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appeared well nigh destitute of all aptitude for the common civilities of creditable society. * Your wonderful gentle behaviour, good master Doctor Cranmer,' said the prolocutor, 'is worthy of much commendation; and that I may not deprive you of your right and just deserving, I give you most hearty thanks, both in my own name and in the name of all my brethren.' And thereupon all the doctors present courteously put off their caps : and with this outward show of respect, the archbishop was dismissed back to his prison."

The vacillating conduct of Cranmer toward the close of his eventful life, has afforded matter for animadversion for both friends and enemies—the former. lamenting that such weaknesses should have been manifested, in this trying hour, by a man who had all along shown such invincible firmness in the cause of truth and the latter triumphing in their victory over a fallen foe, as though his aberration could contribute any thing to mitigate the unjust severity with which they disgraced their conduct and exulted in their iniquity. We allow, indeed, that it is somewhat difficult to reconcile some features of Cranmer's conduct with the fidelity of a Christian or the uprightness of a man of God, or even to palliate it in consistency with that spirit of toleration by which Christianity is distinguished. From the facts which the narrative of his life discloses, it would seem that, though he was evidently actuated by a strong attachment to the truth as it is in Jesus, he was sometimes too pliant in yielding his judgment to others, and especially to royal authority. But whatever defects of character he may have exhibited at times, we may find an apology for them in the spirit of the age in which he lived, in the peculiar difficulties with which he had to contend, and the gross darkness which had so long covered the world. The principles of civil and religious liberty were but imperfectly understood. Uniformity in religious matters was considered essential to religious prosperity ; and the power of the civil magistrate was considered necessary for the support of the Church; and such was the state of the ecclesiastical world, that the pope of Rome exercised almost unlimited control over temporal as well as spiritual matters; kings and emperors trembled at his nod, and all the earth seemed obedient to his bidding. Under these circumstances Cranmer persuaded himself that there was no other way to succeed in the work of reformation but to conciliate the good will of the reigning powers; and hence the pliant manner in which he yielded to the wishes of Henry VIII., and afterward the submissive tone he used to Mary and her counsellors, and finally his censurable conduct in inflicting pains and penalties upon those denominated heretics in religion. Those of us who live in this age of civil freedom and religious light, can hardly appreciate the difficulties with which our forefathers had to contend, surrounded as they were on all hands with all sorts of enemies, and beset with

VOL. VII.-January, 1836. 1

thorns and briars by which they were goaded on to do things which they would not have done under other circumstances.

But with whatever defects Cranmer may have afflicted his friends from the hope of prolonging his life-a hope kindled up by the treacherous conduct of those who had already determined on his death, whether he adhered to Protestantism or not—when the trying hour came, he fully redeemed himself from all obloquy of this sort, and manifested an unshaken confidence in the truth of his principles, and in the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. This is evident from the following account of his last hours, with which we close our extracts:

“The facility afforded him for his public confession was, accidentally, beyond his hopes. Between nine and ten o'clock on the 21st of March, the Lord Williams, with others of the neighboring gentry, arrived in Oxford, for the purpose of presiding at the sacrifice of the reclaimed arch heretic. The morning, however, happened to be so: rainy, that instead of conducting him at once to the stake, they brought him to St. Mary's church, in the full expectation that he would there complete the triumph of the Romanists, by proclaiming, with his dying breath, his adhesion to their communion. On his way thither he was placed between two friars, whose office it was to murmur out certain psalms, which, it was conceived, were appropriate to his mournful situation. On his entrance into the church, the Nunc Dimittis was chanted; and the archbishop was then led forward to a scaffolding or platform, raised in front of the pulpit. When he ascended it, he knelt down to pray; and wept so bitterly, that many of the spectators were also moved to tears; more especially those among them who had conceived an assured hope of his conversion and repentance.'

“ Dr. Cole then commenced his sermon; in which he stated that Dr. Cranmer had been the prime agent in all the pernicious changes by which the realm had been for so many years distracted. He had usurped the office of pronouncing the divorce between Henry VIII., and Queen Catherine ; and though he might have been impelled rather by the persuasions of other men, than by any malicious motive, yet he had thus become the chief author of all the confusion that had followed. He had, moreover, not only been the notorious patron of all the heresies which had burst into the kingdom, but had persisted in maintaining them, both by disputation and by writing : and so long a perseverance in error had never, but in time of schism, been pardoned by the Church. The preacher also stated, that in addition to these causes of Cranmer's execution, the queen and her council were moved by certain other reasons, which it would not be fit or convenient to disclose.

