At this time also a pious woman named Soetgen van den Houte fell into the hands of the persecutors of the truth, so that after severe assaults and imprisonment she testified and confirmed the faith of the ever enduring truth with her death and blood, on the 27th of November, 1560, in the city of Ghent; and with her another woman, named Martha. Soetgen van den Houte also states that her husband had previously likewise valiantly trodden the winepress of suffering and fearlessly testified the truth, and gave his life for it, as the following testament clearly shows.
In the name of the Lord:
Grace, peace and mercy from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, this I wish you, my dear little children, David, Betgen, and Tanneken, for an affectionate greeting, written by your mother in bonds, for a memorial to you of the truth, as I hope to testify by word and with my death, by the help of the Most High, for an example unto you. May the wisdom of the Holy Ghost instruct and strengthen you therein, that you may be brought up in the ways of the Lord. Amen.
Further my dear children, since it pleases the Lord to take me out of this world, I will leave you a memorial, not of silver or gold; for such jewels are perishable: but I should like to write a jewel into your heart, if it were possible, which is the word of truth, in which I want to instruct you a little for the best with the Word of the Lord, according to the little gift I have received from Him and according to my simplicity.
In the first place, I admonished you, my most beloved, always to suffer yourself to be instructed by. those who fear the Lord; then you will please God, and as long as you obey good admonition and instruction, and fear the Lord, He will be-your Father and not leave you orphans. For David says, "What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose." Ps. 25: 12. He also says, "The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them. that, hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death. The angel; of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him; for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Ps. 33:18, 19; 34:7, 9; 111:10.
Therefore, dear children, learn to fear the Lord, and you will receive wisdom. The wise man says, "A wise son heareth instruction. Whoso loveth correction and instruction loveth knowledge., A wise son feareth and escheweth evil. A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son putteth his mother to shame. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but the companion of fools shall be like them. He that refuseth correction and instruction destroyeth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof will become wise."
O my most beloved, depart not from correction. The wise man says, ",Chasten thy San while there is hope." Prov. 19:18.
Hence, my most beloved, grieve not when you are corrected, and speak not crossly to those -who correct you. A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger. Prov. 15:1. If
you are crossly, spoken to, learn to answer kindly, and you will be loved by all men; for humility and meekness are acceptable to both. God and men.
Furthermore, my dear children, I admonish you, to beware of lying; for liars have no part in the kingdom of God. Rev. 21:8. It is also written, "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, and he whose mouth lieth, his soul shall die." Prov. 12:12; Wisdom 1:11. Therefore, my dear children, beware of it; for he that deals in lies is loved by no one.
My dear children, keep this in your hearts; my dear lambs, guard your tongue, that it speak no evil; neither practice deceit with your lips; nor be guilty of backbiting, for thereby come contention and strife,; but Paul teaches us, to live peaceably with all men if it be possible. I Pet. 3:10; Romans 12:18.
My most beloved, keep this sent you from your mother; and obey your parents; and those whose bread you eat, and all who admonish you to virtue. Eph. 6:1. Always be diligent to do your work, wherever you be; for Paul says that if any. will not work, neither shall ,he eat. I I Thess. 3:10.
It is also written, "Be diligent to labor, that you may have to give to him that needeth." Eph. 4:28. Hence, turn not your face away from the poor."Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard." Prov. 21:13. Tobit taught his son, saying, "Son, if thou hast abundance, give alms accordingly: if thou have but little; be not afraid to give according to that little." Tob. 4:8. Alms given of one's labor is acceptable to God. The wise man says, "Alms purge out sin." We also read of Cornelius and Tobit that the angel said, "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God, whom thou didst beseech with tears, and didst leave thy dinner to go and bury the dead." Acts 10:4; Tob. 12:13.
Therefore, be diligent in prayer, and love the poor; for Christ also was poor for our sakes. . II Corinthians 8:9. Be therefore also merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful; for such shall be blessed, and shall obtain mercy. Also learn to be meek and lowly in heart; for such are blessed and shall inherit the earth. Luke 6:36; Matt. 5:5. And blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
Hence, my dear children, let no impure thoughts remain in your hearts, but engage yourselves with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and evil thoughts will have no room. Neither let filthiness proceed out of your mouth; for of this an account will have to be given. Eph. 5:19, 4; Matt. 12:36.
