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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 164. PATRICK HAMILTON



Patrick Hamilton, at St. Andrews in Scotland, A.D. 1527. His persecutors were, James Be-ton, archbishop of St. Andrews; Master Hugh Spens, dean of divinity in the university of St. Andrew; Master John Weddel, rector of the university; James Simpson, official; Thomas Ramsay, canon, and dean of the abbey of St. Andrew; Allane Meldrum, canon; John Greson, principal of the Black Friars; John Dillidaff, warden of the Grey Friars; Martin Balbur, lawyer; John Spens, lawyer; Alexander Yong, bachelor of divinity, canon; John Annand, canon; Friar Alexander Campbel, prior of the Black Friars, &c.

Patrick Hamilton, a Scotchman born of high and noble stock, and of the king's blood, young, and of flourishing age, and excellent towardness, of twenty-three years, called abbot of Ferme, first coming out of his country with three companions to seek godly learning, went to the university of Marburg in Germany, which university was then newly erected by Philip, landgrave of Hess, where he, using conference and familiarity with learned men, especially with Francis Lambert, so profited in knowledge and mature judgment in matters of religion, that he, through the incitation of the said Lambert, was the first in all that university of Marburg which publicly did set up conclusions there, to be disputed of, concerning faith and works; arguing also no less learnedly than fervently upon the same. What those propositions and conclusions were, partly in his treatise hereafter following, called Patrick's Places, may appear.

Thus the ingenious wit of this learned Patrick, increasing daily more and more in knowledge, and inflamed with godliness, at length began to revolve with himself touching his return into his country, being desirous to impart unto his countrymen some fruit of the understanding which he had received abroad. Whereupon, persisting in his godly purpose, he took one of the three whom he brought out of Scotland, and so returned home without any longer delay; where he, not sustaining the miserable ignorance and blindness of that people, after he had valiantly taught and preached the truth, and refelled their abuses, was first accused of heresy, and afterwards, constantly and stoutly sustaining the quarrel of God's gospel against the high priest and archbishop of St. Andrews, named James Be-ton, was cited to appear before him and his college of priests, the first day of March, A.D. 1527. But he, being not only forward in knowledge, but also ardent in spirit, not tarrying for the hour appointed, prevented the time, and came very early in the morning, before he was looked for; and there mightily disputing against them, when he could not by the Scriptures he convicted, by force he was oppressed. And so the sentence of condemnation being given against him, the same day after dinner, in all the hot haste, he was had away to the fire, and there burned (the king being yet but a child): which thing made the bishops more bold. And thus was this noble Hamelton, the blessed servant of God, without all just cause, made away by cruel adversaries, yet not without great fruit to the church of Christ; for the grave testimony of his blood left the verity and truth of God more fixed and confirmed in the hearts of many, than ever could after be plucked away: insomuch that divers afterwards, standing in his quarrel, sustained also the like martyrdom, as hereafter (Christ willing) shall appear, as place and time shall require.

In the mean season we think good to express here his articles, and order of his process, as we received them from Scotland, out of the registers.

The articles and opinions objected against Master Patrick Hamilton, by James Beton, archbishop of St. Andrews.

"That man hath no free-will.

"That there is no purgatory.

"That the holy patriarchs were in heaven before Christ's passion.

"That the pope hath no power to loose and bind; neither any pope had that power after St. Peter.

"That the pope is antichrist, and that every priest hath the power that the pope hath.

"That Master Patrick Hamilton was a bishop.

"That it is not necessary to obtain any bulls from any bishop.

"That the vow of the pope's religion is a vow of wickedness.

"That the pope's laws be of no strength.

"That all Christians, worthy to be called Christians, do know that they be in the state of grace.

"That none be saved, but they are before predestinate.

"Whosoever is in deadly sin, is unfaithful.

"That God is the cause of sin, in this sense, that is, that he withdraweth his grace from men, whereby they sin.

"That it is devilish doctrine, to enjoin to any sinner actual penance for sin.

"That the said Master Patrick himself doubteth whether all children, departing incontinent after their baptism, are saved or condemned.

"That auricular confession is not necessary to salvation."

These articles above written were given in, and laid against Master Hamilton, and inserted in their registers, for the which also he was condemned, by them that hated him, to death. But other learned men, which communed and reasoned with him, do testify, that these articles following were the very articles, for which he suffered.

"I. Man hath no free-will.

"II. A man is only justified by faith in Christ.

"III. A man, so long as he liveth, is not without sin.

