The God of all grace, who has called us from the power of darkness into His eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ, and married us with an everlasting love, as the prophet says, the same grant you, my dear wife, according to the riches of His grace and glory, to be strengthened with might by His Holy Spirit in the inner man, that you may stand steadfast and immovable in faith and love, and the peace of God, to the salvation of your soul and the praise of God, that you may receive the undefiled, incorruptible and unfading inheritance, together with the crown of eternal life, Amen, which God has promised to all them that love and serve Him with all their heart. This, I Jan Hendrickss wish Lijsbeth Jans my dear wife, from my bonds and in my last time, as a very cordial salutation in the Lord.
Further, after all proper salutation to you my beloved wife Liisbeth Jans, I inform you that I am still valiant and of good cheer in the Lord. and trust to adhere to His Word and truth by His help. without whose aid it cannot be done; and I trust that
He will keen my treasure unto the end and deliver me out of the lions' iaws. that they may not devour me with their teeth. Thus I trust it is also with you. and I sincerely have this confidence concerning you that you are still minded and determined with me to serve Him all the davs of your life in rip,bteousness and holiness; and I trust that God will strengthen and keen vnu therein, even as He has hitherto done, for which praise be to Him forever.
Furthermore. my dear wife. since the time of my departure, according to human purpose, is very near at hand. I cannot forget you, but must out of love write you a little yet. because of the great love which I have to you, and because you have shown me so much love in my bonds. in various ways by visiting and writing. for which I thank you very much: may God in high heaven reward you for it. And I thank you most heartily for your last letter. which was verv precious, for when we read it we were so much reioiced by the great consolation that we both went. And because you love me so. and I you. Therefore I must still care for you a little, and admonish You as my most beloved. Not. my dear Tan's daughter, that I have not the confidence that you will walk in the fear of God; ob, no! I am confident that you will do nothing but what is good. But that I exercise this care for you, is done only from pure, clear love, because I love your soul so very much; hence I very often wish that you might be taken before me, since I well see how difficult it is to reach heaven. and how easily man is (led astrayl, even as Paul warns us I Cor. 10:12, saying, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
Hence; dear Jan's daughter, take this in good part, this I pray you, as I trust that you do. And Ifurther admonish and beseech you, that you always walk in true and unfeigned fear of God, since the fear of God is the true foundation to please the Lord, for without the fear of God it is impossible to please Him. For by the fear of God we guard against evil and shun that which is wrong; for when we begin to consider that God will punish sinners so fearfully, we fear Him on that account; for if this were not so, there would be no need of fearing Him. But when we begin to consider it, we consequently shun and avoid that which is wrong; but those that do not fear Him commit much ungodliness. In the second place, my dear Jan's daughter that you firmly cleave to the vine Christ, and abide in Him and He in you, and you shall be as a fruitful branch, full of good and beautiful fruit; and thus the Father will purge you, that you may bring forth fruit more abundantly. For he that does not abide in Him. but departs from Him, the same is cut off from Him as a withered branch. For your sins, says the prophet,"have separated between you and your God." Isaiah 59:2. Behold, dear Jan's daughter, here we have the clear express scripture, by what a man is cut off from Christ, the vine, and what the separation is whereby we are separated from God, namely, sin; for when we sin, we are by the sin separated from God. Therefore, my dear wife, I beseech you once more, that you firmly cleave to the Lord and shun sin as you would a serpent. that you do not come too near it, and be devoured by it; for the teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion, slaving the souls of men. Sir. 21:2. We must beware of sin; for God does indeed warn man against sin, but He does not prevent him from it, when he is determined to commit it. as we have many examples in the Scriptures, as in Adam and others.
In the third place, I beseech you to be patient in the afflictions that come unon you for Christ's sake, for patience is a very good thing for Christians, for Christ says, "In your patience possess ye your souls." Luke 21:19. and Paul likewise says, "For ye have need of patience. that, after ve have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Heb. 10:36. Truly indeed may Paul say that we have need of patience, which I have proven in my bonds. Paul further says, "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, (and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 1 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself. lest ve be wearied and faint in your minds." Heb. 12:1-3.
Behold, dear Jan's daughter, thus are we exhorted to patience, for with patience and resignation we can overcome much tribulation and affliction; but he that is impatient cannot stand in the sufferings of Christ. Hence Sirach may truly say, "Woe unto those that have lost patience, and have turned aside into perverse ways! how will it go
with them when the Lord shall visit them?" Sir. 2: 14. Dear Jan's daughter, take heed to the holy Scriptures, and in"all things approve yourself as the minister of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by thanksgiving, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known; as dying, and, behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." II Corinthians 6:4-10. See, my most beloved, mark these words, and watch for the coming of the Lord; for He shall come as a thief in the night; and always have oil in your lamp and do not suffer it to go out but always be ready with the wise and good virgins to let the Lord your Bridegroom in; and constantly have a burning light in your hand, and stand with your loins girded to wait that you may not be surprised; constantly and at every moment walk as you hope to appear before Him, and do not lie down to sleep with a troubled or gnawing conscience, but purify your heart before God and your neighbor, and always act and walk according to the right rule of the Scriptures, for the Scriptures always point to Christ, and you cannot be confounded, nor deceived, nor err. And if you do this, the God of peace shall be with you and abundantly minister unto you an entrance into eternal life. Rom. 15:33; II Pet. 1:10, 21.
Hence my dear Jan's child, be patient in all tribulation and distress and take for an example the afflictions and longsuffering of Christ, and the prophets, who have spoken to you in the name of the Lord."Behold," says James,"we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of job, and have seen the end of the Lord. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." James 5:11; 1:12.
Behold, dear Jan's child, he that overcometh shall inherit all things and he shall not be hurt of the second death. He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, as Christ has testified of His Father. And to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it; he that overcometh shall inherit all things. Rev. 21:7; 2:11, 26, 27; 3:21; 2:17. In short, dear Jan's child,the Scriptures are full of the great reward of the righteous; hence set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth, for they who mind earthly things, their end is destruction. Col. 3:2; Phil. 3:19. Strive therefore after imperishable treasures, which thieves cannot steal, namely, after heavenly riches, which cannot perish, and will endure forever with the Father.
