At Antwerp three brethren, named Andries Langedul, Mattheus Pottebacker and Lauwerens van der Leyen, were apprehended for the truth. Andries Langedul was apprehended at a time when a meeting had just been held in his house for the preaching of the Word of God. Someone had spied it out, and thus the margrave came there just after the congregation had dispersed, and while Andries was sitting on his porch, reading the Bible. He arrested him on the spot.
His wife was confined at the time, which the margrave discovered when he walked towards the chamber, and saw that the midwife had the child on her lap; for the woman had just been delivered. Perceiving this, the margrave withdrew from the chamber, but apprehended also the women who had come to assist the woman in her distress, and caused the lying-in woman to be guarded by some of his servants. But the nurse, vexed at this, prevented the apprehension of the woman, by entertaining them very liberally, and plying them with wine, so that the sick woman was, without their knowledge, conducted, on planks, across a well belonging to the two neighbors in common, and thus went from her neighbor's house to the house of Christian Langedul, her husband's brother, whose wife was also confined at that time.
It has not come to our knowledge, on what particular day Andries Langedul was apprehended, but he offered up his sacrifice with Mattheus Pottebacker and Lauwerens van der Leyen on Thursday, November the 9th; A. D. 1559, and this not publicly, but they were beheaded in prison, in a place where the other prisoners, of whom there were many at that time, could see it from the windows of their cells.
When Andries knelt down to submit to the sword, he folded his hands, saying, "Father, into thy hands I commend"-but, "I commend my spirit" was not finished, the rapid descent of the sword preventing it. Thus all three were put to death as lambs of Christ for the slaughter.
Lauwerens van der Leyen wrote several letters in prison, the following of. which have come to our hands.
Grace and peace be unto all the brethren residing at Emden, especially to my two brothers, and Tonijntgen, Lieven's wife. May the Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and us all, through His divine Spirit. Amen.
I, Lauwerens van der Leyen, imprisoned for the testimony of Jesus Christ on the 21st of May. On the 22nd I confessed my faith before the Prometeur, Mr. Claes; for he came alone, in hopes that I should say what he wanted to hear; but the Lord kept my lips. Asked, before whom I had been to confession and to the sacrament on Easter, I replied, "Before Mr. Lieven Biestman, but not last Easter; for he has been dead for two or three years." I was asked, "Do you not believe that God is in the sacrament in flesh and blood?" I said, "No." What then do you think the sacra-
ment to be?"An idol," I replied. ' I was"Asked whether I did not believe in the Roman church; of which the pope is the head. I replied, "No; for I loathe the Roman church, for she is utterly contrary to the truth; but I believe in the apostolical church, of which Christ is the head.""What do you think of infant baptism?""I ,regard:it*, as worthless and an abuse; for I renounce triy first baptism.""Then you are not baptized?" I said, "No.""Is baptism not necessary, then?" I replied, "Yes, it is necessary to perfection.", "Why then are you not baptized?" I replied, "I was not good enough yet.""Why?""Because I was too much involved in this world, for I was, and am still, greatly in debt, and I thought that if I should be apprehended, people would say 'that I was a cheat, and thus many should'be offended; for this reason I forbore to receive baptism. But I consider it good and right, and want to live and die herein; and though I have not been baptized, the Lord in His mercy will save me; through His sufferings and precious blood; for I believe all that a Christian is bound to believe; and herein I will abide, you may do with me what you please, for I am now in your power."
I was further asked what I believed concerning the incarnation; whether I did not believe that Christ came from Mary's flesh and blood. I said, "I believe as the. Scriptures testify concerning it, John 1 and Luke. 1." And I stated it at length. Thus it remained, and I had to note it down. This was the severest assault; it lasted two or three hours.
On the 24th of May the Dean of Ronse and two others came. He approached me with many fine words, and said, "Lauwerens, you must suffer yourself to be instructed; it will not do for you to depend upon a few lay men, who have made stockings for thirty or forty years." I replied, "Do you think that I depend upon men? He that trusteth in man is cursed, as the Scripture says. I put my trust in God alone, and in His living Word; and herein I will abide as long as God grants me life." Jer. 17:5; I Tim. 6:17. But they wanted with many words to show me, that God was in the sacrament; however, I would not believe it at all. With these words we parted, having been together at least two hours.
