The eternal, imperishable wisdom of God our heavenly Father, the great love of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit, for the comforting of your mind, these I wish you my very dear and beloved wife, as a cordial greeting from God, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
My affectionately beloved and chosen wife, be pleased to know that my mind is tolerably well, the Lord be praised forever for His grace, except that I am very sorrowful for your and for the children's sake, since I love you and them from the heart, so that I know of nothing under heaven for which I would be willing to leave you; but for the Lord and His invisible riches we must forsake everything, through the love of God, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
Hence Christ says, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he hat loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me," Matthew 10:37, 38. And he also says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, ...he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26. Yes, brother and sisters, wife and children, and our own life also; with all that we possess, or we cannot be Christ's disciples; although this hatred extends only as far as these things cleave to us, to draw us away from Christ. Hence we must overcome and forsake them through the love of God, for thereby we prove that we love God above all, with all our strength, and with all our ability, which is the greatest commandment in the law, of which Paul says, "The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." I Tim. 1:5. By this love and faith one must confess Christ unfeignedly, and not forsake Him for father or mother, for wife or children, or for his own life. Hence Solomon writes, "Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, and a flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." (Sol. Song 8:6, 7); for it cannot be bought with riches, but it is given for nought by God, through the Holy Ghost, to those that seek Him in truth.
Therefore, I pray you, my dear wife, that you seek to possess your soul in patience, and do not grieve too much on account of this my trial, which happens through God's permission: For I had thought to come and take leave, and to send you away with H., or with someone else; but the Lord did not permit me-He knows why it is. Still I am grieving much on your account, for I leave you in great distress. But I hope that the Lord, who has taken me from you, will help you and provide for you, according to His promise, since He feeds the ,ravens and little animals, because they are His creatures; how much more then shall He provide for His elect, who cry day and night unto Him? Therefore did Peter say, "Cast all your care upon the Lord; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7. As also David says, "The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season." Ps. 145:15.
Thus my dear wife, trust in the Lord, this I pray. you; for He that ministereth seed to the sower, will also minister bread for your food. II Cor. 9:10. And move to the country of C., where there is much tranquility. And the brethren said, that they would assist us in whatever they could. I had made such good arrangements, that I hoped that it would please you well, which I intend to let you know yet.
Furthermore, I pray you, my dear and much beloved wife, that you do the best with my children, to bring them up in the fear of God, with good instruction and chastening, while they are still young
for with the rod their back is bowed, and they are brought into obedience to their parents. Hence it is written, "He that loveth his son causeth him oft to feel the rod; and he that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him instructeth him betimes." Sir. 30:1; Prov. 13:24. For instruction must accompany chastisement: 'for chastisement demands obedience, and if one is to obey, he must first be instructed. This instruction does not consist in hard words, or loud yelling; for this the children learn to imitate; but if one conducts himself properly towards them, they have a good example, and learn propriety; for by the children the parents are known. And parents must not provoke their children to anger, lest they be discouraged; but must bring them up with admonition and good instruction. Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21.
Thus, my dear and much beloved wife, do the best with them, this I pray you; and take heed to yourself, that you may receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul. I Peter I:9. And do not faint because of the tribulation which we must suffer, but remember how the innocent lamb, Christ Jesus, had to suffer from the beginning in the faithful. Hence the Lord says, "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye." Zech. 2:8. To Paul He said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And Paul said, "Who art thou, lord?" He said, "I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest." Acts 9:4, 5. Not that he persecuted Christ according to the flesh; for the latter had died, before he persecuted: but he persecuted the Christians, in whom Christ lived according to the spirit; for they do not live to themselves, but Christ lives in them. Rom. 14:7. Hence, when they suffer, they do not suffer for their own name, but for the name of Christ; for if they lived to themselves, they would not be in trouble, for the world would love them; but because they are not of the world, and because Christ has chosen them from the world, therefore the world hates them. John 15:19. Hence Peter says, "if ye suffer for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified." I Peter 4:14. For they are comforted by the same Spirit, so that we know: As the sufferings of Christ abound in them, so their consolation also aboundeth by Christ, namely, if they suffer with Him, they shall also rejoice with Him; for their light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; because they look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 1:5; II Tim. 2:12; II Cor. 4:17, 18. Hence Paul says, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us; for we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, where mortality will be swallowed up of life; for there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, neither any heat, for God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Rom. 8:18; II Cor. 5:1; Heb. 11:10; II Cor: 5:4; Rev: 2i:4; Isa. 25:8.
