415. SIMON GRINĈUS.
Many other like examples of God's helping hand have been declared upon his elect saints and children, in delivering them out of danger by wonderful and miraculous ways, some by one means, some by another. What a notable work of God's mighty hand was seen in Simon Grinĉus, mentioned in the commentary of Melancthon upon Daniel; who, having a sudden warning by a certain old man, who was not seen after, nor known then of any what he was, avoided the peril of taking and burning, as by the relation of Melancthon, writing and witnessing the same, may appear in the words of his own story here following.
"When I was, saith he, at the assembly holden at Spire, in the year of our Lord 1539, by chance Simon Grinĉus came thither unto me from the university of Heidelberg, where he heard Faber, the bishop of Vienna, in a sermon, defend and maintain certain detestable errors. When the sermon was done, he followed Faber going out of the church, and saluted him reverently, declaring unto him that he was moved of a goodly zeal and intent, somewhat to say unfo him. Faber was contented to talk with him.
"Then Grinĉus said unto him, that he was very sorry that a man of such learning and authority should openly maintain such errors as were both contumelious against God, and also might be refuted by the manifest testimonies of the Scriptures. 'Irenĉus writeth.' said he, 'that Polycarp was wont to stop his ears, whensoever he heard any erroneous and wicked doctrine. With what mind then (think you) would Polycarp have heard you argue and reason what it is that the mouse eateth, when he gnaweth the consecrated host? Who would not bewail such ignorance and blindness of the church?' With this Faber brake off his talk, as he was about to say more, and asked his name. This man, dissembling nothing, gently told him that his name was Grinĉus.
"This Faber, as many well know, was also timorous and fearful in the company of learned men. Wherefore he, fearing the learning, eloquence, and fervent zeal of Grinĉus, specially in such a matter as this was, feigned as though he had been sent for by the king, and that he had no leisure now to reason upon this matter. He pretended that he was very desirous of acquaintance and longer talk with Grinĉus, entreating him, that both for his own private cause, and also for the commonwealth, he would come again the next day nnto him; and so showed him his lodging, and appointed him an hour when he should come. Grinĉus, thinking that he had spoken unfeignedly, promised so to do.
"When he was departed from Faber, he came straightway unto us, and was scarcely set at the table, (for it was supper time,) reciting a part of his talk with Faber unto me and others there present, when I, sitting with my company, was suddenly called out of the parlour by a certain ancient fatherly man, who, showing a singular gravity in his countenance, words, and behaviour, spake unto me, and said, that the sergeants would by and by come unto our lodging, being sent by the king's commandment, to carry Grinĉus to prison, whom Faber had accused to the king: commanding that Grinĉus should straightways depart out of the town; and exhorted me, that we should in no case delay the time. And so, bidding me farewell, departed. But what old man this was, neither did I know then, nor afterward could I understand. I, returning again unto my company, bade them rise, and told them what the old man had said unto me.
"By and by, we, taking Grinĉus in the midst of us, carried him through the street to the river Rhine, where after we had staid upon the hither bank awhile, until Grinĉus with his companion were carried over in a small boat, returning again to our lodging, we understood that the sergeants had been there, when we were but a little way gone out of the house. Now in what great danger Grinĉus should have been, if he had been carried to prison by this cruelty of Faber, every man easily may conjecture: wherefore we judged, that that most cruel intent and purpose of him, was disappointed by God's merciful providence. And as I cannot say what old man it was, that gave me that warning, even so likewise the sergeants made such quick speed, that except Grinĉus had been covered and defended by the angels, through the marvellous providence of God, he could never have escaped.
"Concerning the truth of this matter, there be many good men yet alive, which know both the same, and also were present at the doing thereof. Therefore let us give thanks unto God, which hath given us his angels to be our keepers and defenders, whereby with more quiet minds we may fulfil and do the office of our vocation."
With such-like examples of God's mighty and merciful custody, the church of Christ in all ages doth abound, as by manifold experiences may appear, as well among the Germans, as also in other places and ages; but in no place more, nor in any time more plentiful, than in this persecuting time of Queen Mary, in this our realm of England, as partly hath been already historied, and part yet remaineth, (the Lord willing,) moreover, hereunto to be added.