The Life and Martyrdom of William Tyndale
This information is taken from the 1684 edition of the book commonly called --
Foxe's (Fox's) Book of Martyrs The Life and Story of the true Servant and Martyr of God, William Tindal; who for, his notable pains and travail may well be called the Apostle of England in this our late age.
Born 1484 ? -- Martyred October 6, 1536
Editor's Note To The Readers: This text taken from pages 301 to 306 The Second Volume of the Ecclesiastical History: Containing the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs: With A General Discourse of the later Persecutions, horrible Troubles and Tumults, stirred up by Romish Prelates In The Church. With Diverse other Things incident to the Realm of England and Scotland. There are a variety of spellings of Tindal's name in the different editions of Foxe. For instance, in the 1641 edition the spelling is Tyndall. In the 1684 edition, from which my text comes, the name is spelled Tindal. I have chosen to spell his name Tindal, in keeping with the 1684 text that is the basis of this booklet. You will notice that there are capital letters used where no capital letters would normally be used in our day. I have followed the 1684 text in the use of capital letters. I should also mention that I have not used apostrophes as they would normally be used. For instance, we would say, " being now further ripened in the knowledge of God's Word." Yet, the 1684 text reads, " being now further ripened in the knowledge of Gods Word." One final note. I have, for the most part, revised the spelling to reflect modern English spelling. (Note: This material is available in booklet form. See the address and phone number below for this and other valuable historic information.)
Rev. David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Edited by Rev. David L. Brown, Ph.D.
MAY 1, 1998 David L. Brown
William Tindal, the faithful Minister and constant Martyr of Christ, was born about the Borders of Wales, and brought up from a Child in the University of Oxford, where he, by long continuance, grew up, and increased as well in the knowledge of tongues, and other liberal Arts, as especially in the knowledge of the Scriptures, whereunto his mind was singularly addicted; insomuch that he, lying then in Magdalen Hall, read privily to certain Students and Fellows of Magdalen College, some parcel of Divinity; instructing them in the knowledge and truth of the Scriptures. Whose manners also and conversation being correspondent to the same, were such, that all they that knew him, reputed and esteemed him to be a man of most virtuous disposition, and of life unspotted.
Thus he, in the University of Oxford, increasing more and more in learning, and proceeding in degrees of the Schools, spying his time, removed from thence to the University of Cambridge, where, after he had likewise made his abode a certain space, being now further ripened in the knowledge of Gods Word, leaving that University also, he resorted to one Master Welch, a knight of Gloucestershire, and was there schoolmaster to his Children, and in good favor with his Master. This Gentleman, as he kept a good Ordinary commonly at his Table, there resorted to him many times sundry Abbots, Deans, Archdeacons, with divers other Doctors, and great Beneficed men; who there, together with Master Tindal sitting at the same Table, did use many times to enter communication, and talk of learned men, as of Luther and of Erasmus; also of divers other controversies and questions upon the Scripture.
Then Master Tindal, as he was learned and well practiced in Gods matters, so he spared not to show unto them simply and plainly his judgment in matters, as he thought; and when they at any time did vary from Tindal in opinions and judgment, he would show them in the Book, and lay plainly before them the open and manifest places of the Scriptures, to confute their errors, and confirm his sayings. And thus continued they for a certain season, reasoning and contending together divers and sundry times, till at length they waxed weary, and bare a secret grudge in their hearts against him.
Not long after this, it happened that certain of these great Doctors had invited Master Welch and his Wife to a Banquet; where they had talk at will and pleasure, uttering their blindness and ignorance without any resistance or gainsaying. Then Master Welch and his Wife, coming home, and calling for Master Tindal, began to reason with him about those matters, whereof the Priests had talked before at their Banquet. Master Tindal, answering by the Scriptures, maintained the truth, and reproved their false opinions. Then said the Lady Welch, a stout and a wise woman (as Tindal reported), Well, said she, there was such a doctor who may dispend a hundred pounds, and another two hundred pounds, and another three hundred pounds: and what! were it reason, think you, that we should believe you before them? Master Tindal gave her no answer at that time, and also after that (because he saw it would not avail), he talked but little in those matters. At that time he was about the Translation of a Book called Enchiridion Militis Christiani, which, being translated, he delivered to his Master and Lady. Who, after they had read and well perused the same, the Doctorly Prelates were no more so often called to the house, neither had they the cheer and countenance when they came, as before they had. Which thing they marking, and well perceiving, and supposing no less but it came by the means of Master Tindal, refrained themselves, and at last utterly withdrew, and came no more there.
