Reconstructing Tyndale in Latomus:
William Tyndale's last, lost, book

Robert J. Wilkinson M.A.

John Foxe tells us that during the sixteen months Tyndale was in Vilvorde Castle, from May 1535 to his execution on 6 October 1536,

there was much writing, and great disputation to and fro, between him and them of the university of Louvain, 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.[1]

Tyndale's three accusers were all professors and doctors of theology of the University of Louvain: the Belgian archives list them as Ruward Tapper, dean of St Peter's Church in Louvain; Jan Doye, canon of St Peter's; and Jacobus Latomus, also canon of St Peter's.[2] All three were distinguished: Tapper was chancellor of the university, Doye about to be rector. The most significant, however, was Jacques Masson, Jacobus Latomus. Now sixty, he had for nearly twenty years been a leading controversialist against Erasmus, and a chief opponent of Luther and other European reformers. He was a most experienced inquisitor.

Henry Walter, in his Parker Society edition of Tyndale,[3] described the imprisoned reformer defending the doctrines he had taught in a series of replies to attacks made upon him by the theologians of Louvain. 'But of these', he continued, 'whether conversations only or written answers to written charges, no relic remains'.[4] Parker may have had in mind a passage in Foxe which describes how on the morning of his death Tyndale delivered a letter to the keeper of the castle which the keeper himself brought to the house of Pointz in Antwerp shortly after. 'Which letter with his examinations and other disputations', says Foxe, 'I would might have come to our hands: all of which, I understand did remain, and yet perhaps do, in the hands of the keeper's daughter.[5] These documents never did come into Foxe's hands and disappeared without trace. There matters rested. A Latin text, however, written against Tyndale by one of the three theologians amongst the commissioners appointed by the queen-regent to try him, clearly reflected the text of Tyndale it sought to refute.

In the late nineteenth century, Tyndale's first modern biographer, Robert Demaus, gave some nine pages of general analysis of that reflected text.[6] J. F. Mozley in his 1937 biography of Tyndale considered Latomus's argument in four impressionistic pages, but ignored Tyndale's theses.[7] David Daniell in 1994 told the story in greater detail: Latomus 'tells posterity that while Tyndale was in prison for Lutheranism, he, Tyndale, wrote a book on Sola fides jusitificat apud Deum, that is, faith alone justifies before God. That book has not survived, though it is not hard to reconstruct, both from knowledge of what Tyndale had written before and the way that Latomus replies.[8] A recent study from the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana in Rome[9] analyses well Latomus's strategy in his arguments, noting frequently how 'punctual' Latomus is, how carefully precise. All who have commented have noted the observable control and even courtesy given by Latomus to Tyndale as the great scholar he was. What follows in the present article is an attempt to give for the first time a fuller reconstruction of what Tyndale wrote in his dispute with Latomus. The two parts of Sola fides justificat apud Deum made Tyndale's last book. Latomus's Three Books of Confutations against William Tyndale (Confutationum adversus Guilielmum Tindalum libri tres) were written, in some form, within six years of Tyndale's death, a fact which might comment on Tyndale's continued importance. They were first printed in Latomus's Omnia Opera, published by his nephew in 1550, six years after his uncle's death; but there they are prefaced by a letter to his friend Livinius Crucius dated 12 June 1542, in which he summarizes the position. He explains how William Tyndale, while imprisoned for the Lutheran heresy, wrote a book on this theme: that faith alone justifies before God. In this book (which would, of course, also have been in Latin): 'he strove to take away all the merit of good works, for as the foundation and key (as he called it) of the understanding of sacred Scripture as salvation, he started from this premise: that God grants us everything freely through Christ, having meanwhile no regards to works.'[10] (Latomus may here give us a different title of Tyndale's book, as again at the beginning of the second confutation; namely, The Key to the Understanding of Scripture as Salvation (Clavis intelligentiae sacrae salutaris sacrae scripturae). We shall see, however, that this is a common phrase of Tyndale's, and it is perhaps unlikely that a manuscript with such a confined circulation was in practice dignified with a title. Nevertheless we need a title for the work here recovered and there can be none better than Clavis &c.) Latomus tells Livinius Crucius that 'on this occasion' he wrote three books. In the first he took away Tyndale's 'Key' and replaced it by another, 'showing that in the faithful who have been previously justified by faith, the merits of good works have a place, and that the just, advancing by these good works, earn the crown of glory granted by the Just Judge.'[11] Tyndale then wrote a second book, 'more fully on the same assertion, and on other articles, indeed on virtually all articles in which Lutherans contradict the sound teaching of the Church'. Latomus tells his friend that he replied again to Tyndale's examples and reasoning in his own second book which overthrew the bases of Tyndale's arguments. Then Latomus added a third book in which he briefly and clearly set out what should be believed on each point.[12] When these remarks are set against Latomus's Three Confutations themselves, it becomes apparent that his first Confutation is a reply to Tyndale's first book dealing with the major theme that faith alone justifies before God without respect to works. The second Confutation is a reply to that part of Tyndale's second book which deals 'more fully on the same assertion'. The third Confutation, however, though it begins with summary statements pertinent to the issues covered in the first and second confutations, proceeds to deal with 'virtually all articles on which Lutherans contradict the sound doctrine of the Church'. The observation of this relationship is clearly critical for the reconstruction of Tyndale's lost books. It may appear surprising that Latomus should compose and distribute a refutation of a prisoner's manuscript written for his own eyes and under his effective control. One may instructively recall Tyndale's dear friend John Frith, who while in the Tower of London, composed a manuscript statement of his views upon the Lord's Supper. This was certainly not written for More, but three copies found their way to him by treachery. Though Frith's book remained in manuscript, More began to compose a reply which was printed, and copies were sent to Antwerp — a sort of quid pro quo for Lutheran material entering England. One may also recall the difficulty Frith had in acquiring one of these to which to reply.[13] Tyndale was a scholar of considerable repute. The refutation of his heresies was a significant defence of the faith, worthy of a wider audience.

There is no reason to doubt that the confutations are substantially Latomus's replies to Tyndale's arguments, though it is evident that in the form we have them they are addressed to Livinius Crucius. Latomus has of course been able to exercise full control over the presentation of the debate. He told Livinius Crucius (ominously) at the end of his introductory letter that though he feared his work would do Tyndale little good, nevertheless he hoped others would gain somewhat from it.

We must remember that Latomus's position is not to determine whether or not Tyndale was a heretic. Before Latomus was called in, Tyndale had already been convicted many times over of being a Lutheran, which was enough. Latomus understands what he has to do as being to show Tyndale how theologically contradictory his position is, and to bring him back to orthodoxy before it is too late.

The conventions of direct address should not deceive us; Tyndale is not really the imagined reader of the work as we have it. Livinius Crucius stands for the wider audience. One may instructively compare the third-century Alexandrian Christian scholar Origen's refutation of his pagan opponent in the Contra Celsum. Celsus' work The True Discourse is lost, but Origen's obsessive determination not to let a single objection of his opponent pass unanswered — sustained over eight unwieldy books — has ironically preserved the very book he sought to destroy. One can read The True Discourse by reflection, as it were, in Origen. Closer to home, one may think similarly of More's Confutation of Tyndale's Answer.[14] Latomus makes no such mistake. His technique is sophisticated.


For example, you [that is, Tyndale] take something from Paul's Epistle to the Romans chapter one; then with eyes closed you pass on to the third chapter, disregarding the second, in which there is matter which might make you change your mind: for in that chapter Paul speaks plainly of good works and of bad, and of what God will render to them in the day of judgement.[15]

Latomus then quotes Romans 2:6 'He will render to every man his deeds'. That is to say, he lays a charge of selective quotation which he purports to expose: but he does this by his own selective quotation. He has presented verbatim the text he accuses Tyndale of ignoring, but himself passes over the texts Tyndale uses. These he neither quotes, refutes nor properly identifies. Further he has inserted his own gloss — 'Paul speaks plainly of good works' — concealed as a simple description of the argument. This is controversial writing of great skill. The three books of the Confutations are elegant and urbane, courteous even; but they are the work of a master controversialist who does not make blunders.

Even Latomus, however, cannot utterly avoid giving us the shape of Tyndale's lost work. And these traces, together with an appreciation of the unity and coherence of Tyndale's own controversial position as we know it from his other works, enable us to reconstruct somewhat more than the bare bones of The Key to the Understanding of Scripture as Salvation.

The key in Tyndale's extant works

Before venturing into detailed work of reconstruction, we should note certain characteristics in all that has survived of Tyndale. We shall find that the reconstruction matches his mind as we know it. Here will be developed the key to the Scriptures, and its contrary the veil, the latter seen as produced by misleading glosses. The Gospel itself generates controversy, as illustrated by the binding and loosing of Matthew 16.

Thus, readers of Tyndale's extant works can have little doubt that the above title is right and utterly characteristic. At a time when Tyndale's technical achievements as a translator and a master craftsman in our own language are only just being generally recognized,[16] we have to make a double effort to realize that for him this translation was only half the story. Tyndale was not merely a classical or Semitic philologist (however triumphant an achievement that 'merely' was in 1520s and 1530s). He was engaged notoriously in bringing the Word of God to ordinary men and women. And they needed two things; the book in the vernacular, and someone to tell them how to read it. Tyndale's Prologue to The Exposition of I John (September 1531) is clearly programmatic here:

As it is not enough that the father and the mother have both begotten the child and brought it into this world, except they care for it and bring it up, till it can help itself; even so it is not enough to have translated, though it were the whole Scripture into the vulgar and common tongue, except we also brought again the light to understand it by, and expel that dark cloud which the hypocrites have spread over the face of the scripture, to blind the right sense and true meaning thereof. And therefore are there divers introductions ordained for you, to teach you the profession of your baptism, the only light of the scripture, one upon the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, and another called 'The Pathway into the Scripture'. And for the same cause have I taken in hand to interpret this Epistle of St John the evangelist to edify the layman, and to teach him how to read the scripture and what to seek therein; and that he may have to answer the hypocrites, and stop their mouths withal.[17]

A similarly comprehensive passage is found in the preface to The Obedience.[18] Tyndale provided both the translation and also what we might call today the biblical hermeneutic to enable people to read. Teaching ordinary men and women to read the Bible was for Tyndale not merely a matter of providing them with large numbers of glosses in the margins. It was to teach a standpoint from which to proceed, an integrating set of assumptions which might be applied to make sense of any biblical text whatever. Tyndale calls this the 'key'. It is the Gospel or the baptismal confession, were people but taught it.

Tyndale was doing something for the first time for his fellow countrymen and women, and he himself was bringing about the set of circumstances which necessitated the innovation.[19] Before Tyndale there was no place imaginable for the key he provided, but he made it a necessity.

Tyndale's hermeneutic has four basic components.

