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Thread: MARTYRS MIRROR

  1. #526
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    THIRD LETTER FROM MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN, TO HIS WIFE

    I Maerten van der Straten your affectionately beloved husband and brother in the Lord, yet both unworthily, wish you my very dear, beloved wife and sister in the Lord, Beliken van der Straten, much grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, and may the love of His Son be multiplied to you, and may God, moreover, fill you, like Jeremiah, with His Holy Spirit, that you may thereby withstand all the subtle assaults of the devil, and after the victory, with all God's children, receive the crown of glory upon the pleasant mountain where, according to the writing of Esdras roses and lilies grow. And, my dearly beloved, I pray the Lord, to make you meet and worthy to play the new song before the throne of His glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Cordially written out of tender love, to you Beliken van der Straten. O my love, my chosen, dearest love, which through God's providence was given to me before His church by my father, and whose hand I took with tears of joy, for which I also thank the Lord, that He gave me you, for I would not have thought myself worthy of you. Hence this is also a reason for me, to love you the more. Yet, I call God to witness, that I love you as my soul, yea, more than the heart in my body, which I am bound also to do according to the demand of the Scriptures, for, since I, according to John's writing, am bound to love my brother, how much more then must I love you since you, according to the Word of God and Paul's declaration, are flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bones. And the apostle also says, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it." Eph. 5:29. In short, he that loves his wife also loves himself.

    Further, Beliken, my beloved, after this my proper and Christian salutation, let me, please, inform your love that I, the Lord be praised, am in tolerably good health according to the flesh, and according to the spirit, God be praised, my mind is still fixed to fear the Lord, all the days of my life, according to my weak ability. Furthermore, my dearest, I have the same confidence concerning you, that you are well both in soul and body, prepared to live and die to the glory of the Lord. This worshipful, good God, who has broken the bow of the mighty, and according to the word of the prophet, through the gracious goodness gives both wine and milk without price (Isa. 55:1), may strengthen and confirm you and us all in this lion's den, where we, on every hand, are so severely assailed and so greatly distressed, like Israel, when they were compassed about by Holofernes. Jud. 7. Yea, the false elders do so distress us, that we can with Susanna find nowhere a place of escape, but behold death before our eyes on every hand; for our persecutors are evening wolves, that leave nothing over till the morning. Hab. 1:8. Hence we may well say with David, "They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood." Ps. 94:5, 6, 21.

    But, my dearly beloved, let us not therefore despond, though we are now tried in the furnace of affliction, for the prophet says: ."Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law, that he may have patience in the day of adversity, until the pit be digged for thewicked. For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will forsake his inheritance. For he regardeth the prayer of the destitute, and doth not despise their petitions; for he looketh down from the height of his sanctuary, and from heaven doth the Lord behold tie earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner." Ps. 94:12-14; 102:17, 19, 20. For Sara said, "This I truly know, if a man serve God, he is comforted after temptation, and delivered from affliction, and after chastisement he findeth grace. For thou, O Lord, delightest not in our destruction; for after the storm thou causest the sun to shine again, and after weeping and mourning thou dost give us joy abundantly. Eternal praise to thy name O God of Israel, for with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light we see light." Ps. 36:9.

    Hence, my love, O my dearest love, let us patiently drink the cup of the Lord, for we know, according to the words of Isaiah, that truth is fallen in the street, and that he that turneth from his evil ways is the spoil of every one. Isa. 59:14, 15.

    Therefore, O my chosen love, my lamb, let us give our back to the smiters for a little while yet, and look to the author of our faith, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who for our sakes was so maltreated and disfigured, that He Himself says, "If they have done these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry." Luke 23:31. Hence, O my love, my dearest love, let us think as Paul, that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, will hereafter work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. II Cor. 4:17. For Solomon says, "But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand: for with his right hand shall he sever them, and with his arm shall he protect them." Therefore, O my dear lamb, let us diligently pray the Lord, that we may be worthy at His coming, to live with Him for ever and ever.

    Further, my chosen, dearly beloved, know that I do not know much more to write you, but I commend you into the hands of the Lord, and bid you adieu if I should write you no more; for our enemies are now so greatly incensed at us, that they gnash on us with their teeth, even as they did on Stephen in the judgment hall. I therefore yet give you this letter, even as Israel, when they were bound, gave their children the last milk. And furthermore, I thank you, O my love, for all your pure love and sincere friendship, and I also thank you much for the sleeves you made me; they stand me in better stead than the coat which was sent me. Rightly did Sirach say, that one friend helps the other in time of need, but much more yet husband and wife.

    Once more I take leave, and bid you adieu; O adieu, Beliken, my dearest. Greet from me them that are with you. Adrian also greets you much.

    Written by me, your dear husband and brother in the Lord.

    MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN.

    Pray for me.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  2. #527
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    THE FOURTH LETTER FROM MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN, TO ANNA SERVAES

    I, Maerten van der Straten, your unworthy friend and brother, wish you, my beloved, dear sister in the Lord, Anna Servaes, much grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father; and may the love of His Son be in you as a burning fire, that you may become perfect unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, and bearing good fruits, as a tree planted by the rivers of water, so that you may be numbered among the royal priesthood, the peculiar people, which God, according to the writings of Moses, bore on eagle's wings; so that you, when the land shall again be divided to Israel, may possess an inheritance full of joy, for ever and ever. Amen. Eph. 4:13; I Pet. 2:12; Ps. 1:3; I Pet. 2:9; Deut. 32:11.

    A cordial, fond and affectionate greeting to you, my dear and much beloved sister in the Lord, Anna Servaes, whom I love with a pure love out of a pure heart, of which God be my judge, who, according to the word of Jeremiah, tries men's hearts and reins. Further, after all proper and Christian salutation, let me, please, inform your love, that I and my dear wife are in tolerably good health according to the flesh, and according to the spirit we hope by God's assistance to keep the covenant which we once made with the Lord our God, when we bowed our knees before Him and His glorious majesty. Yes, we moreover trust that also you are well in soul and body, ready to perform your journey to Bethel, and to prophesy against Jeroboam and his altar. I Kings 13:1. To this end, may you and we all be strengthened by the only and eternal, almighty God, whose tabernacle is on high, and who lives far above all heavens, in a light which, according to the words of Paul (I Tim. 6:16), no man can approach unto; that we may fear and love Him above all.

    For He is a jealous God, who would dwell alone in man's heart; for thereunto we have been delivered out of the hand of our enemies, and from them that hate us, that we should fear and serve Him without fear, in true righteousness and holiness, all the days of our lives, as good and faithful servants, seeking the praise of God, and, with Paul, counting our gain loss for Christ's sake, lead ing a chaste, honorable life, and setting up an ensign for the nations, that we may not make the blind to wander out of the way, but that we, according to the words of Peter, through a modest and good conversation, may win the unbelieving without the Word; which Christ also teaches us in the Gospel, saying, "Let your light shine before men, that they may behold your good conversation, and glorify God our Father in the day of visitation." Ex. 20:5; II Cor. 6:16; Luke 1:74, 75; Phil. 3:7; Isa. 11:12; Deut. 27:18; I Pet. 3:1, 2; Matt. 5:16; I Pet. 2:12. Hence, O my dear and much beloved sister in the Lord, let us with all humility follow the Lord's footsteps, that in every respect we may adorn the doctrine of the Gospel, shining as a bright morning star among this evil and perverse generation; then shall the King, as David writes, greatly desire our beauty. Ps. 45:11.

    Hence, O love, let us each seek to be the chiefest in virtue, and patiently wait for the Lord, our Comfort, who alone can help us, as David says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God." Ps. 40:1-3. Oh, that I could bridle my thoughts, and discipline my heart with the word of God, and that I might not spare myself, if I erred, lest I should cause sin, and create great error, and commit much evil, and perish before my enemies, and become their sport. Hence, O dear sister, let us seek God's face day and night with tears, that we may not perish with the wicked under the wrath of God, but that we may continue obedient in Christ unto the end of our lives, so that we may be saved in the day of the Lord, which, according to the words of Christ, shall come as a thief in the night; in the which according to Peter's writing, the heavens shall be dissolved with fire, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.

    And if all these things are to come to pass, O how ought we to be meet and adorned with a good, chaste and holy conversation! For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it now begin at us, and if the righteous shall scarcely be written in the book of life, what shall the end of the ungodly be? Matt. 24:42, 43; II Pet. 3:10-12; I Pet. 4:17, 18. Oh, well may I sigh and say with Solomon, "O Lord, wink at the multitude of my sins. Hence we may also with David say, "O Lord, enter not into judgment with us, or, thou, O Lord, shalt be justified. And render us not according to our deeds, neither reward us according to our works, nor chasten us, O, Lord, in thine anger, but be merciful unto us, O Lord, according to thy goodness, which is great." Ps 143:6; 6:1, 2. Therefore, O dear lamb, let us cleave to the Lord with prayer and supplication, with a broken heart and contrite spirit, that we may be saved, not through our merits, but through the grace of God, and thus live with the Lord in His eternal kingdom.

    Further, my dear sister, I do not, because of my small gift, know much more to write you, but commend you to the Lord, and to the rich, comforting Word of His grace. I moreover pray you to excuse the plain, simple letter which I, your unworthy servant, have written, who am the weakest in Israel, yea, not worthy to unloose your shoe's latchet; however, I yet trust in the grace of God.

    Furthermore, my dear sister, greet your dear husband, and also the acquaintances, in my name. My dear wife also greets you both, and the acquaintances much. There also greet you much, Adriaen, Grietgen, Hansken, and Dingentgen; and all of us prisoners jointly request of you, that you will diligently pray the Lord for us. Nothing more. Farewell, and do the best in the beginning and in the end.

    Written in my bonds, by me, your weak brother . and servant, as much as I am able.

    MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  3. #528
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    THE FIFTH LETTER OF MAERTEN VAN DER,STRATEN, ,TO SERVAES JANSS

    I, Maerten van der Straten, imprisoned for the Word of the Lord, wish you my dear and much beloved brother in the Lord, Servaes Janss, much grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, and also to all that have been redeemed from the earth, and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to the word of the prophet, bore our reproach, took upon Him our sins, and restored to us that which He had not taken away, that He might deliver us from this present evil world; according to the will of God His Father; to whom be glory, power and honor forever and ever. Amen.

    Out of a fond heart a loving greeting to'you, my beloved, dear friend and brother in the Lord, whom I love according to the peculiar privilege of Israel, this the Lord knows, who according to the words of Jeremiah, tries men's hearts and reins, and according to David, knows men's thoughts when they are yet afar off. Jer. 17:10; Ps. 139:2.

    Further, after all proper and Christian salutation, let me, please, inform your love, that I, the Lord be praised forever, am in tolerably good health according to the flesh, and according to the spirit my mind is still fixed to serve God all the days of my life. I have moreover the undoubted confidence concerning you, that you are also well in soul and body, ready to keep the covenant which you once made with the Lord our God, when you bowed your knees before God and His glorious majesty; may this only, eternal, and only wise God, endow you, according to the word of the prophet(Joel 2:28), with His Holy Spirit, that you, led by Him, may lead a good and chaste conversation among the Gentiles, as Christ teaches us in the Gospel, saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they beholding your good conversation, may glorify God your Father."

    Hence, O my dear brother, let us, according to the writing of the apostle, diligently strive to be the chiefest in virtue; as Paul also says, that we should approve ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the Word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed: For God can wound, and heal again, as is written in the Book of Kings, "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." Tit. 3:8; 11 Cor. 6:4-9; Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6.

    Hence, O my dear brother, if you be visited at any time, out of bonds as well as in, be not grieved, nor, become weary in the way of the Lord, though it is narrow and straight; for it is better to suffer affliction for a little time with .God's children, than to possess all the, treasures of Egypt; for though man, as Christ says, should gain the world, and lose his own soul, O what would he have then,. that he could give in exchange for it? Heb. 11:25, 26; Matt. 16:26.

    Therefore, O my dear brother, let us seek the kingdom of God above all things, and let us not follow after that which is earthly, as is written in the epistle to the Colossians, by the holy apostle Paul, where he says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.", Col. 3:1-4. For it is a faithful saying, "If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with him." II Tim. 2:12. Hence let us not be weary in well doing, for according to Paul's writing, in due season we shall reap a most abundant harvest. Galatians 6:9. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Cor. 4:17,18.

    Hence, O my dear brother, let us help the author of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, bear all His reproach, and let us, as Paul says, follow after holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Heb. 12:14. And let us seek the Lord with tears, while He may be found, and let us bring forth genuine fruits of repentance, that the tower of Siloam may not fall upon us, for we have done evil long enough before the Lord. Isa. 55:6; Luke 13:4. Hence let us now, as Paul says, use our members, which we have heretofore used from iniquity, unto iniquity, still more abundantly from righteousness unto righteousness. And let us, moreover, praise the Lord, because He has revealed to us the pearl of great price that lies in the field, and is yet still hid from so many. Matt. 13:46. Therefore, O my dear brother, let us now, as good and faithful servants, put our talent out upon usury, that, when our dear Lord comes, we may have gained something, and may hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matt. 25:23.

    Thus, my dear, let us diligently look before us, and watch circumspectly, that we do not defile our wedding garment, but may much rather be adorned with the five wise virgins; with the oil of love in our lamps, so that we, when our Bridegroom comes, may enter in with Him into His eternal kingdom, where, according to the word of Isaiah, and of the apostle, incomprehensible joy and gladness shall endure forever. Amen.

    Further, my dear brother, I do not know, because of my small gift, much more to write you, but commend you to the only, eternal, almighty God, who according to the word of Isaiah, hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; that he may keep you, so that you may receive a crown of glory. Isa. 40:12; I Pet. 5:4.

    Furthermore, my dear brother, I pray you, that you will excuse this simple letter which I, unworthy one, have written, for it were better that you would write to me; but in order to fulfill your request I could not forbear to do it.

    Greet your dear wife, and also the acquaintances in my name. Beliken van der Straten, my dear wife, also greets you and Tanneken much, and also the acquaintances. Further, all of us prisoners greet you from the heart. Pray the Lord diligently for us. Nothing more. Farewell, and do the best.

    To your benefit as much as lieth in me, by me your weak brother and servant.

    MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  4. #529
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    THE SIXTH LETTER FROM MAERTEN VAN DER STRATEN, AND BELIKEN HIS WIFE, TO ADAM V. L. AND HIS WIFE

    I, Maerten van der Straten, and Beliken van der Straten, my most dearly beloved wife., both of us prisoners for the word of the Lord, wish our very dear brother and sister much grace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, who dwells on high, in alight unto which, as Paul writes, no man can approach. We moreover wish, that you may have the love of His Son, that you may be a light for them that sit in darkness, and that you may shine as a bright morning star among the blind that err in the way, so that you may hereafter, as Isaiah writes, behold the King in His beauty, and meet with that perfect and unspeakable joy and gladness that shall endure forever and ever. This we wish our dear friends in the Lord, with all the strength of our souls, out of an affectionate heart.

    A: cordial, loving greeting to you our very dear brother Adam V. L., and to Mariken, your very dear wife. We two prisoners, as said above, love you, as Paul says, with a godly love, and out of a pure heart as Peter writes; this the Almighty Lord knows, who penetrates every thing with eyes which are as a flame of fire.

    Further, after all proper and Christian salutation, let me, please, inform your love, that I and my dearly beloved lamb, whose hand I took with tears of joy are still, the Lord be praised forever, in tolerably good health according to the flesh, and according to the spirit, God be praised, our mind is still fixed, by the help of the Lord to prefer with Eleazar, an honorable death to an ignominious life. But, dear brother and sister in the Lord, we are also confident beyond a doubt, that you both are well in soul and body, ready to keep the covenant you made with Almighty God, concerning which we are exhorted by Moses, that we should always be mindful of the covenant which we once made with the Lord of lords. Deut. 4:9. And Paul instructs us still more fully, that we are to call to remembrance the day in which we were illuminated. Heb. 10:32.

    The merciful King, and God of gods, who. according to the word of the prophet, in time of need gives bread, and in thirst water, and in the day of tribulation forgives sin, may strengthen and confirm you and us all with His Holy Spirit, that we, as Luke writes, may serve Him in true righteousness and holiness all the days of our lives. And let us, O dear friends, always have the Lord before our eyes, even as David, who says, "I have set the Lord always before me." Ps. 16:8. And again he says, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock." 27:4, 5. Hence, dear friends, let us always seek the face of the Lord with humility, and take good heed to our vocation, redeeming the time, because the days are evil, as Paul says (Eph. 4:1; 5:16); for the tongues of the builders of the tower of Babel have come to disagree.

    For David says, "Violence and strife are in the- city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets." Ps. 55:9-11. And, as the prophet says, "They fear not God; for they lay their hands on his peaceable ones, and break his covenant," verses 19, 20."Their mouth," as David says,"is smoother than butter, but they have war in their hearts: their words were softer than oil, yet are they drawn swords," verse 21. Hence, O dearly beloved friends, let us always watch circumspectly in the spirit, and fear our God from the heart, and cleave to Him with prayer and supplication, even as the royal prophet David says, "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice," verses 16, 17.

    Thus, dear friends when you are distressed, call upon the Lord, and do not let the waters of Marah (Ex. 15:23) become too bitter for you, but remember, that according to Paul's words we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Even as also Christ teaches us in the Gospel, saying, "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matt. 11:12. Hence, dear brother and sister, let us willingly bear our cross, and give our back to the smiters, and not regard it however great the heat of the sun, for the servant is not above his master or lord; for if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household? Matt. 10:25. For Peter teaches us saying, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries," I Pet. 4:1-3.

    Hence, O dear friends, let us no longer live according to the wisdom of the flesh, to indulge its lusts, but let us walk, as Paul writes, only as becomes the Gospel, and do not let us be unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what similarity or fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are, says Paul, the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Phil. 1:27; I I Cor. 6:14-18.

    Therefore, O my dear brother and sister, let us serve the Lord with a faithful heart, and refrain our foot from every evil way, and let us lead a chasteand pure conversation among the Gentiles, that we, as Paul writes, may not give the slanderer an occasion to speak evil; but let us in all things seek the glory of the Lord with a simple heart, so that we, according to the word of Paul, may adorn the Gospel by good works. Tit. 2:8, 10. Hence, O dear friends, be not weary in well doing; for what you now sow in tears, that shall you in due season, as Paul writes, reap with joy in great abundance. Hence let us with fasting and weeping entreat the Lord, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, so that we may live with Him forever and ever. Amen. John 3:8; Eph. 6:13.

    Further, my beloved friends, we do not know much more to write you for this time, because of the simplicity of our understanding; but We commend you to the Lord, and to the word full of consolation, and bid you adieu.

    I Maerten van der Straten, and Beliken van der Straten, my love, have written this little out of affection and according to your request, and we beg you to accept it in good part. We also request the aid of your prayers.

    Farewell; greet the acquaintances in our name, we thank you for all the good you have shown us. Adriaen also greets you much; and also Hansken, Margriet and Lou greet you much; Dingentgen and we all jointly request you to pray for us. Nothing more, but do the best first and last.

    From us your dear friends,

    MAERTEN AND BELIKEN VAN DER STRATEN.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  5. #530
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    WILLEM DE RIJCKER, AND CHRISTOFFEL FIERENS, A. D. 1572

    At Meenen, in Flanders, on the 5th of December, A. D. 1572, there were sentenced to death as heretics, two pious witnesses of God, named Willem de Rijcker and Christoffel Fierens. When they were brought out to die, they came fearlessly, like two sheep for the slaughter. A brother said to Willem, "Dear brother, strive valiantly for the truth." And a sister also cried, "O yes, dear brethren, strive valiantly." Christoffel said, "O men, think of your salvation; for this is the way of truth unto life." They were quickly conducted to the hut, without being able to speak much; but they cried to God for help and assistance, and said, "What we suffer is for the right truth." Christoffel also said, "Sell your clothes, and buy Testaments; attend therein to the words of God: for therein you will find life; and fear not them that kill the body, but fear him that hath power to cast soul and body into hell."

