329. THOMAS WHITTLE, BARTLET GREEN, JOHN TUDSON, JOHN WENT, THOMAS BROWNE; ISABEL FOSTER, AND JOAN WARNE, ALIAS LASHFORD.
The story of seven martyrs suffering together at London, for the testimony of Christ's gospel. January 27, Anno 1556.
Illustration -- The Seven Martyrs at the Stake
THE catholic prelates of the pope's band, being as yet not satisfied with this their one year's bloody murdering of the reverend, learned, and principal members of Christ's church, (whereof there were now very few which either were not consumed by most cruel fire, or else, for the avoiding of their popish rage, compelled to fly their natural country,) continued still this next year also, which was anno 1556, in no less cruelty towards the poor, simple, and inferior sort of people, (I mean in degree, though, God be praised, not in stedfastness,) having yet sometimes amongst them such as were both learned and of good estimation, as in continuance of this story shall appear. Wherefore, as the first fruits thereof, to begin this year withal, about the twenty-seventh day of January were burned in Smithfield at London these seven persons hereafter following, to wit: Thomas Whittle, priest; Bartlet Green, gentleman; John Tudson, artificer; John Went, artificer; Thomas Browne; Isabel Foster, wife; Joan Warne, alias Lashford, maid.
All which seven, as they were burned together in one fire, so were they likewise all upon one sort and form of articles condemned in one day. Howbeit, forasmuch as the gifts of God in them were diverse, (some more abounding in knowledge than others,) their dealings withal were also diverse, as shall be more plainly perceived in the discoursing of their several processes hereafter following. And therefore for the better understanding hereof, I will first, (by the leave of the Lord,) passing over their private articles and examinations had at sundry times in the bishop's house, set forth their general examinations in the public consistory, upon the bishop's articles there ministered unto them; with their answers also unto the same, according as they all agreed after one manner and sort together, as here by the words both of the articles, and their answers underwritten, may appear.
The form and words of Bonner's articles ministered to the seven persons above-mentioned in his consistory, with their answers.
And first, to behold the manner of speech in these bishops, sitting in their majesty to terrify the ears of the simple withal, let us hear the pontifical phrase of this bishop, beginning in this sort:--
"The within written articles, and every of them, and every part and parcel of them, we Edmund, by the permission of God, bishop of London, do object and minister to thee Thomas Whittle, &c., of our mere office, for thy soul's health, and for the reformation of thine offences and misdemeanours, monishing thee in the virtue of obedience, and under the pains of both censures of the church, and also of other pains of the law, to answer fully, plainly, and truly to all the same.
"1. First, that thou, N., hast firmly, stedfastly, and constantly believed in times past, and so dost now believe at this present, that there is here in earth a catholic church; in the which catholic church the faith and religion of Christ is truly professed, allowed, received, kept, and retained, of all faithful and true Christian people.
"2. Item, That thou, the said N., in times past hast also believed, and so dost believe at this present, that there are in the catholic church seven sacraments, instituted and ordained by God, and by the consent of the holy church allowed, approved, received, kept, and retained.
"3. Item, That thou, the said N., was in times past baptized in the faith of the said catholic church, professing by thy godfathers and godmother, the faith and religion of Christ, and the observation thereof, renouncing there the devil and all his pomps and works; and was by the said sacrament of baptism incorporate to the catholic church, and made a faithful member thereof.
"4. Item, That thou, the said N., coming to the age of fourteen years, and so to the age of discretion, didst not depart from the said profession and faith, nor didst mislike any part of the same faith or doings; but didst, like a faithful Christian person, abide and continue in all the same by the space of certain years, ratifying and confirming all the same.
"5. Item, That thou, the said N., notwithstanding the premises, hast of late, (that is to say, within these two years last past,) within the city and diocese of London, swerved at the least way from some part of the said catholic faith and religion: and amongst other things thou hast misliked and earnestly spoken against the sacrifice of the mass, the sacrament of the altar, and the unity of the church, railing and maligning the authority of the see of Rome, and the faith observed in the same.
"6. Item, That thou, the said N., hast heretofore refused, and dost refuse at this present, to be reconciled again to the unity of the church, not acknowledging and confessing the authority of the said see of Rome to be lawful.
"7. Item, That thou, the said N., misliking the sacrifice of the mass, and the sacrament of the altar, hast refused to come to thy parish church to hear mass, and to receive the said sacrament; and hast also expressly said, that in the said sacrament of the altar, there is not the very body and blood of our Saviour Christ, really, substantially, and truly; but hast affirmed expressly, that the mass is idolatry and abomination, and that in the sacrament of the altar there is none other substance, but only material bread, and material wine, which are tokens of Christ's body and blood only, and that the substance of Christ's body and blood is in nowise in the said sacrament of the altar.
"8. Item, That thou, the said N., being convented before certain judges or commissioners for thy disorder herein, and being found obstinate, wilful, and heady, wast by their commandment sent unto me and my prison, to be examined by me, and process to be made against thee for thy offence herein.
"9. Item, That all and singular the premises have been and be true and manifest, and thyself not only infamed and suspected thereof, but also culpable therein; and by reason of the same, than wast and art of the jurisdiction of me, Edmund, bishop of London; and before me, according to the order of the ecclesiastical laws, are to be convented: and also by me to be punished and reformed."
Here follow likewise their answers, in general, made to the articles above rehearsed.
Answers to Bonner's articles.
"And first, concerning the first article, on believing there is a catholic church -- to the first article they, altogether agreeing, affirmed the same to be true: John Tudson, and Thomas Browne, further adding, that the Church of England, as it was at that present used, was no part of the true catholic church.
"Concerning the second article, that there be in the church seven sacraments -- they answered, that they acknowledged but only two sacraments in Christ's catholic church; that is to say, baptism, and the supper of the Lord: John Went and Tudson affirming, that the sacrament of the altar, as it is used, is an idol, and no sacrament at all.
"Concerning the third article, that they were first baptized in the faith of the catholic church, professing by their godfathers the profession of the same, &c. -- they all agreed, and confessed it to be true, that they were baptized in the faith of Christ, and of the church then taught; and afterward, during the time of King Edward the Sixth, they, hearing the gospel preached, and the truth opened, followed the order of the religion and doctrine then used and set forth in the reign of the said King Edward.
"Concerning the fourth article, that they for the space of certain years did ratify or allow, and not depart from any part of the profession of the same church -- to this fourth article they granted also and agreed: John Went adding moreover, that about seven years past, he (then being about twenty years of age) began to mislike certain things used in the Church of England, as the ministration of the sacrament of the altar; likewise all the ceremonies of the said church: and did likewise at that present time mislike the same as they were used, although his godfathers and godmother promised for him the contrary.
"John Tudson added also in much like sort, and said, that when he came to the years of discretion, that is, about nine years past, (being about eighteen years of age,) he did mislike the doctrine and religion then taught and set forth in the Church of England, saving in King Edward's time, in whose time the gospel was truly set forth. And further said, that the doctrine set forth in the queen's reign was not agreeable to God's word, nor yet to the true catholic church that Christ speaketh of.
"Isabel Foster with other granted, adding likewise, and saying to the said four articles, that she continued in the same faith and religion which she was baptized in, after she came to the years of discretion, as other common people did; howbeit, blindly and without knowledge, till the reign of King Edward the Sixth: at which time she, hearing the gospel truly preached and opened to the people, received thereupon the faith and religion then taught and set forth.
"Concerning the fifth article, that they of late years have swerved and gone away, misliked and spoken against the profession of the same church, at least some part thereof, especially the sacrifice of the mass, the sacrament of the altar, and the authority of the Church of Rome -- they answered the same to be true, according to the contents thereof: Thomas Whittle adding moreover, that he had swerved and gone away, and not in whole, but in part, not from the whole catholic church, but from the Church of Rome, in speaking against the mass, the sacrifice thereof, and the see of Rome.
"Joan Lashford, (alias Joan Warne,) granting with the other the said article, addeth moreover, that she never hitherto swerved or went away, nor yet doth, from any part of Christ's catholic faith and religion. But saith, that from the time she was eleven years of age, she hath misliked the sacrifice of the mass, the sacrament of the altar, and the authority of the see of Rome, with the doctrine thereof, because they be against Christ's catholic church, and the right faith of the same.
"Bartlet Green, answering with the other to this article, addeth and saith, that he swerved not from the catholic faith, but only from the Church of Rome, &c.
"Concerning the sixth article, that they refuse to be reconciled to the unity of the said Church of Rome -- they answer and confess the same to be true, rendering the cause thereof, because (say they) the same church and doctrine, therein set forth and taught, disagreeth from the unity of Christ's word, and the true catholic faith, &c.
"Whereunto Bartlet Green answered, that he is contented to be reconciled to the unity of Christ's catholic church, but not of the Church of Rome.
"In like manner added also John Went.
"Concerning the seventh article, that they refuse to come to hear mass, and to receive the said sacrament, calling it an idol, &c. -- they answer, and confess the contents thereof to be true, giving withal the reason and cause of this their so doing: for that the mass with the sacrament thereof, as it was then used and set forth in the Church of England, is dissonant to the word and teaching of the people, &c.
"John Went furthermore said, as concerning the mass, that he believed no less but the mass, which he calleth the supper of the Lord, as it is now used in the realm of England, is naught, full of idolatry, and against God's word, so far as he seeth it. Howbeit, he saith that since the queen's coronation, by chance he hath been present where the mass hath been said, whereof he is sorry.
"Isabel Foster also, answering to the said articles, with the other before, confessed moreover, that since Queen Mary's reign she hath not heard mass, nor received the sacrament, but hath refused to come in place where it was ministered: for she knoweth no such sacrament to be. And being demanded of her belief in the same, she saith, that there is but only material bread, and material wine, and not the real substance of the body of Christ in the same sacrament: for so she hath been taught to believe by the preachers in the time of King Edward, whom she believeth to have preached the truth in that behalf.
"Concerning the eighth article, that they were sent by the commissioners to the bishop to be examined and imprisoned -- they grant the same and the contents thereof to be so: Thomas Whittle adding and affirming, that the lord chancellor that then was sent him up to the bishop there present.
"Bartlet Green added, that he was sent up to the said bishop, but for no offence herein articulate.
"John Went said, that Dr. Story, Queen Mary's commissioner, examined him upon the sacrament; and because be denied the real presence, he [Dr. Story] presented this examinate to the bishop.
"John Tudson likewise, examined by Master Cholmley and Dr. Story, upon the same matters, and for not coming to the church, and accused by the same, because he would not agree to them, was sent to the bishop.
"Thomas Browne also said, that he, for not coming to the church of St. Bride's, was brought by the constable to the bishop, &c.
"Joan Warne confessed that she was sent by Dr. Story to the bishop of London, about twelve weeks ago; since which time she hath continued with the said bishop.
"Concerning the ninth article -- they confess and say, that as they believe the premises before by them confessed to be true, so they deny not the same to be manifest, and that they be of the jurisdiction of London."
And thus having expressed their articles, with their answers jointly made unto the same, it remaineth further more fully to discourse the stories and handling of all the seven aforesaid martyrs severally and particularly by themselves, first beginning with Thomas Whittle.
The story of all these seven martyrs, particularly described, in order here followeth; and first of Thomas Whittle, who, first recanting, then returning again, with great constancy and fortitude stood to the defence of Christ's doctrine against the papists, to the fire.
In the story of Master Philpot, mention was made before, of a married priest, whom he found in the coal-house at his first coming thither, in heaviness of mind and great sorrow, for recanting the doctrine which he had taught in King Edward's days, whose name was Thomas Whittle of Essex; and thus lieth his story. This Thomas Whittle, after he had been expulsed from the place in Essex where he served, went abroad where he might, now here and there, as occasion was ministered, preaching and sowing the gospel of Christ. At length being apprehended by one Edmund Alablaster, in hope of reward and promotion, which he miserably gaped, he was brought first as prisoner before the bishop of Winchester, who then was fallen lately sick of his disease, whereof not long after he died most strangely. But the apprehender for his proffered service was highly checked and rated of the bishop, asking if there were no man unto whom he might bring such rascals, but to him: "Hence," quoth he, "out of my sight, thou varlet! what dost thou trouble me with such matters? The greedy cormorant being thus defeated of his desired prey, yet thinking to seek and hunt further, carried his prisoner to the bishop of London, with whom what an evil mess of handling this Whittle had, and how he was by the bishop all-to beaten and buffeted about the face, by this his own narration in a letter sent unto his friend, manifestly may appear:--
"Upon Thursday, which was the tenth of January, the bishop of London sent for me, Thomas Whittle, minister, out of the porter's lodge, where I had been all night, lying upon the earth, upon a pallet, where I had as painful a night of sickness as ever I had, God be thanked. And when I came before him, he talked with me many things of the sacrament so grossly, as is not worthy to be rehearsed. And amongst other things he asked me if I would have come to mass that morning, if he had sent for me. Whereunto I answered, that I would have come to him at his commandment, 'but to your mass,' said I, 'I have small affection.' At which answer he was displeased sore, and said, I should be fed with bread and water. And as I followed him through the great hall, he turned back and beat me with his fist, first on the one cheek, and then on the other, as the sign of my beating did many days appear. And then he led me into a little salt-house, where I had no straw nor bed, but lay two nights on a table, and slept soundly, I thank God.
