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Thread: MARTYRS MIRROR

  1. #391
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    Continued..

    While I am sitting here, and writing, we are informed that the margrave will hold a penal court today; I hope it is for us. Pray for us. I hope God will strengthen us by His power, which surpasses everything. Oh, that we might be delivered thus soon; but I am afraid it will not be.

    Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. Always adhere to the truth, which, and nothing else, I have confidence you will do. I heartily greet you and all the God-fearing with the peace of the Lord; and Mattheus does the same. Greet all the friends, especially grandmother, most heartily, when convenient. Mattheus would say to you and all the God-fearing, that if he has grieved you in that he did not guard his lips better, he is sincerely sorry for it. Written in bonds, at Antwerp, on the 13th of August, 1567, by me, your weak husband,

    CHRISTIAN LANGEDUL.

    Do the best, and be of good cheer, and pray for us.

    Another letter of Christian Langedul, in which he exhorts his brother R. L. to perseverance in the pilgrimage begun; and, being assured in his mind, requests, for completion, the prayers of the saints; commends his wife to him, and relates how a little priest came to speak with him

    The eternal, Almighty God and Father of mercy, through His Son, our Lord and Saviour, the same almighty, eternal, worshipful, only wise God and merciful Father of all grace, strengthen and stablish you unto the end with His Holy Spirit, my dear brother and sister in the Lord, and also according to the flesh; that you may receive the crown of life with all the saints and elect children of God; herewith I will bid you final farewell and greeting in this present time, with all dear brethren and sisters in the Lord who live with you and know me. Amen.

    My dearly beloved brother and sister, whom I love from the bottom of my heart, I feel prompted now at the close of my life to write you a little for a memorial. I trust you will accept in good part, so that it may be a perpetual memento and admonition from this your second brother now that has been imprisoned here in the city of Antwerp for the testimony of the Lord, for which I hope to lay down my life by the grace of God, and hope that you will not faint on account of this our tribulation which we now suffer for Christ's sake, hoping that it happens for the furtherance of the Gospel, and to the awakening of many who possibly have long walked drowsily and half asleep, (that they may become awakened and sober); and I hope by the grace of the Lord that it will not tend to your abatement, but much rather to your greater edification, and that it will serve you as a perpetual direction in your pilgrimage which you have yet to take through a dismal wilderness, in which you may yet meet with many trials. Phil. 1:12; Eph. 5:14; I Thess. 5:6; I Pet. 2:11.

    Hence take diligent heed, and lust not after evil things; neither be like those who murmured; but give diligent care that you constantly press on to the promised land, with valiant Joshua and Caleb, so that you may take it by force. I Cor. 16:6, 10. And be content with the Word of the Lord, and look to the promise, for He is so faithful, and you know that the Israelites remained without for no other reason, than because of their unbelief. Heb. 3:19. Hence, my dear friends, believe God's work, and adhere it unto death, and God will give you the victory. Though they seem like giants in our eyes, we shall devour them as bread, and this through our faith, by which. we overcome the devil, hell, death and the world. Num. 13:33; I John 5:4.

    O dearest friends, you know that all the pious overcame by faith, as you yourself, my dear brother, know better than I can write it to you. Hebrews 11. Take good heed, my beloved, that you fall not in the wilderness, as so many do; for in that case it were better for us not to have known the truth, yea, never to have been born; for if we lose our birthright, wherewith will we obtain the blessing again? for it is written that Esau sought it with tears, but found it not. II Pet. 2:21; Heb. 12:17. Therefore faint not, but firmly persevere, it is the true grace of God wherein you stand, as I hope you yourselves know. I doubt not that there will never be found another way. I Pet. 5:12.

    O brother, were another to be found, than this anxious, narrow and strait way, how gladly should the flesh put up with it; but it must pass the strait. gate, and O how narrow this is, so that flesh and blood will adhere to the posts. But, dear and faithful brother, what great salvation the merciful Father has provided for me, who am so utterly unworthy; what great thanks shall I give Him for it, who has so endowed me with His grace and provided such a salvation for me. Continue in it, my dear brother and sister, and pray the Lord for us, that He may preserve us in out sorest distress, and comfort us when we are most in affliction, and in extreme need of consolation and help, as. I hope He will do, for He is faithful that promised it. He also will do it, and will be with us even unto death, and not forsake us; for who was ever confounded that trusted in Him? I hope He will not suffer us to be confounded, and that He will finish the good work which He has begun in us, and this through His unfathomable mercy and grace. To this end, help us to fight, with your prayers to God in our behalf; this is my desire and the desire of us all; in this you can now aid us the most.

    My dear brother, why do you grieve for me; rather take comfort in it, for the Lord has obviously ordered it so. He loves us, and means to bring us into rest. I feel that it is all of the Lord, for when I for a time hear of no deliverance, I receive great joy in my heart and refreshing from the Lord; but as soon as something comes again, and the flesh lusts greatly after it, joy departs, and we have great difficulty to get it back from the Lord. Therefore I hope that you will resign yourselves better herein, for the Lord intends to deliver us from this body of death, and to help us out of this anxiety. The Lord be praised forever for the love He shows me, and that He so helps me. I hope He will keep also you in His truth; hence be of good cheer, and comfort yourselves with His beautiful promise, with which also we comfort ourselves entirely.

    Therefore, dear brother, I will herewith conclude my letter; and I kindly ask you to accept it in good part, for it has been written to you and your dear wife out of heartfelt brotherly love, for a perpetual farewell and memorial. I herewith also thank you for the' great trouble and labor you have put yourself to for my sake and for the great expense you have on my account. I can never repay it to you; but I hope that the Lord will recompense it to you and yours, now and hereafter; also as regards that other matter, which you well know. O brother, do not let it vex you that I was so situated; I should so gladly have done it for you and yours, as God knows, who is acquainted with every heart. If convenient for you, lend my wife a little assistance while you are here, in the things in which she may need your services, and comfort her in the exceedingly great sorrow in which she now is; this I kindly request of you.

    Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace; may He strengthen and stablish you in His truth unto the end of your lives, to His praise, and to your salvation, and the salvation of us all.

    This afternoon a little, lean priest visited us. I believe he is a Jesuit, and that he sometimes preaches in Koppenken's church. There is very little in the man: The bailiff accompanied him. He (the priest) damned us exceedingly, which was about all he had to say. I was with -them about two hours. It would take too long to write all. His arguments were very weak. It seems strange to me that the lords are not ashamed to come with such men, who will by no means defend themselves with the Holy Scriptures, but with the teachers of the Roman church, with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine; whom [they say] we are to believe. I then confessed that it could not be proved with the apostolical writings that the apostles baptized infants; also, that baptism belonged to believers, and that infants had no faith. But he constantly asserted that the ancient teachers had written it, and that the holy Roman church so observed it, hence also we had to observe it. A poor argument. The others had something at least, but he was too wretchedly deficient. Hence it would be too tedious to write about it.

    Herewith I commend you to God. Written at Antwerp, in prison, by me, your weak brother in the Lord, and also according to the flesh, Christian Langedul, imprisoned for the testimony of the Lord and my conscience, the 10th of September, 1567.

    Christian Langedul's leave and last adieu to Maeyken Raedts, his wife after he was sentenced to death

    Grace and peace from our heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus, this I wish you, my dear and chosen wife and sister in the Lord; and may the Comforter, the Holy Ghost comfort you in your tribulation, as He will do according to His promise. And I trust, my wife, that all (whether tribulation or sorrow), will tend to salvation to the Christian, as I also trust it will conduce to your salvation, and also to mine, although no tribulation for the present seems to be joyous, and this according to the words of the apostle. Heb. 12:11. However, afterward, my beloved, it will work the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that by good works seek eternal life, as we have done according to our weakness, for thus I may well say, and I speak it from the.heart. Nevertheless, I expect to inherit salvation through the grace of the Lord, and am of good cheer herein; I will therefore thank the Lord forever for His love. O my love, the winepress must now be trodden; and I am quite ready for it,. the Lord be praised. Truly, He is a God of all Comfort- who comforts us in all our tribulation. Oh, that I could fully thank the Lord for all the comfort and strength He grants to me, unworthy .one.

    Therefore, my beloved, comfort yourself in the Lord, and in His word; therein you will find such great consolation and refreshment; and may the. Holy Ghost dwell in you with all wisdom as, I doubt not that the Spirit of God does dwell in you, and that He will guide you into all truth and righteousness.

    Your letter I received this noon; I thank you very much for it: J. was here, but we could scarcely speak together. I felt somewhat sorry on account of it afterwards; when I parted from him; but the jailer drove us away, saying that. the lord was coming, which I half thought was not so; nor was it so, for the lord did not come. I would fain not have parted from him in this manner, but the Lord disposes. Tell J. T. and his wife; that I wish their salvation from all my heart, and that he and she, and all men, might know the truth. If f promised it to him in weakness, I hope, by the, grace of God, tomorrow to, demonstrate it in power. J. told me that you. were writing me another letter: O my love, you .put yourself to too much trouble, I fear;, do rest, for it will soon be over with me.

    Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the word of His grace. Greet all the friends most cordially with the peace of the Lord; greet warmly R. Langedul; also your sister, and all the friends, whenever it is convenient, and bid them all adieu. Adieu, my dear lamb, adieu. Written on the 12th of September, 1567 by me, Christian Langedul, your husband and weak brother in the Lord, imprisoned and sentenced to death for the testimony of Christ, and for .our conscience. All four of us greet you very much in the Lord. We are of good cheer and courage in the Lord, as Kalleken, who visited us, will tell you: Thank R. most heartily in my name for his letter; it rejoiced my heart, the Lord be praised. Amen.

    NOTE.--.As there has been put into our hands a letter written by Hans Symons (who was burnt at Antwerp, A. D. 1567, together with Christian Langedul and two others of our fellow believers) to his wife, shortly before his death, we deem it well herewith to insert the same; the copy of the letter reads.as .follows


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  2. #392
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    ADRIAN WILLEMS, A. D. 1568

    In the year 1568 the tyranny and persecution waged against the Christians became very sore and grievous, so that in said year many were apprehended and slain.*

    On the 4th of April of the above year, between one and two o'clock in the morning, Adrian Willems, my father, was apprehended by Steven de Wit, the bailiff of Vianen, and taken to the castle of Batesteyn, where he was kept confined fifty weeks and one day.

