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Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.

By Lewis Bayly


      Now follows the Practice of Piety in dying for the Lord.

      The practice of piety in dying for the Lord is termed Martyrdom.

      Martyrdom is the testimony which a Christian bears to the doctrine of the Gospel by enduring any kind of death; to invite many, and to confirm all, to embrace the truth thereof. To this kind of death Christ hath promised a crown: "Be thou faithful unto the death, and I will give thee the crown of life." Which promise the Church so firmly believed, that they termed martyrdom itself a crown. And God, to animate Christians to this excellent prize, would, by a prediction, that Stephen, the first Christian martyr, should have his name of a crown

      Of Martyrdom there are three kinds.

      1. Sola voluntate, in will only; as John the evangelist, who, being boiled in a cauldron of oil, came out rather anointed than sod; and died of old age at Ephesus.

      2. Solo opere, in deed only; as the innocents of Bethlehem.

      3. Voluntate et opere, both in will and deed; as in the primitive Church, Stephen, Polycarpus, Ignatius, Laurentius, Romanus, Antiochianus, and thousands. And in our days, Cranmer, Latimer, Hooper, Ridley, Farrar, Bradford, Philpot, Sanders, Glover, Taylor, and others innumerable, whose fiery zeal to God's truth brought them to the flames of martyrdom to seal Christ's faith. It is not the cruelty of the death, but the innocency and holiness of the cause that maketh a martyr. Neither is an erroneous conscience a sufficient warrant to suffer martyrdom, because science in God's word must direct conscience in man's heart: for they who killed the apostles in their erroneous conscience thought they did God good service (John xvi. 2;) and Paul of zeal breathed out slaughters against the Lord's saints (Acts ix. 1; Phil. iii. 6.) Now whether the cause of our Seminary priests and Jesuits be so holy, true, and innocent, as that it may warrant their conscience to suffer death, and to hazard their eternal salvation thereon, let Paul's epistle written to the ancient Christian Romans {but against our new antichristian Romans) be judge. And it will plainly appear that the doctrine which St. Paul taught to the ancient church of Rome is ex diametro opposite in twenty-six fundamental points of true religion to that which the new church of Rome teacheth and maintaineth; for St. Paul taught the primitive church of Rome-

      1. That our election is of God's free grace, and not ex operibus prvisis (Rom. ix. 11; xi. 5, 6.)

      2. That we are justified before God by faith only, without good works (Rom. iii. 20, 28; iv. 2, &c.; i. 17.)

      3. That the good works of the regenerate are not of their own condignity meritorious, nor such as can deserve heaven (Rom. viii. 18; xi. 6; vi. 23.)

      4. That those books only are God's oracles and canonical Scripture, which were committed to the custody and credit of the Jews (Rom. iii. 2; i. 2; xvi. 26;) such were never the Apocrypha.

      5. That the holy Scriptures have God's authority (Rom. ix. 17; iii. 4; xi. 32, compared with Gal. iii. 22.) therefore above the authority of the church.

      6. That all, as well laity as clergy, that will be saved, must familiarly read or know the holy Scripture (Rom. xv. 4; x. 1, 2, 8; xvi. 26.)

      7. That all images made of the true God are very idols (Rom. i. 23 and Rom. ii. 22 compared.)

      8. That to bow the knee religiously to an image, or to worship any creature, is mere idolatry (Rom. xi. 4) and a lying service (i. 25.)

      9. That we must not pray unto any, but to God only, in whom we believe (Rom. x. 13, 14; viii. 15, 27), therefore not to saints and angels.

      10. That Christ is our only intercessor in heaven (Rom. viii. 34; v. 2; xvi. 27.)

      11. That the only sacrifice of Christians, is nothing but the spiritual sacrifices of their souls and bodies to serve God in holiness and righteousness (Rom. xii. 1; xv. 16), therefore no real sacrificing of Christ in the mass.

      12. That the religious worship called dulia, as well as latria, belongeth to God alone (Rom. i. 9; xii. 11; xvi. 18 compared.)

      13. That all Christians are to pray unto God in their own native language (Rom. xiv. 11.)

      14. That we have not of ourselves, in the state of corruption, freewill unto good (Rom. vii. 18, &c.; ix. 16.)

      15. That concupiscence in the regenerate is sin (Rom. vii. 7, 8, 10.)

      16. That the sacraments do not confer grace ex opere operato, but sign and seal that which is conferred already unto us (Rom. iv. 11, 12; ii. 28, 29.)

