The flesh shrinks back

Somewhere in Martyrs Mirror, an Anabaptist prisoner anticipating his execution (probably by fire) writes that, while his spirit yearns for the day when he will receive his new body, his current body is naturally attached to itself and prejudiced against being burned to ashes.

I can’t find the exact quote. But it reminds me of the martyrdom of Thomas Cramner, in which “fire being now put to him, he stretched out his right hand, and thrust it into the flame, and held it there a good space, before the fire came to any other part of his body; where his hand was seen of every man sensibly burning, crying with a loud voice, ‘This hand hath offended.’ ”

Deliberately thrusting your hand into a fire is problematic, because your natural pain reflexes would make it tend to spring back. But watching your hand being consumed is easy compared to watching your pride being consumed.

Fortunately, you aren’t required to let your pride be consumed now. It will be conveniently consumed for you in a future judgement, if you’d prefer to wait until then.

2 thoughts on “The flesh shrinks back

  1. Interesting post. Williams uses with the same images in his “Descent into Hell,” which somehow your post reminded me of. He looks at the sin of the other sin, the pride that turns all interest inward leading us to damnation.

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