Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sacred Ground of Smithfield

London, “amazing”? Yes, but did you see the sacred ground of Smithfield where our brothers and sisters in Him did suffer?

“Shortly after, an order from the court came to the sheriff or bailiff of London, that he should execute the oldest two, according to their sentence. One of them named Jan Pieterss, was a poor man, more than fifty years of age, with nine children. His first wife had previously likewise been burnt for her religion, here in Ghent in Flanders. And he was now married to a woman whose husband had also previously been burnt at Ghent for his religion. Hence both, on account of persecution, had fled to England, thinking that they should be able to live there without peril in the liberty of their conscience. All this he stated to the bishop, and asked for mercy to leave the country with his wife and children; but it was not granted him. The other, named Hendrick Terwoort, was a handsome, wealthy man of thirty-five or six years, a goldsmith by trade, and had only been married eight or ten weeks previous to his apprehension. These two, as no disputing of the Dutch and French preachers could move them to subscribe the articles, but were much rather confirmed in their views through the cruelty and unchristian proceeding of those who boast themselves of the Gospel and the true faith, notwithstanding that many Englishmen as well as Dutchmen solicited pardon for them, were, nevertheless, the 22d of July, at six o'clock in the morning; in Smithfield (where they formerly used to burn persons belonging to our religion) most miserably burnt alive at a stake, till consumed to ashes….” (Martyrs Mirror, T. J. van Braght, 1660).

“The places of the world, though very large, are nevertheless very small and narrow for the pious. The holy confessors of Jesus, who seek to live according to the Gospel, find no rest anywhere. It seems that the earth, which ought properly to be a dwelling place for the good, is possessed only by the rocked. Is it not a matter of astonishment, and not less to be lamented: England,* which of old has been supposed to have derived her name from the good angels of heaven, is now found to be a pool of infernal and wicked spirits; for the saints of God are cruelly put to death there; to which Smithfield, at London, the murderous prison at Saltwoden, and the place of execution at Norwich, can bear testimony” (Martyrs Mirror, T. J. van Braght, 1660).

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