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ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY'S SPEECH;
OR, HIS FUNERAL SERMON,
Preached by himself on the scaffold on Tower-bill, on Friday the Tenth
of January, 1644, upon Hebrews xii. 1, 2. Also, the prayers which he used at the same time and place before his execution. All faithfully written by John Hinde, whom the Archbishop beseeched that he would not let any wrong be done him by any phrase in false copies.
Licensed and entered according to Order.
London, printed by Peter Cole, at the sign of the Printing-press in Cornhill, neat
the Royal-Exchange, over-against Pope's-Head-alley, 1644. Quarto, containing twenty pages.
Hebrews xii. 1, 2. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Good People, COU will pardon my old memory, and upon so sad occasions as I
trust myself otherwise.
Good People, This is a very uncomfortable place to preach in, and yet I shall begin with a text of scripture in the twelfth of the Hebrews :
Let us run with patience the race that is set before us; looking un. to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'
I have been long in my race, and how I have looked unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, is best known to him: I am now come to the end of my race, and here I find the cross, a death of shame, but the shame must be despised, or there is no coming to the right band of God: Jesus despised the shame for me, and, God forbid, but I should despise the shame for him. I am going a-pace, as you see, towards the Red Sea, and my feet are upon the very brinks of it, an argument, I hope that God is bringing me to the land of promise, for that was the
way by which of old he led his people: But, before they came to the sea, he instituted a passover for them, a Lamb it was, but it was to be eaten with very sowre herbs, as in the twelfth of Exodus.
I shall obey, and labour to digest the sowre herbs, as well as the lamb, and I shall remember that it is the Lord's passover: I shall not think of the herbs, nor be angry with the hands which gathered them, but look up only to him who instituted the one, and governeth the other; for men can have no more power over me, than that which is given them from above. I am not in love with this passage through the Red Sea, for I have the weakness and infirmity of flesh and blood in me, and I have prayed, as my Saviour taught me, and exampled me, Ut transiret calix ista.
That this cup of red wine might pass away from me; but, since it is not that my will may, his will be done; and I shall most willingly drink of this cup, as deep as he pleases, and enter into this sea, Ay, and pass through it, in the way that he shall be pleased to lead me.
And yet, good people, it would be remembered, That, when the servants of God, old Israel, were in this boisterous Sea, and Aaron with them, the Egyptians that persecuted them, and did, in a manner, drive them into that sea, were drowned in the same waters, while they were in pursuit of them: I know my God, whom I serve, is as able to deliver me from this sea of blood, as he was to deliver the three children from the furnace, Dan. iii.
And I most humbly thank my Saviour for it, my resolution is now, as theirs was then; their resolution was, They would not worship the image, which the King had set up; nor shall I, the imaginations, which the people are setting up, nor will I forsake the temple, and the truth of God, to follow the bleating of Jeroboam's calves, in Dan and in Bethel.
