Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page

Title: History of John Rogers, the martyr
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00061757/00001
 Material Information
Title: History of John Rogers, the martyr
Alternate Title: John Rogers
Physical Description: 90 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society ( Publisher )
Publisher: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: 1851
Subject: Martyrs -- Biography -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain -- Henry VIII, 1509-1547   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain -- Edward VI, 1547-1553   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain -- Mary I, 1553-1558   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1851   ( rbgenr )
Bookplates (Provenance) -- 1851   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: Biographies   ( rbgenr )
Bookplates (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
General Note: Includes: William Hunter, the boy martyr, p. 55-85.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00061757
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231519
oclc - 18436934
notis - ALH1898

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
        Front page 3
        Front page 4
        Front page 5
    Half Title
        Front page 6
        Front page 7
    Title Page
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Full Text

BRISTOL, y7 JUNO, 1874.


The Baldwin ibry





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Wriue for &h Massachusets a Bsaw Boof3% ow
approved b the ACmmitt of PAf oas.o.


Depository, No. 18 Corhill.


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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861,
in the Clerk's Ofie of the District Courtof Masachusetts.


WHAT child, who has ever seen or studied
the old fashioned Primer, with its pictorial
"Alphabet," its "Instructive Questions and
Answers," its "Creed," its "Cradle Hymn,"
its Smithfield scene, with the memorable
poem which accompanies it-what child, 1
we ask, who has gazed with sympathetlo
sorrow on that group of little children clu a
tering about their afflicted mother es they
stand by the blaziig pile which conuames
the body of their sole earthly protector,-has
not earnestly desired to know something
more of the sad history than the one -
paragraph in the Primer contains I Ah, bh
many tears have been shed over that


engraving, with only that short sentence,
and the martyr's Advice" to throw light
on the pitiful picture! And how many
questions have been asked about "John
Ttogers," of those who knew nothing of
him save what the Primer imparted in the
days of their own childhood !
In the following pages we propose to
offer a few brief incidents in the life and
death of one whose name has been a house.
hold word for many generations past, and
whose pictured circumstances of distress
have moved the sensibilities of childhood
throughout Christendom.
The story is written, children, for you:
and it is to be hoped that the lessons of
piety and Christian fortitude which it incul-
cates, will be for your instructioni in
But in order that you should perfectly
understandd how Mr. Rogers came to be a
-iartyr-that is, how he came to suffer
Aeath for a steady adherence to those views
of religious truth which the Word of God

teaches, it will be necessary to go back a
few years antecedent to this date to show
the causes which operated to produce it-
causes chiefly traceable to the bigotry, cru-
elty, and intolerance of the Romish church.
And for this purpose we will introduce our
narrative with the story of


Henry the Eighth, of England, was one
of the most selfish, profligate, and corrupt
kings that ever sat on a throne. The blood
of hit unfortunate subjects was made to
flow in divers if necessary, to gratify his
passion, policy or caprice; even those allied
to him by the nearest and tenderest of
human ties, had no immunity from con-
spiracy, false accusation, or violent deA*s
if they chanced to stand in the way of it
personal indulgence or political aggra1diM
ment. Perverse and inflexible in his put-
poses, he chose to promote to places d rank
and office, such men only as would yisd




themselves tools to work his will, however
unreasonable and malicious. For those
who opposed the weight of intellect or in-
fluence against his gross vices, or his cruel
rapacity, there was neither justice nor
Before these sad and bloody days, the
church of Rome had held all nations in its
grasp; at least it was thought to have a
right, superior to that of kings and empe-
rors, to dictate and to command. For
many centuries this power had been grow-
ing more and more arbitrary, all over Eu-
rope, till few had dared even to question it.
Such as- had the courage to do so, were
deemed too impious to live, and were dealt
with accordingly. It was accounted her-
esy to doubt any thing, however absurd
or wicked which the Pope and his Cardi-
als thought expedient for the poor igno-
rant people to believe; whether the Bible
saidso. or not, it made no difference;-it
was he business of the people to believe
what their priests told them-and alas, they


had small means of examining for
selves, had they been allowed to do so, Wt,
possessed the requisite intelligence; for they
had not the Bible as you have, children; it
was a sealed book to all but the learned,
being. in a language which the common
people could neither read nor understand:
all they knew of it was by the interpreta-
tion of the priests, many of whom were so
ignorant they could neither read or explain
correctly the simplest of its precepts. But
this was a state of things most favorable to
perpetuate the power and authority of the
Pope. The enlightened and intelligent,
were regarded with suspicion, and not un-
frequently branded as heretics if they ven-
tured to dissent from the great Head and
Body of this corrupt church, and tbe very
lightest punishment the heretic might ex-
pect was excommunication, which in those
days wu a terrible thing-inasmuch as the
subject of it was thereby cut off from all
civil, ecclesiastical, or personal rights an ,:.
privileges; his property confiscated



himself reduced to the utmost degree of
want and misery; while no one might aid,
protect, or befriend him, on the penalty of a
similar punishment. Torture, penance, or
even death itself were oftentimes chosen by
the unfortunate heretic, rather than excom-
But after many years this spiritual bond-
age became quite intolerable, and a few
bold spirits had dared to dispute the pro-
gress of so abject a despotism. Martin
Luther, and many other noble names, had
arisen in Germany, and after a fierce con-
flict with the Man of Sin," had succeeded
in throwing off a yoke which they were no
longer able to endure. From thence, the
Reformation had spread among the Euro-
pean nations, and was now taking gigantic
strides towards the attainment of that lib-
erty of conscience which is perfectly conso-
nant with the teachings of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ.
King Henry the Eighth was for many
years a staunch and unscrupulous papist.



Indeed, so long as nothing ,occurred to
thwart his selfish plans, or oppose his iron
will, the Pope might do what he pleased.
His gross and sensual nature had little
regard to the commands of Him who is
" Head over all, God blesad forever;" for
his self-styled vicegerent he was capable of
only an apparent reverence; and therefore
when some intervention of papal authority
threatened to subvert certain darling schemes
of his own, King Henry, brimming with
anger, suddenly assumed an attitude of
-defiance, and declared his kingdom exempt
from the dominion of the Roman Pontiff
HNhimself would thenceforth l head
ofoth church and state 4 people.
Sb bold and decisive a measure excited
various emotions among all classes in Eng-
land Some disapprove. others extolled
the course the king had i' n and among
the latter were the poor trembling Protest-
ants of his realm, who hoped to find a cov-
ert from the tempest of persecution under
the wing of their own sovereign, as he now

no longer acknowledged allegiance to Rome,
the parent of bigotry, crime, and cruelty,
towards all abettors of the Reformation.
But, alas, their expectations were doomed
to bitter disappointment. Henry had only
transferred to hitown hand the persecuting
policy; still the fires of martyrdom blazed
over the devoted island, and added many a
name of which the world was not worthy,
Stoo the saintly catalogue, who sealed the
testimony of Jesus with their blood.
Multitudes left their native land to seek
a temporary residence ti4the storm which
beat upon their unhappy country should be
allayed; and many already abroad
ferred their return for like reasons. ey
would not rashly or needlessly ruli nto
danger or death; neither would they shrink
from it should God in his providenceflin-
ly call them thus to witness for the truth.
Such was the state of affairs in England
when Henry the Eighth was called to
answer his last account, before the King
of kings and Lord of lords;" leaving his


101114 R Oo Gi R I

4B MA I11RTP 15
crown and'throne to his son, Edward the
Sixth, who was only nine years old.
Think of it, little readers-a boy of nine
years, a king! Perhaps some of you think
you should like to be a king and wear a
crown of gold and dianAnds, and have
plenty of money and jewels; live in a
palace and be served by every one;-what
a merry time you would expect-what con-
tinued enjoyment of power and pleasure!
Let me beg of you not to harbor so mis-
taken an idea;-the king on his throne has
no happiness like. that of the lowly born
subject; his heart aches with anxieties,
cares, and apprehensions; his head throbs
'with pain under an oppressive sense of
burdens and responsibilities,; he has no
quiet slumbers at night, like yours;--no joy
*i~fightness of heart such as the poorest
child may find in its innocent frolics! No,
no! Kings are to be pitied far more than
envied, and so are the children of kings
who are brought up to so sad an inheritance
as a.crown! Doubtless every true friend


of little Edward the Sixth wept tears of
sympathy when the diadem was placed
upon his childish brow, knowing full well
that in those dark and troubled times, it
could do no less than pierce like a crown
of thorns!
But this "Child-King possessed some
things which all children may laudably
desire; nay, which they should pray for,
and incessantly strive to obtain; he had a
Christian spirit-a heart renewed by the
Holy Ghost even in his childhood; he had
such an earnest zeal for the spread of gospel
truth in its purity, and simplicity, and for
the overthrow of error, delusion and super-
stition in his own land, that he has been
- called the English Josiah; and indeed, he
strongly resembled that young Jewish mon-
arch, who set himself so resolutely to Mup-
press the gross idolatry into which his
people had fallen.
A perfect contrast to his father, was
young Edward, in mind, in spirit, in civik
policy-r-indeed in every thing: his rare



kingly virtues won him the admiration of
men/who had grown gray in the service of
church and state-while his deep con-
sistent personal piety was a rebuke often-
times to those who were set apart as teach-
ers of religion. He took the Bible for. his
counselor, and learned thence those lofty
principles and precepts which are as well
adapted to guide the monarch on his throne,
as the beggar at his footstool; and so firm
and fearless was his adherence thereto in
the administration of his government, that
it has been said with much justice, he
would have become a martyr had he not
been a king.
It is a piety so fervent, so decided, and
so consistent, that we would beg the young
to imitate in Edward the Sixth, Piety be-
comes a cottage just at well as a throne.
It is a kingly quality in a servant~A well
as a prince; it ennobles, and.beHiip
every character, and confers a crown at
"crown of glory that fadeth not
-away!" Doubtless this blessed young king
V rI2*

- if


now wears that crown: you and I may
one day wear it if we will seek for it as he
did; Laying up treasure in heaven where
the moth and the rust cannot corrupt, and
where thieves never break through and
The reign of the Child-King was des-
tined to be a very short one. God called
him to his own presence, and an inherit-
ance among the sanctified, when he had
worn an earthly diadem for six years and
eight months; but in that brief period he
had done what he could to eradicate Po-
pery from his kingdom, and place Protest-
antism on a secure foundation; he had
simplified the order of public worship, re-
moved the tokens of the Romish superstition
from the churches, recalled many of the
pious and earnest Reformers whom the per-
secutions of Henry the Eighth had driven
into exile, and had done his utmost to
place the Word of" God in the hands of the
people. The Pope, you know, does not
approve of this; its enlightening influence


is not favorable to a quiet endurance of the
spiritual despotism which it has ever been
the policy of the Roman Church to exercise
over the great masses of common people.
They must be kept in gross darkness, or
they will discover the chains with which
their souls are bound, and break them
asunder. But Edward the Sixth was not
afraid of the teachings of such a book; he
knew it was a safe directory for the simple
as well as the wise, the poor as well as the
rich, the lowly as well as the lofty. But
in those days the chief difficulty lay in de-
vising a way by which they could have
access to the sacred pages. It was impose.
sible for the Bible to circulate as it does
among us-can you think why, children 7
In the first place it was comparatively a
rare book;-and again, the people were
ignorant from long neglect and oppression.
It was very costly, too, and the poor *old
by no means afford to purchase opiesr-
and then the art of printing had bl._e-
cently been discovered, and was yet in a


very imperfect state; besides, people had
just begun to think about having Bibles in
the English language; they had heretofore
been in Latin, which only the priests and
the great men were acquainted with; so
you can readily perceive there were many
obstacles to be removed before the poor
people could become familiar with the ora-
cles of God. Just for a moment contrast
their condition with yours, dear children.
Every one of you may own an entire
. Bible for a very trifling sum; every one of
you have been taught to read it when so
young you can hardly remember it; and
its meaning has been so often explained to
you in the Sabbath school, that it has grown
so familiar you scarcely heed what your
teachers say, or even what your Bible says,
more than just to learn the texts of which
your lesson may consist. Ah, how much
greater will be your accountability than
that of the children of King Edward's time!
Much will be required where much is given,
you must remember; therefore improve to

E -Y 21-------------
the utmost the brilliant light of truth and
wisdom which shines about your privileged
pathway, aH the distance from the cradle
to the tomb.
But those who sincerely desire and re-
solve to benefit others, will not be disheart-
ened by many difficulties; and King Ed-
ward and his ministers provided for the
spiritual improvement of the people as well o
as the times would allow. A copy of the
Bible in English,.with some approved corn-
mentary annexed, was ordered to be sta,-
tioned in some public place in every town,
whither the people might resort to read for
themselves, or bring some one to read for
them when unable to do so! This was
the very best expedient they could devise,
and a sorry one enough we should regard
it in these days; yet it was' s considerable
improvement on the former advantages of
the English peasantry, and contributed
greatly to their instruction and enlighten-4
ment. Just think! to have but one Bible
in a whole town, and that one chained to




its place, so that no one should remove it I
How we pity the poor men and women
who must travel a long distance just to
spell out a few lines of the precious mes-
sage which God has sent to the nations, in
his holy word. Let us appreciate the bless-
ings of our own times, as we compare
them with the past, and of our abundance,
send forth to those who are groping in the
yet grosser darkness of heathen idolatry.
Oh, is not this a fitting time for carrying
ut our Lord's sublime injunction to send
i lftlorious gospel to every creature; when
it an be so easily and so cheaply multi-
plied by the mighty aids and agencies
which we have lived to see in successful
operation If all children who have a
Bible of their own, were just to ask and act
upon the question, Lord, what wilt thou
hive me to do" in the matter ? it would
perhaps be accomplished before another
generation should be gathered to their
Young Edward the Sixth labored dili-

gently and zealously, as we have said, for
the suppression of Popery and the advance
ment of the Reformation in his kingdom;
and he had a great band of devoted help.
ers in the good work; but still there were
very many who opposed it secretly, if they
dared not do it openly; and whop only
waited for a favorable time to avow hos-
tility to the Protestant cause. But its
popularity was now so strong, that they
were obliged to pay a show of expect at
least, and restrain the outtowiags of an
intolerant and persecuting spirit A strong
band of Reformers, we have said, gathered
about their youthful sovereign, and statedly,
and successfully proclaimed the truth ax it
is in Jesus. Among these hardy pioneers
in a glorious warfare, was the subject of
our little sketch-John Rogers.
But the appointed work of this excel
young king was drawing to a close.
lingering but hopeless malady had faiened
itself upon him, and was slowly but Sally
sapping the foundations of his mortal exist-




ence. It was a gloomy prospect for Prot-
estantism; it was the reviving hope of the
'Papal power; for a reason we will biefly
Edward had two sisters, or rather half
sisters, older than himself-Mary and Eliz-
abeth The eldest of these princesses, was
'the rightful successor to the crown, in case
he should die without any children of his
own.,naDd here was the source of the bit-
terest -ital reserved for his declining days;
for he saw himself fading like a half-blown
flower in life's spring morning, and hb saw
that in his early death an unutterable
calamity would fall upon his poor Protest-
aqt subjects; -for the Lady Mary, the
heiress apparent, was a bigoted Catholic,
and would, he well knew, speedily revive
Those fires of persecution and martyrdom,
Oithich in'his brief reign had been quenched.
Edward knew, and his people knew, that
& the blood of the faithful must again flow
like water in the desperate struggle which
would certainly ensutiW the ascendency


of Popery; and in an agony of adwhren-
sion he sought, with the concurrence of the
miners of state, to devise some measure
to avert a stroke so disastrous to the public
welfare, so calamitous to the church of
Christ, just recovering from the -capricious
tyranny of Henry. And so in the days of
his languishing, he adopted the only expe-
dient in his. power; and transferred the
succession from his sister 'Mary to bis
cousin, the Lady Jane Grey, an enlight-
ened Protestant as well as a beautiful a-
exemplary young Christian, and one who
would help onward the blessed Edorm0a-
This done, the young king apdl
dined. About three hours
death," writes one, his eyes being
and supposing no one in' hearing,
breathed this memorable prayer, so
pious resi~' n, yet so conscious li
Paul, that to ide still in the fleh were
seemingly more needful for his boved



"' Lord'God, deliver me out of this miser-
able and wretched life, and take me among
thy chosen. Lord, I commit my spiriunto
thee; thou knowest how happy it were for
me to be with thee; yet for thine elect's
sake, send me again life and health that
I may'truly serve thee. 0 my Lord God,
bless thy people and save thine inheritance
0 Lord God, save thy chosen people of
England I 0 Lord God, defend this realm
from Popery, and maintain thy true re-
ligion, that I and my people may praise
thy holy name for thy son Jesus hrist's
'. His dying prayer was granted, and his
fully delivered from Popery within a
Afterward, but not till God had
4d it with a fiery memento of its
e, in yielding once more to the iipious
sway of its great enemy."
The last words of Edlward were, "I am
faint-Lord have mercy on me, and take
my spirit and thus he fell asleep in the
arms of that compassionate Saviour who


delightsia the service of the young, in the
sixteenth year of his age, and the seventh
of. h## reign. We may be permitted to
follow him in imagination to heaven, and
hear him welcomed as a good and faithful
servant into the joy of his Lord.
After the deoease of Edward, the Lady
Jane Grey was proclaimed queen, o. the
excIlasion of the princesses Mary and Eliz-
abeth. But many of the people were dis-
satisfied with this arrangement, and so
they revoked the instrument which con-
ferred the crown upon the Lady Jane, and
under the most solemn promises and pledgpr
that she would befriend and protect the
Protestantp, elevated Mary to the throne. of
her ancestors.
But children, it is one of the elementary
maxims of the Romish Church, to "keep,
no faith with heretics;" and, as Protestants
are those who deny the power and author-
ity of the Pope, and are consequently here-
ties in their views, Queen Mary felt under
no obligation to keep her promises of leni-

--- ----------------------,----L ---
ence towards the advocates of the Refor-
mation; and, accordingly, she commenced
one of the bitterest persecutions which the
world in modern times, has known. There
was no more safety for the zealous and
earnest preachers of the Truth-the simple
truth as it fell from a Saviour's lips, un-
attended with pompous rites, festivals,
shows and formulas; for in the days of the
apostles, and, for many years afterwards,
such things were unknown. There was
no longer protection for the humble wor-
shiper of God as a spirit, instead of saints
and images, sacraments and relics. The
prisons were crowded, and blood began to
flow. The beautiful and innocent Lady
Jane Grey was hurried to the scaffold, to
atone for a reluctant consent to wear a
frown but a single day. Truly it was but
a crown of thorns, and soon exchanged for
a crown of glory and. rejoicing among the
angels yhose spotless purity her own re-
sembled. She died with all the heroism of
a martyr, although not such in the strict


sense of the tgrm; but she possemd btm .
martyr spirit, and would very likely have
suffered at the stake, in defence of those
principles of religious liberty and faith,
which animated her youthful heart, while
she yielded up her life upon. a bloody
scaffold, as the usurper of a tone and
crown I
But the details of her interesting history
do not properly belong to the range of this
brief sketch; it is enough to remark, that
with her barbarous execution began the
sanguinary work of one whose name w.ll
go down to the remotest posterity, coupled 6
with the most fearful of epithets, but yet
most appropriately descriptive of the chau.
acter and reign of Bloody Mary I
The efforts of young Edward the Sixth
for the enlightenment of the public mi$
were instantly annulled. The teaching et
preaching of Protestant clergymen was pro.
hibited; while the Bibles-the gre, chain
ed, folio Bibles, were removed from ~te
public stations, and forbidden to be read O




explained. All were commanded to return
to the old Popish doctrines and worship,
on pain of persecution and death. And, in
order to secure the obedience of the com-
mon people, it was thought politic to make
examples of. some of their most- able and
gifted preachers. Those ministers, there-
fore, who had been popular and successful
advocates of the Reformation, were accord-
ingly first made to feel the weight of Mary's
wrath, joined with that of the Romah
pontiff, to whom she had surrendered her
conscience as well as her kingdom. And
this brings us to John Rogers, the first
Christian martyr, under the reign of this
bloody princess.
This eminent minister of Christ was, in
his early youth, regarded as a lad of great
promise, of unusual ability and scholarship.
Me received his education at the University
of Cambridge, in England, and was design.
ed for tlt church. After finishing his colle-
giate course, he was invited by a company
of English merchants, at Antwerp, to be*


come their chaplain. He consented, and
for some time discharged the duties of his
office with a fidelity apd ferv6r,,which won
him the respect of all who knew him. But
the Reformation was rapidly progressing in
the German provinces, and Mr. Rogers very
soon became a thorough convert to Protest.
antism. Here, too, he became acquainted
with' several earnest and godly men, who
were diligently engaged in translating the
Bible into the English language, for the
use of those who could never expect to a-
quire a knowledge of the Latin. To this
enterprise, Mr. Rogers gladly lent the aid of
his superior learning, and rendered very
important service to the translators, which
greatly facilitated its publication.
In Germany, Mr. Rogers added surpris-
ingly to his store of erudition, and before
many years had become what was esteem-
ed a very wise and learned man, As Well
as a man of most ardent and sincere piety.
Bye and by, he was solicited to become tsh
pastor of one of the Reformed churches, in


J HN B 0G.E S,

Saxony; a trust which he accepted, much
to the edification of a kind and affectionate
people, among whom he labored for many
years. Here, too, he married a wife, and
was bringing up a numerous family'in the
nurture. and admonition of the Lord.
But, after the death.of Henry the Eighth,
when the dear young Edward had set him,
self so vigorously to the work of purifying
the land from idols and vain observances,
Mr. Rogers began to reflect that. his servi-
cq as a religious teacher might, at this
junction, be more needed in England than
in Saxony, where the. Reformation was
already triumphant; and wben he receiv-
ed an urgent request from his young sov-
ereign, to return and labor at home, he
found himself unable to resist the appeal,
and repaired to London, where he was
made prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral,
and afterwards a divinity lecturer. Here
he remained during the brief duration of
Edward's reign, discharging the duties of

MM~M CCM~ rHMM-~-- ------- ---Y---- --- -
his elevated post with ability apd signal
But Mary had now ascended t ,ttgbne,
and was striving to trample do .PFtest-
antism, root and branch. S a he fly
from a perilous position, an- gin take
refuge among the quiet valley Saxony,
where he could still preach t e truth,
with none to molest or disturb bhim n- No.
Should he submit to the -requisitions of the
"man of sin," and return again to the
bosom of that corrupt and bloody ohu4K
which was gathering fresh vigor fSlegW
contemplation of the field already for a
reeking halti1 No. No. He would
stand bravely bde the band of fellow-
workers, who iL eady to go' to prison
and to death for t testignony of Jesus
And he did.
When it came his turn to preach in the
Cathedral, instead of counseling his people.
to compromise their consciences by a pacifi-
cation with Rome, he boldly exhorted them
to remain in the true doctrine, which the




Scriptures inculcate-which the sainted
Edward had stayed himself upon, in life
and 4eath, doubtless finding the end of his
faith in tie salvation of his soul. He warn-
ed them, plainly and solemply, to beware
of Popery asan evil and bitter thing, which
God hateth ; and counseled them to resist
unto the end, the encroachments of this old
leprosy of the Churoh, and cleave to the
simple truth as Christ taught it.
For such plain dealing, he was immedi-
;atly summoned before the Queen's Coun-
cil, where he was able to defend himself
with so much point and wisdom,*that his
accusers failed of theit dedl id he was
for that time set at liberty
Soon, however, the issued a proo-
lamation against t reaching or teach-
ing of Protestantism, charging those who
had hitherto done so, with sedition and her-
esy. Under the operation of this proclama-
tion, Mr. Rogers was again called before
the Council, to answer for his former dis-
courses at St. Paul's, and other places,


where he had fearlessly preiAed e truth.
He was assailed with a torrent 4reproah-.4
es and revilings, which ended fi a coe- -
mand to remain a. prisoner in his own
hod be. .
And here we can pereive ho6 rtog
were those principles of Christian inegrity,
which actuated him. He might easily have
escaped from the power of his enemies
by a secret flight. Perhaps they wished he
would, or were, at least, willing he should
make the attempt. Perhaps he was tempt-
ed to do so, by a eentemplation of the sad
condition into which his native land was
again plungd.and the little probability of
an immediate change for the better. His
flock in 'Saxony would welcome him as
their pastor again. There he might frtly
preach the truth as it is in Jesus; and
there, too, his youag family might find a
safe and peaceful abode.
Such considerations as these would fur-
nish powerfti1 motives to a good man, es-
pecially a good 'father, to avert the danger~

no-w-- ImpA--
which t reatened himself and his house-
hold; for, Mr. Rogers could not but know
his innocent wife and children would find
no favor at the hands of his persecutors,
because they belonged to a ministerpand
the Pope forbids ministers to marry, al-
though the Bible does no such thing.
But strong as the motives were to fly,
there were stronger to remain and face the
storm, which was beginning to burst over
the devoted realm. He had been called to
answer in Christ's cause; to that cause he
was pledged; and he chose to honor it by
life or death, whichever the Supreme Ruler
of earthly potentates might se most for his
own glory. He chose to suffer affliction
with the people of God rather than enjoy
the pleasures of peace and security for a
season; and so he remained a voluntary
prisoner, neither attempting to escape, or to
shun the perils which surrounded him.
His persecutors themselves were struck
with the consistency of this course; it
argued a conscience void of offence, and


this was very likely to reprove those,
who, in similar circumstances would fee
when no man pursueth." Ttey could
not enjoy the contrast with their own base
eye-ervice, which his conduct afforded:
and so, Bishop Bonner, one of the most
cruel of all the tools of the bloody Queen
Mary, commanded him to be removed from
his own house to Newgate Prison, where
the vilest of criminals were confined.
Think what a trial to a grave and pious
clergyman, to be thrown in among. thieves,
and blasphemers, and murderer whose
oaths and obscenity might shock the very
spirits which dwell in outer darkness. Bt
such was the portion of this good man, and,
doubtless, in imitation of his Master, who
freely went into the abodes of publicas
and sinners, to reclaim and reform thea,
Mr. Rogers tried to set before them that
gospel grace, which excludes not even the
most abandoned from the kingdom of glo-
ry, if they will but repent, forsake their


sins, and exercise faith in the Saviour of
SAfter a while, Mr. Rogers was again
brought before the Queen's Council, to be
examined concerning his guilt or innocence
of the charge of heresy. But they had pre-
viously determined to proceed in such a
manner as should leave him little chance
to defend himself by reasons and argu-
ments, which they could not answer, and
which they did not care that the people
should hear. So they asked him, at once,
if he would renounce his faith, and return
again to the Roman Church, and receive
the Pope as its great head.
He replied, that he knew no other Head
of the Church than Christ, the great Shep-
herd and 'Bishop of our souls;" denying
any other authority to the Pope than such
as other Bishops possess.
This excited great tumult and severe re-
proaches, which Mr. Rogers endured with
meekness, and yet with a firmness, which
all the brutal taunts of his angry enemies


failed, in the smallest degree, to intimidate.
He demanded the right to be heard, while
he defended his opinions and his? conduct,
claiming the protection of the laws of the
land, so long as he violated none of them.
But in vain he appealed to law, or right,
or justice; all these must bow down before
the blind bigotry of fierce fanatics. They
cut short his eloquent and urgent plea for
liberty to set his position in its true light
before the Council and the world, by ab-
ruptly offering him the Queen's mercy if
he would recant and conform, bidding him
avail himself of it speedily, for, neither
Mary nor St. Paul were in favor of making
long conference with heretics. Mr. Rogers
denied that he was a heretic, and began to
establish the point so clearly, thkt his ad-
versaries, perceiving the advantage he was
gaining, forthwith ordered him back to
prison. In his cell, he wrote an account of
this mock trial, which he concludes in thee .
words :
"The Lord Chancellor bade to prison



with me again. Away, away,' said he,
' we have others to examine; if I would
net be reformed, (so he termed it,) ihen
away, away At that moment I stood up,
for I had kneeled all the while, and one
who stood by, said to me, 'Thou wilt not
bur with this courage when it cometh to
that !' I answered, Sir, I cannot tell; but
I trust in my Lord God, yes !-and I lifted
mine eyes to Heaven !"
Ah, good John Rogers! He knew where
to look for help and strength in this hour
of extremity and peril. He well knew
whence cometh the renewing of the Christ-
ian's spiritual might, to do-to bear-to
venture-to overcome I And he was helped
to fight a good fight, to finish his course"
and enter into rest.
Back he went to his loathsome prison,
amidst scoffing and reviling, too opprobri-
ous to record; lamenting not that he was
reviled and evil-entreated; sich had been
the lot of his Divine Master when upon
earth; and he well believed that the "dis-


ciple was not above his master nor the ser-
vant above his lord," that he might count
on exemption from such trials-no-but
that he was not suffered fairly to "contend-
for the faith once delivered to the saints,"
and honestly to give a reason of the hope
that was within him," that all might see
and understand wherefore he was called to
suffer. He committed the history of his
insults and injuries to paper, asking the
prayers of all true Christians That both
he and all the brethren in the same case and
distress, might despise all manner of threats
and cruelty, and even the bitter, bring
fire, and the dreadful dart of death, and
stick like true soldiers to their dear and lov-
ingCaptain; that they might persevere in
the fight, if He would not otherwise choose
to deliver them, till they were cruelly slain
of His enemies. And if I die," he contin-
ues, addressing those of like precious faith,
"I must heartily, and with weeping tears,
pray you to be good to my poor and honest
wife, being a stranger, and all my little



souls, hers and my children-whom with
the whole faithful and true congregation of
Christ, the Lord of life and death save,
keep, and defend, in all the troubles and
assaults of this vain world, and bring at
the last to everlasting salvation; Amen-
Amen I"
At his next examination the scene of lev-
ity and clamor, among the council and by-
standers, baffles description; and the earn-
eat voice of Mr. Rogers, as he strove to
make his grave arguments heard above the
laughter, jeers, and mockery of his judges
was, as they intended, completely drowned
in the disgraceful uproar; and again he
writes in his cell an account of this 1" Sec-
ond confession, that should have been made,
if it might have been heard '.
At this odious manifestation of injustice,
the people, who had assembled to witness
the trial, expressed some sympathy with the
man whom many had known and reverdd
as a learned and faithful minister of Christ,
but who was now subjected to such wrong

T82 MARTYr 43

and outrage under the pretence of justice.
This the Bishops could not tolerate, and
thenceforth they took care to admit none to
the examinations but those base enough
to approve their offensive and abominable
Next day a similar scene was enacted in
the council chamber, whither the prisoner
was again brought. The Lord Chancellor
asked whether he would now accept the
Queen's mercy, which before had been of-
fered him; to which question Mr. Rogels
firmly replied, that having ascertained what
that mercy meant he utterly refused it; it
was the mercy, he said, with which the fox
or the wolf regard their prey; a mercy the
ravenOzl At.st can well afford to show the
hba.e .creiure so soon to glut his sav-
ag .~ti ; but he would accept justice
.plthe ihpds of his sovereign, 'and of her
iniisters,-nay, with honest vehemence, he
obca more demanded the right to defend
his opinions either verbally or in writing,
tid conjured the council by every motive


drawn from divine or human laws, to per-
mit him to do so, under circumstances be*
fitting the gravity and solemnity of the sub-
ject. But Bonner and Winchester were not
to be foiled of their prey by any seeming
regard to the rights of their helpless victim;
they refused longer to listen to him; he had
contemned the Queen's offer, and persisted
in adhering to his heretical doctrines-and
nothing now remained but to excommuni-
cate and degrade him, and deliver him up
td-the secular power for the endurance of
an ignominious death. To these childish
and frivolous ceremonies Mr. Rogers sub-
mitted with a dignity which threw addi-
tional odium on the heartless levity of his
persecutors. As he was about to be taken
to prison again, he said he had pne last and
most reasonable request to prefer, which he
trusted would not be denied.
What is it I asked the Chancellor.
"That my poor wife, being a stranger,
may come and speak with me as long as I
live;" replied Mr. Rogers, "for she hath

---------- M--- L-- --- ----------
ten children," he continued, that are hers
and mine, and I would counsel her what
were best to do when I am no longer here."
She is not thy wife!" angrily retorted
the Chancellor; "a priest cannot have a
wife, thou well knowest, and it is not fit
for thee to see this woman "
Indeed, my lord," urged the afflicted
and insulted prisoner, she hath been these
eighteen years my lawful wedded wife, the
virtuous mother of my little ones, and she
much needeth my counsel."
But nothing could move the pity of Win-
chester and his fellows. The humble pe-
tition was rejected, and with scoffs and rail-
ing on the subject of marriage among priests,
Mr. Rogers was once more remanded to
prison to pray for the little helpless group
he was about to leave like lambs in the midst
of prowling wolves; but he confided them
again and again, to the charge and keeping
of that good Shepherd who not only careth
for the sheep, but is likewise the door of
the fold, and he knew they were safe: and


though he might never more on earth be-
hold their loved and familiar countenances,
he had a joyful and sustaining trust that
the reunions of eternity would once more
gather them into his paternal arms, to
dwell in that "City which hath founda-
tions whose Builder and Maker is God."
And so he essayed to quiet the yearnings of
natural affection and prepare himself for
the altar of sacrifice.
He had now been in prison a year and a
half, and between his condemnation and ex-
ecution a few days only intervened; during
which he wrote many valuable and instruc-
tive things, although he knew it would be
the policy of his enemies to destroy what-
ever might tend to encourage or strengthen
others to endig, such a terrible "fight of
affliction," looking for the same recompense
of reward.
It was in the cell where he was confined
that those memorable lines which have
melted many a sensitive little heart, from
generation to generation, as the Primer has


