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RIDLEY'S ACCOUNT OF HIS DISPUTATION AT OXFORD.
REPRINTED FROM COVERDALE'S LETTERS
OF THE MARTYRS.
The manner of Dr Ridley's handling in the schools at Ox
ford, and of the impudent, spiteful, and cruel dealing of the papists : which he set before his disputation by way of a preface'.
I never yet in all my life saw or heard any thing done or handled more vainly or tumultuously, than the disputation which was had with me of late in the schools at Oxford. And surely I could never have thought, that it had been possible to have found any within this realm, being of any knowledge, learning, and ancient degree of school, so brazenfaced and so shameless, as to behave themselves so vainly and so like stage-players, as they did in that disputation.
The Sorbonical clamours which at Paris (when popery most reigned,) I in times past have seen, might be worthily thought, in comparison of this thrasonical and glorious ostentation, to have had much modesty. Howbeit it was not to be wondered at, for that they which should there have been moderators and rulers of others, and which should have given a good example in word, gravity, &c. as Paul teacheth, 1 Tim. iv. gave worst example of all; and did, as it were, blow the trumpet to other, to rail, rage, roar, and cry out. By reason whereof, good Christian reader, it is manifest that they never sought for any truth, but only for the glory of the world and a bragging victory. But, besides the innumerable railings, rebukes, and taunts, wherewith I was baited on every side, lest our cause, which indeed is God's cause and his church's, should also by the false examples of our disputations be evil spoken of and slandered to the world, and so the verity sustain hurt and hindrance thereby ; I have thought good to write my answers myself, that whosoever is desirous
[ The original Latin will be found prefacing the disputation in Appendix. En.]
to know them and the truth withal, may thereby perceive those things which were chiefly objected against me, and also in effect, what was answered of me to every of them, Howbeit, good reader, I confess this to be most true, that it is impossible to set forth either all that was (God knoweth) tumultuously spoken, and like as of mad men objected of so many, which spake oftentimes huddle“, so that one could not well hear another; either all that was answered of me briefly to such and so diverse opponents. Moreover, a great part of the time appointed for the disputations was
vainly spent in most contumelious taunts, hissings, clapping • intolerable. of hands, and triumphs, more than tolerable' even in stage
plays, and that in the English tongue, to get the people's favour withal. All which things when I with godly grief did suffer, and therewithal did openly bewail and witness, that that company of learned men, and schools which were appointed to grave men and to grave matters, were contaminate and defiled by such foolish and Robinhood pastimes, and that they which were the doers of such things, did but thereby openly shew their vanity; I was so far by my such humble complaint from doing good, or helping any thing at all, that I was enforcedo, what with hissing and shouting, and what with authority, to hear such great reproaches and slanders uttered against me, as no grave man without blushing could abide the hearing of the same spoken ofo a most vile knave against a most wretched ruffian. At the beginning of the disputation, when I should have confirmed mine answer to the first proposition in few words, and that after the manner of disputations; before I could make an end of my probation, which was not very long, even the doctors themselves cried out, “He speaketh blasphemies, blasphemies, blasphemies.” And when I on my knees most humbly and heartily besought them, that they would vouchsafe to hear me to the end, whereat the prolocutor (something moved, as it seemed) cried out, “Let him read it, let him read it;" yet when I again began to read it, there was by and by such a cry and noise, “ Blasphemies, blasphemies," as I (to my remembrance) never heard or read the like, except it be one which was in the Acts of the Apostles stirred up of Demetrius the silversmith, and others of his occupation, crying
ACCOUNT OF THE DISPUTATION AT OXFORD.
out against Paul, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians, great is Diana of the Ephesians ;" and except it were a certain disputation which the Arians had against the Orthodox, and such as were of godly judgment in Africa, where it is said, that such as the presidents and rulers of the disputation were, such was also the end of the disputation, all was done in hurlyburly, and the slanders of the Arians were so outrageous that nothing could quietly be heard. So writeth Victor in the second book of his history. And thus the cries and tumults of these men against me now so prevailed, that, whether I would or no, I was enforced to leave off the reading of my probations, although they were but short. And of the truth hereof I have all those that were present, being of any discretion or honesty, to be my witnesses. But hereof will I cease to complain any further'.
