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650 [594]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

Besydes that the tyme and oportunitie serued also his authoritie. When as the Pope was abolyshed out of Englande, and that ther was diuerse tumultes about Religion, it semed good vnto kyng Henry to appoint an assemblie of learned men and byshoppes, whiche should soberly & modestly entreat & determine those things which perteined vnto Religion: briefly at þe kinges pleasure al the learned mē, but specially þe bishops assembled, to whō this matter semed chiefly to belōg 

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This detailed account of a vice-gerential synod, including Cromwell's oration and the other sppeeches, summoned by Cromwell in February 1537 (not 1536 as Foxe claims) is taken by Foxe from Alexander Alesius, Of the auctoritie of the word of God (Strausburg, 1548?), STC 292, sigs. A5r-B7v. As Cromwell's speech will make clear the object of the synod was to determine the number of sacraments. Bishop Stokesley of London led the defence of retaining the seven sacraments, basing his arguments on unwritten tradition.

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. Cromwel was also present with the byshops, who by chaūce brought with hym Alexāder Alesius, vnto the cōuocation whom he met by the way. Whereas when he came in, he founde all the Bishops attending his commyng. When he was come in, they all rose vp with their obeysaunce as to their vicar generall, & he agayne saluted euery one in their degree, and sate downe in the hiest place at the table accordyng to his degree and office, and after hym euery byshoppe in his order and doctors, first ouer against him sat the archbishop of Caūterbury, then the Archebyshope of Yorke, the byshops of London, Lyncolne, Salisbury, Bathe, Ely, Herforde, Chychester, Norwyche, Rochester, and Worcester. &c. There Cromwel in the name of the kyng, (whose moste deare and secret counseller at that present he was, and Lorde preauy seale) spake these wordes in maner folowing.

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MarginaliaCromwels oration to the bishopsThe kynges maiestie geueth you moste hartie thankes for this your diligence, that you haue so wyllingly assembled and come together, at his wyll and desyre. I suppose you are not ignoraunt of the cause why he hath willed you here to assemble: whiche is, that you thorowe your wysdomes shoulde establyshe and pacifie certaine controuersies touchynge the state of fayth and Christian Religion, whiche at this present are in controuersie, not onelye in this Realme, but also amongest al other nations of the worlde. For his hyghnes hathe a great desyre that peace and concorde should be restored, specially in matters of the churche. Neyther can this his care be quieted, before that these quarels and controuersies of Religion, be by the discretion of you and the whole parliament reduced to an vniformytie.

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And albeit he greatly desyreth that the consciences of his subiectes whiche are troubled, specially of the symple sorte (whiche of them selues knowe not what to beleue or followe) shoulde be established with some certayn kind of doctrine. And that he hym selfe might not be ignoraunt in all those controuersies: yet wyll he not that there shoulde bee anye publyque chaunge of Religion in this Realme, excepte it be done by your consent and the consent of the whole parliament. Whereby you may easely perceyue both his profounde wysdome, & also his great loue and zeale towarde you.Wherefore he desyred you in Christes name that settyng apart all blynde contentions and stubburnes, you woulde with a cyuile and symple moderatiō friēdly discusse those things amongest you whiche pertayne vnto Religiō and the churche, hauyng only respect vnto the scriptures, accordyng to the mooste certayne rule wherof, his maiestie requyreth that you would order all thynges quietly without debate or controuersie. Neyther wyl he any longer suffer the scriptures to be wrested by anye of you, neyther to be oppressed with the Popes decrees or thautoritie of the doctours or counselles: muche lesse, he wyll not allowe any articles or doctrine grounded onely vpon antiquitie and custome, hauyng no other foundation in the scriptures, suche as are the vnwrytten verities as you call them, set fourth by you without any grounde of scripture. You know þt this your dutie you owe chiefly vnto Christ, and next, of necessitie vnto the churche. And yet notwithstandyng, you shall not be vnrewarded at his handes, if he perceaue you doo your dutie as ye ought, in establyshyng vnitie and concorde in the church. The whiche, that you may the better brynge to passe, this is the onely methode and waye, if that you settynge aparte the fayned commentaries of all other men, wyll defyne and discusse all thynges accordyng to the prescript rule and canons of the worde of God, as it is commaunded in Deuteronomie. Whereunto also the kynges maiestie doth exhorte you, and in moste hartie maner require and desyre you. When Cromwell had ended this his oration, the byshops rose vp altogether geuyng thākes vnto the kyngs maiestie, both for his great zeale towarde the churche of Christe, and also for his moste godlie exhortacion, worthie so Christian a prince.

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MarginaliaBoner byshop of Lōdon.Immediatly, they rose vp to disputation, where as Boner the byshop of London, fyrste of all, beyng the moste earnest champion and mainteyner of the Romyshe decrees, (whome Cromewell a litle before, had checked by name for defendyng the vnwryten verities) endeuoured hym selfe, with all his labour and industrie out of the olde schole gloses, to maynteyne the seuen sacramentes of the churche. The Archebishop of Yorke, Lyncolne, Bathe, Chichester and Norwiche, also fauoured hys parte and secte, on the contrary parte, was the Archebyshop of Caunterbury, the bishoppes of Shrewesbury, Ely, Harforde, and Worcester, with many other. After muche communicatiō hadde on eyther parte, and that they had longe cōtended about the testimonies of the doctors, whiche as it semed vnto them dissented and disagreed amonges them selues, MarginaliaThe archebyshope of Caunterburies oration to the byshoppes. the Archebyshop of Caūterbury at the last, spake these wordes vnto them, affirmyng that it was not the part of learned menne to moue contention aboute

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