The grace and mercy of God the Father, the loving kindness and love of the Son, and the communion and peace of the Holy Ghost, who is sent us by the Father, through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation and joy of all true and faithful children of God, and by whom we are impelled, taught and led; the same . keep your hearts, understanding and mind in Christ Jesus, to the praise and glory of the Father, to the salvation of your afflicted soul, and to the edification of all brethren and sisters that fear and love the Lord; to this only wise God, be glory, honor; power and strength, for ever and ever. Amen.
I wish to you, my dear wife, a true, genuine, godly love, a true, unfeigned, penitent faith, which works by love, a firm hope and confidence in God, and a firm steadfastness in your faith towards God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him I commend you, and to the Word of His grace; and since I cannot converse orally with you, my dear wife Lijsken, I have, with the help of God, written to you a little from the Word of the Lord; for though we are absent from each other in the flesh, yet are we present in the Spirit; for I remember you day and night in my prayers, beseeching the Lord to strengthen you with His Spirit of truth, since I well know that you will have much conflict yet, before you will be released; and I also knowthat you will be greatly tempted by the cunning foxes and ravening wolves, yea, which are much more lions and dragons; yea, a generation of vipers, who will not spare your soul, but destroy, devour and murder it.
Hence Paul says, "Beware lest any man spoil you through false philosophy and the sleight of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Col. 2:8; Eph. 4:14. Yea, Christ Himself has warned us in this respect, saying that in the latter days many false prophets, and many false Christs, shall arise, insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect; but this is impossible: for the Lord preserves them with His strong arm, so that the gates of hell cannot harm them. Matt. 24:24; 16:18. Yea, Paul says, "That in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created." I Tim. 4:1, 3. And, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Eph. 5:6. Christ has also warned us of the doctrine of the Pharisees; yea, of those who come in sheep's clothing; for inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matt. 16:6; 7:15, 16. Even as Paul says, "Marvel not, that the ministers of antichrist will transform themselves into ministers of God; since Satan himself can transform himself into an angel of light; for they come in a feigned holiness, and will speak lies." II Cor. 11:14, 15.
Therefore see, my most beloved lamb, how faithfully Christ and His apostles have warned us of the false and subtle serpent, that we should not suffer ourselves to be deceived by the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who seeks nothing but to bring our souls into everlasting damnation, even as Peter says that he walks about us as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; him resist with a firm faith. Rev. 12:9; I Peter 5:8. Therefore I beseech you, my dear wife. from the bottom of my heart, since we are so faithfully warned of the false prophets, who have nothing but the doctrine of devils, and seek nothing but to ruin and devour souls; therefore I beseech you once more, not to hearken to them, and to have nothing to do with them; for Paul says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Eph. 5:11. Yea, John says that he that has not the doctrine of Christ, has not God. II John 9. And Paul says, "Though an angel from 'heaven preach any other Gospel- unto you than that which I have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8. If they then have not God, and have nothing but a false, heretical, accursed and devilish doctrine, how can they teach us anything good? Therefore Christ and His apostles have so faithfully warned us, that we should not suffer ourselves to be deceived by the cunning foxes, and subtle philosophy and craftiness; for there shall never any other foundation be laid, than
that is laid, namely Christ, upon whom you have founded and built; and no other Gospel may be preached, than that which is preached, in which you believe, and for the testimony of which you are also in bonds.
Hence I beseech you, my dear wife Lijsken, by the mercies of God, constantly to have the Word of the Lord before your eyes, and not to suffer yourself to be moved from your faith, by the sleight of men,'whereby they lie in wait to deceive you; for I know that you will suffer much temptation yet. Therefore, my most beloved, look not unto men; for cursed is the man, says the prophet, that trusteth in man; yea, the fear of man bringeth a snare, says the wise man. Jer. 17:5; Prov. 29:25. And regard not the torture of flesh and blood; for this is the heat of the sun, yea, the storms by which the work of the Lord is tried. Matt. 13:6; 7:25. Hence confess Christ now, and He shall confess us before His heavenly Father; for He will try the third part with fire, as gold in the furnace, and all that remains shall be found pure gold. Matt. 10:32; Zech. 13:9; I Pet. 1:7. You have partly passed through the trial, and have remained steadfast in it, eternal glory, praise, and honor to the Lord, and may the gracious Lord: strengthen- you, that as you have commenced, you may be found pure gold before God and all His church.
