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1221 [1221]

K. Henry. 8. The examination of Thomas Benet, Martyr.

violently committed to warde.

On the morow begã both the Cannons and heades of the Citie ioyned with them, to fall to examination. MarginaliaTho. Benet willingly confesseth.With whom for that day he had not much cõmunication, but confessed and sayd to them, it was euen I that put vp those Bylles, & if it were to do, I would yet do it agayne, for in them haue I written nothyng but that is very truth. Couldst not thou (said they) as well haue declared thy minde by mouth, as by putting vp Bylles of blasphemy? MarginaliaThe cause why Benet set vp hys billes.No (said he) I put vp þe bylles that many should read & heare, what abominable blasphemers ye are, & that they might þe better know your Antichrist the Pope to be that Bore out of the wood, whiche destroyeth and throweth downe the hedges of Gods Churche: for if I had bene heard to speake but one worde, I should haue ben clapped fast in prison, and the matter of God hydden. But now I trust more of your blasphemous doinges will therby be opened & come to light, for God wil so haue it & no longer wil suffer you.

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MarginaliaTho. Benet sent to the Byshops prisontThe next day after, he was sent vnto the Byshop, who first committed hym vnto prison called the Byshops prison, where he was kept in stockes and strong yron, with as much fauour as a dogge should finde. Then the Byshop associatyng vnto hym one Doctour Brewer his Chauncellour 

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This is an error; John Gibbons was chancellor of Exeter diocese from 1522-1537.

, and other of hys leude Clergy and Friers, began to examine hym and burdened hym, MarginaliaArticles layd against Benet.that contrary to the Catholicke fayth, he denyed praying to the Saintes, and also denyed the supremacye of the Pope. Wherunto he aūswered in such sober maner, and so learnedly proued & defended his assertions, that he dyd not onely confounde and put to silence hys aduersaries, but also brought them in great admiration of hym, the most part hauyng pitie & compassion on hym. The Friers tooke great paynes with hym, to persuade hym from hys erronious opinions, to recant & acknowledge hys fault touchyng the Bylles, but they dyd but dygge after day, for God had appoynted him to be a blessed witnes of hys holy name, & to be at defiance with all theyr false persuasions.

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To declare here with what cruelty þe Officers searched hys house for Bylles and bookes, how cruelly and shamfullye they handled hys wife, charging her with diuers enormities, it were to long to write. But she lyke a good woman, tooke all thinges patiently that they did to her: like as in other thynges she was contented to beare the crosse with hym, as to fare hardlye with hym at home, and to liue with course meate & drincke that they myght bee the more able somewhat to helpe the poore, as they did to the vttermost of theyr power. Amongest al other priestes and Friers, Gregory Basset, was most busie with him. This Gregorye Basset, as is partlye touched before, was learned and hadde a pleasaunt tongue, and not longe before, MarginaliaGreg. Basset prisoned at Bristowe.was fallen from the truth, for the whiche he was prisoned in Bristowe long tyme, at whose examination was ordeyned a great pãne of fire, MarginaliaGreg. Basset compelled by the Fryers to recant.where hys holy brethren (as report went abroad) manaced hym to burne hys handes of, wherupon he there before thē recanted & became afterward a mortall enemy to þe truth all his lyfe. MarginaliaGreg. Baßet busie agaynst Tho. Benet.This Gregory (as it is sayd) was feruent with þe poore man, to please the Cannons of that Church, and merueillously tormēted hys braynes how to turne him from hys opinions, yea & he was so diligent & feruent with hym that he would not departe the prison, but lay there night and daye, who notwithstandyng loste hys labour: for good Benet was at a point not to denye Christ before mē. So Gregory as well as þe other holy fathers, lost his spurres, in somuch that he said in open audience, þt there was neuer so obstinate an hereticke.

