Who's On Trial?
INTRODUCTION: Hugh Latimer Before Henry VIII
"In Oxford, England, which I visited recently, stands a striking statue of three men burned at the stake there in October of 1555: Thomas Cramner, Thomas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer, three of the most visible victims of Queen Mary's persecution. Latimer had been twice imprisoned for the faith in the latter years of Henry's reign, but he had remained a staunch defender of the Reformed doctrine of justification. He once wrote, ‘If I see the blood of Christ with the eye of my soul, that is true faith that his blood was shed for me.'
Most famous for his preaching at St. Paul's Cross, Latimer was called before the king one day and demanded to offer public apology for what Henry found offensive in Latimer's message. As the story goes, he read the same text he had used the previous Sunday and then said aloud,
‘Hugh Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high and mighty monarch, the king's most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest: therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease. But then consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest -- upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great and mighty God, who is all-present and who beholdeth all thy ways, and who is able to cast thy soul into hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.
With that, Latimer began the same sermon he had preached to his congregation.
In a very significant sense all the Reformers were much like the apostle Paul both in doctrine and behavior. In this chapter we find Paul before a formal court of law presided over by the officially appointed Roman governor. Yet his message hasn't changed. With deep conviction and holy energy he proclaimed his faith that day."
Through the power of God, Christians can deliver calm witness, even in the most stressfu ...
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