Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 214. SIR JOHN BORTHWIKE



The history touching the persecution in Scotland, with the names and causes of such blessed martyrs, as in that country suffered for the truth, after the time of Patrick Hamelton.

            Thus, having finished the time and race of King Henry the Eighth, it remaineth now, according to my promise made before, here to place and adjoin so much as doth come to our hands, touching the persecution of Scotland, and of the blessed martyrs of Christ, which in that country, likewise, suffered for the true religion of Christ, and the testimony of their faith.

            To proceed therefore in the history of these Scottish matters, next after the mention of David Stratton and Master Nicholas Gurley, with whom we ended before, the order of time would require next to infer the memory of Sir John Borthwike, knight, commonly called Captain Borthwike; who, being accused of heresy, as the papists call it, and cited there-for A.D. 1540, and not appearing, and escaping out into other countries, was condemned for the same being absent, by the sentence of David Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrew's, and other prelates of Scotland; and all his goods confiscated, and his picture at last burned in the open market-place. Whose story, with his articles objected against him, and his confutations of the same, here ensueth in process under expressed, as followeth.


The act or process, or certain articles against Sir John Borthwike, knight, in Scotland: with the answer and confutation of the said Borthwike; whose preface to the reader here followeth.

            "By the help of a certain friend of mine, there came certain articles unto my hand, for the which the Scottish cardinal, and such other like of his sect and affinity, did condemn me as a heretic. And forasmuch as this condemnation should not lack his cloak or defence, they gathered together a great number of witnesses, whereas, besides the bare names of the witnesses, they alleged none other proof at all. Wherefore I thought good to bestow some labour in refelling those articles, which they could not prove, partly that I might take away from all true Christians the occasion of all evil suspicion, as though that I, being vanquished or overthrown by their threatenings, would deny Christ; and, partly, that their errors being thereby made manifest, they should even for very shame repent, or else, hereafter, the less abuse the furor or madness of such witnesses to shed blood. Therefore I will first confirm, by evident testimonies of the Scriptures, those things which in times past I have taught; and afterwards I will refel their vain sophistication, whereby they go about to subvert the truth of God."


The act or process, &c.

            "Sir John Borthwike, knight, commonly called Captain Borthwike, being accused, suspected, slandered, and convicted by witnesses, without all doubt of greater estimation than he himself, in the year of our Lord 1540, the twenty-eighth day of May, in the cloister of St. Andrew's, in the presence of the most reverend fathers, Gawine, archbishop of Glasgow, chancellor of Scotland; William, bishop of Aberdeen, Henry, bishop of Candicatia, John, bishop of Brechin, and William, bishop of Dunblane; Andrew of Melrose, George of Dunfermline, John of Paslet, John of Londrose, Robert of Rillos, and William of Rulrose, abbots; Mancolme of Quiterne and John of Petinuaim, priors; Master Alexander Balfour, vicar of Ritman, rector of law, official of St. Andrew's; John Winryme, subprior; John Annand and Thomas Cunningham, canons of St. Andrew's; John Thompson of the university of St. Andrew's; and Master John Mairr and Peter Capel, bachelors of divinity and doctors; Martin Balfour, bachelor of divinity, and of the law, and official principal of St. Andrew's; John Tulildaffe, warden of the Friars Minors, and John Patterson of the same convent: and also in the presence of the most noble, mighty, and right worshipful lords, George earl of Huntelo, James earl of Arran, William earl marshall, William earl of Montrose; Malcolm Lord Fleming, chamberlain of Scotland; John Lord Linsey, John Lord Erskine, George Lord Seton, Sir James Hamelton of Finwart, Walter, lord of the knights of St. John, of Forfichen; Master James Foules of Collington, clerk to the king's register; with divers other lords, barons, and honest persons, being called and required together for witnesses, that he did hold, publish, and openly teach, these errors following."


The first article.

            "That our most holy father the pope, the vicar of Jesu Christ, hath not, neither can exercise, greater authority over Christians here on earth, than any other bishop or prelate."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "These holy ones do magnify their Lord by like title as common thieves and robbers are accustomed to prefer the captains and ringleaders of their robberies and mischiefs, calling them in every place the most honest and good men, whereas likewise it is evident that in the whole world there is no man more given to riot, which more greedily doth seek after all kind of delicateness and wantonness, and finally aboundeth with all kind of vice, as treason, murder, rapine, and all kind of such evils.

            "Furthermore, whereas they affirm him to be the vicar of Christ here on earth, it shall be easily convinced, when it shall be made manifest, that he neither hath, nor can exercise, more power or authority over Christians, than any other bishop or prelate. For unto that office of being vicar they refer that great authority the which they do so greatly boast and brag of, which being taken away, the office of vicar doth also fall and decay. But now, to attempt the matter, I will first demand of the maintainers of this pre-eminency and authority, whereupon they will ground the same? I know that they will answer unto me, that Peter had power and authority over the other apostles, and consequently over the universal church, the which power, by succession, is translated unto the bishops of Home. But how unshamefacedly do they lie herein, any may easily perceive who hath but any small spark of judgment in him, when he shall hear the testimonies of the Scriptures, which we will allege to confirm this our opinion. For Peter, in Acts xv., in the council, doth declare what is to be done, and admonisheth us what of necessity we ought to do. And he there did also hear others speak, and did not only give them place to say their minds, but also permit and receive their judgment; and whereas they decreed, he followed and obeyed the same. Is this then to have power over others?

            "Furthermore, whereas in his First Epistle he writeth unto bishops and pastors, he doth not command them as a superior or head over them, by power and authority, but maketh them his fellow companions, and gently exhorteth them as is accustomed to be done between equals of degree; for these are his words: I beseech and desire the bishops and pastors which are amongst you, forasmuch as I myself am also a bishop, and a witness of the afflictions of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory which shall be revealed, that they do diligently feed the flock of Christ, which is committed unto them. Why then do they so challenge unto them the authority of Peter, which he never acknowledged in himself? Truly, I do not doubt but that if Peter were, here present, he would, with like severity, rebuke their folly and madness, as Moses, in times past, did unto Joshua, which burned with too earnest a zeal towards him.

