The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Process of John Tresnant, Bishop of Hereford, had against the aforesaid William Swinderby in the cause of Heretical Pravity, as the Popish Heretics call it
The Process of John Tresnant, Bishop of Hereford, had against the aforesaid in the cause of Heretical Pravity, as the Popish Heretics call it.
Flourishing invocation of God's name.The glorious name of the Prince of Peace, and his counsel (whose counsellor no man is, and whose providence in his disposition is never deceived) being invovocated, To all and singular believers of Christ, who shall see or hear this our process underwritten, John, by the sufferance of God bishop of Hereford, greeting, and peaceable charity in the Lord. Forasmuch as God, the creator of all things, the keeper of justice, the lover of right, and the hater of malice, beholding from the high throne of his providence the sons of men, now, through the fall of their first father, prone and declining to dishonest, and filthy, and detestable mischiefs, and to keep under their malice, which wicked transgression did first gender, hath appointed divers presidents of the world established in sundry degrees, by whom, and their circumspect providence, man's audacity should be restrained, innocency should be nourished amongst the good, and terror should be stricken into the wicked not to deceive; also that their power to hurt, and their insolency should be bridled in all places: and whereas, amongst many kinds of cares which come to our thoughts, by the duty of the office committed unto us, we are specially bound to extend our strength, chiefly that the catholic faith may prosper in our times, and heretical pravity may be rooted from out of the borders of the faithful. We, therefore, being excited through the information of many credible and faithful Christians of our diocese, to root out pestiferous plants, as sheep diseased with an incurable sickness, going about to infect the whole and sound flock, are by the care of the shepherd to be removed from the flock, that is to say, preachers, or more truly execrable offenders of the new sect, vulgarly called Lollard, by the pope's interpretation, is a word derived from lollium.Lollards; who, under a certain cloked show of holiness, running abroad through divers places of our diocese, and endeavouring to cut asunder the Lord's unsewed coat, that is to say, to rend the unity of the holy church, and of the catholic faith, and also to tear in pieces with their tempestuous blasts the power of St. , that is to say, to weaken the strength of the ecclesiastical states and degrees, and the determination of the same holy church, have wickedly presumed, and do presume, from day to day, to speak, to teach, to maintain, and, that which is more horrible to be uttered, to preach openly many things heretical, blasphemies, schisms, and slanderous defamings, even quite contrary to the sacred canons and decrees of the holy fathers, so that they know not to direct their paths in the ways of righteousness and truth, in that they expound to the people the holy ScriptureThey counterfeit in the prophet's words, as apes do, in princes apparel. as the letter soundeth, after a judaical sort, otherwise than the Holy Ghost will needs have it, where the words wander from their proper significations, and appear to bring in, by guessing, new meanings; whereas the words must not be judged by the sense that they make, but by the sense whereby they be made; where the construction is not bound to the Donates' rules, where faith is far placed from the capacity of reason; but they labour, by their pernicious doctrines and teachings, public and privy, to boil out the poison of schisms between the clergy and the people. We, to encounter against such kind of preachers, nay rather deceivers, and horrible seducers amongst the people, advancing and rousing up ourselves in God's behalf, and that of holy mother church, with the spiritual sword, which may strike them wisely, and wound them medicinally, for their health and welfare; and namely, William Swinderby, priest (so pretending himself to be), as a teacher of such kind of pernicious doctrine, and a horrible seducer among the people; to whom personally appearing before us on the Wednesday, to wit, the fourteenth of the month of June, in the parish church of Kingston of our diocese, in the year of our Lord 1391,A. D. 1391. he being vehemently defamed to us of heresy, schism, and his perverse doctrines both manifest and privy; we, therefore, have caused many cases and articles concerning the catholic faith to be ministered unto him, that he should answer to the same at a day and place for him meet and convenient, of his own choice and free will; that is to say, on the Friday, being the last of the same month of June next following, assigned to him, at the church of Bodenham of the same our diocese: which cases and articles were exhibited to us by many of Christ's faithful people, zealous followers of the catholic faith, who made information to our office; which cases and articles also were by us administered, as is before said, to the same William Swinderby; the tenor thereof followeth, and is thus:
- Who expoundeth the Scripture more after the letter, let the reader judge by "Hoc est corpus meum."
- If such medicines should be ministered to you, ye would con your physician little thank.
- Such as were in queen Mary's days; as John Beard, J. Avalec, Robin Papist, and other like murderers.