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relief? And Nowel, in a reply to Dorman, takes notice that Ignatius said he would provoke and anger the beasts, to whom he was to be cast to be devoured, that they might the more speedily tear him to pieces. And asks, why may not the heat of fire be provoked as well as the fury of beasts? And Dorman might have remembered, that when Polycarp was burned, his persecutors, seeing that the fire came not near enough to destroy him, with more compassion than this popish spectator had, put an end to his sufferings by piercing him with a sword.
Others wedded to the world, may perhaps think the sufferings of these martyrs were a prodigality of life ; and that whatsoever they privately thought, the subscription of their hands to doctrines contrary to that belief, and an outward profession of them had been far more prudent: and that therefore Gardiner was the wiser man, who by returning to the pope, whom he had abjured, kept his preferments, preserved his life, and escaped tortures. Few of us have faith enough to take our Saviours advice, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do: but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell : yea, I say unto you, fear him. Luke xii. 4, 5. But an event imme diately connected with this execution may help our unbelief, and convince us of the wisdom of our Saviours advice.
Dr. Gardiner, the lord chancellor, in the midst of all his splendor, secure in the favor of the pope and his royal mistress, and having in view a cardinals hat and legatine power from the one, and the throne of Canterbury from the other, triumphed over the weakness of the two martyrs at Oxford, for whose deaths he was impatient. His dignity and employment would not permit him to be a spectator and enjoy the sight; but what he could he did; he dispatched messengers on purpose to Oxford to be present at their execution, and to speed back to give him the earliest intelligence when the fire was set to them. And though the duke of Norfolk was his guest that day, he would not go to dinner till the return of the messenger had given him the satisfaction he so hungered after. At four o'clock the wretch was made happy and went to dinner: he was not disappointed of his lust, but while the meat was yet in his mouth, the heavy wrath of God came upon him. He was seized with a suppression of urine, and though he went five days after to the parliament, which met October 21st, and again on the 23d, he could go out no more. A foul leprosy
and dropsy encreased upon him, contracted (as was reported) by drunkenness, or whoredom, both which vices he had indulged much in his life: so that his body was greatly distended, his eyes distorted, and his breath too offensive to be endured. He felt all the bitter remorse of conscience, without being able to mingle with it that salutary sorrow which can alone make it supportable. “ I have erred,” says he,“ with Peter, but I have not wept with him." The bishop of Chichester visiting him, would have comforted him with the assurance of justification through the blood of Christ. Gardiner acknowledged the truth in private, and thereby assented to the reformers, but desired him politically to suppress it, saying, “ he might speak of that to him or others in his condition, but if he opened that gap again, and preached that to the people, then farewell altogether.” He suffered this protracted execution for four weeks, during which, as one wrote out of England at that time, “he spake little but blasphemy and filthiness, and gave up the ghost with curses in his mouth, in terrible and inexpressible torments.” He was called to his account that very day month that Ridley and Latimer suffered, at two o'clock in the morning, November 13.-Compare the lives of Ridley and Gardiner together, and compare their deaths; whose character was most amiable, whose conduct most prudent, whose condition most eligible ? Let us cultivate those truths in our hearts and lives which had such supernatural power as to administer comfort in the midst of burning flames. What afflictions are there in this world, that a practical belief in those truths will not enable us to bear up under them? Let us not think that those errors can be even politically useful, or in this present world prudent, which can give no ease upon beds of down, amidst the pomp of power, and affluence of wealth. What a blessing did these martyrs recover to their country, when they restored to it the knowledge of these primitive truths! What a glorious legacy did they bequeath to it when at their deaths, they mt up such a candle in England, as by Gods grace shall never be put out!
The Reformation that was made in the Church by the succeeding king (Edward VI.) was done with all the deliberation and order imaginable, with the advice and consent of a national synod, and the concurrence and approbation of all the nobility and commons of the kingdom; in which Reformation, all that is of the essence of Catholick religion, or had unquestionable foundation in antiquity, was still reserved and preserved, and is still practised; which needs no other manifestation, than that whoever contradicts whatsoever is determined in the four first general councils, is at this day declared a heretick, and to suffer accordingly : so that this being done without the least appearance of force and compulsion, and with that regularity and solemnity that no alteration, with reference to church or state, was ever made in any state or kingdom of Europe more warrantably; hence, all the king's subjects are bound to pay the same obedience to his laws as the subjects of other princes do to those established in their dominions : and to have the same reverence and submission to the constitutions of their own church, as others have to what is enjoined by the state and church under which they live, without condemning or censuring those who differ from them in opinion; which the church of England doth not presume to do. And as the Gallican church doth challenge, and require, and enjoy many extraordinary privileges, immunities, and exemptions, which the Roman church denies to be its due, and would deprive them of, if it were in their power; so the church of England hath as large rights, and owes no subjection or submission to any foreign judicatory or power under heaven.