    On the 8th of May the bailiff and part of the members of the court came from Vianen, to examine him concerning his faith, which he freely confessed to them. Being then asked as to who were of the same faith with him, he refused to tell it to them; hence the bailiff threatened him again and again with severe examination [the torture], and accordingly, on the 5th of June, he had the executioner come, caused his hands to be tied behind his back, and made him climb up a ladder, threatening to have all his members dislocated, or he would know who were his fellow believers; but when he saw that he could not extort it from him, he suffered him to come down, without inflicting any torture upon him. Said bailiff also had a Franciscan monk come, to delude him from his faith; but after many words and much disputation the monk left him, without having accomplished anything. Afterwards, at divers times, others also came, namely, priests and monks, to draw him from his faith; however, they, all left like the former.

    * This Adrian Willems was not mentioned in previous editions.

    The letters speaking of the conversations with these priests and monks, and of his confession, as also other letters written in prison and received by us, lay, or were put with the others by me, behind the bedstead under the roof, on account of the great fear of persecution and the monstrous tyranny existing at that time. Afterwards it happened, in the year 1570, in February, that the water came rushing from the Diefdijek with such force or volume, that many houses drifted away, and some had their walls broken in, so that said letters fell, into the water and perished. I greatly mourned the -loss of them, because our children might in them have seen or read how valiantly and cheerfully their grandfather confessed the Gospel, and died for it, and how glad he was when he was visited in prison;. for I was there myself at great peril.

    On the 29th of June of said year 1568, the aforesaid bailiff announced that he should hold a court the following day, the 30th of . said month; on which he preferred his accusation, demanding that he should be burned at the stake, until death ensued, and his property confiscated for the benefit of the king. Afterwards, many court days having been held, and both parties having presented their papers, the bailiff did not cease to request that sentence be passed, whereupon the judges decided that thirty-two guilders be paid in, to go and get advice by way of consultation. This having been done, they of the court went to the court of Holland, and returned with the sentence of death.

    Shortly after, the 21st of March, 1569, he was informed that he should receive his sentence the following day. Well knowing that it should be a sentence of death and not of life (according to the time appointed), he resolved to write, his wife and children a last farewell letter. When e had begun to write, a monk came to harass him, in order, if possible, to hinder him in his faith. He withstood him, and left the monk in the evening, desiring to rest a little while. The next day at four o'clock in the morning the monk again came to him, to torment. as much as possible. Afterwards about eight o'clock the same day he was taken from' the room in which he had been confined during his entire imprisonment, with heavy iron fetters, with which he was shackled night and day, except that they unlocked them when he took off or put on his garments and stockings, namely, in the evening when he went to bed, and in the morning, when he rose.

    They brought him into a kitchen, where stood a table with victuals, of which he partook' a little, and thereupon received a drink from Steven de Wit, which he accepted in a friendly manner, to leave the former no ground for suspecting that he bore any ill will, though he delivered him to death. 'The monk (as heard before) persisted in his attempts to draw him from his faith, but did not effect his purpose. From there they took him to the city hall to receive his sentence; with his hands tied, a monk at his side, and the executioner and two beadles before and behind him, all well armed; and thus they led him as a defenseless lamb to the slaughter. When they arrived in the city hall, the court assembled, and the bailiff himself demanded the sentence. Then the judge said, "Adrian Willems, do you wish to say something yet in regard to this?" He replied, "I know of nothing to tell you, , save. that you would remember that you must also appear before the judgment seat of Christ, who shall pass a righteous judgment upon the good and the evil, or the dead and the living."

    Then they arose. When they came out of the council chamber, they pronounced the sentence, passing judgment, that said Adrian Willems should be executed with the sword, and his body be put into a coffin and buried under the scaffold. They then rose again, with pale and sad countenances, without closing the court, and left him in the hands of cruel men, who stripped him, took him out of the city hall with his eyes blindfolded, and hastened to execute the sentence of the judges, which they also did. Thus the afore-mentioned Adrian Willems voluntarily delivered himself up to death, choosing rather to keep his faith, than to retain his life here for a little while, and forsake his faith; and committed his soul unto God the faithful Creator, and thus departed this life, bearing witness to the Gospel, and confirming his unfeigned faith with his blood. Amen.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  3. #393
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    LUCAS DE GROOT HANGED, A. D. 1'568

    In the year 1568, a brother named Lucas de Groot, a native of Ostend, in Flanders, was apprehended there for the testimony of the truth, and after he had boldly confessed his faith, and would unwaveringly adhere to it, he was sentenced to be strangled and burned; the judges, however, afterwards changing their mind, Lucas was hanged to the gallows, in contempt of the believers.


    JAN PORTIER BURNED, A. D. 1569

    In the same year a brother named Jan Portier, a native of Komene, in Flanders, and a fuller by trade, who had also been Lady van Meessen's porter, was aprehended at Meessen. When he had confessed his faith, he was greatly tortured; the first time with screws; the second time, he was drawn up high by his thumbs, with heavy iron weights attached to his feet, and thus severely scourged; but being ruptured, he was not put to the rack. And when these tortures and other threats could not move him to desist or apostatize from the truth he had accepted and apprehended, he was finally sentenced to be burnt. And thus he was put to death for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, with so small a fire that the smoke suffocated him; which took place without Meessen, at the Spring gallows, in November, 1568.


    JAN VAN PARIS, PIETER VAN CLEVES, HENDRICK MAELSCHALCK, AND LAUWERENS PIE TERS, A. D. 1568

    Jan van Paris, Pieter van Cleves, Hendrick Maelschalck, and Lauwerens Pieters, had not yet united with the church, but were novices and ready to unite; hence going to hear the Word of God preached, they were apprehended, at Ghent, in Flanders, in the year 1568, and taken to the Count's Castle. After a bold confession of, and steadfast adherence to, the faith, they were sentenced in Passion Week, to be strangled and burned. But when they had mounted the scaffold, the Spanish Provost (there being at that time nineteen companies of Spanish soldiers in Ghent), seeing that it was the intention to strangle them, compelled the executioner to fetch other appliances. Hence the executioner spoke to the commander-in-chief, who ordered. him, contrary to the sentence pronounced, to burn them alive. The provost also severely kicked and beat the brethren.

    In the meanwhile the executioner fetched a basketful of chains. When the brethren heard that they were to be burnt alive, they raised their voices and sang, "I call upon thee, O heavenly Father." Then the Spaniards beat them so dreadfully with sticks, that the eye of one fell out on his cheek. And thus they were burnt alive, the Spaniards loudly vociferating, and throwing sticks into the fire at a rapid rate, as desiring to have part in this madness, as though they thought to do God service thereby.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  4. #394
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    THIS HENDRICK MAELSCHALCK, ON THE 26TH OF JANUARY 1568, WROTE THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM PRISON AT GHENT

    We wish you abundant grace, joy, peace, and mercy, and eternal salvation, from God, our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father, to whom be praise, glory and honor, and power and thanks, for ever and ever. Amen.

    After wishing you all grace and salvation, we would inform you, Goelken our beloved friend* in the Lord, and all dear friends that fear the Lord, that we four prisoners at Ghent, for. the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, are still well according to the flesh, and according to the spirit we thank and praise the Lord, that He thus strengthens us by His grace; for it is still our mind and purpose, by His grace and mercy, always to adhere to the Lord, and to depart from Him neither for life nor death. Praise and thanks to the Lord, who thus strengthens us by His grace, since we are weak and miserable. But through the help of the Lord we have been able to endure so far, and we trust through the same Helper to persevere unto the end; for in that He Himself was tempted, He is able also to succor and deliver them that are tempted. For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; so that we may boldly say with the apostle, "The Lord is my helper." Phil. 4:13; Heb. 2:18; 13:5, 6.

    * The word used in the original denotes a female friend.-Trans

    Now, dearly beloved brethren, if God is with us, who can be against us; for all men are but the works of His hands, and He has created everything, and has power to bring it to nought again at His pleasure; why then should we be afraid of mortal men? Rom. 8:31; Isa. 51:12. Surely, we must much rather fear this God; for He alone it is that can save and condemn, and though we should escape the hands of men, we cannot escape Him. Hence we will rather say with Susanna, "It is better to fall into the hands of men, than to sin in the sight of the Lord."

    Therefore, dear friends, we trust by no means to forsake the Lord, but always to go on to the promised land, to possess it, which is full of all good things; to this end, may the Lord strengthen, confirm and fit us by His grace and mercy, and all them that fear and accept Him.

    I, Hendricks, have written you all, dear friends, a little about the state of our minds. Further, I would kindly entreat you, always to continue steadfast in the fear of the Lord; for they that fear the Lord will do good things, and those who love Him will strive to do His pleasure, and humble themselves before Him., If ye fear God, says the prophet, depart not from Him, but enter into the eternal joy and gladness. They that fear God shall attain to a good end, and in the day of their death they shall be blessed. Therefore, dear friends, let us always fear the Lord With all our heart and mind; let us obey Him and keep His Word, for they are blessed that hear the Word of God, and keep it, and they are also those who love Him, and keep His Word, and he that loves Him is known of Him. But he that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not God's commandments, is a liar, and in him the love of God is not perfect. Luke 11:28; John 15:10; h John 2:4; 4:18. Therefore, my dear friends, let us love Him, because He first loved us, even as Paul testifies that, though He was rich, yet He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich; yea, He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him. II Cor. 8:9; 5:21. Hence, seeing we well know that the Lord has loved us thus, and so abundantly shed His grace upon us, let us all take good heed that His grace be not bestowed in vain upon us; for we are made partakers of Him, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:14.

    Hence, dear friends, as ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye.. in Him; rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught (says the apostle), well knowing that it is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. Col. 2:6, 7; I Pet. 5:12. Therefore, always give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall, says Peter; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Pet. 1:10, 11. Therefore let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, and let us always watch diligently, and wait for the Lord, even as good and faithful servants, that He do not come at an inopportune moment for us; but that we may always be prepared, as were the five wise virgins, who had trimmed their lamps, and went in to the marriage. But the five foolish virgins had to remain without. Matt. 25:4. Hence, dear friends, let us not be as were the foolish, but as the wise. Herewith we commend you to our dear Lord, and to the comforting word of His grace; may He strengthen and confirm you all, and us all, in all truth and righteousness. Amen.

    Further, cordially beloved friend Goelken, and all other friends who read this, accept this in good part, which I have written in my weakness; for I do not think myself worthy to exhort you; since I am fully aware that you are well taught -of God. But I have done this .from love, because I heard that you desired to have something from us; hence receive this kindly.

