Foxe's Book of Martyrs
The Abbey Lands Restored -- Death of Pope Julius -- Examination and Burning of George Marsh at Chester.
On the 19th of February, the bishop of Ely and the lord Montacute, with seven score horses, were sent as ambassadors from the king and queen unto Rome; and on the 28th day of March the queen summoned four of her privy council, touching the restoring again of abbey lands; declaring that they were taken away from the church by unlawful means, and that her conscience would not suffer her to detain them. "Therefore," she said, "I here expressly refuse either to claim or to retain the said lands for mine; but with all my heart, freely and willingly, without all paction or condition, here, and before God, I do surrender and relinquish the said lands and possessions, or inheritances whatsoever, and do renounce the same with this mind and purpose, that order and disposition thereof may be taken, as shall seem best liking to our most holy lord the pope, or else his legate the lord cardinal, to the honour of God, and wealth of this our realm." This intimation coming to the cardinal's hand, he despatched a copy thereof to the pope, who not long after set forth a bull of excommunication against all who kept any of the church or abbey lands; by virtue of which bull he also excommunicated all such princes, bishops, noblemen, justices, and others, who refused to put the same in execution. Albeit neither Winchester nor any of the pope's clergy would greatly stir in this matter, perceiving the nobility to be too strong for them, and therefore were contented to stay while time might better serve their purpose.
About the latter end of March pope Julius died; and upon commandment from the king and queen, on Wednesday in Easter week there were hearses set up, and dirges sung for the said Julius in divers places, although this pope had led a very unholy life. At which time it chanced a woman to come into St. Magnus' church, in London, and there seeing a hearse and other preparations, asked what it meant. Another, who stood by, said that it was for the pope, and that she must pray for him. "Nay," quoth she, "that I will not, for he needeth not my prayers: and seeing he could forgive us all our sins, I am sure he is clean himself; therefore I need not to pray for him." She was heard speak these words of certain that stood by, who after awhile carried her unto the cage at London bridge, and bade her cool herself there.
George Marsh was born in the parish of Deane, in the country of Lancaster, and having received a good education, his parents brought him up in the habits of trade and industry. About the 25th year of his age, he married a young woman of the country; with whom he continued living upon a farm, having several children. His wife dying, he having formed a proper establishment for his children, went into the university of Cambridge, where he studied, and much increased in learning, and was a minister of God's holy word and sacraments, and was for awhile curate to the Rev. Laurence Saunders. In this situation he continued for a time, earnestly setting forth the true religion, to the weakening of false doctrine, by his godly readings and sermons, as well there and in the parish of Deane as elsewhere in Lancashire. But such a zealous protestant could hardly be safe. At length he was apprehended, and kept close prisoner in Chester, by the bishop of that see, about the space of four months, not being permitted to have the relief and comfort of his friends; but charge being given unto the porter, to mark who they were that asked for him, and to signify their names to the bishop, as the particular description of his story, testified and recorded with his own pen, more evidently will shew.
"On the Monday before Palm Sunday, which was the 12th of March, it was told me at my mother's house, that Roger Wrinstone, with other of Mr. Barton's servants, made diligent search for me in Bolton; and when they perceived that I was not there, they gave strict charge to Robert Ward and Robert Marsh to find and bring me to Mr. Barton the day following, with orders that I should be brought before the earl of Derby to be examined in matters of religion. On knowing this, my mother and other friends advised me to fly, and avoid the peril, as I intended at first to have done. To their counsel my weak flesh would gladly have consented, but my spirit did not fully agree; thinking and saying to myself, that if I fled away, it would be said, that I did not only fly the country, and my nearest and dearest friends, but much rather from Christ's holy word, according as these years past I had with my heart, or at least with my outward living, professed, and with my word and mouth taught, according to the small talent given me of the Lord. Being thus with their counsel and advice, and the thoughts and counsels of my own mind, drawn as it were divers ways, I went from my mother's house, saying, I would come again in the evening.
"In the mean time I ceased not by earnest prayer to seek counsel of God, the giver of all good gifts, and of my friends, whose pious judgments and knowledge I must trusted to. After this I met with one of my friends on Deane-moor, about sun-set, and after we had consulted together, not without hearty prayer, we departed. Not fully determining what to do, but taking my leave of my friend, I said I doubted not but God would give me such wisdom and counsel, as should be most to his honour and glory, the profit of my neighbours and brethren in the world, and to the obtaining my eternal salvation by Christ in heaven. I then returned without fear to my mother's house, where several of Mr. Barton's servants had been seeking me; and when they could not find me they strictly charged my brother and William Marsh to seek me that night, and bring me to Smethehills the next day. They being so charged, were gone to seek me in Adderton, or elsewhere. Thus intending before to have been all night with my mother, but now considering that my tarrying there would disquiet her, I departed, and went beyond Deane church, and stayed all night with an old friend.
"At my first awaking, a person came to me from a friend, with letters, who said that their advice was that I should in no wise fly, but abide and boldly confess the faith of Jesus Christ. At these words I was so confirmed and established in my conscience, that from henceforth I consulted no more whether it were better to fly or to remain; but was determined that I would not fly, but go to Mr. Barton, and there present myself, and patiently bear such cross as it should please God to lay upon my shoulders. Rising therefore early the next morning, after I had said the English litany with other prayers, kneeling by my friend's bed-side, I prepared myself to go toward Smethehills; and on my way I went into the houses of several relations and friends, desiring them to pray for me, and have me commended to all my friends, and to comfort my mother, and be good to my little children; for I supposed they would see my face no more. I then took leave of them, not without tears shed on both sides, and came to Smethehills about nine o'clock, when I presented myself to Mr. Barton; who shewed me a letter from the earl of Derby, wherein he was commanded to send me with others to Latham; where he told me I was to be brought the next day by ten o'clock, before the earl or his council.
"We accordingly went to my mother's, where praying, I took my leave of her, the wife of Richard Marsh, and both their households, they and I both weeping. I then went towards Latham, lay all night within a mile and a half of it, and the next day we came to it betimes, and remained there till four o'clock in the afternoon. Then was I called before my lord and his council. After a little while my lord turned towards me and asked what was my name. I answered, Marsh. He then asked me whether I was one of those who sowed dissention amongst the people: which I denied, desiring to know my accusers, and what could be laid against me. This, however, I could not learn.
"He next asked me whether I was a priest? I said, no. What had been my living? I answered, I was a minister, served a cure, and kept a school. Then said he to his council, 'This is a wonderful thing: before he said he was no priest, and now he confesseth himself to be one.' I answered, 'By the laws now used in this realm I am none.' They then demanded who had given me orders, or whether I had taken any. I answered, I received orders of the bishops of London and Lincoln. Then said they, 'Those are of the new heretics:' and asked me what acquaintance I had with them. I answered, I never saw them but when I received orders.
"They desired to know how long I had been curate, and whether I had ministered with a good conscience. I answered I had been curate but one year, and had ministered with a good conscience, I thanked God; and if the laws of the realm would have suffered me, I would have ministered still; and if they at any time hereafter would suffer me to minister after that sort, I would minister again. Then they asked me what my belief was.
"I answered, I believed in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, according as the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments teach, and according to the four symbols or creeds, namely, the creed commonly called the Apostle's, the creed of the council of Nice, of Athanasius, and of Austin and Ambrose. I said I believe that whoever, according to Christ's institution, received the holy sacrament of Christ's body and blood, did eat and drink Christ's body, and with all the benefits of his death and resurrection, to their eternal salvation; for Christ is ever present with his sacrament. When they asked me whether the bread and wine, by virtue of the words pronounced by the priest, were changed into the flesh and blood of Christ, and that the sacrament was the very body of Christ? I made answer, I knew no farther than I had said.
"After many other questions, which I avoided as well as I could, remembering the saying of St. Paul, 'Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing they gender strife; my lord commanded me to come to the board, when he gave me pen and ink, and commanded me to write my answers to the questions of the sacrament. Accordingly I wrote as I has answered before. Being much offended, he commanded me to write a more direct answer. I then took the pen and wrote that further I knew not. On this he said, I should be put to death like a traitor, with other like words; but sometimes giving me fair words, if I would turn and be conformable as others were. In the end, after much ado, he commanded me to ward, in a cold, windy, stone-house, where was little room: there I lay without any bed, saving a few canvass tent clothes, and so continued till Palm-Sunday, occupying myself as well as I could in meditation, prayer, and study; for no man was suffered to come to me but my keeper twice a-day, when he brought me meat and drink.
