Grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all, my most beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Let everyone among you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called so that Satan may not torment you in your trial; and diligently exhort one another in love; for I would willingly write you an exhortation, but the time is not convenient for it, because I am closely watched by the jailer, who stands in great fear of the dean. Nevertheless, I am greatly inclined to write you something about my examination, and the malice and forged lies of the priest, by which they think to condemn me, but God be praised, who helps me gain the victory. I write you this, if, haply some that are yet young may be edified thereby.
At first after I was imprisoned, until the sixth day I was in great sorrow; my. heart was weighed down and heavy, and my flesh feared greatly. I said to myself, "Now I must undergo this and many other conflicts;" I thought of wife and children; and Satan went round me to devour me, with many strange temptations which it would take too tong to relate. On the sixth day, in the forenoon,the jailer came and called me out of the place where I was confined, saying, "Claes, come down, and follow me; and he led the way. My heart kindled within me with joy to the Lord my God; so that all my trouble and anxiety was driven from me, as dust is swept from the street. Then thought I, "O gracious God! now I flnd that Thou art faithful to Thy promise. Heb. 10:23. Lord, direct now my speech, as Thou hast promised." Heb. 10:23; Luke 21:14. He then led me into a room, where sat the chief judge with two other judges, the bailiff, and a man with a long beard, who had a large book before him, in which to write. They regarded me very intently, when I entered the room, and I did them great reverence, and bade all of them peace. Rom. 13:7. The jailer placed a chair for me, and said, "Claes, sit down here; it is so ordered." I sat down with good cheer, the heart lifted up to the Lord my God, forgetful of myself and the things that are in this world.
Then they said, "Cover your head." I said"It is not proper now." The bailiff asked me"What is your name!" I replied, "Claes de Praet." Then said he, "Write this, and born in this city." The clerk then asked me, "Were you born here?" I replied, "I know nothing to the contrary." Bailiff. "Where have you been so long, Claes? The last time you were away from home so long?" Claes. "In Emderland." Bailif. "What did you do there?" Claes."I tried to learn whether I could not buy or sell, or do something, .by which to earn my bread." Bailiff. "Yes, and. to see the brethren, I well perceive." Claes. "Yes, sir bailiff." Bailiff. "Yes, Claes, have you received any other baptism than the one you received in your infancy, when you were christened?" Claes."I don't remember so far back." Bailiff. "Have you received a baptism which you remember?" Claes. "Yes, sir bailiff." Bailiff."How long ago?" Claes. "About four years." Then they were all greatly astonished. The bailiff asked me once more, "How long did you say?" Then the other judge said, "About four years." Then the bailiff looked at me very sharply, and asked who they were, that had intercourse with me, and which of my brethren were also baptized. I replied, "It is not our way to ask each other: Where are you from? or where do you live? or what is your name? or what do you do?" Bailiff."You don't want to know it?" Claes. "No, sir .bailiff." Bailiff. "You do it, so as not to bring any one into trouble?" Claes. "Yes, sir bailiff;for we well know that our blood is much sought, and the Lord has permitted us to be as wise as serpents." Prov. 1:11; Matt. 10:16. Then the bailiff snarled at me, and they talked much Latin with each other.
The bailiff then asked, "Where was it that you received your baptism?" Claes. "At Antwerp." Bailiff. "Where there?" Claes. "Between St. George's gate and the Koeper gate." Bailiff. "In what house?" Claes. "In a small, new house." Bailiff, "What trade was carried on in it?" Claes.