First is the provision of a vernacular Bible, the necessity of which he supposed it superfluous to rehearse in the Cologne 1525 Prologue. (Professor Daniell has drawn our attention to the explosive nature of this apparently dismissive throw-away line.)[20]

Second, the provision of whole testaments with the clear but frustrated intention that whole Bibles should ultimately be available to read. Read as a whole book the New Testament is clearly a different interpretative challenge from reading the component books separatim. When placed alongside the Hebrew Bible, the reader's task reaches dizzying levels of complexity and the relation of the parts to the whole becomes problematic. Tyndale aimed to provide for a reading of the whole Bible.

Third, Tyndale rejected the Four Senses of Scripture in favour of a literal reading (the end of The Obedience is the key text here).[21] With that, the entire inherited tradition of Christian interpretation of the Old Testament and much New Testament exposition was threatened. Tyndale's theory and practice in this respect need a full and close examination, for which this is not the occasion, though it should be stressed that Tyndale's literal sense is still essentially a Christian reading of the pre-Christian Hebrew Bible. But leaving the point roughly hewn will not detract from its significance.

The last component of Tyndale's hermeneutic was, of course, Luther's reformed Gospel of justification by faith alone, and it was Tyndale who was responsible for Luther's first appearances in English. Tyndale's extensive attack in The Obedience[22] on John Fisher's sermon in St Paul's on 11 September 1526, when Luther's books were burnt, illustrates clearly how he saw the link between the reformed faith and exegesis: a corrupt Church denying evangelical faith and promoting its own power through error and malice must be committed also to the distortion or suppression of the Scriptures.

Taken together these four components make up the interpretative strategy for understanding the Scripture. This integrative reading is the key. The symbol is particularly appropriate. It is one of Tyndale's commonest figures, but also one of his richest. The key unites both hermeneutic questions and the fundamental issue of how people are saved (the passage we have referred to in The Obedience[23] is effectively catechetical): but all its multiple senses arise ultimately from Tyndale's continued comments on Matthew 16:16 ff. Tyndale's translation in his 1534 New Testament is

Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ the son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him: happy art thou Simon the son of Jonas, for flesh and blood hath not opened unto thee that, but my father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my congregation. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee, the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou loosest on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.

The margin has 'Keys.' and 'Bind and loose.'[24] This text concerns Peter, and thus papal pretension; the foundation of the congregation; the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and binding and loosing, to which we shall see Tyndale gives a variety of senses. The unity of these concerns around this symbol arises from the exposition of the text, and their theological coherence is what Tyndale is arguing for under the symbol. The last section of The Obedience, as we have seen, shows Tyndale sensitive to a wanton use of allegory and symbol to show what is not in Scripture. For him this is false prophecy. It is important to distinguish his own practice from this if one is to argue for his status as a biblical theologian of distinction.

We can illustrate the consistent attention Tyndale paid to these matters from, first, the 'prologge' to the 1525 Cologne New Testament which was expanded sometime before September 1531 into The Pathway in to the Scripture. Its basis is of course Luther's 1522 'Vorrhede', but remodelled so as to be now Tyndale's text.[25] The 'prologge' shows why Scripture should be in the vernacular; what are the Old and New Testaments; what is the Gospel; what is the law which we must hold ever before our eyes; and what is a right faith which both 'delighteth' in the law and yet understands that we can never fulfill it; what is nature and what is grace; justification by faith; the relation of faith works and love; different types of justification (before God or before the world); works as the fruit of the spirit and not as an independent source of justification before God; and so on. He also touches on obedience to rulers and the sacraments. This too is clearly catechetical. Characteristically Tyndale goes on to relate his whole hermeneutic here to the symbol of the keys and binding and loosing:

Here you see the nature of the law and the nature of the evangelion; how the law is the key that bindeth and damneth all men, and the evangelion [is the key that] looseth them again. The law goeth before, and the evangelion followeth. When a preacher preacheth the law he bindeth all consciences; and when he preacheth the Gospel, he looseth them again. These two salves (I mean the law and the gospel) useth God and his preacher, to heal and cure sinners withal.[26]

For Tyndale to know the Gospel is

... to have all the scripture unlocked and open before thee so that if thou will go in, and read, thou canst not but understand. And in these things to be ignorant, is to have all the scripture locked up; so that the more thou readest it, the blinder thou art, and the more contrariety thou findest in it, and the more tangled art thou therein, and canst nowhere through: for if thou had a gloss in one place, in another it will not serve.[27]

The key symbol is now functioning in a different sense. The issue in the text immediately above is hermeneutic. In the one before it was the conviction of sin and the release of the Gospel. But the two senses are not wantonly superimposed. Tyndale's theological sophistication is in the exposition of the link between the two.

Thus the key is 'the profession of our baptism which we be never taught'.[28] To say this is to approach Scripture in the light of the whole Gospel. The initial teaching which will open all Scripture to everyone, 'so that if thou will go in and read thou canst but understand', is clearly more than glosses. Given the uninformed notoriety that Tyndale's marginal notes have achieved it is worth noticing that his use of the term 'glosses' is almost always derogatory. The quotation above also showed his awareness that without the key 'if thou had a gloss in one place in another it will not serve'. In the Prologue to The Exposition of I John he speaks of the 'leaven of false glosses'.[29] In The Exposition on Matthew, on 5:17, Tyndale paraphrases Christ as saying:

I do but only wipe away the filthy and rotten glosses wherewith the scribes and Pharisees have smeared the law, and the prophets; and rebuke their damnable living, which they have fashioned, not after the law of God, but after their own sophistical glosses, feigned to mock out the law of God, and to beguile the whole world, and to lead them in blindness.[30]

As the biblical text here asserts that Christ is not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, it has an obvious and strategic relevance to Tyndale's Lutheran notion of the Law which we must hold ever before our eyes and in which the faithful rejoice. The scribes and Pharisees are read here as ever as Catholic priests. He goes on similarly in the 1525 'prologge' to accuse our great pillars of holy church' of having 'nailed a veil of false glosses on Moses's face to corrupt the true understanding of his law,' and thus being unable to 'come in'.[31] The veil is from 2 Corinthians 3: we shall meet it repeatedly as the opposite of the key.

The Epistle 'to the reader' at the end of Worms New Testament of 1526 contains the key in distilled form. 'Mark the plain and manifest places of the scriptures, and in doubtful places see thou add no interpretations contrary to them; but (as Paul saith) let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith. Note the difference of the law and of the gospel.'[32]

In the same year came The compendious Introduccion Prologue or Preface unto the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, which Tyndale subsequently expanded for inclusion in his revised New Testament of November 1534. It is, of course, again based upon Luther — this time the 'Vorrhede auf die Epistel Sanct Paulus zu den Romem'. The last five paragraphs are Tyndale's, and straightaway we find his interest in teaching Bible-reading and the symbol of the key: 'The sum and whole cause of writing this Epistle, is, to prove that a man is justified by faith only: which proposition whoso denieth, to him is not only this Epistle and all that Paul writeth, but also the whole scripture so locked up, that he shall never understand it to his soul's health.'[33]

The Parable of the Wicked Mammon of May 1528 continues in similar vein.[34] It will be enough merely refer to the full title of the Jonah prologue (before June 153i).[35] The prologue to The Exposition of I John (September 1531) has

For as the doctrine which we should be taught before we were baptized, and for lack of age is deferred unto the years of discretion, is the key that bindeth and looseth, locketh and unlocketh, the conscience of all sinners; even so that lesson, where it is understood, is only the key that openeth all the scripture, and even the whole scripture in itself, gathered together in a narrow compass, and brought in to a compendiousness. And till thou be taught that lesson, that thine heart feel the sweetness of it, the scripture is locked and shut up from thee, and so dark that thou couldest not understand it, though Peter, Paul, or Christ himself did expound it unto thee; no more than a blind man can see, though thou set a candle before him, or shewedst him the sun, or pointedst with thy finger unto that thou wouldest have him look upon.[36]

Binding and loosing appear more controversially in the long comment on 1 John 2:2, where Tyndale refers to their use in relation to the fiction of purgatory.[37] On 2:22 we learn further that the bishop of Rome 'preacheth a false binding and loosing with ear-confession, which is not in the trust and confidence of Christ's bloodshedding.'[38] What we have here is a further expansion of the symbolism of Matthew 16. We have met binding and loosing in matters evangelical and hermeneutic. Now the symbol (and of course the underlying text) is being exploited controversially in new directions. Nor is this illegitimate. Clearly if Tyndale was right in his first two uses of the text, it must follow that the Bishop of Rome was wrong in his two uses of it. The controversy arises from the Gospel itself, as Tyndale himself knew. This helps us to understand why Tyndale should have used the title Key when writing for Latomus. The key may be hermeneutic and catechetical, but this makes it inevitably controversial given Tyndale's view of the corrupt state of the Church. One other text, Luke 11:52, gives the symbolism of the key another controversial turn. It was the text with which Tyndale began his 'lost' book. 'Woe be to you lawyers: for ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that came in ye forbade.'[39] In the margin against this verse in the 1534 New Testament we find simply 'Key'.

With an eye now to the sharpened controversial possibilities of the idea of the key we consider the title of The Exposition of Matthew V-VII of (probably) early 1533: 'An exposition upon the chapters of Matthew, which three chapters are the key and door of the scripture, and the restoring again of Moses law corrupt by the Scribes and Pharisees. And the exposition is the restoringe again of Christ's law corrupt by the papists.[40]

In the Prologue we again meet the malicious Philistines who stopped the wells of Abraham from Wicked Mammon:[41] and the key, the closed door, false glosses and the veil of Moses. All these are explained. One could not hope for a clearer demonstration of the remarkable consistency of Tyndale's interlocking biblical symbology.

Tyndale's lost work: his first book

Latomus began his first Confutation in a courteous, scholarly and systematic way. So that he might concentrate on the areas of their disagreement, he listed seven theological points upon which he and Tyndale agreed — or almost agreed. He hesitated, but decided not to make an issue of the fact that Tyndale apparently put faith before charity. Nevertheless, he reminded Tyndale that of faith, hope and charity, the greatest is charity. That point he set aside for another time. One cannot believe that Tyndale began in such an indirect manner: he would begin with the key, as we have seen him do so often in his extant works. Thus we may reasonably imagine that when Latomus turns to the points of their disagreement, and writes, 'First, we do not agree on the key of the understanding of Scripture as salvation', he has before him the beginning of Tyndale's book. Tyndale 'repeatedly' (saepe) explained the key; that faith alone in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ — through the grace of Christ and through the works of Christ — justifies us in God's eyes — without respect to any merit or goodness of our own works. This is Tyndale's text and it is, of course, quite unacceptable to Latomus, who proposes a different key to salvation, namely conversion to the Lord.

