The Oguier Family
On the evening of March 6, 1556, French officials began a search of Protestants meeting illegally in houses. They came to the house of Robert Oguier, which was a little home church where both rich and poor were taught the Scriptures. After entering, they seized several books and arrested the husband, his wife, and their two sons, leaving their two daughters in the house.
A few days later, the prisoners were brought before the magistrates to be interrogated. “It is told us that you never come to mass, yea, and also dissuade others. We are further informed that you maintain worship services in your house, causing erroneous doctrines to be preached there, contrary to the ordinances of our holy mother the church.” Robert Oguier confessed to the first charge and justified his conduct by proving from the Scriptures that the saying of mass was contrary to the ordinances of Jesus Christ; and he defended the religious meetings in his house by showing that they were commanded by our blessed Saviour Himself.
One of the magistrates asked what was done when the people met at the home church. Baudicon, one of Robert’s sons who was particularly active in evangelism, answered, “when we meet together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we first of all prostrate upon our knees before God, and in the humility of our spirits do make a confession of our sins before His Divine Majesty. Then we pray that the word of God may be rightly divided, and purely preached; we also pray for our sovereign lord the emperor, and for his honourable counsellors, that the commonwealth may be peaceably governed to the glory of God; yea, we forget not you whom we acknowledge as our superiors, entreating our God for you and for this city, that you may maintain it in all tranquility.”
Each family member made an open confession of his faith, and then was returned to prison. They were put to torture to make them confess who frequented their house; but they would disclose no one, except for those were known to the judges or were away at that time. A few days later, the Oguiers were brought before the magistrates again and asked whether they would submit to the will of the
magistrates. Robert and his son Baudicon agreed. But the younger brother—Martin—and Robert’s wife answered that they would not, so they were sent back to the prison. Father and son were promptly sentenced to be burnt alive to ashes and were told, “today you shall go to dwell with all the devils in hell-fire.”
As they were about to separate Baudicon from his father, he pleaded with them, “leave my father alone, and trouble him not. He is an old man, and has an infirm body; hinder him not, I pray you, from receiving the crown of martyrdom.” They were then taken into separate rooms to be prepared for the burning. One of those preparing Baudicon told him, “if you were my brother, I would sell all I am worth to buy fagots to burn you.” Baudicon answered, “well, sir, the Lord show you more mercy.” In the meantime, some of the priests urged Robert to take a crucifix into his hands, so that the people would not be upset so much when they saw him. And so they fastened the crucifix between his hands. But as soon as Baudicon was brought out with his father, he saw the crucifix, pulled it from his father’s hands, and threw it away saying, “Alas! Father, what do you now? Will you play idolater at our last hour? What reason do the people have to offend at us for not receiving a Christ of wood? We bear upon our hearts the cross of Christ, the son of the ever-living God.”
As they were being dragged to the stake, Baudicon began to sing the 16th Psalm. A friar cried out, “do you not hear what wicked errors these heretics sing, to beguile the people with?” Baudicon heard him and replied, “callest thou the Psalms of David errors? But no wonder, for you usually blaspheme against the Spirit of God.” Then turning his eyes to his father, who was about to be chained to the stake, he said “be of good courage, father; the worst will soon be past.” And he prayed, “O God, Father everlasting, accept the sacrifice of our bodies, for Thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ’s sake.” One of the friars cried out, “heretic, thou liest; he is not thy father; the devil is thy father.” Fires were then put to the straw and wood. Baudicon often repeated to his father, “faint not, father, nor be afraid; yet a very little while, and we shall enter the heavenly mansions.” “Jesus Christ, thou Son of God, into thy hand do we commend our spirits.” And then they died.
Adapted from John Foxe, The Book of Martyrs (London: Pickering & Inglis, no date): 46-50.
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