158. MARTYRS IN FRANCE – II.
There was a rich merchant of Paris, who said in jest to the friars of St. Francis, "You wear a rope about your bodies, because St. Francis once should have been hanged, and the pope redeemed him upon this condition, that all his life after he should wear a rope." Upon this the Franciscan Friars of Paris caused him to be apprehended and laid in prison, and so judgment passed upon him that he should be hanged: but he, to save his life, was contented to recant; and so did. The friars, hearing of his recantation, commended him, saying, if he continued so, he should be saved; and so calling upon the officers, caused them to make haste to the gallows, to hang him up while he was yet in a good way, said they, lest he fall again. And so was this merchant, notwithstanding his recantation, hanged for jesting against the friars.
To this merchant may also be adjoined the brother of Tamer, who, when he had before professed the truth of the gospel, and afterwards by the counsel and instruction of his brother was removed from the same, fell in desperation and such sorrow of mind, that he hanged himself.
Thomas Galbergne, a coverlet-maker, at Tournay, A.D. 1554.
This Thomas had copied out certain spiritual songs out of a book in Geneva, which he brought with him to Tournay, and lent the same to one of his fellows. This book being espied, he was called for by the justice, and examined of the book, which, he said, contained nothing but that was agreeing to the Scripture; and that he would stand by.
Then he was had to the castle, and after nineteen days was brought to the town-house, and there adjudged to the fire; whereunto he went cheerfully, singing psalms. As he was in the flame, the warden of the friars stood crying, "Turn, Thomas! Thomas! yet it is time, remember him that came at the last hour." To whom he cried out of the flame with a loud voice, "And I trust to be one of that sort;" and so calling upon the name of the Lord, gave up his spirit.
Add also to this, one Nicholas Paul, beheaded at Gaunt. These two should have been placed among the Dutch martyrs in the table before.
Richard Feurus, a goldsmith, at Lyons, A.D. 1554. Persecuted by the latrunculator, or under-marshal or examiner of Dauphine; also by the lieutenant, and his attorney, and a scribe, with divers others.
Feurus, a goldsmith, born at Rouen, first being in England, and in London, there received the taste and knowledge of God's word, as in his own epistle he recordeth. Then he went to Geneva, where he remained nine or ten years; and from thence returning to Lyons, there he was apprehended and condemned. Upon this he appealed to the high court of Paris, through the motion of his friends; where, in the way, as he was led to Paris, he was met by certain whom he knew not, and by them taken from his keepers, and so set at liberty; which was A.D. 1551.
After that, continuing at Geneva about the space of three years, he came upon business to the province of Dauphine, and there, as he found fault with the grace said in Latin, he was detected, and taken in his inn at night, by the under-marshal, or him which had the examination of malefactors. The next day he was sent to the justice, from him to the bishop; who ridding their hands of him, then was he brought to the lieutenant, who sent his advocate with a notary to him in the prison, to examine him of his faith. The whole process of his examinations, with his adversaries and the friars, in his story described, is long; the principal contents come to this effect:
Inquisitor. "Dost thou believe the Church of Rome?"
The martyr. "No, I do believe the catholic and universal church."
Inquisitor. "What catholic church is that?"
The martyr. "The congregation or communion of Christians."
Inquisitor. "What congregation is that, or of whom doth it consist?"
The martyr. "It consisteth in the number of God's elect, whom God hath chosen to be the members of his Son Jesus Christ, of whom he is also the head."
Inquisitor. "Where is the congregation, or how is it known?"
The martyr. "It is dispersed through the universal world, in divers regions, and is known by the spiritual direction wherewith it is governed, that is to say, both by the word of God, and by the right institution of Christ's sacraments."
Inquisitor. "Do you think the church that is at Geneva, Lausanne, Berne, and such other places, to be a more true church than the holy Church of Rome?"
The martyr. "Yea, verily, for these have the notes of the true church."
Inquisitor. "What difference then make you between those churches and the Church of Rome?"
The martyr. "Much; for the Church of Rome is governed only with traditions of men, but those are ruled only by the word of God."
Inquisitor. "Where learned you this doctrine first?"
The martyr. "In England; at London."
Inquisitor. "How long have you been at Geneva?"
The martyr. "About nine or ten years."
Inquisitor. "Dost thou not believe the Virgin Mary to be a mediatrix and advocate to God for sinners?"
The martyr. "I believe, as in the word of God is testified, that Jesus Christ is the only mediator and advocate for all sinners: albeit the Virgin Mary be a blessed woman, yet the office of an advocate belongeth not unto her."
Inquisitor. "The saints that be in paradise, have they no power to pray for us?"
The martyr. "No; but I judge them to be blessed, and to be contented with the grace and glory which they have; that is, that they be counted the members of the Son of God."
Inquisitor. "And what then judge you of them who follow the religion of the Church of Rome? think you them to be Christians?"
The martyr. "No, for that Church is not governed with the Spirit of God, but rather fighteth against the same."
Inquisitor. "Do you then esteem all them who separate themselves from the Church of Rome to be Christians?"
The martyr. "I have not to answer for others, but only for myself. Every man, saith St. Paul, shall bear his own burden."
And thus the advocate, when he had asked him whether he would put his hand to that he had said, and had obtained the same, departed to dinner.
At the next examination was brought unto him a Franciscan Friar, who, first entering with him touching the words that he spake in his inn, asked him, why grace might not be said in Latin?" Because," said he, "by the word of God, Christians are commanded to pray with heart and with spirit, and with that tongue which is most understood, and serveth best to the edification of the hearers."
Then the friar, bringeth forth his Benedicite, Agimus tibi gratias, &c., Laus Deo, Pax, vivis, Requies defunctis, &c., began thus to reason:
Friar. "God understandeth all tongues, and the Church of Rome hath prescribed this form of praying, receiving the same from the ancient church and the fathers, who used then to pray in Latin. And if any tongue be to be observed in prayer, one more than another, why is it not as good to pray in the Latin tongue, as to pray in the French?"
The martyr. "My meaning is not to exclude any kind of language from prayer, whether it be Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or any other, so that the same be understood, and may edify the hearers."
Friar. "When Christ entered the city of Jerusalem, the people cried, lauding him with Hosanna filio David; and yet understood they not what they said, as Jerome writeth."
The martyr. "It may be that Jerome so writeth, how they understood not the prophetical meaning, or the accomplishment of these words upon Christ's coming: but that they understood the phrase of that speech or language which they spake, speaking in their own language, Jerome doth not deny."
Then the friar, declaring that he was no fit person to expound the Scriptures being in the Latin tongue, inferred the authorities of councils and doctors, and testimonies of men; which seemed to move the officer not a little, who, then charging him with many things, as with words spoken in contempt of the Virgin Mary and of the saints, also with rebellion against princes and kings, came at last to the matter of the sacrament, and demanded thus:
Inquisitor. "Dost thou believe the holy host which the priest doth consecrate at the mass or no?"
The martyr. "I believe neither the host, nor any such consecration."
Inquisitor. "Why? dost thou not believe the holy sacrament of the altar, ordained of Christ Jesus himself?"
The martyr. "Touching the sacrament of the Lord's supper, I believe that whensoever we use the same according to the representation of St. Paul, we are refreshed spiritually with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true spiritual meat and drink of our souls."
The friar then inferred the words of St. John's Gospel, saying, My flesh is meat indeed, &c., and said, that the doctors of the church had decided that matter already, and had approved the mass to be a holy memorial of the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The martyr. "The sacrament of the supper I believe to be ordained of the Lord for a memorial of his death, and for a stirring up of our thanksgiving to him; in which sacrament we have nothing to offer up to him, but do receive with all thanksgiving the benefits offered of God to us most abundantly in Christ Jesus his Son."
And thus the advocate with the friar, bidding the notary to write the words that he had spoken, departed; who after eight days, being accompanied by the said Franciscan, and other friars more of the Dominics, sent for the said Richard Feurus again to his house, and thus began to inquire:
Inquisitor. "Dost thou believe any purgatory?"
The martyr. "I believe that Christ with his precious blood hath made an end of all purgatory, and purgation of our sins."
Inquisitor. "And dost thou think then that there is no place after this life, where souls of men departed remain till they have made satisfaction for their sins?"
The martyr. "No; but I acknowledge one satisfaction once made for the sins of all men, by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord, which is the propitiation and purgation for the sins of the whole world."
Friar. "In Matthew xviii., Christ, speaking, by way of a parable or similitude, of a certain cruel servant, who, because he would not forgive his fellow servant, was cast into prison, saith, That he shall not come out from thence till he hath paid the uttermost farthing: by which similitude is signified unto us a certain middle place, which is left for satisfaction to be made after this life for sins."
The martyr. "First, the satisfaction for our sins by the death of Christ is plain and evident in the Scriptures; as in these places: Come to me, all you that labour and be burdened, and I will refresh you. I am the door, he that entereth by me, shall be saved. I am the way, verity, and life. Blessed he they that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours. Also to the thief who hanged with the Lord, it was said, This day thou shalt be with me in paradise, &c. Secondly, as touching this similitude, it hath no other demonstration but to admonish us of our duty, in showing charity, and forgiving one another; which unless we do, there is no mercy to be looked for at the hands of God."
Friar. "If this be true that you say, then it should follow that there is neither purgatory nor any limbus, which were against our Christian faith and our Creed, which saith, He descended into hell," &c.
Deputy. "Dost thou not believe there is a Limbus?"
The martyr. "Neither do I believe there is any such place, nor doth the Scripture make any mention thereof."
Friar. "Where were the old fathers then, before the death of Christ?"
The martyr. "In life, I say, eternal, which they looked for, being promised before to Adam, Abraham, and the patriarchs, in the seed to come."
Deputy. "What, dost thou believe that the pope hath any power?"
The martyr. "Yea verily."
Deputy. "Dost thou believe that the pope, as the vicar of Jesus Christ, can here bind and loose?"
The martyr. "That I do not believe."
Deputy. "How then dost thou understand the power of the pope?"
The martyr. "I understand the power of the pope so as St. Paul declareth, 2 Thess., saying, that because the world refused to receive the love of the truth unto salvation, therefore God hath given to Satan, and to his ministers, power of illusions and errors, that men should believe lies, and set up to themselves pastors and teachers such as they deserve."
Friar. "Christ gave to St. Peter power to bind and loose, whose successor, and vicar of Christ, is the pope, for the government of the church, that it might have one head in the world, as it hath in heaven. And though the pastors do not live according to the word which they preach, yet their doctrine is not therefore to be refused, as Christ teacheth in the twenty-third of Matthew."
The martyr. "If the pope and his adherents would preach the word purely and sincerely, admixing no other inventions of their own, nor obtruding laws of their own devising, I would then embrace their doctrine, howsoever their lives were to the contrary: according as Christ doth tell us of the scribes and Pharisees, admonishing us to follow their doctrine, and not their lives. But there is great difference, whether they that take the governance of the church do sit in Moses's chair, which is the seat of truth, or else do sit in the chair of abomination, spoken of by Daniel, and also by St. Paul, where he saith, that the man of perdition shall sit in the temple of God, vaunting himself insolently above all that is called God.
"And as touching the keys of binding and loosing, given to Peter, Christ therein assigned to Peter and other apostles the office of preaching the word of the gospel, which they did also well observe, in preaching nothing else but only the word; in the which word is all the power contained of binding and loosing. Neither is it to be granted, the church to have two heads, one in heaven, another in earth; the head whereof is but one, which is Jesus Christ, whom the Father hath appointed to be head alone both in heaven and earth, as St. Paul in many places of his Epistles doth teach."
Friar. "You have no understanding how to expound the Scriptures, but the old doctors have expounded the Scriptures, and holy councils, whose judgments are to be followed. But what say you to auricular confession?"
