Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 160. MARTYRS IN ITALY

160. MARTYRS IN ITALY

Now it remaineth further, according to my promise, in like order of a compendious table, to comprehend also such martyrs as suffered for the verity and true testimony of the gospel, in the places and countries of Italy; which table consequently here next ensueth.

 

A table of such martyrs as suffered for the testimony of the gospel in Italy.

N. Encenas, otherwise called Dryander, martyred at Rome, A.D. 1546. Persecuted by certain popish Spaniards at Rome.

This Encenas, or Dryander, a Spaniard, born at Burgos, was brother to Franciscus Encenas, the learned man so oft before mentioned; and was also the teacher or instructor in knowledge of religion to Diazius, the godly martyr above recorded. He was sent of his superstitious parents, being young, unto Rome; who there, after long continuance, growing up in age and knowledge, but especially being instructed by the Lord in the truth of his word, after he was known to dislike the pope's doctrine, and the impure doings at Rome, was apprehended and taken of certain of his own countrymen, and some of his own household friends at Rome, at the same time when he was preparing to take his journey to his brother Francis Encenas, in Germany. Thus he, being betrayed and taken by his own countrymen, was brought before the cardinals, and there committed straight to prison. Afterwards he was brought forth to give testimony of his doctrine, which, in the presence of the cardinals, and in the face of all the pope's retinue, he boldly and constantly defended; so that not only the cardinals, but especially the Spaniards, being therewith offended, cried out upon him that he should be burned. The cardinals first, before the sentence of death should be given, came to him, offering, if he would take it, (after the manner of the Spaniards,) the badge of reconciliation, which hath the name of Sanbenit's cloth, made in form of a mantle, going both before him and behind him, with signs of the red cross. But Encenas, still constant in the profession of truth, denied to receive any other condition or badge, but only the badge of the Lord, which was to seal the doctrine of his religion with the testimony of his blood. At last the matter was brought to that issue, that the faithful servant and witness of Christ was judged and condemned to the fire; where he, in the sight of the cardinals, and in the face of the apostolic see pretended, gave up his life for the testimony of the gospel.

And forasmuch as mention hath been made both in this story, and many others before, of Franciscus Encenas, his brother, here is not to be pretermitted, how the said Franciscus, being a man of notable learning as ever was any in Spain, being in the emperor's court at Brussels, offered unto the emperor Charles the Fifth the New Testament of Christ, translated into Spanish. For the which he was cast into prison, where he remained in sorrowful captivity and calamity the space of fifteen months, looking for nothing more than present death. At last, through the marvellous providence of Almighty God, on the first of February, A.D. 1545, at eight o'clock after supper, he found the doors of the prison standing open, and he secretly was moved in his mind to take the occasion offered, and to shift for himself; and so, issuing out of the prison, without any hasty pace, but going as leisurely as he could, he escaped from thence, and went straight to Germany.

 

Faninus, at Ferrara, A.D. 1550. Persecuted by Pope Julius the Third.

Faninus, born in Faventia, a town in Italy, through the reading of godly books translated into the Italian tongue, (having no perfect skill in the Latin,) was converted from great blindness, to the wholesome knowledge of Christ and of his word; wherein he took such a sweetness, and so grew up in the meditation of the same, that he was able in short time to instruct others. Neither was there any diligence Lacking in him to communicate that abroad which he had received of the Lord: being so in his mind persuaded, that a man, receiving by the Spirit of God the knowledge and illumination of his verity, ought in no case to hide the same in silence, as a candle under a bushel. And therefore, being occupied diligently in that behalf, albeit he used not publicly to preach, but by private conference to teach, he was at length by the pope's clients espied, apprehended, and committed to prison. Albeit he remained not long in prison, for by the earnest persuasions and prayers of his wife, his children and other friends, he was so overcome, that he gave over, and so was dismissed shortly out of prison. After this, it was not long but he fell into horrible perturbation of mind; insomuch that unless the great mercy of God had kept him up, he had fallen into utter desperation, for slipping from the truth, and preferring the love of his friends and kindred before the service of Jesus Christ, whom he so earnestly before had professed. This wound went so deep into his heart, that he could in no case be quieted, before he had fully fixed and determined in his mind, to adventure his life more faithfully in the service of the Lord.

Whereupon, he being thus inflamed with zeal of spirit, he went about all the country of Romania, publicly preaching the pure doctrine of the gospel, not without great fruit and effect in places as he went. As he was thus labouring, it so fell out that he was apprehended again, A.D. 1547, in a place called Bagnacavallo, where also he was condemned to be burned; but he said his hour was not yet come, and the same to be but the beginning of his doctrine. And so it was; for shortly after he was removed unto Ferrara, where he was detained two years. At last the inquisitors of the pope's heresies condemned him to death, A.D. 1549; and yet his time being not come, he remained after that to the month of September, A.D. 1550. In the mean time many faithful and good men came to visit him, for which the pope commanded him to be enclosed in straiter custody; wherein he suffered great torments the space of eighteen months, and yet had suffered greater, if the Dominic Friars might have got him into their house, as they went about. Thus Faninus, removed from prison to prison, many times changed his place, but never altered his constancy.

At length he was brought into a prison, where were divers great lords, captains, and noble personages there committed, for stirring up commotions and factions, (as the country of Italy is full of such,) who at first, hearing him speak, began to set him at nought, and to deride him, supposing that it was but a melancholy humour that troubled his brain. Whereupon, such as seemed more sage amongst them, began to exhort him to leave his opinion, and to live with men as other men do, and not to vex his mind, but to suspend his judgment till the matter were decided in the general council. To whom Faninus again, first giving them thanks for their friendly good wills wherewith they seemed to respect his well-doing, modestly and quietly declared unto them, how the doctrine which he professed was no humour or opinion of man's brain, but the pure verity of God, founded in his word, and revealed to men in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and especially now in these days restored; which verity he had fully determined in his mind never to deny, to believe the lying fantasies of men. And as in his soul, which was redeemed by the blood of the Son of God, he was free from all bondage; so likewise as touching councils, he looked for no other sentence or authority, he said, but that only which he knew to be declared to us by Christ Jesus in his, gospel, which he both preached with his word, and confirmed with his blood, &c. With these and such other words, he so moved their minds, that they were clean altered unto a new kind of life, having him now in admiration, whom they had before in derision, and accounted him for a holy person: to whom he proceeded still to preach the word of grace, declaring and confessing himself to be a miserable sinner; but by the faith of the Lord Jesus, and through the grace only of him, he was fully persuaded and well assured his sins were forgiven: like as all their sins also should be remitted to them through their faith in Christ only, they believing his gospel.

