The abundant great grace of God, that comes to us from the Father, through Christ His only Son; and the immeasurable riches of the Holy Ghost, whereby we are now kept unto eternal life, among this wicked and perverse generation, this only and eternal God of all grace keep you, my dearest wife and sister in the Lord, my flesh, my bone, the dearest among all creatures on earth. For this I have confessed more than once before the lords, if the whole world were mine, I would give it, if I could keep my wife and children with a good conscience; but for the Lord's sake I must now contrary to nature forsake everything-the spirit must overcome the flesh. O my Janneken, my lamb, how hard it is for me to part from you and the children; Oh, how deep you are buried in my heart; which is now a great conflict for me; may the Lord help me to gain the victory, so that the crown of life may be prepared for me, with all the elect saints of God; who have forsaken everything for the Lord's sake. O my dear wife, my lamb, my love, I thank you from the depths of my soul, for your consoling letter, which you sent me; and may the Lord grant His eternal life to all those that by counsel or deed lent their aid in the matter. The letter removed a greater weight from my heart, than all the riches on the face of the earth are worth. Oh, what a good thing it is, to remember the prisoners; how welcome came this Habakkuk to me, who fed mepoor prisoner in my soul, here in the lion's den; for a little morsel that comes from without strengthens me ten times more than what I have with me. Hist. of the Drag. 33, etc.
O my dear wife and sister in the Lord, I pray you far the Lord's sake, who am now bound for His sake, adhere to the truth, as the church at Antwerp and Ghent stands. Keep with them that truly fear God; and the God of all comfort will be with you, yea, God and His holy church shall feed you, and my young lambs, of this I have no doubt. If you continue in the fear of the Lord, and cast all your care upon Him, though you are now poor; my sister and beloved wife, you will have much wealth, if you fear God and eschew sin, as I trust you will. Tob. 4:21.
I further pray you; my dearest wife, take care as long as you live, of my young lambs, my Susanneken, my Abrahamken, and my Isaaken, that they may be brought up in the fear of God. Oh, with what scalding tears do I pray to my God, to let them grow up in His fear, or to take them to Him in their youth.
O my dearest love on earth, Janneken Verstralen, kiss all my children once for me, and tell my Susanken, that it is her father's wish, that she be obedient to her mother in the fear of God; and learn to be diligent to help her dear mother, to earn bread for her little brothers, and you my Janneken, my love, remember me your imprisoned husband, and bound for the eternal truth, and for the sake of the testimony of Jesus, in your prayers. This I pray you and all God-fearing brethren and sisters, to help us pray to God, that we may gain the victory of a good fight, that God will now teach my fingers to war and my arm to bend the bow of steel, so that by faith I may break through a troop, and leap by my God over a wall (Ps. 18:34, 29); so that we may say with Paul: The fight is fought, the course is finished, the crown of life is laid up for us. II Tim. 4:8. Maeyken and I are determined to use such force in 'order to take the kingdom of God, that flesh and blood shall remain on the posts and stakes. We are not permitted to stay together; however we have been together three times, yet through strategy; the first time, when the disputer came from Ghent. Then all the lords came too, and I began to say to them with what calamity they should be punished who now imbrued their hands in the blood of the innocent. Then they cast down their eyes; but a flatterer began to speak, saying, that I had most gravely accused all the lords. In short, I felt that he was the one who was to dispute with me; hence I finally feigned as though I could not defend myself, and spoke pleasantly to the lords, and requested that they should let Maeyken hear it;"for I see, said I, that you are anxious to help me, and in this wise you will have the trouble only once; if you help one you help them both." They therefore consented to it; then we began to defend ourselves, and it lasted until long in the afternoon. After dinner we met again. but Maevken wag not
allowed to come to me. We then began to have some very, sharp words; hence they changed their tactics, and began to speak pleasantly saying, whether I dared not do like Paul, and, contrary to my views, circumcise Timothy, and shave my head; yea, secretly he said, whether I dared not with Judith cut off Holofernes' head, though it were not, the truth, that I should do all that I should promise; whether it were not the same God, and whether one might now not lie as well as then, for the sake of some good end; for it is written, he said, "If it be possible, live peaceably with all men." Rom. 12:18. I requested time for consideration, whether I could do it with truth and a good conscience. We then parted, and they said they desired nothing else. They returned another time, and asked to what conclusion I had come; and I constantly sought to be with Maeyken; but it could not well be. I then said, "Let us come together; I hope always to do what is possible." Then Maeyken came tome, and I presented the matter to her as they had done to me, whereupon she said, "How should this be? should the dog return to his own vomit?" II Peter 2:22. I then told them, that they should let me speak with Maeyken alone, and they permitted it. I then told Maeyken, that no man living should persuade me of this, that the priests' matters are right,"they know it well," said I,"but they seek to be rid of us; but we will live and die together." Thus we said that we should consider the matter, with which they were satisfied.
