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sinners may yield to the attraction of that Saviour who has not yet given them up; may open the door of their hearts to him who continues to knock, and who strives to enter with all his mercy's power. Sinners!
“For you the purple current flow'd
In pardons from his wounded side;
For you the Prince of Glory died.
(To be Continued.)
From the New Edinburgh Encyclopædia.
MEMOIR OF BISHOP LATIMER.
HUGH LATIMER, bishop of Worcester, was the son of an honest yeoman at Thurcostan, in Leicestershire, and was born about the year 1470. At the age of four years, be gave so great proofs of a ready apprehension, that his parents, having no other son, resolved to educate him for a learned profession; and at the age of fourteen, he went to the university of Cambridge, where he applied himself chiefly to the theological studies of those times. Having taken priest's orders, he distinguished himself, at a very early period by his zeal for the tenets of Popery, and his invectives against the principles of the reformers; but having subsequently embraced the Protestant faith, principally through the instructions of Thomas Bilney, a devout clergyman in the university, he became equally ardent in promoting the cause of the reformed doctrines. His eminence as a preacher, and the exemplary life which he led with his friend Bilney, had a very considerable influence in spreading the new opinions; and all the exertions of the opposite party were called forth to counteract his growing popularity. Doctor West, bishop of Ely, was at length constrained to exercise his authority as diocesan; but, being a man of great moderation, he contented bimself with preaching against the heretics, and forbidding Latimer to preach in the university. Doctor Barnes, however, prior of the Augustine Friars, licensed Latimer to preach in the church of his priory, which, like most religious houses, was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction ; and here, in spite of all the machinations of his adversaries, he continued for three years to address the most crouded audiences with distinguished success and applause. Even the bishop of Ely was frequently observed among his hearers, and candidly acknowledged his excellence as a preacher. About this time, King Henry VIII. desirous to conciliate the Pope, had enjoined Wolsey to put the laws in execution against heretics; and Latimer was
He mers, that he disafirm, that Wote articles
summoned, among others, to answer for his avowed sentiments. According to some accounts, he consented to subscribe the articles which were proposed to him; but others affirm, that Wolsey was so pleased with his answers, that he dismissed him with a very gentle admonition. He had even begun to be in favour at court; and having preached before his majesty at Windsor, was noticed with more than usual affability. He was not the less resolute in his adherence to the cause of the reformed religion: and had the courage even to write a letter to the king, against a proclamation which had been issued for prohibiting the use of the Bible in the English language. Though his remonstance, which singularly marked the sincerity and openness of his character, produced no effect, yet the king, who had before been pleased with Latimer's plain and simple manner of address, or who had at the time other ends to serve by his aid, received it with the utmost condescension. He was afterwards still more firmly established in the royal favour by the exertions which he made, in full consistency with his principles, to support the plea of the king's supremacy. By the friendship of Dr. Butts, the king's physician, and of Cromwell, the prime minister, both favourers of the reformation, he was presented to the living of West Kingston, in Wiltshire; and, contrary to the advice of his patrons, he resigned all attendance at court, to devote himself to the duties of his parish. He extended his labours also with great diligence into the adjoining parts, wherever he observed a deficiency of pastoral instruction; and was rising rapidly in the estimation of all good men in those districts, when his enemies drew up a charge of heresy against him, and procured a citation for his appearance before Stokesley, bishop of London, But this step only furthered his promotion; for while he was greatly harassed in the archiepiscopal court, by frequent examinations, and crafty interrogatories, and urgent injunctions, to subscribe their articles, the king, having been privately informed of the treatment to which he was subjected, interposed his authority, and stopped all proceedings against him. Other accounts seem to imply, that he had previously made all the submissions which the bishops required; but in whatever way the matter was settled, he does not appear to have fallen in the king's estimation; and, soon after the date of these troubles, he was promoted to the see of Worcester, through the influence of his steady patrons, Cromwell and Butts. In this station, he applied himself with all his usual fidelity to the discharge of his office; and proceeded, with as much zeal as the state of things would admit, in correcting the tendency of Popish superstitions. In 1536, he attended the session of parliament and convocation, in which the Protestant influence so far prevailed, as to abolish form out of the seven sacraments, and to authorize the translation of the Bible into English. Returning to his bishopric, and shunning all concern in state affairs, he occupied himself entirely in the silent discharge of his pastoral duties, till the year 1539, when the act of the Six Articles was passed, which reduced him to the necessity of