Belgium is a small kingdom of less than 9 million inhabitants. The history of this tiny land conditions its spiritual standing. For the nation has waged a constant struggle for independence against successive foreign invaders. French, English, Spanish, Dutch and German troops have occupied this territory during the centuries. This fact stands as the explanation of the typical Belgian mentality, expressed in deep attachment to freedom, nationally and individually, and in a spirit of vigor in all situations posing a threat to survival.

Reformation Stifled

On the other hand, Belgium suffered from religious tyranny so terrible that the Reformation was drowned in its own blood. Catholic and Spanish oppression, with the help of the Inquisition, caused many compatriots to give their lives for their faith and for their country. The famous “Gueux,” similar in their spiritual beliefs to the French “Huguenots” but different in their political aims, were obliged to fight on a double front-spiritual to save freedom of faith, material to win the battle for independence. Brussels in the sixteenth century was a free Calvinist republic for nine years, but was taken by Spanish troops and given back to Catholicism.

If the national revolution of 1830 at last gave Belgium its independence, by the same token it sacrificed to a foreign country, the Netherlands, the greatest part of the Protestant population. In 1831, when the Protestant churches of Belgium gathered into a Union of Churches, only eight congregations remained from all that had existed formerly.

Impetus From Abroad

New Protestant churches and movements, as they exist today, issued from this nucleus of 1831. They received impetus from the arrival in Belgium of foreign ...

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