As this grew on, the Priests of the Country, clustering together, began to grudge and storm against Tindal, railing against him in Alehouses and other places. Of whom Tindal himself, in his Prologue before the first Book of Moses, thus testifieth in his own words, and reporteth that he suffered much in that Country by a sort of unlearned priests, being full rude and ignorant (saith he) God knoweth: (which have seen no more Latin, than that only which they read in their Protesses and Missals; which yet many of them can scarcely read), except it be Albertus, de secretis mulierum, in which yet, though they be never so sorrily learned, they pore day and night, and make notes therein, and all to teach the Midwives, as they say, and also another called Lindwood, a Book of Constitutions to gather Tithes, Mortuaries, Offerings, Customs, and other Pillage, which they call not theirs, but Gods part, the duty of Holy-Church, to discharge their Consciences withal. For they are bound that they shall not diminish, but increase all things unto the uttermost of their powers, which pertain to Holy-Church. Thus these blind and rude Priests flocking together to the Alehouse (for that was their preaching place) raged and railed against him, affirming that his sayings were heresy; adding moreover unto his sayings, of their own heads, more than ever he spake, and so accused him secretly to the Chancellor, and others of the Bishops Officers.
It followed not long after this, that there was a sitting of the Bishops Chancellor appointed, and warning was given to the Priests to appear, amongst whom Master Tindal was also warned to be there. And whether he had any misdoubt by their threatenings, or knowledge given him that they would lay some things to his charge, it is uncertain; but certain this is (as he himself declared), that he doubted their privy accusations; so that he by the way, in going thitherwards, cried in his mind heartily to God, to give him strength fast to stand in the truth of his Word.
Then when the time came for his appearance before the Chancellor, he threatened him grievously, reviling and rating at him as though he had been a Dog, and laid to his charge many things whereof no accuser yet could be brought forth (as commonly their manner is, not to bring forth the accuser), notwithstanding that the Priests of the Country the same time were there present. And thus Master Tindal, after those Examinations, escaping out of their hands, departed home, and returned to his Master again.
There dwelt not far off a certain Doctor, that had been an old Chancellor before to a Bishop, who had been of old familiar acquaintance with Master Tindal, and also favored him well. Unto whom Master Tindal went and opened his mind upon divers questions of the Scripture; for to him he durst be bold to disclose his heart. Unto whom the Doctor said, Do you not know that the pope is very Antichrist, whom the Scripture speaketh of? But beware what you say; for if you shall be perceived to be of that opinion, it will cost you your life:" and said moreover, "I have been an officer of his; but I have given it up, and defy him and all his works.
It was not long after, but Master Tindal happened to be in the company of a certain Divine, recounted for a learned man, and, in communing and disputing with him, he drave him to that issue, that the said great Doctor burst out into these blasphemous words, and said, We were better to be without Gods laws than the popes. Mr. Tindal, hearing this, full of godly zeal, and not bearing that blasphemous saying, replied again, and said,I defy the pope, and all his laws; and further added, that if God spared him life, ere many years he would cause a boy that driveth the plough, to know more of the Scripture than he did.
After this, the grudge of the priests increasing still more and more against Tindal, they never ceased barking and raling at him, and laid many things sorely to his charge, saying, That he was a Heretic in Sophistry, a Heretic in Logic, a Heretic in divinity; and said moreover to him, That he bare himself bold of the gentlemen there in that country; but notwithstanding, shortly he should be otherwise talked withal. To whom Master Tindal, answering again, thus said, That he was contented they should bring him into any country in all England, giving him ten pounds a year to live with, and binding him to no more but to teach children, and to preach.