            "I doubt not but that many, in this feigned authority of Peter, do seek out more vain helps to maintain and uphold the tyranny of popes, rather than to make him ruler and governor over all others. For whereas in Acts viii. he is commanded by his fellows to go with John into Samaria, he did not refuse so to do. Insomuch then as the apostles do send him, they declare thereby, that they do not count him as their head and superior; and in that he doth obey them, and taketh upon him the office or ministry committed unto him, he confesseth thereby that he hath a society and fellowship with them, but no rule or empery over them, as he writeth in his Epistle. But if none of these examples were evident or manifest, the only Epistle to the Galatians were sufficient to put us out of all doubt; where St. Paul, almost throughout two whole chapters, doth nothing else but declare and affirm himself to be equal unto Peter, in the honour or dignity of the apostleship. For, first of all, he rehearseth how he went up to Jerusalem unto Peter, not to the intent to profess any homage and subjection unto him, but only to witness, with a common consent and agreement, unto all men the doctrine which they taught; and that Peter did require no such things at his hand, but gave unto him the right side or upper hand of the fellowship, that they might jointly together labour in the vineyard of the Lord. Moreover, that he had no less favour and grace among the Gentiles, than Peter had amongst the Jews; and finally, when Peter did not faithfully execute his office and ministry, he was by him rebuked, and Peter became obedient unto his correction.

            "All these things do evidently prove, that there was equality between Paul and Peter, and also that Peter had no more power over the residue of the apostles than he had over Paul: which thing St. Paul even of purpose doth treat of, lest any man should prefer Peter or John before him in the office of apostleship, which were but his companions, and not lords over one another. Whereupon these places of Scripture work this effect, that I cannot acknowledge Peter to be superior or head over other apostles, neither the pope over other bishops: but I acknowledge and confess Christ to be the only Head of the church, the Foundation and High Priest thereof, who, with one only oblation, hath made perfect for evermore all those which are sanctified. And I boldly do affirm and say with St. Gregory, that whosoever calleth himself, or desireth to be named or called, the head or universal priest or bishop, in that his pride he is the fore-rider or predecessor of antichrist; forasmuch as, through his pride, he doth exalt himself above all others.

            "Furthermore, whereas they allege, out of the old law, the high priesthood and the supreme judgment which God did institute and ordain at Jerusalem; I answer thereunto, that Christ was that high bishop, unto whom the right and title of priesthood is now transported and referred. Neither is there any man so impudent, which will take upon him to succeed in the place or degree of his honour; forasmuch as this priesthood doth not consist only in learning, but is the propitiation and mercy of God, which Christ hath fulfilled by his death, and in the intercession, by which he doth now entreat for us unto his Father.

            "Whereas also they do allege out of Matt. xvi., Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, &c., if they do think that this was particularly spoken unto Peter, St. Cyprian and St. Augustine shall sufficiently answer them, that Christ did it not for this purpose, to prefer one man above all the residue, but that thereby he might commend and set forth the unity of the church; for so saith St. Cyprian: 'In the person of one man God gave unto them all the keys, that he might thereby signify the unity of them all. For even as Peter was, even the very same were all the residue, being endued with like fellowship of honour and dignity. But it was convenient that it should take its original of one, that the church of God might be manifested to be one only.' St. Augustine's words are these: 'If the mystery of the church were not in Peter, the Lord would not have said unto him, I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. If this were spoken unto Peter, the church hath them not. If the church have them, then Peter, when he received the keys, did figurate the whole church. Again, when they were all demanded and asked, only Peter answered, Thou art Christ. Then was it said unto him, I will give unto thee the keys, as though that he alone had received the power of binding and loosing; for, like as he alone spake that for them all, so he, as it were, bearing the person of that unity, received the same with them all. Therefore, one for them all, because he is united unto them all.'

            "Another argument they do gather upon the words which Christ spake unto Peter, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church: which words are not found to be spoken unto any other of the apostles. This argument shall easily be dissolved, if we do understand and know why Christ did give Peter that name, which otherwise was called Simon. In the first chapter of John, Christ speaketh thus unto him: Thou shalt be called Cephas; which, by interpretation, signifieth Peter: in that point having respect unto the constant confession of Christ, which he had made, like as God changed the name of Abraham, who at first was called Abram, because he should be a father of many nations. Then, even as Abraham took his name of the multitude, which should come forth of his seed, so likewise Peter took his name of the constant confession of Christ, which indeed is the true rock whereupon the church is builded, and not Peter himself; no otherwise than Abraham, which was not the multitude itself, whereof he took his name.Besides this, the church should be stayed, or builded, upon an over-weak foundation, if it should have Peter for the ground or foundation thereof, who, being amazed and overcome with the words of a little wench, did so constantly deny Christ.

            "Now, therefore, I think there is no man but that doth understand how these Romish builders do wrest the Scriptures hither and thither, and, like unto the rule or square, do apply them according to their wills, to what end and use they themselves think good.

            "Furthermore, in that they do allege, out of John xx., Feed my sheep, it is an over-childish argument; for to feed, is not to bear rule and dominion over the whole church. Besides all this, as Peter had received commandment of the Lord, so doth he exhort all other bishops to feed their flock, in his First Epistle and fifth chapter. Hereby a man may gather by these words of Christ, that either there was no authority given unto Peter more than unto others, or else that Peter did equally communicate that right and authority, which he had received, unto others, and did not reserve It unto himself after his death, to be transported unto the bishops of Rome.

            "As for such reasons as they do allege, which are not gathered or taken out of Holy Scriptures, I pass them over, lest I might seem to contend with shadows."


The second article.

            "That indulgences and pardons, granted by our supreme head the pope, are of no force, strength, or effect; but tend only to the abuse of the people, and to the deceiving of their souls."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "It shall be evidently declared, that indulgences and pardons are of none effect, after that I have, first of all, taught what they do call indulgences or pardons. They say, they are the treasures of the church, that is to say, the merits of Christ, of the saints, apostles and martyrs, whom they impudently affirm to have performed and merited more at God's hand, at the time of their death, than was necessary or needful for them; and that of the abundance of their merits there did so much superabound, as was not only sufficient for themselves, but also might redound to the help of others. And, because so great a goodness should not be superfluous or in vain, they affirm and teach, that their blood was mixed and joined with the blood of Christ; and of them both, the treasure of the church was compound, and made for the remission and satisfaction of sins. How cunning and notable cooks these are, which can make a confection of so many sundry herbs!

