AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO SUFFERED IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY: SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
[The beginning treats of the great distress in these times; some definite information given, about some countries where the misery was the greatest, as concerning England, France, Germany, Flanders, etc.
The first year of this century begins with a bloody decree published in England against the confessors of the holy Gospel; in consequence of which much innocent blood is shed.
William S’winderby is put to death by fire, for the faith, in the city of London, A. D. 1401; some account is given respecting his belief and death, according to different writers.
In a note, for the year 1405, mention is made of the belief of John Wenschelberg, against a certain blood-red papistic host and the false miracles of the Romanists.
William Thorpe, confessing his belief against the oath and other articles of the Roman church, is put to death by violence and fire, at Saltevoden, A. D. 1407. en years after, A. D. 1417, Catharine of Thou, Lorraine, coming to Montpellier, in France, and there offers up her life, by fire, to God, for the faith.
A great number of Christians called Waldenses, also willingly, for the faith, give their bodies to be burned, in the Flemish countries, A. D. 1421. In a note, by way of parenthesis, the flood of Dort is introduced, together with the destruction of seventy-two villages which were inundated in that year; also, concerning Henry Gruenfelder, Peter Torea, Jerome Savonarola, who, in the years 1423, 1425 and 1427, opposed the errors of the pope and the Roman church.
William White, father Abraham of Cholchester, and John Waddon, miserably put to death by fire, for their true faith, at Norwich in England, A. D. 1428.
Then follows Margaret Backster, who, on account of her orthodox belief against images, the Sacrament, the oath, etc., is put to death in prison, or otherwise, A. D. 1430.
In a note, for the years 1431, 1436, 1439, and 1450, it is stated how Paul Crau, Thomas Rhedonensis, Augustine de Roma, Alanus Chartetius, and others, opposed the Roman church with spiritual weapons; and what happened to them on this account.
Very many Christians called Waldenses, are put to death for the faith, at Eichstaedt, in Germany, A. D. 1455. Then follows a note concerning Laurence de Valla, John de Wesalia, George Morgenstern, Stephen Brulifer, etc., who, in the years 1465, 1470, and 1471 maintained their belief in opposition to the Roman Babylon; and what they had to suffer on this account.
The last Waldensian martyr in this century is Stephen, an elder of their church, who loses his life for the faith, by red-hot coals, at Vienna, in Austria.
A severe inquisition, instituted by the Spaniards against the believers and all who opposed the Roman church, is circumstantially shown, for the year 1492.
In a note, for the years 1494, 1498, and 1499, mention is made of John Bougton, Jerome Savonarola, Paul Scriptor, etc., who declared against the Roman church; and what happened to them an this account. With this we conclude our account of the martyrs in the fifteenth century.]
The times in this century are distressing. The places of the world, though very large, are nevertheless very small and narrow for the pious. The holy confessors of Jesus, who seek to live according to the Gospel, find no rest anywhere. It seems that the earth, which ought properly to be a dwelling place for the good, is possessed only by the rocked.
Is it not a matter of astonishment, and not less to be lamented: England,* which of old has been supposed to have derived her name from the good angels of heaven, is now found to be a pool of infernal and wicked spirits; for the saints of God are cruelly put to death there; to which Smithfield, at London, the murderous prison at Saltwoden, and the place of execution at Norwich, can bear testimony.
France, which used to be called a free and frank country, yea, a kingdom of liberties, is now so devoid of freedom for the consciences of the true believers, that scarce a corner is found there, where they may confess their faith or practice their worship. At Montpellier they are hurried to the place of execution, and in other places they are likewise miserably put to death.
Germany is occupied by non-Germans, that is, by ignorant and unreasonable men, who do not f ear to resist the will of God, and to imbrue their hands in the blood of God’s saints. At Eichstaedt they are murdered; at Vienna, in Austria, they are burnt.
Flanders, this most beautiful and pleasant country, upon which, from of old, the gracious blessing of the Lord descended as a refreshing shower and morning dew, is utterly ungrateful to the Lord, and acknowledges none of the benefits enjoyed; but there God is touched in the apple of His eye. O awful matterl the pious witnesses of God are placed alive into the fiery flames.
It is time that we begin to give some account of this matter, lest some should doubt what we have said.