To be short, Master Tindal, being so molested and vexed in the Country by the Priests, was constrained to leave that Country, and to seek another place; and so coming to Master Welch, he desired him, of his good will, that he might depart from him, saying on this wise to him, Sir, I preceive that I shall not be suffered to tarry long here in this country, neither shall you be able, though you would, to keep me out of the hands of the spirituality; and also what displeasure might grow thereby to you by keeping me, God knoweth: for the which I should be right sorry. So that in fine, Master Tindal, with the good will of his master, departed, and eftsoons came up to London, and there preached awhile, according as he had done in the country before, and especially about the town of Bristol, and also in the said town, in the common place called St. Austens Green. At length, bethinking himself of Cuthbert Tonstal, then Bishop of London, and especially for the great commendation of Erasmus, who, in his annotations, so extolleth him for his learning, Tindal thus cast with himself, that if he might attain unto his service, he were a happy man. And so coming to Sir Henry Guilford, the Kings Controler, and bringing with him an Oration of Isocrates, which he had then translated out of Greek into English, he desired him to speak to the said Bishop of London for him; which he also did; and willed him moreover to write an Epistle to the Bishop, and to go himself with him. Which he did likewise, and delivered his Epistle to a servant of his, named William Hebilthwait, a man of his old acquaintance. But God, who secretly disposeth the course of things, saw that was not the best for Tindals purpose, nor for the profit of his Church, and therefore gave him to find little favor in the Bishops sight; the answer of whom was this, That his house was full; he had more than he could well find: and advised him to seek in London abroad, where, he said, he could lack no service, & etc. And so remained he in London, the space almost of a year, beholding and marking with himself the course of the World, and especially the demeanour of the Preachers, how they boasted themselves, and set up their authority and Kingdom; beholding also the pomp of the Prelates, with other things more, which greatly misliked him. Insomuch that he understood, not only that there was no room in the Bishops house for him to translate the New Testament; but also that there was no place to do it in all England. And therefore, finding no place for his purpose within the Realm, and having some aid and provision by Gods Providence ministered unto him by Humphrey Mummuth, above recited (as you may see before), and certain other good men, he took his leave of the Realm, and departed into Germany. Where the good man, being inflamed with a tender care and zeal of his Country, refused no travel nor diligence, how, by all means possible to reduce his Brethren and Countrymen of England, to the same taste and understanding of Gods holy Word and verity, which the Lord had endued him withal.
Whereupon, considering in his mind, and partly also conferring with John Frith, thought with himself no way more to conduce thereunto, than if the Scripture were turned into the vulgar speech, that the poor people might also read and see the simple plain Word of God. For first, he wisely casting in his mind, perceived by experience, how that it was not possible to establish the lay-people in any truth, except the Scriptures were so plainly laid before their eyes in their Mother Tongue, that they might see the process, order and meaning of the Text; for else whatsoever truth should be taught them, these enemies of the truth would quench it again, either with apparent reasons of sophistry and traditions of their own making, founded without all ground of Scripture; or else juggling with the Text, expounding it in such a sense as it were impossible to gather of the Text, if the right process, order, and meaning thereof were seen.
Again, right well he perceived and considered, this only, or most chiefly, to be the cause of all mischief in the Church, that the Scriptures of God were hidden from the peoples eyes; for so long the abominable doings, and idolatries maintained by the Pharisaical Clergy could not be spied, and therefore all their labor was with might and main to keep it down, so that either it should not be read at all, or if it were, they would darken the right sense with the Mist of their Sophistry, and so entangle them which rebuked or despised their abominations, with arguments of Philosophy, and with worldly similitudes, and apparent reasons of natural wisdom; and, with wresting the Scripture unto their own purpose, contrary unto the process, order and meaning of the Text, would so delude them in descanting upon it with allegories, and amaze them, expounding it in many senses laid before the unlearned lay people, that though thou felt in thy heart, and wert sure that all were false that they said, yet couldst thou not solve their subtle riddles.
For these and such other considerations this good man was moved (and no doubt stirred up of God) to translate the Scripture into his Mother Tongue, for the public utility and profit of the simple vulgar people of his Country; first setting in hand with the New Testament, which he first translated about A.D. 1527. After that he took in hand to translate the Old Testament, finishing the five books of Moses, with sundry most learned and godly Prologues prefixed before every one, most worthy to be read and read again by all good Christians, as the like also he did upon the New Testament.
He wrote also divers other Works under sundry Titles, amongst which is that most worthy Monument of his, entitled, The Obedience of a Christian Man, wherein with singular dexterity, he instructeth all men in the office and duty of Christian obedience, with divers other treatises, as The Wicked Mammon, The Practice of Prelates; with Expositions upon certain parts of the Scripture, and other Books also, answering to Sir Thomas More, and other adversaries of the truth, no less delectable, than also most fruitful to be read; which partly before being unknown unto many, partly also being almost abolished and worn out by time, the Printer hereof, (good Reader), for conserving and restoring such singular treasures, hath collected and set forth in Print the same in one general Volume, all and whole together, as also the works of John Frith, Barnes, and others, as are to be seen, most special and profitable for thy reading.
