292. JOHN BRADFORD.
Illustration -- Portrait of John Bradford
As touching the first country and education of John Bradford, he was born at Manchester in Lancashire. His parents did bring him up in learning from his infancy, until he attained such knowledge in the Latin tongue, and skill in writing, that he was able to gain his own living in some honest condition. Then he became servant to Sir John Harrington, knight, who in the great affairs of King Henry the Eighth, and King Edward the Sixth, which he had in hand when he was treasurer of the king's camps and buildings, at divers times, in Boulogne, had such experience of Bradford's activity in writing, his expertness in the art of auditors, as also of his faithful trustiness, that not only in those affairs, but in many other of his private business he trusted Bradford in such sort, that above all others he used his faithful service.
Thus continued Bradford certain years in a right honest and good trade of life, after the course of this world, like to come forward, (as they say,) if his mind could have so liked, or had been given to the world as many other be. But the Lord, who had elected him unto a better function, and preordained him to preach the gospel of Christ in that hour of grace which, in his secret counsel, he had appointed, called this his chosen child to the understanding and partaking of the same gospel of life: in which call he was so truly taught, that forthwith this effectual call was perceived by the fruits. For then Bradford did forsake his worldly affairs and forwardness in worldly wealth, and, after the just account given to his master of all his doings, he departed from him; and with marvellous favour to further the kingdom of God by the ministry of his holy word, he gave himself wholly to the study of the Holy Scriptures. The which his purpose to accomplish the better, he departed from the Temple at London, where the temporal law is studied, and went to the university of Cambridge, to learn by God's law how to further the building of the Lord's temple. In Cambridge his diligence in study, his profiting in knowledge and godly conversation, so pleased all men, that within one whole year after that he had been there, the university did give him the degree of a master of arts.
Immediately after, the master and fellows of Pembroke Hall did give him a fellowship in their college with them: yea, that man of God, Martin Bucer, so liked him, that he had him not only most dear unto him, but also oftentimes exhorted him to bestow his talent in preaching. Unto which Bradford answered always, that he was unable to serve in that office through want of learning. To the which Bucer was wont to reply, saying, "If thou have not fine manchet bread, yet give the poor people barley bread, or whatsoever else the Lord hath committed unto thee." And while Bradford was thus persuaded to enter into the ministry, Dr. Ridley, that worthy bishop of London, and glorious martyr of Christ, according to the order that then was in the Church of England, called him to take the degree of a deacon, which order, because it was not without some such abuse, as to the which Bradford would not consent, the bishop yet, perceiving that Bradford was willing to enter into the ministry, was content to order him deacon without any abuse, even as he desired. This being done, he obtained for him a licence to preach, and did give him a prebend in his cathedral church of St. Paul's.
In this preaching office by the space of three years, how faithfully Bradford walked, how diligently he laboured, many parts of England can testify. Sharply he opened and reproved sin, sweetly he preached Christ crucified, pithily he impugned heresies and errors, earnestly he persuaded to godly life. After the death of blessed young King Edward the Sixth, when Queen Mary had gotten the crown, still continued Bradford diligent in preaching, until he was unjustly deprived both of his office and liberty by the queen and her council. To the doing whereof (because they had no just cause) they took occasion to do this injury, for such an act as among Turks and infidels would have been with thankfulness rewarded, and with great favour accepted, as indeed it did no less deserve. The fact was this: the thirteenth of August, in the first year of the reign of Queen Mary, Master Bourn, then bishop of Bath, made a seditious sermon at Paul's Cross in London, as partly is declared before, to set popery abroad, in such sort that it moved the people to no small indignation, being almost ready to pull him out of the pulpit. Neither could the reverence of the place, nor the presence of Bishop Bonner, who then was his master, nor yet the commandment of the mayor of London, whom the people ought to have obeyed, stay their rage; but the more they spake, the more the people were incensed. At length Bourn, seeing the people in such a mood, and himself in such peril, (whereof he was sufficiently warned by the hurling of a drawn dagger at him, as he stood in the pulpit,) and that he was put from ending his sermon, fearing lest (against his will) he should there end his wretched life, desired Bradford, who stood in the pulpit behind him, to come forth, and to stand in his place and speak to the people. Good Bradford, at his request, was content, and there spake to the people of godly and quiet obedience: whom as soon as the people saw to begin to speak unto them, so glad they were to hear him, that they cried with a great shout,--"Bradford, Bradford; God save thy life, Bradford!"-- well declaring not only what affection they bare unto him, but also what regard they gave unto his words. For after that he had entered a little to preach unto them, and to exhort them to quiet and patience, eftsoons all the raging ceased, and in the end quietly departed each man to his house. Yet in the mean season (for it was a long time before that so a great multitude could all depart) Bourn thought (and truly) himself not yet full sure of his life till he were safely housed, notwithstanding that the mayor and sheriffs of London were there at hand to help them. Wherefore he desired Bradford not to depart from him till he were in safety: which Bradford, according to his promise, performed. For while the mayor and sheriffs did lead Bourn to the schoolmaster's house, which is next to the pulpit, Bradford went at his back, shadowing him from the people with his gown, and so to set him safe.
Let the reader now consider the peril of Bourn, the charity of Bradford, and the headiness of the multitude, and also the grudging minds of certain, which yet still there remained behind; grieved not a little in their minds, to see that so good a man should save the life of such a popish priest, so impudently and openly railing against King Edward; among whom one gentleman said these words: "Ah Bradford, Bradford, thou savest him that will help to burn thee. I give thee his life. If it were not for thee, I would (I assure thee) run him through with my sword." Thus Bourn for that time, through Bradford's means, escaped bodily death: but God hath his judgment to be showed in the time appointed.
The same Sunday in the afternoon, Bradford preached at the Bow Church in Cheapside, and reproved the people sharply for their seditious misdemeanour. After this he did abide still in London, with an innocent conscience, to try what should become of his just doing. Within three days after, he was sent for to the Tower of London, where the queen then was, to appear there before the council. There was he charged with this act of saving of Bourn, which act they there called seditious, and also objected against him for preaching, and so by them he was committed first to the Tower, then unto other prisons, out of which neither his innocency, godliness, nor charitable dealing could purchase to him liberty of body, till by death (which he suffered for Christ's cause) he obtained the heavenly liberty, of which neither pope nor papist shall ever deprive him.
From the Tower he came to the King's Bench in Southwark: and after his condemnation, he was sent to the Compter in the Poultry in London: in which two places, for the time he did remain prisoner, he preached twice a day continually, unless sickness hindered him: where also the sacrament was often ministered, and through his means (the keepers so well did bear with him) such resort of good folks was daily to his lecture, and to the ministration of the sacrament, that commonly his chamber was well nigh filled therewith. Preaching, reading, and praying was all his whole life. He did not eat above one meal a day; which was but very little when he took it; and his continual study was upon his knees. In the midst of dinner he used often to muse with himself, having his hat overhis eyes, from whence came commonly plenty of tears dropping on his trencher. Very gentle be was to man and child, and in so good credit with his keeper, that at his desire in an evening (being prisoner in the King's Bench in Southwark) he had licence, upon his promise to return again that night, to go into London without any keeper to visit one that was sick, lying by the Still-yard. Neither did he fail his promise, but returned to his prison again, rather preventing his hour, than breaking his fidelity: so constant was he in word and in deed.
Of personage he was somewhat tall and slender, spare of body, of a faint sanguine colour, with an auburn beard. He slept not commonly above four hours in the night; and in his bed, till sleep came, his book went not out of his hand. His chief recreation was in no gaming or other pastime, but only in honest company, and comely talk, wherein be would spend a little time after dinner at the board; and so to prayer and his book again. He counted that hour not well spent, wherein he did not some good, either with his pen, study, or in exhorting of others, &c. He was no niggard of his purse, but would liberally participate that he had to his fellow prisoners. And commonly once a week he visited the thieves, pick-purses, and such others that were with him in prison, where he lay on the other side, unto whom he would give godly exhortation, to learn the amendment of their lives by their troubles; and, after that so done, distribute among them some portion of money to their comfort.
By the way, this I thought not to conceal. While he was in the King's Bench, and Master Saunders in the Marshalsea, both prisoners, on the backside of those two prisons they met many times, and conferred together when they would: so mercifully did the Lord work for them, even in the midst of their troubles; and the said Bradford was so trusted with his keeper, and had such liberty in the backside, that there was no day but that he might have easily escaped away, if he would; but that the Lord had another work to do for him. In the summer time, while he was in the said King's Bench, he had liberty of his keeper to ride into Oxfordshire, to a merchant's house of his acquaintance, and horse and all things prepared for him for that journey, and the party in readiness that should ride with him: but God prevented him by sickness that he went not at all.
One of his old friends and acquaintance came unto him while he was prisoner, and asked him, if he sued to get him out, what then he would do, or whither he would go? Unto whom he made answer, as not caring whether he went out or no: but if he did, he said he would marry, and abide still in England secretly, teaching the people as the time would suffer him, and occupy himself that way. He was had in so great reverence and admiration with all good men, that a multitude, which never knew him but by fame, greatly lamented his death: yea, and a number also of the papists themselves wished heartily his life. There were few days in which he was thought not to spend some tears before he went to bed, neither was there ever any prisoner with him but by his company he greatly profited; as all they will yet witness, and have confessed of him no less, to the glory of God, whose society he frequented; as among many, one special thing I thought to note, which is this:
Bishop Ferrar, being in the King's Bench prisoner, as before you have heard, was travailed withal of the papists in the end of Lent, to receive the sacrament at Easter in one kind, who, after much persuading, yielded to them, and promised so to do. Then (so it happened by God's providence) the Easter-even, the day before he should have done it, was Bradford brought to the King's Bench, prisoner; where the Lord making him his instrument, Bradford only was the mean that the said Bishop Ferrar revoked his promise and word, and would never after yield to be spotted with that papistical pitch; so effectually the Lord wrought by this worthy servant of his. Such an instrument was he in God's church, that few or none there were that knew him, but esteemed him as a precious jewel and God's true messenger.
The night before Bradford was had to Newgate, which was the Saturday night, he was sore troubled divers times in his sleep by dreams, how the chain for his burning was brought to the Compter gate, and how the next day, being Sunday, he should be had to Newgate, and on the Monday after burned in Smithfield; as indeed it came to pass accordingly, which hereafter shall be showed. Now he, being vexed so oftentimes in this sort with these dreams, about three of the clock in the morning he waked him that lay with him, and told him his unquiet sleep, and what he was troubled withal. Then, after a little talk, Master Bradford rose out of the bed, and gave himself to his old exercise of reading and prayer, as always he had used before; and at dinner, according to his accustomed manner, he did eat his meat, and was very merry, nobody being with him from morning to night, but he that lay with him, with whom he had many times on that day communication of death, of the kingdom of heaven, and of the ripeness of sin in that time.
In the afternoon they two walking together in the keeper's chamber, suddenly the keeper's wife came up, as one half amazed, and seeming much troubled, being almost windless, said, "O Master Bradford, I come to bring you heavy news." "What is that?" said he. "Marry," quoth she, "tomorrow you must be burned; and your chain is now a buying, and soon you must go to Newgate." With that Master Bradford put off his cap, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, said, "I thank God for it; I have looked for the same a long time, and therefore it cometh not now to me suddenly, but as a thing waited for every day and hour; the Lord make me worthy thereof!" And so, thanking her for her gentleness, he departed up into his chamber, and called his friend with him, who when he came thither, he went secretly himself alone a long time, and prayed: which done, he came again to him that was in his chamber, and took him divers writings and papers, and showed him his mind in those things what he would have done, and after they had spent the afternoon till night in many and sundry such things, at last came to him half a dozen of his friends more, with whom all the evening he spent the time in prayer, and other good exercise, so wonderfully, that it was marvellous to hear and see his doings.
A little before he went out of the Compter, he made a notable prayer of his farewell, with such plenty of tears, and abundant spirit of prayer, that it ravished the minds of the hearers. Also when he shifted himself with a clean shirt that was made for his burning, (by one Master Walter Marlar's wife, who was a good nurse unto him, and his very good friend,) he made such a prayer of the wedding-garment, that some of those that were present were in such great admiration, that their eyes were as throughly occupied in looking on him, as their ears gave place to hear his prayer. At his departing out of the chamber, he made likewise a prayer, and gave money to every servant and officer of the house, with exhortation to them to fear and serve God, continually labouring to eschew all manner of evil. That done, he turned him to the wall and prayed vehemently, that his words might not be spoken in vain, but that the Lord would work the same in them effectually, for his Christ's sake. Then being beneath in the court, all the prisoners cried out to him, and bade him farewell, as the rest of the house had done before, with weeping tears.
The time they carried him to Newgate, was about eleven or twelve o'clock in the night, when it was thought none would be stirring abroad: and yet, contrary to their expectation in that behalf, was there in Cheapside and other places, (between the Compter and Newgate,) a great multitude of people that came to see him, which most gently bade him farewell, praying for him with most lamentable and pitiful tears; and he again as gently bade them farewell, praying most heartily for them and their welfare. Now, whether it were a commandment from the queen and her council, or from Bonner and his adherents, or whether it were merely devised of the lord mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London, or no, I cannot tell; but a great noise there was over-night about the city by divers, that Bradford should be burnt the next day in Smithfield, by four of the clock in the morning, before it should be greatly known to any. In which rumour, many heads had divers minds; some thinking the fear of the people to be the cause thereof: others thought nay, that it was rather because the papists judged his death would convert many to the truth, and give a great overthrow to their kingdom. So some thought one thing, and some another, that no just conjecture of the cause could be known that ever I heard yet. But this was certain, the people prevented the device suspected: for the next day, at the said hour of four o'clock in the morning, there was in Smithfield such a multitude of men and women, that many being in admiration thereof, thought it was not possible that they could have warning of his death, being so great number, in so short a time, unless it were by the singular providence of Almighty God.
Well, this took not effect as the people thought; for that morning it was nine o'clock of the day, before Master Bradford was brought into Smithfield; who, in going through Newgate thitherward, spied a friend of his whom he loved, standing on the one side of the way to the keeper's housewards, unto whom he reached his hand over the people, and plucked him to him, and delivered to him from his head his velvet night-cap, and also his handkerchief, with other things besides. And after a little secret talk with him, and each of them parting from other, immediately came to him a brother-in-law of his,called Roger Beswick, who, as soon as he had taken the said Bradford by the hand, one of the sheriffs of London, called Woodrofe, came with his staff, and brake the said Roger's head, that the blood ran about his shoulders; which sight Bradford beholding with grief, bade his brother farewell, willing him to commend him to his mother and the rest of his friends, and to get him to some surgeon betimes: so they, departing, had little or no talk at all together. Then was he led forth to Smithfield with a great company of weaponed men, to conduct him thither, as the like was not seen at any man's burning: for in every corner of Smithfield there were some, besides those that stood about the stake.