    He also thanked God, that He had permitted him to see this day, for which he had so greatly longed, and said further, "These members, which Thou, O Lord hast given me, I will gladly deliver up again for Thy doctrine." Willem said, "I have been in many perils by sea and by land, and God has always helped me; hence I trust that He will also not leave me in this extremity, but succor me unto death." They then offered up their prayer to God, in which they said with Stephen, "O Lord, forgive them what they do unto us, and do not lay this sin to their charge." Willem then said, "I have now with Paul fought a good fight, kept the faith, finished my course," etc. Finally they cried, "O heavenly Father, into Thy hands we commend our spirits." Many other words were spoken, which have partly been forgotten, and it would also take too long to write them all.

    The executioner then asked, whether they were ready; whereupon Christoffel replied, "Yes, my dear friend." While Christoflel was being strangled, Willem cried, "O dear friends, my brother is now forbidden to speak." After that he cried once more to the Lord, and then also inherited the crown of life. Thus did these two die for the name of the Lord, being first strangled, and then burnt, after Willem had been confined in prison for more than twenty-two months; and thus they became heirs of the promised land, in which all those that here lay down their lives for the word of God shall find it again.

    During the time that Willem was imprisoned, one Cornelis van Eeckhoute was burgomaster at Meenen, who would very gladly have seen him released; he therefore sought to persuade the priest and others, that he [Willem] was half-wetted, whereupon Willem was examined once, and his views asked respecting purgatory. Willem answered that he had once lived in a convent, where on Saturday always meat and other things were cooked for Sunday, and that the monks, sweeping together the fire by which they had cooked, called it purgatory.* Then the burgomaster said, "Do you see my lords, by this you may perceive that the man is only half-witted, for these are not the words of a reasonable man."

    But Willem said that he did not want to be released from prison as halfwitted, but that they should ask him concerning his faith, and that he should confess it to them reasonably enough. Thereupon he had to remain in confinement, and was finally, as already stated, sentenced to death, this burgomaster pronouncing the sentence. This man, some time after, driven away through war, fled to Bruges, where he, however rich he was, had to live very frugally, and nearly all the time borrow money to defray his household expenses, which when it became too great a vexation for him, he resolved to go home to Meenen, but he died very suddenly on the way.

    http://homecomers.org/mirror/martyrs140.htm


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    JAN SMIT, A. D. 1572

    About the year 1572 there was also another pious, God-fearing brother, named Jan Smit, a native of the country of Marck, but at that time residing in North Holland, near Munnekendam; he was afterwards brought a prisoner to Munnekendam, for the testimony of Jesus. But when after a certain time Munnekendam was taken by the

    * In Dutch,"Vagevuur" from"vagen" or"vegen," to scour [and also to"sweep"] and"vuur fire;" hence a play on words, which cannot be rendered into the English without the loss of the humorous effect which it has in the original tongue.-Trans.

    Protestants, he was released by one of their captains. When subsequently engaged in a boat, on the Zuyder Zee, he was again apprehended by a Spanish captain, and brought to Amsterdam. There he remained in confinement, until it was determined, that these prisoners should be used as oarsmen on the Haarlem Lake, against those of Haarlem. But when this pious Jan Smit came to the place where he was to row, he declared that he did not feel free in his conscience, thus to row, seeing he had no enemies; they might deal with him according to their pleasure. Thereupon he was brought into the camp before Haarlem, where he was sharply examined in the faith, and found to be of the Mennonistic religion.

    And as examinations and severe threats could not move him to apostatize, since he was founded upon the firm Rock, and therefore overcame all by faith, Don Frederick, son of the Duke of Alva, sentenced him, there to be suspended by one leg to the gallows, which was done, till death ensued. And thus this hero and soldier of Jesus Christ, by saving faith overcome the world, sin, flesh and blood, and all tyrants, and, through God's grace, obtained the crown of eternal glory.

    This account we received from old Simon Fijtsoon, teacher [minister?] and elder of the church of Tessel. He declares that this Jan Smit was his special friend.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    PIERIJNTGEN LOOSVELDT, OR NECKERS, A. D. 1572

    At the close of the year 1572, there was apprehended at Meenen, in Flanders, for the truth and the Word of God, a spinster, about forty-three years old, named Pierijntgen Loosveldt, or Neckers. While kindly ministering to a sick person, she was walking out at a certain time, when she met the chief bailiff, Joncker Jan de Carmago, who apprehended her, and asked where she resided. She pleasantly replied that she did not live very far off, and gave him the fairest words, in order to be released. But it was all of no avail; she had to go to prison, and on the second day, when she had not had much time for consideration, she was summoned before the lords, and examined concerning her faith, which she freely confessed.

    In the first place she was accused that she had attended imroper assemblies, contrary to the emperor's decree. But Pierijntgen held that she had used diligence to follow Christ, and to shun the evil, and go out from them, and join the good, knowing that Christ says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20. And these assemblies she could not forsake, though it should cost her her life.

    In the second place she was asked whether she had not had herself rebaptized. She confessed that she had suffered herself to be baptized according to the command of Christ, which they considered Anabaptism, not at all regarding the instance of the disciples who, though they had received John's baptism, did nevertheless, after they had heard the preaching of Paul, suffer themselves also to be baptized in the name of Jesus. And that one must first believe on Jesus Christ, and be baptized upon such faith, according to the teaching of the Scriptures, which also say, that baptism is a burial of sin and the answer of a good conscience.

    When they asked her, who was present when she was baptized, she did not confess it, however hard she was threatened.

    In the third place they asked her, whether she did not regard the priests as the vicars of Christ, who had power to forgive sin; and that whatever they bound or loosed had to remain bound or loosed. But she could not confess that they are such vicars of Christ who are not minded as He is; for He is the true Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep, while the priests do the. very opposite. He is the true Mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5) , and His Father's vicar. He is the open, clear Fountain (Zech. 13:1), who calls to Him all those who are burdened and laden with sin. He is the true pool with five entrances, of which John tells (John 5:2), and all who truly repent shall receive the forgiveness of their sins. Luke 24:47. No one was found worthy to open the book with seven seals, but the Lamb Jesus Christ. Rev. 5:1. He is the right door; it is of no avail whether any one will open or shut, the ungodly must remain without. John 10:9; Rev. 22:15.

    In the fourth place she was asked, whether she did not confess that the body of Christ was in the sacrament or wafer, when the priest had pronounced the words over it, and consecrated it in the mass. But she could regard the mass, with all that pertained to it, for nothing more than a plant, planted by men, which God should root up. Matt. 15:13. But she confessed that Christ had left us the Supper to be observed in remembrance of Him, according to Paul's doctrine, and thereby to shew the Lord's death. I Cor. 11:25, 26.

    In the fifth place she was also asked whether she did not confess that infant baptism was necessary for salvation, and for the washing away of the original sin which has adhered to us from Adam. But her confession was, that one could receive but one baptism, and that only they are worthy of it who forsake sin, or repent, and believe in the name of Jesus Christ; and that it was also not a washing away of sin, but the answer of a good conscience, and that the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. Ephesians 4:5; Acts 2:38; I Pet. 3:21; I John 1:7.

    In the sixth place she was asked whether she did not believe that Christ had assumed His flesh from Mary. But she confessed that He was from above, and had come down from the Father; that the Word had become flesh, even as John says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life." And as He Himself says, that He is the bread which came down from heaven. That He was also the only reconciler, redeemer and advocate. To investigate further, was not necessary to her salvation. John 8:23; 1:14; I John 1:1; John 6:31; Rom. 5:10; I John 2:1.

    In the seventh place she was also asked whether she did not confess that three persons constituted one true God. Thereupon she confessed that there were three names in one Divine Being, namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But the Father who sent the Son she could not regard as a person; for the heaven is His throne, and the earth is His footstool; Christ also calls Him a Spirit, and a spirit, He says, has neither flesh nor bones. The Holy Ghost, who manifested Himself upon Christ in the form of a dove, and upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire, and sat upon each of then, Him she could also not understand to be a person. But the Son, who became man for us, was visible, palpable and passive, walked much among the Jews, did many signs, suffered hunger and thirst, wept, etc., Him she could indeed confess to be a person. I John 4:9; Isa. 66:1; John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Matt. 3:16; Acts 2:3; Matt. 17:12; 11:5; 21:19; John 19:28; Luke 19:41.

    In the eighth place they asked her, whether one might not swear, or take an oath, before the authorities, to defend justice and establish the truth, but she esteemed Christ's commandment more than that of men; for He teaches, "I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matt. 5:34-37.

    In the ninth place it was told her that good works did avail, also for them that had died. But she asserted that neither soul-masses, obsequies, pilgrimages, the burning of tapers, nor anything else could help or benefit the dead; for the Scripture says, "If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." Eccl. 11:3. Christ also tells of ten virgins, of whom the five who had wisely kept their lamps burning, and provided their vessels with oil, went in with Him; but the others, who had neglected their time, had to remain without. Even as the angel said, that hereafter time shall be no longer. Rev. 10:6.

    In the tenth place she was asked whether the saints had not ascended up to heaven. But she confessed that no one has ascended up to heaven, but Christ our Protector and Saviour, not even Mary His mother; but that they all rest in the hand of God, waiting for the judgment of the last day. John 3:13; Acts 1:10. As the Scripture says, that the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of God, and they that have done good shall enter in unto life eternal, but the ungodly into eternal damnation. John 5:28, 29. The resurrection is for both the just and the unjust, as Paul says: We must all appear before the judgment seat of the Lord, to be rewarded according to our works. Acts 24:15; II Cor. 5:10. We also read of the souls of the righteous that are under the altar, and wait till the number of their brethren shall be fulfilled. Rev. 6:9, 11.

