Alard, Francis

, of a noble family at Brussels, was born about the beginning of the sixteenth century. His father William Alard de Centier, a zealous convert to popery, obliged him to enter the order of Dominican friars, where he was much admired for his talents as a preacher. While thus employed, a Hamburgh merchant, who was pleased with his preaching, procured him privately the works of Luther, which Alard read with conviction, and the same merchant having assisted him in escaping from his convent, he studied divinity at Jena and Wittemberg. But the death of this faithful friend having deprived him of resources, he ventured to return to Brussels and solicit assistance from his father. Before, however, he could obtain a private interview with him, he was discovered in one of the streets of Brussels by his mother, a violent bigot, who, after some reproaches, denounced him to the Inquisition; and when no persuasions could induce him to return into the bosom of the church which he had left, his mother was so irritated, as to call forth the rigour of the law, and even offered to furnish the wood to burn him. Sentence of death being pronounced, he was conducted to prison, but on the night previous to the appointed execution, he is said to have heard a voice saying, “Francis, arise and depart:” how far this and other particulars of his escape are true, we know not; but it is certain he cleared the prison, and after some hardships and difficulties, arrived in safety at Olden ­burgh, where he became almoner to the prince. Here he remained until hearing that freedom of religion was granted at Antwerp, his affection for his native country induced him to return, which he did twice, notwithstanding the persecutions of the duke of Alba a.nd the dangers to which he was exposed; and when his father came to see him at Antwerp, in hopes of bringing him back to popery, he argued with so much power, as to make a sincere convert of this bigotted parent. At length, when it was not longer safe for him to remain in the Netherlands, Christian IV. king of Denmark, gave him the curacy of Wilster in Hoistein, at which asylum he died July 10, 1578. His works, | which are In Flemish or German, consist of, 1. “The Confession of Antwerp.” 2. “Exhortation of the Ministers of Antwerp.” 3. “Agenda, or Discipline of Antwerp.” 4. “Catechism.” 5. “Treatise on original Sin,” &c. 1

1

Moreri. Biographic Universelle.< Decus Alardorum scriptis clarornm, Hamb. 1721, 2 vols. written by his great-grandson, Nicholas Alard, who died there in 1756.