On page 182 of Martyrs Mirror, we find a record of forty young people whose dedication to the LORD JESUS puts many of us to shame:
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Just as no living man can be buried with a dead man, so no one who is still living to sin can be buried together in baptism with Christ, who has died to sin. Therefore, those who are hastening to baptism ought to take care as a matter of first importance that they should first die to sin. And in this way, they can be buried with Christ through baptism, so they might say, “Always carrying around the death of Jesus Christ in our body so that the life of Jesus Christ might be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
Now the manner in which the life of Jesus Christ is manifested in the body, Paul himself makes known when he says, “But no longer do I live, but Christ lives in me.” This is the same thing the apostle John also writes in his epistle when he says, “Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Surely in that passage it is not the one who shall have spoken these syllables and pronounced them in this common confession that shall seem to be led by the Spirit of God, but the one who has fashioned his life in such a way and has produced the fruit of good works, such that he has demonstrated by the very devotion of his own works and thoughts that Christ has come in the flesh and that he is dead to sin and alive to God.
The question was loaded, which Ambrosius knew very well. His whole point was, after all, to see if his new friend was open to discussing the underlying important topic—just what is “the gospel”? The gospel was a good piece of “news,” but just exactly what was that news?
In short, the news was the announcement that the promised Messiah—the Anointed—had come, the man whom God anointed as the Prophet, High Priest, and King for lost humanity. As Prophet, he would speak the Father’s word. As High Priest, he would stand as a Union-maker between a holy God and an unholy people … by making them holy by His own holy life infused into them. And as King, he would re-conquer and liberate the hearts which had been sold as a slave to Satan; yes, he would rescue His people from their sin!
Anthoni Erfordter of Klagenfurt, Karnten, Austria, was converted by two Anabaptist messengers. He suffered much from local authorities and family, and eventually fled to Moravia, leaving his wife and children behind, never to see them again. He wrote the following song in 1541.
Oh God, to whom shall I tell the story of my great misery? Whoever honors your name must be flogged, tormented, tortured, and put to shame as a dangerous heretic. Men desire to kill him and give him the sword and fire for his reward.
With this good news his disciples go out, preaching the gospel to every creature and baptizing those that believe. For this they suffer great opposition from the Antichrist. They have to leave their wives and children. Men take their possessions, and all their friends forsake them. Wherever they flee, their persecutors discover them to torture them on the rack, behead them, or burn them alive.
I think it possible, and perhaps even likely, that persecution is coming soon. I’m no prophet, but I do have ideas of how it will happen. It will not be by denying God’s existence, as in the Soviet Union. It will not even be by attacking the name “Christian.” No, if the church is persecuted, I believe that it will be to force us to stop proclaiming Christ as the only way to God. Ironically, it will come from those who worship at the altar of worldwide tolerance.
from the Martyrs Mirror
HANS BRAEL SEVERELY PERSECUTED A. D. 1557
I find this story inspiring because the man remembered that God sees everything and allows no temptation above what we are able to bear. He knew that no matter how much he suffered here, his tormentors would be punished by God so much more. His boldness in reproving them to their face for what they were doing to him brought them to face their guilt before God for their actions. ~Clifford Fox
From The Martyrs Mirror
Around 1556, there was in Beverwijk, a brother named Augustine, a baker by trade, who had forsaken the world, and been baptized upon his faith. At this same time there was a burgomaster who was very bitter, and was filled with perverted zeal. He would go about telling people that he would be glad to furnish the peat and wood out of his own money to burn Augustine the baker.
Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John, was in the service of Christ at Antioch in Syria. He was a very God-fearing man, and faithful and diligent in his duties. He was surnamed Theophorus, that is, The Bearer of God, apparently because he often spoke the name of God and his Saviour with his mouth, and showed a godly life.