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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
J. Newton Brown
From Memorials of Baptist Martyrs, 1854
In the year 1549, about three weeks before Easter, two excellent men of the Baptist body were apprehended in the town of Olde Boor, in West Friesland. Their names were Eelken and Fye. They were brought before the magistrates, and there boldly confessed their faith.
They first asked Eelken, “Who has given you permission to collect the people together to instruct them?”
ANSWER —God has permitted me.
QUESTION —What have you taught?
ANSWER—Ask those who heard it, what was taught among us; for you have apprehended a woman who heard it.
They then asked the woman what she had heard from Eelken.
ANSWER—He read the four Evangelists, Paul, Peter, John's epistles, and the works [Acts] of the Apostles.
Eelken was then again examined.
QUESTION—What do you hold concerning the Sacrament?
ANSWER—I know nothing of your baked God.
QUESTION—Friend, consider what you say; for these words will cost you your life. What do you hold concerning the Mother of God?
QUESTION—What say you, did not the Son of God receive flesh and blood from Mary?
ANSWER—No. I hold that which the Son of God himself testifies thereof.
QUESTION—What is your judgment of our holy church of Rome?
ANSWER—I know nothing of your holy church, and I acknowledge it not. In the whole of my life, I have never been in a holy church.
“You speak very bitterly; I am concerned for you," said a gentleman of the council, "and fear your life will be forfeited.
QUESTION—Have you not been baptized?
ANSWER—I have not been baptized; but I earnestly desire to be.
QUESTION—What do you think of those false teachers who go about, and baptize people?
ANSWER—Of false teachers I do not approve, but I have greatly longed to hear a teacher sent of God.
They said, "We have, however, heard that you were to be a teacher."
Eelken asked, "Who has made me a teacher?" and they told him they did not know.
Eelken said, "Do you ask me, since you know it not? How then should I know it? I know no one who has made me a teacher, but God has given me all those things for which I have prayed to him."
They said, "We have now written down all the articles that we have at this time demanded of you. If there be anything therein for which you are sorry, we will readily take it out."
The question in reply to the nobleman was, "Do you think, then, that I would deny God?"
Eelken and his companion, Fye, both received sentence; and as soon as they were brought together they embraced, yea, kissed each other's hands and feet with great affection, so that all were astonished who saw and heard it.
The capuchin friars and servants ran and said to the magistrates, "Never did persons love each other like these."
Eelken spoke to Fye, saying, "Dear brother, do not reproach me for having been the occasion of your being brought into suffering."
Fye answered, "Dear brother, do not think that, for it is the power of God."
After the sentence was pronounced, they were kept till the third day. Eelken was executed first by the sword. While the sentence upon Fye was being read, he heard nothing of it by reason of his great joy; and not knowing what was done, or about to be done with Eelken, he sang and leaped, praising and thanking God, and said, "This is the only way."
They now led Fye to the ship in which Eelken lay beheaded, and the wheel on which he should be laid, and also the stake at which Fye was to stand to be burned. In the ship his hands were unbound. But though he sat still, the monks said, "Bind him again."
The executioner said, "Do you bind him?" But the constable of the castle ordered him to bind Fye again.
A woman who saw it greatly wept, but Fye said, "Weep not for me, but for your sins."
Turning to the executioner, he asked, "What will you do to me ?"
The answer was, "That you will see."
"Yes, yes," said Fye, "Do what you please. I have already committed myself to the Lord's hands."
He was now attended by some of his brethren, who had accompanied many of the common people. Fye, seeing some of his acquaintances, called out, "Friends, rejoice with me over such a marriage feast as is provided for me."
As he ascended towards the gallows, some of the brethren spoke to him, and greatly rejoiced with him, saying, "This the narrow way; this is the winepress of the Lord; to this belongs the crown."
But when the constable of the castle heard the shout, he cried out, "Let no one touch them, on forfeiture of life and goods."
The executioner, having forgotten his implements, ran into the town to fetch them.
In the meantime, the constable, with the two monks, had got Fye into the confessional, annoying him with bread and wine, but they could not prevail on him to take any, for he did nothing but sing and speak, praising and thanking God.
Unable to succeed, and the executioner having returned, they said to Fye, "How is it that you are so obstinate, seeing you say you are a member of Christ? Will you not then do such a work of mercy, as to receive this bread and wine as wine and bread for our sake?"
He answered, "For your bread and wine I do not hunger; food is prepared for me in heaven."
Finding they could not overcome his determined spirit, they said, "Go, heretic; go."
The constable said, "I have in my life seen many a heretic, but never a more obstinate one than this."
Fye standing ready to meet death, said to the executioner, "Master, have you completed your work?"
He answered, "Not yet."
Fye said, "Yes, here is the sheep with which you have to do."
The executioner then went to him, and tore open his shirt. Next he took the cap from his head, and filled it with gunpowder.
Fye, standing at the post at which he was to be strangled, exclaimed, "O Lord, receive thy servant!"
Whereupon he was strangled, and then burnt. Thus did he pass to his beloved Lord.