372. JOHN HALLINGDALE, WILLIAM SPARROW, AND RICHARD GIBSON
The story and martyrdom of John Hallingdale, William Sparrow, and Richard Gibson, three constant witnesses of Christ.
Not long after the martyrdom of the two good women at Colchester above named, were three faithful witnesses of the Lord's testament tormented and put to death in Smithfield at London, the eighteenth of November, in the year aforesaid, whose names hereafter follow: John Hallingdale, William Sparrow, and Richard Gibson.
Which three were produced before Bonner, bishop of London, the fifth day of November, 1567, and had by him and his officers certain articles ministered unto them; the sum whereof hereafter followeth:
"First, That the said John Hallingdale is of the diocese of London, and so subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop of London.
"2. That the said John before the time of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, late king of England, was of the same faith and religion that was then observed, believed, taught, and set forth in the realm of England.
"3. That during the reign of the said King Edward the Sixth, the said John Hallingdale, upon occasion of the preaching of certain ministers in that time, did not abide in his former faith and religion, but did depart from it, and so did and doth continue till this present day, and so determineth to do (as he saith) till his life's end.
"4. That the said John Hallingdale hath thought, believed, and spoken, divers times, that the faith, religion, and ecclesiastical service received, observed, and used now in this realm of England, is not good and laudable, but against God's commandment and word, especially concerning the mass and the seven sacraments; and that he the said John will not in any wise conform himself to the same, but speak and think against it during his natural life.
"5. That the said John absenteth himself continually from his own parish church of St. Leonard, neither hearing matins, mass, nor evensong, nor yet confessing his sins to the priest, or receiving the sacrament of the altar at his hands, or using other ceremonies as they are now used in this church and realm of England; and as he remembereth, he never came but once into the said parish church of St. Leonard, and careth not (as he saith) if he never come there any more, the service being as it is there, and so many abuses being there, as he saith there are, especially the mass, the sacraments, and the ceremonies and service set forth in Latin.
" 6. That the said John, when his wife, called Alice, was brought in bed of a man-child, caused the said child to be christened in English, after the same manner and form, in all points, as it was used in the time of the reign of King Edward the Sixth aforesaid, and caused it to be called Josue; and would not have the said child christened in Latin after the form and manner as it is now used in the church and realm of England, nor will have it by his will (as he saith) to be confirmed by the bishop."
John Hallingdale's answers to the articles.
"Unto all which articles the said John Hallingdale made answer, confessing them all, and every part of them, to be trne, and saying, that he would not revoke his said answers, but stand unto them according as it was in every article above written.
"Furthermore, the said John Hallingdale, being demanded by the said Bonner, whether he did firmly believe that in the sacrament, commonly called the sacrament of the altar, there is really and truly the very body and blood of our Saviour Christ, or no; made answer, that he neither in the time of the said King Edward the Sixth, nor at that present, did believe, that in the said sacrament there is really the very body and blood of Christ. For he said, that if he had so believed, he would (as others had done) have received the same; which he did not, because he had and then did believe, that the very body of Christ is only in heaven, and no where else.
"And furthermore the said John Hallingdale said, that Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Hooper, and generally all that of late have been burnt for heretics, were no heretics at all, because they did preach truly the gospel: upon whose preaching he grounded his faith and conscience, as he said, according to the saying of St. John, in the eighteenth chapter of his Revelation, where he saith, that the blood of the prophets, and of the saints, and of all that were slain upon earth, was found in the Babylonical church; by the which, he said, is understood the church where the pope is the head."
After which examination, the said John was sent unto prison again. And the next day, being the sixth day of the said month, he was called before the bishop again, who persuading him with some wrested sentences of the Scripture, the said John Hallingdale answered, "Because I will not," saith he, "come to your Babylonical church, therefore," speaking unto Bonner, "you go about to condemn me." And being of Bonner further demanded, whether he would persevere and stand in his opinions or no; he made answer that he would continue and persist in them unto the death. Then Bonner read the bloody sentence of condemnation; at which time the said John affirmed openly, that (thanking God) he never came into the church since the abomination came into it. And so he was sent to prison again.
Upon the same sixth day also, in the forenoon, was produced before the bishop the forenamed William Sparrow, and had laid unto him certain articles, which hereafter follow.
