Hallelujah! The Ipswich Martyrs

By happy coincidence rather than clever design, I came across the Ipswich memorial to the town’s Protestant martyrs. These were the brave men and women who were burned at the stake in the 1550s for their adherence to the gospel. A public recantation and attending Mass would have spared them all the trouble. Instead, they opted to die rather than forsake the gospel they had so readily embraced. A tragic episode of our history, a sad curtailment of human life, an agonising way to go. Yet on the monument’s rear is written, simply:


This is an expression of joy, a Hebrew rendering for praising the Lord. Why would so cheerful an expression be on so mournful an edifice? The martyrs’ deaths was a blessing:

To them. They entered glory all the sooner, and met their Lord ahead of most others of their generation.

To those who watched. They were given a testimony to saving faith which many would later recall.

To us. Whatever trivial trials we endure are nothing to what our forbears faced. Therefore, we press on.

To Christ. Having some servants who would lose their life for His sake, gives Him all the greater pleasure in receiving them, that He might much compensate their little loss.