360. RICHARD WOODMAN AND NINE OTHERS.
Illustration -- The Martyrs of Lewes
The history of ten true godly disciples and martyrs of Christ, burnt together in one fire at Lewes, anno 1557, June twenty-second.
In the town of Lewes were ten faithful servants of God put in one fire, the twenty-second day of June, whose names follow: Richard Woodman, George Stevens, W. Mainard, Alexander Hosman, his servant; Thomasin เ Wood; Mainard's maid; Margery Moris; James Moris, her son; Dennis Burgis, Ashdon's wife, Grove's wife.
Of the which number Richard Woodman was the first; concerning whose apprehension, first by his enemies, and of his deliverance out of Bishop Bonner's hands; then of his second taking again by the procurement of his father, brother, kinsfolks, and friends; also of his sundry examinations and courageous answers before the bishops; and lastly of his condemnation, and of his letters sent to his faithful friends, here followeth to be declared by his own words and relation reported. Which Richard Woodman, by his occupation, was an iron-maker, dwelling in the parish of Warbleton, in the county of Sussex, and diocese of Chichester, of the age of thirty years and somewhat more.
The occasion of his first apprehension was this: There was one Fairebanke, who sometimes had been a married priest, and served the cure of Warbleton, where he had often persuaded the people not to credit any other doctrine but that which he then preached, taught, and set forth, in King Edward's days: and afterward, in the beginning of Queen Mary's reign, the said Fairebanke, turning head to tail, preached clean contrary to that which he had before taught.
Whereupon Richard Woodman, hearing him in the church of Warbleton so to preach contrary to himself, admonished him of his inconstancy, how before-time he had taught them one thing, and now another, and desired him to teach them the truth. For the which words he was apprehended, and brought before Master John Ashbornham, Master Tonston, and Master Culpepper, and Master Roberts, justices of peace in the county of Sussex, and by them committed to the King's Bench, where he continued from June, the space almost of a year and half; and from thence was transferred by Dr. Story into Bonner's coal-house, where he remained the space of a month before he came to examination.
At length, the same day when Master Philpot was burned, which was the eighteenth of December, he with four other prisoners was delivered and set at liberty by Bonner himself. Notwithstanding, shortly after he was sought for again, and at last found out and taken by means of his father, brother, and certain other his acquainted friends, and so was sent up again to London to Bishop Bonner, where he remained in the coal-house eight weeks. He was there six times examined, and twenty-six times before, so that his examinations were in all thirty-two, from his first apprehension to his condemnation. Touching the whole discourse whereof, forasmuch as the matter is something strange, and will peradventure scarce find credit upon my narration, with them which deny all things that like them not to believe, ye shall hear himself speak and testify both of the manner of his troubles, and also his own examinations by himself recorded, in order as followeth.
"Gentle reader, here you shall perceive how the Scriptures be partly fulfilled on me, being one of the least of his poor lambs. First, you shall understand, that since I was delivered out of the bishop of London's hands, which was in the year of our Lord 1555, and the same day that Master Philpot was burned, which was the eighteenth of December, I lay in his coal-house eight weeks lacking but one day: and, before that, I was a year and a half almost in the King's Bench after my first apprehension, for reproving a preacher in the pulpit, in the parish of Warbleton, where I dwelt. Wherefore I was at two sessions before I was sent to prison, and carried to two more sessions while I was in prison, twice before the bishop of Chichester, and five times before the commissioners; and then sent to London's coal-house, and many times called before him, as it appeareth by my examinations which I have wrote, the which examinations the bishop of Chichester now hath, for they were found in my house when I was taken; wherein is contained all the talk which I had before them aforenamed. Also there be in London that had copies of the same of me, when I was in the coal-house.
"And it pleased God to deliver me with four more out of the butchers' hands, requiring nothing else of us but that we should be honest men, and members of the true catholic church that was builded upon the prophets and apostles, Christ being the head of the true church, the which all we affirmed that we were members of the true church, and purposed by God's help therein to die. And hereupon we were delivered; but he willed us many times to speak good of him. And no doubt he was worthy to be praised, because he had been so faithful an aid in his master the devil's business; for he had burnt good Master Philpot the same morning, in whose blood his heart was so drunken, (as I supposed,) that he could not tell what he did, as it appeared to us both before and after. For but two days before, he promised us that we should be condemned that same day that we were delivered; yea, and the morrow after that he had delivered us, he sought for some of us again, yea, and that earnestly. He waxed dry after his great drunkenness, wherefore he is like to have blood to drink in hell as he is worthy, if he repent it not with speed. The Lord turn all their hearts, if it be his will!
"This have I written, chiefly to certify all people how we were delivered, because many carnal gospellers and papists have said, that it was prescribed that we should be so delivered, because they think that God is subject to man, and not man to God; for if they did, they would not blaspheme him as they do, or if they thought they should give account for it. Have not many of them read how God delivered Israel out of Egypt? Daniel out of the lions' den? Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, out of the burning oven? with divers other suchlike examples; yea, God is the same God that he was then. He is no older, nor less in power, as some count him in wondering at his works. Now to the matter.
"After I was delivered, the papists said that I had consented to them, whereof they made themselves glad; the which was the least part of my thought, (I praise God therefore,) as they well perceived and knew the contrary within a while. For I went from parish to parish, and talked with them, to the number of thirteen or fourteen, and that of the chiefest in all the country; and I angered them so, that they with the commissioners complained on me to my Lord Chamberlain that was then to the queen, Sir John Gage, showing him that I baptized children, and married folks, with many such lies, to bring me into their hands again. Then the commissioners sent out certain citations to bring me to the court. My Lord Chamberlain had directed out four or five warrants for me, that if I had come there, I should have been attached and sent to prison straightway; which was not God's will; for I had warning of their laying await for me, and came not there, but sent my deputy, and he brought me word that the bailiffs waited for me there; but they missed of their prey for that time, whereupon they were displeased.
"Then, within three days after, my Lord sent three of his men to take me, whose names were Deane, Jeffrey, and Frances. I, being at plough with my folks, right in the way as they were coming to my house, least mistrusting them of all other, came to them and spake to them, asking them how they did: And they said, they arrested me in the king and queen's name, and that I must go with them to their master the lord chamberlain; which words made my flesh to tremble and quake, because of that sudden. But I answered them, that I would go with them. Yet I desired them, that they would go to my house with me, that I might break my fast, and put on some other gear; and they said, I should. Then I remembered myself, saying in my heart, 'Why am I thus afraid? they can lay no evil to my charge. If they kill me for well doing, I may think myself happy.' I remembered how I was contented gladly before to die in that quarrel, and so had continued ever since; and should I now fear to die? God forbid that I should; for then were all my labour in vain.
"So by and by I was persuaded, I praise God; considering it was but the frailty of my flesh, which was loth to forego my wife and children, and goods: for I saw nothing but present death before mine eyes. And as soon as I was persuaded in my mind to die, I had regard of nothing in this world, but was as merry and glad and joyful, I praise God, as ever I was. This battle lasted not a quarter of an hour; but was sharper than death itself for the time, I dare say.
"So when I had my breakfast, I desired them to show me their warrant, thinking thereby I should have seen wherefore I was arrested, to the intent I might the better answer for myself, when I came before their master. And one of them answered, they had not their warrant there; which words made me astonied, and it was put in my mind by God, that I need not go with them, unless they had their warrant. Then said I to them, 'That is marvel, that you will come to take a man without a warrant. It seemeth to me, that you come of your own mind to get thank of your master; for indeed I heard say,' said I, 'that there were four or five warrants out for me, but they were called in again, because I had certified my Lord and the commissary, by a letter that I had sent to the commissary's court, that I was not faulty in that they laid to my charge, which was for baptizing of children, and marrying of folks; the which I never did, for I was never minister appointed to do any such thing: wherefore set your hearts at rest, I will not go with you,' said I, 'unless you will carry me by force; and if you will, do so, at your own adventures.' And so I rose from the board, and stepped into my chamber, meaning to go from them if I could possibly, seeing God had made the way so open for me. I meant to play Peter's part with them, but God would not it should be so, but sent a fear amongst them, that as soon as I was gone into my chamber, ere ever I could come out again, they were gone out of my house.
"When I saw that, I knew it was God's doing, to set me at liberty once again. Yet I was compelled to speak to them, and said, 'If you have a warrant, I desire you for God's sake to show it me, and I will go with you with all my heart: if not, I desire you to depart in God's peace and the king's: for surely I will not go with you without the order of the law; for I have been too simple in such things already. For before I was sent to prison first, I went to the justices, to two sessions, without any warrant or commandment, but had word by one of their men, and I went justly to them; and they sent me to prison, and kept me there almost a year and three quarters, without all right or equity, as it is openly known, not hearing my cause gently debated. And it seemeth strange to me, that I should be thus evil handled; and therefore I will go to none of them all henceforth, without the extremity of the law.'
"Then one of them answered me, and said, 'We have not the warrant here, but it is at home at my house; the worst is, you can but make us fetch it.' Then I said, 'Fetch it, if you will; but if you come in my house before you have it, at your own adventure be it.' So I shut my door, and went my way out at the other door. So they got help to watch my house, whilst one of them fetched the constable and many more, thinking to have had me in my house, and to have taken me in my house, and carried me away with a licence; but I was gone before, as God would have it. Notwithstanding they sought every corner of my house, but could not prevail. I mistrusted they would search it again that night, and kept me abroad; and indeed there came seven of his men and the constable, and searched my house. And when they saw that they could not meet with me, they were ready to rend their coats, that I had escaped them so, knowing they should have such a check of their master. When I heard that they had sought so for me again, I, perceiving that they were greedy of their prey, came home, and my wife told me all things.
"Then I supposed that they would lay all the country for me, and the sea-coast, because I should not go over, and then I thought that they would not mistrust that I would dare be nigh home. So I told my wife, that I would make my lodging in a wood not past a flight-shot from my house; as I did indeed, even under a tree, and there had my Bible, my pen, and mine ink, and other necessaries, and there continued six or seven weeks, my wife bringing me meat daily as I had need. Yea, I thought myself blessed of God, that I was counted worthy to lie in the woods for the name of Christ. Then there came word into the country, that I was seen and spoken to in Flanders; whereupon they left laying in wait for me; for they had laid all the country for me, and the sea-coast from Portsmouth to Dover, even as God put in my mind they would.
"So when all was hushed, I went abroad among our friends and brethren; and at length I went beyond the sea both into Flanders and in France: but I thought every day seven years or ever I were at home again. So I came home again as soon as it was possible. I was there but three weeks; but as soon as I was come home, and it was once known among Baal's priests, they could not abide it, but procured out warrants against me, causing my house to be searched sometimes twice in a week.
"This continued from St. James's tide to the first Sunday in Lent. Otherwhile I went privily, otherwhile openly, otherwhile I went from home a fortnight or three weeks, otherwhile I was at home a month or five weeks together, living there most commonly and openly, doing such works as I had to do; and yet all mine enemies could lay no hands on me, till the hour was full come: and then, by the voice of the country, and by manifest proofs, mine own brother, as concerning the flesh, delivered me into their hands, by that he knew that I was at home. For my father and he had as much of my goods in their hands, as I might have fifty-six pounds for, by the year, clear, and thereunto prayed. It was a lordship and an honour, and half an honour, that I had delivered into their hands to pay my debts, and the rest to remain to my wife and children. But they had reported that it would not pay my debts, which grieved me sore; for it was two hundred pounds better than the debts came to: which caused me to speak to some of my friends, that they would speak to them to come to some reckoning with me, and to take all such money again of me as they were charged with, and to deliver me such writings and writs as they had of mine again, or to whom I would appoint them.
"So it was agreed betwixt my father and me, that I should have it again, and the day was appointed that the reckoning should be made and sent to me that same day that I was taken; my brother supposing that I should have put him out of most of all his occupying, that he was in; for it was all mine in a manner that he occupied, as all the country can, and do well know. Whereon (as it is reported) he told one Cardillar, my next neighbour, and he told some of Master Gage's men, or to Master Gage himself. And so he sent to his brother, and his brother sent twelve of his men (he being sheriff) in the night before I was taken, and lay in the bushes not far from my house, till about nine of the clock, even the hour that was appointed amongst themselves; for about the same time they thought to have had me within my house.
"They had taken a man of mine, and two of my children that were abroad in the land, and kept them with them till their hour was appointed to come in; and then a little girl, one of my children, saw them come together, and came running in, and cried, 'Mother, mother, yonder cometh twenty men!' I, sitting in my bed, and making of shoe-thongs, heard the words, and suspecting straightway that I was betrayed, I stirred out of my bed, and whipt on my hose, thinking to have gone out of the doors or ever they had been come. My wife, being amazed at the child's words, looked out at the door, and they were hard by. Then she clapped to the door, and barred it fast, even as I came out of my chamber into the hall, and so barred the other: so the house was beset round straightway, and they bade open the doors, or else they would break them in pieces. Then I had no shift, but either I must show myself openly, or make some other remedy.
"So there was a place in my house that was never found, which was at the least, I dare say, twenty times, and sometimes almost of twenty men, searched at once, both by night and day; into which place I went. And as soon as I was in, my wife opened the door, whereby incontinent they came and asked for me; and she said I was not at home. Then they asked her wherefore she shut the door, if I were not at home. She said, because she had been made afraid divers times with such as came to search us; and therefore she shut the door. 'For it is reported,' saith she, 'that whosoever can take my husband, shall hang him or burn him straightway; and therefore I doubt they will serve me or my children so; for I think they may do so unto us, as well as to him,' she said. 'Well,' said they, 'we know he is in the house, and we must search it, for we be the sheriff's men; let us have a candle. It is told us, there be many secret places in your house.' So she lighted a candle, and they sought up and down in every corner that they could find, and had given over; and many of them were gone out of my house into the church-yard, and were talking with my father, and with some that he had brought with him.
"Now when they could not find me, one of them went to him that gave them word that I was at home, and said, 'We cannot find him.' Then he asked them whether they had sought over a window that was in the hall (as it was known afterward); for that same place I had told him of myself. For many times when I came home, I would send for him to bear me company; yet, as it chanced, I had not told him the way into it. Then they began to search anew. One looked up over the window, and spied a little loft, with three or four chests, and the way went in betwixt two of the chests, but there could no man perceive it. Then he asked my wife which was the way into it. 'Here is a place that we have not sought yet.' When she thought they would see it by one means or other, she said the way was into it out of a chamber they were in even now. So she sent them up, and cried, 'Away, away.' Then I knew there was no remedy, but made the best shift for myself that I could. The place was boarded over, and fast nailed, and if I had come out that way that I went in, I must needs come amongst them all in the hall. Then I had no shift, but set my shoulders to the boards that were nailed to the rafters to keep out the rain, and brake them in pieces, which made a great noise; and they that were in the other chamber, seeking for the way into it, heard the noise, and looked out of a window, and spied me, and made an outcry. But yet I got out, and leaped down, having no shoes on. So I took down a lane that was full of sharp cinders, and they came running after, with a great cry, with their swords drawn, crying, 'Strike him, strike him!' which words made me look back, and there was never a one nigh me by a hundred foot: and that was but one, for all the rest were a great way behind. And I turned about hastily to go my way, and stepped upon a sharp cinder, with one foot; and saving of it, I stepped into a great miry hole, and fell down withal; and ere ever I could arise and get away, he was come in with me. His name is Parker the Wild, as he is counted in all Sussex. But if I had had on my shoes, they had been like to have gone away errandless, if there had been five hundred more, if I had caught the plain ground once, to the which I had not a stone's cast. But it was not God's will; for if it had, I should have escaped from them all, if there had been ten thousand of them.
"Then they took me and led me home again to put on my shoes, and such gear as I had need of. Then said John Fauconer, 'Now your master hath deceived you. You said you were an angel; and if you had been an angel, why did you not fly away from us?' Then said I, 'What be they that ever heard me say that I was angel? It is not the first lie by a thousand that they have made of me. Angels were never begotten of men, nor born of women; but if they had said, they had heard me say, that I do trust I am a saint, they had not said amiss.' 'What, do you think to be a saint?' 'Yea, that I do, and am already in God's sight, I trust in God; for he that is not a saint in God's sight already, is a devil. Therefore he that thinketh scorn to be a saint, let him be a devil.' And with that word they had brought me to mine own door; where met with me my father, and willed me to remember myself. To whom I answered, 'I praise God, I am well remembered whereabout I go. This way was appointed of God for me to be delivered into the hands of mine enemies, but woe unto him by whom I am betrayed! it had been good for that man that he had never been born, if he repent not with speed. The Scriptures are now fulfilled on me; for the father shall be against the son, and the brother shall deliver the brother to death, as it is this day come to pass. Then said one, He doth accuse his father; a good child indeed!' 'I accuse him not, but say my mind: for there was no man knew me at home, but my father, my brother, and one more, the which I dare say would not hurt me for all the goods in this town.'
"There was one George Beching, that married one of my sisters, and he thought that I had meant him, that he had betrayed me; and he said, 'Brother, I would you should not think that I was the cause of your taking.' To whom I answered, that I meant him not; I meant one that was nearer of my blood than he was. Then said one of Lewes, that had been a gospeller, and stood from them when I was brought to a sessions to Lewes, and he said, 'I thought you would have been an honest man when you were at Lewes, and I offered Hussey the sheriff to be bound for you, that you should go home to your wife, and come to him again.' Then I remembered what he was, and said, 'Be you the pewterer?' And he said, 'Yea.' Then said I, 'It is happened to you according to the true proverb, as saith St. Peter, The dog is turned to his vomit again, and the sow that is washed to wallow in the mire, and the end of all such will be worse than the beginning.' Then his mouth was stopped, so that he had nothing to say.
"All this while I stood at my door without; for they would not let me go in. So I put on my shoes and my clothes. Then they put on a harness about my arms, made of a dog's slip, which rejoiced my heart, that I was counted worthy to be bound for the name of God. So I took my leave of my wife and children, my father, and other of my friends, never thinking to see them more in this world. For it was so thought of all the country, that I should not live six days after my taking; for they had so reported. But yet I knew it was not as they would, unless God would grant it. I know what God can do; but what he will do I know not: but I am sure he will work all things for the best, for them that love and fear him. So we drank and went our way, and came to Fide about three of the clock."