At another time they took Maeyken alone, but had me come too. When I came, and was there, I perceived that they showed us great friendship and promised much to set us into the street as free as we had ever been, for which they would pledge their souls; so that I finally became frightened, fearing that I might be led astray by their fair speeches. They also had more hope of winning me, than Maeyken; hence I fell upon my knees, and entreated them, not to trouble themselves any more with us; for I have besought my God with many tears day and night, that He would keep me in His truth; and hence I would live or die with the Lord. Then Maeyken leaped up for joy, for she had thought that I had given it up, since I had come in with a sad countenance."Now I am glad," ~ she said,"for I thought, that I should have to die alone." But when I perceived that Maeyken had such thoughts concerning me, I fell upon my knees, and said, "I am very sorry for this." Thus we shook hands, and kissed each other, and rejoiced greatly together, but our adversaries were greatly grieved. I would have written these things more neatly, but I cannot make these writing materials do good service.
Furthermore, my dearest wife, my lamb, my love, I inform you, that I am little burdened in my conscience, the Lord be forever praised for it; but all my sadness is caused by the bitterness of our parting. But, my dear lamb, this I would like to askof you, because you have such a good nature that you could well live without a husband, that you henceforth stay only with my children; for often great sorrow arises from marrying again. And wherein I ever grieved you through my weakness, I ask your forgiveness, for the sake of the Lord's deep wounds and innocent death. Greet much all the God-fearing, and the babes that are nourished at the breasts of Zion in my name with the peace of the Lord. Serres, you broken bonehead, and J. van G. help to care for my poor widow and little orphans, knowing, that therein you will not serve man, but God. I much greet H. C. M. and A. and L. and C. O how gladly I would write neatly, had I good materials. Adieu, by flesh and blood; kiss Susanneken for me. O adieu for me, adieu, adieu, my dear wife. Pray our dear Lord for me for a blessed end.
O my dearest wife, my flesh, my bone, my dear friend, my lamb, not on my heart, but in my heart, and henceforth my poor widow, whom I must leave according to the pleasure, goodness, will and counsel of God, who has deemed it well that I should according to His pleasure lie in bonds here for His eternal truth's sake, which, my dear wife and sister in the Lord, I hope by the grace of God .to seal with my death, to pay now the obedience which we owe to God, that is, the denying of ourselves, that we may love nothing above Him, neither father, nor mother, nor wife, nor child, nor our own life; or God threatens us with His eternal judgment. He that loveth aught more than me can not be my disciple, much less my son; and they that are not sons are bastards, who shall have neither part nor inheritance with God. Eph. 5:5. And this is the reason, my dear wife, that, though you and my little children lie so deeply in my heart, you must, against my nature, be cast out from it; for you may not be an idol to me, nor I to you, as much as we love our dear-bought souls. I Cor. 6:20. Hence know by this, my dearest wife, that I will commend you and my little children to the great, almighty, and eternal God, who is rich in mercy over all them that fear and love Him, that through His goodness and great power He will bring you to the eternal, glorious and undefiled inheritance among all them that are sanctified. The God of all comfort, and Father of all grace, who is called the true Father in heaven or upon earth, the same grant you, my dear wife, Janneken Verstralen, that through His unfathomable mercy, and immeasurable goodness, and the riches of His grace, may be strengthened by His Holy Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ, His blessed Son, may dwell in your heart by faith (Eph. 3:16, 17), that you, my love, may be clothed with the cloak of righteousness and have the loins of your mind girt about with the girdle of truth, and the bond of love (6:14; Col. 3:14); yea, that the
basket of grapes and the bundle of myrrh may hang between both your breasts, in your heart, namely, Christ Jesus, whereby you may be preserved from the pestilence that walketh in darkness (Ps. 91:6), and thus shine with an eternal crown, as a daughter born of royal seed, the living Word of God, and may gain the victory of a good fight: may this be done to the praise and glory of the almighty God, and to the salvation of your soul. Amen.
