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British Reformers







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Stamford Street.




Some Account of John Fox, the Martyrologist i

A Sermon of Christ Crucified, preached at Paul's Cross, the
Friday before Easter, commonly called Good Friday, a. d.
1570. Written and dedicated to all such as labour and are
heavy laden in conscience, to be read for their spiritual comfort. 1

Christ Jesus Triumphant ; wherein is described the glorious
triumph and conquest of Christ, over sin, death, the law, the
strength and pride of Satan, with all other enemies against
the poor soul of man 98

Of Free Justification by Christ ; written against the Osorian
righteousness and other patrons of the same doctrine of inhe-
rent righteousness. Also a friendly and modest defence against
the whole Tridentine and Jesuitical crew, abridged 131

Epistle of the Author 132

The First Book.

1. Inherent righteousness can no where be found in this nature. 140

2. Of the law, and of the gospel 141

3. How easy it is to err in the doctrine of justification 142

4. The opinion of Osorio 146

5. The righteousness of the law and of the gospel 149

6. Concerning evangelical righteousness 150

7. The power and efficacy of faith 152

8. How faith justifies fallen sinners 156

9. Defence of Luther 157

10. Whence faith hath received its efficacy 158

11. In justification, not so much the condition of the deeds as of

the persons, is regarded 160

12. Absurdities that arise from the Osorian (Romish) righteousness 162

13. Arguments whereby righteousness is attributed to works

answered 165

14. The benefit, and peculiar office of repentance 168

15. Of sin, and the healing thereof by Christ 174

16. The necessity of good works 177

17. Assertions against the free imputation of righteousness

examined » 179

18. Concerning righteousness, and its definition 180

19. Concerning inherent and imputed righteousness 184

20. How far the works of human life are from the perfection of

righteousness 185

21. Against the Jesuits and their arguments 188



22. Christ's righteousness is ours, confirmed hy the example of

Adam 1 93

23. The imitation of Christ discoursed of at large 200

24. Concerning the promises of God 205

25. The perfection of righteousness, and ohedience of the law . . . 207

26. How Christ takes away sins 216

27. Christ begins his benefits in this life, and perfects them in the

life to come 220

28. On reconciliation to God 222

29. Concerning the sins of the saints 223

30. Concerning the grace of God 224

31. How the papists and protestants understand the word Grace . 228

32. Concerning the virtue and efficacy of Divine grace 231

33. What benefits come to us from Christ 233

34. The error of the Tridentines in defining grace 236

35. The calling of God and his grace, are free and gratuitous . . . 238

36. The paradox of the Tridentines 245

37. The grace of God consists only in the free favour of God . . . 246

Extracts from the second book, concerning faith and the promise.. 253

How love and repentance are concerned in justification 267

Extracts from the third book, which is a confutation of the argu-
ments, whereby the adversaries defend their inherent righ-
teousness, against the righteousness of faith 270

De Oliva Evangelica, the true and gladsome Olive Tree. A ser-
mon preached at the christening of a certain Jew at London.
Containing an Exposition of the eleventh chapter of St.
Paul to the Romans 287

The Confession of Faith, which Nathanael, a Jew born, made

before the congregation 383


Some Account of John Bale, bishop of Ossory 2

Extracts from the Image of both Chukches, after the most
wonderful and heavenly revelation of St. John the Evan-
gelist ; containing a very fruitful exposition or paraphrase
upon the same, wherein it is conferred with the other scrip-
tures, and most authorized histories 15


Some Account of Miles Coverdale, bishop of Exeter 1

A Prologue to the Bible, a. d. 1535 7

Extracts from a Confutation of the Treatise made against the

Protestation of Dr. Barnes 17

Preface to certain most godly, fruitful, and comfortable Letters of

the Martyrs 24




The Martyrologist.