The Books of William Tindal being compiled, published, and sent over into England, it cannot be spoken what a door of light they opened to the eyes of the whole English Nation, which before were many years shut up in darkness.
At his first departing out of the Realm he took his journey into the further parts of Germany, as into Saxony, where he had conference with Luther, and other learned Men in those Quarters, where after he had continued a certain season, he came down from thence into the Netherlands, and had his most abiding in the town of Antwerp, until the time of his apprehension; whereof more shall be said (God willing) hereafter.
Amongst his other Books which he compiled, one Work he made also for the declaration of the Sacrament (as it was then called) of the Altar; the which he kept by him, considering how the people were not as yet fully persuaded in other matters tending to superstitious ceremonies and gross Idolatry. Wherefore he thought as yet time was not come to put forth that Work, but rather that it should hinder the people from other instructions, supposing that it would seem to them odious to hear any such thing spoken, or set forth at that time, sounding against their great goddess Diana, that is, against their mass, being had everywhere in great estimation, as was the Goddess Diana amongst the Ephesians, whom they thought to come from Heaven.
Wherefore Master Tindal, being a man both prudent in his doings, and no less zealous in the setting forth of Gods holy truth, after such sort as it might take most effect with the people, did forbear the putting forth of that work, not doubting but, by Gods merciful grace, a time should come to have that abomination openly declared, as it is at this present day, the Lord Almighty be always praised therefore. Amen.
These godly Books of Tindal, and especially the New Testament of his Translation, after that they began to come into mens hands, and to spread abroad, as they wrought great and singular profit to the godly; so the ungodly envying and disdaining that the people should be any thing wiser than they, and again, fearing lest by the shining beams of truth, their false hypocrisy and works of darkness should be discerned, began to stir with no small ado, like as at the birth of Christ, Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. But especially Satan, the Prince of Darkness, maligning the happy course and success of the Gospel, set to his might also, how to impeach and hinder the blessed travails of that man; as by this, and also by sundry other ways may appear. For at what time Tindal had translated the fifth Book of Moses called Deuteronomy, minding to Print the same at Hamburgh, he sailed thitherward; where by the way, upon the Coast of Holland, he suffered Shipwreck, by which he lost all his Books, Writings, and Copies, and so was compelled to begin all again anew, to his hinderance, and doubling of his labors. Thus, having lost by that Ship, both Money, his Copies, and his time, he came in another Ship to Hamburgh, where, at his appointment, Master Coverdale tarried for him, and helped him in the translating of the whole five Books of Moses, from Easter till December, in the house of a Worshipful widow, Mistress Margaret Van Emmerson, A.D. 1529. a great sweating Sickness being at the same time in the Town. So, having dispatched his business at Hamburgh, he returned afterwards to Antwerp again.
Thus as Satan is, and ever hath been an enemy to all godly endeavors, and chiefly to the promoting and furtherance of Gods Word, as by this and many other experiments may be seen, so his Ministers and Members, following the like quality of their Master, be not altogether idle for their parts; as also by the Popes Chaplains and Gods enemies, and by their cruel handling of the said Mr. Tindal at the same time, both here in England and in Flanders, may well appear.
When Gods will was that the New Testament in the common tongue should come abroad, Tindal, the Translator thereof, added to the latter end a certain Epistle, wherein he desired them that were learned to amend, if ought were found amiss. Wherefore if there had been any such default deserving correction, it had been the part of courtesy and gentleness, for men of knowledge and judgment to have showed their learning therein, and to have redressed what was to be amended. But the spiritual Fathers then of the Clergy, being not willing to have that Book to prosper, cried out upon it, bearing men in hand that there were a thousand Heresies in it, and that it was not to be corrected, but utterly to be suppressed. Some said it was not possible to translate the Scriptures into English; some that it was not lawful for the lay people to have it in their Mother-tongue; some, that it would make them all Heretics. And to the intent to induce the temporal Rulers also unto their purpose, they made more matter, and said that it would make the people to rebel and rise against the King. All this Tindal himself, in his own prologue before the first book of Moses declareth and addeth further, showing what great pains were taken in examining that Translation, and comparing it with their own imaginations and terms, that with less labor, he supposeth, they might have translated themselves a great part of the Bible: showing moreover, that they scanned and examined every tittle and point in the said Translation, in such sort, and so narrowly, that there was not one i therein, but if it lacked a prick over its head, they did note it, and numbered it unto the ignorant people for a Heresy. So great were then the froward devices of the English Clergy (who should have been the Guides of light unto the people), to drive the people from the text and knowledge of the Scripture, which neither they would translate themselves, nor yet abide it to be translated of others; to the intent (as Tindal saith) that the Word being kept still in darkness, they might sit in the Consciences of the people through vain superstition and false Doctrine, to satisfy their lusts, their ambition, and insatiable covetousness, and to exalt their own honor above King and Emperor, yea and above God himself, Haec ille.
