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Note: While the summary below can be used alone, it was originally meant to serve as an Appendix to my second chapter (Chapter 5) on A Dialogue Concerning Heresies in my Ph.D. dissertation:
While the summary below is incomplete, the sections that are comvered are summarized in great detail. (The rest are only briefly dealt with.)
I have also appended a figure from the same chapter dealing with the structure of dialogue-within-a-dialogue of "The Examination of the Lutheran Preacher" in Book IV: 10--12 of the A Dialogue Concerning Heresies to the end of the summaries below. A complete summary of Books III and IV is also available.
Any comments or queries can be sent to the author at email@example.com
List of Figures from Chapter 5
2. Please be plain with me, responds Chancellor More, were they satisfied and contented with those things that were at last with so much work agreed between us? To tell the truth, replies the Messenger, they were all save one, and he in all things save one. What was the thing that he misliked, responds Chancellor More, and why? Surely, replies the Messenger, for all my attempts to persuade him, he would never agree that the faith of the Church outside of Scripture should be as sure and bind us as firmly to believe therein, as the words of Scripture. If you remembered well our previous discussions, responds Chancellor More, you would have had enough to answer him with. I did, replies the Messenger, and I managed to bring him to bay, but he [called hereafter 'the Unnamed Critic'] on the other hand countered by asking me: "When you believe the Church, why do you believe the Church? Do you not believe it because it speaks the truth?" Yes, I replied. "And how do you know that the Church speaks the truth, except by the Scriptures?" asked the Unnamed Critic. "By plain Scripture I know it well," I replied, "for Scripture tells me that God has fully taught and teaches his Church, and bids me believe his Church." The Unnamed Critic responded "You would have me believe that the Church was in all necessary points of our faith to be believed as much as the Scriptures, but now I have driven you to the wall and proved to you that the Church is not to be believed but for the authority of the Scriptures." I was astonished by his answer, continues the Messenger, but he [the Unnamed Critic] laughed and gave me leave to make payment to him again after I had first spoken with you [Chancellor More]. [Chancellor More now addresses the Friend.]
3. When your friend [i.e. the Messenger] had finished his tale, I responded to him that "he [the Unnamed Critic] has dealt with you [the Messenger] like a courteous creditor, but in truth you do not owe him much for his money is false. You granted him too much in the beginning." [Merry tale of Caius, a 'poet' of Cambridge, and a smart-assed sophister who outwitted him.] What did I grant him that I should not have, asks the Messenger? No more than all the things that you first granted him, replies Chancellor More. For when you granted that we believe the Church because it tells us the truth, you did not do well. If a known liar tells a known truth, you believe him because he tells you truth, but if a known true [i.e. honest, trustworthy] man tells you an unknown truth, you do not believe him because you believe the thing to be true, but you believe the thing to be true, because you believe the man to be true. And so it is with the Church. However, the principal thing that you should not have granted him [the Unnamed Critic] was that we believe the Church because Scripture shows what it teaches to be true. For what if no Scripture had ever been written, would there never have been any Church or congregation of faithful and right believing people? I do not know, replies the Messenger. Were there no folk between Adam and Noah that had the true faith, asks Chancellor More? There were some but they were very few, for there were few saved in Noah's ship. The world was then as it is now, responds Chancellor More. It is more than likely that there were many people that believed the truth and had a faith, but followed the flesh and drowned for their sin. Were there no faithful folk from Noah till Moses, and was neither Moses himself faithful until the law was written down? Did Abraham believe nothing but what he was told especially by God? I think there were some faithful people, replies the Messenger. It was not the Scriptures, responds Chancellor More, that taught them to believe that the faith, which they had received from good men before them, had been handed down by God. I pray you, what Scripture taught the Church to know which books are the true Scriptures, and to reject many others that were written down about the same matters? It was the Holy Spirit, which makes the Church all of one mind and accord, that taught the Church this. And although, against those who will believe nothing but Scripture, we prove the authority of the Church from Scripture, yet we should have believed the Church even if no Scripture had ever been written, as those faithful folk did that believed truly before the Scriptures were written. And God without Scripture has taught his Church the knowledge of all true Scripture from counterfeit scripture. It is not the Scriptures that make us believe the word of God written in the Scriptures, but it is the Holy Spirit that guides the members of the Church to believe both God's words taught us by the Church apart from Scripture, and God's holy words written in his Holy Scriptures.