    Further, should you wish to know something about our imprisonment, as to whether it will not soon be at an end with us, we would inform you that we do not hear much about 'it. We had expected to offer up our sacrifice before Christmas, for we had heard said, it should be very soon; however, now we hear nothing of it, but by the grace of God we are constantly expecting it. Affectionately beloved friends in the Lord, pray for us, that we may continue steadfast unto the end, and oiler up an acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord. We trust to do the same for you, according to our weakness. Furthermore, we send you three new hymns, as a cordial and friendly greeting. Though they are simple, receive them in good part, for it has been done from love. Farewell; till in eternity. Amen. Greet your husband very much, and Grietgen your sister, and Bet., and Cor. Versw., and Anna van L.; and Susanna also greets you all very much. We further greet all them that fear the Lord.

    Written by me, Hendrick Maelschalck, imprisoned at Ghent for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ; on the 26th of January, 1568.

    Cordially, affectionately and much beloved friends, the Lord has truly said that He shall come as a thief in the night; for yesterday I had concluded and sealed the foregoing letter, thinking to send it to you; but it happened, that the next morning all four of us were examined, of which we knew little when we wrote the preceding conclusion. Hence I say that the Lord has truly said that He shall come as a thief in the night. I Thess. 5:2. Thus, all four of us were examined, one after another, in the presence of two commissaries. They asked us many simple questions, which it would be too tedious to relate. But they did not ask us concerning our faith, except whether we were not baptized or rebaptized. Jan van Paris said he was baptized; Lauwerens said that he was not baptized according to the Scriptures; Pierken said that he was not baptized; and I said that we were not Anabaptists, and that I was not baptized. They asked Pierken, whether if he should be released, he should have himself baptized. He answered, "Yes, if I were fit for it." They also asked him, whether he would renounce his opinion. He replied, "I do not consider it an opinion, but the true faith." They then asked me whether I would not renounce my belief or opinion. I told them that I had renounced lies, and followed the truth. Hence, if I were to renounce, I should renounce the truth; but by the grace of the Lord I hoped to adhere to it. In this manner they continued to ask, so that it would be too tedious to write it.

    To Jan van Paris they said that we should. soon be dispatched, and that we should be patient for nine or ten days yet; they also said that they should send us men who should instruct us, and if we desired to hear them, we might do so. Hence we expect to have priests here; but we trust to keep our eyes open, for we well know what they seek. Thus, dear friends, all of you, we are of good cheer, the Lord be praised and thanked forever; and by the grace of the Lord we trust to keep the faith, whether it be life or death. Thus, dear friends, we think our confinement will not last much longer; for it seems that we have been delivered over to the lords of the council, and that they have orders from the Duke of Alva to dispatch us, and that the bailiff and the judges have nothing more to do with us. Hence we take leave from you all, dear friends, and pray you always to be diligent. We hope to go before; may the Lord by His grace and mercy strengthen and fit us thereto.Amen.

    Written on the 27th of January, 1568. By me. HENRY MAELSCHALCK., "And fear not them which kill the body; but him which hath power to cast both soul and body into eternal darkness." Matt. 10:28.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  5. #395
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    JACOB DIRCKS, WITH HIS TWO SONS, ANDRIES JACOBS AND JAN JACOBS, A. D. 1568

    In this bloody and perilous time of persecution, also pious Jacob Dircks and his two sons, Andries Jacobs and Jan Jacobs fell into the hands of the tyrants. This Jacob Dircks, a tailor by trade, resided with his family at Utrecht, and as he was spied out there as one belonging to the persuasion of the Mennists, and as the lords wanted to apprehend him he from fear of the tyrants fled to Antwerp. His wife, who did not hold these views, still remaining there for some time, the thief-catchers seized their property, and took about half of it, While Jacob Dircks resided with his family at Antwerp, his wife died there, and he and his aforementioned two sons, though having escaped the hands of the tyrants at Utrecht, subsequently fell into the claws of the wolves at Antwerp, where the trial of their faith was found much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire (I Pet. 1:7); so that they were together condemned to be burnt, each at a stake, only for the divine truth, and living according to it, and not on acount of any crime committed. On their way to death, Jacob Dirck's youngest son, named Pieter Jacobs, met them, who, as he in his great sadness and sorrow, put his arms around his father's-neck, was instantly most cruelly seized by the thiefcatchers, and thrown under the feet of the people following. With what sorrow the father and the brothers beheld this is easily imagined. When the father and his two sons had each been placed at a stake, he said, "How is it my dear sons?" Each replied, "Very well, my dear father."

    Andries Jacobs being betrothed at the time, his bride and his sister viewed from a distance with sorrowful hearts and weeping eyes this offering, how their bridegroom and brother, forsaking a temporal bride, and temporal relationship, chose the eternal Bridegroom Christ Jesus above all visible things. Thus these heroes were strangled, each at a stake and then burnt, sealing the truth with their death and blood on the 17th of March 1568. Therefore they shall also, for their severe travail, hear the sweet and welcome voice of Christ, "Ye good and faithful servants, ye have been faithful over a few things, I will make you rulers over many things; enter ye into the joy of your Lord." And, again, the king will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:23, 34.

    This narrative is recorded from the accounts of trustworthy persons, who witnessed this offering themselves.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    KAREL DE RAET, AND GRIETGEN HIS WIFE, HANS KEN IN'T SCHAECK, WILLEM DE SNIJDER, WITH CHRISTIJNTGEN HIS WIFE, A. D. 1568

    On the third of May, 1568, some brethren were assembled at Tillegem, near Bruges, in Flanders, to hear the Word of God preached, when they were unexpectedly set upon by some who had come out to get may-poles, and five of them were apprehended, namely, Karel de Raet, a shepherd, barn at Wingen; Hansken in't Schaeck, called Hansken Koordedraeger, from the Schaeck at Kortijck; Willem de Snijder of Honschote; and two others who, since they did not valiantly adhere to the truth, are not worthy to have their names recorded here. The wife of Karel de Raet, and that of Willem de Snijder, were not apprehended with them, nor had Karel's wife as yet united with the church, but was ready for it. Thus it happened, when these men had been apprehended, that Maerten Lem, a burgomaster of Bruges, went out, about twelve o'clock in the night, with the watchmen, and first apprehended Christijntgen, Willem Snijder's wife, and when a watchman was desirous of turning Maerten Lem off from the house where Grietgen, Karel de Raet's wife was to be sought for, and they were rapidly walking along the fortress, between the Asses Gate and Jerusalem, Grietgen with two of her children unexpectedly met them, which caused Maerten Lem to say, "See, God gives this whore into our hands;" and he asked her, "Where are you going?" Greatly amazed, she replied, "To church." Thereupon he said, "It is no time now to go to church. Where is your husband?" She answered, "You know it well." He asked whether the two children were baptized.

    She said, "No.""Have they no name then?" he asked."Yes," she replied."Well how is this?" said he;"Have they a name before they are baptized?" She replied, "Dogs and other animals receive names; how much more should children, that are created after the image of God? I was not aware that my lords of Bruges are so blind yet.""If you want to talk this way," said Maerten Lem,"You shall be burnt.""I know it," she replied;"But then the crown of life is prepared for me." And thus these two women were likewise taken to prison, where much vexation, pain and suffering were inflicted upon them, as also upon the three men mentioned, to draw them from the faith; but all in vain. Hence, first the men were sentenced to be burnt on the Hillige, near Bruges, where they also boldly offered up their sacrifice; and a few days after, also the two women, because they steadfastly adhered to God, and His truth, were sentenced, and burnt in the castle in Bruges. And they now wait together for the coming of Him that shall come to avenge all their sufferings.


    JAN DE SMIT, DANIEL DE PAEU, DANIEL VAN VOOREN, AND PASSCHIER WEYNS, A. D. 1568

    In the year 1568, at Ghent, in Flanders, also four brethren were apprehended, namely; Jan de Smit, Daniel de Paeu, Daniel van Vooren and Passchier Weyns, who boldly confessed their faith and all the articles in regard to which they were examined, and were not ashamed of God and His Word, but valiantly and undauntedly contended for the truth accepted and apprehended; against all that withstood them, unwaveringly even unto death, which they therefore tasted, as valiant soldiers; first, Jan de Smit, and shortly after, the other three. But they obtained to live forever where the new wine will be given them to drink in the Father's kingdom.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



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    Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    VALERIUS SCHOOLMASTER MARTYRED, A. D. 1568

    A. D. 1568, a God-fearing, pious brother, called Valerius Schoolmaster, having in his time exercised the functions of schoolteacher at Hoorn, in Holland, and at Middelburgh in Zealand, was apprehended for the testimony of Jesus, at Brouwershaven, in Zealand. He was a zealous follower of Christ, and would not hide the talent he had received in the earth, but put it with great diligence out upon usury; so that in paths and highways wherever he saw a fit opportunity, he exhorted the people with the word of God, threatening the sinner with the terrible punishment and vengeance which at the speedy appearance of Christ from heaven will fall upon all ungodliness; and, again, comforting the penitent with the great and glorious promises and rewards which the Lord God at the end of the world will give to all believers. In consequence of this he incurred the displeasure of benighted men, who can neither hear nor endure the light of the Gospel, so that once he was put in bonds at Goes, in Zealand, but was released again, keeping his faith. Finally, however. he was apprehended at Brouwershaven, in the district of Zierickzee, where he suffered many assaults and long imprisonment, but by the grace of God, overcame everything, and attested and sealed the faith of the truth with his death and blood, and thus, through grace, obtained the crown of eternal life.

    He also was not idle during the time of his imprisonment, but wrote two excellent little books, well worth reading, and sent them from prison. The first is entitled, Of the Decrease and Decay of the Apostolical Church; and Of the Rise of Antichrist, and how the Light of the Gospel is obscured by him. Written in the sixtieth week of his imprisonment; together with an earnest exhortation ,to apostates from the Word of God, that they may seek the grace of the Almighty betimes, while He is yet to be found.

