297. JOHN BLAND.
The history of Master John Bland, preacher and martyr, constantly suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ.HE twelfth day of July, John Bland,John Frankesh, Nicholas Sheterden, and Humfrey Middleton, were all four burned at Canterbury together, for one cause; of the which number, Frankesh and Bland were ministers and preachers of the word of God, the one being parson of Adisham, the other the vicar of Rolvenden. This Master Bland was a man so little born for his own commodity, that no part of his life was separated from the common and public utility of all men; for his first doings were there employed to the bringing up of children in learning and virtue: under whom were trained divers towardly young men, which even at this present do handsomely flourish; in the number of whom is Dr. Sands, a man of singular learning and worthiness, as may well beseem a scholar meet for such a schoolmaster, whom I gladly here name for his singular gifts of virtue and erudition.
After this he, coming to the ministry in the church of God, or rather being called thereto, was inflamed with incredible desire to profit the congregation; which may appear by this, that whereas he was cast into Canterbury prison for the preaching of the gospel, and delivered once or twice from thence at the suit of his friends, yet would he needs preach the gospel again as soon as he was delivered. Whereupon he, being the third time apprehended, when his friends yet once again would have found the means to have delivered him if he would have promised to abstain from preaching; he stood in it earnestly, that he would admit no such condition, notably well expressing unto us the manner and example which we read in the apostle Paul: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, or anguish, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or the sword? &c. But to express the whole life and doings of this godly martyr, seeing we have his own testimony concerning the same, it shall be best to refer the reader to his own report, writing to his father of the whole discourse of his troubles, from the beginning almost to the latter end, in order and manner as ye shall hear.
A discourse of the whole process and doings of Master Bland, written and reported by himself to his father in his own letter as followeth.
"Dearly beloved father in Christ Jesus, I thank you for your gentle letters; and, to satisfy your mind, as concerning the troubles whereof you have heard, these shall both declare unto you all my vexations that have chanced me since ye were with me, and also since I received your last letters. God keep you ever.
"First, the third of September, being Sunday, after service ended, ere I had put off my surplice, John Austen came to the table, (commonly called the Lord's table,) and laid both his hands upon it, saying, 'Who set this here again?' (Now they say they took the table down the Sunday before, which I knew not, neither do I know who set it up again.) The clerk answered, that he knew not. Then Austen said, 'He is a knave that set it here.' I was then going down the church, marvelling what he meant, and said, 'Goodman Austen, the queen's Highness hath set forth a proclamation, that ye may move no sedition.' And ere I could speak any more, he said, 'Thou art a knave:' and I said, 'Well, goodman Austen, that I have said, I have said.' 'By God's soul,' quoth he, 'thou art a very knave.'
"Then my clerk spake to him, but what I am not sure: but he said, 'Ye are both heretic knaves, and have deceived us with this fashion too long; and if he say any service here again, I will lay the table on his face.' And in that rage he with others took up the table, and laid it on a chest in the chancel, and set the trestles by it. Wherefore I rode by and by to Master Isaac, and showed him the cause, both how seditiously he had spoken, and performed it with a like deed. Master Isaac directed a warrant to the constable or borsholder, which was incontinently served, so that he was brought before him the same night, and was bound by recognisance, with sureties, to appear, if he were called. But we agreed so well then, that it was never called for; the table was brought down, and was permitted, as before.
"The twenty-sixth of November, being Sunday, Richard Austen and his brother Thomas came to the foresaid table after the communion was done; and as I was going by them, Richard said unto me, 'Master Parson, we have to speak to you.' And I said, What is your will?' And he said, 'You know that you took down the tabernacle or ceiling wherein the rood did hang, and such other things: we would know what recompence you will make us. For the queen's proceedings are, as you know, that such must up again.' Quoth I, 'I know no such proceedings as yet; and as for that I did, I did it by commandment.' 'No,' said Thomas Austen, 'ye will not know the queen's proceedings.' 'Yes,' said I, 'I refuse not to know them.'
"Then said Richard, 'Ye are against the queen's proceedings; for you say there are abominable uses and devilishness in the mass.' 'Goodman Austen,' said I, 'if I so said, I will say it again; and, God willing, stand to the proof of it.' 'Masters all,' quoth Richard Austen, 'bear record of these words;' and went his way.
"Quoth Thomas Austen, 'Thou wilt as soon eat this book as stand to them.' 'No,' quoth I, 'not so soon.' 'Tell us,' quoth he, what that devilishness is, that is in the mass.' 'I have often preached it unto you,' said I, 'and ye have not believed it, nor borne it away, nor will now either, though I should tell you.'
"'Thou,' quoth he, 'hast told us always, like a heretic as thou art.' 'Now ye lie, goodman Austen,' quoth I, 'by your leave.' 'Marry,' quoth he, 'thou liest.' And I said, 'And you lie; for I have taught you Christ and his truth.'
"Quoth he,' Thou art a heretic, and hast taught us nothing but heresy; for thou canst say nothing that is true.' 'Yes, goodman Austen, I can say that God is in heaven; and ye will say (I trow) that it is true, and so have I taught you truly.'
"Quoth he, 'Thou hast taught us like a heretic, and hast said, that there is no devil in hell.' 'Well,' said I,' lie on; methinketh you can say little truth.'
"Many other taunts he gave, too long to write. And at the last he said, Ye pulled down the altar: will ye build it again?' 'No,' quoth I, 'except I be commanded; for I was commanded to do that I did.'
"'Well, if you will not,' said he, 'then will I: for I am a churchwarden.' 'I charge you,' said I, 'that you do not, except you have authority.'
"'I will,' said he, 'not let for your charge. For we will have a mass here on Sunday, and a preacher that shall prove thee a heretic, if thou dare abide his coming.' 'Yes,' quoth I, 'God willing, I will abide and hear him; for sure I am, that he cannot disprove any doctrine that I have preached.'
"'Yes,' quoth he, 'and that thou shalt hear, if thou run not away ere then.' 'No, goodman Austen, I will not run away.'
"'Marry,' quoth he, 'I cannot tell, thou art as like yea, as nay.' With many other words we came out of the church door, and so departed.
"When the Sunday came, I looked for our preacher, and at the time of morning-prayer, I said to the clerk, 'Why do ye not ring? ye forget that we shall have a sermon to-day.' 'No,' quoth he, 'Master Miles's servant hath been here this morning, and said his master hath letters from my Lord Chancellor, that he must go to London, and cannot come.' That day I did preach to them a sermon in his stead.
"Now have they slandered me, that I had prepared a company from divers places to have troubled him; but they agreed not in their lie; for some said, I had them at Adisham, and that Richard Austen had knowledge, and sent for the king's constable to see the peace kept, which is found a lie. Other said, I had them lying in wait for him between Canterbury and Adisham. Other said, I had them in both places, that if the one missed the other should not. God forgive them all! Now upon these two matters they crack that they sent two bills of complaint to the council: wherefore by the counsel of friends, I made this testimony, and sent it up by Master Wiseman."
The behaviour of John Bland, parson of Adis-ham, in the county of Kent, the Sunday, the third day of December last past, [1553,] containing the words which he there spake unto the people.
