The SPIRIT of CHRIST, AND The SPIRIT of the APOSTLES, AND The SPIRIT of the MARTYRS Is Arisen, Which beareth TESTIMONY against SWEARING and OATHS: For which the Martyrs suffered in the time of the Ten Persecutions, and some since; which we also, the People of God called Quakers, do now suffer for, as many thousands have done, for keeping the Commands of Christ, who saith, Swear not at all.

And also, here you may see such Martyrs as could not put off their Hat or Bonnet to the Pope, nor his Legate.

And an Example of one Martyr, that could not give Sureties, being Innocent.

So that you may see in this Book following [to swear not at all, no to take Oaths, nor to deny putting off the Hat or Bonnet, nor to deny giving Sureties (being Innocent) is no new thing] which is proved out of the Scriptures, and Book of Martyrs.

You have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thy self, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine Oaths.

But I say unto you, Swear not at all, &c. but let your communication be yea, yea, and nay, nay; for whatsoever is more, cometh of evil,

Matth. 5.

But above all things, my Brethren, swear not, neither by Heaven, neither by Earth, neither by any other Oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest you fall into Condemnation,

Jam. 5.12.

Published by Ellis Hooks.

London, Printed for Giles Calvert, at the sign of the Black­spread-Eagle, at the West-end of Pauls, 1661.

The Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Apostles, and the Spirit of the Martyrs is arisen, Which bears Testi­mony against Swearing and Oaths.

THere was no Oaths before the Fall given to Man, but after the Fall; for in the Law (after the Fall) among the Jews were the Oaths given and commanded, which Christ by whom the World was made, which was before the Fall; who was the Oath of GOD, of whom Oaths were typical in the Fall; who ends the Strife, and brought into the Rest, and tyed up to GOD: And Christ the Oath of GOD ends all Oaths whatsoever that tyed up to God, and brought into the Land of Rest, outward Canaan, and end­ed the strife; which Christ, destroyes the Devil, the author of strife, who is the Rest himself, and is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that brings up to God, and is God's Covenant, in which Man hath Peace with GOD, that destroyes that which led out from GOD and CHRIST; He it is that saith,Christ who was the Oath of God, brings man to the pleasant Gar­den. Swear not at all, neither by Heaven nor Earth, nor any other Oath, which restores Man into the state that he was in, in the begin­ning before the Fall, that doth restore, into God's Image, and so in the Restauration there is no Oaths nor Swearing ac­cording to the Doctrine of Him, but Yea and Nay to be pra­ctised in all their common occasions, and whatsoever is more is evil; So Swearing now comes to be evil: And this is the Do­ctrine of Him that doth restore People up into the state that Man was in in the beginning, who is the Substance that ends the Figures: and his Disciple that followed his Counsel, who is the Everlasting Counsellor, said, Above all things, my Brethren, swear not at all; neither by Heaven nor Earth, nor any other Oath, James 5. lest ye fall into Condemnation: but in all your communications, let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay Nay; And this was the practice of them that followed the Doctrine and Command of Christ in the Restauration, who was built upon the true Foundation, that was first laid in the primitive amongst the true Brethren, and [Page 6]held forth publickly: which Practice, Doctrine and Command of Christ Jesus and the Apostles in the primitive times, many of the Martyrs followed, held forth and practised, amongst such as were degenerated and apostatized from the Life and Power of Christ and the Apostles, though they profest the words; and now is the Spirit of Christ Jesus, and the Apostles, and the Saints in the primitive times, and the Spirit of the Martyrs risen, which doth bear a Testimony against all Oaths and Swearing whatsoever, amongst Heathens, Jews, and Apostate Christians, both publick and private, and keeps to Yea and Nay in all their common occasions, as Christ and the Apostles, and Martyrs taught and practised, knowing whatsoever is more than Yea and Nay is evil; and such are condemned that do swear, according to Christ's and the Apostles Doctrine. So we say again, Christ and the Apostles and Martyrs Spirit is risen, which hath been dead, and is dead in and among the Apostates, that have the Form but deny the Power, from which we turn away; but now is risen amongst Us, lives and is alive; Glory and Honour to GOD through Jesus Christ, that doth restore up to the Beginning into the Image of GOD, as Man was be­fore the Fall, bofore Oaths were. So, see some Examples, see Genesis, there was no Command given to Adam and Eve before the Fall concerning Swearing, neither from Christ that doth restore Man again, who ends the Oaths before the Law, and in the Law and Prophets, to whom the Angels bow that swore: for Christ said, Swear not at all, who is the Lord and Master; so it is better to obey Him than Man: And in all your communication, let your yea be yea, and your nay nay; whatsoever is more than this comes of evil, saith he that restores, even Christ. And for further example, see the Apostles, who practised the Doctrine and Command of Christ, and said, Above all things, my Brethren, swear not at all, lest you fall into condemnation, Jam. 5. but let your yea be yea, and your nay nay in all your common occasions. And though there were Swearing among the Jews, and other heathenish Nations, before the apostate Christians got up to swear; yet the Apostles and Brethren obeyed, and was to obey the Doctrine and Command of Christ: So if Christ command one thing, and men another, it is better to obey [Page 7]the Lord Jesus Christ the Life, who is the Restorer, Saviour and Redeemer, than men. And also see the Examples of the Martyrs that followed Christ and the Apostles Doctrine in the night of the apostate Christians, from the Life of Christ and the Apostles, who suffered among them, that had the form of Godliness, but denied the power; See their Example as fol­loweth, for he that had the form of Godliness but denied the power, among them have the Oaths and Swearing come up, who persecuted and martyred them that lived in the power of God; nevertheless the Martyrs could not yeeld to these Apo­state Christians, but kept the Doctrines and Commands of Christ Jesus, and kept to Yea and Nay in their common occa­sions, and denied Oaths, and yeelded up their Estates to the Spoyler, and their Bodies to the Fire. And also see the Mar­tyrs that suffered and denied swearing by the Heathen Empe­ror's Good Fortune, and by Caesar's Prosperity, which was the custom of the Romans at that time, and of divers Heathen Em­perors: And now would not all people say, for obeying Christ's Doctrine, that they disobey the Command of the Rulers, which commanded that which their Master forbad, for the sake of which many did deny their Lives and Estates for the keeping of his Commands. And that also, that people may now see it is no new thing to deny Swearing and Oaths, take a few Examples of the Faithful in Ages past.