Know, gentle reader, that master Prolocutor did promise me in the disputations publicly, that I should see mine answers, how they were collected and gathered of the notaries, and that I should have licence to add or diminish, to alter or change afterwards, as I should think best would make for me to the answering of the propositions. He promised moreover publicly, that I should have both time and place for me to bring in frankly all that I could for the confirmation of mine answers. Now when he had promised all these things openly, in the hearing of other commissioners and of the whole University of Oxford, yet, good reader, mark this, that in very deed he performed nothing of all that he promised : what faith then shall a man look to find at such judges' hands in the secret mysteries of God, which in their promises so openly made, and so duly debt,' (I sowing. will not speak of the witnesses of the matter,) are found to be so faithless both to God and man? Well, I will leave it to the judgment of the wise.
And now, for that is left for us to do, let us pray that God would have mercy on his Church of England ; that yet once,
[Coverdale, from whom this account is reprinted, divides it at this passage into two portions, and places each separately among Ridley's letters, at the same time apologizing for the division, and stating that it ought not to have been made. See Coverdale's Letters of the Reformers, fol. 112. Ed. 1564. Ed.]
when it shall be his good pleasure, it may clearly see and greedily embrace, in the faith of Jesus Christ, the will of the heavenly Father; and that, of his infinite mercy, he would either turn to him the raging and ravening wolves, and most subtle seducers of his people, which are by them altogether spoiled and bewitched, eithers that of his most righteous judgment he would drive these faithless feeders from his flock, that they may no more be able to trouble and scatter abroad Christ's sheep from their shepherd—and that speedily. Amen, amen. And let every one that hath the Spirit (as St John saith) say, Amen.
Yet further know thou, that when Master Prolocutor did put forth three propositions, he did command us to answer particularly to them all. After our answers neither he nor his fellows did ever enter into any disputation of any one of them, saving only of the first. Yea, when that he had asked us, after disputations of the first, (as ye have heard for my part,) whether we would subscribe to the whole in such sort, form, and words as there are set forth, without further disputation, (which thing we denied") by and by he gave sentence against us all; that is, against me, Dr Cranmer, and Mr Latimer, my most dear fathers and brethren in Christ; condemning us for heinous heretics concerning every of these propositions; and so separated us one from another, sending us severally into sundry and diverse houses, to be kept most secretly till the day of our burning; and as before, so still commanded, that all and every one of our servants should be kept from us; whereto he added that at his departure thence, pen, ink, and paper should depart from us also.
But thanks be to God, that gave me to write this before godly and the use of such things were utterly taken away. Almighty
God, which beholdeth the causes of the afflicted, and is wont imhich one to loose and look mercifully on the bonds and groanings penned with
of the captives, he vouchsafe now to look upon the causes hand.
of his poor church in England, and, of his great wisdom and unspeakable mercy, with speed to make an end of our misery! Amen, amen, amen.
He meaneth here that
port of his disputation
CERTAIN MATTERS WHEREIN STEPHEN GARDINER, BISHOP
OF WINCHESTER, VARIETH FROM OTHER OF THE
PAPISTS, TOUCHING THE SACRAMENT OF THE
LORD'S SUPPER; REPRINTED FROM
FOX'S ACTS AND MONUMENTS.
FORASMUCH, good reader, as our adversaries, that is the Romish Catholics, as Lindanus', Pighius, Gardiner, with others more, are wont so greatly to charge us with dissension and repugnance among ourselves; for the same cause I have thought good, especially having here in hand the story of Winchester, to set forth to the eyes of men a brief treatise of Dr Ridley, wherein, as in a glass, you may see, and that by his own words and in his own works, the manifest contrariety and repugnance of the said Winchester: first, with other writers; secondly, with himself, in the matter of the sacrament; thirdly, herein thou mayest see and understand how far and wherein not only he disagreeth from his own profession, but also granteth and agreeth with sundry of our assertions in the said matter; as by reading thereof thou mayest see and perceive more at large.
*OTHER Catholics say, that the body of Christ is made of bread. Thomas vult, ex pane, non de pane, parte tertia”; Winchester saith, that the body of Christ is not made of the matter of bread, nor ever was so taught, but is made present of bread.
[The following may be mentioned as a specimen of such writings: “De M. Lutheri aliorum sectariorum varietate opuscula; item Guil. Lindani hereseon tabulæ ;" Coloniæ, 1579. Ed.]
[* The second references within brackets thus (-) refer to Cranmer's works, Ed. Oxon. by the Rev. Henry Jenkyns, M.A. 1833. Ed.]
2 Quest. 75, art. 8.