331. THOMAS CRANMER
The life, state, and story of the reverend pastor and prelate, Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, martyr; burned at Oxford, for the confession of Christ's true doctrine, under Queen Mary, A. D. 1556, March 21.
S concerning the life and estate of that most reverend father in God, and worthy prelate of godly memory, Thomas Cranmer, late archbishop of Canterbury, and of the original cause and occasion of his preferment unto his archiepiscopal dignity, who of many hath been thought to have procured the same by friendship only, and of some others esteemed unworthy so high a vocation: it is first therefore to be noted and considered, that the same Thomas Cranmer, coming of an ancient parentage, from the Conquest to be deducted, and continuing since in the name and family of a gentleman, was born in a village called Aslacton in Nottinghamshire, of whose said name and family there remaineth at these days one manor and mansion-house in Lincolnshire, called Cranmer Hall, &c., sometime a heritage of the said stock and family. Cranmer being from his infancy kept at school, and brought up not without much good civility, came in process of time unto the university of Cambridge; and there prospering in right good knowledge amongst the better sort of students, was chosen fellow of Jesus College in Cambridge. It was at that time when, all good authors and fine writers being neglected, filthy barbarousness was embraced in all schools and universities. The names and numbers of liberal arts did only remain; the arts themselves were clean lost. Logic was gone out of kind, into sophistical trifles; philosophy, both moral and natural, was miserably defaced with infinite questions and subtleties; the use of tongues and eloquent learning was either small, or none at all; yea, and divinity itself was fallen into the state, that, being laden with articles and distinctions, it served rather for the gain of a few, than for the edification of many. Unluckily therefore so good a wit, falling into these unhappy times, was constrained to spend a great part of his youth (worthy of better instruction) in the peevish questions of Duns and other masters of the same sort, until he was twenty years old. At length, after so long darkness of barbarism, the tongues and other good learning began, by little and little, to spring up again, and the books of Faber and Erasmus began to be much occupied and had in good estimation, with a number of good authors besides. In whom the same Cranmer, taking no small pleasure, did daily rub away his own rustiness on them, as upon a whetstone, until at length, when Martin Luther was risen up, the more bright and happy days of God's knowledge did waken men's minds to the clear light of the truth; at which time, when he was about thirty years old, omitting all other studies, he gave his whole mind to discuss matters of religion, on both parts. And, because he saw that he could not judge of these matters unless he first considered and beheld the very fountains thereof, before he would addict his mind to any opinion, he spent three whole years in reading over the books of Holy Scriptures. After he had laid this foundation no less wisely than happily, when he thought himself sufficiently prepared, and being now instructed with more ripeness of judgment, like a merchant greedy of all good things, he gave his mind to read all kind of authors. In the mean while, being addicted to no party or age, but, as a considering beholder or scholar of Pythagoras, he weighed all men's opinions with secret judgment. He read the old writers, so as he despised not the new, and, all this while, in handling and conferring writers' judgments, he was a slow reader, but an earnest marker. He never came to any writer's book without pen and ink, but yet so that he exercised his memory no less than his pen. Whatsoever controversy came he gathered every author's sentence, briefly, and the diversity of their judgments, into commonplaces, which he had prepared for that purpose; or else, if the matter were too long to write out, he noted the place of the author and the number of the leaf, whereby he might have the more help for his memory. And so, being master of arts, and fellow of Jesus College, it chanced him to marry a gentleman's daughter: by means whereof he lost and gave over his fellowship there, and became the reader in Buckingham College. And for that he would with more diligence apply that his office of reading, he placed his said wife in an inn, called the Dolphin, in Cambridge, the wife of the house being of affinity unto her. By reason whereof, and for that his often resort unto his wife in that inn, he was much marked of some popish merchants: whereupon rose the slanderous noise and report against him, after he was preferred to the archbishopric of Canterbury, raised up by the malicious disdain of certain malignant adversaries to Christ and his truth, bruiting abroad every where, that he was but an hosteler, and therefore without all good learning. Of whose malicious reports, one of their practices in that behalf shall hereafter be declared, as place and time shall serve.
But in the mean time to return to the matter present: whilst this said Master Cranmer continued as a reader in Buckingham College, his wife died in childbed. After whose death, the masters and fellows of Jesus College, desirous again of their old companion, namely, for his towardliness in learning, chose him again fellow of the same college. Where he, remaining at his study, became in few years after the reader of divinity lecture in the same college, and in such special estimation and reputation with the whole university, that, being doctor of divinity, he was commonly appointed one of the heads (which are two or three of the chiefest learned men) to examine such as yearly proceed in commencement, either bachelors or doctors of divinity, by whose approbation the whole university licenseth them to proceed unto their degree; and again, by whose disallowance the university also rejecteth them for a time, to proceed until they be better furnished with more knowledge. A. D. 1526.
Now Dr. Cranmer, ever much favouring the knowledge of the Scripture, would never admit any to proceed in divinity, unless they were substantially seen in the story of the Bible: by means whereof certain friars, and other religious persons, who were principally brought up in the study of school authors without regard had to the authority of Scriptures, were commonly rejected by him; so that he was greatly, for that his severe examination, of the religious sort much hated, and had in great indignation. And yet it came to pass in the end, that divers of them being thus compelled to study the Scriptures, became afterwards very well learned and well affected; insomuch, that when they proceeded doctors of divinity, they could not overmuch extol and commend Master Doctor Cranmer's goodness towards them, who had for a time put them back, to aspire unto better knowledge and perfection. Among whom Dr. Barret, a White Friar, who afterwards dwelt at Norwich, was after that sort handled, giving him no less commendation for his happy rejecting of him for a better amendment. Thus much I repeat, that our apish and popish sort of ignorant priests may well understand that this his exercise, kind of life, and vocation, was not altogether hosteler-like.
Well, to go forwards: like as he was neither in fame unknown, nor in knowledge obscure, so was he greatly solicited by Dr. Capon, to have been one of the fellows in the foundation of Cardinal Wolsey's college in Oxford, which he utterly refused, not without danger of indignation. Notwithstanding, foreseeing that which after chanced, to the utter confusion of many well-affected learned men there, without consideration, (because man's glory was there more sought for than God's,) he stood to the danger of the said indignation, which chanced more prosperously unto him within few years after than he looked for. For, while he thus continued in Cambridge, the great and weighty cause of King Henry the Eighth, his divorce with the Lady Katharine, dowager of Spain, came into question; which being many ways by the space of two or three years amongst the canonists, civilians, and other learned men diversely disputed and debated, it came to pass that this said Dr. Cranmer, by reason that the plague was in Cambridge, resorted to Waltham Abbey, to one Master Cressy's house there, whose wife was of kin to the said Master Cranmer. And for that he had two sons of the said Cressy with him at Cambridge as his pupils, he rested at Waltham Cross, at the house of the said Master Cressy, with the said two children, during that summer-time while the plague reigned. A. D. 1529.
In this summer-time Cardinal Campeius and Cardinal Wolsey, being in commission from the pope to hear and determine that great cause in controversy between the king and the queen, his pretended wife, dallied and delayed all the summer-time until the month of August came, in hearing the said cause in controversy debated. When August was come, the said cardinals little minding to proceed to sentence giving, took occasion to finish their commission, and not further to determine therein, pretending that it was not permitted by the laws to keep courts of ecclesiastical matters in harvest-time: which sudden stay and giving over of the said commission by both the cardinals, being unknown to the king, it so much moved him, that he, taking it as a mock at the cardinals' hands, commanded the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to despatch forthwith Cardinal Campeius home again to Rome; and so in haste removed himself from London to Waltham for a night or twain, while his household removed to Greenwich: by means whereof it chanced that the harbingers lodged Dr. Stephen, secretary, and Dr. Foxe, almoner, (who were the chief furtherers, preferrers, and defenders on the king's behalf of the said cause,) in the house of the said Master Cressy, where the said Dr. Cranmer was also lodged and resident. When supper-time came, they all three doctors met together; Dr. Stephen and Dr. Foxe much marvelling of Dr. Cranmer's being there; who declared to them the cause of his there being, namely, for that the plague was in Cambridge. And as they were of old acquaintance, so the secretary and the ahnoner right well entertained Dr. Cranmer, minding to understand part of his opinion touching their great business they had in hand. And so as good occasion served, while they were at supper, they conferred with Dr. Cranmer concerning the king's cause, requesting him of his judgment and opinion what he thought therein.
Whereto Dr. Cranmer answered, that he could say little to the matter, for that he had not studied nor looked for it. Notwithstanding he said to them, that in his opinion they made more ado in prosecuting the law ecclesiastical, than needed. "It were better, as I suppose," quoth Dr. Cranmer, "that the question, whether a man may marry his brother's wife, or no? were decided and discussed by the divines, and by the authority of the word of God, whereby the conscience of the prince might be better satisfied and quieted, than thus from year to year by frustratory delays to prolong the time, leaving the very truth of the matter unbolted out by the word of God. There is but one truth in it, which the Scripture will soon declare, make open, and manifest, being by learned men well handled, and that may be as well done in England in the universities here, as at Rome, or elsewhere in any foreign nation, the authority whereof will compel any judge soon to come to a definitive sentence: and therefore, as I take it, you might this way have made an end of this matter long since." When Dr. Cranmer had thus ended his tale, the other two well liked of his.device, and wished that they had so proceeded aforetime, and thereupon conceived some matter of that device to instruct the king withal, who then was minded to send to Rome again for a new commission.
Now the next day, when the king removed to Greenwich, like as he took himself not well handled by the cardinals in thus deferring his cause, so his mind being unquieted, and desirous of an end of his long and tedious suit, he called unto him these his two principal doers in his said cause, namely, the said Dr. Stephen and Dr. Foxe, saying unto them, "What now, my masters," quoth the king, "shall we do in this infinite cause of mine? I see by it there must be a new commission procured from Rome; and when we shall have an end, God knoweth, and not I."
When the king had said somewhat his mind herein, the almoner, Dr. Foxe, said unto the king again, "We trust that there shall be better ways devised for your Majesty, than to make travel so far as to Rome any more in your Highness's cause, which by chance was put into our heads this other night being at Waltham." The king being very desirous to understand his meaning, said, "Who hath taken in hand to instruct you by any better or shorter way to proceed in our said cause?" Then said Dr. Foxe, "It chanced us to be lodged at Waltham in Master Cressy's house this other night, your Highness being there, where we met with an old acquaintance of ours, named Dr. Cranmer, with whom having conference concerning your Highness's cause, he thought that the next way were, first to instruct and quiet your Majesty's conscience by trying your Highness's question out by the authority of the word of God, and thereupon to proceed to a final sentence." With this report the secretary was not content with the almoner, for that he did not utter this device as of their own invention. And when the secretary would have seemed by colourable words to make it appear to the king, that they of themselves had devised that means; the king then said, "Where is this Dr. Cranmer? Is he still at Waltham?" They answered that they left him there. "Marry," said the king, "I will surely speak with him, and therefore let him be sent for out of hand. I perceive," quoth the king, "that that man hath the sow by the right ear: and if I had known this device but two years ago, it had been in my way a great piece of money, and had also rid me out of much disquietness."
Whereupon Dr. Cranmer was sent for, and being removed from Waltham to Cambridge, and so towards his friends in Nottinghamshire, a post went for him. But when he came to London, he began to quarrel with these two his acquaintances, that he, by their means, was thus troubled and brought thither to be cumbered in a matter, wherein he had nothing at all travailed in study; and therefore most instantly entreated them, that they would make his excuse in such sort, that he might be despatched away from coming in the king's presence. They promised, and took the matter upon them so to do, if by any means they might compass it. But all was in vain: for the more they began to excuse Dr. Cranmer's absence, the more the king chid with them, for that they brought him not out of hand to his presence; so that, no excuse serving, he was fain undelayedly to come to the court unto the king, whom the gentle prince benignly accepting, demanded his name, and said unto him, "Were you not at Waltham such a time, in the company of my secretary and my almoner?" Dr. Cranmer affirming the same, the king said again, "Had you not conference with them concerning our matter of divorce now in question after this sort? repeating the manner and order thereof. "That is right true, if it please your Highness," quoth Dr. Cranmer. "Well, said the king, "I well perceive that you have the right scope of this matter. You must understand," quoth the king, "that I have been long troubled in conscience; and now I perceive that by this means I might have been long ago relieved one way or other from the same, if we had this way proceeded. And therefore, Master Doctor, I pray you, and nevertheless, because you are a subject, I charge and command you, (all your other business and affairs set apart,) to take some pains to see this my cause to be furthered according to your device, as much as it may lie in you, so that I may shortly understand whereunto I may trust. For this I protest before God and the world, that I seek not to be divorced from the queen, if by any means I might justly be persuaded that this our matrimony were inviolable, and not against the laws of God; for otherwise there was never cause to move me to seek any such extremity: neither was there ever prince had a more gentle, a more obedient and loving companion and wife than the queen is, nor did I ever fancy woman in all respects better, if this doubt had not risen; assuring you that for the singular virtues wherewith she is endued, besides the consideration of her noble stock, I could be right well contented still to remain with her, if so it would stand with the will and pleasure of Almighty God." And thus, greatly commending her many and singular qualities, the king said, "I therefore pray you with an indifferent eye, and with as much dexterity as lieth in you, that you for your part do handle the matter for the discharging of both our consciences."
Dr. Cranmer, much disabling himself to meddle in so weighty a matter, besought the king's Highness to commit the trial and examining of this matter by the word of God, unto the best learned men of both his universities, Cambridge and Oxford.
You say well," said the king, "and I am content therewith. But yet nevertheless, I will have you specially to write your mind therein." And so calling the earl of Wiltshire to him, said, "I pray you, my Lord, let Dr. Cranmer have entertainment in your house at Durham Place for a time, to the intent he may be there quiet to accomplish my request, and let him lack neither books, nor any thing requisite for his study. And thus, after the king's departure, Dr. Cranmer went with my Lord of Wiltshire unto his house, wherein he incontinently wrote his mind concerning the king's question; adding to the same, besides the authorities of the Scriptures, of general councils, and of ancient writers, also his opinion, which was this: That the bishop of Rome had no such authority, as whereby he might dispense with the word of God and the Scripture.
When Dr. Cranmer had made this book, and committed it to the king, the king said to him, "Will you abide by this that you have here written before the bishop of Rome?" "That will I do by God's grace," quoth Dr. Cranmer, "if your Majesty do send me thither." "Marry," quoth the king, "I will send you even to him in a sure ambassage."
And thus by means of Dr. Cranmer's handling of this matter with the king, not only certain learned men were sent abroad to the most part of the universities in Christendom, to dispute the question, but also the same being. by commission disputed by the divines in both the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, it was there concluded, that no such matrimony was by the word of God lawful. Whereupon a solemn ambassage was then prepared and sent to the bishop of Rome, then being at Bologna, wherein went the earl of Wiltshire, Dr. Cranmer, Dr. Stokesley, Dr. Carne, Dr. Bennet, and divers other learned men and gentlemen. A. D. 1530.
Illustration -- The Earl of Wiltshire's !spaniel Biting the Pope in the Foot
And when the time came that they should come before the bishop of Rome to declare the cause of their ambassage, the bishop, sitting on high in his cloth of estate and in his rich apparel, with his sandals on his feet, offering as it were his foot to be kissed of the ambassadors; the earl of Wiltshire, disdaining thereat, stood still, and made no countenance thereunto, so that all the rest kept themselves from that idolatry. Howbeit, one thing is not here to be omitted, as a prognosticate of our separation from the see of Rome, which then chanced by a !spaniel of the earl of Wiltshire. For he, having there a great !spaniel which came out of England with him, stood directly between the earl and the bishop of Rome, when the said bishop had advanced forth his foot to be kissed. Now whether the !spaniel perceived the bishop's foot of another nature than it ought to be, and so taking it to be some kind of repast -- or whether it was the will of God to show some token by a dog unto the bishop of his inordinate pride, that his feet were more meet to be bitten of dogs, than kissed of Christian menthe !spaniel, (I say,) when the bishop extended his foot to be kissed, no man regarding the same, straightway (as though he had been of purpose appointed thereunto) went directly to the pope's feet, and not only kissed the same unmannerly with his mouth, but, as some plainly reported and affirmed, took fast with his mouth the great toe of the pope, so that in haste he pulled in his glorious feet from the !spaniel: whereat our men smiling in their sleeves, what they thought, God knoweth. But in fine, the pontifical bishop after that sought no more at that present for kissing his feet, but without any further ceremony gave ear to the ambassadors what they had to say; who, entering there before the bishop, offered on the king's behalf to be defended, that no man jure divino, could or ought to marry his brother's wife, and that the bishop of Rome by no means ought to dispense to the contrary. Divers promises were made, and sundry days appointed, wherein the question should have been disputed; and when our part was ready to answer, no man there appeared to dispute in that behalf. So in the end, the bishop making to our ambassadors good countenance, and gratifying Dr. Cranmer with the office of the penitentiaryship, dismissed them undisputed withal.
Whereupon the earl of Wiltshire, and the other commissioners, saving Dr. Cranmer, returned home again into England. And forthwith Dr. Cranmer went to the emperor, (being in his journey towards Vienna, in expedition against the Turk,) there to answer such learned men of the emperor's council, as would or could say any thing to the contrary part. Where amongst the rest, at the same time was Cornelius Agrippa, a high officer in the emperor's court, who having private conference with Dr. Cranmer in the question, was so fully resolved and satisfied in the matter, that afterwards there was never disputation openly offered to Dr. Cranmer in that behalf. For through the persuasion of Agrippa, all other learned men there were much discouraged: insomuch that after Dr. Cranmer was returned into England, Agrippa fell into such displeasure with the emperor, as some men thought, that because of the hindering and discouraging so much the contrary part, he was committed to prison, where he for sorrow ended his life, as it was reported. In the mean space, while the emperor returned home from Vienna through Germany, Dr. Cranmer in that voyage had conference with divers learned men of Germany concerning the said question, who, very ambiguously heretofore conceiving the cause, were fully resolved and satisfied by him.
This matter thus prospering on Dr. Cranmer's behalf, as well touching the king's question, as concerning the invalidity of the bishop of Rome's authority, Bishop Warham, then archbishop of Canterbury, departed this transitory life, whereby that dignity then being in the king's gift and disposition, was immediately given to Dr. Cranmer, as worthy for his travail of such a promotion. Thus much touching the preferment of Dr. Cranmer unto his dignity, and by what means he achieved unto the same (not by flattery, nor by bribes, nor by any other unlawful means); which thing I have more at large discoursed, to stop the railing mouths of such, who, being themselves obscure and unlearned, shame not to detract so learned a man most ignominiously with the surname of an hosteler, whom for his godly zeal unto sincere religion they ought with much humility to have had in regard and reputation.
Not long after, as one occasion bringeth in another; so upon this question of the marriage riseth another question of the pope's authority; insomuch that in the parliament it was doubted of the primacy of the Church of Rome. And here the new archbishop was not a little helped by his old collections and notes, which he used in studying: for all the weight of the business was chiefly laid on his shoulders. He therefore alone received, and answered, and confuted, all the objections of all the papists. And whereas the saying is, as Not Hercules against two," he alone encountered with so many ensigns and armies of divines; he alone sustained all the force of all his adversaries; he opened from the very foundations abundantly and readily what was to be judged and determined of the bishop of Rome and all his authority; he showed that the pope's lordship was brought in by no authority of the Scripture, but by affected and ambitious tyranny of men; and that the chiefest power in earth belonged to the emperor, to kings, and to other potentates, to whom the bishops, priests, popes, and cardinals, by God's commandment, were no less subject than other men of the commonwealth: and therefore there was no cause why the bishop of Rome should excel other bishops in authority, who should be subject to their own magistrates, and of them be kept in order: and although authority be granted him over his own, yet so insolent and immoderate advancing of that see, by no right could be borne withal, but rather it should be made equalwith the rest.
And therefore it were even best that by consent of the king and the other estates the ambitious lordship of this bishop, being driven out of England, should keep itself within its own Italy, as a river is kept within its banks.
These matters being thus done and passed in the parliament, soon after the king and queen, by the ecclesiastical law, were cited at Dunstable before the archbishop of Canterbury and Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, as judges, to hear the sentence of God's word concerning this matter. The king refused not to appear at the censure of God's law; but the queen, refusing to stand to their judgment, appealed to the bishop of Rome. But forasmuch as the pope's authority being banished out of the realm, and by public authority it was enacted that no man should appeal out of the realm to Rome for any matter, the judges, making no delay, out of God's word pronounced the marriage to be unlawful, and so made divorce.
But Winchester, although he had openly sworn before all the states in the parliament, and in special words, against the pope's domination, yet inwardly in his fox's heart he bare a secret love to the bishop of Rome. But contrariwise, the archbishop perceiving (as it was indeed) that there was no hope to reform the church, so long as the bishop of Rome's laws and power remained, now that his name was driven out, sought all occasions to bring his intent to pass. By little and little he called home and conformed the churches into a more wholesome discipline of Christ, and example of the primitive church: and as the pope's name and title were now abolished, so he laboured also to banish out of the realm his errors, heresies, and corruptions. And not content therewith, he obtained of the king, partly by his own suit, and partly by other men's suit, that certain learned bishops, being chosen out, should by their common consent make a book of ecclesiastical institutions, which should be better purged from all popish superstitions. In this number were chosen Stokesley bishop of London, Gardiner bishop of Winchester, Sampson bishop of Chester, Repse bishop of Norwich, Goodrich bishop of Ely, Latimer bishop of Worcester, Shaxton bishop of Salisbury, and Barlow bishop of St. David's. Winchester in this while (according to the love that he bare to the bishop of Rome, with three or four of the bishops as good as he) laboured diligently and subtlely, that all the laws and customs of old idolatry and superstition (as much as could be) should be confirmed and established. Yet being overcome by the authority of the ancient fathers, of the more ancient church, and of the most ancient word of God, he gave place and subscribed to the book, ,which, by the title of the authors, they called "The Bishops' Book." By that book it appeareth that the archbishop of Canterbury was not then well instructed in the doctrine of the sacrament, because there is granted a real presence. There was added also concerning worshipping of images, which article was none of the bishop's, but added and written by the king's hand, and (as it is suspected) through the secret persuasion of the bishop of Winchester.
These matters thus ordered, the abolishing of monasteries began to be talked of. The king's desire was, that all the abbey-lands should come to his coffers; and contrariwise the archbishop, and other men of the church, thought it pertained more to Christian religion and duty, that all the goods of monasteries (which were very great) should be put to the necessary use of the poor, and erecting of schools. For which cause the king's will being somewhat bent against the archbishop and other maintainers of his doctrine, (specially by the instigation of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, which sought all occasions to let and hinder the gospel,) he set forth the Six Articles, more than man-quellers, containing the sum of popish religion, and by full consent of parliament established them. What a slaughter by the space of eight years these Six Articles made, because we have showed in another place, it were superfluous to repeat it here again; although the king afterward (foregoing his anger, and considering, as it was indeed, that the archbishop and others of his sort, did it not for that he was offended with them, of stubbornness of mind, but rather of simplicity of conscience) began to be more favourable to him and them; and thought (as it is said) to have mitigated the rigour and cruelty of certain of the said articles, and minded to have reformed more things, if he had lived.
Now as concerning his behaviour and trade of life towards God and the world, being now entered into his said dignity, and forasmuch as the apostle St. Paul, writing to two bishops, Timothy and Titus, setteth out unto us a perfect description of a true bishop, with all the properties and conditions belonging to the same, unto the which exemplar it shall be hard in these strange days to find the image of any bishop correspondent; yet, for example' sake, let us take this archbishop of Canterbury, and try him by the rule thereof, to see either how near he cometh to the description of St. Paul, or else how far off he swerveth from the common course of others in his time, of his calling. The rule of St. Paul is to be found, 1 Tim. iii., also in his Epistle to Titus, chap. i. in these words: A bishop must be faultless, as becometh the minister of God. Not stubborn, nor angry, no drunkard, no fighter, nor given to filthy lucre; but harborous, one that loveth goodness, sober-minded, righteous, holy, temperate, and such as cleaveth unto the true word and doctrine, that he may be able to exhort, &c.
Unto this rule and touchstone, to lay now the life and conversation of this archbishop, we will first begin with that which is thus written: "A bishop must be faultless, as becometh the minister of God." Like as no man is without sin, and every man carrieth with him his especial vice and fault: so yet nevertheless, the apostle meaneth, that the bishop and minister must be faultless, in comparison of the common conversation of men of the world, which seem more licentiously to live at their own liberties and pleasures, than the bishop or minister ought to do, having small regard unto good example giving: which a bishop and minister most carefully ought to consider, lest by his dissolute life the word of God be slandered and evil spoken of. Which thing to avoid, and the better to accomplish this precept of the apostle, this worthy man evermore gave himself to continual study, not breaking that order that he in the university commonly used, that is, by five of the clock in the morning at his book, and so consuming the time in study and prayer until nine of the clock. He then applied himself (if the prince's affairs did not call him away) until dinner time to hear suitors, and to despatch such matters as appertained unto his special cure and charge, committing his temporal affairs, both of his household and other foreign business, unto his officers; so that such things were never impediments either to his study, or to his pastoral charge, which principally consisted in reformation of corrupt religion, and in setting forth of true and sincere doctrine. For the most part always being in commission, he associated himself with learned men for sifting and bolting out of one matter or other, for the commodity and profit of the church of England; by means whereof, and what for his private study, he was never idle: besides that, he accounted it no idle point to bestow one hour or twain of the day in reading over such works and books as daily came from beyond the seas.
After dinner, if any suitors were attendant, he would very diligently hear them, and despatch them in such sort as every man commended his lenity and gentleness, although the case required that some while divers of them were committed by him to prison. And having no suitors after dinner, for an hour or thereabout he would play at the chess, or behold such as could play. That done, then again to his ordinary study, at the which commonly he for the most part stood, and seldom sat; and there continuing until five of the clock, bestowed that hour in hearing the common prayer, and walking or using some honest pastime until supper time. At supper, if he had no appetite, (as many times he would not sup,) yet would he sit down at the table, having his ordinary provision of his mess furnished with expedient company, he wearing on his hands his gloves, because he would (as it were) thereby wean himself from eating of meat, but yet keeping the company with such fruitful talk as did repast and much delight the hearers, so that by this means hospitality was well furnished, and the alms-chest well maintained for relief of the poor. After supper, he would consume one hour at the least in walking, or some other honest pastime, and then again until nine of the clock, at one kind of study or other; so that no hour of the day was spent in vain, but the same was so bestowed, as tended to the glory of God, the service of the prince, or the commodity of the church; which his well-bestowing of his time procured to him most happily a good report of all men, to be in respect of other men's conversation faultless, as became the minister of God.
Secondly, it is required, "that a bishop ought not to be stubborn:" with which kind of vice, without great wrong, this archbishop in no wise ought to be charged; whose nature was such as none more gentle, or sooner won to an honest suit or purpose; specially in such things, wherein by his word, writing, counsel, or deed, he might gratify either any gentle or noble man, or do good to any mean person, or else relieve the needy and poor. Only in causes pertaining to God or his prince, no man more stout, more constant, or more hard to be won; as in that part his earnest defence in the parliament house above three days together, in disputing against the Six Articles of Gardiner's device, can testify. And though the king would needs have them upon some politic consideration to go forward, yet Cranmer so handled himself as well in the parliament house, as afterwards by writing, so obediently and with such humble behaviour in words towards his prince, protesting the cause not to be his, but Almighty God's, who was the author of all truth, that the king did not only well like his defence, (willing him to depart out of the parliament house, into the council chamber, whilst the act should pass and be granted, for safeguard of his conscience; which he with humble protestation refused, hoping that his Majesty in process of time would revoke them again,) but also, after the parliament was finished, the king, perceiving the zealous affection that the archbishop bare towards the defence of his cause, which many ways by Scriptures and manifold authorities and reasons he had substantially confirmed and defended, sent the Lord Cromwell, then vicegerent, with the two dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and all the lords of the parliament, to dine with him at Lambeth; where it was declared by the vicegerent, and the two dukes, that it was the king's pleasure, that they all should in his Highness's behalf, cherish, comfort, and animate him, as one that for his travail in that parliament had showed himself both greatly learned, and also discreet and wise: and therefore they willed him not to be discouraged for any thing that was passed contrary to his allegations. He most humbly thanked the king's Majesty of his great goodness towards him, and them for all their pains, saying, "I hope in God, that hereafter my allegations and authorities shall take place to the glory of God and the commodity of the realm; in the mean time I will satisfy myself with the honourable consent of your Honours, and the whole parliament."
Here is to be noted, that this man's stout and godly defence of the truth herein so bound the prince's conscience, that he would not permit the truth in that man to be clean overthrown with authority and power; and therefore this way God working in the prince's mind, a plain token was declared hereby, that all things were not so sincerely handled in the confirmation of the said Six Articles as it ought to have been; for else the prince might have had a just cause to have borne his great indignation towards the archbishop. Let us pray that both the like stoutness may be perceived in all ecclesiastical and learned men, where the truth ought to be defended, and also the like relenting and flexibility may take place in princes and noblemen, when they shall have occasion offered them to maintain the same, so that they utterly overwhelm not the truth by self-will, power, and authority. Now in the end this archbishop's constancy was such towards God's cause, that he confirmed all his doings by bitter death in the fire, without respect of any worldly treasure or pleasure. And as touching his stoutness in his prince's cause, the contrary resistance of the duke of Northumberland against him proved right well his good mind that way; which chanced by reason that he would not consent unto the dissolving of chantries, until the king came of age, to the intent that they might then better serve to furnish his royal estate, than to have so great treasure consumed in his nonage: which his stoutness, joined with such simplicity, surely was thought to divers of the council a thing incredible: specially in such sort to contend with him, who was so accounted in this realm, as few or none would or durst gainstand him.
So dear was to him the cause of God and of his prince, that for the one he would not keep his conscience clogged, nor for the other lurk or hide his head. Otherwise (as it is said) his very enemies might easily entreat him in any cause reasonable; and such things as he granted, he did without any suspicion of upbraiding or meed therefor: so that he was altogether void of the vice of stubbornness, and rather culpable of overmuch facility and gentleness.
