Posts Tagged ‘Rowland Taylor’

10:6 Blessed Head vs. Violent Mouth

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester who condemned Taylor.

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. —Proverbs 10:6

During the reign of Queen Mary Tudor, many Protestant churchmen were put to death for their faith. Bishops Bonner and Gardiner were her main agents. Gardiner, who had sworn an oath to serve the Reformation, and then switched sides, was especially notorious for his insults, jeers, and sarcasm toward the men he examined. One of these was Rowland Taylor, a pastor of godly character from a village fifty miles from London.

Gardiner greeted the holy man with his usual barrage of disparaging words (violence covering his lips), and soon enough contrived to do real violence, having Taylor condemned to death for views which differed from those of Rome. To make an example of him, the bishop had him burned to death in the town where he had preached.

The sheriff and his men who took Taylor home to die were amazed at the joy with which he approached death, and at the love and reverence his people showed him. Along the route people called blessings on their good pastor, thanking him aloud for kindnesses he had done to them. One old lady knelt beside him as he made his final prayer, and would not be driven away.

Taylor died patiently. In this he was like his Lord and master, Jesus Christ. Blessings cover Christ’s head and always will, especially the blessing of God who said, “This is my beloved Son.” But violence, jeers, mocking and curses covered the mouth of our Lord’s opponents, who wagged their heads at him while he was on the cross, and taunted him with the words, “He saved others, let him save himself.”