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965 [965]

K. Henry. 8. Friers contending about the Conception of the Virgin Mary.

her conception, and before her conception in the diuine prescience of God, whiche had chosen and preelected her before the worldes, to be the mother of the Lord.

Agayne, where Bernard doth argue, that she was not without Originall sinne conceaued, because she was not conceaued by the holy Ghost, to this they aunswer: That the holy Ghost maye worke ij. wayes in conception: either without company of man, and so was Christ onely conceaued: or els with company and helpe of man, and thus was þe blessed Virgin cōceaued. Clit. lib. 2. cap. 14.

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MarginaliaPopish beliefe and doctrine goeth by time.Bonauentura (say they) was an holy father, but hee spake then after the custome and maner of his time, whē as the solemnitie and puritie of this conception was not yet decreed nor receaued by the publique consent and authoritie of the Churche. 

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Jodocus Clichtoveus, De puritate conceptionis beatae virginis (Paris, 1513), fos. 49v-50r.

Now seyng the authoritie of the Churche of Rome hath established the same, it ought not to be contraryed, nor can, without daungerous disobedience. In all mens actions diligent respect of time must be had. That which byndeth not at one tyme, afterward the same by law beyng ratified, may bynde at an other. Ibid.

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MarginaliaVeritie consisteth not in number of voyces. Nor victorye in multitude of souldiers.Finally for the number and multitude on the contrary side, thus they aunswere for them selues, as we nowe in these our dayes likewise in defense of the truth may well aunswere agaynste the Pope and all his Popishe Friers, turnyng their owne weapons agaynst them selues: Multitude, saye they, ought not to moue vs. Victory cōsisteth not in number and heapes, but in fortitude and heartes of souldiours: yea rather fortitude and stomacke commeth from heauen, and not of man. Iudas Machabeus with a litle handfull ouerthrewe the great armie of Antiochus. Strong Sampson with a poore Asses bone slue a thousand Philistines. Dauid had no more but a sylie slynge, and a few stones, and with these stroke downe terrible Goliath the gyant. 

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Jodocus Clichtoveus, De puritate conceptionis beatae virginis (Paris, 1513), fos. 45v-46r.

&c. Lib. eod. cap. 13.

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With these and such other like reasons, the Gray Frāciscans voyded their aduersaries, defendyng the Conception of the Virgine Mary to bee vnblemyshed & pure from all contagion of Original sinne. Contrariwise the Blacke gard of the Dominike Friers, for their partes were not all mute, but layd lustely from them agayn, hauyng great authorities and also the Scripture on theyr side. But yet the other hauyng the sea Apostolicall with them, had the better hand, and in fine gatte the victory triumphantly ouer the other, to the hygh exaltation of their order. MarginaliaThe Popes side stronger then the scripture.For Pope Sixtus (as I sayd) by the authoritie Apostolicall, after he had decreed the Conception day of the Virgine perpetually to be sanctified, and also with his terrible Bull had condemned for heretiques all them which withstode the same: the Dominike Friers with authoritie oppressed, were dryuen to ij. inconueniences, the one was, to kepe silence, the other was, to geue place to their aduersaries the Franciscans. Albeit where the mouth durst not speake, yet the hart would worke: and though the tongue were tyed, yet their good will was ready by all meanes possible to mainteyne their quarell and theyr estimation.

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MarginaliaAn 1509Wherupon it happened the same yeare of our Lord. 1509. after this dissension betwene the Dominike Friers, & the Frāciscans, þt certeine of the Dominikes thinkyng by subtile sleyght to worke in the peoples heades, that which they durst not atchyue with open preachyng, deuysed a certeine Image of the Virgine, so artificially wrought, that the Friers by priuie gynnes, made it to styrre, and to make gestures, to lament, to complayne, to weepe, to grone, and to geue aunsweres to them that asked: MarginaliaEx Casparo Peutero Chrō. lib. 5.
Ex Sebast. Munster. Cosmog. lib. 3.
4 Friers burned at Berne.
in somuch that the people therewith were brought in a meruelous persuasiō, till at length the fraude being espyed, the Friers were taken, condemned & burned at Berne, the yeare aboue mentioned. 1509. 

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In the first decade of the sixteenth century, one Jetzer, a novitiate atthe Dominican convent in Berne, began to have visions of the Virgin Mary andvarious saints. Encouraged by the prior of the convent, Jetzer publicly announcedhis visions, which were confirmed by a statue of the Virgin that miraculously moved,wept, groaned, etc. These visions appear to have been originally intended to glorify the convent, but they rapidly came to have been used to buttress the Dominican order.Ultimately Jetzer claimed that the Virgin Mary denounced the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in his visions. After an investigation by the Church, fourDominicans, including the prior (but not including Jetzer) were found guilty of fraud, handed over to the secular authorities and burned at Berne on 31 May 1509. (For details of the case see R. Reuss, 'La procès des Dominicains de Berne en 1507-1509',Revue de l'histoire des religions 52 [1905], pp. 237-59 and Die Akten des Jetzerprozesses nebst dem Defensionnium, ed. Rudolf Steck, Quellen zur Scweitzergeschichte 21 [Basel, 1904]). The affair became an international scandal,discussed in Erasmus's colloguy Exequiae Seraphicae (1531).

