~ In 1563, John Foxe published an account of the life of Christian martyrs, beginning with Stephen, the first to die for the cause of Christ, and ending with the most recent martyrs of his day—Protestants killed during Bloody Mary's reign. He knew that dangers lay in forgetting the martyrs—in being insensitive to their struggles. They faced torture and death in their fight of faith, willing to stand for their beliefs and the Word of God regardless of the price. The faithfulness of such historical figures as John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and so many others has given us our rich Christian heritage. Their courage and dedication inspire us to live for Christ today.
John Foxe (1516–1587), born at Boston, Lincolnshire, England, was a devout and scholarly boy. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford and then Magdalen College where he held a fellowship for seven years. While a student, Foxe became known for his scholarly wisdom and piety and could have led a quiet and successful life; becoming aware of certain spiritual truths, however, Foxe embraced Protestantism. In 1545, he resigned his fellowship at the university and become a tutor for the Lucy family of Warwickshire. Shortly thereafter, he married Agnes Randall of Conventry. John Foxe worked for the Reformation, writing tracts and beginning his famous history of the persecutions and martyrdoms in England from John Wycliffe through the early 1500s. When staunch Roman Catholic Queen Mary took the throne in 1553, Foxe and his family fled England for the continent in fear for their lives. There he continued working on his manuscript, which was eventually published in 1563 as The Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Days. Foxe continued laboring on his work until his death in 1587.