Let your meditation be in the word of the Lord, day and night concern yourself in His commandments and statues, and watch for His coming, and long for it, and avoid all appearance of evil, and act not as though you might live many years yet, but walk before the Lord just as if you were to die immediately. And let the voice or sound of the angels' trumpets constantly be in your ears, when the dead shall have to rise and appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. II Cor. 5:10. For the Lord Himself, says Paul, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord. I Thess. 4:16, 17.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words, my most beloved; for the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall.be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? II Peter 3:10, 11. Mark well, my dear Jan's child, what manner of persons we ought to be, says Peter; let it therefore not grieve us though we must now suffer much affliction for the name of Christ. If any man suffer as a Christian, says Peter, let him not be ashamed, but let him commit his cause to God. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? I Pet. 4:17, 18. The Proverb also says, "If the righteous be recompensed here, how will it go with the sinner?" Prov. 11:31."And if they do these things in a green tree," says Christ,"what shall be done in the dry?" Luke 23:31. Behold, my most beloved, if Christ the eternal truth had to suffer before He entered into the kingdom of His Father, how much more His members? For He Himself says, "The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my sayings they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." John 15:20, 21. And if the righteous must suffer here, where shall the sinner appear?"Wherefore,
let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator," says Peter. I Pet. 4:19. Thus, my dear Jan's child,. be resigned as-much as you can; though men separate us here, hereafter they shall have no power. Then shall we stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted us and they shall say, "These are they whom we so often had in derision, and a proverb of reproach. We fools have missed the right way, and the way of truth hath not appeared unto us." Wisd. 5:1.
Charles with his bloody decrees, and all that help to confirm.them, shall then have no more power. The blood-thirsty priests shall- then no more hate the people of God-; but we shall live with the Lord forever and ever, and go in and out as calves of the stall. Mal. 4:2. Then the great sorrow shall all be forgotten, since it shall be turned into great joy, which shall never end, for a thousand years shall seem to be but as one day because of the great joy. II Pet. 3:8.
Therefore, my most beloved, comfort yourself with these promises for He is faithful that promised; and wait for them with patiene'e and longsuffering: and I hope to wait for you under the altar. Hebrews 10:23; Rev. 6:9, 11.
Herewith I will commend you to God, who brought Israel through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness, till they were in the promised land; may He bring you into His eternal kingdom. I would from the heart that I might take you with me, but you must bide the time with patience.
Herewith I write you adieu for this brief span of time, since I do not intend to write you any more after this; but I hope to speak orally with you in the throne of heaven.
Adieu, dear wife; a thousand times adieu; acquit yourself valiantly in the truth, and walk truly in the narrow way, until the Lord comes. I thank you very much from the heart for the exceedingly great love you have shown me; in time of need love is appreciated best.
Furthermore, I bid all the friends an earnest farewell, to name them individually according to the flesh, their number is too great. And bid my son, Heyndricks Janss, farewell; and tell him to become a good child; and to fear our dear Lord, for bold and ungodly children shall not enter into heaven, but go to hell, and that he learn and go to school, and not run and play with naughty children, but obey his mother and his grandfather and grandmother, and not learn to speak evil or lie, for the mouth that lieth slayeth the soul. Wisd. 1:11. Further, Lijsbeth Jans, the letters at Delft you may let her keep, and thus you will have no trouble with them, since she intends to let the readers read them first, as they write me. I send you with this letter, three pieces of money, of which each of you shall have one for a medal of remembrance, you one, my son one, and my daughter one; to my daughter, however, you may give the smallest one, if, youplease to do so. You may excuse the woman from paying for the bed and the cloak, and I thank him much. Now, my dear Jan's child, acquit yourself valiantly. I herewith write you adieu, adieu, dear Jan's child; be as resigned as you can; you would have had to resign yourself to it, if I had been lost at sea; once we must part. You may return home. Pray the Lord for me; I hope not to forget you. Greet the friends, wherever it is convenient. Adieu, my dear Jan's child; you know why I suffer.
Written on the 4th of February, A. D. 1571, by me,
Since some brethren have requested me to write them something concerning what the lords have asked me touching my faith, when I was before them, I can therefore not refuse to write them a little in regard to the answer which I gave them according to the simple fisherman's understanding which the Lord has given me; the bailiff also did not ask me very much or very thoroughly, as you will yet hear. Further, when I had been in confinement forty weeks, on the fifth of June, A. D. 1570, if T remember rightly, I was taken down the first time to appear before the lords; and when I entered the sheriff's hall, the judges with the bailiff and also the burgomasters were assembled there. I uncovered my head and bade them good day, and they did the same to me. The bailiff then told me to sit down upon a bench, which I did, whereupon he asked me how old I was. I said that I did not know it accurately;"but," said I"you may write twentyeight years;" and so it was written."Where were you born?""At Swartawael.""How long have you resided in the Haven?" I said, "Five years, counting the time I have been confined here.""Yes, that is all the same," said the bailiff.
He then asked me why I had not my children baptized. I said, "Because I have never read that the apostles baptized infants, nor is it found in the Scriptures." And so it was written, "Jan Hendrickss has confessed to us that he has not had his children baptized, and this because he has never read in the Scriptures that children were baptized." The bailiff then asked me how many children I had, whether I did not have more than the two whom he had caused to be baptized. I said, "None.""How old are the children?" Ans. "The older is three years, and the other about one year."
