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724 [700]

K. Edward. 4. Persecution of Ioannes de Wesalia.

neth MarginaliaIohn de Wesalia brought before the prelates.with these wordes: MarginaliaThe Inquisitour speaketh. Most reuerent father and honourable doctours, &c. Our reuerent father and prince Elector hath caused this present conuocation to be called, to heare the examination of maister Iohn de Wesalia, in certaine suspected articles concerning the catholique fayth. But something I will say before, that may doe him good, and desire that two or three of them that fauour hym, or some other, will ryse vp and geue him counsaile, to forsake and leaue hys errours, to recognise himselfe, & to aske pardon, which if he will do, he shall haue pardon: if he will not, we wil procede agaynst him without pardon. And thus Wesalianus beyng cited and brought in the midst betwixt two minorites beyng very aged and hauing a staffe in his hand, was set before the Inquisitour. Who beginning to answere for hym selfe with a long protestation, could not be suffred to prosecute his oration, but was cut of and required brieflye, to make an end, and to tell them in fewe woordes whether he woulde stand to his opinions, or to the determination of the church. MarginaliaThe answere of Wesalianus reasonable. To this he answered that he neuer spake any thyng agaynst the determination of the church, but sayd that he had written diuers and sondrye treatises, in the which if he had erred, or were found to say otherwise then wel, he was content to reuoke and call backe the same, and do al thinges that was requisite. Then sayd the inquisitour, do you aske then pardon? The other answered, why should I aske pardon, when I knowe no crime or error committed? The Inquisitour sayd: well we will cal you to the remēbraunce therof, and procede to the examination.

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In the meane time, others called vppon him instantly to aske pardon. Then sayd Wesalianus, I aske pardon. MarginaliaThe cruell proceeding of of the Inquisitour. Notwithstandyng the Inquisitour proceded to the examination, reading there two instrumentes, declaring that he had authoritie from the Apostolike sea: after this cited the said Iohn to appeare to his examination. Thirdly he commaunded him vnder payne of disobedience, in the vertue of the holy Ghost, and vnder paine of excōmunication of the greater curse, MarginaliaThe greater curse of the pope described. (from the which no man could absolue hym, but onely the Pope or the Inquisitour, except onely at the poynt of death) to tell plainly the truth vpon such thynges as should be demaunded of him concerning his fayth, without ambages and sophistication of words. And so beyng demaunded firste, whether he did beleue vpon his othe taken, that he was bounde to tell the truth, although it were agaynst him selfe or any other: to this he answered, MarginaliaScio. Scio, that is: I knowe. Then the Inquisitour byddeth him say, MarginaliaCredo. Credo, that is I beleue. To the whiche he aunswered agayne, what nede I say that I beleue that thyng I know. There the Inquisitour something stirred with the matter, as hote as a toste (as they say) cried out with a loude voyce, maister Ioannes, maister Ioannes, maister Ioannes, say Credo, saye Credo. Then he aunswered Credo.

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After this, beyng demaunded whether he had written any treatise, concerning the byndyng of humaine lawes, to one Nicolas of Boheme, and whether he had written any treatise of the Ecclesiasticall power of indulgences and pardons, and of fastyng and other treatises: he beleued that he had so written, and had conferred with diuers learned men: Also that he had sent to þe Byshops of Wormes, a certaine treatise of fastyng.

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Many other interrogatories were ministred vnto him, wherof some were vaine, some false. Such as were more principall, here we will briefly touch, leauyng out superfluities.

Being demaunded whether he was a fautor of þe Bohemians, he sayd he was not. MarginaliaHis opinion in the sacrament. Also beyng demaunded cōcerning the sacrament of the holy body and bloud of our Lord, whether he thought Christ there to be conteyned really, or only diuinely, and whether he dyd beleue in the sayd sacrament the substaunce of bread there to remayne, or onely the forme therof: to this he answered, not denying but the body of Christ was there really conteyned, and also with the body of Christ, the substance of bread to remayne.

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MarginaliaHis opinion of Monkes and Nunnes. After this he was demaunded his opinion concernyng religious men, as Monkes, Nunnes, or begwynes, MarginaliaThe vowe of chastitie. whether he thought them to be bound to the vow of chastitie, or to the keping of any other vow, and whether he sayd to the Friers Minorites any such word in effect: I can not saue you in this your state and order. This he confessed, that he had said, how that not your religiō saueth you, but the grace of God, &c. not denying but they might be saued.

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MarginaliaMortall sinne found by the pope, beside that which is expressed to be mortall in the scripture. Item, beyng required whether he beleued or had written, that there is no mortall sinne, but which is exprest to be mortall in the Canon of the holy Bible: to this he aunswered, that he dyd so beleue as he had written, till he was better informed. Likewyse beyng required what he thought of the vicar of Christ in earth, he aunswered, that he beleued that Christ left no vicar in earth: For the cōfirmatiō wherof he alledged and sayd, that Christ MarginaliaWhat is this article, but to make the Pope a God. ascending vp to heauen sayd: Ecce ego vobiscum sum. &c. Beholde I am wyth you. &c. In the which wordes he plainly declared, that he would substitute vnder hym no vicar in earth, and sayd moreouer, if a vicar signified any man, which in the absence of the principall hath to do the workes of the principal, MarginaliaChrist left no vicar in earth. then Christ hath no vicar here in earth.