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Ex Peucer. Sebast. Mūstero. Carione, & alijs. In the cēturies of Ioh. Bale I finde their names to be Ioānes Vetter, Franciscus Vliscus, Stephanus Bolizhorst, and Henricus Steinegger.

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In the story of Ioan. Stumfius, this story aforesayd doth partly appeare: but in the Registers and recordes of the Citie of Berne, the order and circumstaunce therof is more fully expressed and set foorth bothe in meter and in prose, 

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From this note, it is clear that Foxe was drawing on Johann Stumpf's chronicle, which contained a detailed account of the Jetzer affair (Johann Stumpf, Gemeiner loblicher Eydgenossschaft…Chronikwirdiger [Zurich, 1548], fos 455r-459r) and on civic records of the affair. (These may, or may not, have also includedThomas Murner's account of the affair, De quattor heresiarchis…in civitate Bernensicombustus, which was printed in Berne in 1509). These materials were probably sent to Foxe by a contact in Switzerland. (Since there is no evidence that Foxe could readGerman, and since Stumpf's chronicle was not available in Latin, Foxe's contactprobably translated extracts from it for the martyrologist).

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and is thus declared.

MarginaliaEx histor. Bernensi conscripta vulgari et latino sermone.In the Citie of Berne there were certein Dominike Friers, to the nūber chiefly of iiij. principal doers, & chieftaines of that order, who had inueigled a certeine simple poore Frier, who had newly planted hymself in þe cloyster: whom the foresayd Friers had so infatuated with sondry superstitions, and fayned apparitions of S. Maria, S. Barbara, and S. Catherina, 

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Not the martyr St. Catherine, but St. Catherine of Siena, who was arguably the most famous Dominican mystic of the Middle Ages.

and with their inchauntmentes, and imprintyng moreouer in hym the woundes of Saint Fraunces, that he beleued playnly, that the Virgine Mary had appeared to hym & had offered to hym a red hoost consecrated, with the bloud also of Christ miraculous: which blessed Vrigin also had sent hym to the Senatours of Berne, with instructions, declaryng vnto them, frō the mouth of the Virgine, that she was conceaued in synne, & that the Fraunciscane Friers wer not to be creditied nor suffered in the Citie, which were not yet reformed from that erroneous opiniō of her Cōception. He added moreouer, that they should resort to a certein image ther, of the Virgine Mary (which image the Friers by engines had made to sweat) and should do their worship & make their oblations to the same. &c.

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This feyned deuise was not so soone forged of the Friers, but it was as soone beleued of the people: so þt a great while the red couloured host was taken vndoubtedly for the true body and bloud of Christ, and certeine couloured droppes thereof sent abroad to diuers noble personages and states for a great relique, and that not without great recompense. Thus they deceaued people in great nūber came flockyng to the Image, and to the red hoste, and colored bloud, with manifold giftes and oblations. In brief, the Dominicke Friers so had wrought the matter, and so had sweapt all the fatte to their own beardes, from the order of the Frāciscanes, that all the almes came to theyr boxe. The Franciscanes seyng their estimation to decay, and theyr kitchyng to waxe cold, and their paunches to be pynched, not able to abyde that contumely, and beyng not ignoraunt nor vnaquaynted with such counterfeted doynges (for as the prouerbe sayth, it is ill haltyng before a crepel) eftsoones espyed theyr crafty iugglyng, and detected theyr fraudulent myracles. 

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In fact, the Franciscans played no part at all in unmasking the Dominicans. The fraud was exposed by an investigation initiated by the bishop of Lausanne and furthered by a papal commission.

Whereupon the iiij. chief captaynes aboue named were apprehended and put to the fire: Of whom the prouinciall of that order was one.

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And thus much touchyng the begynnyng and ende of this tumultuous and Popishe tragedie: MarginaliaFriers nether can agree with themselues mor yet do disagree but in vain trifles.wherin euidently it may appeare to the reader, how neither these turbulent Friers could agree among them selues, and yet in what friuolous trifles they wrangled together. 

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Foxe is using mendicant disagreements to support his claim that there is doctrinal disunity among Catholics.

But to let these ridiculous Friers passe, with their triflyng phātasies, most worthy to be derided of all wise men: MarginaliaThe miserable blindnes of the time cōsidered.in the meane tyme this is to be lamented, to behold the miserable tymes of the Churche, in whiche the deuill kepte the myndes of Christes people so attentiue and occupyed in such Frierly toyes, that nothyng els almost was taught or heard in the Church, but onely the cōmendation & exaltation of the Virgine Mary. But of our iustification by fayth, of grace and the promises of God in Christe, of the strength of the law, of the horror of sinne, of differēce betwene the law and the Gospell, of the true libertie of conscience. &c. no mention or very litle was heard. 
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Foxe now uses both the debate over the Immaculate Conception and the Jetzer affair to denounce the 'superstition' of the Church before Luther.

Wherefore in this so blynd tyme of darkenes, it was much nedefull and requisite, that the Lord of his mercy should looke vpon his Church, and send downe his gratious reformation, which also he did. For shortly vpon þe same, through the gratious excitation of God, came Martine Luther, of whō the order of storye now requireth that we should and will entreate (Christ willyng) after the story of Richard Hunne, and a few other thynges premised, for the better openyng of the story to folow.

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Marginalia1510.Mention was made sufficiently before of the doynges of Pope Iulius, and of his warlike affairs, for the which he was condemned, and not vniustly, in the Councell of

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