When the light of the Gospel began to break forth with power also in England, so that some persons not only believed and adhered to, but also taught and propagated the truth of Christ, the Romanists, proving themselves children of darkness, evinced their old nature towards these people, inasmuch as they informed the King of England, then only a child of six years, of this matter, aiming to provide against it.
Thus it happened A. D. 1428, that this childking, induced by the fathers and heads of the Roman church, immediately resolved to give orders to the officers appointed thereto, to apprehend these persons and all who were of their persuasion, in order that they might be punished according to the laws of England.
"Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Lord of Ireland, to his beloved friends, John Extor, and Jacolet Germaine, Governors of the Castle at Cholchester, greeting, "Be it known unto you, that, perfectly relying on your fidelity and prudence, we have charged you, both together and each separately, to arrest and apprehend William White, priest, and Thomas, chaplain, formerly at Settling, in the county of Norfolk, and William Northampton, priest, and all others that are suspected of heresy, whoever they may be, and wherever they may be found, whether in free cities or without; and to send them, as soon as you have apprehended them, to our nearest jails or prisons, until we shall have given orders for their release., "And, therefore, we charge you strictly to keep a close surveillance on the aforesaid persons, and to faithfully observe the above in the manner stated before., "We likewise command and charge each and all of our justiciaries, who have the care of the common peace, as mayors, margraves, bailiffs, constables, and all our other faithful officers, by the contents of these presents, that they render you, both together and each separately, good assistance, and help and advise you to execute the preceding command, as becometh them., "In witness of this, we have ourselves caused our letters patent to be executed, and have signed them at Westminster, the sixth day of July, in the sixth year of our reign, coinciding with A. D. 1428." See John Fox, Angl., p. 607.
In old records we find that by virtue of this commission of the King, John Extor, who was one of these commissaries, shortly afterwards apprehended six persons at Bungay, in the bishopric of Norwich, and delivered them into the custody of William Day and William Rowe, constables of the city of Bungay, to be brought within ten days to the castle of Norwich., "The names, however, of these six persons," writes John Fox,"owing to the age of the writing, had almost entirely faded out, so that they could not well be read, except three or four." But what further transpired with them, and what sufferings
or death befell them, we do not find clearly expressed.
In the meantime there were also apprehended and brought to Norwich, three eminent and virtuous men, namely, William White, formerly a priest, Father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, who, after preceding examination, made confession of the following articles
1."That the children of Christians are sufficiently baptized in the blood of Christ, and, hence, need not be baptized with water.
2."That no tithes need be given to the pastors of the Roman church.
3."That marriage properly consists in the consent or agreement of union between man and woman (with rejection, as it seems, of the superstitions which the Romanists are wont to observe in connection with it).
4."That auricular confession is not necessary, and that one need not go and confess to the priests, but to God alone; since no priest has power to forgive a sinner his sins.
5."That no priest has power to make the body of Christ, or to consecrate it in the sacrament of the altar; but that after the words are pronounced, there still remains purely material bread, just as it was before.
6."That each and every Christian believer is a priest before God.
7."That no one is bound on pain of damnation to observe lent or any other fast days commanded by the Roman church.
8."That the pope is the antichrist, and his prelates disciples of antichrist; and that the pope has no authority to bind or loose on earth.
9."That it is lawful for all Christians to perform bodily works on holidays, except sins.
10."That it is lawful for priests to marry.
11."That the excommunications and ecclesiastical punishments decreed by the prelates are not to be regarded.
12."That in particular cases it is not lawful to swear.
(NOTE.-This article seems not to have been recorded correctly by the notary; for it appears that these people prohibited the oath not only in particular cases, but in any wise, seeing the following martyress, Margaret Backster, pronounces these men faithful preachers of the Word of God, and confessed herself, that one might not swear at all, neither by God, nor by, etc.).
13."One ought not to go on pilgrimages.
14."That no worship at all is to be bestowed upon images, the crucifix, Our Lady, or any other saint or saintess.
