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a sheep to the slaughter, being delivered over by the bishop to Sir Richard Pecksal, the high sheriff, to be burned to death at the stake in the streets of Winchester. One can scarcely in these days of general toleration, not to say of sceptical latitudinarianism, conceive it possible that for the expression of such opinions as the above-opinions wholly theological, and not, whether right or wrong, calling in the slightest degree for the interference of the civil magistrate, or threatening the peace of society-a gentleman of unexceptionable character should actually be condemned to a lingering and cruel death. Yet thus it was, and not in one instance only but in many; and I fear that Popery, up to the present moment, has only become tolerant in proportion as she has been infected with scepticism or overpowered by external pressure.
I could not ascertain when I visited Winchester, the exact spot at which was perpetrated this horrible tragedy, or I should have repaired to it with no slight veneration; and I think I may add, with feelings of deep humility and conscious shame, as I reflected how far my own love to the Saviour falls short of that evinced by those blessed men, who joyfully yielded their lives for his sake; perhaps, also, not without some edifying musing, some holy resolution, some fervent prayer. I should have seen our martyr meekly advance to the afflicting spot, amidst the mingled yells and suppressed sighs of the infuriated or sympathizing multitude; calmly looking round upon the terrible preparatives; making himself ready for the fiery trial; untying his points; presenting his gown to the keeper of the prison; and his jerkin, "laid on with gold lace, fair and brave," as Fox describes it, to the sheriff; casting away his cap of velvet, as likely, I suppose, to protract his torments; and then, these thrilling preliminaries performed, peacefully "lifting up his mind to the Lord, and making his prayers." The popish
priest Seaton repeatedly promised him pardon, if he would even yet recant; but that he did not make the offer in a really charitable spirit is too clear, for finding him decided and unshaken in his resolution, "this dreaming and doltish doctor," as Fox calls him, told the people "not to pray for him any more than they would pray for a dog." The priest continued his persecutions even after the martyr was fixed to the stake, till Benbridge, deeply distressed at the continued assault, and perhaps fearing lest his own faith should fail under the prolonged temptation, exclaimed, "Away, Babylonian, away:" upon which, one of the actors or spectators vociferated, "Cut out his tongue;" and another, adds Fox, "being a temporal man, railed on him worse than Seaton." The fire was then lighted; but whether from unskilfulness or wilful cruelty, the wood was not piled sufficiently around him, so that being severely tortured without being consumed, he exclaimed in his agony, I recant;" and was in consequence rescued from the flames by some of his friends, who were rejoiced to have a plea for his deliverance; and the sheriff, concurring in their suggestion, remanded him to prison to await further directions from the bishop: for which humane service the sheriff was committed to the Fleet, and the friends to Win. chester jail. The cowardly Seaton seized the trying moment to make the martyr in his agony hastily sign a recantation before he left the stake, laying the paper on a man's back for a table. But though the tempter had for a moment, by the extremity of anguish, overpowered the weakness of the flesh, the spirit, strengthened from above, was not vanquished: the holy man went back to his cell only to attest more strongly his unshaken faith; and having solemnly, in a written document, retracted his recantation, he was, within seven days of his first torture, led out again to the fiery trial, and, amidst slow and protracted agonies, was received
into the joy of his Lord, in the month of July 1558. I should think that the records of the city or chapter of Winchester might furnish some allusions to the event; and if the spot could be ascertained, it were no unworthy service to affix a tablet to the memory of this faithful martyr of Jesus Christ. It would not require to be so couched as to turn religion into civic feud, as inscriptions sometimes do; it were significant enough, if nothing were inscribed but the name, the date, and the cause. The Papist could not deny the facts, and the Protestant could not fail to draw the inference; and both perhaps might be benefited by the memorial. Monuments are erected in our cities for many other purposes; and why not to commemorate the martyrs? Many of their own dying sayings would form the best inscription on their tombs. their tombs. Some of these are very remarkable, of which I copy the following speci
Huss, when the chain was put about him at the stake, said with a smiling countenance, My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why should I be ashamed of this old rusty one?"-Jerome of Prague, observing the executioners about to set fire to the wood behind his back, cried out, "Bring thy torch hither! perform thy office before my face! Had I feared death, I might have avoided it."-John Lambert, just before he expired, lifted up such hands as he had, all flaming with fire, and cried out to the people with his dying voice, in these words, "None but Christ! none but Christ!"-George Wishart, at the stake said, "This fire torments my body, but no whit abates my spirits." -Laurence Saunders, when he came to the place of execution, fell to the ground and prayed; and then arose and took the stake in his arms to which he was to be chained, and kissed it, saying, "Welcome the cross of Christ! welcome everlasting life!"-Robert Ferrar said (after
a person had been talking to him of the severity and painfulness of the kind of death which he was to undergo), " If you see me once to stir while I suffer the pains of burning, then give no credit to the truth of those doctrines for which I die." And by the grace of God, he was enabled to make good this assertion.
