Posts Tagged ‘foxe’s book of martyrs’

While Protestants Commemorate Reformation This Month, Papal Persecution Regarding the Eucharist Often Ignored

By Philip Gray
(Freelance writer and defender of the faith)

Pope Francis during a Mass, holding up the wafer that is said to have the presence of Jesus in it after transubstantiation

October 31, 2017 is being commemorated by many Protestant groups as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Many groups are using the occasion to suggest that there is no need for a Protestant Reformation any longer, and Protestants and Catholics can and should now unify, if not in name, then at least in mission and faith. Ecumenical events are taking place across the globe to supposedly celebrate the Reformation, but in reality, many of these are efforts to break down the walls that divide Protestanism and Catholicism. The Catholic Church insists there is no need for a Reformation any more because the Catholic Church, it says, is now in agreement doctrinally with Protestanism in many areas. While the motive by the Catholic Church of making such claims is highly questionable (e.g., to ultimately win back the “lost brethren” to the “Mother Church”), there is one area (and it is perhaps the most significant of all because it has to do with salvation) that the Catholic Church does not and will not ever claim to be the same, and that is in the Eucharist (i.e., the sacraments, the Mass). For if there was no Eucharist and Mass, there would be no Catholic Church. If you do not understand what the Catholic Eucharist is, then be sure to read some of the material* by Lighthouse Trails regarding this. In a nutshell, the Eucharist is the practice and belief that the real presence of Jesus is in the communion wafer (an event the Catholic Church refers to as  Transubstantiation that can only be performed by a Catholic priest), which is to be consumed by the sinner in order for his sins to be forgiven. It is, in essence, a recrucifying of Christ as if Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was not sufficient (which is contrary to Scripture that talks about the “finished” work on the Cross.”

One thing that is not being brought up in many of these Reformation events this year is the many people who died at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church for refusing to believe in the Eucharistic Christ. In honor of those who were martyred because they would not bow the knee to a false gospel, below are posted the stories of two martyrs who died at the hands of the Catholic Church because they refused to take the Mass and believe that Jesus Christ was in a wafer. These are direct quotes from the Lighthouse Trails edition of  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

Martyrdom of William Hunter (martyred at 19 years old in 1555)
William Hunter had been trained in the doctrines of the Reformation from his earliest youth, being descended from religious parents who carefully instructed him in the principles of true religion. When Hunter was but nineteen years of age he refused to receive the communion at Mass and was brought before the bishop.

Bonner caused William to be brought into a chamber where he began to reason with him, promising him security and pardon if he would recant. Nay, he would have been content if he would have gone only to receive communion and to confession, but William would not do so for all the world.

Upon this the bishop commanded his men to put William in the stocks in his gate house, where he sat two days and nights with a crust of brown bread and a cup of water only, which he did not touch.

At the two days’ end, the bishop came to him and finding him steadfast in the faith, sent him to the convict prison and commanded the keeper to lay upon him as many irons as he could bear. He continued in prison three quarters of a year, during which time he had been before the bishop five times.

Then the bishop, calling William, asked him if he would recant and finding he was unchangeable, pronounced sentence upon him that he should go from that place to Newgate for a time, and thence to Brentwood, there to be burned.

About a month afterward, William was sent down to Brentwood where he was to be executed. On coming to the stake, he knelt down and read the Fifty-first Psalm, until he came to these words, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

William now cast his Psalter into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ and be not afraid of death.” “Behold,” answered William, “I am not afraid.” Then he lifted up his hands to heaven, and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;”and casting down his head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.

Mrs. Joyce Lewes (died 1557)
This lady was the wife of Mr. T. Lewes of Manchester. She had received the Romish religion as true, until the burning of that pious martyr Mr. Saunders at Coventry. Understanding that his death arose from a refusal to receive the Mass, she began to inquire into the ground of his refusal and her conscience, as it began to be enlightened, became restless and alarmed. In this inquietude she resorted to Mr. John Glover, who lived near, and requested that he would unfold those rich sources of gospel knowledge he possessed, particularly upon the subject of transubstantiation. He easily succeeded in convincing her that the tomfoolery of popery and the Mass were at variance with God’s most holy Word, and honestly reproved her for following too much the vanities of a wicked world. It was to her indeed a word in season, for she soon became weary of her former sinful life and resolved to abandon the Mass and idolatrous worship. Though compelled by her husband’s violence to go to church, her contempt of the holy water and other ceremonies was so manifest that she was accused before the bishop for despising the Sacraments.