"Then, upon the Friday next after, I was brought to my Lord, and he then gave me many fair words, and said he would be good to me. And so he, going to Fulham, committed me to Dr. Harpsfield, that he and I in that afternoon should commune together, and draw out certain articles, whereunto if I would subscribe, I should be dismissed. But Dr. Harpsfield sent not for me till night, and then persuaded me very sore to forsake my opinions. I answered, I held nothing but the truth, and therefore I could not so lightly turn therefrom. So I thought I should at that time have had no more ado: but he had made a certain bill, which the registrar pulled out of his bosom, and read it. The bill indeed was very easily made, and therefore more dangerous: for the effect thereof was, to detest all errors and heresies against the sacrament of the altar, and other sacraments, and to believe the faith of the catholic church, and live accordingly."
The copy of this bill here mentioned, if it please the gentle reader to peruse, so as it came to our hands, we have hereunto adjoined; written and conceived in their own words, as followeth to be seen.
The bill of submission, offered to Thomas Whittle to subscribe unto.
"I, Thomas Whittle, priest, of the diocese of London, acknowledge and confess with my mouth, agreeing with my heart before you, reverend father in God, Edmund bishop of London, my ordinary, that I do detest and abhor all manner of heresies and errors against the sacrament of the altar, or any of the sacraments of the church, which heresies and errors have heretofore been condemned in any wise by the catholic church: and I do protest and declare by these presents, that I do both now hold, and also intend by God's grace always hereafter to hold, observe, and keep, in all points the catholic faith and belief of Christ's church, according as this Church of England, being a member of the said catholic church, doth now profess and keep; and in nowise to swerve, decline, or go from the said faith, during my natural life, submitting myself fully and wholly to you, reverend father, my said ordinary, in all things concerning my reformation and amendment at all times. -- In witness whereof I the said Thomas Whittle, priest, have hereunto subscribed my name, written," &c.
"To this bill I did indeed set my hand, being much desired and counselled so to do and the flesh being always desirous to have liberty, I considered not thoroughly the inconvenience that might come thereupon; and respite I desired to have had, but earnestly they desired me to subscribe. Now when I had so done, I had little joy thereof: for by and by my mind and conscience told me by God's word that I had done evil, by such a sleighty means to shake off the sweet cross of Christ: and yet it was not my seeking, as God knoweth, but altogether came of them. Oh the crafty subtlety of Satan in his members! Let every man that God shall deliver into their hands, take good heed, and cleave fast to Christ; for they will leave no corner of his conscience unsought, but will attempt all guileful and subtle means to corrupt him, to fall both from God and his truth. But yet let no man despair of God's help, for Peter did fall and rise again. And David saith, A righteous man, though he fall, he shall not be cast away: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. For I, for my part, have felt my infirmities, and yet have I found God's present help and comfort in time of need, I thank him there-for.
"The night after I had subscribed, I was sore grieved, and for sorrow of conscience could not sleep. For in the deliverance of my body out of bonds, which I might have had, I could find no joy nor comfort, but still was in my conscience tormented more and more; being assured by God's Spirit and his word, that I, through evil counsel and advisement, had done amiss. And both with disquietness of mind, and with my other cruel handling, I was sickly, lying upon the ground when the keeper came; and so I desired him to pray Dr. Harpsfield to come to me, and so he did.
"And when he came, and the registrar with him, I told him that I was not well at ease; but especially I told him I was grieved very much in my conscience and mind, because I had subscribed. And I said that my conscience had so accused me, through the just judgment of God and his word, that I had felt hell in my conscience, and Satan ready to devour me: 'and therefore I pray you, Master Harpsfield,' said I, 'let me have the bill again, for I will not stand to it.' So he gently commanded it to be fetched, and gave it me, and suffered me to put out my name, whereof I was right glad when I had so done, although death should follow. And hereby I had experience of God's providence and mercy towards me, who trieth his people, and suffereth them to fall, but not to be lost: for in the midst of this temptation and trouble, he gave me warning of my deed, and also delivered me, his name be praised for evermore, Amen.
"Neither devil nor cruel tyrant can pluck any of Christ's sheep out of his hand; of the which flock of Christ's sheep I trust undoubtedly I am one, by means of his death and blood-shedding, which shall at the last day stand at his right hand, and receive with others his blessed benediction. And now, being condemned to die, my conscience and mind, I praise God, are quiet in Christ; and I, by his grace, am very well willing and content to give over this body to the death, for the testimony of his truth and pure religion, against antichrist and all his false religion and doctrine. They that report otherwise of me, speak not truly. And as for Fountain, I saw him not all this while.
"By me, THOMAS WHITTLE, minister."
Concerning the troubled mind of this godly man, and tearing his name out of the bill, here followeth the report of the same, written in the letters both of the said Harpsfield, and also of Johnson the registrar, being then present thereat, and reporters of the same unto the bishop, as in their letters hereto annexed is to be seen.
The copy of Nicholas Harpsfield's letter, written to Bonner, bishop of London, declaring how Thomas Whittle rent his subscription out of the bishop's register.
"Pleaseth your good Lordship to understand, that yesterday I dined with my Lord of Exeter, who soon after my first coming to him, asked me what news? I answered, none but good, that I had heard. 'No!' saith he: 'why, it is a rumour in the city, that to-morrow the queen's Grace will take her journey towards the king.' I answered, that I thought it not to be any whit true, but an invention of heretics. 'Yea, and further,' saith he, 'there is a report made abroad of my Lord your master, that he is in discomfort, and therefore will suffer no man to come unto him.' When I heard thus much, I began to laugh, and to declare how untrue this report was: so that my Lord (who before was very sad) afterward knowing the truth, rejoiced much to hear that all was well with your Lordship, and desired me to have his hearty commendations to your Lordship.
"One of my Lord Pembroke's retinue, a very handsome man, and, as far as I can yet learn, a catholic, is a suitor to your Lordship to have licence to erect a school; and the order which he intendeth to use, is contained in this printed paper, which I send herein enclosed to your Lordship. I would be glad, for my Lord of Pembroke's sake, that he understood, that upon my motion your Lordship were content he should teach as he intendeth. Master Johnson and I have travailed with the priest, and he hath subscribed his name to this draft which is herein enclosed, and hath promised he will stand to the same before your Lordship.
"When I had written thus much, suddenly came tidings to me, that Jordanis conversus est retrorsum. Cluney coining to the priest, found him lying prostrate, and groaning as though he should have died forthwith. Then Cluney took him up, and set him upon a stool, and came to me, and told me of this revel. It chanced that Master Johnson was with me, and we went to this fond heretic, and found him lying all along, holding his hands up, and looking hypocritically towards heaven. I caused Thomas More and Cluney to set him on the stool, and with much ado at length he told me, that Satan had been with him in the night, and told him that he was damned: and weeping he prayed Master Johnson and me, to see the bill whereunto he subscribed; and when he saw it, he tore out his name, e libro scilicet viventium. Methinketh by him, he will needs burn a faggot, neither is there any other likelihood of the young woman.
"I have inquired of the two persons which sue to have a licence to eat flesh. And the woman of Christ's church is indeed very much diseased, and hath been long diseased, and she and her husband both catholic: of the other, yet, I can learn nothing. -- Thus Jesus evermore preserve your good Lordship, and my mistress your Lordship's sister, with all yours. -- This present Saturday.
"Your Lordship's most bounden servant,
NICHOLAS HARPSFIELD "
Here followeth another letter of Robert Johnson, registrar, touching Thomas Whittle, written to Bonner, bishop of London.
"My bounden duty premised, pleaseth your Lordship to understand, that this last Friday in the afternoon, Master Archdeacon of London did diligently travail with Sir Thomas Whittle. I being present, and perceiving his conformity, as outwardly appeared, devised this submission, and he being content therewith did subscribe the same. But now, this Saturday morning, Master Archdeacon and I, upon Cluney's report, declaring that he feigned himself to be distracted of his senses, went unto him, to whom he declared that Satan in the night-time appeared unto him, and said that he was damned, for that he had done against his conscience in subscribing to the said submission; with other like words, &c. And then Master Archdeacon, at his earnest request, delivered unto him the submission. And thereupon the said Whittle did tear out his subscription, made in the foot of the same, as your Lordship shall perceive by the submission sent now unto your Lordship by Master Archdeacon; wherewith the said Whittle was somewhat quieted.
"And as touching Joan Lashford, Master Archdeacon did likewise travail with her, and showing her Sir Thomas's submission, which I read unto her two times, demanded if she could be content to make the like submission, and she desired respite until this morning. And being now eftsoons demanded, in like wise saith, that she will not make any thing in writing, nor put any sign thereunto. Master Archdeacon and I intend this afternoon to examine the said Sir Thomas upon articles: for as yet there doth appear nothing in writing against him, as knoweth Almighty God, who preserve your Lordship in prosperity long with honour to endure! From London this Saturday,
"By your Lordship's daily beads-man, and bounden servant,
The condemnation, martyrdom, and death of Thomas Whittle.
Illustration -- The Examination of Thomas Whittle
Concerning the words and answers of the said Thomas Whittle at his last examination before the bishop, upon the fourteenth day of January, the year above-expressed, Bonner, with other his fellow Bonnerlings, sitting in his consistory at afternoon, first called forth Thomas Whittle, with whom he began in effect as followeth: "Because ye be a priest," saith he, "as I and other bishops here be, and did receive the order of priesthood after the right and form of the catholic church, ye shall not think but I will minister justice as well unto you as unto others." And then the said Bonner in further communication did charge him, that whereas in ,times past he had said mass according to the order then used, the same Whittle now of late had spoken and railed against the same, saying that it was idolatry and abomination. Whereunto Thomas Whittle answering again said, that at such time as he so said mass, he was then ignorant, &c.: adding more over, that the elevation of the sacrament at the mass, giveth occasion of idolatry to them that be ignorant and unlearned.
After this the bishop, making haste to the articles, (which in all his examinations ever he harped upon, came to this article,) "That thou wast in times past baptized in the faith of the catholic church."
To this the said Whittle inferred again, "I was baptized in the faith of the catholic church, although I did forsake the Church of Rome. And ye, my Lord, do call these heresies, that be no heresies, and do charge me therewith as heresies; and ye ground yourself upon that religion, which is not agreeable to God's word," &c.
Then the said victorious soldier and servant of our Saviour, constant in the verity received and professed, was again admonished, and with persuasions entreated by the bishop; who because he would not agree unto the same, the bishop forthwith proceeded, first to his actual degradation, that is, to unpriest him of all his priestly trinkets and clerkly habit. The order and manner of which their popish and most vain degradation, before, in the story of Bishop Hooper, is to be seen. Then Whittle, in the midst of the ceremonies, when he saw them so busy in degrading him after their father the pope's pontifical fashion, said unto them, "Paul and Titus had not so much ado with their priests and bishops." And further, speaking to the bishop, he said unto him, "My Lord, your religion standeth most with the Church of Rome, and not with the catholic church of Christ."
The bishop after this, according to his accustomed and formal proceedings, assayed him yet again with words, rather than with substantial arguments, to conform him to his religion: who then denying so to do, said, "As for your religion, I cannot be persuaded that it is according to God's word."
The bishop then asked, what fault he found in the administration of the sacrament of the altar.
Whittle answered and said, "It is not used according to Christ's institution, in that it is privately and not openly done: and also for that it is ministered but in one kind to the lay people, which is against Christ's ordinance. Further, Christ commanded it not to be elevated nor adored: for the adoration and elevation cannot be approved by Scripture."
"Well," quoth Bonner, "my Lords here and other learned men have showed great learning for thy conversion, wherefore if thou wilt yet return to the faith and religion of the catholic church, I will receive thee thereunto, and not commit thee to the secular power," &c. To make short, Whittle, strengthened with the grace of the Lord, stood strong and unmovable in that he had affirmed. Wherefore the sentence being read, the next day following he was committed to the secular power, and so, in few days after, brought to the fire with the other six aforenamed, sealing up the testimony of his doctrine with his blood, which he willingly and cheerfully gave for the witness of the truth.
LETTERS OF THOMAS WHITTLE.
A letter to John Careless, prisoner in the King's Bench.
"The peace of God in Christ be with you continually, dearly beloved brother in Christ, with the assistance of God's grace and Holy Spirit, to the working and performing of those things which may comfort and edify his church (as ye daily do) to the glory of his name, and the increase of your joy and solace of soul in this life, and also your reward in heaven with Christ our Captain, whose faithful soldier ye are, in the life to come, Amen.
