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1175 [1175]

K. Henry. 8. Articles obiected to M. Arthure and Thomas Bilney.

PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

persecuters put a man to death, the preachyng of the Gos
pell, therfore is to be forsaken. Thys article he confessed
that he spake in lyke woordes and sense, sauing that he
made no mention of tyrauntes.
5 That euery man, yea euery lay man is a priest. 
Commentary  *  Close

Luther argued in Of the Babylonian Captivity of the Church that every Christian, in some senses, can be a priest in the exercise of ministry. De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

He cō-
fessed that he spake such woordes, declaryng in his Ser-
mon, that euery Christian man is a Priest, offeryng vp
the sacrifice of prayer: & if they did murmure against the
order of priesthode, they did murmure against thē selues.
6 That men should pray to no Saintes in heauen, but
only to God, and they should vse no other Mediator for
them, but Christ Iesu our redemer onely. Thys article
he denyed.
MarginaliaAgaynst Images.7 He preached that they should worshyp no Images of
Saintes, which were nothyng but stockes and stones.
Thys he also denyed.
8 He did preach vpon Whitsonday, last within the Vni-
uersitie of Cambridge, such or lyke wordes and sentēces:
That a Bacheler of Diuinitie admitted of the Vniuersi-
tie, or any other person, hauyng or knowyng the Gospel
of God, should go forth and preache in euery place, 
Commentary  *  Close

For Arthur to preach that 'euerye man may preach' was unusual, and against canon law and statute. Here he may have been influenced by some of the writings of Erasmus, or the idea of the priesthood of all believers, found in Martin Luther's De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae (Basle: Adam Petri, 1520).

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and
let for no man, of what estate or degree so euer he were:
and if any Byshop did accurse them for so doyng, their
curses should turne to the harme of them selues. He con-
fessed this.

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Which aunsweres thus made and acknowledged,
the sayd M. Arthur did reuoke and cōdempne the sayd
MarginaliaArthur submitteth him selfe.Articles agaynst him ministred, & submitted hym selfe
to the punishment and iudgement of the Churche.
The iij. day of December, the Byshop of London,
with the other Byshops, 
Commentary  *  Close

Among the other examiners whom Foxe did not name was the bishop of Carlisle. They met in the octagonal chapter house of Westminster Abbey, which has remained relatively unchanged in the intervening centuries. It is reached from the Cloister and it retains its original tile floor and wall paintings.

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assemblyng in the place afore-
sayd, after that Bilney had denyed vtterly to returne
to the Churche of Rome, the Byshop of London in dis
charge of his conscience (as hee sayd) lest hee shoulde
hyde any thyng that had come to his hands, he did real-
MarginaliaV. letters of Belney to the Bishoppe of London.ly exhibite vnto the Notaries, in the presēce of the sayd
M. Bilney, certeine letters, to wytte, fiue letters or Epi
stles, with one scedule in one of the Epistles, contey-
nyng his Articles and aūsweres folded therin, and an
other Epistle 
Commentary  *  Close

The actual number of letters that passed between Thomas Bilney and Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall is confused here. What is clear is that Tunstall carefully saved Bilney's letters, and used them here in examining him in 1527.

folded in manner of a booke, with sixe
leaues, which all and euery one he commaunded to bee
written out and registred, and the originals to bee deli-
uered to him agayne. This was done in the presence
of M. Bilney, desiryng a copye of them, and hee bounde
the Notaries with an othe for the safe kepyng of the
copyes, and true registryng of the same. Whiche Arti-
cles and aūsweres, with three of the same epistles, with
certayne depositions deposed by the foresayd wytnes,
here folow truly drawen out, partly of his owne hand
writyng, and partly out of the register. MarginaliaEx Regist. Lonndinensi.

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¶ Interrogatories whereupon M. Thomas Arthur
and M. Bilney, were accused and examined. 
Commentary  *  Close

The records of Bilney's and Arthur's examinations are preserved in the Register of Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, in Guildhall Library, MS 9531/10, fols. 130B-136A. The bishop of Rochester was John Fisher, chancellor of Cambridge University, who was among the most implacable of Luther's adversaries, and he enjoyed an international reputation for learning and orthodoxy. Luther's 1520 book De Captivitate Babylonica Ecclesiae created a sensation because he attacked the doctrine of the seven sacraments and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church by calling into question the theology of the Mass. Fisher responded against him in Defensio Regie assertionis contra Babylonicam captiuitatem and Sacri sacerdotij defensiones contra Lutherum, (Cologne: Peter Quentell, June 1525).

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MarginaliaInterrogatories agaynst Bilney and Arthur.1. WHether they did beleue with their hartes, that
the assertions of Luther, whiche are impugned by
the Byshop of Rochester, were iustly and godly condemned,
and that Luther with all his adherentes, was a wicked and de-
testable hereticke.
2. Whether they did beleue, that the generall Councels
MarginaliaConstitutions.and Ecclesiasticall constitutions, once receaued and not a-
brogate agayne, ought to be obserued of all men, euen for con
science sake, and not onely for feare.
3. Whether they did beleue that the Popes lawes were
profitable and necessarie to the preferment of godlynes, not re
pugnant to the holy Scriptures, neither by any meanes to be
abrogate, but to be reuerenced of all men.
MarginaliaThe church.4. Whether they did beleue that the catholike church may
erre in the faith or no, and whether they thinke that Catho-
licke Churche to bee a sensible Churche, whiche may be de-
monstrate and pointed out, as it were, with a finger, or that it
is onely a spirituall Churche, intelligible, and knowen onely
vnto God.
MarginaliaImages.5. Whether they thinke that the Images of Saintes are
Christienly set in the Churches, and ought to be worhipped
of all true Christians.