A citation addressed to her immediately followed, which was given to Mr. Lewes, who, in a fit of passion, held a dagger to the throat of the officer and made him eat it, after which he caused him to drink it down and then sent him away. But for this the bishop summoned Mr. Lewes before him as well as his wife; the former readily submitted, but the latter resolutely affirmed that in refusing holy water, she neither offended God nor any part of His laws. She was sent home for a month, her husband being bound for her appearance, during which time Mr. Glover impressed upon her the necessity of doing what she did, not from self-vanity but for the honor and glory of God.

Mr. Glover and others earnestly exhorted Lewes to forfeit the money he was bound in rather than subject his wife to certain death; but he was deaf to the voice of humanity and delivered her over to the bishop, who soon found sufficient cause to consign her to a loathsome prison, whence she was several times brought for examination. At the last time the bishop reasoned with her upon the fitness of her coming to Mass and receiving as sacred the Sacrament and sacramentals of the Holy Ghost. “If these things were in the Word of God,” said Mrs. Lewes, “I would with all my heart receive, believe, and esteem them.” The bishop, with the most ignorant and impious effrontery, replied, “If you will believe no more than what is warranted by Scriptures, you are in a state of damnation!” Astonished at such a declaration, this worthy sufferer ably rejoined that his words were as impure as they were profane.

After condemnation she lay a twelvemonth in prison, the sheriff not being willing to put her to death in his time. When her death warrant came from London, she sent for some friends whom she consulted in what manner her death might be more glorious to the name of God and injurious to the cause of God’s enemies. Smilingly, she said: “As for death, I think lightly of it. When I know that I shall behold the amiable countenance of Christ my dear Saviour, the ugly face of death does not much trouble me.” The evening before she suffered, two priests were anxious to visit her, but she refused both their confession and absolution when she could hold a better communication with the High Priest of souls. About three o’clock in the morning, Satan began to shoot his fiery darts by putting into her mind to doubt whether she was chosen to eternal life, and Christ died for her. Her friends readily pointed out to her those consolatory passages of Scripture which comfort the fainting heart and point to the Redeemer who takes away the sins of the world.

About eight o’clock the sheriff announced to her that she had but an hour to live. She was at first cast down, but this soon passed away, and she thanked God that her life was about to be devoted to His service. The sheriff granted permission for two friends to accompany her to the stake—an indulgence for which he was afterward severely handled. Mr. Reniger and Mr. Bernher led her to the place of execution; because of its far distance, her great weakness, and the press of the people, she nearly fainted. Three times she prayed fervently that God would deliver the land from popery and the idolatrous Mass; and the people for the most part, as well as the sheriff, said Amen.

When she had prayed, she took the cup, (which had been filled with water to refresh her,) and said, “I drink to all them that unfeignedly love the gospel of Christ and wish for the abolition of popery.” Her friends and a great many women of the place drank with her, for which most of them afterward were enjoined penance.

When chained to the stake her countenance was cheerful and the roses of her cheeks were not abated. Her hands were extended towards heaven until the fire rendered them powerless, when her soul was received into the arms of the Creator. The duration of her agony was but short; as the under-sheriff, at the request of her friends, had prepared such excellent fuel that she was in a few minutes overwhelmed with smoke and flame. The case of this lady drew a tear of pity from everyone who had a heart not callous to humanity.

(These two stories are taken from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is an unaltered version from John Foxe’s account. See note below about the LT edition.)


Publisher’s Note from the LT edition: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

 

*You do not have to buy material from Lighthouse Trails to gain information on these topics as there are many many articles on this blog that can be read and even printed and shared with friends and family.