And thus much touching the causes and effect of the troubles of Richard Woodman. Now let us see his examinations, which follow in this order.
The first examination of Richard Woodman, before Dr. Christopherson, bishop of Chichester, Dr. Story, Dr. Cooke, and others: the fourteenth day of April, 1557.
First, you shall understand, that I was sent from the sheriffs to London, the twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1557; and afterward, upon the fourteenth day of the same month, I was brought before the bishop of Chichester, and Dr. Story, and Dr. Cooke. So the sheriff's men delivered my warrant and me to the bishop. Then the bishop asked me what my name was. "My name," quoth I, "is Richard Woodman."
Chichester.--"I am sorry for you, and so are all the worshipful men of your country; for it hath been reported to me, that you have been a man of good estimation in all the country, amongst the poor and rich, till now of late. Wherefore look well upon yourself, your wife and children, your father, and other of your friends, and be ruled. Think not yourself wiser than all the realm. Be informed, and you shall have their favours all, as much as ever you had."
Woodman.--"You have charged me with many things wherein I have never offended; and, if you will give me leave, I will show you."
Chichester.--"Yes, I pray you, say your mind."
Woodman.--"If it please you, you have charged me as though I made myself wiser than all the realm: God doth know, I stand to learn of every man that will or can teach me the truth. And whereas you say, I have been well esteemed both of the poor and rich, God doth know, I know not that I have given any just offence, either to rich or poor. And as for my wife and children, God doth know how I love them in him, and my life also. My life, my wife, and my children, are all in God's hands; and I have them all as I had them not, I trust, according to St. Paul's words. But if I had ten thousand pounds of gold, I had rather forego it all, than them, if I might be in choice, and not displease God."
Chichester.--"The sheriff took pains to come to me of love, he said, which he bare to you, as to himself; and said you were desirous to speak with me."
Woodman.--"I thought it meet to appeal to mine ordinary; for they go about to shed my blood unrighteously: for they have laid many unjust things to my charge. Wherefore I thought it meet to appeal to you, that if you can find any fault in me meet to be reformed by God's word, I stand to be reformed; and likewise if my blood shall be shed unrighteously, that it might be required at your hands, because you have taken upon you to be the physician of our country."
Story.--"Is not this a perverse fellow, to lay to your charge, that his blood shall be required at your hands? Thinkest thou that thou shalt be put to death unjustly, that thy blood should be required? No, if he should condemn a hundred such heretics as thou art. I helped to rid a good sort of you; and I promise thee, I will help to rid thee too, the best that I can."
Then I would have answered him, but the bishop desired us both to give him place.
Chichester.--"Well, neighbour Woodman; I call you neighbour, because ye be one of my diocese; and you are sent to me, that I should give you spiritual counsel: for I am your spiritual pastor. Therefore hear what I shall say to you."
Woodman.--"First, I desire you to hear me a few words. You have said, you will give me spiritual counsel. Be you sure that you have the Spirit of God?"
Chichester.--"No, I am not sure of that."
Woodman.--"No! be you not sure of that?"
Chichester.--"No, by St. Mary, I dare not be so bold to say so; I doubt of that."
Woodman.--"Then you he like the waves of the sea, as saith St. James, that be tossed about with the wind, and be unstable in all your ways, and can look for no good thing at the Lord's hand: yea, ye are neither hot nor cold, and therefore God will spew you out of his mouth, as saith St. John.
Then they were in a great fury, especially Dr. Story, saying, "What a perverse fellow is this! He hath the devil within him, and is mad. He is worse than the devil. Now I perceive that it is true that is reported by thee, and it is the pride of all such heretics to boast themselves."
Chichester.--"Yea surely, he is sent to me to learn, and taketh upon him to teach me."
I seeing their blindness and blasphemy, it made my heart melt, and mine eyes gush out with tears, saying, "The Jews said to Christ, he had the devil, and was mad; as you have said here by me. But I know the servant is not above his Master. And God forbid that I should learn of him, that confesseth that he hath not the Spirit of God."
Chichester.--"Why, do you think that you have the Spirit of God?"
Woodman.--"I believe verily that I have the Spirit of God."
Chichester.--"You boast more than ever Paul did, or any of the apostles, the which is great presumption."
Woodman.--"I boast not in myself, but in the gift of God, as Paul did; for he said, he believed verily that he had the Spirit of God, (making thereof no doubts,) in 1 Cor. vii."
Chichester.--"It is not so; you belie the text."
Woodman.--"If it be not so, let me be burned to-morrow."
Story.--"Thou shalt not be burned to-morrow; but thou shalt be burned within these six days, I promise thee."
Chichester.--"If it be so, it is wrong translated, as it is in a thousand places more."
Then one looked in a Latin Testament, and another in a Greek Testament, and they said, it was in them both, that Paul supposed that he had the Spirit of God, but he was not sure.
Chichester.--"Even so I hope and suppose that I have the Spirit of God, but I am not sure."
Woodman.--"If that place be wrong translated, and so many places of the Bible as you say, then I may say with Christ, It cannot be avoided, but offences must be given; but woe unto them by whom they come! I may say, Woe unto false translators! for cursed are they that add or take away. But take you heed that you belie not the translators. I believe they had the fear of God more before their eyes than you report of them. And yet if that place be wrong translated, I can prove by places enough, that Paul had the Spirit of God; as I myself, and all God's elect, have."
Chichester.--"How prove you that?"
Woodman.--"No man can believe that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. I do believe that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer; and that I shall be saved from all my sins by his death and bloodshedding, as Paul and all the apostles did, and as all faithful people ought to do; which no man can do without the Spirit of God. And as there is no damnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; so is there no salvation to them that are not in Christ Jesus. For he that hath not the Spirit of Christ, is none of his, but is a castaway, as he saith in the same text. And again, We have not received the spirit of bondage, to fear any more; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The same Spirit certifieth our spirits, that we are the sons of God. Here are proofs enough, that Paul was sure that he had the Spirit of God. Also St. John saith, He that believeth not that Christ is come in the flesh, is an antichrist, and denieth both the Father and the Son: which is sin against the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come. Beside all this, He that believeth in God, dwelleth in God, and God in him. So is it impossible to believe in God, unless God dwell in us. O good God! what more injury can be done unto thee, than to mistrust that we have received thy Holy Spirit by thy gift? Thus may all men see their blindness, and whose servants they be, as they do declare themselves, both by their words and deeds."
Story.--"O, my Lord, what a heretic is this same! Why hear you him? Send him to prison, to his fellows in the Marshalsea, and they shall be despatched within these twelve days."
When I heard him say so, I rejoiced greatly in my heart, desiring God, if it were his will, to keep him in that mind. For I looked surely to have gone to the bishop of London's coal-house, or Lollards' Tower, yea, I thought myself happy, if I might have gone to Lollards' Tower: but it pleased God to put it in the hearts of them to send me to the Marshalsea amongst our brethren, and my old prison-fellows: so mercifully hath God dealt with me, in easing of my burden that I looked for. So when they perceived that I feared not imprisonment, but rather rejoiced, as they well perceived, then said the bishop, "Methinks he is not afraid of the prison."
Woodman.--"No, I praise the living God."
Story.--"This is a heretic indeed! He hath the right terms of all heretics; 'the living God:' I pray you be there dead gods, that you say the living God?"
Woodman.--"Be you angry with me, because I speak the words which are written in the Bible?"
Story.--"Bible-babble, bible-babble! What speakest thou of the Bible? There is no such word written in all the Bible."
Woodman.--"Then I am much to blame, if it be not so written: Behold, for the offences that you have done, you shall be carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, and there ye shall be seven generations. And when you be there, you shall see gods of gold, of silver, of wood, and of stone, borne before you and behind you upon men's shoulders, to cast out a fear among the heathen. When you shall see all these abominations, then say you in your heart, It is the living God that ought to be worshipped. Here I prove my saying true, both that there is a living God, and that there be dead gods. Also David saith in the Psalms, My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God: with divers other places that I could recite. Wherefore I marvel that you rebuke me for speaking the truth."
Chichester.--"I do not deny but it is written, and is the truth, and I know it as well as you; but such is the speech of all heretics."
Story.--"My Lord, I will tell you how you shall know a heretic by his words, because I have been more used to them than you have been; that is, they will say, 'the Lord,' and 'we praise God,' and 'the living God:' by these words you shall know a heretic."
Woodman.--"All these words are written for our learning, and we are commanded of the prophets to use them daily, as this: The Lord's name be praised from the rising up of the sun, unto the going down of the same. Also, As many as fear the Lord, say always, The Lord be praised."
Story.--"My Lord, send him to prison, you shall do no good with him. I will go to church, and leave you here. This is an old heretic. Wast thou never before me ere now?"
Woodman.--"Yes, forsooth, that I have."
Story.--"Yea, I trow so; and I sent thee to the bishop of London, and he released thee; and thou promisedst him to be an honest man, and that thou wouldst be of the true catholic church; which thou hast not fulfilled."
Woodman.--"I promised him nothing but I have fulfilled it. No man shall be able to prove the contrary."
Story.--"Well, it will be tried well enough. My Lord, I will take my leave, I fear me you shall do this man no good."
Chichester.--"I would not have you to use such speeches as you do, as 'the Lord be praised,' and 'the living God,' with such-like words. Can you not say as well, 'our Lord,' or 'our God,' as otherwise?"
Woodman.--"I marvel why you should reprove me there-for, seeing they be the words of God. I do not refuse to say 'our God,' or 'our Lord,' when I talk of the Scripture where it is written. If I should, it must follow, that I denied the words of God, and must needs be a heretic; but I do not. Wherefore, I marvel what you mean to find fault therein. It seemeth to me, that you mistrust that I believe not as you do."
Chichester.--"Yea, that is my meaning indeed."
Woodman.--"I believe in the living God: if you do not so, then our beliefs be not alike indeed. But if it please you to examine me upon any particular matter, now, or at any other time, I will make you answer thereto, by God's help."
Chichester.--"Though you believe in God, I can prove you believe not as you ought to do, as I can show you by your hand-writing. You have denied the catholic church; wherefore he that erreth from the church, it cannot be said that his faith is good. Wherefore be ruled by the church, from the which ye have erred. I can show you perilous things of your writing, if it should be known; but ye shall not be hurt for me, if you will come to any good order. But I promise you I would not for three thousand pounds some had so much against me, as I can show against you of your own handwriting, which you cannot deny."
Woodman.--"I will not deny my hand, by God's help; for I know well, I have written nothing at any time but the truth. There may be things written against me, reporting it to be mine, and yet be not; but my hand cannot well be counterfeited; there be enough that know my hand."
Chichester.--"Do you know it yourself, if you see it?"
Woodman.--"Yea, that I do."
Then he arose and fetched a great bundle of writings, and opened them, and bade me come see. I looked on them, and it was my hand indeed.
Chichester.--"How say you? Is it not your own writing?"
Woodman.--"Yes, surely it is."
Chichester.--"How say you to this, is not this your hand also?"
I looked, and it was. And I said, "Yes, verily is it."
Chichester.--"Well, you know what it meaneth, I dare say."
Woodman.--"Yea, I know it very well. Here is a great deal, the which I had thought had been in my house, but I thank God that it is here; for in this you shall try whether it be true or not. For in this is contained all the talk that was betwixt the commissioners and me, when I was before them five times, and also before the bishop of London divers times: and I am sure, neither you nor they shall find any words false therein written. And I think the sheriff's men, when they searched my house for me, when I was taken, found this, and carried it with them: but I never knew it before now. But I am not sorry for it, but am rather glad: for herein you may see all the wrong that I have received at their hands; and how long I was in prison; and how I was tossed up and down; and how I was delivered at length; and by this you may try whether it be so or not. I dare say they that found it, and they that brought it to you, had thought it would have turned me to displeasure; but in very deed all things work for the best, to them that fear God."
Chichester.--"Indeed, I find no great fault in this; but here is perilous gear, here is sedition. This was set up upon the church door; you know it well enough."
Woodman.--"Indeed I wrote it to the priest, and to others that took upon them to fetch my child out of my house without my leave, and used it at their pleasure, when they knew it was baptized already, as they were well certified before. Wherefore my conscience compelled me to show them my mind in writing, wherein is contained nothing but the Scriptures of God, rebuking them for their folly."
Chichester.--"Yea, but it is terribly meant, and uncharitably. It is such gear coupled together, I promise you, as I never saw the like. But I promise you, I will make the best of it. And I protest before God, I would you should do as well as mine own soul and body. Be contented to be reformed. God hath done his part on you. Cast not yourself away. Remember your wife and children, and the poor that lack your occupying. Mean to follow your vocation. Remember you are not called to be a teacher nor a preacher. St. Paul saith, Let every man walk wherein be is called, and therein abide. Remember you are called to another vocation; for God's sake, walk therein. It is not your office, to do as you have done. You might do as much good (by the report of worshipful men) as any man might do in all the country, by your example; and if you would follow the laws of the catholic church, it would be an occasion to bring a great many into the true church, that are out, as you are."
Woodman.--"I would not that you should say, that I am out of the church of God; for I am not, but do allow the church of God according to his word. Yea, if I were abroad, if I could win any into the true church, that be out, by any means that I could use, I would be very glad. For God knoweth I love all people as myself. And whereas you say I have been a preacher, it is not so. I never took any such thing upon me, as it is well known. But as for teaching, I cannot deny; for it becometh every man to teach and instruct his household in the fear of God, and all others as far as he can, that desire it of him. And whereas you have blamed me for reading the Scripture, and leaving my vocation, (as you say,) I left not my vocation in reading the Scripture; for I trust I followed my vocation the better there-for. And the greatest cause that I was compelled to read the Scriptures, was, because the preachers and teachers were so changeable."
Chichester.--"No? Did you not preach at a fair?"
Woodman.--"No, surely; but it was so reported. I was at a fair, indeed. Whilst I was in prison, I had leave of the council to go home to pay my debts; and then I went to a fair to sell cattle, and there met with me divers poor men that I had set a-work, and of love asked me how I did, and how I could away with imprisonment. And I showed them how God had dealt with me, and how he would deal with all them that put their trust in him; and this they called preaching. And, since that, it hath been reported that I have baptized children, and married folks, the which I never did; for I was never minister. Wherefore if I had so done, I had done contrary to the order of the apostles, as God forbid I should."
Chichester.--"I am well apaid, if you be faultless in those things; for I have heard say the contrary."
Woodman.--"I have showed you the truth, and that no man living shall be able to prove the contrary."
Chichester.--"You said, you do not disallow the true catholic church?"
Woodman.--"No, that I do not."
Chichester.--"Why do you not then go to the church? You come not there, it is informed me."
Woodman.--"I trust I am in the true church every day. But to tell you the truth, I come not at the church where the most do resort: for if I should, I should offend, and be offended. For at the last time that I was there, I offended many, and was offended myself. Wherefore, for conscience' sake, I would not come there. For I was sent to prison for my coming there, and now I am sent to you for hiding thence. So they will not be pleased any way with me, for they seek my life. Wherefore look you to it, for I am now in your hands, and you ought to be a house of defence against mine enemies. For if you suffer them to kill me, my blood shall be required at your hands. If you can find any just cause in me worthy of death by God's word, you may condemn me yourself, and not offend God. Wherefore look to it; the matter is weighty; deliver me not into their hands, and think so to be discharged."
Chichester.--"I tell you truth, I can do little in the matter; for I have not full authority as yet of mine office; but I will send for you and talk with you, if I wist I should do you any good."
Woodman.--"I would be glad to talk with you, and to show you my mind in any thing that you shall demand of me, now, or at any other time."
So then he desired the sheriff's men to tarry dinner with him; "that this man," said he, "may dine with me also: for it is possible that he may have no great store of meat whither he shall go."
So we tarried dinner with him, and had no further talk, neither how to prove where the true church of God is, nor of the sacraments, nor of any other thing pertaining to me-ward, not for the space of two hours or more: but he entered in talk with me, how I understood many scriptures; and for bishops' and priests' marriages; and whether Paul had a wife or not. To whom I answered, "It is a thing that I have little to do with, as concerning marriages; but I am very well content to talk with you in the matter, as far as my poor learning will serve." So when he had talked with me of divers scriptures, he liked my talk well. He asked me how I said by St. Paul, whether he were married or not? To whom I answered, "I can prove by the Scriptures that he was never married."
Chichester.--"How prove you that?"
Woodman.--"I will prove it well enough, by God's help. But yet I will prove that Paul might have had a wife, as well as the other apostles had."
Chichester.--"Why, had the apostles wives?"
Woodman.--"Yes, all, saving Paul and Barnabas, as I understand it. For these are Paul's words in 1 Cor. ix.: Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ? are not ye my work in the Lord? And if I be not an apostle to others, yet to you I am an apostle: for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. Mine answer to them that ask me, is this: Have we not power to eat and to drink? either have we not power to lead about a sister to wife, as well as the other apostles have, and as the brethren of the Lord? Either have not Barnabas and I power thus to do? So this text proveth that Paul and Barnabas were unmarried. But Paul declareth that the rest had wives, and that they had power likewise so to have, but they found no need thereof. But Paul declareth in 1 Cor. vii., that he that hath no power over his own flesh, may marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. Wherefore to avoid fornication, saith he, let every man have his wife. He. saith, Let every man have his wife, and every woman her husband. By this place of Scripture I understand, that bishops and priests may have wives, because they are men; rather than burn, or commit fornication. But I think verily, he that can abstain, having power of his own will, doth best; but if he marry he sinneth not."
So then he debated the Scriptures with me divers ways, that a bishop or a priest ought not to have a wife. But I proved by divers scriptures, both in the old law, and in the new, that women were at first made for the help of men, the which was spoken generally to all men. "Wherefore," said I, "every man may have a woman, and sin not, in honest matrimony; as well bishops and deacons, as other men, which you call priests, if they be true ministers of Jesus Christ, and of that order that bishops and deacons were, in Paul's time. For Paul declareth to Timothy, 1 Tim. iii., that a bishop should be the husband of one wife, and how they should be honestly apparelled, and how they should bring up their children; and likewise the deacons. This," said I, "proveth most plainly, that both bishops and deacons had wives in the apostles' time;" the which he could not deny. But then he alleged, that no bishop nor priest might take a wife, after he had taken upon him that office, but if he had a wife before he took the office, tried meet for the purpose, for his life and for his learning, he might keep his wife, and bring up his children, according to St. Paul's meaning to Timothy; or else might they have no wives.
