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and a great number of learned men of both universities, charging and com-
manding them for the discharge and exoneration of his conscience to find, read,
examine, and discuss the contents of such books as be now spread abroad within
this his grace's realm in the English tongue concerning the points and articles
of our faith, and after their learning and conscience to make relation unto his
highness, whether the same books [were] expedient and profitable for his
people, to the direction and ordering of their conscience and souls, or else con-
tagious au(l pestiferous for the same, and whether the opinions contained in
them were agreeable to God's word and doctrine or no : forasmuch as the said
congregation and assembly had free liberty and license granted unto every man
to say as his conscience and learning served him without any reproach or blame
to be imputed or arrected for any thing to be spoken there, whose person soever Ap^mdix.
it touched, or any necessity to agree to the more part, but only to say that his
own learning and conscience could maintain and justify; after mature deli-
beration and consultation had, it was there by a whole consent, no man
repugning or againsaying, determined and agreed that the books now being
abroad in the English tongue contain false traditions and corrupt doctrine, far
discrepant from the true sense of the gospel and catholic understanding of
Scripture, only persuading pernicious heresies to the destruction of the souls
of good christian men ; and that the certainty hereof I can report vuito you of
mine own knowledge, being one of the said assembly, and hearing and seeing
the said opinions read, declared, and examined, and by the true sense and
meaning of God's learning reproved and rejected: I think therefore my duty is,
taking upon me the office of a preacher, following the example of our master
Christ and St. Paul, as is aforesaid, to warn and monish you by the words of
Christ, as I spake before: " AUendite a falsis prop/ielis," etc. And take heed
of yourself that ye be not infect by the contagion and infection of such pseudo-
apostles as have, in our English tongue, set forth books to seduct you from the
true knowledge of God's laws, and bring [you] by their false interpretations of
Scripture into detestable and abominable heresies, to the destruction of your
souls. Wherefore you that have tlie books called " The Obedience of a
(1) Scu above, p. 491), note (1).— Ed.



504 A WHITING OF THE BISHOPS AGAINST ENGLISH BOOKS.

Mary. Christian Man;" "the Sum of Scripture;" "the Revelation of Antichrist;"

. _^ "the Supplication of Beggars;" " Mammona Iniquitatis ;" "the Matrimony

, *,,* of Tyndale ;" the New Testament in English, of the translation which is now

' ■ printed, and such other hooks in English, the authors whereof either dare not,



Farm of a ne do not put to their names be [unknown unto you or else be such as have set
ileclara- forth these] pernicious books; detest them, abhor them, keep them not in your
' ■ hands, deliver them to the superiors such as call for them : and if by reading
of them heretofore any thing remaineth in your breasts of that teaching, either
forget it, or by information of the truth expel it and purge it, to the intent that
ye, being so purified and cleansed of that contagious doctrine and pestiferous
traditions, may be fit and apt to receive and retain the true doctrine and under-
standing of Christ's laws, to the comfort and edification of your souls. Thus
I move and exhort you in God to do ; this is your duty to do, [this ye ought
to do ; and being obstinate, and denying or refusing so to do,] the prelates of
the church, having the cure and charge of your souls, ought to compel you,
and your prince to punish and correct you not doing of the same ; unto whom,
as St. Paul saith, tlie sword is given by God's ordinance for that purpose.

