As he was about to be burned at the stake, Walter Mill confidently and courageously exclaimed:

I marvel at your rage, ye hypocrites, who do so cruelly pursue the servants of God! As for me, I am now eighty-two years old, and cannot live long by course of nature; but a hundred shall rise out of my ashes, who shall scatter you, ye hypocrites and persecutors of God’s people; and such of you as now think yourselves the best, shall not die such an honest death as I do now. I trust in God, I shall be the last who shall suffer death in this fashion for the cause of this land!

His words were prophetic because he was, in fact, the last martyr of
the early reformation in Scotland.

Born in 1476, Mill became a priest in Angus County, Scotland.
Impressed by the teachings of the reformers, he questioned the church
hierarchy and theology and stopped saying Mass. So as a young man,
he was condemned to death for his defiance of the church. Eventually,
in 1538, Mill was arrested, but he escaped to Germany where he ministered for twenty years.

At the age of eighty-two, he returned to teach the Protestant faith
and live out his remaining days in his homeland. But he was hunted down
and imprisoned, even though as an old man he was not a threat. At his
trial, Mill entered the courtroom at the cathedral of St. Andrews and fell
to his knees in prayer. The judge, guards, and audience assumed that
Mill, feeble from his imprisonment, would be unable to speak in his
defense. Yet he spoke with force. And Walter Mill was condemned to be
executed for heresy.

While being bound to the stake, Mill continued to speak to his captors and the assembled onlookers. Many admired his bold declaration
of faith. Some complained aloud about the cruelty of his persecutors.
Mill prayed quietly for a short time. Then, as the fire was being lit, he
cried out, “Lord have mercy on me. Pray, pray, good people, while there
is time.” Then, cheerfully, he left this life to live with God.
John Knox wrote, “That blessed martyr of Christ, Walter Mill, a
man of decrepit age, was put to death most cruelly the 28th April, 1558.”

“The world for a time may
deceive itself, thinking it has
the victory, but the end will
try the contrary.”
—John Bradford, another martyr, written at the beginning
of his imprisonment in 1554

This story is an excerpt from Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs. You can get your own copy free with any donation to The Voice of the Martyrs.

Stories of Christian Martyrs: Walter Mill
Categories: Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs
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