The martyr. "I know no other confession but that which is to be made to God, and reconciliation towards our neighbour, which Christ and his apostles have commended to us."
Friar. "Have you not read in the gospel, how Christ doth bid us to confess to the priest, where he commanded the leper, being made whole, to show himself to the priest?"
The martyr. "The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ never observed this strange kind of confession, to carry our sins to the priest's ear. And though the Church of Rome hath intruded this manner of confessing, it followeth not thereby that it is to be received. And as touching the leper whom the Lord sent to the priest, he was not sent therefore to whisper his sins in the priest's ear, but only for a testimony of his health received according to the law.
"Of the other confession which is to be made to God, we have both the examples and testimonies of the prophet David full in the Psalms, where he saith, that he confessed his sins unto the Lord, and received forgiveness of the same."
After this, the friar, proceeding further to make comparison between the Church of Rome and the Church of Geneva, would prove that the pope hath power to set laws in the church without any express word of God: for so it is written, said he, that there were many other things besides, which are not written in this book. Also, where Christ promiseth to his disciples, to send unto them the Holy Ghost, which should induce them into all truth. Moreover, such decrees and ordinances as are in the church, were decided, said he, and appointed by the doctors of the church and by all the councils, directed, no doubt, by the Holy Ghost. Furthermore he inferred, that the Church also of Geneva had their ordinances and constitutions made without any word of God. And for example, he brought forth the order of the Psalms and service publicly observed and appointed upon Wednesday, in the Church of Geneva, as though that day were holier than another.
To this the martyr answered again, declaring that the ordinance of those public prayers and psalms on Wednesday in the Church of Geneva, was not to bind conscience, or for any superstitious observation, or for any necessity which either should bind the conscience, or could not be altered at their arbitrement; but only for an order or commodity for public resort, to hear the word of God, according as ancient kings and temporal magistrates have used in old time to do, in congregating the people together; not to put any holiness in the day, or to bind the conscience to any observation, (as the pope maketh his laws,) but only for order's sake, serving unto commodity.
And as touching that any thing should be left for doctors and councils to be decided, without the express word of God, that is not so; for that all thingsbe expressed and prescribed by the word, whatsoever is necessary either for government of the church, or for the salvation of men; so that there is no need for doctors of the church, or councils, to decide any thing more than is decided already.
Paul saith, that he durst utter nothing but what the Lord had wrought by him. St. John, speaking of the doctrine of Christ Jesus, willeth us to receive no man, unless he bring with him the same doctrine. St. Paul warneth the Galatians, not to believe an angel from heaven, bringing another doctrine than that which they had already received. Christ, calling himself the good shepherd, noteth them to be his sheep which hear his voice, and not the voice of others. And St. Peter admonishing the pastors of the church, forewarns them to teach only the word of God, without any seeking of lordship or dominion over the flock. From this moderation how far the form of the pope's church doth differ, the tyranny which they use doth well declare.
Friar. "In the old church priests and ministers of the church were wont to assemble together for deciding of such things as pertained to the government and direction of the church; whereas in Geneva no such thing is used, as I can prove by this your own testament here in my hands, that you the better may understand what was then the true use and manner of the church."
The martyr. "What was the true order and manner that the apostles did institute in the church of Christ, I would gladly hear, and also would desire you to consider the same; and when you have well considered it, yet shall you find the institution and regiment of the Church of Geneva, not to be without the public counsel and advisement of the magistrates, elders and ministers of that church, with such care and diligence as Paul and Silas took in ordering the church of Thessalonica, Berea, &c., wherein nothing was done without the authority of God's word, as appeareth in the 17th chapter of the Acts. As likewise also in stablishing the church of Antioch, when the apostles were together in council for the same, there was no other law nor doctrine followed, but only the word of God, as may appear by the words of the council, Quid tentatis Deum, jugum imponere? &c. And albeit the ministers of the Church of Rome, and the pope, were not called to the institution of the aforesaid Church of Geneva, yet it followeth not therefore, that there was no lawful order observed, either in establishing that church or any other."
Friar. "You were first baptized in the church of the pope, were ye not?"
The martyr. "I grant I was, but yet that nothing hindereth the grace of God; but he may renovate and call to further knowledge whom he pleaseth."
A councillor. "I would wish you not to stick to your own wisdom and opinion. You see the churches in Germany, how they dissent one from another; so that if you should not submit your judgment to the authority of the general councils, every day you shall have a new Christianity."
The martyr. "To mine own wisdom I do not stick, nor ever will, but only to that wisdom which is in Christ Jesus, although the world doth account it foolishness. And where ye say, that the churches of Germany dissent among themselves one from another; that is not so, for they accord in one agreement altogether, touching the foundation and principal grounds of Christian faith. Neither is there any such fear that every day should rise up a new Christianity, unless the church be balanced with authority of the councils, as you pretend. For so we read in the prophet David, in Psalm xxxiii., and in other places of Scripture more, that the councils of the nations and people shall be overthrown and subverted by the Lord, &c. Wherefore the best is, that we follow the counsel of God and his word, and prefer the authority thereof before all other counsels and judgments of men. And thus doing, I for my part had rather dwell and settle myself in this little Christianity, be it ever so small, than in that populous papality, be it ever so great in multitude."
And thus was this godly Feurus commanded again by the deputy to the bishop's prison, and from thence shortly after removed to Lyons, not by the open and beaten way, but by secret and privy journeys, lest perhaps he should be taken from them again, as he was before.
After he was come to Lyons, he was brought before Tignatius the judge, and a doctor of Sorbonne, called Furnosus, who questioned with him touching sundry articles of religion. But in conclusion, when they neither with arguments could convict him, nor with promises allure him, nor with threatening terrors stir him, either to betray the truth which he knew, or to bewray those whom he knew not, which took him away before from his keepers, they proceeded at last to the sentence, condemning him first to have his tongue cut out, and then to be burned. All which he received willingly and quietly for righteousness' sake, thus finishing his martyrdom, on the seventh of July, A.D. 1554.
Nicholas du Chense, at Gry, near Besancon, A.D. 1554. Persecuted by an inquisitor monk.
The cause and occasion why this Nicholas came in trouble was, for that he, going from Lausanne, (where he abode for his conscience,) to fetch his sister, and her husband, and certain other of his friends; as he went from Besancon, toward the town of Gry, did not do homage to a certain cross in the way; where a certain monk, who was an inquisitor, overtook him, and thereby suspected him. He was guided by the same monk, craftily dissembling his religion, to a lodging in Gry; where the justice of the place coming in incontinent took him. Nicholas seeing how he was by the monk, his conductor, betrayed; "O false traitor!" said he, "Hast thou thus betrayed me?" Then after examination he was condemned. Being carried to the place of martyrdom, by the way he was promised, that if he would kneel down and hear a mass, he should be let go as a passenger. But Nicholas, armed with perseverance, said, he would rather die than commit such an act; who calling upon the name of the Lord, took his death patiently.
John Bertrand, a forester, or keeper of the forest of Marchenoir, at Blois, A.D. 1556. Persecutors: The seigniors or lords of Estnay and Ciguongnes, dwelling by the town of Marchenoir; and Denis Barbes, councillor of Blois.
For the religion and gospel of Christ this John was apprehended by these persecutors here specified, and led bound to Blois, where he was examined by Denis the councillor, of divers points: as, whether he had spoken at any time against God, against the church, and the he-saints and the she-saints of paradise? whereunto he said, No. Item, Whether at any time he had called the mass abominable? which he granted, for that he, finding no mass in all the Scripture, was commanded by St. Paul, that if an angel from heaven would bring any other gospel besides that which was already received, he should account it accursed. After his condemnation they would have him to be confessed, and presented to him a cross to kiss: but he bade the friars with their cross depart; "That is not the cross," said he, "that I must carry." Entering into the cart before the multitude, he gave thanks to God, that he was not there for murder, theft, or blasphemy, but only for the quarrel of our Saviour. Being tied to the post, he sang Psalm xxv. Of age he was young, his countenance was exceeding cheerful and amiable, his eyes looked up to heaven. "O the happy journey," said he, seeing the place where he should suffer, "and the fair place that is prepared for me! "When the fire was kindled about him, "O Lord," cried he, "give thy hand to thy servant; I commend my soul unto thee; "and so meekly yielded up his spirit: whose patient and joyful constancy so astonied the people, that of long time before nothing did seem to them so admirable.
Peter Rousseau, A.D. 1556. Persecuted by his own brother-in-law.
Peter Rousseau, coming from Geneva and Lausanne to his country, partly to communicate with certain of his acquaintance in the word of God, partly for other certain affairs, because he required his inheritance of his brother-in-law, was by him betrayed. Then, being constant in his confession which he offered up, he was put to the rack three times, which he suffered constantly with great torments. Afterward he had his tongue cut off, and a ball of iron put in his mouth. He was drawn upon a hurdle, all broken and maimed, to the fire, where he was lifted up into the air and let down three times; and when he was half burned, the ball fell from his mouth, and he with a loud voice called on the name of God, saying, "Jesus Christ, assist me." And so this blessed martyr gave up his life to God.
Arnold Moniere, and John de Cazes, at Bourdeaux, A.D. 1556. The name of his persecutor was Anthony de Lescure, the king's attorney.
After that Arnold Moniere was taken and examined of the justice, and so was laid in prison, John de Cazes, resorting to the same town of Bourdeaux, and hearing of him, and being admonished moreover, that if he went to him he should be impeached of heresy, notwithstanding went to comfort him, and so was also imprisoned. After many examinations, sentence was given upon them to be burned. When the time came of their martyrdom, they were drawn through the dirt upon a hurdle to the place, accompanied by a number of bills, glaves, gunners, and trumpeters. Moreover, albeit there was no such cause, (they being two simple poor men,) yet the magistrates commanded (upon what occasion I know not) all the gates of the city to be shut, and guarded with keepers. When the blessed martyrs were brought and bound to the post, which was before the palace, they, much rejoicing that they were made worthy to suffer for Christ, made confession of their faith, and many earnest exhortations unto the people. But, to stop the hearing of these saints, the trumpeters were commanded to sound, who, during all the time of their suffering, never ceased. The hangman, preparing himself first to strangle Cazes, chanced to fall down from the top of the post to the pavement, and brake his head in such sort as the blood followed in great quantity. Notwithstanding, recovering himself, he went to Moniere, and him he strangled, who patiently rendered up his life. Cazes, who was the stronger of them both, being set on fire before the hangman came, suffered the extremity of the fire with great pains, but greater patience; for as his legs were almost half burnt, yet he endured, crying, "My God! my Father! "and so gave up his life.
And further, to note the work of God that followed when these two mild and martyred saints were almost consumed in the fire to ashes, suddenly, without matter or cause, such a fear fell upon them at the execution, that the justices and the people, notwithstanding that they had the gates locked to them, and were defended with all manner of weapons about them, not knowing wherefore, took them to their legs, in such haste fleeing away, that they overran one another. The prior of St. Anthony's fell down, so that a great number went over him. The judge Pontacke on his mule, with his red robe, fleeing as the other did, was overthrown with the press in the street called Poteuin, in such sort that he was fain to be carried to Pichon's house, a widow, and there cried within, "Hide me; save my life; I am dead! I see even the like matter as at the last commotion! My friends! hide my mule, that no man see her nor know her." Briefly, such was the fear which cane upon them, that every man shut up their houses. After the fear was past, every man asked what the matter was, but none could tell, neither could the enemies of God's truth perceive, who was he that put them so to flight and fear, without any semblance of any adversary about them. This story is testified, and to be found both in the volume of the French martyrs, printed by John Crispine, lib. vi., also in the book of Dutch martyrs, written by Adrian.
