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a sheep to the slaughter, being de- priest Seaton repeatedly promised livered over by the bishop to Sir him pardon, if he would even yet Richard Pecksal, the high sheriff, to recant; but that he did not make be burned to death at the stake in the offer in a really charitable spirit the streets of Winchester. One can is too clear, for finding him decided scarcely in these days of general to- and unshaken in his resolution, leration, not to say of sceptical lati " this dreaming and doltish doctor, tudinarianism, conceive it possible as Fox calls him, told the people“not that for the expression of such opi- to pray for him any more than they nions as the above-opinions wholly would pray for a dog.” The priest theological, and not, whether right continued his persecutions even after or wrong, calling in the slightest the martyr was fixed to the stake, degree for the interference of the till Benbridge, deeply distressed at civil magistrate, or threatening the the continued assault, and perhaps peace of society—a gentleman of un- fearing lest his own faith should exceptionable character should ac fail under the prolonged temptually be condemned to a lingering tation, exclaimed, " Away, Babyand cruel death. Yet thus it was, lonian, away :" upon which, one and not in one instance only but in of the actors or spectators vocifemany; and I fear that Popery, up to rated, Cut out his tongue;" and the present moment, has only become another, adds Fox,“ being a temtolerant in proportion as she has poral man, railed on him worse than been infected with scepticism orover Seaton.” The fire was then lighted; powered by external pressure.
but whether from unskilfulness or I could not ascertain when I visit. wilful cruelty, the wood was not ed Winchester, the exact spot at piled sufficiently around him, so which was perpetrated this horrible that being severely tortured without tragedy, or I should have repaired being consumed, he exclaimed in his to it with no slight veneration; and agony, “ I recant;” and was in conI think I may add, with feelings of sequence rescued from the flames deep humility and conscious shame, by some of his friends, who were reas I reflected how far my own love joiced to have a plea for his deliverto the Saviour falls short of that ance; and the sheriff, concurring in evinced by those blessed men, who their suggestion, remanded him to joyfully yielded their lives for his prison to await further directions sake; perhaps, also, not without from the bishop: for which humane some edifying musing, some holy reso service the sheriff was committed to lution, some fervent
prayer. I should the Fleet, and the friends to Win. have seen our martyr meekly advance chester jail. The cowardly Seaton to the afflicting spot, amidst the seized the trying moment to make mingled yells and suppressed sighs the martyr in his agony hastily sign of the infuriated or sympathizing a recantation before he left the stake, multitude ; calmly looking round laying the paper on a man's back for upon the terrible preparatives ; a table. But though the tempter making himself ready for the fiery had for a moment, by the extremity trial; untying his points ; present- of anguish, overpowered the weaking his gown to the keeper of the ness of the flesh, the spirit, strengthprison; and his jerkin,“ laid on ened from above, was not vanquished: with gold lace, fair and brave,” as the holy man went back to his cell Fox describes it, to the sheriff; cast- only to attest more strongly his uning away his cap of velvet, as likely, shaken faith; and having solemnly, 1
suppose, to protract his torments; in a written document, retracted his and then, these thrilling prelimi- recantation, he was, within seven naries performed, peacefully “lift- days of his first torture, led out again ing up his mind to the Lord, and to the fiery trial, and, amidst slow making his prayers.” The popish and protracted agonies, was received
into the joy of his Lord, in the month a person had been talking to him of of July 1558. I should think that the severity and painfulness of the the records of the city or chapter of kind of death which he was to unWinchester might furnish some al. dergo), “ If you see me once to stir lusions to the event; and if the spot while I suffer the pains of burning, could be ascertained, it were no un then give no credit to the truth of worthy service to affix a tablet to those doctrines for which I die.” the memory of this faithful martyr And by the grace of God, he was of Jesus Christ. It would not re enabled to make good this assertion. quire to be so couched as to turn -John Bradford, turning his face religion into civic feud, as inscrip. to John Leaf, a young man about tions sometimes do ; it were signi twenty years old, who suffered with ficant enough, if nothing were in him, said, Be of good comfort, scribed but the name, the date, and brother, for we shall sup with the the cause. The Papist could not deny Lord this night.” He then embraced the facts, and the Protestant could the reeds, and repeated Matt. vii. 13. not fail to draw the inference; and -Bishop Latimer, at his execution, both perhaps might be benefited said to Bishop Ridley, who suffered by the memorial. Monuments are with him, We shall this day, broerected in our cities for many other ther, light such a candle in England purposes; and why not to comme as shall never be put out!”-John morate the martyrs ? Many of their Philpot, when he was come into own dying sayings would form the Smithfield, kneeled down and said, best inscription on their tombs. “I will pay my vows in thee, O Some of these are very remarkable, Smithfield!' Being come to the of which I copy the following speci stake, he kissed it, and said, “ Shall mens.
