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yet he carried so cunningly, that he procured the despatch of the Act to the king with such suddenness, that he found a way to shift his own subscribing it; and though he wants power now to practise such bloody mischief, yet, it is evident, he has not repented thereof; but is, as yet, a contriver of the present encroachments made upon the Established Church, by the late mischievous Acts of Parliament [i.e., the Act of Toleration, requiring the taking of the Oath of Abjuration, the Act restoring Patronage, etc.-Ed.]

But I must not launch any further into the relation of these cruelties, the true history of which would commence into a volume. I own indeed, that a fuller narration of these things, with pertinent observations thereupon, would have been proper enough for the intended work; but, hoping that the Lord may yet raise up some of better abilities for such an undertaking, to set these sufferings in a true light, and give an impartial recital thereof, this short hint, together with some account of these cold blood murderers in the Appendix, may suffice at present.

ET us next view a little, with some attention and concern, with

what undaunted courage, holy resolution, and greatness of

mind, with what unshaken steadfastness and constancy, those worthy sufferers underwent all these bloody severities. Those disciples of Jesus had been so trained up in His school, and learned the great Christian doctrines of bearing the cross, mortifying the flesh, and contemning the world—they had been so thoroughly instructed by this great Master of assemblies, who teaches to profit, and leads the blind in a way they know not, to discern the exceeding preciousness of truth, and excellency of the knowledge of Christ--that they were made willing, yea, cheerfully willing, to forego riches, honours, pleasures, liberty, and life itself, when they came in competition with a steady adherence to the truth and honour of their lovely Lord. Love to Jesus Christ was the great spring which set all the wheels of their affections in motion, to do and suffer for Him whatever He called them to. Every one of them could say to their persecutors, what Chrysostom said to the Empress Eudoxia, who sent him a threatening message, “ Nil nisi peccatum timeo," I fear nothing but sin. They saw so much of the evil of sin, and beauty of holiness, that they would rather undergo the severest of suffering than stain their consciences with the least sin, or lose the smallest filing of this fine gold of truth. Many of the things for which they suffered were reckoned small by the indifferent world, but to them they appeared in their just magnitude.

Tertullian, in his book, “ De Corona Militis," tells us, that when a certain Christian soldier in the emperor's army refused to wear a crown of bays upon his head, as all the rest of the soldiers did upon a day sacred to one of the heathen idols, he was not only mocked by the infidels for his nicety, but even by many of the Christians; conceiving it a folly that this one man, for such a small and indifferent thing, should endanger both himself and other Christians ; but Tertullian defends him, and says, " This soldier was more God's soldier, and more constant than the rest of his brethren, who presumed they might serve two Lords, and, for avoiding persecution, comply with the heathen in their superstitious rites.” And when some Christians, who, like our Indulged people, would rather comply than endure the hazard, objected, “Where is it written in all the Word of God, that we should not wear bays upon our heads ?" Tertullian answers, “ Where is it written that we may do it? We must look into the Scriptures to see what we may do; and not think it enough that the Scripture doth not forbid directly this or that very particular.”

They knew, with the same Tertullian, in the fore-cited book, “ that the state of Christianity doth not admit the excuse of necessity. There is no necessity of sinning to them, to whom it is only necessary not to sin.” And hence they would not so much as seem to call in question any of the truths of Christ; when the enemies would have given them time to deliberate, and advise anent them, they were so confirmed in the present truth, that they answered their adversaries as Cyprian once did his, “ In materia tam justa non est deliberandum," In so just cause there needs no deliberation. When they were urged with the example of other Presbyterians, ministers and professors, who had complied, and were far wiser and better than they ; this did not shake them, but rather heightened their zeal. As Chrysostom tell us, these two holy martyrs, Juventius and Maximus, when they were urged by their persecutors with this argument, “ Do not ye see others of your rank do thus ?” answered, “ for this very reason we will manfully stand and offer ourselves as a sacrifice for the breach that they have made.” So the sad defections of their brethren made them the more emulous to witness for Christ, when so many, Demas-like, had forsaken Him, having loved this present world.

These martyrs had such large discoveries of Christ's love, especially under the cross, that their hardest trials were accounted light. As Stephen the protomartyr got the fullest view of Christ while before the council, so these had most lively sights of Him under their sharpest sufferings; and hence they could not find in their heart to deny so kind a Master. As Polycarp, that holy minister of Christ at Smyrna, answered the proconsul bidding him defy Christ and he should be discharged: "Fourscore and six years (said he) have I been His servant, yet all this time He hath not so much as once hurt me; how then may I speak evil of my King and Sovereign who hath thus preserved me?” so they were under a lively sense of their vows and obligations to Christ, personal and national, and therefore durst not, could not, deny His name, nor break His bonds, and cast away His cords, as the wicked had done. They were of the resolute disposition of Victorianus, who, being solicited by the Emperor to turn Arian, told him, “You may try all extremities, torture me, expose me to wild beasts, burn me to ashes; I had rather suffer anything than falsify my promise made to Christ my Saviour in baptism." And as Christ had been very kind to them, so they trusted much to Him, and depended on Him for strengthening influence, being very sensible of their own weakness; and they durst promise much on Christ's head; they could say, as Vincentius to the tyrant Decius, “ Rage, and do the utmost that the spirit of malignity can set you on work to do; you shall see God's Spirit strengthen the tormented more than the devil can do the tormentors.” And as Zuinglius to the Bishop of Constance, “Truth is a thing invincible, and cannot be resisted."

