The love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you my dear wife and sister in the Lord, now and forever; this I wish you from the depth of my heart as an affectionate salutation. Amen. After this good wish of my heart and Christian salutation, let me inform you, my dear and in God beloved wife how it still stands with me, that I am still well content and of good cheer, the Lord be praised for His grace which He shows me, and I hope by His grace, that He will help and keep me unto the end, since with Jeremiah, I have committed to Him my cause against my adversaries, who are set against me and against the Lord, since I am imprisoned for the name of the Lord, because with the prodigal son, I have arisen to confess my guilt before my God, against whom I have sinned and transgressed, who graciously received me, when I sought and entreated Him with tears. And for this reason they persecute and gainsay us, because we have received mercy from God, as the Lord has spoken and declared, saying, "If ye were of the world, the world would love you, but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19. Mark, my dear wife, the words of our Lord, what is the reason that we are hated; so that in the time of hatred and persecution we may comfort ourselves with the grace of the Lord, as also the apostle Peter testifies, saying, "Because we no longer run with them to that excess of riot, as are lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries." I Peter 4:3, 4. Therefore does the world speak evil of you-: therefore say they as is written in the Book of Wisdom, "Let us lie in wait for the righteous; for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of an other fashion; he declares our ways to be sin, and avoids us like filth; therefore he is grievous unto us; we will torment and examine him with despitefulness, that we may,know his meekness, and prove his patience, and let us condemn him with the most shameful death." Wisd. 2:12. This has ever been the reason: why the righteous have been evil spoken of, envied, persecuted, despoiled of their goods, cast into prisons and bonds, drowned, beheaded, and burned, as we may first read concerning Abel, as John testifies with these words, "Let us love one another, not as Cain, who was of that wicked one. and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." I John 3:12. Hence the apostle says, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."v. 13. Christ declared to the Jews, "Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of these do ye stone me?" John 10:32. Hence, my dear, beloved wife, it will not fail, as the apostle says, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus will have to suffer persecution; for evil men and seducers always wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. II Tim. 3:12, 13. Hence, the righteous may always prepare themselves for suffering and tribulation; for they are led forth unto death as sheep for the slaughter; we that live are constantly delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, and are always in peril to die every day for our glorying which we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. We may therefore well prepare ourselves for suffering, even as the Lord told His apostles, "In the world ye shall have tribulation; yea, the World shall rejoice, but ye shall weep and be sorrowful; for a woman that is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come." John 16:33. Thus we must also bring forth Christ with sorrow in this world. Therefore the apostles strengthened and encouraged the churches, that they must with tribulation and suffering enter into the kingdom of God, even as our head Christ went before, as is written concerning Him in the prophets. For the kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt, 11:12), as I now experience myself; for we did indeed formerly have some temptations such as are common to man, but now we must strive unto blood. I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 12:4. For I may now well say with the apostle, that I bear in my body the marks of the Lord. Gal. 6:17. For they have scourged me three times, until the blood flowed, and this that I should betray my fellow brethren; but the Lord by His grace kept my lips. I was suspended by my hands so that I did not touch the ground. Yea, my dear beloved wife, I was seized with great fear so that I could hardly stand it, when they scourged me the third time; hence I thought of the words of the apostle who says, "The Lord will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able." I Cor. 10:13. Then they desisted though they threatened to torture me; and they said that they would rend my limbs asunder, or I should tell them who had associated with me, and who were my fellow brethren; but the Lord did not let them have their will this time; what they will do yet, the Lord knows, for to Him every thing is known.
My dear and in God beloved wife, faint not at my tribulation, which ought to be a comfort to you, that the Lord has called me hereunto, that He wants to magnify His name by me, and that I am counted worthy to suffer shame for His name, and to seal His Word with my blood before this wicked and adulterous generation. I hope to go before you in truth, and before all my dear brethren and sisters who still walk in like peril; that they may take an example from me, not in anywise to forsake the Lord in tribulation, but firmly to cleave to Him, who (though He is great), will not forsake His
own in distress who trust in Him, and serve Him in truth; for His eyes are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry, yea, the Lord is the strength of the righteous in the time of trouble. Psalm 34:15; 37:49.
Herewith I will commend my dear and in God beloved wife to the Lord, who is able to keep your treasure, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32. Adieu, my dear wife, whom I love in truth, adieu. For I suspect that the parting is close at hand; for I wait from day to day for the redemption of my body, and to enter into godly rest to my fellow brethren that were also slain for the truth. Rev. 6:11.
