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551 [527]

K. Henry. 4. Examination of maister W. Thorpe.

and borne vp in pride and vayne glory of their estate and dignitie and so blinded with worldly couetousnes: MarginaliaFleshly priestes cannot away with those thinges. That they disdaine to follow Christ in very meekenes and wilfull pouertie, liuing holily, and preachyng Gods word truly, frely and continually, takyng their liuelyhode at the free will of the people of their pure almose, where and whē they suffise not for their true & busie preachyng to get their sustenaunce with their hands. To this true sentēce grounded on Christes owne liuyng and teachyng of his Apostles, these foresayd worldly and fleshly Priestes will not consent effectually. MarginaliaThey hunt after thys with tothe & nayle. But as their workes & also their wordes shew: boldly and vnshamefastly these forenamed Priestes and Prelates, couet, and enforce them mightely and busily, that all holy scripture were expoūded & drawen accordingly to their maners, and to their vngrounded vsages & findinges. For they will not (since they hold it but folie and madnes) conforme their maners to the pure and simple liuyng of Christ & his Apostles, nor they wil not folow freely their learning. MarginaliaAn exhortation to all degrees, to see priesthood amended. Wherfore, all the Emperours and Kynges, and all other Lordes and Ladyes, and all the common people in euery degree and state, which haue before tyme knowē or might haue knowē, & also all they that now yet know or might know this foresayd witnes of Priesthode, and would not nor yet will, enforce them after their cunnyng and power, to withstād charitably the foresayd enemies and traytors of Christ, and of his Church: all these striue with Antichrist agaynst Iesu. And they shall heare the indignatiō of God almighty without end, if in conueniēt time they amende them not, and repent them verely, doyng therfore due mournyng and sorow, after their cūnyng and power. MarginaliaPrelates & priestes negligent in their duties. For through presumptuousnesse and negligence of Priestes and Prelates (not of the Church of Christ, but occupyeng their prelacie vnduely in the Church) and also by flatteryng and false couetousnes of other diuers named Priestes: Lousengers and lounderers, are wrongfully made and named Heremites, and haue leaue to defraude poore and needy creatures of their liuelode, and to liue by their false winnyng and beggyng, in slouth and in other diuers vices. And also of these Prelates, these coker noses, are suffered to liue in pride and hypocrisie, and to defoule themselues both bodely and ghostly. Also by the sufferyng and counsell of these of these foresayd Prelates and of other Priestes, are made both vayne brotherhodes & sisterhodes, full of pride and enuy, which are full contrary to the brotherhode of Christ, since they are cause of mekell dissention, and they multiply and susteine it vncharitably: for in lusty eating and drinkyng, vnmeasurably and out of tyme, they exercise themselues. Also this vayne confederacie of brotherhodes, is permitted to be of one clothing, and to hold together.

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And in all these vngrounded & vnlefull doynges, priestes are partners and great medlers and counsellers. And ouer this viciousnes, Heremites and Pardoners, Ankers, and straunge beggers, are licensed and admitted of prelates and Priestes, for to beguile the people with flatterynges & leasinges slaunderously agaynst all good reason & true beleue, and so to encrease diuers vices in themselues, and also amōg all them that accept them or consent to them.

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And thus, the viciousnesse of these foresayd named Priestes and prelats, haue bene long tyme, & yet is, and shal be cause of warres both within the Realme & without. And in the same wise, these vnable Priestes haue bene, and yet are, and shalbe chief cause of pestilence of men, and morein of beastes, and of barēnes of the earth, & of all other mischiefs, to the time that Lordes and commons able them through grace, for to know and to keepe the cōmaundement of God, inforcyng them than faithfully and charitably by one assent, for to redresse and make one this foresayd Priesthode, to the wilfull, poore, meeke, and innocent liuing and teachyng, specially of Christ and his Apostles.

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Therfore, all they that know or might know, the viciousnes that reigneth now cursedly in these Priestes and in their learnyng, if they suffise not to vnderstand this contagious viciousnesse: let them pray to the Lord hartly for the health of his church, absteinyng them prudently from these indurate enemyes of Christ and of his people, and from all their Sacramentes, since to them all that know thē or may know, they are but fleshly deades and false: as S. Cyprian witnesseth in the first question of decrees, and in the first cause. MarginaliaCipr. 1. q. 1 cap. Si quis inquit Ca. Si quis inquit. For as this saint and great doctor witnes there, þt not onely vicious Priestes, but also all they that fauour them or consent to them in their viciousnes: shall together perish with them, if they amend them not duely, as all they perished that consented to Dathan & Abiron. For nothing were more confusion to these foresayd vicious Priestes, than to eschewe them prudently in all their vnlefull Sacramentes, while they continue in their sinfull liuyng slaunderously, as they haue long tyme done and yet do. And no body neede to be afrayde (though death did folow by one wise or other) for to dye out of this world without takyng of any Sacrament of these foresayd Christes enemyes: since Christ will not fayle, for to minister himselfe all lefull and healefull Sacramentes and necessary at all tyme (and specially at the end) to all thē that are in true fayth, in stedfast hope, and in perfect charitie.

