Imágenes de páginas

Lady Jane's Prayer.

53 lest I, being full, should deny thee, my God; or, being brought too low, should despair, and blaspheme thee, my Lord and Saviour.

“O merciful God, consider my misery, best known unto thee, and be thon now unto me a strong tower of defence, I humbly en. treat thee. Suffer me not to be tempted above my power; but either be thou a deliverer unto me out of this great misery, or else give me grace, patiently to bear thy heavy hand and sharp cor. rection. It was thy right hand that delivered the people of Israel out of the hands of Pharaoh, who, for the space of four hundred ycars, did oppress them, and keep them in bondage. Let it, therefore, likewise seem good to thy fatherly goodness, to deliver me, sorrowful wretch, (for whom thy son Christ shed his precious blood on the cross) out of this miserable captivity and bondage wherein I now am. How long wilt thou be absent?—for ever? O Lord, bast thou forgotten to be gracious, and hast thou shut up thy loving-kivdness in displeasure? Wilt thou be no more intreated? Is thy mercy gone for ever, and thy promise come utterly to an end, for evermore? Why dost thou make so long tarrying? Shall I despair of thy mercy, o God? Far be that from me. I am thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus : give me grace, therefore, to await thy leisure, and patiently to bear what thou doest unto me, assuredly knowing, that, as thou canst, so thou wilt, deliver me, when it shall please thee, nothing doubting or mistrusting thý goodness towards me; for thou knowest what is good for me, better than I do. Therefore do with me in all things what thou wilt, and visit me with affliction in what way thou wilt; only, in the mean time, arm me, I beseech thee, with thy armour, that I may stand fast; my loins being girt about with truth, having on the breast.plate of righteousness, and shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all things, taking to me the shield of faith, wherewith I may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is thy most holy word; praying always with all man. ner of prayer and supplication, that I may refer myself wholly to thy will, abiding thy pleasure, and comforting myself in those troubles which it shall please thee to send me; seeing such trou. bles are profitable for me; and seeing, I am assuredly persuaded, that all thou doest cannot but be well. Hear me, o merciful Father, for his sake, whom thou wouldest should be a sacrifice for my sins; to whom, with thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory. Amen.”

A Letter written by the Lady Jane, in the end of a New Testament in Greek, which

she sent unto her Sister, the Lady Catherine, the night before she suffered.

“ I have here sent you (good sister Catherine) a book, which, although it be not ontwardly trimmed with gold, yet, inwardly, it is more worth than precious stones. It is the book (dear Sister,) of the law of the Lord, it is his Testament and last will, which he bequeathed unto us wretched creatures, which shall lead you to the path of eternal joy; and, if you, with a good mind read it, and with an earnest mind do purpose to follow it, it shall bring you to

[ocr errors][merged small]


Lady Jane's Letter. an immortal and everlasting life; it shall teach you to live, and learn you to die; it shall obtain for ygu more than you should have gained by possession of your father's lands; for as, if God had prospered him, you should bave inherited his lands, so, if you apply diligently to this book, seeking to direct your life after it, you shall be an inheritor of such riches, as neither the covetous shall withdraw from you, nor the thief shall steal, nor yet the moths corrupt.

Desire, with David, (good Sister,) to understand the law of the Lord God. And trust not that the tenderness of your age is an assurance that you will live many years; for (if God call) the young goeth as soon as the old ; also endeavour to learn how to die. Defy the world, deny the devil, and despise the flesh; and delight yourself only in the Lord. Be penitent for your sins, and yet despair not; be strong in faith, and yet presume not; and de. sire, with St. Paul, to be dissolved,

and to be with Christ, with whom, even in death, there is life. Be like the good servant, and, even at midnight, be waking, lest, when death cometh, and stealeth upon you like a thief in the night, you be, like the evil servant, found sleeping; and lest, for want of oil, you be found like the five foolish women, or like him that had not on the wedding-garment, and then ye be cast out from the marriage.

Rejoice in Christ, as I do. Follow the steps of your Master, Christ, and take up your cross ; lay your sins on him, and always embrace him. And, as concerning my death, rejoice as I do, (good Sister) that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption. For I am assured, that I shall, when I lose a mortal life, win an immortal life; the which I pray God to grant you, and send you, of his grace, to live in his fear, and to die in the true Christian faith ; from the which, (in God's name) I exhort you that you never swerve, neither

for the hope of life, nor the fear of death; for if you will deny his faith thinking thereby to lengthen your life, God will deny yon, and shorten your days. And if you will cleave unto him, he will prolong your days to your comfort and his glory; to the which glory may God bring me now, and you hereafter, when it pleaseth him to call you. Fare you well, good Sister, and put your only trust in God, who alone can help you."

The jealous and bigoted temper of Queen Mary made her apprehensive that the Princess (afterwards Queen Elizabeth was inclined to promote the designs against her authority, or, at least, that she might be made use of by her enemies. In consequence of this suspicion, three of the most active Romanists in the Queen's Council were sent with a number of armed men, to Ashridge, where the Princess at that time was staying. They arrived late at night; and, although she was unwell, so that she could not travel without much pain and inconvenience, they ordered her to prepare to set out for London the next morning, and commenced their journey accordingly.

On her arrival, she was conducted to the Court, and kept

1554.] Danger of the Princess Elizabeth. 55 there as a prisoner for a fortnight; during which period Wyat was persuaded to accuse her and the Earl of Devonshire, as being privy to his insurrection ; this false accusation, the Princess and the Earl both positively denied ; and Wyat himself afterwards retracted it, declaring her innocence before the Council, and at the place of his execution.