G. F.

Swearing denyed by the Martyrs.

POlicarpus who was (as it is said) John's Disciple, Vol. 1st. fol. 55. and had been a Disciple eighty nine years, when he came to suffer Martyrdom, the Proconsul required him to swear by the Empe­rors good Fortune, and by Caesars Prosperity, which was the custom of the Romans at that time. And divers Heathen Emperors set up their own Images to be worshipped, and their Persons to be sworn by: but Policarpus denied, and said, he was a Christi­an, and would shew forth the Doctrine of Christianity if he desired the same, if the Proconsul would appoint a day and hear it: For Policarpus refused to swear, but kept Christ's Doctrine; so he was led away to be burned, being an old ancient man, confes­sing [Page 8]himself to be a Christian. So at that time it seems Chri­stians did not Swear, as afterwards they did in the Apostacy. See Acts and Monuments.

And Basilides a Soldier, and afterwards a Martyr, being re­quired to swear, affirmed plainly, That it was not lawful for him to swear, for that he was a Christian. So that it seems that it was the mark of a Christian not to swear. See Eusebius, lib. 6. chap. 4. pag. 98.

And Justinian the Emperor appointed first, that men should swear By the Gospel, and lay their hands thereupon and kisse it, saying, So help me God. And here Christendom may see who are in the Apostacy, and who were the first Inventors of this Swearing and the manner thereof; which the Teachers of these latter Ages do ignorantly press for an Ordinance of God, since the Apostles dayes.

See the old manner of the Papists Oath, Acts and Monum. Vol. 1. pag. 854. which they use to require of People as the quality and fact required by a Corporal Oath, taken upon the Evangelists, or upon the Reliques of Saints, or upon the Image of the Crucifix, &c.

Another manner of the Papists Oath: They caused them to swear by the Evangelists, with their three middle fingers stretched out and laid upon the Book, as a sign of the Trinity and Catholick Faith;Hen. 8ths dayes. and the other two, the thumb and little finger, put down under the Book, in token of damnation of Body and Soul, if they did not depose the Truth in the matter.

Also in the dayes of Nero and Domitian, both Heathen Em­perors and Cruel Tyrants, was very great and sore Persecutions of the Christians, and they had a form of an Oath for men to swear by the Inquisitor of their Inquisition, put the Christians whom they persecuted, to swear by their form of Oath, whether that they were Christians or no; but the Christians refused to swear, confessing and saying, That they were Christians, and could not deny Christ nor his Doctrine; and then, according to the Heathens Law, Sentence of Death was pronounced against the Christians by the Proconsul, and forthwith the Sentence was put in Execution by wicked blood-thirsty-men, who put the Christians to death, some after one manner, and some after another, according to the wills of these cruel Tyrants the Em­perors.

And the Waldenses or Leonists (whose Names are so famous in the Reformed Churches) and who are said immediately to succeed the Apostles,De Succes cap. 6. and were the most antient and true Pro­testants, professed it to be no way lawful for a Christian to swear: In the Defence of whom, in the very thing, Bishop Usher, late Bishop of Armath, Primat of Ireland, pleadeth their Cause against the Papists and Jesuites, who are the Swearers and breakers of Oaths, and yet pleads for Swearing.

The Plowman in his Complaint saith,Vol. 1. pag▪ 527. Thou givest us a Com­mandment of Truth, in bidding us say, Yea, yea, Nay, nay, and swear for nothing. Thou givest us also a Commandment of Meek­ness, and another of Poorness; but Lord, he that calleth himself thy Vicar on Earth, hath both these Commandments broken: for he maketh a Law to compel men to swear; and by his Law he teacheth, that for a man to save his life may forswear and lye; and so Lord, through the comfort of him and his Laws the People draweth out to swear and to lye; nay, oft-times to forswear them: Lord, here is little truth. Further he saith, Whether thou or­dainest an Order of Fighters to turn men to the Belief; other or­dain that Knights should swear to fight for thy Words.

And it is one of John Wickliff's Articles,Vol. 1. pag. 586. Rich. 2ds daye. (whose Works were as much esteemed of by the Protestants in England and Bohemia, as despised by the Papists and their Clergy, having his Bones taken up and burned forty one years after his de­cease; and his Books were also burned: and this Article, with many other, was condemned by the Council of Constance) That all Oaths which be made for any Contract or Civil Bar­gain betwixt man and man, be unlawful. John Hus and Je­rome of Prague were condemed for holding Wickliff's Opini­ons.

And Walter Brute, Vol. 1. fol. 653. Rich. 2d's days. a Teacher among the People of God (in the Age of Scorners, called the Devil's servant, or Lollard) against whom the Pope and King Richard the Second, and then the ungodly Bishops made such ado to have the name of Truth extinguished, and the Professors thereof cut off) this is Wal­ter's Testimony as concerning Oaths, I believe and obey the Doctrine of Almighty God, and my Master Christ Jesus, which teacheth that Christian men in the Affirmation of Truth should pass [Page 10]the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees of the Old Testa­ment, or else he excludeth them from the Kingdom of Heaven; for he saith, Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And as concerning Oaths he saith, It hath been said of old time, Thou shalt not for swear thy self, but shalt perform those things unto the Lord thou knowest. But I say unto you, Thou shalt not swear at all, neither by the Heaven, nor by the Earth, &c. But let your communications be yea, yea, and nay, nay; for what­soever shall be more than this proceedeth of evil. Therefore as the perfection of the ancient men of the Old Testament was not to for­swear themselves: so the perfection of a Christian man, is not to swear at all, because they are commanded of Christ, whose Com­mand in no case must be broken, although the City of Rome is contrary to the Doctrine of Christ, &c. A good Testimony of a blessed Martyr.

Hear it appears that the Swearing which Christ forbids, is not only prophane Swearing (Exod. 20.7.) in the Common Communication, for that was forbidden in the Law, where it is said, Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain, &c. but solemn Swearing, which was to be performed; and that was the perfection of the Law. And Kings and Princes may take warning by this King Richard, not to fulfill the cruel and bloody desires of their Prelats.

