307. ROBERT SMITH
Robert Smith was brought unto Newgate the fifth of November, in the first and second year of the king and queen, by John Matthew, yeoman of the guard, of the queen's side, by the commandment of the council. This Smith first gave himself unto service in the house of Sir Thomas Smith, knight, being then provost of Eton: from thence he was preferred to Windsor, having there in the college a clerkship of ten pound a year. Of stature he was tall and slender, active about many things, but chiefly delighting in the art of painting, which, many times, rather for his mind's sake than for any living or lucre, he did practise and exercise. In religion he was fervent, after he had once tasted the truth; wherein he was much confirmed by the preachings and readings of one Master Turner of Windsor, and others. Whereupon at the coming of Queen Mary he was deprived of his clerkship by her visitors, and not long after he was apprehended, and brought to examination before Bonner, as here followeth, written and testified with his own hand.
The first examination of Robert Smith before Bishop Bonner, &c.
"About nine o'clock in the morning, I was among the rest of my brethren brought to the bishop's house; and I, first of all, was brought before him into his chamber, to whom the bishop said as followeth, after he had asked my name."
Bonner.--"How long is it ago since the time that ye were confessed to any priest?"
Smith.--"Never since I had years of discretion. For I never saw it needful, neither commanded of God, to come to show my faults to any of that sinful number, whom ye call priests."
Bonner.--"Thou showest thyself, even at the first chop, to be a rank heretic, which, being weary of painting, art entered into divinity, and so fallen, through thy departing from thy vocation, into heresy."
Smith.--"Although I have understanding in the said occupation, yet, I praise God, I have had little need all my life hitherto to live by the same, but have lived without the same in mine own house as honestly in my vocation, as ye have lived in yours, and yet used the same better than ever you used the pulpit."
Bonner.--"How long is it ago since ye received the sacrament of the altar, and what is your opinion in the same?"
Smith.--"I never received the same since I had years of discretion, nor ever will, by God's grace; neither do esteem the same in any point, because it hath not God's ordinance, neither in name, nor in other usage, but rather is set up and erected to mock God withal."
Bonner.--"Do ye not believe that it is the very body of Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary, naturally, substantially, and really, after the words of consecration?"
Smith.--"I showed you before, it was none of God's ordinances, as ye use it; then much less to be God, or any part of his substance, but only bread and wine erected to the use aforesaid: yet, nevertheless, if ye can approve it to be the body that ye spake of by the word, I will believe it; if not, I will, as I do, account it a detestable idol; not God, but contrary to God and his truth."
"Then, after many raging words and vain objections, Bonner said there was no remedy but I must be burned."
Smith.--"Ye shall do no more unto me, than ye have done to better men than either of us both. But think not thereby to quench the Spirit of God, neither thereby to make your matter good; for your sore is too well seen to be healed so privily with blood. For even the very children have all your deeds in derision; so that although ye patch up one place with authority, yet shall it break out in forty to your shame."
"Then, after much ado, and many railing sentences, he said, throwing away the paper of mine examination, 'Well, even now, by my troth, even in good earnest, if thou wilt go and be shriven, I will tear this paper in pieces.' To which I answered, It would be too much to his shame to show it to men of discretion.
"After which answer I was carried down to the garden with my jailer, and there remained until my brother Harwood was examined; and then, being again brought up before the said bishop, he demanded if I agreed with Harwood in his confession, upon these articles following."
Bonner.--"What say you to the catholic church? Do ye not confess there is one in earth?"
Smith.--"Yes verily, I believe that there is one catholic church, or faithful congregation, which, as the apostle saith, is builded upon the prophets and apostles, Christ Jesus being the head corner-stone; which church, in all her words and works, maintaineth the word, and bringeth the same for her authority; and without, it doth nothing, nor ought to do; of which I am assured I am by grace made a member."
Bonner.--"Ye shall understand, that I am bound, when my brother offendeth, and will not be reconciled, to bring him before the congregation. Now if your church be the same, where may a man find it, to bring his brother before the same?"
Smith.--"It is written in the Acts of the Apostles, that when the tyranny of the bishops was so great against the church in Jewry, they were fain to congregate in houses and privy places, as they now do; and yet were they nevertheless the church of God: and, seeing they had their matters redressed, being shut up in a corner, may not we do the like now-a-days?"
Bonner.--"Yea, their church was known full well; for St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, to have the man punished and excommunicated, that had committed evil with his father's wife; whereby we may well perceive it was a known church, but yours is not known."
Smith.--"Then could you not persecute it as ye do: but as ye say the church of God at Corinth was manifest both to God and Paul; even so is this church of God in England, which ye persecute, both known to God, and also even to the very wicked, although they know not, nor will know, their truth and conversation; yea, and your sinful number have professed their verity, and maintained the same a long season."
Bonner.--"Well, thou sayest that the church of God was only at Corinth, when Paul wrote unto them; and so will I put in writing, shall I?"
Smith.--"I do marvel greatly, my Lord, that ye are not ashamed to lay snares for your brethren on this manner. This is now the third snare you have laid for me: first, to make me confess that the Church of England is not the church of Christ: secondly, to say it is not known: thirdly, to say the church of God is not universal, but particular. And this is not the office of a bishop: for if an innocent had come in your way, you would have done your best, I see, to have entangled him."
"Well, friend," quoth one of my Lord's chaplains, "you are no innocent, as it appeareth."
Smith.--"By the grace of God I am that I am; and this grace in me, I hope, is not in vain."
"Well," quoth my Lord, laughing, "tell me, how sayest thou of the church?"
Smith.--"I told you whereupon the true church is builded, and I affirm in England to be the congregation of God, and also in omnem terram, as it is written, Their sound is gone forth into all lands; and that this is the afflicted and persecuted church, which ye cease not to imprison, slay, and kill. And in Corinth was not all the congregation of God, but a number of those holy and elect people of God. For neither Paul nor Peter were present at Corinth when they wrote, and yet were they of the church of God, as many thousands more, which also communicate in that holy Spirit."
Bonner.--"What call ye catholic, and what call you church?"
Smith.--"Catholic is universal, and church is a congregation knit together in unity."
"Then after much like vain talk, it was laid to my charge, that my fellow and I spake all one thing: whereof I praised God, and was sent again to. a garden, where after a while, as my brother Harwood and I had been together, cometh one of my Lord's chaplains, that much desired to commune with me, demanding first if I were not a prisoner."
Smith.--"I am in this flesh a prisoner, and subject to my master and yours; but I hope yet the Lord's free man through Christ Jesus."
Doctor.--"I do much desire to talk with you, lovingly, because ye are a man that I much lament," with many other sweet words.
"To which I answered, Sub melle latet venenum. And after much ado about his god, I compelled him to say, that it must needs enter into the belly, and so fall into the draught. To which the doctor answered, 'What derogation was it to Christ, when the Jews spat in his face?'"
Smith.--"If the Jews, being his enemies, did spit in his face, and we, being his friends, throw him into the draught, which of us have deserved the greatest damnation? Then, by your argument, he that doth injury to Christ, shall have a most plenteous salvation."
"Then started the doctor away, and would have his humanity incomprehensible, making a comparison between our soul and the body of Christ, bringing in to serve his turn, which way Christ came in among his disciples, the doors being shut?"
Smith.--"Although it be said, that when he came the doors were shut, yet have I as much to prove, that the doors opened at his coming, as ye have to prove he came through the door: for that mighty God that brought the disciples out of prisons, which yet, when search came, were found shut, was able to let Christ in at the door, although it were shut: and yet it maketh not for your purpose; for they saw him, heard him, and felt him; and so can we not say ye do, neither is he in more than in one place at once. At which answer when he had made many scoffings, he departed away from me, and we were carried unto my Lord's hall, where we were baited of my Lord's band, almost all the day, until our keeper, seeing their misorder, shut us up all in a fair chamber, while my Lord went into his synagogue to condemn Master Denley and John Newman. Then brought they up my Lord Mayor to hear our matter above in the chamber, and I, first of all, was called into the chamber, where my Lord intended to sup; where my Lord Mayor, being set with the bishop and one of the sheriffs, wine was walking on every side: I, standing before them as an outcast. Which made me remember how Pilate and Herod were made friends, but no man was sorry for Joseph's hurt. But, after my Lord had well drunk, my articles were sent for and read, and he demanded whether I said not as was written?"
Smith.--"That I have said, I have said; and what I have said, I do mean utterly."
Bonner.--"Well, my Lord Mayor, your Lordship hath heard somewhat, what a stout heretic this is, and that his articles have deserved death: yet nevertheless, forasmuch as they report me to seek blood, and call me 'Bloody Bonner,' whereas God knoweth, I never sought any man's blood in all my life, I have stayed him from the consistory this day, whither I might have brought him justly; and yet here, before your Lordship, I desire him to turn, and I will with all speed despatch him out of trouble; and this I profess before your Lordship and all this audience."
