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ness, a most unaffected seriousness, a singular frankness and fearlessness, and a most transparent simplicity. It would be most unreasonable to believe, without evidence, that he had any connection with the anonymous "Martinists," other than that his pamphlets and theirs were printed at the same secret press. He said that he would not "feed the humors of the busybodies who, increasing themselves still unto more ungodliness, think nothing so well spoken or written as that which is satirical, and bitingly done, against the lord bishops." Dr. Some, who wrote against Barrowe and Greenwood, in 1589, had assailed Penry, the year before, in a style of insolence which would have justified a severe reply. But Penry, instead of answering the scorner according to his folly, defended himself and his positions with a modesty and meekness most unusual in the controversies of those times. "Unless you alter your judgment," said he, "I can never agree with you in these points, because I am assured you swerve from the truth. Yet this disagreement shall be so far from making a breach of that love wherewith in the Lord Jesus I am tied unto you, that I doubt not but we shall be one in that day when all of us shall be at unity in him that remaineth one and the self-same forever. Pardon me, I pray you; I deal as reverently as I may with you, retaining the majesty of the cause I defend." "I would be loth to let that syllable escape me that might give you any the least occasion in the world to think that I carry any other heart towards you, than I ought to bear towards a reverend learned man, fearing God."
There was little need of imputing to Penry the authorship of the Marprelate tracts, in order to find matter of accusation against him before the High Commission. In successive publications, to which his own name was always subscribed, he had denounced the established hierarchy, not (as other Puritans were doing) because its methods of government and its forms of worship were inconsistent with Christian simplicity, but for the deeper reason that it hindered and opposed the preaching of the gospel to the people. "The least part," said he, "of the sins of our bishops hath been in the maintenance of unprofitable, superstitious, and corrupt ceremonies. If they would but
yield free passage unto the truth, and her authority unto the church, in other matters, they should not be greatly molested for these things. Our controversies arise because they are not permitted, with the consent of the servants of God, to smother, persecute, deprave, and corrupt the truth of that religion which in name they profess, and to undermine and lead captive the church of God in this land." Such an adversary, continually charging upon the bishops and their system the notorious "famine of the word of God," was preeminently obnoxious. The emissaries of the prelacy were on the scent of the secret press which was so dangerous a machine. On the 29th of January, 1589, his study was searched in his absence by an officer of the High Commission, who "took away with him all such printed books and papers as he himself thought good." Standing for those traditions of English liberty which were imperiled in his person, Penry immediately published an "Appellation unto the High Court of Parliament, from the vile and injurious dealing of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others, his colleagues in the High Commission; wherein the complainant, submitting himself and his cause unto the determination of this honorable assembly, craves nothing else but either release from trouble and persecution, or just trial." He admitted frankly that he had labored to destroy the "wicked hierarchy, with whatsoever corruption dependeth thereon," but he denied that he had ever used or sought to use any other force than that of truth. He made the most earnest profession of his loyalty.
"I have been, all the days of my life, at my studies. I never, as yet, dealt in any cause, more or less, in anything that any way concerneth civil estate and government; and as for attempting anything against her Majesty's person, I know that Satan himself dares not be so shameless as to intend any accusation against me in that point." . . . . "The cause is the cause of God; it is the cause of the church, and so the cause of many thousands of the most trusty, most sure, most loving subjects that her Majesty hath; whose hearts, by the repelling of this my suit, must be utterly discouraged and thrown down. My only suit and petition is, that either I may have assurance of quietness and safety; or that the causes of my trouble being laid open by mine adversaries, I may receive the pun. ishment of my offenses. I crave no immunity; let me have justice-that is all I crave." pp. 43, 44.
On the 13th of February, 1589, a royal proclamation was issued against seditious and schismatical books, which were described as "tending to bring in a monstrous and dangerous innovation of all manner of ecclesiastical government now in use, and with a rash and malicious purpose to dissolve the state of the prelacy, being one of the three ancient estates of the realm under her Highness; whereof her Majesty mindeth to have a reverent regard." Immediately there was a "hot search" for such books and for their authors and publishers, at Northampton, where Penry had resided since his retirement from Oxford, in 1588. The time had come when he must find a refuge, not only for himself but for his wife and infant children. He fled with his family into Scotland, where he was kindly received, and where he published a translation of "Propositions and Principles disputed in the University of Geneva." At the instigation of Queen Elizabeth he was compelled by the king of Scotland (afterwards James I, of England) to leave that kingdom; but the decree against him was not carried into effect till he had succeeded in printing "a Treatise wherein it is manifestly proved that Reformation, and those that are sincerely for the same, are unjustly charged with being enemies to her Majesty, and the State."
