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MARTYRS MIRROR

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JACOB THE COBBLER AND HIS WIFE, GRIETJEN, VAN BRUYSSEL, ANNEKEN VAN BRUYSSEL, TANNE KEN WALRAVEN, A. D. 1575

In the year 1575, on the eve of Whitsuntide, there were also burnt alive, with their tongues screwed fast, atAntwerp, in Brabant, the following witnesses of Jesus: Jacob the Cobbler and his wife; Grietjen van Bruyssel, a widow; Anneken van Bruyssel, a young maiden; and Tanneken Walraven, the mother of Jacques Walraven, of Amsterdam. These died together, except the wife of Jacob the Cobbler, who, being enciente, had to wait until her delivery, and thus following the footsteps of her husband, she willingly delivered up her life for the testimony of Jesus.


Every reader ought further to notice, how directly these papists followed the footsteps of the envious and truth-hating scribes and Pharisees, who stopped their ears, that they should not hear the words of truth which were declared to them by that faithful witness of God, Stephen. So did also these scribes, with still greater tyranny deal with these friends of God, taking instruments invented for this purpose by the monks, in which they screwed fast the tongues of these prisoners, to deprive them of the power of speech, that they, on their way to death, should not be able to proclaim to the bystanding people the truth from the Word of God, and the innocence of their death. How will these persecutors answer for their course before the judgment seat of Christ, who knowing that Christ pronounced so many woes upon the scribes and Pharisees, who killed and stoned the prophets sent to them, nevertheless followed their works; hence they may expect the same reward from the righteous judge, who shall reward every one according to his works.


On the other hand, these witnesses can in truth console themselves, that to them, whose tongues were bound here, and who had to suffer for the truth a little while, it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness, when in the revelation of Christ their mouths shall be filled with laughter, and their tongues with praise, and they shall stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted them, and made no account of their labors, being thus under the blessed promise of Christ, who said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And Peter, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye." I Pet. 1:6; Heb. 12:11; Ps. 126:2; Matt. 5:10; I Pet. 4:14.


These witnesses wrote many letters from their prison, but they were lost through the Spanish insurrection, which occurred at Antwerp on the 4th of November, A. D. 1576.
 
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CLAES VAN ARMENTIERSS, AND, LIJNTGEN, A YOUNG MAIDEN, A. D. 1575

In the year 1575 there was burnt alive at Antwerp, for the faith of the truth and the testimony of Jesus, a God-fearing, pious brother, named Claes van Armentiers, a lace-maker; and with him, a young maiden, named Lijntgen, a servant maid. Claes van Armentiers, having been imprisoned first, said Lijntgen called to him into prison, "Strive valiantly, my dear brother, for you have the genuine truth." Being apprehended upon this, she was offered up four or five days afterwards, both being burnt alive together. And as they, for the truth of Christ (as behooves obedient sheep of their only, eternal Shepherd), patiently and in true obedience suffered temporal burning in their temporal and corruptible bodies, they are hereby saved and delivered from the eternal and unquenchable fire of hell prepared for the devil and all his followers.

These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. II Thess. 1:9; Mark 9:44. On the other hand, these faithful followers of the truth may expect to hear from the mouth of Jesus, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." At that time they shall again in great glory, receive these members, which they here for the testimony of Jesus delivered to the burning, being like, in immortality unto the glorious body of our Lord Jesus, and shall live with Him in unspeakable joy and glory, forever and ever. Phil. 5:21; I Cor. 2:9;.



 
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TWENTY PERSONS AT LONDON, IN ENGLAND, NAMELY, FOURTEEN WOMEN DRIVEN FROM THE CITY: A YOUTH SCOURGED BEHIND A CART; ONE DIED IN PRISON; TWO, NAMED HENDRICK TERWOORT AND JAN PIETERSS, BURNT ALIVE AND TWO OTHERS, AFTER ENDURING MUCH MISERY, ESCAPED FROM PRISON; ALL OF WHICH TOOK PLACE UNDER THE REIGN OF QUEEN ELIZABETH, IN THE YEAR 1575

The persecution, killing and murdering of the Christians not yet ceasing in many places, certain friends, on account of the severe tribulation and small opportunity for making a living, went from Flanders to England; among which number were also one Hendrick Terwoort and Jan Pieterss. While living in their simplicity, in London, to earn bread for wife and children, it occurred in the year 1575, on Easter Day, that the assembly met in a suburb, to hear the Word of God. Having thus engaged together in prayer to God, the constable (for they had been spied out) came in, fiercely and insolently, and called them devils, asking them who was their preacher. He wrote down their names, and made the women promise, to remain there together until further orders. Thus these friends remained there till the constable returned. He called off their names, and drove them before him as sheep are led to the slaughter, and conducted them to prison, there being twenty-five persons, of which number two escaped without any violence. They were confined two days in the South Fort in the Mersey, and were then released on bail, but soon after summoned to appear in St. Paul's Church, where the bishop and other eminent teachers and persons were assembled. There four questions were put to them, which were as follows

1. Whether Christ, our Saviour, had not assumed His flesh from the body of Mary?

2. Whether it is lawful for a Christian to swear an oath?

3. Whether Christians ought to have their children baptized?

4. Whether it is lawful for a Christian to administer the (criminal) office of the magistracy?

These questions these friends could not answer in the affirmative, but they denied one and all of them because they had not read them in the holy Scriptures with which our belief must agree. But they confessed that they had read of a magistracy which God has appointed in every country, for the protection of the good, and the punishment of the evil. When these friends, through the fear of God, could not follow the learned in these their questions, the bishop, and also the others, inveighed against them in a very brutal and furious manner, saying that the law should be applied to these people; if not, they would themselves lay hands on them. And because one of the prisoners spoke a little more than the rest, they said, "This is their captain; you shall no longer scatter your evil seed in our country," and they shut him up by himself. And the bishop showed them a large letter, saying very sternly: That the court has given orders, that all strangers should have to subscribe the above mentioned four questions, and he who would do this might remain in the country free and without molestation, but all that were found obstinate herein should be put to a terrible death. Let everyone consider this, subscribe and deliver himself from danger.

These cruel and unchristian threats terrified some, so that through the weakness of the flesh five of them apostatized from the truth, and refused to lose their bodies for the name of Christ. Having caught these in their net, they did not rejoicingly lay these found sheep (as they were regarded by them) upon their shoulders, according to Christ's teaching; but, on the contrary, they exposed these five, for a disgrace, in St. Paul's churchyard, with a fagot tied on their shoulders, as a token that they were worthy of burning, with which they stood there till the bishop had concluded his sermon, and gave a letter into their hands, saying: That these people were seduced, but that this was the truth, which was taught there; and that they should give bail, that they would unite with the Dutch (Duytsche) church, and thus become their brethren.

The other friends who steadfastly adhered to the truth were brought before the bishop twice afterwards, and it was sought, by severe threats with the decree, to constrain them to subscribe, or they would have to die a terrible death. When the bishop could by no manner of means cause these friends to apostatize, he delivered them over to the mayor, and they were put into severe imprisonment with malefactors, where these fourteen women and a lad were confined for some time with great tribulation and sorrow, by frequently being threatened with a cruel death.

But the matter ultimately took a different turn, so that they released these women, and drove them, as innocent lambs (whom it was easy to compel), with halberds and armed men, (as though they had to guard a city) to the ship. But the young lad they ied to a cart, and scourged him out [of the city] with a whip, which caused him to say, "This is for the name of Christ." When they were on board the ship, to embark for Gravesend, a letter was given to the skipper, which stated, that these people were not worthy to come among Christians. The other five brethren were brought forth again, and with great severity urged to subscribe, or in default of which to be burnt in Smithfield. Thereupon Jan Pieterss replied with a valiant heart, that this was a small matter. The bishop sternly asked, "What does he say?" When he had understood Jan Pieterss correctly, he presumptuously said that such heretics must be shunned; and that he did now expel them from his church, as bad members.

Thereupon Hendrick Terwoort said, "How can you expel us from your church, when we have never yet been one with you?" The bishop answered, "That this was all the same, and that in England there was no one that was not a member of God's church." Thus they put these friends of Christ into Newgate, confining them very securely, and tormented them with manifold temptations, with disputations, and [threats of] a cruel death.
 
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But when these friends, as men in the faith, steadfastly endured all this, they, very unmercifully, cast them into a deep dungeon, infested with filthy and noxious vermin, which was a dreadful and unhealthy place to be confined, so that one of the friends, named Christiaen, died there in a short time. Once an English teacher [minister] came to them, and laying his hands upon them, and falling down upon his knees, cried aloud, "Lord, convert their heart;" and naming the devil, said, "Depart from them, thou wicked one." But as these men, through the grace of God, and for the love to Him, bore all this, finally a letter was shown them, containing eight articles: That all strangers must subscribe to, and whether it were not right to put to death such vagabond heretics; together with the above-mentioned articles. Thereupon sentence was sent from the court upon Jan Pieterss and Hendrick Terwoort, that they should both be publicly burnt. This sentence was also assented to by the common people, by subscribing, that such heretics should be put to death.

On the Sunday following intelligence was brought to them, that they should be burnt in three days; and they were at the same time also asked, whether they desired any postponement. Hendrick Terwoort answered, "If it has to be according to your intention, make haste in the matter, for we would rather die than live, that we may be delivered from this dreadful vermin." But it was delayed until Friday, when they were brought forth early in the morning, to be put to death in Smithfield.

