Are you a Christian?
PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FACEBOOK - GR FORUMS - GODRULES ON YOUTUBE
OF THAT FAITHFUL INSTRUMENT OF GOD, JOHN BRADFORD, IN THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY OVERY’S, THE 30TH FC55 DAY OF JANUARY, 1555.
AFTER the excommunication of Lawrence Saunders, John Bradford was called in; and, being brought before the lord chancellor and other bishops there sitting, the lord chancellor began to speak thus in effect, that Bradford, being now eftsoons come before them, would answer with modesty and humility, and conform himself to the catholic church with them; and so yet might he find mercy, because they would be loth to use extremity. Therefore he concluded with an exhortation that Bradford would recant his doctrine.
After the lord chancellor had ended his long oration, Bradford began to speak thus: “As yesterday I besought your honor to set in your sight the majesty and presence of God, to follow him which seeketh not to subvert the simple by subtle questions; so,” quoth he, “I humbly beseech every one of you today; for that you know that guiltless blood will cry vengeance. And this,” quoth he, “I pray not your lordship to do, as one that taketh upon me to condemn you utterly herein, but that you might be the more admonished to do that, which none doth so much as he should do; for our nature is so much corrupt, that we are very oblivious and forgetful of God. Again,” quoth Bradford, “as yesterday I pretended my oath and oaths against the bishop of Rome, that I should never consent to the practising of any jurisdiction for him or in his behalf in the realm of England; so do I again this day, lest I should be perjured. And last of all, as yesterday the answer I made was by protestation and saving my oath, so would I your honors should know that mine answers shall be this day: and this I do, that when death (which I look for at your hands) shall come, I shall not be troubled with the guiltiness of perjury.”
At these words the lord chancellor was wroth, and said that they had given him respite to deliberate until this day, whether he would recant the heresies of the blessed sacrament, “which yesterday,” quoth the lord chancellor, “before us you uttered.” “My lord,” quoth Bradford, “you gave me no time of any such deliberation, neither did I speak any thing of the sacrament, which you did disallow; for when I had declared a presence of Christ to be there to the faithful, you went from the matter to purge yourself that you were not cruel, and so went to dinner.” “What! I perceive,” quoth my lord chancellor, “we must begin all again with thee. Did I not yesterday tell thee plainly, that thou madest a conscience where none should be? Did I not make it plain, that the oath against the bishop of Rome was an unlawful oath?” “No,” quoth Bradford: “indeed, my lord, you said so,” quoth he; “but you proved it not yet, nor never can do.” “O Lord God,” quoth the lord chancellor, “what a fellow art thou! Thou wouldest go about to bring into the people’s heads, that we, all the lords of the parliament-house, the knights, burgesses, and all the whole realm, is perjured. O what an heresy is this! Here, good people, ye may see what a churlish heretic this fellow is. If I should make an oath I would never help my brother, or lend him money in his need, were this a good answer to tell my neighbor desiring my help, that I had made an oath to the contrary, I could not do it?” Bradford. “O my lord, discern betwixt oaths that be against charity and faith, and oaths that be according to faith and charity, as this is against the bishop of Rome.” Here the lord chancellor made much ado; and a long time was spent about oaths, which were good and which were evil; he captiously asking of Bradford often answer of things concerning oaths, which Bradford would not give simply, but with distinction: whereat the lord chancellor was sore offended. But Bradford still kept him at the bay, that the oath against the bishop of Rome was a lawful oath, using thereto the chancellor’s own book, De vera obedientia, for confirmation.
At the length they came to this issue, who should be judge of the lawfulness of the oaths?
And Bradford said, “The word of God, according to Christ’s own words, John 12, saying, ‘My word shall judge;’ and according to the testimony of Isaiah 2, and Micah 4, that God’s word, coming out of Jerusalem, shall give sentence amongst the Gentiles. By these words, my lord,” quoth he, “I will prove the oath against the bishop of Rome’s authority to be a good, a godly, and a lawful oath.”
But Bradford, as the day before, proved that obedience in this point or particular to the queen’s highness, if she should demand an oath to the bishop of Rome, being denied, it was a general denial of her authority and obedience to her “no more,” quoth he, “than the sale, gift, or lease of a sole piece of a man’s inheritance proveth a sale, gift, or lease of the whole inheritance.”
And thus much ado was made about the matter; the lord chancellor talking much, and using many examples of debt, of going out of the town tomorrow by oath, yet tarrying till Friday, and such like: which trifling talk Bradford did touch, saying that it was a wonder that his honor did weigh conscience no more in this, and would be so earnest in vows for marriage of priests made to bishops, and be careless for solemn oaths made to God and the prince. Summa, this was the end: the lord chancellor said, “the queen might dispense with it, and did it to all the whole realm:” but Bradford said, “the queen’s highness could do no more but remit her right: and as for the oath made to God, she could never remit, forasmuch as it was made to God.”
At which words the lord chancellor chafed wonderfully, and said that in plain sentence he slandered the whole realm of perjury: “and therefore,” quoth he to the people, “you may see how this fellow taketh upon him to have more knowledge and conscience than all the wise men of England; and yet,” quoth he, “he hath no conscience at all.” “Well,” quoth Bradford, “my lord, let all the standers-by see who hath conscience. I have been a year and a half in prison: now, before all this people, declare wherefor I was prisoned, or what cause you had to punish me. You said the other day in your own house, my lord of London witnessing with you, that I took upon me to speak to the people undesired.
There he sitteth by your lordship, (I mean my lord bishop of Bath,) which desired me himself, for the passion of Christ, I would speak to the people: upon whose words I, coming into the pulpit, had like to have been slain with a naked dagger, which was hurled at him, I think; for it touched my sleeve. He eftsoons prayed me I would not leave him; and I promised him, as long as I lived, I would take hurt that day before him; and so went out of the pulpit and entreated with the people, and at length brought him safe to a house. Besides this, in the afternoon I preached at Bow-church; and there, going up into the pulpit, one willed me not to reprove the people; ‘for,’ quoth he, ‘you shall never come down alive, if you do it.’ And yet,” quoth Bradford, “notwithstanding, I did in that sermon reprove their fact, and called it sedition at the least twenty times.
In speaking of these words, there was that endeavored to have letted it; but Bradford still spake on, and gave no place till he had made an end, speak what they would. And then the lord chancellor said, that for all his fair talk his fact at the Cross was naught. “No,” quoth Bradford, “my fact was good, as you yourself did bear witness with me: for when I was first before you in the Tower, you youself did say that the fact was good; ‘but,’ quoth you, ‘the mind was evil.’ ‘Well then,’ quoth I, ‘my lord, in that you allow my facts and condemn my mind in it, I cannot otherwise declare my mind to man than by saying and doing: God, I trust, one day will open to my comfort what my mind was, and what yours is.’” Here the lord chancellor was offended, and said that he never said so. “I,” quoth he, “had not so little wit, I trow, as to discern betwixt meaning and doing;” and so brought forth, little to the purpose, many examples that men construe things by the meanings of men, and not by their doings. But when this could not serve, then cometh he to another matter; and said, he was put in prison at the first, because he would not yield, nor be conformable to the queen’s religion. “Why,” quoth Bradford, “your honor knoweth that you would not then reason with me in religion; but you said, a time should afterward be found out, when I should be talked withal. But,” quoth Bradford, “if it were, as your lordship saith, that I was put in prison for religion, in that my religion was then authorised by the public laws of the realm, could conscience punish me, or cast me in prison therefor? Wherefore let all men judge, in whom conscience wanteth.”
Here came forth master Chamberlain of Woodstock, and said to the lord chancellor that Bradford had been a serving man, and was with master Harrington. “True,” quoth the lord chancellor, “and did deceive his master of twentyseven pounds; and because of this, he went to be a gospeller and a preacher, good people: and yet you see how he pretendeth conscience.” “My lord,” quoth Bradford, “I set my foot to his foot, whosoever he be, that can come forth, and justly vouch to my face that ever I deceived my master. And as you are chief justicer by office in England, I desire justice upon them that so slander me, because they cannot prove it.” Here my lord chancellor and master Chamberlain were struck blank, and said they heard it. “But,” quoth the lord chancellor, “we have another manner of matter than this against you; for you are a heretic.” “Yea,” quoth the bishop of London, “he did write letters to master Pendleton, which knoweth his hand as well as his own: your honor,” quoth the bishop to the lord chancellor, “did see them.” “That is not true,” quoth Bradford; “I never did write to Pendleton sith I came into prison: therefore I am not justly spoken of.” “Yea, but you indited it,” quoth the bishop of London. “I did not,” quoth Bradford, “nor know not what you mean; and that I offer to prove.”
Here cometh another (I trow they call him master Allen, one of the clerks of the council) putting my lord in remembrance of letters sent into Lancashire. “It is true,” quoth the lord chancellor unto him, “for we have his hand to shew.” “I deny,” quoth Bradford, “that you have my hand to shew of letters sent into Lancashire, otherwise than before you all I will stand up and prove them to be good and lawful.”
Here was all answered: and therefore the lord chancellor began a new matter. “Sir,” quoth he, “in my house the other day you did most contemptuously contemn the queen’s mercy, and further said you would maintain the erroneous doctrine in king Edward’s days against all men: and this you did most stoutly.” “Well,” quoth Bradford, “I am glad that all men see now you had no matter to imprison me afore that day justly. Now say I that I did not contemptuously contemn the queen’s mercy, but would have had it, (though if justice might take place, I need it not,) so that I might have had it with God’s mercy; that is, without saying and doing any thing against God and his truth. And as for maintenance of doctrine, because I cannot tell how you will stretch this word ‘maintenance,’ I will repeat again that which I spake. I said I was more confirmed in the religion set forth in king Edward’s days than ever I was: and if God so would, I trust I should declare it by giving my life for the confirmation and testification thereof. So I said then, and so I say again now,” quoth Bradford. “As for otherwise to maintain it, than pertaineth to a private person by confession, I thought not nor think.” “Well,” quoth the lord chancellor, “yesterday thou didst maintain false heresy concerning the blessed sacrament: and therefore we gave thee respite till this day to deliberate.” “My lord,” quoth Bradford, “as I said at the first, I spake nothing of the sacrament, but that which you allowed; and therefore you reproved it not, nor gave me no time to deliberate.” “Why,” quoth he, “didst thou not deny Christ’s presence in the sacrament?” “No,” quoth Bradford, “I never denied nor taught, but that to faith whole Christ’s body and blood was as present as bread and wine to the due receiver.” “Yea, but dost thou not believe that Christ’s body naturally and really is there, under the form of bread and wine?” “My lord,” quoth Bradford, “I believe Christ is present there to the faith of the due receiver: as for transubstantiation, I plainly and flatly tell you, I believe it not.”
Here was Bradford called diabolus, ‘a slanderer;’ “for we ask no question,” quoth the lord chancellor, “of transubstantiation, but of Christ’s bodily presence.” “Why,” quoth Bradford, “I deny not his presence to the faith of the receiver, but deny that he is included in the bread, or that the bread is transubstantiated.” “If he be not included,” quoth the bishop of Worcester, “how is he then present?” “Forsooth,” quoth Bradford, “my faith knoweth how, though my tongue cannot express it, nor you otherwise than by faith hear it, or understand it.”
Here was much ado now, one doctor starting up and speaking this, another that, and the lord chancellor talking much of Luther, Zuinglius, and OEcolampadius: but still Bradford kept them at this point, that Christ is present to faith, and that there is no transubstantiation nor including of Christ in the bread: but all this would not serve them.
But Bradford put his oration away in few words, that grace was at that present offered to his lordship, although he received it not: “So that,” quoth he, “the receiving maketh not the presence, as your lordship would affirm; but God’s grace, truth, and power, is the cause of the presence, the which the wicked that lacketh faith cannot receive.” And here Bradford prayed him not to divorce that which God hath coupled together. “He hath coupled all this together, ‘Take, eat, this is my body:’ he saith not, ‘See, peep, this is my body;’ but, ‘Take, eat.’ So that it appeareth, this is a promise depending upon condition, if we take and eat.” Here the lord chancellor and the rest of the bishops made a great ado, that Bradford had found out a toy that no man else ever did, of the conditions; and the lord chancellor made many words to the people hereabout.
But Bradford said this: “My lord,” quoth he, “are not these words, ‘Take, eat,’ a commandment? And are not these words, ‘This is my body,’ a promise? If you will challenge the promise, and do not the commandment, may you not deceive yourself?”
Here the lord chancellor denied Christ to have commanded anything in the sacrament, or the use of it. “Why,” quoth Bradford, “my lord, I pray you tell the people what mood, Accipite, manducate, [Take, eat,] is: it is plain to children that Christ, in so saying, commandeth.”
At these words the lord chancellor made a great toying and trifling at the imperative mood, and fell to parsing or examining, as though he should teach a child; and so concluded that it was no commandment, but “such a phrase as this, ‘I pray you give me drink,’ which,” quod he, “is no commandment, I trow.”
But Bradford prayed him to leave toying and trifling, and said thus: “My lord,” quoth he, “if it be not a commandment of Christ to take and to eat the sacrament, why do any take upon them to command and make of necessity that which God leaveth free? as you do in making it a necessary commandment, once a year, for all that be of lawful discretion to receive the sacrament.”
