account of his death



          “……As a man resolute to take a far journey which necessitates departing from his familiar friends, it is only natural that he hath a desire to bid his friends farewell before his departure, so likewise I do now, awaiting daily for that time when I should be called to depart hence from you…..”


ridley rebukes the new roman catholic bishopric of london under queen mary


          O London, London! To whom now may I speak in thee, or whom shall I bid farewell?....Alas! All that loved God’s word and were the true preachers thereof, some are now either burnt and slain, exiled and banished, or imprisoned under harsh conditions, appointed daily to be put to most cruel death for Christ’s gospel’s sake…..Shall I speak to the church office in which I was placed almost three years? But what may I say to it, having been deposed and expelled from it, judged to be an unjust usurper of that office? O judgment, judgment! Can this be just judgment to condemn the chief minister of God’s word, the pastor and bishop of the diocese, and never bring him into judgment, that he might have heard what crimes were laid to his charge, nor never allow him the opportunity to answer the charges?......

          “O thou now wicked and bloody bishopric! Why dost thou once again set up many altars of idolatry which by the word of God were justly removed?...Nay, hearken, thou whorish bawd of Babylon! Thou wicked limb of Antichrist! Thou bloody wolf! Why do you slay and make havoc of the prophets of God? Why do you cruelly murder Christ’s poor, innocent sheep? Is it because they will not hear thy voice because thou art a stranger, and will follow no other but the voice of their own Shepherd, Christ? Do you seriously think for one moment that you will escape judgment, or that the Lord will not require the blood of his saints at thy hands? Thy deaf and dumb god, which is the work of thy hands, whom thou sayest thou hast the power to make, thou you unashamedly call him your Maker, will not and cannot make thee escape the revenging hand of the high and Almighty God……O thou whorish harlot! Thou shalt never escape. Instead of my bidding thee farewell, now I say Fie upon thee, you disgust me, filthy prostitute, and all your false prophets, for you have joined in league with [Rome],  the seat of Satan…..


ridley rebukes england’s elite now obedient to roman catholicism – they will not escape judgment


“I say unto you, as St. Paul saith to the Galatians, ‘I wonder, my lords, what hath bewitched you, that ye so suddenly are fallen from Christ unto Antichrist; from Christ’s gospel to man’s tradition; from the Lord that bought you unto the Bishop of Rome. I warn you of your peril. Be not deceived. You are willing consenters to your own death. For if you rationalize thus, ‘We are laymen; this is a matter of religion; we follow as we are taught and led; if our teachers and governors teach us and lead us amiss, the fault is in them, they shall bear the blame:’ My lords, this is true, I grant you, that both the false teachers and the corrupt governor shall be punished for the death of their subject, whom they have falsely taught and corruptly led , yea, and his blood shall be required at their hands.[3] Yet, nevertheless, the subject shall die the death himself. He shall be damned for his own sin. For if the blind lead the blind, Christ saith, not only the leader, but both shall fall into the ditch.[4]……You are all wise enough to understand what I mean, so I will now continue to tell you how ye are fallen from Christ to his adversary, the Bishop of Rome.


ridley’s reasons for calling the pope the antichrist


“And lest, my lords, ye may perhaps think I call the Bishop of Rome Christ’s adversary, or to speak in plain terms, to call him Antichrist, because of my present anguish, and that I do but rage as a desperate man, not caring what I say, or upon whom I do rail, let me emphatically state to all your lordships that, as concerning the Bishop of Rome, I neither hate the person nor the position. For I assure your lordships (the living Lord beareth me witness before whom I speak), I do think many a good holy man, many martyrs and saints of God, have sat and truly taught Christ’s gospel in that seat of authority, which may then justly be called ‘apostolic,’ that is, true disciples of the Apostles. I also believe the Church of Rome was once apostolic, her congregation once composed of Christians. Yea, I believe it was biblical for several hundred years, having been built upon Christ by the true apostolic doctrine taught by the mouths of the apostles themselves. I do not pretend to know the exact length of time the Roman Church was biblically orthodox, but I will say this: As long as that Church did truly teach and preach the gospel and Christian religion, exercising that power, ordering everything by those laws and rules which that Church received from the Apostles, I say she might well have been called Peter and Paul’s chair, or rather Christ’s chair, with her Bishop thereof ‘apostolic,’ or a true disciple and successor of the apostles, and a minister of Christ.