15."That the holy water consecrated by the priest in the church, is not holier or more efficacious han any other river or spring water; because the Lord blessed all waters together after their creation.
16."That the death of Thomas Becket (archbishop of Canterbury), was neither meritorious nor holy.
17."That relics consisting in bones of the dead may not be worshiped, exhumed, placed on altars in the church, or inclosed in chests.
18."That prayers made in every place are equally acceptable to God.
19."Saints should not be worshiped, but God alone.
20."That bells and hand-bells in church, are instituted for no other purpose than to fill the purses of the priests.
21."It is no sin to oppose the commands of the (Roman) church.
22."That the (true) Catholic church is only the congregation of the beloved children of God."
These are briefly the principal articles which they together unanimously maintained, and whereupon they also suffered death, inasmuch as they, after severe examination and manifold torments, refusing to apostatize, were condemned to be burnt alive; which also took place with them, namely, first with William White, in September, 1428, in the city of Norwich, and then with father Abraham, and John Waddon, who, having commended their souls into the hands of God, offered up a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable unto God.
Concerning the imprisonment and death of William White, as also of father Abraham and John Waddon, we find the following account in the writings of John Fox, "William White, who instructed these people in the light of the Gospel, in the county of Norfolk, for the space of about four years, until he, as already stated, was apprehended by virtue of the aforesaid letter of the king, and brought before William, bishop of Norwich, by whom he was convicted and condemned on these and other articles, thirty in number, was burnt alive in the city of Norwich, in the month of September, A. D. 1428, under King Henry VI, then but a child of six years., "Having arrived at the stake, and about to open his mouth to address and admonish the people, and to confirm them in the truth, one of the bishop's servants struck him on the mouth, thus compelling him to remain silent."
Thus did this godly man receive the crown of martyrdom, and ended this temporal life, to the great sorrow of all pious Christians in the county of Norfolk. His aforesaid wife, Johanna, who, according to her feeble ability, followed in the footsteps of her husband by scattering said doctrine everywhere, and confirming many in the truth of God, had to suffer much on this account, in the
same year and from the same bishop, as Thomas Walden himself confesses, who, besides others, was present at the examination and condemnation of said William White.
About the same time there were also burnt the aforesaid father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, priest, on account of the same articles mentioned above. Besides these, very many other godly men were most cruelly put to death. Second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 582, col. 4, and fol. 583, col. 1, from John Fox, in Actis Guil. White. Also from Bal., in Guil. White, in Append.
In the fifteenth book of the Chronijck van den Ondergang, page 788, are found the following words, "William Wicht, or William White, a learned, upright, honest, and eloquent man, a priest in England, forsook his ministry, and published the Gospel, by writing, preaching, and teaching, saying: 'that forgiveness of sins must be obtained from God Almighty alone; that the unmarried life of the pope and his clergy was the very satanic state, and a severe captivity of antichrist; and that the hooded, striped and shaven clergy were the mercenaries and servants of Lucifer."'
But upon being apprehended, he renounced his doctrine, A. D.-. Subsequently, however, he became re-established, and pious, and stronger, in the doctrine, and very boldly suffered burning for his confession, at Norwich, in England, A. D. 1428. Compare this with Hist. Andr. Hondorf, fol. 35. Vincent. Cal., fol., 134. Georg. Pac. cap. 11.
NOTE.-Three years previous to the death of this martyr, A. D. 1425, a miserable persecution was raised by the Romanists against some orthodox Christians; concerning which the following . account is found, for the year 1425, "About this time, Peter Torea was executed at Speyer, in Germany, and many others in the Roman countries; because they confessed the truth or opposed the Roman superstitions." Georg. Pac., cap. 11, compared with P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 788.