"On Palm-Sunday after dinner, I was again sent for to my lord and his council, amongst whom were Sir John Biron, and the vicar of Prescot. After I had communed apart with the vicar of Prescot a good while concerning the sacrament, he returned with me to my lord and his council, telling them that the answer which I had made before, and still made, was sufficient for a beginner, and as one who did not profess a perfect knowledge in the matter, until such times as I had learned further. Wherewith the earl was very well pleased, saying, he doubted not but by the means and help of the vicar of Prescot I should be conformable in other things; and after many fair words he commanded I should have a bed, with fire, and liberty to go amongst his servants, on condition I would do no harm with my communication with them. Thus, after so much conference, I departed, much more troubled in my mind than before, because I had not with more boldness confessed Christ, but in such sort as mine adversaries thought they should prevail against me; whereat I was much grieved: for hitherto I went about as much as in me lay, to rid myself out of their hands, if by any means, without open denying of Christ and his word, that could be done. This considered, I cried more earnestly unto God by prayer, desiring him to strengthen me with his Holy Spirit, with boldness to confess him.
"A day or two after I was sent for to the vicar of Prescot and the parson of Grappenhall; where our most communication was concerning the mass: and he asked what offended me in it. I answered, the whole did offend me, because it was in a strange language, whereby the people were not edified, contrary to St. Paul's doctrine, 1 Cor. xiv.; and because of the manifold and intolerable abuses contained therein, contrary to Christ's priesthood and sacrifice. Then they asked me in what place thereof: and I named certain places; which places they went about with gentle and farsought interpretations to mitigate, saying, those places were understood far otherwise than the words did purport, or than I did take them. Then they caused a mass-book to be sent for, and showed me where, in some places of the mass, was written, "sacrificium laudis." Whereto I answered, that it followed not therefore that in all places it signified a sacrifice or oblation of praise or thanksgiving; and although it did, yet was it not a sacrifice of praise or thanksgiving to be offered for the sins of the people; for that did Christ, by his own passion, once offer on the cross."
After this, Mr. Marsh was sent to Lancaster castle; and being brought with other prisoners to the sessions, he was made to hold up his hand with the malefactors; when the earl of Derby had the following conversation with him, which, like the preceding statements, are given to us partly in his own expressive and unaffected language.
"I told his lordship, that I had not dwelt in the country these three or four years past, and came home but lately to visit my mother, children, and other friends, and that I meant to have departed out of the country before Easter, and to have gone out of the realm. Wherefore I trusted, seeing nothing could be laid against me, wherein I had offended against the laws, that his lordship would not with captious questions examine me, to bring my body into danger of death, to the great discomfort of my mother. On the earl asking me into what land I would have gone? I answered, I would have gone either into Germany, or else into Denmark. He said to his council, that in Denmark they used such heresy as they have done in England: but as for Germany the emperor had destroyed it.
"I then said that I trusted, as his lordship had been of the honourable council of the late king Edward, consenting and agreeing to acts concerning faith towards God and religion, under great pain, would not so soon after consent to put poor men to shameful deaths for believing what he had then professed. To this he answered that he, with the lord Windsor, lord Dacres, and others, did not consent to those acts, and that their refusal would be seen as long as the parliament-house stood. He then rehearsed the misfortune of the dukes of Northumberland and Suffolk, with others, because they favoured not the true religion; and again the prosperity of the queen's highness, because she favoured the true religion; thereby gathering the one to be good, and of God, and the other to be wicked, and of the devil; and said that the duke of Northumberland confessed so plainly."
And thus you have heard the whole trouble which George Marsh sustained both at Latham and also at Lancaster. While at Latham it was falsely reported that he had consented, and agreed in all things with the earl and his council; and while at Lancaster many came to talk with him, giving him such counsel as Peter gave Christ: but he answered that he could not follow their counsel, but that by God's grace he would live and die with a pure conscience, and as hitherto he had believed and professed.
Within a few days after, the said Marsh was removed from Lancasster; and coming to Chester, was sent for by Dr. Cotes, then bishop, to appear before him in his hall, nobody being present but they twain. Then he asked him certain questions concerning the sacrament, and Marsh made such answers as seemed to content the bishop, saving that he utterly denied transubstantiation, and allowed not the abuse of the mass, nor that the lay people should receive under one kind only, contrary to Christ's institution; in which points the bishop went about to persuade him, howbeit, (God be thanked,) all in vain. Much other talk he had with him, to move him to submit himself to the universal church of Rome; and when he could not prevail he sent him to prison again. And after, being there, came to him divers times one massie, a fatherly old man, one Wrench the schoolmaster, one Hensham the bishop's chaplain, and the archdeacon, with many more; who, with much philosophy, worldly wisdom, and deceitful vanity, after the tradition of men, but not after Christ, endeavoured to persuade him to submit himself to the church of Rome, to acknowledge the pope as its head, and to interpret the scripture no otherwise than that church did.