Here the lord chancellor calleth him again diabolus or ‘slanderer;’ and so began out of these words, “Let a man prove himself, and so eat of the bread,” (“the bread,” quoth Bradford,) “and drink of the cup,” to prove that it was no commandment to receive the sacrament: “for then,” quoth he, “if it were a commandment, it should bind all men, in all places, and at all times.” “O my lord,” quoth Bradford, “discern between commandments: some be general, as the ten commandments, that they bind always, in all places, and all persons; some be not so general; as this is of the supper, the sacrament of baptism, of the thrice appearing before the Lord yearly at Jerusalem, Abraham’s offering Isaac.”
Here my lord chancellor denied the cup to be commanded of Christ; “for then,” quoth he, “we shall have eleven commandments.” “Indeed,” quoth Bradford, “I think you think as you speak; for else you would not take the cup from the people, seeing that Christ saith, ‘Drink of it all.’ But how say you, my lord?” quoth Bradford; “Christ saith to you bishops specially, Ite, praedicate evangelium: ‘Go and preach the gospel:’ ‘Feed Christ’s flock.’ Is this a commandment, or not?”
Here was the lord chancellor in a great chafe, and said as pleased him.
Bradford answered that the question was curious, and not necessary; and further said that, as the cup was the new testament, so the bread was Christ’s body to him that receiveth it duly, but yet so that bread is bread; “for,” quod he, “in all the scripture ye shall not find this proposition, Non est panis, ‘There is no bread:’ “ and so he brought forth St.
Chrysostom, Si in corpore [non ] essemus: [“If we were not in the body.”] Summa, much ado was hereabout, they calling Bradford heretic; and he desired them to proceed a God’s name; he looked for that which God appointed them to do. “Lo,” quoth the lord chancellor, “this fellow is now in another heresy of fatal destiny, as though all things were so tied together that of mere necessity all things must come to pass.”
But Bradford prayed him to take things as they were spoken, and not wrest them into a contrary sense. “Your lordship,” quoth he, “doth discern betwixt God and man. Things are not by fortune to God at any time, though to man they seem so sometimes. I,” quoth Bradford, “spake but as the apostles spake: ‘Lord,’ quoth they, ‘see how Herod and Pontius Pilate with the prelates are gathered together against thy Christ, to do that which thy hand and counsel hath before ordained them to do.’” Here began the lord chancellor to read the excommunication: and in the excommunication, when he came to the name of Bradford, laicus, ‘layman,’ “Why,” quoth he, “are you no priest?” “No,” quoth Bradford, “nor never was either priest, either beneficed, either married, either any preacher, afore public authority had established religion, but preached after public authority had established religion: and yet,” quoth he, “I am thus handled at your hands: but God, I doubt not, will give his blessing where you curse.” And so he fell down on his knees, and heartily thanked God that he counted him worthy to suffer for his sake; and so prayed God to give them repentance and a good mind.
After the excommunication was read, he was delivered to the sheriffs of London, and so had to the Clink, from thence to the Compter in the Poultry; where he remaineth close, without all company, books, paper, pen or ink, looking for the dissolution of his body: in the which God grant to him his sweet mercy through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE SUM OF THE PRIVATE TALK HAD WITH MASTER JOHN BRADFORD, SITHEN THE 29TH DAY OF JANUARY, BY SUCH AS THE PRELATES HAVE SENT UNTO HIM.
After my first arraignment in the church of St. Mary Overy’s, the twentyninth day of January, about four of the clock in the evening, there came into the revestry, whither I was had after my arraignment, and tarried there all day, a gentleman called master Thomas Hussey of Lincolnshire, (which was once an officer in the duke of Norfolk’s house,) to inquire for one Stoning: and when it was answered him by the under-marshal’s officers of the king’s bench, which were there with doctor Taylor and me, that there was none such, he came forthwith into the house, and took acquaintance of me, saying further that he would commune and speak with me in the morning for old acquaintance sake: for I was at Muttrel journey a paymaster, in which he was, and had often received money at my hands.
Now in the morning, about seven of the clock, he came into the chamber wherein I lay; and being alone with me, and set down, he began a long talk how that of love and old acquaintance he came unto me, to speak unto me that which he would further utter; the effect whereof was that I did so wonderfully (quod he) behave myself before the lord chancellor and the other bishops the other day, that even the veriest enemies I had did see how that they had no matter against me: therefore [he] advised me (as though it came of his own goodwill, without making any other man privy, or any other procuring him, as he said) that I would this day (“for,” quoth he, “anon you shall be called before them again,”) desire therefor time, and men to confer withal. By reason whereof he thought that all men would think a wonderful wisdom, gravity, and goodness in me: and by this mean I should “escape the danger, which is nearer than you be ware of,” quoth he.
But I answered briefly, and said that “I could not, nor would not, make any such request: for then,” quod I, “occasion should I give to the people, and to all other, to think that I stood in doubting of the doctrine; the which thing,” I told him, “I did not, but thereof was most assured: and therefore I would give no such offense.”
As we were thus talking, the chamber-door was unlocked; and who should come in at the door, but one doctor Seyton? When he saw master Hussey, “What, sir,” quoth he, “are you come before me?” “Yea,” thought I, “goeth the matter thus? and he told me, no man knew of his coming.” “Well, Lord,” quoth I to myself, “give me grace to remember thy lesson, Cavete ab hominibus istis, ‘Beware of those men,’ etc. ‘Cast not your pearls before dogs;’ for I see these men be come to hunt the matter, that the one may bear witness with the other.”
This doctor Seyton, after some by-talk of my age, of my country, and such like, he began a gay and long sermon of my lord of Canterbury, master Latimer, and master Ridley, and how at Oxford they were not able to answer anything at all; and therefore my lord of Canterbury desired to confer with the bishop of Duresme and others: all which talk tended to this end, that I should make the like suit, being in nothing to be compared in learning to my lord of Canterbury; which thing is most true.
But I briefly answered as before I did to master Hussey; wherewith they were neither of them both contented: and therefore they used many persuasions; and master doctor said how that he had heard much good talk of me, telling how that yesternight master Runcorn had made report of me at my lord chancellor’s table at supper, how that I was able to persuade as much as any that he knew. “And I myself,” quoth he, “though I never heard you preach, nor to my knowledge never saw you before yesterday, yet methought your modesty was such, your behavior and talk so without malice and impatiency, that I would be sorry you should do worse than myself. And I tell you,” quoth he, “further, I do perceive that my lord chancellor hath a favor toward you. Wherefore be not obstinate, but desire respite, and sue to some learned men to confer withal.”
But still I kept me to my cuckoo: “I could not, nor would not so offend God’s people: I stood in no wavering, but was most certain of the doctrine I had taught.”
Here master doctor waxed hot, and called me “arrogant, proud, vainglorious, and spoke like a prelate;” having no other answer of me but that he should beware of judging, lest he condemned himself. Howbeit this would not serve; but still he urged me, showing how merciful my lord chancellor was, and how charitably they entertained me.
Unto which words I briefly showed him, that “I never found any justice, much less charity, (I speak it for my part,” quoth I,) “in my lord chancellor;” and so showed how I had been in prison, how I had been handled, and how they had “no matter now against me but such as they should have by mine own confession.”
But nothing of this talk moved master doctor, who went from matter to matter, from this point to that point: and I gave him still the hearing and answered not; because he came to have had something whereby my lord chancellor might have seemed to have kept me in prison not causeless.
When all their talk took no such effect as they would and looked for, master Hussey began to ask me whether I would not admit conference, if my lord chancellor should offer it me publicly?
To whom I answered this in effect, that “conference, if it had been offered before the law had been made, or conference if it were offered so that I might be at liberty to confer, and as free as he with whom I should confer, then,” quoth I, “it were something: but else I see not to what purpose conference should be offered, but to defer that which will come at the length; and the lingering may give more offense, than do good. Howbeit,” quoth I, “if my lord shall make such an offer of his own voluntariness, I will not refuse to confer with whomsoever shall come.”
Master doctor hearing this called me arrogant still, proud, and whatsoever pleased him: so that I besought them both (because I perceived by them I should shortly be called for) to “give me leave to talk with God, and to beg wisdom and grace of him; for,” quoth I, “otherwise I am helpless.”
Shortly after they were gone, I was had to St. Mary Overy’s, and there tarried uncalled for till eleven of the clock; that is, till master Saunders was excommunicated.
Upon the fourth of February, the bishop of London came to the Compter in the Poultry, to disgrade master doctor Taylor, about one of the clock at afternoon: but before he spake to master Taylor, I was called forth unto him. When he saw me, off went his cap, and outstretched he his hand; and on this sort he spake to me, that because he perceived I was desirous to confer with some learned man, therefore he had brought master archdeacon Harpsfield to me: “And,” quoth he, “I tell you, you do like a wise man; but I pray you go roundly to work, for the time is but short.” “My lord,” quoth I, “as roundly as I can I will go to work with you: I never desired to confer with any man, nor yet do. Howbeit if you will have any to talk with me, I am ready to hear and answer him.” “What,” quoth my lord of London, in a fume to the keeper, “did not you tell me that this man desired conference?” “No, my lord,” quoth he, “I told you that he would not refuse to confer with any; but I did not show to any that it was his desire.” “Well,” quoth my lord of London, “master Bradford, you are well beloved:
I pray you consider yourself, and refuse not charity when it is offered.” “Indeed, my lord,” quoth I, “this is small charity to condemn a man as you have condemned me, which never brake the laws. In Turkey a man may have charity; but in England I could not find it; for I am condemned for my faith, so soon as I uttered it at your request, before I had committed anything against the laws. As for conference, I am not afraid,” quoth I, “to talk with whom you will; but to say that I desire to confer, that do I not.” “Well, well,” quoth my lord of London, and so called for master Taylor; and I went my way.
Upon the fourth of February came one of my lord chancellor’s gentlemen, sent as he said from my lord, as then being come from the court. This was about eight of the clock [in] the evening. The effect and end of his talk and message was, that my lord his master did love me well, and therefore he offered me time to confer if I would desire it.
But as I had answered others in this matter, so I answered him, that “I would never make that suit; but,” quoth I, “to confer with any I will never refuse, because I am certain and able, I thank God, to defend by godly learning my faith.”
UPON the seventh of February came one master Willerton, a chaplain to the bishop of London, to confer with me; who, when he perceived that I desired not his coming, being as one most certain of my doctrine, and therefore wished rather his departing than abiding; “Well, master Bradford,” quoth he, “yet I pray you let us confer a little: perchance you may do me good, if I can do you none.” Upon which words I was content to talk. He spake much of the doctors and fathers, of the bread in the sixth chapter of John; and so would prove transubstantiation, and how that wicked men do receive Christ’s body.
And I, on the contrary part, improved his authors, with much by-talk betwixt us both and the keeper, who took his part, little to the purpose. Summa, to this issue we came, that he should draw out of the scriptures and doctors his reasons, and I would peruse them; and if I could not answer them, I would give place: and so I desired him to do my reasons which I would make; and so departed for that day.
The next day following, in the morning, he sent me half a sheet of paper written on both sides, with no reasons how he gathered his doctrine, but only the bare sentence, Panis quem ego dabo: “The bread which I will give is my flesh;” and the places in the twenty-sixth of Matthew, fourteenth of Mark, twenty-second of Luke, and the tenth and eleventh [of the first epistle] to the Corinthians, with some sentences of the doctors, all which made as much against him as with him, alonely one of Theophylactus except.
In the afternoon he came himself, and then we had a long babbling to none effect; and at the length he came to the church, and how that I swerved from the church. “No,” quoth I, “that do I not, but you do. For the church is Christ’s spouse, and Christ’s obedient spouse; which your church is not, which robbeth the people of the Lord’s cup, and of service in the English tongue.” “Why,” quoth he, “it is not profitable to have the service in English:” and so he brought forth this sentence to prove it, Labia sacerdotis custodiunt lege m: “The lips of the priest should keep the law, and out of his mouth men must look for knowledge.” “Why,” quoth I, “should not the people then have the scriptures?
Wherefore serveth this saying of Christ, ‘Search the scriptures?’” “This,” quoth he, “was not spoken to the people, but to the scribes and learned men.” “Well,” quoth I, “then the people must not have the scriptures:” which he affirmed, bringing forth this, Et erunt docti a Deo; “They shall be all taught of God.” “But must we,” quoth I, “learn all at the priests?” “Yea,” quoth he. “Well then,” said I, “I see you would bring the people to hang up Christ, and let Barabbas go; as the priests then did persuade the people.”
At which words he was so offended, that he had no lust to talk anymore. Summa, I gave him the reasons I had gathered against transubstantiation and prayed him to frame his in the form of reasons, and I would answer them. “Well,” quoth he, “I will do so; but first I will answer yours.” The which thing he hath not done hitherto, nor will not; for I hear that he is ridden into the country.
Upon the 12th of February, there came one of the earl of Derby his men, called Stephen Beiche, one of old acquaintance to me; who showed me that my lord sent him to me, and willed me to tender myself, and he would be good lord unto me: when I answered, that I thanked his “lordship for his good-will towards me; but,” quoth I, “in this case I cannot tender myself more than God’s honor.”
Then he set before me my mother, my sisters, friends, kinsfolks, and country: “What a great discomfort it would be unto them to see you die as a heretic!” “Well, sir,” quoth I, “I have learned to forsake father, mother, brother, sisters, friends, and all that ever I have, and mine own self; or else I cannot be Christ’s disciple.”