Written in haste, by me, Lauwerens van der Leyen, the 25th of May, A.D. 1559.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, my most beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, Know that I was examined, and that the margrave wanted to know much from me. I said I wanted to tell him all that concerned my faith. He said, "You shall tell me all." I said, "What do you wish to know?" He asked me, "What do you think of the baptism you received in your infancy?" I said, "Nothing at all." He then wanted to know where it was written that infants should not be baptized. I said, "Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19." Much incensed at me, he asked me, "What do you think of the seven sacraments?" I replied, "I have never read anything about it." This question he repeated twice or three times. I said, "I have never read about it; but I believe that Christ is sitting on the right hand of His Father, where I hope to be with Him, when the time will be fulfilled."
He then asked me concerning auricular confession. I said, "I acknowledge a confession; but I think nothing of auricular confession; but I confess daily before my heavenly Father." This enraged the margrave, and he said that he should have me placed to the stake, or thrown into the water. I told him to do with me as he pleased, since my flesh was at his disposal. He then told me, that he should send other learned men. I replied that I already had the faith I wanted to believe. He said, "You must hearken to them." I answered, "Though you cut me limb from limb, I trust I shall not deny the Lord my God." Then the margrave and his judges were very angry at me; for one of the latter said, that he should put me on a galley; but I replied, "Do with me as you please." Then the margrave said, "I shall not be so lenient to him; but we will have him placed to the stake." I said, "I remind you of my sentence;" and told him, how, when I was apprehended the last time, I had been prohibited, on pain of decapitation or the stake, from singing any hymns, and that I should take care not to be one of such people."But" [said I]"I do not say this because I am therefore now the bolder; for even if I had never previously been prohibited from it, I should not want to deny my Lord and God."
The margrave then asked me, "Does your mother also belong to them?" I replied, "I wish she did." And I said, "When I used to . gamble and get drunk, and to follow the world, I was left unmolested; but now that I truly confess the naive of God, I am persecuted; but it is as the prophet Isaiah says: 'Truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey."' Isa. 59:14, 15.
One of the judges then said to me, "Have you also stolen?" I asked him twice or three times, "Did you ever hear that I did?" but he made no reply. They then began to speak very suavely to me, and said, "If you will renounce all that you have said here, we shall tear this paper in pieces, and show you mercy." And the margrave said, "You certainly know, how your sister fared on this account, whom I caused to be thrown into the Scheldt." But I replied that she had died for the truth; and as regards myself, "I do not want to deny my Lord and God, who created and made me; I will rather let you do with me whatever you please." Then the margrave said, "Do you think we cannot also read? We, too, daily read the Scriptures; but these cobblers and tailors want to be wiser than we are. I.am very glad that you have fallen into my hands; for doubtless God the Lord sent you into that house, that I might punish you, so that others should take an example from you." And he applied many ugly epithets to me, and said, "You have often eaten and drank in my house; I am sorry I did not tie up your throat." And he asked me, "If you were not a prisoner, would you have yourself rebaptized?" I said, "If you will release me tomorrow, I will use diligence to have myself baptized: for this behooves believers."
He then asked me, "Will you confess nothing else?" and interrogated me concerning princes and lords, and the Pope of Rome. I said, "I hold God Almighty to be my Supreme Creator, and my King." Then the margrave said, "I have at home a little book, covered with chamois." I said, "My lord, that book belonged to me, and if you will read it, you will therein find what our faith is." He replied, "They were first published by the Pope of Rome," I said, " I do not regard them thus; but it is the Testament, left us by God for memorial." He was enraged at me, and said, "I wish I had never seen you;" and irefully said, "Begone; for I and these lords, the judges, came to instruct you; but we shall send you other learned men." I thanked him much for the trouble they had taken.
My dear friends, I did not fear them, no matter however they threatened me. Luke and Matthew say, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; but he that loseth it for my name's sake shall find it." Luke 17:33; Matt. 10:39. They thought they were afflicting me greatly; but I was not afraid of them at all. I hope soon to be released from this flesh. My dear friends, do not fear them that kill the body, but fear Him who created and made you, and has power to cast you into the eternal fire of hell. Luke 12:5. .
Herewith I commend you to the Lord; and may the mighty hand of God guide and keep you, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. They also asked me, whether I should be saved, because I had not received baptism. I replied, " Yes, for I trust that the Lord will have respect to my willingness, since He had respect to Abraham's willingness." Gen. 22:12. Brethren and sisters, pray for me, that with the help of God I may remain steadfast unto the end. I trust that you regard me as your brother, though I have not attained to perfection.*, " Apparently an allusion to the fact of his not having been baptized.-Translator.
