See how the Lord blessed His faithful servants. Algerius was burned at the stake in Rome during the year 1557. Thus he writes, a short time before his martyrdom:—
“I will relate an incredible thing: that I have found infinite sweetness in the lion’s bowels. Who will believe that which I shall relate? Who can believe it? In a dark hole I have found cheerfulness; in a place of bitterness and death, rest and hope of salvation; in the abyss or depth of hell, joy. Where others weep, I have found laughter; where others fear, I have found strength. Who will ever believe that in a state of misery I have had great pleasure; that in a lonely corner I have had glorious company; and in the hardest bonds, perfect repose? All these things (ye, my companions in Jesus Christ), the bountiful hand of God has granted me. Behold! He who at first stood far from me is now with me; and Him whom I imperfectly knew, I now see clearly; Him whom I formerly saw afar off, I now contemplate as present; He for whom I longed, now stretches forth His hand; He comforts me; He fills me with joy; He drives bitterness from me, and renews my strength and consolation; He gives me health; He supports me; He helps me up; He makes me strong. Oh, how good the Lord is, who suffers not His servants to be tempted beyond their ability! Oh, how light, pleasant, and sweet is His yoke! Is any like unto God most high, who supports and refreshes the tempted, who heals the stricken and wounded, and restores them altogether? None is like unto Him. Learn, my most beloved brethren, how gracious the Lord is; how faithful and compassionate is He who visits His servants in their trials; He who humbles Himself, and condescends to stand by us in our huts and mean abodes. He grants us a cheerful mind and a peaceful heart.” The letter is dated “from the most delightful pleasure-garden, the prison called Leonia, the 12th of July, 1557.”1
1 Baptist Martyrology, published by the Hanserd Knollys Society, ii. pp. 114, 122.