The day of their victory dawned, and they marched from the prison to the amphitheatre joyfully as though they were going to heaven, with calm faces, trembling, if at all, with joy rather than fear. Perpetua went along with shining countenance and calm step, as the beloved of God, as a wife of Christ, putting down everyone’s stare by her own intense gaze. With them also was Felicitas, glad that she had safely given birth so that now she could fight the beasts, going from one blood bath to another, from the midwife to the gladiator, ready to wash after childbirth in a second baptism.
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” The doctrines which we preach to you are doctrines that have been baptized in blood, swords have been drawn to slay the confessors of them; and there is not a truth which has not been sealed by them at the stake, or the block, or far away on the lofty mountains, where they have been slain by hundreds. Charles Spurgeon
As he began the last year of his life, he wrote, ‘To all appearance the present year will be more perilous than any I have seen, but if I live to complete the Persian New Testament, my life after that will be of less importance. But whether life or death be mine, may Christ be magnified in me. If he has work for me to do, I cannot die’.
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Charles Spurgeon
For when in the body our brothers in the faith so witnessed the wickedness of the sinful world. For Satan threw at them all that he could. “They stood firm with trembling limbs, and their minds were constant before God in a struggle witnessed by angels, men and demons. The angels awaited the departure of their souls for the purpose of conducting them to their destiny. Men awaited their end and tested the endurance of their human nature to discover if their fear and hope for the future would triumph over pain. The demons were especially curious to see these athletes fall and come to ruin, but their expectations were dashed because God had strengthened them.”
“As the waters overtook the matron martyr the younger woman was implored by her friends to give in to her persecutors, yet she continued to pray and recited verses from the 25th Psalm. Her executioners continued to try to break her and she was “Dragged half-dead from the waters, [and] urged again ‘to pray for the king’…. She had already been overwhelmed in the horrors of death; the black devouring floods were hissing at her feet, as if greedy for their prey; life, and the sweets of life, inviting her one way; death, in one of his most wild and horrific forms, yawning to swallow her up the other way.
The fury of Rome which was to come down on the Waldenses could not wipe out these people of faith. Philippe de Marnix, Baron de Saint Aldegonde observed, “it is the work of God;since whatever diligence the popes and their clergy have used, employing the assistances of princes and secular magistrates, they have not been able to exterminate them, nor by proscriptions, banishments, excommunications, publications of crusades, and pardons to all those who would wage war upon them; nor by all sorts of torments, fires, flames, gibbets, and cruel blood-shedding, have been able to hinder their doctrine from spreading itself almost through all the ends of the earth.”
Please pray for the estimated 60 million Christian believers in China as the government cracks down on religion. The government has begun to remove crosses from church buildings and recently held a “religious affairs work conference” to rein in religious groups across the country.