"Whereas upon certain communication bad between the said parson and Richard Austen and Thomas Austen, in the presence of all the parish of Adisham, the Sunday before St. Andrew's day last, the said Austen then declared, that the said parson had taught there in times past great heresies, which to confound, they would prepare a preacher against the next Sunday following, if so be the said parson would abide, and not run away: upon which rumour divers and sundry persons resorted out of the country, unto the said parish church, at the said same day appointed, there to hear the preacher; and at the time in which the sermon ought to be made, no man appeared there to preach. But it was reported unto the parson, that the preacher appointed had urgent business, and could not come: so that the multitude being now come together, the same parson, perceiving that the people's expectation was defrauded, said, 'Forasmuch as you are come willingly to hear some good advertisement of the preacher, who now cannot be present, I think it not convenient to permit you to depart without some exhortation for your edifying.' And so further declaring that he had no licence to preach, said that he would not meddle with any matter in controversy. And then he began the epistle of the day, desiring the audience to mark three or four places in the same epistle, which touched quietness and love one to another. And there briefly reading the epistle, he noted the same places; and so, making an end thereof, desired all men to depart quietly and in peace, as they did, without any manner of disturbance, or token of evil.
"Witnesses the undernamed, with divers others:
Another matter of trouble wrought against John Bland, as appeareth by his own narration.
"Upon the Innocents' day, being the twenty-eighth day of December, they had procured the priest of Stodmarsh to say them mass. He had nigh made an end of matins ere I came; and when he had made an end of matins, he said to me, 'Master Parson, your neighbours have desired me to say matins and mass: I trust ye will not be against the queen's proceedings.' 'No,' quoth I, 'I will offend none of the queen's Majesty's laws, God willing.' 'What say ye:' quoth he; and made as he had not heard. And I spake the same words to him again, with a higher voice; but he would not hear, though all the chancel heard. So I cried the third time, (that all in the church heard,) that I would not offend the queen's laws. And then he went to mass; and when he was reading the epistle, I called the clerk unto me with the beckoning of my finger, and said unto him, 'I pray you desire the priest, when the gospel is done, to tarry a little; I have something to say to the people.' And the clerk did so.
"And the priest came down to the stall, where he sat; and I stood up in the chancel door, and spake to the people of the great goodness of God, always showed unto his people, unto the time of Christ's coming; and in him and his coming, what benefit they past, we present, and our successors, have; and among other benefits, I spake of the great and comfortable sacrament of his body and blood. And after I had declared briefly the institution, the promise of life to the good, and damnation to the wicked, I spake of the bread and wine, affirming them to be bread and wine after the consecration, as yonder mass-book doth, saying, 'Holy bread of eternal life, and the cup of perpetual salvation: so that like as our bodily mouths eat the sacramental bread and wine, so doth the mouth of our souls (which is our faith) eat Christ's flesh and blood.'
"And when I had made an end of that, I spake of the misuse of the sacrament in the mass; so that I judged it in that use no sacrament: and showed how Christ bade us all eat and drink; and one only in the mass eateth and drinketh, and the rest kneel, knock, and worship.
"And after these things ended, as briefly as I could, I spake of the benefactors of the mass, and began to declare what men made the mass, and recited every man's name, and the patch that he put to the mass.
"And ere I had rehearsed them all, the churchwarden and the borsholder, his son-in-law, violently came upon me, and took my book from me, and pulled me down, and thrust me into the chancel, with an exceeding roar and cry. Some cried, 'Thou heretic;' some, 'Thou traitor; 'some, 'Thou rebel:' and when every man had said his pleasure and the rage was something past, 'Be quiet, good neighbours,' said I, 'and let me speak to you quietly. If I have offended any law, I will make answer before them that are in authority to correct me.' But they would not hear me, and pulled, one on this side, and another on that, and began again. Then Richard Austen said, 'Peace, masters; no more till mass be done' and they ceased.
"Then said I to the churchwarden and the borsholder, (either holding me by the arm,) 'Masters, let me go into the church-yard till your mass be done.' 'No,' quoth the churchwarden, 'thou shalt tarry here till mass be done.' 'I will not,' quoth I, 'but against my will.' And they said, 'Thou shalt tarry: for if thou go out, thou wilt run away.' Then said I to the borsholder, 'Lay me in the stocks, and then ye shall be sure of me:' and turned my back to the altar.
"By that time Richard Austen had devised what to do with me, and called to the borsholder and the churchwarden, and bade them put me into a side chapel, and shut the door to me; and there they made me tarry till mass was ended.
"When the mass was ended, they came into the chapel to me, and searched what I had about me; and found a dagger, and took it from me. Then said Thomas Austen, churchwarden, (after many brablings that they made with me,) 'Thou keepest a wife here amongst us, against God's law and the queen's.' 'Ye lie, goodman Austen,' said I, it is not against God's law, nor, as I suppose, against the queen's.'
"Thus they brought me out of the church, and without the door they railed on me, without pity or mercy: but anon the priest came out of the church, and Ramsey, that of late was clerk, said unto him, Sir, where dwell you? 'And therewith Thomas Austen took him by the arm, and said, 'Come on, sirrah, you are of his opinion:' and took his dagger from him, and said he should go with him. 'I am content,' said he, and a little mocked them in their envious talk.
"By this time there came in at the church stile, one John Gray, of Wingham, servant to John Smith, and seeing them hold Ramsey by the arms, said to him, 'How now, Ramsey, have you offended the queen's laws?' 'No,' quoth he. 'Then there is no transgression.' Therewith Thomas Austen took him, and said, 'Ye are one of their opinion; ye shall go with them for company:' and took his dagger from him, and then demanded what he did there? but after, I think, for very shame they let him go again; but they carried me and Ramsey to Canterbury, with eighteen persons weaponed. A sheet of paper will not hold the talk that we had that night with Master Hardes, justice, Master Oxenden, Master Spilman, and Master Tutsam.
"The next day they made a bill against me, but it served not their purpose, which was, that they would have had me to prison. But James Chapman and Bartholomew Joyes were bound in twenty pounds either of them, for my appearance at the next general sessions, or in the mean time to appear, if I were sent for before the queen's Majesty's council, or any other commissioners sent by the queen's authority. And Ramsey was bound to the peace, and to be of good behaviour till the next sessions. His sureties were Thomas Hogeking and Simon Barrat.
"Now the twenty-third or twenty-fourth of February, [1554,] Sir Thomas Finch, knight, and Master Hardes, sent for me and my sureties to Master Finch's place, and took me from my sureties, and sent me to the castle of Canterbury, by Sir Thomas Moyle's commandment, (they said,) where I lay ten weeks, and then was bailed, and bound to appear at the next sessions holden at Canterbury; but after they changed it to be at Ashford on the Thursday in Whitsun-week, being the nineteenth of May: but in the mean time the matter was exhibited to the Spiritual Court."
The first examination of Master John Bland in the Spiritual Court, before Doctor Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, and Master Collins, commissary, May 18, 1554.
"The eighteenth day of May, Master Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, made the mayor's serjeant to bring me before him and Master Collins, commissary, into Christ's church; and they went with me into a chamber, in the suffragan of Dover's house. Then the archdeacon said, 'Art thou a priest?' And I said, 'I was one.' And he said, 'Art thou a graduate of any university?' And I said, 'Yea.' 'What degree,' said he, 'hest thou taken?' 'The degree,' quoth I, 'of a Master of Arts.' 'The more pity,' quoth he, 'that thou shouldest behave thyself as thou hast done. Thou hast been a common preacher licensed, hast thou not?' And I said, 'I have been so.' 'Marry,' quoth he, 'so I understand.'