    After she had thus been most rigidly examined, they sought through the learned of this world to instruct her for the purpose of causing her to recant; but when neither entreaties or threats could move her, but she declared herself willing rather to die, than to apostatize, she had to go upon the rack stripped of everything but an apron. There she was severely racked, with a stick in her mouth, so that her teeth broke in pieces; but she would not recant, nor betray any of her fellow members. And when she requested that the torture be discontinued, the burgomaster said, that she should recant and confess. But God kept her lips, and helped her so that she was released from the torture; for she would rather with old Eleazar die this temporal death, than by denying Christ forfeit His eternal kingdom.

    Divers times they threatened her with death, but this could not intimidate her. Sometimes she feared that, because she was very sad, she might not be able to refrain from weeping when she should be led to death; hence she turned to God in prayer, who did not leave her prayer unheard, for when she received the intelligence, that she should have to die, her heart was especially filled with joy and good cheer. On the morning when she was to die, the bailiff asked her, whether she had not yet considered the matter. But she said, "He that would obtain the precious prize that is set before us, must run without ceasing." I Cor. 9:24. She was then brought into court, and sentenced to death. In her sentence the foregoing ten articles were read to her charge, and that she therefore, and because of her obstinacy, should be burned as a heretic. This did not make her despondent, but she thanked the Lord, and wished them grace from God, that they might turn from idolatry to the true worship of God. I Thess. 1:9.

    When she came out and went forth to death, she said to the people, "Go, buy Testaments, and read therein, that you may find why I am sentenced to death, and have to die." Thereupon the executioner, greatly incensed, and threatening to strike her, told her to be silent, and without saying much more she went into the hut, where the executioner hastened his work, and commending her spirit into the hands of God, she was burned, on the eve of Epiphany 1573, and prepared herself to go forth with the wise virgins, to meet the Bridegroom.

    The burgomaster, or president of the court, at Meenen, named Jan de Drijver, who had pronounced the sentence on Pierijntgen, was afterwards severely punished of God; his flesh decayed, so that in consequence of it one ear dropped from his head, and he died a most miserable death.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    MICHIEL VAN BRUYSSEL, AND BARBERKEN HIS WIFE, A. D. 1573

    About the year 1573, there were imprisoned for the testimony of Jesus, at Ghent, in Flanders, Michiel van Bruyssel and Barberken his wife. Because they were not of the world, but had by God been chosen out of the world, therefore the world, which only loves its own, hated, persecuted and oppressed them. But they, as wise builders, had built their foundation upon the cornerstone Christ Jesus, who was able to keep their treasure until the day of their redemption. Thus they, after manifold temptations and trials of their faith, were, by the blinded, God-opposing papists, put to death, not on account of any evil deed, but only for the obedience of the truth of Jesus Christ. Michiel van Bruyssel was burned in the Friday Market, and Barberken his wife was beheaded with the sword, in the count's castle. And thus they remained faithful unto death to their Redeemer and Saviour; hence they shall receive an eternal and glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown, from the hand of the Lord, which no one shall be able to take away from them.


    JAN VAN ACKEREN, A. D. 1573

    After manifold persecution, murdering and burning of the Christians, there also fell into the hands of the tyrants, in the city of Antwerp a valiant hero and soldier of Jesus Christ, named Jan van Ackeren born near Ypres. The sole cause of his apprehension was, that he in accordance with the counsel of God, had separated from the wicked world and all her false worship militating against the Word of God and had yielded his body and spirit under the banner and obedience of Christ. And as the light does not unite and mingle with darkness; but is hated and persecuted by the latter, therefore the rulers of darkness examined and tried said sheep of Christ, with severe imprisonment and many sore tortures. And as he could by no means be brought to apostatize, since he was founded upon the Rock he was put to death by fire at said place, suffering it with great steadfastness. And thus he testified and confirmed the belief of the truth with his death and blood, and trod the wine press of suffering with Christ. Hence he was not rejected as a bastard, but much rather, through grace, acknowledged and received as an acceptable son by Christ, into his eternal inheritance, where he with all God's chosen, shall live and reign forever and ever.

    This friend of Christ sent several letters from his prison, but they did not come to our hands.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    G. KLEERMAECKER, WITH SIJNTGEN VAN ROUS SELARE AND MAEYKEN GOSENS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE TRUTH, AT ANTWERP, A. D. 1573

    A letter from G. Kleeymaecker, imprisoned at Antwerp with Sijntgen van Rousselare, wife of Jeronymus, where they laid down their lives for the truth

    The abundant grace of God, the great love and mercy of His Son, and the power, operation and illumination of the Holy Ghost, this, my very dear and beloved sister in the Lord, I wish you as a cordial and affectionate greeting, whereby we, unworthy ones, are born anew of God, to serve the Lord in righteousness and holiness, to the praise of the Lord and to the salvation of our souls. Hereunto fit, strengthen and confirm us, the Lord, the Father of all mercy, to whom alone be praise, glory, and honor, forever and ever. Amen.

    After this salutation, my very dear and beloved sister in the Lord, I inform you, that I am, the Lord be praised forever, still tolerably well according to the flesh, and also as regards the mind; and I trust by the grace of God to go with our true Captain, Joshua to the promised land (which has been promised us unworthy ones out of grace, and shown us through faith) hoping and trusting by the grace of God to pass unharmed over Jordan; yet I would from the depth of my heart, that my mind were more valiant for it.

    Further, my very dear and beloved sister, I inform you, that at the visit my heart was greatly rejoiced by you, because I saw your great joy and gladness in the Lord, your complete self-renunciation, and the resignation of your heart and mind, in the Lord, for which we cannot thank and praise the Lord enough, that He has given you such a treasure in earthen vessels, that you do not want to forsake the Lord, for neither life nor death, nor for any torment which the tyrants might inflict upon you my very dear and beloved sister in the Lord. The Lord, the God of all grace, strengthen and confirm you unto the end, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness in you, and the work of faith with power, that the name of our dear Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and that you may fight the good fight of faith; and lay hold on eternal life, whereunto we are called, if we hold the beginning of the Christian life steadfast unto the end. II Thess.1:11,12; I Tim. 6:12; Heb. 3:14. For, dear sister in the Lord, if we properly consider the life of Christ, we find nothing but tribulation, suffering and distress. He who was the Lord of lords, for our sakes left His Father's kingdom; He came into the world, to call our guilt upon Him, and paid the debt with His bitter suffering and death on the tree of the cross, leaving us in all things an example, as the apostle says, that we should follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered He threatened not; but committed.

    Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. And in another place the apostle says, "Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." Heb. 12:3. And thus also the prophet utters his complaint for him saying, "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

    All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head." Ps. 22:6, 7. In still another place Isaiah says, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him . . . . He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Isa. 53:2, 3, 7. Besides this, my much beloved sister in the Lord, consider Christ's entire life how He begun, lived, and, ended it; you will find nothing but suffering, humiliation, misery and contempt, which He suffered for our sakes in humility, so that the apostle says of the Lord, that in the days of His flesh He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto God who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because He honored God. Heb. 5:7.

    Hence, my dear sister in the Lord, this beginning of the Christian life must abide with us unto the end, as said before, and we shall then also be partakers of Him, and with all God's children inherit His kingdom through grace, for which reason He went hence to prepare us a place there, even as He says, "I go to your and my Father, to prepare a place for you; and if I go, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also," John 20:17; 14:3. Therefore, my dear sister in the Lord, though our God does now hide His face from us for a little while, yet will He gather us again with everlasting kindness, as the prophet says, "I will lead you into mine house, and give you a place within my walls, and a name better than of sons and of daughters; yea, I will give you an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

    Yea, he will lay our stones with fair colors, and lay our foundations with sapphires, and will make our windows of crystal and our gates of carbuncles." Isa. 54:7, 8; 56:5; 54:11, 12."Yea, there is a city built," says John,"of pure gold, where, my very dear sister in the Lord, you shall see the King in his beauty, whose head is as the finest gold, and his locks are curled and black as a raven; his eyes are as the eyes of doves; his cheeks are as growing beds of spices of the apothecary; his hands are as gold rings set with turquoises, his body is as pure ivory. His legs are as pillars of marble set upon sockets of gold; his mouth is sweet, and his word is lovely." Rev. 21:18; Cant. 5:11-16. In short, we shall find more there, than it is possible to tell us or to describe.

    See, my dear sister in the Lord, suich as our Friend and Bridegroom; hence rejoice, you betrothed of the Lord, for He that has chosen you from among many thousands is fairer than all the children of men.

    Therefore, my dear sister in the Lord, adorn yourself with the fine linen of righteousness (Revelation 19:8) in honor of your Bridegroom until the days of tribulation shall be at an end, and the Lord shall turn again the captivity of Zion, and wipe away all tears from your eyes, and make perfect our joy, so that for our mourning and sighing we shall sing as in the night of a glorious feast, and shall, with the hundred and forty-four thousand virgins, that were redeemed from the earth, stand before the throne of God, having the name of our God written in our foreheads, having harps in our hands, and singing a new song. Rev. 7:4; 14:1-4.

    Behold, dear sister, this our enemies shall see and be confounded, who now say to us, "Where is your God?" Our eyes shall then behold them trodden down as mire in the streets, and be ashes under the feet of the righteous. Mal. 4:3. Hence, dear sister in the Lord, let us be sincere in love, and obtain the victory in the Christian's conflict; to him that overcometh He will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7. This grant us the only wise God, the Father of grace and mercy, who alone has power in heaven and on earth, that we, justified through His grace, may become heirs of eternal life. Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, to Him alone be praise, glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21.

    Faithful is He, who also will do it, according to His promise; for I am God, He says by the prophet Malachi, and change not, namely, in His promises. I Thess. 5:24; Mal. 3:6.