Then the bailiff asked me whether I had been aware that children were baptized. I said, "Yes, I have seen it myself." Ques."Why then did you not have your children baptized? Or are you better or wiser than your forefathers?" Ans. "That I have not had my children baptized, is because I have never read that infants are baptized." Then they said that whole households were baptized. Ans. "While households are indeed spoken of, but it is written that they all rejoiced that they had come to believe in the Lord, which infants can not
do." This some of the lords admitted. The clerk then asked me where it was forbidden to baptize infants. I asked him where it was forbidden to throw dice. He said that it was forbidden enough, but he could not prove it to me. Then I said, "It is nowhere forbidden; yet every one knows that it is an evil practice," and they also admitted that it was not good. I further said that the Scriptures do not forbid everything that is evil, and that no one should institute the practice of baptizing infants, unless he is able to prove it from the Scriptures. The bailiff then asked me whether I had had myself baptized. Ans."I had myself baptized once, and I know of but one baptism." Then the bailiff asked me whether I had received more than the baptism administered to me in my infancy. Ans."I had myself baptized once according to the Scriptures, the last day of March, '63." Then the bailiff said, "It was in '64; you confessed so to me yourself, when I apprehended you.""It was in '63, said I; but I shall not deny it, whether it is a year more or less." Then the bailiff said, "We may have misunderstood each other"; and he had it written thus, "Jan Hendrickss had himself baptized the last day of March, '63, and this according to the Scriptures.""Then you were not very old yet," said the bailiff."This is true, I said."
He then asked whether I did not know that I was baptized in my infancy."I have heard it said," said I,"but I do not remember it.""This indeed I believe" said the bailiff."What man was it that baptized you, and where was he from, and what was his name?" Ans."I did not ask him what his name was, I had never seen him, nor have I ever seen him since that time, as far as I know.." This was written exactly as I confessed it to them. Ques. "Where does he reside?" Ans."I do not know." Ques."Do you not know where he was from?" Ans."I do not want to tell you this; I do not wish to name any one." Ques. "Why?" Ans. "Because I do not wish to bring any one into trouble; there are enough in trouble now, and you have trouble enough with us." Ques. "Was no one present when you were baptized?" Ans. "Yes." Ques. "Who were they and what were their names?" Ans."I do not wish to tell." Ques. "Where did it occur and in what place?" Ans. "In Holland." Then the bailiff said, "Holland is large; in what place?" Then I said, "Why would you ask me much for the place; if I were to tell you the place, you would demand to know still more; but I do not wish to implicate any one."
Finally I told them the place, and said that it had taken place in Delfshaven. Ques. "In what house?" Ans."I do not wish to tell." Ques. "What was the name of the people that were in that house?" Ans."I do not wish to name any one." Ques. "Why are the people in that house so sacred that they may not be named?" Ans. "If you knew them, you would not leave them in peace; and I do not wish to implicate any one; you have trouble enough with us." Then the bailiff began to askhow long I had had my wife, and where I had married her. Ans. "About five years," and I told them that I had married her before the Christian church. Ques. "Before what church? you certainly did not marry her before the church that stands in Delfshaven?" Ans."No." And so it was written that I had married her before the Christian church. Ques. "Who was present?" Ans. "I do not wish to tell you."
Then the bailiff said that I should name the persons, or he would torture me. Ans. "Sir Bailiff, who taught you this?" Then the bailiff said that he had power to do thus with me, and threatened me greatly, and when he heard that I would name no one, he told the clerk to write, "Jan Hendrickss has confessed to us such and such things (such as I told them). but he has named no one, and this because he did not wish to implicate any one;" and so it was written. When the bailiff had thus interrogated me, and wished me many miles away, I said to them,"I would fain be in Hitland." Then the bailiff said, "Where is that, where the busses catch the herring?""Yes.""I indeed would that you were there," said the bailiff,"with all those that are of your persuasion." Then one of the lords, who, I was told was a burgomaster, wanted to speak to me concerning baptism, and asked me that if a man should lead a Christian life, but did not have himself baptized. whether he could not be saved: whether it would be an obstacle in the way of his salvation? I replied, "No-, else salvation would he by the water; but baptism is a command of Christ. hence it must be practiced." Then I think he said, that it was our view that infants ought not to be bantized. and asked me when they were to be baptized. and how old thev had to be. Thereupon I replied to him that the Scriptures specify no vear, whether they were twenty, or thirtv. or fifty, or a hundred: whenever they repented, and requested it, it might be done: and so we use it. but not sooner, said I and so did Christ teach, and the apostles practice it. Then they said that at that time it had to be so, that adults were baptized, but now the infants must be baptized, for then was the beginning or commencement; this was their pretense. I then asked the burgomaster whether Christ, Matt. 28 and Mark 16, had not commanded to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and whether the apostles had not observed the same, and had first taught the people and then baptized them? This he admitted; for we find, he said, that about five thousand were baptized at one time. Thereupon I think I asked him whether he confessed that adult persons were baptized at that time."Yes," he said."Well then, we certainly find clearly enough, that the apostles lived more than ten or twenty years in the world, and they first baptized adult persons, as you confess yourself; and this had therefore to be done so at that time, because it was in the beginning: now, since we find that they lived to the
world so long, infants enough must have come into the world in this long period of years;" this he also acknowledged. Then I said, "Now show me once where the apostles in this long time baptized infants; and transferred baptism upon infants; for you say that then adult persons had to be baptized, but now infants. If the apostles had wanted to change baptism, or wanted that it should be changed, they had time enough themselves, for they were long enough in the world, for Paul says: 'I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God"' (Acts 20:27); but they could not prove it to me. Then the oldest judge said that they would prove it to me, but it was not done; and the same judge said that God created man once, and no more; and He commanded circumcision to Abraham once and no more; and He commanded baptism once, and no more. Ans, "This is true. Now, if God created the man Adam once, and no more, and commanded them circumcision once, and no more, and commanded them baptism once, and no more, and they observed the same, and did not change it, why then have they changed baptism from adult persons to infants?" Then they said, "Who has changed it?" Ans."The Pedobaptists." Then they told and begged me to consider the matter well, that it was not a convenient thing to be burnt. I replied, "I know that well; I have no desire to be burnt-it is not convenient to be burnt; if I did not know that I am right, I would rather ignominiously yield; than honorably lose my life; for it is no small matter to suffer one's self to be burnt at the stake; I am not so desirous of death, I would rather keep my life, if it were God's will.""Yes," said they,"consider it well." Then the bailiff said, "Jan Hendrickss, you have confessed this to us (and he had my confession read before my eyes, all that I had confessed); now if you will yield. my lords will do their utmost to procure your release." Ans."My lords, I am quite open to conviction; if you can prove to me that I am wrong, and when I can feel, that, I will desist from that which is evil." That was well, they said. and they told me to ask the Lord for grace, that He would grant me a good understanding."That I will gladly do," said I. This lasted about an hour and a half, whereupon they had me conducted up above again. These are the principal questions which they asked me, and which I have remembered. and these are my simple fisherman's answers which I made, as far as I can remember, for it was written six weeks after I was before the lords; for there was a man confined with us, and for this reason we dared not write, but to write the words exactly as they were spoken, would be impossible for me, for my memory is weak.