Ye shall also fartiier understand, that the king's highness, forasmuch as it
was reported unto him that there is engendered an opinion in divers of his
subjects, that it is his grace's duty to cause the Scripture of God to be translated
into English tongue to be communicate unto the people, and that the prelates,
and also his highness, do wrong in [denying or letting] of the same, his highness
therefore willed every m?n there present in the said assembly freely and
frankly to show and open unto him what might be proved and [confirmed] by
Scripture and holy doctors in that behalf, to the intent that his highness (as he
then openly protested) might conform himself thereunto, minding to do his
duty towards his people, as he would they should do their duties towards him.
In which matter, after Scripture declared, holy doctors and authors alleged
and read, and all things said which might be on both sides and for both part
spoken, deduced, and brought forth, finally it appeared, that the having of the
whole Scripture in English is not necessary to christian men; but that without
having any such Scripture, endeavouring themselfe to do well, and to apply
their minds to take and follow such lessons as the preacher teacheth them, and
so learned by his mouth, may as well edify spiritually in their souls, as if they
had the same Scripture in English. And like as the having of Scripture in the
vulgar tongue, and in the common people's hands, hath been by holy fathers
of the church heretofore in some times thought meet and convenient, so at
another time, it hath been thought to holy fathers not expedient to be commu-
nicate amongst them. Wherein forasmuch as the king's highness, by the advice
and deliberation of his council, and the agreement of great learned men,
thinketh in his conscience, that the divulging of the Scripture at this time in the
English tongue to be committed to the people, considering such pestilent books
and so evil opinions as be now spi'ead amongst them, should rather be to their
further confusion and destruction, than the edification of their souls, and that,
as holy doctors testify, upon such like considerations the semblable hath been
done in times past, it was thought there in that assembly to all and singular in
that congregation, that the king's highness and the prelates in so doing, and not
suffering the Scripture to be divulged and communicate in the English tongue
unto the people at this time, doth well. And also I think and judge the same,
exhorting and moving you, that in consideration his highness did there openly
say and protest that he would cause the New Testament to be by learned men
faithfully and purely translated into English tongue, to the intent he might
have it in his hands, ready to be given to his people, as he might see their
manners and behaviour meet, apt, and convenient to receive the same ; that ye
will so detest these pernicious hooks, so abhor these heresies and new opinions,
so decline from arrogancy of knowledge and understanding of Scripture after
your fantasies, and show yourself in [commening] and reasoning so sober, quiet,
meek, and temperate, as, all fear of misusing the gift of Scripture taken away,
ye may appear such in your prince's eyes and [the] eyes of your prelates, as
tb'jy shall have no just cause to fear any such danger ; persuading unto yourself
in the meantime without grudging or murmuring the very truth, which is this,
that [ye] cannot require or demand Scripture to be divulged in the English
tongue, otherwise than upon the discretions of the superiors, so as whensoever
they think in their conscience it may do you good, they may and do well to



A WRITING OF THE BISHOPS AGAINST ENGLISH BOOKS. 505

give it unto you ; and whensoever it sliall be seen otherwise unto them, they do Mary.
amiss in suffering you to have it.



Of and upon the which decree, order, and determination above recited his A.D.
gracious highness, being in person in the chapel called The Old Chapel, which l-''55.
sometime was called St. Edward's Chamber, set on the east-side of the parlia- Fomi of a
ment-chamber, witiiin his grace's palace at Westminster, upon the 24th day of deciara-
May, the year of our Lord Ciod [Jesu Christ] lo30, and in the xxijnd year of ''""' '''^'^•
the reign, [the third indiction, and the vijth year of the pontificacy of our holy
father Clement of that name the vijth pope,] called before his grace the three
notaries hereunderwritten ; and then and there, in tiie presence of all tlie per-
sonages there assembled and gathered together, willed and required the same
three notaries to make public and authentic instruments, and us to set there-
unto our seal accordingly, in and for witness and perpetual memory and monu-
ment of this his grace's [decree,] order, and determination, and of all and
singular the premises, and all tlie personages then and there being present to
testify the same, and bear record and testimony thereupon. In witness of all
and singular the premises, we William archbishop, primate, and legate aforesaid,
have commanded and obtained these present letters testimonial, or present public
[and] authentic instnuuent, containing therein the order, decree, and deter-
mination above-said, to be made, and to be subscribed and consigned by the
hands of the notaries hereafter named, and to be sealed with our own seal. All
which premises hath been done in manner and form above specified, [the year,
indiction, pontificacy, month, day, and place above specified,] then and there
being present the noble personage [Sir] Thomas More, knight, great chancellor
of England, our reverend brother in Christ Cuthbert, by the permission of Cod
bishop of Ourham ; and worshipful personages, master Stephen Gardiner, secre-
tary ; master Richard Sampson, dean of the chapel, doctor of law ; master
Richard Wolman, master of the requests, master John Bell, counsellor, doctors
of holy decrees; master Nicholas Wilson, the king's confessor, master Richard
Duck, archdeacon of Wiltshire, doctors of divinity ; master John Oliver, master
[Edward] Steward, doctors of law, chaplains to our said sovereign lord the king's
grace; master Richard Mawdly, master William Mortimer, master Edward
Crome, master Edward Wiggen, doctors also of divinity ; master Robert Carter,
master Edward Leighton, master Hugh Latimer, [master John Thixtill, bache-
lors of divinity ;] master William Latimer, and master Roger Tilson, masters of
art in both the universities above-said ; with many moe learned men of the said
universities, in a great number assembled then and there together, witness to
the premises required and adhibited.