"I saw no trade carried on there." Bailiff. "Yea, Claes, who was present? there must have been witnesses present to testify that you were a brother?" Claes. "There were:three or four persons present who lived in the house, and the one who brought me there." Bailiff. "Who was it that brought you there?" Claes. "It was a young man." Bailiff. "Where was he from?" Claes."I did not ask him." Bailiff. "How .many were baptized with you?" Claes. "Three of us." Bailiff. "Where were they from?" Claes."I did not ask them." Bailif. "What trade did they follow?" Claes. "One was a journeyman mason, it seemed to me." Bailiff. "How did he that brought you there know where to find you?"' Claes. "He set the day when he would meet me at the Koeper gate." Bailiff.' '.'How did you know that the baptizer was in the city?" Claes."I had made inquiries at different times, while out trafficking, and thus heard that he was there." Bailiff. "Where did you hear that he was there?" Then said the chief judge, "They know all their people." Bailiff."Do they still live in the house where you were baptized, or don't you know this either?" Claes. "Shortly after they were all driven from the house." Bailiff."Then you can't tell us anything about it, can you?" Claes."One went to England; another was burnt, and where the rest went to I don't know." Bailiff. "What kind of man was he who baptized you?" Claes. "He appeared to me to be a blameless man." Bailiff. "Yes, Claes, how do you know that the man that baptized you was blameless?" Then one of the judges said, "He said it appeared to him that he was blameless."
The chief judge then said, "These ,people also preach, do they not?" Then the bailiff remarked to him, "We used to ask all these questions, but we do it no longer." And they rang the bell for .the jailer to come and take me away. This they put on record.
The clerk asked me what persons from Ghent I had left at Emden. I would give him no answer, because it was not his business to ask. The judges then said to me, "Claes, we will send you men that will tech you the true faith." Claes."I trust I have the true faith, and if they will confirm me therein, they will be welcome; but if they want to draw me away from it, I don't want them." Then they said, urgently."Claes, hear them; hear them always." I then heartily thanked the judges and the bailiff, since they had been molested with me. The jailer's servant then told me to go above, and I went. I felt very gloomy, because they had not asked me concerning my faith. Two servants who hid stood at the door and listened, came up above to me, and tormented me with many things and said, "Poor fellow, that you are, to give your life for it, and leave your wife and children in want; it is not right for you to break your marriage, since God Himself has instituted it." I said, "I do not break my marriage, nor does my wife; but they are to blame for it, who take me from mywife; they may well take heed what they do." They said I should speak that which they wanted to hear. I replied, "God did not teach me this;" and admonished them, to beware of staining their hands with such blood. I spoke to them earnestly, and they went away, and asked God to grant me my greatest happiness. Then I sat there alone, and Satan came to tempt me, saying within, "Poor man, are you here for the sake of your faith? The lords don't ask you concerning your faith, but regarding the baptism you received from such and such a man, as you well know." And he tormented me with all that he could produce, doing his very best to cast me down. Then thought I;"O thou wicked tempter, thou murderer, I well feel that thou art the same that tormented Peter, and of whom he warned us." I Pet. 5:8. And I fled to God, and commenced a hymn, singing joyfully, and became glad and happy that I had fought through this storm, James 5:13. I was there about ten weeks.
Then the jailer came, and said, "Claes, come hither; here are two royston crows;" and enjoined me much to think of my wife and children. I said, "I think of them enough; but Christ has said: 'Whosoever will not forsake father and mother, sister and brother, wife, child, yea, his own. life, for my name's sake, is not worthy of me.'"Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26. He said, "It is true, i f one can do it." He then led me into a room where were two Jacobines . They took off their caps, and I did the same with mine. They bade me good evening, and I them. The one asked me, "What is your name, my friend?" I answered, "Claes," and said, "What is your name?" He replied, "Brother Peter de Backer," and told me, that he had been at the chief judge's, and that the latter had requested that he should come and instruct me in the true faith. I said, "This I have received from God." Ques. "What is your faith?" Claes."I believe only in Christ Jesus, that He is the living and true Son of God, and that there is no other salvation either in heaven or on earth." Ques."Is there nothing else to be believed? What becomes of the mother, the holy church, in