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learned byshops with all the nobles and commons of England is, not onely in that cause of Matrimony, but also in the defending of the gospels doctrine : This Oracion of the bishop of Winchester (a man excellently learned in al kind of learning) entiteled De vera Obe. dientia, that is, concerning true Obedience, whiche he made lately in England, shal go openly abrode. But as touching this bisshoppes worthi praises, ther shalbe nothing spoken of me at this time : Not onely because thei are infinite, but because they ar far better knowne to all Christendome, than becommeth me here to make rehersal. And as for the Oration itself, which as it is most learned, so is it moost elegaunt, to what purpose should I make any wordes of it, seing it praiseth it selfe inough, and sence good Wine nedeth no tauerne bushe to vtter it. But yet in this Oration, whosoeuer thou art most gentle Reader, thou shalt besides other matters, se it notably and learnedly handeled, of what importannce and how inuincible the power and excellencie of goddes truth is : which as it may nowe and then be pressed of enemies, so it cannot possiblye bee oppressed after such sort, but it commeth again at length behind the scrine, more glorious and more welcome.
“Thou shalt se also touching obedience, that obedience is subiect to truthe, and what is to be iudged true obedience. Besides this of mens tradicions, which for the moost part, are ytterly repungnant against the truth of gods law. And therby the waye, he speaketh of the kynges said highnes Mariage, whiche by the ripe iudgement, authoritie and priuiledge of the most and principal Vniuersities of the world, and than with the consent of the hole church of England, he contracted with the most cleare and most noble ladie quene Anne. After that, touching the kinges maiesties title as pertaining to the supreme head of the church of England. Lastlye of al, of the false pretensed supremacie of the bish. of Rome, in the Realme of England, most iustly abrogated, and howe all other byshopes being felowe like to him in their funccion, yea and in som pointes aboue him also wythin their owne prouinces, wer before tyme bound to him by their oth.
“But be thou most surely persuaded of this good Reader, that the bishop of Rome (though ther wer no cause els but this mariage) wyll easely content himself : specially, hauinge one morsell or other caste him. But whan he seith so mightie a king, being a right vertuous and a great learned prince, so sincerely and so heartelie to fauour the gospell of Christ, and perceiveth the yearly rauenous pray (yea so large a pray, that it came to asmuch almoost as all the kinges reuenewes) snapped out of his handes, and that he could no longer exercise his tiranny in the kinges maiesties realme (alas it hath bene to cruell and bitter al this while) nor make lawes as he hathe done many, to the contumely and reproch of the maiestie of God, which is euident that he hath done in times paste, vnder the title of the catholike churche, and the authoritie of the Apostles Peter and Paul (whan notwithstanding he was a verye rauening wolfe, dressed in shepes clothing, calling himself seruant of seruannts) to the great damage of the christen commen welth: A manne may say there began the mischeif: thereof rose these discordes, these discordes, [sic] these deadly malices, and so great
troublous bustlings. For if it were not thus, no man could beleue, that this Jupiter of Olimpus, whiche hath falsely taken vppon him power, wherein is more bragge than hurt, wold hane done his best that this good and godly and righte gospelike prince shold be falsely betraied to all the reast of Monarkes and princes.
