Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

murderers, thieves, enemies of the fatherland!” they cried; "they are Lutherans!” All seize their arms. The fury of the populace increases, and the fear and terror of those within the house. The Church Elders counsel quiet and discuss the question: Whether they should remain there until daylight, or endeavor to break through the mob? Some of the men draw their swords and offer to open the way for the others. This is done, and many escape. One of them, however, is so disfigured by stones that his face scarcely retains a human aspect. Many others, Philippina among them, are obliged to remain behind, and when the day breaks they are seized and led through the crowd, who attack them with violence. With torn clothes, covered with filth thrown at them, they are thrust into a hideous dungeon. Philippina suffered imprisonment for one year, during which she could often be heard singing such Psalms as “Turn Thee unto me, and have mercy upon me: for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. O keep my soul and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in Thee.” (Ps. xxv.) “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear

before God?" (Ps. xlii.) She had most to suffer from the priests, who wished to lead her back again into the popish errors. But she came off conqueror in all their discussions. One day the corruptors came and asked, “Do you not believe that the Hosť is true God?” Then she answered, with cheerfulness, “Is it your real belief that such an oblation of the true body, which embraces Heaven and earth, is the same with the bread which is subject to destruction from mould, mice and worms?” Then she adduced, although with tears in her eyes, arguments on this subject, with such calmness that it was clear she was not affected by fear or by sufferings. Up to this time her sister had been permitted to see her; now she was subjected to solitary confinement, and she said: “Now I see clearly that my death draws near.” Weeping, she begged “that they would allow her a Bible for her consolation.” Her trial was quickly finished, for the Judges wished to obtain possession of her property. Calvin implored the German Princes with great earnestness to espouse the cause of his oppressed fellow-believers. The remonstrances of the princes came too late and were of no avail. At the trial of the martyr the following was brought forth: The neighbors, although they praised her goodness of heart and Christian loveliness, related many things about the meetings at her house, and testified that her husband, when dying, had no priest with him, that no one kuew where he was buried, nor did any one know whether her child had been baptized. She was ordered to appear in the Hall of Judgment. The Judge asked: “Do you believe in the Roman mass?She answered: “I will only believe that which is contained in the Old and New Testaments concerning the Sacraments that the Lord has instituted; and in these I do not find that the mass is from Him.” Question: “Will you receive the Sacrament of the Host?” Answer: “I will only do that which Christ commands.” Question: “How long since you have been at Confession ? Answer: “I do not know; but I confess daily to my God, as He has commanded; no other confession has been ordered by Christ, since He alone has power to forgive sins.” Question: “What do you think of prayers addressed to the Virgin and the Saints ?” Answer: “I know no other prayers than those which God has taught me; to Him we must address ourselves, and to no

[ocr errors]

1

others. I know well that the Saints in Paradise are blessed; but to pray to them, that will I not.” Question: “What do you believe concerning images?" Answer: "I will not worship them." Question: "From whom did you learn this doctrine?” Answer: "I have perused the New Testament diligently.” Question: Do you eat meat alike on Friday and on Saturday?” Answer: "I should eat no meat on either of those days, if it should be an offence to the weak; the word of God does not denounce it, and one can eat meat if he eats with offerings of thankfulness.” Hereupon it was remarked that the Church had made this prohibition, and that that which was not per se a sin might become so through a prohibition of the Church. "I believe," answered Philippina, with firmness and circumspection, “in no other commands or prohibitions than those Christ has given, and I have not read in the New Testament of any authority given to the Pope to impose commands.” Hereupon it was again remarked "that the spiritual and secular powers are appointed of God to govern his people.” Madame de Graveron answered, "She believed this of the secular power, but the Church, as she understood it, had no other power

than that of Christ.” Question: “Who is the man or woman that has taught you this?” Answer: “ The text of the New Testament has been my only instructor.” On another day she was interrogated as to the death of her husband—“whether she had buried him in the garden?” "No," she said, "he was taken to the hospital to be buried with the poor, (as will appear from the certificate,) but without superstitious ceremonies.” Thereupon she was asked: “Is it lawful to have prayers for the salvation of the dead?” Answer: I believe that he who sleeps in the Lord, is purified by His blood, anıl needs no other purification; according to the doctrine of the New Testament, prayers for the dead are unnecessary.” Another question was asked: "Is it customary in the meetings which you have held, to extinguish the candles after the sermons ?” Answer: “No, it has never been customary to do this.” These questions and answers have been accurately quoted from the reported proceedings.