"I have greatly rejoiced, my dear heart, with thanks to God for you, since I have heard of your faith and love which you bear towards God and his saints, with a most godly ardent zeal to the virtue of Christ's doctrine and religion, which I have heard by the report of many, but specially by the declaring of that valiant captain in Christ's church, that stout champion in God's cause, that spectacle to the world, I mean our good brother Philpot, who now lieth under the altar, and sweetly enjoyeth the promised reward. And specially I and my condemned fellows give thanks to God for your loving and comfortable letter in the deepness of our trouble (after the flesh) sent unto us to the consolation of us all, but most specially to me, most sinful miser, on mine own behalf, but happy, I hope, through God's loving-kindness in Christ showed unto me; who suffered me to faint and fail through human infirmity, by the working of the arch-enemy in his sworn soldiers, the bishops and priests. In whom so lively appeareth the very visage and shape of Satan, that a man (if it were not prejudice to God's word) might well affirm them to be devils incarnate, as I by experience do speak. Wherefore, whoso shall for conscience-matters come in their hands, had need of the wiliness of the serpent to save his head, though it be with the wounding of his body, and to take diligent heed how he consenteth to their wicked writings, or setteth his hand to their conveyances.
"So did they assault me and craftily tempt me to their wicked ways, or at least to a denegation of my faith and true opinions, though it were but by colour and dissimulation. And, alas, something they did prevail. Not that I did any thing at all like their opinions and false papistical religion, or else doubted of the truth wherein I stand, but only the infirmity of the flesh beguiled me, desiring liberty by an unlawful means: God lay it not to my charge at that day! and so I heartily desire you to pray. Howbeit, uncertain I am whether more profit came thereby: profit to me, in that God suffered Satan to buffet me by his foresaid minister of mischief, showing me mine infirmity, that I should not boast nor rejoice in myself, but only in the Lord; who when he had led me to hell in my conscience, through the respect of his fearful judgments against me for my fearfulness, mistrust, and crafty cloaking in such spiritual and weighty matters, (in the which agony and distress I found this old verse true, Non patitur ludum fama, fides, oculus,) yet he brought me from thence again to the magnifying of his name, suspecting of flesh and blood, and consolation of mine own soul; or else that I might feel disprofit in offending the congregation of God, which peradventure will rather adjudge my fall to come of doubtfulness in my doctrine and religion, than of human imbecility.
"Well, of the importune burden of a troubled conscience for denying or dissembling the known verity, I by experience could say very much more, which perhaps I will declare by writing, to the warning of others, if God grant time: for now am I and my fellows ready to go hence even for Christ's cause: God's name be praised, who hath hereto called us. Pray, I pray you, that we may end our course with joy, and at your appointed time you shall come after. But as the Lord hath kept you, so will he preserve your life still, to the intent you should labour (as you do) to appease and convince these ungodly contentions and controversies, which now do too much reign, brawling about terms to no edification. God is dishonoured, the church disquieted, and occasion to speak evil of the gospel ministered to our adversaries. But such is the subtlety of Satan, that whom he cannot win with gross idolatry in open religion, them he seeketh to corrupt and deceive in opinions, in a private profession. But here I will abruptly leave, lest with my rude and simple vein I should be tedious unto you, desiring you, my loving brother, if it shall not seem grievous unto you, to write unto me and my fellows yet once again, if you have leisure, and we time to the same.
"Provide me Master Philpot's nine examinations for a friend of mine, and I shall pay you there-for, by the leave of Almighty God our heavenly Father, who correcteth all his dear children in this world, that they should not be damned with the world, and trieth the faith of his saints through many tribulations, that being found constant to the end, he may crown his own gifts in them, and in heaven highly reward them; whither I trust to go before, looking for you to follow, my faithful friend, that we may sing perpetual praise to our loving Lord God for victory over Satan and sin, won for us by Jesus Christ, God and man, our only and sufficient Saviour and Advocate, Amen. Farewell, and pray in faith.
"Yours, THOMAS WHITTLE, minister, and now condemned to die for the gospel's sake, 1556, Jan. 21.
"All my fellows salute you. Salute all our faithful brethren with you."
To my dear friend and brother John Went, and other his prison fellows in Lollards' Tower.
"He that preserved Joseph prisoner in Egypt, fed Daniel in the lions' den, and delivered Paul, Peter, and the apostles out of prison, vouchsafe of his goodness to keep, feed, and deliver you, my good brother Went, with the other our fellow soldiers your prison-fellows, as may be most to his glory, to your consolation, and the edification of his church.
"I cannot but praise God most earnestly, when I hear of your constancy in the faith, and joy in the cross of Christ, which you now bear and suffer together, with many other good members of Christ, which is a token that by Christ you are counted worthy the kingdom of God, as Paul saith. And though the world counteth the yoke and cross of Christ as a most pernicious and hurtful thing, yet we which have tasted how friendly the Lord is, cannot but rejoice in this persecution as touching ourselves; inasmuch as the cause for the which we suffer is the Lord's cause and not ours, at whose hand, if we endure to the end, we shall receive, through his liberal promise in Christ, not only a great reward in heaven, but also the kingdom of heaven itself, and also in the mean season be sure to be defended and cared for, so that we shall lack no necessary things, neither a hair of our heads shall perish without his knowledge. O what is he that would mistrust, or not gladly serve, so loving a Father? O how unhappy are they that forsake him and put their trust in man! But how blessed are they that for his love and for his holy word's sake, in these troublesome days, do commit their souls and bodies into his hands with well doing, counting it greater happiness and riches to suffer rebuke with Christ and his church, than to enjoy the pleasures of this life for a little short season! This cross that we now bear, hath been common to all the faithful from Abel hitherto, and shall be to the end; because the devil, having great wrath against God and his Christ, cannot abide that he should for his manifold mercies be lauded and magnified, and Christ to be taken and believed upon for our only sufficient Redeemer, Saviour, and Advocate: and therefore, because we will not deny Christ, nor dissemble with our faith, but openly protest and profess the same before the world, he seeketh by all means to stir up his wicked members, to persecute and kill the bodies of the true Christians: as St. John saith, The devil shall cast some of you into prison. And David saith, I believed, and therefore have I spoken, but I was sore troubled. This notwithstanding, go forward, dear brethren, as ye have begun, to fight the Lord's battle, considering Christ the Captain of your war, who will both fight for you, give you victory, and also highly reward your pains. Consider to your comfort the notable and chief shepherds and soldiers of Christ, which are gone before us in these days; I mean those learned and godly bishops, doctors, and other ministers of God's word, whose faith and examples we that be inferiors ought to follow, as St. Paul saith: Remember them that have declared unto you the word of God, the end of whose conversation see that ye look upon, and follow their faith. The grace and blessing of God, with the ministry of his holy angels, be with you for ever; Amen. All my prison-fellows greet you.
"From the coal-house, this fourth of December; by your poor brother Thomas Whittle, an unworthy minister of Christ, now his prisoner for the gospel's sake. Amen."
To all the true professors and lovers of God's holy gospel within the city of London.
"The same faith for the which Abraham was counted righteous, and Mary blessed, the Lord God increase and make stable in your hearts, my dear and faithful brethren and sisters of London, for ever and ever; Amen.
"Dearly beloved, be not troubled in this heat which is now come amongst you to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you, but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's passion; that when his glory appeareth, ye may be merry and glad, &c. Out of these words of St. Peter, I gather most specially these four notes. First, that persecution happeneth to Christ's church for their trial, that is, for the probation and proof of their faith. Which faith, like as it is known with God in the depth of our hearts, so will he have it made manifest to the whole world through persecution; that so it may evidently appear that he hath such a church and people upon earth, which so trusteth in him and feareth his holy name, that no kind of persecution, pains, nor death, shall be able to separate them from the love of him. And thus was Abraham tried and Job tempted, that their faith, which before lay hid almost in their hearts, might be made known to the whole world to be so stedfast and strong, that neither the devil, natural love, nor any other enemy, could be able to bereave them thereof. Whereby also God was to be magnified, who hath tried his people by many tribulations, and also standeth by them in the midst of their troubles, to deliver them by life or death as he seeth best: like as he assisted Lot, and delivered him out of his enemies' hands; Joseph out of the hands of his brethren and out of prison; Paul from his enemies in Damascus; and the apostles out of the stocks and prison.
"These with many more he delivered to life; and also he delivered Abel, Eleazar, Stephen, and John Baptist, with many others, by death, and hath also by the trial of their faith made them good presidents, and examples to us and all that come after, to suffer affliction in the like cause; as St. James saith, Take, my brethren, saith he, the prophets for an ensample of suffering adversity and of long patience, which spake unto you in the name of the Lord. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have known what end the Lord made with him, for the Lord is very pitiful and merciful. Also the Lord trieth us, to let us see our own hearts and thoughts, that no hypocrisy nor ambition deceive us, and that the strong in Christ may pray that he fall not, but endure to the end; and that those that fall through fearful infirmity, might speedily repent and rise again with Peter, and also that the weak ones might bewail their weakness, and cry with David, Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak. O Lord, heal me, for all my bones are vexed.
"Of this opening of the heart by persecution, spake holy Simeon to Mary, Christ's mother, when he said, The sword (that is, the cross of persecution) shall pierce thy soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be opened. For like as a king that should go to battle, is compelled to look in his coffers what treasure he hath, and also what number and puissance of men and weapons he hath, so that if he himself be unready and unarmed to bicker with his enemy, he surceaseth and taketh truce for a time: even so we, by persecutions, have our hearts opened, that we may look therein to see what faith in Christ we have, and what strength to withstand the enemies, and to bear the cross, that if we be rich in these treasures, we might rejoice, and valiantly go to battle; or if we want these things, we might with all speed cry and call upon him which giveth all good gifts to those that ask them. Item, the cross trieth the good people from the bad, the faithful from the worldlings and hypocrites, and also cleanseth and scoureth the faithful hearts from all corruption and filthiness both of the flesh and the spirit. And even as iron, except it be often scoured, will soon wax rusty; so except our sinful hearts and flesh be often scoured with the whetstone of the cross, they will soon corrupt and overgrow with the rust of all filthiness and sin. And therefore it is meet and good for us, as the wise man saith, that as gold and silver is tried in the fire, so should the hearts of acceptable men be tried in the furnace of adversity. Abide the trial, dear friends, that ye may obtain the crown of life. Fight manfully in this the Lord's cause, that ye may obtain a glorious victory here, and receive a great reward in heaven hereafter.
"As ye are called Christians, and would be angry to be called Jews or Turks, so declare your Christianity by following the steps of Christ, whose name ye bear. Suffer with him and for his gospel's sake, rather than to deny him or to defile your faith and conscience with false worshipping of Romish religion.
"Take up your cross my dear hearts, now when it is offered you, and go up with Christ to Jerusalem amongst the bishops, priests, and rulers, (if God call you thereto,) and they will anon send you to Calvary; from whence, (dying in the cause of the gospel, wherein our good preachers and brethren have given their lives,) your souls, I warrant you, through Christ Jesus shall ascend to God that gave them, and the body shall come after at the last day; and so shall ye dwell with the Lord for ever in unspeakable joy and bliss. O blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, as Christ's people in this Jewish England now do; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! O my beloved, set your minds on this kingdom where Christ our Head and King is; considering that as the brute beast looketh downwards with the face towards the earth, so man is made contrariwise with his face looking upwards towards the heavens, because his conversation should be in heaven and heavenly things, and not upon the earth and earthly things, as St. Paul saith, Set your minds on things which are above, where Christ is. And again he saith, Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for our Saviour, who will change our vile bodies, and make them like to his glorious body. Oh the glorious estate that we be called unto! The Lord preserve us harmless to his eternal kingdom through Christ Jesus our Lord; Amen.
"The second thing that I note in the foresaid words of Peter, is, that he calleth persecution no strange thing. And truth it is, for which of the prophets were not persecuted with Christ and his apostles, and some of them in the end cruelly killed for the truth's sake? Cain killed Abel, Isaac was persecuted of Ishmael, Jacob was hated of Esau, Joseph was prisoned and set in the stocks, the prophet Isaiah was cut in two with a saw, Jeremiah was stoned, Micaiah was buffeted and fed with bread and water, Elias was sore persecuted, Eleazar and the woman with her seven sons were cruelly killed. What Christ and the apostles suffered it is well known. So that by many tribulations (as Paul saith) we must enter into the kingdom of heaven. All the holy prophets, Christ, and his apostles, suffered such afflictions -- not for evil doing, but for preaching God's word, for rebuking of the world of sin, and for their faith in Jesus Christ.
"This is the ordinance of God, my friends, this is the high-way to heaven, by corporal death to eternal life; as Christ saith, He that heareth my words, and believeth in him that sent me, hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgment, but is escaped from death to life. Let us never fear death, which is killed by Christ, but believe in him and live for ever; as Paul saith, There is no damnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, which walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And again Paul saith, Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God which hath given us victory through Jesus Christ.
"Besides this, ye have seen, and daily do see, the blood of your good preachers and brethren, which hath been shed in the gospel's cause in this sinful Sodom, this bloody Jerusalem, this unhappy city of London. Let not their blood be forgotten, nor the blood of your good bishop Ridley, who like a shepherd, to your comfort and example, hath given his life for his sheep. Good St. Paul saith, Remember them that have spoken to you the word of God, and look upon the end of their conversation, and follow their faith.
