MarginaliaAnno. 1555. Iuly.tuall, and by the spirit mortifie carnall affections, be sober, holy, true, louyng, gentle, mercifull, and then shall the lordes wrath cease, not for this our doynges sake, but for his mercies sake. Go to therefore (good coūtrey men) MarginaliaGood counsell giuen.take this coūsaill of the lorde, by me now sent vnto you, as the lordes coūsaill, & not as myne, that in the daie of iudgement I maie reioyce with you, & for you: the which thing I hartly desire, and not to be a witnes against you. My bloud will crye for vengeaunce, as against the Papistes gods enemies (whō I besech God if it be his will, hartly to forgiue, yea euen them which putte me to death, and are the causers thereof, for thei knowe not what thei do) MarginaliaBradfords bloud will cry agaynst the refusers of hys counsell.so will my bloud crye for vengeaunce against you (my dearely beloued in the lorde) if ye repent not, amende not, and turne vnto the lorde.[Back to Top]
Turne vnto the Lorde yet once more, I hartely beseche thee thou Manchester, thou Ashton vnderline, thou Bolton, Burie, Wigine, Lierpoole, Mottrine, Stepport, Winsley, Eccles, Prestwiche, Middleton, Radcliefe, & thou Citee of Westchester, where I haue truely taught and preached the worde 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.
MarginaliaAn other letter of M. Bradford to þe towne of Walden.TO the faithfull and suche as professe the true doctrine of our Sauiour Iesus Christ, dwellyng at Walden and thereaboutes, Ihon Bradford a most vnworthy seruaunt of the Lorde, now in bandes and condemned for the same true doctrine, wisheth grace, mercie, and peace, with the encrease of all godlines in knowledge & liuyng, frō God the father of al cōfort, through the deserts of our alone and ful redeemer Iesus Christ, by the mightie working of the moste holy spirit, the cōforter for euer, Amen.[Back to Top]
When I remember how that by the prouidēce & grace of God, I haue been a man, by whom it hath pleased him through my ministerie to cal you to repentaunce, and amendement of life, somthyng effectually, as it semed, and to sowe amongest you his true doctrine and religion, lest that by my affliction and stormes now arisen to trie the faithfull, and to conforme them like to the Image of the sonne of GOD, into whose companie we are called, you might be fainte harted: I could not but out of prison secretly (for my kepers maie not knowe that I haue penne and ynke) write vnto you a signification of the desire I haue, that you should not onely be more cōfirmed in the doctrine I haue taught amongst you, MarginaliaMaister Bradford answereth with his bloud for his doctrine.which I take on my death, as I shal aunswere at the daie of dome, I am perswaded to be Gods assured, infallible, and plaine truthe: but also should after your vocation auowe the same by confession, profession, and liuyng. I haue not taught you (my dearely beloued in the Lorde) fables, tales, or vntruthe, but I haue taught you the veritie, as now by my bloude gladly (praysed bee God therefore) I do seale the same.[Back to Top]
In deede to confesse the truthe vnto you, and to all the Church of Christ, I do not thynke of my self, but that I haue most iustly deserued, not onely this kinde but also all kindes of death, & that eternally, for MarginaliaM. Bradford accuseth againe his owne life.myne hypocrisy, vainglorie, vnclennes, self loue, couetousnes, idlenes vnthankfulnes, and carnal professyng of Gods holy Gospell, liuyng therein not so purely, louyngly, and painfully as I should haue doen. The lorde of mercie for the bloud sake of Christ pardon me, as I hope, yea I cerrainly beleue he hath dooen for his holie names sake through Christ,. But my dearely beloued, you & al the whole world maie see, and easely perceiue, that the Prelates persecute in me an other thyng then myne iniquities, MarginaliaChrist himselfe persecuted in his Martyrs.euen Christe hym self, Christes veritie and truthe, because I can not, dare not, nor will not confesse Transubstantiation, and howe that wicked menne, yea Mise and Dogges eatyng the Sacrament, which thei terme of the altar, thereby ouerthrowyng Christes holie supper vtterly, doe eate Christes naturall and reall bodie borne of the virgine Mary.[Back to Top]
To beleue, and confesse as Gods worde teacheth, the primatiue Churche beleued, and all the Catholike and good holie Fathers taught fiue. C. yeres at the least after
