A Quick Look At The Life Of Hugh Latimer
One of the guys from Church History that I've loved has been Hugh Latimer (1485 - 1555), who was bishop of Worcester. Today I thought I'd give a quick overview of this mans life.
Hugh Latimer was a very zealous roman catholic who strongly opposed any Lutheran or reformed teachings.
In 1524 a protestant by the name of Thomas Bilney (who afterwards was martyred for his faith) took a strange liking to Latimer & on one occasion asked Latimer to 'hear' his confession.
Thinking that he was going to see the victory of bringing such a man back to the roman catholic church, Latimer accepted the invitation & met up with Bilney. Thomas Bilney basically knelt in front of Latimer and gave his testimony of Christ.
Speaking of this occasion Latimer writes:
"By his confession I learned more than before in many years. So from that time forth I began to smell the word of God, and forsook the school-doctors and such fooleries."
Accused of Heresy & a Recanting
Even as quick as one year after his conversion to Christ, Latimer was investigated by the bishop of Ely who suspected him of having Lutheran tendencies He was reassessed again in 1531 & in 1532 was again accused of heresy & only escaped the heretic's fate by a full recantation.
Back to Preaching the Reformed Faith
His recantation didn't last long & when under King Edward VI the church in England became protestant, Latimer began preaching twice every Sunday. In his 1st sermon he hit on a theme that was to be his main call to England through the remainder of his life; a cry to London to repent of covetousness.
During this time Latimer was often to be found preaching before King Edward, for whom he did not water his messages down.
His Sermon StyleLatimer's sermons were talked, and since he would preach for a couple of hours he would use humour to help both himself & his hearers. He is said to have been simplistic & direct with burning zeal & humanity, along with an inexhaustible supply of funny stories & incidents that he noted down throughout his life among people.
Edward's reign lasted only six years and when he died, 'bloody Mary' took the throne, undone Edwards protestant reforms & began exterminating protestants, killing more than 300 men, women & children over her short 5 year reign.
Their crime was simply that they held the reformed faith; that justification was by faith alone, apart from works & mass etc...
Latimer who had been in & out of prison many times was arrested, imprisoned, & questioned often by roman catholic committees to which he continually responded with the Word of God.
He did not recant this time even under the threat of death, and on 16/10/1555, alongside Nicholas Ridley, he was brought out to be burned at the stake. As the flames were lit Latimer spoke his famous words:
"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
Both men died martyrs for Jesus, faithful & worthy to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).