"'What hast thou preached?'
"And I said, 'God's word, to the edifying, I trust, of his people.'
"'No, no,' quoth he; 'to the destroying of their souls and thine both, except the mercy of God be all the greater. I pray thee, what hast thou preached? tell me.'
"'I told you,' quoth I, 'what I have preached.'
"'Nay, but tell me,' quoth he, 'what one matter hast thou preached to the edifying of the people, as thou sayest?' 'I will tell you no particular matter; for I perceive you would have some matter against me.'
"'No, by my faith,' quoth he, 'but only that I would win thee from heresies that thou art bewrapt in, and hast infected others withal: for thou hast preached, as I am informed, that the blessed sacrament of the altar is not the very body and blood of Jesus Christ after the consecration. Tell me, hast thou not thus preached? and is not this thine opinion?'
"'Sir,' quoth I, 'I perceive (as I said) that ye seek matter against me. But, seeing that I am bound in the sessions to my good behaviour for preaching, which may be broken with words, and well I know not with what words; and also both mine authority to preach and my living are taken from me, I think thus I am not bound to make you an answer.'"
Collins.--"Master Bland, do you not remember, that St. Peter biddeth you make answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the faith that is in you?"
Bland.--"I know that, and am content so to answer as that text biddeth: but I know that Master Archdeacon doth not ask me after that manner, but rather to bring me into trouble."
"Then they said, 'No, ye shall not be troubled for any thing that ye say here.'"
Bland.--"I am content for knowledge' sake to commune with you in any matter, but not otherwise."
"And so they fell in reasoning more than the space of an hour, of the sacrament, both against me. At the last Master Collins said, 'Master Bland, will ye come and take in hand to answer such matter on Monday next, as shall be laid to you?'"
Bland.--"Sir, ye said I should not be troubled for any thing that should be said here for learning's sake."
"And they said, Ye shall not, but it is for other matters."
Bland.--"Sir, I am bound to appear, as some tell me, on Thursday next at Ashford:. I am in doubt whether I can or no; yet I have purposed to be there, and so to go to London to Master Wiseman, for an obligation that he hath, whereby I should receive certain money to pay my debts withal."
"Then said Master Archdeacon, 'I will write to Master Wiseman, that ye shall sustain no loss.'"
Bland.--"That shall not need; for I can sustain no great loss, if I go not. But I pray you to let me have a longer day." "No," quoth he.
Bland.--"Sir, I cannot well come on Monday."
Harpsfield.--"Wilt thou not come, when he so gently speaketh to thee, where he may command thee?"
Bland.--"I do not deny to come, but I desire a longer day."
Harpsfield.--"Thou shalt have no other day; I charge thee to come on Monday."
Bland.--"Sir, I perceive it shall be for this or like matters: will it please you or Master Collins, for God's sake, to confer Scriptures privately with me in this matter, seeing ye say ye would so gladly win me?"
Harpsfield.--"With all my heart will I take the pains, and I will also borrow my Lord of Dover's library, to have what books thou wilt:" and thus they departed. Now the seventeenth of May at Ashford I could not be released, although I was called to the Spiritual Court for the same matter, but was bound to appear at the sessions holden at Cranbrook, the third of July.
Another appearance of Master Bland before the archdeacon and his fellows.
"The twenty-first day of May I appeared in the chapter-house, where was a great multitude of people, unlooked for of me; and Master Archdeacon said thus to me, 'Ye are come here according as ye were appointed: and the cause is, that it hath pleased the queen's Highness here to place me, to see God's holy word set forth, and to reform those that are here fallen into great and heinous errors, to the great displeasure of God, and the decay of Christ's sacraments, and contrary to the faith of the catholic church, whereof thou art notably known to be one that is sore poisoned with the same, and hast infected and deceived many with thy evil preaching, which if thou wilt renounce, and come home again to the catholic church, both I and many others more would be very glad; and I, for my part, shall be right glad to show you the favour that lieth in me, as I said unto you when you were appointed hither, because ye then refused to satisfy again the people that ye had deceived. And whereas it is feigned by you, that I should openly dispute the matter with you this day; although I did neither so intend nor appoint, yet I am content to dispute the matter with thee, if thou wilt not without disputation help to heal the souls that are brought to hell-ward by thee. What sayest thou?'"
Bland.--"I do protest before God and you all, that neither is my conscience guilty of any error or heresy, neither that I ever taught any error or heresy willingly. And whereas your Mastership saith, that I have feigned an open disputation with you, it is not true, as I can thus approve: Upon Saturday I was at Ugden's, and there Master Bingham laid it to my charge, that such an open disputation, as ye have here offered, should be this day between you and me: whereat I much marvelled, and said to him that before that present I never heard any such word; neither would I answer nor dispute. And to this can Master Vaughan, Master Oxenden, Master Seth of Overland, and Master Ugden witness; and further I said to them, that I never spake to you of any disputation, nor you to me. Now if your Mastership have any thing to say to me by the law, I will make answer to it."
Harpsfield.--"Hear ye what he saith? His conscience is clear. I pray thee whereon groundest thou thy conscience? Let me hear what thy faith is."
Bland.--"I know not why ye should more ask me a reason of my faith, than any other man in this open audience."
Harpsfield.--"Why, thou heretic, art thou ashamed of thy faith? If it were a Christian belief, thou needest not to be ashamed of it."
Bland.--"I am not ashamed of my faith: for I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, &c., with all the other articles of the Creed; and I do believe all the Holy Scriptures of God to be most certain and true."
Harpsfield.--"Wilt thou declare no more than this?"
Harpsfield.--"Well, I will tell thee whereon I ground my faith: I do believe and ground my faith and conscience upon all the articles of the Creed, and upon all the Holy Scriptures, sacraments, and holy doctors of the church, and upon all the general councils that ever were, since the apostles' time. Lo, hereupon ground I my faith;" with many words more which I well remember not. And when he could get no other answer of me, than I had said before, he called for a scribe to make an act against me. And after much communication, I said, "By what law and authority will ye proceed against me?" Master Collins said, "By the canon law."
Bland.--"I doubt whether it be in strength or no. Yet I pray you let me have a counsellor in the law, and I will make answer according to the law."
Harpsfield.--"Why, thou heretic, thou wilt not confess thy faith to me, that have authority to demand it of thee, and yet I have confessed my faith to thee before all this audience. As concerning the blessed sacrament of the altar, thou hast taught, that after the consecration it is bread and wine, and not the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. How sayest thou, hast thou not thus taught?"
Bland.--"Sir, as concerning this matter of the sacrament, when I was with you and Master Collins, ye said then it was for other matters that I should come hither: and further, that ye would be content at my desire, to confer Scriptures with me, to see if ye could win me; and ye said, ye would borrow my Lord of Dover's library, that I should have what book I would. And now ye require me thus to answer, contrary to your promise, ere any conference be had, and seek rather to bring me into trouble, than to win me."
Harpsfield.--"I will, as God shall help me, do the best to thee that I can, if thou wilt be any thing conformable: and I trust to dissolve all thy doubts, if thou be willing to hear. And I also will desire these two worshipful men, my Lord of Dover, and Master Collins, to hear us."
