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entered two days in the visitation; and that your grace may plainly thus well perceive.
A little before Easter I, being at Rochester, received letters from Mr Secretary Smith and the Dean of Paul's, to come to the visitation of the University, and to make a sermon at the beginning thereof; whereupon I sent immediately a servant up to London to the Dean of Paul's, desiring of him to have had some knowledge of things there to be done, because I thought it meet that my sermon should somewhat have savoured of the same.
From Mr Dean I received a letter, instructing me only, that the cause of the visitation was, to abolish statutes and ordinances, which maintained papistry, superstition, blindness and ignorance; and to establish and set forth, such as might further God's word and good learning; and else, the truth is, he would shew me nothing, but bade me be careless, and said, there were informations [instructions] how all things were for to be done; the which, I take God to witness, I did never see, nor could get knowledge what they were, before we were entered in the visitation two days, although I desired to have seen them in the beginning.
Now, when I had seen the instructions, the truth is, I thought, peradventure, the master and company would have surrendered up their college; but when their consent, after labour and travail taken therein two days, could not be obtained, and then we began secretly to consult (all the commissioners thinking it best that every man should say his mind plainly, that in execution there might appear but one seen to, i.e. way to be taken of all) there when it was seen to some, that thought by. without the consent of the present incumbents, by the king's
absolute power, we might proceed to the uniting of the two colleges, I did in my course simply and plainly declare my conscience, and that there only, secretly, among ourselves alone, with all kind of softness, so that no man could be justly offended. Also I perceive, by your grace's letters, I have been noted of some for my barking there; and yet to bark, lest God should be offended, I cannot deny, but indeed it is a part of my profession; for God's word condemneth the dumb dogs that will not bark and give warning of God's displeasure.
As for that that was suggested to your grace, that by my aforesaid barking I should dishonour the king's majesty, and dissuade others from the execution of the king's commission, God is my judge, I intended, according to my duty to God and the king, the maintenance and defence of his highness' royal honour and dignity. If that be true, that I believe is true, which the prophet saith, Honor regis judicium diligit; and as the commissioners must needs, and I am sure will all testify, that I dissuaded no man, but contrariwise exhorted every man (with the quiet of other) to satisfy their own conscience; desiring only, that if it should otherwise be seen unto them, that I might, either by my absence or silence, satisfy mine. The which my plainness when some otherwise than according to my expectation did take, I was moved thereupon (both for the good opinion I had, and yet have, of your grace's goodness, and also specially because your grace had commanded me so to do) to open my mind, by my private letters, freely unto your grace.
And thus I trust your grace perceiveth now, both that anon, after knowledge had, I did utter my conscience; and also that the matter was not opened unto me before the visitation was two days begun.
If in this I did amiss, that before the knowledge of the instructions I was ready to grant to the execution of the commission; truly I had rather herein acknowledge my fault, and submit myself to your grace's correction, than after knowledge had, then wittingly and willingly commit that thing whereunto my conscience doth not agree, for fear of God's displeasure.
It is a godly wish that is wished in your grace's letters, that flesh, and blood, and country, might not more weigh with some men than godliness and reason; but the truth is, country in this matter, whatsoever some men do suggest unto your grace, shall not move me; and that your grace shall well perceive, for I shall be as ready, as any other, first thence to expel some of my own country, if the report which is made of them can be tried true.
And as for that your grace saith of flesh and blood, that is, the favour or fear of mortal man: yea, marry, sir, that is a matter of weight indeed, and the truth is, (alas, my own
feebleness!) of that I am afraid. But I beseech your grace, yet once again, give me good leave, wherein here I fear my own frailty, to confess the truth. Before God, there is no man this day, (leaving the king's majesty for the honour only excepted) whose favour or displeasure I do either seek or fear, as your grace's favour or displeasure; for under God, both your grace's authority, and my bounden duty for your grace's benefits, bind me so to do. So that if the desire of any man's favour, or fear of displeasure, should weigh more with me than godliness and reason; truly, (if I may be bold to say the truth), I must needs say, that I am most in danger to offend herein, either for desire of your grace's favour, or for fear of your grace's displeasure. And yet I shall not cease (God willing) daily to pray God so to stay and strengthen my frailty with holy fear, that I do not commit the thing for favour or fear of any mortal man, whereby my conscience may threaten me with the loss of the favour of the living God, but that it may please him, of his gracious goodness, (howsoever the world goes) to blow this in the ears of my heart, Deus dissipavit ossa eorum qui hominibus placuerint1; and this, Horrendum est incidere in manus Dei viventis2; and again, Nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus3.
