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1678 [1640]

Quene Mary. A declaration of the Preachers in prison how they will dispute.

MarginaliaAn. 1554. May.Oxford before, as you haue herd. Wherupon the godly preachers which were in prisō hauyng word therof, albeit they were destitute of their bookes, neither were ignoraunt of the purpose of the aduersaries, and how þe cause was preiudicate before, also how þe disputatiōs were confusedly handled at Oxford: neuertheles they thought not to refuse the offer of disputation, so that they might be quyetly and indifferētly heard, and therfore wisely ponderyng the matter with them selues, by a publicke consent, directed out of prison a declaration of their mynd by writyng, the viij. day of May. Wherin first as touchyng þe disputatiō, although they knew that they should doe no good, wheras all things were so predetermined before, yet neuerthelesse, they would not deny to dispute, so that the disputation might be either before the Queene, or before the Counsaile, or before the Parlament houses, MarginaliaThe Preachers in prison refuse not to dispute before indifferent Iudges.or els if they might dispute by writyng: for els if the matter were brought to the Doctours handlyng in their owne scholes, they haue sufficient proufe (they said) by þe experience of Oxford, what litle good will be done at Cambridge: and so consequētly declaryng the fayth and doctrine of their Religion, & exhortyng the people withall to submitte them selues with all patience and humilitie, either to the will or punishment of the higher powers, they appealed in the end from them to be their Iudges in this behalfe, and so end their Protestation: the copy and contēes wherof I thought not vnfitte here to be inserted.

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¶ A copie of a certeine declaration drawen and sent out of prison by Maister Bradford, Maister Saunders, and diuers other godly preachers, concernyng their disputation, and doctrine of their Religion, as foloweth. 
Commentary  *  Close
Block 27: The declaration of Bradford et al.

The declaration of 8 May 1554 by the leading incarcerated protestants protesting against a projected disputation in Cambridge was printed without alteration in every edition of the Acts and Monuments; unusually even the paragraph breaks were unaltered (1563, pp. 1001-03; 1570, pp. 1640-41; 1576, pp. 1399-1400; 1583, pp. 1469-71). The basic reason for this textual stability was that, from Foxe's perspective, this document was an answered prayer, too valuable to dream of cutting, abridging or paraphrasing. The declaration goes into detail about the unfairness of the Oxford disputations and then continues with a ringing confession of faith, defending justification by faith and attacking Latin services, the intercession of saints, purgatory, transubstantiation and clerical celibacy. It concludes with a denunciation of rebellion and an insistence of their loyalty to the queen.

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Commentary on the Glosses  *  Close
The Declaration of Bradford and others

Many of the glosses in the section dealing with the preachers' concerns and conditions reflect the procedural objections which emerged from the Oxford disputations. Most of the glosses in the section containing the confession of the preachers are simply guides to the points made. The emphasis that the motive for this confession was 'quiet of conscience' not 'curiositie' ties in with the obstinacy/constancy contrast in the glosses to Mantell's apology earlier. There are two glosses pointing to exhortations to obedience: Foxe was clearly anxious to distance martyrdom from resistance.

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MarginaliaA declaration of the godly preachers written and sent abroad out of prison.BEcause we heare that it is determined of the Magistrates and such as be in authoritie, especially of the Clergy, to send vs spedely out of þe prisons of þe Kyngs Bench, þe Fleet, the Marshalsey, and Newgate, where presently we are, and of lōg tyme some of vs hath ben, not as rebelles, traitours, seditious persons, theeues, or transgressours of any lawes of this Realme, inhibitions, proclamations, or commaundementes of the Queenes highnes, or of any of the Councelles (Gods name be praysed therfore) but alonely for the consciēce we haue to God and his most holy word and truth, vpō most certain knowledge: because we say, we heare that it is determined, we shal be sent to one of the Vniuersities of Cābridge, MarginaliaA talke of a pretensed disputation to be had at Cambridge. or Oxford, there to dispute with such as are appoynted in that behalfe: in that we purpose not to dispute otherwise then by writing, except it may be before the Queenes highnes and her Counsell, or before the Parlament houses, and therfore perchaūce it wilbe bruted abroad, that we are not able to maintaine by the truth of Gods word, and the consent of the true and Catholicke Church of Christ, the doctrine we haue generally & seuerally taught, and some of vs hath written and set forth (wherthrough the godly and simple may be offēded and somwhat weakened): we haue thought it our bounden duty, now whilest we may, by writyng to publish and notifie the causes why we will not dispute otherwise then is aboue sayd, to preuent the offences which might come therby.