“But since that time, when the Church of Rome degenerated from the trade of truth and true religion which it had received from the Apostles at the beginning, and instead preached another gospel, setting up another religion, exercising another power, taking upon herself to order and rule the Church of Christ by unbiblical, strange laws, canons and rules never received from the Apostles, or the apostles of Christ, which things she is guilty of to this day, having done so for too long a time, in truth, therefore, we may lawfully out of duty and right to change both the name of the Church and her papal head. You must understand, my lords, that nothing or no one has the privilege of being called ‘apostolic’ by virtue simply of its place or person; but rather by virtue of its actually truly trading in Christ’s religion, which it once did. Therefore, as that Church was once apostolic and Christian, and was lawfully called so, thus it is that we may lawfully call her today Antichristian, in that she is no longer apostolic and Christian.

“The seat of authority held by the Roman Church is today the seat of Satan, and her Bishop, who maintains her abominations, is Antichrist himself indeed. And for the same causes this seat of power at this day is the same which St. John calls in the Revelation, Babylon, or the whore of Babylon, and also spiritual Sodom and Egypt, the mother of fornications and of the abominations upon the earth. And with this whore all those kings and princes, yea, and all nations of the earth, do spiritually join and lie with her, committing most stinking and abominable adultery before God, consenting to her abominations, both using and practicing them. I am speaking of her dispensations, her pardons and pilgrimages, her invocation of saints, her worshipping of images, her false counterfeit religion in her monkery and friarage, her traditions whereby God’s laws are defiled; such as her Masses and false ministering of God’s word and the Apostle’s doctrine……If God wills, the many treatises I have written will re-surface to expose these abominations which this whore of Babylon, along with the Beast upon whom she sits, maintains to this day with all violence of fire and sword, with spoil and banishment, fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy.[5] If it shall please God to bring my works to light, the man of God will then discern that the Church of Rome’s falsehood, deceit, hypocrisy and ungodliness are as clean contrary to God’s word, as darkness is to light, black is to white, Belial is to Christ, or Antichrist himself is to Christ”…..








          “Alas! What misery is thy church brought into, O Lord, at this day! For until recently the word of the Lord was truly preached……now it is exiled and banished out of the entire realm……Now, alas, the false prophets of Antichrist which are past all shame, do openly preach in pulpits unto the people of God, saying the Protestant Catechism of Edward VI is heresy….Until recently every congregation in England prayed, petitioning God to be delivered from the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities; from all false doctrine and heresy; and now, alas! Satan hath persuaded England, by his falsehood and craft, to revoke and recant her old godly prayer, thereby provoking the fearful wrath and indignation of God upon her own head. No longer are the laws, ordinances and oaths which were once in place, allowed. They are now trodden under foot and banished by the Beast of Babylon…..


ridley enumerates the errors and wickedness of antichrist’s transubstantiation


          “Until recently all that were endued with the light and grace of understanding of God’s holy mysteries blessed God who had brought them out of that horrible blindness and ignorance, whereby in times past, being seduced by Satan’s subtleties, they believed that the sacrament [of the Lord’s Supper] was not the sacrament, [not a sign of the thing signified], but the thing itself which it signified. And that the creature was the Creator, and that the thing which hath neither life nor sense -- alas! such was the horrible blindness – was the Lord Himself, He who made the eye to see, and who had given man all his senses and understanding. But now, alas! England is returned again like a dog to her own vomit and spewing, and is now worse off than before. For it had been better never to have known the truth, than to forsake the truth once received and known. And now, not only that light is turned into darkness and God’s grace is received in vain, but also laws of death are made by high court parliament, which are masterfully maintained by sword, fire and all kinds of violence [against those who refuse to participate in] that heinous idolatry wherein adoration is given unto the lifeless and dumb creature instead of that which is due unto the everlasting God: yea, they say they can and do make bread both man and God, by their transubstantiation. O wicked men and Satan’s own brood……”


ridley believed in limited atonement


                “…..Not only the Lord’s commandment is broken, his cup is denied to his servants, to whom he commanded it should be distributed, but also with the Mass is set up a new blasphemous kind of sacrifice to satisfy and pay the price of sins both of the dead and the quick, to the great and intolerable insult of Christ our Saviour, his death and passion, which was and is the one only sufficient and everlasting available sacrifice satisfactory for all the elect of God, from Adam the first, to the last that shall be born in the end of the world…..”