whom we must believe?" Claes."Do you know which is the holy church?" Ques. "Do you know it, let me hear it?" Claes." I ask you; for you speak of it?" Ans. "The same which was it from the time of Christ, and of the apostles, and which the apostles maintained and still maintain." Claes. "What one is that?" Ans. "The mother, the holy Roman church?" Claes."Is this the apostolic church?" Ans. "Yes." Claes. "Did the apostles thus maintain it?" Ans. "Yes, just as we, neither less nor more." Claes. "Did the apostles read mass?" Ans. Yes." Claes. "Where is this written?" Ans."I will show you;" and he referred me to the Corinthians, where Paul speaks of the supper. I Cor. 11:20. I said, "He speaks here of the breaking of bread; but did he read mass as you do?" Ans. "Yes, neither less nor more than we
do." Clcres. "Did the apostles persecute and maintain their church with fire and sword, as you do?" Ans. "Yes, they shed blood, betrayed and killed." Cllaes. "Peter shed the blood of Malchus, and Judas betrayed; but where did they kill any one?" Ans. "Peter smote Ananias and Sapphira with the sword of his mouth, so that they fell down dead." And he laughed and held up his finger. Then said I, "It seems to me you belong to those of whom Paul speaks (II Tim. 3:5) , whom we are to flee; for your folly does not remain hid, but becomes manifest before men; for you sit and mock and loiter, and show plainly, that you are men of corrupt minds, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." And I reproved him much. They wanted to prolong the conversation much longer, and question me with regard to baptism, the incarnation of Christ, and other articles of faith; but I had resolved not to dispute with them, without judges being present; but to confess as I confessed above before them. When they perceived that I would hear them no longer, and was on the point of leaving, one of them said, "O Claes, how lamentably you have gone astray; and yet I love you so much; I would that you were of our mind with me, and that I might give my body to be burned. O poor man, I will pray for you, and have others pray for you, when I preach." Claes."I don't want you to pray for me, nor that you have others pray for me; for your prayer is vain, and is not heard by God, so long as you people continue in your wickedness." Ans. "Perhaps there are one or two in the whole number, that are good." Claes. "Begone; for you only want to talk." Then he went away laughing, saying, "I shall have you prayed for, whether you desire it or not, for Z like you well; and I will come again."
About two weeks afterwards, there came two of the same band; the one was a large fat man, who had much talk in him; the other was very fierce and captious in his remarks, and wanted much to engage me in a disputation; but I would not enter into any, only that I put many questions to them, as I had done to the others, and made them expose their wickedness themselves; for very many prisoners had come and stationed themselves back under the window of the room, and behind the door, to listen; which I well knew; hence I asked the more, because the one was so loquacious, which was owing to him having imbibed too much.
Having been confined about seven weeks, I was called down and led into a room, where sat the Dean of Ronse, with his clerk, and another person. The dean told me to be seated, and I took a seat forward at the table, beside him, whereupon he gave me a long lecture, to which I listened. He said that it was impossible to please God without faith, and that he that did not believe was damned. Finally he asked me, "Why did you allow yourself to be thus seduced, and led into error, and apostatize from the holy church?" I replied, "Since it iswritten that it is impossible to please God without faith, I was diligent in examining the faith, and asking God to strengthen me in it, through His grace and mercy. This He has done abundantly, and I want to keep it faithfully unto His praise, and not to forsake it on account of any suffering, nor for aught that is in the world."
Dean.."You think you have the faith, but you have departed from it. And that you people are so bold and of good cheer even unto death, is all owing to the devil, who can transform himself into an angel of light. Hence, when you read the Scriptures, you were instructed by some poor, simple tradesman, who taught you the same according to his reason; therefore you are now deceived. You should have let those teach you, who have received the true doctrine, the ministers of the holy church, that is, the pastors." Claes. "Are they the ones that have received the true doctrine?" Dean. "Yes." Claes. "Why, then, do they live the life of devils; as may be seen?" Dean. "What does that concern you? It is written, Matt. 23: 'Do after their commandments, but not after their works."' Claes. "Are you, then, the scribes and Pharisees, of whom Matthew has written?" Dean. "Yes." Claes. "Then all the woes come upon you, that follow further on, in said chapter." Dean."No, they do not."
