History records many unusual events which ultimately lead to people’s salvation and the beginning of their service of Christ. We have one here today.

Roger Holland was raised in the affluent home of Sir Robert Holland. Eventually the family fell on hard times, and Roger was forced to become an apprentice to a merchant-tailor named Kempton. On one occasion Holland was given 30 pounds to pass on to his employer, but the young man lost it all gambling. In shame and fear he determined to flee to France, but his semi-stirred conscience led him to Kempton’s house where he spoke to a servant girl, admitting his folly and asking her for a favor. He wanted her to take a note to their employer, in which he acknowledged his debt and pledged to make repayment as soon as he could. He also asked that the matter be kept a secret in order to protect the name of his father.

Elizabeth, the maid, apparently a Christian, had something else in mind – two things actually. She had recently received an inheritance of 30 pounds which she offered to the young man to use to repay the debt. But she would give it to him only if he would leave the Roman Catholic Church, begin attending the preaching of the Dissenters and read his Bible. She vowed that if he returned to his old life, she would give the note to her employer and he and his father would be ruined.

Roger agreed, and within six months he became a believer in Christ and a zealous follower of the Lord. He even led his father to the Saviour. Sir Robert Holland’s circumstances subsequently improved, and he gave to his son 40 pounds. With his own improvements and with his father’s money, Roger repaid Elizabeth and asked her to marry him. In the first year of the reign of Bloody Mary, Roger and Elizabeth were wed.

Apparently the entire Holland clan became members of the Hill Cliffe Baptist Church. There are two Hollands whose names are found on letters from the church in 1654, one of which indicates that Roger had become the congregation’s pastor.
About a year later, while the church was gathered for worship, twenty-seven of her members were arrested and carried before a judge. Some of the women were released, but most were committed to Newgate prison – incarcerated there for seven weeks. Their jailer informed them that they would all be released if they would attend the Catholic Mass, but they refused. Two of their number died in prison, but the rest were burned at the stake, some on June 16 and the rest, apparently including Elder Holland, were executed on this day (June 27) in 1658.