John Bradford, turning his face to John Leaf, a young man about twenty years old, who suffered with him, said, Be of good comfort, brother, for we shall sup with the Lord this night." He then embraced the reeds, and repeated Matt. vii. 13. -Bishop Latimer, at his execution, said to Bishop Ridley, who suffered with him, "We shall this day, brother, light such a candle in England as shall never be put out!"-John Philpot, when he was come into Smithfield, kneeled down and said, "I will pay my vows in thee, O Smithfield!' Being come to the stake, he kissed it, and said, “Shall I disdain to suffer at the stake, when my Lord and Saviour refused not to suffer a most vile death upon the cross for me?"-Archbishop Cranmer, who signed the popish tenets only through fear of death, at his execution said, This is the hand that wrote, and therefore it shall first suffer punishment." Fire being applied to him, he stretched out his right hand into the flame till it was consumed, crying with a loud voice,
This hand hath offended!" And
often repeating, "This unworthy right hand!"-That was a Christian expression of one of the martyrs to his persecutors, You take a life from me that I cannot keep, and bestow a life upon me that I cannot lose; which is as if you should rob me of counters, and furnish me with gold."-It is reported of Hooper, the martyr, that when he was going to suffer, a certain person addressed him, saying, "Oh, sir, take care of yourself; for life is sweet, and death is bitter." Ah, I know that," replied he; "but the life to come is full of more sweetness than this mortal life, and the death to come
is full of more bitterness than this uncommon death."
The above reference to commemorative inscriptions reminds me of one at Winchester, which suggests at this moment very serious recollections. I allude to the obelisk at the top of the town, without the west gate, erected upon the spot where the markets were held during the dreadful pestilence which raged in this city in 1669. It was but four years before that Charles the Second had repaired to this very city to avoid the plague in London. The obelisk, as you know, rests upon the very stone on which the exchanges were made during the calamity; the country people depositing their provisions upon it, and then retiring while the citizens carried them away, leaving behind them the money, immersed, I believe, in water or vinegar.-Winchester, like most of our old towns, was subjected to various attacks of the plague, which on some occasions well-nigh depopulated their dense and unwholesome streets and alleys. It is remarkable also, that these plagues, just like that formidable disease which now impends over us, came by regular stages from the East. In the middle of the fourteenth century, a destructive pestilence, beginning at China, and crossing the whole of Asia and Europe, reached Winchester, where, so to speak, it seems to have exhausted itself; not being mentioned, I believe, as having penetrated further to the westward. In consequence of the depopulation, provisions became so cheap in Winchester, that a fattened ox was sold for four shillings, a cow for one shilling, and a sheep for three-pence; while labour became so dear for want of hands, that reapers demanded eight-pence, and mowers twelve-pence a day, besides their food, so that the crops would not pay for the ingathering.
For a period of unprecedented duration, this country, and most other European countries, have been exempted from the dreadful scourge of pestilence, whether under the
name of plague, or sweating sickness, or cholera, or any other appellation. Among the many causes for this long immunity have been assigned increased medical skill, the general diffusion of information, the influx of wealth with its accompaniments of cleanliness, better food, better habitations, and better clothing; the draining of swamps, cutting down forests, widening, cleansing, and ventilating towns and cities; but it seems never to have entered the minds of many of the medical and statistical writers on these subjects, to attribute any thing to the special conservative providence of God. Yet, if any thing can shew more than another how completely disease is under his control, and follows his bidding, like a soldier obeying the word of his commander, as strikingly remarked by the centurion in the Gospels, it is the history of the destructive pestilence which at this moment agitates the whole of western Europe, after working its deathful way, step by step, from the East. It has not been deterred by heat or cold; and though cleanliness, temperance, and the other favourable circumstances above enumerated have been mercifully permitted, as means, to diminish its ravages as compared with the pestilence of past centuries, yet none of these could altogether prevent its approach, insulate its victims, or hasten its departure. Truly, then, we are in the hand of God; and if David found this his consolation, why should not we also? I fear that if this fearful pestilence should reach us (and while I am writing this very passage, intelligence has arrived--whether truly or falsely a few days will shew-that it has already touched upon our shores), the panic will prove worse than the pest; and, even in advance, panic has already created much misery and not a little disease. I have just read with much interest the excellent prayers which have this very day been issued by our ecclesiastical rulers on the occasion. May they be heard and answered! How is it that
no petition has been presented to our rulers, to urge the propriety of their appointing a day of fasting and humiliation on account of the afflicting state of the nation? I refer not to matters of political party; but, with so many of God's judgments impending over us, much cause is there for national sackcloth and ashes, and turning to Him whom we have forsaken. While I write, a formidable train of artillery passes my window, to guard the peaceful citizen against the machinations of the designing, and the ebullitions of the weak and ignorant, The Bristol horrors are still ringing in every ear; and the reported entrance of the pestilence into Sunderland has greatly—I think unduly alarmed the public mind. Consider also the party-spirit, the riotous assemblages, the ferocious threatenings against our peers and prelates, and the widely spread revolutionary spirit which has gone abroad among us; not to mention our many and grievous national sins -not confined to the present moment, but some of them of late greatly aggravated, do not all of these demand a day of special national humiliation before God? It is replied, that such a solemnity would injudiciously depress the minds of men, and render the body the more disposed to infectious disease; and that it would also be made an evil use of to foment, not allay, political agitations. But I suppose there never was a time or exigence when the same objections might not be urged against such an act of national piety and duty; so that I do not fully feel the force of the argument, as applied to the present moment. Fast and thanksgiving days ought not, indeed, to be made political engines, as often they have been; and where the great body of the well-disposed part of the public are not in the main agreed as to the appropriateness of the occasion, it may be better to leave each man privately to weep and mourn over his own sins and the sins of his country, rather than issue a public ordinance which would not be met
by a good degree of sympathy. But I think that at the present moment there are sufficient causes for national affliction, without any reference to politics or party; and that all good men would feel disposed to join in this common act of religious duty, laying aside all questionable topics, and lamenting over those things which all allow to be matters of sorrow and humiliation.