“Having next exhorted the bystanders to profit by the melancholy example before them, Dr. Cole addressed his discourse to Cranmer himself. He reminded the prisoner of the mercy of God, who will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear; expressed a good hope that he would like the penitent thief, be that day with Christ in paradise ; encouraged him to meditate on the deliverance of the three children, to whom God made the flame seem like a pleasant dew, on the rejoicing of St. Andrew in his cross, and the patience of St. Laurence on the fire; and assured him that if in his extremity he should call on God, and on such as have died in his faith, he would either abate the fury of the flame, or else would give the sufferer strength to endure it. He gloried in the final conversion of Cranmer to the truth, which could only be regarded as the work of God: and concluded with many expressions of commendation, and with a promise that masses should be sung for his soul in every church in Oxford.

“Having finished his sermon, the preacher desired that all who were present would offer up their supplications for the prisoner. On this, Cranmer himself immediately knelt down in secret prayer. His example was followed by the rest of the congregation. They all of them prayed together, as by one consent. Thosė among them who once hated him as an incorrigible heretic, were now melted by the spectacle of his repentance; while others who had loved him before, were yet unable suddenly to hate him, and fondly clung to the hope that after all he would return to his former profession, and make a public acknowledgment of his fall. This general feeling of compassion had been powerfully heightened by the appearance of the archbishop during the sermon. He had stood before the people the very image of sorrow; his face bathed in tears, his eyes sometimes raised to heaven in hope, sometimes cast down to the earth for shame, but still preserving throughout a venerable aspect and quiet solemnity of demeanor.

" When his silent devotions were concluded, Cranmer rose from his knees, and turning toward the people, heartily thanked them for their prayers. He then said, 'I will now pray for myself, as I could best devise for my own comfort, and say the prayer, word for word, as I have here written it;' and remaining still on his feet, he recited from his manuscript the following supplication :

“O Father of heaven: O Son of God, Redeemer of the world ; O Holy Ghost, proceeding from them both, three persons and one God, have mercy upon me most wretched caitiff, and miserable sinner! I, who have offended both heaven and earth, and more grievously than any tongue can express, whither then may I go, or whither should I fly for succor? To heaven I may be ashamed to lift up mine eyes; and in earth I find no refuge. What shall I then do? Shall I despair? God forbid. O good God! Thou art merciful, and refusest none that come unto thee for succor. To thee, therefore, do I run. To thee do I humble myself: saying, O Lord God, my sins be great, but yet have mercy upon me for thy great mercy. O God the Son, thou wast not made man, this great mystery was not wrought, for few or small offences. Nor thou didst not give thy Son unto death, O God the Father, for our little and small sins only, but for all the greatest sins of the world ; so that the sinner return unto thee with a penitent heart; as I do here at this present. Wherefore have mercy upon me, O Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. For although my sins be great, yet thy mercy is greater. I crave nothing, O Lord, for mine own merits, but for thy name's sake, that it may be glorified thereby: and for thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake.

"Having finished this act of devotion, he knelt down, and repeated the Lord's prayer, all the congregation on their knees devoutly joining him. Then, rising on his feet once more, he addressed a solemn exhortation to the people, in which he warned them that the love of this world is hatred against God; enjoining them to remain in willing and cheerful obedience to the king and queen; besought them to live together like brethren and sisters; and, lastly, entreated the wealthy to lay up in their hearts the saying of our Lord, “ It is hard for a rich man to enter into heaven;' and also the words of St. John, 'Whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?” He then continued his address to the people, in the following memorable words :

“And now, forasmuch as I am come to the last end of my life, whereupon hangeth all my life past, and my life to come, either to live with my Saviour Christ in heaven, in joy, or else to be in pain ever with wicked devils in hell; and I see before mine eyes pre. sently either heaven ready to receive me, or hell ready to swallow me up; I shall therefore declare unto you my very faith, how I believe, without color or dissimulation. For now is no time to dissemble, whatsoever I have written in times past.