    The other book bears the title, 1.The Proof of Faith; in which he teaches with great earnestness, to count this world and all visible things nothing but mere loss and dung, so only Christ be won. Wherefore he exhorts all believers, to become poor for Christ's sake, and to expect riches hereafter with God in heaven. Hence he greatly commends the Dovertv and piety still remaining in Menno Simon's S. G., and says that herein he puts to blush many others. We have therefore added here, for his remembrance, the first Dart of said book, that by this little the reader may judge of all the remain-

    Page 727

    der, which would be too long to adduce .here in full. He wrote it the fourteenth week of his imprisonment. Read it with attention., "Natural, impartial reader or hearer, who have any understanding, you may well know and imagine that a man that is so depraved and wicked, and has done so much evil, as to insure his death, in case he were apprehended, ought to be afraid of committing any more evil, lest at last he be apprehended' and put to death. But if he do not cease from evil he may at last be apprehended for his crimes. Then, when imprisoned, he tnay reflect and concern himself night and day,. how he may escape or obtain his liberty, whether by strategy, violence or breaking outand all this, that he might, prolong his uncertain life for a little while, which, though he should escape, he must ultimately relinquish. And if a poor prisoner cannot help himself, he may consider whether some good friend' cannot assist him. And if his friend fail him, he may meditate whether the judges might not be merciful to him, at whose feet he may fall, and implore them to spare him in mercy; moreover, he may promise thoroughly to reform, and that he will commit such or like misdeeds no more all the days of his life. And when the prisoner has done this much, yea, all that he knows to do, and all his plans, and everything else, prove of no avail, he may in desperation give up all courage. And when he sees the monk coming, he may become, greatly alarmed, knowing that his confessor (who with lies and vain consolation may promise him eternal life, thereby seeking to assure his soul) is the harbinger of his death; and when the doomed man hears the court pro nounce his sentence of death, he may become still more afraid and dismayed. And when at last he is led to death, and beholds the instrument of his death, the gallows, wheel, stake, or water, he may most of all fear and quake, so seized -with mortal dread and horror as though he were dead while still living, unless he be assured by the priests or some other liars, of his salvation, in which case he might be of good cheer-one in this way, another in an other way. And if some one should bring to this doomed criminal under the sword or at the stake, good news assuring him of his life, and tell him to arise and he himself should kneel down in the'malefactor's stead, how joyfully should the latter- with gratitude accept his transient life! But Christ, who gives redemption and eternal life by His death, few are willing gratefully to accept aright and unto repentance. John 3:16; Col. 1:14; Isa. 53:4., "Now, suppose that the doomed criminal were a filthy, unclean harlot, imprisoned for a crime, or for having herself alone committed (if it were possible) all the wickedness and sins ever perpetrated by the whole world, for which she were condemned to the most shameful death that could be devised

    and the King should send His only, beloved Son from His kingdom and glory into'great poverty, imprisonment; suffering and an innocent death, in the stead of the unclean harlot, who by all manner of contempt and evil-doing had angered the King, and ,merited death a thousand times, but is now nevertheless, out oft grace, through the death of the King's Son (.on condition of her amending) reconciled to the King, made at peace with Him, liberated from prison, and delivered from death, and remains alive, a partaker and heir of all the riches of the King; ought she not to accept,this great love and grace; love the King, amend her ways, and be greatly afraid of vexing the King any more all her life, who cleansed her, forgave all her evil deeds, paid all her debts, espoused her as his beloved queen, exalted her into his glory; and protected her as himself from all enemies? But if she should not amend, (according to her promise), should again anger the King, and do worse than before, were this not great ingratitude, worthy of sorer punishment than before'? Hereby we may prove ourselves, whether we that are redeemed through the grace of God, also keep the promise of amendment. And though all this were to happen thus, a thing which was never heard of or seen, nor ever occurred; yet, since it were but temporal and of short duration, it is not an adequate comparison to that which is eternal and intransient, namely, the love of God, which has come to us through Christ His beloved Son.

    For God so loved the condemned world, His enemy, steeped as it was in sin,. and lying in wickedness, that lie spared not His only Son, but sent Him from His glory in heaven, and delivered Him up to the ignominious and cursed death of the cross that whosoever believeth, should not perish or be condemned, but, through the love, mercy and grace made manifest through Christ, be acquitted, blessed, redeemed, cleansed from sin, protected from the wrath to come, wooed, wedded and exalted as His chosen bride, obedient wife (Hos. 2:20), and glorious 'queen, and His eternal and imperishable kingdom, and live with joy unspeakable; whereas we were so 'unclean in our sins, polluted in our blood, no one attending to us (Ezek. 16), taken captive by the devil at His will, and sentenced by God, according. to His. justice, to eternal death and damnation.

    Now let us well consider and advise with ourselves according to the simile of the criminal, imprisoned . harlot under the sword or at the stake. Let us well examine ourselves, whether we have risen from our sins,amendeda and still daily amend, and whether we have rightly accepted, by the faith which worketh by love, this love, grace and redemption of God, made manifest through Christ, and whether we in return love God, keep His commandments, and are afraid of offending Him.

    The world was by nature corrupted by sin, and judged or sentenced to condemnation, so that Christ did not come to judge or to condemn that which was already judged, but to redeem from judgment and condemnation all those who rightly, by faith; accept His grace (Tit, 2:1.1), that is, those who die unto and forsake their sinful life, repent and amend; in a word, those who are born again, live after the Spirit (John 3; Rom. 8), as the Scriptures abundantly testify in many places.

    But the others, who do not rightly accept, by faith, unto the amendment of their entire life, according to the holy Word of the Lord, this love, grace and redemption, abide notwithstanding, held captive by their sins, under the condemnation and wrath of God, and will on account of their unbelief, impenitence and unrighteousness not see the kingdom of God, nor inherit eternal life, because they still continue in sin, and thus cannot receive edemption and forgiveness of sins; and if they have once received it, yet, when their new sins exceed the old ones, it may go worse with them than before, because they are so ungrateful, and do not keep their promise of amendment. For Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree of the cross (on this condition of our amendment) that we believers, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we were healed. For we were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. I Pet. 2:24, 25.

    From this we may clearly perceive, that those who do not die unto their sins, nor live according to righteousness, are not yet healed or redeemed by the stripes and death of Christ; for they are not yet by faith returned unto God, from their sins, wherein they still live. Hence they in vain assure themselves, of eternal life, and of their redemption by the death of Christ, since they are still bound by their sins. Either they must turn from their sins to God, obediently to serve Him all the days of their life, in all holiness and righteousness of faith which is pleasing in His sight; or they still remain captive, unbelieving and condemned, as the Scriptures declare more abundantly than I can designate; for I have never had a. Bible in prison. Let each examine himself. II Cor. 13:5.

    Mark now, how poor mankind receive redemption and salvation, as they think. One hears and sees openly enough that almost the entire population of Europe are called believing Christians, though by their wicked works they hardly show that they are natural men, since they live more unnatural than irrational beasts. Nevertheless, they are taught by their teachers, that they are called children and heirs of God (Ezek. 13:10), which they, also claim they are, being so firmly persuaded of and settled in it, that there are very few of them who can be turned, advised, helped or drawn out of the prison, water, or fire of damnation (Jude 23); for they are already too wise in themselves, already helped, and delivered from death as they think and say, though in this their sinful life and ungodliness, they live enveloped in perdition; and clothed with a beautiful name, being called Christians and children of God, though they lead a worse life than do Jews, Turks, or Saracens, who do not pretend to be Christians, as these, who so openly and shamelessly forsake Christ, in idolatry with wood and stone, which they call an excellent worship; in avarice which they style only industry; in pride, which with them is only neatness; in lasciviousness and adultery, which they term only friendship; in drunkenness, which they call enjoyment, pleasure, glee, good naturedness, or good cheer, even as they know how to name and varnish over every form of wickedness and sin, as though they were nothing but virtue and righteousness.

    As though they were blameless, many of them are not willing to be reproved for the lusts of their flesh, in dicing, gambling, singing, jumping, dancing, strutting, boasting, in order to be nowhere the least, but everywhere the first, if possible; in vain, false, and renowned arts of earthly worldly and carnal wisdom; in litigating, suing, swearing; in subtle, fraudulent, wicked inventions and traffics; in lying, cheating, quarreling, cursing, fighting, and killing, if not in deed, then with the heart; in hatred and envy, defaming, backbiting, foolish talking, jesting, joking, unprofitableness, impropriety, in all manner of lustfulness and wantonness. This is nearly everywhere as common as daily bread; herein and herewith they spend, abuse and fritter away, to the perdition of their souls, the precious time of grace, their life, and every good creature of God; which good gifts of God we have received from His grace for our good, thereby obediently to serve our God and Creator blessed forever, to the honor of God, the salvation of our souls, and the edification and love of our neighbor. For God is not willing that any should perish, neither has He pleasure in the death of sinners; but He is longsuffering, and waits for all to repent and will have all men to come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved. II Pet. 3:9; Ezek. 33:11; 18:32; I Timothy 2:4.
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    Continued..

    What more should our Lord God do for man, than He has done? Does not then men's condemnation proceed from their unbelief, disobedience, neglect, abuse, guilt, sin, -obduracy, and ingratitude, because they will not by faith unto repentance accept this grace and incomprehensible love of God? But they reject this repentance, and would still enjoy this grace and salvation in their sinful life, from which they do not turn.* For since men have also the freedom to abuse themselves or their own life, and every creature of God, though this is not the will of God, only He permits it, therefore men, by their first birth, live contrary to the Word and will of God, hence unnaturally, disobediently, ungratefully, unreasonably, heedlessly, according to the will of the devil, are devilishly and carnally minded, covetous and ambitious, unmannerly, immodest, faithless, perjured, hateful, envious, unmerciful, without compassion, impatient, morose, cruel, and revengeful; in short, had men the power of wealth, and of their body, and were there no human authority which they fear and dread more than God, men might live in such an inhuman manner that we might almost have a hell upon earth; for though now men are feared more than God, still it is altogether too bad.*


    * See whether a criminal is pardoned, if he is not willing to amend his ways


    Many that are poor refrain from drunkenness because they have no money or pledge, while the rich may refrain from it on account of their honor or pride, or because they have no company according to their liking, or because they wish to preserve their health and mind; and for such reasons also lasciviousness is avoided. Men often refrain from stealing on account of the gallows, and from murder because of the wheel; in short, every sin is left uncommitted more on account of constraint, shame, and fear of men, than from voluntary goodness for the Lord's sake. And though men are so devoid of shame and given up to evil that they openly keep brothels, and live far more detestably than beasts; they are nevertheless called Christians, and claim to be children and heirs of God by grace. How much more then those who manage it a little more decently and secretly, as they think, though they frequently are much worse? Can one do worse, than those who without shame live in adultery and other secret sins, when God the Lord knows every secret of the heart? Rev. 2:23; 16:7. Oh, if men's sins were written on their foreheads, how constantly would they keep in the house, and conceal themselves in corners, holes and dens, so as not to be seen by men.