Letter to the Editor: The Martyrs of Old and Choices Christians Will Have to Make

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

JohnFoxe

John Foxe

I am nearly 60 years old and until now have NEVER read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Shame on me! I am nearly finished with it. All I can say is, I never knew!

All I could think about during the course of my reading was the existing Pope’s words about how happy he is to know that the Christians are coming back to the Mother Church. (Those are probably not his words verbatim, but certainly that is his mindset.) I never realized, until this book, that the Martyrs of old actually accused the Pope and RC’s of being Antichrist . . . openly and without shame or terror.

Now, with the newest Pope’s sentiments regarding the “Church,” and the “Emergent” Church rising so rapidly, one (or, at least, THIS one) has to wonder! And, in light of all of the above, I thought about Lighthouse Trails and your book reviews! [see note from Publisher below]

I am not trying to stir the pot, HOWEVER, again, I am nearly 60 and until now had never read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I can pretty well guarantee you that I am not alone in the not reading of the book.

There is soon coming a day when we existing Christians will have to make a choice; take a solid stand. Will we accept the mark of the beast (God forbid), or will we trust God? These men of old are wonderful examples for us. Their deaths were grisly and beyond cruel. But they did not waver where their faith in The Lord was concerned.

Just a thought and a concern.

Be blessed and keep up the good fight of faith!

R.B.

Articles from the Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

The Persecution of John Huss, Brave Defender of the Christian Faith

“And They Loved Not Their Lives Unto the Death”

1560 – The Martyrdom of Nicholas Burton, an English Merchant in Spain

Mrs. Prest – She Said No to Apostasy and Became a Martyr

Note From Publisher

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. This same edition also removed accounts of the Catholic papacy persecution against Christians. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics. And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover. Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

If Rick Warren is Right, Why Did These Martyrs Even Die At the Hands of the Roman Catholic Church?

LTRP Note: Please refer to our previous post titled “Rick Warren: Protestants, Catholics Must Unite to Defend Life, Sex, Marriage – ‘We’re on the Same Team’”  to understand what we mean by the title of this article.

“An Account of the Persecutions in Italy Under the Papacy
By John Foxe
(author of Foxe’s Book of Martrys – * please read our note at the bottom of this post.)

We shall now enter an account of the persecutions in Italy, a country which has been, and still is, the center of popery. Italy is also the source of various errors which have spread themselves over other countries, deluded the minds of thousands, and diffused the clouds of superstition and bigotry over human understanding. In pursuing our narrative we shall include the most remarkable persecutions which have happened and the cruelties which have been practiced by the immediate power of the pope through the power of the Inquisition.
In the twelfth century, the first persecutions under the papacy began in Italy at the time that Adrian, an Englishman, was pope, being occasioned by the following circumstances:

algerius

The burning of Algerius, ordered by the Roman Catholic church.

A learned man and an excellent orator of Brescia, named Arnold, came to Rome and boldly preached against the corruptions and innovations which had crept into the church. His discourses were so clear, consistent, and breathed forth such a pure spirit of piety, that the senators and many of the people highly admired his doctrines.

This so greatly enraged Adrian that he commanded Arnold instantly to leave the city as a heretic. Arnold, however, did not comply, for the senators and some of the principal people took his part and resisted the authority of the pope.

Adrian now laid the city of Rome under an ecclesiastical censure, which caused the whole body of clergy to interfere; and at length he persuaded the senators and people to give up the point and allow Arnold to be banished. This being agreed to, he received the sentence of exile, and retired to Germany where he continued to preach against the pope and to expose the gross errors of the Church of Rome.
Adrian still thirsted for his blood and made several attempts to get him into his hands; but Arnold  avoided every snare laid for him. At length, Frederic Barbarossa requested that the pope would crown him king of Germany with his own hand. This Adrian complied with and at the same time asked a favor of the emperor, which was to put Arnold into his hands. The emperor very readily delivered up the unfortunate preacher, who soon fell as martyr to Adrian’s vengeance, being hanged and his body burnt to ashes at Apulia. The same fate attended several of his old friends and companions.

