On the 15th of November, 1527, Weynken, daughter of Claes, was brought prisoner from the castle of Woerden to the Hague, whither on the 17th day of the same month, came also the count of Hooghstraten, Governor in Holland. On the 18th, the aforesaid Weynken was arraigned before the governor and the full council of Holland. There a woman asked her, "Have you well considered the things which my lords proposed to you?"
Am."I abide by what I have said."
Ques. "If you do not speak differently, and turn from your error, you will be subjected to an intolerable death." '
Am. "If power is given you from above I am ready to suffer." John 19:11.
Ques. "Do you then, not fear death, which you have never tasted?"
Am. "This is true; but I shall never taste death, for Christ says: 'If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.' (John 8:51.) The rich man tasted death, and shall taste it forever." (Luke 16:23. )
Ques. "What do you hold concerning the sacrament?"
Am."I hold your sacrament to be bread and flour, and if you hold it as God, I say that it is your devil."
Ques. "What do you hold concerning the saints?"
Am. "I know no other Mediator than Christ." (I John 2:19. )
Ques. "You must die, if you abide by this."
Am."I an i already dead." (Gal. 2:19. )
Ques. "If you are dead, how can you speak?"
Ans. "The spirit lives in me; the Lord is in me, and I am in Him." (John 14:20. )
Ques."Will you have 'a confessor, or not?"
Am."I have Christ, to Him I confess; nevertheless, if I have offended any, I would willingly ask them to forgive me."
Ques. "Who has taught you this opinion, and how did you come to it?"
Am. "The Lord, who calls all men to Him; I am also one of His sheep; therefore I hear His voice." (John 10:27. )
Ques."Are you alone called?"
Am."No; for the Lord calls to Him all that are heavy laden." (Matt. 28:11.)
After many like words Weynken was led back to prison. During the two following days she was entreated and tempted by various persons, namely by monks, priests, women, and her nearest friends.
Among others, a woman came to her, prompted by sincerity, who commiserated her after this manner, "Dear mother, can you not think what you please, and keep it to yourself? then you will not die."
Weynken replied, "Dear sister; I am commanded to speak, and am.constrained to do so; hence I cannot remain silent about it."
Wom."Then, ' I am afraid, they, will put you to death."
Ans."Though they burn me tomorrow, or put me into a bag, I cafe not; as the Lord has ordained it, so,it must be, and not otherwise; I will adhere to the Lord."
Wom."If you have done nothing else I hope you will not die."
Ans."As for me; it matters not.; but when I come down from the hall, I cry bitterly; and it grieves me to see that these good men are all so blinded;.I will pray the Lord for them." .
Two Dominican friars also came to her, the one as a confessor, and the other as an instructor. The latter showed her the crucifix, saying, "See, here is your .Lord and your God." She. answered, "This is not my God; the cross by which I have been redeemed, is adifierent one. This is a wooden god; throw him into the fire, and warm yourselves with him." The other asked her in the morning of the day when she was to die, whether she would not receive the sacrament, adding that he would willingly administer it to her. She said, "What God would you give me? one that is perishable, and is sold for a farthing?" And to the-priest or monk, who rejoiced that he had read mass that day, she said that he had crucified God anew. He said:, "It appears to me that you have fallen unto error?"
Weynken replied, "I cannot help it, my Lord and my God, to whom be eternal honor, praise; and thanksgiving (Rev. 4:11), has thus given it unto me."
Ques." What do you hold concerning the holy oil?"
Ans. "Oil is good for salad, or to oil your shoes with." I Tim. 4:4.
In the middle of the week she was brought before the Court, and when she came into the hall, the monk went up to her, and held the crucifix before her face, saying, "Do recant before sentence is, passed." But Weynken turned from the crucifix, saying, "I adhere to my Lord and God; neither death nor life shall separate me from Him." (Rom. 8:39.) As she stood before the judge, the' monk whispered into her ear, "Fall down upon monk knees, and ask the Lord for pardon." She replied, "Be still: did I not tell you, that you should not draw me from my Lord."
The Dean of Naeldwijck, subcommissary and inquisitor, read the sentence, in Latin, from a doc-, ument, and repeating it in Dutch, said briefly, thatshe was found to be in error with regard to the sacrament, and that she immovably adhered to it; hence he decided that she was a heretic, and delivered Weynken to the secular arm, with the protest that he did- not consent to her death. He then retired from the council, together with his two associate ecclesiastics.
The chancellor immediately read, that she, as reported, had been found' obstinate, which could not be passed by without punishment, and that she should be burnt to ashes; and all her property be confiscated. '
Then Weynken said: -"Has all been done now? I beg you all, that if I have harmed or offended any, you will forgive me."