Then they shall leap as the calves of the stall; then they shall triumph upon Mount Sion, have palms in' their hands, and receive the crown of honor, which God has prepared for all them that love Him and His appearing. Mal. 4:2; II Esd. 2:42; Wisd. 5:16.
Thus, my dear wife, comfort yourself with these words, and be patient in your tribulation, this I pray you; for though I am thus taken from you, think that we are not assured of each other; for we must all die, and the Lord has long permitted us to be together, considering the perils in which we walked.
There have been so many within our time, who had to leave each other, some through imprisonment, some dying of sickness. But there is no more glorious death, than that for the name of Christ; for not all are made worthy of God to suffer for His name, for this is acceptable with God, says Peter. I Peter 2:20. Hence he and John went their way rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:41.
O my dear and beloved wife, it would greatly rejoice me if I could hear that you were of good cheer; for every time that I have written your or the children's names, I could not refrain from weeping. Nevertheless, as regards my own self, I am of reasonably good cheer, the Lord be praised for His grace; so that I would not have thought it before my apprehension-so weak did I find myself. Hence Christ did truly say, "I will not leave you comfortless; but I will come to you." John 14: 18. Herewith I will commend you, my dear and much beloved wife, to the Lord, who is able to keep your treasure, and to give you an inheritance with all them who through faith in Jesus Christ shall be sanctified. May the Lord Almighty strengthen you by His Spirit. Amen.
Written on the 24th of April, by me, Jacob, your husband. Have this copied, and keep it in remembrance of me; for I do not know whether I can write you any more. Greet all the brethren and sisters much in my name, and all them that fear God; my children B. and his wife; your brother T. and his wife; J. and F. T. and F. his brother; J. de L. and his wife; and my friends at Kortrijck.
Alle die lijden na den Wille Godts, wilt hierop
Die bevelen haer Zielen den getrouwen Scheppers
met goede wercken. (I Pet. 4:19.)
JACOB, your husband.
Affectionately beloved brethren, much grace and mercy be unto you from God our heavenly Father, through Christ Jesus His only begotten Sdn, our Lord and Saviour, through whom the Holy Ghost is given us, that we should be led by Him, and guided into all truth, in order thus to be a light in this world, so that we might with a good conscience, praise our Father who is in heaven; to this end may the Lord give His ,grace, that it may so remain with me, and with all my beloved brethren and sisters, to the end of their life, this I wish them as a friendly greeting and cordial adieu.
Futhermore, my dear brethren, know that, while in the country of C., I was greatly prompted, to appear among you once more, that we might once more enjoy ourselves together; but the Lord prevented it by my imprisonment. Yet, I could not forbear to write you a little, in order to exhort and refresh your minds, so that, as you received the Lord Jesus Christ, you might go on in Him, and be rooted and built up in Him, and abound therein with thanksgiving. Col. 2:6, 7. For, my dear brethren and sisters, if we do not abide in Him, it is all labor lost, and we cannot be partakers of His abundant riches, which He has prepared for us in heaven; for we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Heb. 3:14. And if H e draw back, His soul will have no pleasure in us. Heb. 10:38. Yes, dear friends, if we abide not in Him. We are like a branch that does not abide in the vine, and forthwith withers. It is therefore cut off from the vine, and cast into the fire; for it is of no other use to men, for the prophet says, "One cannot make a wooden pin of it." Ezek. 15:5. Hence, according to the words of Christ, such Christians who do not abide in Christ, will be cut off, and cast into the fire of hell; for they are of no use to Christ in heaven; hence there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, [or maketh a lie:] but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. Rev. 21:26. Therefore I exhort you, my dear brethren, with the apostle John, "Abide in him, that, when he shall, appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming" (I John 2:28); that we may then not be like the foolish virgins who had to remain without with shame, because they had taken their lamps and no oil in them. For what can it avail us, that we have simply been baptized, and separated from popery, as though we would be virgins who did not want to remain in such spiritual whoredom;and yet do not have the love of God in us, by which to lead a pure and chaste conversation, to the honor of our Bridegroom; in this case we are foolish to think that by such conduct we can please Christ. For David says, "The King's daughters shall be brought unto the King in glorious adornment." Ps. 45:14. Therefore love is the bond of perfectness; for he that abides in love abides in God; for God is love. Through this love we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. Col. 3:14; I John 4:8; 5:3.