4. When you granted him that did so oppose you [the Unnamed Critic], that we believe the Church on no other authority than the Scriptures, you did not answer him well, for besides the Scriptures we believe the Church, because God himself by the secret inspiration of his Holy Spirit teaches us to believe his Church in just the same way that he also teaches us to believe his Holy Scriptures. If you had answered him [the Unnamed Critic] thus, you would clearly have disarmed him and broken his gay sword in two. So it seems to me now, replies the Messenger, and I trust he will win no honour from it when we meet again.
7. To begin with he has mistranslated three words of great weight that occur many times in the book. The first word is priests. The second the Church. The third Charity. For whensoever he speaks of the priests of Christ's Church, he never calls them priests but always seniors, the Church he calls always the congregation, and Charity he calls always love. For the first, though in the Greek tongue priests are called presbyteri, or as we would say 'elder men,' it is clear from the example of Timothy that not all priests were chosen old. In English this word 'senior' means nothing at all, but is a French word for 'lord', which is often used mockingly. Or if you derive it from Latin, the word in the Latin never signified a priest but only an elder man, as in the English word alderman. Next when he calls the Church a congregation, he does wrong, for though the Church is a congregation, not every congregation is the Church. In England the congregation of Christian people has always been called and known by the name of the Church, but the word congregation is common both to a company of Christian men and a company of Turks. Likewise, in the change of this word Charity into love, for though Charity is always love, love is not always Charity. [Two merry tales, one about St. Francis, and another about a friar caught with a man's wife.] If Tyndale had changed the common known word into a better one, I would well allow it. If he changed it into as good, I would suffer it. If he changed it somewhat to the worse but used it seldomly, I would wink at it. But now when he changes the usual well-known names of so great things into so far the worse and repeats it so often throughout the book, no one can doubt but that the man meant mischieviously. Where Charity signifies in English men's ears not every common love, but a good, virtuous, and well-ordered love, he that will studiously flee from that name of good love and always speak of love without the good, I think means falsely.
8. Add to this the fact that when Hychens [Tyndale] made this translation, he was with Luther in Wittenberg, and set certain glosses in the margin for the setting forth of that ungracious sect. Why he changed the names of Charity, the Church, and of priesthood is easy to see. For since Luther and his fellows among their other damnable heresies believe that our salvation comes from faith alone and not from good works, and therefore it seems that in order to diminish the reverent mind that men have towards Charity, he changed that name of holy virtuous affection into the bare name of common love. Because Luther denies that the Catholic Church is the Church of Christ, but rather claims that the true Church of Christ is an unknown congregation of some folk here two, there three, Tyndale in his New Testament cannot abide the name of the Church, but turns it into the name of congregation. The reason why he changed the name of priest into senior is because Luther and his adherents hold this heresy that all holy orders are nothing, and that a priest is nothing else but a man chosen from among the people to preach, and that a priest's office is nothing but to preach. Tyndale in his translation, whenever the Scriptures speaks of the priests among the Jews, still calls them priests, but wheresoever the Scriptures speak of the priests of Christ's Church, there he puts away the name of priest in his translation, because he would make it seem there were no priests different from laymen among Christian people.
9. The Messenger replies that truly it seems he meant not well. Surely, responds Chancellor More, if you saw all the places where he makes changes, you would judge so yourself. Among the other changes he makes, that are as far out of tune as these be, are that he changes the name grace to favour, confession he translates as acknowledging, penance as repentance, and a contrite heart he changes into a troubled heart. There are many other things which he has translated untruly for the maintenance of heresy, as I will show you when we look in the book.
