As we were very desirous to know the present condition of our fellow believers in Alsace, as also, what transpired among them prior to this, with regard to the persecutions suffered, we received, through the instrumentality of a good friend of ours, H. Vlaming, at present residing at Amsterdam, an extract from a certain document which the elders and teachers in Alsace drew up concerning this matter, and sent hither. Translated from the Alsatian vernacular, the extract reads as follows
As regards the brethren that were executed for the faith, in the country of Berne, there were executed from the year 1528 until the year 1566, fortytwo persons, among whom were eight women. We have in our possession a brief abstract of their names, and surnames, as also, in what year and on what day each of them was executed, etc.
Thus far the extract of said letter, signed, as a whole, with the names and surnames of the elders and teachers in Alsace, which we would insert here, did we not fear that it might even at the present day tend to augment persecution against them, of which they are not entirely free, as shall be shown in the proper place.
In the year 1566 brother John George, a Count from Italy, having lived in Germany for several years, as a refugee, who sojourned with the church, and conducted himself as a very humble and excellent Christian, went from Grossenstein back to Italy, where he had left his wife; but there he was denounced and betrayed, so that men came from Venice, and apprehended him. When they were on the water, on their way to Venice, they cast him into the sea, and drowned him, dispatching him thus in order that it might be done in quietness, lest much trouble should arise on his account, if they should bring him to Venice, since he was of so noble a race. Thus he had to lose his temporal life for the faith. Through faith he forsook and abandoned all nobility of this world, choosing rather to suffer reproach with the people of God, than to enjoy temporal honor and distinction among his own people; and esteeming reproach for the name of Christ great riches, far above the treasures of Egypt or the nobility of this world; for he had respect to the future, and the eternal reward, which will be great in heaven, and will not be withheld from him as a witness, follower and valiant soldier of Christ. Heb. 11:24, 26.
In the year 1567 John Mang, a hatter by trade, was imprisoned at Senthoffen,* in Suabia, for the faith and the divine truth. In his imprisonment he suffered great cold, so that he could not get his feet warm at night. Besides this, he had to assist the ungodly in many an assault and conflict. Finally, he fell asleep in the Lord, in prison, having kept his faith, and patiently persevered therein unto the end; hence he will also inherit the glorious crown of life, with all the elect of God.
In the same year also Bro. Nicholas Geyer, a miller, and deacon, was apprehended for the faith, at Innspruck, in the earldom of Tyrol. There the Jesuits and others assailed him in many and various ways, and, in the examination, dealt with him in a cruel and satanical manner; but he did not suffer himself to be moved from the faith, but steadfastly persevered as a Christian hero, and having evinced
* Probably, Sonthofen (in Bavaria).
great constancy, he was condemned to death by the children of Caiaphas and Pilate. The priests, like the daughter of Herodias, were determined to have his head, which they also obtained, for he was executed with the sword, and then burnt, thus valiantly gaining the victory in Christ, in the noble fight of faith, as a true lover of God, whom no tribulation, torture or vexation could cause to despair. N o water could quench his love, no sword separate it, no fire consume it; but it was to him a way of God to eternal life, for through love to God, we, by His grace, will enter into paradise, if we do not suffer ourselves to be led astray from love.
Karel Halling, a native of Steenwerck, who had fled from, there to Armentiers, for the testimony of the Lord, was apprehended at the latter place, and, as he was determined steadfastly to adhere to the knowledge of the truth and faith he had confessed, the lords sentenced him to death, and he was thus burned alive for the name of God.
Adrian du Rieu, called Adrian Olieux, a native of Halewijn, and minister of the Word of God, and of his church at Armentiers, was apprehended at the latter place, for the truth, and after boldly confessing his faith, from which no torture could cause him to apostatize, but in which he constantly firmly persevered, was sentenced to death, and burnt alive.