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MarginaliaThe causes why they will not otherwyse dispute, then before indifferent Iudges.First, because it is euidētly knowen vnto the whole world, that the determinations of both the Vniuersities in matters of Religiō, especially wherin we should dispute, MarginaliaThe matter of the disputation is agaynst Gods worde.are directly agaynst Gods word, yea agaynst their owne determinatiōs in the tyme of our late soueraigne Lord and most godly Prince, king Edward: and further it is knowen they be our open enemyes, and haue already condemned our causes, before any disputation had of the same.

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MarginaliaThe second cause.Secondly, because the Prelates and Clergy do not seeke either vs or the veritie, but our distruction and their glory. For if they had sought vs (as charitie requireth) then would they haue called vs forth herea-

boutes before their lawes were so made, that franckly and without peril we might haue spoke our consciences. MarginaliaIn the disputation neyther charitie not veritie sought for.Agayn, if they had sought for þe veritie, they would not haue concluded of controuersies, tofore they had ben disputed: so that it easely appeareth, that they seeke their owne glory and our destruction, and not vs and the veritie: and therfore we haue good cause to refuse disputation, as a thyng which shall not further preuayle, then to the settyng forth of their glory, and the suppression of the veritie.

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MarginaliaThe third cause.Thirdly, because the Censors and iudges, (as we heare who they be) are manifest enemyes to the truth, MarginaliaThe Iudges of the disputatiō professed enemyes against the truth. and that which worse is, obstinate enemyes, before whom pearles are not to be cast, by the commaundementes of our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and by his own example. That they be such, their doinges of late at Oxford, and in the Cōuocation house in October last past, do most euidently declare.

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MarginaliaThe 4. cause.Fourthly, because some of vs haue bene in prison these eight or ix. monethes, MarginaliaWant of bookes, necessary for disputatiō.where we haue had no bookes, no paper, no penne, no inke, or cōuenient place for study, we thinke we should do euill thus sodainly to descend into disputation with them, which may alledge as they list, the fathers and their testimonies, because our memories haue not that which we haue read so readyly, as to reproue, when they shal report and wrest the authors to their purpose, or to bryng forth that we may haue there for our auauntage.

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MarginaliaThe 5. cause.Fiftly, because in disputation we shall not be permitted to prosecute our Argumentes, but be stopped when we would speake, one saying thus, an other that, the thyrd his mynd. &c. As was done to the godly learned fathers, especially D. Ridley at Oxford, MarginaliaExample of the disputation at Oxford.who could not be permitted to declare his mynd and meanyng of the propositions, and had oftentimes halfe a dosen at once speakyng agaynst hym: alwayes lettyng hym to prosecute his Argument, and to aūswere accordyngly: we will not speake of the hyssing, scoffyng, and tauntyng, which wonderfully then was vsed. If on this sort and much worse they hādled these fathers, much more will they be shameles bold with vs if we should enter into disputation with them.

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MarginaliaThe 6. cause.Sixtly, because the Notaries that shall receiue and write the disputations, shalbe of their appointmēt, and such as either do not or dare not fauour the truth, and therfore must write either to please them, or els they them selues (the Censours and iudges we meane) at their pleasure will put to and take from, that which is written by the Notaries, MarginaliaNotaries not indifferent. who can not, nor must not haue in their custody that which they write, longer thē þe disputatiō indureth, as their doyngs at Oxford declareth. No copy nor scroule could any man haue by their good will. For the Censors and iudges will haue all deliuered into their handes: Yea if any man was seene there to write (as the report is) the same man was sent for, and his writynges taken from hym: so must the disputation serue onely for the glory, not of God, but of the enemyes of his truth.

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MarginaliaNot cōuenient to dispute with such aduersaryes.For these causes we all thinke it so necessary not to dispute with them, as if we did dispute we should do that which they desire and purposely seeke, to promote the kyngdome of Antichrist, and to suppresse (as much as may be) the truth. We will not speake of the offence that might come to the godly, when they should heare, by the report of our enemyes, our aunsweres and Argumentes framed (you may be sure) for their fātasies, to the sclaūderyng of the veritie.

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MarginaliaExceptiōs taken agaynst the aduersaries.Therfore we publish, and by this writyng notifie vnto the whole congregatiō and Church of England, that for these aforesayd causes we will not dispute with them, otherwise then with the pēne, MarginaliaCōditions assigned how they would dispute.vnlesse it be before the Queenes highnes and her Counsell, or before the Houses of Parliament, as is aboue sayd. If they will write, we will aunswere, & by writyng confirme & proue out of the infallible veritie, euen the very word

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