Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

VIII.

sup

pre: sed,

of the

made treason.

Henry famous learned men and universities, and also by the assent of the

whole realm. A.D.

Furthermore, for the establishing of the king's succession to the 1536. imperial crown of this realm, for the suppression of the pope, and The pope uniting the title of supremacy unto the king's crown, what order

was therein taken, and what penalty was set upon the same, may
appear by the act of parliament set forth A.D. 1534,' in these words

following:
Denying • If any person or persons, after the first of February next, do maliciously
king's su-

imagine, invent, practise, or attempt to deprive the king of the dignity, title, or premacy name of his royal estate, &c., that then every such person and persons so

offending in any of the premises, their aiders, counsellors, consenters, and
abettors, being thereof lawfully convicted, according to the laws and customs
of this realm, shall be reputed, accepted, and adjudged traitors ; and that every
such offence in any the premises committed or done after the said first day of
February, shall be reputed, accepted, and adjudged high treason; and the
offenders therein, their aiders, consenters, counsellors, and abettors, being law-
fully convicted of any such offence, shall have and suffer such pains of ath
and other penalties, as are limited and accustomed in cases of high-treason.'

Upon this and such other acts concluded in those parliaments,
what stomach the pope took, what stir he kept, and what practices he
wrought with cardinal Pole, to stir up other nations to war against
us; what difficulty also there was with the emperor, with the French
king, and with the king of Scots, about the matter; and what labour
was used on the king's part, to reconcile the princes for his own in-
demnity, to keep him from their wars and invasions, and especially to
obtain the pope's approbation, and to avoid his censures of excom-
munication ; and finally, what despiteful injuries and open wrongs
the pope wrought against him, upon which pope the king had bestowed
so much money and great treasures before, all this, likewise, by the
premises may appear

Wherefore, to end now with these, and to go forward in our
story, as the order and computation of years do give, we have now
consequently to enter into the story of the good martyr of God,
William Tyndale, being this present year falsely betrayed and put
to death ; which William Tyndale, as he was a special organ of the
Lord appointed, and as God's mattock to shake the inward roots and
foundation of the pope's proud prelacy, so the great prince of dark-
ness, with his impious imps, having a special malice against him, left
no way unsought how craftily to entrap him, and falsely to betray
him, and maliciously to spill his life, as by the process of his story
here following may appear.
The Life and Story of the true Servant and Martyr of God,

William Tyndale,
WHO, FOR HIS NOTABLE PAINS AND TRAVAIL, MAY
CALLED THE APOSTLE OF ENGLAND IN THIS OUR

LATER AGE.3
William Tyndale, the faithful minister and constant martyr of
Christ, was born about the borders of Wales, and brought up from

(2) See the Latin edition : Basle, 1599, p. 138.- ED.
(3) Mr. Offer, in his recently published Life of William Tyndale, represents him as the baron,
when, in truth, he was only a descendant of the baron. The editor subjoins an extract from an

2

WELL

BE

A.D. 1536.

(1) Stat. 26 Hen. VIII.

VIII.

len col. lege, by

a child in the university of Oxford, where he, by long continuance, Henry grew up, and increased as well in the knowledge of tongues, and other liberal arts, as especially in the knowledge of the Scriptures, A.D. whereunto his mind was singularly addicted; insomuch that he, 1536. lying then in Magdalen hall, read privily to certain students and The first fellows of Magdalen college, some parcel of divinity; instructing God's them in the knowledge and truth of the Scriptures. His manners Magda also and conversation being correspondent to the same, were such, that all they that knew him, reputed and esteemed him to be a man Tyndale. of most virtuous disposition, and of life unspotted.

Thus he, in the university of Oxford, increasing more and more in learning, and proceeding in degrees of the schools, spying his time, removed from thence to the university of Cambridge, where, after he had likewise made his abode a certain space, being now further ripened in the knowledge of God's word, leaving that university also, he resorted to one Master Welch, a knight of Gloucestershire, and was there schoolmaster to his children, and in good favour with his master. This gentleman, as he kept a good ordinary commonly at his table, there resorted to him many times sundry abbots, deans, archdeacons, with divers other doctors, and great beneficed men; who there, together with Master Tyndale sitting at the same table, did use many times to enter communication, and talk of learned men, as of Luther and of Erasmus ; also of divers other controversies and questions upon the Scripture.

Then Master Tyndale, as he was learned and well practised in He disGod’s matters, so he spared not to show unto them simply and with the plainly his judgment in matters, as he thought ; and when they at doctors. any time did vary from Tyndale in opinions and judgment, he would show them in the book, and lay plainly before them the open and manifest places of the Scriptures, to confute their errors, and confirm his sayings. And thus continued they for a certain season, reasoning and contending together divers and sundry times, till at length they waxed weary, and bare a secret grudge in their hearts

against him.