Bartholomew Hector, at Turin, A.D. 1556. Persecuted by a gentleman called Perriere; by M. Bartholomew Eme, president; and by M. Augustine d'Eglise, councillor.
First, this Hector was a traveller about the country, and a seller of books, having his wife and children at Geneva. As he came into the vale of Angrogne, in Piedmont, to get his living with selling of books, he was taken by a certain gentleman, and there arrested and sent to Turin, then examined, and at last condemned. Being condemned, he was threatened, that if he spake any thing to the people, his tongue should be cut off; nevertheless he ceased nothing to speak. After his prayers made, wherein he prayed for the judges, that God would forgive them, and open their eyes, he was offered his pardon at the stake, if he would convert; which he refused. Then he prepared himself to his death, which he took patiently: whereat many of the people wept, saying, "Why doth this man die, who speaketh of nothing but God?"
Illustration -- Martyrs Burned at the Stake
Philip Cene, and James his fellow, at Dijon, A.D. 1557.
This Philip Cene was an apothecary at Geneva. He was taken at Dijon, and there imprisoned, and in the same town of Dijon he, with one James his companion, was burned. As this Philip went to his death singing psalms, the friar, standing by, stopped his mouth with his hand. The most part of the people wept bitterly, saying, "Be of good courage, brethren! be not afraid of this death;" which when one of the adversary part heard, he said to one of the magistrates, "Do you not see how almost the half part of the people is of their side, and doth comfort them?"
Archambant Seraphon, and M. Nicholas du Rousseau, at Dijon, A.D. 1557.
These two were in prison together with Philip and James above-mentioned, at Dijon. Archambant, going about with a packet of pedlary ware to get his living, and coming towards his wife, heard of certain prisoners at Dijon, to whom he wrote, to comfort them with his letters. The next day after, he was searched at Aussone, and letters of certain scholars of Paris found about him. Then he was brought to Dijon, where he, with the other, called M. Nicholas du Rousseau, constantly suffered.
The same Archambant had been also condemned three years before at Toul, and as he was led to Bourdeaux, he escaped.
Philbert Hamlin, at Bourdeaux, A.D. 1557. Persecuted by the king's attorney of Sainctes Ville.
Philbert Hamlin first was a priest: he then went to Geneva, where he exercised printing, and sent books abroad. After that he was made minister at the town of Allenart, in Saintonge, in which and in other places more he did much good in edifying the people. At last he was apprehended at Sainctes Ville, and with him his host, a priest, whom he had instructed in the gospel; and after confession made of his faith, he, with the said priest, was carried to Bourdeaux before the president. As he was in prison on a Sunday, a priest came in with all his furniture to say mass in the prison; whom Philbert, seeing to be revested, came and plucked his garments from his back with such zeal and vehemency, that the mass garments, with the chalice and candlesticks, fell down and were broken; saying, "Is it not enough for you to blaspheme God in churches, but you must also pollute the prison with your idolatry?" The jailer, hearing of this, in his fury laid upon him with his staff, and also complained of him; whereby he was removed to the common prison, and laid in a low pit, laden with great irons, so that his legs were swollen withal; and there continued eight days. A little before, perceiving the priest his host to decline from the truth, he did what he could to confirm him in the same: but when he knew he had flatly renounced Christ and his word, he said unto him, "O unhappy and more than miserable! is it possible for you to he so foolish, as for saving of a few days which you have to live by the course of nature, so to start away, and to deny the truth? Know you therefore, that although you have, by your foolishness, avoided the corporal fire, yet your life shall be never the longer; for you shall die before me, and God shall not give you the grace that it shall be for his cause, and you shall be an example to all apostates." He had no sooner ended his talk, but the priest, going out of prison, was slain by two gentlemen which had a quarrel to him: whereof when Master Philbert had heard, he affirmed that he knew of no such thing before, but spake as it pleased God to guide his tongue. Whereupon immediately he made an exhortation of the providence of God, which by the occasion hereof moved the hearts of many, and converted them unto God.
At last the aforesaid Philbert, after his condemnation, was had to the place of his martyrdom before the palace; and as he was exhorting the people, to the intent his words should not be heard, the trumpets blew without ceasing. And so, being fastened to the post, this holy martyr, praying and exhorting the people, was strangled, and his body with fire consumed on Palm-Sunday eve.
Nicholas Sartorius, at Aost, by Piedmont, A.D. 1557. His persecutors were Ripet, a secretary; Anthony Eschaux, bailiff; and the king's procurator.
Nicholas Sartorius, of the age of six and twenty years, born in Piedmont, came to the parts of Chambery in Lent, where a certain warden of the friars in the town of Aost had preached on Good Friday, upon the passion. The report of which sermon being recited to this Sartorius, by one that heard him, Sartorius reprehended the error and blasphemies thereof, which were against the Holy Scriptures. Shortly after, the party that told him went to a secretary, named Ripet, who covertly came to entrap Nicholas, demanding him of the friar's sermon: "And did not our preacher," said he, "preach well?" "No," said Nicholas, "but he lied falsely." Ripet, entering further with him, demanded, "And do you not believe the body of the Lord to be in the host?" to whom Nicholas then answered again, "That is against our Creed, which saith, that he ascended up and sitteth," &c. Incontinently Ripet went to the friar and his companions, to cause him to be apprehended. The friends of Nicholas, perceiving the danger, willed him to avoid and save himself, and also accompanied him out of the town about the space of three leagues. Then was great pursuit made after him to all quarters, who at length was taken at the town of St. Remy, at the foot of the mountain of Great St. Bernard, where he was examined before Anthony Eschaux, bailiff of the town, and other justices, before whom he answered with great boldness for his faith. Then they brought him to the rack, and when the serjeant refused to draw the cord, the bailiff himself, and the receiver, with a canon, did rack him with their own hands. Notwithstanding that the lords of Berne wrote for him to the town of Aost, requiring to have their own subject delivered unto them, they hastened the execution, and pronounced sentence that he should be burned; which sentence he received with such constancy, that neither the king's receiver, nor all the other enemies, could divert him from the truth of the gospel, which he manfully maintained while any spirit remained in his body.
George Tardif, with one of Tours, an embroiderer; also Nicholas, a shoemaker, of Jenvile, at Tours, A.D. 1558.
The printer of the story of the French martyrs, named Crispine, among others maketh also memorial of George Tardif, an embroiderer of Tours, and of Nicholas of Jenvile, declaring that all these three were together in prison, and afterwards were dissevered, to suffer in sundry places one from the other; of whom, first, George Tardif was executed in Sens.
The embroiderer of Tours, as he was coming with five or six others out of a wood, being at prayer, was taken, and thereupon examined. Before he should be examined, he desired the judges that he might pray; which being granted, after his prayer made, wherein he prayed for the judges, for the king, and all estates, and for the necessity of all Christ's saints, he answered for himself with such grace and modesty, that the hearts of many were broken, unto the shedding of tears; seeking (as it seemed) nothing else but his deliverance. Notwithstanding he at last was sent unto Tours, and there was crowned with martyrdom.
The third, who was Nicholas, being but young of years, and newly come from Geneva to his country, for certain money, by means of a lady there dwelling, was caused to be apprehended. When he was condemned and set in a cart, his father, coming with a staff, would have beaten him, but the officers not suffering it, would have struck the old man. The son, crying to the officers, desired them to let his father alone, saying, that his father had power over him to do with him what he would. And going to the place where he should suffer, having a ball of iron put in his mouth, he was brought at length to the fire, in the town of Jenvile, where he patiently took his death and martyrdom, A.D. 1558.
The Congregation of Paris persecuted, to the number of three or four hundred, A.D. 1558; by the priests of the college of Plessis; the doctors of Sorbonne; Dr. Demochares; Cenalis, bishop of Auranches; Martin, the king's attorney; the cardinal of Lorraine; Maillard; and lastly, Henry the Second, the French king.
In 1558, the fourth of September, a company of the faithful, to the number of three or four hundred, were together convented at Paris, in a certain house having before it the college of Plessis, in the street of St. James, and behind it the college of Sorbonne, who there assembled in the beginning of the night, to the intent to communicate together the Lord's supper: but incontinently that was discovered by certain priests of Plessis, who, gathering together such as were of that faction, came to beset the house, and made an outcry, that the watch might come and take them; so that in short time almost all the city of Paris was up in armour, thinking some conspiracy to have been in the city; who then following the noise, and perceiving that they were Lutherans, a great part of them were in extreme rage, furiously seeking to have their blood, and therefore stopped the streets and lanes with carts, and made fires to see that none should escape. The faithful, albeit God had given them leisure to finish their administration and prayers with such quietness as they never had better, seeing the suddenness of the thing, were struck with great fear; who then, being exhorted by the governors of the congregation, fell to prayer. That done, through the counsel of some who knew the cowardly hearts of the multitude, this order was taken, that the men who had weapons should adventure through the press. Only the women and children remained in the house, and a few men with them who were less bold than the others, to the number of six or seven score. Where appeared the admirable power of God in them that went out with weapons, who, notwithstanding that the lanes and passages were stopped, and the fires made, did all escape save only one, who was beaten down with stones, and so destroyed. Certain that remained in the house with the women, afterwards leaped into gardens, where they were stayed till the magistrates came. The women, who were all gentlewomen, or of great wealth, only six or seven excepted, seeing no other hope, and perceiving the fury of the people, went up to the windows, crying, "Mercy!" and showing their innocent intent, required ordinary justice. Thus as they were enclosed about six or seven hours, at last came Martin the king's attorney, with force of commissaries and serjeants, who, with much ado appeasing the outrage of the people, entered into the house; where he, viewing the women and children, and the other furniture there being prepared for that congregation, perceived testimonies sufficient of their innocency, insomuch that in considering thereof, for pity of heart his eyes could not refrain from tears. Notwithstanding, proceeding in his office, he had them all to prison within the little castle. I omit here the furious usage of the people by the way, how despitefully they plucked and haled the women, tore their garments, thrust off their hoods from their heads, and disfigured their faces with dust and dirt. Neither were they better treated in prison than they were in the streets; for all the villains and thieves there were let out of their holes and stinking caves, and the poor Christians placed in their room.
Besides these manifold wrongs and oppressions done to these poor innocents, followed then (which was worst of all) the cruel and slanderous reports of the friars and priests, who, in their railing-sermons, and other talk, cried out on the Lutherans, persuading the people most falsely, that they assembled together to make a banquet in the night, and there, putting out the candles, they intended to commit most filthy abominations: adding moreover, (to make the lie more likely,) that certain nuns also and monks were with them. Also that they should conspire against the king, and other like heinous crimes, whatsoever their malice could invent for defacing of the gospel. With such-like malicious misreports and slanders, Satan went about to extinguish the ancient church of Christ in the primitive time, accusing the innocent Christians then of incest, conspiracy, killing of infants, putting out of candles, and filthy whoredom, &c. These sinister rumours and cursed defamations were no sooner given out, but they were as soon received, and spread far, not only to them of the vulgar sort, but also among the estates of the court, and even to the king's ears. The cardinal of Lorraine the same time bare a great sway in the court, who then procured a certain judge of the castle to come in, declaring to the king, that he found there lying on the floor of the aforesaid house divers couches and pallets, which they intended to use for evil purposes; also much other furniture and preparation appointed for a sumptuous feast or banquet: wherewith the king was mightily inflamed against them, neither was there any one person that durst contrary it.