Illustration -- Bradford on his way to execution
Bradford then, being come to the place, fell flat to the ground, secretly making his prayers to Almighty God. Then rising again, and putting off his clothes unto his shirt, he went to the stake, and there suffered with a young man of twenty years of age, joyfully and constantly, whose name was John Leaf: touching the order and manner of whose burning, more shall be said (God willing) hereafter. In the mean time we will now show forth the sundry examinations, conflicts, and conferences between him and other his adversaries, during the time of his imprisonment, which was in all two years lacking one month and a half; which examinations here follow to be declared.
It was before a little above declared, that John Bradford, within three days after the sermon of Master Bourn, was by the council committed to the Tower, where he remained from the month of August, A. D. 1553, to the twenty-second day of January, A. D. 1555; upon which day he was called out to examination before Stephen Winchester and other of the commissioners. The effect of which examination and communication which passed between him and them, proceeded in manner as followeth.
After the lord chancellor, and the residue of the queen's council in commission with him, had ended their talk with Master Ferrar, late bishop of St. David's, the under-marshal of the King's Bench was commanded to bring in John Bradford; who, being come into the presence of the council sitting at a table, kneeled down on his knee; but immediately, by the lord chancellor, was bidden to stand up: and so he did.
When he was risen, the lord chancellor earnestly looked upon him, to have, belike, over-faced him: but he gave no place; that is, he ceased not in like manner to look on the lord chancellor still continually, save that once he cast up his eyes to heaven-ward, sighed for God's grace, and so over-faced him.
Then the lord chancellor, as it were amazed, and something troubled, spake thus to him in effect: that of long time he had been imprisoned justly for his seditious behaviour at Paul's Cross, the thirteenth of August, in the year 1553, for his false preaching and arrogance, taking upon him to preach without authority. "But now," quoth he, "the time of mercy is come: and therefore the queen's Highness, minding to offer unto you mercy, hath by us sent for you, to declare and give the same, if so be you will with us return: and if you will do as we have done, you shall find as we have found, Iwarrant you." This was the sum of his words, and in manner the same words which he spake. To these words John Bradford spake (after reverent obeisance made) in this manner:--
"My Lord and Lords all; I confess that I have been long imprisoned, and (with humble reverence be it spoken) unjustly, for that I did nothing seditiously, falsely, or arrogantly, in word or fact, by preaching or otherwise, but rather sought truth, peace, and all godly quietness, as an obedient and faithful subject, both in going about to save the now bishop of Bath, then Master Bourn, the preacher at the Cross, and in preaching for quietness accordingly."
At these words, or rather before he had fully finished, the said lord chancellor something snuffed, and speaking with an admiration, said:-
L. Chan.--"There was a loud lie: for," quoth he, "the fact was seditious; as you my Lord of London can bear witness."
Bonner.--"You say true, my Lord; I saw him with mine own eyes, when he took upon him to rule and lead the people malapertly; thereby declaring that he was the author of the sedition."
Bradford.--"My Lords, notwithstanding my Lord Bishop's seeing and saying, yet the truth I have told, as one day my Lord God Almighty shall reveal to all the world, when we shall all come and appear before him. In the mean season, because I cannot be believed of you, I must and am ready to suffer, as now your sayings be, whatsoever God shall license you to do unto me."
L. Chan.--"I know thou hast a glorious tongue, and goodly shows thou makest: but all is lies thou speakest. And again, I have not forgotten how stubborn thou wast when thou wast before us in the Tower, whereupon thou wast committed to prison concerning religion: I have not forgotten thy behaviour and talk, where-through worthily thou hast been kept in prison, as one that would have done more hurt than I will speak of."
Brad.--"My Lord, as I said I say again, that I stand as before you, so before God; and one day we shall all stand before him: the truth then will he the truth, though now ye will not so take it. Yea, my Lord, I dare say, that my Lord of Bath, Master Bourn, will witness with me, that I sought his safe-guard with the peril of mine own life; I thank God there-for.
Bonner.--"That is not true: for I myself did see thee take upon thee too much."
Brad.--"No, I took nothing upon me undesired, and that of Master Bourn himself, as, if he were here present, I dare say he would affirm. For he desired me both to help him to pacify the people, and also not to leave him till he was in safety. And as for my behaviour in the Tower, and talk before your Honours, if I did or said any thing that did not beseem me, if your Lordships would tell me wherein it was, I should and would shortly make you answer."
L. Chan.--"Well, to leave this matter: how sayest thou now? Wilt thou return again, and do as we have done, and thou shalt receive the queen's mercy and pardon."
Brad.--"My Lord, I desire mercy with God's mercy; but mercy with God's wrath, God keep me from! although (I thank God there-for) my conscience doth not accuse me, that I did speak any thing wherefore I should need to receive the queen's mercy or pardon. For all that ever I did or spake, was both agreeable to God's laws, and the laws of the realm at that present, and did make much to quietness."
L. Chan.--"Well, if thou make this babbling rolling in thy eloquent tongue, and yet being altogether ignorant and vain-glorious, and wilt not receive mercy offered to thee, know for truth that the queen is minded to make a purgation of all such as thou art."
Brad.--"The Lord, before whom I stand as well as before you, knoweth what vain-glory I have sought, and seek in this behalf: his mercy I desire, and also would he glad of the queen's favour, to live as a subject without clog of conscience. But otherwise, the Lord's mercy is better to me than life. And I know to whom I have committed my life, even into his hands which will keep it, so that no man may take it away before it be his pleasure. There are twelve hours in the day, and as long as they last, so long shall no man have power thereon: therefore his good will be done. Life, in his displeasure, is worse than death; and death, with his true favour, is true life."
L. Chan.--"I know well enough, that we shall have glorious talk enough of thee: be sure therefore that as thou hast deceived the people with false and devilish doctrine, so shalt thou receive."
Brad.--"I have not deceived the people, nor taught any other doctrine than, by God's grace, I am, and hope shall be, ready to confirm with my life. And as for the devilishness and falseness in the doctrine, I would be sorry you could so prove it."
Durham.--"Why, tell me, what say you by the ministration of the communion, as now you know it is?"
Brad.--"My Lord, here I must desire of your Lordship and of all your Honours a question, before I dare make you an answer to any interrogatory or question, wherewith you now begin. I have been six times sworn that I shall in no case consent to the practising of any jurisdiction, or any authority on the bishop of Rome's behalf within this realm of England. Now, before God, I humbly pray your Honours to tell me, whether you ask me this question by his authority, or no? If you do, I dare not, nor may answer you any thing in his authority, which you shall demand of me, except I would be forsworn, which God forbid."
Sec. Bourne.--"Hast thou been sworn six times? What office hast thou borne?"
Brad.--"Forsooth I was thrice sworn in Cambridge, when I was admitted master of arts; when I was admitted fellow of Pembroke hall; and when I was there, the visitors came thither, and sware the university. Again, I was sworn when I entered into the ministry; when I had a prebend given me; and when I was sworn to serve the king, a little before his death."
L. Chan.--"Tush, Herod's oaths a man should make no conscience at."
Brad.--"But, my Lord, these were no Herod's oaths, no unlawful oaths, but oaths according to God's word, as you yourself have well affirmed in your book, De Vera Obedientia."
"My Lords," quoth another of the council that stood by the table, (Master Rochester, I ween,) "I never knew wherefore this man was in prison before now: but I see well that it had not been good that this man had been abroad. What the cause was that he was put in prison, I know not; but I now well know that not without a cause he was, and is to be, kept in prison."
Bourne.--"Yea, it was reported this parliament time by the earl of Derby, that he hath done more hurt by letters, and exhorting those that have come to him, in religion, than ever he did when he was abroad by preaching. In his letters he curseth all that teach any false doctrine, (for so he calleth that which is not according to that he taught,) and most heartily exhorted them to whom he writeth to continue still in that they have received by him, and such-like as he is." All which words divers of the council affirmed. Whereunto the said Master Bourne added, saying, "How say you, sir? have you not thus seditiously written and exhorted the people?"
Brad.--"I have not written nor spoken any thing seditiously, neither (I thank God there-for) have I admitted any seditious cogitation, nor I trust ever shall do."
Bourne.--"Yea, but thou hast written letters."
L. Chan.--"Why speakest thou not? Hast thou not written as he saith?"
Brad.--"That I have written, I have written."
Southwell.--"Lord God, what an arrogant and stubborn boy is this, that thus stoutly and dallyingly behaveth himself before the queen's council!"-- Whereat one looked upon another with disdainful countenances.
Brad.--"My Lords and Masters, the Lord God, which is and will be judge to us all, knoweth, that as I am certain I stand now before his Majesty; so, with reverence in his sight, I stand before you, and unto you accordingly in words and gesture I desire to behave myself. If you otherwise take it, I doubt not but God in his time will reveal it. In the mean season I shall suffer with all due obedience your sayings and doings too, I hope."
L. Chan.--"These be gay glorious words of reverence; but, as in all other things, so herein also, thou doest nothing but lie."
Brad.--"Well, I would God, the author of truth, and abhorrer of lies, would pull my tongue out of my head before you all, and show a terrible judgment on me here present, if I have purposed or do purpose to lie before you, whatsoever you shall ask me."
L. Chan." Why then dost thou not answer? Hast thou written such letters as here we objected against thee?"
Brad.--"As I said, my Lord, that I have written, I have written. I stand now before you, which either can lay my letters to my charge or no: if you lay any thing to my charge that I have written, if I deny it, I am then a liar."
L. Chan.--"We shall never have done with thee, I perceive now: be short, be short. Wilt thou have mercy?"
Brad.--"I pray God give me his mercy; and if therewith you will extend yours, I will not refuse it: but, otherwise, I will none."
Here now was much ado, one speaking this, and another that, of his arrogancy, in refusing the queen's pardon, which she so lovingly did offer unto him: whereto Bradford answered thus:
Brad.--"My Lords, if I may live as a quiet subject without clog of conscience, I shall heartily thank you for your pardon; if otherwise I behave myself, then I am in danger of the law. In the mean season I ask no more but the benefit of a subject, till I be convinced of transgression. If I cannot have this, as hitherto I have not had, God's good will be done."
Upon these words my Lord Chancellor began a long process of the false doctrine wherewith the people were deceived in the days of King Edward, and so turned the end of his talk to Bradford, saying, "How sayest thou?"
Brad.--"My Lord, the doctrine taught in King Edward's days was God's pure religion: the which as I then believed, so do I now more believe it than ever I did, and therein I am more confirmed, and ready to declare it by God's grace, even as he will, to the world, than I was when I first came into prison."
Durham.--"What religion mean you in King Edward's days? What year of his reign?"
Brad.--"Forsooth even the same year, my Lord, that the king died, and I was a preacher." Here wrote Secretary Bourne I wot not what.
Now after a little pausing, my lord chancellor beginneth again to declare, that the doctrine taught in King Edward's days was heresy; using for probation and demonstration thereof, no Scripture nor reason, but this: that it ended with treason and rebellion, "so that," quoth he, "the very end were enough to improve that doctrine to be naught."
Brad.--"Ah, my Lord! that you could enter in God's sanctuary, and mark the end of this present doctrine that you now so magnify."
L. Chan.--"What meanest thou by that? I ween we shall have a snatch of rebellion even now."
Brad.--"My Lord, I mean no such end as you would gather: I mean an end which no man seeth, but such as enter into God's sanctuary. If a man look on present things, he will soon deceive himself."
Here now did my Lord Chancellor offer again mercy; and Bradford answered, as before, mercy with God's mercy should be welcome, but otherwise he would none. Whereupon the lord chancellor did ring a little bell, belike to call in somebody: for there were present none in manner, but only those before named, and the bishop of Worcester. Now when one was come in; "It is best," quoth Master Secretary Bourne, "that you give the keeper a charge of this fellow." So was the under-marshal called in.
L. Chan.--"Ye shall take this man to you, and keep him close without conference with any man, but by your knowledge; and suffer him not to write any letters," &c., "for he is of another manner of charge unto you now, than he was before."
And so they departed, Bradford looking as cheerfully as any man could do, declaring thereby even a desire to give his life for confirmation of that he had taught and written.
The effect of the second examination of John Bradford.
After the excommunication of John Rogers, John Bradford was called in, and standing before the lord chancellor and other bishops set with him, the said lord chancellor spake thus in effect:
"Whereas before the twenty-second of January, the said Bradford was called before them, (the said lord chancellor, &c.,) and they offered unto him the queen's pardon, although he had contemned the same, and further said, that he would stiffly and stoutly maintain and defend the erroneous doctrine taught in the days of King Edward the Sixth, yet, in consideration that the queen's Highness was wonderfully merciful, they thought good eftsoons to offer the same mercy again, before it were too late "therefore advise you well," said he, "there is yet space and grace before we so proceed that you be committed to the secular power, as we must do and will do, if you will not follow the example of Master Barlow, and Master Cardmaker;" whom he there commended, adding oratoriously amplifications to move the said Bradford to yield to the religion presently set forth.
After the lord chancellor's long talk, Bradford began on this sort to speak:
Brad.--"My Lord, and my Lords all! as now I stand in your sight before you, so I humbly beseech your Honours to consider, that you sit in the seat of the Lord, who, as David doth witness, is in the congregation of judges, and sitteth in the midst of them judging; and as you would your place to be now of us taken as God's place, so demonstrate yourselves to follow him in your sitting; that is, seek no guiltless blood, nor hunt by questions to bring into the snare, them which are out of the same. At this present I stand before you guilty or guiltless: if guilty, then proceed and give sentence accordingly: if guiltless, then give me the benefit of a subject, which hitherto I could not have."
Here the lord chancellor replied, and said, that the said Bradford began with a true sentence, Deus stetit in synagoga, &c. "But," quoth he, "this and all thy gesture declare but hypocrisy and vainglory." And further he made much ado to purge himself, that he sought not guiltless blood; and so began a long process how that Bradford's fact at Paul's Cross was presumptuous, arrogant, and declared a taking upon him to lead the people, which could not but turn to much disquietness, "in that thou," speaking to Bradford, "wast so refract and stout in religion at that present. For the which, as thou wast then committed to prison, so hitherto thou hast been kept in prison, where thou hast written letters to no little hurt to the queen's people, as by report of the earl of Derby, in the parliament house, was credibly declared." And to this he added, "that the said Bradford did stubbornly behave himself the last time he was before them: and therefore not for any other thing now I demand of thee," quoth he, "but of and for thy doctrine and religion."
