• “We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.” – Elisabeth Elliot

GERARD, WITH ABOUT THIRTY OTHERS, MEN AS WELL AS WOMEN, FOR MAINTAINING THE APOS TOLICAL DOCTRINE, AT OXFORD, IN ENGLAND, ARE BRANDED IN THE FOREHEAD, SCOURGED OUT OF THE CITY, AND MISERABLY PERISH WITH COLD, A. D. .1161

It is recorded* that A. D. 1161, in the eighth year of Henry II., King of England, about thirty persons, men as well as women, natives of Germany, sailed over to England. The papists called themerring spirits and publicans, saying that they had sprung from an unknown author;** but others have called them Petro-brusians, Berengarians, Poor Men of Lyons, etc., because they, it appears, had ..their views against infant baptism, transubstantiation, and other errors of the Roman church, in common with Peter Bruis, Berengarius, and the Poor Men of Lyons., “There were upwards of thirty of them,” says the papistic writer,”who, concealing their errors, had peaceably come into the land, in order to propagate their belief. Their principal leader was one Gerard, upon whom they looked as their lord and master; for he alone had a little learning, while all the rest were illiterate idiots, a very low and boorish class of people, and of the German nation and language. But they could not long remain concealed, since some made very diligent inquiries regarding them; and when it was found that they belonged to a strange sect, they were apprehended.”

THEIR ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS RESPECTING THEIR FAITH

The king, not willing to release or to punish them unheard, convened, on this account, a council at Oxford; where the most learned of the prisoners, namely, Gerard, being solemnly interrogated concerning their religion, answered in the name of all, saying, “That they were Christians, and regarded the doctrine of the apostles.” And when they were properly questioned respecting all the articles of the faith, they answered well with regard to the nature of the supreme Physician; but as regards the means with which he has been pleased to heal our weakness, that is, respecting the divine sacraments,”they,” says the papistic writer,”judged
* Vignierus, in Hist. Eccl.
* The papistic writer says, “From an unknown author.” The Calvinistic Mellinus, however says, “But perhaps from Peter de Bruis, Henry of Toulouse, or Berengarius himself.”-Secound book fol. 439. col. 4, m the margin.
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perversely. For they aspersed baptism (he means infant baptism, for this was the baptism then held in esteem by the Roman church) and also the thankoffering (the mass).”

SUMMARY OF THE DOCTRINE OF WHICH THEY WERE ACCUSED

The doctrines with which they were charged, consisted of the following points (from Abr. Mellinus,* 2d book, fol. 440), “That their belief concerning the sacraments, of baptism and the Supper, as well as respecting marriage, was different from what had been decreed by the Roman church, whom they called the whore of Babylon, because she had forsaken the true faith in Christ; they said that she was like the barren fig-tree which our Lord Jesus Christ cursed. . They also said that the pope and the bishops must not be obeyed when they command anything that is contrary to the Word of God; also, that monachism was a stinking carrion, also, that all monastic vows are vain and useless, yea, that they foster lasciviousness; also, that all the orders .and degrees of the priestly dignity are marks of the great beast; also, that purgatory, masses, church consecrations, worship of the saints, anniversaries for the dead, etc., are genuine inventions of the devil.”, “These,” says Mellinus,”were about the principal articles which the fathers of the Oxford council could not brook, and on account of which they scourged and banished them out of their country, yea, let them freeze to death.”

THEIR CONDUCT TOWARD THE- FATHERS IN THE COUNCIL IN OXFORD, AND WHAT THE COUN CIL DID IN THE MATTER

We return to the papistic author, to hear from his own lips, how they dealt with these upright and simple people.”When the fathers of the council,” he writes;”admonished them to do penitence and manifest sorrow for their belief, that they might be united with the (Roman) church, they despised this advice, as well as the threats with which they were menaced in order that they, through fear, if by no other means, might be driven to conversion; yea, they scoffed at them, saying: ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”‘, “In order, then,” he writes,”that the poison of their heresy might not spread further, the bishops publicly pronounced them heretics, and delivered them over to the Catholic prince, for corporal punishment. The latter commanded that they. should be branded on their foreheads, as an infamous mark of their heresy, and publicly, in the sight of all the
* All these passages, Mellinus has taken from the account of Guido Perpiggna in lib. de Haeresib. Bal. Cent. 2, in Append. ad Gervasium Giestrensem. Guido was of the opinion, that said people belonged to the Poor Men of Lyons, that is the Waldenses. 

people, scourged out of the city, strictly prohibiting any one from taking them into his house, or affording them the least comfort or assistance.” From William Neubrig. Hist. Engl., lib. 2, cap. 13.

JOYFUL GOING OUT OF THESE PEOPLE TO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, AND THEIR MISERABLE DEATH

This sentence having been pronounced, they were led out to punishment. They went with gladness and in great haste, their leader, namely, Gerard, going before them, singing, “Blessed are ye,” says the Lord,”when men shall hate you, for my sake.”

They were then, according to the rigor of the sentence, branded on their- foreheads, their leader receiving a double brand, one on his forehead, the other on his chin, as a sign that he was their leader. Thereupon their upper garments, to the waist, were cut from their bodies, and they were publicly scourged, and cast out of the city. But it being a bitter cold winter, and no one showing them the least mercy, they miserably perished by the intense cold, which they were unable to bear on their naked bodies. William Neubrig. Hist. Engl., lib. 2, cap. 13, 8th year of Henry II, King of England.

(Martyrs Mirror)

 

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  • “He will enable you to overcome the giants in your temperament …He allows adversity and trial in our lives in order to reveal our true nature to us. Thus He humbles us and breaks us, so that He can transform us into His likeness.” – Annie Poonen

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