Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 157. MARTYRS IN FRANCE I.

157. MARTYRS IN FRANCE I.

And here ceasing with these persecutions in Germany, we will now, Christ willing, proceed further to the French martyrs, comprehending in a like table the names and causes of such as in that kingdom suffered for the word of God, and cause of righteousness, as in this brief summary consequently hereunder ensueth.

 

Another table, of those who suffered in France, for the like witness of the gospel.

 

The French martyrs.

 

James Pavane, schoolmaster, at Paris, A.D. 1525.
Persecuted by Dr. Martial of Paris.

This James, first being taken by the bishop of Melden, or Meaux, was compelled to recant by Dr. Martial. Afterwards returning again to his confession, he was burned at Paris, A.D. 1525.

 

Denis de Rieux, at Melden, or Meaux, A.D. 1528.

This Denis was one of them who were first burned at Melden, for saying, that the mass is a plain denial of the death and passion of Christ. He was always wont to have in his mouth the words of Christ; He that denieth me before men, him will I deny before my Father; and to muse upon the same earnestly. He was burnt with a slow fire, and did abide much torment.

 

Johannes Cadurcus, bachelor of the civil law, A.D. 1533.

This John, first for making a sermon or exhortation to his countrymen of Limosin, in France, upon Allhallow's-day, and afterwards, sitting at a feast where it was propounded that every one should bring forth some sentence; for that he brought forth this, Christ reign in our hearts; and did prosecute the same by the Scriptures in much length of words; was thereupon accused, taken, and degraded, and after burned. At his degradation, one of the Black Friars of Paris preached, taking for his theme the words of St. Paul, 1 Tim. iv., The Spirit speaketh, that in the latter days, men shall depart from the faith, giving heed to lying spirits and doctrine of error, &c.; and in handling that place, either he could not or would not proceed further in the text, Cadurcus cried out to him to proceed, and read further. The friar stood dumb, and.could not speak a word. Then Cadurcus, taking the text, did prosecute the same as followeth: Teaching false doctrine in hypocrisy, having their conscience marked with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and to eat meats, created of God to be eaten with thanksgiving, &c.

 

Bartholomew Myler, a lame cripple; John Burges, merchant, the receiver of Nantz; Henry Poille of Couberon; Cantella, a schoolmistress; and Steven de la Forge, merchant, A.D. 1533. Persecuted by the promoters of Paris.

These five here specified, for certain bills cast abroad and set up, sounding against the abomination of the mass, and other superstitious absurdities of the pope, were, condemned and burned in the city of Paris. Henry of Couberon had his tongue bored through, and with an iron wire tied fast to one of his cheeks; who likewise with the others was burned as is aforesaid.

 

Alexander Canus, priest; otherwise called Laurence Cruces, at Paris, A.D. 1534.

For the sincere doctrine and confession of Christ's true religion, he was burned at Paris, having but a small fire, and did abide much torment.

 

John Pointer, a surgeon, at Paris, A.D. 1533. Persecuted by the Grey Friars in Paris, and by Dr. Clerke, a Sorbonist.

 

Peter Gaudet, knight sometime of Rhodes, A.D. 1533. Persecuted by a certain knight of Rhodes, uncle to this Peter.

 

Quoquillard, martyr, A.D. 1534.

At Bezancon, in the country of Burgundy, this Quoquillard was burned for the confession and testimony of Christ's gospel.

 

Nicholas, a scrivener, John de Poix, and Stephen Burlet, martyrs, A.D. 1534.

 

Mary Becandella, at Fontaine, A.D. 1534. Persecuted by a Grey Friar in the city of Rochelle.

This Mary, being virtuously instructed of her master, where she lived; and being afterwards at a sermon where a friar preached, after the sermon found fault with his doctrine, and refuted the same by the Scriptures; whereat he disdaining, procured her to be burned at Fontaine.

 

John Cornon, a martyr, A.D. 1535.

 

Martin Gonin, in Dauphine, A.D. 1536. Persecuted by George Borel, a tailor; by the procurator of the city of Grenoble in France, and by the inquisitor.

This Martin, being taken for a spy, in the borders of France towards the Alps, was committed to prison. In his going out, his jailer espied about him letters of Farellus, and of Peter Viret: wherefore, being examined by the king's procurator, and by the inquisitor, touching his faith, after he had rendered a sufficient reason thereof, he was cast into the river and drowned.

 

Claudius Painter, a goldsmith, martyr, at Paris, 1540. Persecuted by his kinsfolks and friends, and by Morinus, an officer.

Claudius, going about to convert his friends and kinsfolks to his doctrine, was by them committed to Morinus, a chief captain, who condemned him to be burned: but the high parliament of Paris, correcting that sentence, added moreover, that he should have his tongue cut out before, and so be burned.

 

Stephen Brune, a husbandman, at Rutiers, A.D. 1540. Persecuted by Gasper Augerius, the bishop's renter; and by Domicellus, Franciscan and inquisitor.

Stephen Brune, after his confession given of his faith, was adjudged to be burned; which punishment he took so constantly, that it was to them a wonder. His adversaries commanded after his death to be cried, that none should make any more mention of him, under pain of heresy.

Pantaleon addeth moreover, that at the place of his burning, called Planuoll, the wind rose and blew the fire so from him, as he stood exhorting the people, that he there continued the space of an hour, in a manner not harmed, or scarcely touched with any flame; so that, all the wood being wasted away, they were compelled to begin the fire again with new faggots, and vessels of oil, and such other matter; and yet neither could he with all this be burned, but stood safe. Then the hangman took a staff, and let drive at his head: to whom the holy martyr, being yet alive, said, "When I am judged to the fire, do ye beat me with staves like a dog?" With that the hangman with his pike thrust him through the belly and the entrails, and so threw him down into the fire, and burned his body to ashes, throwing away his ashes afterward with the wind.

 

Constantinus, a citizen of Rouen, martyred with three others, A.D. 1542.

These four, for defence of the gospel being condemned to be burned, were put in a dung-cart; who, thereat rejoicing, said, that they were reputed here as excrements of this world, but yet their death was a sweet odour unto God.

 

John du Becke, priest, martyred, A.D. 1543.

 

Aymond de Lavoy, at Bourdeaux, A.D. 1543, persecuted by the parish priest of the town of St. Faith in Anjou, and by other priests of the same country; also by Master Riveracus and his servant.

This Aymond preached the gospel at St. Faith's in Anjou, where he was accused by the parish priest there, and by other priests more, to have taught false doctrine, to the great decay of their gains. Whereupon, when the magistrates of Bourdeaux had given commandment, and had sent out their apparitor to apprehend him, he, having intelligence thereof, was willed by his friends to fly and shift for himself; but he would not, saying, that he had rather never have been born, than so to do. It was the office of a good shepherd (he said) not to fly in time of peril, but rather to abide the danger, lest the flock be scattered: or else lest peradventure, in so doing, he should leave some scruple upon their minds, thus to think, that he had fed them with dreams and fables, contrary to the word of God. Wherefore, beseeching them to move him no more therein, he told them, that he feared not to yield up both body and soul in the quarrel of that truth which he had taught; saying, with St. Paul, that he was ready not only to be bound for the testimony of Christ, in the city of Bourdeaux, but also to die, Acts xxvi.

To contract the long story hereof to a brief narration, the sumner came, and was in the city three days, during which time Aymond preached three sermons. The people, in defence of their preacher, flew upon the sumner, to deliver him out of his hands; but Aymond desired them not to stop his martyrdom: seeing it was the will of God that he should suffer for him, he would not (he said) resist. Then the consuls suffered the sumner, and so Aymond was carried to Bourdeaux, where many witnesses, the most part being priests, came in against him, with M. Riverack also, and his servant; which Riverack had said oftentime before, that it should cost him a thousand crowns, but he would burn him. Many exceptions he made against his false witnesses, but that would not be taken. All their accusation was only for denying purgatory.

About nine months he remained in prison with great misery, bewailing exceedingly his former life, albeit there was no man that could charge him outwardly with any crime. Then came down letters, whereupon the judges began to proceed to his condemnation, and he had greater fetters put upon him; which he took for a token of his death shortly to follow. After that, he was examined with torments. One of the head presidents came to him, and shaking him by the beard, bade him tell what fellows he had of his religion. To whom he answered, saying, that he had no other fellows but such as knew and did the will of God his Father, whether they were nobles, merchants, or husbandmen, or of what degree soever they were. In these torments he endured two or three hours, being but of a weak body, with these words comforting himself: "This body," said he, "once must die, but the spirit shall live: the kingdom of God abideth for ever." In the time of his tormenting, he swooned. Afterwards, coming to himself again, he said, "O Lord! Lord! why hast thou forsaken me?" To whom the president, "Nay, wicked Lutheran," said he, "thou hast forsaken God." Then said Aymond, "Alas, good masters! why do you thus miserably torment me? O Lord! I beseech thee, forgive them; they know not what they do." "See," said the president, "this caitiff, how he prayeth for us." Nevertheless so constant was he in his pains, that they could not force him to utter one man's name: saying unto them, that he thought to have found more mercy with men; wherefore he prayed God that he might find mercy with him.