Bland.--"No, ye shall pardon me of that: there shall be no such witness, but, when we agree, set to our hands." Hereat made the people a noise against me, for refusing the witness: and here had we many more words than I can rehearse. But at the last I said, "Sir, will ye give me leave to ask you one question?" And he said, "Yea, with all my heart; for in that thou askest any thing, there is some hope that thou mayest be won."
Bland.--"Sir, when it pleased Almighty God to send his angel unto the Virgin Mary to salute her, and said, Hail, full of grace, &c., came any substance from God our Father into the Virgin's womb to become man?" Whereat as well Master Archdeacon, as my Lord of Dover, and Master Collins staid. But my Lord spake the first, and said, "The Holy Ghost came to her;" and ere he had brought out his sentence, Master Syriac Peters said, "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." "Truth," said Master Archdeacon, "it was the power of God, sent by the Holy Ghost."-- They had forgotten that, begotten of the substance of the Father; or else they perceived whereunto this question tended: and so both I and they left it; by what words I cannot tell. But I said, "Sir, shall I ask one other?" And he said, "Yea." "Is there in the sacrament, after the consecration, Christ's natural body, with all the qualities of a natural body, or no?"
Harpsfield.--"Hark," said Master Archdeacon; "hear ye this heretic? He thinks it an absurdity to grant all the quantities of Christ's natural body to be in the sacrament: but it is no absurdity; for even that natural body that was born of the Virgin Mary is glorified, and that same body is in the sacrament after the consecration. But perceive ye not the arrogancy of this heretic, that will put me to answer him, and he will not answer me? He thought to put me to a pinch with his question; for I tell you it is a learned question."
Bland.--"Sir, if ye be so much discontented with me, I will say no more; yet I would all men heard, that ye say the glorified body of Christ is in the sacrament, after the consecration."
Harpsfield.--"I may call thee gross ignorant. Thou gross ignorant, is not the same body glorified, that was born of the Virgin Mary? Is it then any absurdity to grant that to be in the sacrament?" And while be spake many other words, I said to Master Petit, that the sacrament was instituted, delivered, and received of his apostles, before Christ's body was crucified; and it was crucified before it was glorified; which saying Master Petit partly recited to Master Archdeacon.
Harpsfield.--"Thou art without all learning. Was not Christ's body given to his apostles, as in a glorified act? and yet no inconvenience, although his natural body was not crucified: for when he was born of the Virgin Mary without pain, was not that the act of a glorified body? and when he walked on the water, and when he came into the house to his apostles, the doors being shut fast, were not these acts of a glorified body?"
"Then my Lord of Dover helped him to a better place, and said, 'When Christ was in Mount Tabor, he was there glorified in his apostles' sight.'"
Harpsfield.--"Ye say truth, my Lord, he was glorified in the sight of three of his apostles."
Bland.--"This methinks is new doctrine."
Harpsfield.--"Well, seeing he will by no other way be reformed, let the people come in, and prove these matters against him." And therewith the archdeacon brought forth a copy of the bill of complaint that was put against me at Christmas, and about that we talked a little. And then Master Archdeacon rose up and said, "See ye, good people that know this matter, that ye come in, and prove it against him." Whereunto answered Thomas Austen, "I pray you," said he, "let us be no more troubled with him."
"And then spake John Austen, and Heath with one eye, and began to accuse me; but no answer they could have of me, but, 'Do to me what ye can by law, and I will answer it.' Then said Thomas Austen, 'Bland, ye were once abjured.'"
Bland.--"Ye say not truly, goodman Austen, I was never abjured." "Either," said he, "ye were abjured, or else ye had the king's pardon." "Neither of both; ye speak this of malice:"with many other brabling words more."
"Then Master Archdeacon departed, and left Master Collins to command me to appear the next day. Howbeit, for certain other urgent business that I had, I did not appear, but wrote a letter to Master Commissary, desiring him to respite the matter till my coming home again; and if he would not, I would be content to submit myself to the law when I came home.
OW about the twenty-eighth day of June I came to Master Commissary to show him of my return, and offered myself to satisfy the law, if it were proceeded against me, before Master Cox of Surrey, and Marks the apparitor: but Master Commissary said gently, he had done nothing against me; and so appointed me to appear before him the Friday seven-night after.
"Now in the mean time was the sessions holden at Cranbrook, where I was bound to appear; and carrying surety with me to be bound again, for I looked for none other, did appear the third of July.
"And Sir John Baker said, 'Bland, ye are, as we hear say, a Scot: where were ye born and brought up?' And I said I was born in England. And he said, 'Where?' And I said, 'In Sedberg, and brought up by one Doctor Lupton, provost of Eton college.' 'Well,' said he, 'I know him well. Remain to your bond till afternoon.'
"Then said Sir Thomas Moyle, 'Ah! Bland, thou art a stiff-hearted fellow. Thou wilt not obey the law, nor answer when thou art called.' 'Nor will,' quoth Sir John Baker. 'Master Sheriff, take him to your ward:' and the bailiff set me in the stocks, with others, and would not hear me speak one word. And so we remained in the gaol of Maidstone, till a fortnight after Michaelmas, or thereabouts; and then we were carried to Rochester, to the assize holden there, where we were among the prisoners two days. And when we were called, and the judges of assize asked our causes, when my cause was rehearsed, Master Barrow, clerk of the peace, said, that I was an excommunicate person.
"Then Master Roper of Linsted talked with the judges, but what, I am not able to say: but the judges of assize said, 'Take them to Maidstone again, and bring them to the sessions that shall be holden next at the town of Malden.' Howbeit, the sheriff did not send for us, so that we tarried at Maidstone till the sessions holden at Greenwich the eighteenth and nineteenth of February . I and others, being within the bar amongst the felons, and irons upon our arms, were called out the latter day by the jailer and bailiffs, and eased of our irons, and carried by them into the town to Sir John Baker, Master Petit, Master Web, and two others whom I know not."
Another examination of Master Bland before Sir John Baker. Feb. 19, 1555.
Baker.--"Bland, wherefore were ye cast into prison?"
Bland.--"I cannot well tell. Your Mastership cast me in."
Baker.--"Yea, but wherefore were you in before that time?"
Bland.--"For an unjust complaint put upon me."
Baker.--"What was the complaint?"
(I told him as truly and as briefly as I could.)
Baker.--"Let me see thy book;"(and I took him a Latin Testament.)
Baker.--"Will ye go to the church, and obey and follow the queen's proceedings, and do as an honest man should do?"
Bland.--"I trust in God to do no otherwise but as an honest man should do."
Baker.--"Will ye do as I said?"
Bland.--"Will it please your Mastership to give me leave to ask you a question?"
Bland.--"Sir, may a man do any thing that his conscience is not satisfied in to be good?"
Baker.--"Away, away" and threw down the book and said, "It is no Testament." And I said, "Yes." And Master Web took it up, and said unto me marvellous gently, "Master Bland, I knew you when ye were not of this opinion. I would to God ye would reform yourself;" with better words than I will write. And I said, "If ye have known me of another opinion than I am of now, it was for lack of knowledge."