I disdain to suffer at the stake, when Huss, when the chain was put my Lord and Saviour refused not to about him at the stake, said with a suffer a most vile death upon the smiling countenance,
cross for me?”—Archbishop CranJesus Christ was bound with a harder
mer, who signed the popish tenets chain than this for my sake, and why only through fear of death, at his should I be ashamed of this old rusty execution said, “ This is the hand one?”-Jerome of Prague, observ that wrote, and therefore it shall first ing the executioners about to set suffer punishment.” Fire being apfire to the wood behind his back, plied to him, he stretched out his cried out, “ Bring thy torch hither! right hand into the flame till it was perform thy office before my face! consumed, crying with a loud voice, Had I feared death, I might have This hand hath offended !” And avoided it.”-John Lambert, ju often repeating, “ This unworthy before he expired, lifted up such right hand !”—That was a Christian hands as he had, all flaming with expression of one of the martyrs to fire, and cried out to the people with his persecutors, You take a life his dying voice, in these words, from me that I cannot keep, and beNone but Christ! none but
stow a life upon me that I cannot Christ!”-George Wishart, at the lose; which is as if you should rob stake said, “ This fire torments my me of counters, and furnish me with body, but no whit abates my spirits.” gold.”—It is reported of Hooper, -Laurence Saunders, when he came the martyr, that when he was going to the place of execution, fell to the to suffer, a certain person addressed ground and prayed; and then arose him, saying, Oh, sir, take care of and took the stake in his arms to yourself; for life is sweet, and death which he was to be chained, and
“Ah, I know that,” rekissed it, saying, “ Welcome the plied he ; " but the life to come is cross of Christ ! welcome everlast full of more sweetness than this ing life!"-Robert Ferrar said (after mortal life, and the death to come
is full of more bitterness than this name of plague, or sweating sickuncommon death."
ness, or cholera, or any other appelThe above reference to comme lation. Among the many causes morative inscriptions reminds me of for this long immunity have been one at Winchester, which suggests at assigned increased medical skill, the this moment very serious recollec- general diffusion of information, the tions. I allude to the obelisk at the influx of wealth with its accompanitop of the town, without the west ments of cleanliness, better food, gate, erected upon the spot where better habitations, and better cloththe markets were held during the ing; the draining of swamps, cutting dreadful pestilence which raged in down forests, widening, cleansing, this city in 1669. It was but four and ventilating towns and cities; years before that Charles the Second but it seems never to have entered had repaired to this very city to the minds of many of the medical avoid the plague in London. The and statistical writers on these subobelisk, as you know, rests upon the jects, to attribute any thing to the very stone on which the exchanges special conservative providence of were made during the calamity; the God. Yet, if any thing can shew country people depositing their pro more than another how completely visions upon it, and then retiring disease is under his control, and while the citizens carried them away, follows his bidding, like a soldier leaving behind them the money, im- obeying the word of his commander, mersed, I believe, in water or vine as strikingly remarked by the cengar.-Winchester, like most of our turion in the Gospels, it is the history old towns, was subjected to various of the destructive pestilence which attacks of the plague, which on some at this moment agitates the whole occasions well-nigh depopulated their of western Europe, after working its dense and unwholesome streets and deathful way, step by step, from the alleys. It is remarkable also, that East. It has not been deterred by these plagues, just like that formid- heat or cold; and though cleanliness, able disease which now impends over temperance, and the other favourable us, came by regular stages from the circumstances above enumerated have East. In the middle of the four- been mercifully permitted, as means, teenth century, a destructive pesti- to diminish its ravages as compared lence, beginning at China, and cross with the pestilence of past centuries, ing the whole of Asia and Europe, yet none of these could altogether reached Winchester, where, so to prevent its approach, insulate its speak, it seems to have