On the next Saturday following, sentence of condemnation was given against him. Then certain friars were appointed to hear his confession, whom he refused, choosing to him one of his own order, the parish priest of St. Christopher's, bidding the friars depart from him, for he would confess his sins to the Lord. "Do you not see," said he, "how I am troubled enough with men; will ye yet trouble me more? Others have had my body, will ye also take from me my soul? Away from me, I pray you!" At last, when he could not be suffered to have the parish priest, he then took a certain Carmelite, bidding the rest to depart; with whom he, having long talk, at last did convert him to the truth. Shortly after that came unto him the judges, Cassegnes and Longa, with other counsellors more; unto whom the said Aymond began to preach and declare his mind touching the Lord's supper. But Longa, interrupting him, demanded of him thus:

A judge. "First declare unto us your mind, what you think of purgatory?"

The martyr. "In Scripture all these are one: to purge, to cleanse, and to wash: whereof we read in Isaiah, in the Epistles of St. Paul, Heb. ix., and St. Peter, 1 Pet. i.; He hath washed you in his blood. Ye are redeemed, not with gold, but with the blood of Christ, &c. And how often do we read, in the Epistles of St. Paul, that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ from our sins," &c.

Judge. "These epistles are known to every child."

The martyr. "To every child? Nay, I fear you have scarcely read them yourself."

A friar. "Master Aymond, with one word you may satisfy them, if you will say that there is a place where the souls are purged after this life."

The martyr. "That I leave for you to say, if you please. What! would ye have me damn mine own soul, and to say that which I know not?"

Judge. "Dost not thou think, that when thou art dead, thou shalt go to purgatory? and he that dieth in venial sin, that he shall pass straight into paradise?"

The martyr. "Such trust I have in my God, that the same day when I shall die, I shall enter into paradise."

Another judge. "Where is paradise?"

The martyr. "There, where the majesty and glory of God is."

Judge. "The canons do make mention of purgatory; and you, in your sermons, have used always much to pray for the poor."

The martyr. "I have preached the word of God, and not the canons."

Judge. "Dost thou believe in the church?"

The martyr. "I believe, as the church regenerated by the blood of Christ, and founded in his word, hath appointed."

Judge. "What church is that?"

The martyr. "The church is a Greek word, signifying as much as a congregation or assembly: and so I say, that whensoever the faithful do congregate together, to the honour of God, and the amplifying of Christian religion, the Holy Ghost is verily with them."

Judge. "By this it should follow, that there be many churches; and where any rustical clowns do assemble together, there must be a church."

The martyr. "It is no absurd thing to say that there be many churches or congregations amongst the Christians: and so speaketh St. Paul, To all the churches which are in Galatia, &c. And yet all these congregations make but one church."

Judge. "The church wherein thou believest, is it not the same church which our creed doth call the holy church?"

The martyr. "I believe the same."

Judge. "And who should be the head of that church?"

The martyr. "Jesus Christ."

Judge. "And not the pope?"

The martyr. "No."

Judge. "And what is he then?"

The martyr. "A minister, if he be a good man, as other bishops be of whom St. Paul thus writeth, 1 Cor. iv., Let a man so esteem of us, as ministers and dispensers of the secrets of God," &c.

Judge. "What then, dost thou not believe the pope?"

The martyr. "I know not what he is."

Judge. "Dost thou not believe that he is the successor of Peter?"

The martyr. "If he be like to Peter, and be grounded with Peter upon the true rock of Christ Jesus, so I believe his works and ordinances to be good."

Then the judges, leaving him with the friars, departed from him, counting him as a damned creature. Notwithstanding, Aymond, putting his trust in God, was full of comfort, saying with St. Paul, Who shall separate me from the love of God? shall the sword, hunger, or nakedness? No, nothing shall pluck me from him: but rather have I pity of you, said he, and so they departed. Not long after he was brought to the place of execution, singing by the way Psalm cxiv., In exitu Israel de Ægypto, &c.; and as he passed by the place where he before had been imprisoned, he called to his prison-fellows, exhorting them to put their confidence in the Lord, and told them that he had spoken for them, and declared their miseries unto the president. He thanked moreover the keeper, and desired him to be good to his poor prisoners. And so, taking his leave of them, and desiring them to pray for him; also giving thanks to the mistress-keeper for her gentleness showed to him, he proceeded forward toward his execution. As he came against the church of St. Andrew, they willed him to ask mercy of God, and of blessed St. Mary, and of St. Justice. "I ask mercy," said he, "of God and his justice, but the Virgin, blessed St. Mary, I never offended, nor did that thing for which I should ask her mercy." From thence he passed forward to the church of St. Legia, preaching still as he went. Then spake one of the soldiers to the driver or carter, willing him to drive apace, "for here is preaching," said he, "enough." To whom said Aymond, "He that is of God, heareth the words of God," &c. In passing by a certain image of our Lady, great offence was taken against him, because he always called upon Christ Jesus only, and made no mention of her: whereupon he lifted up his voice to God, praying that he would never suffer him to invocate any other, saving him alone. Coming to the place where he should suffer, he was tumbled out of the cart upon the ground, testifying to the magistrates and to the people standing by, that he died for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for his word. More he would have spoken, but he could not be suffered, by the tumultuous vexing of the officers, crying, "Despatch him, despatch him, let him not speak." Then he, speaking a few words softly in the ear of a little Carmelite whom he had converted, was bid to step up to the stage; where the people beginning to give a little audience, thus he said, "O Lord, make haste to help me! tarry not! do not despise the work of thy hands! And you, my brethren! that be students and scholars, I exhort you to study and learn the gospel: for the word of God abideth for ever. Labour to know the will of God; and fear not them that kill the body, but have no power upon your souls." And after that, "My flesh," said he, "repugneth marvellously against the Spirit; but shortly I shall cast it away. My good masters! I beseech ye pray for me. O Lord my God! into thy hands I commend my soul." As he was oft repeating the same, the hangman took and haled him upon the steps in such sort, that he strangled him. And thus that blessed saint gave up his life; whose body afterward was with fire consumed.

 

Francis Bribard, martyred A.D. 1544.

Francis Bribard was said to be the secretary of the cardinal of Ballaie; who being also for the gospel condemned, after his tongue was cut off, did with like constancy sustain the sharpness of burning.

 

William Husson, an apothecary at Rouen, was persecuted by the high court of Rouen, by a widow, keeping a victualling-house in the suburbs of Rouen, and by a Carmelite Friar, A.D. 1544.

Illustration -- Rouen

William Husson, apothecary, coming from Blois to Rouen, was lodged with a certain widow in the suburbs of the city, who asking her, at what time the council or parliament did rise; she said, at ten o'clock. About which time and hour he went to the palace, and there scattered certain hooks concerning Christian doctrine, and the abuse of men's traditions; whereat the council was so moved, that they commanded all the gates of the city to be locked, and diligent search to be made in all inns and hostelries, to find out the author. Then the widow told of the party who was there, and asked of the rising of the council; and shortly upon the same he took his horse and rode away. Then were posts set out through all quarters, so that the said William was taken by the way riding to Dieppe, and brought again to Rouen; who, being there examined, declared his faith boldly, and how he came of purpose to disperse those books in Rouen, and went to do the like at Dieppe.

The week ensuing he was condemned to be burnt alive. After the sentence given he was brought in a cart, accompanied with a doctor, a Carmelite Friar, before the great church, who, putting a torch into his hand, required him to do homage to the image of our Lady, which because he refused to do, his tongue was cut out. The friar then making a sermon, when he spake any thing of the mercies of God, the said William hearkened to him; but when he spake of the merits of saints, and other dreams, he turned away his head. The friar looking upon the countenance of Husson, lift up his hand to heaven, saying with great exclamation, that he was damned, and was possessed with a devil. When the friar had ceased his sermon, this godly Husson had his hands and feet bound behind his back, andwith a pulley was lifted up into the air; and when the fire was kindled, he was let down into the flame, where the blessed martyr with a smiling and cheerful countenance looked up to heaven, never moving nor stirring till he let down his head, and gave up his spirit. All the people there present were not a little astonied thereat, and were in divers opinions; some saying that he had a devil, others maintained the contrary, saying, If he had a devil, he should have fallen into despair.

This Carmelite Friar aboveb said, was called Delanda, who afterwards was converted, and preached the gospel.

 

James Cobard, a schoolmaster, and many others taken at the same time, A.D. 1545. Their persecutors were three popish priests, and the duke of Lorraine.

This James, schoolmaster, in the city of St. Michael in the dukedom of Barens in Lorraine, disputed, with three priests, that the sacrament of baptism and of the supper did not avail, unless they were received with faith: which was as much as to say, as that the mass did profit neither the quick nor dead. For the which, and also for his confession, which he, being in prison, sent of his own accord by his mother unto the judge, he was burned, and most quietly suffered.

