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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
J. M. Cramp,
From Baptist History, pages 166, 168, 170, 172, 179, 180 and 181
"But, whatever others may have contributed, it is evident English Baptists bore a conspicuous and effectual testimony to the principle of religious liberty. England, and the cause of civil and religious freedom, owes much to those unyielding and martyred Baptists, who testified amid the lurid flames of the blazing fagots about them, and whose souls washed in the blood of Jesus ascended up through much tribulation to God."
A History of All Religions of the World, by Gay Brothers & Co., 1883. Page 410.
"The Baptist Martyrology contains distinct notices of about four hundred brethren and sisters who were barbarously put to death in Holland and Flanders under the operation of the aforesaid edicts. The misery and ruin which befell their families cannot be described. Numbers more suffered of whom no account has been preserved. It was a season of ‘Great Tribulation’ . . .
Gerrit Hasepoot lived at Nymegen. During the heat of persecution he fled to another place. After a time he returned to fetch his wife and children, but was seen by one of the sheriffs officers, who gave information to his master, on which he was taken into custody and condemned to die.
“After his condemnation,” says the historian, “his wife came to the Town Hall to speak to him once more, to take her leave of him and to say adieu to her beloved husband, carrying a little child on her arm, which, for sorrow, she was scarcely able to support.
When wine was presented to him (according to the custom of giving wine to those who were sentenced to death), he said to his wife, “I desire not this wine, but hope to drink new wine, and to receive it above in my Father's House.”
With great sorrow they were separated from each other, bidding each other adieu in this world (for the wife could no longer stand, but became faint from grief). He was then led to death. On being taken from the wagon to the scaffold, he raised his voice and sang the hymn—
"Father of Heaven, on Thee I call,
O Strengthen Thou my Faith."
He then fell upon his knees and made his earnest prayer to God. When fastened to the stake, he threw the slippers from his feet, saying, 'It were a pity to burn these, for they may be of service to some poor person.' The strap with which he was to be strangled coming loose, not having been properly fastened by the executioner, he again lifted up his voice and sang the rest of the above hymn—
"Farewell, ye saints, farewell:
What, if I meet this end!
Ere long the Lord shall come,
Our only Leader, Friend:
Joyous I wait the glorious day,
With you to walk in white array."
The executioner having adjusted the cord, this witness for Jesus fell asleep, and was then burnt.' . . .
Sometimes the execution took place privately, within the precincts of the prison. Andries Langedul and two others were beheaded at Antwerp in 1559, “not publicly, but in the prison. The other prisoners (of whom there were then many) could see it through the windows of their cells. When Andries knelt to receive the stroke of the sword, he put his hands together saying, "Father, into thy hands I commend"—but "I commend my spirit" was not perfectly uttered, the rapid stroke of the sword prevented it.”
Several were drowned in the same city, the year following. “Peter Gomer the mason and Jacot the goldsmith, for the name of Christ, were drowned together in a tub. Lenaert Plovier and two young females were thrust into sacks, put into wine casks, and drowned by night in prison.”