Then followeth "not angry." Surely if overmuch patience may be a vice, this man may seem peradventure to offend rather on this part than on the contrary. Albeit for all his doings I cannot say: for the most part, such was his mortification that way, that few we shall find in whom the saying of our Saviour Christ so much prevailed, as with him, who would not only have a man to forgive his enemies, but also to pray for them: that lesson never went out of his memory. For it was known that he had many cruel enemies, not for his own deserts, but only for his religion's sake: and yet whatsoever he was that sought his hinderance, either in goods, estimation, or life, and upon conference would seem never so slenderly any thing to relent or excuse himself, he would both forget the offence committed, and also evermore afterwards friendly entertain him, and show such pleasure to him, as by any means possible he might perform or declare, insomuch that it came into a common proverb, "Do unto my Lord of Canterbury displeasure, or a shrewd turn, and then you may be sure to have him your friend while he liveth." Of which his gentle disposition in abstaining from revengement, amongst many examples thereof, I will repeat here one:--
It chanced an ignorant priest and parson in the north parts, (the town is not now in remembrance, but he was a kinsman of one Chersey, a grocer, dwelling within London, being one of those priests that use more to study at the ale-house, than in his chamber or in his study,) to sit on a time with his honest neighbours at the ale-house within his own parish, where was communication ministered in commendation of my Lord Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury. This said parson, envying his name only for religion's sake, said to his neighbours, "What make you of him," quoth he, "he was but an hosteler, and hath no more learning than the goslings that go yonder on the green;" with suchlike slanderous and uncomely words. These honest neighbours of his, not well bearing those his unseemly words, articled against him, and sent their complaint to the Lord Cromwell, then vicegerent in causes ecclesiastical, who sent for the priest, and committed him to the Fleet, minding to have had him recant those his slanderous words at Paul's Cross. Howbeit the Lord Cromwell having great affairs of the prince then in hand, forgat his prisoner in the Fleet. So that this Chersey, the grocer, understanding that his kinsman was in durance in the Fleet only for speaking words against my Lord of Canterbury, consulted with the priest, and between them devised to make suit rather unto the archbishop for his deliverance, than to the Lord Cromwell, before whom he was accused; understanding right well that there was great diversity of natures between those two estates, the one gentle and full of clemency, and the other severe and somewhat intractable, namely, against a papist: so that Chersey took upon him first to try my Lord of Canterbury's benignity, namely, for that his cousin's accusation touched only the offence against him, and none other. Whereupon the said Chersey came to one of the archbishop's gentlemen, (whose father bought yearly all his spices and fruit of the said Chersey, and so thereby of familiar acquaintance with the gentleman,) who, opening to him the trouble wherein his kinsman was, requested that he would be a means to my Lord his master, to hear his suit in the behalf of his kinsman.
The matter was moved. The archbishop, like as he was of nature gentle, and of much clemency, so would he never show himself strange unto suitors, but incontinently sent for the said Chersey. When he came before him, Chersey declared, that there was a kinsman of his in the Fleet, a priest of the north country, "and as I may tell your Grace the truth," quoth Chersey, "a man of small civility, and of less learning. And yet he hath a parsonage there, which now -- by reason that my Lord Cromwell hath laid him in prison -- being in his cure, is unserved; and he hath continued in durance above two months, and is called to no answer, and knows not when he shall come to any end, so that this his imprisonment consumeth his substance, and will utterly undo him, unless your Grace be his good Lord." "I know not the man," said the archbishop, "nor what he hath done, why he should be thus in trouble." Said Chersey again, "He only hath offended against your Grace, and against no man else, as may well be perceived by the articles objected against him;" the copy whereof the said Chersey then exhibited to the said archbishop of Canterbury, who, well perusing the said articles, said, "This is the common talk of all the ignorant papistical priests in England against me. Surely," said he, "I was never made privy to this accusation, and of his endurance I never heard before this time. Notwithstanding, if there be nothing else to charge him withal against the prince or any of the council, I will, at your request, take order with him, and send him home again to his cure to do his duty:" and so thereupon sent his ring to the warden of the Fleet, willing him to send the prisoner unto him, with his keeper, that afternoon.
When the keeper had brought the prisoner at the hour appointed, and Chersey had well instructed his cousin in any wise to submit himself to the archbishop, confessing his fault, whereby that way he should most easily have an end, and win his favour; thus the parson being brought into the garden at Lambeth, and there the archbishop, sitting under the vine, demanded of the parson, what was the cause of his endurance, and who committed him to the Fleet. The parson answered and said, that the Lord Cromwell sent him thither, for that certain malicious parishioners of his parish had wrongfully accused him of words which he never spake nor meant. Chersey, hearing his foolish cousin so far out of the way from his former instruction, said, "Thou dastardly dolt and varlet! is this thy promise that thou madest to me? Are there not a great number of thy honest neighbours' hands against thee, to prove thee a liar?" "Surely my Lord," quoth Chersey, "it is pity to do him good. I am sorry that I have troubled your Grace thus far with him." "Well," said the archbishop unto the parson, "if you have not offended me, I can do you no good; for I am entreated to help one out of trouble that hath offended against me. If my Lord Cromwell hath committed you to prison wrongfully, that lieth in himself to amend, and not in me. If your offence only hath touched me, I will be bold to do somewhat for your friend's sake here. If you have not offended against me, then have I nothing to do with you, but that you may go, and remain from whence you came." Lord, what ado his kinsman Chersey made with him, calling him all kind of opprobrious names! In the end my Lord of Canterbury, seeming to rise and go his ways, the fond priest fell on his knees, and said, "I beseech your Grace to forgive me this offence, assuring your Grace that I spake those words being drunk, and not well advised." "Ah," said my Lord, "this is somewhat, and yet it is no good excuse: for drunkenness evermore uttereth that which lieth hid in the heart of man when he is sober;" alleging a text or twain out of the Scriptures concerning the vice of drunkenness, which cometh not now to remembrance. "Now therefore," said the archbishop, "that you acknowledge somewhat your fault, I am content to commune with you, hoping that you are at this present of an indifferent sobriety. Tell me then," quoth he, "did you ever see me, or were you ever acquainted with me, before this day?" The priest answered and said that never in his life he saw his Grace. "Why then," said the archbishop, "what occasion had you to call me an hosteler, and that I had not so much learning as the goslings which then went on the green before your face? If I have no learning you may now try it, and be out of doubt thereof; therefore I pray you appose me, either in grammar or in other liberal sciences; for I have at one time or other tasted partly of them. Or else, if you are a divine, say somewhat that way."
Illustration -- Cranmer, Chersey and the Priest
The priest being amazed at my Lord's familiar talk, made answer and said, "I beseech your Grace to pardon me. I am altogether unlearned, and understand not the Latin tongue, but very simply. My only study hath been to say my service and mass, fair and deliberate, which I can do as well as any priest in the country where I dwell, I thank God." "Well," said the other, "if you will not appose me, I will be so bold to appose you, and yet as easily as I can devise; and that only in the story of the Bible now in English, in which I suppose that you are daily exercised. Tell me therefore who was King David's father," said my Lord. The priest stood still, pausing a while, and said, "In good faith, my Lord, I have forgotten his name." Then said the other again to him, "If you cannot tell that, I pray you tell me then, who was Solomon's father?" The fond foolish priest, without all consideration what was demanded of him before, made answer, "Good my Lord, bear with me, I am no further seen in the Bible, than is daily read in our service in the church."
The archbishop then answering, said, "This my question may be found well-answered in your service. But I now well perceive, howsoever ye have judged heretofore of my learning, sure I am that you have none at all. But this is the common practice of all you that be ignorant and superstitious priests, to slander, backbite, and hate all such as are learned and well-affected towards God's word and sincere religion. Common reason might have taught you what an unlikely thing it was, and contrary to all manner of reason, that a prince, having two universities within his realm of well-learned men, and desirous to be resolved of as doubtful a question as in these many years the like was not moved within Christendom, should be driven to that necessity for the defence of his cause, to send out of his realm an hosteler, being a man of no better knowledge than is a gosling, in an embassage to answer all learned men, both in the court of Rome and the emperor's court, in so difficult a question as toucheth the king's matrimony, and the divorce thereof. I say, if you were men of any reasonable consideration, you might think it both unseemly and uncomely for a prince so to do. But look, where malice reigneth in men, there reason can take no place; and therefore I see by it, that you all are at a point with me, that no reason or authority can persuade you to favour my name, who never meant evil to you, but both for your commodity and profit. Howbeit, God amend you all, forgive you, and send you better minds!" With these words the priest seemed to weep, and desired his Grace to pardon his fault and frailty, so that by his means he might return to his cure again, and he would sure recant those his foolish words before his parishioners so soon as he came home, and would become a new man. "Well," said the archbishop, "so had you need:" and giving him a godly admonition to refuse the haunting of the alehouse, and to bestow his time better in the continual reading of the Scriptures, he dismissed him from the Fleet.
The Lord Cromwell, perceiving within a fortnight after that his prisoner was sent home without any open punishment, came to Lambeth unto the archbishop, and in a great heat said to him, "My Lord, I understand that you have despatched the northern priest, that I of late sent to the Fleet, home again, who unhonestly railed of you, and called you an hosteler." "Indeed I have so done," said he again, "for that in his absence the people of his cure wanted their divine service." "It is very devout divine service that he saith," quoth the Lord Cromwell. "It were more meet for him to be an hosteler than a curate, who sticked not to call you an hosteler. But I thought so much what you would do, and therefore I would not tell you of his knavery when I sent him to prison. Howbeit, henceforth they shall cut your throat, before that I say any thing more to them on your behalf." "Why, what would you have done with him?" quoth the archbishop. "There was nothing laid to his charge, other than words spoken against me; and now the man is repentant and well-reconciled, and hath been at great charges in prison: it is time therefore that he were rid out of his trouble." "Well," said my Lord Cromwell, "I meant that he should have preached at Paul's Cross a recantation before he had gone home." "That had been well done," quoth the other, "for then you would have had all the world as well to wonder at me as at him." "Well, well," said the Lord Cromwell, "we shall so long bear with these popish knaves, that at length they will bring us indeed to be wondered at of the whole world."
This example, among others, serveth to declare that there remained small desire of revenging in the said archbishop. But what should I say more? his quietness and mortification this way was such, that it is reported of all that knew him, that he never raged so far with any of his household servants, as once to call the meanest of them varlet or knave in anger, much less to reprove a stranger with any reproachful words. Much unlike, in this part, to the property (as it seemeth) of some other inferior bishops of this realm, which have not spared to fly in the faces, to pluck off the beards, to burn the hands, to beat and scourge with rods the bodies, of both gentlemen, married men, and others, having almost nothing else in their mouth, but "fools "and "knaves," &c.: and yet, after all this, think themselves good perfect bishops, after the rule which followeth and saith,
"No striker, no fighter." -- From which kind of vice, the nature of this archbishop was so far off, as was his doctrine which he professed, and death which he suffered, far off from all condition and example of blind popery. After the prohibition of these foresaid vices, succeedeth the mother of all good virtues necessarily required of all true Christians, but chiefly of a spiritual prelate, which is,
"Not given to filthy lucre, but harborous," &c. The contrary whereof was so odious unto St. Paul, that he esteemed the same no less than a kind of idolatry, in that it maketh men forget their duty to God so far, and, instead of him, to worship their treasure. How little this prelate we speak of was infected with this vice, and how he was no niggard, all kind of people that knew him (as well learned beyond the seas and on this side, to whom yearly he gave in exhibition no small sums of money, as others, both gentlemen, mean men, and poor men, who had in their necessity that which he could conveniently spare, lend, or make) can well testify. And albeit such was his liberality to all sorts of men, that no man did lack whom he could do for, either in giving or lending; yet nevertheless such was again his circumspection, that when he was apprehended and committed by Queen Mary to the Tower, he owed no man living a penny, that could or would demand any duty of him, but satisfied every man to the uttermost: whereas no small sums of money were owing him of divers persons, which by breaking their bills and obligations he freely forgave and suppressed before his attainder. Insomuch that when he perceived the fatal end of King Edward should work to him no good success touching his body and goods, he incontinently called for his officers, his steward and others, commanding them in any wise to pay where any penny was owing, which was out of hand despatched. And then he said, "Now I thank God, I am mine own man, and in conscience, with God's help, able else to answer all the world and worldly adversities;" which some men suppose he might also have avoided, if he would have been counselled by some of his friends.
It followeth, moreover, "harborous." -- And as touching this word harborous, whereby is meant the good maintenance of hospitality; so little was this property lacking in him, that some men, misliking the same, thought it rather a house of over-much lavishing and unprofitable expense. But as nothing can be so well done, which by some one or other shall not be maligned and detracted; so neither did this man lack his cavillers, some finding fault with his over-much prodigality, some, on the contrary part, repining and complaining of his spare house and strait order, much under the state of his revenues and calling. Of which two, the first sort must consider the causes which moved him to that liberal and large kind of expenses; wherein here cometh to be considered, the time wherein he served, which was when reformation of religion first began to be advanced, in which time the whole weight and care of the same most chiefly depended upon his hand; during which season, almost for the space of sixteen years together, his house was never lightly unfurnished of a number both of learned men and commissioners, from time to time appointed for deciding of ecclesiastical affairs. And thus, as he seemed to some over-large and lavishing more than needed in hospitality; so on the other side there wanted not some of whom he was much noted and accused again, yea, and also complained of to King Henry the Eighth, for too slender and niggardly housekeeping, as not worthy to be accounted the hospitality of a mean gentleman, as here following shall appear.
After that the ample and great possessions, revenues, jewels, rich ornaments, and other treasures of the abbeys were dissolved and brought into the king's hands, in the dissolving whereof many cormorants were fed and satisfied, and yet not so fully satisfied, but that within a few years they began to wax hungry again: and forasmuch as no more could be scraped now out of abbeys, they began to seek how by some other prey to satisfy their appetites, which was to tickle the king's ears with the rich revenue of the bishops' lands. And to bring this device to pass, they procured Sir Thomas Seymour, knight of the privy chamber, to be a promoter of the matter; who not in all points much favouring the archbishop, having time and a convenient occasion, declared to the king that my Lord of Canterbury did nothing else but sell his woods, and let his leases by great and many fines, making havoc of all the royalties of the archbishopric; and that only to the intent to gather up treasure for his wife and children, keeping no manner of hospitality, in respect of so great a revenue: advertising the king further, that it was the opinion of many wise men, that it were more meet for the bishops to have a sufficient yearly stipend in money out of the exchequer, than to be cumbered with those temporal affairs of their royalties, being impediments unto their study and pastoral charge; and his Highness to have their lands and royalties converted to his proper use, which besides their honest stipends, would be unto his Majesty no small commodity and profit.
When the king had heard his fair tale, he said little thereunto, other than this: "Well," quoth he, "we will talk more of this matter at another time." Now, within a fortnight after, or thereabout, (whether by chance, or of set purpose, it is not known,) it came to pass, that one day when his Highness going to dinner had washed, Sir Thomas Seymour then holding the ewer, said to the said Sir Thomas, "Go you out of hand to Lambeth, unto my Lord of Canterbury, and bid him to be with me at two of the clock at afternoon, and fail not." Sir Thomas straightways went to Lambeth, and as he came to the gate the porter being in the lodge came out, and conveyed him to the hall, which was thoroughly furnished and set, both with the household servants and strangers, with four principal head messes of officers, as daily it was accustomed to be. When Sir Thomas saw that stately large hall so well set and furnished, being therewith abashed, and somewhat guilty of an untruth told to the king before, he retired back, and would needs have gone to the archbishop of Canterbury by the chapel, and not through the hall. Richard Neville, gentleman, then steward of the household, perceiving his retire, came by and by unto him, and after gentle entertainment demanded of him whether he would speak with my Lord or no? Sir Thomas said, that he must needs do so from the king's Highness, saying unto him, "and this way I am going to my Lord's Grace." "Sir," said the steward, "you cannot go that way, for the door is fast shut, in the dinner time:" and so, by gentle means, brought him up to my Lord's chamber through the hall, who then was at dinner: with whom he dined, after he had done his message, whose ordinary fare might always well beseem a right honourable personage. When dinner was scarce done, Sir Thomas took his leave of my Lord, and went again to the court.
So soon as the king's Highness saw him, he said to him; "Have you been with my Lord of Canterbury?" Sir Thomas answered, "That I have, if it please your Majesty, and he will be with your Highness straightways." "Dined you not with him?" said the king. "Yes, sir," said he, "that have I done." And with that word, whether he espied by the king's countenance, or by his words, any thing tending to displeasure, he straightway without delay kneeled down upon his knee, and said, "I beseech your Majesty to pardon me: I do now well remember and understand, that of late I told your Highness a great untruth concerning my Lord of Canterbury's housekeeping: but from henceforth I intend never to believe that person which did put that vain tale into my head; for I assure your Highness that I never saw so honourable a hall set in this realm (besides your Majesty's hall) in all my life, with better order, and so well furnished in each degree. If I had not seen it myself, I could never have believed it, and himself also so honourably served." "Ah sir,". quoth the king's Highness, "have you now espied the truth? I thought you would tell me another tale when you had been there. He is a very varlet," quoth the king, "that told you that tale: for he spendeth, (ah, good man!)" said the king, "all that he hath in housekeeping. But now I perceive which way the wind bloweth. There are a sort of you to whom I have liberally given of the possessions and revenues of the suppressed monasteries, which like as you have lightly gotten, so have you more unthriftily spent, some at dice, other some in gay apparel, and other ways worse, I fear me: and now that all is gone, you would fain have me make another chevance with the bishops' lands, to accomplish your greedy appetites. But let no other bishops bestow their revenues worse than my Lord of Canterbury doth: then shall you have no cause to complain of their keeping of house."
And thus the tale being shut up, and ended by the king's Highness, neither Sir Thomas Seymour, nor any other on his behalf, ever after durst renew or revive that suit, or any more in King Henry's days; so that it may be evident to all indifferent men, the liberality of the archbishop in housekeeping what it was, which being defended and commended by the prince himself, rather may give a good example to his posterity to follow, than was then to be depraved of any private subject, such as knew him not.
In which archbishop this moreover is to be noted, with a memorandum touching the relief of the poor, impotent, sick, and such as then came from the wars at Boulogne, and other parts beyond the seas, lame, wounded, and destitute: for whom he provided, besides his mansion-house at Beaksbourne in Kent, the parsonage-barn, well furnished with certain lodgings for the sick and maimed soldiers; to whom were also appointed the almoner, a physician, and a surgeon, to attend upon them, and to dress and cure such as were not able to resort to their countries, having daily from the bishop's kitchen hot broth and meat: for otherwise the common alms of the household was bestowed upon the poor neighbours of the shire. And when any of the impotent did recover and were able to travel, they had convenient money delivered to bear their charges, according to the number of miles from that place distant. And this good example of mercy and liberal benignity, I thought here good not in silence to he suppressed, whereby others may be moved, according to their vocation, to walk in the steps of no less liberality, than in him in this behalf appeared.
Now followeth together these virtues, "one that loveth goodness, sober-minded, righteous, holy, and temperate." As concerning these qualities, the trade of his life before, joined with his benign and gentle disposition, doth testify that he could not be void of these good virtues reigning in him, who was so abundantly adorned with the others, which above we have declared.
Then concludeth St. Paul with the most excellent virtue of all others to be wished in a prelate of the church. For if this constancy be not in him to this end, that is, "to cleave fast unto the true word of doctrine, that he may be able to exhort with wholesome learning, and to reprove them that say against it;" if he be void (I say) of these gifts and graces, he is worthy of no commendation, but shall be seen an idol, and a deceiver of the world. Neither shall he deserve the name of a bishop, if either for dread or meed, affection or favour, he do at any time or in any point swerve from the truth. As in this behalf the worthy constancy of this said archbishop never, for the most part, shrank from any manner of storm; but was so many ways tried, that neither favour of his' prince, nor fear of the indignation of the same, nor any other worldly respect, could alienate or change his purpose, grounded upon that infallible doctrine of the gospel. Notwithstanding, his constant defence of God's truth was ever joined with such meekness toward the king, that he never took occasion of offence against him.
At the time of setting forth the Six Articles, mention was made before in the story of King Henry the Eighth, how adventurously this archbishop Thomas Cranmer did oppose himself, standing, as it were, post alone, against the whole parliament, disputing and replying three days together against the said Articles: insomuch that the king, when neither he could mislike his reasons, and yet would needs have these Articles to pass, required him to absent himself for the time out of the chamber, while the act should pass, and so he did; and how the king afterward sent all the lords of the parliament unto the archbishop to Lambeth to cheer his mind again, that he might not be discouraged, all which appeareth above expressed: and this was done during yet the state and time of the Lord Cromwell's authority.
And now that it may appear likewise, that after the decay of the Lord Cromwell, yet his constancy in Christ's cause did not decay, you shall hear what followeth after. For after the apprehension of the Lord Cromwell, when the adversaries of the gospel thought all things sure now on their side, it was so appointed amongst them, that ten or twelve bishops, and other learned men, joined together in commission, came to the said archbishop of Canterbury for the establishing of certain articles of our religion, which the papists then thought to win to their purpose against the said archbishop. For having now the Lord Cromwell fast and sure, they thought all had been safe and sure for ever: as indeed to all men's reasonable consideration, that time appeared so dangerous, that there was no manner of hope that religion reformed should any one week longer stand, such account was then made of the king's untowardness thereunto; insomuch, that of all those commissioners there was not one left to stay on the archbishop's part, but he alone against them all stood in the defence of the truth; and those that he most trusted to, namely Bishop Heath, and Bishop Skip, left him in the plain field, who then so turned against him, that they took upon them to persuade him to their purpose; and, having him down from the rest of the commissioners into his garden at Lambeth, there by all manner of effectual persuasions entreated him to leave off his over-much constancy, and to incline unto the king's intent, who was fully set to have it otherwise than he then had penned, or meant to have set abroad.
When those two his familiars, with one or two others his friends, had used all their eloquence and policy, he, little regarding their inconstancy and remissness in God's cause or quarrel, said unto them right notably, "You make much ado to have me come to your purpose, alleging that it is the king's pleasure to have the articles, in that sort you have devised them, to proceed; and now that you do perceive his Highness by sinister information to be bent that way, you think it a convenient thing to apply unto his Highness's mind. You be my friends both, especially the one of you I did put to his Majesty as of trust. Beware (I say) what you do. There is but one truth in our articles to be concluded upon, which if you do hide from his Highness by consenting unto a contrary doctrine, and then after in process of time, when the truth cannot be hidden from him, his Highness shall perceive how that you have dealt colourably with him, I know his Grace's nature so well," quoth the archbishop," that he will never after trust and credit you, or put any good confidence in you. And as you are both my friends, so therefore I will you to beware thereof in time, and discharge your consciences in maintenance of the truth." But all this would not serve, for they still swerved; and in the end, by discharging of his conscience and declaring the truth unto the king, God so wrought with the king, that his Highness joined with him against the rest, so that the Book of Articles passing on his side, he won the goal from them all, contrary to all their expectations, when many wagers would have been laid in London, that he should have been laid up with Cromwell at that time in the Tower, for his stiff standing to his tackle. After that day there could neither councillor, bishop, nor papist win him out of the king's favour.
Notwithstanding, not long after that, certain of the council, whose names need not to be repeated, by the enticement and provocation of his ancient enemy the bishop of Winchester, and others of the same sect, attempted the king against him, declaring plainly, that the realm was so infected with heresies and heretics, that it was dangerous for his Highness further to permit it unreformed, lest peradventure by long suffering, such contention should arise and ensue in the realm among his subjects, that thereby might spring horrible commotions and uproars, like as in some parts of Germany it did not long ago: the enormity whereof they could not impute to any so much, as to the archbishop of Canterbury, who by his own preaching, and his chaplains', had filled the whole realm full of divers pernicious heresies. The king would needs know his accusers. They answered, that forasmuch as he was a councillor, no man durst take upon him to accuse him; but, if it would please his Highness to commit him to the Tower for a time, there would be accusations and proofs enow against him; for otherwise, just testimony and witness against him would not appear, "and therefore your Highness," said they, "must needs give us the counsel, liberty, and leave to commit him to durance."
The king, perceiving their importunate suit against the archbishop, (but yet meaning not to have him wronged, and utterly given over into their hands,) granted unto them that they should the next day commit him to the Tower for his trial. When night came, the king sent Sir Anthony Denny about midnight to Lambeth to the archbishop, willing him forthwith to resort unto him at the court. The message done, the archbishop speedily addressed himself to the court, and coming into the gallery where the king walked, and tarried for him, his Highness said, "Ah, my Lord of Canterbury! I can tell you news. For divers weighty considerations it is determined by me, and the council, that you to-morrow, at nine of the clock, shall be committed to the Tower, for that you and your chaplains (as information is given us) have taught and preached, and thereby sown within the realm, such a number of execrable heresies, that it is feared, the whole realm being infected with them, no small contentions and commotions will rise thereby amongst my subjects, as of late days the like was in divers parts of Germany: and therefore the council have requested me, for the trial of the matter, to suffer them to commit you to the Tower, or else no man dare come forth as witness in these matters, you being a councillor."
When the king had said his mind, the archbishop kneeled down and said, "I am content, if it please your Grace, with all my heart, to go thither at your Highness's commandment. And I most humbly thank your Majesty that I may come to my trial; for there be [those] that have many ways slandered me; and now this way I hope to try myself not worthy of such report."
The king, perceiving the man's uprightness, joined with such simplicity, said, "O Lord, what manner of man be you! What simplicity is in you! I had thought that you would rather have sued to us to have taken the pains to have heard you and your accusers together for your trial, without any such endurance. Do you not know, what state you be in with the whole world, and how many great enemies you have? Do you not consider what an easy thing it is, to procure three or four false knaves to witness against you? Think you to have better luck that way, than your Master Christ had? I see by it you will run headlong to your undoing, if I would suffer you. Your enemies shall not so prevail against you, for I have otherwise devised with myself to keep you out of their hands. Yet notwithstanding to-morrow, when the council shall sit, and send for you, resort unto them, and if in charging you with this matter, they do commit you to the Tower, require of them, because you are one of them, a councillor, that you may have your accusers brought before them, and that you may answer their accusations before them, without any further endurance, and use for yourself as good persuasions that way as you may devise; and if no entreaty or reasonable request will serve, then deliver unto them this my ring," (which then the king delivered unto the archbishop,) "and say unto them, 'If there be no remedy, my Lords, but that I must needs go to the Tower, then I revoke my cause from you, and appeal to the king's own person by this his token unto you all,' for" (said the king then unto the archbishop) "so soon as they shall see this my ring, they know it so well, that they shall understand that I have resumed the whole cause into mine own hands and determination, and that I have discharged them thereof."
The archbishop, perceiving the king's benignity so much to him-wards, had much ado to forbear tears. "Well," said the king, "go your ways, my Lord, and do as I have bidden you." My Lord, humbling himself with thanks, took his leave of the king's Highness for that night.
On the morrow about nine of the clock before noon, the council sent a gentleman-usher for the archbishop, who when he came to the council-chamber door, could not be let in; but of purpose (as it seemed) was compelled there to wait among the pages, lackeys, and serving-men all alone. Dr. Buts the king's physician resorting that way, and espying how my Lord of Canterbury was handled, went to the king's Highness, and said, "My Lord of Canterbury, if it please your Grace, is well promoted; for now he is become a lackey or a serving-man: for yonder he hath stood this half-hour at the council-chamber door amongst them." "It is not so," quoth the king, "I trow; the council hath not so little discretion as to use the metropolitan of the realm in that sort, specially being one of their own number. But let them alone," said the king, "and we shall hear, more soon."
Anon the archbishop was called into the council-chamber, to whom was alleged, as before is rehearsed. The archbishop answered in like sort as the king had advised him; and in the end, when he perceived that no manner of persuasion or entreaty could serve, he delivered them the king's ring, revoking his cause into the king's hands. The whole council being thereat somewhat amazed, the earl of Bedford with a loud voice, confirming his words with a solemn oath, said, "When you first began this matter, my Lords, I told you what would come of it. Do you think that the king will suffer this man's finger to ache? Much more, I warrant you, will he defend his life against brabbling varlets! You do but cumber yourselves to hear tales and fables against him." And so incontinently upon the receipt of the king's token, they all arose, and carried the king his ring, surrendering that matter, as the order and use was, into his own hands.
Illustration -- Cranmer and his Accusers before King Henry VIII
When they were all come to the king's presence, his Highness with a severe countenance said unto them, "Ah, my Lords! I thought I had had wiser men of my council than now I find you. What discretion was this in you, thus to make the primate of the realm, and one of you in office, to wait at the council-chamber door amongst serving-men? You might have considered that he was a councillor as well as you, and you had no such commission of me so to handle him. I was content that you should try him as a councillor, and not as a mean subject. But now I well perceive that things be done against him maliciously, and if some of you might have had your minds, you would have tried him to the uttermost. But I do you all to wit, and protest, that if a prince may be beholden unto his subject, [and so, solemnly laying his hand upon his breast, said,] by the faith I owe to God, I take this man here, my Lord of Canterbury, to be of all other a most faithful subject unto us, and one to whom we are much beholden;" giving him great commendations otherwise. And with that one or two of the chiefest of the council, making their excuse, declared, that in requesting his endurance, it was rather meant for his trial, and his purgation against the common fame and slander of the world, than for any malice conceived against him. "Well, well, my Lords," quoth the king, "take him and well use him, as he is worthy to be, and make no more ado." And with that every man caught him by the hand, and made fair weather of altogethers, which might easily be done with that man.
And it was much to be marvelled, that they would go so far with him, thus to seek his undoing, understanding this well before, that the king most entirely loved him, and always would stand in his defence, whosoever spake against him; as many other times the king's patience was by sinister informations against him tried. Insomuch that the Lord Cromwell was evermore wont to say unto him, "My Lord of Canterbury, you are most happy of all men; for you may do and speak what you list: and, say what all men can against you, the king will never believe one word to your detriment or hinderance. I am sure I take more pains than all the council doth, and spend more largely in the king's affairs, as well beyond the seas, as on this side, yea, I assure you, even very spies in other foreign realms, at Rome and elsewhere, cost me above one thousand marks a year: and do what I can to bring matters to knowledge, for the commodity of the king and the realm, I am every day chidden, and many false tales now and then believed against me; and therefore you are most happy, for in no point can you be discredited with the king." To this the archbishop again answering, "If the king's Majesty were not good to me that way, I were not able to stand and endure one whole week; but your wisdom and policy is such, that you are able to shift well enough for yourself."
Now when the king's Highness had thus benignly and mercifully despatched the said archbishop from this sore accusation by the council laid against him, all wise men would have thought that it had been mere folly afterwards to have attempted any matter against him: but yet look, where malice reigneth, there neither reason nor honesty can take place. Such therefore as had conceived deep rancour and displeasure against him, ceased not to persecute him by all possible means. Then brought they against him a new kind of accusation, and caused Sir John Gostwike, knight, a man of a contrary religion, to accuse the archbishop openly in the parliament house, laying to his charge his sermons preached at Sandwich, and his lectures read at Canterbury, wherein should be contained manifest heresies against the sacrament of the altar, &c.: which accusation came to the king's ear. "Why," quoth the king, "where dwelleth Gostwike? As I take it, either in Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire: and hath he so open an ear that he can hear my Lord of Canterbury preaching out of Kent? This is very likely," said the king. "If he had been a Kentish man, there had been something worthy of consideration; but as for Gostwike, I know him well enough, and what good religion he is of. Go to him and tell him," said the king to one of his privy chamber, "if he go not to my Lord of Canterbury, and so reconcile himself to him, that he may become his good lord, I will pull the gosling's feathers so, that hereafter he shall have little lust to slander the metropolitan, or any other learned man." When Sir John Gostwike heard these words, it was no need to bid him haste himself to Lambeth unto the metropolitan, making to him as many friends as possibly he might. When he came to the archbishop he was fain to disclose unto him, by what means he was procured to do that he did, requesting his clemency to be his good lord, or else he took himself utterly undone, being so in the king's indignation, as he understood he was by that afore declared; which suit was soon won at his hand. And so the archbishop, casting into the satchel behind him all those Sir John Gostwike's ingratitudes, went to the king, and won to Sir John his prince's favour again. And thus the king made a short end of this accusation. A. D. 1544.
