This is a wild story of a woman that so served God that she was killed for being kind! Ladies read and be blessed!
GAUNT, MRS. ELIZABETH
Gaunt, Mrs. Elizabeth, lived in London, England, in the dark days of wicked King James II. Mrs. Gaunt was a member of a Baptist church, and a lady of great benevolence.
She was accustomed to visit the jails, and to relieve the wants of the victims of persecution of every oppressed denomination. Her reputation for generous acts was the cause of her martyrdom.
The cruel king was greatly enraged that rebels against his authority should meet with a protecting roof and a little food from any of his subjects; and he resolved to be more severe to those who showed kindness to his outlawed enemies than to the traitors themselves.
A rebel named Burton, hearing of the charitable deeds of Mrs. Gaunt, sought and found shelter and food in her house; but, learning the anger of the king against those who treated his enemies with humanity, with a depth of baseness seldom exhibited by the most abandoned of our race, he went and denounced Mrs. Gaunt to the authorities.
She was seized and tried, and without the required number of witnesses was illegally condemned, and cruelly burned to death. She placed the straw around her at the stake so that she would be speedily reduced to ashes, and she behaved so gently, and yet so courageously, that “all the spectators were melted into tears.”
According to Bishop Burnet, she said to the spectators “that charity was a part of her religion, as well as faith. This, at worst, was the feeding of an enemy; so she hoped she had her reward with him for whose sake she did this service, how unworthy soever the person was that made so ill a return for it.
She rejoiced that God had honored her to be the first that suffered by fire in this reign; and that her suffering was a martyrdom for that religion which was all love.” She perished at Tyburn, Oct. 23, 1685.
No doubt her holy blood was one of the powerful causes which summoned down the vengeance of heaven on the guilty king, and which sent him from his throne and country a crownless and cowardly fugitive. A writer familiar with the character of Mrs. Gaunt says, “She stood most deservedly entitled to an eternal monument of honor in the hearts of all sincere lovers of the Reformed religion.
All true Christians, though in some things differing in persuasion from her, found in her a universal charity and sincere friendship, as is well known to many here, and also to a multitude of the Scotch nation, ministers and others, who, for conscience’ sake, were thrust into exile by the rage of bishops. She dedicated herself with unwearied industry to provide for their support, and therein I do incline to think she outstripped every individual, if not the whole body of Protestants, in this great city [London].
Hereby she was exposed to the implacable fury of the bloody Papists, and of those blind tools who co-operated to promote their accursed designs; and so there appeared little difficulty to procure a jury, as there were well-prepared judges, to make her a sacrifice, as a traitor, to holy church.”
Treacherous Burton must have set a high estimate upon the value of her life, when he was ready to offer this noble woman as a burned sacrifice for it. But long since in the eternal world he has learned that the preservation of the most precious life on earth is not worth one wicked act.
Roger William Heritage Archives Editors. (2003; 2003). Baptist Biographies. Roger Williams Heritage Archives.
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