Furthermore, my most beloved, wherever you be esteem yourselves as the least, and be not wise in your own conceit, but always suffer yourselves to be instructed by those who are above you, and always be silent when others speak. Humble yourself beneath all men; for whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; but he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Matt. 23:12. For Christ, who is the greatest, made Himself the least, for an example unto us. Ps. 8:6; John 13:13. And, as is written, "The greater thou art, the more humble thyself and thou shalt find favor before the Lord; for the power of the Lord is great, and he is honored of the lowly." Sir. 3:18, 20.
My children, be also just in all your dealings; for in the way of the just there is life, and in the beaten path there is no death. It is joy to the righteous to do that which is right, but fear to evildoers. Further, choose to earn your bread by the labor of your hands, and to eat your bread with peace. Seek not to be a merchant, nor be anxious for great gain. Better is little with the fear of God, than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dry morsel, and quietness, than a house full of sacrifices with strife. Prov. 15:16; 17:1.
My children, love not dainties, nor wine. He that desires costly feasts will not become rich; but be content with the labor of your hands. Overtax no one, but be satisfied with what is reasonable, as you have seen of me. Be burdensome to no one, as long as you can obtain the things needful. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35. And Paul says, "If ye have food and raiment, be therewith content." I Tim. 6:8.
Hence, my dear children, take an example from this, and always go on in the ways of the Lord with sobriety and thankfulness, as you have heard me read of Daniel, of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who were selected by the king of Babylon, to be nourished with the same wine and meat which the king drank and ate at his table, in order that they might be beautiful, to serve the king. But they would have nothing but pulse and water; they wanted to observe the law and commandments of their fathers with sobriety and thankfulness in the fear of God, and they were fairer and fatter than those who ate of the king's dainties. Dan. 1.
Thus faithfully they walked in the ways of the Lord, with prayer and supplication made themselves acceptable to Him; therefore God did great things through them, and delivered them from the den of lions, and out of the fiery furnace. And Joseph; when he was sold into Egypt, desired no dainties, nor wine, because the Egyptian women sought to seduce him; but he feared God, and God preserved him. He pleased God by sobriety and prayer, so that he was appointed ruler over Egypt. Gen. 37, 39, 41.
My dear children, take an example from this, in your youth, and you will please God, and He will keep you from all seduction.
O my lambs, you are still in your youth, in your infancy; you have yet your part in your Father's kingdom; see that you keep it well and do not as Esau did, who gave his inheritance or birthright for a mess of pottage; not regarding his father's blessing. he gave it away for perishable food. Gen. 25:33. But Jacob chose the better part, and was
obedient to God and his father, walking the ways of the Lord with all righteousness.
My most beloved, seek instruction, so that you may be taught, and know which is the true way; for you may now choose life or death, good or evil; whichever you desire, shall be given you (Sirach 15:17); namely, if you delight in evil, so that you choose the pleasures of the world (from which springs all unrighteousness), namely, lying and cheating, gambling, playing, swearing, cursing, backbiting, hatred, envy, drunkenness, banqueting, excess, idolatry, covetousness, lasciviousness, vanity, filthy conversation, dancing, and so forth; which things, though the world does not consider them sins, but amusements, are nevertheless abominations in the eyes of the Lord. I Pet. 4:3.
Therefore, my dear children, take heed; if you take pleasure in these things, you sell your birthright or the inheritance from your father, for a mess of pottage, namely, for a few temporal pleasures, which lead you to damnation. See whether all the great multitude do not choose to walk. this way. Hence Esdras has truly said that there is much more earth found, to make earthen vessels, than gold, to make golden vessels. And as the wave is greater than a drop, so there will be more that will be damned. II Esd. 8:2, 3; 9:15, 16. For many are called, but few are chosen, for they do not heed their call; as Christ says, "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me; but these follow the great multitude of the ungodly and false prophets." John 10:27.