According to old chronicles, about A. D. 1430, a God-fearing woman, named Margaret Backster, was apprehended in England, for the truth of the Gospel of Christ; and as she would not apostatize, it seems, she was imprisoned until death, or put to death in prison; which, though it has remained partly hidden before men, God will make manifest in that last, great and terrible day; so that those who have secretly suffered for the name of Christ, shall then be openly rewarded and crowned, and those who have secretly shed the blood of the saints, shall be banished with open shame from the face of God, to be tormented, as they have tormented others, yet without ceasing, for ever and ever. Rev. 14:11."Then shall we discern between the righteous and the wicked." Mal. 3:18; Wisd. 5:1, 2; Matt. 5:46.
Margaret Backster, wife of William Backster, was accused by Johanna (wife of Cleveland), of divers articles, as, of having told her, that she should not swear at all, neither by God, nor by Our Lady, nor by any saints or saintesses.
Again: That she, the deponent, upon being asked by Margaret Backster, what she did everyday in church, answered, that she knelt before the crucifix, repeated five Pater-nosters, and read as many Ave Marias in honor of Our Lady. Whereupon Margaret replied, "You do very wrong in kneeling or praying before such images as stand in the church; for God dwells not in such churches; nor will He come down from heaven; neither will He give you any more a reward for such prayers, than a taper which is placed under the cover of the font, can give light at night, to those that are in the church."
Again: Said deponent, Johanna Cleveland, being asked by Margaret, what she believed respecting the sacrament of the altar, said, that the sacrament of the altar, the consecration, is the true body of Christ, in the form of bread. Whereupon Margaret said to her, "Your belief is vain; for if this sacrament were God and the true body of Christ, there would be a countless number of gods, since a thousand priests and more, make a thousand such gods every day, and then eat them."
Again: She said she knew for certain, that the vengeance of God would speedily come upon the Bishop of Norwich, and others, who had caused the death of father Abraham, William White, and John Waddon, faithful preachers of the word of God, and of many other godly men with them.
She also declared, that she had seen how one of those servants of Caiaphas smote William White on the mouth or lips, when he was about to be put to death, and wanted to address the people, and admonish them for the last time; and that he (that servant) stopped his mouth, so that he could not at all declare the will of God. From John Fox, Hist. Angl.
Then follow various other articles, believed and confessed by her, in opposition to the belief of the Roman church, and militating against images, the power of the priests, the forty days' fast, pilgrimages, the mendicancy of the monks, too numerous to mention.
These, then, are the principal and most remarkable things extracted by John Fox from the old records concerning Margaret Backster; but since in said records no mention was made as to what befell her after these accusations, or what became of her, he did not venture to state it; however, it is supposed, as some write, that they put her to death secretly in prison, or imprisoned her until death, since no mention is made of her penitence or apostasy. Second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 583, from Joh. Fox Angl., page 610.
NOTE. A. D. 1431, one Paul Craus, in Scotland, was apprehended by Bishop Henry, because he rejected auricular confession, the invocation of the saints, the idolatrous sacrament, etc. And as he would not depart from the truth confessed, he was finally sentenced to the fire, and burnt on the thirtieth of June, of the same year. Compare hinc. Cal., fol. 368. Georg. Pac., cap. 11. Herm. Mod., fol. 274, with the Chron. van den Ond., page 796; also, A. Mell., fol. 584, col. 1, ex Hist. Scoticae, lib. 17.
A. D. 1436, five years after, one Thomas Rhedonensis, a Frenchman, out of Christian zeal, went to Rome, hoping there to preach the pure doctrine of Christ. 'But when he found the opposite there, and noticed the great abominations, hypocrisy, and pomp, he could not forbear reproving the cardinals and ecclesiastics for their ungodly life, saying, that they ought to live modestly and virtuously like Christ and the apostles. By this he speedily drew upon him the envy and wrath of said persons, so that he was led before Pope Eugenius, and there cast into prison; where he was greatly tormented, yea, ultimately, sentenced to the fire, and burnt. Compare the last-mentioned chronicle, page 800, col. 2, with Vinc. Cal., fol. 145. Georg. Pac., carp. 11.