Here the enemies began highly to triumph, thinking verily that the gospel, with all the friends thereof, was overthrown for ever. On the other side, no less perplexity and lamentation were among the brethren, sorrowing not so much for themselves, as for the imprisonment of their fellows. Albeit they lost not their courage so altogether, but, as well as they could, they exhorted one another, considering the great favour and providence of God, in delivering them so wonderfully out of the danger. Some comfort they took unto them, consulting together in this order, that first they should humble themselves to God in their own private families: secondly, to stop the running bruits of their holy assemblies, they should write apologies, one to the king, another to the people: thirdly, that letters of consolation should be written and sent to their brethren in prison.
The first apology was written to the king, and conveyed so secretly into his chamber, that it was found and read openly in the hearing of the king and all his nobles: wherein the Christians learnedly and discreetly both cleared themselves of those reports, and showed the malice of their enemies, especially of Satan, who ever, from the beginning of the church, hath gone, and still doth go, about to overrun the right way of the Lord. Declaring further, by manifold examples and continual experience, even from the primitive time, how the nature of the church hath ever been to suffer vexations, and slanderous reports and infamation by the malignant adversaries, &c. And lastly, coming to the king, they craved that their cause might not be condemned, before it had had indifferent hearing, &c.
Nevertheless, this apology to the king served to little purpose; forasmuch as the adversaries incontinently denied all that was written to the king, making him to believe, that all were but excuses pretended; neither was there any person that durst reply again. But the other apology, to the people, did inestimable good, in satisfying the rumours, and defending the true cause of the gospel. Whereupon certain doctors of Sorbonne began to write both against the apology and the persons, of whom one was called Demochares, who, taking for his foundation, without any proof, that they were all heretics, cried out for justice, with bills, glaves, fire, and sword.
Another Sorbonist, more bloody than the first, not only exclaimed against them for putting out the candles in their detestable concourses and assemblies, but also accused them as men who maintained that there was no God, and denied the Divinity and humanity of Christ, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the flesh; and briefly, all the articles of true religion. And thus he charged them without any proof, moving both the king and people, without any form of law, to destroy and cut them in pieces, &c.
The third that wrote against them was Cenalis, bishop of Avranches, who debated the same matter, but with less vehemency than the others, defending impudently, that their assemblies were to maintain whoredom; complaining of the judges because they were no sharper with them, saying, that their softness was the cause why the number of them so much increased. Among other points of his book this one thing he disputeth marvellous pleasantly, touching the signs and marks of the true church; first, presupposing this one thing, which is true, that the true church hath its signs, by the which it may be known from the false church: and thereupon (making no mention at all either of preaching, or ministration of sacraments) thus he inferreth: that their church, which was the catholic church, had bells by which their assemblies be ordinarily called together; and the other church, which is of the Lutherans, hath claps of harquebusses and pistolets for signs, whereby they (as it is commonly bruited) are wont to congregate together. Upon this supposal, as upon a sure foundation, he grounding his matter, he vaunted and triumphed as one having gotten a great conquest, and made a long antithesis or comparison, by which he would prove that bells were the mark of the true church. "The bells," said he, "do sound; the harquebusses do crack or thunder. The bells do give a sweet tune and melodious; the signs of the Lutherans make a foul noise and terrible. The bells do open heaven; the others do open hell. Bells chase away clouds and thunder; the others engender clouds, and counterfeit thunder;" with many other properties more, which he brought out to prove that the Church of Rome is the true church, because it hath those bells.
Mark, good reader! the profound reasons and arguments which these great doctors had, either to defend their own church, or to impugn the apologies of the Christians.
Briefly, to finish the residue of this story: as the faithful Christians were thus occupied in writing their apologies, and in comforting their brethren in prison with their letters, the adversaries again with their faction were not idle, but sought all means possible to hasten forward the execution, giving diligent attendance about the prison and other open places, to satisfy their uncharitable desire with the death of those whose religion they hated.
Finally, the seventeenth day of September, commission was directed out by the king, and certain presidents and councillors appointed to oversee the expedition of the matter. Whereupon divers of the poor afflicted gospellers were brought forth to their judgment and martyrdom, as anon, Christ willing, you shall hear.
Henry Pantaleon, partly touching this persecution of the Parisians, referreth the time thereof to A.D. 1557, which the French chronicles do assign to the year 1558; and addeth moreover, that the Germans being at the same time in a certain colloquy at Worms, divers learned men resorted thither from Geneva and other quarters, desiring of the princes and protestants there, that they, by their ambassadors sent to the French king, would become suitors unto him for the innocent prisoners, who, for the cause abovesaid, were detained in bands at Paris. By the means of their intercession, (saith he,) and especially for that the French king was then at war, as God provided, with Philip king of Spain, a great part of the captives were rescued and delivered; albeit certain of the said number were executed before the coming of the German ambassadors, the names and martyrdom of whom hereunder do ensue.
Nicholas Clinet, at Paris, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by certain priests of the college of Plessis; and by Dr. Maillard, Sorbonist.
Of this godly company thus brought to judgment and to martyrdom, the first was Nicholas Clinet, of the age of sixty years, who first being a schoolmaster to youth at Saintonge, where he was born, was there pursued, and had his image burned. From thence he came to Paris, where, for his godly conversation, he was made one of the elders or governors of the church. For his age he was suspected of the judges to be a minister, and therefore was set to dispute against the chiefest of the Sorbonists, and especially Maillard, whom he did so confute both in the Scriptures, and also in their own Sorbonical divinity, (wherein he had been well exercised and expert,) in the presence of the lieutenant-civil, that the said lieutenant confessed that he never heard a man better learned, and of more intelligence.
Taurin Gravelle, a lawyer, at Paris, A.D. 1558.
Persecuted by Dr. Maillard, a Sorbonist.
Taurin Gravelle first was a student of the law at Toulouse: after that he was made an advocate in the court of Paris: lastly, for his godliness, he was ordained an elder to the said congregation, with Clinet above mentioned. This Taurin, having in his hands the keeping of a certain house of one M. Barthomier, his kinsman, and seeing the congregation destitute of a room, received them into the said house. And when he perceived the house to be compassed with enemies, albeit he might have escaped with the rest, yet he would not, but did abide the adventure, to the intent he would answer for the fact, in receiving the said assembly into the house. The constancy of this man was invincible, in sustaining his conflicts with the Sorbonists. With Dr. Maillard, especially, he was of old acquaintance, whom he did know so well, even from his youth upwards, that whensoever the said doctor would open his mouth to speak against the saints for their nightly assemblies, he again did reproach him with such filthy acts, &c., that neither they who heard could abide it, neither yet could he deny it, being so notorious that almost all the children in the streets did know it; and yet that Sorbonical doctor shamed not to impeach good men of immorality, for their godly assemblies in the night; whose life was as far from all chastity, as were their holy assemblies clear from all impurity. In fine, these two godly elders, in cruel pains of the fire, finished their martyrdom.
Philippe de Luns, a gentlewoman, at Paris, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by the lieutenant-civil; Dr. Maillard, Sorbonist; Mosnier, lieutenant; evil neighbours; Bertrand, lord-keeper of the seal, and cardinal of Sens; and the marquis of Trane.
Next unto these abovesaid, was brought out Mme. Philippe, gentlewoman, of the age of twenty-three years. She came first from the parts of Gascony with her husband, who was lord of Graveron, unto Paris, there to join herself to the church of God, where her husband also had been a senior or elder; who, in the month of May before, was taken with an ague, and deceased, leaving this Philippe a widow, who nevertheless ceased not to serve the Lord in his church, and also in the house was taken with the said company. Many conflicts she had with the judges and the Sorbonists, especially Maillard; but she always sent him away with the same reproach as the others did before, and bade him, "Avaunt wretch!" saying she would not answer one word to such a villain. To the judges her answer was this: that she had learned the faith which she confessed in the word of God, and in the same would live and die. And being demanded whether the body of Christ was in the sacrament: "How is that possible," said she, "to be the body of Christ, to whom all power is given, and which is exalted above all heavens, when we see the mice and rats, apes and monkeys, play with it, and tear it in pieces?" Her petition to them was, that seeing they had taken her sister from her, yet they would let her have a Bible or Testament to comfort herself. Her wicked neighbours, although they could touch her conversation with no part of dishonesty, yet many things they laid to her charge, as that there was much singing of psalms in her house, and that twice or thrice an infinite number of persons were seen to come out of her house. Also when her husband was dying, no priest was called for; neither was it known where he was buried; neither did they ever hear any word of their infant to be baptized, for it was baptized in the church of the Lord. Among her other neighbours that came against her, two there were dwelling at St. Germain in the suburbs; between whom, incontinent, arose a strife, wherein one of them struck the other with a knife. The death of this gentlewoman was the more hastened of the lord-keeper of the seal, Bertrand, cardinal of Sens, and his son-in-law, the marquis of Trane, for to have the confiscation of her goods.
These three holy martyrs above recited, were condemned on the twenty-seventh of September, by the process of the commissioners and the lieutenant-civil: and then being put in a chapel together, certain doctors were sent to them, but their valiant constancy remained unmovable. After that they were had out of their prison, and sent every one in a dung-cart to the place of punishment. Clinet ever cried by the way, protesting, that he said or maintained nothing but the verity of God. And being asked of a doctor, whether he would believe St. Austin, touching certain matters? he said, "Yea;" and that he had said nothing but what he would prove by his authority.
The gentlewoman, seeing a priest come to confess her, said, that she had confessed unto God, and had received of him remission: other absolution she found none in Scripture. And when certain councillors did urge her to take in her hands the wooden cross, according to the custom of them that go to their death, alleging how Christ commanded every one to bear his cross, she answered, "My lords!" said she, "you make me in very deed to bear my cross, condemning me unjustly, and putting me to death in the quarrel of my Lord Jesus Christ, who willeth us to bear our cross, but no such cross as you speak of."
Gravelle looked with a smiling countenance, and showed a cheerful colour, declaring how little he passed for his condemnation; and being asked of his friends to what death he was condemned, "I see well," said he, "that I am condemned to death, but to what death or torment I regard not." And coming from the chapel, when he perceived they went about to cut out his tongue, unless he would return, he said, that was not so contained in the arrest, and therefore he was unwilling to grant unto it; but afterward, perceiving the same so to be agreed by the court, he offered his tongue willingly to be cut, and incontinent spake plainly these words: "I pray you pray to God for me."
The gentlewoman also, being required to give her tongue, did likewise, with these words: "Seeing I do not stick to give my body, shall I stick to give my tongue? No, no." And so these three, having their tongues cut out, were brought to Maulbert Place. The constancy of Gravelle was admirable, casting up his sighs and groanings to heaven, declaring thereby his ardent affection by praying to God. Clinet was somewhat more sad than the other, by reason of the feebleness of nature and his age. But the gentlewoman yet surmounted all the rest in constancy, which neither changed countenance nor colour, being of an excellent beauty.
After the death of her husband, she used to go in mourning weed, after the manner of the country; but the same day, going to her burning, she put on her French hood, and decked herself in her best array, as going to a new marriage, the same day to be joined to her spouse Jesus Christ. And thus these three, with singular constancy, were burned: Gravelle and Clinet were burned alive; Philippe, the gentlewoman, was strangled, after she had a little tasted the flame with her feet and visage; and so she ended her martyrdom.
Nicholas Cene and Peter Gabart, at Paris, A.D. 1558. Their persecutors: the lieutenant, Dr. Maillard, councillors, and friars.
Of the same company was also Nicholas Cene, a physician, brother to Philip Cene above mentioned, and martyred at Dijon, and Peter Gabart; which two, about five or six days after the other three before, were brought forth to their death, on the second of October.
Nicholas Cene was but newly come to Paris the same day, when he was advertised of the assembly which then was congregated in the street of St. James; and (as he desired nothing more than to hear the word of God) came thither even as he was, booted, and was also with them apprehended, sustaining the cause of God's holy gospel unto death.
