Grace and peace from God the heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, be with you. Amen.
My dearest and much beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, I inform you that I have received your communication, which I have read with great joy; for its object is, in the first place, to incite to steadfastness in the faith, and to a perfect end, and this through Jesus Christ, wherefore I entreat the heavenly Father with all my heart and mind, that not only I, but all the God-fearing may attain to an upright end, according to the will of God, as I hope. For I have suffered stripes and great pain, and this, according to the words of John, for the brethren. I John 3:16. I desire to suffer not only this, but also, if it is the will of God, to die for His name, Word and truth, no matter what kind of a death it may be; for I should not have thought that it should last so long; but as not a hair of my head can be hurt, without the Lord's permission, I want to await the end with Him, in patience, as behooves a Christian.
Therefore, my much beloved brethren and sisters, it is my heartfelt request that you and all the God-fearing will entreat the Lord for me your weak brother, that I may receive the end of my faith; for the prayer of the righteous avails much, and is effectual. I Peter 1:9. They use every artifice to rob me of the beautiful treasure which I have received from God; but I trust to the Lord, that He will preserve me.
In the second place, dear brethren, it is a great joy for me and the Lord, to learn that the vineyard of the Lord is enlarging, and that its branches are spreading wide, bringing forth upright fruits of the most high God, which I have so long desired. Hence I thank my and your God, that I hear what you have written, and rejoice that the light is rising in every nook and corner, and shines over every mountain, as I hear from many friends, who come to comfort me in my bonds. Therefore, my dear friends, be diligent, everyone according to the gift he has received from God, and put it diligently out upon usury, so that you may get much gain, and may hear these words of the Lord, "Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter in to the marriage of the Lord." Matthew 25:21.
Thus, let everyone build up the house with lively stones, that it may become a glorious priesthood, and that they may offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:5. We may always be of good cheer in the Lord, for His power is so great with those who fear Him, that all death, devil, hell, fire and sword, must yield to Him. All this cannot hinder those who are built upon Christ; for we can do all things through Him who makes us worthy, and through His love everything is overcome, and it casts out fear (I John 4: 18), as I can indeed say; for when I was brought into the king's hall, and stood there almost an hour, before the lords came, and saw how everything was being put in readiness to torture me, I again and again thought in my mind, "O Lord, unless Thou now succor me, I am utterly lost;" and I prayed Him to give me a mouth to speak to His praise and glory, and to close it against everything tending to blaspheme His holy name and that of my neighbor.
While I thus spoke and they were getting ready to torture me, I felt neither fear nor apprehension; however, they handled me in a very severe and fierce manner, so that the president said, "Why will you not tell the truth?" Ans."Because Christ spoke nothing but what tended to the glory of His Father, and what concerned His own divinity
about all other things He was silent. And I want to do the same; wherever His honor and the doctrine of His commandments are concerned, I do not want to be silent either before emperor, or king, or duke, or count." Instantly the order was, "Handle him without gloves: a drowned calf is a small risk." Behold, my dear brethren and sisters, how unmercifully they treated me. Nevertheless, the Lord was with me, blessed be His holy name; I had no control of myself, but the Lord directed my
mouth, so that they could obtain nothing according to their will. See, my dear friends, how faithful the Lord is; him that trusts in Him He does not suffer to be confounded. Sir. 2:10.
Hence I write again, always be of good cheer in the Lord, and admonish one another at all times, for Peter deems it expedient and profitable to help bear one another's burdens, and this in love; for whether one member suffer; all the members suffer with Him; or whether one member be honored, all the members rejoice with Him. II Peter 1:13; I Corinthians 12:26.