The monk then said to her, "Now for once kiss your Lord and God." She answered, "This is not my Lord."
As they were leaving the council chamber, the monk said to her that she should call upon our Lady to intercede for her.
She replied, "Our Lady, is well content in God."
Monk: "Call upon her."
Weynken, "We have Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of His Father.; I3 a prays for us, " (Romans 8:34.) ',
On her way from the hall to the scaffold or place of execution, the monk said, "Behold for once your Lord, who died for you."
Weynken: "This is not my Lord and my God; my Lord God is in me, and I in Him."
Monk: "Coiisider! will you condemn all these lambs,. and are they all condemned?"
Weynken:, "Not all; judgment belongs unto God." (Heb. 10:30. )
Monk: "Do you not fear the severe judgment of God?"
Weynken, "God comes not to condemn sinners, but to give them peace." (Luke 9:56.)
Monk, "Do you not, fear the sentence which you must suffer in the fie?"
Weynken, "No, for I know how I stand with my Lord."
On the scaffold there stood one who said to Weynken: '.'Mother, turn to the people, and ask them,to forgive you, if you have offended any." This she did. Then she assisted the executioners to put the powder into her bosom. Here the monk again tempted her with the cross; but she pushed it away with her hand, turned around, and said, "How you tempt me? My Lord and my God is above." She then went .gladly, as though.she were going to a marriage; and her face did not once be token fear of the fire:
The monk said, "Will you not always and firmly adhere to God?"
Weynken said, "Yes, indeed."
Monk, "Now you will have to go into the fire; do recant, "
Veynken, "I am well content; the Lord's will must be done."
Monk: "This is not the will of the Lord; the will of God is your sanctification."
The executioner said, "Mother, cleave to God and do not suffer yourself to be drawn away from Him."
In the meantime this pious heroine went alone undauntedly to the bench, and stationed herself at the stake at which she was to be burned, saying, "Is the bench firm; will I not fall?"
The executioner then made ready the ropes with which he was to strangle her. The woman took off her neckerchief or veil, and put the strap around her neck.
Then the monk exclaimed, "Mother Weynken, will you gladly.die as a Christian?,"
Ans. "Yes, I will."
Ques."Do you renounce all heresy?"
Monk: "This is well. Are you also sorry that you have erred?"
Ans. "I formerly did err indeed, and for that I am sorry; this however is no error, but the true way, and I adhere to God."
When she had said this, the executioner began to strangle her, which when she felt it, she cast down her eyes and closed them, as though she had fallen into a sleep, and gave up the ghost, on the twentieth day of November, A. D. 1527.
In the year 1527, there was also a faithful brother (Rev. 2:10), named John Walen, residing in Waterlandt, on Crommenies Dijck, and with him two of his fellow brethren. These three were together brought prisoners, for the testimony of Jesus (Revelations 2:13; 20:4), by the bloodthirsty papists, to Haarlem, and after a little while they were sent from there to Gravenhage, where they were examined very severely; yet, through the power of the Most High (Eph. 6:10; Acts 1:8), with which they were endued, they patiently endured it; thus valiantly overcoming by faith all their inquisitors and tormenters, together with the world and all visible things. I John 5:4. On this account the rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12), at said place sentenced them to the following inhuman and tyrannous death: They were chained to stakes, and a fire built around, them, and thus they were slowly roasted, until the marrow was seen to trickle down from their thighbones; thus being burned and roasted till death came to their relief.7 After their death the garments on the upper part of their bodies were taken off piece by piece, the color of the cloth still being recognizable. And as they suffered all this for the name of Jesus and the Word of God, and not on account of any misdeed committed, but only in order to testify to and confess the firm foundation of the truth before this false and adulterous generation, the Son of God shallhereafter, when coming in His glory, not he ashamed of them, but confess them before His Father and His chosen angels, and crown them with everlasting glory in heaven. Rev. 20:4;,I Pet. 4:14, 15; Mark 12:39; Luke 9:26; II Tim. 4:8.
