The awful murderer's den of the city of Antwerp, though full of stakes, slain bodies, and the ashes of the saints, was at this time not yet sated with the many massacres that were perpetrated:for the sake of the true faith on the innocent sheep of Christ. This appeared also in the case of five pious Christians, namely, Hans van Munstdorp and Janneken Munstdorp his wife, together .with Mariken, Lijsken and .Maeyken. These were; about the year 1573 while they were gathered to hear the Word of God, apprehended together and con, fined in the prison at Antwerp.But when they could in no manner be turned from the steadfastness of their faith, notwithstanding many terrible threats, disputations with worldly, learned men, and other means were used against them, it was determined to put them all to death, and this not in an easy or short manner, but by fire, till life' in them, should be extinct.
This was first put into execution on Hans van Munstd6ip, who, about the month of September of the aforesaid year, was taken out of the fold, away from the other four, as a sheep for the slaughter, and; according to the sentence passed, put to death with a huge fire, which severe and grievous death he steadfastly endured, with a heart full of good cheer:
The reason why the other four persons were not put to death with him, was chiefly because his wife Janneken Munstdorp was very far advanced in pregnancy, and was soon to be delivered, which
took place shortly after her dear husband was burnt. She was delivered of a little daughter, whom she, since she was now also soon to die, named, after her own name, Janneken, and made great haste to get the child (before the priests should lay hands on it) to the friends, to whom she heartily commended it, and also wrote a testament full of excellent instructions to this little daughter, when she was about a month old, which testarnent the friends preserved for her.
When the time of her offering up was at hand, so that she was sentenced on the 6th of October, to follow her husband by a like death; which message also the other three women, namely, Mariken, Lijskeiz, and Maeyken, received, for which they joyfully and willingly prepared themselves, longing for the hour of their redemption.
This sentence was executed on them at the time and hour appointed, when they offered up to the Lord a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, for which they shall hereafter be exempt from eternal fire, and permitted to enter into the blessed enjoyment in the paradise of God. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is .in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:16, 17.
With regard to these sacrificed friends, see a hymn in the Rotterdam Hymnal, beginning
Och vrienden al to samen, hoort, Hoe wy op Bainis-dagh waren verstoort, etc.
NOTE--It appears to us from all the circumstances, that one of these women, who is called Maeyken, bore the surname Wens, and that she is the same martyress that has been previously, noticed, as we have also stated in that place.
A LETTER WHICH HANS VAN
TO HIS WIFE, WHEN THEY WERE BOTH IN
BONDS IN THE PRISON AT ANTWERP, FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST
An affectionate greeting to you my beloved wife whom I love from the heart, and greatly cherish above every other creature, and must now forsake for the truth, for the sake of which we must count all things loss, and love Him above all. I hope, though men separate us here, that the Lord will again join us together in His eternal kingdom, where no one will be able to part us, and we shall reign forever in the heavenly abode. Hence I inform you, my beloved wife, that my mind is still unwaveringly fixed to adhere to the eternal truth. [I hope] by the grace of the Lord, that this is also the purpose of your mind, which I would be rejoiced to hear. I herewith exhort you my beloved lamb, with the apostle: As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, and suffer yourself not to be moved from your purpose through philosophy or vain deceit of men, whereby they seek to seduce the hearts of the simple, showing them in fair colors the apple of pleasure, whereby they are deceived, even as there are some here, as you know. Pierijntgen has also tasted of the apple, as I understand; hence, my faithful lamb, take heed and lust not after evil things. I Cor. 10:6. And look not back with Lot's wife, lest you become like her. Gen. 19:26. Remember the word of the Lord, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. Hence, my beloved lamb, always remember, as the prophet says, the crown, which shall come in the end, and of the vengeance that shall come upon the ungodly. The prophet says, "Woe to the rebellious children that forsake the Lord, the fountain of life; woe unto them for they that depart from him shall be written in the earth." Isa. 30:1; Jer. 17:13. Hence, my beloved, hearken not to them, for their work shall be found wood, straw, and stubble in the day of vengeance, and it shall be burned with fire, as is written. I Cor. 3:12, 13. Therefore, my beloved lamb, whom I so affectionately love and cherish as my own soul, persevere steadfastly, this I pray you, till you are taken away, as I trust you will do. And do not regard flesh or blood, for it must all pass away. Though we have here a rejected and vile body, the Lord shall fashion it like unto His own glorious body, on condition that we adhere to the truth unto death. Phil. 3:21; Rev. 2:10. Take this in good part. Always remember the eternal riches. I herewith greet you in the Lord, out of cordial love, and also your companions; rejoice one another in the Lord, be glad in the lions' den, and trust in the God of Daniel.
