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

neighbours.



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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