Latomus then immediately quotes two texts: 2 Corinthians 3:14 and 2 Timothy 3:14. The latter reads:

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, which also were committed unto thee seeing thou knowest of whom thou hast learned them and forasmuch also as thou has known holy scripture of a child, which is able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. For all scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable to teach, to improve, to amend and to instruct in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect and prepared unto all good works.[42]

(I shall give all Bible quotations in Tyndale's version: this has the value of making clear to us how he understood the passage even when of necessity, as in this work, he was quoting in Latin, most probably from the Vulgate. This will not obscure any of Latomus's arguments.)

Latomus understands 'faith' here to mean Catholic orthodoxy: but it takes very little to persuade us that here he is following Tyndale's quotations. We might confidently expect, from what we have seen of Tyndale's extant work, to find the veil after the key and, of course, 2 Corinthians 3 is that very text. 2 Timothy 3, with its reference to Timothy's saving knowledge of Scripture, its suitability for teaching salvation by faith, and the consequent production of good works, neatly encapsulates the whole of Tyndale's Gospel. We cannot doubt that Latomus has only mentioned these texts because Tyndale did. The use of this text commends itself as Tyndale's on two other ground, Tyndale as we know from the 1534 Prologue to the Second Epistle to Timothy saw the 'jeopardous time toward the end of the world' mentioned in the third and fourth chapter 'fulfilled in our spirituality unto the utmost jot' [43] That is to say, Second Timothy spoke predicatively to his own day. And there is yet more to his situation. For the passage quo. ed is preceded by the Apostle's recollection of his own suffering patiently born for the Gospel, which concludes: 'Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecutions.'[44] 'Persecution' marked Tyndale in the margin. No passage could w Tyndale's own reading) better speak to his personal circumstances in Vilvorde Castle.

Latomus believed that faith meant orthodoxy and that consequently it is infidelity, which closes the mind. He quotes 2 Corinthians 4:3. 'If our gospel be yet hid, it is hi,. among them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of then which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ which is the image God, should shine unto them.'[45] No further argument is presented by Latomus. The ver follows naturally from 2 Corinthians 3:14, for it is but a continuation of the Apostle argument and might well have been quoted from Tyndale treating the veil more larger Its polemical meaning used in that way would be quite clear. It is also imaginable thin. Tyndale stopped short of the verse, that Latomus picked it up (cleverly insinuating the sort of incomplete quotation of which he later explicitly accuses Tyndale) and interpreted it in his own favour: the hidden Gospel is orthodox faith which requires fidelity to the authority of the Church which blind infidels cannot see. Of course Latomus read the text like that, but the question is, did he introduce it into the argument first? One cannot be certain, but as the other texts hereabouts seem to be Tyndale's, we may provisionally credit him with this one too. He used this text in An Answer to More.[46]

Latomus now moves directly to refute Tyndale's interpretation of Luke 11:52. From our knowledge of Tyndale's extant works, we can have no doubt that Tyndale used this text, nor of what he used it to say. Latomus's view is different: 'the key is an allegorical understanding of the mystery of redemption which had been given to the Jews in the Law and the Prophets'. The lawyers in Luke 11 should have recognized that the Christ was present in their midst from Old Testament passages which, though mysterious, predicted him. That is why 'the Law was our schoolmaster unto the time of Christ' Galatians 3:24).[47] Latomus interpreted that phrase to mean that the Old Testament prophesied Jesus, and thus by this very 'historical' view avoided any possibility of an existential Lutheran confrontation with the Law today. Gentiles, he continued, only met these mysterious predictions in the Old Testament after they had become Christian. Thus in no sense, says Latomus, does the key (the law as a cryptic predictor of Messiah) act in any way as a necessary stage in bringing Gentiles 'to be pricked in their hearts or bound n their consciences before being loosed by the key of the sweet promises'.[48] Latomus's argument is a traditional one and he may well have introduced Galatians 3:24 as the usual proof text. On the other hand one should observe that the Galatians text is quoted in the Prologue to The Exposition of Matthew.[49] It is there used immediately after the key, the wells of Abraham and the veil to show 'that the law is the very way that bringeth unto the door Christ'.[50] We may thus believe that Tyndale so used it here. Latomus, it emerges with some probability, is following Tyndale's texts, but providing the orthodox gloss. Finally we may observe that the debate here touches on the question of Tyndale's literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible at its point of greatest hermeneutic significance. His Lutheran notion of law prevents the reduction of Moses to cryptic prediction or wanton allegory. The Prologue to Leviticus is helpful here,[51] and one might recall the injunction in the Exodus Prologue to 'make not Moses a figure of Christ with Rochester'.[52]

There follows the passage we have already discussed (above, p. 254) in illustration of Latomus's controversial technique, where Tyndale passes from an unidentified passage in Romans 1 to another in Romans 3, though omitting 2:6. There is no doubt that the Romans 1 text is verse 17 (what else?): 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe, namely to the Jew, and also to the gentile. For by it the righteousness which cometh of God is opened, from faith to faith. As it is written: The just shall live by faith.'[53]

Interestingly when Latomus begins his summary of orthodox doctrine at the beginning of the third Confutation he writes: 'I am not ashamed [non enim erubescimus] for the gospel or for our mother the church, knowing what I have learned and from whom.'[54] Here the great Catholic theologian joins up the Reformer's two texts (2 Timothy 3:14 and Romans 1:17) in his own way.

The text in the third chapter of Romans is equally obvious, though one may argue where Tyndale stopped. He surely began at verse 19 and proceeded sufficiently far to illustrate the key of the knowledge of the law and the key of the sweet promises of the Gospel — that is at least as far as verse 25.

'Likewise', says Latomus, 'you subjoin another passage from [2] Corinthians hut omit the 8th and 9th chapters, where Paul urges the Corinthians to he generous to the poor saints, where among other things he says of the reward of this work: "he which soweth little shall reap little: and he that soweth plenteously shall reap plenteously. And let every man do according as he hath purposed in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity. For God loveth a cheerful giver."'[55]

This again is the strategy of selective quotation (which we have seen above) to lay the charge of selective quotation, omission of Tyndale's texts, and quotation of his own under an interpretive gloss disguised as a description. It is repeated once more. Tyndale quoted what he chose from Galatians (not necessarily just one text) but omitted which is glossed by Latomus as having obvious reference to 'Receiving according desert'. The quotation is then further extended.

One hesitates initially to identify the text in 2 Corinthians. But it is perhaps instructive to look at the passage in The Obedience where Tyndale contrasts the law as the 'minister of death and damnation' with the Gospel as the 'ministration of justifying and spirit'.[56] The text is, of course, 2 Corinthians 3 again. Tyndale has just used this favour chapter and the contrast is thematically suitable and appropriate at this point in the argument. One may thus feel reasonably certain about this identification.

What Tyndale chose from Galatians is also open to surmise. He might have taken — faith which by love is mighty in operation' which was the mangled proof in the St Paul sermon by Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, which Tyndale castigated in The Obedience.[57] But if he did we cannot suppose he made much of it, given Latomus's willingness to overlook the question of faith and charity (for the moment). Surely it is more likely that following passages from chapter 2 and 3 commended themselves: '[We]...know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. And therefore we have believed on Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Chr and not by the deeds of the law; because that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall justified.'

This is most suitable and balance and point are maintained by ending the quota:: where we have done. The margin gloss supports us: 'Deeds of the law justify not: faith justifieth. The law uttereth my sin and damnation and maketh me flee to Christ ? mercy and life. As the law roared unto me that I was damned for my sins: so faith certifieth me that I am forgiven and shall live through Christ.'[58]

In chapter three the margin alerts us with 'The law curseth: but faith blesseth. For faith only maketh the conscience alive.' The biblical text is surely right, for it is 'That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident. For the just shall live by faith.'[59]

Latomus proceeds now to both Hebrews and Matthew as before, quoting the texts which Tyndale omitted. We shall maintain our current assumption that Latomus is following Tyndale's passages in sequence. Tyndale, he tells us, dealt with other passages of Scripture in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which book might have instructed him not only concerning faith, but also works and their reward. Latomus instances Hebrews 6:1 10:35; and 11:24 (misquoted as chapter 2). Again it is not clear how many passages Tyndale quoted. The Prologue to Hebrews of 1534 deals extensively with the treatment of post-baptismal sin in the book, as one might expect, but towards the end Tyndale remarks:

Moreover there is no work in all scripture that so plainly declareth the meaning and significations of the sacrifices, ceremonies and figures of the old testament, as this epistle: in so much that if wilful blindness and malicious malice were not the cause, this epistle only were enough to weed out of the heart of the papists that cankered heresy of justifying by works, concerning our sacraments, ceremonies and all manner tradition of their own invention.[60]

This serves to remind us of the liturgical dimension of works which relates to the understanding of the Mosaic cultus — Latomus's schoolmaster — and takes us back again via the Prologue to Leviticus to the rejection of the four senses of Scripture in The Obedience. More to our immediate point, it indicates that Tyndale found his theme in Hebrews. There is a marginal gloss at the beginning of chapter 11 (the faith chapter) which reads: 'Faith and trust in Christ only, is the life and quietness of the conscience, and not trust in works, how holy soever they appear.'[61]

The Exposition on Matthew (on Matthew 5:2) shows Tyndale using the chapter to show that 'by faith saints overcame kingdoms and obtained the promises'[62] and in The Parable of the Wicked Mammon he used Hebrews 11 to show 'how the holy fathers were saved through faith, and how faith wrought in them'.[63] Nevertheless, as a proof-text there are problems with the eleventh chapter. Latomus quoted 11:24 where faithful Moses 'had respect unto the reward',[64] and we should see the marginal note at the head of the chapter as a warning ('...and not trust in works how holy soever they seem')[65] — just like the one we met above by Latomus's text from Romans 2:6 ('[God] will reward every man according to his deeds').[66] The passage cannot be taken so, but you must, as Tyndale would put it, 'soyl' [solve] it.

A far more suitable text for Tyndale is 'Joshua's Rest' in Hebrews 3 and 4. At the end of chapter 3 is: 'we see that they [the Israelites who perished in the desert] could not enter in because of unbelief.' (Gloss: 'As faith is the ground of all grace, even so is unbelief the root of all sin').[67]

Faith, and the law and its works, have been paired in all Tyndale's quotations we have so far either taken from Latomus or conjectured, and it is not difficult to see the balancing member here in Hebrews 4: 'For he that is entered in his rest doth cease from his own works as God did from his.' (Gloss: 'Sin is our work, from which all must cease that enter into the rest of a quiet conscience in Christ').[68]

If we are correct in this identification, it may be noted that Tyndale has widened his argument from faith and works of the law to argue that 'sin is our work' which is a rather different point.

