318. LIFE OF LATIMER.
Illustration -- Bishop Latimer
Here beginneth the life, acts, and doings of Master Hugh Latimer, the famous preacher and worthy martyr of Christ and his gospel.ow consequently after the life of Bishop Ridley, with other his letters,which partly we have expressed, and partly we have deferred to our latter Appendix, follow likewise the life and doings of the worthy champion and old practised soldier of Christ, Master Hugh Latimer; of whose acts and long travails even from his first years and tender age, to begin here to entreat.
First, he was the son of one Hugh Latimer, of Thurcaster, in the county of Leicester, a husbandman of right good estimation; with whom also he was brought up until he was of the age of four years, or thereabout; at which time his parents, (having him as then left for their only son, with six other daughters,) seeing his ready, prompt, and sharp wit, purposed to train him up in erudition, and knowledge of good literature; wherein he so profited in his youth, at the common schools of his own country, that at the age of fourteen years he was sent to the university of Cambridge; where, after some continuance of exercises in other things, he gave himself to the study of such school divinity, as the ignorance of that age did suffer.
Zealous he was then in the popish religion, and therewith so scrupulous, as himself confessed, that being a priest, and using to say mass, he was so servile an observer of the Romish decrees, that he thought he had never sufficiently mingled his massing wine with water: and moreover that he should never be damned, if he were once a professed friar; with divers such superstitious fantasies. And in this blind zeal he was a very enemy to the professors of Christ's gospel; as both his oration made, when he proceeded bachelor of divinity, against Philip Melancthon, and also his other works, did plainly declare. But especially his popish zeal could in no case abide in those days good Master Stafford, reader of the divinity lectures in Cambridge; most spitefully railing against him, and willing the youth of Cambridge in no wise to believe him.
Notwithstanding, such was the goodness and merciful purpose of God, that when he saw his good time, by the which way he thought to have utterly defaced the professor of the gospel and true church of Christ, he was at length himself, by a member of the same prettily caught in the blessed net of God's word. For Master Thomas Bilney, (whose story is before described,) being at that time a trier out of Satan's subtleties, and a secret overthrower of antichrist's kingdom, seeing Master Latimer to have a zeal in his ways, (although without knowledge,) was stricken with a brotherly pity towards him, and bethought by what means he might best win this zealous ignorant brother, to the true knowledge of Christ. Wherefore, after a short time, he came to Master Latimer's study, and desired him to hear him make his confession; which thing he willingly granted; by hearing whereof, he was (through the good Spirit of God) so touched, that hereupon he forsook his former studying of the school-doctors, and other such fopperies, and became an earnest student of true divinity, as he himself, as well in his conference with Master Ridley, as also in his first sermon made upon the Paternoster, doth confess. So that whereas before he was an enemy, and almost a persecutor of Christ, he was now a zealous seeker after him, changing his old manner of cavilling and railing, into a diligent kind of conferring, both with Master Bilney and others, and came also to Master Stafford before he died, and desired him to forgive him.
After this his winning to Christ, he was not satisfied with his own conversion only, but, like a true disciple of the blessed Samaritan, pitied the misery of others, and therefore became both a public preacher, and also a private instructor, to the rest of his brethren within the university, by the space of three years, spending his time partly in the Latin tongue among the learned, and partly amongst the simple people in his natural and vulgar language. Howbeit, as Satan never sleepeth when he seeth his kingdom to begin to decay, so likewise now, seeing that this worthy member of Christ would be a shrewd shaker thereof, he raised up his impious imps to molest and trouble him.
Amongst these there was an Augustine friar, who took occasion, upon certain sermons that Master Latimer made about Christmas 1529, as well in the church of St. Edward, as also in St. Augustine's, within the university of Cambridge, to envy against him, for that Master Latimer in the said sermons (alluding to the common usage of the season) gave the people certain cards out of the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of St. Matthew, whereupon they might not only then, but always else, occupy their time. For the chief trump in the cards he limited the heart, as the principal thing that they should serve God withal, whereby he quite overthrew all hypocritical and external ceremonies, not tending to the necessary furtherance of God's holy word and sacraments. For the better attaining hereof, he wished the Scriptures to be in English, whereby the common people might the better learn their duties as well to God as their neighbours.
The handling of this matter was so apt for the time, and so pleasantly applied of him, that not only it declared a singular towardness of wit in the preacher, but also wrought in the hearers much fruit, to the overthrow of popish superstition, and setting up of perfect religion.
This was upon the Sunday before Christmas day: on which day coming to the church, and causing the bell to be tolled to a sermon, he entered into the pulpit, taking for his text the words of the gospel aforesaid, read in the church that day; Tu quis es? &c. In delivering the which cards (as is above said) he made the heart to be trump, exhorting and inviting all men thereby to serve the Lord with inward heart and true affection, and not with outward ceremonies: adding, moreover, to the praise of that trump, that though it were never so small, yet it would take up the best coat card beside in the bunch, yea, though it were the king of clubs, &c.; meaning thereby how the Lord would be worshipped and served in simplicity of heart and verity, wherein consisteth true Christian religion, and not in the outward deeds of the letter only, or in the glistering show of man's traditions, or pardons, pilgrimages, ceremonies, vows, devotions, voluntary works, and works of supererogation, foundations, oblations, the pope's supremacy, &c.; so that all these either were needless, where the other is present, or else were of small estimation, in comparison of the other.
The tenor and effect of certain sermons made by Hugh Latimer in Cambridge, about the year of our Lord 1529.
"Who art thou? These be the words of the Pharisees, which were sent by the Jews unto St. John Baptist in the wilderness, to have knowledge of him, who he was; which words they spake unto him of an evil intent, thinking that he would have taken on him to be Christ, and so they would have had him done with their good wills, because they knew that he was more carnal, and given to their laws, than Christ indeed should be, as they perceived by their old prophecies: and also, because they marvelled much of his great doctrine, preaching, and baptizing, they were in doubt whether he was Christ or not; wherefore they said unto him, Who art thou? Then answered St. John, and confessed that he was not Christ.
"Now here is to be noted, the great and prudent answer of St. John Baptist unto the Pharisees, that when they required of him who he was, he would not directly answer of himself, what he was himself; but he said he was not Christ, by the which saying he thought to put the Jews and Pharisees out of their false opinion and belief towards him, in that they would have had him to exercise the office of Christ; and so declared further unto them of Christ, saying, He is in the midst of you, and amongst you, whom ye know not, whose latchet of his shoe I am not worthy to unloose, or undo. By this you may perceive that St. John spake much in the laud and praise of Christ his Master, professing himself to be in no wise like unto him. So likewise it shall be necessary unto all men and women of this world, not to ascribe unto themselves any goodness of themselves, but all unto our Lord God, as shall appear hereafter, when this question aforesaid, Who art thou? shall be moved unto them: not as the Pharisees did unto St. John, of an evil purpose, but of a good and simple mind, as may appear hereafter.
"Now then, according to the preacher's mind, let every man and woman, of a good and simple mind, contrary to the Pharisees' intent, ask this question, Who art thou? This question must be moved to themselves, what they be of themselves, on this fashion, 'What art thou of thy only and natural generation between father and mother, when thou earnest into the world? What substance, what virtue, what goodness art thou of, by thyself?' Which question if thou rehearse oftentimes unto thyself, thou shalt well perceive and understand, how thou shalt make answer unto it: which must be made on this wise: I am of myself, and by myself, coming from my natural father and mother, the child of the ire and indignation of God, the true inheritor of hell, a lump of sin, and working nothing of myself, but all towards hell; except I have better help of another, than I have of myself. Now we may see in what state we enter into this world, that we be of ourselves the true and just inheritors of hell, the children of the ire and indignation of Christ, working all towards hell, whereby we deserve of ourselves perpetual damnation, by the right judgment of God, and the true claim of ourselves: which unthrifty state that we be born unto is come unto us for our own deserts, as proveth well this example following:
"Let it be admitted for the probation of this, that it might please the king's Grace now being, to accept into his favour a mean man, of a simple degree and birth, not born to any possession; whom the king's Grace favoureth, not because this person hath of himself deserved any such favour, but that the king casteth his favour unto him of his own mere motion and fantasy: and, for because the king's Grace will more declare his favour unto him, he giveth unto this said man a thousand pounds in lands, to him and his heirs, on this condition, that he shall take upon him to be the chief captain and defender of his town of Calais, and to be true and faithful to him in the custody of the same, against the Frenchmen especially, above all other enemies.
"This man taketh on him this charge, promising his fidelity thereunto. It chanceth in process of time, that by the singular acquaintance and frequent familiarity of this captain with the Frenchmen, these Frenchmen give unto the said captain of Calais a great sum of money, so that he will but be content and agreeable, that they may enter into the said town of Calais by force of arms; and so thereby possess the same unto the crown of France. Upon this agreement the Frenchmen do invade the said town of Calais, alonely by the negligence of this captain.
"Now the king's Grace, hearing of this invasion, cometh with a great puissance to defend this his said town, and so by good policy of war overcometh the said Frenchmen, and entereth again into his town of Calais. Then he, being desirous to know how these enemies of his came thither, he maketh profound search and inquiry, by whom this treason was conspired. By this search it was known and found his own captain to be the very author and the beginner of the betraying of it. The king, seeing the great infidelity of this person, dischargeth this man of his office, and taketh from him and his heirs this thousand pounds of possessions. Think you not that the king doth use justice unto him, and all his posterity and heirs? Yes truly: the said captain cannot deny himself, but that he had true justice, considering how unfaithfully he behaved himself to his prince, contrary to his own fidelity and promise. So, likewise, it was of our first father Adam. He had given unto him the spirit and science of knowledge, to work all goodness therewith; this said spirit was not given alonely unto him, but unto all his heirs and posterity. He had also delivered him the town of Calais, that is to say, Paradise in earth, the most strong and fairest town in the world, to be in his custody. He nevertheless, by the instigation of these Frenchmen, i. e. the temptation of the fiend, did obey unto their desire, and so he brake his promise and fidelity, the commandment of the everlasting King his master, in eating of the apple by him inhibited.
"Now then the King, seeing this great treason in his captain, deposed him of the thousand pounds of possessions, that is to say, from everlasting life in glory, and all his heirs and posterity: for, likewise as he had the spirit of science and knowledge, for-him and his heirs; so in like manner when he lost the same, his heirs also lost it by him, and in him. So now, this example proveth, that by our father Adam we had once in him the very inheritance of everlasting joy; and by him, and in him again, we lost the same.
"The heirs of the captain of Calais, could not by any manner of claim ask of the king the right and title of their father, in the thousand pounds of possessions, by reason the king might answer and say unto them, that although their father deserved not of himself to enjoy so great possessions, yet he deserved by himself to lose them, and greater, committing so high treason, as he did, against his prince's commandments; whereby he had no wrong to lose his title, but was unworthy to have the same, and had therein true justice. Let not you think, which be his heirs, that if he had justice to lose his possessions, you have wrong to lose the same. In the same manner it may be answered unto all men and women now being, that if our father Adam had true justice to be excluded from his possession of everlasting glory in Paradise, let us not think the contrary that be his heirs, but that we have no wrong in losing also the same; yea, we have true justice and right. Then in what miserable estate we be, that of the right and just title of our own deserts have lost the everlasting joy, and claim of ourselves to be true inheritors of hell! for he that committeth deadly sin willingly, bindeth himself to be an inheritor of everlasting pain: and so did our forefather Adam willingly eat of the apple forbidden. Wherefore he was cast out of the everlasting joy in Paradise, into this corrupt world amongst all vileness, whereby of himself he was not worthy to do any thing laudable or pleasant to God, evermore bound to corrupt affections and beastly appetites, transformed into the uncleanest and variablest nature that was made under heaven, of whose seed and disposition all the world is lineally descended, insomuch that this evil nature is so diffused and shed from one into another, that at this day there is no man nor woman living, that can of themselves wash away this abominable vileness; and so we must needs grant of ourselves to be in like displeasure unto God, as our forefather Adam was; by reason hereof, as I said, we be of ourselves the very children of the indignation and vengeance of God, the true inheritors of hell, and working all towards hell, which is the answer to this question, made to every man and woman by themselves, Who art thou?