In the year 1528, Leonhard Schoener of Becklasburg was apprehended. He was a minister of God, and was well versed in the holy Scriptures, and also in the Latin language. He faithfully taught the true baptism of Christ and His apostles, the true Lord's Supper, and the articles of the Christian faith; yea, the Word of God. He also testified against infant baptism, the abominable sacrament, and other abominations of antichrist. He had originally been a barefoot friar for about six years, but beholding the impurity, wantonness, hypocrisy (Matt. 7:15 ), and viciousness of the monks and priests, and judging their lives by the Word of God, he left the monastery at Judenburg, in Austria, and went to Nurenberg, learned the tailor's trade, and then traveling about as journeyman tailor, he came to Nulasberg, in Austria. There he heard of Baithasar Heubmer and his baptism, and learned that a number of the same faith formed a little society at Veyen. He sought them out, came to them, heard them, and, led thither by Oswald, was baptized. After this he went to Steyen to work at his trade; where he taught and baptized, having been elected teacher by them; and thus teaching and baptizing, he proceeded through Bavaria, as far as Rothenburg, in the valley of the Inn; where he was apprehended for his faith, disputed much with his opposers, and was examined. Previous to this he proposed: that, if- they regarded his faith and doctrine as wrong and heretical, they should produce learned persons, doctors, monks and priests, to dispute with him concerning the matter. Should he, in disputing on true scriptural grounds, be found to be in the wrong, they should punish him as unrighteous; and for still further confirmation of the truth, he offered, in order to confirm his assertion and his writings, that, if any of the learned could convince him with the truth of the Word of God, that his doctrine was not conformable.to the holy Scriptures, he should, as having been vanquished be severed limb from limb by the executioner, and, when deprived of all his limbs, have the ribs torn out of his body, until he should be dead. But if he should not be able to obtain a hearing and disputation, and they should judge and put him to death unheard, he asked all the witnesses of his death, and all those standing by, that they would be his witnesses before God, in His judgment at the last day. But by virtue of the mandate of the Emperor, and the edict of the King of Hungary and Bohemia, he was condemned, delivered to the executioner, beheaded, and burnt to ashes, on the fourteenth day of January of said
year; at Rothenburg, for the testimony of Christ, from which he would not depart.' After the death of this Leonhard, about seventy persons bore witness with their blood in the same' place. Leonhard Schoener, among others, left the following admonition for the consolation of all those who suffer for the name of Christ, "We beseech Thee, O eternal God, incline Thy gracious ear to us, Lord Sabaoth, Thou Prince of hosts, hear our complaint; for great distress and affliction prevails, and pride has entered into Thy heritage. And with it many supposed Christians have joined, and thus set up the abomination of desolation. Matt. 24:15. .They rage, and destroy the sanctuary of the Christians. They have trampled' it under foot, and the abomination of des6lation is worshiped as God. II Thess. 2:4. They have destroyed Thy holy city, overthrown Thy holy altar, and killed the servants in it, wherever they could apprehend them. And now that we remain as a little flock (Luke 12:32), they have driven us with reproach and disgrace into every country. We are scattered like sheep that have no shepherd. We have to abandon house and home, and are as the, night ravens, which lodge in the rocks. Our chambers are in eaves and cliffs; and snares are laid for us as for the birds of the air. We go about in forests, and are hunted with dogs. We are led captive and bound as dumb lambs which do not open their mouth. Acts 8:32. We are proclaimed rebels and heretics. We are led as sheep to the slaughter. Many sit in distress and bonds, and their bodies have perished. Some have been overcome by the severe sufferings, and died without any guilt. Here is the patience of the saints on earth; and thus must we be proved by suffering. Rev. 13:10. The believers have here been hanged on trees, strangled, cut in pieces, drowned secretly and openly; not only men, but also women and maidens have testified here to the faith that Jesus Christ is the truth and the only way to eternal life. John 14:6. Still the world is not at rest, but rages like a madman, and forges lies against us. They cease not to burn and kill. They make the world too small for us. O Lord how long wilt Thou be silent with regard to this? How long wilt Thou not judge the blood of Thy saints? Rev. 6:10. Let it ascend before Thy throne. How precious in Thy sight is the blood of Thy saints. Therefore we have in all our distresses a comforting confidence in Thee alone, and in no other; neither have we consolation, rest or peace in the earth. But he that hopes in Thee shall never be confounded. O Lord, there is no sorrow so great that it can separate us from Thee; hence we call upon Thee without ceasing, through Christ Thy Son, our Lord, whom Thou, out of pure grace, hast given us for our consolation, and who has prepared and made known to us the narrow path and the way unto eternal life. Matt. 7:14. Eternal glory, triumph, honor and praise be unto Thee now and in all eternity, and Thy righteousness abide forever. All nations blessThy holy name, through Christ, the coming righteous judge of the whole world, Amen. Acts 17:31."
