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seech you, let these my letters speak unto Master Gates, to Master Wroth, to Master Cecil, whom all I do take for men that do fear God.
It was said here constantly my Lord Chamberlain to have been departed. Sir, though the day be delayed, yet he hath no pardon of long life: and therefore I do beseech his good lordship, and so many as shall read these letters, if they fear God, to help that neither horse, neither yet dog, be suffered to devour the poor livings appointed and founded by godly ordinance to the ministers of God's word. The causes of conscience, which do move me to speak and write thus, are not only those which I declared once in the cause of this prebend before the king's majesty's council, which now I let pass; but also now the man Master Grindall, unto whom I would give this prebend, doth move me very much; for he is a man known to be both of virtue, honesty, discretion, wisdom, and learning. And besides all this, I have a better opinion of the king's majesty's honourable council, than (although some of them have subscribed, at this their clerk's crafty and ungodly suit, to such a letter) than, I say, they will let', and not suffer, after request made unto them, the shinder. living appointed and founded for a preacher, to be bestowed upon so honest and well a learned man.
Wherefore for God's sake, I beseech you all, help that, with the favour of the council, I may have knowledge of the king's majesty's good pleasure, to give this preacher's living unto Master Grindall. Of late there have been letters directed from the king's majesty and his honourable council unto all the bishops, whereby we be charged and commanded, both in our own persons, and also to cause our preachers and ministers, especially to cry out against the insatiable serpent of covetousness, whereby is said to be such a greediness amongst the people, that each one goeth about to devour other ; ' and to threaten them with God's grievous plagues, both now presently thrown upon them, and that shall be likewise in the world to come. Sir, what preachers shall I get to open and set forth such matters, and so as the king's majesty and the council do command them to be set forth, if either ungodly men, or unreasonable beasts, be suffered to pull away and devour the good and godly learned preachers'
livings? Thus I wish you, in God, ever well to face and to help Christ's cause, as you would have help of him at your most need. From Fulham this present, the 23rd of July, 1551.
Yours in Christ,
LETTER III. (BURNET.) A Letter written by Bishop Ridley to his well-beloved the
Preachers within the Diocese of London setting forth the sins of those times.
After hearty commendations, having regard', especially at this time, to the wrath of God, who hath plagued us diversely, and now with extreme punishment of sudden death poured upon us, for causes best known unto his high and secret judgment; but as it may seem unto man, for our wicked living which daily increases, so that not only in our conversations the fear of God is, alas ! far gone from before our eyes, but also the world is grown into that uncharitableness, that one, as it appears plainly, goes about to devour another, moved with insatiable covetousness, and contrary to God's word and will, and to the extreme peril and damnation of Christ's flock, bought so dearly with his precious blood, and to the utter destruction of this whole common-, wealth, except God's anger be shortly appeased. Wherein, according to my bounden duty, I shall, God willing, in my own person, be diligent and labour ; and I also exhort and require you, first in God's name, and by authority of him committed unto me in that behalf, and also in the king's majesty's name, from whom I have authority and special commandment thus to do that as you are called to be setters forth of God's word, and to express the same in your lives, so now in your exhortations and sermons, most wholesomely and earnestly, tell unto men their sins, with God's punishments lately poured upon us for the same, now before our eyes; according to that word, “Tell unto my people
[These words “having regard” seem to refer to the “letters" mentioned in the preceding letter. En.]
their wickednesses.” And especially beat down and destroy, with all your power and ability, that greedy and devouring serpent of covetousness, which now so universally reigns. Call upon God for repentance, and excite to common prayer and amendment of life, with most earnest petitions, that hereby God's hand may be stayed, the world amended, and obedience of subjects and faithfulness of ministers declared accordingly. Thus I bid you heartily well to fare. From London, July 25, 1551.
Yours in Christ,
LETTER IV. (STRYPE.)
BISHOP RIDLEY to DOCTOR PARKER.