There were others also besides these, who, having used before a more delicate kind of life, could not well away with the sharpness and the hardness of the prison. These also received such comfort by the said Faninus, that not only they were quietly contented, but also rejoiced in this their captivity, by the occasion whereof they had received and learned a better liberty than ever they knew before.

When the imprisonment of this Faninus was known to his parents and kinsfolk, his wife and sister came to him with weeping persuasions, to move him to consider and care for his poor family; to whom he answered again, that his Lord and Master had commanded him, not to deny Him for looking to his family; and that it was enough for them that he had once, for their sakes, fallen into that cowardliness which they knew. Wherefore he desired them to depart in peace, and solicit him no more therein, for his end, he said, he knew to draw near: and so he commended them unto the Lord.

About the same time died Pope Paul the Third, and after him succeeded Julius the Third, which then sent letters and commandment that Faninus should be executed; whereof when one of the magistrates' officers brought him word the next day, he rejoiced thereat, and gave the messenger thanks, and began to preach a long sermon to them that were about him, of the felicity and beatitude of the life to come. Then the messenger exhorted him that, in case he would change his opinion, he should save both this life, and enjoy that to come. Another asked him in what case he should leave his little children and his wife, or what stay should they be at, he so leaving them: wherefore he desired him to have respect both to himself and to them. Faninus answered, that he had left them with an overseer, which would see unto them sufficiently: and being asked who he was? "The Lord Jesus Christ," said he, "a faithful keeper, and a conserver of all that is committed to him." After that the messenger was thus departed from Faninus, all full of tears and sorrow, the next day following he was removed into the common prison, and delivered to the secular magistrate. Who in all ways, his words, his gestures, and his countenance, declared such constancy of faith, such modesty of manners and tranquillity of mind, that they that before were extreme against him, thinking him rather to have a devil, began now favourably to hearken to him, and to commend him. With such grace and sweetness he talked, ever speaking of the word of God, that divers of the magistrates' wives, in hearing him, could not abstain from weeping. The executioner also wept himself. One of the public scribes then came to him, and said, that if he would relent from his opinion, the pope's pleasure was, that he should be saved: but that he refused. This was marvellous, that he, having but small skill in the Latin, yet recited so many and sundry places of the Scripture without book, and that so truly and promptly, as though he had studied nothing else. One, seeing him so jocund and merry going to his death, asked, why he was so merry at his death, seeing Christ himself sweat blood and water before his passion? "Christ," said he, "sustained in his body all the sorrows, and conflicts with hell and death, due unto us; by whose suffering we are delivered from sorrow and fear of them all." Finally, early in the morning he was brought forth where he should suffer, who, after his prayers most earnestly made unto the Lord, meekly and patiently gave himself to the stake, where, with a cord drawn about his neck, he was secretly strangled of the hangman, in the city of Ferrara, three hours before day, to the intent the people should not see him, nor hear him speak: and after, about dinner-time, his body in the same place was burned. At the burning thereof such a fragrant and odoriferous scent came to all them there present, and so struck their senses, that the sweetness thereof seemed to refresh them no less than his words would have done, if they had heard him speak.

The custom is of that city, that the bones and ashes which be left, should be carried out of the city; but neither the magistrate, nor the bishop, nor his great vicar or chancellor, nor any divine else, would take any charge thereof, every man transferring that burden from themselves, to him which was the cause of his death. Whereby it may appear, what secret judgment and estimation all they had of that good and blessed man. At last, the people took his burned bones, with the cinders, and carried them out of the street of the city.

 

Dominicus de Basana, at Placentia, A.D. 1550.

The same year that the aforesaid Faninus suffered in Ferrara, Dominicus also suffered in the city of Placentia. This Dominicus was a citizen in Basana, and followed the wars of Charles the emperor in Germany, where he received the first taste of Christ's gospel, wherein he increased more and more by conferring and reasoning with learned men, so that in a short time he was able to instruct many; and so did, working and travelling in the church, till at length, in the year 1550, he, coming to the city of Naples, there preached the word, and from thence proceeding to Placentia, preached there likewise unto the people, of true confession, of purgatory, and of pardons. Furthermore, the next day he treated of true faith and of good works, how far they are necessary to salvation, promising moreover the next day to speak of antichrist, and to paint him out in his colours. When the hour came that he should begin his sermon, the magistrate of the city commanded him to come down from the chair in the market-place, and deliver himself to the officers. Dominicus was willing and ready to obey the commandment, saying, that he did much marvel that the devil could suffer him so long in that kind of exercise. From thence he was led to the bishop's chancellor, and asked whether he was a priest, and how he was placed in that function? He answered, that he was no priest of the pope, but of Jesus Christ, by whom he was lawfully called to that office. Then was he demanded, whether he would renounce his doctrine? He answered, that he maintained no doctrine of his own, but only the doctrine of Christ, which also he was ready to seal with his blood, and also gave hearty thanks to God, which so accepted him, as worthy to glorify his name with his martyrdom. Upon this he was committed to a filthy and stinking prison, where after he had remained a few months, he was exhorted divers times to revoke, otherwise he should suffer; but still he remained constant in his doctrine: whereupon when the time came assigned for his punishment, he was brought to the market-place, where he preached, and there was hanged; who, most heartily praying for his enemies, so finished his days in this miserable, wretched world.

 

Galeazius Trecius, at the city called Laus Pompeia, in Italy, A.D. 1551. Accused by the bishop of St. Angelo and his priests.

St. Angelo is a certain fortress or castle in Italy, within Lombardy, not far from the city called Laus Pompeia, belonging also to the same diocese. In this fort of St. Angelo was a house of Augustine Friars, unto whom used much to resort a certain friar of the same order, dwelling at Pavia, named Mainard, a man well expert in the study of Scripture, and of a godly conversation. By this Mainard, divers not only of the friars, but also of other townsmen, were reduced to the love and knowledge of God's word, and to the detestation of the pope's abuses. Among whom was also this Galeazius, a gentleman of good calling, and wealthy in worldly substance, and very beneficial to the poor, who, first by conference with the friars, and also with his brother-in-law, began to conceive some light in God's truth, and afterwards was confirmed more thoroughly by C?lius Secundus Curio, who, then being driven by persecution, came from Pavia to the said place of St. Angelo. In process of time, as this Galeazius increased in judgment and zeal, in setting forward the wholesome word of God's grace, as a light shining in darkness, could not so lie hid, but at last, A.D. 1551, certain were sent from the forenamed city of Laus Pompeia to lay hands upon him, who brought him to the bishop's palace; where he was kept in bands, having under him only a pad of straw. Although his wife sent unto him a good featherbed with sheets to lie in, yet the bishop's chaplains and officers kept it from him, dividing the prey among themselves.