surrendering his office, or his conscience. Instantly he resigned his bishopric, and retired to a private situation in the country; but being obliged to repair to London, in consequence of a severe bruise, which required better medical assistance than his neighbourhood could supply, he was soon discovered by Gardener's emissaries; and, upon an allegation of having spoken against the Six Articles, was committed to the Tower, where he suffered a severe imprisonment during the remaining six years of Henry's reign. Immediately after the accession of Edward VI. he recovered his liberty, and found his old friends again in power; but he declined all their proposals to reinstate him in his diocese, and took up his residence with Cranmer at Lambeth. Here he occupied himself chiefly in redressing the grievances of poor persons, who flocked to him in great numbers; and assisted in preparing the first part of the English Homilies. He seldom failed, however, to appear in the pulpit on Sundays; and, besides preaching the Lent sermons before his majesty, frequently officiated at' St. Paul's cross, and other churches in London.
After the death of Somerset, he withdrew from the metropolis, and made use of the king's license as a general preacher, wherever his services appeared to be required. But, upon the restoration of Popery, at the commencement of Mary's reign, he was once more silenced, together with all the Protestant teachers; and in a short time, summoned to London before the ecclesiastical council. He had long been persuaded, that, sooner or later, he should be called to answer with his life for the cause which he hadespoused; and, particularly, that, in the eye of Bishop Gardener, now.prime minister, he was marked for proscription. Though forewarned of the designs meditating against him, and of the approach of the messenger with the citation from court, he was so far from availing himself of the opportunity to escape, (which, it is conjectured, would have been more agreeable to his enemies than his appearance,) that he instantly made ready to accompany the officer, and addressed him in language expressive of the utmost readiness to atend his orders. The messenger, however, acquainted him, that he had no authority to seize his person; and merely delivering the citation, took his departure without delay. Latimer prepared to obey the summons, proceeded straight to the metropolis; and, on the day after his arrival, presented himself to the council, by whom he was loaded with reproaches, and committed to the tower. Notwithstanding the infirmities of his advanced age, and the severity of treatment which he experienced, he bore his confinement with the utmost patience, and even frequently indulged in his habitual jocularity. Being denied the benefit of a fire, even in the midst of winter, he said one day to the under-keeper, “ that if he did not look the better to him, per
chance he should deceive him.” The lieutenant, upon being informed of these expressions, became apprehensive of some intention on the part of his prisoner to effect his escape ; and, coming to him in person, required an explanation of his words. “ Yea, master lieutenant,” said Latimer; “ for you look, I think, that I should burn; but, except you let me have some fire, I am like to deceive your expectation, for I am like here to starve for cold.”
In 1554, after half an year's imprisonment, he was conveyed to Oxford, together with Cranmer and Ridley, for the purpose of holding a public disputation with the most eminent Popish divines. At these conferences, which were conducted in a most disorderly manner, it is observable, that, though Latimer avowed his intention to shun argument as of no avail, and to content himself with offering a plain account of his faith, he nevertheless managed the controversy with more ability and consistency than his colleagues, who attempted to answer the citations from the Fathers in the quibbling style of the schoolmen, while the other adhered to the pure strain of scripture language, and disclaimed all authority which did not coincide with its plain import. “Then you are not of Chrysostome's faith, nor of St. Augustine's faith " said his opponents. “I have said," replied the bishop, “when they say well, and bring scripture for them, I am of their faith; and farther Augustine requireth not to be believed.” After the termination of the disputations, sentence was pronounced against the three Protestant prelates as heretics; but they remained in custody till the month of September in the following year, when commissioners were appointed to examine them a second time, and to afford them an opportunity of retracting the sentiments which they had formerly avowed. The aged bishop, adhering resolutely to his confession, was led to the stake along with his fellow prisoner Ridley, on the 16th of October, 1555, where he met the painful death of his martyrdom with the utmost composure and fortitude. “Mr. Latimer very quietly suffered his keeper to pull off his hose and his other array, which, to look into, was very simple; and being stripped into his shroud, he seemed as comely a person to them that were there present, as one should lightly see; and whereas, in his clothes he appeared a withered and crooked silly old man, he now stood bold upright, as comely a father as one might lightly behold.” As the faggots were kindling, he said to his companion in suffering, “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as, I trust, shall never be put out;" and as the flame embraced his body, he repeatedly cried out with a firm voice, “O Father of heaven, receive my soul!" and expired in a short time without any appearance of extreme agony.
