In the year 1538, Brother Leonhard Lochmair, a minister of the Word, in the Earldom of Tyrol, was apprehended, and taken to Brixen, where a great number of priests practiced all manner of craftiness with him, until they caused him to apostatize. They then demanded of him, that he should go about the country for a whole year, with Doctor Gallius, and preach against and renounce the divine truth. This he would not do; hence they confined him in prison; for he had been a priest before he became a brother. He came to himself and repented of his apostasy, and great fear came upon him, for the judgment of God pressed upon him; but since God knew his sorrowful heart, He so ordered it that he was restored again, as will follow in the sequel.
In the same year, 1538, Offrus Greizinger, also a minister of the Word in the Earldom of Tyrol, was apprehended. He was sought on the mountains and in the valley, and spied on bridges and elsewhere. A large sum of money was also offered for his apprehension, and spies and traitors were sent out, who pretended to have a desire to become pious. When they had apprehended him, he was also brought to Brixen and put in prison there, his apartment being so near to that of Leonhard Lochmair's, that they could converse together. There Leonhard greatly deplored his apostasy to Offrus, and sorrowed greatly on account of it. Offrus then gave him much consolation, when, after genuine sorrow and true repentance, he proclaimed to him the remission of his sins in the name of the Lord; yea, through his intercession, re-established him in his faith, and received him again as a fellow member and brother.
Not long after, when Brother Offrus, the faithful servant of the Lord and His church, was sorely tried in manifold ways, and much threatened with the torture, if he would not point out to them his brethren who had not yet been driven away, especially those who had harbored him, and done good to him, he said to them, "I have resolved to endure all pain and suffering which man can endure, even unto death, through the power of God, before I shall tell you this, and become a traitor. I well knew beforehand that this would be my fate. You have me in your power, do whatever Gad will permit you to do; if you want to tyrannize over me, you may do so; God will find you. I have nothing to say or to show." They then assailed him with threats, and urged him that if he had the truth, they would admonish him in the name of the truth, to show and speak the truth. Then Brother Offrus said, "I know you and your truth; you have heard what I said."
They also asked him whether it was not true that if our numbers should increase, we would rise up against and kill them, if they would not come over to our side? He told them that if we should do
this, we would not be Christians, but only such in name; adding, "If you were true Christians you would not torture or kill any one." Hence they bound him, and drew him up, but speedily let him down from the torture, and threatened him, asking why he would have his members thus torn asunder. He replied, "I am in your hands; do with me, whatever God will permit you to do; you can take from me no more than my life." They then despaired of accomplishing anything with him.
Eight days after, they again drew him up, this time twice, yet more gently: but he said, "I have told you once what I can tell, and be it known to you that God will find you for your tyranny." They again despaired, and thenceforth left him alone, torturing him no further. He was sick in consequence of the torture, so that he said the less.
After another eight days, they again came to him, called him before them twice, but did not remain with him long, because he laid before their eyes their rascality, roguery, and unrighteousness.
After much suffering and tribulation he was then sentenced to death by the children of Pilate, placed alive into the fire, and burned to ashes; thus valiantly and steadfastly, as a Christian hero, testifying to and sealing his life and doctrine, with his blood, on Halloween, A. D. 1538. And though he had previously wrestled hard with death, yet when he went forth unto death, he was glad and joyful in his heart.
But as Leonhard Lockmair had formerly been a priest, the priests prevented his dying together with Offrus; for they intended first to divest him of their accursed ordination. In this, in order to bring to naught their counsel, God so ordered it, that the suffragan who was to do this, died. Thus he was executed with the sword, a .few days after Offrus, and, as a true priest, offered up and gave himself as an acceptable offering unto God, and testified to His truth unto death. Rom. 12:l; II Tim. 4:6.