This I, Hendrick Verstralen, your husband, prisoner in the Lord for the eternal truth's sake and the testimony of Christ, send to you, my beloved wife and sister in the Lord, as a salutation and good wish of my heart, and as my last adieu. Adieu my dearest on earth; adieu, sister in the Lord. Oh, strong is the truth; it conquers all things. I Esd. 4:35. O my own rib, who are taken out of the middle of my body, how should I not love you, you my wife, who loves my soul more than my body, as I understand from your letter, which is a great joy to me, and a perpetual comfort; I have read it with many tears. I thank you much, my lamb, for your earnest solicitude for me. I further pray you, my dear wife, whom I have wedded honorably before God and His church, now that our parting is at hand help us and all the God-fearing to pray and supplicate to God for a little while yet, until Maeyken, our dear sister, and I your husband, who now are still in our greatest conflict, under the bloody banner which Christ, the author of faith, and chief Captain, has borne Himself in the midst of His saints, that with Him, we may through our death, overcome our enemies, with God nail our flag to the mast, and with peace and rest enter into our chambers (Isaiah 26:20), and wait for the coming of our Lord, who shall through His grace raise us up from the earth unto life eternal. And, my dear lamb, my flesh, my blood, be patient in your tribulation; continue now with Judith and Anna the prophetess instant in prayer, serving your God day and night, in the house of the Lord, which is His church. See, my dear wife, I hope that you will do according to Paul's advice (I Cor. 7:32), now that you are unmarried; that you will serve the Lord unhindered, and seek to please Him, and to be holy in soul and body. Hearken, my wife, my dearest love on earth, follow my advice for the Lord's sake; go and sell all that you can spare, which is little, and live as plainly as possible, for a widow, can get along with very little; and seek an honorble, quiet girl that does not keep company with youthful companions; and flee youthful lusts, and do the best with my little children. The Lord shall care for you; He who gives the wild ass his food in the wilderness, when he cries for thirst, and who feeds the young ravens that cry unto God, as David says (Psalm 147:9), will also feed you, my dear lamb, when you, my widow, my chosen lamb, shall with my young orphans cry to God. Though your tears fall here upon earth, they shall not cease until they penetrate the clouds and appear before God. Then shall you find consolation, asDavid says, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles; yea, the angel of the Lord. encampeth round about them that fear him from the heart." Ps. 34:17, 7.