We had much additional discussion yet, with reference to this. He would have liked to engage me in a disputation concerning the articles of faith; but I would not enter into one, confining myself to the asking of such questions. The man was willing in speaking, and very mild, and wanted attention to be given to what he said, and also gave good attention himself. And I thought, "I have heard so long and so much of this man, that he persecutes and troubles the church so greatly; I must see now, how he will prove it with the Scriptures, when I speak with him; for I don't know that I have ever seen him."
I asked him, where he found it written, that he should run so bloodthirstily after innocent blood, which no one could accuse of any crime. Dean. "My friend, I don't run after or seek the blood of any one." Claes. "You send out your servants for that purpose." Dean."I do not, my friend." Claes. "Do you persecute no one, then?" Dean. "No, my friend." Claes. "Have you no mandates either, by which you cause it to be done?" Dean. "No, my friend." Claes."You have certainly delivered to the law my fellow brethren who fell into your hands, and remained steadfast in the faith; this has been manifest to all the world." Dean."I don't do this, my friend." Claes. "Why do you come and sit with the judges, and have so much to say, if you don't concern yourself about the matter? One by hearing you talk, would think you had no hand in it." Dean."No, my friend;" and he rubbed his hands together. Claes. "Who then does it?" Dean. "The secular, or the lord who has received the sword."
We had yet much more discussion on this subject, so that he did not know which way to turn. He asked from Deut. 17:12, upon which passage he founded it, that the priests had the authority, etc. I told him that, that was under the law of revenge, but that now we were under the law of grace. Exodus 21:23; Rom. 6:14. And I asked him, how he dared do something which the Lord had forbidden, namely, concerning the tares, Matt. 13:30, that both the wheat and the tares should be suffered to grow together. I asked him which of the two I was, that I must certainly be either the wheat or the tares? Dean."You are the tares." Claes. "Why don't you let me grow until the day of harvest?" Dean. "What the lord of the field commanded his servants was for the reason, that they should not spoil the wheat by pulling up the tares. But I can go along the edges, and here and there pluck out a handful or two, yea, sometimes, six, eight, ten, twelve, yea, now and then a hundred or two, without spoiling the wheat." Claes. "Then you are wiser than the servants of the Lord." Dean."I can certainly well do this." Cldes. "When I held with the priests and walked according to your will, was I a good blade?" Dean. "Yes." Claes. "Am I now a bad blade?" Dean. "Yes." Claes. "Well, then, if I am a bad blade, according to your own words, you have yourselves spoiled me, and others, who have gone before, by your plucking, and yet you say that you can do it so well. O you miserable plucker, that you are, when you plucked the four blades of Lier, in the Verle place, five years ago, when you stood on the scaffold, and preached, and the people said, "Antichrist preaches." It was then that I began to investigate, what faith it was for which those people died so boldly there; and I examined the scripture which you quoted from II Tim. 2 and 3. And I found that I had to separate from such a people as is plainly enough spoken of there, with regard to you; and I separated from such a multitude, and do so yet. What becomes now of you and your plucking, poor plucker; the more you pluck, the more you spoil; according to your own words, it were better if you would stop. And I told him a great deal from the Scriptures, so that he was ashamed, and knew not what to answer.
At last he said, "Those were not my people; it seems to me, that you have searched the Scriptures well; where did you hold your church?" Claes. "Where Christ and His apostles held it, behind hedges, in the woods, in the field, on mountains, on the seacoast, sometimes in houses, or wherever they found a place." Luke 6:17; Matt. 5:2; Acts 1:13. Dean. "Christ preached openly (Jno. 18:20); but you people cannot be found, where you are, or who you are." Claes. "It is certainly a great cross for you, that you cannot find them, nor know them, and that you people are known so well. I hope that God will not permit you to find them; but though you sometimes cut into the branches, I trust that you will not cut off the vine. ChristJesus, the living Son of God, will keep and feed His branches, so that they may bring forth fruit, although you now do your very best to tear and destroy them."