In the third place, I let you know that my wife has been here, and brought me your kind greeting, which I was very glad to hear; as also that she desires to follow that which is best, according to her feeble ability. For she confesses that the life which she has hitherto led is evil, as we may indeed all confess that ours also was unprofitable in times past. Tit. 3:3. Hence I entreat you, my dear brethren, that you would exercise a watchful care over her, and admonish her to a better life, and this in love; and if you should be able to accomplish anything, and write it to me, it would greatly rejoice me. If you write to me before I offer up my sacrifice to God, send your communication to my aged mother, or to N., and I shall get it. Moreover, I gave her some spices, namely, a nutmeg, three or four hands full of ginger, and some cloves, that she should give them to J'. C., or to some one else, that they should be cut up in pieces and properly distributed around, as a perpetual greeting, and this in the Lord. Here upon earth, an eternal adieu in Christ, peace and farewell, in case this be the last opportunity, before we all meet in the presence of Christ, and there see one another in His glory. Amen.
My much beloved brethren, I have lived with you, and rejoice that you are so courageous in building the city and the temple of Jerusalem, which have lain waste and in ruins so many years. Hence do not lose courage, brethren, though you be mocked and reviled as was Israel. When they rebuilt the wall (mark), they waxed stronger as they worked. Though the enemies raged, that the work might nrot progress, yet they did not cease from it, but kept watch the more diligently, holding in one hand the spear or the sword, and in the other the trowel, and were of good cheer, for God was with them and fought for them. Neh. 4. Behold, my dear friends, let us take an example, how valiant these heroes were; they were not daunted by their enemies. Thus let us also do, however much they cry or write, yea, revile and say, "Behold, these people come, and want to lay a new foundation to the city, and do not know an a from a b. Whence have they this? Where did they learn it? We have studied at universities, and spent our money for this purpose. Now, should these asses come and teach us? One is nothing but a cobbler; another, a weaver or furrier, and these want to quote Scripture. Let them remain at their trades; that [quoting Scripture] is our province; nor will we tolerate it; it must be opposed with fire, water, and the sword." Nevertheless, do not let us fear or be intimidated, however much the dogs bark, and the lions roar; for God, who is with us, is a strong God; He will preserve His own, and help them gain the victory. They can do no more than what the Lord permits them. My dear brethren, excuse this my simple letter; it was for the most part written in haste, the day after I received your letter. Herewith I will commend you once more to the Lord, and to the Word of His grace. Tell the friends in Vlieland, that I affectionately greet them with the peace of the Lord, that they shall contend valiantly for the law of the Lord. Pray the Lord for me; I will also pray for you; do not forget me in your prayers; think as though you were imprisoned, too. Heb. 13:3. Farewell. The fear of the Lord preserve you all. Amen.
I also send you here another letter; perhaps it may refresh you in the assault you suffer from the adversaries of baptism. [What prompted me to write it is a controversy] which I had with a Lutheran preacher. The following is a reply to his letter, which he sent me, since we had often conversed together. The Lord be with your spirit. Amen.
My much beloved good friend, herewith I will bid you adieu, for after this I hope to dispute with, or write against, neither you nor any other man; for Paul says, "Avoid contentions, or profane babblings, and unprofitable disputations; for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker." Tit. 3:9; II Tim. 2:16, 17. Hence I want to be delivered also. of you, and that my soul may rest in peace with Gad. Farewell always.
See, my good friend, here are the arms and weapons of my faith, and this, in part, briefly shown. Behold, with these, and no other, whether of iron or steel, spear or sword, will I attack the kingdom of antichrist; for spirit must be overcome with spirit, and flesh with carnal weapons. Hence I say with the apostle, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty before God to the pulling down of everything that exalteth itself against the truth; for we wrestle not only against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of this world, against spirits of wickedness under heaven." II Cor. 10:4, 5; Eph. 6:12. Hence all Christians must put on the armor of God, that they may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; and also be ready in every respect. Hence Peter says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist steadfast in
the faith." I Pet. 5:8, 9. This is our weapon, with which we are satisfied.