Christ, that in the Supper of the Lorde (which the Masse ouerthroweth, as it doeth Christes Priesthoode, sacrifice, death and passion, the ministerie of his worde, true faithe, repentaunce, and all godlines whole Christ God & man is present by grace, to the faithe of the receiuers, but not of the standers by, and lokers on, as bread and wine is to their senses, will not serue: and therefore I am cōdemned, and shalbe burned out of hande as an hereticke. Wherefore I hartely thanke my Lorde GOD that wil and doeth vouche me worthie to bee an instrumente, in whom he hym self doeth suffer. For you see my affliction & death is not simply, because I haue deserued no lesse, but muche more at his handes and iustice: but rather MarginaliaM. Bradford persecuted for confessing the truth.because I confesse his veritie and truthe, and am not affraied throughe his gift that to doe, that you also might be confirmed in his truth. Therefore my dearly beloued, I hartely do pray you, and so many as vnfainedly loue me in God, to geue with me and for me, moste hartie thankes to our heauenly Father, through our swete Sauiour Iesus Christ, for this his exceadyng greate mercie towardes me and you also, that your faith wauer not frō the doctrine I haue taught, and ye haue receiued. For what cā you desire more to assure your consciences of the veritie taught by your preachers, then their owne liues?[Back to Top]
Goe to therefore my deare hartes in the Lorde, wauer not in Christes religion truely taught you, and set forthe in kyng Edwardes daies. MarginaliaGods truth can neuer be kept vnder by the aduersaries.Neuer shall the enemies be able to burne it, to prison it, and keepe it in bondes. Vs thei maie prison, they may binde and burne, as thei doe, and will doe, so long as shall please the Lorde: but our cause, religion, and doctrine whiche we confesse, thei shall neuer be able to vanquishe and put awaye. Their Idolatrie and Popish religiō, shal neuer be built in the consciences of men that loue Gods truthe. As for those that loue not Gods truthe, that haue no pleasure to walke in the waies of the Lorde, in those I saie the deuill shall preuaile: For God will geue them strong illusion to beleue lyes. Therfore deare brethren & sisters in the Lorde, MarginaliaHe exhorteth them to loue Gods truth and to liue thereafter.I humbly beseche you, and praie you in the bowels and bloud of our Lorde and Sauiour Iesus Christ, now goyng to the death for the testimonie of Iesus, as oftentimes I haue doen before this presente out of your pulpit, that you would liue the Lordes truthe: loue (I saie) to liue it and frame your liues thereafter. Alas, you knowe the cause of all these plages fallen vpon vs, and of the successe whiche Gods aduersaries haue daiely, is for our not liuyng Gods worde.[Back to Top]
You know how that we wer but Gospellers in lippes, and not in life. MarginaliaGods Gospell abused.We were carnall, concupiscentious, idle, vnthankfull, vncleane, couetous, arrogant, dissemblers, craftie, subtill, malicious, false, backbiters. &c. and euen glutted with Gods worde, yea MarginaliaGods Gospell lothed.we lothed it, as did the Israelites the Manna in the wildernes: and therefore as to them the Lordes wrath waxed hot, so doeth it vnto vs. So that there is no remedy, but that (for it is better late to turne, then neuer to turne) we confesse our faultes, euen frō the bottome of our hartes, & with hartie repētaunce (whiche God worke in vs all for his mercies sake) we run vnto the lorde our God, whiche is exorable mercifull, & sory for the euill poured out vpon vs, and crye out vnto him with Daniel, saying: MarginaliaHe exhorteth to repentaunce and prayer, and to bewayle our sinnes before the Lord our God.we haue sinned, we haue sinned greuously oh lord God, agaynst thy maiesty, we haue heaped iniquitie vpō iniquitie: the measure of our transgressions floweth ouer, so that iuste is thy vengeaunce and wrath fallen vpō vs. For we are very miserable, we haue contemned thy long sufferyng, we haue not harkened to thy voice. Whē thou hast called vs by Preachers, we hardened our hartes, and therefore now deserue that thou sende thy curse herevpon to harden our hartes also, that we should henceforthe haue eyes and see not, eares and heare not, hartes and vnderstande not, least wee should conuert and be saued. Oh bee mercifull vnto vs: spare vs good Lorde and all thy people, whom thou hast dearely bought. Let not thyne enemies triumphe altogether, and alwaies against thee, for then will thei be puft vp. Looke doune and behold the pitifull complaintes of the poore: let the sorowfull sighyng of the simple come in thy sight, and bee not angrie with vs for euer. Turne vs oh Lorde GOD of hostes vnto thee, and tourne thee vnto vs, that thou maiest be iustified in thy swete sentences, and ouercome when thou art iudged, as now thou art of our aduersaries. For thei saie, where is their God? Can God deliuer them now? Can their Gospell serue thē? Oh Lord howe long? for the glorie of thy name, and for thy honors sake, in the bowels and bloud of Iesus Christe, we humbly beseche thee, come and helpe vs, for we are very miserable.[Back to Top]
On this sort I saie, dearely beloued, let vs publickly &