            "Furthermore, they do feign the custody and keeping of this treasure to be committed wholly unto the bishop of Rome, in whose power consisteth the dispensation of so great treasures, that either by himself may give or grant, or otherwise give power unto other to give the same. And hereupon rise the plenary indulgences and pardons granted by the pope, for certain years; by cardinals, for a hundred days; by bishops, for forty days. This is the judgment and opinion which they hold of the indulgences. But I pray you, who taught those saints to work or deserve for others, but only Satan, who would utterly have the merits of Christ extinguished and blotted out, which he knoweth to be the only remedy of salvation? For, if the Scripture doth teach us that no man of himself can deserve or work his salvation, how did the saints then work or merit for others? It is manifest that Christ saith, in Luke xvii., When ye have done all that which is commanded you for to do, yet, saith he, ye are unprofitable servants. Besides this, all that which may be deserved or merited in the righteousness of man, is, in Isaiah xxxiv., compared unto the garment menstruous and defiled, to be cast out.

            "There are almost infinite places in the Scripture, wherein man's power is so extenuated, and the corruption and frowardness of our nature so made manifest, that even in the best and most perfect works there lacketh not imperfection. Notwithstanding the parable of the ten virgins, written In Matthew xxv., ought to put us out of all controversy and doubt. There Christ describeth two kinds of men, the one kind of holy men, which observe and keep the inward righteousness of the heart as the oil of faith; the other sort is of such as, having no mind of their oil, are answered by them that are wise, No! lest that there be not sufficient for you and for us; but go you rather to them which do sell, and buy for yourselves: in the which place it is manifestly declared how vainly the second sort of men do fly to the patronage of the elect, by whose merits they think to be saved.

            "Now let us weigh and consider upon what places of Scripture they build or establish their feigned invention of pardons. They allege the saying of St. Paul to the Colossians, I supply or fulfil the afflictions of Christ, which were wanting in my flesh, for his body which is the church. But Paul, in this place, doth not refer that defect or supplement to any work of redemption, expiation, or satisfaction; but to those afflictions, by the which the members of Christ, that is to say, all the faithful, should be afflicted, so long as they live in the flesh: wherefore he saith, that this doth yet remain of the passion of Christ, that those afflictions which once he suffered in his own body, he now daily suffereth in his members. For Christ hath vouchsafed to honour us with this honour, that he doth impute and call our afflictions to be his.

            "And whereas St. Paul doth add this word, for the church, he doth not understand thereby for the redemption, reconciliation, satisfaction, or expiation of the church, but for the edifying and the profiting of the same, as in the Second Epistle to Timothy, he saith, that for the elect's sake he suffered all these things, that they might obtain salvation. But, to the intent that no man should think that salvation to depend upon those things which he himself had suffered, he added further, The which is in Christ Jesu.

            "As touching the reason, that the blood of the martyrs is not shed in vain, without fruit or profit: and, therefore, ought to be conferred to the common utility and profit of the church; I answer, that the profit and fruit thereof is abundant; to glorify God by their death, to subscribe and bear witness unto the truth by their blood, and, by the contempt of this present life, to witness that they do seek after a better life; by their constancy and stedfastness, to confirm and establish the faith of the church, and subdue and vanquish the enemy."


The third article.

            "That the pope is an open user of simony, daily selling the gifts of the spiritualties: and that it is lawful for all bishops to be coupled and joined in matrimony."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "This article hath its several parts, for those things which we have spoken or answered unto the article before-written, do sufficiently declare, that the pope is not only a user of simony, but also a notable deceiver, who selleth such kind of merchandise as can in no place help or prevail; forasmuch as his pardons are nothing less than such as he feigneth them to be. Doth he not then show himself a manifest deceiver, when he maketh fairs and markets of them?

            "But, to the intent I will not seem in this behalf vainly to labour or travail, I will pass unto the second part, where I do say, that it is not only done against the word of God, but also against equity and justice, to forbid priests to marry, forasmuch as it is not lawful for any man, by any means, to forbid that thing which the Lord hath left at liberty. For St. Paul, in Hebrews xiii., declareth that matrimony is lawful for all men, saying, that marriage, and the undefiled bed [or chamber], is honourable amongst all men. And in 1 Cor. vii., he saith, For avoiding of whoredom, let every man have a wife of his own. But I know what these obstinate and stiffnecked will answer unto me, that the same is spoken and meant of others, and not of priests.

            But what will they answer unto me, as touching that which is written in 1 Tim. iii. 1, A bishop ought to be without rebuke, the husband of one wife? and, by and by after, he saith, Deacons ought to be the husbands of one wife, the which should rule and govern their children and family uprightly. Unto these Paul affirmeth matrimony to be meet and necessary, let them say what they can to the contrary.

            "What could be more vehemently spoken against their wicked tyranny, than that which by the Holy Ghost he declareth in the fourth chapter of the same Epistle, that in the latter days there should come wicked men, which should forbid matrimony? and he calleth them not only deceivers, but also wicked spirits; attending unto the doctrine of wicked spirits. But these men think that they have very well escaped, when they wrest this sentence to those old ancient heretics the Tatianists. 'They,' say these men, 'did only condemn matrimony: we do not condemn it, but only forbid churchmen to marry; unto whom we think matrimony is not convenient.' As though that albeit this prophecy were first of all complete and fulfilled in the Tatianists, that it did not also redound unto them; or as though this their subtle sophistication were worthy to be regarded, that they do not deny or prohibit matrimony, because they do not forbid it unto all men generally! Like as if a tyrant would contend and affirm his law to be good, by the extremity and violence whereof only one part of the city is oppressed.

            "But now, let us hear the reasons of the contrary part: 'It behoveth,' say they, 'a priest to differ from the common sort of the people by some notable mark or token.' But read St. Paul, where he describeth the perfect image of a good bishop: did he not reckon and account marriage amongst the other good gifts which he required to be in them? But I know very well how these men interpret Paul: verily, that a bishop ought not to be chosen, which hath married his second wife. But also it appeareth openly by the text, that this interpretation is false, forasmuch as he doth, by and by, declare and show what manner of women the wives of bishops and deacons ought to be. Wherefore St. Paul numbereth matrimony amongst the principal virtues pertaining unto a bishop: and these men do teach it to be an intolerable vice amongst the orders of the church, and not being content with that general reproach or slander, they call it in the canons, 'the uncleanliness, polluting, and defiling of the flesh.'