When we come to Matthew, Latomus is a little more helpful. He tells us that Tyndale quoted the blessings given freely by the Spirit, but failed to add to Matthew 5:11 the very next verse, 'Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven'.[69] Latomus then proceeds to expound 6:6. We can read Tyndale's own interpretation of the beatitudes, and indeed his interpretation of 5:7 in The Exposition on Matthew.[70] Recalling the persecution context we saw behind his quotation from 1 Timothy 3, we note a similar setting for Tyndale's verse here. Not just in the immediate text of 5:10 and 11: 'Blessed are they which suffer persecution for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men revile you and persecute you, and shall falsely say all manner of evil sayings against you for my sake.'[71]

The whole of Tyndale's meditation on these verses in The Exposition is a comfort to those who suffer for the faith. When we come to his comments on 5:12, his own circumstances in Vilvorde Castle are strikingly anticipated. After reading his exposition there[72] one realizes it was no controversial trick to omit 'Great is your reward in heaven'. Latomus now leaves Tyndale for a while to argue his own understanding of Paul and justification. This is by no means trivial, but I pass over it here as unhelpful in our reconstruction.

So far we have recovered a sequence of quotations which we have every reason to believe Tyndale would have used. These I have set down in Part A of the chart at the end of this essay. Taken together they constitute an argument we know to be Tyndale's, expressed in his favourite symbols. That what we have recovered is a string of quotations should not surprise us. We remember that Tyndale's style embraces passages of dense biblical material as well as more independent composition. We have before us one of the more biblical sections.

But there is need for caution. It now becomes apparent that Latomus is treating the areas of their disagreement in the same systematic fashion as he did their points of agreement:

Likewise we disagree on this head: you make no distinction between works which come before first justification and those which follow it in so far as concerns the power and efficiency of deserving before God, while I distinguish them as Holy Writ compels us to do. Works going before do not earn justification, but works going afterward deserve beatitude.[73]

Latomus argues from Matthew 20:8 (the labourers' hire) and Matthew 25:14 (the parable of the talents). No argument of Tyndale's is presented here, nor any text. This is hardly surprising, for as he did not make the distinction which Latomus asserts, nor would have conceded its existence, he is hardly likely to have expounded it here. I have, however, set Latomus's argument out at some length here because it may help us in our reconstruction a little later.

Latomus moves to the next point of disagreement: that by subsequent works nothing is gained by a man justified by faith, because those works do only declare, but do not increase, the inner goodness. This is exactly Tyndale's position, and Latomus gives some clues to his arguments. What however is hidden by this systematic and tidy approach, is where in Tyndale's book these arguments occurred. Tyndale, we are told, used a simile. namely that the fruit declares the tree good or bad but does not make it good or bad, and by this he sought to reconcile Paul and James, saying that Paul spoke of justification before God and James of outer justification before one's neighbour. Again we need have no doubt as to the accuracy of Latomus's remark. The distinction between those righteous before God and those righteous before the world is familiar. Tyndale explains the distinction in The Exposition on Matthew when commenting on the verse 'Blessed are they which hunger and thirst for righteousness' where he also speaks of the 'fruits ...of a Christian man'.[74] One finds the distinction also in 'W.T. unto the Reader' in the 1534 New Testament under the heading Repentance.[75] The Wicked Mammon both uses the distinction between these two righteousnesses, and also expounds the tree simile, and shows that at root it is 'the similitude that Christ maketh in Matt vii and xii'.[76] The tree and fruit are found first in the 'prologge' to the 1525 Cologne Quarto, which became the Pathway.[77] The Wicked Mammon uses the distinctions between the two kinds of righteousness: 'Was not Abraham justified of his deeds when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar (James 2.) His deed justified him before the world: that is it declared and uttered the faith which both justified him before God and wrought that wonderful work, as James also affirmeth.'[78].

Latomus tells us that Tyndale argued his case with reference to Abraham circumcising himself in Genesis 17, which he averred did not justify him: and by reference to Abraham's obedience in offering Isaac in Genesis 22. Latomus then puts his own case, and passes to criticize the tree simile offering a better likeness and supporting texts.[79]

The nexus of texts with which Latomus here indicates that Tyndale reconciled Romans and James is fairly obvious. The texts are surely Romans 4, where Abraham is ustified by faith (before his circumcision), and James 2, 'Was not Abraham justified by works?'[80] These texts inevitably involve reference to Genesis 17 and 22. The resolution .omen through 'the similitude Christ maketh in Mat vii and xii' and by the distinction of nner and outer justification. Clearly all this belongs together. We cannot tell where. Such .in argument might follow naturally from Tyndale's discussion of Romans 3:19-25. On the other hand, Latomus could still be reading Tyndale in sequence. We shall shortly see 'hat this is probably the case.

The next item in Latomus's systematic presentation of disagreements is Tyndale's assertion that we deserve nothing of God, because he has no need of our works, and they bring him no advantage: they are his gifts and the advantage of them returns unto us. God acts in this respect, explains Latomus, 'as if he had need'. He urges Matthew 25:40 where the verses' 'in as much as' catches his own 'as if') and similarly Matthew 10:41.[81] Tyndale, however, ignores these 'open' passages. and declares that: God's granting everything freely for Christ's sake is to be taken to mean that to those divinely chosen he grants nothing on account of their preceding merits. Tyndale thus thinks it injurious to God, and showing ingratitude in man, if the latter should ask it as a reward for his good actions. This is confirmed for Tyndale by forms of prayer 'for thy goodness sake', 'for thy mercy', 'for thy name', 'for thy word'. Latomus returns a host of counter-examples for Abraham's sake, Deuteronomy 9:27; for David's sake, 2 Kings 20:6)[82] and asks, does Tyndale think all these examples are overcome by Tyndale's simile of the doctor and patient? Tyndale asserted that the patient deserves nothing of the doctor because the medicine helped the patient not the doctor.[83]

Latomus then tells us that "Tyndale asserted that God grants everything freely, which is probably an allusion to Romans 8:32. With his characteristic professional accuracy, Latomus indicates 111a Tyndale meant this of 'those divinely chosen', and this confirms the text, for Romans 8:30 reads: 'Moreover which he appointed before, these he also called. And which he called, them also he justified, which he justified, them he also glorified.'[84] The gloss shows Tyndale saw here precisely the place of good works — 'God chooseth of his own goodness and mercy: calleth through the gospel; justifieth through faith and glorifieth through good works.' Glorification through good works does not, of course, mean for Tyndale the beatification Latomus understands. It may be useful at this point to note a certain similarity between the blessings freely given (gratis donantur) of the Spirit in the incomplete quotation from Matthew 5:12 and God giving all things freely (largientis) in the allusion to Romans 8:32. At present we are uncertain where to place these quotations, the remarks about prayer formulae, or the simile of doctor and patient.

Latomus now proceeds to a long and sophisticated discussion, with authorities, of justification by faith and the merits of works both in Christ and in the believer, which again we omit. He indicates clearly that Tyndale had challenged him to say that grace precedes good works. Latomus can say this and more, yet nothing he says prevents him drawing the conclusion that still those goods works earn the reward of everlasting life 'for he that cometh to God must believe that God is and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.[85]

When Latomus adds 'what I have said is not at variance with Luke 15 [he means Luke 17:10]'. The text is: 'we are unprofitable servants. We have done that which it was our duty to do'. We can have no doubt that this is Tyndale's text. Tyndale's margin has 'In works may no faith be put, for by them is no man justified before God but by Christ's blood only'.[86] The servant parables of Jesus must feature inevitably in any discussion of the merit of works based upon the biblical text. Latomus, we may recall, has already made use of Matthew 20 and 25, and the continuation of the latter 'For I thirsted and ye gave me no meat ...&c'[87] he also lays in service. Luke 17:10 must have been Tyndale's decisive answer to these passages, the text by which he 'soyled' the others.

Latomus cleverly reinterprets the scenario presupposed in Luke 17. Then the debate turns to the question of God's distributive justice. Latomus concludes that Lutherans, 'your sectaries', can allow no place in God's treatment of the justified, but must interpret 'thou renderest to every man according to his works'[88] as applying to evildoers only. This is not Latomus conducting Tyndale's argument for him: such is not his way. He produces texts to argue against this understanding (Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 ) and does so because the distinction has already been introduced. He goes on to concede that God cannot be made a debtor to his own creature (Tyndale's text had been Romans 11:35: he also proved the point from Isaiah), yet argues that this is not entailed in his position. Latomus asks in passing 'Who is there who will ask God why he did so? Who will be his advisor and say God ought to have decided not in this way but otherwise'?' This is a quotation of Isaiah 40:13. Thus one suspects this passage (with the nations like a drop from a bucket) is that which Tyndale used, together with Romans 11:35, to show God was no debtor to his creatures. Latomus continues with: a like answer may be made to your objection that our work is not useful to God but may be useful to our neighbour. Considering this last quotation of Tyndale with the material which has gone before, we find it entirely as Tyndale would have argued: that God gives all things by the Spirit to those justified; that his distributive justice is seen only in his dealings with the unjustified, otherwise he would be in debt to his creatures: and that the significant distinction here is between what is useful to God and what is useful to our neighbours.[89]

Latomus gives us no more but pursues his own argument and then adds: but more of this in the second book. This may be the tiniest of editorial glosses — just a few helpful words tacked on the end. There is of course no doubt that it is editorial; it cannot be part of the real reply to Tyndale because Tyndale had not yet written his 'second book' to which the second Confutation, here referred to, is a reply. On the other hand, more suspicion may be justified: if the first book of Latomus has been brought to an end by a writer who already knows what is yet to come in the second book, it is possible that his editorial activities are greater than a final note. Indeed the possibility is open of a broader reshaping of the Confutations after the debate itself was over. Thus we may not know exactly what texts (and when) were placed before Tyndale or how much they resembled the current text of our Confutations. We can, however, not proceed from such suspicions that we cannot be sure of the precise text of the documents actually exchanged between the two men in prison — to a more reckless scepticism. There is no doubt that Latomus has here produced a serious and scholarly refutation of Tyndale's work, and that Tyndale did hold the views which Latomus says he did. Nor can it be doubted that what may be recovered of Tyndale's work is in fact the whole outline. We now turn to consider this.

If one looks at the tabular summary below, in which are recorded Tyndale's texts under Latomus's controversial headings, one sees that although Latomus argues systematically by disputed topic, nevertheless the sequence of quotations from Tyndale revealed displays a logical and attested course of argument that one cannot imagine being much altered. I suggest that Latomus did in fact follow Tyndale sequentially, and that his analysis by heading is not necessarily incompatible with this. If one writes a response to anyone's text, one has both to deal with that text and order one's own comments about some points. Latomus headings arise naturally from the place in Tyndale's text which had been reached, and to raise his points where he did required no feats of intellectual gymnastics; in fact it was all rather obvious. Further when we consider similar controversial literature of the time (and we need go no further than Tyndale's Answer to Sir Thomas More and More's subsequent reply), we find the opponents moving sequentially through the text before them.