In the year 1528, Brother Hans Schlaeffer, formerly a Roman priest, but afterwards a teacher of the Word and Gospel of Christ, a highly gifted man, was apprehended at Schwartz, in the valley of the Inn, and with him Brother Leonhard Frick. They tried him greatly with many severe tortures, and disputed with him, through the priests, about infant baptism; but he, orally as well as in writing, showed them his defense, as it is commanded, and as it will be found, throughout the entire New Testament, namely: That the Word of God must first be taught, and that only those who hear, understand, believe, and receive it, are to be baptized. This is the true Christian baptism, and no anabaptism. The Lord has nowhere commanded to baptize infants; they are already the Lord's, and as long as they are in their innocence and simplicity, they are not to be condemned at all. They also asked him, in what the foundation of these anabaptistic sects did properly consist. To this he replied, "Our faith, practice, and baptizing is founded on nothing else than the command of Christ: 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.' (Mark 16:16; Matt: 28: 19); and many other Scriptures."
They also asked what design lay concealed under this anabaptism, since they had thus exhorted them to raise a new uproar and sedition. But he replied that it had never entered his heart, to make an uproar; neither had he ever approved of it in others; yea, he had fled from a house in which they lived in contention; which he could prove by all with whom he had ever lived. And there is no other design concealed under it, than to amend the life, and to forsake the vicious ways of the world; so that in the doctrine which he teaches, this is not the least commandment, that we are in duty bound to be subject to the authorities in all good things; how, then, should he raise and purpose uproar and sedition?
They also desired to know of him, who were the true authors and principals of these heretical and chief sects, as they falsely call them. He told them that he knew of no other principal of his faith, than the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the true Captain of the faith. I-feb. 12:2. But as, regards that they are called heretics and seditious sects, he referred them to the complaints of the Jews against Christ before' Pilate, and the complaints against the apostle Paul, before Felix the Governor. Matthew 27:1; Acts 24:2.
He was likewise asked what had caused and induced him to forsake his office as priest. Concerning this he told them, that he had done it for conscience' sake, because he knew that he was in the
place of a prophet, and believed that God had sent him.
They would also know of him, who had told him to go into Germany, to plant the evil seed of Anabaptism. He told them, that no one had ordered him thither; but that, since he had no abiding place as yet, and had to go about in misery, he came there to one of his friends, with whom he stayed, and thence carne to Schwatz, where he was apprehended, according to and for the will of God. As to the evil seed of which they spake, he knew nothing at all; he intended nothing evil, but much rather the pure divine truth.
After this and other things, when he had been in prison for some time, and could not be moved, he and his fellow prisoner and brother were condemned to death, and executed with the sword at Schwatz, thus testifying with their blood to the divine truth. He left the following admonitory thanksgiving to his brethren in Christ
O God, I beseech Thy grace; do not impute to me my sins, since Christ atoned for them before I was born. Rom. 5:10. I was Thine enemy, and Thou hast loved and graciously accepted me, and given for my redemption the innocent blood of Thy beloved Son (I Pet. 1:19), though I still experience in me much molestation from remaining sin; which rises in my flesh. For when I would do good, evil is present with me. Rom. 7:21. For this cause I am sorrowful, and may well sigh and exclaim with the apostle Paul: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24. And I must reply to myself and say: But thanks be to God, which giveth me the victory through Christ. Thou art'my comfort; for if I thus believe with the heart, I cannot be condemned. The spirit is willing and ready, but the flesh is weak, so that' if cannot fulfill the law of God, until Christ strengthens us with His Spirit: Where human laws rein on earth, there the distressed minds are seduced; yea, where Christ Jesus is not the sole Ruler, that which He does riot build, is always torn and broken; and no building can stand, which He does not uphold. Though the world highly esteems other things, they are condemned before God; and hence we all pray together, young and old, great and small, that Thou, O God, wouldst have compassion upon us; and send us poor children faithful shepherds and stewards of Thy gifts (Matt. 9:38), that all human doctrine may be rooted out;for it is time to truly repent and forsake evil; for'-the severe judgment of God is at hand. Mark 1:15. Hence let us take our refuge to the chastisement of our Father, and submit ourselves in obedience, that He may chastise us as His children. The world is blinded, sloes not know the Christian life, abominates it, flees the cross, and thinks it is enough, if they can talk finely of the Christian life, but do little indeed., "But, my brethren, he that would be a true Christian, must put on Christ (Rom. 13:14), and resemble Him in His humble form while on earth,and be of good cheer in everything which happens to him in this world: No external semblance of loving Christ, and of suffering for His name, avails here; we must not be ashamed of Him, who first loved us (I John 4:19), and gave Himself for us to an ignominious death. It is in truth not otherwise, than that judgment must first begin at the house of God. I Pet. 4:17. Thus the Holy Scripture is now fulfilled, so that the punishment with which the world is to be visited, is ready and at hand; hence no one ought to be negligent; for the sword is drawn, the bow is bent, the arrow laid upon it, and aim is taken.
