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of trouble that might ensue), he saith :

Laurence Saunders to his Wife.

You shall, I think, shortly come far enough into danger, by keeping of faith
and a good conscience ; which, dear wife, I trust you do not slack to make
reckoning and account upon, by exercising your inward man in the meditation
of God's most holy word, which is the sustenance of the soul ; and also by
going yourself to humble prayer : for these two things be the very means by
which the members of Christ are made daily more meet to inherit his kingdom.
Wherefore do this, dear wife, in earnest, without leaving off, and so shall we
two, with our Christ and all his chosen children, enjoy the merry world in that
everlasting immortality ; whereas, here, will nothing else be found but extreme
misery, even of them which most greedily seek this worldly wealth ; and so, if
we two continue God's children grafted into our Christ, the same God's blessing
which we receive shall also settle upon our Samuel. Though we do shortly
depart hence, and leave the poor infant (as it seemeth) at all adventures, yet
shall he have our gracious God to be his God : for so hath He said which
cannot lie, " I will be thy God and the God of thy seed." Yea, if you being
called of God to do his will, either to die for the confession of Christ, either to
do any work of obedience, should be compelled to leave him in the wild
wilderness, destitute of all help, that God which heard the cry of that poor little
infant of Hagar, Sarah's handmaid, and did succour it, will do the like to this

fl) 2 Cor. iv. 7. (2) Rom. viii. 5. (3) 2 Cor. iv. 13.

(4) Exodus iv. 10. (5) Jer. i. 6.



our child, and to tlie child of any other which feareth God and putteth his Mary.
trust in him. If we lack faith to helieve this (as many times we do indeed), 7^ —

let us call for it, and we shall have hoth the increase of it, and of any other A. L).
good grace needful for us. Be merry in God, dear wife, for I am very merry. ^'^'^^'
Oh Lord ! what great cause have we of rejoicing, when we think upon that
kingdom which God vouchsafeth, for his Christ's sake, freely to give unto us,
forsaking ourselves and following him. Dear wife, this is truly to follow him,
even to " take up our cross and follow him." Then, as we suffer with him, so
shall we reign with him everlastingly. Amen ; shortly, shortly, etc.

To the commendation of a true ftitlierly affection doth this also
make not a little.*

As the said master Saunders was in prison, strait charge was saun-
given to the keeper that no person should speak with him. His wife wife not
yet came to the prison gate with her young child in her arms, to visit ," fpeak
her husband. The keeper, though ft>r his charge he durst not suffer ^'th inm
her to come into the prison, yet did he take the little babe out of
her arms, and brought him unto his father. Laurence Saunders
seeing him, rejoiced greatly, saying, that he rejoiced more to have
such a boy, than he should if two thousand pounds were given him.
And unto the standers-by, which praised the goodliness of the child,
he said, " What man, fearing God, would not lose this life present,
rather than by prolonging it here, he should adjudge this boy to be
a bastard, his Avife a whore, and himself a whoremonger .'' Yea, if
there were no other cause, for which a man of my estate should lose
his life, yet who would not give it, to*advow*this child to be legiti-
mate, and his marriage to be lawful and holy ?^^

I do, good reader, recite this saying, not only to let thee see what
be thought of priests' marriage ; but chiefly to let all married couples
and parents learn to bear in their bosom true affections — natural,
but *yet* seasoned with the true salt of the Spirit — unfeigned and
hearty, but thoroughly mortified — to use them and to be led by them
to do the natural works and offices of married couples and parents,
so long as with their doing they may keep Christ with a free con-
fessing faith in a conscience unfoiled. Otherwise, both they and
their own lives are so to be forsaken, as Christ required them to be
denied and given in his cause.

And now to come to the examination of this good man : after brouliT
that the bishops had kept him one whole year and a quarter in to exami-
prison, at the length they called him, as they did the rest of his "^ ""''
fellows, openly to be examined. Of the which his first examination Af^ndix.
the effect and purpose thus followeth.

The First Examination of Laurence Saunders.

Pi-aised be our gracious God who preserveth his from evil, and doth give
them grace to avoid all such offences as might hinder his honour, or hurt his
church, Amen.