            "Now let every man consider with himself out of what shop this stuff is taken. God instituted matrimony: Christ sanctified it with his presence, by turning water into wine; and vouchsafed so to honour it, that he would have it the image or figure of his love and friendship with the church. What can be more famous or notably spoken to the commendation and praise of wedlock? But these unshamefaced faces do call it 'a filthy and unclean thing,' alleging the Levitical priests, which, as often as they came unto the office of ministration, were bound to lie apart from their wives, whereby they, being clean and undefiled, might handle the holy things: and our sacraments, forasmuch as they are much more noble and excellent than theirs, and daily used, it would be a very uncomely thing that they should be handled by married men! As though that the office of the ministry of the gospel were all one with the Levitical priesthood. For they, as figures, did represent Christ, which, being Mediator between God and man, by his singular and absolute purity and cleanness, should reconcile the Father unto us. For forasmuch as on no part sinners could exhibit or show forth any type or form of his sanctity or holiness, yet, to the intent they might shadow him out with certain similitudes ot lineaments, they were commanded that whensoever they should come unto the sanctuary or holy place, they should purify themselves above all men's order or fashion: for then did they most near and properly figurate Christ, which appeared in the tabernacle as peace-maker, to reconcile the people unto God. This image or personage, forasmuch as our ecclesiastical pastors at this day do not take upon them to execute, in vain are they compared unto them. Wherefore the apostle, without all exception, upon a sure and good ground doth pronounce and say, that marriage is honourable amongst all men, and that whoremongers and adulterers do abide the judgment of God.

            "Besides all this, the apostles themselves, by their examples, do prove that matrimony is not unworthy of any office or function, beit ever so excellent; for St. Paul himself is witness, that they did not only keep their wives, but also carried them about with them."


The fourth article.

            "That all those heresies commonly called the heresies of England, or at the least, the greater or most part of them, are to be now presently understood and known by the Englishmen, to be of themselves good and just, and to be observed of all faithful Christians as most true and conformable unto the law of God; and that he had persuaded many persons to embrace the said heresies."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "St. John, in his eleventh chapter, declareth how Caiaphas, high bishop of Jerusalem, did prophesy that Jesus should die for the people; which thing he spake, being utterly ignorant. The like image of blindness we have now presently in our luxurious cardinal of St. Andrews, and his adherents, which accused religion of heresy, which, in the year of our Lord 1540, was had in estimation in England, at which time they proclaimed me an arch-heretic, although they esteem the same religion for most Christian; for what religion at the time was used in England, the like the whole realm of Scotland did embrace: in this point only the Englishmen differed from the Scots, that they had cast off the yoke of antichrist; the others not. Idols were worshipped by both nations; the profaning of the Supper and Baptism was alike unto them both; wicked superstition reigned on both parts, and true worship was deformed and defaced with detestable hypocrisy.

            "Truly it is most false which they do affirm and say, that I had subscribed unto such kind of heresies, as though they had been conformable unto the law of God, whereas nothing is more adverse or repugnant thereunto: for even now of late, God of his goodness and mercy had opened my dazzling eyes, and had drawn me out of the filthy slough of idolatry and superstition, in the which, amongst others, I have so long time wallowed and tumbled. Neither is it any less absurd, that they affirm me to have allured many to embrace the same; except peradventure they do understand that I have oftentimes wished that the yoke of antichrist should be shaken and cast off from the necks of the Scots, as it is from the English men; which thing, with sincere and upright heart, and with an earnest mind, I do now also wish and desire."


The fifth article.

            "That the Scottish nation and their clergy be altogether blinded; of whom he did also say and affirm, that they had not the true cathOlic faith. And this he did so openly teach and preached also, that his faith was much better and more excellent, than the faith of all the clergy in the realm of Scotland."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "No man will deny that people to be blinded, which neither hear Christ nor his apostles. Such are the people of Scotland; I speak of those unto whom the verity and truth of Christ hath not yet opened or manifested itself. There is no cause, therefore, why they should accuse me of heresy. Furthermore, how far off the nation and the people of Scotland be from the hearing of Christ, (albeit the premises do sufficiently declare,) in that they do. challenge unto the Romish antichrist the authority which Christ and his apostles do declare Christhimself to be endued withal, and that, contrary to the word of God, they forbid priests to marry, I will add something more unto it, whereby the matter may be more evident. Christ calleth himself the door whereby all men ought to enter in: see John x. Contrariwise, the Scots do say and affirm, that we must enter in by the Virgin Mary and St. Peter. Christ, in John iv., saith, The time shall come, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: the Scots build themselves high temples and chapels for idols, in which, even as Israel in times past, they commit fornication. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. x., saith that Christ, by one only oblation, hath made perfect all those for evermore, which are sanctified: which saying confirmeth also the words of Christ hanging upon the cross, saying, It is finished; signifying that by his death there was a final end set to all sacrifices, which are offered up for sins. But the Scottish churchmen, as they are blasphemers indeed, so do they brag and boast, that they daily offer up Christ for the sins both of the quick and of the dead! God commandeth us that we shall not worship any graven image: the Scots do not only fall down flat before images, but also offer up incense unto them! St. Paul teacheth us that Christ is made our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: the Scots, being wise men in their own conceits, prefer and embrace traditions feigned and invented out by man's head, before the law of God; they stablish righteousness in their own works; sanctification in holy water and other external things; redemption in pieces of lead, which they do buy of their great antichrist. Who then will quarrel with me, that I do allege that the people of Scotland are blind, and that my faith, Which doth only behold the word of God, is much better and more excellent than theirs?"


The sixth article.

