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Mrs Benet
 
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Mrs Benet

Wife of Thomas Benet (Dusgate)

Mrs Benet had willingly lived under poor conditions during her marriage and was subjected to cruel treatment after the arrest of her husband. She provided food for him while he was in prison. 1570, pp. 1182-83; 1576, pp. 1011-12; 1583, pp. 1039-40.

1063 [1039]

K. Henry 8. The examination, and godly constancie of Thomas Benet Martyr.

had appoynted him to bee a blessed witnesse of hys holye name, and to be at defiance withall their fals perswasions.

To declare here with what cruelty the officers searched his house for bils and bookes, how cruelly and shamefully they handled his wife, charging her wt diuers enormities, it were too long to write. But she like a good woman tooke all thyngs patiently that they did to her: like as in other things she was contented to beare the crosse with hym, as to fare hardly with him at home, and to liue wyth course meate and drinke, that they myght be the more able somewhat to help the poore, as they did to the vttermost of their power. Amongst all other priestes and Friers, Gregory Basset was most busie with him. This Gregorie Basset, as is partly touched before, was learned, and had a pleasant tongue, and not long before, was faln from the truth, MarginaliaGreg. Basset prisoned at Bristowe.for the which hee was prisoned in Bristowe long time, at whose examinatiō was ordeined a great pan of fire, where his holy brethren (as report went abroad) menaced him to burne his hands of, MarginaliaGreg. Basset compelled by the Friers to recant.whereupon he there before them recāted, and became afterward a mortall enemie to the truth al his life. This Gregorie (as it is sayde) was feruent wyth the poore man, to please the Canons of that Churche, and marueilously tormented his braines, howe to turne hym from his opinions, yea and he was so diligent and feruent with him, MarginaliaGreg. Basset busie agaynst Tho. Benet. that he wold not depart the prison, but lay there night and day, who notwythstanding loste his labour: for good Benet was at a poynt not to deny Christ before men. So Gregory, as wel as þe other holy fathers, lost his spurres, in so much that hee sayde in open audience, that there was neuer so obstinate an heretike.

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MarginaliaThe matter betweene Basset and Tho. Benet.The principal poynt betweene Basset & hym, was touching the supremacie of the B. of Rome, whom in his bils he named Antichriste, the thiefe, the mercenary, & the murtherer of Christes flocke: and these disputations lasted about 8. daies, where at sundry times repaired to hym both the blacke and gray Friers, with priestes and Monkes of that Citie. They that had some learning, perswaded hym to beleue the Church, and shewed by what tokens shee is knowen. MarginaliaRayling agaynst Benet.The other vnlearned railed, & said that the deuil tēpted him, and spit vpon him, calling him hereticke: who praied God to geue them a better mind, & to forgeue them: For (saide he) I will rather die, then worship such a beast, the very whoore of Babylon, and a false vsurper, as manifestly it doeth appeare by his doings. They asked what he did, that he had not power and authority to do, being gods vicar? MarginaliaThe abuses of the pope noted.He doth (quoth he) sell the sacraments of the Church for mony, he selleth remissiō of sinnes daily for mony, and so doe you likewise: for there is no day but yee say diuers Masses for soules in fained Purgatorie, MarginaliaSelling of soules. yea, and yee spare not to make lying sermons to þe people, to maintaine your false traditions and foule gaines. The whole worlde doth begin now to note your doings, to your vtter confusion & shame. The shame (saide they) shalbe to thee and to such as thou art, thou foule heretike. Wilt thou allowe nothyng done in holy Church? what a peruerse heretike art thou? I am (sayde he) no heretike, but a Christian man, I thanke Christ, and with all my heart will allow all things done & vsed in the church to the glory of God, and edifying of my soule: but I see nothing in your church, but that maintaineth the deuil. What is our church, sayd they? It is not my church (quoth Benet) God geue me grace to be of a better church, for verily your church is the plaine church of Antichrist, MarginaliaThe popes Churche paynted in her colours. the malignant church, the second church, a denne of theeues, an awmry of poyson, and as farre wide from the true vniuersall & Apostolike churche, as heauen is distant from the earth.

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Dost not thou thinke (sayde they) that we pertaine to the vniuersal church? Yes (quoth he) but as dead mēbers, vnto whom the church is not beneficial, for your workes are the deuises of man, and your Church a weake foundation, for ye say & preach, þt the popes word is equall with Gods word in euery degree. Why (sayd they) did not Christ say to Peter, To thee I will geue the keyes of the kingdome of heauen? MarginaliaThe keyes not onely geuen to Peter but to all the Apostles.He said that (quoth he) to al, as wel as to Peter, and Peter had no more authority geuen him then they, or els þe churches planted in euery kingdom by theyr preaching, are no churches. Doth not S. Paul say, Vpon the foundations of the apostles and prophets? Therefore I say plainly, that the church that is built vpon a mā, is the deuils church or congregation, & not Gods. MarginaliaThe church builded vpon man, is the deuils Churche. And as euery Church this day is appoynted to be ruled by a bishop or pastor, ordeined by þe word of God in preaching & ministration of the sacramēts vnder the prince the supreme gouernor vnder God: so to say, þt all the churches with their princes & gouernours be subiect to one bishop, is detestable heresie, & the pope your God chalenging this power to him selfe, is the greatest schismatike that euer was in the church, & most foul whore MarginaliaThe Whore of Babilon. of whom Iohn in the Reuelation speaketh.

