Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 334.  ROBERT DRAKES, WILLIAM TYMS, RICHARD SPURGE, THOMAS SPURGE, JOHN CAVEL, GEORGE AMBROSE

334.  ROBERT DRAKES, WILLIAM TYMS, RICHARD SPURGE, THOMAS SPURGE, JOHN CAVEL, GEORGE AMBROSE

 

Illustration -- The Six martyrs at Their Execution

 

BOUT the 23d day of April, A. D. 1556, were burned in Smithfield at one fire, these six constant martyrs of Christ, suffering for the profession of the gospel, namely, Robert Drakes, minister; William Tyms, curate; Richard Spurge, shearman; Thomas Spurge, fuller; John Cavel, weaver; George Ambrose, fuller.

            They were all of Essex, and so of the diocese of London, and were sent up, some by the Lord Riche, and some by others at sundry times, unto Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, then lord chancellor of England, about the twenty-second day of March, anno 1555; who, after small examination, sent them, some unto the King's Bench, and others unto the Marshalsea, where they remained almost all the whole year, until the death of the said bishop of Winchester; and had during that time nothing said unto them. Whereupon, after that Dr. Heath, archbishop of York, was chosen to the office of lord chancellorship, four of these persecuted brethren, being now weary of this their long imprisonment, made their supplication unto the said Dr. Heath, requiring his favour and aid for their deliverance: the copy whereof ensueth.

            "May it please your honourable good Lordship, for the love of God to tender the humble suit of your Lordship's poor orators, whose names are subscribed, which have lain in great misery in the Marshalsea by the space of ten months and more, at the commandment of the late lord chancellor, to their utter undoing, with their wives and children. In consideration whereof, your Lordship's said orators do most humbly pray and beseech your good Lordship to suffer them to be brought before your Honour; and there, if any man of good conscience can lay any thing to our charge, we trust either to declare our innocency against their accusations, or if otherwise their accusations can be proved true and we faulty, we are ready (God helping us) with our condign punishments to satisfy the law according to your wise judgment, as we hope, full of fatherly mercy toward us and all men, according to your godly office; in the which we pray for your godly success to the good pleasure of God. Amen."

            This supplication was sent (as is said) and subscribed with the names of these four under following:-- Richard Spurge, Thomas Spurge, George Ambrose, John Cavel.

            Upon the receipt and sight hereof, it was not long after, but Sir Richard Read, knight, then one of the officers of the court of the chancery, the sixteenth day of January, was sent unto the Marshalsea to examine the said four prisoners; and therefore beginning first with Richard Spurge upon certain demands, received his answers thereunto: the effect whereof was, that he with others were complained upon by the parson of Bocking unto the Lord Riche, for that they came not unto their parish church of Bocking, where they inhabited; and thereupon was by the said Lord Riche sent unto the late chancellor, about the twenty-second day of March last past, viz. anno 1555.

            And further, he said, that he came not to the church since the first alteration of the English service into Latin (Christmas day then a twelvemonth only excepted); and that, because he misliked both the same and the mass also, as not consonant and agreeing with God's holy word.

            Moreover, he required that he might not be any more examined upon the matter, unless it pleased the lord chancellor that then was, to know his fault therein, which to him he would willingly utter.

            Thomas Spurge being then next examined, made the same answer in effect that the other had done; confessing, that he absented himself from the church, because the word of God was not there truly taught, nor the sacraments of Christ duly ministered in such sort as was prescribed by the same word. And being further examined of his belief concerning the sacrament of the altar, he said that if any could accuse him thereof, he would then make answer as God had given him knowledge therein.

            The like answer made George Ambrose, adding moreover, that after he had read the late bishop of Winchester's book, entitled, De Vera Obedientia, with Bonner's preface thereunto annexed, inveighing (both) against the authority of the bishop of Rome, he did much less set by their doings than before.

            John Cavel, agreeing in other matters with them, answered, that the cause why he did forbear the coming to the church was, that the parson there had preached two contrary doctrines. For first, in a sermon that he made at the queen's first entry to the crown, he did exhort the people to believe the gospel; for it was the truth, and if they did not believe it, they should be damned. But in a second sermon, he preached that the Testament was false in forty places; which contrariety in him was a cause amongst others of his absenting from the church.

            About the fourth day of March next after, Robert Drakes also was examined, who was parson of Thundersley in Essex, and had there remained the space of three years. He was first made deacon by Dr. Taylor of Hadley, at the commandment of Dr. Cranmer, late archbishop of Canterbury. And within one year after, (which was the third year of King Edward,) he was by the said archbishop and Dr. Ridley, bishop of London, admitted minister of God's holy word and sacraments, not after the order then in force, but after such order as was after established; and was presented unto the said benefice of Thundersley by the Lord Riche, at the suit of Master Causton and Master Treheron; and now, notwithstanding, was sent up by the said Lord Riche, with the others before mentioned: and at his coming to the bishop of Winchester, was by him demanded whether he would conform himself like a subject to the laws of this realm then in force. To the which he said he would abide all laws that stood with the laws of God; and thereupon was committed to prison, where he and the rest abovenamed did remain ever since.

            Now remaineth likewise to declare the examination of William Tyms, deacon and curate of Hockley in Essex. But before I come to his examination, first here is to be opened and set forth the order and manner of his trouble, how and by whom he was first apprehended in Essex, and from thence sent up to London; the story whereof followeth in this manner.

            "There were at Hockley in Queen Mary's days two sermons preached in the woods, the which woods were appertaining to Master Tyrrel; and the name of the one wood was called Plumborough-wood, and the other Beaches-wood: and there was at the same sermons an honest man and his wife with him, whose name was John Gye, the which Gye was Master Tyrrel's servant, and did dwell under him, being his herd at a farm of his called Plumborough. Shortly after, it was known to Master Tyrrel, how that his woods were polluted with sermons, the which he did take very evil, and much matter did arise about it, as an unlawful assembly; the which was laid to John Gye's charge, because he did not disclose that unlawful act to his master, being then in the commission of peace, appointed at that time to keep down the gospel; the which he did to the uttermost, as it may appear in many of his acts. Good God, give him repentance, if it be thy will!

            "Shortly after it pleased Master Tyrrel to come to Hockley, to sift out this matter, and to know who was at these preachings. Well, there were found many faulty; for it is supposed there were a hundred persons at the least. So it pleased Master Tyrrel to begin first with John Gye, and asked him where that naughty fellow was, that served their parish, one Tyms; 'for it is told me,' said he, 'that he is the cause to bring these naughty fellows into the country. Therefore I charge thee, Gye, to fetch me this naughty fellow Tyms, for thou knowest where he is.' 'No,' said Gye, 'I do not know.' So in no wise could he make him fetch him.