When the time came that he should be examined, he was thrice brought before the commissioners, where he rendered reasons and causes of his faith, answering to their interrogatories with such evidence of Scripture, and constancy of mind, that he was an admiration to them that heard him. Albeit not long after, through the importunate persuasions of his kinsfolk and friends, the other cold gospellers, laying many considerations before his eyes, he was brought at length to assent to certain points of the pope's doctrine. But yet the mercy of God, which began with him, so left him not, but brought him again to such repentance, and bewailing of his fact, that he became afterwards (according to the example of Peter, and St. Cyprian, and others) double-wise more valiant in defence of Christ's quarrel; neither did he ever desire anything more than occasion to be offered to recover again by confession, that he had lost before by denial; affirming, that he never felt more joy of heart than at the time of his examinations, where he stood thrice to the constant confession of the truth; and contrary, that he never tasted more sorrow in all his life, than when he slipped afterwards from the same by dissimulation: declaring, moreover, to his brethren, that death was much more sweet unto him, with testimony of the verity, than life with the least denial of truth, and loss of a good conscience. Thus Galeazius, mourning for his fall in prison, after he heard of his friends that nothing was yet so far past, but that he might recover himself again, and that his infirmity was not prejudicial, but rather a furtherance, to God's glory, and admonition to himself to stand more strongly hereafter, took thereby exceeding comfort; and when they would have left with him a book of the New Testament for his comfort, he refused it, saying, that he had in his heart whatsoever Christ there spake to his disciples: also what happened both to Christ and himself, and to his apostles, for confessing the word of truth.

Furthermore, so comfortable was he after that, that they who talked with him continued all the day without meat or drink, and would also have tarried all the night following, if they might have been suffered.

As Galeazius thus continued in the prison, looking for some occasion to recover himself again from his fall, it followed in short time that the inquisitors and priests repaired to him again in the prison, supposing that he would confirm now that which before he had granted to them; and required him so to do. Galeazius, denying all that he had granted to them before, returned again to the defence of his former doctrine with much more boldness of spirit, confessing Christ, as he did before, and detesting images, affirming and proving that God only is to be worshipped, and that in spirit and verity: also to be no more mediators but Christ alone, and that he only and sufficiently, by his suffering, hath taken away the sins of the whole world; and that all they which depart hence in this faith, are ascertained of everlasting life; they which do not, are under everlasting damnation; with such other like matter, which was repugnant utterly to the pope's proceedings. With this confession made, as his mind was greatly refreshed, so the adversaries went away as much appalled; who, at last, perceiving that he in no case could be revoked, caused him to be committed to the secular judge to be burned.

Thus Galeazius, early in the morning being brought out of prison to the market-place, there was left standing bound to the stake till noon, as a gazing-stock for all men to look upon. In the which mean time many came about him, exhorting him to recant, and not so to cast away his life, whereas with ten words speaking he might save it. And if he cared not for his life, nor for his country where he should live, nor for his goods and possessions, which should be confiscated, yet he should somewhat respect his wife whom he loved so well, and his young children; at least he should consider his own soul. This counsel gave they, which more esteemed the commodities of this present life, than any true soul's health in the life to come. But to conclude, nothing could stir the settled mind of this valiant martyr; wherefore fire was commanded at last to be put to the dry wood about him, wherewith he was shortly consumed, without any noise or crying, saving only these words heard in the middle of the flame, "Lord Jesu! "This was A.D. 1551, November 24.

Touching the story of this blessed martyr, this by the way is to be given for a memorandum, that a little before this Galeazius should be burned, there was a controversy between the mayor of the city, and the bishop's clergy, for the expenses of the wood that should go to his burning. He, hearing thereof, sent word to both the parties to agree, for he himself, of his own goods, would see the cost of that matter discharged.

Another note, moreover, here is to be added, that while Galeazius was in captivity, certain of the papists, perceiving that Galeazius had great goods and possessions, practised with his wife, under colour to release her husband, that she should lay out a sum of money to be sent to the wife of the chief lord of Milan, called Ferrarus Gonzaga, to the end that she should treat both with her husband, and with the senate, for Galeazius's life; which money when they had thus juggled unto their hands, Galeazius notwithstanding was burned; and so was the silly woman robbed and defeated, both of her husband, and also of her money.

 

D. Johannes Mollius, a Grey Friar; also a certain weaver of Perugia; at Rome, A.D. 1553. Persecuted by the following parties: Cornelius, a professor of Bologna; Cardinal Campeius, and Cardinal del Campo: also by Bonaventure, a general; six cardinals, and Pope Julius the Third.

Johannes Mollius Montilcinus, being but twelve years old, with his brother Augustine, was set of his parents in the house of the Grey Friars, where he in short time, having a fresh wit, far excelled his fellows in all tongues and liberal sciences. So growing up to the age of eighteen, he was ordained priest, and sang his first mass. After that he was sent to Ferrara to study, where he so profited in the space of six years, that he was assigned, by Vigerius, general of that order, to be doctor, and then reader in divinity; who then, with his sophistry, opposed himself as an utter enemy against the gospel. From thence he went to Breschia, and the next year following to Milan, where he read or professed openly. Again, from thence he was taken by Franciscus Sfortia, and brought to the university of Pavia, there openly to profess philosophy, where he remained four years. After that he was called to the university of Bologna, by Laurentius Spatha, general of that order, where he was occupied in reading the books of Aristotle De Anima. In the mean time God wrought in his soul such light of his word, and of true religion, that he, waxing weary of professing philosophy, began secretly to expound the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans to a few; which being known, his auditors increased so fast, that he was compelled to read openly in the temple. Where, as the number of his audience daily augmented, so the eager fervency of their minds so mightily increased withal, that every man almost came with his pen and ink to write, and great diligence was bestowed how to come betimes to take up the first places, where they might best hear; which was about A.D. 1538. There was the same time, at Bologna, one Cornelius, an arrogant babbler, who, envying the doings of Johannes, took upon him, at the request of Cardinal Campeius, to expound the said Epistle of St. Paul, confuting and disproving the explanation of the said Johannes, and extolling the pope with all his traditions. Contrary, Johannes extolled and commended only Christ and his merits to the people. But the purpose of Cornelius came to small effect. For the auditors which first came unto him, began by little to fall from him; and the concourse of the other man's auditors more and more increased.