[Et ego Thomas Ashley in legibus baccalaurius, clericus, Lincolniensis dio- *f
cesis, publicus auctoritate apostolica notarius, quia dictus illustrissimus dominus
noster, rex Henricus octavus, Dei gratia Anglise et Franciae rex, dominus
Hibernise, fidei quoque defensor, me notarium publicum antedictum, una cum
magistris Ricardo Watkyns ac Matheo Gryfton, notariis publicis, in praesentiis
nonnullorum nobilium ac venerabilium virorum superius nominatorum, anno
Domini, indictione, pontificatu, mense, die et loco predictis, sibi unum vel plura
publicum sen publica instnunentum sive instrumenta super ordinatione et
decreto prsemissis conficere requisivit : ideo hoc praest ns publicum instnunentum
sive has literas testimoniales manu alterius, me ad tunc aliunde occupato,
fideliter scriptum sen scriptas exinde confeci, publicavi, et in banc publican)
formam redegi ; signoque et nomine meis solitis et consuetis, una cum appen-
sione sigilli dicti reverendissimi patris, signavi, in fidem et testimonium prsemis-
sorum, niodo quo prjrmittitur requisitus.

Et ego Ricardus Watkyns in legibus bacalaurius, clericus, Landaven. dioc.
publicus sacra auctoritate apostolica notarius, causai unique curite Cant, procin-a-
torum generalium unus, Quia unum vel plura publicum seu publica instrumentum
sive instrumenta super dictis decreto et determinatione per dictum illustrissinnnn
principem in prjeseutia testium superius descriptorum, sub anno Domini, indic-
tione, pontificatu, mense, die, et loco predictis, una cum dictis magistro Ashley
superius, et magistro Matheo Grefton notariis publicis inferius se subscribente,
conficere requisitus fui : ideo has pra>sentes literas testimoniales seu hoc prsesens
publicum et autenticiun instrumentum manu aliena, me interim ahter occupato,
scriptum exinde confeci, publicavi, et in banc publicam et auctentieam formam
redegi; signoque et nomine meis solitis atque consuetis, una cum appensione
sigilli dicti reverendissimi patris, signavi, in fidem et testimonium pramissorum.



530 A LETTER OF MASTER LATIMER

Md'y. Et ego Mattheus Grefton Exonien. dioc. clericus, publicus sacra auctoritate
— apostolica notarius, Londonensisque epi. registrarius, quia excellentissimus



•^- ^-'* dominus noster Henricus octavos, Dei gratia Angliae et Franciae rex, fidei
_££££_•_ defensor, et dominus Hibernise, me notarium publicum predictum, una cum
magistris Tbonia Ashley et Ricardo Watkyns notariis publicis siiperius se
subscribentibus, unum seu plura publicum seu publica instrumentum sive in-
strumenta super ordinacione decreto et determinacione superius ])reinsertis, in
praesentiis nonnullorum nobilium et venerabilium virorum superius nominato-
rum, sub Anno Dom., indictione, pontif., mense, die et loco predictis, habitis
et factis, conficere requisivit : ideo has praesentes literas testimoniales sive hoc
prsesens publicum instrumentum manu alterius, me interim aliunde prsepedito,
scriptum, exinde confeci subscripsi etpublicavi, atque in hancpublicam formam
redegi : signoque et nomine meis solitis et consuetis, una cum appensione sigilli
dicti reverendissimi patris, signavi, in fidem et testimonium omnium et singu-
lorum, ad id specialiter requisitus.]

These being premised, now let us see the answer of Master Latimer
again to this foresaid testimonial or instrument of the bishops, in a
letter which the said Latimer wrote to king Henry the Eighth the
same time in that behalf.*

A Letter of Master Latimer to king Henry the Eighth, for restoring
again the free liberty of reading the Holy Scriptures.

*To the most mighty prince, king of England, Henry the Eighth, grace,

mercy, and peace from God the Father by our Lord Jesus Christ : — The holy

doctor, St. Austine,' in an epistle which he wrote to Casulanus saiih, that he

which for fear of any power hideth the truth provoketh the wrath of God to

come upon him, for he feareth men more than God. And according to the

same the holy man St. John Chrysostome sailh, that he is not alonely a traitor

Latimer to the truth, which openly for the truth teacheth a lie ; but he also which doth

touched jjqj, pronounce and show the truth that he knoweth. These sentences, most

science to redoubted king, when I read now of late, and marked them earnestly in the

write to inward parts of mine heart, they made me sore afraid, troubled, and vexed me

'"^' grievously in my conscience ; and at the last drove me to this strait, that either

I must show forth such things as I have read and learned in Scripture, or else

to be of the sort that provoke the wrath of God upon them, and be traitors unto

the truth : the which thing rather than it should happen, I had rather suffer

extreme punishment.