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MarginaliaPardons & indulgences be of no effect. In like maner, concernyng indulgences and pardones, such as the church doth vse to geue, they demaunded of him, whether they had any efficacy, & what he thought thereof: who aunswered agayne that he had written a certayn treatise of that matter, and what he had written in that treatise, he would persist therin, which was thus: that he beleued, that the treasure boxe of the merites of Saints could not be distributed of the Pope to others, MarginaliaThe treasure of saintes merites is not in earth. because that treasure is not left here in earth: For so it is written in the Apocalips: Opera enim illorū, sequuntur illos. &c. that is: their workes follow them.

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Item, that their merites could not be applied to other men, for the satisfaction of their payne due vnto them, and therfore that the Pope and other prelates cannot distribute that treasure to men.

It was obiected to hym moreouer, that in the sayde his treatise, he called pardons & indulgences, Pias fraudes fidelium, MarginaliaThis saying was taken out of one Cantos Pariensis which was wonte to say, that pardons were holy deceates, because that lay men therby were prouoked, by naughty deceites to geue good almes. that is, holy fraudes and deceites of the faythfull.

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Also beyng demaunded what he thought of the halowyng and blessing of aultars, chalices, vestimentes, waxe candels palmes, herbes, holy water and other dumme thinges. &c: he aunswered that they had no spirituall vertue and power in them to driue away deuils, and that holy water hath no more efficacye then other water not hallowed, as concernyng remission of veniall sinnes, and driuyng away deuils and other effectes, which the schoole doctours do attribute to it.

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MarginaliaDegrees in scripture forbidden to marry. Item, for degrees of mariage forbidden in the scriptures, he beleueth that all Christian men vnder deadly sinne, are bound vnto the same.

Item, that he beleueth that God may geue grace to a mā hauyng the vse of reason, without all motion of free wil. Also he thinketh that S. Paul in hys conuersion, did nothyng of hys owne free will for hys conuersion, He beleueth moreouer, that God may geue such grace to a man hauing the vse of reason, not doyng that which in hym is.

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MarginaliaNothing to be beleued, but which is in scripture conteyned. Item, he affirmed that nothing is to be beleued, which is not conteyned in the Canon of the Bible.

Also, that the elect are saued onely by the grace of God.

Besides all these moreouer, he was charged with þe olde opinion of the Grecians, which they did hold contrary to the Romaine Church, vnto the tyme of the Councell of Ferraria aboue mentioned, concernyng the procedyng of the holy Ghost. 

Commentary  *  Close

I.e., Ruceruth believed that the Holy Spirit proceeded from God the Father, but not Jesus Christ. As Foxe observes, the Greek Orthodox church held (and holds) the same opinion, but in the late medieval Catholic church, this belief was heresy.

The Wenesday next following 

Commentary  *  Close

The following paragraph is taken from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculi rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 166v. It was added in the 1570 edition, in response to Nicholas Harpsfield's attacks on Ruceruth. Harpsfield maintained that Ruceruth's belief that the Holy Spirit proceeded only from God the Father, made him a heretic. (Nicholas Harpsfield, Dialogi sex contra summi pontificatus, monasticae vitae, sanctorum Sacrarum imaginum oppugnatores et pseudomartyres [Antwerp, 1556], p. 822). Foxe is not concerned to conceal Ruceruth's belief, which he did not regard as necessarily heretical. Instead the purpose of this addition is to demonstrate that Ruceruth's beliefs were grounded in his study of Scripture.

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, 3. Doctours the Suffragane, Herwicus and Iacobus Sprenger, were sent vnto hym with perswasions to exhort hym, and when he woulde not stand to their Canons, whereby they went about to refute hys doctrine, he was then demaūded of Herwicus, why he would beleue rather the 4. Euangelistes, then the Gospel of Nicodemus. MarginaliaThe church geueth witnes who were the writers of the scripture, but hath no authoritie aboue that which is written. To whō he aunswered, because he would. Beyng asked agayne why he beleued the 4. Euangelists, he sayd: because he so receiued of his parents. Then beyng demaunded, why he would not beleue the Doctours, because (sayd he) their doctrine is not canonicall Scripture. Agayne it was to hym obiected, why he would be credited him self, whē he preached, seyng he would not beleue the holy Doctours? To whome he aunswered in this wyse, saying, that he did preach as hys duety was but whether they gaue credite to hys wordes, he dyd not care.

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MarginaliaBy this inquisition, Christ him selfe might be condemned. This examination beyng ended, after these articles wer condemned by the Inquisitour and his assistaunce, thē sayd he after this maner: As you do with me, if Christ himselfe were here, he might be condemned as an heretike. After this they sent dyuers to hym to haue communication with hym, and to perswade hym, sendyng also to hym with hys Articles a forme of askyng pardon: at lengthe within three or foure dayes after, he was content to condescend vnto them, and to submit hymselfe to theyr holy mother Churche, and the information of the Doctours. In the booke of Orthuinus Gratius, and in Paralipomena, adioyned to Abbas Vrspurgensis, we read these wordes written of this Ioannes de Wesalia: 

Commentary  *  Close

The following quotation is from Ortwin Gratius Fasciculi rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fo. 166v. The 'Paralipomena' to which Foxe is referring is Casper Hedio's continuation of Burchard of Ursperg's chronicle. In this case, Hedio is merely repeating passages from Gratius.

MarginaliaEx Orth. Grat.
Ex Paralip.
Abbat. Vrsper.
Dempto solo articulo de processione spiritus sancti, in alijs videtur non ita graui censura. &c. That is: except onely the article of the procedyng of the holy Ghost, in other Articles it semeth that he was not to be chastened wyth so sharpe censure, if respite & space had bene geuen him, if good

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