Brad.--"My Lord, whereas you accuse me of hypocrisy and vain-glory, I must and will leave it to the Lord's declaration, which one day will open yours and my truth and hearty meanings; in the mean season, I will content myself with the testimony of mine own conscience, which if it yield to hypocrisy, could not but have God to be my foe also; and so both God and man were against me. And as for my fact at Paul's Cross, and behaviour before you at the Tower, I doubt not but God will reveal it to my comfort. For if ever I did thing, which God used to public benefit, I think that my deed was one; and yet, for it, I have been and am kept of long time in prison. And as for letters and religion, I answer, as I did the last time I was before you."
L. Chan.--"There didst thou say stubbornly and malapertly, that thou wouldest manly maintain the erroneous doctrine in King Edward's days."
Brad.--"My Lord, I said the last time I was before you, that I had six times taken an oath, that I should never consent to the practising of any jurisdiction on the bishop of Rome's behalf; and therefore durst I not answer to any thing that should be demanded so, lest I should be forsworn, which God forbid. Howbeit, saving mine oath, I said that I was more confirmed in the doctrine set forth publicly in the days of King Edward, than ever I was before I was put in prison: and so I thought I should be, and think yet still I shall be found more ready to give my life as God will, for the confirmation of the same."
L. Chan.--"I remember well that thou madest much ado about needless matter, as though the oath against the bishop of Rome were so great a matter. So others have done before thee, but yet not in such sort as thou hast done: for thou pretendest a conscience in it, which is nothing else but mere hypocrisy."
Brad.--"My conscience is known to the Lord: and whether I deal herein hypocritically or no, he knoweth. As I said therefore then, my Lord, so I say again now, that for fear lest I should be perjured, I dare not make answer to any thing you shall demand of me, if my answering should consent to the confirming or practising of any jurisdiction for the bishop of Rome here in England."
L. Chan.--"Why didst thou begin to tell that we are dii, and sit in God's place, and now wilt thou not make us an answer?"
Brad.--"My Lord, I said, you would have your place taken of us now as God's place; and therefore I brought forth that piece of Scripture, that ye might the more be admonished to follow God and his ways at this present, who seeth us all, and well perceiveth whether of conscience I pretend this matter of the oath or no."
L. Chan.--"No, all men may well see thine hypocrisy: for if for thine oath's sake thou didst not answer, then wouldest thou not have spoken as thou didst, and have answered me at the first: but now men well perceive, that this is but a starting-hole to hide thyself in, because thou darest not answer, and so wouldest escape; blinding the simple people's eyes, as though of conscience you did all you do."
Brad.--"That which I spake at the first, was not a replication or an answer to that you spake to me: and therefore I needed not to lay for me mine oath. For I thought you would have more weighed what I did speak, than you did: but, when I perceived you did not consider it, but came to ask matter, whereto by answering I should consent to the practising of jurisdiction on the bishop of Rome's behalf here in England, and so be forsworn; then of conscience and simplicity I spake as I do yet again speak, that I dare not for conscience' sake answer you. And therefore I seek no starting-holes, nor go about to blind the people, as God knoweth. For if you of your honours shall tell me, that you do not ask me any thing whereby mine answering should consent to the practising of the bishop of Rome's jurisdiction, ask me wherein you will, and you shall hear that I will answer you as flatly as any ever did that came before you. I am not afraid of death, I thank God: for I look, and have looked for nothing else at your hands of long time; but I am afraid, when death cometh, I should have matter to trouble my conscience, by the guiltiness of perjury, and therefore do I answer as I do."
L. Chan.--"These be gay glorious words, full of hypocrisy and vain-glory, and yet dost thou not know that I sit here as bishop of Winchester in mine own diocese, and therefore may do this which I do, and more too?"
Brad.--"My Lord, give me leave to ask you this question, that my conscience may be out of doubt in this matter. Tell me here, before God, all this audience being witness, that you demand of me nothing whereby mine answering should consent to and confirm the practice of jurisdiction for the bishop of Rome here in England, and your Honour shall hear me give you as flat and as plain answers briefly, to whatsoever you shall demand me, as ever any did."
Here the lord chancellor was wonderfully offended, and spake much how the bishop of Rome'sauthority needed no confirmation of Bradford's answering, nor of any such as he was; and turned his talk to the people, how that Bradford followed crafty covetous merchants, who because they would lend no money to their neighbours when they were in need, would say that they had sworn oft, that they would never lend any more money, because their debtors had so oft deceived them. "Even so thou," quoth he to Braford, "dost at this present, to cast a mist in the people's eyes, to blear them with a heresy, (which is greater, and more hurtful to the commonwealth, than the other is,) pretend thine oath, whereby the people might make a conscience where they should not. Why speakest thou not?"
Brad.--"My Lord, as I said, I say again: I dare not answer you for fear of perjury, from which God defend me: or else I could tell you that there is a difference between oaths. Some be according to faith and charity, as the oath against the bishop of Rome: some be against faith and charity; as this, to deny by oath, my help to my brother in his need."
Here my Lord Chancellor again was much offended, still saying that Bradford durst not answer, and further made much ado to prove, that the oath against the bishop of Rome was against charity. But Bradford answered, that howsoever his Honour took him, yet he was assured of his meaning, that no fear but the fear of perjury made him unwilling to answer.
"For, as for death, my Lord," quoth Bradford, "as I know there are twelve hours in the day, so with the Lord my time is appointed. And when it shall be his good time, then I shall depart hence: but in the mean season I am safe enough, though all the people had sworn my death. Into his hands have I committed it, and do -- his good will be done! And saving mine oath, I will answer you in this behalf, that the oath against the bishop of Rome was not, nor is, against charity."
L. Chan.--"How prove you that?"
Brad.--"Forsooth I prove it thus:
"Nothing is against charity, which is with God's word, and not against it.
"The oath against the bishop of Rome's authority in England is with God's word, and is not against it.
"Ergo, The oath against the bishop of Rome's authority in England, is not against charity."
L. Chan.--"Is it not against God's word, that a man should take a king to be supreme head of the church in his realm?"
Brad.--"No, saving still mine oath, it is not against God's word, but with it, being taken in such sense as it may well be taken: that is, attributing to the king's power the sovereignty in all his dominion."
L. Chan.--"I pray you where find you that?"
Brad.--"I find it in many places, but specially in Romans xiii., where St. Paul writeth, Every soul to be subject to the superior power: but what power? The power verily which beareth the sword; which is not the spiritual, but the temporal power: as Chrysostom full well noteth upon the same place, which your Honour knoweth better than I. He (Chrysostom I mean) there plainly showeth that bishops, prophets, and apostles, are obedient to the temporal magistrates."
Here yet more the lord chancellor was stirred, and said, how that Bradford went about to deny all obedience to the queen for his oath "and so," quoth he, "this man would make God's word a warrant of disobedience: for he will answer the queen on this sort, that when she saith, 'Now swear to the bishop of Rome, or obey his authority,' 'No,' will he say, 'for I should be forsworn;' and so he makes the queen no queen."
Brad.--"No, I go not about to deny all obedience to the queen's Highness, but denying obedience in this part, if she should demand it. For I was sworn to King Edward, not simply, (that is, not only concerning his own person,) but also concerning his successors, and therefore in denying to do the queen's request herein, I deny not her authority, nor become disobedient."
L. Chan.--"Yes, that thou doest;" and so he began to tell a long tale, how, if a man should make an oath to pay to me a hundred pounds by such a day, and the man to whom it was due would forget the debt, the debtor should say, "No, you cannot do it: for I am forsworn then."
Here Bradford desired my Lord Chancellor not to trifle it, saying, that he wondered his Honour would make solemn oaths made to God, trifles in that sort; and make so great a matter concerning vows (as they call it) made to the bishop for marriage of priests. At these words the lord chancellor was much offended, and said, he did not trifle "but," quoth he, "thou goest about to deny obedience to the queen, who now requireth obedience to the bishop of Rome."
Brad.--"No, my Lord; I do not deny obedience to the queen, if you would discern between genus and species. Because I may not obey in this, ergo, I may not obey in the other, is no good reason. As if a man let or sell a piece of his inheritance, yet, this notwithstanding, all his inheritance is not let or sold: and so in this case, all obedience I deny not, because I deny obedience in this branch."
L. Chan.--"I will none of these similitudes."
Brad.--"I would not use them, if that you went not about to persuade the people, that I mean that which I never meant: for I myself not only mean obedience, but will give ensample of all most humble obedience to the queen's Highness, so long as she requireth not obedience against God."
L. Chan.--"No, no, all men may see your meaning well enough. There is no man, though he be sworn to the king, that doth therefore break his oath, if he afterwards be sworn to the French king and to the emperor."
Brad.--"It is true, my Lord, but the cases be not like. For here is an exception: 'Thou shalt not swear to the bishop of Rome at any time.' If, in like manner, we were sworn, 'Thou shalt not serve the emperor,' &c., you see there were some alteration and more doubt. But I beseech your Honour remember what you yourself have written, answering the objections here against in your book, De Vera Obedientia: 'Let God's word, and the reason thereof, bear the bell away.'"
Here the lord chancellor was thoroughly moved, and said still, how that Bradford hath written seditious letters, and perverted the people thereby, and did stoutly stand, as though he would defend the erroneous doctrine in King Edward's time, against all men; "and now," quoth he, "he saith he dare not answer."
Brad.--"I have written no seditious letters; I have not perverted the people; but that which I have written and spoken, that will I never deny, by God's grace. And whereas your Lordship saith, that I dare not answer you: that all men may know that I am not afraid, saving mine oath, ask me what you will, and I will plainly make you answer, by God's grace, although I now see my life lieth thereon. But, O Lord! into thy hands I commit it, come what come will; only sanctify thy name in me, as in an instrument of thy grace: Amen. Now ask what you will, and you shall see I am not afraid, by God's grace, flatly to answer."
L. Chan.--"Well then, how say you to the blessed sacrament? Do you not believe there Christ to be present concerning his natural body?"
Brad.--"My Lord, I do not believe that Christ is corporally present at and in the due administration of the sacrament. By this word 'corporally' I mean that Christ is there present corporally unto faith."
L. Chan.--"Unto faith? we must have many more words to make it plain."
Brad.--"You shall so: but first give me leave to speak two words."
L. Chan.--"Speak on."
Brad.--"I have been now a year and almost three quarters in prison, and in all this time you never questioned me hereabout, when I might have spoken my conscience frankly without peril; but now have you a law to hang up and put to death, if a man answer freely, and not to your appetite: and so now you come to demand this question. Ah, my Lord! Christ used not this way to bring men to faith: no more did the prophets or apostles. Remember what Bernard writeth to Eugene the pope: 'I read that the apostles stood to be judged; but I read not, that they sat to judge. This shall be, that was,' &c."
Here the lord chancellor was appalled, as it seemed, and said most gently that he used not this means. "It was not my doing," quoth he, "although some there be that think this to be the best way: for I, for my part, have been challenged for being too gentle oftentimes." Which thing the bishop of London confirmed, and so did almost all the audience, that he had been ever too mild and too gentle. At which words Bradford spake thus:
Brad.--"My Lord, I pray you stretch out your gentleness, that I may feel it: for hitherto I never felt it."
As soon as ever he had spoken thus, the lord chancellor (belike thinking that Bradford would have had mercy and pardon) said, that with all his heart, not only he, but the queen's Highness, would stretch out mercy, if with them he would return.
Brad.--"Return, my Lord! God save me from that going back: I mean it not so, but I mean, that I was three quarters of a year in the Tower; you forbade me paper, pen, and ink; and never in all that time, nor since, did I feel any gentleness from you. I have rather hitherto found, as I looked for, extremity. And, I thank God, that I perceive now ye have kept me in prison thus long, not for any matter ye had, but for matter ye would have; God's good will be done."
Here now were divers telling my Lord it was dinner-time. And so he rose up, leaving Bradford speaking, and saying that in the afternoon they would speak more with him. And so was he had into the vestry, and was there all that day till dark night, and so was conveyed again to prison.
In the mean time, about four of the clock the same afternoon, a gentleman, called Master Thomas Hussey of Lincolnshire, who was once an officer in the duke of Norfolk's house, did come into the vestry to inquire for one Stoning: and when it was answered him by the under-marshal's officers of the King's Bench, that there was none such, he entered into the house, and took acquaintance of John Bradford, saying, that he would commune and speak with him the next morning, for old acquaintance.
The next morning, about seven of the clock, this gentleman came into the chamber wherein John Bradford did lie, and, being with him, he began a long oration, how that of love and old acquaintance he came unto him, to speak that which he would further utter.
"You did," said the gentleman, "so wonderfully behave yourself before the lord chancellor, and other bishops yesterday, that even the veriest enemies you have, did see that they have no matter against you: and therefore I advise you [speaking as though it came of his own good will, without making any other man privy, or any other procuring him, as he said] this day -- for anon you shall be called before them again -- to desire a time, and men to confer withal: so shall all men think a wonderful wisdom, gravity, and godliness in you: and by this means you shall escape present danger, which else is nearer than you be aware of."
To this John Bradford answered:
Brad.--"I neither can nor will make any such request: for then shall I give occasion to the people, and to all others, to think that I doubt of the doctrine which I confess; the which thing I do not, for thereof I am most assured, and therefore I will give no such offence."
As they were thus talking, the chamber-door was unlocked, and Dr. Seton came in, who, when he saw Master Hussey, "What, sir," quoth he, "are you come before me?" "O Lord!" said Bradford in his heart to God, "goeth the matter thus? This man told me, no man knew of his coming: Lord! give me grace to remember thy lesson, Beware of those men, &c. Cast not your pearls before dogs: for I see these men be come to hunt for matter, that the one may bear witness with the other."
Dr. Seton, after some by-talk of Bradford's age, of his country, and such like, began a gay and long sermon of my Lord of Canterbury, Master Latimer, and Master Ridley, and how they at Oxford were not able to answer any thing at all; and that therefore my Lord of Canterbury desired to confer with the bishop of Durham and others: all which talk tended to this end, that John Bradford should make the like suit, being in nothing to be compared in learning to my Lord of Canterbury. To this John Bradford briefly answered as he did before to Master Hussey. With this answer neither the doctor nor gentleman being contented, after many persuasions, Master Doctor said thus:
Dr. Seton.--"I have heard much good talk of you, and even yesternight a gentleman made report of you at the lord chancellor's table, that ye were able to persuade as much as any that he knew. And I, (though I never heard you preach, and to my knowledge did never see you before yesterday,) yet methought your modesty was such, your behaviour and talk so without malice and impatience, that I would be sorry you should do worse than myself. And I tell you further, I do perceive my Lord Chancellor hath a fantasy towards you: wherefore be not so obstinate, but desire respite and some learned man to confer withal," &c.
But John Bradford kept still one answer "I cannot, nor I will not so offend the people. I doubt not, but I am most certain of the doctrine I have taught."
Here Master Doctor Seton waxed hot, and called Bradford arrogant, proud, vain-glorious, and "spake like a prelate."
But Bradford answered, "Beware of judging, lest you condemn yourself." But still Master Doctor Seton urged him, showing him how merciful my Lord Chancellor was, and how charitably they entertained him.