Well, here you may perceive that malicious invention went not the wisest way to work, to procure a stranger dwelling afar off; to accuse the archbishop of his doctrine preached in his diocese; and therefore hath blind malice learned some more wisdom now to accuse their archbishop in such sort as he shall never be able to avoid it. And therefore it was procured by his ancient enemies, that not only the prebendaries of his cathedral church in Canterbury, but also the most famous justices of peace in the shire, should accuse him, and article against him; which in very deed was most substantially brought to pass, and the articles, both well written and subscribed, were delivered to the king's Highness, as a thing of such effect, that there must needs follow to the said archbishop both indignation of the prince, and condign punishment for his grievous offence committed by him and his chaplains, in preaching such erroneous doctrine as they did within his diocese of Canterbury, whereof they being such witnesses of credit, no man had cause to doubt of their circumspect doings. This accusation, particularly set out, was delivered to the king by some of the council's means. When the king had perused the book, he wrapt it up, and put it in his sleeve; and finding occasion to solace himself upon the Thames, came with his barge furnished with his musicians along by Lambeth bridge towards Chelsea. The noiseof the musicians provoked the archbishop to resort to the bridge to do his duty, and to salute his prince: whom when the king had perceived to stand at the bridge, eftsoons he commanded the watermen to draw towards the shore, and so came straight to the bridge. "Ah, my chaplain! "said the king to the archbishop, "come into the barge to me." The archbishop declared to his Highness, that he would take his own barge and wait upon his Majesty. "No," said the king, "you must come into my barge, for I have to talk with you." When the king and the archbishop, all alone in the barge, were set together, said the king to the archbishop, "I have news out of Kent for you, my Lord." The archbishop answered, "Good, I hope, if it please your Highness." "Marry," said the king, "they be so good, that I now know the greatest heretic in Kent;" and with that pulled out of his sleeve the book of articles against both the said archbishop and his preachers, and gave the book to him, willing him to peruse the same. When the archbishop had read the articles, and saw himself so uncourteously handled of his own church whereof he was head, (I mean of the prebendaries of his cathedral church, and of such his neighbours as he had many ways gratified, I mean the justices of the peace,) it much grieved him; notwithstanding he kneeled down to the king, and besought his Majesty to grant out a commission to whomsoever it pleased his Highness, for them to try out the truth of this accusation. "In very deed," said the king, "I do so mean; and you yourself shall be chief commissioner, to adjoin to you such two or three more as you shall think good yourself." "Then it will be thought," quoth the archbishop to the king, "that it is not indifferent, if it please your Grace, that I should be mine own judge, and my chaplains' also." "Well," said the king, "I will have none other but yourself, and such as you will appoint: for I am sure that you will not halt with me in any thing, although you be driven to accuse yourself. And I know partly how this gear proceedeth, and if you handle the matter wisely, you shall find a pretty conspiracy devised against you." "Whom will you have with you?" said the king. "Whom it shall please your Grace to name," quoth the archbishop. "I will appoint Dr. Belhouse for one, name you the other," said the king, "meet for that purpose." "My chancellor, Dr. Coxe, and Hussey, my registrar," said the archbishop, "are men expert to examine such troublesome matters." "Well," said the king, "let there be a commission made forth, and out of hand get you into Kent, and advertise me of your doings."
They came into Kent, and there they sat about three weeks to bolt out who was the first occasion of this accusation; for thereof the king would chiefly be advertised. Now the inquisition being begun by the commissioners, every man shrunk in his horns, and no man would confess any thing to the purpose: for Dr. Coxe and Hussey, being friendly unto the papists, handled the matter so, that they would permit nothing material to come to light. This thing being well perceived by one of the archbishop's servants, his secretary, he wrote incontinently unto Dr. Buts and Master Denny, declaring that if the king's Majesty did not send some other to assist my Lord, than those that then were there with him, it were not possible that any thing should come to light: and therefore wished that Dr. Lee, or some other stout man that had been exercised in the king's ecclesiastical affairs in his visitations, might be sent to the archbishop. Upon these letters Dr. Lee was sent for to York by the king, and having the king's further mind declared unto him, when he came to the court, he resorted incontinently into Kent, so that on All-hallow even he delivered to the archbishop the king's ring, with a declaration of his Highness's further pleasure: and by and by upon his message done, he appointed the archbishop aforesaid to name him a dozen or sixteen of his officers and gentlemen, such as had both discretion, wit, and audacity, to whom he gave in commission from the king, to search both the purses, chests, and chambers of all those that were deemed or suspected to be of this confederacy, both within the cathedral church and without, and such letters or writings as they could find about them, to bring them to the archbishop and him.
These men thus appointed, went in one hour and instant to the person's houses and places, that they were appointed unto; and within four hours afterwards the whole conspiracy was disclosed by finding of letters,. some from the bishop of Winchester, some from Dr. London at Oxford, and from justices of the shire, with others; so that the first beginning, the proceeding, and what should have been the end of their conspiracy, was now made manifest. Certain chambers and chests of gentlemen of the shire were also searched, where also were found letters serving to this purpose. Amongst all others came to my Lord's hands two letters, one of the suffragan of Dover, and another of Dr. Barber, a civilian, whom continually the archbishop retained with him in household for expedition of matters in suit before him, as a counsellor in the law when need required. These two men being well promoted by the archbishop, he used ever in such familiarity, that when the suffragan, being a prebend of Canterbury, came to him, he always set him at his own mess, and the other never from his table, as men in whom he had much delight and comfort, when time of care and pensiveness chanced. But that which they did was altogether counterfeit, and the devil was turned into the angel of light, for they were both of this confederacy.
When my Lord had gotten these their letters into his hands, he on a day, when it chanced the suffragan to come to him to his house at Beaksbourne, called to him into his study the said suffragan of Dover and Dr. Barber, saying, "Come your ways with me, for I must have your advice in a matter." When they were with him in his study all together, he said to them, "You twain be men in whom I have had much confidence and trust: you must now give me some good counsel, for I am shamefully abused with one or twain to whom I have showed all my secrets from time to time, and did trust them as myself. The matter is so now fallen out, that they not only have disclosed my secrets, but also have taken upon them to accuse me of heresy, and are become witnesses against me. I require you therefore, of your good advice, how I shall behave myself towards them. You are both my friends, and such as I always have used when I needed counsel. What say you to the matter?" quoth the archbishop. "Marry," quoth Dr. Barber, "such villains and knaves (saving your Honour) were worthy to be hanged out of hand without any other law." "Hanging were too good," quoth the suffragan, "and if there lacked one to do execution, I would be hangman myself." At these words, the archbishop cast up his hands to heaven, and said, "O Lord, most merciful God, whom may a man trust now-a-days? it is most true which is said, Maledictus qui confidit in homine, et ponit carnem brachium suum. here was never man handled as I am: but, O Lord, thou hast evermore defended me, and lent me one great friend and master, [meaning the king,] without whose protection I were not able to stand upright one day unoverthrown, I praise thy holy name there-for! "And with that he pulled out of his bosom their two letters, and said, "Know ye these letters, my masters?" With that they fell down upon their knees, and desired forgiveness, declaring how they a year before were tempted to do the same; and so, very lamentably weeping and bewailing their doings, besought his Grace to pardon and forgive them. "Well," said the gentle archbishop, "God make you both good men! I never deserved this at your hands: but ask God forgiveness, against whom you have highly offended. If such men as you are not to be trusted, what should I do alive? I perceive now that there is no fidelity or trust amongst men. I am brought to this point now, that I fear my left hand will accuse my right hand. I need not much marvel hereat, for our Saviour Christ truly prophesied of such a world to come in the latter days. I beseech him of his great mercy to finish that time shortly." And so departing, he dismissed them both with gentle and comfortable words, in such sort thor words after appeared in his countenance or words any remembrance thereof.
Now, when all those letters and accusations were found, they were put into a chest, the king's Majesty minding to have perused some of them, and to have partly punished the principals of it. The chest and writings were brought to Lambeth, at what time began the parliament. Lord, what ado there waso procure the king's subsidy, to the intent that thereupon might ensue a pardon, which indeed followed; and so nothing was done, other than their falsehood known. This was the last push of the pike that was inferred against the said archbishop in King Henry the Eighth's days; for never after thirst any man move matter against him in his time.
And thus have ye both the working and disclosing of this popish conspiracy against this worthy archbishop and martyr of Christ, Thomas Cranmer. In the which conspiracy, for so much as complaint was also made unto the king of his chaplains and good preachers in Kent, it shall not be out of the story something likewise to touch thereof, especially of Richard Turner, then preacher the same time in this archbishop's diocese, and curate to Master Morice the archbishop's secretary, in the town of Chatham, by whose diligent preaching a great part of this heart-burning of the papists took its first kindling against the archbishop. Touching the description of which story, because by me nothing shall be said either more or less than is the truth, ye shall hear the very certainty thereof truly compiled in a letter sent the same time to Dr. Buts and Sir Anthony Denny, to be showed unto the king; and so it was, written by the foresaid Master Morice, secretary then to the archbishop, farmer of the same benefice of Chatham, and patron to Master Turner, there minister and preacher aforesaid.
A letter or apology of Master Morice, sent to Sir William Buts and Sir Anthony Denny, defending the cause of Master Richard Turner, preacher, against the papists, written A. D. 1544.
[The letter first beginneth in these words, "I am certain, right worshipful, that it is not unknown to your discreet wisdom," &c And after a few lines, coming to the matter, thus the said letter proceedeth: -- ]
"As your Worships well know, it was my chance to be brought up under my Lord of Canterbury, my master, in writing of the ecclesiastical affairs of this realm, as well touching reformation of corrupt religion, as concerning the advancement of that pure and sincere religion received by the doctrine of the gospel; which I take to be so substantially handled and builded upon the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, that hell-gates shall never prevail against it. The consideration whereof compelled me, being a farmer of the parsonage of Chatham in Kent, to retain with me one named Master Richard Turner, a man not only learned in the Scriptures of God, but also in conversation of life towards the world irreprehensible, whom for discharging of my conscience I placed at Chatham aforesaid, to be curate there. This man, because he was a stranger in the country there, and so thereby void of grudge or displeasure of any old rancour in the country, I thought it had been a mean to have gotten him the better credit in his doctrine; but, where malice once taketh fire against truth, no policy I see is able to quench it. Well, this man, as he knew what appertained to his office, so he spared not weekly, both Sundays and holidays, to open the gospel and epistle unto his audience after such a sort, (when occasion served,) that as well by his vehement inveighing against the bishop of Rome's usurped power and authority, as in the earnest setting forth and advancing of the king's Majesty's supremacy, innumerable of the people of the country resorting unto his sermons, changed their opinions, and favoured effectually the religion received. The confluence of the people so daily increased, that the church being a fair, ample, and large church, was not now and then able to receive the number, The fame of this new instruction of the people was so blazed abroad, that the popish priests were wonderfully amazed and displeased to see their pope so to be defaced, and their prince so highly advanced.
"Now, thought they, it is high time for us to work, or else all will here be utterly lost by this man's preaching: some of them went with capons, some with hens, some with chickens, some with one thing, some with another, unto the justices, such as then favoured their cause and faction, and such as are no small fools, as Sir John Baker, Sir Christopher Hales, Sir Thomas Moile, knights; with other justices. The prebendaries of Christ's church in Canterbury were made privy hereof, giving their succour and aid thereunto: so that, in conclusion, poor Turner, and other preachers, were grievously complained of unto the king's Majesty. Whereupon my Lord of Canterbury, and certain other commissioners, were appointed at Lambeth to sit upon the examination of these seditious preachers. Howbeit, before Turner went up to his examination, I obtained of Sir Thomas Moile, that he in Easter week was content to hear Turner preach a rehearsal sermon in his parish church at Westwell, of all the doctrine of his sermons preached at his cure in Chatham: which he most gently granting, heard Turner both before noon and afternoon on the Wednesday in Easter week last past, and (as it seemed) took all things in good part, remitting Turner home to his said cure with gentle and favourable words. I supposed by this means to have stayed Master Turner at home from further examination, hoping that Sir Thomas Moile would have answered for him at Lambeth before the commissioners. Notwithstanding, after Master Moile's coming to London, such information was laid in against Turner, that he was sent for to make answer himself before the said commissioners; and there appearing before them, he made such an honest, perfect, and learned answer unto the articles objected, that he was with a good exhortation discharged home again, without any manner of recantation or other injunction.
"Now when the pope-catholic clergy of Kent understood of his coming home without controlment, so that he preached as freely as he did before, against their blind and dumb ceremonies, straightway by the help of the bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, they found a new means to put him to utter confusion, devising that he came home from examination in such glorious pomp by the highway's side in the woods adjoining, that five hundred persons met him then with banqueting dishes to welcome him home, stirring the people rather to an uproar and commotion, than to keep them in any quiet obedience: when in very deed, contrary to this surmise, (as God would,) on this side Rochester a mile or two, for avoiding all such light and glorious talk with any his familiars or acquaintance, he of purpose left the high-way, and came through the woods all alone above eighteen miles together on foot, so wearied and meagred for want of sustenance, that when he came into my house at Chatham, he was not well able to stand or speak for faintness and thirst.
"This malicious tale being reported to the king's Highness, his Majesty was so sore aggrieved therewith, that he sent for the archbishop of Canterbury, willing him to cause Turner to be whipt out of the country; by means whereof, the archbishop of Canterbury sent again for Turner. I, hearing thereof, made incontinently report by my letters, with such vehemency proving it mere malice, that the archbishop understanding the truth, pacified again the king's Majesty's wrath. Home cometh Turner once again to his cure without blot; which so wrung the papists, in that they could not prevail, that they thought it all in vain any further to attempt against him concerning any accusation for matters in Kent, the archbishop of Canterbury being his ordinary. Well, yet would they not thus leave him undiscredited. Then was there one new matter devised, how that he had preached erroneous doctrine in other countries before he came into Kent, laying to his charge that he had both translated the mass into English, and said, or ministered the same, and that he had preached against purgatory, pilgrimages, and praying for the dead, &c.: by means whereof, he was now convented before the whole council by the bishop of Winchester, who sent Syriake Petite, gentleman, for him, who brought him up to London bound, (as I heard say,) and being examined before the said bishop of Winchester and others, he was committed to ward for a season. In the which mean time, (the archbishop of Canterbury being in Kent, about the trial of a conspiracy purposed against himself by the justices of the shire and the prebendaries of Christ's church,) Turner is now sent down to the archbishop, to the intent he should recant that doctrine which long ago he in other places out of Kent had preached, to the utter subversion and defacing of all that he had most godly and earnestly here in Kent taught both to the glory of God, and the furtherance and setting forth of the king's Highness's proceedings. If his Majesty will thus permit learned honest men thus daily to be overcrowed and trodden under-foot with a sort of tyrannous, or rather traitorous papists, (who cannot abide to hear his Majesty's supremacy advanced, nor the sincere word of God preached,) it were better for men to dwell amongst the infidels and miscreants than in England.
"What reason is this, that Turner should recant here in Kent the doctrine which in other countries he hath taught, to the wounding and overthrowing most desperately of five hundred men's consciences and above, (I dare say,) who lately, by his sincere preaching, have embraced a right good opinion both of the king's supremacy, and also of the reformed religion received? All good subjects may well lament the king's Majesty's estate in this behalf, that no man may dare to be so bold to advance his Highness's title, but that every ignorant and malicious papist shall spurn against him, seeking his utter undoing, and that by the aid of papistical justices set in authority. I beseech your Worships to pardon me of my rude and homely terms. They herein deserve worse, if worse may be devised: for what honest man can bear with this, that so noble a prince's ears shall be thus impudently abused with manifest lies and fables as this one is, of Turner's coming home in such a triumph as they craftily and falsely had devised? It is easily to be spied what they mean and go about, that (the prince being alive) dare take in hand so uncourteously to abuse both the gentle nature of the prince, and his godly preacher, the advancer and extoller of his just authority.
"What think your Worships they would attempt, if his Majesty were at God's mercy, (as God forfend that ever any of us should see that day, without better reformation,) that can thus daily with his Highness, blinding his eyes with mists, whilst he liveth and reigneth amongst us in most prosperity? As for my Lord of Canterbury, he dare nothing do for the poor man's delivery, he hath done so much for him already. And his Grace hath told me plainly, that it is put into the king's head, that he is the maintainer and supporter of all the heretics within the realm; nor will he permit me or my neighbours to resort unto the council for his purgation while he was at Chatham; saving only I have obtained this at his hand, that I may become a suitor in writing to my friends and good masters in the court, for his delivery. And therefore it is, right worshipful, that I have now taken pen in hand, thus to discourse and open our misery unto you concerning the extreme handling of this honest poor man, Master Turner; that if it may possibly be brought to pass by your godly wisdom, the poor man may be released and discharged of his recantation. You cannot do to God and your prince a more acceptable service in my poor opinion; for otherwise, if he should be driven to recant, (as I am sure he will sooner die,) both God's cause and the king's shall suffer no small detriment amongst his poor loving subjects here. For if there be no better stay for the maintenance of these godly preachers, the king's authority concerning his supremacy shall lie post alone, hidden in the act of parliament, and not in the hearts of his subjects.
"If they can bring to pass that Turner may recant, to the defacing of his good doctrine preached here, then have they that for which they have thus long travailed: and yet in effect shall not Turner recant, but King Henry the Eighth, in Turner's person, shall most odiously recant, to the wounding of all men's consciences here. If the king's Majesty do not esteem his authority given to his Highness by God's word and his parliament, it were well done, that the preachers had good warning to talk no more to the people thereof, rather than thus to be tossed and turmoiled for doing their duties, by the members of antichrist.
"And now to the intent that they might effectually for ever slander Turner's doctrine here, they have indicted him for offending against the Six Articles, this last sessions, by the witness of two papists of the parish of Chatham, his utter enemies, Sanders and Brown by name, for a sermon preached at Chatham on Passion Sunday, which chanced on St. Gregory's even, they both being absent that day at Wye Fair, as it is well proved, namely, for that he preached against the mass: saying, that our Saviour Christ was the only sole priest which sung mass on the altar of the cross, there sacrificing for the sins of the world once for ever; and that all other masses were but remembrances and thanksgiving for that one sacrifice: or such words in effect.
"Wherefore, to conclude, right worshipful, knowing your godly zeals, as
well towards the preferment of sincere religion, as your no less
affection, towards the king's Majesty's person and his godly
proceedings, I most humbly beseech you, in the bowels of our Saviour
Christ, so to ponder the weighty consideration of the premises, as by
unto the king's Majesty or to the honourable council, we here in Kent
that have now of late our hearts bent towards the observation of the law
of God and the prince through Turner's godly persuasions, may receive
from your Worships some comfortable
words of his deliverance, or else certainly many an honest and simple
man, lately embracing the truth, may perhaps fall away desperately from
the same, not without danger of their souls. In accomplishing whereof
your Worships shall not only do unto Almighty God and the prince most
true and acceptable service, but also bind the said Master Turner, with
all others to whom this cause doth appertain, both daily to pray for
your prosperities; and also to be at your commandments during their
lives. -- From Canterbury the 2d day of November.
"Your Worships' evermore at commandment,
And thus much containeth the letter sent (as is said) by Master Morice to Dr. Buts and Sir Anthony Denny. Now, what success and speed this letter had, it followeth to be declared. For Dr. Buts, the king's physician aforesaid, after the receipt of these letters, considering the weighty contents of the same, as he was ever a forward friend in the gospel's cause, so he thought not to foreslack this matter to the uttermost of his diligence; and so spying his time, when the king was in trimming and in washing, (as his manner was at certain times to call for his barber,) Dr. Buts (whose manner was at such times ever to be present, and with some pleasant conceits to refresh and solace the king's mind) brought with him in his hand this letter. The king asking what news, Dr. Buts pleasantly and merrily beginneth to insinuate unto the king the effect of the matter, and so, at the king's commandment, read out the letter; which when the king had heard, and paused a little with himself upon the same, he commanded again the letter to be read unto him: the hearing and consideration whereof so altered the king's mind, that whereas before he commanded the said Turner to be whipped out of the country, he now commanded him to be retained as a faithful subject. And here of that matter an end.
Let us now return to the archbishop again; who although he was compassed about (as is said) with mighty enemies and by many crafty trains impugned, yet, through God's more mighty providence working in the king's heart so to favour him, he rubbed out all King Henry's time without blemish or foil, by means of the king's supportation; who not only defended the said archbishop against all his conspired adversaries, but also extended such special favour unto him in such sort, that he being not ignorant of his wife, whom he had married before at Nuremburg, (being niece to the wife of Osiander.) keeping her all the Six Articles' time contrary to the law, notwithstanding, he both permitted the same, and kept his counsel.
Then after the death of King Henry, immediately succeeded his son King Edward, under whose government and protection the state of this archbishop, being his godfather, was nothing impaired, but rather more advanced.
During all this mean time of King Henry aforesaid, until the entering of King Edward, it seemed that Cranmer was scarcely yet throughly persuaded in the right knowledge of the sacrament, or at least, was not yet fully ripened in the same; wherein shortly after he, being more groundedly confirmed by conference with Bishop Ridley, in process of time did so profit in more ripe knowledge, that at last he took upon him the defence of that whole doctrine, that is, to refute and throw down first the corporal presence; secondly, the phantastical transubstantiation; thirdly, the idolatrous adoration; fourthly, the false error of the papists, that wicked men do eat the natural body of Christ; and lastly, the blasphemous sacrifice of the mass. Whereupon in conclusion he wrote five books for the public instruction of the Church of England, which instruction yet to this day standeth, and is received in this Church of England.
Against these five books of the archbishop, Stephen Gardiner, the arch-enemy to Christ and his gospel, being then in the Tower, slubbered up a certain answer, such as it was, which he in open court exhibited up at Lambeth, being there examined by the archbishop aforesaid, and other the king's commissioners in King Edward's days, which book was intituled, An Explication and Assertion of the true Catholic Faith, touching the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with a Confutation of a Book written against the same.
Against this explication, or rather a cavilling sophistication of Stephen Gardiner, doctor of law, the archbishop of Canterbury learnedly and copiously replying again, maketh answer, which also he published abroad to the eyes and judgments of all men in print. All which writings and books as well of the one part as of the other, our present story would require here to be inferred, but because to prosecute the whole matter at length will not be comprehended in a small room, and may make too long tarriance in our story, it shall therefore be best to put off the same unto the place of the appendix following, wherein (the Lord willing) we intend to close up both these and divers other treatises of these learned martyrs, as to this our story shall appertain.he unquiet spirit of Stephen Gardiner being not yet contented, after all this thrusteth out another book in Latin of the like popish argument, but after another title, named "Marcus Antonius Constantinus," whereunto first the archbishop again intending a full confutation, had already absolved three parts of his answer lying in prison, of the which parts two perished in Oxford; the other yet remaineth in my hands ready to be seen and set forth, as the Lord shall see good. Also Bishop Ridley, lying likewise the same time in prison, having there the said book of Marcus Antonius, for lack of pen and paper, with a lead of a window, in the margin of the book wrote annotations, as straitness of time would serve him, in refutation of the same book. And finally, because these worthy martyrs had neither liberty nor leisure to go through with that travail, that which lacked in them, for accomplishment of that behalf, was supplied shortly after by Peter Martyr, who abundantly and substantially hath overthrown that book in his learned defension of the right truth, against the false sophistication of Marcus Antonius aforesaid.
Besides these books above cited of this archbishop, divers other things there were also of his doing, as the Book of Reformation, the Catechism, with the Book of Homilies, whereof part was by him contrived, part by his procurement approved and published. Whereunto also may be adjoined another writing or confutation of his against eighty-eight articles by the convocation devised and propounded, but yet not ratified nor received in the reign and time of King Henry the Eighth. And thus much hitherto concerning the doings and travails of this archbishop of Canterbury, during the lives both of King Henry and of King Edward his son: which two kings so long as they continued, this archbishop lacked no stay of maintenance against all his maligners.
Afterward, this King Edward, a prince of most worthy towardness, falling sick, when he perceived that his death was at hand, and the force of his painful disease would not suffer him to live longer, and knowing that his sister Mary was wholly wedded to popish religion, bequeathed the succession of the realm to the Lady Jane, (a lady of great birth, but of greater learning, being niece to King Henry the Eighth by his sister,) by consent of all the council and lawyers of this realm. To this testament of the king's, when all the nobles of the realm, states and judges, had subscribed; they sent for the archbishop, and required him that he also would subscribe. But he excusing himself on this manner, said, that it was otherwise in the testament of King Henry his father, and that he had sworn to the succession of Mary, as then the next heir; by which oath he was so bound, that without manifest perjury he could not go from it. The council answered, that they were not ignorant of that, and that they had consciences as well as he; and moreover, that they were sworn to that testament, and therefore he should not think there was any danger therein, or that he should be in more peril of perjury than the rest. To this the archbishop answered, that he was judge of no man's conscience but his own: and therefore, as he would not be prejudicial to others, so he would not commit his conscience unto other men's facts, or cast himself into danger, seeing that every man should give account of his own conscience, and not of other men's. And as concerning subscription, before he had spoken with the king himself, he utterly refused to do it.
The king therefore, being demanded of the archbishop concerning this matter, said, that the nobles and lawyers of the realm counselled him unto it, and persuaded him that the bond of the first testament could nothing let, but that this Lady Jane might succeed him as heir, and the people without danger acknowledge her as their queen. Who then demanding leave of the king, that he might first talk with certain lawyers that were in the court; when they all agreed that by law of the realm it might be so, returning to the king, with much ado he subscribed.
Well, not long after this King Edward died, A. D. 1553, being almost sixteen years old, to the great sorrow, but greater calamity, of the whole realm. After his decease immediately it was commanded that the Lady Jane, which was unwilling thereunto, should be proclaimed queen: which thing much misliked the common people, not that they did so much favour Mary, before whom they saw the Lady Jane preferred, as for the hatred conceived against some, whom they could not favour.
Besides this, other causes there happened also of discord between the nobles and the commons the same time: for what injuries of commons and enclosures wrongfully holden, with other inordinate pollings and uncharitable dealing between the landlords and tenants, I cannot tell. But in fine, thus the matter fell out, that Mary, hearing of the death of her brother, and shifting for herself, was so assisted by the commons, that eftsoons she prevailed; who, being established in the possession of the realm, not long after came to London; and after she had caused first the two fathers, the duke of Northumberland and the duke of Suffolk, to be executed, (as is above remembered,) likewise she caused the Lady Jane, being both in age tender, and innocent from this crime, after she could by no means be turned from the constancy of her faith, together with her husband, to be beheaded.
The rest of the nobles, paying fines, were forgiven, the archbishop of Canterbury only excepted; who, though he desired pardon, (by means of his friends,) could obtain none, insomuch that the queen would not once vouchsafe to see him: for as yet the old grudge against the archbishop for the divorcement of her mother, remained hid in the bottom of her heart. Besides this divorce, she remembered the state of religion changed; all which was imputed to the archbishop, as the cause thereof.
While these things were in doing, a rumour was in all men's mouths, that the archbishop, to curry favour with the queen, had promised to say a dirige mass after the old custom, for the funeral of King Edward her brother: neither wanted there some which reported that he had already said mass at Canterbury; which mass indeed was said by Dr. Thornton. This rumour Cranmer thinking speedily to stay, gave forth a writing of his purgation: the tenor whereof being before expressed, I need not here again to recite. This bill being thus written, and lying openly in a window in his chamber, cometh in by chance Master Story, bishop then of Rochester, who, after he had read and perused the same, required of the archbishop to have a copy of the bill. The archbishop when he had granted and permitted the same to Master Story, by the occasion thereof Master Story lending it to some friend of his, there were divers copies taken out thereof, and the thing published abroad among the common people; insomuch that every scrivener's shop almost was occupied in writing and copying out the same: and so at length some of these copies coming to the bishops' hands, and so brought to the council, and they sending it to the commissioners, the matter was known, and so he commanded to appear. Whereupon Dr. Cranmer, at his day prefixed, appeared before the said commissioners, bringing a true inventory, as he was commanded, of all his goods. That done, a bishop of the queen's privy council, being one of the said commissioners, after the inventory was received, bringing in mention of the bill, "My Lord," said he, "there is a bill put forth in your name, wherein you seem to be aggrieved with setting up the mass again: we doubt not but you are sorry that it is gone abroad." To whom the archbishop answered again, saying, "As I do not deny myself to be the very author of that bill or letter, so must I confess here unto you, concerning the same bill, that I am sorry that the said bill went from me in such sort as it did; for when I had written it, Master Story got the copy of me, and it is now come abroad; and, as I understand, the city is full of it. For which I am sorry, that it so passed my hands; for I had intended otherwise to have made it in a more large and ample manner, and minded to have set it on Paul's church door, and on the doors of all the churches in London, with mine own seal joined thereto." At which words, when they saw the constantness of the man, they dismissed him, affirming they had no more at that present to say unto him, but that shortly he should hear further.
The said bishop declared afterwards to one of Dr. Cranmer's friends, that notwithstanding his attainder of treason, the queen's determination at that time was, that Cranmer should only have been deprived of his archbishopric, and have had a sufficient living assigned him, upon his exhibiting of a true inventory, with commandment to keep his house without meddling in matters of religion. But how true that was, I have not to say. This is certain, that not long after this, he was sent to the Tower, and soon after condemned of treason. Notwithstanding the queen, when she could not honestly deny him his pardon, seeing all the rest were discharged, and specially, seeing he last of all others subscribed to King Edward's request, and that against his own will, released to him his action of treason, and accused him only of heresy; which liked the archbishop right well, and came to pass as he wished, because the cause was not now his own, but Christ's; not the queen's, but the church's.
Illustration -- The Room in the Tower Where Cranmer was Imprisoned
Thus stood the cause of Crammer; till at length it was determined by the queen and the council, that he should be removed from the Tower where he was prisoner, to Oxford, there to dispute with the doctors and divines. And privily word was sent before to them of Oxford, to prepare themselves, and make them ready to dispute. And although the queen and the bishops had concluded before, what should become of him, yet it pleased them that the matter should be debated with arguments, that under some honest show of disputation, the murder of the man might be covered: neither could their hasty speed of revengement abide any long delay; and therefore in all haste he was carried to Oxford.
What this disputation was, and how it was handled, what were the questions and reasons on both sides, and also touching his condemnation by the university and the prolocutor, because sufficiently it hath been declared, we mind now therefore to proceed to his final judgment and order of condemnation, which was the twelfth day of September, anno 1555, and seven days before the condemnation of Bishop Ridley and Master Latimer, as is above foretouched. The story whereof here followeth, faithfully corrected by the report and narration (coming by chance to our hands) of one who, being both present thereat, and also a devout favourer of the see and faction of Rome, can lack no credit, I trow, with such which seek what they can to discredit whatsoever maketh not with their phantasied religion of Rome.
This one thing by the way let us consider: how unjustly these three poor prisoned bishops were handled, which when they were compelled to dispute, yet were not suffered to speak, but at their adversary's appointment. And if they began to make any preface, or to speak somewhat largely for themselves, by and by were commanded from the high chair of Master Prolocutor, to go to the matter. If they prosecuted their arguments anything narrowly, straightway they heard, "Short arguments, Master Doctor! short arguments, Master Doctor!" In fine, what the equity of theologians was, and what was the end of the disputation, it needeth not now to be repeated, being already set forth at large. To conclude, whereas three questions were appointed to be disputed upon, and the divines had scarce disputed with the archbishop of one of them, by and by they condemned him as convicted in all three; and, so condemned, they carried him to prison with a great number of spearmen and billmen. And thus was Cranmer vanquished, convicted, and condemned.
