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Prebendary of St. Paul's and Martyr, A. D. 1555.

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A BRIEF account of the Life of the Rev. John Bradford 1


1. To the City of London , 5

2. To the University and Town of Cambridge ] 1

3. To Lancashire and Cheshire 16

4. To the Town of Walden 22

5. A comfortable letter to his mother, a godly matron, dwell-

ing in Manchester, and to his brethren and sisters, and
others of his friends there . . . . , 28

6. To my loving brethren, B.C. &c. — their wives, and whole

families 32

7. To my dearly beloved in Christ, Erkinalde Rawlins and

his wife 35

8. To Mistress A. Warcup 40

9. To mine own dear brother. Master Laurence Saunders,

prisoner in the Marshalsea 41

10. Another letter to Master Laurence Saunders 43

11. To my dear fathers, D. Cranmer, D. Ridley, D.Latimer,

prisoners in Oxford for the testimony of the Lord Jesus
and his holy gospel 44

12. To my dear fathers, D. Cranmer, D. Ridley, and D. Latimer 46

13. To the Right Honourable Lord Russell, (afterwards Earl

of Bedford,) being then in trouble for the verity of God's

gospel 4S

14 To Master Warcup and his wife. Mistress Wilkinson, and

others of his godly friends, with their families 51

1 5. To Sir James Hales, Knt., then prisoner in the Compter in

Bread-street 56

1 6. To my very dear friend in the Lord, Doctor Hill, physician 60

17. To Mistress M. H., a godly gentlewoman, comforting her

in that common heaviness and godly sorrow, which the
feeling and sense of sin worketh in God's children 64

18. Another letter, full of godly comfort, written to the same

person 68



19. To my well beloved in the Lord, W. P 70

20. A letter to a faithful woman in her heaviness and trouble,

most comfortable for all those to read that are afflicted
and broken-hearted for their sins 71

21. To my good Lady Vane 78

22. Another letter to the Lady Vane 79

23. To my dear friends and brethren, R. and E., with their

wives and families 80

24. To Mistress Wilkinson 81

25. Another letter, written to certain godly persons, encou-

raging them to prepare themselves with patience for the
cross 85

26. An admonition to certain professors of the gospel, to

beware they fall not from it, in consenting to the
Romish religion, by the example of halting and double-
faced gospellers 89

27. To my good brother, John Careless, prisoner in the King's

Bench 92

28. To Master John Hall and his wife, prisoners in Newgate,

for the testimony of the gospel 94

29. To Mistress Hall, prisoner in Newgate, and ready to make

answer before her adversaries 97

30. To a woman that desired to know his mind, whether she,

refraining from the mass, might be present at the popish
matins, or not 98

31. To the worshipful, and, in God, my most dear friend, the

Lady Vane, respecting the pope's pretended supremacy . . 101

32. To m.y dear brother in the Lord, Master Richard Hopkins,

and his wife, dwelling in Coventry, and others my faithful
brethren and sisters, professors of God's holy gospel
there and thereabouts 105

33. A letter to Master Richard Hopkins, then sheriff of Coven-

try, and prisoner in the Fleet, for the faithful and con-
stant confessing of God's holy gospel 114

34. To my good sister, Mistress Elizabeth Brown 118

35. To a friend of his, instructing him how he should answer

his adversaries 119

36. To certain godly men, whom he exhorts to be patient under

the cross, and constant in the true doctrine which they
had professed 121

37. To my dear friend and brother in the Lord, Master George

Eaton 1 25



3£ Another letter to Master George Eaton ] 28

S9. Another letter to Mistress Ann Warcup 129

40. To a certain godly gentlewoman, troubled and afflicted by

her friends, for not coming to the mass 13.