JOHN FOX, or FOXE, was born at Boston, in Lincolnshire,
a. d. 1517, the year wherein Luther began publicly to oppose
the errors of popery in Germany. While Fox was very young
his father died and his mother married again. He remained
under the care of his father-in-law till the age of sixteen, when
he was entered of Brazen-Nose college, Oxford, where Dr.Nowell,
afterwards dean of St. Paul's, was his chamber-fellow. There
Fox studied with much assiduity, and showed his abilities
especially in Latin poetry. In 1538 he took the degree of
batchelor of arts, and of master in 1543, which year he was
chosen fellow of Magdalen college. From early youth Fox had
been strongly attached to popish superstitions, but was ever
remarkable for a regular and moral life. He strongly opposed
the doctrine of justification by faith in the imputed righteous-
ness of Christ, thinking himself secure enough by the imaginary
merits of his own self-denial, penances, almsdeeds, and strict
attention to the rites of the church.

But he was not permitted long to remain in this state. He
was naturally of an inquiring disposition ; by such a character
the gross impositions then common in the Romish church could
not long be approved. His son states he had often heard his
father affirm, that the first matter which occasioned him to search
respecting popish doctrine was, perceiving divers things, in their
own nature most repugnant to one another, thrust upon men at one
time, both to be believed — as that the same man might be superior
in matters of faith, and yet his life and manners inferior to all
the world beside. This and other inconsistencies, shook the blind
obedience of Fox to the church of Rome.

He now began to study ecclesiastical history, both ancient and
modern ; to consider the reasons for the increase and decline of
the church ; what causes promoted the first, and what errors
occasioned the latter ; diligently examining the controversies
which had sprung up in successive ages.

Fox was an indefatigable student ; when his mind was bent to
any subject he pursued it with uncommon ardour and patient
perseverance. By the time he was thirty years of age he had


ii John Fox. — Life.

read the writings of the Greek and Latin fathers, the disputa-
tions of the schoolmen, the acts of the councils and decrees of
the consistories. These, but especially a thorough acquaintance
with the scriptures in the original tongues, led him to discern the
errors of popery and to seek the only way of salvation.

This change appears to have taken place about the time when
Fox removed to Magdalen college. His son relates, " By the re-
port of some who were fellow students with him, he used, be-
sides his day's exercises, to bestow whole nights at his study, or
not to betake himself to rest till very late. Near the college was
a grove where for the pleasantness of the place the students used
to walk, and spend some hours in recreation. This place, and
the dead time of night, master Fox chose, with the solemnity of
darkness and solitude, to confirm his mind, which, as a newly
enlisted soldier, tremhled at the guilt of a new imagination." To
forsake the errors of popery then was no light affair. It involved
many dangers ; the loss of friends and preferment, nay death
itself, might almost be reckoned a certain consequence.

The son proceeds : — " How many nights he watched in these
solitary walks, what combats and wrestlings he suffered within
himself, how many heavy sighs, sobs, and tears, he poured forth
with his prayers to almighty God, I had rather be spared, lest it
savour of ostentation. But of necessity it was to be remembered,
because from thence sprang the first suspicion of his alienated
affections. For no sooner was the fame spread of his nightly
retirements, but the more understanding sort out of their own
wisdom, others according as they stood inclined towards him,
interpreted all to the worst sense. At length some were em-
ployed, who under pretence to admonish him, might observe his
walks, and pry into his words and actions. These wanted not
others to aggravate the facts. Why should he not come to
church so often as he had been accustomed? Why should he
shun the company of his equals, and refuse to recreate himself
in his accustomed manner?"

Having thus fallen under suspicion of heresy, and his singular
openness and sincerity disdaining to attempt any hypocritical
concealment, Fox was removed from his fellowship, or found it
advisable to resign and leave Oxford. But farther troubles
awaited him. The profession of the gospel at that time, usually
excited those discordant feelings in families spoken of by our
Lord, Matt. x. 34 — 36. When Mpfy rage of bigotry was stirred
up it often proceeded to the niosr unwarrantable lengths. It
did so in this case. The father-in-law of Fox, enraged at the
change in his views, and knowing that one reputed a heretic then
had no remedy against injustice, withheld his patrimony.

