THIS great man took as important a part in the Reformation of England as did Bishops Latimer and Ridley, whose cruel martyrdom was related a few weeks ago. Born in 1489, he early became connected with the government, being sent by King Henry VIII. to transact business with several of the chief courts of Europe, and with the pope at Rome. His success was so satisfactory to the king, that on returning home, Cranmer was made Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest office of the church in England. This office gave him the privilege of crowning the kings and queens of the realm. 

Now this man started out in life a Catholic in faith and practice, and while doing business for the king on the continent of Europe, he visited the Lutherans in Germany for the purpose of restoring them to the faith. But instead of accomplishing his purpose, they converted him to their belief. 

So when Henry VIII. threw off the yoke of the pope, Cranmer was glad of it, and did all he could to help on the Reformation. Although he differed from the king in some of his beliefs and practices, and wished him to lead a better life, yet they both continued friends till the king's death; and it was wholly owing to Henry's protection that the enemies of Cranmer were prevented from taking his life during that king's reign. 

During the first few years of the reign of Henry's successor, Edward VI., the government was carried on by a body of men called the Council of Regency, because Edward was too young to be king. Cranmer was a member of that body, and used the power, which the position gave him, in establishing the Church of England. He labored hard to put the Bible into the hands of the people, and a large number printed in his lifetime, had his picture printed on the frontispiece. His system of church government and form of worship have been changed but little to this day, so that the Church of England still stands a monument to his learning, foresight, and ability. 

It would be of great interest to know the complete history of his life, but you are all anxious, no doubt, to know how he came to die. So you will now be told the story of his martyrdom, and when you are older you may be able to read the book entitled, "The Life and Times of Thomas Cranmer," which will tell you all about the man. 

You perhaps remember that Queen Mary reigned next after King Edward. During her reign, when Latimer and Ridley were taken from prison to Oxford, to dispute with the learned men there, Cranmer, who had then been imprisoned some time, was taken with them for the same purpose. 

As with the other two men of God, so with him; his enemies could not prevail in argument, and could only use their power in sentencing him to death. 

He was not condemned at once, however, but after suffering a long and cruel imprisonment was led to hope for pardon and life if he would recant. 

That is, if he would sign certain papers stating that he did not believe what he had preached concerning the Roman Catholic church. In a moment of weakness, he consented to do so; but soon afterwards he bitterly repented his cowardice. He made a public confession of his Weakness and sin in recanting, and wept so exceedingly that many, even of his enemies, were moved to tears, to see him suffer such anguish of mind. Being sentenced to be burned alive, he said that his unworthy right hand should be burned first for having written contrary to his heart. 

He was brought to the same spot, where, about five months before, Latimer and Ridley had sealed the truth with their blood. 

Here he made a short prayer, and then gave himself into the hands of the executioners. He wore a long shirt, reaching to his feet, which were bare. 

When his cap was removed, his head appeared perfectly bald. This, with his long beard, gave him so venerable an appearance that one of his most bitter enemies said: "I think there was none that pitied not his case, and bewailed not his fortune, and feared not his own chance, to see so noble a prelate, so grave a counselor, of so long continued honor, after so many dignities, in his old years, to be deprived of his estate, adjudged to die, and in so painful a death to end his life." As the flames arose, he thrust his right hand forth to meet them, and held it there until all the people could see it burning, before the fire reached any other part of his body, saying at the same time, "This hand hath offended! This unworthy right hand." He remained as immovable as the stake to which he was chained, and the only words that escaped his lips were, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 

C. H. G. 

MAKE the best use of what you have, and then you may look to the Lord with confidence for more. 

In the path of duty, God promises his special protection. He will keep us safe and bless us.