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1179 [1179]

K. Hen. 8. A Dialogue betwene Bilney and Fryer Brusierd. Bilney recanteth.

pound them, I can not tell.

Bilney. And do you know also the constitutions of men, which are deuised onely by the dreames of men, whereunto men are so straightly bound, that vnder payne of death they are compelled to obserue them?

Brusierd. I know certain Sanctions of the holy fathers, but such as you speake of to be deuised by mens dreames, I know none.

Bilney. Now then let vs set and compare these ij. together, and so shall you easely vnderstand the Bishop of Rome, whom they call the Pope, to sit in the Tēple of God, as God, and to be extolled aboue all that is named God. It is writen, The Temple of the Lord is holy, whiche is you. Marginalia2. Theß. 2.
1. Cor. 3.
The place of S. Paule expounded, concerning Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, &c.
Therfore the conscience of man is the Temple of the holy Ghost: in whiche Temple I will proue the Pope to sit as God, and to be exalted aboue all that is called God. For who so contemneth the decaloge or the Table of Cōmaūdements of God, there is but a small punishment for him, neyther is that punishment to death: but contrariwise, he that shall contemne or violate the constitutions which you call the sanctions of men, is counted by all mens iudgement, giltie of death. What is this but the hye Bishop of Rome to sit and to raigne in the Temple of God, that is, in mans conscience, as God?

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Brusierd. Althoughe this exposition semeth vnworthy for Christen eares, yet I would heare you further howe hee sheweth him selfe in signes and wonders deceitfull.

MarginaliaSignes and miracles wrought by illusion.Bilney. These wonders (whiche they call miracles) bee wrought dayly in the Churche, not by the power of God, as many thinke, but by the illusion of Sathan rather: Who (as the Scripture witnesseth) hath bene lose nowe abrode. 500. yeares, according as it is written in the booke of the Apocalyps: After a thousand yeares, Sathan shall bee let lose. &c. MarginaliaApocal. 20.Neither are they to be called miracles of true christen men, but illusions rather, wherby to delude mēs mindes, to make thē put their faith in our Lady, & in other Saints, and not in God alone: to whō be honor and glory for euer.

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Brusierd. But that I beleue & know that God and all hys Saintes will take euerlasting reuengement vpon thee, I would surely with these nayles of myne, be thy death, MarginaliaWe read of a lyke saying of an other Fryer Augustin of Antwerpe, testified by Erasm. in his epistles: Who openly in the pulpit at Antwerpe, preaching to the people, wished that Luther were there, that he myght bite out his throte with his teeth. So doing, hee woulde nothyng doubt, with the same bloudy teeth to resort to the aultar, and receaue the bodye of Christ. Eras Epist. Lib. 16. ad Obtrectatorem.for this horrible and enorme iniurie agaynst the precious bloud of Christ. God sayth, I will not the death of a sinner, but rather that hee conuert and lyue: And thou blasphemest hym, as thoughe he should lay priuy snares of death for vs secretly, that we should not espye them. Which, if it were true, wee might well say then with Hugh de S. Victore, in this maner: If it be an Marginalia* God leadeth not into errour, but hath left his Scriptures, to lead vs into truth.* errour, it is of thee (O God) that we be deceaued, for these be confirmed with such signes and wonders, whiche cannot bee done, but by thee. But I am assured, it is vntrue & hereticall: and therefore I will leaue this matter, and will talke with you concernyng the merites of Saintes. For once, I remember in a certein Sermon of yours, you sayd, that no Saint, though his suffering were neuer so great, & his life most pure, deserued any thyng for vs with God, either by his death or lyfe, whiche is contrary to Saint Austen.

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Bilney. Christ sayth one thyng, Saint Austen an other. Whether of these ij. should we beleue? For Christ willyng to deliuer vs out of this darke dūgeon of ignoraūce, gaue forth a certein parable of. x. virgins, of which, v. were fooles, and v. were wise. By the v. foolish virgins wantyng the oyle of good workes, he ment vs all sinners. By the wise virgines he ment the company of all holy Saintes. Now let vs heare what the fiue wise virgines aunswered to the v. foolish, crauyng oyle of them: MarginaliaMath. 25.No say they, lest peraduenture we haue not sufficiēt for vs and for you. Get you rather to them that sell, and bye of them to serue your turne. MarginaliaSaintes haue not merites sufficient for them selues, much lesse to spare to others.Wherfore, if they had not oyle sufficient for them selues, and also for the other, where be then the merites of Saintes, wherewith they cā deserue both for them selues, and for vs? Certes I can not see.

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Brusierd. You wrast the Scripture from the right vnderstandyng, to a reprobate sense, that I am scarse able to holde mine eyes from teares, hearing with mine eares these wordes of you. Fare ye well.

¶ The submißion of Maister Thomas Bilney.

