The Martyrs Mirror, first published
in 1660 by Thieleman J. van Braght, records the account of Dutch
Anabaptist Dirk Willem's capture, escape, recapture and death.
Dirk was one of many fugitive Christians, called Anabaptists,
arrested and imprisoned in the early years of the Protestant
Reformation of the sixteenth century.
But Dirk Willems made
good his escape from the prison tower. He tied together strips
of cloth to make a rope, which he used to slide down the prison
wall. But as he set out across the countryside, a guard spotted
him and gave chase. In Dirk's path of escape was an ice-covered
pond. He took the risk and crossed the thin ice safely. But his
pursuer broke through the ice into the frigid water.
Was this God's rescue?
Had God indeed delivered him from his enemies? For Dirk it was
a call to help someone in need. He dared to believe Jesus's teaching
to love even one's enemies. He turned back and rescued the guard-his
enemy. Dirk was arrested again and placed in a more secure prison.
He was later burned at the stake near his native village, Asperen,
in 1569. (jes)
The Martys Mirror is also online.
See Mirror of the Martyrs
by John S. Oyer and Robert S. Kreider (Good Books, 1990)
pp. 36-37, and The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght (Herald
Press, 1977) pp. 741-742.