            "Then stepped forth another of Master Tyrrel's men, willing to show his master pleasure, whose name was Richard Sheriff, and said to his master, 'Sir, I know where he is.' 'Well,' said Master Tyrrel, 'go to the constables and charge them to bring him to me.'

            "So this Sheriff being diligent, made sure work, and had him brought before his master with the constables, whose names be these, Edward Hedge and John James.

            "So when he came before the said Master Tyrrel, then Master Tyrrel commanded all men to depart; and it was wisely done, for he was not able to open his mouth against Tyms without reproach; and there he kept him about three hours. But there were some that listened at the walls, and heard Master Tyrrel say thus to Tyms

            "'Methinketh,' said Tyrrel, 'that when I see the blessed rood it maketh me think of God.'

            "'Why sir,' said Tyms, 'if an idol that is made with man's hands doth make you remember God, how much more ought the creatures of God, as man being his workmanship, or the grass, or the trees that bring forth fruit, make you remember God! '

            "So Master Tyrrel ended his talk with Tyms it should seem in a heat, for he burst out and called him traitorly knave.

            "'Why sir,' said Tyms, 'in King Edward's days you did affirm the truth that I do now.'

            "'Affirm? 'quoth Tyrrel; 'nay, by God's body, I never thought it with my heart.'

            "'Well,' said Tyms, 'then I pray you, Master Tyrrel, bear with me; for I have been a traitor but a while, but you have been a traitor six years.'

            "After this, Tyms was sent to London to the bishop, and from him to the bishop of Winchester, and so from him to the King's Bench; and then was Master Tyrrel's rage ceased with them that were in the woods at the sermons. So Master Tyrrel took away Gye's coat, and gave it to John Traiford; and sent him to St. Osyth's to see good rule kept there.

            "When Tyms came before the bishop of London, there was at that time the bishop of Bath, and there was William Tyms examined of his faith before them both. So mightily God wrought with this true-hearted man, that he had wherewith to answer them both; for the constables did say that brought him before the bishop, that they never heard the like. Then the bishop (as though he would have had Tyms to turn from the truth) said to the constables, 'I pray you,' said he, 'give him good counsel, that he may turn from his error.' 'My Lord,' said the constables, 'he is at a point, for he will not turn.'

            "Then both the bishops waxed weary of him, for he had troubled them about six or seven hours. Then the bishops began to pity Tyms' case, and to flatter him, saying, 'Ah! good fellow,' said they, 'thou art bold, and thou hast a good fresh spirit; we would thou hadst learning to thy spirit.' 'I thank you, my lords,' said Tyms, 'and both you be learned, and I would you had a good spirit your learning.' So thus they broke up, and sent Tyms to the bishop of Winchester, and there were Edward Hedge and John James the constables afore-named discharged, and Tyms was commanded to the King's Bench, where he was mightily strengthened with the good men that he found there."

            And thus hitherto ye have heard, first upon what occasion this William Tyms was apprehended, how he was entreated of Master Tyrrel the justice, and by him sent up to the ordinary of the diocese, which was Bishop Bonner; who, after certain talk and debating he had with the said Tyms, at length directed him to the bishop of Winchester, being then. lord chancellor, and yet living, and so was commanded by him upon the same to the King's Bench.

            Here by the way is to be understood, that Tyms, as he was but a deacon, so he was but simply, or at least not priestly, apparelled, forasmuch as he went not in a gown, but in a coat; and his hosen were of two colours, the upper part white, and the nether stocks of sheep's russet. Whereupon the proud prelate, sending for him to come before him, and seeing his simple attire, began to mock him, saying, "Ah, sirrah! are you a deacon?" "Yes, my Lord, that I am," quoth Tyms. "So methinketh," said the bishop, "ye are decked like a deacon." "My Lord," said Tyms, "my vesture doth not so much vary from a deacon; but methinketh your apparel doth as much vary from an apostle."

            So then there spake one of the bishop's gentlemen: "My Lord," said he in mockage, "give him a chair, a toast and drink, and he will be lusty." But the bishop bade, have him away, and commanded him to come before him again the next day at an hour appointed.

            But Winchester, for lack of leisure, or because of sickness growing upon him, or for what cause else I know not, either would not, or could not attend unto him, but returned him again to his ordinary bishop from whence he came. So William Tyms, being put off again to Bishop Bonner, was placed together and coupled with the other five martyrs above named, and with them brought together to public examination before the bishop the twenty-first day of March, first in the bishop's palace of London, where the said bishop after his accustomed manner proceeding against them, inquired of them their faith upon the sacrament of the altar. To whom they answered, that the body of Christ was not in the sacrament of the altar really and corporally, after the words of consecration spoken by the priest: of the which opinion they had been of long time, some later, some sooner, even as God of his mercy did call them unto the knowledge of his gospel.

            Then the bishop's chaplains began to reason with them, but with no great authorities either of the Scriptures, or of the ancient fathers, ye may be sure, as other their large conferences with the learned do already declare.

 

Another examination of Tyms and Drakes, and the rest, before the bishop of London.

            "The twenty-third day of the same month next after, the bishop sent again for Tyms and Drakes, and ex officio did object unto them certain articles, the sum and manner whereof were the same which before were objected to Whittle, Greene, Tudson, Went, Brown, Elizabeth Foster, Joan Lashford: which see before. And the twenty-sixth day of the same month, he sent for the other four, ministering unto them also the same general articles: unto the which they all in effect answered in matters touching their faith, as did the said Bartlet Greene and the rest.

            "Other appearings they had, as the bishop's common manner of proceeding was, more (as I have often said) for order and form of law, than for any zeal of justice. But in conclusion, the twenty-eighth day of this month of March, William Tyms, and Robert Drakes, with the other four above named, were brought to the open consistory in Paul's, before the said bishop of London, to be condemned for heresy.

            "The bishop first began in this or like sort: 'Tyms,' quoth he, 'I will begin with thee first, for thou art and hast been the ringleader of these thy companions; thou hast taught them heresies, and confirmed them in their erroneous opinions, and hast endeavoured, as much as in thee lieth, to make them like unto thyself. If thy fault had not tended to the hurt of others, I would then have used thee more charitably, and not have brought thee to this open rebuke. I would, according to the rule of Christ in Matt. xviii., have told thee thy fault between me and thee; if thou wouldst not have heard me, I would not so have left thee, but I, with two or three others, would have exhorted thee; and if that would not have served, then would I have told the church, &c. But for that thy fault is open and manifest to the world, and thou thyself remainest stout in thine error, this charitable dealing is not to be extended towards thee: I have therefore thought good to proceed by another rule, whereof St. Paul speaketh, Such as sin, rebuke them openly, that others may fear. For this cause art thou brought before me in the face of this people, to receive judgment according to thy deserts. Let me see what thou canst say, why I should not proceed against thee as thine ordinary.'