On their way to death Jan Pieterss said, "We need not be ashamed of this way, since many prophets went the same before us." And thus they, as defenseless sheep of Christ, following the footsteps of their Master, went boldly to death for the name of Christ. An English teacher who was present derisively said before all the people, "These people do not believe in God." Thereupon Jan Pieterss replied, "We believe in one God, our heavenly Father almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Son." When they stood at the stakes, they were once more tormented [with the demand] to subscribe to the articles referred to, and on condition that they should subscribe to them; they were promised pardon.

Thereupon Jan Pieterss spoke thus, "You have labored with all your might to bring us over to you; but now that you cannot accomplish your purpose, we are placed at the stake." Thereupon one of their preachers excused them, saying, "That this came through the council'alone, and that it was also the will of the queen, that they should be put to death." Jan Pieterss .replied that they who were the teachers of the queen ought to instruct her differently; and that therefore our blood shall be required at your hands. Thus, on the 22d of July of said year, 1575, both were burnt alive and confessed the word of truth with their death. But the other two prisoners, Gerrit van Byler and Hans van Straten, after much misery -and distress, were set free, unharmed in their faith.

It is also deserving of the consideration of every intelligent person, how utterly incompatible with the Christian faith such unchristian and cruel proceedings and sentence as seen here, are, since the Christians are described as sheep and lambs sent out among cruel, ravening wolves. Matt. 10:16; Luke 10:3. Who then can believe with a good conscience, that these English preachers are the true sheep of Christ, seeing they so signally brought forth in this the fruit of wolves, since according to the teaching of Christ, the tree shall be known by its fruit. And these preachers are to be censured so much the more yet, since they regard as a principal article of their faith, that God Almighty before the foundation of the world elected a certain small number of men, which can in no wise be decreased or increased, but who shall infallibly all be saved.

And that God Almighty, on the other hand, rejected the great majority of men, who shall likewise infallibly be lost. And that the will or ability which God has given man, can do no more in the way of inducing acceptation of God's gracious conversion, than dead men are able to resurrect from temporal death. If it stands thus with man's conversion, how utterly unfounded is then the course of these English preachers, who by such tyrannical means sought to force the faith and conversion (according to their, idea) upon these poor defenseless prisoners, by threatening them with a terrible death. It appears from this, that they do not believe their principal article themselves.

This occurred under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in the eighteenth year of said reign.

He that will, may read this account also in an old printed hymn, which was then composed concerning the offering up of these friends.
 
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EXTRACT FROM A WRITING BY GERRIT VAN BYLER'S OWN HAND, HANDED TO US BY HIS SON JAN VAN BYLER; WRITTEN IN PRISON, AT LONDON, AND CONFIRMATORY OF THE FOREGOING

First of all he states that they, more than twentyfive of them being assembled in prayer to God, on Easter Day, were surprised, apprehended, and put into the Queen's prison, where they were confined till the third day, that they had to give bail for a large amount of money, etc., someone going security for it; and we, writes G. van Byler, kept our word.

(From here on we shall follow G. van Byler's own words.)

We were then brought before her majesty's bishop, to confess our faith, which we did.

When we came before the bishop, there were assembled there: Mr. George, James King, John Wheelwright, two aldermen, and a French preacher. Again: we came before the lords and their servants; they presented to us four questions, and thereupon said, "Say yes or no."

1. Ques. Whether Christ had not assumed His flesh and blood from the virgin Mary?

We replied, "That He is the Son of the living God."

a. Ques. Whether infants must not be baptized?

We replied, "That we could not understand it so, since we had not found it in the holy Scriptures."

3. Ques. Whether a Christian may administer the [criminal] office of the magistracy?

We replied, "That our conscience did not allow it, but that we recognized it as the servant of God, as we read."

¢. Ques. Whether a Christian, in case of necessity, may not swear?

We replied, "That our conscience did likewise not allow it, because Christ, in Matthew, had said

'Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay.'"

Then we kept silence. The bishop said that our crimes therein were very great, so that we should not inherit the kingdom of God. O Lord, do not avenge it!

The bishop then said to us all, that they should conduct us back into the Mersey, whence we had come out, and keep us confined there.

A young brother, who being questioned first, boldly declared the truth, was severely accused for it, and taken from us to Westminster, where he was confined by himself, which grieved us greatly.

While we were thus imprisoned, Mr. George came, and said that if we would adhere to the church, he would release us, and free us from our bonds, to which end, he said, he had orders from the bishop. But we adhered valiantly to the truth of Jesus Christ; He is our Captain, and no other; yea, in Him is all our trust.

My dear brethren and beloved sisters, let us courageously persevere, till we are taken hence. The Lord shall give us to drink of the new wine. O Lord, strengthen our faith I As we have received the Lord Jesus Christ, so let us go on, valiantly trusting in Him.

When we thought that the conflict was almost over, it was only the beginning of it. We were put in irons, and each separately confined, with fetter on our legs. This lasted a little more than three weeks.

In the meantime we had to appear before the lords again, when we were told that we should be burnt, which was grievous for the flesh; but we called to God in our distress, that He would strengthen us, as He had strengthened Israel.

On the morning of the day before Whitsuntide we were two and two coupled together, and brought before the lords (which was the fourth time), and we remembered the word of the Lord, "When ye are brought before lords and princes, fear not what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that hour." Hence we trusted in the Lord.

When we had been brought there, the lords again presented to us the afore-mentioned four questions, and urged us to sign them. But we said, we would adhere to the word of the Lord.

We were then taken away and each separately confined, and fettered as previously. The women and one young brother were taken to Newgate, whence they were conducted on board a vessel, and carried away; and the brother was tied to a cart and whipped out of the city.

We were then released from our fetters for about five days, which, however, were put on us again, and then we looked for the end.

After this, two Dutch preachers, sent by the bishop, came and gave a letter to the jailer.

Thereupon, on the 2d of June, we were bound again, led forth, and brought before the lords, who again presented to us the afore-mentioned four questions, and after this had been done, they sent us into Newgate prison, where the other friends had been confined.

Then we expected our end in a day or two, for which we greatly longed, for the imprisonment was severe; however, it was not yet the Lord's will.

When we had been confined there about eight days, one of our brethren was delivered from the flesh, and died a godly death, at which all of us were called to be present, to witness it.

In the meantime we were confined among many thieves and criminals, to whom the bishop, as also a preacher, said that they should take care not to be seduced by us.

After many storms Mr. Godfrey and two others came, and we were confined in cages, so that we could not converse with our neighbors.

And as a thunder clap, death was, from day to day, announced to us, by hanging, burning, and otherwise; however, the Lord strengthened us, praise be to His holy name. They also told me before, that when I should be in the heat of the flames, I could not bow or beckon for pardon; hence I should do it before, said they, for the less pain the better; so that I should not have to suffer much in death.

Thus we waited for death from day to day; we thought little of our lives, though it was grievous for the flesh, and consoled ourselves with the thought that once, at all events, we had to die.
 
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My severest conflict was, that I had to leave my dear wife and all my little innocent children. After twelve days two of us were informed, that they should have to die by fire on the third day; whereupon on Tuesday, a stake wag erected in Smithfield; but the execution did not take place.

On Wednesday much people were gathered, to behold the death of our two friends; however, they dispersed again. But this was done for the sake of intimidation, to draw our friends and us from the faith. But on Friday, two of our friends, namely, Hendrick Terwoort and Jan Pieterss, were taken from prison and led forth to be offered up.

Jan Pieterss said as he was going out, "This way went all the pious prophets, as also Christ our Saviour, which has been thus from the beginning of days, from the time of Abel."

These two were put at a stake in Smithfield, and strove through by force, in the midst of the fire, thus becoming a sacrifice before the Lord, which they offered up to Him alive.

NOTICE.-Here follows in this writing a hymn, with the remark, that Jan Pieterss Wagemaker, who was burned at this time, composed the same before his death, in prison. It treats of the sufferings of all the righteous, until Jesus Christ and His apostles, and many martyrs, and begins thus

Hoort Vriendekens al to samen,

Een lied heb ik gestelt, etc.

And concludes with this stanza

Die dit lied heeft begonnen,

Hy was seer teer en krank:

Had by den strijd gewonnen

Het ware wel sijnen dank.

Den strijd was in saysoene.

Als by dit eerstmael sank;

Te Londen was 't to doene

Daer by was in bedwank.

Then follows another hymn, which concludes thus:

Die dit lied heeft begonnen,

heyblijd was by al in den geest,

Uyt liefden was by daer toe gedrongen,

Als by lag in benouwen meest.

Tot God was alleen sijn verlangen,

Die hem kan sterken totters end,

Te Londen daer by lag gevangen,

In Nieuwgeet seer wel bekent.

Again another stanza.

WY zijn, O Heer! nu in den strijd,

Och! wilt ons dock bewaren,

Than ons vyanden, nu ter tijd,

Die ons benouwen aen allen zijd',

O! Heer, ons doch bevrijd!

Op dat wy wel volherden.

O God gy zijt een Heere groot,

Sterkt ons altijd in onsen nood.

After that, the following words were written by Gerrit van Byler

Hope of Believers: Though they condemn me here upon this earth, I nevertheless certainly believe with the prophet David (Ps. 27:13) that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; hence I rejoice in the Lord, and am of good cheer and undismayed, assured that my Redeemer liveth. Spes mea in Deo.*

In Newgate, at London, in September, in the year 1575. Written by me.

GERRIT VAN BYLER.
 
