THE CONFESSION OF RICHARD BAINES PRIEST AND LATE STVDENT of the Colledge of Rhemes, made after he was remoued out of the common gaile to his chamber.
AS MY MISERIE & WICKEDNES WAS GREATE WHICH I WILL NOW SET downe to the publishing of my ingratitude to God, the Church, and my superiors, so was Gods iustice, mercy and prouidence meruelous towards me to saluation as I verely hope. Of al which to the glory of Christ, and satisfaction of the holy Church and all her children whom I haue offended or scandalized, & to mine owne worthy confusion temporall, I intend to make this my publike confession, that al that stand, may by my example beware of a fall, and such as be fallen may thereby make hast to aryse againe.
The very ground of my fall and of al the wickednes ether committed or intended, was my pride which droue me to a lothsomenes to liue in order and obedience, to conceipts of mine owne worthines and manifold discontentement of the schollarlike condition wherein I liued, to an immoderat desire of more ease, welth, and (which I specially also respected) of more delicacie of diet and carnal delits then this place of banishment was like to yeld vnto me, though (wo vnto me that could not see so fare before) the students state in the Seminarie, where I was in very honest compt and calling is in all points so good and happy, that most wise men wonder at Gods so mercifull and plentifull prouision for the competent maintenance of so many in such a blessed trade of life and education.
Besides this, though I was not onely a student in diuinitie, but also a priest (though many waies I shewed and made my self most vnworthie of that high degree) pretending in dede in the sight of my superiors the study of holy scriptures as dewly required: yet in truth I most delited in prophane writers and the worst sort of them, such as ether wrot against the truth or had least tast of religion, whereby the holy writers of my Christian profession & priesthood, began daily to waxe more and more tedious and lothsome vnto me, in so much that in the doing of such publike exercises as by my course of study or my superiors appointment I often made, I had a delit rather to ﬁl my mouth and the auditors eares with daintie, delicat, nice and ridiculous termes and phrases, then with wholsome sound and sacred doctrine.
Whereby at leinght I had such a liking of my self, that through nouelties of wordes ioyned with pretty prouerbs, termes and mocking taunts, wherevnto by natural inclination and by my said prophane usage I was much giuen, I found meanes to insinuat my self to the familiaritie of some of the yonger sort that me thought might easely be caried into discontentment & to mislike of rule and discipline and of subiection to their maisters and gouernors: for which purpose I vsed ordinarily some prety skoffes against euery of the elders of our howse. Vndermining by art also, but in pretence of great playnnes and holy simplicitie certen very honest men, whom I thought knew somewhat of my superiors secrecie, the knowledge whereof (our lord God forgiue me) I purposed to abuse as occasion afterward should be giuen, to the annoyance and great hurt as wel of the Catholike cause as of the Seminaries, our President and other principal persons, to whom by law of God, nature, and by singular beneﬁts donne to me I owe all duety.
With this I began by litle and litle to the scandal & ruyne of diuers of the youth and other my fellowes, if God had not preserued them by his singuler grace as wel by my example of licentious life, as by wicked words, to shew my mislike of fasting and praying, calling for ﬂesh pies or pasties in my chamber on fry daies at night, and omitting the diuine seruice prescribed to men of my calling, often iesting and skofﬁng thereat before some of my companions in whose secrecie & loue toward me I had some afﬁance. And then proceding farther and farther in wickednes I began to mocke at the lesser points of religion, which is the high way to Heresie, Inﬁdelitie & Athisme, as to my great daunger I haue experience in myne owne case, so lamentable. desiring al Christian people to take head by my example. Protesting to al the world, that it is not reason, nor scriptures, nor the spirit of God, which are so much pretended by protestants, that leadeth any man to that damnable sect, by which one countrey is perished, but it is voluptuousnes, sensualitie, pride, ambition singularitie delite and loue of mans selfe, that driueth downe persons laden with sinne to this heresie of the Protestants, and that the next dore, yea the next steape of this staire is atheisme and no beleefe at al. A few wordes wil serue a wise man.
Wel when I had thus entangled my self, & for some daies proued that such as I had vttered my euel heretical speaches vnto kept al things close, I bouldly aduentured vpon their familiaritie and secrecie to vtter diuers horrible blasphemies in plaine termes against the principal points of religion, specially to one person of myne owne calling who afterward (as I must needes confesse to the shame of th'ennemy) godly and trewly for both our good and saluations vttered the whole matter vnto our superior which was Gods great mercy to me, for otherwise I had doubtles perished for euer more.