Smith.--"Why, my Lord, do ye put on this fair visor before my Lord Mayor, to make him believe that ye seek not my blood, to cloak your murders through my stoutness, as ye call it? Have ye not had my brother Tomkins before you, whose hand when you had burned most cruelly, ye burnt also his body? And not only of him, but of a great many of the members of Christ, men that feared God, and lived virtuously, and also the queen's Majesty's most true subjects, as their goods and bodies have made manifest? And seeing in these saints ye have showed so little mercy, shall it seem to my Lord and this audience, that ye show me more favour? No, no, my Lord. But if ye mean as ye say, why then examine ye me of that I am not bound to answer you unto?"
Bonner.--"Well, what sayest thou by the sacrament of the altar? Is it not the very body of Christ, flesh, blood, and bone, as it was born of the Virgin?"
Smith.--"I have answered, that it is none of God's order, neither any sacrament, but man's own vain invention;" and showed him the Lord's institution.
"But when he was so earnest before the audience, declaring that we knew nothing, bringing out his Hoc est corpus meum, to lay in my dish, I proved before the audience, that it was a dead god, declaring the distinction appointed between the two creatures of bread and wine, and that a body without blood hath no life; at which Harpsfield found himself much offended, and took the tale out of my Lord's mouth, saying, 'I will approve by the Scriptures, that ye blaspheme God in so saying: for it is given in two parts, because there are two things showed, that is to say, his body and his passion, as saith St. Paul: and therefore is the bread his body, and the wine the representation of his death and blood-shedding.'"
Smith.--"Ye falsify the word, and rack it to serve your purpose. For the wine was not only the showing of his passion, but the bread also: for our Saviour saith, So oft as ye do this, do it in remembrance of me. And St. Paul saith, So oft as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye shall show the Lord's death till he come. And here is as much reverence given to the one, as to the other. Wherefore if the bread be his body, the cup must be his blood, and as well ye make his body in the cup, as his blood in the bread."
"Then up rose my Lord, and went to the table, where my Lord Mayor desired me to save my soul. To whom I answered, I hope it was saved through Christ Jesus; desiring him to have pity on his own soul, and remember whose sword he carried. At this I was carried into the garden, and there abode until the rest of my friends were examined; and so were we sent away with many foul farewells to Newgate again, my Lord Bishop giving the keeper a charge to lay me in limbo."
Another examination of Robert Smith before the said bishop, &c.
"Upon Saturday at eight of the clock, I was brought to his chamber again, and there by him examined, as followeth:--"
Bonner.--"Thou, Robert Smith, &c., sayest that there is no catholic church here on earth."
Smith.--"Ye have heard me both speak the contrary, and ye have written as a witness of the same."
Bonner.--"Yea, but I must ask thee this question: how sayest thou?"
Smith.--"Must ye of necessity begin with a lie? it maketh manifest that ye determine to end with the same: but there shall no liars enter into the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, if ye will be answered, ask mine articles that were written yesterday, and they shall tell you that I have confessed a church of God, as well in earth as in heaven; and yet all one church, and one man's members, even Christ Jesus."
Bonner.--"Well, what sayest thou to auricular confession? is it not necessary to be used in Christ's church, and wilt thou not be shriven of the priest?"
Smith.--"It is not needful to be used in Christ's church, as I answered yesterday: but if it be needful for your church, it is to pick men's purses. And such pick-purse matters is all the whole rabble of your ceremonies; for all is but money matters that ye maintain."
Bonner.--"Why, how art thou able to prove that confession is a pick-purse matter? Art thou not ashamed so to say?"
Smith.--"I speak by experience; for I have both heard and seen the fruits of the same. For, first, it hath been, we see, a bewrayer of king's secrets, and the secrets of other men's consciences; who, being delivered, and glad to be discharged of their sins, have given to priests great sums of money to absolve them, and sing masses for their souls' health."
"And, for ensample, I began to bring in a pageant, that by report was played at St. Thomas of Acres, and where I was some time a child waiting on a gentleman of Norfolk, who being bound in conscience, through the persuasion of the priest, gave away a great sum of his goods, and forgave unto Master Gresham a great sum of money, and to another as much. The priest had for his part a sum, and the house had an annuity to keep him; the which thing when his brother heard, he came down to London, and after declaration made to the council, how, by the subtlety of the priest he had robbed his wife and children, recovered a great part again, to the value of two or three hundred pounds, of Master Gresham and his other friend; but what he gave to the house, could not be recovered. This tale began I to tell. But when my Lord saw it savoured not to his purpose, he began to revile me, and said, 'By the mass, if the queen's Majesty were of his mind, I should not come to talk before any man, but should be put into a sack, and a dog tied unto the same, and so should be thrown into the water.'
"To which I answered again, saying, 'I know you speak by practice, as much as by speculation: for both you and your predecessors have sought all means possible to kill Christ secretly; record of Master Hun, whom your predecessor caused to be thrust in at the nose with hot burning needles, and then to be hanged, and said the same Hun to have hanged himself: and also a good brother of yours, a bishop of your profession, having in his prison an innocent man, whom because he saw he was not able by the Scriptures to overcome, he made him privily to be snarled, and his flesh to be torn and plucked away with a pair of pincers, and, bringing him before the people, said the rats had eaten him. Thus, according to your oath is all your dealing, and hath been; and as you, taking upon you the office, do not without oaths open your mouth, no more do you without murder maintain your traditions."
Bonner.--"Ah! ye are a generation of liars; there is not one true word that cometh out of your mouths."
Smith.--"Yes, my Lord, I have said that Jesus Christ is dead for my sins, and risen for my justification; and this is no lie." Then made he his man to put in my tale of the gentleman of Norfolk, and would have had me recite it again: which when I would not do, he made his man to put in such sums as he imagined. At the end of this cometh in Master Mordant, knight, and sat down to hear my examination. Then said my Lord, "How sayest thou, Smith, to the seven sacraments? Believest thou not that they be God's order, that is to say, the sacrament of," &c.
Smith.--"I believe that in God's church are but two sacraments, that is to say, the sacrament of regeneration, and the sacrament of the Lord's supper: and as for the sacrament of the altar, and all your sacraments, they may well serve your church; but God's church hath nothing to do with them, neither have I any thing to do to answer them, nor you to examine me of them."
Bonner.--"Why, is God's order changed in baptism? In what point do we dissent from the word of God?"
Smith.--"First, in hallowing your water; in conjuring of the same; in baptizing children with anointing and spitting in their mouths, mingled with salt, and with many other lewd ceremonies, of which not one point is able to be proved in God's order."
Bonner.--"By the mass, this is the most unshamefaced heretic that ever I heard speak."
Smith.--"Well sworn, my Lord; ye keep a good watch."
Bonner.--"Well, Master Comptroller, ye catch me at my words: but I will watch thee as well, I warrant thee."
"By my troth, my Lord," quoth Master Mordant, "I never heard the like in all my life. But I pray you, my Lord, mark well his answer for baptism. He disalloweth therein holy ointment, salt, and such other laudable ceremonies, which no Christian man will deny."
Smith.--"That is a shameful blasphemy against Christ, so to use any mingle-mangle in baptizing young infants."
Bonner.--"I believe (I tell thee) that if they die before they be baptized, they be damned."
Smith.--"Ye shall never be saved by that belief. But I pray you, my Lord, show me, are we saved by water, or by Christ?"
Smith.--"Then the water died for our sins; and so must ye say, that the water hath life; and it being our servant, and created for us, is our Saviour. This, my Lord, is a good doctrine, is it not?"
Bonner.--"Why, how understandest thou the Scriptures? Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And again, Suffer, saith our Saviour, these children to come unto me: and if thou wilt not suffer them to be baptized after the laudable order, thou lettest them to come unto Christ."
Smith.--"Whereas ye allege St. John, Except a man, &c., and will thereby prove the water to save, and so the deed or work to save and put away sins, I will send you to St. Paul, which asketh of the Galatians, Whether they received the Spirit by the deeds of the law, or by the preaching of faith? And there concludeth, that the Holy Ghost accompanieth the preaching of faith, and with the word of faith entereth into the heart. So now, if baptism preach to me the washing in Christ's blood, so doth the Holy Ghost accompany it, and it is unto me as a preacher, and not a Saviour. And whereas ye say, I let the children to come unto Christ, it is manifest by our Saviour's words, that ye let them to come, that will not suffer them to come to him without the necessity of water. For he saith, Suffer them to come unto me, and not unto water; and therefore if ye condemn them, ye condemn both the merits and words of Christ. For our Saviour saith, Except ye turn and become as children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And so brought I out many other ensamples, to make manifest, that Christ hath cleansed original sin, bringing in ensamples out of Scriptures for the same."
Bonner.--"Then thou makest the water of none effect: and then put away water."