Herewith adieu and farewell. Bide the time with patience; be patient in the conflict, and rejoice in hope. Let me know, if you can, whether you havereceived it. Always remember me kindly in your fervent prayers. I hope also not to forget you, whom I would carry in my heart, if it were possible. This butter, it seems to me came from Grietgen Wevels. I greet you most cordially therewith. Adieu and farewell, my lamb, my love; adieu and farewell, to all that fear God; adieu and farewell, until the marriage of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. Be valiant and of good cheer; cast the troubles that assail you upon the Lord, and He will not forsake you; cleave to Him, and you will not fall. Love God above all; have love and truth; love your salvation, and keep your promises to the Lord.
OTE.-Through a certain good friend a very affectionate and consolatory testament of Janneken Munstdorp, the wife of Hans van Munstdorp, has been put into our hands, which she wrote in prison at Antwerp, after the offering up of her husband, when she was in daily expectation of death, to her dear little daughter-to whom she had given birth in prison, and who was now only about a month old-for a perpetual remembrance, farewell, and adieu from this evil world. It reads as follows
The true love of God and wisdom of the Father strengthen you in virtue, my dearest child.; the Lord of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the Lord in Israel, keep you in His virtue, and strengthen and confirm your understanding in His truth. My dear little child, I commend you to the Almighty, great and terrible God, who only is wise, that He will keep you, and let you grow up in His fear, or that He will take you home in your youth, this is my heart's request of the Lord: you who are yet so young, and whom I must leave here in this wicked, evil, perverse world.
Since, then, the Lord has so ordered and foreordained it, that I must leave you here, and you are here deprived of father and mother, I will commend you to the Lord; let Him do with you according to His holy will. He will govern you. and be a Father to you, so that you shall have no lack here, if you only fear God; for He will be the Father of the orphans and the Protector of the widows.
Hence, my dear lamb, I who am imprisoned and bound here for the Lord's sake, can help you in no other way; I had to leave your father for the Lord's sake, and could keep him only a short time. We were permitted to live together only half a year, after which we were apprehended, because we sought the salvation of our souls. They took him from me, not knowing my condition, and I had to remain in imprisonment, and see him go before me; and it was a great grief to him, that I had to remain here in prison. And now that I have abided
the time, and borne you under my heart with great sorrow for nine months, and given birth to you here in prison, in great pain, they have taken you from me. Here I lie, expecting death every morning, and shall now soon follow your dear father. And I, your dear mother, write you, my dearest child, something for a remembrance, that you will thereby remember your dear father and your dear mother.
Since I am now delivered up to death, and must leave you here alone, I must through these lines cause you to remember, that when you have attained your understanding, you endeavor to fear God, and see and examine why and for whose name we both died; and be not ashamed to confess us before the world, for you must know that it is not for the sake of any evil. Hence be not ashamed of us; it is the way which the prophets and the apostles went, and the narrow way which leads into eternal life, for there shall no other way be found by which to be saved.
Hence, my young lamb, for whose sake I still have, and have had, great sorrow, seek, when you have attained your understanding, this narrow way, though there is sometimes much danger in it according to the flesh, as we may see and read, if we diligently examine and read the Scriptures, that much is said concerning the cross of Christ. And there are many in this world who are enemies of the cross, who seek to be free from it among the world, and to escape it. But, my dear child, if we would with Christ seek and inherit salvation, we must also help bear His cross; and this is the cross which He would have us bear: to follow His footsteps, and to help bear His reproach; for Christ Himself says, "Ye shall be persecuted, killed, and dispersed for my name's sake." Yea, He Himself went before us in this way of reproach, and left us an example, that we should follow His steps; for, for His sake all must be forsaken, father, mother, sister, brother, husband, child, yea, one's own life.