ridley interprets prophecy – antichrist is the scarlet beast who is the pope of rome


          “……The head of all mischief, under Satan, is Antichrist and his brood, who is also called the Beast of Babylon. The Beast is he upon whom the whore sits. The whore is that city which hath empire over the kings of the earth, saith John in plain words. This whore hath a golden cup of abominations in her hand, whereof she maketh the kings of the earth to drink. And of the harlot’s wine have all nations drunk; yea, and the kings of the earth have lain with this whore, and merchants of the earth by virtue of her pleasant merchandise have been made rich.”


the city of rome is babylon, the great whore


          “Now what city is there in all the whole world that ruled over the kings of the earth when John wrote?[7] Or what other city in history has challenged the empire over the kings of the earth besides the city of Rome? Since the Bishop of Rome usurped his dominant position in the Church, that seat of authority has grown to full strength. And is it not true that the old and ancient writers understand Peter’s first epistle to be written at Rome, having called it in plain terms, ‘Babylon’?[8] I understand by the ‘abominations in her cup’ to mean the whole trade of the Romish religion, under the name and title of Christ, which is contrary to God’s word, the only rule of faith. What Scriptures can that devilish harlot claim as her authority for maintaining her manifold abominations? Where does the word of God allow her to sell such merchandise? For by it this wicked harlot hath bewitched almost the whole world! Did not Peter, the very true Apostle of Christ – upon whom this stinking strumpet beareth herself so high, but falsely and without all just cause – did not he, I say, give all the world warning of her refuse and trash, of her false doctors and apostles, (for this whore and Beast will be called ‘Apostolic Lord,’) in his 2nd Epistle?[9] And doth not John likewise in his Revelation, after having listed, in detail, this whore’s mystical merchandise in metaphor, finally tie them all together in plain words, without any subtlety, explain what, exactly, is her merchandise when he says, and the souls of men too?[10]…….”


 ridley outlines the church of rome’s spiritual merchandise for sale


          “But you in England already know what merchandise this whore offers for sale, though her false prophets, with all their deception and crafty false interpretations of Scripture, cannot prove one of them by God’s word. Surely, they are not only all the abominations which have come into the church of England already, but also an innumerable number of other abominations and wicked abuses which must needs follow, such as: popish pardons, pilgrimages, Romish purgatory, Romish masses, dispensations and immunities from all godly discipline, laws and good order…..Now shall come in the flattering friars and the false pardoners and play their old pranks and knavery as they were wont to do. Now you shall have canonizing of such saints as have stood stout in the pope’s cause, shrining of relics, and complete absolution from any kind of wickedness for thousands of years, if you will pay the exorbitant fee required. And at every poor bishop’s hand, as well as every assistant bishop, ye shall have hallowing of churches, chapels, altars, chalices, and of all the adornments used in Roman churches. For all these things may not be done by any other than a consecrated bishop, and at a high price. O Lord, all these things thy Apostles never knew! As for conjuring of water and salt, (they call it ‘hallowing,’ but it is conjuring, indeed), of christening of bells, and other similar rituals, what need I speak? For every priest that can but read, hath power (they say) not only to ‘hallow,’ but also has the power over Christ’s body, to make both God and man of a wafer-cake, everyday…….”


the doctrine of antichrist has returned to take england captive to once more shed the blood of true christians


