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676 [620]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

of Rome made no clayme nor vsed tytle 

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This refers to the letter of Agatha 'To the Emperor', the full text of which can be found on line at http://www.monachos.net/library/Agatho_the_Wonderworker_Pope_of_Rome%2C_Letter_to_the_Emperor.

to call theim selues heades vniuersall ouer all the catholyke churche, as there doth appeare. In subscriptione feu salutatione synodica suggestionis antedictæ. Whiche is thus, ad uerbum Piissimis dominis & sereniss. victoribus & triumphatoribus, delectis filiis dei & domini nostri Iesu Christi Cōstantino Magno imperatori, Heraclio et Tiberio Augustis, Agatho episcopus seruus seruorun dei, cum vniuersis synodis subiacentibus concilio Apostolicæ sedis.

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In the superscription or salutation of the forsayde sinodicall preamble, which is thus word for worde: To the moste godly Lordes & moste noble victors and cōquerours, the welbeloued chyldren of God, and of our Lord Iesu Christ: to Constantine the great Emperoure, to Heraclius and Tiberius Cesars, Byshoppe Agatho the seruaunt of the seruauntes of God, withall the conuocatious subiecte to the councell of the sea Apostolique, sendeth greetynges. And saith, expressynge what countreys he reckened and comprehended in that superscription or salutacion. It followeth that these were vnder his assemblie, whiche were in the Northe and Easte partes. So that at that tyme the Byshoppe of Rome, made no suche pretence, to be ouer and aboue all, as he nowe dothe by vsurpation, vendicating to hym selfe the spirituall kyngdome of Christ, by whiche he raygneth in the heartes of all faythfull people, and then chaungeth it to a temporall kyngdome ouer & aboue al kyngs, to depose theim for his pleasure, preachynge thereby, Carnem pro spiritu, & terrenum regnum pro coelesti, in damnationem nisi resipiscat suam.

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The flesh for the spirite 

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I Peter 2.13-14.

, and an earthly kyngdome for an heauenly, to his owne dampnatiō, if he repente not. Where he ought to obey hys Prynce by the doctrine of saynt Peter, in hys fyrste Epistle saying: Marginalia1. Pet. 2. Subiecti estote omni humanæ creaturæ, propter deum, siue regi quasi præcellenti, siue ducibus tanquam ab eo missis ad vindictam malefactorum, laudem vero bonorum: Be ye subiect to euery mannes ordinaunce, for the Lordes sake, whether to the king as to the chiefe, whether to the Dukes, as sent of hym to the punyshement of the euyll doers, and to the prayse of the good. Agayne saynt Paule 
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Romans 13.1.

. MarginaliaRom. 13. Omnis omnia potestantibus sublimioribus subdita sit, with other thynges before alledged. So that this his pretensed vsurpation to the aboue all kynges, is directly againste the scriptures, geuen to the churche by the Apostles, whose doctrine, whosoeuer ouerturneth. can be neyther Caput, nor infimum membrum ecclæsie. Wherfore, albeit ye haue heretofore stycked to the said wrongfully vsurped power, moued thereto as ye wryte by your conscience, yet sythens nowe ye see further, if ye luste regarde the mere truthe, and suche auncient authours, as you haue bene wrytten to of in tymes paste, we would exhort you for the wealth of your soule, to surrender into the Byshop of Romes handes, your red hat, by whiche he seduced you, trustyng to haue of you, beyng come of a noble bloud, an instrument to aduance his vayne glory, whereof, by the sayde hatt, he made you participant, to allure you thereby the more to his purpose. In whiche doyng ye shal retourne to the truthe, from which ye haue erred. Doo your dutie to your soueraygne Lord, from whome ye haue declyned. And please therby almyghtie God, whose lawes ye haue transgressed. And in not so doyng, ye shall remaynein errour, offendyng both almyghty God, and your naturall soueraigne Lorde, whome chiefly ye ought to searche to please. Whiche thinge, for the good mynde that we heretofore haue borne you, we praye almyghtie God of his infinite mercie, that you do not. Amen.

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¶ Thus endeth the letter wrytten by Cut-
bert Tunstal late byshop of Duresme, and
Iohn Stokesley sometyme byshop of Lō
don, sent vnto Rainolde Pole Cardinall,
at Rome.

