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AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO SUFFERED IN THE
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS IN THE SIXTEENTH
[Mention of the inquisition which from the year 1492 continued to 1660. It is noticed for the year 1501.
Persecution of the orthodox Christians in Hungary briefly, and plainly shown, for the year 1507.
Two years after this, there is brought to remembrance another persecution of the same people, in the principality of Mecklenburg, near Mooren, two years later, presented and noted for the year 1509.
Several persons who opposed popery in various points of doctrine; as, Nicholas Rus, Bernhard Liblinensis, John Picus, John Hilten, William Budaeus, John Bugenhagius, etc.; some of whom also felt the sting of the Roman scorpion, referred to in a note for the years 1509, 1510, 1512, 1513, 1520, etc.
The decree which by the Romanists was published, in the Netherlands, against all who believed otherwise than the Roman church, and what misery resulted thereupon, circumstantially noticed for the year 1521.
In a note for the year 1522 mention is made of Charles Stadius, and for the year 1524, of Henry Zutphaniensis, touching their faith and death.
Beginning of the old Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians, together with the emendation from various creditable chronicles, memoirs, testimonies, etc.
The first martyrs mentioned are Hans Koch and Leonhart Meister; both of whom lost their lives for the truth of the holy Gospel, at Augsburg, A. D. 1524.
Then follow so great multitude of professors of Christ, who gave their lives for His name's sake; as well as so great a number of accounts of bloody decrees, examinations, sentences, and memorable memoirs, that it is impossible to enumerate them. From the year 1524 until 1597, almost until the close of the century, the pious martyrs were apprehended, tormented, and put to death by fire, water, sword, burying alive; with which last manner of death this century is concluded.]
A great door is opened unto us to the arena of the martyrs and blessed followers of Jesus. None of the previous persecutions endured by the orthodox martyrs are to be compared to the present one. We have come through the time of fifteen centuries, each consisting of one hundred consecutive years; but we must confess that we did not meet with what we have seen, or, at least, that which we shall see here. The length of the time, the severity of the persecution, and the number of the martyred persons shall testify to this.
It is true, that fifteen hundred years extend over a longer period of time than about a hundred and fifty of like years; and that the persecutions which occurred during this long time, when put in the balance, would be heavier than this last one, as well as the number of the persons who were persecuted; but never in the preceding fifteen centuries did any persecution continue for so long a time without alleviation; never was there in so short (though actually long) a time so much innocent blood shed; never were there in so small a space so many dark prisons, deadly tribunals, scaffolds, fiery stakes, and. other instruments of death erected and made use of as were at this time in Germany and in the Netherlands.
To prove this, without unnecessary words, we will forthwith enter upon our task, beginning with Germany, and ending with the Netherlands.
SEVERE INQUISITION AGAINST. THE BELIEVERS,
ABOUT THE YEAR 1501
The inquisition of which we gave an account in the first book, for the year 1492, continued against the orthodox believers, as is firmly believed, even until this time; so that many who were subjected to the same, and remained steadfast, had to suffer themselves to be put to death; who, in the sight of God, came to an honorable, but in the eyes of the world, a shameful and not less miserable end, but who shall hereafter, with Christ their Saviour (who herein preceded them), be clothed with everlasting honor and joy, yea, be crowned as victorious kings in the heavenly Zion, according to His promise
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev. 2:10.
Concerning the beginning of this inquisition see the first book, for the year 1492, and how the same continued until this time and long after, compare Hist. Georg., lib. 6. Pieter Bor, lib. 3. Orsprong der Nederlandtsche Beroeyten, fol. 9-12. Tooneel Nicol., fol. 87. Guil. Merulae, Tract. 9, 47. Eman. van Met. (old edition), fol. 40. Retuald. Gonsalv, in de H. Spanish Inquisition throughout. Hist. Wenc., fol. 187. Chron. Phil. Mel., lib. 5. Hist.
Alons. de hlb., lib. 2, with Chron. van Ondergang, page 899, col. 1, 2, page 900, col. 1, 2.
PERSECUTION OF THE ORTHODOX BELIEVERS IN
HUNGARY, A. D. 1507
That the old Waldenses, or orthodox believers, whose sound confession we have shown elsewhere, were now severely oppressed and persecuted in Hungary; insomuch that they were necessitated to deliver a defense of their faith against the unfounded accusations on account of which they suffered persecution, to Uladislaus, King of Bohemia, we have partly shown in the Account of Holy Baptism, for the year 1507, and it is confirmed by H. Boxhorn, in his tract concerning this matter, fol. 27; compared with P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 930, col. 2.