And so he telling me that my death would do much hurt, and such like talk, we shook hands. Howbeit, now I remember that in our talk he asked me, “if my lord should obtain for me that I might depart the realm, whether I would not be content to be at the queen’s appointment, where she would appoint me beyond the sea.” “No,” quoth I, “I had rather be burned in England, than be burned beyond the sea; for I know,” quoth I, “that if she should send me to Paris, to Louvain, etc., forthwith they would burn me.”
TALK BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND ONE PERCIVAL CRESSWELL; AND AFTER THAT WITH DR. HARDING.
UPON the 14th of February there came to me Percival Cresswell, one of my old acquaintance, and one that loveth my body well, and my soul also after his religion, bringing with him (as I learn) a kinsman of master Feckenham; who after much ado prayed me that he might make labor for me, a God’s name.
Quod I, “Do: you may do what you will.” “Yea, but,” quoth he, “tell me what suit I should make for you. ” “Forsooth,” said I, “that that you will do, do it not at my request; for I desire nothing at your hands. If the queen will give me life, I will thank her.
Hereupon Cresswell went away; and about an eleven of the clock he and the other man came again, and brought a book of master More’s making, to read over; the which book I took. “But,” quoth I, “good Percival, I am too sure settled for being moved in these matters.” “O,” quoth he, “if ever you loved me, do one thing for me.” “What is that?” quoth I.
At the length (for I would not promise) saith he, “To desire and name what learned men or man you will have to come unto you: my lord of York, my lord of Lincoln, my lord of Bath, my lord of Chichester, etc. will gladly come to you.” “No,” quoth I, “never will I desire them, or any others, to come to confer with me; for I am as certain of my doctrine as I am of any thing. But for your pleasure,” quoth I, “and that all men may know I am not ashamed to have my faith sifted and tried, bring whom you will, and I will talk with them.”
So they went their way: and about three of the clock in the afternoon cometh master doctor Harding, the bishop of Lincoln’s chaplain; and after a great and solemn protestation, (when he knew I desired not his coming,) how that he had prayed to God, before he came forth, to turn his talk to my good, he began to tell of the good opinion he had of me, “and may God give you good even;” so that our talk was to none effect or purpose, save that I prayed him to consider from whence he was fallen, and not to follow the world, or love it; because the love of God is not where the world is. Summa, he counted me in a damnable estate, as one being out of the church; and therefore willed me to take heed to myself, and not to die in such an opinion. “What, master Harding!” quoth I, “I have heard you with these ears maintain this that I stand in.” “I have,” quoth he, “preached that the doctrine of transubstantiation was a subtle doctrine; but otherwise I never taught it.”
And so inveighing against marriages of priests, and much against Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer, Luther, and such, “which for breaking their vows were justly given up into heresies,” quod he; I, seeing him altogether given up into popery, after admonishment thereof, bade him farewell.
TALK BETWEEN DR HARPSFIELD, FC117 ARCHDEACON, AND MASTER BRADFORD. FC118 UPON the 15th of February, about four of the clock in the afternoon, cometh Percival Cresswell and the other man, waiting upon master Harpsfield, archdeacon of London; who, after gentle salutation and many formalities, began a long oration, how that all men, even the infidels, Turks, Jews, anabaptists, and libertines, desire felicity as well as the Christians; and how that every man thinketh they shall attain to it by their religion.
Then goeth he on: “Yea, but the way,” quoth he, “thither is not all alike:” and so he set forth how infidels by Jupiter, Juno, the Turk by his alcoran, the Jew by his talmud, believed to come to heaven. “For so many I speak,” saith he, “as believe the immortality of the soul.”
And this long oration I as briefly answered, and said he had spoken truly. “Well, then,” quoth he, “here is the matter, the way to this heaven: we may not invent any new way.” “There is but one way,” quoth I, “and that is Jesus Christ, as he himself doth witness: ‘I am the way.’” Here master Harpsfield affirmed and denied, and further said that I meant “by Christ, believing in Christ.” “I have learned,” quoth I, “to discern betwixt faith and Christ; albeit I confess, that whosoever believeth in Christ, the same shall be saved.” “No,” quoth he, “not all that believe in Christ; for some will say, ‘Lord, Lord, have not we cast out devils?’ etc. But Christ will say in the day of judgment to those, ‘Depart from me, I know you not.’” “Yea, sir,” quoth I, “you must make a difference betwixt believing, and saying I believe: as for example, if one should say and swear he loved you, for all his saying you will not believe him, when you see he goeth about to utter and do all evil things against you.” “Well,” quoth he, “this is not much material. There is but one way, Christ.
How come we to know him? Where shall we seek to find him?” “Forsooth,” quoth I, “we must seek him by his word, and in his word, and after his word.” “Very good,” quoth master Harpsfield; “but tell me now how first we come into the company of them that could tell us this, but by baptism?” “True,” quoth I: “baptism is the sacrament, by the which outwardly we are insert and engraft into Christ: I say outwardly, because I dare not,” quoth I, “exclude out of Christ all that die without baptism. I will not tie God, where he is not bound. Some infants die, whose parents desire baptism for them, and may not have it.” “To those,” quoth he, “we may think perchance some mercy God will shew.” “Yea,” quoth I, “those infants whose parents do contemn baptism will not I contemn utterly, because the child shall not bear the father’s offense.” “Well,” quoth he, “we agree that by baptism then we are brought, and, as one would say, begotten of Christ; for Christ is our Father, and the church his spouse is our mother. As all men naturally have Adam for their father and Eve for their mother, so all spiritual men have Christ for their Father and the church for their mother; which church, as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side, so was she out of Christ’s side, whereout flowed blood for satisfaction and purging of our sins.” “All this is true,” quoth I, “and godly spoken.” “Now then,” quoth he, “tell me whether this church of Christ hath not been always?” “Yes,” quoth I, “sithen the creation of man, and shall be for ever.” “Very good,” quoth he; “but yet tell me whether this church is not a visible church, or no?” “Yes,” quoth I, “that it is, howbeit none otherwise visible than Christ was here on earth; that is, no exterior pomp or shew setteth her forth commonly: and therefore to see her we must put on such eyes, as good men put on to see and know Christ when he walked here on earth: for as Eve was of the same substance Adam was of, so is the church of the same substance Christ is of; I mean ‘flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones,’ as Paul saith, Ephesians 5. Look therefore, how Christ was visibly known to be Christ when he was on earth, (that is, by considering him after the word of God,) so is the church known.” “I do not come to reason,” saith he, “at this present; and therefore I will go on forward. Is not this church a multitude?” “Yes,” quoth I, “that it is. Howbeit, latet anguis in herba, [a snake lurks in the grass,] as the proverb is: you mean a subtlety in the word.
What visible multitude was there in Elias’ time, or when Moses was on the mount, Aaron and all Israel worshipping the calf?” “You go from the matter,” quoth he. “No, nothing at all,” said I, “for I do but prevent you, knowing well whereabout you go: and therefore fewer words might serve, if that you so would.” “Well,” quoth he, “I perceive you have knowledge, and by a little perceive the more. Tell me yet more, whether this multitude have not the ministry or preaching of God’s word?” “Here, sir,” quoth I, “you go about the bush. If you understand preaching for confessing the gospel, I will go with you: or else, if you will, you may know that persecution often letteth preaching.” “Well, I mean it so,” quoth he. “Tell me yet more: hath it not the sacraments duly administered?” “It hath the sacraments, “ quoth I; “howbeit the ministry thereof is often letted. But I will put you off your purpose, because I see whereabout you go. If heretics have baptized and do baptize, as they did in St.
This I spake, that the standers-by might see that, though the popish church have baptism which we have received of them, yet therefore is it not the true church, nor never need we to be baptized again: which thing he saw well enough; and therefore he said I went from the matter, adding that I had more errors than one or two. “So ye say,” quoth I; “but that is not enough till you prove them.” “Well,” quoth he, “this church is a multitude, hath the preaching of the gospel, and the ministration of the sacraments: and yet more, hath it not the power of jurisdiction?” “O sir,” quoth I, “whither go you? You walk not wilily enough; you cannot deceive me, I thank God: what jurisdiction is exercised in time of persecution and affliction?” “I mean,” quoth he, “by jurisdiction, admonishing one another, and so forth.” “Well, go to,” said I, “what then?” “It hath also,” quoth he, “succession of bishops.” And here he made much ado to prove that this was an essential point. “You say as you would have it, “ quoth I; “for if this point fail you, all the church you go about to set forth will fall down. You shall not find in all the scripture this your essential point of succession of bishops,” quoth I. “In Christ’s church antichrist will sit. And Peter telleth us, as it went in the old church afore Christ’s coming, so will it be in the new church sithen Christ’s coming: that is, as there were false prophets, and such as bare rule were adversaries to the true prophets; so shall there be, sithen Christ’s coming, false teachers, even of such as be bishops, and bear rule amongst the people.” “You always go out of the matter,” quoth he: “but I will prove,” saith he, “the succession of bishops.” “Do so,” quoth I. “Tell me,” quoth he, “were not the apostles bishops?” “No,” quoth I, “except you will make a new definition of bishops; that is, give him no certain place.” “Indeed,” saith he, “the apostles’ office was more than bishops’, for it was universal; but yet Christ instituted bishops in his church, as Paul saith, ‘He hath given pastors, prophets:’ so that I trow it be proved by the scriptures the succession of bishops to be an essential point.”
To this I answered that “the ministry of God’s word and ministers is an essential point; but to translate this to bishops and their succession,” quoth I, “is a plain subtlety: and therefore,” quoth I, “that it may be plain, I will ask you a question, Tell me whether the scripture know any difference between bishops and ministers, which you call priests?” “No,” saith he. “Well, then, go on forwards,” quoth I, “and let us see what you shall get now by the succession of bishops, that is, of ministers; which cannot be understand of such bishops as minister not, but lord it.” “I perceive,” quoth he, “that you are far out of the way. By your doctrine you can never shew in your church this, a multitude which ministereth God’s word and his sacraments, which hath jurisdiction and succession of bishops, which hath from time to time believed as you believe; beginning now, and so going upwards, as I will do,” quod he, “of our doctrine: and therefore you are out of the church, and so may not be saved. Perchance you will bring me downwards a shew to blear the people’s eyes; but to go upwards, that can you never do; and this is the true trial.”
To this I answered, that he ought to give me leave to follow the scripture and examples of good men.
Then [he] said, “Yea.” “Well, then,” quoth I, “Stephen was accused and condemned, as I am, that he taught new and false doctrine, before the fathers of the church then, as they were taken. Now what doth Stephen for his purgation, but improved their accusations? But how doth he it? by going upwards? No, but by coming downwards, beginning at Abraham, and continuing still till Esaias’ time, and the people’s captivity; from whence he maketh a great leap until that time he was in, which was, I think, upon a four hundred years; and called them by their right name hell-hounds, rather than heavenhounds.
Here might have been answered, that Stephen’s enemies would not believe he had the Holy Ghost, and therefore they did as they did: but in speaking he rose up; and the keeper talked, and others that stood by, to take his part all against me; howbeit gently, without any taunting or railing, only praying me to take heed to that master Harpsfield spake; who still said I was out of the church, and did contemn it, spit against it, and I cannot tell what.
And so we made an end, he saying that in the morning he would come again unto me.
God our Father, for the name and blood of his Christ, be merciful unto us, and unto all his people, and deliver them from all false teachers and blind guides, through whom, alas! I fear me, much hurt will come to this realm of England. God our Father bless us, and keep us in his truth and poor church forever. Amen. 459 THE NEXT DAY’S TALK BETWEEN DR.
HARPSFIELD AND MASTER BRADFORD.
UPON the sixteenth of February, in the morning, about nine of the clock, there came again the said master Harpsfield and the other two with him.
Now, after a few words spoken, we sat down: and master Harpsfield began a very long oration, almost three quarters of an hour long, first repeating what we had said, and how far we had gone over-night; and therewith did begin to prove upwards succession of bishops here in England for eight hundred years, in France at Lyons for twelve hundred years, in Spain at Hispalen for eight hundred years, in Italy at Milan for twelve hundred years, laboring by this to prove his church; whereto he used also succession of bishops in the east church for the more confirmation of his words, and so concluded with an exhortation and an interrogation: the exhortation, that I would obey this church; the interrogation, whether I could show any such succession for the demonstration of my church (for so he called it), which I followed.
Unto this his long oration I made a short answer, how that my memory was evil for to answer particularly his long oration; therefore I would generally do it, thinking that because his oration was rather to persuade than to prove, that a general answer would serve. So I told him, that if Christ or his apostles, being here on earth, had been demanded of the prelates of the church then to have made a demonstration of the church by succession of high priests which had approved the doctrine he taught; “I think,” quoth I, “that Christ here would have done as I do; that is, have brought forth that which upholdeth the church, even the verity of the word of God taught and believed, not of the high priests (which of long time had persecuted it), but by the prophets and other good simple men which perchance were counted for heretics with the church, that is, with them that were ordained high priests in the church; to whom the true church was not then tied by any succession, but the word of God. And thus to think,” quoth I, “St Peter giveth an occasion, when he saith that, as it went in the church before Christ’s coming, so shall it go in the church after his coming: but then the pillars of the church were persecutors of it: therefore the like we must look for now.” “Why,” quoth he, “I can gather and prove you succession in Jerusalem of the high priests from Aaron’s time.” “I grant,” quoth I, “but not such succession as allowed the truth.” “Why,” quoth he, “did they not all allow Moses’s law?” “Yes,” quoth I, “and kept it for the books thereof, as you do the Bible and holy scripture. But the interpretation and meaning of it they did corrupt, as I take it you have done: and therefore the persecutions they stirred up against the prophets and Christ was not for the law, but for the interpretation of it; as you say now, that we must fetch the interpretation of the scriptures at your hands. But to make an end,” quoth I, “death I do look daily for, yea, hourly; and I think my time be but very short. Therefore I had need to spend in prayer as much time with God as I can (whilst I have it), for his help and comfort: and therefore I pray you bear with me, that I do not now particularly, and in more words, answer your long talk. If I saw death not so near me as it is, I would then weigh every piece of your oration, if you would give me the sum of them, and I would answer them accordingly, I hope: but because I dare not, nor I will not, leave off looking and providing for that which is at hand, I shall desire you to hold me excused because I do as I do; and I heartily thank you for your gentle good-will: I shall heartily pray God our Father to give you the same light and life as I wish to myself.”