    Herewith, my very dear and beloved sister in the Lord, I will commend you to the Lord, and to the rich Word of His grace. Adieu, adieu, if we should see each other's face no more in this world, yet I hope that we shall see each other in eternity with our God, where parting will be no more. Once more, adieu, and take my simple letter in good part, this I humbly pray: and if I have in anything written too little or too much, I beg you to excuse me for it. Herewith I cordially salute you and also my wife cordially greets you with the peace of the Lord; and Sanderijntgen, and another maiden from Zealand, named Magdaleentgen, also greet you most cordially. I ask you very kindly, my dear sister, let me have a letter from you, for this will be very welcome to me and more agreeable than I can write you. Farewell.

    By me your weak brother and servant, to the utmost of my ability.

    G. KLEERMAECKER, V. S. B.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    A LETTER FROM SIJNTGEN VAN ROUSSELARE

    Grace and peace. Written at Antwerp, in prison, I, Sijntgen, who am unworthy, am imprisoned for the testimony of the Lord, and daily expecting my sentence; the Lord grant us, that we may offer up our sacrifice to His praise and glory; and to the salvation of our souls. Amen.

    The great grace and mercy of God the Father, and the great love of the Son, and the power of the Holy Ghost, confirm you, my very dear sister in the Lord, and us, unto the end, that we may be found worthy in the day of the Lord, through grace to receive the beautiful promises, when the Lord shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Oh, what great joy will then be prepared for us, if we only hold the beginning of the Christian life steadfast unto the end; hereunto confirm us the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, whose power is great, even as the prophet declares, that with His three fingers He encircles the whole earth; and unto His name every knee must bow in heaven and earth, and every tongue must praise Him; the Lord of hosts is His name, the Lord Sabaoth, the Mighty One in Israel, for whose name we are imprisoned here; to Him alone be praise and glory, forever and ever. Amen. Isa. 40:12; 45:23; 54:5.

    For He has created and made heaven and earth out of nothing. This same bleeding, naked, crucified Christ I wish you, my very dear sister in the Lord, as an affectionate and Christian greeting; may He keep and comfort you in all affliction that may come upon you and us for His name. After all loving and Christian salutation, I inform you, my dear lamb and sister in the Lord, that my mind is still determined (eternal praise and glory to the Lord for His grace) as it was when I unworthily bowed my knees before the Lord, thereby showing that I desired to obey Him in every thing, in affliction as well as in joy, even as the apostle also admonishes us, that it is given unto us not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for Him. O my dear sister in the Lord, the servant is not above his Lord, nor the disciple above his master, and Christ has also told us, "The world shall rejoice, and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." And further, "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:20, 33. And our faith is the victory that overcometh the world, by which we must overcome princes and magistrates, through the grace of the Lord. I John 5:4. O my dear sister in the Lord, it is true, we are here as sheep for the slaughter; but in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us, as the apostle says, "Who shall separate us from the love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or peril, or sword? As is written." Rom. 8:35.

    O my dear lamb, He is such a faithful King whom we serve; He will not forsake us but assist us in water, sword and fire: for He says by the prophet Isaiah, "Though a mother should forsake her own child, yet will I not forsake thee, but keep thee as the apple of mine eye." Isa. 49:15; Zech. 2:8. O my dear sister, this is for us a glorious comfort in our present tribulation, and distress, which is temporal and light, says the apostle, and worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are temporal, but at the things which are eternal; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him. II Cor. 4:17, 18; I Cor. 2:9. O my dear siser in the Lord, let us choose much rather to suffer affliction with the children of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and let us esteem the reproach of Christ great riches, and with the prophet David, much rather go into the holy sanctuary of the Lord, than in the path of the ungodly, for though he flourishes here, he must perish, for the wise man says that the hope of the ungodly is like dried thistledown.

    But we, dear sister in the Lord, have a sure hope; though here in the sight of the unwise we seem to die, we know that we shall live forever, for it is written: They that here sow in tears shall reap with everlasting joy and gladness, and bring their sheaves into God's garner. Ps. 126:5, 6. O my dear sister in the Lord, when this mortal shall put on immortality, how gloriously we shall then be crowned with glorious joy, for then our joy shall not be taken from us. I Cor. 15:53. O my dear lamb and sister in the Lord, let us freely trust in our King, for His promises will not fail, for He will not put us off, as do these carnal lords, all of which passes away, but He will out of grace give us life eternal.

    O my sister in the Lord, my desire is, to go and rest under the altar, with all my dear brethren and sisters who freely delivered up their lives unto the death, and are resting under the altar; I hope that we shall soon come to them, for we are of good courage here, by the grace of the Lord, to take, with Caleb and Joshua, the promised land. Though our enemies are many, we hope to devour them like bread, for we have overcome nearly all our enemies, but now we have before us the greatest or last enemy, which is death, but we have a strong comfort, which is the God of Jacob, who gives us strength when the need is greatest; though the billows then come against us, we hope as David says, by our God to leap over a wall, and with Paul to say, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me;" and we hope thus to press through, even as Christ says: Strive to enter in at straight gate, for narrow is the way which leadeth unto eternal life. And Christ further says that the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Num. 14:9; I Cor. 15:26; Ps. 18:29; Phil. 4:13; Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:14; 11:12.

    O my dear sister in the Lord, when flesh and blood must remain on the posts and stakes, then is the time of the severest conflict, for Satan also well knew to say this, when he tempted God-fearing job. Job 2:4, 5. When flesh and blood are touched, then the true faith is tried as gold in the furnace and then we must strive lawfully, to obtain through grace, the crown of eternal life, for it is written

    Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation. And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will lead him to the fountain of living water. I Pet. 1:7; II Tim. 2:5; I Cor. 9:25; Rev. 3:10, 5, 12. O my dear sister in the Lord, what glorious promises are given us, if we only endure steadfast unto the end. To this end, may the Lord grant us and you His grace, that we may help sing the new song in Zion, with the hundred and forty-four thousand, which were not defiled with women: for they are virgins, because they did not commit whoredom with the daughters of Babylon. Rev. 14:3, 4. Herewith I will commend you, my dear sister, to the Lord and to the Word of His grace, which is able to keep you and us unto eternal life. And I herewith take leave from you, and bid you adieu on this earth, till we meet where parting will be no more, where the streets are of pure gold, and the gates of pearls and precious stones. Rev. 21.

    Adieu, adieu, my dear sister in the Lord. Written by me, Sijntgen van Rousselare wife of Jeronymus, your weak sister in the Lord; take my simple letter in good part, since it has been written out of true love; for my gift is not very great. And greet with the peace of the Lord, in my name your people where you live and all dear friends, known and unknown, especially your brother and sister Passchier my familiar acquaintances. My fellow prisoners greet your love cordially with the peace of the Lord. Pray the Lord heartily for us; we will most gladly do the same for you according to our weak ability. And let us always persevere steadfastly, that no one may take our crown, but that we may with the wise virgins enter into joyful rest. Amen.

    SIJNTGEN VAN ROUSSELARE.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    FRANCOYS VAN LEUVEN, HANSKEN VAN OUDEN AERDEN AND GRIETGEN VAN SLUYS, IN THE YEAR 1573

    In, the year 1573, there were put to death at Ghet in Flanders, for the genuine faith of the truth, and for following Christ, Francoys van Leuven (the son of Willem van Leuven, separately mentioned in this book), the uncle of Jan Doom; Hansken van Oudenaerden, born at Geertsberge; and Grietgen van Sluys, born at Tielt, in Guelderland. These were at said place, by the envious and bloodthirsty generation of Cain, and not of Judah, put to death most ignominiously, as not worthy to be tolerated upon the earth, not on account of any misdeed, but only because they, according to the command of the eternal God, had separated from this corrupt world, which lies in inhuman wickedness, and sought, according to their weak ability, to follow Christ in the regeneration; and as the light can have no fellowship with darkness, this tyranny was inflicted upon them by the rulers of darkness, because they held the genuine faith of the truth, and thus they became partakers of the sufferings of Christ, wherefore they shall also with Christ, when His glory shall be revealed, receive great joy and gladness, and enjoy the same forever. I Peter. 4:13.


    LIPPIJNTGEN STAYAERTS, SIJNTGEN BARNINGE, OR LAME SIJNTGEN, A. D. 1573

    In the same year there were imprisoned at Ghent, in Flanders, for the truth of the holy Gospel, Lippijntgen Stayaerts, a native of Ghent; and Sijntgen Barninge, called Lame Sijntgen, born at Kortrijck in Flanders. As these had also betaken themselves into the way of righteousness, under the banner of their only and eternal Shepherd Christ Jesus, the ministers of antichrist inflicted upon them the same treatment which their Captain Himself had met with, and which He had also foretold and promised His followers: not to be loved and highly esteemed by the world but the very opposite, namely, hatred, tribulation, crosses, persecution and death. Thus it happened, after manifold trials and temptations which they suffered for Christ's sake, that they were sentenced to death by the rulers of darkness, and beheaded with the sword in the court's castle. And as Sijntgen was lame, she was carried upon the scaffold in a chair, and as she held up her folded hands rather high, a brother (named Natanael de Tollenaer, a brother of Joost de Tollenaer) cried, "Lamb, look out for your bands;" and so they also cut off her two thumbs. Thus they did not love their lives unto death, but willingly delivered up their earthly house for the heavenly; hence there is prepared for them a building of God, a house which, in unspeakable glory, shall endure forever in heaven. II Corinthians 5:1.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    JACOB VAN DEN WEGE, A. D. 1573

    This Jacob van den Wege, born at Ronse, in Flanders, was a nephew of Mr. Claes, who was a colleague of the Dean of Ronse, in his time, probably, the most prominent and zealous inquisitor and persecutor of the Christians in that country. As Jacob had come to the knowledge of the truth, and followed it with ardent love, he was on this account banished from all the dominions of the king of Spain, and had thus, as a fugitive, for more than seven years to subsist very meagerly, gaining a livelihood, and providing bread for his wife and children, by making chests or trunks. Much of the time he abode secretly with good friends, here and there in Flanders, as at Meenen, Halewijn and Wervick, whence, on account of the severe persecution under the Duke of Alva, and because he was also an exile, he went to work in a shop at Rijssel, which was three leagues from the former place.

