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with the cardinals, bishops, abbots, doctors of divinity and laws, a large multitude of people was assembled. The Cardinal of Ostia presided in the council in the place of the deposed pope. The Emperor sat crowned with his golden crown, upon a royal throne. The Elector and Count Palatine, Ludwig, [Lewis] stood on one side of him with the imperial orb, and the Burggrave of Nuremberg, Frederick, with the sword on the other. The Archbishop of Gnesen read the mass, and invoked the holy Virgin with tears, to intercede with God that he would give success to their efforts to extirpate heresy. The litany was then sung with the introit: EXAUDI NOS, DOMINE! (Hear us, O Lord!) After this came the gospel, "Beware of false prophets," &c.; and the office closed with the hymn, VENI CREATOR SPIRItus. (Creator Spirit, by whose aid, &c.) During mass, Huss was obliged to stand outside the church door, lest the service should be desecrated by his presence. When it was over, he was brought before the council. It was the first and last time that he appeared in a public and general session of the council. He was obliged to mount an elevated stage, that he might be seen by all."-Gedenktage, &c. pp. 27, 28.
We know nothing which exceeds in moral interest the whole account of Huss's conduct before the council, as it is narrated in the work from which the preceding extract is taken. We must, however, reluctantly abstain from further translation, and content ourselves with the closing scene, as it is described by Middleton, in his Memoirs of the Reformers, vol. ii. pp. 72, 74.
"The last scene in this woful tragedy now approached. Sentence of degradation and anathema having been pronounced, the Archbishop of Milan, assisted by five other prelates, robed him with the vestments, and put a chalice into his hand. 'So,' said he, the Jews put a garment on Christ to mock him.' When fully apparelled, they exhorted him once more to retract; but he turned to the assembly and addressed them thus with tears, 'These lords and bishops exhort me to profess before you that I have erred; to which, indeed, if it were a mere human concern, I might be induced: but now I am in the sight of God, and cannot do so without dishonouring the truth, wounding my own conscience, and causing weak brethren to offend. Rather let this vile body die than their salvation should be endangered.' Upon this they took from him the cup, saying, 'O cursed Judas, thus we take from thee the cup of salvation.' 'Ay,' he replied, but I shall drink of it this day in the kingdom of the Father.' They stript off his garments one by one with as many curses, and put a high paper mitre on his head, on which were painted three devils, with the inscription, Heresiarch.' 'This is better,' said Huss, than the crown of thorns which my Lord bore for me.' We commit thy soul unto the devil,' said they. But I,' he replied, commend it to Jesus Christ.' Being formally delivered over to the secular power, the Elector Palatine was appointed to superintend the execution. His books were burned at the door of the church, and he was escorted to the suburbs, to undergo a similar fate. As he passed on, his countenance was cheerful and dignified. One while he sang hymns, at another he prayed. He appealed to God against the judgment of the council, and spoke of the willingness with which Christ vouchsafed, by a most bitter and ignominious death, to redeem the children of God, chosen before the foundation of the world, from everlasting damnation.' When at the place of execution, he fell on his knees, crying, 'Lord Jesus, I humbly suffer this cruel death for thy sake; and I pray thee to forgive all mine enemies.' His paper crown falling off, a soldier put it on again, brutally observing, that he should burn with the devils whom he had served.'
When his neck was fastened to the stake by a chain, he said with a smile, 'My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain for my sake; and why should I be ashamed of this. old rusty one?' The faggots being piled round him, and the executioner on the point of setting fire to the wood, the Elector Palatine and Count Oppenheim rode up, and once more exhorted him to retract, as it might not yet be too late to save his life. What I have written and taught,' he replied, 'was in order to rescue souls from the power of the devil, and to deliver them from the tyranny of sin; and I do gladly seal what I have written and taught with my blood.'
"When the flame was applied to the faggots, he sang so loud, that his voice was heard above the crackling of the combustibles, and the shouts of the populace. He called thrice upon his Saviour in these words, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, have mercy upon me!' As the wood was heaped very high, he was soon suffocated. When the rage of the fire abated, his body, half consumed, appeared hanging over the chain, which, together with the post, was thrown down, and a new pile heaped over them. His ashes were carefully collected, and thrown into the Rhine, lest his followers should honour them as relics. But the memory of the just is blessed. His name is had in honour by all the Protestant churches; and the United Brethren solemnly commemorate the day of his martyrdom."
