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From Here to Forever

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    Bold Berquin

    But Berquin's zeal only waxed stronger. He determined upon bolder measures. He would not only stand in defense of the truth, he would attack error. The most active of his opponents were the learned monks of the theological department in the University of Paris, one of the highest ecclesiastical authorities in the nation. From the writings of these doctors, Berquin drew twelve propositions which he publicly declared to be “opposed to the Bible,” and he appealed to the king to act as judge in the controversy.HF 136.1

    The monarch, glad of an opportunity of humbling the pride of these haughty monks, bade the Romanists defend their cause by the Bible. This weapon would avail them little; torture and the stake were arms which they better understood how to wield. Now they saw themselves about to fall into the pit into which they had hoped to plunge Berquin. They looked about them for some way of escape.HF 136.2

    “Just at that time an image of the virgin at the corner of one of the streets was mutilated.” Crowds flocked to the place, with mourning and indignation. The king was deeply moved. “These are the fruits of the doctrines of Berquin,” the monks cried. “All is about to be overthrown—religion, the laws, the throne itself—by this Lutheran conspiracy.”4Idem.HF 136.3

    The king withdrew from Paris, and the monks were left free to work their will. Berquin was tried and condemned to die, and lest Francis should interpose to save him, the sentence was executed on the very day it was pronounced. At noon an immense throng gathered to witness the event, and many saw with astonishment that the victim had been chosen from the best and bravest of the noble families of France. Amazement, indignation, scorn, and bitter hatred darkened the faces of that surging crowd, but upon one face no shadow rested. The martyr was conscious only of the presence of his Lord.HF 136.4

    Berquin's countenance was radiant with the light of heaven. He wore “a cloak of velvet, a doublet of satin and damask, and golden hose.”5D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, bk. 2, ch. 16. He was about to testify to his faith in the presence of the King of kings, and no token of mourning should belie his joy.HF 137.1

    As the procession moved slowly through the crowded streets, the people marked with wonder the joyous triumph of his bearing. “He is,” they said, “like one who sits in a temple, and meditates on holy things.”HF 137.2

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