 

Peter Clerk, brother to John Clerk, burnt before.
Fourteen blessed martyrs burnt at Meaux, A.D. 1546. Their persecutors were the Franciscan Friars, the doctors of Sorbon, and others.

 

Stephen Mangine, James Bouchbeck, John Brisebar, Henry Hutinote, Thomas Honorate, John Boudovine, John Flesch, Peter and John Picquere, John Mathestone, Philip Little, Michael Caillow, Francis Clerk, and Couberon, a weaver.

These fourteen dwelt at Meaux, a city in France, ten miles from Paris, where William Briconete, being bishop there, did much good, brought to them the light of the gospel, and reformed the church. Who straitly being examined for the same, relented; but yet these with many others remained constant, who, after the burning of James Pavane before-mentioned, and seeing superstition to grow more and more, began to congregate in Mangine's house, and to set up a church to themselves, after the example of the French church in Strasburg. For their minister they chose Peter Clerk. First they, beginning with twenty or thirty, did grow in short time to three or four hundred: whereupon the matter being known to the senate of Paris, the chamber was beset where they were, and they taken; of whom sixty-two men and women were bound and brought to Paris, singing psalms; especially the seventy-ninth Psalm. To these it was chiefly objected, that they, being laymen, would minister the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord. Of these sixty-two, fourteen chiefly did stand fast, which were condemned, and racked to confess more of their fellows: but they uttered none. The rest were scourged and banished the country. These fourteen were sent to sundry monasteries to be converted; but that would not be. Then they, being sent in a cart to Meaux to be burned, by the way, three miles from Paris, a certain weaver called Couberon by chance meeting them, cried to them aloud, bidding them to be of good cheer, and to cleave fast unto the Lord; who also was taken, and bound with them in the cart. Coming to the place of execution, which was before Mangine's house, it was told them, that they which would be confessed should not have their tongues cut out; the others should: of whom seven there were, who, to save their tongues, confessed; the other seven would not. Of the first was Stephen Mangine, who, having his tongue first cut, notwithstanding spake so that he might be understood, saying thrice, "The Lord's name be blessed!" As they were burning, the people sung psalms. The priests seeing that, would also sing their songs: O salutaris hostia, and Salve Regina, till the sacrifice of these holy martyrs was finished. Theirwives being compelled to see their husbands in torments, were afterwards put in prison; from whence they being promised to he let go, if they would say that their husbands were damned, they refused so to say.

Peter Chapot, at Paris, A.D. 1546, apprehended by John Andre, bookseller, promoter; and examined by three Sorbonist doctors, M. Nicholas Clerici, doctor of divinity, John Picard, and Nicholas Maillard.

Peter Chapot first was a corrector to a printer in Paris. After he had been at Geneva, to do good to the church of Christ, like a good man he came with books of Holy Scripture into France, and dispersed them abroad unto the faithful. Which great zeal of his caused him to be apprehended by John Andre, which was the common promoter to Liset the president, and to the Sorbonists.

This good Chapot being taken and brought before the commissaries, rendered promptly an account of his faith; unto whom he exhibited a supplication, or writing, wherein he learnedly informed the judges to do their office uprightly. Then were three doctors of Sorbon assigned, Nicholas. Clerici, John Picard, and Nicholas Maillard, to dispute with him; who when they could find no advantage, but rather shame at his hands, they waxed angry with the judges for letting them dispute with heretics.

This done, the judges consulting together upon his condemnation, could not agree; so that Chapot, as it seemed, might have escaped, had not a wicked person, the reporter of the process, sought and wrought his condemnation; which condemnation was at length concluded thus: that he should be burned quick, only the cutting off of his tongue was pardoned. The doctor appointed to be at his execution was Maillard, with whom he was greatly encumbered; for this friar called upon him still not to speak to the people; but he desired him that he might pray. Then he bade him pray to our Lady, and confess her to be his advocate. He confessed that she was a blessed virgin, and recited the Lord's prayer and the creed, and was about to speak of the mass, but Maillard would not let him, making haste to his execution, and said, unless he would say Ave Maria, he should be burnt quick. Then Chapot prayed, "O Jesus, Son of David! have mercy upon me." Maillard then bade him say, "Jesus Maria!" and so he should be strangled. Chapot again excused, that he was so weak that he could not speak. "Say," said Maillard, "Jesus Maria! or else thou shalt be burned quick." As Chapot was thus striving with the friar, suddenly, as it happened, Jesus Maria! escaped out of his mouth, but he, by and by, repressing himself, "O God!" said he, "what have I done? pardon me, O Lord! to thee only have I sinned." Then Maillard commanded the cord to be plucked about his neck to strangle him; notwithstanding yet he felt something the fire. After all things done, Mallard, all full of anger, went to the council house, called La Chambre Ardente, declaring what an uproar there had almost happened amongst the people; saying that he would complain upon the judges for suffering those heretics to have their tongues. Whereupon immediately a decree was made, that all who were to be burned, unless they recanted at the fire, should have their tongues cut off. Which law diligently afterwards was observed.

 

Saintinus Nivet, at Paris, A.D. 1546. Persecuted by M. Peter Liset, president of the council of Paris.

After the burning of those fourteen, whose names are described before, this Saintinus (who was a lame cripple) with his wife removed out of Meaux to Montbelliard, where when he had continued a while in safe liberty of religion, and saw himself there to do no good, but to be a burden to the church, cast in his mind to return home to Meaux again, and so did. Where at last, as he was selling certain small wares in the fair, he was there known and apprehended: whereof when information was given, he, being examined, at once confessed all, and more than they were willing to hear. In the time of this inquisition, as they were examining him of certain points of religion, and asked him whether he would stand to what he said, or not? he gave this answer, worthy to be registered in all men's hearts, saying, "And I ask you again, lord judges! dare you be so bold as to deny, what is so plain and manifest by the open words of the Scripture?" So little regard had he to save his own life, that he desired the judges both at Meaux, and at Paris, for God's sake, that they would rather take care of their own lives and souls, and to consider how much innocent blood they spilled daily, in fighting against Christ Jesus and his gospel.

At last, being brought to Paris, through the means of M. Peter Liset, a great persecutor, for that they of Meaux should take by him no encouragement, there he was detained, and suffered his martyrdom; where no kind of cruelty was lacking, which the innocent martyrs of Christ Jesus were wont to be put unto.

 

Stephen Polliot, martyred at Paris, A.D. 1546.

Stephen Polliot, coming out of Normandy (where he was born) unto Meaux, tarried not there long, but was compelled to fly, and went to a town called La Fere, where he was apprehended and brought to Paris, and there cast into a foul and dark prison, in which he was kept in bands and fetters a long space, where he saw almost no light. At length, being called for before the senate, and his sentence given to have his tongue cut out, and to be burned alive, his satchel of books hanging about his neck: "O Lord," said he, "is the world in blindness and darkness still?" for he thought, being in prison so long, that the world had been altered from its old darkness to better knowledge. At last the worthy martyr of Jesus Christ, having his books about his neck, was put into the fire, where he, with much patience, ended this transitory life.

 

John English. A.D. 1547.

He was executed and burned at Sens in Burgundy, being condemned by the high court of Paris for confessing the true word of God.

 

Michael Michelote, a tailor. A.D. 1547.

This tailor, being apprehended for the gospel's sake, was judged first, if he would turn, to be beheaded; and if he would not turn, then to be burned alive. Who being asked, whether of these two he would choose? he answered, that he trusted that He who had given him grace not to deny the truth, would also give him patience to abide the fire. He was burned at Warden by Tournay.

 

Leonard de Prato. A.D. 1547.

This Leonard, going from Dijon to Bar, a town in Burgundy, with two false brethren, and talking with them about religion, was betrayed of them, and afterwards burned.

 

Seven martyrs burned at Langres: John Taffington, and Joan his wife; Simon Mareschal, and Joan his wife; William Michaut; James Boulerau; James Bretany. A.D. 1547.

All these seven, being of the city of Langres, for the word and truth of Jesus Christ were committed to the fire, wherein they died with much strength and comfort but especially Joan, which was Simon's wife, being reserved to the last place, because she was the youngest, confirmed her husband and all the others with words of singular consolation; declaring to her husband, that they should the same day be married to the Lord Jesus, to live with him for ever.

 

Four martyrs burned at Paris: Michael Mareschal, John Camus, Great John Camus, and John Serarphin. A.D. 1547.

These also, the same year, and about the same time, for the like confession of Christ's gospel were condemned by the senate of Paris, and in the same city also with the like cruelty were burned.

 

Octovian Blondel, a merchant of precious stones at Paris, A.D. 1548, betrayed by his host, at Lyons; and by Gabriel of Saconnex, presenteur.