And I pray God, bless all this people, and open their eyes, that they may see the right way; for, if it fall out, that the blind lead the blind, doubtless, they will both fall into the ditch: For myself, I am, and I acknowledge it in all humility, a most grievous sinner, many ways, by thought, word, and deed, and therefore I cannot doubt, but that God hath mercy in store for me, a poor penitent, as well as for other sinners: I have, upon this sad occasion, ransacked every corner of my heart, and yet, I thank God, I have not found any of my sins that are there, any sins now deserving death by any known law of this kingdom; and yet, thereby, I charge nothing upon my judges (I humbly beseech you,
I may rightly be understood, I charge nothing, in the least degree, upon my judges) for they are to proceed by proof, by valuable witnesses, and, in that way, I, or any innocent in the world, may justly be condemned: And, I thank God, though, the weight of the sentence lie very heavy upon me, yet I am as quiet within, as (I thank Christ for it) I ever
my life: And though I am not only the first archbishop, but the first man, that ever died in this way ; yet some of my predecessors have gone this
way, though not by this means: For Elfegus was hurried away, and lost his head by the Danes; and Simon Sudbury, in the fury of Wat Tyler and his fellows; and, long before these, St. John Baptist had his head danced off by a leud woman; and St. Cyprian, Arcbishop
of Carthage, submitted his head to a persecnting sword. Many examples great and good, and they teach me patience, for I hope, my cause in heaven will look of another dye, than the colour that is put upon it here upon earth;
and some comfort it is to me, not only that I go the way of these great men, in their several generations, but also, that my charge (if I may not be partial) looks somewhat like that against St. Paul, in the twenty-fifth of the Acts, for he was accused for the law and the temple, that is, the law and religion; and, like that of St. Stephen, in the sixth of the Acts, for breaking the ordinances, which Moses gave us, which ordinances were law and religion ; but, you will say, Do I then compare myself with the integrity of St. Paul, and St. Stephen? No, God forbid, far be it from me; I only raise a comfort to myself, that these great saints and servants of God were thus laid up in their several times : And it is very memorable, that St. Paul, who was one of them, and a great one, that helped on the accusation against St. Stephen, fell afterwards into the self-same accusation on himself, yet, both of them great saints and servants of God: Ay, but, perhaps, a great clamour there is, that I would have brought in popery; I shall answer that more fully, by and by; in the mean time, you know what the Pharisees said against Christ himself, in the eleventh of John, 'If we let him alone, all men will believe on him, Et venient Romani, and the Romans will come, and take away both our place, and the nation. Here was a causeless cry against Christ, that the Romans would come; aad see how just the judgment of God was, they crucified Christ, for fear lest the Romans should come, and his death was that, that brought in the Romans upon them, God punishing them with that which they most feared ; and, I pray God, this clamour of Veniunt Romani (of which I have given, to my knowledge, no just cause) help not to bring him in; for the pope never had such a harvest in England, since the reformation, as he hath now upon the sects and divisions that are amongst us ; in the mean time, by honour and dishonour, by good report and evil report, as a deceiver, and yet true, am I now passing out of this world.
Some particulars, also, I think not amiss to speak of: And first this I shall be bold to speak of the King, our gracious sovereign, he hath been much traduced by some, for labouring to bring in popery; but, upon my conscience (of which, I am now going to give God a present account) I know him to be as free from this charge, I think, as any man living, and I hold him to be as sound a protestant, according to the religion by law established, as any man in this kingdom, and that he will venture his life, as far and as freely, for it; and I think, I do or should know both his affection to religion, and his grounds upon which that affection is built, as fully as any man in England.
The second particular is, concerning this great and populous city, which God bless; here hath been, of late, a fashion taken up to gather hands, and then go to the honourable and great court of the kingdom, the parliament and clamour for justice, as if that great and wise court (before whom, the causes come which are unknown to the inany) could not, or would not do justice, but at their call and appointment; a way which may endanger many an innocent man, and pluck innocent blood
upon their own beads, and perhaps, upon this city also, which God forbid : And this hath been lately practised against myself, God forgive the setters of this, with all my heart, I beg it, but many well-meaning people are caught by it: In St. Stephen's case, when nothing else would serve, they stirred up the people against him, Acts vi. and Herod went just the self-same way, for, when he had killed St. James, he would not venture upon St. Peter too, till he saw how the people took it, and were pleased with it, in the twelfth of the Acts.' But take heed of having your hands full of blood, in the first of Isaiah; for there is a time best known to himself, when God, among other sins, makes inquisition for blood; and, when inquisition is on foot, the psalmist tells us, Psalm ix. • That God remembers, that is not all, that God remembers, and forgets not (saith the prophet) the complaint of the poor; and he tells you, what poor they are, in the ninth
poor, whose blood is shed by such kind of means: Take heed of this, It is a fearful thing, at any time, to fall into the hands of the living God, in the twelfth of the Hebrews : But it is fearful, indeed, and then especially, when he is making his inquisition for blood; and therefore, with my prayers to avert the prophecy from the city, let me desire, that this city would remember the prophecy that is expressed, Jeremiah xxvi. 15.
