by the sweet savior of Christ, shall return to the catholic fold, and be converted to the true bishop and shepherd of their souls. Give thanks therefore to God; for after this storm he will give a great calm,’ etc.
Of the authority of this prophetess I have not to affirm or adjudge, but rather to hear what the catholic judges will say of this their own saint and prophet. For if they do not credit her spirit of prophecy, why then do they authorize her for a pure saint among the sisters of dear St. Dominic?
If they warrant her prophecy, let them say then, When was this glorious reformation of the church ever true or like to be true, if it be not true now, in this marvelous alteration of the church in these our latter days? or when was there any such conversion of Christian people in all countries ever heard of, since the apostles’ time, as hath been since the preaching of Martin Luther?
Of Hieronimus Savonarola 179 I wrote before, showing that he prophesied, that one like to Cyrus should pass over the Alps, who should subvert and destroy all Italy: which may well be applied to God’s word, and the gospel of Christ, spreading now abroad since Luther’s time.
Theodoric, bishop of Croatia, lived near about the time when Huss and Jerome were martyred; who, in the end of his prophetical verses, which are extant in print, declareth, ‘That the see of Rome, which is so horribly polluted with simony and avarice, shall fall, and no more oppress men with tyranny, as it hath done, and that it shall be subverted by its own subjects; and that the church and true piety shall flourish more again, than ever it did before.’
Noviomagus testifieth 180 , that he, A.D. 1520, heard Ostendorpius, a canon of Daventer, say, that when he was a young man, doctor Weselus, a Friesian, who was then an old man, told him, that he should live to see this new school divinity of Scotus, Aquinas, and Bonaventure, to be utterly forsaken and exploded of all true Christians.
In a book of Charles Boville, mention is made of a certain vision which one Nicholas, a hermit of Helvetia, had; in which vision he saw the pope’s head crowned with three swords proceeding from his face, and three swords coming toward it. This vision is also printed in the books of Martin Luther, with his preface before it.
Nicholas Medler, being of late superintendent of Brunswick, affirmed and testified, ‘That he heard and knew a certain priest in his country, that told the priests there, that they laid aside Paul under their desks and pews; but the time would come, when Paul should come abroad, and drive them under the desks and dark stalls, where they should not appear,’ etc.
Matthiss Flacius, in the end of his book entitled, ‘ De Testibus Veritatis,’ speaketh of one Michael Stifelius:
This Michael, being an old man, told him, that he heard the priests and monks say many times, by the old prophecies, that a violent reformation must needs come amongst them: and also that the said Michael heard Conrad Stifelius his father many times declare the same: who also, for the great hatred he bare against this filthy sect of monks and priests, told to one Peter Piper, a friend and neighhor of his, that he should live and see the day; and therefore desired him, that when the day came, besides those priests that be should kill for himself, he would kill one priest, more for his sake.’ This Stifelius thought, belike, that this reformation should be wrought by outward violence, and force of sword; but he was therein deceived; although the adversary useth all forcible means, and violent tyranny, yet the proceeding of the gospel always beginneth with peace and quietness.
In the table or Amersham men I signified a little before, how one Haggar of London, speaking of this reformation to come, declared, that the priests should make battle, and have the upper hand a while, but shortly they should be vanquished and overthrown for ever.
In the time of pope Alexander VI and about A.D. 1500, as is before specified, the high angel which stood on the top of the pope’s church and castle of St. Angelo, was thrown down with a terrible thunder into the river Tiber: whereby might seem to be declared the ruin and fall of the popedom.
To this may be adjoined, that which in certain chronicles, and in John Bale 20 is recorded; which saith, that in the year of our Lord 1516 (which was the same year when Martin Luther began), pope Leo X did create one and thirty cardinals: in which year and day of their creation, there fell a tempest of thunder and lightning in Rome, which so struck the church where the cardinals were made, that it removed the little child Jesus out of the lap of his mother and the keys out of St. Peter’s hand: which thing many then did interpret to signify and foreshow the subversion and alteration of the see of Rome.
Hitherto pertaineth also a strange portent and a prodigious token from heaven, A.D. 1505, in which year, under the reign of Maximilian the emperor,21 there appeared in Germany, upon the vestures of men, as well of priests as laymen; upon women’s garments also, and upon their rocks as they were spinning, divers prints and tokens of the nails, of the sponge, of the spear, of the Lord’s coat, and of bloody crosses, etc.: all which were seen upon their caps and gowns, as is most certainly testified and recorded by divers, who both did see, and also did write upon the same. Of these the first was Maximilian the emperor, who both had and showed the same to Franciscus Mirandula, who wrote thereupon a book in Latin metre called ‘Staurosticon;’ wherein, for the more credit, these verses be contained: “Non ignota cano, Caesar monstravit, et ipsi Vidimus: Innumeros prompsit Germania testes,” etc.
Of this also writeth John Carion, Functius, Philip Melancthon, Flacius, with divers others. These marks and tokens, as they were very strange, so were they diversely expounded of many, some thinking that they portended affliction and persecution of the church to draw near: some, that God by that token did admonish them, or foreshowed unto them the true doctrine of their justification, which only is to be sought in the cross and passion of Christ, and in no other thing. This I marvel, that Christianus Masseus, and others of that profession, do leave it out. Belike they saw something in it that made not to their liking. For, whether it signifieth persecution to come upon the Germans, they cannot be evil that suffer and bear the cross with Christ: or whether it signifieth the true doctrine of Christ coming to the Germans, it cannot otherwise be, but that the doctrine of the bishop of Rome must needs be wrong, which is contrary to this which God hath stirred up in Germany.
By these and such-like prophecies, it is evident to understand, the time not to be far off, when God, of his determinate providence, was disposed to reform and to restore his church. And not only by these prophecies the same might well appear, but also, and much rather, by the hearts of the people at that time; whose minds were so incensed and inflamed with hatred against the pomp and pride of Rome, both through all nations, and especially the people of Germany, that it was easy to perceive the time was near at hand, when the pride of popish prelacy would have a fall.
Such disdain there was, such contempt and derision began to rise on every side then, against the pope and the court of Rome, that it might soon appear, by the hearts of the people, that God was not disposed to have it long to stand. For neither were their detestable doings so secret, that men did not see them, ,either did any man behold them, having any sparkle of godliness, that could abide them. And thereupon grew these proverbs to their derision, in every country, as in Germany it hath been a proverb amongst them.
PROVERBS AGAINST THE CORRUPT SEE OF ROME: Was ist nu in der werit fur ein wesen, Wir moegen fur den pfaffen nicht genesen. (What is this, to see the world now round about, That for these shaveling priests no man that once may rout?) Quam primurn clericus suscipit rasuram, statim intrat in eum diabolus: i.e. As soon as a clerk is shorn into his order, by and by the devil entereth into him. ‘In riomine Domini, incipit omne malum:’ i.e. ‘In the name of God beginneth all evil:’ alluding to the pope’s bulls, which commonly so begin. ITEM , When bulls come from Rome, bind well your purses.
He that goeth twice, learneth to know him.
Once were wooden chalices, and golden priests:
Now we have golden chalices, and wooden priests.
Now they have blind hearts, and light churches. ITEM , Many are worshipped for saints in heaven, whose souls be burning in hell. 1 What should I speak of our English proverb, which so vilely esteemeth the filthy friars, that it compareth them to something which, to save thy reverence, good reader, we mention not.
In France, Gallus Senonensis writeth four hundred years ago, that amongst them it was an old saying, “Romae solvi Satanam in perniciem totius ecclesiae,” that is, “That Satan was let loose at Rome to destroy the whole church.”
Thomas Becket himself, in his time, writing to the college of cardinals, denieth it not but to be a common word both through town and city, “Quod non sit justitia Romae,” that is, “That there is no right at Rome.”
To these may be adjoined also the A, B, C, which we find in the margin of a certain old register to be attributed to William Thorpe, whose story we have comprehended before. THE A, B, C, AGAINST THE PRIDE OF THE CLERGY Awake, ye ghostly persons, awake, awake, Both priest, pope, bishop, and cardinal!
Consider wisely, what ways ye take, Dangerously being like to have a fall.
Much misery ye make in all regions.
Now your frauds be almost at their latter cast, Of God sore to be revenged at the last.
By these and such-like sayings, which may be collected innumerable, it may soon be seen what hearts and judgments the people had in those days of the Romish clergy; which thing, no doubt, was of God as a secret prophecy, that shortly religion should be restored; according as it came to pass about this present time, when Dr. Martin Luther first began to write; after Picus Mirandula, and Laurentins Valla, and last of all Erasmus of Rotterdam, had somewhat broken the way before, and had shaken the monks’ houses. But Luther gave the stroke, and plucked down the foundation, and all by opening one vein, long hid before, wherein lieth the touchstone of all truth and doctrine, as the only principal origin of our salvation, which is, our free justifying by faith only, in Christ the Son of God. The laborious travails, and the whole process, and the constant preachings of this worthy man, because they are sufficiently declared in the history of John Sleidan, I shall the less need to stay long thereupon; but only to run over some principal matters of his life and acts, as they are briefly collected by Philip Melancthon.
THE HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER WITH HIS LIFE AND DOCTRINE DESCRIBED Martin Luther 181 , after he was grown in years, being born at Eisleben in Saxony, A.D. 1488, was set to the university, first of Magdeburg, then of Erfurt. In this university of Erfurt, there was a certain aged man in the convent of the Augustines (who is thought to be Weselus above mentioned) with whom Luther being then of the same order, a friar Augustine, had conference upon divers things, especially touching the article of remission of sins; which article the said aged Father opened unto Luther after this sort; declaring, that we must not generally believe only forgiveness of sins to be, or to belong to Peter, to Paul, to David, or such good men alone; but that God’s express commandment is, that every man should particularly believe his sins to be forgiven him in Christ: and further said, that this interpretation was confirmed by the testimony of St.
Bernard, and showed him the place, in the sermon of the Annunciation, where it is thus set forth: “But add thou that thou believest this, that by him thy 182 sins are forgiven thee. This is the testimony that the Holy Ghost giveth thee in thy heart, saying, Thy sins are forgiven thee. For this is the opinion of the apostle, that man is freely justified by faith.”
By these words Luther was not only strengthened, but was also instructed of the full meaning of St. Paul, who repeateth so many times this sentence, “We are justified by faith.” And having read the expositions of many upon this place, he then perceived, as well by the discourse 183 of the old man, as by the comfort he received in his spirit, the vanity of those interpretations, which he had read before, of the schoolmen, And so, by little and little, reading and conferring the sayings and examples of the prophets and apostles, with continual invocation of God, and excitation of faith by force of prayer, he perceived that doctrine most evidently. Then began he to read St. Augustine’s books, where he found many comfortable sentences (among others, in the exposition of the Psalms, and especially in the book of the’ Spirit and Letter’) which confirmed this doctrine of faith and consolation in his heart not a little. And yet he laid not aside the sententiaries, as Gabriel and Cameracensis. Also he read the books of Ocham, whose subtlety he preferred above Thomas Aquinas and Scotus.
He read also and revolved Gerson: but above all the rest, he perused all over St. Augustine’s works with attentive cogitation. And thus continued he his study at Erfurt the space of four years in the convent of the Augustines.
About this time one Staupitius 184 , a famous man, who had ministered his help to further the erection of a university in Wittenberg, being anxious to promote the study of divinity in this new university; when he had considered the spirit and towardness of Luther, he called him from Erfurt, to place him in Wittenberg, A.D. 1508 and of his age the twenty-sixth.
There his towardness appeared in the ordinary exercise both of his disputations in the schools and preaching in churches; where many wise and learned men attentively heard Luther, namely Dr. Mellarstad.
This Mellarstad would oftentimes say 185 , that Luther was of such a marvelous spirit, and so ingenious, that he gave apparent signification, that he would introduce a more compendious, easy, and familiar manner of teaching, and alter and abolish the order that then was used.
There first he expounded the logic and philosophy of Aristotle, and in the mean while intermitted no whit his study in theology. Three years after he went to Rome, about certain contentions of the monks; and returning the same year, he was graded doctor at the expense of the elector Frederic, duke of Saxony, according to the solemn manner of the schools 186 : for he had heard him preach; well; understanded the quickness of his spirit; diligently considered the vehemency of his words; and had in singular admiration those profound matters which in his sermons he ripely and exactly explained. This degree Staupitius, against his will, enforced upon him; saying merrily unto him, that God had many things to bring to pass in his church by him. And though these words were spoken merrily, yet it came so to pass anon after; as many predictions or presages 187 (which afterward prove true) are wont to go before great changes.
After this, he began to expound the Epistle to the Romans, and consequently the Psalms: where he showed the difference betwixt the law and the gospel; and also confounded the error that reigned then in the schools and sermons, viz. that men may merit remission of sins by their proper works, and that they be just before God by outward discipline; as the Pharisees taught. Luther diligently reduced the minds of men to the Son of God: as John Baptist demonstrated the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world; even so Luther, shining in the church as the bright daylight after a long and dark night, expressly showed 188 , that sins are freely remitted for the love of the Son of God, and that we ought faithfully to embrace this bountiful gift: 3 He also illustrated divers other points of ecclesiastical doctrine.* *These 4 happy beginnings of so good matters, got him great authority, considering his life was correspondent to his profession; and it plainly appeared that his words were no lip-labor, but proceeded from the very heart. This admiration of his holy life much allured the hearts of his auditors 189 : and therefore, when at a later period he wished to innovate certain received ceremonies, respectable men who had known him made little or no objection, but, in respect of the authority he had gained before (as well for that he had revealed many good matters, as that his life was holy), consented with him in his opinions, and agreed with him on those subjects, by which, to their sorrow, they saw the world divided.* All this while Luther yet altered nothing in the ceremonies, but precisely observed his rule among his fellows. He meddled in no doubtful opinions, but taught this only doctrine, as most principal of all other, to all men, opening and declaring the doctrine of repentance, of remission of sins, of faith, of true comfort to be sought in the cross 190 of Christ. Every man received good taste of this sweet doctrine, and the learned conceived high pleasure to behold Jesus Christ, the prophets and apostles, to come forth into light out of darkness; whereby they began to understand the difference betwixt the law and the gospel; betwixt the promises of the law, and the promise of the gospel 191 ; betwixt spiritual justice, and civil things: which certainly could not have been found in Thomas Aquinas, Scotus, and such-like school-clerks.
It happened, moreover, about this time, that many were provoked by Erasmus’s learned works to study the Greek and Latin tongues; who, having thus opened to them a more pleasant sort of learning 192 than before, began to have in contempt the monks’ barbarous and sophistical learning; and especially such as were of liberal nature and good disposition. Luther began to study the Greek and Hebrew tongues to this end, that after he had learned the phrase and idiom of the tongues, and drawn the doctrine of the very fountains, he might form a more sound judgment 193 .
As Luther was thus occupied in Germany, which was A.D. 1516, Leo X, who had succeeded after Julius II, was pope of Rome, who, under pretense of war against the Turk, sent a jubilee with his pardons abroad through all Christian realms and dominions, whereby he gathered together innumerable riches and treasure; the gatherers and collectors whereof persuaded the people, that whosoever would give ten shillings, should at his pleasure deliver one soul from the pains of purgatory. For this they held as a general rule, that God would do whatsoever they would have him, according to the saying, “Quic-quid solveritis super terrain, erit solutum in coelis,” etc., i.e. “Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, the same shall be loosed in heaven; but if it were but one jot less than ten shillings, they preached that it would profit them nothing. 5 This filthy kind of the pope’s merchandise, as it spread through all quarters of Christian regions, so it came also to Germany, through the means of a certain Dominic friar named Tetzel, who most impudently caused the pope’s indulgences or pardons to be carried and sold about the country.
Whereupon Luther, much moved with the blasphemous sermons of this shameless friar, and having his heart earnestly bent with ardent desire to maintain true religion, published certain propositions concerning indulgences, which are to be read in the first tome of his works, and set them openly on the temple that joineth to the castle of Wittenberg, the morrow after the feast of All Saints, A.D. 1517.
This beggarly friar, hoping to obtain the pope’s blessing, assembled certain monks and sophistical divines of his covent, and forthwith commanded them to write something against Luther. And while he would not himself seem to be dumb, he began not only to inveigh in his sermons, but to thunder against Luther; crying, “Luther is a heretic, and worthy to be persecuted with fire 194 .” And besides this, he burned openly Luther’s propositions, and the sermon which he wrote of indulgences. This rage and fumish fury of this friar enforced Luther to treat more amply of the cause, and to maintain the truth 195 .
And thus rose the beginnings of this controversy; wherein Luther, neither suspecting ne dreaming of any change to be effected in the ceremonies, did not utterly reject the indulgences, but required a moderation in them: and therefore they falsely accuse him, who blaze, that he began with plausible matter, whereby he might get praise, to the end that in process of time he might change the state of the commonweal, and purchase authority either for himself or others.
And certes, he was not suborned or stirred up by them of the court (as the duke of Brunswick wrote), inasmuch as the duke Frederic was sore offended that such contention and controversy should arise, having regard to the sequel thereof.
And as this good duke Frederic was one, of all the princes of our time, that loved best quietness and common tranquillity, neither was avaricious, but willingly bent to refer all his counsels to the common utility of all the world (as it is easy to be conjectured divers ways), so he neither encouraged nor supported Luther, but often discovered outwardly 196 the heaviness and sorrow which he bare in his heart, fearing greater dissensions. But being a wise prince, and following the counsel of God’s rule, and well deliberating thereupon, he thought with himself, that the glory of God was to be preferred above all things: neither was he ignorant what blasphemy it was, horribly condemned of God, obstinately to repugn the truth. Wherefore he did as a godly prince should do, he obeyed God, committing himself to his holy grace and omnipotent protection.
And although Maximilian the emperor, Charles king of Spain, and pope Julius, had given commandment to the said duke Frederic, that he should inhibit Luther from all place and liberty of preaching; yet the duke, considering with himself the preaching and writing of Luther, and weighing diligently the testimonies and places of the Scripture by him alleged, would not withstand the thing which he judged sincere. And yet neither did he this, trusting to his own judgment, but was very anxious and inquisitive to hear the judgment of others, who were both aged and learned; in the number of whom was Erasmus, whom the, duke desired to declare to him his opinion touching the matter of Martin Luther; saying and protesting, that he would rather the ground should open and swallow him, than he would bear with any opinions which he knew to be contrary to manifest truth; and therefore he desired him to declare his judgment in the matter to him, freely and friendly.
Erasmus, thus being entreated of the duke, began thus jestingly and merrily to answer the duke’s request, saying, that in Luther were two great faults; first, that he would touch the bellies of monks; the second, that he would touch the pope’s crown: which two matters in no case are to be dealt withal. Then, opening his mind plainly to the duke, thus he said, that Luther did dwell in detecting errors, and that reformation was to be wished, and very necessary in the church: and added moreover, that the effect of his doctrine was true; but only that he wished in him a more temperate moderation and manner of writing and handling. 6 Whereupon duke Frederic shortly after wrote to Luther seriously, exhorting him to temper the vehemence of his style. This was at the city of Cologne, shortly after the coronation of the new emperor, where also Huttenus, Aloisius, Marlianus, Ludovicus Vives, Halonius, with other learned men, were assembled together, waiting upon the emperor. Furthermore, the same Erasmus, in the following year, wrote up to the archbishop of Mentz a certain epistle touching the cause of Luther; in which epistle thus he signifieth to the bishop: ‘That many things are in the books of Luther condemned of monks and divines for heretical, which in the books of Bernard and Austin are read for sound and godly. Also, that the world is burdened with men’s institutions, with school doctrines and opinions, and with the tyranny of begging friars; which friars, when they are but the pope’s servants and underlings, yet they have so grown in power and multitude, that they are now terrible, both to the pope himself, and to all princes; who, so long as the pope maketh with them, so long they make him more than God; but If he make any thing against their purpose or commodity, then. they weigh his authority no more than a dream or fantasy. Once (said he) it was counted an heresy 197 when a man repugned against the gospels, or articles of the faith. Now he that dissenteth from Thomas Aquinas, is a heretic: whatsoever doth not like them, whatsoever they understand not, that is heresy. To know Greek is heresy; or to speak more finely than they do, that is with them heresy.’ And thus much by the way concerning the judgment of Erasmus.
REVIEW OF LUTHER’S CONDUCT AND WRITINGS. 9 It is also apparent, that Luther promised the cardinal Cajetan to keep silence, provided also that his adversaries would do the like. Whereby we may gather, that at that time he determined not to stir any new debates, but rather coveted the common quietness, and that he was provoked by little and little to other matters, through the provoking of unlearned writers.
Then followed disputations of the difference betwixt divine and human law; of the horrible profanation of the Supper of our Lord, in selling and applying the same for other purposes. Here he was forced to express the cause of the sacrifice, and to declare the use of the sacraments.
Now the godly and faithful Christians, dosed in monasteries, understanding images ought to be eschewed, began to abandon that wretched thraldom, in which they were detained. Now Luther, the plainlier to express the doctrine of repentance, of remission of sins, of faith, and of indulgences, he added also to these matters, the difference of divine and human laws, the doctrine of the use of our Lord’s Supper, of baptism, and of vows; and these were his principal conflicts. As touching the question of the Roman bishop’s power, Eckius was the author thereof; and for none other respect, than to inflame the fiery wrath of the pope and princes against Luther. The symbol 198 of the apostles, also of Nice and Athanasius, he conserved in their integrity.
Further, he declareth in divers his works sufficiently what innovation is to be required in the ceremonies and traditions of men; and wherefore they ought to be altered. And what form of doctrine and administration of the Sacraments he required and approved, it is apparent by the confession which the elector, John duke of Saxony, and prince Philip, landgrave of Hesse, presented to the emperor Charles V, A.D. 1580, in the assembly at Augsburg. It is manifest also by the ceremonies of the church in this city, and the doctrine that is preached in our church, the sum whereof is fully comprised in this confession. I allege this, that the godly may consider not only what errors he hath corrected and reproved, but also they may understand that he comprehended also the whole doctrine necessary for the church; he hath set the ceremonies in their purity, and given examples to the faithful to reform the churches, and it is necessary for posterity to know what Luther hath approved.
I will not here rehearse, who were the first that published both parts of the Supper of our Lord, who first omitted private masses, and where first the monasteries were abandoned: for Luther disputed very little of these before the assembly which was made in the town of Worms, A.D. 1521: he changed not the ceremonies, but in his absence Carolostadt and other altered them. Then Luther returning (after that Carolostadt had devised and done certain things rather to breed muttering than otherwise), manifested by evident testimonies, published abroad touching his opinion, what he approved, and what he misliked.
We know that politic men evermore detested all changes: and we must confess, there ensueth some evil upon dissensions, and yet it is our duty evermore in the church, to advance God’s ordinance above human constitutions. The eternal Father pronounced this voice of his Son: “This is my well beloved Son, hear him!” and manaseth eternal wrath to all blasphemers, that is, such as endeavor to abolish the manifest verity. And therefore Luther did, as behoved a Christian faithfully to do, considering he was an instructor of the church of God. It was his office, I say, to reprehend pernicious errors, which the rabble of epicures most impudently heaped one upon another, and it was expedient his auditors dissented not from his opinion, since he taught purely. Wherefore if alteration be hateful, and many perils grow of dissension, as we certainly see many, whereof we be right sorry, they are partly in fault that spread abroad these errors, and partly they that with devilish disdain presently maintain them. I do not recite this to defend Luther and his auditors, but also that the faithful may consider now, and in time to come, what is the governance of the true church of God, and what it hath always been: how God hath gathered to himself one eternal church, by the voice of the gospel, of this lump of sin, and filthy heap of human corruption; among whom the gospel shineth as a spark in the dark. As in the time of the Pharisees, Zachary, Elizabeth, Mary, and many other, reverenced and observed the true doctrine: so have many gone before us, who purely invocated God, some understanding more clearly than some the doctrine of the gospel. Such one was the old man of whom I wrote, that oftentimes comforted Luther, when his astonyings assailed him; and after a sort declared unto him the doctrine of the faith. And that God may preserve henceforth the light of his gospel, shining in many, let us pray with fervent affection, as Isaiah prayeth for his hearers: “Seal the law in my disciples.” Further, this advertisement showeth plain that colored superstitions are not permanent, but abolished by God: and sith this is the cause of changes, we ought diligently to endeavor, that errors be not taught ne preached in the church.
But I return to Luther. Even as at the beginning he entreated in this matter without any particular affection, so, though he was of a fiery nature and subject to wrath, yet he always remembered his office, and prohibited wars to be attempted, and distinguished wisely offices wherein was any difference, as, the bishop to feed the flock of God; and the magistrates by authority of the sword committed unto them to repress the people subject unto them. Wherefore when Satan contendeth by slanders to dissipate the church of God, and contumeliously to rage against him, and delighteth to do evil, and rejoiceth to behold us wallow in the puddle of error and blindness, smiling at our destruction; he laboreth all he can to inflame and stir up mischievous instruments and seditious spirits to sow sedition; as Munzer and his like. Luther repelled boldly these rages, and not only adorned, but also ratified, the dignity and bands of politic order and civil government. Therefore when I consider in my mind how many worthy men have been in the church, that in this erred, and were abused: I believe assuredly that Luther’s heart was not only governed by human diligence, but with a heavenly light; considering how constantly he abode within the limits of his office.