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EXTRACT FROM THE APPENDED MATTERS IN THE OLD MARTYRS MIRROR, EDITION OF 1631, PAGE 964, COL. 2

We received, too late, a certain chronicle of England, by Egmont Howes, a nobleman in London, printed A. D. 1615, by Thomas Dauwson, in which on page 678, the following is related, as having occurred under Queen Elizabeth, A. D. 1575

On Easter Day, being the 3d of April, about nine o'clock in the forenoon, there was discovered a gathering of Dutch Anabaptists, Hollanders, in a house beyond the Aldgate; seventeen of whom were apprehended, and four cast into prison.

On the 21st of May, on Whitsuntide eve, one man and ten women, Dutch Anabaptists, were condemned, in the Consistory of St. Paul's church, to be burnt in a place called Smithfield; however, after much labor and pains with them, only one woman turned, and the rest were banished from the country.

On the 22d of July two Dutch Anabaptists were burned in the place called Smithfield, who died in great terror, weeping and crying. So far the aforementioned author.

We have deemed it well to add this here, since it serves to confirm the foregoing; as also, to testify that they did not suffer for any reviling against her majesty (as circulated by some), but only for their faith. And this is the more authentic, because it was recorded by the hand of their adversaries.

* My hope is in God.
 
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TWO LETTERS WRITTEN BY THESE IMPRISONED FRIENDS, AS WE HAVE FOUND THEM IN A SMALL, OLD, PRINTED BOOK

We poor and despised strangers, who are in persecution for the testimony of Jesus Christ, wish all men, of whatever race or office, from God, that the Lord would grant them a long peace, so that we may live in peace among one another, in all godliness, to the praise and glory of the Lord, and the salvation of the soul.

Since we are by so many persons, both with word and pen, very unjustly accused and slandered, we are for this important reason constrained briefly, in writing, to present the ground of our faith, and thus make it known as follows

We are not addressed, and interrogated concerning our faith, with a meek spirit, as the holy Scriptures teach; but reproach is heaped upon reproach, and lie upon lie, to increase and augment our afflictions and sorrows; and because they also have no pity for our poor weak women and children. Our country and kindred, and our property, we had to leave (partly, because of the great tyranny), and fled as lambs before wolves, only for the true evangelical truth of Jesus Christ, and not for any sedition or heresy, as the Munsterite errors or abominations were, and as (God forbid!) is reported of us. We fain would that our whole faith and life were written on our forehead, so that everyone might know and see what we believe, and what we seek and desire here upon earth. There should nothing be found but a true faith in full accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and an unblamable life, seeking to provide bread for our wives and children, even as God has commanded and as the Scriptures teach. I Thess. 2:9; II Thess. 3:8; Eph. 4:28; I Thess. 4:11.

Oh, that our persecutors knew that this is the desire of our hearts, they certainly could not but have great pity and compassion upon us poor, despised strangers, if there be any human pity and compassion in them at all, and they would, according to the words of the Lord, have compassion upon us, as the prophet says, "Bring the poor that are afflicted to thy house." Isa. 58:7. Moses says, "If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him; but the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself." Lev. 19:33, 34.

Mark well that God commands to love the stranger as one's own self. Who is in misery and dwelling in a strange country, that likes to be despised, and driven out of it with his fellow believers, and suffer great loss besides? Hence Christ says, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matt. 7:12. Oh, that they would deal so with us, according to natural equity, and the evangelical truth (of which our persecutors so greatly boast), how soon should the persecutors cease, and the lying and slandering mouths be stopped. For Christ and His own persecuted no one, but in His true Gospel taught the contrary, as He says, "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. 5:44, 45.

This is the doctrine left by Christ and His apostles, as they themselves declare, even as Paul says, "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." I Cor. 4:1113. Paul further says, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Tim. 3:12.

From all this it is demonstrable, that those who have the true evangelical doctrine and faith will persecute no one, but will themselves be persecuted. If it be said to us, that we are persecuted for our heretical faith, according to Paul's teaching, and because God has commanded to kill the false prophets (Deut. 13:9), we reply thus, "Paul says, that we are to reject (avoid) a man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition." Tit. 3:10. He does not say, "Drive them out of the country and city without hearing or admonishing them." Besides, one must also know who are heretics: namely, those who advance a doctrine that is beside and contrary to the word of the Lord. But no man can convince us of this; that is, that our doctrine and faith are contrary.to the doctrine of Jesus Christ and His holy apostles, as the sequel will show.

In regard to their allegation, that God has commanded, in His law, to kill false prophets, we reply that if we, in this time of the New Testament, were to kill all which God had commanded to kill in the Old Testament, we should have to kill not only the false prophets, but also the adulterers, whoremongers, and those who take the name of the Lord in vain and curse, and other like transgressors. Leviticus 20:10; Deut. 22:21; Lev. 24:14. And if they would wink at these, and allege against us only the commandment concerning the false prophets, in order to be rid of us, do at least rightly consider the word of the Lord, by what sign false prophets shall be known. For thus does God speak by Moses, "If a prophet or dreamer say to you: Let us go after strange gods, which you know not, that prophet shall die." Deut. 13.

But we do not teach to go after strange gods, neither have we a heretical faith which is contrary to the word of Christ. But we believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the pure virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; on the third day He rose from the dead, ascended up to heaven, and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Almighty Father, whence He must come again, to judge the quick and the dead. We believe in the Holy Ghost. We believe that Christ Jesus is true God and man.

Neither do we seek salvation in our works, as is reported of us; but we believe that we shall be saved only through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nor do we boast of being without sin, but confess ourselves every moment as sinners before our God. But from presumptuous sins we must refrain, if we would be saved: as namely, from adultery, fornication, sorcery, sedition, shedding of blood, cursing and swearing, lying and cheating, pride and drunkenness, anger and strife, hatred and envy. These are the sins of which the Scripture says, "They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. 5:21.

That they also say that we will not hear the Word of God, because we do not hear the preachers in church, to that we reply that we do not hear the preachers, to this the Word of our God constrains us, as they are not fit persons to administer such an office. For Paul teaches Timothy and says, "The things that thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." II Tim. 2:2. For he that would reprove and teach another must be unblamable himself. But if the preachers were according to the apostolic doctrine, we would gladly hear them from the depths of our hearts, and would also be the first and the last in church.
 
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But if it be said to us, that Jesus Christ says"The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works" (Matt. 23:2, 3); we answer, "If the preachers are the scribes and Pharisees, then they are the ones who have crucified Jesus Christ, and then also will come upon them all the woes that follow hereafter. But if they are not the scribes, then are also the preceding words, that we are to do according to their words, and not after their works, not spoken of them." Again, they that sat in Moses' seat, were from the tribe of Levi, like Moses, teaching the people of Israel, "All that the priests and Levites teach you, and as they command you, that shall ye observe, and do according to it." Deut. 17:10. The prophet says, "The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth." Mal. 2:7.

Since Christ did not come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them; therefore He taught His apostles thus. But that this should be an argument from the word of Christ (Matt. 23) , to hear the preachers, cannot be; since the preachers are not of the tribe of Levi, whom Israel had to hear, but from the Gentiles. Besides, it must be considered, that when Christ Jesus had fulfilled the law in every respect, by His bitter death and the shedding of His sacred blood, He ordained another priesthood that should teach His holy law, namely, His Gospel, when He said to His disciples, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21.

These holy messengers of Christ directed us to hear, not blamable teachers, but such as are unblamable; who are not given to wine, not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, not covetous, not given to filthy lucre; but given to hospitality, kind, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word. And let the deacons also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. II Pet. 3:2; I John 4:1; I Tim. 3; Tit. 1; Rom. 2:21; 16:17.

Hence we dare not regard the preachers as the persons that are to wait on the office of the ministry; nor dare we hear them, because they, according to Paul's teaching, are blamable and unfit thereto: When it is therefore said of us, that we will not hear the Word of God, great injustice is done us; for to hear the Word of God is the greatest joy that can come to us upon earth, for it is the comfort of our hearts.

That they would also accuse us of being disobedient to the magistracy, because we do not have our children baptized, to this we reply that we desire to obey the magistracy in all things not contrary to the Word of God. That we do not have our children baptized by the priest, this we omit not from stubbornness or presumption, but through the fear of God, because Christ commanded to baptize believers, and the messengers of Christ did not baptize infants, who were unable to speak, but reasonable persons, upon confession of their sins, and of their faith, as may be read, Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21; John 3:22; Acts 2:28; 9:37; 8:18; 10:48; 16:33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16. Thus did Christ and the apostles teach concerning baptism as we may read, Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; John 3:23; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; Tit. 3:5; I Peter 3:21; Heb. 6:2. These are the Scriptures that testify of the baptism of believers. But of baptizing infants devoid of reason or speech, upon the faith of the fathers, and exorcising the devil from them, of this the Scriptures do not say one word. Hence we dare not consent to such a baptism, because God has commanded, that one shall neither add to nor take away from His words. Nor dare we do what seems right to any one, but only that which He commands. It is further written, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Prov. 30:6.

