Ex-Classics Home Page

Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 435. THE DISPUTATION AT WESTMINSTER.


            This oration of Master Hales being premised, now let us prosecute, the Lord willing, that which we promised, concerning the disputation or conference had at Westminster. The copy whereof here followeth.

            So it pleased the queen's most excellent Majesty, having heard of the diversity of opinions in certain matters of religion amongst sundry of her loving subjects, and being very desirous to have the same reduced to some godly and Christian concord, (by the advice of the lords and others of the privy council,) as well for the satisfaction of persons doubtful, as also for the knowledge of the very truth in certain matters of difference, to have a convenient chosen number of the best learned of either part, and to confer together their opinions and reasons, and thereby to come to some good and charitable agreement. And hereupon by her Majesty's commandment, certain of her privy council declared this purpose to the archbishop of York, (being also one of the same privy council,) and required him that he would impart the same to some of the bishops, and to make choice of eight, nine, or ten of them, and that there should be the like number named of the other part. And further also they declared to him (as then was supposed) what the matter should be. And as for the time, it was thought meet to be as soon as possibly might be agreed upon. And then, after certain days past, it was signified by the said archbishop, that there were appointed, by such of the bishops to whom he had imparted this matter, eight persons, that is to say, four bishops and four doctors: the names of whom here follow underwritten.


The bishop of Winchester.
The bishop of Lichfield.
The bishop of Chester.
The bishop of Carlisle.
The bishop of Lincoln.
Dr. Cole.
Dr. Harpsfield.
Dr. Langdale.
Dr. Chedsey.


Dr. Scory, bishop of Chichester.
Dr. Coxe.
Master Whitehead.
Master Grindall.
Master Home.
Master Dr. Sands.
Master Guest.
Master Ælmer.
Master Jewell.

            They were content, at the queen's Majesty's commandment, to show their opinions; and, as the said archbishop termed it, render account of their faith in those matters which were mentioned, and that especially in writing; although, he said, they thought the same so determined, as there was no cause to dispute upon them.

            The matter which they should talk upon, was comprehended in these three propositions, hereunder specified.

            "1. It is against the word of God, and the custom of the ancient church, to use a tongue unknown to the people, in common prayers, and the administration of the sacraments.

            "2. Every church hath authority to appoint, take away, and change ceremonies and ecclesiastical rites, so the same be to edification.

            "3. It cannot be proved by the word of God, that there is, in the mass, offered up a sacrifice propitiatory for the quick and the dead."

            It was hereupon fully resolved by the queen's Majesty, with the advice aforesaid, that, according to their desire, it should be in writing on both parts, for avoiding of much altercation in words; and that the said bishops would, because they were in authority of degree superiors, first declare their minds and opinions to the matter, with their reasons in writing. And the other number, being also nine men of good degree in schools, and some having been in dignity in the Church of England, if they had any thing to say to the contrary, should the same day declare their opinions in like manner; and so each of them should deliver their writings to the other, to be considered what were to be improved therein, and the same to declare again in writing at some other convenient day, and the like order to be kept in all the rest of the matters. All this was fully agreed upon with the archbishop of York, and so also signified to both parties.

            And immediately hereupon, divers of the nobility and states of the realm understanding that such a meeting and conference should be, and that in certain matters, whereupon (the court of parliament consequently following) some laws might be grounded; they made earnest means to her Majesty, that the parties of this conference might put and read their assertions in the English tongue, and that in the presence of them of the nobility and others of her parliament house, for the better satisfaction and enabling of their own judgments, to treat and conclude of such laws as might depend hereupon.

            This also, being thought very reasonable, was signified to both parties, and so fully agreed upon, and the day appointed for the first meeting, to be the Friday in the forenoon, being the last of March, at Westminster church. At which foresaid day and place, both for good order and for honour of the conference, by the queen's Majesty's commandment, the lords and others of the privy council were present, and a great part of the nobility also. And notwithstanding this former order appointed, and consented unto by both parties, yet the bishop of Winchester and his colleagues alleged they had mistaken that their assertions and reasons should be written, and so only recited out of the book, saying their book was not then ready written, but they were ready to argue and dispute, and therefore they would, for that time, repeat in speech, that which they had to say to the first probation.

            This variation from the former order, and especially from that which themselves had by the said archbishop in writing before required, adding thereto the reason of the apostle, that to contend with words is profitable to nothing, but to subversion of the hearer, seemed to the queen's Majesty's council somewhat strange; and yet was it permitted without any great reprehension, because they excused themselves with mistaking the order, and agreed that they would not fail but put it in writing, and, according to the former order, deliver it to the other part; and so the said bishop of Winchester and his colleagues appointed Dr. Cole, dean of Paul's, to be the utterer of their minds; who, partly by speech only, and partly by reading of authorities written, and at certain times being informed of his colleagues what to say, made a declaration of their meanings and their reasons to their first proposition: which being ended, they were asked by the lord keeper, if any of them had any more to be said, and they said, No. So, as the other part was licensed to show their minds, they did it according to the first order, exhibiting all that which they meant to be propounded, in a book written; which, after a prayer and invocation, made most humbly to Almighty God for the enduing of them with his Holy Spirit, and a protestation also to stand to the doctrine of the catholic church, builded upon the Scriptures, and the doctrine of the prophets and the apostles, was distinctly read by one Robert Horne, bachelor in divinity, late dean of Durham, and afterwards bishop of Winchester. The copy of which their protestation here followeth, according as it was by them penned and exhibited, with their preface also before the same.

