By Pastor Dan Rachor
Hugh Latimer, born in 1491, was a dedicated priest. At Cambridge University he discovered a daily Bible study group. This group was sneered at, but sneering wasn’t enough. Latimer went to beg them to stop reading the Scriptures, but he discovered Master Stafford, a highly respected professor, leading the group.
It was conceivable that young people were studying these new doctrines, but it was disgraceful for a Doctor of Divinity!
Latimer attacked Stafford and insulted him; he again begged the youth to abandon the professor’s heretical teachings. During the doctor’s lectures, he made signs of impatience plus ridiculed him afterwards. He even preached in public against the learned doctor.
Bilney, a Bible reformer, heard Latimer’s attacks on the reformation and on the Bible. Bilney felt love for Latimer and prayed for a way to reach the priest with the truth. Then he went to see Latimer. “For the love of God,” he said, “be pleased to hear my confession.” Latimer was thrilled that a Bible study leader had come to him for confession. He felt vindicated and accepted Bilney’s request.
Bilney knelt and related to Latimer, with touching simplicity, the anguish he felt in his soul, the efforts he had made to remove it while following the precepts of the church, and the peace he found by believing in Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He described the spirit of adoption, and the joy he experienced through calling God his Father.
Latimer, expecting to receive a confession, listened. The “confession” entered his heart like a two-edged sword. The Holy Spirit spoke to his soul and he received a new heart.
When Bilney finished and stood up Latimer remained seated, absorbed in thought. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, he was conquered. Bilney drew near with love, and God scattered the darkness. He saw Jesus as our only Savior for mankind.
Latimer repented of his obstinate war against God. He wept bitterly. Bilney consoled him, saying, “Brother, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” These two young men later died as martyrs for the true gospel!
Photo Credit: Source Unknown via Amazing Facts