Hence Isaiah says, "Hell hath opened her mouth wide, to receive the proud and all that do unrighteousness, and all that will not repent." Isa. 5:14.
Therefore, behold, my most beloved, if you suffer yourselves to be instructed in virtue, you will follow the voice of the Lord, as from the time of Abel until now many who suffered have done; they were rejected, despised, persecuted and killed because they would not follow the wicked world and her false prophets.
Behold, my most beloved, choose rather to suffer affliction with the children of God, so that you may be rewarded with them; for they are the ones to whom belong all the beautiful promises, but they must suffer much, for the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matt. 11:12. It is also written, "Ye must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven." For David says, "We are led to death as sheep for the slaughter." And Paul says, "We which live are always delivered unto death." It is also written, "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. Ye shall have tribulation for a little while, but be of good cheer and be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life." Revelation 2:10. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. We further read, "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.""Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." Rev. 19:7-9."Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father." Matt. 13:43.
See, my most beloved, this is the better part and reward of all those who fear the Lord, walk in His ways and keep His commandments. These are they to whom the Lord says, "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye few men of Israel: I will not leave you orphans; but I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and I will keep you as the apple of mine eye; yea, if ye keep my commandments, though ye were cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather you from thence, and will bring you unto the place that I have chosen." Isa. 41:14; 51:7; Zech. 2:8; Deut. 30:4; Neh. 1:9.
Oh, who would not love such a Lord and Father, who has chosen us, as He chose Israel, and has given us His commandments and laws, namely, His Gospel, which teaches us to do His will, and His pleasure; and such He has made heirs of all the riches of heaven. Isa. 49:7.
O my dear children, I have written this in tears, admonishing you out of love, praying for you with a fervent heart, that, if possible, you might be of this number. For when your father was taken from me, I did not spare myself day or night to bring you up, and my prayer and solicitude were constantly for your salvation, and even while in bonds my greatest care has always been that my prudence did not enable me to make better provision for you. For when it was told me, that you had been taken to Oudenarde, and thence to Bruges, it was a hard blow for me, so that I never had a greater sorrow. But when I thought that my coming or providing could not help the matter, and that for Christ's sake we must separate from all that we love in this world I committed all to the will of the Lord, and I still hope and pray constantly, that He in His mercy will preserve you, as He preserved Joseph, Moses and Daniel in the midst of wicked men. And He will do this, if you give diligence to follow the truth; then the angel of the Lord will be with you, even as He was with Tobias, guiding him until He brought him to his father's house, where he rejoiced with his father and his friends, thanking God for His great goodness. Tobit 7:11.
Thus also, if you will follow good instruction, it will guide you safely through every danger, and bring you to your Father's house, where there is such joy prepared, that ear has not heard, nor eye seen, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what joy is prepared for the elect; but to the elect God has revealed it by His Holy Spirit. Isa. 64:4; I Corinthians. 2:9, 10.
May the word of the Father bring you to this, through the mercy of the Son, and may the wisdom of the Holy Ghost;strengthen you, that you may apprehend it. Amen.
David, my dear child, I herewith commend you to the Lord. You are the oldest, learn wisdom, that you may set your sisters a good example; and beware of bad company, and of playing in the street with bad boys; but diligently learn to read and write, so that you may get understanding. Love one another, without contention or quarreling; but be kind to each other. Let the one that is wise bear with him who is simple, and admonish him with kindness. Let the strong bear with the feeble, and help him all he can, out of love. Let the rich assist the poor, out of brotherly love. Let the younger obey the older in that which is good. Admonish one another to be industrious, so that people may love you. Exhort one another to good works, to modesty, honorableness and quietness. Always care for one another; for the time has come, that love shall wax cold; yea, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived. Matt. 24:12, 24. Hence, take heed and learn diligently to search the Scriptures, so that you may not be deceived; but always hold to the first and second commandment, which will teach you aright. Do not easily believe it, when evil is told you of another, but examine the matter; and make no commotion when you are slandered, but bear it for Christ's sake.
