On the 13th of January, A. D. 1589, at ten o'clock in the night, there were apprehended at Ghent, in Flanders, for the practice of the truth and following Christ, two brethren and one sister, namely, Joost de Tollenaer, Michiel Buyse, and Sijntgen Wens; who, after much temptation and torment (in which they constantly remained steadfast), were finally publicly sentenced to death as heretics, but secretly, with locked doors, in the count's castle, strangled at the stake, after which the two brethren were suspended from the gallows without, and the woman buried under it, which happened on the 13th of April of the aforesaid year 1589.
And as several letters of Joost de Tollenaer have come to our hands, we have added them here, for the benefit of the reader.
Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour; may He, Lowijs, my dear brother in the Lord, and also Janneken, Jacomijntgen, and Sijntgen, my dear sisters in the Lord, together with all beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, strengthen and confirm you with His Holy Spirit in the inner man, so that you may obtain the end of your faith, to the salvation of your souls, and to the praise, glory, honor of, and gratitude to, Him that lives forever and ever. Amen.
After all affectionate and Christian salutation to you my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, I inform you, that I am in good health according to the flesh, the Lord be thanked; and according to the
spirit, my mind is fixed, by the grace of the Lord, to adhere to the holy Christian truth, since there is no other salvation to be obtained, neither in heaven nor upon earth, than through Jesus Christ, who is the truth and the life. Hence, know, my dear brethren and sisters, that I am of very good cheer in the Lord, with my fellow prisoners, though all three of us are confined separately; and the jailer has strict orders, not to allow us to come together, nor to speak. It is a little close now, but there are Habakkuks who sometimes assist us, and though it is a little distressing, we have a very great consolation, namely, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the same helper and succorer that comforted the holy apostles in their tribulation. Hence, I pray and supplicate day and night to the Lord my God, that He would graciously assist me, and help me to triumph, so that His holy name may be eternally praised through me poor one; and that He would take from me that which might hinder me; and thus I have committed myself to the eternal, almighty, strong God, through Jesus Christ our eternal Saviour.
Thus, my dearest friends, the Lord has heard my voice, and looked upon me miserable, imperfect man, who am but dust and ashes, and too unworthy for all this mercy, that He has called me to have tribulation, bonds, affliction, and temptation for His name; so that I have such courage and joy, that I could not express to you with the mouth the joy and gladness which the Lord is giving me by His Spirit, so that I often think in my heart, "O Lord, is this sorrow and tribulation, affliction and bonds, or grief?" For in all the time that I unworthily walked in the truth, I never had such joy and gladness. But when I think of the eternal joy, of the great and comforting promises of happiness, which the Lord has prepared for His chosen, and for all those that continue steadfast unto the end-that they shall follow the immaculate Lamb Christ Jesus, with shining white raiment, and branches of palm in their hands, and shall moreover be crowned with the crown of eternal life; that He shall lead them to the fountain of eternal life, and thus wipe away all tears from our eyes; then it seems that my heart would burst with joy, when I behold all this in the spirit; so mighty is the Lord, and so can He comfort those that surrender' themselves with all their hearts. For', friends, it has now come so far, that -I count all that is temporal and perishable loss for Christ's sake, and the Lord has given me grace, so that I am not hindered by temporal affairs, which I accept as a great gift from the Lord.
Hence, my dear and beloved, rejoice with me in the spirit, thanking the Lord, that He so graciously assists your weak brother with His Spirit and Word. All those that shall read or hear read this my letter, I pray out of brotherly love; that you will bow the knees of your heart before the Most High, that He may strengthen us by His Spirit, so that we may finish to His holy praise the work which He has begun in us. For, friends, we expect nothing else, but that we shall be offered up, especially I and Michiel; and this on account of several things that we confessed in our examinations. They first asked me my age. I said, "About fifty years." They asked whether I was rebaptized. I said, "No;" but told them that I had suffered myself to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son; and the Holy Ghost, upon the confession of my sins, for which I was heartily sorry, and upon the confession of my faith in Christ Jesus, that He is the Son of the living God. This was written down. They asked how long ago that was. I said, "Twenty-six years last Christmas." They wondered that I had ruled so long. Question, "Are you in the ministry of the deaconship, or have you been in it?" I freely confessed that I was in the ministry, .though I said I am not worthy of it. They further asked me whether I exhorted, or had exhorted. I said, "No." They asked me whether not lately a man had been here, that had preached in the place. I was silent. After much questioning, however, I told them, that we were not allowed of God to implicate or accuse any one. Finally they told me all the circumstances, namely, that Jan de Wever had been in the city, and that on a certain night a receiving of members had taken place secretly, three or four having been taken in; and they briefly said that our sister who was confined with us had confessed it, for they had tortured her. And they asked me, whether Hans had lodged at my house; they knew all about it, I could not contradict it, but had to admit it. They said that this had been prohibited. I answered that I did not regret having lodged him, and if it were to do again, I should gladly do it. This that I did not regret it, was ill received.
They also asked me, whether I had advised, or consented, to send for Jan de Wever. I said, "Yes, with all my heart." This also was ill received; but I care little if they did receive it ill, for they receive everything in the very worst way. Thus they went with it to the lords of the council, according to what I have since learned; and besides, they must have fuller advice from the court.
I have written this briefly, for to write all would have been too long, because I have not enough materials to write everything. I should like it, if this letter or a copy of it would be sent to those of Harlem. There was once without my knowledge a letter sent by those of Harlem, and found in the house of Michiel Buyse; which brought severe charges against me, in regard to one hundred pounds which had been sent to the poor, and which I was said to have received; and also concerning a legacy of twenty-four, pounds, of Joost Daems. I replied thereupon, that I had never seen the letter, which is the case; but these letters cause great grief. I have received as many letters as any man in Flanders or Brabant; but I cleared myself from every important imputation. However, tribulation and bonds must come from somewhere; and, moreover, the Lord be thanked, I do not trouble myself about it.