By this I do not mean that we are to seek any other refuge, than to accept the chastisement of the Father, as has been said above; by Which He refines us for that whereunto He has sealed us, that we 'may be assured of the eternal and imperishable kingdom with Him, and forever to possess it with Him in life everlasting; to this may God strengthen us all. Amen."
This Leopold Schneider was beheaded as a pious witness of the suffering of Christ, for the truth, at Augsburg, A. D. 1528. He left the following admonition for the comfort and instruction of others, "My God, I will praise Thee in my last hour; Thee who .art high above in heaven, I will praise Thee with heart and mouth, for Thou art worthy of it; strengthen my faith (Luke 17:5), now that I must go on this pilgrimage of suffering; remember me in mercy in the severe conflict. I commend my spirit into Thy hands (Luke 23:46); in Thee I rejoice. Christ, help me to stand in my sufferings. Heavenly Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Because I cannot forsake Thy Word, I am hated, and they seek to separate my body from the soul. Therefore I call upon Thee, O God, for gracious help; I trust in Thee, for I have no other comforter. That which is so clearly written, Mark 16:16; 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," can certainly not be contradicted by any one; hence it is to be heeded. O ye blind, why are you troubled and grieved because the command of Christ is observed? acquaint yourselves With the holy Scriptures, and you will find what Christ the Son of God has commanded us to do. I beseech you all, beloved brethren and sisters, that you would firmly trust in God, and let not my bitter death grieve you; 'for God will richly reward it; we must once take our leave of this vale of 'sorrow. The Scripture clearly declares, that he who would have laughing and joy here, shall hereafter mourn and weep: Luke 6:25; we must suffer here with patience; the Lord grant that it be done innocently. He that would here bring his gift to the altar; and remembers that his brother has aught against him, must leave his gift at the altar, and first go and be reconciled to his brother, and then come and offer his gift. Matt. 5:23, 24. Therefore,
I beseech Thee, O God, graciously to forgive those who put me to death. I commend my spirit and soul into Thy hand, O God; deliver me out of all my distresses, and never turn away from me; deprive my flesh of all its power, that I may overcome and be victorious in Thee. Amen." Rev. 2:11.
These eighteen persons, besides many others, were kindled with zeal in the fear of God, and had turned to God from the world and its idolatry, and been baptized upon faith in Christ, entering upon obedience towards His holy Gospel. This the adversaries could not endure; these eighteen were therefore apprehended, and finally, as they, under many tortures, piously adhered to their faith, were all sentenced to the fire, and burned, on the same day, at Salzburg, about the year 1528. They left the following as a memorial:, "O God of heaven, watch over Thy sheep: who are such a little flock, that they may not depart from Thee, or be led astray. Keep them under Thy protection, and deliver them from this lamentable distress; for the beast pursues . them even unto death, which they must suffer, for they are thrown into severe prisons, where they, in the death of the dungeon, sing praises unto the Lord, and magnify Him with heart and mouth. Acts 16:25. O Lord, .have compassion therefore, and let this our complaint come before Thee. Come quickly, and help us poor children, and sustain us in Thy will. They would drive us from Thee, and they beset us very hard with their great power and pomp. O God, grant us Thy divine power; we have no other Lord in heaven and earth, than Thee. I Cor. 8:6. Grant us what we desire of Thee. The Lord Christ sends out His messengers, and through them offers us His heavenly kingdom, which is derided by the world: but we have accepted the Lord's kingdom and His grace with great joy and satisfaction; therefore the priests roar and rage against us, and terribly hate us. They have greatly hid the truth for more than five hundred years, and seduced the multitude of men with false doctrine: they trample the Word of God under their feet,.and it is despised by them. O Lord, grant that they may amend their steps and do Thy will., "And is, that which has been witnessed at Salzburg not a lamentable matter; namely, that eighteen persons were burned together on the same day, only for the doctrine of Christ, whom they confessed to be the only Lord? They would not honor the image, nor worship the beast. They would not receive their words, nor the mark of antichrist into their hand or on their forehead. Thereforethey could neither buy, nor sell in the land; but they adhered to Christ, and received His, mark, and their names are written in the book of life(Ps. 69:28); as Christian soldiers they, through grace, obtained the crown." II Tim. 4:8.
Thus they were burned with fire, and are now awaiting everlasting joy.
Wolfgang U1man, a celebrated and excellent man in matters of faith, after maintaining and practicing the faith for some time, was burned, together with his brother and ten other persons,
all steadfastly testifying to their faith with death, at Walzen, about the year 1528.
Subsequently also Hans Pretle, who had been a preacher, but had afterwards become a minister of the church,of Christ, having exercised his ministry for a time, and pointed many to the knowledge of the Gospel, was burned for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 6:9.