"I never saw any justice, much less love; I speak for my part," quoth Bradford, "in my Lord Chancellor. Long have I been unjustly imprisoned, and handled in the same uncharitably: and now my Lord hath no just matter against me."
This talk served not the doctor's purpose: wherefore he went from matter to matter, from this point to that point. Bradford still gave him the hearing, and answered not; for he perceived that they both did come but to fish for some things which might make a show that my Lord Chancellor had justly kept him in prison.
When all their talk took no such effect as they would or looked for, Master Hussey asked Bradford:
Hussey.--"Will ye not admit conference, if my Lord Chancellor should offer it publicly?"
Brad.--"Conference! if it had been offered before the law had been made, or if it were offered so that I might be at liberty to confer, and as sure as he with whom I should confer, then it were something: but else I see not to what other purpose conference should be offered, but to defer that which will come at the length, and the lingering may give more offence than do good. Howbeit, if my Lord shall make such an offer of his own motion, I will not refuse to confer with whomsoever he shall appoint."
Master Doctor, hearing this, called Bradford arrogant, proud, and whatsoever pleased him. Then Bradford, perceiving by them that he should shortly be called for, besought them both to give him leave to talk with God, and to beg wisdom and grace of him; "for," quoth he, "otherwise I am helpless" and so they with much ado departed. Then Bradford went to God, and made his prayers, which the Lord of his goodness did graciously accept in his need; praised therefore be his holy name! Shortly after they were gone, Bradford was led to the aforesaid church, and there tarried, uncalled for, till eleven of the clock, that is, till Master Saunders was excommunicated.
The effect and sum of the last examination of John Bradford, in the church of St. Mary Overy's.
After the excommunication of Laurence Saunders, John Bradford was called in, and, being brought in before the lord chancellor and other the bishops there sitting, the lord chancellor began to speak thus in effect: that if Bradford, being now eftsoons come before them, would answer with modesty and humility, and conform himself to the catholic church with them, he yet might 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 Honours 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 I humbly beseech every one of you to do this day; for that you know well enough, that guiltless blood will cry for vengeance. And this I pray not your Lordships to do, as one that taketh upon me to condemn you utterly herein; but that ye might be 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, as yesterday I pretended mine oath and oaths against the bishop of Rome, that I should never consent to the practising of any jurisdiction for him, or on his behalf in the realm of England; so do I again at this day, lest I should be perjured. And, last of all, as yesterday the answers I made were by protestation and saving mine oath, so I would your Honours 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 may 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 till this day, whether he would recant his errors of the blessed sacrament, "which yesterday," quoth he, "before us you uttered."
Brad.--"My Lord, 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 faith, you went from that matter to purge yourself, that you were not cruel, and so went to dinner."
L.Chan.--"What! I perceive 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?"
Brad.--"No indeed, my Lord: you said so, but you proved it not yet, nor ever can do."
L. Chan.--"O Lord God! 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 and burgesses, and all the whole realm -- be perjured. O what a heresy is this! Here, good people, you may see what a senseless heretic this fellow is. If I should make an oath I would never help my brother, nor lend him money in his need; were this a good answer to tell my neighbour, desiring my help, that I had made an oath to the contrary? or that I could not do it?"
Brad.--"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 often of Bradford a direct answer concerning oaths: which Bradford would not give simply, but with a distinction; whereat the chancellor was much offended. But Bradford still kept him at the bay, that the oath against the bishop of Rome was a lawful oath, using thereto the lord chancellors own book, De Vera Obedientia, for confirmation.
At the length they came to this issue, Who should be judge of the lawfulness of the oath? and Bradford said the word of God, according to Christ's word, John xii., My word shall judge; and according to the testimony of Isaiah and Micah, that God's word, coming out of Jerusalem, shall give sentence among the Gentiles. "By this word," quoth Bradford, "my Lord, I will prove the oath against the bishop of Rome's authority, to be a good, a godly, and a lawful oath."
So that the lord chancellor left his hold, and, as the other day he pretended a denial of the queen's authority and obedience to her Highness, so did he now. But Bradford, as the day before, proved, that obedience in this point to the queen's Highness, if she should demand an oath to the bishop of Rome, being denied, was not a general denial of her authority, and of obedience to her; "no more," quoth he, "than the sale, gift, or lease of a piece of a man's inheritance, proveth it a sale, gift, or lease of the whole inheritance."
And thus much ado was made about this matter: the lord chancellor talking much, and using many examples of debt, of going out of town to-morrow by oath, and yet tarrying till Friday, and such like; which trifling talk Bradford did touch, saying, that it was a wonder his Honour weighed conscience no more in this, and would be so earnest in vows of priests' marriages made to bishops, and be careless for solemn oaths made to God and to princes. Summa, this was the end. The lord chancellor said, the queen might dispense with it, and did so to all the whole realm. But Bradford said, that the queen's Highness could do no more but remit her right: as for the oath made to God, she could never remit, forasmuch as it was made unto God. At which words the lord chancellor chafed wonderfully, and said, that in plain sense I slandered the 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 he hath no conscience at all."
Brad.--"Well, 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 wherefore I was imprisoned, 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 you. I mean my Lord 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 dagger, (which was hurled at him, I think,) for it touched my sleeve. He then prayed me I would not leave him; and I promised him, as long as I lived, I would take hurt before him that day; and so went out of the pulpit and entreated with the people, and at length brought him myself into 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, notwithstanding, I did in that sermon reprove their fact, and called it sedition at the least twenty times. For all which my doing, I have received this recompence, prison for a year and a half and more, and death now, which you go about. Let all men be judge where conscience is."
In speaking of these words, there was endeavour 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 that fair tale, his fact at the Cross was naught.
Brad.--"No, my fact was good, as you yourself did bear witness with me. For when I was at the first before you in the Tower, you yourself did say, that my fact was good;' but,' quoth you, thy mind was evil.' 'Well,' quoth I, 'then, my Lord, in that you allow the fact, and condemn the mind. Forasmuch as otherwise I cannot declare my mind to man but by saying and doing, God one day, I trust, will open it to my comfort, what my mind was, and 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 not to discern betwixt meaning and doing" and so brought forth, little to the purpose, many examples to prove that men construe things by the meaning of men, and not by their doings. But when this would not serve, then cometh he to another matter, and said, that Bradford was put in prison at the first because he would not yield, nor be conformable to the queen's religion.
Brad.--"Why, my Lord? your Honour knoweth that you would not reason with me in religion; but said, a time should afterwards be found out, when I should be talked withal. But if it were as your Lordship saith, that I was put in prison for religion, in that my religion was then authorized by public laws of the realm, could conscience punish me or cast me in prison there-for? Wherefore let all men be judges, in whom conscience wanteth."
Here came forth Master Chamberlain of Woodstock, and spake to my Lord Chancellor, how that Bradford had been a serving man, and was with Master Harrington.
L. Chan.--"True, and did deceive his master of sevenscore pounds: and because of this he went to be a gospeller and a preacher, good people; and yet you see how he pretendeth conscience."
Brad.--"My Lord, I set my foot by his, 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 smitten blank, and said they heard it. "But," quoth my 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 his own: your Honour did see the letters."
Brad.--"That is not true; I never did write to Pendleton since I came to prison, and therefore I am not justly spoken of."
Bonner.--"Yea, but you indited it."
Brad.--"I did not, nor know what you mean, and this I offer to prove."
Here came in another, I trow they call him Master Allen, one of the clerks of the council, putting the lord chancellor in remembrance of letters written into Lancashire.
L. Chan.--"You say true: for we have his hand to show."
Brad.--"I deny that you have my hand to show of letters sent into Lancashire, otherwise than before you all I will stand to, and prove them to be good and lawful."
Here was all answered, and then the lord chancellor began a new matter.
L. Chan.--"Sir," quoth he, "in my house the other day, you did most contemptuously contemn the queen's mercy; and further said, that you would maintain the erroneous doctrine in King Edward's days against all men; and this you did most stoutly."
Brad.--"Well, I am glad that all men see now you have 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 doing or saying 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 trusted I should declare it by giving my life for the confirmation and testification thereof. So I said then, and so I say now. As for otherwise to maintain it, than pertaineth to a private person by confession, I thought not, nor think not."
L. Chan.--"Well, yesterday thou didst maintain false heresy concerning the blessed sacrament; and therefore we gave thee respite till this day to deliberate."
Brad.--"My Lord, 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 any time to deliberate."
L. Chan.--"Why! didst thou not deny Christ's presence in the sacrament?"
Brad.--"No, I never denied nor taught, but that to faith, whole Christ, body and blood, was as present as bread and wine to the due receiver."
L. Chan.--"Yea, but dost thou not believe that Christ's body naturally and really is there, under the forms of bread and wine?"
Brad.-"My Lord, 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 my Lord Chancellor, "of transubstantiation, but of Christ's presence."
Brad.--"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 transubstantiate."
Worcester.--"If he be not included, how is he then present?"
Brad.--"Forsooth, though my faith can tell how, yet my tongue cannot express it; nor you, otherwise than by faith, hear it, or understand it."
Here was much ado, now one doctor standing up and speaking thus, and others speaking that, and the lord chancellor, talking much of Luther, Zuinglius, colampadius: but still Bradford kept him 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. Therefore another bishop asked this question: whether the wicked man received Christ's very body or no? And Bradford answered plainly, "No." Whereat the lord chancellor made a long oration, how that it could not be that Christ was present, except that the evil man received it. But Bradford put away all his oration 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 infer: but God's grace, truth, and power, is the cause of the presence, which grace the wicked that lack faith cannot receive." And here Bradford prayed my Lord, not to divorce that which God had coupled together. "He hath coupled all these 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 other bishops made a great ado, that Bradford had found out a toy that no man else ever did, of the condition; and the lord chancellor made many words to the people thereabout. But Bradford said thus, "My Lord, 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 the sacrament, and the use of it.
Brad.--"Why, my Lord, I pray you tell the people what mood accipite, manducate, is; is it not plain to children, that Christ, in so saying, cornmandeth?"
At these words the lord chancellor made a great toying and trifling at the imperative mood, and fell to parsing or examining, as 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," quoth he, "is no commandment, I trow." But Bradford prayed him to leave toying and trifling, and said thus:
Brad.--"My Lord, if it be not a commandment of Christ to take and eat the sacrament, why dare any take upon them to command and make that of necessity, which God leaveth free? as you do in making it a necessary commandment, once a year, for all that be of discretion, to receive the sacrament."
Here the lord chancellor called him again diabolus or calumniator, and began out of these words, Let a man prove himself, and so eat of the bread ["yea, 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."
Brad.--"O my Lord, 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 of the supper, the sacrament of baptism, of the thrice appearing before the Lord yearly at Jerusalem, of Abraham offering of Isaac, &c."
Here my Lord Chancellor denied the cup to be commanded of Christ: "for then," quoth he, "we should have eleven commandments."
Brad.--"Indeed I think you think as you speak: for else would you not take the cup from the people, in that Christ saith, Drink ye all of it. But how say you, my Lords? Christ saith to you bishops especially, Go and preach the gospel. Feed Christ's flock, &c. Is this a commandment, or no?"
Here was my Lord Chancellor in a chafe, and said as pleased him. Another, the bishop of Durham I ween, asked Bradford, when Christ began to be present in the sacrament -- whether before the receiver received it, or no?
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 received it duly, but yet so, that the bread is bread. "For," quoth he, "in all the Scripture ye shall not find this proposition, 'There is no bread.'" And so he brought forth Chrysostom, Si in corpore essemus. In summa, much ado was hereabouts; they calling Bradford heretic, and he, desiring them to proceed on in God's name, looked for that which God appointed for them to do.
L. Chan.--"This fellow is now in another heresy of fatal necessity, as though all things were so tied together that of mere necessity all must come to pass."
But Bradford prayed him to take things as they be spoken, and not wrest them into a contrary sense.
"Your Lordship," quoth Bradford, "doth discern betwixt God and man. Things are not, by fortune, to God at any time, though to man they seem so sometimes. I speak but as the apostles said; 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 for them to do."
Here began the lord chancellor to read the excommunication. And in the excommunication, when he came to the name of John Bradford, laicus, (layman,) "Why," quoth he, "art thou no priest?"
Brad.--"No, nor ever was, either priest, either beneficed, either married, either any preacher, afore public authority had established religion, or preacher after public authority had altered religion; and yet 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 name's sake. And so, praying God to give him repentance, and a good mind, after the excommunication was read, he was delivered to the sheriff of London, and so had to the Clink, and afterwards to the Compter in the Poultry, in the same city of London; this being then purposed of his murderers, that he should be delivered from thence to the earl of Derby, to be conveyed into Lancashire, and there to be burned in the town of Manchester, where he was born: but their purpose concerning the place was afterward altered, for they burned him in London.
After the condemnation of Master Bradford, which was the last day of January, Master Bradford, being sent into prison, did there remain until the first day of July, during all which time, divers other conferences and conflicts he sustained with sundry adversaries, which repaired unto him in the prison: of whom first Bishop Bonner, coming to the Compter to degrade Dr. Taylor, the fourth day of February,entered talk with the said Master Bradford, the effect whereof here ensueth.
Private talk had with John Bradford, by such as the prelates sent unto him, after the time of condemnation, by his own writing.
Upon the fourth of February, that is, the same day Master Rogers was burned, Bonner, bishop of London, came to the Compter in the Poultry, to degrade Dr. Taylor, about one of the clock at afternoon. But before he spake to Master Taylor, he called for John Bradford which was prisoner there, whom when he saw, he put off his cap, and gave him his hand, saying:
Bonner.--"Because I perceive that ye are desirous to confer with some learned men, therefore I have brought Master Archdeacon Harpsfield to you. And I tell you, you do like a wise man. But I pray you go roundly to work, for the time is but short."
Brad.--"My Lord, 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 ye will have one to talk with me, I am ready."
Bonner.--"What," quoth the bishop in a fume to the keeper, "did you not tell me that this man desired conference?"
Keeper.--"No, my Lord, I told you that he would not refuse to confer with any; but I did not say that it is his desire."
Bonner.--"Well, Master Bradford, you are well beloved, I pray you consider yourself, and refuse not charity when it is offered."
Brad.--"Indeed, my Lord, this is small charity, to condemn a man as you have condemned me, which never brake your laws. In Turkey a man may have charity; but in England I could not yet find it. I was condemned for my faith, so soon as I uttered it at your requests, before I had committed any thing against the laws. And as for conference, I am not afraid to talk with whom ye will. But to say that I desire to confer, that do I not."
Bonner.--"Well, well." And so he called for Master Taylor, and Bradford went his way.
Another private matter of talk between Master Bradford and Willerton, Creswell, Harding, Harpsfield, and others.