The Scriptures declare in many places, that they will be most grievously punished by God who forsake His Word and follow their own opinion, even as Saul the first King of Israel; Uzzah, who touched the ark of the Lord; the two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, who did that which was not commanded them, wherefore they were also punished. I Samuel 15:24; II Sam. 6:6; Lev. 10:2. These are to us remarkable examples, that we dare use no religious rites or ceremonies without a command from God. For Christ says, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Matthew 15:13. And Martin Luther, commenting on the third chapter of Daniel, writes, "Divine worship without the word is always idolatry." hat they say that the children believe themselves and that God is almighty, so that He can easily give the children faith, since faith is the gift of God, to this we reply that God is almighty, and can easily give the children faith, and not only faith, but also speech, and works, whereby faith is also confessed (for faith is not without confession or good works), but now does God give the children neither speech nor works, to say nothing of faith.* Paul says, "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" Rom. 10:14. It is certainly evident to everyone, that infants can neither hear nor understand, as also the Scripture openly declares. And even though the Scriptures did not teach us this, yet experience teaches us, that they must be guarded and kept from all sharp and dangerous instruments, from water and fire, whereby they prove that there is neither faith nor understanding in them. And as they are not willing to permit that infants should receive the sacrament, they thereby prove themselves, that they do not regard their speechless children as believers.

That they also claim that their children are filled with the Holy Ghost in- their mother's womb, as was John the Baptist; if this be true, how comes it then that they exorcise the unclean spirits from their children, when they baptize them; if they have previously had the Holy Spirit?

That they also adduce the words of -Christ, "Suffer the children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of God," as a proof for baptizing the children, we answer that the kingdom of God is theirs we heartily admit; but that they are therefore to be baptized, we do not admit, for the reason that Christ did not baptize the children that were brought to Him, nor did He command that they should be baptized; but they are saved through grace, without any ceremonies, through the blood of Christ, even as the children which died without circumcision in Israel.

That they also assert that we must be born again of the water and the Spirit, or we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, and would conclude that children must be baptized, because water precedes the spirit; or they will not be saved; to this we reply, in the first place, that Christ here does not speak of children, but to an adult person, that came to Him by night, to whom Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." ,john 3:5, 6. In the second place, Christ speaks of a regeneration before the water (v. 3), which regeneration cannot be effected, except through faith in Jesus Christ, as the Scriptures teach. This also Martin Luther writes,t that faith is a divine work in us, which changes and renews us by the power of God, mortifies the old Adam, makes of us entirely different beings in heart, mind and every power, and brings the Holy Ghost with it.

These words do in no respect concern innocent children, for they do not have the old birth, from the original sin which condemns them, as some would prove, because David says, "I was begotten of sinful seed; and in sin did,my mother conceive me." This psalm David .made, when he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, and was reproved by the prophet Nathan. Then he lamented on account of the inborn sin from Adam, but it was not accounted unto his condemnation, because of the promised seed which had been promised to Adam and Eve, namely, Christ Jesus, who reconciled Adam's transgression and took the original sin upon Himself, as Paul says, "As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men, unto justification of life." Rom. 5:18.

Thus also Martin Luther declares, writing on the fifteenth chapter of John, "That original sin was taken away through Christ, and that since Christ's advent it does no more condemn any one. Since, then, original sin was taken away through Christ, and no longer condemns any one, there is also no sin can condemn infants if they die without baptism; for the children shall not die for the iniquity of the father, saith the Lord." Deuteronomy 24:16; II Kings 14:6; II Chronicles 25:4; Ezekiel 18:20: Hence it. is a great sin before God, to demand that the children be baptized for the sake of original sin, or that they shall not be saved. Those who demand this, esteem Adam's sin greater than the merits of Christ: they also seek salvation more in the water than in the blood of Christ, which is openly contradicting the Scriptures, since it is so clearly declared"that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7; Col. 1:14; I Pet. 1:19; Rev. 1:5; Heb. 9:12.
 
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That they also want to argue, that circumcision is a proof for the validity of infant baptism; this can not be. Reason, if children were to be baptized as they were circumcised, only the male children would have to be baptized, and not the female, for the female children were not circumcised, but only the male children. Paul does not apply circumcision to baptism, but to the circumcision of the heart, which is a circumcision of the spirit. Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11; Phil. 3:3. God commanded Abraham to use circumcision on the eighth day; this commandment Israel kept until Christ came, and they did not change it, whether in little or in much, but adhered to the eighth day, and did not want to follow their reason and say: that when children die before the eighth day without circumcision they are damned; but they would obey God and His commandments and would not follow their own wisdom.

In this manner we in the New Testament are also to use baptism: Namely, at the time Christ commanded it; that is, on believers and we are not to follow our own opinion in the matter of baptism, that we should use it before the proper time on speechless and unreasonable children; because God has not commanded it, and it has not been His will. Had it been the will of God, that infants should be baptized, as they were circumcised when they were eight days old, God would doubtless have commanded it with an express command, that children should be baptized, even as well as He commanded to circumcise the children. Christ would also have received baptism in His infancy, as well as that He was circumcised when He was eight days old. But now this was not the will of God; hence He did also teach otherwise, and received it Himself in a different manner. For Christ came to John, and desired that he should baptize Him, as he also did. By this He teaches us, and has shown us by examples, that they who are to be baptized must have a desire for baptism.

That the preachers assert that Origenes received infant baptism from the apostles, this cannot be; for Origenes lived a hundred years after the time of the apostles, as history testifies. But it is very surprising, that the learned are trying to prove any thing by Origenes, since Martin Luther so strenuously rejects him. They write and say what some Romish bishops or popes instituted, and proved the same from the historian Platina. They write thus, "That Pope Innocent commanded to baptize children as soon as they were born." The same is contained in a book printed at Magdeburg, entitled a"Prayer Book, new from the holy Scriptures." Again, Sebastian Franck's Chsonika, and Adriaen van Bergen write that Ignius the tenth pope instituted the sponsors in baptism. This is the reason why we cannot see the propriety of infant baptism: because it is instituted and commanded by men, and the holy Scripture does not know such a baptism, but knows only the baptism that is taught upon faith, as said before.

We are also branded as profaners of the sacrament and forgetters of God. To this we reply, "We neither profane nor forget the sacrament of our Lord Jesus Christ, but hold it in great gratitude, and remember, whenever we observe it, the great love which Christ showed us on the cross, when He suffered His body to be broken, and shed His sacred blood for our sakes; and thus we show forth the death of the Lord, as Paul says, "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." I Cor. 11

26. This is our faith concerning the sacrament. That we do not receive it from the preachers, and observe it with their church, is for three reasons.

The first reason is that the minister or dispenser must be blameless according to the teaching of Paul; he must rule well his own house, and have his children in subjection, and his wife must be faithful in all things. I Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6. In the second place, the church that is to eat of the bread must be a blameless church (Eph. 5:27), as Paul says, "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Paul further says, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat." I Cor. 5:7-11. Since we openly find such works in their church, the Word of God forbids us to observe the Lord's sacrament with them.

The third reason is that they do not observe their sacrament according to the practice of Christ and His apostles, for they took bread, and break it, and gave it to the people. Matt. 26:26; I Corinthians 10:16; 11:23; Acts 2:42; 20:11. But the priest break no bread, but give unbroken wafers. The wafers were instituted by Pope Alexander. Christ commanded it to be done in remembrance of Him (I Cor. 11:24); the priests say that it is to be done, partly, for the forgiveness of sins. These are the reasons why we dare not observe it with them, through the fear of God, for we dare do nothing but what the Word of God teaches us. And we observe it with a blameless dispenser, in a blameless church who fear God, with bread and wine, according to the practice of the Lord and His apostles, in the houses, as Christ and the. apostles did.

This is our faith and confession concerning holy baptism: that it may be given to none other but adults that believe, and know themselves what they are receiving, even as they who eat of the bread of the Lord must have understanding and faith, and must examine themselves. Because we thus rightly observe these two sacraments according to the command of Christ, hence it partly comes, that the preachers are so exceedingly hostile to us. It grieves them, that they should lose their profit. They know not what evil things they can falsely tell the authorities and the common people, in order that they should not tolerate us in any city or country.
 
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They pretend that there are so many thousands of us in the country, who want to take possession of countries and cities; whereas no such thoughts have entered into our hearts, for it is impossible to take possession of countries and cities without violence and bloodshed. And if we had such a liberty as would permit us to commit murder, and to deprive an other of his property, we would also have liberty to let our children be baptized by the priests; then we would not need to allow ourselves to be driven from our possessions and paternal inheritances, from our ease into great misery, as a reproach to all. If we had such a heart as is reported of us, we would suffer all this in vain, for they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, as Paul says: Gal. 5:21."A lie," says Sirach,"is a foul blot in a man, yet, it is continually in the mouth of the untaught.

A thief is better than a man that is accustomed to lie." Sir. 20:24, 25. For they had also invented this lie against Paul, that he had made an uproar, and had brought from the wilderness four thousand secret murderers. Acts 21:38. But with regard to us they have still magnified the lie, and speak of many thousands as being of our faith. We have not so easy a faith, that they flock to us in crowds; only here and there may be a household, which are very solitary and few as a sparrow alone upon the housetop, like the pelican of the wilderness, and owl of the desert, a lily among thorns, and the apple tree among the trees of the wood, which brings forth good fruit (Ps. 102:7, 6; Cant. 2:2, 3; Ps. 1:3) , as a penitent life, to deny one's self, and to hate his own life, otherwise he cannot be Christ's disciple. Luke 14:26. They that are Christ's, crucify the flesh with the affection and lusts. Gal. 5:24. He that says he abides in Christ ought himself also to walk, even as Christ walked. I John 2:6. Christ says that there are few that walk in His way, in the way which leads unto life, and that find it. It is hid from the scribes and wise of this world.

