The Martyrdom Of George Wishart - 1 March 1546

Posted at The Heidelblog:


"On the sixteenth day of January, 1546, the Regent and cardinal arrived after night-fall at Elphingston Tower, in the neighbourhood of Ormiston, with five hundred men, and despatched the Earl of Bothwell to apprehend Wishart, holding themselves in readiness, if need were, to support him by force. As soon as the Reformer became aware of his errand, he cried out to Cockburn and his other friends, “Open the gates), the blessed will of my God be done.” The earl being admitted with some other gentlemen who accompanied him, Wishart addressed him thus: “I praise my God that so honourable a man as you, my lord, receives me this night in the presence of these noblemen, for now I am assured, that for your honour’s sake, you will suffer nothing to be done unto me contrary to the order of law. I am not ignorant that their law is nothing but corruption, and a cloak to shed the blood of the saints; but yet I less fear to die openly, than secretly to be murdered.” 
…On the morning of the 28th day of February, 1546, the Tribunal of Heresy was constituted with great pomp and solemnity in the cathedral; and George Wishart was brought from the Sea-tower by the Captain of the Castle at the head of a hundred men, armed with jacks, spears, and axes. As he entered the church, he threw his purse to a poor man lying at the door, who asked alms. John Wynram, sub-prior of the Abbey and dean of the Cathedral, opened the proceedings with a sermon, which formed a singular prelude to what followed. He took for his text the parable of the sower, and explained it in a way which must have been much more satisfactory to the Reformer at the bar, than to the prelates and doctors on the tribunal. The good seed, he said, was the Word of God, and the evil seed was heresy. But what was heresy? “Heresy,” said Wynram, “is a false opinion, defended with pertinacity, clearly repugnant to the Word of God;” a definition which entirely ignored the dogmas of the church. Passing to the cause of heresy within that realm, and all other realms, he declared it to be the ignorance of those who had the care of men’s souls; “to whom,” said he, “it necessarily belongeth to have the true understanding of the Word of God, that they may be able to win again the false teachers of heresies with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God; and not only to win again, but also to overcome, as saith Paul, ‘a bishop must be faultless, as becometh the minister of God, and such as cleaveth unto the true word of doctrine, that he may be able to exhort with wholesome learning, and to reprove that which they say against him.’ ” If Sir David Lindsay had been in the pulpit, he could not have spoken more plainly what the bishops needed to hear. Once more demanded the preacher, how heresies should be known? and “heresies,” quoth he, “may be known in this manner: As the goldsmith knoweth the fine gold from the imperfect by the touchstone, so likewise may we know heresy by the undoubted touchstone; that is, the true, sincere, and undefiled Word of God.”
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