Little Hans of Stotzingen, having been in prison for a time, for the evangelical truth, at Zabern, Alsace, was finally condemned to death, about the year 1528. On his way to the place of execution, he addressed the following admonition to the people, and was then beheaded with the sword., "In our extremity we now begin to cry unto our God, to deliver us from all our distress, that our hearts may offer up to Him a pure sacrifice acceptable in His sight. Rom. 12:1. The sacrifice which I mean is my whole body, life, skin and bones, and also wife and children. We are willing to offer up all our members, love impelling and constraining us. Pharaoh would fain prevent and alter this; but we care not for it, and have not the least desire to desist from it, but to bring the offering before the Lord, and to press our way through with His assistance (Matt. 1.1:12); He will aid and succor us. Come hither, beloved brethren, let us valiantly take hold, of the matter: We are now members of Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:4, 5); He is our Captain (Ephesians 1:22); He has prepared a glorious crown, with which He will crown those who shall persevere unto the end. Matt. 10:22. Be of good courage and undaunted, thou worm Jacob. Isa. 41:14. The Red Sea shall stand open; if Pharaoh will pursue thee, he will perish in it. Thou little flock, be not afraid, for it is but a little while here, and our flesh is of no consequence. But in the city which God has prepared us in the everlasting kingdom, we shall be as the angels of God. Heb. 11:10; Matthew 22:30. Who can estimate their value? This God has promised us; yea, through His Child, Jesus Christ, He promises us much comfort and joy, and everlasting rest, if we continue steadfast in Him. iBut we must also drink the cup of suffering, and suffer with His Son Christ Jesus (Matt. 20:23), and He will deliver and well succor us. Though the
heathen slay us, He will not forsake us, but break their power in pieces, snatch us out of their hand, and through grace gloriously crown us. God is the Lord who can protect. He is also our shield (Genesis 15:1), since we have Him for a Father, who is so good and gracious; that though men drive us away from them, yet will we always adhere to Him. His great power is over us, and He does not suffer them to faint, who keep His covenant; therefore, though we be defamed and accused, rejoice over it in your hearts. Have confidence in God, and He shall help you. Therefore fear neither pain nor death. I give praise and thanks to my God, that I have become a sacrifice. I have long longed for it, for to die is gain for me. Phil. 1:21. O God, let me partake of the sacrifice of Thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen." Heb. 9:14.
Thus he offered his neck, and was beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8.
In the same year 1528, Thomas and Balthasar, both ministers of the Gospel, and with them one Dominicus, were apprehended, condemned to death, and burned, suffering it very steadfastly, for the faith and the divine truth, in the city of Bruenn, in Moravia. But before they were apprehended, they advised the council, that they should take care and not shed innocent blood, for God would not let it go unpunished. Jer. 7:6. One of the council, named Thomas Pelzer arose and did as though he were washing his hands, saying, "Thus shall I wash my hands in their blood, and think to do God service." John 16:2. But a few days after the judgment of God came upon him. He was found dead in his bed, beside his wife; and thus by his sudden death, was not permitted, to see the death of these pious persons, which struck terror into the hearts of many.
Brother Bastelwart well knew this Thomas Pelzer, who died so suddenly; and also Brother Andrew Gauper was acquainted with the circumstance.
About this time also Hans Feierer, a minister of the Word, and five of his brethren or fellow believers were condemned and burned for the faith and divine truth, at Munich in Bavaria; there three sisters, wives of three of them, were drowned, and boldly, cheerfully, and gladly surrendered their lives, being willing much rather to lose this temporal life, than to desist from what God had given them to know. They gave up a' miserable life, in due time to find another (Matt. 10:39; 24:13; Rev. 2:10), with Christ, and with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the saints and pious, in the kingdom of God, which is promised to all those who endure to the end.
