In the year 1569, at Antwerp, there was apprehended, examined, tortured and finally sentenced to death, for living according to the word of God. and the testimony of the truth, twelve pious Christians, namely, Harman Timmerman, Jan van Hasebroeck, Pieter Verlonge, Gerrit van Mandel, Jan van Mandel, Jan de Schaper, Jan Wiljoot, Jan van Doornick, Willem van Poperinge, Maeyken, his wife, Jan Koopman, and Hans his servant. One of them, however, died in prison, from the effects of the torture. Seven were burned alive before Easter, their mouths having been screwed together with screws; and the last mentioned four, in like manner, on the 20th of May of said year.
Here follows a brief yet thorough and Christian confession of faith, of the one Being, God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and of the eternal Godhead of Christ the Son of God; also of the incarnation, visibleness, suffering and death of the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; which, by this here mentioned hero and witness of Jesus, Herman Timmerman, was written as an answer and refutation to a letter that had been sent him; and to which he so effectually testified and confirmed with, his blood and death. We have added the same here, for the benefit of the reader. We ask you to read it with Christian regard and attention; we hope that you will be instructed and bettered by it. It reads as follows
In the first place, my friend, you desire us to write to you, whether we confess that the Father and the man ~esus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one Being. ur answer is, that we confess, that there is one Father, and one Son, and one Holy Ghost, and that with these words, namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the only and Almighty God was expressed by Christ Himself, Matt. 28:19. This then is our belief, namely, that we confess, that when the Father was, there was also the Son; for the Father never was without the Son. For as the Scriptures testify of the Father, that He is
eternal, and that all things are through Him; so they also testify of the Son, that His goings forth are from the beginning, from the days of eternity; and all things were created by Him. Mic. 5:1; Col. 1:16; Jno. 1:3; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:2. Likewise, also through the Holy Spirit; for all things were made by Him, who has one will and work with the Father and the Son, as may well be understood from these words where the Scriptures testify that the Holy Ghost says, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." II Esd: 16:62; Psalm 33:6; Acts 13:2. See, my friends, here the Holy Ghost says that He calls them to this work; now Paul says, that Jesus Christ has called and sent him. Acts 26:16. And in the epistle to the Galatians we read, that God called him, and separated him from his mother's womb, to reveal His Son by him. Galatians 1:15, 16. From these words the unity can clearly be understood. And there are still other passages which testify concerning the Holy Ghost, that He appoints the ministers or bishops in the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood, and that He also dispenses the gifts. Acts 20:28; I Cor. 12:11.
From these words it is easy to understand the unity and operation of the Holy Ghost, which He has with the Father and the Son, so that He Cannot be excluded from the unity: Nor can the Son; for He says, "I and the Father are one," John 10:30; which unity and Son of God He is according to the person as well as according to the Spirit; for He is frequently, according to His humanity called the Son of God, as you may read where the centurion said, "Truly this is the Son of God." Matt. 27:54. And Paul says, that we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Rom. 5:10. Again, that God did not spare His Son, 8:32. And John says, that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7; 4:10. And Luke says, "That which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35. And to the Galatians, "That God sent forth his Son, who was born of a woman, " Gal. 4:4. Now He who is the Son of God; and whom He has given for our propitiation (I Jno. 4:10), was certainly born of Mary in the form of a human person. And Isaiah says, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father" (Isa. 9:6), and other things, which God says of Himself, and which John the Baptist and Christ declare concerning Himself. Read Isaiah where it is written, "Behold, your God. For, behold, the Lord Sabaoth cometh; he shall feed his flock like a shepherd." Isa. 40:9.
Also in Ezekiel God says, "I will myself attend to my sheep." Ezek. 34:11. Now Christ says, that He is the Shepherd of the sheep, and that the sheep are His own. Zechariah says, "Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered," and in John we read, that Christ is the Bridegroom, who has the bride; and in the epistle to the Ephesians [we are taught], that He gave Himself for her, that He might prepare Himself a glorious church. Eph. 5:25. Christ also is the Lamb of God, and in Revelation we read that the marriage of the Lamb is come, and that His wife has made herself ready. Rev. 19:7. Hence we can clearly understand from these words, that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and husband of His church, which husband by the prophet Isaiah is called God, "For thy Maker is thine husband," he says, "the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called." Isa. 54:5.
