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University of Cambridge by royal mandate. He was also offered the Deanery of Lichfield and Coventry, but declined the appointment. Bates took a prominent part in all the discussions on ecclesiastical questions by which the reign of Charles II. was agitated; was one of the Commissioners at the Savoy Conference for reviewing the liturgy; was chosen with others on the part of the Presbyterians to manage the discussions with Drs. Pearson, Gunning, and Sparrow; and when the fruitless scheme for comprehension and toleration of Dissenters was proposed took an active part in promoting it. He was held in high esteem by William and Mary, and had the honour of presenting the Dissenters' address of congratulation on their Majesties' accession to the throne. He died in 1699, in the seventyfourth year of his age. An extract from his writings will be found at page 185, (The Sabbath.)
Thomas Becon was an earnest advocate of Gospel truth in the times of trial which succeeded the commencement of the Reformation. During his residence at St. John's College, Cambridge, he was a diligent hearer of the sermons preached by Latimer and Stafford, and became a warm convert to Protestant opinions. He took orders about 1538, and preached in Norfolk and Suffolk, but was speedily cited to appear before the Privy Council for heresy, and after an animated defence committed to Lollards' Tower. Ultimately, however, he was obliged to recant, and again, in 1543, was compelled, at St. Paul's Cross, to acknowledge the unsoundness of certain positions he had assumed in several works published under the name of Theodore Basille. Soon afterwards he retired for safety, first to the Peak, in Derbyshire, where he met a gentleman named Alsop, who warmly sympathised with him in his religious views, and afterwards to Staffordshire and Warwickshire, where he was hospitably received by one John Old, “A faithful brother.” During his residence in the latter county he made the acquaintance of many learned and pious men, among them being the venerable Latimer, and also published several works which were prohibited in 1546. The accession of Edward VI. opened to Becon both personal security and a wider field of usefulness. He was instituted to the city rectory of St. Stephen's, Wallbrook, and appointed chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer and also to the Protector Somerset. But the calm was soon broken, for he was among the first of the preachers of the Reformed Church committed to the Tower by the government of Mary, and was likewise ejected from his living. Through a supposed mistake of Gardiner's he was released from prison, and immediately withdrew to the continent, where he remained till the accession of Elizabeth, when he was restored to his benefice, and also received other appointments. He died in 1567. In addition to great reputation as a preacher, Becon was a bold and fearless writer, attacking his opponents with a vigour and force which rendered his works highly popular. His productions are very numerous, and afford ample testimony to the piety, learning, talents, and indefatigable industry of their author. Passages appear at pages 20, (Rich and Precious Jewel) 55, (Prayer,) and 227, (Walking with God.)
No memories are so precious to Englishmen as those of "The noble army of martyrs.” Embalmed in the deepest and holiest affections of our nature, we recall with the most profound reverence the saintly heroism of these valiant defenders of the truth, who, counting not their lives dear unto themselves, endured tortures "Not accepting deliverance," and bore “Trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment.” Of this “ Cloud of witnesses” Bradford was one, and with all thankfulness we acknowledge the obligations under which we lie to him and his fellow confessors for their share in the erection of that fair structure of religious truth and civil liberty within which we now so happily dwell. Bradford was born about 1510, and after being employed by Sir John Harrington, of Rutlandshire, in various confidential services, was admitted a member of the Inner Temple. Being impressed by a sermon of Bishop Latimer, he entered Catharine Hall, Cambridge, and was subsequently elected a fellow of Pembroke Hall, of which Bishop Ridley was Master. In 1551 Bradford was nominated one of the six chaplains in ordinary to Edward VI.; of these two were to be present at court, whilst the remainder were employed in preaching in various places throughout the country. Shortly after the accession of Mary he was committed to the Tower, where, and at the King's Bench, he remained for several months. In January, 1554-5, he was thrice examined before Gardiner, Bonner, and other commissioners, and condemned to death as an obstinate heretic. Strenuous efforts were made to induce him to recant, but he continued firm to the truths he had so long believed and taught, and after his condemnation wrote his treatises against the fear
of death and on the restoration of all things. On the first day of July, 1555, he was burnt at Smithfield, meeting his fate with composure and devotion, earnestly exhorting the people to repent, and to beware of idolatry. His last
“Strait is the way and narrow is the gate that leadeth to eternal salvation, and few there be that find it.” He combined learning with judgment, elocution, suavity of temper, and profound devotion towards God. “Sharply," says Fox, “He opened and reproved sin, sweetly he preached Christ crucified, pithily he impugned heresies and errors, earnestly he persuaded to a godly life." Quotations from his writings are given at pages 45, (Prayer,) 100, (The Lord's Supper,) 217, (Prayer for the Presence of God,) 220, (A Meditation of the Presence of God,) and 221, (A Sweet Contemplation of Heaven and Heavenly Things.)
Few names, next to those of the martyrs, are held in higher regard than that of Miles Coverdale. To him we are indebted for the first published English translation of the Bible, and the general observation of the tercentenary of that auspicious event in 1835 caused the facts of his history to become widely known. Like Bradford, he lived in the troublous times of the Reformation era, though, unlike him, he was mercifully spared the horrors of the stake. Coverdale was an Augustinian friar, and became a priest in 1514. He studied in the house of his order at Cambridge, when it was under the presidency of Dr. Barnes, a noted reformer, whose opinions he embraced, and whom he accompanied to London when cited for heresy before Cardinal Wolsey. So early as 1528 Coverdale preached against the received doctrine of the sacrament of the altar, and against worshipping images, and afterwards employed himself in the great work of rendering the Scriptures into the vulgar tongue. On the 4th of October, 1535, the last sheet of his translation of the Bible was sent to press. It was probably printed at Cologne, but was not published in England till the following year. Coverdale was afterwards sent by Cromwell to Paris with Richard Grafton, to superintend that translation of the Bible which is commonly called the Lord Cromwell's, and the printing of which at Paris was frustrated by the officers of the Inquisition. While there he issued an edition of the New Testament in English and Latin. His translations of the New Testament and other works, however, were included in the proclamation prohibitory of heretical books issued in 1546. After Cromwell's fall Coverdale retired to Denmark, and ultimately settled at Bergzabern, in the duchy of Deux Ponts, where he held a pastoral charge. On the accession of Edward VI. he was appointed chaplain to the King, and almoner to the Queen Dowager, Catharine Parr, and about 1550 was chosen coadjutor to Vesey, Bishop of Exeter, and in the following year became sole Bishop of that see. He was deprived of his Bishopric at the commencement of Mary's reign, and summoned before the Privy Council, and, though not imprisoned, ordered to find sureties for his appearance. At the instance of Christian II., King of Denmark, Coverdale obtained license to leave England, when he repaired to Copenhagen, and subsequently resumed his charge at Bergzabern. He afterwards resided at Geneva, and returning to England about 1559 was presented to the rectory of St. Magnus, London Bridge. He resigned this preferment in 1566, though he continued to preach till his death, which took place in 1568.