154. THE LAMENTABLE MARTYRDOM OF JOHN CLERK, OF MELDEN, IN FRANCE.
[Note: in Seeley's Edition this martyr is called John Clerk of Meaux]
[Transcriber's Note: Melden is the current name of the diocese which includes the town of Meaux]
Melden is .a city in France, ten miles distant from Paris, where John Clerk first was apprehended and taken, A.D. 1523, for setting up upon the church door a certain bill against the pope's pardons lately sent thither from Rome, in which bill he named the pope to be antichrist; for the which his punishment was this, that three several days he should be whipped, and afterwards have a mark imprinted on his forehead, as a note of infamy. His mother, being a Christian woman, although her husband was an adversary, when she beheld her son thus piteously scourged, and ignominiously deformed in the face, constantly and boldly did encourage her son, crying with a loud voice, "Blessed be Christ! and welcome be his prints and marks!"
After this execution and punishment sustained, the said John departed that town, and went to Rosia in Bray, and from thence removed to Metz in Lorraine, where he remained a certain space, applying his vocation, being a wool-carder by his occupation; where he, the day before that the people of that city should go out to the suburbs, to worship certain blind idols near by, (after an old use and custom amongst them received,) being inflamed with the zeal of God, went out of the city to the place where the images were, and brake them all down in pieces. The next morrow after, when the canons, priests, and monks, keeping their old custom, had brought with them the people out of the city to the place of idolatry, to worship as they were wont, they found all their blocks and stocks almighty, lie broken upon the ground; at the sight whereof they, being mightily offended in their minds, set all the city on agog, to search out the author thereof, who was not hard to be found; forasmuch as this aforesaid Clerk, besides that he was noted of them to be a man much addicted that way, he was also seen somewhat late in the evening before to come from the same place into the city. Wherefore he, being suspected and examined upon the same, at first confessed the fact, rendering also the cause which moved him so to do. The people hearing this, and being not yet acquainted with that kind of doctrine, were moved marvellously against him, crying out upon him in a great rage. Thus his cause being informed to the judges, wherein he defended the pure doctrine of the Son of God, he was condemned, and led to the place of execution, where he sustained extreme torments. For first his hand was cut off from his right arm, then his nose with sharp pinchers was violently plucked from his face; after that both his arms and his paps were likewise plucked and drawn with the same instrument. To all them that stood looking upon, it was a horror to behold, the grievous and doleful sight of his pains: again, to behold his patience, or rather the grace of God giving him the gift so to suffer, it was a wonder. Thus quietly and constantly he endured in his torments, pronouncing, or in a manner singing, the verses of Psalm cxv.; Their images be silver and gold, the work only of man's hand, &c. The residue of his life that remained in his rent body, was committed to the fire, and therewith consumed; which was about A.D. 1524.