A. D. 1528, Three brethren and two sisters were put in prison at Znaym, in Moravia. There was a judge at Znaym, called Sir Louis, who greatly hated the brethren, as was manifest in the imprisonment of these brethren and sisters, With stern words he asked the council what they intended to do with the Anabaptist heretics, since' they had a royal command and mandate, and yet did not have them executed. He said he would himself go to the king, and inform him of their disobedience; but if they would have them executed, he would draw the wood to burn them with his own horses. Thereupon the council answered and said, "Dear Sir Louis, we will commend them to thee; do with them as you please; it is committed to you. Then he had the wood drawn with his own wagon, and caused the three brethren and two sisters to be burned, who were thus speedily executed, paying unto God, who permitted this true burnt offering, the vow made in baptism, and fighting unto death for the divine truth confessed. '
This Louis, actuated by the hatred and envy of the old serpent, was not yet satisfied with the blood of the pious~and innocent sheep of the Lord, and had to fill up the measure of his judgment. He commanded money to be given to those who should tell him where the brethren assembled. A house having been pointed out to him, he took bailiffs and watchmen, and went with them to the place. There Judge Louis stepped unawares into an opening before the house, used for letting down wine, and sprained his foot. He fell down and cried piteously that they should lift him up, and let the rascals go. The brethren heard the noise, and escaped from the house. After this Louis took sick unto death, and as he lay there in his agony and severe sickness, he suddenly began to exclaim, "Q the Baptists, the Baptists!" He spoke nothing else, but repeated this cry innumerable times. Finally he roared like an ox, and like a wild beast and bit his own tongue, and foam and blood ran out of his mouth, so that his wife and children could not stay with him; only his servant woman, who was attached to him, remained with him until he was strangled in his own blood. This servant woman related the circumstances to Brother Bastelwart, who was a minister. All his kindred do not like to have it spoken- of; and it was a common saying among the people that he had shed innocent blood. Prov. 6:17; Jer. 7:6; 22:3. And thus God has often (more than is shown in this book, or can be related) checked the wicked with like examples, that thereby His work might make the greater progress among His people, to His praise, and to the salvation of many who seek that which is right, and the amendment of life; for if God had not always sustained His work, the enemy would in the course of time, have extinguished it, and not have left one spark or germ of truth remain; but this God does not permit him to do.
In this year 1528, nine brethren and three sisters were apprehended at Bruck, on the Mur, in Steyermark. They were condemned for their faith, and taken in bonds out of the city, to the place of execution; but they were glad and of good cheer, and said, "This day we will suffer in this place for the word of God, and offer to Him our sacrifice." Rom. 12:1; II Tim. 4:6. They also earnestly admonished the lords of Bruck, that they should know that they rendered themselves guilty of innocent blood. A ring having been formed, they all knelt down (Acts 7:60; 20:36), and earnestly prayed to God; that they might now finish this their evening sacrifice. They then arose and submitted to the sword. The executioner was sad; for he did not like to do it. The youngest of them all entreated his brethren, that, since he felt of good cheer and bold, they should let him suffer the first pain; he then kissed them, and said, "God bless you, my beloved brethren; today we shall all be together in Paradise." Luke 23:43. Thus these nine brethren were beheaded in a green field; they were so undaunted that it was astonishing to behold-it. They knelt down; and thus poured out their blood through the smiting of the sword. The three sisters were drowned; they would in no wise depart from God and His truth. The youngest one laughed at the water; which was seen by many a one there. Some held that the devil had hardened them; but others were moved in their hearts, so that they confessed that God must have given this, since otherwise it could not be possible. Thus they valiantly testified to the holy and divine truth.
These two were beheaded for the truth, at Ries, in the Fluchtthal, near Brixen, and thus died as faithful witnesses of Christ, leaving the following admonition to their brethren, "Hearken, all of you, and take to heart, that God will visit all sinners great and small,. who now despise Him and revile His name, and do not consider their sinful life. God shall speedily awaken, and deliver His children. If we consider the doctrine of the prophets, we see that this is the last time, and in this time God calls upon all men that they should turn unto Him (Isa. 45:22), live according to His will, and keep His commandments; and that if they do this, His wrath shall cease, and He will be their God and Father; for God, because of His great goodness, is longsuffering in His judgment; therefore beware of sin, and do not follow the devil;. but free yourselves from unrighteousness, and your God will not forsake you in this last hour; for God is rich and gracious, and with Him there is much grace; He willingly forgives the sinner who will forsake his sins, who believes in Christ, and calls upon His name; to such He will not only, through grace remit his sins, butalso freely give him the eternal reward. Heed well these things. Oh all of you who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and have become children of God. Praise God with shouting, young and old, great and small; you who, have believed His Ward, love God as His dear children, and walk before Him with pure hearts, and you shall never be forsaken, but He will ever preserve you. O God, who art rich in grace, keep us Thy children, that we may hold to Thee, and that those who have come to Thee, may not be confounded; lead them diligently with Thy right hand into the promised land, the eternal heavenly kingdom. O God, honor be unto Thee in Thy high throne, who hast given us Christ Thy Son, and imparted divine grace to us, by which we now confess Thee with heart and mouth, and are not ashamed to call them our brethren who call upon Thee in truth as their Father. Praised by Thy holy name, Amen."
