My chosen dear children, I hope briefly to write you my faith, that you may know, that 1 did not die as a deceiver or heretic, but for the true faith, which avails before God.
1. I believe and confess, that there is one true God, who created and made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that therein is, by His eternal, Almighty and incomprehensible Word, which was with God in the beginning, and was God with the Father. Gen. 1:1; John 1:1, 2.
2. And God on the sixth day made man after His image or likeness, that is, according to His nature. But man did not remain as created, through the subtilty of the serpent, in whom the devil worked, so that he brought Adam with his whole seed into death, as is written. Gen. 3.
God created man immortal, and made him according to the image of His own likeness; but through the envy of the devil death came into the world, and all that are of his side follow him. Wisdom 23:24. As also Esdras writes, "The first Adam having an evil heart transgressed and was overcome and also all them that are born of him." And he further says, "O thou Adam, what hast thou done! for though it was thou that sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but also all we that come of thee." II Esd. 7:48.
3. Now when the man Adam with his whole seed had fallen into death, the merciful Father through grace many times promised His Son, who as a spotless lamb, that had been foreordained before the foundation of the world, delivered us from death by His death and blood. Gen. 3:15; I Peter 1:19, 20. And when the fullness of the time was come, He became man, and was born of the virgin Mary, as had been prophesied concerning Him, in these words, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Isa. 9:6. And again, "A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son." 7:14. Thus, through the power of the Most High He was conceived in Mary of the Holy Ghost, even as the angel said to her, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Luke 1:35. To Joseph he said, "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of her shall be called the Son of God." Matt. 1:20. For the Word which was with God in the beginning became flesh, and dwelt among men, visibly and tangibly, so that also His glory was seen, a glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He humbled Himself, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, became as another man,
and was found in fashion as a man. Phil. 2:7, 8. And all that He saw and heard of His Father He taught and made known to us, and was obedient to His Father unto death; for He was innocently sentenced by Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, and the third day rose from the dead. And after His resurrection He commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And He ascended up to heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, from whence He shall come again, in the glory of His Father, and in the clouds of heaven, to judge the quick and the dead. Matt. 28:19; Luke 24:51; Rev. 1:7.
4. I further believe and confess, that there is a Holy Ghost, which proceeds from the Father, and is poured out, through Christ Jesus, upon the believing and regenerated children, as is written in Tit. 3 and Eph. 1, as an earnest of the Spirit, and as an assurance of the mind; by which Spirit the), cry,"Abba, Father." Rom. 8:15. By this Spirit they are guided into all truth, since He is also their teacher. John 16:13. By the same Spirit the prophets prophesied, since God through Him distributes the spiritual gifts to believers, for the profiting of all. -Hence the apostle writes, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." I Corinthians 12:4-6. These three names are one true God. The Father is the Creator, who created everything by the Son, or His Word; and by His Spirit He has also renewed all things, and has purified believers by the Son, and by the Holy Ghost; in which three names the apostles were commanded to baptize believers. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. I John 5:7.
5. I further believe and confess, that there is a holy Christian church, which is the communion of the saints, and the assembly of the believing and righteous, which is the temple of the living God, the pillar and solid ground of the truth, and the city of God in the Spirit. I Cor. 12:13; I Timothy 3:15. And in this temple the Holy Ghost is the teacher, and the apostles the laborers, who first built this temple. I Cor. 3:9. As Solomon, when he wanted to build his temple, sent out his servants, to hew out the stones from a mountain; and the stones having been hewed, when they were brought to the work, they joined them together, so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building; so Christ sent out His apostles, to teach men, and to preach repentance in His name, before they were to be baptized; for they had to be regenerated with the hammer of the divine Word, and by the incorruptible seed of God the Father, who is a mountain and rock forever, if they were to be a living stone in thetemple of God. I Kings 5:17; 6:7; Dan. 2:45. Thus the apostles, as wise builders, first built the temple, and laid the foundation. Hence Paul says, that God has set in the church first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers. I Cor. 12:28. In another place he says, "He set some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." For as a body which has many members, and yet is but one body, so also, though there are many believers, there is nevertheless but one body, of which Christ is the head. For Paul writes, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . . and have been made to drink into one Spirit." I Corinthians 12:13. And all that are in this temple or city have Christ for their Lord and King; Him they must obey; they must suffer Him to rule over them, and to bear dominion with the sceptre of His kingdom, namely, with His Spirit and Word; for to Him all power is given in heaven and in earth. Matthew 28:18. The Father judgeth no man, but bath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as though they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which bath sent Him. And as the Father bath life in Himself; so bath He given to the Son to have life in Himself. John 5:22. 23, 26. He that bath the Son of God bath eternal life; and he that bath not the Son of God bath not life. But this church has forgiveness of sins through Him; for they believe in Him, and seek their salvation in Him alone, for there is none other name given them under heaven, whereby they can be saved, than by the name of Christ; for He is made unto them, of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Acts 4:12; I Cor. 1:30. And He gave Himself for them, that He might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar neople, zealous of good works. Tit. 2:14. These have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God for their Father, and one Holy Spirit, upon whom and through whom the temple is built and founded. Eph. 4:5, 6.
