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« lest men should see their darkness. Therefore, my good « and most dear mother, give thanks for me to God,
that " he hath made the fruit of your womb to be a witness « of his glory, and attend to the truth, which (I thank * God for it) I have truly taught out of the pulpit of « Manchester. Use often and continual prayer to God « the Father, through Christ. Hearken, as you may, to * the scriptures : Serve God after his word, and not after “ custom: Beware of the Romish religion in England; « defile not yourself with it: Carry Christ's cross as he “ shall lay it upon your back : Forgive them that kill “ me: Pray for them, for they know not what they do: « Commit my cause to God the Father: Be mindful of « both your daughters, and help them as you can.
** I send all my writings to you and my brother Roger; “ do with them as you will, because I cannot as I would: " He can tell
mind. I have nothing to give you, or to leave behind me for you: Only I pray “ God my Father, for his Christ's sake, to bless you, and “ keep you from evil. May he give you patience, may he “' make you thankful, as for me, so for yourself, that he
will take the fruit of your womb to witness his verity : « Wherein I confess to the whole world, I die and depart « this life, in hope of a much better : Which I look for « at the hands of God my Father, through the merits of « his dear Son Jesus Christ.
“ Thus, my dear mother, I take my last farewel of you « in this life, beseeching the almighty and eternal Father " by Christ, to grant us to meet in the life to come, where “ we shall give him continual thanks and praise for ever « and ever.
Amen. Out of prison the twenty-fourth 66 of June, 1555. Your son in the Lord."
in Thuringia, on the fifth of June, 1493, where his father was chief magistrate ; who, falling sick of the plague, and having applied an onion to the sore, took it off and laid it by, which young Jonas, coming in, took up and eat; but, through the goodness of God, received
no hurt. He applied himself first to the study of the civil law, and made good proficiency in it; but, quitting that study, he devoted his whole attention to theology, and proceeded to the degree of doctor immediately. This was about the first dawning of the true light of the gospel, of which Jonas was not only an hearer and observer, but soon afterwards a principal instrument in promoting. For he was almost always present at the several synods and meetings of divines, which were held to settle the matters of religion, in those days. He united in one person the characters of a most able divine and learned civilian ; and as the state of religion at that time was unavoidably connected with human politics, he became a very necessary man to the protestants, in being a skilful politician. He assisted Luther and Melancthon in the assembly at Marpurg, in 1529, and was afterwards with Melancthon at the famous convention at Augsburg, in which he was a principal negotiator. With these two great men he was extremely intimate, and particularly with Melancthon.
In the year 1521, he was called to a pastoral charge at Wittenberg, and made principal of the college and professor in that university. He, with Spalatinus and Amsdorf, was employed by the elector of Saxony to reform the churches in Misnia and Thuringia : From thence he was called to Hall in Saxony, where he also exceedingly promoted the work of the Reformation. Luther sometimes resorted thither to him; and took him with him in his last journey to Isleben, where he died in his arms.
After Luther's death, he continued some time in the duke of Saxony's court, and was a constant companion of John Frederick's sons in all their afflictions. He was at length set over the church in Eisfield, where he ended his days in much peace and comfort, on the ninth of October, in the year 1555, and in the sixty-third year of his age.
He was one of those, who might be called moderate Reformers, wishing to make no further alteration in the established modes of worship, and even doctrine, than was absolutely necessary for the introduction of piety and truth. Hence the Lutheran churches have departed least of any, in external ceremonies, from the corruptions of the church of Rome. The motive of Luther, Jonas, and other Reformers of that cast, was undoubtedly good, but the effect was not answerable. The danger, in such cases; is, that the great bulk of the people, seeing such stress laid upon outward observances, will fall into the error of leaning entirely upon them, and so make that, which
perhaps might be originally intended for an help to devotion, the whole end and purpose of their attention,
Jonas's death was exceedingly regretted by all the good men of that time ; for such a loss to the church of Christ was not easily to be repaired. None but almighty grace could effect it; which has promised not to leave the church without faithful witnesses to the end of time. Siberus, in his epitaph, said of him :
the heavy loss
All men of sentiments refin'd:
* And triumphs in redeeming grace."
About this period, the gospel flourished in what is now called Prussia, under the ministry of three very great and excellent divines,Paulus Speratus, Poliander, and Brismann. This last was a particular friend of Luther, and with the other two, his colleagues, fed the flock of Christ, and superintended the churches in Prussia, above twenty years. About the latter end of their ministry, Osiander, who, during Luther's life harmonized in all the great points with the other Reformers, left Norimberg, where he had long preached, and came into Prussia. Here he started some opinions of his own upon the doctrine of justification, asserting, that man is not justified by faith, but by the righteousness of Christ dwelling in us.
Matters were carried so high, that Albert, duke of Prussia, who had embraced Osiander's opinion, banished the other Reformers from his dominions. Osiander was justly censured by most of the protestants for making this breach in a most unseasonable time, and particularly for his ill treatment of Melancthon, to whom he returned abuse and harsh
ness for mildness and reason. The truth is, that Osian. der, with all his learning and abilities, appears to have been a very vain and intemperate man, affecting high-flown language and manners, instead of that simplicity which be. comes the gospel. He died at Koningsberg, in Prussia, on the very same day that the excellent Caspar Hedio departed this life at Strasburgh. After his death, duke Albert, whether from a wish to heal the differences occasioned by Osiander and his sectaries, or from the suggestions of some great and good men, caused a public agreement to be made about the year 1556; and so the church in that part of the world was settled in peace.
OF F this plain and pious, as well as most zealous divine, it
may be said, that he was one of the first and most useful reformers of the church of England. He was descended of mean but honest parents at Thirkesson, or Thurcaston, near Mount Sorrel, in Leicestershire, where his father lived in good reputation; and though he had no land of his own, but rented a small farm of four pounds a-year at the utmost, yet, by frugality and industry, and the advantage of a good bargain, he brought up a large family of six daughters, besides this his only son *
* In one of his court fermons, in king Edward's time, our author, inreighing against the nobility and gentry, and speaking of the moderation of landlords a few years before, and the plenty in which their tenants lived, tells his audience in his familiar way, that upon a farm of four pounds a-year, at the utmost, his father tilled as much ground as kept half-a-dozen men ; that he had it slocked with a hundred sheep and thirty cows; that he found the king a man and horse, himfelf remembering to have buckled on his father's harness, when he went to Blackheath; that he gave his daughters five pounds a-piece at marriage; that he lived hospitably among his neighbours, and was not backward in his alms to the poor. « And all “ this (faid he) he did of the said farm : Whereas he that now hath it pays “ fixteen pounds by the year, or more, and is not able to do any thing for “ his prince, for himself, nor for his children, or give a cup of drink to the
poor."- What would Latimer have said of our present rack.renting landlords, who not only do not relieve, bue procure means to grind the face
of the poor.