The other was Peter Gabart, a solicitor of processes, about the age of thirty years, whose constancy did much comfort the prisoners. He was put among a great number of scholars in the little castle, whom when he heard to pass the time in talking of philosophy, "No, no," said he, "let us forget these worldly matters, and learn how to sustain the heavenly cause of our God, which lies here in defence of the kingdom of Jesus Christ our Saviour." And so he began to instruct them how to answer to every point of Christian doctrine, as well as if he had done no other thing in all his life, but only studied divinity; and yet was he but very simply learned. Then was he sent from them apart to another prison, full of filthy stench and vermin; where, notwithstanding, he ceased not to sing psalms, that the others might well hear him. He had a nephew in prison by, being but a child, of whom he asked what he had said to the judges? He said, that he was constrained to do reverence to a crucifix, painted. "O thou naughty boy!" said he, "have not I taught thee the commandments of God? Knowest thou not how it is written, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image," &c. And so began to expound to him the commandments; whereunto he gave good attention.
In their examinations, many questions were propounded by the doctors and friars, touching matters both of religion, and also to know of them what gentlemen and gentlewomen were there present at the ministration of the sacrament: whereunto they answered in such sort, as was both sufficient for defence of their own cause, and also to save their other brethren from blame, saying that they would live and die in what they had said and maintained.
When the time of their execution was come, they perceived that the judges had intended, that if they would relent, they should be strangled; if not, they should burn alive, and their tongues be cut from them: which torments being content to suffer for our Saviour Jesus Christ, offered their tongues willingly to the hangman to be cut. Gabart began a little to sigh, for that he might no more praise the Lord with his tongue; whom then Cene did comfort. Then were they drawn out of prison in the dung-cart to the suburbs of St. Germain; whom the people in rage and madness followed with cruel injuries and blasphemies, as though they would have done the execution themselves upon them, maugre the hangmen. The cruelty of their death was such as hath not lightly, been seen; for they were holden long in the air over a small fire, and their lower parts burnt off, before the higher parts were much harmed with the fire. Nevertheless these blessed saints ceased not in all these torments to turn up their eyes to heaven, and to show forth infinite testimonies of their faith and constancy.
In the same fire many Testaments and Bibles at the same time also were burnt.
Upon the sight of this cruelty, the friends of the other prisoners who remained behind, fearing the tyranny of these judges, presented certain causes of refusal against the said judges, requiring other commissioners to be placed. But the king, being hereof advertised by his solicitor, sent out his letters patent, commanding the said causes of refusal to be frustrated, and willed the former judges to proceed, all other lets and obstacles to the contrary notwithstanding: and that the presidents should have power to choose to them other councillors, according to their own arbitrement, to supply the place of such as were absent; amongst whom also the said solicitor was received, instead of the king's procurator, to pursue the process. By these letters patent it was decreed, that these stubborn Sacramentaries (as they were called) should be judged accordingly, save only that they should not proceed to the execution, before the king were advertised. These letters aforesaid stirred up the fire of this persecution not a little, for that the judges at this refusal took great indignation, and were mightily offended for that reproach. Notwithstanding so it pleased God, that a young man, a German, called Albert Hartung, born in the country of Brandenburg, and godson to Albert, marquis of Brandenburg, by the king's commandment was delivered, through the importunate suit of the said marquis.
Frederic Danville, and Francis Rebezies, at Paris, A.D. 1558. Persecutors: two presidents, twenty-five councillors, the lieutenant-civil, doctors, friars, Sorbonists, Benedict, Jacobin, Demochares, and Maillard.
Mention was made above of certain young scholars and students who were in the little castle with Peter Gabart. Of the which number of scholars were these two, Frederic Danville and Francis Rebezies, neither of them being past twenty years of age. How valiantly they behaved themselves in those tender years, sustaining the quarrel of our Lord Jesus Christ, what confession they made, what conflicts they had, disputing with the doctors of Sorbonne, their own letters left in writing do make record; the effect whereof briefly to touch is this: and first touching Frederic Danville.
The lieutenant-civil, who before was half suspected, but now, thinking to prove himself a right catholic, and to recover his estimation again, came to him, beginning with these words of Scripture, "Whosoever denieth me before men, him will I deny before my Father," &c.: that done, he asked him what he thought of the sacrament. To whom Frederic answered, that if he should think Christ Jesus to be between the priest's hands after the sacramental words, (as they call them,) then should he believe a thing contrary to the Holy Scripture, and to the Creed, which saith that he sitteth on the right hand of the Father: also to the testimony of the angels, who spake both of the ascending of Christ, and of his coming down again. After this he questioned with him touching invocation of saints, purgatory, &c., whereunto he answered so that he rather did astonish the enemies, than satisfy them.
Furthermore, on the twelfth of September, the said Frederic again was brought before Benedict Jacobin, and his companion, a Sorbonist, called Nos-ter Magister; who thus began to argue with him.
The doctor. "What think you to be the true church, the church of the protestants, or the church of Paris?"
The martyr. "I recognise that to be the true church where the gospel is truly preached, and the sacraments rightly administered, so as they be left by Jesus Christ and his apostles."
Doctor. "And is the church, think you, of Geneva such a one as you speak of?"
The martyr. "I so judge it to be."
Doctor. "And what if I do prove the contrary, will you believe me?"
The martyr. "Yea, if you will prove it by the Scripture."
Doctor. "Or will you believe St. Austin and other holy doctors innumerable?"
The martyr. "Yea, so they dissent not from the Scripture and the word of God."
Doctor. "By the authority of St. Austin the church is there where is the succession of bishops; whereunto I frame this argument: There is the church, where is the perpetual succession of bishops: in the church of Paris is such succession of bishops: ergo, the church of Paris is the true church."
The martyr. "To your major I answer, that if St. Austin mean the succession of such as are true bishops indeed, who truly preach the gospel, and rightly administer the sacraments, such bishops I suppose to be at Geneva, where the gospel is truly preached, and the sacraments duly administered, and not in the church of Paris. But otherwise, if St. Austin mean the succession of false bishops, such as neither preach nor minister according to God's word, so is the same in no wise to be granted."
Doctor. "Calvin is there by his own thrusting in, and only by the choosing of the people."
The martyr. "And that soundeth more for him to be of God's divine election, forasmuch as by him the gospel of God is preached truly, and from this no man shall bring me."
After this disceptation, the ninth of the same month came against him another doctor with two Sorbonists, who bringing forth a scroll out of his bosom, pretended that a certain scholar, coming from Geneva, made his confession, wherein was contained, that in receiving of the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ is received really. Whereupon they demanded of him, whether he would receive the same confession.
The martyr. "Whatsoever I have said unto you, that will I hold. And as touching this word really, I know right well, that they of Geneva do not take it for any carnal presence, as you do; but their meaning is, to exclude thereby only a vain imagination."
Doctor. "I marvel much that you so refuse the word really, and use only spiritually, seeing that Calvin himself doth use the same word really."
The martyr. "Calvin meaneth thereby no other thing but as we do."
Doctor. "What say you of confession auricular?"
The martyr. "The same that I said before to Monsieur Lieutenant, that is, that I take it for a plantation, not planted by God in his word."
Doctor. "The Almains, in their confession which they sent to our king to be approved, have these words: We do not reject auricular confession; for it is a gospel secret and privy. And also Melancthon, in his Book of Common Places, doth call it Evangelium Secretum."
Another time the said Frederic was called again before the lords, the twentieth of the said month, where they did nothing but demand of him certain questions, as where he was born, and whether he had heard in his country at Oleron, that M. Gerard, the bishop there, did sing mass. "Yea," said he. "And why do not you also," said they, "receive the same?" He answered, "Because he did it, to retain and keep his bishopric." The martyr, for lack of paper, could proceed herein no further.
The examinations of the aforesaid Francis Rebezies.
Rebezies had three sundry examinations: the first with the lieutenant-civil; the second with the presidents and the councillors; the third with the friars. First, the lieutenant, inquiring of his name, country, and parents, asked whether he was at the communion, whether he received with them the bread and wine, and whether he was a servitor to M. Nicholas Cene, senior of the congregation? Whereunto he said, "Yea." Also whether he was a distributor of the tokens, whereby they were let in that came? That he denied.
Then he was brought into the council chamber, before two presidents, and twenty-five councillors; who, after other questions about his country and parents, demanded whether he was taken with them in the house? He answered, Yea. What he had to do there? To hear the word of God, and to receive with them. Who brought him thither? Himself. Whom there he knew? No man. How he durst, or would enter, knowing no person there? Truth it was, (said he,) that he knew there two or three. Who were they? M. Gravelle, Clinet, and John Sansot, feigning that name of himself. Whether he knew the preacher? That he denied. Whether he allowed the act there done to be good? Yea. Whether he did not better like to resort unto their beautified temples, to hear mass, or whether he did not take the mass to be a holy thing, and ordained of God? He answered again contrary, believing that it was a great blasphemy against God, and a service set up of the devil. Whether he did not acknowledge purgatory? Yea, that purgatory, which is the death and passion of Christ, which taketh away the sins of the whole world. The death of Christ is the principal thing, (said they,) but thou must also believe another. Alas, (said he,) can we never content ourselves with the simplicity of the gospel, but man always will be putting to something of his own brain: in so many places of the Scripture we see the blood of Jesus Christ to be sufficient, as John i., Apocalypse v., Hebrews ix., Isaiah xliii., where the Lord himself saith, that it is he, who, for his own sake, putteth away our iniquities, &c. As St. Paul also saith, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, &c. And on the contrary, when they objected the words of the parable, Thou shalt not come out till thou hast paid the last farthing: to this he answered, that the words of that parable had no such relation, but to matters civil; and this word "until" meaneth there, as much as never.
After that he was charged there by one, for reading the books of Calvin, Bucer, and Bullinger. The president asked, if he were not afraid to be burned as were the others before, and to bring his parents into such dishonour? He answered, that he knew well, that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus should suffer persecution; and that to him either to live or to die were advantage in the Lord. And as touching his parents, Christ himself (said he) doth premonish, that whosoever loveth father or mother more than him, is not worthy to be his, &c. "Jesus Maria!" said the president, "what youth are these now-a-days, who cast themselves so headlong into the fire! "And so was he commanded away.
Thirdly, He was brought before Benet, master of the doctors of Sorbonne, and another called Jacobin, on the fourteenth of October; where he chancing to speak of the Lord, the doctor began thus to object as followeth:
The doctor. "See how you, and all such as are of your company, simply name the Lord, without putting to the pronoun, our. So may the devils well call the Lord, and tremble before his face."
The martyr. "The devils call the Lord in such sort as the Pharisees did, when they brought the adulteress before him, and called him master; yet neither attended they to his doctrine, nor intended to be his disciples: whose case I trust is nothing like to ours, which know, and confess (as we speak) him to be the true Lord with all our heart, so as true Christians ought to do."
Doctor. "I know well you hold the church to be, where the word is truly preached, and the sacraments are sincerely administered, according as they are left by Christ and his apostles."
The martyr. "That do I believe, and in that will I live and die."
Doctor. "Do you not believe that whosoever is without that church, cannot obtain remission of his sins?"
The martyr. "Whosoever doth separate himself from that church, to make either sect, part, or division, cannot obtain, as you say."
Doctor. "Now let us consider two churches, the one wherein the word is rightly preached, and the two sacraments are administered accordingly as they be left unto us: the other, wherein the word and sacraments be used contrarily. Which of these two ought we to believe?"
The martyr. "The first."
Doctor. "Well said. Next is now to speak of the gifts given to the said church: as the power of the keys, and confession for remission of sins after we be confessed to a priest. Also we must believe the seven sacraments in the same church truly administered, as they be here in the churches of Paris, where the sacrament of the altar is ministered, and the gospel is truly preached."