ANOTHER PERSECUTION OF THESE PEOPLE IN THE
PRINCIPALITY OF MECKLENBURG, NEAR
MOOREN, A. D. 1509
A. D. 1509, old writers state, that the aforementioned old Waldenses, on account of the envy of the pope and papists, could no longer .enjoy their liberty in confessing and practicing their true belief, in the principality of Mecklenburg, near Mooren. See the last mentioned chronicle, page 937,col. 2, ex Catal. Test., fol. 902.
NOTE. A. D. 1509. At this time, Nicholas Rus vigorously taught and wrote against the pope, saying: 1. That letters of indulgence were nothing but subtle deceptions to rob the plain and simple people of their money. 2. That the pope does not have as much power as people suppose. 3. That the popes, cardinals, bishops, and prelates were leading lascivious lives, etc. 4. That saints ought not to be invoked.* This Nicholas had many hearers in the principality of Mecklenburg, but from necessity, because of the papists, was soon compelled to leave the place. He went to Wismar, but there also he had no abiding place. See the authors last mentioned, for the year 1509.
A. D. 1510. Bernhard Liblinensis taught and wrote at this time: 1. That it is impossible that the whole world should obey a single man, as is the pope. 2. That the popes themselves were not of one mind; for the one prohibits that which another has instituted to be observed. 3. That therefore it is sufficient to believe in Christ, and to obey Him alone. Chron. van den Ondergang, page 939, eol. 2, compared with Catal. Test., fol. 911. However, what befell him as punishment from the pope on this account, is not stated.
A. D. 1512. John Picus, John Hilton, and others, vigorously spoke at this time against the abuses of popery, severely reproving their (the popes) life, deeds, and doctrine. However, what they suf
* This fourth article the writers enumerate as the third.
fered because of this, is not indicated. See the last mentioned chronicle, page 946, col. 1; also Joh. Munst., fol. 203, 204.
A. D. 1513. William Budaeus, a very learned man in France, wrote at this time in a book: 1. The popes and bishops originate war between princes and potentates; while they by rights ought to advise and help to peace. 2. They fill the world with pride, avarice, gluttony, drinking, lasciviousness, whoredom, adultery, and other shameful things, surpassing in these vile deeds the laity. 3. They are Epicures, who do not care for eternal life, as they show by their works; and they are to their hearers the cause of eternal damnation. As to the end or death of this man, however, we have likewise found no account. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 949, col. 1, with Catal. Test., fol. 908. Joh. Munst., fol. 208.
A. D.1520. John Bugenhagius, surnamed Pomeranus, a remarkably kind and moral man, was at this time very well known through his writings. Among other things he says, in a little book, treating of Unborn Infants, that men erred for twelve centuries with regard to infants, whom (by rights) they could not, yet greatly desired to, baptize. Two days before his death there was an eclipse of the sun. He died at Wittenberg, aged 73 years. Compare the last mentioned chronicle, page 985, col. 1, with Leonh., lib. 7. Jac. herh. A f b., fol. 28, 30, 32.
The time now draws near, when the account of the last of those who suffered death, in our old Book of Martyrs begins. We speak of those who gave their lives for the truth since the great Reformation, or, at least, since the establishment of the worship of God in the year 1524, and from that time forward. In the meantime it will be well for us to notice that the martyrs of whom we shall speak were of the profession of the Waldenses, even as were the preceding ones, of whom we have previously spoken. All the labor which we took upon ourselves from the middle of the twelfth century, tended to follow the line of these people. This has been our aim continually up to the present time, and, in this, as we hope, we have not been unsuccessful; yea, we trust that we have shown this to a certainty. In the meantime the intelligent, to whom we gladly submit the matter, may judge with regard to it. The first work which is now before us, is to unite the first martyrs with the last, and to follow up what we have written with that which was written before. In order to give no offense to any one, we intend to leave the old accounts unchanged, excepting a few discrepancies and typographical errors; as well as what we shall add of our own from the testimonies of old writers; which shall be plainly distinguished. By following this method, we hope to accomplish our purpose successfully.
