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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bilney, Thomas c. 1495-1531
Thomas Bilney (c. 1495 – 19 August 1531) was an English martyr.
Bilney was born in or after 1495 at or near Norwich. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating LL.B. and taking holy orders in 1519. Finding no satisfaction in the mechanical system of the schoolmen, he turned his attention to the Greek edition of the New Testament published by Erasmus in 1516. During his reading in the Epistles, he was struck by the words of 1 Timothy 1:15, which in English reads, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am the chief." "Immediately", he records, "I felt a marvellous comfort and quietness, insomuch that my bruised bones lept for joy, Psal. 1. After this, the Scripture began to be more pleasant unto me than the honey or the honeycomb; wherein I learned that all my labours, my fasting and watching, all the redemption of masses and pardons, being done without truth in Christ, who alone saveth his people from their sins; these I say, I learned to be nothing else but even, as St. Augustine saith, a hasty and swift running out of the right way". The Scriptures now became his chief study, and his influence led other young Cambridge men to think along the same lines. Among his friends were Matthew Parker, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, and Hugh Latimer. Latimer, previously a strenuous conservative, was completely won over, and a warm friendship sprang up between him and Bilney. "By his confession", said Latimer, "I learned more than in twenty years before".
Friends of William Tyndale: History of the English Bible - An Early English Reformer, Thomas Bilney
A Brief Account of Thomas Bilney (See Page 255 of "Writings of the Reverend and Learned John Wickliff, D.D." 1831)
The Acts and monuments of John Foxe: A New and Complete Edition: With a Preliminary Dissertation, by the Rev. George Townsend, M.A., Volume 4 (1837) -- (See page 619 for the entry on Thomas Bilney)
Ecclesiastical Biography, or, Lives of Eminent Men Connected With the History of Religion in England : From the Commencement of the Reformation to the Revolution, Volume 2 (1810) by Christopher Wordsworth (1774-1846) (See page 1 for Thomas Bilney)

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