Le Clerc, John

Le Clerc, John (1), first martyr of the Reformation in France, a mechanic by trade, was born at Meaux towards the close of the 15th century. He was brought to the knowledge of divine truth by reading the N.T. translated into French by Lefevre d'Étaples, and in his zeal for the cause he dared to post on the door of the cathedral a bill in which the pope was called antichrist. For this offense he was condemned to be whipped in Paris and at Meaux, was branded on the forehead, and exiled. He retired to Rosoy, then to Metz in 1525, where he continued to work at his trade, wool-carding. Here he one day broke the images which the Romanists intended to carry in procession. Instead of trying to hide himself, he boldly confessed his deed, and was condemned to fearful bodily punishment. His right hand was cut off, his nose torn out, his arm and breast torn with red-hot pincers, and his head encircled with two or three bands of red-hot iron; amid all his torments he sung aloud the verse of Psalm 115, "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands." He was finally thrown into the fire, and thus died. His brother Peter, also a wool-carder, was chosen by the Protestants of Meaux for their pastor, and fell a victim to persecution in 1546. See Haag, La France Protestante, vol. 6; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Genenale, 30:193; Browning. History of the Huguenots, 1:23.

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