I am satisfied with everything that the Lord has, sent me. . God the Lord suffers it to happen, that He may thereby prove, whether there is any thing in my heart that is displeasing to Him, or whether I love aught more than Him;: for the Lord is jealous, and He will be alone the dearest, of which He is also well worthy, for He has dearly purchased us, namely, with the precious blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; hence we must also prove in the power of our faith,. that we love Him above husband, wife or child; house, field, gold, silver, and the last and dearest pledge, that is our own life.
When one is thus brought to the touchstone, then it is made manifest upon what one has built, whether it be gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, or stubble; for everyone's work shall then be made manifest, as by fire. Hence, I counsel my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, that are now at liberty, that you will wake up manfully, for it may easily come to pass, that persecution will also arise among. you, as now in Flanders; for this liberty we also had about seven years. Hence, all true soldiers in Christ Jesus are always to equip themselves with the armor of righteousness, having on. the helmet of salvation and.the breastplate of righteousness, girded with the girdle of truth, having the sword, of the Spirit, and the shield of faith, wherewith one. is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. But, friends, the slothful would sometimes allow their weapons to stand in a corner, and thus they would easily rust; and when there would be a necessity for conflict, that the enemy (who walketh about as a fierce lion) should, come upon us, then alas! they would have to be sought in the corner, completely rusted over, and thus the enemy should surprise us by strategy. Therefore Paul gives good advice, saying, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong: Let all your things be done with charity." I Cor. 16:13, 14.
Friends, I should write more, but you are yourselves taught of God; and as the anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in it. I John 2:27. I will herewith commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. Take my presumptuous letter in good part.
Know, brother, that J have written my daughter a testament letter,.in case our life here should soon close.
By me, your weak brother in the Lord, on the 13th of January, 1589, imprisoned for the truth. Amen.
JOOST DE ToLLENAER.
I wish you, my heartily beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord (who as scattered strangers are dispersed in every country, driven and persecuted from their lands, cities, houses, and goods, and this for the testimony of Jesus Christ), race, peace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His only begotten. Son our Lord and Saviour, through whom we have become partakers of the divine promises in His holy name, for He has cleansed us by the washing of regeneration in His holy blood, and chosen us from all kindreds of the earth, for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Christ. May He strengthen and, confirm my dear and in God beloved brethren and sisters, with His Holy Spirit, in the inner man, to the praise and glory of the great, invincible God of heaven and,earth, that you may shine as bright lights among the heathen nations among whom you dwell. as scattered; strangers, so that many thousands may take .hold of your skirts, and say, "My dear, we will go up with you; for we see that, the Lord is with you." Zech. 8:23. To this end may the Lord give you His .blessing, to the praise, glory and honor of His holy, great and adorable name.
After wishing all Christian salutation to you, my dear and in God beloved brethren-and sisters in the Lord, and hearing -by our last examinations, of the 23d and 28th of March, that the time of our pilgrimage may very soon be at an end, I felt constrained by brotherly and simple love, to write you, my dear friends a little, thereby making known: to you joyful tidings, namely, that, by the grace of the Lord, I and my fellowprisoners: are of good courage in soul and body, to adhere to the holy truth as long as we have the breath. of life in us, having committed body and soul into God's powerful keeping-for you welcome news, and for us a happy portion. May God through grace grant this to us, as servants unworthy of being partakers of His sufferings. But I rejoice in -the spirit with all my heart, that God has called me to such grace, of which the world, is not worthy, because of the unbelief of their hearts.
Further, my dear. and affectionately beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, it is our cordial request to all the elect, that fear God from the heart, truly and fervently, in a holy faith which worketh by love, that you will bow the knees of your heart before the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray for us prisoners, as imprisoned with them, and for us that suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body; so that we may gloriously. accomplish the end., of our faith (which through the grace of God we confessed before this evil and wicked generation,: who are enemies of the cross of Christ), and yield our bodies a sacrifice acceptable unto God through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His great name, the edification of our neighbor, and for a light unto the world; this is the prayer of us all.
Furthermore, dear friends, I find in this my tribulation, afflictions and bonds and reproach, that happened to me, unworthy one, for the righteousness of God, that God is faithful in all His promises; who does not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but makes with the temptation also a way to escape. He does not leave, His people com-
fortless; He will with His Spirit answer for us before kings and princes, as much as we shall need in that time. He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hence, I will rely on the Lord, and not fear what man shall do unto me. Though they now break the earthly house of this tabernacle, we know assuredly, that for the righteous there is a dwelling prepared in heaven, which is not made with hands, but is eternal; for which house my soul has a heart-felt desire. For, friends, there is always a very great conflict, outwardly and inwardly; for within flesh and blood manifest their nature, which must be resisted by faith; outwardly, against the pride of the world and the false prophets, and lying spirits, against which we must fight valiantly with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. O friends, I have already well proved it: for I have been assailed by them twelve different times, six times by the secular authorities, and six times by the false prophets. The authorities said to me, that I had a spirit of pride in me and such evil opinions; and that I therefore would not suffer myself to be moved. I asked them, whether that was great pride, that I suffered myself to be spoiled of all my property, of wife and child, and finally to be a spectacle to all men; that I shall be burnt at the stake, and thus my flesh be given for food to the beasts and to the birds of heaven. They said again, "Yes, you pride yourself therein." I said, "No, but we rejoice because we have become partakers of Christ's sufferings."
I warned them, that they should take heed, before they laid their hands upon .those that seek to practice their faith in peace, that have done injury to neither you nor yours. They said that we were rebels and seditious, and seduced many simple hearts, and drew them to our faith, and that we were worthy of greater punishment than thieves and robbers. I said, "We seduce no souls; but your false prophets seduce many thousands of souls by their doctrine and false religion, which they practice under a semblance of holiness."
