Page images
PDF
EPUB

-

vinced of the truth which God had made known unto him, was persuaded, that the fidelity which God expected from him, layed him under an obligation, never to suffer the truth, by any means, to be prejudiced, and to take care, that no breach was ever made in his faith. He continually endea, voured to preserve it pure and inviolable, as he had received it from his God.”

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

“ From the conflicts and conduct of Mr. Marolles, we also learn, that those sluggish christians, who live in the world contented with performing the exterior services religion prescribes, we learn, I say, they are in a sad situation, and learn also to work out our own salvation with a holy fear: for he teaches us, that if we must be faithful to Christ, when he calls us to suffer for his sake, we owe him no less obedience in those things which our Lord, at other seasons, commands us to do, and which, in the gospel, he requires us to perform.”

Again; the example of Mr. Marolles, instructs us to put our trust in God, in the most sorrowful conjunctures of this life. Could we but know his secret soliloquies, how often should we find him strengthening and comforting himself with those words of our Saviour, Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me: and with those of his apostle; I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day; insomuch, that neither death, nor

life, shall ever separate me, from the love which God hath shewed me in Christ Jesus. If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Lastly, the cruel inhumanity with which our martyr was so long persecuted, ought to give us just ideas of the Romishi religion, in very many of its professors : for where truth is, and is enjoyed, there also, of necessity, must be humanity and charity. By consequence, a religion which ends disputés by fire and faggot, cannot have any share in the salutary truths which Jesus Christ delivered, nor in the spirit of the gospel, which is a spirit of mildness that doth good to all men, but especially, to those of the household of faith.”

[ocr errors]

“God grant, that those of the catholic communion, who sincerely endeavor to work out their own salvation, may seriously think of these things'; and that the sight of so much violence and barbarity which their religion inspires and exercises in so many that profess it, and that the voice and groans of so many persons afflicted by them, because they would not betray their conscience, may rouse them out of their stupidity to read the word of God, to search out the truth it contains; and having found it, openly to profess it, in a manner that shall give glory to God! Amen.”

To these remarks, I venture to add the following observations. By meditating on the inward satisfaction and stedfast hope of such sufferers; by

con

considering how useful their examples have been; and are; and by reflecting on the good report they have obtained, some have almost envied their lot, and looked upon their own, if not with discontent, yet without that gratitude to God, which their own condition demands. If such a temper, at any time should spring up in us, let us not indulge it; but recollect, that the disposal of our lot is with the Lord, and that he may be glorified by us in all the conditions, in which he is pleased to place us in the present evil world.

Eminent degrees of distinguishing grace teach its possessor, in whatsoever state he may be in, therewith to be content. They teach him, both how to be abased, and how to abound; every where, and in all things instructing him, both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound, and to suffer need. Yet, it must be owned, seldom has the grace of God appeared so glorious in this world, as when the possessor of it has been afflicted and exposed to manifold temptations. Were it asked, what shall be done to him that God delights to honor? On such a question, the answer of Haman to Ahasuerus, would be absurd : for those whom God has honored most, have said, even to this present hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffetted, and have no certain dwelling place; but labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat; we are

made

made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. : *

[ocr errors]

S

A christian, says Tertullian, never thinks him self so fine, never so illustrious, as at the stake; he is then in his triumphal chariot, goîng to heaven in state. Eusebius, says, it was a most charming sight to behold the martyrs in prison; to see how their misery became them; how they adorned their fetters, and looked as captivating in their chains as a bride in all her glory, upon the day of marriage.

It is true, that pagan, papal, and protestant persecutions, are not exactly, what they have been; but in every period, and in every place, he who would live godly in Christ Jesus, should expect, and prepare to meet with some species of oppression. They who are of this opinion, will be disposed to ask such questions as these: What if real and severe persecutions should arise and. abound? What if it should be impossible to please men, without wounding our own consciencies? Should this be our lot, what is our intention? Do we mean to be treacherous, or stedfast; to renounce our allegiance to Jesus Christ, or to cleave to him with purpose of heart? Never are these questions answered more to my own satisfac.. tion, than when I have recently read what Mr. Marolles has written, and seriously considered what. grievous things he so well endured.

[blocks in formation]

There is something in such accounts, which strongly teaches us to be still, and to acknowledge that the Lord is God. , 6 Take a man,” says bishop Usher, “ who firmly believes that God governs and disposes all events, and is well grounded in the belief of God's divine providence over all his works; such a man is ready to meet with any thing. If prosperity be his portion, he is never proud, nor unthankful, because he knows the kind hand that sent it. If adversity befall him, he is even then content, because he wisely discerns from

whence it came; he acknowledges he deserves · worse, and believes verily, that providence ap

pointed and designed it for his good, and hopes, by the same good providence, to be soon out of his afflictions. He that believes aright in the providence of God, is seldom known to deny any other article of faith; nor is he easily led aside to believe things contrary to the word of God.”

- Again; a due attention to the preceding history of Mr. Marolles, may convince us not only of the impiety, but of the absurdity of persecution. They who have labored to defend it, have labored in vain; and generally, have acted in opposition to their own sentiments, when it has been their lot to suffer persecution. They only can suffer patiently for well doing, who have respect to the recompense of reward, and are conscious they do not wish that any stranger, friend, or foe, should ever be insulted or injured by them.

Buta

« PreviousContinue »