Smith.--"It is not," saith St. Peter, "the washing-away of the filth of the flesh, but in that a good conscience consenteth unto God. And to prove that water only bringeth not the Holy Ghost, it is written in Acts viii., that Simon received water, but would have received the Holy Ghost for money. Also that the Holy Ghost hath come before baptism, it is written that John had the Holy Ghost in his mother's womb. Cornelius, Paul, and the queen of Candace's servant, with many others, received the Holy Ghost before baptism. Yea, and although your generation have set at nought the word of God, and like swine turned his words upside down, yet must his church keep the same in that order which he left them, which his church dare not break; and, to judge children damned that be not baptized, it is wicked."
Mordant.--"By our Lady, sir, but I believe that if my child die without water, he is damned."
Bonner.--"Yea, and so do I, and all catholic men, good Master Mordant."
Smith.--"Well, my Lord, such catholic, such salvation."
Bonner.--"Well, sir, what say you to the sacrament of orders?"
Smith.--"Ye may call it the sacrament of misorders: for all orders are appointed of God. But as for your shaving, anointing, greasing, polling, and rounding, there are no such things appointed in God's book, and therefore I have nothing to do to believe your orders. And as for you, my Lord, if ye had grace and intelligence, ye would not so disfigure yourself as ye do."
Bonner.--"Sayest thou so? Now, by my troth, I will go shave myself, to anger thee withal:" and so sent for his barber, who immediately came. And before my face at the door of the next chamber he shaved himself, desiring me before he went to answer to these articles.
Bonner.--"What say you to holy bread and holy water, to the sacrament of anointing, and to all the rest of such ceremonies of the church?"
Smith.--"I say, they be baubles for fools to play withal, and not for the children of God to exercise themselves in; and therefore they may go among the refuse." Then went away Master Mordant, and my Lord went to shaving, leaving there certain doctors, as he called them, to assay what they could do, of whom I was baited for half an hour: of whom I also asked this question, "Where were all you, in the days of King Edward, that ye spake not that which ye speak now?"
Doctor.--"We were in England."
Smith.--"Yea, but then ye had the faces of men, but now ye have put on lions' faces again, as saith St. John. Ye show yourselves now as full of malice as ye may be; for ye have for every time a visor; yea, and if another King Edward should arise, ye would then say, 'Down with the pope, for he is antichrist, and so are all his angels.'"
"Then was I all-to reviled, and so sent away, and brought in again to come before these men; and one of them that baited me before, asked me if I disallowed confession? To whom I answered, 'Look in mine articles, and they shall show you what I allow.'"
Doctor.--"Your articles confess, that you allow not auricular confession."
Smith.--"I allow it not, because the Word alloweth it not, nor commandeth it."
Doctor.--"Why, it is written, Thou shalt not hide thy sins and offences."
Smith.--"No more do I, when I confess them to Almighty God."
Doctor.--"Why, ye cannot say that ye can hide them from God; and therefore you must understand the words are spoken to be uttered to them that do not know them."
Smith.--"Ye have made a good answer: then must the priest confess himself to me, as I to him; for I know his faults and secrets no more than he knoweth mine. But if ye confess you to the priest, and not unto God, ye shall have the reward that Judas had: for he confessed himself to the priest, and yet went and hanged himself by and by; and so, as many as do not acknowledge their faults to God, are said to hide them."
Doctor.--"What did they that came to John to be baptized?"
Smith.--"They came and confessed their sins unto Almighty God."
Doctor.--"And not unto John?"
Smith.--"If it were unto John, as ye are not able to prove, yet was it to God, before John and the whole congregation."
Doctor.--"Why, John was alone in the wilderness."
Smith.--"Why, and yet the Scriptures say he had many disciples, and that many Pharisees and Sadducees came to his baptism. Here the Scriptures and you agree not. And if they confessed themselves to John, as ye say, it was to all the congregation, as St. Paul doth to Timothy, and to all that read his epistle, in opening to all the hearers, that he was not worthy to be called an apostle, because he had been a tyrant. But as for ear-confession, ye never heard it allowed by the word; for the prophet David maketh his confession unto God, and saith, I will confess my sins unto the Lord. Daniel maketh his confession unto the Lord; Judith, Toby, Jeremy, Manasseh, with all the forefathers, did even so. For the Lord hath said, Call upon me in the time of trouble, and I will deliver thee. Knock, ask, seek, with such-like; and this is the word of God. Now bring somewhat of the word, to help yourself withal." Then they raged, and called me dog, and said I was damned.
Smith.--"Nay, ye are dogs, that because holy things are offered, will slay your friends. For I may say with St. Paul, I have fought with beasts in the likeness of men; for here I have been baited these two days, of my Lord and his great bulls of Basan, and in his hall beneath have I been baited of the rest of his band."
"With this came my Lord from shaving, and asked me how I liked him?"
Smith.--"Forsooth, ye are even as wise as ye were before ye were shaven."
Bonner.--"How standeth it, Master Doctors, have ye done any good?"
Doctor.--"No, by my troth, my Lord, we can do no good."
Smith.--"Then it is fulfilled which is written, How can an evil tree bring forth good fruit?"
Bonner.--"Nay, naughty fellow; I set these gentlemen to bring thee home to Christ."
Smith.--"Such gentlemen, such Christs; and as truly as they have that name from Christ, so truly do they teach Christ."
Bonner.--"Well, wilt thou neither hear them, nor me?"
Smith.--"Yes, I am compelled to hear you; but ye cannot compel me to follow you."
Bonner.--"Well, thou shalt be burnt at a stake in Smithfield, if thou wilt not turn."
Smith.--"And ye shall burn in hell, if ye repent not. But, my Lord, to put you out of doubt, because I am weary, I will strain courtesy with you: I perceive you will not, with your doctors, come unto me, and I am determined not to come unto you, by God's grace; for I have hardened my face against you as hard as brass."
"Then, after many railing sentences, I was sent away. And thus have I left the truth of mine answers in writing, gentle reader, being compelled by my friends to do it; that ye may see how the Lord hath, according to his promise, given me a mouth and wisdom to answer in his cause, for which I am condemned, and my cause not heard."
The last examination of Robert Smith, with his condemnation in the consistory.
"The twelfth of July I was with my brethren brought into the consistory, and mine articles read before my Lord Mayor and the sheriffs, with all the assistants; to which I answered, as followeth:"
Bonner.--"By my faith, my Lord Mayor, I have showed him as much favour as any man living might do: but I perceive all is lost, both in him and all his company."
"At this word, which he coupled with an oath, came I in, and taking him with the manner, said, 'My Lord, it is written, Ye must not swear.'"
Bonner.--" Ah, Master Comptroller, are ye come? Lo, my Lord Mayor, this is Master Speaker," pointing to my brother Tankerfield, "and this is Master Comptroller," pointing to me.
"And then, beginning to read my articles, he persevered till he came at my tale of the gentleman of Norfolk, and then demanded of my Lord Mayor, if he heard of the same before. To which he answered, 'No.' To whom I answered: 'My Lord Mayor, will it please you to hear me recite it, as I heard it and I told it, and then shall you hear the truth. For this tale that my Lord hath told, is untrue."
Bonner.--"How say you, good Master Mordant, spake he not this here, as it is written? were ye not by?"
Mordant.--"Yes, my Lord; that it is: I heard him say it."
Smith.--"How heard ye me say it, and were not present when I spake it? Should such a man make a lie? It is manifestly proved that the prophet saith: Even as the king saith, so saith the judge, that he may do him a pleasure again."
"And so was brought out my jailer for trial thereof, who there openly professed, that neither Master Mordant, nor the doctors before mentioned, were present when I spake it. At which Master Mordant, with blushing cheeks, said, he heard them read and heard me affirm the same; which was also not true.
"Then proceeded my Lord, with the rest of mine articles, demanding of me, if I said not as was written. To which I answered, 'No:' and turning to my Lord Mayor, I said, 'I require you, my Lord Mayor, in God's behalf, unto whom pertaineth your sword and justice, that I may here, before your presence, answer to these objections that are laid against me, and have the probation of the same; and if any thing that I have said, or will say, be to be proved (as my Lord saith) heresy, I shall not only with all my heart forsake the same, and cleave to the truth, but also recant wheresoever ye shall assign me, and all this audience shall be witness to the same."
Mayor.--"Why, Smith, thou canst not deny, but this thou saidst."
Smith.--"Yes, my Lord, I deny that which he hath written, because he hath both added to, and diminished from, the same: but what I have spoken, I will never deny."
Mayor.--"Why, thou spakest against the blessed sacrament of the altar."
Smith.--"I denied it to be any sacrament, and I do stand here to make probation of the same; and if my Lord here, or any of his doctors, be able to approve either the name or usage of the same, I will recant mine error."
"Then spake my brother Tankerfield, and defended the probation of those things, which they called heresy: to the which the bishop answered, 'By my troth, Master Speaker, ye shall preach at a stake.'"
Smith.--"Well sworn, my Lord, ye keep a good watch."
Bonner.--"Well, Master Comptroller, I am no saint."
Smith.--"No, my Lord, nor yet good bishop; for a bishop, saith St. Paul, should be faultless, and a dedicate vessel unto God. And are ye not ashamed to sit in judgment, and be a blasphemer, condemning innocents?"
