As Saint Paul, through the Spirit of God, foretold that all.who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, so it was also verified in the city of Rotterdam, about A. D. 1544, where a number of the pious followers of Jesus Christ had assembled together in the name of the Lord, to converse with each other about the Word of God, and thus to edify and strengthen one another in the accepted truth of the holy Gospel; also to pray with an humble heart and with one accord to the great God of heaven and earth, for forgiveness and remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and thus to give praise and thanks with one mind to His most adorable name. Eph. 5:1; Heb. 10:24; 3:13; I Thess. 5:11; Rom. 15:16; Acts 1:14.
This good exercise in godliness the papists, who hate the truth, sought to prevent and stop as much as lay in their power, so that said God-fearing assembly fell into their hands, having been betrayed by a woman who came to the house to borrow a kettle. The defenseless sheep having thus fallen into the claws of the wolves, these, according to their nature, treated them in the most cruel manner, in order to draw them away from the truth; all of which they willingly suffered and endured in patience for the name of Jesus, in the firm hope of His imperishable kingdom. Therefore, since they could by no tortures be brought to apostatize, they were sentenced to death, which sentence was executed in the following manner: The men were beheaded with the sword at the said place, while the women, in the most cruel manner were thrown into a boat, and thrust under the ice until death followed. Thus these two assemblies, or classes of people, that is the church of God, and the congregation of Satan clearly evinced of which spirit they werer children (I John 3:10; Luke 9:55); which cart easily be seen by their fruits and nature. The anti-Christians by this, that, as ravening and devouring wolves, they were born by nature to seize and destroy. The congregation of Jesus Christ by this, that, as humble sheep and lambs, dumb, and with no desire for revenge, they were thus led to the slaughter, and willingly gave their bodies for the name of the Lord. Matt. 7:15; 10
16; Ps. 44:22; I Peter 4:13. Therefore; these sheep shall, .at the reappearing of the great Shepherd, hear, together with all faithful servants, the,joyful voice, "Enter into the joy of your Lord." Heb. 13:20; Matt. 25:23.
Among those that were thus offered, there was also a young maiden of but fourteen years. She composed the hymn in the old hymnbook, beginning thus:
Emanuel die is uytgetogen, uyt sijns haders riick fn's werelts pleyn.*
At Bolsweert, in Friesland, there was a true lamb of Christ, named Francis, who lived uprightly in the fear of God. Job 1:1. He was therefore apprehended, and conveyed in a sleigh to Leeuwaerden, where he was asked before the council, why he would not swear, nor observe the Supper with them in the church. He answered, "My lords; Christ teaches us that we must not swear at all; and because you people are unbelieving and unclean, I will not keep fellowship with 'you?" At these words the lords were offended, and said, "We are neither thieves nor murderers; what uncleanness then have we? but it seems to us, that you hold a false doctrine, and of such heretics there are still more, all of whom we intend utterly to exterminate." Francis said, "My lords, be not angry; but you high priests, show me the false doctrine which I hold, and this from the Bible, for I have brought one with me; come and instruct me from it."
The lords then counseled with the priests of Jezebel, and said, "He has despised our mass; he condemns our customs, and we have a strict mandate, to which we must be obedient, and according to that he must die. Thus he' was sentenced to be burned to ashes on Palm Sunday eve, A. D. 1545. For this sentence he undauntedly thanked the Lords and said, "I will forgive you all this from my heart, wishing that the Spirit of God would enlighten you unto reformation, that you may repent and live according to the Word of God; I now go to the holy city, and the inheritance of my Father." He was then led to death, as a sheep to the slaughter. Many that saw it wept; but he said, "Weep not, but prepare yourselves to die unto your sins, for this is the true way to enter into life." .He also spoke many other comforting wcrds.