Encenas, a Spaniard, was sent to Rome, to be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith; but having conversed with some of the reformed and reading several treatises which they put into his hands, he became a Protestant. When this became known, one of his own relations informed against him. He was burnt by order of the pope and a conclave of cardinals. The brother of Encenas had been taken up about the same time for having a New Testament in the Spanish language in his possession; but before the time appointed for his execution, he found means to escape out of prison and retired to Germany.

Faninus, a learned layman, by reading controversial books became of the reformed religion. An information being exhibited against him to the pope, he was apprehended and cast into prison. His wife, children, relations, and friends visited him in his confinement and persuaded him to renounce his faith. This obtained his release. But he was no sooner free from confinement than his mind felt the heaviest of chains—the weight of a guilty conscience. His horrors were so great that he found them insupportable, until he had returned from his apostasy and declared himself fully convinced of the errors of the Church of Rome. To make amends for his falling off, he now openly and strenuously did all he could to make converts to Protestantism and was pretty successful in his endeavors. These proceedings occasioned his second imprisonment, but he had his life offered him if he would recant again. This proposal he rejected with disdain, saying that he scorned life upon such terms. Being asked why he would obstinately persist in his opinions and leave his wife and children in distress, he replied, “I shall not leave them in distress; I have recommended them to the care of an excellent trustee.” “What trustee?” said the person who had asked the question. Faninus answered, “Jesus Christ is the trustee I mean, and I think I could not commit them to the care of a better.”

On the day of execution he appeared remarkably cheerful. An observer said, “It is strange you should appear so merry upon such an occasion, when Jesus Christ Himself, just before His death, was in such agonies, that He sweated blood and water.” To which Faninus replied:

Christ sustained all manner of pangs and conflicts with hell and death on our account; and thus, by His sufferings, freed those who really believe in Him from the fear of them.

He was then strangled, his body was burnt to ashes and then scattered about by the wind.

Dominicus, a learned soldier, having read several controversial writings, became a zealous Protestant, and retiring to Placentia, he preached the gospel in its utmost purity to a very considerable congregation. One day, at the conclusion of his sermon, he said, “If the congregation will attend tomorrow, I will give them a description of Antichrist and paint him out in his proper colors.”

A vast concourse of people attended the next day, but just as Dominicus was beginning his sermon, a civil magistrate went up to the pulpit and took him into custody. When he was brought to examination this question was put to him: “Will you renounce your doctrines?” To which he replied: “My doctrines? I maintain no doctrines of my own; what I preach are the doctrines of Christ, and for those I will forfeit my blood, and even think myself happy to suffer for the sake of my Redeemer.” Every method was taken to make him recant for his faith and embrace the errors of the Church of Rome; but when persuasions and menaces were found ineffectual, he was sentenced to death, and hanged in the marketplace.

Galeacius, a Protestant gentleman, who resided near the castle of St. Angelo, was apprehended on account of his faith. Great endeavors being used by his friends he recanted and subscribed to several of the superstitious doctrines propagated by the Church of Rome.

Becoming, however, sensible of his error, he publicly renounced his recantation. Being apprehended for this, he was condemned to be burnt. He was chained to a stake, where he was left several hours before the fire was put to the fagots, in order that his wife, relations, and friends, who surrounded him, might induce him to give up his opinions. Galeacius, however, retained his constancy of mind and entreated the executioner to put fire to the wood that was to burn him. This he did, and Galeacius was soon consumed in the flames which burnt with amazing rapidity and deprived him of sensation in a few minutes.

Soon after this gentleman’s death, a great number of Protestants were put to death on account of their faith in various parts of Italy,  giving a sure proof of their sincerity in their martyrdoms.

End

* A note from Lighthouse Trails: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition by a Christian publisher, front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Still another edition removed most of the section (like the section above) in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs about persecution by the Roman Catholic papacy.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3: 17

Wayne Tyndale: “A Special Instrument Appointed by the Lord” – Strangled and Burned at the Stake

William_Tyndale

William Tyndale

By John Foxe
(from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

William Tyndale was a special instrument appointed by the Lord as God’s pick-axe to shake the inward roots and foundation of the pope’s proud churchdom. The prince of darkness, with his impious imps, had a special malice against him, leaving no way unsought to craftily entrap him, falsely betray him, and maliciously spill his life.