On another day of February, one Master Willerton, chaplain of the bishop of London, did come to confer with Bradford; but when he perceived that Bradford desired not his coming, 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 Bradford was content, and so they began to talk. Willerton spake much of the doctors, the fathers, of the bread in John vi., &c., labouring to prove transubstantiation, and that wicked men do receive Christ.
But Bradford, on the contrary part, improved his authorities, so that they came to this issue, that Willerton should draw out of the Scriptures and doctors his reasons, and Bradford would peruse them; and if he could not answer them, then he would give place. Likewise also should Bradford draw out his reasons out of the Scriptures and doctors, to which Willerton should answer if he could: and so for that day they departed.
The next day following in the morning, Willerton sent half a sheet of paper written on both sides, containing no reasons how he gathered his doctrine, but only bare sentences; The bread which I will give is my flesh: and the places in Matt. xxvi., Mark xiv., Luke xxii., and 1 Cor. x. and xi., with some sentences of the doctors, all which made as much against him as with him.
In the afternoon he came himself, and there they had a long talk to little effect. At the length Willerton began to talk of the church, saying, that "Bradford swerved from the church."
Brad.--"No, that I do not, but ye 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."
Willerton.--"Why? It is not profitable to have the service in English; for it is written, The lips of the priest should keep the law, and out of his mouth man must look for knowledge."
Brad.--"Should not the people, then, have the Scriptures? Wherefore serveth this saying of Christ, Search the Scriptures?"
Will.--"This was not spoken to the people, but to the scribes and learned men."
Brad.--"Then the people must not have the Scriptures?"
Will.--"No, for it is written, They shall be all taught of God."
Brad.--"And must we learn all at the priests?"
Brad.--"Then I see you would bring the people to hang up Christ, and let Barabbas go; as the priests did then persuade the people."
At which words Master Willerton was so offended, that he had no lust to talk any more. In the end Bradford gave him the reasons which he had gathered against transubstantiation, and prayed him to frame his into the form of reasons, "and then," quoth Bradford, "I will answer them."
"Well, I will do so," said Willerton, "but first I will answer yours." The which thing until this day he hath not done.
On the twelfth of February, there came one of the earl of Derby's servants to Bradford, saying, "My Lord hath sent me to you: he willeth you to tender yourself, and he will be a good lord to you."
Brad.--"I thank his Lordship for his good will towards me: but in this case I cannot tender myself more than God's honour."
Servant.--"Ah, Master Bradford! consider your mother, sisters, friends, kinsfolk, and country; what a great discomfort will it be unto them to see you die as a heretic!"
Brad.--"I have learned to forsake father, mother, brother, sister, friend, and all that ever I have, yea, even mine own self; for else I cannot be Christ's disciple."
Serv.--"If my Lord should obtain for you that ye might depart the realm, would you not be content to be at the queen's appointment, where she would appoint you beyond the sea."
Brad.--"No, I had rather be burned in England than be burned beyond the seas. For I know that if she should send me to Paris, Louvain, or some such place, forthwith they would burn me."
Talk between Master Bradford and one Percival Creswell: and after that with Dr. Harding.
Upon the fourteenth of February, Percival Creswell, an old acquaintance of Bradford's, came to him, bringing with him a kinsman of Master Fecknam's, who, after many words, said.
Creswell.--"I pray you let me make labour for you."
Bradford.--"You may do what ye will."
Cres.--"But tell me what suit I should make for you."
Brad.--"Forsooth, that ye 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. If she will banish me, I will thank her. If she will burn me, I will thank her. If she will condemn me to perpetual imprisonment, I will thank her."
Hereupon Creswell went away, and about eleven of the clock be and the other man came again, and brought a book of More's making, desiring Bradford to read it over. Bradford taking the book, said:
Brad."Good Percival, I am settled for being moved in this article."
Cres.--"Oh! if ever ye loved me, do one thing for me."
Brad.--"What is it?"
Cres.--"Desire and name what learned man or men ye will have to come unto you; my Lord of York, my Lord of Lincoln, my Lord of Bath, and others will gladly come unto you."
Brad.--"No, never will I desire them, or any other, to come to confer with me; for I am as certain of my doctrine as I am of any thing. But for your pleasure, and also that all men may know I am not ashamed to have my faith sifted and tried, bring whom ye will, and I will talk with them."
So they went their way. About three of the clock in the afternoon, Master Doctor Harding, who was the bishop of Lincoln's chaplain, came to Bradford, and after a great and solemn protestation, showing how that he had prayed to God, before he came, to turn his talk to Bradford's good, he began to tell of the good opinion he had of Bradford; and spent the time in such tattling, so that their talk was to little purpose, save that Bradford prayed him to consider from whence he was fallen, and not to follow the world, nor to love it; for the love of God is not where the world is. But Harding counted Bradford in a damnable estate, as one being out of the church; and therefore willed him to take heed of his soul, and not to die in such an opinion.
"What, Master Harding!" quoth Bradford, "I have heard you, with these ears, maintain this that I stand in."
Harding.--"I grant that I have taught that the doctrine of transubstantiation was a subtle doctrine; but otherwise I never taught it."
And so he, inveighing against marriages of priests, and namely against Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer, Luther, and such, which for breaking their vows were justly given up into heresies, (as he said,) Bradford seeing him altogether given up to popery, after admonishment thereof, bade him farewell.
Talk between Dr. Harpsfield, archdeacon, and Master Bradford.
On the twenty-fifth of February, Percival Creswell came with Master Harpsfield, archdeacon of London, and a servant waiting upon him. After formal salutations, he made a long oration, of which this is a short sum; that all men, even the infidels, Turks, Jews, Anabaptists, and Libertines, desire felicity as well as the Christians, and how that every one thinketh they shall attain to it by their religion. To which Bradford answered briefly, that he spake not far amiss.
Harpsfield.--"But the way thither is not all alike: for the infidels by Jupiter and Juno, the Turk by his Alcoran, the Jew by his Talmud, do believe to come to heaven. For so may I speak of such as believe the immortality of the soul."
Brad.--"You speak truly."
Harps.--"Well, then, here is the matter; to know the way to this heaven."
Brad.--"We may not invent any manner of ways. There is but one way, and that is Jesus Christ, as he himself doth witness: I am the way."
Harps.--"It is true that you say, and false also. I suppose that you mean by Christ, believing in Christ."
Brad.--"I have learned to discern betwixt faith and Christ. Albeit I confess, that whoso believeth in Christ, the same shall be saved."
Harps.--"No, not all that believe in Christ; for some shall say, Lord, Lord, have we not cast out devils? &c. But Christ will answer in the day of judgment to these, Depart from me, I know you not."
Brad.--"You must make difference betwixt believing, and saying, I believe: as for example, if one should say and swear he loveth you, for all his saying, ye will not believe him when you see he goeth about to utter and do all the evil against you that he can."
Harps.--"Well, this is not much material. There is but one way, Christ. How come we to know him? Where shall we seek to find him?"
Brad.--"Forsooth, we must seek him by his word, and in his word, and after his word."
Harps.--"Very good: but tell me now how first we came into the company of them that could tell us this, but by baptism?"
Brad.--"Baptism is the sacrament, by the which outwardly we are ingrafted into Christ: I say outwardly, because I dare not exclude from 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 cannot have it."
Harps.--"To those we may think perchance that God will show mercy."
Brad.--"Yea, the children whose parents do contemn baptism will not I condemn, because the child shall not bear the father's offence."
Harps.--"Well, we agree, that by baptism then we are brought, and, as a man would say, begotten to 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: and as Eve was taken out of Adam's side, so was the church taken out of Christ's side; whereout flowed blood, for the satisfaction and purgation of our sins."
Brad.--"All this is truly spoken."
Harps.--"Now then, tell me whether this church of Christ hath not been always?"
Brad.--"Yea, since the creation of man, and shall be for ever."
Harps.--"Very good. But yet tell me whether this church is a visible church, or no?"
Brad.--"It is no otherwise visible, than Christ was here on earth; that is, by no exterior pomp or show that 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 that Adam was of, so was the church of the same substance that Christ was of, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones; as Paul saith, Ephes. v. 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."
Harps.--"I do not come to reason at this present, and therefore I will go on forward. Is not this church a multitude?"
Brad.--"Yes, that it is. Howbeit, Latet anguis in herba, as the proverb is; for in your question is a subtlety. What visible multitude was there in Elias's time, or when Moses was on the mount, Aaron and all Israel worshipping the calf?"
Harps.--"Ye divert from the matter."
Brad.--"No, nothing at all. For I do prevent you, knowing well where about you go. And therefore fewer words might well serve, if that you so would."
Harps.--"Well, I perceive you have knowledge, and by a little perceive I the more. Tell me yet more, whether this multitude have not the ministry or preaching of God's word?"
Brad.--"Sir, ye go about the bush. If ye understand preaching for confessing of the gospel, I will go with you: for else, if you will, you may know that persecution often letteth preaching."
Harps.--"Well, I mean it so. Tell me yet more: hath it not the sacraments administered?"
Brad.--"It hath the sacraments, howbeit the administration of them is often letted. But I will put you from your purpose, because I see where about you go. If heretics have baptism, and do baptize, as they did in St. Cyprian's time, you know this baptism is baptism, and not to be reiterate."
This Bradford did speak, that the standers-by might see, that though the papist's church have baptism which we have received of them, yet therefore it is not the true church, neither need we to be baptized again.
Harps.--"You go far from the matter, and I perceive you have more errors than one."
Brad.--"So you say; but that is not enough till you prove them."
Harps.--"Well, this church is a multitude. Hath it not the preaching of the gospel, and the ministration of the sacraments? And, yet more, hath it not the power of jurisdiction?"
Brad.--"What jurisdiction is exercised in persecution and affliction?"
Harps.--"I mean by jurisdiction, admonishing one another, and so forth."
Brad.--"Well, go to; what then?"
Harps.--"It hath also succession of bishops." And here Harpsfield made much ado to prove that this was an essential point.
Brad.--"You say as you would have it; for if this part fail you, all the church that you go about to set up, will fall down. You shall not find in all the Scripture this your essential part of succession of bishops. 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, since Christ's coming: that is, as there were false prophets, and such as bear rule were adversaries to the true prophets, so shall there be (saith he) false teachers, even of such as are bishops, and bear rule amongst the people."
Harps.--"You go always out of the matter: but I will prove further the succession of bishops."
Harps.--"Tell me, were not the apostles bishops?"
Brad.--"No, except you will make a new definition of a bishop: that is, give him no certain place."
Harps.--"Indeed, the apostles' office was not the bishops' office, for it was universal; but yet Christ instituted bishops in his church, as Paul saith, he hath given pastors, prophets, &c., so that I trow it be proved by the Scriptures the succession of bishops to be an essential point."
Brad.--"The ministry of God's word and ministers be an essential point. But to translate this to the bishops and their succession, is a plain subtlety: and therefore, that it may be plain, I will ask you a question. Tell me, whether that the Scripture knew any difference between bishops and ministers, which ye called priests?"
Brad.--"Well, then, go on forwards, and let us see what ye shall get now by the succession of bishops; that is, of ministers, which cannot be understood of such bishops as minister not, but lord it."
Harps.--"I perceive that you are far out of the way. By your doctrine you can never show in your church, 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 of our doctrine; and therefore are ye out of the church, and so cannot be saved. Perchance you will bring me downwards a show to blear people's eyes; but to go upwards, that you can never do, and this is the true trial."
Brad.--"Ye must and will, I am assured, give me leave to follow the Scriptures, and examples of good men."
Brad.--"Well, then, Stephen was accused and condemned, as I am, that he had taught new and false doctrine, before the fathers of the church then, as they were taken. Stephen for his purgation improveth their accusation. But how? doth he it by going upwards? No, but by coming downwards, beginning at Abraham, and continuing still till Esaias's time, and the people's captivity. From whence he maketh a great leap until the time he was in, which was (I think) upon four hundred years, and called them by their right names, hellhounds, rather than heaven-hounds. On this sort will I prove my faith, and that can you never do yours."
Harps.--"Yea, sir, if we did know that you had the Holy Ghost, then could we believe you."
Here Bradford would have answered, that Stephen's enemies would not believe he had the Holy Ghost, and therefore they did as they did: but, as he was in speaking, Master Harpsfield rose up; and the keeper and others that stood by began to talk gently, praying Bradford to take heed to what Master Archdeacon spake, who still said, that Bradford was out of the church.
Brad.--"Sir, I am most certain that I am in Christ's church, and I can show a demonstration of my religion from time to time continually.-- God our Father, for the name and blood of his Christ, be merciful unto us, and unto all his people, and deliver them from 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 for ever. Amen!"
Then the archdeacon departed, saying, that he would come again the next morning.
The next day's talk between Dr. Harpsfield and Master Bradford.
Upon the sixteenth of February in the morning, the archdeacon, and the other two with him, came again, and after a few by-words spoken, they sat down.
Master Archdeacon Harpsfield began a very long oration, first repeating what they had said, and how far they 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 Seville for eight hundred years: in Italy at Milan for twelve hundred years, labouring by this to prove his church. 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 Bradford would obey this church; the interrogation, whether Bradford could show any such succession for the demonstration of his church (for so he called it) which followed. Unto this long oration, Bradford made this short answer:
Brad.--"My memory is evil, so that I cannot answer particularly your oration. Therefore I will generally do it, thinking because your oration is rather to persuade than to prove, that a small answer will serve. If Christ or his apostles, being here on earth, had been required by the prelates of the church then, to have made a demonstration of that church by succession of such high priests as had approved the doctrine which he taught, I think that Christ would have done as I do: that is, have alleged that which upholdeth the church, even the verity, the word of God taught and believed, not by 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 of the church: which church was not tied to succession, but to the word of God. And this to think St. Peter giveth me 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 the church; therefore the like we must look for now."
Harps.--"I can gather and prove succession in Jerusalem of the high priests from Aaron's time."
Brad.--"I grant, but not such succession as allowed the truth."
Harps.--"Why! did they not allow Moses's law?"
Brad.--"Yes, and keep it, as touching the books thereof; as you do the Bible, and Holy Scriptures. But the true interpretation and meaning of it they did corrupt, as you have done and do; and therefore the persecution which they stirred up against the prophets and Christ, was not for the law, but for the interpretation of it: for they taught as you do now, that we must fetch the interpretation of the Scriptures at your hands. But to make an end, death I look daily for, yea, hourly, and I think my time be but very short. Therefore I had need to spend 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 it, and I would answer accordingly; but because I dare not, nor I will not, leave off looking and preparing for that which is at hand, I shall desire you to hold me excused, because I do as I do; and heartily thank you for your gentle good will. I shall heartily pray God our Father to give you the same light and life I do wish to myself."