"And now, the world standing in this damnable state, cometh in the occasion of the incarnation of Christ; the Father in heaven, perceiving the frail nature of man, that he, by himself and of himself, could do nothing for himself, by his prudent wisdom sent down the second person in Trinity, his Son Jesus Christ, to declare unto man his pleasure and commandment: and so, at the Father's will, Christ took on him human nature, being willing to deliver man out of this miserable way, and was content to suffer cruel passion in shedding his blood for all mankind; and so left behind for our safeguard, laws and ordinances, to keep us always in the right path unto everlasting life, as the evangelies, the sacraments, the commandments, and so forth: which if we do keep and observe according to our profession, we shall answer better unto this question, Who art thou? than we did before. For before thou didst enter into the sacrament of baptism, thou wert but a natural man, a natural woman; as I might say, a man, a woman. But after thou takest on thee Christ's religion, thou hast a longer name; for then thou art a Christian man, a Christian woman. Now then, seeing thou art a Christian man, what shall be thy answer of this question, Who art thou?
"The answer of this question is, when I ask it unto myself, I must say that I am a Christian man, a Christian woman, the child of everlasting joy, through the merits of the bitter passion of Christ. This is a joyful answer. Here we may see how much we be bound, and in danger unto God, that hath revived us from death to life, and saved us that were damned; which great benefit we cannot well consider, unless we do remember what we were of ourselves before we meddled with him or his laws: and the more we know our feeble nature, and set less by it, the more we shall conceive and know in our hearts what God hath done for us: and the more we know what God hath done for us, the less we shall set by ourselves, and the more we shall love and please God; so that in no condition we shall either know ourselves or God, except we do utterly confess ourselves to be mere vileness and corruption. Well, now it is come unto this point, that we be Christian men, Christian women, I pray you what doth Christ require of a Christian man, or of a Christian woman? Christ requireth nothing else of a Christian man or woman, but that they will observe his rule: for likewise as he is a good Augustine friar that keepeth well St. Augustine's rule, so is he a good Christian man that keepeth well Christ's rule.
"Now then, what is Christ's rule? Christ's rule consisteth in many things, as in the commandments, and the works of mercy, and so forth. And because I cannot declare Christ's rule unto you at one time as it ought to be done, I will apply myself according to your custom at this time of Christmas: I will, as I said, declare unto you Christ's rule, but that shall be in Christ's cards. And whereas you are wont to celebrate Christmas in playing at cards, I intend, by God's grace, to deal unto you Christ's cards, wherein you shall perceive Christ's rule. The game that we will play at shall be called the trump, which if it be well played at, he that dealeth shall win; the players shall likewise win; and the standers and lookers upon shall do the same; insomuch that there is no man that is willing to play at this trump with these cards, but they shall be all winners, and no losers.
"Let therefore every Christian man and woman play at these cards, that they may have and obtain the trump; you must mark also that the trump must apply to fetch home unto him all the other cards, whatsoever suit they be of. Now then, take ye this first card, which must appear and be showed unto you as followeth: you have heard what was spoken to men of the old law, Thou shalt not kill; whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment. But I say unto you of the new law, saith Christ, that whosoever is angry with his neighbour, shall be in danger of judgment, and whosoever shall say unto his neighbour, Raca, that is to say, brainless, or any other like word of rebuking, shall be in danger of council; and whosoever shall say unto his neighbour, Fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire. This card was made and spoken by Christ, as appeareth in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew.
"Now it must be noted, that whosoever shall play with this card, must first, before they play with it, know the strength and virtue of the same; wherefore you must well note and mark terms, how they be spoken, and to what purpose; let us therefore read it once or twice, that we may be the better acquainted with it.
"Now behold and see, this card is divided into four parts: the first part is one of the commandments that was given unto Moses in the old law, before the coming of Christ, which commandment we of the new law be bound to observe and keep, and it is one of our commandments. The other three parts spoken by Christ, be nothing else but expositions unto the first part of this commandment: for in very effect all these four parts be but one commandment, that is to say, Thou shalt not kill. Yet nevertheless, the last three parts do show unto thee how many ways thou mayest kill thy neighbour contrary to this commandment: yet, for all Christ's exposition, in the three last parts of this card, the terms be not open enough to thee that dost read and hear them spoken. No doubt, the Jews understood Christ well enough, when he spake to them these three last sentences, for he spake unto them in their own natural terms and tongue. Wherefore, seeing that these terms were natural terms of the Jews, it shall be necessary to expound them, and compare them unto some like terms of our natural speech, that we, in like manner, may understand Christ as well as the Jews did. We will begin, first, with the first part of this card, and then, after, with the other three parts: you must therefore understand that the Jews and the Pharisees of the old law, to whom this first part, this commandment, Thou shalt not kill, was spoken, thought it sufficient and enough for their discharge, not to kill with any manner of material weapon, as sword, dagger, or with any such weapon; and they thought it no great fault whatsoever they said or did by their neighbours, so that they did not harm or meddle with their corporal bodies, which was a false opinion in them, as prove well the three last other sentences following the first part of this card.
"Now, as touching the three other sentences, you must note and take heed what difference is between these three manner of offences: to be angry with your neighbour; to call your neighbour 'brainless,' or any such word of disdain; or to call your neighbour 'fool.' Whether these three manner of offences be of themselves more grievous one than the other, it is to be opened unto you. Truly, as they be of themselves divers offences, so they kill diversly, one more than the other, as you shall perceive by the first of these three, and so forth: A man which conceiveth against his neighbour or brother ire or wrath in his mind, by some manner of occasion given unto him, although he be angry in his mind against his said neighbour, he will peradventure express his ire by no manner of sign, either in word or deed; yet nevertheless he offendeth against God, and breaketh this commandment in killing his own soul; and is therefore in danger of judgment.
"Now, to the second part of these three: That man that is moved with ire against his neighbour, and in his ire calleth his neighbour 'brainless,' or some other like word of displeasure -- as a man might say in a fury, 'I shall handle thee well enough,' which words and countenances do more represent and declare ire to be in this man, than in him that was but angry, and spake no manner of word nor showed any countenance to declare his ire. Wherefore as he that so declareth his ire either by word or countenance, offendeth more against God, so he both killeth his own soul, and doth that in him is, to kill his neighbour's soul in moving him unto ire, wherein he is faulty himself; and so this man is in danger of council.
"Now to the third offence, and last of these three: That man that calleth his neighbour 'fool,' doth more declare his angry mind toward him, than he that calleth his neighbour but 'brainless,' or any such words moving ire: for to call a man 'fool,' that word representeth more envy in a man, than 'brainless' doth. Wherefore he doth most offend, because he doth most earnestly with such words express his ire, and so he is in danger of hell-fire: wherefore you may understand now these three parts of this card be three offences, and that one is more grievous to God than the other, and that one killeth more the soul of man than the other.
"Now peradventure there be some that will marvel that Christ did not declare this commandment by some greater faults of ire, than by these which seem but small faults, as to be angry and speak nothing of it, to declare it and to call a man 'brainless,' and to call his neighbour 'fool;' truly these be the smallest, and the least faults that belong to ire, or to killing in ire. Therefore beware how you offend in any kind of ire: seeing that the smallest be damnable to offend in, see that you offend not in the greatest. For Christ thought, if he might bring you from the smallest manner of faults, and give you warning to avoid the least, he reckoned you would not offend in the greatest and worst, as to call your neighbour thief, whoreson, whore, drab, and so forth, into more blasphemous names; which offences must needs have punishment in hell, considering how that Christ hath appointed these three small faults, to have three degrees of punishment in hell, as appeareth by these three terms, judgment, council, and hell-fire: these three terms do signify nothing else but three divers punishments in hell, according to the offences. Judgment is less in degree than council, therefore it signifieth a lesser pain in hell, and it is ordained for him that is angry in his mind with his neighbour, and doth express his malice neither by word nor countenance. Council is a less degree in hell than hell-fire, and is a greater degree in hell than judgment; and it is ordained for him that calleth his neighbour 'brainless,' or any such word, that declareth his ire and malice; wherefore it is more pain than judgment. Hell-fire is more pain in hell than council or judgment, and it is ordained for him that calleth his neighbour 'fool,' by reason that in calling his neighbour fool, he declareth more his malice, in that it is an earnest word of ire. Wherefore hell-fire is appointed for it; that is, the most pain of the three punishments.
"Now you have heard that to these divers offences of ire and killing, be appointed punishments according to their degrees; for look as the offence is, so shall the pain be: if the offence be great, the pain shall be according: if it be less, there shall be less pain for it. I would not now that you should think, because that here are but three degrees of punishment spoken of, that there be no more in hell. No doubt Christ spake of no more here but of these three degrees of punishment, thinking they were sufficient, enough for example, whereby we might understand, that there be as divers and many pains as there be offences: and so by these three offences, and these three punishments, all other offences and punishments may be compared with another. Yet I would satisfy your minds further in these three terms of judgment, council, and hell-fire. Whereas you might say, What was the cause that Christ declared more the pains of hell by these terms, than by any other terms? I told you afore that he knew well to whom he spake them: these terms were natural and well-known amongst the Jews and the Pharisees; wherefore Christ taught them with their own terms, to the intent they might understand the better his doctrine. And these terms may be likened unto three terms which we have common and usual amongst us, that is to say, the sessions of enquirance, the sessions of deliverance, and the execution-day. Sessions of enquirance is like unto judgment; for when sessions of enquiry is, then the judges cause twelve men to give verdict of the felon's crime, whereby he shall be judged to be indicted: sessions of deliverance is much like council; for at sessions of deliverance, the judges go among themselves to council, to determine sentence against the felon: execution-day is to be compared unto hell-fire, for the Jews had amongst themselves a place of execution, named 'hell-fire;' and surely when a man goeth to his death, it is the greatest pain in this world: wherefore you may see that there are degrees in these our terms, as there be in those terms.
"These evil-disposed affections and sensualities in us are always contrary to the rule of our salvation. What shall we do now or imagine, to thrust down these Turks and to subdue them? It is a great ignominy and shame for a Christian man to be bond and subject unto a Turk: nay, it shall not be so, we will first cast a trump in their way, and play with them at cards, who shall have the better. Let us play therefore on this fashion with this card.