41. To one by whom he had received »*-H;h comfort and relief

in his trouble and imprisonment 1S4

42. To a faithful friend and his wife, resolving their doubt why

they ought not to go to auricular confession 136

43. A letter to N. and his wife 140

44. To my good brother, Augustine Berneher 143

45. To mine own good Augustine Berneher 144

46. A letter describing a comparison between the old man and

the new, &c 145

47. A letter written to his motherasafarewell, when he thought

he should have suffered shortly after 148

48. Another letter to his mother, as his last farewell unto her in

this world, a little before he was burned 151

49. A letter sent with a supplication to Queen Mary, her coun-

cil, and the whole parliament 152

50. To certain of his friends, N. Sheterden and R. Cole 154

51. To Mistress J. Harrington, a faithful woman, and fearing

God, whom he exhorteth to be patient under the cross,
and not to fear death 156

52. To my good friend in God, Master Humphrey Hales .... 159

53. Another letter to Master Humphrey Hales and his wife 162

54. To Master Shalcrosse and his wife, dwelling in Lancashire 164

55. To my good friends in the Lord, Master R. and his wife . . 168

56. To the worshipful Sir William Fitzwilliams, then being

knight marshal of the King's Bench 171

57. To my good brother. Master Coker, at Maldon, in Essex . . 173

58. To mineown good brother, Master John Philpot, prisoner

in the King's Bench 174

59. To my good brother, R. Cole 175

60. To Mistress Brown 176

61. To certain godly men, relievers and helpers of him and

others, in their imprisonment 176

62. Another letter to the Lord Russell 182

63. To his godly friends, G. and N., encouraging them to pre-

pare themselves to the cross, and patiently to endure
afflictions for God's cause and his holy gospel 28 4

64. To my dearly beloved in the Lord, Mrs. W. and Mrs. W. . 187
65 To my good sister, M.H 189



66. A letter concerning freewill, to certain men who were then

prison-ers with liim in the King's Bench 191

67. To certain men not rightly persuaded in the most trtre,

comfortable, and necessary doctrine of God's holy elec-
tion and predestination 193

68. To Trewe and Abingdon, with other of their company,

teachers and maintainers of the error of man's freewill 197
60. To the same 198

70. To the Lady Vane 198

71. To Mistress Wilkinson 199

72. To Father Traves, minister of Blackley, begging his

prayers, and lamenting his own sinful condition 201

73. Another letter to Father Traves 202

74. Another letter to Sir Thomas Hall, and Father Traves, of

Blackley 204

75. Another letter to Father Traves 207

76. Another letter to Father Traves 212

77. Another letter to Father Traves 214

78. Another letter to Father Traves 216

79. Another letter to Father Traves 218

80. Another letter to Father Traves 219

81. Another letter to Father Traves 22 1

82. Another letter to Father Traves 224

83. To a faithful and dear friend of his, treating of this place

of St. Paul to the Romans : " The fervent desire of the
creature waiteth when the children of God shall be
delivered." (Rom. viii,) 225


Preface to the Christian reader 237

A fruitful sermon of Repentance 241

A sermon upon the Supper of the Lord 274

A fruitful Treatise, and full of heavenly consolation, against the

Fear of Death 296

An exhortation to the patient suffering of trouble and affliction
for Christ's cause. Written to all the unfeigned profes-
sors of the gospel throughout the realm of England,

at the beginning of his imprisonment, A. D. 1554 3' 2

A short and pithy defence of the doctrine of the holy election
and predestination of God, gathered out of the first
chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. Ad-
dressed to a dear friend, and treating briefly but most



perfecUy, godly, soundly, and pithily, of God's holy

election, free-grace, and mercy in Jesus Christ 331

A brief summary of the doctrine of election and p'-edestina-

tion 341


Address to the Reader 342

Instructions to be observed concerning Prayer 343

A meditation upon the twelve articles of the Christian Faith « , 367

A meditation upon the Commandments 375

A meditation concerning prayer, with a brief paraphrase upon

the petitions of the Lord's Prayer 398

Another paraphrase or meditation upon the Lord's Prayer. . . . 405
A meditation on the coming of Christ to judgment, and of the

rewards both of the faithful and unfaithful 409

A meditation concerning the sober usage both of the body

and pleasures in this life 412

Another meditation to the same effect 4IS

A meditation for the exercise of true mortification 414

A godly meditation and instruction on the providence of God

towards mankind -, 415

A meditation of the presence of God 417

A meditation of God's power, beauty, goodness, &c 418

A meditation on death, and the advantages it brings 419

A godly meditation upon the passion of our Saviour Jesus

Christ 420

A confession of sins and prayer for the mitigation of God's

wrath and punishment for the same 424

Another confession of sins 426

A prayer for the remission of sins 427

Another prayer for remission of sins 428

A prayer for deliverance from sin, and to be restored to God's

grace and favour again 429

A prayer for the obtaining of faith 430

A prayer for repentance 431

A godly meditation and prayer 431


When you awake out of your sleep 4S6

As soon as you behold the daylight 43^

When you arise 4S7



Wlien you dress yourself 437

When you are made ready to begin the day .. 438

Cogitations proper to begin the day with 438

When you go forth out of doors 440

When you are going any journey 440

Another on the same « 441

When you are about to receive your meat 441

In the meal-time 442

After your meat 443

Cogitations for about the mid-day time 444

When you come home again 444

At the sun's going down 444

When the candles are lighted 44.')

