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The Young Girl Rose Allen
Faithful Unto Death
In case you think this is only a matter for grown-ups, I will tell you of a young girl, Rose Allen, of Colchester, who served the Lord Jesus, not merely with her lips, but with her heart and was called upon to witness with her life. Rose was only a schoolgirl, when this event occurred, but you will agree, I am sure, that she displayed a remarkable fortitude and courage.
Her parents were suspected of heresy, and one day the soldiers came to their little home to take them to prison for non-attendance at Mass and openly attending a meeting of "heretics " (those who refused to obey the Pope's injunctions and authority, choosing rather to serve the Lord and to read and obey His Word). When in the house the soldiers accosted Rose, and one named Tyrell of St. Osyth told her to persuade her parents to recant, and then all would be well. "Sir," she said, "they have a better Master than I, for the Holy Ghost doth teach them, Who I trust will not suffer them to err."
What a brave girl she was to answer a rough and burly soldier like that. How different from Peter. When asked by a young girl if he was a companion of Jesus, he stedfastly denied it again and again, but he was very sorry afterwards. This brute of a soldier could not tolerate the jeers of his fellows at being rebuked by a mere girl, and told her she was as bad as her mother, but here are the words which passed between them:
Rose: "Sir, with that which you call heresy do I worship my Lord God; I tell you the truth."
"Then I perceive you will burn, gossip [little wretch], with the rest, for company's sake," said Tyrell.
"No, sir, not for company's sake," said Rose, "but for my Christ's sake, if so I be compelled; and I hope in His mercies, if He call me to it, He will enable me to bear it."
...but in spite of the terrible pain she would not cry out. Then Tyrell took the candle out of Rose's hand, grasped her wrist, and held her hand in the flame until "the sinews began to crack"; but in spite of the terrible pain she would not cry out.
"Wilt thou not cry?" shouted Tyrell.
"I have no cause, thank God," said Rose tranquilly; "but rather to rejoice. You have more cause to weep than I, if you consider the matter well."
The wicked Tyrell, frustrated by the cool courage of Rose, let her go amidst a lot of jibes from other soldiers around him.
"Have you done what you will?" said Rose. "Yes," sneered Tyrell, "and if thou think it not well done then mend it!"
Rose's faithful witness "Mend it!" repeated Rose. "Nay: the Lord mend you and give you repentance, if it be His Will; and now if you think it good, begin at the feet, and burn at the head, also. For he that set you a-work shall pay you your wages one day, I warrant you."
We might well pause and thank God for such a bold testimony.
May God make us like this today, for only He can give us the courage and determination of such a girl as Rose Allen. We should count it a great privilege to walk in the path of this noble army - one day, if we love Jesus we shall see these same godly folk in the glory - and I have no doubt, the story I am recording here, you will hear from Rose Allen herself - and then what a time of rejoicing it will be, for we shall not only see and talk with the martyrs, but with our precious Lord Jesus Himself.
This dear young girl, who had done no wrong and nothing to be ashamed of was condemned to be burnt alive. Rose wrapped her hand in a bandage and accompanied her Mother and Father to the prison to await trial and execution. When called before the judges, she proved too much for them, with her Scriptural answers and fearless bearing, and the court was only too glad to pass hurried sentence upon this faithful witness. This dear young girl, who had done no wrong and nothing to be ashamed of was condemned to be burnt alive. But this did not apparently in the least distress her, she went to the stake with an old woman of seventy and another girl, Elizabeth Foulkes, and these were the words they sang:
"Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
Thy rod, Thy staff doth comfort me,
And Thou art with me still."
On that day, the records show, in the Town of Colchester alone, ten Protestants were burnt at the stake.
An Account of the Persecutions in Bohemia Under the Papacy
The Roman pontiffs having usurped a power over several churches were particularly severe on the Bohemians, which occasioned them to send two ministers and four lay-brothers to Rome, in the year 977, to obtain redress of the pope. After some delay, their request was granted, and their grievances redressed. Two things in particular they were permitted to do, viz., to have divine service performed in their own language, and to give the cup to the laity in the Sacrament.
The disputes, however, soon broke out again, the succeeding popes exerting their whole power to impose on the minds of the Bohemians; and the latter, with great spirit, aiming to preserve their religious liberties.
In A.D. 1375, some zealous friends of the Gospel applied to Charles, king of Bohemia, to call an ecumenical Council, for an inquiry into the abuses that had crept into the Church, and to make a full and thorough reformation. The king, not knowing how to proceed, sent to the pope for directions how to act; but the pontiff was so incensed at this affair that his only reply was, "Severely punish those rash and profane heretics." The monarch, accordingly banished every one who had been concerned in the application, and, to oblige the pope, laid a great number of additional restraints upon the religious liberties of the people.
The victims of persecution, however, were not so numerous in Bohemia, until after the burning of John Huss and Jerome of Prague. These two eminent reformers were condemned and executed at the instigation of the pope and his emissaries, as the reader will perceive by the following short sketches of their lives.