Gardiner earnestly desired her destruction. He apprehended that if Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, he should have to suffer the treatment he deserved. Various means to implicate her in a charge of treason were used; and, after an examination before Gardiner and nineteen of the Council, on Palm Sunday, she was sent to the Tower as a prisoner, and landed at the traitor's stairs. A proceeding which in those days was the usual forerunner of death; and as such she appears to have considered it. Her spirit however, did not fail under these trials; and she certainly expressed herself as looking for higher support than any earthly aid ; but we do not presume to judge whether her trust really was placed on that Rock, upon which so many were now enabled to rest secure. Although attached to the doctrines of the Reformation, she submitted outwardly to conform to the Romish ceremonies, and attended mass; yet she was too well informed to admit the gross absurdities of Transubstantiation.* Gardiner's designs were not to be restrained by this concession on her part. He went so far as to send a warrant for her execution to the Lieutenant of the Tower, signed by some of the Lords of the Council. The Lieutenant very properly hesitated at proceeding upon such a document against the next heir to the throne, who, as yet, was neither tried nor condemned. He immediately went to the Queen: she approved of the Lieutenant's conduct, and disavowed any knowledge of the warrant; but as she shewed no signs of displeasure against Gardiner, it is impossible to think that Mary really disapproved of his proceedings as she ought to have done, although she appears to have hesitated as to personally directing her only sister to be put to death.

Fox, and most of the historians of this reign, give a full

* Being asked her opinion respecting the real presence, she avoided the usual consequences of a direct reply to this ensparing question, by saying:

Christ was the word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that word did make it,
Such I receive and take it.


Her close imprisonment. account of the harsh treatment experienced by the Princess Elizabeth, especially while confined in the Tower. For some time after her committal she was kept a close prisoner, and her own servants were prevented from bringing provisions to her table. At last she was allowed to walk in a small garden, and some young children were permitted to bring flowers to her. One of these, a boy of four years old, was examined with a view to find matter of accusation; but although promised figs and apples, (rewards suited to his age,) he nobly refused to tell an untruth, and was not allowed to go to the Princess afterwards. Another child, à little girl, seeing the strict manner in which the Princess was kept, and doubtless hearing her friends pity the illustrious prisoner, one day brought a small bunch of keys, which she had found, telling her that she “ had brought the keys that she might unlock the gates and go abroad!”

In the month of May Elizabeth was carried to Woodstock, under the guard of a brutal officer, who was restrained in some measure, by a nobleman joined with him in the care of the Princess. For several months she lived in much anxiety, daily expecting to suffer on the scaffold, or by assassination. We cannot wonder, that on hearing a milkmaid singing cheerfully she wished she could change situations, saying the milkmaid's lot was far better than that of a Princess! How touching a picture is this of the anxieties and sufferings peculiar to those who are in exalted stations: they are truly * slippery places.”

While she was confined at Woodstock, a proclamation was issued, appointing a general fast for three days. One of the two yeomen that waited upon the Princess, being unwell, went to the Priest, and said that in former times he night have hired somebody to fast for him ;* and in

[ocr errors]

Long fastings were, and still are frequently enjoined by the Church of Rome. These were of various degrees; and in some cases were to continue for several years. The privation, however, was not so formidable to all as at first sight might appear. Rich persons, in this, as well as in other respects, are favoured. A years' fasting from all pleasant food,” with total abstinence at intervals, might be commuted for payment of a sum equal to from ten to thirty pounds of our present money. There was another, and still more ingenious method, which is mentioned by Dr. Henry, on the authority of Spelman. '“A rich man, who had many friends and dependents, might despatch a seven years' fast in three days, by procuring eight hundred and forty men to fast for him three days, on

Romish Fastings.

57 quired whether such a plan would then be allowed. The Priest told him that it would be permitted ; upon which the yeoman went to the poor people waiting for alms at the gate, and asked who would fast for him! Several offered; one woman begged very hard to be employed on this occasion, and offered to fast the three days for three-pence!“ Nay,' said the

yeoman, “ thou shalt have a groat.” The other yeoman hired a substitute also. The servants of the Princess were also ordered to confess to a Priest, who was instructed to write down their confessions. He told them that they must believe there was flesh, blood, and bone in the Sacrament. One who refused to believe that there were bones in the consecrated wafer, was committed to the Marshalsea.

The severe punishment of Wyat's followers, many of whom were executed in the country, as well as in London, repressed the outward tokens of disapproval at the Spanish marriage; the feelings of the nation, however, were strongly shewn. Among other circumstances, a girl was taught to personate a spirit in a wall, and to utter speeches against the Queen's proceedings. This imposture was detected, and punished as it deserved. It was a mere political trick, and would not be noticed here, but that some historians, with a view of excusing the similar measures so frequently adopted by Romanists for promoting their religion, have accused the Protestant Clergy of being concerned in the imposture. For this there does not appear to be the smallest ground; it is enough to say that at the time it was not laid to their charge; and evidently, they were not then spared as to any imputations which could be brought against them. Such are the methods too commonly resorted to by advocates of the Romish Church in later days. They not only revive and repeat often refuted calumnies, but industriously search for new charges.

On the 4th of March, the Queen issued instructions, addressed to all the Bishops; in which, after stating that many disorders had occurred during King Edward's days, she commanded that the Bishops should see to the execution of the canons and ecclesiastical laws which had been in force during her father's reign. She also directed the oath bread and water and vegetables!!” Licences are regularly sold, even now, in Romish countries, allowing the purchaser to eat fora bidden food on fast days.

« AnteriorContinuar »