The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
J. Newton Brown, 1854
A martyr is a witness—a witness for God, for Truth and Righteousness—a witness tried both by action and by suffering, and found faithful to his conscience and to Christ, through every trial. Such, at least, are those who, by the grace of God, are entitled to the name of Christian martyrs. “To you it is given,” says Paul to the Philippians, “in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”
An illustration of the doctrine that the followers of Christ must suffer persecution was given in the city of Rotterdam, in the year 1544. A number of the followers of Jesus were assembled together in his name, to speak to each other for mutual edification, and their establishment in the truth of the gospel which they had received. Here they felt the spirit and the power of prayer and praise, and rejoiced in the performance of these holy exercises. But such engagements have always excited the highest displeasure of the Catholics, who have sought to put an end to them by every means in their power.
This assembly of devoted Christians was betrayed into the hands of its enemies, by a woman who came to the house where they had met, professedly to borrow a kettle. Being thus thrown into the power of wolves, these unresisting sheep were treated by them most cruelly; in order, if possible, to draw them away from the truth. They, however, patiently endured persecution for the name of Jesus, in the certain hope of his eternal kingdom.
As no torments could induce them to recant, they were sentenced to suffer death. The men were beheaded by the sword in the city itself, and the women were most tyrannically thrown into a boat, and thrust under the ice till they were drowned.
Among those thus sacrificed was a young female only fourteen years old. She composed a favourite hymn in the old Dutch hymn books, beginning :— “To the wide -world Immanuel came, His Father’s kingdom left.” etc.
Well may Brandt, in his History of the Reformation call this “a dreadful butchery of a religious assembly of Anabaptists at Rotterdam.”
How striking the contrast between this church of the Lord, and the synagogue of Satan; and how different the spirit they breathed! The followers of Christ, like lambs, manifest no spirit of revenge, but freely resign their lives for the cause of their Lord; but their enemies “breathe out threatenings and slaughter,” and delight in the attempt to destroy the church of the Redeemer. How strikingly different too, will be their treatment by the all-seeing and omnipotent Judge at the last great day!