While I am sitting here, and writing, we are informed that the margrave will hold a penal court today; I hope it is for us. Pray for us. I hope God will strengthen us by His power, which surpasses everything. Oh, that we might be delivered thus soon; but I am afraid it will not be.
Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. Always adhere to the truth, which, and nothing else, I have confidence you will do. I heartily greet you and all the God-fearing with the peace of the Lord; and Mattheus does the same. Greet all the friends, especially grandmother, most heartily, when convenient. Mattheus would say to you and all the God-fearing, that if he has grieved you in that he did not guard his lips better, he is sincerely sorry for it. Written in bonds, at Antwerp, on the 13th of August, 1567, by me, your weak husband,
Do the best, and be of good cheer, and pray for us.
Another letter of Christian Langedul, in which he exhorts his brother R. L. to perseverance in the pilgrimage begun; and, being assured in his mind, requests, for completion, the prayers of the saints; commends his wife to him, and relates how a little priest came to speak with him
The eternal, Almighty God and Father of mercy, through His Son, our Lord and Saviour, the same almighty, eternal, worshipful, only wise God and merciful Father of all grace, strengthen and stablish you unto the end with His Holy Spirit, my dear brother and sister in the Lord, and also according to the flesh; that you may receive the crown of life with all the saints and elect children of God; herewith I will bid you final farewell and greeting in this present time, with all dear brethren and sisters in the Lord who live with you and know me. Amen.
My dearly beloved brother and sister, whom I love from the bottom of my heart, I feel prompted now at the close of my life to write you a little for a memorial. I trust you will accept in good part, so that it may be a perpetual memento and admonition from this your second brother now that has been imprisoned here in the city of Antwerp for the testimony of the Lord, for which I hope to lay down my life by the grace of God, and hope that you will not faint on account of this our tribulation which we now suffer for Christ's sake, hoping that it happens for the furtherance of the Gospel, and to the awakening of many who possibly have long walked drowsily and half asleep, (that they may become awakened and sober); and I hope by the grace of the Lord that it will not tend to your abatement, but much rather to your greater edification, and that it will serve you as a perpetual direction in your pilgrimage which you have yet to take through a dismal wilderness, in which you may yet meet with many trials. Phil. 1:12; Eph. 5:14; I Thess. 5:6; I Pet. 2:11.
Hence take diligent heed, and lust not after evil things; neither be like those who murmured; but give diligent care that you constantly press on to the promised land, with valiant Joshua and Caleb, so that you may take it by force. I Cor. 16:6, 10. And be content with the Word of the Lord, and look to the promise, for He is so faithful, and you know that the Israelites remained without for no other reason, than because of their unbelief. Heb. 3:19. Hence, my dear friends, believe God's work, and adhere it unto death, and God will give you the victory. Though they seem like giants in our eyes, we shall devour them as bread, and this through our faith, by which. we overcome the devil, hell, death and the world. Num. 13:33; I John 5:4.
O dearest friends, you know that all the pious overcame by faith, as you yourself, my dear brother, know better than I can write it to you. Hebrews 11. Take good heed, my beloved, that you fall not in the wilderness, as so many do; for in that case it were better for us not to have known the truth, yea, never to have been born; for if we lose our birthright, wherewith will we obtain the blessing again? for it is written that Esau sought it with tears, but found it not. II Pet. 2:21; Heb. 12:17. Therefore faint not, but firmly persevere, it is the true grace of God wherein you stand, as I hope you yourselves know. I doubt not that there will never be found another way. I Pet. 5:12.
O brother, were another to be found, than this anxious, narrow and strait way, how gladly should the flesh put up with it; but it must pass the strait. gate, and O how narrow this is, so that flesh and blood will adhere to the posts. But, dear and faithful brother, what great salvation the merciful Father has provided for me, who am so utterly unworthy; what great thanks shall I give Him for it, who has so endowed me with His grace and provided such a salvation for me. Continue in it, my dear brother and sister, and pray the Lord for us, that He may preserve us in out sorest distress, and comfort us when we are most in affliction, and in extreme need of consolation and help, as. I hope He will do, for He is faithful that promised it. He also will do it, and will be with us even unto death, and not forsake us; for who was ever confounded that trusted in Him? I hope He will not suffer us to be confounded, and that He will finish the good work which He has begun in us, and this through His unfathomable mercy and grace. To this end, help us to fight, with your prayers to God in our behalf; this is my desire and the desire of us all; in this you can now aid us the most.
My dear brother, why do you grieve for me; rather take comfort in it, for the Lord has obviously ordered it so. He loves us, and means to bring us into rest. I feel that it is all of the Lord, for when I for a time hear of no deliverance, I receive great joy in my heart and refreshing from the Lord; but as soon as something comes again, and the flesh lusts greatly after it, joy departs, and we have great difficulty to get it back from the Lord. Therefore I hope that you will resign yourselves better herein, for the Lord intends to deliver us from this body of death, and to help us out of this anxiety. The Lord be praised forever for the love He shows me, and that He so helps me. I hope He will keep also you in His truth; hence be of good cheer, and comfort yourselves with His beautiful promise, with which also we comfort ourselves entirely.