"First, That thou, William Sparrow, wast in times past detected and presented lawfully unto thy ordinary the bishop of London, called Edmund, who also is now thine ordinary of the said diocese, and thou wast presented and detected unto him for heresy, errors, and unlawful opinions, which thou didst believe, set forth, and hold.
"2. That thou before the said ordinary didst openly and judicially confess the said heresies, errors, and unlawful opinions, as appeareth plainly in the acts of the court, had and made before the said ordinary.
"3. That thou, after the premises, didst make thy submission in writing, and didst exhibit and deliver the same as thy deed, to thy said ordinary; openly confessing and recognising thy heresies, errors, unlawful opinions, and thine offences and transgressions in that behalf.
"4. That thou, after the premises, didst promise unto thy said ordinary voluntarily and of thine own mind, that always after the said submission, thou wouldst in all points conform thyself unto the common order of the catholic church, observed and kept here in this realm of England, and in no wise fall again to heresies, errors, or unlawful opinions.
"5. That thou, since thy said submission, hast willingly fallen into certain heresies and errors, and hast holden and set forth divers unlawful opinions, to the right great hurt of thine own soul, and also to the great hinderance and loss of divers others; especially against the sacrament of the altar, against confession auricular, with other the sacraments of the catholic church.
"6. That thou, since the said commission, hast willingly gone about divers places within the diocese of London, and sold divers heretical, erroneous, and blasphemous ballets about, and wast apprehended and taken with the said ballets about thee, and committed to prison."
Unto all which articles the said William Sparrows answered in effect as hereafter followeth:
"To the first, second, third, and fourth articles he answered affirmatively, as thus: that he was presented and detected to Bonner, unto whom he made his submission, &c., as in the articles.
"To the fifth he answered, that if he had spoken against them, he had spoken but the truth; for they be naught (meaning the contents of the said article).
"To the sixth, he granted to the article, adding, that he did sell the said ballets then showed and read before him, and that the same did contain God's word."
After which answers, the said William Sparrow was sent unto prison. And the same day in the afternoon, being produced before the bishop again, and there charged with his said submission, made the year before unto the bishop, he answered thus: "I am sorry," said he, "that ever I made it, and it was the worst deed that ever I did:" adding further unto them, "Hold up your abomination so long as you can." Also being laid unto him, and charged by the bishop that he went to church, and there was confessed and heard mass, the said William Sparrow made answer and confessed, that he did so, "but with a troubled conscience," he said, "God knoweth." And speaking further to the bishop, he said, "That which you call truth, I do believe," said he, "to be heresy." And also the bishop charging him again with the contents of the fifth article above named, he answered that he had so done, as is contained in the same article, and so will do again, if he were at liberty. And being further demanded of Bonner, whether he would persist and continue in the same, or no; he made answer, that he would not go from his opinions. And adding thereunto, he said, "That which you call heresy," (speaking to the bishop,) "is good and godly; and if every hair of my head were a man," said he, "I would burn them all, rather than go from the truth."
Then being demanded what ground of learning he had to cleave to his opinions, he made answer and said, that all the laws now used (meaning the ecclesiastical laws) are naught and abominable. And further thereunto he said, that the mass is naught and abominable, &c.: which words being spoken, the bishop immediately read the sentence of condemnation upon him; and so delivered him to the secular power, by whom he was sent to prison again.
Richard Gibson, martyr.
With the other two above named, suffered also in the same fire Richard Gibson, who first was cast into the Compter in the Poultry, (where he had been prisoner by the space of two years for suretyship in a matter of debt, and then stood upon his deliverance,) then upon suspicion and evil will was accused to Bonner, for that in the prison he was never confessed, nor received at the popish altar: by reason whereof he was called for, and sustained divers and sundry conflicts and examinations in the cause of his faith and religion. But first he seemed to make a certain submission, which also he exhibited with the other twenty-eight above mentioned: but because it seemed something to differ in words from the other, it appeareth not to be received; or whether it was received or no, it is not fully certain. This is certain, that although his submission was in the bishop's register recorded, yet he was not delivered out from imprisonment till the day of his burning. The articles first objected and ministered unto him by the bishop, were these:--
"First, That the said Richard Gibson, prisoner in the Compter in the Poultry, in the diocese of London, hath otherwise than became a faithful Christian man, and a good subject of this realm of England, behaved himself in words and deeds, in divers conditions and points, contrary to the order, religion, and faith of Christ's catholic church, and contrary to the order of this realm, to the pernicious and evil example of the inhabitants of the city of London, and the prisoners of the prison of the said Compter in the Poultry, and greatly to the hurt and damage of his own soul, offending especially in the articles following: by reason whereof the said Richard Gibson was and is of the jurisdiction of the said bishop of London, and subject to the said jurisdiction, to make answer to his offences and transgressions underwritten, according to the order of the law.
"2. That the said Richard Gibson hath unreverently spoken against the pope, and see, and church of Rome, and likewise against the whole church of this realm of England, and against the seven sacraments of the catholic and whole church of Christendom, and against the articles of the Christian faith here observed in this realm of England, and against the commendable and laudable ceremonies of the catholic church.
"3. That the said Richard Gibson hath commended, allowed, defended, and liked, both Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, and also all other heretics here in this realm of England, according to the ecclesiastical laws condemned for heretics; and also liked all their heretical and erroneous, damnable, and wicked opinions, especially against the sacrament of the altar, and the authority of the pope and see of Rome, with the whole religion thereof.
"4. That the said Richard Gibson hath comforted, aided, assisted, and maintained, both by words and otherwise, heretics and erroneous persons, or at the least suspected and infamed of heresies and errors condemned by the catholic church, to continue in their heretical and erroneous opinions aforesaid, favouring and counselling the same unto his power.
"5. That the said Gibson hath affirmed and said, that the religion and faith commonly observed, kept, and used now here, in this realm of England, is not good and laudable, nor in any wise agreeable unto God's word and commandment.
"6. That the said Gibson hath affirmed, that the English service, and the books commonly called the Books of Communion, or Common Prayer, here set forth in this realm of England in the time of King Edward the Sixth, were in all parts and points good and godly; and that the same only, and no other, ought to be observed and kept in this realm of England.
"7. That the said Gibson hath affirmed, that if he may once be out of prison and at liberty, he will not come to any parish chnrch, or ecclesiastical place, to hear matins, mass, evensong, or any divine service now used in this realm of England, nor come to procession upon times and days accustomed, nor bear at any time any taper or candle, nor receive at any time ashes, nor bear at any time palm, nor receive pax at mass-time, nor receive holy water, nor holy bread, nor observe the ceremonies or usages of the catholic church, here observed or kept commonly in this realm of England.
"8. That the said Gibson hath affirmed, that he is not bound at any time, though he have liberty, and the presence of a priest convenient and meet, to confess his sins to the said priest, nor to receive the absolution of his sins at his hands, nor to receive of him the sacrament, commonly called the sacrament of the altar, after such form as is now used within this realm of England.
"9. That the said Gibson hath affirmed, that prayer unto saints, or prayers for the dead, are not laudable, available, or profitable; and that no man is bound at any time or in any place to fast or pray, but only at his own will and pleasure; and that it is not lawful to reserve or keep the said sacrament of the altar, nor in any wise to adore and worship it."
As these aforesaid articles were ministered unto him the eighth day of May, so was there another article objected against him by the said Bonner, the sixth day of November the same year; the tenor whereof here followeth.
"That thou, being both notably suspected of heresy, errors, and evil opinions, and also (by the common report and fame amongst the worshipful, grave, and honest persons of this city of London in a notable number) culpable and faulty, hast not lawfully purged and cleared thyself from the said suspicion; but rather day by day continually, by thy acts and deeds, hast augmented and increased the said suspicion, refusing to be confessed to the priest, refusing to receive the sacrament of the altar at the priest's hands, refusing to hear mass when thou hadst opportunity, and wast thereunto required by thy ordinary, the bishop of London, in whose diocese thou wast then abiding -- refusing also to give an oath on a book, and to make answer to such articles, as, by the said ordinary, were lawfully and duly objected against thee, concerning the said heresies, errors, and ill opinions -- and as, by thy said ordinary, thou wast upon just and reasonable causes commanded and required, and on thy behalf, without just or reasonable cause, contemptuously and wilfully refused: thereby, in law, bringing thyself to be taken and reputed, in those articles and matters, for a person confessing the same."