The third particular is this poor church of England, that hath flourished and been a shelter to other neighbouring churches, when storms have driven upon them: But alas! now it is in a storm itself, and God knows whether, or how it shall get out; and which is worse than a storın from without, it is become like an oak, cleft to shivers with wedges made out of its own body, and that, in every cleft, prophaneness and irreligion is creeping in a-pace; while, as Prosper saith, Men that introduce prophaneness are cloaked with a name of imaginary religion, -for we have, in a manner, almost lost the substance, and dwell much, nay, too much a great deal, in opinion; and that church, which ali the Jesuits machinations, in these parts of Christendom, could not ruin, is now fallen into a great deal of danger, by her own.
The last particular (for I am not willing to be tedious, I shall hasten to go out of this miserable world) is myself, and, I beseech you, as ' many as are within hearing, observe me: I was born and baptized in
the bosom of the church of England, as it stands yet established by law; in that profession I have ever since lived, and in that profession of the protestant religion here established I come now to die: This is no time to dissemble with God, least of all in matter of religion; and therefore I desire it may be remembered, I have always lived in the protestant religion, established in England, and in that I come now to die. What clamours and slanders I have endured, for labouring to keep an uniformity in the external service of God, according to the doctrine and discipline of this church, all men know, and I have abundantly felt: Now, at last, I am accused of high treason in parliament, a crime which my soul ever abhorred. This treason was charged upon' me to consist of two parts; an endeavour to subvert the laws of the realm, and a like endeavour to overthrow the true protestant religion established by those laws. Besides my answers, which I gave to the several charges, I protested my innocency in both houses : It was said, prisoners protestations at the bar must not be taken de ipso. · I can bring no witness of my heart, and the intentions thereof; therefore I must come to my protestation, not at the bar, but to my protestation at this hour and instant of my death, in which (as I said before) I hope all men will be such charitable christians, as not to think I would die and dissemble my religion: I do therefore here protest, with that caution that I delivered before, without all prejudice in the world to my judges, that are to proceed secundum allegata et probata, and so to be understood, I die in the presence of Almighty God, and all his holy and blessed angels, and I take it now on my death, That I never endeavoured the subversion of the laws of the realm, nor never any change of the protestant religion into popish superstition: And I desire you all to remember this protest of mine, for my innocency in these, and from all manner of treasons whatsoever.
I have been accused likewise as an enemy to parliaments: No, God forbid, I understood them, and the benefits that come by them, a great deal too well to be so; but I did, indeed, dislike some misgovernments (as I conceived) of some few one or two parliaments; and I did conceive humbly that I might have reason for it; for, Corruptio optimi est pessima: There is no corruption in the world so bad as that which is of the best thing in itself; for, the better the thing is in nature, the worse it is corrupted : And this being the highest and greatest court, over which no other can have any jurisdiction in the kingdom, if by any way a misgovernment, which God forbid, should any ways fall upon it, the subjects of this kingdom are left without all manner of remedy; and therefore God preserve them, and bless them, and direct them, that there may be no misconceit, much less misgovernment, amongst them. I will not enlarge myself any further, I have done, I forgive all the world, all and every of those bitter enemies, or others, whatsoever they have been, which have any ways prosecuted me in this kind ; and I bumbly desire to be forgiven first of God, and then of every man, whether I have offended himn or nò, if he do but conceive that I have: Lord, do thou forgive me, and I beg forgiveness of him, and so I heartly desire you to join with me in prayer.
The Bishop of Canterbury's first prayer on the scaffold.
O ETERNAL God, and merciful Father, look down upon me in mercy, in the riches and fulness of all thy mercies, look upon me, but not till thou hast nailed my sins to the cross of Christ; look upon me, but, not till thou hast bathed me in the blood of Christ, not till I have hid myself in the wounds of Christ, that so the punishment, that is due to my sins, may pass away, and go over me: And, since thou art pleased to try me to the uttermost, I humbly beseech thee, give me now in this great instant full patience, proportionable comfort, a heart ready to die for thine honour, and the King's happiness, and this church's preservation; and my zeal to these, far from arrogancy be it