Then said I, "I think Paul's meaning in that place was, that a man that hath had two wives, might not be made a bishop nor a deacon, if he had never so much learning. But that place maketh not that a bishop or a deacon may not marry after they be made bishops and deacons: for I am sure that Paul was in the state of a bishop, when he said, he had power to lead about a sister to wife, as well as the other apostles had. Here Paul declareth that it was in his power to have a wife, after he had the office of a bishop; which was not in his power, if he had been forbidden of God. Thus have I showed you my mind in this behalf, both of Paul, and also for the marriages of bishops and priests, as I understand the Scriptures. Howbeit, it is a thing the which I have little to do withal; but as you required me to say my mind in that matter, so I have done."
Chichester.--"Marry, I am glad that you have said as you have done. Many do affirm boldly, that Paul had a wife, and yet cannot prove whether he had or had not, by the Scriptures; but you have said very well. I am glad that ye are contented to be ruled by God's word; and if you will be contented likewise in other matters, no doubt you shall do well: therefore, gentle goodman Woodman, be ruled. God hath given you a good wit. I protest before God, I would you should do as well as mine own soul and my body, and so would (I dare say) all the worshipful men in the country, as they have reported to me."
Woodman.--"Why, my Lord, I take God to record (whom I trust to serve) that I would be as glad to live in rest and peace, as any man in all the world, if I might. And I stand to learn, and am contented to be reformed of any thing that I hold, if it can be proved that it be not agreeable to God's word. And the truth is so, I have talked with a dozen priests at the least, since I was delivered out of prison, of certain matters, and they have not been able to certify me in any thing that I have asked them: and therefore they have complained on me to the sheriff and justices; making tales and lies on me, to turn me to displeasure, as much as in them lieth. I promise you, there be as many unlearned priests in your diocese, as in any one diocese in England, I think; the more it is to be lamented."
Chichester.--"I promise you, I do much lament it myself: for I hear say no less but it is true, that you say. I would I could remedy it, but I cannot; but I will do the best that I can, when I come into the country, and I will be glad to talk with you some other time, when I am somewhat better at ease. You see, I am very tender now, as I have been this half year and more. Come to dinner; our dinner is ready. I caused you not to tarry for any.great cheer that you shall have, nor would I you should think that I go about to win you with my meat: but you be welcome with all my heart. Come, sit down."
I thanked him, and went to dinner; and there dined with him a merchantman, one of the sheriff's men, and I, and no more; and we had good cheer, God be praised there-for. We had no talk of the Scriptures all the dinner while; but when dinner was done, the bishop said, "Now call Master Story's man. For the commissioners have committed you to prison; but I will send for you or ever it be long; and I pray God I may do you good. I would be very glad of it."
Woodman.--"If it please you to send for me, I would be very glad to talk with you, for I like your talk well. And then if it please your Lordship to examine me upon any particular matter, I will show you my mind therein, by God's grace, without dissimulation. But I pray you, let me have nothing to do with Master Story, for he is a man without reason, methinketh."
Chichester.--"Well, or ever you go, how say you to the seven sacraments? Let me hear what you say to them, that I may be the willinger to send for you again."
Woodman.--"I know not seven sacraments."
Chichester.---"Then what shall I talk with you? How many do you know?"
Woodman.--"I know but two; one the sacrament of baptism, and the other the supper of the Lord. But if you can justly prove by God's word, that there be more than two, I stand to be reformed."
Chichester.--"If I prove not seven by God's word, then believe me not." And so he bade me farewell.
Then the sheriff's two men, and one of Dr. Story's men, carried me to Dr. Cooke's house, which Dr. Cooke commanded them to carry me to the sheriff's prison in Southwark, saying, "He shall be called before us again shortly, and all his fellows; and we shall despatch them from troubling the country any more."
And so I was brought to the Marshalsea, where I now am merry, (God be praised there-for,) looking for judgment of my flesh: for they intend to despatch me shortly, if God will give them leave; but God hath their hearts in his hands, and they can do nothing to me, but as God will give them leave. Wherefore I commit my cause to God only, and I am sure there shall not one hair of my head perish without my heavenly Father's will, although I bide never so much trouble. Job perished not for all his trouble, although God gave the devil leave to trouble and try him divers and many ways, as God hath suffered his members to trouble and try me divers and many ways, I praise God. They shall all as little prevail against my faith (I have no mistrust) as the devil prevailed against Job, whatsoever they do with my goods, life, or body. For he that kept Job in all his trouble, neither slumbereth nor sleepeth, but keepeth me, and all his elect; that whether we live or die, it shall be to the praise and glory of God. For if we live, we live at the Lord's will, and if we die, we die to the Lord's will: so, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's, blessed be his name there-for.
Wherefore, dear brethren and sisters, to whom this my writing shall come, be of good cheer, and fear not what man can do unto you; for they can but kill the body: but fear him that hath power to kill both body and soul. And yet once again I bid you be of good cheer; for the sheriff, with divers other gentlemen and priests, whilst I was at the sheriff's house, said to me, that all the heretics in the country hung on me, as the people did in times past upon St. Augustine or St. Ambrose, or suchlike. Wherefore said they, "Look well on it; you have a great thing to answer for." To the which I answered; "I pray God lay nothing more to my charge, than he will do for heresy;" as I am sure he will not. For he hath set my sins as far from me, as it is from the east to the west: so that I am sure they shall never come near to me any more. Yea, and that they call heresy, we serve God withal. And I am sure there is no man nor woman that bangeth on me, but on God. But yet that is their imaginations and thoughts, that if they might win me to them, they should win a great many likewise; and thinking to kill me, if they cannot win me, as I trust in God, and am sure, they never shall, by God's grace, if it were possible for them to kill me ten times. For I am so linked to Christ in a chain by faith, that it is impossible for men to loose us asunder, neither for life nor death, I praise my Lord God there-for. And no doubt their full intent and purpose is to kill me, thinking thereby to make others afraid; which death of my body were best of all for me, if God were so pleased. But if I may live for the comfort of others, his name be praised therefor. I know what he can do; but what he will do, I know not. But if death be offered me, so that I cannot refuse it without displeasing of God, I trust in God I shall not offend my brethren in receiving of death, but shall be rather an occasion of the strengthening of their faith, by choosing and receiving of it, and that with joy. For as Christ hath given his life for us, so ought we to give our lives for the defence of the gospel, and comfort of our brethren. And whereas the bishop saith, he will prove seven sacraments, be you out of doubt he shall never be able to do it, no more than he hath proved other arguments with me already.
Thus fare ye well, from the Marshalsea, where I now am, as a sheep appointed to be slain, God be praised there-for.
The second examination of Richard Woodman, before the bishop of Chichester, and two of his chaplains; and Dr. Story at the last came to us, the twenty-seventh day of April.
First, I was sent for to the Marshalsea by Dr. Story, and was carried to his house besides St. Nicholas' Shambles; and when I had spoken to him, he sent me to the bishop of Chichester, and said he would come to him himself straightway. And when we were in the bishop's hall, we had not tarried long but the bishop sent for me: and when I came before him I did my duty to him as much as I could.
Then said the bishop, "You be welcome: how do you now?"
Woodman.--"Well, I praise God, thanking your Lordship for the gentle talk that you had with me at my last departing from you."
Chichester.--"Well, goodman Woodman, I have sent for you of love and good-will that I bear to you, to talk with you; and I would have you tell me your mind in few words. For indeed the last time that I talked with you, our talk was so long, that I fell into a great drought thereby, and have been the worse in my body ever since. Wherefore I pray you show me your mind briefly in those particular matters that I shall demand of you, according to your promise that you made when you were with me the last time. How say you, will you?"
Woodman.--"Yea, forsooth; I will answer to any thing that you shall demand of me (by God's help) as well as I can."
Chichester.--"How say you by the seven sacraments? for there we left off, and there we will begin again. You said then there were but two. How say you now to it? will you deny all saving two
Woodman.--"I say now, as I said then. You said there be seven sacraments; and I said, I knew but two; but if you could approve seven by God's word, when I came before you again, I must needs grant them. And you said, if you could not prove them by God's word, I should not believe them. And now I am come to see how well you can prove them." Herewith he was moved and all his chaplains.
Chichester.--"By God and my troth, I ween he thinketh I cannot prove them. How say you to the sacrament of matrimony?"
Woodman.--"Why, my Lord, St. Paul saith to Timothy, a bishop should be faultless, and you use much swearing, which is a great fault in a bishop of all others, that should be an example to the flock." Then he and his prelates were in a great rage with me, because I reproved him for his swearing.
Chichester.--"What! I perceive this man is worse than he was the last day; what! he taketh upon him to teach me to speak, as though I could not tell what I had to do?"
Priest.--"So methinketh, my Lord; he is a stout fellow indeed, as we have seen."
Woodman.--"Yea, I am stout, because I do that I am commanded. I dare not for my life hold my peace: for I should bear your sin, the which I will not do for any of you all, I tell you plainly."
Chichester.--"Where find you, that you are commanded to reprove me."
Woodman.--"If thou see thy brother sin, reprove him: if he repent, thou hast won thy brother. But you repent it not, methinketh, but rather go about to maintain the same. Christ saith, He that breaketh one of the least of my commandments, and teacheth men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; and you go about to teach men so, so far as I see."
Priest.--"Why, my Lord, this man is past cure. I see no hope in him."
Chichester.--"No, so methinketh. I will never talk with him more. Go, call Master Story: let him do with him what he will. He hath been with his fellows in the Marshalsea, and now he is worse than he was before. I had some hope in him the other day; but now I see none."
Woodman.--"No, I praise God, my faith hangeth upon no men, but upon God."
Priest.--"Nay, my Lord, I think he is not the worse for them; but I fear me they be the worse for him. I know this man of old, before mine old Lord."
Woodman.--"Well, my Lord, look well to it; will you deliver me to other men to shed my blood, and so think to wash your hands of me, as Pilate did by Christ? Nay, you cannot be so discharged."
Chichester.--"I have nothing to do with you; but of my gentleness I have sent for you, because you said, you would declare your mind in any particular matter I would demand of you."
Woodman.--"Why, I do not deny but I will do so, if you do demand it of me. But you go about to deliver me to others to kill me; and I know that there is none that hath to do with me but you."
Chichester.--"I am not consecrated yet: wherefore my Lord Cardinal may examine you, and condemn you, or my Lord of London: for you are now in his diocese."
Woodman.--"Yea, my Lord, is the matter even so? Then I perceive whereabout you go. Nay, I will talk no more with you then, if you be at that point. Ask me what you will, but I will show you nothing of my mind. I promise you I will not answer in particular matters, and so you to accuse me to others, and they to kill me."
Chichester.--"I go not about to kill you, but would be glad to hear your mind in the sacraments; and if you understand them not aright, I would be glad with all my heart to show you my mind, how I understand them. For I would you should do as well as mine own self."
Woodman.--"If you would talk with me to do me good, I would be content to hear you, and show you my mind; otherwise I would be loth."
Chichester.--"Nay, I will promise you, if I can do you no good, I will do you no harm, for if I meant to do you harm, I could lay your own handwriting against you; but I will not: wherefore be in no doubt of me. How say you to the sacrament of matrimony? is it a sacrament or no? How think you by it?"
Woodman.--"I think it is a holy institution, ordained of God in paradise, and so to continue to the world's end."
Chichester.--"Lo, now you shall see how you be deceived in that, as you be in all the rest. Come hither. You can read Latin, I am sure."
Woodman.--"Yea, I can read Latin, but I understand very little."
Chichester.--"Come to me; you shall see that Paul calleth it a holy sacrament: for these be the words, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and two shall be made one flesh. This is a great sacrament."
Woodman.--"I remember such a saying, but St. Paul calleth it not a sacrament; but he saith, It is a great mystery."
Chichester.--"Where saith he so?"
Woodman.--"I am not sure in what text it is, but I am sure these be St. Paul's words; and that he calleth it not a sacrament in all his writings."
Chichester.--"What! the last day ye were full of Scriptures; 'here it is written,' and 'there it is written.' What! we can rehearse the Scriptures as well as you. Wherefore, if we be sure it is written, it is no great matter for the place. Come hither; I will show you the place, I think, that you mean."
I looked, and it was written, sacramentum: "I know," said I, "it is 'a great mystery,' in the English translation."
Chichester." I permit it to be 'a mystery.' What is a mystery?"
Woodman.--"A mystery is (I take it) unseen; for he saith, he speaketh betwixt Christ and the congregation. So the great mystery that he speaketh of, I take to be the faith of them that be married, which is hid in Christ; the which we see not, but Christ. But the deed which is in the congregation, which is the outward marriage, we see; but the inward marriage of the heart we see not. Wherefore Paul calleth it a mystery. And therefore if it be a sacrament, it is invisible to us: it is not seen, as other sacraments be."
Chichester.--"Nay, I tell you it is a visible sacrament, seen as the others be: for is not the marriage seen? is not the man and woman seen?"
Woodman.--"My Lord, I pray you, what is a sacrament?"
Chichester.--"It is the sign of a holy thing."
Woodman.--"Methinks you have certified me very well. There need not be a sign of a holy thing, where the holy thing is itself." Then his chaplains would have interrupted me, but I desired my Lord I might say out my mind in the matter. So, with much ado, he bade me say what I could.
"There need not to be a sign of a thing, where the thing is itself. Matrimony is a holy thing itself, and is ended outwardly, and such need no more signs but themselves: wherefore it cannot be a sacrament, as others be."
Chichester.--"Lo, how much you speak against yourself. And for an example, I come by a hosier, and there hangeth a pair of hose, the which be hose, and be a sign of hose that be to sell within."
Priest.--"How say you to this? Now my Lord hath hit you home indeed."
Woodman.--"He hath hit me perilously, I tell you, with sophistry, to blind mine eyes withal. I marvel you be not all ashamed of it. I can answer that to all your shames, if I might be justly heard, I tell you plainly."
Priest.--"What, you be angry methinks."
Woodman.--"I am not angry; but I am earnest, I tell you, to see your blindness and folly. I talked of the Scriptures that be written, and it is God's word, to prove my matter true by; and you will prove your matter true by a pair of hose. And as well can you prove it by that, as by God's word?"
Priest.--"Why, is there nothing true, but that is written in the Bible?"
Woodman.--"St. Paul saith to the Galatians, If an angel come from heaven, and preach any other doctrine than may be proved by God's word, hold him accursed: and so do I, I tell you plainly."
Priest.--"Here is a Testament in my hand: if I hurl him in the fire and burn him, have I burned God's word, or not? I will buy a new one for sixteen-pence."
Woodman.--"I say, you have burned God's word, and I believe he that will burn a Testament willingly, would burn God himself, if he were here, if he could: for he and his word are all one."
Then they made a great laughing at it.
Woodman.--"Laugh on," quoth I. "Your laughing will be turned to weeping, and all such joy will be turned to mourning, if you repent it not with speed."
Then the bishop began to cloak the priest's folly, saying, "Why, if my counting-house were full of books, and if my house should be on fire by chance, and be so burned, were God's word burned?"
Woodman.--"No, my Lord, because they were burned against your will; but yet if you should burn them willingly, or think it well, and not be sorry for it, you burn God's word, as well as he. For he that is not sorry for a shrewd turn, doth allow it to be good."
Chichester.--"Follow your vocation; you have a little learning. We have an altar, whereof you may not eat. What meaneth St. Paul thereby?"
Woodman.--"There is no man so foolish to eat stones, I trow."
Chichester.--"What mockers and scorners be you, to say no man will be so foolish to eat stones! it is a plain mock."
Woodman.--"Why, my Lord, you said I had no learning, nor knowledge, nor understanding, wherefore it becometh you to make things more plain to me, and not to ask me such dark questions, and yet blame me too; methinks it is too much."
Chichester.--"I dare say, you know what it meaneth well enough. The most fool in my house will understand my meaning better than you do."
There stood some of his men not far off, talking together beside a window. He called one of them by his name.
Chichester.--"Come hither. I say to thee, Thou shalt not eat of this table. What do I mean thereby?"
The man.--"Forsooth, my Lord, you would not have me eat of this table;" laying his hand thereupon.
With this answer he made all them in the house to fall on laughing; and I could not hold it in, but burst out with laughter, and said, "He hath expounded the matter almost as well as I."
Chichester.--"He meaneth well enough, if you would understand him.-- Answer me again, to make it more plain. I say to thee, Thou shalt not eat of this table. What mean I thereby?"
The man.--"Forsooth you would not have me eat this table."
These words made them all laugh: wherewith the bishop was almost angry, because the answer proved no better, and said, "He meaneth that I would not have him eat any of the meat that is set upon this table. How sayest thou? dost thou not mean so?"
The man.--"Yes forsooth, my Lord, that was my meaning indeed."
Woodman.--"Yea, my Lord, now you have told him what you mean, he can say so too; and so could I have done, (as little wit as I have,) if you had said, Paul meant that no man might eat of that which was offered upon, the altar, but the priests."
Chichester.--"Yea, I perceive you understand the meaning of Paul well enough, but that you list to cavil with me."
Woodman.--"Why, my Lord, do you think I understand such dark places of the Scripture, without learning? You said even now, I had no knowledge nor learning; wherefore I answered you, as you judged of me."
Chichester.--"Well, let this matter pass, and let us turn to the principal again. How say you by the sacrament of the altar?"
Woodman.--"You mean the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ."
Chichester.--"I mean the sacrament of the altar, and so I say."
Woodman.--"You mean Christ to be the altar, do you not?"
Chichester.--"I mean the sacrament of the altar in the church. What! is it so strange to you?"
Woodman.--"It is strange to me indeed, if you mean the altar of stone."
Chichester.--"It is that altar that I mean."
Woodman.--"I understand not the altar so."
Chichester.--"No, I think so indeed; and that is the cause that you he deceived. I pray you, how do you understand the altar then?"
Woodman.--"If you will give me leave till I have done, I will show you how I understand the altar, and where it is."
Chichester.--"Yes, you shall have leave to say your mind, as much as you will."