What remaineth now, but that in praise of these divines, these noble conquerors with their prolocutor, we must sing this noble anthem of victory, Vicit veritas, -- "The truth hath the upper hand:" for so the prolocutor, when the disputation was ended, commanded all men to cry. O victorious and triumphant conquerors! Well, if these glorious champions cannot come down from the stage without a triumph of their victory, I will tell them (if they will give me leave) what had there the upper hand: Vicit insania. Vis vicit et tumultus. Madness, fury, tumult, with flattery and violence, won the field: and to speak most modestly, not the truth, but the time had the victory. For else, if they had gotten this conquest not by the time, but by their own puissance, in the time of King Edward, when liberty was given to all men to show learning and truth, where did this marvellous learning of these divines then appear? where was this triumphant chariot of their glory, and this conquering verity? Why did none of you come forth in those times, which would take the weapon in hand? Where was this ruffling prolocutor, with his jug at his elbow?
Moreover there is extant yet, and was then abroad in men's hands, Cranmer's book of the Sacrament, against Winchester, wherein the matter itself doth plainly cry, and always will cry, "The truth hath won." Why do you not here, you worthy warriors! fight hand to hand in open field, and prove in the face of the whole world, that your truth hath got the upper hand? The truth, as you say, doth overcome: but error doth more oftentimes overcome; and more often the greater part overcometh the lesser; but this way that you use, is not to win but to oppress. And yet truth doth win sometimes, but by favouring and suffering; not by drinking, by indifferent reasons, nor by exclamations: it winneth by virtue and time; not by violence and improbity. Finally truth so winneth, that she trumpeth forth no praise of her victory, neither setteth up her comb; but is always merciful and joined with gentleness; and never more gentle, than when she winneth most. Contrariwise, nothing is more cruel, nothing more intolerable, than error and violence. So did the high priests and Pharisees overcome Christ and crucify him; contrariwise, Christ, rising again into eternal victory, overcometh, and freely offereth salvation to his enemies. The same example the persecutions of the apostles and martyrs of all times do follow. So many years was Christianity oppressed under the Jews and heathen men; but when the truth of the gospel had the upper hand, who ever heard that the Jews and heathen were slain of them? For this is the nature and disposition of God's truth, that when it overcometh, the victory is healthful to all men, hurtful to none; and not very grievous to them that are overcome.
And thus much concerning this matter, as touching Dr. Cranmer. And because this story presently concerneth him, let us prosecute the same, of whom we have hitherto discoursed already; first his parentage, his bringing up and education in learning; also his laborious and diligent study at the university; his travail in the cause of the king's divorce; and after, how he was promoted by the said king to be archbishop. Then, after the decease of King Edward, of his imprisonment, and sending to Oxford, and of his disputations there.
Now, after these things thus declared, concerning his outward doings, it shall seem no less requisite likewise to consider somewhat touching those things which nature inwardly ingrafted in the manners and disposition of that man, of whom many domestical examples of virtue may be taken; as first, of the meekness and mildness of his nature, which in such a dignity the more rare it is among many, the more commendable it may seem in him. But especially from greedy avarice he was so far, that as money never mastered him, so he never lacked that which was necessary; and as he was never greedy, so he was never needy; in adversity constant, in prosperity again no less liberal, as by examples in him may well be testified -- as when at Canterbury his house was on fire, the great adversity did not a little discourage him, that when he had great riches and much substance consumed, he was nothing therewith dismayed, but when others ran about amazedly, he did but quietly, without sign of grief, go up and down advising men to beware of taking any harm. Neither appeared any less constancy in him when his second and last house was on fire, the house of his own body, where he lost not only his goods, but life and all!
And as in his adversity he ever showed himself constant and like himself, so in prosperity he was no less free and bountiful, which virtue so flowed in him toward all men, especially towards the maintenance of learned men and of schools, that when, after the receipt of his rents, there came to him certain good men to receive his reward for poor scholars, he used to deliver the first bag that came to his hand without choosing or counting, &c.; well observing therein the rule of God's law, Exodus xxii., and the prophet Malachi, chap. iii., where we are willed willingly to tithe unto the poor of all that which we receive at the hands of God, whose example after the rule of God's commandment, if men now-a-days would follow, not only the poor should better be provided for, but also the wealth of the rich should many times both increase the rather, and continue the longer. For as all increase of things dependeth upon God's blessing above, so many times it happeneth that St. Augustine saith: that he oftentimes loseth nine parts, which refuseth to give the tenth. And how can he require much to be given him of God, who for God grudgeth to give again a little?
Again, as he was no niggard abroad, so he was no less liberal in his housekeeping at home. Besides these and other virtues in him, what should I speak of his painful and indefatigable study at his book, who, rising many times at two or three of the clock in the morning, parted almost no less part of the night to his study than to his sleep. In judging of causes circumspect, and such as no bribes could corrupt in ministering justice: or if he were at any time more sharp and rigorous to any, it was more by other men's setting on, than by himself.
Among many things which we have spoken of concerning that man, this is moreover to be added, that in King Henry's time, at the oppression of the good Lord Cromwell, it was also appointed and fully determined, that Cranmer the same time should be committed to prison; which thing indeed had so happened, had he not in time prevented the fraudulent circumvention of his enemies, which stood waiting for him at the common stairs or court-gate; but he, preventing the matter, suddenly shot into the privy stair, and so entered to the king's speech, and there upon his knees lamentably declared his innocency in the matter, desiring the king that he might not be condemned before he were suffered to purge himself according as he was promised by the king at his first entering to his office. Whereupon the king granted his request, and delivered him his signet from off his finger, commanding him notwithstanding to make his appearance before the council, and to hear all such matter as they charged him withal: which being done, if they would needs commit him, then to show the said signet, in certifying them of the king's pleasure to the contrary. And thus escaped he that present danger.
The saying is constantly affirmed of divers, that the said archbishop, with the Lord Wriothesley, kneeling and weeping at the king's bed-side, saved the life of Queen Mary, daughter to the princess dowager, divorced as is aforesaid from the king, whose determination then was to have off her head, for certain causes of stubbornness, had not the intercession and great persuasion of this archbishop come betwixt: whereupon the king afterward, speaking of the said archbishop, (whom commonly he called his priest,) said that he made intercession for her, which would his destruction, and would trouble them all. What recompence the queen rendered again for that benefit received, let the world consider and judge!
He was of stature mean; of complexion he was pure and somewhat sanguine, having no hair upon his head, at the time of his death; but a long beard, white and thick. He was of the age of sixty-five when he was burnt; and yet, being a man sore broken in studies, in all his time never used any spectacles. He was married at Nuremberg, being there at that time ambassador for the king's Majesty of famous memory, King Henry the Eighth, being with Charles the emperor. His wife was a Dutchwoman, kin to the wife of Osiander, of whom he had a son and a daughter, both yet alive; the daughter being married; the son being yet but young. After his ambassadorship, being made archbishop of Canterbury, notwithstanding the law of the Six Articles to the contrary, yet, having the secret consent of the king's Majesty thereunto, he was permitted and suffered withal, in those dangerous and perilous days.
In the small time of respite between King Edward's death and his own imprisonment, he sold his plate, and paid all his debts, so that no man could ask him a groat; although thereby, and by the spoil of his goods, after his attainder, he left his wife and children unprovided.
Illustration -- Portrait of Thomas Cranmer as a Young Man
fter the disputations done and finished in Oxford between the doctors of both universities, and the three worthy bishops, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, ye heard then how sentence condemnatory immediate upon the same was ministered against them by Dr. Weston and others of the university; whereby they were judged to be heretics, and so committed to the mayor and sheriffs of Oxford. But, forasmuch as the sentence given against them was void in law, (for at that time the authority of the pope was not yet received into the land,) therefore was a new commission sent from Rome, and a new process framed for the conviction of these reverend and godly learned men aforesaid. In which commission, first was Dr. James Brooks, bishop of Gloucester, the pope's sub-delegate, with Dr. Martin and Dr. Story, commissioners in the king and queen's behalf, for the execution of the same. Of the which three commissioners above named, as touching Dr. Martin, this by the way is to be understood, that although he was used for an instrument of the pope's side, to serve a turn, (whose book also is extant against the lawful marriage of priests,) yet notwithstanding neither was he so bitter an enemy in this persecution, as other commissioners were; and also in this time of Queen Elizabeth, whereas divers other doctors of the arches refused to be sworn against the pope, he denied not the oath; and yet notwithstanding not altogether here to be excused. But to the purpose of this story; whereof first it shall be requisite to declare the circumstance, and the whole state of the matter, as in a general description, before we come to their orations, according as in a parcel of a certain letter touching the same, it came to our hands.
Imprimis, here is to be understood, that at the coming down of the foresaid commissioners, which was upon Thursday, the twelfth of September, anno 1555, in the church of St. Mary, and in the east end of the said church at the high altar, was erected a solemn scaffold with cloth of state very richly and sumptuously adorned for Bishop Brooks aforesaid, the pope's legate, apparelled in pontificalibus, representing the pope's person, &c. The seat was made ten feet high, that he might sit under the sacrament of the altar. And on the right hand of the pope's delegate beneath him sat Dr. Martin, and on the left hand sat Dr. Story, the king and queen's commissioners, which were both doctors of the civil law, and underneath them other doctors, scribes, and pharisees also, with the pope's collector, and a rabblement of such other like.
And thus these bishops being placed in their pontificalibus, the bishop of Canterbury was sent for to come before them. He having intelligence of them that were there, thus ordered himself. He came forth of the prison to the church of St. Mary, set forth with bills and glaves for fear he should start away, being clothed in a fair black gown, with his hood on both shoulders, such as doctors of divinity in the university used to wear, and in his hand a white staff; for he was now left only to the stay and succours of virtue and learning, which, after the loss of all his worldly honours and dignities, only remained to him: so appointed he himself thereafter. Who, after he was come into the church, and did see them sit in their pontificalibus, he did not put off his cap to any of them, but stood still till that he was called. And anon one of the proctors for the pope, or else his doctor, called "Thomas archbishop of Canterbury! appear here and make answer to that shall be laid to thy charge; that is to say, for blasphemy, incontinency, and heresy; and make answer here to the bishop of Gloucester, representing the pope's person."
Upon this he being brought more near unto the scaffold, where the foresaid bishop sat, he first well viewed the place of judgment, and spying where the king and queen's Majesty's proctors were, putting off his cap, he (first humbly bowing his knee to the ground) made reverence to the one, and after to the other.
That done, beholding the bishop in the face, he put on his bonnet again, making no manner of token of obedience towards him at all: whereat the bishop, being offended, said unto him, that it might beseem him right well, weighing the authority he did represent, to do his duty unto him. Whereunto Dr. Cranmer answered and said, that he had once taken a solemn oath, never to consent to the admitting of the bishop of Rome's authority into this realm of England again; and that he had done it advisedly, and meant by God's grace to keep it; and therefore would commit nothing either by sign or token, which might argue his consent to the receiving of the same; and so he desired the said bishop to judge of him: and that he did it not for any contempt to his person, which he could have been content to have honoured as well as any of the other, if his commission had come from as good an authority as theirs. This answered he both modestly, wisely, prudently, and patiently, with his cap on his head, not once bowing or making any reverence to him that represented the pope's person; which was wondrously of the people marked that were there present and saw it, and marked it as nigh as could be possible. When, after many means used, they perceived that the archbishop would not move his bonnet, the bishop proceeded with studied eloquence and painted art, in these words following:
The oration of Dr. Brooks, bishop of Gloucester, unto Dr. Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, in the church of St. Mary at Oxford.
"My Lord, at this present we are come to you as commissioners, and for you, not intruding ourselves by our own authority, but sent by commission, partly from the pope's Holiness, partly from the king and queen's most excellent Majesties, not to your utter discomfort, but to your comfort, if you will yourself. We come not to judge you, but to put you in remembrance of that you have been, and shall be. Neither come we to dispute with you, but to examine you in certain matters; which being done, to make relation thereof to him that hath power to judge you. The first being well taken, shall make the second to be well taken; for if you, of your part, be moved to come to a conformity, then shall not only we of our side take joy of our examination, but also they that have sent us.
And first, as charity doth move us, I would think good somewhat to exhort you, and that by St. John in the Apocalypse, Remember from whence thou art fallen, and do the first works; or if not: -- and so as ye know what followeth. Remember yourself from whence you have fallen. You have fallen from the universal and catholic church of Christ, from the very true and received faith of all Christendom; and that by open heresy. You have fallen from your promise to God, from your fidelity and allegiance; and that by open preaching, marriage, and adultery. You have fallen from your sovereign prince and queen by open treason. Remember therefore from whence you have fallen. Your fall is great, the danger cannot be seen. Wherefore when I say, remember from whence you are fallen, I put you in mind not only of your fall, but also of the state you were in before your fall. You were sometime, as I and other poor men, in a mean estate, God I take to witness, I speak it to no reproach or abasement of you, but to put you in memory, how God hath called you from a low to a high degree, from one degree to another, from better to better; and never gave you over, till he had appointed you legatum natum, metropolitanum Angliæ, pastorem gregis sui. Such great trust did he put you in, in his church: what could he do more? For even as he ordained Moses to be a ruler over his church of Israel, and gave him full authority upon the same, so did he make you over his church of England. And when did he this for you? Forsooth when you gave no occasion or cause of mistrust either to him, or to his magistrates. For although it be conjectured, that in all your time ye were not upright in the honour and faith of Christ, but rather set up of purpose as a fit instrument whereby the church might be spoiled and brought into ruin; yet may it appear by many your doings otherwise, and I, for my part, as it behoveth each one of us, shall think the best. For who was thought as then more devout? who was more religious in the face of the world? who was thought to have more conscience of a vow-making, and observing the order of the church, more earnest in the defence of the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the sacrament of the altar, than ye were? And then all things prospered with you; your prince favoured you; yea, God himself favoured you. Your candlestick was set up in the highest place of the church, and the light of your candle was over all the church; I would God it had so continued still!
"But after ye began to fall by schism, and would not acknowledge the pope's Holiness as supreme head, but would stoutly uphold the unlawful requests of King Henry the Eighth, and would bear with what should not be borne withal, then began you to fancy unlawful liberty; and when you had exiled a good conscience, then ensued great shipwreck in the sea, which was out of the true and catholic church cast into the sea of desperation; for as he saith, 'Without the church there is no salvation.' When ye had forsaken God, God forsook you, and gave you over to your own will, and suffered you to fall from schism to apostacy, from apostacy to heresy, and from heresy to perjury, from perjury to treason, and so in conclusion, into the full indignation of your sovereign prince; which you may think a just punishment of God, for your other abominable opinions.
"After that, ye fell lower and lower, and now to the lowest degree of all, to the end of honour and life. For if the light of your candle be, as it hath been hitherto, dusky, your candlestick is like to be removed, and have a great fall, so low, and so far out of knowledge, that it be quite out of God's favour, and past all hope of recovery: 'For in hell there is no redemption.' The danger whereof being so great, very pity causeth me to say, 'Remember from whence thou hast fallen.' I add also, and whither you fall!
"But here, peradventure, you will say to me, 'What, sir? my fall is not so great as you make it. I have not yet fallen from the catholic church; for that is not the catholic church that the pope is head of: there is another church.' But as touching that, I answer, you are sure of that as the Donatists were, for they said they had the true church, and that the name of true Christians remained only in Africa, where only their seditious sect was preached: and as you think, so thought Novatus, that all they that did acknowledge their supreme head at the see of Rome, were out of the church of Christ. But here St. Cyprian, defending Cornelius against Novatus, saith on this wise, Ecclesia una est, quæ cum sit una, intus et foris esse non potest. So that if Novatus were in the church, then was not Cornelius, who indeed by lawful succession succeeded Pope Fabian. Here St. Cyprian intendeth by the whole process to prove, and concludeth thereupon, that the true church was only Rome. Gather you then what will follow of your fall. But you will say peradventure, that you fell not by heresy: and so said the Arians, alleging for themselves that they had Scripture, and going about to persuade their schism by Scripture; for indeed they had more places by two and forty, which by their tortures seemed to depend upon Scripture, than the catholics had. So did the Martians provoke their heresy to Scripture. But those are no Scriptures; for they are not truly alleged, nor truly interpreted, but untruly wrested and wrong, according to their own fantasies. And therefore were they all justly condemned for their wrong taking of the Scriptures, and the church replieth against them, saying, Qui estis vos? quando? quid agitis in meo, non mei? The church saith, 'What make you here in my heritage? From whence came you? The Scripture is mine inheritance. I am right heir thereof: I hold it by true succession of the apostles; for as the apostles required me to hold, so do I hold it. The apostles have received me, and put me in my right, and have rejected you as bastards, having no title thereunto.'
"Also ye will deny that ye have fallen by apostacy by breaking your vow; and so Vigilantius said, insomuch that he would admit none to his ministry, but those that had their wives bagged with children. What now? Shall we say that Vigilantius did not fall therefore? Did not Donatus and Novatus fall, because they said so, and brought Scripture for their defence? Then let us believe as we list, pretending well, and say so: nay, there is no man so blind that will say so; for except the church, which condemneth them for their say so, do approve us for to do so, then will she condemn you also. So that your denial will not stand. And therefore I tell you, remember from whence ye are fallen, and how low ye shall fall, if you hold on as you do begin. But I trust you will not continue, but revoke yourself in time, and the remedy followeth: Age pnitentiam, et prima opera fac; for by such means as ye have fallen, ye must rise again. First your heart hath fallen, then your tongue and your pen; and besides your own damage, have caused many more to fall. Therefore, first your heart must turn, and then shall the tongue and the pen be quickly turned: Sin minus, veniam tibi cito, et movebo candelabrum tuum de loco suo.
"I need not teach you a method to turn: you know the ready way yourself. But I would God I could but exhort you to the right and truth: then the way should soon be found out. For if ye remember how many ye have brought by abominable heresy into the way of perdition, I doubt not but very conscience would move you, as much for them as for yourself, to come again; and so would you spare neither tongue nor pen, if heart were once reformed. For as touching that point, the Holy Ghost toucheth their hearts very near by the mouth of his holy prophet Ezekiel, when he requireth the blood of his flock at the priest's hands, for lack of good and wholesome food. How much more should this touch your guilty heart, having over-much diligence to teach them the way of perdition, and feeding them with baggage and corrupt food, which is heresy. He that shall convert a sinner from his wicked life, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover the multitude of sins. So that if it be true that he who converteth a sinner, saveth a soul; then the contrary must needs be true, that he that perverteth a soul, and teacheth him the way of perdition, must needs be damned.
"Origen, on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, said, 'The damnation of those that preach heresy, doth increase to the day of judgment. The more that perish by heretical doctrine, the more grievous shall their torment be, that minister such doctrine.' Berengarius, who seemed to fear that danger, provided for it in his life-time, but not without a troubled and disquiet conscience. He did not only repent, but recant, and not so much for himself, as for them whom he had with most pestilent heresies infected. For as he lay in his death-bed upon Epiphany-day, he demanded of them that were present, 'Is this,' quoth he, 'the day of Epiphany, and appearing of the Lord?' They answered him, 'Yea.' 'Then,' quoth he, 'this day shall the Lord appear to me, either to my comfort, or to my discomfort.' This remorse argueth, that he feared the danger of them whom he had taught, and led out of the faith of Christ. Origen, upon St. Paul, saith in this wise, Although his own blood was not upon his head, for that he did repent, and was sorry for his former errors, yet, being converted, he feared the blood of them whom he had infected, and who received his doctrine.'
"Let this move you even at the last point. Insomuch as your case is not unlike to Berengarius, let your repentance be like also. And what should stay you (tell me) from this godly return? Fear that ye have gone so far, ye may not return? Nay, then I may say as David said, Ye fear where ye have no cause to fear. For if ye repent and be heartily sorry for your former heresy and apostacy, ye need not to fear: for, as God of his part is merciful and gracious to the repentant sinner, so is the king, so is the queen merciful; which ye may well perceive by your own case, since ye might have suffered a great while ago for treason committed against her Highness, but that ye have been spared and reserved upon hope of amendment, which she conceived very good of you: but now (as it seemeth) it is but a very desperate hope. And what do you thereby? According to the hardness of your heart, ye treasure up to yourself anger in the day of wrath.
"Well, what is it then, if fear do not hinder you? Shame, to unsay that you have said? Nay, it is no shame, unless you think it shame to agree with the true and the catholic church of Christ. And if that be shame, then blame St. Paul, who persecuted the disciples of Christ with the sword; then blame St. Peter, who denied his Master Christ with an oath, that he never knew him. St. Cyprian before his return being a witch; St. Austin being nine years out of the church; they thought it no shame after their return, of that they had returned. Shall it then be shame for you to convert and consent with the church of Christ? No, no.
"What is it then that doth let you? Glory of the world? Nay, as for the vanity of the world, I for my part judge not in you, being a man of learning, and knowing your estate.
"And as for the loss of your estimation, it is ten to one that whereas you were archbishop of Canterbury, and metropolitan of England, it is ten to one (I say) that ye shall be as well still, yea, and rather better.
"And as for the winning of good men, there is no doubt but all that be here present, and the whole congregation of Christ's church also, will more rejoice of your return, than they were sorry for your fall. And as for the others, ye need not to doubt, for they shall all come after; and, to say the truth, if you should lose them for ever, it were no force: ye should have no less thereby at all. I do not here touch them which should confirm your estimation: for as St. Paul, after his conversion, was received into the church of Christ, with wonderful joy to the whole congregation, even so shall you be. The fame of your return shall be spread abroad throughout all Christendom, where your face was never known.
"But you will say perhaps, your conscience will not suffer you. My Lord, there is a good conscience; and there is a bad conscience. The good conscience have not they, as St. Paul declareth to Timothy concerning Hymeneus and Alexander. The evil and bad conscience is (saith St. Cyprian) well to be known by its mark. What mark? This conscience is marked with the print of heresy: this conscience is a naughty, filthy, and a branded conscience, which, I trust, is not in you. I have conceived a better hope of you than so, or else would I never go about to persuade or exhort you. But what conscience should stay you to return to the catholic faith,.and universal church of Christ? What conscience doth separate you to that devilish and several church, to a liberty which never had ground in the Holy Scriptures? If you judge your liberty to be good, then judge you all Christendom to do evil besides you.
"Oh what a presumptuous persuasion is this, upon this utterly to forsake the church of Christ! Under what colour or pretence do you this? for the abuses? as though in your church were no abuses: yes, that there were. And if you forsake the universal church for the abuses, why do you not then forsake your particular church, and so be flitting from one to another? That is not the next way, to slip from the church for the abuses; for if you had seen abuses, you should rather have endeavoured for a reformation, than for a defection. He is a good chirurgeon, who for a little pain in the toe will cut off the whole leg! He helpeth well the toothache, which cutteth away the head by the shoulders! It is mere folly to amend abuses by abuses. Ye are like Diogenes; for Diogenes on a time, envying the cleanliness of Plato, said on this wise, Ecce calco fastum Platonis: Plato answered, Sed aliofastu. So that Diogenes seemed more faulty of the two.
"But when we have said all that we can, peradventure you will say, 'I will not return.' And to that I say, I will not answer. Nevertheless, hear what Christ saith to such obstinate and stiffnecked people in the parable of the supper. When he had sent out his men to call them in that were appointed, and they would not come, he bade his servants go into the ways and streets, to compel men to come in, Cogite intrare. If then the church will not lose any member that may be compelled to come in, ye must think it good to take the compulsion, lest you lose your part of the supper which the Lord hath prepared for you; and this compulsion standeth well with charity.
"But it may be perhaps, that some have animated you to stick to your tackle, and not to give over, bearing you in hand that your opinion is good, and that ye shall die in a good quarrel, and God shall accept your oblation. But hear what Christ saith of a meaner gift: If thou come to the altar to offer thy oblation, and knowest that thy brother hath somewhat to lay against thee, leave there thy gift, and go and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer up thy gift; or else thy brother will make thy offering unsavoury before God. This he said unto all the world, to the end they should know how their offerings should be received, if they were not according.
"Remember you therefore, before you offer up your offering, whether your gift be qualified or no. Remember the Church of Rome, and also of England, where not one only brother, but a number have matter against you, so just, that they will make your burnt-offering to stink before God, except you be reconciled. If you must needs appoint upon a sacrifice, make yet a mean first to them that have to lay against you. I say no more than the church hath allowed me to say; for the sacrifice that is offered without the church is not profitable. The premises therefore considered, for God's sake, I say, Memor esto unde excideris, et age pnitentiam, et prima opera fac. Sin minus, &c. Cast not yourself away, spare your body, spare your soul, spare them also whom you have seduced, spare the shedding of Christ's blood for you in vain. Harden not your heart, acknowledge the truth, yield to the prescript word of God, to the catholic Church of Rome, to the received verity of all Christendom. Wed not yourself to your own self-will. Stand not too much in your own conceit, think not yourself wiser than all Christendom is besides you. Leave off this unjust cavil. How? leave what? Leave reason, leave wonder, and believe as the catholic church doth believe and teach you. Persuade with yourself, that 'without the church there is no salvation.' And thus much have I said of charity. If this poor simple exhortation of mine may sink into your head, and take effect with you, then have I said as I would have said; otherwise not as I would, but as I could for this present."
And thus Bishop Brooks finishing his oration, sat down. After whom Dr. Martin, taking the matter in hand, beginneth thus:
"Albeit there be two governments, the one spiritual, and the other temporal, the one having the keys, the other the sword, yet in all ages we read that for the honour and glory of God both these powers have been adjoined together. For if we read the Old Testament, we shall find that so did Josias and Hezekiah. So did the king of the Ninevites compel a general fast through all the whole city: so did Darius in breaking the great idol, Bel, and delivering godly Daniel out of the den of lions: so did Nebuchadnezzar make and institute laws against the blasphemers of God. But let pass these examples, with a great number more, and to come to Christ's time, it is not unknown what a great travail they took to set forth God's honour: and although the rule and government of the church did only appertain to the spiritualty, yet for the suppression of heresies and schisms, kings were admitted as aiders thereunto. First, Constantine the Great called a council at Nice for the suppression of the Arians' sect, where the same time was raised a great contention among them. And after long disputation had, when the fathers could not agree upon the putting down the Arians, they referred their judgment to Constantine. 'God forbid,' quoth Constantine; 'you ought to rule me, and not I you.' And as Constantine did, so did Theodosius against the Nestorians; so did Marcian against Manicheus. Jovinian made a law, that no man should marry with a nun, that had wedded herself to the church.
"So had King Henry the Eighth the title of Defender of the Faith, because he wrote against Luther and his complices. So these nine hundred years the king of Spain had that title of Catholic, for the expulsion of the Arians; and to say the truth, the king and queen's Majesties do nothing degenerate from their ancestry, taking upon them to restore again the title to be Defender of the Faith, to the right heir thereof, the pope's Holiness.
"Therefore these two princes, perceiving this noble realm, how it hath been brought from the unity of the true and catholic church, the which you and your confederates do and have renounced; perceiving also that you do persist in your detestable errors, and will by no means be revoked from the same, have made their humble request and petition to the pope's Holiness, Paul the Fourth, as supreme head of the church of Christ, declaring to him, that whereas you were archbishop of Canterbury, and metropolitan of England, and at your consecration took two solemn oaths, for your due obedience to be given to the see of Rome, to become a true preacher or pastor of his flock, yet contrary to your oath and allegiance, for unity have sowed discord; for chastity, marriage and adultery; for obedience, contention; and for faith, ye have been the author of all mischief. The pope's Holiness, considering their request and petition, hath granted them, that, according to the censure of this realm, process should be made against you.
"And whereas in this late time, you both excluded charity and justice, yet hath his Holiness decreed, that you shall have both charity and justice showed unto you. He willeth you should have the laws in most ample manner to answer in your behalf, and that you shall here come before my Lord of Gloucester, as high commissioner from his Holiness, to the examination of such articles as shall be proposed against you, and that we should require the examination of you in the king's and queen's Majesties' behalf. The king and queen as touching themselves, because by the law they cannot appear personally, quia sunt illustrissimæ personae, have appointed as their attorneys, Dr. Story and me. Wherefore here I offer to your good Lordship our proxy, sealed with the broad seal of England, and offer myself to be proctor in the king's Majesty's behalf. I exhibit here also certain articles, containing the manifest adultery and perjury. Also books of heresy made partly by him, partly set forth by his authority. And here I produce him as party principal, to answer to your good Lordship."
Thus, when Dr. Martin had ended his oration, the archbishop beginneth, as here followeth:
"My Lord, I do not acknowledge this session of yours, nor yet you, my mislawful judge; neither would I have appeared here this day before you, but that I was brought hither as a prisoner. And therefore I openly here renounce you as my judge, protesting that my meaning is not to make any answer, as in a lawful judgment, (for then would I be silent,) but only for that I am bound in conscience to answer every man of that hope which I have in Jesus Christ, by the counsel of St. Peter; and lest, by my silence, many of those who are weak, here present, might be offended. And so I desire that my answers may be accepted as extra judicialia."
And when he had ended his protestation he began as followeth
Cranmer.--"Shall I then make my answer?"
Martin.--"As you think good; no man shall Iet you."
And here the archbishop, kneeling down on both knees towards the west, said first the Lord's Prayer. Then, rising up, he reciteth the articles of the creed. Which done, he entereth with his protestation in form as followeth:
Cranmer.--"This I do profess as touching my faith, and make my protestation, which I desire you to note. I will never consent that the bishop of Rome shall have any jurisdiction within this realm."
Story.--"Take a note thereof."
Martin.--"Mark, Master Cranmer, how you answer for yourself. You refuse and deny him, by whose laws ye do remain in life; being otherwise attainted of high treason, and but a dead man by the laws of the realm."
Cranmer.--"I protest before God I was no traitor, but indeed I confessed more at my arraignment than was true."
Martin.--"That is not to be reasoned at this present. Ye know ye were condemned for a traitor. But proceed to your matter."
Cranmer.--"I will never consent to the bishop of Rome, for then should I give myself to the devil; for I have made an oath to the king, and I must obey the king by God's laws. By the Scripture the king is chief, and no foreign person in his own realm above him. There is no subject but to a king. I am a subject, I owe my fidelity to the crown. The pope is contrary to the crown. I cannot obey both; for no man can serve two masters at once, as you in the beginning of your oration declared by the sword and keys, attributing the keys to the pope, and the sword to the king. But I say the king hath both. Therefore he that is subject to Rome, and the laws of Rome, he is perjured, for the pope's and the judge's laws are contrary, they are uncertain and confounded.
"A priest indebted by the laws of the realm, shall be sued before a temporal judge: by the pope's laws contrary.
"The pope doth the king injury in that he hath his power from the pope. The king is head in his own realm: but the pope claimeth all bishops, priests, curates, &c. So the pope in every realm hath a realm.
"Again, by the laws of Rome the benefice must be given by the bishop; by the laws of the realm, the patron giveth the benefice. Herein the laws be as contrary as fire and water.
"No man can by the laws of Rome proceed in a præmunire, and so is the law of the realm expelled, and the king standeth accursed in maintaining his own laws: Therefore in consideration that the king and the queen take their power of him, as though God should give it to them, there is no true subject, unless he be abrogate, seeing the crown is holden of him being out of the realm.
"The bishop of Rome is contrary to God, and injurious to his laws; for God commanded all men to be diligent in the knowledge of his law, and therefore hath appointed one holy day in the week at the least, for the people to come to the church and hear the word of God expounded unto them; and, that they might the better understand it, to hear it in their mother tongue which they know. The pope doth contrary; for he willeth the service to be had in the Latin tongue, which they do not understand. God would have it to be perceived: the pope will not. When the priest giveth thanks, God would that the people should do so too, and God willeth them to confess all together: the pope will not.