I must now also forsake all this for the Lord's sake, which the world is not worthy to suffer; for if we had continued in the world, we would have had no trouble. For when we were one with the world and practiced idolatry, and loved all manner of unrighteousness, we could live at peace with the world; but when we desired to fear God, and to shun such improper ways, well knowing that this could not please God, wherefore we sought to shun all this, and turned from idolatry to the worship of the living God, and sought here in quietness and gentleness to practice our ~3ith, then they did not leave us in peace; then our blood was sought; then we had to be a prey to everyone, and become a spectacle to all the world. They seek here to murder and to burn us; we are placed at posts and stakes, and our flesh is given as food to the worms.
Thus, my dear child, it is now fulfilled in your dear father and mother. It was indeed prophesied to us beforehand, that this was awaiting us; but not everyone is chosen hereunto, nor expects it; theLord has chosen us hereunto. Hence, when you have attained your understanding, follow this example of your father and mother. And, my dear child, this is my request of you, since you are still very little and young; I wrote this when you were but one month old. As I am soon now to offer up my sacrifice, by the help of the Lord, I leave you this, "That you fulfill my request, always uniting with them that fear God; and do not regard the pomp and boasting of the world, nor the great multitude, whose way leads to the abyss of hell, but look at the little flock of Israelites, who have no freedom anywhere, and must always flee from one land to the other, as Abraham did; that you may hereafter obtain your fatherland; for if you seek your salvation, it is easy to perceive which is the way that leads to life, or the way that leads into hell. Above all things, seek the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness; and whatever you need besides shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:33."
Further, my dear child, I pray you, that wherever you live when you are grown up, and begin to have understanding, you conduct yourself well and honestly, so that no one need have cause to complain of you. And always be faithful, taking good heed not to wrong any one. Learn to carry your hands always uprightly, and see that you like to work, for Paul says, "If any will not work, neither shall he eat." II Thess. 3:10. And Peter says, "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil." I Pet. 3:10.
Hence, my dear Janneken, do not accustom your mouth to filthy talk, nor to ugly words that are not proper, nor to lies; for a liar has no part in the kingdom of heaven; for it is written, "The mouth that lieth slayeth the soul." Hence beware of this, and run not in the street as other bad children do; rather take up a book, and learn to seek there that which concerns your salvation.
And where you have your home, obey those whose bread you eat. If they speak evil, do you speak well. And learn always to love to be doing something; and do not think yourself too good for any thing, nor exalt yourself, but condescend to the lowly, and always honor the aged wherever you are.
I leave you here; Oh, that it had pleased the Lord, that I might have brought you up; I should so gladly have done my best with respect to it; but it seems that it is not the Lord's will. And though it had not come thus, and I had remained with you for a time, the Lord could still take me from you, and then, too, you should have to be without me, even as it has now gone with your father and myself, that we could live together but so short a time, when we were so well joined since the Lord had so well mated us, that we would not have forsaken each other for the whole world, and yet we had to leave each other for the Lord's sake. So I must also leave you here, my dearest lamb; the Lord that created and made you now takes me from you, it is His holy will. I must now pass through this narrow way which the prophets and martyrs of
Christ passed through, and many thousands who put off the mortal clothing; who died here ,.for Christ, and now they wait under, the altar till their number shall be fulfilled, of which number your dear father is one. And I am now on the point of following him, .for I am delivered up to death, as,. it appears in .the eyes of- man; but if it were not the will of the Lord (though it seems that I am delivered up to death), He could yet easily; deliver me out of their hands and give me back to, you, my child. Even as the Lord returned to -Abraham his son Isaac, so He could still easily do it; He is still the same God that delivered Daniel out of the lion's, den, and the three young men out of ahe fiery furnace; He could still easily deliver me out of the hands of man.