    But they are not ashamed before God, nor afraid of Him, from whom they cannot hide; and who can kill the body, and cast both it and the soul into the fire of hell. Intelligent and impartial reader or hearer, prove whether these false Christians in this their improper and unchristian life can be saved though God's mercy and the death of Christ, or not? even as they presumptuously say, that the kingdom of heaven is for them, and not for the beasts, and besides utter so much nonsense, as though they were raving, as they also are, so that a true Christian may well be ashamed and afraid to see or hear their madness and their unrighteous works. II Pet. 2:8.

    O depraved and wanton men I Though the Jews, because they were called AbrahpLm's seed, claimed to be God's children, Christ showed them that a thief, liar and murderer from the beginning, even the devil, was their father, because their works were evil. John 8:44. This may have seemed strange to them, even as it may seem strange to those who obey not the Gospel of Christ, that according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures they are called, and are servants of sin (Rom. 6:20), an evil and perverse generation of serpents, vipers and adders (Matt. 3:7), the seed of the devil, children and heirs of wrath (Eph. 2:3), accursed and of eternal damnation, seed of Cain, Ishmaelites, filthy swine, devouring dogs, ravening wolves in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15 ), that is, under the cloak of sanctity, uncircumcised, gentiles, aliens and strang-

    * Many think they are good Christians, because they do not steal or commit murder, and because they do not perpetrate violence or highway robbery, or because they refrain from evils which they can or dare not do; however, this is no virture in their case ers from the covenants of the promise of eternal life, who have no part in the kingdom of God, though they entertain a vain hope of it; without God, without Christ, godless and idolatrous in the world. These evil works are the nets, snares, fetters, blocks, chains, bonds, and imprisonments, with which the prince of this world, the devil, who works in the children of disobedience holds men captive, blinded and bound at his will. Eph. 2:2; II Tim. 2:26. And so long as the false Christians go or creep about bound by their sins, and entangled in their unrighteousness, they boast in vain and heap one great lie on top of another, when they boast that through Christ they are redeemed and freed from their sins, when they still live in their toils, and because of their unbelief and disobedience are predestinated unto eternal damnation, unless they turn from their sins to God, and by faith rightly receive His grace unto repentance; whereby they will not perish, but are predestinated to eternal life, and become vessels of honor prepared unto glory, according to my simple view. Rom. 9:23.

    Mark what Christians these are, because they say that there is a gracious God, which the devil also believes, and trembles; moreover, they say that they are sorry for their sins, and still they go on in them, the longer the more, the older the worse, and under the cloak of the grace of God commit all kinds of sin, the one in this, another in that, so that no wickedness is left undone. Let every one search the secrecy of his heart, and he will better understand and find what I, prisoner, here write. One man cannot alone commit all these sins, for his life is too short and insufficient. For it is generally seen that sins leave men when sickness or old age comes, which, however, does not tend to their repentance, amendment, or salvation, though many who are robust and healthy abandon and deceive themselves, saying: I shall repent when I am old, when I lie upon my death bed, or I care not longer to serve the world; if any one sorrows for his sins then, and the end is good, all is well., "O vain consolationl for what kind of repentance can that be, when one is no longer able to commit sin and wickedness? it is nothing but mocking the Lord, sinning presumptuously, and rejecting His grace. Oh that all men captive in sin at the will of the devil (II Tim. 2:26), would always consider this, and thus give the more diligence, so that through grace their souls might become disengaged and free from the snares of the devil, or sin; even as a prisoner according to the body gives diligence to obtain his liberty, so as to escape bodily death for a brief and uncertain time yet, though he ultimately cannot escape it. If men believed that God is just, and that He will not suffer any evil to go unpunished in impenitent sinners, they would be terrified, and through fear of God's righteous judgment forsake their sins; but now they are comforted in their misfortune by their preachers, with flattering, words and soothing sermons with grace, peace, mercy and salvation; whereas they ought to be reproved for their sins, and threatened with the anger, wrath, fury and displeasure of God (Rom. 2:8), and eternal damnation, so that they might repent while the door of grace is open for a little while yet. II Cor. 6:2.

    I know of nothing that so securely and firmly holds men in the sleep of sin till the Lord comes as a thief in the night, as to call good evil (Isa. 5:20), the Gospel a sect (of which all manner of evil and falsehoods are spoken), and to change the truth into lies. The Christians are called,heretics and deceivers; every good work, virtue and righteousness is so misnamed, perverted, painted in such abominable colors, and the worst construction put upon them, so that men are afraid of them, as though they would be led astray by the truth, and of God. The devil, on the other hand does trot appear half so ugly as he is represented and I have here described him, but disguised by a beautiful semblance of love, and changed and transformed into an angel of light, as though he were sent of God, and were himself Cod. II Thess. 2:4.. Then are his lies called nothing less than Gospel and truth; Babylon is called the church of God; idolaters are styled my lords; lying and cheating are termed prudence and cleverness; fighting is called valor, and murder, simply misfortune; and thus, many like shameful deeds, upon which an honorable construction is put, so that evil is called good. But woe unto such, as Isaiah says. Isa. 5:20. Thus, the ministers and children of the devil know how to change, gloss over, name, and construe in the most favorable light into good works virtues, and all manner of righteousnesses, all their evil works, vices, sins, and manifold unrighteousnesses; as avarice into industry and pride into neatness.

    Who can reprove them therein? And therewith the devil blinds them so artfully and firmly to his will, so that they think themselves to be pious Christians, and are not willing to be reproved by' the truth for their sins, but claim to be unblamable children of God; moreover, they say, like Christ's disciples: 'Our Father, etc.' But let everyone examine himself, whether he is born of God, because he knows how to palliate his 'sins; and whether he so sanctifies and adorns the name of God, and does His will, and whether he carries himself before God as an obedient child before his father; otherwise he joins lie upon lie in his prayer, which in that case is a curse and an abomination before God. In short, he that committeth sin is born of the devil, and knoweth -not God, John 8:44; I John 3; and they that are carnally, minded cannot please God. Hence, mark whom impenitent sinners call upon as their father. Blind indeed must he be who cannot perceive this,and hardened he that is not willing to repent.

    O dear reader or hearer, if I may pray you, it is my heartfelt desire of you, that you would always consider (and regulate yourself accordingly), that men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken; how much more then of their deeds. And everyone shall receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad; namely, before the righteous judgment of God, where anger, hatred, envy, yea, not loving in deed and in truth, speaking scornfully or spitefully to one's brother, Raca, thou fool, or offending him, will be deemed and judged murder, worthy of the council, of judgment, and of hell fire. Matthew 5:22; I John 3. In like manner, disobedience will be regarded as witchcraft; to look upon a woman to lust after her, as adultery; and any other evil which is desired with the heart, and consented to with the will (though the power for, and the commission of it be wanting), will be judged and punished as an accomplished evil work. I Sam. 15:23; Matt. 5:28; Not to keep His Word, will be considered lying and perjury, and a good oath, so called, will be as severely recompensed as a bad oath; for Christ has prohibited all swearing; Matt. 5, as also to hate one's enemies, and not to love them like one's friends; and many like things. Now mark how adultery was punished under the law by the judges; for those who committed adultery were. stoned to death. Lev. 20:10.

    And it is dally seen, how witchcraft, homicide or murder are punished by the secular lords with fire or the sword unto death. Mark, how Adam, for one sin, likewise Cain, then the whole world, with the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the adjacent cities, with fire and brimstone, Egypt, and afterwards the idolaters in Israel and murmurers against Moses, were punished according to the justice of God, for our example. Of how much sorer punishment then are they worthy who murmur against Christ, change His truth into lies, and do not receive His grace and redemption by faith, unto the amendment of their life, but reject the same, living presumptuously in their sins. Heb. 10:29; Rom. 1:25. God who did not spare the angels who had sinned, will also not spare those who through unbelief are unrighteous and false Christians, but punish them with a sorer punishment than Sodom and Gomorrah, which were turned into ashes and condemned and overthrown for an example unto all them that commit ungodliness, and do not. repent. II Pet. 2:4,6; Jude 6; Matt. 11:24; II Pet. 3.

    If then we are to be saved, through God's mercy, we must repent, must be obedient children of God, born again of Him, and must follow Christ in the regeneration and the footsteps of faith, through the narrow way unto eternal life; nor are we then saved through the merit of good works, but by the grace which came through Christ. Eph. 2:5. For though we lived holy; blameless, and perfect in all righteousness (as the Scriptures require), and suffered for the truth a death more bitter than that of Christ which with us men is impossible, yet we could not be saved through our own good works, but only by God's mercy, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone has wrought out our salvation. And if we sought or placed our salvation in our good works or our sufferings, we should commit idolatry, and we were our own idol, if we trusted in ourselves. But now our salvation depends only on the mercy of God, and not on our running and following after. Rom. 9:16. Though we should run and follow after ever so well (which is our bounden duty), so that we attained, and already had, the perfection (that for which we are apprehended of Christ), and had done all those things which are commanded us, and which it is our duty to do, we were yet only unprofitable servants. Phil. 3:12; Luke 17:10. How much more unprofitable then are we now, with our many defects, though we willingly strive after and should gladly perform that which is good, and are sorry that we are not perfect.*

    Hence we have great reason, and are in duty bound, to humble ourselves very low under the abundant grace of God, and to pray; for eternal life is a gift of God, and not a debt or reward proceeding from our labor, merit, or good works; for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10), as is our duty to do, in the least as well as in the greatest. But the wages of sin is death; hence we must hate and fear sin, that we do not consent to or commit it, if we want to be saved by the grace and gift of God. Thus, we are delivered through Christ from the bonds of the devil, or sin; let therefore no one say or hope that he is saved by his good works, which are far too insufficient. That, also, no one say: 'Should we not take thought, should we not gain a livelihood, else on what should we live? except to them who say that one is not to support himself by the labor of his hands, but to go idle.' Matt. 6:25; Luke 12:22; Eph. 4:28.