What it is For what thing is it to be a traitor to the truth, than to be a traitor and a

to be a Judas to Christ, which is the very truth, and cause of all truth ? the which saith,

trs-itor to . .

truth. that whosoever denieth him here before men, he will deny him before his Father

in heaven. The which denying ought more to be feared and dread than the

loss of all temporal goods, honour, promotion, fame, prison, slander, hurts,

banishments, and all manner of torments and cruelties, yea, death itself, be it

never so shameful and painful. But alas, how little do men regard those sharp

sayings of these two holy men, and how little do they fear the terrible judgment

of Almighty God ! and specially they which boast themselves to be guides and

captains unto other, and challenge imto themselves the knowledging of holy

scripture, yet they will neither show the truth themselves (as they be bound),

neither suffer them that would. So that unto them may be said, that which

our Saviour Christ said to the Pharisees,^ " Wo be unto you. Scribes and

The sub- I'liarisees, which shut up the kingdom of heaven before men, and neitlier will

tie wili- you enter in yourselves, neither suffer them that would to enter." And they

practke w'"> ''^ uiuch as in them lieth, debar, not only the word of God, whicii David

of the calleth "a light to direct and show every man how to order his affections and

^M'^' lusts " according to the commandments of God, but also bv their subtle wiliness

X1S66S* ^ 1 . . , ' .

they instruct, move, 'and provoke in a manner all kings in Christendom to aid,
succour, and help them in this their mischief. And in especial in this your
realm, they have sore blinded your liege people and subjects with their laws,
customs, ceremonies, and Banbury glosses, and punished them with cursings,
excomnnuiications, and other corruptions (corrections, I would say).^ And now,
at the last, when tliey see that they cannot prevail against the open truth (which

(1) See note in Latimer's Remains, vol. ii. p. 2ys, and Decret. Causa, xi. 3. SO.— Ed.

(2) Matt, xxiii. (3) See Appendix. — Ed.



TO KING HENRY THE KIGHTH. 507

the more it is persecuted, the more it increaseth by their tyranny), they have Mary.
made it treason to yovir noble grace to have the scripture in English.



Here I beseech your grace to pardon me a while, and patiently to hear me a A. D.
word or two; yea, though it be so that, as concerning your high majesty and ^555.
regal power whereunto Almighty God hath called your grace, there is as great
difference between your grace and me, as is between God and man : for you be
here to me and to all your subjects in God's stead, to defend, aid, and succour
us in our right ; and so I should tremble and quake to speak to your grace.
But again, as concerning that you be a mortal man, in danger of sin, having in Kings
you the corrupt nature of Adam, in the which all we be both conceived and born ; stand as
so have you no less need of the merits of Christ's passion for your salvation, ^gg^ ^f
than I and other of your subjects have, which be all members of the mystical Christ's
body of Christ.! And though you be a higher member, yet you must not P^^*^''"{„.
disdain the less. For, as St. Paul sailh, " Those members that be taken most feHor
vilest, and had in least reputation, be as necessary as the other for the preserva- subject.
tion and keeping of the body."^ This, most gracious king, when I considered,
and also your lowly, favourable, and gentle nature, I was bold to write this rude,
homely, and simple letter unto your grace, trusting that you will accept my
true and faithful mind even as it is.

First, and before all things, I will exhort your grace to mark the life and
process of our Saviour Christ and his apostles in preaching and setting-forth of
the gospel ; ^ and to note also the words of our master Christ, which he had to
his disciples when he sent them forth to preach his gospel ; and to these have
in your mind the golden rule of our master Christ, " The tree is knowen by the The rule
fruit :" for by the diligent marking of these your grace shall clearly know and of Chnst,
perceive who be the true followers of Christ and teachers of his gospel, and who
be not.

