“… I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:8).

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Engraving by Jan Luiken, Martyrs Mirror, courtesy Mennonite Library and Archives.

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself," that is, forsake his
own wisdom, and pray, "Lord, thy will be done.” If you do this, the anointing of
the Holy Ghost will teach you all that you are to believe.
I John 2:27.
The north wind of persecution blew now the longer the more through the garden of the Lord, so that the herbs and trees of the same (that is the true believers) were rooted out of the earth through the violence that came against them. This appeared, among other instances, in the case of a very God-fearing and pious woman, named Maey ken Wens, who was the wife of a faithful minister of the church of God in the,city of Antwerp, by the name of Mattheus Wens, by trade a mason. About the month of April, A. D. 1573, she, together with others of her fellow believers, was apprehended at Antwerp, bound, and confined in the severest prison there. In the meantime she was subjected to much conflict and temptation by so-called spirituals (ecclesiastics), as well as by secular persons, to cause her to apostatize from her faith. But when she could by no manner of means, not even by severe tortures, be turned from the steadfastness of her faith, they, on the fifth day of October, 1573, passed sentence upon her, and pronounced it publicly in court at the afore-mentioned place, namely, that she should, with her mouth screwed shut, or with her tongue screwed up, be burnt to ashes as a heretic, together with several others, who were also imprisoned and stood in like faith with her....

The oldest son of the afore-mentioned martyress, named Adriaen Wens, aged about fifteen years, could not stay away from the place of execution on the day on which his dear mother was offered up; hence he took his youngest little brother, named Hans (or Jan) Mattheus Wens, who was about three years old, upon his arm and went and stood with him somewhere upon a bench, not far from the stakes erected, to behold his mother's death.

But when she was brought forth and placed at the stake, he lost consciousness, fell to the ground, and remained in this condition until his mother and the rest were burnt. Afterwards, when the people had gone away, having regained consciousness, he went to the place where his mother had been burnt, and hunted in the ashes, in which he found the screw with which her tongue had been screwed fast, which he kept in remembrance of her.

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