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and truly Christian address. The substance of it was as follows : That « To punish, with the flames, the bodies
of those who err rather from blindness, than obstinacy • of will, is cruel, and more suitable to the example of « the Romish church, than to the mildness of the gospel. “ I do not (added he) write thus, from any byass to the « indulgence of error; but from a regard to the lives of « men, as being myself a man : And in hope that the of. “ fending parties may have an opportunity to repent of, « and retract their mistakes." He earnestly beseeches her majesty - to spare the lives of these miserable men; or, at « least, to soften their mode of punishment: As to banish " them, or commit them to perpetual imprisonment, &c. s but at all events not to rekindle the Smithfield fires, (which, through her goodness and care, had been so long « extinguished. If this could not be granted, at least to " allow them a month or two, in order that endeavours "might be used to reclaim them from their errors, and
< 'thereby to prevent the destruction of their souls, as well . as of their bodies.'--Mr Fox (says Fuller) was very loth that Smithfield, formerly consecrated with martyrs' ashes, should now be profaned with those of heretics; and was desirous that the Papists might enjoy their own monopoly of cruelty, in burning condemned persons. But though Q. Elizabeth constantly called him, her father Fox;' yet herein was she no dutiful daughter; for she gave him a fat denial, as to the saving of their lives; if, after a month's reprieve and conference with divines, they would not recant their heresies. It is not a little surprizing, that so good and so candid a man as Dr Fuller should endeavour to palliate, if not to justify, the extreme malignity which brought those two Dutchman to the stake. Damnable, • (says this historian) were their impieties; and the queen I was necessitated to this severity : Who, having formerly • punished some traitors, if now sparing these blasphemers, " the world would condemn her; as being more earnest « in asserting his own safety, than GOD's honour.' A wretched excuse this, for wilful and deliberate murder ! It reminds us of Melancthon's fault (falsely fathered on Calvin) in pressing the magistrates of Geneva to burn the heretic Servetus. The answer of a popish princess, on a similar occasion, did more honour to humanity. This lady (who is still living) was solicited, by some Romish ecclesiastics, to concur with them in bringing a supposed heretic to the flames. "Is it not true (said she) that heretics • burn for ever in hell-fire ?' Without doubt,' answered
the the priests. It would be too severe then (added she) to
burn them in both worlds. Since they are devoted to < endless misery hereafter, it is but justice to let them live runmolested here.
Hitherto, Dr Fuller, and the Biographia Britannica, have been our chief guides in the present account of the truly apostolic Mr Fox. For what we have farther to add, we shall be principally indebted to the indefatigable Mr Clarke *. We have before observed, that while Mr Fox was in exile at Basil, during the prevalence of popery in England; he one day, in a sermon which he preached before his afflicted countrymen in that city, positively assured them, “ That the time was now come, for their safe and « happy return home: And that he told them this com“ fortable news by express command from GOD." Several ministers, who were present took occasion afterwards to reprove him with a degree of asperity for publicly declaring, what they took to be, the premature flights of his own fancy and conjecture. But they soon altered their opinion, when authentic intelligence arrived, that Q. Mary the bloody was actually dead.
On his re-settlement here, he set himself to revise and enlarge his admirable MARTYKOLOGY. With prodigious pains and constant study, he finished that elaborate work in eleven years. For the sake of greater correctness, he never employed any amanuensis ; but wrote every line of this vast book with his own hand, and searched and transcribed all the records and original papers himself. But by such excessive toil, leaving no part of his time free from study, nor affording himself either the repose or relaxations which nature required ; his health was so reduced, and his person became so emaciated, and altered, that such of his friends and relations, as only conversed with him occasionally, could not recollect him at sight. Yet, though he grew daily more lean, withered, and exhausted, his hard studies went on as briskly as ever, nor would he be persuaded to lessen his accustomed labours. The Papists, foreseeing how extremely detrimental his history of their errors and cruelties would prove to their cause, exerted their whole art and strength to lessen the reputation of his work. This malice of theirs was of signal service, both to Mr Fox himself, and to the church of GOD at large ; as it eventually made his book more intrinsically valuable, by inducing him to weigh, with the most exact
* See the frst volume of his Marrow of the Ecclefiaftical History, p. 382, 383
and scrupulous attention, the certainty of the facts he recorded, and the validity of the authorities from whence he drew his informations.
Having long served both the church and the world, by his ministry, by his pen, and by the unsullied lustre of a beneficent, useful, and holy life; he comfortably resigned his soul to Christ on the eighteenth of April, 1587. The Lord had given him a foresight of his departure :, And so fully persuaded was he, that the time was just at hand when he should quit the body, that (probably, to enjoy unmolested communion with GOD, and to have no worldly interruptions in his last hours) he purposely sent his two sons from home, though he loved them with great tenderness; and before they returned, his spirit, as he had foreseen would be the case, was flown to heaven. He was interred in the chancel of St Giles's, Cripplegate; of which parish he had been in the beginning of Q. Elizabeth's reign, for some time vicar.