Being convented before the queen's most honourable council, sundry
bishops being present, the lord chancellor began to speak in such form as
followeth :

Lord Chancellor : — " It is not unknown, tliat you have been a prisoner for
such abominable heresies and false doctrine as hath been sown by you; and
now it is thought good that mercy be showed to such as seek for it. Wherefore
if now you will show yourself conformable, and come home again, mercy is
ready. We must say, that we have fallen in manner all ; but now we be risen


Mary, again, and returned to the catholic chnrch : you must rise with us, and conae
home unto it. — Give us forthwith a direct answer."

A- D. Saunders : — " My lord, and my lords all, may it please your honours to give
1555. me leave to answer with deliberation."

L. Chan. : — " Leave oft' your painting and pride of speech : for such is the

fashion of you all, to please yourselves in your glorious words. Answer yea,

or nay."

Saunders Saunders : — " My lord, it is no time for me now to paint : and as for pride,

standeth there is no great cause why it should be in me. My learning, I confess, to be

upon his jj^jj. gj^^jjjj . ^,^(j ag for i-iches or worldly wealth I have none at all. Notwith-

science. standing, it standeth me in hand to answer to your demand circumspectly,

considering that one of these two extreme perils is like to fall upon me : the

losing of a good conscience, or the losing of this my body and life. And I tell

you truth, I love both life and liberty, if I could enjoy them without the hurt

of my conscience."

L. Chan. : — " Conscience ! You have none at all, but pride and arrogancy,
dividing^ yourselves by singularity from the church."
Cm- Saunders : — " The Lord is the knower of all men's consciences. And whereas

science your lordship layeth to my charge this dividing myself fi-om the church (as you
never to ^'^ mean, and is now among you concluded upon, and 1 do understand), 1 do
stand assure you, that I live in the faith wherein I have been brought up since I was
upon fourteen years old : being taught that the power of the bishop of Rome is but
unce'r- Usurped, with many other abuses springing thereof. Yea, this I have received
tain. even at your hands that are here present, as a thing agreed upon by the catholic
church and public authority." ^

L. Chan. : — " Yea marry ; but, I pray you, have you received by consent
and authority all your heresies of the blessed sacrament of the altar?"

Saunders : — " My lord, it is less oftence to cut oft" an arm, hand, or joint of
a man, than to cut off" the head : for the man may live, though he do lack an
arm, hand, or joint ; and so he cannot without his head. But you, all the
whole sort of you, have agreed to cut off" the supremacy of the bishop of Rome,
whom now you will have to be the head of your church again."

Bishop of London : — " And if it like your lordship, I have his hand against
the blessed sacrament. How say you to that?"^

Saunders: — " What I have written, that I have written; and further I will
not accuse myself. Nothing have you to burden me withal, for breaking of
your laws since they were in force."

L. Chan. : — " Well, you be obstinate, and refuse liberty."
A lawful Saunders :—" My lord, I may not buy liberty at such a price: but I he-
request, seech your honours to be means to the queen's majesty for such a pardon for
could not u**) that we may live and keep our consciences unclogged, and we shall live as
be heard, most obedient subjects. Otherwise, I must say for myself, that by God's grace
I will abide the most extremity that man may do against me, rather than to
do against my conscience."

L. Chan.: — "Ah sirrah! you will live as you list. The Donatists* did
desire to live in singularity ; but indeed they were not meet to live on earth. —
No more be you, and that shall you understand within these seven days ; and
tlierefore away with him ! "

Saunders : — " Welcome be it, whatsoever the will of God shall be, either life
or death. And I tell you truly, I have learned to die. But I exhort you to
beware of shedding of innocent blood. Truly it will crj^ The Spirit of God
rest upon all your honours ! Amen." — This is the sum and form of my first
examination. Pray, etc.

This examination being ended, the officers led him out of the
phicc, and so stayed until the rest of his fellows were likewise
handled, that they might have them altogether to prison. Laurence

(1) Of this dividing speaketh St. Paul, 2 Cor. vi., "Come out and divide yourselves from
them," &c.; and Jeremiah, chap. 1. 8.

(2) Conscience ouglit never to stand upon things uncertain ; time and authority be things of
themselves always uncertain : ergo, conscience ought never to stand upon time and authority.

Ci) " Si non insanit satis sua sponte, instiga." [Ter. Andr. iv. 2, 9.]

(4) To live as the Scripture leadeth us, is not to live as we list. The papists desire the pope, the
piotostants Christ only, to be their head. Now, which of these two be most like the Donatists?