See, my friends, from all these words it can clearly be understood, that Christ cannot be excluded from the unity or from God; since God in the Scriptures is frequently expressed by the word Christ, as you may read in Timothy, where Paul calls Christ our Saviour, and also calls God our Saviour, and in other places, where God is called our Saviour. Read I Tim. l:l. And God says through Isaiah, "I am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour." Isa. 43:11; 45:5. Now the Scriptures testify, that man's salvation lies in the sacrifice of the body of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, as we above quoted to you some passages; as, that we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son
the body died, and, as Peter says, "By- his stripes we were healed." His body suffered the stripes. I Pet. 2:24. And Isaiah, "With his stripes we are healed, " the stripes were inflicted upon the body. Isa. 53:5.
See, my friend, it is therefore clear from these words, that Christ cannot be excluded from God with body and spirit, since God ascribes to Himself that which Christ has done, as we explained above concerning the Shepherd of the sheep. And Christ ascribes to Himself that which God does, as may frequently be understood from the Scriptures; so that the inference is clear, that they have one will and work: for what things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. And as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. John 5:19, 21. Hence the works of the Son of God can be ascribed to none other than to God, so that the Son cannot be excluded from God. When therefore the word God is named, Father, Son and Holy Ghost are thereby expressed. Thus confess we the only God.
You further desire an answer in regard to the passages which speak of the one God, whether thereby any other than the Father is named. I understand your question thus, "Whether Christ, who died, is also comprised in the expression one God?" Rom..l:8; 5:8; John 5:18; I John 5:9.
Answer. In the first place you quote Deut. 6:4, where Moses said, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God;" and says still further in the same
chapter, "Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah." v. 16; Matt. 4:7. See, my friend, they tempted this one God, who by Paul is called Christ, where he says, "And let us not tempt Christ, as some tempted him." I Corinthians 10:9, Now I understand from your letter, that you would exclude Christ from God; I understand it by the passage you quote (John 17), by which you would prove that Christ is not God. Our answer concerning this passage is, "They that confess Jesus Christ in truth also confess Him God, since God is expressed by the word Christ, as we have proved above from the words of Paul." You further quote the language of Hezekiah, where he said, "O Lord God of Israel, thou art alone God; thou hast made heaven and earth." II Kings 19:15. By these words you would prove that Christ is excluded from the one God. And you write in your letter that the one God of whom Hezekiah spoke made heaven and earth; and you exclude Christ from the one God; hence you must also exclude Him from the creation of heaven and earth, and must first refute all these witnesses that testify concerning Jesus Christ, that all that is made was made by Him. Read John 1:3; Col. 1:9; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:2; Ps. 33:6. When you shall have refuted all these witnesses, and excluded Christ from all the works of God, then I shall admit your view, that Christ is not comprised in the expression, one God.
You further say that God is invisible and lives forever, but that Christ was seen, and that He died, and that the child was without knowledge, and that it grew up in wisdom; concerning which you shall hear our views afterwards from the confession of our faith, which we prove from the Scriptures, which later we must believe. Furthermore, you say that God knows the times, and that the Son does not know them. Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32. Our answer is, that Christ speaks this according to His humiliation; for there are other passages which testify concerning Him, that He knows all things; as where Peter said, "Lord, thou knowest all things;" and Christ did not contradict him, saying, "'No, Peter, I do not know the last day." He did not even reply to it. Again, when the disciples said to Him, "Now are we sure that thou knowest all things." John .16:30. You further say that God knows the hearts of all the children of men. Ps. 7:9; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 12:3. We say that Christ also knows them; for He knew what was in man, and needed not that any should testify of man. II Tim. 4:8; Revelation 2:23; John 2: 25. And Christ said, "I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." John 9:42. And in John 6:61, we read that Jesus knew in Himself that
is disciples murmured at it. But that you write concerning the revelation of John, that God gave Him the same, this does not imply that He [Christ] does not know anything. You further say that God is Almighty, and does all things without the assistance of any one. Answer: Above we have proved that Christ Jesus and the Holy Ghost are comprehended in the word God, or you must prove that the Father does some things without the Son or the Holy Ghost, contrary to the words of Christ where He says, "What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." And, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." And"As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." John 5:19; 17:21. And if we are to honor the Son as we honor the Father, as the Father requires, we must certainly confess Him God, for the Father is honored as God, and if we now deny the Son, we have neither the Father, nor the Son, and we are also the spirit of antichrist. I John 2:22. And as God did the miracles by Him, so He, again, did them by the Father. And He said to two blind men, "Believe ye that I am able to do this to you?" And they believed it and were helped. Matthew 9:28. This I state, that you may know that He frequently ascribes to Himself the works which He does, and sometimes to His Father; in order that you may know that they are one God, who worketh all things. You say that God requires the Holy Spirit, which is true. Now you must observe that a certain thing is sometimes ascribed to God the Father, and sometimes to the Son; for we read, John 3:16, that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. Rom. 5:8; I John 4:9. And John 10:17, we read that Christ says, that He lays down His life; no man takes it from Him; but He lays it down of Himself. Again, that He gives His flesh for the life of the world. John 6:51. And that He also imparts the Holy Ghost, and also sent Him to His disciples. John 20:22; 16:7, 13; 15:26; Luke 24:49.