And so I began to rise up. But then master Harpsfield began to tell me, that I was in a very perilous case; and he was sorry to see me so settled; telling further that indeed he could tell me nothing whether death were far off, or near: “but that forceth not,” quoth he, “so that you did die well.” “Well?” quoth I, “yes, for I doubt not in this case but to die well; for as I hope and am certain my death shall please the Lord, so I trust I shall die cheerfully, to the comfort of his children.” “Yea, but what if you be deceived?” quoth he. “What,” quoth I, “if you did say the sun did not shine now?” Then it did shine through the window where we sat. “Well,” quoth he, “I am sorry to see you so secure and careless.” “Indeed I am more carnally secure and careless than I should be: God make me more vigilant! But in this case,” quoth I, “I cannot be too secure, for I am most assured I am in the truth.” “That are ye not,” quoth he, “for you are not of the catholic church.” “No,” quoth I, “though you have excommunicate me, yet am I in the catholic church of Christ, and am, and by God’s grace shall be, a child of it, and an obedient child for ever. I hope Christ will have no less care for me, than he had for the blind man excommunicate of the synagogue. And,” quoth I, “further, I am certain that the necessary articles of the faith (I mean the twelve articles of the Creed) I confess and believe with that which you call the holy church: so that even your church hath taken something too much upon her to excommunicate me for that which, by the testimony of my lord of Duresme in his book of the sacrament lately put forth, was free of many an hundred years after Christ, to believe or not believe. ” “What is that?” quoth he. “Transubstantiation,” said I. “Why, you are not condemned therefor only,” quod he. “Yes,” quoth I, “that am I, and because I deny that wicked men do receive Christ’s body.” “No,” quoth he, “you agree not with us in the presence, nor in nothing else.” “How you believe,” quoth I, “you know: for my part I confess a presence of whole Christ, God and man, to the faith of the receiver.” “No,” quoth he, “you must believe a real presence in the sacrament.” “In the sacrament?” quoth I. “No, I will not shut him up, nor tie him to it, otherwise than faith seeth and permitteth. If I should include Christ’s real presence in the sacrament, or tie him to it otherwise than to the faith of the receiver, then the wicked man should receive him; which I do not, nor will not believe by God’s grace.” “More pity,” quoth he; “but a man may easily see you make no presence at all, and therefore you agree not therein with us.” “I confess a presence,” quoth I, “and a true presence, but to the faith of the receiver.” “What,” quoth one that stood by, “of Christ’s very body which died for us?” “Yea,” quoth I, “even of whole Christ, God and man, to the faith of him that receiveth it.” “Why,” quoth master Harpsfield, “this is nothing else but to exclude the omnipotency of God and all kind of miracle in the sacrament.” “No,” quoth I, “I do not exclude his omnipotency, but you rather do it: for I believe that Christ can accomplish his promise, the substance of bread and wine being there still, as well as the accidents; which you believe not. And,” quoth I, “I count it a great miracle that common bread should be made a spiritual bread, that is, a bread ordained of God not for the food of the body, but rather for the food of the soul: for when we come to the sacrament, we come not to feed our bodies, and therefore we have but a little piece of bread; but we come to feed our souls with Christ by faith, which the wicked want; and therefore they receive nothing but panem Domini, [the bread of the Lord,] as Judas did, and not panem Dominum, [the bread the Lord,] as the other apostles did.” “The wicked,” saith master Harpsfield, “do receive the very body of Christ, but not the grace of his body.” “No,” quoth I, “they receive not the body; for Christ’s body is no dead carcass: he that receiveth it receiveth the Spirit, which is not without grace, I ween.” “Well,” quoth he, “you have very many errors. You count the mass for abomination; and yet St Ambrose said mass:” and so he read, out of a book written, a sentence of St. Ambrose to prove it. “Why sir,” quod I, “the mass as it is now was nothing so in St Ambrose’ time. Was not the most part of the canon made sithen by Gregorius and Scholasticus and others?” “Indeed,” quoth he, “a great piece of it was made, as ye say, by Gregorius: but Scholasticus was before St Ambrose’ time. ” “I ween not, “ quoth I; “howbeit I will not contend. St Gregory saith that the apostles said mass without the canon, only with the Lord’s prayer. ” “You say true,” quoth he; “for the canon is not the greatest part of the mass: the greatest part is the sacrifice, elevation, transubstantiation, and adoration.” “I can away with none of those,” quoth I. “No, I think the same,” quoth he: “but yet Hoc facite [Do this] telleth plainly the sacrifice of the church.” “You consider not well,” quoth I, “this word ‘sacrifice,’ not discerning betwixt the sacrifice of the church, and the sacrifice for the church. The sacrifice of the church is no propitiatory sacrifice, but a gratulatory sacrifice. The sacrifice Christ himself offered is the propitiatory sacrifice: and as for your Hoc facite [Do this, it] is not referred to any sacrificing, but to the whole action of taking, eating, etc. ” “You speak now,” quoth he, “not learnedly; for Christ made his supper only to the twelve apostles, not admitting his mother or any of the seventy disciples to it: now the apostles do signify the priests.” “I think,” quoth I, “that you speak as you would men should understand it; for else you would not keep the cup away from the laity. We have great cause to thank you, that you will give us the bread; for I perceive you make it, as though Christ had not commanded it to his whole church.”
From this talk he went to show me elevation, bringing out a place of St. Basilius De Spiritu. And I told him that “I had read the place, which seemeth to make nothing for elevation: but,” quoth I, “be it as it is, this is no time for me to scan the doubtful places of the doctors with you. I have been in prison long without books and all necessaries for study; and therefore I must omit these things: death draweth nigh, and I by your leave must not leave off to prepare for it.” “If I could do you good,” quoth he, “I would be right glad, either in soul or body; for you are in a perilous case both ways.” “Sir,” quoth I, “I thank you for your good-will. My case is as it is. I thank God, it was never so well with me; for death to me shall be life, I trust and hope in God.” “It were best for you to desire master Harpsfield,” quoth master Cresswell, “that he might make suit for you, that ye might have a time to confer.”
Unto which words, master Harpsfield said that he would do the best he could, for he pitied my case very sore. “Sir,” quoth I, “to desire any body to sue for time for me, I never will do it by God’s help; for I am not wavering, nor I would not that any body should think I were so. But if you have the charity and love towards me you pretend, and thereto do think that I am in an error, I think the same should move you to do as you would be done by. As you think of me, so do I of you, that you are far out of the way; and not only think it, but also am thereof assured.”
In this and such like gentle talk we departed, he saying that he would pray for me, others willing me to desire him to sue for me, which I did not; but I wished him as much good as he did me. And as he was going and bade me farewell, he turneth again, and giveth me Irenaeus, praying me to read over a certain place in it; which thing I told him I would, although I had read it before.
At the door the wife of the house met him, and asked him how he had done. “Forsooth, mistress,” quoth he, “I find always one manner of man of him; as I found him, so I leave him.” “I pray you, sir,” quoth she, “do him no hurt.” “No,” quoth he; “but if I can, I will do him good.”
At after dinner the same day, master Clayden my keeper cometh unto me from the earl of Derby, with whom he had dined, being sent for purposely about me. Now after his coming home, this was the sum of his talk, that the earl would gladly have me not to die, and therefore he would make suit on my behalf to the queen’s highness. “Wherefore,” quoth my keeper, “you must tell me what you would have him to do, that to-morrow I may bring him word, as he hath required me.” “Marry,” quoth I, “master Clayden, I hope I shall need little to make many words in telling you my suit: as I heartily thank his lordship for his goodwill and zeal that he beareth unto me, so you know I cannot desire any to make suit for me. If of his own will he do sue for pardon, banishment, perpetual prison, or what his pleasure shall be for me, I were to blame if that I would take it unthankfully; albeit I know death and speedy despatch were most welcome unto me.” “Well,” quoth he, “I will tell him to-morrow, that though you cannot nor will not make suit to any to sue for you, yet you will be content if he, on his lordship’s goodwill, will labor on your behalf.” “Yea,” quod I, “and to tell you truth, where I perceive that others do sue for me,” (meaning Percival Cresswell and master Harpsfield,) “I had rather my lord of Derby should do it, for that my friends and the country might less be offended at him, because he must have the burning of me.”
After this talk with my keeper, master Clayden, there cometh one of the queen’s servants and officers, whose name I will not rehearse, which after a little talk fell down on his knees, and with tears besought me for the passion of Christ, that I would a little look to myself to make some suit, etc.; “for,” quoth he, swearing an oath, “it will not be long unto, before thou shalt be able to do more good than ever thou didst.”
Within an hour after this man’s departure from me, the keeper, master Clayden, called me, saying that he perceived how that my friend Percival had told him that master Harpsfield had written to master doctor Martin, to be a means to the council for longer time for me: whereupon quoth he, “I think it were best to send my lord of Derby word of this to-night, lest he be prevented. ” And I answered thus, that as he thought good, so he might do: “but,” quoth I, “beware, I heartily pray, that you do not tell my lord any thing that I desire this; for if you do, it will in the end be more against you than with you.” And he promised the same, and so departed out of hand to the court.
Upon the 17th day, which was Sunday, in the afternoon, Percival Cresswell sent me word by him that came first with him, that if I would make any suit myself, or will any to do for me, I might speed; “but else,” quoth he, “nothing will be done, as he presently hath received answer of my lord chancellor.” “Well,” quoth I, “I am at a point;” and so took my leave, looking still when the sheriffs would come for me: for I had heard overnight, that one of the guard which was appointed to convey me down into Lancashire had told one that they had warning against tomorrow for me.
Upon the 19th day, which was Tuesday, I heard that the writ for my execution was called in again, and the sheriff of Lancashire discharged of me for the present: and in the afternoon one of my lord of Derby’s men brought me word, how that my lord had taken great pains for me, and had kneeled before the queen, and many more words, desiring me something to see to myself now. “But,” quoth he, “what and how much is done for you, I cannot tell; but this much I think,” saith he, “you shall have your books, and time enough to peruse them.” “Well,” quoth I, “I pray you heartily thank my lord for his good-will towards me: I shall, as I have done, pray that God would give unto him as to myself; the which is all I can do. For doing for myself, as I would be sorry that my lord or you should think any wavering in me for my doctrine, so I would be loath but to do all for myself that I can do with a good conscience. And as for time,” quoth I, “and books, although I see it is but a lingering of the time, yet I am glad of it in this respect, that my lord and others may know I hold no opinion but such as I dare sift, and abide the reasoning for with any man. I trust you and many others shall see that our doctrine is true, and therefore dare and desire to abide the light and all men’s looking on; where perchance it is bruited abroad that we are altogether obstinate, and cannot defend it by learning.”
After this talk there was a priest, called master Couppage, which began to exhort me “to take the injuries done unto me patiently; for,” quoth he, “I doubt not but if you will come unto us, you should be more able to help many, and your friends also, than ever you were, both spiritually and corporally.” “If,” quoth I, “you keep your master Christ, I will come unto you; but otherwise I know you not.”
Upon the 20th day, which was Wednesday, master Clayden came from my lord, and in his name asked me whether I would be content to speak with the kings confessor and Alphonsus a friar, and to send him word. “Sir,” quoth I, “you know that as I desire conference with no man, so (I thank God) I am not afraid to speak with any man.”
Whereupon he sent my lord word, as he said: and so I heard nothing till the day following, how that my lord of Derby had sent back again two of his men, which came to me, saying that they were sent to solicit my cause; but how or what way, I could not learn. THE TALK OF DR. HEATH ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, AND DAY BISHOP OF CHICHESTER, WITH MASTER BRADFORD. FC182 UPON the 22nd day, which was Friday, the archbishop of York and the bishop of Chichester came to the Compter to speak with me. When I was come before them, they both, and specially my lord of York, used me very gently: they would have had me sit down; and because I would not, they also would not sit. So we all stood; and whether I would or no, they would needs I should put on, not only my night-cap, but my upper cap also, saying unto me, that “obedience was better than sacrifice.”