In the first place, a Christian does not know war, but must patiently bear all that comes upon him, for the Lord's sake; for Christ taught His disciples only love for their enemies. Moreover, He forbade them, when they asked Him, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume this people?""No;" He said,"ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." Matt. 9: 54, 55. Be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful. When He suffered He threatened not. I Pet. 2:23. These examples we follow with ail diligence, according to our feeble ability, commending our souls to the mercy of God, as the faithful Creator. From this you may see or understand, what kind of people we are, and what spirit we have.
See, my good friend, with these weapons and arms I will meet you, as a little and unrenowned David, meeting the great Goliath and presumptuous champion who mocked and reviled the army of God, and relied upon his own strength, even as you now trust in your learning, and are proud of the name"Rabbi," and because of the great reputation and renown of your understanding, might and power, you begin to say with Goliath, "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? I can and will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air to eat." I Samuel 17:43. Thus spoke Goliath, and you no less; for you say that without strength I am deceived and dead. Yes, my friend, I am well aware, that I and those like me are always looked upon by you as little and unlearned.
Behold, by your presumptuousness you have brought it so far, that I dare boldly step forth with my sling and stone, and say to you, as to Goliath, the champion and defender of the Philistines, "Behold, thou hast come out to me, relying on thy spear and shield; but I come to thee from confidence in God, in the name of the God of Israel, and will give thy flesh this day unto the fowls- of the air to eat, and slay thee with thine own sword," namely with your own writing or disputation, which serves me to overcome you, not by the spirit of the universities, but by the Word and power of God, and this in Dutch, my mother tongue, to the greater glory of God, and to your shame. And the dumb ass shall cause your madness to be manifest; you Balaam have beaten me, poor ass, so long until I spake by the power of God, Num. 22:28. You Goliath have so long reviled and defied me and the army of Israel, that I slay you with your own sword, which I should not have done, had you not snapped with such sharp teeth, and flourished your pen so boldly; how could I let this pass. Now, if I receive no thanks for it, as I presume will be the case, you may blame yourself for it, for one cannot be silent and speak the words of God, "O men, men, it were well for you, that like Gamaliel you would leave the people of God in peace; for if this work is of men, it will come to naught, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it: hence, take good heed, lest you run against the sword of the Lord, and be found even to fight against God. Persecute Jesus of Nazareth no longer, and leave Israel unmolested." Acts 5:34, etc.; 9.
To come now to the purport and beginning of your letter, which you sent me in order to instruct me in all the arguments and intelligence pertaining to the faith, I find that you greet me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. To this I reply. Since you boast of being a Christian, and regard me as a reprobate and unbeliever, and as laboring under a false opinion, therefore I say that you are wrong in writing thus, for John says,"If .there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither greet him; for he that greefeth him is partaker of his evil deeds." II John 10, 11. And Paul says that if any man that is called a brother be nevertheless a fornicator or the like, he, as also an unbeliever, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Hence, since they cannot inherit the kingdom of God, we are not to eat bread with them, for the destruction of their flesh, that they may consider from whence they are fallen. I Cor. 5.
In the second place, you call me your brother. Why am I your brother, seeing we differ in faith? Is it because we are all created of God the Father? I say no to this; for if we were brethren according to the spirit, and according to the doctrine of Christ and the apostles, we must be in one faith and practice, and be led by one spirit, which, however, is far from being the case; for the brotherhood must spring out of the heavenly regeneration, through the hearing of the divine Word, from the earthly into the heavenly. This brotherhood is not ascribed to unbelievers, nor does it originate in carnal descent, as Paul clearly indicates, when he says"Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" etc, II Cor. 6:14, etc. For the brotherhood consists in this, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit; to abide in one hope of the calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Eph. 4:3. Mark, you are satisfied with your baptism, whether administered by the midwife, or by confirmation, and the like; not considering that God would dwell above all, and in us all, through His Word.
