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Eisleben [Isleben]

Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Coordinates: 51° 31' 0" N, 11° 33' 0" E

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Erfurt [Erspford; Erford]

Thuringia, Germany

Coordinates: 50° 59' 0" N, 11° 2' 0" E

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Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Cathedral city

Coordinates: 52° 8' 0" N, 11° 37' 0" E

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[Wittenberge; Wyttenberge]

Saxony, Germany

Coordinates: 51° 52' 0" N, 12° 39' 0" E

Capital of the duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg; university town

867 [841]

K. Henry. 8. Prouerbes against the Church of Rome. The history of Martyn Luther.

it long to stand. For neither were their detestable doinges so secret that men did not see them: neither did any man beholde them, hauing an sparckle of godlines, that could abide them. And thereupon grewe these prouerbes to their derision, in euery country: As in Germany it hath bene Prouerb amongst them.

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MarginaliaProuerbes against the corrupt sea of Rome. 

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These anticlerical proverbs and quotations, down through the quotation from Becket, are all taken from Mathias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 564.

Was ist nu in der werlt fur ein wesen,
Wir moegen fur den pfaffen nicht genesen.
What is this, to see the world now round about,
That for these shaueling priestes no man that once maye
Quàm primum clericus suscipit rasuram, statim intrat in eum
That is,
So soone as a Clerke is shorne into his order, by and by the deuill
enterth into him.
In nomine Domini incipit omne malum.
That is:
In the name of God beginneth all euill alluding to the Popes
Bulles, which commonly so begin.
Item when Bulles come from Rome, bind well your purses.
The nearer Rome, the farther from Christ.
Item, he that goeth once to Rome, seeth a wicked man.
He that goeth twise, learneth to know him.
He that goeth thrise, bringeth him home with him.
Item, the Courte of Rome neuer regardeth the sheepe without
the woll.
MarginaliaEx Auen.Once were wodden chalices and golden priestes.
Now we haue golden chalices, and wodden Priestes.
Once Christan men had blinde churches and light hartes,
Now they haue blinde hartes and light Churches.
Item, many are worshipped for Saintes in heauen, whose soules
be burning in hell.

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What should I speake of our English prouerbe which so vily esteemeth the filthy Friers, that it compareth them (sauing thy reuerence good Reader) to a fart?

In Fraunce, Gallus Senonensis writeth. 400. yeares agoe, that amongest them it was an old saying: Romæ solui Satanam in perniciem totius Ecclesiæ. That is: That Sathan was let lose at Rome to destroy the whole Church.

Thomas Becket himselfe, in his time writing to the College of Cardinals, denieth it not, but to be a common word both through town and city, Quod non sit iustitia Romæ. That is, That there is no right at Rome.

To these may be adioyned also the A. B. C. Whiche we find in the margent of a certayne ould register, to be attributed to William Thorp, 

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Foxe's meaning is obscured by his tortured syntax. What he is saying is that an annotation in a register attributed the work to William Thorpe, not that the register was attributed to Thorpe. In fact, Foxe is probably referring to the marginal note in Bishop Tunstall's register (Guildhall Library MS 9531/10, fo. 143v).

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whose story we haue comprehended in the booke before. 
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See 1583, pp. 527-43; 1576, pp. 511-27; 1570, pp. 629-49; 1563, pp. 143-72.

MarginaliaThe A. B. C. against the pride of the Clergie.Awake 
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Foxe is quoting an anticlerical tract, A proper dyaloque betweene a gentillman and a husbandman, printed c. 1529 (STC 1462.3). It takes its popular name, the A.B.C., from the acrostic verses printed on its title page. These verses are printed by Foxe.

ye ghostly persons, awake, awake,
Both Priest, pope, Byshop and Cardinall.
Consider wisely, what wayes that ye take,
Daungerously beyng like to haue a fall,
Euery where the mischiefe of you all,
Farre and neare, breaketh out very fast:
God will needes be reuenged at the last.
How long haue ye the world captiued,
In sore bondage: of mens traditions?
Kinges and Emperours ye haue depriued,
Lewdly vsurping, theyr chiefe possessions:
Much misery ye make in all regions.
Now your fraudes be almost at their latter cast,
Of God sore to be reuenged at the last.
Poore people to oppresse, ye haue no shame,
Quaking for feare of your double tyranny.
Rightfull iustice ye haue put out of frame,
Seeking the lust of your God, the belly.
Therefore I dare you boldly certifie,
Very little though ye be thereof a gast,
Yet God will be reuenged at the last.