He was born about the borders of Wales and brought up in the University of Oxford, where he, by long continuance, increased in the knowledge of languages and liberal arts. He especially applied himself to the knowledge of the Scriptures to which his mind was singularly addicted. There he privately read to certain students and fellows of Magdalen College, instructing them in the knowledge and truth of the Scriptures. His manners and conversation being correspondent to the same, were such that all that knew him reputed him to be a man of most virtuous disposition and of life unspotted.

Leaving the University of Oxford, Tyndale proceeded to the University of Cambridge until he had further ripened in the knowledge of God’s Word. Quitting his formal education, he resorted to one Master Welch, a knight of Gloucestershire, and was there schoolmaster to his children and in good favor with his master. As this gentleman frequently had guests at his table, there resorted to him many times sundry abbots, deans, archdeacons, doctors, and great beneficed men; who together with Master Tyndale sitting at the same table, did use many times to enter communication and talk of learned men, such as Luther and Erasmus; also of divers other controversies and questions upon the Scripture.

Then Master Tyndale, as he was learned and well practiced in God’s matters, spared not to show unto them simply and plainly his judgment, and when they at any time did vary from Tyndale in opinions, he would show them in the Book and lay plainly before them the open and manifest places of the Scriptures to confute their errors and confirm his sayings. And thus they continued for a certain season, reasoning and contending together at various times, until at length they waxed weary and bare a secret grudge in their hearts against him.

As this grew on, the priests of the country clustering together began to grudge and storm against Tyndale, railing against him in alehouses and other places, affirming that his sayings were heresy; and accused him secretly to the chancellor and others of the bishop’s officers.

The malice of the priests increasing still more and more against Tyndale, they never ceased barking and rating at him and laid many things sorely to his charge, saying that he was a heretic. Being so molested and vexed, he was constrained to leave that country and to seek another place.

Master Tyndale, with the good will of his master, departed and soon came up to London and there preached a while, as he had done in the country.

William Tyndale remained in London almost a year, living a simple life and studying day and night. He noted the contrast between the manner of life encouraged in the Scriptures and the demeanor of the preachers, how they boasted themselves and set up their authority; beholding also the pomp of the prelates and other things which he greatly disliked him. And as it was greatly upon his heart to translate the New Testament, he began to understand that not only was there no room in the bishop’s house for him to begin his work, but also that there was no place to do it in all England.

Therefore, having by God’s providence some aid ministered unto him by Humphrey Mummuth and certain other good men, he took his leave of the realm and departed into Germany. The good man, being inflamed with a tender care and zeal of his country, refused no travail or diligence to reduce his brethren and countrymen of England to the same taste and understanding of God’s holy Word and truth which the Lord had given to him. Whereupon, considering in his mind and conferring also with John Frith, Tyndale thought there was no better way to introduce such understanding than if the Scripture was turned into the vulgar speech so that the poor people might read and see the simple plain Word of God.

Master Tyndale considered this only, or most chiefly, to be the cause of all mischief in the church, that the Scriptures of God were hidden from the people’s eyes. For so long the abominable doings and idolatries maintained by the pharisaical clergy could not be espied because they had achieved that either the Bible should not be read at all, or if it were, they would darken the right sense with the mist of their sophistry and so entangle those who rebuked or despised their abominations. Wresting the Scripture unto their own purpose, contrary unto the meaning of the text, they would so delude the unlearned lay people that though those felt in their hearts that what they were hearing was false, they were unable to untangle their subtle riddles.

For these and such other considerations this good man was stirred up of God to translate the Scripture into his mother tongue for the profit of the simple people of his country; first setting in hand with the New Testament, which came forth in print about A.D. 1525. Cuthbert Tonstal, bishop of London, with Sir Thomas More, being sore aggrieved, conspired how to destroy that false erroneous translation, as they called it. They bought up as many copies as they could acquire and had them burned publicly. However, this evil endeavor provided Tyndale and his benefactors with the means to order the printing of even more copies of the Tyndale’s New Testament, which were shipped off to England and hungrily devoured by the masses.