Which when Cornelius perceived, he persuaded Campeius, that unless he provided that man to be despatched, the estimation of the Church of Rome would thereby greatly decay. But when they could not openly bring their purpose about, secretly this way was devised, that Cornelius and Johannes should come to open disputation; which disputation endured till three o'clock after midnight. At length, when neither party could agree, Johannes was bid to return home to his house, who, as he was come down the lower steps where the place was straitest, so that his friends could not come to rescue him, (although by drawing their swords they declared their good wills,) was there taken and laid fast in prison. When the day came, such tumult and stir was in the whole city, that Cornelius was driven to hide himself; also Campeius the cardinal, and the bishop there, were both contemned of the students. The next day the bishop of Bologna sent his chancellor to Johannes in the prison, to signify unto him, that either he must recant, or else burn. But he, being of a bold and cheerful spirit, would in no wise be brought to recant. This one thing grieved him, that he should be condemned, his cause being not heard.

In the mean season, Laurentius Spatha, above-mentioned, being general of that order, in most speedy wise posted up to Rome, and there so practised with the cardinal St. Crucis, the proctor in the court of Rome for the Grey Friars, that the pope wrote down his letters to Campeius, that he should deliver the said John out of prison; so that he, notwithstanding, within three months after, should personally appear at Rome. Thus, the thirtieth day of his imprisonment, he was delivered: who, but for the coming of the pope's letters, had been burned within three days after. Moreover, with the said Mollius, Cornelius also was cited to make his appearance likewise at Rome, and there was detained in prison by the cardinal St. Crucis, till his cause should be decided. The friends of Mollius gave him counsel not to go to Rome, and offered him money to go to Germany; but he would not, saying, that the gospel must also be preached at Rome. After he was come to Rome, and appeared before Pope Paul the Third, humbly he desired, that the cause, being so weighty, might come in public hearing; but that could not be obtained. Then was he commanded to write his mind in articles, and to bring his proofs; which he diligently performed, treating of original sin, justification by faith, freewill, purgatory, and other such like; proving the said articles by the authority of the Scripture, and of ancient fathers; and so exhibited the same to the bishop of Rome. Upon this, certain cardinals and bishops were assigned to have the cause in hearing; who disputed with him three days, and could not refel what he had proved. At last answer was made unto him thus: That it was truth which he affirmed, nevertheless the same was not meet for this present time; for that it could not be taught or published without the detriment of the apostolic see; wherefore he should abstain hereafter from the Epistles of St. Paul, and so return again safe to Bologna, and there profess philosophy. Thus as he was returned to Bologna, and all men there were desirous to know of his case, how he sped at Rome, openly in the pulpit he declared all things in order as they were done, and gave God thanks.

Herewith Campeius, being more offended than before, obtained of the pope, that the general of the order should remove the said John Mollius from Bologna, and place him some other where. So Mollius from thence was sent to Naples, and there was appointed reader and preacher in the monastery of St. Laurence. But Peter, the viceroy there, not abiding his doctrine, so nearly sought his death, that he had much ado to escape with life; and so, departing from thence, he went wandering into Italy, from place to place, preaching Christ wheresoever he came. Not long after this, when Cardinal Campeius was dead, he was called again unto Bologna, by a good abbot named De Grassis, A.D. 1543, where he renewed again the reading of St. Paul's Epistles after a secret sort, as he did before; but that could not be long undiscovered. Whereupon, by means of Cardinal de Capo, and by Bonaventure the general, he was apprehended the second time, and brought to Faventia, and laid there in a filthy and stinking prison, where he continued four years, no man having leave once to come to him. During which time of his endurance, he wrote a commentary upon the books of Moses; but that labour, by the malignity of the adversaries, was suppressed. At length, through the intercession of the Earl Petilianus, and of the aforesaid good abbot De Grassis, he was again delivered, and sent to Ravenna, where he made his abode a few months with the abbot of St. Vitalem, and there again taught the gospel of Christ as before; and whensoever he spake of the name of Jesus, his eyes dropped tears, for he was fraught with a mighty fervency of God's Holy Spirit.

In process of time, when this abbot was dead, his sureties began to be weary of their bond, and so was he again now the third time reduced into prison by the pope's legates. There were then four men of great authority, who, being stirred up of God, had pity upon him, and bailed him out of prison; of whom, one of the said sureties took the said Mollius home, to instruct his children in the doctrine of religion and good letters. Furthermore, at the fame of this man, such a concourse of people came to see him, that the adversaries began to consult with themselves to kill him, lest his doctrine should disperse further abroad, to the detriment of the Church of Rome: whereupon commandment was sent to the pope's legate to lay hands upon him, and to send him up fast bound to Rome, where again, now the fourth time, he was imprisoned in the castle of Rome, and there continued eighteen months, being greatly assaulted, sometimes with flattering promises, sometimes with terrible threats, to give over his opinion: but his building could not be shaken, for it was grounded upon a sure rock. Thus Dr. Mollius, being constant in the defence of Christ's gospel, was brought, with certain other men, (which were also apprehended for religion,) into the temple of St. Mary, called De Minerva, on the fifth day of September, A.D. 1553; either there to revoke, or to be burned. There sat upon them six cardinals in high seats, besides the judge, before whom preached a Dominic Friar, which, cruelly inveighing against the poor prisoners, incensed the cardinals, with all the vehemency he might, to their condemnation. The poor men stood holding a burning taper in their hands, of whom some for fear of death revolted: but this Doctor Mollius, with a weaver of Perugia, remained constant. Then Mollius began an earnest sermon in the Italian tongue, wherein he confirmed the articles of the faith by the sacred Scriptures, declaring also that the pope was not the successor of Peter, but antichrist, and that his sectaries do figure the whore of Babylon. Moreover, he cited them up to the tribunal seat of Christ, and threw away the burning taper from him: whereupon they, being replenished with anger, condemned him with the weaver to the fire, and commanded them to be had away. So were they carried incontinent to the camp or field, called Florianum, where they remained cheerful and constant. First, the weaver was hanged. Mollius then, willing the hangman to execute his office likewise upon him, began to exhort the people to beware of idolatry, and to have no other saviours but Christ alone; for he only is the mediator between God and man. And so was he also hanged, commending his soul to God, and afterwards laid in the fire and burned. The people having divers judgments upon him, some said he died a heretic, some said he was a good man.

 

Two monks of the house of St. Austin in Rome, A.D. 1554; having being impeached by the senate of Milan.

Furthermore, in the same city of Rome, and about the same time, in the monastery of St. Austin, were found two monks in their cells, with their tongues and their heads cut off, only for rebuking the immoderate and outrageous excess of the cardinals, as witnesseth Manlius. Such was the cruelty then of the malignant adversaries.

 

Francis Gamba, at Como. Persecuted in the diocese, and by the senate of Milan, A.D. 1554.

