Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Update and Some Sobering Thoughts

Today we worked on putting the seal plate on the foundation. We have three more pillars to "seal" and we will be done with that and will be ready to call the inspector to come out and take a look at it.

I stayed home this week and finished treating all the logs, we now have to measure and categorize all the logs, then finish cutting all the 4x12s, and then we can have the logs and beams graded, and then we will finally be ready to stack logs. It will most probably be early next month before we start stacking. Although this will push our original schedule back a little bit, we are still pressing to get the house dried-in before winter comes.

I have been reading in Fox's Book of Martyr's lately. Last night I read about Rowland Taylor. He was a martyr who lived in the 1500's. Taylor was a Rector (Pastor) who would not allow Roman Catholic Masses to be held in his Church. He ardently opposed the idolatrous and unbiblical practices of the Catholics, this ultimately led to his being burned in a barrel of pitch while chained to a stake. No doubt this  is an inspiring story of how a man stood up for the God's Word, but there is more to learn from this man than his love for God's Word and his unwavering allegiance to it. One has only to read his words to his flock, and to his family before his death to find that there is a great deal we have to learn from this man.

This is the transaction that began Taylor's imprisonment. Catholic priest had set up an alter and were preparing for mass in Taylor's Parish (Church) when Taylor on a Monday, Taylor noticed something was going and entered the Church and said:  
 “Thou devil, who made thee so bold to enter into this church to profane and defile it with this abominable idolatry? I command thee, thou popish wolf, in the name of God, to avoid hence, and not presume thus to poison Christ's flock.” To which Foster replied, “Thou traitor, what doest thou here to let and disturb the queen's proceedings?” After some farther altercation, the doctor was thrust out of the church, and a letter addressed to the chancellor, lodging in his court many false and grievous charges against this good man.

Accordingly Dr. Taylor set out for London, attended by John Hull his servant, who, by the way, labored to persuade his master to save himself from the impending storm, at the same time proffering him his service, though it was at the hazard of his life. Oh, John, said the good old man, shall I give way to thy counsel, and leave my flock in this danger. Remember the good Shepherd, Christ, not only fed his flock, but laid down his life for his sheep. Him I must, and by the strength of his grace, will follow; therefore, John, pray for me; and if at any time thou seest me weak, comfort me; but discourage me not in this my godly enterprise.

The doctor, on his arrival at London, waited on the chancellor, who, in his brutal manner, saluted him with knave, traitor, heretic, and abundance more of similar epithets. The doctor listened with patience till he had drained his resources of abuse, and then replied, Please your lordship, I am neither a traitor nor heretic, but a true subject, and faithful Christian man; and I am come, according to your orders, to learn what is your lordship's pleasure. Art thou come, thou villain? How darest thou look me in the face for shame, after what thou hast done? Knowest thou not who I am? Yes, said the doctor, I know you well, you are Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and lord chancellor, and but a man for all. If you expect that I should be afraid of your lordly looks, why is it that you are not afraid of God, so infinitely superior to your lordship. How dare you look in the face of any Christian for very shame, having denied Christ your Saviour, and his word, and violated your own hand writing and oath, taken first to Henry VIII., and afterward to Edward his son? With what countenance will you appear before the tribunal of him whom thou hast betrayed, when he comes to judge the world, and do justice to his injured servants?

Rowland Taylor spoke these words to his son Thomas just hours before his death:
“Almighty God bless thee, and give you his Holy Spirit, to be a true servant of Christ, to learn his word, and constantly to stand by his truth all the life long. And my son, see that thou fear God always. Fly from all sin and wicked living. Be virtuous, serve God daily with prayer, and apply thy boke [unsure what 'boke' is]. In anywise see thou be obedient to thy mother, love her, and serve her. Be ruled by her now in thy youth, and follow her good counsel in all things. Beware of lewd company of young men, that fear not God, but followeth their lewd lusts and vain appetites. Flee from whoredom, and hate all filthy lying, remembering that I they father do die in the defense of holy marriage [Taylor was condemned for teaching that a Priest could marry]. And another day when God shall bless thee, love and cherish the poor people, and count that thy chief riches to be rich in alms. And when thy mother is waxed old, forsake her not, but provide for her to thy power, and see that she lacks nothing. For so will God bless thee, give thee long life upon earth, and prosperity, which I pray God to grant thee.”

Friends of Rowland Taylor’s tried to convince him to flee London and spare his life own life. In response to such advice Dr. Taylor said:
“God shall well hereafter raise up teachers of his people, which shall with much more diligence and fruit teach them than I have done . . . . . I shall never be able to do God so good service, as I may do now; nor I shall never have so glorious a calling as I now have, nor so great mercy of God profitted me, as is now at this present.” Dr. Taylor was burnt at the stake, at the hands of Queen Mary of Tudor – Bloody Mary – within a couple days of this statement.”

The Last Will and Testament of Dr. Rowland Taylor, Parson of Hadley:

“I SAY to my wife and children, the Lord hath given you unto me, and the Lord hath taken us away from one another; blessed be the name of the Lord. I believe them blessed who die in the Lord. God careth for sparrows and for the very hair of our heads. I have ever found him more faithful and favorable than any father or husband. Trust in him, believe in him, love, honor, and obey him, pray to him; for he hath promised to help in every time of need. I go, but do not consider me dead, for I shall never die. I only go before you. I go to the rest of my children, Susan, George, Helen, Robert, and Zachary, and you shall, all of you, in God's good time, follow after, where we shall meet again with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I have bequeathed you to him whose goodness is infinite, and whose power is equal to his goodness. Fear not. ,... . “I say to my friends in Hadley, and all others who have heard me preach, that I leave this world with a quiet conscience with regard to the doctrines I have taught them; for I have taught them these lessons that I gathered from the unerring word of God; and therefore, if an angel from heaven should preach any other doctrine unto you, God's great curse fall on that preacher. Beware, for God's sake, that ye deny not the Saviour, nor decline from the truth of his gospel. For God's sake beware of popery, for though it has the appearance of unity, yet this same unity is vanity and antichristianity, diametrically opposed to the faith and verity that is in Christ Jesus. The Lord grant all men his good and holy Spirit to increase their wisdom, to show them the vanities of time, and give them a relish for true holiness, and the enjoyment of God and the heavenly company, through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator, Advocate  righteousness, life, sanctification, and hope. Amen, amen.

Rowland Taylor was a man, he was a man who protected his flock and his family up until his death. Taylor's wish was that faithful men would be raised up after him and do more for the kingdom and more faithfully lead the church than he did. I'm sorry to say that many of the male gender who fancy themselves men today are very sorry excuses for biblical men. But I find hope that the same Holy Spirit that empowered Taylor to be the man he was is still available to empower me. I've made it a goal to learn about the real men of our Christian faith, not just to marvel at their death but to imitate their life.

John Foxe – Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – describes the kind of man Rowland Taylor was:
Not only was his word a preaching unto them, but all his life and conversation was an example of unfeigned Christian life, and true holiness. He was void of all pride, humble, and meek as any child: so that none were so poor, but they might boldly, as unto their father, resort unto him, neither was his lowliness childish or fearful: but as occasion, time, and place required, he would be stout in rebuking the sinful, and evil doers: so that none was so rich, but he would tell him plainly his fault, with such earnest and grave rebukes as became a good Curate and Pastor. He was a man very mild, void of all rancor, grudge, or evil will, ready to do good to all men, readily forgoing his enemies, and never sought to do evil to any.


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