Thus, my most beloved, continue steadfast in the doctrine of Christ; for now is the day of which Christ spoke, that we should be brought before lords and princes, for a testimony to His name, and that we should be rejected by all men; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matt. 10:18; 24:13. And Christ says, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; and the time cometh, that whosoever killefh you will think that he doeth God service. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me." John 15:20; 16:2, 4, 3. Behold, my dear wife, thus Christ has warned us how they should deal with us. Therefore, my dear, fear not, neither despond, though you now are confined with Daniel in the den of lions; trust in the Lord, and He will preserve you, that they shall not destroy you; He will also deliver you from their teeth, that they shall not tear you. Forsake Him not and He will not forsake you; for He says, "He that despiseth you, despiseth me; lie that persecuteth you persecuteth me; he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye." Luke 10:16; Acts 26:14; Zech. 2:8.
If they then do not persecute us, but the Lord, fight valiantly, as a pious soldier of Christ, and contend for His glory. And even as He fought unto death, so by the grace of God do also you; for Paul says, "If a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." II Tim. 2:5. Therefore, my dear, put on the whole armor ofGod, and be not ashamed to confess His Word before men, but always remember the words of Christ, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him also shall I be ashamed before my heavenly Father. For whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; but whosoever loses his life for the sake of the Gospel, shall find it. But he that loveth aught more than me, cannot be my disciple; yea, no man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. And Paul says: It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; but if we deny him, he also will deny us." Eph. 6:11; Matt. 10:32; Mark 8:38; Matthew 16:25; 10:37; Luke 9:62; II Tim. 2:11, 12.
Hence, my most beloved, do not forsake the Lord; for we are nothing but dust and ashes, yea, nothing but mortal flesh, which must die in dishonor, but is raised in glory. Gen. 18:27; I Cor. 15:43. Be patient, therefore, in tribulation; for it is the true way, which leads to life eternal, which all the saints of God, the prophets and apostles, yea, Christ Himself went. all having to drink of this cup. Therefore look not to death, but through death, lest another come before you, and take your crown. Hence, my most beloved, be long-suffering in your tribulation, and patient in suffering, and wait for your deliverance, even as the husbandman waits for his fruits; for blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. James 1:12. For Christ says, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:10. Behold, we count them happy which endure, says James. Jas. 5.:11. Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps: forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered, arm yourself likewise with the same mind. I Peter 2:21; 4:1. With this agree the words of John, who says that Christ laid doyen His life for us, and that we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren. I John 3:16.
Hence, be not discouraged, chosen and beloved, at their threatening; but praise and glorify the Lord in this matter; for Christ says, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, for my name's sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is vour reward from my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 5:11, 12. My dear, this is not said that we should be sad, but that we should rejoice that we are worthy to suffer for His name. Paul says, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together; for the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us; for eye hath not seen, nor heart known, neither mouth confessed, but God alone, what shall be revealed to those that love him, and keep his word." Rom. 8:15-18; I Cor. 2:9. And Paul says that it is not enough for you to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His name. Phil. 1:29.
Hence, my most beloved, be a willing bride, and prepare for the conflict; for He will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way for you to escape. I Cor. 10:13. For though a mother forget her child, yet will I not forget thee, says the Lord. Isa. 49:15. He will preserve you as the apple of His eye. Zech. 2:8. Therefore, fear not men, who perish like grass (Isa. 51:12); but valiantly journey with Joshua and Caleb to the promised land; wait with Noah for the day of the Lord; for Christ says, "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me; but the voice of strangers they hear not; and no man shall pluck them out of his hand, since it is impossible, that the elect of God should be deceived;" as Paul says, "Who shall separate us from the love of God?" Nay, no torments of this world.;"for we know that all things work together for good to them that love God; for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding weight of glory." John 10:27; Rom. 8:35, 28; II Cor. 4:17. Since it is the will of the Lord, I hope that this your trial will also be for your good; for the Lord has appointed your time, which we cannot pass. Hence, fear not, for God is your Captain; He is your strength; He is your guide (II Esd.16:76); forsake Him not; He will not forsake you; trust in Him, and you shall not be ashamed (Ps. 31:1), be faithful unto death, the crown of life is prepared for you. Rev. 2:10. I desire willingly to offer up my body to the praise of God, yea, not only my body, but if every member, yea, every hair were a body, I would, through the power of God, offer them all up to the praise of the Lord, in order to obtain His promises; for what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not."Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him." John 3:1, 2. Yea, Peter says that we shall be partakers of His divine nature; yea, we shall be where Christ Himself will be, and shall with Him judge all nations; yea, we shall follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth; yea, we shall sing the new song on Mount Sion, and we know assuredly that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God. eternal in the heavens. II Peter 1:4; John 12:26; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 14:4; II Esd. 2:42; II Cor. 5:1. Who would exalt this corrupt, decaying flesh, which is nothing but a heap of earth, over these beautiful promises 1 O see, what beautiful promises Christ has given His own, who remain steadfast unto the end; for thereis no other way to eternal life, than this way; for all righteous souls, from the beginning, have had to suffer, and thus gain possession of the kingdom of God. Gen. 4:8. Hence, my most beloved wife, since there is no other way, be a willing bride, prepared to receive your bridegroom; and you shall then be crowned with praise and honor.
