Hamilton returned to St. Andrews and the prelates allowed him great latitude to preach, probably setting him up for charges that would really stick against a man with royal blood and the backing of the powerful Hamilton family. He preached salvation by faith alone, exerting great influence among the students, monks, priests, and professors of St. Andrews. Although warned by his friends, Patrick refused to flee and was summarily arrested and hauled before a council of monks, priests, and other clerics under the thumb of Beaton. Patrick stood solidly on the Solas of the Reformation and refused to back down on seven major charges that were central tenets of Protestant theology. He also denied the existence of Purgatory but affirmed the pope as an antichrist. He denounced relics as having any merit, in a town with a cathedral that boasted relics of great merit for pilgrims to pay to see, under the altar.
Before his murder, Hamilton was imprisoned at St. Andrews Castle
When offered his life for a recantation Patrick Hamilton replied:
“As to my confession, I will not deny it for the fear of your fire, for my confession and belief is in Christ Jesus. Therefore I will not deny it. I will rather be content that my body burn in this fire for the confession of my faith in Christ, than my soul should burn in the fire of hell for denying the same.”
On the 29th of February, the twenty-four-year-old college professor was burned at the stake at the portico to the University while his students stood in shock, and the Franciscan friar teased him to call on the Virgin Mary to help him out. Upon his death, many others took up the cause of the martyr and spread the Gospel across Scotland. The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church.
Note: The best book to read on Hamilton is Luther’s Scottish Connection, by James Edward McGoldrick
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Join us in July for Landmark Events’ one-of-a-kind tour of the ancient land of the Scots where we will visit the very site of Patrick Hamilton’s martyrdom in St. Andrews. Follow in the footsteps of such giants as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, be inspired by the unwavering faith of the Scottish Covenanters and stroll along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, visiting the home of John Knox and the cathedral where he preached. Attend the Lowlands Leg, the Highlands Leg, or go for the “Whole Haggis” and attend both!