Thomas Cranmer's Martyrdom - By John Foxe


Cranmer's Martyrdom


"Then was an iron chain tied about Cranmer, whom when they perceived to be more stedfast than that he could be moved from his sentence, they commanded the fire to be set unto him.

"And when the wood was kindled, and the fire began to burn near him, stretching out his arm, he put his right hand into the flame, which he held so stedfast and immovable, (saving that once with the same hand he wiped his face,) that all men might see his hand burned before his body was touched. His body did so abide the burning of the flame with such constancy and stedfastness, that standing always in one place without moving his body, he seemed to move no more than the stake to which he was bound; his eyes were lifted up into heaven, and oftentimes he repeated "his unworthy right hand," so long as his voice would suffer him; and using often the words of Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," in the greatness of the flame he gave up the ghost.

"This fortitude of mind, which perchance is rare, and not used among the Spaniards, when Friar John saw, thinking it came not of fortitude, but of desperation, although such manner of examples, which are of like constancy, have been common here in England, ran to the Lord Williams of Thame, crying that the archbishop was vexed in mind, and died in great desperation. But he, which was not ignorant of the archbishop's constancy, being unknown to the Spaniards, smiled only, and (as it were) by silence rebuked the friar's folly. And this was the end of this learned archbishop, whom, lest by evil-subscribing he should have perished, by well-recanting God preserved; and lest he should have lived longer with shame and reproof, it pleased God rather to take him away, to the glory of his name and profit of his church. So good was the Lord both to his church, in fortifying the same with the testimony and blood of such a martyr; and so good also to the man with this cross of tribulation, to purge his offences in this world, not only of his recantation, but also of his standing against John Lambert and Master Allen, or if there were any other, with whose burning and blood his hands had been before any thing polluted. But especially he had to rejoice, that dying in such a cause, he was to be numbered amongst Christ's martyrs, rnuch more worthy the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury, than he whom the pope falsely before did canonize." (Source: http://www.exclassics.com/foxe/foxe334.htm )

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THE ACTS AND MONUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
by
JOHN FOX

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