            "'My Lord,' quoth Tyms, 'will you now give me leave to speak?' 'Yea,' quoth the bishop. Then,' said Tyms, 'my Lord, I marvel that you will begin with a lie. You call me the ringleader and teacher of this company; but how untruly you have said, shall shortly appear: for there is none of all these my brethren, which are brought hither as prisoners, but when they were at liberty and out of prison, they dissented from you and your doings, as much as they do at this present; and for that cause they are now prisoners. So it is evident, that they learned not their religion in prison. And as for me, I never knew them, until such time as I by your commandment was prisoner with them: how could I then be their ringleader and teacher? So that all the world may see how untruly you have spoken. And as for my fault which you make so grievous, whatsoever you judge of me, I am well assured that I hold none other religion than Christ preached, the apostles witnessed, the primitive church received, and now of late the apostolical and evangelical preachers of this realm have faithfully taught; for the which you have cruelly burned them, and now you seek our blood also. Proceed on hardly by what rule you will, I force not; I do not refuse you for my ordinary.'

            "'Then,' said the bishop, 'I perceive thou wilt not be counted their ringleader. How sayest thou, wilt thou submit thyself to the catholic church, as an obedient child? In so doing thou shalt be received and do well enough: otherwise thou shalt have judgment as a heretic.'

            "Then one of the prisoners (whose name is not certainly known) said, 'My Lord! you are no upright judge, for you judge after your own lust. But if you will judge us according to the holy Testament of Christ, which is the word of truth, we will accord to your judgment; for unto that word we wholly submit ourselves. But as for your judgment without the truth, God shall condemn.' And this prisoner was very earnestly in hand with the bishop, that they might be judged by the word of God. With this the bishop was offended, calling him busy knave, and commanded him to hold his tongue; or else he should be had away to a place of smaller ease.

            "Then Tyms answered and said, 'My Lord, I doubt not but I am of the catholic church, whatsoever you judge of me. But as for your church, you have before this day renounced it, and by corporal oath promised never to consent to the same. Contrary to the which you have received into this realm the pope's authority, and therefore you are falsely perjured and forsworn, all the sort of you. Besides this, you have both spoken and written very earnestly against that usurped power, and now you do burn men that will not acknowledge the pope to be supreme head.'

            "'Have I?' quoth the bishop; 'where have I written any thing against the Church of Rome?'

            "'My Lord,' quoth Tyms, 'the bishop of Winchester wrote a very learned oration, entituled, De Vera Obedientia, which containeth worthy matter against the Romish authority. Unto the which book you made a preface, inveighing against the bishop of Rome, reproving his tyranny and falsehood, calling his power false and pretended. The book is extant, and you cannot deny it.'

            "Then was the bishop somewhat abashed, and looking upon such as were present, spake very gently, saying, 'Lo! here is goodly matter indeed. My Lord of Winchester, being a great learned man, did write a book against the supremacy of the pope's Holiness, and I also did write a preface before the same book, tending to the same effect. And thus did we, because of the perilous world that then was: for then was it made treason by the laws of this realm to maintain the pope's authority, and great danger it was to be suspected a favourer of the see of Rome; and therefore fear compelled us to bear with the time, for otherwise there had been no way but one. You know when any uttered his conscience in maintaining the pope's authority, he suffered death for it.' And then turning his tale unto Tyms, he said,'But since that time, even since the coming in of the queen's Majesty, when we might be bold to speak our conscience, we have acknowledged our faults, and my Lord of Winchester himself shamed not to recant the same at Paul's Cross. And also thou thyself seest that I stand not in it, but willingly have submitted myself. Do thou also as we have done.'

            "'My Lord,' quoth Tyms, 'that which you have written against the supremacy of the pope, may be well approved by the Scriptures. But that which you now do, is against the word of God, as I can well prove.'

            "Then another (I suppose it was Dr. Cooke) said, Tyms, I pray thee let me talk with thee a little, for I think we two are learned alike. Thou speakest much of the Scripture, and yet understandest it not. I will tell thee to whom thou mayest be compared. Thou art like to one which intending to go on hunting, riseth up early in the morning, taketh his hounds, and forth he goeth, up to the hills, and down into the valleys; he passeth over the fields, over hedge and ditch; he searcheth the woods and thickets: thus laboureth he all the whole day, without finding any game. At night, home he cometh, weary of his travail, not having caught any thing at all: and thus fareth it by thee. Thou labourest in reading of the Scriptures; thou takest the letter, but the meaning thou knowest not; and thus thy reading is as unprofitable unto thee, as hunting was unto the man I spake of even now.'

            "'Sir,' quoth Tyms, 'you have not well applied your similitude; for I praise God, I have not read the Scriptures unprofitably: but God, I thank him, hath revealed unto me so much as I doubt not is sufficient for my salvation.'

            "Then said the bishop, 'You brag much of knowledge, and yet you know nothing: you speak much of Scripture, and you know not what Scripture is. I pray thee tell me; how knowest thou that thing to be the word of God, which thou tallest Scripture?'

            "To this answered Robert Drakes, that he did know it to be the word of God, for that it doth show unto men their salvation in Christ; and doth revoke and call back all men from wicked life, unto a pure and undefiled conversation.

            "The bishop replied, that the heathen writers have taught precepts of good living, as well as the Scripture, and yet their writings are not esteemed to be God's word.

            "To this answered Tyms, saying, 'The Old Testament beareth witness of those things which are written in the New, for,' quoth he, 'there is nothing taught in the New Testament, but it was fore-showed in the law and prophets.'

            "I will deny all,' quoth the bishop, 'I will deny all; what sayest thou then?' Then Robert Drakes alleged a sentence in Latin out of the prophet Isaiah, in the fifty-ninth chapter of his prophecy, My. Spirit which is in thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of the seed of thy seed, from henceforth even for ever; meaning thereby to prove, that he which had the Spirit of God, could thereby discern and judge truly which was God's word. But before he could explicate his mind, he was interrupted by the bishop, who spake unto Dr. Pendleton, saying, 'Master Doctor, I pray you say somewhat unto these folks that may do them some good.' Then Dr. Pendleton, as he leaned near unto the bishop, covered his face with both his hands, to the end he might the more quietly devise what to say; but other talk was presently ministered, so that for that time he said nothing."