            "Agreeably to the ancient errors of John Wickliff and John Huss, arch-heretics condemned in the council of Constance, he hath affirmed and preached, that the clergy ought not to possess or have any temporal possessions; neither to have any jurisdiction or authority in temporalties, even over their own subjects; but that all these things ought to be taken from them, as it is at this present in England."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "The Lord, in the book of Numbers, chap. xviii., said thus unto Aaron, Thou shalt possess nothing in. their land; neither shalt thou have any portion and inheritance amongst them, I am thy portion and inheritance amongst the children of Israel. For unto the sons of Levi I have given all the tithes of Israel, that they should possess them for their ministry which they do execute in the tent of ordinaries. Albeit I do not doubt but that the order of the Levites, and of our clergy, is far different and variable: for the administration of their sacred and holy things, after their death, passed unto their posterity as it were by right of inheritance; which happeneth not unto the posterity of our clergy in these days.

            "Furthermore, if any heritage be provided or gotten for them, I do not gainsay but that they shall possess it: but still I do affirm, that all temporal jurisdiction should be taken from them. For when twice there rose a contention amongst the disciples, which of them should be thought the greatest, Christ answered, The kings of nations have dominion over them, and such as have power over them are called beneficial: you shall not do so; for he which is greatest amongst you shall be made equal unto the youngest or least; and he which is the prince or ruler amongst you, shall be made equal unto him that doth minister: minding thereby, and willing utterly to debar the ministers of his word from all terrene and civil dominion and empire. For by these points he doth not only declare that the office of a pastor is distinct and divided from the office of a prince and ruler, but that they are in effect so much different and separate, that they cannot agree or join together in one man. Neither is it to be thought that Christ did set or ordain a harder law than he himself before did take upon. him: forasmuch as in Luke iii., certain of the company said unto him, Master, command my brother that he divide his inheritance with me: he answered; Man, who made me a judge or divider amongst you? We see therefore that Christ even simply did reject and refuse the office of a judge; the which thing he would not have done, if it had been agreeable unto his office or duty. The like thing also he did in John viii., when he refused to give judgment upon the woman taken in adultery, which was brought before him.

            Whereas they do allege that Moses did supply both offices at once, I answer, that it was done by a rare miracle. Furthermore, that it continued but for a time, until things were brought unto a better state. Besides that, there was a certain form and rule prescribed, him of the Lord, when he took upon him the civil governance; and the priesthood he was commanded to resign unto his brother; and that not without good cause, for it is against nature, that one man should suffice both charges: wherefore it was diligently foreseen and provided for in all ages; neither was there any bishop, so long as any true face or show of the church did continue, who once thought to usurp the right and title of the sword. Whereupon, in the time of St. Ambrose this proverb took its original, that emperors did rather wish or desire the office of priesthood, than priests any empire. For it was all men's opinion at that time, that sumptuous palaces did pertain unto emperors, and churches unto priests. St. Bernard, also, writeth many things which are agreeable unto this our opinion; as is this his saying: 'Peter could not give that which he had not, but he gave unto his successors that which he had, that is to say, carefulness over the congregation; for when the Lord and Master saith, that He is not constitute or ordained judge between two, the servant or disciple ought not to take it scornfully if that he may not judge all men.' And, lest that he might seem in that place to speak of the spiritual judgment, he straightway annexeth, 'Therefore,' saith he, 'your power and authority shall be in offence and transgression; not in possessions. For this purpose, and not for the other, have you received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Why then do you invade other men's bounds or borders?' The rest I pass over for brevity's sake."


The seventh article.

            "Falsely, and against the honour, estate, and reverence of the sacred Majesty of the king of Scots, he hath said, holden, and affirmed, that our most noble king of Scots, defender of the Christian faith, would appropriate unto himself all the possessions, lands, and rents of the church, given and granted by his predecessors, and also by himself, and convert them unto his own private use. And for this end and purpose, as he hath many times written unto him, so hath he with his whole endeavour persuaded our said noble lord and king thereunto."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "It is no marvel though these mad dogs do so bark against me, whom they think to have counselled the king's Majesty, (I would to God I had also thoroughly persuaded him,) that he should take away from these unjust, sacrilegious possessors the riches wherewithal they are fatted and engreased like swine. For this is the nature dogs, that if any man go about to take away the bone out of their mouth, by and by to snatch at him, and tear him with their teeth. It is out of all controversy unto such as have any wit at all, that such were very childish, that is to say, ignorant of all learning and judgment, which did so fat and feed with their possessions these belly-beasts. For who would not judge it more than childish, to bestow the king's victuals or meat upon the bellies of the prophets of Baal and Jezebel? But all they that, at this present, do endue such filthy sinks (I will not call them dens of thieves) with such revenues, they do follow the steps of Jezebel; for what other thing do they, when daily they are bleating and bowing before their images, burning of incense, and falling flat down before their altars, but that which in times past the prophets of Baal did, when they transported the worship of God unto an idol? Wherefore, if Daniel and Elias were spotted with heresy, when they would have destroyed the priests of Baal, I grant that I also must be a heretic.

            "But forasmuch as he then did nothing but that which was commanded him of the Lord, who was able to kill the prophets that had allured the people to follow strange gods, he could not truly and justly be accused of heresy: so neither can my adversaries spot me therewithal, except, peradventure, they will condemn in me, that whereas Elias dealt more rigorously with the prophets of Baal, for he cast them into the brook Kedron, I required or desired no more, but that the riches which were wickedly bestowed upon them, and their possessions, might be taken from them."


The eighth article.

            "He willed and desired, and oftentimes with his whole heart prayed, that the church of Scotland might come and be brought to the same point and state, and to like ruin, as the church of England was already come unto."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "If the church of Israel decayed, when in the time of Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and other holy men, it was released and set at liberty out of Babylon; I grant also, that it was a ruin unto the Englishmen, to have departed and gone away out of Babylon, the mother of all whoredom; upon whose rotten and filthy paps and breasts they have a long time depended and hanged, being made drunk with the wine of her whoredom and unshamefacedness. They had rather cause to give me thanks, who, with so sincere and good a heart, wished unto them so happy a fall. But these unthankful persons thought it not enough with slander and reproach to tear me asunder, but now also, as blind rage and madness have taken away all sincerity and uprightness of mind and judgment, they lie in wait, and snares for my life."


The ninth article.