Not long after this, it happened that certain of these great doctors had invited Master Welch and his wife to a banquet; where they had talk at will and pleasure, uttering their blindness and ignorance without any resistance or gainsaying. Then Master Welch Instructand his wife, coming home, and calling for Master Tyndale, began fer Welch to reason with him about those matters whereof the priests had talked aide ling before at their banquet. Master Tyndale, answering by the Scrip the truth. tures, maintained the truth, and reproved their false opinions. Then said the lady Welch, a stout and a wise woman (as Tyndale reported), “ Well," said she, “there was such a doctor who may dispend a hundred pounds, and another two hundred pounds, and another three hundred pounds : and what! were it reason,

reason, think you,

unpublished MS. of a descendant of Thomas, the brother of William Tyndale. "Hugh Tyndale, a descendant of Robert, Baron de Tyndale, of Longly Castle, in Northumberland, settled in Gloucestershire during the wars of York and Lancaster, where he passed for some time under the name of Hutchens, having been concerned in the quarrel between the contending families. He married Alicia, daughter and sole heiress of — Hunt, of Hunt Court, in Nibley, near Dursley, Esquire. His son Jolin Tyndale was the father of William Tyndale of Magdalen hall, Oxford, who was born at Hunt Court about the year 1477, and is justly styled The worthy Apostle of the English Reformation." ED.

VIII.

The priests storm

Tyndale.

of the country

Henry that we should believe you before them?" · Master Tyndale gave

her no answer at that time, and also after that (because he saw it A.D. would not avail), he talked but little in those matters. At that time 1536. he was about the translation of a book called Enchiridion Militis

Christiani," which, being translated, he delivered to his master and lady; who, after they had read and well perused the same, the doctorly prelates were no more so often called to the house, neither had they the cheer and countenance when they came, as before they had: which thing they marking, and well perceiving, and supposing no less but it came by the means of Master Tyndale, refrained themselves, and at last utterly withdrew, and came no more there.

As this grew on, the priests of the country, clustering together,

began to grudge and storm against Tyndale, railing against him in against alehouses and other places; of whom Tyndale himself, in his prologue

before the first book of Moses, thus testifieth in his own words, and

reporteth that he suffered much in that country by a sort of unlearned Rudeness priests, being full rude and ignorant (saith he) God knoweth : " who

have seen no more Latin, than that only which they read in their priests. portueses and missals (which yet many of them can scarcely read),

except it be · Albertus, De Secretis Mulierum,' in which yet, though they be never so sorrily learned, they pore day and night, and make notes therein, and all to teach the midwives, as they say ; and also another called “Lindwood,' a book of constitutions to gather tithes, mortuaries, offerings, customs, and other pillage, which they call not theirs, but God's part, the duty of holy church, to discharge their consciences withal. For they are bound that they shall not diminish, but increase all things unto the uttermost of their powers,

which

pertain to holy church.” Thus these blind and rude priests, flocking together to the alehouse (for that was their preaching place), raged and railed against him, affirming that his sayings were heresy; adding

moreover unto his sayings, of their own heads, more than ever be Tyndale spake, and so accused him secretly to the chancellor, and others of by them. the bishop's officers.

It followed not long after this, that there was a sitting of the betore the bishop's chancellor appointed, and warning was given to the priests chancel- to appear, amongst whom Master Tyndale was also warned to be

there. And whether he had any misdoubt by their threatenings, or knowledge given him that they would lay some things to his charge, it is uncertain ; but certain this is (as he himself declared), that he doubted their privy accusations; so that he by the way, in going thitherwards, cried in his mind heartily to God, to give him strength fast to stand in the truth of his word.

Then when the time came for his appearance before the chancellor, he threatened him grievously, reviling and rating at him as though

he had been a dog, and laid to his charge many things whereof no Tyndale accuser yet could be brought forth (as commonly their manner is, know his not to bring forth the accuser), notwithstanding that the priests of accusers. the country the same time were there present. And thus Master

Tyndale, after those examinations, escaping out of their hands, departed home, and returned to his master again.

There dwelt not far off a certain doctor, that had been an old

Cailed

lor.

(1) Enchiridion, a book of Erasmus.

old doctor

[ocr errors]

law.

chancellor before to a bishop, who had been of old familiar acquain- Henry tance with Master Tyndale, and also favoured him well ; unto whom Master Tyndale went and opened his mind upon divers questions of A.D. the Scripture : for to him he durst be bold to disclose his heart. 1536. Unto whom the doctor said, “Do you not know that the pope is One good very Antichrist, whom the Scripture speaketh of? But beware what you say; for if you shall be perceived to be of that opinion, it will amongst cost you your life :” and said moreover, “ I have been an officer of naughty. his; but I have given it up, and defy him and all his works.