Woodman.--"It is written in Matthew xviii., That wheresoever two or three be gathered together in Christ's name, there is he in the midst among them: and whatsoever they ask the Father upon earth, it shall be granted them in heaven. Agreeing to the fifth of Matthew, saying, When thou comest to offer thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy offering, and go first and be reconciled to thy brother, and then offer thy gift." The priests would have interrupted me, but the bishop bade them let me alone.
Chichester.--"You shall hear a pretty conclusion anon."
Woodman.--"I pray you let me make an end, and then find fault with me, if you can. Now to the matter. In these two places of Scripture, I prove that Christ is the true altar, whereon every Christian man and woman ought to come and offer their gifts. First, wheresoever the people are gathered together in Christ's name, there is he in the midst; and where he is, there is the altar: so that we may be bold to come and offer our gift, if we be in love and charity. If we be not, we must leave there our offering, and go first and be reconciled to our brother, and agree with him quickly, and so forth; and then come and offer the gift. Some will say, How shall I agree with my adversary, when he is not nigh by a hundred miles? may I not pray till I have spoken with him? To all such I answered, If thou presume to pray among the faithful, wishing any evil to any man, woman, or child, thou askest vengeance upon thyself; for no such asketh any thing else of the Lord in his prayer. Wherefore agree with thy adversary, that is, make thy life agreeable to God's word. Say in thy heart without dissimulation, that thou askest God and all the world forgiveness from the bottom of thy heart, intending never to offend them any more. Then all such may be bold to come and offer their gift, their prayer on the altar,where the people of God be gathered together. Thus have I showed you my mind, bothof the altar, and of the offering, as I understand it."
Chichester.--"Do you understand the offering and the altar so? I never heard any man understand it so; no, not Luther the great heretic, that was condemned by a general council, and his picture burned."
Woodman.--"If he were a heretic, I think he understood it not so indeed; but I am sure all Christians ought to understand it so."
Chichester.--"Oh! what vain-glory is in you, as though you understood all things, and other men nothing. Hear me: I will show you the true understanding, both of the altar, and the offering on the altar. We have an altar, said Paul, that ye may not eat of: meaning thereby, that no man might eat of that which was offered on the altar, but the priest. For in Paul's time, all the living that the priest had, the people came and offered it on the altar, money, or other things: and when the people came to offer it, and then remembered that they had any thing against their brother, then they left their offering upon the altar, and went and were reconciled to their brother: and they came again and offered their gift, and the priest had it. This is the true understanding of the place that you have rehearsed: wherefore you be deceived."
Woodman.--"My Lord, that was the use in the old law. Christ was the end of that. But indeed I perceive by Paul's words, the sacrifice was offered in Paul's time; yet that maketh not that it was well done, but he rebuked it. Wherefore it seemeth to me, that you be deceived."
Chichester.--"Who shall be judges betwixt us in this matter?"
Woodman.--"The twelfth of John declareth who shall be judge in the last day."
Chichester.--"You mean the word shall judge the word. How can that be?"
Woodman.--"St. Peter saith, The Scripture hath no private interpretation: but one scripture must be understood by another."
Chichester.--"You will understand it one way, and I will understand it another way; and who shall be judges betwixt us then?"
Woodman.--"The true church of God is able to discuss all doubts; to whom I refer it."
Chichester.--"I am glad you say so, if you will say so indeed."
Woodman.--"My Lord, I never meant otherwise."
Chichester.--"The church of God doth allow the sacrament of the altar."
Woodman.--"What do you offer now upon the altar?"
Chichester.--"We offer up, in the blessed sacrament of the altar, the body of Christ, to pacify the wrath of God the Father;" and therewith they all put off their caps to the abominable idol.
Woodman.--"St. Paul saith to the Hebrews, We are sanctified by offering of the body of Jesus Christ upon the cross once for all: and every priest is daily ministering, and oftentimes offereth one manner of offering, which can never take away sins; and that is the offering that you use to offer. As far as I can see, you be priests after the order of Aaron, that offered up sacrifice for their own sins, and the sins of the people."
Chichester.--"Nay, Aaron's sacrifice was with blood, which signifieth the death of Christ, the which was ended upon the cross by his bloodshedding: but we are priests after the order of Melchizedech, the which offereth bread to the king in remembrance, and signifieth the giving of Christ's body in bread and wine at the last supper, the which he gave to his disciples, and commanded it to be used to the end of the world. This is the sacrifice that we offer, according to his word."
Woodman.--"Methinketh you have made the matter very plain to me, that as Christ was the end of all sacrifices, so was he the beginning of the sacraments, willing them to be used in the remembrance of him, to the world's end."
Chichester.--"What, in remembrance of him, and not himself, as his word saith, Take, eat, this is my body! It is not the sign only, but the thing itself. How say you? Is it not his body, after the words be spoken by the priest? How say you? Go briefly to work, for I cannot long tarry with you."
Woodman.--"My Lord, if you will answer me to one sacrament, I will answer you to another."
Chichester.--"Yes, I am very well contented with that."
Woodman.--"If you say the words of baptism over the water, and there be no child there, is there true baptism?"
Chichester.--"No, there must be the water, the word, and the child; and then it is baptism."
Woodman.--"Very well. Then if a child be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, it is not truly baptized."
Chichester.--"No: the child must be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost; or else it is not truly baptized."
Woodman.--"Then there may be nothing added nor taken away from the sacraments: may there?"
Chichester.--"No," said the bishop.
Woodman.--"Now, my Lord, I will answer to you, if it please you."
Chichester.--"Well, how say you, Take, eat; this is my body: is it not Christ's body, as soon as the words be said?"
Woodman.--"My Lord, I will answer you by your own words, that you answered me, which is true: the water, the word, and the child, all these together make baptism; the bread, wine, and the word make the sacrament; and the eater, eating in true faith, maketh it his body. Here I prove it is not Christ's body, but to the faithful receiver: for he said, Take, eat, this my body. He called it not his body before eating, but after eating. And St. Augustine saith, 'Believe, and thou hast eaten.' And St. John saith, He that believeth in God, dwelleth in God, and God in him: wherefore it is impossible to dwell in God, and to eat his body, without a true faith."
Priest.--"Then the faith of the receiver maketh it his body, and not his word, by your saying. I pray you what did Judas eat?"
Woodman.--"Judas did eat the sacrament of Christ, and the devil withal."
Priest.--"He ate the body of Christ unworthily, as St. Paul saith."
Woodman.--"Nay, St. Paul saith no such thing. He speaketh not of eating of his body unworthily, but of the sacrament unworthily. For he saith, Whosoever eateth of this bread and drinketh of this cup unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, because he maketh no difference of the Lord's body; and not because he eateth the Lord's body. If Judas had ate Christ's body, it must needs follow, that Judas is saved. For Christ saith in John vi., Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up again at the last day."
Priest.--"My Lord, this man is an interpreter after his own mind."
Chichester.--"I see it is but folly to talk with you: it is but lost labour. How say you? do you not believe that after the words be said, there remaineth neither bread nor wine, but the very body of Christ. really? Make me a plain answer, for I will talk no more with you."
Woodman.--"I will make you a direct answer, how I believe of the true sacrament. I do believe that if I come to receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ truly ministered, believing that Christ was born for me, and that he suffered death for me, and that I shall be saved from my sins by his blood-shedding, and so receive the sacrament in that remembrance, then I believe I do receive wholly Christ, God and man, mystically by faith: this is my belief."
Chichester.--"Why, then it is no body without faith! God's word is of no force, as you count it."
Woodman.--"My Lord, I have told you my mind without dissimulation, and more you get not of me, without you will talk with me by the Scriptures; and if you will do so, I will begin anew with you, and prove it more plainly three or four manner of ways, that you shall not say nay, to that I have said, yourself."
Then they made a great laughing, and said, "This is a heretic indeed; it is time he were burned:" which words moved my spirit, and I said to them, "Judge not, lest you be judged: for as you judge me, you shall be judged yourselves. For that you call heresy, I serve God truly with, as you all shall well know, when you shall be in hell, and have blood to drink, and shall be compelled to say for pain, This was the man that we jested on, and whose talk we thought foolishness, and his end to be without honour: but now we may see how he is counted among the saints of God, and we are punished. These words shall you say, being in hell, if you repent not with speed, if you consent to the shedding of my blood: wherefore look to it, I give you counsel."
Priest.--"What! you be angry, methinks. Now I will say more to you than I thought to have done. You were at Bexhill a twelvemonth agone, and sent for the parson and talked with him in the churchyard, and would not go into the church; for you said, it was the idol's temple. Yea, I was with mine old Lord, when he came to the King's Bench to you; and you said many stout words to him."
Woodman.--"That I said, I said; and whereas you said, I was angry, I take God to my record, I am not, but am zealous in the truth, and speak out of the Spirit of God, with cheerfulness."
Priest.--"The Spirit of God? hough, hough, hough! think you that you have the Spirit of God?"
Woodman.--"I believe surely that I have the Spirit of God, I praise God there-for: and you be deceivers, mockers, and scorners before God, and be the children of hell, all the sort of you, as far as I can see."
And therewith came in Dr. Story, pointing at me with his finger, speaking to the bishop in Latin, saying at the length, "I can say nothing to him, but he is a heretic. I have heard you talk this hour and a half, and can hear no reasonableness in him."
Woodman.--"Judge not, lest you be judged: for as you judge, you shall be judged yourself."
Story.--"What! be you a preaching? you shall preach at a stake shortly with your fellows. My Lord, trouble yourself no more with him."
With these words, one brought word that the abbot of Westminster was come to dine with the bishop, and many other gentlemen and women. Then there was rushing away with speed to meet him. Then said Dr. Story to my keeper, "Carry him to the Marshalsea again, and let him keep close; and let nobody come to speak with him." And so they departed.
Then one of the priests began to flatter with me, and said, "For God's sake remember yourself. God hath given you a good wit: you have read the Scriptures well, and have borne them well in memory. It were great pity you should do amiss."
Woodman.--"What a flatterer be you, to say my wit is good, and that I have read the Scriptures well; and but even now you said I was a heretic and despised me. If I be a heretic, I can have no good wit as you have confessed. But I think your own conscience doth accuse you. God give you grace to repent, if it be his will."
Priest.--"I call it a good wit, because you are expert in all questions."
Woodman.--"You may call it a wicked wit, if it agree not with God's word." Then one cried, "Away, away, here come strangers!" So we departed, and I came again to the Marshalsea, with my keeper.
The third examination of Richard Woodman, (copied with his own hand,).before Dr Langdale, parson of Buxsted, in Sussex, and chaplain to my Lord Montague, and Master James Gage, at my Lord Montague's house, beside St. Mary Overy's, in Southwark, the twelfth day of May.
The twelfth day of May the marshal came to the Marshalsea, and sent for me to speak with him. When I came before him, and had done my duty, he asked my name, and what countryman I was. I showed him both. Then he asked me, when I was abroad in the city. To whom I answered, "If it shall please your Mastership, I was abroad in the city on Monday was sevennight."
Marshal.--"What made you abroad?"
Woodman.--"The bishop of Chichester sent for me, to talk with me at home, at his house beside St. Nicholas' Shambles."
Marshal.--"Were you abroad no otherwise than so?"
Woodman.--"No forsooth; I was never abroad since I was sent hither, but then; for I have nothing to do abroad, unless they send for me."
Marshal.--"This is a marvellous matter. I promise you I was not so rebuked these seven years, as I was for you within these three days. It is reported that you were abroad in the city at certain taverns, and spake seditious words both in the taverns and streets, as you went."
Woodman.--"Sir, the truth is, I was in never a house nor tavern whiles I was abroad, but in the bishop's house, as my keeper can, and will (I am sure) testify: nor did I ever talk with any man in the streets as I came, but with my keeper, saving with one man, indeed, of the parish of Framfield, in Sussex, where Master James Gage dwelleth. His name is Robert Smith, being one of my worst enemies; who stood in a wain as we came by, and was unlading of cheese (methought) but a little way from the Marshalsea. Indeed I bade him God speed, and asked him how he did: and he said, Well, he thanked me. And he asked me, how I did: and I said, Well, I praise God: and that was all the talk that we had. And these words were spoken as I came by him. I promise you, sir, I stood not still while I spake them, as my keeper can tell: and I think these words were not seditious words, but might be spoken well enough, (I think,) or else it were very strait."
Marshal.--"Then is it to be thought, that that man reported otherwise than it was. I am glad it is as you say. Well, make you ready: for you must go forth straightway, where you shall be examined of that and of other things, where you shall answer for yourself. Go make haste, for I will tarry till you be ready."
So I departed from him, and went to my prison-fellows, and took my leave of them, desiring them to pray for me; for I thought verily to come no more to them: for I supposed I should have gone before the council, because the marshal said, he would tarry for me himself. And especially because he said, it was reported that I had spoken seditious words, it made me think it is possible that there may be some false things imagined upon me, to bring me to my end. I remember what Christ said, The servant is not above his lord. Seeing the Jews brought false witness against Christ, I thought they would do much more, or at the least do so to me, if God would suffer them; which made me cast the worst. But I was, and am sure, (I praise my Lord God,) that all the world is not able to accuse me justly of any such thing. Which thing considered, made me merry and joyful: and I was surely certified, that they could do no more against me, than God would give them leave. And so I bade my prison-fellows farewell, and went into the porter's lodge to the marshal; and he delivered me to one of his own men, and to one of my Lord Montague's men, and bade me go with them: and they carried me to my Lord Montague's place in Southwark, not far from St. Mary Overy's; and brought me into a chamber in Lord Montague's house; and there was one Dr. Langdale, chaplain to my Lord. My keepers said to the doctor, "This is the man that we went for."
Langdale.--"Is your name Woodman?"
Woodman.--"Yea, forsooth, that is my name."
Then he began with a great circumstance, and said, "I am sorry for you, that you will not be ruled, but stand so much in your own conceit, displeasing your father and others, judging that all the realm doth evil, save a few that do as you do:" with many such words, which be too long to rehearse, but I will declare the substance of them.
Langdale.--"What think you of them that died long agone -- your grandfathers, with their fathers before them? You judge them to be damned, and all others that use the same that they did throughout all Christendom, unless it be in Germany, and here in England a few years, and in Denmark; and yet they are returned again. Thus we are sure this is the truth; and I would you should do well. Your father is an honest man, and one of my parish, and hath wept to me divers times, because you would not be ruled; and he loveth you well, and so doth all the country, both rich and poor, if it were not for those evil opinions that you hold, with many such-like tales of Robin Hood."
Woodman.--"I pray you give me leave to speak a few words to you."
Langdale.--"Yes, say your mind."
Woodman.--"You have told a great tale, and a long, as it were against me, (as you think,) saying, I hold this and that; I judge my father and my grandfather, and almost all the world, without it be a few that be of our sect. But I judge no man. But the twelfth of John declareth who it is that judgeth, and shall judge in the last day. The father shall not bear the son's offences, nor the son the father's offences: but that soul that sinneth shall die, as saith the prophet. And again, We may not follow a multitude to do evil, as saith the prophet; for the most go the wrong way. And Christ saith in Luke xii., that his flock is a little flock. Here be places enow to discharge me, although I do not as the most do. But can any man say that I do not as I ought to do? Where be my accusers?"
Langdale.--"What! you be full of Scriptures methinks, and call for your accusers, as though you were afraid to utter your mind to me. But I would have you not be afraid to talk with me. For I mean no more hurt to you, than I do to myself, I take God to be my record."
Woodman.--"I cannot tell: it is hard trusting of fair words. When a man cannot trust his father nor brother, nor others that have been his familiar friends, but they deceive him: a man may lawfully follow the example of Christ towards them that he never saw before, saying, Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves: Beware of men, for they go about to betray you. And it maketh me to suspect you much, because you blame me for answering with the Scriptures. It maketh me to doubt that you would take vantage of me, if I should speak mine own words. Wherefore I will take as good heed as I can, because I have been deceived already by them I trusted most. Wherefore blame me not, though I answer circumspectly. It shall not be said, by God's help, that I will run wilfully into mine enemies' hands; and yet I praise God, my life is not dear to myself, but it is dear with God: wherefore I will do the uttermost that I can to keep it."
Langdale.--"You be afraid where no fear is; for I was desired of Master Sheriff and his brother, and of other of your friends, to talk with you; and they told me, that you were desirous to talk with me. And now ye make the matter as though you had nothing to do with me, and as though you were sent to prison for nothing: for you call for your accusers, as though there were no man to accuse you. But if there were no man to accuse you, your own hand-writing did accuse you enough, that you set upon the church-door, (if you be remembered,) and other letters that you let fall abroad, some at one place and some at another. Wherefore you need not to call for your accusers. Your own hand will accuse you enough, I warrant you; it is kept safe enough. I would not for two hundred pounds there were so much against me."
Woodman.--"I will not deny mine own hand, by God's help; for it cannot be lightly counterfeited. I do not deny but I wrote a letter to the priest and others of the parish, declaring to them their folly and presumption to come into my house without my love or leave, and fetch out my child, and use it at their pleasures; which moved me to write my mind to them: and because I could not tell how to convey it to them, I set it on the church-door. Which letter my Lord of Chichester hath, for he showed it me when I was before him: wherein is contained nothing but the very Scriptures, to their reproach. Let it be laid before me when you or he will, I will answer to it by the help of God, to all their shames that I wrote it to. And as for any other letters, I wrote none, as you said I did; neither had I wrote that, if they had done like honest neighbours. Wherefore if they be offended with me for that, I will answer them with Christ's words, in Matt. xviii., Woe unto themselves, because they gave me the occasion.
"And whereas you said I was desirous to speak with you; and that Master Sheriff and his brother, and other of my friends, willed me to talk with you; and that I fare now as though I had nothing to do with you, and as though I were sent to prison for nothing; the truth is, I know no more wherefore I am sent to prison, than the least child in this town knoweth. And as for me, I desired not Master Sheriff to speak with you; but indeed he desired me that I would speak with you, and utter my faith to you. For he supposed that I did not believe well, and he reported you to be learned. But I refused to talk with you at the first; for I remembered not that you were the parson at Buxted: wherefore I said to him, I would not utter my faith to any but the bishop. I said, He is mine ordinary: where-fore I appeal unto him. I am commanded by St, Peter, to render account of my hope that I have in God, to him that hath authority: wherefore I will talk with none in that matter, but with him. Where-fore send me to him, if you will; or else there shall no man know my faith, I tell you plainly. These words then made the sheriff angry, and he went his way. And when he was gone from me, I remembered that it was you, that he would have me to talk with. And then I remembered that I had made a promise to my father, and goodman Day of Uckfield, not past a fortnight before I was taken, that whensoever you came into the country, I would speak with you by God's help, because they praised you so much, that ye were learned, and they would fain hear us talk.