12. Your words are somewhat sharp, replies Chancellor More. You attack two separate things: one is the constitution provincial by which you think the clergy of the realm have evilly prohibited all translations of Scripture into our tongue, and secondly you attack the vices of the clergy in general. [Chancellor More then deals with the second objection first.] Where you claim that our clergy are worse than those in other countries, I disagree, for I myself have seen and have heard others say that, just as you say, our temporality are as good and honest as anywhere else, so dare I boldly say that the spirituality of England are in learning and honest living well able to match and even overmatch number for number the spirituality of any Christian nation. Though I dont deny that there are many that are lewd and wicked, it would take a miracle if among the multitude of the clergy, that it would be otherwise. If the bishops would admit better laymen and fewer of them into the priesthood, then the matter would be more than half amended. [Aesop's fable about the man carrying a double wallet on his shoulders.] We are very good at criticizing the faults of the clergy. We ignore the ones who are good, and point to the ones who are wicked as if they represented all the clergy. [The Messenger tells a merry tale about a young priest who carried a candle in procession for lying with a wench.] Many of use take delight in their harm. But if the clergy are bad, then we are worse, as I once heard the good dean of St. Paul's, Master Colet, say. For we are one degree lower than them. For they are, as Our Saviour himself says, the salt of the earth, and if the salt is once spoiled, then the whole world will wax unsavery. Though there are many both among them and among us that are wicked, these faults lie neither with the temporality nor the spirituality, but with these lewd persons themselves. However, I think many of them are good. I fear, replies the Messenger, that they are few compared to the multitude. I cannot look into their hearts to see who is good and who is bad, responds Chancellor More, but I trust in God that the better part is the greater.
14. The Messenger agrees that priests should be more carefully chosen. Chancellor More suggests that great attention should be paid in the choice of priests not only to their learning, but above all to their virtuous living. The time was when, as I said, few men dared presume to take upon them the high office of a priest, but now every rascal boldly offers himself as a candidate. But were I pope. By my soul, replies the Messenger, and my lady your wife popess too. She could devise for the nuns, responds Chancellor More, but as for me, touching the choice of priests, I could not well devise better provisions than are already provided by the laws of the Church, if they were as well kept as they are well made. It is provided by the laws of the Church that no priest should be admitted into the priesthood, until he have a title of sufficient yearly living, either from his own patrimony or otherwise. Why then, asks the Messenger, do so many of them go begging? They delude the law and themselves too, answers Chancellor More. For they never have the grant of a living, but they secretly discharge it before they gain possession of it, and the bishop is blinded by the sight of the writing, and the priest goes begging for all his grant of a good living, and the law is deluded. We would have few enough priests if the laws were truly observed that none be made but those that have without collusion a living already. Then the prelates, replies the Messenger, should not ordain any priests until livings become vacant to bestow on them. Surely, responds Chancellor More, that would not be much amiss.
17. The Messenger replies that he thinks it a hard thing to bind a man to chastity against his will. The Church binds no man to chastity, responds Chancellor More. That is true, replies the Messenger, except if priests are men. You misunderstand, responds Chancellor More. Many harms could be avoided if priests had wives, replies the Messenger. What good or harm will come of it, responds Chancellor More, the proof will show. But the priests in Saxony, who are wicked, will hardly serve as an example. As for the priests in the early days of the Church, you will find from the writers of that time, that few were married, and of those who were married before, many gave up carnal relations with their wives after they became priests. You might be justified in claiming that the law of chastity were unreasonable if the Church compelled any man to be a priest. But since every man is at liberty not to be a priest, how can anyone say that the Church lays the bond of chastity on any man's neck against his will. The Church does no more than to provide, that as some men will live chastely and others will not, that priests should be chosen from those who will be content to profess chastity. Both the clergy and the temporality have been partners in the making and conservation of this law.