Thus, my dear brethren and sisters, let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord lwhen he will return from the wedding]; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord [when He cometh] shall find watching. Luke 12:35-37. For these are wise virgins, who have learned to know the Bridegroom; who know that He takes pleasure in their beauty; whose beauty lies not outwardly in braided hair, or in putting on of apparel; but inwardly in a chaste conversation, in a modest behavior, which is manifested before all men. I Tim. 2:9; I Peter 3:3. These virgins are baptized not only with water, but with the Holy Ghost and with fire; for they do not only guard against outward idolatry, but will not consent to sin in anywise; nor do they love the world, or the things that are in it; for therein lies not the love of the Father. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world, by which so many;.a Christian is seduced; even as it is the cause of ruin to many a young girl, when she begins to get proud. Then she becomes desirous after fine clothing; then the young fellows make their addresses to her, who at first do not speak of carnal indulgence, for this would be too blunt for an honorable maiden; but they seek first to incite her heart to love, after which carnal sin will the more readily be consented to.
Thus also, my dear brethren, Satan goes to work with many a Christian; he does not at first tempt them to idolatry, for they would rather suffer themselves to be burnt, when they are pure in their conscience, than resort to idolatry. But he shoots such arrows at them, that they become earthlyminded, seek their own more than that which is Christ's or their neighbor's, and dissipate their minds in their occupation and in traffic, and thus the love of the world is apprehended, and temporal riches are cherished more than the eternal. Think, my brethren and sisters, when Satan has gained this point, how easily then one consents to serve idols, and to wed the world; and thus the door is opened wide to Satan, for the light has become darkness, and the day is changed to night, in consequence of which one's shame or nakedness is not seen; for they are alienated from the life of God through the blindness of their heart. Eph. 4:18. Therefore, dear brethren, take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief [in departing from the living God]. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today: lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. 3:12, 13. And take heed that no one neglect the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up,
and thereby many be defiled. II Cor. 6:1; Heb. 12:15. Therefore endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), having the same love among yourselves, that you may not be a stumbling-block or offense to one another. But if you see any brother or sister err from the way of truth, run after him, and instruct and admonish him in a meek spirit, until he becomes a Christian, or until he strays into some carnal works; that you may be natured and minded as Christ, and not abuse His ordinance; for one can be too severe as well as too indulgent in reproving. Thus, my dear brethren, have good care for one another, and let each take heed to himself; for this is a perilous time, and love is seen to wax cold in many. Therefore let each lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest you stumble like a lame man, and be not slothful m your business, but be fervent in spirit, and redeem the time; for your time here may perhaps be short, for Satan is stirred up to wrath, knowing perhaps that he has but little time. Heb. 12:12, 13; Rom. 12:11.
Therefore, my dear brethren, be vigilant everywhere, and faint not on account of the tribulation which is now seen; but trust only in the Lord, for He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." So that we may boldly say,"The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Heb. 13:5, 6. For the sufferings which men inflict upon us are transient; hence Christ says, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but fear him, which after he hath killed hath power also to cast soul and body into hell." Luke-12:4,5. But if we suffer with Him, we shall also rejoice with Him.
Therefore, my dear brethren, be faithful unto death, and you shall receive the crown of life. Revelation 2:10. Think, dear brethren, if the children of this world were promised the crown of Spain on some condition, how diligently they would work, how joyfully they would run to obtain it. How much more ought we to be joyful in our tribulation, and with patience run the race that is set before us, since the crown of life is promised us, with which the crown of Spain cannot be compared; for this is a perishable crown, and its glory is not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Therefore Moses chose rather to live in affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Heb. 11:25, 26.
My dear brethren and sisters, may the Lord through faith give you such a heart and vision, that you may with Moses and all the saints of God know what God has prepared for them that love Him; for the righteous shall live forever, for the Lord is their reward, and the care of them is with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand, and they shall shine forth as the sun in the throne of heaven. Wisd. 5:15, 16; Matt. 13:43.