Now, my child, if this be not. so, I know, that He is faithful and faithfully:keeps His promise. Thus, my poor orphan child, always be resigned; though I and your father are now taken from you; know that you have a Father in heaven, who will doubtless well provide for you: And when you are old enough, give diligence to learn to read and write, since it is very convenient, and most profitable in this distress, for him that;fears God, that you may sometimes read this letter; a~s also the other letters, which your father left you;, do: read them, and remember us both thereby. Dear Janneken, we have not left you much of this world's goods, and I have now not much to give you, but what I have I give you. However, we. leave you a good example to fear God, which is better than much of the temporal, goods of this world. ,Only: follow us, and you shall have wealth enough; true, you are poor here, but you shall possess much wealth, if you only fear God and shun sin. As the apostle says to the Hebrews, "My son despise. not thou the chastening of the Lord;for they that would be without chastisement are bastards, and not sons or heirs." Heb. 12:5. Hence, my dear lamb, cease not, because of the cross, to fear God, for a Christian is not made meet except by much tribulation and persecution upon this world, and we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God; for Paul says, "All that will live godly.in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Tim. 3:12. And Christ says, "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me; As not worthy of me; for the servant is not better than his lord, nor the disciple above his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household." Matt. 10:38, 24, 25: If they have persecuted' the Lord, they will also persecute us; if they have, hated Him, they will also hate us; and this they do ,because they have not known my Father, nor me, says the Almighty Lord. For His kingdom:was not of this world; had His kingdom been of this, world, the world would have loved Him; but because His .kingdom was not. of this, world; therefore the world hated Him.' So it also is now,: since our, kingdom is not of this world, the world will hate,us; but it is better for us to be despised here by the world, than Ahat we should hereafter have to mourn forever. But they that will not taste the bitter here; can hereafter not expect eternal life; for we know that Paul says, .that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted and be a prey to everyone. .
Thus, my dear child, this way the prophets and apostles and many thousands of other God-fearing persons went before us, for an example unto us; and Christ Himself did not spare Himself for us, but delivered up Himself unto death for our sakes -how then .should He not give us all things? Hence, my dearest lamb, seek to follow this way, this I pray you, as much as you value your salvation; for this is the only way which leads to eternal life, yea, there is no other way by which we can be saved than only through Jesus Christ, as Paul says, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11); by whose, stripes we are healed, and through whose blood we have been dearly purchased; for we have not been bought with gold or silver, but through His bitter death, and His precious blood which He shed for us. And we were as erring sheep in this world, but now ate we redeemed through His precious and dear blood, and He has now: called us to be heirs and first-fruits of Christ. All those that have died unto sin, and amended their lives, and are thus risen with Christ into newness.of life, these no- longer desire to live to themselves, but their life belongs to the Lord; if they live, they live to the Lord; if they die, they, die unto the Lord; they are so resigned that whether they live or die, they belong to the Lord. For, my dear lamb, what shall it avail them that Christ died, who still continue in their sins, and do not turn from this improper life in which they are still sunk, .as, drunkards, murderers, adulterers, idolaters, liars, backbiters, or railers, who cannot please God, whose works proceed only from the devil, all of which the Lord prohibits and says that except they amend their lives, they shall not inherit the kingdom of God? and it shall avail them nothing that He died, if they will not repent. They would sin upon the grace of God, but they say not that He is just; He is indeed merciful, .but He is also just; we may, not sin upon His grace. Though we do our best to fear the Lord, and to renounce ourselves according to our ability, yea, though we did all that He commands us, which we are far from doing, we should only do that which is commanded us; we must yet confess that we are,unprofitable servants and have not merited anything,.but are guilty of eternal death. If He were -not merciful, we could not be saved; hence we may not sin upon His grace, but always strive according to our ability to follow that which he commands us.
My dear lamb; we can merit nothing, but must through grace inherit salvation; hence always endeayor to fear God, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and he that fears the Lord
will do good, and it will be well with him in this world and in that which is to come. And always join those that seek to fear the Lord from the heart, and be not conformed to the world, to do as she does, nor walk in any improper course of life; for the world shall pass away, and all the nations that serve her shall perish with her. Nor have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them; and be transformed by the renewing of your life, that you may show forth the virtues in which God has called you.
O my dearest lamb, that you might know the truth when you have attained your understanding, and that you might follow your dear father and mother, who went before you; for your dear father demonstrated with his blood that it is the genuine truth, and I also hope to attest the same with my blood, though flesh and blood must remain on the posts and on the stake, well knowing that we shall meet hereafter. Do you also follow us my dear lamb, that you too may come where we shall be, and that we may find one another there, where the Lord shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning."
Then our joy shall not be taken from us. Though they have separated us here, so that we are taken from you, and must go before you, know that it was the Lord's will; if it had been His pleasure, He could easily have ordered it otherwise.
