Sunday, 19 August 2012

Little Bilney's text

Today is the 481st anniversary of the execution of Thomas Bilney.

He was a deeply religious and devoted man who threw himself into his devotions, costing him not only his wealth, but his health.  For all his efforts he still had no peace and was burdened with guilt. 

He heard about a notorious new book, but it was a banned book in the place where he lived.  It was a new translation of the New Testament into Latin by Erasmus.  He went out and bought one, and smuggled it into his chambers. 

When he opened it he chanced upon the words of 1 Timothy 1 v 15
It is a true saying and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the chief and principal.
These words were like cold waters to his thirsty soul. He described them as "sweet and comfortable".

"Comfortable" words?  Are you comfortable?  Are you comfortable at the thought of death and eternity?  These certainly are comfortable words - words you can rest your guilty soul on.  They are tailor made for you.  Rest on them today.

On 19th August 1531 Little Bilney (as he was called) was lead out to Lollards Pit to be burnt at the stake.  Someone exhorted him to be firm.  His reply was,
When the sailor goes on board his ship and launches out into the stormy sea, he is tossed to and fro by the waves, but the hope of reaching a peaceful haven makes him bear the danger.  my voyage is beginning, but whatever storms I feel, my shop will soon reach that port.
Bilney was sure of that - are you?  He has safely reached the shore - will you?  If you grasp the Gospel lifeline of 1 Timothy 1 v 15 you will be saved and can be sure.