Mr Doctor, I wish you grace and peace. Sir, I pray you refuse not to take a day at the Cross”. I may have, if I would call without any choice, enow; but in some, alas ! I desire more learning, in some a better judgment, in some more virtue and godly conversation, and in some more soberness and discretion; and he in whom all these do meet shall not do well, in my judgment, to refuse to serve God in that place. Of which number because I take you to be, therefore, (leaving at this time to charge you with answering for the contrary to the king and his council), I must charge you to take a day as you will answer the contrary to Almighty God at your own peril. If the day be thought not commodious for you, I shall appoint another for it. But if I should discharge you from that place,
for the time hereafter in good faith my conscience should accuse me, and tell me that I did rather go about to satisfy your request, (whom, the truth is, as your kindness hath bound me, I should be glad to gratify) than to set forth God's cause. Thus fare you well, from my house in London ; and I pray you commend me to Mrs Parker, whom although I do not know, yet, for the fame of her virtue, in God I do love.
Yours in Christ, 25 July, 1551.
NICHOLAS LONDON. [ Paul's Cross. Ed.]
lined in the original.
To Sir John Gate and Sir W. Cecil, from the Lansdowne
MS. in the British Museum.
Chamberlain, and Sir W. Cecil, Secretary to Edro.
Right Honourable, [The pas.
Although, if I would believe every tale, I might fear
rather that ye are offended with me, than to think to obtain this letter are under any pleasure at your hands, and so to be more afraid of your
displeasure, than to hope to speed my request; yet nevertheED.)
less, because my conscience doth bear me witness, that neither in heart nor in deed I have given, or minded to give either of your worships just occasion to be offended with me, nor (God willing) never intend to do; therefore I will, by your leave, be bold with you, in God's cause, even to require you, as I have heretofore been wont to do; for I take this for a true saying: frons tenera magna conscientia sustinetur. It may please you to wit, that I understand by the constant rumour which is now spread about in London, that Mr Grindall is or shall be named to be a Bishop in the North parts, of whose preferment I ensure you I give God hearty thanks, that it hath pleased God to move the heart of the King's Majesty to choose such a man of such godly qualities unto such a room. Now, good Mr Vice-Chamberlain and Mr Secretary, ye know both how I did bestow of late three or four prebends, which did fall in my time, and what manner of men they be unto whom I gave them, Grindall, Bradford and Rogers, men known to be so necessary to be abroad in the commonwealth, that I can keep none of them with me in my house. Ye know, I am placed, where I have daily need of learned men's counsel and conference: wherefore I beseech you for God's sake, be so good unto this See of London, which is the Spectacle of all England, as to be petitioners for me in God's cause unto the King's Majesty, that seeing his highness doth perceive, that I did so well bestow the Prebend, which Mr Grindall hath of my collation, it may please the same to grant me of his gracious clemency the collation of the same again, that I may therewith call some other like learned man, whom hereafter by God's grace his highness shall think meet likewise to promote, as Mr Grindall is now. If ye would know, unto whom I would this dignity of our church, called the chantership, should be given, surely unto any one of these, either unto Mr Bradford, whom in my conscience I judge more worthy to be a Bishop, than many (a one of us that be Bishops already, to be a parish priest; or unto Mr Sampson, a preacher; or unto Mr Harvey, a divine and preacher; or unto Mr Grimbold, a preacher ; or unto Dr Lancelot Ridley, a preacher: if it would please your goodness to be suitors for me, (nay, not for me, but for God's word's sake), unto the King's Majesty, that the collation may be given unto me for one of these, or any one of these, then I shall surely praise God in you, and think myself ever bound to render unto Almighty God for you entire and hearty thanks. Thus I wish you both, in God, well to fare. From my , house in London, this 18th day of November, 1552.
Yours in Christ,
LETTER VI. (COVERDALE.) An Answer to a Letter written unto him by West, sometime
his Chaplain'. I wish your grace in God, and love of the truth ; without the which truly established in men's hearts by the mighty
[West had been chaplain to Bishop Ridley, but turned to popery in Queen Mary's reign, and, in the beginning of April 1555, he wrote to the bishop, earnestly and affectionately persuading him to consider the danger he was in, and exhorting him not “to stand against learning, or in vain glory," but to return to the church of Rome, for “he must either agree or die.” This letter was written in answer: but though West was convinced by it he had done wrong, he wanted courage to renounce his preferments and the world. For some further particulars of West, see the letter of Ridley in reply to that of Grindall, dated from Frankfort, 6 May, 1555. ED.]