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O thou blinde & vnlearned foole (said they) MarginaliaConsent of the worlde.is not þe confession & consent of all the world as we confesse & consent, þt the popes holines is the supreme head & vicar of Christ? That is (saide Benet) because they are blinded & know not the scriptures, but if God wold of his mercy open the eyes of princes to know their office, his false supremacie would sone decay. We thinke (said they) thou are so malitious that thou wilt cōfesse no church. Loke (saide he) MarginaliaWhere the true Church is.where they are that confesse the true name of Iesu Christe, & where onely Christ is þe head, & vnder him the prince of the realm, to order al bishops, ministers, & preachers, and to see them doe their dueties in setting forth the only glory of God by preaching the worde of God, & where it is preached that Christ is our only aduocate, mediator, & patrone before God hys father, making intercession for vs, and where the true faith and confidence in Christes death and passion, and his only merits and deseruings are extolled, & our owne depressed, where the sacrament is duly wtout superstition or idolatry administred in remembrance of his blessed passion and only sacrifice vpon the crosse once for all, and where no superstition raigneth, of that Church wil I be.

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Doth not the Pope (sayd they) confesse the true Gospel? do not we all the same? Yes (sayde he) but ye denie the frutes thereof in euery poynt. Yee builde vpon the sands, not vppon the rocke. And wilt thou not beleeue in deede (sayd they) that the pope is Gods vicare? No (sayd he) in deede. And why, sayde they? MarginaliaThe Pope not Gods Vicar and why?Because (quoth hee) hee vsurpeth a power not geuen him of Christ, no more then to other Apostles, and also because he doeth by force of that vsurped supremacie, blinde the whole world, and doeth contrary to all that euer Christ ordained or commaunded. What, sayde they, if he do all things after Gods ordinance and cōmandement, should he then be his vicare? Then (saide he) wold I beleue hym to be a good bishop at Rome ouer hys owne Diocesse, and to haue no further power. And if it pleased God, I would euery bishop did this in their diocesse: then should we liue a peaceable life in the Church of Christ, and there should be no such seditions therein. If euery Bishop would seke no further power then ouer his owne diocesse, it were a goodly thing.

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MarginaliaWhat inconuenience followeth, that al Bishops should be ruled by man.Nowe, because all are subiecte to one, all must doe and cōsent to al wickednes, as he doth, or be none of his. This is the cause of great Superstition in euerye kyngdome. And what Bishoppe soeuer he be that preacheth the Gospel, & mainteyneth the truth, is a true Bishop of þe church. And doth not (sayd they) our holye father the pope mayntaine the Gospell? Yes (sayd he) I thinke he doth read it, & peraduenture beleue it, & so do you also, but neitheir he nor you do fixe the anker of your saluatiō therin. Besides that ye beare such a good wil to it, that ye keepe it close, that no man may reade it, but your selues: & when you preach god knoweth how you handle it: in somuch that the people of Christ knoweth no Gospel welneare, but the popes Gospel, & so the blynd leade the blind, & both fall into þe pit. In the true Gospell of Christ, confidence is none, but onely in your popish traditions and phantasticall inuentions.

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Thē said a black Fryer to him, God knoweth a blockhead: doe we not preach the Gospell dayly? Yes (sayde he) but what preaching of the Gospell is that, MarginaliaThe Popes gospell.when therwyth ye extoll superstitious thinges, and make vs beleue þt we haue redemption through pardons and buls of Rome, à pœna & culpa, as ye terme it, and by the merites of your orders ye make many brethren and sisters, ye take yearly money of them, yet bury them in your coates, and in shrift ye beguile them: yea and do a thousand superstitious thinges more: MarginaliaBenet weary of the Fryers talke.a man may be weary to speake of them: I see (sayd the Fryer) that thou art a damned wretche: I will haue no more talke with thee.

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Then stept to hym a gray fryer, a doctor (God knoweth) of small intelligence, & layd before hym great and many daungers. I take God to record sayd Benet, my lyfe is not deare to me. I am content to depart from it, for I am weary of it, seing your detestable doings, to þe vtter destructiō of gods flock, & for my part, I can no longer forebeare: I had rather by death (which I know is not far of) depart this life, þt I may no longer be partaker of your detestable idolatries & superstitions, or be subiect to Antichrist your pope. Our pope (said the Fryer) is the vicar of God, & our waies are the wayes of God. I pray you (sayd Benet) depart frō me, & tell not me of your wayes. He is onely my way which saith: I am the way, the truth and the life. In hys way will I walke, his doinges shall be my example, not yours, nor your false popes. His truth will I embrace, not the lyes and falshood of you and your Pope. His euerlasting life wil I seeke, þe true reward of all faithful people. Away frō me I pray you. Vexe my soule no lōger: ye shall not preuayle. There is no good exāple in you, no truth in you, no lyfe to be hoped for at your hands. Ye are all more

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vayne
XXx.ij.
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