About this time also Brother Michael Wideman or Beck was apprehended at Ricten in Allgau, together with some other persons, which other persons, however, were sent home, while this brother was put in prison for the faith. Many things were resorted to with him, and he was admonished to renounce, but he had a good assurance of his faith in Christ, and said, "When I was living with the world in all unrighteousness, in sins and wickedness, no one admonished me to renounce, but I was considered a good Christian before the world. But now that I have become converted, and amended my life, I am told to renounce; but I have become converted once, and have renounced all unrighteousness, and in this conversion I will persevere unto the end, and will not be turned from it, for that in which I stand is the true foundation." After being imprisoned almost half a year, he was beheaded and burned.
In the year 1538, the brethren Martin of Vilgraten, and Caspar Schumacher, were both apprehended for the divine truth, at Michelsberg, in Priesterthal, and, after great steadfastness, sentenced to death, and executed with the sword; thus manfully persevering in the faith unto the end. They were of good cheer in their bonds and tribulation, and held fast to the love of God, from which they could not be separated through tribulation, fear, persecution, hunger, poverty, nakedness, or danger. No sword was so keen, no fire so hot, no devil so wicked, no man so diligent, as to turn them from God and His truth, and from their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; but they, through the grace and power of God, kept that which God had given them to know, even unto death.
About this year, there were, in Flanders, two cousins, one named Styaerts, the other Peter. These two blooming and God-seeking youths resided with their parents in a village called Mereedor, in Flanders. And as they were very zealous for God, and searched the holy Scriptures, they soon perceived, that the believing and regenerated -according to the doctrine of Christ, as a sign of having buried the former sins, and risen with Christ, and walking in newness of life-had to receive Christian baptism, in the water; and since they were desirous of this, they journeyed to Germany, to seek others of their fellow believers. But as they could not find such as suited their wishes, they soon returned to their parents in Flanders, where they earnestly sought the Lord their God, so that they had a good report, doing much good to the poor, and saying with Zaccheus, that if they had defrauded any one, they would restore it fourfold. Luke 19:8. When the blinded papists, who most bitterly hated the light of truth, perceived this, they took these two young lambs out of the houses of their parents, at Mereedor, and brought them beyond Ghent, into a village called Vinderhout, where they most severely imprisoned them in a dungeon. Jer. 38:6. Once when their sister came to bring them some fine shirts, they told her that they could not keep them from the worms, which were in their food, eating it, and in their clothes and shirts on their bodies. They further said, "Here is a Bible, the contents of which, as well as the cause of our bonds, will yet come to light after our death." The aforesaid John Styaerts was once released from prison, on account of sickness, and, as is thought, could easily have obtained his liberty; but he voluntarily returned to prison, desiring gladly to die with his dear brother
for the name of Jesus. Thus after a certain time they were led to the slaughter. Peter; who came forth first to die, casting his eyes up to heaven, boldly called out to John Styaerts, "Fight valiantly, my dear brother; for I see the heavens open above us." Acts 7:56. They were together put to death with the sword at Vinderhout. Thus these young branches in the court of the Lord (Jer. '17:8; Ps. 1:3), were also devoured by the awful beast which rose up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1), but they had no power over their immortal souls, which escaped from them unto God, where they, shall forever live in unspeakable joy. When their parents came from Mereedor to Vinderhout, and inquired for their children, the villagers told them that they had already been executed with the sword. And thus they were deprived of their children by these tyrants.
In the same year, 1538, on Wednesday before Christmas, Hans Seyel of Mur, and Hans of Wels, were apprehended for the faith and .the divine truth, at Sandweid, in Kaernthen. After, valiant steadfastness in the faith, they were condemned to death and executed with the sword; thus, even unto death, boldly testifying with their blood, to the way of truth, from which they would not depart as long as their eyes were open, and breath remained in their nostrils.
"After manifold tyranny, persecution and putting to death," writes P. J. Twisck,"in various countries and kingdoms, against the Christian flock, also in England a decree was proclaimed, in December, A. D. 1538, against the believers baptized according to the ordinance of Christ. By virtue of the same, they, right in the face of cold winter, were banished from the country, and had to flee whithersoever they could.
Thus it came, that some of them fled for refuge to Holland, and having come to Delft, they were there spied out by their enemies, and fell into the hands of .the tyrants; and, after . manifold trials, and steadfastness in their faith, they were sentenced to death for the truth, at said place, and, on the 7th of January, A. D. 1539, put to death. Sixteen men were beheaded with the sword, and fifteen women drowned.
These sixteen men and fifteen women, thirty-one persons in all, who, in the year 1539, fled from England to Delft, and were there put to death. in the same year, for the true confession, of Jesus Christ, must plainly and positively be distinguished from other twenty seven persons who lost their lives there one year earlier, namely, A. D. 1538;whose written examinations and death - sentences we have seen; but as we have not found sufficient light therein, we pass them by, commending them to God, and thus take our leave of them.
In the year 1539, one sister Apollonia; wife of Leonhard Seyle, having been with. him in the upper country, was apprehended in the Earldom of Tyrol, and brought to Brixen; but, through the immutable grace and power of God, who valiantly aided her womanly heart, she constantly and firmly continued in the true faith, and in what she had promised God in Christian baptism, and would depart neither to the right nor to the left. Hence she was then sentenced to death, and drowned, thus receiving the martyrs' crown.
In said year, 1539, the church having dwelt for a little while at Steinborn, in Austria, and having begun to increase there, the old serpent, the envious and arch-wicked satan, who so miserably tormented the pious, could not endure or overlook it, but in his wrath stirred up the children of wickedness, especially the priests, who in all this are his agents and executors; so that they constantly filled the ears of King Ferdinand with their unjust accusations of the pious, and instigated him, so that he complied with their demand, and sent his Marshal from Vienna, with provosts and a number of horsemen, who unexpectedly came to Falkenstein, whence they took with them a great mob, and fell upon the church at Steinborn, on the 6th day of December, in the evening or at night, in the abovementioned year. All the men whom they found, they put into one room, and thus they also did with the women and maidens. With great tumult and noise they kept watch during the night, and brought in all whom they could find. Their chief intention was to apprehend the elders and ministers of the church, hoping to obtain much money from their people, and thus deprive the poor people of their sustenance, notwithstanding God would severely punish such wickedness. But God through His providence prevented them, so that they could not find a single minister. In every nook and corner they rummaged for the sustenance of widows and orphans, and persevered greatly in their ungodly assiduity. But God. brought to naught and folly their counsel, when they thought to find wealth among the poor. In their tyranny they apprehended sick people, children, and pregnant women, so that it could have moved a heart of stone to the deepest, and enduring compassion.
The imprisoned brethren and sisters made themselves ready to offer up their bodies and lives unto God, whether through fire or through the sword. On the evening when this persecution took
place, some men of Philip's people had also- come, with the intention of making known to them the ground of the church, and of their whole life. Thus as many as a hundred and fifty brethren were together apprehended, and, well guarded, were brought up to the,castle of Falkenstein. Among their number there were some who had not yet received the baptismal covenant of grace; as also some who had apostatized from the truth, and were now penitents. Having all arrived in the castle of Falkenstein, they conferred with those who had not yet bound themselves in the faith. These they asked what they purposed to do in this tribulation, and told them that, if they, for the testimony and honor of God, would firmly adhere; in all suffering, to the Lord Christ, whatever distress and anguish might befall them, they would consider them fellow companions in the kingdom of Christ, and hope that God would be gracious to them
however, with this understanding, that with those who through the providence of God should be released, and return to the church,. the latter should have authority, by virtue of the Lord's command, to deal according to their confession,in the proper measure and order; and since .they had this intention and resolution, they would write to the elders and the churches, and afterwards give them full information.
Thereupon they all indicated their willingness, and, with a joyful heart and great thankfulness, desired to accept this covenant as a grace of God. Immediately upon this, the church was informed of it by letter. A written answer speedily came, that all the believers were well satisfied with this resolution; since such as had not yet been incorporated, according to- divine ordinance, into the church, but agreed with it in all things, and desired to show forth an honest testimony of the truth, ,to suffer with it and to give their lives for it in this extremity, might well be received as fellow believers.