Since, then, you are so contrary to me, and I _to you, in faith, doctrine, life and spirit, why do you call me brother, I ask you once more? Or, if I am a heretic and a renegade from the truth, why do you not avoid me, after I have been admonished once or twice? for this is commanded by the Scriptures. But alas! you do not obey the divinely inspired Scriptures, but choose them unto your own destruction. II Pet. 3:16.
to the third place, 1 find in your deceptive letter of instruction, that I am accused and decried only with reference to error and misapprehension regarding baptism, no other articles being mentioned. What shall I say to this? Are all your gods an abomination to you? and is it all over with your false doctrine and church usages? I think not; you are too fond of deceitful gain. But I well know your intention; you think that when you shall have deprived me of one, you will also get the rest, according to what you yourself said in Delft. Oh, what a brother you are to me, fine, indeed, in appearance I But my Teacher and Master Christ Jesus has warned me against you, to"be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matt. 10:16. Yes, you are such a brother to me, as the old, lying prophet, who deceived the man of God by his lies; for God had commanded the man of God to prophesy against the altar, and to eat no bread, nor drink water at that place, until he should have returned into his own country. But the seed of the serpent, the old prophet, said, "Eat bread with me, and drink water." The man of God answered, "God has forbidden me this." But the deceiver said, "I am alsd a prophet of the Lord, as thou art, and the Lord spake to me, that you should eat bread here, and drink water." Then the man of God went in with him, and transgressed the commandment of the Lord; wherefore, in punishment of his disobedience, he was slain by a lion on the way. I Kings 13.
This example is a great terror to my soul; for after deception, and transgression of the Word of the Lord, he sends lions, dragons, and bears, that they may get dominion of my soul, and kill it; for if my faith were feeble and wavering, I should be overcome and certainly be killed, but the anchor of my faith is steadfast.
In the fourth place, I come to your unreasonable or willful stupidity, that you want to maintain your infant baptism by the circumcision of the law, or Israel's sign of the covenant. For Paul says that circumcision (which you understand to be a figure of baptism), is made without hands, in the spirit, for the putting off of the sinful flesh; whose praise is not of men; as was done with the hand on Israel -but of God. Col. 2:11; Rom. 2:29. Now, is your infant baptism in the spirit, without hands, and this for the putting off of the sinful flesh, and for sin which they have not yet committed? For to put off the sinful is this, as Paul says, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lasciviousness, evil concupiscence;" see, whether this can be understood as having reference to your children.
And through your infant baptism you cause it that we are called Anabaptists, though we do not baptize, nor are baptized twice, but once, and this according to the truth, and pursuant to the command and practice of the apostles; and with this we are well satisfied.
In the fifth place, I will tell you our confession and practice, to show you that our baptism originates not in an opinion, but in the command of the most high God. After this, I hope to write against or dispute with neither you nor any one else, as said before; for great, presumptuous wisdom, I have not, but an assured heart and a firm faith in my ground. Listen to this brief statement, "Touching circumcision, I confess that it was a token of Abraham's covenant, to him and to all his seed (Gen. 17:9): and also the entering into Israel, the church of God." The external circumcision of Israel was a figure of the future, inward circumcision of Christ, as may clearly be understood from the spirit of the New Testament, even as Paul says that that is not circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, or law; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Rom. 2:28,29. Nor are you those who are circumcised in Christ, with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the sinful flesh. Col. 2:11. Further, what people are they who are buried with Him through baptism? Listen, I pray you: Are you risen? through what? Through faith. What faith? What faith have the sponsors, through which God works, as you people understand it? Mark here, no infants; but such as believe and understand. And this you put forth as your strongest argument. O friend, do not willfully kick against the goad; or it will be hard for you to speak against God, and to drive His Word and truth from you so stoutly. For, if you claim outward circumcision to be a figure of baptism, well, then, who makes you ped6baptists so presumptuous that you baptize infants before the eighth day? And why do you baptize female children? for, under the law, these were not circumcised; from which it would follow that female children are not to be baptized; for truth is consistent.