A. D. 1439, there was condemned as a heretic, in the council of Basel (where the feast of the Conception of Mary was instituted and established), a certain upright man, named Augustine de Roma; but as to what happened to him after said condemnation by the council, has not been mentioned by the writers from whom we have quoted this. See the authors cited above. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron., Qqge 808.
A. D. 1450, Alanus Chartetius wrote a book respecting the fruits reaped by the church from the unmarried life of the priests; by which he greatly reproved and censured the abuses in the church of
the Romanists. See further on. In the same year, Peter de Luna opposed the pope and the ecclesiastical power, and openly wrote against them, and was therefore also condemned as a heretic. From Joh. Munst., fol. 182. There were also at this time, many learned men, who discountenanced purgatory, confession, letters of indulgence, the mass, vigils, etc.; which, to all appearance, caused them much misery according to the body; but as we have not found the particulars in regard to it, we will pass them by. Compare the account of Fortalius SidTus with the last mentioned chronicle, page 823, col. 2, at the foot, and page 824, col. 1, at the top.
After the church of God in Germany had enjoyed peace for a season, so that she, as it appears, began to grow, flourish, and increase, the thorns of persecution immediately arose over her; inasmuch as in the year 1475, particularly in the bishopric of Eichstaedt, through the envy of the Romanists, her meetings were broken up, the believers apprehended, and all who remained steadfast, sentenced to death; who, in great numbers, from love to their Saviour, and especially for the salvation of their own souls, gave their bodily life unto death, thus sealing with their blood, the truth which they had confessed at baptism before many witnesses; for which the Lord, hereafter, shall give to them, as triumphant conquerors, palms into their hands, place crowns upon their heads, and put a new song of praise into their mouths, so that for all their suffering they shall rejoice, shout, and be glad forever.
Touching the offering up of these friends of God, we have not been able correctly to ascertain it, namely, whether they perished by water, fire, or the sword; except that they were put to death for the doctrine of the Waldenses. Of their suffering and death, mention is also made in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 590, col. 4, from Yignier Hist. Eccles., A. D. 1457.
The above-mentioned author, or his printer, has made a chronological error, putting A. D. 1475, instead of A. D. 1457. Then follows, "A. D. , a great number of Christians professing the doctrine of the Waldenses, .were discovered and apprehended in the bishopric or within the jurisdiction of Eichstaedt, in Germany; very many of whom were put to death."
This year, 1457, P. J. Twisck fixes as the date of this event, though he does not make mention of their death, but only of their severe persecution. Chron., page 829, col. 2, calling the scene of their persecution Richstadt, instead of Eichstaedt.
NOTE. A. D. 1465. At this time, Laurence Valla, a man of great learning, vigorously attacked the power and supremacy of the pope, placing his salvation in the eternal merits of Christ. He reproved the vows and the lasciviousness of the monks, yea, declared publicly, that the pope was the originator of all wars and dissensions; as also, that he had for sale not only worldly, but also spiritual goods, yea, even the (so-called) Holy Ghost. On account of this he was driven into banishment, and resided at Naples, where he died. Chron. van den Ond., ¢. 841, eol. 1, from John Munst., fol. 192, Georg. Pae., cap. 11.
A. D. 1470.-John de Wesalia (that is, John of Wesel) now taught at Worms, that all believers are saved by pure grace, through faith in Jesus Christ; and that the supremacy of the pope is not to be regarded. He defended matrimony, and the dispensation of the Supper (called the Sacrament) under two forms, that is, with bread and wine. Human institutions, as fasts, letters of indulgence, feast days, pilgrimages, extreme unction, confirmation, auricular confession and satisfaction,* he utterly rejected. In short, he was regarded as a heretic, and, in the year 1479, condemned and burnt at Mentz. Compare Joh. Munst, fol. 196. Chron., Fra., fol. 91, with the account in the Chron. van den Ond., page 847, eol. 2. Others, however, make mention only of the burning of his books. See A. M., fol. 597; This the intelligent reader can easily distinguish, and, when necessary, reconcile.