            "Forasmuch as it is thought good unto the queen's most excellent Majesty, (unto whom in the Lord all obedience is due,) that we should declare our judgment in writing upon certain propositions; we, as becometh us to do herein, most gladly obey.

            "Seeing that Christ is our only Master, whom the Father hath commanded us to hear; and seeing also his word is the truth, from the which it is not lawful for us to depart, no, not one hair's breath, and against the which (as the apostle saith) we can do nothing; we do in all things submit ourselves unto this truth, and do protest, that we will affirm nothing against the same.

            "And forasmuch as we have for our mother the true and catholic church of Christ, which is grounded upon the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, and is of Christ the Head in all things governed; we do reverence her judgment, we obey her authority as becometh children; and we do devoutly profess, and in all points follow the faith which is contained in the three creeds, that is to say, of the apostles, of the council of Nice, and of Athanasius.

            "And seeing that we never departed, neither from the doctrine of God which is contained in the holy canonical Scriptures, nor yet from the faith of the true and catholic church of Christ; but have preached truly the word of God, and have sincerely ministered the sacraments according to the institution of Christ, unto the which our doctrine and faith the most part also of our adversaries did subscribe not many years past, (although now, as unnatural, they are revolted from the same,) we desire that they render account of their backsliding, and show some cause wherefore they do not only resist that doctrine which they have before professed, but also persecute the same by all means they can. We do not doubt, but through the equity of the queen's most excellent Majesty, we shall in these disputations be entreated more gently than in years late past, when we were handled most unjustly and scantly after the common manner of men. As for the judgment of the whole controversy, we refer unto the most Holy Scriptures, and the catholic church of Christ (whose judgment unto us ought to be most sacred): notwithstanding by the catholic church we understand not the Romish church, whereunto our adversaries attribute such reverence, but that which St. Augustine and other fathers affirm ought to be sought in the Holy Scriptures, and, which is governed and led by the Spirit of Christ.

            "It is against the word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to use a tongue unknown to the people in common prayers and administration of the sacraments.

            "By these words, 'the word of God,' we mean only the written word of God, or canonical Scriptures: and by 'the custom of the primitive church,' we mean the order most generally used in the church for the space of five hundred years after Christ, in which times lived the most notable fathers, as Justin, Irenæus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Basil, Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, &c.

            "This assertion above written hath two parts. First, that the use of the tongue not understood of the people, in common prayers of the church, or in the administration of the sacraments, is against God's word.

            "The second, that the same is against the use of the primitive church.

            "I. The first part is most manifestly proved by the 14th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, almost throughout the whole chapter; in the which chapter St. Paul entreateth of this matter, ex professo, purposely. And although some do cavil that St. Paul speaketh not in that chapter of praying, but of preaching, yet is it most evident to any indifferent reader of understanding, and appeareth also by the exposition of the best writers, that he plainly there speaketh not only of preaching and prophesying, but also of prayer and thanksgiving, and generally of all other public actions, which require any speech in the church or congregation. For of praying he saith: I will pray with my spirit, and I will pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, and I will sing with my mind. And of thanksgiving, (which is a kind of prayer,) Thou givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. And how shall he which occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen, to thy giving of thanks, when he understandeth not what thou sayest? And in the end, descending from particulars to a general proposition, concludeth, that all things ought to be done to edification. Thus much is clear by the very words of St. Paul; and the ancient doctors, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and others, do so understand this chapter, as it shall appear by their testimonies which shall follow afterward.

            "Upon this chapter of St. Paul we gather these reasons following.

            "1. All things done in the church or congregation, ought so to be done as they may edify the same.

            "But the use of an unknown tongue, in public prayer or administration of sacraments, doth not edify the congregation.

            "Therefore the use of an unknown tongue, in public prayer or administration of sacraments, is not to be had in the church.

            "The first part of this reason is grounded upon St. Paul's words, commanding all things to be done to edification.

            "The second part is also proved by St.Paul's plain words. First by this similitude: If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall be prepared to battle? Even so likewise, when ye speak with tongues, except ye speak words that have signification, how shall it be understood what is spoken? for ye shall but speak in the air, that is to say, in vain, and consequently without edifying. And afterwards, in the same chapter he saith, How can he that occupieth the place of the unlearned, say Amen, at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? for thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. These be St. Paul's words, plainly proving, that a tongue not understood doth not edify. And therefore both the parts of the reason thus proved by St. Paul, the conclusion followeth necessarily.

            "2. Secondly, Nothing is to be spoken in the congregation in an unknown tongue, except it be interpreted to the people, that it may be understood. For saith Paul, If there be no interpreter to him that speaketh in an unknown tongue, let him hold his peace in the church. And therefore the common prayers and administration of sacraments, neither done in a known tongue, neither interpreted, are against the commandment of Paul, and not to be used.

            "3. The minister, in prayer or administration of sacraments, using language not understood of the hearers, is to them barbarous, and alien; which of St. Paul is accounted a great absurdity.

            "4. It is not to be counted a Christian common prayer, where the people present declare not their assent unto it by saying Amen; wherein is implied all other words of assent.

            "But St. Paul affirmeth, that the people cannot declare their assent in saying Amen, except they understand what is said, as afore.

