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Rawlins White

Rawlins White was by his calling and occupation a fisherman, living and
continuing in the said trade for the space of twenty years at least, in
the town of Cardiff, where he bore a very good name amongst his

Though the good man was altogether unlearned, and withal very simple,
yet it pleased God to remove him from error and idolatry to a knowledge
of the truth, through the blessed reformation in Edward's reign. He had
his son taught to read English, and after the little boy could read
pretty well, his father every night after supper, summer and winter,
made the boy read a portion of the holy scriptures, and now and then a
part of some other good book.

When he had continued in his profession the space of five years, king
Edward died, upon whose decease queen Mary succeeded and with her all
kind of superstition crept in. White was taken by the officers of the
town, as a man suspected of heresy, brought before the bishop Llandaff,
and committed to prison in Chepstow, and at last removed to the castle
of Cardiff, where he continued for the space of one whole year. Being
brought before the bishop in his chapel, he counselled him by threats
and promises. But as Rawlins would in nowise recant his opinions, the
bishop told him plainly, that he must proceed against him by law, and
condemn him as a heretic.

Before they proceeded to this extremity, the bishop proposed that prayer
should be said for his conversion. "This," said White, "is like a godly
bishop, and if your request be godly and right, and you pray as you
ought, no doubt God will hear you; pray you, therefore, to your God, and
I will pray to my God." After the bishop and his party had done praying,
he asked Rawlins if he would now revoke. "You find," said the latter,
"your prayer is not granted, for I remain the same; and God will
strengthen me in support of this truth." After this, the bishop tried
what saying mass would do; but Rawlins called all the people to witness
that he did not bow down to the host. Mass being ended Rawlins was
called for again; to whom the bishop used many persuasions; but the
blessed man continued so steadfast to his former profession, that the
bishop's discourse was to no purpose.--The bishop now caused the
definitive sentence to be read, which being ended, Rawlins was carried
again to Cardiff, to a loathsome prison in the town, called Cockmarel,
where he passed his time in prayer, and in singing of psalms. In about
three weeks, the order came from town for his execution.

When he came to the place, where his poor wife and children stood
weeping, the sudden sight of them so pierced his heart, that the tears
trickled down his face. Being come to the altar of his sacrifice, in
going towards the stake, he fell down upon his knees, and kissed the
ground; and in rising again, a little earth sticking on his face, he
said these words, Earth unto earth, and dust unto dust; thou art my
mother, and unto thee I shall return.

When all things were ready, directly over against the stake, in the face
of Rawlins White, there was a standing erected, whereon stept up a
priest, addressing himself to the people, but, as he spoke of the Romish
doctrines of the sacraments, Rawlins cried out, Ah, thou wicked
hypocrite, dost thou presume to prove thy false doctrine by scripture?
Look in the text that followeth; did not Christ say, "Do this in
remembrance of me?"

Then some that stood by cried out, put fire! set on fire! which being
done, the straw and reeds cast up a great and sudden flame. In which
flame this good man bathed his hands so long, until such time as the
sinews shrank, and the fat dropped away, saving that once he did, as it
were, wipe his face with one of them. All this while, which was somewhat
long, he cried with a loud voice, O Lord, receive my spirit! until he
could not open his mouth. At last the extremity of the fire was so
vehement against his legs, that they were consumed almost before the
rest of his body was hurt, which made the whole body fall over the chain
into the fire sooner than it would have done. Thus died this good old
man for his testimony of God's truth, and is now rewarded, no doubt,
with the crown of eternal life.

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