    And that, also, no one say: 'No man knows the hour and the day of the Lord, except to those who have set the hour and the day, from doing which may the Lord keep me.' Mark 13:32; Matt. 24:42; Luke 12:40. Beware of frivolous babblers, for scorners will speedily come to an end. I Cor. 15:33. And if, when you speak your mind, or reprove with meekness that which does not meet your approbation and one resist you in the good, be silent instantly, Ithat you may retain your peace and the tranquility of your conscience. If it vex you, do nevertheless not engage in contention, that you may be found in peace when the Lord comes. II Pet. 3:14. We must here at any rate suffer violence and wrong; but it will not last long; hence, let us possess our souls in patience. Luke 21:19.

    The fourteenth week of my imprisonment, the first day of January, so called, A. D. 1568. I trust that the present year will not pass like the former. Watch and pray, for you know neither the day nor hour; but the God-fearing may consider whether this is the year in which the Lord will deliver His elect and believers; let everyone take warning."

    * That no one say, "We cannot be perfect; except to those who say that they are perfect. There is nothing so good as that men will not contradict it, even with the Scriptures."


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  9. #399
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    JAN THIELEMANS AND JOB JANS, BURNT TO DEATH FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, IN THE HAGUE, IN HOLLAND, IN THE YEAR 1568

    Hands were now laid in the Hague, on the beloved friends of the Lord, so that they did not hesitate to deprive them of their lives with flaming fire.

    This became apparent in the case of two very pious and God-fearing men, one of whom was named Jan Thielemans, the other job Jans. To both of them, at that place, because they faithfully adhered to the Lord their God, and could by no torture be moved from the steadfastness of their faith, their sentence of death was read in court, namely, that, in pursuance with the decrees of the Emperor, and the King of Spain (who called himself Count of Holland), they should be put to death with fire as heretics; which was executed on the 18th of December, A. D. 1568, on both of them, after they had committed their souls into the hands of God.

    Further observation, concerning the death sentences of the aforementioned martyrs

    We have this year, 1659, on this occasion, through some of our friends in the Hague, requested by way of authenticated copy, the use of the proceedings of the court, from the criminal records of the year 1568, but especially of the death sentences of the aforementioned martyrs (as recorded by the papists), which, as appears, are still extant in the original; but as A. D. 1648 peace was made with Spain, with condition of forgiving each other all previous wrongs, and consequently, to mention them no more, the actuary was afraid to make out a copy of these particulars, as well as concerning others of our fellow believers that were put to death during the papistical reign, fearing it might tend to their reproach, and prove detrimental to the peace concluded.

    This aim of the actuary was not bad, since it springs from carefulness in regard to a matter of great importance; but in the meantime these holy martyrs must suffer abridgement, since their matters, which otherwise necessarily (even out of the mouth of their adversaries, might be made known to every one), must thereby remain hid. This by way of notice.

    http://homecomers.org/mirror/martyrs105.htm


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  10. #400
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    The first letter which Jan Thielemans wrote in prison

    I wish you, my dear friends, grace and peace from God the heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His dear Son our Lord, as a friendly greeting. Amen.

    Further, after all good and proper greetings that are Christian-like, I, in my unworthiness, have felt greatly prompted in my spirit, to write you something yet, since I cannot orally converse with you all; seeing I had laid the first foundation in some of you (I Cor. 3:10), and, according to my humble gift, withheld nothing from you, and though I am now removed from you, I have nevertheless, because of the great love which we in great fellowship and peace have mutually had, remembered you in my last adieu with a little draught out of my rivulet, from which I have poured out for you; yet not I, but the grace of God through me. For thus it is written,. Gen. 17, that God spake to our father Abraham, saying, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me, and thee, and wi11 multiply thee accordingly, so that kings shall come out of thee. And I will give unto thy seed the land of Canaan for an inheritance. And this is my covenant which I will make with you: Every man-child ye shall circumcise." Thus Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness

    and he was called the Friend of God: James 2:23. So God then gave Abraham a son; who was called Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs envied Joseph, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites sold him into Egypt; but God was with him, and he found favor in the sight of king Pharaoh, and became governor over the land of Egypt. And it happened that there came a dearth over Egypt, so that Jacob and his sons found no sustenance. And they heard that corn was sold in Egypt. Hence Jacob sent out his sons the first time; and the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. And Joseph sent for his father Jacob. And Jacob went down into Egypt, and with him threescore and fifteen souls; and he dwelt in Egypt, and he and his sons died there. Acts 7:4, etc.

    Now when the people began to multiply, there arose another king, who oppressed the people of Israel, and commanded that the young children should be cast away. Mark well, my good friends, how did the children of Israel get into this distress, great misery and sorrow, on account of which they lamented and groaned to God? who had brought them into this? It was their father Jacob that had done it; yet with God Almighty the promise remained as firm as ever, which He had made to our father Abraham, namely, that his seed should inherit the land of Canaan; but now they were in great affliction. Now, what did all. those inherit that were born there? the good and faithful land of promise? No, but they inherited bondage under the cruel King Pharaoh, and still found themselves in the land of Egypt; this is certainly the truth.

    Consider now this age of the world, and those who are at the present day born unto the world; if they ascertain it from the Scriptures, who brought them into the world? Adam their father. So they now still find themselves in the spiritual dark Egypt, under Pharaoh, the devil. Mark now, my good friends, what they inherit, and how they boast in vain. They, inherit a naked body when they are born, without raiment and food; for if hey inherited raiment and food, there would not so many people go naked and suffer.hunger. But now excellent and thankworthy gifts are proffered by the Lord. But if we will not use these excellent means according to the rule and truth of Christ, in order to get to the spiritual promised land, we must remain without; even as there are many who do not use the means for obtaining food and clothing, and must therefore go without them, suffer cold and hunger: thus, my good friends, it will also go with all those who here vainly boast of the kingdom of God.

    I will now return to my previous theme. Consider now Israel, who were dwelling in Egypt; they began greatly to multiply, and wax mighty, and numbered six hundred thousand men. This great power was nevertheless beaten and compelled to labor by King Pharaoh. They groaned and complained, and though there was such a great multitude of them, yet it was not possible for them to get out of the country, and enter into the land of which they were to be heirs, as God had promised Abraham. Thus, also, my friends, it is impossible for man to, get out of spiritual Egypt, and to be delivered from. King Pharaoh, namely, the devil, in order to enter into the spiritual country, namely, the kingdom of God; for men universally inherit a depraved.nature, and in accordance with it they act, and live after the flesh, wherefore they die, and do not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Now, my dear friends, when they were thus in Egypt, and had dwelt there four hundred and thirty years, and complained, groaned and sighed, it came before the Lord. And the Lord God Almighty remembered Ibis covenant which He had firmly made with our Father Abraham, and God raised up and chose a man named Moses. Behold, my good friends, through this man God intended to deliver all the people, and He did many wonderful signs and mighty works before the king of Egypt, as we may read. Finally this Moses brought them out by the mighty hand of God; but before they left the country, Moses went many times to Pharaoh and said, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may serve me." But Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should let the people go? I will not let the people go." Now, even as the people that were in Egypt could not serve the Lord, unless they left Egypt and journeyed towards the promised land, so can now those likewise riot serve the Lord, who are in the spiritual Egypt; for one cannot serve two masters at once; one must leave Pharaoh and Egypt; for Pharaoh dwells in Egypt, but the Lord God dwells in the spiritual promised land.

    My kind friends can now easily perceive that it is the truth what I write, that one must leave the spiritual Egypt, even as Moses by the mighty hand of God delivered the people out of Egypt, from which they went out in one day, and came to the sea, whither Pharaoh with his servants pursued them, thinking that they could not escape out of the country. But little did they know that the Lord was with the children of Israel; for Pharaoh thought to smite them. But the Lord divided the sea, so that the waters stood like walls. And thus Moses and the people of God passed through, but Pharaoh with all his servants remained in the sea, so that not one of them escaped to go and tell the tale in Egypt. Thus also, my dearest, when men want to serve God, then they forsake Egypt and Pharaoh, and when Pharaoh sees this, he bestirs him with his servants. But the spiritual Moses has gone before his people, and helps them through the sea, namely, through the wilderness of this world, and Pharaoh and his servants diligently pursue to the end, which is death.

    Furthermore, my friends, when Moses had now succeeded in bringing them across the sea, they saw their pursuers drown before their eyes. Then they rejoiced greatly, and with songs thanked God, who had so mightily helped them. They were, however, not yet in the promised land, but on the way to the same. And Moses their leader went before them, and brought them to Mount Sinai; and he, the faithful servant of the Lord, went up into the mount and there received the law of the Lord, which was written with the finger of God in two tables of stone. When Moses had received these two tables of stone from the hand of the Lord, to lay them before the people, that they should do according to them, for now the service of the Lord commenced; and as yet they had received no ordinance from God, save circumcision; hence, if they were now to serve God, they must also have the commandments, the Lord said to Moses, "Go, get thee down from the mount; for the people have corrupted themselves." Ex. 32:7. Now when Moses went down from the mount, and saw the people dancing around the calf, rejoicing in the work of their hands, he cast down the two tables of stone and brake them beneath the mount, and with a grieved heart addressed Aaron, saying, "What hast thou done, that thou hast brought this people to so great a sin?" Aaron excused himself before Moses, and said, "My lord, thou knowest that this people is a stiffnecked people.

    They fell upon me and I demanded of them their golden earrings, and other gold; and I received it from their hands, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and hence this calf came." Moses took the calf, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses addressed the Levites, and said to them, "Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor." And there fell three thousand men. Behold now, my dear kind friends, these three thousand had left Egypt and Pharaoh, and were gone out of it, in order that they should possess the goodly land; now if they had boasted themselves of the goodly land (promised by God to Abraham and his seed), would it not have been vain boasting? Certainly.

    And Korah, Dathan and Abiram, with two hundred and fifty others, who offered incense before the Lord, perished from the multitude, together with fourteen thousand and seven hundred that murmured against Moses, and said, "Ye have killed the. people of the Lord." Num. 16.
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  11. #401
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    Continued..

    See, my good friends, they claimed to be the people of God, though they were not it; and again, Moses the faithful servant of the Lord was said to have done it, though it was not he, but their own sins that did it. And if the truth had been told, it would also have been so said; but the truth is also now at the present day often perverted, and things are asserted to be true when they are not. Again, if the twenty-four thousand whoremongers (Numbers 25:1), together with three thousand more and many others, who all perished in the wilderness because of their sins and transgressions, had all greatly boasted themselves of the goodly land, would this not have been vain boasting? Certainly. Hence, it is vain to boast of one's self; but to boast according to the truth is right. For Moses said to them, "Hear, O Israel: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy might. These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy doors; talk of them when thou walkest by the way with thy children; and let them be for a memorial in thine hand." Deut. 6:4, etc. Thus Moses strictly exhorted the people, and most diligently presented the law of the Lord to them; and the people said, "Yea, but did not do it."

