Page images
PDF
EPUB

Preacher in London ; until at of accusation, derived from the matlength becoming weary of the life of ter of his sermons. These articles a courtier, he retired to the bene- they laid before the Bishop of Lonfice of West Kington in Wiltshire, don, who immediately cited Latito which he was presented by the mer to appear before bim. Latimer King. His friend, Dr. Butts, tried appealed from the Bishop of Lon. to dissuade him from leaving the don to his Ordinary:—the authority Court; but he could not be diverted of the Archbishop of Canterbury from a retirement, which was more was then obtained,—and unable any accordant with his taste than the longer to resist a citation thus en. sceves in which he had hitherto been forced, he accordingly proceeded to engaged.

London. Here he was detained a His conduct in this new situation considerable time from his parish, was marked with the most exem- to his great vexation and uneasiness, plary fidelity and diligence. He not The season of the year was winter, only laboured strenuously in in- and he was now, in addition to his structing his own immediate flock, mental suffering, labouring under but with an enterprising zeal ex- the bodily infirmities of the stone and tended his pastoral exertions to the cholic. Thrice a week he was comsurrounding country. At Bristol also pelled to undergo the painful process he often preached, being greatly of an examination before a Court of countenanced by the Magistracy of Bishops and Canonists—the exami. that city.

nation indeed consisting rather of But it was not his good fortune repeated efforts to enforce his sub. to escape opposition even in the ex. scription of certain articles of Papal ercise of these duties. So diligent superstition. They did not even and zealous a preacher naturally scruple to employ the base art of attracted the observation of his ene- having a concealed witness present mies.

on one occasion, in order to note his Once when he was engaged to words accurately, and prevent his preach at Bristol, on an Easter Sun- receding from them*. At length, day, the Clergy of the place con- exhausted by their importunate trived to disappoint him by secretly mode of proceeding, he wrote a letobtaining an inhibition for all who ter to Archbishop Warhan, in humhad not the Bishop's license, which ble, but manly terms, excusing himthey well knew he had not, pretending at the same time to Latimer he had said saints were not to be worhimself their regret at the circum- shipped--that Ave Maria was a saluta. stance. Such indeed was the na

tion, and no prayer that there was no

material fire in hell--that there was no lignity with which he was attacked, purgatory. Latimer at this time still held that he felt himself obliged to chal.. the error that saints might be addressed lenge for his vindication a public in prayer, though not worshipped. trial before the Mayor of Bristol, of *". I pray you, Mr. Latimer, said one, the charges brought against him. speake out, I am very thick of hearing, He then satisfactorily exposed the velled at this, that I was bidden speake falsehood of his enemies for it was

out, and began to misdeeme, and gave an found that they could produce no eare to the chimney: and sir, there I good evidence to substantiate their heard a penne walking in the chimney, beallegations. Still they could not hind the cloth. They had appointed one restrain their malice, until at last, there to write all mine answers : for they after preaching and writing against them: there was no starting from them,

made sure, that I should not start from him, they drew up formal articles *

God was my good Lord, and gave mee

answere, I could never else have scaped These articles were that he had it."-- Fox, quoting from Latimer's Serpreached against the Virgin Mary-that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

self from further attendance on the of the times, that he could not always Court. It does not appear how this act as he would have done under letter was received ; for at this con- more favouring circumstances. The juncture it happened that the suf- popular mind was not disposed to ferings of Latimer attracted the acquiesce in an entire abolition of notice of the King, by whose imme- many superstitions. His plan there diate interposition he was rescued fore was, in such instances to permit out of the hands of bis enemies. the practice itself, while he took pains He is considered, however, as having to divest it of its superstitious appliexpressed some kind of compliance cation *. with the articles proposed, though But as before, both at the Uniit remains matter of doubt whether versity and at his benefice he had he actually subscribed to them, and encountered much vesation from if he did so, to what extent *. the opposition of evil men, so in bis

This gracious act on the part of bishopric also he was not exempt the King was followed by a more de- from similar persecution. One percisive testimony of the royal favour. son openly accused him in the preLatimer was highly esteemed by sence of the King, of preaching sediAnne Boleyn, then consort to Henry, tious doctrines. This was a serious and by her had been introduced to charge before such a Sovereigu as the notice of the Lord Cromwel, as Henry VIII. But Latimer was not one calculated to promote the great intimidated from making his defence, work of the Reformation. She ob- and, while his friends apprehended tained thus the concurrence of that nothing less than his commitment

mmending Latimer to the Tower, kneeling down to the to the King for a bishopric. The King he vindicated himself from the King himself was sufficiently dis- unjust aspersion, and had the satisposed to listen to the recommenda- faction to find that his address was tion-and accordingly the See of graciously received by Henry. On Worcester, then vacant

by the de- another occasion he was grossly inprivation of the Italian Bishop who sulted by two brothers (one of them had held it, was offered to Latimer. a Magistrate); from whom he sought This promotion, altogether unsought redress for some wrong which a poor by the individual himself, was as man, whose cause he kindly advoconscientiously accepted by him- cated, had sustained at their hands. and he was consecrated Bishop of The Bishop wrote to them on the Worcester in the month of Septem- subject with his accustomed freedom, ber, 1535.