The next of these ecclesiastical tragedies is the execution of three Protestants and four Papists at the same time and place. This event followed closely upon the execution of Thomas Cromwell, who having been, on the 14th of April, created Earl of Essex, and invested with the garter, was within two months arrested at the council table for high treason, and on the 28th of July beheaded, under a bill of attainder, without a hearing. Such is the instability even of the highest fortune, when it depends on the will of a capricious tyrant. The execution of these Protestants and Romanists, on the 30th of the same month, was another instance of that capricious cruelty by which the reign of Henry the Eighth is so unenviably distinguished. "The Protestants," says Neal, were Dr. Barnes, Mr. Gerrard, and Mr. Jerome, all clergymen and Lutherans, [that is, they had espoused generally the cause of the Reformation-the term Lutheran is now used more definitely to distinguish those who adhere to the Augustan Confession, or are supposed to do so.] They were sent to the Tower for offensive sermons preached at the Spittle in the Easter-week, and were attainted of heresy by the parliament, without being brought to a hearing." The Papists were by the same act attainted of heresy, for denying the king's supremacy, and adhering to the bishop of Rome. The Protestants were burnt, and the Papists hanged. former cleared themselves of heresy by rehearsing the articles of their faith at the stake, and died with great devotion and piety; and the latter, though grieved to be drawn in the same hurdle with them they accounted heretics, declared their hearty forgiveness of all their enemies."-Neal, part i. ch. i.
A deep and mournful interest attends the memory of Frith, the first of the English Reformers of the sixteenth century who wrote pro
fessedly against the real bodily presence of our Lord in the sacramental bread and wine. He was an excellent scholar, and greatly distinguished for his learning in the Scriptures, the brilliancy and solidity of his talents, and his exemplary modesty. His abilities procured him the place of a junior canon in Wolsey's new college at Oxford, now called Christchurch. He owed his conversion, instrumentally, to William Tyndale, who laboured earnestly to convince him of the danger of trusting in his own righteousness, and to wean him from the destructive errors of the Papacy. The result was, that Frith, publicly professing the principles of the Reformation, was, with several of his associates, thrown into prison, where some of them died in consequence of the maltreatment they received. Frith, however, after a time obtained his liberty, and went to the continent. Here, by visiting the Protestants, and conversing with their leading ministers, he was greatly confirmed in the faith. On his return, passing through Reading, he was put in the stocks for a vagabond; when, after sitting a long time, and almost perishing with hunger, he requested some of the spectators to call the schoolmaster of the town, who, at that time, was Leonard Cox, a very learned man. Cox having discovered the eminent talents and learning of the sufferer, by conversing with him on the Greek and Latin classics, procured his release, and supplied him with victuals and money. After this he went to London, where, notwithstanding that he frequently changed his apparel and place of residence, he could not long evade the inquisitive eyes of the lord chancellor, Sir Thomas More, who had spies in every part of the kingdom, even along the roads, and had promised a great reward to whoever would give information against him.
It is impossible to clear Sir Thomas More-though the pet of those historians who affect great candour in all cases where some despised religion is not concerned-from the charge of cruelty towards more than one of the Protestant sufferers of Henry's reign. That he had many claims on public respect, is not to be denied. But that he persecuted in opposition to his own convictions of truth and justice can be as little denied; and there is reason to believe that his zeal against Frith was inflamed by his having been his antagonist in the controversy respecting the sacraments. The details of Frith's examination and death are truly interesting, but we must refer to Fox for them. The following circumstance we cannot omit :
"When Mr. Frith, as we have seen, was to be examined at Croydon, two of the archbishop's servants were sent to fetch him. Frith's pious and edifying conversation and amiable deportment by the way, made such a favourable impression on the minds of these men, that they contrived between themselves how they might let him escape; and having completed their arrangements, one of them thus addressed him. 'Mr. Frith, I am extremely sorry for having undertaken this journey. I am ordered to bring you to Croydon, and knowing the rage of your enemies, I consider myself as N. S. VOL. IX. 3 U
bringing you like a lamb to the slaughter. This consideration overwhelms me with sorrow, insomuch, that I disregard any hazard I may run, so as I may but deliver you out of the lion's mouth.' To this friendly proposal Mr. Frith replied, with a smile, 'Do ye think I am afraid to deliver my sentiments before the bishops of England, and these manifestly founded on the unerring veracity of Divine revelation? 'It seems strange to me,' said the other, that you was so willing to quit the kingdom before your apprehension; and that now you are even unwilling to save yourself from almost certain destruction.' 'The matter,' said Mr. Frith, 'stands thus. While I was yet at liberty, I cherished it, and to the utmost of my power, endeavoured to preserve it for the benefit of the church of Christ; but now, by the providence of God, having been delivered into the hands of the bishops, I consider myself particularly called upon as an evidence for Christ and the truths of his religion, as well as bound by the ties of gratitude and love to my adorable Redeemer, publicly to acknowledge his supreme government in the church, and contend for the purity of that faith which in old times he committed to the care and guardianship of the saints. If therefore I should now start aside, and run away, I should run away from my God and the testimony of his word, deny the Lord that bought me, and grieve the hearts of his faithful servants: I beseech you, therefore, bring me to the place appointed, otherwise I must needs travel thither by myself.""