Again: Same year as above. George Morgenstern wrote and taught at this time against the errors of popery and the manifold attires of the monks. He said that the world was full of monks, but that scarcely in one out of a hundred could a little virtue be found. Whether the monks and other priests received this in good part, we may readily judge, though we have learned nothing in regard to his suffering. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 847, eol. 1, with Catal. Test. herit., fol. 884.
About the year 1471, an awful persecution arose in and around Bohemia, against the old, orthodox Waldenses whose orthodox confession we do not deem necessary to relate again. This persecution was excited by Johanna, the widow of King George of Bohemia, who, notwithstanding the death of her husband, earnestly solicited the princes of the realm, everywhere to exterminate not only those who were called Bohemian Brethren, but also the old Waldenses.
For this reason many went and sojourned in Austria; but as it is peculiar to the rose of the church of God to bloom among the thorns, it happened that also there no liberty could be found; so that the servants of antichrist, in the city of Vienna, in Austria, laid their hands, first of all, on
Stephen, one of the elders of their church, besides raising a severe persecution over the believers in general.
But since this pious man, as becomes a good shepherd of the flock of Christ, did not wish to give offense to his sheep, and would not flee from the wolf which threatened to tear them, nor would, for any torments, forsake either his office or his faith, sentence of death was finally pronounced upon him, namely, that he should be executed with fire, that is, burnt alive. This severe punishment of death he steadfastly endured, having commended his soul into the hands of God. Of this hero of Christ, mention is also made in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 592, col. 4, thus, "At this time there were not many Waldenses in Bohemia, on account of the violent persecution; but in Austria there still lived some, who were likewise for the .most part dispersed, because of the cruelty of the torments, and the terror of persecution, after Stephen, one of their elders, . had been burnt alive at Vienna, in Austria."
NOTE.-A. . D. 1471. Stephen Brulifer, a theologian or divine, now maintained, that the doctrine was false, yea, a doctrine of Satan, which ascribes justification to the works and merits of men (who observe the religion of the priests); as also, that the church has no power to institute new sacraments. On account of these and like doctrines, he had to leave Paris, and come to Mentz, where he is said to have died in the year 1490. See the books cited above; also, John Munst., fol. 199; also, the last mentioned chronicle, p. 851, col. 2.
A. D. 1474.-D. V. P. Groningensis so clearly exposed at this time the darkness of popery that his friends called him a light of the world. Although he could expect nothing better, together with his fellow brethren, than fire and the sword; yet he died in peace in the year 1490. P. J. Twisck, Chron., p. 855, eol. 2, compared with Joh. Munst., Tract., fol. 198.
This century, it appears, could not close without a flew inquisition, which the Spaniards invented, as had formerly been done by the Germans. It was first instituted against those of the Jewish, Mohammedan, and Saracenic profession, forasmuch as some of them, either through fear of persecution, or for some other reason, had accepted the Roman Catholic faith with the mouth, but whose sincerity was doubted. But subsequently it extended to all who did not perfectly observe the Romish commands; among whom the oft-mentioned Waldenses and Aibigenses were none of the least, since they not only held the Romish belief in small esteem, but were also .directly opposed to it in nearly every point, except the twelve general articles.
Concerning this, there is the following account, "Thus their (the Spaniards') first decree was, in regard to the inquisition, to proceed only against the Jews, Saracens, and Mohammedans; but subsequently much greater power was given to the inquisitors, to try and punish all who did not observe, in every particular, the ordinances of the Roman church, and the Catholic faith. Pope Sixtus IV confirmed this royal scheme. See the account in the Chron. van den Ond., p. 900, col. 1.
