lyke, or figge vnto an other, then þe words, properties, and conditions of that rauenyng Griphe resembleth the true Image, that is, the nature & qualities of that which we call the Churche of Rome, in euery point and degre? and therfore no great maruell, if that narration was exempted out of the copies of Chaucers workes: whiche notwithstandyng now is restored agayne, and is extant, for euery man to read that is disposed.[Back to Top]
This Geffray Chaucer being borne (as is thought) in Oxfordshyre, & dwellyng in Wodstocke, lyeth buried in the Churche of the minster of S. Peter at Westminster, in an Ile on the South side of the sayd Churche, not far from the doore
Bale mentioned that Chaucer was buried in Westminster abbey, but the description of his tomb is not in Bale. Presumably Foxe saw it or had a description sent to him.
Galfridus Chauser vates et fama poesis
Maternæ, hac sacra sum tumulatus humo.
Afterward, about the yeare of our Lord. 1556. one M. Brickam, bestowyng more cost vppon his tumbe, did adde therunto these verses folowyng.
Qui fuit Anglorum vates ter maximus olim,
Galfridus Chaucer conditur hoc tumule.
Annum si quaras Domini, si tempora mortis,
Ecce nota subsunt, qua tibi cuncta notent.
25. Octob. An. 1400.
MarginaliaThe corruptiō of the Churche described.ALthoughe
The purpose of this section is threefold. One is to underscore the importance of Martin Luther (and consequently his doctrine of justification by faith; notice how Foxe begins this section with a little lecture on the insufficiency of works to obtain salvation) in the history of the Church. (It is worth remarking that it is Luther, not Wiclif, whom Foxe sees as the central figure in initiating the reform of the Anti-Christian Church). Secondly, it is a way to invoke the miraculous to support the Protestant cause. If, as Foxe is claiming here, the advent of Luther was prophesied and, if it was heralded by portents, than who could doubt that his teachings were God's word? The drawback was that, as with Foxe's collection of prophecies of the rise of Islam and of the Ottoman Empire, these prophecies were extra-Biblical and, while some of them came from what, to Foxe and his readers were reliable sources, such as Jan Hus, other came from people, such as Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, whom even Foxe was wary of crediting with the spirit of prophecy. A third purpose of this section was to underscore the corruption of the medieval Church. This was a relatively easy task, since many of these prophecies were contained in writings denouncing the pope and the clergy.[Back to Top]
Most of the material in this section came from the basic works which Foxe relied on for his interpretation of Church history: John Bale's Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557) and Matthias Flacius's Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1556). Foxe also drew on another work of Flacius: his two volume edition of the writings of Jan Hus: Ioannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi historia et monimenta (Nuremburg, 1558).[Back to Top]
Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield
I.e., the great twelfth-century theologian, Peter Lombard.
See Romans 3-4.
This Apostolicall and Catholique foundation, so long as the Churche did retaine, so long it continued syncere and sound: whiche endured a long season after the Apostles tyme. But after in proces of yeares, through wealth and negligence crept into Churche, as soone as this fundation began to be lost, came in newe builders whiche would builde vppon a new foundation, a newe Church more glorious, whiche we call nowe the churche of Rome. Who beyng not contented with the old fundation and the head corner stone, whiche the Lord by hys word had layd, in place therof they layd the groūd worke vpon the condition & strength of the law and workes.
1 Cor. 3:11.
MarginaliaThe doctrine of the Church corrupted.But this auncient foundation with the olde auncient Church of Christ (as I said) hath bene now of long time forsaken, and in stead therof a new Churche, with a new foundation hath bene erected, & framed, not vpon Gods promise & his free grace in Christ Iesus, nor vpon þe free iustificatiō by faith, but vpon merites & desertes of mens workyng. And hereupon haue they plāted all these their new deuises, so infinite that they can not well be numbred, as Masses, trecenares, diriges, obsequies, mattens and houres, singyng seruice, vigiles, mydnightrising, barefootegoyng, fishfastyng, lentfast, imberfast, stations, rogations, iubiles, aduocation of sainctes, praying to Images, pilgremage walking, workes of supererogatiō, application of merites, orders, rules, sectes of religion, vowes of chastitie, wilfull pouertie, pardons, relaxations, indulgences, penaunce and satisfaction, with auricular confession, foundyng of Abbays, building of chappels, geuyng to Churches: And who is able to recite all their laborious buildynges, falsely framed vpon a wrōg grounde, and all for ignoraunce of the true foundation, whiche is the free iustification by fayth in Christ Iesus the sonne of God.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe lyfe & manners of the church corrupted.Moreouer to note, that as this newfounde Churche of Rome was thus deformed in doctrine: so no lesse was it corrupted in order of lyfe and depe hypocrisie, doyng all thinges onely vnder pretenses and dissembled titles. So vnder the pretense of Peters Chayre, they exercised a maiesty aboue Emperours and kynges. MarginaliaHabentes specie pietatss, sed vim eius abnegātes.2. Timo. 3.Vnder the visour of their vowed chastity, reigned adultery: vnder the cloke of professed pouertie, they possessed the goodes of the temporaltie. Vnder the title of beyng dead vnto the world, they not onely reigned in the world, but also ruled the worlde: vnder the colour of the keyes of heauen to hand vnder theyr gyrdle, they brought all the states of the worlde vnder theyr girdle, and crept not onely into the purses of men, but also into their consciences: they heard their confessions: they knewe their secretes: they dispensed as they were disposed, and loosed what them lysted: And finally when they had brought the whole worlde vnder their subiection, yet did their pride neither cease to ascend, neither could their auarice bee euer satisfied. And if the example of Cardinall Wolsey, and other Cardinals and Popes can not satisfie thee, I beseche thee (gentle reader) turne ouer the foresayd booke of the Ploughmans tale in Chauser aboue mentioned,
The 'Ploughman's Tale' is not by Chaucer. It was an anonymous medieval work, possibly partly rewritten to increase its anti-papal slant, attributed to Chaucer and printed as part of 'The Canterbury Tales'.