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Another politico-religious work of the same period was " A discourse touching the pretended match betwene the duke of Norfolcke and the Quene of Scottes," published anonymously ; and a more valuable and more popular work was also published by him in 1570, " A translation of Dean Nowcl Fs Catechism," which went through four editions in seven years.
On leaving Oxford, Norton gave up any notion, he might have had, of entering the church, and applied himself to his profession ; not abandoning, however, either his love of polemical writing, or his unceasing attacks upon the " Papists," whom he called " the common enemies of all sides of Christians." He had become a retainer at the court.1 He was already well known to the Lord Treasurer, and his writings had made him acquainted with Whitgift.
Calvin dated from Geneva, on 1st August, 1559, the last corrected edition of his work, " The Institutions of the Christian Religion ;" and immediately afterwards, Norton, at the special request of his " dear friends," Reginald Woolfe and Edward Whitehurche,1 translated it " out of Latin into English for the commodity of the Church of Christ," that " so great a jewel might be made most beneficial; that is to say, applied to most common use."2 The work was published in 1561, and in Norton's lifetime went through five editions.
Of the mode in which he executed his task, and of its success, he has given us3 a full account." I performed my work in the house of my friend Edward Whitchurch." He says he determined " to follow the words so neere as the phrase of the English tongue would suffer me." * * " All that I wrote, the grave, learned, and vertuous man, Mr.
And in fine he let the Archbishop know that he was so far from writing against Whitgift, that he could not but approve him and his cause: expressing a great trouble that the Archbishop should have any such belief of him.
On 16th January, 1572-3, Norton in his letter stated that he was moved with some grief that Parker could believe upon his respect such matter as Mr.
It is one thing to mislike the state and doctrine of our Church, as they do, and another thing to dislike the corrupt ministration of justice, and evil executing of the laws as they be.
These and such like expressions falling from him, having long before this given some jealousies to the Archbishop, Norton now, to set himself right with his Grace, assured him that he would be no disturber of the peace of the Church, nor did dislike the constitution of it; but that he disliked the defect in the ministration of justice, and that good laws made for the good state of religion were not put in force as they should be : which gave licence to the open adversaries of it. So that the Archbishop seemed to dismiss him with good satisfaction.
But now Whitgift's book being yet hardly out of the press, a report came to the Archbishop's ears, that Norton was framing, or did intend to frame, an answer thereunto.
David Whitehead (whom I name with honorable remembrance), did among other compare with the Latine, examining every sentence thorowout the whole booke." * * " Since which time I have not beene advertised by any man of any thing which they would require to be altered.
Neither had I myselfe, by reason of my profession, being otherwise occupied, leisure to peruse it; and that is the cause why not only at the second and third time, but also at this impression, you have Do change at all in the worke, but altogether as it was before." And he concludes by saying, " I confesse indeed it is not finely and pleasantly written, nor carrieth with it such delightfull grace of speech as some great, wise men have bestowed upon some foolisher things, yet it containeth sound truth, set forth with faithfull plainneness, without wrong done to the author's meaning."This book was by no means a light labour, yet it was not Norton's only literary effort at this time.