This Octovian, as he was a great occupier in all fairs and countries of France, and well known both in court and elsewhere, so was he a singular honest man of great integrity, and also a favourer of God's word; who, being at his host's house at Lyons, rebuked the filthy talk, and superstitious behaviour, which there he heard and saw. Wherefore the host, bearing to him a grudge, chanced to have certain talk with Gabriel of Saconnex, presenteur, concerning the riches, and a sumptuous collar set with rich jewels, of this Octovian.

Thus these two, consulting together, did suborn a certain person to borrow of him a certain sum of crowns, which because Octovian refused to lend, the other caused him to be apprehended for heresy, thinking thereby to make attachment of his goods: but such order was taken by Blondel's friends, that they were frustrated of their purpose. Then Blondel, being examined of his faith, gave a plain and full confession of that doctrine, which he had learned; for the which he was committed to prison, where he did much good to the prisoners there. For some that were in debt, he paid their creditors and loosed them out. To some he gave meat, to others, raiment. At length, through the importune persuasions of his parents and friends, he gave over and changed his confession. Notwithstanding the presenteur, not leaving him so, appealed him up to the high court of Paris. There Octovian being asked again touching his faith, which of his two confessions he would stick to, he, being before admonished of his fall, and of the offence given thereby to the faithful, said he would live and die in his first confession, which he defended to be consonant to the verity of God's word. Which done, he was condemned to be burned, and so haste was made to his execution, lest his friends in the court might come between, and save his life.

 

Hubert Cheriet, alias Burre, a young man, a tailor, at Dijon, A.D. 1549.

Hubert, being a young man of the age of nineteen years, was burned for the gospel at Dijon; who, neither by any terrors of death, nor allurements of his parents, could be otherwise persuaded, but constantly to remain in the truth unto death.

 

Master Florent Venote, priest, martyred at Paris, A.D. 1549. Persecuted by Peter Liset, president of the council of Paris, and other Sorbonists.

This Florent remained in prison in Paris four years and nine hours. During which time there was no torment which he did not abide and overcome. Among all other kinds of torments, he was put in a narrow prison or break, so strait, that he could neither stand nor lie, which they call the hose or boot, ad Nectar Hippocratis; because it is strait beneath, and wider above, like to the instrument wherewith apothecaries are wont to make their hypocras. In this he remained seven weeks, where, the tormentors affirm, that no thief or murderer could ever endure fifteen days, but was in danger of life or madness.

At last, when there was a great show in Paris at the king's coming into the city, and divers other martyrs in sundry places of the city were put to death, he, having his tongue cut off, was brought to see the execution of them all; and last of all, in the Place of Maulbert, was put into the fire, and burned, the 9th of July at afternoon.

 

Ann Audebert, an apothecary's wife and widow, martyred at Orleans, A.D. 1549.

She, going to Geneva, was taken and brought to Paris, and by the council there adjudged to be burned at Orleans. When the rope was put about her, she called it her wedding-girdle wherewith she should be married to Christ; and as she should be burned upon a Saturday, upon Michaelmas-even; "Upon a Saturday," said she, "I was first married, and upon a Saturday I shall be married again." And seeing the dung-cart brought, wherein she should be carried, she rejoiced thereat, showing such constancy in her martyrdom as made all the beholders to marvel.

 

A poor godly tailor of Paris, dwelling in the street of St. Anthony at Paris, A.D. 1549. Persecuted by Henry the Second, the French king; apprehended by an officer of the king's house; examined by Peter Castellane, bishop of Macon.

Amongst many other godly martyrs that suffered in France, the story of this poor tailor is not the least nor worst to be remembered. His name is not yet sought out in the French stories for lack of diligence in those writers; more is the pity. The story is this: Not long after the coronation of Henry the Second, the French king, at whose coming into Paris divers good martyrs were there brought out, and burned for a spectacle, as is abovesaid, a certain poor tailor, who then dwelt not far from the king's palace, in the street bearing the name of St. Anthony, was apprehended by a certain officer in the king's house, for that upon a certain holy day he followed his occupation, and did work for his living. Before he was had to prison, the officer asked him, why he did labour and work, giving no observation to the holy day?

To whom he answered, that he was a poor man, living only upon his labour; and as for the day, he knew no other but only the Sunday, wherein he might not lawfully work for the necessity of his living. Then the officer began to ask of him many questions; whereunto the poor tailor did so answer, that eftsoons he was clapped in prison. After that, the officer, coming into the court to show what good service he had done for the holy church, declared to certain estates, how he had taken a Lutheran working upon a holy day; showing that he had such answers of him, that he commanded him to prison. When the rumour hereof was noised in the king's chamber, through the motion of those who were about the king, the poor man was sent for to appear, that the king might have the hearing of him.

Hereupon the king's chamber being voided, save only a few of the chiefest peers remaining about the king, the simple tailor was brought. The king, sitting in his chair, commanded Peter Castellane, bishop of Macon, (a man very fit for such inquisitions,) to question with him. The tailor, being entered, and nothing appalled at the king's majesty, after his reverence done unto the prince, gave thanks to God, that he had so greatly dignified him being such a wretch, as to bring him where he might testify his truth before such a mighty prince. Then Castellane, entering talk, began to reason with him touching the greatest and chiefest matter of religion; whereunto the tailor without fear, or any halting in his speech, with present audacity, wit, and memory, so answered for the sincere doctrine and simple truth of God's gospel, as was both convenient to the purpose, and also to his questions aptly and fitly correspondent.

Notwithstanding, the nobles there present, with cruel taunts and rebukes, did what they could to dash him out of countenance. Yet all this terrified not him, but with boldness of heart, and free liberty of speech, he defended his cause, or rather the cause of Christ the Lord, neither flattering with their persons, nor fearing their threats; which was to them all a singular admiration, to behold that simple poor artificer to stand so firm and bold, answering before a king, to those questions propounded against him. Whereat when the king seemed to muse with himself, as one somewhat amazed, and which might soon have been induced, at that present, to further knowledge, the egregious bishop and other courtiers, seeing the king in such a muse, said, he was an obstinate and stubborn person, confirmed in his own opinion, and therefore was not to be marvelled at, but to be sent to the judges, and to be punished. And therefore, lest he should trouble the ears of the said Henry the king, he was commanded again to the hands of the officer, that his cause might be informed: and so, within few days after, he was condemned, by the high steward of the king's house, to be burned alive. And lest any deep consideration of that excellent fortitude of the poor man might further, peradventure, pierce the king's mind, the cardinals and bishops were ever in the king's ear, telling him, that these Lutherans were nothing else but such as carry vain smoke in their mouths, which being put to the fire, would soon vanish. Wherefore the king was appointed himself to be present at his execution, which was sharp and cruel, before the church of Mary the Virgin; where it pleased God to give such strength and courage to his servant, in suffering his martyrdom, that the beholding thereof did more astonish the king than all the other did before.

 

Claudius Thierry, at Orleans, A.D. 1549.

The same year, and for the same doctrine of the gospel, one Claudius also was burned at the said town of Orleans, being apprehended by the way coming from Geneva to his country.

 

Leonard Galimard, at Paris, A.D. 1549.

This Leonard, for the confession likewise of Christ and his gospel, was taken and brought to Paris, and there, by the sentence of the council, was judged to be burnt the same time that Florent Venote, above-mentioned, did suffer at Paris.

 

Macæus Moreou, martyred at Troyes, A.D. 1549.

He was burned at Troyes in Champagne, (a town in France,) remaining constant to the end in the gospel, for the which he was apprehended.

 

Johan Godeau, and Gabriel Berandine, A.D. 1550.

These two were of the church of Geneva. Afterward, for their friendly admonishing a certain priest, which in his sermon had abused the name of God, they were taken at Chambery. Godeau standing to his confession, was burned. Gabriel, though he began a little to shrink for fear of the torments, yet being confirmed by the constant death of Godeau, recovered again, and standing likewise to his confession, first had his tongue cut out; who, notwithstanding, through God's might, did speak so as he might be understood. Whereupon the hangman, being accused for not cutting off his tongue rightly, said that he could not stop him of his speech. And so these two, after they had confirmed many in God's truth, gave their life for Christ's gospel.

 

Thomas Sanpaulinus, at Paris, A.D. 1551. His persecutors were John Andreas, promoter; Peter Liset, president of the council of Paris; Maillard and others, Sorbonists; also one Aubertus, a councillor.

This Thomas, a young man of the age of eighteen years, coming from Geneva to Paris, rebuked there a man for swearing; for the which cause he, being suspected for a Lutheran, was followed and watched whither he went, and was taken and brought before the council of Paris, and put in prison, where he was racked and miserably tormented; to the intent he should either change his opinion, or confess other of his profession. His torments and rackings were so sore, through the setting on of Maillard and other Sorbonists, that the sight thereof made Aubert, one of the council, a cruel and vehement enemy against the gospel, to turn his back and weep. The young man, when he had made the tormentors weary with racking, and yet would utter none, at last was had to Maulbert Place in Paris to be burned; where he, being in the fire, was plucked up again upon the gibbet, and asked whether he would turn? to whom he said, that he was in his way towards God, and therefore desired them to let him go. Thus this glorious martyr, remaining inexpugnable, glorified the Lord with constant confession of his truth.