And Chrysostom, Acts & Mo­numents, Vol. 1. fol. 701. who was Bishop of Constantinople, in com­mendation of whom much is said in the Ecclesiastical History, he blameth them greatly that brought forth a Book to swear up­on, charging his Clark, That in no wise they constrain any body to swear, whether they think a man swear true or false, saying that it is a sin to swear well. Now I mentioned before that it was an Emperor that commanded first that men should swear by a Book, and this Chrysostom reproves: So hereby it may be seen by these Examples, that it is no new Doctrine to deny all Swearing: and there hath been a People very many years in the Low-Countries that have denyed Swearing in any matter; therefore their Yea and Nay stands in Courts of Judicatory equal with an Oath, they being men generally of known Inte­grity, whose Yea is Yea, and Nay, Nay, in all places and mat­ters, as hereafter you may see.

Likewise Jerom, who was an antient Father and Teacher in the Church, which all the Protestants owned, upon that place, Matth. 5.37. and James 5.12. these are his words, It was permitted under the Law to the Jews, as being tender, as it were Infants, that they were to offer Sacrifices to God, lest they should sacrifice to Idols; so that they might swear by God, not that it was rightful so to do, but because it was better to swear by the LORD, than to swear by false Gods and Devils: But the great Evangelist in sincerity and truth admits not of an Oath, since every true saying is equality thereunto.

In like manner doth Theophilact, an ancient Father of the Church, whom the Protestants own, and have often cited his Doctrine for proof upon the place in controversie, saith, Learn hence, that then under the Law it was not evil for one to swear; but since the coming of Christ it is evil, as is Circumcision, and in some, what ever is judaical; for it may become a Child to suck, and not Man. So that Oaths pertained to the Jews, who were under the changeable Covenant, and the mutable Covenant, which con­tinued but for a time, till the Seed Christ, the Oath of God was revealed; and where He is revealed and witnessed, all the Judaical things, times and figures, and changeable Ordinances have an end.

Likewise Ambrose upon Psalm 118, he saith, None doth swear aright but he that knows what he sweareth: and the Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, (that is, concerning his Son, God's Oath, which ends the Oaths.) Upon Psal. 110. Ambrose saith, Let him then sweare who cannot repent of his Oath. And a little after the said Ambrose saith, Do not imitate him in swearing, whom you cannot imitate in fulfilling. And indeed the principal Solution given by him is, Swear not at all, and the aforesaid Waldenses who condemned all manner of Swearing as unlawful, they made it their care to avoid Swearing and Lying, and here­by they did give sufficient caution against all Inconveniences which might come thereby as to Government in general; for whereas Testification or Assertion is made without an Oath, is as sure as if it had been sworn to. And Biship Usher doth esteem that place of Matth. 5. Swear not at all, to be a suffi­cient plea for the Waldenses against Swearing. And therefore [Page 12]they who have any esteem of the aforesaid Authors, and of their Doctrines, must not condemn the Quakers as for novelties, or for broachers of new Doctrine: For Rinerius, one of the Po­pish Inquisition, saith, Among all the Sects which are or have been, there is not any more pernicious to the Church (meaning the Church of Rome) than the Waldenses, and that for three Rea­sons, first, Because of their Antiquity; and secondly, Because of their Universality; and thirdly, In that they did profess it no way lawful fer a Christian to Swear on any occasion. Which Doctrine was contrary to the Church of Rome, which made Rinerius and Jansenius, two Papists, so much envy the Waldenses in this thing, about the keeping the Commands of Christ. And yet notwithstanding all this Cloud of Witnesses, both in the Pri­mitive times and after Ages, divers who suffered as Martyrs, did hold the same; and also the many Testimonies of them who have dyed in the Faith of Christ and the Apostles, and kept the Testimony of the Commands of Christ.

And also it is recorded, that the Christian Martyrs in King Richard's days, and in Henry the Fourth, and Henry the Sixth's dayes, and Maries dayes here in England, did bear a good Testimony against Swearing, and likewise did refuse to swear, according to the Command of Christ, who said, Swear not at all. Therefore I say, it is neither lawful, nor comely, nor sfe to break the Law of Christ, which ends the Law and Com­mandment that commands Swearing, which Law of Christ is the Law of the Spirit of Life, the Transgression of which is evil, and the Penalty of which is Condemnation: So see some Examples as followeth.

John Florence a Turner held, That all such as did swear by their Life or Power, shall be damned, except they repent.

First,Vol. 1. pag. 871. Hen. 6ths days. it is said, That Margery Baxter did inform this De­ponent, That she should in no case swear, saying to her in Eng­lish, Dame, beware of the Bee, for every Bee will sting; there­fore take beed you swear not, neither by God, neither by our Lady, neither by any other Saint: and if you do contrary, the Bee will sting your mouth, and venom your soul.

Above one hundred taken,Vol. 1. pag. 869. Hen. 6ths days. whereof some were burned, some cruelly handled, and some were forced to abjure, who said, It was not lawful to swear in private cases.

There it is said, That neither the Pope nor the Prelats, Vol. 1. pag. 896. Hen. 4ths dayes. neither any Ordinary can compel any man to swear by any Creature of God, or by the Bible-book.

Woodman's Examination before the Bishop of Winchester.

Winchester said, Hold him a Book, if he refuse to swear,Vol. 3. pag. 823. Ma. dayes. he is an Anabaptist, and shall be Excommunicated.

Wood. I will not swear for you; Excommunicate me if you will: for you be not meet to take an Oath, &c.

Winch. said, Thou art an absolute Fool,Pag. 822. and an Heretick; Lay thy hand on the Book, and answer to such things as I lay against thee.

Wood. I will lay no hand on the Book for none of ye all, I have nothing to do with you.

Winch. This man is without Law, and cares not for the King nor Queen.

Woodm. I would you loved the King nor Queen no worse than I.

Woodman said to the Bishop of Chichester, Why my Lord, St. Paul saith to Timothy, A Bishop should be blameless; and you use much swearing, which is a great fault in a Bishop, of all others, that should be an Example to the Flock. Then he and his Pre­lats were in a Rage with him, because he reproved him for his swearing. And this Richard Woodman was burnt at Lewis with nine more.

