When Things Get Rough


F.F. Bruce



About the middle of last century there came to light a letter in William Tyndale's hand[writing], written in Latin to someone in authority (possibly the Marquis of Bergen), which had lain unread in the archives of the Council of Brabant for three hundred years. The letter has a special human interest because it was written during the last winter of Tyndale's life (1535-36) while he lay in prison 'for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus', and it shows us how the great Bible translator's enthusiasm for his work remained unimpaired to the last, in spite of the most discouraging circumstances. This is what he wrote:

I believe, right worshipful, that you are not unaware of what may have been determined concerning me. Wherefore I beg your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap, for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, and am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; my shirts also are worn out. He has a woollen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer night-caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain what you most desire, so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me, to be carried out before winter, I will be patient, abiding the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ; whose Spirit (I pray) may ever direct your heart. Amen.



The Books and the Parchments. F.F. Bruce. Fleming H. Revell Co. Westwood, NJ. 1950. Page 9.