Hence, my dear child, be content; He knows what He has determined concerning you, that I must leave you here. Always be honorable and courteous toward all men, and let your modesty be manifest to all men when you have attained to your understanding.
I leave you here among my friends; I hope that my father, and my step-mother, and my brothers, and my sisters will do the best with you as long as they live. Be subject and obedient to them in every thing, so far as it is not contrary to God. I leave you what comes from my mother's death, namely, thirty guilders and over; I do not know how much it is, since I have been long imprisoned here, and do not know what it has all cost. But I hope that Grietge, my dear sister, who has shown me so much friendship, will do her best to give you what belongs to you. And as to what may come to you from your father, I do not know, since I can learn nothing about his parents, because it is so far from here; if they should inquire after you, my friends may do the best in the matter.
And now, Janneken, my dear lamb, who are yet very little and young, I leave you this letter, together with a gold real, which I had with me in prison, and this I leave you for a perpetual adieu, and for a testament; that you may remember me by it, as also by this letter. Read it, when you have understanding, and keep it as long as you live in remembrance of me and of your father, if peradventure you might be edified by it. And I herewith bid you adieu, my dear Janneken Munstdorp,and kiss you heartily, my dear lamb, with a perpetual kiss of peace. Follow me and your father, and be not ashamed to confess us before the world, for we were not ashamed to confess our faith before the world, and this adulterous generation; hence I pray you, that you be not ashamed to confess our faith, since it is the true evangelical faith, an other than which shall never be found.
Let it be your glory, that we did not die for any evil doing, and strive to do likewise, though they should also seek to kill you. And on no account cease to love God above all, for no one can prevent you from fearing God. If you follow that which is good, and seek peace, and ensue it, you shall receive the crown of eternal life; this crown I wish you and the crucified, bleeding, naked, despised, rejected and slain Jesus Christ for your bridegroom.
This I wish you for a perpetual testament, and for a perpetual adieu and farewell my dearest lamb.
Remember thereby your dear father, and me, your dear mother, who have written this with my own hand, for your edification; and always keep this gold real with you, with this letter, for a perpetual testament: I herewith bid you adieu and farewell; I hope to seal this letter with my blood at the stake.
I herewith commend you to the Lord, and to the comforting Word of His grace, and bid you adieu once more. I hope to wait for you; follow me, my dearest child.
Once more, adieu, my dearest upon earth; adieu, and nothing more; adieu, follow me; adieu and farewell.
Written on the 10th of August, A. D. 1573, at Antwerp.
This is the testament which I wrote in prison for my daughter Janneken, whom I bore and gave birth to here in my bonds.
By me your dearest mother, imprisoned for the Lord's sake.
OTE.-With this testament we also received a letter which the same Janneken van Munstdorp wrote to her dear father and mother, who, as it seems, had not yet come to the true faith; who are by her exhorted to the best, and to whom she in the meantime commends her little child.
My dear father and my dear mother, I wish you a true understanding, and a contrite spirit in your hearts, to fear God, for an affectionate greeting.
After all cordial and proper salutation, I now leave you my dear and most affectionately beloved father and dear, beloved mother, without forgetting all my dear brothers and sisters, whom I must now leave for the Lord's sake, and I expect not to see your faces any more in this world, because I
am imprisoned and bound here, and this for the Lord's sake, and am daily expecting to be sentenced to death.
Hence, my dear father, since the Lord through His great grace has still given me time to write you a little, I am prompted to inform you concerning my bodily health; hence I write to you, that I am still tolerably well according to the flesh, and after the spirit I am still determined to adhere to the living, almighty, eternal God, and not to depart from Him for any tortures which they may inflict upon me, for it is written, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Hence I know that this God will deliver me out of all this sorrow, if I only remain faithful to Him, and seek no other God beside Him; I therefore hope that He will help me finish the good work begun by Him in me, that His name through me may be praised.
Hence, my dear father and mother, I would from the heart that it were also with you according to the spirit, as it is still with me at this present time
it would be a great joy to me, if you should yet come to fear the Lord. Oh, that you might yet at the last hour work in the Lord's vineyard; though you seem to be free, and are not imprisoned, you are not certain of a single hour as to how long you will live.