“ Neither let it moue the (gentle reader) that the B. of Winchestre, did not afore now, applie to this opinion : for he him selfe in this Oration sheweth the cause, why he did it not. And if he hadde saide neuer a word, yet thou knowest well, what a wittie part it is, for a man to suspend his iudgement, and not be to rashe in geuing of sentence. It is an old saying : Mary Magdalen profited vs lesse in her quick belefe that Christ was risen, then Thomas that was longer in doubt. A man maye rightlie cal him Fabius, that wyth his aduised taking of leasure restored the matter to his ful perfection. Albeit I speake not this, as though Winchestre had not boulted out this case secretlie with himself before hand (for he boulted it euen to the branne long ago, out of doubt) but that, running faire and softlie, he would first with his painful studie, plucke the matter onte of the darke, althoughe of it selfe, it was clearelie sound inough, but by reason of sondrie opinions, it was lapped vp and made darke : and then did he debate it wittily to and fro, and so at last (after longe and great deliberation had in the matter) because ther is no better counsailour, then leasure and tyme, he wold resolutelie with his learned and consummate iudgement confirme it? Thou shouldest (gentle Reader) esteme his censure and auctoritye to bee of the more waightie credence, in asmuch as the matter was not rashlie, and at al aduentures, but wyth iudgement (as thou seest) and with wisdome examined and discussed. As for this is no newe example, to be against the b. of Rome : seeinge that not onelie this man, but many men many times, yea and right great learned men afore now, have done the same euen in writinges : wherin thei both painted him out in his colours, and made his sleightes, falsehead, fraudes, and disceatfull wiles, openlie knowen to the world. Therfore if thou at any time heretofore have doubted either of true obedience, or of the kinges maiesties mariage, or title, either els of the b. of Romes false pretenced supremaci, as if thou haddest a good smelling nose, and a sound iudgement, I think thou diddest not : yet hauing red ouer this Oration (which if thou fauour
1 In the original, “ hunc Jovem Olympium, qui potestatem plane 'AyuteúdUvov sibi falso arrogavit.” I have said that Bonner's preface is wanting in the Lambeth copy of the Hamburgh Latin book ; and, in order to do as I would be done by, I should add that I have no copy of the original Latin of that preface except what is in Dr. Brown's Fasciculus, and a very beautiful and elaboratē MS. copy kindly furnished to me by Mr. Laing. I here follow the latter, which is, I have no doubt, the most correct throughout, though I have not collated it with Dr. Brown's reprint. Certainly it is so in this place, where it reads "ptātē plane ÁYUTEÚO UVOD,” which stands in the Fasciculus "pietatem plane 'AVTEÚ. Oavov," instead of “potestatem.”
2 « quoniam Σύμβουλος ουδείς έστι βελτίων χρόνου, docto ot consummato judicio suo comprobare voluerit."
the truth, and hate the tirannie of the bishop of Rome and his deuelish fraudulent falshod, shall doutles wonderfullie content the) throw downe thine errour, and acknowledge the truth now frely offered the at length: considering with thy selfe, that it is better late to do so, than neuer to repent. Fare thou hartelie wel, most gentle reader, and not onelie loue this most valeaunt king of Englande and of Fraunce, who vndoubtedlie was by the prouidence of god born to defend the gospell : but also honour him and with all thy heart serue him moost obediently. As for this Winchestre who was longe ago withoute doubt reputed among the greatest learned men, geue him thy good word with honourable commendations."
On this preface I will here observe only two things. First, that beside the fulsome flattery of Gardiner, and the gross abuse of the pope, (both of which, perhaps, assume rather an exaggerated appearance in this coarse translation), the whole style of the composition is more rhetorical, not to say pedantic, than might have been expected from Bonner. How much Greek the Archdeacon of Leicester carried in his head, or in his portmanteau, when he went on his embassy to Denmark, I cannot tell; but one has not been used to consider him a person from whom one might expect stray sprinkles of it in Latin composition. It is odd, that the very same thing is done by Æpinus at least half-adozen times, upon very slight provocation, in his prefatory address to the Marquis Joachim, which I have quoted. Æpinus really was at Hamburgh in 1536, and a good while before and after. Is it possible that Bonner may have taken lessons in composition from him or is anything else more likely?