By these and such like sayinges, whiche may be collected innumerable, it may soone be seen what harts & iudgements the people had in those dayes of the Romish Clergy. Which thing, no doubt, was of God, as a secret prophecie, that shortly religion shoulde be restored: MarginaliaLaurentius Valla. Picus Mirādula. Erasmus Roterodamus.according as it came to passe, about thys present tyme whē Doct. Martin Luther first began to write, 

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Martin Luther

Despite his occasional disagreements with Luther over theology, Foxe never lost sight of Luther's historical importance. And while Foxe insisted that there was a True Church before Luther and also that the way for Luther had been prepared by Erasmus and others, Foxe saw Luther's doctrine of justification by faith as a divinely inspired revelation. (The section introducing the life of Luther, describing prophecies of Luther's advent reveal Foxe's commitment to the concept of Luther as a divine agent). Far more than even Wiclif or Hus or Tyndale, Luther was, to Foxe, the most important figure in human history since the apostolic era.

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Unsurprisingly then, Foxe devoted a great deal of space to Luther in every edition of the A&M. In 1563, the account of Luther's life through the Diet of Worms (1521) was taken from Henry Bennet's translation of Philip Melancthon's Historia de vita et actis…Martini Lutheri (cf. A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet [London, 1561], STC 1881, sigs. B5v-F8r with 1563, pp. 402-15). Foxe followed this translation closely, often on a word-for-word basis. The difficulty with Melanchthon's account is that it really was two separate histories, one of Luther's background and early life, and one of the Diet of Worms. The crucial years between, including the Liepzig disputation, were not covered in it.

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In the 1570 edition, Foxe filled this gap with two additional sources. The most important of these, at least for the life of Luther, was an expanded version of Caspar Hedio's continuation of the chronicle attributed to Burchard of Ursburg (Caspar Hedio, Paralipomena rerum memorabilium [Basel, 1569]). This expanded edition contained not only Hedio's chronicle, but also his reprinting of Melanchthon's 'Epistola Lipsica disputatione', which supplied a detailed account of the Leipzig disputation. (Foxe's awareness of this text by 1570, is an indication of how closely he followed Continental scholarship. It is also important to note how much of Foxe's account of Luther came, directly or indirectly, from Melanchthon). For background, particularly the political situation, Foxe also relied on Sleidan's Commentaries and he drew slightly on Bale's Catalogus and Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle. The 1570 account of Luther was unaltered in subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

after that Picus Mirandula, and Laurentius Valla, & last of all, Erasmus Roterodamus, had somewhat broken the way before & hadd shaken the monkes houses, MarginaliaM. Luther.But Luther gaue the stroke, & pluckt downe the foundation, & all by opening one vayne long hid before, wherein lyeth the touchstone of all trueth & doctrine, MarginaliaThe article of our free iustification beateth downe all the onely principall origine of our saluation which is our free iustifying by faith onely in christ þe sonne of God. 
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This is an important statement of Foxe's belief that Erasmus, Valla and others prepared the way for Luther, but also of Foxe's profound appreciation of the seminal importance of justification by faith alone.

The laborious trauailes, and the whole processe & the constant preachings of this worthy mā, because they sufficiently declared in the historye of Iohannes Sleidanus, I shall the lesse neede to stand long thereupon, but onely to runne ouer some principall matter of his life & actes as they are briefly collected by Phillip Melanthon.

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¶ The history of D. Martine Luther with his lyfe and doctrine described.

MarginaliaThe history of M. Luther with his life & doctrine described.MArtine Luther, after he was growne in yeares, 

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The first sentence, on Luther's life before he attended the University of Erfurt, is based on A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), sigs. B2r-B3r. Foxe's lack of interest in the details of Luther's childhood and his parents (of Melancthon provides a detailed account), is in marked contrast to modern scholars, particularly Eric Erikson.

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being borne at Isleben 
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I.e., Eisleben.

in Saxonie, an. 1483. was set to the Vniuersity, first of Magdeburg, thē of Erford. In this Vuiuersitie of Erforde, 
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All of the material from here down to the accession of Leo X, is drawn from A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), STC 1881, sigs. B5v-C1r.

there was a certayne aged man, in the Couēt of the Agustines (who is thought to be Weselus aboue mentioned) 
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The claim that this elderly man was the noted theologian John of Wesel, is Foxe's baseless speculation. In fact, John died in 1481, two years before Luther was born.

wyth whom Luther beyng then of the same order 
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This is all that Foxe has on Luther's becoming an Augustinian friar and his zeal in trying to live the monastic life, which are covered in some detail by Melanchthon. These details were probably somewhat distasteful to Foxe.

a fryer Augustine, had conference vppon diuers thinges, especially touching the Article of remission of sinnes, the whiche Article the sayd aged father opened vnto Luther after this sorte, declaring that wee must not generally beleue onely forgeunes of sinnes to be, or to belong to Peter, to Paule, to Dauid, or suche good men alone: but that Gods expresse commaundements is, that euery man should beleue particuarly hys sinnes to be forgeuen him in Christ: and further sayd, that thys interpretation was confirmed by the testimonies of S. Barnerd, and shewed him the place, in the Sermon of the Annunciation, where it is thus set forth: MarginaliaAn excellent declaration of S. Bernard touching fayth.But adde thou that thou beleuest this, that by him thy sinnes are forgiuen thee. This is the testimony that the holy Ghost giueth thee in thy heart, saying: Thy sinnes are forgiuen thee. For this is the opinion of the Apostle, that man is freely iustified by fayth.