Whensoever it shall happen these foul passions and Turks to rise in our stomachs against our brother or neighbour, either for unkind words, injuries, or wrongs, which they have done unto us, contrary unto our mind, straightways let us call unto our remembrance, and speak this question unto ourselves, 'Who art thou?' The answer is, 'I am a Christian man.' Then further we must say to ourselves, What requireth Christ of a Christian man?' Now turn up your trump, your heart, (hearts is trump, as I said before,) and cast your trump, your heart, on this card; and upon this card you shall learn what Christ requireth of a Christian man, not to be angry, ne moved to ire against his neighbour, in mind, countenance, nor other ways, by word or deed. Then take up this card with your heart, and lay them together: that done, you have won the game of the Turk, whereby you have defaced and overcome him by true and lawful play. But, alas for pity, the Rhodes are won and overcome by these false Turks, the strong castle Faith is decayed, so that I fear it is almost impossible to win it again.
"The great occasion of the loss of this Rhodes is by reason that Christian men do so daily kill their own nation, that the very true number of Christianity is decayed; which murder and killing one of another is increased specially two ways, to the utter undoing of Christendom, that is to say, by example and silence. By example, as thus: When the father, the mother, the lord, the lady, the master, the dame, be themselves overcome with these Turks, they be continual swearers, adulterers, disposers to malice, never in patience, and so forth in all other vices: think you not when the father, the mother, the master, the dame, be disposed unto vice or impatience, but that their children and servants shall incline and be disposed to the same? No doubt, as the child shall take disposition natural of the father and mother, so shall the servants apply unto the vices of their masters and dames: if the heads be false in their faculties and crafts, it is no marvel if the children, servants, and apprentices do joy therein. This is a great and shameful manner of killing Christian men, that the fathers, the mothers, the masters, and the dames, shall not alonely kill themselves, but all theirs, and all that belongeth unto them; and so this way is a great number of Christian lineage murdered and spoiled.
"The second manner of killing is silence. By silence also is a great number of Christian men slain; which is on this fashion: Although that the father and mother, master and dame, of themselves be well-disposed to live according to the law of God, yet they may kill their children and servants in suffering them to do evil before their own faces, and do not use due correction according unto their offences. The master seeth his servant or apprentice take more of his neighbour than the king's laws, or the other, of his faculty, doth admit him; or that he suffereth him to take more of his neighbour than he himself would be content to pay, if he were in like condition: thus doing, I say, such men kill willingly their children and servants, and shall go to hell for so doing; but also their fathers and mothers, masters and dames, shall bear them company for so suffering them.
"Wherefore I exhort all true Christian men and women to give good example unto your children and servants, and suffer not them by silence to offend. Every man must be in his own house, according to St. Augustine's mind, a bishop, not alonely giving good ensample, but teaching according to it, rebuking and punishing vice; not suffering your children and servants to forget the laws of God. You ought to see them have their belief, to know the commandments of God, to keep their holy-days, not to lose their time in idleness if they do so, you shall all suffer pain for it, if God be true of his saying, as there is no doubt thereof. And so you may perceive that there be many a one that breaketh this card, 'Thou shalt not kill,' and playeth therewith oftentime, at the blind trump, whereby they be no winners, but great losers. But who be those, now-a-days, that can clear themselves of these manifest murders used to their children and servants? I think not the contrary, but that many have these two ways slain their own children unto their damnation; unless the great mercy of God were ready to help them when they repent there-for.
"Wherefore, considering that we be so prone and ready to continue in sin, let us cast down ourselves with Mary Magdalene; and the more we bow down with her toward Christ's feet, the more we shall be afraid to rise again in sin; and the more we know and submit ourselves, the more we shall be forgiven; and the less we know and submit ourselves, the less we shall be forgiven; as appeareth by this example following:
"Christ when he was in this world amongst the Jews and Pharisees, there was a great Pharisee whose name was Simon; this Pharisee desired Christ on a time to dine with him, thinking in himself that he was able and worthy to give Christ a dinner. Christ refused not his dinner, but came unto him. In time of their dinner it chanced there came into the house a great and a common sinner, named Mary Magdalene. As soon as she perceived Christ, she cast herself down, and called unto her remembrance what she was of herself; and how greatly she had offended God, whereby she conceived in Christ great love, and so came near unto him, and washed his feet with bitter tears, and shed upon his head precious ointment, thinking that by him she should be delivered from her sins. This great and proud Pharisee, seeing that Christ did accept her oblation in the best part, had great indignation against this woman, and said to himself, 'If this man Christ were a holy prophet, as he is taken for, he would not suffer this sinner to come so nigh him.' Christ, understanding the naughty mind of this Pharisee, said unto him, 'Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.' 'Say what you please,' quod the Pharisee. Then said Christ, 'I pray thee tell me this: If there be a man to whom is owing twenty pound by one, and forty by another, this man to whom this money is owing, perceiving these two men be not able to pay him, he forgiveth them both: which of these two debtors ought to love this man most? 'The Pharisee said, 'That man ought to love him best that had most forgiven him.' 'Likewise,' said Christ, 'it is by this woman; she hath loved me most, therefore most is forgiven her; she hath known her sins most, whereby she hath most loved me. And thou hast least loved me, because thou hast least known thy sins: therefore, because thou hast least known thine offences, thou art least forgiven.' So this proud Pharisee had an answer to delay his pride. And think you not, but that there be amongst us a great number of these proud Pharisees, which think themselves worthy to bid Christ to dinner, which will perk, and presume to sit by Christ in the church, and have disdain of this poor woman Magdalene, their poor neighbour, with a high, disdainous, and solemn countenance. And being always desirous to climb highest in the church, reckoning themselves more worthy to sit there than another, I fear me poor Magdalene under the board, and in the belfry, hath more forgiven of Christ than they have: for it is like that those Pharisees do less know themselves and their offences, whereby they less love God, and so they be less forgiven.
"I would to God we would follow this example, and be like unto Magdalene. I doubt not but we be all Magdalenes in falling into sin, and in offending: but we be not again Magdalenes in knowing ourselves, and in rising from sin. If we be the true Magdalenes, we should be as willing to forsake our sin, and rise from sin, as we were willing to commit sin, and to continue in it.; and we then should know ourselves best, and make more perfect answer than ever we did, unto this question, 'Who art thou?' to the which we might answer, that we be true Christian men and women: and then, I say, you should understand, and know how you ought to play at this card, Thou shalt not kill, without any interruption of your deadly enemies the Turks; and so triumph at the last, by winning everlasting life in glory: Amen."
It would ask a long discourse to declare what a stir there was in Cambridge, upon this preaching of Master Latimer. Belike Satan began to feel himself and his kingdom to be touched too near, and therefore thought it time to look about him, and to make out his men-at-arms.
First came out the prior of the Black Friars, called Buckenham, otherwise surnamed Domine labia, who thinking to make a great hand against Master Latimer, about the same time of Christmas, when Master Latimer brought forth his cards to deface belike the doings of the other, brought out his Christmas dice, casting there to his audience cinque and quatre; meaning by the cinque, five places in the New Testament, and the four doctors by the quatre; by which his cinque quatre, he would prove that it was not expedient the Scripture to be in English, lest the ignorant and vulgar sort, through the occasion thereof, might haply be brought in danger to leave their vocation, or else to run into some inconvenience: as for example, the ploughman, when he heareth this in the gospel, No man that layeth his hand on the plough and looketh back, is meet for the kingdom of God, might peradventure, hearing this, cease from his plough, Likewise the baker, when he heareth that a little leaven corrupteth a whole lump of dough, may percase leave our bread unleavened, and so our bodies shall be unseasoned. Also the simple man, when he heareth in the gospel, If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, may make himself blind, and so fill the world full of beggars. These with others more this clerkly friar brought out, to the number of five, to prove his purpose.
Master Latimer, hearing this friarly sermon of Dr. Buckenham, cometh again in the afternoon, or shortly after, to the church, to answer the friar, where resorted to him a great multitude, as well of the university as of the town, both doctors and other graduates, with great expectation to hear what he could say: among whom also, directly in the face of Latimer, underneath the pulpit, sat Buckenham, the foresaid friar, prior of the Black Friars, with his Black-friar's cowl about his shoulders.
Then Master Latimer, first repeating the friarly reasons of Dr. Buckenham, whereby he would prove it a dangerous thing for the vulgar people to have the Scripture in the vulgar tongue, so refuted the friar; so answered to his objections; so dallied with his bald reasons of the ploughman looking back,and of the baker leaving his bread unleavened, that the vanity of the friar might to all men appear; well proving and declaring to the people, how there was no such fear nor danger for the Scriptures to be in English, as the friar pretended; at least this requiring, that the Scripture might be so long in the English tongue, till Englishmen were so mad, that neither the ploughman durst look back, nor the baker should leave his bread unleavened. And proceeding moreover in his sermon, he began to discourse of the mystical speeches and figurative phrases of the Scripture: which phrases, he said, were not so diffuse and difficult, as they were common in the Scripture, and in the Hebrew tongue most commonly used and known "and not only in the Hebrew tongue, but also every speech," saith he, "hath its metaphors and like figurative significations, so common and vulgar to all men, that the very painters do paint them on walls and in houses."
As for example, (saith he, looking toward the friar that sat over against him,) when they paint a fox preaching out of a friar's cowl, none is so mad to take this to be a fox that preacheth, but know well enough the meaning of the matter, which is to paint out unto us, what hypocrisy, craft, and subtle dissimulation, lieth hid many times in these friars cowls, willing us thereby to beware of them. In fine, Friar Buckenham with this sermon was so dashed, that never after he durst peep out of the pulpit against Master Latimer.
Besides this Buckenham, there was also another railing friar, not of the same coat, but of the same note and faction, a Grey Friar and a doctor, an outlandish man, called Dr. Venetus, who likewise, in his brawling sermons, railed and raged against Master Latimer, calling him a mad and brainless man, and willing the people not to believe him, &c. To whom Master Latimer answering again, taketh for his ground the words of our Saviour Christ, Thou shalt not kill, &c. But I say unto you, whosoever is angry with his neighbour shall be in danger of judgment; and whosoever shall say unto his neighbour, Raca, (or any other like words of rebuking, as brainless,) shall be in danger of council; and whosoever shall say to his neighbour, Fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.
In discussing of which place, first he divideth the offence of killing into three branches. One to be with hand, the other with heart, the third with word. With hand, when we use any weapon drawn, to spill the life of our neighbour: with heart, when we be angry with him: with word, when in word or countenance we disdainfully rebuke our neighbour, or despitefully revile him. Words of rebuking are, when we speak any opprobrious and unseemly thing, whereby the patience of our neighbour is moved, as when we call him mad (said he) or brainless, or such like, which are guilty of council: words of spite or reviling are, when we call him fool; which Christ saith is guilty of hell-fire, &c.
Thus Master Latimer, in handling and trimming this matter, after that with the weight of Christ's words and the explaining of the same he had sufficiently borne the friar clean down, then he turned to the fifth chapter of the book of Wisdom; out of the which chapter he declared to the audience, how the true servants and preachers of God in this world commonly are scorned and reviled of the proud enemies of God's word, which count them here as mad-men, fools, brainless, and drunken: "so did they," said he, "in the Scripture call them which most purely preached and set forth the glory of God's word. But," said he, "what will be the end of these jolly fellows, or what will they say in the end? 'We mad-men, we mad fools, we, we ourselves,' &c. And that will be their end, except they repent." And thus ending his sermon, he so confounded the poor friar, that he drove him not only out of countenance, but also clean out of the university.
