About the year 1529, the knowledge of the truth began to shine also in the places on the river Rhine, so that divine zeal and the fire of God arose, which the priests, by instigating the authorities, strenuously attempted to stop. First nine brethren and several sisters were apprehended for the faith, in the city of Altzey, without the order of the Elector or Palsgrave, simply through the instigation of the priests, and the aid of the nobility. They lay in prison for a considerable time, and as they were waiting how to deal with them, the Burgrave at Altzey inquired of the Palsgrave, his prince and lord, what he should do with them. The prince answered him that they had a court of justice at Altzey, and that he should let them examine and judge them. The Burgrave did so, and brought

them before the court of justice, which, however, would not sentence them, because they had been apprehended simply for the sake of their faith, and no other cause of death existed. Acts 18:15, 16. In the meantime an imperial diet was held, at which the Pals-rave, stated that he had some prisoners who had been apprehended on account of their faith for Anabaptism; and asked how he should deal with them. The matter was committed to the four inquisitors, as they are called; whom, however, they referred to the mandate of the Emperor, where they would sufficiently find what imperial constitutions, institutions and ordinances were made concerning such; according to which they should deal with them.

For the constitution clearly implies that each and all Anabaptists and anabaptized, whether men or women, if possessing reason, and of adult age, are to be executed with fire, the sword, or some other way according to the character of the persons; and that wherever they were found, they should be brought before the court, accused, and convicted, and be judged or dealt with in no other way, on pain of severe punishment.

Moreover, when they would not apostatize, the mandate was also read to them; upon which without further sentence, they were led out to death, by virtue of the imperial mandate. The brethren were executed with the sword, but the sisters drowned in the horse pond. While they were yet imprisoned, a sister came to them, and comforted the sisters (Matt. 25:39); she told them valiantly and firmlyto adhere to the Lord, and not to regard these sufferings, for the sake of the eternal joys which should follow. II Cor. 1:5. When this was noticed she was also very speedily apprehended. She was afterwards burned, because she had thus comforted and strengthened the others.

(Martyrs Mirror)


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