July 29

Baptists do not believe in receiving support from the State, but depending on the circumstances, and beyond praying for governmental leaders, they may support the State even in fiscal matters.

In second half of the 16th century, Europe was ablaze with religious persecution and burning bodies. In some countries Protestants persecuted Catholics; in other countries the Catholics killed Protestants, and across the continent both parties persecuted the Anabaptists.

By 1572 Henry II of England and Philip II of Spain had agreed to put all the Protestants of the Netherlands to death. A young Prince William of Orange resolved to stir up the Protestant defenses against the Catholic onslaught. He spent his fortune, sold his personal possessions and mortgaged his estates in an effort to raise money for the defense of his people.

Early in April, Prince William was met by two strangers, Jacob Fredericks and Dirk Jans Cortenbosch. The men were Anabaptist preachers. They asked if there was some way in which they and their small, decimated churches could support the defense of the country. After the meeting William asked his secretary write to his new supporters, saying, “Let every one contribute. This is a time when even with small sums more can be effected than at other times with ampler fund. His lordship will ever be ready to reward them for such good and faithful service to the common cause and to their prince.”

Despite years of persecution and its resulting poverty, on this day (July 29) in 1572, Fredericks and Cortenbosch brought a gift of a thousand florins to the prince at Remund. William asked what they expected from him. They replied, “Nothing but the friendship of your grace, if God grants to you the government of our Netherlands.” And the prince gave them his promise. And actually, he had two weeks earlier publically proclaimed that “the freedom of religion shall be guarded; every body shall exercise it freely in private or in public, in church or in chapel, without let or hindrance from any one.”

William of Orange was able to establish the Netherlands as one of the first nations on earth, where men were free to worship the Lord as they saw fit.