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FOXE'S BOOK OF MARTYRS V2 From Thomas À Becket to King Edward III






Commonly known as 


Volume 2 

From Thomas À Becket to King Edward III


Published by the Ex-classics Project, 2009 

Public Domain

Portrait of John Foxe


40. Life and Death of Thomas À Becket 5 

41. After the Death of Thomas À Becket 34 

42. Pope Alexander III and the Waldenses 41 

43. Other Events During the Reign of King Henry II. 51 

44. Person and Character of Henry II. 56 

45. Richard I. Massacre of Jews at the Coronation. Riot in York Cathedral 58 

46. Dispute between the Archbishop and Abbot of Canterbury 62 

47. Richard I. (Contd.) The Crusade 77 

48. King John 92 

49. King Henry III. 114 

50. The Crusade against the Albigensians. 134 

51. Henry III (Contd.) 145 

52. The Schism between the Roman and Greek Churches 169 

53. More Dissensions about Ecclesiastical Appointments 177 

54. Papal Greed and Corruption 180 

55. The Third Crusade 198 

56. The Emperor Frederick II. 209 

57. The Right of Princes to Appoint Bishops 213 

58. The Emperor Frederick II. (Contd.) 218 

59. Frederic's Last Campaign and Death. Summary of his Character 251 

60. Gulielmus and Other Champions of Christ 257 

61. Robert Grosthead 272 

62. The Wickedness of the Jews 283 

63. Other Events in the Reign of Henry III 285 

64. Quarrel of King Henry III and the Nobles 289 

65. Prince Edward's Crusade 310 

66. King Edward I. 319 

67. Quarrel of King Philip of France and the Pope 325 

68. King Edward I (Contd). 329 

69. King Edward II. 343 

70. King Edward III - Wars with the French and Scots 366 

71. King Edward III - Matters Ecclesiastical 383 

72. Anti-Papal Writers: 1300-1360 386

40. Life and Death of Thomas À Becket

Now forsomuch as our English pope-holy martyr, called Thomas Becket, happened also in the same time of this Pope Alexander, let us somewhat also speak of him, so far as the matter shall seem worthy of knowledge, and to stand with truth; to the end that the truth thereof being sifted from all flattery and lies of such popish writers as paint out his story, men may the better judge both of him what he was, and also of his cause. 

If the cause make a martyr, (as is said,) I see not why we should esteem Thomas Becket to die a martyr, more than any other whom the prince's sword doth here temporally punish for their temporal deserts. To die for the church I grant is a glorious matter. But the church, as it is a spiritual and not a temporal church, so it standeth upon causes spiritual, and upon a heavenly foundation, as upon faith, religion, true doctrine, sincere discipline, obedience to God's commandments; and not upon things pertaining to this world, as possessions, liberties, exemptions, privileges, dignities, patrimonies, and superiorities. If these be given to the church, I pray God churchmen may use them well; but if they be not given, the church cannot claim them; or if they be taken away, that standeth in the prince's power. To contend with princes for the same, it is no matter (in my mind) sufficient to make a martyr, but rather a rebel against them to whom we owe subjection. Therefore, as I suppose Thomas Becket to be far from the cause and title of a martyr, (neither can he be excused from a plain rebel against his prince,) so yet would I have wished again the law rather publicly to have found out his fault, than the swords of men (not bidden nor sent) to have smitten him, having no special commandment either of the prince or of the law so to do. For though the indignation of the prince (as the wise prince saith) is death, yet it is not for every private person straightways to revenge the secret indignation of his prince, except he be publicly authorized thereunto. And this had been (as I suppose) the better way, if the laws had first executed their justice upon him. Certes, it had been the safest way for the king, as it proved after; who had just matter enough, if he had prosecuted his cause against him. And also thereby his death had been without all suspicion of martyrdom, neither had there followed that shrining and sainting of him as there did. Albeit the secret providence of God, which governeth all things, did see this way perhaps to be best, and most necessary for those days. And doubtless (to say here what I think, and yet to speak nothing against charity) if the emperors had done the like to the popes contending against them, what time they had taken them prisoners; that is, if they had used the law of the sword against them, and chopped off the heads of one or two, according to their traitorous rebellion; they had broken the neck of much disturbance, which long time after did trouble the church. But for lack of that, because emperors having the sword and the truth on their side, would not use their sword; but standing in awe of the pope's vain curse, and reverencing his seat for St. Peter's sake, durst not lay hand upon him, though he were never so abominable and traitorous a malefactor; the popes perceiving that took so much upon them, not as the Scripture would give, but as much as the superstitious fear of emperors and kings would suffer them to take; which was so much, that it passed all order, rule, and measure; and all because the superior powers either would not, or durst not, practise the authority given unto them of the Lord upon those inferiors, but suffered them to be their masters.

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