----------------- ------- --- -, ,,
descended from father to child, were writ-
ten; but whether by Mr. Rogers, or by a
godly man who had been confined there
before him, is doubtful. To be sure the
metre and versification are not very pol-
ished, and sometimes the sense is Mo~
and involved; but when we remember
they were written almost three hundred
years ago, when our language was much
more imperfect than at present, and under
circumstances so unutterably trying,. and
in so near a prospect of one of the most
dreadful deaths which human cruelty can
possibly invent, we are ready to excuse
its faults and regard its excellences with
peculiar and reverential interest.
On the morning of Mon the fourth
of Feb., 1554, Mr. Ro asowakened
from a sound slum Bf!y the wife of his
keeper, who came to say that the time had
arrived, and to bid him make ready for the
fire. He received the terrible announce-
ment with perfect composure, and only re-
marked that he would need to spend little



time in dressing. He was once more taken
to Bishop Bonner, by whom the foolish
ceremony of degradation was performed,
which consisted in attiring the subject in
the robes of the Romish priesthood, made
of coarse canvass, placing a mitre upon his
head, and other tokens of ecclesiastical dig-
nity, and then, in the presence of the peo-
ple, stripping them off one by one, and de-
livering him to his executioners.
After this unmeaning mummery had been
submitted to, Mr. Rogers, with the hum-
blest, but most earnest importunity, once
more begged permission to see and speak
with his wife and children before his death.
This request, to the everlasting disgrace of
Bonner an his fellow-persecutors, was
again i n refused, and the martyr
proceed te M.i id, where the last
frightful scene of the tragedy was to take
On the way thither, however, Mr. Rogers
enjoyed a very unexpected gratification.
His poor wife, with ten children on foot


~--%0- -W W W W W W %0 %0 40 ---------
beside her, and a little new-born infspt in
her arms, had stationed themselves on the
road which he was to pass, and there they
had their last melting interview. It was
indeed a spectacle to try a heart of stone.
A great multitude of people who followed
to witness the end, were deeply affected,
and tears were shed, and lamentations and
wailing were heard on every hand. But
when they beheld the martyr with steadfast
faith and courage commend them fervently
to heaven, apd one by one take his last
earthly leave of the helpless young circle,
with prayers and blessings, yet with no evi-
dence of human weakness or repining, they
were constrained openly to glorify God in
his behalf, whose grace is sujcient for his
people in the darkest ext Jy. ,
Arrived at the stake, he addressed the p
pie briefly, exhorting them to abide fsith
fully in the doctrine which he had declared
to them; for the truth of which he was
about to add his dying testimony. He wvs

content, he said, not only to suffer such
bitterness and crifelty as had already been
shown him, but also to give his flesh to the
consuming fire for the witness of Jens."
One of the sheriffs, named *I,
asked him whether he would hot now re-
cant and renounce his heretical opinions?
He meekly replied, "'ciat which I have
preached, will I seal with my: blood !"
SThen thou shalt die an' accursed here-
tic I" rejoined the sheriff.
T'uat shall be known," answered the
martyr, at the day of judgment."
SWell," persisted the unfeeling wretch,
"I will never pray for thee!"
"But I will for thee," was the Christlike
His pardon W*s now brought and offered
him, while chained to the stake, if he would
even then consent to renounce Protestant-
ism; but with holy scorn he utterly refused
it, commending his cause into the hands of
the Divine Advocate, and fearing rather to
offend Him who can destroy both soul and


body, than those who mfay ,# tl bety,
but after that have no mquij they can
do." /
The pil was t light, and as the
flames rose about washed his hands
in them, witth a isdaift of mere phys-
ical iufferi ng,4 with the glory
which shoildp ortly allow. And thus,
with wond patiece and erenity, died
John Rogers, the firs martyr of the reign
of Bloody Maty.
SAfter the terrible scene was over,thb
desolate and distressed widow, with her
eldest son, Daniel, repaired to the cll in
which the now sainted husband and father
had spent the weary days of imprisonment,
in the hope of fining some token from his
own hand of the manner in which those
trying days had been borne. Very little
expectation had they, however, for they
knew his enemies would be vigilant to
destroy whatsoever they could find, that
none might be encouraged to do as he had



done, by being made acquainted with the
strong consolations which he had enjoyed.
They searched, with many bitter tears, and
were just about to leave the dreary spot,
with disappointed hearts at the fruitlessness
of their errand, when young Daelel charged
to cast his eyee beneath some neighboring
stairs, where lay a black object, partially
concealed by the darkness of the shadow.
He took it up; it was the cover of an old
book, but on being unfolded, was found
to contain the precious records of his
father's last thoughts, of his various exam-
inations, and other papers of inestimable
value to his loving friends, as well as to his
fellow-sufferers for the truth, which had
been written in the gloom of that miserable
dungeon, and thus hidden from the scrutiny
of his enemies.
From materials thus preserved, the pious
martyrologist, Fox, has prepared his brief
notice of Mr. Rogers. From this source,
the Primer obtained its touching poem; in-


deed, nearly every thing now known of this
good man, was derived from that concealed
old book-cover and its contents, which Mrs.
Rogers and Daniel bore away from New-
gate Prison. And enough it contained, to
show forth the excellency of that religion
which enabled him to triumph over insult,
affliction, persecution, pain, and death, in
defence of the truth.
We hope this sketch will do more than
merely gratify the curiosity of the young
reader in relation to its subject. We wish
it might impart additional glory, and beat-
ty, and desirableness, to that blessed, Christ.
ian cause, which so many good men have
been called to shed their blood in honoring
and upbuilding, and furnish an additional
incentive to childhood and youth to em-
brace it early; that it may be exemplified
and adorned by a long, and consistent, and
useful life.
The days of martyrdom are past; but
there are still difficulties to be overcome,


and obstacles to be removed, and exertions
to be made, and means to be provided, for
the spread and triumph of the truth in all
the earth. This must cost earnestness,
zeal, self-denial, and the pouring of vast
sums into the treasury of the Lord. This
is the toil and sacrifice required in our
favored times, dear children, and shall it be
required of you in vain ?




PERHAPS it would be neither uninteresting
nor irrelevant to append to the foregoing, a
brief account of one, who, in his very youth-
ful years, was called to wear the bright
crown of martyrdom. It is delightful to
contemplate the triumph of thdse high and
glorious truths, which' Jesus came to make
known to bur fallen and guilty world, in
persons of mature and manly age; but
when they shine forth in the young, with a
brilliancy which lights up the gloom of the
Valley of death, till it even weass an alluring
and inviting aspect, then, indeed, we behold
them in a form which challenges otir warm-
est and sincerest admiration, leading us to
exclaim, What hath God wrought I"


William Hunter, the subject of this
sketch, was born at Brentwood, in Eng-
land. His parents, though poor in this
world's goods, were rich in that "faith
which is the substance of things hoped for,
and the evidence of things not. seen," and
they had been enabled to rear their children
so successfully in that faith, that some of
them at least, very early exhibited the most
beautiful illustrations of the faithfulness of
that promise, Train up a child in the way
he should go, and when he is old he will
not depart from it." This youth, with his
brother Robert, were among those whose
names, it might reasonably be believed,
were early written among the sanctified.
William had been apprenticed to a silk-
weaver, in London, and had always ful-
filled his obligations to his master with
great fidelity and conscientiousness, remem-
bering that "one is our Master, even
Christ," and that he requires, according to
our various circumstances in life, custom to
whom custom is due, service to whom ser-


vice, fear to whom fear, and honor to whom
honor. How delightful it is to notice the
operation of such principles in the conduct
of those in subordinate stations; how trmly
they indicate the right spirit, and how eel-
dom, even in this world, they lose their re-
This lad had doubtless bee- greatly
profited by listening to the plain and spirit-
ual preaching of the Protestant clergymen
of the metropolis, during the reign of E&
ward the Sixth. Probably he had often
attended public worship at St.Paul'sCathe-
dral, where Mr. John Rogers, with other
pious and learned ministers, preached the
simple truth of the gospel to immense as.
semblies of earnest hearers. He had doubt
less improved such opportunities as the
times'afforded, for acquainting himself with
the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament, and, limited as they weOi it is
but justice to say, his familiarity with the
Bible should put to shame many a Sabbath
scholar, who has been the owner of a Bible


