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Elizabeth - The Lord's Handmaiden

Elizabeth was apprehended on the 15th of January, 1549. When those who had come to apprehend her entered the house in which she lived, they found a Latin Testament. Having secured Elizabeth, they said, “We have got the right man; we have now the teacheress;” adding, “Where is your husband, Menno Simons, the teacher?”

They then brought her to the town house. The following day two beadles took her between them to prison.

She was then arraigned before the council, and asked upon oath, whether she had a husband.

Elizabeth answered, “We ought not to swear, but our words should be Yea, yea, and Nah, nah; I have no husband.”

Lords:  “We say that you are a teacher, and that you seduce many. We have been told this, and we want to know who your friends are.”

Elizabeth: “My God has commanded me to love my Lord and my God, and to honor my parents; hence I will not tell you who my parents are; for what I suffer for the name of Christ is a reproach to my friends.” 

Lords: “We will let you alone in regard to this, but we want to know whom you have taught.”

Elizabeth: “Oh, no, my lords, let me in peace with this, but interrogate me concerning my faith, which I will gladly tell you.”

Lords: “We shall make you so afraid, that you will tell us”

Elizabeth: “I hope through the grace of God, that He will keep my tongue, so that I shall not become a traitoress, and deliver my brother into death.”

Lords: “What persons were present when you were baptized?”

Elizabeth: “Christ said, ‘Ask them that were present, or who heard it.’ John 18:21.”

Lords: “Now we perceive that you are a teacher; for you compare yourself to Christ.”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, far be it from me; for I do not esteem myself above the offscourings which are swept out from the house of the Lord.”

Lords: “What then do you hold concerning the house of God? Do you not regard our church as the house of God?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, for it is written, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them. 2 Corinthians 6:16

Lords: “What do you hold concerning our mass?”

Elizabeth: “My lords, of your mass I think nothing at all; but I highly esteem all that accords with the Word of God.”

Lords: “What are your views with regard to the most adorable, holy sacrament?”

Elizabeth: “I have never in my life read in the holy Scriptures of a holy sacrament, but of the Lord’s Supper.” (She also quoted the scripture relating to this.)

Lords: “Be silent, for the devil speaks through your mouth.”

Elizabeth: “Yea, my lords, this is a small matter, for the servant is not better than his lord.”

Lords: “You speak from a spirit of pride.”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, I speak with frankness.”

Lords: “What did the Lord say, when He gave His disciples the Supper?”

Elizabeth: “What did He give them, flesh or bread?”

Lords: “He gave them bread.”

Elizabeth: “Did not the Lord remain sitting there? Who then would eat the flesh of the Lord?”

Lords: “What are your views concerning infant baptism, seeing you have been rebaptized?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, I have not been rebaptized. I have been baptized once upon my faith; for it is written that baptism belongs to the believers.”

Lords: “Are our children damned then, because they are baptized?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, God forbid, that I should judge the children.”

Lords: “Do you not seek your salvation in baptism?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, all the water in the sea could not save me; but salvation is in Christ (Acts 4:10), and He has commanded me to love God my Lord above all things, and my neighbor as myself.”

Lords: “Have the priests power to forgive sins?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords; how should I believe this? I say that Christ is the only priest through whom sins are forgiven.” Hebrews 7:21

Lords: “You say that you believe everything that accords with the Holy Scriptures; do you not believe the words of James?”

Elizabeth: “Yea, my lords, why should I not believe them?”

Lords: “Does he not say, “Go to the elder of the church, that he may anoint you, and pray over you?” James 5:14

Elizabeth: “Yea, my lords, but do you mean to say that you are of this church?”

Lords: “The Holy Ghost has saved you already; you need neither confession nor sacrament?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, I acknowledge that I have transgressed the ordinance of the pope, which the Emperor has confirmed by decrees. But prove to me that I have transgressed in any article against my Lord and my God, and I will cry woe over me, miserable being.”

The foregoing is the first confession.

Afterwards she was again brought before the council, and led into the torture chamber, Hans, the executioner, being present. The lords then said, “We have thus long dealt with you in kindness; but if you will not confess, we will resort to severity with you.” The Procurator General said, “Master Hans, seize her.”

Master Hans answered, “Oh no, my lords, she will voluntarily confess.”

But as she would not voluntarily confess, he applied the thumbscrews to her thumbs and forefingers, so that the blood squirted out at the nails.

Elizabeth: “Oh, I cannot endure it any longer.”

Lords: “Confess and we will relieve your pain.”

But she cried to the Lord her God, “Help me, O Lord, thy poor handmaiden! for Thou art a helper in time of need.

The lords all exclaimed, “Confess, and we will relieve your pain; for we told you to confess, and not to cry to God the Lord.”

But she steadfastly adhered to God her Lord, as related above; and the Lord took away her pain, so that she said to the lords, “Ask me, and I shall answer you; for I no longer feel the lest pain in my flesh, as I did before.”

Lords: Will you not yet confess?”

Elizabeth: No, my lords.”

They then applied the screws to her shins, one on each.

She said, “Oh my lords, do not put me to shame; for never a man touched my bare body.”

The Procurator General said, “Miss Elizabeth, we shall not treat you dishonorably.”

She then fainted away. They said to one another, “Perhaps she is dead.”

But waking up she said, “I live, and am not dead.”

They then took off all the screws, and questioned her.

Elizabeth: “Why do you thus entreat me? This is the way to do with children.”

Thus they obtained not one word from her, detrimental to her brethren in the Lord, or to any other person.

Lords: Will you revoke all that you have previously confessed here?”

Elizabeth: “No, my lords, but I will seal it with my death.”

Lords: We will try you no more; will you voluntarily tell us, who baptized you?”

Elisabeth: “Oh no, my lords, I have certainly told you, that I will not confess this.”

Sentence was then passed upon Elizabeth, on the 27th of March, 1549; she was condemned to death to be drowned in a bag, and thus offered up her body to God.

Note: Taken from the book Martyrs Mirror. Content may or may not have been edited for clarity.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 23:4

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.