IN this yeare the kynge by the aduyse of his Councell, set forthe a decree for the settyng vp of the Byble in the great volume in euery paryshe churche in Englande, for the performaunce whereof the kynges maiestie directed his brief vnto Edmond Boner byshop of London, for the executyng thereof throughout his dioces. The tenour of whiche bryefe here ensueth. 

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Great Bible

This lengthy, convoluted, and chronologically-confused passage relates the history of Miles Coverdale's revision of the vernacular "Thomas Matthew Bible" in Paris in 1538; the failure of that foreign printing venture; and the eventual production of a new version - Henry VIII's "Great Bible," licensed and authorized - by Richard Grafton and Edmund Whitchurch in 1539. This is, however, no triumphant tale of the political successes of the Bible in English; it instead forms the unhappy prologue to the government's subsequent decisions, between 1542 and 1546, to withdraw nearly all support for the lay reading of scripture.

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The act of violence against the faith that characterizes this tale is the burning of books, then, not bodies. Here Foxe's sights are most firmly fixed on Bishop Edmund Bonner: his diplomatic work at the French court; his role in promoting and supporting the printing of a revision of the Matthew Bible at Paris; his translation while still in France from the Hereford see to London; and his subsequent defection from the ranks of Cromwell's supporters to an alliance with the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, after the newly-created earl of Essex's execution. Ultimately Foxe rewrites Bonner's championship of the English Bible at Paris (an enterprise that the bishop had in fact partially underwritten with 600 pounds of his own) into an act of cunning provocation aimed at ferreting out and punishing lay readers of scripture in England.

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This account first appeared in 1570 and was reprinted virtually word for word in the edition of 1583. The 1563 edition contains, however, a relevant section entitled "The kyngs brief for the setting up the Byble of the greater volume in Englyshe" (fols 624-5), which consists of two short texts: Henry VIII's 1540 command for "the Bible of the greater volume" to be placed in "every Cathedrall, collegiate, and other parish churches and chappells"; and the text of a 1541 letter by Bonner to the archdeacon of London, Richard Gwent, which gave directives in support of the royal mandate.

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This letter, contrasted with Bonner's far more qualified position by 1542, and indeed his subsequent enthusiasm for presiding over "heretical" book burnings at Paul's Cross (especially if those books issued from the pens of William Tyndale or Miles Coverdale), allows Foxe to take a literary turn in the direction of political paradox, perhaps the only way to deal with the unpredictable twists of later Henrician religious policy. Foxe follows this section in the 1563 edition with the account of Bonner's imprisonment of John Porter for reading the Bible unlawfully in St. Paul's.

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In 1563, Foxe's purpose had been "to show how [he, i.e., Bonner] that…was once a setter forth of…afterward became the chief putter down again of the same, and made the reading of the Bible to be a trap or snare to entangle many good men, and to bring them to ruin and destruction." He enlarges on this intention in the 1570 and 1583 editions with the assistance of anecdotal evidence provided by informants like Ralph Morice, who had been principal secretary to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and was thus responsible for the politically sensitive communications passing between the archbishop and Cromwell.

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Lori Anne FerrellClaremont Graduate University

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¶ The kyngs brief for the setting vp the Byble of the greater volume in Englyshe.

HEnry by the grace of God kyng of Englande and of Fraunce, defendour of the fayth, Lorde of Irelād, and in earth supreame head of the churche of Englande. To the reuerent father in Christe, Edmunde byshoppe of London, or in his absence to his Vicare generall, health, we commaunde you, that immediatly vpon the receipte of these presentes, in euery Cathedrall, collegiate, and other parish churches and chappelles, you cause on our behalfe to be solemly publyshed, and a certayne decree made by vs by thaduyse of our counsell whiche we haue sent you by the brynger imprynted in certayne scedules annexed to this bryef. Chargyng you moreouer, that immediatly vpon the publyshyng of the sayde decree so by you made, that you cause the sayde decree to be set vp vpon euery churche dore through your dioces, that it may more largely appeare vnto our subiectes and lyege people. And that with all diligence you perfourme the same, as you wyll aunswere vs for the contrarye.

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Teste meipso at Westmister the seuenth daye of May, in the thyrty and three yeares of our raigne.

Here also we haue thought good to inferre a letter whiche Edmund Boner byshoppe of London wrote, and sent vnto the Archedeacon of London, for the execution of the kyngs wrytt, which we haue here also put in latine, for this only cause to manyfest his owne wordes vnto the people, and to shewe howe that whiche he hym selfe was once a setter forthe of, he afterward became the chief putter down

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agayne
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