Bonner.--"Well, Master Comptroller, ye are faultless."
Smith.--"My Lord Mayor, I require you, in God's name, that I may have justice. We be here to-day a great many of innocents that are wrongfully accused of heresy. And I require you, if you will not seem to be partial, let me have no more favour at your hands, than the apostle had at the hands of Festus and Agrippa, which being heathen and infidels, gave him leave not only to speak for himself, but also heard the probation of his cause. This require I at your hands, who, being a Christian judge, I hope will not deny me that right, which the heathen have suffered: if ye do, then shall all this audience, yea, and the heathen, speak shame of your fact. For a city, saith our Saviour, that is builded on a hill, cannot be hid: if they therefore have the truth, let it come to light; for all that well do, come to the light, and they that do evil hate the light."
"Then my Lord Mayor, hanging down his head, said nothing; but the bishop told me, I should preach at a stake; and so the sheriff cried, with the bishop, Away with me.
"Thus came I in before them four times, desiring justice, but could have none: and at length my friends, requiring with one voice the same, and could not have it, we had sentence; and then, being carried out, were brought in again, and had it every man severally given. But before the bishop gave me sentence, he told me, in derision of my brother Tankerfield, a tale between a gentleman and his cook. To which I answered, 'My Lord, ye fill the people's ears with phantasies and foolish tales, and make a laughing matter at blood; but, if ye were a true bishop, ye should leave these railing sentences, and speak the words of God.'"
Bonner.--"Well, I have offered to that naughty fellow, Master Speaker, your companion the cook, that my chancellor should here instruct him, but he hath here with great disdain forsaken it. How sayest thou, wilt thou have him instruct thee, and lead thee in the right way?"
Smith.--"My Lord, if your chancellor shall do me any good, and take any pains, as ye say, let him take mine articles in his hands, that ye have objected against me, and either prove one of them heresy, or any thing that you do to be good: and if be able so to do, I stand here with all my heart to hear him; if not, I have no need, I praise God, of his sermon: for I come to answer for my life, and not to hear a sermon."
"Then began the sentence, In Dei nomine. To which I answered, that he began in a wrong name, requiring of him, where he learned in Scriptures to give sentence of death against any man for his conscience' sake. To the which he made no answer, but went forward to the end, and immediately cried, 'Away with him.' Then I turned me to the mayor, and said, 'Is it not enough for you, my Lord Mayor, and ye that are the sheriffs, that ye have left the straight way of the Lord, but that ye must condemn Christ causeless?'"
Bonner.--"Well, Master Comptroller, now ye cannot say but I have offered you fair, to have instruction. And now I pray thee, call me 'bloody bishop,' and say, I seek thy blood."
Smith.--"Well, my Lord, although neither I, nor any of this congregation, do report the truth of your fact, yet shall these stones cry it out, rather than it shall be hidden."
Bonner.--"Away with him! away with him!"
Woodrofe.--"Away with him! take him away!"
Smith.--"Well, good friends, ye have seen and heard the great wrong that we have received this day, and ye are all records that we have desired the probation of our cause by God's book, and it hath not been granted; but we are condemned, and our cause not heard. Nevertheless, my Lord Mayor, forasmuch as here ye have exercised God's sword causeless, and will not hear the right of the poor, I commit my cause to Almighty God, that shall judge all men according unto right, before whom we shall both stand without authority; and there will I stand in the right, and have true judgment, to your great confusion, except ye repent, which the Lord grant you to do, if it be his will."--And then was I, with the rest of my brethren, carried away to Newgate.
"Thus, gentle reader, as near as I can, I have set out the truth of my examination, and the verity of mine unjust condemnation for the truth, requiring God that it may not be laid to the charge of thee, O England! requiring your hearty prayers unto God for his grace and spirit of boldness; who hope even shortly to set to my seal, at Uxbridge, the eighth of August, by God's grace: pray that it may be to his honour, my salvation, and your consolation, I pray you.
Thus hast thou, good reader, not only to note, but also to follow, in this man, a singular example of Christian fortitude, who so manfully and valiantly did stand in the defence of his Master's cause. And as thou seest him here boldly stand in examination before the bishop and doctors, so was he no less comfortable also in the prison among his fellows; which also is to be observed no less in his other prison-fellows, who, being there together cast in an outward house within Newgate, had godly conference within themselves, with daily praying and public reading, which they, to their great comfort, used in that house together; amongst whom this foresaid Smith was a chief doer: whose industry was always solicitous, not only for them of his own company, but also his diligence was careful for other prisoners, whom he ceased not to dehort and dissuade from their old accustomed iniquity; and many he converted unto his religion. Divers letters he wrote there in prison to sundry his friends, partly in metre, and partly in prose, And first in metre as followeth.
Illustration -- Smith and his Companions in Newgate
"O ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing that is evil."
"The God that giveth life and light, and leadeth into rest,
That breaketh bonds and bringeth out the poor that are opprest,
And keepeth mercy for the meek, his treasure and his store:
Increase thy life in perfect love, both now and evermore.
That as thou hast begun to ground in faith and fervent love,
Thou may'st be made a mighty mount, that never may remove.
That thine ensample may be showed among all thine increase;
That they may live and learn the like, and pass their time in peace.
Thy salutations that were sent, I heartily retain;
And send thee seventy times as much, to thee and thine again.
And now because I know the gold is fined in the fire,
I send thee here a paper full, that thou dost most desire,
In hope thou wilt accept it well, although it be but small,
Because I have none other good, to make amends withal.
For all thy free and friendly facts, which thy good will hath wrought,
I send thee surely, for a shift, the thing that cost me nought.
Abstain from all ungodliness, in dread direct your days,
Possess not sin in any wise, beware of wicked ways.
Hold fast your faith unfeignedly, build as you have begun,
And arm yourself in perfect faith, to do as ye have done,
Lest that the wicked make a mock, that ye have taken in hand,
In leaving of the perfect rock, to build upon the sand.
Beware these filthy Pharisees; their building is in blood:
Eat not with them in any wise; their leaven is not good.
Their salt is all unsavoury; and under good intents
They maintain all their knavery, and murder innocents.
They seek to sit in Christ his seat, and put him out of place;
And make all means that may be made, his doings to deface.
They keep him down with bills and bats, that made the blind to see:
They make a god for mice and rats, and say the same is he.
They show like sheep, and sweat like wolves, their baits be all for blood:
They kill and slay the simple souls, and rob them of their good.
The dark illusions of the devil have dimmed so their eyes,
That they cannot abide the truth to stir in any wise.
And if ye keep the perfect path, (as I have hope you do,)
Ye shall be sure to have such shame, as they may put you to.
For all that lead a godly life, shall surely suffer loss;
And eke the world will seek their shame, and make them kiss the cross.
Ye shall be killed all, saith Christ, your sorrows shall not cease:
And yet, in your afflictions, I am your perfect peace.
For in the world ye shall have woe, because ye are unknown;
And for because ye hate the world, the world will love his own.
Be fervent therefore to the death, against all their decrees;
And God shall surely fight for thee against thine enemies.
Commit your cause unto the Lord: revenge not any evil,
And thou shalt see the wicked want, when thou shalt have thy will.
For all afflictions that may fall, that they can say or do,
They are not sure of the wealth, we shall attain unto.
For I have seen the sinners spread their branches like a bay,
And yet, ere one could turn his head, were withered clean away.
Beware that money make ye not in riches to arise
Against the goodness of the Lord, among the worldly wise.
For many mischiefs it hath made, that may not be exprest;
And many evils it hath begun, which may not be redrest.
For money maketh many a one, in riches to rebel;
And he that maketh gold a god, he hath a soul to sell.
It maketh kings to kill and slay, and waste their wits in war,
In leaving of the wolf at home, to hunt the fox afar.
And where they should see justice done, and set their realm in rest
By money they be made a mean to see the poor opprest.
It maketh lords obey the laws, that they do ill and naught;
It maketh bishops suck the blood, that God hath dearly bought;
And where they should be faithful friends, and fathers to their flock,
By money they do turn about, even like a weathercock.
The priest doth make a money mean, to have again his whores,
To put away his wedded wife, and children out of doors.
It holdeth back the husbandman, which may not be forborne,
And will not suffer him to sow, and cast abroad his corn.
In like case it doth let again, when that the seed they sow;
It choketh up the corn again, so that it cannot grow.
The husband he would have a wife with nobles new and old:
The wife would have the husband hanged, that she might have his gold.
It maketh murderers many a one, and beareth much with blood:
The child would see the parents slain, to seize upon their good.
And though it be a blessed thing, created in the kind,
It is a necessary e'il, annexed to the mind.
For whoso playeth with the pitch, his fingers are defiled;
And he that maketh gold a god, shall sorely be beguiled.
Be friendly to the fatherless, and all that are opprest:
Assist them always out of hand, and see them set at rest.
In all your doings and your deeds let mercy still remain;
For with the measure that ye mete, shall ye be mette again.