OF THE DECREE WHICH BY THE ROMANISTS WAS
PUBLISHED IN THE NETHERLANDS, ABOUT THE
YEAR 1521, AGAINST ALL WHO BELIEVED
OTHERWISE THAN THE ROMAN
CHURCH; AND WHAT MISERY
About A. D. 1521, at the time of Emperor Charles V., a decree was made and issued by those of the Roman church, on account of the Lutherans and Zwinglians, against all those who were opposed to the Roman profession, and hence, also against the Anabaptists; who were all threatened with cruel punishments of death, as appears from the following account in the Chron. van den Ondergang, p. 975, col. 2.
The account is as follows:* "From it was made, A. D. 1521," says the writer, "the first prohibition or decree concerning religion, and brought into the Netherlands without the consent of the States, etc.; so that they (this and like decrees) were rather tolerated than confirmed by the states; the more so since they were greatly favored by the pope and the clergy, as tending to promote obedience towards the mother the Roman church, and generally no complaint was heard from any of the common people against it; that is, against the first.
By virtue of this decree all who believed otherwise than the Roman church, or who had such books in their possession, or harbored such heretics or people, and all those whom the magistrates were commanded to apprehend, were strictly sentenced to death; and not only these, but also all who in any wise were suspected of heresy; every Roman Catholic being required to denounce every suspected person, who, upon the testimony of two witnesses, were, according to the instruction of the judges, sentenced to death, their property confiscated, and one third of it given to the accusers and witnesses, though said witnesses had but little to say, only so that they were known as good Catholics by their pastor or priest.
If any one from fear took to flight, no one was allowed to intercede for him, or plead his innocence, neither the father for the child, nor brother for brother; but he was condemned on account of his flight, and his property confiscated.
Though one did even desist from his so called error, and suffered himself to be better in;
* In the following a few words are changed, without altering the sense, however.
structed, as it were, by the pastor, according to the Romish manner, he had nevertheless to die. No greater mercy was shown him than that he was not put to death by fire, but executed with the sword.
The women were buried alive, and no judge could mitigate these decrees, unless he was willing to be regarded as a protector of the heretics, and be proceeded against as such.
From this decree (the one first spoken of) made by imperial power and authority, others were produced, and issued, almost every year.
And by virtue of these decrees, none might have in his possession, buy, give, carry, read, or communicate, the doctrines, writings or books, of the Lutherans, Zwinglians, etc. (he also makes mention of the Mennonites), or dispute about them; neither might they confer or dispute with any one about the holy Scriptures, or read the same to others, except (Romish) theologians or doctors of divinity, or those who were properly licensed.
No one was allowed knowingly to receive suspected persons (called heretics) into his house, to lodge them, to give them food, clothes, or money; but had to report them immediately, all on pain of death and confiscation of property.
Extracted from various Biographies of Emperor Charles V, Chron. Mich., 4th part; Chron. Sleyd., lib. 1, 2, to 25; Hist. Alons, Ullw, lib. 1-5; Chron. Hed., fol. 682; Chron. Saxon., fol. 649; Chron. Franc. (old edition), fol. 62, 63; Chron. Petr. Bor., lib. 1. Caprit., lib. 3. Pantal., lib. 3; Hist. der Mart. Doopsges., lib. 1. Eman. van Met., lib. 1; Mer., fol. 960; Chron. Petr. Scriv., fol. 593; D. Andries Hondd., lib. 1, cap. 15; D. Dirck heli., lib. 2; Manl., fol. 255; W. Baud., lib. 16, an old chronicle of the life and deeds of Charles V, throughout, etc.
NOTE. A. D. 1522, Charles Stadius also declared his views, at this time, among the learned; he secretly held with the Anabaptists, says Leonhard Krantz in his German Chronology, lib. 7. Others, however, ascribe a different belief to him, which is not found with the Anabaptists; namely, that he said, that Christ, through His blood, had also redeemed the (fallen) angels. Conrad Schless, 1st part, cap. 5, compared with P. 7. Twisck, Chron., page 994, col. 2. What happened to him, however, on account of his belief, is not stated.
A. D. 1524. Henry Zutphaniensis was horribly put to death for the Gospel of Christ, by Ditmarish peasants. See the above cited Chronicle, p. 1001, col. 1. Also, Rab., part 3; Sleyd., lib. 4.
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