The events recorded of the history of the next few years in
the life of Fox are not very clearly arranged as to dates, but it
appears that being driven from his natural home, he found a
refuge In the ramily of sir Thomas Lucy, a respectable knight of
Warwickshire, by whom he was employed as tutor. During his

His distress. — Tutor to the duke of Norfolk's children, iii

abode there, he married the daughter of a citizen of Coventry.
His departure from this situation was hastened by the inquisi-
tions which the papists began to make into private families.
For a time he seems to have found shelter with his wife's father,
and also with his mother's husband ; but the assistance rendered
him was small. His son states that by these means he kept
himself concealed, but that he always forbore to speak of this
part of his story, not wishing- to notice the lack of kindness from
his relatives as their conduct deserved.

About the end of the reign of Henry VIII. or the com-
mencement of that of Edward VI. Fox removed to London. The
rage of persecution was then abated, but having- no regular em-
ployment, his scanty means were soon exhausted. His biographer
relates a singular incident which befell him at this time.

" As master Fox one day sat in Paul's church,* spent with
long fasting, his countenance thin and eyes hollow, after the
ghastful manner of dying men ; every one shunning a spectacle
of so much horror, there came to him one whom he never re-
membered to have seen before ; who sitting by him and saluting
him with much familiarity, thrust an untold sum of money into
his hand, bidding him be of good cheer ; adding that he knew
not how great were the misfortunes which oppressed him, but
suspected it was no light calamity. He should, therefore, accept
in good part from his countryman that small gift which courtesv
enforced him to offer; he should go and make much of himself,
and take all occasions to prolong his life ; adding, that within a
few days new hopes were at hand, and a more certain condition
of livelihood." Fox never could learn to whom he was indebted
for this relief, though he earnestly endeavoured to ascertain.
Some believed that the bearer was sent by others who were
anxious for the welfare of Fox. However that might be, in a
few days he was invited to reside with the duchess of Rich-
mond, to become tutor to the grandsons of the duke of Norfolk,
then a prisoner in the Tower. With this family Fox lived at
Ryegate till after the death of Edward VI. having under his
charge Thomas, afterwards duke of Norfolk, Henry, afterwards
earl of Northampton, and Jane, countess of Westmoreland ; all
of whom made considerable progress under his tuition. Herein
was a remarkable instance of the interference of divine provi-
dence ; the old duke of Norfolk was a papist, but the duchess of

* The body of St. Paul's church at that period, and long after, was
the daily resort of great numbers of people, especially of those who
had business to transact, or were in search of employment. Crowds
of idlers of every description were also seen there, and the buzz of
conversation, according to the descriptions given by contemporary
writers, seems to have exceeded that of the Royal Exchange when
fullest at the present day. " He is as well known as the middle walk
in Paul's," was a common proverb. A description of London by
Lupton in the following century, contains an allusion to " the dinner-
less pedestrians" who frequented St. Paul's church, in the hope of
finding some one who would invite them to a dinner.

iv John Fox. — Life.

Richmond, the aunt to the late earl of Surrey, was favourably in-
clined to the truth. During his residence at Ryegate, Fox did
not confine his labours to the family wherein he was tutor. On
June 24, 1550, he received ordination from bishop Ridley; at
that time he was living with the duchess of Suffolk. From a
dedication to the translation of his Christ Triumphant, by
Richard Dav, afterwards himself minister of Ryegate, it also ap-
pears that Fox preached the gospel in that neighbourhood, and
was instrumental to the removal of popish idolatries. Day,
addressing himself to the earl of Northampton, son of one of
Fox's pupils, says,

" In the time of his youth, and under the wings of that great
lord of Reigate, Thomas duke of Norfolk, he may be truly said
to plant the gospel of Jesus Christ there ; to that work he was
encouraged and maintained, without fee or salary from any other
than of your honourable house of Howard. To their great ho-
nour be it spoken, he was the first man that ever preached the
gospel in that place, even when idolatry was yet in great
strength. Exceedingly did his free and voluntary labours fruc-
tify among them, for many were there converted from darkness
to the light, and from the power of Satan unto God ; witness
thereof, the old superstitious and idolatrous lady of Ouldsworth,
an image, or idol saint, who was worshipped at Reigate, in place
of Gad, for her miraculous power of saving health.* Ouldsworth
was an honourable name among the old English Saxons : there
are of the name in London to this hour ; but this old saint lost
her name, her place, her power, and friarly false miracles there,
through the ministry of this good man."

