THE COMMISSION TO PREACH
Ven. JOHN SOUTHWORTH, Pr., 1654
"GOOD people, I was born in Lancashire. This is the third time I have been apprehended, and now being to die I would gladly witness and profess openly my faith, for which I suffer. And though my time be short, yet what I shall be deficient in words I hope I shall supply with my blood, the last drop of which I would willingly spend for my faith. Neither my intent in coming to England, nor practice in England, was to act anything against the secular government. Hither was I sent by my lawful superiors to teach Christ s faith, not to meddle with any temporal affairs. Christ sent His Apostles, His Apostles their successors, and their successors me. I did what I was commanded by them who had power to command me, being ever taught that I ought to obey them in matters ecclesiastical, and my temporal governors in business only temporal. I never acted nor thought any hurt against the present Protector. I had only a care to do my own obligation, and discharge my own duty in saving my own and other men s souls. This, and only this, according to my poor abilities, I laboured to perform. I had commission to do it from him, to whom our Saviour, in his predecessor St. Peter, gave power to send others to propagate His faith."
"As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you." JOHN xx. 21.
LOOKING ON JESUS
Ven. JOHN SOUTHWORTH, Pr. 1654
"THIS is that for which I die, O holy cause, and not for any treason against the laws. My faith and obedience to my superiors is all the treason charged against me : may I die for Christ s law, which no human law, by whomsoever made, ought to withstand or contradict. The law of Christ commanded me to obey these superiors and this Church, saying who ever hears them hears Christ Himself. This Church, these superiors of it, I obeyed, and for obeying die. I was brought up in the truly ancient Roman Catholic Apostolic religion, and learnt that the sum of the only true Christian profession is to die. This lesson I have heretofore in my life desired to learn : this lesson I come here to put in practice by dying, being taught it by our Blessed Saviour, both by precept and example. Himself said, He that will be My disciple, let him take up his cross and follow Me. Himself exemplary practised what He recommended to others. To follow His holy doctrine and imitate His holy death, I willingly suffer at present ; this gallows, looking up, I look on as His Cross, which I gladly take up to follow my dear Saviour. My faith is my crime ; the performance of my duty the cause of my condemnation."
"Looking on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who having joy set before Him, endured the cross." HEB. xii. 2.
Hat tip to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity