Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 392. THE BISHOPS' CERTIFICATE

392. THE BISHOPS' CERTIFICATE

            And thus hast thou, gentle reader, through the merciful aid and supportation of Christ our Lord most favourably assisting us in the same, the full history and discourse, with the names and places, of all the godly martyrs who suffered, both in the time of Queen Mary, and also before, for the true reformation of Christ's church; which, after the blood of so many saints, the Lord at length hath given us, to whom there-for be praise for ever, Amen.

            This done, next followeth consequently now to be seen, the general and ordinary certificatory of the bishops, which they used to send up to the prince, at their condemning of Christ's innocent servants to death.

 

A certificate from the bishop to the prince.

            "Excellentissimis et illustrissimis in Christo principibus, Philippo et Marię, Dei gratia regi et reginę Anglię, Francię, Neapolis, Hierusalem, et Hibernia, fidei defensoribus, principibus Hispaniarum et Sicilię, archiducibus Austrię, ducibus Mediolani, Burgundię, et Brabantię, comitibus Haspurgi, Flandrię, et Tyrolis,       , servus vester humilis et devotus, permissione divina episcopus N., reverentiam, obedientiam, ac salutem in Eo, per quem reges regnant et principes dominantur. Quia per acta inactitata coram nobis in quodam hereticę pravitatis negotio contra R. P., nostrarum diœcesis et jurisdictionis, nuper, et per seas confessiones, in hęc parte in judicio respective habita, facta, et emissas, comperimus et invenimus luculenter eundum fuisse et esse hereticum et hereticę pravitatis scelere innodatum et involutum, eo pręsertim quod contra veram Christi corporis in eucharistia pręsentiam multipliciter et sępe damnata dogmata tenuisset et defendisset, ac in eodem scelere pertinaciter stetisset et continuasset, nulla pœnitentię signa in ea parte aliquo modo ostendendo; ac ob id eundem manifestum, obstinatum et pertinacem, incorrigibilem et impœnitentem hęreticum fuisse et esse, ac pœna hęresis puniendum et seculari potestati tradendum fore, inter cętera, per nostram sententiam diffinitivam in ea parte judicialiter in scriptis latam et promulgatam pronunciavimus et declaravimus; necnon ipsum provido viro M., uni vicecomitum vestrę civitatis N., ad hoc una nobiscum et cum majore dictę vestrę civitatis N. in judicio personaliter presenti, juxta juris exigentiam reliquimus et tradidimus:-- vestrę igitur Regis Majestati excellentissimę tenore pręsentium significamus, innotescimus, et certificamus, omnia et singula pręmissa sic per nos fuisse et esse gesta et facta, et veritatem in se omnino habere et continere: supplicantes nihilominus, et in visceribus Jesu Christi obsecrantes, ut severitatis ultio et severa executio, quę ex legibus et more regni vestri in hoc casu fieri at haberi solet et consuevit, sic mitigetur, ut idem charitative reformetur, et ejus delicta (quatenus fieri potest) cum omni mansuetudine et lenitate corrigantur; sic quod rigor non sit valde rigidus, et quod dementia omnino sit ad salutem, metumque aliis incutiat a similibus sceleribus abstinendi, potius quam fiduciam prębeat dicta scelera perpetrandi. In cujus rei testimonium sigillum nostrum pręsentibus apponi fecimus. Datum N. die mensis , anno Domini secundum computationem ecclesia Anglicans?, etc."

 

A note or scholium upon this certificate.

            Note, good reader, in this certificate above written, the crafty and cruel hypocrisy and hypocritical cruelty of these dissembling prelates. First, by their sentence, they condemn the poor innocents, and give them to the secular power; then, by their canon, they themselves prescribe the secular power to burn them; and yet here, in this certificate before the king and queen, they put on a visor of clemency, making as though they, from the inward bowels of their heart, would make intercession for their lives, when they mean nothing else indeed but their death.

            If the pope, with his popelings, would not the rigour of the law to be showed, why doth he so charge them in his canon to burn them? why be the prelates so busy to attach them? so inquisitive to entrap them? so hasty to condemn them? so insulting and insolent upon them being condemned, as Bonner was to Tankerfield and to a jerkin-maker -- bidding one of them now go make pies, the other to make jerkins, when he had condemned them?

            Contrary, if the pope with his papists do, (as they do indeed,) and mean nothing else than to make havoc of God's people, why then would they have the world believe as though they wrought all with clemency and pity, desiring the superior powers to remit the rigour and sharpness of their swords? -- when, in very deed, they themselves thrust them violently upon the sword, for them to chop off their necks.

 

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