You are at an end with your figures of baptism; but we have a better explanation concerning the figures of baptism, and Paul and Peter shall help us keep it by their spirit and testimony. Peter says that the entrance through the water into Noah's ark signifies to us baptism. Gen. 7:7; I Pet. 3:20, 21. He who dares deny this, may also contradict us, who are little and unlearned in their estimation, yet are taught of God. Matt. 11:25.
Our second witness with regard to the figures of baptism is the great apostle Paul, who declared the counsel of God. Acts 20:27. He says that the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, their passage through the Red Sea, and that they were baptized under the pillar of cloud, through Moses, was a figure, and for our instruction. Ex. 14:22; I Cor. 10:1. But we, who are of the substance in the spirit and the New Testament, confess a clear ordinance, doctrine and command of God, and then the rule, practice and the clear examples of the apostles, regarding baptism; this is explanation enough for us.
The command of Christ is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15, 16; Matt. 28:19, 20. [Baptism is,] in the first place, a grave of sin, an entering in the church of God, a putting on of Christ, a fleeing from the wrath of God, a washing of regeneration, and the seal of a good conscience or assurance toward God; and he that rejects this rejects the counsel of God. The practice of the apostles was this, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Romans 6:4; Gal. 3:27; Tit. 3:5; I Pet. 3:21; Luke 7:30; Acts 8:37.
The following was written by Jan Gerrits, although it is not contained in the first edition.
Thus they were first asked. If you also ask the brethren this, and they say,"Yes, it is well; for the apostles baptized upon faith and not otherwise." For if the eunuch had said, "I cannot believe," Philip would not have baptized him. But he said, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." Acts 8:37. This is my faith, too, and nothing else. Again, when the multitude at Jerusalem heard Peter's exhortation, they were alarmed, and asked, "What shall we do?" Hear the good advice, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." And they that gladly received the word were baptized. Acts 2: 37. Do your infants also do thus? Then you are the old foundation; for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ, His Word and example. The jailer rejoiced with all his house that he had become a believer. Acts 16: 34. Are your infants also believers? Then it is well. Peter preached in the house of Cornelius, the centurion of the Italian band, and the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles as well as on the Jews. Acts 10:44, 45. Were there also infants present, on whom the Holy Ghost fell? And this is what I asked you before we parted, when the servant came to spread the table, and you said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," and this with reference to infant baptism. I then asked what became of the Spirit, but you gave me no reply. For John says, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh." John 3:8. Do children feel the Holy Spirit? Nicodemus was a carnal man, and experienced nothing concerning the Spirit of God; hence Christ referred him to a child as we find stated, Matthew 18:3. To be born again through the water from carnality into the Spirit is as Christ Himself says, John 3:5."Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom" of God. A man, what else does this signify, than, he that is carnally minded, as the afore said Nicodemus; for to be carnally minded is death; it does not mean children, for they do not feel it. But to be spiritual is life and peace; as Paul tes tifies. And to the Galatians he says, "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Gal. 5:18. As also Peter says, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." I Peter 2:1, 2. Thus do also; lay aside the great conceitedness and presumptuousness of your heart, and build yourself up, a lively stone in the house of God, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. These sacrifices are the works of righteousness, and not human inventions, reason, or ordinances of outward sacrifices. Behold, with this consciousness we go on, or, this assurance is sufficient and valuable enough to us, to forsake property and life for Christ's sake, which is far from being the case with you people. In short, we do not seal the epistle of Christ before it is written; we do not sow before the field is well plowed with the Spirit and Word of God; we do not sail, before we have favorable weather and wind; but you would have the child of the mother before it has been borne its proper time. But we can well wait till it has been borne its proper time and is brought forth by the mother. Who can forbear to speak of what everybody sees? And thus we recognize baptism in the Scriptures as a command of the Lord, and a certain clear practice of the apostles. Moreover, we also clearly see, what cause baptism has, why it is administered, what benefits it brings, to what people it is adapted, and what other name it has in the Scriptures. It is, in the first place, a grave of sin, an entering into the church of God, a putting on of Christ, a fleeing from the wrath of God, a washing of regeneration, and the seal of a good conscience toward God. And he that forsakes or rejects this forsakes and rejects the counsel and Word of God.
