Know, dear Grietgen Dircks, that I am still of good courage in the flesh, and that my mind is still unchanged and fixed to fear the Lord, the Lord be thanked; I can never thank the Lord enough for it.
I sometimes am much grieved that I unworthy one have at times grieved you so much. I can easily imagine that many are grieved on my account, as I have heard, that it is said that I have apostatized from my faith, which is not true, the Lord be praised. So far they have asked me only simple questions; if they would only not ask more closely, this I sincerely desire; but I fear that I already am where I must stay. The Lord grant unto me what is for my salvation. I trust in Him, that He will give me strength, that I may continue to His praise, and to the salvation of my soul. Our other three brethren have already fought the fight; if it is the Lord's will, He may also take me home. On Friday I yet knew nothing to the contrary, but that I should also offer up my sacrifice; and my mind was quite ready for it, the Lord be thanked; I can never thank Him enough, that He so faithfully succors me. I trust only in Him, and he that trusts in Him shall not be ashamed; for He does not forsake His own who trust in Him alone. Be so kind and greet all the brethren very much in my name, and tell them to pray for me, that the Lord would strengthen me unto my last extremity; for the prayer of the faithful and righteous avails much; this is my sincere request. Acts 12:5, 12; James 5:16. Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, if we should see each other no more with the eyes of the flesh; take this in good part, and tell my sister what I have written you; for she is as yet under the impression that I have apostatized from my faith-the Lord is the discerner of all hearts. Acts 1:24.
By me Clement Hendrickss, unworthy prisoner in the Lord.
Grace, peace and mercy from God our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ His only beloved Son, who gave Himself for us, out of great love, to deliver us from the bond of death; this fervent love,with the power and strength of the Holy Ghost, I wish you my very dear and beloved N., as a token of gratitude, and for consolation and strength, now and forever. Amen.
Further, my very dear and beloved, beloved by God, the heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, out of true Christian, brotherly love I cannot well forbear to write your love briefly as to how it still is with me in my bonds. I cannot thank and praise the Lord sufficiently, that He so comforts me in my tribulation, and that my mind is still fixed to fear the Lord with all my heart all the days of my life, according to my weak ability. Furthermore, very dear and beloved, I poor and unworthy one have undertaken to write you a little, though I am unfit to do so; but it is done out of true Christian, brotherly love; hence accept it from me in good part.
O my very dear and beloved, what a beautiful consolation it is to us, that Christ says, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:10. Christ also says, "Whosoever doth not take up his cross, and follow me, is not worthy of me; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Luke 9:23, 24. Paul, further, says all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. II Tim. 3:12. Many are the afictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Ps. 34:19. Therefore, my very dear and beloved, the prophets suffered, yea, Christ Himself, and also all the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ even unto the present day. Hence, let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when 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: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. Luke 12:35-37. Hence, my dear and much beloved,~what a beautiful comfort this is to us I For it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." I Cor. 2:9. He that shall endure unto the end. the same shall be saved. Matt. 24:13. And Esdras saw upon the Mount Sion a great people, whom he could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; at which he [Esdrasl marveled greatly. So he asked the angel, and said, "Sir, what are these?" He answered and said, "These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms." Then he asked the angel, "What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands?" And he an-
swered and said, "It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world." II Esd. 2: 42-47.
Behold, my dear and much beloved in the Lord, what is our life? It is even a vapor, or as a smoke that is driven by the wind, not knowing whence it cometh, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Jas. 4:14. But our dying is nothing less than an introduction into eternal life, to reign with God and Christ. Christ says, "He that believeth in me is passed from death unto life." John 5:24. If we die through Him, we live in Him, for God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; and Abraham believed in Him, and all believers live in God. Matt. 22:33; Jas. 2:23. Though they suffered death, they were the friends of God, so that He says, "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye." Zech. 2:8. Behold, what manner of love the Father~hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth you not, because it knew Him not. Therefore, my dear and much beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him;for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that bath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. I John 3:1-3. 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, that we may be clothed upon with it. II Cor. 5:1, 2. Yea, saith Paul, as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ; whether it be comfort or tribulation, it is all for our salvation, if we suffer as the saints suffered, that is, for the testimony of the Word of God. 1:5. 6; Rev. 6:9. Paul further says, "If we suffer with him, if we die with Christ, we shall live with him." I7 Tim. 2:11, 12. He further says; that our earnest expectation is nothing less than the manifestation of the sons of God, that is, we desire aid long so greatly for the appearing of our Lord in the clouds, that we may be caught up to Him in the clouds, and become like Him. Rom. 8:19; Matt. 24:30; I Thess. 4:17. While we are in these tabernacles, we are burdened; for we would rather be clothed upon with the immortal and heavenly glory with which Christ shall glorify us.. He that bath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who bath given unto us the earnest of the faith, through faith and trust in His Son. II Con 5:4, 5.