When you undress yourself 4l6

When you enter into your bed 446

When you feel sleep to be coming 447

A most fruitful prayer for the dispersed church of Christ, very

necessary to be used by the godly in these days of affliction 448

Another prayer 45 ]

Another godly prayer to be read at all times 45 4





Prebendary of St. Paul's, and Martyr, A. D. 1555.

John Bradford was bom at Manchester, of respectable
parents, soon after the year 1510. He received a good educa-
tion ; and when he arrived at manhood, he engaged in the
service of sir John Harrington, one of the treasurers of king
Henry the Eighth. Bradford was highly valued by his master
for his ability and faithfulness, and was intrusted with the
management of many important affairs.

His worldly prospects were good, but God was pleased to
call him to the knowledge of the truth, and to implant in his
heart a desire to engage in the ministry of the word. He
therefore relinquished his situation, and applied wholly to the
study of the Scriptures. And here the powerful effect pro-
duced upon his mind by one of Latimer's "searching ser-
mons" should be noticed. In the course of his official duties,
Bradford had been induced to sanction an account, or in some
manner was engaged in a transaction, with the remembrance
of which his awakened conscience felt dissatisfied ; and as he
found that the person whose interest had been benefited thereby
refused to make it good, he did not rest till he had made full
restitution to the injured party, although to effect this he was
compelled to give up his patrimony.

After studying some time in London, Bradford went to
Cambridge, where he was much loved and esteemed. By the
earnest persuasion of Bucer he was induced to enter into the
ministry earlier than ^ he had intended; and bishop Ridley
immediately appointed him to a prebend in St. Paul's. He
preached in the metropolis with much acceptance during the


2 Bradford.

latter part of the reign of kinj^ Edward VI. The sum and sub-
stance of his discourses is thus described by Fox : " Sharply
he opened and reproved sin, sweetly he preached Christ cru-
cified, pithily he impugned heresy and error, and earnestly he
persuaded to godly life."

When Queen Mary came to the throne, Bradford was one of
the first who was marked for destruction, and the conduct
of the Papists towards him is among the most atrocious actions
of that cruel, persecuting reign. They were deeply sensible of
his worth, and laboured more earnestly with him than with
any other of the martyrs, to induce him to forsake the faith ;
but their endeavours were in vain.

The particulars of their proceedings, and of his constancy in
the truth, are related by Fox and other historians of that
period. At length he was brought to the stake, and burned
in Smithfield on the first of July, 1555, with a youth named
John Leaf. At the place of suffering Bradford addressed the
assembled multitude in these words, " O England, repent thee
of thy sins. Beware of idolatry, beware of false Antichrists.
Take heed they do not deceive you." The last words he was
heard to utter were, " Strait is the way and naiTOw is the
gate that leadeth to eternal life, and few there be that find it."
The bystanders heard no more, but as one who has written
concerning him observes, they saw that " he endured the
flame as a fresh gale of wind on a hot summer's day."

Bradford is one of the most spiritual and valuable writers
among the British Reformers. In his works, " he being dead
yet speaketh." His Letters' in particular have always been
higlily prized ; they will often be found to present more of
the genuine truths of the gospel in a single page than is con-
tained in whole volumes of later divines. As Fox observes,
*' They show how godly he occupied his time when a prisoner;
what special zeal he bore to the state of Christ's church ; what
care he had to perform his office ; how earnestly he admonished
all men ; how tenderly he comforted the heavy-hearted ; and
how fruitfully he confirmed them whom he had taught."



A faithful Minister and pillar of Christ's Church, by whose great

labours and diligence in preaching and planting the sincerity

of the gospel, by whose most godly and innocent life,

and by whose long and painful imprisonments for

the maintenance of the truth, the Kingdom of

God was not a little advanced : who also

at last most valiantly and cheerfully

gave his blood for the same,

on tlie 1st day of July, in the year of our Lord 1555.