That any one instrumental to such a work should have been pa-
tronised by the ducal family of Norfolk is surprising, but we may
remember that the Reformation was then countenanced by au-
thority, and the family appear to have entertained a strong per-
sonal regard for Fox.

An undeniable proof of this regard was manifested soon after
the accession of queen Mary. The measures in progress for the
restoration of popery and the persecution of the protestants,
caused Fox to think of following his friends into exile, but the
young duke was unwilling that Fox should leave him, thinking
his honour was concerned to protect his tutor. Fox knew this
proceeded from sincere feelings of regard, and said it was indeed
for the dukes honour so to act, but it was his duty to take care
that the duke should not be involved in trouble on his account.
The matter did not remain long in suspense. One so active
against image worship, in the diocese of Gardiner, could not
escape the notice of that bigoted papist, who was intimate with the
family, and several times requested to see the tutor. His designs
were suspected. The old duke died September, 1554, and had
been succeeded by his grandson, the pupil of Fox, who being

* See note on the worship of saints, images, and pilgrimage, Lord
Cobham, p. 137.

Persecuted by Gardiner. — Escapes to the continent. v

anxious for the safety of his preceptor, made excuses to keep
him from the sight of Gardiner. But one day Fox, not knowing-
Gardiner was at the house, entered the room. On seeing- the bishop
he quickly withdrew ; Gardiner inquired who that was, the duke
said it was his physician, who being newly come from the uni-
versity, was somewhat uncourtly. " I like his countenance and
aspect well," said the bishop, " and when occasion shall be, will
make use of him." The duke knew what that occasion would
be, and concluded it was no longer safe for Fox to remain in
England. He sent a servant to Ipswich to hire a bark, while a
retreat was provided for Fox, accompanied by his wife, at a
farmer's house near the sea-shore, till all was ready. They had
scarcely put to sea when a contrary wind arose; after beating
about the next night and the following day, in the evening they
regained the port they had left. As soon as Fox landed he was
informed that a pursuivant from the bishop of Winchester had
searched the farmer's house for him, but after following him to
the port, and finding the vessel was out of sight, he had de-
parted. Upon this Fox took horse and left the town, but
returning in the night he persuaded the pilot again to set sail,
and after a rough passage of two days was landed safely at
Nieuport in Flanders. "An evident argument," as Samuel Fox
observes, " of the certain course of Providence and the uncer-
tainty of all human forecast."

From Nieuport Fox proceeded to Antwerp, and from thence
to Basle, where at that time many of the English refugees were
kindly received. The city of Basle was celebrated for superiority
in the art of printing. Fox, and some of his countrymen found
employment in correcting the press, and other literary labours
connected therewith.

Here Fox engaged with Oporinus, a celebrated printer, to
whom he presented the first sketch of his history of the church.
It was written in Latin, and accompanied by a letter to Oporinus,
in which he desired to be received into his service, and that
Oporinus would vouchsafe to be his learned patron, under whom
lie might pursue his studies, being one that would be content
with a small salary ; and if he would employ him there, or at
Strasburg, or at some university, which latter he would prefer,
" either," added he, " I will be destitute of all things, or, by
the help of Christ, I will cause that all men of literature shall
know how much they are indebted to the name and to the press
of Oporinus."

While employed as corrector of the press, Fox continued his
studies ; he especially laboured at his great work on ecclesiastical
history, which he compiled at first in Latin. Several publications
containing parts of it, were set forth by him, among them were
Philpot's examinations. He wrote an earnest address to the
nobility of England, beseeching them to desist from the cruelties
then practised towards the protestants. He also translated
Cranmer's answer to Gardiner on the sacrament. The printing

vi John Fox. — Life.

of this was begun in 1 557, but upon consideration it was thought
more advisable to stop the progress <>t" the work on account of
the bitterness with which the sacramental controversy at that
time raged in Germany and Switzerland. In a letter to Peter
Martyr, Fox complains much of the difficulty he experienced
from the studied obscurity of Gardiner's style. He says, " I
never saw any thing more unpleasant, rough, and entangled, than
Winchester's discourse ; wherein sometimes he is so full of depths
that he needs some sibyl rather than an interpreter. In the
third book there are one or two places where you may sooner
extract water from a pumice-stone than find light from the sen-
tence." An instance of the craft for which Gardiner was so