Hence the apostle writes, "If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." II Cor. 5:1. By this the apostle indicates, that though our earthly body be put to death here, it shall rise again, and be shed about with heavenly glory. Therefore he writes, "Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour Jesus, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." Phil. 3:20, 21; Tit. 2:13. By this he again indicates, how gloriously the body will be changed after the resurrection; now it is weak, then it shall become strong; now natural, then spiritual; now mortal, but then immortal; for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality; then shall the terrible death be swallowed up in victory; then shall the last enemy, which is death, be destroyed; then shall be no more death; neither sorrow, nor any heat; then shall the tears be wiped away from the eyes; then shall they inherit all things with Christ, because they have overcome; then shall He lead them to the fountain of living water and feed them with the hidden heavenly bread, that they shall neither hunger nor thirst any more; there shall the spiritual Solomon dwell in perfect peace with the spiritual Israel, for all his enemies shall be made His footstool.
Therefore, my dear brethren and sisters, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I Cor. 15:58.
Herewith I commend my dear brethren and sisters to the Lord, who is able to keep your treasure. and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified. Pray the Lord for me, that I may contend steadfastly, and continue in the hope in which I (the Lord be praised forever) still stand at the present time. And I pray you, dear brethren, do the best with my wife and children.
Written by me, Jacob the Chandler, your weak brother and minister, on the 18th of April.
Alle die lijden na den Wille Godts, wilt hierop mercken,
Die bevelen haer Zielen den getrouwen Scheppers met goede Wercken. ( I Peter 4:19.)
May the same God that blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also bless you my children, with all manner of spiritual blessings in heavenly places, that you may from your youth learn to know the Lord, and fear and obey Him all the days of your life. This is the most special request that I make to God, that you may be eternally saved, and that the name of the Lord may be praised through you; unto
which name be praise and glory now and forever. Amen.
My children, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother (Prov. 1:8; 4:1); be always ready to do -what you are commanded of God; that is, that you shall from your youth learn to know, fear and obey Him; for obedience springs from the fear of God, and the fear of God comes through the knowledge of God.
Hence Solomon writes, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Prov. 1:7. For a child that knows his father, that he is so honorable and just, that he will not have his children run in the streets with other children, fight, quarrel, use bad language, bring home stolen things: children who know their father to be thus, are afraid to do this, knowing, that if they do this they shall be beaten. Thus also, my dear children, the Lord is a just God, who will not tolerate sin, but will punish them that commit it. Therefore we must fear Him, and not commit sin; for the fear of God driveth out sin, and he that feareth God will do good. Prov. 16:6; Sir. 15:1. As Solomon says, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of wisdom, to depart from the snares of death." Prov. 14:27. For, my dear children, the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Hence since the fear of God drives out sin, through the fear of.God, the cause which brings us into death; that is, sin, is avoided. Therefore, my children, begin from your youth to walk in the fear of the Lord, that you may not at any time consent to sin, and may not forsake the commandments of your Lord and God; but fear the Lord, while He may be feared. For they that fear the Lord walk in the right way; for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding: Prov. 14:2; Job 28:28.
Hence, my children, fear the Lord, and depart from evil. For the prophet Jeremiah says, "How good it is for a man, from his youth to take upon him the yoke of the Lord, and for one that is forsaken, to be patient, when he meeteth with adversity." Lam. 3:27, 28. And Sirach says, "My child, from thy youth receive instruction, till thine old age, and thou shalt find wisdom" (Sir. 6:18); for the wisdom of God teaches, that we are to receive God's instruction, in order to be taught thereby, how we are to depart from evil."For wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets, saying: How long, ye little children, will ye love childishness? and how long shall fools desire the things that are hurtful to -them? and the unwise hate knowledge?" Prov. 1:20. For this is the nature of children; they love to run and play in the streets, where they learn all kinds of wickedness, and do not like to be chastised for it, and kept in the house. By this they are known as children; for they know not how injurious this is to them; for thereby they become alienated from the knowledge of God, and so grow up in wickedness, that sometimes they can only with great difficulty cometo the truth. Therefore wisdom calls the children of Israel little children, because they are sometimes so wicked, that they want to live to themselves, and hate the chastening of the Lord, which is nevertheless administered to them out of love, that they should not be condemned with the world. I Corinthians 11:32. Therefore, my dear children, beware of all bad company, that might seduce you to cherish the world; for the world lieth in wickedness, and will perish with its lusts. I John 5:19; 2:17. Therefore, my children, love not the world, neither the things that are in it; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 2:15, 16. Hence, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. I Pet. 2:11. And Paul says: Flee youthful lusts (II Tim. 2:22); for youthful lusts have plunged many into ruin, into lasciviousness, whoredom and many improper things. Therefore, my children, beware of whoredom, and all unedifying conduct, in which whoredom has often originated; as dancing and leaping, and the practice of young men and maidens sitting together at the beer table, drinking to intoxication, and speaking improper words, and besides what is done in secret would be too shameful to mention. Tobit 4:12; I Thess. 4:3. O my children, beware of such things; for the apostle says: All they that do such things have no part in the kingdom of God. I Corinthians 6:10. But when you are grown up, and cannot contain, marry in the fear of God. Pray God to provide you a faithful helpmeet, to walk in the fear of God, with a broken, lowly and humble heart.