ever since he can remember, and yet knows
very little of its sacred contents. William
Hunter was obliged to go to some church or
chapel, in company, perhaps, with a dozen
more, who might be waiting for their turn
to read a few verses in the great, public
Bible chained to the desk. In these days,
how many would not read it at all, un-
der similar inconveniences. But William
thought no sacrifice too severe, to lay up a
store of its pearls of great price; and while
the privilege lasted, he was one of its most
eager and grateful participators.
But it was now about to be withdrawn.
A time of darkpess and trouble had come.
Edward, th blessed young reformer was
dead, and hi bloody successor and sister
had just ascended the throne, thence to send
down her name to posterity as the embodi-
ment of every thing harsh, cruel, capricious,
and unfeeling. Liberty to worship God, in
simplicity and sincerity, unencumbered by
the formulas and pageantries of the Romish
ritual, was now no more. Every one was


commanded to return to the old idolatries
and image worship of popery, at the peril
of liberty, and even life itself. Those who
refused, could count on little short of death;
for it was esteemed gross heresy, and for the
heretic, Rome knows no mercy.
It was in the first year of Queen Mary's
reign, that William Hunter, then an ap-
prentice in London, as we have before men-
tioned, was met one day by the priest of the
parish where his mother resided, and com-
tnanded to attend mass on the following
Easter. Now the mass is one of the most
idolatrous and absurd of all the observances
of the Romish church; and Wiliam, hold-
ing it id abhorrence, in common with all
Protestants, refused to attend. The priest
was very angry, and after in vain attempting
to enforce his command by exciting the
boy's fears, threatened him 'with the ven-
geance of the Bishop. When his master
heard of William's altercation with the
priest, and how it had terminated, he began
to think that if the threat was put in exe-


cation, he himself might be implicated in
the affair, and thereby get into trouble. So
he told William his apprehensions, and de-
sired him to leave his employment, if he
could not conform to the requisitions of the
priest. This of course he could not do,
and therefore he left his master, and re-
turned to his father's house at Brentwood.
A few weeks afterwards, William went
into the chapel, and opened the great Bible
on the desk to read. The Bibles were not
yet removed from the public places, although
it was fast becoming a dangerous practice
to read them, and one looked upon with
extreme jealousy by the priests. As William
Hunter read aloud, probably for the benefit
of some present on a like errand, who could
not so well makq out the sense of the sacred
oracles, a priest, named Attwell, stepped
up and began to rebuke him sharply,'for
meddling with a book he could neither un-
derstand or expound; and added, that it
was never a merry world since the Bible
came abroad in English.

William ventured modestly to dissent
from this opinion; he expressed bis rever-
ence for God's word, and hia sense of the
blessing conferred on the people by its cir-
This the priest disputed with warmth,
alleging the. incapacity of the common
mind to comprehend it;, the priests and
ecclesiastics alone should have to do with
the Bible; they ean impact to the people
what is suited to their understanding aa4
wants. .
William could not assent to such views,
and he still attempted to defend the gromud
he had taken, till priest Atwell, flying into
a rage with the youth, reproached him as a
heretic, promising, i, a rude way "that if
he dia not tua over a new leaf he would
broiL for it !"
"God give, me, graee," said the youth,
"that I may believe his Word and confess
his name, whatever come thereof."
"Confess his name!" cried Auwell,-


"you will confess it in perdition all of you
Protestants, and you deserve no more !"
William meekly rejoined, You say not
well, Father Attwell,".' at which,' remarks
the martyrologist, 'the priest ran out in a
rage, and from an ale-house hard by,
brought in another priest of some higher
authority than himself, who immediately
began to question young Hunter.'
"Sirrah," said he, who gave you leave
to read and expound the Bible ?"
William replied that he did not pretend
to expound it, but only read therein for his
own comfort.
But that was far from satisfying the
priests, who rebuked him for presuming
even to do that, and proceeded to inquire how
he regarded certain doctrines of the Popish
creed, particularly that of Transubstan-
tiation, on which they have always laid
great stress. This doctrine, children, teach-
es that the bread and wine used in the
sacrament is changed after its consecration,
into the real body and blood of our Saviour,


instead of emblems of the same, as re-
garded by Protestants; an idea at once ~o
monstrous and absurd that the common
sense of a child would repel it. This was
one of the doctrines, a denial of which,
always proved dangerous, and very often
fatal to the martyrs, as it was esteemed
unequivocal evidence of the rankest heresy.
It was for the sake then of drawing this
youth into a snare, that Father Attwell and
the other priest, who was called a vicar,
asked what he thought of the doctrine of
Transubstantiation, so plainly proved, they
said, in the sixth chapter of St. John's
William boldly declared he found no
such doctrine there; whereupon they cried
out upon him as a convicted heretic, and
after further taunting and threatening him,
they departed to execute their evil inten-
The vicar went immediately to a justice
named Brown, and related what had passed,
with such exaggerations of the truth as he



pleased to make. Justice Brown immedi-
ately sent the constable for William's fa-
ther, who had just heard from his son's lips
what had occurred in the chapel, and had
insisted that he should try to escape from
the danger he had incurred by so candid a
testimony for the truth. They questioned
the old man about William, and inquired
whither he had gone; but he could not tell.
The justice at first threatened, and then
flattered him with many fair promises that
no harm should come to either of them, if
he would discover his son's retreat, and
S bring him back. Money was also offered,
which the poor old man indignantly re-
fused. But to satisfy the justice, and pre-
vent any bad consequences if possible, he
rode about the country for several days,
neither intending nor wishing to find Wil-
liam: but greatly to his distress and dis-
may, he unexpectedly met him on the road,
and with many tears communicated the
errand on which he was sent, proposing in
the agony of his paternal heart, to go back


to Brentwood as if unsuccessful. To this,
however, the upright nature of this excel-
lent youth would not consent, and so he
voluntarily returned with his father.
He was instantly seized by the constable
and put in the stocks for the night. This
species of confinement consists in securing
the feet through apertures in strong pieces
of timber, while the rest of the body is at
liberty, but obliged to maintain a most un-
comfortable and uneasy position. But to
this the ladwas perfectly willing to submit:
indeed, he well understood, that this was
one of the very lightest inflictions he was
likely to endure if he witnessed a good con-
fession for his Divine Master; as by his
assisting grace he was firmly resolved
to do.
The next morning he was taken before
Justice Brown: who, after a very coarse
and angry greeting designed to intimidate
his youthful prisoner, called for a Bible
and opened it, saying, I hear say you are
a Scripture man-you can reason and ex-



pound as much as pleaseth you!" He
then alluded to what he had said to the
vicar in the chapel.
"When we consider," says William's biog-
rapher, "the very limited education enjoyed
by persons of his rank in life, it becomes
doubly interesting to trace the enlightening
effect produced on their mental no less than
their spiritual understanding by the study
of God's word, which is able to make the
most ignorant, wise unto salvation. The
justice no doubt, thought he might easily
silence a poor apprentice boy, by his united
learning and authority." Mark how en-
tirely he failed. Turning from the sixth
of John to the twenty second of Luke,
he said, "Look here; Christ saith, that
the bread is his body I"
William reflected a moment, and then
replied, "The text saith how Christ took
bread, but not that he changed it into
another substance," (as the word Transub-
stantiation signifies) "but gave that which
he took, and brake that which he gave,

TEB BOt O lr W TY t;. 6f

which was nothing but bread as i evident
from the text."
At this, Mr. Brown in great anger, took
the Bible, turned over the leaves, apd
flung it down again violently, exclaiming,
SThou naughty boy 1 Thou wilt not take
things as they are, but expound them to
thy mind. Doth not Christ call the bread
his body plainly 1 And their wilt not be-
lieve that the bread is his body even after
consecration. Thr t goest about to make
Christ a liar!
"I mean not so, sir," answered William;
"but rather, more earnestly to searh what
the mind of Christ is in that holy institu-
tion wherein he commandeth us to remem-
ber his suffering, death, and resurrection,
saying, This do in remembrance of me.'
And also, though Christ call the bread his
body, as he doth also say that he is a vine,
a door, and yet is not his body tumlik
bread any more than he is turned lto
a door or a vine. He here useth figures of