Greet the brethren and sisters in my name with the peace of the Lord.
Written in my bonds, by me,
Unworthy prisoner in the Lord.
The second letter from Adriaen Janss Hoedemaecker to his wife
I, Adriaen Janns, imprisoned at Rijssel for the name of our Lord, and the testimony of my conscience, wish my dear and in God beloved wife, much grace, mercy and peace, from God the heavenly Father, who is the true Father in heaven and earth; that He would grant you to be strengthened with might by His Spirit, and Christ to dwell, in your hearts, and to be rooted in through love. Eph. 3:14. This I wish you, together with the consolation of the Holy Spirit, as a Christian salutation and affectionate adieu.
Furthermore, after all proper and Christian salutation, I hereby inform you my dear wife in the Lord, that J am well content, and have a good conscience, the Lord be praised forever for His grace, who has kept me in His grace until this hour, and I hope that through His grace He will keep me unto the end, according to His promise, for He says, "Though a mother forsake her child, yet will I not forsake thee." Isa. 49:15. Yea, the Lord says, "I will not leave you comfortless." Herewith, my dear wife, I comfort myself when I am tempted. I further cannot conceal from my dear wife the many tears which I shed when I think of your sorrow, which I presume you have on my account, because we must now give up our Christian fellowship which we have had together by faith. Yes, my dear and beloved wife in the Lord, to every thing, says Solomon, there is a time, "A time to meet, and a time to part." Eccl. 3:1. Hence my dear wife in the Lord, what more godly parting can there be than for the name of the Lord; and though we now must part, I hope that I shall go before you, and that you will also follow to that place where there will be no more parting, for there we shall ever be with the Lord. I Thess. 4:17. Herewith you may comfort yourself, even as the apostle Paul comforted the church at Thessalonica. I further beseech and exhort you by the mercies of God, that you take heed unto the vocation in which the Lordhas called you, and that you walk as you have received the Lord, with all humility and meekness, and walk in the love of God, and of your neighbor, Eph. 4:1; Col. 2:6. Always remember the poor saints where you live; give according to what the Lord has bestowed upon you; continue also in prayer day and night: adhere firmly to the doctrine of Christ, and whatsoever you have heard and received let it abide in you; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. II Corinthians 12:11. And remember me as long as I am here; I hope not to forget you as long as I am in this tabernacle, with my prayers to God. Though with my body I am absent from you I am nevertheless present with the spirit and remember you with tears.
Herewith adieu, my dear wife in the Lord, adieu, till we get in the kingdom of God to our heavenly Father. Written with tears by me,
Greet the friends much in my name, especially my S. J. I would write more, but there is no good opportunity here for writing. Written to my dear wife.
ing but what tends to His praise, I hope that He will hear us. I trust I shall not forget you in my prayers to God, but to remember you, even as behooves the members of the body in Christ; and as I, when I was still with you, served you with the little gift which I received from God, so I must also exhort you yet in my imprisonment, and say with the apostle, "I the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called of God, with all lowliness and meekness, • vith longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3. Yea, as ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him (Col. 2:6, 7); and always remember the former days, in which ye were illuminated (Heb. 10:32), and what promises you made to the Lord, when you entered into covenant with Him, so that you should serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life. Hence, my dear brethren and sisters, walk faithfully before your God, who called you in His grace out of darkness into His marvelous light, who has received you as sons and daughters, enlightened you with His Holy Spirit, and promised you His kingdom.
Hence I repeat it, walk worthy of your vocation, in the love of God and your neighbor; love one another, as behooves brethren and sisters, and let not your hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life (Luke 21:34), that your hearts do not become alienated; for through many cares the heart becomes estranged from God. Therefore my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, I say with Christ, "Watch, and pray day and night to God, and be like unto men that wait for their lord; that, when he knocks, they may open unto him immediately. Oh, how blessed are those servants whom the Lord shall find thus watching: they shall enter in with him into the kingdom of God, and possess all things." Luke 12:36, 37. Herewith I will commend my dear brethren and sisters to the Lord, who is able to keep your treasure, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Adieu my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, adieu, till we get into the kingdom of God. It is very inconvenient here for writing.
Written by me, imprisoned for the true testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ADRIAEN JANSS HOEDEMAECKER.