Therefore, my love, you also are commanded to watch, for in the last day you will have no excuse that you can make, that you did not know which is the narrow way that leads to eternal life, of which Esdras speaks, on the one side of which there is water, and on the other side fire; and there are many that know this way, but few that walk it.
Thus, dear father and mother, water and fire are set before us, and we may choose which we will, life or death. Hence, dear father, we have here in this life sought the salvation of our souls, that we may exchange this death for eternal life, this corruptible for the incorruptible; for the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us. Though we are here robbed of all men, and accounted as a sport and spectacle to all the world, they shall yet have to confess in the last day that they shed the innocent blood; they shall then see whom they have pierced. Though we are here accounted poor, we shall yet have much wealth, if we fear God and shun sin.
Hence, my dear father and mother, though you must now sometimes hear that I am imprisoned for a base sect, or heretical doctrine, which I presume is said and has been said,-many things are said about us, which are not true,-you well know that it is not for any evil, but that it is only for the sake of our salvation. Though we are despised here, it is nevertheless the genuine truth, and there shall never any other be found; I have sought nothing else herein.
If I did not want to be saved, I should seek an easy life as gladly as others; for he that would fearGod must expect all these, tribulation, suffering, bonds, and imprisonment, and we can nowhere have a free place; for it is given unto us not only to believe in God, but also to suffer for His name. Hence, my dear father and mother, though I must here die for Christ's sake, and men say all manner of evil about me, let it not cause you sorrow; for if they have called the Lord Beelzebub, how much more them that believe in Him? Hence be not surprised, and only deal kindly with my little child, which I bore and gave birth to in great sorrow here in my bonds, which I love as my own soul, so that I can not write of it without tears, when I think of my dear husband, of whom I bore it, and that I must now leave it here. But the Lord knows why He has so ordered it that I had to leave here a little orphan child. I commend it to you, and to Him who created and made it; I trust that He will not suffer it to be wronged, though it is here deprived of father and mother. The Lord well knows how I bore it, and for whose sake it was; hence, exercise a parental care for it, my dear father and you dear mother; as long as you live show the love which you bear to me to my dear child; he that loves the tree, will also love the branches.
Oh, oh I that the Lord would take it, what a great joy it would be to me, since I mutt die. O that it had been the will of the Lord, that I could yet have brought it up, in what great regard I should have held it for my dear husband's sake; though I should have suffered want with it, I should not have parted with it; but the will of the Lord be done. I am possibly not fit to offer up a sacrifice to the Lord; He has perhaps some purpose with me, that He still suffers me to be confined here. I did not think that I would remain in confinement here so long. Hence, dear father, I was much afraid of long imprisonment, and it has now come upon me, which greatly grieves me, as I well know that the expense here is very great, and that I am a great burden to my sister; for she has great trouble and expense here, though I know that she does it gladly from the heart. But, my dear father, I know that her ability is not great, and yet I do not know how to thank her fully for it, nor have I ever merited from her, what she has shown and given me; for she has shown her love in time of need-one sometimes has friends indeed, till he needs them. In time of need one will know his friends. Oh, that I had been taken away at the first, that you would not have needed to have any expense on my account. But, my dear father and mother, I hope that you will not leave me in need; I hope that you will help my sister in paying for the board, though I wrote you in the letter, that it should remain, that you should keep it for my child.
My father, you might well think that we did not have much to live on, since we did not have much when we were married, and our married life did not last long. Therefore I thought that you should keep that which was, though it is not much, for my child; and since you wrote that my sister would
care for me, I thought that you were helping me therein, though my sister has done her best to help me, and I know that it is a great burden for her. And they have given me much, that I should not go into the dungeon, which I was willing to do, because it lasts so long, and the expense here is so great, though one is also not confined without expense in the dungeon, in which one also can not see; hence they do not wish to leave me in want, nor to let me go into the dungeon because of the money.
Further, dear father, I inform you that I sent letters with Hans van der Dam, but I have not yet received an answer. If I am taken hence, snake inquiries whether there is still anything left; it would come my child in good stead. I also wrote my child a testament, to remember me and its father by it. When it attains to the years of understanding, and you are still alive, cause it to read the same sometimes, that it may know why its father and mother died. Further, dear father, I know nothing special to write you; but if I should write you no more, and I should soon enter on my journey, write me a letter speedily, how it is with you and my child; and if you should hear from Hans, have my brother Passchier write a letter to send to his father.
