Tuesday, December 28, 2010


From the Martyr’s Mirror, pages 442-443:

By the Emperor: To our beloved and faithful commanders-in-chief, the president and members. of our Privy-Council, the Chancellor and members of our council in Braband, the Governor and Councilors in Limburg, the President and Councilors in Flanders, the Governor, President and Councilors in Artois, the chief Bailiff in Hainault, the Councilors of Bergen, the Lieutenant, President and Councilors of Holland, Namur, Friesland, and Utrecht, to the Lieutenant of Over-Yssel, the Governor of Rijssel, Douay and Orchies, the Bailiff and: Councilors of Doornick and Tournesis, the stewards of Bewest and Beoosterschelde, in Zealand, the Provost of Valenciennes, the Bailiff of Mechlin, and all other judges and officers of our territories, cities and seigniories, and of our subjects, or their governors, to whom these presents shall come, happiness and favor.

In order to guard against and remedy the errors which many sectarians and authors of contempt, with their adherents, have dared for some time to sow and spread in our territories, against our holy Christian faith, sacraments, and the commandments of our mother the holy church, we have at different times ordained, and caused to be executed and proclaimed many decrees containing statutes, edicts and ordinances, as also penalties to be incurred by transgressors, so that by means thereof the common, simple people, and others, may beware of said errors and abuses, and that the chief promulgators and sectarians may be punished and corrected, as an example unto others. And since it has come to our knowledge, that notwithstanding our aforesaid decrees, many and various sectarians, even some who call themselves Anabaptists, have proceeded, and still daily proceed, to spread, sow, and secretly preach their aforesaid abuses and errors, in order to allure a, great number of men and women to their false doctrine and reprobate sect, to seduce them and to re-baptize some, to the great reproach and disregard of the sacrament of holy baptism, and of our edicts, statutes and ordinances; therefore we, intending to guard against and remedy this, summon and command you, that, immediately upon receipt of this, you cause it to be proclaimed within every place and border of your dominions, that all those, or such as shall be found ,polluted by the accursed sect of the Anabaptist, of whatever rank or condition they may be, their chief leaders, adherents, and abettors, shall incur the loss of life and property, and be brought to the most extreme punishment, without delay; namely, those who remain obstinate and, continue in their evil belief and purpose, or who have seduced to their sect and re-baptized any; also those who have been called prophets, apostles or bishops-these shall be punished with fire. All other persons who have been re-baptized, or who secretly and with premeditation have harbored any of the aforesaid Anabaptists, and who renounce their evil purpose and belief, and are truly sorry and penitent for it, shall be executed with the sword, and the women be buried in a pit.

And in order to better detect these Anabaptists, their adherents and accomplices, we expressly command all subjects, to make known and report them to the officer of the place where they reside or shall be found; and if any one shall know of persons of this sect, and do not report them to the officer of the place, he shall be punished as a favorer, adherent, or abettor of the sect of the Anabaptists; but he who shall report or make them known, shall have, if the accused is convicted, one third of their confiscated property.

Moreover, we prohibit all our subjects from asking for mercy, forgiveness, or reconciliation for the aforesaid Anabaptists, or from presenting any petitions for this purpose, on pain of summary punishment; for because of their evil doctrine, we will not have or permit that any Anabaptists shall have any mercy shown them, but that they shall be punished, as an example unto others, without any dissimulation, favor or delay. And in order to do this with all that pertains to it, we give each and all of you full power and special command.

Given at Brussels, under our counterseal, stamped here in the margin, on the tenth day of June, in the year 1535. Subscribed by the Emperor and his council, and signed Pensart.

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160