The general character of this venerable person is most honourable to the cause which he embraced, and presents a worthy pat
tern to every Christian bishop. He was always more attentive to the pursuit of useful knowledge than of curious literature; and, even in his advanced years, was regularly occupied with his studies many hours before sun-rise, both in winter and summer. He avoided all interference in secular or political concerns, and devoted himself wholly to the discharge of his office as a Christian pastor. He was a celebrated and popular preacher in his time; and his manner of address in the pulpit is described as having been remarkably earnest and impressive; but his sermons, which are extant,* though frequently marked by the most affecting 'simplicity, abound too much in the low familiarity, and even studied drollery, which suited the taste of that age, and which had their origin, with so many other deviations from apostolic example, in the most corrupted church, and darkest periods of Christendom. See Fox's Acts and Monuments ; Strype's Ecclesiastical Memoirs ; Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography.
* The sermons, nevertheless, throw much light upon the state of morals and society in those times, and are ranked among the most curious and amusing specimens of our early literature.
+ The following specimen of the good bishop's pulpit pleasantry may gratify the curiosity of the reader, and furnish some idea of the taste of the age in which he lived. “Well, I would all men would look to their dutie as God hath called them, and then we should have a flourishing Christian common weal. And now I would ask a strange question. Who is the most diligentest bishop and prelate in all Eng. lande, that passeth all the rest in doing his office? I can tell, for I know him who it is; I know him well. But I think I see you listening and barkening that I should name him. There is one that passeth all the other, and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all Englande. And will ye know who it is? I will tell you. It is the devill. He is the most diligent preacher of all otbers; he is never out of his dyocese, he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he is ever in his parish; he keepeth residence at all times; ye shall never find bim out of the way; call for him when you will, he is ever at home, the diligentest preacher in all the realme; he is ever at his plough, no lording or loytering can hynder him ; he is ever applying his busyness; ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to mayutaine superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kynds of popery. He is ready as can be wished for to set forth his plough, to devise as many ways as can be to deface and obscure God's glory. Where the devill is resident, and hath his plough going, there, Away with books, and up with candles ! Away with Bibles, and up with beades ! Away with the light of the gospel, and up with the light of candles, yea at noon dayes! Where the devill is resident, that he may prevayle, Up with all superstition and idolatry, sensing, paynting of images, candles, palmes, ashes, holy water, and new service of men's inventing as thongh man could invent a better way to honour God with, than God himself hath appoynted. Down with Christ's cross, up with purgatory pick-purse! up with him, the Popish purgatory I mean. Away with clothing the naked, the poor, and impotent; up with decking of images, and gay garnishing of stocks and stones ! Up with man's traditions and his lawes! down with God's traditions and his most holy word. But here some man will say to me, “What, sir, are ye so privy of the Devill's counsel, that ye know all this to be true?' Truly, I know him too well, and bave obeyed him a little too much, in condescending to some follyes. And I know him as other men do: yea, that he is ever occupyed, and ever busy in following his plough. I know him by St. Peter, which sayth of him, Sicut leo rugiens circuit, quærens quem devoret, he goeth about like a roaring lyon, seeking whom he may devour. (I would have this text well viewed and examined, every word of it. Circuit, he goeth about in every corner of his dyocese. He goeth on visitation daily. He leaveth no