In this spirit of devotion to the cause of truth and righteousness, determined not to compromise his humane attendants, and feeling that having been apprehended, the service which was then required of him was to testify to the truth before its enemies and persecutors, he met his examination. He suffered a lingering and very painful death at the stake; but his mind was so fixed and his patience so invincible, that he seemed less careful for his own sufferings than those of his faithful companion. He breathed his last, committing himself into the hands of his Father and Redeemer.
It is pleasant to turn from a scene of persecution like this, however illuminated by the light of faith and hope, to the peaceful death-bed of an aged minister. Such was Thomas Gataker, minister at Rotherhithe, in the early part of the seventeenth century, a member of the assembly of divines, and one of the most learned men of his own or any age. His life may be found in Samuel Clark's Marrow of Ecclesiastical History, whence the following account of his departure is taken with some few omissions.
"In his last sickness his faith and patience were strikingly manifest. The day before his departure, when exercised with extreme pain, he cried out, How long, O Lord, how long? Come, O come speedily! A little before he breathed his last, he called his son, his sister, and his daughter, to each of whom he delivered the charge of a dying Christian. 'My heart (said he) fails me, and my strength is gone; but God is the strength of my heart, the rock and fortress of my salvation, and my sure portion. Into thy hands, therefore, I commend my soul, for thou hast redeemed me, O thou God of truth! My son, (said he) you have a great charge; be sure to look after it, and discharge the duties thereof with a conscientious regard to that important day when you must render an account of your stewardship. Instruct your wife and children in the fear of God, and watch for the welfare of the flock over which you have been appointed pastor. Sister, (said he) I thought you might have gone before me; but God wills it otherwise, and I am called to my appearance first.
I hope we shall meet together in heaven; and I pray God to bless you, and be your comfort in your declining years. Daughter, (he said) mind the world, and the things of the world, less; God, and the things that concern your eternal peace, more than you have hitherto done; and never let it drop out of your memory, that the earth, and all it contains, without the fear of God, and the hopes of eternal life, are of no value, less than nothing, vanity.' Having thus delivered his dying charge, he desired them to withdraw, and leave him to rest, but the hour of his departure was at hand. He died July 27th, 1654, and in the seventy-ninth year of his age."
We have reserved for the last place in our paper that most touching incident in pastoral history-John Robinson's farewell to his flock upon the sea-shore of Holland, as they were departing for the wilds of America, to find a home there for liberty and truth. It is an incident which comes home to our feelings both as Christians and as patriots. These exiles might have preserved their liberty, and probably their religion with it, in the United Provinces; but they would have lost their mother tongue. They declare, in the account they gave of their reasons for leaving Holland, that "their posterity would in a few generations become Dutch, and so lose their interest in the English nation, they being desirous rather to enlarge his majesty's dominions, and live under their natural prince." But they had a still higher motive, for they name as their last, "a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereto, for the propagating and advancement of the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, although they should be but as stepping-stones unto others for the performance of so great a work."
They therefore bought and fitted out in Holland a small ship of about sixty tons, called the "Speedwell," and hired another in London, called the " Mayflower," to convey them across the Atlantic. "Being prepared," says a contemporary account quoted by Mr. Hanbury, (Historical Memorials, vol. i. p. 392,) “to depart, they had a solemn day of humiliation, the pastor teaching, a part of the day, very profitably and suitably to the occasion, [on Ezra vii. 21]; the rest of the time was spent in pouring out prayers unto the Lord with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears. And the time being come that they must depart, they were accompanied with most of their brethren out of the city, unto a town called Delft Haven, where the ship lay ready to receive them; so they left that goodly and pleasant city, which had been their resting-place above eleven years. . . . The next day, the wind being fair, they went on board, and their friends with them; when truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, [so] that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the quay as spectators could not refrain from tears! . . . But the tide, which stays for no man, calling them away that were thus loth to depart, their reverend pastor falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them, with most fervent