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1295 [1271]

K. Hen. 8. Persecution in Scotland. The cruell burning of M. George Wisehart Gentleman.

the soule of man shall sleepe to the latter daye of iudgement, and shall not obtaine life immortall vntill that day.

MarginaliaAunswere.God full of mercy and goodnesse forgeue them that saye such things of me. I wote and knowe surely by the worde of God, that he which hathe begun to haue the faith of Iesu Christ, and beleueth firmely in him, I know surely that MarginaliaThe faithfull soule shall neuer sleepe.the soule of that man shall neuer sleepe, but euer shall liue an immortall life. The which life from day to day is renued in grace and augmēted: nor yet shal euer perish, or haue an ende, but euer immortall shall liue with Christ. To the which life all that beleue in him shal come, and rest in eternall glory. Amen.

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When the Bishoppes wyth their complices had accused this innocent man in manner and fourme aforesayde, incōtinently they condēned him to be burnt as an heretik, not hauing respect to hys godly answers and true reasons which he alleaged, nor yet to their owne consciences, thinking verelye that they shoulde doe to God good sacrifice, conformable to the sayings of S. Iohn 

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John 16:2.

: MarginaliaIohn. 16.They shal excommunicate you: yea, and the time shal come, that he which killeth you, shall thinke that he hath done to God good seruice.

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The prayer of maister George.

MarginaliaThe prayer of M. George Wyseharte for the congregatiō of God.O Immortall God, how long shalt thou suffer the woodnes & great crudelitie of the vngodly to exercise theyr fury vpon thy seruaunts which doe further thy woorde in this worlde, seeing they desire to be contrary, þt is to choke and destroy thy true doctrine & veritie, by the whych thou hast shewed thy selfe vnto the world, which was all drowned in blindnesse and misknowledge of thy name. O Lord wee knowe surelye that thy true seruauntes must needes suffer for thy names sake, persecution, affliction, and troubles in this present life, whiche is but a shadowe, as thou haste shewed to vs by thy Prophetes and Apostles. But yet we desire thee hartily, that thou conserue, defende, and helpe thy congregation, which thou haste chosen before the beginning of the worlde, and geue them thy grace to heare thy word, and to be thy true seruaunts in thys present life.

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Then by & by they caused the common people to voide away, whose desire was alwayes to heare that innocente man to speake. Then the sonnes of darkenesse pronounced their sentence definitiue, not hauing respecte to the iudgement of God. When all this was done and sayde, the Cardinall caused his warders to passe againe wyth the meeke Lambe into the Castle, vntill suche time as the fire was made ready. When he was come into the Castle, then there came two Gray feendes, frier Scot and his mate, sayinge, Sir, yee must make your confession vnto vs. He aunswered, and said, I wil make no confession vnto you. Go fetch me yōder man that preached this day, and I will make my confession vnto him. Then they sent for the Suppriour 

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John Winram, who had preached earlier in the day and who was later to be Foxe's informant for much of his other Scottish material.

of the Abbey, who came to him withall diligence. But what he sayd in thys confession I can not shewe.

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When the fire was made readie, and the gallowes at the West part of the Castle neare to the Priorie, the Lorde Cardinall dreading that master George should haue bene taken away by his friendes, commaunded to bende all the Ordinance of the Castle right against that parte, and commaunded al his gunners to be ready and stand beside their gunnes, vnto such time as he were burned. All this beyng done, they bounde Maister Georges handes behinde hys backe, and ledde hym foorth wyth their souldiors from the Castle, to the place of their wicked execution. As hee came forth of the Castle gate, there met him certaine beggers asking his almes for Gods sake. To whome he answered, I want my handes wherwith I should geue you almes: but MarginaliaM. Wisehart prayeth for the relief of the poore.the mercifull Lorde, of his benignitie and aboundaunce of grace, that feedeth all men, vouchsafe to geue you necessaries both vnto your bodies and soules. Then afterwarde met him two false fiendes, I shoulde say Fryers, sayinge: Master George, pray to our Lady, that she may be mediatrix for you to her sonne. To whome he answeared meekely: MarginaliaM. Wysehart aunswereth the Fryers tempting him.Cease, tempt me not my brethren. After thys hee was lead to the fire with a roape about his necke, and a chayne of yron about his middle.