“' First. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, &c., and every article of the Catholic faith, every word and sentence taught by our Saviour Christ, his apostles, and prophets, in the Old and New Testament.

“* And now I come to the great thing that troubleth my conscience more than any other thing that ever I said or did in my life: and that is, the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth. Which here now I renounce, and refuse, as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and writ for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be: and that is, all such bills, which I have written or signed with mine own hand, since my degradation; wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished. For if I may come to the fire, it shall be first burned. And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ's enemy and Antichrist, with all his false doctrine.'

“ The amazement and confusion of the assembly at the utterance of this speech, may very easily be imagined. All his judges, and doubtless a very large portion of the audience, expected nothing from his lips but an open and penitent abjuration of his Protestant opinions. Instead of this, he proclaimed that he had nothing to repent of but his unworthy professions of the Romish faith. It was to no purpose that Lord Williams vehemently reminded him of his submission and dissembling, and exhorted him to remember himself, and play the Christian man. The archbishop remained unshaken. 'Alas! my lord,' was his reply, 'I have been a man that, all my life, loved plainness, and never dissembled till now against the truth, which I am most sorry for; and I cannot better play the Christian man than by speaking the truth as I now do.' He farther protested that, with regard to the doctrine of the sacrament, he still believed precisely as he had written in his book against the bishop of Winchester.

"By this time the exasperation of the Romanists had become outrageous. The assembly broke up, and the archbishop was hurried

to the place of execution. On his way thither, one of the friars, foaming with rage and disappointment, assailed him with reproaches for his inconstancy, and bade him remember his recantation; repeatedly crying out, "Was it not thy own doing?'. On his arrival at the stake, he put off his garments with alacrity, and even with haste, and stood upright in his shirt. When his caps were taken off, his head appeared so bare that not a single hair could be discerned upon it. His beard, however, was long and thick, and his countenance altogether of such reverend gravity, that neither friend nor foe could look upon it without emotion. While the preparations for his death were completing, a bachelor of divinity, accompanied by two Spanish friars, made one desperate effort to recall him to his apostasy. But their attempts were utterly fruitless. The archbishop was only moved to repeat that he sorely repented of his recantation, because he knew it was contrary to the truth. On this the friars said, in Latin, to each other, ' Let us leave him to himself; the devil is surely with him, and we ought no longer to be near him.' Lord Williams became impatient of farther delay, and ordered the proceedings to be cut short. Cranmer, therefore, took his surrounding friends by the hand, and bade them his last farewell; while his defeated mo. nitor, the bachelor, indignantly rebuked them for touching the heretic, and protested that he was bitterly sorry for having come into his company. He could not forbear, however, once more, to urge his adherence to his recantation. The answer of Cranmer was, “This is the hand that wrote it, and therefore it shall first suffer punishment.'

“The fire was now speedily kindled; and Cranmer immediately made good his words, by thrusting his right hand into the flame. He held it there with unflinching steadiness, exclaiming, from time to time,

- This hand hath offended,--this unworthy hand! So immovable was his fortitude, that the spectators could plainly perceive the fire consuming his hand, before it had materially injured any other part of his frame. At last the pile became completely lighted, and then the fire soon did its work upon him. To the very last, his resolution continued firm. When the flames mounted, so that he was almost enveloped by them, he appeared to move no more than the stake to which he was bound. His eyes, all the while, were steadfastly raised toward heaven; and, so long as the power of utterance remained, his swollen tongue was repeatedly heard to exclaim, * This unworthy hand Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'

“ That Cranmer's "patience in the torment, and courage in dying, were worthy of the noblest cause, is amply and generously attested by the Roman Catholic Spectator, who has left us an account of his last sufferings. 'If,' says the writer of that narrative, 'it had been either for the glory of God, the wealth of his country, or the testimony of the truth, -as it was for a pernicious error, and subversion of true religion, -I could worthily have commended the example, and matched it with the fame of any father of ancient time. There is a sort of traditional story that, after he was burned, his heart was found unconsumed in the midst of the ashes. The tale is scarcely worth repeating. It is, indeed, just possible, that when the flames had nearly consumed the parts more immediately exposed to their action, the heart may have been separated from the body; and may have accidentally fallen upon a spot where the fire was less fierce;

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