My children, do not in any wise let pride rule over you in your words or thoughts, as Tobit admonishes his son (Tob. 4:13); for the Lord rejects such as are proud in their hearts, but He has exalted the humble. Hence David says, "I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast humbled me; for before I was humbled I went astray." Ps. 119:67. Therefore, my children, never exalt yourselves in your hearts, but condescend to men of low estate; for pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall; for they become so proud, that they reject the word of the Lord, and live according to the desires of their hearts; therefore the Lord shall also not regard them. Rom. 12:16; Prov. 16:18; Hos. 4:6.
My children, heed the instruction of your father, and forget it not. Refrain your tongue from backbiting, and beware of lying; for the mouth that lieth slayeth the soul. Wisd. 1:11. For liars have no part in the new Jerusalem; but their part is in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone
which is the second death. Rev. 21:8. And the backbiter causes much contention and discord, and also stirs up strife and envy, and separates friends. Prov. 16:28. Hence Solomon says, "Where no wood is there the fire goeth out: so where there is no tale-bearer, the strife ceaseth." 26:20. Hence he further writes, "Put away from thee a froward
mouth and perverse lips put far from thee;" as also Moses writes, "Let there be no backbiter or slanderer among you." 4:24; Lev. 19:16. Therefore, my children, beware of backbiting, and wherever you are at home, keep your lips sealed, and tell not out of the house what is done in it; keep still about all in regard to which silence is expedient, then men will love you. Always be faithful to people, and beware of stealing, for it is a great sin; and thieves have no part in the kingdom of God ( I Cor. 6:10), nor is a thief trusted or loved by any one; but wherever he goes, his hands are watched. Thus, my children, always content yourselves honorably in the fear of God, and beware of all sin and transgression; and do not envy one another, for through envy Cain slew his brother, and the patriarchs sold their brother Joseph; for envy breaks all friendship, causes a man to forget all benefits, and is bent only upon doing harm. The envious man rejoices not when he sees his brother or sister, but turns his face the other way; nor is he grieved at his brother's misfortune, but is pleased when the latter meets with adversity. Hence James truly says, "If ye have bitter envy and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
. . For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Jas. 3:14, 16. Therefore, my children, do not envy one another, nor any one else; but love one another out of a pure heart, as brothers and sisters ought to; not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother (I John 3:12); but as Christ left an example, who gave His life for us.
Hence you must also so love one another, not in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth (I John 3:18); that you may be brothers and sisters, not only according to the flesh, but also according to the faith of the Son of God; for He says, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." John 13:35. Hence John writes, "Beloved, let us love one another
for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." I John 4:7, 8. Hence He would have, that children should love one another with true, unfeigned brotherly love, with a pure heart, as being born not of natural seed, which is corruptible, but of incorruptible seed, namely, by the Word of God, which abideth forever. I Pet. 1:22, 23.