In this work, Grindal, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury,
gave F^x considerable assistance, also in the more important
labour of his Martyrology. Grindal then resided principally at
Strasburg, and was able to maintain a constant correspondence
with England, by which means he obtained many accounts of the
examinations and sufferings of the martyrs. These he conveyed
to Fox, to arrange and insert in his work. Many letters which
passed between them are extant, they show, as Strype observes,
" a most tender regard to truth and suspending upon common
reports and relations brought over, till more satisfactory evidence
came from good hands." With one letter Grindal sent Fox two
dollars, from the monies remitted out of England to assist for
supporting the martyrs. In these works Fox was also assisted
and encouraged by Aylmer, tutor to lady Jane Grey, afterwards
bishop of London, and by other English divines.

Fox was engaged in more painful transactions while on the
continent, namely, the disputes which arose among the exiles,
respecting certain matters of ecclesiastical discipline and the use
of the English liturgy. The particulars of these differences need
not be entered into here, they are to be found in the work
entitled the Troubles of Frankfort, and in Strype.

Fox deeply regretted the lengths to which matters proceeded.
In a letter to Peter Martyr, written from Frankfort, lie says that
these disputes had made them unfruitful nearly the whole
winter ; he attributes .much to the youth and inexperience of
some who engaged in the controversies. " I have discovered
what otherwise I could not have believed, how much bitterness is
to lie found among those whom continual acquaintance with the
sacred volume ought to render gentle, and incline to all kindness.
As far as in me lies, I persuade parties to concord." After
stating the substance of the advice he had given, he adds, " Our
last anchor is cast upon Christ himself, who for his mercy's sake
will deign to turn our hearts to those things which make for
peace and real tranquillity. His main endeavour was to be a
peace maker, and to persuade both parties to concord. In this
lie appears to have partly prevailed, so far as to induce them to
debate the matter more mildly by letter and conference. He

His employments while in exile. vii

also urged Peter Martyr to settle at Frankfort, as lecturer on
divinity to the English, which might induce them to collect

Part of a letter written by Fox about this period, to a person
and his wife that left England under queen Mary,* is as follows :

" The grace of God in Jesus Christ, which aideth, governeth,
and conducteth all such in truth as put their confidence in him,
be multiplied upon you and your virtuous yokefellow, that as by
the holy institution of the Lord, ye are called to be one flesh, so,
by faith you being one in mind, may, in the unity of Christ's
spirit, like true yokefellows, bear the cross with patience, and
follow our guide and fore-leader, Christ Jesus. Amen.

"When I understood, by your friendly letters sent to my brother,
what our good God and most sweet Father hath done for yon
and other members of his mystical body, in delivering you out of
that miserable land, from "the danger of idolatry and fearful
company of Herodians ; I was compelled, with a glad heart, to
render unto his Divine Majesty most humble thanks, beseeching
him that as he hath delivered "you from their contagious venom
and deathly sting with a safe conscience, so he will vouchsafe to
protect and preserve it still undefiled. To forsake your country,
to despise your commodities at home, to contemn riches, and to set
naught by honours which the whole world hath in great venera-
tion, for the love of the sweet gospel of Christ, are not works of
the flesh, but the most assured fruits of the Holy Ghost, and unde-
ceivable arguments of your regeneration, or new birth, whereby
God certifieth you that ye are justified in him, and sealed to
eternal life. And therefore ye have great cause to be thankful ;
first that he hath chosen you to life, and, secondly, that he
hath given you his Holy Spirit, which hath altered and changed
you into a new creature, working in you through the word such
a mind, that these things are not painful but pleasant unto
you. Again, to be delivered from the bondage of conscience,
from the "

The labours of Fox while in exile were very severe ; his son
speaks of him " as having been inured to hardness from his
youth, therefore labour, and what to others seemed the greatest
misery, to suffer want, to sit up late, and to keep hard diet, gave
him no concern." He adds, " This may appear strange to many

Online LibraryJohn FoxeThe writings of John Fox, Bale, and Coverdale (Volume 12) → online text (page 1 of 52)