Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 364. RICHARD CRASHFIELD

364. RICHARD CRASHFIELD

 

The martyrdom and examinations of Richard Crashfield, of Wymondham, condemned to death for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

            About this time suffered at Norwich a godly man and a constant martyr of Christ, called Richard Crashfield, whose examinations before the chancellor, named Dunning, as he penned them with his own hand, so have we faithfully recorded the same.

            "'How say you, sirrah!' said the chancellor, 'to the ceremonies of the church?'

            "Then said I, 'What ceremonies?' He said unto me, 'Do you not believe that all the ceremonies of the church are good and godly?'

            "My answer was, 'I do believe so many as are grounded in the Testament of Jesus Christ.'

            "'Tush,' said he, 'do you believe in the sacrament of the altar?' I said, I knew not what it was.'

            "Then said he, 'Do you not believe that Christ took bread, gave thanks, brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my body?' 'Yes, verily,' said I, 'and even as Christ did speak, so did he perform the work.'

            "'Tush,' said he, 'do you not believe this, that after the words be spoken by the priest, there is the substance of Christ's body, flesh and blood? How say you, do you not believe this? Speak, man!'

            Crashfield.--"'I do believe that Christ's body was broken for me upon the cross, and his blood shed for my redemption, whereof the bread and the wine are a perpetual memory, the pledge of his mercy, the ring or seal of his promise, and a perpetual memory for the faithful unto the end of the world.' So then I was commanded into prison until the next day.

            "The day following I was brought forth. Then the chancellor said unto me, 'Richard, how say you? Are you otherwise minded than you were yesterday?' He, rehearsing all the words that we had afore, said, 'Are not these your words?' Whereunto I answered, 'Yes.'

            "Then said he, 'How say you, can you not find in your heart, when you come to church, to kneel down before the rood, and make your prayer?' I answered and said, 'No;' rehearsing the commandment of God forbidding the same.

            "He said, 'Have you not read or heard, that God commanded an image to be made?' I answered, 'What image?' He said, 'The brazen serpent?'

            "I said, 'Yes, I have heard it read, how that God did command it to be made, and likewise to be broken down.'

            "Then Dr. Brydges said, 'Wherefore did God command the seraphim and cherubim to be made?' I said, I could not tell; I would fain learn.

            "Then said the chancellor, 'But how say you to this? Can you find in your heart to fall down before the picture of Christ, which is the rood?' 'I said, 'No, I fear the curse of God: for it is written, that God curseth the hands that make them, yea, and the hands that make the tools wherewith they are carved.'

            "Then Dr. Brydges raged and said, 'List now what a piece of Scripture he hath here gotten to serve his purpose, for he will not allow but where he listeth.'

            "Then said the chancellor, 'How say you to confession to the priest? when were you confessed?' I said, 'I confess myself daily unto the eternal God, whom I most grievously offend.'

            "Then the chancellor said, 'Do you not then take confession to the priest to be good?' I answered, 'No, but rather wicked.'

            "Then the chancellor said, 'How say you by yonder gear, yonder singing, and yonder playing on the organs? Is it not good and godly?' I said, 'I could perceive no godliness in it.'

            "Then he said, 'Why, is it not written in the Psalms, That we should praise God with hymns and spiritual songs?' I said, 'Yes, spiritual songs must be had; but yonder is of the flesh, and of the spirit of error: for to you it is pleasant and glorious, but to the Lord it is bitter and odious.'

            "Then said the chancellor, 'Why, is it not written, My house is a house of prayer?' I said, 'Yes. It is written also, That you have made my house of prayer a den of thieves.'

            "With that the chancellor looked, and said, 'Have we?' I answered and said, 'Christ said so.' Then was I commanded to ward.

            "Then Thursday next following was Dr. Brydges sent to me, to examine me of my faith. And he said, 'Countryman, my Lord Bishop (for love he would have you saved) hath sent me unto you, because to-morrow is your day appointed: therefore my Lord hath thought it meet, that you should declare unto me your faith: for to-morrow my Lord will not have much ado with you.' I answered and said, 'Hath my Lord sent you? It is not you to whom I am disposed to show my mind.'

            "Then he said to me, 'I pray you, show me your mind concerning the sacrament of the altar.' I answered, 'Are you ignorant what I have said?' He said, 'No, for it was well written. Except you believe,' saith he, 'as the church hath taught, you are damned both body and soul.'

            "I answered and said, 'Judge not, lest you be judged: condemn not, lest you be condemned.' And he said, 'Lo, we shall have a traitor as well as a heretic: for he will disallow the king's judgment.'

            "I said, 'No, I do not disallow the king's judgment; but yours I do disallow. For I pray you tell me, how came you by this judgment?' He answered and said, 'By the church; for the church hath power to save and condemn: for if you be condemned by the church, be ye sure, that you be damned both body and soul.'

            "Then I answered, 'If you have this power, I am sore deceived: for I believe that Christ shall be our judge. But now I perceive that you will do [so] much for him, that you will not put him to the pain.'

            "Then he said, 'Stand nearer, countryman: why stand ye so far off?' I said, 'I am near enough, and a little too near.'