"So all these things called to remembrance, I desired my keeper, which was the sheriff's man, to show his master, that I would fain speak with him, for I had remembered things that were not in my mind before, when I spake to him. So he went to his master, and showed him the matter; and he came to me. And then I told him my mind, and what promise I had made: and he said, he would send for you on the morrow, as he did. And the messenger brought word, you could not come; you preached before the queen, he said. Whereupon the sheriff came up himself, and spake to the bishop that he should come down, but he was sick. So when he came home again, he sent me to the bishop, and I have talked with him twice already; and I am sure he can find no fault in me, if he say justly; and yet I know not wherefore I was sent to prison. For I was not guilty of that which was laid to my charge, that I had baptized children, the which I never did, as God knoweth: wherefore I have wrong to be thus handled."
Dr. Langdale.--"Indeed it hath been reported, that you have christened children; and that you christened your own child. But since, I heard say, you would not have the child christened; which is a damnable way, if you deny baptism. And they said your child was not christened in a fortnight or three weeks after it was born, and the chiefest of the parish were fain to fetch it out of your house against your will. Wherefore you wrote railing words against the priest and them for their good-will; the which declareth that you allow not baptizing of children. And if the child had died, it had been damned, because it was not christened; and you should have been damned, because you were the let thereof."
Woodman.--"What abominable lies have you told! Be you not ashamed to speak such words as you have done? First you say, I christened mine own child; and by and by you said, I denied baptizing of children, and that my child was a fortnight or three weeks old ere it was baptized. What abominable lies be these! I neither baptized my child myself, neither held against the baptizing of it, but did most gladly allow it; for it was baptized as soon as it was born, and I was glad thereof. Therefore you you be to blame to report so of me."
Langdale.--"I pray you, who baptized it? some unthrift of your providing?"
Woodman.--"Nay surely, the midwife baptized it."
Langdale.--"But it was your mind, that it should be so."
Woodman.--"Nay sure, I was not nigh home by almost twenty miles, nor heard that my wife was brought to bed four days after the child was christened. For it was not like to live; and therefore the midwife baptized it."
Langdale.--"Would you have had it to church to have been christened, if it had not been christened?"
Woodman.--"That is no matter, what I would have done. I am sure you cannot deny but it is sufficiently done, if the midwife do it; and I hold not against the doing of it, neither did I it myself, as you said I did."
Langdale.--"Wherefore were you displeased with them that fetched it to church?"
Woodman.--"First tell me whether the child were not truly baptized by the midwife?"
Langdale.--"Yes, it was truly baptized, if she baptized it in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Woodman.--"Yes, that I am sure she did; and you grant that was sufficient. And the cause that I blamed them for, was because they did more to it than need was, by your own saying. Yea, they fetched it out of my house without my leave: the which was not well done."
Langdale.--"They had it to church, to confirm that was done."
Woodman.--"Yea, but that was more than needs. But God forgive them, if it be his will. But let that matter pass. But I would you should not say, that I hold against baptizing of children: for I do not, I take God to record; but do allow it to be most necessary, if it be truly used. But methought you spake words even now, that were uncomely to be spoken: if a child die, and be not baptized, it is damned. How think you? be all damned that receive not the outward sign of baptism?"
Langdale.--"Yea, that they be."
Woodman.--"How prove you that?"
Langdale.--"Go, saith Christ, and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: and he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned. These be the words of Christ, which are my warrant."
Woodman.--"Then by your saying, baptism bringeth faith, and all that be baptized in the water shall be saved, shall they? how say you?"
Langdale.--"Yea, that they shall: if they die before they come to discretion, they shall be saved, every one of them: and all that be not baptized, shall be damned, every one of them."
Then my spirit was moved with him to reprove him sharply, because I had manifest scriptures fresh in my mind against his saying. Then said I, "O Lord God! how dare you speak such blasphemy against God and his word, as you do? How dare you for your life take upon you to preach, and teach the people, and understand not what you say? For I protest before God, you understand not the Scriptures, but as far as natural reason can comprehend. For if you did, you would be ashamed to speak as you do."
Langdale.--"Wherein have I spoken amiss? Take heed, you have a toy in your head will make you despair. I dare say you cannot tell what you say. Wherefore reprove you me as you do?"
Woodman.--"Because you blaspheme God: and as for despairing, take heed to yourself, for I cannot see but you be out of your wit already; and as for me, I praise God, I can tell what I say, and what you have said: the which shall turn to your shame, if you will talk the Scriptures with me."
So when he perceived that I spake earnestly, and challenged him to talk by the word, his colour began to change, and his flesh began to tremble and quake. And I said, "Prove your sayings true, if you can: for I will prove them false, by God's help. You said, 'All children or others, that be not baptized with water, shall be damned.' I dare not say so for all, the good in the world. And you brought in the saying of Christ for your warrant. In Mark xvi. it is written, Whoso believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; which words be very true: and who-so believeth not shall be damned; which words be very true also. He saith, He that believeth not shall be damned. Yea, St. John saith, He that believeth not is condemned already, because he believeth not. But neither of these two scriptures, nor any other scripture in all the New Testament, saith that he that is not baptized shall be damned, or is damned already. But if he believe not he shall be damned, and is damned already, as is aforesaid."
Then he would have interrupted me, and would have laid to my charge, that I was an Anabaptist. But I would give him no place to speak, but said, "Let me make an end, and then say what you can. You shall have as much to do, by God's help, with this matter, as ever you had to answer thing in your life. You know, (I am sure,) it is no manners to pluck a tale out of a man's mouth; nor is it the order of reasoning, as you know that, better than I can tell you." Then Dr. Langdale bade me say on.
Woodman.--"My saying was, that they that believe not, shall be damned, and be damned already. But I dare not say for all the goods under heaven, that all they that receive no material baptism by the water shall be damned, as you have said: yet I would you should not gather of these words, that I deny baptism, as you were about to lay to my charge, ere ever I had half told out my tale. But I would not have you, nor any man, so rash in judgment to condemn the thing that they are not able to prove by the word, and to make it seem to the simple, that the outward washing of the water were the cause of faith."
Langdale.--"Why, is it not so? will you deny it? How say you? will you deny it? I say, the child hath no faith before it is baptized; and therefore the baptizing bringeth the faith. How say you to it? make me a plain answer to this question."
Woodman.--"Now I perceive you go about nothing else, but to take vantage of my words: but, by God's help, I will answer you so, that you shall well see your sayings untrue. And yet I will not speak mine own words, but the words of the Holy Ghost, out of the mouth of the prophets and apostles: and then ask them whether they will deny it. You said, that faith cometh by baptism, had by the use of material water. I must be so bold to ask you, whether Jacob was baptized, before he had faith. St. Paul saith in Romans ix., Ere ever the children were born, ere ever they had done either good or bad, that the purpose of God, whichis by election, might stand, not by the reason of works, but by the grace of the caller, the elder shall serve the younger: Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. How think you, Had this child faith or ever he were born, or no? answer to this, if you can!"
Langdale.--"What? you speak of the old law. Jacob was not christened, but circumcised. I speak of baptism, and you are gone from baptizing, to the time of circumcision: answer me to the baptizing. And methinks, by your talk, you deny original sin, and free-will, by the words that you brought in of St. Paul: for if children can be saved without baptism, then it must needs follow, that children have no original sin, the which is put away in the baptizing. But I think you know not what original sin is, nor free-will neither, methinks, by your talk."
Woodman.--"Yes, I praise God, I think I can tell them all better than you can; methinks even by your words. First, I pray you, what free-will hath man to do good of himself? Tell me this first, and then I will answer to all your other questions that you have objected against me."
Langdale.--"I say, that all men have as much free-will now, as Adam had before his fall."
Woodman.--"I pray you how prove you that?"
Langdale.--"Thus I prove it, that as sin entered into the world, and by the means of one that sinned, all men became sinners, the which was by Adam: so by the obedience of one man, righteousness came upon all men that had sinned, and set them as free as they were before their fall; the which was by Jesus Christ."
Woodman.--"O Lord! what an overthrow have you given yourself here in original sin, and yet cannot see it! for in proving that we have free-will, you have denied quite original sin. For here you have declared that we be set as free by the death of Christ, as Adam was before his fall, and I am sure that Adam had no original sin before his fall. If we be as free now as he was then, I marvel wherefore Paul complained thrice to God, to take away the sting of it, God making him answer, and saying, My grace is sufficient for thee. These words, with divers others, prove original sin in us; but not that it shall hurt God's elect people, but that his grace is sufficient for all his. But you say in one place, it is not without baptism; and in another place, you put it away quite, by the death of Christ; and in very deed you have spoken truer in the matter than you are aware of. For all that believe in Christ are baptized in the blood of Christ that he shed on the cross, and in the water that he sweat for pain, and putting away of our sins at his death. And yet I say with David, in Psalm li., In sin was I born, and in sin hath my mother conceived me: but in no such sin that shall be imputed, because I am born of God by faith, as St. John saith. Therefore I am blessed, as saith the prophet, because the Lord imputeth not my sin, and not because I have no sin; but because God hath not imputed my sins. Not of our own deserving, but of his free mercy he hath saved us.
"Where is now your free-will become, that you speak of? If we have free-will, then our salvation cometh of our own selves, and not of God; the which is a great blasphemy against God and his word. For St. James saith, Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh from above, from the Father of light, with whom is no variableness, neither is he changed into darkness. Of his own will he begat us. For the wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sound thereof, as saith St. John; but we cannot tell from whence it cometh, neither whither it goeth: even so is it with every one that is born of God. For St. Paul saith, It is God that worketh in us the will, and also the deed, even of good will. Seeing then that every good and perfect gift cometh from above, and lighteth upon whom it pleaseth God, and that he worketh in us both the will and the deed; methinks all the rest of our own will is little worth, or nought at all, unless it be wickedness. So methinks here be places enow, to prove that a man hath no free-will to do good of himself; with a hundred places more that I could recite, if time did serve. And as for original sin, I think I have declared my mind therein, how it remaineth in man; which you cannot deny, unless you deny the word of God. Now, if you will suffer me, I will prove my saying of Jacob and Esau, that I brought in to prove that faith was before baptism, and you refused it, because (you said) Jacob was not baptized. If you will give me leave, you shall see what I can say therein: for me-thinks you think my talk long." This I said, be-cause I saw he was sore offended at my sayings.
Langdale.--"Say what you can; for it availeth me to say nothing to you. For I was desired to send for you, to teach you, and there will no words of mine take place in you; but you go about to reprove me. Say what you will, for me."
Woodman.--"I take not upon me to teach you, but to answer to such things as you lay to my charge; and I speak not mine own mind, but the mind of the Holy Ghost, written by the prophets and apostles. Will you give me leave to answer briefly in that matter, that you may report to others what I hold?" And he said he was contented. But I think it was for nothing but to have caught vantage of my words.
Woodman.--"First, if you be remembered, you said that if my child had died without baptism, if I had been the cause that it had not been baptized, the child should have been damned, and I too. How say you?"
Langdale.--"Yea, that you should."
Woodman.--"That is most untrue; for the prophet saith, The father shall not bear the child's offences, nor the child the father's offences: but the soul that sinneth shall die. What could the child have done withal, if it had died without baptism? the child could not do withal. How say you unto this? And I am sure, that which I brought in, in the old law, to prove that faith is before baptism, is not disagreeable unto the word: for circumcision was a figure of baptism. And that I may bring to prove baptism by, as well as St. Peter did; for he brought in Noah's flood, which was a long time before Jacob and Esau, to prove baptism, saying, While the ark was a preparing, wherein few (that is to say, eight souls) were saved by water; like as baptism also now saveth us, not in putting away of the filth of the flesh, but that there is a good conscience consenting to God. Here Peter proveth, that water had not saved Noah and the other seven, no more than it saved all the rest, if it had not been for their faith, which faith now saveth us; not in putting away of the filthy soil of the flesh, by the washing of the water, but by a good conscience consenting unto God. But you said, If they be baptized with the water, if they die before they come to years of discretion, they be all saved; the which St. Peter is clean against, unless you grant that children have faith before they be baptized. Now I ask you, what consent of conscience the children have, being infants? For you say they believe not before they be baptized: ergo, then, they consent not to be baptized, because they believe not. And by this it followeth, that none shall be saved, although they be baptized. I would fain see how you can answer this."
Langdale.--"You are the most perverse man that ever I knew. You wot not what you say. The children are baptized in their godfathers' and godmothers' faith, and that is the good conscience that St. Peter speaketh of; and the christening is the keeping of the law, that St. Paul speaketh of, saying, Neither is circumcision any thing worth, nor uncircumcision any thing worth, but keeping of the law is altogether. Like as the circumcision was the keeping of the old law, so is baptism the keeping of the new law."
Woodman.--"Ah! methought if you would talk with me, you should be fain to bring in the old law to maintain your sayings by; for all that you refused it, when I brought it in. But yet it serveth not for your purpose, so much as you think for. For here you have confessed, that neither circumcision availeth, nor uncircumcision, the which you yourself have coupled with baptism, proving that none of them both prevaileth, but keeping of the law is altogether; the which law is kept (you say) by the outward signs: the which is nothing so; for Abraham believed God, and that was counted to him for righteousness; and this was before he was circumcised. So the children believe before they be either circumcised or baptized, according to my first saying of Jacob and Esau, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. These words declare that Jacob had faith in his mother's womb; also John Baptist was sanctified in his mother's womb, and therefore it was counted to them for righteousness. And I am sure, if they had died before they had either received circumcision or baptism as concerning the outward deed, they should have been saved; for God's gifts and callings are such, that he cannot repent him of them. But, by your saying, he doth both repent and change; for you say, keeping of the outward law is altogether. But a bad excuse is as good as none at all. And whereas you said the children be baptized in their godfathers' and godmothers' faith, they being all unbelievers, in what faith is that child baptized then? In none at all, by your own saying." Which words made him stamp and stare.
Langdale.--"What! then you would count that there were very few believers, if there be not one of three that believeth. You enter into judgment against the people. Belike you think there be none that believe well, unless they be of your mind. Indeed, then Christ's flock were a very little flock."
Woodman.--"Indeed these be Christ's words in Luke xii., the which we may see to be very true. Yea, you said, if there were not one amongst three, that were very few. But there is not one amongst three hundred, for any thing that I can see: for if there were, there would not be so many that would seek their neighbours' goods and lives as there be."
Langdale.--"Is the flock of Christ such a little flock as you speak of? You may call it a great flock. How many be there of them, can you tell me?"
Woodman.--"A pretty question, I promise you, it is that you ask me: as though I did make myself equal with God. No, no, you shall catch no such vantage of my words, nor do I know how many there be: but I will tell you as nigh as I can; for therefore you look, I am sure, that I should enter into judgment."
Langdale.--"Yea, I pray you tell me as much as you can, seeing you be so cunning."
Woodman.--"You shall see my judgment in it by and by. First the prophet saith, Follow not a multitude to do evil, for the most go the wrong way. For the most go the wrong way: there is one point to know them. Then Christ saith in Matthew vii., Broad is the way, and wide is the gate, that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: and strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. And in Luke xii. it is written, (which words were spoken of Christ,) Come, you little flock, it is my Father's will to give you a kingdom. The third point is this: in Mark ii. and Matthew iii., You, saith Christ, shall know the tree by the fruits. A good tree bringeth forth good fruits, and a bad tree bringeth forth bad fruits: so by fruits I know them; for every tree that bringeth not forth good fruits, must be hewn down, and cast into the fire, (into hell I think Christ meant,) and your fruits declare that you be one of them. Thus have I proved four ways, that the people that shall be saved is but a small company in comparison of the rest. But if that be not enough for the proof thereof, I have twenty ways more to prove it by, and you were never the nearer of your purpose."
Langdale.--"What a naughty man are you! you would make the patientest man in the world angry with you. I think your talk is nothing but pride and vain-glory, with frumps, and mocks, and despising and judging of men. It was time such a fellow were taken indeed. Such a one is enough to trouble a whole country. I think he is blest of God that took you; for you are not meet to be in a commonwealth." With divers other such-like words that I cannot recite, they came out so thick, with stamping, and staring, and chafing, as though he had been out of his wit.
I held my peace until he had made an end of his tormentor's talk, and then I spake: "Wherein have I said amiss? or have I not answered you unto every question that you have demanded of me? What fault can you find in one word that I have said? I dare say you can find none. I marvel why you take on thus against me, having no cause so to do."
Langdale.--"No, no, you have not answered me to original sin; you deny original sin."
With these words came in at the door Master James Gage; and I think he stood at the door a good while before he came in, and that Dr. Lang-dale saw him; for his face was to the door-ward, and my face was from it.
Gage.--"Ah, Woodman! methinks Master Doctor and you cannot agree."
Woodman.--"Yes, sir, methinks we agree very well."
Langdale.--"Without doubt, sir, he is the naughtiest man that ever I talked with in all my life; for he will have his own way in all things."
Gage.--"Woodman, leave that pride. Do not trust so much to your own wit. Hearken to this man; this is a learned man, I tell you. He is known to be learned; for else he should not be allowed to preach before the queen's Majesty: and I dare say, he will tell thee nothing, nor will thee to do any thing, but that he will do himself; and I dare say, he will not go to the devil to bring thee thither. How say you, Master Doctor? Thou mightest think us mad, if we would hurt ourselves to hurt thee. No, I promise thee, my brother, neither I, nor any gentleman in the country, I think of my conscience, but would thou shouldest do as well as their own bodies and souls, as a great many of them have said to thy face, whilst thou wast at my brother's, and which thou canst not deny."
Woodman.--"Sir, I can say none otherwise but I was gently entreated at your brother's, both with meat and. drink and gentle words, both of you and him, and divers other gentlemen; and I am sure neither you nor they can say, that you found me unreasonable at any time. For I said, I was contented to learn of them that were able to teach me; and so I am, as God knoweth. And here, Master Doctor (I think) can say no otherwise; for I dare say he can find no fault in the talk that we have had."
