1997-08-12 - Faith Worth Dying For
He was only 28 years old in 1527, but Patrick Hamilton would not live to see 29. Patrick Hamilton became the first and most eminent martyr of Christian Scotland. He was burned at the stake. I am fond of remembering those in the faith that have walked before me. Martyrs especially are, for me, my veterans. Patrick Hamilton is one of my favorites. I have stood on the very spot where he was burned at St. Andrews in Scotland and it is a beautiful spot, overlooking the North Sea. They have a nice write-up there in his memory. When I think of sacrifice I often think of Hamilton who, when he was burned, did not die at first, and sadly his killers had to send out for more wood to finish the job. John Fox, in his book of martyrs, calls Hamilton's execution, "awkward"; seems it was. Hamilton preached throughout his martyrdom until he expired and the effect upon those who were witnesses furthered the cause of the Reformation in Scotland more than any other single event. He is one who we would have to add to the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. He was a man of whom the world was not worthy and one whose example of dedication to Christ serves as an example to everyone who learns of his travail.
Lest we think Hamilton's case is a rare instance it should be noted that
Martyrdom is common for followers of Christ. It would be unthinkable for
congress to pass an act that, because of their faith, Baptists were "fair
game" or for the President to use his privileges to end the plight of
Lutheranism, declaring them a threat to our nation. Unthinkable today, but
throughout history it is really rather common. Mary Queen of Scots killed
so many for their faith in the 1550's that she is known as "Bloody Mary".
King Charles IX, on August 24, 1572, killed so many Protestants throughout
France in the St. Bartholomew massacre that the streams and rivers in France
flowed red from the blood of the bodies. Killing Christians, for being
Christians, has been a common event in history.
Soli Deo Gloria,