But the point needs more substantiation. The quotations in the Part A are clearly sequential. The key and the veil and even Galatians 3:24 are utterly characteristic of a Tyndale beginning, as we have shown at some length. That he should begin with the great Lutheran texts from Romans is an obvious move. The quotations which follow are used in a fashion that we can show Tyndale used. They, further, each share a common balance of law and faith which makes them difficult to separate. If our conjectural identification of the Hebrews texts is correct, the sequence may have ended with texts further deepening the contrast but also with a more exhortational force. That we noted persecution contexts at the beginning and end of the sequence in 2 Timothy and Matthew we cannot claim as a rhetorical inclusio, as they do not lie on the surface of the text. But there is no doubt the first section is one sequential list.

The contents of the Part B form one argument making a single point and cannot be separated. The question is: did the material in Part B stand between the material of Parts A and C in Tyndale? I believe it did. First, because we have a growing presumption of sequential quotation. Second, because a discussion of the relationship between faith and works belongs almost inevitably after a sequence of texts contrasting the law and faith. Third, because we may perhaps find a thread of argument which binds together the last quotation in section A (that is Matthew interpreted to speak of the blessings given by the Spirit) and the first quotation in section C, the Romans 8 quotations, God giving us all things freely with his Son. These two texts may well form an inclusio with the material of section B which reconciles faith and works by the figure of the tree and the fruit of the spirit lying between them.

The last part of Tyndale's book was concerned to argue that works done after justification do not earn merit. What we can know of this we find under section C, where Latomus tackled Tyndale's assertion that God had no need of our works. The simile of the doctor and the patient, the parable of the unprofitable servants, and the confining of God's distributive justice to the unjustified all argue that God is not man's debtor and has no need of our works. It is also characteristic of Tyndale that he ended his argument by a reminder that though God has no need of our works, our neighbour has.

What we have therefore have discovered (by virtue of our sections for Latomus's controversial headings) is a three-part work. Part one declares that faith is the key (section A), part two inevitably has to explain the relationship between faith and works (section B) and the last section denies the merit of good works. Given the necessity of part B as a transitional passage to the coherence of parts A and B we may perhaps subsume it under one of the other parts — let us say under part C. We then have a text which corresponds exactly to Tyndale's book as Latomus described it in his introductory letter to Livinius Crucius: 'he wrote a book on this theme that faith alone justifies before God. In that book he strove to take away all the merit of good works...' We may feel confident that we have now for the first time reconstructed that book with a fair degree of probability.

Tyndale's second book

Two considerations give further confidence in our reconstruction of Tyndale's book above. The first is The Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1528). We have used the book sparingly in reconstructing Tyndale's last work, but if it is now compared with our reconstruction the similarities are striking. That is not to say they are the same book, but they deal with the same issues, with the same arguments, texts, metaphors and symbols. There is a convenient analysis of the structure of The Wicked Mammon in Daniell,[90] which it is interesting to compare with our reconstruction. As we read the text itself, the conviction grows stronger that the book we have reconstructed above really is a Tyndale text. The second consideration is the beginning of the second Confutation. This, asserts Latomus's introductory letter to Livinius Crucius, answers Tyndale's reply to Latomus's first Confutation. 'Therefore he wrote a second book more fully upon the same assertion, indeed on virtually all articles in which Lutherans contradict the sound doctrine of the church'.[91]

The second Confutation replies again to that same assertion; the third Confutation is the text which deals with the other Lutheran articles. Thus the second Confutation begins by stating that 'same assertion'. It has two parts: that faith is the key to the saving understanding of Scripture and that (and here Latomus quotes): 'God the father so grants all things freely through Christ that he gives nothing in respect of any work or because of any work inward or outward.'[92] Throughout this second book, says Latomus, Tyndale used all his prolix collections and assertions to support this. He 'attributed much to the grace of God and the gifts which God gives to his elect through Christ when he justifies those who have been called pouring into their hearts the Holy Spirit.'[93] This 'same asertion' is quite in line with Tyndale's first book as we have reconstructed it. It is also clear from Latomus that it was by a reiteration of his two fundamental points that Tyndale began his second book.

Latomus offers a brief denial of the second point before accusing Tyndale of taking away all merit even from the just man by saying (and he quotes):

... that a man does not deserve from God glory or eternal life by any works of his own, any more than Paul on his journey to Damascus deserved to be justified by Christ, since by those works and intentions Paul deserved not justification but eternal damnation, or 'deserved' it only in the same way as Adam's sin deserves to be redeemed by Christ's Passion, as Gregory says 'O felix culpa, which deserved to have such and so great a redeemer.'[94]

Latomus allows himself to pause but for a moment to clarify Gregory's sense. Then he sets out in further detail Tyndale's argument: God gave to the blessed Paul, from the beginning, that perfection which his soul now possesses, or will possess after the resurrection: and that God yet willed him to remain in this world, and to do what he did in time in his office as teacher and apostle.[95] Thus Paul with all his good works merited nothing, just as the blessed angels deserve nothing by the service which they minister to us and under God procure our salvation. Paul did not merit anything by his good works at any time when he was in this life. This constitutes a denial of any merit towards God, to which merit God according to justice grants eternal life. Then, says Latomus, Tyndale added the remark that he did not wish to argue about words or be contentious.

It may be the case that Tyndale used no Scripture in this argument. At least Latomus gives no texts. But from what we know of Tyndale elsewhere, it is surprising to find him not grounding his whole case in the very words of the Bible. Is it possible to know what texts Tyndale would have used to establish the argument sketched out with such clarity by Latomus above? I think it is. Acts 9 tells the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul. Saul's murderous intent towards the church at the very moment of his conversion is the point which Tyndale has taken from the narrative. But his argument then moves on to assert that (for the reasons stated) 'Paul with all his good works merited nothing'. At this point we may notice the 1534 marginal references at Acts 9. They are not, as one might expect, to the obvious parallel accounts of the conversion in Acts 22 and 26. Rather, they direct our attention to I Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 12.[96] When one turns up the passages, one realises immediately that they are essentially expositional, and the argument they briefly annotate is that reported by Latomus. 1 Corinthians 15 does have a passing reference to the Damascus Road, but observe where the weight of the passage lies:

...and last of all he was seen of me, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, which am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the congregation of God. But by the grace of God I am that I am. And his grace which was in me, was not in vain: but I laboured more abundantly than they all, not 1, but the grace of God that is with me .[97]

One cannot doubt that, for Tyndale, this passage is about Paul with his good works meriting nothing. There is nothing in 2 Corinthians 12, the second marginal reference, about the Damascus Road, but the marginal note there (rather implausibly) relates the man who was taken up into paradise in some way to Acts 9. The whole of 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, however, to which the marginal note gives us the entry, are about Paul's 'boasting'.[98] They list his exploits and his visions, but then pass through the thorn in his flesh to the Lord's assurance that his grace was sufficient for him. Paul then confesses his own weakness, knowing that thus the strength of Christ might dwell in him. Both of these margin references are markers to the exposition Tyndale placed before Latomus.

Latomus now turns to 'examples' which Tyndale gave in making his case; yet it would appear that there is only one allegory in view. Latomus argues against it under three heads but he never gives us Tyndale's comparison itself. From Latomus's disagreement, we gather it concerned a man who cultivated his field at an agreed price, and others who cultivated their fields without an agreement. Tyndale had asserted that their works were 'of one quality and value'. What was the point of Tyndale's parable? It is by no means clear, but I suggest that Tyndale is replying specifically to a point raised by Latomus in his first Confutation. Latomus made as one of his headings of disagreement Tyndale's failure to differentiate between works which precede first justification, and those which follow it. He quoted servant parables from Matthew 20 and 25 to illustrate his point. Tyndale had apparently said nothing on the topic which we conjectured was of Latomus's own introduction. What we know of this parable of Tyndale would appear to assert that the intrinsic value of works is in no way altered by the contractual (i.e. covenantal) status of the labourers. It is thus a suitable riposte to Latomus point. That this interpretation is correct is made probable by Latomus's assertion when criticizing the shortcomings of the parable: 'Meritorious works by their very nature setting aside any agreement or positive ordinance, possess dignity, value and perfection, which qualities are absent from non-meritorious works.'[99]

The words underlined match the contract in the parable with the covenant in Christian conversion. In his defence of the merit of good works, Latomus criticizes Tyndale's statement that: 'man is an instrument with which God works; therefore in any good work no praise is due to man, any more than to the sling or stone or sword with which David slew Goliath'.[100] The argument of instrumentality we know to be Tyndale's. It was taken to be a denial of free will by his opponents, and Tyndale's point is thus found more fully expounded in The Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue in 1531:

... in respect of God we do but suffer only, and receive power to do all our deeds, whether we do good or bad: as Christ answered Pilate, that he could 'have no power against him except it were given him from above'; and no more could Judas neither. But in respect of the thing, wherein or wherewith we work, and shed out again the power that we have received, we work actually: as the axe doth nothing in respect of the hand that heweth, save receive; but in respect of the tree that is cut, it worketh actually and poureth out again the power that it hath received.[101]

Such an argument is well placed here. So far in this book, after an initial restatement of his two fundamental propositions, Tyndale has shown that works prior to justification bring no ment (the case of Paul); he has shown that there is no difference between works before and after justification to counter Latomus's assertion in his first Confutation (the parables of the labourers' hire, and of the talents, in Matthew 20 and 25) and now we learn that good works of the justified are essentially the works of the Spirit — God working in us.

Latomus had urged God's covenants as an argument against Tyndale's instrumentality (for does not, say, Deuteronomy 10, indicate clearly what one must do to be deserving?). He tells us that Tyndale mentioned covenants, including erroneously a 'pact with the devil'. Turning to consider the devil and sin, Latomus states that Tyndale had said that we sin because our charity towards God and our neighbour is not as warm as Christ's. This Latomus refutes. He then finds Tyndale in error in saying that concupiscence in holy men is the greatest sin but not accounted to them.[102]

The brevity of the preceding summary must not conceal from us that we are approaching the heart of Tyndale's second book, and that here in precis is much of his Gospel. There is perhaps no clearer guide to Tyndale's thought here than 'W.T. unto the Reader' at the beginning of the 1534 New Testament. Having spoken of the hypocrites who leaven the Scripture with false glosses and those who lock it up where it should save the soul (the third paragraph recapitulates all the themes we examined earlier), Tyndale states the correct approach to understanding Scripture, which is through the covenants made between God and us which are the profession of our baptism.