6. I further believe and confess a Christian baptism, according to the import of the Word of God, as Christ commanded His apostles, saying, "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. 28:19, 20. And Mark 16:15,16, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is bantized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." Thus the apostles did according to the command of their Lord; for on the day of Pentecost Peter opened his mouth, and taught the people of Jerusalem, and
reproved them of their sins, so that they said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, 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." Acts 2:3739.
Hereby the apostle proves, that the gift of the Holy Ghost should be given not only to the Jews and their children, but also to the Gentiles, who were far from the kingdom of God, but whom God should also call to it, as the prophet Joel had foretold, that God in the latter days should pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Joel 2:28. Hence God poured out the Holy Spirit upon the Gentile Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:44), in order to convince Peter and his [other] apostles, that He had given power to all men by faith, to become children of God; for with such He would establish His covenant. Hence Peter commanded; that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord; for they had been baptized by Christ with the Holy Ghost and with fire; by which Holy Ghost He purged their hearts from dead works, to serve the living God. Hence Peter said to those of Jerusalem, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Not as though sin could be forgiven through baptism, as may be seen in the case of Simon the sorcerer, who had also been baptized by Philip, but Peter said that he should have neither part nor lot in this matter. Acts 8:21. But they are cleansed from sin through faith in Christ Jesus, in whose name they receive baptism; hence baptism is a sign by which something better is signified; therefore it must be received upon or through faith, for Peter says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God." I Peter 3:21, 22. Therefore Philip, according to the command of Christ, first taught those of Samaria, before they received baptism. Also many Corinthians that heard it, believed and were baptized. Thus baptism must be received upon faith, for the burying of sin (Rom. 6:4), for a washing of regeneration (Tit. 3:5), for a covenant of the Christian life, for a putting on of the body of Christ, for an ingrafting into the true olive tree and vine Christ, for an entrance into the spiritual ark of Noah (I Peter 3:20), of which Christ is the true householder, as is written concerning Him, "Behold I and the children which God hath given me." Heb. 2:13. And Isaiah calls him, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6. Thus they are baptized by Christ inwardly with the Holy Ghost and with fire, outwardly with water, as the eunuch said, "Here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart,thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Acts 8:36, 37.
Thus the true Christian baptism must be received according to the command of Christ, and the practice of the apostles, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for the burying of sin, to walk with Christ in newness of life, and that we henceforth should serve sin no more.
7. I further confess a true Supper, a breaking of bread, which Christ Himself instituted, and observed with His apostles, with bread and wine. The same night in which He was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, brake it, and said,"Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same Tanner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new'testament in my blood: This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." I Corinthians 11:23-25. From this no one is to understand, that the bread was the body itself of Christ, because He calls it His body; else we must also understand, that the cup is His testament, since He calls the cup His testament. But now they are only memorials, by which His death and the testament (which is sprinkled with His blood) are to be remembered;.for where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator . . . otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Hebrews 9:16, 17. Hence Christ confirmed with His death His testament which He made with the house of Israel; and suffered His blood to be shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt. 26:28. And for such a remembrance the bread is broken, and the wine drunk, in the church, as Christ said, "This do in-.remembrance of me." For as the bread is broken in the church, so also was the body of Christ broken on the tree of the cross; and as no one is fed by this bread, but those who eat of it, so also no one is fed, according to the soul, by Christ, who is the bread of life, except those that believe in Him. Therefore Judas could not receive Christ, though he ate of the bread; for no one has a right to the breaking of bread, except those who by faith have become partakers of Christ, and one bread with Him; and no one has a right to drink out of the cup, save he that is become a child of the new testament (which is sprinkled with the blood of Christ, I Peter 1:2), and he must have the law of the Lord written in his heart, and the Lord must have become his God, so that He will remember his sins no more. Jeremiah 31:33, 34. For if we are to use a memorial, we must have that which is to be remembered by it. Hence the apostle says, "Let every one examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthilv, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body" (T Cor. 11:28, 29); for we must discern for whom the Lord gave His body. Hence, Christians, or those that would
be called so, must examine themselves, whether they also have a right to the bread, for it represents much to them, since it becomes to them as a mirror. For it is one bread baked of many grains, which must be alike among one another, because they are ground, made into a dough with water, and baked with fire into one bread, so that it cannot be distinguished which was the smallest or the largest grain. Thus must we also be broken in heart, by the hammer of the divine Word (Jer. 23:29), being united together through the communion of the Holy Ghost; and through fervent love be in union and peace with one another, and do nothing through strife or vain glory, but each esteem other better than themselves. Phil. 2:3. They that have thus become one bread with Christ have a right to the breaking of bread, and may receive it in remembrance of Him, for, for such a people He gave His body; they may drink out of the cup, for they are cleansed by His blood, and have by faith obtained that which is signified by the wine. I Peter 1:19. Hence Paul writes, "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?" I Cor. 10:16-18. For as Aaron and his children ate the sacrifice, and no strangers might eat thereof, so no one has a right to the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup, save only the true, regenerated children of God, who are inwardly baptized by Christ with the Holy Ghost and with fire, and outwardly with water, upon their faith, and are thus become one bread and body with Christ. And as the children of Israel had to eat the paschal lamb with unleavened bread, so also the Supper of the Lord must be observed by an unleavened people, who have purged out the old leaven, and are become a new lump, or they observe it to their condemnation. I Cor. 5:7.
