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Temple, suffered at the stake in 1532. His judgment concerning the evangelical doctrines, sufficiently appears from one of his answers, on his first trial before Stokesley, bishop of London. “ All godliness,” said the martyr, “is given of God by his abundant grace: the which no man of himself can keep, but it” [i. e. the retaining, as well as the reception of grace] “must be given him of God (m).” So highly was this chosen vessel favoured in his last moments, that, when his legs and arms were half consumed by the flames, he addressed the spectators in these memorable words: “Oye papists, ye look for miracles. Here you may see a miracle ; for, in this fire, I feel no more pain, than if I were on a bed of down. It is to me a bed of roses.”
V. William Tyndal, though put to death in Flanders, must yet, as a native of this kingdom, be numbered among the English martyrs. He was a person of seraphic piety, indefatigable study, and extraordinary learning. His modesty, zeal, and disinterestedness, were so great, that he declared, he should be content to live in any county of England, on an allowance of ten pounds per annum, and bind himself to receive no more, if he might only have authority to instruct children and preach the gospel.
Heylin himself confesses, that Tyndal has a
flying-out against free-will (n).” It will presently be seen, that that early and eminent protestant “flew out,” not only against free-will, but also against other corrupt branches of the popish and pelagian system.
His translation of the New Testament into English (for he did not live to finish the Old) made the cloud of persecution, which had been long hovering over him, burst into a storm. He was apprehended at
(m) Fox, ii. 246.
(n) Miscel. Tracts, p. 544.
Antwerp (through the treachery of an ungrateful Englishman, whom he had liberally relieved and hospitably entertained), and carried prisoner to Filford, eighteen miles from that city; where he was strangled and burned, in 1536.
During his residence at Antwerp, he sent over a letter to Mr. Frith, (then a prisoner in the Tower, and afterwards a martyr) exhorting him to fortitude under his sufferings for the name of Christ.
« The will of God,” says Tyndal, in this letter, “.be fulfilled! and what he hath ordained to be, ere the world was made, that come, and his glory reign over all (0)!” He adds : “ There falleth not a hair, till God's hour be come: and when his hour is come, necessity carrieth us hence, though we be not willing.–Be cheerful; and remember, that, among the hard-hearted in England, there is a number reserved by grace; for whose sakes, if need be, you must be ready to suffer.” Nothing, on this side heaven, is so sublime and animating, as the Christian philosophy. And what is the Christian philosophy, but another name for Calvinism?
From several treatises, written by Mr. Tyndal, a great number of propositions were extracted by the papists, and branded for, "heretical and erroneous.' Of these propositions, the following are some (P).
“ Faith only justifieth.
“ The Spirit of God turneth us and our nature, that we do good as naturally” [i. e. as necessarily]
as a tree brings forth fruit. “ Faith rooteth herself in the hearts of the elect.
“ Works do only declare to thee that thou art justified.
“ If thou wouldest obtain heaven by the merits and deservings of thine own works, thou wrongest and shamest the blood of Christ.
(0) Fox, ii. 307.
(p) Fox, ii. 497-499.
“The true believer is heir of God, by Christ's deservings: yea, and in Christ was predestinate, and ordained unto eternal life, before the world began,
“ In believing, we receive the Spirit of God, which is the earnest of eternal life; and we are in eternal life already, and already feel in our hearts the sweetness thereof, and are overcome with the kindness of God and Christ: and therefore we love the will of God; and, of love, are ready to work freely, and not to obtain that which is given us freely, and whereof we are heirs already.
“ The longing and consent of the heart to the law of God, is the working of the Spirit; which God hath poured into thy heart, in earnest that thou mightest be sure that God will fulfil all the promises he hath made to thee. It is also the seal and mark, which God putteth on all men whom he chooseth to everlasting life.