Luther held not only in contempt the seditious doctors of that time, as Munzer and the Anabaptists; but especially these horned bishops of Rome, who arrogantly and impudently by their devised decrees affirmed, that St. Peter had not the charge alone to teach the gospel, but also to govern commonweals, and exercise civil jurisdiction. Moreover he exhorted every man to render unto God that appertained unto God, and to Caesar that belonged unto Caesar; and said, that all should serve God with true repentance, knowledge, and maintaining of his true doctrine, invocation, and works wrought with a pure conscience: and as touching civil policy, that every one should obey the magistrates under whom he liveth, in all civil duties and reverences, for God’s cause. And such one was Luther. He gave unto God, that belonged unto God; he taught God; he invocated God; and had other virtues necessary for a man that pleaseth God. Further, in politic conversation he constantly avoided all seditious counsels. I judge these virtues to be so excellent ornaments, as greater and more divine cannot be required in this mortal life. And albeit that the virtue of this man is worthy of commendation, and the rather for that he used the gifts of God in all reverence; yet our duty is to render condign thanks unto God, that by him he hath given us the light of the gospel, and to conserve and enlarge the remembrance of his doctrine. I weigh little the slander of the epicures and hypocrites, who scoff and condemn the manifest truth; but I stay wholly hereupon, that the universal church hath consented perpetually to this very doctrine, which is preached in our church, whereunto we must frame our life and devotion conformable. And I believe that this is the doctrine, whereof the Son of God speaketh: “If any love me, he will keep my commandments, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and plant our dwelling with him.” I speak of the sum of the doctrine, as it is understanded and explained in our churches, by the faithful and learned ministers. For albeit that some one oftentimes expoundeth the same more aptly and elegantly than some other: yet, as touching the effect, the learned and faithful do agree in all points.
Then weighing and perpending with myself long time the doctrine that hath been of all times, it seemeth unto me that since the apostles there have been four notable alterations after the first purity of the gospel.
Origen had his time. Albeit there were some of a sound and sacred opinion, as Methodius, who reproved certain suspected doctrines of Origen, yet he converted the gospel into philosophy in the hearts of many: that is to say, he advanced this persuasion, that the moral discipline of reason deserveth remission of sins, and that this is that justice, whereof is said, “The just shall live of his faith.” That age almost; lost the whole difference of the law and the gospel, and forgot the words of the apostles; for they understood not the natural signification of these words: Letter, Spirit, Justice, Faith.
Now when the propriety of words was lost, which be notes of the very things, it was necessary that other things should be contrived.
Out of this seed sprang the Pelagius’ error, which wandered lately abroad: and therefore, albeit the apostles had given unto the church a pure doctrine, as clear and wholesome fountains, yet Origen intermixed the same with some corruption in that part. Then, to correct the errors of that time, or at the least some part of them, God raised St. Austin, who purged in some part the fountains; and I doubt not, if he were judge of dissensions at this day, but he would speak for us, and defend our cause. Certainly, as concerning free remission, justification by faith, the use of the sacraments and indifferent things, he consenteth wholly with us. And, albeit that in some places he expoundeth more eloquently and aptly that he will say than in some, yet if in reading any do carry with them a godly spirit and quick understanding, and all evil judgment ceaseth, they shall soon perceive that he is of our opinion. And whereas our adversaries sometime do cite sentences selected out of his books against us, and with clamor provoke us to the ancient Fathers, they do it not for any affection they bear unto the truth or antiquity, but maliciously to cloak them with the authority of the ancient Fathers, which antiquity never knew of any of these horned beasts and dumb idols, as we have known in these days.
Nevertheless it is certain, there were seeds of superstition in the time of the Fathers and ancient doctors: and therefore St. Austin ordained something of vows, although he wrote not thereof so strangely as other: for the best some-times shall be spotted with the blemish of such follies as reign in their age. For as naturally we love our country, so fondly we favor the present fashions, wherein we be trained and educated. And very well alluded Euripides 199 to this effect: ‘What customs we in tender youth By nature’s lore receive; The same we love and like always, And lothe our lust to leave.’ But would to God, that such as vaunt they follow St. Austin, would always represent one like opinion and mind, as St. Austin: certainly they would not clip so his sentences, to serve their purpose. And the light restored by St. Austin’s works hath much profited the posterity; for Prosper, Maximus, Hugo, and some other like, that governed studies to St.
Bernard’s time, have for the most part imitated the rule of St. Austin. And this while still, the regiment and riches of the bishops increased: and thereof ensued a monstrous regiment; profane and ignorant men governed the church, among the which certain were instructed in sciences and practices of the Roman court, and some other exercised in pleadings.
Then the orders of Dominicke and S. Francis’s Friars began; who, beholding the excess and riches of the bishops, and contemning their ungodly manners, determined to live in more modest order, or, as I might say, to enclose them in the prisons of discipline. But first, ignorance increased the superstitions. Then after, when they considered men’s minds wholly addicted to the study of the civil laws (for that pleading at Rome advanced many to great authority, and enriched them), they endeavored to revoke men to the study of divinity, but they missed of their purpose, and their counsel failed them. Albert, and such like, that were given to Aristotle’s doctrine, began to convert the doctrine of the church into profane philosophy.
And the fourth age not only corrupted the fountains of the gospel, but also gave out poison, that is to say, opinions manifestly approving all idolatries. Thomas Aquinas, Scotus, and their like, have brought in so many labyrinths and false opinions, that the godly and sound sort of divines have always desired a more plain and purer kind of doctrine: neither can we deny without great impudence but it was expedient to alter this kind of doctrine, when it is manifest that such as employed their whole age in this manner of teaching, understood not a great part of their sophisms in their disputations. Further it is plain idolatry confirmed, when they teach the application of sacrifice by work wrought; when they allow the invocation of saints; when they deny that sins be freely remitted by faith; when of ceremonies they make a slaughter of consciences.
Finally, there are many other horrible and pernicious devices, that when I think on them, Lord! how I tremble and quake for fear 200 . Now to return, and to treat something orderly of the acts and conflicts of Luther with his adversaries. After that Tetzel, the aforesaid friar, with his fellow-monks and friarly fellows, had cried out with open mouth against Luther, in maintaining the pope’s indulgences; and that Luther again, in defense of his cause, had set up propositions against the open abuses of the same, marvel it was to see how soon these propositions were sparkled abroad in sundry and far places, and how greedily they were caught up in the hands of divers both far and near. And thus the contention of this matter increasing between them, Luther was compelled to write thereof more largely and fully than otherwise he thought; which was A.D. 1517. Yet all this while Luther never thought of any alteration to come of any ceremony, much less such a reformation of doctrine and ceremonies as afterwards did follow; but only hearing that he was accused to the bishop of Rome, he did write humbly unto him: in the beginning of which writing he declareth the inordinate outrage of those his pardon-mongers, who so excessively did pill and poll the simple people, to the great slander of the church, and shame to his holiness and so proceeding, in the end of the said his writing thus he submitteth himself: ‘Wherefore, most holy father, I offer myself prostrate under the feet of your holiness, with all that I am, and all that I have. Save me, kill me, call me, recall me, approve me, reprove me, as you shall please. Your voice, the voice of Christ in you speaking, I will acknowledge. If I have deserved death, I shall be contented to die: for the earth is the Lord’s, and all the fullness thereof, who is blessed for ever. (Psalm 24:1) Amen.’
This was A.D. 1518.
After Martin Luther, provoked by Tetzel, had declared his mind in writing lowly and humbly, and had set up certain propositions to be disputed; not long after, among other monks and friars, steppeth up one Silvester de Priero, a Dominic friar, who first began to publish abroad a certain impudent and railing dialogue against him. Unto whom Luther answered again, first alleging the, place of the apostle in Thessalonians 1:5, that we must “prove all things. Also the place in Galatians 2, that “if an angel from heaven do bring any other gospel than that we have received, he ought to be accursed.” Item, he alleged the place of Austin unto Jerome, where the said Austin saith, That he was wont to give this honor only to the books of canonical Scripture, that whosoever were the writers thereof, he believed them verily not to have erred. But as touching all other men’s writings, were they ever so holy men, or learned, he doth not believe them therefore, because they so say; but in that respect as they do agree with the canonical Scripture, which cannot err. Item, he alleged the place of the canon law; 12 wherein he proved, that these pardon-sellers, in their setting forth of the pope’s indulgences, ought to go no further by the law, than is enjoined them within the letters of their commission. And in the; latter part of his answer, thus Luther writeth to the reader, “Let opinions remain opinions, so they be not yokes to the Christians. Let us not; make men’s opinions equal with the articles of faith, and to the decrees of Christ and Paul.” “Moreover, I am ashamed,” quoth he, “to hear the common saying of these divine school-doctors, who, holding one thing in the schools, and thinking otherwise in their own judgment, thus are wont secretly among themselves, and with their privy friends talking together, to say, ‘Thus do we hold, and thus would we say, being in the schools: but yet (be it spoken here amongst us 201 ) it cannot be so proved by the holy Scriptures,’” etc. Next after this Silvester, stepped forth Eckius, and impugned the conclusions of Luther. Against whom encountered Dr. Andreas Bodenstein, archdeacon of Wittenberg, making his apology in defense of Luther. Then was Martin Luther cited, the 7th of August, by one Hierome, bishop of Ascoli 202 , to appear at Rome. About which time Thomas Cajetan, cardinal, the pope’s legate, was then legate at the city of Augsburg, who before had been sent down in commission, with certain mandates from pope Leo, unto that city. The university of Wittenberg, understanding of Luther’s citation, eftsoons directed up their letters with their public seal, to the pope, in Luther’s behalf. Also another letter they sent to Carolus Miltitius, the pope’s chamberlain, being a German born.
Furthermore, good Frederic ceased not for his part to solicit the matter with his letters and earnest suit with cardinal Cajetan, that the cause of Luther might be freed from Rome, and removed to Augsburg, in the hearing of the cardinal. Cajetan, at the suit of the duke, wrote unto the pope; from whom he received this answer again, the three and twentieth of the aforesaid month of August.
SUBSTANCE OF THE POPE’S CHARGE TO HIS LEGATE, AGAINST LUTHER.
That he had cited Luther to appear personally before him at Rome, by Hierome, bishop of Ascoli, auditor of the chamber; which bishop diligently had done what was commanded him: but Luther, abusing and contemning the gentleness offered, did not only refuse to come, but also became more bold and stubborn, continuing or rather increasing in his former heresy, as by his writings did appear. Wherefore he would, that the cardinal should cite and call up the said Luther to appear at the city of Augsburg before him; adjoining withal, the aid of the princes of Germany, and of the emperor, if need required.; so that when the said Luther should appear, he should lay hand upon him, and commit him to safe custody: and after, he should be brought up to Rome. And if he perceived him to come to any knowledge or amendment of his fault, be should release him and restore him to the church again; or else he should be interdicted, with all other his adherents, abettors, and maintainers, of whatsoever state or condition they were, whether they were dukes, marquisses, earls, barons, etc. Against all which persons and degrees, he willed him to extend the same curse and malediction (only the person of the emperor excepted); interdicting, by the censure of the church, all such lands, lordships, towns, tenements, and villages, as should minister any harbor to the said Luther, and were not obedient unto the see of Rome.
Likewise the pope directeth other letters also at the same time to duke Frederic, with many grievous words, complaining against Luther. The cardinal, thus being charged with injunctions from Rome, according to his commission, sendeth with all speed for Luther to appear at Augsburg before him.
About the beginning of October, Martin Luther, yielding his obedience to the church of Rome, came to Augsburg at the cardinal’s sending (at the charges of the noble prince elector, and also with his letters of commendation), where he remained three days before he came to his speech; for so it was provided by his friends, that he should not enter talk with the cardinal, before a sufficient warrant or safe-conduct was obtained of the emperor Maximilian. This being obtained, eftsoons he entered, offering himself to the speech of the cardinal, and was there received of the cardinal very gently; who, according to the pope’s commandment, propounded unto Martin Luther three things, or, as Sleidan saith, but two: to wit, 1. That he should repent and revoke his errors. 2. That he should promise, from that time forward, to refrain from the same. 3. That he should refrain from all filings that might by any means trouble the church.
When Martin Luther required to be informed wherein he had erred, the legate brought forth the extravagant of Clement, which beginneth, ‘Unigenitus,’ etc., because that he, contrary to that canon, had held and taught in his fifty-eighth proposition, that the merits of Christ are not the treasure of indulgences or pardons. Secondly, the cardinal, contrary to the seventh proposition of Luther, affirmed, that faith is not necessary to him that receiveth the sacrament.
PROTESTATION OF LUTHER WITH HIS ANSWER AND PROPOSITIONS BEFORE THE CARDINAL Imprimis, I Martin Luther, a friar Augustine, protest, that I do reverence and follow the church of Rome in all my sayings and doings, present, past, and to come; and if any thing hath been, or shall be said by me to the contrary, I count it, and will that it be counted and taken, as though it had never been spoken.
But because the cardinal hath required, at the commandment of the pope, three things of me to be observed: First, That I should return again to the knowledge of myself: Secondly, That I should beware of falling into the same again hereafter: Thirdly, That I should promise to abstain from all things which might disquiet the church of God: I protest here this day, that whatsoever I have said, seemeth unto me to be sound, true, and catholic: yet for the further proof thereof, I do offer myself personally, either here or elsewhere, publicly to give a reason of my sayings. And if this please not the legate, I am ready also in writing to answer his objections, if he have any against me; and touching these things, to hear the sentence and judgment of the universities of the empire, Basil, Friburg, and Louvain.
Hereto when they had received an answer in writing, they departed.
After this, Luther by and by prepareth an answer to the legate, teaching, that the merits of Christ are not committed unto men: That the pope’s voice is to be heard when he speaketh agreeable to the Scriptures: That the pope may err: That he ought to be reprehended. [Acts 15] Moreover he showed, that in the matter of faith, not only the general council, but also every faithful Christian is above the pope, if he lean to better authority and reason: That the extravagant containeth untruths: That it is an infallible verity, that none is just: That it is necessary, for him that cometh to the receiving of the sacrament, to believe: That faith in the absolution and remission of sins, is necessary: That he ought not, nor might not decline from the verity of the Scripture: That he sought nothing but the light of the truth, etc.
But the cardinal would hear no Scriptures; he disputed without Scriptures; he devised glosses and expositions of his own head; and by distinctions (wherewith the divinity of the Thomists is full), like a very Proteus, 14 he avoided all things. After this, Luther, being commanded to come no more into the presence of the legate except he would recant, notwithstanding abode there still, and would not depart. Then the cardinal sent for Johannes Staupitius, vicar of the Augustines, and moved him earnestly to bring Luther to recant of his own accord. Luther tarried the next day also, and nothing was said unto him. The third day moreover he tarried, and delivered up his mind in writing:
SUBSTANCE OF LUTHER’S ANSWER TO THE CARDINAL.
First, Luther thanked the cardinal for his courtesy and great kindness, which he perceived by the words of Staupitius toward him; and therefore was the more ready to gratify him in whatsoever kind of office he could do him service: confessing moreover, that where he had been somewhat sharp and eager against the pope’s dignity, that was not so much of his own mind, as it was to be ascribed to the importunity of certain who gave him occasion.
Notwithstanding, as he acknowledged his excess therein, so he was ready to show more moderation in that behalf hereafter, and also promised to make amends for the same unto the bishop; and that in the pulpit, if he pleased. And as touching the matter of pardons, he promised also to proceed no further in any mention thereof, so that his adversaries likewise were bound to keep silence. But whereas he was pressed to retract his sentence before defended, forasmuch as he had said nothing but with a good conscience, and which was agreeable to the firm testimonies of the Scripture, therefore he humbly desired the determination thereof to be referred to the bishop of Rome; for nothing could be more grateful to him, than to hear the voice of the church speaking, etc.
Who doth not see by this so humble and honest submission of Luther, but that if the bishop of Rome would have been answered with any reason, or contented with sufficient mean, he had never been touched any further of Luther? But the secret purpose of God had a further work herein to do; for the time now was come, when God thought good that pride should have a fall. Thus while the immeasurable desire of that bishop sought more than enough (like to Aesop’s dog coveting to have both the flesh and the shadow), not only he missed what he gaped for, but also lost that which he had.
But to the purpose of our matter again: this writing Luther delivered to the cardinal, the third day after he was commanded out of his sight; which letter or writing the cardinal did little regard. When Luther saw that he would give no answer nor countenance to the letter; yet, notwithstanding, he remained, after that, the fourth day, and nothing was answered. The fifth day likewise was passed with like silence, and nothing done. At length, by the counsel of his friends, and especially because the cardinal had said before, that he had a commandment to imprison Luther and John Staupitius the vicar; after that he had made and set up his appeal where it might be seen and read, he departed; thinking that he had showed such dangerous obedience long enough. Luther, a beholder and a doer of these things, recordeth the same, and showeth the cause why he submitted himself to the church of Rome: declaring also, that even those things which are most truly spoken, yet ought to be maintained and defended with humility and fear. Some things he suppresseth and concealeth, which he supposeth the reader to understand, not without grief and sorrow. At length he protesteth, that he reverenceth and followeth the church of Rome in all things, and that he setteth himself only against those, who, under the name of the church of Rome, go about to set forth and commend Babylon unto us.
Thus have you heard how Luther, being rejected from the speech and sight of Cajetan the cardinal, after six days’ waiting, departed by the advice of his friends, and returned unto Wittenberg; leaving a letter in writing to be given to the cardinal, wherein he declared sufficiently: first his obedience in his coming; the reasons of his doctrine; his submission reasonable to the see of Rome; his long waiting after he was repelled from the cardinal’s speech; the charges of the duke; and finally, the cause of his departing.
After Luther was thus departed and returned again into his country, Cajetan writeth to duke Frederic a sharp and a biting letter, in which first he signifieth unto him his gentle entertainment and good will showed to reduce Luther from his error. Secondly, he complaineth of the sudden departing of him, and of Staupitius. Thirdly, he declareth the pernicious danger of Luther’s doctrine against the church of Rome. Fourthly, he exhorteth the duke, that as he tendereth his own honor and safety, and regardeth the favor of the high bishop, he will send him up to Rome, or expel him out of his dominions, forasmuch as such a pestilence breeding, as that was, could not, neither ought by any means long so to be suffered.
To this letter of the cardinal the duke answereth again at large, purging both Luther and himself; Luther, in that he, following his conscience, grounded upon the word of God, would not revoke that for an error, which could be proved no error. And himself he excuseth thus: that whereas it is required of him to banish him his country, or to send him up to Rome, it would be little honesty for him so to do, and less conscience, unless he knew just cause why he should so do; which if the cardinal would or could declare unto him, there should lack nothing in him which were the part of a Christian prince to do. And therefore he desired him to be a mean unto the bishop of Rome, that innocency and truth be not oppressed before the crime or error be lawfully convicted. This done, the duke sendeth the letter of the cardinal unto Martin Luther, who answered again to the prince; showing first how he came obediently unto Cajetan with the emperor’s warrant, and what talk there was between them: how Cajetan pressed him, against his conscience and manifest truth, to revoke these errors. First, that the merits of Christ’s passion were not the treasure of the pope’s pardons: secondly, that faith was necessary in receiving the sacraments.
Albeit in the first he was content to yield to the cardinal; in the second, because it touched a great part of our salvation, he could not with a safe conscience relent, but desired to be taught by the Scripture, or at least, that the matter might be brought into open disputation in some free place of Germany, where the truth might be discussed and judged of learned men.
The cardinal, not pleased with this, in great anger cast out many menacing words, neither would admit him any more to his presence or speech; whereas he yet, notwithstanding, persisting in his obedience to the church of Rome, gave attendance, waiting upon the cardinal’s pleasure a sufficient time.
At last when no answer would come, after he had waited the space of five or six days to his great detriment and greater danger, by the persuasion of his friends he departed: whereat if the cardinal were displeased, he had most cause to blame himself. “And now, whereas the cardinal threateneth me,” saith he, “not to let the action fall, but that the process thereof shall be pursued at Rome, unless I either come and present myself, or else be banished your dominions; I am not so much grieved for mine own cause, as that you should sustain for my matter any danger or peril. And therefore, seeing there is no place nor country which can keep me from the malice of mine adversaries, I am willing to depart hence, and to forsake my country, whithersoever it shall please the Lord to lead me; thanking God, who hath counted me worthy to suffer thus much for the glory of Christ’s name.”
Here, no doubt, was the cause of Luther in great danger, being now brought to this strait, that both Luther was ready to fly the country, and the duke again was as much afraid to keep him, had not the marvelous providence of God, who had this matter in guiding, here provided a remedy where the power of man did fail, by stirring up the whole university of Wittenberg; who, seeing the cause of truth thus to decline, with a full and general consent addressed their letters unto the prince, in defense of Luther and of his cause; making their humble suit unto him, that he, of his princely honor, would not suffer innocency, and the simplicity of truth so clear as is the Scripture, to be foiled and oppressed by mere violence of certain malignant flatterers about the pope; but that the error first may be showed and convicted, before the party be pronounced guilty.
By the occasion of these letters, the duke began more seriously in his mind to consider the cause of Luther, and to read his works, and also to hearken to his sermons: whereby, through God’s holy working, he grew to knowledge and strength; perceiving in Luther’s quarrel more than he did before. This was about the beginning of December, A.D. 1518.
As this past on, pope Leo, playing the lion at Rome, in the mean time, in the month of November (to establish his seat against this defection which he feared to come), had sent forth new indulgences into Germany, and all quarters abroad, with a new edict, wherein he declared this to be the catholic doctrine of the holy mother-church of Rome, prince of all other churches, that bishops of Rome, who are successors of Peter, and vicars of Christ, have this power and authority given to release and dispense, also to grant indulgences, available both for the living and for the dead lying in the pains of purgatory: and this doctrine he charged to be received of all faithful Christian men, under pain of the great curse, and utter separation from all holy church. This popish decree and indulgence, as a new merchandise or ale-stake to get money, being set up in all quarters of Christendom for the holy father’s advantage, came also to be received in Germany about the month of December. Luther, in the mean time, hearing how they went about in Rome to proceed and pronounce against him, provided a certain appellation conceived in due form of law, wherein he appealeth from the pope to the general council 203 .
When pope Leo perceived, that neither his pardons would prosper to his mind, nor that Luther could be brought to Rome; to essay how to come to his purpose by crafty allurements, he sent his chamberlain, Carolus Miltitius above-mentioned (who was a German), into Saxony, to duke Frederic, with a golden rose, after the usual ceremony accustomed every year to be presented to him; with secret letters also to certain noblemen of the duke’s council, to solicit the pope’s cause, and to remove the duke’s mind, if it might be, from Luther. But before Miltitius approached into Germany, Maximilian the emperor deceased in the month of January, A.D. 1519. At that time two there were who stood for the election; to wit, Francis the French king, and Charles king of Spain, who was also duke of Austria, and duke of Burgundy. To make this matter short, through the means of Frederic prince-elector (who having the offer of the preferment, refused the same), the election fell to Charles, called Charles V, surnamed Prudence: which was about the end of August.
In the month of June before, there was a public disputation ordained at Leipsic 204 , which is a city in Misnia, under the dominion of George duke of Saxony, uncle to duke Frederic. This disputation first began through the occasion of John Eckius, a friar, and Andreas Carolostadt, doctor of Wittenberg. This Eckius had impugned certain propositions or conclusions of Martin Luther, which he had written the year before touching the pope’s pardons. Against him Carolostadt wrote in defense of Luther.
Eckius again, to answer Carolostadt, set forth an apology, which apology Carolostadt confuted by writing. Upon this began the disputation, with safe-conduct granted by duke George to all and singular persons that would resort to the same. To this disputation came also Martin Luther, with Philip Melancthon, who, not past a year before, was newly come to Wittenberg; Luther not thinking then to dispute in any matter, because of his appellation above-mentioned, but only to hear what there was said and done.
First, before the entry into the disputation it was agreed, that the acts should be penned by notaries, and after divulged abroad. But Eckius afterwards went back from that, pretending that the penning of the notaries would be a hinderance and a stay unto them, whereby the heat of them in their reasoning should the more languish, and their vehemency abate. But Carolostadt without notaries would not dispute. The sum of their disputations was reduced to certain conclusions; amongst which, came first in question to dispute of freewill, which the Greeks call aujqai>reton that is, “Whether a man have of himself any election or purpose to do that which is good:” or (to use the terms of the school) “Whether a man of congruence may deserve grace, doing that which in him doth lie?” Herein when the question was to be discussed, what the will of man may do of itself without grace, they, through heat of contention (as the manner is), fell into other by-matters and ambages 205 15 little or nothing appertaining to that which Carolostadt proposed. Eckius affirmed, that the pure strength to do good is not in man’s will, but is given of God to man, to take interest and increase of man again, which first he seemed to deny.