To these Mr. Marsh answered, that he did acknowledge and believe one only catholic and apostolic church, without which there is no salvation; and that this church is but one, because it ever hath confessed and shall confess and believe one only God, and one only Messiah, and in him only trust for salvation; which church also is ruled and led by one Spirit, one word, and one faith; and that this church is universal and catholic, because it ever has been since the world's beginning, is, and shall endure to the world's end, and comprehending within it all nations, kindreds, and languages, degrees, states, and conditions of men: and that this church is built only upon the foundations of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, and not upon the Romish laws and decrees, whose head the bishop of Rome was. And where they said the church did stand in ordinary succession of bishops, being ruled by general councils, holy fathers, and the laws of the holy church, and so had continued for the space of fifteen hundred years and more: he replied, that the holy church, which is the body of Christ, and therefore most worthy to be called holy, was before any succession of bishops, general councils or Romish decrees neither was it bound to any time or place, ordinary succession or traditions of fathers; nor had it any supremacy over empires and kingdoms; but it was a poor simple flock, dispersed abroad, as sheep without a shepherd in the midst of wolves; or as a family of orphans and fatherless children: and that this church was led and ruled by the word of Christ, he being the supreme head of this church, and assisting succouring, and defending it from all assaults, errors, and persecutions, wherewith it is ever encompassed about. He also shewed by plain evidence, by the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, the Israelites departing out of Egypt, the parable of the sower, of the king's son's marriage, of the great supper, and other plain sentences of scripture, that this church was of no estimation, and little in comparison with the church of hypocrites, and wicked worldlings.
After the bishop of Chester had taken pleasure in punishing his prisoner, and often reviling him, giving him taunts and odious names of heretic, ect., he caused him to be brought forth into a chapel in the cathedral church, called Our Lady Chapel, before him the said bishop, at two o'clock in the afternoon; when were also present the mayor of the city, Dr. Wall and other priests assisting him, George Wensloe, chancellor, and one John Chetham, registrar. Then they caused George Marsh to take an oath to answer truly unto such articles as should be objected against him. Upon which oath taken, the chancellor laid unto his charge, that he had preached and openly published most heretically and blasphemously, within the parishes of Dean, Eccles, Bolton, Bury, and many other parishes within the Bishop's diocese, in the months of January and February last preceding, directly against the pope's authority, and catholic church of Rome, the blessed mass, the sacrament of the altar, and many other articles. Unto all which in sum he answered, that he neither heretically nor blasphemously preached or spake against any of the said articles, but simply and truly, as occasion served, and as it were thereunto forced in conscience, maintained the truth respecting the same articles, as he said all now present did likewise acknowledge in the time of king Edward VI.
Then they examined him severally of every articles, and bade him answer yes or no, without equivocation; for they were come to examine, and not to dispute at that present. He accordingly answered them every article very modestly, agreeably to the doctrine by public authority received, and taught in this realm at the death of king Edward, which answers were every one written by the registrar, to the uttermost that could make against him. This ended, he was returned to his prison again.
Within three weeks after this, in the said chapel, and in like sort as before, the bishop and others before names, there being assembled, the said George Marsh was brought before them. Then the chancellor, by way of an oration, declared unto the people present, that the bishop had done what he could in showing his charitable disposition towards the said Marsh, but that all that he could do would not help; so that he was now determined, if the said Marsh would not relent and abjure, to pronounce sentence definitive against him. Wherefore he bade the said George Marsh to be now well advised what he would do, for it stood upon his life; and if he would not at that present forsake his heretical opinions, it would (after the sentence given) be too late, though he might never so gladly desire it.
Then the chancellor read all his answers that he made at his former examination; and at every one he asked, whether he would stick to the same, or no? To the which he answered again, "Yea, yea." Here also others took occasion to ask him (for that he denied the bishop of Rome's authority in England) whether Linus, Anacletus, and Clement, that were bishops of Rome, were not good men, and he answered, "Yes, and divers others. But," said he, "they claimed no more authority in England than the bishop of Canterbury doth at Rome; and I strive not with the place, neither speak I against the person of the bishop, but against his doctrine; which in most points is repugnant to the doctrine of Christ." "Thou art an arrogant fellow indeed then," said the bishop. "In what article is the doctrine of the church of Rome repugnant to the doctrine of Christ?"