"Now as concerning the sacrament, I have taught no false doctrine of the sacrament of the altar; for if it can be proved by any doctor above a thousand years after Christ, that Christ's body is there really, I will give over. My book was made seven years ago, and no man hath brought any authors against it. I believe that whoso eateth and drinketh that sacrament, Christ is within them, whole Christ, his nativity, passion, resurrection, and ascension; but not that corporally that sitteth in heaven. Now Christ commanded all to drink of the cup: the pope taketh it away from the laymen. And yet one saith, that if Christ had died for the devil, that he should drink thereof.
"Christ biddeth us to obey the king. The bishop of Rome biddeth us to obey himself: therefore unless he be antichrist, I cannot tell what to make of him. Wherefore if I should obey him, I cannot obey Christ.
"He is like the devil in his doings; for the devil said to Christ, If thou wilt fall down and worship me, I will give thee all the kingdoms of the world. Thus he took upon him to give that which was not his own. Even so the bishop of Rome giveth princes their crowns, being none of his own; for where princes either by election, either by succession, either by inheritance, obtain their crown, he saith that they should have it from him.
"Christ saith, that antichrist shall be. And who shall he be? Forsooth he that advanceth himself above all other creatures. Now if there be none already that hath advanced himself after such sort besides the pope, then in the mean time, let him he antichrist."
Story.--"Pleaseth it you to make an end?"
Cranmer.--"For he will be the vicar of Christ, he will dispense with the Old and New Testament also, yea, and with apostacy.
"Now I have declared why I cannot with my conscience obey the pope. I speak not this for hatred I bear to him that now supplieth the room, for I know him not. I pray God give him grace not to follow his ancestors. Neither say I this for my defence, but to declare my conscience, for the zeal that I bear to God's word trodden under foot by the bishop of Rome. I cast fear apart, for Christ said to his apostles, that in the latter days they should suffer much sorrow, and be put to death for his name's sake: Fear them not, saith he, but fear him which when he hath killed the body, hath power to cast the soul into fire everlasting. Also Christ saith, He that will live shall die, and he that loseth his life for my name's sake, he shall find it again. Moreover he said, Confess me before men, and be not afraid; for if you do so, I will stand with you: if you shrink from me I will shrink from you. This is a comfortable and terrible saying; this maketh me to set all fear apart. I say therefore, the bishop of Rome treadeth under foot God's laws and the king's.
"The pope would give bishoprics: so would the king. But at the last the king got the upper hand; and so are all bishops perjured, first to the pope, and then to the king.
The crown hath nothing to do with the clergy. For if a clerk come before a judge, the judge shall make process against him, but not to execute any laws: for if the judge should put him to execution, then is the king accursed in maintaining his own laws. And therefore say I, that he is neither true to God, neither to the king, that first received the pope. But I shall heartily pray for such counsellors, as may inform her the truth; for the king and queen, if they be well informed, will do well."
Martin.--"As you understand then, if they maintain the supremacy of Rome, they cannot maintain England too."
Cranmer.--"I require you to declare to the king and queen what I have said, and how their oaths do stand with the realm and the pope. St. Gregory saith, He that taketh upon him to be head of the universal church, is worse than the antichrist. If any man can show me, that it is not against God's word to hold his stirrup when he taketh his horse, and kiss his feet, (as kings do,) then will. I kiss his feet also. -- And you for your part, my Lord, are perjured; for now ye sit judge for the pope, and yet you did receive your bishopric of the king. You have taken an oath to be adversary to the realm: for the pope's laws are contrary to the laws of the realm."
Gloucester.--"You were the cause that I did forsake the pope, and did swear that he ought not to be supreme head, and gave it to King Henry the Eighth, that he ought to be it: and this you made me to do."
"To this I answer," said Cranmer, "you report me ill, and say not the truth; and I will prove it here before you all. The truth is, that my predecessor, Bishop Warham, gave the supremacy to King Henry the Eighth, and said that he ought to have it before the bishop of Rome, and that God's word would bear him. And upon the same was there sent to both the universities, Oxford and Cambridge, to know what the word of God would do touching the supremacy, and it was reasoned upon, and argued at length. So at the last both the universities agreed, and set to their seals, and sent it to King Henry the Eighth to the court, that he ought to be supreme head, and not the pope. Whereupon you were then doctor of divinity at that time, and your consent was thereunto, as by your hand doth appear. Therefore you misreport me, that I was the cause of your falling away from the pope, but it was yourself. All this was in Bishop Warham's time, and whilst he was alive, so that it was three quarters of a year after ere ever I had the bishopric of Canterbury in my hands, and before I might do any thing. So that here ye have reported of me that which ye cannot prove, which is evil done." -- All this while his cap was on his head.
Gloucester.--"We come to examine you, and you, methinks, examine us."
Dr. Story's oration to Cranmer.
"Pleaseth it your good Lordship, because it hath pleased the king and queen's Majesties to appoint my companion and me to hear the examination of this man before your good Lordship, to give me leave somewhat to talk in that behalf. Although I know that in talk with heretics there cometh hurt to all men; for it wearieth the stedfast, troubleth the doubtful, and taketh in snare the weak and simple: yet, because he saith he is not bound to answer your Lordship sitting for the pope's Holiness, because of a præmunire, and the word of God, as be termeth it; I think good somewhat to say, that all men may see how he runneth out of his race of reason into the rage of common talk, such as here, I trust, hath done much good. And as the king and queen's Majesties will be glad to hear of your most charitable dealing with him, so will they be weary to hear the blundering of this stubborn heretic. And whereas he allegeth divinity, mingling fas nefasque together, he should not have been heard; for shall it be sufficient to him to allege, the judge is not competent? Do we not see that in the common law it is not lawful for a man in Westminster Hall to refuse his judge? and shall we dispute contra eum qui negat principia? Although there be here a great company of learned men, that know it unmeet so to do, yet have I here a plain canon, wherein he declareth himself convicted ipso facto. The canon is this: 'Sit ergo ruinæ suo dolore prostratus quisquis apostolicis voluerit contraire decretis, nec locum deinceps inter sacerdotes habeat, sed exors a sancto fiat ministerio, nec de ejus judicio quisquam posthac curam habeat, quoniam jam damnatus a sancta et apostolicæ ecclesia, sua inobedientia ac præsumptione, a quoquam esse non dubitetur. Quia majoris excommunicationis dejectione est abjiciendus, cui sancta ecclesia commissa fuerit disciplina, qui non solum jussionibus prælatæ sanctæ ecclesia parere debuit, sed etiam aliis ne præterirent insinuare. Sitque alienus a divinis et pontificalibus officiis, qui noluerit præceptis apostolicis obtemperare.'
"He hath alleged many matters against the supremacy, but maliciously. Ye say that the king in his realm is supreme head of the church. Well, sir, you will grant me that there was a perfect catholic church before any king was christened. Then if it were a perfect church, it must needs have a head, which must needs be before any king was member thereof: for you know Constantine was the first christened king that ever was. And although you are bound (as St. Paul saith) to obey your rulers, and kings have rule of the people, yet doth it not follow that they have cure of souls: for a fortiori, the head may do that the minister cannot do; but the priest may consecrate, and the king cannot, therefore the king is not head.
"It was licensed by Christ to every man to bring into the sheepfold, and to augment the flock, but not to rule; for that was only given to Peter.
"And whereas the apostles do call upon men to obey their princes, cui tributum, tributum; cui vectigal, vectigal; they, perceiving that men were bent to a kind of liberty and disobedience, were enforced to exhort them to obedience and payment of their tribute, which exhortation extendeth only to temporal matters.
"And again, whereas you say that the bishop of Rome maketh laws contrary to the laws of the realm, that is not true; for this is a maxim in the law, Quod in particulari excipitur, non facit universale falsum.
"Now as touching that monstrous talk of your conscience, that is no conscience that ye profess; it is but privata scientia, electio et secta. And as yet, for all your glorious babble, you have not proved by God's laws that ye ought not to answer the pope's Holiness.
"The canons which be received of all Christendom compel you to answer, therefore you are bound so to do. And although this realm of late time, through such schismatics as you were, hath exiled and banished the canons, yet that cannot make for you: for you know yourself, that par in parem, nec pars in totem aliquid statuere potest. Wherefore this isle, being indeed but a member of the whole, could not determine against the whole. That notwithstanding, the same laws, being put away by a parliament, are now received again by a parliament, and have as full authority now as they had then; and they will now, that ye answer to the pope's Holiness: therefore, by the laws of this realm ye are bound to answer him. Wherefore, my good Lord, all that this Thomas Cranmer (I can no otherwise term him, considering his disobedience) hath brought for his defence, shall nothing prevail with you, nor take any effect. Require him therefore to answer directly to your good Lordship; command him to set aside his trifles, and to be obedient to the laws and ordinances of this realm. Take witness here of his stubborn contempt against the king and queen's Majesties, and compel him to answer directly to such articles as we shall here lay against him; and in refusal, that your good Lordship will excommunicate him."
As soon as Dr. Story had thus ended his tale, beginneth Dr. Martin again to enter speech with the archbishop; which talk I thought here likewise not to let pass, although the report of the same be such as the author thereof seemeth, in his writing, very partial; for as he expresseth the speech of Dr. Martin at full, and to the uttermost of his diligence, leaving out nothing in that part, that either was or could be said more; so again, on the other part, how raw and weak he leaveth the matter, it is easy to perceive, who neither comprehendeth all that Dr. Cranmer again answered for his defence, nor yet in those short speeches which he expresseth, seemeth to discharge the part of a sincere and faithful reporter. Notwithstanding, such as it is, I thought good to let the reader understand, who in perusing the same, may use therein his own judgment and consideration.
"Master Cranmer, ye have told here a long glorious tale, pretending some matter of conscience in appearance; but in verity you have no conscience at all. You say that you have sworn once to King Henry the Eighth against the pope's jurisdiction; and therefore you may never forswear the same; and so ye make a great matter of conscience in the breach of the said oath. Here will I ask you a question or two: What if ye made an oath to a harlot, to live with her in continual adultery; ought you to keep it?"
Cranmer.--"I think no."
Martin.--"What if you did swear never to lend a poor man one penny; ought you to keep it?" Cranmer.--"I think not."
Martin.--"Herod did swear whatsoever his harlot asked of him he would give her, and he gave her John Baptist's head: did he well in keeping his oath?"
Cranmer.--"I think not."
Martin.--"Jephtha, one of the judges of Israel, did swear unto God, that if he would give him victory over his enemies, he would offer unto God the first soul that came forth of his house; it happened that his own daughter came first, and he slew her to save his oath. Did he well?"
Cranmer.--"I think not."
Martin.--"So saith St. Ambrose de Officiis, 'It is a miserable necessity, which is paid with parricide.' Then, Master Cranmer, you can no less confess by the premises but that you ought not to have conscience of every oath, but if it be just, lawful, and advisedly taken."
Cranmer.--"So was that oath."
Martin.--"That is not so, for first it was unjust, for it tended to the taking away of another man's right. It was not lawful; for the laws of God and the church were against it. Besides, it was not voluntary; for every man and woman were compelled to take it."
Cranmer.--"It pleaseth you to say so."
Martin.--"Let all the world be judge. But, sir, you that pretend to have such a conscience to break an oath, I pray you did you never swear and break the same?"
Cranmer.--"I remember not."
Martin.--"I will help your memory. Did you never swear obedience to the see of Rome?"
Cranmer.--"Indeed I did once swear unto the same."
.Martin.--"Yea, that you did twice, as appeareth by records and writings here ready to be showed."
Cranmer.--"But I remember I saved all by protestation that I made by the counsel of the best learned men I could get at that time."
Martin.--"Hearken, good people! what this man saith. He made a protestation one day, to keep never a whit of that which he would swear the next day: was this the part of a Christian man? If a Christian man would bargain with a Turk, and before he maketh his bargain solemnly, before witness, readeth in his paper that he holdeth secretly in his hand, or peradventure protesteth before one or two, that he mindeth not to perform whatsoever he shall promise to the Turk; I say, if a Christian man should serve a Turk in this manner, that the Christian man were worse than the Turk. What would you then say to this man, that made a solemn oath and promise unto God and his church, and made a protestation before quite contrary?"
Cranmer.--"That which I did [I did] by the best learned men's advice I could get at that time."
Martin.--"I protest before all the learned men here, that there is no learning will save your perjury herein; for there be two rules of the civil law clean contrary against you." And so he brought forth his rules, which being done he proceeded further. "But will you have the truth of the matter: King Henry the Eighth even then meant the lamentable change which after you see came to pass; and to further his pitiful proceedings from the divorcement of his most lawful wife, to the detestable departing from the blessed unity of Christ's church, this man made the foresaid protestation: and, on the other side, he letted not to make two solemn oaths quite contrary; and why? for otherwise, by the laws and canons of this realm, he could not aspire to the archbishopric of Canterbury."
Cranmer.--"I protest before you all, there was never man came more unwillingly to a bishopric, than I did to that: insomuch that when King Henry did send for me in post, that I should come over, I prolonged my journey by seven weeks at the least, thinking that the would be forgetful of me in the mean time."
Martin.--"You declare well by the way that the king took you to be a man of good conscience, who could not find within all his realm any man that would set forth his strange attempts, but was enforced to send for you in post to come out of Germany. What may we conjecture hereby, but that there was a compact between you, being then Queen Anne's chaplain, and the king: Give me the archbishopric of Canterbury, and I will give you licence to live in adultery."
Cranmer.--"You say not true."
Martin.--"Let your protestation, joined with the rest of your talk, give judgment: hinc prima mali labes. Of that your execrable perjury, and his coloured and too shamefully suffered adultery, came heresy and all mischief to this realm. And thus have I spoken as touching the conscience you make for breaking your heretical oath made to the king: but to break your former oath, made at two sundry times both to God and his church, you have no conscience at all. And now to answer another part of your oration, wherein you bring in God's word, that you have it on your side and no man else, and that the pope hath devised a new scripture contrary to the Scripture of God, ye play herein as the Pharisees did, which cried always, The word of the Lord, the word of the Lord, when they meant nothing so. This bettereth not your cause, because you say, you have God's word for you; for so Basilides and Photinus the heretics said, that they had God's word to maintain their heresy. So Nestorius, so Macedonius, so Pelagius, and briefly, all the heretics that ever were, pretended that they had God's word for them; yea, and so the devil, being the father of heresies, alleged God's word for him, saying, It is written: so said he to Christ, Cast thyself downward, which you applied most falsely against the pope. But, if you mark the devil's language well, it agreed with your proceedings most truly: for, Cast thyself downward, said he, and so taught you to cast all things downward. Down with the sacrament, down with the mass, down with the altars, down with the arms of Christ, and up with a lion and a dog; down with the abbeys, down with chantries, down with hospitals and colleges, down with fasting and prayer, yea, down with all that good and godly is. All your proceedings and preachings tended no other, but to fulfil the devil's request, Mitte te deorsum. And therefore tell not us that you have God's word: for God hath given us by his word a mark to know that your teaching proceeded not of God, but of the devil, and that your doctrine came not of Christ, but of antichrist. For Christ foresaid, there should come against his church ravening wolves and false apostles. But how should we know them? Christ teacheth us, saying, By their fruits ye shall know them. Why, what be their fruits? St. Paul declareth, After the flesh they walk in concupiscence and uncleanness; they contemn potentates. Again, In the latter days there shall be perilous times: then shall there be men loving themselves, covetous, proud, disobedient to parents, treason-workers. Whether these be not the fruits of your gospel, I refer me to this worshipful audience; whether the said gospel began not with perjury, proceeded with adultery, was maihtained with heresy, and ended in conspiracy.
"Now sir, two points more I marked in your raging discourse that you made here: the one against the holy sacrament; the other against the pope's jurisdiction, and the authority of the see apostolic. Touching the first, ye say you have God's word with you, yea, and all the doctors. I would here ask but one question of you: whether God's word be contrary to itself, and whether the doctors teach doctrine contrary to themselves, or no? For you, Master Cranmer, have taught in this high sacrament of the altar three contrary doctrines, and yet you pretended in every one, verbum Domini.
Cranmer.--"Nay, I taught but two contrary doctrines in the same."
Martin.--"What doctrine taught you when you condemned Lambert the sacramentary, in the king's presence in Whitehall?"
Cranmer.--"I maintained then the papists' doctrine."
Martin.--"That is to say, the catholic and universal doctrine of Christ's church. And how when King Henry died? did not you translate Justus Jonas's book?"
Cranmer.--"I did so."
Martin.--"Then there you defended another doctrine touching the sacrament, by the same token that you sent to Lynn your printer; that whereas in the first print there was an affirmative, that is to say, Christ's body, really in the sacrament, you sent then to your printer to put in a not, whereby it came miraculously to pass, that Christ's body was clean conveyed out of the sacrament."
Cranmer.--"I remember there were two prints of my said book, but where the same not was put in, I cannot tell."
Martin.--"Then from a Lutheran ye became a Zuinglian, which is the vilest heresy of all in the high mystery of the sacrament; and for the same heresy you did help to burn Lambert the sacramentary, which you now call the catholic faith, and God's word."
Cranmer.--"I grant that then I believed otherwise than I do now; and so I did, until my Lord of London, Dr. Ridley, did confer with me, and by sundry persuasions and authorities of doctors, drew me quite from my opinion."
Martin.--"Now sir, as touching the last part of your oration, you denied that the pope's Holiness was supreme head of the church of Christ."
Cranmer.--"I did so."
Martin.--"Who say you then is supreme head?"
Martin.--"But whom hath Christ left here in earth his vicar and head of his church?"
Martin.--"Ah! why told you not King Henry this when you made him supreme head? and now nobody is. This is treason against his own person as you then made him."
Cranmer.--"I mean not but every king in his own realm and dominion is supreme head, and so was he supreme head of the church of Christ in England."
Martin.--"Is this always true? and was it ever so in Christ's church?
Cranmer.--"It was so."
Martin.--"Then what say you by Nero? He was the mightiest prince of the earth after Christ was ascended: was he head of Christ's church?"
Cranmer.--"Nero was Peter's head."
Martin.--"I ask whether Nero was head of the church or no? If he were not, it is false that you said before, that all princes be, and ever were, heads of the church within their realms."
Cranmer.--"Nay, it is true, for Nero was head of the church; that is, in worldly respect of the temporal bodies of men, of whom the church consisteth; for so he beheaded Peter and the apostles. And the Turk too is head of the church in Turkey."
Martin.--"Then he that beheaded the heads of the church, and crucified the apostles, was head of Christ's church; and he that was never member of the church, is head of the church, by your newfound understanding of God's word."
It is not to be supposed, contrary, but much other matter passed in this communication between them, especially on the archbishop's behalf; whose answers I do not think to be so slender, nor altogether in the same form of words framed, if the truth, as it was, might be known. But so it pleased the notary thereof, being too much partially addicted to his mother see of Rome in favour of his faction, to diminish and drive down the other side, either in not showing all, or in reporting the thing otherwise than it was; as the common guise is of most writers, to what side their affection most weigheth, their oration commonly inclineth. But let us proceed further in the story of this matter.
"It followed then," saith this reporter, "when the archbishop thus had answered, and the standers-by began to murmur against him; the judges, not content with his answers, willed him to answer directly to the interrogatories: which interrogatories articulated against him in form of law, were these under following.
"1. First was objected, that he, (the foresaid Thomas Cranmer,) being yet free, and before he entered into holy orders, married one Joan, surnamed Black or Brown, dwelling at the sign of the Dolphin in Cambridge.
"Answer. Whereunto he answered, that whether she was called Black or Brown, he knew not; but that he married there one Joan, that he granted.
"2. That after the death of the foresaid wife, he entered into holy orders, and after that was made archbishop by the pope.
"Answer. He received (he said) a certain bull of the pope, which he delivered unto the king, and was [made] archbishop by him.
"3. Item, that he, being in holy orders, married another woman as his second wife, named Anne, and so was twice married.
"Answer. To this he granted.
"4. Item, in the time of King Henry the Eighth, he kept the said wife secretly, and had children by her.
"Answer. Hereunto he also granted; affirming that it was better for him to have his own, than to do like other priests, holding and keeping other men's wives.
"5. Item, in the time of King Edward, he brought out the said wife openly, affirming and professing publicly the same to be his wife.
"Answer. He denied not, but he so did, and lawfully might do the same, forasmuch as the laws of the realm did so permit him.
"6. Item, that he shamed not openly to glory himself, to have had his wife in secret many years.
"Answer. And though he so did, (he said,) there was no cause why he should be ashamed thereof.
"7. Item, that the said Thomas Cranmer, falling afterward into the deep bottom of errors, did fly and refuse the authority of the church, did hold and follow the heresy concerning the sacrament of the altar, and also did compile and caused to be set abroad divers books.
"Answer. Whereunto when the names of the books were recited to him, he denied not such books which he was the author of. As touching the treatise of Peter Martyr upon the sacrament, he denied that he ever saw it before it was abroad, yet did approve and well like of the same. As for the Catechism, the book of Articles, with the other book against Winchester, he granted the same to be his doings.
"8. Item, that he compelled many, against their wills, to subscribe to the same articles.
"Answer. He exhorted (he said) such as were willing to subscribe; but, against their wills, he compelled none.
"9. Item, forasmuch as he surceased not to perpetrate enormous and inordinate crimes, he was therefore cast into the Tower, and from thence was brought to Oxford, at what time it was commonly thought that the parliament there should be holden.
"Answer. To this he said, that he knew no such enormous and inordinate crimes that ever he committed.
"10. Item, that in the said city of Oxford he did openly maintain his heresy, and there was convicted upon the same.
"Answer. He defended (he said) there the cause of the sacrament; but, that he was convicted in the same, that he denied.
"11. Item, when he persevered still in the same, he was by the public censure of the university pronounced a heretic, and his books to be heretical.
"Answer. That he was so denounced, he denied not; but that he was a heretic, or his books heretical, that he denied.
"12. Item, that he was and is notoriously infamed with the note of schism, as who not only himself receded from the catholic church and see of Rome, but also moved the king and subjects of this realm to the same.
"Answer. As touching the receding, that he well granted; but that receding or departing (said he) was only from the see of Rome, and had in it no matter of any schism.
"13. Item, that he had been twice sworn to the pope; and withal Dr. Martin brought out the instrument of the public notary, wherein was contained his protestation made when he should be consecrated, asking if he had any thing else protested.
"Answer. Whereunto he answered, that he did nothing but by the laws of the realm.
"14. Item, that he the said archbishop of Canterbury did not only offend in the premises, but also in taking upon him the authority of the see of Rome, in that, without leave or licence from the said see, he consecrated bishops and priests.
"Answer. He granted, that he did execute such things as were wont to be referred to the pope, at what time it was permitted to him by the public laws and determination of the realm.
"15. Item, that when the whole realm had subscribed to the authority of the pope, he only still persisted in his error.
"Answer. That he did not admit the pope's authority, he confessed to be true. But that he erred in the same, that he denied.
"16. Item, that all and singular the premises be true.
"Answer. That likewise he granted, excepting those things whereunto he had now answered. "
After he had thus answered to the objections aforesaid, and the public notary had entered the same, the judges and commissioners, as having now accomplished that wherefore they came, were about to rise up and depart. But the bishop of Gloucester, thinking it not the best so to dismiss the people, being somewhat stirred with the words of the archbishop, began in his oration in the hearing of the people, thus to declaim.
"Master Cranmer, (I cannot otherwise term you, considering your obstinacy,) I am right sorry, I am right heartily sorry, to hear such words escape your mouth so unadvisedly. I had conceived a right good, hope of your amendment. I suppose that this obstinacy of yours came not of a vain-glory, but rather of a corrupt conscience, which was the occasion that I hoped so well of your return. But now I perceive by your foolish babble, that it is far otherwise. Ye are so puffed up with vain-glory, there is such cauteria of heresy crept into your conscience, that I am clean void of hope, and my hope is turned into wan hope. But who can stay him that willingly runneth into perdition? Who can save that will be lost? God would have you to be saved; and you refuse it. Thy perdition is only upon thyself, O Israel! only in me is thy salvation, saith the Lord by his prophet. You have uttered so erroneous talk, with such open malice against the pope's Holiness, with such open lying against the Church of Rome, with such open blasphemy against the sacrament of the altar, that no mouth could have expressed more maliciously, more lyingly, more blasphemously.
"To reason with you, although I would of myself to satisfy this audience, yet may I not by our commission, neither can I find how I may do it with the Scriptures: for the apostle doth command that such a one should not only not be talked withal, but also shunned and avoided, saying, An heretical person after once or twice conferring, shun, knowing that he is perverse and sinneth, being of his own judgment condemned. Ye have been conferred withal not once or twice, but oftentimes; ye have oft been lovingly admonished ye have been oft secretly disputed with. And the last year in the open school, in open disputations, ye have been openly convict; ye have been openly driven out of the school with hisses. Your book, which ye brag you made seven years ago, and no man answered it, Marcus Antonius hath sufficiently detected and confuted, and yet ye persist still in your wonted heresy.
"Wherefore, being so oft admonished, conferred withal, and convicted, if ye deny you to be the man whom the apostle noteth, hear then what Origen saith, who wrote above thirteen hundred years ago, and interpreteth the saying of the apostle in this wise, 'Hæreticus est omnis ille habendus, qui Christo se credere profitetur, et aliter de Christi veritate sentit quam se habet ecclesiastica traditio.' Even now ye professed a kind of Christianity and holiness unto us, for at your beginning you fell down upon your knees, and said the Lord's Prayer (God wot like a hypocrite); and then, standing up upon your feet, you rehearsed the articles of your faith; but to what end I pray you else, but to cloak that inward heresy rooted in you, that you might blind the poor, simple, and unlearned people's eyes? For what will they say or think, if they do not thus say -- 'Good Lord, what mean these men to say, that he is a heretic? They are deceived; this is a good Christian, he believeth as we believe.'
"But is this sufficient to escape the name of a heretic? To the simple and unlearned it is sufficient: but for you, that have professed a greater knowledge and higher doctrine, it is not enough to recite your belief. For unless (as Origen saith) ye believe all things that the church hath decreed besides, you are no Christian man. In the which because you do halt, and will come to no conformity; from henceforth ye are to be taken for a heretic, with whom we ought neither to dispute, neither to reason: whom we ought rather to eschew and avoid.
"Nevertheless, although I do not intend to reason with you, but to give you up as an abject and outcast from God's favour, yet because ye have uttered, to the annoying of the people, such pestilent heresies as may do harm among some rude and unlearned, I think meet, and not abs re, somewhat to say herein; not because I hope to have any good at your hands, which I would willingly wish, but that I may establish the simple people which be here present, lest they, being seduced by your diabolical doctrine, may perish thereby.
"And first, (as it behoveth every man to purge himself first before he enter with any other,) whereas you accuse me of an oath made against the bishop of Rome, I confess it, and deny it not, and therefore do say with the rest of this realm, good and catholic men, the saying of the prophet, We have sinned with our fathers, we have done unjustly and wickedly. The sins of my youth, and my ignorances, O Lord, do not remember! I was then a young man, and as young a scholar here in the university. I knew not then what an oath did mean, and yet to say the truth, I did it compulsed, compulsed I say by you, Master Cranmer; and here were you the author and cause of my perjury, you are to be blamed herein, and not I. Now whereas you say I made two oaths, the one contrary to the other, it is not so, for the oath I made to the pope's Holiness appertaineth only to spiritual things: the other oath that I made to the king, pertaineth only to temporal things; that is to say, that I do acknowledge all my temporal livings to proceed only from the king, and from none else. But all men may see, as you agree in this, so ye agree in the rest of your opinions.
"Now, sir, as concerning the supremacy which is only due to the see of Rome, a word or two. Although there be a number of places which do confirm that Christ appointed Peter head of the church, yet this is a most evident place. When Christ demanded of his apostles whom men called him; they answered, Some Elias, some a prophet, &c. But Christ replied unto Peter, and said, Whom sayest thou, Peter, that I am? Peter answered, Tu es Christus, filius Dei: and Christ replied, Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam. The doctors interpreting this place, super hanc petram, expound it, id est, non solum super fidem Petri, sed super te, Petre. And why did Christ change his name from Simon to Peter, which in Latin is a stone, but only to declare that he was only the foundation and head of the church?
"Again, whereas Christ demanded of Peter, being amongst the rest of his apostles, three times a row, Petre, amas me? he gave him charge over his sheep, Pasce eves meas, pasce agnos meos. Which place Chrysostom interpreting, saith, Pasce, hoc est, loco mei esto præpositus et caput fratrum tuorum. To conclude, when they came that required didrachmæ of Christ, he commanded Peter to cast his net into the sea, and to take out of the fish's mouth that he took; Stateram, hoc est, duplex didrachma; et da, inquit, pro te et me, Petre. Which words do signify, that when he had paid for them two, he had paid for all the rest. For as in the old law there were appointed two heads over the people of Israel, Moses and Aaron; Moses as chief, and Aaron next head under him: so in the new law there were two heads of the church, which were Christ and Peter. Christ is head of all, and Peter next under him. 'Our Saviour Christ,' saith St. Augustine, 'commanding the tribute to be given for him and for Peter, meant thereby the same to be given for all others, for he appointed him to be head of them.' What can be more plain than this? but I will not tarry upon this matter.
"Now as touching the pope's laws, whereas you say they be contrary, because the service which should be (as you say) in English, is in Latin; I answer, whosoever will take the pains to peruse the chapter, which is in 1 Cor. xiv., shall find that his meaning is concerning preaching, and obiter only of praying.
"Again, whereas you say that the pope's Holiness doth take away one part of the sacrament from the laymen, and Christ would have it under both, ye can say no more but this, Drink ye all of this. And what followeth? And all drank thereof. Now if a man would be so proterve with you, he might say that Christ gave it only to his apostles, in whose places succeeded priests, and not laymen.
And admit that Christ commanded it to be received under both kinds, yet the church hath authority to change that as well as other. Ye read, that Christ calling his apostles together, said unto them, Go and preach the gospel to every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But the apostles, being desirous to publish Christ's name every where, did baptize only in Christ's name. Again, Christ before his last supper washed his apostles' feet, saying, If I have washed your feet, being your lord and master, also you ought to wash the feet one of another. I have given you example. This was a precept, yet hath the church altered it, lest the simple people should not think a rebaptization in it. So because, saith the apostle, I have received of the Lord the same which I have delivered to you, that our Lord the same night in which he was betrayed, &c. Notwithstanding that this was a precept that the sacrament should be ministered after supper, the church hath altered it, and commanded it to be received fasting: and whereas Christ did break the bread, we receive the whole host. Christ ministered sitting at the table, we standing at the altar.
"It was also commanded in Acts xv., that Christian men should abstain from strangled and blood. But the church perceiving it to be a precept but for a time, hath altered it. Christ commanded to keep holy the sabbath day, and the church hath altered it to Sunday. If then the church may change things that be so expressed in the Scriptures, she may also change the form of receiving of laymen under both kinds, for divers occasions. First, that in carrying it to the sick, the blood may not be shed, lost, or misused. And next, that no occasion might be given to heretics to think that there is not so much under one kind, as under both.
"But why would you have it under both kinds, I pray you else, but only to pervert and contrary the commandment of the church? For when you had it under both kinds, you believed in neither: and we having but one, believe both kinds.