We spoke much more yet of the church, and of his people, whom he exalted greatly. I asked him many questions in regard to whether infants that died without baptism were damned. He said, "Yes." I asked him whether the apostles had read mass and persecuted. And he replied"Yes" to everything, so that it seemed to me that the more I asked him, the more he lied; and I reproved him for the lies in which I found him. He said, "They are not lies, but it is the truth; but you don't believe what is told you; you remain hardened and unbelieving." And according to his words, it seemed that the life of the apostles was not a whit different from that of the priests. He said, "As regards your life, your walk or conversation is good towards all men, and you do unto your neighbor as you would have men do unto you, and live in peace, love and unity with one another, which is very good; and you assist each other in need and distress, and lay down your lives for one another, which is also very good, I can say nothing against it; and you expel from your church them that live disorderly, as you expelled Jelis of Aix-la-Chapelle, who led such a life, as I well know; against this I have nothing to say, it is all well done; but of what use is it to your people to have the life, if you have not the faith? it is not able to save you." I replied, "We have also the faith; but you don't understand it, or will not understand it; but it will yet be revealed to you, in the last day of the Lord, whom you have served." And I assailed him very severely.
He rang the bell for the jailer to let him out. The latter came into the room, and the dean rose to go. I thanked him much that he had come here for my sake. He turned around and said, "I should like to see you suffer yourself to be brought on the right way; but you persist obstinately in your unbelief; you are like your master." I asked, "Who is my master?" He replied, "The devil." I assailed him with many Scriptures, in order that he should come no more, and he went away ashamed, because the jailer was present, and other prisoners, who came running to the door. I had asked him for information concerning Jelis, and he could tell me everything, which greatly astonished me.
The third day after this, the jailer came once more for me, and I went down very willingly. He directed me to go into a certain room. When I entered it, there were sitting there the chief judge with another judge, and a pastor or priest, who was exceedingly bent upon examining our friends, and very mordacious in his words, so that he could listen to nothing that was said, without interrupting it. But one of the judges had never been a judge before, and he constantly forbade him; for he paid very close attention. When I entered the room, I did the lords great reverence, and they did
the same to me. I Pet. 2:17. I took a seat at the table, and the priest made a lengthy harangue, as had the dean; I kept silent till I was asked. When he had ended his sermon, he asked me, "Why did you suffer yourself to be seduced so miserably from the faith into error?" Claes."I have not been led into error, but from error into the true Christian faith." Priest."What then is your faith; let us hear?" Claes."I believe that Jesus Christ is the true, living Son of God, and that there is no other salvation either in heaven or on earth, either under it or above it." Chief Judge."This we all likewise believe in our church." The priest laughed, saying, "This I also preach; tell us something else, and speak freely; for Christ said
'When you are brought before kings, and princes, and magistrates, fear not what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour, of my heavenly Father, what ye shall speak; yea, my spirit shall speak through your mouth.' Matt. 10:19. Now, if you have received the Holy Spirit, speak freely through the Holy Spirit." And the chief judge sat there and kept nodding his head, and smiling, and saying, "Yes, yes, Claes, yes;" before I could say a single word. The priest continued instantly."Christ promised His church, that He would be with them unto the end of the world. Matt. 28:20. And I can find none among you that can tell me of a longer existence of your church than about thirty years; for before that it did not exist; or do you know of any books of your people, that are older, then name them to us." Claes."Since Christ promised His church, that He should be with her unto the end of the world, I doubt not that He has been the preserver of His body, and is yet, and will be as long as the world will endure, according to His promise, Matt. 28: 20; Eph. 5:23. Although she was sometimes extirpated in some countries, through bloodshed and persecution, and through the false doctrine of the Roman Empire, or otherwise; she was therefore not annihilated throughout the world; for the world is great, and she could linger in some corner of the world, and from one to the other, without perishing utterly. And as to your asking me to name to you any books of our church, the Bible is our book, which has reigned in the church from of old." Priest."Is it big enough for you people, and have you enough with one?" Claes."Yes; it is too big yet for us." The priest laughed and said, "What becomes then of all the books written from the time of the apostles by learned men, who also received the Spirit of God, as well as the apostles? have they all written in vain; as Jerome, Gregory, Augustine, and Ambrose; these were certainly good and virtuous men, were they not?" Cldes."Were these the four pillars upon which your church is founded?" Priest."Yes." Claes."I did not know them, only by hearsay; they were pious scullions, if they founded your church as it yet is as may be seen." The priest drew back, and said, "Why, why!" I said, "Christdid not thus found His church, neither did Peter, Paul, Stephen, and John; they rather received rods on the back, stones on the head, and the sword in the neck, and so forth." II Cor. 11:25; Acts 7:58; 12:2.