And so Bradford began to rise up. But then began Master Archdeacon to tell him that he was in very perilous case; and that he was sorry to see him so settled. "As for death, whether it be nigh or far off, I know not, neither forceth it, so that you did die well."
Brad.--"I doubt not in this case but that I shall 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."
Harps.--"But what if you be deceived?"
Brad.--"What if you should say the sun did not shine now?"--and the sun did shine through the window where they sat.
Harps.--"Well, I am sorry to see you so secure and careless."
Brad.--"Indeed I am more carnally secure and careless than I should be: God make me more vigilant. But in this case I cannot be so secure, for I am most assured I am in the truth."
Harps.--"That are ye not; for you are out of the catholic church."
Brad.--"No, though you have excommunicated me out of your church, yet am I in the catholic church of Christ, and am, and by God's grace shall be, a child, and an obedient child, of it for ever: I hope Christ will have no less care for me, than he had for the blind man excommunicated of the synagogue. And further, I am sure 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 Durham in the book of the sacrament lately put forth, was free many a hundred years after Christ, for us to believe or not believe."
Harps.--"What is that?"
Harps.--"Why: ye are not condemned therefore only."
Brad.--"For that, and because I deny that wicked men do receive Christ's body."
Harps.--"You agree not with us in the presence, nor in any thing else."
Brad.--"How you believe you know: for my part I confess a presence of whole Christ, God and man, to the faith of the receiver."
Harps.--"Nay, you must believe a real presence in the sacrament."
Brad.--"In the sacrament? Nay, I will not shut him in, nor tie him to it otherwise than faith seeth and perceiveth. If I should include Christ really present in the sacrament, or tie him to it otherwise than to the faith of the receiver, then the wicked men should receive him, which I do not, nor will, by God's grace, believe."
Harps.--"More pity: but a man may easily perceive, you make no presence at all, and therefore you agree not therein with us."
Brad.--"I confess a presence, 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?"
Brad.--"Yea, even of whole Christ, God and man, to feed the faith of him that receiveth it."
Harps.--"Why? this is nothing else but to exclude the omnipotency of God, and all kind of miracle in the sacrament."
Brad.--"I do not exclude his omnipotency, but you do it rather; for I believe that Christ can accomplish his promise, the substance of bread and wine being there, as well as the accidents, which you believe not. 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 do want, and therefore they receive nothing but panem Domini, as Judas did, and not panem Dominum, as the other apostles did."
Harps.--"The wicked do receive the very body of Christ, but not the grace of his body."
Brad.--"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 trow."
Harps.--"Well, you have 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.
Brad.--"Why, sir? the mass, as it is now, was nothing so in St. Ambrose's time. Was not the most part of the canon made since by Gregory and Scholasticus?"
Harps.--"Indeed a great piece of it was made (as ye say) by Gregory: but Scholasticus was before St. Ambrose's time."
Brad.--"I ween not: howbeit I will not contend. St. Gregory saith, that the apostles said mass without the canon, only with the Lord's Prayer."
Harps.--"You say true: for the canon is not the greatest part of the mass, the greatest part is the sacrifice, elevation, transubstantiation, and adoration."
Brad.--"I can away with none of those."
Harps.--"No, I think the same: but yet hoc facite, telleth plainly the sacrifice of the church."
Brad.--"You confound sacrifices, not discerning betwixt the sacrifice of the church, and for the church. The sacrifice of the church is no propitiatory sacrifice, but a gratulatory sacrifice; and as for hoc facite, is not referred to any sacrificing, but to the whole action of taking, eating," &c.
Harps.--"You speak not learnedly now: 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."
Brad.--"I think 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 of your bread: for I perceive you order the matter so as though Christ had not commanded it to his whole church."
Then Harpsfield would have proved elevation by a place of Basil.
Brad.--"I have read the place, which seemeth to make nothing for elevation: but 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 now death draweth nigh, and I, by your leave, must now leave off, to prepare for him."
Harps.--"If I could do you good, I would be right glad, either in soul or body. For you are in a perilous case both ways."
Brad.--"Sir, 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."
Creswell.--"It were best for you to desire Master Archdeacon that he would make suit for you, that you might have a time to confer."
Harps.--"I will do the best I can: for I pity his case."
Brad.--"Sir, I will not desire any body to sue for time for me. I am not wavering, neither would I that any body should think I were so. But if you have the charity and love you pretend towards me, and thereto do think that I am in an error, I think the same should move you to do as you would be done to. As ye think of me, so do I of you, that you are far out of the way; and I do not only think it, but also am thereof most assured."
And in this and such-like gentle talk they departed.
The talk of Dr. Heath, archbishop of York, and Day, bishop of Chichester, with Master Bradford.
The twenty-third of the same month, the archbishop of York and the bishop of Chichester came to the Compter to speak with Bradford. When he was come before them, they both, and especially the bishop of York, used him very gently: they would have him to sit down, and because he would not, they also would not sit. So they all stood, and whether he would or not, they would needs he should put on, not only his night-cap, but his upper cap also, saying unto him, that obedience was better than sacrifice.
Now thus standing together, my Lord of York began to tell Bradford how that they were not sent to him, but of love and charity they came to him: and he, for that acquaintance also which he had with Bradford, more than the bishop of Chichester had. Then, after commending Bradford's godly life, he concluded with this question, how he was certain of salvation, and of his religion? After thanks for their good will, Bradford answered, "By the word of God -- even by the Scriptures -- I am certain of salvation and religion."
York.--"Very well said: but how do ye know the word of God and the Scriptures, but by the church?"
Brad.--"Indeed, my Lord, 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 after we come to the hearing and reading of the Scriptures showed unto us, and discerned by the church, we do believe them, and know them as Christ's sheep -- 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."
York.--"You know, in the apostles' time, at the first, the word was not written."
Brad.--"True, if you mean it for some books of the New Testament:. but else for the Old Testament Peter telleth us, We have a more sure word of prophecy: not that it is simply so, but in respect of the apostles, who, 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; for all proceedeth forth of one Spirit of truth."
York.--"That place of Peter is not so to be understood of the word written."
Brad.--"Yea, sir, that it is, and of none other."
Chichester.--"Y ea, indeed Master Bradford doth tell you truly in that point."
York.--"Well, you know that Irenĉus and others do magnify much, and allege the church against the heretics, and not the Scripture."
Brad.--"True, 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."
Chich.--"You speak the very truth; for the heretics did refuse all Scriptures, except it were a piece of Luke's Gospel."
Brad.--"Then the alleging of the church cannot be principally used against me, which am so far from denying of the Scriptures, that I appeal unto them utterly, as to the only judge."
York.--"A pretty matter, that you will take upon you to judge the church: I pray you where hath your church been hitherto? for the church of Christ is catholic and visible hitherto."
Brad.--"My Lord, 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 sometimes it is more visible than at some."
Chich.--"I pray you tell me where the church which allowed your doctrine was, these four hundred years?"
Brad.--"I will tell you, my Lord, or rather you shall tell yourself, if you will tell me this one thing: where the church was in Elias's time, when Elias said, that he was left alone?"
Chich.--"That is no answer."
Brad.--"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."
Chich.--"You are much deceived in making this collation betwixt the church then and now."
York.--"Very well spoken, my Lord; for Christ said, Edificabo ecclesiam, I will build my church; and not I do, or have built it; but, I will build it."
Brad.--"My Lords, Peter teacheth me to make this collation, saying, as in the people there were false prophets, which were most in estimation afore Christ's coming, so shall there be false teachers amongst the people after Christ's coming; and very many shall follow them. And as for your future tense, I hope your Grace 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."
Chich.--"In good faith I am sorry to see you so light in judging the church."
York.--"He taketh upon him, as they all do, to judge the church. A man shall never come to certainty that doth as they do."
Brad.--"My Lords, I speak simply what I think, and desire reason to answer my objections. Your affections and sorrows cannot be my rules. If that you consider the order and case of my condemnation, I cannot think but that it should something move your Honours. 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 did deny transubstantiation, and the wicked to receive Christ's body in the sacrament, therefore I was condemned and excommunicated, but not of the church, although the pillars of the church (as they be taken) did it."
Chich.--"No; I heard say the cause of your imprisonment was, for that you exhorted the people to take the sword in the one hand, and the mattock in the other."
Brad.--"My Lord, I never meant any such thing, nor spake any thing in that sort."
York.--"Yea, and you behaved yourself before the council so stoutly at the first, that you would defend the religion then; and therefore worthily were you prisoned."
Brad.--"Your Grace did hear me answer my Lord Chancellor to that point. But put case I had been so stout as they and your Grace make it, were not the laws of the realm on my side then? Wherefore unjustly was I prisoned: .only that which my Lord Chancellor propounded, was my confession of Christ's truth against transubstantiation, and of that which the wicked do receive, as I said."
York.--"You deny the presence."
Brad.--"I do not, to the faith of the worthy receivers."
York.--"Why! what is that to say other than that Christ lieth not on the altar?"
Brad.--"My Lord, I believe in no such presence."
Chich.--"It seemeth that you have not read Chrysostom, for he proveth it."
Brad.--"Hitherto I have been kept well enough without books: howbeit this I do remember of Chrysostom, that he saith, that Christ lieth upon the altar, as the seraphim with their tongs touch our lips with the coals of the altar in heaven, which is a hyperbolical locution, of which you know Chrysostom is full."
York.--"It is evident that you are too far gone: but let us come then to the church, out of the which ye are excommunicate."
Brad.--"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 excommunicated me, as the poor blind man was (John ix.); I am sure Christ receiveth me."
York.--"You do deceive yourself."
Here, after much talk of excommunication, at length Bradford said:
"Assuredly as I think you did well to depart from the Romish church, so I think ye 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."
Chich.--"Ah, Master Bradford! you were but a child when this matter began. I was a young man, and then coming from the university, I went with the world: but, I tell you, it was always against my conscience."
Brad.--"I was but a child then, howbeit, as I told you, I think you have done evil: for ye are come, and have brought others, to that wicked man which sitteth in the temple of God, that is, in the church; for it cannot be understood of Mahomet, or any out of the church, but of such as bear rule in the church."
York.--"See how you build your faith upon such places of Scripture as are most obscure, to deceive yourself, as though ye were in the church, where you are not."
Brad.--"Well, my Lord, though I might by fruits judge of you and others, yet will I not utterly exclude you out of the church. And if I were in your case, I would 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 Durham writeth, it was free to believe or not to believe transubstantiation."
York.--"This is a toy 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."
Chich.--"He is a heretic, and so none of the church, that doth hold any doctrine against the definition of the church; as a man to hold against transubstantiation. Cyprian 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."
Brad.--"Oh, my Lord! will ye 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 definition of that which ye call the church? I doubt not but that he which holdeth firmly the articles of our belief, though in other things he dissent from your definitions, yet he shall be saved."
"Yea," said both the bishops, (York and Chichester,) "this is your divinity."
Brad.--"No, it is Paul's; who saith, that if they hold the foundation, Christ, though they build upon him straw and stubble, yet they shall be saved."
York.--"Lord God! how you delight to lean, to so hard and dark places of the Scriptures."
Chich.--"I will show you how that Luther did excommunicate Zuinglius for this matter:" and so he read a place of Luther making for his purpose.
Brad.--"My Lord, what Luther writeth, as you much pass not, no more do I in this case. My faith is not builded on Luther, Zuinglius, or colampadius, in this point: and indeed to tell you truly, I never read any of their works in this matter. As for them, I do think assuredly that they were, and are, God's children, and saints with him."
York. "Well, you are out of the communion of the church."
Brad.--"I am not; for it consisteth and is in faith."
York.--"Lo, how you make your church invisible; for you would have the communion of it to consist in faith."
Brad.--"For to have communion with the church needeth no visibleness of it; for communion consisteth, as I said, in faith, and not in exterior ceremonies, as appeareth both by Paul, who would have one faith, and by Irenĉus to Victor, for the observation of Easter; saying that disagreeing of fasting should not break the agreeing of faith."
Chich.--"The same place hath often even wounded my conscience, because we dissevered ourselves from the see of Rome."
Brad.--"Well, God forgive you; for you have done evil to bring England thither again."
Here my Lord of York took a book of paper of common-places, 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," said Augustine, "the succession of priests from Peter's seat until this present bishop. Last of all, the very name of catholic doth hold me," &c. "Lo," quoth he, "how say you to this of St. Augustine? Paint me out your church thus."
Brad.--"My Lord, these words of St. Augustine make as much for me as for you: although I might answer, that all this, if they had been so firm as you make them, might have been alleged against Christ and his apostles: for there was the law and the ceremonies consented on by the whole people, confirmed with miracles, antiquity, and continual succession of bishops from Aaron's time until that present."
Chick.--"In good faith, Master Bradford, you make too much of the state of the church before Christ's coming."
Brad.--"Therein I do but as Peter teacheth, 2 Pet. ii., 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."
York.--"Yea, you think that none is of the church, but such as suffer persecution."
Brad.--"What I think, God knoweth: I pray your Grace judge me by my words and speaking, and mark what Paul saith, All that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. Sometimes Christ's church hath rest here; but commonly it is not so, and specially towards the end her form will be more unseemly."
York.--"But what say you to St. Augustine? where is your church that hath the consent of people and nations?"
Brad.--"Even all people and nations that be God's people have consented with me, and I with them, in the doctrine of faith."
York.--"Lo, you go about to shift off all things."
Brad.--"No, my Lord; I mean simply, and so speak, God knoweth."
York.--"St. Augustine doth here talk of succession, even from Peter's seat."
Brad.--"Yea, that seat then was nothing so much corrupt as it is now."
York.--"Well, you always judge the church." Brad.--"No, my Lord; Christ's sheep discern Christ's voice, but they judge it not; so they discern the church, but judge her not."
York.--"Yes, that they do."
Brad.--"No, and it like your Grace; and yet full well may one not only doubt, but judge also of the Romish church; for she obeyeth not Christ's voice, as Christ's true church doth."
Brad.--"In Latin service, and robbing the laity of Christ's cup in the sacrament; and in many other things, in which it committeth most horrible sacrilege."
Chich.--"Why, Latin service was in England when the pope was gone."
Brad.--"True; the time was in England when the pope was away, but not all popery -- as in King Henry's days."
York.--"Latin service was appointed to be sung and had in the choir, where only were clerici, that is, such as understood Latin; the people sitting in the body of the church, praying their own private prayers; and this may well be yet seen by making of the chancel and choir so as the people could not come in, or hear them."
Brad.--"Yea, but both in Chrysostom's time, and also in the Latin church in St. Jerome's time, 'all the church,' saith he, 'answereth again mightily, Amen:' whereby we may see that the prayers were made so, that both the people heard them and understood them."
Chick.--"Ye are to blame, to say that the church robbeth the people of the cup."
Brad.--"Well, my Lord, term it as it please you; all men know that the laity hath none of it."
Chich.--"Indeed I would wish the church would define again, that they might have it, for my part."