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PersecutersMartyrs.The Causes.

MarginaliaWhether soules be alredy iudged.6. Whether that a man may beleue without hurte to hys
faith or note of heresie, the soules of Peter and Paule,
and of our Ladye, either to bee , or not to bee in heauen,
and that there is yet no iudgement geuen vppon the soules
departed.
7. Whether that a man may beleue without spot of here-
ie, that our Lady remained not alwayes a virgine.
MarginaliaBreaking of fasting dayes, sinne.8. Whether holy dayes and fasting dayes ordeined and re
ceiued by the Church, may bee broken by any priuate man,
at his will and pleasure, without sinne or obstinacy.
9. Whether we are bounde to be obedient vnto Prelates,
Byshops, and kinges, by Gods Commaundement, as we are
vnto our parentes.
10. Whether they beleue that the church doth well & god-
ly in praying to the Saintes.
MarginaliaChrist not onely to be prayed to.11. Whether they thinke that Christ onely should be prayd
vnto, and that it is no heresie, if any man affirme that Saints
should not be prayed vnto.
12. Whether they do thincke all true Christians to bee by
like right, Priestes, and all those to haue receiued the keyes
of byndyng and loosing at the handes of Christ, whiche haue
obteined the spirite of God, and onely such, whether they bee
lay men or Priestes.
13. Whether they beleue with their hart, that faith may
be without workes and charitie. 
Commentary  *  Close

The target of the bishops' inquiry here was the Lutheran tenet of justification by faith alone, without the necessity of good works (including pilgrimages, the invocation of the saints, or almsdeeds).


MarginaliaPrayer in a learned tongue.14. Whether they beleue that it is more agreable to the
fayth, that the people should praye in their owne tongue, then
in a learned vnknowen tongue, and whether they commende
the prayer in a straunge tongue or no.
15. Whether they would haue the Masses and Gospels o-
penly to bee read in Churches in the vulgare tongue, rather
then in the Latine tongue. 
Commentary  *  Close

The reading of the Bible in the vernacular by the laity had been illegal in England ever since the medieval heresy laws against Lollardy had been passed by Parliament in 5 Ric. II, st. 2, c. 5 (1382); 2 Hen. IV, c. 15 (1401); 2 Hen. V., st. 1, c. 7 (1414), and also in the 1408 Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, printed in William Lyndwood, Provinciale, (seu Constitvtiones Angliae) (Oxford, 1679; rpt. 1968), p. 286. Vernacular prayers and lessons were at issue once more since 1516 when Erasmus first issued his powerful call for everyone to read scripture in the Paraclesis.

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16. Whether they commend that children should onely be
taught the Lordes prayer, and not the salutation of the vir-
gine, or Crede.
MarginaliaBeades.17. Whether they do thinke the wodden beades, which the
common people doth vse, worthy to be denied or not. 
Commentary  *  Close

The reference here to wooden `beades' may not be simply to rosary beads, but to the `pardon beads' that were offered by some religious houses to reassure worried lay people. See J. T. Rhodes, `Syon Abbey and its Religious Publications in the Sixteenth Century', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 44 (1993), pp. 11-25.

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18. Whether they do thincke the whole Scripture ought to
be trāslated into English, or that it should be more profitable
for the people, then as it is now read. 
Commentary  *  Close

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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MarginaliaOrgans.19. Whether they would haue the orgaines & all maner of
songes to be put out of the Churche of God.
20. Whether they do thinke that it perteineth to the By-
shops, to punishe any man with bondes or imprisonment, or
that they haue any temporall power and authoritie.
21. Whether they thincke that constitution to bee godly,
that no man should preach in an other mans dioces, without
letters of commendation, and licence obteined of the Byshop.
22. VVhether they thinke the vowes of religious men
and priuate Religion, to bee constitute and ordeined by
the spirite of God, neither by any meanes to be repugnant to
a free and perfect Christian life.
MarginaliaPurgatory.23. Whether they beleue that we should pray for the dead,
or beleue that there is a Purgatory, or that we are bound by
necessitie of faith, to beleue neither of them: but that it is free
without sinne, either to beleue it or not to beleue it.
MarginaliaPhilosophy.24. VVhether they beleue that morall Philosophie and na
turall, do preuaile any thyng for the better vnderstandyng of
the scriptures, & for the exposition and defence of the truth.
25. VVhether they thinke that the Popes indulgences and
pardons are rather to be reiected, then receiued.
26. Whether it bee contrary to the doctrine of Christ and
his Apostles, that Christians should by any meanes, contend
in the law, to seke any maner of restitution.
27. VVhether they beleue all thinges perteyning to salua-
tion & dampnation to come of necessitie, and nothyng to be
in our owne willes.
28. VVhether they beleue God to bee the authour of euill,
aswell of the fault, as of the punishement.
MarginaliaMasse.29. VVhether they thinke Masse onely to be profitable to
him which sayth it, & whether euery mā may alter or leaue
out the rite and order of the Masse, without hurt of faith.
30. VVhether they beleue that there can bee any morall

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