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516 [516]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

fyrst constitute and ordeyned by the spirite of God, neyther by any meanes to be repugnant to a free and perfect christian lyfe.

Marginalia23.Whether they beleue that we should praye for the dead, or beleue that there is a purgatory, or that we are bounde by necessitie of faith to beleue neither of them, but that it is free without synne, either to beleue it or not to beleue it.

Marginalia24.Whether they beleue that morall phylosophie and naturall doo preuayle any thyng for the better vmderstādyng of the scriptures, for the exposition and defence of the truthe.

Marginalia25.Whether they thinke that the Popes indulgences and pardons are rather to be reiected, then receyued.

Marginalia26.Whether it be contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, that Christians shuld by any meanes contende in the lawe to seeke any maner of restitution.

Marginalia27.Whether they beleue that al thinges as saluation and dampnation to come of necessitie, and nothing to be in our owne willes.

Marginalia28.Whether they beleue God to be the autour of euyll, aswell of the faulte as of the punishment.

Marginalia29.Whether they thynke masse only to be profitable to hym whiche sayeth it, and whether euery man may alter or leaue out the right & order of the masse without hurt of faith.

Marginalia30.Whether they beleue that there can be any morall vertues, without the grace of christiā lyuing, or that the vertues whiche Aristotle hath set out, are rather fayned.

Marginalia31.Whether they thinke it heresie or pernicious, to teache the people, that it is fre to geue the tithes vnto priestes or to any other poore manne.

Marginalia32.Whether they doo thynke it more Christiā lyke to take away þe images out of the churches, or to permitte them there to adorne them and honour them.

Marginalia33.Wheiher they thynke it the part of a Christian man that preachers should exhorte men to pylgrymage, or to the worshipping of Rerliques.

Marginalia34.Whether that thou Thomas Bilney, being cited vpon heresie to appeare before my Lorde Cardinall, and before the daye of thy apperance not hauinge made thy purgation vpon those poyntes that thou was cited, hast preached openly in diuerse churches of the citie, & dioces of London, without sufficient licence from the byshop or any other. 

Commentary  *  Close

Bilney was issued a license to preach in the diocese of Ely in 1525, which Bishop West retracted. Cambridge University Library, MS EDR, G/1/7, fol. 33A.

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Concerning the aunsweres vnto these articles, gētle reader, for so much as in þe most part of them, he semed to consent and agree, (although not fully and directly, but by waye and manner of qualifiyng) 

Commentary  *  Close

For Bilney's 'manner of qualifying' see J. Y. Batley, On a Reformer's Latin Bible: being an Essay on the `Adversaria' in the Vulgate of Thomas Bilney (Cambridge, 1940), pp. 47-8; John F. Davis, `The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation', Historical Journal, vol. 24 (1981), pp. 775-790; Susan Wabuda, 'Equivocation and Recantation During the English Reformation: the "Subtle Shadows" of Dr Edward Crome', The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 44 (1993), pp. 224-242; Gregory Walker, 'Saint or schemer?: the 1527 heresy trial of Thomas Bilney reconsidered', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 40 (1989), 219-38.

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yet because he dyd not expresly denie them, it shall not be nedeful here to recite them all, saue only suche wher-in he semed to dissent from them.

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To the first and seconde articles he aunswered affirmatiuely. 

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Foxe was deliberately obscure here to conceal the fact that Bilney (with Arthur) believed that Luther's opinions had been justly condemned, even under the terms of Holy Scripture, and that Luther was 'a wicked and detestable hereticke'. Bilney and Arthur agreed that John Fisher, bishop of Rochester and chancellor of Cambridge University, had been correct in impugning Luther's assertions in his books Defensio Regie assertionis contra Babylonicam captiuitatem and Sacri sacerdotij defensiones contra Lutherum (Cologne: Peter Quentell, June 1525).

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To the third he saith: I beleue that many of the Popes lawes, are profitable and necessary and greatly preuailing vnto godlynes, nether in any poynt repugnant vnto the scriptures, neither by any meanes to be abrogate but of al men to be obserued and reuerenced, but touching al those lawes I can not determine, for as such as I haue not reade I trust notwithstanding that are good also, and for those that I haue read I did neuer rede them to that end or purpose to reproue them but according to my power, to learne and vnderstande them. And as touchyng the multitude of lawes S. Augustine in his tyme did muche complain, and Gerson also, who maruayled that we could by any meanes lyue in safitie amongest so many snares of constitutions. When as oure forefathers, beyng pure before their fall, could not obserue one onely precept.

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To the. iiii. article, he saieth that the catholike church can by no meanes erre in faith, for it is the whole congregation of the elect and so knowen only vnto God, which knoweth who are his, otherwise no man should be asserteyned of another mannes saluation or of his owne, but onely through faith and hope. for it is written no man knoweth, whether he be worthy of hatred or loue, it is also sensible, & may be demonstrat so farre fourth as it is sufficient to establishe vs in all thinges that are to be beleued and done, for I may truly say of the generall councell being congregat in the holy ghost, behold here the catholik church, denominatinge the whole by the moste worthy parte.

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To the. v. article, he aunswered affirmatiuely in these wordes, cum sint libri Laicorum adorare oportet at non imaginem sed prototypon.

To the sixt article, he aūswered that he doth not beleue þt they are in heauē being so taught by the scripturs & holy fathers of the churche. 

Commentary  *  Close

Bilney's opinion that the saints were not in heaven was highly unusual. See John F. Davis, 'The Trials of Thomas Bylney and the English Reformation', Historical Journal, vol. 24 (1981), pp. 775-790.

To the. vii. article he saith, that it is not to be thought contrary.

To the. viii. article, concerninge whether a man maye not obserue the feastes and fastes of the church prescribed, he thought that no man ought otherwise but to obserue them.

To the. ix. article, he saieth that we are likewise bounde as vnto parents.

To the. xiiii. article he aunswereth thus, the xiiii. chapter of saint Paule in his first Epistle to the Corinthians moueth me to beleue that it is best, that the people shuld haue the Lords Prayer and the Apostles Crede in Englyshe, so that their deuotion myght the more be furthered by the vnderstandyng of it. And also that thereby they myght be the more prompt &

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