Hence, my dear and much beloved, even as it is also written; Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are temporal, but at the things which are eternal. II Cor. 4:16-18. Herewith I commend you to the Lord; may He bless and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and upon us all, and begracious unto us. Num. 6:24, 25. Greet the brethren much in my name, where it is convenient. I will commend you all to the Lord until,the appearing of our Lord. The peace of the Lord be with you now and forever. Amen.
Written in bonds, on Christmas Monday, by me,
Unworthy prisoner in the Lord.
I wish you, my dear and beloved father, and my dear and much beloved mother, the Spirit of truth, and the knowledge of the faith, according to the mind of Christ Jesus, a clear vision and an open heart in all divine matters and in: the Word of God, thereby rightly to discriminate which is. light or darkness, lies or truth, yea, flesh or spirit; in order that you may not be deceived, but firmly adhere to the word of God, so that you may receive a full reward, and lose none of those things which you have hitherto wrought through your faith. II John 8.
Further, my dear and much beloved father and mother, whom. I well remember in my bonds, and still pray for you every morning and evening, that the Lord would comfort you in your sorrow, which you have for me, poor, unworthy man, who am not worthy that you should sorrow for me. Furthermore, my dear and.much beloved father and mother I inform your love, that I have undertaken to write your love a little, as to how it still is with me, and that it is still my purpose to fear the Lord with all my heart, with all my strength, and with all my soul,.as long as I remain in the flesh, for which I can never sufficiently thank and praise the almighty, great and only wise God for His unspeakable, yea, incomprehensible grace, which He has hitherto shown me and still daily shows me thiough Jesus Christ and the supply of His Spirit, Phil. 1:19. For this I thank the almighty God, and bow the knee of my heart (Prayer of Manasses) before the Father full of grace, who is a true and righteous God of mercy, and a God that comforts us all with His holy Word. Therefore, my dear and much beloved father and mother, sorrow not for me poor, unworthy man, but much rather rejoice herein, and praise the Lord for it, that He has called and made worthy your son, to suffer for His holy Word and His Gospel. And we find; that the apostles and the prophets, yea, Christ Himself, had to suffer according to the flesh, from evil and perverse men. Hence my dear father and much beloved mother, do not grieve too much, and be content herein, as much as is possible for you, this I most kindly ask you for the name of the Lord. And always comfort yourselves with the words of Christ where He says, "He that loveth aught more than me is not worthy of me; and everyone that forsaketh house, home, lands, and father and mother, shall receive a hundred fold." Matt. 10: 37; Luke 14:26; Matt. 19:29. Therefore, my dear
and much beloved father and mother what else can we meet with in this life, than with great poverty? And what is man's life? nothing but as 'the flower of the field: the grass withereth and the flower fadeth; and as a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. Isaiah 40:6, 7; Jas. 4:14. Further, my dear and much beloved father, I am of good courage to offer up my sacrifice, and to suffer for the name of the Lord; for Christ says, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 10:32. Christ also says, "Let your light shine before men." 5
16. And I fain would, when I am to offer up my sacrifice, that they would place me on a wagon and carry me around town, and scourge me four times, that I might let the light shine before this evil, blind and perverse generation; for I am not ashamed to suffer for the Gospel. Rom. 1:16. For I shall not suffer as a thief, or a rogue, or robber, or evildoer, but I shall suffer as a Christian. I Peter 4:15, 16. For if we suffer for evil doing, what profit is it to us? but if we suffer for well doing, this is acceptable with the heavenly Father. 2:20. Furthermore my dear and much beloved father and mother, I inform your love that they have let me know that I should commit myself into the hands of the clergy; then they thought I should get out of here. Thereupon I sent back word to them, that I had no intention of doing this, and that they should go to no trouble about it.
Hence, my dear and much beloved father and mother, be not dismayed on account of this, I humbly pray you for the name of the Lord, for of such things a Christian ought not to be ashamed. For there was Joseph, who was tempted by the Egyptian woman; and she had caught him by his coat or mantle, and wished to commit whoredom with him; and she would not let him go; but he fled from her, and left the mantle or coat in her hand, rather than commit this great sin with her. Therefore, my dear and much beloved father and mother, if the whore of Babylon takes hold of our coat or mantle, that we should commit whoredom with her, rather let go, through the grace of the Lord, your coat or mantle, namely, your temporal life, than that you should commit whoredom with her. Rev. 17:1 , 2.