            "He hath openly holden, said and affirmed, preached and taught; that the laws of the church, that is to say, the sacred canons, approved and allowed by the holy catholic and apostolic church, are of no force, strength, or effect; alleging, therefore, and affirming, that they are made and invented contrary to the law of God."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "God forbid that I should say, that those things which are approved and allowed by the holy catholic church, should be of no effect or value. For well I know, that the holy apostolic church hath never allowed, ordained, or taught any thing which she hath not learned of the Lord. The apostles are witnesses thereof, Peter and Paul, whereof the one of them dareth not freely utter or speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by himself for the obedience of the Gentiles. The other exhorteth, that if any man speak, he should speak the praises of God. But I condemn those laws which the bishops of Rome have made according to their own will and mind, and which they say are spiritual, pertaining unto the soul, and necessary unto everlasting life; forasmuch as the writings of the apostles do evidently declare, that there was no authority known amongst them to make or ordain any ordinances or laws.

            "Furthermore, the Scriptures do manifestly show the same, how oftentimes, even by the Lord's own mouth, this aforesaid authority is taken from the ministers of the church; so that no excuse for them remaineth, but that they be plain rebels against the word of God, how many soever do presume or take upon them to appoint or set any new laws upon the people of God: which thing is more manifest and evident than the light itself, in many places of the Scripture; for in Joshua xxiii., it is written, You shall observe and do all that is written in  the law of Moses, neither shall you swerve from that, either to the right hand or to the left hand. But that which is written in Deuteronomy xii., ought to move them somewhat more. Whatsoever I command, saith the Lord, that shall ye observe and do: thereunto you shall add nothing, neither shall you take any thing from it. The like he had said before in chapter iv. of the same book. And again Moses, in chapter xiii. of the same book, doth witness, that he did put forth life and blessing unto Israel, when he gave them that law which he had received of the Lord. How can they then excuse themselves of perjury, who ordain new laws to live by?

            "But let us proceed further, and see what authority the priests of Levi's stock had to make laws. I do not deny but that God, in Deut. xvii., ordained, under a great penalty, that the authority of the priests should not be contemned, but had in reverence. But in Malachi ii. he also declareth under what condition they are to be heard, where he saith, He hath made a covenant with Levi, that the law of truth should be in his mouth. And, by and by after, he addeth, The lips of the priest shall keep and maintain wisdom; and the law they shall require at his mouth, who is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is fit and necessary, if a priest will be heard, that he doth show himself the messenger of God, that is to say, that he faithfully report and declare the commandments which he hath received of the Lord. For where Malachi speaketh of hearing of them, he putteth this specially, that they do answer according to the law of the Lord. Therefore, like as the Levitical priests did break their covenant made with God, if they did teach any other law than that which they had received of him, so, likewise, these men must either acknowledge themselves to be covenant-breakers, or else they may not bind the consciences of men with any new law.

            "Furthermore, what power the prophets had universally, it is very lively described in Ezekiel, chapter xxxiii. Thou son of man, saith the. Lord, I have made thee a guide unto the house of Israel: thou shalt hear the word out of mine own mouth, and declare it unto them from me. He then who is commanded to hear of the mouth of the Lord, is he not forbidden to rehearse or speak any thing of himself? for what other thing is it to speak from the Lord, but so to speak that he may boldly affirm and say, that it is not his word, but the word of the Lord, which he speaketh?

            "Further, God, by his prophet Jeremy, calleth it chaff, whatsoever doth not proceed from himself. Wherefore none of the prophets have opened their mouths at any time to speak, but being premonished by the word of God. Whereupon it happeneth, that these words are so often pronounced by them, The word of the Lord; the charge or burden of the Lord; the vision of the Lord; thus saith the Lord; the month of the Lord hath spoken it.

            "Now, that we may also confirm that which is before spoken, by the examples of the apostles, that they have taught nothing but that which they have learned of the Lord, the law which Christ prescribed unto them, when he endowed them with the dignity and honour of the apostleship, is somewhat more profoundly to be repeated. In Matthew xxviii. he commandeth them to go forth and teach, not such things as they themselves did rashly invent or devise, but those things which be bad commanded them.

            Furthermore, Paul, in 1 Corinthians ii., denieth that he hath any dominion or rule over the faith of the Corinthians, albeit he was ordained by the Lord to be their apostle. If you require and desire a further reason of the moderation of St. Paul, read chap. x. of his Epistle to the Romans, where he teacheth, that faith cometh by hearing. It cometh not by the dreams of the bishop of Rome, or of any other bishop, but only by the word of God.

            "Neither ought any man to think it strange, that Christ restrained his apostles by the law, that they should not teach any thing but that which they had learned of the mouth of the Lord: he set the same law upon himself, because it should not be lawful for any man to refuse it. My doctrine, saith Christ, is not mine, but his which sent me; my Father's. He who hath been the only and eternal counsellor of the Father, who also is ordained by the Father the Lord and Master over all, yet, for so much as he hath the office and part of a minister, he doth by his example prescribe unto all ministers, what rule and order they ought to follow in teaching. Wherefore the power of the church is not such, that she may, at her own will and discretion, teach new doctrines, or, as they term it, frame new articles of faith, or establish new laws; but is subject unto the word of the Lord, and as it were included in the same.

            "But now let us behold what defence they do bring for their constitutions. The apostles, say they, and the elders of the primitive church, established a decree, besides the commandment of Christ, whereby they did command all people to abstain from all things offered unto idols, suffocation, and blood: If that were lawful for them so to do, why is it not lawful for their successors, as often as necessity shall require, to imitate and to follow them in doing the like?

            "But I deny that the apostles, in that behalf, did make any new decree or ordinance, forasmuch as Peter, in the same council, pronounceth God to be tempted, if any yoke be laid upon the necks of the disciples. Even he himself doth subvert and overthrow his own sentence, if they consent to lay any yoke upon them. But a yoke is laid upon them, if the apostles, by their own authority, do decree to prohibit the Gentiles not to touch any thing offered unto idols or strangled. But, you will say, they do write that they should abstain from these things. I grant that they do so write: but what doth St. James declare? that the Gentiles which are converted unto God, are not to be troubled and vexed in such extern decrees and outward elements as these be. And the apostle sufficiently declareth that he goeth about nothing less, than to restrain the liberty of the Gentiles, but only to admonish and warn them, how they should moderate and rule themselves among their brethren, lest they should abuse their liberty to the offence of the others.

