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Although Master Latimer did appeal to his own divinaria, requiring by him to be ordered; yet, all that notwithstanding, he was had up to London, before Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London, where he was greatly molested and detained a long space from his cure at home, where, he being called thrice every week before the said bishops, to make answer for his preaching, had certain articles or propositions drawn out and laid to him, whereunto they required him to subscribe. At length, he, not only perceiving their practical proceedings, but also much grieved with their troublesome unquietness, which neither would preach themselves, nor yet suffer him to preach, and to do his duty, writeth to the foresaid archbishop, partly excusing his infirmity, whereby he could not appear at their commandments, partly expostulating with them for so troubling and detaining him from his duty doing, and that for no just cause, but only for preaching the truth against certain vain abuses crept into religion, much needful to be spoken against.
He appeareth by this epistle, to have written to the bishop, that he durst not consent unto them, where he writeth in these words: His ego nudis sententiis subscribere non audeo, quia popularis superstitionis diutius duraturæ, quoad possum, authorçulus esse nolo, &c. But yet, whether he was compelled afterwards to agree, through the cruel handling of the bishops, it is in doubt. By the words and the title in Lonstal's Register, prepared before the articles, it may be seen that he subscribed.The words of the Register be these: Hugo Latimerus in sacra theologia Bacch. in Universitate Cantab. coram Cant. Archiepisc. Joha. Lond. episcopo, reliquaq, concione apud Wistom. vocatus, confessus est, &c. recognovit fidem suam sic sentiendo ut sequitur in his artic. 21 die Martij, unno 1551. If these words be true, it may be thought that he subscribed. And whether he so did, no great matter nor marvel, the iniquity of the time being such, that either he must needs so do, or else abide the bishops' blessing, that is, cruel sentence of death, which he at that time (as he himself confesses, preaching at Stamford) was loath to abstain for such matters as these were, unless it were for articles necessary of his belief; by which his words, I conjecture rather, that he did subscribe at length, albeit it was long before he could be brought so to do. Yet this, by the way, is to be noted, concerning the crafty and deceitful handling of these bishops in his examination, what subtil devices they used the same time to entrap him in their snares. The truth of the story, he sheweth forth himself in a certain sermon preached at Stamford, An. 1550, Octob. 9; his words be these: I was once (said he) in examination before five or six bishops, where I had much turmoiling; every week thrice I came to examina
tion, and many snares and traps were laid to get something. Now God knoweth I was ignorant of the law, but that God gave me answer and wisdom what I should speak; it was God, indeed, for else I had never escaped them. At the last I was brought forth to be examined into a chamber hanged with arras, where I was wont to be examined: but now at this time the chamber was somewhat altered, for whereas before there was wont ever to be a fire in the chimney, now the fire was taken away, and an arras hanged over the chimney, and the table stood near the chimney's end. There was amongst these bishops that examined me, one with whom I have been very familiar, and took him for my great friend, an aged man, and he sat at the table's end. When, amongst all other questions, he put forth one, a very subtil and crafty one, and such a one, indeed, as I could not think so great danger in. And when I should make answer, I pray you, M. Latimer, said one, speak out; I am very thick of hearing, and here be many that set far off. I marvelled at this, that I was bidden speak out, and began to misdeem, and gave an ear to the chimney; and, sir, there I heard a pen working in the chimney behind the cloth, they had appointed one there to write all mine answers; for they made sure, that I should not start from them: there was no starting from them. God was my good Lord, and gave me answer, I could never else have escaped it. The question to him there and then objected was this; whether he thought in his conscience that he had been suspected of heresy. This was a captious question. There was no holding of peace would serve; for that was to grant himself faulty. To answer it was every way full of danger. But God which alway giveth in need what to answer, helped him, or else (as he confessed himself) he had never escaped their bloody hands. Albeit, what was his answer he doth not there express. And thus hitherto you have heard declared the manifold troubles of this godly preacher, in the time not only of his being in the university, but especially at his benefice, as partly in his own words above mentioned, and partly by his own letters hereafter following, may better appear. In these so hard and dangerous straits, and such snares of the Bishops, hard it had been for him and impossible to have escaped, and continued so long, had not the Almighty helping hand of the highest, as he stirred him up, so preserved him through the favour and power of his Prince; who with much favour embraced him, and with his mere power sometime rescued and delivered him out of the crooked claws of his enemies. Moreover, at length also, through the procurement partly of Doctor Buttes, partly of good Cromwell, he advanced him to the dignity and degree of a Bishop, making him the Bishop Worcester, which so continued a few years, instructing his
diocess according to the duty of a diligent and vigilent pastor, with wholesome doctrine and example of perfect conversation duely agreeing to the same. It were a long matter to stand particularly upon such things as might here be brought to the commendations of his pains; as study, readiness, and continual carefulness in teaching, preaching, exhorting, visiting, correcting and reforming either as his ability could serve, or else the time would bear. But the days then were so dangerous and variable that he could not in all things do that he would; yet what he might do, that he performed to the uttermost of his strength, so that although he could not utterly extinguish all the sparkling reliques of old superstition, yet he so wrought, that though they could not be taken away, yet they should be used with as little hurt, and with as much profit as might be, as (for example) in this thing, and in divers other it did appear, that when it could not be avoided, but holy water and holy bread must needs be received, yet so he prepared and instructed them of his diocess, with such informations and lessons, that in receiving thereof superstition should be excluded, and some remembrance taken, thereby teaching and charging the ministers of his diocess in delivering the holy water and the holy bread, to say these words following:
Words spoken to the people in giving them holy waters.