            And thus much William Alsbury, witness hereof, being present thereat, so far as he heard, hath faithfully recorded and reported. What more was spoken and there said, (for they made not yet an end a good while after,) because he departed then out of the house, he doth not know, nor did hear.

            Then the bishop, after this and such-like communication thus passed between them, proceeding at length in form of law, caused both his articles and answers to the same, there and then to be openly read: the sum of which his confession recorded and left by his own hand-writing, tended to this effect as followeth:--

            "First, I did truly confess and believe, that I was baptized into the true catholic church of Christ; for when I was baptized, there was the element and the word of God, according to Christ's institution. And my godfathers and godmothers did promise for me, that I should forsake the devil, and all his works, and that I should keep God's commandments, and believe all the articles of the Christian faith; the which I do believe at this day, and with God's help I trust to do while I live; for it was not the wickedness of the minister that made the sacrament of none effect, &c.

            "Item, I confessed two sacraments, and but two in Christ's true church; that is, the sacrament of baptism, and the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; and that Christ is present with his sacraments, as it pleaseth him.

            "Item, I confessed that Christ hath a visible church, wherein the word of God is truly preached, and the sacraments truly ministered.

            "Item, I confessed the see of Rome to be as the late bishop of Winchester hath written in his book, De Vera Obedientia, to the which I said unto the bishop of London, that he had made a godly preface; and also John Bale hath plainly declared in his book, called 'The Image of both Churches,' even so much as I believe thereof.

            "Item, I confessed the mass to be blasphemy to Christ's death and passion.

            "Item, I confessed that in the sacrament of the altar Christ is not present either spiritually or corporally; but, as they use it, it is an abominable idol.

            "Last of all, I confessed the bishop of London to be mine ordinary."

 

The condemnation of Tyms, Drakes, Spurge, and three others.

 

FTER this the bishop, falling to entreating and persuasions earnestly exhorted Tyms to revoke his heresies, (as he termed them,) and to reform himself unto the church of Rome, and not to stick so much to the literal sense of the Scriptures, but to use the interpretation of the old fathers. To the which he answered, "I will not reform myself thereunto. And I thank God for this day; for I trust he will turn your cursings into blessings."

            And furthermore, asking this question, Tyms said, "And what have you to maintain the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, but only the bare letter?" "We have," quoth the bishop, "the catholic church." "No," said Tyms, "you have the popish church of Rome for you, for which you be perjured and forsworn. And the see of Rome is the see of antichrist; and therefore to that church

            I will not conform myself, nor once consent unto it."

            Then the bishop, seeing his constant boldness to be unmovable, proceeding to his condemnation, pronounced the sentence definitive upon him, and gave him over to the secular power.

            After calling for Robert Drakes, he used towards him the like manner of exhortation that he did before. To whom Drakes said, "As for your Church of Rome, I utterly defy and deny it, with all the works thereof, even as I deny the devil and all his works."

            The bishop then using his accustomed order of law, with his like exhortations, at last gave him the like blessing that Tyms had, and so charged the sheriff with him.

            Thomas Spurge, being next demanded if he would return to the catholic church, said as followeth: "As for your Church of Rome, I do utterly deny it: but to the true catholic church I am content to return, and continue in the same, whereof I believe the Church of Rome to be no part or member."

            Then in fine, calling the rest in their courses, and upon the like demands receiving the like answers, the said bishop gave unto each of them their several judgments, and so ridding his bloody hands, committed them unto the custody of the sheriffs of London, who sent them unto Newgate, whither they went all most joyfully, abiding there the Lord's good time, wherein they should seal this their faith with the shedding of their blood; which they most stoutly and willingly performed the fourteenth day of April, as before is mentioned.

 

LETTERS OF WILLIAM TYMS.

 

To his faithful sister in the Lord, parishioner in the town of Hockley, named Agnes Glascock.

            "The grace, mercy, and peace of God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour,with the sweet comfort of his holy and mighty Spirit, to the performance of his will, to your everlasting comfort, be with you, my dear sister Glascock, both now and evermore. Amen.

            "My most dear and entirely beloved sister, yea, mother I may rightly well call you, for the motherly care which you have always had for me, I have me most heartily commended unto you, giving God most hearty thanks for you, that he hath given you so loving a heart to Christ's poor gospel, and his poor afflicted flock for the same: and as you have full godly begun, so I beseech God to give you power to go forward in the same, and never more to look back, fearing neither fire, neither sword; and then I warrant you, you have not far to run.

            "And now, my dear heart! remember well what I have taught you when I was present with you, and also written being absent, and no doubt we shall shortly meet again with a most joyful meeting. I go upon Friday next to the bishop of London's coal-house, which is the twentieth day of March, where I think it will be hard for any of my friends to speak with me. Howbeit I trust I shall not long tarry there, but shortly after be carried up after my dear brethren and sisters, which are gone before me into heaven in a fiery chariot: therefore now I take my leave of you, till we meet in heaven; and hie you after! I have tarried a great while for you, and seeing you be so long a making ready, I will tarry no longer for you. You shall find me, merrily singing, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of sabaoth, at my journey's end. Therefore now, my dear heart! make good haste, a,.d loiter not by the way, lest night take you, and so ye be shut out of the gate with the foolish virgins. And now, my sister, in witness that I have taught you nothing but the truth, here I write my name with my blood for a testimonial unto you, that I will seal the simple doctrine which I have taught you, with the rest. And thus fare you well: and God defend you from antichrist, and all his ministers, the false priests. Amen."

            These words following were written with his own blood:
"Continue in prayer.
Ask in faith
And obtain your desire

            By me,William Tyms, in the King's Bench for the gospel of Christ."

 

Another letter, wherein he doth comfort his sister Glascock, being in great sorrow and repentance for going to the mass.

            "God be merciful unto you, pardon and forgive all your sins, and send you faith to believe the same, that you may be partaker of his heavenly kingdom. Amen.