"The devil ever stirreth up false teachers, as he hath done now over all England, as Peter, Paul, and Jude prophesied it should be, to poison and kill our souls with the false doctrine. And when he faileth of his purpose that way, then moveth he his members to persecute the silly carcasses of the saints, because they will not deny nor dissemble their pure faith in our living Christ, and confess a dead bready Christ, and honour the same as Christ, God and man, contrary to God's commandment.
"This is the working of Satan, who, knowing his own just damnation, would all mankind to be partakers with him of the same; such a mortal hatred beareth he against God and his people. And therefore when this wicked tempter could not kill Christ with subtle temptation to fall down and worship him, then he stirred up his servants the bishops and Pharisees to kill his body, whereby notwithstanding the devil lost his title and interest which he had to man's soul, and man by his precious passion and death was ransomed from the devil, death, and hell, to immortality and life everlasting. And so when Satan thought to have won all in killing of Christ, he lost all. And so shall he do in us, if we abide constant and strong in the faith of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ unto the end. God grant it for his mercy's sake in Christ. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Amen.
"Wherefore, my heartily beloved brethren and sisters, be of good comfort through Jesus Christ, for he that is in us is stronger than he that is in the world. Therefore draw ye near to God, and he will draw near to you. Resist the devil, and he will, as James saith, flee from you. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Touch not pitch, lest you be defiled therewith; eat no swine's flesh, for it is against the law: I mean, defile not yourselves either inwardly or outwardly with this false and wicked religion of antichrist; for it is nothing else but pitch, and swine's flesh. Beware of the beast's mark, lest ye drink of the cup of God's wrath. If God have given you knowledge and faith, dissemble not therewith. Deny not the known verity before men, lest Christ deny you before his Father. Come away from Babylon, as John biddeth you; and touch no unclean thing, but separate yourselves from the company of the ungodly, as Paul commandeth you. Whatsoever you have done amiss heretofore, now repent ye and amend: for with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption.
"The third thing and note which I gather out of the foresaid words of Peter, is this, that he saith, Rejoice because ye are partakers of Christ's passion. Our sufferings, my well-beloved, are Christ's sufferings; and that injury that is done to us for his sake, he reckoneth it to be done to himself, as he said to St. Paul, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Therefore we ought to rejoice in our sufferings, as Paul writeth, which we suffer with Christ and one with another, as Peter saith, and so to fulfil that which is behind of the passions of Christ in our flesh; which Christ hath, by his passion, fully redeemed and saved us in his own person: howbeit his elect must suffer with him and for him unto the world's end, that he may be glorified in them, and they thereby corrected and cleansed from sin in this world, and be made more meet temples for the Holy Ghost, and also obtain a great reward in heaven for their suffering for righteousness' sake, according to his promise. And therefore I say, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice. Let us rejoice in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified to us, and we to it.
"And why should we so greatly rejoice in the cross of Christ, which we now suffer? Because, saith Peter, when his glory appeareth, we may be merry and glad. And this is the fourth note that I gather out of his words above written: wherein is set out the reward of suffering, not to be had in this world; but at his coming to judgment, when we shall be raised again. And then shall they that have sown in tears, reap in joy; as Christ saith, Blessed are they that weep here; for they shall laugh. Blessed are ye when men hate you, and thrust you out of their company, railing on you, and abhorring your name as an evil thing for the Son of man's sake: rejoice ye in that day and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, through the hope of this heavenly joy and reward, which he that cannot lie hath promised, (which joy is so great that no ear hath heard, no eye hath seen, nor the heart can think, where we shall dwell for ever in the heavenly city, the celestial Jerusalem, in the presence of God the Father, and Jesus Christ our Mediator, as Paul saith, and in the company of innumerable angels, and with the spirits and souls of all faithful and just men,) rejoice and be glad. And seeing ye be called to so great glory, see that you make your election and vocation sure by good works, and specially by suffering adversity for the gospel's sake: for it is given us of God (saith Paul) not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for his sake. Continue in prayer, and pray for me that I may end my course with joy. Have brotherly love amongst yourselves, which is a token that ye be Christ's disciples. Edify and comfort one another in the word of the Lord, and the God of peace and love be with you always. Amen.
"For your liberality and kindness showed upon the prisoners and afflicted people of God in this time of persecution, the Lord will reward you when he cometh to reward every man according to his deeds, and will not leave a cup of cold water bestowed upon his faithful people unrewarded. God make you rich in all grace, that ye always having sufficient, may be rich unto all manner of good works.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you always. Amen.
"Your brother now in bonds for the gospel,
To my loving and faithful brother John Careless, prisoner in the King's Bench.
"The same faith for the which Abraham was accounted just, and Mary blessed, whereby also all just men live, the Lord God our loving Father increase and stablish in you and me, to the obtaining of eternal life in our alone and sweet Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
"I cannot worthily and sufficiently praise God, my heartily beloved brother, for the consolation and joy that I have received by reason of your loving letters, repenting me much that I, being so long so near you, did not enterprise to stir up familiarity and communication between us by writing, to mutual consolation in Christ. For what is there upon earth wherein to rejoice, (where all things are transitory and vain, yea, man himself, respecting this life,) but, as David saith, the saints that dwell upon the earth, and such as excel in virtue? But here now I consider, that if the fellowship, love, and joy, of faithful men and children of God, (being as we now be in double bondage, the body within clay walls, and the soul within these frail earthly bodies,) be so great and comfortable; how unspeakable will these joys be, when we shall be delivered from all corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, where we shall be present together continually in our glorified bodies beholding the face of our Father presently, (whom now we see but in the glass of faith,) with his dear Son Christ our Redeemer and Brother, and the blessed company of angels and all faithful saved souls!
"Oh the incomparable good things and heavenly treasures laid up for us in heaven by Christ Jesus! For the obtaining whereof, we ought to set light by all temporal grief and transitory afflictions, so much the more, in that our good God is faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempted above our strength; and that namely in the end of our life, when the tree where it falleth lieth still, as the preacher saith, when every one, causa sua dormit, et causa sua resurget. For else, before the end, he suffereth him sometime to fall, but not finally to perish: as Peter sank upon the sea, but yet was not drowned; and sinned grievously upon the land through infirmity denying his Master, but yet found mercy: for the righteous falleth oftentimes. And Christ's holy apostles are taught to say, Remitte nobis debita nostra. Yea, though the righteous fall, saith David, he shall not be cast away, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. Oh the bottomless mercy of God towards us, miserable sinners! He vouchsafe to plant in my heart true repentance and faith, to the obtaining of remission of all my sins in the mercies of God, and merits of Christ his Son! And thereto I pray you say, Amen.
"O my dearly beloved, it grieveth me to see the spoil and havoc that Saul maketh with the congregation of Christ. But what remedy? This is God's will and ordinance, that his people shall here both be punished in the flesh and tried in their faith; as it is written, Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of all: for by a strait path and narrow door must we enter. Whither? Into the joyful kingdom of heaven! Therefore blessed are you and others that suffer persecution for Christ's sake, for the profession of the same. Pray for me and my fellows, good brother, that we may fight a good fight, that we may keep the faith, and end our course with joyful gladness; for now the time of our deliverance is at hand. The Lord guide, defend, and keep us and you and all his people in our journey, that we may safely, through a short death, pass to that long lasting life.
"Farewell, my dear and loving brother and fellow soldier in Christ! farewell, I say, in him, who receive our souls in peace when they shall depart from these tabernacles, and grant us a joyful resurrection, and a merry meeting at the last day, and continual dwelling in his eternal heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
"Yours with my poor prayer; other pleasure can I do you none,
THOMAS WHITTLE, minister."
To my dear brethren Master Filles and Cutbert.
"My dear and well-beloved brethren in Christ, Master Filles and Cutbert, I wish you all welfare of soul and body. Welfare to the soul, is repentance of sin, faithful affiance in Christ Jesus, and a godly life. Welfare to the body, is the health of the same, with all necessary things for this body-life. The soul of man is immortal, and therefore ought to be well kept, lest immortality to joy should turn to immortality of sorrow. As for the body, be it never so well kept and much made of, yet shortly by nature will it perish and decay; but those that are ingrafted and incorporated into Christ by true faith, feeling the motion of God's Holy Spirit as a pledge of their election and inheritance, exciting and stirring them not only to seek heavenly things, but also to hate vice, and embrace virtue, will not only do these things, but also, if need require, will gladly take up their cross and follow their Captain, their King, and their Saviour Jesus Christ, (as his poor afflicted Church of England now doth,) against that false and antichristian doctrine and religion now used, and specially that blasphemous mass, wherein Christ's supper and holy ordinance is altogether perverted and abused, contrary to his institution and to Paul's proceedings: so that that which they have in their mass, is neither sacrament of Christ, nor yet sacrifice for sin, as the priests falsely pretend. It is a sacrament, that is, as St. Augustine saith, a visible sign of invisible grace, when it is ministered to the communicants according to Christ's example, and as it was of late years in this realm. And as for sacrifice, there is none to be made now for sin: for Christ with one sacrifice hath perfected for ever those that are sanctified.
"Beware of false religion, and men's vain traditions, and serve God with reverence and godly fear according to the doctrine of his gospel, whereto cleave ye that ye may be blessed, though of wicked men ye be hated and accursed. Rather drink of the cup of Christ with his church, than of the cup of that rose-coloured whore of Babylon, which is full of abominations. Rather strive ye to go to heaven by the path which is strait to flesh and blood, with the little flock, than to go in the wide way, following the enticements of the world and the flesh, which lead to damnation.
"Like as Christ suffered in the flesh, saith St. Peter, so arm ye yourselves with the same mind: for Christ suffered for us, leaving us example to follow his footsteps. Blessed are they that suffer for his sake; great is their reward in heaven. He that overcometh, saith St. John, shall eat of the tree of life: he shall have a crown of life, and not to be hurt of the second death; he shall be clothed with white array, and not to be put out of the book of life: yea, I will confess his name, saith Christ, before my Father and before his angels, and he shall be a pillar in the house of God, and sit with me on my seat. And thus I bid you farewell, mine own brethren and dear fellows in Christ; whose grace and peace be alway with you. Amen.
"This world I do forsake; to Christ I me betake;
And, for his gospel's sake, patiently death I take.
My body to the dust now to return it must;
My soul, I know full well, with my God it shall dwell.
Another letter written to a certain godly woman.
"O my dear and loving sister in Christ! be not dismayed in this storm of persecution: for Paul calleth the gospel the word of the cross, because it is never truly taught, but the cross and cruel persecution immediately and necessarily do follow the same; and therefore it is a manifest token of God's truth, and hath been here and is still abroad; and that is the cause of the rage and cruelty of Satan against Christ and his members, which must be corrected for their sins in this world: their faith must be tried, that after trial and patient suffering the faithful may receive the crown of glory. Fear not therefore, my well-beloved! but proceed in the knowledge and fear of God, and he will keep you from all evil. Call upon his holy name, and he will strengthen you and assist you in all your ways: and if it please him to lay his cross upon you for his gospel's sake, refuse it not, neither shake it off by unlawful means, lest you should (as God forbid) find a more grievous cross and torment of conscience, if you should dissemble and deny the known verity, than is any persecution or death of body. Oh how happy are they that suffer persecution for righteousness' sake! Their reward is great in heaven. The momentary afflictions of this life are not worthy of the glory that shall be showed upon us. O remember the godly women of the Old Testament and New, which lived in God's service and fear, and therefore are now in bliss and commended for ever: and namely Judith, Esther, Abigail, the mother of the seven sons, Mary, Elizabeth, Susanna, Lydia, and Phoebe, and others. Set their examples before your eyes, and fear nothing, for Satan is conquered by our Saviour Christ; sin is put to flight, and the gate of immortality and eternal life is set wide open: God grant we may enter therein through the door Jesus Christ. Amen!
The story of Master Bartlet Green, ,gentleman and lawyer, martyr.FTER the martyrdom of Thomas Whittle, next followed' in order to speak of Bartlet Green, who, the next day after the foresaid Whittle, was likewise condemned.
This Green was of a good house, and had such parents as both favoured learning, and were also willing to bring up this their child in the same; who, after some entrance in other inferior schools, was by them sent unto the university of Oxford, where through exercise and diligent study he so profited, that within short time he attained, as well to the knowledge of sundry profane sciences, as also now, in his last years, unto the godly understanding of divinity; whereunto (through ignorance in which he was trained up from his youth) he was at the first an utter enemy, until such time as God of his mercy had opened his eyes, by his often repairing unto the common lectures of Peter Martyr, reader of the divinity lecture in the same university, so that thereby (as by God's instrument) he saw the true light of Christ's gospel. Whereof when he had once tasted, it became unto him as the fountain of lively water, that our Saviour Christ spake of to the woman of Samaria, so as he never thirsted any more, but had a well springing unto everlasting life; insomuch as when he was called by his friends from the university; and was placed in the Temple at London, there to attain to the knowledge of the common laws of the realm, he yet continued still in his former study and earnest profession of the gospel; wherein also he did not a little profit. Howbeit, (such is the frailty of our corrupt nature, without the special assistance of God's Holy Spirit,) through the continual accompanying and fellowship of such worldly (I will not say too much youthful) young gentlemen, as are commonly in that and the like houses, he became by little and little a compartner of their fond follies and youthful vanities, as well in his apparel, as also in banquetings, and other superfluous excesses: which he afterward (being again called by God's merciful correction) did sore lament and bewail, as appeareth by his own testimony, notified and left in a book of a certain friend of his, a little before his death, written with his own hand, in manner as followeth.