After that, Master Tyndale took in hand to translate the Old Testament, finishing the five books of Moses with sundry most learned and godly prologues most worthy to be read and read again by all good Christians. These books being sent over into England, it cannot be spoken what a door of light they opened to the eyes of the whole English nation, which before were shut up in darkness.

The godly books of Tyndale, especially the New Testament of his translation, after that they began to come into men’s hands and to spread abroad, wrought great and singular profit to the godly; but the ungodly (envying and disdaining that the people should be anything wiser than they and, fearing lest by the shining beams of truth, their works of darkness should be discerned) began to stir with no small ado.

The bishops and prelates never rested until they had brought the king to their consent; by reason whereof, a proclamation in all haste was devised and set forth under public authority, that the Testament of Tyndale’s translation was prohibited—which was about A.D. 1537. And not content herewith they proceeded further how to entangle him in their nets and to bereave him of his life, which they brought to pass through treachery and betrayal.

Master Tyndale was seized at Antwerp and remanded to prison. Such was the power of his doctrine and the sincerity of his life, that during the time of his imprisonment (which endured a year and a half), he converted, it is said, his keeper, the keeper’s daughter, and others of his household.

At last, after much reasoning, when no reason would serve, although he deserved no death, he was condemned by virtue of the emperor’s decree, made in the assembly at Augsburg. Brought forth to the place of execution, he was tied to the stake, strangled by the hangman, and afterwards consumed with fire, at the town of Vilvorde, A.D. 1536; crying at the stake with a fervent zeal and a loud voice, “Lord! open the king of England’s eyes.”

tyndale-death

William Tyndale’s death

As touching his translation of the New Testament, because his enemies did so much carp at it, pretending it to be full of heresies, he wrote to John Frith as follows: “I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me.”

The Persecution of John Huss, Brave Defender of the Christian Faith

John Huss

John Huss

By John Foxe
(Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

John Huss [1372-1415]

John Huss was born at Hussenitz, a village in Bohemia, about the year 1372. His parents gave him the best education their circumstances would admit; and having acquired a tolerable knowledge of the classics at a private school, he transferred to the University of Prague where he soon gave strong proofs of his mental powers and was remarkable for his diligence and application to study.

In 1398 Huss was chosen to be pastor of the Church of Bethlehem in Prague, and dean and rector of the university. In these stations he discharged his duties with great fidelity; and became so conspicuous for his preaching, which was in conformity with the doctrines of Wickliffe, that it was not likely he could long escape the notice of the pope and his adherents, against whom he complained with no small degree of harshness.

The archbishop of Prague, finding the reformists daily increasing, issued a decree to suppress the further spreading of Wickliffe’s writings: but this had an effect quite different to what he expected, for it stimulated the friends of those doctrines to greater zeal and almost the whole university united to propagate them.

Being strongly attached to the doctrines of Wickliffe, Huss opposed the decree of the archbishop, who eventually obtained a bull from the pope which gave him commission to prevent the publishing of Wickliffe’s doctrines in his province. Dr. Huss, with some other members of the university, protested against these proceedings and entered an appeal from the sentence of the archbishop.

When this affair became known to the pope, John Huss was ordered to appear personally at the court of Rome to answer the accusations laid against him of preaching both errors and heresies.

Dr. Huss declined to appear at this trial, after which he was declared obstinate and excommunicated forthwith. From this unjust sentence Huss appealed to a future council, but without success; and, notwithstanding so severe a decree, and an expulsion in consequence from his church in Prague, he retired to Hussenitz, his native place, where he continued to promulgate his new doctrine both from the pulpit and with the pen.

The letters which he wrote at this time were very numerous; and he compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines.

In the month of November, 1414, a general council was assembled at Constance in Germany, in order, as was pretended, for the sole purpose of determining a dispute then pending between three persons who contended for the papacy; but the real motive was to crush the progress of the Reformation.