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MarginaliaThe matter betwene Basset, and Tho. Benet.The principall poynt betwene Basset and hym was touchyng the supremacie of the Byshop of Rome, whõ in his billes he named Antichrist, þe theef, þe mercenary, & the murtherer of Christes flocke: and these disputations lasted about viij. daies, where at sundry tymes, repayred to hym both the Blacke and Gray Friers, with Priests and Monkes of that City. They that had some learnyng, persuaded hym to beleue the Churche, and shewed by what tokens she is knowen. MarginaliaRaylyng agaynst Benet.The other vnlearned rayled & sayd that the deuill tempted hym, and spytte vppon him, callyng hym hereticke: who prayed God to geue them a better minde & to forgeue them: For (said he) I wil rather die thē worship such a Beast, the very Whore of Babilon, and a false vsurper, as manifestly it doth appeare by hys doinges. They asked what he dyd that hee had not power and authoritie to do, beyng Gods Vicar? MarginaliaThe abuses of the Pope, noted.He doth (quoth he) sell the Sacramentes of the Churche for money, he selleth remission of sinnes daily for money, and so do you lykewise: MarginaliaSelling of soules.for there is no daye but ye saye diuers Masses for soules in fayned Purgatory, yea and ye spare not to make lying Sermons to the people, to maintayne your false traditions and foule gaynes. The whole world doth begyn now to note your doyngs, to your vtter cõfusion and shame. The shame (sayd they) shalbe to thee and to such as thou art, thou foule hereticke. Wilt thou allow nothyng done in holy Churche? what a peruerse hereticke art thou? I am (sayd he) no hereticke, but a Christian man, I thanke Christ, and with all my hart will allow all thynges done and vsed in the Church to the glory of God and edifiyng of my soule: MarginaliaThe popes Church, painted in her colours.but I see nothyng in your Churche, but that maintayneth the deuill. What is our Church, sayd they? It is not my Church (quoth Benet) God geue me grace to bee of a better Church, for verely your Church is the playne Church of Antichrist, the malignant Church, þe second church, a denne of theeues, an awmbry of poyson, and as farre wyde from the true vniuersall & Apostolicke Churche, as heauen is distant frõ the earth.

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Doest thou not thinke (said they) that we pertain to the vniuersall Church? Yes (quoth he) but as dead mēbers, vnto whõ the Church is not beneficiall, for your woorkes are the deuises of man, and your Church a weake foundation, for ye say & preach that the Popes worde is equall wt Gods word in euery degree. Why, (said they) did not Christ say to Peter, to thee I will geue the keyes of the kingdome of heauē? MarginaliaThe keys geuen not onely to Peter, but to all the Apostles.He sayd that (quoth he) to all, as well as to Peter, & Peter had no more authoritie geuē him then they, or els þe Churches plãted in euery kyngdome by their preachyng, are no churches. Doth not S. Paul say: Vpon the foundations of the Apostles & Prophets? MarginaliaThe churche builded vpon man, is the deuils churche.Therfore I say plainly, þt the Church that is built vpon a man, is þe Deuils Church or cõgregatiõ, & not Gods. And as euery Church this day is appointed to be ruled by a Bishop or Pastor ordayned by the word of God in preachyng and ministration of Sacramentes vnder the prince the supreme gouernour vnder God: so to say that all the Churches with their princes and gouernours bee subiecte to one Bishop, is detestable heresie, and the Pope your God challengyng this power to hym selfe, is þe greatest scismaticke that euer was in the Church, MarginaliaThe Whore of Babylon.and most foule Whore, of whom Iohn in the reuelation speaketh.

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MarginaliaConsent of the world.O thou blynd and vnlearned foole (sayd they) is not the confession and consent of all the worlde as we confesse and cõsent, that the Popes holynes is the supreme head and very vicar of Christ? That is (said Benet) because they are blinded and knowe not the Scriptures, but if God would of his mercy open the eyes of princes to know their office, his false supremacie would sone decay? We thinke (said they) thou art so malicious that thou wilt cõfesse no Church. MarginaliaWhere the true churche is.Looke (said he) where they are that cõfesse the true name of Iesu Christ, and where onely Christ is the head & vnder hym the prince of the realme, to order all Bishops, Ministers and preachers, and to see thē do their dueties in setting forth the onely glory of God by preachyng the woorde of God, and where it is preached that Christ is our onely Aduocate, Mediatour, & Patrone before God his father makyng intercession for vs, and where the true fayth and confidence in Christes death and Passion and hys

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onely
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