Francis Gamba, born in the city of Breschia, in Lombardy, after he had received the knowledge of the gospel, went to Geneva, to confer about certain necessary affairs with them that were wise and learned in that church, which was about the time when the Lord's supper there was administered at Pentecost; who there also at the same time did communicate with them. Afterwards, on his return home, as he was passing over the lake of Como, he was taken and brought to Como, and there committed to ward. During the time of which imprisonment, divers and sundry, as well nobles as others, with doctors also, especially priests and monks, resorted unto him, labouring by all manner of means, and most fair promises, to reduce him from his opinions, which seemed to some but fantasies coming of some humour. To some they seemed uncatholic or heretical. But he, constantly disputing with them by the manifest Scriptures, declared the opinions which he defended, not to be any vain speculations or imaginary fantasies of man's doting brain, but the pure verity of God, and the evident doctrine of Jesus Christ, expressed in his word, necessary for all men to believe, and also to maintain unto death: and therefore for his part, rather than he would be found false to Christ and his word, he was there ready, not to deny, but to stand to, Christ's gospel, to the effusion of his blood.

Thus when he could in no wise be reclaimed from the doctrine of truth, letters came from the senate of Milan, that he should be executed with death; which execution, as they of Como were about to prepare, in the mean while came other letters from Geneva, written by the emperor's ambassador, and other nobles of Milan, by the which his death was delayed for a time, till at length other letters were sent again from the senate of Milan, requiring execution of the sentence. Nevertheless, through intercession of his friends, one week's respite more was granted him, to prove whether he might be won again to the pope's church; that is to say, lost from God. Thus he, being mightily and long assailed both by friends, and by enemies terrified, yet by no persuasions would be expugned, but gave thanks to God, that he was made worthy to suffer the rebukes of this world, and cruel death, for the testimony of his Son; and so went he cheerfully unto his death. Then came certain Franciscan Friars to him to hear his confession, which he refused. Also they brought in their hands a cross for him to behold, to keep him from desperation at the feeling of the fire; but his mind, he said, was so replenished with joy and comfort in Christ, that he needed neither their cross nor them. After this, as he was declaring many comfortable things to the people, of the fruition of those heavenly joys above which God hath prepared for his, because he should speak no more to the people, his tongue was bored through; and so immediately being tied to the stake, there he was strangled till he was dead; every man there giving testimony, who saw his constancy, that he died a good man.

 

Pomponius Algerius, at Rome. Persecuted by Pope Paul the Fourth, and the magistrates of Venice, A.D. 1555.

Pomponius Algerius, born in Capua, a young man of great learning, was student in the university of Padua, where he, not being able to conceal and keep close the verity of Christ's gospel, which he learned by the heavenly teaching of God's grace, ceased not, both by doctrine and example of life, to inform as many as he could in the same doctrine, and to bring them to Christ. For the which he was accused of heresy to Pope Paul the Fourth, who, sending immediately to the magistrates of Venice, caused him to be apprehended at Padua, and carried to Venice, where he was long detained in prison and bonds, till at last the pope commanded the magistrates there to send him up bound unto Rome, which the Venetians eftsoons accomplished. After he was brought to Rome, manifold persuasions and allurements were essayed to remove the virtuous and blessed young man from his sentence: but when no worldly persuasions could prevail against the operation of God's Spirit in him, then was he adjudged to be burned alive; which death most constantly he sustained, to the great admiration of all that beheld him.

Being in prison at Venice, he wrote an epistle to the afflicted saints; which for the notable sweetness and most wonderful consolation contained in the same, in showing forth the mighty operation of God's holy power working in his afflicted saints that suffer for his sake, I have thought good and expedient to communicate, as a principal monument amongst all other martyrs' letters, not only with the other letters which shall be inserted hereafter (the Lord willing) in the end of the book, but also in this present place to be read, to the intent that both they which be, or shall be hereafter, in affliction, may take consolation; and also they that yet follow the trade of this present world, in comparing the joys and commodities thereof with these joys here expressed, may learn and consider with themselves, what difference there is between them both, and thereby may learn to dispose themselves in such sort, as may be to their edification, and perpetual felicity of their souls. The copy of the letter, first written in Latin, we have translated into English, the tenor whereof here ensueth:

 

A comfortable letter of Pomponius Algerius an Italian.

"To his most dearly beloved brethren and fellow servants in Christ, which are departed out of Babylon into Mount Sion; grace, peace, and health, from God our Father, by Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour!

"To mitigate your sorrow which you take for me, I cannot but impart unto you some portion of my delectations and joys, which I feel and find, to the intent you with me may rejoice and sing before the Lord, giving thanks unto him. I shall utter that which no man will believe when I shall declare it. I have found a nest of honey and honey-comb in the entrails of a lion. Who will ever believe that I shall say? or what man will ever think in the deep dark dungeon to find a paradise of pleasure? in the place of sorrow and death, to dwell in tranquillity and hope of life? in a cave infernal, to be found joy of soul? and where other men do weep, there to be rejoicing? where others do shake and tremble, there strength and boldness to be plenty? Who will ever think, or who will believe this? in such a woeful state, such delectation? in a place so desolate, such society of good men? in strait bands and cold irons, such rest to be had? All these things the sweet hand of the Lord, my sweet brethren! doth minister unto me. Behold, he that that was once far from me, now is present with me; whom once scarce I could feel, now I see more apparently; whom once I saw afar off, now I behold near at hand; whom once I hungered for, the same now approacheth and reacheth his hand unto me. He doth comfort me, and heapeth me up with gladness; he driveth away all bitterness; he ministereth strength and courage; he healeth me, refresheth, advanceth, and comforteth me. Oh how good is the Lord, who suffereth not his servants to be tempted above their strength! Oh how easy and sweet is his yoke! Is there any like unto the Highest, who receiveth the afflicted, healeth the wounded, and nourisheth them? Is there any like unto him? Learn, ye well-beloved! how amiable the Lord is, how meek and merciful he is, which visiteth his servants in temptations, neither disdaineth he to keep company with us in such vile and stinking caves. Will the blind and incredulous world, think you, believe this? or rather will it not say thus: No, thou wilt never be able to abide long the burning heat, the cold snow, and the pinching hardness of that place, the manifold miseries, and other grievances innumerable. The rebukes and frowning faces of men, how wilt thou suffer? Post thou not consider and revolve in thy mind thy pleasant country, the riches of the world, thy kinsfolk, the delicate pleasures and honours of this life? dost thou forget the solace of thy sciences, and the fruit of all thy labours? Wilt thou thus lose all thy labours which thou hast hitherto sustained? so many nights watched? thy painful travails, and all thy laudable enterprises, wherein thou hast been exercised continually even from thy childhood? Finally, fearest thou not death, which hangeth over thee, and that for no crime committed? Oh what a fool art thou, which for one word speaking mayst salve all this, and wilt not! What a rude and unmannerly thing is this, not to be entreated at the instant petitions and desires of such, so many and so mighty, so just, so virtuous, so prudent and gracious senators, and such noble personages, &c.

