About this time a lay brother by the name of Govert Jaspers, with two others, left the monastery of the 'Cross-brethren at Goes. However, they did not continue together long; for one-of them utterly forsook the good way, and accepted the love of this world; the other, from fear of persecution; went to Friesland, where he became a brother in the church, and died a pious man; but this Govert Jaspers was apprehended by the bailiff, soon after he left the monastery, as he was sitting in the field, reading in a Testament. He was brought to the city of Brussels, in Brabant, where he had to suffer much, yea, finally even death, for the testimony of the truth, in which he steadfastly persevered and thus, as a valiant soldier of Jesus Christ, pressed through the strait gate, in order to take by force'the kingdom of God, which he had preferred far above all the kingdoms of this world.
About the same time there was apprehended at. Werwijck, in Flanders, for the truth, one brother Maerten Bossier, who, after much temptation and trial, also had to suffer temporal death (by burning); but now the second death shall have no power over him.
All that would follow Christ, must take His cross upon them; this was experienced by one brother Absalom van Tomme, or the Singer, who was apprehended for the truth, at Kortrijck, in Flanders, in the year 1558. After he had' been examined, and had made confession of his faith, he was severely assailed with threats and tortures, in order to cause him to apostatize; but he remained steadfast in everything, and firmly trusted in God, so that he was sentenced to death, and burned, showing himself a good disciple or servant of 'Christ, who did not wish to be above his Master, but like Him, in order to enterinto the kingdom of God, even as Christ had to suffer, to enter into His glory.
William van. Haverbeke also not only suffered persecution for the name of the Lord, but also suffered himself to be apprehended, and to be led before lords and princes, where he freely confessed his faith, and steadfastly continued in the same, no amount of suffering, pain or torment being sufficient to cause him to apostatize, So great was the love of God shed broad in his heart; hence he was finally condemned, and confirmed the same with his death, ,at Kortrijck, in Flanders, in the year 1558.
About this time, also a young man named Daniel Verkampt, after suffering much persecution, was apprehended at Kortrijck, in Flanders, for living truly according to the Word of God. Being sharply examined by the deans of Rouse and Nlet, he willingly and freely confessed his faith, and said that he would firmly adhere to it even unto death; but of his fellow believers he would betray no one.
Thereupon Ronse and Polet summoned the mother of this young man before them. She was a little old woman, and walked with a staff. When she appeared before them, they told her with severe words, that according to the imperial decree she had forfeited life and property for having harbored her son, whom they had found to be a heretic.
To this she meekly replied, "My lords, shall I forfeit life and property, for having now and then given shelter to my own son in his distress-whom I carried under my heart, brought forth in pain, and nourished in affliction-when he is neither a thief nor a rogue, but is called the most excellent young man of our village; and this merely because you say that he is a heretic? I think that if the Emperor were present, from whom you say you have a decree, he would say that you abuse his decree against me, and he would commend me, that the mother's heart was moved with compassion for her child, that has never merited any tiling else. Truly, my lords; this is contrary to your proper wisdom and urbanity; for, know, that if in that hour when you came to apprehend him, I could have concealed him from you in my body, by carrying him again for nine months, giving him birth, and raising him, as I have done once, God knows how. gladly I would have cone it." This she said with such pathos, that all the lords who were present and sat in court declared her innocent; and said that she had not acted contrary to the nature of a true mother's heart; and hence the mother was set at liberty, but the son had to purchase with fire the constancy of his faith, and the love of God, with which he was inflamed, and was burnt for the testimony of fesus Christ- who will make him free for-
Not long after the above, also a brother named Marcus de Ledersnijder was apprehended for the truth, at Kortrijck, in Flanders, who, having been much importuned and tortured, yet constantly remaining steadfast, was condemned to death, and burned with fire, thus offering up his soul to God, who also most graciously accepted it.
In the year 1558, Jacob de Melselaer, a brother, was apprehended at Antwerp, for living according to and keeping the Word of God; who, after much examination and torment, as he would not renounce or apostatize, was condemned to death, and brought forth into the marketplace, with a gag in his mouth, to prevent him from speaking. Nevertheless, he went to death with boldness, and valiantly testified with his blood to the faith he had confessed.
In this same year brother Louwijs de Wever was beheaded in prison at Antwerp, for the confession of and steadfast adherence to his faith.
A short time after this, also two brethren named Frans Tiban and Little Dirk, were apprehended for their faith, at Antwerp, examined, tortured, af-. flicted with much torment, and, finally, as they would in no wise apostatize, condemned to death, and beheaded in prison.