The writing of Master Bartlet Green, in Master Bartram Calthorp's book.
"Two things have very much troubled me whilst I was in the Temple, pride and gluttony; which, under the colour of glory and good fellowship, drew me almost from God. Against both there is one remedy, by prayer, earnest and without ceasing. And forsomuch as vain-glory is so subtle an adversary, that almost it woundeth deadly ere ever a man can perceive himself to be smitten, therefore we ought so much the rather, by continual prayer, to labour for humbleness of mind. Truly gluttony beginneth under a charitable pretence of mutual love and society, and hath in it most uncharitableness. When we seek to refresh our bodies, that they may be the more apt to serve God, and perform our duties towards our neighbours, then stealeth it in as a privy thief, and murdereth both body and soul, that now it is not apt to pray, or serve God, apt to study, or labour for our neighbour. Let us therefore watch and be sober; for our adversary the devil walketh about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And remember what Solomon saith, A patient man is better than a strong warrior, and he that conquereth his own stomach, is better than he that conquereth towns and cities.
"Agreement of minds joining in unity of faith, and growing up in charity, is true and stedfast amity. Farewell, my Bartram, and remember me, that ever we may be like together. Farewell. At Newgate, Jan. 20, anno 1556.
"Set sober love against hasty wrath.
"BARTLET GREEN "
Thus we see the fatherly kindness of our most gracious and merciful God, who never suffereth his elect children so to fall, that they lie still in security of sin, but oftentimes quickeneth them up by some such means as perhaps they think least of, as he did here this his strayed sheep. And now therefore to return to our history: for the better maintenance of himself in these his studies, and other his affairs, he had a large exhibition of his grandfather, Master Doctor Bartlet, who, during the time of Green's imprisonment, made unto him large offers of great livings, if he would recant, and (forsaking the truth and gospel of Christ) come home again to the church and synagogue of Rome. But those his persuasions (the Lord be therefore praised) took small effect in his faithful heart, as the sequel did declare. He was a man beloved of all men (except of the papists, who love none that love the truth); and so he well deserved, for he was of a meek, humble, discreet, and most gentle behaviour to all. Injurious he was to none, beneficial to many, especially to those that were of the household of faith; as appeared amongst other, by his friendly dealing with Master Christopher Goodman, being at that present a poor exile beyond the seas; with whom this Bartlet Green (as well for his toward learning, as also for his sober and godly behaviour) had often society in Oxford, in the days of good King Edward; which now, notwithstanding his friend's misery and banishment, he did not lightly forget: and that turned as it chanced (not without the providence of Almighty God) to the great grief of both; the one of heart, for the loss of his friend, and the other of body, in suffering the cruel and murdering rage of papists. The cause hereof was a letter which Green did write unto the said Goodman, containing as well the report of certain demands or questions, which were cast abroad in London, (as appeareth hereafter in a letter of his own penning, which he meant to have sent unto Master Philpot, wherein he declareth his full usage before the bishop of London and others,) as also an answer to a question made by the said Christopher Goodman, in a letter written unto him, in which he required to have the certainty of the report which was spread amongst them on the other side of the seas, that the queen was dead. Whereunto Master Green answered simply, and as the truth then was, that she was not dead.
These letters, with many others, written to divers of the godly exiles, by their friends here in England, being delivered to a messenger to carry over, came, by the apprehension of the said bearer, unto the hands of the king and queen's council; who, at their convenient leisure, (which in those days by some of them was quickly found out for such matters,) perused the whole number of the said letters, and amongst them espied this letter of Master Green's, written unto his friend Christopher Goodman; in the contents whereof (amongst other news and private matters) they found these words: "The queen is not yet dead." Which words were only written as an answer, to certify Master Goodman of the truth of his former demand; howbeit (to some of the council) they seemed very heinous words, yea, treason, they would have made them, if the law would have suffered. Which when they could not do, (and being yet very loth to let any such depart freely, whom they suspected to be a favourer of the gospel,) they then examined him upon his faith in religion; but upon what points it is not certainly known.
Nevertheless (as it seemeth) his answers were such as little pleased them (especially the anointed sort); and therefore, after they had long detained him in prison, as well in the Tower of London as elsewhere, they sent him at last unto Bonner, bishop of London, to be ordered according to his ecclesiastical law; as appeareth by their letters sent unto the bishop, with the said prisoner also, wherein it may appear, that Sir John Bourne (then secretary to the queen) was a chief stirrer in such cases, yea, and an enticer of others of the council; who otherwise (if for fear they durst) would have been content to have let such matters alone. The Lord forgive them their weakness (if it be his good pleasure) and give them true repentance. Amen.
A letter sent unto Bonner, bishop of London, by the queen's council, dated the eleventh day of.November, 1555; but not delivered until the seventeenth of the same month.
"After our right hearty commendations to your good Lordship, we send to the same herewith the body of one Bartlet Green, who hath of good time remained in the Tower for his obstinate standing in matters against the catholic religion, whom the king's and queen's Majesties' pleasures are, (because he is of your Lordship's diocese,) ye shall cause to be ordered according to the laws in such cases provided. And thus we bid your Lordship heartily farewell.
"From St. James's, the eleventh of November, 1555.
"Your good Lordship's loving friends,
"Postscript. -- I, Sir John Bourne, will wait upon your Lordship, and signify further the king's and queen's Majesties' pleasure herein."
Now that ye may the better understand the certainty of his handling, after this his coming unto Bonner's custody, I have thought it good to put forth his own letter, containing at large the discourse of the same; which letter he wrote, and did mean to have sent unto Master Philpot, but was prevented belike either by Philpot's death, or else (and rather) by the wily watching of his keeper: for it came (by what means I know not certainly) unto the bishop's hands, and being delivered unto his registrar, was found in one of his books of record, the copy whereof here followeth.
A letter of Bartlet Green, written unto John Philpot, containing, besides other particular matter betwixt him and Master Philpot, a brief rehearsal of his handling, and certain his conferences with Bonner and others, at his first coming to the bishops.
"I marvel much that you will raise such slanders of me: for, what else is a slander than an untrue report of a man, to the hurt of a man? And though you will not seem to hurt me herein, nor did it there-for, yet, being a false report of me to the hurt of other men, methinketh I may count myself slandered therein. Is not the heart offended when the foot is slandered? is not the body troubled when the tongue is belied? is not the hand ready to revenge the dishonour of the head, or hurt of the least part of the body? are we not members all of one body? are we not members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones? If you think them not of one body with us, yet should you not have spoken evil of any man, yet should you not have slandered the rulers. But you have sought my hurt ignorantly: remember you not what happened to Moses and Aaron at the waters of strife, because of the over-great estimation that the people had in them? Were not the people plagued by David, in whom they overmuch gloried? quippe per qua peccat quis, per eadem punietur. None had such praise as had Josiah; and what was the end? The people had Josiah in reverence, and he spake, and it came not to pass! Peter's boldness deserved a fall; Paul had the messenger of Satan sent him; to Peter, after the preferment was given to him, were a foul fall and sharp rebuke; to the same, after the feeding of sheep; Paul withstood him in the face. Let him that standeth take heed he fall not; for if any man seem unto himself to be somewhat when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Would God you saw my heart, and the sorrows that I sustained thereby; God knoweth whether it were with the desire to be revenged of such lies, or to be delivered from the occasion of vain-glory thereby, (for I must say with David, Delicta quis intelligit? ab occultis, &c.,) that I had almost fallen on the other side, to have swerved from the truth thereby. And this say I in truth, coram Domino; for I am not ashamed to confess my own weakness, to the praise of the glory of God. Would God you were not carnal, to prefer your friend with lies, to esteem friendship above truth, yea, above God, the author of all truth. Qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur absit mihi gloriari nisi in cruce Domini Christi, &c. Is this your friendship, O my friend?
"That which was wanting in talk (through my default) at your being here, I have supplied by writing in your absence, now at the length getting some opportunity and leisure. The seventeenth day of November, being brought hither by two of the clock at afternoon, I was presented before my Lord of London and other two bishops, Master Deane, Master Roper, Master Welch, Dr. Harpsfield, archdeacon of London, and other two or three, all sitting at one table. There were also present Dr. Dale, Master George Mordant, Master Dee. Then after the bishop of London had read unto himself the letter that came from the council, he spake with more words, but (as I remember) to this effect; that the cause of their assembly was: to hear mine examination, whereunto he had authority by the council; and had provided Master Welch, and another whose name I know not, (but well I remember, though he obtained it not, yet desired he my Lord, that I might hear the council's letters,) to be there if any matters of the common law should arise, to discuss them: he entreated my Lord to determine all controversies of Scriptures; and as for the civil law, he and Dr. Dale should take it on them. Wherefore he demanded of me the cause of mine imprisonment. I said, that the occasion of mine apprehension was a letter which I wrote to one Christopher Goodman, wherein (certifying him of such news as happened here) among the rest, I wrote that there were certain printed papers of questions scattered abroad. Whereupon, being suspected to be privy unto the devising or publishing of the same, I was committed to the Fleet; but since heard I nothing thereof, after the commissioners had received my submission. The sum whereof was, that as I was sure there neither could he any true witness, nor probable conjecture against me in that behalf; so refused I no punishment, if they of their consciences would judge me privy to the devising, printing, or publishing of those questions. But my Lord, affirming that there was another cause of mine imprisonment since, demanded if I had not after, since I was committed to the Fleet, spoken or written somewhat against the natural presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar.
"Then desired I his Lordship to be good unto me, trusting that he would put me to answer to no new matters, except I were first discharged of the old. And when I stood long on that, Master Welch answered, that it was procured that I should so do, right well. For albeit I were imprisoned for treason, if during the time of endurance I had maintained heresy, that were no sufficient allegation against the ordinary; neither, whether I were before him acquitted or condemned, should it take away the former fault. Then, my Lord affirming that I was not brought before him but for heresy, and the other gentleman saying that doubtless I was discharged of my former matter; my desire was, that I might be charged according to the order of the law, to hear my accusers.
"Then Dr. Chedsey was sent for, who reported that in the presence of Master Mosley and the lieutenant of the Tower, I spake against the real presence and the sacrifice of the mass; and that I affirmed that their church was the church of antichrist.
"'Is not this true?' quoth my Lord. I said, 'Yea.' 'Will you continue therein? 'quoth he. 'Yea,' said I. 'Wilt thou then maintain it by learning?' said he. 'Therein,' quoth I, 'I should show myself to have little wit, knowing mine own youth and ignorance, if I would take on me to maintain any controversy against so many grave and learned men. But my conscience was satisfied in the truth, which was sufficient to my salvation.' 'Conscience!' quoth Master Roper; 'so shall every Jew and Turk be saved.'
"We had hereafter much talk to no purpose, and especially on my part, who felt in myself, through cold and open air, much dulness of wit and memory. At the length I was asked what conscience was: and I said, 'The certifying of the truth.'
"With that Master Welch rose up, desiring leave to talk with me alone. So he taking me aside into another chamber, said, that he was sorry for my trouble, and would gladly see me at liberty: he marvelled that I, being a young man, would stand against all the learned men of the realm, yea, and contrary to the whole determination of the catholic church from Christ's time, in a matter wherein I could have no great learning: I ought not to think mine own wit better than all men's, but should believe them that were learned. 'I promise you,' quoth he, 'I have read all Peter Martyr's book, and Cranmer's, and all the rest of them, and have conferred them with the contrary, as Roffensis, and the bishop of Winchester, &c., and could not perceive but that there was one continual truth, which from the beginning had been maintained; and those that at any time severed from this unity, were answered, and answered again.' This was the sum of his tale, which lacked neither wit nor eloquence.
"Then spake I: 'Forasmuch as it pleaseth your Mastership to use me so familiarly, (for so he behaved himself towards me, as though I had been his equal,) I shall open my mind freely unto you, desiring you to take it in good worth. I consider my youth, lack of wit and learning, which would God it were but a little under the opinion that some men have of me! But God is not bound to time, wit, or knowledge, but rather chooseth infirma mundi, ut confunderet fortia, neither can men appoint bounds to God's mercy: for, I will have compassion, saith he, on whom I will show mercy. There is no respect of persons with God, whether it be old or young, rich or poor, wise or foolish, fisher or basket-maker. God giveth knowledge of his truth through his free grace, to whom he list. Neither do I think myself only to have the truth, but stedfastly believe that Christ hath his spouse, the catholic and universal church, dispersed in many realms where it pleaseth him, Spiritus ubi vult spirat: no more is he addicted to any one place, than to the person and qualities of one man. Of this church I nothing doubt myself to be a member, trusting to be saved by the faith that is taught in the same. But how this church is known, is in a manner the end of all controversy; and the true marks of Christ's church are the true preaching of his word and ministering of his sacraments. These marks were sealed by the apostles, and confirmed by the ancient fathers, till at the length they were, through the wickedness of men and the devil, sore worn, and almost utterly taken away. But God be praised that he hath renewed the print, that his truth may be known in many places. For myself, I call God to witness, I have none hope in mine own wit and learning, which is very small; but I was persuaded thereto by him, as by an instrument that is excellent in all good learning and living. And God is my record, that chiefly I sought it of him by continual prayer with tears. Furthermore, what I have done herein, it is not needful for me to speak: but one thing (I say) I wish of God with all my heart -- that all men which are of contrary judgment, would seek the truth in like manner. Now I am brought hither before a great many of bishops and learned men, to be made a fool and a laughingstock; but I weigh it not a rush, for God knoweth that my whole study is to please him. Besides that, I care not for man's pleasure, or displeasure.'