"But now to answer: Let this blind world hearken to this again, What heat can there be more burning, than that fire which is prepared for thee hereafter? and likewise what snow can be more cold than thy heart which is in darkness, and hath no light? What thing is more hard, and sharp, or crooked, than this present life which here we lead? what thing more odious and hateful than this world here present? And let these worldly men here answer me, What country can we have more sweet than the heavenly country above? what treasures more rich or precious than everlasting life? And who be our kinsmen, but they which hear the word of God? Where be greater riches, or dignities more honourable, than in heaven? And as touching the sciences, let this foolish world consider, be they not ordained to learn to know God, whom unless we do know, all our labours, our night watchings, our studies, and all our enterprises serve to no use or purpose; all is but lost labour.

"Furthermore, let the miserable worldly man answer me, What remedy or safe refuge can there be unto him, if he lack God, who is the life and medicine of all men? and how can he be said to fly from death, when he himself is already dead in sin? If Christ be the way, verity, and life, how can there be any life then without Christ? The sultry heat of the prison to me is coldness; the cold winter to me is a fresh spring-time in the Lord. He that feareth not to be burned in the fire, how will he fear the heat of weather? or what careth be for the pinching frost, who burneth with the love of the Lord? The place is sharp and tedious to them that be guilty, but to the innocent and guiltless it is mellifluous. Here droppeth the delectable dew; here floweth the pleasant nectar; here runneth the sweet milk; here is plenty of all good things. And although the place itself be desert and barren, yet to me it seemeth a large walk, and a valley of pleasure; here to me is the better and more noble part of the world. Let the miserable worldling say and confess, if there be any plot, pasture, or meadow so delightful to the mind of man, as here. Here I see kings, princes, cities, and people; here I see wars, where some be overthrown, some be victors, some thrust down, some lifted up. Here is the Mount Sion; here I am already in heaven itself; here standeth first Christ Jesus in the front. About him stand the old fathers, prophets, and evangelists, and apostles, and all the servants of God: of whom some do embrace and cherish me, some exhort me, some open the sacraments unto me, some comfort me, other some singing about me. And how then shall I be thought to be alone, among so many, and such as these be? the beholding of whom to me is both solace and example: for here I see some crucified, some slain, some stoned, some cut asunder and some quartered, some roasted, some broiled, some put in hot cauldrons, some having their eyes bored through, some their tongues cut out, some their skin plucked over their heads, some their hands and feet chopped off, some put in kilns and furnaces, some cast down headlong and given to the beasts and fowls of the air to feed upon: it would ask a long time if I should recite all.

"To be short, divers I see with divers and sundry torments excruciate; yet, notwithstanding, all living, and all safe. One plaster, one salve, cureth all their wounds: which also gives to them strength and life, so that I sustain all these transitory anguishes and small afflictions with a quiet mind, having a greater hope laid up in heaven. Neither do I fear mine adversaries which here persecute me and oppress me; for He that dwelleth in the heaven shall laugh them to scorn, and the Lord shall deride them. I fear not thousands of people which compass me about. The Lord my God shall deliver me, my hope, my supporter, my comforter, who exalteth my head. He shall smite all them that stand up against me without cause, and shall dash the teeth and jaws of sinners asunder; for he only is all blessedness and majesty. The rebukes for Christ's cause make us jocund; for so it is written, If ye be rebuked and scorned for the name of Christ, happy be you; for the glory and Spirit of God resteth upon you, 1 Pet. iv. Be you therefore certified, that our rebukes which are laid upon us, redound to the shame and harm of the rebukers. In this world there is no mansion firm to me; and therefore I travel up to the New Jerusalem which is in heaven, and which offereth itself unto me without paying any fine or income. Behold, I have entered already on my journey, where my house standeth for me prepared, and where I shall have riches, kinsfolks, delights, honours never failing. As for these earthly things here present, they are transitory shadows, vanishing vapours, and ruinous walls. Briefly, all is but very vanity of vanities, where hope and the substance of eternity to come are wanting; which the merciful goodness of the Lord hath given as companions to accompany me, and to comfort me: and now do the same begin to work and to bring forth fruits in me. I have travailed hitherto, laboured and sweat early and late, watching day and night, and now my travails begin to come to effect. Days and hours have I bestowed upon my studies. Behold, the true countenance of God is sealed upon me; the Lord hath given mirth in my heart; and therefore in the same will I lay me down in peace and rest, Psal. iv. And who then shall dare to blame this our age consumed, or say that our years be cut off? What man can now cavil that these our labours are lost, which have followed and found out the Lord and Maker of this world, and which have changed death for life? My portion is the Lord, saith my soul, and therefore I will seek and wait for him. Now then, if to die in the Lord be not to die, but to live most joyfully, where is this wretched worldly rebel, which blameth us of folly, for giving away our lives to death? Oh how delectable is this death to me, to taste the Lord's cup, which is an assured pledge of true salvation! for so hath the Lord himself forewarned us, saying, The same that they have done to me, they will also do unto you. Wherefore let the doltish world, with its blind worldlings, (who in the bright sunshine yet go stumbling in darkness, being as blind as beetles,) cease thus unwisely to carp against us for our rash suffering, as they count it: to whom thus we answer again with the holy apostle, Neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor hunger, nor nakedness, nor jeopardy, nor persecution, nor sword, shall be able ever to separate us from the love of Christ. We are slain all the day long; we are made like sheep ordained to the shambles, Rom. viii. Thus do we resemble Christ our Head, who said, that the disciple cannot be above his master, nor the servant above his lord. The same Lord hath also commanded that every one shall take up his cross and follow him, Luke ix. Rejoice, rejoice, my dear brethren and fellow servants! and be of good comfort, when ye fall into sundry temptations. Let your patience be perfect on all parts; for so is it foreshowed us before, and is written, that they that shall kill you, shall think to do God good service. Therefore afflictions and death be as tokens and sacraments of our election and life to come. Let us then be glad and sing to the Lord, when we, being clear from all just accusation, are persecuted and given to death: for better it is, that we in doing well do suffer, if it so be the will of the Lord, than doing evil, 1 Pet. iii. We have for our example Christ and the prophets, who spake in the name of the Lord, whom the children of iniquity did quell and murder; and now we bless and magnify them that then suffered. Let us be glad and joyous in our innocency and uprightness. The Lord shall reward them that persecute us; let us refer all revengement to him.