It was my intention, my dear friend, when I commenced my letters, which I did not expect would exceed a few sheets, to detail at some length various reflections which occurred to my mind upon visiting your noble cathedral, and particularly in regard to the influence of our cathedrals generally (using the word with all its appendages, and as characteristic of our practical ecclesiastical system) upon our religious Establishment, our clergy and laity, the state of doctrine, morals, and piety among us, with sundry incidental points connected with the discipline of the church, her temporal endowments, tithes, pluralities, clerical disparity of income, patronage, and so forth. I had, in particular, intended to offer some suggestions-excuse my presumption-for increasing the beneficial influence of our cathedrals in a religious view, in the immediate cities and neighbourhoods in which they are placed; for, to say the truth, I have not always found the spiritual blessings which emanate from these ecclesiastical foci of light and heat so great as the magnitude of the apparatus might seem to warrant. But the unexpected length to which my letters have extended forbids my following out my idea: my visit to a cathedral must prove almost no visit at all—the title without the part of Hamlet; and, to speak frankly, I do not think the present feverish moment the very best for discussing all the points which I had marked for discussion. In a calmer and more leisure hour we may go over them, especially with reference to the local influence of our cathedrals; a subject on which I have long felt much in
terest, and which I could wish to see taken into serious consideration by our spiritual rulers. I have in my mind the beau ideal of what a cathedral town might be; my soul glows as I gaze upon the vision; but many practical difficulties would require to be surmounted, various jarring interests would need to be reconciled, even legislative aid might be requisite, and much would be necessary of wisdom, conciliation, and disinterestedness, to work out the scheme. But, when fairly worked out, the effect would be admirable; we should see the cathedral no longer insulated in solitary dignity, but beneficially connected with the town and diocese; honorary offices and valuable emoluments united with local posts of responsibility, charity, and parochial duty; the remains of Monachism obliterated in a range of zealous, active, and, as Dr. Chalmers would say, aggressive incursions on the surrounding empire of vice and irreligion; the anomalies between the state of the cathedral and the churches around it, no longer permitted; stalls, generally speaking, connected with working stations, and the charge of contiguous parishes; the present ambulatory system exchanged for more constant residence, and the benefits of local knowledge and interest; "schools of the prophets " revived in these intended diocesan entrepôts of piety and intelligence; and the whole weight of the learning, wealth, and influence of our Chapters, brought to hear directly, harmoniously, and with powerful effort, upon the moral and spiritual condition of our cities, their neighbourhoods, and the surrounding districts; setting an example to every town and village in the see, of what, through the Divine blessing, may be done by the aid of union, concentration, and large resources, under the influence of true religion, to promote the glory of God, the spiritual efficiency of our venerated church, and the spiritual and eternal welfare of mankind.
I wish I could say that no temporary local obloquy would ever attach
to the endeavour thus to convert a cathedral into an active working model-or rather into a mighty and powerful engine; or that the outcry against innovation might not, for a time, prevent the full effects of the most prudent and beneficial measures. It is very much to the honour of bishops, whom at the present moment it is so popular to vituperate, that many of the most salutary plans which have been adopted in cathedrals and dioceses have originated with them; not unfrequently to their own great unpopularity with some who ought better to have appreciated their designs, and to have actively co-operated with them. I say nothing of modern bishops or modern cathedrals; but looking back to the page of history I find many examples of this fact, and no where more so than in the annals of this very domicile of Winchester. The Swithuns, Wyckhams, and other episcopal disciplinarians of past ages, found some of the greatest impediments to their plans of reformation in the monks of their own cathedral. Bishop Gifford, who was consecrated in 1107 by St. Anselm, affronted his chapter about some revenues which he thought ought to be appropriated to the church buildings, but which they claimed as their own property; and they could scarcely have been more angry if he had introduced a modern Bible Society among them. (I remember I almost expected to see one of the old abbots of Glastonbury start from his grave, as I once attended a Bible Society meeting in the abbot's kitchen, a much beloved and esteemed Protestant prelate being in the chair.) But the good monks were somewhat facetious in their wrath; for to give vent to it they paced their procession round their cloisters from west to east, instead of from east to west in the legitimate fashion; as a practical emblem that the bishop had grievously inverted the order of things in mulcting their puddings for the unworthy purpose of church-building. The bishop, however-for the comfort of all con