As they were well instructed in the necessity, so in the usefulness and benefit of the cross; they knew that, as the church and nation had deserved to be chastened and punished of God, so it was far more eligible to be chastened by sore adversities, inflicted by a loving father, than by severe impunities of an incensed and just judge. They knew that the grief they suffered was medicinal, not penal; the correction of a father, not the indignation of an enemy; and that they needed such merciful files and furnaces of adversity to scour off the rust they had contracted in prosperity. Nay, they were not only content to undergo these fatherly corrections, but accounted it a singular kindness and condescension that what they deserved should be their punishment, was made their glory, crown, and honour; that they, who had merited to be scattered into corners, and have their remembrance made to cease from among men, for their lightly

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prizing the precious and glorious Gospel, should be gathered into such a cloud of witnesses, and have their remembrance made everlasting as honoured martyrs for Christ and the defence of His Gospel ; that when they had provoked God by their sinful lusting after a malignant to be their king, they should be dignified to contend for the kingly prerogatives of such a glorious and good sovereign as the King of Kings. And as they had a good understanding in the doctrine of the cross, so likewise in the promise of the crown that is upon the back of the cross; they had their eye at the recompense of reward, and therefore endured, because by faith they saw Him who is invisible. It was their looking unto Jesus, who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, that made them bear all these reproaches, slanders, scoffs, and jeers, from enemies and professed friends, with such invincible patience.

HOU hast here, Christian reader, the dying speeches of some

of these noble heroes, and, as the speeches of dying men are

remarkable, the speeches of dying Christians more remarkable, how remarkable must the speeches of dying witnesses for Christ be? It is reasonably expected that dying men, much more dying Christians, and most of all, dying martyrs, should speak best at last. They are immediately to give in their last account; they are disinterested from all the worldly views that use to darken our understandings and bias our affections, while living in health and prosperity; they are upon the borders of eternity; and, as the motions of nature are the stronger the nearer they are to the centre, so saints are most lively and heavenly when nearest heaven. Martyrs have a special promise that it shall be given them in that hour what they shall speak.” The last speeches of Christ's dying witnesses have extorted even from heathens acknowledgments to the honour of God; Vere magnus est Deus Christianorum,” Truly great is the Christians' God ! They have been made the means of conversion to many thousands of sinners; as Justin Martyr testifies of himself, that the dying words of the Christians made him fall in love with the life of Christianity. [“Second Apology," chap. 12].

I own they are not bedecked with the embellishments of oratory and fine language; who can expect that from people of so mean education? But they are full of the language of heaven, which is many degrees more forcible than all our artificial rhetoric. One will find several mistakes in grammar, no doubt, in them; but they were

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never intended for the reflections of critics, but for the instruction of Christians; and their plain rude discourses may, through God's blessing, do more good to the latter, than the most elaborate composures can do to the former. They may serve both as a comfort and encouragement to sufferers, and as an instruction and example to saints. Herein, as in a glass, we may both see our blemishes, wherein we come short of them, and learn to dress ourselves with the like Christian ornaments of zeal, holiness, steadfastness, meekness, patience, humility, and other graces.

But, alas! How can the best of us read these Testimonies, without blushing for our low attainments and small proficiency in the school of Christ! How unlike are we to them ! how zealous were they for the honour of Christ ! How lukewarm are we of whatever profession or denomination ! How burning was their love to Him, His truths, ordinances and people! How cold is ours ! How selfdenied and crucified to the world were they! How selfish and worldly are we! How willing were they to part with all for Christ, and what an honour did they esteem it to suffer for Him, to be chained, whipped, haltered, staked, imprisoned, banished, wounded, killed for Him! How unwilling are we to part with a very little for Him, much less to endure such hardships, and account them our glory! Alas! are we not ashamed of what they accounted their ornament, and account that our glory, which they looked upon as a disgrace! How easy was it for them to choose the greatest sufferings rather than the least sin ! How hard is it for us not to choose the greatest sin, before the least suffering ! Oh that their Christian virtues could upbraid us out of our lethargy of supine security,--that their humility, meekness, and patience could shame us out of our pride, haughtiness, and impatience! They were sympathising Christians, active for the glory of God and good of souls, diligent to have their evidences for heaven clear; and, having obtained assurance of God's love to their persons, and approbation of their cause, they went cheerfully on their way, fearless of men, who can only kill the body, and ready to die the most violent death at God's call. But, oh! how little fellow-feeling is there now among Christians; but instead thereof, bitterness, emulation, wrath, envy, contentions and divisions! How little concern for the work and cause of Christ ! how dark are the most part, both as to their spiritual state, and their proper and pertinent duty! And how much is the fear of man prevailing above zeal for the glory of God!

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