Some refused to take the Oath in the King's Colledge, Vol. 3. pag. 766. Ma. dayes. and would not betray themselves.

At a Conference between the Bishop and Mr. Philpot, V. 3. p. 561. Ma. dayes. and other Prisoners, the Bishop brought a Book for the Prisoners to swear against Philpot, and the Prisoners refused to swear.

One Smith hearing Bishop Bonner swear, he said,Pag. 400. Ma. dayes. Well sworn, ye keep a good watch (in reproof to him.) Then B. Bonner called him, Master Controller, you catch me at my words, I'le catch thee as well I warrant thee. So here he reproves a Bishop.

Bradford spake against Swearing before the Chancellor, Pag. 286. Ma. dayes. and would not take the Queens Oath: and then the Chancellor said, he went to deny all obedience to the Queen, and make God's Word a Warrant for it; for he will not answer the Queen in [Page 14]this sort, when she saith, Swear now to the Bishop of Rome. And yet Bradford said, He did not go about to deny all obedience to the Queen, but denyed obedience in this part, if she should de­mand it.

It pittieth me to hear the use of some in our Nation,Vol. 2. pag. 420. saith J. S. as name themselves Spiritual, and name themselves Head Mini­sters of the Church; who incontinent as a man cometh before them, they call for a Book, and do move him to swear; they will charge him by Vertue of the Contents of the Evangelists.

They that will follow the Law shall be heard in open Court,P. 120. in Germany. and taught how the matter is like to proceed, and counselled with new Exhortations to stop their Process, if they will not be perswaded; and the Judges seeing the matter am­biguous, that they cannot give Sentence, except by vertue of an Oath made by one of the Parties they be first better certified; then they will shew the same before the Suiters, declaring what a chargeful thing it is to swear a solemn Oath, for the love of some wordly profit, besides an ill example that is given to a Multitude, it works to themselves haply shame or dishonesty.

So that Juries and Swearing is well excluded out of Germa­ny, and need not much to be required; the Judges and Peers by Reason, and sober and fatherly Exhortations perswading their Neighbours, to avoid God's Displeasure: As here you may see the Magistrates of Middleburgh were to take Peoples Yea and Nay instead of an Oath, by this which followeth.


VVHEREAS there hath been an Address presented unto his Excellency in the be­half of certain of the Inhabitants of the City of Mid­dleburgh, wherein Complaint was made of the Magi­strates of the said City, who not long since caused the Shops of some of the said Inhabitants to be shut up, and consequently hath forbidden them Trading, though it be their only means to maintain their Fa­milies by; and that this hath been the Cause (to wit) their refusing the taking the accustomed Oaths, as others have done; Yet nevertheless it appeareth that for certain years past, they have paid all Taxes, Con­tributions and Customs belonging to the City; even equal with other Citizens and Inhabitants of the said City (though they had never taken the said Oath) and that willingly; and therefore ought they now to have their Liberty, without being molested in this particu­lar; seeing they desire nothing else than to live in the enjoyment of their Liberty of their Consciences, in order to which this present Warre with the King of Spain was Raised by his Subjects, and which now, by the help of God, is come so far, that the aforesaid Liberty of Conscience is obtained; and therefore it [Page 16]would be an evil thing to take it away from these Peo­ple, who through their paying of Taxes and Contri­butions, and bearing of other Burdens (besides the great hazard of their Lives and Liberties) hath holpen to obtain it; And it appears that these People have declared, that they are willing to be ruled according to the Ordinances of the City, yet nevertheless the Magistrates do and have striven with them about the Oath, which have not only extended to the expelling them out of the City, but consequently to the forcing out of a numberless Company of others in Holland and Zealand, with their Wives and Children, to their utter Ruine: and this would not tend to any man's profit, but on the countrrry, it would be a great ap­parant hinderance to these Lands, because Trading thereby, over all NATIONS, would greatly de­crease.

And forasmuch as these People do proffer, That their YEA shall stand insted of an Oath, and the Transgression thereof to be punished as Perjured Persons: Which thing his Excellency having taken into consideration, doth therefore, with the Advice of the Governour and Council of Zealand, Ordain and Confirm, and by these Presents be it Ordained and Confirmed, That the Peoples YEA, aforesaid, shall stand instead of an Oath, before the Magistrates of the aforesaid City; And that the Transgressors of the same shall be punished as Forswearers, or Per­jured Persons. Moreover, His Excellency doth Charge and Command the Magistrates of Middle­burgh, with all others whom it doth concern, For the future, not to burthen these People afore-said, [Page 17]any further with the Oath, but that they shall open their Shops, and follow their Trading as formerly they have done.

This was given forth in his Excellencies Name, and under his Seal, in the City of Middle­burgh in Zealand, the 26th of January, 1577.

Hear followeth a COPY of another ORDER to the Confirmation of the former.


VVHEREAS there are certain men,Vide Religion Urg­heit, fol. 68, 69. as it is said, dwelling in Middleburgh, who with Complaints have at sundry times been made known unto Us, how that you are daily molesting them, so that in Quietness and Peace they cannot follow their Trading, thereby to get a Livelihood for themselves and their Families, they being hindered from setting open their Shops, under pretence of their Refusing the taking of the Oath, in such a Form as other Citi­zens have done, the which we have already taken into Consideration; And seeing that the aforesaid People do proffer to bear their part of all reasonable Burdens with other Citizens, they themselves being excused from bearing of Arms, so that you may or­der that for them at their Charge, or such as you shall appoint, howbeit, not exceeding Equity and Reason.

But however we think that you are to be blamed, [Page 18]that you suffer them not to live in Quietnesse and Peace, according to their Mind and Conscience, and according to the Act, which, with the Advice of the Governour and Council, We have formerly granted them, which they have shewed unto You, as they say; Nevertheless We have understood, that to this very day You will not observe it, nor Our former LETTERS, We are therefore now finally ne­cessitated to write This, by which we do manifest­ly declare unto You, That it doth not belong to You in particular, to trouble your selves about the Con­sciences of any, if there be nothing done by them, which tendeth to the scandalizing of any; and in that particular we do not desire to respect or suffer any; And therefore We expresly Charge and Require You, that from henceforth you forbear molesting those People called ANABAPTISTS, or from hindering them from following their Trades and their Merchandize, whereby they may get a Liveli­hood for their Wives and Children; And see that from henceforth You suffer Them to Open their Shops, and to follow their Business, as heretofore they have done: And see that Yon take heed how that You Act contrary to This, or to Act as before-mentioned; or of taking any Fines of these Peo­ple for the Cause aforesaid, while nothing is At­tempted by them, which might tend to the scanda­lizing of any man, they bearing their reasonable Share of such Burdens as do belong to the City, as well as others.