Now thus standing together, my lord of York began to tell me, how that they were not sent to me: “but of love and charity we come to you; and I,” quoth he, “of old acquaintance which I have had with you, more than my lord of Chichester hath had;” and so commended me of a godly life, etc., concluding with a question, how I was certain of salvation, and of my religion? “Marry,” quod I, (omitting all formalities, save that I thanked them for their good-will,) “by the word of God, by the scriptures, I am certain of salvation, and of my religion.” “Very well said,” quod my lord of York: “but how do you know the word of God and the scriptures, but by the church?” “Indeed, my lord,” quoth I, “the church was and is a mean to bring a man more speedily to know the scriptures and the word of God, as was the woman of Samaria a mean that the Samaritans knew Christ: but as when they had heard him speak, they said, ‘Now we know that he is Christ, not because of thy words, but because we ourselves have heard him;’ so,” quoth I, “after we come to the hearing and reading of the scriptures shewed to us, and discerned by the church, we do believe them and know them, not because the church saith they are the scriptures, but because they be so; being thereof assured by the same Spirit which wrote and spake them.” “Yea,” quoth my lord of York, “but you know in the apostles’ time, at the first, the word was not written.” “True,” quoth I, “if you mean it for some books of the new Testament; but else for the old Testament Peter telleth us that we have firmiorem sermonem propheticum, ‘a more sure word of prophecy:’ not,” quod I, “that it is simply so, but in respect of the apostles’ persons, which, being alive and compassed with infirmity, attributed to the word written more firmity, as wherewith no fault could be found; whereas for the infirmity of their persons men perchance might have found some fault at their preaching: albeit in very deed no less obedience and faith ought to have been given to the one than to the other, as being all of one ‘Spirit of truth.’” “That place of Peter,” quoth my lord of York, “is not so to be understand of the word of God written.” “Yes, sir,” quoth I, “that it is, and of none other.” “Yea, indeed,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “master Bradford doth tell you the truth in that point.” “Well,” quoth my lord of York, “you know that Irenaeus and others do magnify much the church, and allege the church against the heretics, and not the scripture. ” “True,” quoth I; “for they had to do with such heretics as did deny the scriptures, and yet did magnify the apostles; so that they were enforced to use the authority of those churches wherein the apostles had taught, and which had still retained the same doctrine.” “You speak the very truth,” quoth my lord of Chichester; “for the heretics did refuse all scriptures, except it were a piece of Luke’s gospel.” “Then,” quoth I, “the alleging of the church cannot be primarily or principally used against me, which am so far from denying of the scriptures, that I appeal unto them utterly as to the only judge.” “A pretty matter,” quoth my lord of York, “that you will take upon you to judge the church: I pray you, where was your church these many years?
For the church of Christ is catholic and visible hitherto.” “My lord,” quoth I, “I do not judge the church, when I discern it from that congregation and those which be not the church; and I never denied the church to be catholic and visible, although at some times it is more visible than at some.” “I pray you,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “tell me where the church, which allowed your doctrine, was these four hundred years.” “I will tell you, my lord,” quoth I; “or rather you shall tell it yourself, if you will tell me this one thing, where the church was in Elias’ time, when Elias said that he was left alone.” “That is no answer,” quoth my lord of Chichester. “I am sorry that you say so: but this will I tell your lordship, that, if you had the same eyes wherewith a man might have espied the church then, you would not say, it were no answer. The fault why the church is not seen of you is, not because the church is not visible, but because your eyes are not clear enough to see it.” “You are much deceived,” quoth he, “to make such a collation betwixt the church then and now.” “Very well spoken, my lord,” quoth the bishop of York; “for Christ said, AEdificabo ecclesiam, ‘I will build my church;’ and not ‘I do,’ or ‘have built it;’ but ‘I will build it.’” “My lords, “quoth I, “Peter taught me to make this collation, saying, ‘As in the people there was false prophets,’ which were much in estimation afore Christ’s coming, so ‘shall there be false teachers now, and very many shall follow them.’ And as for your future tense, I hope your grace,” quod I, “will not thereby conclude Christ’s church not to have been before, but rather that there is no building in the church but by Christ’s work only; for Paul and Apollos be but waterers.” “In good faith, master Bradford,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “I am sorry to see you so little to mind the church.” “He taketh upon him, as they all do, to judge the church,” quod my lord of York. “A man shall never come to certainty that doth as they do.” “My lords, “ quoth I, “take me, beseech you, in good part. I speak simply what I think; and I desire reason to answer my objections: your affections and sorrows cannot be my rules. If that you consider the end and cause of my condemnation, I cannot think but that it should something move your honors. You know it well enough, for you heard it: no matter was laid against me, but what was gathered upon mine own confession.
Because I denied transubstantiation, and the wicked to receive Christ’s body in the sacrament, therefore I was condemned and excommunicate, but not of the church, although the pillars of the same, as they be taken, did it.” “No,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “I heard say that the cause of your prisonment was, for that you exhorted the people to take the sword in the one hand, and the mattock in the other.” “I never meant any such thing, nor spake any thing in that sort, my lord,” quoth I. “Yea,” quoth my lord of York, “you behaved yourself before the council so stoutly at the first, that you would defend the religion then; and therefore worthily were you punished.” “Your grace,” quoth I, “did hear me answer my lord chancellor in that point. But put the case I had been so stout as they and your grace make it: was not the laws of the realm on my side then? Wherefore unjustly I was punished. Only transubstantiation, which was had on mine own confession, was the thing on which my lord chancellor proceeded.” “You deny the presence,” quoth my lord of York. “I do not,” quoth I, “to the faith of the worthy receiver.” “Why,” quoth he, “what is that than to say that Christ lieth not on the altar?” “No, my lord,” quoth I, “indeed I believe not such a presence.” “It seemeth,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “that you have not read Chrysostom; for he proveth it. ” “Of truth, my lord,” quoth I, “hitherto I have been kept well enough without books: howbeit this I remember of Chrysostom, that he saith that Christ lieth upon the altar, as the seraphim with their tongs do touch our lips with the coals of the altar in heaven; which is an hyperbolical locution, as you know Chrysostom floweth with them.” “It is too evident,” quoth my lord of York, “that you are gone too far: but let us come again to the church, out of the which you are excommunicated.” “I am not excommunicate out of Christ’s church, my lord, although they which seem to be in the church, and of the church, have excommunicate me, as the poor blind man was (John 11.): I hope Christ receiveth me.” “You deceive yourself,” quoth he: and here much was spoken of excommunication.
At the last I said: “My lord, I pray you bear with me that which I shall simply speak before you. Assuredly,” quoth I, “as I think you did well to depart from the Romish church, so I think you have done wickedly to couple yourselves to it again; for you can never prove it, which you call the mother church, to be Christ’s church.” “O master Bradford,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “you were but a child when this matter began. I was a young man then coming from the university, [and] went with the world; but I tell you, it was always against my conscience. ” “I was but a child then,” quoth I: “howbeit, as I told you, I think you have done evil: for now ye are come, and have brought others, to ‘the wicked man which sitteth in the temple of God,’ that is, in the church; for it cannot be understand of Mahomet, or any out of the church, but of such as bear rule in the church.” “See,” quoth my lord of York, “how you build your faith upon such places of scripture as are most obscure, to deceive yourself, as though you were in the church, where you are not.” “Well, my lord,” quoth I, “though I might by your fruits judge of you and others, yet will not I utterly exclude you out of the church; for perchance you sin of ignorance. And if I were in your case, I think not,” quoth I, “that I should not condemn him utterly that is of my faith in the sacrament, knowing, as you know, that at the least eight hundred years after Christ, as my lord of Duresme writeth, it was free to believe or not to believe transubstantiation. ” “This is a toy,” quoth he, “that you have found out of your own brain; as though a man not believing as the church doth (that is, transubstantiation) were of the church.” “He is an heretic, and so none of the church,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “that doth hold any doctrine against the definition of the church; as now you do hold against transubstantiation.” And he brought forth Cyprian, “which was no heretic, though he believed re-baptizing of them which were baptized of heretics, because he held it before the church had defined it: whereas if he had holden it after, then had he been a heretic.” “Oh, my lord,” quod I, “will you condemn to the devil any man that believeth truly the twelve articles of the faith (wherein I take the unity of Christ’s church to consist), although in some points he believe not the definitions of that which you call the church? If I shall speak to you frankly, I doubt not but he that holdeth firmly the articles of our belief, though in other things he dissent from your definitions, yet he shall be saved.” “Yea,” quod they both, “this is your doctrine.” “No,” quoth I, “it is Paul’s, which saith that if they hold the foundation Christ, though they ‘build upon him hay, straw, and stubble,’ yet they shall be saved.” “Lord God!” quoth my lord of York, “how you delight to lean to so hard and dark places of scripture!” “Yea,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “I will shew you how that Luther doth excommunicate Zuinglius for this matter:” and so he read a place of Luther making for his purpose. “My lord,” quoth I, “what Luther writeth, as you much pass not of, no more do I in this case. My faith is not builded on Luther, Zuinglius, or OEcolampadius, in this point: and indeed, to tell you truly, I never read any of their works in this matter. As for their persons, whatsoever their sayings were, yet do I think assuredly that they were and are God’s children and saints with him.” “Well,” quoth my lord of York, “you are out of the communion of the church.” “I am not,” quoth I, “for it consisteth and is in faith.” “Lo,” quoth he, “how you make your church invisible, that would have the communion of it to consist in faith.” “Yea, and like your grace,” quoth I; “for to have communion with the church needeth not visibleness of it: communion consisteth, as I said, in faith, and not in exterior ceremonies: as appeareth both by Paul, which would have unam fidem, ‘one faith;’ and by Irenaeus to Victor, for the observation of Easter, saying that dissonantiam jejunii, ‘disagreeing of fasting,’ should not rumpere consonantiam fidei , ‘break the agreeing of faith. ” “That same place,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “hath often even wounded my conscience, because we dissevered ourselves from the see of Rome.” “Well,” quoth I, “God forgive you; for I think you have done evil to bring England thither again. Your honours know I am plain; and therefore I beseech you bear with me.”
Here my lord of York took a book of paper of common places out of his bosom, and read a piece of St. Augustine, Contra epistolam Fundamenti, how that there were many things that did hold St. Augustine in the bosom of the church; “consent of people and nations, authority confirmed with miracles, nourished with hope, increased with charity, established with antiquity: besides this there holdeth me in the church,” saith St. Augustine still, “the succession of priests from Peter’s seat until this present bishop: last of all, the very name of catholic doth hold me,” etc. “Lo,” quoth he, “how say you to this of St Augustine? Point me out your church thus.” “My lord,” quoth I, “this of St Augustine maketh as much for me as for you: although I might answer that all these, if they had been so firm as you make them, they might have been alleged against Christ and his apostles; for there was the law and ceremonies consented in by the whole people, confirmed with miracles, antiquity, and continual succession of bishops from Aaron’s time until that present.” “In good faith,” quod my lord of Chichester, “master Bradford, you make too much of the state of the church before Christ’s coming.” “Sir,” quod I, “therein I do but as St Peter teacheth, 2 Peter 2, and Paul very often. You would gladly have your church here very glorious, and as a most pleasant lady: but as Christ saith, Beatus est quicunque non fuerit offensus per me ; so may his church say, ‘Blessed are they that are not offended at me.’” “Yea,” quoth my lord, “you think none is of the church, but such as suffer persecution.” “What I think,” quod I, “God knoweth: I pray your grace, judge me by my words and speaking; and mark what Paul saith, Omnes qui volunt, ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesu must suffer persecutions.’ Sometime Christ’s church hath rest here; but commonly,” quoth I, “it is not so, and specially towards the end her form will be more unseemly.” “But what say you to St Augustine?” quoth he: “where is your church that hath the consent of people and nations?” “Marry,” quod I, “all people and nations that be God’s people have consented with me, and I with them, in the doctrine of faith.” “Lo,” quoth he, “how you go about to shift off all things.” “No, my lord,” quoth I; “I mean simply, and so speak, God knoweth.” “St Augustine,” quoth he, “doth here talk of succession, even from Peter’s see.” “Yea, and like your grace,” quoth I, “that see then was nothing so much corrupt as it is now.” “Well,” quod he, “you always judge the church.” “No, my lord,” quod I: “as Christ’s sheep discern Christ’s voice, but they judge it not; so they discern the church, but not judge her.” “Yes, that you do,” saith he. “No, and like your grace,” quoth I: “full well may a man doubt of the Romish church; for she obeyeth not Christ’s voice, as Christ’s true church doth.” “Wherein?” quod he. “In Latin service,” quoth I, “and robbeth the laity of Christ’s cup in the sacrament; and in many other things, in which it committeth most horrible sacrilege. ” “Why,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “Latin service was in England when the pope was gone.” “True,” quoth I, “the time was in England when the pope was away, but not all popery, as in king Henry’s days.” “Latin service,” quoth my lord of York, “was appointed to be sung and had in the choir, where only were clerici, that is, such as understand Latin; the people sitting in the body of the church, praying their own private prayers: and this,” quoth he, “may well be yet seen by making of the chancel and choir, so as the people could not come in, or hear them.” “Yea, but, my lord,” quoth I, “both in Chrysostom’s time, and also in the Latin church in St Jerome’s time, as he writeth in the preface, I trow, to the Galatians, all the church, saith he, reboat Amen ; that is, ‘answereth again mightily, Amen:’ whereby we may see that the prayers were made so that both the people heard them and understood them.” “You are to blame,” quoth my lord of Chichester, “to say that the church robbeth the people of the cup.” “Well, my lord,” quod I, “term it as it please you; all men know that the laity hath none of it.” “Indeed,” quoth he, “I would wish the church would define again, that they might have it, for my part.” “If God make it free,” quoth I, “who can define to make it bound? ” “Well,” quoth my lord of York, “master Bradford, we leese our labor; for you seek to put away all things that be told you to your good: your church no man can know.” “Yes, that you may well,” quoth I. “I pray you, whereby?” said he. “Forsooth, Chrysostom sheweth it tantummodo per scripturas , ‘only by the scriptures:’ and thus speaketh he very oftentimes together, as you well know,” quod I. “Indeed,” quod he, “that is of Chrysostom in opere imperfecto, which may be doubted of: the thing whereby the church may be known best is succession of bishops.” “No, my lord,” quod I; “Lyra full well writeth upon Matthew, that ecclesia non consistit in hominibus ratione potestatis secularis aut ecclesiasticae, sed in hominibus in quibus est notitia vera et confessio fidei et veritatis : that is, ‘The church consisteth not in men, by reason either of secular or temporal power; but in men endued with true knowledge, and confession of faith, and of verity. ‘ And in Hilarius’ time, you know, he writeth to Auxentius, that the church did rather delitescere in cavernis, than eminere in primariis sedibus; that is, ‘was hidden rather in caves and holes,’ than ‘ did glister and shine in thrones of pre-eminence. ‘“ Here cometh one of their servants, and told them that my lord of Duresme tarried for them at master York’s house: for indeed it was past twelve of the clock; upon a four hours they tarried with me. And after that their man was come, they put up their written books of common places, and said, they lamented my case; and so wishing me to read over a book “which did Dr Crome good,” as my lord of Chichester said, and wishing me good in words, they went their ways, and I to my prison.