Love your enemies, and pray for those who speak evil of you, and afflict you. Rather suffer wrong, than that you should grieve another; rather suffer affliction than that you should afflict another; rather be reproached, than that you should reproach another; rather be slandered, than that you should slander another; rather be robbed, than that you should rob another; rather be beaten, than that you should beat another, and so 'forth.
Behold, my most beloved, all this is wrought through brotherly love, and is all comprehended in the second commandment; hence, you must constantly see that you do not seek solely your own profit, but always care for those with whom you have dealings, whether they be young or old.
Further, my dear children, Betgen and Tanneken, my beloved lambs, I admonish you in all these same things, as that you obey the commandments of the Lord, and also obey your uncle and aunt, and your elders, and all who instruct you in virtue. To those whose bread you eat, you must be subject in all that is not contrary to God. Always diligently admonish yourselves to do your work, and you will be loved wherever you live. Be not quarrelsome, or loquacious, or light minded, or proud, or surly of speech, but kind, honorable and quiet, as behooves young girls. Pray the Lord for wisdom, and it shall be given you. Diligently learn to read and write, and take delight therein, and you will become wise. Take pleasure and engage in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Seek for the only joy. Learn to please the Lord from your youth, as did the holy women and virgins, as Judith. Judith 8.
Esther also was a virgin who feared God; she was adorned with humility, was gracious, honorable, kind, and humble of heart; hence she pleased King Ahasuerus above all the other virgins. Esther 2:17. But in her high estate she was not proud; though she shone in royal apparel, she humbled her heart, with fasting and prayer to the Lord, for her brethren, that they might be delivered out of the hands of their enemies; she did not esteem herself better than one of the least of her brethren.
See, my most beloved, when you have attained the years of understanding, see that you adorn yourselves with good works, namely, the works of the Spirit, that is, with all manner of goodness, gentleness, meekness, humility, obedience, long suffering, righteousness, modesty, honorableness, purity, peaceableness, steadfastness, mercifulness, wisdom, diligence in good works, faith, hope and love; to love God above all that is in the world, and to do to your neighbor as you would have men do unto you, on which hang all the law and the prophets. Gal. 5:22, 23; Matt. 22:37, 40.
Behold, my dear children, this is the adornment of the saints, etc.
O my most beloved, labor for such a wedding garment, so that you may enter in among the number of the children of God to the marriage of the Lamb, where they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Rev. 19:7; Matthew 13:43.
May the strong hand of the Lord bring you to this; may He lead you as He led Israel out of Egypt, and bring you to the New Jerusalem, that we may see each other with joy in the day of the resurrection.
Herewith I commend you to the Lord, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; may He keep you to the end of your lives. Amen.
My dear children, this I leave you as a memorial or testament. If you put it to good use, you will gather more treasure by it, than if I had left you many riches, which are perishable; for the riches of this world may be lost through fire, war, or misfortune.
Hence, he is not wise who sets his heart upon anything that is perishable, since we have no assurance of it for an hour; we must leave it all behind; therefore, grieve not, though what we had is scattered or lost, as the prophet says, "We are a prey to every one." Isa. 59:15. Hence you are to thank the Lord yet, that He let us have it until I have brought you up so far: and if you walk in all righteousness, the Lord will give you enough. Take an example from Tobias. Tob. 4:19. David also says that the righteous shall not want, nor his seed go begging bread. Ps. 37:25.
Therefore covet no one's property or treasures; nor envy any one because he has more than you. Neither regard any person for his gifts. but follow
the little flock, who walk truly in love; for love is the bond of perfectness, and the command of love is superior to all others. Luke 12:32; Col. 3:14. Therefore; see constantly that you follow those who walk most in love; for the tree is known by its fruit, though these are hid from all men; .but Christ was too, and the servant is not better than his lord. Matt. 10:24.
Herewith I will bid you adieu: adieu my dear children, and adieu all my dear friends.
