Living Sacrifices for God’s Honour
Roger Holland had come from the affluent family of Sir Robert Holland, and in the first year of the reign of Bloody Mary, Roger married Elizabeth, a Christian maid of Master Kempton to which Roger was an apprentice. Apparently, Roger Holland became a member of the Hill Cliffe Baptist Church about this time. “Two of the signatories to the letter of 1654 from Hill Cliffe are of the same name, Holland. This points to, at any rate, a probability of his having been a Hill Cliffe Baptist, perhaps minister there.”
On one occasion as forty people gathered for a service of prayer and the expounding of the Word, twenty-seven of them were carried before Sir Roger Cholmly. Some of the women made their escape, twenty-two were committed to Newgate, who continued in prison seven weeks. Previous to their examination, they were informed by the keeper, Alexander, that nothing more was requisite to procure their discharge, than to hear Mass. Easy as this condition may seem, these martyrs valued their purity of conscience more than loss of life or property; hence, thirteen were burnt, seven at Smithfield, and six at Brentford; two died in prison, and the other seven were providentially preserved…They were sent to Newgate, June 16, 1558, and were executed on the twenty-seventh.
As was so often the case, Roger Holland’s death at Smithfield instead of destroying the faith of the Baptists only made it stronger. His relatives and friends were afterward more determined than ever to uphold the principles for which he died! May we with these heroes of the faith and with the hymn writer state and mean, “Thou (my Lord) art more than life to me,” for then our lives shall be in a true sense “living sacrifices” for God’s honor.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 261 – 262.