 

Maurice Secenate, in Provence, A.D. 1551.

He, first having interrogations put to him by the lieutenant of that place, made his answers thereunto, so as no great advantage could be taken thereof. But he being greatly compuncted and troubled in his conscience for dissembling with the truth, and called afterward before the lord chief judge, he answered so directly, that he was condemned for the same, and burned in Provence.

 

John Putte, or de Puteo, surnamed Medicus, at Uzez, in Provence, A.D. 1551.
Accused by a citizen of Uzez.

This Medicus, being a carpenter and unlettered, had a controversy about a certain pit with a citizen of the town of Uzez, where he dwelt. He, to cast this Medicus, in the law, from the pit, accused him of heresy, bringing for his witnesses those labourers whom Medicus had hired to work in his vineyard; wherefore he, being examined of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, was condemned and burned at Uzez, in Provence.

 

Claudius Monerius, at Lyons, A.D. 1551.
His persecutors were, the governor of Lyons, and the official of the archdeacon of Lyons.

This man, being well instructed in the knowledge of God's word, for the which he was also driven from Avernia, came to Lyons, and there taught children. Hearing of the lord president's coming to the city, went to give warning to a certain familiar friend of his, and so conducted him out of the town. In returning again to comfort the man's wife and children, he was taken in his house; and so he, confessing that which he knew to be true, and standing to that which he confessed, after much affliction in prisons and dungeons, was condemned and burned at Lyons. He was noted to be so gentle and mild of conditions, and constant withal, and also learned, that certain of the judges could not forbear weeping at his death.

The said Monerius, being in prison, wrote certain letters, but one especially very comfortable to all the faithful, which, the Lord willing, in the end of these histories shall be inserted. He wrote also the questions and interrogatories of the official, with his answers likewise to the same; which summarily we have contracted, as followeth

The official. "What believe you of the sacrament? is the body of Christ in the bread, or no?" The martyr. "I worship Jesus Christ in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father." Official. "What say you by purgatory?"

The martyr. "Forasmuch as there is no place of mercy after this life, therefore no need there is of any purgation; but necessary it is that we be purged before we pass hence."

Official. "Of the pope what think you?"

The martyr. "I say he is a bishop as other bishops are, if he be a true follower of St. Peter."

Official. "What say you of vows?"

The martyr. "No man can vow to God so much, but the law requireth much more than he can vow."

Official. "Are not saints to be invocated?"

The martyr. "They cannot pray without faith, and therefore it is in vain to call upon them. And again, God hath appointed his angels about us, to minister in our necessities."

Official. "Is it not good to salute the blessed Virgin with Ave Maria?"

The martyr. "When she was on this earth she had then need of the angel's greeting; for then she had need of salvation, as well as others: but now she is so blessed, that no more blessing can be wished unto her."

Official. "Are not images to be had?"

The martyr. "For that the nature of man is so prone to idolatry, ever occupied and fixed in those things which lie before his eyes, rather than upon those which are not seen; images therefore are not to be set before Christians. You know nothing is to be adored, but that which is not seen with eyes, that is, God alone, which is a Spirit, and him we must worship only in spirit and truth."

Official. "What say you by the canonical or ordinary hours for prayer?"

The martyr. "To hours and times, prayer ought not to be tied: but whensoever God's Spirit doth move us, or when any necessity driveth us, then ought we to pray."

Then the official asked, what he thought of holy oil, salt, with such other like? to whom the martyr answered, that all these things were a mere Maranismus, that is, savoured of the law of Maranorum, and of the superstition of the Jews.

 

Renate Poyet, at Saumur, in France, A.D. 1552.

Renate Poyet, the son of William Poyet, which was chancellor of France, for the true and sincere profession of the word of God, constantly suffered martyrdom, and was burned in the city of Saumur, A.D. 1552.

 

John Joyer, and his servant, a young man, at Toulouse, A.D. 1552.

These two coming from Geneva to the country with certain books, were apprehended by the way, and at length had to Toulouse, where the master was first condemned. The servant being young, was not so prompt to answer them, but sent them to his master, saying that he should answer them. When they were brought to the stake, the young man, first going up, began to weep. The master, fearing lest he would give over, ran to him, and he was comforted, and they began to sing. As they were in the fire, the master, standing upright to the stake, shifted the fire from him to his servant, being more careful for him than for himself; and when he saw him dead, he bowed down into the flame, and so expired.

 

Hugh Gravier, a schoolmaster and minister, of Cortillon, in the country of Neufchatel, at Berg, A.D. 1552.

At Berg, in Bresse, a day's journey from Lyons, this Gravier was burned. He coming from Geneva to Neufchatel, there was elected to be minister. But first, he going to see his wife's friends at Macon, there, as he was coming away out of the town, was taken upon the bridge, with all his company; and in the end, he, willing for the women and therest of the company to lay the fault on him for bringing them out, was sentenced to be burned, notwithstanding that the lords of Bern sent their heralds to save his life, and also that the official declared him to be an honest man, and to hold nothing but agreeing to the Scriptures.

 

Martial Alba, Peter Scribe, Bernard Seguine, Charles Faber, Peter Navihere, at Lyons, A.D. 1553.

Their persecutors were: Tignatius, the governor or deputy of Lyons; Buatherius, official to the archbishop of Lyons; Clepierius, chamberlain; three Orders of Friars; Judge Melierus; Dr. Cunuban, a Grey Friar; Judge Vilard; Primatius, the official; Cortrerius, a judge.

These five students, after they had remained in the university of Lausanne a certain time, consulted amongst themselves, being all Frenchmen, to return home every one to his country, to the intent they might instruct their parents and other their friends in such knowledge as the Lord had given them. So, taking their journey from Lausanne, first they came to Geneva, where they remained awhile. From thence they went to Lyons, where they, sitting at the table of one that met them by the way, and desired them home to his house, were apprehended and led to prison, where they continued a whole year; that is, from the first of May to the sixteenth of the same month again. As they were learned and well exercised in the Scriptures, so every one of them exhibited severally a learned confession of his faith; and with great dexterity, through the power of the Lord's Spirit, they confounded the friars with whom they disputed; especially Peter Scribe or Scrivener, and Seguine.

They were examined sundrily of the sacrament of the Lord's body, of purgatory, of confession and invocation, of free-will, and of the supremacy, &c. Although they proved their cause by good Scripture, and refuted their adversaries in reasoning, yet right being overcome by might, sentence was given, and they burned in the said town of Lyons. Being set upon the cart, they began to sing psalms. As they passed by the market-place, one of them with a loud voice saluted the people with the words of the last chapter to the Hebrews: The God of peace, which brought again from death the great Pastor of the sheep in the blood of the eternal testament, &c. Coming to the place, first the two youngest, one after another, went up upon the heap of wood to the stake, and there were fastened, and so after them the rest. Martial Alba, being the eldest, was the last; who likewise being stripped of his clothes, and brought to the stake, desired this petition of the governor, which was that he might go about his fellows tied at the stake, and kiss them: which being granted, he went and kissed every one, saying, "Farewell, my brother." Likewise the other four, following the same example, bade each one, "Farewell, my brother." With that, fire was commanded to be put unto them. The hangman had tied a rope about all their necks, thinking first to strangle them; but their faces being smeared with fat and brimstone, the rope was burnt before they were strangled. So the blessed martyrs, in the midst of the fire, spake one to another to be of good cheer, and so departed.

 

Their examinations briefly touched.

The friar. "Thou sayest, friend! in thy confession, that the pope is not supreme head of the church; I will prove contrary. The pope is successor of St. Peter: ergo, he is supreme head of the church."

The martyr. "I deny first your antecedent."

Friar. "The pope sitteth in the place of St. Peter: ergo, he is the successor of St. Peter."

The martyr. "I will grant neither of both: first, because that he which succeedeth in the room of Peter, ought to preach and teach as Peter did; which thing the pope doth not. Secondly, although he did so preach as Peter did, he might well follow the example of Peter, yet should he not therefore be the head of the church, but a member only of the same. The head of men and angels, whom God hath appointed, is Christ alone, saith St. Paul, Eph. i."

Friar. "Although Christ be the head of the whole church militant and triumphant, yet his vicar here on earth is left to supply his room."

The martyr. "Not so, for the power of his Divinity being so great, to fill all things, he needeth no vicar or deputy to supply his absence."

Friar. "I will prove, that although Christ be King both of heaven and earth, yet he hath here on earth many vicars under him, to govern his people."

The martyr. "It is one thing to rule in the civil state, another thing to rule spiritually. For in civil regiment we have kings and princes ordained of God by the Scriptures, for the observation of public society: in the spiritual regiment and kingdom of the church it is not so."

Another friar. "Thou sayest St. Peter is not the head of the church; I will prove he is. Our Lord said to Peter, Thou shalt be called Cephas; which Cephas is as much as to say in Latin, caput: ergo, Peter is head of the church."