            "Therefore it is no Christian common prayer where the people understand not what is said.

            "5. Paul would not suffer, in his time, a strange tongue to be heard in the common prayer in the church, notwithstanding that such a kind of speech was then a miracle, and a singular gift of the Holy Ghost, whereby infidels might be persuaded and brought to the faith; much less is it to be suffered now, amongst. Christian and faithful men; especially being no miracle nor especial gift of the Holy Ghost.

            "6. Some will peradventure answer, that to use any kind of tongue, in common prayer or administration of sacraments, is a thing indifferent.

            "But St. Paul is to the contrary: for he commandeth all things to be done to edification; he commandeth to keep silence if there be no interpreter; and in the end of the chapter he concludeth thus: If any man be spiritual or a prophet, let him know that the things which I write are the commandments of the Lord. And so shortly to conclude, the use of a strange tongue, in prayer and administration, is against the word and commandment of God.

            "To these reasons, grounded upon St. Paul's words, which are the most firm foundation of this assertion, divers other reasons may be joined, gathered out of the Scriptures, and otherwise.

            "1. In the Old Testament all things pertaining to the public prayer, benedictions, thanksgivings, or sacrifices, were always in their vulgar and natural tongue. In 2 Chron. xxix. it is written, that Hezekiah commanded the Levites to praise God with the Psalms of David and Asaph the prophet, which doubtless were written in Hebrew, their vulgar tongue. If they did so in the shadows of the law, much more ought we to do the like, who, as Christ saith, must pray in spiritu at veritate.

            "2. The final end of our prayer, as David saith, is, Ut populi at conveniant in unum, at annuncient nomen Domini in Sion, at laudes ejus in Hierusalem, Psal. cii.

            "But the name and praises of God cannot be set forth to the people, unless it be done in such a tongue as they may understand: therefore common prayer must be had in the vulgar tongue.

            "3. The definition of public prayer out of the words of St. Paul, Orabo spiritu, orabo et mente, 1 Cor. xiv. Common prayer is to lift up our common desires to God with our minds, and to testify the same outwardly with our tongues; which definition is approved by St. Augustine, (De Magistro, cap. i.,) Nihil opus est, inquit, locutione, nisi forte ut sacerdotes faciunt, significandæ mentis causal ut populus intelligat.

            "4. The ministration of the Lord's supper and baptism are as it were sermons of the death and resurrection of Christ.

            "But sermons to the people must be had in such language as the people may perceive; otherwise they should be had in vain.

            "5. It is not lawful for a Christian man to abuse the gifts of God: but he that prayeth in the church in a strange tongue, abuseth the gifts of God. For the tongue serveth only to express the mind of the speaker to the hearer. And Augustine saith, 'There is no cause why we should speak, if they for whose cause we speak understand not our speaking.'

            "6. The heathen and barbarous nations of all countries and sorts of men, were they never so wild, evermore made their prayers and sacrifices to their gods in their own mother tongue. Which is a manifest declaration that it is the very light and voice of nature.

            "Thus much upon the ground of St. Paul and other reasons out of the Scriptures, joining therewith the common usage of all nations, as the testimony of the law of nature.

            "II. Now for the second part of the assertion, which is, that the use of a strange tongue in public prayer and administration of sacraments, is against the custom of the primitive church; it is a matter so clear, that the denial of it must needs proceed either of great ignorance, or else of wilful malice.

            "For first of all Justin Martyr, describing the order of the communion in his time, saith thus: 'Upon the Sunday, assemblies are made both of the citizens and countrymen, where the writings of the apostles and of the prophets are read, as much as may be. Afterwards, when the reader doth cease, the head minister maketh an exhortation, exhorting them to follow so honest things. After this we rise all together and offer prayers; which being ended, (as we have said,) bread and water are brought forth. Then the head minister offereth prayers and thanksgiving, as much as he can, and the people answer Amen.'

            "These words of Justin, who lived about one hundred and sixty years after Christ, considered with their circumstance, declare plainly, that not only the Scriptures were read, but also that the prayers and administration of the Lord's supper were done, in a tongue understood.

            "The liturgies both of Basil and Chrysostom declare, that in the celebration of the communion, the people were appointed to answer to the prayer of the minister, sometimes 'Amen;' sometimes, 'Lord have mercy upon us;' sometimes, 'And with thy spirit,' and, 'We have our hearts lifted up unto the Lord,' &c.: which answers they could not have made in due time, if the prayer had not been made in a tongue understood.

            "And for further proof, let us hear what Basil writeth in this matter to the clerks of Neocæsarea: As touching that is laid to our charge in psalmodies and songs, wherewith our slanderers do fray the simple, I have thus to say: that our customs and usages in all churches be uniform and agreeable. For in the night the people with us rise, go to the house of prayer, and in travail, tribulation, and continual tears, they confess themselves to God; and at the last, rising again, go to their songs or psalmody, where being divided into two parts, they sing by course together, both deeply weighing and confirming the matter of the heavenly sayings, and also stirring up their attention and devotion of heart, which by other means be alienated and plucked away. Then appointing one to begin the song, the rest follow, and so with divers songs and prayers passing over the night, at the dawning of the day, all together, even as it were with one mouth and one heart, they sing unto the Lord a song of confession, every man framing to himself meet words of repentance.'