The Bishops and Prelates of the Realm, thus (as ye have heard) incensed and inflamed in their minds, although having no cause, against the Old and New Testament of the Lord newly translated by Tindal, and conspiring together with all their Heads and Councils, how to repeal the same, never rested before they had brought the King at last to their consent. By reason whereof, a Proclamation in all haste was devised and set forth under public authority, but no just reason showed, that the Testament of Tindals Translation, with other works besides, both of his, and of other Writers, were inhibited and abandoned, as ye heard before. Which was about the year of our Lord 1527. And yet not contented herewith, they proceeded further, how to entangle him in their Nets, and to bereave him of his life. Which how they brought to pass, now it remaineth to be declared.
In the Registers of London it appeareth manifestly, how that the Bishops and Sir Thomas More having any poor man under Coram, to be examined before them, namely, such as had been at Antwerp, most studiously would search and examine all things belonging to Tindal, where and with whom he hosted, whereabouts stood the house, what was his stature, in what apparel he went, what resort he had, etc. All which things when they had diligently learned (as may appear by the Examination of Simon Smith and others), then began they to work their feats, as you shall hear by the relation of his own Host.
William Tindal, being in the Town of Antwerp, had been lodged about one whole year in the House of Thomas Pointz an Englishman, who kept there a house of English merchants. About which time came thither one out of England, whose name was Henry Philips, his Father being Customer of Poole, a comely fellow, like as he had been a Gentleman, having a servant with him, but wherefore he came, or for what purpose he was sent thither, no man could tell.
Master Tindal divers times was desired forth to Dinner and Supper amongst Merchants; by means whereof this Henry Philips became acquainted with him, so that within short space Master Tindal had a great confidence in him, and brought him to his Lodging, to the House of Thomas Pointz; and had him also once or twice with him to Dinner and Supper, and further entered such friendship with him, that through his procurement he lay in the same House of the said Pointz; to whom he showed moreover his books, and other secrets of his study, so little did Tindal then mistrust this Traitor.
But Pointz, having no great confidence in the fellow, asked Master Tindal how he came acquainted with this Philips. Master Tindal answered, that he was an honest man, handsomely learned, and very conformable. Then Pointz, perceiving that he bare such favor to him, said no more, thinking that he was brought acquainted with him by some friend of his. The said Philips, being in the Town three or four days, upon a time desired Pointz to walk with him forth of the Town to show him the commodities thereof, and in walking together without the Town, had communication of divers things, and some of the Kings affairs; by which talk Pointz as yet suspected nothing, but after, by the sequel of the matter, he perceived more what he intended. In the mean time this he well perceived, that he bare no great favor either to the setting forth of any good thing, or to the proceedings of the King of England. But after, when the time was past, Pointz perceived this to be his mind, to feel if he could perceive by him, whether he might break with him in the matter, for lucre of money, to help him to his purpose; for he perceived before that he was monied, and would that Pointz should think no less; but by whom it was unknown. For he had desired Pointz before to help him to divers things, and such things as he named, he required might be of the best, for said he, I have money enough; but of this talk came nothing. but that men should think he had some things to do; for nothing else followed of his talk. So it was to be suspected, that Philips was in doubt to move this matter for his purpose, to any of the Rulers or Officers of the Town of Antwerp, for doubt it should come to the knowledge of some Englishmen, and by the means thereof Master Tindal should have had warning.
So Philips went from Antwerp to the court of Brussels, which is from thence twenty-four English miles, the King having there no Ambassador; for at that time the king of England and the Emperor were at a controversy for the question betwixt the King and the Lady Katharine, who was Aunt to the Emperor; and the discord grew so much, that it was doubted lest there should have been War between the Emperor and the King, so that Philips, as a Traitor both against God and the King, was there the better retained, as also other Traitors more besides him; who, after he had betrayed Mr. Tindal into their hands, showed himself likewise against the Kings own person, and there set forth things against the King. To make short, the said Philips did so much there, that he procured to bring from thence with him to Antwerp, that Procuror General, who is the Emperors attorney, with certain other Officers, as after followeth. The which was not done with small charges and expenses, from whomsoever it came.