Then, being asked of Carolostadt, whether the whole and full good work that is in man proceedeth of God; to this he answered, “the whole good work, but not wholly:” granting, that the will is moved of God; but to consent, to be in man’s power. Against this reasoned Carolostadt, alleging certain places of Austin, and especially of St. Paul, who saith, that God worketh in us both to will, and to perform. (Philippians 2:3) And this sentence of Carolostadt seemed to overcome. Eckius, for his assertion, inferred certain exscripts 206 out of Bernard, which seemed little to the purpose. And thus was a whole week lost about this contentious and sophistical altercation between Eckius and Carolostadt.
Luther (as was said) 207 came, not thinking at all to dispute; but, having free liberty granted by the duke, and under the pope’s authority, was provoked, and forced against his will, to dispute with Eckius. The matter of their controversy was about the authority of the bishop of Rome. Here is first to be admonished, that Luther before had set forth in writing this doctrine: that they that do attribute the pre-eminency to the church of Rome, have no foundation for them, but out of the pope’s decrees, set forth not much past four hundred years heretofore: which decrees he affirmed to be contrary to all ancient histories, above a thousand years past; contrary also to the holy Scriptures, and unto the Nicene council.
Against this assertion Eckius set up a contrary conclusion; saying, that those who hold that the supremacy and pre-eminency of the church of Rome above all other churches was not before the time of pope Silvester I, do err, forasmuch as they that succeeded in the see and faith of Peter, were always received for the successors of Peter, and vicars of Christ on earth.
This being the last of all the themes of Eckius, yet thought he chiefly to begin with this against Luther, to bring him into more displeasure with the bishop of Rome; wherein Luther himself much refused to dispute, alleging that matter to be more odious than necessary for that present time, and that also, for the bishop of Rome’s sake, he had much rather keep silence in the same. Whereunto, if he must needs be urged, he would the fault should be understood of all men to be where it was: namely, in his adversaries who provoked him thereunto, and not in himself. Eckius again, clearing himself, translateth all the fault unto Luther, who first, in his treatise ‘De Indulgentiis Papre’ defended, that before pope Silvester’s time the church of Rome had no place of majority or pre-eminence above other churches: and also, before the cardinal Cajetan affirmed, that pope Pelagius wrested many places of the Scripture out of their proper sense unto his own affection and purpose: “Wherefore the fault hereof,” said he, “to him rather is to be imputed, who ministered the first occasion.”
Thus Luther being egged and constrained to dispute, whether he would or no, the question began to be propounded touching the supremacy of the bishop of Rome; which supremacy Eckius did contend to be founded and grounded upon God’s law. Martin Luther, on the other side, denied not the supremacy of the bishop of Rome above other churches, nor denied the same, moreover, to be universal over all churches; but only he affirmed it not to be instituted by God’s law. Upon this question the disputation did continue the space of five days; 16 during all which season, Eckius very nnhonestly and uncourteously demeaned himself, studying by all means how to bring his adversary into the hatred of the auditors, and into danger of the pope. The reasons of Eckius were these: “Forasmuch as the church, being a civil body, cannot be without a head, therefore, as it standeth with God’s law that other civil regiments should not be destitute of their head, so is it by God’s law requisite, that the pope should be the head of the universal church of Christ.” To this Martin Luther answered, that he confesseth and granteth the church not to be headless, so long as Christ is alive, who is the only head of the church; neither doth the church require any other head beside him, forasmuch as it is a spiritual kingdom, not earthly: and he alleged for him the place of Colossians 1, Eckius again produceth certain places out of Jerome and Cyprian, which made very little to prove the primacy of the pope to hold by God’s law. As touching the testimony of Bernard, neither was the authority of that author of any great force in this case, nor was the place alleged so greatly to the purpose.
Then came he to the place of St. Matthew, “Tu es Petrus,” etc. “Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock will I build my church,” etc. To this was answered, that this was a confession of faith, and that Peter there representeth the person of the whole universal church; as Austin doth expound it. Also that Christ in that place meaneth himself to be the Rock, as is manifest to collect, both by his words, and the order of the sentence, and many other conjectures. Likewise to the place of St. John, “Pasce oyes mens,” “Feed my sheep;” which words Eckius alleged to be spoken, properly and peculiarly, to Peter alone. Martin answered, that after these words spoken, equal authority was given to all the apostles, where Christ saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins soever ye remit, they are; remitted,” etc. “By these words,” saith he, “Christ, assigning to them their office, doth teach what it is to feed; and what he ought to be, that feedeth” After this, Eckius came to the authority of the council of Constance, ‘alleging this amongst other articles: “De necessitate salutis est, credere Romanum pontificem Oecumenicum esse:” that is, “That it standeth upon necessity of our salvation, to believe, the bishop of Rome to be supreme head of the church;” alleging moreover, that in the same council it was debated and discussed, that the general council could not err. Whereunto Martin Luther again did answer discreetly, saying, that all the articles which John Huss did hold in that council, were not condemned for heretical; with much other matter more. Again, of what authority that council of Constance is to be esteemed, that he left to other men’s judgments. “This is most certain,” said he, “that no council hath such authority to make new articles of faith.” Here Martin Luther began to be cried out of by Eckius and his complices, for diminishing the authority of general councils: although indeed he meant nothing less, but ever labored to confirm the authority of the same, yet was he called heretic and schismatic, and one of the Bohemians’ faction, with many other terms besides of reproachful contumely. Eckius then granted-the authority of the apostles to be equal; and yet not to follow thereby, the authority of all bishops therefore to be equal; “for between apostleship and ministry,” said he, “there is great difference.”
To conclude, Eckius in no case could abide, that any creature should decline from any word or sentence of the pope’s decrees, or the constitutions of the forefathers. To this again Luther answered, grounding himself upon the place in Galatians 2, where St. Paul, speaking of the principal apostles, saith; “And of them which seemed to be great, what they were before, it maketh no matter to me; for God accepteth no man’s person.
Nevertheless they that were of some reputation did avail nothing at all,” etc.
Eckius to this said, that as touching the authority of the apostles, they were all chosen of Christ, but were ordained bishops by St. Peter. 17 And whereas Luther brought in the constitution of the decree, which saith; “Ne Romanus pontifex universalis episcopus nominetur,” etc. “Yea, let not the bishop of Rome be called universal bishop,” etc. to this Eckius answered in this sort: that the bishop of Rome ought not to be called universal bishop; yet he may be called (saith he) bishop of the universal church.
And thus much touching the question of the pope’s supremacy.
From this matter they entered next to purgatory, wherein Eckius kept no order; for when they should have disputed what power the pope hath in purgatory, Eckius turned the scope of the question, and proved that there is purgatory; and alleged for him the place of Maccabees. (2 Macc. 12:43- 45) Luther, leaning upon the judgment of Jerome, affirmed the book of Maccabees not to be canonical, Eckius again replied, the book of Maccabees to be of no less authority than the gospels. Also he alleged the place, Corinthians 1:3, “He shall be saved, yet so as it were by fire.”
Moreover, he inferred the place of Matthew 5: “Agree thou with thine adversary while thou art in the way with him, lest he commit thee to prison; from whence thou shalt not escape till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,” etc.
Then was inferred the question of indulgences, whereof Eckius seemed to make but a toy, and a matter of nothing, and so passed it over.
At last they came to the question of penance; touching which matter, the reasons of Eckius digressed much from the purpose, which went about to prove, that there be some manner of pains of satisfaction: which thing Luther did never deny. But that for every particular offense such particular penance is exacted of God’s justice upon the repentant sinner, as it is in man’s power to remit or release, as pleaseth him; such penance neither Luther, nor any other true Christian did admit.
And thus have ye the chief effect of this disputation between Luther and Eckius at Leipsic, which was in the month of July, A.D. 1519 209 .
About the beginning of the same year, Ulderic Zuinglius came first to Zurich, and there began to teach; who, in the sixteenth article in his book of articles, recordeth, that Luther and he, both at one time, one not knowing nor hearing of another, began to write against the pope’s pardons and indulgences. Albeit, if the time be rightly counted, I suppose we shall find that Luther began a year or two before Zuinglius. Notwithstanding, this doth Sleidan testify, that in this present year, when Sampson, a Franciscan came with the pope’s pardons to Zurich, Ulderic Zuinglius did withstand him, and declared his chaffer and pardons to be but a vain seducing of the people to inveigle away their money. 18 The next year, which was 1520, the friars and doctors of Louvain, and also of Cologne, condemned the books of Luther as heretical; against whom Luther again effectually defended himself, and charged them with obstinate violence and malicious impiety. After this, within few days flashed out from Rome the thunderbolt of pope Leo 210 against the said Luther, notwithstanding he so humbly and obediently before had reverenced both the person of the pope, and recognized the authority of his see, and had also dedicated unto him the book entitled, ‘De Christiana Libertate:’ that is,’ Of Christian Liberty;’ in which book these two points principally he discusseth and proveth: 1. That a Christian man is free, and lord over all things, and subject to none. 2. That a Christian man is a diligent underling and servant of all men, and to every man subject.
Another book also he wrote, addressed to the nobility of Germany, in which he impugneth and shaketh the three principal walls of the papists: the first whereof is this: 1. Whereas the papists say, that no temporal or profane magistrate hath any power upon the spirituality, but these have power over the other. 2. Where any place of Scripture, being in controversy, is to be decided, they say, No man may expound the Scripture, or be judge thereof, but only the pope. 3. When any council is brought against them, they say, that no man hath authority to call a council, but only the pope.
Moreover, in the aforesaid book divers other matters he handleth and discourseth: That the pope can stop no free council; also what things ought to be handled in councils; that the pride of the pope is not to be suffered; what money goeth out of Germany yearly to the pope, amounting to the sum of three millions of florins. The true meaning of this verse he expoundeth: “Tu supplex ora, tu protege, tuque labora:” wherein the three estates, with their offices and duties, are described; to wit, the minister, the magistrate, and the subjects. Furthermore, in the said book he proveth and discusseth, that the emperor is not under the pope; but contrariwise, that the donation of Constantine is not true, but forged: that priests may have wives: that the voices of the people ought not to be separate from the election of ecclesiastical persons: that interdicting and suspending of matrimony at certain times is brought in by avarice: what is the right use of excommunication: that there ought to be fewer holidays: that liberty ought not be restrained in meats: that willful poverty and begging ought to be abolished: what damage and inconvenience have grown by the council of Constance; and what misfortunes Sigismund the emperor sustained, for not keeping faith and promise with John Huss and Jerome: that heretics should be convinced not by fire and faggot, but by evidence of Scripture, and God’s word: how schools and universities ought to be reformed: what is to be said and judged of the pope’s decretals: that the first teaching of children ought to begin with the gospel: Item, he writeth in the same book against excessive apparel among the Germans: also against their excess in spices, etc.
In this year moreover followed, not long after, the coronation of the new emperor CharlesV211 , which was in the month of October, at Aix-la- Chapelle. After which coronation being solemnized, about the month of November pope Leo sent again to duke Frederic two cardinals his legates, of whom one was Hierome Aleander, who, after a few words of high commendation first premised to the duke touching his noble progeny, and other his famous virtues, made two requests unto him in the pope’s name: first, that he would cause all books of Luther to be burned; secondly, that he would either see the said Luther there to be executed, or else would make him sure, and send him up to Rome, unto the pope’s presence.
These two requests seemed very strange unto the duke; who, answering again to the cardinals, said, that he, being long absent from thence about other public affairs, could not tell what there was done, neither did he communicate with the doings of Luther. Notwithstanding this he heard, that Eckius was a great perturber not only of Luther, but of divers other learned and good men of his university. As for himself, he was always ready to do his duty; first, in sending Luther to Cajetan the cardinal at the city of Augsburg; and afterwards, at the pope’s commandment, would have sent him away out of his dominion, had not Miltitius. the pope’s own chamberlain, given contrary counsel to retain him still in his own country, fearing lest he might do more harm in other countries, where he was less known: and so now also was he as ready to do his duty, wheresoever tight and equity did so require. But forasmuch as in this cause he saw much hatred and violence showed on the one part, and no error yet convicted on the other part, but that it had rather the approbation o. divers well learned and sound men of judgment; and forasmuch as also the cause of Luther was not yet heard before the emperor, therefore he desired the said legates to be a mean to the pope’s holiness, that certain learned persons of gravity and upright judgment might be assigned to have the hearing and determination of this matter, and that his error might first be known, before he were made a heretic, or his books burned: which being done, when he should see his error by manifest and sound testimonies of Scripture revinced, Luther should find no favor at his hands. Otherwise he trusted that the pope’s holiness would exact no such thing of him, which he might not with equity, and honor of his place and estate, reasonably perform, etc.
Then the cardinals (declaring to the duke again, that they could no otherwise do, but that according to the form of their prescript commission they must proceed), took the books of Luther, and shortly after set fire unto them, and openly burnt them. Luther, hearing this, in like manner called all the multitude of students and learned men in Wittenberg, and there, taking the pope’s decrees, and the bull lately sent down against him, openly and solemnly, accompanied with a great number of people following him, set them likewise on fire, and burnt them; which was the 10th of December A.D. 1520.
A little before these things thus passed between the pope and Martin Luther, the emperor had commanded and ordained a sitting or assembly of the states of all the empire to be holden at the city of Worms, against the 6th day of January next ensuing; in which assembly, through the means of duke Frederic, the emperor gave forth, that he would have the cause of Luther there brought before him; and so it was. For at what time the assembly was commenced in the city of Worms, the day and month aforesaid, which was the 6th of January; afterwards, upon the 6th of March following, the emperor, through the instigation of duke Frederic, directed his letters unto Luther; signifying, that forasmuch as he had set abroad certain books, he therefore, by the advice of his peers and princes about him, had ordained to have the cause brought before him in his own hearing.; and therefore he granted him license to come, and return home, again. And that he might safely and quietly so do, and be thereof’! assured, he promised unto him, by public faith and credit, in the name of the whole empire, his passport and safe-conduct; as by the instrument which he sent unto him, he might be more fully certified. Wherefore, without all doubt or distrust, he willed him eftsoons to make his repair unto him, and to be there present on the twenty-first day after the receipt thereof: and because he should not misdoubt fraud or injury herein, the emperor assured unto him his warrant and promise.
Martin Luther being thus provided for his safe-conduct by the emperor, after he had been first accursed at Rome upon Maunday Thursday by the pope’s censure, shortly after Easter speedeth his journey toward the emperor at Worms, where the said Luther, appearing before the emperor and all the states of Germany, how constantly he stuck to the truth, and defended himself, and answered his adversaries, and what adversaries he had, here followeth in full history, with the acts and doings which there happened; according as in our former edition partly was before described.
THE ACTS AND DOINGS OF MARTIN LUTHER BEFORE THE EMPEROR, AT THE CITY OF WORMS In the year of our salvation 1521, about seventeen days after Easter, Martin Luther entered into Worms, being sent for by the emperor Charles V, who, the first year of his empire, made an assembly of princes in the aforesaid city. And whereas Martin Luther had published three years before, certain propositions to be disputed in the town of Wittenberg, in Saxony, against the tyranny of the pope (which, notwithstanding, were torn in pieces, condemned, and burned by the papists, and yet by no manifest Scriptures, nor probable reason convinced), the matter began to grow to a tumult and uproar; and yet Luther maintained all this while openly his cause against the clergy. Whereupon it seemed good to certain, that Luther should be called; assigning unto him a herald-at-arms, with a letter of safe-conduct by the emperor and princes. Being sent for, he came, and was brought to the knights-of-the-Rhodes’ place, where he was lodged, well entertained, and visited by many earls, barons, knights of the order, gentlemen, priests, and the commonalty, who frequented his lodging until night.
To conclude, he came, contrary to the expectation of many, as well adversaries as others, For albeit he was sent for by the emperor’s messenger, and had letters of safe-conduct; yet for that a few days before his access his books were condemned by public proclamation, it was much doubted of by many that he would not come: and the rather, for that his friends deliberated together in a village nigh hand, called Oppenheim (where Luther was first advertised of these occurrences); and many persuaded him not to adventure himself to such a present danger, considering how these beginnings answered not the faith of promise made.
Who, when he had heard their whole persuasion and advice, answered in this wise: “As touching me, since I am sent for, I am resolved and certainly determined to enter Worms, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; yea, although I knew there were as many devils to resist me, as there are tiles to cover the houses in Worms.”
The next day after his repair 213 , a gentleman named Ulrick, of Pappenheim, lieutenant-general of the men-at-arms of the empire, was commanded by the emperor before dinner to repair to Luther, and to enjoin him at four o’clock in the afternoon to appear before the imperial majesty, the princes electors, dukes, and other estates of the empire, to understand the cause of his sending for: whereunto he willingly agreed, as his duty was. And after four o’clock, Ulrick of Pappenheim, and Caspar Sturm, the emperor’s herald (who conducted Martin Luther from Wittenberg to Worms), came for Luther and accompanied him through the garden of the knights-of-the-Rhodes’ place, to the earl palatine’s palace; and, lest the people that thronged in should molest him, he was led by secret stairs to the place where he was appointed to have audience. Yet many, who perceived the pretense, violently rushed in, and were resisted, albeit in vain: many ascended the galleries, because they desired to behold Luther.
Thus standing before the emperor, the electors, dukes, earls, and all the estates of the empire assembled there, he was first advertised by Ulrick of Pappenheim to keep silence, until such time as he was required to speak.
Then John Eckius above mentioned, who then was the bishop of Treves’ general official, with a loud and intelligible voice, first in Latin, then in Dutch, 19 according to the emperor’s commandment, said and proported this sentence in manner as ensueth, or like in effect: ‘Martin Luther! the sacred and invincible imperial majesty hath enjoined, by the consent of all the estates of the holy empire, that thou shouldest be appealed before the throne of his majesty, to the end I might demand of thee these two points.
First, Whether thou confessest these books here [for he showed a heap of Luther’s books written in the Latin and Dutch tongues], and which are in all places dispersed, entitled with thy name, be thine, and thou dost affirm them to be thine, or not?
Secondly, Whether thou wilt recant and revoke them, and all that is contained in them, or rather meanest to stand to what thou hast written?’
Then, before Luther prepared to answer, Master Jerome Schurffe, a lawyer of Wittenberg, required that the titles of the books should be read.
Forthwith the aforesaid Eckius named certain of the books, and those principally that were imprinted at Basil; among which he nominated his Commentaries upon the Psalter, his book of Good Works, his Commentary upon the Lord’s Prayer, and divers others which were not contentious.
Secondly, whether I will maintain or revoke any thing that hitherto I have devised and published: whereunto I will answer as briefly as I can.
In the first, I can do no other than recognize those books to be mine which: lastly were named, and certainly I will never recant any clause thereof. In the second, to declare whether I will wholly defend, or call back arty thing comprised in them: forasmuch as there be questions of faith, and the salvation of the soul (and this concerneth the Word of God, which is the greatest and most excellent matter that can be in heaven or earth, and which we ought duly evermore to reverence), this might be accounted in me a rashness of judgment, and even a most dangerous attempt, if I should pronounce any thing before I were better advised; considering I might recite something less than the matter importeth, and more than the truth requireth, if I did not premeditate that which I would speak. The which two things well considered, do set before mine eyes this sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein it is said, Whosoever shall deny me before men, I will deny him before my Father. I require then for this cause, and humbly beseech the imperial majesty to grant me liberty and leisure to deliberate; so that I may satisfy the interrogation made unto me, without prejudice of the Word of God, and peril of mine own soul.’
Whereupon the princes began to deliberate. This done, Eckius, the prolocutor, pronounced what was their resolution, saying, ‘Albeit, Master Luther! thou hast sufficiently understood by the emperor’s commandment, the cause of thy appearance here, and therefore dost not deserve to have any further respite given thee to determine; yet the emperor’s majesty, of his mere clemency, granteth thee one day to meditate for thine answer, so that tomorrow, at this instant hour, thou shalt repair to exhibit thine opinion, not in ‘writing, but to pronounce the same with lively voice.’
This done, Luther was led to his lodging by the herald. But herein I may not be oblivious, that in the way going to the emperor, and when he was in the assembly of princes, he was exhorted by others to be courageous, and manly to demean himself, and not to fear them that kill the body, but not the soul; but rather to dread Him, that is able to send both body and soul to everlasting fire.
Furthermore, he was encouraged with this sentence; “When thou art before kings, think not what thou shalt speak, for it shall be given thee in that hour.” Matthew 10.
The next day, after four o’clock 214 , the herald came and brought Luther from his lodging to the emperor’s court, where he abode till six o’clock, for that the princes were occupied in grave consultations; abiding there, and being environed with a great number of people, and almost smothered for the press that was there. Then after, when the princes were set, and Luther entered, Eckius, the official, began to speak in this manner: ‘Yesterday, at this hour, the emperor’s majesty assigned thee to be here, Master Luther! for that thou didst affirm those books that we named yesterday to be thine. Further, to the interrogation by us made, whether thou wouldest approve all that is contained in them, or abolish and make void any part thereof, thou didst require time of deliberation, which was granted, and is now expired; albeit thou oughtest not to have opportunity granted to deliberate, considering it was not unknown to thee wherefore we cited thee. And as concerning the matter of faith, every man ought to be so prepared, that at all times, whensoever he shall be required, he may give certain and constant reason thereof; and thou especially, being counted a man of such learning, and so long time exercised in theology. Then go to; answer even now to the emperor’s demand, whose bounty thou hast proved in giving thee leisure to deliberate.
Wilt thou now maintain all thy books which thou hast acknowledged, or revoke any part of them, and submit thyself?’
The official made this interrogation in Latin and in Dutch. 20 Martin Luther answered in Latin and in Dutch in this wise, modestly and lowly, and yet not without some stoutness of stomach, and Christian constancy; so that his adversaries would gladly have had his courage more humbled and abased, but yet more earnestly desired his recantation; whereof they were in some good hope, when they heard him desire respite of time to make his answer.
LUTHER’S ANSWER TO ECKIUS.
Emperor, and my most magnificent lord, and you most excellent princes, and my most gentle lords! I appear before you here at the hour prescribed unto me yesterday, yielding the obedience which I owe; humbly beseeching, for God’s mercy, your most renowned majesty, and your graces and honors, that ye will minister to me this courtesy, to attend this cause benignly, which is the cause (as I trust) of justice and verity: and if by ignorance I have not given unto every one of you your just rifles, or if I have not observed the ceremonies and countenances of the court 215 , offending against them; it may please you to pardon me of your benignities, as one that only hath frequented cloisters, and not courtly civilities. And first, as touching myself, I can affirm or promise no other thing but only this: that I have taught and instructed hitherto, in simplicity of mind, that which I have thought to tend to God’s glory, to the salvation of men’s souls, *and to the institution of the faithful Christians in all sincerity and doctrine.* Now, as concerning the two articles objected by your most excellent majesty, Whether I would acknowledge those books which were named, and be published in my name; or whether I would maintain and not revoke them: I have given resolute answer to the first, in which I persist, and shall persevere for evermore, that these books be mine, and published by me in my name; unless it hath since happened, by some fraudulent misdealing of mine enemies, there be any thing foisted into them, or corruptly corrected. For I will acknowledge nothing but what I have written, and that which I have written I will not deny.