Brad.--"If God make it free, who can define to make it bond?"
York.--"Well, Master Bradford, we leese our labour; for ye seek to put away all things which are told you to your good: your church no man can know."
Brad.--"Yes, that ye may well."
York.--"I pray you whereby?"
Brad.--"Forsooth Chrysostom saith, 'alonely by the Scriptures:' and this speaketh he very oftentimes, as ye well know."
York.--"Indeed 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."
Brad.--"No, my Lord, Lyra full well writeth upon Matthew, that '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 Hilary's time, you know he writeth to Auxentius, that the church was hidden rather in caves and holes, than did glister and shine in thrones of pre-eminence."
HEN came one of their servants and told them, that my Lord of Durham tarried for them at Master York's house; and this was after that they had tarried three hours with Bradford. And after that their man was come, they put up their written books of common-places, and said that they lamented his case: they willed him to read over a book which did Dr. Crome good. And so, wishing him good in words, they went their way, and poor Bradford to his prison.
After this communication with the bishops ended, within two days following came into the Compter two Spanish friars to talk with Master Bradford, sent (as they said) by the earl of Derby; of whom the one was the king's confessor, the other was Alphonsus, who had before written a popish book against heresies, the effect of which their reasoning here likewise followeth.
On the twenty-fifth day of February, about eight of the clock in the morning, two Spanish friars came to the Compter where Bradford was prisoner; to whom Bradford was called. Then the one friar, which was the king's confessor, asked in Latin (for all their talk was in Latin) of Bradford, whether he had not seen or heard of one Alphonsus, that had written against heresies?
Brad.--"I do not know him."
Confessor.--"Well, this man [pointing to Alphonsus] is he. We are come to you of love and charity, by the means of the earl of Derby, because you desired to confer with us."
Brad.-"I never desired your coming, nor to confer with you, or any other: but, seeing you are come of charity, as you say, I cannot but thank you; and as touching conference, though I desire it not, yet I will not refuse to talk with you, if you will."
Alph.--"It were requisite that you did pray unto God, that ye might follow the direction of God's Spirit, that be would inspire you, so that ye be not addict to your own self-will or wit."
Whereupon Bradford made a prayer, and besought God to direct all their wills, words, and works, as the wills, words, and works of his children for ever.
Alph.--"Yea, you must pray with your heart. For if you speak but with tongue only, God will not give you his grace."
Brad.--"Sir, do not judge, lest ye be judged. You have heard my words: now charity would have you leave the judgment of the heart to God."
Alph.--"You must be as it were a neuter, and not wedded to yourself, but as one standing in doubt. Pray and be ready to receive what God shall inspire; for in vain laboureth our tongue to speak else."
Brad.--"Sir, my sentence, if you mean it for religion, must not be in a doubting or uncertain, as I thank God I am certain in that for which I am condemned: I have no cause to doubt of it, 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 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 both glad of your coming, and thank you for it."
Alph.--"What is the matter whereof you were condemned? We know not."
Brad.--"Sir, I have been in prison almost two years: I never transgressed any of their laws where-for I might justly be prisoned; and now am I condemned, only because I frankly confessed (whereof I repent not) my faith concerning the sacrament, when I was demanded in these two points: one, that there is no transubstantiation; the other, that the wicked do not receive Christ's body."
Alph.--"Let us look a little on the first. Do you not believe that Christ is present really and corporally in the form of bread?"
Brad.--"No, I do believe that 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 believe."
Alph.--"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 every where, and the other is in his proper place; demanding such questions as no wise man would have spent any time about. At length, because the friar had forgotten to conclude, Bradford put him in mind of it, and thus then at length he concluded: How that because Christ's body was circumscriptible, concerning the human nature in heaven, therefore it was so in the bread.
Brad.--"How hangeth this together? Even as if you should say, because you are here, ergo, it must needs follow that you are at Rome. For thus you reason,--Because Christ's body is in heaven, ergo, it is in the sacrament under the form of bread: which no wise man will grant."
Alph.--"Why! will you believe nothing but that which is expressly spoken in the Scriptures?"
Brad.--"Yes, sir, I will believe whatsoever you shall by demonstration out of the Scriptures declare unto me."
"He is obstinate," quoth Alphonsus to his fellow: and then turning to Bradford, said, "Is not God able to do it?"
Brad.--"Yes, but here the question is of God's will, and not of his power."
Alph.--"Why! doth he not say plainly, This is my body?"
Brad.--"Yes, and I deny not but that it is so, to the faith of the worthy receiver."
Alph.--"To the faith!--how is that?"
Brad.--"Forsooth, sir, as I have no tongue to express it; so I know ye have no ears to hear and understand it. For faith is more than man can utter."
Alph.--"But I can tell all that I believe."
Brad.--"You believe not much then; for if you believe the joys of heaven, and believe no more thereof than you can tell, you will not yet desire to come thither. For as the mind is more capable and receivable than the mouth, so it conceiveth more than tongue can express."
Alph.--"Christ saith it is his body."
Brad.--"And so say I, after a certain manner."
Alph.--"After a certain manner? that is, after another manner than it is in heaven."
Brad.--"St. Augustine telleth it more plainly, that it is Christ's body after the same manner as 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."
Alph.--"Very well said: baptism and the water thereof is a sacrament of God's grace and Spirit in the water cleansing the baptized."
Brad.--"No, sir, away with your enclosing; 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."
Alph.--"In water is God's grace, by signification."
Brad.--"So is the body in the bread in the sacrament."
Mph.--"You are much deceived, in that you make no difference between the sacraments that be standers, and the sacraments that are transitory and passers-by. As for example, the sacrament of Orders, which you deny, though St. Augustine affirm it; it is a standard, although the ceremony be past. But in baptism, so soon as the body is washed, the water ceaseth to be a sacrament."
Brad.--"Very good; and so it is in the supper of the Lord: no longer than it is in use, is it Christ's sacrament."
Here was this friar in a wonderful rage, and spake so high (as often he had done before) that the whole house rang again, chafing with om and cho. He hath a great name of learning, but surely he hath little patience; for if Bradford had been any thing hot, one house could not have held them. At the length he cometh to this point, that Bradford could not find in the Scripture baptism and the Lord's supper to bear any similitude to each other. And here he triumphed before the conquest, saying, that these men would receive nothing but Scripture, and yet were able to prove nothing by the Scripture.
Brad.--"Be patient, and you shall see that by the Scripture I will find baptism and the Lord's supper coupled together."
Alph.--"No, that canst thou never do. Let me see a text of it."
Brad.--"Paul saith; that as we are baptized into one body, we have drunk of one spirit, meaning the cup in the Lord's supper."
Alph.--"Paul hath no such words."
Brad.--"Yes, that he hath."
Confessor.--"I trow, he hath not."
Brad.--"Give me a Testament, and I will show you."
So a priest that sat by them gave him his Testament, and he showed them the plain text. Then they looked one upon another. In fine the friar found this simple shift, that Paul spake not of the sacrament.
Brad.--"Well, the text is plain enough, and there are of the fathers which do so understand the place: for Chrysostom doth expound it so."
Alphonsus, who had the Testament in his hand, desirous to suppress this foil, turned the leaves of the book from leaf to leaf, till he came to the place (1 Cor. xi.); and there he read how that he was guilty who made no difference of the Lord's body.
Brad.--"Yea, but therewith he saith, He that eateth of the bread; calling it bread still: and that after consecration, (as ye call it,) as in 1 Cor. x., he saith, The bread which we break, &c."
Alph.--"Oh how ignorant are ye, which know not that things, after their conversion, do retain the same names which they had before, as Moses' rod!"
Here Alphonsus, calling for a Bible, after he had found the place began to triumph: but Bradford cooled him quickly, saying:
Brad.--"Sir, there is mention made of the conversion, as well as that the same appeared to the sense: but here ye cannot find it so. Find me one word how the bread is converted, and I will then say, ye bring some matter that maketh for you."
At these words the friar was troubled, and at length he said, how that Bradford hanged on his own sense.
Brad.--"No, that do I not; for I will bring you forth the fathers of the church eight hundred years after Christ, to confirm this which I speak."
Alph.--"No, you have the church against you."
Brad.--"I have not Christ's church against me."
Alph.--"Yes, that you have. What is the church?"
Brad.--"Christ's wife, the chair and seat of verity."
Alph.--"Is she visible?"
Brad.--"Yea, that she is to them that will put on the spectacles of God's word to look on her."
Alph.--"This church hath defined the contrary, and that I will prove by all the good fathers from Christ's ascension, even for eight hundred years at the least continually."
Brad.--"What will you so prove? Transubstantiation?"
Alph.--"Yea, that the bread is turned into Christ's body."
Brad.--"You speak more than you can do."
Alph.--"That do I not."
Brad.--"Then will I give place."
Alph.--"Will you believe?"
Brad.--"Belief is God's gift; therefore cannot I promise. But I tell you that I will give place; and I hope I shall believe his truth always, so good is he to me in Christ my Saviour."
Here the friar found a great fault with Bradford, that he made no difference betwixt habitus and actus: as though actus, which he called credulity, had been in our power. But this he let pass, and came again, asking Bradford, if he could prove it as he said, whether he would give place?"Yea, that I will." Then called he for paper, pen, and ink, to write; and then said I, "What and if that I prove, by the testimony of the fathers, that continually, for eight hundred years after Christ at the least, they did believe that the substance of bread doth remain in the sacrament -- what will ye do?"
Alph.--"I will give place."
Brad.--"Then write you here, that you will give place if I so prove; and I will write that I will give place if you so prove: because ye are the ancient, ye shall have the pre-eminency."
Here the friar fumed marvellously, and said, "I came not to learn at thee: are not here witnesses? [meaning the two priests] be not they sufficient?" But the man was so chafed, that if Bradford had not passed over this matter of writing, the friar would have fallen to plain scolding. At the length the king's confessor ĉsked Bradford what the second question was?
Brad.--"That wicked men receive not Christ's body in the sacrament, as St. Augustine speaketh of Judas, that he received the bread of the Lord, but not the Lord the bread."
Alph.--"St. Augustine saith not so."
Brad.--"Yes, that doth he."
So they arose and talked no more of that matter. Thus went they away, without bidding Bradford farewell.-- After they were gone, one of the priests came, and willed Bradford not to be so obstinate.
Brad.--"Sir, be not you so wavering; in all the Scripture cannot you find me non est panis."
Priest.--"Yes, that I can in five places."
Brad.--"Then I will eat your book."
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.
It followed after this, upon the twenty-first of March, that by means of one of the earl of Derby's men, 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 Master Bradford learned that Dr. Weston, dean of Westminster, would be with him in the afternoon about two of the clock. At dinner time -- when the said warden did discommend King Edward, and went about to set forth the authority of the pope, which Bradford withstood, defending the king's faith, that it was catholic, and that the authority of the bishop of Rome's 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 the said Bradford took occasion to rise from the table, and so went to his prison-chamber to beg of God grace and help therein, continuing there still until he was called down to speak with Master Weston, who was then come in.
Master Bradford then being called down, so soon as he was entered into the hall, Master Weston very gently took him by the hand, and asked how he did; with such other talk. At length he willed avoidance of the chamber: so they all went out, save Master Weston himself, Master Collier, the earl of Derby's servant, the subdean of Westminster, the keeper, Master Claydon, and the parson of the church where the Compter is.
Now then he began with Master Bradford, to tell how that he was often minded to have come unto him, being thereto desired of the earl of Derby "and," quoth he, "after that I perceived by this 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 Master Bradford, "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 Bradford, "otherwise I desired not your coming."
"Well," quoth Weston, "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 vain-glory, and not hold any thing for the praise of the world."
Brad.--"Sir, St. Augustine maketh that indeed a piece of the definition of a heretic; which if I cannot put away clean, (for I think there will be 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 there against, and desire all the dregs of it utterly to be driven out of us."
West.--"I am glad to hear you say so, although indeed 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."
Brad.--"Sir, 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."
West.--"Very well; 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 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," &c.
Brad.--"Sir, 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."
West.--"You know that St. Augustine was a Manichean, yet was he converted at the length; so have I good hope of you."
Brad.--"Sir, because I will not flatter you, I would you should flatly know, that I am even settled in the religion, wherefore I am condemned."
West.--"Yea, but if it be not the truth, and you see evident matter to the contrary, will you not then give place?"
Brad.--"God forbid, but that I should always give place to the truth."
West.--"I would have you to pray so."
Brad.--"So I do, and that he will more and more confirm me in it; as I thank God be hath done and doth."
West.--"Yea, but pray with a condition, if you be in it."
Brad.--"No, sir, I cannot pray so, because I am settled and assured of his truth."
"Well," quoth Weston, "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," quoth he, "I hope your prayers [for then Bradford's eyes did show that he had wept in prayer] cannot but he heard of God, though not as you would, yet as best shall please God. Do ye not," quoth he, "remember the history thereof?"
"Yea, sir," quoth Bradford, "I think it be of St. Ambrose."
West.--"No, that it is not."
And here Weston would have laid a wager, and began to triumph, saying to Bradford, "As you are overseen herein, so are you in other things."
Brad.--"Well, sir, I will not contend with you for the name. This (I remember) St. Augustine writeth in his Confessions."
After this talk, Weston began to tell Master Bradford, how the people were by him procured to withstand the queen. Whereunto Bradford, answering again, bade him hang him up as a traitor and a thief, if ever he encouraged any to rebellion: which thing his keeper, and others that were there of the priests, affirmed on his behalf: so, much talk there was to little purpose at that time. Dr. Weston declared moreover how he had saved men going in the cart to be hanged, and such like. The end was this, that Bradford should send unto him capita doctrinĉ of the supper, and after Wednesday he would come unto him again. And thus departed he, after that he had drunk to him in beer and wine. I omit here talk of Oxford, of books of German writers, of the fear of death, and such other talk, which is to no purpose.
Another disputation or talk between Master Bradford and Dr. Pendleton.
In the mean time, when Master Bradford had written his reasons and arguments, and had sent them to Dr. Weston, in short space after, (about the twenty-eighth of March,) there came to the Compter Dr. Pendleton, and with him the foresaid Master Collier, sometime warden of Manchester, and Stephen Bech. After salutations Master Pendleton began to speak to Bradford, that he was sorry for his trouble. "And further," quoth Pendleton, "After that I did know you could be content to talk with me, I made the more speed, being as ready to do thee good, and pleasure thee what I can, as ye would wish."
Bradford.--"Sir, the manner how I was content to speak with you, was on this sort: Master Bech was often in hand with me whom he should bring unto me, and named you amongst others; and I said, that I had rather speak with you, than with any of all the others. Now the cause why 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 that you have seen since, which you saw not before."
Pendleton.--"Master Bradford, I do not know wherefore you are condemned."