Wherefore I have ever noted the covenants in the margin and also the promises. Moreover where thou findest a promise and no covenant expressed therewith, thou must understand a covenant. For all the promises of the mercy and grace that Christ has purchased for us are made upon condition that we keep the law. As for an example: when the scripture saith (Matthew 7) 'Ask and it shall be given you: seek and ye shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you'. It is to be understood, if that when thy neighbour asketh, seeketh or knocketh to thee, thou then shew him the same mercy which thou desirest of God, then hath God bound himself to help thee again, and else not.[103]

Here then is a crucial link of Gospel and hermeneutics where the marginalia mark out both promise and (always) obligation. The Wicked Mammon indicates how seriously Tyndale took this duty of showing mercy; he speaks of indigent Christians having 'as good a right to thy goods as thyself' and the man who withholds them as a thief.[104] Earlier in that work he remarked that in the face of another's need men (wrongly) believe they do no wrong in keeping honestly earned wealth.[105] The very beginning of The Exposition in Matthew emphasizes that it is no accident that Christ began his first sermon with poverty of spirit, a virtue quite contrary to that of covetousness.[106] His exposition of Matthew 6:19-21[107] exposes covetousness as 'the mortal foe and sworn enemy both of true doctrine and true living', and shows covetousness is to blame for pretty well everything. In The Practice of Prelates Tyndale traces the decay of Christendom to covetousness, and none of his controversial writings fails to level an accusation of covetousness against the Pope and the priesthood.[108] This is the ethical centre of Tyndale's preaching: we sin because our charity is not as warm as Christ's.

Latomus disputes with Tyndale that it is because of God's 'pact with the devil' that the devil dominates over sinful man. Tyndale's text here was undoubtedly the 'protoevangelium' in Genesis 3; '...I will put hatred between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed. And her seed: and that seed shall tread thee on the head, and thou shall tread it on the heel'.[109] Tyndale places this first in his list of covenants in The Pathway[110] before Abraham and others. The difference between Latomus and Tyndale is explicable when we remember that for Tyndale 'whatsoever is not of faith, that same sin'[111] and that one cannot escape the devil (sin, death, hell) without this seed of the woman which is Christ.[112] The Pathway further provides a description of our natural state as 'our fellowship with damned devils, under the power of darkness and rule of Satan',[113] who is described as 'our lord, and our ruler, our head, our governor, our prince, yea, and our god'.[114] But it is in the exposition of 1 John 3:8-9, as we might expect, that perhaps the clearest account is given of the contrast between those whose father is the devil and the sons of God.[115] Latomus and Tyndale have very different notions of sin, and these are naturally parallel to their different notions of the merit of good works. A further helpfully instructive confrontation of the two views may be found in The Answer to Sir Thomas More.[116]

We have here then the core of the first part of Tyndale's second book: a Lutheran account of the work of Christ in the justified, which is expressed inevitably in the warmth of a man's charity to his neighbour. And by contrast an account of covetousness as the most powerful and destructive of vices which betokens the paternity of the devil. Latomus tells us that Tyndale was wrong to say that concupiscence was the greatest sin in holy men. We may wonder therefore to what extent the 'hypocrites' were castigated here.

Latomus now passes to a long and carefully worded definition of merit, supported by appropriate Scriptures. Within Latomus's own three-volume work, this is the climax of his treatment of Tyndale's attack upon the merits of a just man's works. It is long and precise and is clearly intended as the victor's summary. Again, we shall omit this, except insofar as it helps our reconstruction.

At one point in this passage Latomus writes to Tyndale: 'You say there is no such thing as good deserving, because if God did not render to the just man his reward or life everlasting, He would be doing him no injustice: nor is God obliged by the just man's good work to reward him; ergo [a consequence Latomus denies] the just man is not deserving in the sight of God.[117]

Well, the point is clearly Tyndale's; The Exposition of Matthew makes it at length.[118] But where should the fragment be placed? Here or elsewhere with similar material? In another place in this passage Latomus says:

...but you say this is a good argument: life everlasting is granted to the just out of grace and because of grace: therefore not out of works for what is given out of grace is not owed, and what is given out of works is owed. Now it is impossible for the same thing to be owed and not owed to the same person and by the same person, for thus speaks the Apostle in Romans 4:4 and 11:6, and Ephesians 2:8-9.[119]

These passages are:

Romans 4:4: To him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of favour: but of duty. To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, is his faith counted for righteousness.[120]

Romans 11:6: If it be of grace, then it is not of works. For then were grace no more grace. If it be of works, then is it no more grace. For then were deserving no longer deserving.(The margin has 'Grace and works are contrary things.')[121] Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye made safe through faith, and not of yourselves. For it is the gift of God, and cometh not of works, lest any man should boast himself.[122]

Latomus himself makes reference after this passage to 1 Corinthians 4:7: 'What hast thou, that thou hast not received? If thou have received it, why rejoicest thou (quid gloriaris), as though thou haddest not received it'?',[123] and I Corinthians 1:31: 'He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord.'[124]

We have here a good series of Tyndalian texts, and they seem make a single point. with which we are familiar. It is similar to the argument about boasting we met at the beginning of Tyndale's second book, when dealing with Paul. We may be tempted to place these remarks there, but we shall provisionally leave them here at this point in our reconstruction, as this has proved the correct procedure until now.

The purpose of these passages when taken altogether is, however, not quite to make the point about boasting, though they also carry that message. Both of the statements of Latomus quoted above show that the thematic interest in these quotations is the 'reward' of eternal life. Thus we read there 'God did not render to the just man his reward or life everlasting...' and 'Life everlasting is granted to the just...[125] Tyndale may thus be imagined at this point to have turned to the final 'reward' of the just. This is made almost certain when we find that Latomus next says: 'nor does it tend against the notion of desert that God's love towards the predestinated and elect, by which he first loved us, is eternal.[126] The argument of Tyndale is this: God does not give the just a final reward for their works: rather their final lot has been assured by his love for them from the beginning. A passage from The Answer to More will enable us to see how Tyndale would have argued this point and in connection with Paul. The passage also sums up much of the teaching of our reconstructed second book with respect to the work of God in fallen men.

Nay, God is ever fatherly-minded toward the elect members of his church. He loved them, ere the world began, in Christ (Eph. i). He loveth them while they be yet evil, and his enemies in their hearts, ere they be come unto the knowledge of his Son Christ, and ere his law be written in their hearts; as a father loveth his young son, while he is yet evil, and ere it know the father's law to consent thereto.
And after they be once actually of his church, and the law of God and faith in Christ written in their hearts, their hearts never sin any more though (as Paul saith, Rom vii) the flesh doth in them that the spirit would not. And when they sin of frailty, God ceaseth not to love them still; though he be angry, to put a cross of tribulations upon their backs, to purge them and to subdue the flesh unto the spirit or to all-to [altogether] break their consciences with threatening of the law, and to fear them with hell: as a father, when his son offendeth him, feareth him with the rod, but hateth him not.
God did not hate Paul, when he persecuted, but had laid up mercy for him in store; though he was angry with him, to scourge him and to teach him better. Neither were those things laid on his back, which he afterward suffered to make satisfaction for his fore sins but only to serve his brethren and to keep the flesh under. Neither did God hate David when he had sinned, though he was angry with him. Neither did he after suffer to make satisfaction to God for his old sins, but to keep his flesh under, and to keep him in meekness, and to be an ensample for our learning.[127]

After Latomus's full and scholarly presentation of the orthodox definition of merit which formed the climax of his refutation of Tyndale's basic theme, he obviously felt sufficiently confident that his readers would now see the truth clearly and comprehensively for him to try a new controversial technique quite contrary to his previous practice — verbatim quotation. After Latomus's magisterial definition, verbatim quotation will display Tyndale's absurdity 'so that the reader may see', even if Tyndale closes his eyes to it. (That Tyndale himself is not the intended reader could not be clearer.) Latomus quoted a passage and then, phrase by phrase, he worked through it. It is an impressive and detailed hatchet-job, and, most persuasive, for every phrase of the heretic is shown to be utterly misguided. We lay aside, however, Latomus's attacks, to quote Tyndale's conclusion to the first part of his second book verbatim and without interruption:

Works are the last things that are required in the law, and they do not fulfill the law before God. In works we are always sinning, and our thoughts are unclean. The charity which would fulfill the Law is colder than ice among us; we live therefore by faith as long as we live in the flesh, and by faith we conquer the world, 'for this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith' (I John 5:4). Our faith is in God through Christ, because his charity by which he overcame all the temptations of the devil is counted to us. From faith then comes it that the promise is firm to the seed of them that believe that by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God.' (Romans 3:20)[128]

We have already seen that after an initial restatement of his two major theses, Tyndale addressed the subject of works prior to justification. He showed in answer to Latomus that there was no intrinsic difference between works before and after justification, and then explained how our good works were to be understood as God working in us (his instruments). How this is so, we now know him to have explained by describing man's natural depravity (the pact with the devil) and the gift of salvation. We noted how seriously Tyndale took the duties (covenants) which come with the promises. This led him to expect great charity of the justified, and to see covetousness as the vice responsible for the corruption of the church. The passages which followed showed that eternal life is not a reward for good works but has been God's gift to the elect from before the world began. The whole matter is summarized at the end of this first part of the second book in a typically Tyndalian way (we recall the 'Rehearsal' at the end of The Obedience)[129] in the final quotation we have preserved verbatim.

Tyndale's Second Book and the Second Part

Latomus's third Confutation is something of a disappointment. It answers the second part of Tyndale's second book, in which he wrote on 'virtually all the articles in which the Lutherans contradict the sound doctrine of the church'.[130] The articles are answered clearly and competently but there is virtually no interaction with Tyndale. One cannot help feeling that all this is perhaps a little off-the-peg: but it serves Latomus's purpose perfectly. His purpose is to place a clear and authoritative statement of true doctrine in respect of the disputed articles before the reader. Latomus's pretext is that Tyndale had asked his opinion on the points under dispute — and he is giving it. But, for our purposes of reconstruction, we have little more than the headings of the dispute. These are listed in the analysis of the second part of Tyndale's second book, below.[131]

We know Tyndale's views on these disputed articles, and so we may proceed briefly to indicate what Tyndale would have said under the various heads. Whilst it cannot he proven that the order of the articles is Tyndale's, the prominent position of the keys argues for this, and the final article about the pope embraces the other disputed articles in a way we can easily imagine from his pen. Latomus however must be responsible for the positive wording of some of the headings (e.g. articles 5, 15 and 16). The articles develop the theological and ecclesiastical consequences of the two great Lutheran doctrines upon which Tyndale had based his book; that a person is justified by faith alone, and that the justified does not earn merit by good works. Taken together, the articles constitute an assault upon the hierarchy of the church, the priesthood and the religious. They redefine the sacraments and deny purgatory and the cult of the saints. These articles should not therefore be seen as an appendix to the arguments of the first part of Tyndale's second book, but rather their immediate practical challenge.