After he had openly prayed, "Lord God, receive my soul and guide it into Thy peace," the executioner commenced his work. Having stripped him of his clothes, and fastened hire to the stake, he was about to strangle him with a rope, when the rope broke, and he fell down. This frightened the executioner, and he endeavored quickly to burn him to ashes with much peat and wood; but God manifested His miraculous power, so that the fire lost its natural force, and the body could not be burned entirely; on which account the lords became angry at the executioner, and said that he had not brought enough wood; but it was the will of God that he should thus be received into the number of the martyrs.
In this year, Brother Oswald of Jamnits, was imprisoned for the faith, at Vienna, in Austria, and
various means were tried to cause him to apostatize. The citizens came to him in prison, and in a friendly manner earnestly admonished him to recant, or they would have to drown him in the Danabe. But he said, "Though you drown me, I will not depart from God and His truth. Christ died for me, and Him will I follow, and also die for His truth, far rather than forsake it." No matter whatever they said, they could not make him apostatize. Two brethren then came to him, who comforted him; to them he commended his wife and child. They embraced each other, and thus took leave from one another, wishing him patience in his suffering, which he innocently had to endure. After having been confined for one year and six weeks, they took him from prison on a certain Wednesday night; took him out of the city, that the multitude of the people should neither see nor hear anything, and drowned him in the Danube. There was no trial held over him, nor was his crime made known.
Since he patiently and cheerfully persevered unto the end, God shall also confess him; and though they executed him secretly and at night, yet he shall appear in the open judgment of the Lord in the valley of Jehosaphat, where another judgment will be held. Joel 3:2. And that judgment will fall a hundredfold more heavily upon the heads of those who thus presumptuously condemn innocent blood on earth; yea, it shall be more tolerable for those of Sodom and Gomorrah in the last day, than for such. Matt. 10:15.
In the year 1545, one Andrew Kofler from Etschland was also apprehended for the faith and the divine truth, at Ips, on the Danube. As he would not renounce, and could not be made to apostatize by the priests and false prophets, he was sentenced to death by the children of Pilate, and delivered to the executioner, who executed him with the sword, thus satisfying the ungodly. Thus he valiantly confessed and testified to the truth of God even unto death, and is now gone before into eternal light and life, and rests in Abraham's bosom, yea, under the altar, under which those lie, who have been beheaded and slain for the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, until the number of their fellow brethren who shall also be killed as they were, shall be fulfilled.
In this year, also Brother Hans Blietel, .who had been sent by the church, was apprehended at Ried, in Bavaria; for those of Ried had offered a sum of money to the one who should apprehend him. Hence, there was a traitor, who addressed him with fair words, pretending to be very zealous, and under a desire to be with him, decoyed him into his house. The brother supposed that he was concerned for the salvation of his soul, and went with him. He then locked him into his house, and said, "Hans, you are a prisoner." But Hans replied"God forbid that you should do this; have I not come to thee for good?"
The traitor demanded money of him, and he would release him; but when the brother refused to accede to this demand, he went to the authorities and betrayed him. While he went, the wife of the traitor also demanded money of him; for, said she, the authorities would take him along any way; she wanted fifteen guilders, and they would let him go away from the house. But Brother Hans Blietel would not consent to give her one farthing; but would with the help of God await all tribulation. In the meantime, the authorities came with a great number of armed men, and apprehended the brother, together with the traitor and his wife, securing them well with ropes, bonds and straps.
Having arrived in the market town of Ried, they took them, and tormented them dreadfully, the traitor as well as the brother; for the authorities thought that he had taken money from the brother, because they found so little on him. The traitor's wife also had her hand squeezed until the blood flowed from it; for they wanted her to tell it. And though they had not received anything, their treachery became a source of sore grief to them.
