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1030 [1030]

K. Henry. 8. M. Luther. Certayne Greuances of the Germanes.

men detest and abhorre the odious statutes of diuers Cathedrall Churches, wherby murtherers, both men and wemē, and other, as well light as greuous offenders, haue bene hetherto vexed and tormented: for hetherto it hath bene accustomed that such as were gilty of murther and such other crimes, (whiche they call cases reserued vnto the Bishops) after they had made theyr auricular cofeßion, were cōpelled (to their great ignominye & shame) to do penaunce in the sight of all people: whiche penaunce were not so much to be disalowed, bearing some semblaunce of the institution of the primatiue Churche, if so be it these busye Officialls, being contente therwith, woulde not extort more, and greater summes of money, then were right and lawfull, and so punishe those offenders with double punishmēt: wherewithall it is to be meruailed, how many be offended and greued. How wicked a thing this is, and how farre it differeth frō Christes institution, we will referre it to euery good conscience to iudge.

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¶ Complaint of Officials for mainteinyng vnlawfull vsuryes.

MarginaliaOfficialls taking pensions of priestes for keeping cōcubines.FVrthermore, the Officials beyng allured thorowe the gredy and vnsatiable desire of money, do not onely not forbid vnlawfull vsuries and gaynes of money, but also suffer and maintaine the same. Moreouer, they taking a yearely stipēde and pension, do suffer the clergie & other religious persons vnlawfully to dwell with their concubines and harlots, and to beget children by them. Both whiche thinges, how great perill, offence & detriment they doe bring both vnto bodye and soule, euery man may plainly see (so that it nede not to be rehearsed) excepte he will make him selfe as blinde as a mole.

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¶ Complaint of Officials permitting vnlawfull cohabitation with other, when the husband or wife are long absent.

FVrthermore, where it so happeneth (as it doth oftentimes) that either the good mā or the good wife, by meanes of warre or some other vow, hath taken in hand some long iourney, and so tarieth longer then serueth the appetite of the other, the Officiall taking a reward of the other, geueth licence to the partie to dwell with any other person, not hauing first regard or making inquisition whether the husband or wife being absent, be in health or dead: and because these their doinges shoulde not be euill spoken of, they name it a toleration of sufferaunce, not without great offence vnto all men, and to the great contempt of holy matrimony.

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¶ Complaint of Canons in Cathedrall Churches, whiche haue their Bishop sworne vnto them, before he be chosen.

MarginaliaThe practise in chapters of cathedrall churches to make the byshop sworne vnto them.THis is also vnlawfull and plainly wicked, that the Canons of Cathedrall Churches, in whose hand the principall part of Ecclesiasticall iudgements, Synodes, and censures do consiste, and the Canōs of other collegiate Churches, whiche haue power and authoritie to chuse their Superiour and Bishop, will chuse none to their Bishop, excepte hee binde him selfe first with an oth, and plainly sweare, yea & oftentimes is bound by bonde and instrumentes sealed with their seales to them and their Ecclesiasticall iudges, that in no matter, be it neuer so greuous, intollerable, or dishonest, he shall not be agaynst them: and if it happen at any tyme that they do offend, they may do it also without punishment for him.

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¶ Complaint agaynst incorporations or improperations and other pillyng of the people, by Churchmen.

MarginaliaThe inconuenience of improperations.MAny parishe Churches are subiect vnto Monasteries, and to the persons of other Churches, by meanes of incorporations (as they call them) or otherwise, whiche they are bound also, accordyng to the Canon lawes, to foresee and looke vnto, by them selues, when as they doe put them forth vnto others to bee gouerned, reseruyng for the moste parte vnto them selues, the whole stipende of the benefites and tythes: and moreouer, aggrauate and charge the same with so great pensions, that the hirelyng priestes and other ministers of the Churche, can not haue therupon a decent or compotent liuyng: wherby it commeth to passe, that these hyrelyng priestes (for that they must nedes haue wherupon to lyue) do with vnlawfull exactions, miserably spoyle and deuour the poore shepe committed vnto them, and consume all their substance. For when as the Sacramentes of the aultare and of Baptisme are to be administred, or when the first, the seuenth, the thirty, and yeare day must be kept, when auricular confeßion commeth to be heard, the dead to be buried, or any other ceremonie what soeuer, about the funerall is to be done: they will not do it frelye, MarginaliaCruell exactions of the people by church men.but extort and exact so much money, as the miserable communalty is scarse able to disburse, and dayly they do encrease and augment these their exactions, driuyng the simple pouertie to the payment therof, by threatning thē with excommunication, or by other wayes, compellyng them to be at charge: which otherwise through pouertie, are not able to mainteyne obsequies, yeare mindes, and such other like ceremonies, as to the funeralls of the dead be apperteinyng.

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¶ Bying and selling of burialls complayned of.

MarginaliaGayne gotten by selling burialls.IT is ordained by the Popes Canōs, that buriall in the church shoulde be denied onely vnto them, whiche beyng knowen to be manifest and notorious offenders, haue departed this life without receiuyng of the Sacrament. But the clergie not regardyng those decrees, will not suffer such as by chaunce are drowned, killed, slayne with falles, or fire, or otherwise by chaunce haue ended their lyues, (albeit it be not euident, that they were in deadly sinne) to be buried in the Churches, vntill such tyme, as the wyues, children or frendes of those men so dead, do with great summes of money, purchase and bye the buriall of them in the Churchyearde.