Written by me, Lauwerens van der Leyen, July the 10th, 1559, at Antwerp.
(To relate it all would require too much time)
A confession of faith, and a confession of the eternal God, who is from everlasting, and who will abide forever, without beginning and without end, who is and was; this same only One is an eternal God; and there is no other; Him I confess to be an eternal God, namely, an eternal Father, and I also confess His only Son to be one with -His eternal Holy Spirit. Thus He is a perfect God, and besides Him there is no other, namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I John 5. According to my belief and the testimony of the holy Scriptures they are one. Amen. The almighty, eternal God, with His eternal, almighty Son, who is also the Word of the Father; to this great, incomprehensible, unblamable, and invisible God, who by His eternal Word made the world, and without Him was not anything made that was made, that is in heaven and upon earth, the invisible became visible; to this eternal Son, who also is the Word of the Father, be praise forever and ever. Amen. John 1:1, 2; Colossians 1:10.
Of Him we want to speak, of this eternal Son, who was with I-fis Father, and was with Him in essence or in divine form, through whom and with whom He operated from everlasting; for by Him the world was made, and all that is in it, and without Him there is not anything made; to this eternal Son, who is one with His eternal Father, who is from the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14), without beginning and without end, to Him be praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.
For when God made man, He created him after His image, and made him ruler over all things, and gave him a commandment, which he was not to transgress. ~ut as man was frail, and the devil subtle and cunning, and deceived man by fair, pretenses, the devil induced him to transgress the faith; and man thus transgressing, sin was brought into the world; and he was ashamed and hid himself from the face of God, and thus the curse came upon the whole world; so that God said, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake." And thus man remained under the curse; so that no one could make atonement for sin, since it was impossible for man, because he was weak through the flesh, was compassed with infirmities, by sin or weakness, according to the holy Scriptures. Hence sin could not be taken away or atoned for by man, because all were subject unto sin. Now as it was not possible that reconciliation for sin could be made by man, God promised His eternal Son, even as He often spoke to the people through the prophets, that He should raise up Jesus, the Saviour, whom He had promised through many generations, as we find written in Matthew 1. These promises were fulfilled from Abraham to Jesse, the father of David; from David to Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the pure virgin, whom God honored, and who also waited for the promise that the Saviour should be raised up, and was not unbelieving when the angel said to her, "Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest." Luke 1:31, 32. Here we have the assurance that the promises are fulfilled which He had promised from generation to generation, Matt. 1, which are now fulfilled in that generation; hence there is fulfilled the word, Acts 13:22. I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this generation was born the Saviour Jesus, the Son of the most High God, though He existed before; but He was manifested in the latter days, to redeem us, and to gather those that were scattered, of whom Paul says that He gave many precious promises in the Holy Scriptures concerning His Son, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit. Romans 1:2, 4.
One of the judges said to me, "If Christ is not of Mary's flesh, then the promise is not fulfilled yet." I said, "It is not written that Christ is of Mary's flesh." This dean said to me, "It is written; you lie, for it is written: 'That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' Again: 'A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son.' Again: 'That he was born of the seed of David, according to the flesh.'" I said, "My lords, it is true; but it is not written as you have said. Hear, my lords, I call you to witness, he has brutally called me a liar; nevertheless, it is not written thus." Again he said, "You lie." I replied, "If I were disposed to call you a liar, I would say that you lie yourself."I said, "My lords, listen: Luke 1:26, etc. The Angel was sent from God to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary, and she was a pure virgin. And the angel came in unto her, and said, 'Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.' Mary, said: 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' The angel said unto her: 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God.' That which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 1:20. It does not say there, that He is
of Mary's flesh." One of the judges again said, "The promise is not fulfilled yet." I replied, "It is fulfilled; if you will listen to me, I will tell you." I then told him that the Saviour and Redeemer came, and suffered much here for our sakes, even as is written that Christ the Saviour Himself said
'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' John 3:16. And thus He came into the world. And He left us an example, that we should follow His steps. I Peter 2:21."
