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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 412. EDWARD BENET.


            One Edward Benet, about the second year of the reign of Queen Mary, then dwelling at Queenhithe with one Grynocke a baker, was desired of one Tingle, prisoner then in Newgate, to bring him a New Testament. He, procuring one of Master Coverdale's translation, wrapped it in a handkerchief, saying to George the keeper, which asked him what he had, that it was a piece of powdered beef. "Let me see it," said he. Perceiving what it was, he brought him to Sir Roger Cholmley, who examined him why he did so, saying that book was not lawful; and so committed him to the Compter in Wood Street, where he continued twenty-five weeks.

            Dr. Story coming to the prison to examine other prisoners, this Benet, looking out at the grate, spake to him, desiring him to be good unto him, and to help him out; for he had lien long in prison. To whom Dr. Story then answering: "What!" said he, "wast thou not before me, in Christ's Church?" "Yes, forsooth," said Benet. "Ah," said Story, "thou dost not believe in the sacrament of the altar! Marry, I will help thee out. Come," said he to the keeper, "turn him out, I will help him:" and so took Benet with him, and brought him to Cluney in Paternoster Row, and bade him bring him to the coal-house, and there he was in the stocks a week.

            Then the bishop sent for him to talk with him, and first asked him if he were shriven? "No," said Benet. He asked him if he would be shriven? "No," said he. Then he asked him if the priest could take away his sins? "No," said Benet, "I do not so believe." Then he and Harpsfield laughed at him, and mocked him, asking him if he did not believe that whatsoever the priest here bound in earth, should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever he looseth in earth, should be loosed in heaven. "No," quoth Benet, "but I believe that the minister of God, preaching God's word truly, and ministering the sacraments according to the same, whatsoever he bindeth in earth, should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever he looseth," &c. Then the bishop, putting him aside, said, he should go to Fulham and be whipped.

            Then came to him Master Buswell a priest, lying in the coal-house, in the stocks, and brought Cranmer's recantation, saying that he had recanted. "My faith," saith the other, "lieth in no man's book, but in him which hath redeemed me." The next Saturday, Benet, with five others, was called for to come to mass in the chapel. The mass being done, and they coming out, five of them went to prison, and were after burnt. Benet being behind, and coming toward the gate, the porter, opening to a company going out, asked if there were no prisoners there. "No," said they. Benet, standing in open sight before him, with other serving-men which were there, by reason that Bonner made many priests that day, (having one of his sleeves and half the forepart of his coat burnt off in the prison, being more like a prisoner than any of the others,) when the gates were opened, went out amongst them, and so escaped.

            Again, in the last year of Queen Mary, the same Benet being taken again with the twenty-four beyond Islington, and brought to Sir Roger Cholmley's, the people coming very thick did cut off some of them, to the number of eight, which were behind, among whom was Benet. Then he knocking at the gate to come in, the porter said, that he was none of the company. He said, "Yes," and knocked again. Then there stood one by of the congregation, named Johnson, dwelling now at Hammersmith, which said, "Edward, thou hast done well, do not tempt God: go thy way." And so he, taking the warning as sent of God, with a quiet conscience eschewed burning.


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