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¶ Chaste and continent priestes compelled to paye tribute for concubines.

MarginaliaConcubines permitted for money, & chast priestes cōpelled to pay tribute for concubynes.ALso in many places, the Bishops and their Officials do not onely suffer priestes to haue cōcubines, so that they pay certain summes of money, but also cōpell cōtinent & chast priestes, whiche liue without concubines, to pay tribute for concubines, affirmyng that the Bishop hath nede of money, whiche beyng payd, it shalbe lawfull for them, either to lyue chast or kepe concubines. How wicked a thyng this is, euery man doth well vnderstand and know.

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These with many other burthens and greuances moe 

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Foxe drew this brief narrative of what happened after the complaints were presented to the papal legate at the Diet of Nuremburg (1522) and of Cardinal Campeggio's legation to Germany from Johannes Sleidan, A famouse cronicle of our time, called Sleidanes Commentaries, trans. John Daus (London, 1560), STC 19848, fos. 45r-46v.

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to þe number of an hundreth, the secular States of Germanye deliuered to the Popes Legate, hauyng (as they sayd) many moe, and more greuous greuaunces besides these, whiche had likewise much nede of redresse: but because they would not excede the limites of reasonable breuitie, they would cōtent them selues (sayd they) with these aforesayd hūdreth, reseruing the rest to a more apte and more conuenient oportunitie, stedfastly trusting and hoping, that when those hundreth greuances, already by them declared, should be abolished, the other would also decay, and fall with them. Of the whiche foresayd greuances and complaintes here is moreouer to bee noted, þt a great part was offered vp before, to the Emperour, at the Councell of Wormes: but because no redresse therof did folow, therfore þe seculare States of Germanie thought good to exhibite the same now agayne, with diuers moe annexed therunto, to Cheregatus the Popes Legate, MarginaliaThe diet of Norenberge began, an. 1522 and brake vp, an. this presēt assemble of Norenberge, desiring hym to present the same to Pope Adrian. This was about the yeare of our Lord. 1523. Whiche beyng done, the assemble of Norenberge brake vp for a tyme, and was proroged to the next yeare folowyng.

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MarginaliaThe death of Pope Adrian.In thys meane tyme Pope Adrian dyed. MarginaliaPope Clement. vij.After him succeded Pope Clement vij. Who the next yeare folowyng, whiche was. an. 1524. MarginaliaCardinall Camperius the popes Legate into Germanie.sent downe his Legate Cardinall Campeius, vnto þe Councell of the Germane princes assembled agayne at Norenberge, about the moneth of Marche, with letters also to Duke Fridericke, full of many fayre petitiōs, and sharpe complaintes. &c. But as touchyng the greuances aboue mentioned, no word nor message at al was sent, neither by Campeius, nor by any other. MarginaliaThe pope only seketh his own dignitie, but publicke reformation he neuer tendreth.Thus, where any thyng was to be complayned of agaynst Luther, eyther for suppression of þe libertie of þe Gospell, or for vpholding of the Popes dignitie, the pope was euer readye with all diligence, to call vpon the princes, but where any redresse was to bee required, for the publicke wealth of Christen people, or touchyng the necessary reformation of the Churche, herein the Pope neither geueth eare, nor aunswere.

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And thus hauyng discoursed such matters occurrent betwene the Pope, & princes of Germanie, at þe Synode of Norenberge, let vs now procede, returnyng agayne to the story of Luther: 

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Final years of Luther

In the 1563 edition, the conclusion of Foxe's account of Luther can be divided into three parts. The first is an account of Luther's death, translated from Melanchthon's funeral sermon, as translated by Henry Bennet (see A famous and godly history contayning the lyves a[nd] actes of three renowned reformers…, trans. Henry Bennet (London, 1561), STC 1881, sigs. F8v-G1r). The second was a long account of the pontificate of Leo X translated from Bale's Catalogus. And the third part is a brief summary, of Foxe's composition, on the increasing papal corruption of the Church during the Middle Ages and praising Luther for bringing light into the depths of this darkness.In the 1570 edition, the second and third parts of this initial account were dropped. Material from Sleidan's Commentaries and Caspar Hedio's continuation of Burchard of Ursburg's chronicle was added to the account to provide a narrative of Luthers's dispute with Karlstadt on iconoclasm and Luther's dispute with Zwingli over the Eucharist. Since Foxe sided with Luther on neither issue, he distanced himself from the Reformer, warning readers that Luther's opinion and example were not to be slavishly followed, such as his opposition to iconoclasm (Foxe endorsed iconoclasm). But Foxe also made clear his very considerable admiration for Luther, based especially on his regard for Luther as a spiritual physician to troubled souls, on Luther's courage in defying the papacy and for being the first person to articulate a theology of justification by faith. By the end of the account, Foxe despite his theological differences with Luther, ends up crediting him with quasi-miraculous powers.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

of whom ye heard before, how he was kept secret & solitary, for a time, by the aduise & con-

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