The same writer then relates what the inquisition at this time was, and the manner in which it was instituted and executed; concerning which we will give, not the exact words, as they are rather badly arranged, but only the sense, as nearly as we can possibly express it. He commences thus, "In order to relate briefly, what the inquisition is, the reader must know, that it is an investigation and examination of the faith, conducted by certain persons appointed thereto (called inquisitors or fathers of the Holy Office), with such means as they please, and upon whomsoever they will, but particularly upon such persons as are denounced to them, or are suspected of erring in any article from the Roman church, or of holding any other belief. Those, then, whom they condemn as erring in this manner, are punished on body and property, according as the fathers of the Holy Office judge the points of their error of greater or lesser importance." Concerning this, read George Nigrinus; also, Peter Bor, in the 0orsprong van de Nederlandtsche Beroerten, compared with the author mentioned last, same page, col. 2.
As regards the place where each was separately confined and the narrowness of the same; it was as follows: If it is below, it is wet, damp, and filthy, so that it were better to call it a grave, than a jail or a prison. If above, it is warm in summer, yea, hot as an oven. When there are many prisoners, generally two or three are shut up together in each hovel or hole, who, when they lie down to rest, have not as much room left, as to once stir, save perhaps the space of a foot, where stands a vessel for their necessities and a pitcher with water, to quench their thirst. Sitting and lying thus day and night in darkness, these miserable beings emaciate and pine away by hunger and grief, to such a degree, that scarcely the skin remains over their bones; besides that they are so severely tortured, racked and drawn with various cruel instruments, that their limbs are drawn from their joints. Same page.
Having condemned these people as heretics, after they had suffered a long season of misery, the inquisitors make a show of mercy, and deliver them to the magistrates, with these words, "Whereas the Lords of this holy Tribunal (the inquisitors), have exerted all proper diligence, to bring back this seduced person into the bosom of the Roman church, and have nevertheless accomplished nothing, he constantly remaining obstinate in his opinion, we hereby deliver him into the hands of the secular judge, to be punished according to the extent and import of the Roman laws. Still, we sincerely pray, that, if he show any sign of confession and repentance, he be treated with all clemency and mercy."
But when the inquisitors have condemned any one, on account of so-called heresy, to the fire, who, from fear, or for some other reason, returns to the Roman belief, they deliver him to the secular judges with these words, "Whereas the holy Tribunal of the Inquisition cannot believe, that this man's conversion is sincere, and fears to admit a wolf in sheep's clothing (notwithstanding his supposed conversion), we deliver him to the secular judges, earnestly entreating them, to deal in all mercy with this (accused) one, without breaking a limb or bone, or shedding a drop of his blood."* Compare with the sense of these words the abovementioned chronicle, page 900, col. 2, and page 901, col. 1; also Hist. Georg., lib. 6, Peter Bor, lib. 3. Oorsprong, fol. 9-12. Toneel Nicol., fol. 87. Guil. Merula, fol. 947. Eman. Met., fol. 40. Retuald. Gonsalv. in Tract. on the holy Spanish Inquisition, throughout. Hist. Wenc., fol. 187. Chron. Ph., Mel., lib. 5, Hist. Alons, de Ulb., lib. 2.
Touching the persecution which resulted to the believers upon this new charge of the inquisition, we have not been able to learn the particulars relating to it. Doubtless not a few perished by those means; since it is certain, that no one that had a good conscience, and was accused of heresy, could escape with his life. The contents of the above record inform us, that many had to suffer on this account; whose names, however, we have not learned. We commend them to God, who will judge their cause hereafter. His mercy be gracious to us and to them all.
REMARK.-From the time of Peter Waldo, about A. D. 1170, we have throughout followed, in the account of the martyrs, mostly the line of the Wal denses proper, without digressing materially to other sects, though some of them very closely
approximated to the belief of the Waldenses. Hence it has come, that the number of those whom we have noticed as true martyrs, is not as large, as it might have been, if we had not purposed to follow the unmixed, pure line of the Waldenses. However, in notes, we have placed some who approached this belief very closely, and shall here add a few more.