My most beloved, though our adversaries tell you, that your father and I are not of the same faith, do not believe them; for he confessed the truth concerning baptism and the incarnation, of Christ, in all that he was able to comprehend, and he valiantly testified to righteousness, giving his life for it, pointing out to you for an example, the same way which the prophets, the apostles and Christ Himself went. He had to go before through the conflict with much tribulation and suffering, and leave his children behind for Christ's sake; hence do likewise, for there is no other way.* Give diligence to read the Testament. Amen.
Written out of love:
The peace of the Lord be with you; my dear brother and sister, know that I have received two letters, with their contents, and I thank you most cordially for all the friendship you have ever shown me, and shall yet show me, I hope, in my three lambs whom I leave behind, commending them to the Lord and to those whore He shall direct thereto in His grace.
Herewith I take leave once more; I think it is now the last time. We are of such good cheer to offer up our sacrifice that I cannot express it. I could leap for joy when I think of the eternal riches which are promised to us as our inheritance, and to all who persevere in what the Lord has commanded us. Matt. 10:22.
I know not how I shall praise the Lord that He has chosen Martha and myself ,to this estate, its who are such poor, simple lambs, for we have. never been esteemed in the world, except as outasts; and that God has chosen such rejected, miserable, simple worms of the dust, that He will work through us, that we should be His witnesses, we who are not worthy of ourselves to receive the very least gift which the Lord might bestow, etc.
Oh, who can comprehend the power of God, that He should be most merciful to those who are here the most rejected, if they call upon Him with confidence and firmly place their hope in His grace unto the end; it were impossible that the Lord should reject them. Hence I pray all that love the, " From what is related here, it appears that also Soetgen . van den Houte's husband died for the truth, as a valiant witness of Jesus; although we have not been able to learn the time, place and manner of his death.
Lord, that they humble their hearts, for the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah"I will dwell with him that is of a contrite Spirit, and of a broken heart, and trembleth at my word." Isa. 57; 66:2.
Yea, those who thus humble themselves before the Lord, and do not think themselves to be something before God, and before men, them shall God exalt and enrich with heavenly riches. Matt. 23:12. Remember how Christ chose humility, when He left the glory of His Father and descended into the lower parts of the earth. From obedience to His Father, and out of great love He became man; with great humility He came to serve us, suffered pain and reproach, enduring it with patience and longsuffering, out of obedience to His Father, even unto death, until He had finished all, so that He might save us. Phil. 2:8. Oh, what love did He show us by His anxiety and sighing, when He said, according to His humanity, "How am I straightened till it be accomplished!" Luke 12:50.
O my most beloved, consider our Leader, Jesus Christ, how He regarded the humility of Mary, that He would be born of her. And though she was chosen to such a high estate, she humbled herself, saying:,"Behold the handmaid of the Lord. For God bath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; therefore, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation; for he bath scattered the proud. He bath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He bath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich bath he sent empty away. To the poor the gospel is. preached. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." Luke 1:38, 48; etc.; 7:22; Matt. 5:6.
O my dearest, my heartfelt desire and request is, for the last time, that you give diligence to walk in love, simplicity, and harmony among yourselves, always in the fear of God, that you may be filled with the heavenly good things, and satisfied now and forever. Amen.
Herewith I commend you to. the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. May He comfort, strengthen, stablish you all with His Spirit, that you may finish that whereunto you are called, to the praise and glory of the Lord, so that you may rejoice together, and set down at the Lord's table, where lie shall serve us with new wine, in the kingdom of God, His Father.
This was written when we had eaten our last supper, as far as we know. Herewith I 'bid adieu to all my brethren and sisters. I and Martha, my sister in the Lord, salute you much with the peace of the Lord, for the last time all who are known to us or not, wherever they be. We rejoice in the Lord, we bid adieu till we meet above, in the New Jerusalem. Heb. 12:22.
Read this last farewell to all who desire to hear it, before you send it away; and then send it to my sister Betgen.