Again Zachariah truly said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he, hath visited and redeemed 'his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." Luke 1:68-75. Thus we find indeed, that the promise is fulfilled; but that Christ is of Mary's flesh, this we find nowhere written. The Dean of Ronse asked me, "How then did He become flesh?" I told them that He who was from everlasting with His Father, by whom all things were created and made, that are in heaven and upon earth, visible and invisible, yea, the living Word of the Father, who was with the Father, came from His kingdom on high, and became man, and thus came into the world, and saved us with His own blood. Rev. 1:5. The dean asked, "Did He then become changed?" I told him as is written, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:14. The dean said to me, "You are the vilest sect that ever was upon earth." I told him that he was a rotten sect, in presence of all the judges, or the court; and (said I) I will prove to you that you are a sect; for your people cannot prove a single point of all that you observe, with the Word of the Lord; and Christ says, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Matt. 15:13. I then asked him, where he found anything written concerning the institutions observed by them, such as the christening of bells, tonsure, the consecrating of water, that one wears shoes with holes, and another stockings without toes, each in his own way, all of which is certainly not sanctioned by the Word of God. I further said, "My lords, I have offered to dispute from the holy Bible, publicly, before the whole court." The dean said to me, "You will be thrust into a bag, and suffocated with a ball in your mouth." I said, "You hypocrite, do you not fear the Word of the Lord, which says that with the breath of His lips shall he slay the unmerciful? Isaiah 11:4. Again: 'A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.' Prov. 28:17. 'Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?' Matt. 23:33. 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel; for your days may be brief."' Mark 1:15.
He asked me how I knew that the Gospel is the Gospel. I said to them, "This is a strange question; but if you will listen to me, I will tell you. Should I not know, said I, that it is Gospel, that Almighty God said and taught: 'Repent ye, and believe the Gospel?' and that He came down from His kingdom above, and suffered so much for our sins; yea, He who was rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich; when He called men unto Him, that they should follow Him, and commanded His apostles to preach it throughout all the world: 'He that believeth it, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.'" Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16. They asked how I knew that His apostles had written this; and said, "Other men printed it; you have never spoken with or seen the apostles-how then do you know it? There are other evangelists whom you have never seen: how then do you know whether this is the Gospel? Men wrote this to suit themselves."
O subtle devil, thought I in my heart, and told them that the holy Scriptures were given through the Holy Ghost, and not without Him, since Paul says, "I will not dare speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed." Rom. 15:18. And, as the apostle Peter has said, that no prophets ever produced the Scripture by human will; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Pet. 1:21. Thus, the Holy Ghost bears 'testimony, that the Gospel which we have, is the word of the living God, which He has given us, that we should live according to it, and thus be saved at the last day; even as it is written that these words are written, that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31'. A monk asked me concerning infant baptism, whether I did not think it good. I said, "Baptism does not belong to children, but to believers." Mark 16:16. He said, "Are the children damned, then?" I replied, "No; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them." Matt. 19:14. He said"Those who are not baptized are damned." I said"This is nowhere written, neither, that children are to be baptized." He said, "It is written." I said, "It is not; children have no faith; but they are assured of eternal life." Matt. 19. He said, "It is written: 'Except ye be born of water and of the Spirit, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God."' John 3:5. I said, "They cannot be born again, for they have no sin." He said, "They have; for it is written that all are under sin." I asked him what sins children had. He said, "Original sin." I asked him why Christ had died. He said that He
had made atonement; but that we must first be baptized, before original sin is taken away. I said, "This is speaking contrary to the Word of God; for when John saw the Lord coming to him, he said: 'Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world 1 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is perferred before me; for he was before me.' John 1:29, 30. Of whom it is also written that He Himself bare our sins in His own body on the tree. I Pet. 2:24. As John tells us, that He was manifested to take away our sins (I John 3:5 ), and as Paul says that they are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Rom. 3:24. Paul further tells us, that we should thank Him who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. The apostle says that He upholds all things by the Word of His power, and has by Himself purged our sins. Heb. 1:3. Again Paul says: 'But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, and thus reconciled to him, we shall be saved from wrath.' Rom. 5:8, 9. He says: 'Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.' Ver. 18. Even as the prophet Isaiah says
'He took our sins upon him.'" Isa. 53:11. They asked me whether I had not yet changed my mind. I asked them, "In regard to what should I have changed my mind?" They replied, "In regard to your errors." I said, "I do not err; but I trust in the living God, in His holy Word, and in nothing else; and from this I will not depart, for Christ; has said: 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."' Matt. 24:13. They said, "Shall none be saved but you people, who began but twenty or thirty years ago, while our church has ex'fisted already fourteen hundred years, and has remained united-shall, we all be damned-?" I said, "The Word of the Lord, which was before ever your church existed shall judge men in the last day; it shall judge all men. Jno. 12:48. This [Word] is given us through His Holy Spirit, that through teaching we should observe all things whatsoever He has commanded us. Matt. 28:20. Hence, those who will not observe it have no promise of eternal life, but indignation, wrath, tribulation, and ,anguish will come upon them. Rom. 2:8, 9. Yea, He will take vengeance on them that have not known God, and have not obeyed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction. II . Thess. 1:8, 9. We must therefore believe that which has been spoken and written through the Holy Ghost, as it is written that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. II Tim. 3:16, 17. Therefore we are assured concerning the holy Scriptures which we have, that they were written by the apostles through the Holy Ghost, as Peter has said: 'We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.' Should we not then believe these words, where he says: 'We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed?' and thus we do take heed to these words."