When they were again informed of the decision of the church, they willingly entrusted themselves to the Lord, manifested, patience in all tribulation, as others of .the pious, and made a good confession before many witnesses. While they were yet at Falkenstein, King Ferdinand sent his Marshal, several doctors from among the priests; and the executioner, that, they should go to them. These; on Christmas night, which is customarily celebrated in every country, began to deal with much craftiness with the imprisoned witnesses of the truth; they also put subtle questions to some of them, as to what was their ground-and hope, and where their treasure or money was. Thereupon they confessed in truth, that Christ was their Lord and Saviour, their only comfort, their only hope, their dearest heart-treasure and best portion, in whom .they received God's help and grace. They also treated with them about other articles, and wanted to instruct, teach, and convert them, as they said, especially with regard to their sacrament, which theyhighly extolled, and would have them believe that the flesh.and blood of Christ were present in it, and that it was our Lord God, as they said but the brethren answered that it was a dumb god, and that the Lord's Supper had quite a different signification than, they perversely represented, tnus shamefully deceiving and seducing the world. With these and many other contessions the king's messengers returned to Vienna; but these imprisoned brethren remained in custody in the castle of 1~ alkenstem.
Thus it continued until the beginning of the year 1540, when the kings marshal came, together with a Spaniard, the Provost of the Empire, and other horsemen with their equipments. T hese further examined the imprisoned Brethren, and those who did not comply with their demands, but held to the truth contessed, they speedily laid in iron chains and bonds, coupling them two and two together by their hands. In the meantime many of the sisters, their fellow believers, came into the castle of Falkenstein, when the prisoners were to be taken to the sea; some were waiting' for the imprisoned brother Eegmachel, and others were particularly engaged in earnest and fervent prayer and supplication to God Almighty, that He would keep them from all wrong and sinful action, on sea as well as on land, and also give them a steadfast mind, and grant that they might persevere in the With unto the end. Alter this prayer, a Spaniard was commanded to send all of them away. Hence they began to take leave from one another, with many scalding tears and weeping eyes, affectionately admonishing each other, that each should firmly and unfalteringly adhere to the Lord and the truth confessed. Time and again they commended each other to the gracious protection of God, not knowing whether in their lifetime they should ever see each other again with their bodily eyes. Thus man and wife had to separate from each other, and leave their little children; which flesh and blood would not have been equal to, had it not been done through the power of God, and for His sake. This leave-taking was so pitiful, that the king's marshal, and others like him, could not keep back their tears. When everything was arranged, and the escort was ready, the pious went forth, firmly trusting in God, that .He would aid and deliver them. Thus they were brought from the tower, two and two together, ninety in all, after having been confined five weeks and a half in Falkenstein; but the sisters had to remain in the castle, and from the walls, looked after the brethren, with much sighing and sorrow, as long as they could see them.
After this, the sisters were all sent away from the castle to the place where they resided; but the brethren whom they did not want to take to the sea; on account of infirmity or sickness, and some because of their youth, they retained as prisoners in the castle; now and then they gave some of the young lads as slaves to Austrian nobles; however, nearly all of them returned to the church; the
others remained in the castle, and for them God also wrought a gracious deliverance.
The cause of this great distress of the pious was solely, that in antichristendom they testified against the idolatrous and unrighteous life and ways of the priests, for which, as an abomination, God should once severely punish them, and make an end with them and their sins. Hence, King Ferdinand gave the crew of priests, who are a band of robbers, and delight in killing and slaying, power to do with them as they pleased. These condemned them as worthy of death, that they should not be tolerated on the earth, but should be sent to sea, thus to wear out their lives in much anguish and distress, as a warning to other brethren; and that the other three should be delivered into the hands of the Admiral of the Armada on the sea, and be employed on the galleons, in pillaging and waging war against the Turks and other enemies; though these imprisoned brethren previously told the messengers of the king, that they would not go against the enemy, to pillage and wage war, neither would they consent to do wrong on the sea just as little as on the land, nor sin against God in heaven; and that, since it was contrary to their faith and conscience, God through His unconquerable power, and His grace, could preserve them on the sea as well as on the land. Nevertheless, these witnesses of the divine truth were led, through the king's messengers and his strict command to the authorities, through cities, towns and villages, to be brought from one court to another. In this they suffered much and manifold adversity and great sorrow; but God always granted them gracious means, particularly in this, that every morning and evening they could all unmolestedly pray to God, and that one brother could without hindrance comfort the other; which they accepted very gratefully as a special grace and gift of God.