Baker.--"Yea, sayest thou so? By St. Mary, and thou hold thee there, I will give six faggots to burn thee withal, ere thou shouldest be unburned: hence, knave, hence!" And so were we reprieved into our place again within the bar. And at night, when judgment of felons and all was done, we were called, and the judge said to the jailer, "Take them with you, and deliver them to the ordinary, and if they will not be reformed, let them be delivered to us again, and they shall have judgment and execution." And one of our company said, "My Lord, if we be killed at your hands for Christ's sake, we shall live with him for ever."
Another appearance of Master Bland in the Spiritual Court. March 2, 1555.
"Then came we to the castle of Canterbury, and there we remained till the second of March, at which day we were brought into the chapter-house of Creechurch, where were set the suffragan of Canterbury, Master Collins, Master Mills, with others; and then went to them Master Oxenden, Master Petit, Master Web, and Master Hardes, justices. And when I was called, Master Web said, 'Here we present this man unto you, as one vehemently suspected of heresy.'
"And I said, 'Master Web, ye have no cause to suspect me of heresy. I have been a prisoner this whole year, and no matter proved against me. I pray you, wherefore have I been so long kept in prison?'"
Web.--"Leave your arrogant asking of questions, and answer to that that is laid to your charge."
Bland.--"I do so; for I say you have no cause to suspect me of heresy."
Web.--"Yes; ye denied to Sir John Baker to be conformable to the queen's proceedings."
Bland.--"Is it a just cause to suspect me of heresy for asking a question with leave?" So we had more words there than I well remember.
"Then stood up Master Petit, and said, 'Ye were cast into prison, because ye fled away from your ordinary.'"
Bland.--"Then have I had wrong; for I never fled, nor disobeyed mine ordinary, nor did any thing contrary to the law. Let them now say if I did:" but they said nothing. And when I saw they held their peace, I said, "Master Commissary, have you been the cause of this mine imprisonment?" "No." quoth he; "ye know that when ye went from me, ye were appointed to appear the Friday after the sessions." Here I was suffered to speak no more, but shut up in a corner till my companions were likewise presented: and then we were sent to Westgate, into prison, and were put in several close holds, that never one of us could speak to another, nor any man was permitted to come to us. We were four times at this appearance: but one they despatched, (by what means I cannot tell,) whose name was Cornwall, a tanner."
And thus hitherto passed the talk between Bland and the justices, and certain gentlemen of the shire. Now followeth the order of the reasoning between him and the clergymen before whom he was examined. But forasmuch as the chiefest doer and judge against him was the bishop of Dover, or suffragan of Canterbury, called Dr. Richard Thornton, to the intent it may appear what little truth or constancy is in these catholic persecutors, I thought here to exhibit by the way a certain popish letter, written of a papist unto him; wherein is declared what a gospeller the said Richard Thornton was in King Edward's time, who now, turning with the world, showeth himself such a bitter persecutor against God's servants in Queen Mary's time. The copy of this letter here followeth
"Right reverend, and my good Lord,-- after my hearty thanks for your good cheer at my last being with your Lordship, this shall be to certify you, that as soon as I arrived with my Lord's Grace, I gave him your letters: but I had much work to obtain any thing of him for you. For there have been given very evil informations of you, and it hath been said, that you have concurred with all manner of evil proceedings, the which hath these years past been in England, as well against the holy sacrament of the altar, and against the supreme authority of Christ's vicar in earth, as with the use of the abominable late communion, and with the marriage of priests, as well religious as secular; and that you have given orders to (I cannot tell how many) base, unlearned, and evil disposed people, by reason of the which they have taken upon them to preach, and to do much hurt in Kent. So that men think that yet, if any new mutation (the which God forbid) should chance, you would be as ready to change as any other. And indeed it maketh me to fear the same, by reason that notwithstanding it hath pleased Almighty God to provide that your absolution was sent unto you (not looking, I dare say, for any such thing) of all manner of matters past, yet your Lordship (more regarding the vanity of the world, than the offence of God, the which he only knoweth how much it grieves me, for the due love I bear unto you) presumed to sing mass in pontificalibus, the holy-days immediately following; and also to ministrate to children the sacrament of confirmation, because that one (being a member of the devil) did somewhat comfort you so to do.
"O my Lord, what honour should it have been both to God and yourself, and also edification to all good people, (though all worldly men and heretics would therefore have laughed you to scorn,) if you, considering your great offences toward God, and his goodness again toward you, would, like as you have offended in the face of the world to the damnation of many, likewise have showed yourself penitent in the face of the world to the edification of many, and not only to have celebrated for vanity pontificaliter; but also for a time to have abstained for reverence totaliter from the altar, according to the old custom of the church; the which I have also seen observed of some honest men, not being thereto enjoined of any man: but that which is past cannot be called again. And I thought it not my part to leave your Lordship, mine old friend and master, in the mire. Wherefore I ceased not to solicit your cause with my Lord's Grace, till at the last I obtained of his Grace, for your Lordship, all the faculties of the which I send you a copy here enclosed, partly for your own consolation, and partly for others, desiring your Lordship so to use them to the honour of God, that there come to me thereof no rebuke; not publishing them to any person, but to such that you know will gladly receive them: for hitherto there is never a bishop in England, who hath granted him so great authority concerning those which be under his cure. Only Master Archdeacon hath the like, and in one thing more great than be these your Lordship's. Wherefore your Lordship shall do well to remit unto him all such priests as have cure of soul, whether they be beneficed men, or parish priests. For he hath not only authority to absolve them, as you have, but also to give them authority to absolve such as be underneath their cures. And thus I commit your Lordship to the protection of Almighty God.--Written at Brussels, the sixteenth of June, 1554.
"Your Lordship's bead-man.
And thus much concerning the bishop of Dover, by way of digression. Now to return again to the examinations of Master Bland, let us hear his own report of his answers, as followeth:
Bland.--"Here followeth mine answer, as nigh as I can call to remembrance, every word and sentence; yet if any that was present can help to perfect it, I would be glad. But yet this dare I say, that there is never one sentence, but it was openly spoken the ninth of March, in the chapter-house of Cree-church, in the presence of as many as they had chosen; the mayor of the city being called to be assistant, and all others shut out."
"Master Collins said, 'Master Bland, ye know that ye are presented unto us as one suspected of heresy. How say ye, be ye contented to reform yourself to the laws of this realm, and of the holy church? '"
Bland.--"I deny that I am suspected justly of heresy, and this ye heard when I was presented, that I denied the suspicion to be just, but to defend the unjust punishment that I have suffered: neither can ye prove that any occasion hath been given by me, whereby any man should suspect me therein. But if you have any law or authority to proceed against me for any thing done for a whole year ago and more, I will answer to it."
Collins.--"Ye were convented before Master Archdeacon and me, and matter of heresy laid to your charge."
Bland.--"That matter was done and said a whole year ago, and for that I have been in prison this year and more. If ye have any thing against me by any law, I desire you to let me know the law and the matter, and I will answer according to the law."
"Then said my Lord Suffragan, But that I am one of the judges, I would rise, and stand by thee, and accuse thee to be a sacramentary, and bring witness to prove it; yea, and further, that thou hast called the mass an abominable idol.'"
Bland.--"You, my Lord, never heard me say so: but I heard you once say, that in your conscience ye had abhorred the mass three years." "Thou liest," quoth he, "I never said so."
Bland.--"My Lord, if they might be heard, I can bring witness to approve it, with the day, time, and place; and I once did hear Master Collins, at a visitation in Wingham, say, that Christ was a full satisfaction for all sin present, past, and to come; contrary to that he saith now."
