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demned by the church.” With the details of this process, however, we have no business at present; and perhaps the story is so well known, that it is almost unnecessary to say that, according to Fox,“ Bilney was a Cambridge man, and the first framer of that university in the knowledge of Christ”;” and that he converted many of his fellows to the knowledge of the gospel, amongst which number were Thomas Arthur, and Master Hugh Latimer; and at length “forsaking the university, went into many places teaching and preaching, being associate with Arthur, which accom'panied him from the university.”
Thus it was that Arthur and Bilney came to be called before the cardinal “and his complices;” but I do not want to say more about them at present; and, indeed, I only mention the august tribunal before which they were summoned, in order to introduce a person who was not there, though he had received a very particular invitation to attend, and had, to a certain extent, accepted it. This person was George Joye, who was then a fellow of Peter House, in Cambridge, and who is now not quite unknown, from his connexion with Tyndale's translation of the New Testament, and from several works which he published, especially an attack on Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, which elicited a reply, entitled, “ A Declaration of such true articles as George Ioye hath gon about to confute as false ?."
Fox does not appear to have known that Joye was cited with Bilney and Arthur; and I refer to the account of that process, in his Martyrology, only that the reader may better comprehend what here follows, and perceive that I am not selecting, for an illustration, the story of a person inconsiderable or unknown. George Joye was well known, and a man of some consequence, among those who followed the new learning
The facts which led to his being summoned with Bilney and Arthur seem to have been these. The Prior of Newnham Abbey, near Bedford, told the suffragan of the Bishop
1 Edit. 1596, p. 910.
? I suppose that most of what is known of him is collected in Lewis's History of the Translations of the Bible, p. 79, et seq. On the ground that one of his works is professedly “ Printed at London by George Joye,” Herbert gives him a place in his edition of Ames's Typographical Antiquities, vol. i. p. 567.
of Lincoln, that George Joye held some heretical opinions. The suffragan told the bishop; and the bishop wrote direct to the prior for further information. The prior replied fully to the bishop, and the consequence was, that Joye was cited to attend at that meeting in the Chapter House, at which, as we have seen, John, Bishop of Lincoln, was one of the “ complices” of his friend and patron the cardinal. What Joye did on that occasion he shall tell in his own words, as soon as I have explained how we come to have the prior's letter to the bishop, and given some account of its contents,
It seems that, by some means or other, that letter came into the hands of Joye; and when he considered himself safe from his pursuers, he printed it, with a commentary replying to the charges which it contained. His little book is entitled “The Letters whyche Johan Ashwell, Priour of Newnham Abbey besydes Bedforde, sente secretly to the Byshope of Lyncolne, in the yeare of our Lord M.D.xxvii. where in the sayde Pryour accuseth George Joye that tyme 'beyng felowe of Peter College in Cambrydge, of fower
opinyons : with the answere of the sayde George vnto the same opynyons.” It consists of about fifty-eight small pages, and is dated at the end, “At Straszburge, the 10. daye of June;” and beneath is added, “This lytell boke be delyuerd to Johan Ashwel Prior of Newnhā Abbey besydes Bedforde with spede.” On the back of the title, George Joye gives a brief synopsis of the errors and heresies with which he was charged, in the following form:
“ The fyrste opinion is (as M. priour sayth) that a symple preyst hath as large and as greate power to bynde and to lose, as hath a byshope, or the byshope of Rome.
( The seconde that be imputeth vnto me is that fayth is sufficient wythout workes.
( The thyrde that he fayneth on me, is that euery preist may have a wyfe or a concubine.
( The fowerth, that euery laye man maye heare confessions.
3 It may be proper to say, with respect to books of this period, that while I endeavour to give all extracts as correctly as possible. I do not feel bound to copy exactly the punctuation, (where there is anything that can be properly so called.) or all the contractions, misprints, and obsolete spelling which would render them tiresome, if not unintelligible to most readers. For words in brackets, unless otherwise explained, I am responsible.