By this and the ordering of their whole life they convinced the people in many places, so that many who at their arrival regarded them as malefactors, had great compassion on them. Moreover, the king's servants, their conductors, frequently bore them testimony, and told them that they should not pass silently through the cities and towns, but should make their faith known by singing or otherwise.
Thus the faithful company was led, like a flock of sheep, through countries and cities, to the sea; journeying from the castle of Falkenstein to Vienna, thence to Neustadt and Schottwien, over the Semmering, to Bruck-on-the-Mur, to the borders of Bavaria, to Luebeck and Marburg, to Tiele, to Stein, in Carniola, over the Save to Laibach, but still no comfort came. During their imprisonment there they had to suffer much hunger and distress; they were fed with the bread of anguish, and had to drink the water of sorrow; but thus it was the will of God to reveal His Word and truth in every place and country, and to make it known to the nations that were ignorant of it, and to let them hearthe sound thereof; even as He always provides gracious means to lure men away from unrighteousness, so also here, where these witnesses of the faith and the divine truth were led to many and various places, and also to places where strange languages were spoken, where the truth had not been heard, and where it was unknown and hidden among the nations. They caused some from Carniola to search after the truth, and thereby some attained to a knowledge of it, who are still at this day serving God with a sincere heart. But how these captive brethren, while on their journey, were treated in many places, how they were beaten, driven, and coupled together with ropes and chains, and what resulted to them from this, would be too long to write; still, however great the tribulation they suffered, God always comforted them in their hearts.
But since God always remembers His own for the best, even when in the greatest fear, and never entirely forgets them, He strengthened some in their imprisonment, so that they trusted in God with a good assurance and hope, that He would work for and show them a deliverance. Therefore they prayed with the others in the fear of God, though they were firmly resolved to suffer for the truth of God, and to die rather than to participate in wicked piracy; yet they had reason enough, constantly to persevere in prayer to God, with heartfelt lamentation and sighing, that He would promote His divine honor in them. In this God showed them, how they should hold proper converse with each other, the strong care for the weak, and assist one another. And though they had but very little sustenance, yet they trusted in the Lord, that He would provide for them, so that they should not have to beg for their bread. Then, on the twelfth night, at Trieste, they were all delivered from their chains and bonds, and went out of prison. Through the providence of God a place was shown them, where they all in the same hour let themselves down by cords from the walls of the city. Thus the very bonds in which they had been brought thither as prisoners, had to minister to their deliverance.
From this it can be seen, that; though the ungodly devise many things against the pious, God always turns it for the best to His people. Thus, through the providence of God, fney escaped from the hands of their enemies, in spite of the watchful guards whom they had placed in the city and upon the walls; for God changed their prudence to folly, so that they escaped over the walls right near the guardhouse.
When all of them, both sick and well, had escaped over the walls a good many of them gathered together, knelt down, and together offered praise and thanks to God. God thus sped them on their way, that the greater part of them returned with joy and glad hearts to the church in Moravia. Twelve of them, however, were recaptured by the wicked, who pursued them, and, together with the
other three, they were delivered to the Emperor's Admiral over the Armada, taken to sea, and brought upon the galleons, with the intention of employing them as pirates, but the pious risked their lives, and would rather be scourged. But as to the end of each one of these nothing certain is yet known, but, it is to be supposed that, if they constantly adhered. to the Lord, they did not have many -good days while they lived. But the abovementioned brethren whom God had delivered, when they, about the year 1540 returned from Trieste to the church in Moravia, they were received with great joy and gratitude, as a gift from God.