[After the time that Bradford was condemned and sent to the
Compter, it was purposed by his adversaries that he should be had to
Manchester, where he was born, and tiiere be burned ; whereupon he
wrote to the City of London, thinking to take his last farewell of them in
this letter. Fojc.]


To the City of London.

To all that profess the gospel and the true doctrine of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the city of London ;
John Bradford, a most unworthy servant of the Lord, noAv
not only in prison, but also excommunicated and con-
demned to be burned, for the same true doctrine, wishes
mercy, grace, and peace, with increase of all godly know-
ledge and piety, from God the Father of mercy, through
the merits of our alone and all-sufficient Redeemer Jesus
Christ, by the operation of the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.
My dearly beloved brethren in our Saviopr Christ: —
Although the time I have to live is very little, for I look
hourly when I shall be conveyed into Lancashire, there to
be burned, and, by the providence of God, to render my
life where I first received it, by the same providence : and
although the charge is great to keep me from all things
whereby I might signify any thing to the world of my
state ; yet having, as now I have, pen and ink, through
God's working, notwithstanding the power of Satan and his
soldiers, I thought good to write a short confession of my

6 Bradford. — Letters.

faith, and thereto join a httle exhortation unto you all, to
live according to your profession.

First, for my faith : 1 do confess, and pray all the whole
congregationof Christ to bear witness with me of the same,
that I believe constantly, through the gift and goodness of
God, for faith is only God's gift, all the twelve articles of
the symbol or creed, commonly attributed to the apostles.
This my faith I would gladly particularly declare and ex-
pound, to confirm and comfort the simple ; but, alas ! by
starts and stealth I write in the manner that I write, and
therefore I shall desire you all to take this brevity in good
part. And this faith I hold, not because of the creed itself,
but because of the word of God, which teacheth and con-
firmeth every article accordingly. This word of God,
written by the prophets and apostles, and contained in the
canonical books of the holy Bible, I do believe to contain
plentifnlly all things necessary to salvation, so that nothing,
as necessary to salvation, ought to be added thereto ; and
therefore neither the Church of Christ, nor any of his con-
gregation, ought to be burdened with any other doctrine,
than that which hereout has its foundation and ground. In
testimony of this faith, I render and give my life, being con-
demned, as well for not acknowledging the antichrist of
Rome to be Christ's \-icar-general and supreme head of his
catholic and universal church, here or elsewhere upon
earth ; as for denying the horrible and idolatrous doctrine
of transubstantiation, and Christ's real, corporeal, and
carnal presence in his supper, under the forms and acci-
dents, (or appearance,) of bread and wine.

To believe that Christ our Saviour is the head of his
Church, and that kings in their realms are the supreme
powers, to whom every soul oweth obedience. And to be-
lieve that in the supper of Christ is a true and very pre-
sence of whole Christ, God and man, to the faith of the
receiver, but not to the stander by and looker upon, even
as it is a true and very presence of bread and wine to the
senses of men : to believe this, — I say, — will not serve ;
and therefore as a heretic I am condemned, and shall be
burned ; whereof I ask God heartily for mercy that I do
no more rejoice than I do, having so great cause, as to be
an instrument wherein it may please my dear Lord God
and Saviour to suiier. *

For albeit my manifold sins, even since I came into prison,
have deserved at the hands of God, not only temporal fire.

I.] To the City of London. 7

but also eternal fire in hell, much more my former sinful
life, which the Lord pardon for his Christ's sake, as 1
know he of his mercy hath done, and that he never will
lay mine iniquities to my charge, to condemnation ;
so great is his goodness, praised therefore be his holy
name ! Although, I say, my manifold and grievous late
sins have deserved most justly all that man or devil can do
unto me ; and therefore I confess that the Lord is just, and
that his judgments are true and deserved on my behalf : yet
the bishops and prelates do not persecute them in me, but
Christ himself, his word, his truth, and rehgion. And
therefore I have great cause, yea, most great cause, to re-
joice that ever I was born, and hitherto kept of the Lord ;
that by my death, which is deserved for my sins, it pleases
the heavenly Father to glorify his name, to testify his truth,
to confirm his verity, to oppugn his adversaries. O good
God and merciful Father ! forgive my great unthankful-
ness, especially herein.