The martyr. "Where find you that interpretation? St. John, in his first chapter, doth expound it otherwise: Thou shalt be called Cephas, that is as much (saith he) as petrus, or stone."

Then the judge Vilard, calling for a New Testament, turned to the place, and found it to be so; whereupon the friar was utterly dashed, and stood mute.

Friar. "Thou sayest in thy confession, that a man hath no free-will; I will prove it. It is written in the Gospel, Luke x., how a man going from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among thieves, and was spoiled, maimed, and left half dead, &c. Thomas Aquinas expoundeth this parable to mean free-will, which, he saith, is maimed; yet not so, but that some power remaineth in man to work."

The martyr. "This interpretation I do refuse and deny."

Friar. "What! thinkest thou thyself better learned than St. Thomas?"

The martyr. "I do arrogate no such learning unto myself. But this I say, this parable is not so to be expounded, but is set forth for example of the Lord, to commend to us charity towards our neighbour, how one should help another."

Friar. "Thou sayest in thy confession, that we are justified only by faith, I will prove that we are justified by works. By our works we do merit: ergo, by works we are justified."

The martyr. "I deny the antecedent."

Friar. "St. Paul, in the last chapter of Hebrews, saith, Forget not to do good, and to distribute unto others: for by such oblations God is merited. We merit God by our works: ergo, we are justified by our works."

The martyr. "The words of St: Paul in that place be otherwise, and are thus to be translated: With such sacrifices God is delighted, or is well pleased."

Vilard, the judge, turned to the book, and found the place even to be so as the prisoner said. Here the friars were marvellously appalled and troubled in their minds: of whom one asked then, What he thought of confession? To whom the martyr answered, that confession only is to be made to God, and that those places which they allege for auricular confession, out of St. James and other, are to be expounded of brotherly reconciliation between one another, and not of confession in the priest's ear. And here again the friars stood, having nothing to say against it.

A Black Friar. "Dost thou not believe the body of Christ to be locally and corporally in the sacrament? I will prove the same. Jesus Christ taking bread, said, This is my body: ergo, it is truly his body."

The martyr. "The verb est is not to be taken here substantively in its own proper signification, as showing the nature of a thing in substance, as in philosophy it is wont to be taken; but as noting the property of a thing signified, after the manner and phrase of the Scripture; where one thing is wont to be called by the name of another, so as the sign is called by the name of the thing signified, &c. So is circumcision called by the name of the covenant, and yet is not the covenant; so the lamb hath the name of the passover, yet is not the same; in which two sacraments of the old law, ye see the verb est to be taken, not as showing the substance of being, but the property of being in the thing that is spoken of. And so likewise in the sacrament of the new law."

Friar. "The sacraments of the old law and of the new do differ greatly; for these give grace, so did not the other."

The martyr. "Neither the sacraments of the old, nor of the new law, do give grace, but show Him unto us, which giveth grace indeed. The minister giveth the sacraments, but Jesus Christ giveth grace by the operation of the Holy Ghost: of whom it is said, This is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," &c.

Friar. "The fathers of the Old Testament, were they not partakers of the same grace and promises with us?" John ii.

The martyr. "Yes, for St. Paul saith, that the fathers of the Old Testament did eat the same spiritual meat, and did drink of the same spiritual drink with us."

Friar. "Jesus Christ saith, John vi., Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead: ergo, they were not partakers of the same grace with us in the New Testament."

The martyr. "Christ here speaketh of them which did not eat that manna with faith, which was a type and figure of that Bread of Life that came from heaven; and not of them which did eat the same with faith, as Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, and such others; who, under the shadows of the Old Testament, did look for Christ to come. For so it is written of Abraham, that he saw the day of Christ, and rejoiced; -- not seeing it with his bodily eyes, but with the eyes of his faith."

Here the doltish doctor was at a stay, having nothing to say, but "Hear, friend; be not so hot, nor so hasty, tarry a while, tarry a while." At length, after his tarrying, this came out.

Friar. "I will prove that they of the Old Testament were not partakers of the same grace with us. The law (saith St. Paul) worketh anger; and they that are under the law, are under malediction: ergo, they of the old law and testament were not partakers of the same grace with us."

The martyr. "St. Paul here proveth, that no man by the law can be justified, but that all men are under the anger and curse of God thereby, forasmuch as no man performeth that which in the law is comprehended; and therefore, we have need every man to run to Christ, to be saved by faith, seeing no man can be saved by the law. For whosoever trusteth to the law, hoping to find justification thereby, and not by Christ only, the same remaineth still under malediction: not because the law is cursed, or the times thereof under curse, but because of the weakness of our nature, which is not able to perform the law."

Friar. "St. Paul, Rom. vii., declareth in the Old Testament to be nothing but anger and threatenings, and in the New Testament to be grace and mercy, in these words where he saith, Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ."

The martyr. "St. Paul in this place neither meaneth nor speaketh of the difference of times between the Old and the New Testament, but of the conflict between the flesh and the spirit; so that whereas the flesh is ever rebelling against the spirit, yet the spiritual man notwithstanding, through the faith of Christ, hath the victory. Furthermore, the true translation of that place hath not gratis Dei, but gratias ago Deo, per Jesum Christum," &c.

Primacius, the official, seeing the friar almost here at a point, set in, and said, "Thou lewd heretic, dost thou deny the blessed sacrament?"

The martyr. "No, sir, but I embrace and reverence the sacrament, so as it was instituted by the Lord, and left by his apostles."

Official. "Thou deniest the body of Christ to be in the sacrament, and thou tallest the sacrament bread."

The martyr. "The Scripture teacheth us to seek the body of Christ in heaven, and not on earth; where we read, Col. iii., If ye be risen with Christ, seek not for the things which are upon the earth; but for the things which are in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, &c. And whereas I affirm the sacrament not to be the body, but bread, speaking of bread remaining in its own substance, herein I do no other but as St. Paul doth, which doth call it bread likewise, four or five times together," 1 Cor. xi.

Friar. "Jesus Christ said, that he was the bread of life."

Official. "Thou naughty heretic! Jesus Christ said that he was a vine, and a door, &c., where he is to be expounded to speak figuratively; but the words of the sacrament are not so to be expounded."

The martyr. "Those testimonies which you allege, make more for me than for you."

Official. "What sayest thou, lewd heretic! is the bread of the Lord's supper, and the bread that we eat at home, all one, and is there no difference between them?"

The martyr. "In nature and substance there is no difference: in quality and in use there is much difference. For the bread of the Lord's table, though it be of the same nature and substance with the bread that we eat at home, yet when it is applied to be a sacrament, it taketh another quality, and is set before us to seal the promise of our spiritual and eternal life."

And this was the effect of their examinations.

 

Petrus Bergerius, at Lyons, A.D. 1553.

About the same time when these five students above specified were apprehended, this Bergerius also was taken at Lyons, and with them examined, and made also the like confession with them together, and shortly after them suffered the same martyrdom. He had been before an occupier or merchant of wines. He had wife and children at Geneva, to whom he wrote sweet and comfortable letters. In the dungeon with him was a certain thief and malefactor, which had lain there the space of seven or eight months. This thief, for pain and torment cried out of God, and cursed his parents that begat him, being almost eaten up with lice, miserably handled, and fed with such bread as dogs and horses had refused to eat: so it pleased the goodness of Almighty God, that through the teaching and prayers of this Bergerius, he was brought to repentance of himself, and knowledge of God; learning much comfort and patience by the word of the gospel preached unto him. Touching his conversion, he wrote a sweet letter to those five students above mentioned, wherein he praiseth God for them, and specially for this Bergerius; declaring also in the same letter, that the next day after that he had taken hold of the gospel, and framed himself to patience, according to the same, his lice, which he could pluck out before no less than twenty at once, betwixt his fingers, now were so gone from him that he had not one. Furthermore, so the alms of good men were extended towards him, that he was fed with white bread, and that which was very good: such is the goodness of the Lord toward them that love and seek his truth. The name of this convert was John Chambone.

 

Stephen and Dionysius Peloquine, brethren, at Ville Franche, near Lyons, A.D. 1553.

Stephen Peloquine, brother to this Dionysius, was taken about two or three years before, with Ann Audebert above mentioned, and also martyred for the testimony of the gospel at the same time, with a small fire. After whom followed Dionysius Peloquine, in the same steps of martyrdom, who was his brother. This Dionysius had been sometime a monk, and changing his weed, took a wife, with whom he lived a certain space at Geneva in godly order and modesty of life. Coming afterward to Ville Franche, six miles from Lyons, from thence he was had to Lyons, where he remained in prison ten months. From thence he was reversed to Ville Franche, where he was condemned, degraded, and burned. The articles whereupon he was condemned, were for the mass, the sacrament, auricular confession, purgatory, the Virgin Mary, and the pope's supremacy. He suffered on the eleventh of September, A.D. 1553. In his martyrdom, such patience and fortitude God gave, that when he was half burned, yet he never ceased holding up his hands to heaven, and calling upon the Lord; to the great admiration of them that looked on.