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By these wordes Luther was not onely strengthened, but was also instructed of the full meaning of S. Paule, who repeateth so many tymes this sentence: We are iustified by fayth. And hauing read the expositions of many vppon this place, he then perceiued as well by the purpose of the old man, as by the comfort he receiued in his spirit, the vanitie of those interpretations, which he had read before, of the scholemen: And so reading by litle and litle, with cōferring the sayinges and examples of the Prophetes & Apostles, and continuall inuocation of God, and excitatiō of fayth by force of prayer, hee perceiued þt doctrine more euidently. MarginaliaThe profite of S. Augustines bookes.Then began he to read Saint Augustines bookes, where he founde many comfortable sentēces among other in the exposition of the Psalmes and specially in the booke of the Spirite and Letter, which confirmed this doctrine of fayth and consolation in hys hart, not a little. And yet he layd not aside the Sentenciaries, as Gabriell and Cameracensis. 

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By 'sententiaries', Foxe is refering to scholastic theologians who wrote commentaries on Peter Lombard's Sentences. Gabriel Biel (c. 1420-95) and Pierre d'Ailly (1350-1420) were both strong influences on Luther and both nominalists. Pierre d'Ailly was bishop of Cambrai ('Cameracensis' in Latin).

Also he read the bookes of Occam, whose subtilty he preferred aboue Thomas Aquine, & Scotus. 
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Luther showed a marked preference for nominalist theologians, such as William of Ockham, over realist theologians such as Aquinas and Scotus. The realists insisted on the actual existence of metaphysical universals, the nominalists were denied their existence. Nominalists tended to a certain scepticism about transubstantiation.

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He read also and reuolued Gersō: but aboue al the rest, he perused all ouer S. Augustines workes with attentiue cogitation. And thus continued he his study at Erford, þe space of 4. yeares in the Couent of the Augustines.

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MarginaliaThe institution of the Vniuersitie at Wittenberge. Staupitius.About this tyme one Staupicius a famous mā, 

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Johann von Staupitz (c. 1460-1525) was the vicar-general of the Observant Augustinians (Luther's order) and he was indeed a spiritual mentor to the young Luther. Staupitz emphasized election and justification in his theology. When the dispute over Indulgences first broke out, Staupitz supported Luther and tried to act as a mediator. Later, Staupitz, deplored Luther's extremism although the personal ties between the two men remained close.

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who ministring his helpe to further the erection of an Vniuersitie in Wittenberg, and endeuouring to haue schooles of Diuinitie founded in this new Vniuersitie: when he had cōsidered the spirite & towardnes of Luther, he called him from Erford, to place him in Wittenberg, in þe yeare. 1508. and of his age xxvi. There his towardnes appeared in þe ordinary exercise both of hys disputations in the schooles & preaching in churches, where as manye wise and learned mē attentiuely heard Luther, namely D. Mellerstad.

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MarginaliaThe iudgement of Doct. Mellerstad, vpon M. Luther.This Mellerstad would oftentimes say, that Luther was of suche a marueilous spirit, and so ingenious, that he gaue apparent signifcation, that he would introduce a more compendious, easie, and familier maner of teaching and altar and abolishe the order that then was vsed.

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There first he expounded the Logick and Philosophy of Aristotle, & in the meane while, intermitted no whit his study in Theolagy. MarginaliaLuther sent to Rome.Three yeares after, he went to Rome, about certayn contentions of the Monkes, and returning the same yeare, he was graded Doctour: MarginaliaFridericke Duke of the expenses of Elector Fredericke, Duke of Saxonie, according to the solemn maner of scholes: for he hed heard thē preach: well vnderstanded the quicknes of his spirite: dilligently considered the vehemency of hys wordes, and had in singular admiration those profound matters, whiche in hys Sermons he ripely and exactly explaned. MarginaliaLuther commensed doctour.This degree Staupicius, against his will enforced vpon him, saying merely vnto him, that God had many thinges to bring to passe in hys Church by him. And though these wordes were spoken merely, yet it came so to passe anone after, as many predictions or presages proue true before a chaunge.

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MarginaliaDoct. M. Luther beginneth to read the Epistle to the Romains.After this he began to expound the Epistle to the Romayns, & consequently the Psalmes: where he shewed the difference betwixt the lawe and the Gospell. He also confounded the errour that raigned then in schooles and Sermons, teaching that men may merite remission of sinnes

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