"Now sir, as concerning the sacrament of the altar, whereas you say, you have a number of doctors of your side, and we none of our side, (that is to say, to confirm the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar,) indeed one to stop your mouth I think it not possible to find. Nevertheless, whereas your request is to have one showed unto you, and then you will recant, I will show you two.
"St. Augustine, upon Psalm xxxiii. Ferebatur manibus suis; 'I find not how this is true in David,' saith he, 'literally that he was borne in his own hands; but in Christ I find it literally, when he gave his body to his apostles at his last supper.'
Again St. Cyprian, De cna Domini, saith, Panis quem Dominus poster discipulis suis porrigebat, non effigie, sed natura mutatus, omnipotentia verbi factus est caro. What can be more plain than this? yet to your exposition it is not plain enough. But give me your figurative, significative, and other such-like terms, and I will defend that Christ hath not yet ascended; no, nor yet that he was incarnate, &c. Wherefore I can do no other but put you in the number of them, whom Chrysostom spake of in this wise, saying, Audi, homo fidelis, qui contra hæreticum contendis, si Pharisæi convicti, et non placati et hæretici, &c. Hear, O thou Christian man, wilt thou do more than Christ could do? Christ confuted the Pharisees, yet could he not put them to silence. And art thou stronger than Christ? Wilt thou go about to bring them to silence that will receive no answer? as who should say, thou canst not.
"Thus much I have said, not for you, Master Cranmer, for my hope that I conceived of you is now gone and past; but somewhat to satisfy the rude and unlearned people, that they, perceiving your arrogant lying, and lying arrogancy, may the better eschew your detestable and abominable schism."
And thus ended this prelate his worshipful tale. After whom Dr. Story taketh the matter, and thus inferred in words as followeth:--
Dr. Story.--"Master Cranmer, you have made a goodly process concerning your heretical oath made to the king, but you forget your oath made to the see apostolic. As concerning your oath made to the king, if you made it to him only, it took an end by his death, and so it is released; if you made it to his successors, well sir, the true successors have the empire, and they will you to dissolve the same, and become a member of Christ's church again, and it standeth well with charity."
"To this the archbishop answered again," saith the reporter: but what his answer was, that he suppresseth, and returneth to the words of Dr. Story, who imperiously turning his speech again to the archbishop, said as followeth:--
"Hold your peace, sir, and so shall it right well become you, considering that I gave you licence before, to say your fancy. Your oath was no oath: for it lacked the three points of an oath, that is to say, judicium, justiciam, et veritatem."hese, with the like words to the same effect, being uttered by Dr. Story, seeking to break up and make an end of that session, he eftsoons called for witnesses to be produced who should be sworn upon the book, to utter and declare the next day whatsoever they knew, or could remember to be inferred against Dr. Cranmer's heresy. The names of the witnesses are these:Dr. Marshall, commissary, and dean of Christ's church; Dr. Smith, under-commissary; Dr. Tresham, Dr. Crooke, Master London, Master Curtop, Master Warde, Master Serles.
After the depositions of which witnesses being taken, Dr. Story admonished the archbishop, permitting him to make his exceptions, if he thought any of the said witnesses were to be refused: who then would admit none of them all, being men perjured, and not in Christian religion. "For if to swear," said he, "against the pope were unlawful, they should rather have given their lives, than their oath. But if it were lawful, then they are perjured, to defend him whom they forsware before." Nevertheless, this answer of the archbishop being lightly regarded, as little to the purpose appertaining, he was commanded again to the place from whence he came; who, at his departing out, like as at his first coming in, showed low obedience to Dr. Martin, and to Dr. Story, the queen's commissioners. Then Dr. Story pointing him to the bishop of Gloucester, said, that he ought rather to give reverence unto him. So the reverend archbishop departing without any obeisance exhibited to the bishop, all the others rose up, and departed every one to his own. And thus brake up the session for that day, about two of the clock at afternoon.
And thus much hitherto concerning the summary effect of this action or session, with the orations, discourses, and articles commenced against the archbishop of Canterbury, also with the reasons and answers of the said archbishop to their objections and interrogatories. Touching which his answers, forasmuch as they, being recited by report of a papist (as is aforesaid) seem to be not indifferently handled, it shall therefore not greatly be out of our matter, as ye have heard the orations of Bishop Brooks, with the reasons and talk of the other commissioners, amplified and set forth at large on the one side; so now in repeating the words and answers of the other part, to declare and set forth somewhat more amply and effectually, what speech the said archbishop used for himself in the same action, by the faithful relation and testimony of certain others, who were likewise there present, and do thus report the effect of the archbishop's words, answering to the first oration of Bishop Brooks in manner as followeth:
"My Lord, you have very learnedly and eloquently in your oration put me in remembrance of many things touching myself, wherein I do not mean to spend the time in answering of them. I acknowledge God's goodness to me in all his gifts, and thank him as heartily for this state wherein I find myself now, as ever I did for the time of my prosperity; and it is not the loss of my promotions that grieveth me. The greatest grief I have at this time is, and one of the greatest that ever I had in all my life, to see the king and queen's Majesties by their proctors here to become my accusers; and that in their own realm and country, before a foreign power. If I have transgressed the laws of the land, their Majesties have sufficient authority and power, both from God, and by the ordinance of the realm, to punish me; whereunto I both have, and at all times shall be content to submit myself.
"Alas! what hath the pope to do in England? whose jurisdiction is so far different from the jurisdiction of this realm, that it is impossible to be true to the one, and true to the other. The laws also are so diverse, that whosoever sweareth to both, must needs incur perjury to the one: which as oft as I remember, even for the love that I bear to her Grace, I cannot but be heartily sorry to think upon it, how that her Highness the day of her coronation, at which time she took a solemn oath to observe all the laws and liberties of this realm of England, at the same time also took an oath to the bishop of Rome, and promised to maintain that see. The state of England being so repugnant to the supremacy of the pope, it was impossible but she must needs be forsworn in the one. Wherein if her Grace had been faithfully advertised by her council, then surely she would never have done it.
"The laws of this realm are, that the king of England is the supreme and sole governor of all his countries and dominions; and that he holdeth his crown and sceptre of himself, by the ancient laws, customs, and descents of the kings of the realm, and of none other. The pope saith, that all emperors and kings hold their crowns and regalities of him, and that he may depose them when he list; which is high treason for any man to affirm and think, being born within the king's dominions.
"The laws of England are, that all bishops and priests offending in cases of felony or treason, are to be judged and tried by the laws and customs of the realm. The pope's laws are, that the secular power cannot judge the spiritual power, and that they are not under their jurisdiction; which robbeth the king of the one part of his people.
"The laws also of England are, that whosoever hindereth the execution or proceeding of the laws of England for any other foreign laws ecclesiastical or temporal, incurreth the danger of a præmunire. The pope's laws are, that whosoever hindereth the proceedings or executions of his laws, for any other laws, of any other king or country, both the prince himself, his council, all his officers, scribes, clerks, and whosoever give consent or aid to the making or executing of any such laws, stand accursed. A heavy case, (if his curse were any thing worth,) that the king and queen cannot use their own laws, but they and all theirs must stand accursed.
"These things and many more examples he alleged, which (he said) stirred him that he could not give his consent to the receiving of such an enemy into the realm, so subverting the dignity and ancient liberties of the same.
"And as for the matter of heresy and schism, wherewith he was charged, he protested and called God to witness, that he knew none that he maintained. But if that were a heresy to deny the pope's authority, and the religion which the see of Rome hath published to the world these latter years, then all the ancient fathers of the primitive church, the apostles, and Christ himself, taught heresy. And he desired all then present to bear him witness, that he took the traditions and religion of that usurping prelate to be most erroneous, false, and against the doctrine of the whole Scripture; which he had oftentimes well proved by writing, and the author of the same to be very antichrist, so often preached of by the apostles and prophets, in whom did most evidently concur all signs and tokens whereby he was painted out.to the world to be known. For it was most evident that he had advanced himself above all emperors and kings of the world, whom he affirmeth to hold their estates and empires of him, as of their chief, and to be at his commandment to depose and erect at his good will and pleasure; and that stories make mention of his intolerable and insolent pride and tyranny, used over them in such sort, as no king would have used to his Christian subjects, nor yet a good master to his servants, setting his feet on the emperor's neck; affirming that to be verified in him, which was spoken only of our Saviour Jesus Christ, in these words, Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem. Other some had he made to hold his stirrup, others he had displaced and removed from their empires and seats royal: and not content herewithal, more insolent than Lucifer, he hath occupied not only the highest place in this world, above kings and princes, but hath further presumed to sit in the seat of Almighty God, which only he reserved to himself, which is the conscience of man; and to keep the possession thereof, he hath promised forgiveness of sins toties quoties.
"He hath brought in gods of his own framing, and invented a new religion, full of gain and lucre, quite contrary to the doctrine of the Holy Scripture, only for the maintaining of his kingdom, displacing Christ from his glory, and holding his people in a miserable servitude of blindness, to the loss of a great number of souls, which God at the latter day shall exact at his hand; boasting many times in his canons and decrees, that he can dispense 'against Peter, against Paul, against the Old and New Testament:' and 'of the fulness of power may do as much as God.' O Lord, whoever heard such blasphemy? If there be any man that can advance himself above him, let him be judged antichrist!
"This enemy of God and of our redemption, is so evidently painted out in the Scriptures by such manifest signs and tokens, which all so clearly appear in him, that except a man will shut up his eyes and heart against the light, he cannot but know him: and therefore, for my part, I will never give my consent to the receiving of him into this Church of England. And you, my Lord, and the rest that sit here in commission, consider well and examine your own consciences; you have sworn against him, you are learned, and can judge of the truth. I pray God you be not wilfully blind. As for me, I have herein discharged mine own conscience toward the world, and I will write also my mind to her Grace, touching this matter."
The copy of which letter sent to the queen, ye shall find after in the end of his story. While he in this sort made his answer, ye heard before how Drs. Story and Martin divers times interrupted him with blasphemous talk, and would fain have had the bishop of Gloucester to put him to silence; who notwithstanding did not, but suffered him to end his tale at full. After this ye heard also how they proceeded to examine him of divers articles, whereof the chief was, that at the time of his creating archbishop of Canterbury, he was sworn to the pope, and had his institution and induction from him, and promised to maintain then the authority of that see; and therefore was perjured: wherefore he should rather stick to his first oath, and return to his old fold again, than to continue obstinately in an oath forced in the time of schism.
To that he answered, saving his protestation, (which term he used before all his answers,) that at such time Archbishop Warham died, he was ambassador in Germany for the king, who sent for him thereupon home; and having intelligence by some of his friends who were near about the king, how he meant to bestow the same bishopric upon him, and therefore counselled him in that case to make haste home, he, feeling in himself a great inability to such a promotion, and very sorry to leave his study, and especially considering by what means he must have it, which was clean against his conscience, which he could not utter without great peril and danger, devised an excuse to the king of matter of great importance, for the which his longer abode there should be most necessary, thinking by that means in his absence, that the king would have bestowed it upon some other, and so remained there, by that device, one half year after the king had written for him to come home. But after that no such matter fell out, as he seemed to make suspicion of, the king sent for him again; who, after his return, understanding still the archbishopric to be reserved for him, made means by divers of his best friends to shift it off, desiring rather some smaller living, that he might more quietly follow his book.
To be brief, when the king himself spake with him, declaring that his full intention, for his service' sake, and for the good opinion he conceived of him, was to bestow that dignity upon him, after long disabling of himself, perceiving he could by no persuasions alter the king's determination, he brake frankly his conscience with him, most humbly craving first his Grace's pardon, for that he should declare unto his Highness. Which obtained, he declared, that if he accepted the office, then he must receive it at the pope's hand, which he neither would nor could do, for that his Highness was only the supreme governor of this Church in England, as well in causes ecclesiastical as temporal; and that the full right and donation of all manner of bishoprics and benefices, as well as of any other temporal dignities and promotions, appertained to his Grace, and not to any other foreign authority, whatsoever it was; and therefore, if he might in that vocation serve God, him, and his country, seeing it was his pleasure so to have it, he would accept it, and receive it of his Majesty, and of none other stranger, who had no authority within this realm, neither in any such gift, nor in any other thing. "Whereat the king," said he, "staying a while and musing, asked me how I was able to prove it. At which time I alleged many texts out of the Scriptures, and the fathers also, approving the supreme and highest authority of kings in their realms and dominions, disclosing therewithal the intolerable usurpation of the pope of Rome. Afterwards it pleased his Highness," quoth the archbishop, "many and sundry times to talk with me of it, and perceiving that I could not be brought to acknowledge the authority of the bishop of Rome, the king himself called Dr. Oliver, and other civil lawyers, and devised with them how he might bestow it upon me, enforcing me nothing against my conscience: who thereupon informed him, that I might do it by the way of protestation, and so one to be sent to Rome, who might take the oath, and do every thing in my name. Which when I understood, I said, he should do it, super animam suam: and I indeed bona fide made my protestation, that I did not acknowledge his authority any further than as it agreed with the express word of God, and that it might be lawful for me at all times to speak against him, and so to impugn his errors, when time and occasion should serve me. And this my protestation did I cause to be enrolled, and there I think it remaineth."
Then both the doctors professed it to be true that his protestation was enrolled, but said, it was a mere fraud of him. Then the Archbishop Cranmer asked them what he could do more in the case, who thereunto made him no answer at all. Many marvelled at this declaration of his, that so long ago, in so perilous a time, he had so sincerely proceeded; and that, even then, when he most might have advanced himself to honour and rule, which things chiefly men most desire in this world, he chose rather to venture the loss of his life, and all this glorious pomp, than to do any thing, for ambition's sake, that might once spot and stain his conscience. They charged him further that he had conspired with the duke of Northumberland for the disinheriting of the queen; whereunto he made answer as is contained in his letter written to the queen, the copy and tenor of which here followeth.
"Most lamentably mourning and moaning himself unto your Highness, Thomas Cranmer, although unworthy either to write or speak unto your Highness, yet, having no person that I know to be mediator for me, and knowing that your pitiful ears are ready to hear all pitiful complaints, -- and seeing so many before to have felt your abundant clemency in like case, -- I am now constrained most lamentably, and with most penitent and sorrowful heart, to ask mercy and pardon for my heinous folly and offence, in consenting to and following the testament and last will of our late sovereign lord King Edward the Sixth, your gracious brother; which will God knoweth, God He knoweth, I never liked, nor ever any thing grieved me so much, that your Grace's brother did; and if by any means it had been in me to have letted the making of that will, I would have done it. And what I said therein, as well to his council as to himself, divers of your Majesty's council can report; but not so well as the marquis of Northampton and the Lord Darcy, then lord chamberlain to the king's Majesty, which two were present at the communication between the king's Majesty and me.
"I desired to talk with the king's Majesty alone, but I could not be suffered: and so I failed of my purpose. For if I might have communed with the king alone, and at good leisure, my trust was that I should have altered him from that purpose; but, they being present, my pain was in vain. Then, when I could not dissuade him from the said will, and both he and his privy council informed me that the judges and his learned council said, that notwithstanding the act of entailing of the crown, made by his father, yet that act could not be prejudicial to him, but that he, being in possession of the crown, might make his will thereof: this seemed very strange to me, but, it being the sentence of the judges and other his learned counsel in the laws of this realm, as both he and his counsel informed me, methought it became not me, being unlearned in the law, to stand against my prince therein. And so at length being required, by the king's Majesty himself, to set to my hand to his will, saying, that he trusted that I alone would not be more repugnant to his will than the rest of the council were; which words surely grieved my heart very sore, and so I granted him to subscribe his will and to follow the same; which when I had set my hand unto, I did it unfeignedly, without dissimulation. For the which I submit myself most humbly unto your Majesty, acknowledging mine offence with most grievous and sorrowful heart, and beseeching your mercy and pardon; which, my heart giveth me, shall not be denied unto me, being granted before to so many who travailed not so much to dissuade both the king and his council as I did.
"And whereas it is contained in two acts of parliament, as I understand, that I, with the duke of Northumberland, should devise and compass the deprivation of your Majesty from your royal crown, surely it is untrue: for, the duke never opened his mouth to me, to move me to any such matter, nor I him, nor was his heart such towards me, (seeking long time my destruction,) that he would either trust me in any such matter, or think that I would be persuaded by him. It was others of the council moved me, and the king himself, the duke of Northumberland not being present. Neither before, neither after, had I ever any privy communication with the duke of that matter, saving that openly at the council-table, the duke said unto me, that it became not me to say to the king as I did; when I went about to dissuade him from the said will.
"Now, as concerning the state of religion as it is used in this realm of England at this present, if it please your Highness to license me, I would gladly write my mind unto your Majesty. I will never, God willing, be author of sedition, to move subjects from the obedience of their heads and rulers, which it is an offence most detestable. If I have uttered my mind unto your Majesty, being a Christian queen and governor of this realm, (of whom I am most assuredly persuaded that your gracious intent is, above all things, to prefer God's true word, his honour and glory,) if I have uttered, I say, my mind unto your Majesty, then I shall think myself discharged. For it lieth not in me, but in your Grace only, to see the reformation of things that be amiss. To private subjects it appertaineth not to reform things, but quietly to suffer what they cannot amend; yet, nevertheless, to show your Majesty my mind in things appertaining unto God, methinks it my duty, knowing what I do, and considering the place which in times past I have occupied: yet will I not presume thereunto without your Grace's pleasure first known, and your licence obtained, whereof I, most humbly prostrate to the ground, do beseech your Majesty. And I shall not cease daily to pray to Almighty God for the good preservation of your Majesty from all enemies, bodily and ghostly, and for the increase of all goodness, heavenly and earthly, during my life, as I do and will do, whatsoever come of me."
And thus much concerning this letter sent to the queen: now to return to the story of the examination again.
They objected to him also that he was married, which he confessed. Whereupon Dr. Martin said, that his children were bondmen to the see of Canterbury. At which saying the archbishop smiled, and asked him if a priest at his benefice kept a concubine, and had by her bastards, whether they were bondmen to the benefice or no, saying, "I trust you will make my children's causes no worse."
After this Dr. Martin demanded of him, who was supreme head of the Church of England? "Marry," quoth my Lord of Canterbury, "Christ is head of this member, as he is of the whole body of the universal church." "Why," quoth Dr. Martin, "you made King Henry the Eighth supreme head of the church." "Yea," said the archbishop, "of all the people of England, as well ecclesiastical as temporal." "And not of the church?" said Martin. "No," said he, "for Christ is only the head of his church, and of the faith and religion of the same. The king is head and governor of his people, which are the visible church." "What?" quoth Martin; "you never durst tell the king so." "Yes, that I durst," quoth he, "and did in the publication of his style, wherein he was named supreme head of the church; there was never other thing meant." A number of other fond and foolish objections were made, with repetition whereof I thought not to trouble the reader.
Thus after they had received his answers to all their objections, they cited him (as is aforesaid) to appear at Rome within fourscore days, to make there his personal answers: which he said, if the king and queen would send him, he would be content to do. And so thence he was carried to prison again, where he continually remained, notwithstanding that he was commanded to appear at Rome. Wherein all men that have eyes to see, may easily perceive the crafty practice of these prelates, and the visored face of their justice, as though the court of Rome would condemn no man before he answered for himself, as all law and equity required. But the very same instant time, the holiness of that unholy father, contrary to all reason and justice, sent his letter executory unto the king and queen to degrade and deprive him of his dignity: which thing he did not only before the eighty days were ended, but before there were twenty days spent! Furthermore, whereas the said archbishop was first detained in strait prison, so that he could not appear, (as was notorious both in England and also in the Romish court,) and therefore had a lawful and most just excuse of his absence by all laws, both popish and other: yet in the end of the said fourscore days, was that worthy martyr decreed contumax, that is, sturdily, frowardly, and wilfully absent, and in pain of the same his absence condemned, and put to death.
Dr. Thirleby, and Dr. Bonner, coming with a new commission to sit upon the archbishop the fourteenth day of February.
This letter or sentence definitive of the pope, was dated about the first day of January, and was delivered here in England about the midst of February. Upon the receipt of which letters another session was appointed for the archbishop to appear the fourteenth day of February, before certain commissioners directed down by the queen, the chief whereof was the bishop of Ely, Dr. Thirleby. Concerning which Dr. Thirleby by the way here is to be noted, that albeit he was not the said archbishop's household chaplain, yet he was so familiarly acquainted with him, so dearly beloved, so inwardly accepted and advanced of him, (not like a chaplain, but rather like a natural brother,) that there was never any thing in the archbishop's house so dear, were it plate, jewels, horse, maps, books, or any thing else, but if Thirleby did never so little commend it, (a subtle kind of begging,) the archbishop by and by, either gave it to him, or else sent it after him to his house: so greatly was the archbishop enamoured with him, that whosoever would obtain any thing of him, most commonly would make their way before by Dr. Thirleby. This by-matter of the said Dr. Thirleby I thought here to recite; not so much to upbraid the man with the vice of un-thankfulness, as chiefly and only for this, to admonish him of old benefits received, whereby he may the better remember his old benefactor; and so to favour the cause and quarrel of him whom he was so singularly bounden unto.
With the said Dr. Thirleby, bishop of Ely, was also assigned in the same commission Dr. Bonner, bishop of London, which two, coming to Oxford upon St. Valentine's day, as the pope's delegates, with a new commission from Rome, by the virtue thereof commanded the archbishop aforesaid to come before them, in the choir of Christ's church, before the high altar, where they sitting (according to their manner) in their pontificalibus, first began, as the fashion is, to read their commission; wherein was contained, how that in the court of Rome all things being indifferently examined, both the articles laid to his charge, with the answers made unto them, and witnesses examined on both parts, and counsel heard as well on the king and queen's behalf, his accusers, as on the behalf of Thomas Cranmer, the party guilty, so that he wanted nothing appertaining to his necessary defence, &c. Which fore-said commission, as it was in reading, "O Lord," said the archbishop, "what lies be these, that I, being continually in prison, and never could be suffered to have counsel or advocate at home, should produce witness and appoint my counsel at Rome? God must needs punish this open and shameless lying." They read on the commission which came from the pope, plenitudine potestatis, supplying all manner of defects in law or process committed in dealing with the archbishop, and giving them full authority to proceed to deprivation and degradation of him, and so upon excommunication to deliver him up to the secular power.
When the commission was read thus, they proceeding thereupon to his degradation, first clothed and disguised him, putting on him a surplice, and then an albe; after that the vestment of a sub-deacon, and every other furniture, as a priest ready to mass.
When they had apparelled him so far, "What," said he, "I think I shall say mass." "Yea," said Cosins, one of Bonner's chaplains, "my Lord, I trust to see you say mass for all this." "Do you so?" quoth he; "that shall you never see, nor will I ever do it."
Then they invested him in all manner of robes of a bishop and archbishop, as he is at his installing, saving that as every thing then is most rich and costly, so every thing in this was of canvass and old clouts, with a mitre and a pall of the same suit done upon him in mockery; and then the crosier-staff was put in his hand.
This done after the pope's pontifical form and manner, Bonner, who by the space of many years had borne, as it seemed, no great good will towards him, and now rejoiced to see this day wherein he might triumph over him, and take his pleasure at full, began to stretch out his eloquence, making his oration to the assembly after this manner of sort.
"This is the man that hath ever despised the pope's Holiness, and now is to be judged by him: this is the man that hath pulled down so many churches, and now is come to be judged in a church: this is the man that contemned the blessed sacrament of the altar, and now is come to be condemned before that blessed sacrament hanging over the altar: this is the man that like Lucifer sat in the place of Christ upon an altar to judge others, and now is come before an altar to be judged himself."
Whereunto the archbishop interrupting him said, that in that he belied him, as he did in many other things; for that which he would now seem to charge him withal, was his own fault, if it was any, and none of his: "for the thing you mean was in Paul's church," said he, "where I came to sit in commission, and there was a scaffold prepared for me and others, by you and your officers. And whether there were any altar under it or not, I could not perceive it, nor once suspected it, wherefore you do wittingly evil, to charge me with it."
But Bonner went on still in his rhetorical repetition, lying and railing against the archbishop, beginning every sentence with, "This is the man, this is the man," till at length there was never a man but was weary of his unmannerly usage of him in that time and place: insomuch that the bishop of Ely, aforesaid, divers times pulled him by the sleeve to make an end, and said to him afterward, when they went to dinner, that he had broken promise with him; for he had entreated him earnestly to use him with reverence.
After all this done and finished, they began then to bustle toward his degrading, and first to take from him his crosier-staff out of his hands, which he held fast and refused to deliver, and withal, imitating the example of Martin Luther, pulled an appeal out of his left sleeve under the wrist, which he there and then delivered unto them, saying, "I appeal to the next general council; and herein I have comprehended my cause and form of it, which I desire may be admitted; "and prayed divers of the standers-by, by name, to be witnesses, and especially Master Curtop, to whom he spake twice, &c.
The copy of which his appellation, because it was not printed before, I thought here to exhibit, ad rei memoriam, as in form here followeth.
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
"First, my plain protestation made, that I intend to speak nothing against one holy catholic and apostolical church, or the authority thereof (the which authority I have in great reverence, and to whom my mind is in all things to obey); and if any thing peradventure, either by slipperiness of tongue, or by indignation of abuses, or else by the provocation of mine adversaries, be spoken or done otherwise than well, or not with such reverence as becometh me, I am most ready to amend it.
"Although the bishop of Rome (whom they call pope) beareth the room of Christ in earth, and hath authority of God, yet by that power or authority he is not become unsinnable, neither hath he received that power to destroy, but to edify the congregation. Therefore if he shall command any thing that is not right to be done, he ought to take it patiently and in good part, in case he be not therein obeyed. And he must not be obeyed, if he command any thing against the precepts of God: no, rather he may lawfully be resisted, even as Paul withstood Peter. And if he, being aided by help of princes, deceived perchance by false suggestion or with evil counsel, cannot be resisted, but the remedies of withstanding him be taken away, there is nevertheless one remedy of appealing (which no prince can take away) uttered by the very law of nature: forasmuch as it is a certain defence, which is meet for every body by the law of God, of nature, and of man.
"And whereas the laws do permit a man to appeal, not only from the griefs and injuries done, but also from such as shall be done hereafter, or threatened to be done, insomuch that the inferior cannot make laws of not appealing to a superior power; and since it is openly enough confessed, that a holy general council, lawfully gathered together in the Holy Ghost, and representing the holy catholic church, is above the pope, especially in matters concerning faith; that he cannot make decrees that men shall not appeal from him to a general council: therefore I, Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, or in time past ruler of the metropolitan church of Canterbury, doctor in divinity, do say and publish before you the public notary, and witnesses here present, with mind and intent to challenge and appeal from the persons and griefs underneath written, and to proffer myself, in place and time convenient and meet, to prove the articles that follow. And I openly confess, that I would lawfully have published them before this day, if I might have had either liberty to come abroad myself, or licence of a notary and witnesses. But further than I am able to do, I know well is not required of the laws.
"First, I say and publish, that James, by the mercy of God priest, called cardinal of the Pit, and of the title of our Lady in the way of the Church of Rome, judge and commissary specially deputed of our most holy lord the pope, (as he affirmed,) caused me to be cited to Rome, there to appear fourscore days after the citation served on me, to make answer to certain articles touching the peril of my state and life: and whereas I was kept in prison with most strait ward, so that I could in no wise be suffered to go to Rome, nor to come out of prison, (and in so grievous causes concerning state and life, no man is bound to send a proctor,) and though I would never so fain send my proctor, yet by reason of poverty I am not able, (for all that ever I had, wherewith I should bear my proctor's costs and charges, is quite taken from me,) nevertheless the most reverend cardinal aforesaid doth sore threaten me, that whether I shall appear or not, he will nevertheless yet proceed in judgment against me. Wherein I feel myself so grieved, that nothing can be imagined more mischievous or further from reason.
"Secondly, The reverend father, James Brooks, by the mercy of God bishop of Gloucester, judge and under-deputy (as he affirmeth) of the most reverend cardinal, caused me to be cited at Oxford, (where I was then kept in prison,) to answer to certain articles, concerning the danger of my state and life. And when I, being unlearned and ignorant in the laws, desired counsel of the learned in the law, that thing was most unrighteously denied me, contrary to the equity of all laws both of God and man. Wherein again I feel me most wrongfully grieved.
"Thirdly, And when I refused the said bishop of Gloucester to be my judge, for most just causes, which I then declared, he nevertheless went on still, and made process against me, contrary to the rule of the laws of appealing, which say, 'A judge that is refused ought not to proceed in the cause, but to leave off.' And when he had required of me answers to certain articles, I refused to make him any answer: I said, I would yet gladly make answer to the most renowned king and queen's deputies or attorneys then present, with this condition notwithstanding, that mine answer should be extra judicial: and that was permitted me. And with this my protestation made and admitted, I made answer. But mine answer was sudden and unprovided for; and therefore I desired to have a copy of mine answers, that I might put to, take away, change, and amend them; and this was also permitted me. Nevertheless, contrary to his promise made unto me, no respect had to my protestation, nor licence given to amend mine answer, the said reverend father, bishop of Gloucester, (as I hear,) commanded mine answers to be enacted, contrary to the equity of the law. In which thing again I feel me much grieved.
"Fourthly, Furthermore, I could not for many causes admit the bishop of Rome's usurped authority in this realm, nor consent to it, for my solemn oath letting me, which I made in the time of King Henry the Eighth, of most famous memory, according to the laws of England: secondly, because I knew the authority of the bishop of Rome, which he usurpeth, to be against the crown, customs, and laws of this realm of England, insomuch that neither the king can be crowned in this realm, without the most grievous crime of perjury; nor may bishops enjoy their bishoprics, nor judgments to be used according to the laws and customs of this realm; except, by the bishop of Rome's authority, be accursed both the king and queen, the judges, writers, and executors of the laws and customs, with all that consent to them. Finally, the whole realm shall be accursed.
"Fifthly, Moreover, that heinous and usurped authority of the bishop of Rome, through reservations of the bishoprics, provisions, annuates, dispensations, pardons, appellations, bulls, and other cursed merchandise of Rome, was wont exceedingly to spoil and consume the riches and substance of this realm; all which things should follow again by recognising and receiving of that usurped authority, unto the unmeasurable loss of this realm.
"Sixthly, Finally, it is most evident by that usurped authority, not only the crown of England to be under yoke, the laws and customs of this realm to be thrown down and trodden under foot, but also the most holy decrees of councils, together with the precepts both of the gospel and of God.
"When in times past, the Sun of Righteousness being risen in the world, Christian religion by the preaching of the apostles began to be spread very far abroad, and to flourish, insomuch that their sound went out into all the world; innumerable people which walked in darkness, saw a great light; God's glory every where published did flourish; the only cark and care of the ministers of the church was purely and sincerely to preach Christ; the people to embrace and follow Christ's doctrine. Then the Church of Rome, as it were lady of the world, both was, and also was counted worthily, the mother of other churches, forasmuch as then she, first begat to Christ, nourished with the food of pure doctrine, did help them with their riches, succoured the oppressed, and was a sanctuary for the miserable; she rejoiced with them that rejoiced, and wept with them that wept. Then by the examples of the bishops of Rome, riches were despised, worldly glory and pomp were trodden under foot, pleasures and riot nothing regarded. Then this frail and uncertain life, being full of all miseries, was laughed to scorn, while through the example of Romish martyrs, men did every where press forward to the life to come. But afterwards, when the ungraciousness of damnable ambition, never-satisfied avarice, and the horrible enormity of vices, had corrupted and taken the see of Rome; there followed, every where almost, the deformities of all churches, growing out of kind into the manners of the church their mother, leaving their former innocency and purity, and slipping into foul and heinous usages.