Let us now glance at the happy end of this lady, whom we greet as our sister in Christ, and will rejoice to meet hereafter in glory. On the 27th of September, of the year 1558, several blessed martyrs were condemned to death. An old man- -Nicholas Clivet, and a young man Taurin Gravelle, both of them Church Elders, and taken on the night already mentioned, were condemned to die along with this woman. All three were put to the rack and then conducted to a chapel in the Hall of Justice, where they awaited the happy moment of their release. As was customary, priests visited them to make the condemned insecure and confused in their faith. Their labors were in vain. When they had shown themselves firm and decided even to the last, each one was placed on a cart to be carried to the place of execution. The old man, Clivet, who had been a schoolmaster in Provence, and there already had been burned in effigy, declared continually to his tempters "that he had maintained nothing other than God's truth, and could defend it by the authority of St. Augustine.” The heroic woman, when a priest came to her with the desire that she should confess, answered: “I continually confess in my heart to my God, and am assured of the forgiveness of my sins. He alone can give me absolution.” Some of the counsellors of the Court of Justice requested her to take a wooden cross in her hands, as it was customary

1

[ocr errors]

for the condemned to do, “because the Lord willed that all of us should bear our crosses." "O gentlemen," she answered, "you have indeed laid a cross on me, in that you have unrighteously condemned me, and have sent me to death for the good fight of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has never spoken of any external cross. Young Gravelle, a jurist and advocate of Paris, and although young yet a Church Elder on account of his commendable mode of life, had a joyous expression of countenance, with fresh color, and declared that his condemnation was all right. A friend asked him, “To what form of death hast thou been condemned by the Judge?" He replied, “That I shall die, I well know; how shall I die is a matter of indifference, for I well know that God will stand by me in every torment.” When he was conducted out of the chapel he said, “ Lord, my God, be Thou my defence !" When he learned that the Court of Justice decreed that his tongue should be cut off, he stretched it out to the executioner. “I beg you, pray to God for me,” were his last words. W

the young woman was ordered to show her tongue she did it joyfully, saying: “If I grieve not for my body, why should I for my tongue. No, nevermore!" When this punishment was inflicted, they were taken from the common hall. The firm perseverance of Gravelle was wonderfully beautiful to see; his continued sighs and glances were directed toward heaven, and they indicated the glow of his love. The old man, also, looked heavenwards, but seemed more sorrowful than the others; he was already bowed down by age, and was by nature pale and weakly; the young woman, however, excelled them all in strength, and her expression of countenance was not at all changed; as she sat upon the cart, her countenance shone with wondrous beauty. She had laid aside the garments of mourning on this day, and wore a velvet cap on her head decorated with the ornaments of a past age, to show her triumph and her joy to be united with her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Having arrived at the Place Maubert, they were all three burned—the two men alive, and the young woman strangled after they had burned her face and feet with torches. Her victory seems all the greater to us, when we consider that she was obliged to separate from her young child. A historian of that period remarks with truth, that the Holy Ghost showed his power that day in youth, old age, and in weak woman. He overcame the love of life in the young man, the frailty of age and the natural timidity of wo

“Oh, take me hence! When enemies surround me, grant that Thy victorious power may prevail,—Thou the King and I the soldier.” The example of fidelity and heroic courage was not fruitless; this blood was, for truth, the seed of the Reformed Church in Paris, which established that glorious Confession of Faith during the following year, (1559) which was afterwards (1561) publicly recognized in France.

We commonly look upon the celebrated personages in the Reformation period, that have a name in history. Queen Margaret of Navarre and her heroic daughter, Jeanne d'Albret, the mother of Henry IV., are well known; likewise Coligny, and many others; but this noble confessoress for Jesus Christ has been till now forgotten by us. Thus, on the sides of steep rocks many a beautiful Alpine plant blooms unseen by human eye; thus, much that is good and noble shines in quietness, known only by God and holy angels, but in another age all shall be revealed, and the unknown and the obscure will shine as the greatest. Therefore the Lord says, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

man.