Further; my dear child Betgen, I rejoice greatly that the Lord spared me so long, that I was made glad before my death through your letter, by which you have strengthened me. I pray the Lord to strengthen and confirm you with His Spirit, that you may go on thus, and follow that which is best, as you wrote to me.
O my dear lambs, see that you do not spend your youth in vanity, or pride, or drinking, or gluttony, but in sobriety and humility in the fear of God, and diligence in every good work, that you may be clothed with the adornment of the saints, so that God may make you worthy through His grace, to enter in to the marriage of the Lamb, and that we may see you there with joy. Your father and I, and many others, have shown you the way. Take an example from the prophets and apostles, yea, Christ Himself, who all went this way; and where the head has gone before, there the members must certainly follow.
Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. This is my last farewell, my dear lambs; always remember each other in love; diligently learn to read and write, and obey everyone in that which is good. When your brother David and Tanneken come to you, greet one another with a friendly kiss of peace, in my name.
Herewith I bid you adieu, my dear child Betgen; adieu, my dear children David and Tanneken; adieu, all my dear brethren and sisters, and friends everywhere.
Once more we say adieu; greet uncle and aunt much with the kiss of peace, in my name.
Written by me Soetgen van den Houte, your mother in bonds; written in haste (while trembling with cold), out of love for you all. Amen.
It occurred in the year 1560, that at Veer, in Zealand, there was apprehended a young brother named Joost Joosten, a native of Goes, a small town in Zealand, who was considerably versed in the Latin language. When he was a student of about fourteen years, it happened that King Philip was in Zealand. and that this Joost Joosten was singing choral in church, in the organ loft, as is customary in papistic churches. The king was so delighted with the lad's singing, that he wanted to take him with him to Spain; on which account Joost kept himself concealed for six weeks, as he did not want to go away. Thus, he afterwards became converted to the true faith, and consequently, was baptized upon his faith, and thus led a C'.ristian life. This the enemies of the truth could not endure; hence they apprehended him when he was eighteen vears old. He had to suffer many assaults, and divers times attempts were made to draw him from the faith. He disputed with four inquisitors concerning many articles of faith; they made strenuous efforts to draw him over to their religion. When they could not move him with such means, they tortured him dreadfully, especially with instruments called iron teerlingen, which they thrust into his knees so that they came out again at-the ankles. But all this he steadfastly endured with great patience, and faithfully kept the treasure which he had in an earthen vessel. Hence the children of Herod sentenced him to death by burning; which they executed on him on a Monday before Christmas. On his way to death he rejoiced greatly in the Lord, and sang yet as he was going into the hut of straw in which he was burnt, the last verse of the hymn composed by himself, which begins thus, "O Lord, thou art forever in my thoughts." He also wrote a confession of faith, of five sheets of paper, which, however, through course of time has been lost.
At Honschote, in Flanders, there was apprehended for the truth, in the year 1561, a brother named Koolaert the cooper, who, after freely confessing his faith, was taken to Wijnoxberge, and as he also there, notwithstanding the tortures inflicted upon him, would depart neither to the right nor to the left, he was sentenced to death, and burnt alive, about St. Martin's Day, for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the 7th of June 1561 the margrave of Antwerp went out with a large retinue, well armed with sticks and staves, and they apprehended Joos Verbeeck, a minister of the Word of God and of His church. On the 9th he was examined; he confessed his faith very freely, as also his ministry; of which the margrave and the lords made much sport. He was also very severely tortured; but God kept his lips in everything, so that he inculpated no one. Although he was treated so unmercifully that a rope broke in two on his body, and that in four days he had to go to the rack twice, and was once scourged till his blood flowed, he bore all patiently; this, however, he greatly lamented, namely, that they had broken, or lamed by torturing, his right hand, and thus disabled him from writing.
On the 20th day of the month he was brought into court, where the bailiff asked him whether he was rebaptized. He answered, "Ask me for my faith, which I confessed in prison before the lords and the margrave." The bailiff then asked him what he thought of infant baptism. He said, "I confessed that it is not of God, but a human institution." The bailiff asked again whether he was rebaptized, and said, "Say yes or no; for I know you will not lie; therefore, tell me the truth." He said, "I was baptized upon my faith, as Christ teaches." Matt. 28, Mark 16.