18. It is not only Christians who choose their priests from the purest and most pleasant sort. Among the pagans, their priests did not presume to sacrifice to their idols until they had abstained from relations with their wives for a certain time, and some were bound to perpetual chastity by the loss of their virile members. That was a sure good way, comments the Messenger. Sure indeed but not as good as this, replies Chancellor More, since the merit was lost that good men have in resisting the devil, and refraining from carnal pleasure. In the Mosaic law the priests of the Temple also avoided their own houses and the company of their wives during their time of service. How much more specially is this convenient for the priests of Christ, who was both born of a virgin, and lived and died a virgin himself, and exhorted all his followers to do the same. What is more fitting than to take into Christ's temple to serve about the sacrament, only such as are contented and minded to live after the cleanness of Christ's holy counsel. Therefore, since it is hard to find so many priests so good, I would have fewer made, and better respect taken in the choosing.
22. However, I am not afraid of this, I promise you. I would not for all the harm it brings to those with malicious intentions, take away the profit that others might take from it. For otherwise the abuse of a thing should cause the taking away of that thing from others who would use it well. I am wholy of your mind in this matter, replies the Messenger, that the Bible should be in our English tongue. But clearly the clergy are of the contrary opinion for they will not have it so, and are determined by every rotten reason to keep the Scriptures from us. They say that it is hard to translate the Scriptures out of one tongue into another, especially into ours, which they call a vulgar and a barbarous tongue. And that as Scripture is the food of the soul, so the common people are infants that must be fed only with milk. And if we would have any stronger meat, it must be 'chammed' [chewed] before by the nurse, and so put into the baby's mouth. They would make us all infants, but they shall find many a shrewd brain among us. We are not so evil toothed, but they shall see, if we get the chance, that we can chew it as well as they. Surely, such things as you speak, responds Chancellor More, are the very reasons that put good folk in fear of allowing the Scriptures to be put forth in our English tongue, not for the reading and receiving, but for the busy 'chamming' thereof. Unlearned men show an inordinate appetite for knowledge when they busy themselves in searching into and disputing about the great secret mysteries of Scripture, which, even when they read about in their own language, they are unable to understand.
23. St. Gregory of Nazienzen, that great doctor, sorely reproved all such bold busy meddlers in the Scriptures, and showed that just as in Exodus Moses ascended the hill and spoke with God while the people taried beneath, so too should the common people be forbidden to meddle with the high mysteries of Holy Scripture, but should receive from the hill what has been delivered to them by the preachers appointed thereto. St. Jerome greatly complains against and rebukes the lewd homely manner in which the common lay people were so bold in his day in meddling in, disputing about, and expounding on Holy Scripture. For they reckoned they could understand it themselves without a reader. But it is a thing that requires good help, a long time, and the gift of a sound mind to interpret the Scriptures properly. St. Paul says in his epistles that the Holy Spirit so guides the Church that he will have some readers and some hearers, some teachers and some learners, but the right order of Christ's Church is turned upside down, when the one part meddles with the other's office. Plato, that great philosopher, especially forbids that such people be allowed to meddle with and busy themselves about reasoning and disputing upon the temporal laws of the city. Similarly, the Emperor in the civil law code, decreed that the common people should never be so bold as to hold public debates upon the faith or upon Holy Scripture. Our special fear in this matter is this busy "chamming" of the Scriptures. If the best and wisest men after many years of study are often unable to interpret the Scriptures, how much more unable must he needs be who will be bold upon the first reading, because he knows the words, to take upon himself to teach other men the meaning, upon peril of his own soul and other men's too, by bringing men into seditious sects and heresies. If on the other hand we read it well and devoutly, and in what is plain and evident endeavour ourselves to follow it with the help of God's grace, and in matters that are doubtful, acknowledge our own ignorance and rely therein on the faith of the Church, then, by this manner of reading, no man or woman will take harm from Holy Scripture. Now then it is madness for the common people to meddle in those matters that they can never by themselves attain to, but they should leave all these matters to those whose whole study is set thereon, and to the preachers appointed to the task, who may explain such things to them in the proper time and place, and in a language adapted to the audience at hand. Thus I cannot agree with you that it should be meet for unlearned men to be busy with the "chamming" of the Holy Scriptures, but should have it "chammed" to them. This is the preacher's part and those who after long study are admitted to read [i.e. lecture] and expound on it. And this, as far as I can see, is the view of all the holy doctors that have written on this matter.
