76 – March – 17 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


Burning at the Stake – They died like men

16th Century – This bloody century continued to drink the blood of the Anabaptists in the heroic story of Jacob Dirks and his sons, Andrew and Jan.  Literally thousands had been put to death by the Roman Catholic State Church of Holland.  The blood of the aged was mixed with the blood of the youths.  Women were tortured with the same ferocity as were the men, but still the Whore was not satisfied.  Jacob, a tailor residing in Utrecht with his family, hearing that the magistrate was soon to arrest him fled to Antwerp in Belgium.  His wife, not sharing his doctrinal views, remained behind only to die from natural causes.  Upon arrival at the place of execution, Jacob said to his sons “How is it with you, my dear sons?”  They answered, “Dear father, all is well.”  Andrew was soon to be married, but he had forsaken his earthly bride and chosen that heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.  These brave men were each strangled by the executioner, which was considered an act of mercy, before the fire was kindled and their smoke was offered up to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice.  These executions down through the centuries have given authority and validity to the gospel of Christ, as well as the sustaining grace of God, under the most trying circumstances.  In some instances the martyr would raise his hands toward heaven in a prearranged signal that God had truly provided supernatural strength to bear the flames.  Others would sing songs of praise and hymns until the flames silenced their voices.  The greatest trial was when the wood was green or the wind would blow the smoke away and cause death to come more slowly.  These acts demonstrate the utter depravity of man and the inadequacy of man’s religion which always has to be by force and not by persuasion.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 109.
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