John Huss was summoned to appear at this council. To encourage him, the emperor sent him a safe-conduct. The civilities, and even reverence, that Huss met with on his journey were beyond imagination. The streets were lined with people, whom respect, rather than curiosity, had brought together. He was ushered into the town with great acclamations and it may be said that he passed through Germany in a kind of triumph.

As soon as Huss arrived at Constance, he immediately took lodgings in a remote part of the city. A short time after his arrival came one Stephen Paletz, who was employed by the clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him. Paletz was afterwards joined by Michael de Cassis on the part of the court of Rome. These two declared themselves his accusers and drew up a set of articles against him, which they presented to the pope and the prelates of the council.

When it was known that he was in the city, he was immediately arrested and committed prisoner to a chamber in the palace. This violation of common law and justice was particularly noticed by one of Huss’s friends, who invoked the imperial safe-conduct; but the pope replied he never granted any safe-conduct nor was he bound by that of the emperor.

While Huss was in confinement, the council acted the part of inquisitors. They condemned the doctrines of Wickliffe and even ordered his remains to be dug up and burned to ashes; which orders were strictly complied with. In the meantime, the nobility of Bohemia and Poland strongly interceded for Huss; and so far prevailed as to prevent his being condemned unheard, which had been resolved on by the commissioners appointed to try him.

When he was brought before the council, the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number and chiefly extracted from his writings.

The excellent sentences Huss offered in defense of his doctrines were esteemed as so many expressions of treason and tended to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the council stripped him of his priestly garments, degraded him, put a paper miter on his head on which was painted devils and this inscription, “A ringleader of heretics.” Which when he saw, he said:

My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.

When it was set upon his head, the bishop said: “Now we commit your soul unto the devil.”

“But I,” said John Huss, lifting his eyes towards the heaven, “do commend into Your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my spirit which You have redeemed.”

When the chain was put about him at the stake, he said with a smiling countenance, “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?” When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so meddlesome as to desire him to retract. “No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.”

When the flames were applied to the fagots, our martyr sung a hymn with so loud and cheerful a voice that he was heard through all the cracklings of the combustibles and the noise of the multitude. At length his voice was interrupted by the severity of the flames, which soon closed his existence.

Then, with great diligence, gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the river Rhine, that the least remnant of that man should not be left upon the earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind of torment. (From chapter 8 of the special Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

Obama Acknowledges: ISIS Seeks to Kill Those Who ‘Worship a Different God’

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

ObamaWASHINGTON – In an interview with CBS on Sunday, while repeating his assertion that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) does not represent the Islamic religion, Barack Obama acknowledged that the group seeks to kill those who “worship a different God” than Allah.

Obama was interviewed by correspondent Steve Croft for the “60 Minutes” broadcast in a discussion that largely centered on American efforts to combat terrorism abroad. During the discussion, Croft cited that Obama had spoken of Al Qaeda being “decimated” two years ago, but that affiliates of the terror organization continue their insurgency in Iraq and Syria, and others have taken control of Libya.

“If you’ll recall, Steve, you had an international network in al Qaeda between Afghanistan and Pakistan, headed by Bin Laden. And that structure we have rendered ineffective,” Obama replied. “But what I also said, and this was two years ago and a year ago, is that you have regional groups with regional ambitions and territorial ambitions. And what also has not changed is the kind of violent, ideologically driven extremism that has taken root in too much of the Muslim world.” Click here to continue reading and for video.

 

“And They Loved Not Their Lives Unto the Death”

LTRP Note: The following is chapter one of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (LT edition) and covers some of the first martyrs in the Christian faith including Peter, Paul, and Stephen. May we, as believers in Christ, in our present day and age, remember those who have gone before us courageously refusing to deny their faith in Christ and thus paying with their lives. Today, as we watch an apostate church rise quickly to the surface (denying the very essence of the biblical Christian faith), may we, by His grace and strength, stand true to the church that God will preserve and to the same faith for which so many men and women before us valiantly died.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

JohnFoxe

John Foxe

 

“History of Christian Martyrs until the First General Persecutions Under Nero [A.D. 34 to A.D. 73]”

By John Foxe
(Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

Christ our Savior, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, hearing the confession of Simon Peter, who was the first to openly acknowledge Him to be the Son of God, [declared] that He would build His church, a church so strong that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