Base things, and things which are most despised, hath God chosen, and things which are not, to them it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Thus Christ and His apostles declare that there are few who have the true faith, and know the way. As also the prophet laments, "The faithful fail from among the children of men." Psalm 12:1. For iniquity abounds, so that, if it were possible, the very elect should fall into error, as Christ Himself says, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8. Hence there will be few believers at Christ's coming, and have also been few from the beginning of the world. As namely, in the time of Noah, only eight believing souls. In Lot's time, there were only three believers. In the time of Israel, there were eight hundred false prophets against one. Also, four hundred false prophets, to one [true] prophet. I Kings 18.

Thus the perverse have always outnumbered the righteous. This is our open confession before God and all men: that the faith and heart of every one of us is of such a nature, that we do not desire in any wise to injure our enemies that persecute us, or to wish them evil; but we desire from the depths of our hearts, to pray for them, and if they should need us, we would most heartily serve them according to our ability, for they know not but that they are right, and are therein doing God great service. John 16:2. Even as they will hereafter have to confess, as it is written in the fifth chapter of Wisdom; but it shall then be too late for them.

For this reason the promise of eternal salvation is ours; as Christ Himself said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." Matt. 5:11, 12. This promise have they that are persecuted here. But to those that persecute here, woe is prophesied, as Christ says, "Woe unto you, scribes, who kill the prophets; fill up the measure of your fathers." The apostle says, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl, for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you." James 5:1-3, 6. If it be replied, that they do not want to shed our blood, but only order us out of their cities and countries, we answer that though there is nowhere a place for us, still we must certainly live somewhere; hence we must for this reason go to bloody countries, whence we fled, partly because of the great tyranny, where the blood of the saints is poured out like water. But when that great day of the Lord will come, when men shall say, "Ye mountains and hills, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;" then it shall be found how guilty they have been of our blood. For they shall have judgment without mercy, that have shewed no mercy. For with what measure a man has meted, it shall be measured to him again.

Hence we request and pray, for the sake of Jesus Christ, that what we have written be received in good part, since it has been done out of pure love, for a warning against the punishment of the Lord, lest you sin against us; since we are the true strangers and people of God, who are persecuted for the true doctrine of Jesus Christ and His holy apostles. May the eternal and merciful God look with gracious eyes upon all His afflicted children, who are hated by so many, and not give to the beasts the souls of thy turtle doves, for His great and holy name's sake. Ps. 74:19.

O Lord, shorten the days, and look upon the reproach of Thy people, which they must suffer every day for the sake of the holy testimony of the Gospel, through Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

(End of the first letter)

As then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal. ¢:29.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. Heb. 10:23.


 
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PAUL GLOCK, A. D. 1576

In the year 1576, Paul Glock, who had been imprisoned without intermission for nearly nineteen years, in the country of Wurtemberg, came to his deliverance, after:he had suffered much during his imprisonment, and at first been greatly tormented and tortured, and at such times been tempted in many and various ways, by the authorities as well as by noblemen and Lutheran preachers; they tried him with hard imprisonment and also with light imprisonment. In the year 1566 they did not try him for a whole half year, and also permitted him to go out several times, on his promising them with his word, that he would not go away without their knowledge. Subsequently, when the court chaplain of the prince and others examined him, and he still firmly adhered to his faith, and would not regard their magistracy, sword, and war, as in harmony with Christianity; they said that he was not worthy of going among the people; that he must remain in confinement all the days of his life, even until his death, or until he should say that they were good Christians. In the year 1567 he was sick, from Epiphany until St. John's day, being very feeble and miserable, lame in his hands, and .also in his knees, so that he was not able to stand up.

He also had great pain in his mouth, so that for some time he could eat no bread, and there was no hope that he would ever get well again. When his enemies learned of this, they thought,"Now is our time," and sent two priests to him, who were to dispute with him, and to persuade him, in regard to infant baptism and the sacrament, and that they should convert him to themselves, since God so visited him with sickness. But brother Paul said, "Show me a Christian flock that has grown up by your preaching, doctrine and faith, and I will unite with it; and if there be anything in me that is contrary to God, I will lay it aside and forsake it, and adopt that which is better." Then the two priests said, "The Christian church cannot be pointed out with the finger."

Brother Paul said, "It is evident what false prophets you are; Christ showed His church and disciples, when He stretched out His hand over His disciples, and said: 'Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' Matt. 12:50. Also: 'A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.' 5:14. Further: 'Ye are the light of the world.' The apostle Peter also speaks of it, where he says: 'Ye are a chosen generation, a holy nation.' I Pet. 2:9. Paul also shows her [the Christian church] where he says: 'Ye are the temple of the living God, the seal of mine apostleship.' II Cor. 6:16; I Cor. 9:2. But since you do not know her, you are the children of the night and of darkness, and not members of the body of Christ; and since you cannot show me Christ's body, how should I trust and commit myself to you, that you should make a Christian of me, when you have not yet shown me one Christian in your church. You are even as Ahab's four hundred false prophets; into whose deceitful mouth a false spirit has been put, to deceive the whole world; yea, you are the thieves and murderers that now come to kill and steal." I Kings 18; John 10:8.

When he gave them such an answer, they were astonished that he could so answer them in his sickness, and did not come to him any more for a long time, to dispute with him. They also said, "Though your cause be right and good, it can yet not be tolerated, for it has never been tolerated." Brother Paul said, "Yes, the ungodly and the world could not tolerate Christ, His apostles, or any of the righteous; so also you, for you are ungodly, unrighteous, and wicked men, whose belly is their god. Phil. 3:19."

In the year 1572 the preachers of the prince came to him the third time, to the castle of Hohenwithing, talked much with him, and examined him concerning many things. In the year 1573 they had him brought into the city of Aurach, where then were the preachers and the steward of the country (who is the next after the prince), and they disputed with him about infant baptism. They said, "Children have faith, and hence they are justly brought to baptism; for the apostle says: 'Without faith it is impossible to please God."' Heb. 11:6. But Paul said, "The apostle does not say this of children, nor does he speak to children, but with adults; and he further says in the same place: 'He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' Now place before me a child, and if it shows so much confession and faith, then baptize it freely." They said, "A child needs no confession.""Then it also needs no baptism," said he.

Then they were silent about that, and began to speak of the magistrates, saying that they were Christians, since the apostles calls them God's ministers. The brother replied, "The apostle calls them ministers (Romans 13:4) because of the council, and the council does not belong in the house of God or Christ." They said, "The council does certainly belong in the house of God." The brother said, "Then show me a lawful magistracy in the house or church of Christ; for the apostle ordained all offices in the house of God: hence show me where he ordained the princes or worldly kings with their offices in the church." Then the preachers began and said, "Cornelius was a centurion over soldiers, and became a Christian." Acts 10:1. They also mentioned Sergius Paulus, and said that he had been the deputy of the country. Acts 13-:7.

Then the brother asked them, whether they also believed that the apostle had preached the Gospel to them, by which they had to become believers, and whether, also, the apostle had been a true follower and teacher of Christ. They answered, "Yes." He asked further, "Did he also judge in a worldly mannerbear a sword?" They said, "No; but he wielded a spiritual sword and judgment.""As you then also confess," said the brother,"you also well know that the apostles preached the Gospel to Cornelius and Sergius Paulus; also that the people wanted to make Christ a king, and that He fled (John 6:15); again: 'The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them; but it shall not be so among you; ye shall not resist evil' (Matt. 20

25; 5:39): from all this they could easily learn that in following Christ they could not administer any worldly magistracy or governorship; or if they wanted to be like Paul, who says: 'Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."' I Corinthians 11:1.
 
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Thereupon they were silent, and then began and said, "God forgives all men or sinners, however great their sins may be." The brother answered and said, "I believe this, too, if they truly repent and are sorry for their sinful works." But he asked them, whether they also likewise forgave their fellow members and brethren, when they had sinned. They said, "Yes." He said, "Why then do you hang your criminals, and help them to the gallows and the wheel; seeing you have forgiven them their sins, and they are your brethren?" Then they laughed over their own folly, and finally said, "For this reason the magistracy is ordained, that they should punish that which is evil." The brother said, "Is repentance then a crime too?" The preachers said, "No; but it is a benefit." The brother said, "Has the magistracy then power or a command from the Old or the New Testament, that they may put to death the righteous or penitent (as you say that they have eaten your sacrament, and are also become Christians)?" They said, "They must nevertheless be punished, as a warning to others."

The brother further asked, whether they also believed that, when by their preaching of infant baptism and the sacrament, they made such a criminal in prison pious, and he would accept the two articles, he was then a Christian, and could be regarded as a Christian? The preachers said, "Yes." The brother said, "If he is then become a believer, as you say, he has also been sealed with the Spirit of God, according to the words of Paul; is this not your belief too?" They said, "Yes." The brother said, "Then his body must also be a temple of God, because the Holy Ghost dwells in him." II Cor. 6:16. They said, "Yes.""See once then," the brother said,"how you act, how you dishonor the temple of God, hanging it to the gallows; do you not know what the apostle says: 'If any man dishonor the temple of God, him shall God also dishonor and destroy?' I Cor. 3:17. Behold your magistrates, what fine Christians they are, if they thus slay the penitent and dishonor the temple of God, if it is as you say and confess."

When he said such things to them, they looked at each other, as though they wanted to say, "We do ill with such a confession of Christianity." They then began to speak of the Supper, and asked him what he thought of it. He answered, "I think much of it, when it is observed as Christ ordained it; but as you observe it, I do not think anything of it, and it is also vain to speak much with you about it." Then they were silent.

Finally the steward of the country began to speak in Latin with the court preacher, and when they had finished speaking, the preacher asked the brother, if he would leave the country, and not return into it any more, then they would release him from prison. The brother replied, "If you will give me a letter, that where I go, they shall freely receive me, I will leave your country." They said they could not do this. Thereupon he answered, "Then I can also not leave your country; but I will remove out of it, and if I return into it, and do that by which I merit the sword, then use it." This pleased them well.