Concerning his anwers unto the said articles, because he did not swear to answer to their interrogatories, therefore, without further answer-making, Bonner declared him pro confesso.
The greatest matter which he was charged withal, was for not coming to confession, being thereunto required, for not receiving of the sacraments of the popish making, and for that he would not swear to answer unto their interrogatories laid against him.
Notwithstanding, after these his first examinations, he continued in the foresaid prison of the Compter a good space, from the month of May unto November, at what time he was again produced unto the final examination judiciary. Where is to be noted, that Master Gibson, being a very big and tall man, of a personable and heroical stature, was sent for of Bonner by a little atd short person, a promoter, like Robin Papist, called Robin Caley, if it were not he himself.
This Robin Caley, having the conducting of the said gentleman from the Poultry, would needs hale him through Cheapside, the gentleman desiring him to turn some other way. But the more the gentleman entreated, the more fierce was this silly Jack upon him; and drawing and holding him by the arm, would needs hale him through the High Street, that all the world might see what he could do in his office. Master Gibson, desirous to be led without holding, willed and entreated him to let his arm loose: he would go quietly of his own accord with him whither he would, only craving that he might go by him freely, without noting of the people.
The saucy and impotent miser the promoter, hearing this, who was scarce able to reach to his shoulders, "Nay," saith he, "thou shalt not escape me so, come on thy ways: thou shalt not choose but come!" And so, reaching at his arm, would needs drag him unto the bishop. The gentleman content to go, yet loth to be notified in the streets, gently requested again and again, that, refraining his hold, he would suffer him to go of his own free and voluntary will; he should not need to fear him, for he would not start from him. To whom the caitiff, looking up to his face, "Come on thy way," saith he, "I will hold thee fast, spite of thy beard, and whether thou wilt or no."
Master Gibson, seeing and beholding the intolerable bragging of the wretched miser, and moved therewith not a little, could bear no longer, but said, "Wilt thou?" said he; and added moreover, bitterly looking down towards him, that if he did not incontinently pluck away his hand (and so staid withal) he would immediately wring his neck from his body. Whereupon Robin Papist the promoter was fain to pluck away his hold, and so proceeded they unto the bishop, there to be examined again before him.
I should have declared before, how Bonner, as his manner was commonly with divers, had received and procured against him for witnesses, William Wood, John Babington, Thomas Hawes, Thomas Cornish, Richard Lawkenor, Nicholas Grave, and Owen Claydon: to whom interrogatories were also ministered to depose upon against the said Gibson. The tenor of the interrogatories was this.
"1. Whether ye know of certain, or else credibly are informed and believe, that Richard Gibson, now prisoner in the Compter in the Poultry, within the city and diocese of London, hath ever, at all sundry times and places, in prison or otherwhere, behaved himself in words, behaviour, and deeds, in all conditions and points, as all the catholic and true subjects of this realm ought to do, and to behave themselves therein according to their duty.
"2. Whether ye so know, or are so informed and believe, that the said Richard Gibson hath, during all the time of his said imprisonment, reverently spoken of the pope, and of the see and church of Rome, and likewise of the whole church of this realm of England, and of the seven sacraments of the catholic church, and other points of the catholic religion.
"3. Whether ye have heard the said Richard Gibson, at any time during his said imprisonment, speak against the said pope and his authority, and against the church of Rome and the faith thereof, or against this church of England and the faith and service thereof, or against any of the said seven sacraments of the said catholic church, or against the common order of the ecclesiastical church, or any of the ceremonies thereof.
"4. Whether ye have heard the said Richard Gibson, at any time during his said imprisonment, allow, commend, defend, and like, any the articles that Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, &c., or any other, were condemned for as heretics, by the ecclesiastical authority and laws of this realm of England.
"5. Whether ye have heard this said Richard Gibson, at any the said times, to comfort, aid, and assist, by words or otherwise, any heretic, or any erroneous person, or person suspected of heresy, to continue or persist in any their heretical and erroneous opinions.
"6. Whether have ye heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, in talk, utter and say that the religion and faith commonly observed and used here now, in this realm of England, is not good nor laudable, nor agreeable unto God's word and commandment; and that he will be contented in all points to conform himself, without any murmuring or grudging, unto the same.
