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lose their reward. “Behold, we count them happy which endure : the spirit of glory and of God rests upon them. Their's, says the Saviour, is the kingdom of heaven.”
When one of the kings of France solicited M. Bougier, who was a protestant, to co:form to the Roman Catholic religion, promising him in return a commission, or a government-“ Sire!” replied he, “ if I could be persuaded to betray my God for a marshal's staff, I might be induced to betray my king for a bribe of much less value.”
Under the reign of paganism, a Christian woman, notwithstanding her pregnancy, was condemned to die for her profession. The day before her execution she fell into labour, and, crying out in her pangs, the jailor insulted her, saying, you make a noise to-day, how will you endure a violent death to-morrow?" To which she replied,
To-day I suffer what is ordinary, and have only ordinary assistance; to-morrow Iam to suffer what is more than ordinary, and shall believe for more than ordinary assistance.” 0, woman! great was
Sir William Askew, of Kelsay, in Lincolnshire, was blessed with several daughters. His second, named Ann, had received a genteel education, which, with an agreeable person and good understanding, rendered her a very proper person to be at the head of a family. Her father, regardless of his daughter's inclination and happiness, obliged her to marry a gentleman, who had nothing to recommend him but his fortune, and who was a most bigotted papist. No sooner was he convinced of his wife's regard for the doctrines of the reformation from popery, than, by the instigation VOL. III.
of the priests, he violently drove her from his house, though she had borne him two children, and her conduct was unexceptionable. Abandoned by her husband, she came up to London in order to procure a divorce, and to make herself known to that part of the court who either professed or were favourers of protestantism ; but as Henry VIII, with consent of parliament, had just enacted the law of the Six Articles, commonly called the Bloody Statute, she was cruelly betrayed by her own husband, and upon his information taken into custody, and examined concerning her faith. The act above mentioned denounced death against all those who should deny the doctrine of transubstantiation, or that the bread and wine made use of in the sacrament, were not converted, after consecration, into the real body and blood of Christ; or maintain the necessity of receiving the sacrament in both kinds; or affirm that it was lawful for priests to marry : that the vows of celi. bacy might be broken ; that private masses were of no avail; and that auricular confession to a priest was not necessary to salvation. Upon these articles she was examined by the inquisitor, a priest, the Lord Mayor of London, and the Bishops' Chancellor, and to all their queries gave proper and pertinent answers; but, not being such as they approved, she was sent back to prison, where she remained eleven days, to ruminate alone on her alarming situation, and was denied the small consolation of a friendly visit. The king's council being at Greenwich, she was once more examined by Chancellor Wriothesley, Gardiner Bishop of Winchester, Dr. Cox, and Dr. Robinson ; but, not being able to convince her
of her supposed errors, she was sent to the Tower. It was strongly suspected that Mrs. Askew was favoured by some ladies of high rank, and that she carried on a religious correspondence with the queen; so that the Chancellor Wriothesley, hoping that he might discover something that would afford matter of impeachment against that princess, the Earl of Hertford, or his countess, who all favoured the reformation, ordered her to be put to the rack; but her fortitude in suffering, and her resolution not to betray her friends, were proof against that diabolical invention. Not a groun, not a word could be extorted from her.
The chancellor, provoked with what he called her obstinacy, augmented her tortures with his own hands, and with unheard-of violence; but her cou. rage and constancy were invincible, and these barbarians gained nothing by their cruelties but everJasting disgrace and infamy. As soon as she was taken from the rack, she fainted away ; but, being recovered, she was condemned to the Aames. Her bones were dislocated in such a manner, that they were forced to carry her in a chair to the place of execution. While she was at the stake, letters were brought her from the Lord Chancellor, of. fering her the king's pardon if she would recant; but she refused to look at them, telling the mes. senger," that she came not thither to deny her Lord and Master.” The same letters were also tendered to three other persons condemned to the same fate, and who, animated by her example, refused to accept them : whereupon the Lord Mayor commanded the fire to be kindled, and with savage ignorance cried out, Fiat JustitiaLet justice take its course. The faggots being lighted, she commended her soul, with the utmost composure, into the hands of her Maker, and, like the great Founder of the religion she professed, expired, praying for her murderers, July 16, 1546, about the 25th year of her age,
“I do not know," observes a good writer, “ if all circumstances be considered, whether the history of this or any other nation can furnish a more illustrious example than this now related. To her father's will she sacrificed her own inclinations; to a husband, unworthy of her affections, she behaved with prudence, respect, and obedience. The secrets of her friends, she preserved inviolable, even amidst the tortures of the rack. Her constancy in suffering, considering her age and sex, was equal, at least, if not superior, to any thing on record, and her piety was genuine and unaffected, of which she gave the most exalted prooi, in dying a martyr for the cause of her reli. gion and liberty of conscience. But who can read this example, and not lament and detest that spirit of cruelty and inhumanity which are imbibed and cherished in the church of Rome! a spirit repugnant to the feelings of nature, and directly opposite to the conduct and disposition of the Great Author of our religion, who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”
THE CONVERTED INN-KEEPER.
WHEN the Rev. Mr. - went to his living in the country, a very great audience collected from the neighbouring towns and villages, in one of which lived an old inn-keeper, who, having
made free with his own tap, had well carbuncled his nose and face, which bore the visible marks of his profession. He had heard the report of the concourse at this church, as many went from his own town; but he always stoutly swore he would never be found among the fools who were running there : on hearing, however, of the particularly pleasing mode of singing at the church, his curi. osity was a little excited, and he said he did not know but when next Pn feast came, which was half way, he might go and hear the singing; but, with some imprecation, that he would never hear a word of the sermon.
He lived about six miles distant, and, when Pn feast came, after dining with a party, instead of staying to drink, he came to the afternoon service, merely to hear the singing at the church, with a full resolution of keeping his vow, and excluding every word of the sermon..
He was a corpulent man, and, as it was a hot summer's day, he came in all of a perspiration, and having with difficulty found admission into a narrow open pew with a lid, as soon as the hymn before sermon was: sung, which he heard with great attention, he leaned forward, and, fixing his elbows on the lid, secured both his ears against the sermon with his fore-fingers. He had not been in this position many minutes before the prayer finished, and the sermon commenced with an awful appeal to the consciences of the hearers, of the necessity of attending to the things which made for their everlasting peace; and the minister addressing them solemnly,“ He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," Just the moment before these words were pronounced, a fly had fastened on the