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CHAP. “ but they had warners thereof, and great chastisements
“ therefore ; and we to have no warner in this long space of Anno 1556.« so many years living in idolatry. What would blaspheme
“ more the providence of God towards his Church, from “ the which he promiseth never to be absent.
“ And whenas we know the old people could not fall “ in carnal vices, but they had Priests and Prophets to “ warn them; and if they did not of themselves, then God “ himself warneth them, and reproveth them for their si“ lence, calling them sometimes canes mutos non valentes “ latrare. But what reproof were worthy our Priests and
Prophets, if, when such idolatry crept into the Church, “ there was not found the space of so many hundred years “ as passed from the primitive Church to Berengarius's “ time, that did reprove men of this idolatry?
“ So that here, when I consider myself, I cannot so 6 much marvel at mine own blindness, that I saw not in “this point how I blasphemed Christ, and condemned the
Church, taking that for idolatry, that the Church conti
nually had used, and was never condemned. But yet “ here I cannot say I was so blind, but I saw somewhat “this inconvenience, what a thing it was thus to go “ against the whole consent of the Church. But to avoid " that, and to amend it, I fell into another; which was, to
displace the Church where Christ had set it, as I had
displaced the body of Christ in the Sacrament. So that “ the congregation of all Christian men, which was com“monly called the Church, I took not for the Church; but « sometime I made the Church a spiritual congregation “ without a body, invisible as the spirit is; and yet, seeing “ some inconvenience in that, I began to belie the Church,
say it was visible, and seen on earth, but most seen “ in the Apostles' time, which was the primitive Church. " And those I took to be of mine opinion, and divers “ Doctors that followed, whose sentence I did interpretate
as to agree with mine. Wherein I went from error to “ error, mending the first with a second, and so increasing “ in blindness, which I took for light, and did what I could
“ to bring the whole realm into blindness; as it was as “ much as man's wit and malice could do, by them that “ had highest authority in the realm. But non est consi- Anno 1556. “ lium contra Dominum : et potestati ejus quis resistet ?
“ This God having ever shewed most notable, hath now “ also shewed it in this realm, preserving a virgin to shew “ the marvellous work of his presence, his true doctrine, “ in all the time of that tempestuous world, as it were a
lamp-light in the midst of a stormy wind in a maiden's “ hand; whom no learning, no persuasion, no fear could “ turn, no power oppress; but made her oppress them “ that had all the power of the realm in their hand : which
was a great miracle to all them that had grace to see it. “ But here, alas ! I was so far from grace to see it, and to “ receive it as all the rest did, that I began to think how I might flee it, and judged it most wisdom so to do. And
I did, fleeing from that place, where true religion, “ being trod under foot afore, began to spring again; and
went thither, where I had more occasion to be confirmed “ in my corrupt opinion. But in my case I may say also,
non est consilium contra Dominum: which, when I
thought least, subverted all my counsel, and, as it were “ with a hurle-wind, took me from the place I was in, and
brought me over the sea, and never knew whither I went, “ afore I found myself in the Tower of London, which of “ all places I abhorred most.
“And yet at last I came to have that comfort, that I “ confess now I never came into place where I had more
cause to thank God. But at the beginning I was so “ confused with this strange chance, that when I knew at “ mine examination the cause of my sudden bringing, “ which was chiefly for religion, there was no death but I “ had liever suffered it, than to change that opinion I “ brought with me. Albeit, after a few days that I was “ first examined, being sent unto me two learned men, as
they shewed full of charity, I shewed myself to hear “them not unwillingly; and gladly to confer my doubts “ with them, and desired to be better informed. Yet the
CHAP. “ conclusion was such with them, that in
deed they V.
“ moved me nothing, and so left me as desperate to be Anno 1556. reconciled as their desire was; and so continued, until
“ it pleased God to put in the Queen's Majesty's mind, of “ her grace, mercy, and charity, to prove me yet better. “ And her Grace, not knowing, sent unto me one, who, in “ King Edward's time, being in prison in that same place “ where I was now, by order that was given then, was “ fetched out to be examined afore me. To whom I shewed “ that courtesy the case could require; but I could not “ bring him to mine opinion. And the selfsame man now
was the mean to bring me utterly unto his; and fetched
me out of the Tower to come afore my Lord Legate; " which in truth I did desire.