O my dear wife, think of the words of Paul: The time is short; I would fain spare you; they that are married must be as though they were not. I Cor. 7:29. Thus, my dear sister in the Lord, Janneken Verstralen, the end of all things is now at hand, says Peter; the heavens shall be rolled together, and pass away as smoke, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. I Pet. 4:7; Rev. 6:14; II Pet. 3:10. O what manner of person ought you then to be in all holy and chaste conversation. II Pet. 3:11. O my dear wife these words have sometimes terrified me on account of my wicked, evildesiring flesh; with which I am compassed about; but I consoled myself with this, that God by chastisement should refine me in the 'fire of affliction, and thus be gracious unto me; for I have loved His truth, though weakness cleaved to me. Hence I will now say with the prophet Micah, "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him." Micah 7:9. And with Sirach, "I will rather fall into the hands of the Lord, than into the hands of men; for his mercy is as great as he himself is." Sir. 2:18. He forgives sin, and helps in distress. Ps. 32:5. Hence, my dear wife, be patient in the tribulation that is upon us both; confess with Judith; that our punishment is less than our sins. Judith 8:27. And He helps in distress; for he that humbles himself before the Lord, and confesses and forsakes his sins, shall obtain mercy; but he that covers them shall not prosper. Prov. 28:13. But if we confess our sins to the Lord, it is God that forgives them,;, for we have a free and open. fountain for sin and uncleanness, as Zechariah says, that is, Christ Jesus, who has bought us with His precious blood; for the blood of our dear Lord Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins. See, my dearest wife, though now the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation much more abounds by Christ, that through His innocent death we shall have eternal life, if we continue steadfast in the fear of God unto the end, as I hope through the grace of God to do. And I also pray you, my Janneken Verstralen, my lamb, my love, that you will do so, and will remain an honorable widow, in prayer and supplication to God (I Tim. 5:5) , and in holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14); till you also are taken away by the Lord. O my dearest love on earth, [in] my fatherly heart, yours and my little children's, I wish you much good according to the soul.- There are three of my little lambs with the Lord, and I hope through God's grace soon to be the fourth. O my dear wife, that I might, through the grace and power of God, be burnt alive twice in a pitch barrel, for you four that must remain behind, and you should now go with me to the Lord into rest! What joy would it be to my fatherly heart, if I were sure.
of the salvation of you all. Written with many scalding tears. This I pray you, my dearest wife, that you will remain an honorable and quiet widow. Do not take this amiss from me; true, it is my advice, but therefore no command; but I seek it for the greater assurance of your salvation.
Oh, how often has this happened, that widows whose husbands went before so valiantly, and so courageously gave their lives for the truth, by marrying again, have subjected themselves to many sorrows, some of them fallen into perdition, and some of them gone through life in great sorrow, sighing over those whom they now have. Hence, my dear lamb, I repeat it, think of the words of the apostle, "The time is short; I would fain spare you. For he would fain have wished, that all men had been even as he himself, seeing that through marriage much trouble comes into the flesh." I Cor. 7:28, 29, 7. However, everyone has his particular gift, the one this, the other that; but do what you will, only that it be done in the Lord. v. 39. But I hope and trust in my God, that He will firmly keep you together with my three lambs, and preserve you, that you may not be taken; and not suffer you, my dearest wife, to be tempted above that you are.able; for God knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, but to reserve the wicked and ungodly unto the day of judgment to be punished. I Cor. 10:13; II Pet. 2:9.
Hence my dear lamb, I will commend you to the Lord, our God and helper in distress, and further to His holy church; may they together open their fatherly heart over you, my poor widow and young orphans. I further desire, my dear wife, that wherever it is convenient you greet the Godfearing brethren and sisters much in my name with the peace of the Lord; and tell them, that I greatly desire of them all, that they remember us poor prisoners as their fellow brethren, and will help pray and supplicate to God, that we may wage the Lord's war, and [that He may] also help us to gain the victory, so that we may finish it to His praise and to our salvation; and bid them all adieu in our name, if perhaps I can write no more. And to you, my dear wife, my flesh and my blood, I will also say adieu; adieu, my helper in distress; adieu, my faithful friend on earth. The Lord be praised, that gave you to me; you, my lamb, who have always comforted me in my tribulation. Adieu, my Susanneken, my Abrahamken, my Isaaken; adieu, Janneken; my dearest love upon earth, who have borne me six children, with three of whom I hope soon to be at rest.
The almighty God, to whom nothing is impossible, but whose power is equal to everything, keep you, my chosen wife, with the other three innocent lambs, unto His eternal life. O my lamb, my Janneken Verstralen, may the almighty God grant us, my love, that we may with our children come to the Lord, to rejoice together before the throne of the Lamb and the Majesty of our God. Amen.
