The end of my race

Daily Reading for January 10 • William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645

Good People,

You’l pardon my old Memory, and upon so sad occasions as I am come to this place, to make use of my Papers, I dare not trust my self otherwise. This is a very uncomfortable place to Preach in, and yet I shall begin with a Text of Scripture, in the twelfth of the Hebrews, Let us run with patience that race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the Crosse, despising the shame, and is set downe at the right hand of the Throne of God.

I have been long in my race, and how I have looked unto Jesus the Author and finisher of my Faith, is best known to him: I am now come to the end of my race, and here I finde the Crosse, a death of shame, but the shame must be despised, or there is no coming to the right hand of God; Jesus despis’d the shame for me, and God forbid but I should despise the shame for him. . . .

I shall obey, and labour to digest the sowre Herbs, as well as the Lamb, and I shall remember that it is the Lords Passeover; I shall not think of the Herbs, nor be angry with the hands which gathered them, but look up only to him who instituted the one, and governeth the other: For men can have no more power over me, then that which is given them from above; I am not in love with this passage through the red Sea, for I have the weaknesse and infirmity of flesh and blood in me, and I have prayed as my Saviour taught me, and exampled me, . . . that this Cup of red Wine might passe away from me, but since it is not that my will may, his will be done; and I shall most willingly drink of this Cup as deep as he pleases, and enter into this Sea, ay and passe through it, in the way that he shall be pleased to leade me.

From the sermon preached by William Laud from the scaffold on Tower Hill before he was beheaded on January 10, 1645; quoted in A History of Preaching by O. C. Edwards, Jr. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004).

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