A Tale of Two Martyrs
Dr. Ridley, entering the place [of execution] first, earnestly holding up both his hands, looked towards heaven; then shortly after, seeing Mr. Latimer, with a cheerful look, he ran to him and embraced him, saying, “Be of good heart, brother, for God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else strengthen us to abide it.”
He then went to the stake, and, kneeling down, prayed with great fervor, while Mr. Latimer following, kneeled also, and prayed with like earnestness. After this, they arose and conversed together, and, while thus employed, Dr. Smith began his sermon to them.
Dr. Ridley, then, with Mr. Latimer, kneeled to my Lord Williams, the vice chancellor of Oxford, and the other commissioners, who sat upon a form, and said, “I beseech you, my lord, even for Christ’s sake, that I may speak but two or three words.”
And whilst my lord bent his head to the mayor and vice-chancellor, to know whether he might have leave to speak, the bailiffs and Dr. Marshal, the vice-chancellor, ran hastily unto him, and, with their hands stopping his mouth, said, “Mr. Ridley, if you will revoke your erroneous opinions, you shall not only have liberty so to do, but also your life.”
“Not otherwise?” said Dr. Ridley.
“No,” answered Dr. Marshal. “Therefore, if you will not do so, there is no remedy: you must suffer for your deserts.”
“Well,” said the martyr, “so long as the breath is in my body, I will never deny my Lord Christ and his known truth. God’s will be done in me.”
They were then commanded to prepare immediately for the stake. Then the smith took a chain of iron and placed it about both their waists; and as he was knocking in the staple, Dr. Ridley took the chain in his hand, and, looking aside to the smith, said, “Good fellow, knock ...