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minister of it, and by the exorcism ordered for it the thing to be used purged, there can be but slender matter to improve that custom, wherein God is only honoured, and the power of his name set forth; whereunto all things bow and give place, all natural operation set apart and secluded. And when any man hath denied that water may do service, because scripture appointeth it not, that "because" driveth away much of the rest which the church useth, and especially our cramp-rings. For if water may not serve to carry abroad the effects of God's grace, obtained by invocation from God, by the common prayer of the church, how can the metal of silver or gold carry abroad the effect of the king's invocation in the cramp-rings? Which manner of reasoning ad hominem Christ used with the Jews, when he said, Si ego in Beelzebub ejicio dæmonia, filii vestri in quo ejiciunt? And that by our own principles we should be enforced to say, that our cramp-rings be superstitious (where truth enforceth us not so to do), it were a marvellous punishment. Si cæci essemus, as Christ saith, peccatum non haberemus, sed videmus; and this realm hath learning in it, and you a good portion thereof; according whereunto I doubt not but you will weigh this matter, non ad popularem trutinam, sed artificis stateram: I mean, that artificer which teacheth the church our mother (as ye fully declared it), and ordered our mother to give nourishment unto us. In which point, speaking of the church, although ye touched an unknown church to us, and known to God only, yet you declared the union of that church in the permixt church, which God ordereth men to complain unto and to hear again; wherein the absurdity is taken away of them that would have no church known, but every man believe as he were inwardly taught himself; whereupon followeth the old proverb, Σοὶ μὲν ταῦτα δοκοῦντ ̓ ἐστὶν, ἐμοὶ de Tade; which is far from the unity ye so earnestly wished for, whereof (as me thought) ye said, "Pride is the let;" as it is undoubtedly. Which fault God amend, and give you grace so to fashion your words, as ye may agree with them in speech, with whom ye be inclined to agree in opinion! For that is the way to relieve the world.
And albeit there hath been between you and me no fa
miliarity, but, contrariwise, a little disagreement (which I did not hide from you), yet, considering the fervent zeal ye professed to teach Peter's true doctrine, that is to say, Christ's true doctrine, whereunto ye thought the doctrine of images, and holy water to put away devils, agreed not; I have willingly spent this time to communicate unto you my folly (if it be folly) plainly as it is; whereupon ye may have occasion the more substantially, fully, and plainly to open these matters for the relief of such as be fallen from the truth, and confirmation of those that receive and follow it; wherein it hath been ever much commended, to have such regard to histories of credit, and the continual use of the church, rather to shew how a thing continued from the beginning, as holy water and images have done, may be well used, than to follow the light rash eloquence, which is ever ad manum, to mock and improve that which is established. And yet again, I come to Marcellus, that made a cross in the water, and bade his deacon cast it abroad cum fide et zelo; after which sort if our holy water were used, I doubt not but there be many Marcellus's, and many Eliseus's, and many at whose prayer God forgiveth sin, if such as will enjoy that prayer have faith and zeal, as Equitius, and were as desirous to drive the devil out of the temple of their body and soul, as Equitius out of the temple of Jupiter. So as if holy use were coupled with holy water, there should be more plenty of holiness than there is; but, as men be profane in their living, so they cannot abide to have any thing effectually holy, not so much as bread and water; fearing lest they should take away sin from us, which we love so dearly well. Solus Christus peccata diluit, who sprinkleth his blood by his ministers, as he hath taught his spouse the church, in which those ministers be ordered, wherein "many ways maketh not many saviours," as ignorants do jest; whereof I need not speak further unto you, no more I needed not in the rest in respect of you; but, me thought, ye conjured all men in your sermon to say what they thought to you, Id quod hanc mihi expressit epistolam, quam boni consules; Et vale.
Your loving friend,
Letter from the Protector Edward, Duke of Somerset, to DR RIDLEY.