25. In truth, it has seldom happened that any sect of heretics has been begun by such unlearned folk as could only read the Scriptures in the vernacular, but always the head was some proud learned man, or at least proud smatterer in learning. So by that argument we would have to keep Scripture away from all learned men as well. Some folk will not fail to be wicked. There is no treatise of Scripture so hard, but that a good virtuous man or woman can find something in it to delight in and to increase their devotion. God and his Holy Spirit have so arranged the Holy Scriptures that every man may take good thereby, and no man harm except he that will lean proudly to the folly of his own wit. I would not withold the profit that one good, devout, unlearned layman might take from the reading of the Scriptures, not for all the harm that a hundred heretics would fall into by their own wilfulness. The provincial constitution, that we have already spoken about, makes this clear. When the bishops allowed the use of English Bibles that were translated before Wyclif's days, they consequently agreed that to have the Bible in English was not harmful. And when they forbade any new translation to be read until it was approved by the bishops, it well appears that their intent was that the bishops should approve it if it were faultless, or amend it if it were faulty; unless the faults were so many and so serious, that it would be easier to make a new translation than to amend it, as happened in the case of Tyndale's translation.
26. I propose that the Bible be with diligence well and truly translated by some good catholic and learned man, or else by several such men dividing the labours between them, and afterwards that the work be approved by the ordinaries, and by their authority put into print, and then all the copies be given into the bishops' hands. At the discretion of the local bishop, he can then give the Bible to such as he perceives to be honest, sober and virtuous, and that after the death of the party, it be brought back again and restored to the ordinary. Who will set the price for the book, asks the Messenger? It will not matter since the bishop will pay for them himself, and give them all away freely. The Messenger responds that some men would rather pay for it at the printers than have it free from the bishop. This manner is born more of wilfulness than wisdom, replies Chancellor More. The Bible should be treated with great reverence, just as the Jews treat it whenever they read it. Since not all parts of the Bible are equally suitable for all to read, the bishop should commit only parts of the Bible to some people. He may, for example, commit to some man the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, but yet forbid him the Gospel of John. Another may be permitted to read the Acts of the Apostles, but not the Apocalypse. Many can profit from reading Ephesians, who would find little fruit for their understanding in Romans, which contains such great difficulties that very few learned men can interpret. The Old Testament also should be handled in a similar fashion to the new. The bishop should also be free to take the Scriptures away from those who abuse it to their own harm. As far as translating the Bible into English, I have read lately in the epistle the King's Highness wrote in reply to the letter of Luther to him, that his majesty intends to bring this matter before the prelates of the clergy, among whom I have perceived that some of the best and greatest have inclined their own minds thereto already, and we lay people, unless the fault be found in ourselves, will be well and fully satisfied in this matter before long. The Messenger declares that he is fully content and satisfied in all these matters. Then let us have dinner, replies Chancellor More, and leave the remainder of our discussion until afterwards. And therewith they went to eat.
30. There was one person at our meeting, replies the Messenger, who was learned in the law, and we were in his chamber, when he said that, if he wished, he could show a fair law, incorporated into the decrees of the Church, which, if it came to light, would completely daze the eyes of those who defended images. We asked to see it. Whereupon he took down a copy of Gratian's Decretals, and showed us a text in which St. Gregory the Great wrote to a certain bishop that had broken the images in his church, and though St. Gregory blamed him for breaking them, yet for all that he commended him because he would not allow them to be worshipped. Did you read the law yourself? In faith, the Messenger replies, I stood by and looked on while he read it. Did you read the next law after it, or the gloss on it? No, for fear we would find them contrary, and not know which to believe. Yes indeed, responds Chancellor More, for the law following was a law from the Sixth [Seventh] Synod [i.e. Ecumenical Council] which plainly shows the kind of worship to be offered to images by Christian men, and decrees that only that kind of worship called latria, the divine honour and service which is to be done only to God, cannot be offered to any image or creature in the world, either in Heaven or on Earth. But in the law itself, replies the Messenger, we read that St, Gregory plainly says the contrary. The book says no more, responds Chancellor More, than that they should not be worshipped by this Latin word adorare, by which word he understood the divine worship latria. Though the law following also uses the word adorare, it does so of that kind of worship [i.e. hyperdulia] that may be offered to images. The two laws appear to be plainly contradictory, how can you be sure that St. Gregory interpreted the word adorare so. It is very unlikely that St. Gregory and the whole [Ecumenical] Council should be of opposite minds. But I will show you that St. Gregory meant none other.