"7. Whether ye have heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, affirm and say that the English service, and the books commonly called the Books of Communion, set forth in this realm of England in the time of King Edward the Sixth, were in all parts good and godly, and the same only to be observed and kept, and none other.
"8. Whether ye have heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, affirm or say that he, being at liberty, is not bound to come to any his parish church, there to hear matins, mass, evensong, or any other divine service now used in this realm of England.
"9. Whether ye have heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, affirm and say that he, being at liberty, is not bonnd to come unto procession upon days and times accustomed; nor to bear at any time any taper or candle, nor to receive at any time ashes, or to bear at any time palm, or to receive or kiss the pax at mass-time, or to receive holy bread or holy water, or to observe the ceremonies and usages of the church.
"10. Whether have ye heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, say and affirm that he is not bound, at any time, to confess his sins unto any priest, and to receive absolution at the priest's hands; or to receive, at any time, at the priest's hands, the sacrament, commonly called the sacrament of the altar, after such form and manner as it is now used in this realm of England.
"11. Whether ye have heard the said Gibson at any time, in prison or elsewhere, to affirm and say that prayers unto saints, or prayers for the dead, are not laudable nor profitable; and that a man is not bound, at any time, to fast or pray, (but at his pleasure,) at any time appointed by the church; and that it is not lawful to reserve the sacrament of the altar, nor to adore and worship it.
"The witnesses above named, being npon these interrogatories deposed, do attest and witness, some in his excuse, some contrary: of whom two of them, that is, John Babington his bedfellow, and Thomas Hawes, make answer and say; that they never knew nor saw, either in word or deed, by him, otherwise than well. The others, William Wood, Thomas Cornish, Richard Lawkenor, Owen Claydon, and Nicholas Grove, deposing against him, gave witness in this effect as followeth: namely, that the said Gibson, for two years before, was not confessed unto any priest, neither in that space did receive the sacrament of the altar, as they so term it. Whereunto Master Gibson granting, and not denying the same, gave thanks unto God for that he had so done."
Bonner, receiving these depositions of the witnesses above named, began to charge him with the same, objecting further and laying more matter unto his charge: that the said Gibson, being on a time in the bishop's house, and being required by the said bishop to go into his chapel with him to hear mass, refused so to do. To which Master Gibson answered again, that he had neither said nor done any thing therein, whereof he was sorry, or which he would revoke; but that he would stand therein, and seal it with his blood.
Among others who were at this examination, there was also there present John, bishop of Winchester, who, amongst other communication, had these words, saying, that it was no pity to burn a heretic. To whom Gibson replied again and said, he thought it not requisite nor lawful to burn them as heretics. And then the bishop of Winchester said, that he would not commune or talk any further with the same Gibson, because he perceived him to be a heretic, and thereby excommunicate. Then Gibson said, "Yea, my Lord," quoth he, "yours, and other bishops' cursings, be blessings unto me," &c.
After this, another day being assigned him to appear again, much talk passed between him and Darbishire, then chancellor. But in fine, being required to swear that he should answer unto all they would demand, he denied to answer unto all things the bishop should command him as ordinary: "for he is not," saith he, "mine ordinary;" and so bade him go tell the bishop. Before the which bishop he, being then commanded to appear the Friday next following, was brought unto the justice-hall without Newgate, where he had the like conflicts with the foresaid bishop and divers other justices. At length he was assigned the Saturday following, to be present in the bishop's consistory court, to hear his final sentence: at which day and place, the said examinate appearing as he was commanded, the bishop, after other matter of communication, asked him if he knew any cause why the sentence should not be read against him. To whom the said Master Gibson answered, that the bishop had nothing wherefore justly to condemn him. The bishop's reason was again objected to him, that men said he was an evil man. To whom Gibson replying again; "Yea," saith he, "and so may I say of you also." To be short, after this and such other talk, the bishop hasted unto the sentence; which being read, Gibson being yet again admonished to remember himself, and to save his soul, said that he would not hear the bishop's babbling; and said moreover, (boldly protesting and affirming,) that he was contrary and an enemy to them all, in his mind and opinion, although he had aforetime kept it secret in mind, for fear of the law. And speaking to the bishop, "Blessed," said he, "am I, that am cursed at your hands. We have nothing now, but, Thus will I: for as the bishop saith, so must it he. And no heresy is to turn the truth of God's word into lies; and that do you," meaning the bishop and his fellows.