    Having afterwards secretly taken up his residence, with wife and children, at Ghent, it happened at a certain time, that he went to the house of one Christoffel van Leuven, a minister of the Word of God, at the very time that the authorities of Ghent had sent to apprehend this Christoflel, and not finding him, they laid hands upon Jacob, taking him along and putting him into severe confinement, in a tower, guarded, and secured with seven doors. There, lying in great fear and distress, he earnestly called upon the Lord his God, in prayer, in spirit and in truth, that He would strengthen him therein, and graciously grant him help, of which he was then in great need, seeing many strong enemies assailed him; for Satan, the envier of all that is good, exerted great power to make him apostatize from the Lord his God, not resting day or night, but very subtly going about him to lead his soul astray. The emissaries of Satan also approached him very craftily, with plausible speeches, as though they sought to comfort and enlighten him; but if he had listened to them, they would have murdered his soul, from which God preserved him. His wife and children also were to him a source of great temptation, for it was very hard for him to leave them, but for the Lord's sake it had to be done.

    After he had been imprisoned for a time and valiantly withstood many entreaties and torments, he was finally publicly burned, at Ghent, for living in accordance with the genuine truth, about three years after his brother Hans had been burned there for following Christ, as related before.

    We have added here the letters of this Jacob van den Wege, which have come into our hands, that the reader from them may see in what faith he stood and died.


    A LETTER FROM JACOB VAN DEN WEGE, WRITTEN TO HIS WIFE, IN THE BEGINNING OF HIS IMPRISONMENT, AT GHENT, IN THE HUYSTER LUCHT, AT THE END OF THE MEULENAERS STREET

    O my most beloved under the sun, and my three children, who make my heart so faint that I scarcely know what I have in myself, for when I think of you, I am so sorely crushed with anguish in the press of affliction, that my eyes run over with tears, so that I only with difficulty can quiet myself.

    O my dear wife, and my three lambs, whom I love, how strong is love? how shall I be able to write you a parting letter? for the waters of affliction fill my eyes, and this through my infirmity, misery and great weakness.

    O my wife, I confess here before you and before all that read this, that I have written you here, far too feebly and miserably; neverthelees, the great anxiety and deep affliction, which rises from my strong love for you four, impelled me to it. But I hope that you will accept it from me for the sake of the truth; and, my dear wife, please hear my answer in regard to what you had asked me, as to what advice I would give you concerning the traveling. I say, I give you no advice with regard to it, since I do not know an opportunity at present; but I would most urgently entreat you, that, if it be possible for you to gain some sort of a livelihood here, that you remain until the matter is decided with me one way or the other, and this for no other reason, but that I might still hear from you now and then, for a greeting from you is more precious to me than much silver or gold. And, my wife, please know, that Kalleken Meere, who is imprisoned with me, has made a bequest, namely, a shift, a necklace, a night neckerchief, and a hairlace; and Hijntgen also gives you a night neckerchief, a neck-cloth, and her best apron. This they give to you for their remembrance and testament; after their death it is yours, and they cordially greet you with the peace of the Lord. Amen.

    Written in my bonds, by me, your dear husband and brother in the Lord.

    JACOB VAN DEN WEGE.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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    ANOTHER LETTER FROM JACOB VAN DEN WEGE, TO HIS WIFE, AND HIS BRETHREN AND SISTERS

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Lu 2:14.

    I, Jacob van den Wege, imprisoned for the invincible truth, wish my dear in God beloved wife and sister in the Lord, and my three innocent little children; and further all brethren and sisters, and all my dear friends in the Lord, grace, peace, mercy, much true Christian wisdom and prudence, an understanding heart, a steadfast mind in the truth, a strong faith, a living hope, a good, peaceful conscience toward God and man, and an unblamable, holy conversation in all humility, meekness, kindness and unity, and all this in the true fear of God bound with the bond of love. This I wish you all from God the heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His eternal, only, true Son, our Lord, together with the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, as a cordial and affectionate greeting. Amen.

    After my simple, cordial salutation, my beloved wife, and all brethren and sisters, and further all my friends in the Lord, let me please inform you, that it is still well with me, and I am unchanged in the faith and knowledge of God, even as I was when I bowed my knees before the Most High, so I am minded; and still stand through the grace of God, and the power of Christ, which strengthens me, to live or die with Christ in this same faith and truth. The Almighty Lord, who is able so to strengthen and confirm him that is miserable, weak, and without strength here in this conflict, to Him be praise, thanks, glory, and honor forever and ever, and this for all His great benefits which He has so abundantly shown me. So I trust that it is also very well with you, on which account I rejoiced, and thank God the Most High, for all His great goodness that He has shown you, and all this through His great mercy and love; and I pray the same Almighty Lord and God of grace, to bless you all, and to fill you with all knowledge and spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you may walk worthily and fruitfully all the days of your life in holiness and righteousness, and receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

    Let me further, please, tell my dear friends the reason why I have been so backward in writing, when you have so many times requested of me, that I should write to you. Hence I tell you, that I hardly dare write anything, and this because it is such a perilous time, so that people sometimes understand and construe a letter as they will, and not as the writer has meant it. Even as I have only too much known this to be the case, and it has even happened to me, in my simple writing. Not that I mean that I am above criticism; God forbid! but I say that some people find fault not only with the letters of simple prisoners, but sometimes also with the holy Scripture; and since I also know myself far too simple and ignorant, to write anything profitable for your exhortation, therefore I have always refused them that requested it of me, and have thus far put it off. And were it not for my innocent little children, who today understand neither good nor evil, I should not have written much yet; but they constrain me to write now, in order that when they come to the years of understanding through the grace of God, and I shall then have been taken from them, the same might then teach them of my faith, and instruct them in righteousness and the knowledge of God, in the fear of the Lord, and in all obedience.

    And since I must walk the way, and obey the vocation in which I am called, and I can then not admonish them with my lips, I write and leave them this much for a treasure and testament; for gold or silver I cannot give them, but such as God has given me, which is little, but yet more thanI am worthy of; this I leave them for an exhortation, that they may also know most assuredly and certainly by my own writing, in what doctrine and faith I died, and that I did not suffer for any misdeed or wickedness, or heresy, as one that follows his own mind and purpose (though I am called a heretic by this evil generation, who imagine that they are pure, and are yet not washed from their filth; but their railing is no proof, and their calumny is untruth); for I well know and am sure that all who follow their own mind and purpose do not keep God's commandments: for the Scriptures teach us, that we must be spiritually minded, as Jesus Christ was, that we must be obedient and deny ourselves, yea, utterly and completely renounce our own will, and bow ourselves under the Word and the mighty hand of God, which Word is like a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces, yea, as a two-edged sword, which shall judge men in the last day. Rom. 8:6; Philippians 2:5; Matt. 16:24; 6:10; I Pet. 5:6; Jeremiah 23:29; Rev. 1:16; John 12:48.

    Hence I say that I have submitted myself, to obey the same with all my power and ability, to suffer myself to be instructed by it, to believe what the Scriptures say; for I believe all that is written in the law and the prophets, both in the Old and the New Testaments; and have hope toward God, for which the prophets themselves waited, namely, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; and herein do I exercise myself, always to have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men (Acts 24:14-16); thus my faith which God has given me, is as the Word of God, and like the Scriptures, as here briefly follows

    In the first place, I believe and confess one only, eternal, Almighty God the Father, of whom are all things. Him I confess to be a living God, who created and made heaven, earth, the sea, and all that in them is, even as both the Old and New Testaments highly extol and worship Him in His worthiness; as an invisible and immortal God, a God of gods, a Lord above all lords, a great God, mighty and most terrible, who sits upon His throne, a Lord unto whom there is none like, for He is higher than the heavens, deeper than hell, longer than the earth, and wider than the sea, as He Himself by the prophet says, "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool." Rightly has Jeremiah said, "Thou great and mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is thy name; great in counsel, and mighty in work. For behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens can not contain him."

    Hence I also say, that a creature cannot comprehend the Creator, but I confess Him to be a holy, true, gracious, merciful, but also a severe, righteous and just God, before whom alone we must tremble and fear, fall down and worship, and love and obey Him; who shall render unto every one according to His works, whether they be good or bad, either salvation or damnation. Mark 12:29; Isa. 40:28; Gen. 17:1; I Cor. 8:6; Gen. 1; John 1:18; I Tim. 6:16; Deut. 10:17; Ps. 139:8; Isa. 66:1; Jer. 32:19; I Kings 8:27; Lev. 19:2; Ps. 7:11; Matt. 4:10; II Cor. 5:10.

    In the second place, I confess and believe in Jesus Christ, God's only, own, true Son, our Lord, who was with the Father from the beginning and from everlasting, whom the Father has imbued with His real presence, and expressly set forth the same in Him, as is everywhere fundamentally contained and declared in the Scriptures; so that He is the image of the eternal light, the immaculate reflection of the divine glory, and the likeness or image of His being. So that when He was in the form of God, He was glorified as God, yea, the wisdom and Word of God Himself, in whom alone was life, the firstborn of every creature, invisible, impassable, and immortal, through whom all things were created and made; He is before all, and all is in Him, so that He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last, who is, and who was, and who is to come; even thus do I confess the Son of God in His divinity as the eternal true Son of God, true God with the Father, equal with Him in glory, brightness, power, will, and providence. John 3:16; Rom. 8:32; Mic. 5:2; Col. 1:15; II Cor. 4:4; Phil 2:6; John 1:4; Col. 1.:15; Rev. 1:8, 17; John 17:21.

    But when the man Adam, by transgressing the commandment, had sinned, and through sin, because of God's strict justice, was, with all his posterity, under the sentence of eternal death, God, kindled with compassion and fervent love, comforted the miserable, sorrowful Adam and promised to man His only Son, or eternal Word; by which all things were made, yea, Adam himself having first been created after His own likeness; He promised him, that he should be redeemed and saved by that same Word. This promise God also made for consolation, to many ancient fathers, as patriarchs, prophets and servants of God, by beautiful figures and shadows, for a Redeemer and Saviour of the world, especially of those that believe. When the time and all promises were fulfilled, God sent His Son, born of a woman named Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.