A few days after I was taken below again before my lord the bailiff and a young priest, the chaplain of the Old Church, and thus three of us were in the sheriff's hall. The priest then began to relate how he had had a conversation with a man, and that they had had many words together concerning the holy Scriptures, and about this burning and killing,for there had recently four priests been put to death in the Hague, and the priests had said to one another that there were many different views in the world concerning the holy Scriptures, and each died for his belief, and yet there was but one true. This the priest told me, and said to me that they had many words; and the man had requested the priest that he should talk with me; so the priest said. I then asked, "What kind of man was it?""He was of your persuasion," he said,"a sailor, and a man like you are." Then it occurred to me who it was, but he is not of our persuasion, for I had already heard of him; and thus we fell into an animated conversation, and the priest asked me, whom I acknowledge as true, for there are so many persuasions. I said, "What have I to do with another, I have enough to do with myself." He asked whether there was more than one faith that was true."No," said I. And there fell very many words, and the bailiff listened, and greatly strengthened the priest in what he said; and whenever I quoted Scripture against them, the priest was immediately on hand to obscure what I said, so that I could not finish my remarks, and he frequently said to me, "You are forever coming with the holy Scriptures.""Yes," said I,"with what should I come? I have nothing else.""Yes," said he,"I well know that you always come with the Scriptures, and much with the passage, II Thess. 2:15, where Paul says: 'Mark therefore, dear brethren, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or epistle."' Mark well the term word; by that he frequently wanted to prove that there was more Scripture than was written, which we were also bound to observe, as far as I could comprehend his assertion, for he frequently made it before I could understand it. But it is only a stumbling block-how can we observe more than what is written? Their sole aim is to obscure the understanding of the Scriptures, since they are well aware that with the Scriptures they will fall short; and they also cannot well bear it that we quote the Scriptures of the New Testament, for whenever we do this, their first question is why we quote more from the Testament, than from other writers, and whereby we know that the Testament is true; and they then come with many sophistical questions, which are not edifying, and skip from one thing to another. But when they can find any Scriptures in the Testament that are on their side, these must stand, yea, then the Word of God must stand forever. For we came to speak of the breaking of bread, where Paul says, "Take, eat; this is my body." I Cor. 11:24. This language had to stand just as it was. I asked him more than once, whether the bread which they gave men was the body of Christ. He said, "Yes; when we have pronounced the words over it, it is His flesh and blood, yea, soul and body, " it is the truth what I write. Thereupon I said, "I have eaten the bread with you people, but I could not feel in my mouth, that it became flesh, but it remained bread even as it was."
And we had many words with regard to it. I said that Christ Himself says, "Flesh and blood profit nothing; but the words that I speak are spirit and life." John 6:63. He then came with a sophism, asking whether the flesh of Christ was not good for anything.
Thus we had many words. I said that it was written that the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshiped with men's hands. - Acts 17:24, 25."Yes," said the priest,"as though He needed any one; for He does not need us, but we need Him." Then he asked me what I held concerning the matter, or the like. I replied that Paul says, I Cor. 10:15-18, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" Thus I confess that there is but one communion of Christ, for Paul explains it with a simile, saying, "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?""Now, I ask," I said to them,"what was it that Israel ate, the altar or the sacrifices?" They said, "The sacrifices;" but they said it reluctantly."That is right," said I;"yet they were partakers of the altar: so it is also with those who help to break or eat the bread; they eat only bread, and are yet partakers of the body of .Christ." I asked whereby he would maintain his mass. He brought forward the passage, I Corinthians 11:24, "This do in remembrance of me." By this he maintained his mass. ."Well, there is nothing said about a mass," said I. This was his defense of the mass. I asked him whether a man might be apprehended for his faith. He affirmed it. I said, "Paul certainly says: 'A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject;' but he says nothing about apprehending." Titus 3:10."It is written," said the priest,"that the magistracy does not bear the sword in vain.""Yes," said I,"for the punishment of the evil, and for the protection of the good; but what evil have I done?" They said, "You have adhered to false doctrine, and attended assemblies that are opposed to the Roman religion, which the king will not tolerate, for he wants to protect his country; for it was seen what those of Munster did; their object was to capture cities, and to deprive the king of his country." Ans."The Munsterites did wrong; have you heard such things of me? I have never in my life known the Munsterites.""No; but the Munsterites sprang from you.""Well then,.it would have been time enough for you to apprehend me, when you had heard such things of me; for no one can be burned justly, except he first have done evil himself, and not on account of another." But the-priest strenuously defended the authorities in this; that a man might be apprehended for his faith. I said, "Christ certainly said to His servants, when they wanted to root up the tares, that they should not do it, but that they should let both grow together till the day of harvest." Matt. 13:30. The priest said, "But one can go and root up the tares along the edge, without injuring the good." Ans."Christ commands not to do it, but to let it grow." But the priest constantly charged it upon the magistracy, that the apprehending was their work, just as though the ministers of the Romish church had been without guilt in the matter. I then asked them whether my lord the bailiff of Delft, who was with us, was a brother and minister in their church. This I asked him many times; but the priest would not give me a clear answer with -regard to it, but jumped from one thing to another. However, I did not desist, until he made a definite answer, which he did, but with great reluctance. When the bailiff saw that we disputed so warmly, he came and stood before us, and listened with close attention; then I pressed the matter only the harder. Finally he said, "Yes.""Then you acknowledge him as a brother and minister in your church?""Yes," said the priest."Well then, now I desire you to show me where the apostles had magistrates in their church, who protected the faith with fire, water and the sword, as you do." This he could not prove to me, but came with the passage in Acts 23, where Paul was imprisoned, and more than forty men had vowed neither to eat nor to drink till they should have killed Paul. Paul's sister's son hearing this, made it known to Paul, and Paul sent him to the chief captain, that he should tell it to him. And when the chief captain heard it, he said to two other captains, that they should make ready the beasts, and set Paul thereon, and bring him safe unto Felix the Governor; with two hundred soldiers, threescore and ten horsemen, and two hundred spearmen.