"IV. He is not worthy to be called a Christian, who believeth not that he is in grace.

"V. A good man doth good works: good works do not make a good man.

"VI. An evil man bringeth forth evil works; evil works, being faithfully repented, do not make an evil man.

"VII. Faith, hope, and charity be so linked together, that one of them cannot be without another in one man, in this life."

And as touching the other articles whereupon the doctors gave their judgments, as divers do report, he was not accused of them before the bishop; albeit in private disputation he affirmed and defended the most of them. Here followeth the sentence pronounced against him.

"Christi nomine invocato: We, James, by the mercy of God, archbishop of St. Andrews, primate of Scotland, with the counsel, decree, and authority of the most reverend fathers in God, and lords, abbots, doctors of theology, professors of the Holy Scripture, and masters of the university, assisting us for the time, sitting in judgment within our metropolitan church of St. Andrew, in the cause of heretical pravity, against Master Patrick Hamilton, abbot or pensionary of Ferme, being summoned to appear before us, to answer to certain articles affirmed, taught, and preached by him, and so appearing before us, and accused, the merits of the cause being ripely weighed, discussed, and understood by faithful inquisition made in Lent last past: we have found the same Master Patrick many ways infamed with heresy, disputing, holding, and maintaining divers heresies of Martin Luther, and his followers, repugnant to our faith, and which is already condemned by general councils, and most famous universities. And he being under the same infamy, we decreeing before him to be summoned and accused upon the premises, he, of evil mind, (as may be presumed,) passed to other parts forth of the realm, suspected and noted of heresy. And being lately returned, not being admitted, but of his own head, without licence or privilege, hath presumed to preach wicked heresy.

"We have found also, that he hath affirmed, published, and taught divers opinions of Luther, and wicked heresies, after that he was summoned to appear before us, and our council: That man hath no free-will: that man is in sin so long as he liveth: that children, incontinent after their baptism, are sinners: all Christians that be worthy to be called Christians, do know that they are in grace: that no man is justified by works, but by faith only: good works make not a good man, but a good man doth make good works: that faith, hope, and charity are so knit, that he that hath the one, hath the rest, and he that wanteth the one of them, wanteth the rest, &c., with divers other heresies and detestable opinions; and hath persisted so obstinate in the same, that by no counsel nor persuasion he may be drawn therefrom to the way of our right faith.

"All these premises being considered, we, having God and the integrity of our faith before our eyes, and following the counsel and advice of the professors of the Holy Scripture, men of laws, and other assisting us for the time, do pronounce, determine, and declare the said Master Patrick Hamilton, for his affirming, confessing, and maintaining of the aforesaid heresies, and his pertinacity, (they being condemned already by the church, general councils, and most famous universities,) to be a heretic, and to have an evil opinion of the faith; and therefore to be condemned and punished, like as we condemn and define him to be punished, by this our sentence definitive; depriving, and sentencing him to be deprived, of all dignities, honours, orders, offices, and benefices of the church; and therefore do judge and pronounce him to be delivered over to the secular power, to be punished, and his goods to be confiscated.

"This our sentence definitive was given and read at our metropolitan church of St. Andrew, the last day of the month of February, A.D. 1527, being present the most reverend fathers in Christ, and lords, Gawand, bishop of Glasgow; George, bishop of Dunkeld; John, bishop of Brechin; William, bishop of Dunblane; Patrick, prior of St. Andrews; David, abbot of Abirbrothoke; George, abbot of Dunfermline; Alexander, abbot of Caunbuskineth; Henry, abbot of Lendors; John, prior of Peterweme; the dean and subdean of Glasgow; Master Hugh Spens, Thomas Ramsay, Allane Meldrum, &c.

"In the presence of the clergy and the people," &c.

After the condemnation and martyrdom of this true saint of God were despatched by the bishops and doctors of Scotland, the rulers and doctors of the university of Louvain, hearing thereof, received such joy and consolation at the shedding of that innocent blood, that for the abundance of heart they could not stay their pen to utter condign thanks; applauding and triumphing, in their letters sent to the aforesaid bishop of St. Andrews and doctors of Scotland, at the worthy and famous deservings of their achieved enterprise in that behalf: as by the tenor of their said letter may appear, which here followeth:

"Your excellent virtue, most honourable bishop, hath so deserved, that albeit we be far distant both by sea and land, without conjunction of familiarity, yet we desire with all our hearts to thank you for your worthy deed, by whose works that true faith, which not long ago was tainted with heresy, not only remaineth unhurt, but also is more confirmed. For as our dear friend Master Alexander Galoway, canon of Aberdeen, hath showed us the presumption of the wicked heretic, Patrick Hamilton, which is expressed in this your example, in that you have cut off, when there was no hope of amendment, &c.