Therefore, dear brother, I will herewith conclude my letter; and I kindly ask you to accept it in good part, for it has been written to you and your dear wife out of heartfelt brotherly love, for a perpetual farewell and memorial. I herewith also thank you for the' great trouble and labor you have put yourself to for my sake and for the great expense you have on my account. I can never repay it to you; but I hope that the Lord will recompense it to you and yours, now and hereafter; also as regards that other matter, which you well know. O brother, do not let it vex you that I was so situated; I should so gladly have done it for you and yours, as God knows, who is acquainted with every heart. If convenient for you, lend my wife a little assistance while you are here, in the things in which she may need your services, and comfort her in the exceedingly great sorrow in which she now is; this I kindly request of you.
Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace; may He strengthen and stablish you in His truth unto the end of your lives, to His praise, and to your salvation, and the salvation of us all.
This afternoon a little, lean priest visited us. I believe he is a Jesuit, and that he sometimes preaches in Koppenken's church. There is very little in the man: The bailiff accompanied him. He (the priest) damned us exceedingly, which was about all he had to say. I was with -them about two hours. It would take too long to write all. His arguments were very weak. It seems strange to me that the lords are not ashamed to come with such men, who will by no means defend themselves with the Holy Scriptures, but with the teachers of the Roman church, with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine; whom [they say] we are to believe. I then confessed that it could not be proved with the apostolical writings that the apostles baptized infants; also, that baptism belonged to believers, and that infants had no faith. But he constantly asserted that the ancient teachers had written it, and that the holy Roman church so observed it, hence also we had to observe it. A poor argument. The others had something at least, but he was too wretchedly deficient. Hence it would be too tedious to write about it.
Herewith I commend you to God. Written at Antwerp, in prison, by me, your weak brother in the Lord, and also according to the flesh, Christian Langedul, imprisoned for the testimony of the Lord and my conscience, the 10th of September, 1567.
Christian Langedul's leave and last adieu to Maeyken Raedts, his wife after he was sentenced to death
Grace and peace from our heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus, this I wish you, my dear and chosen wife and sister in the Lord; and may the Comforter, the Holy Ghost comfort you in your tribulation, as He will do according to His promise. And I trust, my wife, that all (whether tribulation or sorrow), will tend to salvation to the Christian, as I also trust it will conduce to your salvation, and also to mine, although no tribulation for the present seems to be joyous, and this according to the words of the apostle. Heb. 12:11. However, afterward, my beloved, it will work the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that by good works seek eternal life, as we have done according to our weakness, for thus I may well say, and I speak it from the.heart. Nevertheless, I expect to inherit salvation through the grace of the Lord, and am of good cheer herein; I will therefore thank the Lord forever for His love. O my love, the winepress must now be trodden; and I am quite ready for it,. the Lord be praised. Truly, He is a God of all Comfort- who comforts us in all our tribulation. Oh, that I could fully thank the Lord for all the comfort and strength He grants to me, unworthy .one.
Therefore, my beloved, comfort yourself in the Lord, and in His word; therein you will find such great consolation and refreshment; and may the. Holy Ghost dwell in you with all wisdom as, I doubt not that the Spirit of God does dwell in you, and that He will guide you into all truth and righteousness.
Your letter I received this noon; I thank you very much for it: J. was here, but we could scarcely speak together. I felt somewhat sorry on account of it afterwards; when I parted from him; but the jailer drove us away, saying that. the lord was coming, which I half thought was not so; nor was it so, for the lord did not come. I would fain not have parted from him in this manner, but the Lord disposes. Tell J. T. and his wife; that I wish their salvation from all my heart, and that he and she, and all men, might know the truth. If f promised it to him in weakness, I hope, by the, grace of God, tomorrow to, demonstrate it in power. J. told me that you. were writing me another letter: O my love, you .put yourself to too much trouble, I fear;, do rest, for it will soon be over with me.
Herewith I commend you to the Lord, and to the word of His grace. Greet all the friends most cordially with the peace of the Lord; greet warmly R. Langedul; also your sister, and all the friends, whenever it is convenient, and bid them all adieu. Adieu, my dear lamb, adieu. Written on the 12th of September, 1567 by me, Christian Langedul, your husband and weak brother in the Lord, imprisoned and sentenced to death for the testimony of Christ, and for .our conscience. All four of us greet you very much in the Lord. We are of good cheer and courage in the Lord, as Kalleken, who visited us, will tell you: Thank R. most heartily in my name for his letter; it rejoiced my heart, the Lord be praised. Amen.
NOTE.--.As there has been put into our hands a letter written by Hans Symons (who was burnt at Antwerp, A. D. 1567, together with Christian Langedul and two others of our fellow believers) to his wife, shortly before his death, we deem it well herewith to insert the same; the copy of the letter reads.as .follows