            "They allege furthermore, that which is written in Matthew xxiii., The scribes and Pharisees have sitten in the chair of Moses; therefore, all things whatsoever they command you to observe and keep, the same observe and do; but do you not as they do.

            "I answer, the Lord in this place doth inveigh against the manners of the Pharisees, simply instructing his hearers whom before he had taught, that albeit they could perceive or see nothing in their life which they should follow, yet, for all that, they should not refuse to do these things which they did teach by the word: I say, by the word, and not of their own head."


The tenth article.

            "Divers and many ways he hath said, holden, and also affirmed, and openly taught, that there is no religion to be observed or kept, but simply to be abolished and destroyed, as it is now in England; and, despising all religion, affirming that it is but an abusion of the people, he hath taught that their habits and ventures are deformed and very monstrous, having in them no manner of utility or holiness; inducing and alluring, as much as in him lay, all the adherents of his opinion, that all religion in the kingdom of Scotland should be subverted and utterly taken away, to the great offence of the catholic church, and the diminishing and detriment of the Christian religion."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "The prophet Isaiah, in his fifth chapter, crieth out, saying, Woe be unto you which call evil good, and good evil, darkness light, and light darkness, sour sweet, and sweet sour. And it followeth in the same place in the said prophet, Woe, saith he, to you that be wise and sapient in your own eyes, and prudent in your own estimation. No man can deny but that the cardinal of Scotland and his adherents be under this most heavy and grievous curse, when they do so generally confound the Christian religion and their wicked monkery, that they do entitle them both by one name of holiness. I trust I will make it appear more manifest than the day, that they do it by a sacrilegious audacity or boldness, unto such as, setting apart all preposterous affection, will embrace the truth, when she doth manifestly show herself.

            "But before I enter into the matter, I will all men to understand, that I do not touch that kind of monkery, which St. Augustine and others do so often make mention of; as in which the monks, being gathered together, utterly contemning and despising the vanities of this world, did lead a most chaste and godly life, living in prayers, reading, and disputations; not puffed up with pride; nor contentious with frowardness, neither full of envy: no man possessed any things of his own; no man was chargeable or burdenous unto others. They wrought with their hands, to get that which might sustain the body, the spirit and mind not let and hindered from God. Whatsoever did superabound more than was necessary for their sustentation, (as, by the restraint of their delicious and delicate fare much did redound of the labours of their hands,) it was with such diligence distributed unto the poor and needy, as it was not with greater diligence gotten by them that did give the same. For they by no means went about to have abundance lying by them, but sought all means possible, that nothing should remain by them more than sufficient. Besides this, no man was forced to any extremity, which he could not bear or suffer, no man had any thing laid upon him which he refused, neither was he condemned of the rest, which confessed himself unable to imitate or follow. They had always in their mind how commendable a thing love and charity was; they remembered that all things are clean to them which are clean: therefore they did not refuse or reject any kinds of meat as polluted or defiled; but all their whole industry and labour was applied to subdue lust and concupiscence, and to retain love amongst brethren. Many of them did drink no wine, yet, notwithstanding, they thought not themselves defiled therewithal: for unto such as were sick and diseased, who could not recover the health of their body without the same, they did most gently permit it. And whereas many foolishly refused the same, they brotherly admonished them to take heed that they became not rather the weaker than the holier, through their vain superstition.

            "Hitherto I have repeated that which St. Augustine writeth of the monks of his time, whereby I would, as it were, paint out in a table, what manner of monkery there was in the old time, that all men might understand how great difference there is between that, and the monkery in these our later days. For he would have all extreme compulsion to be taken away in such things as, by the word of God, are left to us at liberty. But, now-a-days, there is nothing more severely and cruelly exacted for they say it is a remediless offence if any do, but ever so little, swerve from their prescript order, in colour or kind of garment, or in any kind of meat, or in any other frivolous or vain ceremony.

            "St. Augustine doth straightly affirm, that it is not lawful for monks to live idle upon other men's labour. He plainly denieth that in his time there was any such example of any well-ordered monastery. But our monks do constitute the principal part of holiness in idleness, which they call a contemplative life; wherefore the state or monkery of the old time, and of these our days, is in all points so diverse, that scarce can any thing be more unlike (I will not say, utterly contrary); for our monks, not content with that godliness to the study and desire whereof Christ commandeth all his continually to be attentive, imagine a new kind of godliness, I know not what, by the meditation whereof they are more perfect than all others. But it is a most pestilent error, (which all godly men ought to abhor,) to feign any other rule of perfection, than that common rule delivered unto the whole universal church, which we suppose to be sufficiently approved in the refutation of the article before passed.

            "Now I also pass over with silence the great blasphemy, whereby they compare their monastical confession unto baptism. I also hold my peace, that they do dissipate and divide the communion of the church, when they do separate themselves from the lawful society and fellowship of the faithful, and claim unto themselves a peculiar ministry and private administration of the sacraments: but, as St. Augustine witnesseth, it was so far off, that the monks, in times past, had any several church or administration of the sacraments from others, that they were a part and portion of the common people, albeit they dwelt asunder.

            "But if a man may touch the manner of these our monks, what shall I call the cloisters in these our days, otherwise than brothel-houses, swine styes, and dens of discord. Besides that, I will pass over their fairs and markets, which, in these later days they do make of their relics of martyrs, to build up Sodom again. Wherefore, I conclude that this their kind of life which they claim unto themselves, is utterly wicked and naught, the which is not established or grounded upon any certain calling of God, neither allowed by him; wherefore I may be bold to say that it is unlawful, because their conscience hath nothing whereby to sustain itself before God; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

            "And furthermore, so long as they do entangle and bind themselves with so many and so perverse and wicked kinds of worshipping as the monkery now-a-days doth contain in it, I may well say that they are not consecrated unto God, but unto the devil. For why? was it lawful for the prophets to say, that the Israelites did offer their children unto wicked spirits, and not unto God, because they did corrupt and violate the true worshipping of God with profane ceremonies -- is it not lawful then to speak the like of our monks, who, together with their cowls, have put on a thousand snares of most wicked superstitions? Let every man now weigh and consider with himself, if I have done wickedly to wish such religions as is this our monkery, to be utterly extinguished and rooted out. Moreover, all Christian princes should rightly and truly do their office, if, as in times past Josias pulled down and overthrew the high places which his elders, the kings of Judah, had budded, so they would abolish and drive away this kind of monks."