            "If you will fly us from henceforth for these things, ye must fly also the Egyptians, and the Libyans; ye must eschew both the Thebans, Palestines, Arabians, the Phoenicians, and the Syrians, and those that dwell beside the Euphrates; and, to be short, all those with whom watchings, prayers, and common singing of psalms, are had in honour."


Testimonies of St. Ambrose, written upon 1 Cor. xiv., Super illud, Qui enim loquitur linguis.

            "'This is it that he saith, He which speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh to God: for he knoweth all things; but men know not, and therefore there is no profit of this thing.'

            "Upon these words, If thou bless or give thanks with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen, at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? Hoc est, si laudem Dei lingua loquaris ignoto, &c. 'That is,' saith Ambrose, 'if thou speak the praise of God in a tongue unknown to the hearers. For the unlearned, hearing that which he understandeth not, knoweth not the end of the prayer, and he answereth not Amen, that is as much as to say, true, that the blessing or thanksgiving may be confirmed. For the confirmation of the prayer is fulfilled by them which do answer Amen. That all things spoken might be confirmed in the minds of the hearers, through the testimony of the truth.'

            "Afterward in the same place, upon these words, If any infidel or unlearned come in, &c.

            "'For when he understandeth, and is understood, hearing God to be praised, and Christ to be worshipped, he seeth perfectly that the religion is true, and to be reverenced, wherein he seeth nothing to be done colourably, nothing in darkness, as among the heathen, whose eyes are covered, that they, seeing not the things which they call holy, might perceive themselves to be deluded with divers vanities. For all falsehood seeketh darkness, and showeth false things for true. Therefore with us nothing is done privily, nothing covertly, but one God is simply praised, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus, by whom are all things. For if there be none which can understand, or of whom he may be tried, he may say, there is some deceit and vanity, which is therefore sung in tongues not understood; he meaneth, because it is a shame to open it.'

            "Let all things be done to edify.

            "'This is the conclusion, that nothing should be done in the church in vain, and that this thing ought chiefly to be laboured for, that the unlearned also might profit, lest any part of the body should be dark through ignorance.'

            "Again, Si non fuerit interpres, taceat in ecclesia.

            "Hoc est, intra se tacite oret aut loquatur Deo, qui audit muta omnia. In ecclesia enim ille debet loqui qui omnibus prosit.

            "If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church.

            "'That is, let him pray secretly, or speak to God within himself, which heareth all dumb things: for in the church he ought to speak which may profit all men.'


Testimonies out of St. Jerome, upon that place of Paul, Quomodo, qui supplet locum idiotæ, &c.

            "'It is the layman, which hath no ecclesiastical office,' saith he, 'whom Paul here understandeth to be in the place of the ignorant man. How shall he answer Amen, to the prayer that he understandeth not?'

            "'This is Paul's meaning,' saith Jerome: 'If any man speaketh in strange and unknown tongues, his mind is not to himself without fruit and profit, but he is not profited that heareth him.'

            "And in the end of his commentary upon the Epistle to the Galatians, he saith thus: 'That Amen signifieth the consent of the hearer, and is the sealing up of the truth, Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians teacheth, saying, But if thou shalt bless in spirit, how shall he who supplieth the place of the ignorant, at thy prayer answer Amen, seeing he knoweth not what thou sayest? Whereby he declareth that the unlearned man cannot answer, although that which is spoken is true, unless he understand what is said.'

            The same Jerome saith in the preface of St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, that the noise of Amen soundeth in the Roman church, like a heavenly thunder.


Testimonies out of Basil, Chrysostom, Dionysius, Cyprian, Augustine, and Justinian.

            "As Jerome compareth this sound of common prayer to thunder, so Basil compareth it to the sound of the sea, in these words: 'If the sea be fair, how is not the assembly of the congregation much fairer? in the which a joined sound of men, women, and children, as it were of the waves beating on the shore, is sent forth in our prayers unto our God.

            "'When the people once hear these words, World without end, they all forthwith answer, Amen.'

            "And the same writer upon the same chapter, upon these words, How shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen? En rursus amussi (quod dicitur) saxum applicat, ecclesiæ ædificationem ubique requirens, &c. 'Behold again, he applieth the stone unto the square, (as the proverb is,) requiring the edifying of the congregation in all places.' The unlearned he calleth the common people, and showeth that it is no small discommodity, if they cannot say Amen.

            "And again, the same Chrysostom, 'Yea, in prayers you may see the people offer largely, both for the possessed and the penitents. For the priests and the people pray all together commonly, and all one prayer, a prayer full of mercy and pity. And excluding out of the priests' limits all such as cannot be partakers of the holy table, another prayer must be made, and all after one sort lie down upon the earth, and all again after one sort rise up together. Now when the peace is given, we all in like manner salute one another, and the priest in the reverend mysteries wisheth well to the people, and the people unto him: for, and with thy spirit,' is nothing else but this. All things that belong to the sacrament of thanksgiving, are common to all. But he giveth not thanks alone, but all the people with him.'

            "Hereby it may appear, that not the priest alone communicated nor prayed alone, nor had any peculiar prayer, but such as was common to them all, such as they all understood, and all were able to say with the priest; which could not have been, if he had used a strange tongue in the ministration of the sacraments.

            "Dionysius, describing the manner of the ministration of the Lord's supper, saith, 'that hymns were said of the whole multitude of the people.'