The martyr. "Sir, now you begin to halt. As for my part, I do not receive in the church more than two sacraments, which be instituted in the same for the whole commonalty of Christians. And as concerning the power of the keys, and your confession, I believe, that for the remission of our sins, we ought to go to none other but only to God, as we read in 1 John i., If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to pardon our offences, and he will purge us from all our iniquities, &c. Also in the prophet David, in the nineteenth and thirty-second Psalms: I have opened my sin unto thee," &c.
Doctor. "Should I not believe that Christ, in the time of his apostles, gave to them power to remit sins?"
The martyr. "The power that Christ gave to his apostles, if it be well considered, is nothing disagreeing to my saying: and therefore I began to say (which I here confess) that the Lord gave to his apostles to preach the word, and so to remit sins by the same word."
Doctor. "Do you then deny auricular confession?"
The martyr. "Yea, verily I do."
Doctor. "Ought we to pray to saints?"
The martyr. "I believe no."
Doctor. "Tell me what I shall ask, Jesus Christ being here upon the earth? Was he not then as well sufficient to hear the whole world, and to be intercessor for all, as he is now?"
The martyr. "Yes."
Doctor. "But we find that when he was here on earth, his apostles made intercession for the people: and why may they not do the same as well now also?"
The martyr. "So long as they were in the world, they exercised their ministry, and prayed one for another, as needing human succours together; but now, they being in paradise, all the prayer that they make, is this: that they wish that they who be yet on earth, may attain to their felicity; but to obtain any thing at the Father's hand, we must have recourse only to his Son."
Doctor. "If one man have such charge to pray for another, may not he then be called an intercessor?"
The martyr. "I grant."
Doctor. "Well then, you say there is but one intercessor: whereupon I infer, that I, being bound to pray for another, need not now to go to Jesus Christ to have him an intercessor, but to God alone, setting Jesus Christ apart; and so ought we verily to believe."
The martyr. "You understand not, sir, that if God do not behold us in the face of his own well-beloved Son, then shall we never be able to stand in his sight: for if he shall look upon us, he can see nothing but sin; and if the heavens be not pure in his eyes, what shall be thought then of man, so abominable and unprofitable, who drinketh iniquity like water, as Job doth say?"
Then the other friar, seeing his fellow to have nothing to answer to this, inferred as followeth.
Doctor. "Nay, my friend! as touching the great mercy of God, let that stand; and now to speak of ourselves, this we know, that God is not displeased with them which have their recourse unto his saints."
The martyr. "Sir, we must not do after our own wills, but according to that which God willeth and commandeth: For this is the trust that we have in him, that if we demand any thing after his will, he will hear us.
Doctor. "As no man cometh to the presence of an earthly king, or prince, without means made by some about him; so, or rather much more, to the heavenly King above," &c.
The martyr. "To this earthly example, I will answer with another heavenly example of the prodigal son, who sought no other means to obtain his Father's grace, but came to the Father himself."
Then they came to speak of adoration, which the said Rebezies disproved by the Scripture, Acts x. xiii. xiv.; Apocalypse xix. xxii: Hebrews x. xii.: where is to be noted, that where the martyr alleged the twelfth chapter to the Hebrews; the doctors answered, that it was in the eleventh chapter, when the place indeed is neither in the eleventh, nor in the twelfth, but in the fourteenth chapter of the Acts. So well seen were these doctors in their divinity.
Doctor. "Touching the mass, what say you? believe you not that when the priest hath consecrated the host, our Lord is there as well, and in as ample sort, as he was, hanging upon the cross?"
The martyr. "No, verily; but I believe that Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of his Father; as appeareth by Hebrews x., 1 Cor. xv., Colossians iii. And therefore (to make short with you) I hold your mass for none other, but for a false and counterfeited service, set up by Satan, and retained by his ministers, by the which you do annihilate the precious blood of Christ, and his oblation once made of his own body; and you know right well that the same is sufficient, and ought not to be reiterated."
Doctor. "You deceive yourselves in the word reiteration, for we do not reiterate it so as you think; as by example I will show. You see me now in this religious garment; but if I should put upon me a soldier's weed, then should I be disguised, and yet for all that I should remain the same still within my doublet, that I was before in my friar's weed. So is it with the sacrifice: we confess and grant, that naturaliter, that is, naturally, be was once offered in sacrifice; and also in sitting, naturaliter, that is, naturally, at the right hand of his Father; but supernaturaliter, et subscriptive, that is, supernaturally, we sacrifice the same without reiteration. Supernaturaliter we sacrifice him; but that sacrifice is only disguised, to understand that he is contained under that curtain and whiteness which you see."
The martyr. "Sir, this I say, that such a disguised sacrifice is a diabolical sacrifice; and this you may take for a resolution."
Doctor. "And how is your belief touching the holy supper?"
The martyr. "That if it be ministered unto me by the minister, in such usage as it hath been left of Christ and his apostles; preaching also the word purely withal; I believe that, in receiving the material bread and wine, I receive with lively faith the body and blood of Jesus Christ spiritually."
Doctor. "Say corporally."
The martyr. "No, sir, for his words be spirit and life; and let this content you."
Doctor. "What say you, Is it lawful for a priest to marry?"
The martyr. "I believe it to be lawful for him, in such sort as the apostle saith, Whosoever hath not the gift of continency, let him marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. And if this do not content you, further you may read what he writeth of bishops and elders, 1 Tim. iii. and Tit. i."
And thus these doctors, affirming that he denied priesthood, gave him leave to depart, saying, "God have mercy on you!" "So be it," said he.
After this, about the twenty-second of October, the said Rebezies and Frederic Danville, were brought up to a chamber in the castle, to be racked, to the intent they should utter the rest of the congregation; in which chamber they found three councillors, who thus began with them: "Lift up thy hand. Thou shalt swear by the passion of Jesus Christ, whose image here thou seest" (showing him a great marmoset there painted on paper); whereunto Rebezies answered, "Monsieur, I swear to you by the passion of Christ, which is written in my heart." "Why dost not thou swear to us," said the councilors, "as we say unto thee?" " Because," said he, "it is a great blasphemy against the Lord." Then the councillors read their depositions, and, first beginning with Rebezies, said: "Wilt thou not tell us the truth, what companions thou knowest to be of this assembly?" Rebezies named, as he did before, Gravel, Clinet, (which were already burnt,) and John Sansot. To whom they said, that the court had ordained, that if he would give no other answer but so, he should be put to the torture or rack; and so he was commanded to be stripped to his shirt, having a cross put in his hand, and being bid to commend himself to God and the Virgin Mary. But he neither would receive the cross, nor commend himself to the Virgin Mary, saying, that God was able enough to guard him, and to save him out of the lion's mouth: and so, being drawn and stretched in the air, he began to cry, "Come, Lord! and show thy strength, that man do not prevail," &c. But they cried, "Tell truth, Francis! and thou shalt be let down."
Nevertheless he continued still in his invocation and prayer to the Lord, so that they could have no other word but that. And after they had thus long tormented him, the councillors said, "Wilt thou say nothing else?" "I have nothing else," said he, "to say." And so they commanded him to be loosed, and be put by the fire-side. Who, being loosed, said to them, "Do you handle thus the poor servants of God?" And the like was done to Frederic Danville also, his companion, (who at the same time was also very sick,) of whom they could have no other answer but as of the other. So mightily did God assist and strengthen his servants, as ever he did any else, as by their own letters and confession it doth appear.
These constant and true martyrs of Christ, after they had returned from the torture unto their fellow prisoners, ceased not to thank and praise the Lord for his assistance. Frederic did sigh oftentimes, and being asked of his fellows, why he so did? he said, it was not for the evil that he had suffered, but for the evils that he knew they should suffer afterward. "Notwithstanding," said he, "be strong, brethren! and be not afraid, assuring yourselves of the aid of God, who hath succoured us, and also will comfort you." Rebezies with the rack was so drawn and stretched, that one of his shoulders was higher than the other, and his neck drawn on the one side, so that he could not move himself: and therefore desiring his brethren to lay him upon his bed, there he wrote his confession, which hitherto we have followed. When the night came they rejoiced together, and comforted themselves with meditation of the life to come, and contempt of this world, singing psalms together till it was day. Rebezies cried twice or thrice together, "Away from me, Satan!" Frederic, being in bed with him, asked why he cried, and whether Satan would stop him of his course? Rebezies said, that Satan set before him his parents; "but by the grace of God," said he, "he shall do nothing against me."
The day next following they were brought once or twice before the councillors, and required to show what fellows they had more of the said assembly: which when they would not declare, the sentence was read against them, that they should be brought in a dung-cart to Maulbert Place, and there, having a ball in their mouths, be tied each one to his post, and afterwards be strangled; and so be turned into ashes.
Afterwards came the friars and doctors, Demochares, Maillard, and others, to confess them, and offering to them a cross to kiss, which they refused. Then Demochares by force made Rebezies to kiss it whether be would or no, crying to them moreover, that they should believe in the sacrament. "What," said Frederic, "will ye have us to pluck Christ Jesus out from the right hand of the Father?" Demochares said, that so many of their opinion had suffered death before, and yet none of them all ever did any miracles, as the apostles and other holy martyrs did. Frederic asked them, if they required any miracle?" No," said they; and so stood mute, save only that Demochares prayed them to consider well what they had said unto them. Maillard also added, that he would gage his soul to be damned, but it was true. Frederic answered, that he knew it was contrary.
At last, being brought to the place of execution, a cross again was offered them, which they refused. Then a priest standing by, bade them believe in the Virgin Mary. "Let God," saith they, "reign alone." The people standing by, "Ali mischievous Lutheran!" said they. "Nay, a true Christian I am," said he. When they were tied to their stakes, after their prayers made, when they were bid to be despatched, one of them comforting the other, said, "Be strong, my brother! be strong Satan, away from us!" As they were thus exhorting, one standing by said, "These Lutherans do call upon Satan." One John Morel, (who afterwards died a martyr,) then standing by at liberty, answered, "I pray you let us hear," said he, "what they say, and we shall hear them invocate the name of God." Whereupon the people listened better unto them, to hearken, as well as they could, what they said: they crying still as much as their mouths being stopped could utter, "Assist us, O Lord." And so they, rendering up their spirits to the hands of the Lord, did consummate their valiant martyrdom.
After the martyrdom of these two abovesaid, the intention of the judges was to despatch the rest one after another in like sort, and had procured already process against twelve or thirteen ready to be judged. But a certain gentlewoman, then prisoner amongst them, had presented causes of exceptions or refusals against them, whereby the cruel rage of the enemies was stayed to the month of July following. In the mean time, as this persecution was spread into other countries, first the faithful cantons of the Switzers perceiving these good men to be afflicted for the same doctrine which they preached in their churches, sent their ambassadors to the king to make supplication for them. The same time also came letters from the county palatine, elector, tending to the same end, to solicit the king for them. The king, standing the same time in great need of the Germans for his wars, was contented at least that they should proceed more gently with them; and so the fire for that time ceased. Most of them were sent to abbeys, where they were kept at the charge of the priors, to be constrained to be present at the service of idolatry, especially the young scholars; of whom some shrunk back; others, being more loosely kept, escaped away. The most part were brought before the official to make their confession, and to receive absolution ordinary. Divers made their confession ambiguous and doubtful, &c.
Rena Seau and John Almarick, at Paris. A.D. 1558.
These two young men were also of the company above specified, and were in prison, where they sustained such cruelty, being almost racked to death, that Almarick could not go when he was called to the court to be judged. And being upon the rack, he rebuked their cruelty, and spake so freely, as though he had felt no grief; and as they said, who came to visit him, he testified unto them, that he felt no dolour so long as he was upon it. Both these died in prison, continuing still firm and constant in the pure confession of Christ's church.