ALL FOR THE BEST.

BY THE EDITOR.

We

are beginning a new year. We know not the changes that await us before its close. He only can enter upon a new voyage into the mysterious future who believes that every good man's life is “a plan of God,” and humbly and firmly believes that he will carry it out.

That is a happy spirit which can see a wise design in every event of life, whether it be sad or joyful. “It comes from above,” says the implicitly believing soul, whether it comes in the form of prosperity or adversity-whether it be a shower of blessings or a shower of tears.

“ All things must work together for my salvation.” If God makes all things subservient to the salvation of him who humbly believes, and so keeps him that not even a hair of his head can fall without the Father's . notice, how can it be otherwise than that he shall be safely preserved unto everlasting life. It is a most precious doctrine, and full of the sweetest consolation, that the Christian becomes a kind of centre towards which all gracious influences flow. He is a king which all things serve and strengthen, and honor. He is a priest, to which all things bring sacrifices. Here it is we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. It must be so if God is a God of wisdom and of love.

We know it from observation. From our own experience. From the experiences of others. From the word of God, in which the conduct of God's providence, in reference to his people, is clearly delineated. know it from his love. His people are Him as the apple of his eye; He calls them “His portion,” the “ lot of His inheritance," “ His jewels.” For them He has instituted his Church; for them He conducts and directs the kingdom of grace and of providence; for them

“ The whole realm of nature stands,
And stars their courses move."

1

Angels minister unto them. The fiery darts of Satan do but urge

them more hastily out of this fearful land. Temptations strengthen their power to resist. Afflictions drive them to the Court of His protection, as the storm induces the brood to hide under the parental wing: Bereavements loosen their hold on the earth, and put them more consciously under the power of Heavenly attractions. In short “all things” to the good, “work for good.” Every thing becomes to them means of gracious help. Every thing the pilgrim passes in the way whispers encouragements by his side, kindly beckons before him with a smile, or keeps him from looking back, or going back, by a frown. “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apolles, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come-all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.”

What a legacy! “All are yours."

The world of nature as well as the world of grace, is designed and adapted to promote his happiness and salvation. Singing birds, blooming flowers, and shining stars, are all the tokens of his Maker's presence, and the evidences of his love. The wicked feels not their power—knows not their language. Their scent is with them that fear God. These, with their lovely influences, are God's gifts to His children. They are His

Whose eye they till with holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love,
That plann'd and built, and still upholds a world
So clothed with beauty.

[ocr errors]

The Christian walks forth into the joyous field of nature as its heir. It is the vast mansion of his father, reflecting from all sides His loving and peaceful smiles. Those who possess the world in a selfish sense, own i not. Their love of it, in endeavoring to appropriate it to themselves in the way of selfish gain, corrupts them. They would take it from God, forget that it is His; so He takes its real rise and its enjoyment from them. They turn it into dust_lifeless though glittering dust—and then worship it to their soul's deep injury. But the Christian looks at it as God's, loves it as His, and thus receives its benefit entire as his own inheritance, having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” Thus, instead of gathering fragments of it as spoils, and bending over it with slavish devotion to dust, he walks in its midst in lordly dignity, and in real conscious and enlarged joy. In this sense it may be said of him who owns no acre, in the earthly sense of ownership,

His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers. His t'enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel,
But who, with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,

And smiling say—“My Father made them all!” Not only do all things work for good, but they work “ togetherfor good. Single events sometimes seem to be against us; but they only seem so because we look at them in their single and separate character. If regarded in their connection with other events, they will plainly be seen to work for good. The system of God's providence, and his various dealings in reference to us, work into each other and through each other; so that to a superficial observer there may seem to be confusion and conflict. But all is glorious harmony when observed and understood as a whole. Just as in a piece of complex machinery, wheels, even side by side, may run in contrary directions, so as to present at the first glance the strangest confusion; yet when they are understood, in reference to the end for which they all work, there is the most astonishing harmony. So the scheme of Providence by which we are surrounded, and by which our lives are directed, though it seems to be full of contraries and contradictions, yet He who presides over it is making all work together, in the most beautiful harmony, for good unto all that love God.

Of the truth of this the Scriptures furnish almost any number, and

« AnteriorContinuar »