Secondly, it is singular that this Preface seems to have been—I was going to say so little known, but that would not express my meaning, for, doubtless, it was well known by those for whom these clandestine books were printed, and among whom they circulated, and I will rather say-s0 much unknown, -or unknown to such persons as those who do in fact seem to have known nothing about it. For instance, its existence is not mentioned in the reprint of Gardiner's Oration by Goldastus, or in the long prefatory matter by which that Oration is introduced, and which is signed by Capito, Hedio, Bucer, and all the other ecclesiastics of Strasburgh. Had they never heard of Bonner's Preface? or did Goldastus know, and omit, a document so much to his purpose? Again, I think that the Preface is never once incidentally hinted at in the Depositions in the business of Gardiner's deprivation, though the Oration is repeatedly mentioned. There is, I admit, no great weight in this, as the matter there respected strictly only what Gardiner had done; though it would not have been strange if some incidental allusion had been made to the preface. It is of much more importance to observe, (and as far as I can see it is true,) that while Gardiner got into the Prohibitory Index for his part, and his Oration was condemned, Bonner and his Preface escaped all notice; a circumstance, which, if the work was avowed, and believed by wellinformed persons to be genuine, seems to me utterly unaccountable,
Add to this, that although, as I have already said, this Preface, genuine or not, was undoubtedly well known among the party for whom books of this kind were secretly printed, yet I recollect only one instance of its being thrown in Bishop Bonner's face by any person under examination. Gardiner got many “nips,” both “privy" and apert, for his share in the book; but I do not recollect any other instance of an attack on Bonner than that which was made by William Tyms, curate of Hockley, at his examination on the 28th March, 1556, and it is particularly worthy of attention. How far the reporter was competent to do justice to what he heard, and how much there was which he did not hear, we have no means of knowing, for Fox only tells much William Aylsbury, witness hereof, being present thereat, so far as he heard hath faithfully recorded and reported. What more was spoken and there said, (for “they made not yet an end a good while after,) because he
departed then out of the house, he doth not know, nor did • hear.” He professed, however, to have heard the following discourse, which, after what we have already seen, may, I think, lead some readers to suspect that Bonner either did not write the Preface in question, or else was a much greater fool than he is generally supposed to have been. He was not in this case (as he was in many others) engaged with merely illiterate persons who might be imposed on, for another of the prisoners was Robert Drakes, “parson of Thundersley, in Essex.” If twenty years before, Bonner had written that violent invective in Latin, and if, only two or three years before, two editions of it in English had been circulated, and Bonner not only knew himself that he had
done so, but that the fact was notorious, one can hardly imagine it possible that he should have replied to the general charge of Tyms as he did. Bonner had asked him whether he would submit himself to the Catholic church as an obedient child :
“Then Tyms answered and said, 'My Lord I doubt not but I am of the catholic church, whatsoever you judge of me. But as for your church, you have before this day renounced it, and by corporal oath promised never to consent to the same. Contrary to the which you have received into this realm the Pope's authority, and therefore you are falsely perjured and forsworn, all the sort of you. Besides this you have both spoken and written very earnestly against that usurped power, and now you do burn men that will not acknowledge the Pope to be supreme head.'s
*** HAVE I?' quoth the Bishop; 'WHEN HAVE I WRITTEN ANYTHING AGAINST THE CHURCH OF ROME?'
“My Lord,' quoth Tyms, 'the Bishop of Winchester wrote a very learned oration, entitled, De vera Obedientia, which containeth worthy matter against the Romish authority. Unto the which book you made a preface, inveighing against the bishop of Rome, reproving his tyranny and falsehood, calling his power false and pretensed. The book is extant, and you cannot deny it.'”
One can easily imagine that the bishop, if he had written the Preface, and still more, if he had not,) might feel “somewhat abashed" at such a reply. At least he might exhibit such an appearance to a spectator who, perhaps, was fully convinced of the genuineness of the Preface, and the
3 It is right to state that, according to William Alsbury's own account, it does not appear that Tyms was examined about the pope's supremacy, because such misrepresentations should be pointed out even when they are only incidentally reprinted in passages quoted for quite different purposes. Nobody who has studied the examinations of the martyrs, indeed, would expect to find Bonner taking up that subject, and driving that point, in the first instance. On the contrary, Fox introduces this examination by telling us, that on the five prisoners (of whom Tyms and Drakes were two) being brought before Bonner, "the said Bishop after his accustomed manner proceeding against them, inquired of them their faith” [not as to the pope's supremacy, but]" upon the sacrament of the altar. To whom,” he adds, they answered that the body of Christ was not in the sacrament of the altar really and corporally after the words of consecration spoken by the priest. This, I say, is Fox's account of it, but in the course of a page or two, he gives us, “The Articles for the which William Tyms, of Hockley, in Essex, was condemned in the Consistory in Paul's, the 28 day of March; with his Answers and Confession upon the same," and then he gives us, as Tyns's own words : "Item, I confessed that in the sacrament of the altar, the Christ is not present either spiritually or corporally."