When Brother Hans had lain in prison for four or five weeks, he was sentenced to death, about St. John's day, to be burnt alive. He was led out to the place of execution, where the priests attempted to induce him to desist from and forsake his faith; but he said to them, "You may well desist from your wicked deception; I will not hear or embrace your false doctrine; I have at this day something else to do, than to listen to you false prophets; I must follow the Lord my God in Christ, and fulfill what I have promised." The priests, therefore, stood back, and left him be in peace. On his way to the place of execution he met one of his acquaintances, named Michael Dirks, or Kramer. Hans Blietel looked at Michael with a smiling countenance, and pointed him to heaven. The latter was astonished that he could smile, going as he was to death and the fire. This produced a complete contrition of heart in Michael, as also in his wife, who did not eat anything for three days, but sought to join the church, and become pious, and others with them.
When the dear Brother Hans arrived at the place of execution, he thought of the church, and cried with a loud voice unto the multitude of the people assembled, "Is there any one here, who has courage to tell the church of God in Moravia, that I, Hans Blietel, was burned for the Gospel, at Ried, in Bavaria?" Thereupon a zealous man, full of piety, kindled thereby, revealed himself, and though he could not get to him, he called to him, that he would inform the church in Moravia, that he was burned at Ried, for the faith; which encouraged Brother Hans, so that he again cried out to the people, "This my faith is the divine truth, which I will show to you; and I say unto you, re-
pent, reform, and desist from your unrighteous, wicked, and vicious life; for if you do not do this, the eternal God shall visit you for your sins; and punish you with the everlasting pain which is prepared for all sinners, and He shall require the in nocent blood at your hands, and punish you for it."
The fire having been kindled and prepared, he was tied upon a ladder. In the meantime; he testified again that this was the truth and the Way to eternal life, and the true church of Gbd, appealing to heaven and earth as His witnesses, "And, today," said he,"shall God give a sign in heave, to testify that this is the way to eternal life, " This also occurred; for the sun in the sky was darkened and became full of spots, so that he gave forth no shadow. Though the sky was quite clear and bright; yet the sun emitted a very pale and yellow light upon the earth; for God intended to confirm' it -by this sign. This lover of God also sang in the fire; in which he lived for some time, praising God by his singing, and praying for all men who were worthy, that God would enlighten them. And thus he was found constant and steadfast in the faith, in the trial of the fire, even as -the precious -and pure gold. He had also foretold as a sign, that his smoke would quickly rise on high over him, and his soul ascend in it unto heaven;, which came to pass, the smoke ascending straight up to heaven. Some said that a beautiful white dove flitted in the fire, and flew over him to heaven. Thus God assisted him very powerfully.
In the year 1546, Brother Michael Matschilder, also called Little Michael, a minister of Jesus Christ and His church, and two others; namely, his wife, Elizabeth, and Hans Gurtzham, a shoemaker, were apprehended and examined at Altenburg, in Upper Kaernthen. A doctor and a learned man of Villach disputed with them; but this brother gave them such answers, that they had to withdraw in confusion, unable to accomplish ,anything:
They were then led in iron chains through -Styria, and delivered into the bailey, at Vienna, to the jailer, who said, "Come, I will bring you into.a vault, where others of your brethren are. In there were Hans Stautdach and three fellow: prisoners.
When they met, they embraced and kissed each other, and praised God, who had brought them together for the glory of His name. Hans Stautdach and his three fellow prisoners were then executed; but these others were kept in prison longer; that is, about three years, namely, until the .year 1549, when a conflagration occurred in the city: Then, as is customary in that city when a: conflagration occurs, the gates of the city were closed, and the prisoners released. After the fire was extinguished, Brother Michael and his wife,. through the providence of God and the assistance of a citizen, escaped from the city, and came to the church.
Thus God delivered them. unharmed and in peace. But Hans Gurtzham went back to prison, and was confined there one year longer; namely, until the year 1550; vv hen he was executed, about June, being drowned in the Danube, early on a certain Friday morning.
When the constraint of conscience and faith did not cease, but increased and broke forth more and more through the adherents of popery, against the pious Christians, who, according to the command of Christ had been baptized upon their faith, it occurred, that a certain pious brother, named Quirinus Meters, a native of Groeningen, also separated from popery; and joined the cross-bearing church of Jesus Christ, called Baptists, or, contemptuously; Anabaptists, having been received into the church through baptism upon confession of his faith, by Menno Simons, who was at that time one of the most eminent teachers in Friesland.
