The Greatest Promotion

latimer-ridley-woodcut-detailThe English Reformer Hugh Latimer (c.1487-1555) wrote the following to his friend and fellow minister, Nicholas Ridley, as they sat imprisoned awaiting a likely death penalty by burning during the reign of Queen Mary:

“Be of good cheer in the Lord, remember what he requires of you, and what he promises you. Our common enemy will do no more than God will permit him. “God is faithful, which will not suffer us to be tempted above our strength,” &c. They can but kill the body, which must die regardless. They cannot even do that when they want, but when God wills, when the appointed time has come… Give a reasonable account of your faith, if they will quietly hear you; if not, you know, in a wicked place of judgment a man may keep silence following the example of Christ. Don’t let them deceive you… with their fallacies. As Paul says, “Let no man deceive you.”

“Fear of death does persuade a great number. The flesh is weak; but the willingness of the spirit will refresh the weakness of the flesh. The number of the martyrs under the throne must be fulfilled. If we are set apart to that we are blessed. It is the greatest promotion God gives in this world… “to whom it is given not only to believe, but to suffer.”

“Who is sufficient for these things? All our ability, all our sufficiency is in God. He requires, he promises… Pray for me.”

Hugh Latimer, Conferences Between Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer. [1555]

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