You further quote I Cor. 15:28. Our answer is, as above: That sometimes a work is ascribed to the Father and sometimes to the Son; that all men might know that they are one. For we read that God the Father set Jesus Christ at His own right hand in the heavenly places. Eph. 1:20. And we also read, that the Lord sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Heb. 1:3. Therefore my friend, you may well take heed before you proceed in such a weighty matter, and first well prove with the word of Christ and His apostles, that you do not run away with a word, without first proving whether it agrees with all the words of God. Farewell, and read with the understanding.
Our belief and ground concerning the incarnation of Jesus Christ is, that we confess and believe, that the only begotten Son of God, who was with the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), and was in the form of God (Phil. 2:6), was foreordained before the foundation of the world; whose goings forth are from the beginning; by whom the world was made, John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; and who, though He was
rich, became poor for our sakes, and came forth from the Father, came into the world; came down from heaven; and through the power of the Most High was conceived in Mary, and became man in her. For the Word became flesh (John 1:14), so that it was seen with the eyes, and handled with the hands; of the word of life. I John 1:1. Born of Mary (Luke 2:7); given unto us as a son (Isa. 9:6), and crucified, died, and buried for us; raised from the dead, for God raised up His child Jesus (Acts 3:15; 10:40; I Thess. 1:10); and He ascended up where He was before (John 6:62), for He that descended is the same also that ascended, Eph. 4:10. We also believe, that the Son of God, when the time was fulfilled, became Abraham's son, David's son, Abraham's seed, the Son of man; and the son and fruit of Mary, when He became man; not that the Son of God took His origin or beginning from Abraham, or David, or Mary; for we have above shown by the Scriptures, that He was with the Father before the foundation of the world; and was before Abraham was. John 8:58. We therefore believe, that Jesus Christ, without any division, visible or invisible, mortal or immortal, wholly and entirely, is the first begotten, own, true, Son of God, as all believers have confessed Him, as we can read in the holy Scriptures. Peter confessed Him as the Son of the living God. Likewise also John the Baptist confessed Him; for he said: I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. John 1:34. Nathanael said, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God." Martha in like manner confessed that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God, who had come into the world. John 1.1:27.
This is our confession concerning the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now if some one should ask us whether we do not believe that the Son of God assumed flesh and blood, in which He dwelt; and that the Son of God remained the same as He was, invisible, immortal, unchangeable, as is the Father; we answer thus."If it were true that the Son of God remained invisible, immortal and unchangeable, as the Father, and assumed flesh and blood from Mary, in which He dwelt, it could not be said with truth, that the Son of God became man, but according to truth it would have to be said, that the Son of God assumed a man, in whom He dwelt; for to assume is to assume, and to become is to become, and assuming cannot be called becoming. There further follows from it, that if the Son of God remained invisible, as the Father, He could not be crucified, and in this case He that hung on the cross, is not the Son of God; for He was seen, and God has but one Son. It further follows from it, that if the Son remained invisible, God did spare His Son, contrary to the words of Paul, where he says, that God spared not His Son, but delivered Him up for us all. Rom.~8:32. And God would in this case also not have given us His Son, contrary to the teaching of John, where he says, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son." John 3:16.