Then the steward of the country again spoke much in Latin to the preacher, and then said to the brother, "If you will be pious for yourself, or abide in your belief, and no more seduce any one, we will release you yet." The brother answered, "If I am wrong, use the sword, for this is your office; but if I ain right, then it is also right for him that hears and learns something good from me, .and according to this I will govern myself." Then the preacher said, "We will not force you to the faith, but we will always keep you imprisoned, so that you will not seduce any other." They then had him brought back to prison; thus he had to suffer and endure imprisonment quite innocently, only for his faith and for the sake of the divine truth; and this for about nineteen years.
 
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MATTHIJS BINDER, A. D. 1576

Matthijs Binder, a minister of the Word of God, was apprehended for his faith and the testimony of Jesus Christ, at Neffen, in the country of Wurtemberg, and taken to Stuttgart, and thence imprisoned in chains at Maulbronn, where he was much examined and disputed with, by the first physician of the prince, by the chief of the clergy, and the abbott of Maulbronn, as well as by nobles, the prince's courtiers, and others of various stations; but when they could not accomplish their will with him, he was finally taken to Hohenwithing into the castle, where brother Paul Glock had long been confined.

There they were confined together for about two years, but in the year 1576 God sent them deliverance. Through the carelessness of the people in the castle, there arose a fire, so that the latter burned to the ground; and these two imprisoned, brethren helped to extinguish the flames as much as any one else, and did not run away, but requested afterward, that they should be released, since they could well prove that they had harmed no one, and promised never to avenge their imprisonment. Thereupon an account was speedily (before the envious priests could prevent it) sent to the prince, who acquitted them and gave orders that they should be released, and some money .be given them for their journey.

Thus both Paul and Matthijs returned with a good conscience, in peace and joy, to their brethren and church.


 
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RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE AND JERONYMUS SCHEPENS, AND OTHER PERSONS, A. D. 1576

In the year 1576 there were apprehended at Ghent, in Flanders, for the firm foundation of the truth, a God-fearing pious brother, named Raphel van den Velde, and with him a brother named Jeronymus Schepens, and other persons. At said place they were confined in a strong tower with seven doors, and very strongly guarded. There they remained imprisoned seven weeks, and were dreadfully tormented by thp bloodthirsty ministers of antichrist, with manifold temptations and threats, which they, through the grace of God, resisted. Thereupon the servants of Baal sentenced them to be executed with fire. But as they suffered all this for the testimony of Jesus, and not for any crime, there is prepared for them the crown of eternal glory in heaven. And thus they were burnt alive at said place, confirming the faith of the eternal truth with their death and blood, as a perpetual and instructive example to all true believers, to follow them in the footsteps of the faith.

Here follow the letters which Raphel van den Velde wrote from his prison, and sent to his wife and friends. Let the reader please read them with attention.
 
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THE FIRST LETTER FROM RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE, WRITTEN TO HIS WIFE

Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you, my dear and in God beloved wife; and the supreme Comforter, the Holy Ghost, be with you and console you, and lighten your heart in all your tribulation and affliction, which I well know, are exceedingly great. Hence I hope to write your love a little, for your consolation; for I hope that it will be a great comfort to you, when you will read it, even as also my heart was exceedingly comforted and rejoiced, when I received your letter, on Wednesday, about five or six o'clock [ P. M. ] , when in the morning. I had been tortured from about eight until ten o'clock. I thank the Lord, that He kept my mouth, so that no one need be troubled by it; for when I had been laid upon the bench, I did not open my mouth to criminate any one, but cried, sighed, and prayed to God.

The lords said, "Hearken to us, and we will shorten the pain.; yea, we are sorry that we must inflict it upon you." But when I would not listen to them, lying there bound and ropes tightly twisted around my shins and thighs, and over my heart, and my arms tied together behind my back; so that they lay under my loins, and a cord with knots having been put around my head, which lay on a pebble-stone, they began winding it with an iron chain, so that I thought nothing . else but that they were winding and crushing my head all to pieces; and on my thighs and shins, so that it seemed to me, that all my bones, flesh, veins, and sinews Were going to pieces. Then thought I: O Lord, what torture this is! O Lord, I shall not be able, to endure it.

O Lord, succor me now, for the distress, is great. Then .I composed myself, and committed the matter to God; and .instantly all. my members became as dead, and the lords kept calling;, "Tell, tell,; and we shall shorten your pain." .And when I, would still not tell, they spoke in Latin to Master Hans, and then the latter went and made- two cords fast to my great toes, in the form, of a double knot, and stretched me out thereby, which caused me exceeding pain. When I would yet not tell, they caused the cords on my thighs and shins to be twisted still more tightly, and the knots pained me so, that I thought that I must die. And still they kept calling, "-Speak, speak; and we shall shorten your pain." Then thought I, "O Lord, .how shall I be able to endure this; must it fast long yet?"' Then the thought came into my mind, that the eternal pain should be still greater, and should last forever.

Then I took courage again, and cried to God, "Help me in this distress, that I must not bring my neighbor into the same affliction." And the .Lord gave me such courage, that I resolved rather to die on the bench, and kept silence.. And as they did still not obtain anything from me, to the implication of my neighbor, Master Hans took water (during the entire time a cloth had lain on my face), and holding my nose shut with one hand, began to pour water on my abdomen and thence all over my breast, and into my mouth; even as one should drink when he is very thirsty. I think that the can from which he poured out -the water held about three pints. And when I was at the end of my breath, and wanted to fetch such, I drew the water all into my body, whereupon I suffered such distress, that it would be impossible for me to relate or describe it; but the Lord be forever praised: He kept my lips.

And when they could still not obtain anything from me, they caused the cord which was on my thigh to be loosed and applied to a fresh place, and wound it much tighter than before, so that I thought he would kill me, and began to shake and tremble greatly. He then proceeded to pour water into me again, so that I think he emptied four such cans, and my body became so full of it, that twice it came out again at the throat. And thus I became so weak. that I fainted; for. when I recovered from my swoon; I found myself alone with Master Hans and Daniel de Keyser. And Master Hans was so busily engaged in loosing all my cords, that it seemed to me that they were concerned over me. But the Lord in a large degree took away my pain every time; whenever it became so severe that I thought it was impossible to bear it, my members became as dead..;Eternal praise, thanks, honor, and glory be to the -Lord; for when it was over I thought that, by the help of the Lord, I had fought a good fight.

I would write you much mare about it, but I leave it till another time. Hence, my dear wife, let us thank God for His grace. On Monday I did not think that I°was approaching such a happy week, and as regards the bruises from my torture, I- hope that it will be well; but it must have its time. Be not grieved on account of my sufferings; but praise God in this matter, for my mind, I4 hope, is unchanged and immovable; for though they should torture me twice yet, I hope to endure all they inflict upon me. But it may indeed be called torture, for it is a great pain. I also am ready not only to stiffer thyself to be tortured, but also always to let my flesh to be burnt alive at the stake for the truth. I must also write you something about the joy and gladness which I now have in the Lord; how the Lord strengthens, comforts and rejoices my heart, when I consider the Scriptures, that I, who am such an unworthy man, may be a partaker of Christ's sufferings; I can now say with the, apostle, that I bear the marks of Christ in my members. Gal. 6:17.

Further, my dearest, I inform your love, that I received your letter, whereby my heart was greatly comforted and rejoiced, so that for joy I could not refrain from weeping; which was a sure sign of godly sorrow, and the same worketh to salvation. II Cor. 7:10.

Thus i understood from it your great grief, much greater than you can say or write. But, my dearest, I pray you by the mercies of God, that you will to some extent lay aside your grief concerning me, and remember how, or in what manner we received each other from the hand of the Most High; was it not under the condition, that the Lord slhduld always be the dearest, and that we must leave each other, if it be His holy will? And now your love well knows, that this is certainly the will of the Lord, and nothing else; for if it had not been the will of the Lord, I would have escaped as well as you. Hence, my beloved, let us be moderate, and be content with such things as we have (Heb. 13:5), as I hope from your love that you will do; and, if you think it well, rather let the girl go, and keep your child with you.

And in the meantime, teach him something yourself, and diligently keep him busy at something with you. But above all, I pray you, take good heed to yourself, for the proctor general questioned me much in regard to you, and at divers times they asked me concerning my brother, but I did not answer them thereupon; but they knew it well already, as they said. And Daniel de Keyser came into my cage, and also asked me much in'regard to my brother. They also questioned me concerning my child, and whether he was not baptized, which I told them; hence take good heed, or peradventure they might take him, and greater trouble might result .from it. We shall probably have time to write more about this matter; but now I write only a little of this and a little of that; for my head is not in a condition to write much, but I hope that it will improve. Today I have been greatly tired with speaking against two Jesuits concerning our faith; in the presence of the clerk of the criminal court, and Master Jacob Hesseling, the proctor general, and a councilor; but the Lord be forever praised and thanked, they had to give up with ignominy.

I hope by and by to write more fully about every thing. Tell my dear brother, also to write something, and greet him much for me, as also his wife, and my dear sister, with the peace of the Lord, and that they write me something, since I am exceedingly much burdened and concerned for them. And take good heed, for no one knows what bonds are, except he that tries them, this I may well say, for which I thank and praise the Lord with a joyful heart. I hope that I am over the worst and my heart is much resigned in suffering or affliction, and in death, but when I begin to think of parting from my love, and my dear son, then I cannot compose my heart so easily.

