“The Apostle Of The North” was the title of the humble, believing Christians had honorarily given the Protestant reformer, Bernard Gilpin, living in northern England during the early reformation times. Despite all obstacles placed in his way he maintained explicit trust in God. His cheerful confidence in his Maker inspired everyone who knew or came in contact with him. His life was not only beautiful but amazing.
“Remember one verse in Romans, chapter eight and verse twenty eight.” He told everyone who came to him with a problem or perplexity. “Believe it and claim it as your own personal guarantee from heaven.” He said hundreds and hundreds of times, “And it will help you through any crisis.”
Romans 8:28 states: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Whenever he had the opportunity he explained that his studies indicated that in the original Greek it read “God worketh all things with them for good.” He told many a stranger and weak Christian that it is not these ”things” working, but God working the “things”! Gilpin proved this personally through some very strange happenings.
Towards the end of the reign of Queen Mary things were made very, very difficult for reform and reformers. Queen Mary used both the stake and the sword to stem the tide of reform in England.
One day as Bernard Gilpin was deep into his study of the Bible, a knock at the door brought about the beginning of the bizarre proof that “God worketh all things with them for good.”
He was arrested on charge of heresy, and taken into custody to be transported to London for the typical mock trial given all who were accused of treason. The detachment of soldiers appeared as if they were capturing a fierce armed robber.
The second day of horseback riding found the small group in a small village near sunset. The captain inquired about an inn and led the men and his prisoner towards it. As they dismounted, Gilpin fell. This excited the horse, and it bolted down the cobblestone street until apprehended by one of the soldiers who had already taken off his own saddle in preparation for the night’s rest.
When Gilpin tried to stand on his feet, a sharp pain raced up his leg. The torn pant’s leg and the bloodied ankle made it evident that he had broken his ankle as well as severely lacerated his leg in several places. He had to be carried into the inn by three men.
The captain was furious. He knew that this meant a delay in their traveling. He sent all of the men ahead the next morning at dawn to report to his commander of the unfortunate accident. The captain seemed to vent his hostilities out against the Protestant reformer.
Finally, the captain said, “I guess you’re going to tell me what you told those poor ignorant peasants who came to see you off to jail and death. You know, about how everything works out for the best and all that.”
“I am as sure as you’re standing there that even this broken leg will prove to be a blessing to me, Gilpin said with true confidence.
The captain laughed as he looked at the man who was going to soon lose his life for preaching against the established religion of England.
“I suppose you believe,” the captain continued, “that everything worked out well for your friends Latimer and Ridley when her royal highness burned them at the stake.”
Before Gilpin could reply, the hostile soldier added, “And what about the Archbishop of Canterbury? You can’t tell me that he felt that when she ordered him to forfeit his life he was happy about it.”
Over two weeks were passed in the little inn as the captain kept up his unrelenting attack on Gilpin’s confidence that God was going to work out things for his best good, The captain did not do all the talking, and in listening to the quiet patient man of the cloth it did have its effect.
Just prior to the day they had decided that Gilpin could make the trip on to London to face certain death, the local town crier came into the inn to announce to everyone that Queen Mary had died.
Queen Elizabeth now reigned. And since Elizabeth was a Protestant, her new reign brought an end to the persecutions.
The Protestant reformer was released on the spot. He returned to his faithful flock. The captain returned to duty in London. Even though their backgrounds and beliefs were as opposite as night and day, there was one thing they both knew to be true. That is, God worketh all things with them for good.”
Even to the breaking of an ankle.