31. Thereupon Chancellor More took down the register of St. Gregory's Epistles, and turned to the very words that were taken by Gratian out of St. Gregory's second letter to Serenus, bishop of Marseilles, and were incorporated into the decree. By collation of these two texts, Chancellor More showed him that Gratian had taken only a part of that epistle, and that, from the other words of the epistle itself, it became evident that St. Gregory spoke only of the divine worship and observance due to God himself, which as learned men well-know is called latria. If he had meant to forbid that any kind of worship be offered to anyone other than God, how should we by that construction serve father or mother, master, prince, or king. He clearly did not mean to forbid that worship offered to Our Lady or to the Saints, for every man knows well how reverently he himself worshipped both Our Lady and all Saints as well, as we see from many books and epistles of his. The decree itself makes this clear when it stated that images are the books of lay people wherein they read the life of Christ. The Messenger replies that he is well satisfied in this. But to return to the matter, responds Chancellor More, neither the bishop of Marseilles, nor the council of Greece, schismatical as it was, ever went as far as Luther and Tyndale and their company do, who not only condemn images, but also leave no Saint unblasphemed, nor Christ's own Mother either. [End of Interpolation.] Chancellor More returns to itemizing Luther's heresies. When he is finished, the Messenger replies that it is enough to hear these heresies rehearsed to make Luther hated by all good folk.
38. Faith signifies the belief which is given not only to such things as God promises, but also to every truth that he tells his Church, either by writing or without writing, which he would have us bound to believe. The Lutherans seek to blind us by the equivocation by which they abuse the word "faith" altogether, turning it slyly from belief into trust, confidence, and hope, and would have it seem as though our faith were nothing else but a sure trust and a faithfull hope that we have in God's promises. They would make us believe that our faith were nothing but hope, whereas every man knows that faith and hope are two distinct virtues, and that hope is not faith but follows faith in him that has hope. It is possible to have faith without hope, one may as the devil does, believe in Heaven and know it too, yet be far from all hope thereof. Even hope is not enough, for hope without charity will but beguile them. [The 1531 interpolation ends here.]
40. To this he answered that none of these texts prove the contrary of his claim that when faith and good works are joined together, all the merit comes only from our faith and nothing comes from our works. Whereunto he was answered that even if no text of scripture proved the contrary, yet since there is none that says so, and the whole Church says and believes the contrary, what reason, he was asked, do you have to say so? However, there are in fact passages in scripture that are openly to the contrary. Did not Christ say of those who do alms, that they shall receive a good measure shaken together, heaped and running over into their bosoms? Did not Our Lord show that on the Day of Judgment he would give the Kingdom of Heaven to those that have given alms, either of food, drink, clothing, or lodging, because of the charity shown in those deeds? Although these good deeds will not be rewarded without faith, Christ promised to reward those works, and not just faith only. Those, on the other hand, who work wonders by faith but without good works or charity, will find that their faith shall fail to gain them Heaven. Then he said yet again that if a man has faith, his faith shall not fail, nor cease to bring forth the fruit of good works. Then it was answered him that he had made this point before but that faith or belief is not contrary to every sin, but only to infidelity and lack of belief, so that it may stand with other sins. Then he said that if men believed surely, he thought they would not sin. For who would sin if he truly believed that sin should bring him to hell? Whereunto it was answered that, though this might stop many from sinning, yet there are many men on the other hand who, were their faith never so strong, it would still not be strong enough to master their evil desires. For all his faith, St. Paul was so afraid, when he was tempted with "the thorn in the flesh" (cf. 2. Cor. 12: 7--9), that he prayed three times for God to take the temptation away. Adam believed the words of God, and yet he broke God's commandment. And King David did not fall from his faith, though he fell first into adultery and afterwards into manslaughter.