            “Now then, seeing the doctrine of Antichrist is returned again into this realm, and the higher powers are so deceived and bewitched that they are persuaded it is truth and Christ’s doctrine to be error and heresy, and the old laws of Antichrist are allowed to return once again with the same magisterial power it had with their forefathers, what else can be expected, but the death, by extreme violence, of the man of God, the true Christian abiding in this realm, who will not deny his Master?.....In the past, punishment of heretics was more kind, but that is because Antichrist’s kingdom had not yet been established. But now it is the custom to kill the so-called ‘heretics’ who will not fall down and worship the beast and his image, as both John and Daniel prophesied. In fact, Daniel went so far as to declare the kind of death: by either sword, fire and imprisonment……”


ridley exegetes portions of matthew 24: he does not relegate the prophecy only to first century jerusalem;

ridley was no preterist – he sees the abomination of desolation now set up in the holy place


          [Ridley encourages English Christians to leave their country for safer habitation, citing biblical examples as his authority.] “Having cited biblical examples as my grounds for counseling Christian men to flee England, I further admonish you that the abomination that Daniel prophesied so long ago is now set up in the holy place. For all of the doctrine of Antichrist, his laws, rites and religion contrary to Christ, and so oppose the true service and worship of God, I understand to be that abomination. Therefore, now is the time in England to hear and obey Christ’s words, Then they that be in Jewry, let them fly into the mountains, and he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take away anything out of his house; and he that is abroad in the field, let him not return to take his clothes. Woe be to the woman with child, and to them that give suck; but pray that your flight be not in winter, nor on the Sabbath day.[11] These words of Christ are spiritual and therefore have need of interpretation. I understand all those to be ‘in Jewry spiritually, who truly confess one true living God, and the whole truth of his word according to the doctrine of the Gospel of Christ. Thus, his words apply to the time of the reign of Antichrist’s abominations. He admonishes his people to fly unto the ‘mountains,’ which signifies places of safeguard, whereby one is able to protect oneself from the plague.[12] Then Christ bids him that is on the housetop ‘not to come down,’ and him that is in the field ‘not to return for his clothes.By this he means they should leave as soon as possible, with great haste, lest in their trifling and tarrying about deciding what worldly possessions they must take, they become trapped in a snare, unaware. For the worry and gain of small worldly things can easily so endanger men that, if caught, they will be in greater peril for far more weightier matters. And where Christ says, woe be to the women with child and to them that give suck, he speaks both to those women who are pregnant and near delivering, not able to travel, as well as those who have given birth and whose babies are still in infancy, thus making travel most difficult, if not impossible. The word ‘woe’ signifies the extreme danger to all Christians, men, women and child, not able, for whatever reason, to flee Antichrist’s plague.  And whereas Christ saith, Pray that your flight be not in the winter, we are to understand that winter is a time of foul weather, not the easiest time to travel on a far journey because of its inconveniences and potential dangers. When Christ says, nor on the Sabbath day, he reminds us that on such a day it was not lawful to journey, but only a short distance. Thus, our fleeing the plague must be done speedily and that to a land far away. Our prayer is to flee both in time and in distance so that the plague does not affect us. Now the reasons why we must flee are found in the verses in Matthew which follow, which I now pass over, but thou mayest read them there.


ridley exegetes rev. 18:4


          “And in Rev. 18:4, the angel is said to have cried mightily with a loud voice, Fly my people out of Babylon, lest you be infected with her faults and so b made partners of her plagues: for her offences and sins are grown so great that they swell and are come unto the heavens! Certainly the time doth approach and the Lord’s Day is at hand. Hear, I beseech you, holy Paul also, that blessed Apostle. He plainly forbids us, to join or couple with the unfaithful. For what fellowship can there be of righteousness with unrighteousness? What company hath light with darkness, or what agreement hath Christ with Belial? Or what part can the faithful have with the unfaithful? Or how doth the temple of God agree with images or idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God hath said, I will walk and dwell in them, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore depart from amongst them and get you from them, Saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you, and be to you in the stead of your father, and you shall be unto me as my sons and daughters, saith the Almighty God. [13]


ridley exegetes the infamous mark of the beast, rev. 13:16; also the signing of god’s servants in their foreheads, rev. 7:3


