workes of darknes, put on pitie and godlines, serue god after his word and not after custome, vse your tonges to glorify God by prayer, thākesgeuyng and confession of his truthe &c. bee spirituall, and by the spirite mortifye carnall affections, be sober, holye, true, louing, gentle, mercifull: and then shall the lordes wrathe ceasse, not for this our doinges sake, but for his mercies sake. Go to therfore (good countrymē) take this counsel of the lord, by me now sent vnto you, as the lords counsel, & not as mine, that in the day of iudgemēt I may reioyce with you & for you, the which thing I heartely desire, and not to be a witnes against you. My bloud wil cry for vengeance as against the Papistes gods enemies (whom I beseche god if it be his wil, hartely to forgeue, yea euē thē which put me to death & ar the causers therof, for thei know not what they do) so wil my bloud crie for vengeaunce against you (my dearly beloued in the lorde) if ye repēt not, amēd not, & turne not vnto the lord. Turne vnto the lord yet once more, I hartely besech the, thou Māchester, thou Ashton vnder line, thou Boltō, Bury, Wigine, Lierpole, Mottrine, Stepport, Winsley, Eccles, Prestwiche, Middletō, Radclief, & thou citie of Westchester, wher I haue truly taught & preached the word of god.
These are all places in southern Lancashire, concentrated in the region around Manchester. They provide an idea of the territorial range of Bradford's preaching in Lancashire.
This letter was first printed in the 1563 edition and then printed in Letters of the Martyrs, pp. 269-74. It was reprinted in all subsequent editions of the Acts and Monuments. ECL 260, fos. 30r-31v is the orginal letter; copies of it are ECL 260, fos. 190r-192r and ECL 262, fos. 224-226v.
TO the faithfull and suche as professe the true doctrine of oure sauior Iesus Christ, dwelling at Walden and thereaboutes, Iohn Bradford, a most vnworthy seruant of the lord, now in bandes, & condemned for the same true doctrine, wisheth grace, mercy, and peace, with the encrease of all godlines in knowledge, & liuing, from god the father of all coumfort, through the deserts of our alone & ful redemer Iesus christ, by the mightie working of the most holy spirit, the comforter for euer. Amen.[Back to Top]
When I remēber how that by the prouidence & grace of god, I haue bene a man by whom it hath pleased him through my ministerye to call you to repentance and amendement of life, som thing effectually as it semed, and to sow amōgs you his true doctrine and religion, least that by my affliction and stormes now arisen to trie the faithful, and to cōforme them like to the image of the sonne of god, into whose cōpanye we are called, you might be faint harted, I coulde not but out of prisō secretly (for my kepers may not know that I haue pen and inke (to write vnto you a signification of the desire I haue, that you should not only be more confirmed in the doctrine I haue taught amōges you,) which I take on my death, as I shal aunswere at the daye of dome, I am perswaded to be gods assured, infallible, & plain truth) but also shuld after your vocatiō auow the same, by confessiō, professiō, and liuing: I haue not taught you (my dearly beloued in the lord) fables, tales, or vntruth, but I[Back to Top]
haue taught you the verity. as now by my blud gladly (praised be god therfore) I doe seale the same. In dede to cōfesse the truth vnto you, & to al the church of Christ, I do not think of my self but that I haue most iustly deserued, not onelye this kinde, but also all kindes of death & that eternally, for mine hipocrisy, vainglory, vnclennes, selfloue, couetousnesse, idlenes, vnthankfulnes, & carnal professing of gods holy gospel, lyuing therin not so purely, louingly, & painfully as I should haue done. The lord of mercye for the bloud sake of Christ pardō me, as I hope, yea, I certainly beleue, he hath done for his holy names sake thorow Christ. But my dearly beloued, you & al the hole world may see, & easilye perceiue, that the prelates persecute in me another thing thē mine iniquities, euen Christe himself, Christes veritie & truth, because I cannot, dare not, nor wil not, cōfesse Trāsubstantiation, & how that wicked mē, yea mise & dogges eating the sacramēt, which they terme of the aulter, therby ouerthrowing Christes holy supper vtterly, doe eate Christes natural & real bodye borne of the virgin Mary. To beleue, & cōfesse as gods word teacheth, the primatiue church beleued, & al the Catholike & good holy Fathers taught fiue. C. yeares at the least after Christe, that in the supper of the lord (which the masse ouerthroweth, as it doth Christes Priesthode, sacrifice, death & passiō, the ministery of his word, true faith, repētance, & al godlines) whole christ god and mā present by grace to the faith of the receiuer, but not of the stāders by, & lokers on, as bread & wine is to their sēses, wil not serue: and therfore I am cōdemned, & shalbee burned out of hand as an heretike. Wherfore I hartely thank my lord god that Wil and doth vouch me worthy to be an instrument in whō he himselfe doth suffer. For you see my affliction and death is not simply, because I haue deserued no lesse, but much more at his hands and iustice, but rather because I confesse his verity and truth, and am not affraid through his gift that to doe, that you also might be confirmed in his truth. Therfore my dearly beloued, I hartely do pray you, & so many as vnfainedly loue me in god, to geue with me and for me most harty thankes to our heauenly father through our swete sauiour Iesus Christ, for this his exceding great mercy towardes me & you also, that youre faithe wauer not frō the doctrine I haue taughte, & ye haue receiued. For what can you desire more to assure your consciences of the veritye taughte by your preachers, thē their own liues? Go to therfore my deare hearts in the lord, wauer not in Christes religion truely taughte you, and sette forth in king Edwardes dayes. MarginaliaGods truth cā neuer be kept vnder by the aduersaries.Neuer shal the enemies be able to burn it, to prison it, and kepe it in bonds,: vs they may prison, they may bind and burne, as they do and will doe, so long as shall please the lord: but our cause, religion, and doctrine whiche we confesse, they shal neuer be hable to vanquishe and put away. Theyr idolatry and popish religion shal neuer be builte in the consciences of men that loue gods truth. As for those that loue not gods truth, that haue no pleasure to walk in the waies of the Lorde, in those I saye the deuill shall preuaile. For God wil geue them stronge illusion to beleue lyes. Therfore deare brethren and sisters in the lord, I humblye beseche you, and praye you in the bowelles and bloude of oure Lorde and sauior[Back to Top]