            "My dear sister, I have me most heartily commended unto you: and as I have lamented your falling from God, by being partaker with that idolatrous priest; so have I, since I heard of your earnest repentance, very much rejoiced, and also praised Almighty God for his mercy showed unto you, in that he hath not left you to yourself, but since your denial, he hath showed his mercy on you, by looking back on you as he did on Peter, and so caused you to repent as Peter did, and bitterly to weep for your sins: whereas if God had left you to yourself, you had run forward from one evil to another, till at length your heart should either have been hardened, or else you should have despaired of the mercy of God. And seeing that God hath been so merciful unto you as he hath been, be you not unthankful unto him for the same. For I certify you that your sorrowful heart that you have had, doth declare unto me that God hath pardoned and forgiven all your sins for the blood-shedding of that immaculate Lamb, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

            "Therefore as Peter, after the time that Christ had forgiven him his sin, did boldly confess Christ before all his enemies; even so, my dear heart in the Lord, seeing that God hath so mercifully pardoned and forgiven you your sins, now cleave unto him and be at defiance with his enemies the papists: and as they do bear witness with their father the devil, by going to the church, and shedding the innocent blood of all those that will not go with them; even so do you bear witness with Christ, by not coming there: for all those that do go thither shall be partakers of their brethren's blood, that is shed for the testimony of Christ, except they repent and amend; which grace that they may so do, I beseech the eternal God for his Christ's sake, if it be his good will, to give them in his good time. And the same good God that hath been so merciful unto you to call you to repentance, him I beseech to keep you in his fear and love, that you may have always affiance in him, and evermore seek his honour and glory, to your everlasting comfort in Christ. Amen. Thus fare you well.
            "From the King's Bench this 28th of August. "By me,
            WILLIAM TYMS."

 

Another letter to certain godly yeomen of his parish, followers of the gospel.

            "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you both now and evermore. Amen.

            "Dear sisters, I have me most heartily commended unto you, thanking you for the great kindness showed unto me in this time of mine imprisonment, and not only unto me, but also unto my poor wife and children; and also for the great kindness that you show unto all the living saints that be dispersed abroad, and are fain to hide their heads for fear of this cruel persecution.

            "Dear sisters, when I do remember your constancy in Christ, I call to remembrance the constancy of divers godly women, as Susannah, Judith, Esther, and the good wife of Nabal, that through her godly conditions saved both her husband's life, and all her household, when David had thought to have slain him for his churlish answer that he sent him. Also I do remember Rahab, that lodged the Lord's spies, how God preserved her and her whole household for her faithfulness that she bare to God's people. So I do believe that when the Lord shall send his angel to destroy these idolatrous Egyptians here in England, and shall find the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on the door-post of your hearts, he will go by, and not hurt you, but spare your whole households for your sakes. Also I do remember Mary Magdalene, how faithful she was; for she was the first that preached the resurrection of Christ. Remember the blessed martyr Anne Askew in our time, and follow her example of constancy. And for the love of God take heed that in no case you do consent to idolatry, but stand fast to the Lord, as the good woman did that had her seven sons put to death before her face, and she always comforting them; yea, and last of all suffered death herself, for the testimony of her God, which is the living God. Thus I beseech God to send you grace and strength to stand fast to the Lord, as she did, and then you shall be sure of the same kingdom that she is sure of; to the which kingdom I pray God bring both you and me. Amen.
            "By me, WILLIAM TYMS, prisoner in the King's Bench."

 

Another letter to his friends in Hockley.

            "The grace of God the Father, through the merits of his dear Son Jesus, our Lord and only Saviour, with the continual aid of his holy and mighty Spirit, to the performance of his will, to our everlasting comfort, be with you, my dear brethren, both now and evermore. Amen.

            "My dearly beloved, I beseech God to reward the great goodness that you have showed unto me, sevenfold into your bosoms; and as you have always had a most godly love unto his word, even so I beseech him to give you grace to love your own souls; and then I trust you will flee from all those things that should displease our good and merciful God, and hate and abhor all the company of those that would have you to worship God any otherwise than is contained in his holy word. And beware of those masters of idolatry; that is, these papistical priests. My dear brethren, for the tender mercy of God, remember well what I have said unto you, and also written, the which I am now ready to seal with my blood. I praise God that ever I lived to see the day, and blessed be my good and merciful God, that ever he gave me a body to glorify his name. And, dear hearts! I do now write unto you for none other cause, but to put you in remembrance, that I have not forgotten you, to the end that I would not have you forget me, but to remember well what I have simply by word of and writing taught you; the which although it were most simply done, yet truly, as your own conscience beareth me record: and therefore in any case take good heed that you do not that thing which your own conscience doth condemn. Therefore come out of Sodom, and go to heaven-ward with the servants and martyrs of God, lest you be partakers of the vengeance of God that is coming upon this wicked nation, from the which the Lord God defend you, and send us a joyful meeting in the kingdom of heaven; unto the which God bring you all, Amen. Thus now I take my leave of you for ever in this world, except I be burned amongst you, which thing is uncertain unto me, as yet.

            "By me your poorest and most unworthy brother in Christ, W. Tyms, in Newgate, the twelfth day of April, condemned to die for Christ's verity."

 

Another letter, giving thanks to his parishioners, for their charity showed to his wife, being brought to bed of a child in his captivity.

            "The everlasting peace of our dear Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ, with the sweet comfort of his holy and mighty Spirit, to the increase of your faith, to the performance of his will, and to your eternal comfort in the everlasting kingdom of heaven, be with you, my dear brethren and sisters, both now and ever, Amen.

            "My most dear brethren and sisters in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I have me most heartily commended unto you, with hearty thanks for all the great liberality that you have showed unto me, and especially now in this time of my necessity, when that God hath sent my poor wife a child in my captivity; which is no little care to me, so to provide, that I might keep both the child and my wife from the antichristian church: the which thing, I thank my good God, through his most gracious providence, I have yet done, though it be (as ye know) great charge, not to me, but to the congregation of God: and it grieveth me that I have been so chargeable to them as I have been, and specially you, my dear brethren, I being so unworthy a member as I have been, and also of so small acquaintance; but such is the merciful goodness of God, so to move your hearts with charity towards me. And as he hath moved your hearts so to do, even so I beseech God to give you power to forsake and refuse all things which be displeasant in his sight, and to do all things which be requisite to a Christian; and send you grace to go forwards in the same as you have godly begun, neither fearing fire nor sword. And my most dear hearts! remember well the simple plain doctrine the which I have taught you, and also written unto you, which was the truth; and for a testimony of the same, I trust that you shall shortly hear, or else see, that I will seal the same with my blood. And in the mean time I desire you all to remember me in your prayers, as I know you do, and as with God's help I will do for you, that God, for his dear Son Christ's sake, will so finish the days of our pilgrimage, that we may rest together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the everlasting kingdom of heaven; to the which I beseech the eternal God for his Christ's sake to bring both you and all yours. Amen.
            "By me,
            WILLIAM TYMS."

