Monday, September 25, 2017
| Date Posted:|
Latimer and Ridley
Cranmer - Hooper
Faithful Unto Death - Chapter 4
Rev W St Clair Taylor
Adapted By Professor Arthur Noble
"Romanism - the most formidable combination that was ever formed against the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations
"The Martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave;
Who saw his Master in the sky,
And called on Him to save.
Like Him, with pardon on His Tongue
In midst of mortal pain,
He pray'd for them that did the wrong;
Who follows in his train?
A glorious band, the chosen few
On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant Saints their hope they knew,
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
The lion's gory mane,
They bowed their necks, the death to feel;
Who follows in their train?
With the death of Edward VI, England was thrown into a condition of political confusion and spiritual distress...
With the death of Edward VI, England was thrown into a condition of political confusion and spiritual distress - it was just like the tunnel experience we mentioned earlier, all over again. I want to tell you about this dark interlude in this chapter, and I am sure when you come to the end of it you will be quite thrilled that such a wonderful Protestant heritage as is ours to-day was purchased for us at so great a price.
Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry the Eighth, and half-sister of Edward VI, came to the throne in 1556, and thus began one of the most painful chap-ters in the history of our island.
Mary was a pronounced Roman Catholic and the re-establishment here of Popery was her first task. The persecution of those who would not con-form to her decrees in this matter followed almost at once, and continued throughout her short but wicked reign.
In Deut : 26:6-10, we read that the Israelites were to constantly remember their "hard bondage" in Egypt, and that God had mercifully delivered them from it. In token of this deliverance the Israelites, you will remember, were to declare all these things to their children, so that they too might know of the darkness and the afflictions from which they, as a nation, had been delivered. We, as British Protestants, surely ought to do the same and when in years to come your children ask you to tell them a story, tell them the true story of the Reformation.
There is nothing more thrilling and wonderful than the Word of God.
The meaning of the word "Martyr"
The men, women, boys and girls, throughout the country, who suffered death as faithful witnesses to the truth as revealed in God's word, are known as Martyrs, and I must, before we proceed, go into the meaning and importance of this word. Let me direct your attention to the word "witness" in Acts 26:16 and "witnesses" in Acts 1:8. In its various forms it is used no less than 174 times in the New Testament.
When our parents repeat a thing we know that it really must be something very important and must not be ignored. How much more is this the case when our Heavenly Father repeats for our instruction something of real and great importance. Some of you are attempting to learn a foreign language at a very early age, and I know that in some cases this foreign language is Latin. If this is so in your case you will already know that this English word "witness" is the Latin equivalent f or "Protestant" but in the Greek this same word "witness" is "martyr".
I received many letters from young people - and older people too - even from one or two who have had a University education, asking me where in the Bible I can find the word "Protestant".
Well, these clever people apparently do not know where this wonderful word is to be found, but you will always be able to say that the word "Protestant" is found in the Scriptures wherever the word "Witness" appears; and our Lord Jesus is described as "the faithful Witness", which as I have shown becomes "The faithful Protestant".
The derivation of the word "Protestant"
The derivation - that is a big word but really means the source - othe word "Protestant" is "pro" = for; "teste" = witness; "stans" = standing". Its origin was in the year 1529 and it came into being at the Diet of Spires on April l9th.
The Romish power was seeking to suppress, under pain of persecution, the liberties of the people, whereupon those standing for the Reformation principles made at this place this historic protest-
"Seeing that there is no sure doctrine, but such as is conformable to the Word of God; that the Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine; that any difficult text ought to be explained by other and clearer texts; and that This Holy Book is in all things necessary for the Christian easy of understanding, and calculated to scatter the darkness; we are resolved by the grace of God to maintain the pure and exclusive teaching of His Holy Word, such as it is contained in the Biblical Books of the Old and New Testaments, without adding anything thereto that may be contrary to it. This Word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrine and of all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the Face of God.
"For these reasons we earnestly entreat you to weigh carefully our grievances and our motives. If you do not yield to our request we protest [...] that we for us and our people neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to His' Holy Word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls."
From henceforth those who stood by these denials and principles have been called Protestants. The word has the double meaning of "proclaiming for" and "pronouncing against."
The preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has always gone hand in hand with a pronouncing against evil.
The preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has always gone hand in hand with a pronouncing against evil. A study of the life of the Lord Jesus and of such men as Peter, Paul, James and John, clearly shows us that while preaching the Gospel as the power of God unto Salvation, they denounced the evil and hypocrisy which abounded.
The noble army of martyrs includes in its illustrious list the names of rich and poor, high and lowly, men and women, boys and girls. Among the first to suffer were William Wolsey and Thomas Pygot, and Bishops Ridley and Latimer. Nicholas Ridley had been Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer had been Bishop of Worcester "of whose famous doings and memorable learning [...]all the realm can witness".
Before her accession to the throne Mary Tudor was instructed in holy things by this very man who was so rudely taken and cast into prison by her. Her prejudice against God's Word and her preference for Romish idolatry she carried with her through life and to the grave.