Thereupon I replied, "Paul was then a prisoner, and that magistrate was an unbeliever; but show me once where they had magistrates in their church.""Yes," said the priest,"if unbelievers did this, how much more believers." I asked where the apostles had baptized bells. He said, "We do not baptize bells.""What do you teach them then?" said I. He said that they blessed or exorcised them, if I have remembered his words correctly;"For," said he,"Satan is much in such things;" and he related how he had reigned in the New Church, and therefore this was done, as he said; and there was a great deal said.
I said to him that I had never read that the apostles had magistrates in the church, who protected their faith with the sword; but that I had read that Paul says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world." Then the priest started up, and asked where this was written."In Eph. 6:12," said I. Then he took up his Testament and looked for it, and having read it he said, "This Paul says of the devil; he is the
prince of this world." I said, "It is the magistracy of this world, who rule the world, for it speaks of principalities and lords of this world." And there fell many words, the bailiff listening with attention. The priest said that our faith had not existed long, but that their faith had endured fifteen hundred years, and though whole countries were apostatizing from it, said he, whole countries were being converted in India, and that many great signs and miracles occurred there, even as occurred in the time of Christ, so that the Christians were increasing. Then I said, "Does that occur there, and not here? the church is certainly also here in these lands, and there are pastors in Delft, and in other cities hereabout, as well as there." He said, it was certainly true."Yes," said I,"Pharaoh's magicians also imitated what Moses did.""Yes," said the priest,"that was so, but they did not do such things as occurred there." Then I said, "Well then, I will adduce to you still more: we read that there was a sorceress, who caused Samuel to come forth from the grave, and Samuel talked with her or with Saul." I Sam. 28."That is true," said the bailiff;"I have read that." Then said I,"Christ Himself also says that they shall say: 'Lord, have we not in thy name cast out devils? But he shall answer them: Depart from me; I know you not."' Matt. 7:22, 23. Then the bailiff said, "Jan Hendrickss does not believe it; do you, Jan Hendrickss?""No; Sir Bailiff," said I,"there is so much villainy perpetrated.""Yes," said the priest,"there has much indeed been done that was not good;" and he related that there had been popes who had not done what was good, but what was wrong. This the priest himself acknowledged; but"there was now," said he,"an old, able man pope, of whom much good was said, and he confessed that there were bad abuses among them.""Paul says," said I,"that the old leaven ought to be purged out, and that if any man that is called a brother be a drunkard, or a railer, or a fornicator, with such a one we ought to have nothing to do;" but of this, as it seemed, he had little understanding."Indeed," said the bailiff,"if there were a man who would have to do with another man's wife, I should not want to have anything to do with him."
The priest then I think asked me why I had left them? I said that I had indeed heard the priests preach a great deal, very severely censuring popery, but that they did not practice what they preach; that they drank to such an excess as to fight, strike and rave as though they had been madmen, and for this reason I left. This I confessed to him because the bailiff was present; when there were no lords present, I did not wish to bring up their things. I said, "They always want to instruct us in prison; they ought to set us at liberty, and then instruct us;" but of this nothing was said. And having thus many words together, I asked the bailiff, saying, "Sir Bailiff, I must ask you something: if I should renounce my faith: however I do not say that.""Will," said thebailiff,"I do not say it either, that you do.""But if I did, would you assure me of my life, and release me.""This I will not say, but I still say as my lords said, that we will do our best in that respect.""Yes, Sir Bailiff," said I,"what would that signify; it has happened that persons have renounced their faith, and were put to death notwithstanding, as has been seen in Delft.""Yes," said the bailiff,"some were also released." This I had to ask him once, to hear what he would say; for we had talked about it together. Not that we intended to renounce our faith, but to hear what they would say. For it has never been my mind, nor have I ever had any inclination for it; but it afforded me a good . reason, when they tormented us to renounce, to give them this for an answer. Why should we renounce our faith? our life is not assured us. We had many words together, but these are the principal things that were said which I have remembered, for my memory is not strong. If I were to write everything, I should require much paper, for it lasted full four hours. In consequence of its lasting so long, my fellow brethren were very sorrowful, for they thought and believed that I had been confined elsewhere away from them.
The bailiff then rang the bell, and the beadles came. I then said to the priest, "If my lord had not been present, I would not have made so many words with you.""That I believe," said the priest. I took off my cap and bade them good evening, and they me. And I said to the pastor and begged him, that if I had spoken any word too hastily, he should excuse me for it."Yes," said the bailiff,"and so do you to him, do you not?""Yes," said I: and thus we parted.
It further happened that they confined us all three in separate places, apart from one another, and took away the Bible from us, one which they themselves had let us have, and which the bailiff had previously consented that we might have; but we remained of very good cheer, the Lord be praised.
On Sunday, the 16th of July, 1570, I was taken down again, and they tied my arms, which they had never done before, for I had gone down with the jailer, fettered together with another. This surprised me much, whereupon the beadles told me, that the priests had required it of the bailiff. Thus they brought me before two priests, namely, Mr. Maerten, and the pastor of the New Church, who had once before been to see me. When I came to them, I bade them good day, and they returned the salutation. Then they said, "We have visited you once, and now we come again, to see whether you are not more willing to yield, than you were the other time." I said, "I say as I have already said: If it can be proved to me clearly and expressly, that infants were baptized, I will gladly suffer myself to be instructed." With this answer they were not well pleased, since they have no Scripture for it. But they asserted that I must suffer myself to be instructed, and that infants had of a long time been
baptized in the Christian church; and that it had always been an ordinance; but I held to the proof furnished by the practice of the apostles. They said that we ought to walk in the old paths."Yes, in the right ones," said I;"thus it is written." Jer. 6:16. They had come to instruct me."Yes," said I,"I cannot understand it so." This they did not like to hear, that I could not understand it; and they said, "You want to understand it before you accept it.""It is written," said he,"in the prophet Isaiah, that we must first accept it, before we believe it.""Where is it written?" said I."I do not know," said the priest."Rpm. 10:10," said I,"we read: 'With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.' I must certainly believe your things with the heart, if I am to accept them
but now I cannot understand it as you do." This they would not hear; but if I had soundly assented with the mouth to what they said, whether I had believed it or not, it would have been all right.