 

Another letter to his sister Colfox and Agnes Glascock.

            "Grace and peace from God the Father of all mercy, through the merits of our dear Saviour Jesus Christ, be perceived and felt in the hearts of you, my dearly beloved sisters in the Lord, by the mighty working of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, both now and evermore. Amen.

            "My most dear and entirely beloved sisters in the Lord, after my most hearty commendations, according to my most bounden duty, I do as I am accustomed, or at least bound to do; that is, I give you warning of your enemies, which be the papists: and take good heed to them, for they serve a crafty master: yea, and, as St. Peter saith, he sleepeth not, but goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. For your old familiar friends, or worldly companions, when they see that you will not run to the idol's temple with them, it will seem a strange thing unto them, that ye run not to the same excess of riot, as St. Peter saith; and therefore they will speak evil of you, rail on you, and persecute you.

            "But, my dear sisters, let it not trouble you, for it is but to try you, and let it not seem a strange thing unto you. But when they do so, remember wherefore it is, and for whose sake; even because you will not forsake God as they do. For the hatred they bear you, is for the word of God, and then it is God's cause, and I tell you he will revenge it. And therefore if ye be railed on, and troubled for his sake, think yourselves most happy: for if you suffer with the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, then shall ye be sure to be partakers of the same joy that they are in. Yea, you have heard by the word of God, how cruelly the tyrants always have persecuted the true members of Christ, as he himself hath promised that they shall do unto the end of the world.

            "By the way I will bring to your remembrance the holy martyr St. Stephen, who, for favouring, maintaining, and defending the same doctrine that we now suffer for, was called a blasphemer, and stoned to death at Jerusalem. And Christ's apostles were diversely afflicted all the world over for the same, by this viperous generation. Antipas, the faithful witness of Christ, was slain at Pergamos. Jason, for receiving Paul and Silas, with other disciples and teachers of the gospel, was brought before the council of Thessalonica, and accused for a seditious traitor against Caesar. No marvel therefore though at this day we be vexed on the same sort, maintaining the same cause, and favouring the teachers thereof. Is there any other reward following the true servants of God now, than hath been afore-times? No surely, for so hath Christ promised. And if they have persecuted him, needs must they persecute his members; if they have called the master of the house, Beelzebub, so will they do his household; You shall be hated of all men (saith Christ) for my name's sake.

            "It is no new thing, my dear hearts! to see the true members of Christ handled as in our days they be, as it is not unknown to you, how they be cruelly entreated, and blasphemed without any reasonable cause. For heretics must they be taken, which follow not their traditions. And then they may as well call Christ a heretic, for he never allowed their dirty ceremonies: he never went a procession with a cope, cross, or candlestick: he never censed image, nor sang Latin service: he never sat in confession: he never preached of purgatory, nor of the pope's pardons: he never honoured saints nor prayed for the dead: he never said mass, matins, nor even-song: he never commanded to fast Friday nor vigil, Lent nor Advent: he never hallowed church nor chalice, ashes nor palms, candles nor bells: he never made holy water nor holy bread, with such like. But such dumb ceremonies, not having the express commandment of God, he calleth the leaven of the Pharisees, and damnable hypocrisy admonishing his disciples to beware of them. He curseth all those that add to his word such beggarly shadows, wiping their names clean out of the book of life. St. Paul saith, They have no portion with Christ, which wrap themselves again with such yokes of bondage.

            "Therefore, my dear hearts, seeing that our good God hath by the light of his holy word delivered us from all such dark, blind, dumb, beggarly traditions of men, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and wrap not yourselves again in the yoke of bondage. But let us always be ready, looking for the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which, as St. Peter saith, will come as a thief in the night. And our Captain Christ saith, If the good man of the house knew what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch.

            "Therefore, my dear hearts, be of good comfort, although the world rage never so sore against you. And for your comfort mark well the great mercy of God, who, according to his promise, for the weakness of our nature hath so assuaged the heat of the fire, that our dear brethren which are gone before us, to the sight of all men, have found it rather to be joy than pain. And think you surely God will be as merciful unto you, as he hath been unto them; and say with St. Paul, Who shall separate us from the love of God? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, either hunger, either nakedness, either peril, either sword? as it is written, For thy sake are we killed all the day long, &c.

            "Therefore, my dear sisters, if, to save your lives, any dissembling gospellers would have you to go to the idol's temple with them, say unto them, 'No, for my Master Christ saith, He that would save his life shall lose it. And in another place to comfort us he saith, There shall not one hair fall from your head, without it be your heavenly Father's will.' And therefore say you, that you will not be of that sort that be neither hot nor cold, lest God should spew you out of his mouth. But make them this answer, saying, 'St. Paul saith, Bear no strange yoke with the unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, what company hath light with darkness, what concord hath Christ with Belial, either what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? How agreeth the temple of God with images? And ye are the temple of God, as God saith, I will dwell among them, walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and separate yourselves, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing so will I receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord.'

            "Thus, mine own bowels in the Lord! as I began, so make I an end, bidding you beware of your enemies, and take up your cross, and follow your Captain Christ in at the narrow gate here by persecution, and then you shall be sure to reign and rejoice with him in his everlasting kingdom, which he himself hath purchased with his own most precious blood: to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honTYMSboth now and for ever. Amen.
            "By me,
            WILLIAM TYMB."

 

Another letter, with an exhortation to all God's faithful servants to eschew the society of idolaters, and God's enemies.

            "Grace be with you, and peace from the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

