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combated by Tyndal, was the same sir Thomas, who was afterwards beheaded by Henry VIII. for exalting the pope's supremacy above the king's.
Arminianism will, beyond all question, join hands with popery, in condemning the above extracts : though nothing can be more certain than this great truth, that the principles which they assert, are the very essence of the gospel ; and, if the scriptures are true, must be reckoned in the number. of its brightest and most valuable doctrines. I agree with the learned and pious Mr. Fox, that, “ If these articles be made heresies, which refer the benefit of our inheritance of life and salvation, to God's gift, and not to our labours; to grace, and not to merits; to faith, and not to the law of works; then let us clean shut up the New Testament, and away with God's word:” We have nothing to do, but to "leave Christ and bis heretical gospel ; and, in bis stead, set up the bishop of Rome with his talmud, and become the disciples of his decretals (u).”
VI. Mr. John Lambert received the academical part of his education in the university of Cambridge: where it pleased God to convert bim by means of Mr. Bilney. His true name was Nicholson : but his subsequent dangers on a religious account induced him to assume that of Lambert, for his greater security against the storm that threatened (a). He was, however, burned in Smithfield, A. D. 1538; but with a fire so ill made (purposely to increase his pains), that his legs were consumed, and he still remained alive. Whereupon,
Whereupon, two, who stood on each side of him, lifted him on the points of their halberts, as high as the chain (which fastened him to the stake) would reach : and he, lifting up such hands as he had, his fingers ends flaming with fire, cried to the people, with an audible voice, “None
but Christ, none but Christ!' And so being set down again from their halberts, he fell again into the fire, and breathed out his faithful soul into the arms of his Redeemer (y).”
He had been chaplain to the English merchants at Antwerp. On an accusation of heresy, he was seized and conveyed to London. In the course of his examination before Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, he was asked, “ Dost thou believe that whatsoever is done of man, whether it be good or ill, cometh of necessity (2) ?” Mr. Lambert easily perceived, that his being so closely questioned on the article of predestination, was no other than a trap laid for his life. His reply did equal honour to his prudence and faithfulness : “ Unto the first part of your riddle, I neither can nor will give any definitive answer. Concerning the second part, whether man hath free-will or no, to deserve joy or pain ? as for our deserving of joy, in particular, I think it very little or none; even when we do the very commandments and law of God. When you have done all things that are commanded you, saith our Saviour, say that ye be unprofitable servants. When we have done his bidding, we ought not so to magnify neither our self, nor our own free-will: but laud him with a meek heart, through whose benefit we have done (if at any time we do it) his liking and pleasure. Hence Austin prayeth, Domine, da quod jubes, et jube quod vis: Lord, give what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt. Concerning free-will, I mean altogether as doth St. Austin : that, of ourselves, we have no liberty nor ability to do the will of God; but are shut up and sold under sin, as both Isaiah and Paul bear witness: but by the grace of God we are rid and set at liberty, according to the portion which every man” [i. e. every regenerate man] “ hath re. ceived of the same; some more, some less (a).”
(2) Fox, ii. 331.
(a) Fox, ibid. 335.
Lambert was also asked, “ Whether faith alone, without good works, may suffice to the salvation and justification of a man who has fallen into sin after baptism (6)?” The martyr answered in the words of St. Austin, “Opera bona non faciunt justum sed justificatus facit bona opera: The performance of good works does not justify a man, but the man who is justified performs good works (c).”
Lambert was (d) not sentenced on his first exami. nation. But, in a short time, he was apprehended again, and appealed from the judgment of the bishops, to the king. Henry VIII. gave him the hearing in person.
The stern overbearing roughness, with which that sour unfeeling tyrant treated the evangelical prisoner; and the decent firmness with which the latter acquitted himself, amidst such insults as would either have quite intimidated, or violently exasperated the generality of men; may be read in almost any of our historians. The result was, that Mr. Lambert received sentence of death, and was executed in the manner above related (e).