Thus, my most beloved, I have written a few things, with which you may somewhat strengthen yourself through the Word of the Lord; for Christ says, "The world shall rejoice, and ye shall be sorrowful; but be of kind cheer; I have overcome the world; and your sorrow shall be turned into joy, and your joy no man taketh from you; for he that worketh in us is stronger than he that is in the world." John 16:20. And John says that our faith is the victory that overcometh the world. I John 5:4. Always remember Lot's wife (Gen. 19:26), and the man of God who was slain by the lion, because he had eaten bread contrary to God's command, being deceived by the false prophet. I Kings 13:1. Thus you also suffer yourself in no wise to be deceived by false prophets; but fight with the prophet David against Goliath, and you shall devour him like bread; for the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent who remain steadfast take it by force; for Joshua and Caleb took the promised land by force, and those that were not steadfast, could not enter into it. Hence, be not dismayed though you are tried here for a little season; for it is His will. Therefore, receive willingly from His hand whatever He sends you; for Paul says, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." Rom. 8:28. For Christ means to show His wonderful power and strength in you, against the dragons and the generation of vipers, yea, against the ravening wolves, who daily resist Christ, and fight against you to destroy you. But be bold and trust in Christ; He will not forsake you; for He is your strength. He cares for you (I Peter 5:7); He is your Protector, by whom you shall overcome all your adversaries; for He shall feed you with the bread of life, yea, with the bread of understanding, and give you the water of wisdom to drink, and shall comfort you in all your tribulation, and impress into your heart a firm and steadfast faith, which they shall not be able to resist. Sir. 15:3. For He who has begun this good work in you, will, through His grace and power, also carry out and finish it, to His praise, to the salvation of your soul, and to the edification of all them that fear the Lord. Phil. 1:6. To this God, who can deliver you from all tribulation, and preserve you f rom all the snares of the devil, and from all false doctrine, be praise, honor, power and strength, for ever and ever. Amen.
See, my dear wife, as I can not help you with my weeping, or with my blood, I have written a few things; to comfort you, and for a memorial or a testament, that you may remember me by it, how I walked before you; for I hope to seal this letter
with my blood, namely,. that it is nothing but the pure truth, for which I desire to lay down my life, to the praise of the Lord and the edification of all that fear' Him. I pray the Lord that He will let you follow me as I through His grace hope to go before you; and I trust in the Lord that He will let you follow me thus, and have confidence in you, that you will follow me thus steadfastly, through the grace of the Lord; and 'I pray the Lord, that He will let the fruit grow up to His praise, that it inay also be found worthy to suffer for His name. Thus I have commended the fruit to the Lord, who is more able to preserve you and it, than I am. And that the Lord will preserve you, I do not doubt. I hope that my blood will be the seal of this letter.
Thus I commend you to the Lord, and to the word of His grace, that He will keep you in all righteousness, holiness and truth; 'and though we must separate here, I know, and firmly trust in the Lord, that we shall be together in life eternal; hence, I will freely bring my offering.
Oh, that I might suffer for you; I should gladly offer my flesh for you. I am sorry that I can write to you no, more. 1. herewith commend you to the Lord. Be not solicitous about the child; for my friends will take good care of it, yea, the Lord will care for it. Hendrick of Deventer salutes you much in the Lord, whom he entreats day and night for you,. that you may continue steadfast unto the end.