"No, Master Green,' quoth Welch, 'think not so uncharitably of any man, but judge rather that men labour for your soul's health, as for their own. But, alas, how will you condemn all our forefathers! or how can you think yourself to be of the catholic church, without any continuance, and contrary to the judgment of all learned men?'
"Then I said,' Sir, I have none authority to judge any man: nevertheless, I doubt not but that I am of the true catholic church, howsoever our learned men here judge of me.'
"'Why then,' said Welch, do you suppose your own wit and learning better than all theirs? if you do not give credit only to them, other learned men shall resort unto you, that shall persuade you by the Scriptures and doctors.'
"'Sir,' quoth I, 'God knoweth that I refuse not to learn of any child, but I would embrace the truth from the mouth of a natural fool, in any thing wherein I am ignorant, and that in all things -- saving my faith. But concerning the truth, wherein I am thoroughly persuaded, I cannot submit myself to learn; unless it be, as your Mastership said, that I perused the books on both sides. For so might I make myself an indifferent judge: otherwise I may be seduced.'
"And here we fell out again in a long talk of the church, wherein his learning and wit were much above mine: but in the end I told him I was persuaded, and that he did but lose his labour.
"'Why then,' quoth Welch, 'what shall I report to my Lord?'
"'Even as pleaseth you,' quoth I; 'or else you may say that I would be glad to learn, if I had books on both sides.'
"So he going in, the bishops (even then risen, and ready to depart) asked how he liked me? He answered, 'In faith, my Lord, he will be glad to learn.' Which words when they were taken, lest they should mistake his meaning and mine, I said, 'Yea, my Lord, so that I may have books on both sides, as Calvin, and my Lord of Canterbury's books, and such others.' 'Well,' quoth my Lord, 'I will satisfy thy mind therein also.' And they all were in great hope that shortly I should become a good catholic, as they call it.
"Then was I brought into my Lord's inner chamber, (where you were,) and there was put in a chamber with Master Dee, who entreated me very friendly. That night I supped at my Lord's table, and lay with Master Dee in the chamber you did see. On the morrow I was served at dinner from my Lord's table, and at night did eat in the hall with his gentlemen where I have been placed ever since, and fared wonderful well. Yea, to say the truth, I had my liberty within the bounds of his Lordship's house: for my lodging and fare, scarce have I been at any time abroad in better case so long together, and have found so much gentleness of my Lord, and his chaplains, and other servants, that I should easily have forgotten that I was in prison, were it not that this great cheer was often powdered with unsavoury sauces of examinations, exhortations, posings, and disputations.
"For, shortly after supper, the first Monday at night, I was had into my Lord's bed-chamber, and there he would know of me how I came first into these heresies. I said I was persuaded thereto by the Scriptures, and authorities of the doctors, alleged by Peter Martyr in his lectures upon 1 Cor. xi., while he entreated there on that place, De cna Domini, by the space of a month together. But then my Lord enforced the plainness of Christ's words, and his almighty power, demanding of me, what reason should move me from the literal sense of the words. But I, having no lust to those matters, would have alleged that there were books sufficient of that matter, as Peter Martyr, Cranmer, and colampadius: nevertheless when this shift would not serve, but I was constrained to say somewhat, I said I was moved from the literal sense by the manner of speaking, by the circumstance, and by conference of other places of the Scriptures. It is evident that Christ took bread, and that he showed them (they seeing it) bread, which he affirmed to be his body.
"Christ affirmed that bread was his body.
"But that affirmation taken literally, can by no means be true:
"Ergo, the words, if they be taken according to the letter, cannot be true.
"For this predication, Panis est corpus Christi, or corpus Christi est panis, is neither identica, nor accidentalis, nor essentialis prędicatio. Wherefore of necessity I must say it was spoken in the like sense, as Christ was a door, a vine, and a way. Neither can it serve to say, that it was not of bread that he affirmed to be his body; and that for two causes.
"For whatsoever he showed, that was bread; for nought else was seen.
"But that which he showed he affirmed to be his body:
"Ergo, he affirmed of bread that it was his body.
"The second reason is: for that it was not changed before, seeing benedixit, is gratias edit, or else Christ affirmed no true proposition, and you are without authority.
"In the end of this letter, there were noted these sentences following, collected for confirmation of his former assertions, videlicet, --
"The same phrase is used and spoken upon the cup.
"It is called bread in the same place afterward.
"By the same reason as it may be denied to be bread, it may be denied to be the body.
"His body ascended into heaven.
"In body he was like to us in all things after his nativity (sin excepted). Seeing then our body cannot be in two places at once:
"Ergo, Neither his.
"His disciples took it as no miracle nor wonder."
The last examination and condemnation of Master Green.
Thus (as it seemeth) for this time they left off. But not long after, the bishop, perceiving Green's learning and constancy to be such as neither he, nor any of his doctors and chaplains, could by the Scriptures refel, began then to object and put in practice his chief and strongest argument against him; which was the rigour of the law, and cruelty of execution: an argument, I assure you, which without the special grace of our God to flesh is importable. And therefore, using laws as a cloak of his tyranny, the twenty-seventh day of November, the said bishop examined him upon certain points of Christian religion: whereunto, when he had answered, the bishop appointed the registrar (as their most common manner is) to draw thereout an order of confession; which, being afterwards read unto Green, was also subscribed by him, as a confirmation of his former assertions. -- The tenor whereof here ensueth.
The confession and saying of Bartlet Green.
"Bartlet Green -- born in the city of London, in the parish of Basing-hall, of the diocese of London, and of the age of twenty-five years, -- being examined in the bishop's palace, the twenty-seventh day of November, anno 1555, upon certain articles, answered as followeth, viz.: that neither in the time of King Edward, after the mass by him was put down, neither in the time of Queen Mary, after the mass was restored again, he hath heard any mass at all; but he saith that in the reign of the said queen's Majesty he, (the said Bartlet,) two times, to wit, at two Easter-tides, or days, in the chamber of John Pulline, one of the preachers in King Edward's time, within the parish of St. Michael's, Cornhill, of the diocese of London, did receive the communion with the said Pulline, and Christopher Goodman, some time reader of the divinity lecture in Oxford, now gone beyond the sea; and the second time with the said Pulline and with one Ritnneger, Master of Arts of Magdalene College in Oxford. And this examinate also saith, that at both the said communions he, and the others before named, did take and receive bread and wine, which bread and wine he called sacramental bread, and sacramental wine, which, he saith, were used there by them, Pulline only reading the words of the institution, expressed in the book of communion. In which receiving and using, this examinate saith, that the other aforenamed did receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and that they received material bread and material wine, no substance thereof changed, and so no real presence of the body and blood of Christ there being, but only grace added thereto. And further, this examinate saith, that he had heretofore, during the reign of the queen's Majesty aforesaid, refused, and so now doth refuse, to come and hear mass, and to receive the sacrament of the altar, as they are now used and ministered in this Church of England, because, he saith, that concerning the mass, he cannot be persuaded in his conscience, that the sacrifice pretended to be in the same, is agreeable to God's word, or maintainable by the same, and that without deadly offence he cannot worship the body and blood of Christ, that is pretended to be there. And as concerning this sacrament of the altar, this examinate saith, that he heretofore, during the said reign, hath refused, and now doth refuse, to receive the same as is now used in this Church of England, because it is not used according to the institution of Christ, but both in a strange tongue, and also not ministered in both kinds; and, besides that, contrary to God's word it is there taught, that the thing there ministered is to be adored as the real and true body of Christ. And furthermore this examinate saith, that during the said reign he hath not been confessed to the priest, nor received absolution at his hands, because he is not bound by God's word to make auricular confession.
Many other sundry conferences and public examinations they brought him unto. But in the end, (seeing his stedfastness of faith to be such, as against the which neither their threatenings, nor yet their flattering promises, could prevail,) the fifteenth day of January the bishop caused him, with the rest above named, to be brought into the consistory in Paul's; where, being set in his judgment-seat, accompanied with Fecknam, then dean of the same church, and other his chaplains, after he had condemned the other six, he then, calling for Bartlet Green, began with these, or the like words:
"Honourable audience, I think it best to open unto you the conversation of this man, called Bartlet Green. And because you shall not charge me that I go about to seek any man's blood, here you shall hear the council's letters, which they sent with him unto me. The effect whereof is, that whereas he had been of long time in the Tower of London for heresy, they have now sent him unto me to be ordered according to the laws therefore provided. And now to thee, Bartlet Green, I propose these nine articles."
Then he read the articles above mentioned, which were generally objected to all these seven prisoners, to wit, Thomas Whittle, John Tudson, John Went, Thomas Brown, Isabel Foster, Joan Lashford, Bartlet Green.
But when Master Green would have answered them particularly, he was put to silence, with promise that he should have time to answer sufficiently; and therefore the bishop proceeding said, that when Green came first to his house, he desired to have the books of the ancient doctors of the church to read, which he said he granted him. Whereunto Green answered and said, that if the doctors were with indifferent judgment weighed, they made more a great deal with him, than they did with them. Upon which words Fecknam, dean of St. Paul's, stood up, and marvelling why he said so, asked him if he would be content to stand to the judgment of the doctors. Green then said, that he was content to stand to the doctors' judgment.
"I will then propound unto you," quoth Fecknam, "the doctors, and interpret them yourself." So he alleged a place of Chrysostom, Ad populum Antiochię, which was this, "Elias going up, left his cloak behind him: but Christ ascending up, took his flesh, and also left it behind him." And he demanded Green, how he understood the place.
Then Green prayed him that he would confer the doctors' sayings together; and therefore alleged the same doctor again, writing upon 1 Cor. x., Is not the bread which we bless the communication of the Lord's body? whereby he proved that this doctor called this sacrament but a sign of the Lord's body. Many other words of probation and denial were betwixt them.
At last Fecknam demanded of him how long he had been of this opinion "for, Master Green," said he, "you confessed once to me, that when you were at Oxford at school, you were called the rankest papist in that house; and being compelled to go to the lecture of Peter Martyr, you were converted from your old doctrine." And Green confessed the same.
Then again he said, that Green told him, that the said Peter Martyr was a papist in his first coming to Oxford. Whereupon he made an exclamation, and prayed the people to consider how vain his doctrine that he professed was, which was grounded upon one man, and that upon so unconstant a man as Peter Martyr, which perceiving the wicked intent of the council, was content to please them, and forsake the true and catholic faith.
Green said that he grounded not his faith upon Martyr, nor any other, nor did believe so because Martyr believed the same, but because that he had heard the Scriptures, and the doctors of the church, truly and wholesomely expounded by him; neither had he any regard of the man, but of the word which he spake. And further he said, that he heard the said Master Peter say often, that he had not as yet, while he was a papist, read Chrysostom upon 1 Cor. x., nor many other places of the doctors: but when he had read them, and well considered them, he was content to yield to the doctors, having first humbled himself in prayer, desiring God to illuminate him, and bring him to the true understanding of the Scripture: "which thing," said Green, "if you, my Lord, would do, I do not doubt, but God would open your eyes, and show you his truth, no more than I do doubt his words to be true that saith, Ask, and it shall be given to you; knock, and it shall be opened unto you, &c."
Then Fecknam asked him, what he thought of this article, Sanctam ecclesiam catholicam. And Green answered, that he did believe one holy and universal church throughout all the world.
Then Fecknam said, that he would fain have a sure mark and token, whereby he might know this church; and therefore he prayed Green to define unto him this church. Green answered, that this church did agree in verity of the true doctrine of Christ, and was known by the true administration of his sacraments.
Whereupon Fecknam said, that he would prove the church whereof he was, to be never agreeing in doctrine, but always to have been in controversy in their religion: "for," said he, "Luther and Zuinglius could never agree in their writings or sayings, nor colampadius with Carolostadius, nor Carolostadius with either Zuinglius or Luther, &c., for Luther writing upon the sacrament of the altar, said, that In hoc pane, vel sub hoc pane corpus Domini accipimus. Zuinglius controlling him, said, Sub signo panis corpus Domini accipimus. And the other controlled him in like case."
Then Master Green proved their opinions of the sacrament to be one in effect, being rightly weighed: and though their words did not sound all one, yet they meant one thing; and their opinions were all one, as he proved by divers other examples.
