Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. But dying for your testimony to Christ is not the only way to give your life for His kingdom. Of the martyrs (literally, witnesses) listed below, only three actually died in the act of testifying. As they were led out together to be burned at the stake, Hugh Latimer turned to Nicholas Ridley and said, “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, and we shall this day light such a candle in England as shall never be put out!” Thomas Cranmer at first was frightened into signing a recantation. But he later repented his cowardice, and when he went to the stake he held that dastardly hand that had signed the confession into the flames, wanting it to be burned first. The others died natural deaths, but gave their lives for the faith no less than the ones who are technically martyrs.
Though faced with Pope and Empire, curse and ban,
Luther’s captive conscience dared not flinch;
Latimer and Ridley played the man
And lit a lamp that time will never quench.
Athanasius stood against them all;
Cranmer’s hand went first into the flame;
Calvin shook beneath the elders’ call;
Blessed are those who suffer for the Name.
Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
Donald T. Williams, PhD