Grace, peace, heartfelt joy, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, be with you, my dear wife Lijsken in the Lord. Z wish you, my dear wife Lijsken, an ardent love to God, and a joyful mind to Christ Jesus. Know, that I remember you day and night in my prayers, supplicating and sighing to God for you; for I am very sorrowful on your account, because you have to be imprisoned so long; and I would fain wish, had it been themill of the Lord, that you had been released; but now the Lord has willed it otherwise; because He means to try you, and to reveal His power and strength in you, against all those who resist the truth. Hence, I can do nothing against the will of the Lord, lest I .tempt Him; but I will much rather praise and thank Him, that He has made us both Worthy to suffer for His name; for thereto are all His chosen lambs elected; for He has redeemed them from among men, as first fruits unto God. Rev. 14:4.
Furthermore, my most beloved, I have greatly rejoiced until this hour, praising and thanking the Lord for having fitted us for this purpose, but when I heard from you, that your sorrow was greater than your lips could express, it caused me to weep many tears, and grieves my heart; for it is a great affliction. And I understood that it is because you often told me to depart from Assuerus,which I did not do; this has cost me many a. tear, and I am very sorry; yet I can do nothing against the will of the Lord. (Rom, 9:19), and had it been His will, He would have provided a deliverance for us; but He has appointed our bounds, which we can not pass. Job 14:5; Tob. 13:2. Thus, we cannot escape from the Lord; hence let us not be grieved at His work, but much rather, as Christ says, let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is our reward in heaven; and as Peter says, we ought to praise and glorify God on this behalf. Matt. 5:12; I Peter 4:16. O my dear; this is not said that we should sorrow. Be patient, therefore, in your tribulation and suffering; for Paul says that all things work together for good to them that love God; hence, I have confidence in the Lord, that it will also be for your good, that you have to be imprisoned so long. Therefore receive willingly at His hand whatever He sends you; for He suffers no one to be tempted above that he is able. Hence, be a partaker of the sufferings of Christ; for all that are without chastisement, are bastards, and not sons. Heb. 12:8. . And James says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him." James 1:12.
Be therefore a follower of Christ, patiently and joyfully take up your cross, and follow Him with gladness, since He has suffered so much for our salvation; hence let us also suffer for His praise. Since our hour has now come, let us joyfully strive for the crown of life, which is prepared for us.
Therefore I pray you, my love, that you will not sorrow any longer; for the Lord will preserve you as the apple of His eye; yea, though a ,mother forget her child, yet shall I not forget thee, says the Lord, yea, my sheep hear my voice, says the Lord, and they follow me, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. Therefore, my most beloved, be content, and trust in the Lord; He will not forsake you. Moreover, I learned partly from my sister, that you also grieved because you were not more patient with me. See, my dear lamb, you have not been obstinate towards me, and we have not lived together otherwise than we were in duty bound to live; why then will you grieve. Be content; Christ will not lay it to your charge, for He will not remember our sins. I thank the Lord, that you have lived so humbly with me as you did. Gladly would I be imprisoned for you for a whole year, on bread and water, yea, and then die, a tenfold death, if you could be released. Oh, that I could help you with my tears and with my blood, how willingly should I suffer for you; but my suffering can avail you nothing. Hence, be contented; I will pray the Lord still more for you. I have written this letter in tears, because I heard that your grief is so very great. I pray you, that you will write to me how you are. Herewith I commend you to the Lord.
Grace and peace be to both of us from God the Father, and the love of the Son, and the commun-. ion of the Holy Ghost be with us, to the strengthening, consolation, joy, and salvation of our souls.
My beloved husband in the Lord, know that at first the time seemed very long to me, because I was not used to imprisonment, and heard nothing but temptations to depart from the Lord. They said, "Why do you trouble yourself with the Scriptures; attend to your sewing. It seems that you would follow the apostles; where are the signs which you do? They spake with different tongues, after they had received the Holy Ghost." Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4. And they said, "Where is your language which you received through the Holy Ghost?" But it is sufficient for us; that we have believed through their word, as John tells us, where Christ says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." John 17:20. Herewith I commend you to the Lord; the grace of God be with us always.