and yet with all due respect and Great as his zeal had been in the civility. This letter only provoked discharge of his more humble office a contemptuous resistance of his isas a parish priest, be, if possible, surpassed himself in the exercise of

* He charged the ministers of his diothe high functions to which he was cese, in delivering the holy bread, and holy now called. Laboriousness in stu- water, to say these words: dy, readiness and continual carefulness in teaching, preaching, visiting. Remember your promise in baptism,

In giving the holy water. correcting, and reforming, charac- Christ his mercy, and blood shedding, terized his exertions. But such was

By whose most holy sprinkling, the dangerous and variable aspect of all your sins you have free pardoning. Fox is inclined to tbink that Latimer

In giving the holy bread. did subscribe, from the fear of a sentence of Christ's body this is a token, of death, his mind not being then nerved Which on the cross for our sins was brokes, to the courage of martyrdom. See also Wherefore of your sins you must be forpote to Wordsworth's Eccl. Biog. vol, jii.

If of Christ's death ye will be part ike s

sakers,

P. 98.

terference, expressed in not very ligion, and consequently to adopt courteous terms. But he ultimately measures of conciliation towards compelled them to attend to his the adherents of Popery, The obsuggestion by threatening them to sequious parliament readily followlay the whole matter before the ed the movement of the Cabinet, King.

and passed the act of the Six ArtiIn the midst of his useful labours cles * with all its tremendous penal in his diocese he was summoned to enforcements.-Latimer could not attend the Parliament and the Con- regard these proceedings with indifvocation held in the year 1536. In ference. He considered that he the Convocation he was appointed could not with a safe conscience by Archbishop Cranmer, to deliver vote for so intolerant a law, and as the oration with which it was usual the shortness of the time allowed him to open their deliberations. He was

no other alternative, he determined evidently selected for this task as the on sacrificing his office to his scruperson most eminently qualified for ples, and accordingly at once nobly the invidious duty of laying before resigned his bishopric, and retired the Clergy the corruptions of their into the country. own order; and he acquitted himself As soon as he put off his rochet in it with all that intrepidity and in his chamber, among his friends, unreserved sincerity which he had suddenly he gave a skip on the floor ever shewn in his conduct-boldly for joy, feeling himself discharged (as reproving the neglect of true religion he said,) of such an heavy burthen. which prevailed throughout England, But it so happened that he did and the backwardness of the Clergy not really experience that lightening to amend the reigning abuses; con- which he anticipated in his release cluding with an animated exhorta- from office. Still troubles and lation to them to be wise in time, and bours marked his course. in their counsels to divest themselves tiring into the country again, very of every other consideration but the soon after he had resigned bis glory of God and the happiness of bishopric, he was nearly killed by mban. But his speech had little effect the fall of a tree. This accident on an audience agitated by the mu. occasioned bis return to London for tual antipathy of adverse parties in surgical assistance, when he again religion. It only rendered him a became the object of attack from more marked object of attack from his inveterate enemies. The aspect the Papist faction, as we find an at- of the times was now changed totempt was made at this time to ob- wards popery: his patron, (the Lord tain a public censure against him in Cromwel,) had fallen a sacritice to conjunction with the Archbishop of the triumphant party, and he had Canterbury.

now no shield to interpose between He returned to his diocese after- his innocence and the fury of Garwards, but was again. called up to diner. He was traced to the place London, in the year 1539, to attend of his concealment in London; and the Parliament.--Bishop Gardiner some hearsay evidence of his having had now gained the ascendancy in the spoken against the Six Articles couusels of the King, and consequent being taken against him, he was ly the Protestant interest, wbich had committed to the Tower ; wbere he been promoted in some degree by the remained a close prisoner during result of the previous session, began the remainder of Henry's reign. to decline. By the intrigues of that iniquitous Prelate, Henry was brought to apprehend danger to the State,

See the Life of Archbishop Cranmer, from the innovations which had al- in the last Number of the Christian Re. ready been suffered in matters of remembrancer, p. 637.

For re

He had been a prisoner six years, fied. On the accession of Mary, a when Edward VI. succeeded to the Pursuivant was immediately sent for throne, and the. Protestant party him into the country, where he had regaining their ascendancy, he was once more retired, calling him up to again set at liberty.