Many of the articles will be familiar to readers of The Obedience. The Answer to More similarly provides useful explications of Tyndale's doctrines in a controversial context, but nearly all Tyndale's work might be laid under contribution on some point or other. We may be excused if we pass over the conflicting definitions of faith and charity (articles 1 and 2), for we have discussed these extensively. Latomus gives us one of his rare clues in this book to Tyndale's text, but it is merely to say that Tyndale held that faith necessarily or naturally produced charity and that he supported this by reference to 2 Peter 15.[132] Similarly we have no need to delay over the keys, article 3. Latomus lets us know that Tyndale blamed the holy Fathers of the Church for being 'blind and fleshlyminded' for disagreeing with his interpretation in which he attributed: '...the power of opening and closing only to one who as a preacher declares to the sinner his just sentence of damnation and makes him run to seek grace, like Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost.[133]

We have met this before almost word for word. This is Tyndale's favourite image for attacking the pope and the priesthood. Peter exercises his keys in preaching, not in any of those illegitimate 'bindings and loosings' to which the priests pretend.

Let us now turn to the priesthood, article 4. Sir Thomas More rebuked Tyndale for setting down 'senior' instead of 'priest' as his translation of presbyteros in the New Testament.[134] Tyndale had by then fixed upon 'elder', but the enormity remained.[135] For the office of the New Testament presbyteros had nothing to do with the Church's priesthood. Tyndale denied (in the Answer to More) that the 'oiling and the shaving' had any part in the office.[136] He explains in The Obedience that the priest is an elder chosen by the congregation to preach and no mediator. The priesthood is not a sacrament.[137] 'W.T. unto the Reader' explains the term for English Bible readers: '...They be officers and servant, of the word of God, unto which all men both low and high that will not rebel against Christ must obey as long as they preach and rule truly and no longer.'[138]

That close, 'and no longer', is momentous. Latomus in addressing this last point (making article 5) indicates that Tyndale justified withdrawal from obedience or subjection to prelate, superior or bishop on the grounds that he was a bad man who did not live by the rule of God's law. His text was 2 Thessalonians 3:6 'withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh inordinately'.[139] Latomus continues: 'you are wrong in saying that if a bishop be not blameless but drunken or a brawler or immoral, either he is not a bishop, or that he is not to be obeyed when his teaching or commands are not good.[140] It is because Tyndale sees the elder as both a servant and an appointee of the household that he allows the household to dissent from him. Latomus believes that a consecrated priest is a servant of God, who has set him up over his fellow servants and by whom alone he will be judged.

The priesthood is still in view when we turn to article 6, where Latomus devotes considerable space to restating the true doctrine with respect to vows, and also oaths in article 7. The discussion deals with vows of matrimony and continence and makes fairly obvious the issue. Tyndale had attacked the celibacy of the clergy and religious, which was confirmed with a vow. Martin Luther had married a nun: this was a notorious and emblematic case of broken vows. No one who has read More's Confutation of Tyndale's Answer, or even just dipped into it, can be unaware of the overpowering presence of this issue.[141] The issue however is not merely personal or biographical. A passage from The Exposition on I John shows how the criticism of vows of celibacy arises directly from central doctrine: '...out of the false presumption of works sprang the wicked vows of religion which they vow to make satisfaction for sin and to be higher in heaven instead of the life of penance Christ taught us in the gospel, to tame the flesh, and to crucify the members withal...'[142]

This may be followed by Tyndale's succinct statement of his position in The Answer to More: 'Lawful vows are to be kept, until necessity break them. But unlawful vows are to be broken immediately.'[143] But no reader of Tyndale can believe that his animus against the Church was merely a doctrinal deduction. He thought that the Church which he saw was corrupt. It despised matrimony and vowed celibacy but whored, it vowed poverty but indulged in covetousness, and it vowed obedience only so that it might be disobedient to all the laws of God and man (Exposition of I John).[144] What Tyndale says about vows comes from doctrine but also from experience.

Neither Latomus nor Tyndale is prepared to interpret Christ's words in Matthew 5:32 as a prohibition of all oaths — particularly in a judicial context.[145] What Tyndale found forbidden there was swearing between neighbour and neighbour and in all private business and daily communication. In The Exposition of Matthew, on 5:33-7, he explained that 'one must not sware to do wrong, and certainly one is bound only to break such oaths.[146] 'For customable swearing, though we lied not, doth rob the name of God of his due reverence and fear'. Although judicial oaths are necessary on occasion, Tyndale deprecates in The Obedience judges who 'break up the consciences of men after the example of Anti-christ's disciples and compel them to forswear themselves by the almighty God and by the holy gospel of his merciful promises, or to testify against themselves...[147] Such was Caiaphas's way. It was also the way some reformers had been handled.

Fasting (article 8) was part of the rhythm of pre-Reformation life. Adults were required to fast for about seventy days in the year, the bulk of these in Lent. The Lutheran Gospel compelled a reappraisal of this customary religious practice. Tyndale wrote in The Exposition of Matthew: 'The true use of fasting ... is to tame the flesh unto the spirit that the soul may attend to the word of God and pray through faith.' Fasting is not a work which earns merit. Like almsgiving and prayer, there are no rules about when to do it, but the justified will control their desires through diet.[148] Nor is it accidental that this passage in The Exposition links inseparably prayer, almsgiving and fasting as necessary symptoms of a lively faith. Latomus's article 13, 'On the Justification of the Impious', describes how the orthodox convert makes use of these three to 'obtain the Grace of God more easily'.[149] Such a view is of course impossible for Tyndale, and his remarks about fasting give a pointedly different account of the matter.

In August 1534 George Joye assisted in the printing of a pirated version of Tyndale's New Testament. It contained unauthorized alterations, one of which drew forth an immediate intervention from Tyndale himself which we now read as 'William Tyndale, Yet Once More to the Christian Reader'. Joye had in places removed the word 'resurrection' and substituted 'life after this life'. He had turned a false gloss into Tyndale's biblical text and polluted the source. While the word 'resurrection' remained in its proper places in the text the doctrine was clear:

I believe according to the open and manifest scriptures and catholic faith, that Christ is risen again in the flesh which he received of his mother the blessed virgin Mary, and body wherein he died. And that we shall all both good and bad rise both flesh and body, and appear together before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive every man according to his deeds. And that the bodies of all that believe and continue in the true faith of Christ, shall be endued with like immortality and glory as is the body of Christ.[150]

But if the biblical text was perverted by false translation at any point, then people might be misled, and there could be no way to correct false doctrine.

Beyond this certain article of faith, Tyndale was agnostic. He was uncertain over the whereabouts of departed souls who await the resurrection, though he was not persuaded they were already in glory. But no matter: the doctrine was clear, provided only the text was allowed to stand.

The doctrine may have been clear, but it was not the teaching of the Church. 'The heathen philosophers denying (the resurrection) did put that souls did ever live.' By this blend of paganism and Christianity the pope had put the souls of the departed in heaven, hell and purgatory, thus 'destroy[ing] the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection' (The Answer to More).[151] The consequences of this reasoning were enormous: the pope's 'poetry' (that is, fiction) of purgatory was emptied, and the cult of the saints and their powers of intercession rendered groundless. This was to strike deep into the heart of the Church's religious life; it recast all notions of the relations between the living and the dead; it rendered otiose masses for the dead and the social configurations within the parish which promoted them; it touched the wealth, power and very function of the church. Changing notions of the world to come imperilled the very fabric of this world. Purgatory became that daily struggle by which in this world we attempt to tame the flesh.[152] The saints became examples that we should 'submit ourselves to be scholars of the same school' (The Answer to More).[153] And once again the revolution proceeds from the two basic doctrinal assertions of the first and second books of the 'the Key'. As Tyndale wrote in The Obedience: 'We pray God to save us through the merits of deservings of the saints (which saints yet were not saved by their own deservings themselves)'.[154]

That is, if no merit attaches to the works of the justified, the saints can have none with which to help us. Latomus quoted Augustine at Tyndale in protest at his denial of the saints' merits and the assistance of their prayers. On the other hand Tyndale too could muster authorities and we find him doing so on the related issue of the images of the saints (article 11) in The Answer to More, where he asserts the veneration of images was not allowed in the early church and that they should be removed from churches. The temptation they present to a false faith is almost irresistible, as we may learn from the Old Testament narratives: they do not remain memorials or signs but become 'believed in', that is idols.[155]

Tyndale's account of the sacraments (articles 14 and 15) is similar. Sacraments are signs which contain the spiritual promises of God in Christ; that is to say, they preach the word of God to us to save us. This is, of course, essentially the same account as that Tyndale gave of the priesthood, as well as of what might be a theoretically acceptable image, did not charity prevent us putting temptation in people's way. The only sacraments which survive this criterion are those of the body and blood of Christ and baptism. In respect of Tyndale's precise sacramental theology, it is helpful to recall Tyndale's advice by letter to John Frith in the Tower not to let the physical issues which threatened to split the reformers cloud what was really important — the apprehension of the Gospel from the sign.[156] Tyndale, however, did write more extensively on the sacraments but perhaps thought publication untimely. 'The Supper of the Lord' was apparently found amongst his papers and not printed until after his death: it shows affinities with Frith and enraged More. Tyndale is no longer considered the author.[157] Similarly, A brief declaration of the sacraments was also found among his papers, and not printed in London until 1548. There he considered the sacraments as among the 'things indifferent', which may be held or rejected without danger of damnation, the inner faith being what makes the sacrament of the altar a rich experience — again a view which More furiously denied.[158]

Tyndale discussed the other sacraments in The Obedience: they are the impositions of hypocrites who believe in salvation by holy works, and are driven by covetousness. They are examples of the 'false bindings and loosings'[159] of those who have locked up the kingdom of heaven and hidden the key, and may we not imagine that material very similar to the polemical passages we have examined in the extant works appeared in this last book'?

It is at this stage unnecessary to address article 16 on the authority of the Roman pontiff. There is adequate evidence of Tyndale's view in what has gone before. How Tyndale went on to conclude the third book is entirely conjectural, but it may not be too fanciful to imagine a return to Matthew 16 and the keys. The beginning of Latomus's third Confutation mentions Tyndale's resentment of those who kept him prisoner and treated him like a malefactor, but the text allows for this to be a deduction of Latomus as much as a final complaint of Tyndale. Perhaps we shall imagine some storm about the rock, such as we met earlier in The Obedience.

However uncertain Tyndale's last lines are, the bulk of his last book lies clear before us. We have retrieved the structure of his text, the biblical quotations he took for support, and the allegories he 'borrowed'. More importantly we may claim that the theological arguments of his work are quite revealed, that they are complete, and that they are undoubtedly Tyndale's. Four hundred and sixty years after the daughter of the prison keeper at Vilvorde took this document into her hand as a memorial of that 'homo doctus, eius et bonus' (as Tyndale's accuser Dufief admitted), who none the less spoke to ordinary people by the beautiful simplicity of his language, his saintly life and the Word that was in him, we have now for the first time read some of the lost book again. Would that we might submit ourselves to be scholars of the same school as he.