Furthermore, my dear and much beloved father and mother, I ask you very humbly, with weeping eyes, for forgiveness for all that I have done amiss against you by word or deed, or by any thoughts, that you will forgive me. It seems that my time will soon be here now, when I shall offer up my sacrifice. Hence my dear and much beloved father and mother, I will commend you to the Lord, and bid you adieu till the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Tlie peace of the Lord be with you forever and ever. Amen.
Written by me, your beloved son, in my bonds.
Unworthy prisoner in the Lord.
A most friendly greeting to you my beloved father and mother. I inform you, that I am still of good courage and well, as I hope that also you are.
Further, my dear and much beloved father and mother, J inform your love how it is with me, according to the body, in my bonds. I cannot thank and praise the Lord enough for it, that He so comforts me in my tribulation, and that it is still my fixed purpose to fear the Lord as long as I am here, though flesh and blood should suffer on this account.
Furthermore, my dear and much beloved father and mother, I inform your love, how they dealt with me when I was first apprehended. I had been invited out in the evening, which was on a Wednesday, and we were speaking of going home. Then the Watch met ' us, and we had no light with us, whereupon we were taken up above by the watch, where sat Floris den Bral, who asked us, whence we came, whether we had not been at a meeting of the new religion. We said, "No." He asked whether we would substantiate this with our oath. I said to him, "Will you not believe my word; I mean to tell you the truth." But he insisted on the oath, and we would not swear, then he said, "Take them back below." And we were forthwith taken in the rear, into the dungeon, as though we had been thieves or rogues. The next morning we were taken above, and they brought me first before the lords, having bound my hands behind my back, as though I had been a thief. Then the bailiff asked me and said, "Clement." And I said, "Sir bailiff." He asked, "How many times have you attended the meetings of the Mennists?" I kept silence and gave him no answer. And he insisted hard upon knowing it, whereupon I was led away into a room by myself. Then the others were brought before the lords, and asked concerning their faith. They confessed their faith,.and then I was again brought before the lords, and he again asked me, how often r had attended the meetings. He wanted to know whether I had been there ten times. I said, "No." Eight times?"No." Seven times?"No." Three times?"Yes." Then he asked me, who had been the preacher. I said, "I am not minded to tell it." He also wanted me to tell in what house I had been, and what people had been there. I told him that I was not minded to tell him. He said that he should make me tell it. I was then taken back into the dungeon. The day following I was again taken up before the lords, and the bailiff asked me, whether I would not yet tell him, who had been the preacher, where it had been, and what people had been present. I told him that I was not yet minded to tell it, and said, "I am in trouble, and I do not wish to bring any one else into trouble; you have me here, deal with me accordine to your pleasure." Jeremiah 26:14. Then the bailiff said to the judges, "I demand him to be Dut on the rack. in order to tear"
all the particulars." And he said, "Take him to the rear;" and I was taken to the rack; where I was stripped, and my shirt tied before my body. Thus I was placed in a sitting posture on the rack, and my eyes blindfolded. Then the bailiff came to me, and asked me whether I would not yet tell it. I told him that I was not yet minded to tell it. Thereupon I was laid upon the rack, and tied to it with seven ropes. On my head there were two knots, which lay on my forehead; and a cord on each of my great toes, and the others around my body. The ropes were twisted together with billets of wood, and I expected nothing else but that he would twist in pieces the ribs in my body. Urine was also poured into my mouth, and as I lay there in pain, I was also scourged on my breast. The Lord knows how they dealt with me. Through the severe pain I named four persons; but I hoped that they were not in town. This lasted about half an hour. I said to them, that they should put a rope around my throat, and dispatch me at once. When they loosed the ropes, I was not able to get up by my own efforts; the servants had to help me up. I was then taken back into a dungeon. The next day I was again brought above before the lords, and if it had not been for Joost Buyck, I would have been tortured again, though I was scarcely able to walk. Then the bailiff asked me, whether I would not have a monk to come and see me. I said, that he might stay away. He said, "You have to hear a dog bark; can you not hear a man talk?" I was then taken back into the dungeon, and a priest and a monk came to dispute with me. They began to prate much of this and that, and to tell many fables; but I kept silence, and let them prate on; and they got angry because I did not reply to them more, and one of them said that I had the devil in me. Four days after I was taken above again, when they told me that I should prepare myself against Saturday. I said, "Whenever it pleases the Lord I am ready." I was then taken back into the dungeon, and expected nothing else than that. I should offer up my sacrifice on Saturday, and even on Saturday I had no other expectation but of offering up my sacrifice. There came a priest to me, and would have me confess to him. I said that I did not want to confess to him, since he could not forgive my sins; I said, "The best confession is to confess to the Lord my God." Then the bailiff with two judges came to me, and said, that they would wait with me two weeks yet; but I was of such good courage to offer up my sacrifice, as though I had known nothing of death. Phil. 2:17. And so I am still of such good courage, as though I knew nothing of imprisonment. It began to vex me that it is deferred so long. I long to be out of the flesh, and am quite cheerfully resigned to offer up my sacrifice; the Lord does not forsake His own who trust in Him. Furthermore, my dear and much beloved father, I inform you, that I received your letter, and I was rejoiced to learn that you are so well content herein.Further, my dear father and mother, I will bid you adieu, if it be the Lord's pleasure, till the appearing of our Lord. The peace of the Lord be with you forever. Amen. By me,
Unworthy prisoner in the Lord.