But this comforts me much, that my child can keep his mother. And be not over-careful, my love; the Most High cares for you and also for your child; and our dear Lord has shown us much grace, that He has permitted us to live together so long. Yea, be not too careful, this I pray you, my love; but cast your care entirely and gladly upon the Lord; He will provide for you, and give you another husband in my place, if it be for your good. Ps. 55:22; I Pet. 5:7,; Phil. 4:6.

Herewith I will commend you, my dearest wife and sister in the Lord, to the Almighty God and to the rich word of His grace; adieu, my love.

Oh, you have been such a good and excellent housekeeper to me; O my love, I thank you from the depths of my heart for your great faithfulness and willing service, which you have so faithfully shown me in all obedience. And I pray you all, dear friends, that you would diligently help me pray to the Lord, for it is now time, the conflict is nearing its height, this I well experience, and I apprehend that Jeronymus, our brother, will also experience it; the Lord be gracious unto him; I comfort him now and then, as best I can.

Greet Vintgen from me with the peace of the Lord, and let me know, how it went with'them all. Greet Jan and Klaerken from me; and K., and tell him to write me something. And also greet in my name all those that fear God, and always associate with the righteous, and you will become more righteous still. Adieu, adieu.

Written in the dark, on the 24th of May, A. D. 1576. Adieu, my wife, adieu, my child.
 
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Continued...

On Thursday the 24th of May I was brought before the lords once more, and there sat two Jesuits. I was very feeble from the torturing. They began and asked me, why I had suffered myself to be so long seduced, and questioned me concerning my faith. Then I said, "Have I come here to teach you? by no means. Do you confess your faith to me? I am come to be instructed." Then he began to confess his faith, just like children that are learning."Well, this is my faith," he said. Then I said, "Prove it with the Word of God, and I will also believe it." Then he began from John 3, that he children must be baptized; also from Mark 16 and Matt. 28, where he so entangled himself, that he did not see how he could get out of it; and went from there [he went on] to circumcision, where he likewise knew not what to do. Finally they had to confess that it did not apply to baptism which greatly surprised me.

And when they saw that all that they did went backwards, they all began to talk Latin at the same time, and I sat there and looked on. Eamus (let us go), they said, and wanted to go, for it struck eleven and we had come together a little after eight. And when they were determined to go, I said, "I pray you, my lords, write your faith down for me, so that I can consider it." But they would not do it."If you do not believe our words," said they,"you would not believe our writing."

Oh, thought I, if I could get that, I should have you; I should soon show to you, that your faith is not contained in the Scriptures.

Further, on the 25th of May there came the penitentiary from the bishop, and another, and Friar Pieter de Backer, and they approached me very subtly. They led me upon a very high mountain, and [said that] if I would yield just a little, all should be well. Master Jacob Heyselinck said,"Yes," he should help me, and the matter was in his power; that I should only seemingly recant a little, "'Dear Raphel, how sorry I am; it pierces me to my very heart." Then I said, "O my lords, you say that I should recant a little. This I will gladly do; yea I will recant altogether, if you can show me something better than the Word of God; but not otherwise, or my faith should not rest upon the Word of God, but upon the words of men, and I well know what the prophet says: 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.' Jer. 17:5. O my lords, that would not be converting; you would have to prove it to me with the holy Scriptures, or we shall not do it." And after many words we parted once more, and I thanked them for their trouble. Sometime afterwards the clerk of the criminal court, the proctor, and Friar Pieter de Backer came and entreated me again. I said I was sorry that they entreated me.

They said, "But we shall show it to you very clearly;" and commenced another mystery concerning the incarnation of Christ. And when I began to answer, he put his Testament away. And many other things they said. Then I said, "If it is your pleasure, I shall reply to you upon every thing, one after the other;" and when they heard how I began to answer them, they slipped away and said adieu, and I did the same. And Friar Pieter said, "I shall come again in a day or two.""If you please," said I."Oh," said he,"how sorry your mother must be." But I said nothing. And in the afternoon they sent me a book, entitled"The Shield. against the Anabaptists," which I should read; and in two or three days the penitentiary should come to see me again.

Here, dear brethren and sisters altogether, you may have heard whether I surer temptation or not, but I write it only very briefly, else it would take much too long to write it. But the Lord be thanked for His great grace, who so faithfully strengthens me and governs my mouth to His praise. Though the outward man perish, this is small loss; the inward man is renewed from day to day, for which eternal praise and thanks be to the Lord, for I may now well say with Pieter van Werwicke

"Noyt meerder vreught in my en was,
Als nu tot desen tijden,
Mijn treuren vergaet my alsoo ras,
Godts woordt doet my verblijden:
Als ick dencke op 't eeuwigh Goedt:
Och dan Krijgh ick sulck eenen moedt."

I cannot tell it (express the joy); yea, I think that if every one of the hairs of my head were a tongue, I could not express it. And that they torment me with examinations, this I deem a recreation, for I get out of my stinking hole every time, into the pure air, and this rejoices my heart.

Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the rich word of His grace. Always endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and purify your souls before the Lord, if peradventure God be pleased to let you fall into the same trouble; if one is not a good Christian previously, one can hardly become one here, this I well experience, O dear brethren and sisters, I pray you by the love of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, that you will show love to my dearly beloved wife and my dear child, in all love, in unity, in kindness, and in patience.

Bear one another in love, this I pray you from the bottom of my heart, and consider in what trouble she now is. Also, you are sorry on my account, for which I thank you, for it is godly sorrow; but she has the greatest reason to be sorrowful. Oh, she has lost so much, and my son too; but I must resign myself herein, for it is the will of the Lord; who will hinder it? Oh, when I think of her and her grief, and of my child, I cannot restrain myself; but I hope that the Lord will help me also in this. I beseech you by the love of God. O brethren, my dear brother, write me once how she is situated, how it is with her tribulation, and with my dear son.

O my dear son, I am taken from you too soon. O dear brethren, do this much for my sake; and for the Lord's sake; you will thereby afford such great comfort to my heart. Oh, it seems to me that I have not heard anything for such a long time, and of my son I do not know that I have had any intelligence; and of our Tanneken. O poor lamb I Adieu my dear brother; adieu my dear sister; adieu to all your little ones.

Adieu, adieu; may God grant grace, that we may rejoice hereafter. Written by me, Raphel, your weak brother in the Lord, with many tears and sighs; not on my own account, as though my mind were ill at rest-God forbid, it was in eleven years never better, the Lord be thanked; but it is my weak nature. If I have written too little or too much in any thing, excuse me, since my mind is much engaged, and my. mind is getting confused from all the troubles. Written the 25th of May, in the year 1576.

RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE.
 
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ANOTHER LETTER FROM RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE WRITTEN TO HIS BRETHREN AND SISTERS

I Raphel, wish you my dear B. and C. and K. my dear sister in the Lord, a steadfast mind, constant, immovable in the fear and love of God, that you, by such a constant, strong, firm, and immovable faith, hope, and love to God and your neighbor, may continue in the love of God, and in the patience of Christ, so that you may possess your souls with patience, meekness and longsuffermg, in order that you may willingly bear whatsoever is imposed upon you by the Lord; and be not grieved nor faint because of the tribulation, which is very great now. And I thank your love, that you so faithfully exhort and comfort me by your consolatory letter; and I would do the same for you, according to my little ability, which is very little, but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. Prov. 27:7.

Hence it is my hope and trust of your love, though it is not so consolatory, sweet or affectionate, that it will nevertheless taste quite sweet to your hungry soul. It is therefore my cordial and affectionate salutation and greeting to you all, my much beloved brethren and sisters, that my mind is still well composed and that I am also well content with whatever is at hand (Heb. 13:5) , whether it be suffering or dying for the Lord's holy truth; and I fear not what man shall do unto me, for I am willing rather to be present with the Lord in the eternal rest, than to live longer. II Cor. 5:8.

For though I were free, as one would desire and wish, I find in myself, that I should many times also be sorrowful, when I well consider how perilous it now is to live in the world, which often heartily grieves me, when I think of you, and of my dear wife, and my child. Oh, it costs me so many a tear, since you are still in much the greatest distress and peril; may the Lord help, comfort, and strengthen you, so that you may overcome in everything, as I hope that you shall; for when the conflict is the severest, then the Lord helps the most, which I may well say, for I have surely proved it, for which I cannot now ever fully thank the Most High.

Hence, my heartily beloved friends, faint not because of the tribulation, nor for any affliction, for we must know this, and certainly trust in it, that He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape; and also that not a hair of our head shall be harmed, unless it be His will. I Cor. 10:13; Matthew 10:30. Understand well the expression, unless it be His will. Hence, my dear friends, do not despond nor grieve, nor grow weary in the way of the Lord, but endure willingly; for the Lord beholds all your steps, and all your distress, and your labor which you do with all diligence, to magnify His holy name. Hence receive the chastening of the Lord with a' willing heart, for they that are partakers of the Lord's chastisement, are His children, sons and daughters; but those who will not endure it, are bastards, and a bastard has no part in his father's possessions. Heb'. 12:5.

Therefore, MY dearest, let unwillingly suffer all that comes upon us for His holy name; rather than that we should have to forego His eternal riches. Oh, think how great and glorious He will make us; if we continue steadfast unto the end. For once at all events we must die, and we cannot die.more blessedly or honorably, than for the name of our God, who suffered so much for us. I should have written you more, but I hope of your love, that you are all taught of God, much more than I can write you, and I also have not always convenient time to write you. I also trust to God and your love, that you have not begun this good work so far, to let it rest here; but that you will be diligent unto the end, so that you may receive a full reward. II John 8.