45. If free will serves for nothing and every man's deeds are his destiny, why do they complain about those who punish heretics, since it is their destiny to do so? Where they allege that it is wrong to punish heretics, they may well be answered with their own words, as, for example, in a good town in Germany when one of the members of their sect was brought before the judges for robbing a man, and defended himself by saying that it was his destiny to steal. Whereupon his judges answered him after his own doctrine, that, if it were his destiny to steal, it was also their destiny to hang him. These wretches have little care for either Heaven or Hell, but would live in this world in lewd liberty and have all run to riot. They seek to turn the world upside down, and defend their foly and heresy by force. And this they call the liberty of the Gospel---to be discharged of all order and all laws, and do whatever they like, whether good or bad, and attribute it all to the works of God wrought in them. But if their heresies were once accepted, then they would find themselves sorely deceived. For if all law and order among men, together with the fear of punishment, were once taken away, then what man could live a life of pleasure for long, before a stronger man should take it away from him. And how much suffering would befall before the World were set once again in order and peace?
48. On the next day they met again just before dinner, and the Messenger showed Chancellor More that in the decrees where the rushes lay, he had seen that the clergy do no more at the present for the punishment of heretics, than the old holy fathers did in time past. And further he said that he had seen in Luther's own words worse than he had ever heard rehearsed, and in Tyndale many things, worse even than in Luther himself, where he condemns miracles and praying to Saints. Chancellor More offers to discuss the points that Tyndale makes, but the Messenger dismisses Tyndale's arguments contemptuously claiming that he himself has made a stronger case against miracles, and has offered more proof than Tyndale has done. And that Tyndale's word is of little weight without better proof. Chancellor More replies that Tyndale's word alone ascribing all miracles to the working of the devil ought not to weigh much among Christian men against the writings of St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory, and many other holy doctors writing in defence of miracles and pilgrimages. All these holy Saints ascribe miracles to the working of God, and to the honour of those holy Saints that were worshipped on pilgrimages. When Tyndale ascribes these miracles to the devil, he is no different from those Jews who ascribed Christ's miracles to the power of Beelzebul. What Tyndale says against praying to Saints is very bare, replies the Messenger. It must needs be bare unless he avoids miracles, of which he will have neither God willing nor the devil able to show any as proof for their part. All the substance of your argument, continues the Messenger, in favour of praying to Saints, Tyndale leaves completely untouched, and the arguments that he brings forth of his own making are so faint that they are plainly confuted by all the old holy doctors. In truth, when I consider well and read the words of Luther and Tyndale in some of the places where you laid the rushes, I cannot but wonder how any German could like the one, or any Englishman the other.