But when he, about six years ago, went .to Holland; and settled down at Amsterdam, there to live in quiet according to his faith and conscience, be was very speedily discovered by the authorities, apprehended; and finally, as he would not apostatite, sentenced to death, on the sixteenth of April, A. D: 1545, namely, to be burned to death; which dreadful and severe punishment this pious hero of Christ steadfastly endured, having commended his soul into the hands of God.
Ail of this we have taken from the following sentence, which was publicly read to him, on the day of his death, by-the rulers of darkness, and a true copy of which, extracted from the book of criminal sentences, has now been transmitted to us through the secretary there. The contents of the same, with the exception of the title, are as follows
Sentence of death pronounced upon Quirinus Pieters of Groeningen
Whereas Quirinus Pieters, a native of Groeningen, has embraced the unbelief and heresy of the Anabaptists, having been rebaptized about six years ago, by Menno Simons, a teacher of the aforesaid sect, and whereas he holds pernicious views concerning the sacraments of the holy church, and, moreover, has induced others, into such unbelief and-errors, persuading them into it, directly contrary to the holy Christian faith, the ordinances of the holy church, and the decrees of his Imperial Majesty; our gracious lord; and whereas he obstinately continues in the aforesaid unbelief, therefore, my lords the judges, having heard the demand made by my lord the bailiff concerning the aforesaid Quirinus Pieters; as also his answer and confession; and having fully considered the circumstances of said matters, sentence the aforesaid
Quirinus Pieters to be burnt by the executioner; and furthermore; declare his property confiscated for the benefit of the exchequer of his Imperial Majesty. Pronounced this sixteenth of April, A. D. 1545, in the presence of the entire bench of judges, except Sir Henry Dirks, Burgomaster.
Pursuant to this sentence, Quirinus Pieters was executed by the executioner on the same day.
The whole of this was extracted from the book of criminal sentences, in the keeping of the secretary of the city of Amsterdam. N. N.
In the year 1546, four brethren, namely, Hans Staudtach of Kaufbeuren, Anthony Keyn, a tailor of Gunzenhausen, Blasius Beck and Leonhard Schneider, both of them also of Kaufbeuren, while on their way, with their wives and children. to the church in Moravia, were apprehended in Austria. On the third of August they were brought to Vienna, two and two fettered together, with great chains on their feet, and led through the city like criminals, with their wives and children following after them. They were brought into prison, with their wives and children, and left for four days. In these four days they were examined, and sorely assailed, w~ , -aer they would continue in this faith; this they confessed, with the help and power of God they would do. Thereupon the four brethren were put into another prison. Afterwards they examined them again, and brought their wives and children into the house of the judge, but prevented the brethren from talking much with them.
On Sunday, the sixteenth of August, much people came to them in prison, and talked with the brethren, and concerning their wives. But however hard they were pressed to recant, they remained valiant and steadfast, though they threatened to take away their children from them. In the meantime, however, their wives were released, and came to the church. Subsequently much craftiness was resorted to, to intimidate them, and cause them to apostatize. Four times they were brought before the authorities at Vienna, also before monks, priests and doctors, whom Christ does not in vain designate ravening wolves, of whom we are to beware; for their priests are like wolves, and indeed come under a fair appearance, to devour them; yea, would have them all killed and destroyed. Hence, it grieves the false prophets to leave any one pious and unseduced, and therefore they labor much and in many various ways. They have enough who follow the doctrine of their false prophets, and walk after their ungodly and vicious life; they might well leave the pious in peace.
Thus they also tempted these lovers of God, yet could not gain them, but were put to shame and reproach: for no one can pluck Christ's own out of His hand. John 10:28. They also read to them the mandate of the king, and threatened them with fire,water and the sword, or that they should be kept on bread and water, and separated, or drowned in the night, like Brother Oswald of Jamnits, as related previously. By these things they endeavored to intimidate them; but there was no intimidating these soldiers and heroes of the truth of God.