NOTE.-Sebastian Franck relates that the Anabaptists in the beginning increased by many thousands, so that the world feared that they would cause an uproar; but of this, as I hear, he writes, they were found innocent and, were persecuted with great tyranny; first especially in popedom. They were forcibly imprisoned, and tormented with the sword, fire, water, and manifold imprisonments, so that within a few years very many were put to death. Some compute the number of those put to death far more than two thousand. They were put to death in many places; at Ensisheim alone about six hundred were slain, all of whom patiently and steadfastly suffered as martyrs.
Compare the account of Seb. Franck, Chron, fol. 55,109, with the old Offer-boeck, lib. 1. Leonh., lib. 7; also Chron. van den Ondergang, p. 1025.
In the year 1529, those of Basel imprisoned nine of those who were baptized according to the command of Christ; six* of whom, as they write, were banished.
They further write, that at Bomburg, a castle in the dominion of Basel, some of the chief Anabaptists were imprisoned by one Bartholomew Sincken who was castellan there. However, what they ultimately did with them, the record does not state. Compare this with the account in the preface to the Offer-boeck der Doopsgesinde, of the year 1615, letter Y, p. 2.
Hans Langmantel, a wealthy citizen and of noble descent, during the re-establishment of the churches in Germany, received with his manservant and maidservant the truth of the Gospel, and, kindled with zeal, they believed the truth, forsook their
sinful life, and were baptized upon their faith in Christ Jesus, for the remission and forgiveness of their sins; on which account all three were imprisoned, and, after .enduring many assaults and torments, they were finally put to death for their faith, which they constantly confessed. Hans Langmantel and his manservant were. beheaded with the sword, while the maidservant was drowned in the water. When they were still in severe confinement they sent the following; as a thank offering and prayer to God, which they made use of in prison, to their brethren, for consolation, admonition, and as a memorial, about A. D. 1529., "O God, our heavenly Father, come with the power of Thy Holy Spirit, that Thou mayest rejoice our mind, heart and soul; give all three of us a manful heart, that in this anguish we fight and overcome. Rev. 2:7. Hold us with Thy right hand, for Thou art our strength; fight the battle for us (Ex. 14:14), and watch over us in distress, that we may stand in the conflict, and not go back when it is at its height. Therefore, O Lord, keep watch over us, and take care of us in this extremity, now that the wicked rise up against Thy Word, and would drive us from it. O God, preserve us in Thy keeping, that we may not faint and abandon Thy Word. Let us enjoy the faithfulness which Thou hast shown us through Thy Son Jesus Christ; and in order that we may always earnestly contemplate this, send us Thy Holy Spirit, and kindle in us the fire of Thy divine love; lead us, Thou who didst teach it in deed, that we may also exercise ourselves therein, and observe and practice it as Thy dear children, that this gift may come upon us, and that, even as we are called, we may by it order our lives in this Thy truth; maintain peace and unity, and love one another in truth with a pure heart. To this end, O God, let the light of Thy divine glory illuminate its, that we may walk in it. O Lord, keep us in it as Thy dear children, and let us never become obscured by the abominable darkness of this world, which has gained the upper hand with all unfaithfulness, and which will be followed by death. But Thou, our Father, dost love equity. In Thee there is no darkness (I John 1:5); but the world is hardened with it. But Thou art the eternal light, which penetrates the darkness; that we may no longer be children of the night, but children of the day. Watch over us with Thy Holy Spirit, and teach us thus to go in this light with de light and joy according to Thy divine nature., "O' God, we beseech Thee for one thing more: Send us, to this end Thy Holy Spirit, endue us with His power, renew our hearts, and make us strong in Thee, that we may obediently hear Thee in Thy obedience, and praise Thy name. When this world rises, and opposes Thy words, so that our soul sighs to Thee in all severe distresses by which they seek to tear us away, then, O Lord, grant us to look to Thee for aid, and help us to overcome: Grant, Lord, that we may not stain ourselves byany sin or guilt, and take from our flesh the fear by which they would draw us away, and stop us in this work; that, when they shall lead us to death, we may not waver in the conflict, but may go to meet Thee with all the pious in the true, adorned wedding garment, at the marriage feast, prepared for Thy Son, when He shall receive His bride with everlasting joy and delight. Lord, assist us in every anguish and distress, and in the pain of death; give us the heavenly bread; send us Thy Comforter, for God is the Comforter of the miserable. He.makes the poor rich, and strengthens the feeble; He can, refresh .the weary and give strength to the faint, that they may come to Thee. Through Thee they overcome, who have now entered the conflict, to fight for the truth. In Christ, Thy, Son, help us to win the field on this earth, yea in Him alone. Be Thou alone our Helper, protect us with Thy sword, that we may together, as Thy heroes, obtain the crown, and be forever with Thee. Amen."-