To whom George Marsh said, "O my lord, I pray you judge not so of me, I stand now upon the point of life and death: and a man in my case hath no cause to be arrogant, neither am I, God is my record. And as concerning the disagreement of the doctrine, among many other things, the church of Rome erreth in the sacrament. For Christ in the institution thereof did as well deliver the cup as the bread saying, "Drink ye all of this," and St. Mark reporteth that they did drink of it. In like manner St. Paul delivered it unto the Corinthians. In the same sort also it was used in the primitive church for the space of many hundred years. Now the church of Rome doth take away one part of the sacrament from the laity. Wherefore if I could be persuaded in my conscience by God's word that it were well done, I could gladly yield in this point." Then said the bishop, "There is no disputing with a heretic." Therefore, when all his answers were ready, he asked him whether he would stand to the same, or else forsake them, and come unto the catholic church? to which Mr. Marsh answered, that he held no heretical opinion, but utterly abhorred all kind of heresy, although they did so slander him. And he desired all to bear him witness, that in all articles of religion he held no other opinion than was by law established, and publicly taught in England at the death of Edward VI; and in the same pure religion and doctrine he would, by God's grace, stand, live, and die.
The bishop of Chester then took a writing out of his bosom, and began to read the sentence of condemnation; but when he had proceeded half through it, the chancellor called him, and said, "Good my lord, stay, stay! for if you read any further it will be too late to call it again." The bishop accordingly stopped, when several priests, and many of the ignorant people, called upon Mr. Marsh, with many earnest words, to recant. They bade him kneel down and pray, and they would pray for him: so they kneeled down, and he desired them to pray for him, and he would pray for them. When this was over the bishop again asked him, whether he would not have the queen's mercy in time? he answered, he gladly desired the same, and loved her grace as faithfully as any of them; but yet he durst not deny his Saviour Christ, lest he lose his mercy everlasting, and so win everlasting death.
The bishop then proceeded with the sentence for about five or six lines, when again the chancellor with flattering words and smiling countenance stopped him and said, "Yet, good my lord, once again stay, for it that word be spoken, all is past, no relenting will then serve." Then turning to Mr. Marsh, he asked, "How sayest thou? wilt thou recant?" Many of the priests and people again exhorted him to recant and save his life. To whom he answered, "I would as fain live as you, if in so doing I should not deny my master Christ; but then he would deny me before his Father in heaven. The bishop then read his sentence unto the end, and afterwards said unto him, "Now I will no more pray for thee, than I will for a dog." Mr. Marsh answered, that notwithstanding, he would pray for his lordship. He was then delivered to the sheriffs of the city; when his late keeper finding he should lose him, said with tears, "Farewell, good George;" which caused the officers to carry him to a prison at the north gate, where he was very strictly kept until he went to his death, during which time he had little comfort or relief of any creature. For being in the dungeon or dark prison, none that would do him good could speak with him, or at least durst attempt it, for fear of accusation; and some of the citizens who loved him for the gospel's sake, although they were never acquainted with him, would sometimes in the evening call to him and ask him how he did. He would answer them most cheerfully, that he did well, and thanked God highly that he would vouchsafe of his mercy to appoint him to be a witness of his truth, and to suffer for the same, wherein he did most rejoice; beseeching that he would give him grace not to faint under the cross, but patiently bear the same to his glory, and to the comfort of his church.
The day of his martyrdom being come, the sheriffs of the city, with their officers, went to the Northgate, and thence brought him forth, with a lock upon his feet. As he came on the way towards the place of execution, some proffered him money, and looked that he should have gone with a little purse in his hand, in order to gather money to give unto a priest to say masses for him after his death: but Mr. Marsh said, he would not be troubled to receive money, but desired some good man to take it if the people were disposed to give any, and give it to the prisoners or the poor. He went all the way reading intently and many said, "This man goeth not unto his death as a thief, or as one that deserveth to die." On coming to the place of execution without the city, a deputy chamberlain of Chester shewed Mr. Marsh a writing under a great seal, saying, that it was a pardon for him if he would recant. He answered, Forasmuch as it tended to pluck him from God, he would not receive it upon that condition.