 

Ludovicus Marsace, and Michael Gerard, his cousin; also Stephen Gravot, carpenter: at Lyons, A.D. 1553. Their persecutors were, the king's lieutenant at Lyons; the official; and the friars.

At Lyons the same year these three also were apprehended and sacrificed. Ludovicus had been of the order of the Demi-lances, which served the king in his wars: afterwards coming to Geneva, he was trained up in the knowledge and doctrine of the Lord. Upon divers articles he was examined, as the invocation of saints, and of the Virgin Mary; free-will, merits and good works, auricular confession, fasting, and the Lord's supper. In his second examination, they inquired of him, and also of the other two, touching vows, the sacraments, the mass, and the vicar of Christ; in all which articles, because his and their judgment dissented from the doctrine of the pope's church, they were condemned. The answers of Marsace to the articles, are to be seen at large in the Book of the French Martyrs, set out by John Crispine.

The lieutenant, among other blasphemies, had these words: "Of the four evangelists, but two were pure, Matthew and John; the other two, Mark and Luke, were but gatherers out of the others. The Epistles of St. Paul, but that the doctors of the church had authorized them, he would otherwise esteem them no better than the fables of Æsop."

Item, The said lieutenant said to M. Cope's maid, speaking somewhat of the law, "Cursed be the God of that law."

When the sentence of condemnation was given against these three, they were so glad thereof, that they went out praising God, and singing psalms. This troubled the judges sore, to see them so little to esteem their death: insomuch that the lieutenant caused them to be made to hold their peace; saying, "Shall these vile abjects so vaunt themselves against the whole state of the realm?" Then as Marsace was going into a corner by, to pray, one of the soldiers would not suffer him: to whom he said, "That little time which we have, will you not give us to pray?" With that the soldier, being astonished, went his way.

As they should be brought out of prison to the stake, the hangman tied a rope about the necks of the other two. Marsace seeing himself to be spared because of his order and degree, called by the way to the lieutenant, that he might also have one of the precious chains about his neck, in honour of his Lord; which being granted, so were these three blessed martyrs committed to the fire, where they, with meek patience, yielded up their lives to the hands of the Lord, in testimony of his gospel.

 

Mattheus Dimonetus, merchant, at Lyons, A.D. 1553. The persecutors were the lieutenant of Lyons, Primacius and Buatherius, officials, and Orus, an inquisitor.

This merchant first lived a vicious and detestable life, full of much corruption and filthiness. He was also a secret enemy and searcher-out of good men, when and where they convented together; who, being called, notwithstanding, by the grace of God, to the knowledge and favour of his word, shortly after was taken by the lieutenant, and Buatherius the official, in his own house at Lyons; and so, after a little examination, was sent to prison. Being examined by the inquisitor and the officials, he refused to yield any answer to them, knowing no authority they had upon him, but only to the lieutenant. His answers were, that he believed all that the holy universal church of Christ did truly believe, and all the articles of the creed. To the article of the holy catholic church, being bid to add also "Romanam," that is, the Church of Rome, that he refused. Advocates he knew none, but Christ alone. Purgatory he knew none, but the cross and passion of the Lamb, which purgeth the sins of all the world. True confession, he said, ought to be made not to the priest once a year, but every day to God and to such whom we have offended. The eating of the flesh and blood of Christ he took to be spiritual: and the sacrament of the flesh and blood of Christ to be eaten with the mouth, and that sacrament to be bread and wine under the name and signification of the body and blood of Christ; the mass not to beinstituted of Christ, being a thing contrary to his word and will. For the head of the church, he knew none, but only Christ. Being in prison, be had great conflicts with the infirmity of his own flesh, but especially with the temptation of his parents, brethren, and kinsfolks, and the sorrow of his mother: nevertheless the Lord so assisted him, that be endured to the end. At his burning he spake much to the people, and was heard with great attention. He suffered on the fifteenth of July, A.D. 1553.

 

William Neel, an Austin Friar, at Evreux in France, A.D. 1553. His persecutors were Legoux, the Dean Ilieriensis; and M. Simon Vigor, the penitentiary of Evreux.

Henry Pantaleon, and likewise Crispine and Adrian, make mention also of one William Neel, a friar Augustine, who suffered in much like sort the same year, and was burned at Evreux in France. The occasion of his trouble rose first, for the rebuking of the vicious demeanour of the priests there, and of the dean, named Legoux: for the which the dean caused him to be sent to Evreux, to the prison of the bishop. The story of this William Neel, with his answers to their articles objected, is to be read more at large in the ninth book of Pantaleon, and others.

 

Simon Laloe, at Dijon, A.D. 1553. His persecutor was the bailiff or steward of the city of Dijon.

Simon Laloe, a spectacle-maker, coming from Geneva into France for certain business, was laid hand of by the bailiff of Dijon. Three things were demanded of him: first, where he dwelt? secondly, what was his faith? thirdly, what fellows he knew of his religion? His dwelling (he said) was at Geneva. His religion was such as was then used at Geneva. As for his fellows (he said) he knew none, but only them of the same city of Geneva, where his dwelling was. When they could get of him no other answer but this with all their racking and torments, they proceeded to his sentence, and pursued the execution of the same, which was on the twenty-first of November, A.D. 1553. The executioner, who was named James Silvester, seeing the great faith and constancy of that heavenly martyr, was so compuncted with repentance, and fell in such despair of himself, that they had much ado, with all the promises of the gospel, to recover any comfort in him. At last, through the mercy of Christ, he was comforted, and converted; and so he, with all his family, removed to the church at Geneva.

 

Nicholas Nayle, at Paris, A.D. 1553.

This Nicholas, a shoemaker, coming to Paris with certain fardels of books, was there apprehended; who, stoutly persisting in confessing the truth, was tried with sundry torments, to utter what fellows he had besides of his profession, so cruelly, that his body was dissolved almost one joint from another; but so constant he was in his silence, that he would express none. As they brought him to the stake, first they put a gag or piece of wood in his mouth, which they bound with cords to the hinder part of his head so hard, that his mouth on both sides gushed out with blood, and disfigured his face monstrously. By the way they passed by an hospital, where they willed him to worship the picture of St. Mary standing at the gate: but he turned his back as well as he could, and would not. For this the blind people were so grieved, that they would have fallen upon him. After he was brought to the fire, they so smeared his body with fat and brimstone, that at the first taking of the fire, all his skin was parched, and the inward parts not touched. With that the cords burst which were about his mouth, whereby his voice was heard in the midst of the flame, praising the Lord; and so the blessed martyr departed.

 

Peter Serre, near Toulouse, A.D. 1553. His persecutors were a woman of Toulouse; the official of the bishop of Toulouse; and the inquisitor and chancellor of the bishop of Cozeran.

Peter Serre was first a priest; then changing his religion, he went to Geneva, and learned the shoemakers' craft, and so lived. Afterwards, upon a singular love, he came to his brother at Toulouse, to the intent to do him good. His brother had a wife, which was not well pleased with his religion and coming. She, in secret counsel, told another woman, one of her neighbours, of this. What doth she, but goeth to the official, and maketh him privy to all. The official thinking to foreslack no time, taking counsel with his fellows, laid hands upon this Peter, and brought him before the inquisitor; to whom he made such a declaration of his faith, that he seemed to reduce the inquisitor to some feeling of conscience, and began to instruct him in the principles of true religion. Notwithstanding, all this helped not, but that he was condemned by the said chancellor to be degraded, and committed to the secular judge. The judge inquiring of what occupation he was, he said, that of late he was a shoemaker: whereby the judge, understanding that he had been of some other faculty before, required what it was. He said he had been of another faculty before, but he was ashamed to utter it, or to remember it, being the worst and vilest science of all others in the whole world besides. The judge and the people, supposing that he had been some thief or cutpurse, inquired to know what it was; but he for shame and sorrow stopped his mouth, and would not declare it. At last, through their importunate clamour, he was constrained to declare the truth, and said, that he had been a priest! The judge thereupon was so moved, that he condemned him; first, enjoining him in his condemnation, to ask the king forgiveness, he then judged him to have his tongue cut out, and so to be burned. From this sentence, he appealed to the parliament of Toulouse: not for that he thought thereby to save his life, but because he was enjoined to ask the king's forgiveness, whom he had never offended; also because he was judged to have his tongue cut off, wherewith he would praise his God. Notwithstanding, by the sentence of that parliament, he was likewise condemned to be burned; only he was pardoned for asking forgiveness of the king, and the cutting off of his tongue, so that he would say nothing against their religion.

As he went to burning, he passed by the college of St. Martial, where he was bid to honour the picture of the Virgin standing at the gate; which because he refused, the judge commanded his tongue to be cut off: and so being put to the fire, he stood so quiet, looking up to heaven all the time of his burning, as though he had felt nothing; bringing such admiration to the people, that one of the parliament said, that way was not the best, to bring the Lutherans to the fire, for that would do more hurt than good.