"I am accused of foolishness, for that I do not shrink from the true doctrine and knowledge of God, and do not rid myself out of these troubles, when with one word I may. Oh the blindness of man! who seeth not the sun shining, neither remembereth the Lord's words. Consider therefore what he saith, You are the light of the world. A city builded on the hill cannot be hid; neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine, and give light to them in the house. And in another place he saith, You shall be led before kings and rulers; fear ye not them that kill the body, but him which killeth both body and soul. Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven; and he that denieth me before men, him will I also deny before my heavenly Father. Wherefore seeing the words of the Lord be so plain, how, or by what authority, will this wise counsellor then approve this his counsel which he doth give? God forbid that I should relinquish the commandments of God, and follow the counsels of men; for it is written, Blessed is the man that hath not gone in the ways of sinners, and hath not stood in the counsel of the ungodly, and hath not set in the chair of pestilence, Psalm i. God forbid that I should deny Christ, where I ought to confess him. I will not set more by my life, than by my soul; neither will I exchange the life to come for this world here present. Oh how foolishly speaketh he which argueth me of foolishness!

"Neither do I take it to be a thing so uncomely, or unseeming for me, not to obey in this matter the requests of those so honourable, just, prudent, virtuous, and noble senators, whose desires (he saith) were enough to command me: for so are we taught of the apostles, that we ought to obey God before men. After that we have served and done our duty first unto God, then are we bound next to obey the potentates of this world; whom I wish to be perfect before the Lord. They are honourable; but yet are they to be made more perfect in the Lord: they are just; but yet Christ, the seat of justice, is lacking in them: they are wise; but where is in them the beginning of wisdom, that is, the fear of the Lord? they are called virtuous; but yet I wish them more absolute in Christian charity: they are good and gracious; but yet I miss in them the foundation of goodness, which is the Lord God, in whom dwelleth all goodness and grace: they are honourable; yet have they not received the Lord of glory, which is our Saviour, most honourable and glorious. Understand, ye kings, and learn, you that judge the earth. Serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice in him with trembling. Hearken to doctrine, and get knowledge, lest you fall into God's displeasure, and so perish out of the way of righteousness. What fret you, what fume you, O Gentiles? O you people! why cast you in your brains the cogitations of vanity? You kings of the earth, and you princes, why conspire you so together against Christ, and against his Holy One? Psalm ii. How long will you seek after lies, and hate the truth? Turn you to the Lord, and harden not your hearts: for this you must needs confess, that they that persecute the Lord's servants, do persecute the Lord himself: for so he saith himself, Whatsoever men shall do to you, I will count it to be done not as unto you, but to myself.

"And now let this carnal, politic counsellor and disputer of this world tell, wherein have they to blame me, if in my examinations I have not answered so after their mind and affection as they required of me? seeing it is not ourselves that speak, but the Lord that speaketh in us, as he himself doth forewitness, saying, When ye shall be brought before rulers and magistrates, it is not you yourselves that speak, but the Spirit of my Father that shall be in you, Matt. x. Wherefore if the Lord be true and faithful of his word, as it is most certain, then is there no blame in me: for he gave the words that I did speak; and who was I, that could resist his will? If any shall reprehend the things that I said, let him then quarrel with the Lord, whom it pleased to work so in me. And if the Lord be not to be blamed, neither am I herein to be accused, who did that I purposed not, and that I forethought not of. The things which there I did utter and express, if they were otherwise than well, let them show it, and then will I say, that they were my words, and not the Lord's. But if they were good and approved, and such as cannot justly be accused, then must it needs be granted, spite of their teeth, that they proceeded of the Lord; and then who be they that shall accuse me? a people of prudence? or who shall condemn me? just judges? And though they so do, yet, nevertheless, the word shall not be frustrated, neither shall the gospel be foolish, or therefore decay; but rather the kingdom of God shall the more prosper and flourish unto the Israelites, and shall pass the sooner unto the elect of Christ Jesus: and they who shall so do, shall prove the grievous judgment of God; neither shall they escape without punishment, that be persecutors and murderers of the just. My well-beloved! lift up your eyes, and consider the counsels of God. He showed unto us of late an image of his plague, which was to our correction: and if we shall not receive him, he will draw out his sword, and strike with sword, pestilence, and famine, the nation that shall rise against Christ.

"These have I written to your comfort. Dear brethren! pray for me. I kiss in my heart, with a holy kiss, my good masters, Sylvius, Pergula, Justus; also Fidel Rocke, and him that beareth the name of Lelia, whom I know, although being absent. Item, the governor of the university, Syndicus, and all others whose names be written in the hook of life. Farewell, all my fellow servants of God! fare ye well in the Lord, and pray for me continually.

"From the delectable orchard of Leonine prison, the twelfth of the calends of August, A.D. 1555."

It is written of one Thebrotus, that when he had read the book of Plato, De Immortalitate Animæ, he was so moved and persuaded therewith, that he cast himself down headlong from a high wall, to be rid out of this present life. If those heathen philosophers, having no word of God, nor promise of any resurrection and life to come, could so soon be persuaded, by reading the works of Plato, to contemn this world and life here present; how much more is it to be required in Christians, instructed with so many evidences and promises of God's most perfect word, that they should learn to cast off the carnal desires and affections of this miserable peregrination; and that for a double respect, not only in seeing, reading, and understanding so many examples of the miseries of this wicked world; but also much more in considering and pondering the heavenly joys and consolations of the other world, remaining for us hereafter to come; for a more full evidence whereof, I thought good to give out this present letter of Algerius above prefixed, for a taste of the same, and a lively testimony for all true Christians to read and consider. Now let us proceed further (the Lord willing) in our table of Italian martyrs.

 

Johannes Aloysius, at Rome, and Jacobus Bovellus at Messina. Persecuted by Pope Pius the Fourth, A.D. 1559.

Of Johannes Aloysius we find mention made in a letter of Simon Florellus; which Aloysius was sent down from Geneva to the parts of Calabria, there to be their minister; who afterwards was sent for up to Rome, and there suffered.

Jacobus Bovellus was likewise sent from Geneva to the said parts of Calabria, with Aloysius; who also, being sent for up to Rome, was sent down to the city of Messina, and there was martyred, A.D. 1559.

 

Divers that suffered in the kingdom of Naples, A.D. 1560.

Illustration -- Naples

After Pope Julius the Third, came Marcellus the Second. After him succeeded Pope Paul the Fourth. This Paul being dead, followed Pope Pius the Fourth, who, being advanced to that room, began hot persecution in all the territories of the Church of Rome, against them which were suspected for Lutherans; whereupon ensued great troubleand persecution in the kingdom of Naples, in such cruel sort, that many noble men, with their wives and others, are reported there to be slain.