Now to answer to the second article; I beseech your most excellent majesty, your graces, to vouchsafe to give ear. All my books are not of one sort: there be some in which I have so simply and soundly declared and opened the religion of Christian faith, and of good works, that my very enemies are compelled to confess them to be profitable and worthy to be read By all Christians. And truly the pope’s bull (how cruel and tyrannous soever it be) judgeth certain of my books inculpable; albeit the same, with severe sentence, thundereth against me, and with monstrous cruelty condemneth my books: which books if I should revoke, I might worthily be thought to neglect and transgress the office of a true Christian, and to be one alone that repugneth the public confession of all people. There is another sort of my books which containeth invectives against ‘the papacy, and others of the pope’s retinue, who have, with their pestiferous doctrine, and pernicious examples, corrupted the whole state of our Christianity: neither can any deny or dissemble this (whereunto universal experience and common complaint of all bear witness), that the consciences of all faithful men be most miserably entrapped, vexed, and cruelly tormented by the pope’s laws and doctrines of men; also that the goods and substance of Christian people are devoured, especially in this noble and famous country of Germany; and yet, without order, and in most detestable manner, are suffered still to be devoured without all measure, by incredible tyranny: notwithstanding that they themselves have ordained to the contrary in their own proper laws, as in the nineth and twentyfifth distinctions, and in the first and second questions; where they themselves have decreed, that all such laws of popes as be repugnant to the doctrine of the gospel, and the opinions of the ancient Fathers, are to be judged erroneous, and reproved. If then I should revoke these, I can do no other but add more force to their tyranny, and open not only windows, but wide gates to their impiety, which is likely to extend more wide, and more licentiously, than ever it durst heretofore. And by the testimony of this my retraction, their insolent kingdom shall be made more licentious, and less subject to punishment, intolerable to the common people, and also more confirmed, and established; especially if this be bruited, that I, Luther, have done thin by the authority of your most excellent majesty, and the sacred Roman empire. O Lord! what a cover or shadow shall I be then, to cloak their haughtiness and tyranny. The rest, or third sort of my books, are such as I have written against certain private and singular persons; to wit, against such as with tooth and nail labor to maintain the Romish tyranny, and to deface the true doctrine and religion which I have taught and professed. As touching these, I plainly confess, I have been more vehement than my religion and profession required. For I make myself no saint, and I dispute ‘not of my life, but of the doctrine of Christ. And these I cannot without prejudice call back. For by this recantation it will come to pass, that tyranny and impiety shall reign, supported by my means; and so shall they exercise cruelty against people more violently and ragingly than before. Nevertheless, for that I am a man, and not God, I can none otherwise enterprise to defend my books, than did my very Lord Jesus Christ defend his doctrine; who, being examined of his learning before Annas, and having received a buffet of the minister, said, ‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil’ [John 13].
If the Lord, who was perfect and could not err, refused not to have testimony given against his doctrine, yea of a most vile servant, how much the more then I, that am but vile corruption, and can of myself do nothing but err, ought earnestly to see and require if any will bear witness against my doctrine. Therefore I require, for God’s mercy, your most excellent-majesty, your graces and right honorable lordships, or whatsoever he be of high or low degree, here to lay in his testimony, to convict my errors, and confute me by the Scriptures, either out of the prophets, or the apostles; and I will be most ready, if I be so instructed, to revoke any manner of error: yea, and will be the first that shall consume mine own books and burn them. I suppose hereby it may appear, that I have perpended and well weighed before the perils and dangers, the divisions and dissensions, which have arisen throughout the whole world by reason of my doctrine, whereof I was vehemently and sharply yesterday admonished concerning which divisions of men’s minds what other men do judge I know not; as touching myself, I conceive no greater delectation in any thing, than when I behold discords and dissensions stirred up for the word of God; for such is the course and proceeding of the gospel: Jesus Christ saith, ‘I came not to send peace but a sword; I came to set a man at variance with his father.’ [Matthew 10] And further we must think, that our God is marvelous and terrible in his counsels; lest perhaps that which we endeavor with earnest study to achieve and bring to pass (if we begin first with condemning of his word), the same rebound 217 again to a huge sea of evil; and lest the new reign of this young and bounteous prince Charles (in whom, next after God, we all conceive singular hope), be lamentably, unfortunately, and miserably begun. I could exemplify this with authorities of the Scriptures more effectually, as by Pharaoh, the king of Babylon, and the kings of Israel, who then most obscured the bright sun of their glory, and procured their own ruin, when by sage counsels they attempted to pacify and establish their governments and realms, and not by God’s counsels: for it is he that entrappeth the wily in their wiliness, and subverteth mountains before they be aware. Wherefore it is good, and God’s work, to dread the Lord.
I speak not this, supposing that such politic and prudent heads have need of my doctrine and admonition, but because I would not omit to profit my country, and offer my duty or service, that may tend to the advancement of the same. And thus I humbly commend me to your most excellent majesty, and your honorable lordships; beseeching you that I may not incur your displeasures, neither be contemned of you, through the pursuit of my adversaries. I have spoken.
These words pronounced, then Eckius, the emperor’s prolocutor, with a stern countenance began and said, that Luther had not answered to any purpose; neither behoved it him to call in question things in time past, concluded and defined by general councils: and therefore they required of him a plain and direct answer, whether he would revoke or no? Then Luther said: ‘Considering your sovereign majesty, and your honors, require a plain answer; this I say and profess as resolutely as I may, without doubting or sophistication, that if I be not convinced by testimonies of the Scriptures, and by probable reasons (for I believe not the pope, neither his general councils, which have erred many times, and have been contrary to themselves), my conscience is so bound and captived in these Scriptures and the word of God which I have alleged, that I will not, nor may not revoke any manner of thing; considering it is not godly or lawful to do any thing against conscience. Hereupon I stand and rest: I have not what else to say. God have mercy upon me!’
Martin, thou hast more immodestly answered than beseemed thy person, and also little to the purpose. Thou dividest thy books into three sorts, in such order as all that thou hast said maketh nothing to the interrogation proponed: and therefore, if thou hadst revoked those wherein the greatest part of thine errors is contained, the emperor’s majesty, and the noble clemency of others, would have suffered the rest that be sound, to sustain no injury. But thou dost revive, and bringest to light again, all that the general council of Constance hath condemned, which was assembled of all the nation of Germany, and now dost require to be convinced with Scriptures; wherein thou errest greatly. For what availeth it to renew disputation of things so long time past condemned by the church and councils, unless it should be necessary to give a reason to every man of every thing that is concluded? Now were it so, that this should be permitted to every one that gainstandeth the determination of the church and councils, that he may once get this advantage, to be convinced by the Scriptures, we should have nothing certain and established in Christendom. And this is the cause wherefore the emperor’s majesty requireth of thee a simple answer, either negative or affirmative, whether thou mindest to defend all thy works as Christian, or no?’
Then Luther, turning to the emperor and the nobles, besought them not, to force or compel him to yield against his conscience, confirmed with the holy Scriptures, without manifest arguments alleged to the contrary by his adversaries. ‘I have declared and rendered,’ said he, ‘mine answer simply and directly, neither have I any more to say, unless mine adversaries, with true and sufficient probations grounded upon the Scripture, can reduce and resolve my mind, and refel mine errors which they lay to my charge. I am tied, as I said, by the Scriptures; neither may I, or can I, with a safe conscience assent unto them. For, as touching general councils, with whose authority only they press me, I am able to prove, that they have both erred, and have defined many times things contrary to themselves. And therefore the authority of them,’ He said, ‘is not sufficient, for which I should call back those things, the verity whereof standeth so firm and manifest in the holy Scripture, that neither of me it ought to be inquired, neither can he so do without impiety.’
Whereunto the official again answered, denying that any man could prove the councils to have erred. But Luther alleged that he could, and promised to prove it; and now night approaching, the lords arose and departed. And after Luther had taken his leave of the emperor, divers Spaniards scorned and scoffed the good man in the way going toward his lodging, hallooing and whooping after him a long while.
Upon the Friday following 218 , when the princes electors, dukes, and other estates were assembled, the emperor sent to the whole body of the council a certain letter, containing in effect as followeth.
THE EMPEROR’S LETTER AGAINST LUTHER.
And therefore, in as much as he is not determined to call back his errors in any one point, we cannot, without great infamy and stain of honor, degenerate from the examples of our elders, but will maintain the ancient faith, and give aid to the see of Rome. And further, we be resolved to pursue Martin Luther and his adherents by excommunication, and by other means that may be devised, to extinguish his doctrine. Nevertheless we will not violate our faith, which we have promised him, but mean to give order for his safe return to the place whence he came.
CONSULTATION UPON THE EMPEROR’S LETTER.
The princes-electors, dukes, and other estates of the empire, sat and consulted upon this sentence, on Friday all the afternoon, and Saturday the whole day, so that Luther as yet had no answer from the emperor.
During this time, divers princes, earls, barons, knights of the order, gentlemen, priests, monks, with others of the laity and common sort, visited him. All these were present at all hours in the emperor’s court, and could not be satisfied with the sight of him. Also there were bills set up, some against Luther, and some, as it seemed, with him. Notwithstanding many supposed, and especially such as well conceived the matter, that this was subtly done by his enemies, that thereby occasion might be offered to infringe the safe-conduct given him; which the Roman ambassadors with all diligence endeavored to bring to pass.
The Monday following 219 , before supper, the archbishop of Treves advertised Luther, that on Wednesday next he should appear before him at nine o’clock 220 before dinner, the place to be afterward assigned. On St.
George’s day 221 , a certain chaplain of the archbishop of Treves, about supper-time 222 , came to Luther by the commandment of the bishop, signifying, that at the hour prescribed he must, the morrow after, appear before his lordship at his own hotel.
The morrow after St. George’s day, Luther, obeying the archbishop’s commandment, entered his hotel, being accompanied thither by his said chaplain, and one of the emperor’s heralds, and such as came in his company out of Saxony to Worms, with other his chief friends.
SUBSTANCE OF DR.VOEUS’S ORATION TO LUTHER Dr. Voeus, the marquis of Baden’s chaplain, began to declare and protest (in the presence of the archbishop of Treves, Joachim marquis of Brandenburg, George duke of Saxony, the bishops of Augsburg and Brandenburg, the earl George, John Bock of Strasburg, Verdeheymer and Peutiger, doctors), as followeth:
That Luther was not called to be conferred with, or to disputation, but only that the princes had procured license of the emperor’s majesty, through Christian charity, to have liberty granted unto them to exhort Luther benignly and brotherly. He said further, that albeit the councils had ordained divers things, yet they had not determined contrary matters. And albeit they had greatly erred, yet their authority was not therefore abased; or at the least not so erred, that it was lawful for every man to impugn their opinions: inferring moreover many things of Zaccheus and the centurion, also of the traditions, and of constitutions, and of ceremonies ordained of men: affirming that all these were established to repress vices, according to the quality of times; and that the church could not be destitute of human constitutions. 22 It is true, said he, that by the fruits the tree may be known; yet of these laws and decrees of men, many good fruits have proceeded; and St. Martin, St.
Moreover, he said that Luther’s books would breed a great tumult and incredible troubles; and that he abused the common sort with his book ‘of Christian liberty,’ encouraging them to shake off their yoke, and to confirm in them a disobedience: that the world now was at another stay, than when the believers were all of one heart and soul, and therefore it was requisite and behoveful to have laws.
It was to be considered (said he), albeit he had written many good things, and no doubt of a good mind, as ‘De triplici Justitia,’ and other matters, yet how the devil now, by crafty means, goeth about to bring to pass, that all his works for ever should be condemned. For by these books which he wrote last, men (said he) would judge and esteem him, as the tree is known, not by the blossom, but by the fruit.’
Here he added something of the noon devil, and of the spirit coming in the dark, and of the flying arrow. All his oration was exhortatory, full of rhetorical places of honesty, of utility of laws, of the dangers of conscience, and of the common and particular wealth; repeating oft this sentence in the proem, middle, and epilogue of his oration: That this admonition was given him of a singular good will, and great clemency. In the shutting up of his oration he added menacings, saying, that if he would abide in his purposed intent, the emperor would proceed further, and banish him from the empire; persuading him deliberately to ponder, and to advise these and other things. Martin Luther answered:
THE SUBSTANCE OF LUTHER’S ANSWER TO VOEUS. ‘Most noble princes, and my most gracious lords! I render most humble thanks for your benignities and singular good wills, whence proceedeth this admonition: for I know myself to be so base, as by no means I can deserve to be admonished of so mighty estates.’
Then he frankly pronounced that he had not reproved all councils, but only the council of Constance; and for this principal cause, for that the same had condemned the word of God, which appeared in the condemnation of this article proported by John Huss: ‘The church of Christ is the communion of the predestinate.’ ‘It is evident,’ said he, ‘that the council of Constance abolished this article, and consequently the article of our faith: I believe the holy church universal.’ And further he said, that he was ready to spend life and blood, so he were not compelled to revoke the manifest word of God; for in defense thereof we ought rather to obey God than men: and that in this he could not avoid the scandal or offense of faith; for there be two manner of offenses, to wit, of charity, and of faith. The slander of charity consisteth in manners and in life: the offenses of faith or doctrine rest in the word of God: and as touching this last, he could escape it no manner of ways; for it lay not in his power to make Christ not to be a stone of offense. If Christ’s sheep were fed with pure pasture of the gospel; if the faith of Christ were sincerely preached, and if there were good ecclesiastical magistrates who duly would execute their office; we should not need, said he, to charge the church with men’s traditions. Further, that he knew well we ought to obey the magistrates and higher powers, how unjustly and perversely soever they lived: we ought also to be obedient to their laws and judgment: all which he had taught (said he) in all his works; adding further, that he was ready to obey them in all points, so that they forced him not to deny the word of God.’
These words finished, Luther was bid to withdraw, and the princes consulted what answer they might give him. This done, they called him back into the room, where the aforesaid doctor Voeus repeated his former matters, admonishing Luther to submit his writings to the emperor and to the princes’ judgment. Luther answered humbly and modestly, ‘That he could not, neither would, permit that men should say he would shun the judgment of the emperor, princes, and superior powers of the empire. So far was it off that he would refuse to stand to their trial, that lie was contented to suffer his writings to be discussed, considered, and judged by the simplest, so that it were done with the authority of the word of God, and the holy Scripture: and that the word of God made so much for him, and was so manifest unto him, that he could not give place, unless they could confound his doctrine by the word of God. This lesson he said he learned of St. Augustine, who writeth, that he gave his honor only to those books which are called canonical; that he believed the same only to be true. As touching other doctors, albeit in holiness and excellency of learning they surpassed, yet he would not credit them further than they agreed with the touchstone of God’s word. Further, said he, St. Paul giveth us a lesson, writing to the Thessalonians, (1 Thessalonians 5:21) ‘Prove all things, follow that is good.’ And to the Galatians (Galatians 1:8) ‘Though an angel should descend from heaven, if he preach any other doctrine, let him be accursed,’ and therefore not to be believed!
Finally, he meekly besought them not to urge his conscience, captived in the bands of the word of God and holy Scripture, to deny the same excellent word. And thus he commended his cause and himself to them, and especially to the emperor’s majesty, requiring their favor, that he might not be compelled to do any thing in this matter, against his conscience: in all other causes he would submit himself with all kind of obedience and due subjection.
As Luther had thus ended his talk, Joachim elector, marquis of Brandenburg, demanded if his meaning was this, that he would not yield, unless he were covinced by the Scripture? “Yea truly, right noble lord!” quoth Luther, “or else by ancient and evident reasons.” And so the assembly brake up, and the princes repaired to the emperor’s court.
After their departure the archbishop of Treves, accompanied with a few of his familiars, namely John Eckius his official, and Cochleus, commanded Luther to repair into his parlor. With Luther was Jerome Scuffle, and Nicholas Ambsdorff, for his assistants. Then the official began to frame an argument, like a sophist and canonist, defending the pope’s cause: that for the most part at all times holy Scriptures have engendered errors, as the error of Helvidius the heretic, out of that place in the gospel, where it is expressed, “Joseph knew not his wife till she was delivered of her first child.” Further, he went about to overthrow this proposition: that the catholic church is the communion of saints.
Martin Luther and Jerome Scuffle reproved (but modestly) these follies, and other vain and ridiculous matters, which Eckius brought forth, as things not serving to the purpose. Sometime Cochleus would come in with his five eggs, and labored to persuade Luther to desist from his purpose, and utterly to refrain thenceforth to write or teach; and so they departed.
About evening the archbishop of Treves advertised Luther by Ambsdorff, that the emperor’s promise made unto him was prolonged two days, and in the mean season he would confer with him the next day, and for that cause he would send Peutinger, and the doctor of Baden (which was Voeus), the morrow after to him; and he himself would also talk with him.
The morrow after 223 , which was St. Mark’s day, Peutinger, and the doctor of Baden, travailed in the forenoon to persuade Luther simply and absolutely to submit the judgment of his writings to the emperor and empire. He answered, he would do it, and submit anything they would have him, so they grounded it upon authority of holy Scripture; otherwise he would not consent to do any thing: for God said by his prophet (saith he), “Trust ye not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no health.”
Also, “Cursed be he that trusteth in man.” And seeing that they did urge him more vehemently, he answered; “We ought to yield no more to the judgment of men, than the word of God doth suffer.” So they departed, and prayed him to advise for better answer; and said, they would return after dinner. And after dinner they returned, exhorting him as before, but in vain. They prayed him, that at least he would submit his writing to the judgment of the next general council. Luther agreed thereunto, but with this condition, that they themselves should present the articles collected out of his books to be submitted to the council in such sort, as, notwithstanding, the sentence awarded by the council should be authorized by the Scripture, and confirmed with the testimonies of the same.
They then, leaving Luther, departed, and reported to the archbishop of Treves, that he had promised to submit his writings in certain articles to the next council, and in the mean space he would keep silence; which Luther never thought: who neither with admonitions, nor yet menaces, could be induced to deny or submit his books to the judgments of men (he had so fortified his cause with clear and manifest authorities of the Scripture), unless they could prove by sacred Scripture, and apparent reasons to the contrary.
It chanced then by the special grace of God, that the archbishop of Treves sent for Luther, thinking presently to hear him. And when he perceived otherwise than Peutinger and the doctor of Baden had told him, he said that he would for no good 224 , but that he had heard himself speak: for else he was even now going to the emperor, to declare what the doctors had reported.
Then the archbishop entreated Luther, and conferred with him very gently, first removing such as were present, as well of the one side as of the other.
In this conference Luther concealed nothing from the archbishop; affirming, that it was dangerous to submit a matter of so great importance to them, who, after they had called him under safe-conduct, attempting him with new commandments, had condemned his opinion and approved the pope’s bull.
Moreover the archbishop, bidding a friend of his draw nigh, required Luther to declare what remedy might be ministered to help this. Luther answered, that there was no better remedy than such as Gamaliel alleged in the 5th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, as witnesseth St. Luke, saying; “If this counsel, or this work, proceed of men, it shall come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot destroy it.” And so he desired that the emperor might be advertised to write the same to the pope, that he knew certainly, if this his enterprise proceeded not of God, it would be abolished within three, yea within two years.
The archbishop inquired of him what he would do, if certain articles were taken out of his books, to be submitted to the general council. Luther answered, “So that they be not those which the council of Constance condemned.” The archbishop said, “I fear they will be the very same: but what then?” Luther replied, “I neither will nor can hold my peace of such, for I am sure by their decrees the word of God was condemned: therefore I will rather lose head and life, than abandon the manifest word of my Lord God.”
Then the archbishop, seeing Luther would in no wise give over the word of God to the judgment of men, gently bade Luther farewell; who at that instant prayed the archbishop to entreat the emperor’s majesty to grant him gracious leave to depart. He answered, he would take order for him, and speedily advertise him of the emperor’s pleasure.
Within a small while after, John Eckius, the archbishop’s official, in the presence of the emperor’s secretary, who had been Maximilian’s chancellor, said unto Luther in his lodging, by the commandment of the emperor: that since he had been admonished diversely by the imperial majesty, the electors, princes, and estates of the empire, and that notwithstanding, he would not return to unity and concord, it remained that the emperor, as advocate of the catholic faith, should proceed further: and it was the emperor’s ordinance, that he should within twenty-one days return boldly under safe-conduct, and be safely guarded to the place whence he came; so that in the mean while he stirred no commotion among the people in his journey, either in conference, or by preaching.
He said further, he thanked most humbly the emperor’s majesty, and all the princes and estates of the empire, that they had given to him benign and gracious audience, and granted him safe-conduct to come and return.
Finally, he said, he desired none other of them, than a reformation according to the sacred word of God, and consonancy of holy Scriptures, which effectually in his heart he desired: otherwise he was prest 225 to suffer all chances for the imperial majesty, as life, and death, goods, fame, and reproach: reserving nothing to himself, but only the word of God, which he would constantly confess to the latter end: humbly recommending himself to the emperor’s majesty, and to all the princes and other estates of the sacred empire.
The morrow after, which was April the 26th, after he had taken his leave of such as supported him, and of others, his benevolent friends that oftentimes visited him, and had broken his fast, at ten o’clock he departed from Worms, accompanied with such as repaired thither with him; having space of time limited unto him, as is said, for twenty-one days, and no more. The emperor’s herald, Casper Sturm, followed and overtook him at Oppenheim, being commanded by the emperor to conduct him safely home.
THE USUAL PRAYER OF MARTIN LUTHER.
Confirm, O God! in us that thou hast wrought, and perfect the work that thou hast begun in us, to thy glory: so be it. Martin Luther, thus being dismissed by the emperor, according to the promise of his safe-conduct made, as you have heard, departed from Worms towards his country, April the 26th, accompanied by the emperor’s herald, and the rest of his company, having only twenty-one days granted to him for his return, and no more. In that mean space of his return he writeth to the emperor, and to other nobles of the empire, repeating briefly to them the whole action and order of things there done, desiring of them their lawful good will and favor; which, as he hath always stood in need of, so now he most earnestly craveth, especially in this, that his cause, which is not his, but the cause of the whole church universal, may be heard with indifferency and equity, and may be decided by the rule and authority of holy Scripture: signifying moreover, that whensoever they shall please to send for him, he shall be ready at their commandment, at any time or place, upon their promise of safety, to appear, etc.
During the time of these doings, the doctors and schoolmen of Paris were not behind on their parts, but, to show their cunning, condemned the books of Luther, extracting out of the same, especially out of the book ‘ De Captivitate Babylonica,’ certain articles touching the sacraments, laws, and decrees of the church, equality of works, vows, contrition, absolution, satisfaction, purgatory, free-will, privileges of holy church, councils, punishment of heretics, philosophy, school-divinity, and other points.
Unto whom Philip Melancthon maketh answer, and also Luther himself, albeit pleasantly and jestingly.
It was not long after this, but Charles, the new emperor, to purchase favor with the pope (because he was not yet confirmed in his empire), provideth and directeth out a solemn writ of outlawry 226 against Luther, and all them that took his part; commanding the said Luther, ‘wheresoever he might be gotten, to be apprehended, and his books burned. By which decree, proclaimed against Luther, the emperor procured no small thanks with the pope; insomuch that the pope, ceasing to take part with the French king, joined himself wholly to the emperor. In the mean time duke Frederic, to give some place for the time to the emperor’s proclamation, conveyed Luther a little out of sight secretly, by the help of certain noblemen whom he well knew to be faithful and trusty unto him in that behalf. There Luther, being close and out of company, wrote divers epistles, and certain books also unto his friends; among which he dedicated one to his company of Augustine friars, entitled, ‘De abroganda Missa:’ which friars the same time being encouraged by him, began first to lay down their private masses. Duke Frederic, fearing lest that would breed some great stir or tumult, caused the censure and judgment of the whole university of Wittenberg to be asked in the matter: committing the doing thereof to four; Justus Jonas, Philip Melancthon, Nicholas Ambsdorff, Johannes Dulcius.
The minds of the whole university being searched, it was showed to the duke, that he should do well and godly, by the whole advice of the learned there, to command the use of the mass to be abrogated through his dominion: and though it could not be done without tumult, yet that was no let why the course of true doctrine should be stayed for the multitude, which commonly overcome the better part; neither ought such disturbance to be imputed to the doctrine taught, but to the adversaries, who willingly and wickedly kick against the truth, whereof Christ also giveth us forewarning before. For fear of such tumults therefore, we ought not to surcease from that which we know is to be done, but constantly must go forward in defense of God’s truth, howsoever the world doth esteem us, or rage against it. Thus showed they their judgment to duke Frederic.
It happened moreover about the same year and time, that king Henry also, pretending an occasion to impugn the book ‘ De Captivitate Babylonica,’ wrote against Luther. In which book, first, he reproved Luther’s opinion about the pope’s pardons; secondly, he defendeth the supremacy of the bishop of Rome; thirdly, he laboreth to refell all his doctrine of the sacraments of the church.
This book, albeit it carried the king’s name in the title, yet it was another that ministered the motion, another that framed the style. But whosoever had the labor of this book, the king had the thanks and also the reward; for consequently upon the same, the bishop of Rome gave to the said king Henry, for the style against Luther, the style and title of Defender of the Christian Faith;’ and to his successors for ever. Shortly after this, within the compass of the same year, pope Leo 227 , after he had warred against the Frenchmen, and had gotten from them, through the emperor’s aid, the cities of Parma, Placentia, and Milan, he, sitting at supper, and rejoicing at three great gifts that God had bestowed upon him: first, that he, being banished out of his country, was restored to Florence again with glory; secondly, that he had deserved to be called apostolic; thirdly, that he had driven the Frenchmen out of Italy: After he had spoken these words, he was stricken with sudden fever, and died shortly after, being of the age of forty-seven years: albeit some suspect that he died of poison. Successor to him was pope Adrian VI228 , schoolmaster some time to Charles the emperor, who lived not much above one year and a half in his papacy; during whose small time these three especial things were incident: a great pestilence in Rome, wherein above a hundred thousand were consumed; the loss of Rhodes by the Turk; and the capital war which the said pope Adrian, with the emperor, and the Venetians, and the king of England, did hold against Francis the French king. This pope Adrian was a German born, brought up at Louvain, and as in learning he exceeded the common sort of popes, so in moderation of life and manners he seemed not altogether so intemperate as some other popes have been: and yet, like a right pope, nothing degenerating from his see, he was a mortal enemy against Martin Luther and his partakers. In his time, shortly after the council of Worms was broken up, another meeting or assembly was appointed by the emperor at Nuremberg, of the princes, nobles, and states of Germany, A.D. 1522.