Brad.--"Transubstantiation is the cause wherefore I am condemned, and because I deny that wicked men do receive Christ's body: wherein I would desire you to show me what reasons, which before you knew not, did move your conscience now to alter. For once (as I said) you were as I am in religion."
Here Master Pendleton, half amazed, began to excuse himself, if it would have been, as though he had not denied fully transubstantiation indeed, "although I said," quoth he, "that the word was not in Scripture;" and so he made an endless tale of the thing that moved him to alter: "but," said he, "I will gather to you the places which moved me, and send you them." And here he desired Bradford, that he might have a copy of that which he had sent to Master Weston; the which Bradford did promise him.
Some reasoning also they had, whether evil men did receive Christ's body, Bradford denying, and Pendleton affirming. Bradford said that they received not the spirit: ergo, not the body; for it is no dead carcass. Hereto Bradford brought also St. Augustine, how Judas received panem Domini, and not panem Dominum; and how that he must be in Christ's body, which must receive the body of Christ. But Pendleton went about to put it away with idem, and not ad idem, and how that in corpore Christi was to be understood of all that be in the visible church with God's elect. Bradford denied this to be St. Augustine's meaning; and said, also, that the allegation of idem, and not ad idem, could not make for that purpose. They talked more of transubstantiation, Pendleton bringing forth Cyprian; panis natura mutatur, &c. And Bradford said, that in that place natura did not signify substance. As 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 soul. Here also Bradford alleged the sentence of Gelasius. Pendleton said, that he was a pope. "Yea," said Bradford, "but his faith is my faith in the sacrament, if ye would receive it."
They reasoned also whether accidentia were res, or no. If they be properly res, said Bradford, then are they substances; and if they be substances they are earthly, and then are there earthly substances in the sacrament, as Irenĉus saith, which must needs be bread. But Pendleton said that the colour was the earthly thing; and called it "an accidental substance."
I omit the talk they had of my Lord of Canterbury, of Peter Martyr's book, of Pendleton's letter laid to Bradford's charge when he was condemned, with other talk more of the church; whether die ecclesiĉ was spoken of the universal church, or of a particular (which Pendleton at the length granted to be spoken of a particular church): also of vain-glory, which he willed Bradford to beware of; and such-like talk. A little before his departing Bradford said thus, "Master Doctor, 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 hitherto I have seen nothing in any point to infirm me." At which words Pendleton was something moved, and said that it was no catholic doctrine. "Yes," quoth Bradford, "and that will I prove even by the testimony of the catholic fathers until the council of Lateran, or thereabouts." Thus Pendleton went his way, saying, that he would come oftener to Bradford.-- God our Father be with us all, and give us the spirit of his truth for ever. Amen.
The same day in the afternoon, about five of the clock, came Master Weston to Bradford; and after gentle salutations, he desired the company every man to depart; and so they two sat down. And after that he had thanked Bradford for his writing unto him, he pulled out of his bosom the same writing which Bradford had sent him. The writing is this that followeth.
Certain reasons against transubstantiation, gathered by John Bradford, and given to Dr. Weston and others.
"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 Innocent, 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 Durham 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 1000 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 Irenĉus, 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 affirm 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, &c.
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 Corinth, of Philippi, Colosse, 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 was the writing which Weston pulled out of his bosom: and yet, before he began to read it, he showed Bradford that he asked of his conversation at Cambridge since his last being with him; "and," quoth he, "Master Bradford, because you are a man not given to the glory of the 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 it; and therefore I love you much better than ever I did; but now I will read over your arguments, and so we will confer them. Such they are, that a man may well perceive you stand on conscience, and therefore I am the more ready and glad to pity you." So he began to read the first; to the which he said, that though the word transubstantiation began but lately, yet the thing always was, and hath been since Christ's institution.
Brad.--"I do not contend, or hang upon the word only, but upon the thing, which is as new as the word."
Then went Weston 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, going to God, did never lie, or use any figurative speech in his last will and testament. "Do you not remember this place of St. Augustine;" said he?
Brad.--"Yes, sir, but I remember not that St. Augustine hath those words, tropicè or figurative, as you rehearse them: for any man may speak a thing figuratively, and lie not: and so Christ did in his last supper."
After this Weston went to the third, and brought forth Cyprian, bow that the nature of bread is turned into flesh. "Here," saith he, "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 the Scripture is wont to call things by the same names which they had before, as Simon the leper; he was not so presently, but because he had been so."
Brad.--"Cyprian wrote before Gelasius: therefore Cyprian must not expound Gelasius, but Gelasins Cyprian: and so they both teach, that bread remaineth still. As for things having still the names they had, it is no answer, except you could show that this now were not bread, as easily as a man might have known and seen then Simon to have been healed and clear from his leprosy."
After this, Weston went to the fourth, of the cup, the which he did not fully read, but digressed into a long talk of Cyprian's epistle 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 Bradford prayed him, that inasmuch as he had written the reasons that stablished his faith against transubstantiation, so he would likewise do to him, that is, answer him by writing, and show him more reasons in writing to confirm transubstantiation; which Dr. Weston promised to do, and said that he would send or bring it to Master Bradford again within three days.
Thus, when he had over-read the arguments, and here and there spoken little to the purpose for the avoiding of them, and Bradford had prayed him to give him in writing his answers, then he began to tell Bradford how and what he had done for Grimoald, and how that Bradford needed not to fear any reproach or slander he should suffer: meaning belike to have Bradford secretly to come to them, as Grimoald did; for he subscribed.
Brad.--"Master Dean, I would not gladly that you should 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 heard or seen 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 to be plain with you, and to tell you at the first, as you shall find at the last."
West.--"In good faith, Master Bradford, I love you the better for your plainness; and do not think otherwise of me, but that you shall find me plain in all my talk with you."
Here Weston began to ask Bradford of his imprisonment and condemnation: and so Bradford told him altogether, how he had been handled; whereat Weston seemed to wonder: yea, in plain words he said, that Bradford had been handled otherwise than he had given cause; and so showed Bradford how that my Lord of Bath reported that he had deserved a benefit at the queen's hand, and at all the council's. In this kind of talk they spent an hour almost, and so, as one weary, Bradford rose up, and Weston called to the keeper, and before him he bade Bradford be of good comfort, and said that he was out of all peril of death. "Sir," quoth the keeper, "but it is in every man's mouth that he shall die to-morrow." Whereat Weston seemed half amazed, and said, he would go say even-song before the queen, and speak to her in his behalf. But it is to be thought that the queen had almost supped at that present; for it was past six of the clock.
Before the keeper, Bradford told Weston again that still he was one man, and even as he was at the first; and till he should see matter to teach his conscience the contrary, he said he must needs so continue. The keeper desired Bradford to hearken to Master Doctor's counsel, and prayed Master Doctor to be good unto him: and so after they had drunk together, Master Doctor with most gentle words took his leave for three days.
Now when he was gone, the keeper told Bradford, that Master Doctor spake openly how that he saw no cause why they should burn him: which sentence, for the ambiguity of the meaning, made him somewhat sorry, lest he had behaved himself in any thing, wherein he had gathered any conformableness to them in their doctrine, "which, God knoweth," saith Bradford, "I never as yet did." God our Father bless us, as his children, and keep us from all evil for ever. Amen.
Another talk or conference between Master Bradford and Doctor Weston.
On 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 Dr. Pendleton told him that he would come unto him; "and partly for that," quoth he, "I withstood certain monks, which would have come again into Westminster; "telling him, moreover, how that the pope was dead. And also declared unto him, how he had spoken to the queen in his behalf, and how that death was not near to him. Last of all Weston excused himself for not answering his arguments against transubstantiation; "because my coming today," quoth he, "was more by fortune, than of purpose."
Brad.--"I would gladly, Master Doctor, if it please you, see your answers to my arguments."
Weston.--"Why? you have remembered something that I spake to you, when I was last with you."
Brad.--"No, sir, I never called them in manner to mind, since that time, as well because I hoped you would have written them; as also for that they seemed not to be so material."
Weston.--"In good faith, I cannot see any other or better way for you, than for to submit yourself to the judgment of the church."
Brad.--"Marry so will I, sir, if so be by the church you understand Christ's church."
Weston.--"Lo, you take upon you to judge the church."
Brad.--"No, sir, that I do not; in taking upon me to discern, I do not judge the church."
Weston.--"Yes, that you do; and make it invisible."
Brad.--"I do neither."
Weston.--"Why, who can see your church?"
Brad.--"Those, sir, that have spiritual eyes, wherewith they might have discerned Christ's visible conversation here upon earth."
Weston.--"Nay, Christ's church hath three tokens, that all men may look well upon; namely, unity, antiquity, and consent."
Brad.--"These three 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 an example; idolatry amongst the Israelites had all those three. Chrysostom telleth plainly, as you well know, that the church is well known, tantummodo per Scripturas, alonely by the Scriptures."
Weston.--"In good faith, you make your church invisible, when you will have it known alonely by the Scriptures."
Brad.--"No, sir, the Scriptures do plainly set forth to us the church, that all men may well enough thereby know her, if they list to look."
Weston.--"The church is like a tower or town upon a hill, that all men may see."
Brad.--"True, sir, 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."
Weston.--"Where was your church forty years ago, or where is it now, except in a corner of Germany?"
Brad.--"Forsooth, sir, 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."
West.--"Lo, is not this to make the church invisible? Point me out a realm a hundred years past, which maintained your doctrine."
Brad.--"Sir, 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 shows of the church to be made, as to point it by realms. You know that in Elias's time, both in Israel and elsewhere, God's church was not pointable; and therefore cried he out, that he was left alone."
West.--"No, marry; did not God say that there were seven thousand which had not bowed their knees to Baal? Lo then seven thousand. Show me seven thousand a hundred years ago of your religion."
Brad.--"Sir, these seven thousand were not known to men: for then Elias would not have said, that he had been before left alone. And it 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 hath reserved to himself, to his own knowledge; as I doubt not but a hundred years ago God had his seven thousand in his proper places, though men knew not thereof."
West.--"Well, Master Bradford, I will not make your case worse than for transubstantiation: although I know that we agree not in other matters. And I pray you 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 you life, except you will submit yourself to the definition of the church."
Brad.--"Sir, 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."
West.--"In good faith, Master Bradford, 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, came the keeper, Master Claydon, and Stephen Bech; and they were very hot with Bradford, and spake with him in such sort that he should not look but to have them utter enemies unto him, notwithstanding the friendship they both had 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 commendations, had this talk with him, which I thought here not to over-slip.
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 do?"
Master Bradford answered, "Well; I thank God. For as men in sailing, which be near to the shore or haven where they would be, would be nearer; even so the nearer I am to God, the nearer I would be."
Servant.--"Sir, I have never seen you so strong and healthsome of body, as methinketh you be now, God be thanked for it."
"Why," quoth Bradford, "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."
Serv.--"Well, God hath done much for you since the time that I first knew you, and hath wrought wondrously in you to his glory."
Brad.--"Truth it is: for he hath dealt favourably with me, in that he hath not punished me according to my sins, but hath suffered me to live, that I might seek repentance."
Serv.--"Truly, we hear say, there is a rod made so grievous, out of the which I think no man shall pluck his head."
Brad.--"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."
Serv.--"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 do 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 Fonso) and with divers other; and I praise God they have confirmed me: for they have nothing to say but that which is most vain."
Serv.--"Sir, father Cardmaker hath him commended unto you."
Brad.--"How doth he? how doth he?"
Serv.--"Well, God be thanked."
Brad.--"I am very glad thereof: for indeed my Lord Chancellor did cast him in my teeth; but, as David saith, God hath disappointed him."
Serv.--"Forsooth (God's name be praised) he is very strong."
Brad.--"And, I trust, so are we. What else? our quarrel is most just: therefore let us not be afraid."
Serv.--"My mistress hath her recommended unto you."
Brad.--"How doth she?"
Serv.--"Well, God be praised, but she hath been sorer afflicted with her own father and mother, than ever you were with your imprisonment, and yet God hath preserved her, I trust, to his glory."
Brad.--"I pray you tell her, I read this day a goodly history, written by Basil the Great, of a virtuous woman which was a widow, and was named Juletta. 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 so do: '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 honour of the ever living 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 all 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."
Serv.--"That shall I, sir, by God's grace: for she told me that she was with you and Master Saunders, and received your gentle counsel."
Brad.--"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 eleven of the clock there was such rapping at the door."
Then answered a maid, and said, "Why then I perceive you were afraid."
Brad.--"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."
Serv.--"Do you lack any thing towards your necessity?"
Brad.--"Nothing but your prayers; and I trust I have them, and you mine."
Serv.--"I saw a priest come to you to-day in the morning."
Brad.--"Yea, he brought me a letter from a friar, and I am writing an answer."
Serv.--"Then we let you: therefore the living God be with you."
Brad.--"And with you also, and bless you."
"Amen," said he; and gave him thanks and departed.
Thus still in prison continued Bradford, until the month of July, in such labours 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 afore 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.
Lines in memory of John Bradford, martyr.
Lament we may both day and night
For this our brother dear;
Bradford, a man, both just and right,
There were but few his peer.
For God's true servant he was known
In every city and town:
His word amongst them he hath sown
Till it was trodden down.
There was no man could him appeach
Neither in word nor deed;
But that he lived as he did teach,
In fear of God and dread.
Since that the time he did profess
God's holy word most true,
No riches, substance more or less,
Could turn his heart anew.
From God's true word he would not slide,
Though it was to his pain;
But in the truth he did abide,
All men might know it plain.
The wicked men, they did him take,
And promise him much store,
To cause him this his God forsake,
And preach the truth no more.
But he, for all that they could say,
Would not his God displease;
But trusted, at the judgment clay,
His joy would then increase.
And where they punished him therefore,
Full well he did it take:
He thought no pains could be so sore
To suffer for Christ's sake.
Alas! the people did lament,
When that they did hear tell
That he in Smithfield should be burnt,
No more with us to dwell.
His preaching was both true and good,
His countenance meek and mild;
Alas! the shedding of his blood
Pleas'd neither man nor child:
Save only they, which had the law
At that time in their hand;
Which still desire more in to draw,
And catch them in their band.
O wicked men of little grace!
Was ever the like seen
So many men, in such a space,
To death consumed clean?
How many of you papists all
Would not with speed return
From your doctrine papistical,
If that you knew to burn!
And where you would not give him leave
His mind forth for to break;
All men of God will him believe,
Though little he did speak.
In going to the burning fire,
He talked all the way:
The people then he did desire
For him that they would pray.
And when he came unto the place
Whereas then he should die,
Full meek the fire he did embrace,
And said, "Welcome to me."
A servant true of God, I say,
With him that time did burn;
Because in God's word he did stay,
Not willing to return.
But quietly were both content
Their death to take truly;
Which made the people's hearts to rent
Their deathful pangs to see.