Thanks be to God the Father, who had and showed such love to us, that He gave His dear Son for us; may He give us such love, joy, wisdom, and such a steadfast mind, through Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we may prevail against all ravenous beasts, dragons, serpents, and all the gates of hell, which are now using great subtlety to seize, deceive, destroy, and seduce our souls. Well may we therefore humbly pray the Lord without ceasing, day and night; for the devourer walks about us, seeking whore he 'may devour; for we are not ignorant of his designs. But though they are very crafty, yet the Lord's hand is not shortened, in them that love Him, and do His will; for the eyes of the Lord are upon those that love Him, and His ears are open unto their cry; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. Isa. 59:1; Ps. 34:15, 16. Hence, let everyone take good heed, that the face of the Lord be not against him; for the soul that sinneth, it shall die, unless he repent before the Lord come. But we are not assured of the time when the Lord will come; for He shall come as a thief in the night. I Thess.. 5:2. Hence, we may well pray the Lord for one another, that our flight be not on the Sabbath Day, when we are idle, nor in the winter, when we have no fruit on our trees, for every tree which bringeth forth not good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire; but every tree that beareth good fruit, He shall purge, that it may bring forth fruit abundantly. Matt. 24:20; 3:10; John 15:2. The mouth of the Lord also tells us, "If any man sin willfully . . . there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. The law of Moses was so strict,that he who transgressed it had to die without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God?" Heb. 10:26-29. The Holy Ghost also declares, "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." II Tim: 2:11-13."Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame; who threatened not, when he suffered for our sins unto the salvation of our souls." Hebrews 12:1, 2; I Peter 2:23. Thus we also, my most beloved in the Lord, to His praise, and to the consolation of all dear friends. I wish to us both the crucified Saviour for an everlasting joy and strength. I trust to the Lord, who alone is wise, and who has given His wisdom only to the simple, the innocent and outcasts of this world, that He will comfort us till our travail is over. Rev. 12:5.
My dear husband in the Lord, whom I married before God and His church, and with whom they say I have lived in adultery, because I was not married in Baal; but the Lord says, "Rejoice, when all men shall speak evil of you, for my name's sake: rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven." Matt. 5:11, 12.
Know, that I have wept much, because you were grieved on my account, having heard that I said that I had often spoken to you about moving away from Assuerus, and that you did not do it; be content concerning this, my most beloved in the Lord, if it had not so been the will of the Lord, it would not have happened; the Lord's will must be done, for the salvation of both our souls, for He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able. Be of good cheer therefore, my most beloved in the Lord, and rejoice in Him as before, praising and thanking Him for having chosen us to be imprisoned so long for His name, having been found worthy thereto; He knows for what end He has ordered it so. Though the children of Israel were a long time in the wilderness, yet, had they been obedient to the voice of the Lord, they would have entered the promised land with Joshua and Caleb. Thus also we are here in the wilderness, among these ravening beasts, which daily spread out their nets, to catch us (Ps. 35:8); but the Lord, who is so strong, does not forsake His own, who trust in Him; He preserves them from all evil, yea, as the apple of His eye; hence let us be content in Him, joyfully and patiently take up our cross, and wait with a firm confidence for the promises which He has given us, not doubting them, for Hie is faithful that promised; that we may be crowned on Mount Sion, and adorned with palms, and may follow the
Lamb, I pray you, my beloved in the Lord, be of good cheer in Him, together with all dear friends, and pray to the Lord in my behalf. Amen.
Grace and peace be with you from God the Father, and the mercy and love of the Son, and the power and communion of the Holy Ghost strengthen your faith, heart, mind and understanding in Christ Jesus. Amen. This I wish to my beloved wife, whom I before God and His holy church espoused as my own wife. Even as Abraham took Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Tobias, the daughter of his uncle to wife; so did I take you to wife, according to the Word and command of God, and not as this wicked, blind world. For this reason I praise and thank the Lord night and day, that He spared us so long, till we became acquainted in part with each other, and had attained unto the knowledge of the truth; on which account they say that we lived in adultery, because we were not married like this idolatrous generation, in an idolatrous, carnal, vain, proud, and gluttonous manner, which is nothing but an abomination in the eyes of God. On this account they slander us, as they did Christ. Matt. 12:24. And though they may tell you to attend to your sewing, this does not prevent us; for Christ has called us all, and commanded us to search the Scriptures, since they testify of Him; and Christ also said that Magdalene had chosen the better part, because she searched the Scriptures. Matt. 11:28; John 5:39; Luke 10:42. Moreover, my most beloved, though they ask you where your signs and tongues are, this must not hinder you; for the believers whom Peter and John baptized did not speak with tongues, but it was enough for them, that they believed in Christ. Acts 2:38. And also Stephen, who was full of the Holy Ghost, did not speak with tongues; nor did any of the bishops or teachers who were with Paul, perform signs, and speak with tongues; yet they taught the Word of God blamelessly. And Paul says that the Holy Ghost distributes His gifts in the church; one has the gift of healing; another of prophecy; another of speaking with tongues; another the working of miracles; another the gift of exhortation; another of showing mercy; another of firm faith; and all these worketh the Holy Spirit, through whom they mutually assist each other to their own edification, and thus grow into a holy temple; and let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. I Cor. 12:7; Eph. 4:16; 2:21; I Cor. 7:20. Moreover, it is enough for us, that Christ prayed not only for His disciples, but also for those who should believe on Him through their word. John 17:20.