Unto this assembly the said Adrian sent his letters in manner of a brief, with an instruction also unto his legate Cheregatus, to inform him how to proceed, and what causes to allege against Luther, before the princes there assembled. His letters, with the instruction sent, because they are so hypocritically shadowed over with a fair show and color of painted zeal and religion, and bear resemblance of great truth and care of the church, able to deceive the outward ears of those who are not inwardly in true religion instructed: I thought therefore to give the reader a sight thereof, to the intent that by the experience of them he may learn hereafter, in eases like, to be prudent and circumspect in not believing over-rashly the smooth talk or pretensed persuasions of men, especially in church matters, unless they carry with them the simplicity of plain truth; going not upon terms, but grounded upon the word and revealed will of God, with particular demonstrations, proving that by the Scripture which they pretend to persuade. First, the letter of this pope, conceived and directed against Luther, proceedeth to this effect:
POPE ADRIAN THE SIXTH, TO THE RENOWNED PRINCES OF GERMANY, AND TO THE PEERS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
Right honorable brethren, and dear children, greeting and apostolic benediction. After that we were first promoted (through God’s divine providence) to the office of the see apostolic, he who hath so advanced us is our witness, how we, both day and night revolving in our minds, did cogitate nothing more than how to satisfy the parts of a good pastor, in attending to the health and cure of the flock, both universally and singularly committed unto us: so that there is no one particular sheep through the whole universal flock so infected, so sick, or so far gone astray, whom our desire is not to recover, to seek out, and to reduce into the Lord’s fold again. 25 And chiefly, from the first beginning of our pastoral function, our care hath always been, as well by our messengers, as by our daily letters, how to reclaim the minds of Christian princes from the intestine wars and dissensions among themselves to peace and concord; or at least, if they would needs fight, that they would convert their strength and armor against the common enemies of our faith. And to declare this not only in word, but rather in deed, God doth know with what charges and expenses we have burdened ourselves, to extend our subsidy and relief to the soldiers of Rhodes for defense of themselves, and of the Christian faith, against the Turkish tyranny, by which they were besieged.
And now, to bend our care from these foreign matters, and to consider our inward troubles at home, we hear, to the great grief of our heart, that Martin Luther, a new raiser-up of old and damnable heresies,26 first after the fatherly advertisements of the see apostolic; then after the sentence also of condemnation awarded against him, and that by the assent and consent of the best learned, and of sundry universities also; and lastly, after the imperial decree of our well-beloved son Charles, elect emperor of the Romans, and catholic king of Spain, being divulged through the whole nation of Germany; yet hath neither been by order restrained, nor of himself hath refrained from his madness begun, but daily more and more, forgetting and contemning all Christian charity and godliness, teaseth not to disturb and replenish the world with new books, fraught full of errors, heresies, contumelies and sedition (whether of his own head, or by the help of others), and to infect the country of Germany, and other regions about, with this pestilence; and endeavoureth still to corrupt simple souls and manners of men, with the poison of his pestiferous tongue. And (which is worst of all) hath for his fautors and supporters, not of the vulgar sort only, but also divers personages of the nobility; insomuch that they have begun also to invade the goods of priests (which perhaps is the chief ground of this stir begun) contrary to the obedience which they owe to ecclesiastical and temporal persons, and now also at last have grown unto civil war and dissension among themselves.
Which thing how unfortunately it falleth out now, at this present season, especially amongst us Christians, you may soon repute with yourselves, and consider. For although the apostle hath told us before, (1 Corinthians 11:19) That heresies must needs, be, that they which be tried may be made manifest, etc., yet was there never time, either so unconvenient to raise up heresies, or so necessary for the repressing thereof when any such are raised, as now: For whereas the devil, the perpetual enemy of mankind, roaring in the shape of a lion, by the power of the Turks doth continually invade the flock of Christ; how can we then resist the violent invasions of him oppressing us without, so long as we nourish at home the same devil, under the color of a wily dragon, sowing such heresies, discords, and seditions among ourselves?
And albeit it were in our power easily to vanquish these foreign adversaries, yet were that but labor lost, serving to no profit, to subdue our enemies without, and at home with heresies and schisms to be divided.
We remember, before the time of our papacy, when we were in Spain, many things we heard then of Luther, and of his perverse doctrine; which rumors and tidings, although of themselves they were grievous to be heard, yet more grievous they were for this, because they proceeded out of that country, where we ourself, after the flesh, took our first beginning. But yet this comfort we had, supposing that either for the iniquity, or else for the foolishness thereof being so manifest, this doctrine would not long hold; reputing thus with ourself, that such pestiferous plants, translated from other countries to Germany, would never grow up to any proof in that ground, which was ever wont to be a weeder out of all heresies and infidelity. But now, since this evil tree (whether by God’s judgment correcting the sins of the people, or by the negligence of such as first should have resisted such beginnings) hath so enlarged, and spread its branches so far; you therefore, both princes and people of Germany, must this consider and provide, lest you, who, at the first springing up of this evil, might peradventure be excused, as no doers thereof, now, through this your overmuch sufferance, might be found inexcusable, and seem to consent to that which you do not resist.
Here we omit and pass over, what enormity, and more than enormity that is, that such a great and so devout, a nation., should by one friar (who, relinquishing the catholic faith and Christian religion, which he before professed, playeth the Apostate, and hath lied to God), be now seduced from that way, which first Christ our Redeemer 28 and his blessed apostles have opened unto us; which so many martyrs, so many holy fathers, so many great learned men, and also your own fore-elders, and old ancestors have always hitherto walked in; as though Luther only had all wit and cunning: as though he only now first had received the Holy Ghost (as the heretic Montanus used to boast of himself); or as though the church (from which Christ our Savior promised himself never to depart) hath erred hitherto always in dark shadows of ignorance and perdition, till now it should be illuminate with new resplendent beams of Luther. All which things there is no doubt but to such as have judgment, will seem ridiculous, but yet may be pernicious to simple and ignorant minds; and to others, who, being weary of all good order, do gape still for new changes, may breed matter and occasion of such mischiefs, as partly yourselves have experience already. And therefore do you not consider, O princes and people of Germany! that these be but prefaces and preambles to those evils and mischiefs which Luther, with the sect of his Lutherans, do intend and purpose hereafter? Do you not see plainly, and perceive with your eyes, that this defending of the verity of the Gospel, first begun by the Lutherans to be pretended, is now manifest to be but an invention to spoil your goods, which they have long intended? 29 or do you think that these sons of iniquity do tend to any other thing, than under the name of liberty to supplant obedience, and so to open a general license to every man to do what him listeth? 30 And suppose you that they will any thing regard your commandments, or esteem your laws, who so contemptuously viliped the holy canons and decrees of the fathers, yea, and the most holy councils also (to whose authority the emperor’s laws have always given room and place), and not only vilipend them, but also, with a diabolical audacity, have not feared to rend them in pieces, and set them on a lighted fire? 31 They who refuse to render due obedience to priests, to bishops, yea, to the high bishop of all, and who daily before your own faces make their booties of church-goods, and of things consecrated to God; think ye that they will refrain their sacrilegious hands from the spoil of laymen’s goods? yea, that they will not pluck from you whatsoever they can rap or reave? Finally, to conclude, how can you hope that they will more spare you? 32 or hold their murdering hands from your throats, who have been so bold to vex, to kill, to slay the Lord’s anointed, who are not to be touched? Nay, think you not contrary, but this miserable calamity will at length redound upon you, your goods, your houses, wives, children, dominions, possessions, and these your temples which you hallow and reverence; except you provide some speedy remedy against the same.
Wherefore we exhort your fraternities, nobilities, and devotions of all and singular in the Lord, and beseech you for Christian charity and religion (for which religion your forefathers ofttimes have given their blood to uphold and increase the same), and notwithstanding require you also, in virtue of that obedience 33 which all Christians owe to God, and blessed St. Peter, and to his vicar here in earth, that, setting aside all other quarrels and dissensions among yourselves, you confer your helping hands every man to quench this public fire, and endeavor and study, the best way ye can, how to reduce the said Martin Luther, and all other fautors of these tumults and errors, to better conformity and trade both of life and faith. And if they who be infected shall refuse to hear your admonitions, yet provide that the other part, which yet remaineth sound, by the same contagion be not corrupted. He, to whom all secrets of men are open, doth know how we, both for our nature, and also for our pastoral office, whereto we are called, are much more prone to remit, than to revenge. But when this pestiferous canker cannot with supple and gentle medicines be cured, more sharp salves must be proved, and fiery searings. The putrefied members must be cut off from the body, lest the sound parts also be infected. So God did cast down into hell the schismatical brethren 34 Dathan and Abiram; and him that would not obey the authority of the priest, God commanded to be punished with death. So Peter, prince of the apostles, denounced sudden death to Ananias and Sapphira, who lied unto God. So the old and godly emperors commanded Jovinian and Priscillian, as heretics, to be beheaded. 35 So St. Jerome wished Vigilant, as a heretic, to be given to the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord. So also did our predecessors in the council of Constance 36 condemn to death John Huss and his fellow Jerome, who now appeareth to revive again in Luther.
The worthy acts and examples of which forefathers, 37 if you in these doings (seeing otherwise ye cannot) shall imitate, we do not doubt but God’s merciful clemency shall eftsoons relieve his church; which, being now sore vexed of infidels, hath her eyes chiefly and principally directed upon you, as being the most puissant and most populous nation that we have in Christendom.
Peter, which here we send unto you, take courage unto you, as well against the false dragon,38 as the strong lion, that both these, that is, as well the inward heresies, as the foreign enemies, by you being overcome, you may purchase to your honors an immortal victory, both here and in the world to come. This we give you to understand, that whatsoever the Lord hath given us to aid you withal, either in money or authority, we will not fail to support you therein, yea, and to bestow our life also in this holy quarrel, and for the health of our sheep to us committed. 39 Other things as touching the matter of Luther, we have committed to this Cheregatus our legate, whom we have directed purposely for the same unto your assembly, whom we wish you to credit, as being our trusty legate.
Datum Romae, apud Sanct. Petrum, sub annulo piscatoris, die Novemb. Anno 1522, pontificatus nostri anne primo.
Given at St. Peter’s at Rome, under the ring of the fisher, the 25th day of November, A.D. 1522, in the first year of our pontificate.
By this letter above prefixed, thou hast, gentle reader! to note and understand, what either wily persuasions or strength of authority could devise against Luther, here not to have lacked. If plausible terms, or glozing sentences, or outward facing and bracing, could have served, where no ground of Scripture is brought, this might seem apparently a pithy epistle. But if a man should require the particulars or the specialties of this doctrine which he here reprehendeth, to be examined and tried by God’s word, there is no substance in it, but only words of office, which may seem well to serve for waste paper. And yet I thought to exhibit the said letter unto thee, to the intent that the more thou seest man’s strength with all his policy bent against Luther, the more thou mayest consider the almighty power of God, in defending the cause of this poor man against so mighty enemies.
Now hear further what instructions the said pope Adrian sent to his legate Cheregatus, 40 how and by what reasons to move and inflame the princes of Germany to the destruction of Luther and his cause, and yet was not able to bring it to pass.
Imprimis, you shall declare to them the great grief of our heart for the prospering of Luther’s sect, to see the innumerable souls, redeemed with Christ’s blood, and committed to our pastoral government, to be turned away from the true faith and religion into perdition by this occasion; and that especially in the nation of Germany, being our native country, which hath been ever heretofore, till these few years past, most faithful and devout in religion: and therefore our desire to be the greater that this pestilence should be stopped betimes, lest the same happen to that country of Germany, which happened of late to Bohemia. And as for our part, there shall be no lack to help forward what we may; as likewise we desire them to endeavor themselves to the uttermost of their power, whom these causes ought to move, which here we direct unto you to be declared to them.
The second cause to move them against Luther, is the infamy of their nation; which, being counted before-time always most Christian, now by these sectaries of Luther is evil spoken of in all other quarters.
The third cause is the respect of their own honor, which notoriously will be disdained, if they who most excel in nobility and authority among the Germans, shall not bend all their power to expel these heresies: first, for that they shall appear to degenerate from their progenitors, who, being present at the condemnation of John Huss and other heretics, are said, some of them, with their own hands to have led John Huss to the fire. Secondly, for that they, or the greater part of them, approving with their authority the imperial edict set forth of late in condemnation of Martin Luther, now, except they shall follow the execution of the same, shall be noted inconstant, or may be thought to favor the same; seeing it is manifest, that they may easily exterminate him if they were disposed. The fourth cause is the injury wrought by Luther to them, their parents, and their progenitors, forasmuch as their fathers, progenitors, and themselves also, have always holden the same faith which the Catholic church of Rome hath appointed; contrary to which faith Luther, with his sectaries, now doth hold, saying, that many things are not to be believed which their aforesaid ancestors have holden to be of faith. It is manifest therefore, that they be condemned by Luther for infidels and heretics: and so consequently, by Luther’s doctrine, all their fore-elders and progenitors who have deceased in this our faith, be in hell; for error in faith importeth damnation.
The fifth cause to move them, is, that they should well advise and consider the end whereunto all these Lutherans do tend; 43 which is, that under the shadow of evangelical liberty, they may abolish all superiority and power. For although, at the first beginning, they pretended only to annul and repress our power ecclesiastical, as being falsely and tyrannously usurped against the gospel; yet, forasmuch as liberty is all their foundation and pretense (by which liberty, the secular power and magistrates cannot bind men by any commandments, be they ever so just or so reasonable, 44 to obey them under pain of mortal sin), it is manifest that their scope is to enfeeble and infringe, as much or more, the secular state also, although covertly they pretend to salve it; to the end, that when the secular princes shall believe this their working not to be directed against them, but only against the usurped domination of the church and churchmen, then the laity (which commonly hath been always against men of the church) holding with them, shall suffer the churchmen to be devoured: which done, no doubt but they will afterward practice the like upon the secular princes and petestates, which now they attempt against our ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
The sixth cause to move and persuade them against Luther, is this, for them to consider the fruits which follow that sect: as slanders, offenses, disturbance, robberies, murders, seditions,46 dissensions, which this sect hath stirred, and daily doth stir up through whole Germany: also blasphemies, slanderous words, scoffings, jests, and bitter taunts, 47 which are ever in their mouths; against which, unless that they shall find a present remedy, it is to be feared lest the desolation of God’s wrath will fall upon Germany, being so divided; or rather upon the princes of Germany, who, having the sword given of God into their hands for the suppression of malefactors, suffer such enormities among their subjects. ‘Cursed is he,’ saith the prophet, ‘which doth the work of the Lord negligently, and holdeth back his sword from the blood of wicked doers.’ Jeremiah 28.
The seventh reason is, that the princes should consider how Luther useth the same way of seducing the people of Christ, as hath the venomous viper Mahomet practiced in deceiving so many thousands of souls, in permitting to them the liberty of those things which flesh desireth, and afterwards in exempting them from such things as be more sharp in the law; but that Luther a little more temperately handleth the matter, whereby he may deceive more effectually: for Mahomet 48 giveth license to have many wives, and to divorce and marry others at their pleasure. This Luther, to draw unto him the favor of nuns, monks, and priests, such as be lascivious in flesh, preacheth that vows of perpetual continency he unlawful; much less to be obligatory; and therefore permitteth unto them that they may marry; forgetting, by the way, what the apostle writeth of young widows, saying; ‘that when they wax wanton against Christ, then will they marry; having condemnation, because they have made void their first faith,’ Timothy 1:12.
These and other such like reasons being opened and laid before them, you shall then in our name exhort the aforesaid princes, prelates, and people, to awake and employ their diligence how to gainstand, first, the injury of these Lutherans toward God, and toward his holy religion: secondly, their villany toward the whole nation of the Germans and their princes, and especially the shameful contumely towards their fathers and elders, whom in effect they condemn to hell. In consideration whereof you shall call upon them to remember themselves, and to proceed effectually to the execution of the apostolical sentence, and of the emperor’s edict; giving pardon to them that will amend and acknowledge their fault: the others, who obstinately persist in their error, punishing with the rod of district severity, according to the decrees of the canons and laws of the church; that, by their example, such as stand may remain in faith, and they that are fallen may be reduced.
And if any shall object again, that Luther was condemned by the apostolic see before he was heard, and that his cause ought first to have been heard and adjudged before he was convicted, you shall answer, that those 49 things which pertain to faith are to be believed for their own authority, and not to be proved. ‘Take away,’ saith Ambrose, ‘arguments where faith is sought: there the fishers, not the philsophers, must be trusted.’ True it is, and we grant no less but that the lawful defense and hearing ought not to be denied in such cases, where the question is of the fact, whether it were done or not; as whether he spake, preached, wrote, or not. But where the matter is of God’s law, or in the cause of the sacraments, there must we always stand to the authority of holy fathers, and of the church. Now all things almost, wherein Luther dissenteth from others, are reproved before by divers councils; neither ought those things to be called into question, which have been defined before by general councils, and the universal church; but ought to be received by faith: for else he doth injury to the synod of the church, who so bringeth again into controversy things once rightly discussed and settled. Otherwise what certainty can there be amongst men, or what end shall there be of contending and disputing, if it shall be lawful for every lewd and presumptuous person to decline from the things which have been received and ratified by the consent, not of one, nor of a few, but of so many ages, so many wise heads, and of the catholic church, which God never permitteth to err in matters unto faith appertaining? And how can it otherwise be chosen, but that all must be full of disturbance offenses, and confusion, unless the things which have been once, yea, many times by right judgment constituted, be observed by all men as inviolable? Wherefore, seeing Luther and his fellows do condemn the councils of holy fathers, do burn the holy canons, do confound all things at their pleasure, and do disquiet the whole world, what remaineth, but that they are to be rejected and exploded, as enemies and perturbers of the public peace?
Further, this you shall say unto them, that we confess ourselves, and deny not, but that God suffereth this persecution to be inflicted upon his church for the sins of men, especially of priests and prelates of the clergy. For certain it is, that the hand of the Lord is not shortened, that he cannot save; but our sins have divided between God and us; and therefore he hideth his face from us that he will not hear us. The Scripture testifieth, (Isaiah 49) that the sins of the people do issue out from the sins of the priests. ‘And therefore,’ saith Chrysostom, ‘Christ, going about to cure the sick city of Jerusalem, first entered into the temple, to correct the sins of the priests, like a good physician, who first beginneth to cure the disease from the very root.’ We know that in this holy see 50 there have been many abominable things of long time wrought and practiced; as abuses in matters spiritual, and also excesses in life and manners, and all things turned clean contrary. And no marvel if the sickness, 51 first beginning at the head, that is, at the high bishops, have descended afterwards to inferior prelates. All we (that is, prelates of the church) have declined every one after his own way; neither hath there been one that hath done good, no not one.’ Wherefore need it is, that all we give glory to God, and that we humble our souls to him, considering every one of us from whence he hath fallen; and that every one do judge himself, before he be judged of God with the rod of his fury. For the redress whereof you shall insinuate unto them, and promise in our behalf, that in us shall be lacking no diligence of a better reformation, first beginning with our own court: that like ‘as this contagion first from thence descended into all inferior parts, so reformation and amendment of all that is amiss, from the same place again, shall take its beginning; whereunto they shall find us so much the more ready, for that we see the whole world so desirous of the same We ourselves, as you know never sought this dignity, but rather coveted, if we otherwise might, to lead a private life, and in a quiet state to serve God, and also would utterly have refused the same, had not the fear of God, and the manner of our election, and misdoubting of some schism to follow after, have urged us to take it. And thus took we the burden upon us, not for any ambition of dignity, or to enrich our friends and kinsfolks, but only to be obedient to the will of God, and for reformation of the catholic church, and for relief of the poor, and especially for the advancement of learning and learned men, with such other things besides, as appertaineth to the charge of a good bishop and lawful heir of St. Peter. And though all errors, corruption’s, and abuses be not straightways amended by us, men ought not thereat to marvel.
The sore is great, and far grown, and is not single, but of manifold maladies together compacted; and therefore to the curing thereof we must proceed by little and little, first beginning to cure the greater and the most dangerous, lest, while we intend to amend all, we destroy all. ‘All sudden mutations in a commonwealth,’ saith Aristotle, ‘are perilous;’ and ‘He that wringeth too hard, straineth out blood.’
And whereas in your last letters you wrote, that the princes complain, how this see hath been, and is, prejudicial to their ordinances and agreements, hereunto you shall thus answer: that such excesses, which have been done before our time, ought not to be imputed to us, who always have disliked these derogation’s; and therefore bid them so assure themselves, that though they had required no such matter, we of our own accord would have refrained the same; partly for that it is good, right, and reason, that every one have that which is due unto him: and partly also that the said noble nation of Germany shall have by us no hindrance, but furtherance rather, so much as in us shall lie to do for them.
And as touching the processes which they desired to have removed away ‘a rota,’ 53 and to be referred down to the parties, you shall signify unto them, that we will gratify them herein as much as honestly we may. But because our auditors are now presently absent from the city, by reason of the plague, we cannot be informed as yet touching the quality of those processes. As soon as they shall return (which we hope will be shortly), we shall do in the prince’s favor what reasonably we may.
Further: whereas we understand, that there he many fresh flourishing wits in Germany, and many well-learned men, 54 who are not seen unto, but be rejected and unlooked to, while in the mean time, through the apostolical provisions, dignities and promotions are bestowed upon tapsters and dancers, and unfit persons; we will, therefore, that you inquire out what those learned men are, and what be their names, to the intent that when any such vacation of benefices in Germany doth fall, we, of our own voluntary motion, may provide for them accordingly. For why? we consider how much it is against God’s glory, and against the health and edification of souls, that benefices and dignities of the church have now so long time been bestowed upon unworthy and unable persons.
As touching the subsidy for the Hungarians, we send no other information to you, but that which we gave you at your departure; save only that we will you to extend your diligence therein, as we also will do the like, in soliciting the matter with the princes and cities of Italy, that every one may help after his ability. These popish suggestions and instructions of the pope himself against Luther, I thought, Christian reader! to set before thine eyes, to the intent thou mayest see here (as in a pattern, and go no further) all the crimes, objections, exclamations, suspicions, accusations, slanders, offensions, contumelies, rebukes, untruths, cavillations, railings, whatsoever they have devised, or can devise, invent, articulate, denounce, infer, or surmise, against Luther and his teaching. They cry, ‘Heresy, heresy!’ but they prove no heresy. They cry, ‘Councils, councils!’ and yet none transgress councils more than themselves. If councils go always with Scripture, then Luther goeth with them: if councils do jar sometimes from the Scripture, what heresy is in Luther in standing with Scripture against those councils?
And yet neither hath he hitherto spoken against any councils, save only the council of Constance. They inflame kings and princes against Luther, and yet they have no just cause wherefore. They accuse him for teaching liberty. If they mean the liberty of flesh, they accuse him falsely; if they mean the liberty of spirit, they teach wickedly who teach contrary: and yet when they have said all, none live so licentiously as themselves. They pretend the zeal of the church, but under that church lie their own private welfare and belly-cheer. They charge Luther with disobedience, and none are so disobedient to magistrates and civil laws, as they. They lay to his charge oppression and spoiling of laymen’s goods; and who spoileth the laymen’s livings so much as the pope? For probation hereof, let the pope’s accounts be cast, what he raketh out of every Christian realm.
Briefly, turn only the names of the persons, and instead of Luther’s name, place the name of the pope, and the effect of this letter above prefixed shall agree upon none more aptly than upon the pope himself, and his own sectaries.
Now to proceed further in the process of this aforesaid matter, let us see what the princes again for their parts answer to these aforesaid suggestions and instructions of pope Adrian, sent unto them in the diet of Nuremberg, in the cause of Luther: the answer of whom here followeth under-written.
THE ANSWER OF THE NOBLE AND REVEREND PRINCES, AND OF THE STATES OF THE SACRED ROMAN EMPIRE, EXHIBITED TO THE POPE’S AMBASSADOR.