          “………And I pray thee, good brother, what dost thou think it is to bear the mark of the beast in the forehead, and in the hand, of which John speaks? I realize we ought be quite circumspect when speaking of God’s mysteries which he showed, by the spirit of prophecy, to his servant, John. Yet I think it necessary and good to read them with reverence and to pray to God that we might understand their relevance in our day. I will tell you how I understand what is meant by bearing the mark of the beast, committing the judgment of my interpretation, as in all other things, to the spiritual man. As I understand it, he who bears the mark of the beast in his forehead is he who is not ashamed of the beast’s ways, openly professing them, and by this, proclaiming his master, the beast of Abaddon.[14]  Likewise, he who bears the mark of the beast in his forehead is he who wills and practices the works of the beast with his power and hand. Furthermore, I will not be reluctant to relate my understanding of what is meant when God’s servants are signed in their foreheads. For of this John also speaks,[15] reckoning up many thousands signed out of every tribe. I interpret the signing of God’s servants to signify those whom God hath appointed of his infinite goodness, giving them grace and strength stoutly to confess him and his truth before the world. Ezekiel also speaks of placing a mark on the foreheads of God’s faithful who ‘cry for all the abominations committed in Jerusalem.’ [16] Similarly, those of whom John speaks are given the grace and strength to confess Christ, the doctrine of the cross, and to lament and mourn the abominations of Antichrist. Perhaps it is the sign of the ‘Tau,’ which is signed on the forehead of the servants of the Lord. Therefore, these prophecies are to be understood spiritually, not literally. For to interpret these prophecies literally, openly seen by men as fleshly marks on their foreheads and hands, necessitates, for the sake of consistency, that the beast of Babylon should be a literal brute beast, such as an elephant, leopard, lion or camel, or some other monstrous beast with ten horns, that should accomplish all the wondrous things spoken by John. Though John speaks of him as a beast, I understand that not to mean a literal brute beast, but because he is the child of perdition, appropriately called as such for his cruelty and beastly character.”


ridley explains the mystery of antichrist can only be discerned spiritually by the elect


          “The carnal Jews knew there was a promise made that Elijah should come before Christ, the Messiah, the anointed of God, to prepare his ways. They also knew there was a promise of the Messiah, that he should come and be a king and reign in the house of David for evermore. But these prophecies they understood grossly, carnally and literally, so that they neither discerned Elijah nor Messiah when they came; for they were expecting the literal Elijah to come down from Heaven and for Messiah to come and literally reign in worldly pomp, power, riches and glory. However, the prophecies concerning both men were to be understood spiritually. For Elijah was not to come personally, but rather was to come in spirit, in one endued with the spirit and gifts of grace of Elijah, as was indeed John the Baptist, whom Christ himself declared as such to his Apostles.[17] Concerning Messiah’s reign, all the prophecies were to be understood of the reign of his spiritual kingdom over the house of Jacob and true Israelites for evermore. And so, by their gross, carnal and literal understanding of these prophecies, they mistook both Elijah and the true Messiah; and, as a result, when they came, knew neither of them.

          “And so, likewise, I fear -- nay, it is certain -- the world which lacks the light of the Spirit of God (for John saith, the world is not able to receive him, John 1:10-11) neither can nor shall at any time know the beast, or his marks, even though he may rage cruelly and live ever so beastly, and even though his followers, who have his mark, are as plentiful as the sand of the sea. I pray, therefore, that the Lord mercifully grant that the eyes of the blind be opened with the light of grace, that they may see, perceive and understand the words of God according to the mind of his Spirit. Amen.”


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[1] John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, 19th century edition, volume 7.

[2] Written in prison before his burning at the stake. Slight alterations in his language by this editor for clarification purposes only. Headings added by this editor.

[3] Ezekiel 3.

[4] Luke 6.

[5] Daniel 7.

[6] Foxe, op. cit. Written in prison before his execution by fire. Slight alterations in text by this editor are for clarity only. Headings added by editor.

[7] Rev. 17:18.

[8] 1 Peter 5:13.

[9] 2 Peter 2:1-3.

[10] Rev. 18:11-13.

[11] Matt. 24:15-20.

[12] Rev. 18:4.

[13] 2 Cor. 6:14-16.

[14] Rev. 9:11. Ridley equates the angel of the bottomless pit with the papal Antichrist, the Beast of Babylon.

[15] Rev. 7:3 ff.

[16] Ezekiel 9.

[17] Matt. 11:14.