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right beleefe towards almightie God, I will rehearse unto you in a fast faith, the articles of my Creed ;" and then began to rehearse them in order as they be in the common Creed, with oft elevating his eyes and hands to almightie God; and at the article of Christs incarnation, having a little meditation in himselfe, and comming to the word Crucified, he humblie bowed himselfe and made great reverence; and then proceeded in the articles, and comming to these words, I beleeve the Catholike Church, there he paused and spake these words, “Good people I must heere confesse to have offended the church, in preaching once against the prohibition of the same, at a poore cure belonging to Trinity hall in Cambridge, where I was fellow, earnestly entreated thereunto by the curate and other good people of the parish, shewing that they had no Serinon there of long time before: and so in my conscience moved, I did make a poore collation unto them, and thereby ran into the disobedience of certaine authoritie in the church by whom I was prohibited: howbeit I trust at the generall day, charitie that moved me to this act, shall beare me out at the judgment seat of God:” and so he proceeded on, without any manner of words of recantation, or charging any man for procuring him to his death.

This once done, he put off his gowne, and went to the stake, and kneeling upon a little ledge comming out of the stake, whereon ne should afterward stand to be better seene, he made his private prayer with such earnest elevation of his eies and hands to heaven, and in so good quiet behaviour, that he seemed not inuch to consider the terrour of his death; and ended at the last, his private prayers with the 143. Psalme, beginning, Heare my prayer O Lord, consider my desire: and the next verse he repeated in deepe ineditation thrice : And enter not into judgement with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man


living be justified: and so finishing that Psalme he ended his privat prayers.

After that, he turned himselfe to the officers, ask ing them if they were readie, and they answered, Yea. Whereupon he put off his jacket and doublet; and stood in his hose and shirt, and went unto the stake, standing upon that ledge, and the chaine was cast about him; and standing thereon, the said doctour Warner came to him to bid him farewell, which spake but few words for weeping.

Upon whom the said Thomas Bilney did most gently souile, and inclined his bodie to speake to him à few words of thanks, and the last were these, O master doctor, Pasce gregem tuum, Pascé grégène tuum, ut cum venerit Dominus, inveniat te sic facientem. That is, Feed your flocke, feed your flocke, that when the Lord commeih, he may find you so doing: and farewell good master doctor, and pray for me: and so he departed without any answere, sobbing and weeping.

And while he thus stood upon the ledge at the stake, certaine friers, doctors and priors of their houses being there present (as they were uncharitablie and maliciously present at his examination and degradation,) came to him and said ; “O master Bilney the people be perswaded that we be the causers of your death, and that we have procured the same, and thereupon it is like that they will withdraw their charitable almes froin us all, except you declare your charitie towards us, and discharge us of the mata ter.” Whereupon the said Thomas Bilney spake with à loud voice to the people, and said ; “I pray you good people be never the worse to these men for

my sake, as though they should be the authors of my death; it was not they :” and so he ended.

Then the officers put reed, and fagots about his bodie, and set fire on the reed, which made a very great flame, which sparkled and deformed the visour

of his face, he holding up his hands and knocking upon his brest, crying sometimes Jesus, sometimes Credo. Which flame was blowne away from him by the violence of the wind, which was that day and two or three daies before notable great, in which it was said that the fields were marvellously plagued by the losse of corne: and so for a little pause, he stood without flame, the flame departing and recoursing thrice ere the wood tooke strength to be the sharper to consume him : and then he gave up the ghost, and his bodie being withered bowed downeward upon

the chaine. Then one the officers with his halberd smote out the staple in the stake behind him, and suffered his bodie to fall into the bottom of the fire, laying wood on it, and so he was consumed.

Thus have ye (good Readers) the true historie, and martyrdome of this good man.


What was philosophy in this extraordinary man, would be frenzy in one who does not resemble him, as well in the cheerfulness of his temper, as in the sanctity of his life and manners.


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