    This virgin conceived of the Holy Ghost, even as God had foreordained, and spoke by Isaiah saying"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son." Yes, she conceived of the Holy Ghost, and through the power of the Most High it became flesh in her, that is man, like unto us in all things, sin excepted. Namely, He that was previously invisible, became visible; He that was immortal, became mortal; and He that enjoyed great riches of glory, was glorified as God, yea, was Himself true God, the same forsook His riches, glory and brightness for a little while, and became like unto other men, and was found in fashion as a man: so that He was both true God and man, and was put under the law to redeem .them that were under the law. Gen. 3; Romans 5:18; Jer. 33:14; Deut. 18:15; 1 Tim. 4:10; Gal.4:4; Matt. 1:25, 20; Isa. 7:14; John 1:14; Heb. 2:17; 5:2; John 17:5; Phil. 2:7, 8; Gal. 4:5.

    Thus I confess with the apostle, that the eternal Word of the Father, in whom alone was the light and the life of men, became flesh, and dwelt upon the earth, and they beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. Even as John testifies and says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us that which we have seen and heard declare we unto yo . And their testimony is true. Hence I confess from these words, and other Scriptures, that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Yea, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." John 1:4, 14; I John 1:1-3; John 17:3; I John 4:2; Rom. 9:5; I Tim. 3:16.

    Thus I believe that the true Messias did come, whom God had promised to the believing fathers; for Abraham received the true promised seed of Christ, in whom he and all the nations upon earth are blessed. And this beautiful Morning Star rose out of Jacob, and hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Judah received his Shiloh or Deliverer, and Moses his Prophet. He was born in the city and of the lineage of David, and called the Son of the Highest, yea, Israel and Judah beheld themselves their Lord, King, Saviour, and God, and the arm of the Lord reigned with power and He taught men, not only as a true messenger, but also as a lover of life, and a faithful steward, the Word of His Father, which He Himself had first heard and seen from His Father, and which He proved and confirmed with very many mighty signs, and ultimately sealed with His precious blood, when He took upon Him our sin and transgression, and had to restore that which He had not taken away; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.

    Of Him Isaiah says, "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." And He died for us an ignominious death on the tree of the cross, when we were yet enemies. He was buried, and raised again the third day according to the Scriptures, for our justification, and after His resurrection. as an almighty, victorious prince and potentate in heaven and earth, He again taught His apostles, to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them.

    He then ascended up on high, and sat down at the right hand of His Father in heaven, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. And He is our Mediator, Intercessor, Advocate, Mercy-seat, Reconciler and High Priest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; for in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted, and can have compassion on our weakness, wherefore He is able also to save them evermore that come unto God by Him. John 4:25; Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16; Num. 24:17; I I Cor. 4:6; Gen. 49:10; Deut. 18:15; Luke 2:4; John 12:49; Heb. 9; I Pet. 2:24; Ps. 69:4; I Pet. 2:22; I sa. 53:4, 5; Rom. 5:10; I Cor.15:4; Rom. 4:25; Matt. 28:18, 20; Eph. 1:20, 21; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 2:17, 18; 5:2; 7:25.

    In short, I believe and confess that Jesus Christ was sent by God, and that God testified of Him, that He is His Son. Now, he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. But I confess with John, that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are' in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. This is the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive, and liveth now for evermore. Little children, keep yourselves from idols, especially Adamitic creatures that are highly esteemed by the world. Amen. Matt. 3:17; I John 5:10-12; John 3:36; I John 5:20, 21; Rev. 1:11,18.

    In the third place, I believe in the Holy Ghost, who is an eternal Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, which Spirit I confess to belong to both the Father and the Son, proceeding from the Father through the Son. This Spirit God by the prophets promised to pour out upon all flesh, which promise He effectually fulfilled in the apostles, and in their time, and the same is still poured out, and will be poured out, upon all believing, regenerate children of God, for the consolation of their consciences sorrowing after a godly manner and to seal them unto the day of reconciliation, to distribute unto every one spiritual gifts, according to His good pleasure.

    By the same we cry, Abba Father; for the same Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, even as Paul says, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory; by which Spirit also the prophets spake from the beginning of the world, and prophesied in a mystery the treasures of wisdom and the knowledge of God, but now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, whereunto Paul was appointed a preacher, and apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles, and all this according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. All these things Paul and all holy men did and spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    I therefore believe and confess the Father as the Creator of all things, through His Son or Word; and Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who redeemed us, and bought us with His precious blood; and the Holy Ghost as a mighty operation of the Most High, in all truly regenerated and believing children of God. These three I confess to be one only, eternal, almighty, living God, who have one purpose, one counsel, one will, one work together in all eternity.

    As John writes, that there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. To this only, eternal, almighty, living God, who is incomprehensible, unsearchable, and indescribable, alone be praise, honor, wisdom, thanks, glory, power, and strength, forever and ever. Amen. John 14:17; Isa. 44:3; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:3; Eph. 1:13; Tit. 3:5; Gal. 3:26; II Cor. 7:9; Eph. 4:30; Rom. 8:15,16; I I Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14; II Pet. 1:21; II Tini. 1:10, 11; I Tim. 2:7; Rom. 16:25; Gen. 1:1; John 1:3, 12; Mark 12:29; I John 5:7; Rom. 11:33.
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  14. #539
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    Post Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    Continued..

    In the fourth place, I also believe all that this only God spake by His holy prophets and apostles, and He Himself declared and taught with His own mouth; and confess from this same teaching of the Gospel, a holy Christian church, which is the communion of the saints, and congregation of the believers, new creatures, and children of God, which children are bound together in unity and peace with the bond of love, and baptized into one Spirit and body, as Paul says; for they confess one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. They have the mind which was in Jesus Christ, and look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for their conversation is in heaven; hence they are also the temple of the living God, in which God dwells with His Holy Spirit, which Spirit assures them, that they are the children of God, and are justified by faith, and wait for all the promises of God. These have the forgiveness of sins, and redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acts 24:14; I Cor. 12:13; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:5, 6; Phil. 2:5; II Cor. 4:18; Phil. 3:20; II Cor. 6:16; Rom. 8:16; Eph. 1:7.

    In the fifth place, I further confess from the holy Scriptures, or Word of God, a baptism, both inward and outward. Inwardly, as Christ says, with the Holy Ghost and with fire; and outwardly; with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, in token of all that has taken place within, as Paul says, that it is a burial of sin, and also a washing of regeneration. If it then be a burial of sin, and a washing of regeneration, as it also is, it is a vain baptism which is used on infants, for infants, though they are born of sinful seed, have never practiced sin, and do not know it, since they understand neither good nor evil; and if they have never committed nor known sin, baptism, which is a burial of sin, can not rightly be used on them. And so they can also not be regenerated, since they are pure through Christ and still in their first birth; hence, too, baptism does not belong to them, since it is a washing of regeneration: but I say that they are cleansed and redeemed through Christ, as Christ Himself says, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Acts 1:5; Matt. 3:11; 28:19; Rom. 6:4; Ps. 51:5; Deut. 1:39; Rev. 1:5; I John 1:7; Col. 1:14; Matt. 19: 14.

    But when men grow up, and have attained their years, the heart, as Jeremiah says, is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Hence there dwells no good thing in the flesh, but it departs from the Lord in every respect, since through evil lusts and desires the flesh is impelled to all wickedness and sin, whereby they often go astray and sin, because they have little or no right instruction; hence they lose Christ's death and merits, under which grace they were when they were first born. Men must therefore, according to the Scriptures, through the power of the divine Word, be taught to know sin; that sin and all unrighteousness are sin; and they must be exhorted to repentance and amendment, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; and to become new creatures, and regenerated children of God by faith, for we cannot see, nor enter into, the kingdom of God, except we be renewed and born again of water and of the Spirit.

    Which Spirit in the Scriptures is called water as well its Spirit, even as God spake by the prophet Joel, saying, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," that is, upon all generations or nations, namely that have become lowly in spirit and contrite in heart, and believe in God. Which faith, as Paul says, cometh by hearing the word of God. Hence I confess, that men must first be taught, that they bring forth genuine fruits of repentance, believe in Christ, and then be baptized upon their faith, as Christ Himself ordained this, and commanded His apostles, saying, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." And in the sixteenth chapter of Mark, he says, "Go and preach the Gospel to every creature." He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    And the apostles did as they were commanded, as we may read in the Acts of the Apostles, and in their epistles: they first taught, and then baptized all the God-fearing with water, in the name of the Lord, they that hearkened to their words and believed in the Son of God received baptism, and this for a burial of sin and washing of regeneration, for a fulfillment of all righteousness and the answer of a good conscience toward God, for a covenant to live in holiness and righteousness, and for an entrance into and uniting with the body of Christ, which is the church of God; for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, as Paul says, "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:18; Gal. 5:17; I I Tim. 3:16; I John 3:4; Tit. 2:12; l I Cor. 5:17; I Pet. 1:23; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3, 5; Isa. 44:3; Joel 2:28; Isa. 57:15; Acts 16:34; Rom. 10:17; Acts 2:38;16:31; Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2; 16:14; 2:41; 8:12; Matt. 3:15; I Pet. 3:21; Luke 1:75; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-28.

    In the sixth place, I further confess from the Word of God, a true Supper, with bread and wine, by which we are to show Christ's sufferings, and His death, and also to remember the new covenant, or testament, which He made with His people, and sealed and confirmed with His blood. Even as Christ Himself instituted the same, and observed it with His apostles, as is written, "That Christ the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for many: this do in remembrance of me." But all that are to eat this external bread, and to drink the wine, truly in remembrance of Him, must first be renewed and changed by the Word of God, so that they must be lowly of spirit and contrite in heart, and truly confess Christ Jesus by faith, that He alone is their Redeemer and Saviour; and they must have love, unity and peace with one another, and must be sanctified through the Holy Spirit, and assured in their conscience by faith, that they are the children of God, and heirs, who through grace shall be partakers of Christ's great benefits, as, His merits, death and blood, for His suffering is our rejoicing, and His death is our life, as Paul says, "That he has reconciled us in the body of his flesh through death, to present us holy and unblamable and unreprovable; and made peace through the blood of his cross, by himself."

