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I Go Now to the Holy City

Francis of Bolsweert – The Netherlands

At Bolsweert, in Friesland, there was a true lamb of Christ, named Francis, who lived uprightly in the fear of God. He was therefore apprehended and conveyed in a sleigh to Leeuwaerden, where he was asked before the council, why he would not swear, nor observe the Supper with them in the church. He answered: “My lords, Christ teaches us that we must not swear at all; and because you people are unbelieving and unclean, I will not keep fellowship with you?” At these words the lords were offended, and said: “We are neither thieves nor murderers; what uncleanness then have we? But it seems to us, that you hold a false doctrine, and of such heretics there are still more, all of whom we intend utterly to exterminate.” Francis said: “My lords, be not angry; but you high priests, show me the false doctrine which I hold, and this from the Bible, for I have brought one with me; come and instruct me from it.” 

The lords then counseled with the priests of Jezebel, and said: “He has despised our mass; he condemns our customs, and we have strict mandate, to which we must be obedient, and according to that he must die. Thus he was sentenced to be burned to ashes on Palm Sunday eve, A.D. 1545. For this sentence he undauntedly thanked the lords and said: “I will forgive you all this from my heart, wishing that the Spirit of God would enlighten you unto reformation, that you may repent and live according to the word of God; I go now to the holy city, and the inheritance of my Father.” He was then led to death, as a sheep to the slaughter. Many that saw it wept; but he said: “Weep not, but prepare yourselves to die unto your sins, for this is the true way to enter into life.” He also spoke many other comforting words. 

After he had openly prayed: “Lord God, receive my soul and guide it into Thy peace,” the executioner commenced his work. Having stripped him of his clothes, and fastened him to the stake, he was about to strangle him with a rope, when the rope broke, and he fell down. This frightened the executioner, and he endeavored quickly to burn him to ashes with much peat and wood; but God manifested his miraculous power, so that the fire lost its natural force, and the body could not be burned entirely; on which account the lords became angry at the executioner, and said that he had not brought enough wood; but it was the will of God that he should thus be received into the number of martyrs.

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

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 23:22

Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.