Thus this valiant soldier, fighting for the gospel and sincere doctrine of Christ's truth and religion against falsehood and error, was committed, with his fellows, to the secular power.
Illustration -- Hallingdale, Gibson and Sparrow led to execution
And so these three godly men, John Hallingdale, William Sparrow, and Master Gibson, being thus appointed to the slaughter, were, the twelfth day after their condemnation, (which was the eighteenth day of the said month of November,) burnt in Smithfield in London. And being brought thither to the stake, after their prayer made, they were bound thereunto with chains, and wood set unto them; and, after wood, fire; in the which being compassed about, and the fiery flames consuming their flesh, at the last they yielded glori ously and joyfully their souls and lives into the holy hands of the Lord, to whose tuition and government I commend thee, good reader. Amen.
It is a little above declared, in this story of Richard Gibson, how Bonner ministered unto the said Gibson certain articles, to the number of nine. Now let us see likewise the articles which the said Gibson ministered again to Bonner, according to the same number of nine, for him to answer unto, as by the same hereunder written may appear.
"1. Whether the Scriptures of God, written by Moses and other holy prophets of God, through faith that is in Christ Jesus, be available doctrine, to make all men in all things unto salvation learned, without the help of any other doctrine, or no?
"2. What is authority, and from whence it cometh, and to whom it appertaineth, and to what end it tendeth?
"3. Whether the holy word of God, as it is written, doth sufficiently teach all men, of what dignity, estate, or calling by office soever he or they be, their full, true, and lawful duty in their office: and whether every man, of what dignity, estate, or calling by office soever he or they be, are bound upon the pain of eternal damnation, in all things to do as they are hereby taught and commanded, and in no wise to leave undone any thing that is to be done, being taught and commanded by the same?
"4. Whether any man, the Lord Jesus Christ (God and man) only except, by the holy ordinance of God ever was, is, or shall be, lord over faith? and by what lawful authority of any man, of what dignity, estate, or calling by office soever he or they be, may use lordship or power over any man for faith's sake, or for the service of his conscience?
"5. By what lawful authority or power any man, of what dignity, estate, or calling soever he or they be, may be so bold as to alter or change the holy ordinances of God, or any of them, or any part of them?
"6. By what evident tokens antichrist in his ministers may be known; seeing it is written, that Satan can change himself info the similitude of an angel of light, and his ministers fashion themselves as though they were the ministers of righteousness? And how it may be known to him that is desirous thereof, when he is one of that number, or in the danger thereof, or when he is otherwise?
"7. What the beast is, the which maketh war with the saints of God, and doth not only kill them, but also will suffer none to buy or sell, but such as worship his image, or receive his mark in their right hands, or in their foreheads, his name, or the number of his name, or do worship his image, which, by the just and terrible sentence of God already decreed, shall be punished in fire and brimstone, before the holy angels, and before the Lamb; and they shall have no rest day nor night, but the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for evermore? Also what the gorgeous and glittering whore is, the which sitteth upon the beast, with a cup of gold in her hand full of abominations; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth; and she herself also is drunken with the blood of the saints, which is the wine of her fornication; whose flesh the horns of the beast shall tear in pieces, and burn her with fire: for God hath put in their hearts to do his will?
"8. Whether a king over all those people which are born and inhabit within his own dominions, regions, and countries, or any part of them, of what dignity, estate, or calling by office soever they be, here upon this earth immediately under Christ, by the holy ordinance of God, is lawful, supreme, and chief governor, or no? And whether a king over all those people within his dominions, regions, and countries, and every part of them, by holy ordinance of God, lawfully may, and ought not otherwise to do, nor suffer otherwise to be done, than in his own name, power, and authority, (the name of God only except,) as lawful, supreme, and chief head in all things that belong to rule, without exception, to govern and rule? And whether all those people, of what dignity, estate, or calling soever they be, are bound by the holy ordinance of God, to owe their whole obedience and service in all things without exception (their duty to God only excepted) to their king only, as to the supreme and chief governor upon earth immediately under Christ? And whether a king, without offence against God and his people, may give away, and not himself use that his authority and power given him of God; or lawfully may, without offence to God and his people, (after knowledge thereof had,) suffer himself by frand or guile, or by any other unlawful mean, to be beguiled, defrauded, and despoiled thereof? and whether any subject, of what dignity, estate, or calling soever he or they be, without offence to God and to his king, to the minishing or derogation of the supreme prerogative-royal of his king, or of any part thereof, may do aught? or, after knowledge thereof had, without offence to God, and to his king, may conceal the same?