Written at Antwerp the 26th of July, 1578.

Concerning Swearing.
William Thorp's Examination before the Bishop.


IT is certified against thee William Thorp, Acts & Mo­numents, Vol. 1. pag. 701. Hen. 6ths dayes. that thou preachest openly at Shrewsbury, That it is not law­ful to Swear in any case.


What I preached at Shrewsbury, I say now here, By the Authority of the Epistle of James, and by the Witness of di­vers Saints and Doctors, I have preached openly in one place or other, That it is not lawful to swear by any Creature, (though he had not said so altogether as he said) and I have preached and taught according to the aforesaid Authors, that no body should swear in any case; If that without an Oath he that is charged to swear might excuse him without an Oath, Which was the Jews Oaths and true Oath, commanded by the Law of God, which Law and Oath Christ ends. to them that have power to compel him to swear, then he ought only to swear By GOD.

The Clerk asked Thorp, Whether it was not lawful for a Subject at the bidding of his Prelate, to kneel down and kiss the holy Ghost's Book, saying, Help me GOD, and this holy Doom, for he would do after his cunning and power all things that the Prelate commanded him.

Thorp. Ye speak full general and large, if the Prelat com­mand to do an unlawful thing, should he obey thereto?

Thorp said to the Bishop, I was once in a Gentleman's house, and there was two, a Master of Divinity, and a Man of Law: these men spake of Oaths; and the Man of Law at the bidding of the Soveraign had power to charge him to swear; he would lay his hand upon the Book, and hear his Charge; and if his Charge were unlawful to his under­standing, he would hastily withdraw his hand upon the Book, taking there only God to witness, that he would ful­fill the lawful Charge after his power: and the Master of Divinity said unto the Lawyer, Certainly he that layeth [Page 20]his hand upon a Book on this wise, maketh a promise to do that thing that he is commanded, and is obliged thereby by Book-Oath then to fulfill his Charge; for no doubt he that chargeth him to lay his hand thus upon a Book, toucheth it, and sweareth by it, and kisseth it, and promising in this form to do this thing or that, and will say and witness he that toucheth this Book and kisseth it, hath sworn upon that Book; and all other men that see that man thus do, and also all those that hear thereof in the same wise, will say and witness, That this man hath sworn upon a Book: Wherefore the Master of Divinity said to the Lawyer, It was not lawful either to give or take any such Charge upon a Book, it is nothing but divers creatures, of which it is made up; Therefore to swear upon a Book, it is to swear by the Creatures, How mad the Divines (so called) are now for Swea­ring, and how contrary to him they are. and this swearing is ever unlawful. This Sentence witnesseth Chrysostom the Divine plainly, blaming them greatly that bring forth a Book to swear upon, and chargeth his Clerks, that in no wise they constrain any body to swear, whether they think they swear true or false.

Then the Arch-Bishop and his Clerk scorned at Thorp greatly for his sayings, and the Arch-Bishop menaced him with great Punishment and sharp, except he would leave his Opinion of Swearing; and he said, It is not mine own Opinion, but the Opinion of Christ our Saviour, of James, of Chrysostom, and of divers other Saints and Doctors.

Then the Arch-Bishop bid his Clerk read this Homily of Chrysostom. So the Clerk read the Roll till he came to that clause where he said, that it is a sin to swear well.

The Examination of Elizabeth Young, (Martyr) before M. Hussy.


Wilt thou not swear before a Judge?Vol. 3. pag. 910, 911. 912.


I know not what an Oath is.


Then he began to teach her the Book-Oath.


I do not understand it, and I will not learn it.

The Examination of Elizabeth before the Bishop of London, Sir Roger Cholmley, Dr. Cook the Recorder of Lon­don, Dr. Roper of Kent, and Dr. Martin, as concern­ing her Faith.

B. Bonner.

Wilt thou not swear before a Judge? this is the right trade of the Anabaptists.


My Lord Christ saith, Whatsoever is more than yea yea, or nay nay, comes of evil. And moreover, I know not what an Oath is, and I will take no such thing upon me.

Sir Roger Cholmley.

Twenty pounds twice over it's a man in womans apparrel.

B. Bonner.

Think you so.




I am a Woman.


Swear her by a Book, seeing it is but a Question.


I lay twenty pounds it is a Man.

Dr. Cook brought her a Book, and commanded her to lay her hand thereupon.

No, I will not swear, I know not what an Oath is: I am a Woman, and have Children.

B. Bonner.

That know not we; therefore swear.


Thou ill-favoured Whore, lay thy hand on the Book; I will lay on mine: so he laid on his hand upon the Book.


So will not I mine.

Dr. Cook.

Swear before us whether thou art a Man or a Woman.


If you will not believe me, send for Women into a secret place, and I will be tried.


Thou ill-favour'd Whore, nothing but Spirit and Faith, Whore.


I told you how I believe.


Away with her, we have more to talk withal.

Richard Hume saith,Vol. 2. pag. 16. Henry 8ths dayes. That every man swearing by our La­dy, or any other Saint or Creature, giveth more honour to the Saints than to the holy Trinity, and so he saith they be Idolaters.