Within a while after, Pointz sitting at his door, Philips man came unto him, and asked whether Mr. Tindal were there, and said, his Master would come to him, and so departed. But whether his Master Philips were in the Town or not, it was not known; but at that time Pointz heard no more, neither of the Master or of the Man. Within three or four days after, Pointz went forth to the town of Barrow, being eighteen English Miles from Antwerp, where he had business to do for the space of a Month or Six weeks, and in the time of his absence Henry Philips came again to Antwerp to the house of Pointz, and coming in, spake with his Wife, asking her for Mr. Tindal, and whether he would dine there with him; saying, What good meat shall we have? She answered, such as the market will give. Then went he forth again (as it is thought) to provide, and set the Officers whom he brought with him from Brussels, in the street, and about the door. Then about Noon he came again, and went to Master Tindal, and desired him to lend him forty shillings; for said he, I lost my purse this morning, coming over at the passage between this and Mechlin. So Master Tindal took him forty shillings, which was easy to be had of him, if he had it, for in the wily subtleties of this World he was simple and unexpert.
Then said Philips, Master Tindal you shall be my Guest here this day. No, said Master Tindal, I go forth this day to Dinner, and you shall go with me, and be my Guest, where you shall be welcome. So when it was Dinner time, Master Tindal went forth with Philips, and at the going forth of Pointz's house, was a long narrow Entry, so that two could not go in a front. Master Tindal would have put Philips before him, but Philips would in no wise, but put Master Tindal afore, for that he pretended to show great humanity. So Master Tindal, being a man of no great stature, went before, and Philips, a tall comely person, followed behind him; who had set Officers on either side of the Door upon two seats, which being there might see who came in the Entry; and coming through the same Entry, Philips pointed with his finger over Master Tindal's head down to him, that the Officers who sat at the door might see that it was he whom they should take, as the Officers that took Master Tindal, afterwards told Pointz, and said to Pointz when they had laid him in Prison, That they pitied to see his simplicity when they took him. Then they took him and brought him to the Emperors Attorney, or Procuror General, where he dined. Then came the Procuror General to the house of Pointz, and sent away all that was there of Master Tindal's, as well his Books as other things, and from thence Tindal was had to the Castle of Filford, eighteen English Miles from Antwerp, and there he remained until he was put to death.
Then incontinent, by the help of English Merchants, were Letters sent in favor of Tindal, to the Court of Brussels. Also, not long after, Letters were directed out of England to the Council at Brussels, and sent to the Merchant Adventurers to Antwerp, commanding them to see that with speed they should be delivered. Then such of the chief of the Merchants as were there at that time, being called together, required the said Pointz to take in hand the delivery of thoseLetters, with Letters also from them in favor of Master Tindal, to the Lord of Barrow and others; which Lord of Barrow (as it was told Pointz by the way) at that time was departed from Brussels, as the chief Conductor of the eldest Daughter of the King of Denmark, to be married to the Palsgrave, whose Mother was Sister to the Emperor, she being chief Princess of Denmark. Who, after he heard of his departure, did ride after the next way, and overtook him at Achon, where he delivered to him his Letters. The which when he had received and read, he made no direct answer, but somewhat objecting, said, There were of their countrymen that were burned in England not long before; as indeed there were Anabaptists burned in Smithfield, and so Pointz said to him, Howbeit, said he, whatsoever the crime was, if his lordship or any other nobleman had written, requiring to have had them, he thought they should not have been denied." Well, said he, I have no leisure to write, for the princess is ready to ride.
Then said Pointz, If it shall please your lordship, I will attend upon you unto the next baiting-place, which was at Maestricht. If you so do, said the lord, I will advise myself by the way what to write. So Pointz followed him from Achon to Maestricht, which are fifteen English Miles asunder, and there he received Letters of him, one to the Council there, another to the company of the Merchant Adventurers, and another also to the Lord Cromwell in England.