 

Eighty-eight martyrs in one day, with one butcherly knife, slain like sheep.

 

Sixteen hundred others also, condemned at Calabria, A.D. 1560.

Illustration -- Martyrs Slain with a Knife

In Calabria, likewise, the same time, suffered a blessed number of Christ's well-beloved saints, both old and young, put together in one house, to the number of eighty-eight persons; all which, one after another, were taken out of the house, and so being laid upon the butcher's stall, like the sheep in the shambles, with one bloody knife were all killed in order: a spectacle most tragical for all posterity to remember, and almost incredible to believe. Wherefore, for the more credit of the matter, lest we should seem either light of credit, to believe that is not true, or rashly to commit to pen things without due proof and authority, we have here annexed a piece of an epistle written by Master Simon Florellus, preacher of God's word at the city of Clavenna, among the Rhetians, unto a certain friend of his named Gulielmus Gratalorus, an Italian, and doctor of physic in the university of Basil. Which Gratalorus translated the same into the Latin tongue, and it is to be found in the 11th book of Pantaleon, p. 337, the English whereof is this as followeth:

 

The end of a certain letter of Simon Florellus, written in Italian, concerning a lamentable slaughter of eighty-eight Christian saints in the parts of Calabria.

"As concerning news I have nothing to write, but only that I send you a copy of certain letters, imprinted either at Rome or at Venice, concerning the martyrdom or persecution in two several towns of Calabria, eight Italian miles from the borders of Cosenza, the one called St. Sixtus, within two miles of Montalto, under the seigniory of the duke of Montalto; the other called Guardia, situate upon the sea-coast, and twelve miles from St. Sixtus: which two towns are utterly destroyed, and eight hundred of the inhabitants there, or, as some write from the city of Rome, no less than a full thousand. He that wrote the letter, was servant to Ascanius Carracciolus. The country and people there, I well know to have taken the first original of their good doctrine and honest life from the Waldenses; for before my departure from Geneva, at their re. quest, I sent them two schoolmasters, and two preachers. The last year the two preachers were martyred; the one at Rome, named Johannes Aloysius Pascalis, a citizen of Cunio; the other at Messina, named James Bovell; both of Piedmont. This year the residue of that godly fellowship were martyred in the same place. I trust this good seed sown in Italy, will bring forth good and plentiful fruit."

Now followeth the copy of the letter sent from Montalto, a town in Calabria, eight miles distant from Cosenza, bearing date the eleventh of June, 1560. The writer of this letter, as ye may perceive, was one of them that call themselves catholics, and followers of the pope. The words of the letter be these, as here follow.

 

Here followeth the copy of a letter sent from Montalto in Calabria, by a Romanist, to a certain friend of his in Rome, containing news of the persecution of Christ's people in Calabria, by the new pope, Pius the Fourth, A.D. 1550.

"Hitherto, most noble lord! have I certified you, what here daily hath been done about these heretics. Now cometh next to signify unto your Lordship the horrible judgment begun this present day, being the eleventh of June, to be executed very early in the morning against the Lutherans; which when I think upon, I verily quake and tremble. And truly the manner of their putting to death was to be compared to the slaughter of calves and sheep; for they, being all thrust up in one house together, as in a sheep-fold, the executioner cometh in, and amongst them taketh one, and blindfoldeth him with a muffler about his eyes, and so leadeth him forth to a larger place near adjoining, where he commandeth him to kneel down; which being so done, he cutteth his throat, and leaving him half dead, and taking his butcher's knife and muffler all of gore-blood, (which the Italians call benda,) cometh again to the rest, and so leading one after another, he despatched them all, which were to the number of eighty-eight. This spectacle to behold how doleful and horrible it was, I leave to your Lordship's judgment; for to write of it, I myself cannot but weep: neither was there any of the beholders there present, which seeing one to die, could abide to behold the death of another. But certes so humbly and patiently they went to death, as is almost incredible to believe. Some of them, as they were in dying, affirmed, that they believed even as we do: notwithstanding the most part of them died in the same their obstinate opinions. All the aged persons went to death more cheerfully; the younger were more timorous. I tremble and shake even to remember how the executioner held his bloody knife between his teeth, with the bloody muffler in his hand, and his arms all in gore-blood up to the elbows, going to the fold, and taking every one of them, one after another, by the hand, and so despatching them all no otherwise than doth a butcher kill his calves and sheep.

"It is moreover appointed (and the carts be come already) that all those so put to death should be quartered, and so be conveyed in the carts to the hithermost parts of Calabria, where they will be hanged upon poles in the highways and other places, even to the confines of the same country. Unless the pope's Holiness and the lord viceroy of Naples shall give in commandment to the lord marquis of Buccianus, governor of the said province, to stay his hand, and go no further, he will proceed with the rack and torture, examining all other, and so increase the number in such sort, that he will nigh despatch them all.

"This day it is also determined, that a hundred of the more ancient women should appear to be examined and racked, and after to be put to death, that the mixture may be perfect, for so many men so many women: and thus have you what I can say of this justice. Now is it about two o'clock in the afternoon: shortly we shall hear what some of them said when they went to execution. There be certain of them so obstinate, that they will not look upon the crucifix, nor be confessed to the priest; and they shall be burned alive.

"The heretics that be apprehended and condemned, are to the number of sixteen hundred, but as yet no more but these aforesaid eighty-eight are already executed. This people have their original of the valley named Angrogne, near to Subaudia, and in Calabria are called Ultramontani. In the kingdom of Naples there are four other places of the same people, of whom whether they live well or no, as yet we know not; for they are but simple people, ignorant, without learning, wood-gatherers, and husbandmen: but as I hear, much devout and religious, giving themselves to die for religion's sake.

"From Montalto, the eleventh of June."

And thus much writeth this Romanist.

Here moreover is to be noted, that the aforesaid Marquis Buccianus above specified, had a son or brother, unto whom the said new pope (Pius the Fourth, belike) is reported to have promised a cardinalship at Rome, if all the Lutherans were extirpated and rooted out in that province. And like enough that the same was the cause of his butcherly persecution and effusion of Christian blood, in the said country of Calabria, beyond Naples, in Italy.

Besides these godly Italian martyrs in this table above contained, many others also have suffered in the same country of Italy, of whom some before have been specified, some peradventure omitted. But many more there be, whose names we know not; whereof as soon as knowledge may be given unto us, we purpose, God willing, to impart the same, loving reader! unto thee.

 

Previous Next