In the second of the Ten Persecutions, [...]reat Vol. [...]ag. 34. An. 69, 70. the cruel Laws and Condemnations of the Heathen Emperours against the Chri­stians, who had many Accusers for Lucre's sake, to have the Possessions of the Christians, so incensed the mind of the Emperour, and were ready to accuse them to have the spoyl of their Goods, and that the Christians should swear to de­clare the Truth, that was the Form whether they were in very deed Christians or not? and if they confessed, then by their Law, Sentence of Death proceeded. The kinds of death which they suffered were divers and horrible, what­soever the cruelty of mens inventions could devise, for the punishment of man's body, who were of the Christian Party, as I have mentioned before; first, Imprisonment, Stripes, Scourging, Drawing, Tearings, Stonings, Plates of Iron and Brass laid unto them burning hot, deep Dungeons, Rackings, Stranglings, Imprisonments, the Teeth of Wild Beasts,This way in the time of the Ten Persecuti­ons before ther was a Pope, who afterwards also compel­led to swear. Grid-irons, Gibbets, Gallows, tossing upon the Horns of Bulls; and when their bodies were thus killed, they laid them in heaps, and Dogs left to keep them, that no man might come to bury them: for when they were thus slain, crucified, cast to Wild-beasts, and into Fires, and cast to Tormentors, yet they kept their Confession and would not go from it, but kept the Faith of Christ Jesus, and could not be compelled to Swear, but kept the Doctrines of Christ and the Apostles, who saith they should not swear; and the more came to the Faith of Christ: As a man cuts a Vine-tree, the more it grows; so did the Christians grow. This was before there was a Pope, which afterwards brought up Swea­ring, against Christ's Doctrine and his Apostles, and so is the Antichrist: for the Pope compelling to swear, made void, as much as in him lay, the Testimony of the Martyrs in the Ten Persecutions.

In Clark's Book, titled A General Martyrologie.Vol. 1. p. 97. Pag. 103, 104.

Hunrick the King, in the seventh year of his Raign, having caused all the Bishops in Africa on a certain day to meet at Carthage, among whom many refused to swear [Page 23]at all, who having suffered very much, whereupon their just Complaints were very grievous unto the King Hunrick, who afterwards commanded the said suffering Bishops to meet him at the Temple of Memory, and when they came thither, they had this Writing delivered to them, Our Lord King Hunrick lamenting your obstinacy, in refusing to obey his Will, and to imbrace his Religion, yet intends to deal graciously with you; and if you will take this Oath, he will send you back to your Churches and Houses. Then they all said with one consent, We are all Christians and Bishops, and hold the Apostolical and only true Faith: [Mark, they that hold the true Faith, deny to swear at all] and thereupon they made a brief Confession of their Faith. But the King's Commissioners urged them without any further delay, to take the Oath contained in that Paper. Whereupon they answered, Do you think us brutish beasts, that we should so easily swear to a Writing, wherein we know not what is contained. Then the Oath was read unto them, which was this, You shall swear, that after the death of the Lord our King, his son Hilderick shall succeed him in the Kingdom; and that none of you shall send a Letter beyond the Seas. If you take this Oath, he will restore you to your Churches. Then some of them were willing to take it; but others that saw further into the subtilty of it, refused it. Then were those which would take it, commanded to sepa­rate themselves from the other; which being done, a Notary presently took their Names, and of what City they were; he did so likewise by the Refusers; and so both Parties were committed to Ward; and shortly after the King sent them word, first; To those that would have taken the Oath, Because that you (contrary to the Rule of the Gospel, which saith, Thou shalt not swear at all) would have sworn, The King's will is, that you shall never see your Churches more, but shall be ba­nished into the Wilderness, and never perform any Ministerial Office again, and there you shall till the Ground. [And was not this a just reward upon such as denyed their Religion, and broke Christ's Command?] And those that would not take the Oath, he banished also into the Isle of Corse to hew Tim­ber for Ships, which was 427 years after Christ, which [Page 24]was two hundred twenty three years before there was a Pope, who afterwards compelled Christians to swear.

The Persecution of tho Waldenses began in the year of CHRIST, 1160.

In the dayes of Pope Alexander the third,Vol. 2. pag. a 30. & 26. some Chri­stians, called Waldenses, refused to take any Oath, whereby they should be inforced to accuse themselves, or their Friends.

Blandina and Ponticus suffered about the year 170, in the fourth Persecution of the ten, before there was a Pope, because they would not swear.

Basilides a Captain, went with a fair Virgin to Execution, and he shewed her some favour, and she took it kindly, and said she would pray for him. Not long after it hapened that Basilides was required to give an Oath from the Emperour; but he plainly affirmed that he was a Christian; and at the first he was thought dissemblingly to jest, but afterwards he constantly and in earnest did affirm the same: and they had him before the Judge, and committed him to Ward; the Christians marvelled thereat, enquired of him the cause of his sudden Conversion. To whom he answered and said, that Polimiena had prayed for him to the Lord; and so he saw a Crown upon his head; adding moreover, that it should not be long before he should be received, and so the next day was beheaded, because he would not swear and give the Oath, but confest himself a Christian. This was before there was a Pope that set up Swearing in the first Persecution of the ten, about the year 197. Eusebius, lib. 6. cap. 5.

In Q. Maries dayes, they would have had Dr. Sands have entered into Bonds, with two Sureties, when he was to be set at liberty: but he said he came a free-man into Prison, and he would not go forth a bond-man, and so he passed out free.

In Henry the 8th's dayes, there were some spoke against Vowes. And Seven were burned, because in their Occupa­tions they would not use any Oath, nor could abide it in them that occupied with them.

In the Germans Complaint, they say,Vol. 1. p. 8. That those that chuse Bishops, and make them by an Oath, are plainly wicked and unlawful.

Cornelius writing to the Bishop of the East Churches, Great Vol. pag. 59. or­dained that no Oath should be required or exacted of any head or chief Bishop, for any cause, or by any power. Anno 255.

Bishop Cranmer refused to swear to Lady Anne; Great Vol. pag. 1698. and also he saith, That he was Judge of no mans Conscience but his own; and that every man should give an account of his own, and not of another man's. Anno 1556.

The Arch-Bishop said,Great Vol. pag. 696. There's no Master of Divinity in England so great, if he hold this Opinion before me, but I'le punish him, as I'le do thee, except thou wilt swear as I will charge thee. The Clerk said, Wilt thou submit to the Or­dinance, and lay thy hand on the Book?

Thorp said, I heard a Master of Divinity say, That in such a case it is all one to touch a Book, and to swear by a Book. And Chrysostom proves him worthy of great blame that bring­eth a Book to swear upon: And it must needs follow, that he is more to [...]e that sweareth upon that Book.

Dr. Martin said,Vol. 3. pag. 910, 911. That Elizabeth Young refused to swear upon the four Evangelists before a Judge: for I my self, —M. Hussy, have had her before us four times —could not bring her to swear.