The following is the Testament which Anna of Rotterdam left and presented to her son, Isaiah, on the twenty-fourth of January; A. D. 1539, at nine o'clock in the morning, as she was preparing herself to die .for the name and the testimony of Jesus, and took leave of her son, at Rotterdam.
Isaiah, receive your testament, "My son, hear the instruction of your mother; open your ears to hear the words of my mouth. Prov. 1:8. Behold, I go today the way of the prophets, apostles and martyrs, and drink of the cup of which they all have drank. Matt. 20:23. I go, I say, the way which Christ Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father, full of grace and truth, the Shepherd of the sheep, who is the Life, Himself went, and who went this way, and not another, and who had to drink of this cup, even as He said: 'I have a cup to drink of, and a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!' Having passed through, He calls His sheep, and; His sheep hear His voice, and follow Him whithersoever He goes; for this is the way to the true fountain. John 10:27; 4:14. This way was traveled by the royal priests who came from the rising of the sun, as we read in revelation, and entered into the ages of eternity, and had to drink of this cup.' I Peter 2:9., "This way was trodden by the dead under the altar, who cry, saying: Lord, Almighty God, when wilt Thou avenge the blood that has been shed? White robes were given unto them, and it was said to them; Wait yet for a little season, until the number of your brethren that are yet to be killed for the testimony of Jesus, be fulfilled. Rev. 6:9-11. These also drank of the cup, and are gone above to keep the eternal, holy Sabbath of the Lord. This is the way in which walked the twenty-four elders, who stand before the throne of God, and cast their crowns and harps before the throne of the Lamb, falling down upon their faces, and saying: Lord, unto Thee alone be praise, glory, power, and strength, who shalt avenge the blood of Thy servants and ministers, and shalt through Thyself gain the victory. Great be Thy name, Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Rev. 4:8, 10., "In this way walked also those who were marked by the Lord, and received the mark Thau upon their foreheads (Ezek. 9:6), who were chosen from among all nations of men, who were not defiled with women .(understand this), and who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Rev. 14:4., "Behold, all these had to drink of the cup of bitterness, as ,will also all those have to do, who are still wanting to complete the number and fulfillment of Zion, the bride of the Lamb, which is the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2), the city and throne of God, in which the glory of the great King shall be seen, when the feast of tabernacles will be kept and celebrated in the days of eternal rest and joy. Zech. 14:16., "Behold, all these could not attain to this, without first suffering judgment and chastisement in their flesh; for Christ Jesus, the eternal truth, was the first, when it is written: 'The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.' Rev. 13:8. So Paul says: 'Thus it pleased the Father, that all whom He predestinated from eternity, He called, elected, justified, and made to be conformed to the image of His Son.' Rom. 8:29, 30. Our blessed Saviour also says: The servant is not above his Lord; but it is sufficient for .him, that: he be like his Lord and Master. Matt. 10:24. Also Peter says: 'The time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?' I Pet. 4:17, 18. Read also in Proverbs (11:31): 'Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.' See, my son, here you can hear that no one can come unto life, except through this way. Therefore enter in through the strait gate, receive the chastisement and instruction of the Lord, bow your shoulders under His yoke, and cheerfully bear it from your youth, with thanksgiving, rejoicing and honor; for He accepts or receives no son, whom He does not chasten. Hebrews 12:6. Paul further says: 'If you forsake the chastisement, whereof they were all partakers, ye are bastards, and not children, and shall be cast out from the inheritance of the children of God.', "If you, therefore, desire to enter into the regions of the holy world, and into the inheritance of the saints, gird your loins, and follow after them; search the Scriptures, and it shall show you their ways. John 5:39. The angel who spake to the prophet said: 'There is also another thing: A city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things: the entrance thereof is narrow, and set in a dangerous place to fall, like as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water: and one only path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one man go there at once. If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inheritance?' II Esd. 7:6-9.
