Living Sacrifices for God’s Honor
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 From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 261 – 262.
A godly woman examined, and put to the Flames
Joan Boucher, known also as Joan of Kent in England, was a lady of note, possessing much wealth. She was also well known at the palace in the days of King Henry VIII and King Edward VI. Joan belonged to the Anabaptist Assembly in Kent and with her friend Anne Askew was devoted to the study and circulation of Tyndale’s translation which had been printed at Cologne in 1534.
Joan was arrested in May of 1549 and was exposed to cruel interrogations. She was examined and cross-examined, entreated and threatened, but she would not move from her faith. The whole futile operation was a travesty of properly exercised authority. If she were an empty-headed woman, as they pretended, they brought no honour to themselves in spending eighteen months of their time, before and during her imprisonment, trying to prove her a heretic. Lord Richie kept her at his house for two weeks as Bishops Cranmer and Ridley of the Church of England attempted to dissuade her from her Baptist convictions. Her judges called her demeaning titles but not “lady,” which her parentage, position, and character demanded.
Joan Boucher suffered amongst the flames May 2, 1550, to the eternal disgrace of all concerned. Common decency might have spared her the mockery of having Bishop Scorey preach to her while at the stake and vilify her there under pretense of pious exhortation. Yet possibly her last act did him a service which he needed very much and which had never been done for him previously. Her sermon to him is immortal, while his to her has long since been forgotten. Listening to him just before her soul ascended to heaven in the flame, she said in reply, “You lie like a rogue. Go read the Scriptures.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 178-179
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