(v. And because he sayth that I had men going on pylgrimage in deriseon, I have set to the scripture that dampneth worshippyng of images." The next page begins:
| Here foloweth the Pryours letters
worde for worde.
deliuered wyth spede. Most Reuerende father in god, dew recommendations had to you with humble obedience: I, your spirituall chylde, louing subget, and daily bedaman, is gladde to here of your prosperous welfare, yo which I and my brethern dayly praye to god to continew. And where as your lordship wrote your louynge letters, wyllynge them to be kepte secrete: so I beseche your lordshyp, that these symple letters of myne may be kepte secrete vnto your selfe. Also, where as my Lorde your suffragane informed your lordship one master Joye, by ye knowledge that he had of me, what erroneus opynyons he hylde: forsothe some be oute of my mynde, and some I haue called to my mynde by the reason of your letters. Una opinio erat, &c."
Here the cautious prior proceeds to detail the errors and heresies in Latin, but as we have already had a synopsis of them, we may skip rather more than a page, and take him up when he again becomes English.
“But for these and diuerse other we haue bene sumtyme sine charitate propter circumstantes and sedentes. And sumtime I haue geuen him exhortation openly, and sumtyme secretely, that he shuld leue such Lutronus opinions. Also M. Chaunceler made serche for him diuerse times when he came into the contre ; but thë he was euer at Cambrig in Peter house. And M. Chaunceler gaue vnto me strait commaundement in your lordshipes name that I shuld not suffer him to preche in none of your churches without your licens and writing with your sealle ; and so he came no more at me; nor I praye to god that he do not, except he amende, quia dictum vulgare infectionis with heresi, iulisy, and frensy, &c., but I beseche your lordship that no creature maye know that I, or any of mine, do shew you of these thinges for then I shall leusse the fauor of many in my contre. But I am, & haue ben, & wyll be euer at your commaundement. Et sic valeatis in Christo Jesu sicut cor in corpore meo.
Your louing subget and dayly orator Johannes
Prior de Newenham licet indignus. C More ouer I haue harde sume reporte that when he haue ben among lay persons at festis or yonkeres in the contre he bath had many lewde opinions among the people & some good folkys would murmur and grugge at his saynges and some wold reioyse therein."
Having thus given the prior's letters, (or as we should now say, letter, George Joye proceeds to confute his charges point by point; but this is not to our purpose; we are not discussing the Lutheran opinions charged on him, but inquiring how far he was a credible witness as to matters of fact; and the part which concerns us is a sort of postscript, which he entitles
The storie of my state after the bishop
letters" and which begins thus :
“On the Saterdaye seuennyght before aduent sondaye, the yeare of our Lorde M.D.XXVII. there were letters sent as from the Cardinall by one of hys offycers to Cambrydge, delyuered to the vyce Canceller called Doctour Edmonds master of Peter college, where I was then felowe. In whyche letters he was commaunded to sende me up to appeare at Westminster ye wendesdaye folowyng [the 27th of November) at ix. of the clok with Bylney and Arture, for certayne erroneous opynyons, &c. Our master sent for me on the morow in to the contrey, and I came to hym, on the mondaye. He shewed me the letters ; I red them, and sawe the Cardinals sygne manuell subscrybed in great letters, and his seale. I gote me horse when it snewed, and was colde, and came to London, and so to Westmynster, not longe after my howre, when Bilney and Arture were in examinacyon. Whyche thynge when I harde of, and knewe but those two poore shepe among so many cruel wolues, I was not ouer hastye to thruste in amonge them; for there was a shrewd mayney of bishops beside the Cardinal with other of theyr faction. And I thought to heare how these two lytell lambes shulde spede, yere I wold put myselfe into these lyons mouthes. I went to my diner and taried walkyng in the cyte.
“At last, on the Saterday, I came to a Master of myne called Syr Wyllyam Gascoingue, the Cardinales tresurer: and shewed him my errende, but he knewe all the conuayaunce of my cause better than I (for I beleue yet he was the author of all my trouble) and he bad me go in to the chamber of presence, and there Doctour Capon should present me to the Cardinall. I was but a course courtyer, neuer before hearynge this terme chamber of presence,' ne knew where it was ; and I was halfe ashamed to aske after it ; and went into a longe entrye on the lefte hande ; and at laste happened vpon a dore, and knocked, and one opened it; and when I loked in, it was the kichen. Then I went backe into the hall, and asked for the chamber of presence; and one poynted me up a payer of stayers. There stode I in the chamber of presence, when I wold wyth all my harte haue ben absent, waytynge for Doctour Capon almost an