 

Stephen King, and Petrus Denocheus, at Chartres, A.D. 1553. Persecuted by the governor of Marches.

Stephen King, after he had been at Strasburg a while, returned again into his country, dwelling in a town bearing the name of St. George, not far from Chaustors; where he served in the place of a notary, and had under him a clerk named Peter Denoche, who also had been at Geneva, and was there zealous in instructing the ignorant, and rebuking blasphemous swearers, and other offenders. These two were not long together but they were both suspected of Lutheranism, and so apprehended by the governor of the Marches, or the marshal, and so were carried to Chartres, where, after their constant confession, upon their examination made, they were enclosed in prison, and there sustained long and tedious endurance; during which mean time, Stephen King made many worthy songs and sonnets in the praise of the Lord, whereby to recreate his spirit in that doleful captivity. At length, when, after long persuasions and fair promises of the bishop and of others, they could not be revoked from the doctrine of their confession, they were condemned. From that condemnation they appealed to the court of Paris, but the council there, confirming their former sentence, returned them again to Chartres, from whence they came, where they were both executed with cruel punishment of fire.

 

Antonius Magnus, or Magnæus, at Paris, A.D. 1554. Persecuted by the priests of Bruges.

Antonius Magnus was sent by the five who were in prison at Lyons, above-mentioned, and by others also that were in captivity at Paris, to Geneva, to commend them to their prayers unto God for them; who, after certain business there despatched, returned again into France, and there, within three hours of his coming, was betrayed and taken by certain priests at Bruges, and there delivered by the said priests unto the official. After a few days the king's justices took him from the official, and sent him to Paris, where, after great rebukes and torments he suffered in the prison, and firmly persisting in the profession of the truth, by their capital sentence was adjudged to have his tongue cut out, and so was burned at Maulbert Place in Paris.

 

William Alençon, bookseller; also a certain shear-man, at Montpelliers, A.D. 1454. Betrayed by false brethren.

This Alençon did much good in the provinces of France by carrying books. Coming to Montpelliers, he was there circumvented by false brethren, detected and laid in prison. In his faith he was firm and constant to the end of his martyrdom, being burned the seventh of January, 1554.

Thege was the same time at Montpelliers a certain shearman or clothworker, who had been long in durance for religion, but at length, for fear and infirmity, he revolted; to whom it was enjoined by the judges to make public recantation, and to be present also at the burning of Alençon aforesaid: at the beholding of whose death and constancy, it pleased God to strike into this man such boldness, that be desired the judges, that he might burn with this Alençon, or else be brought again into prison, saying, that he would make no other recantation, but so. Wherefore, within three days after he was likewise condemned to the fire, and burned in the town aforesaid.

 

Paris Panier, a lawyer, at Dol, A.D. 1554.

At Dol was beheaded a good and godly lawyer, Lamed Paris Panier, for constant standing to the gospel of Christ, A.D. 1554.

 

Peter du Val, shoemaker, at Nismes, A.D. 1554.

At Nismes in Dauphine, Peter du Val sustained sore and grievous rackings and torments; wherewith his body being broken, dissolved, and maimed, yet he, notwithstanding, manfully abiding all their extremity, would name and utter none. Then was he had to the fire, and there consumed, A.D. 1554.

 

Johannes Filieul, or Filiolus, carpenter; and Julianus le Ville, point-maker, at Sanserre, A.D. 1554. Their persecutors were Giles le Hers, lieutenant for the marshal of St. Andrew, and inquisitor for the province of Bourbon; and also John Bergeronius, another inquisitor or counsellor.

These two blessed and constant martyrs, as they were going toward Geneva, with one of their sons and a daughter, were apprehended by Giles le Pers; who, in the way overtaking them, and most wickedly and Judasly pretending great favour to them, and to their religion, which he (as he said) supposed them to be of, with these and many other fair words circumvented and allured them to confess, what was their faith? whither they went with their children? and also that their wives were at Geneva? When they had declared this, the wretched traitor gave a sign to his horsemen, and so were these simple saints of Christ entrapped and brought to the castle of Nivern. Being in prison, they were examined of many things, whereunto they answered uprightly, according to their faith.

First, touching the sacrament, they affirmed the transubstantiation of the bishop of Rome to be against the article of the Creed, which saith that Christ is gone up to heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of God: and therefore the bread and the wine must needs remain in their properties; bearing, notwithstanding, a sacrament, or a holy sign, of the body and blood of the Lord. For like as by bread and wine the heart of man is comforted, so the body of Christ crucified, and his blood shed, spiritually hath the like operation in the souls of the believers.

For the mass, they said it was a thing most superstitious, and mere idolatry; and if we put any part of salvation therein, (they said,) it was utterly a robbing of the passion of Christ the Son of God, and that it was not once to be named out of a Christian mouth. Also, that those who say that Peter either was pope, or author of the said mass, are far deceived. And as for turning bread into the body of Christ by the words of consecration, it was an error (they said) more of madmen, than any of sadmen: forasmuch as God is neither subject to men, nor to the tongues or exorcisms of men. Purgatory they denied to be any, save only the blood of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, as they would not bereave the saints of God of their due honour, so neither the saints themselves (said they) will be contented to rob God of his honour only due to him.

As touching confession, their opinion was, that the wounds and causes of conscience belong to no man, but only to God.

After these answers given and written, they were sent to the monastery of St. Peter, there to be disputed with. That done, the matter came to be debated among the judges, what was to be done with them. Some would their goods to be taken by inventory, and them to be banished. But Bergeronius at last caused to be determined, that they should be burned, and first to hear mass. From that court they appealed to the court of Paris; but the matter there was nothing amended, where behold the judgment of God. In the mean time, while they were at Paris, the wretched persecutor, Giles le Pers, was suddenly struck mad and died in a frenzy; which made many men to wonder, and especially the martyrs to be more constant.

At last, the decree of the sentence was read against them.

I. For speaking against the sacrament: which they denied.

II. For speaking against baptism: which also they denied.

III. For speaking contumely against the saints: which they in like manner denied.

After this, the officer, to cause them to recant, threatened them with torments, which they sustained very extreme, the space from after dinner till three of the clock. When all that would not turn them, he sent to them a friar Dominic, a man captious and sophistical, to press them in disputation: but as he could do no hurt unto them, so could they do no good upon him. When the time of their execution did approach, the officer aforesaid put into their hands, being tied, a wooden cross, which they took with their teeth, and flung away: for which, the officer commanded both their tongues to be cut off. Herein appeared another marvellous work of the Lord: for nevertheless that their tongues were taken from them, to the intent they should not speak, yet God gave them utterance, their tongues being cut out, to speak at their death, saying, "We bid sin, the flesh, the world, and the devil, farewell for ever, with whom we shall never have to do hereafter." Divers other words they spake besides, which the people did hear and note. At last, when the tormentor came to smear them with brimstone and gunpowder, "Go to," said Filiolus, "salt on, salt on the stinking and rotten flesh." Finally, as the flame came bursting up to their faces, they, persisting constant in the fire, gave up their lives, and finished their martyrdoms.

 

Dionysius Vayre, at Rouen, A.D. 1554. Persecuted by William Langlois, under-sheriff, and John Langlois, the king's procurator.

In the same year suffered, at Rouen, Denis Vayre, who, first leaving his popish priesthood, went to Geneva, where he learned the art of bookbinding, and brought many times books into France. After that, in the reign of King Edward the Sixth, he came to Jersey, and there was minister, and preached. After the death of King Edward, the time not serving him to tarry, thinking to return again to Geneva, he came into Normandy with his books, into a town called Feueillet; where he, going out to hire a cart, William Langlois, with John Langlois his brother, came in and stayed his books, and him also who had the custody of them. Denis, albeit he might have escaped, yet hearing the keeper of his books to be in trouble, came, and presenting himself, was committed; the other was delivered. First, after two months and a half imprisonment, he was charged to be a spy, because he came out of England. Then from that prison he was removed to the bishop's prison, and then to Rouen; where sentence was given, that he should be burned alive, and thrice lifted up and let down again into the fire. After the sentence given, they threatened him with many terrible torments, unless he would disclose such as he knew of that side. To whom he answered, that the sounder part of all France, and of the senate, was of that religion: notwithstanding, he would utter no man's name unto them. And as for their torments, he said, he cared not; for if he were killed with racking, then he should not feel the burning of the fire. When they saw him so little to care for their torments, they left that, and proceeded to his burning: and first, they put a cross in his hands, which he would not hold. Then because he, coming by the image of the Virgin Mary, would not adore the same, they cried, "Cut out his tongue:" and so they cast him into the fire, where he should be thrice taken up; but the flame went so high, that the hangman, being not able to come near him, cried to the people standing by to help, and so did the officers with their staves lay upon the people, to help their tormentors, but never a man would stir. And this was the end and martyrdom of that blessed Denis.

 

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