Cloud of Witnesses

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Patrick Hamilton

This gentleman was among the first who suffered in Scotland, on account of religion. He was descended of noble parentage, and born in 1503; and having been artfully seduced into a confession of his principles, was condemned as a heretic by the archbishop of St. Andrews, and suffered death in that city on the 28th February, 1527. The following is a short detail of what he uttered on the trying occasion:

On the afternoon of the same day on which he was sentenced, he was hurried to the stake; and having arrived at the place where the fire was prepared, he put off his gown, coat, and bonnet, and gave them to a favourite servant, saying, 'These will not profit me in the fire, yet they will do thee some good. After this, of me you can receive no more, except the ensample of my death, which I pray thee to bear in mind; for albeit the same be bitter to the flesh and fearful before men, yet is it the entrance to eternal life, which none shall inherit that deny Christ Jesus before this wicked generation.'

Having so said, he commended his soul into the hands of God, with his eyes fixed toward heaven: and the train of powder, though fired, not having kindled the fuel, and his comfortable speeches meantime being often interrupted by one of his persecutors, who called to him, 'Convert, heretic; pray to our Lady, and say Salve Regina;' he spoke as follows: 'Wicked man! You know that I am not a heretic, and that it is the truth of God for which I now suffer. So much, you did confess to me in private; and thereupon I appeal thee to answer before the judgement-seat of Christ.' In a little after, the fire was kindled, and the noble martyr died, exclaiming, ' How long, O Lord, shall darkness overwhelm this realm?' How long wilt thou suffer this tyranny of men?' And ended by praying, with Stephen, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!'