In the sixth place, as regards this, that I spoke tartly and insolently to you, I answer. Behold, my Lord and Master taught me nothing else, when He says, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matt., 7:15. Seeing you came to me with so fair an apearance, to slay my soul, as you indeed boasted, why then should I not speak or write the truth? For what do you but seek to devour or tear me, to entice a poor sheep away from Christ's pasture. No, no! God the chief Shepherd preserve me from this. No one shall
pluck them out of His hand, but if one goes out himself, then the case is different. Yet, you have been assiduous, and struck your sharp fangs into my soul; and yet you call me brother. Hence I call you a wolf in sheep's clothing; however, be converted and become a lamb. O friend, what have you come to?
In the seventh place, you strewed sweet roses and down before my feet, and made the bank slippery that I might glide off, saying, "Mind not what those who deceived you without the Scriptures will say. Yet see, is this without the Scriptures?" Just as if I had relied upon the fair words of men. No, no; had it depended on fair speeches, you would have laid enough snares for me; your works constantly testify to this. See, my good friend, I think that this is enough for you, namely, my own faith and confession; and I pray you, not so to damn and condemn little infants, and this for Adam's transgression, lest you be condemned and damned; since Christ, by His death, has redeemed us therefrom, as was stated when I was with you; for Paul says, "As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. 5:18. John says;"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29, [Paul says] to the Galatians, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Galatians 3:13. And to the Ephesians, "That he abolished in his flesh the enmity, on the cross." Moreover, He has promised them His kingdom, when He says, "Suffer little children to come unto me . . . for of such is the kingdom of God. And He received them, blessed them, laid His hands on them, and said: Except ye receive the kingdom of God as a little child, you shall not enter therein." Mark 10:14 to 16; Luke 18:16, 17; Matt. 19:14, 15. Now when He says, of such, there is no difference, even as Paul says; that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. But you separate them, and say that it is only spoken to Jewish children, as though they were Jewish children, I replied that you should prove this to me.by the Gospel; but you could not do it, and gave me no answer. For Christ showed His divine miracles an the children of the. Gentiles as well as on those of the Jews, as, for instance, on the Gentile woman and the centurion's servant; and He gives this testimony concerning the centurion, that he has not found so great faith in Israel. And enough other such examples.
Finally, I beg you to make the best allowance for my simple writing, for it is rustic work. If I had received better talents from God, I should indeed desire to do better; but now I thank Him for what He does give me. Farewell.
Below there was written: I, Jan Gerritts Ketelaer van Tessel, confess but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Spirit, and one Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Yea, the Lord Jesus comes. Ephesians 4:4, 5; Rev. 3:11.