The justice grew at every word more
enraged; he was unable to carry on the
argument, perceiving that William had the
advantage, and therefore could only utter
scoffs and taunts and reviling in reply to
him, till weary of his brutality and the
confusion of the same, he requested of the
justice that he would either suffer him to
anwer for himself, and hear him quietly,
or else send him away."
Indeed, I will send thee away tomor-
row to my lord of London, and he shall
examine thee to thy content," answered
the magistrate; and he was as good as his
word; for he immediately wrote a letter to
Bonner, the cruel Bishop of London, and
the next day dispatched it and young
William together by the constable.
In his first interview with Bishop Bon-
ner, that crafty persecutor began with
great mildness to talk with him, promising
that if he would at once turn to the Roman
Catholic faith, all that had passed should
be overlooked. The youth answered,

'TH sOt mSksYilt'. W9

"that he had never fallen ftom the OA
tholic church of Christ, but believed and
confessed it with a1l his heart."
The Bishop that inquired cenceroing
his belief in the doctrine of Traneubstan-
tiation, to wtMbd he replied,
I undereteod jtiese Brown te have
certifed your lordship ef my opinions in
that matter; which, by Godb help I will
never recant!"
The artful Bishop then suggested that he
might be ashamed to recant openly; but if
he would there, between themselves alone,
acknowledge his error and eenform, he
promised it should go no farther and he
might 'return home in pease.
The youth replied that he would gladly
return to live with his father, o his matter,
if he might be allowed liberty of con-
science; if no one would disquiet his con-
science he would intrade his opinions upon
The Bishop readily agreed to this,
provided he would go to the church, ~nd


ouwardly observe al their ceremonies and
superstitions I
This, our heroic young confessor hon-
estly declared he would not do for the
worth of the world!
Bonner now, as might have been ex-
pected, flew into a passion, and changed
his policy and his tone towards William
Hunter. His mild expostulations and
promises had been lost upon a youth
whom he was quite sure of winning over
to popery by a few smooth and flattering
words, but whom he found quite as obsti-
nate and self-willed as any of the doctors
of divinity I
You will not recant exclaimed the
Bishop; "L will make you do so in good
earnet, I warrant you I"
"You can do no more than God will
permit you," replied William, humbly.
"Wilt thou not indeed recant shouted
No, never, while I live, God willing,"
he answered firmly.


Upon this, a command was given to
place him once more in the stocks, where
he sat for two days and nights, with only
a crust of brown bread and a cup of water
provided for his refreshment. The Bishop
paid him a visit at the end of this time,
expecting to find his courage very essen-
tially daunted. Seeing the bread and water
untouched beside him, he ordered hiksrv-
ants to liberate him and give him a sub-
ptantial meal. Afterwards the Bishop sent
for him, and again tried to persuade him
to renounce his heretical opinions, as he
chose to regard them; but with no better
success than before. Bonner then re-
proached him for denying the faith in
which he was baptized.
"I was baptized in the faith of the Holy
Trinity," answered the resolute boy; "the
which I will never go from, God' assisting
me by his grace."
Bonner now lost all patience; he de-
livered him to the keeper of the felon's
prison, and commanded that he should be



loaded with irons,, as many as he could
bear; telling William, after h had. in-
quired his age, that he. would be burned
before he was. a year older, if he. did not
William simply replied, "God strengthen
me in his truth!" and so went meekly to
Here he remained for nine months,
quietly enduring the miseries allotted him
and even rejoicing that he, a meie boy,
was accounted worthy of so distinguished
an honor in the church, as to suffer for his
dear Saviour's sake.
But the designing Bishop Bonuer seemed
bent on his apostasy; fearing, doubtless,
the effect of such heroic faith in one so
young, upon the common people, particu-
larly those of his age. and station, who in
every community are very numerous, and
therefore powerful. He had sent for him
no less than five times since his imprison-
ment, to make at each interview some fresh
assault upon his courage and constancy.


But all was in vain; the Lord was pleased
so to sustain his youthful servant in the
midst of his severe trials and temptations,
that he was able to trample under foot the
manifold devices by which the Adversary
sought to draw away his soul from its
At last he was condemned to be taken
back to Brentwood, his native town, and
there burnt to ashes! Others were con-
demned at the same time; and after re-
ceiving his sentence he was set aside to
speak with Bonner when the rest should
be dismissed to 1hdr prisons.
"Once more I give thee choice between
life and death," said the Bishop; "thy sen-
tence can yet be revoked;-and if thou wilt
even now recant, thou shalt be no loser
thereby in point of worldly thrift; for I
will make thee a freeman in the city, and
give thee forty pound in good money to set
up thy occupation withal; or, I will make
thee steward of my house, and set thee in
office. I like thee well, for thou hast wit


enough, and will surely prefer thee if thou
Ah, how sore a temptation-how wily a
stratagem to entrap a young and unwary
soul! To be rewarded, enriched, patron-
ized, and even raised to some lucrative of-
fice by so great a man as the Bishop of
London! He, a poor apprentice boy! But
mark how that blessed promise to the faith-
ful was fulfilled, "My grace is sufficient for
thee !"
I thank you for your generous offers,"
replied the steadfast youth; "' notwithstand-
ing, my lord, I cannot find in my heart to
turn from God for the love of the world;
for I count all things but loss in compari-
son with the love of Christ!" Noble,
apostolic confession !
"Well," retorted the disappointed Bish-
op, "I have now done with thee; but let
me tell thee, if thou diest in this mind,
thou art condemned forever."
"God judgeth righteously," William an.


swered, "and justifieth them whom. man
condemneth unjustly !"
William Hunter remained a month
longer in prison and was then conducted to
Brentwood, his home, there to glorify God
by offering up his life on the altar of his
The day designated for his execution
proved a popish holiday, and therefore it
was deferred till the morrow; thus afford-
ing an opportunity they would not other-
wise have enjoyed, for his afflicted friends
to visit him. But precious as such a son
must have been, his pious parents instead
of lamenting over his fate, gave thanks to
God for his steadfastness in confessing the
truth, and prayed with moving importunity
that he might thus endure unto the end.
His beloved mother, although her heart
was bursting with the natural tenderness and
sympathy of maternal love, and fully aware
that her son's eternal gain would be her ir-
reparable earthly loss, could yet rejoice that
she was so happy as to possess a child who



could find in his heart to lose his life for
the testimony of Jesus. Again and again
she expressed these thoughts to William,
whom they greatly animated and consoled.
"Ah, yes, mother!" he answered, "for
the little pain that I may suffer, Christ
hath promised me a crown of endless joy,-
may you not be glad of that motherV"
With that his mother kneeled down say-
ing, I pray God strengthen thee to the
end, my son, that this crown and this pre-
cious inheritance may certainly be thine."
At these words, a pious gentleman of the
neighborhood, a Mr. Higbed, who was him-
self ordained to serve his Lord and Master
by the sacrifice of his life on the altar of
martyrdom, came in and heartily rejoiced
with the parents of the devoted youth that
they were so honored as to call him their
son; and like Abraham of old offer him an
acceptable and a willing sacrifice to heaven.
Other friends said the same, and many
importunate petitions went up to the
throne of grace that the young confessor


might patiently and gloriously attain the
end of his faith, even the salvation of his
soul; comforted by his Father's rod and
staff while he walked through fiery billows
to the haven of eternal rest.
It was in an inn at Brentwood that this
interview took place; for William was not
allowed to tarry till the fatal hour under
his father's roof, but kept under guard of
sheriffs and constables at the public house.
A great many of his young friends and
acquaintances called to have a last sight of
their old playmate under circumstances so
terribly trying; some began to reason with
him, and try to persuade him to save his
life by recanting; while he in return,
earnestly admonished them to turn from
the idolatries and superstitions of the church
of Rome, and serve God with that sim-
plicity and spirituality which his word
At length the appointed morning dawned,
and William was roused from a disturbed
sleep, which indicated by an unusual noise

----------- ,,-~-~--~,,,,------
and agitation, that some conflict was going
on in imagination. His friend, Mr. Higbed,
asked him what he had been dreaming. It
was a dream, shortly after verified; that of
vehemently rejecting a pardon offered him
at the stake!
The son of the sheriff who had been
William's friend and playfellow from in-
fancy, came in soon after, deeply affected by
the grim preparations going on for the
burning. He wept convulsively, and throw-
ing his arms around the young martyr's
neck, and with childlike pity, and sim-
plicity, said to him, Willy, do not be
afraid of these men who are coming with
scowling faces and heavy weapons to carry
you to the place where you are to be burned
up Oh, William! Oh, William How can
you 7 How dare you ? "
I thank God, I am not afraid," replied
the lad, returning his friend's embrace; I
have cast my counts already what it will
cost me, as well as what it will gain me;-
an incorruptible inheritance, an unfading


crown, riches without wings, and the peace
of God which passeth understanding!"
The sheriff's son could reply only by his
fast flowing tears, and thus they parted.
With a cheerful countenance, and a light
step, this heroic young soldier of Christ
then gathered up his robe, and proceeded to
the place of execution, led on one side by
the sheriff, and on the other by his affec-
tionate and faithful brother Robert, who
had been untiring in his efforts to comfort
and sustain him in the near prospect of
an agonizing death. There is a natural
dread of physical suffering which even ex-
alted faith is not always entirely able to
subdue; and William doubtless derived
both strength and courage from his pious 4
brother's constant and cheering suggestions.
At any rate it furnished a beautiful exam-
ple of fraternal tenderness, to accompany
him to the very scene, and through the
very endurance of his last dreadful suffer-
ing, braving every hazard to which such
disinterested affection exposed him.