The priest was disconcerted, and said, "Tell us the truth about your church; for no one knows where to find it; if it were good, it would certainly come to the light; you people have neither head nor authority, nor do you know one another; this is a strange thing." Claes."Paul teaches us in his epistle to the Ephesians, concerning the true church, which Christ has presented to Himself, that it is glorious, holy and without blemish, without spot or wrinkle; that they are baptized together into one Spirit, and into one body, the head of which is Christ, and are joined together as members of His body. These have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father, of us all, who is through us all, and in us all. This is the true temple of God, in which dwells the Spirit of God. This church Christ has bought and redeemed with His blood." Eph. 5:27; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5, 6; I Cor. 6:19, 20; I Pet. 1:19. Priest."Did not Christ redeem all men, but only these?" Claes."It is written in divers places, that the unbelieving shall be damned; how then will the death of Christ benefit them? or what will it avail.them that Christ died? It is to be feared that they will regret it, that Christ died. But those who have believed in the Word of the Lord, and followed it, they are the ones who will inherit the kingdom of heaven, and triumph with the Lord on mount Zion, who have death, devil, hell and the world under their feet, though the world in her frenzy hastens to tear, devour and destroy them. If they were of the world, the world would love them; but because they are not of the world, therefore the world hates them, as Christ said." John 15:19. Priest. "You people don't believe that Christ is God and man." Claes."I believe that Christ is true God and man." Priest. "Do you not believe that Christ is man from Mary's flesh?" Claes."No; for if He had become man from. Mary's natural flesh and blood, He must have had His beginning with Mary; but it is written that He has neither beginning of days, nor end of life. Heb. 7:3. And the Word would not have become flesh, if He had assumed flesh from Mary; nor would He have come in the flesh, as John declares; but He would have come from the flesh, had He assumed it from Mary. John 1:14; II John 7. And it is written: 'He that confesseth not that Christ is come in the flesh, is that spirit of antichrist.' I John 4:3. And if He were such a carnal man, He could not have ascended to heaven; for it is written (I Cor. 15:50) that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God." Priest. "Still, did not the angel Gabriel say to Mary
'Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son?'" Luke 1:31; Isa. 7:14. Claes. "Well, understand the word rightly; for he said: 'Thou shalt conceive, and bring forth;' now, what Mary conceived,
could not grow from her." Priest."What word became flesh?"
Claes."The same word of which John testifies to us, in his
first epistle, saying,"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. I John 1:1; John 9:37; 20:27. What
else do you want to know?"