Saunders, standing among the officers, seeing there a great multitude Mary.
of people, opened his mouth and spake freely, warning them all of ^ q
that, which, by their falling from Christ to Antichrist, they did de- 1555.
serve ; and therefore exhorting them by repentance to rise again, and 3^^,^^^^.^
to embrace Christ with strono-er faith, to confess him to the end, in f^eiy
the defiance of Antichrist, sin, death, and the devil : so should they chnst.
retain the Lord^s favour and blessing.

The copies of his other examination and excommunication came to The se-
the hands of such as do keep them still in secret : but in tlicm, as he amiimuon
defended Christ's cause stoutly, so warned he the pharisaical bishops ^^^ ^^'^^'
and papists of their hypocrisy and tyranny freely, and cleared himself
of their unjust quarrellings truly. After he was excommunicate and saunders
delivered to the secular power, he was brought by the sheriff of Lon- to the
don to the prison called the Compter, in his own parish in Bread-
street ; whereat he rejoiced greatly, both because he found there a
fellow-prisoner, master Cardmaker, with whom he had christian and
comfortable conference, and also because out of prison, as before out
of a pulpit, he might preach to his parishioners ; as by his letter
hereafter shall be declared.

The 4th day of February, the bishop of London did come to the Saunders
prison, where he was, to disgrade him ; which when he had done, byTon"-'^
Laurence Saunders said to him, "I thank God, I am none of your n*"^-

The day following in the morning, the sheriff of London delivered carried to

, . -^ . n ^ 1 11-1 • i^ 1 j^ Coventry.

hun to certam of the queen s guard, winch were appomted to carry
him to the city of Coventry, there to be burned. The first night
they came to St. Alban's, where master Griraoald (a man who had
more store of good gifts than of great constancy) did speak with

After master Saunders had given him a lesson meet for his lightness,
he took a cup in his hand, and asked him if he would pledge him of that
cup, of which he would begin to him. Grimoald, by his shrugging
and shrinking showing what he Avas, said, " Of that cup which is in
your hand, I will pledge you : but of that other which you mean, I
will not promise you." " Well," said master Saunders, '' my dear
Lord Jesus Christ hath begun to me' of a more bitter cup than mine
shall be ; and shall I not pledge my most sweet Saviour ? Yes, I

After they were come to Coventry!, the same night a poor shoe- a good
maker, which was wont to serve him of shoes, came to him after his maker of
manner, and said, " O my good master ! God strengthen and comfort <^"^'=""^y-
you." " Gra-mercies good shoemaker," quoth master Saunders,
" and I pray thee to pray for me ; for I am the unmeetest man for
this high office, that ever was appointed to it : but my gracious God put'tolhe
and dear Father is able to make me strong enough." That same '^^™7°'^
night he was put into the common gaol among other prisoners, where Coventry.

(1) " Begun to me" seems to be equivalent to "hatli challenged." Bishop Hall, in his Contem- -'^c''
plations (The two Sons of Zehedee), writes, " O blessed Saviour, we pledge thee according to our ■iPT"'>'>'c-
weakness who hast begun to usin thy powerful sufferings;" and Herbert has " My flesh heyan iiulo
my soul," page 94. Lond. 1S24. See also Hanmer's Translation of Evagrius, book i. cap. U. Bisliop
Reynolds, in his " Meditations on the Lord's Last Supper," (chap. 8.) furnishes another example
of the same idiom ; " Because he himself did begin tnilii us in a more bitter cup."— Ed.


Mary, hc slcpt little, but spciit the niglit in prayer, and instructing of
^•Q others.