After more than four years in Scotland, he returned, with his little family, to England, not ignorant of the peril which he encountered. It had been in his thoughts to obtain, if possible, an interview with the Queen, in whom he seems always to have had a most loyal confidence, and to beg of her the liberty of living and preaching the gospel in his beloved Wales. It was with some such expectation still lingering in. his mind that he arrived at London in the month of September. Till now he had been only a Puritan, longing and striving for a farther reformation of the national church; but now he was prepared to accept, in all its applications, the emancipating principle of "reformation without tarrying for any." Before he left Scotland he had learned something about the humble and persecuted disciples who, instead of agitating for a reformation of the state-church, were only attempting to reform themselves by instituting a voluntary
church after the manner of the primitive disciples. To these men he was attracted by his religious sympathies. At the house of Roger Rippon, in Southwark, he met with Greenwood, who, on that day, was by some means out of prison, and with Francis Johnson, formerly Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge, who had lately advanced from Puritanism to Separation. When the church completed its organization, he was invited to become one of its officers, but declined the service. "It hath been my purpose," he said, "to employ my small talent in my poor country of Wales, where I know that the poor people perish for want of knowledge; and this was the only cause of my coming out of that country where I was, and might have staid privately all my life; even because I saw myself bound in conscience to labor for the calling of my poor kindred and countrymen unto the knowledge of their salvation in Christ." Johnson was therefore chosen pastor, and Greenwood teacher. But though Penry sustained no office among his brethren, he was active to promote their spiritual interests. Sometimes he preached in their assemblies. Sometimes their meetings were held in his house. He could print nothing; but he wrote a "History of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram," which was circulated in manuscript copies, and was at last published fifteen years after the author's death.
On the 22d of March (the day before that on which Barrowe and Greenwood were sentenced to death) Penry was arrested. On the 10th of April, he underwent a long examination, of an inquisitorial nature, in which he fearlessly "witnessed a good confession." Expecting an indictment for alleged sedition in the books which he had published, he prepared, with the aid of legal counsel, a paper showing the points which would be insisted on in his defense. Thereupon another course was taken. Among his private papers there had been found some rough notes of a memorial to the Queen, which it was his intention to prepare and to present in person. In that private sketch of something yet to be written, with no evidence that it had ever been communicated to any human being, was the matter for which he was indicted and convicted at Westminster, on the 21st of May. The next day
he addressed to the Queen's prime minister, Lord Burleigh, a letter and "protestation," which no man, of whatever party, can read, at this time, without rendering homage not only to the perfect integrity of the man, but also to the sublime earnestness and Christian dignity of the martyr.
Strangely, and as if by some special providence of God, some affecting memorials of Penry in prison have been preserved to history. Those letters-one to his wife, dated on the 6th of April, before his first examination, but written with a full foresight of his martyrdom,—another written four days later, to his four infant children (the eldest of them "not yet four years old, the youngest not four months ") and inscribed "To my daughters when they come to years of discretion and understanding," and another, "To the distressed and faithful congregation of Christ in London, and all the members thereof, whether in bonds or at liberty," dated on the 24th of April,can hardly be matched, in the entire martyrology of Christendom, for unaffected and unconscious grandeur of Christian faith, or for passages of tenderness rippling the calm surface with gushes from "unsounded deeps" of human sorrow.
On the 25th of May, sentence of death was pronounced against John Penry. Four days afterward, at an early hour, Whitgift, with other lords of the Queen's council, affixed their names to the death warrant, the malignant Archbishop's name being the first. At five o'clock in the afternoon, the martyr was led from his prison in Southwark to the usual place of execution for that county, at the second mile-stone on the Kent road, near a brook which, in memory of Thomas-aBecket, was called St. Thomas-a-Watering. An unexpected day and hour had been chosen for the execution, that his friends might have no opportunity of cheering him with their presence. A few persons who had seen the gallows so suddenly prepared, were standing around. To them the martyr would have spoken, but not one word was he allowed to utter in their hearing. It was almost sunset, and the sheriff and hangman were in haste. They finished their work; and John Penry, in the thirty-fourth year of his age, having shared the ignominy of our Lord who was hanged upon a tree for sedition, went to be with Christ.