    Hence, my good friends, take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief [in departing from the living God]. But exhort one another daily while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For ye are made partakers of Christ, if ye hold the beginning of your confidence steadfast unto the end. Therefore, today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, when He was grieved forty years with that generation, and sware in His wrath, that they should not enter into His rest. Heb. 3. Therefore, my good friends, let us give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? 2:1-3. Let us therefore fear the Lord, that we may enter into His rest, and that none of us remain without. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them. 4:1, 2. Thus, my good friends, it does not profit to hear the word of God, if it is not mixed with faith; for unto them that believe, as the Scripture says, the kingdom of God is promised by the mouth of Jesus. Hence let us not neglect the grace of God, who says, "I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation"-which is neglected by many. Hebrews 12:15; II Cor. 6:1, 2.

    Therefore let us in all things approve ourselves as the ministers of God, serving Him all the days of our lives in holiness and righteousness, which are acceptable before Him. Hence I say with Paul, "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; that ye stumble not, as do the lame; but make straight paths for your feet; for I fear that there are now many lame, and many hands which hang down. Therefore follow peace and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:12, 13. I beseech you therefore, my good friends, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Rom. 12:1, 2. Hence, remember the words which were formerly spoken to you in the name of the Lord, "Therefore abide in that which you have heard from the beginning. If you abide in that which you have heard from the beginning, you shall continue in the Father and in the Son. And this is his promise, even eternal life." I John 2: 24, 25. For we have a sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the daystar arise in your hearts. II Pet. 1:19.

    My dear friends, what a dark place it was formerly with you, when the light was hid from you; and what dark places there are still; but you have obtained mercy. Hence Jesus Christ says in the Gospel, "I am come a light into the world, that whosover believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting." Jno. 12:4650.

    Hence it is our concern that we through the cordial grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may receive the same at His hand; for the Lord also is concerned to have a.people that fear and love Him. And this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous, to them that love Him. I John 5:3. Therefore, the law of commandments is good, and will abide forever; he that receives it, shall obtain life; but he that receives it not shall obtain death.

    Hence, my friends, be mindful of the Lord our God all your days, and let not your will be set to sin, or to transgress the commandments of the Lord our God for He has commanded the people to come, charging them, when they came, what they should do, that they might live; and what they should observe, that they might not be tormented. But they have rejected His laws; therefore they shall also be in great misery, who have abused His ways. Though He gave them an appointed time, they understood it not, to show repentance; and must therefore know it after death in torment. II Esd. 9:9. For, for this cause was the gospel' preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. I Pet. 4:6.

    Therefore, the hour is now come, that the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live. And there shall an hour come, when the dead that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that have done good shall rise unto life eternal; and they that have done evil shall rise also, however, not unto life, but unto damnation. John 5: 25, etc. Hence, my good friends, look to yourselves, that you lose not those things which you have wrought, but that you may receive a full reward. For whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. But he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. II John 8, 9."Ye are of God, little children, [and have overcome them:] because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us." I John 4: 4-6.

    Thus, my good friends, I have written you a little, and now begin to draw to a close with my letter; for we have little time for writing, since there are so many people coming and going. Openly I dare not write; so that I sometimes can scarcely write a line in solitude. Hence excuse me, in case there be any blunders. Thus, my dear friends, I have written you a little, because I felt prompted in my mind to do this, and could find no rest.

    Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. And remember me, your poor unworthy brother, in your prayers, that I may finish this to the praise of the Lord, and to your confirmation; so that my soul may find rest with the Lord; for I, in my insignificance and unworthiness, do not forget you here, where I also entreat the Lord. Furthermore, I greet you all especially much with the salutation of our dear Lord Jesus Christ when He, having been removed by wicked men from His disciples, for a little while, returned to them (as they sat with doors closed) and said, "Peace be unto you all." John 20:19. Thus I also say: Have peace with one another, and the Lord will be with you. II Cor. 13:11.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  12. #402
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    ANOTHER LETTER WHICH JAN THIELEMANS WROTE FROM PRISON.

    I wish you, my much beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, and all those who shall see my letters, or hear them read, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the communion of the Holy Ghost, for a friendly and worthy greeting. Accept it in love. Amen.

    After good and proper greetings, I undertake to write a little to you, my beloved, dear friends. I beseech you all by the mercies of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, that you would all diligently take heed to yourselves* In all love, peace and truth, according to the words of the Gospel, while, dear children, you still have time from. the Lord, through His great love shown you; since the time is so precious, for when it is past, and one has not taken good heed, it is lamented with sorrow. Hence Paul says, "Let us take heed to ourselves to provoke to love in good works." Therefore let us be the least, meanest, and lowliest, to bear all that is consistent with love and truth. For thus said Christ Jesus, the eternal truth, Himself; when the disciples asked who should be the greatest among them, He took a child, and set it In the midst of them, and said, "Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:3. Hence we may well perceive from the words of Christ, that we are to be, and must be, a prepared people; or we are not what we think ourselves to be, or, for what people take us.

    Hence, my much beloved friends, we must approve ourselves in all things as the ministers of God. Now, no more is required in them, than that they be found faithful; for God is not unrighteous to forget your love, and your good and kind works. I Cor. 4:1, 2; Heb. 6:10. Therefore be steadfast, and immovable in the work of the Lord, always knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord; hoping by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it will yet be most richly rewarded to you, when He will say, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom of my Father." I Cor. 15:58; Matt. 25:34. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matt. 13:43. Then shall it be seen what difference there shall be .between the righteous and the wicked, and between, them that have served God, and them that have not served Him. Mal. 3:18.

    Therefore, my greatly beloved in the Lord, take diligent heed to yourselves. Rather- suffer from another-even though it should be one friend from another-than that another should suffer from you. Rather bear from another-even though it should be a friend-if it be consistent with the truth, than that a friend should suffer from you. Hence it is written, "If thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation. For it will come very convenient even if one has put himself in the lowest place.

    Hence, beloved friends in the Lord, abide in that which you have heard from-the beginning. If you abide in it, you shall continue in the Father, and in the Son. And this is His promise, even eternal life. I John 2:24, 25. What do we care for the world, or for what there is in it; for the world shall pass away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. And it is certainly our, chief concern to be saved; as Peter says, Acts 15:11, "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved." Even as he says also in another place, "I have briefly written to you, by our brother Silvanus, namely, that this is the grace of God wherein ye now stand. Therefore hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown." Rev. 3:11. If you overcome, you shall inherit all things. Hence add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

    Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall, be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Pet. 1:5-11. Having therefore such great and glorious promises, dearly beloved, let its cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness. II Cor. 7:1. As .John also testifies, saying, "Let us purify ourselves from sin, even as he is pure. For whosoever comrriitteth sin doeth wrong; for sin is wrong. Therefore came he into the world, that he might take away sin; for in him is no sin. Whosoever siiineth hath not seen him, neither known him." I John 3:3-6. The same John further testifies, and says, "Ye are of God, little children, [and have overcome them:] because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; but he that knoweth not God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." I John 4:4-6. With this Christ agrees, saying, "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that, the works thereof are evil." John 7:7. As He further says in another place, "Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou bast given me: thine they were, and thou gayest them me. Not, Father, that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." John 17:11. In another place Christ says, "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." 3:20.

    Thus, my much beloved friends, while we are yet in this sad world, and the Lord still grants us time, we must take most diligent heed to the word of the Lord, and do our very best to follow the same; for thus Paul teaches us, saying, "As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy." Gal. 6:16. For thus we read in another place, "This people doth not understand, neither lay they to heart, that the grace and mercy of God are over his chosen and over his saints;" even as Moses says, that His mercy is shown to thousands of them that love Him, and keep His commandments. Ex. 20:6. True, there are many in the world, who say that they love the Lord; but they do not show it by their works, for their works show well enough whom they love; for Christ says, "He that loveth me will keep my word, or obey my commandments." These are they who can stand before Him; for thus also says Christ, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." John 14:21. But he that does not keep His commandments, does also not love Him; for John in his epistle declares, "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh . the world, but he that believeth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." I John 5:3-5. Therefore"love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, namely, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth .away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." I John 2:15-17. Hence, my much beloved friends, be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God. Rom. 12:2. Even as Paul says also in another place, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world." Galatians 1:3, 4.

    * The reader will observe that this rendering of the passage, alluded to here (Heb. 10:24), does not fully coincide with the one found in the English version of the Bible; which may be attributed either to the authors having used an imperfect translation, or, to an error on his part, in quoting said passage from memory.-Trans.
    ** See preceding foot note.

    Thus, my dear friends, this grace has been given you, namely, that you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, to whom you are come as unto a living stone, which was disallowed of men, but before God was chosen and precious. Therefore, be ye built up a spiritual house, and a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through our Lord Jesus Christ; that you may lift up holy hands to the Lord, without strife and discord (I Tim. 2:8), and make intercession and give thanks for all men; and the Lord of peace shall be with you. II Cor. 13:11. But if God be with you, who shall be against you, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all? Who shall lay anything to the charge of His elect? It is God that justifieth them. Who shall condemn them? It is Christ that died and is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, and also maketh intercession for us. Hence Paul says, "Who shall be able to separate us from the love of God? tribulation, or persecution, or death," etc. Rom. 8:31.

    Thus, my much beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, I will shorten my simple letter which I have written in bonds, in which we daily look for the redemption of our bodies. Hence receive this letter kindly, and think of what has in times past proceeded forth from my unworthy lips (not I, but the grace of God through me, I Cor. 15:10).

    Herewith I bid you an eternal, Christian adieu, and expect you all in the second resurrection, that we may meet Him in the air, and ever be with the Lord. Comfort one another with these words. I Thess. 4:17, 18. Once more I bid you adieu, my dear friends. Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Amen. Acts 20:32.