"And here we had more words of this matter, which I do let pass for lack of good remembrance.
"Master Collins said, 'This is but a drift. You were better answer now; for else you shall go to prison again, and be called on Monday, and have articles laid to you, and if ye then answer not directly, ye shall he condemned pro confesso, and that will be worse for you."
Bland.--"Sir, I do not now, nor will then deny to answer any thing that ye can lay to my charge by the law: wherefore I trust ye will let me have the benefit of the law."
Collins.--"This is the law, that if ye be required of the ordinary, reddere rationem fidei, then may ye not deny it. And that we do now."
Bland.--"To that then will I answer: for I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, with all the other articles of the same creed; and I believe all the articles contained both in the creed called the mass creed, and in the creed of Athanasius; and I do believe, that all the Holy Scriptures, and all things therein contained, are most true."
Collins.--"This will not serve you: ye must answer to all such articles in all these as shall be laid to you, or asked of you."
Bland.--"Let me know the law, that it is in that force, (without any just cause of suspicion proved against me,) and I will answer."
Collins.--"How say ye, will ye answer?"
Bland.--"Sir, I have answered you." "Have him away," said my Lord of Dover; "he had better have answered."
Bland.--"My Lord, I am ready to answer, if ye have any thing against me by the law."
Bishop of Dover.--"Ye have preached many heresies in Adisham, where I am parson now; and therefore ye must make answer to them."
Bland.--"Lay them to my charge by the law, and I will answer then, if ye can approve that I am bound to answer to that was done a year and more ago: for if ye may do that, ye may also lay to my charge, and compel me to answer to, all things done in all my life, I trow."
Collins.--"It is not a year ago since you were before Master Archdeacon and me."
Bland.--"It is truth, it is a year and ten weeks since the words were spoken; and I have been a prisoner ever since, and have been at five sessions, and never could have my cause tried. Methinketh your charities should think it punishment enough, if I had been guilty."
Collins.--"All this will not serve you; you must needs answer, and it will be better for you to answer now, than another time. Will ye reform yourself, and go to the church, and worship Christ in the blessed sacrament of the altar; and be obedient unto all the queen's laws?"
Bland.--"I pray you, wherefore am I brought hither?"
Collins.--"To answer to such things as are demanded of you."
Bland.--"Sir, I thought ye had some matters against me by the law."
Collins.--"Well, on Monday, at nine of the clock, ye shall see the law, and have articles laid unto you."
"Then they had spied Master Cox the lawyer, and called him in, and said, 'Here is a lawyer can tell you are bound by the law to answer:' and he said as they had said."
Collins.--"Do ye not believe, that after the consecration of the blessed sacrament of the altar, there remaineth no substance of bread, but the substance of Jesus Christ, both God and man?"
Bland.--"Master Commissary, I know not by any law why ye should ask me that question. more than any other man here." And after a little talk, my Lord of Dover asked me this question "Dost not thou believe, after the consecration, that it is the body of Christ?" And I said, "No, I do not so believe: for the Scriptures do not teach me that there should remain the flesh of Christ, to eat as a man should eat man's flesh."
"Then Master Glasier said, 'That was the opinion of the Capernaites; there is no man here of that opinion:' and spake long of cutting Christ's body, as men cut flesh in the shambles.
"Then Master Doctor Faucet said, 'Master Bland, forasmuch as you and I were brought up both in one house, and born both in one parish, I would be as glad as any man alive to do you good: but ye may not thus stand against the church, for Christ saith, Ye must humble yourself, and take up his cross, and follow him. And to humble yourself in this place, is to be content, and not stick to your own judgment, but to humble yourself to the holy church, which hath determined, that after the consecration there remaineth no bread, but the natural body and blood of Christ."
Bland.--"Master Doctor, if ye take humbling of ourselves in that place, to admit the determination of the church, then must we know by the Scriptures, that the same church determined nothing but according to the Scriptures, as this is not: and therefore I do not believe any such transubstantiation; nor ever will, God willing." "Then, quoth he, "I have done with you: I will no more pray for you than for a dog."
"Then said Master Glasier,--'How think ye? Did Paul, when he said, Is not the bread that we break a partaking of the body of Christ? did he mean baker's bread?'"
Bland.--"Though he did not mean baker's bread, that doth not prove that he brake natural and real flesh."
Glasier.--"No, by St. Mary, we say not so; but we say it is the natural body glorified, under the forms of bread and wine."
Bland.--"Then the apostles had it not as we have: or else his glorified body was crucified for us."
Glasier.--"Tush, ye do not understand the Scriptures; for Christ's body was ever glorified, in that it was so marvellously united to the Godhead: yea, and he showed his body divers times glorified, as in the Mount Tabor; and when he walked on the water, we see he was light, and had no weight in him. Was not that then a glorified body?"
Bland.--"Then belike Peter's body was glorified, if walking on the water was the deed of a glorified body: and the iron that Elizeus made to swim upon the water."
"'Tush,' quoth my Lord of Dover, 'that was done by prayer.' But they made such a noise with laughing, that I heard no more what my Lord said."
Bland.--"Masters, I know that it availeth us nothing to reason with you, no more than it booted you in the time of the gospel. For then neither the reason of Eckius, Cochlĉus, nor yet of the detection of the devil's sophistry of my Lord Chancellor's doing, could take any place. And it is known that some be here, that something I can say in them."
Dover.--"No, you know colampadius, Zuinglius, and such others."
Bland.--"Indeed, my Lord, I have seen part of their doings."
Dover.--"That is seen by thee to-day."
Glasier.--"I was glad, when I heard you say ye believed the catholic church; and now go you from it?"
Bland.--"No, that I do not."
Glasier.--"Ye know that Christ saith, If thy brother have offended thee, go and reconcile him between thee and him. If he hear thee not, take two or three with thee, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses all things may be established. If he hear not them, tell it to the church, die ecclesiĉ; if he hear not the church, take him as a heathen. I pray you where could ye have found this church of yours fifty years ago?"
Bland.--"Ye know that the true church did not at all times flourish, but was wonderfully persecuted."
"Then my Lord of Dover cried, 'No more, I command you to hold your peace. Have him away and bring in another.'"
Collins.--"Ye shall come again on Monday, at nine of the clock, and in the mean time ye shall have whom ye will to confer withal: your friend Dr. Faucet, or Master Glasier, if ye desire them."
Bland.--"I will refuse to talk with no man. As for any conference of your part, it is but weak laws, established as they are: but when there was no law, I did desire conference." And so for that time I departed.
"The Monday after we were brought forth to the same place again; and then Master Collins began to speak to me, but after what manner, it is clean out of my mind: but the end was, that I would reform myself. But, as I did before, I demanded what they had to lay to my charge, and to see the law, which, they said before, I should see."
Dover.--"What needs that? we have enough against you: for ye denied to me transubstantiation in the sacrament."
Bland.--"I did refuse to answer, till ye promised that I should see the law, whereby ye may compel me to answer."
"My Lord of Dover took the scribe's book, and read the answer that I made to Dr. Faucet's reason, which I knew not that they had written."
Bland.--"My Lord, I made you no such answer when ye asked me: I take Master Collins and Master Glasier to witness."