On the fifth day after St. Michael's they were subjected to another hearing, whether they would renounce their faith; if not, they had orders to put them to death by fire, water or the sword. This was -the last warning. But when they could accomplish nothing by their threats, they brought all four of them back into the Joppen (a prison). Hans Staudtach was left in prison, Blasius in the woodroom, .and Leonhard, with another, in a vacant apartment; but afterwards, about All Souls Day, they were put together again.
After all this, as they remained constant and steadfast, and continued to confess that they were going in the true way of the divine truth, which they were willing to seal with their blood, they were condemned to death, a little after St. Martin's day, on the 22d of November, and delivered to the executioner, who bound them, and, in order to avoid too great a sensation, and not to have a large concourse of people come together he led them out to the place of execution, in the morning, at daybreak.
When they were being led out to the slaughter, they boldly and joyfully sang. A ring was made, as the executioners usually do. The brethren then knelt down and fervently prayed, offering up this burnt offering as their final farewell to the world.
The executioner became sad, acted with reluctance, and was grieved in his heart that he had to perform this execution. The other children of Pilate also wished to be innocent, yet they had to do it because of their superiors in authority, and by virtue of their office; but they would much rather have been excused.
They then blessed each other, and exhorted one another to steadfastness, to be strong and of good cheer, saying, "Today we shall be together in the kingdom of our heavenly Father," etc.
Thus all four were beheaded with the same sword and undauntedly and boldly surrendered their necks for the name of Christ.
After manifold tribulations and afflictions upon the pious followers of Jesus Christ, it came to pass, that the procurator from the Hague, and the bailiff of Amsterdam, Waterlandt and Zeevanck, came to Edam with a whole troop of beadles. These came on the 12th of March, that is on the Friday preceding Shrove Tuesday, A. D. 1546, at night, with torches, and lanterns, to the house of Dirk Pieters Smuel and Jacob den Geldersman, both of them citizens of Edam, of one faith, and seekers of the
truth. They took them out of their own houses from their beds, and led them from the east end out of the stone portal to the west end, where they were put into a boat, and thus brought prisoners to Amsterdam, whence, after a certain time, they were brought to the Hague, where, on the 16th of May of the same year, they were examined concerning their faith, and as they would steadfastly adhere to the accepted truth, were sentenced, on the 22d of May, in the high court of the lords of this world, to be burnt alive. Thereupon they were again brought to Amsterdam, where, after suffering many trials, they were bound on ladders, and burned alive, enduring it with great steadfastness. They joyfully surrendered and forsook their earthly habitations, and are now awaiting a building of God, which shall endure forever in heaven. II Cor. 5:1.
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever, Amen. Hear my confession to the princes of this world. In the first place, they inquired concerning my faith. I therefore said to them, "A scribe came to the Lord, and asked Him, saying: 'Master, which is the great commandment?' The Lord said to him: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself; this is the greatest commandment, and there is no other.' The scribe answered and said
'Thou hast answered well, that there is one God, and to love him with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.'"
To this they replied, "We know that there is one God; but do you believe, that when the priest stands at the altar, God is in his hands?"
I said,"No. Stephen said: 'Behold, I. see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of the Almighty Father."' Acts 7:.56.
They again said, "Then you do not believe that he is there?"
I said, "No."
Question, "We have been told, that when your pastor went on one side of the street, and you and two others on the other, you gave no honor either to him or to the sacrament; is this true?"
Ques."Why did you do this?"
Ans."I will tell you, my lords: the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah, chapter 2, verse 8: 'They worship the work of their own hands: that which their own fingers have made: and the meanman boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not."'
Ques."Did you do it for the reason that it was made by the hands of men?"
Ans."Yea, my lords, because I would not offend my Lord and my God with it."