Dr. Martin. Thou Rebel and traitorly Whore— thou shalt be wrackt—handled, thou shalt be made an Example to all traitorly Whore-Hereticks; and thou shalt be made to swear by the four Evangelists.

Eliz. I will not swear, I know my duty by God's Word, Vol. 3. pag. 753. to God, and to the Queen.

Also Thomas Rowland said, If he did curse and swear, then he was worthy to be beaten.

Bish.Vol. 3. pag. 401. Bonner swore [By my Faith] to the Lord Mayor upon Robert Smith's Examination the last time.

Rob. Smith at this word (which the Bishop coupled with an Oath) came in, and taking him in the manner, said, It is written, Ye must not swear.

Then Bish. Bonner pointed to the Mayor, and called him Master Controller, and threatned him.

In the dayes of Edward the Fourth, Vol. 1. pag. [...]56. three men were con­demned to death for denying the Pope's Supremacy.

Men that make Oaths contrary to the Command of Christ, who is the Son of God, whom God sent into the World to give a Law to the People; who is the Law-giver: Them that transgress his Commands by making Oaths, which break them again at their pleasure: As instance, the Pope absolved the French King from his Oath which he had made to the Emperour.

Blandina a woman,Vol. 2. pag. 24. and Ponticus a youth of fifteen years old, Martyrs, could not be forced to swear with all the wicked Cruelty of the Tormentors;Vol. 1. p. 62. neither sparing the age of the Childe, nor the sect of the Woman, but put them to all the punishment and pain they could devise; and often-times would have forced them to swear, yet were not able to compel them: as instance some as followeth. After her cruel Whippings, she was brought to the common Scaf­fold and there thrown down to be torn with wild beasts, in the face of the People; Being brought the seco [...] [...]ime to the Scaffold, suffered all kind of Torments, as though hither­to they had suffered nothing at all; they striving for the Crown, suffered again more Scourgings, the trying of Wild­beasts, and what else ever the frantick people cryed for, and willed: above all the rest they brought the Iron Chair, in which their bodies being set, they were so scorched, as on a Grid-iron fryed on the coals, which savoured with the savour of the frying among the people; and yet for all that the Tormentors ceased not; but worked more fierce, and mad to overcome the patience of the Saints, being made all the whole day a spectacle unto the world, in place and stead of Games and Sights, which was wont to be exhibed to the people.

And Blandina being brought forth again, was fastened to a stake and cast to the ravenous beasts to be devoured; and whilst she seems to hang as it were upon a Cross, by the fer­vency of her Prayer might comfort the rest of the Saints, in [Page 27]which Agony she suffered all for the Glory of Christ: and when they saw no Wild-beasts would come nigh her, thus hanging, she was taken down and cast again into Prison.

Then Blandina, and Ponticus the Child were brought out every day to see the punishment of their fellows, that they might be compelled thereby to swear, and delivered then to Wild-beasts, and Torments upon Grid-irons; at length she was put into a Net and thrown to a Wild Bull, and when she had been sufficiently gored and wounded with the Horns of the same beast, felt nothing of all that chanced to her, for the great hope and consolation she had in Christ and heaven­ly things, and was thus slain; insomuch that the very Hea­then men themselves confessed that there was never Woman put to death of them, that suffered so much as this Woman did.

And after that Ponticus the young youth had suffered all the Torments and Pains, he gave up the ghost; who could never be compelled to swear by all the Torments and In­ventions of the Heathen. Oh! what have our Christians lost that compel Oaths to Christians, seeing that so many suffered so many cruel Tortures and Torments before they would swear, and throw away the Command of Christ our Saviour, which saith they should not swear. So refusing to swear is no new thing.

Concerning the Hat.

BIrry was committed by the High Commissioners, and removed by Habeas Corpus into the Kings-Bench. They returned the Writ, with a Certificate, That they did com­mit him for certain Causes Ecclesiastical: which general Cause the Court did disallow.

They certified another time, That it was for Irreverent Carriage and Saucy Speeches to Dr. Newman. The Court also disallowed of that Cause.

Birry put in Bail to appear de die in diem, and was dis­charged.

It was then holden, That if Birry did not put off his Hat to him, or give him the Wall, that the same were not suffi­cient Causes to commit him. Mich. 3. Jac. B. R. Birries Case. Hughes Repr. fol. 147.

In Henry the Eight's dayes,Vol. 2. pag. 569. Hen. 8ths dayes. the Burning and Martyrdom of Kerby. As they had him out of Prison to burn him he went on foot, and as he went he met with them going Pro­cessioning, but he would not bow his Cap nor Knee; and the Officers being much offended at him, one took a stick of a Faggot, when he was tied to the Stake, and struck him that he sunk down.

Dr. Ridley, Acts & Mo­numents, Vol. 2. pag. 1595. in Q. Maries days when he was examined before the Bishop of Lincoln, when he heard the Cardinal named, and the Pope's Holiness, put on his Cap before the Bishop of Lincoln.

The Bishop said, That neither he, nor the Lords, in respect of their own persons did look for Cap or Knee, but that they did represent such Persons, the Cardinals Grace, Legate to the Pope's Holiness; Wherefore except you will your self take the pains to put your Hand to your Head, and at the Nomination as well of the said Cardinal, as of the Pope's Holiness, uncover the same, left that this your Contumacy exhibited now before us should be prejudicial to the afore­said Persons, which thing we may in no case suffer, you shall cause us to take the pains to cause some man to pluck off your Cap.

Dr. Ridley answered, But in that he is Legat to the Bishop of Rome (and therewith put on his Cap) whose usurped Supre­macy, and abused Authority I utterly refuse and renounce, I may in no wise give obedience or honour unto him.

Lincoln replied, Mr. Ridley, you excuse your self of that with the which we pressed you not, in that you protest you keep on your Cap, neither for any Contumacy towards us, (who look for no such honour of you) neither for any Con­tempt of this Audience; which, although justly they may, yet (I suppose) in this case do not require any such obey­sance of you, neither in derogation of any honour due to my Lord Cardinal's Grace, for his Regal descent: for, although in all the premises honour be due, yet in these respects we [Page 29]require none of you; but only in that my Lord Cardinal's Grace is here in England, Deputy of the Pope's Holiness (at which word the Lords and others put off their Caps, and Mr. Ridley put on his) and therefore we say unto you the second time, That except you take the pains your self to put your hand to your head and put off your Cap, you shall put us to the pain to cause some man to take it from you; except you alledge some infirmity and sickness, or other more rea­sonable cause, upon the consideration whereof we may do as we think good.