I wish you, my dear and beloved in the Spirit and according to the truth, as I trust, in the knowledge of the faith, and in the mind of Christ Jesus, a clear vision, and an open heart, in all divine matters, and in the Word of God, thereby rightly to discriminate which is light or darkness, lies or truth, yea, flesh or spirit; in order that you may not be deceived, but adhere firmly to the Word of God, so that you may receive a full reward.
Further, my dear and much beloved, I cannot well forbear to write you a little, how it still is with me in my bonds, and that my mind is still fixed to fear the Lord with all my heart, with all my strength, and with all my soul, for which I can never fully thank and praise the almighty, great and all-wise God, for His unspeakable, yea, incomprehensible grace which He has hitherto shown me and still daily shows me, through Jesus Christ, and the supply of the Spirit. For this I thank the almighty God, and bow the knee of my heart before the Father full of grace and truth, who is the true Father full of grace, and the God of all comfort, who can comfort us when we are in tribulation and distress. II Cor. 1:3, 4. Hence, my dear and faithful, keep well this good treasure, which is committed to you, given you of God through grace; for faith is the gift of God. Rom. 12:3. By it the elders obtained a good report, and assurance in their hearts, through the ancient word of the Spirit of Christ, who had testified before with their spirit, that they were the children of God, and heirs of all the glorious promises. Heb. 11:2; I Pet. 1:11. Hence they willingly forsook everything, and es-
teemed it nevertheless much more and greater riches, to suffer affliction with the children of God, than to enjoy all the temporal pleasures of this world;
for they had respect unto the recompense of the reward, and to that which was eternal and not temporal. Heb. 11:25, 26; II Cor. 4:18. For faith looks to that which does not appear here now, nor is seen with carnal eyes, but which is beheld by the inner, hidden man, and by the eyes of the heart; and hence they hold it fast, as though they saw it before their eyes, and could touch it with their hands; for they judge Him faithful that promised, that He also will do it, for He cannot deny Himself. Heb. 11:1, 11; 10:23; II Timothy 2:13. Therefore, my dear and faithful, look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Cor. 4:18. And Christ says, "He that loveth aught more than me, is not worthy of me." Matt. 10:37. And in another place He
says, "Every one that forsaketh house, home, lands, and father and mother, yea, also his own life, shall receive a hundred fold." Matt. 19:29. Hence we must forsake everything here, and love nothing more than the living God, and show it with works and by the deed, that we are the children of God, and not bastards. The righteous must through much affliction enter into the kingdom of heaven; but the Lord helps them in all their afflictions; He does not suffer His own to be tempted above that they are able, but has with the temptation also made a way to escape. Ps. 34:19; I Cor. 10:13. But the ungodly He reserves unto the day of judgment to be punished. II Pet. 2:9.
Hence, my dear and much beloved, remember Joseph, who was tempted by the Egyptian woman to commit whoredom with her; and she had taken hold of his coat or mantle, and would not let him go; but he fled from her, and left the coat or mantle, in her hand, rather than commit this great sin with her. Therefore, my dear and much beloved, if the harlot of Babylon takes hold of our coat or mantle rather let go, by the grace of God, your earthly coat, namely, your temporal life, than that you should be compelled to commit whoredom with her; well knowing that our mortal clothing must first be put off before the immortal can be put on. II Esd. 2:45. And if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building in heaven, a house not made with hands, but which is eternal. II Corinthians 5:1.
Furthermore, my dear and much beloved, I have undertaken to write you a little yet, of the words of Christ, where He says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [that he may abide with you forever]; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive . . . . Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye shall see me, and ye know me, says the Lord." John 14:15-17, 19, 20. In another place Christ also warns us, saying, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit . . . . Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Matt. 7:15-17, 19.
Herewith I bid you adieu with the sure Word of His grace, until His coming. The peace of the Lord be with you forever and ever. Amen. Receive this my brief letter in good part.
Written in my bonds out of love, by me,
Unworthy prisoner in the Lord.