The noble and renowned prince lord Ferdinand, lieutenant to the emperor’s majesty, with other reverend peers in Christ, and mighty princes electors, and other states and orders of this present assembly of the Roman empire in Nuremberg convented, have gratefully received, and diligently perused, the letters sent in form of a brief, with the instructions also of that most holy father in Christ and lord, lord Adrian, the high bishop of the holy and universal church of Rome, presented unto them in the cause of Luther’s faction. By which aforesaid letters and writings whereas, first, they understand his holiness to have been born. and to have had his native origin and parentage out of this noble nation of Germany, they do not a little rejoice. Of whose egregious virtues and ornaments, both of mind and body, they have heard great fame and commendation, even from his tender years: by reason whereof they are so much the more joyous of his advancement and preferment, by such consent of election, to the high top of the apostolical dignity, and yield to God most hearty thanks for the same: praying also, from the bottom of their hearts, for his excellent clemency, and the perpetual glory of his name, and for health of souls, and incolumity of the universal church, that God will give his holiness long continuance of felicity: having no misdoubt but that by such a full and consenting election of such a pastor of the universal catholic church, great profit and commodity will ensue. Which thing to hope and look for, his holiness openeth to them an evident declaration in his own letters, testifying and protesting what a care it is to him both day and night, how to discharge his pastoral function, in studying for the health of the flock to him committed; and especially in converting the minds of Christian princes from war to peace. Declaring moreover what subsidy and relief his holiness hath sent to the soldiers of Rhodes, etc. All which things they, perpending with themselves, conceive exceeding hope and comfort in their minds, thus reputing and trusting that this concord of Christian princes will be a great help and stay to the better quieting of things now out of frame; without which neither the state of the commonwealth nor of Christian religion, can be rightly redressed, and much less the tyranny of the barbarous Turks repressed.
Wherefore the excellent prince, lord lieutenant to the emperor’s majesty, with the other princes electors, and the orders of this present assembly, most heartily do pray, that his holiness will persist in this his purpose and diligence, as he hath virtuously begun, leaving no stone unremoved, how the disagreeing hearts of Christian princes may be reduced to quiet and peace; or if that will not be, yet at least some truce and intermission of domestical dissentions may be obtained for the necessity of the time now present, whereby all Christians may join their powers together, with the help of God, to go against the Turk, and to deliver the people of Christ from his barbarous tyranny and bondage; whereunto both the noble prince lord lieutenant, and other princes of Germany, will put to their helping hands, to the best of their ability.
And whereas by the letters of his holiness, with his instruction also exhibited unto them by his legate, they understand that his holiness is afflicted with great sorrow for the prospering of Luther’s sect, whereby innumerable souls committed to his charge are in danger of perdition, and therefore his holiness vehemently desireth some speedy remedy against the same to be provided, with an explication of certain necessary reasons and causes, whereby to move the German princes thereunto; and that they will tender the execution of the apostolic sentence, and also of the emperor’s edict set forth touching the suppression of Luther: To these the lord lieutenant, and other princes and states do answer, that it is to them no less grief and sorrow than to his holiness; and also they do lament as much for these impieties and perils of souls, and inconveniences which grow in the religion of Christ, either by the sect of Luther, or any otherwise. Further, what help or counsel shall lie in them for the extirpating of errors, and decay of souls’ health, what their moderation can do, they are willing and ready to perform; considering how they stand bound and subject, as well to the pope’s holiness, as also to the emperor’s majesty. But why the sentence of the apostolic see, and the emperor’s edict against Luther, hath not been put in execution hitherto, there hath been (said they) causes great and regent, which have led them thereto: as first, in weighing and considering themselves, that great evils and inconveniences would thereupon ensue. For the greatest part of the people of Germany have always had this persuasion, and now, by reading Luther’s books, are more therein confirmed, that great grievances and inconveniences have come to this nation of Germany by the court of Rome: and therefore, if they should have proceeded with any rigor in executing the pope’s sentence, and the emperor’s edict, the multitude would conceive and suspect in their minds, this to be done for subverting the verity of the gospel, and for supporting and confirming the former abuses and grievances, whereupon great wars and tumults, no doubt, would have ensued: which thing of the princes and states there hath been well perceived by many arguments; for the avoiding whereof, they thought to use more gentle remedies, serving more opportunely for the time.
Again, whereas the reverend lord legate (said they) in the name of the pope’s holiness, hath been instructed to declare unto them, that God suffereth this persecution to rise in the church for the sins of men, and that his holiness doth promise therefore to begin the reformation with his own court, that as the corruption first sprang from thence to the inferior parts, so the redress of all again should first begin with the same: Also, whereas his holiness, of a good and fatherly heart, doth testify in his letters, that he himself did always mislike that the court of Rome should intermeddle so much, and derogate from the concordats of the princes, and that his holiness doth fully purpose in that behalf, during his papacy, never to practice the like, but so to endeavor, that every one, and especially the nation of the Germans, may have their proper due and right, granting especially to the said nation his peculiar favor: who seeth not by these premises, but that this most holy bishop omitteth nothing which a good father, or a devout pastor may or ought to do to his sheep? or who will not be moved hereby to a loving reverence, and to amendment of his defaults, namely, seeing his holiness so intendeth to accomplish the same in deed, which in word he promiseth, according as he hath begun?
And thus undoubtedly both the noble lord lieutenant, and all other princes and states of the empire, well hope that he will, and pray most heartily that he may do, to the glory of our eternal God, to the health of souls, and to the tranquillity of the public state. For unless such abuses and grievances, with certain other articles also, which the secular princes (assigning purposely for the same) shall draw out in writing, shall be faithfully reformed, there is no true peace and concord between the ecclesiastical and secular estates, nor any true extirpation of this tumult and errors in Germany, that can be hoped. For partly by long wars, partly by reason of other grievances and hindrances, this nation of Germany hath been so wasted and consumed in money, that scarcely it is able to sustain itself’ in private affairs, and necessary upholding of justice withinitself; much less then to minister aid and succor to the kingdom of Hungary, and to the Croatians, against the Turk. And whereas all the states of the sacred Roman empire do not doubt, but the pope’s holiness doth right well understand how the German princes did grant and condescend for the money of Annates 56 to he levied to the see of Rome for term of certain years, upon condition that the said money should be converted to maintain war against the Turkish infidels, and for defense of the catholic faith: and whereas the term of these years is now expired long since, when the said Annates should be gathered, and yet that money hath not been so bestowed to that use, whereto it was first granted; therefore if any such necessity should now come, that any public helps or contributions against the Turk should be demanded of the German people, they would answer again, Why is not that money of Annates, reserved many years before to that use, now to be bestowed and applied? and so would they refuse to receive any more such burdens for that cause to be laid upon them.
Wherefore the said lord lieutenant, and other princes and degrees of the empire, make earnest petition, that the pope’s holiness will with a fatherly consideration expend the premises, and surcease hereafter to require such Annates, as are accustomed after the death of bishops and other prelates, or ecclesiastical persons, to be paid to the court of Rome, and suffer them to remain to the chamber of the empire, whereby justice and peace may be more commodiously administered, the tranquillity of the public, state of Germany maintained.; and also, by the same, due helps may be ordained and disposed to other Christian potentates in Germany, against the Turk, which otherwise without the same is not to be hoped for. ITEM , Whereas the pope’s holiness desireth to be informed, what way were best to take in resisting these errors of the Lutherans: to this the lord lieutenant, with other princes and nobles, do answer, that whatsoever help or counsel they eau devise, with willing hearts they will be ready thereunto. Seeing therefore the state, as well. ecclesiastical as temporal is far out of frame, and hath so much corrupted its ways; and seeing not only by Luther’s part, and by ibis sect, but also by divers other occasions besides, so many errors, abuses, and corruption’s have crept in; very requisite and necessary it is, that some effectual remedy be provided, as well for redress of the church, as also for repressing the Turk’s tyranny.
Now what more present or effectual remedy can be had, the lord lieutenant, and other estates and princes do not see, than this, that, the pope’s holiness, by the consent of the emperor’s majesty, do summon a free Christian council in some convenient place of Germany, as at Strasburg, or at Mentz, or at Cologne, or at Metz? and that with as much speed as conveniently may be, so that the congregating of the said council be not deferred above one year: in which council it may be lawful for every person that there shall have interest, either temporal or ecclesiastical, freely to speak and consult, to the glory of God, and health of souls, and the public wealth of Christendom, without impeachment or restraint; whatsoever oath or other bond to the contrary notwithstanding: yea, and it shall be every good man’s part there to speak, not only freely, but to speak that which is true, to the purpose, and to edifying, and not to pleasing or flattering, but simply and uprightly to declare his judgment, without all fraud or guile. And as touching by what ways these errors and tumults of the German people may best be stayed and pacified in the meantime, until the council be set, the aforesaid lord lieutenant, with the other princes, thereupon. have consulted, and. deliberated;, that forasmuch as Luther, and certain of his fellows, be within the territory and dominion of the noble duke Frederic, the said lord lieutenant and other states of the empire shall so labor the matter with the forenamed prince, duke of Saxony, that Luther and his followers, shall not write, set forth, or print any thing during the said mean space; neither do they doubt but that the said noble prince of Saxony, for his Christian piety, and obedience to the Roman empire, as becometh a prince of such excellent virtue, will effectually condescend to the same. ITEM , That the said lord lieutenant and princes shall labor so with the preachers of Germany, that they shall not in their sermons teach or blow into the people’s ears such matters, whereby the multitude may be moved to rebellion or uproar, or be induced into error; and that they shall preach and teach nothing but the true, pure, sincere, and holy gospel, and approved Scripture, godly, mildly, and Christianly, according to the doctrine and exposition of the Scripture; being approved and received of Christ’s church, abstaining from all such things as are better unknown than learned of the people, and which to be subtlety searched, or deeply discussed, it is not expedient. Also, that they shall move no contention or disputation among the vulgar sort; but whatsoever hangeth in controversy, the same they shall reserve to the determination of the council to come. ITEM , The archbishops, bishops, and other prelates within their dioceses, shall assign godly and learned men, having good judgment in the Scripture, who shall diligently and faithfully attend upon such preachers: and if they shall perceive the said preachers either to have erred, or to have uttered any thing inconveniently, they shall godly, mildly, and modestly advertise and inform them thereof, in such sort that no man shall justly complain the truth of the gospel to be impeached. But if the preachers, continuing still in their stubbornness, shall refuse to be admonished, and will not desist from their lewdness, then shall they be restrained and punished by the ordinaries of the place, with punishment for the same convenient.
Furthermore, the said princes and nobles shall provide and undertake, so much as shall be possible, that, from henceforth, during the aforesaid time, no new book shall be printed, especially none of these famous libels, 57 neither shall they privily or apertly be sold. Also order shall be taken amongst all potentates, that if any shall set out, sell, or print any new work, it shall first be seen and perused of certain godly, learned, and discreet men appointed for the same; so that if it be not admitted and approved by them, it shall not be permitted to be published in print, or to come abroad.
Thus, by these means, they hope well, that the tumults, errors, and offenses among the people, shall cease; especially if the pope’s holiness himself shall begin with an orderly and due reformation, in the aforesaid grievances above mentioned, and will procure such a free and Christian council as hath been said; and so shall the people be well contented and satisfied. Or if the tumult shall not so fully be calmed as they desire, yet the greater part thus will be quieted; for all such as be honest and good men, no doubt, will be in great expectation of that general council, so shortly, and now ready at hand, to come. Finally, as concerning priests who contract matrimony, and religious men leaving their cloisters, whereof intimation was also made by the apostolical legate, the aforesaid princes do consider, that forasmuch as in the civil law there is no penalty for them ordained, they shall be referred to the canonical constitutions, to be punished thereafter accordingly; that is, by the loss of their benefices and privileges, or other condign censures: and that the said ordinaries shall in no case be stopped or inhibited by the secular powers, from the correction of such: but that they shall add their help and favor to the maintenance of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and shall direct out their public edicts and precepts, that none shall impeach or prohibit the said ordinaries in their ecclesiastical castigation, upon such transgressors to be administered.
To conclude; the redoubted prince, the lord lieutenant, and other princes, estates, and orders of the public empire, vehemently and most heartily do pray and beseech, that the pope’s holiness, and the reverend lord his legate will accept and take all the premises to be no otherwise spoken and meant, than of a good, free, sincere, and a Christian mind: neither is there any thing that all the aforesaid princes, estates, and nobles, do more wish and desire, than the furtherance and prosperous estate of the holy catholic church of Rome, and of his holiness; to whose wishes, desires, and obedience, they offer and commend themselves most readily and obsequiously, as faithful children. Thus hast thou, loving reader! the full discourse both of the pope’s letter, and of his legate’s instructions, with the, answer also of the states of Germany to the said letter and instructions to them exhibited in the diet of Nuremberg: in which diet what was concluded, and what order and consultation were taken, first touching the grievances of Germany, which they exhibited to the pope, then concerning a general council to be called in Germany, also for printing, preaching, and for priests’ marriage, hath been likewise declared, etc. 59 the occasion of this matter, moved against priests’ marriage, came first by the ministers of Strasburg, who about this time began to take wives, and therefore were cited by the bishop of Strasburg to appear before him at a certain day, as violators of the laws of holy church, the holy fathers, the bishops of Rome, and of the emperor’s majesty, to the prejudice both of their own order of priesthood, and the majesty of Almighty God: but they referred their cause to the hearing of the magistrates of the same city; who, being suitors for them unto the bishops, labored to have the matter either released, or at least to be delayed for a time.
Long it were to recite all the circumstances following upon this diet or assembly of Nuremberg, how their decree was received of some, of some neglected, of divers diversely wrested and expounded. Luther, writing his letters upon the same decree to the princes, thus made his exposition of the meaning thereof: that whereas the preachers were commanded to preach the pure gospel, after the doctrine of the church received, he expounded the meaning thereof to be, not after the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas, or Scotus, or such other late school writers, but after the doctrine of Hilary, Cyprian, and Austin, and other ancient doctors; and yet the doctrine of the said ancestors no further to be received, but as it should agree with the Scripture.
Secondly, As concerning new books not to be sold nor printed, he expounded the meaning thereof to extend no further, but that the text of the Bible, and books of the holy Scripture might be printed notwithstanding, and published to all men.
And for the prohibition of priests’ marriage, he writeth to the princes, and desireth them to bear with the weakness of men; declaring that branch of their decree to be very hard, which though it standeth with the pope’s law, yet it accordeth not with the gospel, neither conduceth to good manners, nor to honesty of life, etc.
Furthermore, Whereas in the same session of Nuremberg, mention was rundle before of certain grievances collected to the number of a hundred, and exhibited to the bishop of Rome, it were tedious likewise to insert them all; yet to give some taste of a few, I judge it not unprofitable, to the intent that the world may see and judge, not only what abuses and corruption’s, most monstrous and incredible, lay hid under the glorious title of the holy church of Rome, but also may understand, with what hypocrisy and impudence the pope taketh upon him so grievously to complain upon Master Luther and others; when in all the universal church of Christ, there is none so much to be blamed all manner of ways, as he himself, according as by these heinous complaints of the German princes, here following, against the pope’s intolerable oppressions and grievances, may right well appear. These grievances being collected by the princes of Germany at Nuremberg, to the number of a hundred,60 I wish might be fully and at large set forth to the studious reader, whereby might appear the subtle sleights and intolerable frauds of that pretensed church. But forasmuch as it were too long to comprehend the whole, I have thought good to exhibit some part thereof for example, as giving only a certain taste, whereby thou mayest more easily conceive, what to think and esteem of all the residue, which both to me would be tedious to write, and perhaps more grievous to thee to hear.
CERTAIN GRIEVANCES OR OPPRESSIONS OF GERMANY230 , AGAINST THE COURT OF ROME, COLLECTED AND EXHIBITED BY THE PRINCES, AT THE COUNCIL OF NUREMBERG, To the number of a hundred, whereof certain specialties here follow.
FORBIDDING OF MARRIAGE IN DIVERS DEGREES, NOT FORBIDDEN BY GOD’S LAW.
Amongst other burdens and grievances, this is not least to be regarded, that many things are prohibited by men’s constitutions, and many things exacted, which are not prohibited or commanded by any precept of God: as the innumerable obstacles of matrimony invented and brought in, whereby men are forbid to marry in cases of kindred, which stand upon divers degrees: as upon affinity, public honesty, spiritual kindred, kindred by law, and kindred in blood, etc.
FORBIDDING OF MEATS, NOT FORBIDDEN BY GOD’S LAW.
And likewise in forbidding the use of meats, which God hath created for man’s necessity, and taught by the apostle indifferently to be received with thanksgiving. By these, and many other, human constitutions, men are yoked in bondage, until, by money they obtain some dispensation of those laws, at their hands who made them; so that money shall make that lawful for rich men, which is clearly prohibited unto the poor. By these snares of men’s laws and constitutions, not only great sums of money are gathered out of Germany, and carried over the Alps, but also great iniquity is sprung up among Christians; many offenses and privy hatreds do arise by reason that poor men do see themselves entangled with these snares for no other, cause, but for that these do not possess the thorns of the gospel; for so Christ doth often call riches.
OF TIMES OF MARRIAGE RESTRAINED, AND AFTERWARDS RELEASED FOR MONEY.
The like practice also is to be seen in the times restrained from marriage, by the heads of the church of Rome, from the Septuagesima Sunday, somewhat before Lent; when, notwithstanding, both the clergy and the seculars in the meantime will live licentiously, and that openly in the face of all the world.
But this interdict proceedeth to this effect: if a man shall presume so to do upon his own liberty, without compounding. But otherwise, if there be any hope of money, then that which was before unlawful, is now made lawful, for every man to do freely.
And this is also another drawing net, whereby great sums of money are dragged out of the Germans’ purses. Whereupon also hangeth another grievance as great as this; that in suing out a dispensation, the state of the poor and of the rich is not indifferently weighed: for where the rich escapeth many times for little or naught, and goeth clear away, the poor man shall be sure to pay for the shot.
COMPLAINT FOR SELLING REMISSION OF SINS FOR MONEY.
But especially the burden and grievance of the pope’s indulgences and pardons be most importable: when the bishops of Rome, under pretence of building some church in Rome, or to war against the Turk, do make out their indulgences with their bulls; persuading and promising to the simple people strange and wonderful benefits of remission, ‘a poena et culpa,’ that is, from all their sins and punishment due for the same, and that not in this life only, but also after this life, to them that be dead, burning in the fire of purgatory.
Through the hope and occasion thereof, true piety is almost extinct in all Germany, while every evil-disposed person promiseth to himself, for a little money, license and impunity to do what him listeth: whereupon follow fornication, incest, adultery, perjury, homicide, robbing and spoiling, rapine, usury, with a whole flood of all mischief’s, etc.
COMPLAINT AGAINST THE IMMUNITIES OF CLERGYMEN. ITEM , Whosoever he be that hath received any ecclesiastical orders, great or small, thereby he doth contend to be freed from all punishment of the secular magistrate, how great offense soever he do; neither doth he unadvisedly presume thereupon, but is maintained in that liberty to sin, by the principal estates of the clergy. For it hath often been seen, that whereas by the canonical laws, priests are forbidden to marry, afterwards they diligently labor and go about day and night to attempt and try the chastity of matrons, virgins, and of the wives, daughters, and sisters of the laymen: and through their continual instance and labor, partly with gifts and rewards, and flattering words, partly by their secret confessions (as they call them), as it hath been found by experience, they bring to pass that many virgins and matrons, who otherwise would be honest, have been overcome and moved to sin and wickedness. And it happeneth oftentimes, that they do detain and keep away the wives and daughters from their husbands and fathers, threatening them with fire and sword, that do require them again. Thus, through their raging lust, they heap and gather together innumerable mischief’s and offenses. It is to be marveled at, how licentiously, without punishment, they daily offend in robberies, murder, accusing of innocents, burning, rapine, theft, and counterfeiting of false coin; besides a thousand other kinds of mischief’s, contrary and against all laws both of God and man, not without great offense of others, trusting only upon the freedom and liberty of sin, which they usurp, unto themselves by the privilege of their canons. For when they once perceive that it is lawful for them to do what they lust without controlment, then they do not only contemn the civil magistrates, but also their bishops and superiors, whatsoever they either command or forbid them to do.
And moreover, to the intent they may be the more maintained in their mischief and wickedness, contrary to all reason and equity, it is partly forbidden the archbishops and bishops to condemn these malefactors openly, except they be first degraded, which must be done with sumptuousness and pomp: whereby it happeneth very seldom, that those anointed naughty packs do receive condign punishment. Besides that, the bishops are so bound by their chapters, that they dare not punish any person who hath taken orders, by the canonical laws, be the punishment ever so light or small; by reason whereof, the matter so falleth out, that through this unequal partiality between the laity and the clergy, great hatred, discord, and dissension are sprung and risen up. It is also not a little to be feared, that if the clergy, who are the cause of this grievance, and of other mischief’s (which daily they do proceed to perpetrate), have not like laws, equal judges, and like punishment, their offensive life will move and stir up some great tumults and sedition amongst the common people, not only against the clergy themselves, but also against the superiors and magistrates, for that they leave such notorious offenses unpunished.
Wherefore necessity and justice do require, that the said prejudicial privileges of the clergy should be abrogated and taken away, and in their place it be provided, ordained, and decreed, that the clergy, of what order or degree soever they be, shall have like laws, like judgment, and punishment, as the laity have: so that they shall pretend no prerogative or freedom in like offense, more than the laymen; but that every one of the clergy offending, under the judge where the offense is committed, shall be punished for his fact, according to the measure and quality of his offense, in such like manner as other malefactors are, with the punishment appointed by the common laws of the empire. This thing, without doubt, will please the true ministers of the church, such as are honest and learned, and they will not think their power and authority thereby in any case diminished. By this means it shall be brought to pass, that such as are of the clergy only by name, and otherwise naughty wicked men, through the obedience due unto their magistrates, shall be compelled to live more honestly; and all sedition and privy hatred between them and the laity shall be put away; and finally, thereby the laity shall be more moved and stirred to love and reverence such of the clergy as be of a sound life.
COMPLAINT OF EXCOMMUNICATION BEING ABUSED IN THE CHURCH OF ROME. ITEM , at Rome and in other places many Christians are excommunicated by the archbishops, bishops, or by their ecclesiastical judges, for profane causes, through the desire and covetousness of money and lucre. The consciences of men, who are weak in faith, thereby are burdened and brought unto desperation.
And finally, for money and lucre, a matter of no importance is made to tend to the destruction both of body and soul, contrary to the law both of God and man; forasmuch as no man ought to be excommunicated but only for heresy, or for some heinous fact perpetrated; nor to be counted as separate from the Christian catholic church, as-the Scriptures do witness. Therefore the princes, nobles, states, and laity of the sacred empire, desire and require the pope’s holiness, that as a faithful Christian and loving father, he will remove the said burden of excommunication, used both in the see of Rome, and also in the sees of all other archbishops and ecclesiastical judges; and finally decree, that no man shall hereafter be excommunicated, but only for a manifest convicted crime of heresy; for it is too wicked a thing, that faithful Christians, for every light offense touching any temporal goods or gain, or for any other worldly matter, but only for obstinacy of heresy, or some great enormity, should be excluded from Almighty God, and the catholic congregation.
COMPLAINT THAT THE CHURCH IS BURDENED WITH A NUMBER OF HOLIDAYS, WHICH OUGHT TO BE DIMINISHED.
Moreover, the common people are not a little oppressed with the great number of holidays, for that there are now so many holidays, that the husbandmen have scarcely time to gather the fruits of the earth, which they have brought forth with so great labor and travail, being often in danger of hail, rain, and other storms; which fruits notwithstanding, if they were not letted with so many holidays, they would gather and bring home without any loss.
Besides that, upon these holidays innumerable offenses are committed and done, rather than God honored or worshipped: which thing is so manifest, that it needeth no witness. For that cause the estates of the sacred empire think it best and most profitable for the Christian commonwealth, that this great number of holidays should be diminished; which ought rather to be celebrated in spirit and verity, than with the external worship, and be better kept with abstinence from sin.
THE SUSPENDING AND HALLOWING OF CHURCH-YARDS COMPLAINED OF, AS GAINFUL TO THE POPE, AND CHARGEABLE TO THE PEOPLE.
Furthermore, if it happen that two or more do fight without any weapon in a church-yard, only with their fists, or by the hair, though there be ever so little bloodshed, by and by the clergy have recourse to interdictment, and do not suffer any more Christian burials there to be done, before that all the citizens, with great pomp and expenses, do cause it to be consecrated and hallowed again, with no less charge than when, at the first, of a profane place it was hallowed for burial: all which things do redound to the charges and costs of the laity. And though the churches or chapels be ever so little which are so hallowed, yet the suffragans do burden and oppress the simple poor householders, be they ever so bare or needy, with superfluous expenses, and require moreover gifts of the people, which it is not for their ease to give.