      17. That every true believing Christian may in this life be assured of his salvation (Rom. viii. 9; xvi. 35, &c.)

      18. That no man in this life, since Adam's fall, can perfectly fulfil the commandments of God (Rom. vii. 10, &c.; iii. 19, &c.; xi. 32.)

      19. That to place religion in the difference of meat and days, is superstition (Rom. xiv. 3, 5, 6; xvii. 23.)

      20. That the imputed righteousness of Christ, is that only that makes us just before God (Rom. iv. 9, 17, 23.)

      21. That Christ's flesh was made of the seed of David, by incarnation; not of a wafer cake by transubstantiation (Rom. i. 3.)

      22. That all true Christians are saints, and not those whom the pope only doth canonize (Rom. i. 7; viii. 27; xv. 31: xvi. 2, 15; xv. 25.)

      23. That ipse, Christ, the God of peace, and not ipsa, the woman, would bruise the serpent's head (Rom. xvi. 20.)

      24. That every soul must of conscience be subject, and pay tribute to the higher powers, that is, the magistrates which bear the sword (Rom. xiii. 1, 2, &c.;) and therefore the pope and all prelates must be subject to their emperors, kings, and magistrates, unless they will bring damnation upon their souls, as traitors, that resist God and his ordinance (Rom. xiii. 2.)

      25. That Paul, not Peter, was ordained by the grace of God, to be the chief apostle of the Gentiles, and consequently of Rome, the chief city of the Gentiles (Rom. xv. 15, 16, 19, 20, &c.; xi. 4, 13, 16.)

      26. That the church of Rome may err and fall away from the true faith, as well as the church of Jerusalem, or any other particular church (Rom. xi. 20, 21, 22.)

      And seeing the new upstart church of Rome teaches in all these, and in innumerable other points, clean contrary to that which the apostle taught the primitive Romans, let God and this epistle judge between them and us; whether of us both stands in the true ancient catholic faith, which the apostle taught the old Romans; and whether we have not done well to depart from them, so far as they have departed from the apostle's doctrine? and whether it be not better to return to St. Paul's truth than still to continue in Rome's error ? And if this be true, then let Jesuits and seminary priests take heed and fear, lest it be not faith, but faction; not truth, but treason ; not religion, but rebellion; beginning at Tiber and ending at Tyburn, which is the cause of their deaths. And being sent from a troublesome apostatical see, rather than from a peacable apostolical seat, because they cannot be suffered to persuade subjects to break their oaths, and to withdraw their allegiance from their sovereign, to raise rebellion, to move invasion, to stab and poison queens, to kill and murder kings, to blow up whole states with gunpowder, they desperately cast away their own bodies to be hanged and quartered: and (their souls saved, if they belong to God) I wish such honour to all his saints that send them (Psal. cxlix. 9.) And I have just cause to fear, that the miracles of Lipsius's two ladies, Blunstone's boy, Garnet's straw, and the maid's fiery apron, will not suffice to clear, that these men are not murderers of themselves, rather than martyrs of Christ.

      And with what conscience can any priest count Garnet a martyr, when his own conscience forced him to confess, that it was for treason, and not for religion, that he died? But if the priests of such a gunpowder gospel be martyrs, I marvel who are murderers? If they be saints, who are Scythians? and who are cannibals, if they be catholics?

      But leaving these, if they will be filthy, to their filthiness still, let us, to whose fidelity the Lord hath committed his true faith, as a precious deposit (1 Tim. vi. 20), pray unto God, that we may lead a holy life, answerable to our holy faith, in piety to Christ, and obedience to our king (Prov. xxiv. 21; 1 Pet. ii. 17;) that if our Saviour shall ever count us worthy that honour to suffer martyrdom for his gospel's sake (Acts v. 41), be it by open burning at the stake, as in Queen Mary's days; or by secret murdering, as in the Inquisition-house; or by outrageous massacring, as in the Parisian Matins; or in being blown up with gunpowder, as was intended in the Parliament-house; we may have grace to pray for the assistance of his Holy Spirit, so to strengthen our frailty, and to defend his cause, as that we may seal with our deaths the evangelical truth which we have professed in our lives: that in the days of our lives we may be blessed by his word (Luke xii. 8; Rev. xiv. 13;) in the day of death, be blessed in the Lord; and in the day of judgment be the blessed of his Father (Matt. xxv. 34.) Even so grant, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.

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