They looked at me sternly. Many other things were said, which I do not deem necessary to write. And as further regards their asking for my age, and how long I had been in the faith, and concerning my deaconship, I have written it in my other letter, which some of you may have read, as I understand from a letter which I received yesterday. The same came very welcome to me; for, friends, it does so much good, when letters of comfort and warning arrive, yea, they are more acceptable than many pieces of gold. For, friends, a line written by the labor of another, tastes much better than if one had ten times more with himself.
Further, friends, ten or twelve days afterwards the authorities sent two learned men, the parish priest of St. John, and a canon, who also had much to say and made a very long speech, finally asking me, why I had departed from the mother, the Catholic Roman Church. I very briefly said that I did not regard it as the true, holy church. They asked, "Why?" I said, "Because there is nothing else practiced than a false, invented religion." This they took very ill, and very many things were said upon it, very much as it was with our friends in former times.
And in about ten or twelve days after that, they came again and brought with them the priest Michielken, who is an apostate, and has by this time become a priest. Then the parish priest, whose name is Sir Jan van Dale, said to me, "Do you know Sir Michielken?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Why do you not also turn from your heresy, as Sir Michielken has done? If your belief were good, he would not have departed from it, and returned to the mother, the holy church." I said that he had departed from the holy church of God, to the worship of idols and to the doctrine of devils. They asked, "What is idolatry in our church?" I said, "In the first place, all the images that stand in it, before which you burn candles, offer sacrifice and bow your knees." They said that the images were the books for the simple, and the mass and sacrifice which they performed, were all holy prayers. I said, "If all were good, as you say, you should put it into Flemish or into Dutch, so that the simple might be taught. For this purpose you have the Gospel book, from which you might teach. But you are afraid, that the people might learn too much from it." In short, we also had very many words in regard to the sending of preachers, and of infant baptism; but I deem it unnecessary to write much about it, for it all goes the same way as is written in the Oferboeck; for if I were to write all, I should not be able to put it on seven or eight sheets of paper; and much of it I have also forgotten, for it occurred at so many different times.
Finally there came the pensionary Schoockman with his son, who is clerk of the criminal court. He ordered that I and Michiel Buyse should come together, to speak with him. Hence I prayed the Lord, that He would keep me according to His promise. Then I went downstairs, and when I and Michiel got there, we respectfully saluted him, and he also bade us a good evening. He asked us together, whether we did not tire of being in prison so long. Answer: "We must be patient therein.""Yes," said he,"it is your fault, and you inflict it upon yourselves; if you would suffer yourselves to be moved, and would depart from your opinion, all should be well, for it is only vainglory and a spirit of pride, that impels you to it." I told him as I said before, that this which demands the sacrifice of body and property was not pride. He strenuously defended the Roman Empire, and greatly exalted the church of the priests, that it had been from the time of the apostles until now. He also adduced many unscriptural arguments, which are not worthy of being written. And again, he said, "Though there are some abuses, it is therefore none the less the faith. I am well aware, that there are priests who might live more virtuously; but we
must not, look to their works, but hearken after their words." Michiel said, "A good tree bears good fruit, which a bad tree does not."
In the second place, I said, "My lords, we have the truth, and I hope by the grace of God, that we shall adhere to it unto the end." He also made many words, saying that he had come out of compassion which he had for us;"and inasmuch," said he,"as you will not hearken to the clergy, I come of my own accord, finding myself constrained thereto, hoping that you would hearken to me more." For (said he, and smote his breast) if it had not been for him, it would already have been over with us, but he had prevented it. We also know, that he has very great influence, with the court as well as with the lords of the city, for in many things in the government of the city, his wishes, to a great extent; are consulted. Thus he finally said (smiting his breast once more), that we should have to die;"for," said he,"it has been determined by the lords of the council of Flanders, by the high council, by the court, and by His Highness the Prince of Parma." Thereupon I joyfully replied, saying, "The will of the Lord be done with us; to this end (once to die), are we born.", "Yes," said he,"the dying is a small matter, but that you shall hereafter go into perdition!" for he had previously damned us many times. Hence, Michiel answered, that judgment belonged to God. Then he said, "Perhaps you say that we are damned." Thereupon, I said,"We do not condemn those that are without us; God will judge them." But, friends, they are a presumptuous proud tribe, and they blaspheme God and His holy temple without any fear. He further also said, "'If we would renounce, he should do his best with His Highness, though he should have to travel to the court himself, which should cost a good deal." Thus, friends, it seems, according to what we hear, that though we should forsake the faith, we should still be in peril of death. And thus he finally left us, begging us to think of his words."I hope," said he,"that the Holy Spirit will work in them." But we had another hope, namely, that God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ shall strengthen us by His Spirit, that we may abide in the truth unto the end of our life.
Friends, we were with him over two hours. And we used few words, except now and then, when we could not pass something by, which required a reply; for much speaking is of little avail, and they say that they come to teach us; but we do not want to be taught by them. This the priests said to me alone, for we were examined separately, except this last time.
And about five or six days after, he sent his son to us once more, asking us, whether we, had attended to and considered this matter. Tereupon we said that we wanted to adhere to the faith in Jesus Christ, as we confessed from the first. Hence, he left us, which was on the 28th of March. hus, my affectionately beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, we daily expect the day of our redemption, that we might offer up our sacrifice. I had almost forgotten to state that the pensionary had told us, "You may perhaps be taken unawares some night, when you will least expect it, " Hence, God knows what they have in mind. They have no power over us, except the Lord permit them. God is our strength and power, and the sword of our conquest. And though we must suffer for His sake, we must possess our souls with patience, remembering, that the apostle says (I Pet. 2:20), that it is acceptable with God, to suffer for well-doing; though, dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, the world does not regard it as acceptable, for (I Corinthians 1:18) it is written, "That the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God, which power God works by His Spirit, to the comfort and strengthening of their mind."
Hence, my dear brethren and sisters, watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong, and let all your things be done with charity, so that you may grow up and increase, and not depart in love, in hope, in faith, which is a precious treasure, that we have received in our earthen vessels through the Holy Spirit. Keep it diligently with great carefulness, for part of us have long labored for it, and through light minded carelessness one is so soon spoiled of it, and then all labor that has been done is lost. For if the righteous man shall turn away, says the Lord, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. He forsakes the fountain of living waters, and they that depart from him shall be written in the earth, neither shall their names be found in the book of life. Heb. 10:38; Jer. 2:13; 17:13; Philippians 4:3.
Hence, watch in the faith, and let us exercise as great care for our spiritual treasure which we have through grace received by faith in Christ Jesus, as many a man exercises for his perishable treasures, which thieves and robbers covet, as sometimes appears; as for instance in my own case, and that of Michiel my fellowprisoner; for they have robbed us of nearly everything. And many are of such a disposition, that they like to acquire temporal wealth, not properly considering the words of Paul, that such fall into temptation and great snares. I Tim. 6:9. And covetousness, which Paul calls idolatry (Eph. 5:5), has a long cloak, so that one cannot easily get at it. And they gather great treasures for their children, which is opening a wide door by which to introduce them into the world. But the best treasure which can be left to children, is this: To instruct them from their youth to fear God; to present to them the Word of the Lord, as far as their understanding can comprehend it, and as the forefathers taught their children, to fear God, shun sin, and do good, as we have examples in Abraham, who commanded his children after him; likewise in Susanna; also in old Tobit, who taught his son from his youth to
fear God; and also in Sara, the daughter of Raguel.
Friends, diligently search the Scriptures, which will sufficiently instruct you. Let us always follow that which is good, and exhort and provoke one another to good works, to excel therein. Hence, I write once more as before; for the axe is now already laid at the root of the trees, and every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast in the fire. Matt. 3:10. And that we be not like the five foolish virgins; that when the Bridegroom comes we be not sleeping, so that we may then not have to go and buy the oil to burn in our lamps. Hence, the faith which worketh by love shall shine gloriously before the Lord. For not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of God; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21.
Hence, Christ says, "Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." Luke 11:28."Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:for the time is at hand." Rev. 1:3. Let us continue in Christ's word, and we shall also be His disciples, and remain such forever. John 8:31.
Further, my affectionately beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, we find in all the Scriptures, that all the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles were moved to teach and exhort us to peace, love and unity; for the apostle says, "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7. Peter says, "Unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another ,with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." I Pet. l:22, 23. O friends, where love, peace and unity exist in the church, there is exceeding wealth. The Psalmist truly says, "How pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! it is like precious ointment." Ps. 133:1, 2. But where there is discord, there the hearts must grievously sigh over one another, and eat their bread with mourning; and thus the feast days (when the bread of the Lord should be broken in the _ Lord's church, in remembrance of the abundant benefits of the Lord) are turned into days of mourning, which to behold causes great sorrow to the simple; as, alas! is to be lamented with weeping eyes at Harlem and concerning several other churches that are infected with such diseases, which is a sorry thing for me and others with me in our countries to hear. May the complaint thereof ascend to the Lord in high heaven.
Oh, that God would grant grace, that they could bear one another in love, and that the principal ones would bow themselves under the mighty hand of God, and deny themselves, for the holy will of the Lord and for the sake of His church. I should hope hat it would not give them an evil conscience, if they submitted to it for the sake of peace, and if everyone were little in his own eyes; how well it should go, and how soon everything should be peacefully settled! O friends, let us bow the knees of our hearts before the Lord, that Christian unity among one another may come upon the spiritual Israel, so that a triumphant thanksgiving with joy and gladness in the spirit may be observed in all the churches. Hence seek peace, and pursue after it. Heb. 12:14. Consider the word, pursue; for when a man pursues something, he goes after it with haste. O friends, it is more than time for you to make peace and unity, lest haply the Lord punish in wrath. For no one is assured, that there will always remain liberty in the country; there will perhaps be a change in the country there, as there is in Flanders and Brabant.
Hence, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, I and my fellowprisoners pray you, and this with bended knees and a sad heart, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (before whom every knee must bow, and who shall also without respect to persons recompense every one, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad), that you will make peace and unity with the Lord; for blessed are the peacemakers, says Christ; for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven; so that the pleasant mountain of the Lord, and the holy city of Jerusalem, may be found in glorious appearance, with all her pleasant fountains, from which the waters of the Holy Spirit spring forth abundantly, into the hearts of the elect and holy citizens and of the household of God, who are firmly founded upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, of which Christ Jesus is the true cornerstone.
Herewith, I will bid my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, a final farewell and Christian adieu, till we meet where parting shall be no more, which is in the new, heavenly Jerusalem, where the King of kings shall reign forever with the sceptre of His eternal, imperishable kingdom. I herewith coinmend you to the Lord, and to the comforting, rich Word of His grace, by which Word we are called in peace, to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Adhere valiantly to the truth, and pray the Lord for us, as already written; we hope to do the same for you, according- to our weak ability. I hope that the Lord will keep us unto the end of our life. O friends, I have such a heartfelt desire for the day of my redemption, to rest under the altar, Christ Jesus, with all our dear brethren and sisters that have been put to death before us for the testimony of Jesus Christ, who did not spare their lives, but willingly surrendered them for His holy name's sake.
Thus, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, hasten, too, and betake your hearts under the bloody banner of Jesus Christ, to help bear His reproach without the camp of the Lord, and this from pure love without fear. For he that feareth hath torment; but perfect love casteth out fear. I John
4:1'8. O friends, where such love is, there love is stronger than death, and jealousy hard as hell; the coals thereof are coals of fire, and a flame of the Lord, so that many waters cannot quench love. Cant. 8:6, 7. Hence, let all your things be done in love, and be steadfast and immovable, and abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I hereby humbly pray you, to take my simple writing in good part, though it has not been well arranged. For, friends, far be it, that I should think myself fit to exhort, but I need to be exhorted myself; but I include myself in everything that I have written here, for it has been done out of simple, brotherly love, this the Lord knows; and I hope by the grace of God to confirm it with my death, as seems probable according to what we hear. The Lord strengthen us in our last extremity with His Spirit, who is a helper in distress.