So Pointz rode from thence to Brussels, and then and there delivered to the Council the Letters out of England, with the Lord of Barrows Letters also, and received eftsoons answer into England of the same by Letters which he brought to Antwerp to the English Merchants, who required him to go with them into England. And he, very desirous to have Mr. Tindal out of Prison, let not to take pains, with loss of time in his own business and occupying, and diligently followed with the said Letters, which he there delivered to the Council, and was commanded by them to tarry until he had other Letters, with which he was not dispatched thence in a month after. At length, the Letters being delivered him, he returned again, and delivered them to the Emperors Council at Brussels, and there tarried for answer of the same.
When the said Pointz had tarried three or four days, it was told him by one that belonged to the Chancery, that Master Tindal should have been delivered to him according to the tenor of the Letters; but Philips, being there, followed the Suit against Master Tindal, and hearing that he should be delivered to Pointz, and doubting lest he should be put from his purpose, he knew no other remedy but to accuse Pointz, saying, That he was a dweller in the Town of Antwerp, and there had been a succourer of Tindal, and was one of the same opinion; and that all this was only his own labor and suit, to have Master Tindal at liberty, and no mans else.
Thus upon his information and accusation, Pointz was attached by the Procuror General, the Emperors Attorney, delivered to the keeping of two Sergeants at Arms; and the same Evening was sent to him one of the Chancery, with the Procuror General, who ministered unto him an Oath, that he should truly make answer to all such things as should be inquired of him, thinking they would have had no other examinations of him but of his message. The next day likewise they came again, and had him in examination, and so five or six days one after another, upon not so few as a hundred Articles, as well of the king's affairs, as of the message concerning Tindal, of his aiders, and of his Religion. Out of which examinations, the Procuror General drew twenty three or twenty four articles, and declared the same against the said Pointz, the Copy whereof he delivered to him to make answer thereunto, and permitted him to have an advocate and proctor, that is, a Doctor and Proctor in the Law; and order was taken, that eight days after he should deliver unto them his answer, and from eight days to eight days, to proceed till the Process were ended. Also that he should send no messenger to Antwerp whereas his house was, being twenty four English Miles from Brussels, where he was Prisoner, nor to any other place, but by the Post of the town of Brussels; nor to send any Letters, nor any to be delivered to him, but written in Dutch, and the Procuror General, who was party against him, to read them, to peruse and examine them thoroughly, contrary to all right and equity, before they were sent or delivered: neither might any be suffered to speak or talk with Pointz in any other Tongue or Language, except only in the Dutch Tongue, so that his Keepers, who were Dutch men, might understand what the contents of the Letters or talk should be. Saving that at one certain time the Provincial of the White Friars came to Dinner where Pointz was Prisoner, and brought with him a young Novice, being an Englishman, whom the Provincial, after Dinner, of his own accord, did bid to talk with the said Pointz, and so with him he was licensed to talk. The purpose and great policy therein was easy to be perceived. Between Pointz and the Novice was much pretty talk, as of Sir Thomas More, and of the Bishop of Rochester, and of their putting to death, whose death he seemed greatly to lament, especially dying in such a quarrel, worthy (as he said) to be accounted for Martyrs; with other noble Doctrine, and deep learning in Divinity, meet to feed Swine withal: such blindness then in those days reigned amongst them. After this Pointz delivered up his answer to the Procurator General, and then after, at days appointed, went forth with Replication duplicate, with other answers each to other in writing, what they could.
As the Commissioners came to Pointz, Phillips the Traitor accompanied them to the Door in following the Process against him, as he also did against Master Tindal, for so they that had Pointz in keeping, showed him. Thus Pointz for Master Tindal was for troubled, and long kept in Prison; but at length, when he saw no other remedy, by night he made his escape, and avoided their hands. But good Tindal could not escape their hands, but remained in Prison still, who being brought to answer, was offered to have an Advocate and a Proctor; for it nay criminal cause there, it shall be permitted to have Council, to make answer in the Law. But he refused to have any such, saying, That he would answer for himself, and do he did.
At last, After much reasoning, when no reason would serve, although he deserved no death, he was condemned by virtue of the Emperor Decree , made in the Assembly at Augsburgh (as is before signified) and upon the same brought forth to the place of Execution, was there tied to the Stake, and then strangled first by the Hangman, and afterwards with fire consumed in the morning, at the Town of Filford, A.D. 1536; crying thus at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, "Lord open the king of England's eyes."
Such was the power of his Doctrine, and the sincerity of his life, that during the time of his imprisonment (which endured a year and a half), it is said, he converted his Keeper, his Daughter, and others of his household. Also the rest that were with him conversant in the Castle, reported of him that if he were not a good Christian man, they could not tell whom to trust.