Behold, my beloved wife in the Lord, how gladly the ravening wolves would murder the souls of the simple, with their lies and subtlety, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, in order to bring your soul into eternal death. Hence, beware of them, andhearken not unto them, since they are very crafty; but do as Christ says, "My sheep hear my voice; they hear not the voice of strangers; hence no man shall pluck them out of his hand." See, my beloved, how Christ has warned us of this time; let us therefore look well before us, lest the subtle serpent deceive us. And know, that I have also been before the lords once, when I called to you, and that I then spoke in such a manner, that they let me in peace; though the others were arraigned twice after this, yet I was left unmolested. Once I also had a discussion with the priests in regard to the calling,* in which I so reproved them with the word of the Lord, that they became so angry that they struck on the table with their fists, and did not know what to say; for they said that Peter was a pope, and that St. Andrew read the first mass. I replied that they could not prove it in truth, and told them they were seducing spirits, and held the doctrine of devils. Then they went away.
Moreover, know, my beloved wife in the Lord, I am sorry that you wept; for, when I heard that you grieved, I prayed the more fervently to the Lord, day and night, for you, and know assuredly, that He will preserve you as the apple of His eye. I constantly praise the Lord, that He has made us both worthy to suffer for His name, for which cause I greatly rejoice. When I read your letter, and learned how it was with you, and that you wished the crucified Christ to me, for a salutation, my heart and my spirit leaped up for joy in my body; so that I could not finish reading the letter, but had to bow my knees before the Lord (Eph. 3:14), and praise and thank Him for His strength, consolation and joy, although I was afflicted on account of our brethren and you, because you have to be imprisoned there so long. I have committed you, together with the fruit, into the hands of the Lord, being confident beyond a doubt, that He will give you the same joy which He gives to me, and keep you unto the end. I experience such joy and gladness in His promises, that I never think on these torments, but only on the great promises which He has given to those who remain steadfast unto the end. I have such gladness, consolation and joy as I never had, yea, such joy, that I cannot utter or describe it, yea, that I did not believe that a person could have such joy in prison; for day or night I can scarcely sleep for joy, nor sufficiently thank and praise the Lord; for it seems as though I had not been here a day yet. Sir. 43:30. Oh, that I might break my heart into pieces, and give it to you and our brethren! Oh, that I could help them with lny blood; I should so gladly suffer for them I
O my beloved in the Lord, I now experience how mightily, strongly and fatherly He preserves those who trust in Him, and seek nothing but His glory; yea, what strength, consolation and joy He gives them; and how ignominiously He permits
them to fall, who trust in men, and forsake and deny Him; so that they get a torturing conscience, a sorrowful heart, and dreadful horror, yea, look for nothing but eternal damnation and the pain of fire, and expect to hear the terrible words, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire; for the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." Matt. 25:41; Ps. 34:16. Behold, therefore, my beloved wife in the Lord, let us look unto Jesus the Finisher, how. He went before us into death, for our salvation; for, behold, the crown of life is prepared for us; we shall sit with Him upon His throne; we shall be clothed in white robes. Herewith I commend you unto the crucified Christ for consolation and joy; that He will keep you, satisfy you with His divine Word, feed you with the bread of life and of understanding, and give you to drink the water of wisdom and the unadulterated milk, from the fountain of life. May He keep your soul unto salvation. Amen.