    And hence they are to examine themselves, as Paul says, and so eat of the bread, and drink of the cup; for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. Hence Paul says, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?"

    Thus the communion of the body and the blood of Christ must be in us, and he that so examines himself, and through the Holy Spirit finds in his conscience, that he is an heir of the great benefits of Christ, and a member of His body, he may indeed use the memorials of bread and wir with regard to it, as Christ says"This do in remembrance of me," and Paul says"As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." Matthew 26:26; I Cor. 11:23; Heb. 9:12; Luke 22:19; Matt. 11:29; Col. 1:14; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 8:16, 17; Col. 1:20-22; Eph. 2:13; I Cor. 11:28, 29; 10:16-18; Rom. 12:5; I Cor. 11:26.

    In the seventh place, I further confess a true Christian excommunication, which is an excluding or binding of the disobedient sinner, and a releasing or loosing of the obedient penitent, even as Christ wisely instituted and effectually taught the same, and His apostles thoroughly expounded, used and also taught it, as Christ spake to the apostle, saying, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And he also says, "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: it is better to have only one hand, and enter into life eternal, than having two hands to be cast into everlasting fire." And the same he also says in regard to the foot and the eye. Matt. 18:18; 16:19; 5:30; 18:8.

    But though Christ taught His apostles all this, we do not find it written, that the ordinance was used in Christ's time by any.disciple, with regard to those who having transgressed or apostatized, caused offenses; and this because of, the law, which came to an end in the death of Christ, and because the body was not yet perfect, and the temple of the Lord not yet complete, since they were yet very ignorant, and in many matters not fully instructed, as Christ says to them, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come he will guide you into all truth." Which spirit they must receive, before they could bind or release any one with the key (which is the Word and Spirit of God), as Christ also indicates with these words, when He breathed on them, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." Not that Christ gave the apostles authority, to forgive or to retain any one's sins contrary to His Word, and thus to govern the church according to their will. No; God forbid! They had to act without respect to persons, even though it had been their right hand-retain the sins of those who according to the Word of God were under the wrath of God, and proclaim grace and peace to the penitent, who according to the same word were under the grace of God; and thus Christ appointed unto them the kingdom as His Father had appointed it unto Him. Rom. 10:4; John 16:12, 13; 20:22, 23; Luke 22:29.

    But I repeat it, though Christ had so appointed and taught it to them, yet, according to my view,they had then neither a command nor authority to use the same, as already said, before Christ had ascended up to heaven, having sent them forth, to preach the Gospel in all the world, to every creature, teaching to observe whatsoever He had commanded them. They also had to tarry in Jerusalem, until they were endued with power from on high, and had received the promise of the Father, which was the Holy Ghost, who was their teacher and power, whereby they proceeded in this practice. And when the body was perfect, and the temple of the living God complete, in which God dwelt with His Spirit, the apostle effectually taught Christ's institution and ordinance of excommunication, and also used it, as we may read, how the apostle delivered Hymeneus and Alexander unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. And so he also punished the Corinthian fornicator, concerning whom he had determined, when they were gathered together, and his spirit, with the power of Christ, to deliver him unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved.

    Since the Corinthian church was very slack in regard to using this excommunication in the case of him that had done that deed, therefore he reproved them with severe words, as we may read in the second epistle to the Corinthians, chapters 12 and 13. As he also wrote to them, that .a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, therefore he says, "Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump." And thus Paul used excommunication, and also would have it used, even as he writes to the Thessalonians, saying, "We command you, brethren,- in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." For in this epistle he had written to the Corinthians, not to company with fornicators, and since they did not observe it, or perhaps not well understand it, he explained it to them more fully, and said, "Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must we needs go out of the world.

    But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat." And thus I confess that such carnal men, who thus sin against God, are, according to the ordinance of Christ, with the Word of God, as Paul has explained this thus, to be excommunicated and excluded from the church, and that we are also not to company with them, as the apostle says, "If any man, obey not our word, signify that man by an epistle, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" or think with himself, that for his presumptuousness and transgression he is delivered unto Satan (whom he obediently served according to his will, and also hearkened to for the sake of sin,) for the destruction of the flesh, which before the fall lived and desired to live in sin; that he may be ashamed, may humble himself, repent truly, and thus die unto sin, and the spirit be saved in the day of our Lord.

    For as the Word of God has power to excommunicate the presumptuous transgressor, so it has also power to teach and to avoid the excommunicated person, since excommunication is ineffectual without avoidance. And as excommunication and avoidance are thoroughly taught in the Scriptures, I confess both, since also Paul excommunicated, and also taught, to put away him that doeth evil, and says, "Keep not company with them; with such [ as he there specifies ye shall not eat." Even as he also says concerning a man that is a heretic, "When ye have once or twice admonished him, reject him, knowing that he that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. For such cause contention and offenses, and their words eat as doth a canker;" hence the church is to avoid them, lest she be leavened or corrupted by them. Matt. 28:20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; I Tim. 1:20; I Cor. 5; Gal. 5:9; II Thess. 3:6, 14; Tit. 3:10, 11; Rom. 16:17; I Tim. 2:17.

    Let the reader be informed that Jacob van den Wege, the writer of the preceding letter, owing to want of opportunity did not further carry out or write down the articles of faith, though he was sufficiently informed in all, and continued therein steadfastly unto death.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


  15. #540
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    Re: MARTYRS MIRROR

    ANOTHER LETTER FROM JACOB VAN DEN WEGE, WRITTEN IN HIS BONDS, TO OTHER PRISONERS

    The unfathomable abundant grace and mercy of God the heavenly Father, the peace, holiness and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the joy, comfort and power of the Holy Ghost. This only, eternal and Almighty God, who alone is holy and good, grant you, my dear and most affectionate beloved sisters in the Lord, who are now imprisoned for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, this my salutation, yea, the Lord grant it to you through His great goodness and benevolence; this I wish you from the depth of my heart, as an affectionate and cordial greeting. Amen.

    Further, after all unfeigned Christian salutation, let my dear sisters in the Lord, please, be informed, that we three prisoners, who now are also in bonds, in Ghent, in the count's castle, for the testimony and doctrine of our Saviour Jesus Christ, are still of good cheer, and not changed in the least in our purpose to suffer with Christ, and to strive for the truth. And we are also ready not only to endure poverty, reproach, imprisonment, and bonds, but also to die for the name of the Lord, if it be His pleasure; and all this by His great and mighty power, with which He strengthens us through His great grace; to Him be praise, thanks and glory forever.

    From your letter I also understood that it is still well with you four, on account of which I and my fellow prisoners were much rejoiced, and I pray God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has chosen us hereunto from our birth, and through His great mercy and love has given us His abundant grace, that He would keep and strengthen us unto the end with His Holy Spirit, that His name may be praised and honored forever through us all, for the edification of our neighbor, and the salvation of our souls. O my dearly beloved sisters in the Lord, let us continue steadfastly, and take good heed, that we do not neglect the grace of God which He has so faithfully shown us, but well improve it, for through neglect one may soon lose that for which he has labored so long, and then it is sometimes very difficult to find it again. Hence I say, let us take good heed, and hold fast that which we have, that no one take our crown. For if we continue steadfast in that which we have, we shall without any doubt be saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Heb. 12:15; Rev. 3:11; Matt. 10:22; Acts 15:11. And to this end (namely, to be saved) we have already begun; may God grant us strength, that we may be able to carry it out to His praise and to the salvation of our souls. For God knows, that on earth we seek. no other riches or honor, than the honor of His name and the salvation of our souls, for which salvation we now with great patience endure here so much affliction amidst sorrowing and sighing (all of which rises from reproach and imprisonment), together with manifold conflicts and temptations.

    But, my most beloved, let us not become despondent in tribulation and affliction, nor let us think it strange as though some strange thing happened unto us, for from the beginning of the world the righteous had to suffer; but let us rejoice herein that we are partakers of Christ's sufferings, well knowing that if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. I Pet. 4:12, 13; II Tim. 2:12. For Paul says, that it is given unto us, not only to believe on Christ, but also to suffer for His sake; for we must through much tribulation and affliction enter into the kingdom of heaven. Phil. 1:29; Acts 14:22. But the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, who look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them who love Him and keep His commandments; but He hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit. Rom. 8:18; II Cor. 4:18; I Cor. 2:9, 10.

    Hence, my dear sisters, we ought to be comforted by these promises, and work with a joyful heart in the vineyard of -the Lord, patiently endure the heat of the sun, and not fear what man shall do unto us, for we know, and are sure through our faith, that if they kill our body, our Redeemer liveth, and that He shall hereafter raise us up from the earth, and then we shall in our flesh see God; our eyes shall behold Him and not another. Job 19:25.

    And Paul says, that we look for the Saviour, Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that He may fashion it like unto His glorious body. Phil. 3:20, 21. Then shall we be caught up in the air to meet Him, to inherit eternal life, and then shall He fill our hearts with joy, and comfort us, and make us glad after our tribulation, shall wipe our tears from our eyes, and shall reward our labor, for sorrow and mourning shall flee away from us, and everlasting joy shall be upon our heads. I Thess. 4:17; Rev. 7:17; Isaiah 51:11. Yea, all this shall happen to us through His great grace and if we firmly persevere and take good heed, and abide steadfast unto the end in that which we have, we shall be saved. Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, that He will keep you my dear sisters in the Lord, with the strong power of His Holy Spirit. And take my brief unfeigned letter in good part, for I had almost not written you at all, because of my ignorance and simplicity; but through your request I dared not forbear.

    Written with my own hand, on the last day of April. Farewell. Amen. My fellow prisoners also greet you most cordially with the peace of the Lord. By me.

    JACOB VAN DEN WEGE.


    Jude
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


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