The Reformation Martyrs: John Hooper
There is a movement within "contemporary Evangelicalism" to join hands with Rome. Yes, there are professing Protestants who wish to partner with the Catholic Church, the same Catholic Church that killed the Reformation martyrs! A thorough analysis the movement, and the stark doctrinal differences between biblical Christianity and Catholicism, can be found on Grace to You here.
Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, and the rest, if they could see what was happening on earth, would be in a holy rage.
But, imagine what the LORD God thinks. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
On that note, in 1890, J.C. Ryle published a book called Five English Reformers in an attempt to dissuade his own crumbling denomination (English Anglicanism) to not be seduced back to Rome. I hope to reproduce some of his work here, to inform my own brothers and sisters here to never partner with the Catholic Church.
The Reformation started in 1517, and has persisted for 500 years. Let us not undo their work, and thrust the world back into the Dark Ages.
And now, the martyrdom of John Hooper:
Edward VI died on July, 1553; and as soon as his Popish sister Mary was fairly seated on her throne, John Hooper's troubles began. The sword of persecution having been once unsheathed, the famous Protestant Bishop of Gloucester was almost the first person who was struck at. …He was renowned all over England as one of the boldest champions of the Reformation, and most thorough opponents of Popery. His friends warned him that danger was impending, but he calmly replied, 'Once I did flee and took me to my feet. But now, because I am called to this place and vocation, I am thoroughly persuaded to tarry, and to live and die with my sheep.'
[He was imprisoned on the 29th of August, and was sentenced to death as a heretic] for holding the right of priests to marry, and for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation…
The end came at last. On Monday, the 4th of February, 1555, Hooper was formally degraded by Bishop Bonner, in the chapel of Newgate prison, and handed over to the tender mercies of the secular power. In the evening of that day, to his great delight, he was informed that he was to be sent to Gloucester, and to be publicly burned in his own cathedral city.
…[In Gloucester the next day] Sir Anthony Kingston, whom he had once offended by rebuking his sins, came to see him, and entreated him, with much affection and many tears, to consult his safety and recant. 'Consider,' he said, 'that life is sweet, and death is bitter. Life hereafter may do good.' To this the noble soldier of Christ returned the ever memorable answer: 'The life to come is more sweet, and the death to come is more bitter.' Seeing him immoveable, Kingston left him with bitter tears, telling him, 'I thank God that ever I knew you, seeing God did appoint you to call me, being a lost child. By your good instructions, when I was before a fornicator and adulterer, God hath brought me to detest and forsake the same.' Hooper afterwards said that this interview had drawn from him more tears than he had shed throughout the seventeen months of his imprisonment.
…These interviews over, the saintly Bishop began to prepare for his wrestle with the last enemy, death. …What his meditations and reflections were at that awful crisis, God alone knows. Tradition says that he wrote the following piece of poetry with a coal, on the wall of his chamber:
Content thyself with patience
With Christ to bear the cross of pain:
Who can or will recompense
A thousand-fold, with joys again.
Let nothing cause thy heart to fail:
Launch out they boat, hoist up thy sail,
Put from the shore;
And be though sure thou shalt attain
Unto the port, that shall remain
Fear not death, pass not for bands,
Only in God put thy whole trust;
For He will require thy blood at their hands,
And thou dost know that once die thou must,
Only for that thy life if thou give,
Death is no death, but amens for to live.
Do not despair:
Of no worldly tyrant be thou in dread;
Thy compass, which is God's Word, shall thee lead,
And the wind is fair.
…[Ryle then records Hooper's prayer from Foxe's Book of Martyrs.]
'Lord,' said he, 'I am hell, but Thou art heaven; I am swill and a sink of sin, but Thou art a gracious God and a merciful Redeemer. Have mercy, therefore, upon me, most miserable and wretched offender, after Thy great mercy, and according to Thine inestimable goodness. Thou that art ascended into heaven, receive me, hell, to be a partaker of Thy joys, where Thou sittest in equal glory with Thy Father. For well knowest Thou, Lord, wherefore I am come hither to suffer, and why the wicked do persecute this Thy poor servant: not for my sins and transgressions committed against Thee, but because I will not allow their wicked doings to the contaminating of Thy blood, and to the denial of the knowledge of Thy truth, wherewith it did please Thee by Thy Holy Spirit to instruct me; the which with as much diligence as a poor wretch might (being thereto called), I have set forth to Thy glory. And well seest Thou, my Lord and God, what terrible pains and cruel torments be prepared for Thy creature; such, Lord, as without Thy strength none is able to bear, or patiently to pass. But all things that are impossible with man are possible with Thee. Therefore, strengthen me of Thy goodness, that in the fire I break not the rules of patience; or else assuage the terror of the pains, as shall seem most to Thy glory.'
…Thus was he three quarters of an hour or more in the fire. Even as a lamb, patiently he abode the extremity thereof, neither moving forwards, backwards, nor to any side; but having his nether parts burned, and his bowels fallen out, he died as quietly as a child in his bed, and he now reigneth as a blessed martyr in the joys of heaven, prepared for the faithful in Christ before the foundations of the world, for whose constancy all Christians are bound to praise God.
Ryle, J. C. Five English Reformers. The Banner of Truth Trust, 2014. Pg. 72-82