Having confessed his faith, baptism and doctrine, he could not well say much more. The lords concluded his sentence, he, in the meantime saying to the people, "Dear citizens, I have lived here eleven years, and no one can complain of me, since I have never wronged any one, and my life and doctrine agree with the Word of God.""That is true," exclaimed -a brother: upon hearing which, the thief catchers arose and searched for his brother; but did not find him.
Joos said, "Oh, that I might publicly defend myself against the priests who came to me in prison; as Paul could do before Agrippa; but we are forbidden to speak." Acts 26:2.
Coming out of the court, he said, "He that delivered Daniel out of the den of lions, will also preserve me; for what I suffer is for the name of the Lord, and not for evil-doing.", "That is true," cried a brother; and others cried, "Fight valiantly, dear brother." Joos boldly and cheerfully said, "Dear citizens, thus must all the children of God suffer; this way was trod by the saints of God, the prophets, and so many pious men."
When he approached the little house, yea, stood before the door of the but in which he was to offer up his burnt sacrifice, he cast his eyes up to heaven, saying, "O holy Father, assist Thy servant in this extremity." The executioner's servant wanted to thrust a gag into his mouth, to prevent him from speaking; but he did nevertheless not keep silence, for he was heard to exclaim, "O Lord, Thou Son of David, have compassion upon me."
The executioner performed his task, trembling with fear. When the fire was kindled, Joos cried, "O heavenly Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. O Lord of hosts, who didst separate me from my mother's womb, succor Thy servant in this last extremity, since I suffer for Thy name." Jeremiah 1:5; Gal. 1:15. Once more he cried, "O heavenly Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." And with this, he quietly offered up a fiery sacrifice, for an example and pattern to us all.
Grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be to my dear wife and sister in the Lord, for an affectionate greeting, all the days of your life, in the true earnestness of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I greet you and all my five children most affectionately. Bring them up in the nurture of the Lord, and behave yourself as becomes holy women, in order to teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to be discreet, chaste, and obedient to their husbands; and firmly persevere in the same rule in which you stand. Eph. 6:4; Tit. 2:2.
May the Lord fit you for every good work that becomes your calling. Herewith I commend you to Almighty God, and to the Word of His grace; may He grant that we may see each other in eternity.
By the, Joos Verbeeck, your husband, and broth er in the Lord; written at Antwerp in prison where I am confined for the testimony of Jesus Christ-with my left hand, with great trouble, as my right hand has been tortured lame.
Greet all the friends, especially the ministers.
In the year 1561, Brother Julius Klampherer, from Italy was imprisoned at Venice, for his faith and the divine truth. Again and again they arraigned and examined him, and disputed with him, to cause him to apostatize; but he always defended himself wisely: He was permitted to put in writing that which he discussed, concerning his faith, with the papistic commissaries appointed for this purpose, and thus to defend himself, and give an account of his faith in his own handwriting. When he had done this, and steadfastly adhered to it, they finally sentenced him to be cast into the depth of the sea; whereupon he answered and said, "This is nothing strange to me, for it was told me in the beginning of my conversion, that I must expect to die for the testimony of the truth; but it does seem strange to me, that the lords of Venice concur in such a purpose, and do not consider or weigh, that at the last day they will have to give an account before God, for innocent blood."
Thereupon they replied to him, that they did not ask him concerning this. And as they did not relish what he said, they did not allow him to say anything further, but hurriedly remanded him to prison.
And being resolved to execute the sentence which they had pronounced, and to proceed with it, they, according to their custom, since he had been a priest, desecrated him, and then, in the dusk of an evening, under the pretense of leading him before the lord, took him out and unexpectedly cast him into the depth of the sea, and drowned him. However, he had expected nothing else; hence he was joyful, and constantly sang and praised God with a glad and valiant heart, until he obtained the crown of the pious martyrs and faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ. And though they drowned him secretly by night, yet it will be revealed at the great day of the Lord, and severely avenged.