"Remember your promise in baptism,
By whose most holy sprinkling
Of all your sins you have free pardoning."
What to say in giving holy bread.
"Of Christ's body this a token
Which on the cross for our sins was broken,
By this may be considered what the vigilant care of this bishop was in doing the duty of a faithful pastor among his flock. And moreover it is to be thought, that he would have brought more things else to pass, if the time then had answered to his desire; for he was not ignorant, how the institution of holy water and holy bread not only had no ground in Scripture, but also how full of prophane exorcisms and conjurations they were, contrary to the rule and learning of the gospel. Thus this good man behaved himself in his diocese; but (as before) both in the university and at his benefice, he was tossed and
turmoiled by wicked and evil disposed persons; so in his bishoprick, also, he was not all clear and void of some that sought his trouble. As among many other evil willers, one especially there was, and that no small person, which accused him then to the king for his sermons. The story, because he himself sheweth in a sermon of his before King Edward, I thought, therefore, to use his own words, which be these.
In the king's days that is dead, a great many of us were called together before him, to say our minds in certain matters. In the end, one kneeled down and accuseth me of a sedition; and that I had preached seditious doctrine. A heavy salutation, and a hard point of such a man's doing, as if I should name, ye would not think. The king turned to me, and said, What say you to that, sir? When I kneeled down, and turned me first to my accuser, and required him, Sir, what form of preaching would you appoint me in preaching before a king? would you have me preach nothing as concerning a king in the king's sermon? have you any commission to appoint me what I shall preach? besides this I asked him divers other questions, and he would make me no answer to any of them all; he had nothing to say. Then I turned me to the king and said, I never thought myself worthy, nor did I ever sue to be a preacher before your grace, but I was called to it, and would be willing (if you mislike me) to give place to my betters; for I grant there be a great many more worthy of the room than I am; and if it be your grace's pleasure so to allow them for preachers, I could be content to bear their books after them; but if your grace allow me for a preacher, I would desire your grace to give me leave to discharge my conscience, give me leave to frame my doctrine according to my audience. I had been a very dolt to have preached so at the borders of your realm, as I preach before your grace; and I thank Almighty God (which has always been my remedy) that my sayings were well accepted of the king, for, like a gracious lord, he turned into another communication. It is even as the Scripture saith, Cor regis in manu domini, i. e. the Lord directeth the king's heart. Certain of my friends came to me with tears in their eyes, and told me they looked I should have been in the Tower the same night.' Besides this, divers other conflicts and combats this godly bishop sustained in his own country and diocess, in taking the cause of right and equity against oppressions and wrong. As, for another example, there was at that time, not far from the diocess of Worcester, a certain justice of peace, whom here. I will not name, being a good man afterwards, and now deceased. This justice, in purchasing of certain land for his brother, or for himself, went about to wrong or damnify a poor man, who made his complaint to Master Latimer; he first hearing, then
tendering his rightful cause, wrote his letter to the gentleman, exhorting him to remember himself, to consider his cause, and to abstain from injury. The justice of peace, not content withall, (as the fashion of men is when they are told of their fault), sendeth word again in great displeasure, that he would not so take it at his hands with such threatening words, &c. Master Latimer hearing this, answered again by writing to a certain gentleman, the copy whereof, among his letters, hereafter followeth in the sequel of this story to be seen. It were a large and long process to story out all the doings, travels, and writings of this Christian bishop, neither have we expressed all that came to our hands; but this I thought sufficient for this present. Thus he continued in this laborious situation of a bishop the space of certain years, till the coming in of the six articles: when being distressed through the straightness of time, so that either he must lose the quiet of a good conscience, or else forsake his bishoprick,-he did of his own free accord resign his pastorship; at which time, Wharton, the Bishop of Salisbury, resigned likewise with him his bishoprick. And so these two remained a great space unbishopped, keeping silence till the time of King Edward of blessed memory. At what time he first put off his rochet in his chamber among his friends, suddenly he gave a skip in the floor for joy, feeling his shoulders so light, and being discharged (as he said) of such an heavy burden. Howbeit, neither was he so lightened, but that troubles and labours followed him wheresoever he went. For a little after he had renounced his bishoprick, first he was almost slain, but sore bruised with the fall of a tree. When coming up to London for remedy, he was molested and troubled of the bishops, whereby he was again in no little danger, and, at length, was cast into the Tower, where he continually remained prisoner, till the time that blessed King Edward entered his crown, by means whereof the golden mouth of this preacher, long shut up before, was now opened again. And so he beginning afresh to set forth his plough again, continued all the time of the said king, labouring in the Lord's harvest most fruitfully, discharging his talent as well in divers other places of this realm, as in Stamford, and before the Dutchess of Suffolk (whose sermons be extant and set forth in print), as also in London in the convocation house; and especially before the king at the court: in the same place of the inward garden, which was before applied to lascivious and courtly pastimes, there he dispensed the fruitful word of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching there before the king and his whole court to the edification of many. In this his painful travel, he occupied himself all King Edward's days, preaching for the most part every Sunday twice, to the no small shame of all other