"For the aforesaid and many other griefs and abuses, (which I intend to prove, and do proffer myself in time convenient to prove hereafter,) since reformation of the above-mentioned abuses is not to be looked for of the bishop of Rome, neither can I hope, by reason of his wicked abuses and usurped authority, to have him an equal judge in his own cause; therefore I do challenge and appeal in these writings from the pope, having no good counsel, and from the above-named pretences, commissions, and judges, from their citations, processes, and from all other things that have or shall follow thereupon, and from every one of them; and from all their sentences, censures, pains, and punishments of cursing, suspension, and interdicting, and from all others whatsoever their denouncings and declarations (as they pretend) of schism, of heresy, adultery, deprivation, degrading by them or by any of them, in any manner-wise attempted, done, and set forward, and to be attempted to be done and to be set forward hereafter, (saving always their Honours and Reverences,) as unequal and unrighteous, most tyrannical and violent, and from every grief to come, which shall happen to me, as well for myself as for all and every one that cleaveth to me, or will hereafter be on my side -- unto a free general council, that shall hereafter lawfully be, and in a sure place, to the which place I, or a proctor deputed by me, may freely and with safety come, and to him or them, to whom a man may, by the law, privilege, custom, or otherwise, challenge and appeal.
And I desire the first, the second, and third time, instantly, more instantly, and most instantly, that I may have messengers, if there be any man that will and can give me them. And I make open promise of prosecuting this mine appellation, by the way of disannulling abuse, inequality, and unrighteousness, or otherwise as I shall be better able: choice and liberty reserved to me, to put to, diminish, change, correct, and interpret my sayings, and to reform all things after a better fashion, saving always to me every other benefit of the law, and to them that either be, or will be, on my part.
"And touching my doctrine of the sacrament, and other my doctrine, of what kind soever it he, I protest that it was never my mind to write, speak, or understand any thing contrary to the most holy word of God, or else against the holy catholic church of Christ, but purely and simply to imitate and teach those things only, which I had learned of the sacred Scripture, and of the holy catholic church of Christ from the beginning, and also according to the exposition of the most holy and learned fathers and martyrs of the church.
"And if any thing hath peradventure chanced otherwise than I thought, I may err, but heretic I cannot be, forasmuch as I am ready in all things to follow the judgment of the most sacred word of God, and of the holy catholic church; desiring none other thing than meekly and gently to be taught, if any where (which God forbid) I have swerved from the truth.
"And I protest and openly confess, that in all my doctrine and preaching, both of the sacrament, and of other my doctrine, whatsoever it be, not only I mean and judge those things, as the catholic church, and the most holy fathers of old, with one accord have meant and judged; but also I would gladly use the same words that they used, and not use any other words, but to set my hand to all and singular their speeches, phrases, ways, and forms of speech, which they do use in their treatises upon the sacrament, and to keep still their interpretation. But in this thing I only am accused for a heretic, because I allow not the doctrine lately brought in of the sacrament, and because I consent not to words not accustomed in Scripture, and unknown to the ancient fathers, but newly invented and brought in by men, and belonging to the destruction of souls, and overthrowing of the pure and old religion. -- Given," &c.
This appeal being put up to Thirleby, the bishop of Ely, he said, "My Lord, our commission is to proceed against you, all appeal being removed, and therefore we cannot admit it."
"Why," quoth he, "then you do me the more wrong; for my case is not as every private man's case. The matter is between the pope and me immediate, and none otherwise: and I think no man ought to be a judge in his own cause."
Illustration -- Dr. Cranmer on Trial
"Well," quoth Ely, "if it may be admitted, it shall," and so received it of him. And then began he to persuade earnestly with the archbishop to consider his state, and to weigh it well, while there was time to do him good, promising to become a suitor to the king and queen for him: and so protested his great love and friendship that had been between them, heartily weeping, so that for a time he could not go on with his tale. After going forward, he earnestly affirmed, that if it had not been the king and queen's commandment, whom he could not deny, else no worldly commodity should have made him to have done it; concluding that, to be one of the sorrowfullest things that ever happened unto him. The archbishop gently seeming to comfort him, said, he was very well content withal. And so proceeded they to his degradation.
Here then, to be short, when they came to take off his pall, (which is a solemn vesture of an archbishop,) then said he, "Which of you hath a pall, to take off my pall;" which imported as much as they, being his inferiors, could not degrade him. Whereunto one of them said, in that they were but bishops, they were his inferiors, and not competent judges; but being the pope's delegates, they might take his pall. And so they did, and so proceeding took every thing in order from him, as it was put on. Then a barber clipped his hair round about, and the bishop scraped the tops of his fingers where he had been anointed, wherein Bishop Bonner behaved himself as roughly and unmannerly, as the other bishop was to him soft and gentle. Whilst they were thus doing, "All this," quoth the archbishop, "needed not; I had myself done with this gear long ago." Last of all they stripped him out of his gown into his jacket, and put upon him a poor yeoman-beadle's gown, full bare and nearly worn, and as evil-favouredly made as one might lightly see, and a townsman's cap on his head; and so delivered him to the secular power.
After this pageant of degradation, and all was finished, then spake Lord Bonner, saying to him, "Now are you no lord any more." And so when soever he spake to the people of him, (as he was continually barking against him,) ever he used this term, "This gentleman here," &c. And thus, with great compassion and pity of every man, in this evil-favoured gown was he carried to prison: whom there followed a gentleman of Gloucestershire with the archbishop's own gown, who, standing by, and being thought to be toward one of the bishops, had it delivered unto him, who by the way talking with him, said the bishop of Ely protested his friendship with tears. "Yet," said he, "he might have used a great deal more friendship towards me, and never have been the worse thought on, for I have well deserved it." And going into the prison up with him, asked him if he would drink; who answered him, saying, if he had a piece of salt fish, that he had better will to eat; for he had been that day somewhat troubled with this matter, and had eaten little: "but now that it is past, my heart," said he, "is well quieted." Whereupon the gentleman said, he would give him money with all his heart, for he was able to do it. But he, being one toward the law, and fearing Master Farmer's case, durst therefore give him nothing, but gave money to the bailiffs that stood by, and said, that if they were good men, they would bestow it on him, "for my Lord of Canterbury had not one penny in his purse to help him," and so left him; my Lord bidding him earnestly farewell, commending himself to his prayers and all his friends. That night this gentleman was stayed by Bonner and Ely, for giving him this money, and but for the help of friends he had been sent up to the council. Such was the cruelty and iniquity of the time, that men could not do good without punishment.
In this mean time, while the archbishop was thus remaining in durance, (whom they had kept now in prison almost the space of three years,) the doctors and divines of Oxford busied themselves all that ever they could about Master Cranmer, to have him recant, essaying by all crafty practices and allurements they might devise, how to bring their purpose to pass. And to the intent they might win him easily, they had him to the dean's house of Christ's church in the said university, where he lacked no delicate fare, played at the bowls, had his pleasure for walking, and all other things that might bring him from Christ. Over and besides all this, secretly and sleightly they suborned certain men, which when they could not expugn him by arguments and disputation, should by entreaty and fair promises, or any other means, allure him to recantation; perceiving otherwise what a great wound they should receive, if the archbishop had stood stedfast in his sentence: and again on the other side, how great profit they should get, if he, as the principal standard-bearer, should be overthrown. By reason whereof the wily papists flocked about him, with threatening, flattering, entreating, and promising, and all other means; specially Henry Sydal, and Friar John, a !spaniard de Villa Garcia, to the end to drive him, to the uttermost of their possibility, from his former sentence to recantation.
First, they set forth how acceptable it would be both to the king and queen, and especially how gainful to him, and for his soul's health, the same should be. They added moreover, how the council and the noblemen bare him good will. They put him in hope, that he should not only have his life, but also be restored to his ancient dignity, saying it was but a small matter, and so easy that they required him to do, only that he would subscribe to a few words with his own hand; which if he did, there should be nothing in the realm that the queen would not easily grant him, whether he would have riches or dignity; or else if he had rather live a private life in quiet rest, in whatsoever place he listed, without all public ministry, only that he would set his name in two words to a little leaf of paper. Bur if he refused, there was no hope of health and pardon; for the queen was so purposed, that she would have Cranmer a catholic, or else no Cranmer at all. Therefore he should choose whether he thought it better to end his life shortly in the flames and fire-brands now ready to be kindled, than with much honour to prolong his life, until the course of nature did call him; for there was no middle way.
Moreover, they exhorted him that he would look to his wealth, his estimation and quietness, saying, that he was not so old, but that many years yet remained in this his so lusty age; and if he would not do it in respect of the queen, yet he should do it for respect of his life, and not suffer that other men should be more careful for his health, than he was himself: saying, that this was agreeable to his notable learning and virtues, which, being adjoined with his life, would be profitable both to himself and to many others; but, being extinct by death, should be fruitful to no man: that he should take good heed that he went not too far; yet there was time enough to restore all things safe, and nothing wanted, if he wanted not to himself. Therefore they would him to lay hold upon the occasion of his health, while it was offered, lest, if he would now refuse it while it was offered, he might hereafter seek it, when he could not have it.
Finally, if the desire of life did nothing move him, yet he should remember that to die is grievous in all ages, and especially in these his years and flower of dignity it were more grievous; but to die in the fire and such torments, is most grievous of all. With these and like provocations, these fair flatterers ceased not to solicit and urge him, using all means they could to draw him to their side; whose force his manly constancy did a great while resist. But at last, when they made no end of calling and crying upon him, the archbishop, being overcome, whether through their importunity, or by his own imbecility, or of what mind I cannot tell, at length gave his hand.
It might be supposed that it was done for the hope of life, and better days to come; but, as we may since perceive by the letter of his sent to a lawyer, the most cause why he desired his time to be delayed, was that he would make an end of Marcus Antonius, which he had already begun. But howsoever it was, plain it was, to be against his conscience. But so it pleaseth God, that so great virtues in this archbishop should not be had in too much admiration of us without some blemish, or else that the falsehood of the popish generation, by this means, might be made more evident, or else to minish the confidence of our own strength, that in him should appear an example of man's weak imbecility. The form of which recantation made by the friars and doctors, whereto he subscribed, was this:
"I, Thomas Cranmer, late archbishop of Canterbury, do renounce, abhor, and detest all manner of heresies and errors of Luther and Zuinglius, and all other teachings which be contrary to sound and true doctrine. And I believe most constantly in, my heart, and with my mouth I confess, one holy and catholic church visible, without the which there is no salvation; and thereof I acknowledge the bishop of Rome to be supreme head in earth, whom I acknowledge to be the highest bishop and pope, and Christ's vicar, unto whom all Christian people ought to be subject.
"And as concerning the sacraments, I believe and worship in the sacrament of the altar the very body and blood of Christ, being contained most truly under the forms of bread and wine; the bread through the mighty power of God being turned into the body of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the wine into his blood.
"And in the other six sacraments also, like as in this, I believe and hold as the universal church holdeth, and the Church of Rome judgeth and determineth.
"Furthermore, I believe that there is a place of purgatory, where souls departed be punished for a time, for whom the church doth godly and wholesomely pray, like as it doth honour saints and make prayers to them.
"Finally, in all things I profess, that I do not otherwise believe, than the catholic church and Church of Rome holdeth and teacheth: I am sorry that ever I held or thought otherwise. And I beseech Almighty God, that of his mercy he will vouchsafe to forgive me, whatsoever I have offended against God or his church; and also I desire and beseech all Christian people to pray for me. And all such as have been deceived either by mine example or doctrine, I require them by the blood of Jesus Christ, that they will return to the unity of the church, that we may be all of one mind, without schism or division.
"And to conclude, as I submit myself to the catholic church of Christ, and to the supreme head thereof, so I submit myself unto the most excellent Majesties of Philip and Mary, king and queen of this realm of England, &c., and to all other their laws and ordinances, being ready always as a faithful subject ever to obey them. And God is my witness, that I have not done this for favour or fear of any person, but willingly, and of mine own mind, as well to the discharge of mine own conscience, as to the instruction of others."
This recantation of the archbishop was not so soon conceived, but the doctors and prelates without delay caused the same to be imprinted, and set abroad in all men's hands; whereunto, for better credit, first was added the name of Thomas Cranmer, with a solemn subscription; then followed the witnesses of this recantation, Henry Sydal and Friar John de Villa Garcia. All this while Cranmer was in uncertain assurance of his life, although the same was faithfully promised to him by the doctors; but after that they had their purpose, the rest they committed to all adventure, as became men of that religion to do. The queen, having now gotten a time to revenge her old grief, received his recantation very gladly; but of her purpose to put him to death, she would nothing relent.
Now was Cranmer's cause in a miserable taking, who neither inwardly had any quietness in his own conscience, nor yet outwardly any help in his adversaries.
Besides this, on the one side was praise, on the other side scorn, on both sides danger, so that neither he could die honestly, nor yet unhonestly live. And whereas he sought profit, he fell into double disprofit, that neither with good men he could avoid secret shame, nor yet with evil men the note of dissimulation.
In the mean time, while these things were adoing (as I said) in the prison amongst the doctors, the queen, taking secret counsel how to despatch Cranmer out of the way, (who as yet knew nothing of her secret hate, and looked for nothing less, than death,) appointed Dr. Cole, and secretly gave him in commandment, that against the twenty-first of March, he should prepare a funeral sermon for Cranmer's burning; and, so instructing him orderly and diligently of her will and pleasure in that behalf, sendeth him away.
Soon after, the Lord Williams of Thame, and the Lord Chandos, Sir Thomas Bridges, and Sir John Brown, were sent for, with other worshipful men and justices, commanded in the queen's name to be at Oxford at the same day, with their servants and retinue, lest Cranmer's death should raise there any tumult.
Cole the doctor having this lesson given him before, and charged by her commandment, returned to Oxford, ready to play his part; who, as the day of execution drew near, even the day before, came into the prison to Cranmer, to try whether he abode in the catholic faith wherein before he had left him. To whom, when Cranmer had answered, that by God's grace he would daily be more confirmed in the catholic faith; Cole, departing for that time, the next day following repaired to the archbishop again, giving no signification as yet of his death that was prepared. And therefore in the morning, which was the twenty-first day of March, appointed for Cranmer's execution, the said Cole, coming to him, asked if he had any money; to whom when he answered that he had none, he delivered him fifteen crowns to give to the poor to whom he would: and so exhorting him so much as he could to constancy in faith, departed thence about his business, as to his sermon appertained.
By this partly, and other like arguments, the archbishop began more and more to surmise what they went about. Then because the day was not far past, and the lords and knights that were looked for were not yet come, there came to him the !spanish friar, witness of his recantation, bringing a paper with articles, which Cranrner should openly profess in his recantation before the people, earnestly desiring him that he would write the said instrument with the articles with his own hand, and sign it with his name: which when he had done, the said friar desired that he would write another copy thereof which should remain with him; and that he did also. But yet the archbishop being not ignorant whereunto their secret devices tended, and thinking that the time was at hand in which he could no longer dissemble the profession of his faith with Christ's people, he put secretly in his bosom his prayer with his exhortation written in another paper, which he minded to recite to the people, before he should make the last profession of his faith, fearing lest, if they had heard the confession of his faith first, they would not afterward have suffered him to exhort the people.
Soon after, about nine of the clock, the Lord Williams, Sir Thomas Bridges, Sir John Brown, and the other justices, with certain other noblemen that were sent of the queen's council, came to Oxford with a great train of waiting men. Also of the other multitude on every side (as is wont in such a matter) was made a great concourse, and greater expectation. For first of all, they that were of the pope's side were in great hope that day to hear something of Cranmer that should stablish the vanity of their opinion: the other part, which were endued with a better mind, could not yet doubt, that he which by continual study and labour for so many years had set forth the doctrine of the gospel, either would or could now in the last act of his life forsake his part. Briefly, as every man's will inclined either to this part or to that, so, according to the diversity of their desires, every man wished and hoped for. And yet, because in an uncertain thing the certainty could be known of none what would be the end, all their minds were hanging between hope and doubt. So that the greater the expectation was in so doubtful a matter, the more was the multitude that was gathered thither to hear and behold.
In this so great frequency and expectation, Cranmer at length cometh from the prison of Bocardo unto St. Mary's church, (the chief church in the university,) because it was a foul and rainy day, in this order: the mayor went before; next him the aldermen in their place and degree; after them was Cranmer brought between two friars, who, mumbling to and fro certain psalms in the streets, answered one another until they came to the church door, and there they began the song of Simeon, Nunc dimittis, and entering into the church, the psalmsaying friars brought him to his standing, and there left him. There was a stage set over against the pulpit, of a mean height from the ground, where Cranmer had his standing, waiting until Cole made him ready to his sermon.
The lamentable case and sight of that man gave a sorrowful spectacle to all Christian eyes that beheld him. He that late was archbishop, metropolitan, and primate of England, and the king's privy councillor, being now in a bare and ragged gown and illfavouredly clothed, with an old square cap, exposed to the contempt of all men, did admonish men not only of his own calamity, but also of their state and fortune. For who would not pity his case, and bewail his fortune, and might not fear his own chance, to see such a prelate, so grave a councillor, and of so longcontinued honour, after so many dignities, in his old years to be deprived of his estate, adjudged to die, and in so painful a death to end his life, and now presently from such fresh ornaments, to descend to such vile and ragged apparel?
In this habit, when he had stood a good space upon the stage, turning to a pillar near adjoining thereunto, he lifted up his hands to heaven, and prayed unto God once or twice, till at the length Dr. Cole coming into the pulpit, and beginning his sermon, entered first into mention of Tobias and Zachary. Whom after he had praised in the beginning of his sermon for their perseverance in the true worshipping of God, he then divided his whole sermon into three parts, (according to the solemn custom of the schools,) intending to speak, first, of the mercy of God: secondly, of his justice to be showed: and last of all, how the prince's secrets are not to be opened. And proceeding a little from the beginning, he took occasion by and by to turn his tale to Cranmer, and with many hot words reproved him, that once he, being indued with the favour and feeling of wholesome and catholic doctrine, fell into the contrary opinion of pernicious error; which he had not only defended by writings, and all his power, but also allured other men to do the like, with great liberality of gifts, as it were appointing rewards for error; and after he had allured them, by all means did cherish them.
It were too long to repeat all things, that in long order were pronounced. The sum of his tripartite declamation was, that he said God's mercy was so tempered with his justice, that he did not altogether require punishment according to the merits of offenders, nor yet sometimes suffered the same altogether to go unpunished, yea, though they had repented. As in David, who when he was bidden choose of three kinds of punishment which he would, and he had chosen pestilence for three days; the Lord forgave him half the time, but did not release all: and that the same thing came to pass in him also, to whom although pardon and reconciliation was due according to the canons, seeing he repented him of his errors, yet there were causes why the queen and the council at this time judged him to death; of which, lest he should marvel too much, he should hear some. First, that being a traitor, he had dissolved the lawful matrimony between the king her father, and [her] mother; besides the driving out of the pope's authority, while he was metropolitan. Secondly, that he had been a heretic, from whom, as from an author and only fountain, all heretical doctrine and schismatical opinions that so many years have prevailed in England did first rise and spring; of which he had not been a secret favourer only, but also a most earnest defender even to the end of his life, sowing them abroad by writings and arguments, privately and openly, not without great ruin and decay of the catholic church. And further, it seemed meet, according to the law of equality, that as the death of the duke of Northumberland of late, made even with Thomas More, chancellor, that died for the church, so there should be one that should make even with Fisher of Rochester; and because that Ridley, Hooper, Ferrar, were not able to make even with that man, it seemed meet that Cranmer should be joined to them to fill up their part of equality.
Besides these there were other just and weighty causes, which seemed to the queen and council, which were not meet at that time to he opened to the common people.
After this, turning his tale to the hearers, he bade all men beware by this man's example, that among men nothing is so high, that can promise itself safety on the earth, and that God's vengeance is equally stretched against all men, and spareth none: therefore they should beware and learn to fear their prince. And seeing the queen's Majesty would not spare so notable a man as this, much less in the like cause she would spare other men; that no man should think to make thereby any defence of his error, either in riches or any kind of authority. They had now an example to teach them all, by whose calamity every man might consider his own fortune; who, from the top of dignity, none being more honourable than he in the whole realm, and next the king, was fallen into so great misery, as they might now see, being a man of so high degree, sometime one of the chiefest prelates in the church, and an archbishop, the chief of the council, the second person in the realm of long time, a man thought in greatest assurance, having a king on his side; notwithstanding all his authority and defence, to be debased from high estate to a low degree, of a councillor to become a caitiff, and to be set in so wretched a state, that the poorest wretch would not change condition with him: briefly, so heaped with misery on all sides, that neither was left in him any hope of better fortune, nor place for worse.
The latter part of his sermon he converted to the archbishop, whom he comforted and encouraged to take his death well, by many places of Scripture, as with these and such like; bidding him not to mistrust, but he should incontinently receive that the thief did, to whom Christ said, This day thou shalt be with me in paradise: and out of St. Paul he armed him against the terror of the fire, by this, The Lord is faithful, which will not suffer you to be tempted above your strength: by the example of the three children, to whom God made the flame to seem like a pleasant dew: adding also the rejoicing of St. Andrew in his cross, the patience of St. Laurence on the fire; assuring him, that God, if he called on him, and to such as die in his faith, either would abate the fury of the flame, or give him strength to abide it.
He glorified God much in his conversion, because it appeared to be only his work, declaring what travail and conference had been with him to convert him, and all prevailed not, till that it pleased God of his mercy to reclaim him, and call him home. In discoursing of which place, he much commended Cranmer, and qualified his former doings, thus tempering his judgment and talk of him, that all the time (said he) he flowed in riches and honour, he was unworthy of his life; and now that he might not live, he was unworthy of death. But lest he should carry with him no comfort, he would diligently labour, (he said,) and also he did promise in the name of all the priests that were present, that immediately after his death there should be diriges, masses, and funerals executed for him in all the churches of Oxford for the succour of his soul.
Cranmer in all this mean time, with what great grief of mind he stood hearing this sermon, the outward shows of his body and countenance did better express, than any man can declare; one while lifting up his hands and eyes unto heaven, and then again for shame letting them down to the earth. A man might have seen the very image and shape of perfect sorrow lively in him expressed. More than twenty several times the tears gushed out abundantly, dropping down marvellously from his fatherly face. They which were present do testify that they never saw in any child more tears, than burst out from him at that time, all the sermon while; but especially when he recited his prayer before the people. It is marvellous what commiseration and pity moved all men's hearts, that beheld so heavy a countenance, and such abundance of tears in an old man of so reverend dignity.
Cole, after he had ended his sermon, called back the people that were ready to depart, to prayers. "Brethren," said he, "lest any man should doubt of this man's earnest conversion and repentance, you shall hear him speak before you; and therefore I pray you, Master Cranmer, that you will now perform that you promised not long ago, namely, that you would openly express the true and undoubted profession of your faith, that you may take away all suspicion from men, and that all men may understand that you are a catholic indeed." "I will do it," said the archbishop, "and that with a good will; "who by and by rising up, and putting off his cap, began to speak thus unto the people: "I desire you, wellbeloved brethren in the Lord, that you will pray to God for me, to forgive me my sins, which above all men, both in number and greatness, I have committed. But among all the rest, there is one offence which most of all at this time doth vex and trouble me, whereof in process of my talk you shall hear more in its proper place." And then, putting his hand into his bosom, he drew forth his prayer, which he recited to the people in his sense.
Cranmer.--"Good Christian people, my dearly-beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, I beseech you most heartily to pray for me to Almighty God, that he will forgive me all my sins and offences, which be many without number, and great above measure. But yet one thing grieveth my conscience more than all the rest, whereof, God willing, I intend to speak more hereafter. But how great and how many soever my sins be, I beseech you to pray God of his mercy to pardon and forgive them al."
And here kneeling down he said,
Cranmer.--"O Father of heaven, O Son of God, Redeemer of the world, O Holy Ghost, three persons and one God, have mercy upon me most wretched caitiff and miserable sinner. I have offended both against heaven and earth, more than my tongue can express. Whither then may I go, or whither shall I flee? To heaven I may be ashamed to lift up mine eyes, and in earth I find no place of refuge or succour. To thee therefore, O Lord, do I run; to thee do I humble myself, saying, O Lord my God, my sins be great, but yet have mercy upon me for thy great mercy. The great mystery that God became man, was not wrought for little or few offences. Thou didst not give thy Son, O heavenly Father, unto death for small sins only, but for all the greatest sins of the world, so that the sinner return to thee with his whole heart, as I do here at this present. Wherefore have mercy on me, O God, whose property is always to have mercy; have mercy upon me, O Lord, for thy great mercy. I crave nothing for mine own merits, but for thy name's sake, that it may be hallowed thereby, and for thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake. And now therefore, Our Father of heaven, hallowed be thy name," &c.
And then he, rising, said:
Cranmer.--"Every man, good people, desireth at the time of his death to give some good exhortation that others may remember the same before their death, and be the better thereby: so I beseech God grant me grace, that I may speak something at this my departing, whereby God may be glorified, and you edified.
"First, it is a heavy case to see, that so many folk so much dote upon the love of this false world, and be so careful for it, that of the love of God, or the world to come, they seem to care very little or nothing. Therefore this shall he my first exhortation: that you set not your minds overmuch upon this glozing world, but upon God, and upon the world to come; and to learn to know what this lesson meaneth, which St. John teacheth, That the love of this world is hatred against God.
"The second exhortation is, that next under God you obey your king and queen willingly and gladly, without murmuring or grudging; not for fear of them only, but much more for the fear of God; knowing that they be God's ministers, appointed by God to rule ahd govern you: and therefore whosoever reisteth them, resisteth the ordinance of God.
"The third exhortation is, that you love altogether like brethren and sisters. For, alas! pity it is to see what contention and hatred one Christian man beareth to another, not taking each other as brother and sister, but rather as strangers and mortal enemies. But I pray you learn and bear well away this one lesson, to do good unto all men, as much as in you lieth, and to hurt no man, no more than you would hurt your own natural loving brother or sister. For this you may be sure of, that whosoever hateth any person, and goeth about maliciously to hinder or hurt him, surely, and without all doubt, God is not with that man, although he think himself never so much in God's favour.
"The fourth exhortation shall be to them that have great substance and riches of this world, that they will well consider and weigh three sayings of the Scripture. One is of our Saviour Christ himself, who saith, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. A sore saying, and yet spoken of him that knoweth the truth.
"The second is of St. John, whose saying is this, He that hath the substance of this world, and seeth his brother in necessity, and shutteth up his mercy from him, how can he say that he loveth God?
"The third is of St. James, who speaketh to the covetous rich man after this manner: Weep you and howl for the misery that shall come upon you: your riches do rot, your clothes be motheaten, your gold and silver doth canker and rust; and their rust shall bear witness against you, and consume you like fire. You gather a hoard or treasure of God's indignation against the last day. Let them that be rich, ponder well these three sentences; for if they ever had occasion to show their charity, they have it now at this present, the poor people being so many, and victuals so dear.
"And now, forasmuch as I am come to the last end of my life, whereupon hangeth all my life past, and all my life to come, either to live with my Master Christ for ever in joy, or else to be in pain for ever with wicked devils in hell, and I see before mine eyes presently either heaven ready to receive me, or else hell ready to swallow me up: I shall therefore declare unto you my very faith how I believe, without any colour of dissimulation: for now is no time to dissemble, whatsoever I have said or written in times past.
"First, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, &c. And I believe every article of the catholic faith, every word and sentence taught by our Saviour Jesus Christ, his apostles and prophets, in the New and Old Testament.
"And now I come to the great thing, which so much troubleth my conscience, more than any thing that ever I did or said in my whole life, and that is the setting abroad of a writing contrary to the truth: which now here I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand, contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life if it might be; and that is, all such bills and papers which I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation; wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished therefor; for, may I come to the fire, it shall be first burned.
"And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ's enemy, and antichrist, with all his false doctrine.
"And as for the sacrament, I believe as I have taught in my book against the bishop of Winchester, the which my book teacheth so true a doctrine of the sacrament, that it shall stand at the last day before the judgment of God, where the papistical doctrine contrary thereto shall be ashamed to show her face."
Here the standers-by were all astonied, marvelled, were amazed, did look one upon another, whose expectation he had so notably deceived. Some began to admonish him of his recantation, and to accuse him of falsehood. Briefly, it was a world to see the doctors beguiled of so great a hope. I think there was never cruelty more notably or better in time deluded and deceived; for it is not to be doubted but they looked for a glorious victory and a perpetual triumph by this man's retractation; who, as soon as they heard these things, began to let down their ears, to rage, fret, and fume; and so much the more, because they could not revenge their grief -- for they could now no longer threaten or hurt him. For the most miserable man in the world can die but once; and whereas of necessity he must needs die that day, though the papists had been never so well pleased, now, being never so much offended with him, yet could he not be twice killed of them. And so, when they could do nothing else unto him, yet, lest they should say nothing, they ceased not to object unto him his falsehood and dissimulation.
Unto which accusation he answered, "Ah! my masters," quoth he, "do not you take it so. Always since I lived hitherto, I have been a hater of falsehood, and a lover of simplicity, and never before this time have I dissembled: "and in saying this, all the tears that remained in his body appeared in his eyes. And when he began to speak more of the sacrament and of the papacy, some of them began to cry out, yelp, and bawl, and specially Cole cried out upon him, "Stop the heretic's mouth, and take him away."
Illustration -- Cranmer Making his Speech
And then Cranmer, being pulled down from the stage, was led to the fire, accompanied with those friars, vexing, troubling, and threatening him most cruelly. "What madness," say they, "hath brought thee again into this error, by which thou wilt draw innumerable souls with thee into hell?" To whom he answered nothing, but directed all his talk to the people, saving that to one troubling him in the way, he spake, and exhorted him to get him home to his study, and apply his book diligently; saying, if he did diligently call upon God, by reading more he should get knowledge.
But the other !spanish barker, raging and foaming, was almost out of his wits, always having this in his mouth, "Didst thou it not?"
But when he came to the place where the holy bishops and martyrs of God, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, were burnt before him for the confession of the truth, kneeling down, he prayed to God; and not long tarrying in his prayers, putting off his garments to his shirt, he prepared himself to death. His shirt was made long, down to his feet. His feet were bare; likewise his head, when both his caps were off, was so bare, that one hair could not be seen upon it. His beard was long and thick, covering his face with marvellous gravity. Such a countenance of gravity moved the hearts both of his friends and of his enemies.
Then the !spanish friars, John and Richard, of whom mention was made before, began to exhort him, and play their parts with him afresh, but with vain and lost labour. Cranmer, with stedfast purpose abiding in the profession of his doctrine, gave his hand to certain old men, and others that stood by, bidding them farewell.
And when he had thought to have done so likewise to Ely, the said Ely drew back his hand, and refused, saying, it was not lawful to salute heretics, and specially such a one as falsely returned unto the opinions that he had forsworn. And if he had known before that he would have done so, he would never have used his company so familiarly: and chid those sergeants and citizens which had not refused to give him their hands. This Ely was a priest lately made, and student in divinity, being then one of the fellows of Brasennose.
Illustration -- The Execution of Cranmer
Then was an iron chain tied about Cranmer, whom when they perceived to be more stedfast than that he could be moved from his sentence, they commanded the fire to be set unto him.