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But yet some mad fooles (for to eschew slaunder) they will be shriuen once in the yeare, and cōmuned of their proper Priestes, though they know them defouled with slaundrous vices. No doubt, but all they that thus do or consent priuely or apertly to such doyng, are culpable of great sinne: since S. Paule witnesseth, that not onely they that do euill, are worthy of death and damnation, but also they þt consent to euill doers. Also (as their slaunderous workes witnesse) these aforesayd vicious Priestes, despyse and cast from them heauenly cunnyng, that is geuē of the holy ghost. Wherfore, the Lord throweth all such despisers from him, that they vse nor do any Priesthode to him.

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No doubt than, all they that wittyngly or wilfully, take or consent that any other body should take any Sacrament of any such named Priest, sinneth openly and damnably agaynst all the Trinitie, and are vnable to any Sacrament of health.

And that this foresayd sentence is altogether true, into remission of all my sinefull liuing, trusting stedfastly in the mercy of God, I offer to him my soule.

And to proue also the foresayd sentence true with the helpe of God, I purpose fully for to suffer meekely & gladly my most wretched body to be tormēted, where God will, of whom he will, and whan he will, and as long as he will, & what temporall payne he will and death, to the praysing of his name, and to the edification of his Church.

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And I that am most vnworthy and wretched caytife, shall now thorow the speciall grace of God, make to hym pleasaunt sacrifice with my most sinfull and vnworthy bodye. Beseeching hartely all folke that read or heare this end of my purposed testament, that thorow the grace of God, they dispose verely and vertuously all their wittes, and able in like maner all their members for to vnderstand truely, & to kepe faithfully, charitably, and continually all the commaundementes of God, and so than to pray deuoutly to all the blessed Trinitie, that I may haue grace with wisedome and prudence from aboue, to ende my life here in this foresaid truth and for this cause, in true fayth and stedfast hope, and perfect charitie. Amen.

[Back to Top] MarginaliaThe end of W. Thorpe vncertayne.

What was the ende of this good man and blessed seruaunt of God Williā Thorpe, I finde as yet in no story specifyed. By all coniectures it is to be thought, that the archbishop Thomas Arundell being so hard an aduersary agaynst those men, would not let hym goe. Much lesse it is to be supposed, that he would euer retracte his sentence and opinion, which he so valiantly maintayned before the Byshop, neither doth it seeme that he had any such recantyng spirite. Agayne, neither is it founde, that he was burned. Wherfore it remayneth most like to be true, that he beyng committed to some straight prison (according as the Archbyshop in his examination before, did threatē him) there (asThorpe confesseth himselfe) was so straightly kept, that eyther he was secretly made away, or els there he dyed by sickenes.

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Iohn Puruey. 
Commentary  *  Close
John Purvey

In the Commentarii (fo. 43r-v), Foxe wrote a brief account of John Purvey, describing his persecution by the authorities, and summarised his writings. This was based on a brief biography of Purvey written by John Bale in Bodley Library MS e Musaeo 86, fo. 62v and notes on Purvey's wrings on fo. 91v. This material was reprinted in the Rerum (p. 20). In the 1563 edition, Foxe translated this material and added the articles that Purvey recanted (these were taken from e Musaeo 86. fos. 91v-95r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted all of the earlier material and added a fuller list of 'heretical' statements compiled from Purvey's writings by the Carmelite Richard Lavingham. This new material was taken from e Musaeo 86, fos.95r-96v. For the most part, Foxe reprinted this material accurately, although he surreptitiously omitted passages in which Lavingham maintained that Purvey had declared that lay people could legimately administer the sacraments. The 1570 account of Purvey was reprinted without change in subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments. A note of caution should be added, however: Anne Hudson has pointed out how little is known of Purvey and has been persuasively sceptical about the attributions of anonymous Lollard writings to him (see Anne Hudson, 'John Purvey: A Reconsideration of the Evidence for his life and Writings' in Lollards and their Books [London, 1985], pp. 85-110).

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaIohn Puruey. FVrthermore, in the sayd examinatiō of Williā Thorpe, mention was made (as ye heard) of Iohn Puruey, of whom also something we touched before: promising of the sayd Iohn Puruey, more particularly to entreate in order and proces of tyme. Of this Puruey, Tho. Walden writeth thus in his secōd tome, Iohn Puruey saith he, was the Library of Lollordes, and gloser vpon Wickliffe. He sayd, that the worshipping of Abrahā was but a salutatiō. And in his third Tome, he sayth: MarginaliaIohn Puruey prisoned after his recantation. this Iohn Puruey wt Harford a doctour of diuinitie, were greuously tormented, and punished in the prison of Saltwood, and at the length recāted at Paules crosse at London (Tho. Arundell being then Archb. of Canterbury) Afterward agayne, he was emprisoned vnder Henry Chicheley Archb. of Canterbury, in the yeare of our Lord. 1421. Thus much writeth Walden. The workes of this man which he wrote, were gathered by Richard Lauingame hys aduersary, which I thinke worthy to be remembred. First, as touching the Sacramēt of the last supper, the Sacrament of penaunce, the Sacrament of orders, the power of the keyes, the preaching of the Gospell, of Mariages, of Vowes, of possessions, of the punishing and correcting of the Clergie, of the lawes and de-

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