He now begin to address the people, shewing the cause of his death, and would have exhorted them to be faithful unto Christ: but one of the sheriffs told him there must be no sermoning now. He then kneeling down prayed earnestly, and was then chained to the post, having a number of fagots under him, and a barrel with pitch and tar in it, over his head. The fire being unskilfully made, and the wind driving it to and fro, he suffered great extremity in his death, which notwithstanding he bore very patiently. When the spectators supposed he had been dead, suddenly he spread abroad his arms, saying, "Father of heaven, have mercy upon me," and so yielded his spirit into the hands of the Lord. Upon this, many of the people said he was a martyr, and died marvelously patient; which caused the bishop shortly after to make a sermon in the cathedral church, and therein to affirm, that the said Marsh was a heretic, burnt as such, and was then a fire-brand in hell.
Besides his examinations, this good man, George Marsh, wrote divers and sundry letters out of prison, addressed to the faithful in Christ Jesus. That concerning his examination here followeth, as also an extract from one sent to certain friends in Manchester.
"Here you have, dearly beloved friends in Christ, the chief articles of christian doctrine briefly touched, which heretofore I have believed, professed, and taught, and as yet do believe, profess, and teach, and am surely purposed by God's grace, to continue in the same until the last day. I want both time and opportunity to write out at large the probations, causes, parts, effects, and errors of these articles, which whoso desireth to know, let them read over the common places of those pious and learned men, Philip Melancthon and Erasmus Sarcerus, whose judgement in these matters of religion I do chiefly follow. The Lord give us understanding in all things, and deliver us out of the mouth of the lion, and from all evil doing, and keep us unto his everlasting and heavenly kingdom.
"Though Satan be suffered as wheat to sift us for a time, yet our faith faileth not through Christ's aid, but that we are at all times able to confirm the faith of our weak brethren, and always ready to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that whereas they back-bite us as evil doers, they may be ashamed, when they falsely accuse our good conversation in Christ. I thought myself of late years well settled with my loving and faithful wife and children, and also well quieted in the peaceable possession of that Euphrates; but the Lord, who worketh all things for the best to them that love him, would not there leave me, but did take my dear and beloved wife from me; whose death was a painful cross to flesh and blood. "Also I thought myself of late well placed under my most loving and gentle Mr. Laurence Saunders, in the cure of Langdon. But the Lord of his great mercy would not suffer me long there to continue, though for the time I was in his vineyard I was not an idle workman. But he hath provided me to taste of a far other cup; for by violence hath he drived me out of that pleasing Babylon, that I should not taste too much of her wanton pleasures, but with his most dearly beloved disciples to have my inward rejoicing in the cross of his Son Jesus Christ; the glory of whose church, I see it well, standeth not in the harmonious sound of bells and organs, nor yet in the glittering of mitres and copes, neither in the shining of gilt images and lights, but in continual labour and daily affliction for his name's sake. "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the scribes and of the sadducees; I mean the erroneous doctrine of the papists which with their glosses deprave the scriptures. The apostle Peter doth teach us 'There shall be false teachers amongst us, which privily shall bring in damnable heresies and many shall follow their pernicious ways, by whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of; and through covetousness they shall with feigned words make merchandise of us.' Christ also earnestly warneth us, to 'Beware of false prophets, which come to us in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you shall know them.' The fruits of the prophets are their doctrine; and here we are taught, that we should try the preachers that come under colour to set forth true religion unto use, according to the saying of St. Paul, 'Prove all things, hold fast that which is good."
Of the letter to his Manchester friends we can give only an extract; one, however, of great force as well as truth and beauty. "Beloved in Christ, let us not faint because of affliction, wherewith God trieth all that are sealed to life everlasting; for the only way into the kingdom of God is through tribulation. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a city built and set upon a broad field, and full of good things; but the entrance thereof if narrow, like as it were a burning flame on one hand and deep water on the other; and as it were one straight path between them, so narrow that one person only can pass at a time. If this city were now given to an heir, and he never went through perilous way, how could he receive his inheritance? Wherefore, seeing we are in this narrow way, which leadeth to the most joyful city of everlasting life, let us not halt or turn back afraid of the danger; but follow Christ and be fearful of nothing, no not even of death itself for this must lead to our journey's end and open to us the gate of everlasting life."