May God keep you, my dear wife, in the simplicity of doves, the innocence of children, and the prudence of serpents, and bring you to His eternal inheritance. I commend you to the Lord, and to the rich Word of His grace. By me, your husband, Hendrick Verstralen, bound for the eternal truth, at Rijpermonde, with fetters on my legs.
Maeyken greets you and all the God-fearing much with the peace of the Lord. Oh, greet the household at D. much in our name; I very affectionately desire to ask the old mother and her daughters, that they immediately gird up their loins with the girdle of truth, and put on the shoes of the Gospel, to enter into the camp of God, to the church, where now the Lord's war is waged. Come immediately, my dear old mother, with your young daughters, to bear the baggage of the Captain of our faith, namely, the knapsack of love, in which is the helmet of salvation, with a beautiful plume called faith and firm trust. Cover them with the mantle of righteousness, so that the beautiful helmet of salvation may not rust, and the plume not become soiled, that is, that your faith and trust towards God may not fail, and.you remain behind with the fainthearted and fearful. Though you see that all the tempests, storms and heavy rains fall upon the righteous, remember, my dear lamb, that all the God-fearing must have themselves enlisted, and become soldiers under the bloody banner which Christ Jesus our chief Captain has borne in the midst of His saints, and under whose banner I now stand by the grace of God, and hope to fight valiantly together with Him, and to strive lawfully, as long as I can stand on my feet, and there is breath in me.
Herewith I will bid you adieu, my dear friends D. and P., and the daughters, and commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, hoping that you will follow. Adieu, my dear friends, at whose table I ate bread with joy for the last time, and we sang a hymn to the honour of God. Adieu, my dear friends, in hope that we shall eat bread together in the kingdom of God, and drink the oil of joy and the new wine.
By me Hendrick Verstralen, in bonds for the testimony of the truth, on Palm Sunday, A. D. 1571. HENDRICK VERSTRALEN.
We prisoners and bound in the Lord for the eternal truth's sake, Hendrick Verstralen and Maeyken Deynoots, your very weak brother and sister in the Lord, wish our very dear and affectionately beloved brethren and sisters, who in the Lord stand in like faith with us, and are gone out from Babylon, no more to touch the unclean thing, nor to be yoked together any more with unbelievers, but are come unto Jerusalem, into the church of the living God, there to serve the Lord your God, around the slaughter house, where some of you are still spared, as the prophet Jeremiah says (Jer. 11:19), to be
baptized; much consolation, gladness and joy in all your hearts, from God our heavenly Father, and this through Jesus Christ His only, eternal begotten Son, full of grace and truth, through this our High Priest and mercy seat, who offered Himself to God His Father for us, on the tree of the cross, that through His death He might prepare us the entrance to eternal life. Through this innocent and spotless Lamb, that took away our sins, we bow the knee of our heart day and night before God our heavenly Father, that He would spread His peace among you as a river, and confirm you, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, with His Holy Spirit, that you may be strengthened in the inner man, and keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and love (Eph. 4:3), so that we, my dear brethren and sisters, who are bought and redeemed with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, may together serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness acceptably before Him, as long as we are in this tabernacle. Amen.