TALK BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND TWO SPANISH FRIARS.
Upon Monday which was the twenty-fifth of February, about eight of the clock in the morning, which was an hour sooner than was appointed, there came to the Compter where I was in prison two Spanish friars, Alphonsus and the king’s confessor, as they said, and with them two priests which were Englishmen, as I ween: and when the house was voided of other company, I was called down; and being come before them, a stool was pulled out, and I bidden sit down, which thing I did, after a sign of civility given to them.
Now thus sitting, beginneth the confessor to speak in Latin and ask in Latin (for all our talk was in Latin), whether I had not seen nor heard of one Alphonsus, that had written against heresies? And I answered that I did not know him. “Well,” quoth he, “this man,” pointing to Alphonsus, “is he.” “Very good,” quoth I.
And I answered that I never desired their coming, nor to confer with them or any other; “but,” quoth I, “seeing you are come of charity, as you say, I cannot but thankfully acknowledge it; and as for conference, though I desire it not, yet,” quoth I, “I will not refuse to talk with you, if you will.”
Then began Alphonsus to tell me that it were requisite I did pray unto God, that I might follow the direction of God’s Spirit, and as he should inspire me, not being addict to mine own self-will and wit.
Whereupon I made a prayer, and besought God to “direct all our wills, words, and works, as the wills, words, and works of his children for ever.” “Yea,” quoth Alphonsus, “you must pray with your heart; for if you speak but with tongue only, God will not give you his grace.” “Sir,” quoth I, “ ‘do not judge, lest you be judged.’ You have heard my words: now charity would have you to leave the judgment of the heart to God.” “You must,” quoth Alphonsus, “be as it were a neuter, and not wedded to your sentence: but as one standing in doubt, pray, and believe, and be ready to receive what God shall inspire; for,” quoth he, “in vain laboureth our tongue to speak else.” “Sir,” quoth I, “my sentence, if you mean it for religion, must not be in a doubting, or uncertain, as I thank God it is not even for that wherein I am condemned: I have no cause to doubt, but rather to be most certain of it; and therefore I pray God to confirm me more in it, for it is his truth. And therefore, because it is so certain and true that it may abide the light, I dare be bold to have it looked on, and confer it with you, or any man: in respect whereof I am glad of your coming, and thank you for your coming; although, as I said, I desired not your coming, nor was willing of your coming, or could be content of it otherwise.” “Why,” quod he, “what is the matter wherefor you were condemned? for we know not.” “Sir,” quod I, “in prison have I been almost two years: I never transgressed any of the laws wherefor I might justly be punished: but now am I condemned, only because I frankly confessed (whereof I repent not) my faith concerning the sacrament, being demanded in these two points; one that there is no transubstantiation, the other that the wicked do not receive Christ’s body.” “Let us,” quoth he, “look a little on the first. Do you not believe Christ’s presence really and corporally in the form of bread?” “No,” quoth I, “I do believe that there Christ is present to the faith of the worthy receiver, as there is present bread and wine to the senses and outward man. As for any such presence of including and placing Christ, I believe not, nor dare not do.” “Why,” quoth he, “I am sure you believe Christ’s natural body is circumscriptible.”
And here he made much ado of the two natures of Christ, how that the one is everywhere, and the other is in his proper place; demanding questions hereabout which I answered with etiam, that is, ‘affirmatively,’ because they were such as no wise man would have spent any such time about as he did; for I never heard of any that would have denied them.
Now then cometh he to this conclusion, (which I prayed him he would make, for else he had forgotten,) how that “because Christ’s body was circumscriptible concerning the humanity in heaven, therefore it was so in the bread.” “This hangs not together,” quod I; for to reason thus, Because you are here, ergo you are at Rome, is far out of frame. Even so reason you, ‘Because Christ’s body is in heaven, ergo it is in the sacrament under the form of bread:’ no wise man will grant it,” quoth I. “Why,” quoth he, “you will believe nothing but that which is expressly spoken in the scriptures.” “Yes, sir,” quoth I, “I will believe whatsoever you shall by demonstrations out of the scriptures declare unto me.” “He is obstinate,” quod Alphonsus to his fellow. “But,” quoth he to me, “is not God able to do it?” “Yes, sir,” quoth I; “but here the question is of God’s will, and not of his power.” “Why,” quoth he, “doth he not say plainly, ‘This is my body’?” “Yes,” quod I; “and I deny it not but that it is so to the faith of the worthy receiver.” “To faith?” quoth he, “how is that?” “Forsooth, sir,” quoth I, “as I have no tongue to express it, so I know you have no ears to hear and understand it; for faith seeth more than man can utter.” “Yea, but,” quod he, “I can tell all that I believe.” “You believe not much then,” quoth I; “for if you believe the joys of heaven, and believe no more thereof than you can tell, you will not much desire to come thither: for as the mind is more capable and receivable than the mouth, so it conceiveth more than the tongue can express.” “Christ saith, it is his body,” quoth he. “And so say I, after a certain manner,” quoth I. “After a certain manner?” quoth he; “that is, after another manner than it is in heaven.” “St Augustine,” quoth I, “telleth it more plainly, that it is Christ’s body after the same manner that circumcision was the covenant of God, and the sacrament of faith is faith; or, to make it more plain, as baptism and the water of baptism is regeneration. ” “Very well said,” quoth he: “baptism and the water thereof is a sacrament of God’s grace and Spirit in the water, cleansing the baptized. ” “No, sir,” quoth I, “away with your inclosing: but this I grant, that after the same sort Christ’s body is in the bread, on which sort the grace and Spirit of God is in the water.” “In the water,” quod he, “is God’s grace, by signification.” “So is the body in the bread,” quoth I, “in the sacrament.” “You are much deceived,” quoth he, “in that you make no difference between the sacraments that be standers, and the sacraments that are transeuntes, ‘transitory,’ and passers-by: as for example, the sacrament of orders, which you deny, though St Augustine affirm it, is a standard, although the ceremony be past. But in baptism, so soon as the body is washen, the water ceaseth to be a sacrament.” “True, good sir,” quoth I, “and so it is in the Lord’s supper: no longer than it is in use, is it Christ’s sacrament.”
Here was master Alphonsus wonderfully chafed, and spake, as often he had done before, so that the whole house did ring again with an echo. He hath a great name of learning; but surely he hath little patience. If I had been anything hot, one house could not have kept us both. At the length he cometh to this point, that I could not find in the scripture baptism and the Lord’s supper to have any like similitude together. And here, Lord God! what array he made, how that we would receive nothing but scripture, and yet were able to prove nothing by the scripture. “Father,” quoth I, (for so I called him, God forgive me if I did amiss,) “be patient, and you shall see that by the scripture I will find baptism and the Lord’s supper coupled together.” “No,” quoth he, “that canst thou never do: let me see one text of it.” And a great ado he made.
At the length, “Sir,” quoth I, “Paul saith that as ‘we are baptized into one body,’ so we are potati in uno Spiritu, ‘we have drunken of one Spirit,’ meaning it of the cup in the Lord’s supper.” “Paul hath no such words,” quod he. “Yes, that he hath,” quoth I. “I trow he hath not,” quoth the king’s confessor. “Give me a Testament,” quoth I, “and I will shew it to you.”
So a priest that sat by them gave me his Testament, and I showed them the plain text. Here was now looking one upon another. Finally this simple shift was found, that Paul spake not of the sacrament. “Well, sir,” quoth I, “though the text be plain, yet I ween the fathers do expound it so: especially, except my memory fail me, Chrysostom doth it.”
Here I seeing them blank, I began to tell them how I had been handled in prison, without book, paper, pen, ink, and how unjustly I had been handled; and prayed them that as they told me their coming was to do me good, so they would do it, and not to do me hurt: which thing they much marked not, because of the foil they had, which I would have suppressed.
Alphonsus therefore, which had the Testament in his hand, and turned over leaf by leaf, at the length he cometh to the eleventh [of the first epistle] to the Corinthians, and there read how that he was guilty which made no difference of the Lord’s body. “Yea, sir,” quoth I, “but therewith he saith, ‘He that eateth of the bread;’ calling it bread still, and that after consecration, as you call it: and so [I] brought forth the sentence of the tenth [of the first epistle] to the Corinthians, ‘The bread which we break,’ “ etc. “O,” quoth he, “how ignorant are you, which know not that things retain the names they had before, after their conversion, as Moses’ rod!”
And here they called for a Bible; and so [he] was almost a quarter of an hour before he could find out the place, finding fault at the Bible because it was Vatable’s Bible. At the length when he had found it, Lord God, how he triumphed!
But I cooled the heat forthwith; for, “Sir,” quoth I, “there is mention made of the conversion, as well as that the same appeared to the sense: but,” quoth I, “here you cannot find it so. Find me one word how the bread is converted, and I will then say, you bring some matter that maketh for you.”
At these words he was troubled; and at the length he said, how that I hanged on mine own sense. “No,” quoth I, “that do I not; for I will bring you forth, for eight hundred years after Christ, the fathers of the church to confirm this which I spake.” “No,” quoth he, “you have the church against you.” “I have not,” quoth I, “Christ’s church against me.” “Yes, that you have,” saith he; and so asked me, what the church was. “Marry,” quoth I, “Christ’s wife, the chair and seat of verity.” “Is she visible?” quoth he. “Yea, that she is,” quoth I, “if that you will put on the spectacles of God’s word to look on her.” “This church,” quoth he, “hath defined the contrary; and that will I prove by all the good fathers continually from Christ’s ascension, even for fifteen hundred years at the least, continually.” “What will you prove so,” quoth I, “transubstantiation?” “Yea,” quoth he, “that the bread is turned into Christ’s body.” “You speak more than you can do,” quod I. “That do I not,” quod he. “Then,” quod I, “I will give place.” “Will you believe?” quod he. “Belief,” quoth I, “is God’s gift; therefore cannot I promise: but I tell you,” quod I, “that I will give place; and I hope I shall believe God’s truth always, so good is he to me in Christ my Saviour. ” Here he found a great fault with me, that I would not discern betwixt habitum and actum; as though actus, which he called ‘credulity,’ had been in our power. But this he let pass, and cometh again, asking me, if he could prove it as he said, whether that I would give place? “Yea,” quoth I, “that I will.”
Here was called for paper, pen, and ink, to write: and then I said, “What and if that I prove it you, continually for eight hundred years after Christ at the least, the substance of bread to remain in the sacrament, by the testimony of the fathers; what will you do?” quod I. “I will give place,” quod he. With this, paper came in. “Then,” said I, “write you how that you will give place, if I so prove; and I will write that I will give place, if you so prove: because you are the ancient, you shall have the pre-eminence.”
Lord God, how angry he was now, and said that he came not to learn at me; and so said, “Here is two witnesses,” meaning it of the two priests; “and they be sufficient.” And so hereabout we had much ado, to none effect but to a plain scolding, if I had not given place to the furor of Alphonsus; for he was very testy and hasty: and here he dispraised Bucer and all that praised him, with much other talk.
At the length the king’s confessor asked me of the second question, what it was. “Sir,” quoth I, “that the wicked men receive not Christ’s body in the sacrament; as St Augustine speaketh of Judas, that he received panem Domini [the bread of the Lord,] but not panem Dominure [the bread the Lord.]” “St Augustine saith not so,” quoth Alphonsus. “Yes, that doth he,” quoth I.
And so they rose up, and talked no more of that matter; but asked me how they should get me all the fathers and old authors, that prove and affirm the bread to be turned into Christ’s body. “Sir,” quoth I, “you may soon do it: howbeit, because you shall not trouble yourself, if I may have my books, I need no more but notes of the places.”
Thus they went their ways: how they brooked my talk, I cannot tell; for they bade me not farewell.
After they were gone, cometh one of the priests, and willed me “not to be so obstinate.” “Sir,” quoth I, “be not you so wavering: in all the scripture cannot you find me, non est panis, [it is not bread.]” “Yes, that I can,” quoth he, “in five places.” “Then will I eat your book,” quoth I.
So the book was opened, but no place found; and he went his way smiling.
God help us.