The three tables that follow allow an overview of what has been reconstructed of Tyndale's assertions in his two books.

  1. Tyndale's first book
    1. The key is faith alone without respect of works.

      The Key itself
      Veil 2 Corinthians
        2 Timothy 3 (persecution)
      Key Luke 11:52
        Galatians 3:24 (Law)
        Romans 1:17 (faith)
        Romans 3:19-25 (Law and faith)
        2 Corinthians 3 (Law and faith)
        Galatians 2 (Law and faith)
        Hebrews 3 and 4
        Matthew 5:12 (persecution)
           (all freely given)

      Works before and after justification are to be distinguished according to Latomus, who quotes Matthew 20:8 and 25:14; see 2C

    2. By subsequent works nothing is gained for a person justified by faith.

      • Works like fruit of tree
      • Matthew 7 & 12
      • Genesis 17 and 22
      • Romans 4 and James 2


    3. God does not need our works.

      • Romans 8:30-32 (all given freely)
      • Doctor and patient
      • Prayer formulae
      • Luke 17: 10 (unprofitable servants)
      • God's distributive justice confined to treatment of wicked
      • God not our debtor (Romans 11:35; Isaiah 40:15)
      • Works useful, however, to our neighbours


  2. The first part of Tyndale's second book
    1. The Two Fundamental Principles
      • Faith is the key to saving understanding, and no merit attaches to the works of the justified


    2. The Conversion of Paul
      • No merit attaches to his works before conversion and no merit attached to his works after conversion (1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 12 — Paul's 'boasting')


    3. The Parable of the Contracted and Uncontracted Labourers
      • A reply to Latomus's distinction in this first Confutation between works before and after justification


    4. The Good Works of the Justified are essentially God working in us
      • Instrumentality


    5. The Covenants of God
      • Promise and obligation
      • The pact with the devil
      • The nature of sin
      • Children of God and children of the devil
      • Charity and concupiscence
      • The concupiscence of 'holy men'


    6. The 'Reward' of Eternal Life and Predestination
      • Links with 'boasting' in B for structural closure
      • Romans 4:4; 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9


    7. Final Rehearsal preserved verbatim

  3. The Disputed articles for the second part of Tyndale's second book

    (The order of the articles may be Tyndale's, especially given the prominent place of the keys. The wording of some articles is obviously due to Latomus.)

    1. On faith
    2. On charity
    3. On the keys
    4. On bishops, priests and deacons
    5. On obedience even to a bad prelate
    6. On vows
    7. On oaths
    8. On fasting
    9. On the saints reigning with Christ
    10. On the relics of the saints
    11. On the images of Christ and the saints
    12. On purgatory and prayers for the dead
    13. On the justification of the impious
    14. On the sacraments
    15. On the efficacy of the sacraments and that he who worthily recieves them receives Grace
    16. On the authority and prelature of the Roman pontiff over the Church and over any member of it


[1]John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, 8 vols. (4th edition, rev. and corrected by J. Pratt; Intro. by J. Stoughton, 1877), V, p. 128.
[2]Paul Fredericq, Corpus documentorum Inquisitionis haereticae pravitatis Neerlandicae (Gent, 1900), IV, pp. 80 and xxviii. And see David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography (London, 1994), p. 375.
[3]Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions to Different Portions of the Holy Scriptures (Henry Walter ed., The Parker Society, Cambridge, 1848 [hereafter PS 1]), p. lxiii.
[4]Ibid., p. lxxiii.
[5]Foxe, op. cit., V, p. 128.
[6]Robert Demaus, William Tyndale: A Biography (popular edition, revised by Richard Lovett, 1904), pp. 520-29.
[7]J.F. Mozley, William Tyndale (1937), pp. 328-32.
[8]Daniell, op. cit., pp. 376-8.
[9]Jos. E. Vercruysse, SJ, 'Latomus and Tyndale's Trial', in William Tyndale: Church, State and Word (CUA Press, forthcoming).
[10]See below, p. 345 (my own translations throughout).
[11]See below, p. 345.
[12]See Mozley, op. cit., pp. 328-9.
[13]Ibid., pp. 246-7.
[14]Thomas More, The Confutation of Tyndale's Answer (Louis A. Schuster, Richard C. Marius, James P. Lusardi and Richard J. Schoeck eds., Complete Works of Thomas More [hereafter CWM], 3 vols., 1973).
[15]See below, p. 347.
[16]See Daniell, op. cit., passim.
[17]Expositions and Notes on ... The Holy Scriptures ... together with The Practice of Prelates (Henry Walter ed., The Parker Society, Cambridge, 1849 [hereafter PS II), p. 144.
[18]PS I, 156.
[19]The long 'General Prologue' found in some later manuscripts of the second Wycliffite translation, written apparently between 1395 and 1397, sets out in English, and in detail, ways of understanding the Old Testament in particular, with copious reference to the Fathers. Some Wycliffite Bible manuscripts also contain translations into English of Jerome's prefatory matter to his fourth-century Latin translation, which became the Vulgate. But both the aim and the circulation of these was necessarily limited. Tyndale's first printed work, the 'prologge' to the aborted 1525 Cologne New Testament (expanded in the Pathway, 1530); the Compendious Introduction to Romans (1526); the three-page Epilogue to his 1526 Worms New Testament; the Prologue to Jonah; the Prologues in the Pentateuch of 1530; and all the Prologues in the 1534 New Testment: many pages in all his doctrinal treatises — these, printed and increasingly widely read in Britain, were true keys to reading the Bible: short, strong and pithy.
[20]Daniell, op. cit., p. 121.
[21]PS I, 303-31.
[22]PS I, 208-24.
[23]PS I, 156.
[24]Tyndale's New Testament (David Daniell ed., London, 1989), p. 42.
[25]Daniell, William Tyndale, pp. 119-33. Anthea Hume's unpublished Ph.D. thesis, 'A Study of the Writings of the English Protestant Exiles 1525-35' (University of London, 1961), contains an excellent analysis of the relation of Tyndale and Luther here.
[26]PS I, 21, in the Pathway, version.
[27]PS I, 27.
[28]PS I, 27-8.
[29]PS II, 139.
[30]PS II, 39.
[31]PS I, 28.
[32]PS I, 389.
[33]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 223.
[34]PS I, 46.
[35]Tyndale's Old Testament (David Daniell ed., London, 1992), p. 628.
[36]PS II, 139.
[37]PS II, 161-2.
[38]PS II, 182.
[39]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 111.
[40]PS II, 3.
[41]PS I, 46.
[42]Tyndale's New Testament, P. 317.
[43]Ibid., p. 314.
[44]Ibid., p. 317.
[45]Ibid., p. 264.
[46]PS III, 191.
[47]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 278.
[48]And see PS I, 48.
[49]PS II, 4.
[50]PS II, 3.
[51]Tyndale's Old Testament, pp. 145-50.
[52]Ibid., 85: and see Obedience, PS I, 209, The errors in the St Paul's sermon, by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, on the occasion of burning Lutheran books, are the subject of a section of The Obedience, PS I, 208-24.
[53]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 225.
  1. 190, verso.
[55]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 269.
[56]PS I, 307.
[57]PS I, 223. The Galatians test is 5:6; Tyndale's New Testament, p. 279.
[58]Ibid., p. 276.
[59]Ibid., p. 277.
[60]Ibid., p. 347.
[61]Ibid., p. 356.
[62]PS II, 20.
[63]PS II, 20.
[64]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 358.
[65]Ibid., p. 356.
[66]Ibid., p. 226.
[67]Ibid., p. 350.
[68]Ibid., p. 350.
[69]Ibid., p. 25.
[70]PS II, 16-31.
[71]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 25.
[72]PS II, 29-31.
[73]See below, p. 349.
[74]PS II, 22.
[75]Tyndale's New Testament, pp. 9-10.
[76]PS I, 50.
[77]PS I, 14.
[78]PS I, 119.
[79]See below, pp. 349-50.
[80]Tyndale's New Testament, pp. 229-9 and 354-5.
[81]Ibid. pp. 55-5 and 34.
[82]Tyndale's Old Testament, pp. 271, 533.
[83]See below, p. 350.
[84]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 233.
[85]See below, p. 352.
[86]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 119.
[87]Ibid., p. 56.
[88]PS I, 62.
[89]The Exposition of Matthew, PS II, 22.
[90]Daniell, William Tyndale, pp. 385-6.
[91]See below, p. 345.
[92]See below, p. 354.
[93]See below, p. 354.
[94]See below, p. 354.
[95]See below, p. 354-5.
[96]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 177.
[97]Ibid., pp. 257-8.
[98]Ibid., p. 271.
[99]See below, p. 355.
[100]See below, p. 356.
[101]PS III, 174-5.
[102]See below, p. 357.
[103]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 5.
[104]PS I, 99.
[105]PS I, 70.
[106]PS II, 16.
[107]PS II, 99-102.
[108]PS II, 254 ff.
[109]Tyndale's Old Testament, p. 18.
[110]PS I, 9-10.
[111]Romans, 14:23: Tyndale's New Testament, p. 240.
[112]PS I, 10.
[113]PS I, 14.
[114]PS I, 17.
[115]PS II, 190.
[116]PS III, 195-200.
[117]See below, p. 358.
[118]PS II, 31.
[119]See below, p. 358.
[120]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 228.
[121]Ibid. p. 236.
[122]Ibid., p. 283.
[123]Ibid., p. 247.
[124]Ibid., p. 245.
[125]See below, p. 358.
[126]See below, p. 359.
[127]PS III, 111-12.
[128]See below, p. 360-361: and Tyndale's New Testament, pp. 341 and 228.
[129]PS I, 331-44.
[130]See below, p. 345.
[131]See below, p. 281.
[132]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 333.
[133]See below, p. 363.
[134]Thomas More, CWM, pp. 182-4.
[135]See Tyndale's New Testament, p. xxix; and see PS III, 116 ff.
[136]PS III. 19.
[137]PS I, 254 ff.
[138]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 11.
[139]Ibid., p. 306.
[140]See below, p. 265.
[141]See Daniell, William Tyndale, pp. 276-7.
[142]PS II, 163.
[143]PS III, 185.
[144]PS II, 197.
[145]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 26.
[146]PS II, 55-6.
[147]PS I, 203.
[148]PS II, 94.
[149]See below, p. 369.
[150]Tyndale's New Testament, p. 15.
[151]PS III, 180.
[152]PS III, 142.
[153]PS III, 184.
[154]PS I, 290; see pp. 286-96.
[155]PS III, 182-3.
[156]Mozley, op. cit., pp. 248-9; see Daniell, William Tyndale, pp. 218-19.
[157]See Anthea Hume, 'English Protestant Books Printed Abroad, 1525-1535: An Annotated Bibliography', in CWM 8, ii, 1083.
[158]Daniell, William Tyndale, p. 222.
[159]PS I, 252 ff.

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