Ques."How long ago is it since you went to confession the last time?"
Ans."About two or three years."
Ans."Because the Lord has said: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."' Matt. 11:28.
Ques."Did you do it on this account?"
Ques."How long is it since you attended the sacrament?"
Ans."Also about two or three years, "
Ans."Because Paul says: 'Christ presented to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."' Eph. 5:27.
Ques."Did you do it because you were not worthy of it?"
Ans."Yes, because I have spots and wrinkles."
Ques."What do you believe concerning the holy church?"
Ans."I know of no holy church, except the congregation of the apostles, of which Christ is the cornerstone."
Ques."We well know this, that there was a holy church then."
Ans."Can another foundation be laid, than that is laid? I Cor. 3:11. Paul says to the Galatians, in the first chapter: 'I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it.' Gal. 1:6-12. He further says, to the Corinthians: 'For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."' I Cor. 2:2.
Ques. "Well, what do you hold concerning Mary the mother of God?"
Ans."Much, for she humbled herself before the Lord, and was exalted through her humility."
Ques. "You have answered well. What do you hold with regard to purgatory?"
Ans."I know of only two ways." Matt. 7:13.
Ques. "Do you know your pastor well?"
Ans. "I know him well by sight; but I have never spoken to him, nor he to me."
Ques."Why did you not hear him?"
Ans. "Because James says in his first chapter
'A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.'"
Ques."Well, what did he say?",
Ans."I have heard say that he said that man can not be saved through the death of Christ alone."
Ques."Did he say amiss in this?"
Ans. "Yes; Paul says: 'By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses.'" Acts 13:39.
Ques."It is well known that we can not be saved through the law."
Ans. "Peter says that there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby they can be saved, than through the name of Jesus Christ."
Ques."How long is it since you were baptized?"
Ans. "Ever since I was born."
Ques."Are you satisfied, that you can be saved by baptism?"
Ans."I believe to be saved through the death of Christ."
Ques."We nevertheless must know whether you believe that you will be saved by it?"
Ans. "I believe to be saved through the death of Christ."
Ques."If you had the opportunity, would you not be baptized again?"
Ans."I know not; for God knows both to will and to do."
Ques."Still, we want to know whether you regard the baptism which you received in your infancy as the true baptism, or that which is administered on faith?"
Ans. "If this is all you want to know, it is written that the Lord said to His apostles: 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.' Mark 16:15, 16. Further, the men said to Peter and the other apostles: 'What shall we do to be saved? R¢pent, he said, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and partedthem to all men, as every man had need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people."' Acts 2:37-47.
Ques."There you say yourself that the apostles went into the temple?"
Am. "Yes, this is true; that was a temple which God had commanded to be built."
Ques."The apostles certainly went forth to teach; where did they go to teach?"
Ans. "Whithersoever they came, they went into the synagogues, and preached the Gospel of Christ." Acts 13:14.
Ques."We have heard that you also teach wherever you go?"
Ans. "O Lord, what should I preach; we may have read the Gospel together."
Ques."Where did you read it together?"
Ans. "At the dyke."
Ques."With whom did you read it?"
Ans. "This I do not know."
Ques."How should you not know with whom you read it?"
Ans. "How should I know it, sometimes with this one, and sometimes with another."
They therefore mentioned the names of a good many, and said, "Do you know this and that one?"
Ans. "Yes, I know them well."
Ques."Have you any books of Menno Simons and of David Joris?"
Ans. "No, I have no books in the house, except a Bible and a Testament, and a little book on the fait."
Thus they asked me many questions, and said, that: so much had been reported, how we had preached in this and that place, and that there was no town where he had been, but they knew it better than myself.
Now, my dear brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to strengthen and keep you, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32. Hence, let everyone see to it, that no one be so presumptuous as to pour water into the living fountain; for the Lord says, John 6:44-46, "No man can come to me, except the Father which bath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father." Isa. 54:13. Therefore dear brethren and sisters; let us with one accord pray to God for wisdom, as the apostle James teaches us, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which is hypocrisy; hence let us follow our supreme Lord and Shepherd Christ, and praise Him through God the Father, unto whom be praise forever and ever, Amen.