John Bordel, Matthew Vermeil, Peter Bourdon, Andrew de Fou, in the country of Brasil, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by Villegaignon, a French captain.
Mention is made in the French story of one Villegaignon, lieutenant for the French king, who made a voyage into the land of Brasil with certain French ships, and took an island nearly to the same adjoining, and made therein a fortress. After they had been there a while, Villegaignon (for lack of victuals, as he pretended) sent certain of them away in a ship to the river Plata, towards the pole antarctic, a thousand miles off. In this ship were these four here mentioned; who, forsaking their ship by occasion of tempest, were carried back again, and so came to the land of Brasil, and afterwards to their own countrymen. Villegaignon, being much grieved thereat, first charged them with departing without his leave. Moreover, being terrified in his mind with false suspicion and vain dreams, fearing and dreaming lest they had been sent as privy spies by the Brasilians, because they came from them, and had been friendly entertained of them; he began to devise how he might put them to death under some colour of treason: but the cause was religion. For albeit sometime he had been a professor of the gospel, yet afterwards, growing to some dignity, he fell to be an apostate, and cruel persecutor of his fellows. But when no proof or conjecture probable could be found to serve his cruel purpose, he, knowing them to be earnest protestants, drew out certain articles of religion for them to answer, and so entrapping them upon their confession, he laid them in irons and in prison, and secretly with one executioner and his page, he took one after another, beginning with John Bordel, and first brought him to the top of a rock, and there being half strangled, without any judgment threw him into the sea; and after the like manner, ordered also the rest. Of whom three were thus cruelly murdered and drowned; to wit, John Bordel, Matthew Vermeil, and Peter Bourdon. The fourth, who was Andrew de Fou, he caused by manifold allurements somewhat to incline to his sayings, and so he escaped the danger; not without great offence taken of a great part of the Frenchmen in that country.
Illustration -- Geneva
Geffery Varagle, at Turin, in Piedmont, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by the king's lieutenant.
In the same year, 1558, suffered also Geffery Varagle, preacher in the valley of Angrogne, at the town of Turin, in Piedmont, who first was a monk, and said mass the space of seven and twenty years. Afterwards, returning from Buske toward Angrogne to preach, as he had used before to do, sent by the ministers of Geneva, and other faithful brethren, was apprehended in the town of Bruges, and brought before the king's lieutenant; where he was questioned with, touching divers articles of religion: as of justification, works of supererogation, free-will, predestination, confession, satisfaction, indulgences, images, purgatory, the pope, &c. Whereunto he answered again in writing, with such learning and reason, alleging against the pope's own distinctions, that, as the story reporteth, the court of Turin, marvelling at his learning, condemned him more for reproach of shame, than upon true opinion grounded on judgment. When he was brought to the place of execution, the people which stood by and heard him speak, declared openly, that they saw no cause why he should die. A certain old companion of his, a priest, calling him by his name, "Master Geffery," desired him to convert from his opinions: to whom he patiently answered again, desiring him, that he would convert from his condition. And thus after he had made his prayer unto God, and had forgiven his executioner, and all his enemies, he was first strangled, and then burned. In the aforesaid story, relation is made moreover, concerning the said Geffery, that at the time of his burning a dove was seen, as was credibly reported of many, flying and fluttering divers times about the fire; testifying, as was thought, the innocency of this holy martyr of the Lord. But the story addeth, that upon such things we must not stay: and so concludeth he the martyrdom of this blessed man.
Benet Romaine, a mercer or haberdasher, at Draguignan in Provence, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by Lanteaume Blanc; De Lauris, councillor and son-in-law to Miniers, lord of Opede, the cruel persecutor; Anthony Revest, the lieutenant; Barbosi, judge-ordinary of Draguignan; Joachim Partavier, the king's advocate; Caval and Cavalieri, consuls; the official; Gasper Siguiere, officer in Draguignan; and also a friar observant.
The lamentable story of Benet Romaine is described at large among other French martyrs, by John Crispine, printer: the brief recital whereof here followeth. This Benet, having wife and children at Geneva, to get his living used to go about the country with certain mercenary ware, having cunning also, amongst other things, how to dress corals. As he was coming toward Marseilles, and passed by the town of Draguignan, he happened upon one of the like faculty, named Lanteaume Blanc, who, being desirous to have of his corals, and could not agree for the price, also knowing that he was one of Geneva, went to a councillor of the court of Aix; being then at Draguignan, whose name was De Lauris, son-in-law to Miniers, lord of Opede, the great persecutor against Merindol, &c. This De Lauris, consulting together with the aforesaid Blanc, and pretending to buy certain of his coral which he saw to be very fair, and knowing also that he had to the worth of three hundred crowns, incontinent after his departing from him, he sent to the officer of the town to attach the said Benet, as one being the greatest Lutheran in the world. Thus when he was arrested for the king's prisoner, Blanc and his fellows, which, sought nothing but only the prey, were ready to seize on his goods; and likewise of the other two men whom he hired to bear his merchandise. Then were these three poor men separated asunder, and Romaine examined before the consuls, and the king's advocate, and other councillors, where he kept his Easter? whether he received at the same Easter? whether he was confessed before, and fasted the Lent. Also he was bid to say his Pater Noster, the Creed, and Ave Maria; which two first he did, but refused to say Ave Maria. Then was he asked for worshipping of saints, women-saints and men-saints, and when he heard mass? He said, he would worship none but God alone: mass he heard none these four years, nor ever would. Whereupon he was committed to a stinking and loathsome place, with iron chains upon his legs. De Lauris thus having his will upon the poor man, sent for the lieutenant, named Anthony Revest, told him what he had done, and willed him to see the prisoner. The lieutenant, being angry, that he did so usurp upon his office, denied to go with him to the prisoner, excusing the filthy savour of the place. Notwithstanding, the same day the lieutenant with another went to the prison, and caused the said Romaine to come before him, of whom he inquired many things, of his dwelling, of his name and age, his wife and children, of his faculty, and the cause of his coming; also of his religion, and all such points thereto belonging. Unto whom he answered again simply and truly in all respects, as lay in his conscience; and thereunto, being required, (because he could not write,) he put to his mark. After this confession being thrice made, and his answer taken, certain faithful brethen of that place found means to come to him, and counselled him, that seeing he had sufficiently already made confession of his faith, he would seek means to escape out from his enemies, which sought nothing but his death; and showed unto him what he should say unto the lieutenant. But he refused so to do, being willing there to render account of his faith, and contented to die for the same.
The fame of his constancy being known in the town, judge Barbosi, a man blind and ignorant, and no less deformed, came to see him, and asked, "What, do they believe," said he, "in any God in Geneva?" Romaine looking upon him, "What art thou," said he, "that so wretchedly dost blaspheme?" "I am," said he, "the judge-ordinary of this place." "And who hath put thee," said Romaine, "such a gross and deformed person, in such an office? Thinkest thou that we be infidels, and no Christians? And if the devils themselves do confess a God, suppose you that they of Geneva do deny their God? No! no! we believe in God, we invocate his name, and repose all our trust in him," &c. Barbosi took such grief with this, departing from Romaine, that he ceased not to pursue him to death.
The lieutenant then being urged, and much called upon, and also threatened by this Barbosi and other, prepared to proceed in judgment against him, taking to him such judges and advocates as the order there required. There was at the same time an Observant Friar, who had there preached all the Lent. He, being very eager and diligent to have the poor Christian burned, and seeing the judges intentive about the business, to set the matter forward, said, that he would go and say mass of the Holy Ghost, to illuminate their intents to have the said Romaine condemned and burned alive at a little fire. Moreover, he procured Caval and Cavalieri, the consuls, to threaten the lieutenant, that they would complain of him to the high court of parliament, if he would not after that sort condemn him to be burnt. In the mean time the faithful Christians of the said town, fearing lest by his racking danger might happen to the brethren, sent to Romaine again in the prison certain instructions and means how he might be aided, such as should not be against God: but when the lieutenant came, the poor man forgot his instructions; so simple he was, and ignorant of the subtleties of this world.
When the time came that the judges were set, and the process should be read, Barbosi, with other whom the friar had procured, had agreed before, that he should be fired alive, and put to the rack, to disclose his fellows, and also gagged, that he might not speak and infect the residue. On the other part, one there was of the advocates, (albeit a man wholly superstitious,) seeing the rage of the others, gave contrary advice, saying, that he should be sent home again, for that he was a town-dweller of Geneva, neither had taught there any kind of doctrine, nor brought any books, or had they any informations against him; and that which he had spoken, was a thing constrained by his oath, forced by the justice. And as touching his opinion, it was no other but as other young men did follow, which were either of the one part, or of the other; and therefore that here remained no more, but only the lieutenant to give his verdict, &c. Thus much being spoken, and also because the lieutenant was before suspected, and the time of dinner drew near, they arose for that time, deferring the matter to another season. The Friar Observant in this mean while was not idle, inciting still the consuls and the people, who, at the ringing of a bell being assembled together with the official and the priests in a great rout, came crying to the lieutenant to burn the heretic, or else they would fire him, and all his family; and in semblable wise did the same to the other judges and advocates: the official moreover added, that if it were not better seen unto than so, the Lutherans would take such courage, and so shut up their church doors, that no man should enter in. Then, because the lieutenant would not take to him other judges after their minds, in all post-haste the people contributed together, that at their own charge the matter should be pursued at the parliament of Aix, and so compelled the lieutenant to bring the process unto judgment, every man crying, "To the fire, to the fire, that he may be burned!!"
The lieutenant, being not able otherwise to appease the people, promised to bring the matter to the high court of Aix, and so he did. They, hearing the information of the cause, commanded the lieutenant and the other judges to deal no further therein, but to send up the process and the prisoner unto them. This went greatly against the minds of them of Draguignan, which would fain have had him condemned there. Whereupon Barbosi was sent out to the parliament of Aix, where he so practised and laboured the matter, that the cause was sent down again to the lieutenant, and he enjoined to take unto him such ancient advocates, as their old order required, and to certify them again within eight days. And so Romaine, by the sentence of those old judges, was condemned to be burned alive, if he turned not; if he did, then to be strangled, and before the execution, to be put upon the rack, to the intent he should disclose the rest of his company; from the which sentence Romaine then appealed, saying that he was no heretic. Whereupon he was carried unto Aix, singing the Commandments as he passed by the town of Draguignan: which when the king's advocate did see, looking out of his window, he said unto him, that he was one of them that concluded his death, but desired God to forgive him; Romaine answered again, and said, "God will judge us all in the last day of judgment." After he was come to Aix, he was brought before the councillors, before whom he remained no less constant and firm than before. Then was a fumish friar sent, who, being three hours with him, and could not remove him, came out to the lords, and said that he was damned: by reason whereof, the sentence given before his condemnation was confirmed, and he sent back again from whence he came.
At this return again from Aix, the consuls of Draguignan sent abroad by parishes unto the curates, that they should signify unto their parishioners the day of his death, to the end that they should come; also caused to be cried through the town by the sound of a trumpet, that all good Christians should bring wood to the great market-place, to burn the Lutheran. The day being come, which was Saturday, the sixteenth of May, the poor servant of God was first brought to the rack or torture, where, at his first entry, were brought before him the cords, irons, and weights, to terrify him. Then, said they, he must utter his complices, and renounce his religion, or else he should be burned alive. He answered with a constant heart, that he had no other accomplices nor companions, neither would he hold any other faith but that which Jesus Christ did preach by his apostles. Then was he demanded of his fellows taken with him, whether they did hold the faith of Rome, or whether he did ever communicate with them, or did know them in the town, or in the province to be of his faith? He said, No. Item, What he had to do in that town? He said, To sell his coral. Item, Who gave him counsel to appeal? God, he said, by his Spirit.