But what should I here stand deciphering the names of his adversaries, when whole swarms of friars and doctors flocked against him on every side, almost through the whole university, preaching likewise and barking against him? amongst whom was Dr. Watson, master of Christ's College, whose scholar Latimer had been afore; Dr. Notaries, master of Clare-hall; Dr. Philo, master of Michael's-house; Dr. Metecalfe, master of St. John's; Dr. Blithe of the King's-hall; Dr. Bullock, master of the Queen's College; Dr. Cliffe of Clement's hostel; Dr. Donnes of Jesus College; Dr. Palms, master of St. Nicholas's hostel; and Bain, Rud, and Greenwood, bachelor of divinity, all three of St. John's College: also Brikenden, bachelor of divinity of the same house, and scholar sometime to the said Latimer. Briefly, almost as many as were heads there of houses, so many impugners did this worthy standard-bearer of Christ's gospel sustain.
Then came at last Dr. West, bishop of Ely, who preaching against Master Latimer at Barnwell Abbey, forbade him, within the churches of that university, to preach any more. Notwithstanding, so the Lord provided, that Dr. Barnes, prior of the Augustine friars, did license Master Latimer to preach in his church of the Augustines, and he himself preached at the church by, called St. Edward's church, which was the first sermon of the gospel which Dr. Barnes preached, being upon Christmas even upon a Sunday. Whereupon certain articles were gathered out of his sermon, and were commenced against him by Master Tyrell, fellow of the King's-hall, and so by the vice-chancellor presented to the cardinal, as in his story before hath been declared.
This Master Latimer, as you have heard, being baited by the friars, doctors, and masters of that university, about the year aforesaid, 1529, notwithstanding and maugre the malice of these malignant adversaries, continued yet in Cambridge, preaching the space of three years together, with such favour and applause of the godly, also with such admiration of his enemies that heard him, that the bishop himself, coming in and hearing his gift, wished himself to have the like, and was compelled to commend him upon the same. So Master Latimer, with Master Bilney, after this, continued yet in Cambridge a certain space, where he with the said Bilney used much to confer and company together, insomuch that the place where they most used to walk in the fields, was called long after, the Heretics'-hill. The society of these two, as it was much noted of many in that university, so it was full of many good examples, to all such as would follow their doings, both in visiting the prisoners, in relieving the needy, in feeding the hungry, whereof somewhat is before mentioned in the history of Master Bilney.
Illustration -- Latimer pleading with King Henry VIII for an innocent woman
In a place of his sermons, Master Latimer maketh mention of a certain history which happened about this time in Cambridge between them two, and a certain woman then prisoner in the castle or tower of Cambridge, which I thought here not unworthy to be remembered. The history is this: it so chanced, that after Master Latimer had been acquainted with the foresaid Master Bilney, he went with him to visit the prisoners in the tower of Cambridge, and being there, among other prisoners there was a woman which was accused that she had killed her own child, which act she plainly and stedfastly denied. Whereby it gave them occasion to search for the matter, and at length they found that her husband loved her not, and therefore sought all means he could to make her away. The matter was thus: a child of hers had been sick a whole year, and at length died in harvest time, as it were in a consumption; which when it was gone, she went to have her neighbours to help her to the burial: but all were in harvest abroad, whereby she was enforced, with heaviness of heart, alone to prepare the child to the burial. Her husband coming home, and not loving her, accused her of murdering the child. This was the cause of her trouble, and Master Latimer, by earnest inquisition of conscience, thought the woman not guilty. Then, immediately after, was he called to preach before King Henry the Eighth at Windsor, where, after his sermon, the king's Majesty sent for him, and talked with him familiarly. At which time Master Latimer, finding opportunity, kneeled down, opened his whole matter to the king, and begged her pardon; which the king most graciously granted, and gave it him at his return homeward. In the mean time the woman was delivered of a child in the prison, whose godfather was Master Latimer, Mistress Cheke godmother. But all the while he would not tell her of the pardon, but laboured to have her confess the truth of the matter. At length the time came when she looked to suffer, and Master Latimer came as he was wont to instruct her; unto whom she made great lamentation and moan, to be purified before her suffering, for she thought to be damned if she should suffer without purification.
Then Master Bilney, being with Master Latimer, both told her that that law was made to the Jews, and not to us, and how women be as well in the favour of God before they be purified, as after; and rather it was appointed for a civil and politic law, for natural honesty sake, than that they should any thing the more be purified from sin thereby, &c. So thus they travailed with this woman, till they brought her to a good trade; and then at length showed her the king's pardon, and let her go.
This good act among many others at this time happened in Cambridge by Master Latimer and Master Bilney. But this was not alone, for many more like matters were wrought by them, if all were known, whereof partly some are touched before, such especially as concern Master Bilney, mention whereof is above expressed. But, as it is commonly seen in the natural course of things, that as the fire beginneth more to kindle, so the more smoke ariseth withal, in much like sort it happened with Master Latimer; whose towardness the more it began to spring, his virtues to be seen, and his doings to be known, the more his adversaries began to spurn and kindle against him. Concerning these adversaries, and such as did molest him, partly their names be above expressed. Among the rest of this number was Dr. Redman, of whom mention is made before in the reign of King Edward; a man savouring at that time somewhat more of superstition, than of true religion, after the zeal of the Pharisees, yet not so malignant or harmful, but of a civil and quiet disposition, and also so liberal in well doing, that few poor scholars were in that university, which fared not better by his purse. This Dr. Redman being of no little authority in Cambridge, perceiving and understanding the bold enterprise of Master Latimer, in setting abroad the word and doctrine of the gospel, at this time, or much about the same, writeth to him, seeking by persuasion to revoke the said Latimer from that kind and manner of teaching; to whom Master Latimer maketh answer again in few words. The sum and effect of both their letters, translated out of Latin, here followeth to be seen:
The sum of the epistle written by Dr. Redman to Master Latimer.
"Grace be with you, and true peace in Christ Jesus.-- I beseech you heartily, and require most earnestly, even for charity's sake, that you will not stand in your own conceit with a mind so indurate, nor prefer your own singular judgment in matters of religion and controversies before so many learned men; and that more is, before the whole catholic church; especially considering that you neither have any thing at all in the word of God to make for you, nor yet the testimony of any authentical writer. Nay, nay; I beseech you rather consider that you are a man, and that lying and vanity may quickly blear your eye, which doth sometimes transform itself into an angel of light.
"Judge not so rashly of us, as that wicked spirit hath tickled you in the ear. Wit you well that we are careful for you, and that we wish you to be saved, and that we are careful also for our own salvation. Lay down your stomach, I pray you, and humble your spirit, and suffer not the church to take offence with the hardness of your heart, nor that her unity and Christ's coat-without-seam (as much as lieth in you) should be torn asunder. Consider what the saying of the wise man is, and be obedient thereunto: trust not your own wisdom.-- The Lord Jesus Christ," &c.
The sum of Master Latimer's answer to Dr. Redman.
"Reverend Master Redman, it is even enough for me, that Christ's sheep hear no man's voice but Christ's: and as for you, you have no voice of Christ against me, whereas, for my part, I have a heart that is ready to hearken to any voice of Christ that you can bring me. Thus fare you well, and trouble me no more from the talking with the Lord my God."
After Master Latimer had thus travailed in preaching and teaching in the university of Cambridge about the space of three years, at length he was called up to the cardinal for heresy, by the procurement of certain of the said university, where he was content to subscribe, and grant to such articles as then they propounded unto him, &c.
After that he returned to the university again, where, shortly after, by the means of Dr. Buts, the king's physician, a singular good man, and a special favourer of good proceedings, he was in the number of them which laboured in the cause of theking's supremacy. Then went he to the court, where he remained a certain time in the said Dr. Buts' chamber, preaching then in London very often. At last, being weary of the court, having a benefice offered by the king, at the suit of the Lord Cromwell and Dr. Buts, was glad thereof, seeking by that means to be rid out of the court, wherewith in no case he could agree; and so, having a grant of the benefice, contrary to the mind of Dr. Buts, he would needs depart and be resident at the same.
This benefice was in Wiltshire, under the diocese of Sarum, the name of which town was called West Kington, where this good preacher did exercise himself with much diligence of teaching to instruct his flock, and not only to them his diligence extended, but also to all the country about. In fine, his diligence was so great, his preaching so mighty, the manner of his teaching so zealous, that there, in like sort, he could not escape without enemies. So true it is that St. Paul foretelleth us, Whosoever will live godly in Christ, shall suffer persecution. It so chanced, that whereas he, preaching upon the blessed Virgin, Christ's mother, (whom we call our Lady,) had thereupon declared his mind, referring and reducing all honour only to Christ our only Saviour, certain popish priests, being therewith offended, sought and wrought much trouble against him, drawing out articles and impositions which they untruly, unjustly, falsely, and uncharitably imputed unto him:
"First, That he should preach against our Lady, for that he reproved in a sermon the superstitious rudeness of certain blind priests, which so held together upon that blessed Virgin, as though she never had any sin, nor were saved by Christ the only Saviour of the whole world.
"Item, That he should say, that saints were not to be worshipped.
"Item, That Ave Maria was a salutation only, and no prayer.
"Item, That there was no material fire in hell.
"Item, That there was no purgatory, in saying, that he had rather be in purgatory than in Lollards' Tower."
Touching the whole discourse of which articles, with his reply and answer to the same, hereafter shall follow (by the Lord's assistance) when we come to his letters.
The chief impugners and molesters of him, besides these country priests, were Dr. Powel of Salisbury, Dr. Wilson sometime of Cambridge, Master Hubberdin, and Dr. Sherwood; of whom some preached against him, some also did write against him, insomuch that by their procurement he was cited up and called to appear before William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, and John Stokesley, bishop of London, January the twenty-ninth, A. D. 1531.
Against this citation although Master Latimer did appeal to his own ordinary, requiring by him to be ordered, yet all that notwithstanding, he was had up to London before Warham the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of London, where he was greatly molested, and detained a long space from his cure at home. There he, being called thrice every week before the said bishops, to make answer for his preaching, had certain articles or propositions drawn out and laid to him, whereunto they required him to subscribe. At length he, not only perceiving their practical proceedings, but also much grieved with their troublesome unquietness, which neither would preach themselves, nor yet suffer him to preach and do his duty, writeth to the foresaid archbishop, partly excusing his infirmity, whereby he could not appear at their commandment, partly expostulating with them for so troubling and detaining him from his duty-doing, and that from no just cause, but only for preaching the truth against certain vain abuses crept into religion, much needful to be spoken against; which all may appear by his epistle sent to a certain bishop or archbishop, whose name is not expressed.
In this epistle, he maketh mention of certain articles or propositions, whereunto he was required by the bishops to subscribe. The copy and effect of those articles, or nude propositions, (as he calleth them,) be these:--
Articles devised by the bishops, for Master Latimer to subscribe unto.
"I believe that there is a purgatory, to purge the souls of the dead after this life.
"That the souls in purgatory are holpen with the masses, prayers, and alms of the living.
"That the saints do pray as mediators now for us in heaven.
"That they are to be honoured of us in heaven.
"That it is profitable for Christians to call upon the saints, that they may pray as mediators for us unto God.
"That pilgrimages and oblations done to the sepulchres and relics of saints are meritorious.
"That they which have vowed perpetual chastity may not marry, nor break their vow, without the dispensation of the pope.
"That the keys of binding and loosing delivered to Peter, do still remain with the bishops of Rome, his successors, although they lived wickedly; and are by no means nor at any time committed to laymen.