Grace and peace from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. I beseech you, therefore, my most beloved. sister'and wife Wellemoet Claes, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world. I Cor. 1:3; Rom. 12:1, 2. James says, "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4. For the Lord Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remernbereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the-world. And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." John 16:20-22. Therefore let us say with St. Paul, "Who shall separate us from the 'love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or' nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Rom. 8:35-37."He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches." Rev. 3:5, 6. Hence, T beseech you, my most beloved,"See then that you walk circum spectly, not: as fools, but as 'wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is;""for the time past of your life 'may suffice you to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when you walked in lasciviousness, lusts; excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.""Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear if." Eph. 5:15-17; I Peter 4:3; 1 Cor. 10:12, 13., "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry" (I Cor. 10:14), and"Know; that' ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation . . . but withthe precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." I Peter 1:18-21. Now, the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure .heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." I Tim. 1:5."These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:1-3."For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore." Hebrews 7:26-28.
Therefore I admonish you,;my most beloved, seeing we have such"a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith." Heb. 10:21, 22. John says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins." I John 2:1, 2."And now . . . I commend. you. to God, ,and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."* Acts 20:32.
The grace of our Lord be with you now and f orever, Amen.
So I admonish you, my most beloved mother [wife]., diligently to see to it, that you teach the children from their youth to fear God.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the suf-
ferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."* II Cor. 1:3-5. Hence Paul says, "I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." Eph. 3:13-15. He Himself says, "I thank thee, O Father Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight . . . And no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Matt. 11:25, 26, 27.
He therefore says, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."** Matt. 11:28-30.
Therefore, my dear brethren, seeing we have such"a high priest, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised: and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching .... For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb. 10:21-25, 30, 31. For he says, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose it for the Gospel's sake, shall save it."$ Mark 8:34, 35.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I give you a new commandment, says Christ, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans so?" Matt. 5:43-47., "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and
a sacrifice to God for .a sweet-smelling savour."* Eph. 5:1, 2., "Flee youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."** II Tim. 2:22-26., "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."*** Jas. 3:13-18., "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." II John 9-11."Beware of false prophets,**** which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Matt. 7:15-19."Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the salve measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them; Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master." Luke 6:36-40."He that overcometh the world,
shall inherit all things; all things are in God, and God works all in all." I John 5:4.
Therefore, my dear brethren,"Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation . . . . For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me."* Phil. 1:27-30., "Therefore, my most beloved brethren, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice,** inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil doer, or as a busy-body in other men's matters. Yet if any suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." I Peter 4:12-19., "It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."*** II Tim. 2:11-13.
Therefore, my dear brethren, let us"walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Eph. 5:15-17., "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affec-
tions and lusts." Gal. 5:19-24. Yea, say the wise of this world, the heretics do not believe that God is in the sacrament. Indeed, they are right in not believing it, for Paul says, "He dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men's hands." Acts 17:24, 25."I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
. the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see
to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen."* I Tim. 6:13-16., "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son . . . he hath declared him." John 1:18. Stephen said, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:56."At the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; i n whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." I Pet. 1:7-9. I say that it is great presumption for men to undertake to say that they handle God. For John, concerning whom the Lord Himself declared, that a greater was not born of women, than John the Baptist, did not consider himself worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoes.**
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. But this is my belief: That to those who through faith in Christ Jesus are dead from the rudiments of the world (Col. 2:20), and have crucified the flesh with its evil affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24). Christ left the Lord's Supper in remembrance of His death, that they should show the Lord's death till He come (I Cor. 11:25, 26), as Paul says, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of
devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."* I Cor. 10:15-21.
End of these letters, translated and finished the 12th of January A. D. 1614.