Priest."Where did Christ assume His flesh, in heaven, or on earth?" Claes."That which I cannot prove with Scriptures, I will not say." Priest."Don't you believe anything but what is written?" Claes."No." Priest."You certainly believe that you have a soul; but what do you know as to what your soul is, how large, how long, how wide, or of what color it is?" Claes."What does that concern me? my salvation does not lie in that." Priest."You believe that the dead will rise; but how can any one comprehend that what has perished will rise and become alive?" Claes."I am well satisfied with the explanation Paul has written," I Cor. 15. Priest."Do you not .believe that Mary is mother and virgin?" Claes."Yes." The priest smote his hand upon the table, drew himself up to his full height, and said, "This you cannot prove to me; we find nothing of this kind written in the Scriptures." Claes."The prophet Isaiah prophesied that He should be born of a virgin. Isa. 7:14. Again, when Gabriel said to Mary: 'Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son;' Mary answered: 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?'" Luke 1:31, 34. Priest."Yes, thus you may glean it here and there; but that she remained virgin until her death?" Claes."This I do not say." Priest."That is what I mean. And what do you think of the Supper? do you not believe that when Christ took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, saying'Take, eat; this is my body;' He gave them His natural flesh and blood?" Claes."No." Priest."Did He not say; 'Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you?' And did He not say that this was the true heavenly bread, which came down from heaven?" John 6:53, 51. Claes."The bread of which Christ speaks (John 6), is this the bread which you give the people to eat, namely, which you people call the sacrament?" Priest."Yea, it is the same which He left us." Claes."According to this, then, no one will .be damned of all those that eat of it; for Christ said: 'If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; but now everyone comes, whores, knaves, thieves, murderers, of whom it is written that they shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.'" Gal. 5:21. Priest."They have sorrow for their sins, before they receive it; and the Lord said: 'If the sinner sighs over his transgression, I will remember it no more forever."' Ezek. 18:21.
In regard to this we had much discussion; but it is too long to write. At last I asked the priest, whether he believed that when he takes the host into his mouth, he receives Christ's body, in fleshand blood, as large as He hung on the tree of the cross? Priest."Yes." Claes."When you swallow Him, where does He go then?"' The priest was highly offended. The chief judge asked me, "Why could you not be satisfied with your first baptism, but had yourself baptized a second time?" Claes."I know of but one baptism." Eph. 4:5. Priest."Your sponsors well know that you, were baptized once! you can ask them." Claes."Though I had known that I was baptized, yet I now know that it was done without faith; but it is written (Romans 14:23): 'Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."' Chief Judge."Your sponsors believed." Claes."I do not know that the apostles baptized any one, unless he himself believed, and confessed his faith. But what did I confess when I was baptized in infancy?" Priest."Ask your sponsors. And what do you think of our father the pope, and his dominion?" Claes."The pope, with all his trumpery, and mass, and all that is therein, is good for nothing, bag and baggage. You priests sell masses to the people, by the dozen, by twenties. and thirties at a time; they have neither edge nor point; they neither cut nor stab; and yet you promise the people that they are good and effectual-is this not deception? You preach to the people, that one should not drink to excess, and you go about the streets, as drunk as hogs. You preach that one ought not to be covetous; but where is more covetousness than in the priests and monks? You preach that one ought not to be idle; but where is more idleness than among you? You will rather tramp from door to door with a bag or basket, than work, as may be seen." The priest was angry, rose, and said, "This is the first thing you teach each other, to reveal the failings of your neighbor. Claes."Why should we not apply the knowledge Christ has given us, when He says that the tree shall be known by its fruit?" Priest."This is to be spiritually understood;" and he went out of the room.
The chief judge asked me whether I would renounce my second baptism, and all that I had said. I replied, "No, my lords, I will in no wise deny that which was administered to me in the name of the Lord." Hearing this, the chief judge arose. Then they rose and began to go out. I then thanked them, that they, had been molested with me. The chief judge turned around and asked me again, whether I would renounce; or I should see what should result to me from it. Then my heart was enkindled to tell him and the other judges, that they should take heed what they were doing, and I said, "My lords, renounce I will in no wise, and what will result to me from it, according to the imperial mandate, I well know; but there are two mandates, the one from the supreme King, the other from the mortal emperor, and these two run counter to each other; the one says that both are to be let grow, the good with the bad; the other that the tares are to be rooted up. .Therefore, my lords, I pray you, to warn the other judges, that they consider what is the best; for you have not
received the sword, to punish the innocent." I told them a great deal, as the Lord gave me utterance. He stood there, with his cap in his hand, as did also the other judge, and the jailer, and they kept very silent. Finally they prayed God, that He would grant me my greatest happiness, and went away.
Thus I greet the whole church, scattered in every country, with the peace of the Lord; for I now expect from day to day, to offer up my sacrifice. Pray God to keep me steadfast unto the end. I pray daily for you.
WRITTEN IN BONDS.