"9. Whether the holy written law of God be given of God unto all men, of what dignity, estate, or calling by office soever they be, as well thereby to govern all their dominions, regions, and countries, and their people there inhabiting, as themselves: and whether any law or laws (the holy law of God only excepted) not being made within any dominion, region, or country where it or they be used, may be lawfully used before it or they be, as the lawful law or laws of the same dominion, region, or country, by public and common order of the same dominion, region, or country, lawfully allowed: and whether any subject, without offence against God and his king, within the dominion of his king, may lawfully use any such law or laws not so allowed?"
"Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye mighty, ascribe unto the Lord worship and strength: give unto the honour of his name, and bow yourselves to the majesty of the Lord."
What manner of man a bishop ought to be, and the duty of him in his office; as the Holy Scriptures of God most truly do teach.
"A bishop, as the steward of God, must be blameless, the husband of one wife, and one that ruleth well his own house, and that hath faithful children in subjection with all reverence; and one that is diligent, prudent, sober, discreet, righteous, godly, temperate, a keeper of hospitality, not stubborn, not angry, not given to over-much wine, no fighter, not greedy of filthy lucre; but one that loveth goodness, abhorring fighting, abhorring covetousness. He may not be a young scholar, but such a one as is apt to teach, and that cleaveth to the true word of doctrine, that he may be able to exhort by wholesome learning, and to improve them that say against it. He must have a good report of them that are without. He may not be a lord over the faithful, of them that are committed unto his charge, neither may he use any lordship over them for the same, but must become as one of them, that, through his humbleness, he may win the more to well doing. Neither may he be so bold as to speak any other thing, to make any man obedient to the same, than he himself hath learned of Christ. Neither may he do or teach any thing to tangle or to snare any man withal. He may not walk in craftiness, neither use the cloak of unhonesty, neither handle the word of God deceitfully, neither chop nor change with the same; but in the singleness thereof, so open the truth, to the advancement of the truth thereby, as that he may report himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. He may not reject the weak in faith, in disputing and troubling their conscience, but must bear their frailty, and, in the spirit of meekness, must be ready to help him that is overtaken with any fault; and not to stand in his own conceit, lest he himself also be tempted.
"He not only lawfully may, but also onght, by the virtue of his office, to preach the word; sincerely to minister, so as no man may be able to reprove him; and to expel, put ont, or excommunicate from among the remnants of his charge, all open wilful malefactors, who will not by any other means be reformed; and yet to fare fair with all men, and not to be rigorous: because his office is given him to edify, not to destroy. And he not only lawfully may, but also ought, by the virtue of his office, of virtuous able men, well known, and of honest report, within his charge, to appoint sufficient number to help him in the discharge thereof. And he, in no case, by violence, may compel any man to be of his church and fellowship, or to be partaker of any thing that is done therein. And for his due administration, as one worthy of double honour, he may not only receive of his charge what is necessary, but also ought of them, as of duty, without requests, (if need require,) to be provided of the same.
"If the bishop of London be such a manner of man as yet doth teach, and hath done, and daily doth, his duty therein as he is taught by the same, (as of duty he ought to do,) then doubtless, as he is a meet and worthy man for his office, so am I worthy of the punishment I have -- yea, if it were more. But, if it be otherwise, (as wherein, for the tender mercy of Christ Jesu, I most humbly require righteous judgment,) then, as I have unworthily sustained long punishment, so is he not only most unworthy of his office, but also hath most worthily deserved to be recompensed blood for blood, as equity requireth.
"I will hearken what the Lord God will say: for he shall speak peace unto his people, that they turn not themselves unto foolishness.
"This sixth of April, 1557.
By me, RICHARD GIBBON."