And concerning the first, all scripture showeth plainly, that our Saviour Jesus
Christ's life was very poor. Begin at his birth, and, 1 beseech you, who ever The po-
heard of a poorer, or so poor as he was? It were too long to write how poorly pf"^'^,?^
Joseph and the blessed Virgin Mary took their journey from Nazareth toward ufe.
Bethlehem in the cold and frosty winter, having nobody to wait upon them, but
he both Master and Man, and she both mistress and maid. How vilely, thinks
your grace, were they entreated in the inns and lodgings by the way ! and in
how vile and abject place was this poor maid, the mother of our Saviour Jesus
Christ, brought to bed in, without company, light, or any other thing necessary
for a woman in that plight ! Was not here a poor beginning, as concerning this
world ? Yes truly. And according to this beginning was the process and end
of his life in this world ; and yet he might by his godly power have had all the
goods and treasures of this world at his pleasure, when and where he would.

But this he did to show us, that his followers and vicars should not regard
and set by the riches and treasures of this world, but after the saying of David
we ought to take them, which saith thus : " If riches, promotions, and dignity
happen to a man, let him not set his affiance, pleasure, trust, and his heart upon
them." So that it is not against the poverty in spirit,* which Christ praiseth in it is not
the gospel of St. Matthew, chapter v., to be rich, to be in dignity and in honour, against
so that their hearts be not fixed and set upon them so much, that they neither verty"of
care for God nor good man. But they be enemies to this poverty in spirit, the spirit,
have they never so little, that have greedy and desirous minds to the goods of *?^.}J^
this world, only because they would live after their own pleasure and lusts, p^j^y
And they also be privy enemies (and so much the worse), which have professed enemies
(as they say) wilful poverty, and will not be called worldly men ; and they have J^^ ^PJ"
lords' lands, and kings' riches. Yea, rather than they would lose one jot poverty,
of that which they have, they will set debate between king and king, realm and monks,
realm, yea, between the king and his subjects, and cause rebellion against the prelates'
temporal power, to the which our Saviour Christ himself obeyed and paid of the
tribute, as the gospel declareth ; ^ unto whom the holy apostle St. Paul teaciieth ^j'^'"'"'
every christen man to obey : yea, and beside all this, they will curse and ban, subjec-
as much as in them lieth, even into the deep pit of hell, all that againsay their tion to



superior
Your grace may see what means and 'craft the spiritualty (as they will be



appetite, whereby they think their goods, promotions, or dignities should decay, po^e^,



(1) Eph. ii. (2) Rom. xii. 1 Cor. ii. Eph. iv. 1 Cor. xii. (3) Matt. vn.

(4) The poor condition of Christ's life, is an example to us to cast down our pride, not to set by

riches. (5) Matt. xvu.



508 A LETTER OF MASTEU LATIMER

Mary. Called) imagine, to break and withstand the acts which were made in your

. grace's last parliament against their superfluities. Wherefore they that thus do,

\rrV y°"'' grace may know them not to be true followers of Christ. And although

'^"^ • I named the spiritualty to be corrupt with this unthrifty ambition ; yet I mean

Ambition not all to be faulty tlieicin, for there be some good of them : neither will I that

oftliespi- your grace should take away the goods due to the church, but take away such

evil persons from the goods, and set better in their stead.

I name nor appoint no person nor persons, but remit your grace to the rule of

our Saviour Christ, as in Matthew vii., " By their fruits ye shall know them."

As touching the words that our Saviour Christ spake to his disciples when he

sent them to preach his gospel, they be read in Matthew v. and x., where he

showeth, that here they shall be hated and despised of all men worldly, and

brought before kings and rulers, and that all evil should be said by them, for

Christ their preaching sake ; butexhorteth them to take patiently such persecution by

^th'n'^' '^'^ "^^" example, saying, "It becometh not the servant to be above the Master.

promo- And seeing they called me Beelzebub, what marvel is it, if they call you devilish

lion, but persons and heretics?" Read the xxivth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel, and

t'ix)i^^to" '^'^^'"6 your grace shall see that he promised to the true preachers no worldly

his fol- ])romotion3 or dignity ; but persecution and all kinds of punishment, and that

lowers. ^}^gy sliould be betrayed even by their own brethren and children. In John also

he saith, " In the world ye shall have oppressron, and the world shall hate you •

but in me you shall have peace." ^ And in the tenth chapter of St. Matthew's

gospel saith our Saviour Clnist also, "Lo I send you forth as sheep among wolves."

So that the true preachers go like sheep harmless, and be persecuted, and vet

they revenge not their wrong, but remit all to God ; so far it is off that they



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