Dr. Ridley answered, The premises I said only for this end, That it might appear why and for what consideration I used such kind of behaviour, in not humbling my self to you with Cap and Knee: and as for sickness, I thank God I am as well at ease as I have been this long season; and therefore I do not pretend that which is not, but only this, that it might appear by this my be­haviour, That I acknowledge in no point (mark) that Usurped Supremacy of Rome, and therefore contemn and utterly despise all Authority coming from him. In taking off my Cap, do as it shall please you, and I shall be content.

Then the Bishop of Lincoln, after the third Admonition, (Mark) commanded one of the Beadles (that is, an Officer of the University) to pluck his Cap from his head: and so the Beadle took away his Cap.

Then the Bishop made an Oration, and asked him whe­ther he would recant, and submit himself to the Universal Faith. The same Faith as was his, is the plucker off of Hats and Caps faith. They do not read that it was Timothy and Titus practice to pluck off the Hats and Caps of people.

Dr. Ridley was brought before the Commissioners again.Second Sess. Pag. 1601. Then the Bishop of Lincoln urged to Dr. Ridley again his not putting off his Cap, or uncovering his head, in that the Car­dinal was Legat to the most Reverend Father in GOD, the Pope's Holiness (with that the Bishop, with all then present, put off their Caps, but Mr. Ridley moved not his) you said you ne could, ne would by any means be induced to give him honour: but sorasmuch as this is the point, as we told you yesterday, why we require honour and reverence of you; [Page 30]we tell you now, as we did then, Except you take the pains to move your Bonnet, we will take the pains to cause your Bonnet to be taken from you, except you pretend sickness, as yesterday you did not.

Ridley replyed, I pretend now none other cause then I did yesterday; that is only that hereby it may appear, that not only in word and confession, but also by all my gesture and behaviour, in no point I agree or admit any Authority or Power that shall come from the Pope; and not for any pride of mind (as God is my Judg) neither for contempt of you, or of this Audience, neither for de­rogation of honour due to my Lord Cardinal's Grace, as concern­ing those points which you speak of, that is, his Noble Parentage and singular graces in Learning. And as for taking my Cap away, you may do as it shall please you, it shall not offend me.

Then said Lincoln, Forasmuch as you do answer now as you did yesterday, we must do also as we did then: and forthwith one of the Beadles very hastily snatched his Cap off his head.

Dr. Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, Pag. 1699. An. 1556. March. when he was with the Bishop of Gloucester, who was against him, and Cranmer beholding the Bishop in the face, put on his Bonnet, making no manner of token of obedience towards him at all. Whereat the Bishop being offended, said unto him, It might beseem him right well, weighing the Authority he did repre­sent, to do his duty unto him.

Whereunto Dr. Cranmer answered, He desired the said Bishop to judge of him, that he did it not for any contempt to his Person, which he could have been content to have honoured as well as any of the other, if his Commission had come from as good an Authority as theirs. This answered he both modestly, wife­ly and patiently, with his Cap on his head, not once bowing or making any reverence to him that represented the Pope's Person; which was wonderously of the people marked, that were there present and saw it, and marked it as nigh as could be possible.

When they perceived that the Arch-bishop would not move his Bonnet, then the Bishop of Gloucester: said to Cran­mer, We are come to you as Commissioners, sent by Com­mission [Page 31]partly by the Pope's Holiness, and partly by the King and the Queen, to examine you in certain matters. And before the Commissioners Dr. Cranmer in this his Examina­tion all this while kept on his Cap.

Dr. Story pointing to the Bishop of Gloucestor, Pag. 1706. said, That he ought rather to give reverence unto him. So the Arch­bishop departed without any obedience exhibited to the Bi­shop, all the other rose up and departed every one to his own.

Concerning Tythes.

SEE Lindwood, cap. de locato & conducto, fol. 117. verbo Portiones.

That before the Council of Lateran, Anno 1179, any man might have given his Tythes to what Spiritual Person he would, but they are since decreed to be paid to Parochial Ministers.

A Martyr suffered for speaking to a Priest in a Pulpit.

VVOodman was accused by the Bishop of Winchester for an Heretick,Vol. 2. pag. 1890. An. 1557. which was for the breach of a Statute in Queen Maries dayes, for speaking to a Priest in the Pul­pit; and being had before the Justices,Here you may see Q. Maries Law, which was made a­gainst the Mar­tyrs, by which the People of God called Quakers, have suffered by the professors, who have made use of the same. they would have had him bound to his Good Behaviour; and because he refused it, they sent him to Prison. The words of the Statute, If any man do interrupt any Preacher or Preachers, lawfully authorized by the Queens Majesty, or by any other lawful Ordinary; that then every particular that so offendeth, shall suffer three moneths Imprisonment: and furthermore be brought to the Sessions, and there being sorry for the same, and also bound for his good abear­ing one whole year, to be released; or else to remain in Prison.

And the said Woodman speaking something to the Com­missioners [Page 32]that examined him; he was afraid lest they should think he had granted something to them concerning Judas, more than his Conscience did allow of, and thereby should obtain his Freedom, and so the Gospel should have been slandered by him: for the which cause he was in such a case that he could scarcely eat, drink, or sleep for that space; as all his Prison-fellows (he said) could testifie. And he said, If that all you go to the Church of Satan, and there hear the detestable Doctrine that they spit and spue out in their Churches and Pulpits, to the great dishonour of God; if all you (said he) that come there had such a Hell burning in your Conscience for the time as I had (said he) till I came before them again, and had uttered my Conscience more plainly; I dare say (said he) you would come there no more.

The Bishop of Winchester said, Where is there such spit­ting and spuing out of false Doctrine, as you speak of?

Woodman said, In the Synagogue of Satan, where God is dis­honoured with false Doctrine.

Bish. And I pray you where is one of them?

Woodman said, Nay, that judge your self; I came not hither to be a Judge.


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