“ Yea, and by thy good deeds shalt thou be saved : not which thou hast done, but which Christ hath done for thee. For Christ is thine, and all his deeds are thy deeds. Christ is in thee, and thou in him; knit together inseparably: neither canst thou be damned, except Christ be damned with thee; neither can Christ be saved, except thou be saved with him.” The two last clauses of this paragraph, are certainly very strongly expressed. Yet they contain a truth, which our Lord himself affirmed, though in terms less harsh : Where I am, there shall also my servant come.—Because I live, ye shall live also. Christ mystical can no more perish, than Christ personal. Tyndal goes on.
“ Hark what St. Paul saith : If I preach, I bave nought to rejoice in, for necessity is put unto me.If I do it willingly,” saith he," then have I my reward ; that is, then am I sure that God's Spirit is in me, and that I am elect to eternal life.
“ We deserve not everlasting life, by our good works'; for God hath promised it unto us, before we began to do good (9).” Yet Mr. Tyndal zealously asserted the necessity of good works, as fruits and proofs of faith ; though, with scripture, he ut. terly denied their being meritorious in the sight of God: witness the following excellent passage : “ If thy faith induce thee not to do good works, thou hast not the right faith: thou only thinkest that thou hast it. For St. James saith, that faith, without works, is dead in itself. He saith not, that it is little, or feeble; but that it is dead : and that which is dead, is not. Therefore, when thou art not moved by faith to the love of God, and, by the love of God, to good works, thou hast no faith (r).” So true is it, on one hand, that real grace cannot but produce good works; and, on the other, that (as Tyndal observes) “ if God had promised heaven to us because of our works, we could then never be sure of our salvation : for we should never know how much, nor how long, we should labour, to be saved; and should always be in fear that we had done too little; and so we could never die joyfully (s).”
Dr. Heylin shall contribute his mite, towards demonstrating the Calvinism of Tyndal : premising, first, that, in the judgment of the said doctor, “ There were so many heterodoxies in the most of Tyndal's writings, as render them no fit rule for a reformation, any more than those of Wickliff before remembered.” Some of these “many heterodoxies,” Peter Heylin thus enumerates : “
Grace," saith Tyndal, “is properly God's favour, benevolence, or kind mind; which, of his own self, without our deservings, he reached to us : whereby [i. e. by which undeserved favour and benevolence] he was moved and inclined to give Christ unto us, with all other gifts of grace. Wbich having told us, in his Preface
() Fox, ibid. 507.
(s) Ibid. 508.
to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans; he telleth us, not long after, that, in the 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters of the epistle, the apostle teacheth us of God's predestination : from whence [i. e. from and out of God's predestination] it springeth altogether ; whether we shall believe or not believe; be loosed from sin, or not be loosed. By which predestination, our justifying and salvation are clear taken out of our hands, and put into the hands of God only: which thing is most necessary of all. For we are so weak, and so uncertain, that, if it stood in us, there would of truth no man be saved: the devil, no doubt, would deceive him. But now God is sure of his predestination ; neither can any man withstand or let him.”
· Discoursing, in another place, of the act the will hath on the understanding, [a blunder of Heylin's; who meant to say, of the act which the understanding hath on the will,] “ He [Tyndal] ] telleth us, that the will of man followeth the wit [i. e. followeth the understanding:] that, as the wit erreth, so doth the will : and as the wit [the understanding] is in captivity, so is the will : neither is it possible that the will should be free, when the wit is in bondage [through original sin).
“ Finally, in the heats of his disputation with sir Thomas More, who had said, that .Men were to endeavour themselves, and captivate their understandings, if they would believe', Tyndal first cries out, how beetle-blind is fleshly reason! and then subjoins, that the will hath no operation at all in the working of faith in my soul, no more than the child hath in begetting his father: for, saith Paul, It [i: e. faith) is the gift of God, and not of us (t).” Oh rare William Tyndal! “heterodox" with a witness !
—The reader need not be told, that the sir Thomas More, whose tenct of free-will was thus
(t) Heylin's Mise. Tracts, p. 545.