"That men may merit and deserve at God's hand by fasting, prayer, and other good works of piety.
"That they which are forbidden of the bishop to preach, as suspect persons, ought to cease until they have purged themselves before the said bishop, or their superiors, and be restored again.
"That the fast which is used in Lent, and other fasts prescribed by the canons, and by custom received of the Christians, (except necessity otherwise require,) are to be observed and kept.
"That God in every one of the seven sacraments giveth grace to a man, rightly receiving the same.
"That consecrations, sanctifyings, and blessings by use and custom received in the church, are laudable and profitable.
"That it is laudable and profitable, that the venerable images of the crucifix and other saints, should be had in the churches as a remembrance, and to the honour and worship of Jesus Christ, and his saints.
"That it is laudable and profitable to deck and to clothe those images, and set up burning lights before them to the honour of the saints."
To these articles whether he did subscribe or no, it is uncertain. It appeareth by an epistle before written to the bishop, that he durst not consent unto them; where he writeth in these words, "His ego nudis sententiis subscribere non audeo, quia popularis superstitionis diutius duraturę , quoad possum, authorculus esse nolo," &c. But yet whether he was compelled afterwards to agree, through the cruel handling of the bishops, it is in doubt. By the words, and the title in Tonstal's Register prefixed before the articles, it may seem that he did subscribe. The words of the Register be these:--
"Hugo Latimerus, in sacra Theologia Bacchalaurius in Universitate Cantabrigię, coram Cant. Archiepisc. Johan. Lond. Episcopo, reliquaque concione apud Westmon. vocatus, confessus est et recognovit fidem suam sic sentiendo ut sequitur in his artic. 21 die Martii, anno 1531."
If these words be true, it may be so thought that he subscribed. And whether he so did, no great matter nor marvel, the iniquity of the time being such, that either he must needs so do, or else abide the bishop's blessing, that is, cruel sentence of death, which he at that time (as he himself confessed, preaching at Stamford) was loth to sustain for such matters as these were, unless it were for articles necessary of his belief; by which his words I conjecture rather that he did subscribe at length, albeit it was long before he could be brought so to do. Yet this, by the way, is to be noted, concerning the crafty and deceitful handling of these bishops in his examinations, what subtle devices they used the same time, to entrap him in their snares. The truth of the story he showeth forth himself in a certain sermon preached at Stamford, October the ninth, A. D. 1550: his words be these:--
"I was once," saith he, "in examination before five or six bishops, where I had much turmoiling. Every week thrice I came to examinations, and many snares and traps were laid to get something. Now God knoweth I was ignorant of the law, but that God gave me answer and wisdom what I should speak. It was God indeed: for else I had never escaped them. At the last I was brought forth to be examined into a chamber hanged with arras, where I was wont to be examined: but now, at this time, the chamber was somewhat altered. For whereas before there was wont ever to be a fire in the chimney, now the fire was taken away, and an arras hanged over the chimney, and the table stood near the chimney's end.
"There was amongst the bishops that examined me, one with whom I had been very familiar, and took him for my great friend, an aged man, and he sat next the table's end. Then, amongst all other questions he put forth one, a very subtle and crafty one, and such a one indeed, as I could not think so great danger in. And when I should make answer, 'I pray you, Master Latimer,' said one, 'speak out; I am very thick of hearing, and here be many that sit far off.' I marvelled at this, that I was bidden speak out, and began to misdeem, and gave an ear to the chimney; and, sir, there I heard a pen walking in the chimney behind the cloth. They had appointed one there to write all mine answers, for they made sure that I should not start from them: there was no starting from them. God was my good Lord, and gave me answer; I could never else have escaped it."
The question to him there and then objected was this "Whether he thought in his conscience, that he hath been suspected of heresy." This was a captious question. There was no holding of peace would serve; for that was to grant himself faulty. To answer it was every way full of danger; but God, which alway giveth in need what to answer, helped him, or else (as he confessed himself) he had never escaped their bloody hands. Albeit what was his answer, he doth not there express.
And thus hitherto you have heard declared the manifold troubles of this godly preacher, in the time not only of his being in the university, but especially at his benefice, as partly in his own words above mentioned, and partly by his own letters hereafter following, may better appear.
An inhibition made to Master Hugh Latimer, that he should not preach within the diocese of London.
"John, by the permission of God bishop of London, to all and singular parsons, vicars, chaplains, curates and not curates, clerks and and learned men, whatsoever they be, throughout our city and diocese of London, health, grace, and benediction, &c. Whereas we, by authority granted us by the law and provincial constitutions in this behalf, of late did inhibit and forbid one Hugh Latimer, a priest, for certain just and lawful causes specially moving us in this behalf, and specially for the pernicious errors already determined by the church in the decrees, and decretals, and provincial constitutions, by the which, through his crafty flattering, and, as it is said, fraudulent and pestiferous kind of preaching, he goeth about to corrupt and infect the people, and to seduce them from the approved and received doctrine of the church, that he should not preach within our city and diocese of London, in places exempt or not exempt, except he were licensed thereunto by special licence, under pain of the law. Nevertheless, as we have heard reported, the said Hugh Latimer, despising and contemning our inhibition, hath rashly presumed to preach the third day of this present month of October, without any licence, within our diocese of London; that is to say, within the precincts of the friars Augustines, to the violating and contempt of the law and our inhibition. Therefore we command you jointly and severally, firmly enjoining and charging you that for the causes before said, again the second time by our authority, you do inhibit and forbid, or cause the said Hugh Latimer peremptorily to be inhibited and forbidden; unto whom, also, by the tenor of these presents we do inhibit and forbid, that he do not presume to take upon him the office of preaching, and to preach within our city, diocese, and jurisdiction of London, in places exempt or not exempt, until such time as, according to our just judgment, he have purged himself of his default, and be lawfully restored unto the office of preaching, and have obtained his letters testimonial according to the tenor and form of the canonical sanctions or provincial constitutions, in this behalf lawfully ordained; and that he really exhibit and show the same in what place soever he will hereafter preach, under the pain expressed and contained in the law and provincial constitutions. Also we command you and every of you, jointly and severally, that you do intimate and signify this inhibition aforesaid to be made and executed by our authority aforesaid, unto all and singular abbots and priors of religious houses, as well exempt as not exempt, to their presidents or vicegerents, whatsoever they be; and also to all and singular parsons, vicars, priests, the clergy and people, wheresoever they be within our diocese, albeit in places exempt: and specially to the famous man, Friar George Brown, professor of divinity, and prior of the house or convent of the friars Augustines of the city and diocese of London. For the same causes and by the said authority inhibiting all the aforesaid, that they, nor any of them, do not admit the said Hugh Latimer to preach within any of their churches, or within the precinct of any of their houses, or with any of them, under the pain and penalty expressed and contained in the law and provincial constitutions, until such time as he have purged himself as is before said; and that he do really exhibit unto them his sufficient letters testimonial upon his restitution, as is aforesaid.
"Given under our seal the second day of October, A. D. 1533, and in the third year of our consecration."
This inhibition was executed against the said Hugh Latimer upon a Sunday, the fifth day of October, in the year aforesaid, within the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle, of the city of London, by Robert Hains, a learned man, &c. The which inhibition notwithstanding, the said Hugh Latimer preached the third day of October at afternoon, within the precinct of the friars Augustines of the city of London.
Thus have we discoursed, and run over hitherto, the laborious travails, the painful adventures, and dangerous hazards, and manifold plunges, which this true-hearted and holy servant of God suffered among the pope's friends and God's enemies, for the gospel's sake: in which so hard and dangerous straits, and such snares of the bishops, hard had it been for him and impossible to have escaped and continued so long, had not the almighty helping hand of the Highest, as he stirred him up, so have preserved him through the favour and power of his prince; who with much favour embraced him, and with his mere power sometime rescued and delivered him out of the crooked claws of his enemies. Moreover, at length also, through the procurement partly of Dr. Buts, partly of good Cromwell, (whose story ye heard before,) he advanced him to the dignity and degree of a bishop, making him the bishop of Worcester, who so continued a few years, instructing his diocese, according to the duty of a diligent and vigilant pastor, with wholesome doctrine and example of perfect conversation duly agreeing to the same.
It were a long matter to stand particularly upon such things as might here be brought to the commendation of his pains; as study, readiness, and continual carefulness in teaching, preaching, exhorting, visiting, correcting, and reforming, either as his ability could serve, or else the time would bear. But the days then were so dangerous and variable, that he could not in all things do that he would. Yet what he might do, that lie performed to the uttermost of his strength, so that although he could not utterly extinguish all the sparkling relics of old superstition, yet he so wrought, that though they could not be taken away, yet they should be used with as little hurt, and with as much profit, as might be. As for example, in this thing, and in divers others, it did appear, that when it could not be avoided but holy water and holy bread must needs be received, yet so he prepared and instructed them of his diocese, with such informations and lessons, that in receiving thereof superstition should be excluded, and some remembrance taken thereby, teaching and charging the ministers of his diocese, in delivering the holy water and the holy bread, to say these words following:
"Remember your promise in baptizing;
Christ his mercy and blood-shedding:
By whose most holy sprinkling.
Of all your sins you have free pardoning."
"Of Christ's body this is a token.
Which on the cross for our sins was broken.
Wherefore of your sins you must be forsakers,
If of Christ's death ye will be partakers."
By this it may be considered what the diligent care of this bishop was, in doing the duty of a faithful pastor among his flock. And moreover it is to be thought that he would have brought more things else to pass, if the time then had answered to his desire; for he was not ignorant how the institution of holy water and holy bread not only had no ground in Scripture, but also how full of profane exorcisms and conjurations they were, contrary to the rule and learning of the gospel. Thus this good man behaved himself in his diocese. But, as before, both in the university and at his benefice, he was tost and turmoiled by wicked and evil-disposed persons, so in his bishopric also, he was not all clear and void of some that sought his trouble: as, among many other evil willers, one especially there was, and that no small person, which accused him then to the king for his sermons. The story, because he himself showeth in a sermon of his, before King Edward, I thought therefore to use his own words, which be these:
"In the king's days that dead is, a great many of us were called together before him, to say our minds in certain matters. In the end, one kneeleth down and accuseth me of sedition, and that I had preached seditious doctrine. A heavy salutation, and a hard point of such a man's doing, as, if I should name, ye would not think. The king turned to me, and said, 'What say you to that, sir?'
"Then I kneeled down, and turned me first to my accuser, and required him; 'Sir, what form of preaching would you appoint me, in preaching before a king? Would you have me preach nothing as concerning a king, in the king's sermon? have you any commission to appoint me what I shall preach?' Besides this, I asked him divers other questions, and he would make no answer to any of them all: he had nothing to say.
"Then I turned me to the king, and submitted myself to his Grace, and said, I never thought myself worthy, nor did I ever sue, to be a preacher before your Grace; but I was called to it, and would be willing (if you mislike me) to give place to my betters: for I grant there be a great many more worthy of the room than I am. And if it be your Grace's pleasure so to allow them for preachers, I could be content to bear their books after them. But, if your Grace allow me for a preacher, I would desire your Grace to give me leave to discharge my conscience, give me leave to frame my doctrine according to my audience. I had been a very dolt to have preached so at the borders of your realm, as I preach before your Grace.'
"And I thank Almighty God, (which hath always been my remedy,) that my sayings were well accepted of the king; for like a gracious lord he turned into another communication. It is even as the Scripture saith, The Lord directeth the king's heart. Certain of my friends came to me with tears in their eyes, and told me they looked I should have been in the Tower the same night."
