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Sunday, 6 May 2018

KISSING THE STAKES

Kissing the Stakes



On September 28, Latimer and Ridley were brought to trial again; when the priests demanded that Ridley recant, he answered without hesitation, “I utterly refuse and renounce the usurped supremacy and abused authority of the bishop of Rome. I do not in any way give my obedience or honor to him lest by doing that I might dishonor the truth of God’s Word.”138

Latimer and Ridley were scheduled for execution on October 16, 1555. The last night of Ridley’s life,his brother offered to stay up with him throughout the night to comfort him in his sorrow. But Ridley’s answer was full of faith in the God that awaited him in heaven. “No, no, that you shall not do. For I plan, God willing, to go to bed and to sleep as quietly tonight as I ever have in my life.”139
The next morning, the men were paraded slowly down the streets of London to a location outside the Bocardo Gate of Oxford University. Thomas
Cranmer hadn’t been sentenced yet, but he was taken under guard to a nearby tower and forced to watch his friends cruelly burn. As the godly men were brought to the stake in their tattered prison clothes, they embraced one another with the confidence of Christ, looking up to the tower where they thought Cranmer might be stationed. Then both men knelt down and kissed the stakes.

As one long metal chain was wrapped around both men’s waists to secure them to the stake. Hugh Latimer turned to Nicholas Ridley and made the statement that is still so well-known today:
 “Be of good comfort and play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”140 

And the fires were lit. With eyes uplifted, Master Latimer gave a cry, 
“O Father of heaven, receive my soul;” he reached out his arms as though he was embracing the flame and died soon after.

Tragically, Nicholas Ridley’s execution was particularly horrific. It was common practice to allow the condemned to place pouches of gunpowder under their arms to hasten their deaths. Once the fire touched the gunpowder it would bring a quick end.

Latimer and Ridley both had pouches placed under their arms, and once the fire reached Latimer’s chest his pain was over. For Ridley it was not so easy. Not enough logs had been placed under him causing a small but intense fire; his lower body nearly burned away while he remained alive. As he cried out, 

Let the fire come unto me! I cannot burn!” his brother-in-law foolishly threw more kindling on the pyre which smothered the fire but kept it burning from underneath. When Ridley cried out again, Christian bystander reached into the flames and pulled the planks off of the top. The fire shot up to Ridley’s chest and the gunpowder exploded. Finally, the man of God could join his Savior in heaven.

Today, there is a small cross on Broad Street, Oxford, which marks the spot of Nicholas Ridley’s death. Ridley Hall at the University of Cambridge, Ridley College in Ontario, Canada, and Ridley Melbourne, a theological college in Australia, are all named after the faithful martyr. Ridley had “played the man” well for the sake of the gospel and his Master, Jesus Christ.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6–8 nasb)
 


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Item Reviewed: KISSING THE STAKES Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Olatuja Oloyede