            "Cyprian saith, 'The priest doth prepare the minds of the brethren, with a preface before the prayer, saying, Lift up your hearts: that while the people doth answer, We have our hearts lifted up to the Lord, they may be admonished that they ought to think of none other thing than of the Lord.'

            "St. Augustine, What this should be we ought to understand, that we may sing with reason of man, not with chatting of birds. For ousels, and popinjays, and ravens, and pies, and other such-like birds, are taught by men to prate they know not what. But to sing with understanding, is given by God's holy will to the nature of man.'

            "The same Augustine: 'There needeth no speech when we pray, saving perhaps as the priests do, to declare their meaning; not that God, but that men may hear them; and so, being put in remembrance by consenting with the priests, may hang upon God.'

            "To these testimonies of the ancient writers, we will join one constitution of Justinian the emperor, who lived 527 years after Christ: 'We command that all bishops and priests do celebrate the holy oblation, and the prayers used in holy baptism, not speaking low, but with a clear and loud voice, which may be heard of the people, that thereby the minds of the hearers may be stirred up with greater devotion, in uttering the praises of the Lord God. For so the holy apostle teacheth in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, saying, Truly, if thou only bless or give thanks in spirit, how doth he which occupieth the place of the unlearned say Amen, at the giving of thanks unto God? for he understandeth not what thou sayest. Thou verily givest thanks well, but another is not edified. And again, in the Epistle to the Romans, he saith, With the heart a man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

            "'Therefore for these causes it is convenient, that amongst other prayers those things also which are spoken in the holy oblation, be uttered and spoken of the most religious bishops and priests unto our Lord Jesus Christ, our God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, with a loud voice. And let the most religious priests know this, that if they neglect any of these things, neither will the dreadful judgment of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, neither will we, when we know it, rest, and leave it unrevenged.'

            "Out of this constitution of Justinian the emperor, three things are worthy to be noted.

            "1. That the common prayer and ministration done with a loud voice, so as may be heard and understood of the people, is a mean to stir up devotion in the people; contrary to the common assertion of Eckius and other adversaries, who affirm that ignorance maketh a great admiration and devotion.

            "2. That Justinian maketh this matter of not ordering common ministration and prayers, so as it may be understood of the people, not a matter of indifferency, but such a thing as must be answered for at the day of judgment.

            "3. That this emperor, being a Christian emperor, doth not only make constitution of ecclesiastical matters, but also threateneth revenge and sharp punishment to the violaters of the same.

            "These are sufficient to prove that it is against God's word, and the use of the primitive church, to use a language not understood of the people, in common prayer and ministration of the sacraments. Wherefore it is to be marvelled at, not only how such an untruth and abuse crept at the first into the church, but also, how it is maintained so stiffly at this day; and upon what ground these that will be thought guides and pastors of Christ's church, are so loth to return to the first original of St. Paul's doctrine, and the practice of the primitive catholic church of Christ.

            "The God of patience and consolation, give us grace to be like-minded one towards another in Christ Jesus; that we all, agreeing together, may with one mouth praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

            "John Scory.
            John Jewell.
            Richard Coxe.
            Robert Horne.
            David Whitehead.
            John Ælmer.
            Edmund Grindall.
            Edmund Guest."

            And the same being ended with some likelihood, as it seemed, that the same was much allowable to the audience; certain of the bishops began to say, contrary to their former answer, that they had now much more to say to this matter: wherein although they might have been well reprehended for such manner of cavillation, yet, for avoiding of any more mistaking of orders in this colloquy or conference, and for that they should utter all that which they had to say, it was both ordered and thus openly agreed upon of both parts, in the full audience, that upon the Monday following, the bishops should bring their minds and reasons in writing to the second assertion, and the last also, if they could; and first read the same: and that done, the other part should bring likewise theirs to the same. And being read, each of them should deliver to other the same writings. And in the mean time, the bishops should put in writing, not only all that which Dr. Cole had that day uttered, but all such other matters as they any otherwise could think of for the same: and as soon as they possibly could, to send the same book touching that first assertion to the other part, and they should receive of them that writing which Master Home had there read that day; and upon Monday it shall be agreed what day they should exhibit their answers touching the first proposition. Thus both parts assented thereto, and the assembly was quietly dismissed.


The order of the second day's talk.

            The lord keeper of the great seal, the archbishop of York, the duke of Norfolk, and all the council, being set, the bishops on the one side, and the protestants, that is, the late banished preachers, on the other side, thus began the lord keeper.

            "My Lord and Masters, I am sure ye remember well, what order of talk and writing was appointed to be had this day in this assembly, at our last meeting, which I will not refuse now to repeat again for the shortness of it; which was, that ye appointed that on both sides ye should bring in English writing, what ye had to say in the second question, and in this place appointed to read the same. Therefore begin, my Lords."

            Winchester.--"I am determined, for my part, that there shall be now read, that which we have to say for the first question."

            Lord Keeper.--"'Will ye not then proceed in the order appointed you?"

            Winchester.--"I am, as I said, provided for the first question or proposition; and we should suffer prejudice, if ye permit us not to entreat of that first; and so we would come to the second question, and this is the order we would use. I judge all my brethren are so minded."

            Bishops.--"We are so determined."