Furthermore, if He remained immortal, it can not be said, that we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, contrary to Paul, where he says, that we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Rom. 5:10. Nor can it be said that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. It can only be said that the flesh and blood of Mary cleanses us from all sin, contrary to the teaching of John, where he says, that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Nor can it be said, that God raised up His child Jesus; for if He did not die, He did not raise Him up, contrary to the teaching of Paul, I Thessalonians 1:10; Acts 2:24; 10:40. Now if someone should ask us, whether we believe, that the Son of God was changed; we answer, that we believe, that the Son of God for our sakes was changed so much that He became what He was not, namely, He, who before was rich, for our sakes became poor. And He, who was in the form of God, became man; for the Word became flesh, so that it was seen with the eyes and handled with the hands. And He, who before was invisible, became visible; and arose from the dead; and ascended up where He was before. For He that descended is the same also that ascended; and He sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high, and is our Advocate, our Mediator, and ever lives to reconcile us. See, my friend, thus confess we the love which God has shown toward us. So that Jesus Christ humbled Himself for our sakes, became lower than the angels, and was found in fashion as a man. Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:7. Behold, my friend, this is the answer to the remark that the child grew up in wisdom. For when He became like unto man, as Paul teaches, He became in all things like unto His brethren. Heb. 2:17. Now, another man grows up in wisdom; therefore the Son of God humbled Himself, put Himself in our stead before God His Father, and took upon Him our sins, and paid for them in our stead, so that in our place He cried to God with strong crying and tears, and offered up [prayers and supplications] unto Him that was able to save Him from death. Heb. 5:7; Matt. 27:46. Not, my friend, that He needed to be saved on the part of His own person. Now if someone should ask us, whether by such an incarnation as you have confessed here He did not lose His Sonship, and unity with God, we answer: We have proved above by the Scriptures, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God before every creature (Col. 1:15) , and was with the Father before the foundation of the world; whose goings forth are from the beginning and from eternity. And He did not lose His Sonship by His incarnation; for, while He was man, the Father confessed Him as His Son. Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22. And Christ said, that He was the Son of God. John 10:36. Likewise did Peter. Matt. 16:16. John the Baptist, Nathanael, Mar-
tha, and Thomas confessed Him as their Lord and God. And Christ said, "I and the Father are one." From these words it is easy to understand, that by His incarnation He did not lose His first identity and unity; for the Son of God could become man, so that He died; but nevertheless remain God and the Son of God. For we read concerning the first man Adam, who was a figure of Christ, that God made him of the earth, so that Adam became a living soul, flesh and blood, capable of suffering and dying, and yet remained earth; for God said, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Rom. 5:14; Gen. 1:19; Sir. 17:1. Abraham also confessed, that he was dust (earth). Gen. 18:27. Now, when the word earth is named, everything is comprised in it, that is earth and takes its origip from the earth. Now Adam and Abraham, who were earth died, and all men who are of the earth, will be able to die; but the earth on which we walk can not die. Nevertheless, both are earth, and both are comprehended in the term earth. Now, when the word God is named, everything is comprised in it, that is God, and all that has its origin from and with God; namely, with the word God, we express Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Now the Scriptures testify, as we have abundantly stated above, that the Son of God became man, so that He was seen, and that He died; but the Father and the Holy Ghost did not die. Nevertheless, God reconciled the world, and purchased His church by His blood; for God was made manifest in the flesh. Read Baruch 4:22. For God is man's Saviour. Read Isaiah 43:11; I Tim. 1:15; Tit. 1:4. Now if Christ's body were of the earth, in which body our propitiation lies, as Peter teaches, that we were healed by His stripes, and Isaiah, that we are healed by His stripes; and Paul, that we are reconciled by His death; then the earth must be our savior, and not God; and John must have spoken falsely, when he said, that the Word, which is called God, became flesh. And before we will believe that Christ's body is of Mary's blood, we want to see this assertion pointed out to us in the Scriptures, word for word, and we will say nothing against it; for we must believe as the Scriptures teach us. John 7:38. And if any one wishes to accept our faith, we will show him word for word where this is written, namely, that the Word became flesh. Farewell. Read with the understanding. HARMAN TIMMERMAN.