weake pece of earth, which is empty of all strength of it selfe. Thou remembrest O lord that I am but dust, and able to doo nothinge that is good. Therfore O Lord, as of thine accustomed goodnes and loue, thou hast bydden me to this banket, and accompted me worthy to the drinking of thyne owne cup, emongest thine electe: euen so geue me strength O lord agaynst this thine element which as to my sight, it is most irksom and terrible: so to my mynd, it maye at thy commaundement (as an obedient seruaunt) be swete and plesaunt that throught the strengthe of thy holy sprite I maye passe through the strength of this fire into thy bosom, according to thy promise. And for this mortal, receiue an immortal, and for this corruptible, put on incorruption: Accept this brent sacrifice and offering, O Lorde, not for the sacrifice, but for thy dere sonnes sake my sauiour, for whose testimonye I offer this free will offering with all my harte and with all my soule. O heauenly father forgiue me my sinnes as I forgiue all the world. O swet sonne of God my sauiour, sprede thy winges ouer me. O blessed and holye ghoste throught whose merciful inspiration I am com hither, conduct me in to euerlasting lyfe.[Back to Top]
Lord into thy handes I commend my sprite. Amen.
MarginaliaIohn Laurence. March. 29.THe. xxix. day of thys moneth being þe next day, the said Iohn Laurence was brought to Colchester, and there being not abel to go, (for that aswell his legges were sore worne with his heauy yrons in the prison, as also his body weakened with euel keping) was borne to the fyre in a chayre, and so sitting, was in his constant fayth consumed with fyre. At the burnyng of thys Laurence, he syttyng in the fyre, the yong children came about the fyre, & cryed (aswell as yong children could speake) sayeng. Lord strengthen thy seruaunt, & kepe thy promys. Lord strengthen thy seruaunt and keepe thy promys:
The Venetain ambassador reported on the sympathy of the crowd at Laurence's execution for the martyr (C.S.P. Venetian, VI, i, nos. 45 and 49).
Amonges the notable workinges, & iudgementes of God, I fynd about this tyme one, not (in my mynde) to be omytted. Whiche is that vpon Shrouesonday, MarginaliaThe person of arundelthe parson of Arundell besides Cauntorbury, (not a lytle reioysing belyke of thys alteration) declared vnto his parishners, al such articles as were then set fourth by the aucthoryty of the Pope, and the commaundement of the Byshops of this Realme. And when he had done, he thanked God that euer he had lyued to see that daye: straight waye (by what occasion I know not,[Back to Top]
Nightingale was not named in the 1563 edition; instead he was identified, or misidentified, as the parson of 'Arundall in Canterbury'. Nor was the sermon quoted in the 1563 edition nor was Robert Austen mentioned in this edition. Clearly, Austen read the account in the 1563 edition and sent Foxe further details, clarifying and correcting the original account.[Back to Top]
We haue a lytle ouerpast the tyme and story of Iudge Hales, who although aboute thys tyme most pitefully sought his owne destruction through the cruell handlyng of the malignant Papists, who passe vpon nothing, but vpon their owne dignity, litel caring who perysh besydes, so their estimation maye be magnifyed: yet the vertues & memory of that man is not vnwoorthy eyther to bee nombered with the Saintes that be departed, or at lest not to be forgottē or obliterate among the saintes that be alyue: concerning whose worthy doinges, singulare prudence, and incorrupt ministration of iudgement, with the lamentale troble which after fel vpon that good man, we thoughte here emong manye other histories, somwhat to expresse, desiringe the, good reader, to take that which is to be folowed in that man, the rest to refer to the iudgement of hym which onely is iudge of all.[Back to Top]
In the Rerum, Foxe praised Sir James Hales's prudence, gravity, and excellence as a justice. He also extolled Hales's devotion to the gospel, describing the justices daily scripture readings to his household. The Rerum goes on to relate that Hales insisted on enforcing the Edwardian statutes which prohibited the celebration of mass and because of this he was summoned before Stephen Gardiner, the lord chancellor (Rerum, pp. 261-62). The Rerum then reprinted, in its entirety, a translation of a contemporary protestant pamphlet relating the interview between Hales and Gardiner (Rerum, pp. 262-63, cf. The communication betwene my lordchauncelor and judge Hales in Westminster hall. M. D. Liii. V. of October [London? 1553]). The Rerum continues by relating that Hales was imprisoned and worn downby the catholics and reduced to despair. (Foxe blamed, in some detail, a gentleman of Hampshire named Forster, Bishop Day of Chichester and Sir William Portman, Chief Justice of the King's and Queen's Bench, for putting pressure on Hales). Eventually Hales tried to kill himself with a penknife. (Foxe maintained that this demonstrated that Hales was not in his right mind). Hearing of this, Gardiner publicly denounced protestantism as a 'doctrine of desperation'. Hales was released and returned home where he drowned himself, either from remorse, insanity or to prevent his being forced to attend mass. Foxe disapproved of the suicide, but added that if Hales was out of his wits when he killed himself, then he deserved pity. Foxe also maintained that Hales was not necessarily damned. Foxe claimed that not all suicides were consigned to hell, citing the examples of virgins who killed themselves rather than lose their chastity, including some female Christians praised for this by the great church historian Eusebius (Rerum, pp. 264-65). Foxe also added a poem which he wrote himself, praising Hales (Rerum, p. 265).[Back to Top]
In the first edition of the Acts and Monuments, all of this material was reprinted without change, except that two lines were added to the poem, expressing the hope that Hales's soul, no matter how blemished, might be cleansed and blessed through divine mercy.
In 1566, Nicholas Harpsfield, Foxe's most important contemporary critic, attacked Foxe's account of Hales. Harpsfield criticized Foxe for praising Hales as a martyr. In particular, Harpsfield criticized Foxe for maintaining that Hales might not be damned and for comparing Hales with early Christian martyrs who killed themselves rather than be forced to surrender their chastity and worship idols (DS, pp. 748-49).[Back to Top]
In his second edition, Foxe responded by eliminating the discussion of Hales's background and virtues from his narrative on the judge. He replaced this with a denunciation of the illegality of the arrest of Hales and of other allegedly illegal catholic persecutions of protestants. The interview between Hales and Gardiner was reprinted without change. But the long discussion of Hales's cruel treatment in prison is replaced by a terse declaration that 'it is thought' that Day and Portman subjectedHales to pressure. (Foxe may have been under some pressure himself about his accusations of Portman and Forster; the latter is not mentioned in this edition). The description of Hales's attempted suicide is repeated, as is Gardiner's denunciation of protestantism. Foxe also repeats his claim that Hales deserved pity if he was out of his wits and his citation of suicides by early Christians. However, Foxe added a sentence to this edition refusing to excuse 'the hainous fact' of Hales's suicide. Foxe also changed the last four lines of his poem praising Hales; the new lines are more guarded about the fate of Hales's soul, praying that on the Day of Judgement, when no one will be without sin, Hales's sins will not weigh too heavily against him.[Back to Top]
In his second edition, Foxe was concerned to arrange events in chronological order and the account of Hales was moved accordingly. The account of Hales in the second edition of the Acts and Monuments was repeated without change in the third and fourth editions.
Several glosses reflect the apposite theme of the injustice/illegality of the papists ('The Catholickes proued to doe agaynst the law in Q. Maryes tyme'; 'Iustice Hales for Iustice sake troubled'). The gloss 'Winchester quarelleth with M. Hales religion' perhaps reveals something about Foxe's priorities here: it takes Gardiner's point that Hales's actions were motivated not by legal rigour but by religious bias and uses it in a general attack on Hales's religion, leaving out the legal issue. This has the effect of leaving intact Hales's reputation for commitment to the law whatever the political consequences, and makes the contrast between his legality and catholic illegality all the stronger. The gloss 'Winchester might rather haue sayd how their cruell dealing worketh desperation' implicitly accepts that Hales fell prey to desperation, although the reason for the desperation is laid upon the papists. Later glosses ('The cause of Iudge Hales drowning considered'; 'The case of Iudge Hales drowning considered') reveal Foxe's non-judgemental response to the question of Hales's spiritual destination.[Back to Top]