exhausted victims, or hasten its departure. itself; not being mentioned, I believe, Truly, then, we are in the hand of as having penetrated further to the God; and if David found this his westward, In consequence of the consolation, why should not we also? depopulation, provisions became so I fear that if this fearful pestilence cheap in Winchester, that a fattened should reach us (and while I am ox was sold for four shillings, a cow writing this very passage, intellifor one shilling, and a sheep for gence has arrived --whether truly or three-pence; while labour became falsely a few days will shew-that so dear for want of hands, that reap- it has already touched upon our ers demanded eight-pence, and mow. shores), the panic will prove worse ers twelve-pence a day, besides their than the pest; and, even in advance, food, so that the crops would not panic has already created much misery pay for the ingathering.
and not a little disease. I have just For a period of unprecedented read with much interest the excellent duration, this country, and most prayers which have this very day other European countries, have been been issued by our ecclesiastical rulers exempted from the dreadful scourge on the occasion. May they be heard of pestilence, whether under the and answered ! How is it that
no petition has been presented to by a good degree of sympathy. But our rulers, to urge the propriety of I think that at the present moment their appointing a day of fasting and there are sufficient causes for national humiliation on account of the afflict. affliction, without any reference to ing state of the nation? I refer not politics or party; and that all good to matters of political party; but, men would feel disposed to join in with so many of God's judgments this common act of religious duty, impending over us, much cause is laying aside all questionable topics, there for national sackcloth and ashes, and lamenting over those things and turning to Him whom we have which all allow to be matters of forsaken. While I write, a formidable sorrow and humiliation. train of artillery passes my window, It was my intention, my dear to guard the peaceful citizen against friend, when I commenced my letters, the machinations of the designing, which I did not expect would exceed and the ebullitions of the weak and a few sheets, to detail at some length ignorant, The Bristol horrors are various reflections which occurred to still ringing in every ear; and the my mind upon visiting your noble reported entrance of the pestilence cathedral, and particularly in regard into Sunderland has greatly—I think to the influence of our cathedrals unduly—alarmed the public mind. generally (using the word with all Consider also the party-spirit, the its appendages, and as characteristic riotous assemblages, the ferocious of our practical ecclesiastical system) threatenings against our peers and upon our religious Establishment, prelates, and the widely spread re our clergy and laity, the state of volutionary spirit which has gone doctrine, morals, and piety among abroad among us; not to mention us, with sundry incidental points our many and grievous national sins connected with the discipline of the - not confined to the present moment, church, her temporal endowments
, but some of them of late greatly tithes, pluralities, clerical disparity aggravated, -do not all of these de- of income, patronage, and so forth. mand a day of special national hu- I had, in particular, intended to offer miliation before God? It is replied, some suggestions--excuse my prethat such a solemnity would injudi- cumption—for increasing the bene. ciously depress the minds of men, ficial influence of our cathedrals in and render the body the more dis a religious view, in the immediate posed to infectious disease; and that cities and neighbourhoods in which it would also be made an evil use of they are placed; for, to say the truth, to foment, not allay, political agita- I have not always found the spiritual tions. But I suppose there never blessings which emanate from these was a time or exigence when the ecclesiastical foci of light and heat same objections might not be urged so great as the magnitude of the against such an act of national piety apparatus might seem to warrant. and duty; so that I do not fully feel But the unexpected length to which the force of the argument, as applied my letters have extended forbids to the present moment. Fast and my following out my idea : my visit thanksgiving days ought not, indeed, to a cathedral must prove almost to be made political engines, as often no visit at all the title without the they have been ; and where the great part of Hamlet; and, to speak frankly, body of the well-disposed part of the I do not think the present feverish public are not in the main agreed moment the very best for discussing as to the appropriateness of the oc- all the points which I had marked casion, it may be better to leave each for discussion. In a calmer and more man privately to weep and mourn leisure hour we may go over them, over his own sins and the sins of his especially with reference to the local country, rather than issue a public influence of our cathedrals ; a subject ordinance which would not be met on which I have long felt much in
