Marten Micronius is a Reformer you might not have heard of before. He was born in 1523 in Ghent, in East Flanders, Belgium.
Marten Micronius was Dutch. It appears that he studied medicine and became a medical doctor, and there’s testimony that he published medical works. But then he became intrigued by the Reformation and became a Reformer. He studied at Basel and at Strasbourg. And in 1549, he went to London, where he became associated with John à Lasko, the Polish Reformer who also ended up in London. He and Marten Micronius and a few others were intent on establishing a little Geneva in London. This would be a place for European Reformers in London. They were not Lutherans. They were not Anglicans. They were Reformed, and they were trying to carve out a place for themselves.
They published a few works to help with the liturgy. In Micronius’ work, published in London in 1554, he said this on the ministry of the Word:
No churchly gathering is ever held among us in which the church is not taught to some extent from God’s Word, in order for it to be edified, admonished, and comforted.
And, for very good reasons, the Scriptures are not expounded in sermons on isolated pericopes, as in the practice among the papists. Instead, we take some book of the Bible, either from the Old or the New Testament, and we expound it from the beginning to the end. In all sermons we successfully read from this book, as much as can be edifyingly and properly expounded and explained within one hour.
If necessary, the ministers of the Word are also admonished not to go too much beyond the scope of their text and their preaching. Rather, they should (as much as possible) take all their teaching, admonishment, exhortation, rebuke, and comfort from their present text.
So there you have it. You stick with the text. And we see that the sermon was an hour long. The Dutch are tough.
The service he was trying to establish in London would have not only a sermon; it would start off with a prayer, a prayer for illumination, then the Lord’s Prayer. Then they would read a psalm and a Scripture that the sermon was from, and then would come the hour-long sermon. They would then pray for strength to live out the meaning of the sermon, and to live out the application of the sermon. Then they would read the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. Yes, every Sunday, they would read through the Ten Commandments. Then there would be a brief admonishment related to the Ten Commandments, a confession of sin, and a prayer of forgiveness. Next would come a warning to the impertinent, those that were not willing to confess their sins. They would recite the Apostle’s Creed, and then there would be prayers for intercession of the congregation, then the Lord’s Prayer, then another psalm, then a benediction. That was the service that Marten Micronius was trying to establish in London.
All of these efforts came to a halt when Edward VI died and was replaced by his half sister, Mary. This was the time of the Marian exiles. And one of those exiles was Marten Micronius. He ended up in Norden, Germany, which is on the North Sea. While he was there, he held some debates with Menno Simons, of the Mennonites, and he also published his catechism in 1555, in Dutch. He died in Norden in 1559.