From Guido De Bres’ “Dedicatory Epistle to Philip II” (trans. Alastair Duke, cited in Danny Hyde, With Heart and Mouth: An Exposition of the Belgic Confession, pg. 499.):
If we had been permitted, most gracious Lord, to appear before your Majesty to defend ourselves against the charges which have been laid against us, we would not have resorted to this clandestine means to bring to your notice the lamentations of your people, sending you a dumb request or a written confession. But our enemies have stopped your ears with so many false accusations and reports that we are not only prevented from appearing before you, but driven from your territories, murdered and burnt wherever we may be. Therefore grant us at least, most gracious Lord, in the name of God that which no one can deny even to the animals, namely to hear from afar our cries. If your Majesty, having heard us, judges us to be guilty, let the burnings increase and the tortures and torments multiply throughout your kingdom. And contrariwise, if our innocence is manifest to you, may you be for us a support and refuge against the violence of our enemies.
And of course, the magistrate did believe the Reformed to be guilty which is why De Bres himself (the author of the Belgic Confession of Faith) was hung for confessing the Reformed faith. As Danny Hyde opens his very fine exposition of the BCF: “The Belgic Confession, then, contains doctrine worth dying for” (With Heart and Mouth, pg. 2).
I only got Hyde’s book today, but have skimmed his exposition of a few of the BCF’s articles and have been thoroughly impressed. I must say, I’m not one bit surprised. I’ve always known Hyde to be a very able and cogent writer. He has put in a great amount of effort into helping the church in the 21st century to better understand and see the continuing relevance of this positive presentation of the continental Reformed faith. Not only does the book contain each of the 37 articles of the BCF, the reader will find some excellent historical material, a nice outline of the BCF, and a thorough bibliography dealing not only with the BCF itself, but with many of the doctrinal statements contained therein.
I’ll look forward to reading more of this book and will plan on doing some blogging about what I find therein. Grab a copy for a mere $20.83 at the WSCAL bookstore!!!