The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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good-natured and fairly scholarly man, certainly not very extreme or bigoted for that somewhat intolerant age; for instance, he fully admits that a married man may be a worthy bishop. Both in courtesy and temper, largely in argument too, he had the better of the prisoner whom he invited to dinner, and tried in every way to induce him to conform. But Woodman was a true Sussexian and would not be " druv," his convictions were of the very firmest and far dearer to him than life. Nor was he awed by his diocesan even into what would now be considered ordinary civility; he rebuked the Bishop for swearing when he had merely prefaced a sentence with "By God and my troth," though he had himself ejaculated " 0 Lord," which one would think was at least equally profane.
Woodman persistently declared " I believe verily that I have the spirit of God." The Bishop was rather humbler in his ideas; perhaps he was conscious of his faults. At Cambridge he had let College lands to his brother, and got into trouble for "grafting"; at any rate, when asked, " Be you sure that you have the Spirit of God ?" he would only reply, " No, I am not sure of that," upon which the prisoner retorted, rather rudely, " that he was like the waves of the sea, unstable in all his ways whom God would spew out of his mouth."
A Japanese proverb declares, "'Tis the quality of the faith that counts, though its object were but a sardine's head," and Sussex is proud to place among her worthies both Woodman, the sturdy martyr, and Christopherson, for a short while her bishop, just as England raises statues impartially to Cromwell and to Charles I., to James II. and to William III. We have advanced
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