Upon this he was put upon the gin or rack, where he, being torn most outrageously, ceased not still to cry unto God, that he would have pity on him for the love of Jesus Christ his Son. Then was he commanded to call to the Virgin Mary, but that he would not. Whereupon his torture was renewed afresh, in such cruel sort, that they thought they had left him for dead; for which they sent him to the barbers, and finding that he could endure no longer, were afraid lest he had been past, and hastened to bring him to the fire. So, after they had essayed him by priests and friars as much as they could, to make him revolt, they helped the hangman to bear him, all broken and dismembered as he was, unto the heap of wood, where they tied him to a chain of iron which was let down upon the faggots. Romaine, seeing himself to be alone lying upon the wood, began to pray to God; whereat the friars being moved, ran to him again to cause him to say Ave Maria: which when he would not do, they were so furious, that they plucked and tore his beard. In all these anguishes the meek saint of God had recourse still to God in his prayers, beseeching him to give him patience. Then left they him lying as dead; but so soon as they descended down from the wood, he began to pray to God again in such sort as one would have thought that he had felt no hurt. Then another great friar, supposing to do more with him than the rest, came up to the wood unto him, to admonish him. Romaine thought at first that he had been a faithful Christian, by his gentle speech; but afterwards when he urged him to pray to the Virgin Mary, he desired him to depart, and let him alone in peace. As soon as he was departed, Romaine lifted up his head and his eyes on high, praying God to assist him in his great temptation. Then a certain father, a warden, to bring the people in more hatred, cried out and said, "He blasphemeth! he blasphemeth! he speaketh against the blessed Virgin Mary!" Whereat Barbosi cried, "Stop his mouth, let him be gagged!" The people cried, "To the fire! let him be burned! "Then the hangman set fire to the straw and little sticks that were about, which incontinent were set on fire. Romaine still remained hanging in the air till he died. When all his nether parts were burnt well near, he was seen to lift up his head to heaven, moving his lips, without any cry: and so this blessed saint rendered his spirit to God!
Of this assembly there were divers judgments and sundry bruits. Some said, that if good men had been about him, it had gone better with him; and that those priests and monks which were about him, were whoremasters and infamous.
Others said, that he had wrong, and that a hundred of that company there were, who more deserved death than he, especially among those who condemned him. Other went away marvelling, and disputing of his death and doctrine. And thus was the course finished of this valiant and thrice blessed martyr-and servant of the Lord Jesus the Son of God.
Francis Civaux, at Dijon, A.D. 1558. Persecuted by the convent of the Jacobin Friars at Dijon, and a priest of that place.
This Francis Civaux was secretary to the French ambassador here in England in Queen Mary's time, who afterwards, being desirous to hear the word of God, went to Geneva. Also he was placed to be secretary to the senate or council of Geneva; where he continued about the space of a year. Having then certain business, he came to Dijon.
There was the same time a priest that preached at Dijon such doctrine, that the said Francis, being worthily offended thereat, came friendly unto the priest, and reasoned with him touching his doctrine, showing by the Scriptures how and where he had erred. The priest excused himself, that he was not so well instructed to dispute, but he would bring him the next day to a certain learned man, whom he knew there in the town, and desired the said Francis to go with him to breakfast, where he would be glad to hear them two in conference together. Whereunto when Francis had consented, the priest incontinent went to the Jacobin Friars, where the matter was thus contrived, that at the breakfast time Francis there unawares should be apprehended.
When the next day came, the priest brought Francis, according to his appointment, to a Jacobin Friar, who, pretending much fair friendship unto him, as one glad and desirous of his company, besought him to take a breakfast with him the next morrow, and there they would enter conference together. With this also Francis was content, and to prepare himself the better to that conflict, sat up almost all the night writing with his fellow. The next morrow, as Francis with his fellow were preparing themselves toward the breakfast, the Jacobin in the mean time went to the justice of the town, to admonish him to be ready at the time and place appointed. Thus, as the Jacobin was standing at the justice's door, the companion of Francis, seeing the friar there stand, began to mistrust with himself, and told Francis, willing him to beware of the friar. Moreover, the same night Francis had in his dream, that the said friar should commit him to the justice. But he, either not caring for his dreams, or else not much caring for the danger, committed himself to the hands of God, and went. As they were together disputing in the convent of the Jacobins, Francis, thus betrayed of the priest, was apprehended by the officers, carried to prison, and within seven days after, being Saturday before the nativity of our Lord, was brought to the place of execution, where first he was strangled, and then burned. And as touching the fellow and companion of this Francis above mentioned, he was also apprehended with him, and put in prison; but because he was but a young novice, and yet not fully confirmed, he recanted, and was delivered.
Peter Arondeau, at Paris, A.D. 1559. His persecutors were the priests of Rochelle, Manroy a priest, the lieutenant of Rochelle, the cardinal of Lorraine, and two presidents, to wit, Magister and St. Andre.
The town of Rochelle, as it is a place of great commodity because of the sea, so was it not inferior to other good towns in France, for nourishing and supporting the holy assemblies of the Lord. Unto the which town, about A.D. 1559, resorted one Peter Arondeau, a man of base condition, with a little packet of mercery ware there to sell: who there, being known to join himself to the church and congregation of the faithful, was demanded of certain ministers of antichrist, whether he would go to hear mass or no? He said, that he had been there too oft to his great grief; and that since the time that the Lord had taken the veil from his eyes, he knew the mass to be abominable, forged in the shop of the enemy of all mankind. They to whom he thus answered were priests; amongst whom was one named Manroy, who, taking the others there present for witnesses, brought him straight to the lieutenant. The deposition being taken, and information made, it was decreed incontinent, that his body should be attached. And although by one of his friends he was admonished to save himself, and to avoid the danger, yet he ceased not to put himself into his enemy's hands; and so was led prisoner. As he was in prison, many of the faithful came to comfort him, but rather he was able to comfort not only them which came to comfort him, but also the others who were there prisoners with him. The priests left no diligence unsought to stir up the lieutenant, which was of himself too much inflamed in such matters.
Arondeau, after many interrogations, and threatening words, and also fair promises of his pardon, still continued one man. Then the lieutenant seeing his constancy, condemned him to death. Arondeau, praising God for his grace given, did not a little rejoice that he might suffer in that quarrel, and in token of rejoicing, did sing a psalm, being fully resolved to accept the said condemnation, without any appeal. But his friends, not pleased with his resolution, came to him; and so persuaded with him not to give his life so good cheaply over to his enemies' hands, that he was turned from that, and made his appeal. The appeal being entered, the lieutenant, seeking to gratify the adversaries of the gospel, and especially the cardinal of Lorraine, secretly, by the backside of the town, and out of the highway, conveyed the poor prisoner unto Paris; who, being brought unto Paris by privy journeys, as is said, was put into prison, committed to the custody of two presidents, to wit, Magister, and St. Andre; by the means of whom the sentence of the lieutenant was confirmed, and also put in execution the fifteenth day of November, in the year abovesaid; on the which day the said Arondeau was burned quick at the place called St. John, in Greve, at Paris. The constancy heroical which God gave him, and wherein he endured victorious unto death, was a mirror or glass of patience unto M. Anne du Bourge, councillor in the parliament of Paris, and to divers others then prisoners; and was to them a preparation toward the like death, which shortly after they suffered.
Not long after the happy end of this blessed martyr, the aforenamed Manroy, which was the principal accuser and party against him, was struck with a disease called apoplexia, and thereupon suddenly died.
By this, and many other such-like examples, the mighty judgment of God most evidently may appear; who, albeit commonly he doth use to begin his judgment with his own household in this world, yet neither do his adversaries themselves always escape the terrible hand of his justice.
Also the lord lieutenant which was his condemner tarried not long after the priest, but he was arrested personally to appear before the king's council, through the procurement of a certain gentleman of Poland, called Anthony de l'Eglise, against whom the said lieutenant had given false and wrong judgment before; by reason whereof the aforesaid gentleman so instantly did pursue him before the lords of the council, that all the extortions and pollings of the lieutenant were there openly discovered, and so he condemned to pay to the gentleman a thousand French crowns of the sum, within fourteen days, upon pain of double as much. Also he was deposed of his office, and there declared unworthy to exercise any royal office hereafter for ever, with infamy and shame perpetual.
Thomas Moutard, at Valenciennes, A.D. 1559.
Persecuted by a priest of that town.
In the town of Valenciennes, not far from France, in the same year, which was 1559, in the month of October, suffered Thomas Moutard; who, first being converted from a disordered life to the knowledge of the gospel, is to us a spectacle of God's great gracious mercy toward his elected Christians. This Moutard was attached for certain words spoken to a priest, saying thus: That his god of the host was nothing but an abomination, which abused the people of God. These words were taken first as spoken in drunkenness; but the next day after, when the same words were repeated to him again, to know whether he would abide by the words there uttered, or no, he said, "Yea; for it is an abuse," said he, "to seek Jesus Christ any otherwhere than in heaven, sitting at the glory and right hand of God his Father: and in this he was ready to live and die." His process being made, he was condemned to be burned quick. But, as he was carried from the town-house to the place of punishment, it was never seen a man with such constancy to be so assured in heart, and so to rejoice at that great honour which God had called him unto. The hangman hasted as much as was possible, to bind him, and despatch him. The martyr, in the midst of the flaming fire, lifting up his eyes unto heaven, cried to the Lord that he would have mercy on his soul; and so in great integrity of faith and perseverance, he gave up his life to God.
This Dutch story should have gone before with the Dutch martyrs; but seeing Valenciennes is not far distant from France, it is not much out of order to adjoin the same with the French martyrs; who, at length, shall be joined altogether in the kingdom of Christ: which day the Lord send shortly. Amen!
Thus have we (through the assistance of the Lord) deduced the table of the French, and also of the Dutch martyrs, unto the time and reign of Queen Elizabeth, that is, to the year 1560. Since the which time divers also have suffered both in France and in the lower country of Germany; whose story shall be declared (the Lord willing) more at large, when we come to the time of Queen Elizabeth. In the mean season, it shall suffice for this present to insert their names only, which here do follow.
The residue of the French martyrs.
Anne du Bourge, councillor of Paris; Andrew Coffier, John Isabeau, John Indet, martyrs, of Paris; Geffery Guerien, John Morel, John Barbeville, Peter Chevet, Malin Marie, Margarite Rich, Adrian Daussi, Giles le Court, Philip Parmentier, Marin Rosseau, Peter Milot, John Berfoy: besides the tumult of Amboise, and the persecution of Vassy; also Austin Marlorat, and Master Mutonis.
The residue of the Dutch martyrs.
James de Lo, of the isle of Flanders; John de Buissons, at Antwerp; Peter Petit, John Denys, Guymon Guilmein, Simeon Herme, of the Isle of Flanders: John de Lannoy, at Tournay; Andrew Michel, a Mind man, at Tournay; Francis Varlut, at Tournay; Alexander Dayken, of Bramcastle; William Cornu, in Hainault; Anthony Caron, of Cambray; Renaudine de Francville. Certain suffered at Tournay: Michel Robilert, of Arras; Nicaise de le Totnbe; Roger du Mont.
To the catalogue of French martyrs above rehearsed, the story of Merindol and Cabriers, withthe lamentable handling of them, is also to be annexed. But because the tractation thereof is prolix, and cannot well be contracted into a short discourse, therefore we have deferred the same to a more convenient room, after the table here following next of the Spanish and Italian martyrs, where better opportunity shall be given to prosecute more at full that tragical persecution, the Lord so permitting.