Be always lowly in your life, let love enjoy her own:
The highest trees are seldom sure, and soonest overthrown.
The lions lack and suffer sore, in hunger and in thirst;
And they that do oppress the poor, continue still accurst.
The bee is but a little beast in body or in sight,
And yet she bringeth more increase, than either crow or kite.
Therefore beware in any wise, keep well your watch alway:
Be sure of oil within your lamp, let not your light decay.
For death despiseth them that lack, and hateth them that have,
And treadeth down the rich and poor together in the grave.
Exhort your children to be chaste, rebuke them for their ill,
And let them not at any wise be wedded to their will.
Laugh not with them, but keep them low; show them no merry cheer,
Lest thou do weep with them also; but bring them up in fear,
And let your light and living shine, that ye be not suspect,
To have the same within yourself, for which they are correct.
Be meek and modest in a mean: let all your deeds be done,
That they which are without the law, may see how right ye run.
Keep well the member in your mouth, your tongue see that ye tame;
For out of little sparks of fire proceedeth out a flame.
E'en so by baptism ye are born, to live with Christ again.
Thus farewell, free and faithful friend: the Lord that is above
Increase in thee a perfect faith, and lead thee in his love.
And as I pray with perfect love, and pour out bitter tears
For you and all that are at large abroad among the briers:
E'en so I pray thee to prefer my person and my bands,
Unto the everlasting God that hath me in his hands.
That I may pass out of this pond, wherein I am opprest;
Enclosed in a clod of clay, that here can have no rest.
That as he hath begun in me his mercies many one,
I may attain to overtake my brethren that be gone.
That when the death shall do his worst where he shall point a place,
I may be able like a man to look him in the face.
For though he catch away my cloak, my body into dust,
Yet sure am I to have a soul, when death hath done his worst.
And though I leave a little dust dissolved out of blood,
I shall receive it safe again, when God shall see it good.
For my Redeemer, I am sure, doth live for evermore,
And sitteth high upon the heavens, for whom I hunger sore:
Even as the deer with deadly wounds escaped from the spoil,
Doth haste by all the means he may, to seek unto the soil.
Of whom I hope to have a crown, that always shall remain;
And eke enjoy a perfect peace, for all my woe and pain.
The God that giveth all increase, and seeketh still to save,
Abound in thee that perfect peace, which I do hope to have!
And I beseech the living God to hold thee in his hands;
And wish thee, e'en with all my heart, the blessing of my bands;
Which I esteem of higher price than pearl or precious stone,
And shall endure for evermore, when earthly things are gone.
For though the fire do consume our treasure and our store,
Yet shall the goodness of the Lord endure for evermore.
And where thou art a friend to him that is to me full dear,
That God of might make thee amends, when all men shall appear,
That hath showed mercy to the meek, and rid them out of pain;
And thus the Lord possess thy spirit, till we do meet again.
"If thou wilt have a recompence,
Abide still in obedience."
The exhortation of Robert Smith unto his children, commonly set out in the name of Master Rogers.
"Give ear, my children, to my words, whom God hath dearly bought:
Lay up my law within your heart, and print it in your thought.
For I your father have foreseen the frail and filthy way,
Which flesh and blood would follow fain, even to their own decay.
For all and every living beast their crib do know full well;
But Adam's heirs, above the rest, are ready to rebel.
And all the creatures on the earth, full well can keep their way,
But man, above all other beasts, is apt to go astray.
For earth and ashes is his strength, his glory and his reign,
And unto ashes, at the length, shall he return again.
For flesh doth flourish like a flower, and grow up like a grass,
And is consumed in an hour, as it is brought to pass
In me the image of your years, your treasure and your trust,
Whom ye do see before your face, dissolved into dust.
For, as you see your father's flesh converted into clay,
Even so shall ye, my children dear, consume and wear away;
The sun and moon, and eke the stars, that serve the day and night,
The earth and every earthly thing, shall be consumed quite.
And all the worship that is wrought that have been heard or seen,
Shall clean consume and come to nought, as it had never been.
Therefore, that ye may follow me, your father and your friend,
And enter into that same life, which never shall have end,
I leave you here a little book, for you to look upon,
That you may see your father's face, when I am dead and gone;
Who, for the hope of heavenly things, while he did here remain,
Gave over all his golden years, in prison and in pain.
Where I, among mine iron bands, enclosed in the dark,
But a few days before my death, did dedicate this work
To you mine heirs of earthly things which I have left behind,
That ye may read and understand, and keep it in your mind:
That as you have been heirs of that which once shall wear away,
Even so ye may possess the part which never shall decay,
In following of your father's foot, in truth and eke in love;
That ye may also be his heirs for evermore above.
And, in example to your youth, to whom I wish all good,
I preach you here a perfect faith, and seal it with my blood.
Have God always before your eyes in all your whole intents:
Commit not sin in any wise, keep his commandements.
Abhor that arrant whore of Rome, and all her blasphemies;
And drink not of her decretals, nor yet of her decrees.
Give honour to your mother dear, remember well her pain;
And recompense her in her age, in like with love again;
Be always aiding at her hand, and let her not decay:
Remember well your father's fall, that should have been her stay.
Give of your portion to the poor, as riches do arise;
And from the needy naked soul turn not away your eyes.
For he that will not hear the cry of such as are in need,
Shall cry himself, and not be heard when he would hope to speed.
If God have given you great increase, and blessed well your store,
Remember ye are put in trust, to minister the more.
Beware of foul and filthy lust; let whoredom have no place;
Keep clean your vessels in the Lord, that he may you embrace.
Ye are the temples of the Lord, for ye are dearly bought,
And they that do defile the same, shall surely come to nought.
Possess not pride in any case, build not your nests too high,
But have always before your face, that ye be born to die.
Defraud not him that hired is, your labours to sustain,
But give him always out of hand, his penny for his pain.
And as ye would that other men against you should proceed,
Do ye the same again to them, when they do stand in need.
And part your portion with the poor, in money and in meat,
And feed the fainted feeble soul, with that which ye should eat.
That when your members lacketh meat and clothing to your back,
Ye may the better think on them, that now do live and lack.
Ask counsel also at the wise; give ear unto the end;
Refuse not you the sweet rebuke of him that is your friend.
Be thankful always to the Lord, with prayer and with praise;
Desire you him in all your deeds, for to direct your ways;
And sin not like that swinish sort, whose bellies, being fed,
Consume their years upon the earth from belly unto bed.
Seek first, I say, the living God; set him always before;
And then be sure that he will bless your basket and your store.
And thus if you direct your days according to this book,
Then shall they say, that see your ways, how like me you do look.
And when you have so perfectly, upon your fingers' ends,
Possessed all within your book, then give it to your friends.
And I beseech the living God, replenish you with grace,
That I may have you in the heavens, and see you face to face.
And though the sword have cut me off contrary to my kind,
That I could not enjoy your love according to my mind,
Yet do I hope, when that the heavens shall vanish like a scroll,
I shall receive your perfect shape, in body and in soul;
And that I may enjoy your love, and ye enjoy the land,
I do beseech the living God to hold you in his hand.
Farewell, my children, from the world, where ye must yet remain:
The Lord of hosts be your defence, till we do meet again.
Farewell, my love, and loving wife, my children and my friends:
I hope to God to have you all, when all things have their ends.
And if you do abide in God, as ye have now begun,
Your course I warrant will be short; ye have not far to run.
God grant you so to end your years as he shall think it best;
That ye may enter into heaven, where I do hope to rest."
Written at the request of a lady in her book.
"If you will walk the way that Christ hath you assigned,
Then learn this little verse, which I have left behind.
Be fervent in the truth, although it bear the blame;
And eke apply your youth, to stick unto the same;
That when the age is come, and death begins to call,
The truth maybe your staff to stay you up withal.
And though it bring rebuke, and cause you kiss the cross,
Yet is it a reward, to all that suffer loss:
For here we do lay out the things that be but vain,
But we are sure to reap the things that do remain.
For all that ye do lose is but a sinful slime,
And like unto a rose, that tarrieth but a time.
But if ye carry Christ, and walk the perfect way,
Ye shall possess the gold, that never shall decay;
And all your father's goods shall be your recompence,
If ye confess the word with double diligence,
Not only for to hear his pure and perfect word,
But also to embrace the fire, and eke the sword.
And if ye keep this path, and do not run a-crook,
Then shall ye meet the man that writ this in your book,
In that eternal joy that always shall remain.
Thus, farewell faithful friend, till we do meet again."
"Teach me, O Lord, to walk thy ways, my living to amend,
And I shall keep it all my days, even to my life's end.
Give me a mind to understand, so shall I never start;
But I shall keep all thy precepts, even wholly with my heart.
Make me to go a perfect pace in that I have begun;
For all my love and my delight, is in thy ways to run.
Incline my heart unto thy ways; set thou thereon my thought;
And let me not consume my days, to covet that is naught.
O quicken me in all thy ways, the world for to despise;
And from all fond and foolish toys, turn thou away mine eyes.