London to appear before the CounHe had the offer indeed of return. cil. He had been warned of the ing to his bishopric (the Parliament approach of this messenger about having interceded with the Protec. six hours beforehand; but so far tor Somerset, for his restoration); was he from meditating an escape, but he would no longer be bur- that he devoted the iuterval to prethened with the cares of office, parations for his journey to London. pleading in excuse of his refusal, the This circumstance exciting the surclaims of advanced age to a life of prize of the Pursuivant, Latimer privacy. He did not, however, re- said to him, “ My friend, you are a main unemployed. Residing chiefly welcome messenger to me and be with Archbishop Cranmer at Lam- it knowu unto you, and to the whole beth, he was a very frequent preacher world, that I go as willingly to Lonin London, at the Court before the don at this present, being called by King, at Paul's Cross, and other my Prince to render a reckoning of places; preaching, for the most my doctrine, as ever I was at any part, twice every Sunday. Aud place in the world. I doubt not though he was now upwards of but that God, as he hath made me sixty-seven years of age, he la- worthy to preach his word before boriously studied, applying him- two excellent Princes, so he will self to his books every morning or

enable me to witness the same unto dinarily, about two o'clock, both the third, either to her comfort or winter and summer. He had also discomfort eternal.” The Pursuimuch employment from persons re- vant, having delivered his letters, sorting to him for his counsel, and departed, adding, that his instructhe redress of their wrongs, and in tions were not to wait for him. Evi such numbers, that he was frequently dently it was the intention of the interrupted by such calls in the Papists to afford him an opportunity midst of his walks and studies. Thus of escaping out of the country, as engaged in domestic labours, he in- they wished to avoid a public colliterfered as little as possible in the sion with a man of his well-known public transactions of King Ed- constancy and frank resolution. ward's reign, serving the cause of But he was determined to abide the Reformation by less ostensible, the trial; and accordingly proceeded but equally efficacious exertions. He to London. In passing through appears also to have assisted Cran- Smithfield, he lightly observed, mer in the composition of the Ho- “ that Smithfield had long groaned milies.

for him." The norning after his In the midst of these useful la- arrival, he appeared before the bours, he had strong forebodings of Council, from whence, after patithe miseries which were shortly to ently enduring much launting and ensue to the nation at large, as well mockery, he was committed to the as to himself in particular. Respect. Tower, September 13, 1533. ing himself, he would often say, that The severities inflicted on him in the preaching of the Gospel would this second imprisonment exceeded cost him his life, and that he cheer- all that he had suffered on the forfully prepared himself for it, being mer occasion. Yet he shewed himpersuaded that the Bishop of Win- self, as ever he had been, not only chester (then contined in the Tower,) patient under injuries, but eves was reserved for some evil to him. cheerful, courageously triumphing

These forebodings were soon veri- over the utmost malice of his enca

mies. The unruffled temper of his stance of the body and blood of mind appeared in this instance. Christ. Being kept without fire in a frosty 3. In the Mass is a sacrifice prowinter, and nearly starved with cold, pitiatory for the sins of the quick he told the servant of the Lieutenant, and the dead. “ that if he did not look better to Cranmer and Ridley having dehim, perchance he would deceive clared their dissent, Latimer was him." These words reaching the brought in last. He appeared in all ear of the Lieutenant, occasioned the simplicity of his character, with bim some fears of an intended es. a kerchief, and two or three caps cape of his prisoner, and he accord- on his head buttoned under his ingly questioned Latimer concerning chin, his spectacles hanging by a them, who simply answered : “Yea, string at his breast, and a staff in Master Lieutenant, so I said, for his hand, and the New Testament you look, I think, that I should under his arm. He was almost burn; but except you let me have spent with passing with the crowd, some fire, I am like to deceive your and the Prolocutor permitting him expectation, for I am like here to to sit down, he was set in a chair. starve for cold."

After his denial of the Articles, After having remained some time when he had the Wednesday follow in the Tower, he was removed to ing appointed for disputation, he Oxford, together with his fellow- alleged age, sickness, disuse, and prisoners, Cranmer and Ridley, to want of books, saying “ that he was dispute before the Convocation, almost as meet to dispute as to be a which it was determined to hold Captain of Calais.” “But he would,” there for the settlement of the con- he added, “ declare his mind either troversy between the Papists and by writing or by word, and would the Protestants. There, with his stand to all that they could lay upon companions, he was thrown into his back."—He complained morethe common prison, every comfort over that he was permitted to have being denied them which they had neither pen nor ink, nor yet any hitherto been permitted. But their book, but only the New Testament sufferings were alleviated to them in there in his hand; which, he said, a great measure by the religious con- “ he had read over seven times deferences which they held together, liberately, and yet could not find by reading the Scriptures, and above the Mass in it, neither the marrowall, by prayer; to which especially bones nor sinews of the same." At they devoted great part of every day which words the Commissioners Latimer, indeed often continuing in were not a little offended, and the a kneeling posture so long, that he Prolocutor Weston said," that he was unable to rise without help. would make him grant that it had

On Saturday the 14th of April, both marrow-bones and sinews in the 1534, the Convocation being assem- New Testament.To whom Latimer bled in St. Mary's Church, the pri- again replied, “That you will never soners were brought in successively do, Mr. Doctor;"—whereupon they to declare their opinion of the arti- interrupted him, so that he could cles proposed for discussion. The not proceed to explain as he wished, articles were these :

what he meant by the terms he had 1. The natural body of Christ is used; and thus they dismissed him really in the Sacrament, after the for the present. words spoken by the Priest.

The day appointed for his turn of 2. In the Sacrament, after the disputation being come, Latimer was words of consecration, no other sub- again introduced to the assembly, at stance does remain, than the sub- eight in the morning of the 18th of

« PreviousContinue »