            Lord Keeper.--"I know not what you would do for your determined order, but ye ought to look what order is appointed you to keep, which ye by this means do break, and little regard."

            Winchester.--"Sith our adversaries' part, if it please your Grace and Honours, have so confirmed their assertion and purpose, we suffer a prejudice or damage, if ye permit us not the like." Hereat Dr. Watson, bishop of Lincoln, being at this talk very desirous to have spoken, said now to the bishop of Winchester, "I pray you let me speak:" which was permitted him. "We are not used indifferently, since that you allow us not to open in present writing what we have to say for the declaration of the first question, insomuch as that which ye take for the infirmation of the same, was meant nothing to that purpose; for that which Master Cole spake in this last assembly, was not prepared to strengthen our cause, but he made his oration of himself, and ex tempore, that is, with no fore-studied talk."

            At such the bishop's words, the nobility and others of the audience much frowned and grudged, sith that they all well knew, that Master Cole spake out of a writing which he held in his hand, and often read out of the same; and that in the same places which the bishops informed him, and appointed him unto with their fingers; all which things do well declare the matter to be premeditate, and not done ex tempore, for that Master Cole was appointed by them to be their speaker. Whereupon this of the bishop of Lincoln was the worse taken, notwithstanding he went onward complaining, and said, "We are also evil-ordered as touching the time, our adversaries' part having warning long before, and we were warned only two days before the last assembly in this place. What with this business, and other trouble we have been driven to, we have been occupied the whole last night. For we may in no wise betray the cause of God, nor will do, but sustain it to the uttermost of our powers; as we ought so to endeavour by all manner of means. But hereunto we want presently indifferent using."

            Lord Keeper.--"Take ye heed that ye deceive not yourselves when it shall come to just trial of the matter, and that then it be not proved against you, that ye complain without cause, when the order and your manner towards it shall be duly weighed. I am willing and ready to hear you after the order taken and appointed for you to reason therein; and further or contrary to that I cannot deal with you."

            The bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.--"Let us suffer no misorder or injury herein, but be heard with indifferency, that is convenient and meet we should have here."

            Lord Keeper.--"I pray you, sirs, hear me, and mark it you well. It was concluded on by my Lords of the council, of whom you well know, that their writing, which ye are now so willing to have heard, should have been read the first day; and then did we understand that Master Cole had said what you would have him, and as much as you willed him to say; and, upon that indifferency among us, I judge ye were asked in the end of Master Cole's rehearsal, whether that which he spake, was it ye would have him say; and ye granted it. Then, whether ye would, that he should say any more in the matter: ye answered no. Whereupon the other part was heard, which you hearing, then indeed, without all good indifferency or plain dealing, ye pretended that ye had more to say. So mark you with how small equity you used yourselves."

            The bishops.--"We had indeed more to say, if we might have been indifferently heard."

            Lord Keeper.--"Give me leave, I say, and look what gains you should have, if your present request should be granted you, that call so much of indifferent using, how you should use those other men?

            For many who are here present, were then away; so would you have your writing now read to them, which heard not this. Mark ye whether it had not been more fit that ye had provided it against the first day, when they orderly read theirs, sith to my knowledge, and as far as I have had to do in the matter, you were of both sides (I am sure) warned at one time. Howbeit, to satisfy your importunity and earnestness of this crying out to have your first writing heard, I might well allow, if it so pleased the rest of the queen's most honourable council, that you despatch the work of the second question, appointed for this day, and give us up your writing for the first; so that when the day cometh that each of you shall answer the other in confirmation of the first question, then the same day ye shall have time to read this your first writing, which ye now would so fain read." To this order all the council willingly condescended.

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"Nay, my Lords, they reading one, and we two books in one day, we should not have time enough to read them both. It would occupy too much time."

            Lord Keeper.--"For my part, I might well stay at the hearing of them both, and so I judge would the rest of the council, and likewise the whole audience." At which saying there was a shout, crying on all sides, "Yea, yea, we would hear it gladly."

            Lincoln.--"We cannot read them both at one time; for their writing, I am sure, would require an hour and a half, if so be it be so long as their last was; and then our answer would require no less time after the first question."

            Lord Keeper.--"I have showed you we could be well contented to tarry out the time when it cometh thereunto: therefore ye need not to be therein so curious. And we granting you thus much, and yet ye will obey no orders, I cannot tell what I shall say unto you."

            Lincoln.--"We have been wonderfully troubled in the order of this disputation: for first it was appointed us by my Lord the archbishop, that we should dispute, and that in Latin. And then had we another commandment that we should provide a Latin writing, and now at last we are willed to bring forth our writings in English."

            At these words the lord keeper of the great seal, the archbishop, with all the council, much mused, and many murmured at such his wrong report of the order well taken. Whereupon, with an admiration, the lord keeper answered, "I marvel much of the using of yourself in this point, sith I am assured the order was never otherwise taken, than that you should bring forth in English writing, what you had to say for your purpose."

            Hereupon the bishops of Lichfield and Chichester, to excuse my Lord of Lincoln, said, "We so understood the order, my Lords."

            Lord Keeper.--"How likely is that, sith that it was so plainly told you? But to end these delays, I pray you follow the order appointed, and begin to entreat of the second question."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"We were appointed this day, by your Honours, to bring in what we had to say in the first question." At the which saying the audience much grudged, who heard the former talk, contrary to such his report.