O plant in me thy perfect word, which is to me so dear;
Lay up thy laws within my heart, to keep me still in fear;
And rid me of that great rebuke which I do fear full sore,
For all thy judgments and thy laws endure for evermore.
Behold, O Lord, in thy precepts, is all my whole delight:
O quicken me in all thy ways, that I may walk aright.
To his brother.
"As nature doth me bind, because thou art my blood,
According to my kind to give thee of my good,
That thou may'st have in mind how I have run my race,
Although thou bide behind but for a little space.
I give thee here a pearl, the price of all my good,
For which I leave my life, to buy it with my blood;
More worth than all the world, or aught that I can note,
Although it be yclad in such a simple coat.
For when I had obtained this pearl of such a price,
Then was I sure I gained the way for to be wise.
It taught me how to fight, my flesh for to despise,
To stick unto the light, and for to leave the lies:
In sending out my seed with bonds and bitter tears,
That I might reap with joy in everlasting years,
And have, for all my loss, my travail, and my pain,
A thousand times and more of better goods again.
And for because the good that hath been got and gained,
And that the Lord's elect hath evermore obtained,
Is closed in this book which I do give to thee,
Wherein I have my part, as thou thyself may'st see,
In which I hope thou hast a stock also in store,
And wilt not cease to fail till God hath made it more--
I will thee to beware; be sure thou keep it well:
For if thou do it lose, thy part shall be in hell.
And here I testify before the living God,
That I detest to do the things that are forebode.
And as, in judgment, is my body to be brent,
My heart is surely set therewith to be content.
And sith it is his will to put in me his power,
Upon his holy hill to fight against this whore,
Full well I am content, if he allow it so,
To stand with all my might the whore to overthrow.
Even with a willing mind, the death I will outface:
And as I am assured, the battle do embrace;
That they which hear the truth, how I have past the pike,
May set aside their youth, and learn to do the like.
And though it be my lot, to let her suck my blood,
Yet am I well assured, it shall do her no good:
For she is set to kill the things she thinks accurst,
And shall not have her fill of blood until she burst.
And when that thou shalt see, or hear of my decease,
Pray to the living God, that I may pass in peace.
And when I am at rest, and rid out of my pain,
Then will I do the like for thee to God again.
And to my woeful wife, and widow desolate,
Whom I do leave behind in such a simple state,
And compassed with tears, and mournings many one;
Be thou her staying staff, when I am dead and gone.
My mouth may not express the dolours of my mind,
Nor yet my heaviness to leave her here behind.
But as thou art my bone, my brother and my blood,
So let her have thy heart, if it may do her good.
I took her from the world, and made her like the cross;
But, if she hold her own, she shall not suffer loss:
For where she had before a man unto her make,
That by the force of fire was strangled at a stake,
Now shall she have a King to be her helping hand,
To whom pertain all things that are within the land.
And eke my daughter dear, whom I bequeath to thee,
To be brought up in fear, and learn the A B C:
That she may grow in grace, and ruled by the rod,
To learn and lead her life within the fear of God.
And always have in mind, thy brother being dead,
That thou art left behind a father in my stead.
And thou, my brother dear, and eke my mother's son,
Come forth out of all fear, and do as 1 have done;
And God shall be thy guide, and give thee such increase,
That in the flames of fire thou shalt have perfect peace,
Into eternal joy, and pass out of all pain:
Where we shall meet with mirth, and never part again.
"If thou wilt do my daughter good,
Be mindful of thy brother's blood."
"To all which love God unfeignedly, and intend to lead a godly life according to his gospel, and to persevere in his truth unto the end: grace and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
"Be not afraid, most dearly beloved in our Saviour Jesus Christ, at these most perilous days, wherein, by the sufferance of God, the prince of darkness is broken loose, and rageth in his members against the elect of God with all cruelty, to set up again the kingdom of antichrist: against whom, see that ye be strong in faith to resist his most devilish doctrine with the pure gospel of God, arming yourselves with patience, to abide whatsoever shall be laid to your charge for the truth's sake; knowing that thereunto ye be called, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Oh! how happy are ye, that in the sight of God are counted worthy to suffer for the testimony of Christ. Quiet therefore yourselves, O my loving brethren, and rejoice in him for whom ye suffer: for unto you do remain the unspeakable joys, which neither the eye hath seen, nor the ear hath heard, neither the heart of man is able to comprehend in any wise. Be not afraid of the bodily death, for your names are written in the book of life. And the prophets do record, that in the sight of the Lord, precious is the death of his saints. Watch, therefore, and pray, that ye be not prevented in the day of temptation. Now cometh the day of your trial, wherein the waters rage, and the stormy winds blow. Now shall it appear, whether ye have builded upon the fleeting sand, or upon the unmovable rock Christ, which is the foundation of apostles and prophets, whereon every house that is builded, groweth into a holy temple of the Lord, by the mighty working of the Holy Ghost. Now approacheth the day of your battle, wherein it is required that ye show yourselves the valiant soldiers of Christ Jesus, with the armour of God, that ye may be able to stand fast against all the crafty assaults of the devil. Christ is your Captain, and ye be his soldiers, whose cognizance is the cross, to the which he willingly humbled himself even unto the death, and thereby spoiled his enemies, and now triumpheth he over them in the glory of his Father, making intercession for them that here do remain to suffer the afflictions that are to be fulfilled in his mystical body. It behoveth therefore every one that will be counted his scholar, to take up his own cross, and follow him, as ye have him for an ensample: and I assure you that he being on your side, nothing shall be able to prevail against you. And that he will be with you even to the world's end, ye have his promise in Matt. xxviii. He will go forth with his host as a conqueror to make a conquest. He is the man that sitteth on the white horse, crowned with immortality, and ye, brethren, are his fellowship, whereof he is the Head. He hath your heart in his hand, as a bow bent after his godly will; he shall direct the same according to the riches of his glory, into all spiritual and heavenly cogitations. He is faithful, and will not suffer you to be further assaulted, than he will give you strength to overcome, and in the most danger he will make a way, that ye may be able to bear it.
"Shrink not therefore, dear hearts, when ye shall be called to answer for the hope that is in you; for we have the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth which was sent from the heavens to teach us: he shall speak in us, he shall strengthen us: what is he, then, that shall be able to confound us? nay, what tyrant is he that now boasteth himself of his strength to do mischief, whom the Lord shall not, with the same Spirit, by the mouth of his servants, strike down to hell-fire? Yea, suddenly will the Lord bring down the glory of the proud Philistines, by the hands of his servant David. Their strength is in the spear and shield, but our help is in the name of the Lord, which made both heaven and earth. He is our buckler and wall, a strong tower of defence. He is our God, and we are his people. He shall bring the counsels of the ungodly to nought. He shall take them in their own net: he shall destroy them in their own inventions. The right hand of the Lord shall work this wonder. His power is known among the children of men. Their fathers have felt it, and are confounded. In like manner shall they know that there is no counsel against the Lord, when their secrets are opened to the whole world, and are found to be against the living God. Work they never so craftily, build they never so strongly; yet down shall their rabble fall, and the builders themselves shall then be scattered upon the face of the earth, as accursed of God. The just shall see this, and be glad, and praise the name of the Lord, that so marvellously hath dealt with his servants, as to bring their enemies under their feet. Then shall the fearful seed of Cain tremble and quake: then shall the mocking Ishmaelites be cast out of door: then shall the proud Nimrod see his labour lost: then shall the beast of Babylon be trodden under foot: then shall the scribes and Pharisees for madness fret and rage: then shall their painted wisdom be known, for extreme folly: then shall the bloody dragon be void of his prey: then shall the whore of Babylon receive double vengeance: then shall they scratch their crowns for the fall of their mistress harlot, whom they now serve for filthy lucre, when no man will buy their wares any more: then shall the popish priesthood cry weal away with care, even when the Lord shall help his servants; which day is not far off, the day wherein the kingdom of antichrist shall have an end, and never rise any more. In the mean time, abide in certain and sure hope, cleaving unto the promises of God, which in their own time shall be fulfilled.
"Acquit yourselves like men, against the enemies of God, in all humbleness of mind; be strong in spirit to acknowledge one God, one holy Saviour Jesus Christ, one only, everlasting, and sufficient sacrifice for the remission of sins, even the precious body of the Lord Jesus once offered for all and for ever; who now sitteth on the right hand of God, and from thence shall he come to judge both the quick and the dead at the last day; and until that time occupieth that blessed body none other place to dwell in, to be kept in, to be closed in, but only in the heavens, even in the glorious majesty of God, personally abiding there in the flesh, not coming down from thence till the last hour. And as he never ceaseth to be man, so doth he never lose the similitude of man; his body there hath his lineaments, he leaveth them not; so hath that body there his highness, and shrinketh not; and his manly shape he altereth not at any time. He is, in that he took of the Virgin Mary, a natural man in all conditions except sin.
