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Publisher's Preface to Third English Edition, 1886

A the English language, year by year, becomes more prevalent among our Mennonite people, the snecessity of presenting to them in that language the doctrines, teachings and practices, as well as the story of the sufferings, the faithful endurance and the final triumphant deaths, of those of like faith with us who lived in the earlier ages of Christianity, becomes apparent to every reflecting mind.

These doctrines, teachings and practices together with the examples of faithful devotion to Christ and His Word, and the unfaltering endurance under the severest persecution, are powerful incentives to Christians today, to inspire many sincere souls to live a more consecrated life, to practice greater self-denial, to live more separated from the world, and show a greater zeal in the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls; and they are especially precious to us, as Mennonites, because through these people it pleased God to hand down to us the living exemplification of the peculiar tenets and doctrines which we hold and practice at the present day.

The reading of books of this kind will also help us to appreciate more highly the privileges with which God has blessed us above our forefathers. While they oftentimes were not permitted to have permanent places of abode, and were driven about and hunted down like wild beasts, compelled to dwell in caves and mountains, and other secluded places, hold their meetings in secret, and suffer every imaginable form of injustice and persecution, because to be a true follower of Christ in those days was considered the very worst of crimes, we enjoy all the privileges of citizenship and are protected in the fullest enjoyment of our religion and forms of worship.

It is the duty of the church to maintain and teach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and to transmit the same to coming generations, and as we contemplate these facts, what a glorious treasure of pure Christian devotion shines in these pages of the Story of the Martyrs, and how much this grand record of their sufferings has done, and may yet do to perpetuate the pure doctrines of the Gospel, eternity alone will reveal.

For these reasons and many others that might be referred to, the publishers of this edition, have, in the fear of God, for the promotion of His glory, undertaken the publication of "The Bloody Theater or Martyrs' Mirror" and herewith give it to the public, in the hope that it may be the means of promoting the glory of God and of doing much good among the children of men.

NOTE. The translation of this work was made from the Dutch Edition of 1660, and where questions of doubt occurred, the edition of 1685 as well as the German editions were consulted.


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