They begged me much, that I should suffer myself to be instructed, there was not a day that they did not pray for us. They also frequently said that I had strange views, and that I was damned; if I were not damned, God would not be God, he said; and the Scriptures would not be true; this he often said. To be damned. and to lie in prison, these are not good things, said I; for I said as little to them as I could. But the damning did not hurt me; I let them say on. I said, "If you can prove to me, that infants were baptized, I would like to hear it." They said that whole households were bantized, and declared that there must have been children there. Ans. "That you do not know, for there are households in which are no children; I also do not seek salvation from the water." When they heard this they were greatly astonished."Yes," said I,"you say that all unbaptized children are damned.""Yes," said the priest,"they are damned.""Then the women who give birth to such children are badly off.""Yes," said the priest."Indeed," said I,"then the water must wash away sin?""Yes," said they. Ans."I shall prove to you, that it does not." I then told them, that in Peter 3:21 it is written, " 'The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also save us, not the putting awav of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience.' And the apostle baptized Simon the sorcerer but the water did not remove his sins, for it is written that he was in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity, though he had been baptized by the apostles.""You say of Peter," said the priest."that he writes this; how do you know if it is true? Did Peter tell you himself? And Simon the sorcerer was a worthless fellow for if the apostles had known that his heart was in this condition, they would rather have bitten their fingers, than pronounced the name of God over him." Ans. "This I admit; but the water did nevertheless not wash away his sins." And they asserted that I must suffer myself to be instructed, and said that I acted contrary to the Scriptures, for it is written, Matthew 18, "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he will not hear thee, tell it to the college.""See," said they,"you will not hear us now that we rebuke you; in this you certainly act contrary to the Scriptures." Ans. "What would you teach me then? Would you let me go then, and shun me as a heathen and a publican?""No, no," said the priest,"this is your favorite theme, which you always bring up." (For I had had many words with him in regard to it the last time;) but to let me go was not in their power, he said. Ans. "Christ certainly says, when they are reproved, and will not hear, they are to be shunned, and not apprehended. And Paul also says: 'A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject?' Tit. 3:10. And now I will not hear you, hence you ought to let me go." But they did not listen to this, that was the magistracy's business, they said. Ans."You certainly have a faith; show me once where the apostles had magistrates in their church."
Then the priest said that Peter had killed two persons. Ans."You cannot prove that to me, neither by word nor deed." Then he read from a German Testament, that Ananias and his wife sold their possessions; and did not bring all and lay it at the apostles' feet, but kept back a part of it. Then Peter said: Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and gave up the ghost. Three hours after his wife came, and Peter asked her too, whether they had sold the land for so much. She said: Yea. Peter said to her: How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet and yielded up the ghost. Acts 5. When he had read, I said, "Who can say that Peter did it, for it reads that when they heard these words they gave up the ghost." We had many words which I have partly forgotten; they begged me to suffer myself to be instructed."Well," said I,"I can not understand it so." To this they would not listen, that I would first understand it, before I accepted it; and they said that their faith had always existed for fifteen hundred years; they would show to me from year to year, how their church had been built up, and they named to me many of their teachers or bishops, Augustine and others; how it first came from Spain into France, whence St. Willeboort brought it into these countries; and many other things did they tell me. And though whole countries apostatized from them. there were large countries again that adopted their faith, as for instance in India, where the Lord did great signs, so that there were persons who in one, month learned another language, and accepted the faith, and even preached within one month; and many other things they told me. I asked whether that country was large. They said, "As large as Spain, France, Germany and this country taken together."
Thus their faith had always existed, and could not perish, for Christ had said, "I will be with you unto the end of the world;" but our faith had not existed so long; for [said they] you can not prove to us, that your church has always existed."I know," said the priest,"that you will name to me five or six persons." Then I said: It would have been much better, if he had heard Micaiah, than the four hundred false prophets. (The king of Judah, I Kings 22) . They tried hard to draw me out, as to whether I was baptized, but the Lord kept my lips, and I did not tell them. They had heard it said, they told me. I asked whether they had heard me to say it. They said, "No." I replied, "I do not want to tell you either." They said, "We do not wish to know it."
And when they found that I would not listen to them, they told me time and again that I was damned, and that I was a murderer of souls, that I had murdered many souls, and they had heard it said that I had caused many to apostatize from the Roman church. I said, "I have murdered no one's soul." He said, "You say that we are murderers ourselves." I said, "You have not heard me say that." They told me to consider the matter, and if I desired it, they would come again. Thus we parted amicably.
These are the principal points of our conversation, for it lasted about two hours. I should not be able to write the whole of it, for I can not remember it, and it would be impossible for me to give the exact conversation, without leaving out or adding to it.
Written by me, JAN HENDRICKSS
The eternal God of all grace, who has called us with a heavenly calling, from the power of Satan into His eternal, marvelous kingdom, strengthen and confirm you, my brother Maerten Janss, with His holy Word, and give you the power of the Spirit, that you may be able to resist all the wicked wiles of the Evil One, whether through himself, or through his emissaries, so that you may be able to stand in this grace; and grant you and me a valiant faith, firmly rooted and grounded, that you may neither be moved nor cast down by the great tempest of false doctrine. This, I Jan Hendrickss, your weak fellow brother in imprisonment, tribulation and affliction, wish Maerten Janss, my dear brother, in his bonds and imprisonment, as a friendly salutation in the Lord, for the refreshing of your mind. Amen.