“ Beginning now to incline to the Catholic sentence; “ but not so far as to make any manner of confession of “ mine error, or open recantation, (wherein I desired my “Lord Legate to have compassion of my frailty ;) but after “ twice communication in one day of the same matter, at "last, God of his mercy was stronger in me, and made
me, as I did in the doctrine, submit my reason and sense “ to the doctrine of the Church : so also my person I sub“mitted to be ordered, as it should be thought best for
my soul's wealth, of them whom God had given authority in the Church upon such offenders. And this being
my Lord Legate's order, that I should appear in this “place to confess and retract my pernicious sentence, in “this I thank Almighty God, first, with an humble and “ contrite heart, that it hath pleased him to use this mercy “ with me; and afterwards the Queen's Highness, that “she vouchsafed first to bear with my infinite offences, and “ to send unto me such men as she did, to direct me, and “ confirm me in the right way; and finally, to be content “ to let me come to her presence; and so withal to my “ Lord Legate that gave the order, and all that have been “ ministers therein.
“ And for an assured token, that I say with my mouth “ that which I think with my heart, being fallen into the
“ error which Berengarius fell into, I make the selfsame SECT. “ recantation that he did, only changing the name.
V. “ I, Sir John Cheke, Knight,” &c. The tenor of which Anno 1556. was, that he pretended with heart and mouth to profess, Decret. iii. that he acknowledged the true catholic and apostolical faith, and did execrate all heresy, and namely that wherewith he lately had been infamed, as holding that the bread and wine upon the altar, after the consecration of the Priest, remained only a sacrament, and were not the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, neither could be handled or broken by the Priest's hands, or chewed with the teeth of the faithful, otherwise than only in manner of a sacrament. That he consented now to the holy and apostolical Church of Rome, and professed with mouth and heart to hold the same faith touching the sacrament of the Lord's Mass, which Pope Nicolas, with his Synod* at Rome * Met
chiefly ao anno 1058, did hold, and commanded to be held by his
gainst Beevangelical and apostolical authority: that is, that the rengarius. bread and wine upon the altar, after consecration, are not only a sacrament, but also are the very true and selfsame body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, felt and broken with hands, and chewed with teeth: swearing by the holy Evangelists, that whosoever should hold or say to the contrary, he should hold them perpetually accursed; and that if he himself should hereafter presume to teach against the same, he should be content to abide the severity and rigour of the Canons, &c.
“ Thus you have heard mine open and plain confession: “ which it may please Almighty God so to accept that not s only it be to the wealth of my soul, but of as many as “ hear it. Upon which trust I came the gladlier hither ;
nothing more desiring at this time, than that it may “ please the goodness of God to give me time and grace,
that, as mine example, holding my perverse opinion, hath “ been cause of ruin and slander of many, that either, by
my occasion, or by another, be fallen in the like error, or
yet be in any wavering in their opinion of the blessed “ Sacrament; which, that it may be better eschewed, I
CHAP. “ shall adjoin (pleasing you to hear it) the very beginning
“ of my fall ; which is none other than the same beginning Anno 1556." that bringeth men to all kind of heresy. And that was
pride, which stood in confidence of mine own wit,
making myself a master and judge of the doctrine of the “ Church: whereas I was not come to the perfectness to “ be a good scholar. But when I heard other men begin “ to put a doubt in this article of the Sacrament, and also “afore I heard them doubt, I began myself to make doubt “ to myself, seeing that doctrine so far beyond all reason “ and sense, whether this were a figurative speaking, as
many other be in Scripture like, or else a plain literal “sense, as the words sounded; and seeing divers places, “ both in Scripture, and in some other Doctors that “ seemed to favour the opinion of a figurative speaking; “ seeing also that, taking it in that sense, it should not be “ so much abhorred commonly of men, of what religion “soever they were, nay, of the Jews themselves; which, “ if they did take the thing, that Christ made himself “ victima paschalis for us, would never abhor this manner “ of sacrifice to be a figure of that. Upon this ground, “ hearing and reading what was written at this time of “ learned men in Germany, and what a great number were “ fallen into this opinion, this confirmed me utterly in the “ same: especially seeing (as I took it) the providence of “God had wrought, that also it was accepted in the whole
realm, all masses cast away, and condemned as a sacri“fice of idolaters; whereby I was so confirmed. Seeing “ withal, that many places of Scripture, being more illus“ trate than they were in our fathers' days; and the whole “ Scripture more read, and the intelligence of it more
sought, than it was these years past, when this opinion “ was less doubted of; I thought this was one greater “ light given to the world, which by the more study of the “ word of God was more revealed; and that the other was “ brought in when men began to fall from studies of Scriptures, and
gave them to their own inventions: which was after the Apostles' times and the primitive Church,