These are sad times, in which we live; nay, truly, there is more danger now than in the time of our fathers, who suffered death for the testimony of the Lord…for then Satan came openly…as a roaring lion…[and] his chief design then was to destroy the body: but now he comes as in the night…to destroy the soul…[to] annihilate entirely, if this were possible, the only saving Christian faith…[and] to destroy the true separated Christian life which is the outgrowth of faith (Ps:91:5-6).
He reveals himself on the one hand as an angel of light (2 Cor:11:14-15), as a kind, pleasant, yea, even divine messenger, with a humble countenance…[as] the martyrs of God formerly did. His words are modest…seemingly coming from deep meditation…lest he might speak amiss or untruthfully. Meanwhile…he seizes hold and tears like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, robbing the innocent lambs of Christ of their precious faith, which he pretends to be of small importance, but without which faith it is impossible to please God (Heb:11:6), nay, without which we, according to the words of Christ, shall be condemned (Mk 16:16)….
It grieves us to the heart that we must live to see these times, and therefore speak in this wise. O Lord, strengthen our faith! Help Thy weak, trusting lambs, that they may not be led into error, nor moved from the foundations of the most holy faith.
On the other hand, through his [Satan’s] instigation, the world now reveals itself very beautiful and glorious, more than at any preceding time….Almost all men run after her, to worship her as a queen supreme; but all are deceived thereby….Who shall escape these snares? He that would at no time be taken unawares by it, must indeed be cautious and watchful. But our very flesh seems prone to it. Here must be fasting, watching, praying, and calling upon God for help, otherwise there is no escape.
Thieleman J. van Braght, The Author’s Preface, Martyrs Mirror, The story of the Anabaptist, Mennonite, Albigensian, Waldensian, et al., martyrs from the first century to 1660, July 27, 1659