CHAPTER 10: General Persecutions in Germany (4/4)

The Protestant deputies at length became so serious as to intimate to the elector, that force of arms should compel him to do the justice he denied to their representations. This menace brought him to reason, as he well knew the impossibility of carrying on a war against the powerful states who threatened him. He therefore agreed that the body of the Church of the Holy Ghost should be restored to the Protestants. He restored the Heidelberg catechism, put the Protestant ministers again in possession of the churches of which they had been dispossessed, allowed the Protestants to work on popish holy days, and, ordered, that no person should be molested for not kneeling when the host passed by.

These things he did through fear; but to show his resentment to his Protestant subjects, in other circumstances where Protestant states had no right to interfere, he totally abandoned Heidelberg, removing all the courts of justice to Mannheim, which was entirely inhabited by Roman Catholics. He likewise built a new palace there, making it his place of residence; and, being followed by the Roman Catholics of Heidelberg, Mannheim became a flourishing place.

In the meantime the Protestants of Heidelberg sunk into poverty and many of them became so distressed as to quit their native country, and seek an asylum in Protestant states. A great number of these coming into England, in the time of Queen Anne, were cordially received there, and met with a most humane assistance, both by public and private donations.

In 1732, above thirty thousand Protestants were, contrary to the treaty of Westphalia, driven from the archbishopric of Salzburg. They went away in the depth of winter, with scarcely enough clothes to cover them, and without provisions, not having permission to take anything with them. The cause of these poor people not being publicly espoused by such states as could obtain them redress, they emigrated to various Protestant countries, and settled in places where they could enjoy the free exercise of their religion, without hurting their consciences, and live free from the trammels of popish superstition, and the chains of papal tyranny.

Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, Chapter 10

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