Langdale.--"No marry? I can find nothing else in you. I promise you, Master Gage, if you had been here, you would have said so yourself. He took me up indeed, and said, he marvelled how I durst preach. For he said, I understood not the Scripture, but as far as natural reason comprehended: as though he understood all, and I nothing." With divers other such-like words he made a great complaint to him on me, and said to Master James Gage, "He would make you believe, that I could find no fault in him. Yes, I wis: he denieth original sin; meaning thereby that he is without sin."
Gage.--"Yea; doth he so? by St. Mary that is a great matter. Woodman! leave that pride. That pride will come to naught. Can ye live without sin?"
Woodman.--"Sir, now I perceive he will soon lie on me behind my back, when he will not stick to lie before my face. He saith, I denied original sin; and it was he himself, as I will let you be judge in the matter. For as he went about to prove, that man hath free-will, he said, we were set as free by the death of Christ, as Adam was before his fall: which words prove plainly, that we have no original sin. And I took him withal, and said, Had Adam original sin before his fall? And then he could not tell what to say, but cavilled with words, and said he meant not so; and therefore I marvel he is not ashamed to make such lies to my face." These words made them both astonied.
Gage.--"Master Doctor, he said even now, you could find no fault in all his talk. I will bid you ask him a question, and I will warrant you, you shall find fault enough. I pray you ask him, how he believeth in the sacrament of the altar. I think he will make but a bad account thereof."
Woodman.--"Yes, I will make account good enough of that, by God's help.
Langdale.--"Well, how say you to the sacrament of the altar?"
Woodman.--"I say, I know no such sacrament, unless Christ be the altar that you mean."
Gage.--"Lo, I told you, you should soon find fault in him, if you came to that point with him. You should have begun with that first, and never have talked with him about other things. What! know you not the sacrament of the altar?"
Woodman.--"No, sure; I know no such, unless Christ be the altar that you mean; for Christ is the altar of all goodness. And if you mean Christ to be the altar of the sacrament you speak of, you shall soon hear my mind and belief therein."
Langdale.--"Well, we mean Christ to be the altar. Say your mind, and go briefly to work; for I think it almost dinner-time."
Gage.--"I pray you go roundly to work, that you may make an end before dinner."
Woodman.--"Yes, you shall soon hear my mind therein, by God's help. I do believe, that whensoever I come to receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, being truly ministered according to Christ's institution, I believing that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and that he was crucified on the cross, and shed his blood for the remission of my sins, and so take and eat the sacrament of bread and wine in that remembrance; that then I do receive wholly Christ, God and man, mystically by faith. This is my belief of the sacrament, the which no man is able to disprove."
Gage.--"By St. Mary, I can find no fault in this. How say you, Master Doctor?"
Langdale.--"Sir, you see not so much in it as I do: for he goeth craftily to work, I tell you, as I have heard. For though he hath granted that the faithful receiver receiveth the body of Christ, God and man, yet he hath not granted that it is the body of Christ before it be received, as you shall see by and by, I warrant you, by his own words. How say you? Is it the body of Christ as soon as the words be spoken by the priest, or not? for these words will try him more than all the rest."
Woodman.--"Doth the word say that it is his body before it is received? if it do, I will say so too."
Gage.--"Why, then we shall agree well enough if you will be tried by the word."
Woodman.--"Yes forsooth, that I will; God forbid else."
Gage.--"Why, the word saith, it is his body before it is eaten."
Woodman.--"Those words would I fain hear; but I am sure they be not in the Bible."
Langdale.--"No! that you shall shall see by and by, Master Gage," quoth he, and turned to Luke xxii., and there he read, "When supper was done, Christ took bread, gave thanks, and brake it, and gave to his disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body." Then they spake both at once, "Here he saith, it is his body."
Woodman.--"Master Gage, I do not deny but he called it his body; but not before eating, as I said before: wherefore I pray you mark the words. Christ said, Take, eat: I pray you, sir, mark these words that he said, Take and eat; and then he said, it was his body. So you see, eating goeth before: for he said, Eat, this is my body. So according to the very word, I do believe it is his body." Which words made them both astonied.
Langdale.--"Why then, by your saying, Judas ate not the body of Christ. How say you? did he not?"
Woodman.--"Nay, I ask you. Did he?"
Langdale.--"I ask you."
Woodman.--"And I ask you."
Langdale.--"And I ask you."
Woodman.--"Marry, I ask you. And I bid you answer, if you dare, for your life. For whatsoever you answer, unless you say as I have said, you will damn your own soul. For Master Gage, I protest before God, I would you should do as well as mine own soul and body; and it lamenteth my heart to see how you be deceived with them: they be deceivers all the sort of them. He cannot answer to this, but either he must prove Judas to be saved, or else he must prove that it is no body before it be received in faith, as you shall well perceive, by God's help, if he dare answer the question."
Gage.--"Yes, I dare say he dareth. What! you need not to threaten him so."
Woodman.--"Then let him answer, if he can." Then he said, he knew what I would say to him; therefore he was much in doubt to answer the ques-tion.
Langdale.--"Master Gage, I will tell you in your ear what words he will answer me, or ever I speak to him."
Then he told Master Gage a tale in his ear, and said, "I have told Master Gage what you will say."
Gage.--"Yea, and I will tell the truth for both parties."
Woodman. -- "Well, how say you? did Judas eat the body of Christ, or not?"
Langdale.--"Yea, I say Judas did eat the body of Christ."
Woodman.--"Then it must needs follow, that Judas hath everlasting life; for Christ saith in John vi., Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. If Judas did eat Christ's body, I am sure you cannot deny but that he did both eat his flesh, and drink his blood, and then is Judas saved, by Christ's own words. Therefore now you are compelled to say that it was not Christ's body, or else that Judas is saved."
Gage.--"Surely these be the very words that Master Doctor told me in mine ear, that you would say to him."
Woodman.--"Well, let us see how well he can avoid this argument."
Langdale.--"Judas is damned, and yet he ate the body of Christ: but he ate it unworthily; and therefore he is damned."
Woodman.--"Where find you that Judas did eat the body of Christ unworthily?"
Langdale.--"They be St. Paul's words, 1 Cor. xi."
Woodman.--"Master Gage, I desire you for God's sake mark my words well, what I say. If St. Paul speak any such words there, or in any other place; if there be any such words written in all the whole Bible, that ever any man ate the body of Christ unworthily, then say, that I am the falsest man that ever you heard speak with tongue. But indeed, these be the words of St. Paul, Whoso eateth of this bread and drinketh of this cup unwor-hily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, because he maketh no difference of the Lord's body; that is, because he presumeth to eat the sacrament of the Lord's body without faith, making no difference betwixt the sacrament, and other bread and drink. And that is St. Paul's meaning; and not that any man doth or can eat the body of Christ unworthily. For whosoever eateth the body of Christ, hath everlasting life, as is afore said in John vi." With these words one came for them to dinner in all haste.
Gage.--"I am sorry, I would fain hear more of this talk; but we shall have another day well enough."
Langdale.--"Nay, Master Gage, I will never talk with him more; for he is the unreasonablest man that ever I talked with in all my life."
Then Master Gage put off his cap, and desired him that he would not refuse to talk with me, and that it might not be grievous to him. For he said, "We will seek all the means possible to make him an honest man, and to keep him from burning, if we could: for if my brother and I had not been, he had been burned ere this time." Then there was great courtesy betwixt them.
Langdale.--"Sir, for your sake, and for my master your brother's sake, and for his father's sake, and other of his friends' sakes, that have spoken to me many times with weeping tears, I will do the best to him that I can; but for no love nor favour that I bear to him, I tell you truth."
Gage.--"Woodman, you hear what Master Doctor saith. When will you come again?"
Woodman.--"Even when you will send for me; for I am a prisoner, and cannot come when I would. Or if I should desire to come, it should cost me money, and I have none to give. But, if you send for me, it shall cost me none."
Gage.--"Well, I will send for you on Friday or Saturday, at the furthest; for to-morrow I must ride forth of town, and I would fain hear your talk."
Woodman.--"Sir, I would be very glad you should hear our talk alway; and I trust in God you shall hear me say nothing, but the word of God shall be my warrant."
So Master Gage took his leave, and went his way to his lodging, which was right in my way as I went unto prison-ward again. And when he came with.. out my Lord Montague's gates, there we met one Hood of Bursted, a smith. Then said Master Gage, "Woodman, I had forgot one thing, that Hood hath brought me in remembrance of as soon as I saw him; for he heard when the tale was told me;" so he added, "Hood, did not you hear when Smith of Framfield told me, that he saw Woodman abroad in the city, at liberty?"
Hood.--"Yea, forsooth, that I did."
Gage.--"Yea, surely, and I was very glad; for I had well hoped you had been conformable. But I heard otherwise afterward again, that you had leave of the keeper to go abroad and speak openly in the streets, as you went up and down."
Woodman.--"Indeed so the marshal told me to-day. But indeed I was never abroad since I came to prison, but when I was sent for, and indeed the same time I was abroad with my keeper, coming from the bishop. And as I was coming, even not far from the Marshalsea, I saw goodman Smith stand in a wain, unlading of cheese, and I asked him how he did, even as I went by, and never staid for the matter, and thereupon it did rise." So I departed from them, with my keeper, to the Marshalsea again, where I now am merry, I praise God there-for, as a sheep appointed to be slain.
The fourth examination of Richard Woodman, had before the bishop of Winchester, the bishop of Rochester, and a certain doctor, with divers other priests and gentlemen, the twenty-fifth day of May.
I was fetched from the Marshalsea to the said bishops and priests, sitting in St. George's church in Southwark, by one of the marshal's men and one of the sheriff's men. When I came before them, and had done my duty to them as nigh as I could, then said the bishop of Winchester, "What is your name?"
Woodman.--"My name is Richard Woodman, forsooth."
Winchester.--"Ah Woodman! you were taken and apprehended for heresy about three years agone, and were sent to prison in the King's Bench, and there remained a long time. Mine old Lord of Chichester, being a learned famous man, well known in this realm of England, and almost throughout all Christendom, I think, came to prison to you; and there, and at other places, called you before him divers times, travailing and persuading with you many times (because he was your ordinary) to pluck you from your heresies that you held; but he could by no means advertise you. Whereupon you were delivered to the commissioners; and they could do no good with you neither. Then they sent you unto my Lord of London. My Lord of London calling you before him divers times, labour was made unto him of your friends, that you might be released, my Lord having a good hope in you, that you would become an honest man, because he had heard so of you in times past, yea, and you yourself promising him, that you would go home and recant your heresies that you held, delivered you; sending also a letter of your recantation to the commissary, that he should see it done. But as soon as you were out of his hands, you were as bad as ever you were, and would never fulfil your promise, but have hid yourself in the woods, bushes, dens, and caves; and thus have you continued ever since, till it was now of late. Then the sheriff of that shire, (being a worshipful man,) hearing thereof, sent certain of his men, and took you in a wood, and so carried you to his house. I cannot tell his name. What is your sheriff's name?"
Woodman.--"Forsooth, his name is Sir Edward Gage."
Winchester.--"Well, you were apprehended for heresy; and being at Master Gage's three weeks or more, ye were gently entreated there; he and other gentlemen persuading with you divers times, little prevailed. Then you appealed to the bishop of Chichester that now is. The sheriff; like a worshipful man, sent you to him, and he hath travailed with you, and others also, and can do no good with you; whereupon we have sent for you."
Then I spake to him; for I thought he would be long before he would make an end. I thought he was a year in telling of those lies that he had told there against me already. Yea, I kept silence from good words, but it was great pain and grief unto me, as David said. At length the fire was so kindled within my heart, that I could not choose but speak with my tongue; for I feared lest any of the company should have departed or ever I had answered to his lies, and so the gospel to have been slandered by my long silence-keeping. So I spake, I praise God there-for, and said, "My Lord, I pray you let me now answer for myself, for it is time."
Winchester.--"I permit you to answer to these things that I have said."
Woodman.--"I thank God there-for. And I think myself happy (as Paul said, when he was brought before King Agrippa) that I may this day answer for myself. My Lord! I promise you there is never a word of your sayings true, that you have alleged against me."
Winchester.--"I cannot tell, but thus it is reported of you. As for me, I never did see you before this day; but I am sure it is not all lies that I have said, as you report."
Woodman.--"Yes, my Lord, there is never a true word of that you have said. And further, whereas you said you never saw me before this day, you have both heard me, and seen me, I dare say, before this day."
Winchester.--"I think I heard you indeed on Sunday, where you played the malapert fellow; but I cannot tell that I saw you. But I pray you, were you not taken in the woods by the sheriff's men?"
Woodman.--"No sure, I was taken beside my house, I being in my house when they came: wherefore that is not true."
Winchester.--"Were not you at the sheriff's three weeks?"
Woodman.--"Yes, that I was, a month just, and was gently entreated of him, I can say no otherwise; for I had meat and drink enough, and fair words."
Winchester.--"Ah! I am well apaid; it is not all lies then, as it chanced. For I spake but of three weeks, and you confess a month yourself."
Woodman.--"Yet your tale is never the truer for that. For you said, I was there three weeks for heresy, the which is not so. For I was not ap-prehended for heresy at the first, neither did mine old Lord of Chichester travail with me to pull me from heresy, as you said; for I held none then, neither do I now, as God knoweth; neither was I sent to the commissioners, nor to the bishop of Lon-don, for heresy; neither was I delivered to him for any such thing, nor promised him to recant, as you said I did. Wherefore I marvel you be not ashamed to tell so many lies, being a bishop, that should be an ensample to others."
Winchester.--"Lo, what an arrogant heretic this same is! He will deny God; for he that denieth his own hand, denieth God."
Woodman.--"My Lord, judge not lest you be judged yourself. For as you have judged me, you shall be judged; if you repent not. And if I have set my hand to any recantation, let it be seen to my shame, before this audience; for I will never deny mine own hand, by God's help."
Winchester.--"It is not here now, but I think it will be had well enough; but if it cannot be found, by whom will you be tried?"
Woodman.--"Even by my Lord of London; for he dealt like a good man with me in that matter that I was sent to prison for. For it was upon the breach of a statute, as Master Sheriff here can tell; for he was sheriff then, as he is now, and can tell how I was tossed up and down from sessions to sessions. And because I would not consent that I had offended therein, they sent me to prison again. Then my Lord of Chichester, being mine ordinary, and I being his tenant, came to me, to persuade with me that I should have consented to them, and to find myself in fault, where I was in none. To the which I would not agree, but I desired him that he would see me released of my wrong; but he said he could not, but willed me or my friends to speak to the commissioners for me, because it was a temporal matter. And when I came before them, they sent me to my Lord of London; and my Lord of London was certified by the hands of almost thirty men, both esquires, gentlemen, and yeomen, the chiefest in all the country where I dwelt, that I had not offended in the matter that I was sent to prison for. Whereupon he delivered me, not willing me to recant heresies, for I held none, (as God knoweth,) neither do I now; nor do I know wherefore I was sent to prison, no more than any man here knoweth; for I was taken away from my work."
Winchester.--"No? wherefore appealed you then to my Lord of Chichester, if it were not for heresy?"
Woodman.--"Because there was laid to my charge that I had baptized children, and married folks; the which I never did, for I was no where minister. Wherefore I appealed to mine ordinary, to purge myself thereof; as I have. Wherefore, if any man have any thing against me, let him speak; for I came not hither to accuse myself, neither will I."
Winchester.--"Master Sheriff, can you tell upon what breach of the statute he was sent to prison first?"
The sherif.--"Yea, forsooth, my Lord; that I can."
Woodman.--"My Lord, if you will give me leave, I will show you the whole matter."
Winchester.--"Nay, Master Sheriff, I pray you tell the matter, seeing you know it."
The sheriff.--"My Lord, it was for speaking to a curate in the pulpit, as I remember."
Winchester.--"Ah, like enough, that he would not stick to reprove a curate: for did you not see how he fashioned himself to speak to me in the pulpit on Sunday? He played the malapert fellow with me; and therefore it was no great marvel though he played that part with another."
Woodman.--"Why, you will not blame me for that, I am sure: for we spake for no other cause, but to purge ourselves of those heresies that you laid to our charge. For these were your words: 'Good people! these men that be brought before us, being here, deny Christ to be God, and the Holy Ghost to be God,' (pointing to us with your left hand,) the which might seem to the whole audience, that you meant us all. Wherefore, to clear our-selves thereof, we spake and said, we held no such thing. And you said, you would cut out our tongues. But I am sure you have no such law."
Winchester.--"Yes, that we have, if you blaspheme; and as it chanced, I found such amongst you."
Woodman.--"Indeed, after we spake, you declared who they were, but not before; for you spake generally. Wherefore we blasphemed not, but purged ourselves."
Winchester.--"But I pray you, how can you purge yourself for speaking to the curate, that it is not heresy?"
Woodman.--"Forsooth these be the words of the statute: 'Whosoever doth interrupt any preacher or preachers, lawfully authorized by the queen's Majesty, or by any other lawful ordinary, that all such shall suffer three months' imprisonment, and furthermore be brought to the quarter-sessions, there (being sorry for the same) to be released, upon his good abearing one whole year.' But I had not so offended, as it was well proved: for he that I spake to, was not lawfully authorized, nor had put away his wife. Wherefore it was not lawful for him to preach, by your own law; and therefore I brake not the statute, though I spake to him."
Winchester.--"I am glad, I perceive this man speaketh against priests' marriages; he is not contented with priests that have wives. He is an honester man than I fook him for, Master Sheriff: have him away! I am glad he loveth not priests' marriages."
Then I would have answered to his sayings, but he would in no wise hear me, but bade the sheriff have me away. So the sheriff took me by the hand, and plucked me away, and would not let me speak; but going out of the chancel door, I said, "I would show him the whole matter, if he would have given me leave; but seeing he will not, if he will let me go so, they shall see whether I will not go home to my wife and children, and keep them, as my bounden duty is, by the help of God." So I was sent to the Marshalsea again, where I am now merry, I praise God there-for, as a sheep appointed to be slain.