Also the suffragans have invented, that no others but only themselves may baptize bells for the lay-people; whereby the simple people, upon the affirmation of the suffragans, do believe, that such bells so baptized will drive away evil spirits and tempests. Thereupon a great number of godfathers are appointed, especially such as are rich, who, at the; time of baptizing, holding the rope wherewithal the bell is tied, the suffragan speaking before them, as is accustomed in the baptizing of young children, they altogether do answer, and give the name to the bell; the bell having a new, garment put upon it, as is accustomed to be done unto the Christians. After this they go unto sumptuous banquets, whereunto also the gossips are bidden, that thereby they might give the greater reward; 61 and the suffragans, with their chaplains and other ministers, are sumptuously fed, Yet doth not this suffice, but that the suffragan also must have a reward, which they do call a small gift or present; whereby it happeneth oftentimes, that even in small villages a hundred florins are consumed and spent in such christenings: which is not only superstitious, but also contrary unto Christian religion, a seducing of the simple people, and mere extortion. Notwithstanding, the bishops, to enrich their suffragans, do suffer these things, and others far worse. Wherefore such wicked and unlawful things ought to be abolished.
COMPLAINT AGAINST OFFICIALS, AND OTHER ECCLESIASTICAL JUDGES.
The officials also of archbishops for the most part are unlearned and unable men; besides that, men of evil Conditions, taking thought for nothing but for money. Also how corruptly they live, and continue in notorious crimes and transgressions, it is daily seen; whereby the laity, whom they ought to correct and punish for their offenses, and instruct in Christian godliness, are not in any point by them amended, but rather by them encouraged and confirmed in their offenses. Besides this, the laity are miserably robbed and spoiled of their goods by these light and vile officials, in whose consciences there is no spark of Christian piety and godliness, hut only a wicked desire and covetousness: which thing the archbishops and bishops, if they were indeed such as they are’ called, that is to say, the pastors and shepherds of Christ, without doubt they would no longer suffer or commit Christ’s flock to such wicked and offensive pastors to be fed and nourished.
COMPLAINT HOW THE ECCLESIASTICAL JUDGES DO ANNEX CERTAIN SPECIAL CAUSES, BEING LAY MATTERS, UNTO THEIR OWN JURISDICTION, AND WILL BY NO MEANS RELEASE RITE SAME, EXCEPT FOR MONEY.
Whensoever any causes are pleaded in judgment before an ecclesiastical judge, either for defiling of virgins, or for children unlawfully born out of wedlock, or for servants’ wages, or any other matters concerning widows, the ecclesiastical judges being called upon by the superiors of the laity who do contend, they will neither defer that judgment, nor by any means will be entreated to remit them to their ordinary jurisdiction.
A COMPLAINT OF THE GAIN THAT ARISETH TO THE CLERGY BY FALSE SLANDERS AND RUMORS.
It happeneth oftentimes that men and women, through sinister and false reports and slanders, are brought before the official or ecclesiastical judge, as men guilty, and shall not be declared innocent before they have cleared themselves by an oath; which purgation so made, they are restored again to their former estimation. And albeit that the damages and costs ought to be repaid again unto such as be so falsely accused, yet notwithstanding, the innocents themselves are forced to pay two guilders and a quarter, for their letters of absolution. And this is the cause why the officials and other ecclesiastical judges do so greedily follow the action of Such unlawful, false, and slanderous accusations, challenging the hearing thereof only unto themselves; which thing, no doubt, redoundeth to the great and most singular hurt and detriment of all men: for oftentimes it happeneth that women, falling together into contention, through anger, hatred, or some other affection, do speak evil or slander one another, and outrage so much, that the one oftentimes accuseth the other, either of adultery or witchery. Which thing being brought before the official, she, who through her anger had so slandered the other, is forced by an oath to excuse and purge herself, that whatsoever injurious or slanderous word she had spoken, came not of any deliberate purpose or intent, but through wrath and displeasure. In like manner the other, who is accused either of adultery or sorcery, is commanded by an oath to declare her innocency, that she is lint guilty of those facts. So that it is evident unto all men, that in such cases, whether they be guilty or not guilty, they must swear, if they will keep their good name and fame. Whereby not only the unlawful lucre of gain and money is sought, but also willful perjury forced, and the secular power and judges letted from the punishment thereof, so that, contrary to all reason, offenses do remain unpunished.
COMPLAINT AGAINST SPIRITUAL JUDGES TAKING SECULAR CAUSES FROM THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE, FOR GAIN OF MONEY.
Albeit there be many causes so indifferent to both jurisdictions, that they may be pleaded and punished as well by the civil magistrate as ecclesiastical judge, notwithstanding it happeneth oftentimes, that when the civil magistrates would exercise their office and jurisdiction in this behalf, they are forbidden and letted by the ecclesiastical judges, under pain of excommunication. Which thing if it should long continue and be suffered, the ecclesiastical judges would shortly take away all manner of causes from the civil magistrate, and his jurisdiction; which is intolerable, and derogatory both unto the emperor’s majesty, and other states of the empire.
And albeit that by the common laws manifest perjuries, adulteries, witchcraft’s, and such other like, may indifferently be punished by ecclesiastical or civil judges for the time being, so that prevention in this behalf taketh place; notwithstanding, the ecclesiastical judges go about to usurp unto themselves and their jurisdiction all such manner of causes: which burden and grievance the civil jurisdiction and power ought not to Suffer.
COMPLAINT AGAINST ECCLESIASTICAL JUDGES INTERMEDDLING WITH CASES OF THE SECULAR COURT, BUT WHO WILL NOT SUFFER THEIR CASES TO BE ONCE TOUCHED OF THE OTHERS.
Moreover, the ecclesiastical judges say, that in such case it is lawful for them to take profane matters into their hands, if the civil magistrate be found negligent in executing of justice: but contrariwise, they will not stiffer that the like order should be kept with them, neither will they permit that in ecclesiastical matters any man may complain unto the civil magistrate for lack of justice, and require the administration of justice at his hand. Albeit they do define all laws generally common, and determine how the canon laws may help and assist the civil, and contrariwise the civil laws the canon.
COMPLAINT AGAINST CERTAIN MISORDERS OF CATHEDRAL CHURCHES, FOR USING DOUBLE PUNISHMENT FOR ONE OFFENCE AGAINST THE LAW.
Forasmuch as it is forbidden both by God’s law and man’s, that any man should be beaten with two rods, that is to say, be punished by two kinds of torments; worthily therefore do all wise men detest and abhor the odious statutes of divers cathedral churches, whereby murderers, both men and women, and other as well light as grievous offenders, have been hitherto vexed and tormented: for hitherto it hath been accustomed, that such as were guilty of murder, and such other crimes (which they call cases reserved unto the bishops), after they had made their auricular confession, were compelled (to their great ignominy and shame) to do penance in the sight of all the people; which penance were not so much to be disallowed, bearing some semblance of the institution of the primitive church, if so be these busy officials (being contented therewith) would not extort more and greater sums of money than were right and lawful, and so punish those offenders with double punishment; wherewithal it is to be marveled how many be offended and grieved. How wicked a tiling this is, and how far it differeth from Christ’s institution, we will refer it to every good conscience to judge.
COMPLAINT OF OFFICIALS FOR MAINTAINING UNLAWFUL USURY.
Moreover they, taking a yearly stipend and pension, do suffer the clergy and other religious persons unlawfully to dwell with their concubines and harlots, and to beget children by them. Both which things how great peril, offense, and detriment they do bring both unto body and soul, every man may plainly see (so that it need not be rehearsed), except he will make himself as blind as a mole.
COMPLAINT OF OFFICIALS PERMITTING UNLAWFUL COHABITING WITH ANOTHER, WHEN THE HUSBAND OR WIFE IS LONG ABSENT.
Furthermore, where it so happeneth (as it doth oftentimes), that either the good man, or the good wife, by means of war, or some other vow, hath taken in hand some long journey, and so tarrieth longer than serveth the appetite of the other, the official, taking a reward of the other, giveth license to the party to dwell with any other person, not having first regard, or making inquisition whether the husband or wife, being absent, be in health or dead. And because these their doings should not be evil spoken of. they name it a toleration or sufferance; not without great offense to all men, and to the great contempt of holy matrimony.
COMPLAINT OF CANONS IN CATHEDRAL CHURCHES, WHO HAVE THEIR BISHOP SWORN UNTO THEM BEFORE HE BE CHOSEN.
This is also unlawful and plainly wicked, that the canons of cathedral churches, in whose hand the principal part of ecclesiastical judgments, synods, and censures do consist, and the canons of other collegiate churches, who have power and authority to choose their superior and bishop, will choose none to their bishop, except he bind himself first with an oath, and plainly swear, yea, and oftentimes is bound, by bond and instruments sealed with their seals, to them and their ecclesiastical judges, that in no matter, be it ever so grievous, intolerable, or dishonest, he shall be against them: and if it happen at any time that they do offend, they may do it also without punishment for him.
COMPLAINT AGAINST INCORPORATIONS OR IMPROPRIATIONS, AND OTHER PILLING OF THE PEOPLE BY CHURCHMEN.
Many parish churches are subject unto monasteries, and to the parsons of other churches, by means of incorporations (as they call them) or otherwise, which they are bound also, according to the canon laws, to foresee and look unto by themselves; whereas they do put them forth unto others to be governed, reserving for the most part unto themselves the whole stipend of the benefices and tithes; and moreover, aggravate and charge the same with so great pensions, that the hireling priests, and other ministers of the church, cannot have thereupon a decent or competent living.
Whereby it cometh to pass, that these hireling priests (for that they must needs have whereupon to live) do with unlawful exactions miserably spoil and devour the poor sheep committed unto them, and consume all their substance. For when the sacraments of the altar and of baptism are to be administered, or when the first, the seventh, the thirtieth, and the year-day must be kept; when auricular confession cometh to be heard, the dead to be buried, or any other ceremony whatsoever about the funeral is to be done, they will not do it freely, but extort and exact so much money as the miserable commonalty is scarce able to disburse: and daily they do increase and augment these their exactions, driving the simple poverty to the payment thereof by threatening them with excommunication, or by other ways compelling them to be at charge, who otherwise, through poverty, are not able to maintain obsequies, year-minds, and such other like ceremonies, as to the funerals of the dead be appertaining.
BUYING AND SELLING OF BURIALS COMPLAINED OF.
It is ordained by the pope’s canons, that burial in the church should be denied only unto those who being known to be manifest and notorious offenders, have departed this life without receiving the sacrament. But the clergy, not regarding those decrees, will not suffer such as by chance are drowned, killed, slain with falls or fire, or otherwise by chance have ended their lives (albeit it be not evident that they were in deadly sin), to be buried in the churches, until such time as the wives, children, or friends of those men so dead, do with great sums of money purchase and buy the burial of them in the church-yard.
CHASTE AND CONTINENT PRIESTS COMPELLED TO PAY TRIBUTE FOR CONCUBINES.
Also in many places the bishops and their officials do not only suffer priests to have concubines, so that they pay certain sums of money, but also compel continent and chaste, priests, who. live without concubines, to pay tribute for. concubines, affirming that the bishop hath need of money: which being paid, it shall be lawful for them either to live chaste, or keep concubines. How wicked a thing this is, every man doth well understand and know.
These, with many other burdens and grievances besides, to the number of a hundred, the secular states of Germany delivered to the pope’s legate; having (as they said) many more and more grievous grievances besides these, which had likewise much need of redress: but because they would not exceed the limits of reasonable brevity, they would content themselves (they said) with these aforesaid hundred, reserving the rest to a more apt and more convenient opportunity; steadfastly trusting and hoping, that when those hundred grievances already by them declared, should be abolished, the others would also decay and fall with them. Of these aforesaid grievances and complaints here is moreover to be noted, that a great part was offered up before to the emperor at the council of Worms; but because no redress thereof did follow, therefore the secular states of Germany thought good to exhibit the same now again, with divers more annexed thereunto, to Cheregatus, the pope’s legate in this present assembly of Nuremberg, desiring him to present the same to pope Adrian.
This was about A.D. 1523; which being done, the assembly of Nuremberg brake up for a time, and was prorogued to the next year following.
In this mean time pope Adrian died 231 . After him succeeded pope Clement VII., who, the next year following, which was A.D. 1524, sent down his legate, cardinal Campeius, unto the council of the German princes assembled again at Nuremberg, about the month of March, with letters also to duke Frederic, full of many fair petitions and sharp complaints, etc.
But as touching the grievances above-mentioned, no word nor message at all was sent, either by Campeius, or by any other. Thus, where any thing was to be complained of against Luther, either for oppression of the liberty of the gospel, or for upholding of the pope’s dignity, the pope was ever ready with all diligence to call upon the princes: but where any redress was to be required for the public wealth of Christian people, or touching the necessary reformation of the church, herein the pope neither giveth ear nor answer.
And thus, having discoursed such matters occurrent between the pope and princes of Germany at the synod of Nuremberg, let us now proceed, returning again to the story of Luther, of whom ye heard before, how he was kept secret and solitary for a time, by the advice and conveyance of certain nobles in Saxony, because of the emperor’s edict above mentioned.
In the mean time, while Luther had thus absented himself out of Wittenberg, Andreas Carolostadt, proceeding more roughly and eagerly in causes of religion, had stirred up the people to throw down images in the temples, besides other things more. For this cause Luther, returning again into the city, greatly misliked the order of their doings, and reproved the rashness of Carolostadt, declaring that their proceedings herein were not orderly, but that pictures and images ought first to be thrown out of the hearts and consciences of men; and that the people ought first to be taught that we are saved before God, and please him only by faith; and that images serve to no purpose: this done, and the people well instructed, there was no danger in images, but they would fall of their own accord.
Not that he repugned to the contrary (he said), as though he would maintain images to stand or to be suffered, but that. this ought to be done by the magistrate; and not by force, upon every private man’s head, without order and authority. 62 Furthermore Luther, writing of Carolostadt, affirmeth, that he also joined with the sentence of those, who began then to spread about certain parts of Saxony, saying, that they were taught of God that all wickedness being utterly suppressed, and all the wicked doers slain, a new full perfection of all things must be set up, and the innocent only to enjoy all things, etc.
The cause why Luther so stood against that violent throwing down of images, and against Carolostadt, seemeth partly to rise of this, by reason that pope Adrian, in his letters sent to the princes and states of Germany, doth grievously complain and charge the sect of Luther for sedition and tumults, and rebellion against magistrates, as subverters and destroyers of all order and obedience, as appeareth by the words of the pope’s letter before expressed: therefore Martin Luther, to stop the mouth of such slanderers, and to prevent such sinister suspicions, was enforced to take this way as he did; that is, to proceed as much as he might by order and authority.
Herein are to be noted by the way two special points touching the doctrine and doings of Martin Luther, especially for all such who in these our days now, abusing the name and authority of Luther, think themselves to be good Lutherans, if they suffer images still to remain in temples, and admit such things in the church, as themselves do wish to be away. The first is, the manner how and after what sort Luther did suffer such images to stand: for although he assented not, that the vulgar and private multitude tumultuously by violence should rap them down; yet that is no argument now for the magistrate to let them stand. And though he allowed not the ministers to stir up the people by forcible means to promote religion; yet that argueth not those magistrates to be good Lutherans, who may and should remove them, and will not.
The second point to be noted is, to consider the cause why Luther did so stand with standing of images; which cause was time, and not his own judgment: for albeit in judgment he wished them away, yet time so served not thereunto then, as it serveth now: for then the doctrine of Luther, first beginning to spring, and being but in the blade, was not yet known whereto it tended, nor to what it would grow, but rather was suspected to tend to disobedience and sedition; and therefore the pope, hearing of the doings of Carolostadt in Wittenberg, and of others like, took his ground thereby to charge the sect of Luther with sedition, uproars, and dissolute liberty of life. And this was the cause why Luther (compelled then by necessity of time to save his doctrine from the slander of sedition and tumult being laid to him by the pope, as ye have heard) was so much offended with Carolostadt and others, for their violence used against images. For otherwise, had it not been for the pope’s accusations, there is no doubt but Luther would have been as well contented with abolishing of images, and other monuments of popery, as he was at the same time contented to write to the friars Augustine for abrogating of private masses.
And therefore as Luther in this doing is to be excused, the circumstances considered; such or the like excuse perhaps will not serve the overmuch curious imitation of certain Lutherans in this present age now; who, considering only the fact of Luther, do not mark the purpose of Luther, neither do weigh the circumstances and time of his doings: being not much unlike to the ridiculous imitators of king Alexander the Great, who thought it not sufficient to follow him in his virtues, but they would also counterfeit him in his stooping, and all other gestures besides. But to these living now in the church, in another age than Luther did, it may seem, after my mind, sufficient to follow the same way after Luther, or to walk with Luther to the kingdom of Christ, though they jump not also in every footstep of his, and keep even the same pace and turnings in all points as he did. And contrariwise, of the other sort, much less are they to be commended, who running as much on the contrary string, are so precise, that because of one small blemish, or for a little stooping of Luther in the sacrament, therefore they give clean over the reading of Luther, and fall almost into utter contempt of his books: whereby is declared, not so much the niceness and curiousness of these our days, as the hinderance that cometh thereby to the church is greatly to be lamented. For albeit the church of Christ (praised be the Lord) is not unprovided of sufficient plenty of worthy and learned writers, able to instruct in matters of doctrine; yet in the chief points of our consolation, where the glory of Christ, and the power of his passion, and strength of faith are to be opened to our conscience; and where the soul, wrestling for death and life, standeth in need of serious consolation, the same may be said of Martin Luther, among all this other variety of writers, what St. Cyprian was wont to say of Tertullian, “Da magistrum;” “Give me my master.” And albeit that Luther went a little awry, and dissented from Zuinglius, in this one matter of the sacrament; yet in all other states of doctrine they did accord, as appeared in the synod holden at Marburg, by prince Philip, landgrave of Hesse, which was A.D. 1529, where both Luther and Zuinglius were present, and, conferring together, agreed in these articles: 1. In the Unity and Trinity of God. 2. In the incarnation of the Word. 3. In the passion and resurrection of Christ. 4. In the article of original sin. 5. In the article of faith in Christ Jesus. 6. That this faith cometh not of merits, but by the gift of God. 7. That this faith is our righteousness. 8. Touching the extern word. 9. Likewise they agreed in the articles of baptism. 10. Of good works. 11. Of confession. 12. Of magistrates. 13. Of men’s traditional. 14. Of baptism of infants. 15. Lastly, concerning the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper; this they did believe, and hold: first, that both kinds thereof are to be ministered to the people, according to Christ’s institution; and that the mass is no such work for which a man may obtain grace both for the quick and the dead. Item, that the sacrament (which they call of the altar) is a true sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord. Item, that the spiritual manducation of his body and blood is necessary for every Christian man. And furthermore, that the use of the sacrament tendeth to the same effect as doth the Word, given and ordained of Almighty God, that thereby infirm consciences may be stirred to belief by the Holy Ghost, etc. 63a In all these sums of doctrine above recited, Luther and Zuinglius did consent and agree; neither were their opinions so different in the matter of the Lord’s Supper, but that in the principal points they accorded. For if the question be asked of them both, What is the material substance of the sacrament, which our outward senses do behold and feel P they will both confess bread, and not the accidents only of bread. Further, if the question be asked, whether Christ be there present? they will both confess his true presence to be there; only in the manner of presence they differ. Again, ask, whether the material substance laid before our eyes in the sacrament is to be worshipped? they will both deny it, and judge it idolatry. And likewise for transubstantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass, they both do abhor, and do deny the same: as also that the communion is to be in both kinds administered, they do both assent and grant.
Their only difference is this, concerning the sense and meaning of the words of Christ, “Hoc est corpus meum,” “This is my body,” etc., which words Luther expoundeth to be taken nakedly and simply as the letter standeth, without trope or figure; and therefore holdeth the body and blood of Christ truly to be in the bread and wine, and so also to be received with the mouth. Uldricus Zuinglius, with Johannes Ecolampadius, and others, do interpret these words otherwise; as not to be taken literally, but to have a spiritual meaning, and to be expounded by a trope or figure, so that the sense of these words, “This is my body,” is thus to be expounded. “This signifieth my body and blood.” 64 With Luther consented the Saxons; with the side of Zuinglius, went the Helvetians. And as time did grow, so the division of these opinions increased in sides, and spread in farther realms and countries: the one part being called, of Luther, Lutherans; the other having the name of Sacramentaries. Notwithstanding, in this one unity of opinion, both the Lutherans and Sacramentaries do accord and agree, that the bread and wine there present are not transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ (as it is said), but are a true sacrament of the body and blood. But hereof sufficient, touching this division between the Lutherans and the Zuinglians. In which division, if there have been any defect in Martin Luther, yet is that no cause why either the papists may greatly triumph, or why the protestants should despise Luther: for neither is the doctrine of Luther touching the sacrament so gross, that it maketh much with the papists; nor yet so discrepant from us, that therefore he ought to be exploded. And though a full reconciliation of this difference cannot well be made (as some have gone about to do), yet let us give to Luther a moderate interpretation; and if we will not make things better, yet let us not make them worse than they be, and let us bear, if not with the manner, yet at least with the time of his teaching; and finally, let. it not be noted in us, that we should seem to differ more in charity (as Bucer said) than we do in doctrine. But of this more hereafter (Christ willing), when we come to the history of John Frith.
Those who write the lives of saints use to describe and extol their holy life and godly virtues, and also to set forth such miracles as be wrought in them by God; whereof there lacketh no plenty in Martin Luther, but rather time lacketh to us, and opportunity to tarry upon them, having such haste to other things. Otherwise what a miracle might this seem to be, for one man, and a poor friar, creeping out of a blind, cloister, to be set up against the pope, the universal bishop, and God’s mighty vicar on earth; to withstand all his cardinals, yea, and to sustain the malice and hatred of almost the whole world being set against him; and to work that against the said pope, cardinals, and church of Rome, which no king nor emperor could ever do, yea, durst ever attempt, nor all the learned men before him could ever compass: which miraculous work of God, I account nothing inferior to the miracle of David overthrowing the great Goliath. Wherefore if miracles do make a saint (after the pope’s definition), what lacketh in Martin Luther, but age and time only, to make him a saint? who, standing openly against the pope, cardinals, and prelates of the church, in number so many, in power so terrible, in practice so crafty, having emperors and all the kings of the earth against, him; who, teaching and preaching Christ the space of nine and twenty years, could, without touch of all his enemies, so quietly in his own country where he was born, die and sleep in peace. In which Martin Luther, first to stand against the pope was a great miracle; to prevail against the pope, a greater; so to die untouched, may seem greatest of all: especially having so many enemies as he had. Again, neither is k any thing less miraculous, to consider what manifold dangers he escaped besides: as when a certain Jew was appointed to come to destroy him by poison, yet was it so the will of God, that Luther had warning thereof before, and the face of the Jew sent to him by picture, whereby he knew him, and avoided the peril. ‘Another time, as he was sitting in a certain place upon his stool, a great stone there was in the vault over his head where he did sit; Which being staid miraculously so long as he was sitting, as soon as he was up, immediately fell upon the place where he sat, able to have crushed him all in pieces, if it had alighted upon him. And what should I speak of his prayers, which were so ardent unto Christ, that (as Melancthon writeth), those who stood under his window where he stood praying, might see his tears falling and dropping down.
Again, with such power he prayed, that he (as himself confesseth) had obtained of the Lord, that so long as he lived, the pope should not prevail in his country; after his death (said he) let them pray who could. And as touching the marvelous works of the Lord, wrought here by men, if it be true which is credibly reported by the learned, what miracle can be more miraculous, than that which is declared of a young man about Wittenberg, who, being kept bare and needy by his father, was tempted by a way of sorcery to bargain with the devil, or a familiar, as they call him; to yield himself body and soul into the devil’s power, upon condition to have his wish satisfied with money. So that upon the same an obligation was made by the young man, written with his own blood, and given to the devil, This case you see how horrible it was, and how damnable. Now hear what followed. Upon the sudden wealth and alteration of this young man, the matter first being noted, began afterwards more and more to be suspected, and at length, after long and great admiration, was brought unto Martin Luther to be examined. the young man, whether for shame or fear, long denied to confess, and would disclose nothing; yet God so wrought, being stronger than the devil, that he uttered unto Luther the whole substance of the ease, as well touching the money, as the obligation. Luther understanding the matter, and pitying the lamentable state of the man, willed the whole congregation to pray, and he himself ceased not with his prayers to labor; so that the devil was compelled at last to throw in his obligation at the window, and bade him take it again unto him: which narration, if it be so true, as certainly it is of him reported, I see not the contrary, but that this may well seem comparable with the greatest miracle, in Christ’s church, that was since the apostles’ time.
Furthermore, as he was mighty in his prayers, so in his sermons God gave him such a grace, that when he preached, they who heard him thought every one his own temptation severally to be noted and touched. Whereof, when signification was given unto him by his friends, and he demanded how that could be; “Mine own manifold temptations,” said he, “and experiences are the cause thereof.” For this thou must understand, good reader! that Luther from his tender years was much beaten and exercised with spiritual conflicts, as Melancthon in describing his life doth testify.