This prophecy of Christ we see wonderfully fulfilled insomuch that the whole course of the church to this day may seem nothing else but a verifying of that prophecy. First, that Christ has set up a church needs no declaration. Second, it is with great force that princes, kings, monarchs, governors, and rulers of this world, and their subjects, incorporating all their strength and cunning, have bent themselves against this church! And third, how this church, all this notwithstanding, has yet endured and held its own! For this reason, I have set forth to address this present history, to the end that the wonderful works of God in His church might appear to His glory; also by continuing to set forth the proceedings of the church from time to time, more knowledge and experience may result to the profit of the reader and to the edification of the Christian faith.

It is not our business to enlarge upon our Saviour’s history, either before or after His crucifixion. We shall only remind our readers of the changes wrought by His subsequent resurrection. Although one apostle had betrayed Him; although another had denied Him under the solemn sanction of an oath; and although the rest had forsaken Him; the history of His resurrection gave a new direction to all their hearts, and, after the mission of the Holy Spirit, imparted new confidence to their minds. The powers with which they were bestowed emboldened them to proclaim His name, to the confusion of the Jewish rulers and the astonishment of Gentile proselytes.

steven

The Stoning of Steven

Stephen
Stephen suffered the next in order after our Lord. His death was occasioned by the faithful manner in which he preached the gospel to the betrayers and murderers of Christ. To such a degree of madness were they excited, that they cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. The time when he suffered is generally supposed to have been at the Passover which followed our Lord’s crucifixion.

Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who professed their belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. We are immediately told by Luke, that “there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem”; and that “they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” About two thousand Christians, including Nicanor, one of the seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the “persecution that arose about Stephen.”

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7: 59-60

James the Great
The next martyr we meet with, according to Luke in the History of the Apostles’ Acts, was James the son of Zebedee. He was the elder brother of John and a relative of our Lord; for his mother Salome was cousin to Mary. It was not until ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place. No sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself to the Jews, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians and determined to make an effectual blow by striking at their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer, Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not be overlooked. He reports that as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle’s extraordinary courage. His accuser fell down at the feet of James requesting his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely received that cup, which he had told our Saviour he was ready to drink. This event took place in A.D. 44.

Philip
Philip was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name “disciple.” He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified in A.D. 54.

Matthew
Matthew, whose occupation was that of a tax collector, was born at Nazareth. The scene of his labors was Parthia and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a battle ax in the city of Nadabah in A.D. 60.

James the Less
James the Less was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem and was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beaten and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a club.

Matthias
Less is known about Matthias than of most of the other disciples. He was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.

Andrew
Andrew was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed diagonally in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew’s Cross.

Mark
Mark was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as a secretary, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria at the yearly celebration of their idol Serapis, ending his life under their merciless hands.

The death of Peter

The death of Peter

Peter
Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death and crucified. Hegesippus1 reports that Nero sought a reason to put Peter to death. Jerome writes that Peter was crucified with his head being down and his feet upward at his own insistence because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as was the Lord.

Paul
Paul the Apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of Paul’s death. They came upon Paul as he was teaching the people and asked him to pray for them that they might believe. He told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at the Lord’s sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers were said, gave his neck to the sword.

Jude
The brother of James was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa in A.D. 72.

Bartholomew
Bartholomew preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.

Thomas
Thomas, called Didymus, preached the gospel in Parthia and India. Exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.

Luke
Luke the Evangelist was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree by the idolatrous priests of Greece.

Simon
Simon, surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified in A.D. 74.

John
The “beloved disciple” was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

Barnabas
Barnabas was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent. His death is supposed to have taken place about A.D. 73.

And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions and horrible punishments, the church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and watered plenteously with the blood of saints.

Other Accounts From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

1560 – The Martyrdom of Nicholas Burton, an English Merchant in Spain

Mrs. Prest – She Said No to Apostasy and Became a Martyr

John Wickliffe – Standing (and Dying) for the Word of God Against Apostasy and False Doctrine


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