            "I thank my God with all remembrance of you always in my prayers for you, and pray with gladness, because of the fellowship which ye have in the gospel, from the first day that I knew you, until this day; and I am surely certified of this, that he which hath begun a good work in you, shall go forth with it until the day of Jesus Christ, as it becometh me to judge of you; whom I have in my heart, and as companions of grace with me, even in my bonds. And thus I pray, that your love may increase more and more in knowledge. Good brethren, I most heartily desire God, that as you have a willing mind to comfort my vile earthly body in this time of persecution, so he will strengthen you with his Holy Spirit, that my imprisonment do not discomfort, but rather strengthen and comfort you, to see the goodness of God showed unto me, in that being a man without learning, and brought before three such bishops concerning worldly wisdom, he gave me both mouth and wisdom; insomuch that the bishop of London went away in a great haste from me, and after that, he sent his man with a Bible, turning to Heb. ix., and the bishop of Bath looking on it, said, 'What meaneth my Lord? this maketh nothing for his purpose.' Then I looked on it, and said, 'My Lord seeth that I was weak, and therefore he hath holpen me: for here he hath condemned the sacrifice of your mass. For you say that you offer a daily sacrifice in your mass, both for the quick and the dead; and here St. Paul saith, Without blood-shedding there is no forgiveness of sins, therefore that is here condemned.' He answered, 'Yea, saith he so? So say all such heretics;' and so forth, with many like arguments, which my neighbours that heard them can declare; therefore I leave them. This have I written, that you should not be afraid, but call upon God, as he hath commanded us to ask, and we shall have: Seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Also he hath commanded us to call on him in the day of trouble, and he hath promised to hear us. Therefore if we have not both mouth and wisdom at his hand, the fault is in us, that either we will not repent us of our wickedness, and amend our lives, or else we be unfaithful, and believe not the promises of God; and so we ourselves are the cause that this wisdom is lacking in us. Therefore let us repent and amend our lives, and God is merciful. And in any case, as I have always said unto you, since I first knew you, so say I now: beware of idolatry, and of your own good intents; if not, mark what hath followed upon them that have left God's commandments, and done their own good intents. Remember when the children of Israel had made them a golden calf, did not God say they had marred all; and would have destroyed them, had not Moses earnestly prayed for them? I let many other places alone that prove the wrath of God to come upon the people for idolatry; therefore as we will avoid the wrath of God, let us keep us unstained from it. You have example out of the Old Testament, how loth the godly fathers were to be partakers with the wicked: and yet to see how little we regarded it, it would make any Christian man's heart to weep. God send us more grace. First look in Genesis xi. and xii.: Abraham, because he would not be partaker of their idolatry, fled from the people of Chaldea, being his native country. And in Genesis xix. Lot, at the commandment of the angels, departed from Sodom, lest he, tarrying with the Sodomites, should have been consumed with them. In Genesis xxi. Sarah would not suffer Ishmael, which was given to mocking, to keep company with her son Isaac, lest he should also become a mocker. Look in Numbers xvi. Moses at God's appointment commanded the people to depart from the dwelling-places of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, lest they also should be all wrapped in their sins, and so perish among them. So do I, even as Moses commanded them that they should not keep company with those wicked people, lest the vengeance of God should light on them, so do I give you warning that you should not keep company with the idolaters in their idolatrous temples, lest the wrath of God come upon you to destroy you.

            "Look what St. Paul saith in 2 Cor. vi. Set yourselves, saith he, therefore at large, and bear no strange yoke with the unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? what company hath light with darkness? what concord hath Christ with Belial? either what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? How agreeth the temple of God with images? And ye are the temple of God, as saith God, I will dwell among them, and walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and separate yourselves, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing.

            "Good brethren, mark what cometh of keeping company with the wicked. Syrach saith, He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled withal: and be that keepeth company with the proud, shall clothe himself with pride. Even so he that is familiar with idolaters cannot be unstained from idolatry, except he do it to win them to Christ, as there he but a few that do: yea, it may not be where idolatry is openly committed, as for an example, Peter, so long as he continued with Christ and Christ's disciples, he continued in the truth, preached the truth, confessed openly Christ to be the Son of the living God, and promised that he would not only go to prison, but also to very death with him: but when he came once into the court into the bishop's house, he straightway was stricken with such fear, that a poor maiden and simple ruffian, (such a one as my Lord of London hath, that said, 'By God's blood, if I meet with any of these vile heretics, I will thrust an arrow in him,') when Peter, I say, was amongst them, he denied his Master, and swore that he never knew him, whom he, before he came there, boldly confessed before all men: and again, after that he had repented him of his wicked deed, he boldly preached to the believing Jews, commanding them, among other his godly exhortations, to save themselves from that untoward generation. How many of our priests before this storm of persecution, when the gospel was freely preached, were bold, and could say, they would die rather than deny their Master! But when they come once into the bishops' houses, they preach no more Christ, but utterly deny him: therefore I pray God keep them from thence, or else send them more grace and strength. It is needful to pray; therefore watch in prayer.

            "Paul, all the while he was among the bishops, was a cruel persecutor; but after he was called of God from the bishops, he became a true preacher: therefore God keep all Christian men out of the hands of our bishops. St. Paul, in Romans xv., saith, I dare not speak any of those things that Christ hath not wrought by me. He saith also, I beseech you, brethren, mark them that make division, and give occasion of evil, contrary to the doctrine that ye have learned, and them avoid: for they that are such serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, and with sweet and flattering words deceive the hearts of the simple. Our Master Christ himself hath given us warning which they be: for he hath set the plain mark on them, in Matthew xxiv., If they say here is Christ, or there is Christ, believe them not, saith Christ: If they say, he is in the desert, go not forth. If they say, he is in the secret place, believe them not. And I pray you, where can he be more secret, than in so small a piece of bread? For my Lord of London, like a liar, said to me, that after the words be spoken, there remaineth neither bread nor wine. Then I asked him what he said to David, where he saith, Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. 'How say you to that? Will not your sacrament of the altar putrify or corrupt?' He answered, 'Yes.' I asked him what it was that did corrupt, if there were neither bread nor wine. He answered, and said, 'The accidents.' I said unto him, it was a mad accident without substance: for you say, there is neither bread nor wine, and then there is nothing to corrupt: with many such-like arguments.

            "Therefore beware of them, for they go about to deceive you with such arguments. Say not but ye be warned, and a great deal the more worthy of your damnation, if they deceive you, because you have had so much warning. Repent you betimes of your sinful lives, and amend, and then no doubt but God will either turn their hearts, or else take them away; or else he will give us that, that he promised to his disciples, if we be contented to take the same reward they had. And if we disdain the one, let us not look for the other: for he that will be his father's heir, must be contented to receive his father's correction. For St. Paul saith in Heb. xii., If we be not under correction, whereof all are partakers, then are we bastards and not sons.

            "And you know what belongeth to a bastard: he shall not be his father's heir. And if we remember ourselves well, (how negligent we have been to our Father's commandment,) we shall find ourselves worthy to be corrected at his hand. If we refuse his correction, he will refuse us to be his sons. I pray you look what he promised to his disciples, and I pray you also look how willingly they received it. And so must we do, if we will be partakers with them. First let us see what Christ promised to his disciples. Look in Matt. x., and there shall you see these words, Behold, I send you forth as sheep among wolves. Be wise therefore as serpents, and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they shall deliver you up to the councils, and shall scourge you in their synagogues: ye shall be brought before the head rulers and kings for my name's sake. But when they put you up, take ye no thought, how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in the same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of my Father which speaketh in you, &c. Read the whole chapter, for it is very comfortable to a Christian man; and mark it well, and you shall find what we ought to do in the time of persecution. Also look in 2 Cor. iv.; St. Paul saith, For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might appear in our mortal flesh. Thus have you heard that St. Paul doth boast of persecution; even so should we, for it is the way to bring us to rest.