Wherefore I most humbly beseech your grace, for God's love, not to be offended with me, for renewing of this my suit unto your grace, which is that, whereunto my conscience cannot well agree, if any such thing chance in this visitation, I may, with your grace's favour, have license, either by mine absence or silence, or other like means, to keep my conscience quiet. I wish your grace, in God, honour and endless felicity. From Pembroke Hall in Cambridge, June 1, 15491. Your grace's humble and daily orator, NICH. ROFFEN.
[God hath scattered the bones of those who pleased men. ED.] [It is a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
[Fear not them which kill the body. ED.]
[The Protector's reply to this letter will be found, Appendix V.]
LETTER II. (BURNET.)
A Letter of that true Pastor and worthy Martyr, DOCTOR RIDLEY; wherein you may see the singular zeal he had to the glory of God, and the furtherance of his Gospel. Written to MASTER CHEKE, in King Edward's days. MASTER CHEKE, I wish you grace and peace. Sir, in God's cause, for God's sake, and in his name, I beseech you of your help and furtherance towards God's word. I did talk with you of late, what case I was in concerning my chaplains. I have gotten the good will and granta (to be with consent. me), of three preachers, men of good learning, and, as I am persuaded, of excellent virtue; which are able, both with life and learning, to set forth God's word in London, and in the whole diocese of the same, where is most need of all parts in England; for from thence goeth example, as you know, into all the rest of the king's majesty's whole realm. The men's names be these. Master Grindall, whom you know to be a man of virtue and learning. Master Bradford, a man by whom (as I am assuredly informed) God hath and doth work wonders, in setting forth of his word. The third is a preacher, the which, for detecting and confuting of the anabapists and papists in Essex, both by his preaching and by his writing, is enforced now to bear Christ's cross. The two first be scholars in the university. The third is as poor as either of the other twain. Now there is fallen a prebend in Paul's called Cantrells, by the death of one Layton. This
[3 The Prebendary of Kentish-Town, Kentissetune, or Cantlers, and sometime Kentillers, alias Kentish-Town, hath the Tenth Stall on the right side of the choir; and the corps of his prebend lies in the parish of St Pancras, Middlesex.
Grindall does not appear from the list of prebendaries to have succeeded; for Richard Layton was appointed on the resignation of W. Kemp, May 9, 1523; William Layton was appointed on the death of Richard Layton, Oct. 17, 1544; and John Bradford (the martyr) was appointed on the death of Richard Layton by Bishop Ridley, Aug. 24, 1551; and he was succeeded after his martyrdom by John Feckenham, Jan. 25, 1553.
Edmund Grindall was appointed Præcentor of St Paul's by Bishop Ridley, Aug. 24, 1551, which he resigned in 1554.
John Rogers was made Prebendary of St Pancras, Aug. 24, 1551; burnt Feb. 4, 1555. See Newcourt's Repertorium of the Diocese of
prebend is an honest man's living, of thirty-four pounds and better in the king's books. I would with all my heart give it unto Master Grindall; and so I should have him continually with me, and in my diocese, to preach.
But alas, sir, I am letted by the means (I fear me) of such as do not fear God. One Master William Thomas, one of the clerks to the council, hath in times past set the council upon me, to have me to grant that Layton might have alienated the said prebend unto him and his heirs for God was mine aid and defender, that I did not consent unto his ungodly enterprise. Yet I was so then handled before the council, that I granted that whensoever it should fall, I should not give it, before I should make the king's majesty privy unto it and of acknowledge, before the collation of it. Now Layton is departed, and the prebend is fallen, and certain of the council (no doubt, by this ungodly man's means,) have written unto me to stay the collation. And whereas he despaireth that ever I would assent that a preacher's living should be bestowed on him, he hath procured letters unto me, subscribed with certain of the council's hands, that now the king's majesty hath determined it unto the furniture of his highness' stable. Alas, sir, this is a heavy hearing. When papistry was taught, there was nothing too little for the teachers. When the bishop gave his benefices unto idiots, unlearned, ungodly, for kindred, for pleasure, for service, and other worldly respects, all was then well allowed. Now, where a poor living is to be given unto an excellent clerk, a man known and tried to have both discretion and also virtue, and such a one as, before God, I do not know a man (yet unplaced and unprovided for) more meet, to set forth God's word in all England; when a poor living (I say), which is founded for a preacher, is to be given unto such a man, that then an ungodly person shall procure in this sort letters to stop and let the same, alas, Master Cheke, this seemeth unto me to be a right heavy hearing. Is this the fruit of the Gospel? Speak, Master Cheke, speak, for God's sake, in God's cause, unto whomsoever you think may do any good withal. And if you will not speak, then I be
London, vol. i. pp. 27, 101, 169, 196. Grindall was made a Prebendary of Westminster in July, 1552. ED.]