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When that he came to the fire, he sate downe vpon hys knees, and rose againe, and thrise he sayd these woordes: O thou Sauiour of the worlde haue mercy on mee. Father of heauen, I commend my spirit into thy holy hands. When he had made this prayer, he turned him to the people and sayde these wordes.

MarginaliaThe wordes and exhortation of M. Wysehart at his death to the people.I beseeche you Christian brethren and sisters, that yee be not offended in the woorde of God for the affliction and torments, whych ye see alreadye prepared for mee. But I exhorte you that ye loue the worde of God, and suffer paci-ently and wyth a comfortable heart for the woordes sake, whych is your vndoubted saluation and euerlasting comforte.

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Moreouer, I pray you shewe my brethren and sisters, whych haue hearde me ofte before, that they cease not, nor leaue of the worde of God, which I taught vnto them, after the grace geuē vnto me, for no persecutiōs or troubles in this world, which lasteth not: and shew vnto them, that my doctrine was no wiues fables after the constitutions made by men. And if I had taught mens doctrine, I had gotten greate thankes by men. MarginaliaThe constant patience of this good man.But for the woordes sake and true Euangel, which was geuen to me by the grace of God, I suffer thys day by men, not sorowfully, but with a glad heart and minde. For this cause I was sent, that I shoulde suffer this fire for Christes sake. Consider and beholde my visage, yee shall not see mee chaunge my colour. Thys grim fire I feare not. And so I pray you for to doe, if that any persecution come vnto you for the wordes sake, & not to feare them that slay the bodye, and afterward haue no power to slay the soule. Some haue sayde of me, that I taught, that the soule of man should sleepe vntil þe last day. But I know surely, & my faith is such, that my soule shall suppe wt my sauiour Christe this night, ere it be 6. houres: for whom I suffer this. MarginaliaM. George Wysehart prayeth for his enemyes & forgeueth them.Then he praied for them which accused hym, saying: I beseeche thee (father of heauen) to forgeue thou that haue of any ignoraunce, or els of any euill minde, forged any lies vpon me. I forgeue them wyth all my heart. I beseeche Christ to forgeue them that haue condemned me to death thys day ignorantly.

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And last of all he sayd to the people on thys manner: I beseeche you brethren and sisters, to exhorte your Prelates to the learning of the woorde of God, that they at the laste may be ashamed to doe euill, and learne to do good. And if they will not conuert themselues from their wicked error, there shal hastly come vpon them the wrath of God, which they shall not eschewe. MarginaliaM. George Wysehart prophesieth of the death of the Cardinall, which folowed after. Many faithfull wordes sayde he in the meane tyme, taking no heede or care of the cruell torments which were then prepared for him.

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MarginaliaThe Martirdome of M. George Wysehart Gentleman & Martyr.The Martyrdome of M. George Wisehart.
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George Wishart's evangelical career took him from Scotland to England , where he was in trouble for his preaching at Bristol in 1539, and for which he appeared before Cranmer before being returned to do penance in the city. Later he studied at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. His return to Scotland in 1544 on an active preaching mission (aided by Knox) only lasted two years. He was arrested in January 1546 and burned at St Andrews in March that year. Foxe's illustration, though one of the small woodcuts, was distinctive in showing him hanging as well as being burned -- compare the image of the hanging and burning of Lollards in 1414 -- and this cut was not reused.

And last of all, the hangman that was hys tormentor, sate downe vpon hys knees, and said: Syr I pray you forgeue me, for I am not giltie of your death. To whome hee answeared: come hether to me. When that he was come to him, he kissed his cheeke, and sayd: Loe here is a token that I forgeue thee. My heart do thine office: and by and by, he was put vpon the gibbet and hanged, and there burnte to pouder. When that the people beheld the great tormēting, thay might not withholde from pitious mourning & complaining of this innocent Lambes slaughter.

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A note of the iust punishment of God vpon the cruell Cardinall Archbishop of S. Andrewes, named Beaton.

IT was not long after the martyrdom of the blessed man of God M. George Wisehart aforesayd, who was put to

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