TALK BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND DR. WESTON AND OTHERS. FC250 Upon the twenty-first of March, by the means of one of the earl of Derby his men, left behind my lord his master for the soliciting of my cause, as he said to me, there came to the Compter to dinner one master Collier, once warden of Manchester, and the said servant of the earl of Derby; of whom I learned that master doctor Weston, dean of Westminster, would be with him in the afternoon, about two of the clock or before. At dinner therefore (when the said warden did discommend king Edward, and went about to set forth the authority of the pope, which I withstood, defending the king’s faith, that it was catholic, and that the authority of the bishop of Rome his supremacy was usurped, bringing forth the testimony of Gregory, which affirmeth the name of supreme head to be a title of the forerunner to antichrist, ) a woman prisoner was brought in: whereupon I took occasion to rise from the table, and so went to my prison-chamber to beg of God grace and help therein, continuing there still until I was called down to speak with master Weston.
So soon as I came into the hall, master Weston very gently took me by the hand, and asked me how I did, with such other talk. At the length he willed avoidance of the chamber: so they all went out save master Weston himself, master Collier, the earl of Derby his servant, the subdean of Westminster, the keeper master Clayden, and the parson of the church where the Compter is.
Now then he beginneth to tell me how that he was often minded to have come unto me, being thereto desired of the earl of Derby: “and,” quod he, “after that I perceived by his man, that you could be contented rather to speak with me than any others, I could not but come to do you good, if I can; for hurt you, be sure, I will not.” “Sir,” quoth I, “when I perceived by the report of my lord’s servant, that you did bear me good-will, more (as he said) than any other of your sort, I told him then, that therefore I could be better content and more willing to talk with you, if you should come unto me. This did I say,” quoth I; “otherwise I desired not your coming.” “Well,” quoth he, “now I am come to talk with you: but before we shall enter into any talk, certain principles we must agree upon, which shall be this day’s work. First,” quoth he, “I shall desire you to put away all vainglory, and not to hold any thing for the praise of the world.” “Sir,” quoth I, “Augustine maketh that indeed a piece of the definition of an heretic; which if I cannot put away clean, (for I think there will a spice of it remain in us, as long as this flesh liveth,) yet I promise you, by the grace of God, that I purpose not to yield to it. God I hope will never suffer it to bear rule in them that strive thereagainst, and desire all the dregs of it utterly to be driven out of us.” “I am glad,” quoth he, “to hear you say so, although indeed,” quoth he, “I think you do not so much esteem it as others do. Secondly I would desire you that you will put away singularity in your judgment and opinions.” “Sir,” quod I, “God forbid that I should stick to any singularity or private judgment in God’s religion. Hitherto I have not desired it, neither do, nor mind at any time to hold any other doctrine than is public and catholic; understanding catholic as good men do, according to God’s word.” “Very well,” quod he, “this is a good day’s work; I hope to do you good: and therefore now, thirdly, I shall pray you to write me capita [the heads] of those things whereupon you stand in the sacrament, and to send them to me betwixt this and Wednesday next; until which time, yea, until I come to you again, be assured that you are without all peril of death. Of my fidelity I warrant you: therefore away with all dubitations, etc.” “Sir,” quod I, “I will write to you the grounds I lean to in this matter. As for death, if it come, welcome be it: this which you require of me shall be no great let to me therein.” “You know,” saith he, “that St. Augustine was a Manichean, yet was he converted at the length: so I have good hope of you.” “Sir,” quod I, “because I will not flatter you, I would you should flatly know that I am even settled in the religion wherefor I am condemned.” “Yea, but,” quod he, “if it be not the truth, and if you see evident matter to the contrary, will not you then give place?” “God forbid,” quod I, “but that I should always give place to the truth.” “I would have you to pray so,” quod he. “So I do,” quoth I, “and that he will more and more confirm me in it; as I thank God he hath done and doth.” “Yea, but,” quoth he, “pray with a condition, if you be in it.” “No, sir,” quod I, “I cannot pray so, because I am settled and assured of his truth.” “Well,” quoth he, “as the learned bishop answered St Augustine’s mother, that though he was obstinate, yet the tears of such a mother could not but win her son; so,” quod he, “I hope your prayers” (for mine eyes did show that I had wept in prayer) “cannot but be heard of God, though not as you would, yet as best shall please God. Do you not,” quod he, “remember the history hereof?” “Yes, sir,” quoth I, “I think it to be of St Ambrose. ” “No,” quod he, “that it is not.” And here he would have laid a wager, and began to triumph, saying, “As you are overseen herein, so you are in the other things.” “Well, sir,” quoth I, “I will not contend with you for the name. This, I remember, St Augustine writeth in his Confessions.”
After this talk he began to tell how that the people were by me procured to withstand the queen; but I bade him hang me up as a traitor and a thief, if ever I encouraged any to rebellion: which thing my keeper, and others that were there of the priests, affirmed on my behalf. So much talk there was ad Ephesios [to the Ephesians], how he had saved men going in the cart to be hanged, and such like. The end was this, that I should send unto him capita doctrinae [the heads of the doctrine] of the supper; and after Wednesday he would come unto me again.
DISPUTATION OR TALK BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND DR. PENDLETON.
Upon the 28th of March came to the Compter doctor Pendleton, and with him master Collier, once warden of Manchester, and Stephen Beiche. After salutations master Pendleton began to speak to me, that he was sorry for my trouble: “and further,” quod he, “after that I did know you could be content to talk with me, I made the more speed, being as ready to do you the good and pleasure that I can, as you would wish,” etc. “Sir,” quod I, “the manner how I was content to speak with you was on this sort: master Beiche was often in hand with me whom he should bring unto me, and named you amongst other; and,” quod I, “I remember that I said I had rather speak with you than with any of all other. Now the cause I so would I will briefly tell you. I remember that once you were, as far as a man might judge, of the religion that I am of at this present; and I remember that you have set forth the same earnestly. Gladly therefore would I learn of you, what thing it was that moved your conscience to alter; and gladly would I see what thing it is or was that you have seen sithen, which you saw not before.”
Here master Pendleton was something abashed, as appeareth by his fumbling in his speech. “Master Bradford,” quod he, “I do not know wherefor you are condemned.” “Marry,” quod I, “transubstantiation is the thing whereof I am condemned, and also the denial of wicked men to receive Christ’s body: wherein I would desire you to shew me what reasons, which before you knew not, did move your conscience to alter; for once, as I said, you were as I am in religion.”
Here again master Pendleton, half amazed, began to excuse himself, if it would have been, as though he had not denied fully transubstantiation in deed, “although the word,” quod he, “I said was not in scripture:” and so he made an endless tale of the thing that moved him to alter. As far as I could perceive, it was because he had looked too much, and given too much diligence and estimation to Luther and Melancthon. “But,” quod he, “I will gather to you the places, and send them.” And here he desired me that he might see a copy of that which I had sent master Weston; the which I did promise him.
This is a sum of the effectual talk we had; besides which talk we had a reasoning a little, whether evil men did receive Christ’s body; I no, and he yea.
I said, “they received not the Spirit, ergo not the body; for it is no carcass,” quoth I. Hereto I brought out St. Augustine, how Judas received panem Domini, [the bread of the Lord,] and not panem Deminum [the bread the Lord;] and how that he must be in corpore Christi, [in Christ’s body,] that must receive corpus Christi, [the body of Christ:] which he went about to put away with idem, and not ad idem, out of St. Jerome; and how that “in corpore Christi, [in the body of Christ,] was to be understand of all that be in the visible church, although they be not in the invisible church with God:” which I denied to be St. Augustine’s meaning, and said also that St. Jerome’s allegations could not make for that purpose.
Again we had talk of transubstantiation: he bringeth forth Cyprian, Panis quem dedit Dominus natura mutatus [The bread which the Lord gave, changed in nature.] And I expounded natura not for the substance: “as,” quod I, “the nature of an herb is not the substance of it, so the bread changed in nature is not to be taken for changed in substance; for now it is ordained, not for the food of the body simply, but rather for the food of the soul.” And here I brought forth Gelasius, who he said was a pope. “Yea, marry,” quod I; “but his faith is my faith,” quod I, “for the sacrament, if you would receive it.”
From this talk we went to talk whether accidentia were res, or no. “If they be properly res ,” quod I, “then be they substance; and if they be substance, in that we must have terrestrem rem, ‘an earthly substance,’ in the sacrament, as Irenaeus saith; then must we not deny bread,” quod I.
But he said that color was the earthly thing, and called it “an accidental substance:” and so hereabouts we had much babbling to none effect.
I omit the talk we had of my lord of Canterbury, of Peter Martyr’s book, of his letter laid to my charge when I was condemned, with other talk more of the church, whether Dic ecclesiae, etc. [Tell it unto the church] was spoken of the universal church, or of a particular church, which at the length he granted; of vain-glory, which he willed me to beware of at his coming forth of the Compter; and such like talk.
A little before his departing I said this: “Master doctor,” quod I, “as I said to master Weston the last day, so say I unto you again, that I am the same man in religion against transubstantiation still, which I was when I came into prison; for,” quod I, “hitherto I have seen nothing in any point to infirm me.”
At which words he was something moved, and said that “that was not catholic.” “Yes,” quod I, “and I trust so to prove it even by the testimony of the catholic fathers until concilium Lateranense, and thereabouts.”
IN the afternoon, about five of the clock, cometh master Weston, which sent word to the keeper that he would have been with me by two of the clock. Now when I was come down out of my prison-chamber unto him, he very gently saluted me, desired the company every man to depart; and so sat down, and I beside him. And after that he had thanked me for my writing unto him, he pulled out of his bosom the same writing which I had sent him. The writing is this that followeth: CERTAIN REASONS AGAINST TRANSUBSTANTIATION, GATHERED BY JOHN BRADFORD, AND GIVEN TO DOCTOR WESTON AND OTHERS. ‘1. “THAT which is former,” saith Tertullian, “is true: that which is later is false. “ But the doctrine of transubstantiation is a late doctrine; for it was not defined generally afore the council of Lateran, about 1215 years after Christ’s coming, under pope Innocentius, the third of that name: “for before that time it was free for all men to believe it, or not believe it, as the bishop of Duresme doth witness in his book of the presence of Christ in his supper lately put forth. Ergo the doctrine of transubstantiation is false. ‘2. That the words of Christ’s supper be figurative, the circumstances of the scripture, the analogy or proportion of the sacraments, and the sentences of all the holy fathers, which were and did write for the space of one thousand years after Christ’s ascension, do teach. Whereupon it followeth that there is no transubstantiation. ‘3. That the Lord gave to his disciples bread, and called it his “body,” the very scriptures do witness. For he gave that, and called it his “body,” which he took in his hands, whereon he gave thanks, which also he brake, and gave to his disciples; that is to say, bread: as the fathers Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Epiphanius, Augustine, and all the residue which are of antiquity, do affirm. But inasmuch as the substance of bread and wine is another thing than the substance of the body and blood of Christ, it plainly appeareth that there is no transubstantiation. ‘4. The bread is no more transubstantiate than the wine: but that the wine is not transubstantiate, St. Matthew and St. Mark do teach us; for they witness that Christ said that he would “drink no more of the fruit of the vine;” which was not blood, but wine: and therefore it followeth that there is no transubstantiation. Chrysostom upon Matthew, and St Cyprian, do confirm this reason. ‘5. As the bread in the Lord’s supper is Christ’s natural body, so is it his mystical body; for the same Spirit that spake of it, “This is my body,” did say also, “For we many are one bread, one body,” etc. But now it is not the mystical body by transubstantiation: and therefore it is not his natural body by transubstantiation. ‘6. The words spoken over the cup in St. Luke and St. Paul are not so mighty and effectual as to transubstantiate it; for then it, or that which is in it, should be transubstantiate into the new Testament. Therefore the words spoken over the bread are not so mighty as to make transubstantiation. ‘7. All that doctrine which agreeth with those churches which be apostolic mother churches, or original churches, is to be counted for truth, in that it holdeth that which these churches received of the apostles, the apostles of Christ, Christ of God. But it is manifest that the doctrine taught at this present of the church of Rome, concerning transubstantiation, doth not agree with the apostolic and mother churches in Greece, of Corinthus, of Philippos, Colossia, Thessalonica, Ephesus, which never taught transubstantiation: yea, it agreeth not with the doctrine of the church of Rome taught in time past; for Gelasius the pope, setting forth the doctrine which that see did then hold, doth manifestly confute the error of transubstantiation, and reproveth them of sacrilege, which divide the mystery, and keep from the laity the cup. Therefore the doctrine of transubstantiation agreeth not with the truth.’
This is the writing which Weston pulled out of his bosom; and before he began to read it, he showed me that he asked of my conversation at Cambridge sithen his last being with me. “And,” quod he, “master Bradford, because you are a man not given to the glory of this world, I will speak it before your face: your life I have learned was such there always, as all men, even the greatest enemies you have, cannot but praise you and it; and therefore I love you,” quod he, “much better than ever I did. Now,” quod he, “I will read over your arguments, and so we will confer them.
Such they are, that a man may well perceive you stand of conscience; and therefore I am glad, and the more ready to pity you.”
So he began to read the first, and there began to tell how that, “though the word transubstantiation began but lately, yet the thing,” quod he, “always was and hath been sithen Christ’s institution.”
And I told him that “I did not contend or hang upon the word only, but upon the thing, which,” quod I, “is as new as the word.”