See, my son, this way has no retreats; there are no roundabout or crooked little paths; whosoever departs to the right or to the left, inherits death: Behold, this is the way which is found by so few, and walked by a still far smaller number; for there are some who well perceive that this is the way to life; but it is too severe for them; it pains their flesh., "Therefore, my child, do not regard the great number, nor walk in their ways. Remove thy foot far from their paths, for they go to hell, as sheep unto death; even as Isaiah says: 'Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude . . . shall descend into it.' Isa. 5:14. 'It is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them.' Isa. 27:11. But where you hear of a poor, simple, cast-off little flock (Luke 12:32), which is despised and rejected, by the world, join them; for where you hear of the cross, there is Christ; from there do not depart. Flee the shadow of this world; become united with God; fear Him alone, keep His commandments, observe all His words, to do them; write them upon the table of your heart, bind them upon your forehead, speak day and night of His law and you will be a pleasant tree and a sprout in the courts of the Lord, a beloved plant growing up in Zion. Ps. 92:13. Take the fear of the Lord to be your father, and wisdom shall be the mother of your understanding. If you know this. my son, happy are you if you do it. John 13:17. Observe that which the Lord commands you, and sanctify your body to His service, that His name may be sanctified, praised, and made glorious and great in you. Be not ashamed to confess Him before men; do not fear men; rather give, up your life, than to depart from the truth. If you lose your body, which is earthly, the Lord your God has prepared you a better one in heaven. II Cor. 5:1., "Therefore, my child, strive for righteousness unto death, and arm yourself with the armor of God. Be a pious Israelite, tramnle under foot all. unrighteousness, the world and all that is in it, and love only that which is above. I John 2:15. Remember, that you are not of this world, even as your Lord and Master was not. John 15:19. Be a faithful disciple of Christ; for none is fit to pray, unless he has become His disciple' and not before. Col. 1:7; john 9:31. Those who said: 'We have left all.' also said: 'Teach us to pray.' Luke 18:28; 11:1. They were those for whom the Lord prayed, and not the world (John 17:9); for when the world prays, they call uoon their father, the devil, and desire that his will be done, as is also the case. Therefore, my son, do not become like them, but shun and flee them, and have neither part nor fellowship with them. Rom. 12:2; II Pet. 1:4. Do not regard that which is before your eyes, but seek only those things which are above. Col. 3:1. O my child, be mindful of my admonition, and forsake it not. May the Lord cause you to grow up inHis fear, and fill your understanding with His Spirit. II Peter 3:18. Sanctify yourself to the Lord, my son; sanctify your whole conduct in the fear of your God. Lev. 20:7. Whatever you do, do it all to the praise of His name. Honor the Lord in the works of your hands, and let the light of the Gospel shine through you. Love your neighbor. Deal with an open; warm heart thy bread to the hungry, clothe the naked, and suffer not to have anything twofold; for there are always some who lack. Matt. 26:11. Whatever the Lord grants you from the sweat of your face, above what you need, communicate to those of whom you know that they love the Lord (Genesis 3:19; Ps. 112:9); and suffer nothing to remain in your possession until the morrow, and the Lord shall bless the work of your hands, and give you His blessing for an inheritance. Deut. 28:12. O my son, let your life be conformed to the Gospel, and the God of peace, sanctify your soul and body, to His praise. Amen. Phil. 1:27; I Thess. 5:23., "O holy Father, sanctify the son of. Thy handmaiden in Thy truth, and keep him from the evil, for Thy name's sake, O Lord."
Thereupon . she sealed this with her blood, and thus, as a pious heroine and follower of Jesus Christ, she was received among the number of the witnesses of God who were offered up.
About the year 1539, there was also a God-fearing peasant, named Tjaert Reynerts, who lived near Harlinger, in Friesland. He was brought a prisoner to Leeuwxrden, where he had to suffer much for the truth, from the bloodthirsty papists. Proverbs 29:10. The cause of his imprisonment was, that, out of compassion and brotherly love, he had secretly harbored Menno Simons in his great misery, in his house. This having been brought to the notice of the enemies, he was apprehended and very cruelly examined; but he, as a valiant hero and witness of Jesus (Rev. 2:13; 20:4), would not forsake his Creator in this extremity, but freely and undauntedly confessed the faith of the everlasting truth against these tyrants and bloodthirsty men; on which account he, at said place, as a chief of murderers (according to the example of his Lord Jesus), was placed upon the wheel, though even his greatest enemies bore witness that he was an upright and pious man. I Tim. 3:7.
