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THOMAS BILNE Y.

VOL. II.

B

The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray:
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works thou art the seed,
Which quickens only where thou sayest it may.
Unless thou shew to us thine own true way
No man can find it: Father! thou must lead.
Do thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my

mind By which such virtue may in me be bred, That in thy holy footsteps I may tread: The fetters of my tongue do thou unbind, That I may have the power to sing of thee, And sound thy praises everlastingly!

W. WORDSWORTH,

THOMAS BILNEY.

THOMAS BILNEY was brought up in the Universitie of Cambridge, from a child, profiting in all kind of liberall sciences, even unto the profession of both lawes. But at the last, having gotten a better schoolemaster, even the holy spirit of Christ, enduing bis heart by privie inspiration with the knowledge of better and more wholesome things, he came at the last unto this point, that forsaking the knowledge of mans lawes, he converted his studie to those things, which tended more unto godlinesse than gainfulnesse.

As he himselfe was greatly inflamed with the love of true religion and godlinesse, even so againe was in his heart an incredible desire to allure many unto the same, desiring nothing more than that he might stir up and encourage any to the love of Christ, and sincere religion. Neither were bis labours vaine, for be converted many of his fellowes unto the knowledge of the Gospel; amongst which number was Thomas Arthur, and master Hugh Latimer; which Latimer at that time was Crosse-keeper at Cambridge, bringing it forth upon procession daies. At the last, Bilpey forsaking the universitie, went into many places, teaching and preaching, being associate with Arthur, which accompanied him from the Universitie.

The authoritie of Thomas Wolsey, Cardinall of Yorke, at that time was great in England, but his pompe and pride much greater, which did evidently

declare unto ali wise men, the manifest vanitie, not only of his life, but also of all the bishops and clergie. Whereupon Bilney, with other good men, marvelling at the incredible insolencie of the clergie, which they could now no longer suffer or abide, began to shake and reprove this excessive pompe, and also to plucke at the authoritie of the bishop of Roine.

Then it was time for the cardinall to awake, and speedily to looke about his businesse. Neither lacked be in this point any craft or subtiltie of a serpent; for he understood well enough upon how slender a foundation their ambitious dignitie was grounded, neither was be ignorant that their proud kingdome could not long continue against the manitest word of God, especially if the light of the Gospel should once open the eyes of men. For, otherwise, he did not greatly feare the power and displeasure of kings and princes : Only this he feared, the voice of Christ in his Gospell, lest it should disclose and detect their hypocrisie and deceits, and force thein to come to an order of godly discipline : wherefore he thought good, speedily in time to withstand these beginnings. Whereupon he caused the said Bilney and Arthur to be apprehended and cast into prison.

After this, the seven and twentieth day of November, in the yeere of our Lord 1527, the said cardinall accompanied with a great number of bishops, as the archbishop of Canterburie, Cuthbert of London, John of Rochester, Nicholas of Ely, John of Exeter, John of Lincolne, John of Bathe and Welles, Henrie of Saint Asse, with many other both Divines and Lawyers, came into the Chapterhouse at Westminster, where the said master Thomas Bilney, and Thomas Arthur were brought before them, and the said cardinall there enquired of

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