            Lord Keeper.--"The order was taken, for that your writings were not ready the last tine, that ye should yield the same to these men, meaning the protestants, as soon as ye might; and upon the receipt of your writings, you should have theirs. And this day you should entreat of the second question, and of the third, if that ye had leisure enough. This was the order, my Lords, except my memory much fail me." The same all the council affirmed.

            Lincoln.--"We were willed then to bring in this day our writing for the first question also."

            Lord Keeper.--"Ah sirs! if ye be so hard to be satisfied, and to incline to the truth, let my Lords here say what was then determined."

            Archbishop of York.--"Ye are to blame to stand in this issue, for there was a plain decreed order taken, for you to entreat of the second question. Wherefore leave you your contention herein, and show what ye have to say in the second question."

            Lord Keeper.--"Go to now, begin, my Lords."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"It is contrary to the order in disputations, that we should begin."

            Chester.--"We have the negative, they the affirmative; therefore they must begin."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"They must first speak what they can bring in against us, sith we are the defending part."

            Chester.--"So is the school manner; and likewise the manner in Westminster Hall is, that the plaintiff's part should speak first, and then the accused party to answer."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"I pray you let the proposition be read, and then let us see who hath the negative part, and so let the other begin."

            Lord Keeper.--"The order was taken that ye should begin."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"But then we should do against the school order."

            Lord Keeper.--"My masters, ye enforce much the school orders. I wonder much at it, sith divers of those orders are oftentimes taken for the exercise of youth, and ought to maintain a fashion, and many prescriptions, which we need not here to recite, much less observe. We are come hither to keep the order of God, and to set forth his truth, and hereunto we have taken as good order as we might, which lieth not in me to change."

            Carlisle.--"We are of the catholic church, and abide therein, and stand in the possessions of the truth; and therefore must they say what they have to allege against us; and so we to maintain and defend our cause."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"Yea, even so must the matter be ordered."

            Chester.--"When they bring any thing against us, it is sufficient for us to deny it: therefore must they begin."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"And when they affirm any thing, and we say nay, the proof belongeth to them, and so it behoveth them to show first, what they affirm, and for what cause and purpose."

            Lord Keeper.--"Here resteth our purpose and whole matter, whether you will begin; if they do not, sith it was determined ye should begin."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"We heard of no such order."

            Lord Keeper.--"No did? Yes, and in the first question ye began willingly. How cometh it to pass that ye will not now du so?"

            Chester.--"Then had we the affirmation, which sith that our adversaries have now, they should presently begin."

            This the protestants denied, saying, that they in the first day had the negative, wherein they did not yet refuse to begin.

            Lord Keeper.--"If you have any thing to say, my Lords, to the purpose, say on."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"A particular sort of men can never break a universal church, which we now maintain: and as for these men, our adversary part, I never thought that they would have done so much as have named themselves to be of the catholic church, challenging the name as well as we."

            Protestants.--"We do so, and we are of the true catholic church, and maintain the verity thereof."

            Lincoln.--"Yet would ye overthrow all catholic order."

            Horne.--"I wonder that ye so much stand in who should begin."

            Lincoln.--"You count it requisite that we should follow your orders, as we have taken the questions at your hands, in that sort as you have assigned them."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"Yea, even so are we driven to do now."

            Lord Keeper.--"Nay, I judge, if ye mark the matter well, the questions are neither of their propounding them to you, nor of your device to them, but offered indifferently to you both."

            Horne.--"Indeed, my Lords of the queen's most honourable council, these questions or propositions were proposed unto us by your Honours; and they then having the pre-eminence, chose to themselves the negative, and yet freely began first. Now, again, why do they not the like?"

            Lichfield being angry that he should so straitly speak against them, went quite from the matter, saying, "My Lord Keeper of the great seal, and you the rest of the queen's most honourable council, I hope that you all, and the queen's Majesty herself, are inclined to favour the verity in all things, and the truth of the catholic church, which we must, will, or can do no otherwise, but earnestly maintain to the uttermost of our power; and to this purpose let us now well weigh who are of the true catholic church, they, or we."

            Lord Keeper.--"Tarry now, you go from the matter, and make questions of your own."

            Lichfield, yet not straying from his digression, said thus: "We must needs go to work, and try that first, what church they be of: for there are many churches in Germany. Master Horne, Master Horne, I pray you which of these churches are you of?"

            Horne.--"I am of Christ's catholic church."

            Lord Keeper.--"Ye ought not thus to run into voluntary talk of your own inventing, nor to devise new questions of your own appointment, and thereby enter into that talk: ye ought not so to do. But say on, if you have any thing to say in this matter."

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"Nay, we must first thus go to work with them as I have said, if that we will search a truth: howbeit of the truth we have no doubt, for that we assuredly stand in it. These men come in, and they pretend to be doubtful. Therefore they should first bring what they have to impugn or withstand us withal."

            Winchester.--"Let them begin; so will we go onward with our matter."

            Chester.--"Otherwise, my Lords, if they should not begin, but end the talk, then should the verity on our sides be not so well marked; for they should depart speaking last, with the rejoicing triumph of the people."

            Winchester.--"Therefore I am resolved that they shall begin ere that we say any thing."

            Chester.--"I am sorry, my Lords, that we should so long stand in the matter with your Honours, and make so many words, and so much ado with you, whom we ought to obey: howbeit there is no in differency if they begin not; and surely we think it meet, that they should, for their parts, give us place."