1555. The next day, which was the 8th of February, he was led to the
saimrter7 P^acc of cxccution in the park without the city, going in an old gown
brought and a shirt, bare-footed, and ofttimes fell flat on the ground, and
place of prayed. When he was come nigh to the place, the officer ap-
tion!"" pointed to see the execution done, said to master Saunders, that
he was one of them which marred the queen's realm,' with false doc-
trine and heresy, " wherefore thou hast deserved death,'' quoth he ;
" but yet, if thou wilt revoke thine heresies, the queen hath pardoned
thee : if not, yonder fire is prepared for thee." To whom master
Saunders answered, " It is not I, nor my fellow-preachers of God's
truth, that have hurt the queen's realm, but it is yourself, and such as
you are, which have always resisted God's holy word; it is you which
have and do mar the queen's realm. I do hold no heresies ; but the
doctrine of God, the blessed gospel of Christ, that hold I ; that be-
lieve I ; that have I taught ; and that will I never revoke." With
Adie'nda. that, this tormentor cried, " Away with him." And away from him
went master Saunders with a merry courage towards the fire. He fell
to the ground, and prayed : he rose up again, and took the stake to
which he should be chained, in his arms, and kissed it, saying, " Wel-
come the cross of Christ ! welcome everlasting life !" and being
fastened to the stake, and fire put to him, full sweetly he slept in the
Compari- And thus havc ye the full history of Laurence Saunders, whom I
tween may well compare to St. Laurence, or any other of the old martyrs of
Saunders ChHst's church ; both for the fervent zeal of the truth and gospel
and St. of Christ, and the most constant patience in his suffering, as also for
" the cruel torments that he, in his patient body, did sustain in the
flame of fire. For so his cruel enemies handled him, that they burned
him with green wood, and other smothering, rather than burning fuel,
which put him to much more pain, but that the grace and most plen-
tiful consolation of Christ, who never forsaketh his servants, and gave
strength to St. Laurence, gave also patience to this Laurence, above
all that his torments could work against ; which well appeared by his
quiet standing, and sweet sleeping in the fire, as is above declared.
Strength And to the intent to give the reader to understand the better,
in Christ, wliat the grace of Christ worketh in his servants; and again, how
noTof'^ feeble and weak man is of himself without this grace given from
ourselves, abovc, tliouijh he seem otherwise never so stout in himself: here,


the gift of therefore, have we added to the aforesaid story of Laurence Saunders,

*^'"*" the communication which in the beginning of his trouble was between

him and Dr. Pendleton, by the example whereof, such as stand, may

leam to understand to take heed with due fear, and not to brag ; to

lean to the grace of the Lord, and not to presume in themselves.

a certain communication between laurence saunders

and dr. pendleton, in the beginning of queen

Mary's time.

At the change of religion in this realm, and the beginning of
queen Mary's reign, Dr. Pendleton and master Saunders, men known

(1) Ahab accuseth Elias for troubling Israel.


to the world, not only to be learned, but also earnest preachers of ^fary.
God's word in the time of blessed king Edward, met together in the "aTdT
country, where, by occasion, they were at that time, and, as the case 1555.
required (by reason of the persecution that was then at hand), fell to pendieton
debate what was best for them to do in so dangerous a season. Where- prea°cher
upon master Saunders, whether through very frailty indeed of his weak of the
flesh that was loth to taste of the bitter cup, though his spirit were kins
ready thereunto ; or whether it were upon the mistrust of his own ume!'^^^
strength, that he might receive the greater power from above ; or
whether it were not for any one of the said causes alone, but for both
together, or such like ; seemed so fearful and feeble spirited, that he Saunders
showed himself in appearance, like either to fall quite from God and his inc'iiHst's
word, which he had taught, or at least to betake him to his heels, and the^first
to fly the land, rather than to stick to his profession, and abide by his begm-
tackle : so as Dr. Pendleton (who on the contrary side appeared not '"^"
so big of body, but as bold in courage ; nor so earnest before in
pulpit, but as ready now to seal the same with his blood) took upon
him to comfort master Saunders all that he might ; admonishing him,
as he could do it very well, not to forsake cowardly his flock when he
had most need to defend them from the wolf; neither, having put
his hand to God's plough, to start now aside and give it over ; nor yet
(that is Avorst of all), having once forsaken Antichrist, to fall either
himself, or suffer others, by his example, to return to their vomit agam.

After which and such like persuasions bidding him be of good The stout
comfort, and to take a good heart unto him, " What, man !" quoth pen^dieton
he, " there is a great deal more cause in me to be afraid than in you ; ^\ ti'p be-
forasmuch .as you see, I carry a greater mass of flesh upon mv back
than you do, and being so laden with a heavier lump of this vile car-
case, ought therefore of nature to be more frail than you : and yet,"
saith he, *' I will see the uttermost drop of this grease of mine
molten awav, and the last gobbet of this flesh consumed to ashes,
before I will forsake God and his truth." Whereunto the other,
answering but little, and wishing that Almighty God would give him
more strength than he presently felt in himself, acknowledging his
own weakness, consented notwithstanding, though it were somewhat
faintly, to join with him in the profession of the gospel, and so to go
up to London, and set forth the same : Avhereupon they gave each
other their hands.