"Then they brought forth a Decretal, a book of the bishop of Rome's law, to bind me to answer, which my heart abhorred to look upon. The effect was, that the ordinary had authority to examine, and that they, so examined, must needs answer. But I said, that it meaned of such as were justly suspected, as I was not. And here we had much communication; for I charged them with unjust imprisonment, which they could not avoid. But Master Oxenden would have helped them, and said, the justices put me in prison for a sermon seditiously spoken, and for troubling a priest at mass."
Bland.--"That is not true; for, after I had been ten weeks in prison, I was bailed, till I was cast in again, and (as the justice said) for the disobeying mine ordinary, which I never did."
Collins.--"Will ye be content to confer with some? It will be better for you. Now we offer it you, because ye would not desire it."
Bland.--"As I did not refuse before, no more will I now. But I did not perceive before, but that one thing might have come, without any leave-asking, to confer the Scriptures; and therefore I looked that Dr. Faucet would have come to me without desiring, if any commodity to me had been in conference: for though I was never able to do him good, yet once I was his tutor."
Collins.--"Are ye content to come to his chamber at afternoon?"
Bland.--"Sir, I am a prisoner; and therefore it is meet that I obey, and come whither you will," and so departed.
"At this time we were three: but, they took another to appear before them the Tuesday sevennight after. And when he came, I knew not what was done, but that I hear they excommunicated him, and let him go. His name was Miller, a clothier."
Here followeth a certain confutation of Master Bland against false and manifest absurdities, granted by Master Mills, priest of Christ's Church in Canterbury.
Mills.--"We say, that Christ is in or under the sacrament really and corporally, which are the forms of bread and wine, and that there is his body contained invisibly; and the qualities which we do see, as whiteness and roundness, be there without substance by God's power, as quantity and weight be there also by invisible measure."
Bland.--"This is your own divinity, to make accidents the sacrament, and Christ's real body invisibly contained in them, and so to destroy the sacrament. And yet the doctors say, Materia sacramenti est panis et vinum. And God by his power worketh no miracles with Hoc est corpus meum, so to change the substance of bread and wine into his body and blood, in that he maketh accidents to be without their substance by invisible measure. I am ashamed to see you so destroy Christ's sacrament, contrary to your own doctors, and trifle so with God's work."
Mills.--"To Christ is given all power in heaven and in earth; so that by the omnipotent power of his Godhead he may be and is where he listeth; and is in the sacrament really and corporally without occupying of place; for a glorified body occupieth no place."
Bland.--"Mark your own reason: all power is given to Christ both in heaven and earth. By the omnipotent power of his Godhead he may be where he list: ergo, he is in the sacrament really and corporally, without occupying of place. I deny your argument; for it followeth neither of your major nor minor. And, first, I would learn of you, how you know that Christ listeth to be present at every priest's list. For if the priest list not to say your mass, then Christ listeth not to be there. Again, ye say, all power is given unto Christ both in heaven and in earth, so that that is the cause, by your reason, that by the omnipotent power of his Godhead he may be where he list: and by that reason he had no power of his Godhead, till he had his human body; and then he was not equal with the Father in Divinity: for all power was not given to Christ, before the humanity and the Godhead were knit together, neither was he filius. Here is more danger than ye are aware of, if ye would stand to it with just judges."
Mills.--"We eat Christ's flesh and blood spiritually, when we receive it with faith and charity; and we also do eat it corporally in the sacrament. And the body that we so receive hath life; for the Godhead is annexed thereto: which, although it be received with the body of Christ, yet it is not invisible after a gross sort. And the flesh of Christ that we receive is lively; for it hath the Spirit of God joined to it. And if a man be drunken, it is not by receiving of the blood of Christ, for it is contrary to the nature of Christ's blood. If he be drunken, it is by the qualities and quantities, without substance of blood."
Bland.--"I am glad that you are so much against all men, to say that Christ's body is alive in the sacrament: it may fortune to bring you to the truth in time to come. Methinketh it is evil to keep Christ's body alive in the pix, or else must ye grant, that he is alive in receiving, and dead in the pix. And ye say truth, that it is not the natural receiving of Christ's blood that maketh a man drunken, for it is the nature of wine that doth that; which ye deny not. And a more truth ye confess than ye did think, when ye said, 'If a man be drunken, it is by the qualities and quantities, without the substance of blood;' for indeed blood hath no such qualities with it: by which it is evident that there is no natural blood. If a man be drunken with wine consecrated, it must be a miracle, as I think you will have it, that the said accidents should be without their natural substance, and work all the operations of both substance and accidents: and so it followeth, that a man may be drunken by miracle. The body that ye receive, ye say, is alive, because it is annexed to the Godhead, and the flesh that ye receive is lively, because it hath the Spirit of God joined to it. This division is of your new inventions, to divide the body and the flesh, the one alive by the Godhead, the other lively by God's Spirit, and both one sacrament: ye make of it a thing so fantastical, that ye imagine a body without flesh, and flesh without a body, as ye do qualities and quantities without substance, and a living body without qualities and quantities."
Mills.--"If case so require, and there be a godly intent in the minister to consecrate, after the consecration thereof, there is present the body and blood of Christ, and no other substance but accidents without substance, to a true believer."
Bland.--"Ye grant three absurdities, that in a tun of wine consecrated is nothing but accidents: and to increase it withal, ye have brought in two inconveniences; first, that it is not the word of God that doth consecrate, but the intent of the priest must help it. And if that lack, ye seem to grant no consecration, though the priest speak the word; and yet your doctors say, that the wickedness of the priest minisheth not the sacrament. And to an unbeliever ye seem to say, that it is not the same that it is to the true believer; and then must the believer have something to do in the consecration. Incidit in Scyllam, qui vult vitare Charibdim.
Mills.--"The substance of Christ's body doth not fill the mouse's belly; for although he doth receive the outward forms of bread and wine, yet he doth not receive the substance inwardly, but without violation. And a mouse doth not eat the body of Christ, to speak properly; for it doth not feed him spiritually or corporally, as it doth man, because he doth not receive it to any inducement of immortality to the flesh."
Bland.--"Ye make not your doctrine plain to be understood: we must know how a mouse can receive the substance inwardly and outwardly. Ye say he doth not receive the substance inwardly, but without violation: ergo, with violation he receiveth the substance inwardly. Ye say that the mouse cannot violate Christ's body; but he violateth the substance that he eateth. And this your proper speech doth import as much as that the mouse should eat the sacrament to as great effect, and the same thing, as doth the unworthy receiver; for, if that be the cause that she properly eateth not the body of Christ, because she doth not feed upon it spiritually nor corporally, nor receiveth it to any inducement of immortality, as ye say; then it followeth, that the unbeliever and the mouse receive both one thing. And yet it cannot be denied but the mouse will live with consecrated bread; and then ye must grant the absurdity, that a substance is nourished and fed only with accidents."
Mills.--"Men's bodies be fed with Christ's body, as with immortal meat, by reason of the Godhead annexed to eternal life; but men's bodies be corporally nourished with qualities and forms of bread and wine; and we deny that, by the sacramental eating, any gross humour turned into blood is made miraculously in the body."