Finally, my dear brethren, rejoice, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. II Corinthians 13:11. Watch in the faith!
By me, a weak brother, a feeble member of the body of Christ, too undeserving for all the mercy of God, and unworthy of His grace, to suffer. O Lord, make me, unworthy one, worthy. Michiel Buysen and Sijntgen Wens greet you much with the peace of the Lord. JOOST DE TOLLENAER.
Grace, peace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son and the Saviour of the whole world; for as by one man death came into the world, so by one man came life into the world, that all that believe in His name should obtain eternal life. May He strengthen and confirm you with His Holy Spirit in all your tribulation and grief which you bear on my account; but be patient, my dear, beloved, old mother, for your tribulation shall be turned into eternal joy.
To the same only wise and strong, invincible God be praise, glory, honor, power anld'blessing forever and ever.
After all affectionate and Christian greeting to you my dear and in God beloved mother and sister in the Lord, whom I love from the very depth of my whole heart, I inform you, that my mind is still unchanged, hoping by the grace of the Lord to adhere to His holy truth, which I also have not been ashamed to confess before men, and this upon the consolation that Christ will also not be ashamed to confess me before His heavenly Father and His holy angels, which will be an everlasting consolation of reward for those who shall continue in the faith steadfast unto the end. To this end may He strengthen and confirm me and all those that are with me in distress, with His Holy Spirit, so that He may ever rule in our hearts to the praise and honor of His holy and most worthy and adorable name. For this I pray day and night in. my weakness; asking also your love, my beloved mother, that you will help pray the Almighty God for us poor prisoners, that we may keep the faith in fervent love unto the end, to the salvation of our souls, to the edification of our neighbor, and for a fight unto the world.
O my dear,- beloved mother, you who have given birth to me in such pain and anguish, and have moreover brought me up with great carefulness, with what should I be able to recompense 'your motherly love? I have nothing with which I can fully requite it. But since you fear God, standing in the same faith with me, I have a living hope to the eternal, Almighty God, that He shall give me strength in my faith, to finish it to His name's honor, and this I know will be greater joy to your heart, than if I should bring you many pieces of gold.
Thereto I have good courage, for the Lord .is faithful in all His promises; for He forsakes no one that flees to Him for refuge; but He keeps His chosen as the apple of His eye. Oh, how pleasant it is to fear the Lord, for him that with a resigned heart puts himself under obedience to the Lord. Hence let us always, as long as we have the breath of life in us, walk in the pure love of the truth, as children that are born of God, for God is love, and he that abides in love abides in God, and God in him. I John 4:7, 8. Hence Paul says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from, the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lor."
Hence Paul calls love the bond of perfectness.* Herewith I will bid my dear and in God beloved mother, a Christian farewell and final adieu. Adieu my chosen, beloved mother and sister' in the Lord, and be of good cheer in the Lord and grieve not too much on my account, for parting must come once but we expect, in the hope of faith, a heavenl meeting, where parting shall be no more; there hope to wait for you under the altar of Christ: I pray you always to have good intercourse with my dear wife after my departure; for I shall leave an afflicted widow. Hence do the best as long as you are together; for, as far as I understand, it may take an end with us this or the following week. The Lord grant me strength in my last extremity. Adieu, my dear mother; with an inward kiss of love and peace. Greet in my name my dear and in God beloved wife, with the kiss of love and peace; and, " The original has it, Hence Paul calls the bond of love a perfectness.-Tr.
also J. F. E. and V: T. with their company, and Stoffel and Margriete S., when it is convenient. Farewell and a final adieu to all that fear God. I would like to have it remain secret, that we write letters from here, for they have troubled and vexed us on account of it. May the Lord open the eyes of all our enemies, that they may see whom they pierce and distress.
By me, your beloved son, in all subjection, according to my weak ability.
JOOST DE TOLLENAER.
If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. Prov. 2:3-5.
If thou wilt serve God, be in earnest with it, lest thou tempt Him. Eccl. 18:23.
Be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. Rom. 12:11, 12.
Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. Jno. 5:39.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently. Jer. 48:10.
I, Joost de Tollenaer, your father, was apprehended in Ghent, and brought into the Saucelet (the city prison), in the corn market, after ten o'clock in the night, of the 13th of January, 1589, and this for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. The Lord strengthen me by His Holy Spirit unto the end of my life, and all those that are in distress, without as well as in bonds.
Betgen, this is your age, and is for your remembrance
Betgen de Tollenaer was born on the 14th of August, A. D. 1574. God strengthen you in virtue according to His will. And if I die for the name of the Lord, the following letter is written to you for a testament, and for a remembrance all your life. But if I do not die, it is for the delight and instruction of your heart, that you should conduct yourself, to fear the Lord your Gad.
Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this behooves all men.
By holy faith and love effectual
Man is saved through Jesus Christ.
May the only and merciful, almighty God, who is full of all mercy and a Father of the afflicted widows and orphans; and a Ruler of all those that trust in Him, cause you, my daughter and child, to grow up in wisdom and in the knowledge of the truth, so that you may know and learn to fear the most high God, who created and made heaven and earth, the sea and all the fountains of water. May the eternal Almighty Father, grant you this through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Hear, my dear child Betgen, and understand my word, written to you in the name of the Lord, and let my speech enter into your heart, and receive it as a precious treasure of gold, that is, that you are from your very youth to learn to fear the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your ability; and walk in all His ways, and serve the Lord with the whole heart and soul, and keep the commandments of the Lord your God, so that it may go well with you in the land; and the Lord will give you His rich grace, and all manner of spiritual blessings. For the fear of God is an overflowing fountain of eternal life, which quickens heart and spirit, and creates a longing and desire to hear the words of God; for they strengthen the inner man in soul, spirit, and body.