AFTER our right hearty commendations to your lordship, we have received your letters of the first of June, again replying to those which we last sent unto you. And as it appeareth, ye, yet remaining in your former request, desire, if things do occur so, that according to your conscience ye cannot do them, that you might absent yourself, or otherwise keep silence. We would be loth any thing should be done by the king's majesty's visitors, otherwise than right and conscience might allow and approve and visitation is to direct things to the better, not to the worse; to ease consciences, not to clog them. Marry, we would wish that executors thereof should not be scrupulous in conscience, otherwise than reason would. Against your conscience, it is not our will to move you, as we would not gladly do, or move any man to that which is against right and conscience; and we trust the king's majesty hath not in this matter. And we think in this ye do much wrong, and much discredit the other visitors, that ye should seem to think and suppose, that they would do things against conscience. We take them to be men of that honour and honesty, that they will not. My lord of Canterbury hath declared unto us, that this maketh partly a conscience unto you, that divines should be diminished. That can be no cause; for, first, the same was met before in the late king's time, to unite the two colleges together; as we are sure ye have heard, and Sir Edward North can tell and for that cause, all such as were students of the law, out of the new erected cathedral church, were disappointed of their livings, only reserved to have been in that civil college. The King's hall being in manner all lawyers, canonists were turned and joined to Michael-house, and made a college of divines, wherewith the number of divines was much augmented, civilians diminished. Now at
this present also, if in all other colleges, where lawyers be by the statutes, or the king's injunctions ye do convert them, or the more part of them, to divines, ye shall rather have more divines upon this change than ye had before. The King's college should have six lawyers; Jesus college some; the Queen's college, and other, one or two apiece; and, as we are informed, by the late king's injunctions, every college in Cambridge one at the least: all these together do make a greater in number, than the fellows of Clare-hall be, and they now made divines, and the statutes in that reformed divinity shall not be diminished in number of students, but increased, as appeareth, although these two colleges be so united. And we are sure ye are not ignorant, how necessary a study that study of civil law is to all treaties with foreign princes and strangers, and how few there be at this present to do the king's majesty's service therein. For we would the increase of divines, as well as you. Marry, necessity compelleth us also to maintain the science; and we require you, my lord, to have consideration how much you do hinder the king's majesty's proceedings in that visitation if now you, who are one of the visitors, should thus draw back and discourage the other, ye should much hinder the whole doings; and peradventure that thing known, maketh the master and fellows of Clare-hall to stand the more obstinate; wherefore we require you to have regard of the king's majesty's honour, and the quiet performings of that visitation, most of the glory of God, and benefit of that university; the which thing is only meant in your instructions. To the performing of that, and in that manner, we can be content you use your doings as ye think best, for the quieting of your conscience. Thus we bid you right heartily farewell. From Richmond, the 10th of June, 1549.
Your loving friend,
The King's Letter to NICHOLAS RIDLEY, Bishop of
RIGHT reverend father in God, right trusty and wellbeloved, we greet you well. And whereas it is come to our knowledge, that the altars within the most part of the churches of this realm being already upon good and godly considerations taken down, there do yet remain altars standing in divers other churches, by occasion whereof much variance and contention ariseth among sundry of our subjects, which, if good foresight were not had, might perchance engender great hurt and inconvenience; we let you wit, that, minding to have all occasion of contention taken away, which many times groweth by those and such like diversities, and considering that, amongst other things belonging to our royal office and cure, we do account the greatest to be, to maintain the common quiet of our realm; we have thought good, by the advice of our council, to require you, and nevertheless specially to charge and command you, for the avoiding of all matters of further contention and strife about Altars taken the standing or taking away of the said altars, to give sub- destroyed. stantial order throughout all your diocese, that with all diligence all the altars in every church or chapel, as well in places exempted as not exempted, within your said diocese, be taken down; and instead thereof a table be set up in some convenient part of the chancel, within every such church or chapel, to serve for the ministration of the blessed Consideracommunion. And to the intent the same may be done persuade without the offence of such our loving subjects as be not yet so well persuaded in that behalf as we would wish, we send unto you herewith certain considerations gathered and [ Edward VI. ED.]