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998 [997]

K. Henry. 8. Articles. M. Bilney twise plucked from the Pulpit.
MarginaliaReliques.

those poyntes that thou was cited: hast preached openly in diuers churches of the citie and dioces of London, without sufficient licence from the Byshop, or any other. 

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Bilney was issued a license to preach in the diocese of Ely in 1525, which Bishop West retracted. Cambridge University Library, MS EDR, G/1/7, fol. 33A.

Concernyng the answeares vnto these articles, (gentle reader) for so muche as in the most part of them, Bilney with Arthur seemed to consent and agree (although not fully and directly but by way and maner of qualifiyng) 

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For Bilney's 'manner of qualifying' see J. Y. Batley, On a Reformer's Latin Bible: being an Essay on the `Adversaria' in the Vulgate of Thomas Bilney (Cambridge, 1940), pp. 47-8; John F. Davis, `The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation', Historical Journal, vol. 24 (1981), pp. 775-790; Susan Wabuda, 'Equivocation and Recantation During the English Reformation: the "Subtle Shadows" of Dr Edward Crome', The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 44 (1993), pp. 224-242; Gregory Walker, 'Saint or schemer?: the 1527 heresy trial of Thomas Bilney reconsidered', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 40 (1989), 219-38.

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yet because he dyd not expressly deny them it shal not be needful here to recite them al, saue onely such, wherin he seemed to dissent from them.

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MarginaliaAunsweres to the Interrogatories aforesayd. To the first and second articles he answeared affirmatiuely. 

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Foxe was deliberately obscure here to conceal the fact that Bilney (with Arthur) believed that Luther's opinions had been justly condemned, even under the terms of Holy Scripture, and that Luther was 'a wicked and detestable hereticke'. Bilney and Arthur agreed that John Fisher, bishop of Rochester and chancellor of Cambridge University, had been correct in impugning Luther's assertions in his books Defensio Regie assertionis contra Babylonicam captiuitatem and Sacri sacerdotij defensiones contra Lutherum (Cologne: Peter Quentell, June 1525).

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To the thirde he sayde, I beleeue that manye of the Popes lawes are profitable and necessarye, and doe preuayle vnto godlynesse, neyther in any poynt are repugnant vnto the Scriptures, nor by any meanes are to be abrogate, but of all men to bee obserued and reuerenced. But touchyng all those Lawes I cannot determine: for, as for suche as I haue not reade, I truste notwithstandyng they are good also: and as for those that I haue read, I dyd neuer reade them to the ende or purpose to reproue them, but according to my power, to learne and vnderstande MarginaliaAgainst the multitude of lawes. them. And as touchyng the mulititude of lawes, S. Augustine in his tyme dyd much complayne, and Gerson also, who marueiled that we coulde by any meanes lyue in safetie amongest so many snares of constitutions, when as our forefathers beyng pure before their fall, coulde not obserue one onely precept.

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MarginaliaThe true church can not erre in fayth. To the fourth Article he sayde that the Catholique Church can by no meanes erre in fayth for it is the whole congregation of the elect, and so knowen onely vnto God, whiche knoweth who are his: otherwise no man shoulde be ascertayned of an other mans saluation, or of his owne, but onely through fayth and hope. For MarginaliaEccle. 9. it is written: No man knoweth, whether he be worthy of hatred or loue. It is also sensible, and maye be demonstrate so farre foorth, as it is sufficient to establishe vs in all thynges that are to be beleued and done: For I maye truely say of the gene- ral Councel being congregate in the holy Ghost, Beholde here the Catholique church, denominatyng þe whole by the moste woorthy part.

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To the fift article, he answeared affirmatiuely in these wordes, Cum sint libri Laicorum, adorare oportet, at non imaginem, sed prototypon.

To the sixt article, he answeared, that he dyd not beleue that they are in heauē, beyng so taught by the Scriptures, and holy fathers of the church. 

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Bilney's opinion that the saints were not in heaven was highly unusual. See John F. Davis, 'The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation', Historical Journal, vol. 24 (1981), pp. 775-790.

To the seuēth article he said, that it is not to be thought contrary.

To the eight article, whether a man maye not obserue the Feastes and Fastes of the Churche prescribed, he thought that there is no man, but he ought to obserue them.

To the ninth article he sayd, that we are likewise boūd as vnto parentes.

To the. xiij. Article he answeared thus, the fourteenth Chapter of Saint Paul, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians moueth mee to beleeue, that it is best, that the people shoulde haue the Lordes Prayer, & the Apostles Crede in Englishe, so that their deuotion might the more be furthered by the vnderstandyng thereof, and also that thereby they myght be the more prompt and expert in the articles of their fayth: of the whiche it is to be feared, a great number are ignoraunt. Surely I haue heard many say that they neuer hearde speake of the resurrection of the body: and beyng certified thereof, but they became muche more apte and readye vnto goodnes, and more fearefull to doo euyl.

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To the fifteenth article he sayde, he woulde wishe that MarginaliaScripture to be in Englishe. the Gospelles and Epistles shoulde be readde in Englishe. For I woulde (saith Paul) rather haue fiue woordes. &c. That the Church might be edified. &c. And Marginalia1. Cor. 14. Chrisostome exhorteth his hearers to loke vpon bookes, that they might the better commyt vnto memorye those MarginaliaS. Iohns gospel translated into englishe by Bede. thyngs which they had hearde. And S. Bede dyd translate S. Iohns Gospel into Englishe.

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Touchyng the eighteenth article, for the translation of the Scripture into Englishe, 

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Translations of the Bible into English had been illegal ever since the Wycliffite heresies of the late fourteenth century. See 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414), and also the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286. The call of the humanists, including Erasmus, to return ad fontes, and to understand sacred scripture as it had been written, was highly controversial in the late 1520s. Susan Wabuda, 'The Woman with the Rock: the Controversy on Women and Bible Reading', in Belief and Practice in Reformation England: A Tribute to Patrick Collinson from His Students, eds. Susan Wabuda and Caroline Litzenberger (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 40-59.

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The woodcut shows Thomas Bilney being manhandled by two ugly visaged friars who pull him out of the pulpit (a portable wooden one) outside the church of St George in Ipswich. (Bilney is known to have preached at Christchurch in Ipswich). The words in the banderoles in 1563 and 1570 respectively caption the scene as 'p[f]riers pulling Bilney out of the pulpit' and 'M. Bilney twice plucked from the pulpit'. He was accused of having preached in 1527 against false belief in the spiritual value of being buried in a Franciscan habit. This illustration is related both in style and content to a woodcut of Envy that appeared in 1569 in Stephen Bateman's A christall glasse, also published by John Day. CUL copy: detail is added to this illustration in black ink. The additional detail in one figure, dressed in blue (second from the right), has, however, made him cross-eyed. WREN copy: the trees to the right are coloured in a very bright green. The figure in blue (same figure as that in blue in the CUL copy) is not cross-eyed in this copy.

concernyng the whole, he dyd partly doubt. Notwithstāding he wished that the gospels & Epistles of that day might be read in Englishe, that the people might be made the more apt to heare Sermons. But here some wil say, there might also be daunger for errour. Wherunto he answered, But good & vigilant pastors might easily helpe that matter, by addyng the plaine inter-

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