Moreover, I was credibly informed by one of our brethren that heard our talk, that the bishop said when I was gone, that they would take me whilst I was somewhat good: which words seemed to many of the people that were there, that I spake against priests' marriages; but I did not, but did only answer to such questions as he asked me, as you shall perceive well by the words, if you mark them, which words were these: "How can you purge yourself from heresy, for talking to the curate in the pulpit, and not offend the statute?" said the bishop; meaning thereby, I think, to have taken vantage of my words; but it was not God's will that he should at that time. For I answered him by the words of the statute, which words be as hereafter followeth, (that is,) "Whosoever doth interrupt any preacher or preachers, lawfully authorized by the queen's Majesty, or by any other lawful ordinary, that all such shall suffer three months' imprisonment." But I proved that this man was not lawfully authorized to preach, by their own law, because he had not put away his wife. For their law is, that no priest may say mass, nor preach with the mass, but he must first be separated from his wife. That is, because honest marriages be good and commendable, and theirs naught and abominable; therefore they cannot dwell together.
Now I give you all to understand, that I did not reprove this priest because he had a wife, but because he taught false doctrine, which grieved my soul, because he had been a fervent preacher against the mass, and all the idolatry thereof, seven years before, and then came and held with it again; for the which cause I reproved him in the pulpit. And the words that I spake to him, are written in divers of my examinations at my first imprisonment for that same. But in very deed, I knew not of the statute when I reproved him. But because I was sent to prison upon the breach of it, I bought a statute book; and when I had perused it, I perceived I had not offended, by their own law; and therefore still, when I was called to answer, I answered them with their own law. But yet they kept me in prison a year and almost three quarters, or ever I was released. I was at mine answer for that eighteen times. If any think I do not allow bishops' and priests' marriages, let them look in my first examination before the bishop of Chichester that now is, during this my imprisonment, and there they shall find what I have said in the matter. The truth is, I looked to be condemned with my brother that same day; but we may all see, that they can do nothing but as God will permit them to do. But when the time is full come, I trust in God I shall run that joyful race that my brethren have done. Thus I commit you all into the hands of God, who is the preserver, defender, and keeper of all his elect for evermore, Amen.
The fifth examination of Richard Woodman, had before the bishop of Winchester, the archdeacon of Canterbury, Dr. Langdale, with a fat-headed priest, and others, whose names I know not, with certain also of the commissioners, at St. Mary Overy's church in Southwark, in the presence of three hundred people at the least, the fifteenth day of June, anno 1557.
Winchester.--"Woodman, you were before us the last day, and would not be known in any wise that you were sent to prison for heresy; and called for your accusers, and stood stoutly in defending of yourself. And, in your departing, I had thought you had spoken against priests' marriages, thinking by your words we should have found you an honest man, and conformable, when we had called you before us again. You told such a fair tale for yourself, as though you had been free from all that was laid to your charge: for you said it was all lies that I told against you. But since, I have proved the contrary, as here is your own hand to show; by the which I have proved, that you reproved not the priest for lacking of authority, and because he had not put away his wife, but because you liked not his preaching. For indeed I took it, that you reproved him because he was not lawfully authorized; but I have proved the contrary since."
Woodman.--"I told you not, that I did either reprove him for lack of authority, or because I liked not his preaching; but I told you wherefore I was first sent to prison. For you said I was sent to prison for heresy; and made a long tale against me. And indeed I told you that there was never a word of your sayings true, but was all lies; as it was indeed. For I never was sent to prison for heresy, neither held I any then, nor do now, I take heaven and earth to witness. But I told you I was sent to prison upon the breach of a statute, which was for speaking to a priest in the pulpit; and for that cause the justices of that country had thought I had offended the statute, and called me before them; and would have had me to have been bound to my good abearing; and because I refused it, they sent me to prison. And these be the words of the statute, as I told you the last day: If any man do interrupt any preacher or preachers, lawfully authorized by the queen's Majesty, or by any other lawful ordinary, that then every party that so offendeth, shall suffer three months' imprisonment, and furthermore be brought to the quarter-sessions; and there being sorry for the same, and also bound for his good abearing one whole year, to be released, or else to remain to prison again.' And when I was in prison I bought a statute-book, which when I had perused over, I found by the words thereof, that I had not offended, because he was not lawfully authorized, as the bishop of London was certified by the hands almost of thirty men, both esquires, gentlemen, and yeomen, the chiefest in all that country. For he had not put away his wife, and therefore the statute took no place on me, as I told you the other day. Wherefore my Lord of London, seeing me have so much wrong, did like a good man to me in that matter, and released me. Now when I had told you this matter, you bade the sheriff have me away; you said, you were glad I held against priests' marriages, because I answered to the question you asked me."
The fat priest.--"My Lord, do you not hear what he said by my Lord of London? He saith he is a good man in that he released him; but he meaneth that he is good in nothing else."
Woodman.--"-What! can you tell what I mean? Let every man say as he findeth; he did justly to me in that matter. I say, if he be not good in any thing else, as you say, he shall answer for it, and not I: for I have nothing to do with other men's matters."
Winchester.--"Well, how say you? how liked you his preaching? I pray you tell us."
Woodman.--"That is no matter how I liked it. Howsoever I liked it, I offended not the statute. Wherefore you have nothing to say to me for that, I am sure."
Winchester.--"Well, how like you this then? Here is your own hand-writing. I am sure you will not deny it. Will you look on it?"
Woodman.--"It is mine own handiwork indeed, the which, by God's help, I will never deny, nor ever did yet, I praise God there-for."
Winchester.--"And here is good gear I tell you. I pray you hearken well to it. These be the words before the commissioners: How say you? Do not you believe that, as soon as the words be spoken by the priest, there remaineth neither bread nor wine, but only the very body of Christ, both flesh and blood, as he was born of the Virgin Mary?' These were the words of the commissioners. And then thou saidst, thou durst not say otherwise than the Scripture saith. 'I cannot find,' say you, 'that it is the body of Christ before it is received by faith,' bringing in Luke xxii., saying, 'Christ said, Take, eat, this is my body, so I cannot prove it is his body before it is eaten.' Then said the commissioners, 'Did not Judas eat Christ's body?' 'And if you can prove that Judas is saved,' said you, 'I must grant that he ate his body. For Christ saith in John vi., Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; which words prove,' said you, 'that if Judas ate the body of Christ, he must needs be saved.' How say you now? did Judas eat the body of Christ, or not?"
Then I perceived he went about nothing but to catch words of me in his diocese, to condemn me with. Though I should confound him never so much, I perceived that he was fully bent thereto. To whom I answered and said, "I will answer you to no such thing, for I am none of your diocese; wherefore I will not answer to you."
Winchester.--"Thou art within my diocese, and thou hast offended within my diocese; and therefore I will have to do with thee."
Woodman.--"Have to do with me if you will; but I will have nothing. to do with you, I tell you plainly. For though I be now in your diocese, I have not offended in your diocese: if I have, show me wherein."
Winchester.--"Marry, here is thine own hand-writing, the which thou affirmedst in my diocese."
Woodman.--"I do not deny but it is mine own hand-writing; but that proveth never the more that I have offended in your diocese; for that doth but declare what talk there was betwixt the commissioners and me; the which you have nothing to do withal."
Winchester.--"No? hold him a book! And thou shalt swear whether thou holdest it now, or not, and whether thou wrotest it not in my diocese, as I think thou didst. Lay thy hand on the book!"
Woodman.--"I will not be sworn for you; for I am not of your diocese; and therefore you have nothing to do with me. And as for the writing of the same, I never wrote [one] word of it in your diocese."
Langdale.--"No! did you not? My Lord, let me see; I will find where you wrote it."
Then he took it and looked on it, and anon he found that I was sent for out of the King's Bench, to come before the commissioners.
Langdale.--"My Lord, here you may see it was in the King's Bench, the which is in your diocese."
Woodman.--"Although I were fetched out of the King's Bench, that proveth not that I wrote it there; nor did I, I promise you truly."
The fat priest.--"Where wrote you it then?"
Woodman.--"Nay, I owe you not so much service as to tell you; find it out as well as you can; for I perceive you go about to shed my blood."
Winchester.--"It is no great matter where it was written: it is here, and he denieth not but he wrote it. You shall hear more of it. Here the commissioners asked you, whether Judas did eat any more than bare bread, and you answered that he ate more than bare bread. Whereupon they sent you away back to the King's Bench again, and asked you not, What more? for the which cause (as you have written here) you had a hell burning in your conscience. For you had thought they would have sent a discharge to the King's Bench: 'and so let me go,' said you, 'and register my name in their books, that I had granted that Judas did eat the body of Christ; and so the gospel should have been slandered by me. For the which cause I was in such case, I could scantly eat, drink, or sleep for that space; as all my prison-fellows can testify. If all you, I say, that go to the church of Satan, and there hear the detestable doctrine, that they spit and spew out in their churches and pulpits, to the great dishonour of God; if all you, I say, that come there, had such a hell burning in your conscience for the time, as I had till I came before them again, and had uttered my conscience more plainly, I dare say you would come there no more.' All this is your writing; is it not? How say you
Woodman.--"I do not deny but it was mine own deed."
Winchester.--"And I pray you, where is there such spitting and spewing out of false doctrine as you speak of?"
Woodman.--"In the synagogue of Satan, where God is dishonoured with false doctrine."
Winchester.--"And I pray you, where is one of them?"
Woodman.--"Nay, that judge yourself; I came not hither to be a judge."
Winchester.--"Well, here you have affirmed, that Judas, your master, ate more than bread; but yet he ate not the body of Christ, as you have declared by your words. For you had a hell burning in your conscience, because you were in doubt that the commissioners understood by your words, that Judas had eaten the body of Christ, because you said, he ate more than bare bread. Therefore thou hadst a great sort of devils in thee; for in hell be many devils: and therefore the devil and Judas is thy master, by thine own words."
Woodman.--"Nay, I defy Judas and the devil, and his servants; for they be your masters, and you serve them, for any thing that I can see; I tell you truth."
Winchester.--"Nay, they be thy masters. For the devil is master where hell is, and thou saidst thou hadst a burning hell in thee. I pray thee tell me, how thou canst avoid it, but that the devil was in thee, by thine own saying?"
Woodman.--"The hell that I had, was the loving correction of God toward me, to call me to repentance, that I should not offend God and his people in leaving things so dark, as I left that. For the which cause my conscience bare me record, I had not done well, as at all times I have felt the sting of it, when I have broken the commandments of God by any means, as all God's people do, I dare say; and it is the loving-kindness of God towards them, to drive them to repentance. But it is to be thought, that your conscience is never troubled, how wickedly soever you do: for if it were, it should not be so strange to you as you make it, which declareth plainly whose servant you be."
Winchester.--"What a naughty fellow is this! This is such a perverse villain as I never talked with in all my life. Hold him a book, I will make him swear, to answer directly to such things as I will demand of him; and if he will not answer, I will condemn him."
Woodman.--"Call you me a fellow! I am such a fellow, I tell you, that will drive you all to hell, if you consent to the shedding of my blood, and you shall have blood to drink, as saith St. John in his Revelation, the ninth chapter. And being in hell, you shall be compelled to say, for pain of conscience, This is the man that we have had in derision, and thought his life madness, and his end to be without honour; but now we may see how he is counted among the saints of God, and we are punished. This shall you say in hell, if you repent it not, if you do condemn me. This you shall find in the fifth chapter of the Book of Wisdom: and therefore take heed what you do, I give you counsel."
Winchester.--"Wisdom! what speakest thou of wisdom? thou never hadst it; for thou art as very a fool as ever I heard speak."
Woodman.--"Do you not know, that the foolish things of this world must confound the wise things? Wherefore it grieveth me not to be called a fool at your hands."
Winchester.--"Nay, thou art none of those fools; thou art an obstinate fool, and a heretic. Lay hand on the book, and answer to such things as I will lay against thee."
Woodman.--"I will lay hand on the book for none of you all. You be not my bishop; and therefore I will have nothing to do with you."
Winchester.--"I will have to do with you. This man is without law, he careth not for the king nor queen, I dare say; for he will not obey their laws. Let me see the king's commission. I will see whether he will obey that, or not."
Woodman.--"I would you loved the king and queen's Majesty no worse than I do, if it pleased God: you would not do as you do then."
Winchester.--"Hold him a book; he is a rank heretic. Thou shalt answer to such things as I will demand of thee."
Woodman.--"I take heaven and earth to record I am no heretic, neither can I tell wherefore I am brought to prison, no more than any man here can tell." And therewith I looked round about on the people, And said to the bishop, "If you have any just cause against me worthy of death, lay it against me, and let me have it; for I refuse not to die (I praise God) for the truth's sake, if I had ten lives. If you have no cause, let me go home, I pray you, to my wife and children to see them kept, and other poor folk that I would set awork by the help of God. I have set on work a hundred persons ere this, all the year together, and was unjustly taken from them: but God forgive them that did it, if it be his will."
Winchester.--"Do you not see how he looketh about for help? But I would see any man show thee a cheerful countenance, and especially you that be of my diocese. If any of you bid God strengthen him, or take him by the hand, or embrace him, or show him a cheerful countenance, you shall be excommunicated, and shall not be received in again, till you have done open penance; and therefore beware of it! "
Woodman.--"I look for no help of men, for God is on my side, I praise him there-for; and therefore I need not to care who be against me, neither do I care."
Then they cried, "Away with him, and bring us another." So I was carried again to the Marshal-sea, where I am now merry, (I praise God there-for,) as a sheep appointed to be slain.-- But for lack of time, I have left out much of our talk; but this is the chiefest of it.
The sixth and last examination of Richard Woodman, written and copied with his own hand.
Be it known unto all men by this present writing, that I Richard Woodman, sometime of the parish of Warbleton, in the county of Sussex, was condemned for God's everlasting truth, anno 1557, July the sixteenth, by the bishop of Winchester, in the church of St. Mary Overy's, in Southwark, there sitting with him the same time the bishop of Chichester, the archdeacon of Canterbury, Dr. Langdale, Master Roper, with a fat-headed priest, I cannot tell his name. All these consented to the shedding of my blood, upon this occasion, as hereafter followeth.
I affirmed, that Judas received the sacrament with a sop, and the devil withal; and because I would not be sworn upon a book, to answer directly to such articles as he would declare to me; and because I would not believe that there remained neither bread nor wine after the words of consecration, and that the body of Christ could not be received of any but of the faithful, for these articles I was condemned, as hereafter shall follow more at large, by the help of God.
First, the bishop of Winchester said when I came before him, "You were before us on Monday last past; and there you affirmed certain heresies. How say you now? Do you hold them still, or will you revoke them?"
Woodman.--"I held no heresies then, neither do I now, as the Lord knoweth."
Winchester.--"No? did you not affirm, that Judas received bread? which is no heresy, unless you tell what more than bread."
Woodman.--"Is it heresy to say, Judas received no more than bread? I said, he received more than bare bread, for he received the same sacrament that was prepared to show forth the Lord's death; and because he presumed to eat without faith, he ate the devil withal, as the words of Christ declare; after he ate the sop, the devil entered into him, as you cannot deny."
Winchester.--"Hold him a book. I will have you answer directly, whether Judas did eat the body of Christ or no."
Woodman.--"I will answer no more, for I am not of your diocese; wherefore I will have nothing to do with you."
Winchester.--"No? you be in my diocese; and you be of my diocese, because you have offended in my diocese."
Woodman.--"I am not of your diocese, although I am in your diocese, and I was brought into your diocese against my will: and I have not offended in your diocese: if I have, tell me wherein."
Winchester.--"Here, in your own hand-writing, the which is heresy. These be the words: 'I cannot find,' say you, 'that it is the body of Christ to any, before it is received in faith.' How say you? is not this your own hand-writing?"
Woodman.--"Yea, I do not deny but it is mine own hand-writing. But when or where was it written, or where were the words spoken?"
Winchester.--"Before the commissioners, and here is one of them. Master Roper! the words were spoken before you: were they not?"
Roper.--"Yes indeed, that they were. Woodman, I am sure you will not deny them; for you have written the words even as you spake them."
Woodman.--"No sir, indeed I will not deny but that I spake them, and I am glad that you have seen it: for you may see by that, whether I lie, or not."
Roper.--"Indeed the words be written word by word as ye spake them."
Winchester.--"Well, here you affirm, that it is your own deed. How say you now? will you be sorry for it, and become an honest man?"
Woodman.--"My Lord, I trust no man can say, but that I am an honest man; and as for that, I marvel that you will lay it to my charge, knowing that my Lord of London discharged me of all matters that were laid against me, when I was released of him."
Winchester.--"You were released, and it might fortune it was not laid to your charge then; therefore we lay it to your charge now, because you be suspected to be a heretic: and we may call you before us, and examine you upon your faith upon suspicion."
Woodman.--"Indeed St. Peter willeth me to render account of my hope that I have in God; and I am contented so to do, if it please my bishop to hear me."
Chichester.--"Yes, I pray you let us hear it."
Woodman.--"I do believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and of earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ my Saviour, very God, and very man. I believe in God the Holy Ghost, the Comforter of all God's elect people, and that he is equal with the Father and the Son. I believe the true catholic church, and all the sacraments that belong thereto. Thus have I rendered account of my hope that I have of my salvation."
Winchester.--"And how believe you in the blessed sacrament of the altar?" And with that word they all put off their caps to that abominable idol.
Woodman.--"I pray you be contented, for I will not answer to any more questions; for I perceive you go about to shed my blood."
Winchester.--"No? Hold him a book. If he refuse to swear, he is an Anabaptist, and shall be excommunicated."
Woodman.--"I will not swear for you, excommunicate me if you will; for you be not meet to take an oath; for you laid heresies to my charge in yonder pulpit, the which you are not able to prove: wherefore you be not meet to take an oath of any man. And as for me, I am not of your diocese, nor will have any thing to do with you."
Winchester.--"I will have to do with thee, and I say thou art a strong heretic."
Woodman.--"Yea, all truth is heresy with you; but I am content to show you my mind, how I believe on the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, without flattering: for that you look for, I am sure. But I will meddle no further, but what I hold myself of it. I will not meddle of any other man's belief on it."
Harpsfield.--"Why? I am sure all men's faith ought to be alike."
Woodman.--"Yea, I grant you so, that all true Christians' faith ought to be alike. But I will answer for myself."
Harpsfield.--"Well, let us hear what you say to it."
