Worthy to Suffer

Twelve persons, men and women, burned and beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ, at Vucht, near Herzogenbusch (in The Netherlands), A.D. 1538

In the year 1538, in August, there were apprehended in the town ten or seventeen men and women, who were said to have been rebaptized, all of them humble (or poor) people, etc., except a goldsmith, who was among the number, whose name was Paul Vandruynen, and who was said to be their preacher.

This Paul, together with three other men, was strangled alive and burned, upon a scaffold at Vucht, on the ninth of September. The other three were named:  Michael Stevens of Oosterhont, a potter; John Block of Ghent, a tapemaker; and Adrain of Gravenhage, also a tapemaker. A rope was tied into the mouth of each that they should not speak or cry aloud.

Two Minorities and two Dominicans were also present, who wanted to say much to them, and show them a crucifix; but they would not look at it, saying that they had God in their hearts, and, therefore, would worship neither wood nor stone; they also prayed for those who put them to death, and said that the servant was not better than his master, and that they did willingly die in His name, but would not listen to the monks.

A commissary from the court, named Sir Adrian van de Grave, a licentiate [a man holding a degree] in both laws, conducted the trial.  He had with him a man of the aforesaid sect, whose misdeed had been remitted to him (probably an apostate), who pointed out their residences. To said commissary seven judges were added, who together sentenced them; namely:  Sir Goosen van der Stege, Gisbert Heyn, and Matthew Stooters, in the ring. The four other judges were:  Hendrick Pelgrim, alias Ketelaer; Sir Hendrick Luysterisan van der Stege, Heyligengoestmeister, and Govert Symons, jailer.  

On the eleventh of September, at the afore-said place, three women and one man were strangled, who were said to be rebaptized; one of whom was the wife of Paul, the preacher, here also the monks were present, to induce them to renounce.

Paul’s wife said:  “O Lord, enlighten the eyes of those who inflict this suffering upon us, that they may see what they are doing.  I thank Thee, O God, that Thou countest me worthy to suffer for Thy name’s sake.”

The Dominican said to another woman:  “Will you not adhere to the holy church?” She said:  “I adhere to God; is this not holy church enough for me?” The Dominican then said to the man, John van Capelle:  “Ask God to forgive you for having set a bad example unto us.” He answered:  “I did not err, but dealt with the Word of God, and am sorry that I have been so long in darkness.  I entreat you, citizens, read the Gospel, and live according to it; forsake your drunkenness, knavery, cursing and crossing yourselves,” etc. The third woman said:  “O God Almighty, do not lay upon me more than I can bear,” etc. Thus they gladly died.

The aforesaid Paul and his wife had an infant of nine months, which was still unbaptized; this they took from the mother in prison and baptized it.  Lord Philip van Doorn, dean of St. John, Postulia, wife of Sir John van der Stegen, and Anna, wife of Sir Goosen van der Stegen acted as sponsors to said child. All of them were then put to death, and on the fourteenth of September, at six o’clock in the morning, a young man of the above named sect was also beheaded.

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


Daily Proverb

Proverbs 21:20

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.