"The which thing, as it is thought commendable to us, so the manner of the proceeding was no less pleasant, that the matter was performed by so great consent of so many states, as of the clergy, nobility, and vulgar people; not rashly, but most prudently, the order of law being in all points observed. We have seen the sentence which ye pronounced, and always do approve the same, not doubting but that the articles which be inserted are erroneous: so that whosoever will defend for a truth any one of the same, with pertinacity, should be esteemed an enemy to the faith, and an adversary to the Holy Scripture. And albeit one or two of them appear to be without error, to them that will consider only the bare words; as for example, "Good works make not a good man, but a good man worketh good works;" yet there is no doubt but they contain a Lutheran sense, which in a manner they signify; to wit, that works done after faith and justification, make not a man the better, nor are worthy of any reward before God. Believe not that this example shall have place only among you, for there shall be those among extern nations who shall imitate the same, &c.

"Certainly ye have given us great courage, so that now we acknowledge your university, which was founded according to the example of our university of Louvain, to be equal to ours, or else above; and would God occasion were offered of testifying our minds toward you. In the mean time, let us labour with one consent, that the ravening wolves may be expelled from the sheepfold of Christ, while we have time. Let us study to preach to the people more learnedly hereafter, and more wisely. Let us have inquisitors and espiers of books, containing that doctrine, especially that are brought in from far countries, whether by apostate monks, or by merchants, the most suspected kind of men in these days. It is said that since Scotland first embraced the Christian faith, it was never defiled with any heresy. Persevere therefore, being moved thereunto by the example of England, your next neighbour, which in this most troublous time is not changed, partly by the working of the bishops, among the which Roffensis hath showed himself an evangelical Phœnix, and partly of the king, declaring himself to be another Matthias of the new law, pretermitting nothing that may defend the law of his realm; the which if your most renowned king of Scotland will follow, he shall purchase to himself eternal glory. Further, as touching the condign commendation due for your part, most reverend bishop! in this behalf, it shall not be the least of your praise, that these heresies have been extinct some time in Scotland, you being primate of Scotland, and principal author thereof: albeit that they also which have assisted you, are not to be defrauded of their deserved praise; as the reverend bishop of Glasgow, of whose erudition we have here given us partly to understand, and also the reverend bishop of Aberdeen, a stout defender of the faith, together with the rest of the prelates, abbots, priors, and professors of Holy Scripture. Let your reverend fatherhood take this little testificate of our duty towards you in good part, whom we wish long and happily well to fare in Christ.


"From Louvain, the year 1528, April 21st.
"By the masters and professors of Theology in the university of Louvain."

In the epistle of the Louvanian doctors, I shall not need, gentle reader! to note unto thee, what a pernicious thing in a commonwealth is blind ignorance, when it falleth into cruel hearts; which may well be compared to a sword, put into the hands of one that is both blind and mad. For as the blind man, having no sense to see and judge, knoweth not whom he striketh; so the madman, being cruel and furious, hath no compassion in sparing any. Whereupon it happeneth many times with these men, as it did with the blind furious Pharisees, that as they, having the sword of authority in their hands, instead of malefactors and false prophets, slew the true prophets of God, and at last crucified the King of glory; so these, catholic Louvanians, and followers of their Messias of Rome, take in their hands the sword of jurisdiction; who, neither seeing what to spare, nor caring whom they smite, under the style and pretence of heretics, murder and blaspheme, without mercy, the true preachers of the gospel, and the holy anointed of the Lord.

But to return to the matter again of Master Hamilton; here is moreover to be observed, as a note worthy of memory, that in the year of our Lord 1564, in the which year this present history was collected in Scotland, there were certain faithful men of credit then alive, who, being present the same time when Master Patrick Hamilton was in the fire, heard him to cite and appeal the Black Friar called Campbel, that accused him, to appear before the high God, as general Judge of all men, to answer to the innocency of his death, and whether his accusation was just or not, between that and a certain day of the next month, which he there named. Moreover, by the same witness it is testified, that the said friar died immediately before the said day came, without remorse of conscience that he had persecuted the innocent; by the example whereof divers of the people the same time much mused, and firmly believed the doctrine of the aforesaid Master Hamilton to be good and just.


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