They asked me concerning the sacrament of the altar. I told them that I found nothing written about it; but of a supper which the Lord observed with His apostles, when the time had come that He was to fulfill that for which He had come, that it might be fulfilled which was written of Him, and that He should return to whence He had come. When it was. two days yet until Easter, He said, "The Son of man shall be delivered up, to be crucified." And His disciples asked Him, "Lord, where wilt thou that we eat the Passover?" He told them a place to which they should go, and went with them. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and said, "Eat; this is my body: likewise he took the cup, saying
Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many; this do in remembrance of me." Matt. 26:20; Mark 14:17; Luke 22:14. I also asked them, "Did each eat His body, as He was with them, in flesh and blood?" They said, "Yes; they there ate His flesh, and drank His blood." I asked them once more, "How did they eat Him? Just as He was with them? Did each eat a Christ?" They- said"Yes; just as He hung on the tree of t1fe cross." I said to them, "But He had only one body, and that had to be given as a ransom for the sins of the world, and was delivered into the hands of the Jews, and they hung Him to the tree of the cross, and killed Him, and thus He redeemed us with His blood, even as is written. I Pet. 1:19. He took upon Him our sins, and bare them on the tree." I I Peter 2:24. They said that they had also now had Him even as He had hung on the cross. I said to them, "I do not believe that such a great Lord is eaten of you people, who are utterly contrary to the Word of God, and full of wickedness, and disobedient to the Word of the Lord; but believe that He ascended to heaven, and is sitting at the right hand of God His Father in heaven (Acts 1) from whence we also look for Him to come again (Philip. 3:20); and that you do not have Him; for if you had Him, He should be crucified once more, hence, you people cannot be believed, since you all act contrary to the Word of God; for it is found written that the apostles of God held their supper with a unanimous faith; and were all of one
mind, and continued steadfast in all that they had seen of God (Acts 4:32); nevertheless they did not teach or say that they ate Christ's flesh, and drank His blood, just as He hung on the tree of the cross; but that He ascended to heaven, and is sitting on the right hand of God, this they taught. ' I Peter 2:2; Mark 16. Yet, all that they taught' ryas through the power of the Holy Ghost, and they continued steadfast in the faith which God had commanded them. For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Christ, and upon this His apostles laid their foundation, and I want to remain upon it, without ever departing therefrom." Hence I said to them, "If yon want to dispute with me publicly, with the Holy Bible; I shall answer you with the Word of God, concerning all that you shall speak with the Word of the living God. He that is right, shall be hearkened to; but he who is wrong, shall proclaim and confess that to this day he taught a false doctrine." This is a small part of the words which we had with the judges, the bailiff, and ecclesiastics.
The peace of the Lord be with you. Amen. Grace be to you; and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
A most affectionate greeting with the peace of the Lord to you, my dear brother Nathanael, I; your imprisoned brother Laumerens, wish you the grace of the Lord for a greeting, and inform you, that I am of reasonably good cheer, the Lord be praised; which, I trust, will continue so unto the end through the grace of the Lord; yea, I hope thus to appear in the day of the Lord. Know that we are waiting for the redemption of our flesh from day to day. Know further that I send you two hymns composed by Lauwerens de Huyvemaecker in his bonds. My dear brother, let us always hold fast those things which we have wrought, that we receive a full reward (II John 8); and let us not be moved from our purpose, since we are certain that we have the truth; and that no other will ever be found; of this our conscience assures us. I am heartily sorry that I frittered away my time so long with the wicked and blind world, and did not improve it better. But though I have not been long in the better way, and am now a prisoner, I hope nevertheless to keep what I have, trusting in the grace of the Lord that He will not forsake me.