Then Fecknam desired him that he would not so wilfully cast himself away, but to be rather conformable to reason, and that my Lord Bishop there present would be good unto him, and would grant him respite (if he would demand it) for a fortnight or three weeks, and that he should choose any learned man whom he would, and should go with him home to his house; and that he whom he would choose willingly take the pains to read and confer the doctors with him, and open the doctors' minds and meanings unto him.
Then Bonner said, that he was proud, and an obstinate boy; and therefore he bade Fecknam to hold his peace, and to call him no more Master Green: "for," said he, "you ought not to call a heretic Master."
After this Dr. Pendleton alleged to him this text out of Luke xxii., Ex hoc non manducabo illud donec impleatur in regno Dei. "Here," said he, "you must confess your opinion to be false; else you must say that Christ was a liar: for Christ said, I will eat no more of this, while it be fulfilled in my Father's kingdom. If Christ did eat no more the bread when he spake these words, then must you say that he was a liar; for he did eat bread after, with his disciples, before he ascended. But if you say he did eat his body then, and after but bread, it will not agree with the Scriptures, nor with good reason." Then Green answered and said, that this was spoken by an anticipation, as one of their own bishops, (which is now dead,) did say.
Then Dr. Pendleton said, that that was no sufficient discharge, nor no sufficient answer for him in this case; "for," said he, "it is well known that the bishop was of a contrary opinion to you, and that he died a good Christian man." To which words Green said, "I do not call him to witness in this case, as though he were a sufficient man, to prove my saying to be true in this matter; but I do allege him against you, as Paul did the scripture, which he found graven in the altar of the Athenians, against themselves, Ignoto Deo."
These with many other words were between them, which I do overpass, because it were too long to stand upon recital of every thing. Last of all the bishop asked him, if he would recant. He said nay, he would not. "But, my Lord," said he, "in old time there were no men put to death for their conscience, until such times as bishops found the means to make it death to believe contrary to them; but excommunication, my Lord, was the greatest penalty which men had for their conscience; yea, insomuch that St. Augustine wrote and commanded, that no man should be put to death for his opinion."
Then Bonner said, that when St. Augustine saw what inconveniences followed of that commandment, he wrote again to the temporal rulers, commanding them to punish their bodies also. "But," said Green, "he bade not put them to death." "He bade punish them," quoth Bonner. "Yea," said Green, "but not put them to death." "That they should be punished," quoth Bonner again.
This talk ended, he asked Green if he would recant, and return to their Romish mother: which when he denied, the bishop pronounced the sentence definitive against him, and so committed him to the sheriffs of London, who caused him to be carried to Newgate. And as he was going thither, there met with him two gentlemen, being both his special friends, minding belike to comfort this their persecuted brother: but at their meeting, their loving and friendly hearts (not able any longer to hide themselves) were manifested by the abundance of their pitiful tears. To whom, when Green saw them, he said in these or like words, "Ah, my friends! is this your comfort you are come to give me, in this my occasion of heaviness? Must I, who needed to have comfort ministered to me, become now a comforter of you?" And thus declaring his most quiet and peaceable mind and conscience, he cheerfully spake to them and others, until he came to the prison door, into the which he joyfully entered, and there remained always either in prayer, (whereunto he much gave himself,) or else in some other godly meditations and exercises, unto the twenty-seventh day of January, when he, with his other above-mentioned brethren, went most cheerfully unto the place of their torments, often repeating, as well by the way, as also at the stake, these verses following --
"O Christ, my God, sure hope of health, besides thee have I none:
The truth I love, and falsehood hate, be thou my Guide alone."
Illustration -- Greene Visited in Prison
During the time of his im prisonment in Newgate, divers of his friends had access unto him, to whom he gave sundry godly exhortations, wherewith they were not only well contented, but for better remembrance as well of the same ,his instructions, as also of his own good and godly person, they desired him to write somewhat in their books, which request he willingly granted, as in manner here ensueth.
These verses were written in a book of Master Hussey of the Temple:
"Behold thyself by me; such one was I, as thou:
And thou in time shalt be, even dust as I am now.
These verses were also written in a book of Master William Fleetwood, of the same house:
My resting-road is found, vain hope and hap adieu:
Love whom you list with change, death shall me rid from you.
Amongst other divers and singular good virtues of this good man, specially in him was to be noted such a modest nature, so humbly thinking of himself as in few men is to be found, ever dejecting himself under that was in him, and ever seeming to be less than he was, so that nothing less he could abide, than to hear of his praise or commendation; as well declareth not only his letter written to Master Philpot, wherein he doth earnestly expostulate with him, for slandering him with praise of his wit and learning, and other manifold virtues of great excellency; but also by his own speech and answers in his examination, wherein he casteth from him all knowledge of learning and cunning, when notwithstanding he had more in him, than to any man's eyes did appear.
So great and admirable was this gift of modesty grafted in the nature of him, so far abhorring from all pride and arrogancy, that as he could not abide any thing that was spoken to his advancement or praise; so neither did there appear in him any show or brag in those things wherein he might justly glory, which were his punishments and sufferings for the cause and quarrel of Christ. For when he was beaten and scourged with rods by Bishop Bonner, (which scarce any man would believe, nor I neither, but that I heard it of him, which heard it out of his mouth,) and he greatly rejoiced in the same, yet his shamefaced modesty was such, that never he would express any mention thereof, lest he should seem to glory too much in himself, save that only he opened the same to one Master Cotton of the Temple, a friend of his, a little before his death.
Moreover, to this rare and maidenly modesty in him was also adjoined the like nature of mercy and pitiful compassion; which affection though it seemeth to be little regarded of some, yet in my mind is there no other thing wrought in nature, wherein man resembleth more truly the image of the high majesty of Almighty God, than this. And as in this respect of merciful tenderness, man only excelleth all other beasts; so almost no less may this man seem to pass many other men, whose customable property and exercise was to visit the poor prisoners with him in prison both with bodily relief, and also with spiritual comfort: and finding many of them (I mean such as were there for theft and other naughty facts) very penitent and sorry for their evil demeanours, in hope of their amendment, did not only by mouth, but also by his letters require, yea, as it were of duty in love did charge, his friends to travail for their deliverances: such was the pity and charitable mercy of this godly and most true member of Christ's church, as appeareth by this letter here following.
To my very loving friends and masters, Master Goring, Master Fernham, Master Fleetwood, Master Russel, Master Bell, Master Hussey, Master Calthorp, Master Bowyer, and others my masters of the Temple, Bartlet Green wisheth health of body and soul.
"Very friends are they which are knit together with the knot of charity; charity doth not decay, but increase in them that die faithfully: whereof it followeth, that though we be absent in body, yet are we present in the spirit, coupled together with the unity of faith in the bond of peace, which is love. How is he worthy the name of a friend, that measureth his friendship with the distance of a place, or parting of persons? If thy friend be out of sight, is thy friendship ended? if he be gone into the country, wilt thou cease to love him? if he be passed the seas, will you so forsake him? if he be carried into heaven, is charity hindered thereby? On the one side we have the use of the fathers from the primitive church, that gave thanks for their friends that died in the faith, to prove that charity died not with death. On the other side, saith Horace, Clum non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt.
"What speak I of Horace? Saith not St. Paul the same thing? For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his blood, yea, we are members one of another. Is the hand or arm, foot or leg, a member, when it is dissevered from the body? How can we be members, except we be joined together? What is the line that coupleth us, but love? When all things shall fail, love faileth never. Hope hath this end, when we get that he hoped for. Faith is finished in heaven, love endureth for ever: love (I say) that proceedeth of charity; for carnal love, when that which he loveth is lost, doth perish with the flesh. Neither was that ever but fleshly love, which by distance of place, or severing of bodies, is parted asunder. If love be the end or sum of the law, if heaven and earth shall perish, yet one jot of God's word shall not decay, why should we think that love lasteth not for ever?
"I need not to write much to you, my friends, neither can I have leisure now that the keepers are risen; but this I say: If we keep Christ's commandment in loving each other, as he loved us, then should our love be everlasting. This friendship Paul felt when it moved him to say, that neither length nor breadth, (meaning no distance of place,) neither height nor depth, should sever him from the love of Christ. Weigh well this place, and mete it with Paul's measures; so shall we find, that if our love be unfeigned, it can never be ended. Now may you say, 'Why writest thou this?' Certainly to the end that if our friendship be stable, you may accomplish this the last request of your friend, and perform after my death the friendship we began in our life, that amity may increase until God make it perfect at our next meeting together.
"Master Fleetwood, I beseech you remember Wittrance and Cook, two singular men amongst common prisoners; Master Fernham and Master Bell, with Master Hussey (as I hope) will despatch Calthorp and Richardson with his companions. I pray you, Master Palmer, think on John Grove, an honest poor man, Traiford and Rice Apprice his accomplices: my cousin Thomas Witton, a scrivener in Lombard Street, hath promised to further their delivery: at the least he can instruct you which way to work. I doubt not but that Master Bowyer will labour for the good wife Cooper, (for she is worthy to be holpen,) and Berard the Frenchman. There be also divers other well disposed men, whose deliverance if ye will not labour for, yet I humbly beseech you to seek their relief, as you shall see cause: namely, of Henry Apprice, Launcelot, Hobbes, Lother, Homes, Carre, and Bockingham, a young man of goodly gifts in wit and learning, and (saving that he is somewhat wild) likely to do well hereafter. There be also two women, Coningham and Alice Alexander, that may prove honest. For these and all other poor prisoners here I make this my humble suit and prayer to you all, my masters, and especial good friends, beseeching you of all bonds of amity, for the precious blood of Jesus Christ, in the bowels of mercy, to tender the causes of miserable captives; help to clothe Christ, visit the afflicted, comfort the sorrowful, and relieve the needy. The very God of peace guide your hearts to have mercy on the poor, and love faithfully together. Amen. -- This present Monday, when I look to die, and live for ever.
"Yours as ever,
BARTLET GREEN "
Another letter of Master Green to Mistress Elizabeth Clark.
"Would God (if it were his pleasure) that with this letter I might send you my heart and mind, and whatsoever there is in me else, that pertaineth to God: so should I think it the best message, and happiest letter, that ever I could write. But though I obtain not my desire, yet shall I not cease with continual prayer to labour for you, desiring Almighty God;:to increase that which he hath long since begun in you, of sober life and earnest zeal towards his religion. In faith, as saith St. Paul, she that is a true widow and friendless, putteth her trust in God, continuing day and night in supplication and prayer; but she that liveth in pleasure is dead, even yet alive. And verily a true widow is she that hath married Christ, forsaking the vanities of the world, and lust of the flesh. For as the married woman careth how to love, please, and serve her husband; so ought the widow to give all her heart and soul, thoughts and words, studies and labours, faithfully to love God, virtuously to bring up her children and household, and diligently to provide for the poor and oppressed.
"Therefore St. Paul first instructeth a widow how to behave herself, that is, not to live in pleasure. Then to watch unto prayer, is the only means to obtain all our desires, stedfastly laying up all our trust in God, as David right well saith, First eschew evil; then do good. Of Anna the praise was written, that she never went out of the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day: so well had she espoused Christ. Judith wore a smock of hair, continuing in fasting, and had good report of all men.
"The next care that belongeth to a widow, is, that she bring up her children and household godly, in the nurture and information of the Lord; whereof St. Paul saith, If any have children or nephews, let them learn first to rule their own house godly, and to recompense their elders. The incontinency and covetousness of Phinehas and Hophni, uncorrected by Eli their father, provoked God's vengeance upon him and all his kindred; the over-tender love of Absalom expelled David from his kingdom; the unrebuked sins of Amnon encouraged Absalom to slay his brother: most manifest examples against the parents, for the offences of their children.
"Contrariwise, how greatly might Hannah rejoice over Samuel her son, whom she had brought up in the house of the Lord! What thanks might Tobias's wife give for her son Toby! How happy was Solomon to be taught by the prophet Nathan! But above all widows, thrice blessed was the happy mother of the seven sons, that so had instructed them by the fear of God, that by no torments they would shrink from the love of his truth.
"Of the last part, St. Paul showeth that a widow should be chosen: If she have nourished her children, if she have been liberal to strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, and if she have ministered to them in adversity. Herein it is evident how earnestly St. Paul would have widows bent towards the poor; for that (as though they only had been therefore meet) he appointed only widows to minister to the saints, and to gather for the poor: which use also continued almost throughout the primitive church, that widows had the charge and gathering for the poor men and strangers.
"Of your neighbours I need not to put you in remembrance, seeing you daily feed them with good hospitality, by which means also many foreigners are of you relieved; but of the poor alms-houses, and miserable prisoners here in London, many lacking their liberty without cause, some under the colour of religion, some only kept for fees, and some on private men's displeasure. Alas, that Christ so hungereth, and no man will feed him; is sore oppressed with thirst, and no man will give him drink; destitute of all lodging, and not relieved; naked, and not clothed; sick, and not visited; imprisoned, and not seen.