Thus, - my dear children, I pray and admonish you, love, and bear with, one another, and let one be subject to the other; the younger shall obey the older, that there may be no contention or discord among you. And you, Katelijntgen and Kopken, are the oldest; when you are grown up, take care of the other children, and help them with the labor of your hands, thus showing mercy to them, that you may be children of your Father which is.in heaven; for you will perhaps not have your mother very long, and then you are in duty bound to do the best for one another.Thus, my children, heed the instruction of your father, and forget it not. Obey your mother; for it is proper that children should obey their parents, as is written in Ecclesiasticus, "The Lord will that the parents should be honored by the children" 3:2. For this was the first commandment in the law, which had a promise, "Honor thy father and mother that thou mayest live long on the earth." Ex. 20:12. And the greatest honor that children can show their parents, is, to obey them. To obey them in everything that is not contrary to the honor of God, but when the honor of God is concerned, parents have no power to rule over them, but are themselves in duty bound to admonish their children, to obey the Lord. For they had to teach the law to their children, when they went to sleep, and when they rose up; in which law it wall written, that God must be loved above all. Deut. 6t7. Therefore children are not bound to love their parents more than God, and God-fearing parents are not to require this, but are to exhort their children to the same, that they should exercise themselves in the love of God, that is; keep His commandments, and be humble before their God (Mic. 6:8), as I hope, my children, that also your mother will do. Hence obey her in love, and be not disobedient to her; for it is written in the law, that he that cursed, smote or disobeyed his father or mother, had to die, so great a sin it is before the Lord. Ex. 21:15,17.
Therefore, my dear children, though you lose me, do not be froward to your mother, but obey her the more, for the whole care of you will now be committed to her. Hence, my children, never grieve her in your life; for in Ecclesiasticus it is written, "He that forsaketh his father is a blasphemer; and he that angereth his mother is cursed of God." 3:16. Therefore, love her, and remember how many pains she suffered on your account, and how she bore you under her heart nine months, and how she will have to undergo much yet, to earn bread for you. Tob. 4:3, 4; II Macc. 7:27. Hence, dear children, when you are grown up, apply yourselves diligently to labor, that you may help your mother to gain a livelihood. And be not idle; for from slothfulness springs much evil, for it makes thieves of children, and harlots of girls, and thus they finally come to a bad end. Therefore, my dear children, do not desire this, but willingly work and labor with your hands that which is honorable, that you may have to give to him that needeth. Ephesians 4:28. And if your mother take another husband, obey him as your father, and honor him; for he will have to care for you, and instruct and teach you as though you were his own children. Therefore, you, as obedient children, are to receive, and not to despise, his instruction. O my dear children, I, Jacob, your father, have left you this as a testament, that you may remember me the better, and know wherein I stood and why I died, of which you need not be ashamed, since it was for the name of Christ. For it is for the Lord's sake
that I leave you; there is nothing under heaven so dear to me that for it I should be willing to leave you; but for the Lord's sake everything must be forsaken, father and mother, wife and children, yea, one's own life, or we cannot be His disciples. Deut. 33:9. But he that for His sake forsakes all this, shall receive a hundredfold, and hereafter everlasting life. Matthew 19:29. Thus, my dear children, with this confidence I leave you. The Lord grant you His grace, that I may find you in life eternal. I now go before you the way which Christ Jesus and all the saints of God went before us: and I know that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. II Tim. 3:12. And Paul says, "Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." Phil. 1:29. For what we suffer; we suffer not for our own sakes, but for the Lord's sake, because we believe in Him, and by faith follow and obey Him, which the world will not tolerate, for the prophet says, "Truth is fallen in the street; truth languisheth in prison; equity cannot enter; he that.would depart from evil, and do good, maketh himself a prey." Isa. 59:14, 15. As Christ says, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19. Hence James says, "The friendship of this world is enmity with God; if you would be the friend of the world, you will be the enemy of God." Jas. 4:4. Far my dear children; if you would be the friend of the world, you will have to follow the world in her improprieties and false worship; hence Paul writes, "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ?" Gal. 1:10. For such love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called His children; therefore the world knoweth us not, neither knoweth it Him. I John 3:1. Therefore, if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, it is no wonder that they also call them of his household so; for the servant cannot be above his lord, nor the disciple above his master. Matt. 10:25, 24.
Herewith I will commend you, my dear children, and your mother, to the Lord, for whose sake I hope to leave you; who is able to care for you, and to keep you from all evil. The Lord grant you His grace, that you may grow up in the knowledge of God through the Holy Ghost, so that, according to the right judgment of God, you may be found righteous for His kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, to whom be praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Written on the second and third days of May, A. D. 1569, in prison at Bruges, where I was confined for the testimony of Jesus, under the house of the Vrye; by me JACOB the CHANDLER.
This I send my dear children, as a brief testament; I also hope to write them my faith, which may serve to show them upon what faith their father died.
Alle die lijden na den wille Godts, wilt hierop
Die bevelen haer Zielen den getrouwen Shepper
met goede Wercken. I Pet. 4:19.