49. I do not much marvel that many like them well, since there is no country that lacks plenty of such as are wicked, who follow their own foolish affections no matter what is reasonably spoken to them. And these people pretend to believe that no one is able to confute Luther or Tyndale, no matter how madly they argue. And truly it is madness to follow them when one sees on the one hand the faith of Christ continued in the Catholic Church over the centuries producing so many glorious Saints, martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins, and on the other hand one sees their sect destroying the sacraments, engaging in acts of sacrilege, blaspheming the Saints, and destroying all devotion among Christians. And also when one sees on the one hand the continuance of the faith testified by so many thousands of miracles, and by the teaching of all the holy fathers, and on the other hand a fond friar [Luther] and his fellows teaching us vice as fast as the others ever taught us virtue, and all of them breaking their priestly vows of celibacy, and urging others to do the same. No matter how many heretics go out of the Church, it will always be well known by the profession of that faith, and those sacraments, which has continued from the beginning and which the holy doctors of the Church always had in honour and reverence, and which was testified to by God himself through the incessant miracles, that no sect of heretics could ever allege in support of any teacher of theirs. These heretics are the forewalkers of the head of all heretics, namely Anti-Christ, who when he comes will confuse many through false miracles. And yet these heretics can show no miracles in proof of their doctrine. Indeed, all their doctrine and living is all set upon sin and beastly concupiscence, and is completely contrary to the doctrines of all the old holy doctors. However, when Christ at the last shall return, he will restrain the work of Anti-Christ, and of the devil himself, and will repair and restore his Church, and will gather all the flock together under himself the shepherd, and will deliver a glorious kingdom to his Father of all the saved people from the time of Adam to the last day to reign henceforth in joy and bliss incogitable in Heaven together with the Father, Himself, and the Holy Ghost. And may God grant the grace for these seditious sects to cease, and for the favourers of those factions to amend, so that, stopping our ears from the false enchantments of all these heretics, we may walk with charity in the faith of Christ's Catholic Church, and may be partners of heavenly bliss, which the blood of God's own Son has bought for us. With this prayer serving us for grace, we sat down to dinner, and when dinner was over, he [the Messenger] departed home towards you [the Friend], and I departed to the court.
[Not in Thesis]
|1. Chap. 10 (376/17--377/30)||Prologue: Chancellor More introduces themes of Justification and Predestination|
|2. Chap. 11a (377/31--379/30)||Introduction: The Messenger suggests that the English Lutherans are honest men and that Luther cannot be blamed for the excesses of the German Lutherans|
|3. Chap. 11b (379/30--383/34)||The Beginning of the Examination Proper: Chancellor More denies this, introducing the example of an English Lutheran preacher [Dr. Forman?] who was examined for heresy. The Lutheran Preacher's claim that "faith alone is sufficient" is countered with the central importance of charity or love in 1 Cor.13 and elsewhere.|
|4. Chap. 11c (383/35--386/17)||The Interjection of Messenger: The Messenger objects that St. Paul was using hyperbole in claiming that "without charity I am nothing", and that he did not mean to imply that faith could occur without charity. Chancellor More denies this claiming that faith can be without charity, but that St. Paul shows that all the works of faith, no matter how good they are, are nothing without charity.|
|5. Chap. 11d (386/18--388/34)||The 1531 Interpolation dealing with the argument of the Epistle of St. James that faith without good works is dead. The Lutheran Preacher claims that true faith is alive with good works. His judges reply that the Lutherans twist the meaning of the word faith to include trust, confidence and hope as well as belief.|
|6. Chap. 11e (388/35--394/29)||Faith and Works: The Lutheran Preacher then claims that though faith without good works is nothing, that when faith and good works are joined together all the merit comes from our faith. His judges reply that many passages of Scripture contradict this, such as when Christ promised on the Day of Judgment to give the Kingdom of Heaven to those who give alms, because of their charity (cf. Matt. 25: 31--46).|
|7. Chap. 11f (394/30--398/18)||"All our works are wicked:" The Lutheran Preacher then claims that all our works are completely "naught", being spotted with sin. His judges reply that Luther denies that we can do good even with God's grace, but the Apostle thought far otherwise when he said "I have fought the good fight," etc. (2 Tim. 4:7--8).|
|8. Chap. 11g (398/18--399/31)||Chancellor More's Comments: After many twists and turns in the end the Lutheran Preacher claimed before his ecclesiastical judges that only God works both all good and bad works in every man, and that all the works of a predestined man turn to good, no matter how evil they are|
|9. Chap. 11h (399/31--402/5)||Conclusion: The final conclusion of the English Lutheran's defence was that all things depend only on destiny and that men's good or evil deeds count for nothing|
|10. Chap. 12 (402/6--405/31)||Epilogue: Chancellor More concludes that the English Lutheran's false opinion that those who are saved are only saved because God predestines them, makes God the cause of all our evils, and makes him seem worse than the cruelest tyrant|