"In times past men could bestow large sums of money on copes, vestments, and ornaments of the church. Why rather follow we not St. Ambrose's example, which sold the same for the relief of the poor, or Chrysostom's commandment, which willed first to deck and garnish the living temple of God? But alas, such is the wickedness of these our last days, that nothing moveth us; neither the pure doctrine, the godliness of life, nor good examples of the ancient fathers. If in any thing they erred, if they have written any thing that serveth for sects and dissension, that will their charitable children embrace, publish, and maintain with sword, faggot, and fire. But all in vain; they strive against the stream. For though in despite of the truth, by force of the cares of crafty persuasion, they may bring themselves into the haven of hell; yet can they not make all men believe that the banks move whilst the ship saileth, nor ever shall be able to turn the direct course of the stream of God's truth.
"Our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you in all pure doctrine and upright living, and give you grace virtuously to bring up your children and family, and carefully to provide for the poor and oppressed. Amen.
"At Newgate the 20th of January, anno 1556. "Your assured,
Another certain writing of Master Bartlet Green.
"Better is the day of death, saith Solomon, than the day of birth. Man that is born of a woman, liveth but a short time, and is replenished with many miseries; but happy are the dead that die in the Lord. Man of woman is born in travail, to live in misery: man through Christ doth die in joy, and live in felicity. He is born to die, and dieth to live. Straight as he cometh into the world, with cries he uttereth his miserable estate; straight as he departeth, with songs he praiseth God for ever. Scarce yet in his cradle, three deadly enemies assault him: after death no adversary may annoy him. Whilst he is here, he displeaseth God: when he is dead, he fulfilleth his will. In this life here he dieth through sin: in the life to come he liveth in righteousness. Through many tribulations in earth he is still purged: with joy unspeakable in heaven is he made pure for ever. Here he dieth every hour: there he liveth continually. Here is sin: there is righteousness. Here is time: there is eternity. Here is hatred: there is love. Here is pain: there is pleasure. Here is misery: there is felicity. Here is corruption: there is immortality. Here we see vanity: there shall we behold the majesty of God with triumphant and unspeakable joy in glory everlasting. Seek therefore the things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God the Father; unto whom, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen.
"Yours in Christ,
Divers other letters and matters there were besides, which this servant of God did write, as namely certain notes and extracts in Latin out of the doctors and other authors for his memory, whereby is declared how studious he was in the searching and knowledge of the law of God, although his profession was the temporal law; where I would to God he were not among the lawyers such a phoenix, that he had very few or no fellows to fly with him, or to follow his steps. But God is to be praised, that although we read of few or none among that sort that died as he did, yet good witness doth spring up daily of the same profession, to such towardness and godly zeal, that some hope already appeareth shortly to come to pass, that this godly phoenix shall not fly alone. These aforesaid notes and gatherings of his, out of the doctors, were taken from him by Bonner, being found about him, which was to him no little grief. He among the rest was first apprehended, but last of them condemned, which was the fifteenth day of January, and afterward burned with the other martyrs, the twenty-seventh of the same month.
Thomas Brown, martyr.
HOMAS BROWN, born in the parish of Histon, within the diocese of Ely, came afterwards to London, where he dwelled in the parish of St. Bride's in Fleet Street, a married man, of the age of thirty-seven years; who, because he came not to his parish church, was presented by the constable of the parish to Bonner. As touching whose articles, whereupon he was examined by the said Bonner, with his answers also annexed to the same, mention goeth before, as in the general process of him and of the rest may appear. This Thomas Brown being had to Fulham with the others there to be examined, was required upon Thursday, being the twenty-sixth day of September, to come into the chapel to hear mass, which he, refusing to do, went into the warren, and there kneeled among the trees. For this he was greatly charged of the bishop, as for a heinous matter, because he said it was done in despite and contempt of their mass; which seemed to the bishop and his chaplains no small offence. At length, being produced to his last examination before the said bishop the fifteenth day of January, there to hear sentence definitive against him; first he was required with many fair words and glosing promises to revoke his doctrine, to whom the foresaid bishop, speaking these words, said, "Brown, ye have been before me many times and oft, and I have travailed with thee, to win thee from thine errors; yet thou, and such like, have and do report, that I go about to seek thy blood," &c. To whom the said Thomas Brown answered again; "Yea, my Lord," saith he, "indeed ye be a blood-sucker, and I would I had as much blood as is water in the sea, for you to suck."
Bonner then proceeding to the articles, when he had read them unto him again, as he had done divers times before, asked him whether he was content and willing to relinquish those his heresies and erroneous opinions, (as he called them,) and return again unto the unity of the catholic faith. Whereunto he made answer again, saying, If they were heresies, he would forsake them. "They be heresies," quoth the bishop. "How will ye prove it?" said Brown, "for I will not go from mine answer, except you can prove them to be heresies, which ye shall never do: for that which you call heresy, is no heresy." With that Bonner, not able, or else not disposed, to supply the part of a sufficient teacher, in proving that which the other had denied by good authority and doctrine of the Scripture, went about with words and promises of pardon to allure him to renounce those his heresies, as he called them, and to return unto the unity of his mother the catholic church, &c. To whom the said Thomas inferred again, as followeth: "Prove it," said he, "to be heresy, that I do hold and maintain, and I will turn to you. But you condemn me, because I will not confess and believe the bread in the sacrament of the altar (as you call it) to be the body of Christ, and therefore ye spill mine and such-like innocents' blood, being the queen's true subjects; for which you shall answer, and that shortly."
After this being spoken, Bonner (as he had done to the other before) read in writing the sentence definitive against him: the copy and form of which sentence wherewith the papists were wont to condemn all the innocent saints of Christ, is above expressed. And so this done, he was committed to the sheriffs to be had away, and burned the twenty-seventh day of the said month of January, constantly abiding with the other the pope's torments, for the true confession of his Christian faith.
John Tudson, martyr.
The same day and time, when the foresaid Thomas Brown with his fellows was condemned, (as is above rehearsed,) being the fifteenth day of January, was also produced John Tudson, with the rest of the said company, unto the like condemnation. This John Tudson was born in Ipswich, in the county of Suffolk, after that apprentice in London, dwelling with one George Goodyear, of the parish of St. Mary Botolph, within the diocese of London, who, being complained of to Sir Richard Cholmley and Dr. Story, was by them sent unto Bonner, bishop of London, and was divers times before him in examination.
The articles and interrogatories ministered unto him, as unto the rest, before are specified, with his answers also to the same annexed, &c. After this he was brought unto the open consistory; where the said blessed and true servant of the Lord, John Tudson, appearing before the said bishop and his complices, was moved with sundry persuasions (as their manner is) to go from his opinion, (which they named heresy,) and to persist in the unity of the church which they were of. But he, constantly persisting in that which he had received by the preachers in King Edward's time, refused so to do, saying, there was no heresy in his answers: "for I," said he, "defy all heresy." The bishop yet still used his old accustomed persuasions to remove him, promising moreover all his offences and errors (as he called them) to be forgiven him, if be would return, &c. Then said Tudson, "Tell me wherein I have offended, and I will return." Then said the bishop, "In your answers." "No," said Tudson again, "I have not therein offended: and ye, my Lord, pretend charity; but nothing thereof appeareth in your works." Thus after a few words, the bishop did likewise promulgate against him sentence of condemnation; which being read, the godly and constant martyr was committed to the secular power, and so with much patience finished this life with the others above named, the twenty-seventh day of January.
John Went, Martyr.
John Went, born in Longhorn, in Essex, within the diocese of London, of the age of twenty-seven, and a shearman by occupation, first was examined (as partly is touched before) by Dr. Story upon the sacrament of his popish altar; and because the poor man did not accord with him thoroughly in the real presence of the body and blood of Christ, the said Story did send him up to Bonner, bishop of London; who likewise, after divers examinations upon the articles aforesaid in the consistory, attempted the like manner of persuasions with him, as he did to the other, to recant and return. To whom, in few words, the said Went answered again, he would not; but that, by the leave of God, he would stand firm and constant in that he had said. And when the bishop yet notwithstanding did still urge and call upon him with words and fair glosses, to give over himself to their opinion, he could have no other answer of him but this, "No, I say as I have said," &c. Whereupon, being condemned by the bishop's sentence, he was committed unto the sheriffs, (whom that shameless shaveling at that time abused for his servile butchers,) and so brought to his martyrdom, which he with no less constancy suffered to the end, with the rest of that blessed society of martyrs above named.
Isabel Foster, martyr.
With these five persons above recited and condemned, were also two women in the said company condemned the same time, and likewise burned for the same cause; the one a wife, called Isabel Foster; the other a maid, named Joan Warne, or otherwise Lashford.
This foresaid Isabel was born in Greystock, in the diocese of Carlisle, and afterwards married to one John Foster, cutler, of the parish of St, Bride's in Fleet Street, being of the age of five and fifty years. She likewise, for not coming unto the church, being sent unto Bonner, and so imprisoned, was sundry times examined by the said bishop, but never overcome, nor removed from the constant confession of Christ's gospel.
At length, coming unto her final examination before the bishop in the consistory the fifteenth day of the said month of January, she was moved again, whether she would yet go from her former answers; whereunto she gave a resolute answer in few words: "I will not," saith she, "go from them, by God's grace:" and thereunto did adhere, neither being cast down by the menacing threats of the bishop, nor yet yielding through his alluring enticements, promising both life and liberty, if she would associate herself in the unity of the catholic church. Whereunto she said again in this wise, that she trusted she was never out of the catholic church, &c. And so persisting in the same, she continued constant till the sentence definitive was pronounced, and then she was committed by commandment of the bishop to the secular power, and so brought a few days after to the stake, the twenty-seventh day of the foresaid month; where she, like a faithful witness of the Lord's truth, (with the other five aforesaid,) ended her troubles here, to find a better rest in the kingdom of Christ our Saviour.
Joan Lashford, alias Joan Warne, martyr.
In a certain place of these Acts and Monuments heretofore, mention was made of one Elizabeth Warne, who with her husband John, (as is aforesaid,) in the beginning of Queen Mary's reign, was apprehended in Bow Churchyard for being there at a communion; and both suffered for the same, first the man in the month of May, then the wife in July after; and now the daughter in the month of January followed her parents in the same martyrdom. Furthermore, in the same place following mention was made also of Dr. Story, who there (we said) was somewhat near unto the said parties, either in kindred or alliance: albeit, as I understand since of some, there was no kindred between them, but only that she was his servant. Yet, notwithstanding, the said Dr. Story, (as it is above specified,) before he was commissioner, made intercession for the parties to Dr. Martyn, then commissioner: but afterward, being placed in commission himself, he so far forgot himself, and his old servant, that he became no small procurer of their deaths. I will not here expostulate with the hard heart of that man, nor with his inconstancy, who yet notwithstanding, after he had brought them to death, was arrested himself for threescore pounds, charged with debt in their behalf; which if it be true, it may thereby appear that he was in some piece of kindred joined or allied unto them. But leaving that person unto the good pleasure of the Lord, let us return unto that we have in hand.
This Joan Lashford, born in the parish of Little Allhallows in Thames Street, was the daughter of one Robert Lashford, cutler, and of the foresaid Elizabeth, who afterward was married to John Warne, upholsterer, who (as is said) was persecuted for the gospel of God to the burning fire; and after him his wife; and after her, this Joan Lashford, her daughter; who, about the age of twenty years, ministering to her father and mother in prison, suspected and known to be of the same doctrine and religion, was sent to Bonner, bishop of London, by Dr. Story, (as is above in her answers to the articles declared,) and so committed to the Compter in the Poultry, where she remained the space of five weeks, and from thence had to Newgate, where she continued the space of certain months.
After that, remaining prisoner in the custody of the said Bonner, her confession was, being examined, that the whole twelve-month before, and more, she came unto no popish mass service in the church, neither would do, either to receive the sacrament of the altar, or to be confessed, because her conscience would not suffer her so to do; confessing and protesting, that in the sacrament of the altar there is not the real presence of Christ's body and blood; nor that auricular confession or absolution after the popish sort, was necessary; nor the mass to be good, or according unto the Scripture; but said that both the said sacrament, confession, absolution, and the mass, with all other their superfluous sacraments, ceremonies, and divine service, as then used in this realm of England, were most vile, and contrary to Christ's words and institution; so that neither they were at the beginning, nor shall be at the latter end. This godly damosel, feeble and tender of age, yet strong by grace, in this her confession and faith stood so firm, that neither the flattering promises nor the violent threats of the bishops, could turn her; but, being moved and exhorted by the bishop to return to the catholic unity of the church, said boldly to him again, "If ye will leave off your abomination, so I will return; and otherwise, I will not."
Whereupon the bishop yet again promised her pardon of all her errors (as he called them) if she would be conformed. To this she answered again, saying unto the bishop, "Do as it pleaseth you; and I pray God that you may do that which may please God."
And thus she, constantly persevering in the Lord's holy truth, was by the sentence definitive condemned, and committed unto the sheriffs, by whom the foresaid twenty-seventh day of January she with the rest being brought unto the stake, there washed her clothes in the blood of the Lamb, dying most constantly for his word and truth, to whom most lovingly she espoused herself.
And thus much concerning the life, story, and condemnation of these seven martyrs, afore specified.