"And what he took of his blessed mother, by the working of the Holy Ghost, he took it for ever, and will not exchange the same for any other. He took the shape of a man with the substance of his manhood, in one sacred womb. There were they coupled together by the Holy Ghost, never to be divided asunder. He retaineth the one with the other, inseparably. As he will not alter the substance of his flesh into the substance of bread, no more will he alter the shape of his body into the form of bread. There cannot be a greater absurdity against the truth, than to think that he would leave the shape that he took in the Virgin's womb, being an accident unto his manhood, and join unto the same a wafer-cake baken in an oven, or between a pair of irons. As he is in heaven a very man, one only mediator between God and man, even the man Christ Jesus, he it is that is the propitiation for our sins. Be bold therefore to confess this most pure and apostolical doctrine; and also that all favour, mercy, and forgiveness cometh only by him. He only of God the Father was made for us all wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. All these are the gifts of God the Father, freely given unto us by Christ Jesus, God and man, through faith in his blood, and not by the merits of men; gifts they are, I say, freely given unto us of favour, without our desert, by believing; and not by deserving. To this do the law and the prophets bear witness.
"This doctrine have all the blessed martyrs of Christ's church witnessed with their blood to be true. To this truth have all the consciences of all true believers subscribed ever since the ascension of Christ. This witness is not of man, but of God. What better quarrel can ye then have to give your lives for, than the truth itself? That man that giveth his life for the truth, taketh the readiest way to life. He that hath the pope's curse for the truth, is sure of Christ's blessing. Well then, my brethren, what shall now let, but that ye go forward as ye have begun? nay, rather run with the runners, that ye may obtain the appointed glory. Hold on the right way; look not back; have the eye of your heart fixed upon God; and so run, that ye may get hold of it. Cast away all your worldly pelf, and worldly respects, as the favour of friends, the fear of men, sensual affection, respect of persons, honour, praise, shame, rebuke, wealth, poverty, riches, lands, possessions, carnal fathers and mothers, wife and children, with the love of your own selves: and in respect of that heavenly treasure ye look for, let all these be denied, and utterly refused of you, so that in no condition they do abate your zeal, or quench your love towards God. In this case make no account of them, but rather repute them as vile, in comparison of everlasting life. Away with them as thorns that choke the heavenly seed of the gospel, where they be suffered to grow. They are burdens of the flesh, which encumber the soul. Exchange them therefore for advantage. Doth not he gain that findeth heavenly and immortal treasure, for earthly and corruptible riches? Loseth that man any thing, which of his carnal father and mother is forsaken, when therefore he is received of God the Father to be his child and heir in Christ? Heavenly for earthly, for mortal immortal, for transitory things permanent, is great gains to a Christian conscience?
"Therefore, as I began, I exhort you in the Lord, not to be afraid. Shrink not, my brethren, mistrust not God, be of good comfort, rejoice in the Lord, hold fast your faith, and continue to the end. Deny the world, and take up your cross, and follow him which is your loadsman, and is gone before. If you suffer with him, yea, you shall reign with him. What way can you glorify the name of your heavenly Father better, than by suffering death for his Son's sake? What a spectacle shall it be to the world, to behold so godly a fellowship as you servants of God, in so just a quarrel as the gospel of Christ is, with so pure a conscience, so strong a faith, and so lively a hope, to offer yourselves to suffer most cruel torments of the hands of God's enemies, and so to end your days in peace, to receive, in the resurrection of the righteous, life everlasting?
"Be strong therefore in your battle: the Lord God is on your side, and his truth is your cause; and against you be none, but the enemies of the cross of Christ, as the serpent and his seed, the dragon with his tail, the marked men of the beast, the offspring of the Pharisees, the congregation malignant, the generation of vipers, murderers, as their father the devil hath been from the beginning. To conclude, such are they as the Lord God hath always abhorred, and in all ages resisted and overthrown. God, from whom nothing is hid, knoweth what they are. He that searcheth the hearts of men, he hath found out them to be crafty, subtle, full of poison, proud, disdainful, stiff-necked, devourers, raveners, and barkers against the truth, filthy and shameless: and therefore doth the Spirit of God, by the mouths of his holy prophets and apostles, call them by the names of foxes, serpents, cockatrices, lions, leopards, bulls, bears, wolves, dogs, swine, beasts; teaching us thereby to understand what their natural inclination is: to deceive, poison, and destroy, (as much as in them lieth,) the faithful and elect of God. But the Lord with his right arm shall defend his little flock against the whole rabblement of these worldlings, which have conspired against him. He hath numbered all the hairs of his children's heads, so that not one of them shall perish without his fatherly will. He keepeth the sparrows, much more will he preserve them whom he hath purchased with the blood of the immaculate Lamb. He will keep them unto the hour appointed, wherein the name of God shall be glorified in his saints. In the mean time let them work their wills, let them envy, let them malign, let them blaspheme: let them curse, ban, betray, whip, scourge, hang, and burn: for by these means God will try his elect as gold in the furnace; and by these fruits shall they also bring themselves to be known what they be, for all their sheep's skins. For as he that in suffering patiently for the gospel of God, is thereby known to be of Christ, even so likewise is the persecutor of him known to be a member of antichrist. Besides this, their extreme cruelty shall be a mean the sooner to provoke God to take pity upon his servants, and to destroy them that so tyrannously entreat his people; as we may learn by the histories, as well in the bondage of Israel under Pharaoh in Egypt, as also in the miserable captivity of Judah in Babylon: where, when the people of God were in most extreme thraldom, then did the Lord stretch forth his mighty power to deliver his servants. Though God for a time suffer them to be exalted in their own pride, yet shall they not escape his vengeance. They are his rods, and when he hath worn them to the stumps, then will he cast them into the fire: this shall be their final reward. Our duty is, the mean while, patiently to abide the will of God, which worketh all things for the best.
"Thus dealeth he with us, partly for our trial, partly also for our sins, which we most grievously have committed, to the great slander of his gospel, whereby the name of God was evil spoken of among his enemies: for the which he now punisheth us with his fatherly corrections in this world, that we should not be damned with the world. By this means seeketh he his sheep that were lost, to bring them home to the fold again. By this way seeketh he to reform us, that we may be like unto him after the image of his Son Jesus Christ, in all holiness and righteousness before him. Finally, this way useth his godly wisdom, to make us thereby to know him, and ourselves in him, that aforetime had in a manner forgotten him, praised be his name therefore. And as for these Balaamites which now do molest us, commit them to the hands of God; give him the vengeance, and he will reward them. Fall ye to prayer, and let these belly-gods prate; for he is in heaven, and sleepeth not, that keepeth Israel. He is in heaven that made the seas calm, when the disciples were afraid. Let us now faithfully call upon him, and he will hear us: let us cry unto the Lord, for he is gracious and merciful. When we are in trouble, he is with us: he will deliver us, and he will glorify us. If we come unto him, we shall find him turned unto us. If we repent us of our wickedness done against him, then shall he take away the plague that he hath devised against us.
"Let us therefore earnestly repent, and bring forth the worthy fruits of repentance. Let us study to be his: then shall we not need to fear what these hypocrites do against us, which, with their pretended holiness, deceive the hearts of the simple, and abuse the authority of God in his princes, causing them (by their procurement) to testify their ambitious prelacy, and to erect up their idol again with the Romish mass. God, in whose hands are the hearts of kings, open the heart of the queen's Highness to espy them out what they be, and so to weed them out, that they no longer be suffered to trouble the congregation of God, and to poison the realm with pope-holy doctrine. God Almighty, for his Son Jesus Christ's sake, deliver the queen's Highness, and this her church and realm, from these proud prelates, which are as profitable in the church of Christ as a polecat in the midst of a warren of conies.
"To conclude, my brethren, I commit you to God, and to the power of his word: which is able to establish you in all truth. His Spirit be with you, and work alway that ye may be mindful of your duties towards him, whose ye are, both body and soul; whom see that ye love, serve, dread, and obey, above all worldly powers, and for nothing under the heavens defile your conscience before God. Dissemble not with his word: God will not be mocked; nay, they that dissemble with him deceive themselves. Such shall the Lord deny, and cast out at the last day: such, I say, as bear two faces in one hood, such as play on both hands, such as deny the known truth; such as obstinately rebel against him. All such, with their partakers, shall the Lord destroy. God defend you from all such, and make you perfect unto the end. Your sorrow shall be turned unto joy."
Another letter sent to his wife.
"The God and Father eternal, which brought again from death our Lord Jesus Christ, keep thee, dear wife, now and ever, amen, and all thy parents and friends. I praise God for his mercy, I am in the same state that ye left me in, rather better than worse; looking daily for the living God, before whom I hunger full sore to appear, and receive the glory, of which I trust thou art willing to be a partaker. I give God most hearty thanks, therefore, desiring thee, of all loves, to stand in that faith which thou hast received, and let no man take away the seed that Almighty God hath sown in thee, but lay hands of everlasting life, which shall ever abide when both the earth and all earthly friends shall perish, desiring them also to receive thankfully our trouble, which is momentary and light, and, as St. Paul saith, not worthy of the things which shall be showed on us; that we, patiently carrying our cross, may attain to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, to the which I beseech God of his mercy bring us speedily. I have been much troubled about your deliverance, fearing much the persuasions of worldlings, and have found a friend, which will (I trust) find a mean for you, if you be not already provided, desiring you in any case to abide such order, as those my friends shall appoint in God. And bear well in mind the words which I spoke at our departing, that as God hath found us and also elected us worthy to suffer with him, we may endeavour ourselves to follow uprightly in this our vocation, desiring you to present my hearty commendations to all our friends, and in especial to your parents, keeping your matter close in any wise.