Hence, my dear child, endeavor from your youth to shun and avoid evil; for it will now be time to perceive and learn to discern what is good and evil. For he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it shall be accounted sin. James 4:17. And the wise man says, "That the Spirit of God does not dwell in a careless soul, nor in a body that is subject to sin." Wisd. 1:4. Therefore learn henceforth to shun sin like the face of a serpent. Hence be sober, of good conduct and modest, and avoid all light company, which is carnal and worldly minded; for the world and all the lust thereof shall perish, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. I John 2:17. Hence have your intercourse with those that fear the Lord, and walk in God's ways; and you shall grow up as a daughter of Sarah, which will be acceptable before the Lord. Hence, my child, if you lack wisdom, you must ask it of God: who giveth it to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. But he must ask in faith, nothing doubting, and it shall be given him. James 1:5, 6. Hence, ask the Lord your God humbly with bended knees, and this often and constantly. Going, standing, working, always have the Lord before your eyes, calling upon Him with prayer and supplication, saying, "O Lord, my Lord, direct me in Thy ways; give me wisdom that comes from the throne of Thy glory, and cleanse me from all my sins, that I may be worthy to become a holy temple. Give me grace that I may be meek and humble of heart, and little in my own eyes, so that Thy Holy Spirit may dwell in me, and that I may grow up in Thy holy divine fear; to the eternal salvation of my soul, and to the praise, glory and honor of Thy holy, most worthy, adorable name. O Lord, strengthen me, miserable one, since I am but dust and ashes. O Lord, be merciful unto me, and help me forever. Amen."
And if you, my child, thus betake your heart with all humility to the Lord, and unceasingly cleave to Him with prayer and supplication, He will delight in you, and abundantly give you the fear of God, and the knowledge of wisdom. For the fear of God is a tree of life, and his branches
flourish forever, and his fruits are righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and his leaves serve for the healing of the nations; but none eat of the fruits save those that are born again of water and of the Spirit; who, through baptism in Christ Jesus, have buried the old Adam with all his carnal lusts; who renounce the devil, hell, death, the world and all its false appearance, and henceforth walk according to the holy will of God the Lord, with all the elect children of God, whose names are written in the book of eternal life. Hence fear God from the heart; not as the world does, who profess that they know God but in works they deny Him, being abominable unto God, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Tit. 1:15. But God has chosen him a peculiar and holy people, zealous of good works, to do His will. I Pet. 2:9; Tit. 2:14. Hence we must above all, as I have written before, diligently fear the Lord with an humble heart. Perfect and upright was job, fearing God, and eschewing evil; for to depart from evil is understanding. Job. 1:1; 28:28. Hence serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Ps. 2:11. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it is a good understanding; and he that doeth according to it, his praise endureth forever: And then the wise man also says, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way." Prov. 8:13. He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord, but he that is perverse in his ways, despiseth Him, and falleth in the snares of death. 14:2. For where one suffers. in the fear of God, for the name of the Lord, there are wealth and honor; and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is in the depth of the heart only with the faithful, and dwells only with the chosen women, and is found only with the righteous and the faithful. The fear of the Lord is true religion; it keeps and makes the heart good, and gives joy and gladness; for he that fears the Lord shall prosper, and when he needs comfort, he shall be blessed of the Lord. The fear of the Lord prevents sin; for he that is without fear cannot please God. Eccl. 1.
Hence, my child, when it goes well with you, watch, and continue steadfast in the fear of the Lord, and be not proud, for a haughty spirit goes before a fall. Prov. 16:18. Therefore have God always before your eyes in all your ways, and seek to please Him with an upright heart; and God shall be with you, and have compassion upon your weakness, and wink at sin when it comes upon you unawares through ignorance or misapprehension. But presumptuous sinning and obstinacy are an abomination before the Lord, and He will not leave unpunished such as thus lightly esteem His words. Therefore take heed to yourself, that you be not a slave to sin. And give not your mouth to lying; for the mouth that lieth slayeth the soul. Wisd. 1:11. There is more hope of a thief, than of a man accusomed to lie; for they are every man's enemy. A lying child is always hated, and whatever they speak, their words are not hearkened to, and men hold them in derision. The devil is a liar from the beginning, and abode not in the truth. Hence all the ungodly are called children of the devil. When they speak lies, they do according to the nature of their father the devil, who has always continued a liar, wherefore he was also cast out of heaven. Hence, my child, always speak the truth, for the same maketh not ashamed, whether it be for or against you. Always say just as it is; for though you have erred in something, yet if you speak the truth, it will be overlooked more readily, than if you sought to cover it by lying; for lies ultimately are made manifest and come to light, and then the liar must with shame hear words of reproach, which is an abomination before God and men. Hence Paul says, "Lie not one to another, but let every one speak the truth from the heart with his neighbor; for liars shall have no part in the kingdom of God."