            Lichfield.--"Yea, that they should, and ought to do, where any indifferency is used."

            Ælmer.--"We give you the place: do we not? and deprive you not of the pre-eminence, because you are bishops; therefore I pray you begin."

            The bishop.--"A goodly giving of place, I assure you: yea marry, ye gave place." Such words they used, with more scoffs.

            Lord Keeper.--"If ye make this assembly gathered in vain, and will not go to the matter, let us rise and depart."

            Winchester.--"Contented, let us be gone; for we will not in this point give over. I pray you, my Lords, require not at our hands that we should be any cause of hinderance or let to our religion, or give any such evil example to our posterity, which we should do, if we gave over to them; which in no wise we may, or will do."

            Lord Keeper.--"Let us then break up, if you be thus minded." With these, words the bishops were straightways rising. But then said the lord keeper, "Let us see whether every one of you be thus minded. How say you, my Lord of Winchester, will you not begin to read your writing?"

            Winchester.--"No surely, I am fully determined and fully at a point therein, howsoever my brethren do."

            Then the lord keeper asked how the bishop was called, who sat next to Winchester in order. It was the bishop of Exeter, who, being inquired his mind herein, answered that he was none of them. Then the lord keeper asked the others, in order: and first Lincoln, who said he was of the same mind that Winchester was: and so likewise answered Lichfield and Coventry, Cole, and Chedsey. Then Chester, being asked his sentence, said, "My Lords, I say not that I will not read it, if ye command us; but we ought not to do it: yet I desire your Honours not so to take it, as though I would not have read it. I mean not so."

            Lord Keeper.--"How say you to it, my Lord of Carlisle?"

            Carlisle.--"If they should not read theirs this day, so that our writing may be last read, so am I contented that ours shall be first read."

            Lord Keeper.--"So would ye make orders yourselves, and appoint that we should spend one day in hearing you."

            Then the abbot of Westminster was asked his mind; who said, "If it please your Honours, I judge that my Lords here stay most on this point, that they fear when they shall begin first, and the other answer thereupon, there shall be no time given to them to speak; which my Lord misliketh."

            Lord Keeper.--"How can it otherwise be in talk appointed in such assembly and audience: think you that there can be continual answering one another? when should it after that sort have an end?"

            Lichfield and Coventry.--"It must be so in disputation, to seek out the truth."

            Lord Keeper.--"But how say you, my Lord Abbot, are you of the mind it shall be read?"

            Abbot.--"Yea forsooth, my Lord, I am very well pleased withal."-- Harpsfield being inquired his mind, thought as the other did.

            Lord Keeper.--"My Lord, sith that ye are not willing, but refuse to read your writing after the order taken, we will break up and depart: and for that ye will not that we should hear you, you may perhaps shortly hear of us."

            Thus have we declared the order and manner of this communication or conference at Westminster, between these two parties, wherein if any law or order were broken, judge, good reader, where the fault was; and consider withal what these papists be, from whom if ye take away their sword and authority, you see all their cunning, how soon it lieth in the dust; or else why would they not abide the trial of writing? Why would they, or durst they, not stand to the order agreed upon? Whether should we say ignorance or stubbornness to be in them more, or both together? who first being gently (as is said) and favourably required to keep the order appointed, they would not. Then being, secondly, (as appeared by the lord keeper's words,) pressed more earnestly, they neither regarding the authority, &c., of that place, nor their own reputation, nor the credit of the cause, utterly refused that to do. And finally, being again particularly every of them apart distinctly by name required to understand their opinions therein, they all, saving one, (which was the abbot of Westminster, having some more consideration of order and his duty of obedience than the others,) utterly and plainly denied to have their book read, some of them, as more earnestly than others, so also some others more undiscreetly and unreverently than others. Whereupon giving such example of disorder, stubbornness, and self-will, as hath not been seen and suffered in such an honourable assembly, being of the two estates of this realm, the nobility and the commons, besides the presence of the queen's Majesty's most honourable privy council, the same assembly was dismissed, and the godly and most Christian purpose of the queen's Majesty made frustrate. And afterward, for the contempt so notoriously made, the bishops of Winchester and Lincoln, having most obstinately both disobeyed common authority, and varied manifestly from their own order, and specially Lincoln, who showed more folly than the other, were condignly committed to the Tower of London, and the rest (saving the abbot of Westminster) stood bound to make daily their personal appearance before the council, and not to depart the city of London and Westminster, until further order were taken with them for their disobedience and contempt.

Illustration -- The Bishops of Winchester and Lincoln Brought to the Tower of London

            Besides the former protestation or libel written and exhibited by the protestants concerning the first question, there was also another like writing of the said protestants made of the second question, but not published, which, if it come to our hand, we will likewise impart it unto thee.

            As these bishops above named were committed to the Tower, so Bonner, bishop of London, about the same time was commanded to the Marshalsea, where he both in his blind bloody heresy, and also in his deserved captivity, long remained, abiding the queen's pleasure. God's pleasure, I beseech him, so be wrought on that person, that the church of Christ's flock, if they can take or look for no goodness of that man to come, yet they may take of him and of others no more harm hereafter, than they have done already. We all beseech thee this, O Lord eternal, through Christ our Lord, Amen.


Previous Next