            "Therefore let us strive to enter in at the narrow gate, and let us remember the saying of St. Paul in Acts xxi., when he was going to Jerusalem. When he was in the house of Philip the evangelist, there came in a prophet, and took off his girdle, and bound his hands and his feet, saying, Thus shall they do with the man that owneth this girdle, when he cometh to Jerusalem. When the disciples heard that, they would have persuaded him that he should not go thither. Here you shall see what answer this pastor made them; he was a faithful shepherd: What do ye weeping and breaking of my heart? I am not ready to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus.

            "Yet I think there be some that will say, that I needed not to have been taken, if I would have kept me out of the way. But I say unto them, that the shrinking away of so many of our shepherds as be gone, maketh so many of the flock to scatter; which will be required at their hands, of the Master of the sheep. What will he say to them at the day of account, when they shall come to receive their wages? He shall say to them, Depart from me, ye wicked hirelings, for when ye saw the wolf come, ye ran away, and left my sheep in the wilderness. If you had been good shepherds, you would rather have lost your lives, than have lost one sheep committed to your charge, through your fault. And I pray you, what case be the sheep in, when their shepherd runneth away from them? I need not tell you, you know the danger that followeth so well.

            "Therefore let us pray to God to send us faithful shepherds, and also obedient sheep, that will not hear a stranger's voice. I would all men would mark well the saying of St. Paul in Rom. viii., where he saith in these words, Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, either nakedness, either peril, either sword? As it is written, For thy sake are we killed all the day long, and are counted as sheep appointed to be slain: nevertheless we overcome strongly through his help that loved us. Yea, I am sure that neither death, neither life, neither angels, neither rule, neither power, neither things present, neither things to come, neither height, neither depth, neither any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God; and so forth. Also he saith in another place, All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecution. Thus I prove it to be our heavenly Father's rod: therefore let us thankfully receive it like obedient children, and then our Father will love us.

            "Yet hear what St. Peter saith in his First Epistle, chap. iv. Dearly beloved, saith he, be not troubled in this heat which is now come among you to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you: but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's passions, that when his glory appeareth you may be merry and glad. If ye be railed on for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. On their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. Here St. Peter saith, It is no strange thing; and that I have partly proved before, because we have nothing else promised us in this world. Therefore let us call on God for grace. Be ye sure that they can do nothing to us, till God permit it. As for ensample, look in 1 Sam. xix., you shall see how Saul persecuted David, purposing to kill him: but his labour was in vain. Also in 1 Kings xix. Jezebel threatened and sware to slay Elias, but the Lord preserved him. Also in Job ii. you see that Satan could do nothing to Job, till God suffered him, neither exercise his cruelness any further than God had appointed him. The godly woman Susannah, in Dan. xiii., through the false accusation of the wicked judges, was even at a point to die, yet God wonderfully delivered her. These have I written to put you in remembrance, that man can do no more than is the will of God: therefore let us not resist his will, but refer all to him: and let us be doing that thing that God hath commanded us in his holy word.

            "Dear brethren, for the blood of Christ refuse not the cross of Christ, but remember the saying of the godly man David in his Psalm cxix., where he saith, It is good for me that I have been in trouble, that I may learn thy statutes. In the same place he saith, Before I was in trouble, I went wrong; but now I have kept thy word. Even so it is in trouble with us, for the word of God was never so sweet and comfortable as it is now that we be in trouble. Also St. Paul saith in Rom. v., We rejoice in tribulation: for we know that tribulation bringeth patience, patience bringeth experience, experience bringeth hope, and hope maketh not ashamed.

            "Also I pray you remember the saying of St. Paul, in 2 Tim., where he saith, Be not ashamed to testify the Lord: neither be ashamed of me. Even so I say unto you, dear brethren, be not ashamed of my imprisonment, neither sorry, but rejoice with me, that it hath pleased God of his goodness to call me to such a dignity as this shall be unto me, if I may have his grace to lose my life (which I regard as most vile) for his name's sake: for then I shall be sure to find it again with advantage. Therefore I desire you all that you will pray with me unto Almighty God, that he of his merciful goodness will send me his grace and strength, that I may continue unto the end; as I will pray for you, that God will preserve you from all the wicked ways of antichrist, and strengthen and comfort you, if it be his good pleasure that you shall suffer any thing for his name's sake, as he hath faithfully promised to do. And I certify you, that if all men knew the comfort they should receive at the hand of God, being in prison, I think there would come more to prison than there do. For surely we find such comfort at the hand of God since we have been in prison, that we had rather die than be abroad to see the idolatry that is committed among them that be abroad; beside the seeking one of another's blood, with other wickedness too much; God send me more grace! But, I trust, among you there be none such: and if there be, repent, and amend, lest it be verified on you, that is spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, chap. ii., where he saith, My people have committed two great evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of the living waters, and digged them pits: pits (I say) that are broken, and can hold no water. Also in chap. viii. he saith, Hear not the words of the prophets that preach their own dreams. Good brethren, beware of those false prophets that I have given you warning of.

            "Dearly beloved, here I make an end for this time, desiring the same health both of body and soul unto you all, that I would have myself, and I end with the same that St. Peter saith in his First Epistle, chap. v., Submit yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you when the time is come. Cast all your care on him, for he careth for you. Be sober and watch, for your adversary the devil like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist stedfast in faith: remembering that ye do but fulfil the same afflictions that are appointed to your brethren that are in the world. The God of all grace, that called you unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, shall his own self, after you have suffered a little affliction, make you perfect; shall settle, strengthen, and stablish you. To him be glory and dominion for ever, and while the world endureth. Amen.

            "Greet one another with a holy kiss of love. Peace be with you all which are in Christ Jesus. I pray you all say, Amen.

            "These be in the same prison where I am: the bishop of St. David's, Dr. Taylor of Hadley, Master Philpot, and my singular good father Master Bradford, with five other of Sussex, laymen.

            "I desire some good brother to write this anew, for I wrote it (as I do many times) with fear. For if the keepers had found me, they would have taken it from me, and my pen and ink also.

            "Good brethren, I am kept alone, and yet I thank God he comforteth me, past all the comfort of any man: for, I thank him, I was never merrier in Christ.
            "By me, WILLIAM TYMS,
            prisoner in the King's Bench."

 

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