THE FOUR LAST THINGS AND FOUR THINGS MORE – Saint Hugh Green’s last words from the Scaffold (1642)

“THERE be four principal things which all men ought to remember : death, judgment, Heaven and Hell. Death is a horror to nature, but that which followeth is much more terrible, viz. judgment, if we die not as we ought ; and as we dispose ourselves to good or evil in this life, so shall the measure of our punishment or glory succeed. I am here condemned to die for my religion and for being a priest : we know there must be priests, for God, foretelling of the Church by the prophets, saith, ‘Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech’ (Ps. cix.). ‘And from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof, there shall be a clean sacrifice offered in My Name’ (Mal. i.). Now four things are to be considered : a God, a sacrifice, a priest, a man : such am I, and therefore I must die. Wherefore do we receive holy unction and are made priests but to offer sacrifice to God ? But I am condemned for being ordained by the See of Rome. St. Paul saith, ‘the Romans have the Catholic faith’ and gives God thanks that their faith and his were one, of which Catholic faith I am.

“THERE be four things more : one God, one faith, one baptism, one Church. That there is one God we all acknowledge, in whom, from whom, and by whom all things remain and have their being. That there is one faith appears by Christ’s praying that St. Peter’s faith (He said not faiths) should never fail ; and He promised to be with it to the end of the world. That there is one baptism : we are all cleansed by the laver of water in the Word. That there is one Church, holy and sanctified : doth not St. Paul say that it is a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing? Now the marks of this Church are sanctity, unity, antiquity, universality, which all of us in all points of faith believe. But some will say we are fallen off from this Church of Rome, but in what pope’s time, in what prince’s reign, or what are the errors, none can discover. No, this holy Church of Christ did never err. By the law I am now to die for being a priest. Judge you, can these new laws overthrow the authority of God’s Church? Nevertheless, I forgive you, and pray God for all.” (August 19, 1642)

Taken from Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors : For Every Day In The Year by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory, Burns and Oates, London, 1910.

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1 Comment

Filed under Recusant History

One response to “THE FOUR LAST THINGS AND FOUR THINGS MORE – Saint Hugh Green’s last words from the Scaffold (1642)

  1. Rebecca

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Sends chills up my spine. Just as Tertullian said: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” St. Hugh, pray for us. How humbled he would be to know that we gain faith from his dying words so many years later.

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