Then went he to the second, and there brought out St. Augustine, how that if an evil man, going to the devil, did make his will, “his son and heir would not say his father did lie in it, “ or speak tropically: “much more Christ,” quod he, “going to God, did never lie, nor use any figurative speech in his last will and testament. Do you not remember this place of St Augustine?” quod he. “Yes, sir,” quod I; “but I remember not that St Augustine hath those words tropice or figurative, that is, ‘figuratively spoken, ‘ as you rehearse; for a man may speak a thing figuratively and lie not, as Christ did in his last supper.
After this he went to the third, and brought forth Cyprian, how that the nature of the bread is turned into flesh. Here saith he, that my lord of Canterbury “expoundeth ‘nature’ for ‘quality,’ by Gelasius; the which interpretation serveth for the answer of your third argument, that Christ called bread his body; that is, the quality, form, and appearance of bread.
And further,” quod he, “the scripture is wont to call things as they aver, by the same names which they had before, as Simon the leper, not which was so presently, but because he had been so.” “Sir,” quod I, “Cyprian wrote before Gelasius: therefore Cyprian must not expound Gelasius, but Gelasius Cyprian: and so they both teach that bread remaineth still. As for things having still the names they had, maketh nothing to answer this, except you could shew that this now were not bread, as easily as a man might have known and seen then Simon to have been healed and clean from his leprosy. ” After this he went to the fourth, of the cup, the which he did not fully read, but digressed into a long talk of Cyprian’s epistles De Aquariis; also of St. Augustine expounding the breaking of bread by Christ to his two disciples going to Emmaus, to be the sacrament, with such other talk to no certain purpose: and therefore I prayed him, that inasmuch as I had written to him the reasons that stablished my faith against transubstantiation, so he would do the like to me, that is, answer mine by writing, and show me more reasons in writing to confirm transubstantiation: which he promised me to do, and said that he would send or bring it to me again within three days.
And so when he had overly read my arguments, and here and there spake little to the purpose for avoiding of them, (and therefore I eftsoons prayed him to give me in writing his answers;) he began to tell me how and what he had done for Grimbold, and how that I needed not to fear any reproach or slander I should sustain, belike meaning to have me secretly to have come to them, as Grimbold did; for he subscribed.
And therefore I spake on this sort unto him: “Master dean,” quod I, “I would gladly that you should not conceive of me that I pass of shame of men simply in this matter: I rather would have you to think of me as the very truth is, that hitherto, as I have not seen nor heard any thing to infirm my faith against transubstantiation, so I am no less settled in it than I was at my first coming hither. I love,” quod I, “to be plain with you and to tell you at the first that you shall find at the last.” “In good faith, master Bradford,” quod he, “I love you the better for your plainness: and do not think otherwise of me,” quod he, “but that you shall find me plain in all my talk with you.”
Here he began to ask me of my imprisonment and condemnation. So I began and told him how I had been handled; whereat he seemed to wonder: yea, in plain words he said I had been handled otherwise than I had given cause; and so showed me how that my lord of Bath reported that I had deserved a benefit at the queen’s hand, and at all the council’s. In this kind of talk we spent an hour almost; and so as one weary I did arise up; and he called in the keeper, and before him bade me be of good comfort, and to be out of all peril of death. “Marry, sir,” quoth the keeper, “but it is in every man’s mouth, that he shall die to-morrow.” Whereat he seemed something half amazed, and said he would go before evensong before the queen, and speak to her on my behalf: and I think the queen had almost supped at that present, for it was past six of the clock.
Before the keeper, I told him again that still I was the same man I was at the first; and till I should see matter to touch conscience to the contrary, must needs so continue.
The keeper desired me to hearken to master doctor’s counsel, and prayed master doctor to be good unto me: and so after we had drunk together, master doctor with most gentle words took his leave for three days.
Now when he was gone, the keeper told me how that master doctor spake openly how that he saw no cause why they should burn me: which sentence, for the ambiguity of the meaning, made me sorry, lest I had behaved myself in anything, wherein he gathered any conformableness to them in their doctrine; which God knoweth I never as yet did so.
ANOTHER TALK OR CONFERENCE BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND DR. WESTON FC297 UPON the fifth day of April came master doctor Weston to the Compter, about two of the clock in the afternoon, who excused himself for being so long absent; partly by sickness, partly for that doctor Pendleton told him that he would come unto me; “and partly for that,” quoth he, “I withstood certain monks, which would have come again into Westminster.” After which talk he told me how that the pope was dead: and then he told me how he had spoken to the queen for me, and how that death was not near unto me. Last of all he excused himself for not answering mine arguments against transubstantiation; “because my coming to-day,” quoth he, “was more by fortune, than of purpose.” “I would gladly,” quoth I, omitting all other talk, “have seen an answer to my arguments.” “Why,” quoth he, “you have remembered something what I spake to you, when I was last with you?” “No, sir,” quoth I, “I never called them in manner to mind sithen that time, as well because I hoped you would have written them, as also for that they seemed not to be so material.” “In good faith,” quoth he, “I cannot see any other or better way for you, than for to submit yourself to the judgment of the church.” “Marry, so I will, sir,” quoth I, “if so be by the church you understand Christ’s church.” “Lo,” quoth he, “you take upon you to judge the church.” “No, sir,” quoth I, “that do I not: in taking upon me to discern, I do not judge the church.” “Yes, that you do,” quoth he, “and make it invisible.” “I do neither,” quoth I. “Why,” saith he, “who can see your church?” “Those, sir,” quoth I, “that have spiritual eyes, wherewith they might have discerned Christ’s visible conversation here upon earth.” “Nay,” quoth he, “Christ’s church hath three tokens, that all men may look well upon; namely unity, antiquity, and consent.” “These three,” quoth I, “may be as well in evil as in good; as well in sin as in virtue; as well in the devil’s church, as in God’s church: as for ensample,” quoth I, “idolatry among the Israelites had all those three.
Chrysostom telleth plainly, as you well know,” said I, “that the church is well known tantummodo per scripturas,” alonely by the scriptures.’” “In good faith,” quoth he, “you make your church invisible, when you will have it ‘known alonely by the scriptures.’” “No, sir,” quoth I, “the scriptures do plainly set forth to us the church, that all men may well enough thereby know her, if they list to look.” “The church,” quoth he, “is like a tower or ‘town upon a hill,’ that all men may see.” “True, sir,” quoth I, “all men that be not blind. Visible enough is the church; but men’s blindness is great. Impute not therefore to the church that which is to be imputed to men’s blindness.” “Where,” quoth he, “was your church forty years ago? Or where is it now, except in a corner of Germany?” “Forsooth, sir,” quoth I, “the church of God is dispersed, and not tied to this or that place, but to the word of God; so that where it is, there is God’s church, if it be truly taught.” “Lo,” quoth he, “is not this to make the church invisible? Point me out a realm a hundred years past, which maintained your doctrine.” “Sir,” quoth I, “if you will, or would well mark the state of the church before Christ’s coming with it now, (as St Paul and Peter willeth us,) I think you would not look for such shews of the church to be made, as to point it out by realms. You know,” quoth I, “that in Elias’ time, both in Israel and elsewhere, God’s church was not pointable; and therefore cried he out that he was left alone.” “No, marry,” quoth he, “did not God say that there was ‘seven thousand which had not bowed their knees to Baal?’ Lo, saith he, ‘seven thousand.’
Shew me seven thousand a hundred years ago of your religion.” “Sir,” quoth I, “these seven thousand were not known to men; for then Elias would not have said that he had been before left alone. And this is plain enough by that which the text hath, namely, that God saith, Reliqui mihi , ‘I have reserved to me seven thousand.’ Mark that it saith, God had reserved to himself, to his own knowledge; as I doubt not but the hundred years ago God had his seven thousand in his proper places, though men knew not thereof.” “Well, master Bradford,” saith he, “I will not make your case worse than for transubstantiation, although I know that we agree not in other matters.
And I pray you,” quoth he, “make you it yourself not worse. If I can do you good, I will: hurt you I will not. I am no prince, and therefore I cannot promise life, except you will submit yourself to the definition of the church.” “Sir,” quoth I, “so that you will define me your church, that under it you bring not in a false church, you shall not see but that we shall soon be at a point.” “In good faith, master Bradford,” quoth he, “I see no good will be done; and therefore I will wish you as much good as I can, and hereafter I will perchance come or send to you again.” And so he sent for master Weal, and departed.
Now after his departing cometh the keeper, master Clayden, and Stephen Beiche; and they were very hot with me, and spake unto me in such sort that I should not look but to have them utter enemies unto me, notwithstanding the friendship they both have hitherto pretended.
God be with us; and what matter is it who be against us?
AMONG divers which came to master Bradford in prison, some to dispute and confer, some to give counsel, some to take comfort, and some to visit him, there was a certain gentlewoman’s servant, which gentlewoman had been cruelly afflicted and miserably handled by her father and mother and all her kindred, in her father’s house, for not coming to the mass, and like at length to have been pursued to death, had not the Lord delivered her out of her father’s house, being put from all that ever she had. This gentlewoman’s servant therefore, being sent to master Bradford with recommendations, had this talk with him, which I thought here not to overslip:
A COLLOQUY BETWEEN MASTER BRADFORD AND A GENTLEWOMAN’S SERVANT, BEING SENT TO VISIT HIM IN PRISON. FC302 THIS servant or messenger of the foresaid gentlewoman, coming to master Bradford, and taking him by the hand, said, “God be thanked for you: how do you?”
Servant. “Sir, I have never seen you so strong and healthsome of body, as methink you be now; God be thanked for it.” “Why,” quoth he, “I have given over all care and study; and only do I covet to be talking with him, whom I have always studied to be withal.”
Bradford. “Well, let all that be of Christ’s flock arm themselves to suffer: for I think verily, God will not have one of his to escape untouched, if he love him; let them seek what means or ways they can.”
Servant. “Well, sir, there goeth a talk of a friar that should preach before the king, and should tell him, that he should be guilty of the innocent blood that hath been shed of late. ” “Verily,” quoth Bradford, “I had a book within these two days of his writing, and therein he saith that it is not meet nor convenient that the heretics should live; and therefore I have marvel how that talk should rise, for I have heard of it also: and I have also talked with this friar (he is named friar Fons) and with divers other; and I praise God they have confirmed me; for they have nothing to say but that which is most vain.”
Bradford. “How doth he? how doth he?”
Bradford. “I am very glad thereof; for indeed my lord chancellor did cast him in my teeth: but, as David saith, ‘God hath disappointed him.’” Servant. “Forsooth, God’s name be praised, he is very strong.”
Bradford. “And, I trust, so are we. What else? Our quarrel is most just: therefore let us not be affeared.”
Servant. “My mistress hath her recommended unto you.”
Bradford. “How doth she?”
Bradford. “I pray you tell her, I read this day a goodly history, written by Basilius Magnus, of a virtuous woman which was a widow, and was named Julitta. She had great lands and many children; and nigh her dwelled a cormorant, which for her virtuousness and godly living had great indignation at her; and of very malice he took away her lands, so that she was constrained to go to the law with him: and in conclusion the matter came to the trial before the judge, who demanded of this tyrant, why he wrongfully withheld these lands from this woman? He made answer and said, he might do so: ‘for,’ saith he, ‘this woman is disobedient to the king’s proceedings; for she will in no wise worship his gods, nor offer sacrifice unto them.’ Then the judge, hearing that, said unto her: ‘Woman, if this be true, thou art not only like to lose thy land, but also thy life, unless that thou worship our gods, and do sacrifice unto them.’ This godly woman, hearing that, stept forth to the judge, and said: ‘Is there no remedy but either to worship your false gods, or else to lose my lands and life? Then farewell suit, farewell lands, farewell children, farewell friends, yea, and farewell life too; and, in respect of the true honor of the everliving God, farewell all.’ And with that saying did the judge commit her to prison; and afterward she suffered most cruel death. And being brought to the place of execution, she exhorted all women to be strong and constant: ‘For,’ saith she, ‘ye were redeemed with as dear a price as men: for although ye were made of the rib of the man, yet be you also of his flesh; so that also, in the case and trial of your faith towards God, ye ought to be as strong.’ And thus died she constantly, not fearing death. I pray you tell your mistress of this history.”
Bradford. “We never gave her other counsel but the truth; and in witness thereof we have and will seal it with our bloods: for I thought this night that I had been sent for, because at an eleven of the clock there was such rapping at the door.”
Then answered a maid, and said, “Why, then I perceive you were afraid.”
Bradford. “Ye shall hear how fearful I was; for I considered that I had not slept, and I thought to take a nap before I went: and after I was asleep, these men came into the next chamber, and sang, as it was told me; and yet, for all my fearfulness, I heard them not: therefore belike I was not afraid, that slept so fast.”
Servant. “Do you lack any thing toward your necessity?”
Bradford. “Nothing but your prayers; and I trust I have them, and you mine.”
Bradford. “Yea, he brought me a letter from a friar, and I am writing an answer.”
Bradford. “And with you also, and bless you.” “Amen,” said we; and gave him thanks, and departed.
Thus still in prison continued Bradford, until the month of July, in such labors and sufferings as he before always had sustained in prison. But when the time of his determined death was come, he was suddenly conveyed out of the Compter, where he was prisoner, in the night season to Newgate, as before is declared: and from thence he was carried the next morning to Smithfield, where he, constantly abiding in the same truth of God which before he had confessed, earnestly exhorting the people to repent and to return to Christ, and sweetly comforting the godly young springal of nineteen or twenty years old, which was burned with him, cheerfully he ended his painful life, to live with Christ.