Three brethren, namely, Henderick Leerverkooper, Anthonis and Dirk de Schilder, were also apprehended at Antwerp, for the truth; who, as diligent followers, and true sheep of Christ, had to taste death for His sake, being executed with the sword.
In the year 1558, Waechling Dirks, Maerten Schoenmaecker, and Adriaen Pieters, all three of them natives of Wijnckel, were apprehended for the Gospel and the divine truth, and as they steadfastly adhered to the same, without departing therefrom, all three were finally condemned at Gravenhage, in Holland, and put to death, as pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, and are now awaiting the crown of life.
In this year, a young brother named Wouter van Honschoten was apprehended, at Honschoten, inFlanders, for following the Word of God, and as he freely confessed his faith, and would in no wise depart from it, he was finally sentenced to death and to the fire, and was burnt as a pious witness of God.
In the year 1558, a brother named Jacob de Swarte (son of Jan de Swarte), and Hanscken van den Broecke, went from Ostende to Bruges, to hear the preaching of the Word of God, and were apprehended these, together with others. No sufferings being sufficient to deter or separate them from the love of God, they were finally sentenced to death, and thus valiantly ended their lives for the testimony of the Gospel, about St. John's day, in midsummer.
About this time, also a brother named Hans den Duytsch was apprehended at Antwerp; who freely confessed his faith, and would firmly adhere to it; for he chose rather to die a temporal death for the truth, and thus gain eternal life, than to purchase a short wicked life with everlasting death. They had him beheaded in the prison, whereupon they, like madmen, threw his body into the Scheldt.
Very soon after, also six brethren, namely, Sander Hendricks, Hans de Smit, Hans van Burculo, Pieter in de Vettewarije, Arent and Geraert Passementwerker, were publicly put to death for the truth in the marketplace, in .the presence of all the people. They all valiantly confessed the name of Christ, and are now waiting for the crown of glory, which is promised to all heroes of the Lord.
Not long after the above, also four sisters, named Grietgen, Tanneken, Lijntgen and Stijntgen of Aix-la-Chapelle were apprehended at Antwerp, on account of the faith, and severely examined; but as they could in no wise be moved therefrom, and fought as heroines for the name of Christ, always firmly adhering to the truth, they were finally tied crooked and drowned in prison.
There was also a young maiden named Janneken apprehended for her faith, at Antwerp; who, when she appeared before the lords, freely confessed her faith. The Margrave said, "Janneken, if you will renounce, I will show you favor; do
according to my will, and I will give you your life." But she replied, "The life that you would give me, I desire not; for your promises are vain and as wavering as a reed, and would only bring me into greater sorrow: cursed is every one that trusts in man." Jer. 17:5.
There was a preacher named Balthazar, who endeavored to make her believe that God was in the sacrament; however, she would not confess it, but said, "You thus disgrace God in your body; but read the Lord's Prayer once." And when he read it, she said, "There, you see, you read that He is in heaven, and how dare you say then, that He is in the sacrament?"
In the court she was asked by the bailiff, whether she was rebaptized. She said, "Question me in regard to my faith, and I will freely confess it to you; or are you ashamed of it? I confess one baptism, which must follow faith, and does not pertain to infants, but requires previous amendment of life." The bailiff said, "We have done enough to gain you; if you had suffered yourself to be prevailed upon to recant, you should have done well." She replied, "You have loved my flesh, but not my soul, which you would have gladly devoured; but God will receive it as a child, and make it an heir. And though you are now a bailiff in your glory, you will deplore it in the judgment of God, and wish that you had rather been a herdsman* in the fear of God." Thereupon she was sentenced to death, and, having commended her spirit into the hands of God, was drowned in a tub, together with another woman, named Noele.
As the Jews in the time of the apostles envied the assemblies of the Christians, and disturbed them wherever they could, so have also their successors, the ministers of antichrist, universally done, which appeared also in the year 1558, near Doornick, where some Christians and faithful children of God had assembled, in order to be refreshed, edified and bettered by the preaching of the Word of God. They were also spied out, dispersed, partly scattered, and six of them apprehended, namely, Adriaen van Hee, cutler, Joos Meeuwens, Willem de Hoedemaecker, Goossen de Hoedemaecker, Egbert de Hoedemaecker, and Lambert van Doornick. They were together brought to Doornick, and having been imprisoned there a fortnight, they were condemned to death for their steadfast adherence to the true faith in God, and taken without Doornick, into a forest belonging under the jurisdiction of Hainault, and there burnt. as pious witnesses of God, who shall not taste the fire of hell, but shall live in joy with all the chosen of the Lord.