Besides this, divers other conflicts and combats this godly bishop sustained in his own country and diocese, in taking the cause of right and equity against oppression and wrong. As for another example, there was at that time, not far from the diocese of Worcester, a certain justice of peace, whom here I will not name, being a good man afterward, and now deceased. This justice, in purchasing of certain land for his brother, or for himself, went about to wrong or damnify a poor man, who made his complaint to Master Latimer. He first hearing, then tendering, his rightful cause, wrote his letter to the gentleman, exhorting him to remember himself, to consider the cause, and to abstain from injury. The justice of peace not content withal, (as the fashion of men is when they are told of their fault,) sendeth word again in great displeasure, that he would not so take it at his hands, with such threatenings words, &c. Master Latimer, hearing this, answered again by writing to a certain gentleman; the copy whereof among his letters hereafter followeth in the sequel of this story to be seen.
It were a large and long process to story out all the doings, travails, and writings of this Christian bishop, neither yet have we expressed all that came to our hands; but this I thought sufficient for this present. Thus he continued in this laborious function of a bishop the space of certain years, till the coming in of the Six Articles. Then, being distressed through the straitness of time, so that either he must lose the quiet of a good conscience, or else forsake his bishopric, he did of his own free accord resign his pastorship. At which time Shaxton, the bishop of Salisbury, resigned likewise with him his bishopric. And so these two remained a great space unbishoped, keeping silence till the time of King Edward of blessed memory. At what time he first put off his rochet in his chamber among his friends, suddenly he gave a skip on the floor for joy, feeling his shoulder so light, and being discharged (as he said) of such a heavy burden. Howbeit neither was he so lightened, but that troubles and labours followed him wheresoever he went. For a little after he had renounced his bishopric, first he was almost slain, but sore bruised, with the fall of a tree. Then, coming up to London for remedy, he was molested and troubled of the bishops, whereby he was again in no little danger; and at length was cast into the Tower, where he continually remained prisoner, till the time that blessed King Edward entered his crown, by means whereof the golden mouth of this preacher, long shut up before, was now opened again. And so he, beginning afresh to set forth his plough again, continued all the time of the said king, labouring in the Lord's harvest most fruitfully, discharging his talent as well in divers other places of this realm, as in Stamford, and before the duchess of Suffolk, (whose sermons be extant and set forth in print,) as also at London in the convocation-house, and especially before the king at the court. In the same place of the inward garden, which was before applied to lascivious and courtly pastimes, there he dispensed the fruitful word of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching there before the king and his whole court, to the edification of many.
In this his painful travail he occupied himself all King Edward's days, preaching for the most part every Sunday twice, to no small shame of all other loitering and unpreaching prelates, which occupy great rooms, and do little good; and that so much more to their shame, because he, being a sore bruised man by the fall of a tree, mentioned a little before, and above sixty-seven years of age, took so little ease and care of sparing himself, to do the people good. A. D. 1547.
Illustration -- Bishop Latimer Preaching
Now to speak here of his indefatigable travail and diligence in his own private studies, who notwithstanding both his years, and other pains in preaching, every morning orderly, winter and summer, about two of the clock in the morning, was at his book most diligently. How careful his heart was of the preservation of the church, and the good success of the gospel, his letters can testify, wherewith he admonished such as then were in authority of their duty, and assisted them with his godly counsel.
As the diligence of this man of God never ceased all the time of King Edward, to profit the church both publicly and privately, so among other doings in him to be noted, this is not lightly to be over-passed, but worthy to be observed, that God not only gave unto him his Spirit, plenteously and comfortably to preach his word unto his church, but also by the same Spirit he did so evidently foreshow and prophesy of all those kinds of plagues afore, which afterward ensued; that, if England ever had a prophet, he might seem to be one. And as touching himself, he ever affirmed that the preaching of the gospel would cost him his life, to the which he no less cheerfully prepared himself, than certainly was persuaded that Winchester was kept in the Tower for the same purpose, as the even did too truly prove the same. For after the death of the said blessed King Edward, not long after Queen Mary was proclaimed, a pursuivant was sent down (by the means no doubt of Winchester) into the country, to call him up, of whose coming, although Master Latimer lacked no forewarning, being premonished about six hours before by one John Careless, (whose story hereafter followeth, yet so far off was it that he thought to escape, that he prepared himself towards his journey before the said pursuivant came to his house. At the which thing when the pursuivant marvelled, seeing him so prepared towards his journey, he said unto him.
"My friend, you be a welcome messenger to me. And be it known unto you, and to all the world that I go as willingly to London at this present, being called by my prince to render a reckoning of my doctrine, as ever I was at any place in the world. I doubt not but that God, as he hath made me worthy to preach his word before two excellent princes, so will he able me to witness the same unto the third, either to her comfort, or discomfort eternally," &c.
At the which time the pursuivant, when he had delivered his letters, departed, affirming that he had commandment not to tarry for him; by whose sudden departure it was manifest that they would not have him appear, but rather to have fled out of the realm. They knew that his constancy should deface them in their popery, and confirm the godly in the truth.
Thus Master Latimer being sent for, and coming up to London, through Smithfield, (where merrily he said that Smithfield had long groaned for him,) was brought before the council, where he, patiently bearing all the mocks and taunts given him by the scornful papists, was cast again into the Tower, where he, being assisted with the heavenly grace of Christ, sustained most patient imprisonment a long time, notwithstanding the cruel and unmerciful handling of the lordly papists, which thought then their kingdom would never fall; yet he showed himself not only patient, but also cheerful in and above all that which they could or would work against him. Yea, such a valiant spirit the Lord gave him, that he was able not only to despise the terribleness of prisons and torments, but also to deride and laugh to scorn the doings of his enemies; as it is not unknown to the ears of many, what he answered to the lieutenant, being then in the Tower: for when the lieutenant's man upon a time came to him, the aged father, kept without fire in the frosty winter, and well nigh starved with cold, merrily bade the man tell his master, that if he did not look the better to him, perchance he would deceive him.
The lieutenant, hearing this, bethought himself of these words, and fearing lest that indeed he thought to make some escape, began to look more straitly to his prisoner, and so coming to him, beginneth to charge him with his words, reciting the same unto him which his man had told him before, how that if he were not better looked unto, perchance he would deceive . him, &c. "Yea, Master Lieutenant, so I said," quoth he, "for you look, I think, that I should burn; but except you let me have some fire, I am like to deceive your expectation, for I am like here to starve for cold."
Many such like answers and reasons, merry, but savoury, coming not from a vain mind, but from a constant and quiet reason, proceeded from that man, declaring a firm and stable heart, little passing for all this great blustering of their terrible threats, but rather deriding the same.
Thus Master Latimer, passing a long time in the Tower, with as much patience as a man in his case could do, from thence was transported to Oxford, with Dr. Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, and Master Ridley, bishop of London, there to dispute upon articles sent down from Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, as is before touched, the manner and order of which disputations between them and the university doctors, is also before sufficiently expressed. Where also is declared, how and by whom the said Latimer, with his other fellow prisoners, was condemned after the disputations, and so committed again to the prison, and there they continued from the month of April above mentioned, to this present month of October; where they were most godly occupied, either with brotherly conference, or with fervent prayer, or with fruitful writing.
Albeit Master Latimer, by reason of the feebleness of his age, wrote least of them all in this latter time of his imprisonment; yet in prayer he was fervently occupied, wherein oftentimes so long he continued kneeling, that he was not able to rise without help; and, amongst other things, these were three principal matters he prayed for.
First, That as God had appointed him to be a preacher of his word, so also he would give him grace to stand to his doctrine until his death, that he might give his heart blood for the same.
Secondly, That God of his mercy would restore his gospel to England once again; and these words "once again, once again," he did so inculcate and beat into the ears of the Lord God, as though he had seen God before him, and spoken to him face to face.
The third matter was, to pray for the preservation of the queen's Majesty that now is, whom in his prayer he was wont accustomably to name, and even with tears desired God to make her a comfort to his comfortless realm of England. These were the matters he prayed for so earnestly. Neither were these things of him desired in vain, as the good success thereof following after did declare; for the Lord most graciously did grant all those his requests.
First, concerning his constancy, even in the most extremity the Lord graciously assisted him. For when he stood at the stake without Bocardo-gate at Oxford, and the tormentors about to set the fire to him, and to the learned and godly bishop Master Ridley, he lifted up his eyes towards heaven with an amiable and comfortable countenance, saying these words, "God is faithful, which doth not suffer us to be tempted above our strength." And so afterward by and by shed his blood in the cause of Christ, the which blood ran out of his heart in such abundance, that all those that were present, being godly, did marvel to see the most part of the blood in his body so to be gathered to his heart, and with such violence to gush out, his body being opened by the force of the fire; by the which thing God most graciously granted his request, which was, that he might shed his heart blood in the defence of the gospel.
How mercifully the Lord heard his second request, in restoring his gospel once again unto this realm, these present days can bear record. And what then shall England say now for her defence, which being so mercifully visited and refreshed with the word of God, so slenderly and unthankfully considereth either her own misery past, or the great benefit of God now present? The Lord be merciful unto us; Amen.
Again, concerning his third request, it seemeth likewise most effectuously granted, to the great praise of God, the furtherance of his gospel, and to the unspeakable comfort of this realm. For whether at the request of his prayer, or of other God's holy saints, or whether God was moved with the cry of his whole church, the truth is, that when all was deplorable and in a desperate case, and so desperate that the enemies mightily flourished and triumphed, God's word was banished, Spaniards received, no place left for Christ's servants to cover their heads, suddenly the Lord called to remembrance his mercy, and, forgetting our former iniquity, made an end of all these miseries, and wrought a marvellous change of things; at the change whereof Queen Elizabeth was appointed and anointed, for whom this grey-headed father so earnestly prayed in his imprisonment: through whose true, natural, and imperial crown, the brightness of God's word was set up again to confound the dark and false-vizored kingdom of antichrist, the true temple of Christ re-edified, the captivity of sorrowful Christians released, which so long was wished for in the prayers of so many good men, specially of this faithful and true servant of the Lord, Master Latimer.
The same God, which, at the requests of his holy and faithful saints, hath poured upon us such benefits of his mercy, peace, and tranquillity, assist our most virtuous and Christian princess, and her subjects, that we may every one in his state and calling serve to his glory, and walk in our vocation, that we lose not that which they have obtained, but may proceed in all faithfulness, to build and keep up the house and temple of the Lord, to the advancing of his glory, and our everlasting comfort in him! And thus much concerning the doings and laborious travails of Master Latimer.
Articles untruly, unjustly, falsely, uncharitably imputed to me, Hugh Latimer, by Dr. Powell of Salisbury.
"First, that 'our Lady was a sinner.'--Occasioned of some, not only laymen, but also priests and beneficed men, which gave so much to our Lady of devotion without judgment, as though she had not needed Christ to save her: to prove Christ her Saviour, to make Christ a whole Saviour of all that be, or shall be saved, I reasoned after this manner: that either she was a sinner, or no sinner: there is no mean. If she were a sinner, then she was redeemed or delivered from sin by Christ, as other sinners be: if she were no sinner, then she was preserved from sin by Christ; so that Christ saved her, and was her necessary Saviour, whether she sinned or no. Now certain authors, (said I,) as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, write as though she had been something faulty in her time. Also I said that certain scriptures stand something to the same, unless they be the more warily understood and taken (as in Rom. iii. 10, 19): All have declined, that every mouth be stopped, and all the world be bounden or in danger to God. And after in the same chapter, All have sinned, and need the glory of God. And in the fifth, And so death passed through into all men and women, forasmuch as all have sinned. But to these scriptures I said it might be answered, that the privilege of one, or of a few, doth not derogate or minish the verity of a universal exposition in Scriptures.