As concerning the life and estate of that most reverend father in God, and worthy prelate of godly memorie, Thomas Cranmer late archbishop of Canterbury, and of the originall cause and occasion of his preferment unto his archiepiscopall dignitie, who of many hath been thought to have procured the same by friendship only, and of some others hath been esteemed unworthy of so high a vocation: it is first therefore to bee noted and considered, that the same Thomas Cranmer comming of an ancient parentage, from the conquest to bee deducted, and continuing sithence in the name and familie of a gentleman, was born in a village called
· Was born.] The second day of July, in the year 1489, was the day of his birth. Strype's Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 1. “Our youth (says the same historian) was put to learn his grammar of a rude parish-clerk in that barbarous age. Under whom he learned little, and endured much from the harsh and curst disposition of his school-master. Though his father were minded to have his son educated in learning, yet he would not he should be ignorant of civil and gentlemanlike exercises; insomuch that he used himself to shoot; and many times his father permitted him to hunt and hawk, and to ride rough horses ; so that when he was a bishop, he feared not to ride the roughest horses that came into his stables ; which he would do very comely; as otherwise at all times there was not any in his house that would become an horse better. And after his studies, when it was time for recreation, he would both hawk and hunt, the game being prepared for him. And sometimes he would shoot in the long-bow, and many times kill the deer with his cross-bow, though his sight was not perfect; for he was pore blind.
“ But to return to his younger days. He lost his father early; but his mother, at the age of fourteen years, anno 1503, sent him to study at Cambridge: where he was nursled in the grossest kind of sophistry, logick, phylosophy moral and natural, not in the text of the old philosophers, but chiefly in the dark riddles of Duns, and other subtle questionists; and in
Arselacton in Nottinghamshire, of whose said name and familie there remaineth at these daies one manour and mansion house in Lincolneshire, called Cranmer hall, sometime of heritage of the said stocke and familie. Who being from his infancie kept at schoole, and brought up not without much good civilitie, came in processe of time unto the universitie of Cambridge, and there prospering in right good knowledge, amongst the better sort of students, was chosen fellow of Jesus college, in Cambridge. And so being maister of arts, and fellow of the same college, it chanced him to marry a gentlemans daughter : by meanes whereof hee lost and gave over his fellowship there, and became the reader in Buckingham college: and for that hee would with more diligence apply that his office of reading, he placed his said wife in an inne, called the Dolphin in Cambridge, the wife of the house being of affinitie unto hir. By reason whereof, and for his often resort unto his wife in that inne, hee was much marked of some popish marchants : whereupon rose the slanderous noise and report against him, after he was preferred to the archbishoprick of Canterbury, raised up by the malicious disdain of certaine malignant adversaries to Christ and his truth, bruting abroad every where, that he was but an hostler, and therefore without all good learning. Of whose malicious reports, one of their practises in that behalfe shall hereafter be declared, as place and time shall serve.
But in the meane time to returne to the matter present. Whilest this said maister Cranmer continued as a reader in Buckingham college, his wife died in childbed. After whose death, the maister and fellowes of Jesus college desirous againe of their old companion, namelie for his towardnesse in learning, chose him againe fellow of the same college. Where he remaining at his studie, became in fewe yeares after, the reader of divinitie lecture in the same college, and in such speciall estimation and reputation with the whole universitie, that being doctor of divinity, he was commonly appointed one of the heads (which are two or
these he lost his time, till he came to two-and-twenty years of age. After that, he gave himself to the reading of Faber, Erasmus, good Latin authors, four or five years together, unto the time that Luther began to write. And then considering what great controversy was in matters of religion, not only in trifles, but in the chiefest articles of our salvation, he bent himself to try out the truth herein.” Life of Cranmer, p. 2. Compare Fox's Latin edition, p. 708, &c.