Mr Strype says, that a very fair marble stone, fixed in the south wall of that chancel, was presently after erected to his memory, with the following inscription :
· CHRISTO S. S.
JOH ANNI Foxo,
Thaumaturgo admirabili :
redivivos præstitit :
Non sine Lachrymis.
Fuller acquaints us, that Mr Fox foretold the destruction of, what was madly styled by the pope and Spaniards, the Invincible Armada. • The story, (says that historian) is ( true, though Mr Fox survived not to see the perfor"mance of his own prediction. His dear friend, Dr < Laurence Humfrey, may be said to have died with him ; • (though his languishing life, lasted a year longer) 30
« great was his grief, to be parted from his fellow-col• league, bred together in Oxford, and banished together • into Germany."
Among the graces, for which our Martyrologist was eminent, shone his extensive (some would almost term it, profuse) liberality to the poor. He was so bountiful to them while he lived, that he had no ready money to leave to them at his death. His love to his Saviour was such, that he could never refuse giving to any who asked him for relief, in the name of Jesus, or for Christ's sake. A friend once enquiring of him, " whether he recollected a r certain poor man, whom he used to relieve ?' He answered, « Yes, I remember him well: And I willingly 6 forget lords and ladies, to remember such as he.”
His ability in comforting afflicted consciences was very peculiar: No wonder, therefore, that his house was frequented by persons of all ranks, from noblemen down to the poorest of the flock; who were labouring under souldistresses.
His time was divided between study, preaching, praying, spiritual conference, and visiting the sick and af. flicted. His principal hours for intercourse with GOD in secret prayer were during the night season ; at which times of holy retirement, he has been heard to agonize with GOD, and to mingle his supplications with groanings which could not be uttered.
He was distinguished by a deep and settled contempt of earthly things: More especially, of pleasures, amusements, wealth, and honours. Hence, he abstracted himself, as much as he possibly could, from all friendship, society, and connection, with the great and noble of this world. The money, which was sometimes offered him by rich men, he accepted ; but the poor were as sure to have it, as ever he received it.
There have been macaronies in all ages. One of Mr Fox's sons had a great desire to travel beyond sea, from which his father could by no means dissuade him. After a tour of several years, he returned home, and presented himself to the good old man, in a fantastical outlandish habit. « Who are you, said Mr Fox.”- Sir, I am your o son Samuel.'--To which his reply was : “ O my son,
who has taught thee to make thyself so ridiculous ?” This reproof seems to have been attended with good effect : For the giddy youth proved, afterwards, a serious, devout, learned, and respectable man. In 1840, he wrote the life
of his father, prefixed to his Martyrology; and at length died, full of years and of good works *.
A very singular incident, of which Mr John Fox himself was eye-witness, shall conclude this summary of his life and character. He it was, who had that memorable interview with Mrs Honeywood, mentioned by so many authors of that age. The concern of this pious lady, for the salvation of her soul, was so great; her doubts and fears, so very distressing; and her sorrow of mind, so grievous ; that she sunk into utter despair: Which had such an effect on her bodily health, as brought her to death's door, and kept her in a gradual consumption, for almost twenty years. In vain did physicians administer their medical assistances; for her disease, which originated from a spiritual cause, required a supernatural remedy. There was but one physician, whose power and skill could reach her case : even He, who healeth those that are broken in heart, and giveth medicine to heal their sickness—In vain did the ablest and most evangelical ministers preach to her the comforts of the gospel ; and labour to persuade her of the willingness and certainty, wherewith Christ receives every coming sinner. The Holy Spirit alone could preach to her heart, with efficacy; and he had not yet vouchsafed, in all those years, to rise upon her soul. 'At length Mr Fox was sent for : Who, on his arrival, found a most mournful family, and the mistress of it the deepest mourner among them all. The holy man prayed with her; and then reminded her of what the faithful GOD had promised, and of what Christ had done and suffered for her soul. But even this was to no purpose : For, still, she could not believe, that the gospel promises and the merits of Jesus belonged to her.-Mr Fox, not in the least discouraged, went on; and, to the wonder of those about her, expressed himself to the following effect: “ You " will not only recover of your bodily disease, but also " live to an exceeding great age; and, which is yet bet« ter, you are interested in Christ, and will go to heaven 66 when you die.” Looking earnestly at him as he spake these words, she answered, with much emotion, · Im« possible! I shall as surely be damned, as this glass will < break;' and immediately dashed a Venice glass (which she was holding in her hand), with much force, against
* See more of him, in Strype's Annals, vol. iii. p. 505.--As also of Simeon, his youngest brother, ibid. p. 506. Mr Strype terms both these surviving fons of Mr John Fox,' well-deserving men, bred up to learning, and of note in their times.'