After all affectionate greeting, dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, here is what you requested of me. I have complied with your wish, according to my feeble ability, as much as in me is; for which I most heartily thank God the Father and His beloved Son Jesus Christ, that He does not forsake His own, but always helps them to gain the victory; for His gracious eyes are ever upon His own, and His ears are constantly open to their prayers. Ps. 34:15. For it is written, "When thou passest through water and fire, I will be with thee." Isa. 43:2. Hence I give Him alone praise and honor for His great succor and working, which He has shown in me poor sinner, in my tribulation, suffering and pain, yea, thus, my dear brethren, that the dogs, lions, and bears have not been able to harm me, however much they bark, roar, and growl; for the Lord was my protector; even as I put my hope of faith in Him, that through His great grace He will also preserve me unto the end; for if God is with us, who can harm us, and if the Lord keeps the house (as David says), who can injure it. My friends, I wish I could describe to you the state of my heart and mind when I was suspended, and severely beaten for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ; for His Word, and His bitter suffering which He endured for us poor sinners, was thus present with me that I thought of nothing else. Behold, my brethren and sisters, how the Lord can keep and protect His own that trust in Him, even as the apple of His eye. I would further inform you, my dear brethren and sisters, that they first plied me with questions, namely, what my name was, where I was born, how old I was, and how long I had lived in Tessel. In the second place, when I received baptism. Ans. "Five years ago." Ques. "Where did it take place?" Ans. "I do not wish to tell you." Then they rejoined, "You will be made to tell," and pointed to the executioner, saying, further, "If you are asked concerning the truth, you certainly ought to tell it." Ans. "All that concerns the faith, I am willing to tell you; but God has not commanded me to tell this." In the third place they asked me whether my wife was also of this persuasion? Axs."No, I regret to say." In the fourth place, "Who had administered it?" Ans."I do not wish to tell you." Ques. "Was it N?" Ans. "God has not commanded me to tell it; and even if I should tell you, he does not reside in the king's dominions." Ques. "Christ, when He was placed before the authorities, answered when He was interrogated; why then will you not do the'same?" Ans. "When He was asked questions that concerned the honor of His Father, and His own divinity, He answered; otherwise, He was silent. Anything that you may
ask me concerning His law, Word, commandments or prohibitions, I am willing to confess before emperors, kings, dukes, counts, princes, and other lords, and not to keep silent concerning it." He forthwith briefly said to the executioner, "Seize him." In short, when they laid hold on me, I fell down .prostrate and besought the Lord for His assistance. He immediately said to the rackers, "Lift him up." Thus, they fell upon me, and dealt with me as the Lord our Master was dealt with, when He was divested of His garments. They tied my hands behind my back unmercifully, blindfolded me, drew me up, and then beat me, belaboring me as though I had been a tree, so that the rods cracked like hemp stalks. They said, "Speak; if you have a dumb devil in you, we will soon drive him out." But the Lord, blessed be His holy name, closed my mouth, so that not a single exclamation of pain, nor any other sound, escaped my lips; for the suffering of our Lord, as already said, and His testimony, so filled my heart, that it is impossible to express it. In short, when they saw that faintness seized all my members, they said, "Let him down; perhaps the dumb devil will speak sooner then, " When they let me down, I fell with my head against the boards; they therefore took me and set me upon a bench, where I would have fainted again, had they not held me. They stood there like lions and bears, demanding that I should answer their questions; but the Lord was my help and strength, praise and glory be to Him for His grace, so that nothing escaped my lips.
Then the president said, "Have you no stout rods to drive out this dumb devil?" He replied, "No; but I have rope." They would have blindfolded me again, but he said, "Let him see it." When he struck, I thought, "O Lord, thou seest it," and closed my eyes. Yea, my friends, if they had continued to beat as long as there was breath, I think they would have got nothing out of me; so was the strength of the Most High with me. When they saw that it was of no avail, they fetched the hundred pound weight, and hung it to my feet. Then went my heart to the Lord, "Keep, keep, my treasure." In short, all their endeavors proved fruitless. Then they asked whether I understood Latin. .I replied, "Yes, as much as it is." Ques. "Do you understand French?" Ans."No." Ques. "Where did you go to school?" Ans. "At Delft." Ques. "When?" Ans."At the time when Delft was burned." They also asked me whether I had read the books of Menno or Dietrich Phillips?"Yes," I said; for Boshuysen had taken my doctrinal books, namely, the New Creature, by Menno, and the Spiritual Restitution, by D. P. They asked me how I had come by it. My lips were sealed. Then the order was, "Fetch water! candles! the dumb devil must come out." But the Lord was my preserver, for which I cannot thank Him enough. Sir. 43:30. Finally, the order was given, "Loose him; he must cool off a little; we shall give it to him better yet." As they were leaving I told them to take heed what they were doing; the day of the Lord should also come upon them; thus they left me. My dear brethren and sisters, herewith I bid you my last adieu, with the peace of Christ. I would have written more, but time does not permit me. If it pleases the Lord, I want to stand at the stake with Him. The Lord be with you all. Amen.