O thou camp of the Lord, thou city of the living God, may the Lord set watchmen everywhere on thy walls, that never hold their peace day nor night (Isa. 62:6); but that thy teachers may, as David says, be filled with much blessing, and gain one victory after another, so that the vineyard of the Lord may be planted, and thou Jerusalem be built, thou temple of the Lord, though in a sorrowful time. Let every one gird his sword to his side, and let him build with the one hand, and with the other let him hold the spear, so that the enemies who would prevent our working may be repelled, so that Zion alone may be shown prepared. my dear brethren and sisters, we wish you from God, that you may be built together a spiritual house and habitation of God; that God's law may be written in all your hearts, and His commandment be in your mind, and you thus remain sons and daughters of God in whom He may dwell and walk: that He would keep you, that you will never touch the unclean thing, but may approve yourselves in all things as ministers of God, so that the name of the Lord may be praised from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same. O brethren and sisters, that your light may arise as the morning star, and you remain a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people, so that you, dear brethren and sisters, may everywhere lift up holy hands to God, and offer up to Him ..ie fruit of your lips, spiritual sacrifices, so that the vial of the Lord may be filled with incense from the prayers of the saints. I Tim. 2:8; Heb. 13:15; Rev. 5:8. O thou bride of the Lamb, who from love of your Bridegroom Christ must be zealous unto death, and bring forth the fruits of righteousness with many sorrows and pains, and be sick of love to Him; may the Lord our God lay His left hand under your head, and embrace you with His right hand (Cant. 2:6), thou Eve regenerated by Christ your husband through the incorruptible seed of the living Word of God nroceeditw from-the fatherlv heart _ n thou beautiful daughter of the almighty Father, who are now presented to His Son Jesus, the Lord from heaven, and through faith in Him shalt have eternal life; may the eternal, almighty Father richly pour out upon you His blessing and the power of the Holy Ghost, and make you fruitful and fit for every good work, so that you may win His Son Jesus many sons and daughters, that His winepress may soon be filled through the number of His saints (Rev. 6:11), and you may thus the sooner see the destruction of our enemies, who are innumerably many, and have bent our back, and walk over us as over a street, and reward us evil for good, because they cannot- build with us on the spiritual house of the Lord, because they are uncircumcised of heart and carnally minded. Against these our enemies, may God arm us and you, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, with the armor of righteousness, [and grant] that we may be shod with the Gospel of peace, and our loins be girt about with truth, always having the two edged sword of the Spirit at our side, thus preserving our helmet of salvation with the shield of faith, guarding the knapsack of love, and thus following the Captain of our faith, as Christian soldiers, boldly waging the war of the Lord, under the bloody banner of Christ; so that we, our dear brethren and sisters, may through the grace of God gain the victory of a good fight in godly conflict, and obtain the crown of eternal life. Amen.
We prisoners in the Lord, and bound for the eternal truth's sake and the testimony of Jesus, Maeyken Deynoots, and Hendrick Verstralen, herewith greet all our brethren and sisters in the Lord, and send you this brief letter from the depth of our heart, as our last adieu; hereby taking affectionate leave from all dear brethren and sisters, especially those of you who are known to us, and have shown us much good by your consoling 'exhortations, in our tribulation, where we are imprisoned for the eternal truth's sake. Hence we again entreat all you beloved who shall see our letter, or hear it read, before we are out of the flesh, that you will help us heartily to beseech the Lord, that we may overcome even unto death, to the praise and glory of the almighty God, and to our salvation, and to your boast in the day of Christ. Phil. 2:16. Adieu, all my dear brethren and sisters. Adieu, all that love the Lord and His appearing. Adieu, H. P. H. de R. and D. P. and Adam and his wife, and B. P. and S. and J. van H., our faithful helpers in distress. Adieu, K. and L. B. and M. S. and G. and her sister Janneken. Dear friends, lay it to heart to pray to God for us, for we ask it of you with tears. H. de R., I pray you greet much in my name with the peace of the Lord, for an adieu, L. de C., and your servant maid and your friend C., and all my dear brethren. Oh, that God would grant that the two Abrahams might each make a Sarah out of their rib; this is my heart's wish. Bid them adieu too, Grietjen and Judith. Adieu T. de S. and your wife. our L. S. G.
as I may boldly call you; my dear brother, my dear friend, adieu; however, I hope to remember you yet, if it is possible. Acquit yourself valiantly.
Written on St. Georges day, A. D. 1571.