"Give most hearty thanks to my friend, which only for our cause is come to Windsor. Continue in prayer. Do well. Be faultless in all things. Beware of abominations. Keep you clean from sin. Pray for me, as I do for you. I have sent you a piece of gold for a token, and most entirely desire you to send me word if ye lack any thing. The Lord Jesus preserve you and yours. Amen.
"From Newgate, the 15th of April.
"By your husband here and in heaven,
This foresaid Robert Smith, the valiant and constant martyr of Christ, thus replenished, as ye have heard, with the fortitude of God's Spirit, was condemned at London by Bonner, there bishop, the twelfth day of July, and suffered at Uxbridge the eighth day of August; who, as he had been a comfortable instrument of God before, to all them that were in prison with him, so now, also, being at the stake, he did no less comfort the people there standing about him, willing them to think well of his cause, and not to doubt but that his body, dying in that quarrel, should rise again to life: "and," said he, "I doubt not but that God will show you some token thereof." At length, being well-nigh half burnt, and all black with fire, clustered together as in a lump like a black coal, all men thinking him for dead, he suddenly rose upright before the people, lifting up the stumps of his arms, and clapping the same together, declaring a rejoicing heart unto them; and so, bending down again, and hanging over the fire, slept in the Lord, and ended this mortal life.
A sententious letter of Robert Smith, to Anne Smith his wife, full of godly instruction.
"Seek first to love God, dear wife, with your whole heart, and then shall it be easy to love your neighbour.
"Be friendly to all creatures, and especially to your own soul.
"Be always an enemy to the devil and the world, but especially to your own flesh.
"In hearing of good things join the ears of your head and heart together.
"Seek unity and quietness with all men, but specially with your conscience; for he will not easily be entreated.
"Love all men, but especially your enemies.
"Hate the sins that are past, but especially those to come.
"Be as ready to further your enemy, as he is to hinder you, that ye may be the child of God.
"Defile not that which Christ hath cleansed, lest his blood be laid to your charge.
"Remember that God hath hedged in your tongue with the teeth and lips, that it might speak under correction.
"Be ready at all times to look to your brother's eye, but especially in your own eye: for he that warneth others of that he himself is faulty in, doth give his neighbour the clear wine, and keepeth the dregs for himself.
"Beware of riches and worldly honour: for without understanding, prayer, and fasting, it is a snare, and also poverty, all which are like to consuming fire, of which if a man take a little, it will warm him, but if he take too much, it will consume him. For it is hard for a man to carry fire in his bosom, and not to be burnt.
"Show mercy unto the saints for Christ's sake, and Christ shall reward you for the saints' sake. Among all other prisoners, visit your own soul: for it is enclosed in a perilous prison.
"If you will love God, hate evil, and ye shall obtain the reward of well-doing.
"Thus fare you well, good Anne. Have me heartily commended to all that love the Lord unfeignedly. I beseech you have me in your prayer while I am living, and I am assured the Lord will accept it. Bring up my children and yours in the fear of God, and then shall I not fail but receive you together in the everlasting kingdom of God, which I go unto.
"If ye will meet with me again,
Forsake not Christ for any pain."
Another letter sent to his wife, Anne Smith.
"The grace of Almighty God be always with you, and comfort, strengthen, and stablish you in all things, that what his blessed will is, ye may follow faithfully, to his honour, my comfort, and your own salvation, and the good ensample to our posterity.
"I have received your letter, and, I praise God, without any danger: nevertheless, if God's marvellous goodness had not brought it to my hands by Peter the keeper, there might have risen a great trouble upon the same; for well ye know George is a wicked man, utterly without all fear of God, and, if he had gotten it, the council sure had seen it; but Peter, like an honest man, never opened it. Wherefore I desire you from henceforth let your letters be delivered at Chancery-lane-end, to my sister Tankerfield, that she may deliver them safe into my hand. We are very straitly kept, I praise God of his mercy: nevertheless Almighty God is always with us. I have sent you that ye wrote for. The two nutmegs that should have gone by Nicholas to our friends, I send now, and desire them to accept them as a poor prisoner's gift, until God give more largely. Thomas Iveson sendeth you a penny; I pray you give him thanks for the same, and Dirick also. I have sent you, of that little that I have, two pieces of Spanish money. The Lord Jesus have you in his custody, and send you good speed. In any case keep yourself close: I doubt much of your walkings. Have my hearty commendations to your parents, and desire them with you to have me in their prayers. Be fervent in prayer; pray, pray, pray, that God would of his mercy put up his sword, and look on his people. Tell my brother, with commendations, that the next comer shall bring up the epistle and exhortation; I have written all this fortnight for my Lady, yea, and almost done nothing else. I would have sent him the articles of William Flower, and my talk with him, if I could have delivered it from the prison. The Holy Ghost keep you; I would ye could make a means, for your money, to send a cheese to Peter, for I find much kindness at his hands. Ye shall always hear of me at Tankerfield's house. All the congregation salute you. Fare you most heartily well.
"I have not yet (tell my brother) spoken with the person. There hath come so strait a commandment, that no man might come to us, because Tooley cursed the pope at the gallows. They thought it to be our counsel.
"Yours, and ever yours,
Another letter sent to his wife.
"Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you, dear wife, now and ever, amen, and prevent your ways through his Holy Spirit, that ye may in all your words and works please God, and eschew evil, to his honour and your salvation, that they which see your conversation may in all things learn to do like, even to the utter shame and confusion of the wicked and ungodly. Amen.
"I sent you by Master Alexander a purse with money. I have certain tokens for you, sent by my prison-fellows to you, that is, from Master Hawkes twelve pence, from Master Simson twelve pence, from his wife four pence, from Master Wats five new groats, from Master Ardeley twelve pence, from Master Bradford twelve pence, which men be all gone to death, except Master Bradford; he abideth still. There are also gone to death Nicholas Chamberlain, Thomas Osmond, William Bamford. There are also condemned this Monday, Dirick Carver, Thomas Iveson, John Launder; and William Vassay is reprieved. Pray to God to have mercy upon his people, and bid my brother, if he can conveniently, come down on Monday next; if he cannot well do it, let him abide at home. Have me heartily commended to your parents. I have sent each of them a token, a bowed groat, and desire them for God's sake to help us with their prayers. Have little Katherine in mind. Commend me unto all good friends. Continue in prayer. Beware of vanity. Let not God be dishonoured in your conversation, but, like a good matron, keep your vessel in holiness. The peace of God rest with you for ever. Amen.
"My brother Iveson sendeth to you a token, to your mother a token, and to Katherine a token, three pence. John Launder sendeth you a piece of Spanish money. Father Herault, a piece of six pence. W. Andrews sendeth you a rase of ginger, and I send your mother one, and a nutmeg. I send Katherine comfits, for a token, to eat. I have sent you a key-clog for a token.
A letter sent to a friend.
"The eternal God keep you in his fear. I have hearty commendations unto you and your husband, beseeching Almighty God to preserve you in well-doing, and in perfect knowledge of Christ, that ye may be found faultless in the day of the Lord. I have heard say, that my friend is given over to vanity; it breaketh my heart, not only to hear that he so doth, but also teacheth others, that it is unhurtful to go to all the abominations, which now stand in the idol's temples. Nevertheless, dear friend, be ye not moved to follow sinners, for they have no inheritance with God and Christ: but look that, by going into the idol temple, ye defile not the temple of God; for light hath no fellowship with darkness. But look what the Lord hath commanded, that do; for if not going to church were without persecution, they would not learn you that lesson. But all things that are sweet to the flesh, are allowed of the fleshly. The Lord shall reward every man according to his works, and he that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity, and he that by the fleshly man is led in the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. The Lord Jesus give thee his Holy Spirit. Amen.
"I have sent thee an epistle in metre, which is not to be laid up in thy coffer, but in thy heart.
"Seek peace, and ensue it. Fear God; love God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.
"Thy friend and all men's in Christ Jesus,
"Scribbled in much haste from Newgate the twelfth of May."
Robert Smith to all faithful servants of Christ, exhorting them to be strong under persecution.
"Content thyself with patience,
With Christ to bear the cross of pain,
Which can and will thee recompense,
A thousand-fold with joys again.
Let nothing cause thy heart to quail;
Launch out thy boat, hale up thy sail,
Put from the shore:
And be thou sure thou shalt attain,
Unto the port that shall remain