Bland.--"Whereas it cannot be denied that a man may live, and naturally be nourished in his natural body, with the sacramental bread and wine consecrated, ye cannot avoid that. But then ye turn to the spiritual nourishing of man's body, by Christ's body and Godhead annexed, which is nothing to put away the absurdity, that either a man's natural body should be fed naturally with accidents, or else to have them changed into gross humours. But ye say, 'Men's bodies be corporally nourished with qualities and forms of bread and wine;' and then must ye needs grant, that qualities and quantities must be made substance in man. For ex eisdem sunt et nutriuntur mixta, or else all that is the nutriment in man, is accidents, and no substance."
Mills.--"If the forms of bread and wine be burned, or worms engendered, it is no derogation to the body of Christ, because the presence of his body ceaseth to be there, and no substance cometh again."
Bland.--"Ye grant here, that a substance may be made of accidents, as ashes or worms: but I think you will have it by your miracles. And this I count a more absurdity than the other, that Christ's body should cease to be there, and no substance to come again: for no word in all the whole Bible seems to serve you for the ceasing of his presence, though we granted you (which we do not) that it were there. God Almighty open your heart -- if it be his will and pleasure -- to see the truth. And if I thought not my death to be at hand, I would answer you to all the rest, in these and all other my doings. I submit myself to our Saviour Jesus Christ, and his holy word, desiring you in the bowels of Christ to
do the same."
"Your orator in the Lord.
Another appearance and examination of John Bland. June 13, 1555.
Hitherto you have heard the troublesome handling of this faithful and blessed servant of God, John Bland, tost to and fro, from prison to prison, from session to session. At last he was brought before the bishop of Dover, the commissary, and the archdeacon, at Canterbury, the thirteenth day of June. The name of this bishop was Richard Thornton; the commissary was Robert Collins, whom the cardinal, by his letters patent, had substituted to be his factor, before his coming over to England; the archdeacon was Nicholas Harpsfield. Under these a great sort of innocent lambs of Christ were cruelly entreated and slain at Canterbury, amongst whom this aforesaid Master Bland was one of the first; who, as it is said, being brought before the said bishop, and his colleagues, which were John Frankesh, Nicholas Sheterden, Thomas Thacker, Humfrey Middleton, William Cocker, was examined of articles. To whom it was objected by the commissary, whether he believed that Christ is really in the sacrament, or no, &c. To this he answered and said, that he believed that Christ is in the sacrament, as he is in all other good bodies: so that he judged not Christ to be really in the sacrament.
The last appearance of John Bland. June 20, 1555.hereupon, the day being Monday, he was bid to appear again upon Wednesday next; and from thence he was defer- red again to Monday following, being the twentieth of June, in the same chapter-house, then to hear further what should he done, in case he would not relent to their mind. The which day and place he, appearing as before, was required to say his mind plainly and fully to the foresaid articles, being again repeated to him: which articles, commonly and in course, they use to object to their examinates which be brought before them, as here now followeth, and need not much hereafter, specially for that country of Kent, to be repeated.
Articles ministered by Richard, bishop of Dover, to Master Bland, and likewise to the rest following after him.
"First, that thou art of the diocese of Canterbury, and so subject to the jurisdiction of the archbishop there.
"II. Item, that thou art a Christian man, and dost profess the laws of God, and faith of Christ's catholic church, and the determination of the same.
"III. Item, that all parsons which teach, preach, believe, affirm, hold, maintain, or say, within the diocese of Canterbury, otherwise than our holy mother the church doth, are excommunicate persons, and heretic, and as excommunicate and heretics ought to be named, reputed, and taken.
"IV. Item, that thou, contrary to the catholic faith, and determination of our mother holy church, within the diocese of Canterbury, hast openly spoken, maintained, holden, affirmed, and believed, and yet dost hold, maintain, affirm, and believe, that in the blessed sacrament of the altar, under the forms of bread and wine, there is not the very body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ in substance, but only a token, sign, and remembrance thereof, and that the very body and blood of Christ is only in heaven, and no where else.
"V. Item, that thou, contrary to the catholic faith, and determination of our mother holy church, hast within this diocese of Canterbury openly spoken, said, maintained, holden, affirmed, and believed, and yet dost hold, maintain, affirm, and believe, that it is against God's word, that the sacrament of Christ's church should be ministered in an unknown tongue; and that no man, safely and with a safe conscience, or without peril of sin, receiveth any sacrament ministered in any tongue that he understandeth not.
"VI. Item, that thou, contrary to the catholic faith of our mother holy church, hast, and yet dost hold opinion, and say, that it is against God's word, that the sacrament of the altar should be ministered in one kind; and that no man may with a safe conscience so receive it.
"VII. Item, that the premises be true, and that there is a common fame upon them within the diocese of Canterbury."
The answers of Master Bland to the foresaid articles.
"To these articles Master Bland, answering again in order as they were objected to him, saith to the first, (granting the same,) that he was a priest, and of the diocese of Canterbury.
"To the second also he answereth affirmatively.
"Item, to the third he answereth, that the article is true; meaning the catholic church to be Christ's church.
"Item, in the fourth article, as touching the first part of the article, he doth confess, that he hath preached and taught it, as it is contained in the same. And as touching the second part of the article, he doth confess, that he doth now also hold and say, as he preached and taught before.
"Item, to the fifth article he granteth.
"To the sixth, he hath preached, held, and doth hold, as it is contained in the article.
"Item, to the seventh and last article he granteth the same," &c.
This done, and his answers and confession taken, respite was given him yet a few days to deliberate with himself. So, the twenty-fifth day of the said month of June, he, making his appearance again in the said chapter-house, there openly and boldly withstood the authority of the pope; whereupon his sentence was read, and so he condemned and committed to the secular power. Touching the form and tenor of the sentence, because all their sentences of course agree in one, read before in the history of Master Rogers.
The prayer of John Bland before his death.
"The Lord Jesus, for whose love I do willingly leave this life, and desire rather the bitter death of this cross, with the loss of all earthly things, than to abide the blasphemy of thy holy name, or else to obey man in breaking of thy commandments: thou seest, O Lord, that whereas I might live in worldly wealth to worship false gods, and honour thy enemy, I chose rather the torments of this body, and loss of this my life, and have counted all things but vile dust and dung, that I might win thee; which death is more clear unto me, than thousands of gold and silver. Such love, O Lord, hast thou laid up in my breast, that I hunger for thee, as the deer that is wounded desireth the soil. Send thy holy comfort, O Lord, to aid, comfort, and strengthen this weak piece of earth, which is void of all strength of itself. Thou rememberest, O Lord, that I am but dust, and not able to do any thing that is good. Therefore, O Lord, as thou of thy accustomed goodness hast bidden me to this banquet, and counted me worthy to drink of thine own cup amongst thine elect; give me strength against this element, that as it is to my sight most irksome and terrible, so to my mind it may be, at thy commandment, as an obedient servant, sweet and pleasant; and, through the strength of thy Holy Spirit, I may pass through the strength of this fire into thy bosom, according onto thy promise, and for this mortality to receive immortality, and for this corruptible to put on incorruptible. Accept this burnt-offering and sacrifice, O Lord, not for the sacrifice itself, but for thy dear Son's sake my Saviour; for whose testimony I offer this free-will offering with all my heart and with all my soul. O heavenly Father, forgive me my sins, as I forgive the whole world. O sweet Saviour, spread thy wings over me. O God, grant me thy Holy Ghost, through whose merciful inspiration I am come hither. Conduct me unto everlasting life. Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit: Lord Jesus, receive my soul. So be it! "