Know dear brother, that I should have written you much more Scripture; but you are yourself taught of God, and know the truth. See that'you continue in it; may the Lord preserve you and all friends therein.
Herewith -I commend you to the Lord, and to the word of His grace. We twelve, imprisoned together, greet you all with the peace of the Lord.
Andries Langedul, Sander Hendricks, Anthonis Claes, Hans de Luyckener, Mattheus de Pottebacker, Lauwerens van der Leyen, Lauwerens de Huyvemaecker. The women, Adriaentgen, wife of Jockem; Kalleken, wife of Lauwerens de Peseinaecker; Claeitgen,-wife of Jan Beun; Catelijntgen, Wife of Lauwerens de Huyvemaecker; Maeyken, daughter of Andries Langedul; Grietgen Boriaventuers, old Maeyken, and Maeyken de Korte.
By me, LAUWERENS VAN DER LEYEN
Greet all the friends much, especially Tanneken and Pierijntgen, in the Blind Ass, and Maeyken, daughter of Andries. Greet Tanneken much, Lauwerens de Huyvemaecker, and his wife, greet Prijntgen with the peace-of the Lord.
I, Lauwerens, your brother, bid you farewell; my dear brother, farewell.
The peace of the Lord be with you. -Amen. Grace'and peace be with you, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed. be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comf6rteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer
or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 'And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. II Cor. 1:2-7.
I affectionately greet you, my dear brothers Nathanael and Lieven, with the peace of the Lord; I earnestly commend myself to you, and inform you,that I am of tolerably good cheer, the Lord be praised for His great grace, which He has manifested so richly towards me, in that He has redeemed me from this present evil world; and that, whereas you once saw me in so exceeding wickedness, the light of truth is now revealed to me, for which I greatly thank the Lord, and trust that I shall continue therein by the grace of the Lord; for, my dear brothers, know that we have nothing of ourselves, but that all must come from the Lord, for the Lord says, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my name's sake, shall preserve it." Luke 17:33. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14, 16. O my dear brothers, as we have and know the truth, let us not part from it, but let us always lay our foundation upon the cornerstone Jesus Christ, so that our building may be firmly joined together (Eph. 2:20-22), when we are tried as gold in the furnace, that is, in all manner of tribulation, whether in or out of bonds; for Satan sometimes torments us greatly. Eph. 6:11. Hence, let us take heed, that our crown be not taken from us (Rev. 3:11); that we may be prepared for conflict; that we may have the helmet of salvation on our head, and have the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17.
Dear brothers, he that overcometh shall inherit all things; yea, he that overcometh shall be clothed in white linen raiment; then the crown of life will be prepared for us. O dear brothers, fear not them that kill the body; but much rather fear Him who after He has killed the body, can also cast the soul into hell. Luke 12:5.
My dear brethren, you know that I have had this written to you out of love. Excuse my little understanding. I send you a hymn. Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace, and bid you farewell; farewell, my dear brothers, farewell. All my fellow prisoners greet you most cordially. Hans de Luyckener greets his brother most affectionately, and Anthonis Claes greets Elsgen Aerts much. Greet all the friends much, all that fear the Lord, and remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them. Matt. 25
36; Hebrews 13:3. Dear brothers, greet also Tanneken, wife of Lenaert de Lettersetter, very affectionately, and bid her farewell in my name.
Written the 25th of October, A. D. 1559, by me, Lauwerens van der Leyen, imprisoned at Antwerp for the testimony of Christ.
NOTE-The very severe decree of Emperor Charles V, made in September, A. D. 1550, and renewed and confirmed six years afterwards by Philip II, King of Spain, against the Baptists (as we have circumstantially shown for the year 1556), was now, A. D. 1560, again renewed by said Philip II, and proclaimed everywhere in the Netherlands. See afore-mentioned defense of William I, Prince of Orange, 'against his adversaries, edition 1569, page 165, extracted from the large book of decrees of Ghent, etc.
It appears that in consequence thereof the bloodshedding, slaying and burning of the saints increased the more, as is evident from the following martyrs.