terest, and which I could wish to to the endeavour thus to convert see taken into serious consideration a cathedral into an active working by our spiritual rulers. I have in model-or rather into a mighty and my mind the beau ideal of what a powerful engine; or that the outcry cathedral town might be ; my soul against innovation might not, for a glows as I gaze upon the vision; but time, prevent the full effects of the many practical difficulties would re most prudent and beneficial measures. quire to be surmounted,various jarring It is very much to the honour of interests would need to be reconciled, bishops, whom at the present moment even legislative aid might be requisite, it is so popular to vituperate, that and much would be necessary of many of the most salutary plans wisdom, conciliation, and disinte- which have been adopted in cathedrals restedness, to work out the scheme. and dioceses have originated with But, when fairly worked out, the them; not unfrequently to their own effect would be admirable; we should great unpopularity with some who see the cathedral no longer insulated ought better to have appreciated in solitary dignity, but beneficially their designs, and to have actively connected with the town and diocese; co-operated with them. I say nohonorary offices and valuable emo- thing of modern bishops or modern luments united with local posts of cathedrals ; but looking back to the responsibility, charity, and parochial page of history I find many examples duty; the remains of Monachism of this fact, and no where more so obliterated in a range of zealous, than in the annals of this very doactive, and, as Dr. Chalmers would micile of Winchester. The Swithuns, say, aggressive incursions on the Wyckhams, and other episcopal dissurrounding empire of vice and ir- ciplinarians of past ages, found some religion; the anomalies between the of the greatest impediments to their state of the cathedraland the churches plans of reformation in the monks around it, no longer permitted; stalls, of their own cathedral. Bishop generally speaking, connected with Gifford, who was consecrated in working stations, and the charge of 1107 by St. Anselm, affronted his contiguous parishes; the present am- chapter about some revenues which bulatory system exchanged for more he thought ought to be appropriated constant residence, and the benefits to the church buildings, but which of local knowledge and interest; they claimed as their own property; “ schools of the prophets” revived and they could scarcely have been in these intended diocesan entrepôts more angry if he had introduced a of piety and intelligence; and the modern Bible Society among them. whole weight of the learning, wealth, (I remember I almost expected to and influence of our Chapters, brought see one of the old abbots of Glastonto hear directly, harmoniously, and bury start from his grave, as I once with powerful effort, upon the moral attended a Bible Society meeting in and spiritual condition of our cities, the abbot's kitchen, a much beloved their neighbourhoods, and the sur- and esteemed Protestant prelate being rounding districts ; setting an ex in the chair.) But the good monks ample to every town and village in were somewhat facetious in their the see, of what, through the Divine wrath ; for to give vent to it they blessing, may be done by the aid of paced their procession round their union, concentration, and large re cloisters from west to east, instead sources, under the influence of true of from east to west in the legitimate religion, to promote the glory of fashion; as a practical emblem that God, the spiritual efficiency of our the bishop had grievously inverted venerated church, and the spiritual the order of things in mulcting their and eternal welfare of mankind. puddings for the unworthy purpose
I wish I could say that no tempo. of church-building. The bishop, rary local obloquy would ever attach however—for the comfort of all con.,