Reformation Week Reflection #3

The story of the death of the two English Reformers Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley is well known. Ryle recounts their meeting and death at the stake:

Ridley first entered the place, and earnestly holding up both his hands, looked towards heaven. Shortly after, seeing Latimer, he ran to him, embraced and kissed him, saying, “Be of good cheer, brother, for God will either assuage the fury of the flames or else strengthen us to abide it.”…

Then they brought a faggot kindled with fire, and laid it down at Ridley’s feet, to whom Latimer then spake in this manner: “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

And so the fire being kindled, when Ridley saw the fire flaming I up towards him, he cried with a loud voice, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: Lord, receive my spirit!” and repeated the latter part often. Latimer, crying as vehemently on the other side of the stake, “Father of heaven, receive my soul!” received the flame as if embracing it. After he had stroked his face with his hands, and as it were bathed them a little in the fire, he soon died, as it appeared, with very little pain.

We do well not to forget why they gave their lives for Christ: it was for the purity of the doctrine of communion. Had they agreed that the elements of communion contained the literal body and blood of Christ, their lives would have been spared. But they vehemently refused to agree to the Catholic doctrine because such teaching destroys the doctrines of the finished work of Christ, and the priestly work of Christ.

May God give us similar resolve to stand boldly on gospel truth.

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