The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Appeal of William Swinderby from this Sentence of the Bishop prefixed, unto the King and his Council

The Appeal of William Swinderby from this Sentence of the Bishop prefixed, unto the King and his Council.

'In nomine patris, et filij, et spiritus sancti,' Amen. I William Swinderby, priest, knowledge openlie to all men, that I was before the bishop of Hereford the third day of October, and before manie other good clerks, to answere to certaine conclusions of the faith that I was accused of. And mine answer was this: That if the bishop or any man couthe shewe me by Gods law, that my conclusions or mine answeres were error or heresie, I would be amended, and openlie reuoke them before all the people. * * *[1] knowes in any of my conclusions, but sayden singly with word, that there were errours in them, and bidden me subiect me to the bishop, and put me into his grace and reuoke mine errour, and shewed me nought by Gods law ne reason, ne proued which they weren. And for I would not knowledge me guiltie, so as I knewe no errour in them, of which I should be guiltie, therefore the bishop sate in dome in mine absence, and deemed me an hereticke, a schismaticke, and a teacher of errours, and denounced me accursed, that I come not to correction of the church. And therefore, for this vnrightfull iudgement, I appeale to the kings justices for manie other causes.

The king's court above the bishop's court.One cause is, for the kings court, in such matter, is aboue the bishops court: for after that the bishop has accursed, hee may ne feare by his law, but then mote he sech succour of the kings law, and by a writ of 'significauit,' put a man in prison.

The second cause is, for in cause of heresie there liggeth iudgement of death, and that dome may not be giuen without the kings justices. For the bishop will say: '{{lang|la|Nobis non licet interficere quenquam,' that is, 'It is not lawfull for vs to kill any man: as they sayden to Pilate, vhen Christ should be deemed. And for I think that no justice will giue sodainly and vntrue dome as the bishop did, and therefore openlie I appeale to hem and send my conclusions to the knightes of the parliament, to be shewed to the lordes, and to be taken to the justices, to be well auiset or that they geuen dome.

What is a heretic.The third cause is, for it was a false dome: for no man is an hereticke, but he that maisterfullie defends his errour or heresie, and stiflie maintaines it. And mine answere has ben alwaie conditional!, as the people openlie knowes: for euer I say, and yet say, and alway will; that if they cannen shew me by Gods law that I haue erret, I will gladlie ben amendet, and reuoke mine errours; and so I am no hereticke, ne neuer more in Gods grace will ben in no wise.

The bishop's law of condemnation full of heresies and errors.The fourth cause is: for the bishops lawe, that they deme men by, is full of errours and heresies, contrarie to the trueth of Christes law of the gospell.

For there as Christes law biddes vs loue our enemies, the popes law geues vs leaue to hate them and to sley them, and grauntes men pardon to werren againe heathen men, and sley hem. And there as Christes law teache vs to be mercifull, the bishops lawe teaches to be wretchfull. For death is the greatest and wretch that men mowen done on him that guiltie is.

There as Christes law teaches vs, to blessen him that diseazen vs, and to pray for him, the popes law teacheth vs to curse them, and in their great sentence that they vsen, they presume to damme hem to hell that they cursen. And this is a foule heresie of blaspheme: there as Christes lawe bids vs be patient, the popes law iustifies two swords, that wherewith he smiteth the sheepe of the church. And he has made lordes and kinges to sweare to defend him and his church.

There as Christe's law forbiddeth vs lecherie, the pope's law iustifies the abhominable whoredome of common women, and the bishops, in some place, haue a great tribute or rent of whoredome.

Contrariety between the pope and Christ.There as Christe's laws bids to minister spirituall thinges freelie to the people, the pope with his law selles for money, after the quantitie of the gift, as pardons, orders, blessing, and sacramentes, and praiers, and benefices, and preaching to the people; as it is knowen amongest them.

There as Christes lawe teaches peace, the pope, with his law, assoiles men for money to gader the people, priests, and other, to fight for his cause.

There as Christes law forbids swearing, the popes law iustifieth swearing, and compels men thereto.

Whereas Christe's law teacheth his priestes to be poore, the pope, with his lawe, iustifies and maintaines priestes to be lordes.

And yet the fift cause is, for the popes lawe that bishops demen men by, is the same vnrightfull lawe that Christ was demet by of the bishops, with the Scribes and with the Pharisies. For right as at that time they gauen more credens to the two false witnesses that witnessed against Christ, then they deden to al the people that witnesseden to his true preaching and his miracles: so the bishops of the popes law geuen more leuen by their lawe to two heretickes and apostates, or two comen wymen, that woulden witnesseden agaynes a man in the cause of heresie, than to thousandes ot people that were true and good. The cause why Swinderby forsook the pope.And for the pope is this Antichrist, and his law contrary to Christ his law, fully I forsake this law, and so I reed all christen men. For thus, by an other point of this lawe, they mighten conquere much of this world: for whan they can by this lawe present a man an hereticke, his goodes shulen be forfet from him and from his heires, and so might they lightlie haue two or three false witnesses to record an heresie against vhat true man, so hem liked. Herefore me thinkes, that whatsoeuer that I am a christen man I may lawfull, appeale from a false dome of the lawe, to be righteously demet by the trouth of Gods law. And if this appeale will not serue, I appeale openlie to my Lord Jesu Christ that shall deme all the world, for hee I wot well, will not spare for no man to deeme a trouth. And therefore I pray God Almightie with Dauid in the Sauter Booke, 'Deus iudicium tuum regi da, et iustitiam tuam filio regis: Iudicare populum tuum in iustitia et pauperes tuos in iudicio:' that is, 'O God giue thy iudgement to the king, and thy iustice to the kings sonne; to iudge thy people in iustice, and thy poore ones in iudgement,' &c.

  1. Some thing there lacketh in the copy.