    Written in bonds, by me, JAN THIELEMANS, Your weak brother in Christ.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  13. #403
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    HEYNDRICK ARENTS, A. D. 1568

    Among many other true believers baptized according to the command of Christ, who were everywhere persecuted, expelled and put to death, also one Heyndrick Arents of Briel, about the year 1568, fell into the hands of these persecutors. The circumstances that led to his imprisonment were as follows, "A vessel having cast anchor in the roadstead off Briel on account of a leak which it had sprung, and said Heyndrick Arents being a shipcarpenter in Briel, those of the vessel requested him to calk the craft. While he was thus with them, the lords of Rotterdam learned that said vessel was a pirate, and sent thither a detachment of soldiers. These captured the vessel and conducted said Heyndrick Arents and the pirates to Delft as prisoners. And as those of -Delft refused to take them in, they were forthwith taken to Rotterdam, where they, on account of their misdeeds, were soon sentenced to be hanged. When Heyndrick Arents perceived this, he asked whether he had come into a city of justice, or of violence-why they wanted to condemn the innocent with the guilty? and said that he had not been apprehended on account of any crime. If they would inquire concerning him and his faith, they would find it to be so. Ex. 23:7; I Peter 4:15.

    Hearing this, the governor asked, "What does he say? what sort of a heretic is this? if he is one of the Anabaptists he shall not be hanged, but burned." Thus, he was examined concerning his faith, and freely confessed that he had been baptized upon his faith, according to the command of Christ; and, on the other hand, rejected usurping infant baptism and all papal errors, but confessed the ordinances of Christ and His apostles (which were observed by him and his fellow believers). Thereupon they sentenced him, and, after an imprisonment of two weeks, he was burnt at said place, in great constancy, and confirming the faith of the truth with his death and blood.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  14. #404
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    CLAUDINE LE VETTRE, AND WITH HER A BROTHER, A. D. 1568

    Meenen is a beautiful little town in Flanders, three leagues from Rijssel, on the road to Bruges, built on the edge of the Leye. In this town there lived a God-fearing man, Piersom des Muliers, with his wife Claudine le Vettre, who through the preaching of Leenaert Bouwens, and by reading and studying the Word of God, were turned from papal idolatry. Learning of this, Titelmannus, Dean of Ronse, and inquisitor of the faith, came thither with bailiffs, thinking to apprehend the aforesaid Piersom in his house. But a pious man of the council of Meenen had-warned Piersom to flee from the inquisitor, which he did, betaking himself into a certain piece of woods not far from his house. But his wife Claudine being engaged with her four little children (one of whom is still living), tarried a little too long, and had just left the house, with a child on the arm, when the bailiffs entered, who tumultuously asked the children and the neighbors where the husband was; and when they could not learn it they prepared to leave. Perceiving this, one of the neighbors, kindled with an evil and perverse zeal, said, "Men, there goes the wife with a child on her arm." They therefore forthwith caught her, and delivered her into the hands of the aforesaid inquisitor. This happened in the year 1567, a few months before the Duke of Alva's arrival in the Netherlands.

    She was taken from Meenen to Ypres, where many lay in prison for the faith that is because they could not understand that there was another Mediator and Saviour than Jesus Christ alone, who was offered up for our sins on the tree of the cross (I Tim. 2:5; Rom. 4:25); and could not believe that God had any pleasure in images of wood and stone, or silver and gold, but believed rather that such worship was prohibited in the Word of God (Ex. 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:16). And because they also did not believe that dead men can hear our prayers and help us; but much rather that we are to call upon no one but God alone, who alone is the discerner of our hearts and thoughts, and knows what we shall pray,for, even before we have poured out our prayer; who exclaimed with a loud voice, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," etc.;"to whom all the prophets and apostles point us, and not to one of the departed saints." Matt. 4:10; Rev. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Matt. 6:8; Rom. 8:26; Matt. 11:28; Acts 10:43; 4:12; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15.

    All who held such faith were by Titelmannus declared heretics, and delivered to the secular authorities, to be dealt with according to the decrees, namely, the men to be burnt alive, and the women to be buried alive. This severe death greatly terrified some, so that many apostatized, in order to save their lives. For at one time a large number broke out of prison and escaped, so that Claudine also could have made her escape, but she would not leave her child; so also a pious brother, who remained with her in prison unto the end, and would not leave her, dying with her for the truth, at said place. But Claudine did not apostatize, notwithstanding manifold assaults, continuing one year, but remained steadfast in the faith, refuting, from the word of God, all that the priests and monks were able to bring forward against her, as appeared from divers letters which she wrote to her husband from prison.* Finally, when they could not prevail upon her, they endeavored to move her by her maternal love for her infant, which hitherto had been nourished at its mother's breast in prison. The child therefore was taken from her and put out to a wet nurse, which was the greatest affliction she suffered during her imprisonment, and on account of which she wept many a tear, constantly praying God for power and strength against such temptation and assault of the flesh, in order that she might not fall, even as many of her fellow believers fell in her presence. God Almighty heard her prayer, for the Duke of Alva, having in the meantime entered the country, and commanded to clear all prisons from heretics, she also was crowned with the crown of the godly, without Ypres, A. D. 1568; and with her a brother, who was also burnt for the truth, at said place.

    Her husband, Piersom, often said of his aforesaid wife that it was astonishing how well she was versed in the Scriptures. For whenever he could not find a passage, he would ask his wife Claudine, who would at once clearly indicate to him what he sought. t

    It is understood that the child which was taken from her in prison was from that time on seen no more, without the father and the friends ever knowing what became of it.

    Piersom had formerly lived with his wife Claudine, in Bruges, where the same thing had happened to him, namely, that he with his wife escaped from the inquisitor, through the friendly warning of a councilor of the city. However he had to leave beh'nd everything he had, as was also the case at Meenen. But the pious man of Meenen who had warned him, concealed Piersom's books and part of his household goods, and saw that they were again taken to the place where the books belonged. But the bad neighbor, who had betrayed Claudine, fell into such detestation with the town's people that he had to leave the place, after the rabble of the town had demolished and ruined his shop, calling after him, Judas! Judas, the traitor I


    * Respecting said letters it has not been possible for us to obtain any of them.
    ** Piersom was a teacher [minister] of the church of God called Mennists.


    I Meenen was at that time an open city, without walls and gates, and hence Titelmannus did not dare trust his prisoners there: it would have gone with them as it did in another small town of 1, landers, where on a set day the peasants came in great numbers, broke open the prison, and liberated about four hundred persons who had been imprisoned for the same cause.

    The friends had Piersom's children baptized by the pastor of Meenen, as Margriete, the oldest of the children, who subsequently died, at the age of sixteen, in Calais, was wont to relate.

    The remainder were three sons, named Pieter, Nicolaes and Jan, the last mentioned being the infant which was nourished at the mother's breasts in prison. Pieter died during his mother's imprisonment.

    Piersom subsequently married a woman by the name of Peronne Hennebo, who died at Leyden, A. D. 1589, leaving two daughters, Maria and Martha, both born at Hoorn. This Martha was the wife of Doctor Dirk Volkertsz Velius, who wrote the Chronicles of Hoorn, and the mother of Pieter Velius of Hoorn.

    Piersom's third wife was Habeau de la Motte, mother of Margriete des Muliers, who resided at Gonda.

    Piersom fell asleep in the Lord in Leyden, in the year 1591, leaving a son by his first wife Claudine, two daughters by his second wife Peronne, and a daughter by his last wife, as already said.

    Claudine was beautiful of person, and a good singer, so that she moved the bystanders by her singing. Especially on the last day of her life, people stood before the prison, to hear her sing with a joyful heart, when death was announced to her. One who related it to me had heard her sing with a clear, strong voice the 27th psalm of David

    Le Seigneur est la clarte qui m'addresse

    And the people firmly believed that if they had not gagged her when they brought her to the place of execution, she would have departed life singing and praising God.

    This account we received from D. N. M., the son of Piersom and Claudine, by the help of D. D. V., Claudine's brother-in-law.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



  15. #405
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE AFORESAID CLAUDINE LE VETTRE

    The descendants of Piersom, the husband of Claudine le Vettre, claimed to have received, by way of tradition, that this Piersom at the time of the imprisonment of his afore-mentioned wife betook himself to a miller who lived in or near his mill, which stood close under the walls of Ypres, in order to be able there daily to get tidings from his beloved wife, which, gleaned from street rumors were brought to him by the miller's wife, as often as she returned from town, though without knowing that it was his wife, or that he was an Anabaptist.

    She judged Claudine not to be in her right mind because she had allowed herself to be rebaptized, and let so many sufferings be inflicted upon her on this account, and would rather die, than do what the priests said. This every time pierced Piersom's heart like a dagger, and ofter compelled him to step aside to give vent to the deep feelings of his heart.

    The day when Claudine was to be offered up, the miller's wife, desirous of seeing her b Ing executed, asked Piersom whether he did not wi;h to go along and behold the scene, which he declined, requesting her kindly to pay strict attention to everything, in order to give him an account of it afterwards. When she returned home she related to Piersom how valiantly and undauntedly Claudine went to death, what she said, and how she conducted herself; everything, however, with the idea, that Claudine had not acted rationally. Thereupon Piersom, having warmed up, took heart and discovered himself to the miller and his wife, saying that he was of the same belief, and that the one put to death was his beloved and very rational wife, and upon what foundations of truth they founded their doctrine and life. This so deeply affected the miller and his wife, that they also resolved to amend their life. They were baptized upon their faith, and shortly after sealed the truth with their blood.


    PIETER PIETERS BECKJEN, BURNT ALIVE AT AMSTERDAM, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, ON THE 26TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, A. D. 1569

    The dreadful murdering, burning and killing of the innocent and upright followers of Jesus Christ were not sufficient at this time to deter from the true confession and practice of the Christian faith a certain pious brother and faithful witness of the Lord, named Pieter Pieters Beckjen, by trade a boatman on the Amstel, and so zealous, that at divers times he gathered the little flock of the oppressed pious who lived about Amsterdam, into his boat, in order to edify one another with the Word of God, and to strengthen one another in the accepted faith.

    And when it came to pass that his dear wife bore him a child, he, from Christian carefulness, took said infant with him to a place where it might be secure from the superstition of the papists, and from being baptized.

    In short, he manifested his zeal in every respect, notwithstanding the cruelty of the rulers of darkness, and this with a sincere and good intention, till finally he was, on that account, denounced to the magistrates of the city of Amsterdam, apprehended, dreadfully tortured, and, at last, when he would not apostatize, sentenced to death, and burnt alive, as appears from the sentence, which, for confirmation of said matter, was faithfully and correctly sent to us from the hands of the secretary there. In it can be seen, on the one hand, the steadfast confession of this martyr, and on the other hand, how awfully the rulers of darkness misinterpreted the same, and construed it to an evil, shameful and terrible end.


    Jude
    II Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



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