The Procurator General, the emperor's attorney, being there, left this testimony of him, that he was Homo doctus, pros, et bonus, that is, a learned, a good, and a godly man.
The same Morning in which he was had to the fire, he delivered a Letter to the Keeper of the Castle which the Keeper himself brought to the house of the aforesaid Pointz in Antwerp; shortly after; which Letter, with his Examinations and other his Disputations, I would, might have come to our hands; all which I understand did remain, and yet perhaps do, in the hands of the Keepers Daughter. For so it is of him reported, that as he was in the Castle Prisoner, there was much writing, and great Disputation to and fro, between him and them of the University of Louvain (which was not past nine or ten Miles from the place where he was Prisoner), in such sort, that they all had enough to do, and more than they could well wield, to answer the authorities and testimonies of the Scripture, whereupon he most pithily grounded his Doctrine.
Of Judas that betray Christ it is written, That he returned the money again to the Pharisees, and afterward hanged himself. So Philips this miserable Traitor, after he had been received of Tindal, and borrowed money of him, and yet betray him and pursued him to death; all be it he rejoiced a while fater that he had one it, yet the saying so goeth that he not long time after enjoyed the price of innocent blood, but was consumed at last with Lice.
The worthy virtues and doings of this blessed Martyr, who for his painful travails and singular zeal to his Country, may be called in these our days, an Apostle of England, it were long to recite. Among many others, this because it seemeth to me worthy of remembrance, I thought not in silence to overpass, which hath unto me been credibly testified by certain grave Merchants, and some of them also such as were present the same time at the fact, and men yet alive. The story whereof is this.
There was at Antwerp on a time, amongst a company of Merchants as they were at Supper, a certain Juggler, which through his Diabolical Enchantments of Art Magical, would fetch all kinds of Viands and Wine from any place they would, and set them upon the Table incontinent before them, with many other such like things. The fame of this Juggler being much talked of, it chanced that as Master Tindal heard of it, he desired certain of the Merchants, that he might also be present at Supper, to see him play his parts.
To be brief, the Supper was appointed, and the Merchants, with Tindal, were there present. Then the Juggler being required to play his feats, and to show his cunning, after his wonted boldness began to utter all that he could do, but all was in vain. At last with his labor, sweating, and toiling, when he saw that nothing would go forward, but that all his enchantments were void, he was compelled, openly to confess, that there was some man present at Supper, who disturbed and letted all his doings. So that a man, even in the Martyrs of these our days, cannot lack the Miracles of true faith, if Miracles were now to be desired.
As concerning the Works and Books of Tindal, which extend to a great number, thou wast told before, loving Reader, how the Printer hereof mindeth, by the Lords leave, to collect them all in one Volume together, and put them out in Print. Wherefore it shall not greatly at this time be needful to make any several rehearsal of them.
And as touching his Translation of the New Testament, because his enemies did so much carp at it, pretending it to be so full of Heresies, to answer therefore to their slanderous tongues and lying lips, thou shalt hear and understand what faithful dealing and sincere Conscience he used in the same, by the testimony and allegation of his own words, written in his epistle to John Frith, as followeth, I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, to give our reckoning of our doings, that I never altered one syllable of God's word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me, etc.
And as ye have heard Tindal's own words, thus protesting for himself, now let us hear likewise the faithful testimony of John Frith, for Tindal his dear companion and brother, thus declaring in his answer to Master More, as followeth:
The Testimony of John Frith in his Book of the Sacrament, concerning William Tindal
And Tindal I trust liveth, well content with such a poor Apostles life, as God gave his Son Christ, and his faithful ministes in this world, which is not sure so many mites, as yet be yearly pounds, although I am sure that his learning and judgment in Scriputre, he were more worthy to be promoted than all the Bishops in England. I received a letter from him, which was written since Christmas, wherein among other matters he writeth this, I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, to give a reckoning of our doings, that I never altered on syllable of Gods Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in Earth, whether it be honour, pleasure, or riches might be given me. Moreover, I take God to witness of my conscience, that I desire of God to myself in this world, no more that that, without which I cannot keep his Laws, & etc. Judge, Christian Reader, whether these words be not spoken of a faithful clear innocent heart. And as for his behavior, it is such, that I am sure no man can reprove him of any sin, howbeit no man is innocent before God, which beholdeth the heart. Thus much out of Frith.1536 Tyndale Bible Page From the Gospel of John
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