"And as to the doctors, I said, that others more say otherwise; and forasmuch as now it is universally and constantly received and applied that she was no sinner, it becometh every man to stand and agree to the same, 'and so will I,' quoth I, 'nor any man that wise is, will the contrary. But to my purpose, it is neither to nor from, to prove neither this nor that; for I will have her saved, and Christ her Saviour, whether ever she was,' &c.
"And to that, 'What need you to speak of this?' I answered, 'Great need: when men cannot be content that she was a creature saved, but as it were a Saviouress, not needing salvation, it is necessary to set her in her degree to the glory of Christ, Creator and Saviour of all that be or shall be saved.' Good authors have written that she was not a sinner; but good authors never wrote that she was not saved: for though she never sinned, yet she was not so impeccable, but she might have sinned, if she had not been preserved: it was of the goodness of God that she never sinned; it had come of her own illness if she had sinned: there was difference betwixt her and Christ: and I will give as little to her as I can, (doing her no wrong,) rather than Christ her Son and Saviour shall lack any parcel of his glory; and I am sure that our Lady will not be displeased with me for so doing, for our Lady sought his glory here upon earth; she would not defraud him now in heaven: but some are so superstitiously religious, or so religiously superstitious, so preposterously devout toward our Lady, as though there could not too much be given to her: such are zeals without knowledge and judgment, to our Lady's displeasure.
"No doubt our Lady was, through the goodness of God, a good and a gracious creature, a devout handmaid of the Lord, indued with singular gifts and graces from above, which, through the help of God, she used to God's pleasure, according to her duty; so giving us ensample to do likewise: so that all the goodness that she had, she had it not of herself, but of God, the author of all goodness; the Lord was with her favourably, and poured graces unto her plenteously, as it is in the Ave Maria. The Son of God, when he would become man, to save both man and woman, did choose her to his mother, which love he showed to her alone, and to none other, of his benign goodness, by the which she was the natural mother of Christ: and through faith in Christ she was the spiritual sister of Christ, saved by Christ, blessed by hearing Christ's word, and keeping the same. It should not have availed her to salvation, to have been his natural mother, if she had not done the will of his heavenly Father. By him she was his mother: by him she did the will of his Father: she the handmaiden, he the Lord. The handmaiden did magnify her Lord, the handmaiden would that all should magnify the Lord, to whom be honour and glory, Amen, &c.
"To honour him worthily, is not to dishonour our Lady; he is as able to preserve from sin, as to deliver from sin: he was then subject to Joseph, his father-in-law, his mother's husband; Joseph is now subject to him. He never dishonoured Joachim and Anna, his grandfather and grandmother, and yet I have not read that he preserved them from all sin.
"To say that Peter and Paul, David and Mary Magdalene, were sinners, is not to dishonour them: for then Scripture doth dishonour them. It had not been for our profit to have preserved all that he could have preserved. For remembrance of all that fall and uprising, keepeth us in our fall from despairing: both are of God, to have not sinned, and to have forsaken and left sin. And as sure is this of heaven, as that; and this more common than that, and to us that have been sinners more comfortable.
"It hath been said in times past, without sin, that our Lady was a sinner; but it never was said, without sin, that our Lady was not saved, but a Saviour: I go not about to make our Lady a sinner, but to have Christ her Saviour. When mine adversaries cannot reprove the thing that I say, then they will belie me, to say the thing that they can reprove. They will sin to make our Lady no sinner, to prove that which no man denieth: such provers, and so cold probations, saw you never. It were better unproved, than so weakly proved. But they be devout towards honouring of our Lady, as though there was no other honouring of our Lady;but do sin in having our Lady no sinner. I would be as loth to dishonour our Lady as they: I pray God we may honour her as she would be honoured; for verily she is worthy to be honoured. To make a pernicious and a damnable lie, to have our Lady no sinner, is neither honour, nor yet pleasure to our Lady, but great sin, to the dishonour and displeasure both of God and our Lady. They should both please and honour our Lady much better, to leave their sinful living, and keep themselves from sinfulness, as our Lady did, than so sinfully to lie, to make our Lady no sinner; which if they do not, they shall go to the devil certainly, though they believe that our Lady was no sinner never so surely.
"And for the Ave Maria they lie falsely; I never denied it: I know it was a heavenly saluting or greeting of our Lady, spoken by the angel Gabriel, and written in Holy Scripture of St. Luke: but yet it is not properly a prayer, as the Pater noster is. Saluting or greeting, lauding or praising, is not properly praying. The angel was sent to greet our Lady, and to annunciate and show the good will of God towards her: and therefore it is called The Annunciation of our Lady, and not to pray her, or to pray to her, properly. Shall the Father of heaven pray to our Lady? When the angel spake it, it was not properly a prayer; and is it not the same thing now that it was then? Nor yet he that denieth the Ave Maria to be properly a prayer, denieth the Ave Maria; so that we may salute our Lady with Ave Maria, as the angel did, though we be not sent of God so to do, as the angel was. So though we may so do, yet we have no plain bidding of God so to do, as the angel had: so that the angel had been more to blame peradventure to have left it unsaid, than we be; forasmuch as he was appointed of God to say it, and not we. But as I deny not but as we may say the Pater noster and the Ave Maria together, (that to God, this to our Lady,) so we may say them sunderly, the Pater noster by itself, and the Ave by itself; and the Pater noster is a whole and a perfect prayer, without the Ave Maria; so that it is but a superstition to think that a Pater poster cannot be well said without an Ave Maria at its heel. For Christ was no fool, and when he taught the people to say a Pater noster to God, he taught them not to say neither Pater noster, neither Ave Maria to our Lady, nor yet Pater noster to St. Peter, as Master Hubberdin doth: therefore to teach to say twenty Ave Marias for one Pater noster, is not to speak 'the word of God as the word of God.' And one Ave Maria well said, and devoutly, with affection, sense, and understanding, is better than twenty-five said superstitiously. And it is not like, but our Lady said many times the Pater noster, forasmuch as her Son Christ, whom she loved and honoured over all, did make it, and taught it to be said. Whether she made an Ave Maria with all, or ten or twenty Ave Marias for one Pater noster, I will leave that to great clerks, as Hubberdin and Powell, to discuss and determine. She was not saved by often saying of the Ave Maria, but by consenting to the will of Him, that sent the angel to salute her with Ave Maria. Wherefore, if the praying of them which decline their ear from hearing the law of God is execrable in the sight of God, yea, though they say the Pater noster, I doubt not but the salutation of the same be unpleasant to our Lady in her sight; for whatsoever pleaseth not her Son, pleaseth not her: for she hath delight and pleasure in nothing but in him, and in that that delighteth and pleaseth him. Now we will be traitors to her Son by customable sinful living, and yet we shall think great perfection and holiness in numbering every day many Ave Marias to our Lady. And so we think to make her our friend and patroness, and then we care not for God: for, having our Lady of our side, we may be bold to take our pleasure. For we fantasy as though the very work and labour of flummering the Ave Maria is very acceptable to our Lady, and the more, the more acceptable, not passing how they be said, but that they be said: if the Pater noster which Christ both made, and bade us say it, may be said to Christ's displeasure, much more the Ave Maria, which neither Christ nor our Lady bade to be said, may be said to our Lady's displeasure, and better never once said, than often so said. So that I would have a difference betwixt well saying, and often saying, and betwixt that that Christ bid us say, and that that he bid not say. And whether Ave Maria be said in heaven or no, who can tell but Dr. Powell? And if it be said alway there without a Pater noster, why may not Pater noster be said here without Ave Maria? and whether doth our Lady say it in heaven or no? which thing I speak not to withdraw you from saying of it, but to withdraw you from superstitious and unfruitful saying of it; so that by occasion of false faith and trust that ye have in the daily saying of it, you set not aside imitation and following of holy living, which will serve at length, when superstitious greeting will neither serve nor stand in strength. It is meet that every thing be taken, esteemed, and valued as it is.
"We salute also and greet well the holy cross, or the image of the holy cross, saying, 'All hail, holy cross, which hath deserved to bear the precious talent of the world:' and yet who will say that we pray properly to the holy cross? Whereby it may appear that greeting is one thing, praying another thing. The cross can neither hear nor speak again, no more than this pulpit: therefore we do salute it, not properly pray to it.
"The angel spake also to Zachary, before he spake to our Lady: Be not afraid Zachary, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bring thee forth a child, which shall be called John, and great joy and gladness shall be at his birth, and he shall be great, and full of the Holy Ghost from the womb of his mother, &c.
"What if a man should say these words every day, betwixt the Pater noster and the Ave Maria, in the worship of St. Zachary, which I think is a saint in heaven, and was, ere ever our Lady came there, and therefore to be honoured: I think he might please and honour St. Zachary, as well some other way, and better too, though they be words sent from God, spoken of an angel, and written in Holy Scripture of the evangelist Luke.
"And yet if it were once begun and accustomed, I warrant some men would make it more than sacrilege to leave it off, though the devil should sow never so much superstition by process of time unto it.
"Christ made the Pater noster for a prayer, and bid his people say it to his heavenly Father, one God in Trinity of Persons, one Father and Comforter, one worker and doer of all things here in this world, saying unto us, So, or after such manner, shall ye pray, Pater noster, &c. God sent his Son amongst other things to teach his people to pray: God sent his angel to greet our Lady, not to teach his people to pray. For neither Christ nor the angel said to the people, This shall ye pray, Ave Maria. When the apostles said to Christ, Teach us to pray; Christ said, When you pray, say, Pater noster: he said not, When you pray, say, Ave Maria. I ween Christ could teach to pray, as well as Dr. Powell and Master Hubberdin. I say that the Ave Maria was before the Pater noster: Dr. Powell saith it shall endure after the Pater noster. I can prove my saying by Scripture; so cannot he his. Yet as it is no good argument, the Ave Maria was before the Pater poster, ergo it is properly a prayer; so it is no good argument, the Ave Maria shall last after the Pater noster, ergo it is properly a prayer; without the antecedent be impossible, which is not credible to come out of such a fantastical brain.
"Who was ever so mad as to think that words of Holy Scripture could not be well said? And yet we may not be so peevish as to allow the superstitious saying of Holy Scripture. The devil is crafty, and we frail and prone to superstition and idolatry. God give me grace to worship him and his, not after our own curiosity, but according to his ordinance, with all humility!
"St. Zachary is to be honoured, and in no wise to he dishonoured: so that we may leave unsaid that that the angel said, without dishonouring him. It is not necessary to our salvation to make an ordinance of honouring him with saying as the angel did. It is better for a mortal man to do the office of a man, which God biddeth him do, than to leave that undone, and do the office of an angel which God biddeth us not do: if the other be presumption, I had rather presume to pray to God, which is God's bidding and man's office, than to presume into the office of an angel without God's bidding. It is a godly presumption to presume to do the bidding of God.
"Here I neither say, that our Lady was a sinner, nor yet I deny the Ave Maria.