And you, my dearly beloved, for the Lord Jesus Christ's
sake, I humbly and heartily in his bowels and blood do
now, for my last farewell in this present life, beseech you
and every one of you, that you will consider this work
of the Lord accordingly. First by me be admonished to
beware of hypocrisy and carnal security ; profess not the
gospel with tongue and lips only, but in heart and verity ;
frame and fashion your lives accordingly; beware that
God's name be not evil spoken of, and the gospel still less
regarded by your conversation. God forgive me, that I
have not so heartily professed it as I should have done,
but have sought myself much therein. The gospel is a
new doctrine to the old man ; it is new wine ; and there-
fore cannot be put in old bottles, without more hurt than
good to the bottles. If we will talk with the Lord, we must
put off" our shoes and carnal affections ; if we will hear the
voice of the Lord, we must wash our garments and be
holy ; if we will be Christ's disciples, we must deny our-
selves, take up our cross, and follow Christ ; we cannot
serve two masters. If we will seek Christ's kingdom, we
must seek for the righteousness thereof. To the petition,
Let thy kingdom come, we must join. Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. If we will not be doers
of the w:ord, but hearers of it only, we sorely deceive our-
selves. If we hear the gospel, and love it not, we declare
ourselves to be but fools, and builders upon the sand.

8 Bradford. — Letters.

The Lord's Spirit hateth feifrniiifr ; deceitfulness the Lord
ubhorreth ; if we come to him we must beware that we
come not with a double heart ; for then may chance that
God will answer us accordinjr to the block which is in our
heart, and so we shall deceive ourselves and others.

See that we couple a good conscience to faith, lest we
make a shipwreck. To the Lord we must come with fear
and reverence. If we will be gospellers, we must be
Christ's ; if we be Christ's, we must crucify our flesh with
the lusts and concupiscences thereof; if we will be imder
grace, sin must not bear rule in us. We may not come to the
Lord, and draw nigh unto him with our lips, and leave our
hearts elsewhere, lest the Lord's wrath wax hot, and he
take from us the good yet remaining. In no case can the
kingdom of Christ approach unto them that repent not.
Therefore, my dearly beloved, let us rejient and be heartily
sorry that we have so carnally, so hypocritically, so covet-
ously, so vain-gloriously professed the gospel. For all
these I confess of myself, to the glory of God, that he may
cover my offences in the day of judgment. Let the anger and
plagues of God most justly fallen upon us, be applied to
every one of our deserts, that from the bottom of our hearts
every one of us may say, It is I, Lord, that have sinned
against thee ; it is my hypocrisy, my vain-glory, my covet-
ousness, uncleanness, carnality, security, idleness, unthank-
fulness, self-love, and such like, which have deserved the
taking away of our good king,* of thy word,and true religion,
of thy good ministers by exile, imjirisonment, and death ; it
is ray wickedness that causes success, and increase of au-
thority, and peace to thy enemies. Oh, be mercifial, be mer-
ciful unto us. Turn to us again, O Lord of hosts, and
turn us unto thee ; correct us, but not in thy fury, lest
we be consumed in thine anger; chastise us not in thy
wrathful displeasure ; reprove us not, but in the midst of
thine anger remember thy mercy. For if thou mark what
is done amiss, who shall be able to abide it? But with
thee is mercifulness, that thou mightest be worshipped.
Oh then be merciful unto us, that we may tnily worship
thee. Help us, for the glory of thy name ; be merciful
unto our sins, for they are great : Oh, heal us, and help us
for thine honour. Let not tlie wicked people say. Where is
their God, &c.

On this sort, my right dearly beloved, let us heartily
* King Edv/ard YI.

I.] To the City of London. 9

bewail our sins, repent us of our former evil life, heartily
and earnestly purpose to amend our lives in all things,
continually watching in prayer; diligently and reverently
attend, hear, and read the holy Scriptures, and labour after
our vocation to amend our brethren. Let us reprove the
works of darkness. Let us flee from all idolatry. Let us
abhor the antichristian and Romish rotten service, detest
the popish mass, renounce their Romish god, prepare our-
selves to the cross, be obedient to all that are in authority,
in all things that are not against God, and his word ; an-

Online LibraryJohn BradfordWritings of the Rev. John Bradford, Prebendary of St. Paul's .. (Volume 6) → online text (page 1 of 44)