Further, my dear brother, I inform you, that I am still of good cheer in the Lord, and my heart and mind have still no other purpose than to fear Him, and to adhere to His holy Word, according to my great weakness, with the help of God. Without whose assistance I am, utterly powerless to perform the same. Thus I hope and am confident in myheart, that it is also with you. I furthermore thank you much for the comforting letters you have sent me to refresh and console me in my tribulation, and that you still remember me in your prayers, which I also do for you, that we may help each other fight in this great conflict, which we now have with the great red dragon, which draws the third part of the stars from heaven with his tail. Revelation 12:3, 4. When I read your letters, it was no sorrow for me to hear that you were of such good cheer and courage in the Lord, but it rejoiced my spirit. Hence, my dear brother, let us take good heed to, and well consider, the teaching and admonition of Paul, where he says, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him." Col. 2:6, 7. Mark, dear brother, it is needful that we ~attend to these words and admonition of Paul. For since we have put on Christ by baptism, and have become members of His body, let us walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and firmly abide in Him, even as He says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." John 15:4-6. Mark, dear brother, how well it is with him that is in Christ, and Christ in him: but he who has no consciousness of Christ, is like a branch that is cut off and withered, which receives no sap or strength, nor the nature of the stem of the vine.
Dear brother, let us now earnestly consider the matter, whether this is not the case with men. Let us therefore abound in him with thanksgiving, and by him offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, that we be not spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Heb. 13:15; Col. 2:8."For it is now an evil time, a time that searches and tries Christians, whether they are firmly rooted and built in the faith. For when a woman has conceived, and the time of her delivery is drawing nigh, before she is delivered, great pain comes upon her, which is the forerunner and sign of her impending delivery; but when she is delivered, she soon forgets the great pain, because she has gotten a child.
Behold, my dear brother, thus it is also with us now; the great temptation and vexation, conflicts without, and fears within, which happen to us daily, these are our pains which precede delivery, whereby we may perceive, that the time of delivery is fast approaching; but as soon as we are delivered, then we shall remember it no more; namely, when we shall have put off this tabernacle, the mortal clothing, that shall be the last of our pain; then we may say, "O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor. 15:55-57. Then shall the last enemy, death, be conquered. Then shall we no more weep, mourn, or lament; all torment, pain and affliction shall then have passed, like a vapor, that endures for a little time. Then we shall no more be tormented or tempted, apprehended or hunted; but we shall rest from our heavy labor, and help keep the eternal day of rest, with many thousand saints under the altar, who are chosen out of every kindred and nation, who have also sealed the Word of God with their blood, and have passed through the world through many great tribulations, and not loved their lives above their Creator unto the death. Rev. 14:13; 7:14; 12:11.
Behold my dear brother Maerten Janss, what will it matter then, whether we have lived in great luxury and pleasure, or whether we have been persecuted, imprisoned, tormented, tortured, burnt or beheaded, yes, what will it matter when it is all over? For then we shall all follow the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, with a great multitude of saints, arrayed in fine linen clean and white, palms in our hands, and crowns upon our heads. Oh, what a glorious work will that be for him that will be able to endure here unto the end! Hence, my dear brother, I say with tears, though I write it to you, let us keep good courage; for in the world, says Christ, ye shall have tribulation, "But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. So doing let us hold fast the promise, without wavering; for he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23); though they say that we have the devil of pride in us, and that he is too firmly seated in us. But it will be found otherwise, when that comes what shall come; there is no doubt about it. Though we are here deprived of our right, when the judge of judges shall judge, we shall get it back, I have no doubt at all. Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the rich Word of His grace, who is able to keep you unto the end. Amen.
Know, Maerten Janss, that the tormentors have been with me all the week, except one day, and I daily expect their return. Adrian Corneliss was also here this week, with the chaplain. And on Saturday the chaplain was here, with a steersman from Egmont, named Jacob Meulenaer, who wanted to prove to me, that however bad a man was, he .might teach the Word of God aright, and save men; yea, though it were the devil, he might teach men the Word of God aright. He took off his cap, and sat there as though he was about to deliver an exhortation, and made a speech almost a quarter of an hour long, commencing at the very beginning. I could not refrain from laughing, whenever I looked at him, for I thought that his head was out of order. When he had finished, all three of us fell in a dispute; yet I did not intend to make many words, but it is difficult for a man to keep silence.Hence when they perceived that I would not listen to them they assailed me very hard. The steersman said, "Had I been officer, you would not have lain here so long; he would have made short work with me." He said to the priest, "The lords must put this man to death secretly; he [the devil] was so firmly seated in me," he said,"that he could not come out;" and many other ugly words he said. I said, "The plainer you make it the better I understand it." And the chaplain and I had many hard words, and he was greatly incensed. I said that I did not desire him so any more. He said that he marveled with Paul, that I had so soon suffered myself to be led to another gospel, when yet there was no other. I said, "What other gospel have I accepted?" He said, "That I had not been willing to have my children baptized.""Indeed," said I,"you have not a single letter of Scripture that they must be baptized." Observe, dear brother, his view, "If Paul had ordained it as a command and custom to baptize infants, and we rejected the same, we had accepted another gospel." I also had some words with the steersman; what he said was neither rhyme nor reason, and he was very abusive to me. I said, "Calling names breaks no bones; one can do it seated as well, and I offered him a chair." He said that he knew more in one finger, than I in my whole body; and many other things he said. Farewell, and acquit yourself valiantly; I hope to do the same. And let us remember each other in our prayers. Take this my simple letter in good part, for it has been written out of love; and excuse me for having waited so long before writing, since I have many visitors, not friends, however, since no one is allowed to come to me except my father. Write me again, how it is with you, for I hear nothing but good of you, God be praised.
Written, A. D. 1572, in my bonds, by me,
The God of all grace, who has called us from the power of darkness into His eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord, grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Col. 1:13; Eph. 3:16-19. This, I Jan Hendrickss, a poor prisoner for the word of the Lord, at Delft, wish Pouwels H. and Aechtgen H., for an affectionate salutation in the Lord. Amen.
Further, after all proper salutation to you, my beloved brother Pouwels Hendrickss, and Aacht-
gen Hendrickss, daughter, whom I love much according to the flesh, and also after the spirit, I inform you, that I am still valiant and of good cheer in the Lord, as I hope that this is also the case with you. And as, according to human calculation, my departure, or time is near at hand, to put off my tabernacle, I cannot forbear, but must exhort you briefly, out of pure, faithful, brotherly love, to strive firmly, steadfastly and constantly in the faith once delivered to the saints, that you may through this faith receive God's promises, so that we may meet together under the altar, with the great number robed in white, who are chosen and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb out of every kindred and nation under heaven, and have passed through the world through great tribulation, being burnt, pursued, beheaded, and the like; therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His presence. Rev. 7:14, 15.
See, dear brother, all these had to drink of this bitter cup, before they attained their present state; and they all had to walk this narrow, strait, slippery, and perilous way, and did not love their lives unto the death, and had to leave everything behind for the name of the Lord, whether it be lands, sand, house, home, wife, and children, before they reached this exceedingly glorious state. Yea, the Son of God Himself entered into His Father's kingdom through great affliction being apprehended, mocked, scourged, crucified, and put to death, so that he said, "I am a worm, and no man." Psalm 22:6. Hence let us take these for an example and pattern, lest we become slothful, drowsy, or faint on the way, and thus be taken captive by the wiles and snares of Satan, for a man that is asleep is easily caught. But be fervent in spirit, and seek to be the first in every good work, and not the least; and beware of the arrows of the devil, which he shoots in darkness; and pray to God day and night, for it is needful to pray always, lest we fall into temptation, for he that seeks to murder our soul neither sleeps nor slumbers, and is constantly walking about us as a roaring lion. And beware of pride, of spiritual as well as other pride, for it is the nature of man to be rather high minded. Let all envy and hatred, railing and slandering, and all craftiness and malice be far from you, together with all murmuring of the heart. Covetousness or rapacity, ambition and selfishness, let these not be found with you, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and follow His example in everything, as well as you can. Have brotherly love, and endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Be patient in all tribulation and affliction that come upon you, and the God of peace will be with you; for we have great need of patience, as I have proved. For Sirach says, "Woe to him that has lost patience," and well may he say so.
In short, conduct yourselves so according to your weakness, that no one may justly have much to complain of you. And serve the Lord with all your heart and purpose; incline your thoughts toGod, and let your eyes ever be upon Him, even as the eyes-of the servant are upon his master, and the eyes of a maiden upon her mistress. And work out your salvation with fear and trembling; moreover, think not that you always fall too short, not doing enough. And do not walk carelessly in the ways of the Lord, but pass the time -of your sojourning here in fear, for the heedless and careless will soon have squandered all their substance; but exercise great care for the poor soul which has been redeemed with a great price, and will live forever, either in heaven or in hell. Fight valiantly against Satan with his manifold lusts and desires and false insinuations, and trample his head in pieces under your feet, with earnest supplication and prayer to God, with diligence and earnestness, for Satan comes down with great wrath, knowing that his time is brief. Rev. 12:17. Likewise always remember God's severe judgment, and great day that shall come upon all the ungodly. For when we bear it well in mind, we can the better guard against it, because it will be most terrible; even as Sirach says, "My son, remember your end, and you will never sin," for according to the Scriptures marvelous things indeed will take place when the great day of the Lord shall come; for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. I Thess. 4:16, 17. And the sea shall give up her dead; no one shall then remain hid that shall not rise again: but everyone shall receive in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Rev. 20:13; II Cor. 5:10. Although our body is now placed to the stake, for food for the birds and beasts (Psalm 79:2), it shall therefore not remain lost, but the Lord shall raise it up again in due time, and make it like unto the image of His Son, and then shall we, through His grace, shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, whereas the part and lot of all the ungodly shall be in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. Phil.. 3:21; Matt. 13:43; Rev. 21:8.
Therefore, my dear brethren and sisters, faint not at my tribulation which I now suffer, but let it be your glory. Eph. 3:13. For, who art thou, says the Lord by the prophet, that thou shouldst be afraid of man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass? Isa. 51:12. Christ likewise says, "I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." Luke 12:4, 5. For, my dear brethren and sisters, it is too wonderful how the Lord can work with His own, which I well experienced when I was tortured; for they first drew me up by the pulley, and when I was suspended, they
scourged me; and when I would betray no one, they hung a weight to my feet; but as soon as I came upstairs again, I had but little pain, yea, the next day my limbs were no worse than if I had helped catch six or seven loads of herring. Hence keep good courage, and follow me; I hope now to go betore you, and to wait for you under the altar of the Lord, with the marked dead of the Lord, who are already slain for the name of their God, and lie and wait for their fellow brethren, that shall be killed yet for the testimony of the Lord, until the time that the number is fulfilled. Oh, that we might meet one another therel what great joy it would be for me, as I hope and have this confidence concerning you, that we shall yet go in and out there as calves of the stall, and help keep the eternal Sabbath; then we shall rest from all our great trouble, misery and torment that have been inflicted upon us, and from the heavy labor which we have done. To this end make you meet the great Shepherd of the sheep, who brought us from the dead through the blood of the everlasting testament. Amen. Hebrews 13:20. For I love your souls with all my heart, and would fain, that I might take you all before me. Herewith I will commend you to God, and to the rich Word of His grace; may He keep you unto the end. Amen.
Dear brother and sister, my heart's great desire of you is, that you have an eye upon our brothers Cornelis H. and Jacob H., and our sister Leentgen H., and direct them in the fear of God as much as you can. But above all, have your eye upon my children, and show them and my wife as much love as you can; for my glass is almost run out, my watch is nearly over; day will soon break, for I have already seen the morning star in the sky. Herewith farewell; I greet Adrian H. and his wife and all dear friends much; bid my friends many adieus. Dear brother and sister, take my letter in good part; though I am somewhat solemn in my letters, it is because I love your souls so much. Written on the 23d of January 1572. Adieu for a little while, my dear brethren and sisters, till we meet again; acquit yourselves valiantly, this I pray you. By me,