For a moneth space or there abouts I delt with my said fellow bouldly not only by arguments and often communication to drawe him to heresie, but also vttered to him my intention to goe into England, there to preach heresie: and to annoye the common cause of Christs Church, and specially this Seminary, the President and superiors thereof, as much as I could possibly: discoursing with him and declaring that there was no remedy, but the counsel must needes seeke the dissolution of the Seminary, or els sustaine their state to be ruyned in time by it.
Therevpon I vttered sondry meanes vnto him, how ﬁrst the president him self might be made away, and if that missed, how the whole company might easely be poysoned or otherwise dispersed further more offering my hand to gage, that the president should not be a liue that daie two yeres that I spake it, one of the yeres being now gone and yet he aliue: as I desire God he may be many. This was often my deuilish communication, and whether I should not haue giuen this ouerture to the counsel when I came into England for dispatch of him and the said Seminarie my derest nurce, my self know not (to say the lest) how farre the deuil would haue driuen me, who now holy occupied my hart in hope of aduauncement in England by these practices. For which purpose I had also fraudulently discouered certaine points of secrecie & set them downe in writing with intent to giue the note of the same to the counsel, wherein I rather detected my owne malice then any other thing, for the matters were of no importance in deede.
In breefe this I must needes acknowledge that I would haue done any of these impious iniuries rather then haue fallen from the preferment I hoped & gaped after so inordinatly, our Lord of his inﬁnite mercies forgiue me that detestable treason against him and his Church: and the abhominable periurie dissimulation & ﬁction, when for a whole moneths space after I had discouered my minde to my fellow, yet I said Masse daily, fought for leaue and viaticum of M. President to goe home to encrease by preaching and al endeuours the Catholick cause, and toke an oth vpon the Euangelists that I beleeued al points of the Catholick faith, and had no other purpose of going into England but for the aduancement of the same. And I desire good M. President & the whole howse euen for the blessed death and woundes of our Sauiour for whose sake they sustaine al this contradiction of me and other sinners, to pardon and healp me by their praiers to true repentance and remission.
And that good Priest my deare louing fellow, whom I would haue had partaker of my wicked and damnable reuoult I cry him mercy euen vpon my knees, and thanke him (though to the carnal wordly [sic] man it might be compted an iniury that he discouered al my counsel vnto his superiors and myne) * for els I had been without doute damned for euer more.
But al this came of the sweet mercies and dispositions of our Lord God and Sauiour who ouertooke and ouer raught me happely in the very course of my malice and damnable designements, and hath by his vnspeakable wisedom, caused not onely my imprisonment and other my bodely afﬂictions which he procured for me at the very same time that I had thought to haue been in my ruffe and iolitie amongest his ennemies, but turned my very sinnes and wickednes to the good of his honor and my saluation: at the same time both deliuering his trew and innocent seruaunts of the Seminarie and others whom my malice might haue annoyed, and me also, in most gracious & miraculous sort, his name be blessed therefore for euer more.
And it is his goodnes that hath deliuered me from the accomplishment of my wicked desires as powrably and miraculously al ___________________
* In the text the bracket is not closed. I have inserted the bracket and omitted a period which would seem to have been printed here in error.
most as he did Saul persecuting the Christians, but with much more mercie then him, for that he found grace because he did it of ignorance in incredulitie: where I did al against my owne skill and conscience: neuer doubting but the Catholick Romane religion was the onely true, Christian, auncient and Apostolick faith, and worship of God: though I fained my self for the atchiuing of my detestable designement to doubt thereof and to haue some reasonable motiues against the same, and sought by al meanes possible to haue enformed my conscience against that truth which otherwise I in hart beleeued.
Now therefore for the poore amends that lieth in me to make vnto Gods Church. I protest before the blessed Trinitie, and al the glorious company in heauen and by this publike writing which I voluntarily make and subscribe with mine owne hand: That I beleeue in al points the holy, Catholick, Apostolick & Romane Church, submitting my self to her and the cheefe gouernor thereof our Lord and Maister Gregory the xiij. Christs supreme Minister in earth: and do Detest, Accurse, Anathematize and Condemne from the botome of my hart, al Heresies, Schismes and Sectes, and specially the heresies of Luther, Caluin, and al others vnto which I might seeme by my outward wicked behauiour and dissimulation to haue been enclined vnto: Desiring God and our holy mother the Church, no otherwise to haue mercie on me to saluation, then so long & so farre as I keepe, professe and mantaine, to my power the said faith of our holy forefathers, taught & set furth by the See Apostolick.
Giuen in my chamber at Rhemes the xiij. of May 1583. in the presence of M.Thomas Bailly Priest, M.Humphrey Ely Doctor of the Lawes. and M. Seth Foster Priest.
I acknowledge this to be mine owne act,
Richard Baines Priest