At this time the tyranny and persecution against the God-fearing Christians was very dreadful, so that the envious papists, who hated the truth, caused likenesses of many of the principal teachers and overseers of the church of Jesus Christ to be made, and posted up on doors, gates, and other public places, promising a large sum of money, to such as should deliver them into the hands of the officers and executioners. And since the Godfearing Menno Simons, who was zealous for God, was one of the principal teachers and elders in this
bloody and perilous time, who, by his glorious admonitions, and writings from the Word of God, so flourished, that none of his adversaries dared come before him in an open and free scriptural disputation, though he at various times and very earn estly requested it; through which sound doctrine and Christian admonition, and the power of 'the Most High, said Menno Simons, drew, turned, and won to God a great number of men, from dark and erring popery; yea, from the dumb idols, to the living God. Therefore the servants of antichrist were embittered the more against him, and, in order to quench and hinder this, caused, A. D. 1543, a dreadful decree to be proclaimed against him throughout.all West Friesland; in which all malefactors and murderers were offered remission of their crimes, the pardon of the Emperor, the freedom of the country, and one hundred Carl Guilders, if they could deliver Menno Simons, into the hands of the torturers and executioners. But though these envious men thirsted with such exceeding tyranny and great bitterness for his blood, and sought and persecuted him unto death, yet the Almighty God preserved him, and most miraculously protected him from the designs of all his enemies, so that they could not execute their tyrannical desires on him; for he died a natural death, as God had appointed it to him, at Wuestefeld, near Luebeck, on the 13th of January, in the year 1559, in his sixty-sixth year. Ps. 31:15; Job 14:5; Ps. 139: 16.
He that desires, may read Menno Simons, contra Gallius Faber, fol. 23, where the offering of Tjaert Reynerts is referred to.*
Even as it was in the time of ' Esau and Jacob, that he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit (Gen. 27:l; Galatians 4:29), so it was also abundantly witnessed in this time; which, among others, appeared in the case of one God-fearing brother named Arent Jacobs, and his wife and eldest son. These resided in the Rijp, and being. born again from above of God, and seeking the eternal inheritance which is reserved for such in heaven, they were hated and persecuted unto death by the followers of Esau, who brought them prisoners from the Rijp to Monickendam, in North Holland, where they had to suffer much for' the truth; but as they were built upon Christ, and suffered themselves by no torments to be led away, they were, at said place, A. D. 1539, sentenced to suffer death by drowning, which was accordingly done. To this end heavy stones were used, which the executioner was not able to lift, so that -the prisoners were obliged to assist him. Thus, like irrational beasts they were cast into the water, with stones tied to
their necks, and so departed this life. Thus they did not love their lives, but surrendered them unto death for the witness of Jesus, who at His glorious coming shall raise their rejected bodies from the dead, and crown them with immortality in heaven. Rev, 12:11; 20.:4; II Thess. 1:7; Phil. 3:21; II Tim. 4:8.
In the year 1540, Brother Hans Simeraver was imprisoned for the divine truth, at Schwatz, in the valley of the Inn; but, as they could not draw him from his faith, nor convince hiln with the holy Scriptures, they delivered him to their high priest, the executioner, who had to lead him out and conquer him. Thus he was executed with the sword, and sealed his faith in God with his blood, thus resisting unto blood, or striving against sin and the abomination of 'desolation. Heb. 12:4; Matt. 24: 15. Therefore he shall also, on Mount Sion, among the great number of those who testified to and confessed the name of God in the world, receive a palm in his hands, and be crowned with the unfading crown of life. II Esd. 2:45; II Tim. 4:8.