Thus the bread is not His body, though Christ so calls it; but it is a memorial of His body, which He has given for us. For Christ said to His disciples, "He that receiveth you receiveth me." Matt. 10:40. And He also says, "Whosoever shall receive such a child in my name receiveth me." Luke 9:48. These words must not be so understood, that they receive Christ bodily; but they that received such a child or His disciples, did virtually as much as though they.had received Christ; for they were His messengers, and they received them in His name. Paul also says that the Israelites drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, which Rock was Christ (I Cor. 10:4); though Moses with his rod did not smite Christ, but a stone, which signified Christ (Ex. 17:6). For as through the smiting with Moses' rod water ran out of the stone, so that the Israelites drank; so God the Father by His power caused the water of eter al life to flow, to give drink to the spiritual Israelites; hence he says, "Which Rock was Christ." They also, he says, did eat the same spiritual meat; though they yet ate only the figurative heavenly bread in the wilderness; but God gave us the true bread from heaven (John 6:50), which is Christ, of which the bread which the Israelites ate was a figure. Therefore Paul writes, "They did all eat the same spiritual meat." I Cor. 10:3. Christ and His apostles were wont to call the signs and figures as though they were the substance, as in the case of the two wives (Gal. 4:24): Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; though the wives were not the covenants, but they signify the covenants.
So one is also not to understand, that the bread is the body of Christ; else the cup must also be the testament, and the wine His blood, which is not so, but they are only symbols by which His body, and His blood, which was shed on the tree of the cross, are to be remembered. Hence Christ says, "This do in remembrance of me."
8. I further also confess a Christian excommunication, or exclusion from the church, which Christ and His apostles themselves ordained and instituted, and this in a twofold manner. In the first place, Christ said to Peter and His other apostles, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. 18:18. For He previously says, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." 16:19. And He also says to His disciples, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. [And when he had said this], he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." John 20: 21-23. From this no one is to understand, that Christ gave the apostles such power that they might govern the kingdom according to their will. God forbid; but He appointed unto them the kingdom, as it had been appointed to Him by His Father; that they should govern it according to His will. Hence He made them vicegerents, because He could not remain with them. As the King of Spain, when he wished to travel out of his dominion, he appointed vicegerents in his place, that they should govern the people according to his will; however, he does not make them lords over it, but he commits to them his laws, decrees and mandates. Hence, whatever they have bound or loosed here in this country, that is, what they have judged, must stand before the king, as far as they have judged according to his laws and customs; or he would not be a true king. Thus Christ also gave His apostles a rule, after which they were to govern themselves; and He, moreover, gave them His Spirit, in order that they might fully expound it to the church. Hence Christ said to them, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into
hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." The same He also says with regard to the feet and the eyes. Mark 9:43. Now as among them of Corinth there was such an offensive member, who had his father's wife, Paul determined with his spirit and with the power of Christ, when they were gathered together, to deliver him to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved. I Cor. 5:1. Hence, that which Paul bound on earth was bound in heaven, for he did it with the power of Christ; for this was the power which they had received, to cut off such offensive members, and to purge out that old leaven, that they might be a new lump. Hence he writes to the Thessalonians, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." II Thess. 3:6. For the dead may not remain among the living, lest their offensive smell be imparted to them, and they also become unclean; hence one is to withdraw himself from all unclean brethren and sisters. The apostle also writes, "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." Tit. 3:10, 11; Rom. 16:17. Such are to be- avoidedfor they cause contention and offenses-that the church may not be corrupted by their false doctrine. Hence we are to have nothing to do with those who are excommunicated from the church (I Cor. 5:11), that we may not defile ourselves with them; in the second place, that they may be ashamed and repent (II Thess.-3:14), for it is a punishment for amendment, and not for destruction. Not as Israel's excommunication which was done by death (Deut. 13:5); but we are to withdraw ourselves from all [such] brethren or sisters without regard of person; for as Moses with his severe, deadly excommunication did not make a distinction of persons, so Christ makes no distinction with His excommunication, which tends to amendment. Hence the apostle writes, "I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat." I Cor. 5:11.