The eleventh article.

            "It is plainly manifest by lawful proofs, that the said John Borthwike had, and presently hath, divers books suspected of heresy, condemned as well by the papal, as aIso regal and ordinary, authorities, and prohibited by the law: that is to say, especially the New Testament, commonly printed, in English; Ścolampadius, Melancthon; and divers treatises of Erasmus and other condemned heretics; also a book entitled Unio Dissidentium, the which containeth most manifest and great errors and heretical assumptions; and hath read and studied the same as well openly as privately, and hath presented and communicated them unto others; and, also, hath instructed and taught many Christians in the same, to the end and purpose to divert and turn them away from the true Christian and catholic faith."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "O good God! who can suffer so great a blasphemy! with what a filthy cankered stomach do these boorish swine note the New Testament with heresy! Who would not judge it a most venomous tongue, which dare pronounce and utter such contumelious words against the holy gospel of our Saviour Christ? Truly these men (howsoever they do pronounce me an arch-heretic) do fill up the measure of all other heretics, (I will not say blasphemers,) as the Jews, which put Christ to death, did of all other murderers. How then shall these serpents and stock of vipers escape and flee the judgment of everlasting fire? I do not greatly stand or stay, that they do suspect Ścolampadius, Melancthon, or Erasmus, neither am I so mad to plead their cause, who, as they are men of singular learning and eloquence, so do their writings manifestly declare, how falsely and wickedly these sycophants impute this crime and slander of heresy unto them.


The twelfth article.

            "It is manifest, that the said John Borthwike was so obstinate in all the aforesaid errors and heresies, and so maintained and taught them, with such an obdurate heart and mind, that he would not by any means he persuaded from them by his friends, and divers other persons which did dearly love and favour him, but chose rather obstinately to persevere in his said errors."


Sir John Borthwike's answer.

            "I am willingly contented to be reduced to the catholic faith, but if Satan raise up any storms or tempests against that, those I do something resist. Wherefore they most shamefully lie, which do otherwise jest or talk of me; for I know not by what reason they call them my friends, who so greatly laboured to convert me, neither will more esteem them than the Midianites, which, in times past, called the children of Israel to do sacrifice unto their idols. And furthermore, I desire the most high and mighty God, that he will never suffer me to swerve or turn away from this holy, godly, and Christian obstinacy and stubbornness. The man is blest, that path set his whole hope and confidence upon the Lord, and hath not regarded or looked upon the proud, or those which follow after lies.'


The sentence of condemnation against Sir John Borthwike, knight, by the cardinal, bishops, and abbots in Scotland, A.D. 1540.

            "Of all which the premises and many other errors by him holden, spoken, published, affirmed. preached, and taught, the common fame and report is, that the said Sir John Borthwike is holden, reputed, and accounted of very many, as a heretic, and principal heretic, which holdeth evil opinions of the catholic faith.

            "Wherefore we, David, by the title of St. Stephen in Mount Celo, prelate and cardinal of the holy Church of Borne, archbishop of St. Andrews, primate of the whole kingdom of Scotland, and born legate of the apostolic see, sitting after the manner of judges in our tribunal seat, the most holy Gospels of God being laid before us, that our judgment might proceed from the face of God, and our eyes might behold and look upon equity and justice; having only God, and the verity and truth of the catholic faith, before our eyes; his holy name being first called upon; having, as is before said, hereupon holden a council of wise men, as well divines as lawyers, we pronounce, declare, decree, determine, and give sentence, that the said Sir John Borthwike, called Captain Borthwike, being suspected, infamed, and accused of the errors and heresies before said, and wicked doctrines manifoldly condemned as is aforesaid and by lawful proofs against him in every of the premises had, being convict and lawfully cited and called, not appearing, but as a fugitive, runaway, and absent, even as though he were present, to be a heretic, and is, and hath been, convict as a heretic; and as a convict heretic and heresiarch to be punished and chastened with due punishment, and afterwards to be delivered and left unto the secular power. Moreover, we confiscate and make forfeit, and by these presents declare and decree to be confiscated and made forfeit, all and singular his goods, movables and unmovables, howsoever and by whatsoever title they be gotten, and in what place or part soever they be, and all his offices, whatsoever he hath hitherto had: reserving, notwithstanding, the dowry, and such part and portion of his goods, as by the law, custom, and right of this realm, unto persons confiscate ought to appertain. Also we decree, that the picture of the said John Borthwike, being formed, made, and painted to his likeness, be carried through this our city to our cathedral church, and afterwards to the market-cross of the same city, and there, in token of malediction and curse, and to the terror and example of others, and for a perpetual remembrance of his obstinacy and condemnation, to be burned. Likewise we declare and decree, that notwithstanding, if the Said John Borthwike be hereafter apprehended and taken, he shall suffer such punishment as is due by order of law unto heretics, without any hope of grace or mercy to be obtained in that behalf. Also we plainly admonish and warn, by the tenor of these presents, all and singular faithful Christians, both men and women, of what dignity, state, degree, order, condition, or pre-eminence soever they be, or with whatsoever dignity or honour ecclesiastical or temporal they be honoured withal, that from this day forward they do not receive or harbour the said Sir John Borthwike, commonly called Captain Borthwike, being accused, convict, and declared a heretic and arch-heretic, into their houses, hospitals, castles, cities, towns, villages, or other cottages, whatsoever they be; or by any manner of means admit him thereunto, either by helping him with meat, drink, or victuals, or any other thing, whatsoever it be; they show unto him any manner of humanity, help, comfort, or solace, under the pain and penalty of greater and further excommunication, confiscation, and forfeitures: and if it happen that they be found culpable or faulty in the premises, that they shall he accused therefor as the favourers, receivers, defenders, maintainers, and abettors of heretics, and shall be punished there-for, according to the order of law, and with such pain and punishment as shall be due unto men in such behalf."


Previous Next