VII. Mrs. Anne Ascough, (commonly called Askew,) a most pious and accomplished young lady, of whom the world was not worthy, adorns the protestant calendar. Her understanding only was masculine, not her manners. The diamond was set in gold. The virtues of her heart added value to a genius originally bright, and solidly improved. Both were sanctified and ennobled by the grace of God. Hence, her piety was angelic; her meekness, invincible; her fortitude, supernatural. “ She might have lived,” says Mr. Fox, “ in great wealth and prosperity, if she would have followed the world rather than Christ (f).” Her family and connec. tions were of considerable rank (9): and, unless I am much mistaken, she herself seemed to bave possessed at one time, some post of honour in the court of queen Catharine Parr. For the wit, delicacy, and good sense, with which she embarrassed the lord mayor of London, bishop Bonrer, bishop Gardiner, and others, in the course of her examinations, the reader may consult Strype, Fox, and Burnet. She had been so inhumanly racked, during her imprisonment, that she lost the use of her limbs, and was forced to be conveyed to Smithfield in a chair. Three persons of the other sex suffered martyrdom at the same time, and were not a little strengthened in the last stage of their warfare, by the example, prayers, and exhortations of this excellent woman: who, notwithstanding, was so weakened and disabled by the brutal hardships of her confinement, that two serjeants were obliged to support her at the stake, till the faggots were kindled. Amidst all these outward infirmities, her heaven born soul continued triumphant and alert. She was filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Her faculties were so entire, and her presence of mind so extraordinary, that, as she stood at the stake, she frequently corrected Shaxton, while he was preaching the execution sermon, when he advanced any thing con
(6) Fox, ibid. 332.
(c) Ibid. 350. (d) Bishop Burnet attributes Lambert's escape at this time, to the death of archbishop Warham, and to the change of counsels which that event, for a while, occasioned.-Hist. of the Reform. vol. i. p. 241.
(e) In the year 1541, one Alexander Seton, preacher at St. Antholin's, brought himself into great danger for asserting the doctrines of grace.
He was at length, unhappily prevailed with to recant: and my reason, for making any mention of him, is, because the doctrines, for which he had like to have lost his life, demonstrate, among a multiplicity of other instances, how high the protestant tide ever ran in favour of Calvinism. Mr. Fox observes, (ii. 452.) that “the greatest matter alleged against Seton, was, for preaching free justification by faith in Christ, and against man's free-will, and against false confidence in good works." The substance of his principles may be read in Fox, (u. s. p. 451.) and are well worthy of perusal, notwithstanding the man himself made afterwards a verbal retraction of them. Gold is gold, let who will fling it away.
trary to the doctrines of scripture. Sermon being ended, (which was preached in the open air), the lord chancellor Wriothesley offered the king's pardon to the four martyrs, as they stood at their respective stakes, on condition of recantation. They all nobly refused. Not one of them would so much as look at the papers when held out to them. Mrs. Ascough, in particular, answered, “I did not come hither to deny my Lord and Master.” The lord mayor then gave the word of command, fiat justitia: and the flames were immediately kindled. Thus these blessed martyrs ascended in chariots of fire to heaven. The spot whereon they were executed, was that open part of Smithfield, which lies over against the gate that leads to St. Bartholomew's church. Mrs. Ascough was not 25 years of age (h).
(1) In the History of Popery, vol. ii. p. 464. a piece of spiritual poetry is preserved, which was written and sung by Mrs. Ascough, while she lay under sentence of death in Newgate. Considering it as the production of a lady, whose constitution was quite broken with sufferings ; and not forgetting, that it was composed above two hundred and twenty years ago, (viz. A. D. 1546.) it will reflect the reverse of dishonour on the amiable authoress, to insert it here.
Like as the armed knight,
appointed to the field, with this world will I fight, and faith shall be
shield. Faith is that weapon strong,
for Christ will take my part,
and ease me of my woe. Thou say’st, Lord, whoso knock,
to them wilt thou attend : Undo therefore the lock, [send.
wbich will not fail at need : My foes therefore among
therewith I will proceed. As it bad in strength
and force of Christ his way, It will prevail at length,
tho' all the devils say nay. Faith in the fathers old
obtained righteousness : which maketh me so bold
to fear no world's distress. I now rejoice in heart,
and hope bids me do so:
and thy strong pow'r down More enemies I have,
than hairs to crown my head, Let them not me deprave,
but fight thou in my stead. On thee my care I cast,
for all their cruel spight: I set not by their haste,
for thou art my delight. I am not she that list
my anchor to let fall for every drizzling mist:
my ship's substantial.