The abundant grace and mercy of God our heavenly Father, through His only, eternally begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up Himself for us to God His heavenly Father, as a propitiation for our sins, that He might deliver us from the future wrath that shall come upon all them that have not obeyed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction (II Thess. 1:8); but may wisdom, power, and the consolation of the Holy Ghost, which proceeds from both the Father and the Son, this only eternal and almighty God, by whom every good and perfect gift is given, always abide with us and you, my dear brethren and sisters, so that He may through grace make us all together fit through Himself, that we may be found worthy in the day of His coming. Amen. Luke 21:36.
My affectionately beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, I wish you from the depth of my heart, for an adieu, that you may always prosper in soul and body. I Maeyken, your weak sister in the Lord, thank you from the very depth of my heart for the great love that you are showing us; I wish before God, that the same may also be done to you in distress, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. Excuse me, that I do not write more with my own hand; for I am very unskilled therein. However, I did not deem it to be necessary; for Hendrick, our dear brother, my fellow prisoner in the Lord, has done it so well for us both; I wish you the same before God, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. Let it seem to you as though I had written it; my heart's wish is, that we may seal it with our blood, to the praise and glory of the holy name of the Lord, and to the salvation of our souls. With my own hand I bid adieu to all my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. Adieu; always adhere valiantly to the eternal truth. Adieu. Pray the Lord for us; I pray day and night for you in my weakness. Adieu, G. C. N. T. and your wives. Adieu, B. J. B. P., my dear sisters. Adieu, Andries M. Adieu, adieu; receive this in good part.
I prisoner of the Lord salute you from the inmost of my heart, my very dear and affectionately beloved brother and sister J. and Andries who are now in great tribulation and sorrow on account of the sad parting. Oh, be patient in all your tribulation, continuing instant in prayer, and rejoicingin hope, which maketh not ashamed, my dear brother and sister in the Lord. Uh, it is a good thing to be patient, and wait for the help of the Lord; for he that fears God is comforted after temptation, and after chastisement he finds favor. The Lord does hide His face for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will He have mercy on us. Isa. 54:8. Hence, my dear sister Janneken, console yourself with the Lord's holy Word; though you are now as it were a forsaken and heartstricken wife, it is but a little while, and your sorrow shall be turned into everlasting joy; for thy maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called, verse 5. O you warrioress of God, contend valiantly against your flesh and blood, and continue steadfast unto death, and there shall be given you the crown of eternal life, with full joy, which no man shall take from you. Andries, my dear brother, that you parted from us with great sorrow, and that you desire to be with us, this you must commit to the Lord, for everything must have its due time. They did not lack the power, when they said to me, "Woman, you must come with us." I said, "In the name of the Lord." They greatly desired you. I Said, "If it were the Lord's will, you would get him." I went again very willingly; then I saluted our dear brethren with the kiss of peace, since love impelled me to it. I believe my brother and fellow prisoner has informed you how it further went, and of the proceedings with us, as far as known to him; I cannot write anything concerning it, for want of paper. My dear brother and sister, I thank you heartily for your good exhortation, faithful warning, and sweet consolation, and wish before God, that the same may be done to you in your distress. I read it with many tears, and time and again thanked the Lord, who through His great grace remembers His poor, weak, imprisoned and bound children, and does not forget them. Comfort and admonish one another with the same words, nay dear brother and sister in the Lord, and kiss one another once for me; I hope to do as you said. Herewith I will commend you to the Lord, and to the comforting Word of His grace, and herewith bid adieu to all dear brethren and sisters in the Lord; I know of no one that is known to me, whether he be far or near, of whom I do not think. Adieu with an inward holy kiss of love and peace. Adieu, and pray the Lord for us; I pray day and night for you. Adieu, my dear brethren and sisters. Adieu, adieu, adieu, with tears: adieu, keep firmly on, till you are taken hence. This adieu I write to you all. Excuse this simple letter.
Written by me your weak sister in the Lord, in the castle of Rijpermonde where I am imprisoned and bound with iron chains or fetters, for the eternal truth's sake. I long for the day when I shall offer up my sacrifice; however, I hope to wait for it with patience. A. D. 1571.