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Farewell once again, my beloved sister, and put your only trust in God, who only must help you. Amen. Your loving sister,
ROGER ASCHAM TO MR. ASTELEY. When you and I read Livy together (if you do remember) after some reasoning, we concluded both what was in our opinion to be looked for at his hand, that would well and advisedly write an history. First point was, to write nothing false ; next, to be bold to say any truth : whereby is avoided two great faults, flattery and hatred. For which two points, Cæsar is read to his great praise ; and Jovius, the Italian, to his just reproach. Then to mark diligently the cause, counsels, acts, and issues in all great attempts; and in causes, what is just or unjust ; in counsels, what is purposed wisely or rashly ; in acts, what is done courageously or fairly; and of every issue, to note some general lesson of wisdom and warnings for like matters in time to come; wherein Polybius, in Greek, and Philip Comines, in French, have done the duties of wise and worthy writers. Diligence, also, must be used in keeping truly the order of time, and describing lively both the site of places and nature of persons ; not only for the outward shape of the body, but also for the inward disposition of the mind; as Thucydides doth in many places very trimly, and Homer everywhere, and that always most excellently, which observation
is chiefly to be marked in him. And our Chaucer doth the same, very praiseworthily : mark him well, and confer him with any other that writeth in our time in their proudest tongue, whosoever liest. The style must be always plain and open : yet sometime higher and lower, as matters do rise and fall. For if proper and natural words in well joined sentences do lively express the matter—be it troublesome, quiet, angry, or pleasant-a man shall think not to be reading, but present in doing of the same. And herein Livy of all other in any tongue, by my opinion, carrieth away the praise.
BERNARD GILPIN TO BISHOP TONSTAL. Right honourable, and my singular good lord, my duty remembered in most humble manner, pleaseth it your lordship to be informed, that of late my brother wrote to me, that in any wise I must meet him at Mechlin; for he must debate with me urgent affairs, such as could not be dispatched by writing. When we met, I perceived it was nothing else but to see if he could persuade me to take a benefice, and to continue in study at the university : which if I had known to be the cause of his sending for me, I should not have needed to interrupt my study to meet him ; for I have so long debated that matter with learned men, especially with the prophets, and most ancient and godly writers since Christ's time, that I trust, so long as I have to live, never to burden my conscience with having a benefice and lying from it. My brother said, that your lordship had written to him, that you would gladly bestow one on me; and that your lordship thought (and so did other of my friends, of wbich he was one) that I was much too scrupulous in that point. Whereunto I always say, if I be too scrupulous (as I cannot think that I am), that I had rather my conscience were therein. a great deal too strait, than a little too large : for I am seriously persuaded, that I shall never offend God by refusing to have a benefice, and lie from it, so long as I judge not evil of others; which I trust I sball not, but rather pray God daily, that all who have cures may discharge their office in his sight, as may tend most to his glory and the profit of his church. He replied against me, that your lordship would give me no benefice but what you would see discharged in my absence, as well or better than I could discharge it myself. Whereunto I answered, that I would be sorry, if I thought not there were many thousands in England more able to discharge a cure than I find myself; and therefore I desire they may both take the cure and the profit also, that they may be able to feed the body and the soul both, as I think all pastors are bounden. As for me, I can never persuade myself to take the profit and let another take the pains : for if he should teach and preach as faithfully as ever St. Austin did, yet should I not think myself discharged. And if I should strain my conscience herein, I strive with it to remain here, or in any other university, with
such a condition, the unquietness of my conscience would not suffer me to profit in study at all.
I am here at this present, I thank God, very well placed for study among a company of learned men, joining to the friars minors, having free access at all times to a notable library among the friars, men both well learned and studious, I have entered acquaintance with divers of the best learned in the town; and for my part was never more desirous to learn in all my life than at this present. Wherefore I am bold, knowing your lordship's singular good will towards me, to open my mind thus rudely and plainly unto your goodness, most humbly beseeching you to suffer me to live without charge, that I may study quietly.
And whereas I know well your lordship is careful how I should live if God should call your lordship, being now aged, I desire you let not that care trouble you : for, if I had no other shift, I could get a lecturesbip, I know, shortly, either in this university, or at least in some abbey hereby; where I should not lose my time: and this kind of life, if God be pleased, I desire before any benefice. And thus I pray Christ always to have your lordship in his blessed keeping. By your lordship’s humble scholar and chaplain,
Louvain, Nov. 22, 1554. BERNARD GILPIN.
JOHN KNOX TO JOHN FOX, THE MARTYR
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER, ALBEIT at the departure of this our brother, from whom I received your loving and friendly letter, myself could write nothing by reason of the ill disposition of my body; yet because I could not suffer him to depart without some remembrance of my duty to you, I used the help of my left hand, that is, of my wife, in scribbling these few lines unto you. As touching my purpose and mind in the publishing the first Blast of the Trumpet: when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that shall be known, which now by many cannot be persuaded, to wit, that therein I neither have sought myself, neither yet the vain praise of men. My rude vehemency, and inconsidered affirmations, which may appear rather to proceed from choler, than of zeal and reason, I do not excuse : but to have used any other title more plausible, thereby to have allured the world by any art, as I never purposed, so do I not yet purpose. To me it is enough to say, that black is not white : and man's tyranny is not God's perfect ordinance : which thing I do not so much to correct commonwealths, as to deliver my own conscience, and to instruct the consciences of some who yet I fear be ignorant in that matter : but farther of this I delay to better opportunity. Salute your wife and daughter heartily in my name. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest