After last week’s post on ‘trials being par for the course’ my attention was drawn to the price others have paid for faith. One, William Tyndale, the man who brought us first the English translation of the Bible, and the other a lady I had never heard of until finding a poem she wrote.
First, cost of faith for William Tyndale…
William Tyndale was an English scholar who became a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. A number of partial translations had been made from the seventh century onward, but the spread of Wycliffe’s Bible in the late 14th century led to the death penalty for anyone found in unlicensed possession of Scripture in English.
(Featured image is of John 1, Tyndale Bible.)
From one of his works ‘The Obedience of a Christian Man,’ William Tyndale wrote…
Mark this also, if God send thee to the sea, and promise to go with thee, and to bring thee safe to land, he will raise up a tempest against thee, to prove whether thou wilt abide by his word, and that thou mayest feel thy faith, and perceive his goodness. For if it were always fair weather, and thou never brought into such jeopardy, whence his mercy only delivered thee, thy faith should be but a presumption, and thou shouldest be ever unthankful to God and merciless unto thy neighbor.
Probably better than us, the man clearly understood that Christian faith was not ‘a walk in the park.’
From the same work…
The preaching of God’s word is hateful and contrary unto them. Why? For it is impossible to preach Christ, except thou preach against antichrist; that is to say, them which with their false doctrine and violence of sword enforce to quench the true doctrine of Christ. And as thou canst heal no disease, except thou begin at the root; even so canst thou preach against no mischief, except thou begin at the bishops.
William Tyndale was executed for heresy by the Roman Catholic Church of his day. He was strangled, then burnt at the stake.
Legacy of William Tyndale…
In 1611, the 54 scholars who produced the King James Bible drew significantly from Tyndale, as well as from translations that descended from his. One estimate suggests that the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale’s.
Read more about his life – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale
Cost of faith for Jeanne Marie de la Motte-Guyon
I want to finish today with a poem written by a lady I had never heard of until I found the poem.
Here’s a little bit of background on her though. Persecuted for her faith, accused of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church of her day, she was in prison when she wrote the poem. Imprisoned in a dungeon below the level of the ground for ten years, no natural light came into her life. They did allow her to burn a candle at breakfast, lunch and dinner. She wasn’t getting a lot of sustenance, but whenever those meager meals came along, she was allowed to have a candle so that she wouldn’t be in pitch black, and she’d actually be able to feed herself. Well, she wrote this poem sometime during that ten years. Somehow it got out and it was preserved. Listen to the acceptance of God’s will, — the resignation that is here.
“A little bird I am
Shut from the fields of air.
Yet in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there.
Well pleased a prisoner to be
Because my God, it pleases thee.
Nothing have I else to do,
I sing the whole day long.
And He who most I love to please
Says, Listen to my song.
He caught and bound my wandering way,
But still He bends to hear me sing.
My cage confines me ‘round,
But abroad I cannot fly.
But though my wing is closely bound,
My heart’s at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control the flight,
The freedom of my soul.
Ah! It is good to soar
These belts and bars above
To Him whose purpose I adore.
Whose providence I love.
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.”
Jeanne Marie de la Motte-Guyon 1648-1717