MarginaliaBilney conuented agayne before the byshop of London.THe fourth day of December 

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4 December 1527. Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London; John Fisher, bishop of Rochester; Nicholas West, bishop of Ely; John Vesey, bishop of Exeter; John Longland, bishop of Lincoln; John Clerk of Bath and Wells; and Henry Standish of St. Asaph. Among the other examiners whom Foxe did not name was the bishop of Carlisle. They met in the octagonal chapter house of Westminster Abbey, which has remained relatively unchanged in the intervening centuries. It is reached from the Cloister and it retains its original tile floor and wall paintings.

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, the Bishop of London, with the other Bishops his assistauntes, assembled agayne in the Chapter house of Westminster, whether also M. Bilney was brought, & was exhorted and admonished to abiure and recant: who aunswered that he would stand to his consciēce. Then the Bishop of London with the other Byshops, Ex officio did publishe the depositions of the witnesses, with his Articles and aunsweres, commaunding that they should be read. That done, þe bishop exhorted him agayn to deliberate with him selfe, whether he would returne to the Church, and renounce his opinions or no, and bad him to departe into a voyde place, & there to deliberate with him selfe. Whiche done, the Byshop asked hym agayn if he would returne. MarginaliaBilney denyeth to recante.Who aunswered: Fiat iusticia & iudicium in nomine domini, and being diuers tymes admonished to abiure, he would make no other aunswere, but Fiat iusticia. &c. And, hæc est dies quā fecit Dominus, exultemus & lætemur in ea. MarginaliaPsal. 118.Then the Byshop, after deliberation had, puttyng of his cap, said: In nomine patris & filij & spiritus sancti, Amē. MarginaliaIn nomine domini in cipit omne malum.Exurgat Deus & dissipentur inimici eius: and makyng a Crosse on his forehead and his brest, by the coūsell of the other Byshops, he gaue sentence agaynst M. Bilney beyng there present in this maner.

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I by the consent and counsell of my brethren here present, do pronounce thee Thomas Bilney, who hast bene accused of diuers Articles, to be conuict of heresie, and for the rest of the sentence, we take deliberation till to morow.

MarginaliaBilney conuented agayne before the byshop.The v. day of December 

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5 December 1527. It should be noted that Bishop Tunstall was deliberately slow in passing an irrevocable sentence of death over Bilney, and may be taken as an indication that Tunstall would have preferred that Bilney submit and be spared.

the Byshops assembled there agayne, before whom Bilney was brought: whō the Byshop asked if he would yet returne to the vnitie of the Church, and reuoke his heresies whiche he had preached. MarginaliaBilney refuseth agayne to recant.Wherunto Bilney aūswered, that he would not be a sclaunder to the Gospel, trustyng that hee was not separate from the Church, and that, if the multitude of witnesses might be credited, he might haue. 30. men 
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Among the thirty witnesses that Bilney now claimed that he could bring to support his case, we must number Dr. Robert Foreman of Queen's College, Cambridge, and rector of All Hallows, Honey Lane in London, who warned some thirty persons in Cambridge in 1526 that a search was about to be made for Luther's books at the university by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Cambridge Chancellor John Fisher, bishop of Rochester.

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of honest lyfe on his part, agaynst one to the contrary brought in agaynst hym: which witnesses the Byshop sayd came to late, for after publication, they could not be receiued by þe law. MarginaliaLyke Byshops like lawes.Then Bilney alleaging the story of Susan and Daniel, the Byshop of London still exhorted him to returne to þe vnitie of the Church and to abiure his heresies, & permitted hym to go into some secrete place, there to consulte with his frendes, till one of the clocke at after noone, of the same day.

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MarginaliaBilney conuented the thyrd tyme.At after noone, the Byshop of London agayne asked him whether he woulde returne to the Church and acknowledge his heresies. Bilney aunswered that he trusted hee was not separate from the Church, MarginaliaBilneys witnesses refused.and required tyme and place to bryng in witnesses, whiche was refused. Thē the Byshop once agayne required of him, whether hee would turne to the Catholicke Churche. Wherunto he aunswered, that if they could teach and proue sufficiently that he was conuict, he would yelde and submit him selfe, and desired agayne to haue tyme and space to bryng in againe his refused witnesses, and other aunswere he would giue none.

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Then the Byshop put M. Bilney a side, & tooke councell wt his felowes, & afterward calling in M. Bilney, asked him again whether he would abiure: but he would make no other aunswere then before. Then þe Bishop with þe consent of þe rest, did decree & determine þt it was not lawfull to heare a peticion which was agaynst the law: & enquiryng againe whether he would abiure, MarginaliaBilney denieth the thyrd time to recant.he aunswered plainly no, and desired to haue time to consult with his frēdes in whom his trust was: and beyng once agayne asked whether he would returne and instantly desired thereunto, or els the sentence must bee read: he required the Byshop to giue him licence to deliberate with him selfe vntill the next morow, whether he might abiure the heresies wherewith hee was defa-

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