NOTE. A. D. 1494.-In the fourth year of Henry VII, on the 28th of April, a very old, honorable widow of over eighty years, was apprehended for maintaining eight of Wickiffe's articles (whose belief against infant baptism and the swearing of oaths, we have already shown), and as she would not apostatize, she was burned alive in Smithfield, at London. She said that God and His angels loved her so, that she was not afraid of the fire. When she stood in the midst of the fire, she cried aloud, "Lord, receive my soul into Thy holy hands;" whereupon she gave up the ghost. Compare the account in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 599, col. 3, with Joh. Fox Angl., page 671. A. Bal., in Append. Al., page 627.
A. D. 1498.-Jerome Savonarola now most zealously rejected, in his teaching the institutions of men, and maintained salvation in Christ alone. He defended the partaking of the holy Supper (called the Sacrament) under two forms; that is, with bread and wine; in opposition to the practice of the papists, who gave the common people only a consecrated wafer. He also rejected letters of indulgence, saying, moreover, that the pope did not follow the doctrine and life of Christ, and that he was the antichrist, because he attributed to human institutions more than to the merits of Christ. For all these reasons, he was strangled and then burnt to ashes, at Florence, by order of Pope Alexander VI. Compare Chron. van den Ond., page 910, col. 2, with Joh. Munst., fol. 201. Guil. Meru., fol., 950. Hist. Andr., fol. 36. Also, A. Mell., fol. 600, col. 3, to fol. 606; where it is stated that two others died with him for the same belief, and were likewise on the 23rd of May, in the marketplace at Florence, after preceding strangulation, burnt to ashes, and the ashes thrown into the river Arnus flowing by.
A. D. 1499.-Paul Scriptoris taught at this time against transubstantiation (or the essential change) of the bread into the body of Christ; as also, that all that is taught must be tried by the touchstone of the Word of God, adding that all who teach otherwise teach falsely; hence he said there should speedily come a change in the (Roman) religion. For this reason he was driven into banishment by the Minorite monks; and, having lived full three years in exile, he died in the beginning of the year 1504. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 912, with Joh. Munst. Tract., fol. 199. With this we conclude the fifteenth century, and, consequently, also the account of the martyrs who then suffered.
We long to take our leave from this century, since we cannot longer behold this misery. However, we have only reached the summit of the mountain of martyrdom. In our ascent we have met scarcely anything but skulls, thigh-bones, and charred skeletons. In our descent deep pits, pools and blood-red rivers, into which the bodies of the saints are thrown, threaten us; to say nothing of the dark prisons, dungeons, torture-chambers, and countless instruments of torture.
But the merciful Lard, who has led us by the hand, and thus far aided us, will lead and help us still further. His love shown to me in this matter, has been wonderful. For, when the bands of death were around me, by reason of a half year's severe sickness, which attacked me in the midst of this work, His gracious hand restored me, so that I have completed the work, thus far, though not without anxiety and labor. Hence, though still in the grasp of severe fevers, I wrote, for my own remembrance, to the praise of my Creator, and to dedicate to my brethren this book, these words:
My heart with anxious fear did beat,
That I this work should not complete;
Since God had touched me with His hand,
And sickness brought me near my end.
Now thank I God with joyful song,
Whose constant presence made me strong,
Until I to the end have come,
By ways oft sad and wearisome.
My brethren, take this book, I pray,
With ardent love, and favor, yea,
Which for the truth of God doth burn;
For this my soul doth greatly yearn.
It is time to proceed, in order that we may reach the end. We will conclude this first book, comprising fifteen centuries, the whole of which we had to bring up from the very depths; and proceed to the second, where our labor will not be so great; since the living memoirs of old writers and their accounts will serve us therein. Moreover, the entire work can be comprised in one great century; relying upon which, we take our leave, and turn to the following work, to which the Lord be pleased to grant us His grace, as much as is necessary. Amen.