It was not long after, but Master Tyndale happened to be in the Blasphecompany of a certain divine, recounted for a learned man, and, in Minda communing and disputing with him, he drave him to that issue, that doctor. the said great doctor burst out into these blasphemous words, and said, “We were better to be without God's laws than the pope's. Master Tyndale, hearing this, full of godly zeal, and not bearing that blasphemous saying, replied again, and said, “I defy the pope, and The all his laws;" and further added, that if God spared him life, ere pope's many years he would cause a boy that driveth the plough, to know preferred more of the Scripture than he did. After this, the grudge of the God's priests increasing still more and more against Tyndale, they never ceased barking and rating at him, and laid many things sorely to his charge, saying that he was a heretic in sophistry, a heretic in logic, a heretic in divinity; and said moreover to him, that he bare himself bold of the gentlemen there in that country ; but notwithstanding, shortly he should be otherwise talked withal. To whom Master Tyndale, answering again, thus said, that he was contented they should bring him into any country in all England, giving him ten pounds a year to live with, and binding him to no more but to teach children, and to preach.

To be short, Master Tyndale, being so molested and vexed in the Tyndale country by the priests, was constrained to leave that country, and to from seek another place; and so coming to Master Welch, he desired Master him, of his good will, that he might depart from him, saying on this and wise to him: “ Sir, I perceive that I shall not be suffered to tarry London. long here in this country, neither shall you be able, though you would, to keep me out of the hands of the spiritualty; and also what displeasure might grow thereby to you by keeping me, God knoweth ; for the which I should be right sorry." So that in fine, Master Tyndale, with the good will of his master, departed, and eftsoons came up to London, and there preached awhile, according as he had done in the country before, and especially about the town of Bristol, and also in the said town, in the common place called St. Austin's Green.

At length, bethinking himself of Cuthbert Tonstal, then bishop of London, and especially for the great commendation of Erasmus, who, in his annotations, so extolleth him for his learning, Tyndale thus cast with himself, that if he might attain unto his service, he were a happy man. And so coming to Sir Henry Guilford, the king's comptroller, and bringing with him an oration of Isocrates, which he had then translated out of Greek into English, he desired him to speak to the said bishop of London for him ; which he also did; and willed him moreover to write an epistle to the bishop, and to go himself with him. This he did likewise, and delivered his epistle to a servant

[ocr errors]

departeth

Welch,

VIII.

many.

Causes

Henry of his, named William Hebilthwait, a man of his old acquaintance.

But God, who secretly disposeth the course of things, saw that was A. D. not the best for Tyndale's purpose, nor for the profit of his church, 1536.

and therefore gave him to find little favour in the bishop's sight; the Tyndale answer of whom was this: That his house was full; he had more bishop than he could well find : and advised him to seek in London abroad, to be his where, he said, he could lack no service, &c. And so remained he in chaplain. London the space almost of a year, beholding and marking with refuseth. himself the course of the world, and especially the demeanour of the

preachers, how they boasted themselves, and set up their authority and kingdom; beholding also the pomp of the prelates, with other things more, which greatly misliked him; insomuch that he understood, not only that there was no room in the bishop's house for him to translate the New Testament, but also that there was no place to do it in all England. And therefore, finding no place for his purpose within the realm, and having, by God's providence, some aid and provision ministered unto him by Humphrey Mummuth, above

recited (as you may see before), and certain other good men, he Tyndale took his leave of the realm, and departed into Germany, where the into Ger- good man, being inflamed with a tender care and zeal of his country,

refused no travail nor diligence, how, by all means possible, to reduce his brethren and countrymen of England to the same taste and understanding of God's holy word and verity, which the Lord had

endued him withal. Whereupon, considering in his mind, and Tyndale partly also conferring with John Frith, Tyndale thought with himself

no way more to conduce thereunto, than if the Scripture were turned Scripture into the vulgar speech, that the poor people might also read and see English the simple plain word of God. For first, wisely casting in his mind,

he perceived by experience, how that it was not possible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures were so plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text; for else, whatsoever truth should be taught them, these enemies of the truth would quench it again, either with apparent reasons of sophistry, and traditions of their own making, founded without all ground of Scripture; or else juggling with the text, expounding it in such a sense as it were impossible to gather of the text, if the right process, order, and meaning thereof were seen.

Again, right well he perceived and considered this only, or most the cause chiefly, to be the cause of all mischief in the church, that the Scrip

tures of God were hidden from the people's eyes; for so long the abominable doings and idolatries maintained by the pharisaical clergy could not be espied ; and therefore all their labour was with might and main to keep it down, so that either it should not be read at all, or if it were, they would darken the right sense with the mist of their sophistry, and so entangle those who rebuked or despised their abominations, with arguments of philosophy, and with worldly similitudes, and apparent reasons of natural wisdom; and, with wresting the Scripture unto their own purpose, contrary unto the process, order, and meaning of the text, would so delude them in descanting upon it with allegories, and amaze them, expounding it in many senses laid before the unlearned lay people, that though thou felt in thy

to translate the

Hiding of

of :nischief.

« VorigeDoorgaan »