Further, dear B. and S. and K. S., I pray your love, that you will take good heed to yourselves, for this new president proceeds very severely-the Lord change his heart and open his eyes. Rather leave the city, for they will watch their time even if it should be a year after this. They have very many on paper, but who they all are I do not know. They read them all in an undertone, and questioned me in regard to some, but I did not know them by their names. And when jeronymus my friend was examined, they read aloud: Boudewijn. Tijncke, Pouwels Ketel, Gijselbrecht, and others, whom he did not know by name, and at last also they again read inaudibly. .
 
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ANOTHER LETTER FROM RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE, WRITTEN TO HIS WIFE

I Raphel, imprisoned for the truth, wish my dear and in God beloved wife (who next to God is the dearest of all that I know, yea, if I could help you, though it were by dying the death, I should so gladly do it; and my dear, son, I wish you, my love, as you wish me in your letter) a steadfast mind in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, an ardent love of God, and invincible strength from God our heavenly. Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, so that you may overcome all your enemies, and preserve moderation in your tribulation, so that you will not grieve more or further than godly sorrow goes, as I hope that you will also do, and willingly be resigned in all wherein God tries you, that you may thus receive the crown of life at the hand of the Lord. This is my cordial prayer and great petition to God for you my dearest love on earth; the Almighty God.grant His great mercy thereto. Amen. .

After all affectionate salutation and respects to you my dear and iii God beloved wife, let me please inform you, that my mind is unchanged and resigned in God, to serve the Lord, to testify to the truth, and to suffer for His holy and high name all that come upon me in His account; and I do not fear in the least, the Lord be praised and glorified for His grace.

On Monday afternoon, from soon after three till about six o'clock, as I think, I was with three priests, who wanted to tell me so much; but I first made them confess their faith, since they had come to instruct me. Then they began to confess some things of infant baptism, of the incarnation of Christ, and of their host or wafer, that Christ (after the words were pronounced), was present there in flesh and blood, even as He was when they ate the supper: When they were to prove. it with the Scriptures, they were in a strait, for I insisted so firmly, and would not leave a single point before they had proved it to me with all that they could; and when they had proved it all, I 'went and confounded them with their own words, so that at times they blushed and did not know what they had better say, so that it seemed to me, that they finally became afraid to speak any more with me.

And now and then they all three talked, and then I sometimes forgot what had been said before. Then I said;"I am not good at disputing; my memory is too poor." Then one of them said, "Yet I think that it is tolerably good;" and he looked at me sharply. Well, my love, we will let it rest here for this time; for if I were to write to you all that has befallen me, I think I should cover six sheets of paper; the Lord be thanked, who always helps His followers.

This new president is so bloodthirsty, and severe with us; he has all of us confined separately, one here, and the other there, and we can scarcely leave our cage long enough to attend to the calls of nature; and no one is allowed to come to us. And I have understood that we shall not be confined long, which I would gladly see verified, for the long confinement is too vexatious, always alone; but the Lord be thanked, the, time has not been very irksome yet to either myself or Jeranymus, my brother and fellow prisoner, for it surprises us when we think that we have been confined eight days already. And I hope that the Lord will further comfort us, and not forsake us.

Adieu, adieu, till another time. Farewell.
 
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ANOTHER LETTER FROM RAPHEL VAN DEN VELDE, WRITTEN TO HIS WIFE

I Raphel, your husband, imprisoned for the Lord's sake, wish you my dear wife and sister in the Lord, much grace;,Mercy and peace, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true Father over all kindreds that are in heaven and upon earth; that Ho would grant you, according to the riches of. His; goodness, to be strengthened with might by His holy Spirit in the inner man; and that Christ Jesus may dwell in your heart by faith, and be rooted in through love; and that He may abide with you unto the end of your life, to the salvation of your soul. Eph. 3:14. This I send you, my dear sister in the Lord, as a testament and affectionate adieu.

My dear and in God beloved wife, for a sure token of the love which I have had to you, I could not forbear to send you a letter, for I think that the parting is very near at hand. But: my very dear and beloved wife, it is not a writing of divorcement,* as Israel wrote a writing of divorcement, for the hardness of their hearts; that I should thus leave you, my love. Oh, no! for this leaving is done for the love of God, for the parting must take place for His name's sake. For, my dearest (always next to God), it is He that joined us together, and it is He that parts us again, which I willingly accept from His hand, for my mind has never been in a better condition in this respect, than it is now, the Lord be thanked.

And I now commit you, my dearest, and your child, to the Lord, as to a faithful Father; cleave faithfully to Him, this I pray you my dear wife; and He shall, without any doubt, provide for you in soul and body. For Peter says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us by his glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." II Pet. 1:3, 4. For if we remain entirely faithful to Him, so that we keep ourselves unspotted from the world, He will be a faithful Father unto us, who will provide for us, for it is He that giveth food to all flesh, and the eyes of all wait upon Him, says David, and He gives them their meat in due season. James 1:27; Ps. 136:25; 124:27.

Thus, my dear and beloved wife, I now commit you and your child to the Lord, by faith, to confirm the covenant which we made with the Lord, even as Abraham by faith delivered up his son Isaac to the Lord, and jephtha his daughter, to prove and confirm his promise thereby. Thus I also, out of love, deliver you and my child over to the Lord, hoping and trusting that He will well provide for you, if you remain obedient and faithful to Him.

Herewith I bid you, my dear and in God beloved wife, a final adieu, till we see each other in eternal joy; the Lord grant His grace, that this may come to pass. And I greatly and heartily thank you for your faithful, willing, and obedient service and love shown me in all subjection and kindness towards me; and, my love, I thank you (God shall recompense you for it) for your pious and good conversation and walk with me, whereby my heart was often relieved, comforted and, rejoiced, which truly causes me yet the more to trust in God, and which is also a sure seal in my heart that we have walked unworthily in the love and fear of God before the Lord according to our weak ability; and once more I thank you, my dear wife, for all the kindness and friendship shown me, and heartily entreat you by the great love of God, if I have grieved you in anything, or done amiss to you in any wise by word or deed, that you will readily forgive me; this I pray you in this letter, with many tears. I know nothing against you, my love, but what I gladly forgive you; may the Lord forgive us all our sins.

Further, my dear wife, I cannot forbear to write your love briefly also, though it is done with many tears, to comfort and rejoice your heart, and this by the Word of God, for this rmust now be all our comfort, even as the prophet David says, "O Lord, unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction." Ps. 119:92. And as also the prophet Jeremiah says, "Thou knowest, O Lord, that we suffer reproach for thy sake; but. thy word sustains us, since we have received it; and thy word is the joy and comfort of our hearts." Jer. 15:15, 16. Hence, my dear wife, we must have our delight in the word of the Lord, and meditate upon it day and night (Ps. 1:2) , even as a rich man has his delight in his treasure, meditates upon it, and often counts it to rejoice his heart. Hence, David also says, we must meditate upon the law of the Lord with delight, and we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper, v. 3.

Hence I pray you, my dearest, be patient in all wherein you are tried by God, and do not grieve too much, but think that it has been so ordered by the Lord, that we must part now; and console yourself thereby, though it is grievous for you, and goes contrary to our flesh, will and desire, we must nevertheless be patient: and if we suffer willingly, we shall be richly rewarded; but woe to us, if we do not suffer willingly, nor are willing to be patient, though it is hard for the flesh.

O my love, it is a little matter to be patient; so long as it goes well with a man-that cannot be called patience; but to be patient when it goes ill with one, and then to be able to preserve moderation, this is certainly a great power of faith. Hence, my dearest, I pray you once more, that you would be patient, and thank God with resignation of heart, saying, "Lord, thy will be done;" but, O Lord, strengthen my faith and confidence, that I may never become fainthearted, disconsolate, despairing or doubtful concerning Thy promises, but may trust God, for His promises shall never fail; He is much too faithful that has promised it, and there will never be any failure on His part, for He will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will always with the temptation make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. Heb. 10:23; I Thess. 5:25; I Corinthians 10:13.

Hence, my love, be patient and endure it willingly, and pray the Almighty God. with whom all things are possible, that He will cause the sorrow and trouble that have come upon you on account of my bonds, and because we must part, to melt, diminish and vanish away; and that you may henceforth only be concerned as to how you can in all things please- the Lord best, and spend the time of your life in the fear of God, and also care for your child; the Lord grant you grace, that this may come so. Cast your entire care upon the Lord, and always hope the best of Him; for we must know that if we forsake much for the name of the Lord, we shall receive much again; and that if we suffer much for His holy name, we shall also rejoice in much, when the Lord shall come in His glory; for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Matt. 19:29; II Cor. 5:10.

Therefore, dearest, let us always seek to excel in all good works, and let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap without ceasing. And let not your heart be afraid, or moved, nor become weary in the way of the Lord. Though the waters become bitter, murmur not; and never turn back to Egypt with your heart, as Israel did. When they began to think of the fleshpots which they had left behind, and because the waters were bitter, they wanted to choose themselves captains, and return to Egypt. They said to Moses, "Hast thou therefore brought us into the wilderness, to destroy us here, except thou have rule over us? How finely hast thou brought us into a country that floweth with milk and honey I" Hence the wrath of the Lord arose over them, and He destroyed many of them. Ex. 15:23; 16:3; Num. 11:4; 14:4; 16:13.
 
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