"'Saints are not to be honoured.'-- I said this word 'saints' is diversely taken of the vulgar people; images of saints are called saints, and inhabiters of heaven are called saints. Now, by honouring of saints, is meant praying to saints. Take honouring so, and images for saints -- so saints are not to be honoured; that is to say, dead images are not to be prayed unto; for they have neither ears to hear withal, nor tongue to speak withal, nor heart to think withal, &c.
"They can neither help me nor mine ox; neither my head nor my tooth; nor work any miracle for me, one no more than another: and yet I showed the good use of them to be laymen's books, as they be called; reverently to look upon them, to remember the things that are signified by them, &c.
"And yet I would not have them so costly and curiously gilded and decked, that the quick image of God (for whom Christ shed his blood, and to whom whatsoever is done, Christ reputeth it done to himself) lack necessaries, and be unprovided for, by that occasion; for then the layman doth abuse his book.
"A man may read upon his book, though it be not very curiously gilded; and in the day-time, a man may behold it without many candles, if he be not blind.
"Now I say, there be two manner of mediators, one by way of redemption, another by way of intercession; and I said, that these saints, that is to say, images called saints, be mediators neither way.
"As touching pilgrimages, I said, that all idolatry, superstition, error, false faith, and hope in the images, must be pared away, before they can be well done; household looked upon, poor Christian people provided for, restitutions made, all ordinance of God discharged, or ever they can be well done: and when they be at best, before they be vowed, they need not to be done. They shall never be required of us, though they be never done; and yet we shall be blamed when they be all done: wives must counsel with their husbands, and husbands with their wives, both with curates, ere ever they may be vowed to be done.
"And yet idolatry may be committed in doing of them, as it appeareth by St. Paul, in 1 Cor. x., where he biddeth the Corinthians this; to beware of idolatry, and that after they had received the true faith in Christ, which had been vain, if they could not have done idolatry; and expositors add to beware not only of the act of idolatry, but also of all occasion of that act; which is plain against Master Hubberdin, and the parson of Christ's Church, which went about to prove, that now there could be no idolatry.
"As touching the saints in heaven, I said, they be not our mediators by way of redemption; for so Christ alone is our mediator and theirs both. So that the blood of martyrs hath nothing to do by way of redemption: the blood of Christ is enough for a thousand worlds, &c.
"But by way of intercession, so saints in heaven may be mediators, and pray for us, as I think they do when we call not upon them; for they be charitable, and need no spurs, and we have no open bidding of God in Scripture to call upon them, as we have to call upon God, nor yet we may call upon them without any diffidence or mistrust in God; for God is more charitable, more merciful, more able, more ready to help than them all. So that though we may desire the saints in heaven to pray God for us, yet it is not so necessary to be done, but that we may pray to God ourselves, without making suit first to them, and obtain of him whatsoever we need, if we continue in prayer; so that whatsoever we ask the Father in the name of Christ his Son, the Father will give it us: for saints can give nothing without him, but he can without them, as he did give to them. Scripture doth set saints that be departed before our eyes for ensamples, so that the chiefest and most principal worship and honouring of them is to know their holy living, and to follow them, as they followed Christ, &c.
"God biddeth us come to him with prayer; and to do his bidding is no presuming, it is rather presuming to leave it undone, to do that that he biddeth us not do, &c. We must have saints in reverent memory; and learn at God's goodness towards them to trust in God; and mark well their faith toward God and his word, their charity toward their neighbour, their patience in all adversity; and pray to God which gave them grace so to do, that we may do likewise, for which like doings we shall have like speedings: they be well honoured when God is well pleased. The saints were not saints by praying to saints, but by believing in Him that made them saints; and as they were saints, so may we be saints; yea, there be many saints that never prayed to saints: and yet I deny not but we may pray to saints, but rather to Him, which can make us saints, which calleth us to him, biddeth us call Upon him, promiseth help, cannot deceive us and break his promise. When we pray faithfully to him we honour him, not after our own fantastical imagination, but even after his own most wise ordination, whom to honour is not to dishonour saints; therefore they lie that say, that I would not have saints to be honoured, &c.
"'There is no fire in hell.'-- I never knew man that ever said so. I spake of divers opinions that have been written of the nature of that fire; some, that it is a spiritual fire, or at leastway a spiritual pain in the corporal fire; for as it is called a fire, so it is called a worm. Now because they think not that it is a corporal worm, but a spiritual and metaphorical worm, so they think of the fire. Some, that it is a corporal and natural fire: some have thought diversely, before the resurrection without body, and after with body: some, that the soul without body suffereth in the fire, but not of the fire; some, both in and of the fire. The scholastical authors think, that the souls before the resurrection, because they be spiritual substance, do not receive the heat of the fire into them, which is a sensible and a corporal quality; so that Athanasius calleth their pain tristitiam, a heaviness or an anguish: and this opinion is probable enough. Some think that though they be alway in pain, yet they be not always in fire, but go from waters of snow to exceeding heat; but it is when their bodies be there: but whether in cold or in heat, in water or in fire, in air or in earth, they lack no pain, their torment goeth with them; for they think that the devils that tempt us, though they have pain with them, yet they have not fire with them; for then they should be known by heat of the fire.
"I am certain, saith St. Augustine, that there is a fire in hell; but what manner of fire, or in what part of the world, no man can tell, but he that is of God's privy council: I would advise every man to be more careful to keep out of hell, than trust he shall find no fire in hell. Chrysostom saith, that to be deprived of the fruition of the Godhead, is greater pain than the being in hell; there is fire burning, there is the worm gnawing, there is heat, there is cold, there is pain without pleasure, torment without easement, anguish, heaviness, sorrow, and pensiveness, which tarry and abide for all liars and hinderers of the truth.
"'There is no purgatory after this life.'--Not for such liars that will bear me in hand to say what I said not. I showed the state and condition of them that be in purgatory. Then I denied it not, that they have charity in such sure tie that they cannot lose it, so that they cannot murmur nor grudge against God; cannot dishonour God; can neither displease God, nor be displeased with God; cannot he dissevered from God; cannot die, nor be in peril of death; cannot be damned, nor be in peril of damnation; cannot be but in surety of salvation. They be members of the mystical body of Christ as we be, and in more surety than we be. They love us charitably. Charity is not idle: if it be, it worketh and showeth itself: and therefore I say, they wish us well and pray for us. They need not cry loud to God: they be in Christ, and Christ in them: they be with Christ, and Christ with them. They joy in their Lord Christ alway, taking thankfully whatsoever God doth with them; ever giving thanks to their Lord God; ever lauding and praising him in all things that he doth; discontent with nothing that he doth, &c.
"And forasmuch as they be always in charity, and when they pray for us, they pray always in charity, and be always God's friends, God's children, brethren and sisters to our Saviour Christ, even in God's favour, even have Christ with them, to offer their prayer to the Father of heaven, to whom they pray in the name of the Son; and we many times for lack of charity, having malice and envy, rancour, hatred, one toward another, be the children of the devil, inheritors of hell, adversaries to Christ, hated of God, his angels, and all his saints; they in their state may do us more good with their prayers than we in this state. And they do us alway good, unless the lack and impediment be in us; for prayer said in charity, is more fruitful to him that it is said for, and more acceptable to God, than said out of charity; for God looketh not to the work of praying, but to the heart of the prayer. We may well pray for them, and they much better for us; which they will do of their charity, though we desire them not.
"I had rather be in purgatory, than in the bishop of London's prison; for in this I might die bodily for lack of meat; in that I could not: in this I might die ghostly for fear of pain, or lack of good counsel; in that I could not: in this I might be in extreme necessity; in that I could not, if extreme necessity be periculum pereundi, peril of perishing. And then you know what followeth: if we be not bounden, per pręceptum, to help but them that be in extreme necessity, we see not who needeth in purgatory; but we see who needeth in this world. And John saith, If thou see thy brother, and help him not, how is the charity of God in thee? Here, either we be, or we may be, in extreme necessity,, both in body and soul; in purgatory neither one nor other. Here we be bound to help one another, as we would be holpen ourselves, under pain of damnation. Here, for lack of help, we may murmur and grudge against God, dishonour God, weary ourselves; which inconveniences shall not follow, if we do our duty one to another. I am sure the souls in purgatory be so charitable, and of charity so loth to have God dishonoured, that they would have nothing withdrawn from the poor here in this world, to be bestowed upon them, which might occasion the dishonour of God, &c.
"Therefore howsoever we do for purgatory, let us provide to keep out of hell. And had I a thousand pound to bestow, as long as I saw necessary occasion offered to me of God to dispense it upon my needy brother here in this world, according to God's commandment, I would not withdraw my duty from him for any provision of purgatory, as long as I saw dangerous ways unrepaired, poor men's daughters unmarried, men beg for lack of work, sick and sore for lack of succour. I would have difference betwixt that that may be done, and that that ought to be done; and this to go before that, and that to come after this. If God command one way, and my devotion moveth me another way, whether way should I go? I may, by no trentals, no masses, no ladders of heaven, make any foundations for myself with other men's goods. Goods wrongfully gotten must needs home again; must needs be restored to the owners, if they can be known; if not, they be poor men's goods. Debts must needs be paid; creditors satisfied and content; God's ordinance toward my neighbour here in this world discharged; all affections and lusts moving to the contrary purged. Or else, though our soul-priests sing till they be blear-eyed, say till they have worn their tongues to the stumps, neither their singings nor their sayings shall bring us out of hell, whither we shall go for contemning of God's forbiddings.
"He that purgeth all errors of false opinions, all unlustiness to do God's ordinance, provideth not for hell and purgatory. Purgatory's iniquity hath set aside restitutions, and brought poor Christians to extreme beggary, replenished hell, and left heaven almost empty.
"In purgatory there is no pain:"-- that can break their charity; that can break their patience; that can dissever them from Christ; that can dissever Christ from them." That can cause them to dishonour God; that can cause them to displease God; that can cause them to be displeased with God; that can bring them to peril of death.
"That can bring them to peril of damnation; that can bring them to extreme necessity; that can cause them to be discontent with God; that can bring them from surety of salvation:-- and yet it followeth not that there is no pain.
"Howbeit, if the bishop's two fingers can shake away a good part; if a friar's cowl, or the pope's pardon, or scala cli of a groat, can despatch for altogether, it is not so greatly to be cared for. I have not leisure to write at large; and I wrote before such things, which in this haste come now to mind.
"They that can reclaim at this, that the souls in purgatory do pray for us -- if they could get as much money for the prayer that the souls in purgatory say for us, as they have done for that that they have said for them, they would not reclaim. You know the wasp that doth sting them, and maketh them so swell. They that reclaim at that, do not reclaim at this: Christ's blood is not sufficient without blood of martyrs.
"Nor at this: Magdalene did not know Christ to be God, before his resurrection.
"Nor at this: There can be no idolatry.
"Nor at this: Rome cannot be destroyed.
"Nor at this: The pope is lord of all the world.
"Nor at this: Whatsoever he doth is well done.
"Nor at this: Pater noster is to be said to St. Peter.
"Nor at this: Pater noster is but a beggarly prayer.
"Nor at this: Ave Maria is infinitely better.
"Nor at this: Twenty Ave Marias for one Pater noster.
"Nor at this: It was not necessary Scripture to be written.
"Nor at this: He that leaveth father and mother, maketh for our pilgrimage. With many more."