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PREACHED BEFORE KING EDWARD,
ROMANS xv. 4.
Quæcunque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam, &c.
All things that are written in God's book, in the holy
Bible, they were written before our time, but yet to continue from age to age, as long as the world doth stand.
I have ript the matter now to the pill, and have told you of plain walkers, and of by-walkers, and how a king in his childhood is a king, as well as in any other age. We read in Scripture of such as were but twelve or eight years old, and yet the word of the Holy Ghost called them kings, saying, “ Cæpit regnare,” He began to reign, or he began to be king. Here is of by-walkers. This history would be remembered; the proverb is, “ Felix quem faciunt
aliena pericula cautum,” Happy is he that can beware by another man's jeopardy. For if we offend not as other do, it is not our own deserts. If we fall not, it is God's preservation. We are all offenders : for either we may do, or have done, or shall do, (except God preserve us,) as evil as the worst of them. I pray God we may all amend and repent; but we will all amend now, I trust. We must needs amend our lives every man. The holy communion is at hand, and we may not receive it unworthily.
Well, to return to my history. King David, I say, was a king in his second childhood. And so young kings, though they be children, yet are they kings notwithstanding. And though it be written in Scripture, “ Væ tibi, O terra, ubi puer est rex,” Wo to thee, O land, where the king is a child ; it followeth in another place, “ Beata terra ubi rex nobilis," Blessed is the land where there is a noble king ; where kings be no banqueters, no players, and where they spend not their time in hawking and hunting. And when had the king's majesty a council, that took more pain both night and day for the setting forth of God's word, and profit of the commonwealth ? And yet there be some wicked people that will say, “ Tush, this gear will not tarry; it is but my lord protector's and my lord of Canterbury's doing : the king is a child, and he knoweth not of it.” Jesu, mercy! How like are we Englishmen to the Jews, ever stubborn, stiff-necked, and walking in by-ways. Yea, I think no Jew would at any time say, This gear will not tarry. I never heard nor read at any time that they said, These laws were made in such a king's days, when he was but a child ; let us alter them. O Lord, what pity is this, that we should be worse than the Jews !
Blessed be the land, saith the word of God, where the king is noble. What people are they that say, The king is but a child ? Have not we a noble king? Was there ever king so noble ? so godly? brought up with so noble counsellors ? so excellent and well learned schoolmasters ? I will tell you this, and I speak it even as I think ; his majesty hath more godly wit and understanding, more learning and knowledge at this age, than twenty of his progenitors, that I could name, had at any time of their life. *
* Edward the Sixth was a very extraordinary youth, and Cardan says, “ All the graces were in him; that he had many tongues when he was yet but a child; together with the English, he had both Latin and French, nor was he ignorant of the Greek, Italian, and Spanish. The sweetness of his temper was such as became a
BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
my Jast sermon of ministers of the king's people, and had occasion to shew you how few noblemen were good preachers; and I left out a history then, which I will now
There was a bishop of Winchester, in king Henry the Sixth's days, which king was but a child,* and yet there were many good acts
mortal, his gravity becoming the majesty of a king, and his disposition suitable to his high degree.” He took notes of almost every thing he heard, which he wrote first in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand him, and afterwards he copied out the whole fair in his diary. This journal is inserted among the records in Bishop Burnet’s History of the Reformation.
Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, and cardinal priest of the church of Rome, was the son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, by his third wife, Catharine Swinford, Being educated for the church, he was made bishop of Lincoln, in 1397, by papal mandate. In 1404, he became lord chancellor, and the year following bishop of Winchester. In 1417, he lent Henry V. twenty thousand pounds towards carrying on his expedition against France, but took care to have the crown in pledge for the money. That year he went to the Holy Land, and on his return, was present at the council of Constance. On the death of the king, he was one of the guardians of Henry VI., when disputes arose between him and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, which ended in the ruin and death of the latter. These contentions ran so high, that the duke of Bedford, regent of France, was called over to accommodate matters, but without effect.
made in his childhood ; and I do not read that they were broken.
This bishop was a great man born, and did bear such a stroke, that he was able to shoulder the lord protector. Well, it chanced that the lord protector and he fell out, and the bishop would bear nothing at all with him, but played me the satrapa ; the regent of France was fain to be sent for from beyond the seas, to set them at one, and go between them: for the bishop was as able and ready to buckle with the lord protector, as he was with him.
Was not this a good prelate ? He should have been at home preaching in his diocese with a wannion.
This protector was so noble and godly a man, that he was called of every man the good duke Humphrey. He kept such a house as never was kept since in England, without any enhancing of rents, I warrant you, or any such
afterwards the bishop received a cardinal's hat, and was appointed pope's legate. From this time he was continually engaged in public affairs ; but in 1442, the duke of Gloucester drew up articles of impeachment against him, though the prosecution was soon dropped. The cardinal died June 14, 1447, within a month after the murder of the duke. Shakespeare has exhibited a dreadful picture of the death-bed of Beaufort, but it is generally believed to be more poetical than true.
* An eastern term for the governor of a province.