Behold, my dear child Betgen, I have set before you many excellent and precious treasures, and all for your admonition. I pray you, take them to heart, and often read them over; so that you may thereby be instructed in the fear of God. And do not let this my letter (which I have written with much pains in my prison, with trepidation, fearing lest some one should suddenly surprise me), to lie there idle as a dead fable; but lay it to heart, for a child that loves her father will also love that which comes from her father, and often read it over with delight, thereby remembering her father's affectionate favor. For as a man, that has his delight in a treasure of money, which he has locked in his strong chest, often goes to contemplate the treasure, to count it over, and to make calculations with it; so do also you often look over and peruse this my letter; for it is of more value than many pieces of gold, for it points you to the fountain of life, whereby your soul may live for ever, if you will be subject to the truth. However, my child, you are young yet, and your mind cannot yet comprehend it all; but I hope the understanding will come yet. Hence give good attention from your youth, to hear the words of God, and the Lord will give you wisdom; buy it of the Lord, for He will give it to you for nothing. Hence lay my words to heart, for they are not my words, but the holy word of the Lord, which Christ Himself has taught us. Therefore, if you would be saved, keep the Lord's commandments. For he that loves Christ, and will be His disciple, the same will continue in His word; with Him he shall keep His supper in the kingdom of God, His heavenly Father, and He will go before them and serve them, and dwell with them for ever. But he that will be God's servant here, must submit to much temptation; he must also take his cross upon him, and thus daily follow him; for Christ says, "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world." Even as appears now, my child; because I fear
God, and according to my weak ability separate from the world, therefore the world hates me. And through their wicked hatred and envy they have imprisoned me, and it may very soon come to pass, that they shall kill me for the name of Jesus Christ, and for the testimony of His holy word, wherein I also stand steadfast through-the grace of the Lord, to risk for it all that I have. For I have nothing which I have not received from the Lord; hence we must willingly surrender it again for His holy name, for what we possess here in this world is but lent us; hence they are foolish who set their heart upon temporal things. For he that fears God must possess all things as though he had them not, for our goods are a prey to every one. All they that fear God are thrust .out of their houses, and they will spoil and scatter them. By this it is known who are God's chosen children: they are tried as gold in the fire.
Therefore, my child, search the holy Scriptures; they shall show you, that the God-fearing must enter into the kingdom of God through much tribulation and suffering. But the ungodly world is not worthy to suffer for the name of the Lord, for they do not know the name of Christ in the spirit. For if they had known Him, they would in former times not have crucified the Lord of glory. Hence, if they hated, persecuted and envied Christ the Son of God, and said that He had a devil, how much the more His disciples! But the Lord be thanked, all their upbraiding, reviling and envying is of no avail, but the Word of God; and Christ says, "Blessed are ye, when men speak evil of you falsely; rejoice and be glad, for your reward shall be great in heaven." Matt. 5:l 1, 12. Peter says, "The Holy Spirit of God resteth upon him." I Pet. 4:14. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. II Cor. 1:5.
Therefore, my child, though the world upbraid you with it today or tomorrow, you need not be ashamed, for I do not suffer for any crime, as a thief, or murderer, or as one that seeks other people's property; but it is for the confession of my faith in Christ Jesus, namely, that He is the true Son of God. Hence Peter says, that if one suffers for well doing, it is acceptable with God. I Peter 2:20.
Further, my dear child Betgen, it is my fatherly request of you, if I am taken away from you, that you may go to your uncle Lowijs, or to your aunt Tanneken or Jacomijntgen, to live with them; or if they think it best, they may put you with some good friends, to service. Hence I pray you, that you will be subject to your elders, not with eyeservice, to please men, but with all courtesy and modesty, in their absence, as well as in their presence, remembering that you serve not only men, but God. Eph. 6:6, 7. And always be diligent to do what they command you, and be courteous and friendly; and you will be loved by them. And always make yourself the least, and they will exalt and praise you, and do not in anything think too well of yourself, and take good heed not to argue against your elders, or with those with whom you are living; for it becomes young people very ill to contradict or talk back. And, my child, be also just in all your dealings, and steal nothing from people, for this would be a very shameful thing, if young girls or boys were discovered in any unrighteousness. Hence take good heed to keep clean hands, this I pray you, as I hope you will do. And whatever food or drink you see, take nothing therefrom, for it would bring you into disfavor. Hence remember all that I your father have requested of you, and keep it in your heart for a perpetual remembrance; for with careful love I have written this for a perpetual memorial, that you might at all times have or keep a good name.
Further, my beloved child, I must tell you yet, always to conduct yourself honorably with all with whom you live; and be well behaved, and show that you do not run into any fornication, which is an abominable, deadly sin before God, and besides exposes a person to the scorn of all men, and you could not attain to an honorable state. Hence always take good heed not to talk, joke or play with any young men, or to have much idle talk with them. lest through the lust of error you fall into sin. Besides I advise you out of fatherly love, to lay to heart all that I request of you, which will be an honor to you before God and all men.
Behold, my child, if I be offered up now, and go the way of all the earth (for all men are born once to die), be of good cheer and console yourself in the Lord, and be strong, and attend unto the admonition of the Lord our God, and lay it to heart, that you walk in His ways and keep His judgments, testimonies, statutes and commandments, as is written in the law and prophets. Hence, my child, when you live with any, if they fear God, they will be bound to admonish and correct you with the word of the Lord. This shall be a proof to you that they love you and seek your soul's salvation, for which you are also to be thankful; but since you are young yet, you will understand it better when you have more understanding. Therefore pray the Lord diligently, to endow you with wisdom and understanding, so that you may grow up as a green plant in Zion, and as the pleasant rose in Jericho, and as the precious balsam that grows upon mount Hermon. Eccl. 24:14; Ps. 133:2.
Behold, my dear child Betgen, if you fear the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and ability, your name shall be written in the book of life, and you shall be marked in your forehead with the name of the living God. You shall also receive a white, shining stone, and upon it a new name written, which no man knows, save he that receives it. You shall also be arrayed in garments of pure, white silk, which is the righteousness of the saints. Moreover, you shall with all the angels of God follow the glorious Lamb of God in great glory, and live forever and ever.
Behold, such glorious rewards shall they have; he that overcometh shall inherit all things that God has prepared for His chosen. He shall lead them to the fountain of living waters, and shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Rev. 7:17. Therefore fear God, and always seek to be instructed by the God-fearing, and lay the words of the Lord well to heart, and keep them as did Mary the mother of the Lord. And always walk with meekness and humility, for God is pleased with those that are humble and lowly of heart; for God has cast down the proud from their seats, but has exalted the humble thereupon; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Luke 1:52; I Pet. 5:5.
Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He shall exalt you in due time; for the proud cannot please God. In Proverbs it is written, "These things doth the Lord hate
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood." Prov. 6:17."When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom." 11:2. A proud heart is an abomination unto the Lord, and it shall not remain unpunished. Hence Tobit said to his. son, "Let not .pride rule in your heart, nor in your words; for it is the beginning of all destruction." Out of it proceeds all pride, when man apostatizes from God, and departs with his heart from his Creator; and pride impels to all sin, and he that is infected with it causes many abominations. Hence the Lord always rejected pride, and ultimately cast it down. God cast the proud princes from the throne; and set the humble thereupon; God rooted out the root of the proud nations, and set and planted the humble in their stead.
Hence do not think yourself wise, and do not reward evil for evil to any one, but recompense with good, as Christ teaches, where He says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy cloak, let him have thy coat also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." Matt. 5:38-41. Not, dear child, that we like to be smitten, or like to lose our cloak when it is taken away from us, that we should also give the coat, or to go with any one three or four miles against our will; but this is what the Scriptures teach us; and Christ also would herewith teach us, in order that we should rightly understand Him, that believers are in no wise permitted to avenge themselves on any man, however great reason they may have, but must commit the matter to God, who judges aright. For when some one smites us, we must rather suffer ourselves to be smitten again, than that we should defend ourselves, or smite back; and when our cloak is taken away, rather also let the coat be taken, than that we should take or get the cloak back by force or by smiting. In short, we must always suffer, but never inflict suffering upon any one, as the law of nature teaches us. Do unto thy neighbor as unto thyself.
Hence we are to wish evil to no one, though in the law of Moses the contrary is written, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." But Christ takes this away; for that was in the law of revenge; but now we are under grace. Hence we must also show grace, and not punish, as Christ says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good." Matt. 5:43-45. Hence, dear child, one may not wish evil to his enemy, much less do him any evil. And do not hate him, neither avenge yourself, but give place to wrath; and be slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God; but as you would that men should do unto you, so do to them, and you will fulfill the law of Christ. Rom. 12:19; James 1:19, 20; Matt. 7:12.
Further, my dear child, you are in duty bound to hold your mother, whom you still have, in love and esteem all the days of your life; for she has had much trouble and care with you, from the time that I have been married to her; hence you are also bound to love her, as your own mother. If you part from her today or tomorrow, you must heartily thank her for the motherly love which she has shown you; you ought not to part from her without many tears, for she has been a good mother to you. Therefore, though you should live far away from her, write her a very respectful letter sometime, and if you prosper, you may send her a friendly gift, by which to remember that you hold her in love and esteem; this shall be an honor to you. Hence do the best in all that I command you. And copy or read over frequently my letter, for a perpetual remembrance of your father; and follow it, and all that is good and acceptable before God.
Furthermore, my child, yield your heart under the obedience of the truth. And always be desirous to hear the word of God, and seek, when you attain to your understanding, to betake yourself among the church of the living God, and that in this way you may, enter into the ark of the covenant; so that you may be a partaker of all the heavenly promises with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the prophets and holy apostles of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Then you shall at the last day (that shall burn as a fiery oven) be delivered. For the ungodly shall be dreadfully tormented; they shall weep and lament forever, for they shall with the dragon, the devil, and all false prophets, be cast into the fiery lake that shall burn with fire and brimstone. Watch therefore in the fear of God, that you be not a partaker of their plagues. For if you today or tomorrow attain to your full age, and your hand is able, remember the poor members of
Christ, in communicating to the poor with such as the Lord grants you. And whatever you give, give
with a willing heart, and not by constraint, but of a ready mind, for God laveth a cheerful giver, says the apostle Paul. II Cor. 9:7. In Hebrews we read, "To do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Heb. 13:16. And alms cover a multitude of sins. Through fasting, prayer and alms the Gentile, Cornelius, was acceptable to God, and he received the promise of salvation; for as water quenches fire, so alms extinguish sin; and the Lord who holds it will requite it in the time to come, and when he falls he shall find help."My child," says Sirach, "let not the poor suffer want, and be not hard toward the needy. Despise not the hungry, and do
not grieve the needy in his poverty. Add not more trouble to a sorrowful heart; and defer not to give to him that is in need. Reject not the supplication of the afflicted; neither turn away thy face from a poor man." Eccl. 3:30, 31; 4:1-4.
Therefore assist the poor, so that the Lord may richly bless you. If you lay this to heart, and do according to it, your light shall arise as the bright morning star at the beautiful dawn; hence always do well, and if you love God, keep His commandments. Herewith I will conclude my letter. I have presented to you that which is best from the word of the Lord. Water and fire are set before man, namely, life or death. Eccl. 15:16, 17; Deut. 30:19. Hence choose life, that you may forever possess the kingdom of God, with all His chosen saints.
Herewith, my dear child Betgen, I, for this time take a perpetual adieu of you; commending you to God the heavenly Father, who is the Father of all orphans, and of all those that fear and love Him. And never neglect or forget diligently to ask God Almighty, and you shall receive of Him, more than you ask, if it is according to His will.
Adieu, my child, if we should see each other no more. I pray the Almighty God and King of kings, that He will govern you by His Holy Spirit, so that I may meet you in the clouds of heaven, where parting shall be no more, this I pray God by His unfathomable grace and love, with bended knees and a weeping heart and uplifted hands.
O Lord, hear my prayer, and let it be done, that through the fruit of my loins Thy holy, most worthy and adorable name may be praised now and forever. Amen.
My child Betgen, if I die, I would like to have your mother give you, for a perpetual memorial, a Testament, a Dirrick Philips Book of Fundamentals, a hymn book, and a copy of the book by Jacob de Keersgieter, which read diligently, for there are many excellent admonitions contained in them.
By me, your father, who wishes you every thing good. A. D. 1589.
JOOST DE TOLLENAER.