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The Example of Guido de Brès

1 comments | 12:45 am | top |
I was reading about Guido de Brès - Author of the Belgic Confession earlier this evening.  This is one of the confessions that the Reformed Church of New Zealand holds to. When I picked up my JohnMac Bible later on, looking for some good verses to put in a Birthday card, I thought I would read Romans 8.  The second half of Romans 8 is an absolute goldmine of encouragement for Christians.  Here's a few excerpts...

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Guido de Brès understood these truths, and he lived by them.  He persevered with preaching from the Bible in secret, and in great danger.  Below is a description of his persecution and ultimate martyrdom by the Roman Catholic authorities. (You can read the entire brief biography at this page )

de Brès spent the first part of his captivity in a prison in Doornik, where he could receive visitors. Many of his visitors, however, were enemies who came to taunt him. But just as was the case with the apostle Paul (Philippians 1:12-14), Guido's imprisonment became an occasion for him to witness to the truth. When a princess, along with many young court ladies, came to mock, and the princess said in horror at Guido's heavy chains, "My God, Mr. de Brès, I don't see how you can eat, drink, or sleep that way. I think I would die of fear, if I were in your place," Guido responded: "My lady, the good cause for which I suffer and the good conscience God has given me make my bread sweeter and my sleep sounder than those of my persecutors." And, then, still responding to the princess, "It is guilt that makes a chain heavy. Innocence makes my chains light. I glory in them as my badges of honor."

Soon Guido was transferred to Valenciennes and thrown into a dark, cold, damp, rat-infested dungeon known as The Black Hole. In spite of the cold, the hunger, the horror of this hole, Guido wrote a tract on the Lord's Supper and letters to his friends, his aged mother, and his wife. A letter to his wife is an especially moving testimony of his faith.

My dear and well-beloved wife in our Lord Jesus.
Your grief and anguish are the cause of my writing you this letter. I most earnestly pray you not to be grieved beyond measure . . . . We knew when we married that we might not have many years together, and the Lord has graciously given us seven. If the Lord had wished us to live together longer, he could easily have caused it to be so. But such was not his pleasure. Let his good will be done . . . . Moreover, consider that I have not fallen into the hands of my enemies by chance, but by the providence of God . . . . All these considerations have made my heart glad and peaceful, and I pray you, my dear and faithful companion, to be glad with me, and to thank the good God for what he is doing, for he does nothing but what is altogether good and right . . . . I pray you then to be comforted in the Lord, to commit yourself and your affairs to him, he is the husband of the widow and the father of the fatherless, and he will never leave nor forsake you . . . .
Good-bye, Catherine, my well-beloved! I pray my God to comfort you, and give you resignation to his holy will. Your faithful husband, Guido de Brès.

Guido was publicly hanged on May 31, 1567 at the age of 47. He was pushed off the ladder while comforting the crowd which had gathered and urging them to faithfulness to the Scriptures. His body was left hanging the rest of the day and buried in a shallow grave where dogs and wild animals dug it up and consumed it.

- from

Romans 8:35-39 reads...
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That pretty much covers everything... Nothing can separate us (Christians) from God's love - whatever befalls us; even if we should die, it is God's will - and for good, so we have nothing to worry about.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often wonder what would have happened had that great divorce never taken place and instead the reformers stayed and reformed THEIR church rather than create a new one. And then another, and another, and another... Guido had two brothers who remained Roman Catholic all their lives and in true Christian spirit they tried to help the persecuted. Evil men with evil political ambitions are Satan's pawns. Good men fought the good fight of faith in the Church then and they still do so today. Satan will never stop trying to destroy it, but will never have victory. Nothing can separate us (Christians) from God, but we certainly can separate ourselves from each other when we need one another other the most. The Dark Ages are on the horizon again. I hope I die a servant of the least and not a pawn for a political cause.

4:38 pm, December 29, 2008 

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