            "Then he said, 'Did not Christ say, Is not my flesh meat, and my blood drink indeed?' I said, 'To whom spake Christ those words?' He said, 'To his disciples.'

            "I (intending to rehearse the text) said, 'Whereat did Christ's disciples murmur inwardly?' He said, 'No, they did not murmur: but they were the infidels,' saith he; 'for the disciples were satisfied with those words.'

            "I said, 'Did not Christ say thus, as he taught at Capernaum? Whereat his disciples murmured, saying, 'This is a hard saying; who can abide the hearing of it? Jesus perceiving their thoughts, said, Doth this offend you?'

            "Then he raged, and said, 'Oh! thou wrestest the text for thine own purpose: for the disciples did never murmur, but the unbelievers, as thou art.' I said, 'Yes, but I perceive you know not the text.'

            "Then said he, with much raging, 'I will lay my head thereon, it is not so.' Then said I, 'I have done with you.'

            "Then said he, 'What shall I tell my Lord of you?' 'If you have nothing to tell him, your errand shall be the sooner.done,' said I. And so he departed.

            "Then on Friday I was brought forth to receive judgment. Then the chancellor said unto me, Are you a new man, or are you not?' I answered and said, 'I trust I am a new man, born of God.'

            "'God give grace you be so,' said he. So he rehearsed all my examination, and said, 'How say you, are not these your words?' I said, 'Yes, I will not deny them.'

            "Then he said to Dr. Pore, standing by, 'I pray you talk with him.' Then he, alleging to me many fair flattering words, said, 'Take, eat, this is my body. How say you to this? Do you not believe that it is Christ's body? speak.' I said, 'Have you not my mind? Why do you trouble me?'

            "He said, 'What did Christ give you? was it bread, or was it not?' I said, 'Christ took bread, and gave thanks, and gave it; and they took bread, and did eat. And St. Paul maketh it more manifest, where he saith, So oft as ye shall eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye shall show forth the Lord's death until he come. St. Paul saith not here as you say: for he saith, So oft as ye shall eat of this bread. He doth not say body.'

            "So they, intending that I should go no further in the text, said, 'Tush, you go about the bush. Answer me to the first question. Let us make an end of that. What say you to the bread that Christ gave? Let me have your mind in that.' I answered, 'I have said my mind in it.'

            "Then the chancellor said, 'No, we will have your mind in that.' I answered, 'I have said my mind in it.'

            "Then said the chancellor, 'No, we will have your mind more plainly: for we intend not to have many words with you.' I said, 'My faith is fully grounded and stablished, that Christ Jesus, the Easter-lamb, hath offered his blessed body a sacrifice to God the Father, the price of my redemption. For by that only sacrifice are all the faithful sanctified, and he is our only Advocate and Mediator, and he hath made perfect our redemption. This hath he done alone, without any of your daily oblations.'

            "Then Dr. Brydges started up and said, 'Truth! your words are true indeed. You take well the literal sense: but this you must understand, that like as you said that Christ offered his body upon the cross, which was a bloody sacrifice, and a visible sacrifice; so likewise we daily offer the selfsame body that was offered upon the cross, but not bloody and visible, but invisible, unto God the Father.' 'Do you offer Christ's body?' I said; 'why then Christ's sacrifice was not perfect. But Christ is true, when all men shall be liars.'

            "Then he said, 'Thou shalt not fear him that hath power to kill the body; but thou shalt fear him that hath power to kill both body and soul.' I answered and said, 'It is not so. But the text is thus, Thou shalt not fear them that have power to kill the body, and then have done what they can. But thou shalt fear him that hath power to kill both body and soul, and cast them both into hell-fire, and not them.'

            "He answered and said, 'Yes; for it is the church.' I answered and said, Why, Christ saith, I give my life for the redemption of the world. No man taketh my life from me, saith he, but I give it of my own power; and so I have power to take it again. Therefore Christ the Son of God did offer his body once for all. And if you will presume to offer his body daily, then your power is above Christ's power.' With that he chafed and said, 'What, shall we have doctrine? Ye are not hereto appointed.'

            "Then the chancellor stood up and said, 'Will ye turn from this wicked error, and be an example of goodness, as you have been an example of evil, (for by your wicked reading, you have persuaded simple women to he in this error,) and ye shall have mercy.' And I said, 'It is of God that I do crave mercy, whom I have offended, and not of you.'

            "Then said the chancellor, 'When were you at your parish church? These two years and more you have stood excommunicate: wherefore you are condemned!' And so I was condemned."

            Thus hast thou, gentle reader! the examinations of this godly young man, set forth and written with his own hand, who, not long after his condemnation, was, by the sheriffs and officers there, brought to the stake, on August the fifth, where with much patience and constancy he entered his blessed martyrdom. At the burning of which Christian martyr, one Thomas Carman the same time was apprehended (by what occasion it is not yet to us fully certain, whether it was for words, or for praying with him, or for pledging him at his burning); concerning which Thomas Carman, his story hereafter followeth in his order and place, further to be seen.

 

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