In the second place it is written, Matt. 18, where He [Christ] gives them the keys. If thy brother shall trespass against thee (here He does not speak of offensive members, whom He would have cut off, as is written in the same chapter; for He says): go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (that is, if he confesses his guilt, you are to forgive him, for it is not a deadly matter for which God has excommunicated him; hence you are to forgive him, even as God daily forgives you through Christ. (Eph. 4:32). But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every wordmay be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican,(which heathen and publicans were excluded from the covenant of the Lord). Lev. 19:17; Deut. 17:6. From this we may perceive, that this is spoken of sins that may be adjusted between brother and brother, and concerning which the apostles had received no binding keys, except after the third admonition, and then he is not punished for the sin, though the sin is the cause, but for his disobedience. Then said Peter, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Christ said, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven;" that is, as often as brethren sin against one another, they are to forgive one another, whether the sin consist in words or in works upon which excommunication is not pronounced by the Scriptures. For this is the key with which everything must be locked and unlocked, bound and loosed, or it will not stand in heaven. O my dear brethren, take good heed, that it be always used rightly, and it shall redound much to your peace.
9. Lastly I believe in and confess a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. For as by one man death came upon all men, so also by one man the resurrection of the dead comes upon all men. Rom. 5:12. As in Adam we all die, even so in Christ we all are made alive (I Cor. 15:21); everyone in his order, for many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall wake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Dan. 12:2. For the dead that are in the grave shall hear the voice of Christ, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 5:28, 29. For their faces shall be blacker than darkness, and they shall be greatly terrified and sigh for anguish of spirit; for they shall all be placed before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall there receive according to that they have done. II Cor. 5:10; Jer. 17:10. Then they shall say to the mountains, "Come and cover us, that we see not the face of him that sitteth on the throne." Hosea 10:8; Rev. 6:16. Then they shall begin to creep into the holes of bats, and to hide themselves in the clefts of the rocks from the terrible majesty of the Lord. Isa. 2:20, 21. But it will not be possible; for he shall come in the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they shall then know whom they have pierced. Matt. 24:30; Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7. And they shall see the righteous stand in great boldness, and shall say, "These are they whom we sometimes had in derision; we fools accounted their life madness: How are they now numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints!" Wisd. 5:3. Then shall they fear that terrible sentence; then Christ shall say, "Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Matt. 25:41. But the righteous shall shine above the stars, yea, as the sun, in the throne of their Father, and shall be clothed in white raiment, and fed with the hidden heavenly bread, and eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Then they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; for the Lamb shall lead them unto the fountain of living water; and then they shall inherit all things, for they have overcome. Dan. 12:3; Matt. 13:43; Rev. 2:7; Isa. 49:10; Rev. 7:17.
Behold, how glorious they shall be that are accounted worthy for the resurrection of the just; for this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality. Now it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. I Cor. 15:53, 42-44. And Isaiah says, "But, Lord, thy dead shall live, and arise with their bodies." Isa. 26:19,* Job says, "I know, that my Redeemer liveth, who shall hereafter raise me up from the earth. This my skin shall encompass me, and in my flesh shall I see God; mine eyes shall behold him and not another."t Job 19:25. Then shall the mortal clothing be put off, and the immortal put on; then shall they have palms in their hands, and a crown on their heads, and shall live forever; then shall they sit with Christ on twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; then shall they stand in great boldness before the face of them that afflicted them; then shall the bride have her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ; then shall she hear His beloved voice, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom of my Father, prepared for you from the foundation of the world." II Esd. 2:45; Matt. 19:28; Wisd. 5:1; Matthew 25:34. Thus I confess a resurrection of the flesh, a righteous judgment, and an eternal life. Amen.
See, my dear children, here I have briefly set forth to you in writing my faith, that you may know, in what faith your father died; and I hope that it may serve for your instruction, and that you may be induced the more to follow the same; the Lord grant you His grace, that this may be accomplished.
Herewith I will commend my dear wife and children to the Lord; may He help and bless you by His Spirit, that you may all grow up in wisdom, holiness and righteousness: this I wish you with all my heart. When we are to die, I do not know.
Finished in the year 1569, in May, in my prison, at Bruges, by me, JACOB DE RoosE, or the chandler.
Alle die liiden na den wille Godts, wilt hierop
Die bevelen haer Zielen den getrouwen Shep¢er
met goede Wereken.
I Pet. 4:19.