Many millions of people will dress up in costumes and collect candy, watch football on their television, and do other things today that are so insignificant. A far smaller number will remember the love and labors of some people who came before us who suffered and died for our benefit, whose ideas and efforts have transformed the world. Our society does so much to remember our nation's history, our military, and civil rights leaders, for example, but so little to remember other things. Individuals, families, churches, and nations continue to benefit from the Reformation, but often with little recognition of it.
"Those preachers whose voices were clear and mighty for truth during life continue to preach in their graves. Being dead, they yet speak; and whether men put their ears to their tombs or not, they cannot but hear them...Often, the death of a man is a kind of new birth to him; when he himself is gone physically, he spiritually survives, and from his grave there shoots up a tree of life whose leaves heal nations. O worker for God, death cannot touch thy sacred mission! Be thou content to die if the truth shall live the better because thou diest. Be thou content to die, because death may be to thee the enlargement of thine influence. Good men die as dies the seed-corn which thereby abideth not alone. When saints are apparently laid in the earth, they quit the earth, and rise and mount to Heaven-gate, and enter into immortality. No, when the sepulcher receives this mortal frame, we shall not die, but live." (Charles Spurgeon, cited in The C.H. Spurgeon Collection [Albany, Oregon: AGES Software, 1998], A Biography Pictoral Of C.H. Spurgeon, p. 3)
"I dread much the spirit which would tamper with the Truth of God for the sake of united action, or for any object under Heaven—the latitudinarian spirit, which sneers at creeds and dogmas. Truth is no trifle. Our fathers did not think so, when, at the stake they gave themselves to death, or on the brown heather of Scotland fell beneath the swords of Claverhouse’s dragoons for truths which nowadays men count unimportant, but which, being truths, were to them so vital that they would sooner die than suffer them to be dishonored. O for the same uncompromising love of the Truth!" (Charles Spurgeon)
"Upon the day that was appointed for this holy martyr of God [John Lambert] to suffer, he was brought out of the prison at eight o'clock in the morning unto the house of the Lord Cromwell, and so carried into his inward chamber, where, it is reported of many, that Cromwell desired of him forgiveness for what he had done. There, at the last, Lambert, being admonished that the hour of his death was at hand, was greatly comforted and cheered; and, being brought out of the chamber into the hall, he saluted the gentlemen, and sat down to breakfast with them, showing no manner of sadness or fear. When the breakfast was ended, he was carried straightway to the place of execution, where he should offer himself unto the Lord, a sacrifice of sweet savour...As touching the terrible manner and fashion of the burning of this blessed martyr, here is to be noted, that of all others which have been burned and offered up at Smithfield, there was yet none so cruelly and piteously handled as he. For, after that his legs were consumed and burned up to the stumps, and that the wretched tormentors and enemies of God had withdrawn the fire from him, so that but a small fire and coals were left under him, then two that stood on each side of him, with their halberts pitched him upon their pikes...Then he, lifting up such hands as he had, and his fingers' ends flaming with fire, cried unto the people in these words, 'None but Christ, None but Christ;' and so, being let down again from their halberts, fell into the fire, and there ended his life." (John Foxe, Foxe's Book Of Martyrs)
Remember these things. Much of the world, even many professing Christians, are plugging their ears, running away from these things, and trying to bury them deep in the ground.
For a collection of many of our articles on the issues surrounding Roman Catholicism and the Reformation, see here.