Woodman.--"I do believe, that when I come to receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, if it be truly ministered according to Christ's institution, I coming in faith, as I trust in God I will, whensoever I come to receive it, I believing that Christ was born for me, and that he suffered death for the remission of my sins, and that I shall be saved by his death and blood-shedding, and so receive the sacrament of bread and wine in that remembrance, that then I do receive whole Christ, God and man, mystically by faith: this is my belief on the sacrament."
Then they spake all at once, saying, "Mystically by faith! "
The fat priest.--"What a fool art thou: 'mystically by faith!' Thou canst not tell what 'mystically' is?"
Woodman.--"If I be a fool, so take me. But God hath chosen such fools of this world, to confound such wise things as you are."
The fat priest.--"I pray thee, what is 'mystically?'
Woodman.--"I take 'mystically' to be the faith that is in us; that the world seeth not, but God only."
Winchester.--"He cannot tell me what he saith. Answer to the sacrament of the altar, whether it be not the body of Christ before it be received, and whether it be not the body of Christ to whomsoever [he be that] receiveth it? Tell me, or else I will excommunicate thee."
Woodman.--"I have said as much as I will say. Excommunicate me if you will: I am none of your diocese. The bishop of Chichester is mine ordinary. Let him do it, if you will needs have my blood, that it may be required at his hands."
Chichester.--"I am not consecrated yet; I told you when you were with me."
Woodman.--"No indeed! your kind bring forth nothing but cow-calves, as it chanceth now;" meaning thereby he had not his bulls from Rome.
Then they were all in a great rage with me, and called me all to naught; and said I was out of my wits, because I spake fervently to every man's question; all the which I cannot remember, but I said, "So Festus said to Paul, when he spake the words of soberness and truth out of the Spirit of God, as I do. But as you have judged me, you be yourselves. You will go to hell, all the sort of you, if you condemn me, if you repent it not with speed."
Then my keeper, and the sheriff's deputy Fuller, rebuked me, because I spake so sharply to them. And I said, "I pray you let me alone; I must answer for my life." Then there was much ado that I should keep silence, and so I held my peace.
Then spake the bishop of Winchester and the archdeacon of Canterbury, saying, "We go not about to condemn thee, but go about to save thy soul, if thou wilt be ruled, and do as we would have thee."
Woodman.--"To save my soul! Nay, you cannot save my soul. My soul is saved already: I praise God there-for. There can no man save my soul, but Jesus Christ; and he it is that hath saved my soul, before the foundation of the world was laid."
The fat priest.--"What a heresy is that, my Lord! here is another heresy! He saith his soul was saved before the foundations of the world were laid. Thou canst not tell what thou sayest. Was thy soul saved before it was?"
Woodman.--"Yes, I praise God, I can tell what I say, and I say the truth. Look in Ephesians and there you shall find it, where Paul saith, Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath blessed us with all manner of spiritual blessings in heavenly things, by Christ, according as he hath chosen us in himself before the foundation of the world was laid, that we should be holy and without blame before him, through love; and thereto were we predestinated. These be the words of Paul, and I believe they be most true. And therefore it is my faith, in and by Jesus Christ, that saveth; and not you, or any man else."
The fat priest.--"What! faith without works? St. James saith, Faith without works is dead, and we have free-will to do good works."
Woodman.--"I would not that any of you should think that I disallow good works: for a good faith cannot be without good works. Yet not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God, as saith St. Paul to the Philippians, chap. ii., It is God that worketh in us both the will and also the deed, even of good will."
Winchester.--"Make an end: answer to me. Here is your ordinary, the archdeacon of Canterbury: he is made your ordinary by my Lord Cardinal, and he hath authority to examine you of your faith upon a book, to answer to such articles as he will lay to you. And I pray you refuse it not; for the danger is great, if you do. Wherefore we desire you to show yourself a subject in this matter."
Then they spake all, and said, "Lo! my Lord desireth you gently to answer to him, and so we do all. For if you refuse to take an oath, he may excommunicate you. For my Lord Cardinal may put whom he will in the bishop's office, until he is consecrated."
Woodman.--"I know not so much. If you will give me time to learn the truth of it, (if I can prove it to be as you say,) I will tell you my mind in any thing that he shall demand of me, without any flattering."
Priest.--"My Lord, and all we, tell thee it is true; and therefore answer to him."
Woodman.--"I will believe none of you all, for you be turncoats and changelings, and be wavering-minded, as saith St. James; you be neither hot nor cold, as saith St. John, therefore God will spew you out of his mouth. Wherefore I can believe none of you all, I tell you truth."
Winchester.--"What! be we turncoats and changelings; what meanest thou by that?"
Woodman.--"I mean, that in King Edward's time, you taught the doctrine that was set forth then, every one of you, and now you teach the contrary; and therefore I call you turncoats and changelings, as I may well enough:" which words made the most part of them to quake.
Winchester.--"Nay, not all, as it chanced."
Woodman.--"No! I pray where were you then?"
Winchester.- "I was in the Tower, as the lieutenant will bear me record."
Woodman.--"If you were in the Tower, it was not there-for, I dare say; it was for some other matter."
Then they all took heart of grace, and said, "My Lord, he cometh to examine you, we think: if he will not answer to the articles, you were best to excommunicate him."
Winchester.--"He is the naughtiest varlet-heretic that ever I knew. I will read the sentence against him."
Then they spake all at once, and I answered them as fast as I could. But I cannot remember it all, the words came out so thick. I spared them not, I praise God there-for; for I spake freely.
Then they that stood by rebuked me, and said, "You cannot tell to whom you speak, I think."
Woodman.--"No! think you so? They be but men. I am sure I have spoken to as good as they be, and better than they will ever be, for any thing that I can see, if they repent not with speed."
Winchester.--"Give ear; for I will read sentence against you."
Woodman.--"Will you so? wherefore will you? You have no just cause to excommunicate me; and therefore if you do condemn me, you will be condemned in hell, if you repent not; and I praise God, I am not afraid to die for God's sake, if I had a hundred lives."
Winchester.--"For God's sake? nay, for the devil's sake! Thou sayest thou art not afraid to die: no more was Judas that hanged himself, as thou wilt kill thyself wilfully, because thou wilt not be ruled."
Woodman.--"Nay, I defy the devil, Judas, and all their members. And Judas's flesh was not afraid, but his spirit and conscience were afraid, and therefore [he] despaired and hung himself. But I praise God, I feel no loathsomeness in my flesh to die, but a joyful conscience, and a willing mind thereto. Wherefore my flesh is subdued to it, I praise God; and therefore I am not afraid of death."
Chichester.--"Woodman, for God's sake be ruled. You know what you said to me at my house. I could say more, if I would."
Woodman.--"Say what you can; the most fault that you found in me was, because I praised the living God, and because I said, I praise God, and the Lord: which you ought to be ashamed of, if you have any grace; for I told you where the words were written."
Winchester.--"Well, how say you? will you confess that Judas received the body of Christ unworthily? tell me plainly."
Woodman.--"My Lord, if you, or any of you all, can prove before all this audience, in all the Bible, that any man ever ate the body of Christ unworthily, then I will be with you in all things that you will demand of me; of the which matter I desire all this people to be witness."
Priest.--"Will you so? then we shall agree well enough. St. Paul saith so."
Woodman.--"I pray you where saith he so? rehearse the words."
Priest.--"In 1 Cor. xi. he saith, Whoso eateth of this bread and drinketh of this cup unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, because he maketh no difference of the Lord's body."
Woodman.--"Do these words prove that Judas ate the body of Christ unworthily? I pray you let me see them." They were contented. Then said I, "These be the words even that you said, (good people, hearken well to them,) Whoso eateth of this bread and drinketh of this cup unworthily. He saith not, Whoso eateth of this body unworthily, or drinketh of this blood unworthily: but he saith, Whoso eateth of this bread and drinketh of this cup unworthily, (which is the sacrament,) eateth and drinketh his own damnation, because he maketh no difference between the sacrament which representeth the Lord's body, and other bread and drink. Here, good people! you may all see they are not able to prove their sayings true. Wherefore I cannot believe them in any thing that they do."
Winchester.--"Thou art a rank heretic indeed. Art thou an expounder? Now I will read sentence against thee."
Woodman.--"Judge not, lest you be judged: for as you have judged me, you be yourself." Then he read the sentence. "Why," said I, "will you read the sentence against me, and cannot tell wherefore?"
Winchester.--"Thou art a heretic, and therefore thou shalt be excommunicated."
Woodman.--"I am no heretic, I take heaven and earth to witness; I defy all heretics; and if you condemn me, you will be damned, if you repent not. But God give you grace to repent all, if it be his will."
And so he read forth the sentence in Latin, but what he said, God knoweth, and not I. God be judge between them and me! When he had done, I would have talked my mind to them, but they cried, "Away! away with him! "So I was carried to the Marshalsea again, where I am, and shall be as long as it shall please God. And I praise God most heartily, that ever he hath elected and predestinated me to come to so high dignity as to bear rebuke for his name's sake; his name be praised there-for, for ever and ever. Amen.
And thus have you the examinations of this blessed Woodman, or rather Goodman; wherein may appear as well the great grace and wisdom of God in that man, as also the gross ignorance and barbarous cruelty of his adversaries, especially of Dr. White, bishop of Winchester. Now followeth likewise the effect of his letter.
A godly letter of Richard Woodman, written to a Christian woman, Mistress Roberts of Hawkhurst.
"Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from his Son our alone Saviour Jesus Christ, by the operation and working of the Holy Ghost, be multiplied plenteously upon you, dear sister Roberts, that you may the more joyfully bear the cross of Christ that ye are under, unto the end, to your only comfort and consolation, and to all our brethren and sisters that are round about you, both now and ever. Amen.
"In my most humble wise I commend me unto you, and to all our brethren and sisters in those parts, that love our Lord unfeignedly, certifying you, that I and all my brethren with me are merry and joyful, we praise God there-for, looking daily to be dissolved from these our mortal bodies, according to the good pleasure of our heavenly Father; praising God also for your constancy, and gentle benevolence, that you have showed unto God's elect people, in this troublesome time of persecution, which may be a sure pledge and token of God's good will and favour towards you, and to all others that hear thereof: for blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Wherefore the fruits declare alway what the tree is; for a good man or woman, out of the good treasure of their heart, bring forth good things.
"Wherefore, dear sister, it is not as many affirm in these days, (the more it is to be lamented,) that say God asketh but a man's heart; which is the greatest injury that can be devised against God and his word. For St. James saith, Show me thy faith by thy deeds, and I will show thee my faith by my deeds; saying, the devils have faith, and tremble for fear, and yet shall be but devils still, because their minds were never to do good. Let us not therefore be like them, but let our faith be made manifest to the whole world by our deeds; and in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, as St. Paul saith, let our light shine as in a dark place.
"O dear hearts! now is the gospel of God overwhelmed with many black and troublesome clouds of persecution, for the which cause very few go about to have their eyes made clear by the true light of the gospel, for fear of losing of the treasures of this world, which are but vain and shall perish. Let not us therefore be like unto them which light their candle, and put it under a bushel; but let us set our candle upon a candlestick, that it may give light unto all them that are in the house; that is to say, let all the people of the household of God see our good works, in suffering all things patiently that shall be laid upon us for the gospel's sake, if it be death itself. For Christ died for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps; and as he hath given his life for us, so ought we to give our lives for the defence of the gospel, to the comfort of our brethren.
"How is it, then, that some will say that their faith is good; and yet they do all the deeds of antichrist the devil, and be not ashamed to allege certain scriptures to maintain their wickedness? St. Paul saith, to believe with the heart justifieth, and to confess with the mouth maketh a man safe. O good God! here may all men see, that no man or woman can have a true faith, unless they have deeds also; and he that doubteth, is like the waves of the sea tossed about of the wind, and can look for no good thing at the Lord's hands. May not a man judge all such to be like those which St. John speaketh of, that be neither hot nor cold; and therefore God will (he saith) spew them out of his mouth? If we judge evil of such, have not they given us occasion? Had it not been better for them to have had a millstone tied about their necks, and to have been cast into the sea, than they should give such offences to God's elect people in condemning them as they do, in going to the synagogues of Satan, and there to receive the mark of the beast: in that they see and hear God blasphemed there, and hold their peace? Doth not that declare to the whole world, that they allow their doings to be good? And these do not only defile themselves, but also be an occasion to confirm the papists in their papistry, and so be an occasion of our weak brother's falling, the which will be all required at their hands; which will be too heavy a burden for them to bear, if they repent it not with speed. For they that know their Master's will, and do it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. Oh! do not we perceive, that now is the acceptable time that Christ speaketh of? yea, even now is the axe put to the roots of the trees, so that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruits now, must be hewn down, and cast into the fire.
"Now is the Lord come with his fan in his hand, to try the wheat from the chaff. The wheat will he gather into his barn, and the chaff he will burn, as is aforesaid. Now is the time come, that we must go meet the Bridegroom with oil in our lamps. We are also bidden to the feast; let us make no excuses. Yea, our Master hath delivered his talents unto us, God give us grace to occupy them well, that at his coming he may receive his own with vantage. Yea, now is the Lord come, to see if there be any fruit upon his trees: so that if the Lord come and find none, he will serve us as he did the wild fig tree; that is, never fruit shall grow on him more. Also, if we go to meet the Bride-groom without oil in our lamps, and should go to buy, the doubt is, we should be served as were the foolish virgins; that was, God said to them, Depart, I know you not. Or if we should make excuses to come to the feast, others shall be bidden in our rooms. If we occupy not our talents well, they shall be taken from us and given to others, and all such unprofit-able servants shall be cast into prison in hell, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"O good God! what a sort of fearful sayings are here contained! what Christian heart will not hearken diligently hereto! O may not all people well perceive now, that this is the time that our Master Christ speaketh of, that the father should be against the son, and the son against the father, and one brother against another, that the brother shall deliver the brother to death: yea, and that the wicked shall say all manner of wicked sayings against us for his name's sake? the which I have well found by experience, I praise God therefor, that hath given me strength to bear it: for I think there can be no evil devised, but it hath been imagined against me, and that of my familiar friends, as David saith. But I praise my Lord God, they are not able to prove any of their sayings true, but that they go about to find fault in them that God hath chosen, because they themselves list not to take up their cross and follow Christ; and therefore they speak evil of the thing that they know not, the which shall give account for it before Him that is ready to judge both the quick and the dead.
"But my trust is, that all the people of God will be ruled by the counsel of St. John, saying, My sheep will hear my voice; strangers they will not hear: meaning thereby, that ye should not believe strangers; counting them strangers that go about to subvert the gospel. Wherefore mark well what they be, and try them well or ever you give credit to them, according to St. John's counsel, in his Epistle, saying, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God, or not; meaning thereby, that they that be not of God, will speak good of none but of them that be as they be. Wherefore, dear sister, be of good cheer, and give no credit to such people, whatsoever ye hear them say. For I have no mistrust by God's help, but that all the world shall see and know that my blood shall not be dear in mine own sight, whensoever it shall please God to give my adversaries leave to shed it. I do earnestly believe, that God which hath begun this good work in me, will perform it to the end, as he hath given me grace, and will alway, to bear this easy yoke and light burden; the which I have always found, I praise my Lord God.
"For when I have been in prison, wearing one while bolts, otherwhile shackles, otherwhile lying on the bare ground; sometime sitting in the stocks; sometime bound with cords, that all my body hath been swollen; much like to be overcome for the pain that hath been in my flesh; sometime fain to lie without in the woods and fields, wandering to and fro; few, I say, that durst keep my company for fear of the rulers; sometime brought before the justices, sheriffs, lords, doctors, and bishops; sometime called dog, sometime devil, heretic, whore-monger, traitor, thief, deceiver, with divers other such like; yea, and even they that did eat of my bread, that should have been most my friends by nature, have betrayed me. Yet, for all this, I praise my Lord God that hath separated me from my mother's womb, all this that hath happened unto me hath been easy, light, and most delectable and joyful of any treasure that ever I possessed; for I praise God they are not able to prove one jot or tittle of their sayings true. But that way that they call heresy, I serve my Lord God; and at all times, before whomsoever I have been brought, God hath given me mouth and wisdom, where-against all my adversaries have not been able to resist, I praise God there-for.
"Wherefore, dear sister, be of good comfort, with all your brethren and sisters; and take no thought what you shall say, for it shall be given you the same hour, according to the promises, as I have always found, and as you and all other of God's elect shall well find, when the time is full come. And whereas I and many others have hoped, that this persecution would have been at an end ere this time, now I perceive, God will have a further trial to root out all dissemblers, that no man should rejoice in himself, but he that rejoiceth shall rejoice in God. Wherefore if prophecy should fail, and tongues should cease, yet love must endure. For fear hath painfulness, but a perfect love casteth out all fear; which love I have no mistrust but God hath poured it upon you so abundantly, that nothing in the world shall be able to separate you from God. Neither high nor low, rich nor poor, life nor death, shall be able to put you from Christ; but by him I trust you shall enter into new Jerusalem, there to live for ever, beholding the glory of God with the same eyes that you now have, and all other faithful people that continue to the end. Give all honour and glory to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God, to be honoured now and ever, Amen."
After these examinations thus had and commenced between Richard Woodman and the bishops, he was (as is afore told) judged by sentence of condemnation, and so deprived of his life.
With Woodman also were burnt nine others; to wit, five men and four women, which were taken not past two or three days before their judgment; the names of all which being also before expressed, here again follow in this order: Richard Woodman, George Stevens, William Mainard, Alexander Hosman, his servant, Thomasin h Wood, his maid, Margery Moris, James Moris, her son, Dennis Burgis, Ashdon's wife, Grove's wife. These persons here above-named, and blessed martyrs, were put to death at Lewes the twenty-second of June. Of the which number the eight last were apprehended (as is said) either the same day, or the second or third day before, and so with the said Woodman and Stevens were together committed to the fire; in which space no writ could come down from London to the justices, for their burning. Wherefore what is to be said to such justices, or what reckoning they will make to God and to the laws of this realm, I refer that to them that have to do in the matter. The like whereof is to be found also of other justices, who, without any lawful writ of discharge or order of law, have unlawfully and disorderly burnt the servants of Christ, (whose blood the law both may and also ought to revenge,) especially at Salisbury, and at Canterbury, and Guernsey. But concerning these matters, though man's law do wink, or rather sleep, at them, yet they shall be sure God's law will find such murderers out at length. I pray God the doers may repent betime.