Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 219. THE SCHISM THAT AROSE IN SCOTLAND FOR THE PATER-NOSTER

219. THE SCHISM THAT AROSE IN SCOTLAND FOR THE PATER-NOSTER

            After that Richard Marshall, doctor of divinity, and prior of the Black Friars at Newcastle in England, had declared in his preaching at St. Andrews in Scotland, that the Lord's Prayer (commonly called the Pater-noster) should be done only to God, and not to saints, neither to any other creature; the doctors of the university of St. Andrews, together with the Grey Friars, who had long ago taught the people to pray the Pater-noster to saints, had great indignation that their old doctrine should be repugned, and stirred up a Grey Friar, called Friar Tottis, to preach again to the people, that they should and might pray the Pater-noster to saints; who, finding no part of the Scripture to found his purpose upon, yet came to the pulpit the first of November, being the feast of All-hallows, A.D. 1551, and took the text of the gospel for that day read in their mass, written in Matthew v., containing these words: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for to them pertaineth the kingdom of heaven."

            This feeble foundation being laid, the friar began to reason most impertinently, that the Lord's Prayer might be offered to saints, because every petition thereof appertaineth to them. "For if we meet an old man in the street," said he, "we will sayto him, 'Good-day, father!' and therefore much more may we call the saints our fathers; and because we grant also that they be in heaven, we may say to every one of them, Our Father which art in heaven: further, God hath made their names holy, and therefore ought we, as followers of God, to hold their names holy; and so we may say to any of the saints, Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. And for the same cause," said the friar, "as they are in the kingdom of heaven, so that kingdom is theirs by possession; and so, praying for the kingdom of heaven, we may say to them, and every one of them, Thy kingdom come. And except their will had been the very will of God, they had never come to that kingdom. And therefore, seeing their will is God's will, we may say with every one of them, Thy will be done."

            But when the friar came to the fourth petition, touching our daily bread, he began to be astonished and ashamed, so that he did sweat abundantly, partly because his sophistry began to fail him, (not finding such a colour for that part, as for the other which went before,) and partly because he spake against his own knowledge and conscience: and so he was compelled to confess that it was not in the saints' power to give us our daily bread, but that they should pray to God for us, "that we," said he, "may obtain our daily bread by their intercession:" and so glossed he the rest to the end. Not standing yet content with this detestable doctrine, he affirmed, most blasphemously, that St. Paul's napkin, and St. Peter's shadow, did miracles, and that the virtue of Elijah's cloak divided the waters; attributing nothing to the power of God: with many other errors of the papists, horrible to be heard.

            Upon this followed, incontinent, a dangerous schism in the church of Scotland: for not only the clergy, but the whole people were divided among themselves, one defending the truth, and another the papistry; in such sort that there rose a proverb, "To whom say you your Pater-noster?" And although the papists had the upper hand as then, whose words were almost holden for law, (so great was the blindness of that age,) yet God so inspired the hearts of the common people, that so many as could get the understanding of the bare words of the Lord's Prayer in English, (which was then said in Latin,) utterly detested that opinion, holding that it should in no wise be said to saints: so that the craftsmen and their servants in their booths, when the friar came, exploded him with shame enough, crying, "Friar Pater-noster!" "Friar Pater-noster!" who at the last being convicted in his own conscience, and ashamed of his former sermon, was compelled to leave the town of St. Andrews.

            In the mean time of this bruit, there were two pasquils set on the abbey church, the one in Latin, bearing these words:

 

"Doctores nostri de collegio
Concludunt idem cum Lucifero,
Quod sancti sunt similes altissimo;
Et se tuuntur gravatorio
De mandato officialis,
Ad instantiam fiscalis
Gaw et Harvey, non varii
In prĉmissis connotarii."

 

The other in English, bearing these words:

 

"Doctors of Theology, of fourscore of years,
And old jolly Lupoys, the bald Grey Friars;
They would be called Rabbi and Magister noster!
And wot not to whom they say their Pater-noster! "

            Shortly, the Christians were so hotly offended, and the papists on the other side so proud and wilful, that necessary it was, to eschew greater inconveniences, that the clergy, at least, should be assembled to dispute and conclude the whole matter, that the lay people might be put out of doubt. Which being done, and the university agreed, whosoever had been present might have heard much subtle sophistry; for some of the popish doctors affirmed that it should be said to God formally, and to saints materially. Others, ultimately, and not ultimately. Others said it should be said to God chiefly, and to saints less chiefly. Others, that it should be said to God primarily, and to saints secondarily. Others, that it should be said to God taking it strictly, and to saints taking it largely. Which vain distinctions being heard and considered by the people, they that were simple remained in greater doubtfulness than they were in before; so that a well-aged man, and a servant to the sub-prior of St. Andrews, called the sub-prior's Thome, being demanded to whom he said his Pater-noster, answered, "To God only." Then they asked again, "What should be said to the saints .?" He answered, "Give them Aves and Creeds enough in the devil's name, for that may suffice them well enough, albeit they do spoil God of his right." Others, making their vaunts of the doctors, said, that because Christ (who made the Pater-noster) never came into the isle of Britain, and so understood not the English tongue, therefore it was that the doctors concluded it should be said in Latin.

            This perturbation and open slander yet depending, it was thought good to call a provincial council to decide the matter; which being assembled at Edinburgh, the papists, being destitute of reason, defended their parts with lies, alleging that the university of Paris had concluded, that the Lord's Prayer should be said to saints. But, because that could not be proved, and that they could not prevail by reason, they used their will in place of reason, and sometimes despiteful and injurious talk: as Friar Scot, being asked of one to whom he should say the Pater-noster, he answered, saying, "Say it to the devil, knave." So the council, perceiving they could profit nothing by reasoning, were compelled to pass to voting.

            But then, incontinent, they that were called churchmen were found divided and repugnant among themselves: for some bishops, with the doctors and friars, consented that the Pater-noster should be said to saints; but the bishops of St. Andrews, Caithness and Athens, with other learned men, refused utterly to subscribe to the same. Finally, with consent of both the parties, commission was given by the holy church to Dean John Winryme, then sub-prior of St. Andrews, to declare to the people how, and after what manner, they should pray the Lord's Prayer: who, accepting of the commission, declared that it should be said to God; with some other restrictions, which are not necessary to be put in memory. And so, by little and little, the bruit and tumult ceased.

 

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