Also Hieronymus Wellerus, scholar and disciple of the said Martin Luther, recordeth, that he oftentimes heard Luther his master thus report of himself, that he had been assaulted and vexed with all kinds of temptations, saving only one, which was with covetousness; with this vice he was never, said he, in all his life troubled, nor once tempted. And hitherto concerning the life of Martin Luther, who, living to the year of his age sixty-three, continued writing and preaching about twenty-nine years. As touching the order of his death, the words of Melancthon be these:
AN INTIMATION GIVEN BY PHILIP MELANCTHON233 TO HIS AUDITORY AT WITTENBERG, OF THE DECEASE OF MARTIN LUTHER, 67 A.D. 1546.
To the scholars assembled to hear the lecture of the Epistle to the Romans, Philip Melancthon recited publicly, this that followeth, at nine of the clock before noon; advertising he gave this information, by the counsel of other lords, for that the auditors, understanding the express truth (forasmuch as the lords knew certainly, fame would blow slanderous blasts every where of the death of Luther), should not credit flying tales and false reports. ‘My friends, ye know that we have enterprised to expound grammatically the Epistle to the Romans, in which is contained the true doctrine of the Son of God, which our Lord, by his singular grace, hath revealed unto us at this present by the reverend father, and our dearly beloved master, Martin Luther. Notwithstanding we have received heavy news, which has so augmented my dolor, that I am in doubt if I may continue henceforth in scholastical profession, and exercise of teaching. The cause wherefore I commemorate this thing is, for that I am so advised by other lords, that he may understand the true sequel of things, lest yourselves blaze abroad vain tales of this fatal chance, or give credit to other fables, which commonly are accustomed to be spread every where.’
Wednesday last past, and the 17th of February, Dr. Martin Luther sickened a little before supper of his accustomed malady, to wit, of the oppression of humors in the orifice or opening of the stomach, whereof I remember I have seen him oft diseased in this place. This sickness took him after supper, with which he vehemently contending, required secus into a by-chamber, and there he rested on his bed two hours, all which time his pains increased; and as Dr.
Jonas was lying in his chamber, Luther awaked, and prayed him to rise, and to call up Ambrose his children’s schoolmaster, to make a fire in another chamber; into which when he was newly entered, Albert earl of Manseld, with his wife, and divers others (whose names in these letters for haste were not expressed), at that instant came into his chamber. Finally, feeling his fatal hour to approach, before nine of the clock in the morning, on the lath of February, he commended himself to God with this devout prayer 234 : ‘My heavenly Father, eternal and merciful God! thou hast manifested unto me thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, I have taught him, I have known him; I love him as my life, my health, and my redemption; whom the wicked have persecuted, maligned, and with injury afflicted. Draw my soul to thee.’
After this he said as ensueth, thrice: ‘I commend my spirit into thy hands, thou hast redeemed me, O God of Truth!’ ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that all those that believe in him should have life everlasting, [John 3.] Having repeated oftentimes his prayers , he was called 235 68 to God, unto whom so faithfully he commended his spirit; to enjoy, no doubt, the blessed society of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles in the kingdom of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost:
Elias,69 the conductor 236 and chariot of Israel, is dead, who hath governed the church in this last age of the world; for, the doctrine of remission of sins, and of the faith of God, hath not been comprehended 237 by human wisdom, but God hath manifested the same by this holy man whom We have seen raised up of God. Let us now love the memory of this man, and the doctrine that he hath taught; let us learn to be modest and meek; let us consider the wretched calamities and marvelous changes, that shall follow 238 this mishap and doleful chance. I beseech thee, O Son of God! crucified for us, and resuscitate Emmanuel, govern, conserve, and defend thy church.
A PRAYER AFTER THE MANNER OF LUTHER.
Let 70 us render thanks unto God, the Eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath pleased, by the ministry of this godly Luther, to purify the evangelical fountains from papistical infection, and restore sincere doctrine to the church: which thing we remembering, ought to join our lamentable petitions, with zealous affection beseeching God to confirm what he hath begun in us, for his holy name’s sake. This is thy voice and promise, O living and just God, eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of all things, and of the church! ‘I will have compassion on you, for my name’s sake. I will do it for myself, yea even for myself, that I be not blasphemed.’ I beseech thee with ardent affection, that for thy glory, and the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ, thou wilt collect unto thyself in the voice of thy gospel, among us, one perpetual church, and that for the dear love of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, our mediator and intercessor, thou wilt govern us by thy Holy Ghost; that we unfeignedly may call upon thee, and serve thee justly. Rule also the studies of thy doctrine, govern and conserve the policies and discipline of the same, which be the nurses of thy church and schools. And since thou hast created mankind to acknowledge and to innovate thee, and that for this respect thou hast revealed thyself by many clear testimonies, permit not this small number and selected flock (that profess thy sacred word), to be defaced and overcome. And the rather, for that thy Son Jesus Christ, ready to fight against death, hath prayed in this manner for us: ‘Father, sanctify them in verity, thy word is verity.’ Our prayers we join with the prayer of this our holy Priest, making our petition with Him, that thy doctrine may shine among men, and that we may be directed by the same.
He wrote certain learned works, wherein he comprised a wholesome and necessary doctrine for men, informing the sincere minds to repentance, and to declare the fruits of the same, the use of the sacraments, the difference betwixt the gospel and philosophy, the dignity of politic order; and, finally, the principal articles of doctrine profitable to the church, lie composed certain works to reprove, wherein he refuteth divers pernicious errors. He also devised books of interpretation, in which he wrote many narration’s and expositions of the prophets and apostles, and in this kind his very enemies confess, he excelleth all others whose works are imprinted and published abroad. Then all Christians and godly minds! conceive what praise he deserved; but certainly his exposition of the Old and New Testament, in utility and labor, is equivalent to all his works; for in the same is so much perspicuity, that it may. serve instead of a commentary, though it be read in the German tongue. And yet this is not a naked exposition, but it containeth very learned annotations and arguments on every part; which both set forth the sum of heavenly doctrine, and instruct the reader in the sacred phrase and manner of speaking in the Scriptures, that the godly minds may receive-firm testimonies of the doctrine, out of the very fountains. His mind was not to keep us occupied in his works; but to guide our spirits to the very springs. His will was, we should hear God speak, and that by his Word true faith and invocation might be kindled in our minds, that God might be sincerely honored and adored, and that many might be made inheritors of everlasting life.
It behoveth us thankfully to accept his good will and great labors, and to imitate the same as our patron, and by him to learn to adorn the church, according to our power. For we must refer all our life, enterprises, and deliberations, to two principal ends: First, to illustrate the glory of God; Secondly, to profit the church. As touching the first, St. Paul saith: “Do all things to the glory of God.” And of the second, it is said in Psalm 22. “Pray that Jerusalem may prosper.” And there followeth a singular promise added in this versicle: “Such as love the church, shall prosper and have good success.” Let these heavenly commandments and divine instructions allure all men to learn the true doctrine of the church, to love the faithful ministers of the gospel and the true teachers; and to employ their whole study and diligence to augment the true doctrine, and maintain concord and unity in the true church.
Frederic prince-elector died 239 long before Luther, A.D. 1525, leaving no issue behind him, for that he lived a single life, and was here, married: wherefore after him succeeded John Frederic duke of Saxony.
Mention was made little before of the ministers 240 of Strasburg, who, because of their marriage, were in trouble, and cited by the bishop to appear before him, and there to be judged, without the precinct of the city of Strasburg; whereas there had been a contrary order taken before between the bishop and the city, that the bishop should execute no judgment upon any, but under some of the magistrates of the said city of Strasburg. Whereupon the senate and the citizens, taking into their hands the cause of these married ministers, in defense of their own right and liberties, wrote, as is said, to their bishop of Strasburg, and caused the judgment thereof a while to be stayed; by reason whereof the matter was brought at length before cardinal Campeius, legate, sent by pope Clement to the assembly of Nuremberg, A.D. 1524.
The chief doer in this matter was one Thomas Murner, a Franciscan friar, who had commenced a grievous complaint against the senate and city of Strasburg, before the aforesaid cardinal Campeius. Wherefore the senate, to purge themselves, sent their ambassadors, thus clearing their cause, and answering to their accusation, that they neither had been nor would be any let to the bishop, but had signified to him before, by their letters, that whatsoever he could lay against those married priests, consonant to the law of God, they would be no stay, but rather a furtherance unto him to proceed in his action. But the senate herein was not a little grieved that the bishop, contrary to the order and compact which was taken between him and them, did call the said ministers out of the liberties of their city; for so it was between them agreed, that no ecclesiastical person should be adjudged but under some judge of their own city. But now, contrary to their said agreement, the bishop called those ministers out of their liberties; and so the ministers, claiming the right and privilege of the city, were condemned, their cause being neither heard nor known. And now if the senate should show themselves any thing more sharp or rigorous unto those ministers, claiming the right of the city, the people, no doubt, would not take it well, but haply would rise up in some commotion against them in the quarrel and defense of their franchises and liberties.
And ‘where it is objected, that they receive priests and men of the clergy into the freedom and protection of their city: to this they answered, that they did nothing herein, but that which was correspondent to the ancient usage and manner of the city before: and moreover, that it was the bishop’s own request and desire made unto them so to do.
To this the cardinal again, advising well the letters of the bishop, and the whole order of the matter which was sent unto him, declared, that he right well understood by the letters sent, that the ministers indeed (as the ambassadors said) were called out from the freedom and liberties of the city, and yet no order of law was broken therein; forasmuch as the bishop (said he) had there no less power and authority, than if he were his own vicar delegate; and therefore he desired them, that they would assist the bishop in punishing the aforesaid ministers, etc.
After much other talk and reasoning on both parts, wherein the ambassadors argued in defense of their freedom, that the judgment should not be transferred out of the city: among other communication, they inferred moreover, and declared, how in the city of Strasburg were many, yea, the most part of the clergy, who lived viciously and wickedly with their women, whom they kept in their houses, to the great offense of the people, shame to Christ’s church, and pernicious example of others; and yet the bishop would never once stir to see any punishing or correction thereof. Wherefore, if the senate (said the ambassadors) should permit the bishop to extend his cruelty and extremity against these married ministers, for not observing the bishop of Rome’s law, and leave the other notorious offenders 71 who break the law of God, to escape unpunished, doubtless it would redound to their great danger and peril, not only before God, but also among the commons of their city, ready to rise upon them.
To this Campeius answered, What composition or bargain was betwixt the bishop and them, he knew not, but surely the act of the one was manifest, and needed no great trial in law of proving and confessing; and therefore they were sequestered and abandoned from the communion of the church, ‘ipso facto.’ 72 As for the other sort of them, who keep women,73 although (said he) it be not well done, yet doth it not excuse the enormity of their marriage. Neither was he ignorant, but that it was the manner of the bishops of Germany, for money, to wink at priests’ lemans; and the same also was evil done indeed. And further, that the time should come when they shall be called to an account for the same; but yet, nevertheless, it is not sufferable that priests therefore should have wives. And if comparison should be made (said he), much greater offense it were, a priest to have a wife, than to have and keep at home many paramours. 74 His reason was this; for they that keep them (said he) as it is naughty which they do, so do they acknowledge their sin: the others persuade themselves that they do well, and so continue still without repentance, or conscience of their fact. All men (said he) cannot be chaste, as John the Baptist was; yet can it not be proved by any example, to be lawful for priests, professing chastity, to leave their single life, and to marry: no, not the Greeks themselves, who in rights be differing from us, do give this liberty to their own priests to marry: 75 wherefore he prayed them to give their aid to the bishop in this behalf.
Whereunto the ambassadors replied again, saying, that if he would first punish the one class of offenders, then might the senate assist him the better in correcting the other: but the cardinal was still instant upon them, that first they should assist their bishop, and then if the bishop would not punish the other crime,76 he would come thither himself and see it punished accordingly.
This cardinal Campeius, how he was sent by pope Clement VII. to the second assembly or diet of Nuremberg, A.D. 1524, and what was there done by the said cardinal, is before signified. After this council of Nuremberg, immediately followed another sitting at Ratisbon, where were present Ferdinand, Campeius, the cardinal of Salts-burg, the two dukes of Bavaria, the bishops of Trent and Ratisbon; also the legates of the bishops of Bamberg, Spires, Strasburg, Augsburg, Constance, Basil, Friburg, Passau, and Brixen. By whom in the said assembly was concluded:
SUMMARY OF POPISH DECREES MADE AT THE COUNCIL OF RATISBON.
That forasmuch as the emperor, at the request of pope Leo, had condemned, by his public edict set forth at Worms, the doctrine of Luther for erroneous and wicked; and also it was agreed upon in both the assemblies at Nuremberg, that the said edict should be obeyed by all men; they likewise, at the request of cardinal Campeius, do will and command the aforesaid edict to be observed through all their confines and precincts: that the gospel, and all other holy Scriptures, should be taught in churches according to the interpretation of the ancient forefathers: that all they who revive any old heresies before condemned, or teach any new thing contumelious, either against Christ, his blessed Mother, and holy saints, or which may breed, any occasion, of sedition, are to be punished according to the tenor of the edict above said: That none be admitted to preach without the license of his ordinary: That they who be already admitted, shall be examined how, and what they preach: That the laws which Campeius is about to set forth for reformation of manners, shall be observed: That in the sacraments, in the mass, and all other things, there shall be no innovation, but all things to stand as in fore-time they did: That all they who approach to the Lord’s Supper without confession and absolution, or do eat flesh on days forbidden, or who do run out of their order; also priests, deacons, and sub-deacons, that be married, shall be punished: That nothing shall be printed without consent of the magistrate: That no book of Luther or of any Lutheran shall be printed or sold: That they of their jurisdiction, who study in the university of Wittenberg, shall every one repair home within three months after the publishing hereof, or else turn to some other place free from the infection of Luther, under pain of confiscating all their goods, and losing their inheritance: That no benefice, nor other office of teaching, be given to any student of that university. Item, That certain inquisitors fit for the same, be appointed to inquire and examine the premises. Item, Lest it may’ be said that this faction of Luther taketh its origin from the corrupt life of priests, the said Campeius, with other his assistants in the said convocation of Ratisbon, chargeth and commandeth, that priests live honestly, go in decent apparel, play not the merchants, haunt not the taverns, be not covetous, nor take money for their ministration; such as keep concubines to be removed; the number also of holy days to be diminished, etc.
These things would Campeius have had enacted in a full council, and with the consents of all the empire: but when he could not bring that to pass, by reason that the minds of divers were gone from the pope, he was fain to get the same ratified in this particular conventicle, with the assents of these bishops above rehearsed.
These things thus hitherto discoursed, which fully may be seen in the Commentaries of John Sleidan, it remaineth next after the story of Martin Luther, somewhat to adjoin likewise touching the history of Zuinglius, and of the Helvetians. But before I come to the explication of this story, it shall not be inconvenient, first to give some little touch of the towns, called pages, of these Helvetians, and of their league and confederation first begun amongst them.
THE HISTORY OF THE HELVETIANS, OR SWITZERS, HOW THEY FIRST RECOVERED THEIR LIBERTY, AND AFTERWARDS WERE JOINED IN LEAGUE TOGETHER. The Helvetians, whom otherwise we call Switzers, are divided principally into thirteen pages. 2 The names of which are Tigurini, Bernates, Lucernates, Urani, Suicenses, Untervaldii, Zugiani, Glareanti, Basilienses, Solodurii, Friburgii, Scafusiani, Apecelenses. Furthermore, to these be added seven other pages, albeit not conjoined together with such a full bond as the others be; which be these: Rheti, Lepontii, Seduni, Veragri, Sangalli, Mullusiani, Rotulenses. Of these thirteen confederate pages above recited, these three were the first, to wit, Urania, Suicenses, and Sylvanii, or (as some call them) Untervaldii, which joined themselves together.
If credit should be given to old narration’s, these three pages or valleys first suffered great servitude and thralldom under cruel rulers or governors; insomuch that the governor of Unterwalden required of one of the inhabitants a yoke of his oxen; which when the townsman denied to give him, the ruler sent his servant by force to take his oxen from him. This when the servant was about to do, cometh the poor man’s son, and cutteth off one of his fingers, and upon the same avoided. The governor, hearing this, taketh the poor man and putteth out his eyes.
Another time in the said Unterwalden, as the good-man of the house was absent abroad, the governor who had then the rule of the town, entering into the house, commanded the wife to prepare for him a bath, and made other proposals to her; whereunto she being unwilling, deferred the bath as long as she might, till the return of her husband. To whom she then, making her complaint, so moved his mind, that he, with his axe or hatchet which he had in his hand, flew upon the adulterous ruler and slew him.
Another example of like violence is reported of the ruler of Schweitz and Unterwalden, who, surprised with like pride and disdain against the poor underlings, caused his cap to be hung up upon a pole, charging and commanding by his servant, all that passed by to do obeisance to his cap; which when one named William Tell refused to do, the tyrant caused his son to be tied, with an apple set upon his head, and the father with a cross-bow, or a like instrument, to shoot at the apple. After long refusing, when the woeful father could not otherwise choose, being by force constrained, but must level at the apple; as God would, he missed the child, and struck the mark. This Tell, being thus compelled by the tyrant to shoot at his son, had brought with him two shafts; thinking that if he had struck the child with one, the other he would have let drive at the tyrant: which being understood, he was apprehended and led to the ruler’s house; but by the way escaping out of the boat between Uri and Brunnen, and passing through the mountains with as much speed as he might, he lay in the way secretly as the ruler should pass, where he discharged his arrow at the tyrant and slew him, A.D.1307.
And thus were these cruel governors utterly expelled out of these three valleys or pages aforesaid; and after that, such order was taken by the emperor Henry VII., and also by the emperor Louis V., duke of Bavaria, that henceforth no judge should be set over them, but only of their own company, and town dwellers. 4 It followed after this, A.D. 1315, that ‘great contention and war fell between Frederic duke of Austria, and Louis duke of Bavaria, striving and fighting the space of eight years together about the empire. With Louis held the three pages aforesaid; who had divers conflicts with Leopold, brother to the forenamed Frederic duke of Austria, fighting in his brother’s quarrel. As Leopold had reared a mighty army of twenty thousand footmen and horsemen, and was come to Egree, so to pass over the mountains to subdue the pages; he began to take advice of his council, by what way or passage best he might direct his journey towards the Switzers. Whereupon as they were busy in consulting, there stood a fool by, named Kune de Stocken, who hearing their advice, thought also to shoot his bolt withal, and told them, that their counsel did not like him: “For all you,” quoth he, “consult how we should enter into yonder country; but none of you giveth any counsel how to come out again after we be entered.” And in conclusion, as the fool said, so they found it true.
For when Leopold with his host had entered into the straits and valleys between the rocks and mountains, the Switzers, with their neighbors of Uri and Unterwalden, lying in privy wait, had them at such advantage; and with tumbling down stones from the rocks, and sudden coming upon their backs in blind lanes, did so encumber them, that neither had they convenient standing to fight, nor room almost to fly away; by reason whereof a great part of Leopold’s army there, being enclosed about the place called Morgasten, lost their lives, and many in the flight were slain.
After this, the burghers of these three villages, being continually vexed by Frederic duke of Austria, for that they would not knowledge him for emperor, assembled themselves in the town of Uri, A.D. 1316; and there entered into a mutual league and bond of perpetual society and conjunction, joining and swearing themselves together, as in one body of a common-wealth and public administration. After that came to them the Lucernates; then the Zugians; after them the Zurichers; next to them followed the Bernese; the last almost of all were the Basilians: then followed after, the other seven pages above recited.
And thus have ye the names, the freedom, and confederation of these Switzers, or cantons, or pages of Helvetia, with the occasions and circumstances thereof, briefly expressed. Now to the purpose of our story intended, which is to declare the success of Christ’s gospel and true religion received among the Helvetians; also touching the life and doctrine of Zuinglius, and order of his death, as here ensueth.
THE ACTS AND LIFE OF ULDRICUS ZUINGLIUS AND THE RECEIVING OF THE GOSPEL IN SWITZERLAND.
In the tractation of Luther’s story, mention was made before of Uldricus Zuinglius, who first abiding at Glarus, in a place called then our Lord’s Hermitage, from thence removed to Zurich about A.D. 1519, and there began to teach, dwelling in the minister, among the canons or priests of that close; using with them the same rites and ceremonies during the space of two or three years, where he continued reading and explaining the Scriptures unto the people with great travail, and no less dexterity. And because pope Leo the same year had renewed his pardons again through all countries (as is above declared), Zuinglius zealously withstood the same, detecting the abuses thereof by the Scriptures, and of other corruption’s reigning then in the church; and so continued by the space of two years and more, till at length Hugo bishop of Constance (to whose jurisdiction Zurich then also did belong) hearing thereof, wrote his letter to the senate of the said city of Zurich, complaining grievously of Zuinglius; who also wrote another letter to the college of canons, where Zuinglius was at the same time dwelling, complaining likewise of such new teachers who troubled the church; and exhorted them earnestly to beware, and to take diligent heed to themselves. And forasmuch as both the pope and the emperor’s majesty had condemned all such new doctrine by their decrees and edicts, he willed them therefore to admit no such new innovations of doctrine, without the common consent of them to whom the same did appertain. Zuinglius hearing thereof, referreth his cause to the judgment and hearing of the senate, not refusing to render to them an account of his faith. And forasmuch as the bishop’s letter was read openly in the college, Zuinglius directeth another letter to the bishop again, declaring that the said letter proceeded not from the bishop, and that he was not ignorant who were the authors thereof; desiring him not to follow their sinister counsels, for that truth (said he) is a thing invincible, and cannot be resisted. After the same tenor certain others of the city likewise wrote unto the bishop, desiring him that he would attempt nothing that should be prejudicial to the liberty and free course of the gospel; requiring moreover, that he would bear no longer the filthy and infamous lives of priests, but that he would permit them to have their lawful wives, etc.
This was A.D. 1522.
Besides this, Zuinglius wrote also another letter to the whole nation of the Helvetians, admonishing them in no case to hinder the passage of sincere doctrine, nor to infer any molestation to priests that were married: for as for the vow and coaction of their single life, it came (saith he) of the devil, and a devilish thing it is. And therefore whereas the said Helvetians had such a right and custom in their towns and pages, that when they received any new priest into their churches, they used to premonish him before to take his concubine, lest he should attempt any misuse with their wives and daughters; he exhorted them that they would no less grant unto the priests to take their wives in honest matrimony, than to live with unmarried women against the precept of God.
Thus as Zuinglius continued certain years laboring in the word of the Lord, offense began to arise at this new doctrine, and divers stepped up, namely the Dominic Friars, on the contrary side, to preach and inveigh against him. But he, keeping himself ever within the Scriptures, protested that he would make good by the word of God that which he had taught. Upon this, the magistrates and senate of Zurich sent forth their commandment to all priests and ministers within their dominion, to repair to the city of Zurich, against the 29th of January next ensuing (this was A.D. 1523), there every one to speak freely, and to be heard quietly, touching these controversies of religion, what could be said; directing also their letters to the bishop of Constance, that he would either make his repair thither himself, or else send his deputy. When the day appointed came, the bishop’s vicegerent, who was John Faber 241 , was also present. The council first declaring the cause of this their frequency and assembly (which was for the dissension newly risen about matters of religion), required that if any there had to object or infer against the doctrine of Zuinglius, he should freely and quietly utter and declare his mind. 1 Zuinglius had disposed his matter before, and contrived, all his doctrine in a certain order of places, to the number of sixty-seven articles; which articles he had published also abroad before, to the end that those who were disposed, might resort thither the better prepared to the disputation.
When the consul had finished that which he would say, and had exhorted others to begin, Faber, first entering the matter, began to declare the cause of his sending thither, and afterwards would persuade, that this was no place convenient, nor time fit, for the discussing of such matters by disputation, but rather that the cognition and tractation thereof belonged to a general council, which (he said) was already appointed, and now near at hand. Notwithstanding Zuinglius still continued urging and requiring him, that if he had there any thing to say or to dispute, he would openly and freely utter his mind. To this he answered again, that he would confute his doctrine by writing. This done, with a few other words on both sides had to and fro, when no man would appear there to offer any disputation, the assembly brake up, and was discharged: whereupon the senate of Zurich incontinently caused to be proclaimed through all their dominion and territory, that the traditions of men should be, displaced and abandoned, and the gospel of Christ purely taught out of the Old and New Testament.
A.D. 1523. 2 When the gospel had thus begun to take place, and to flourish in Zurich and certain other places of Helvetia, in the following year (A.D. 1524), another assembly of the Helvetians was convented at Lucerne, where this decree was made on the contrary part:
CONSTITUTIONS DECREED IN THE ASSEMBLY OF LUCERNE.
That no man should deride or contemn the word of God, which had been taught now above a thousand and four hundred years heretofore: nor the mass to be scorned, wherein the body of Christ is consecrated, to the honor of God, and to the comfort both of the quick and the dead.
That those who are able