Now when they were come to London, oh, what a great change God
was there between these two persons ! The poor, feeble, faint- strength
hearted Saunders, by the goodness of Almighty God taking heart of J^|.'^j'^_
grace to him, seeking the same in humility, boldly and stoutly con- ness is.
firmed his flock out of the pulpit, where his charge lay, mightily AddZda.
beating down Antichrist, and lustily preadiing Christ his master; for
the which he afterward suffered most willingly, as is before declared.
Whereas on the other side, Pendleton the proud (who, as it appeared Example
by the sequel, had been more stout in words than constant in deeds, b^J^mTn
and a greater braggcr than a good warrior) followed Peter so justly in [^if'^^'JIj™!
cracks, howsoever he did in repentance (which God only knowcth), out 'the
that he came not so soon to London but he changed his tippet, and port iiim.
played the " apostata ;" preaching, instead of sound doctrine, nothing
almost but errors and lies, advancing Antichrist, and overthrowing


Mary, poor Clirist with all his mainy' : sohis former boldness came to nothing,

A. D. unless it were a contrary key, becoming of a faithful pastor a false

1555. runagate, and of a true preacher a sworn enemy to God's everlasting

testament ; to the great offence of his brethren, the hurt of his flock,

and the utter undoing, without God''s greater mercy, of his own soul.

Wherein are specially to be considered the deep and marvellous

judgments of God, who, as he can and doth make strong whom it

pleaseth him, when he seeth his time, and most commonly such as

appear most feeble : even so, contrariwise, throweth he down others,

seem they never so stout, stand they never so much in their own

Rom .xiii. conceits. Wherefore, let him that standeth take heed he fall not;

and let us pray continually to Almighty God, though we have faith,

that he will help and increase our faith, that in him it may be made

strong, which of itself is so weak, that it is soon overthrown.

Saunders This blcsscd man of God, enduring long time in prison, did not

in writing pass all this time in unfruitful idleness, but still, from time to time,

^omoi ^'^ ^'^^^ ^'^^ friends (as is said), and especially his wife, with many

prison, jettcrs full of godly instruction and consolation. All which letters it

shall not be greatly needful here to insert ; partly, because they are

to be found in "■ The Book of Letters,"^ partly, because we intend

also (if God will) to prosecute the same hereafter more at large. In

the mean time it shall not be out of place here presently to comprehend

certain of them, as in order followeth.

A Letter sent to Master Fen-ar Bishop of St. David's, Doctor Taylor,
Master Bradford, and Master Philpot.

Grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord, etc. Good fathers, and
dear brethren, be thankful unto our most gracious God, which hath preserved
us, and shall, I doubt not, from blaspheming his blessed name : yea, not only
that, but also^ " Out of the mouths of very babes and sucklings, shall be set
forth his praise." They offer us, forsooth, our liberty and pardon, so that we
will rise with them into that faith, which we with them were fallen from. Yea,
or no, must be answered in haste. They will not admit any needful circum-
stances, but all (as heretofore) most detestable and abominable. Rise with
them we nuist unto the unity. A pardon, say I, of me must not so dearly
be purchased. A pardon I desire, to live with an unclogged conscience. "The
Donatists," say they, " sought for such singularity ; but they were not meet to
live in a commonwealth — no more be you, as you shall shortly understand.
Wherefore away with him." (Yea the time was named — within this seven-
night.) " There be twelve hours in the day.* Death shall be welcome," said I,
" as being looked for long since : and yet do justice ye were best; for Abel's
blood cried, ye wot what. The Spirit of God be upon you, and God save your
honours." Thus departed I from them. Pray, pray. Ah, ah ! " Puer sum,
nescio loqui ;" i. e. " I am a child, I cannot speak." My brother P. shall show
you more herein. By him send me word what you have done. Fare ye well,
and pray, pray. I would gladly meet with my good brother Bradford on the
backside, about eleven of the clock. Before that time I cannot start out, we
have such out- walkers; but then will they be at dinner.

Yours, as you know,

Laurence Saunders.

(1) See Appendix. Rom. xiii.

(2) " The Book of Letters of the Martyrs." [This book was published by Miles Coverdale, in
1564; it has also been reprinted. London, 1837.— Ed.]

(.3) " Ex ore infantium et lactantiura perliciet laudera." Psalm viii.
(4) John xi.


A lictter which Laurence Saunders did write to his Wife, and others Mary.

of the faithful Flock, after his Condemnation to the Fire ; written aTdT

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