On the road they met their old gray-
headed father, weeping at the heart-rending
spectacle. God be with thee, my son,
William," sobbed the afflicted parent.
And God be with you, good father,"
replied he; be of good comfort, for I am
sure we shall meet again, where we shall
all be merry !"
The poor father answered, I hope so,
William and took his final leave of his
beloved boy.
Were not the parents of this blessed
youth," writes one, partakers in a special
degree, of the faith of Abraham? Was it
not a holy and acceptable sacrifice which
they so meekly, and so unrepiningly, yea,
Sso thankfully offered upon the altar of their
steadfast faith 7 Oh, that the tale may sink
deep into the heart of every parent who
hears it. The day may yet come that shall
test them and their children even with
fire !"
When William Hunter arrived at the
spot where the execution was to take place,


every thing was in so unprepared a state,
that much delay was likely to be occa-
sioned; and therefore in the most profitable
manner to occupy the brief remainder of
life, he took a bundle of sticks prepared for
his burning, and kneeling down upon it,
commenced reading the fifty-first Psalm;-
a portion of Scripture especially precious
to the sufferers for Jesus' sake. But the
cruel fanaticism of some Romanist by-
standers, interrupted even his last humble
devotions. A letter from the queen was
brought, offering him pardon if he would re-
cant; if not, he was to be burned immedi-
ately. V
"No, no!" he exclaimed, with fervent
emphasis, I will never recant, God will-
ing And rising from his knees he went
up to the stake, and placed himself upright
against it, where he was immediately
chained by his old and bitter enemy, Justice
This hard-hearted and bigoted magis-
trate, bustled about with great apparent


complacency in the scene, in which he was
a prominent actor, as he had been a pro-
curer in an important sense; and he seemed
to regard the meek young lamb he had
led to the slaughter, with the same sav-
age delight with which the hungry tiger
eyes a victim already in his merciless
More faggots,-more faggots! roared
the justice, there is not wood enough to
burn a leg of him! "
Good people," exclaimed William,
"pray for me; and make speed to despatch
me quickly !-Oh, pray, pray for me while
ye see I live, and I will pray for you like-
wise !"
"Pray for thee! exclaimed the inhu-
man justice; I will no more pray for thee
than I would pray for a dog! "
William calmly replied, "' Mr. Brown,
you now have my life,-that which you
sought for; I pray God it be not laid to
your charge in the last day; for I most
heartily forgive you! "


I ask no forgiveness of thee," retorted
the hardened persecutor.
I forgive thee, notwithstanding," re-
joined William, and if God forgive
you, I will not require my blood at your
Then looking upward, he ejaculated,
" Son of God, shine upon me! and at the
same moment, from the sky, which had
been darkly overspread with clouds, there
shot forth so dazzling a ray of sunshine,
full in the young martyr's upturned face,
that he was compelled through the sudden
and excessive splendor to look another way.
This incident was much remarked by the
people who stood round him.
At this moment a Romish priest ap-
proached Robert Hunter, desiring him to
carry a book he held in his hand to his
brother, in order that he might be induced
by its contents to recant. But Robert refused
to touch it, and so the priest himself drew
near to the stake where William stood
chained, and holding the book open before



him, requested him to read therein. He
recoiled from both book and priest, bidding
him away with his false doctrines, and
once more exhorting the people to come out
from the abominations of Popery.
The priest indignantly remarked to him,
Look, how thou burnest here-so shalt
thou burn in the deepest hell The true
spirit of Romanism toward those who obey
not her decrees," in all ages.
Fire was now applied to the pile, while
some pious voice cried out, "God have
mercy on his soul," and all the people vehe-
mently responded, Amen, Amen! "
As the flame arose William cast his
Psalter right into his brother's hand. Wil-
liam, dear William!" said the agonized
Robert, "Think on the sufferings of our
blessed Lord, and be not afraid of death! "
I am not afraid," gasped the poor
young sufferer, Lord, Lord, Lord, receive
my spirit!"
Then he bowed his head over the volumes
of suffocating smoke which arose from the


wet wood, and very soon was beyond the
reach of all human torture; having entered,
as a good and faithful servant, into the joy
of his Lord.




Rev. Dr. Vaughan, an eminent Congrega-
tional Minister, and President of the Lan-
cashire Independent College, in a lecture
on Persia, related the following anecdote:
He said that he well remembered when
very young, possessing, for the first time, a
guinea. He remembered too, that this cir-
cumstance cost him no little perplexity and
anxiety. As he passed along the streets,
the fear of losing his guinea induced him
frequently to take it out of his pocket to
look at it. First he put it into one pocket,
and then he took it out and put it into an-
other: after a while he took it out of the
second pocket and placed it in another, real-
ly perplexed what to do with it. At length
his attention was arrested by a book auction.
He stepped in and looked about him. First


one lot was put up, and then another, and
sold to the highest bidder. At last he ven-
tured to the table just as the auctioneer was
putting up the History of the World," in
two large folio volumes. He instantly
thrust his hand into his pocket, and began
turning over his guinea, considering all the
while whether he had money to buy this lot.
The bidding proceeded; at last he ventured
to bid too. Hallo, my little man," said
the auctioneer, what, not content with less
than the whole world ?" This remark
greatly confused him, and drew the atten-
tion of the whole company towards him,
who, seeing him anxious to possess the
books, refrained from bidding against him,
and so the "World" was knocked down
to him at a very moderate price. How to
get these books home was the next consid-
eration. The auctioneer offered to send
them, but he not knowing what sort of
creatures auctioneers were, determined to
take them himself. So, after the assistant
had tied them up, he marched out of the


room with these huge books on his shoul-
ders, like Sampson with the gates of Gaza,
amidst the smiles of all present. When he
reached his home, after the servant had
opened the door, the first person he met was
his mother. My dear boy," said she,
" what have you got there ? I thought you
would not keep your guinea long." Do
not be angry, mother," said he, throwing
them down upon the table, I have bought
the World' for nine shillings." This was
on Saturday, and he well remembered sit-
ting up till it was well nigh midnight, turn-
ing over this History of the World."
These books became his delight, and were
carefully read through and through. As he
grew older he at length became a Christian,
and his love of books naturally led him to
desire to become a Christian minister. To
the possession of these books he attributed,
in a great measure, any honors in connec-
tion with literature that had been added to
his name. He did not mention the circum-
stance to gratify any foolish feeling, but to


encourage, in young persons, that love of
literature which had afforded him such un-
speakable pleasure- pleasure which he
would not have been without for all the
riches of the Indies.


Cling to thy mother-for she was the first
To know thy being, and to feel thy life;
The hope of thee through many a pang she nursed,
And when 'midst anguish like thy parting strife,
Her babe was in her arms, the agony
Was all forgot, for bliss of loving thee.
Uphold thy mother-close to her warm heart
She carried, fed thee, lulled thee to thy rest;
Then taught thy tottering limbs thy untried art,
Exulting in the fledgling from her nest;
And now her steps are feeble-be her stay,
Whose strength was thine, in thy most feeble day.
Cherish thy mother-brief perchance the time
May be, that she may claim the care she gave;
Passed are her hopes of youth, her harvest prime
Of joy on earth; her friends are in the grave;


BNtfor her 8eUi M" could lay her head
Gladly to rers"tg her precious dead.

Be tender with thy mother-words unkind,
Or light neglect from thee will give a pang
To that fond bosom, where thou art enshrined
In love unutterable, more than fang
Of venomed serpent;--wound not her strong trust,
As thou would'st hope for peace when she is in the

Mother beloved! oh, may I ne'er forget,
Whatever be my grief, or what my joy,
The unmeasured, the unextinguishable debt
I owe thy love; but find my sweet employ,
Ever, through thy remaining days, to be
To thee as faithful as thou art to me."



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