And when the wood was kindled, and the fire began to burn near him, stretching out his arm, he put his right hand into the flame, which he held so stedfast and immovable, (saving that once with the same hand he wiped his face,) that all men might see his hand burned before his body was touched. His body did so abide the burning of the flame with such constancy and stedfastness, that standing always in one place without moving his body, he seemed to move no more than the stake to which he was bound; his eyes were lifted up into heaven, and oftentimes he repeated "his unworthy right hand," so long as his voice would suffer him; and using often the words of Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," in the greatness of the flame he gave up the ghost.
This fortitude of mind, which perchance is rare, and not used among the !spaniards, when Friar John saw, thinking it came not of fortitude, but of desperation, although such manner of examples, which are of like constancy, have been common here in England, ran to the Lord Williams of Thame, crying that the archbishop was vexed in mind, and died in great desperation. But he, which was not ignorant of the archbishop's constancy, being unknown to the !spaniards, smiled only, and (as it were) by silence rebuked the friar's folly. And this was the end of this learned archbishop, whom, lest by evil-subscribing he should have perished, by well-recanting God preserved; and lest he should have lived longer with shame and reproof, it pleased God rather to take him away, to the glory of his name and profit of his church. So good was the Lord both to his church, in fortifying the same with the testimony and blood of such a martyr; and so good also to the man with this cross of tribulation, to purge his offences in this world, not only of his recantation, but also of his standing against John Lambert and Master Allen, or if there were any other, with whose burning and blood his hands had been before any thing polluted. But especially he had to rejoice, that dying in such a cause, he was to be numbered amongst Christ's martyrs, rnuch more worthy the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury, than he whom the pope falsely before did canonize.
And thus have you the full story concerning the life and death of this reverend archbishop and martyr of God, Thomas Cranmer, and also of divers other the learned sort of Christ's martyrs burned in Queen Mary's time, of whom this archbishop was the last, being burnt about the very middle time of the reign of that queen, and almost the very middle man of all the martyrs which were burned in all her reign besides.
Divers books and treatises he wrote both in prison and out of prison; among the which especially he had a mind to the answer which.he made to Marcus Antonius Constantius, which book was the chief cause why hemade his appeal, (as he, writing to the lawyer, confesseth himself,) and peradventure was some cause why he recanted; to have leisure and time to finish that book, of the which two parts be yet extant, and peradventure if God give time and life, may hereafter be published. The third part some say also was written, and afterwards lost at Oxford, which, if it be so, it is a great pity.
Now after the life and story of this foresaid archbishop discoursed, let us adjoin withal his letters, beginning first with his famous letter to Queen Mary, which he wrote unto her incontinent after he was cited up to Rome by Bishop Brooks and his fellows, the tenor whereof here followeth.
To the Queen Mary.
"May it please your Majesty to pardon my presumption, that I dare be so bold to write to your Highness; but very necessity constraineth me, that your Majesty may know my mind rather by mine own writing, than by other men's reports. So it is, that upon Wednesday, being the twelfth day of this month, I was cited to appear at Rome the eightieth day after, there to make answer to such matters as should be objected against me upon the behalf of the king and your most excellent Majesty; which matters the Thursday following were objected against me by Dr. Martin and Dr. Story, your Majesty's proctors before the bishop of Gloucester, sitting in judgment by commission from Rome. But, alas! it cannot but grieve the heart of a natural subject, to be accused of the king and queen of his own realm, and specially before an outward judge, or by authority corning from any person out of this realm: where the king and queen, as if they were subjects within their own realm, shall complain and require justice at a stranger's hands against their own subject, being already condemned to death by their own laws -- as though the king and queen could not do or have justice within their own realms against their own subjects, but they must seek it at strangers' hands in a strange land -- the like whereof, I think, was never seen. I would have wished to have had some meaner adversaries; and, I think, that death shall not grieve me much more, than to have my most dread and most gracious sovereign lord and lady, to whom under God I do owe all obedience, to be mine accusers in judgment within their own realm, before any stranger and outward power. But, forasmuch as in the time of the prince of most famous memory, King Henry the Eighth, your Grace's father, I was sworn never to consent that the bishop of Rome should have or exercise any authority or jurisdiction in this realm of England; therefore, lest I should allow his authority contrary to mine own oath, I refused to make answer to the bishop of Gloucester sitting here in judgment by the pope's authority, lest I should run into perjury.
"Another cause why I refused the pope's authority, is this, that his authority, as he claimeth it, repugneth to the crown imperial of this realm, and to the laws of the same; which every true subject is bound to defend. First, for that the pope saith, that all manner of power, as well temporal as spiritual, is given first to him of God; and that the temporal power he giveth unto emperors and kings, to use it under him, but so as it be always at his commandment and beck.
"But contrary to this claim, the imperial crown and jurisdiction temporal of this realm is taken immediately from God, to be used under him only, and is subject unto none, but to God alone.
"Moreover, to the imperial laws and customs of this realm the king in his coronation, and all justices when they receive their offices, be sworn, and all the whole realm is bound to defend and maintain. But contrary hereunto, the pope by his authority maketh void, and commandeth to blot out of our books, all laws and customs being repugnant to his laws, and declareth to be accursed all rulers and governors, all the makers, writers, and executors of all such laws or customs; as it appeareth by many of the pope's laws, whereof one or two I shall rehearse. In the Decrees is written thus: 'The constitutions or statutes enacted against the canons and decrees of the bishops of Rome or their good customs, are of none effect.' Also, 'We excommunicate all heretics of both sexes, what name soever they be called by, and their fautors, and receptors, and defenders; and also them that shall hereafter cause to be observed the statutes and customs made against the liberty of the church, except they cause the same to be put out of their records and chapters within two months after the publication thereof. Also we excommunicate the statutemakers and writers of those statutes, and all the potentates, consuls, governors, and councillors of places where such statutes and customs shall be made or kept; and also those that shall presume to give judgment according to them, or shall notify in public form the matter so adjudged.'
"Now by these laws, if the bishop of Rome's authority, which he claimeth by God, be lawful, all your Grace's laws and customs of your realm, being contrary to the pope's laws, be naught; and as well your Majesty, as your judges, justices, and all other executors of the same, stand accursed amongst heretics, which God forbid. And yet this curse can never be avoided (if the pope have such power as he claimeth) until such times as the laws and customs of this realm (being contrary to his laws) be taken away and blotted out of the law books. And although there be many laws of this realm contrary to the laws of Rome, yet I named but a few; as to convict a clerk before any temporal judge of this realm for debt, felony, murder, or for any other crime; which clerks by the pope's laws be so exempt from the king's laws, that they can be no where sued, but before their ordinary.
"Also the pope by his laws may give all bishoprics and benefices spiritual; which by the laws of this realm can be given but only by the king and other patrons of the same, except they fall into the lapse.
"By the pope's laws, Jus patronatus shall be sued only before the ecclesiastical judge; but by the laws of the realm it shall be sued before the temporal judge.
"And to be short, the laws of this realm do agree with the pope's laws like fire and water. And yet the kings of this realm have provided for their laws by the præmunire; so that if any man have let the execution of the laws of this realm by any authority from the see of Rome, he falleth into the præmunire.
"But to meet with this, the popes have provided for their laws by cursing. For whosoever letteth the pope's laws to have full course within this realm, by the pope's power standeth accursed. So that the pope's power treadeth all the laws and customs of this realm under his feet, cursing all that execute them, until such time as they do give place unto his laws.
"But it may be said, that notwithstanding all the pope's decrees, yet we do execute still the laws and customs of this realm. Nay, not all quietly without interruption of the pope. And where we do execute them, yet we do it unjustly, if the pope's power be of force; and for the same we stand excommunicate, and shall do, until we leave the execution of our own laws and customs. Thus we be well reconciled to Rome, allowing such authority, whereby the realm standeth accursed before God, if the pope have any such authority.
"These things (as I suppose) were not fully opened in the parliamenthouse, when the pope's authority was received again within this realm; for if they had, I do not believe that either the king or queen's Majesties, or the nobles of this realm, or the commons of the same, would ever have consented to receive again such a foreign authority, so injurious, hurtful, and prejudicial as well to the crown as to the laws and customs and state of this realm, as whereby they must needs acknowledge themselves to be accursed. But none could open this matter well but the clergy, and such of them as had read the pope's laws, whereby the pope had made himself as it were a God. These seek to maintain the pope, whom they desired to have their chief head, to the intent they might have, as it were, a kingdom and laws within themselves, distinct from the laws of the crown, and wherewith the crown may not meddle; and so being exempted from the laws of the realm, might live in this realm like lords and kings, without damage or fear of any man, so that they please their high and supreme head at Rome. For this consideration (I ween) some that knew the truth, held their peace in the parliament; whereas if they had done their duties to the crown and whole realm, they should have opened their mouths, declared the truth, and shown the perils and dangers that might ensue to the crown and realm.
"And if I should agree to allow such authority within this realm, whereby I must needs confess, that your most gracious Highness, and also your realm, should ever continue accursed, until ye shall cease from the execution of your own laws and customs of your realm; I could not think myself true either to your Highness, or to this my natural country, knowing that I do know. Ignorance, I know, may excuse other men; but he that knoweth how prejudicial and injurious the power and authority which he challengeth every where is, to the crown, laws, and customs of this realm, and yet will allow the same, I cannot see in any wise how he can keep his due allegiance, fidelity, and truth, to the crown and state of this realm.
Another cause I alleged, why I could not allow the authority of the pope, which is this: That by his authority he subverteth not only the laws of this realm, but also the laws of God; so that whosoever be under his authority, he suffereth them not to be under Christ's religion purely, as Christ did command. And for one example I brought forth, that whereas by God's laws all Christian people be bounden diligently to learn his word, that they may know how to believe and live accordingly, for that purpose he ordained holydays, when they ought, leaving apart all other business, to give themselves wholly to know and serve God. Therefore God's will and commandment is, that when the people be gathered together, ministers should use such language as the people may understand and take profit thereby, or else hold their peace. For as a harp or lute, if it give no certain sound that men may know what is stricken, who can dance after it? for all the sound is in vain; so is it in vain and profiteth nothing, saith Almighty God by the mouth of St. Paul, if the priest speak to the people in a language which they know not; for else he may profit himself; but profiteth not the people, saith St. Paul. But herein I was answered thus; that St. Paul spake only of preaching, that the preacher should preach in a tongue which the people did know, or else his preaching availed nothing: but, if the preaching availed nothing, being spoken in a language which the people understand not, how should any other service avail them, being spoken in the same language? And yet that St. Paul meant not only of preaching, it appeareth plainly by his own words: for he speaketh by name expressly of praying, singing, and thanking of God, and of all other things which the priests say in the churches, whereunto the people say 'Amen,' which they use not in preaching, but in other Divine service; that whether the priests rehearse the wonderful works of God, or the great benefits of God unto mankind above all other creatures, or give thanks unto God, or make open profession of their faith, or humble confession of their sins, with earnest request of mercy and forgiveness, or make suit or request unto God for any thing; then all the people, understanding what the priests say, might give their minds and voices with them, and say 'Amen;' that is to say, allow what the priests say; that the rehearsal of God's universal works and benefits, the giving of thanks, the profession of faith, the confession of sins, and the requests and petitions of the priests and of the people, might ascend up into the ears of God all together, and be as a sweet savour, odour, and incense in his nose; and thus was it used many hundred years after Christ's ascension. But the aforesaid things cannot be done when the priests speak to the people in a language not known, and so they (or their clerk in their name) say 'Amen,' but they cannot tell whereunto. Whereas St. Paul saith, How can the people say 'Amen' to thy well saying, when they understand not what thou sayest? And thus was St. Paul understood of all interpreters, both the Greeks and Latins, old and new, school authors and others that I have read, until above thirty years past; at which time Eckius, with others of his sort, began to devise a new exposition, understanding St. Paul of preaching only.
"But when a good number of the best learned men reputed within this realm, some favouring the old, some the new learning, as they term it, (where indeed that which they called the old, is the new, and that which they call the new, is indeed the old,) but when a great number of such learned men of both sorts were gathered together at Windsor, for the reformation of the service of the church, it was agreed by both, without controversy, (not one saying contrary,) that the service of the church ought to be in the mother tongue, and that St. Paul in 1 Cor. xiv. was so to be understood. And so is St. Paul to be understood in the civil law, more than a thousand years past, where Justinian, a most godly emperor, in a synod writeth on this manner:-- 'We command that all bishops and priests celebrate the holy oblation and prayers used in holy baptism, not after a still and close manner, but with a clear loud voice, that they may be plainly heard of the faithful people, so that the hearers' minds may be lifted up thereby with the greater devotion, in uttering the praises of the Lord God. For so Paul teacheth also in the Epistle to the Corinthians, If the spirit do only bless, (or say well,) how shall he that occupieth the place of a private person say Amen to thy thanksgiving? for he perceiveth not what thou sayest. Thou dost give thanks well, but the other is not edified.' And not only the civil law, and all other writers a thousand and five hundred years continually together, have expounded St. Paul not of preaching only, but of other service said in the church; but also reason giveth the same, that if men be commanded to hear any thing, it must be spoken in a language which the hearers understand; or else (as St. Paul saith) what availeth it to hear? So that the pope giving a contrary commandment, that the people coming to the church shall hear they wot not what, and shall answer they know not whereto, taketh upon him to command, not only against reason, but also directly against God.
"And again I said, whereas our Saviour Christ ordained the sacrament of his most precious body and blood to be received of all Christian people under the forms of bread and wine, and said of the cup, Drink ye all of this; the pope giveth a clean contrary commandment, that no layman shall drink of the cup of their salvation, as though the cup of salvation by the blood of Christ pertained not to laymen. And whereas Theophilus of Alexandria (whose works St. Jerome did translate about eleven hundred years past) saith, That if Christ had been crucified for the devils, his cup should not be denied them;' yet the pope denieth the cup of Christ to Christian people, for whom Christ was crucified. So that if I should obey the pope in these things, I must needs disobey my Saviour Christ.
"But I was answered hereunto, (as commonly the papists do answer,) that under the form of breadvis whole Christ's flesh and blood: so that whosoever receiveth the form of bread, receiveth as well Christ's blood as his flesh. Let it be so, yet in the form of bread only, Christ's blood is not drunken, but eaten; nor is it received in the cup under the form of wine, as Christ commanded, but eaten with the flesh under the form of bread. And moreover, the bread is not the sacrament of his blood, but of his flesh only; nor is the cup the sacrament of his flesh, but of his blood only. And so the pope keepeth from all laypersons the sacrament of their redemption by Christ's blood, which Christ commandeth to be given unto them.
"And furthermore, Christ ordained the sacrament in two kinds, the one separated from the other, to be a representation of his death, where his blood was separated from his flesh, which is not represented in one kind alone; so that the laypeople receive not the whole sacrament whereby Christ's death is represented as he commanded.
"Moreover, as the pope taketh upon him to give the temporal sword, by royal and imperial power, to kings and princes, so doth he likewise take upon him to depose them from their imperial states, if they be disobedient to him; and commandeth the subjects to disobey their princes, assoiling the subjects as well of their obedience, as of their lawful oaths made unto their true kings and princes, directly contrary to God's commandment, who commandeth all subjects to obey their kings, or their rulers under them.
"One John, patriarch of Constantinople in the time of St. Gregory, claimed superiority above all other bishops. To whom St. Gregory wrote, that therein he did injury to his three brethren, which were equal with him, that is to say, the bishop of Rome, the bishop of Alexandria, and the bishop of Antioch; which three were patriarchal sees, as well as Constantinople, and were brethren one to another. 'But,' saith St. Gregory, 'if any one shall exalt himself above all the rest, to be the universal bishop, the same passeth in pride.' But now the bishop of Rome exalteth himself not only above all kings and emperors, and above all the whole world, but takes upon him to give and take away, to set up and pull down, as he shall think good. And as the devil, having no such authority, yet took upon him to give unto Christ all the kingdoms of the world, if he would fall down and worship him; in like manner the pope taketh upon him to give empires and kingdoms, being none of his, to such as will fall down and worship him, and kiss his feet.
"And moreover, his lawyers and glozers so flatter him, that they feign he may command emperors and kings to hold his stirrup when he lighteth from his horse, and to be his footmen: and that, if any emperor and king give him any thing, they give him nothing but that is his own; and that he may dispense against God's word, against both the Old and New Testament, against St. Paul's Epistles, and against the Gospel. And furthermore, whatsoever he doth, although he draw innumerable people by heaps with himself into hell, yet may not mortal man reprove him, because he, being judge of all men, may be judged of no man. And thus he sitteth in the temple of God, as if he were a God; and nameth himself God's vicar, and yet he dispenseth against God. If this be not to play antichrist's part, I cannot tell what is antichrist, which is no more to say, but Christ's enemy and adversary; who shall sit in the temple of God, advancing himself above all others, yet by hypocrisy and feigned religion, shall subvert the true religion of Christ, and under pretence and colour of Christ's religion, shall work against Christ, and therefore hath the name of antichrist. Now if any man lift himself higher than the pope hath done, who lifteth himself above all the world; or can be more adversary to Christ, than to dispense against God's laws; and where Christ hath given any commandment, to command directly the contrary; that man must needs be taken for antichrist. But until the time that such a person may be found, men may easily conjecture where to find antichrist. Wherefore, seeing the pope thus to overthrow both God's laws and man's laws, taketh upon him to make emperors and kings to be vassals and subjects unto him, especially the crown of this realm, with the laws and customs of the same; I see no mean how I may consent to admit his usurped power within this realm, contrary to mine oath, mine obedience to God's laws, mine allegiance and duty to your Majesty, and my love and affection to this realm.
"This that I have spoken against the power and authority of the pope, I have not spoken (I take God to record and judge) for any malice I owe to the pope's person, whom I know not, but I shall pray to God to give him grace, that he may seek above all things to promote God's honour and glory, and not to follow the trade of his predecessors in these latter days. Nor have I spoken it for fear of punishment, and to avoid the same, thinking it rather an occasion to aggravate than to diminish my trouble; but I have spoken it for my most bounden duty to the crown, liberties, laws, and customs of this realm of England; but most specially to discharge my conscience in uttering the truth to God's glory, casting away all fear by the comfort which I have in Christ, who saith, Fear not them that kill the body, and cannot kill the soul; but fear him that can cast both body and soul into hellfire. He that for fear to lose this life will forsake the truth, shall lose the everlasting life: and he that for the truth's sake will spend his life, shall find everlasting life. And Christ promiseth to stand fast with them before his Father, which will stand fast with him here. Which comfort is so great, that whosoever hath his eyes fixed upon Christ, cannot greatly pass on this life, knowing that he may be sure to have Christ stand by him in the presence of his Father in heaven.
"And as touching the sacrament, I said, forasmuch as the whole matter standeth in the understanding of these words of Christ, This is my body, This is my blood; I said that Christ in these words made demonstration of the bread and wine, and spake figuratively, calling bread his body, and wine his blood, because he ordained them to be sacraments of his body and blood. And whereas the papists say in those two points contrary unto me, that Christ called not bread his body, but a substance uncertain, nor spake figuratively; herein, I said, I would be judged by the old church; and which doctrine could be proved the elder, that I would stand unto. And forasmuch as I have alleged in my book many old authors, both Greeks and Latins, which above a thousand years after Christ continually taught as I do: if they could bring forth but one old author, that saith in these two points as they say, I offered six or seven years ago, and do offer yet still, that I will give place unto them. But when I bring forth any author that saith in most plain terms as I do, yet say the other part, that the authors meant not so; as who should say, that the authors spake one thing, and meant clean contrary. And upon the other part, when they cannot find any one author that saith in words as they say; yet say they, that the authors meant as they say. Now, whether I or they speak more to the purpose herein, I refer me to the judgment of all indifferent hearers; yea, the old Church of Rome, above a thousand years together, neither believed nor used the sacrament, as the Church of Rome hath done of late years; for in the beginning, the Church of Rome taught a pure and a sound doctrine of the sacrament. But after that the Church of Rome fell into a new doctrine of transubstantiation; with the doctrine they changed the use of the sacrament contrary to that Christ commanded, and the old Church of Rome used above a thousand years. And yet to deface the old, they say that the new is the old: wherein for my part I am content to stand to the trial. But their doctrine is so fond and uncomfortable, that I marvel that any man would allow it, if he knew what it is. But, howsoever they bear the people in hand, that which they write in their books hath neither truth nor comfort. For by their doctrine, of one body of Christ is made two bodies: one natural, having distance of members, with form and proportion of man's perfect body, and this body is in heaven: but the body of Christ in the sacrament, by their own doctrine, must needs be a monstrous body, having neither distance of members, nor form, fashion, or proportion of a man's natural body. And such a body is in the sacrament (teach they) and goeth into the mouth with the form of bread, and entereth no further than the form of bread goeth, nor tarrieth longer than the form of bread is by natural heat in digesting: so that when the form of bread is digested, that body of Christ is gone. And forasmuch as evil men be as long in digesting as good men, the body of Christ (by their doctrine) entereth as far and tarrieth as long in wicked men as in godly men. And what comfort can be herein to any Christian man, to receive Christ's unshapen body, and it to enter no further than the stomach, and to depart by and by as soon as the bread is consumed?
"It seemeth to me a more sound and comfortable doctrine, that Christ hath but one body, and that hath form and fashion of a man's true body; which body spiritually entereth into the whole man, body and soul: and though the sacrament be consumed, yet whole Christ remaineth, and feedeth the receiver unto eternal life, if he continue in godliness; and never departeth until the receiver forsake him. And as for the wicked, they have not Christ within them at all, who cannot be where Belial is. And this is my faith, and (as meseemeth) a sound doctrine, according to God's word, and sufficient for a Christian to believe in that matter. And if it can be showed unto me, that the pope's authority is not prejudicial to the things before mentioned, or that my doctrine in the sacrament is erroneous, (which I think cannot be showed,) then I never was nor will be so perverse to stand wilfully in mine own opinion, but I shall with all humility submit myself unto the pope, not only to kiss his feet, but, &c.
"Another cause why I refused to take the bishop of Gloucester for my judge, was the respect of his own person, being more than once perjured. First, for that he, being divers times sworn never to consent that the bishop of Rome should have any jurisdiction within this realm, but to take the king and his successors for supreme heads of this realm, as by God's laws they be: contrary to that lawful oath, the said bishop sat then in judgment by authority from Rome; wherein he was perjured, and not worthy to sit as a judge.
"The second perjury was, that he took his bishopric both of the queen's Majesty and of the pope, making to each of them a solemn oath, which oaths be so contrary, that the one must needs be perjured. And furthermore in swearing to the pope to maintain his laws, decrees, constitutions, ordinances, reservations, and provisions, he declareth himself an enemy to the imperial crown, and to the laws and state of this realm; whereby he declareth himself not worthy to sit as a judge within this realm. And for these considerations I refused to take him for my judge."
Extract of another letter to the Queen Mary.
"I learned by Dr. Martin, that at the day of your Majesty's coronation, you took an oath of obedience to the pope of Rome, and the same time you took another oath to this realm, to maintain the laws, liberties, and customs of the same. And if your Majesty did make an oath to the pope, I think it was according to the other oaths which he useth to minister to princes; which is, to be obedient to him, to defend his person, to maintain his authority, honour, laws, lands, and privileges. And if it be so, (which I know not but by report,) then I beseech your Majesty to look upon your oath made to the crown and realm, and to expend and weigh the two oaths together, to see how they do agree, and then do as your Grace's conscience shall give you: for I am surely persuaded, that willingly your Majesty will not offend, nor do against your conscience for any thing. But I fear me that there be contradictions in your oaths, and that those which should have informed your Grace thoroughly, did not their duties therein. And if your Majesty ponder the two oaths diligently, I think you shall perceive you were deceived; and then your Highness may use the matter as God shall put in your heart.
"Furthermore, I am kept here from company of learned men, from books, from counsel, from pen and ink, saving at this time to write unto your Majesty, which all were necessary for a man being in my case. Wherefore I beseech your Majesty, that I may have such of these as may stand with your Majesty's pleasure. And as for my appearance at Rome, if your Majesty will give me leave, I will appear there. And I trust that God shall put in my mouth to defend his truth there, as well as here. But I refer it wholly to his Majesty's pleasure."
To Dr. Martin and Dr. Story.
"I have me commended unto you: and, as I promised, I have sent my letters unto the queen's Majesty unsigned, praying you to sign them, and deliver them with all speed. I might have sent them by the carrier sooner, but not surer. But hearing Master Bailiff say, that he would go to the court on Friday, I thought him a meet messenger to send my letters by: for better is later and surer, than sooner and never to be delivered. Yet one thing I have written to the queen's Majesty enclosed and sealed; which I require you may be so delivered without delay, and not be opened until it be delivered unto her Grace's own hands. I have written all that I remember I said, except that which I spake against the bishop of Gloucester's own person, which I thought not meet to write. And in some places I have written more than I said, which I would have answered to the bishop, if you would have suffered me.
"You promised I should see mine answers to the sixteen articles, that I might correct, amend, and change them where I thought good, which your promise you kept not. And mine answer was not made upon my oath, nor repeated, nor made in judicio, but extra judicium; as I protested; nor to the bishop of Gloucester as judge, but to you the king and queen's proctors. I trust you deal sincerely with me without fraud or craft, and use me as you would wish to be used in like case yourselves. Remember, that what measure you mete, the same shall be measured to you again. Thus fare you well, and God send you his Spirit, to induce you into truth."
Ye heard before how the archbishop Dr. Cranmer in the month of February was cited up to Rome, and in the month of March next following was degraded by the bishop of Ely and Bishop Bonner. In time of which his degradation he put up his appellation. In this his appellation, because he needed the help of some good and godly lawyer, he writeth to a certain friend of his about the same:--
"The law of nature requireth of all men, that so far forth as it may be done without offence to God, every one should seek to defend and preserve his own life: which thing when I about three days ago bethought myself of, and therewithal remembered how that Martin Luther appealed in his time from Pope Leo the Tenth, to a general council, (lest I should seem rashly and unadvisedly to cast away myself,) I determined to appeal in like sort to some lawful and free general council. But seeing the order and form of an appeal pertaineth to the lawyers, whereof I myself am ignorant, and seeing that Luther's appeal cometh not to my hand, I purposed to break my mind in this matter to some faithful friend and skilful in the law, whose help I might use in this behalf, and you only among others came to my remembrance, as a man most meet in this university for my purpose. But this is a matter that requireth great silence, so that no man know of it before it be done. It is so that I am summoned to make mine answer at Rome, the sixteenth day of this month; before the which day I think it good, after sentence pronounced, to make mine appeal. But whether I should first appeal from the judge delegate to the pope, and so afterward to the general council, or else, leaving the pope, I should appeal immediately to the council, herein I stand in need of your counsel.
"Many causes there be, for the which I think good to appeal. First, because I am by an oath bound never to consent to the receiving of the bishop of Rome's authority into this realm. Besides this, whereas I utterly refused to make answer to the articles objected unto me by the bishop of Gloucester, appointed by the pope to be my judge, yet I was content to answer Martin and Story, with this protestation, that mine answer should not be taken as made before a judge, nor yet in place of judgment, but as pertaining nothing to judgment at all: moreover, after I had made mine answer, I required to have a copy of the same, that I might either by adding thereunto, or by altering or taking from it, correct and amend it as I thought good. The which, though both the bishop of Gloucester, and also the king and the queen's proctors, promised me, yet have they altogether broken promise with me, and have not permitted me to correct my said answers according to my request, and yet notwithstanding have (as I understand) registered the same, as acts formally done in place of judgment.
"Finally, forasmuch as all this my trouble cometh upon my departing from the bishop of Rome, and from the popish religion, so that now the quarrel is betwixt the pope himself and me, and no man can be a lawful and indifferent judge in his own cause; it seemeth (methinks) good reason, that I should be suffered to appeal to some general council in this matter; specially seeing the law of nature (as they say) denieth no man the remedy of appeal in such cases.
"Now, since it is very requisite that this matter should be kept as close as may be, if perhaps for lack of perfect skill herein you shall have need of further advice; then I beseech you, even for the fidelity and love you bear to me in Christ, that you will open to no creature alive whose the case is. And forasmuch as the time is now at hand, and the matter requireth great expedition, let me obtain thus much of you, I beseech you, that laying aside all other your studies and business for the time, you will apply this my matter only, till you have brought it to pass. The chiefest cause in very deed (to tell you the truth) of this mine appeal is, that I might gain time (if it shall so please God) to live until I have finished mine answer against Marcus Antonius Constantius, which I have now in hand. But if the adversaries of the truth will not admit mine appeal, (as I fear they will not,) God's will be done; I pass not upon it, so that God may therein be glorified, be it by my life, or by my death. For it is much better for me to die in Christ's quarrel and to reign with him, than here to be shut up, and kept in the prison of this body, unless it were to continue yet still awhile in this warfare, for the commodity and profit of my brethren, and to the further advancing of God's glory. To whom be all glory for evermore. Amen.
"There is also yet another cause why I think good to appeal, that
whereas I am cited to go to Rome to answer there for myself, I am
notwithstanding kept here fast in prison, that I cannot there appear at
the time appointed. And moreover, forasmuch as the state I stand in is a
matter of life and death, so that I have great need of learned counsel
for my defence in this behalf; yet when I made my earnest request for
the same, all manner of counsel and help of proctors, advocates, and
lawyers, was utterly denied me.
"Your loving friend.,
To Mrs. Wilkinson, exhorting her to fly in the time of persecution.
"The true comforter in all distress is only God, through his Son Jesus Christ; and whosoever hath him, hath company enough, although he were in a wilderness all alone: and he that hath twenty thousand in his company, if God be absent, is in a miserable wilderness and desolation. In him is all comfort, and without him is none. Wherefore I beseech you seek your dwelling there, where you may truly and rightly serve God, and dwell in him, and have him ever dwelling in you. What can be so heavy a burden as an unquiet conscience, to be in such a place as a man cannot be suffered to serve God in Christ's true religion? If you be loth to depart from your kin and friends, remember that Christ calleth them his mother, sisters, and brothers, that do his Father's will. Where we find, therefore, God truly honoured according to his will, there we can lack neither friend nor kin.
"If you be loth to depart for slandering of God's word, remember that Christ, when his hour was not yet come, departed out of his country into Samaria, to avoid the malice of the scribes and Pharisees; and commanded his apostles, that if they were pursued in one place, they should fly to another. And was not Paul let down by a basket out at a window, to avoid the persecution of Aretas? And what wisdom and policy he used from time to time to escape the malice of his enemies, the Acts of the Apostles do declare. And after the same sort did the other apostles, albeit, when it came to such a point that they could no longer escape danger of the persecutors of God's true religion, then they showed themselves, that their flying before came not of fear, but of godly wisdom to do more good; and that they would not rashly, without urgent necessity, offer themselves to death; which had been but a temptation of God. Yea, when they were apprehended, and could no longer avoid, then they stood boldly to the profession of Christ; then they showed how little they passed of death; how much they feared God more than men; how much they loved and preferred the eternal life to come, above this short and miserable life.
"Wherefore I exhort you as well by Christ's commandment, as by the example of him and his apostles, to withdraw yourself from the malice of yours and God's enemies, into some place where God is most purely served; which is no slandering of the truth, but a preserving of yourself to God, and the truth, and to the society and comfort of Christ's little flock. And that you will do, do it with speed, lest by your own folly you fall into the persecutors' hands. And the Lord send his Holy Spirit to lead and guide you wheresoever you go; and all that be godly will say, Amen."