Nothing special for this time, but I herewith take leave and farewell from you my dear father and mother, and from all my dear brothers and sisters; and for my sake do not forget my dear child; always remember me by it. Once more adieu; greet my lady very heartily, and tell her I thank her much for all the favor she has shown me; the Lord will leave no good deed unrewarded. Herewith farewell; kiss my child for me, and often visit it. And greet Pleuntjen and Lieven most cordially in my name, and tell them that I request them to do the best with the child, for I have the confidence concerning them that they love it for my sake, for it is a pledge of love, which I love more than all else that is upon the earth. I hope now soon to follow my husband, if it is the Lord's will. Oh, that I might have died with him, to obtain the kingdom of God together with him. Herewith farewell, my dear father and mother; I commend you to God.
By me, your dear daughter, imprisoned at Antwerp for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The abundant and unspeakable great grace of the Father, and the mercy of God, and the loving kindness and love of the Son; with the communion ofthe Holy Ghost, who through grace has been sen us by the Father, through the name of our Lor Jesus Christ, to the comfort and joy of all faithful true children of God, by whom we are all guided taught and instructed; the same keep your under standing, heart and mind in Christ Jesus, to th praise and glory of the Father, to the salvation o your soul, and to the edification of all dear brethre and sisters that fear the Lord and love the truth The same God, who only is wise, make you fi hereunto, to whom be glory, honor and power might and strength, forever and ever, Amen, an for a perpetual adieu. After this, my heart's wis from God, for an adieu, and a perpetual farewel to you, my dear brethren in God, and to you, m very dear and chosen, affectionately beloved sis. ters [I would say that] the time has now com that we must part from one another; I shall now b freed from all sorrow; sorrowing and sighing shal befall me no more. My dear friends, adieu, adieu we must now part here. Though the Lord has s ordered it with me, I am yet constrained to writ you once more for the last time. True, I hav written you adieu, but now it goes to my heart sentence has been passed upon me that I must die I said to them, that they should take good heed
that our blood should be severely required at thei hands. They said they did not do it, that it was th decree of the king. I said that this would not sav them, but the Lord forgive you if you do it igno rantly; but I think that you, in part, know wel enough what kind of people we are. They washe their hands from it. I said, "Pilate did so too.' They said that Pilate was a just judge, and that w acted contrary to the king's command. I said tha we had greater reason to obey God, than the king it is a little matter that you inflict this tempora death upon us, for we know not how long we shal live, but we know that we must certainly die sometime; and I said that they should take good hee with regard to shedding innocent blood. Thus w four were sentenced, and it will now soon be over with us. My dear brothers and sisters, the Lor has heard me, that I am permitted to offer up
sacrifice for His name. I did not think that the Lor did so love me; I have certainly never merited i of Him; but He will make me fit hereunto throug His grace. Oh, what a strong helper in distress w have, who does not let us be confounded. Ho short has seemed to me the time that I have bee here, whereas I was previously so afraid of it; an that He has so faithfully succored me in all my distress, and now makes me so happy that I kno nothing to say of sadness. Oh, oh! how strong i our God; who should not want to fear Him? o whom will we be afraid? God is with us; who ca be against us? At all events we must here leav everything behind. I may well say that there wa never more joy in my heart, than I had when I wa sentenced. My dear sister, fear not men who mus pass away like grass; for they can do no more that the Lord permits them. My dear brethren and sis
ters, be not afraid; if the Lord had permitted them, they would not have waited with me so long; but now the Lord permits them. I am well pleased with it, that they shall remove me out of this evil, wicked world, from the evil that I might yet have had in it, so that I shall not be moved; for I expect no joy in this world, because of my dear husband, who went this way before me, and whom, by the graceof the Lord, I am now to follow, having long waited for this time. I also go before you now; follow me. This is the narrow way which the prophets and apostles went, who also had to drink the cup which we must now drink. We shall now soon have passed through this wilderness, as soon as we have drunk the bitter waters. Ex. 15:23. The time of travail is now at hand; weeping and mourning shall then be over. Oh, what a joy this is in my heart, so that I cannot describe it to you: Oh, how mightily the Lord works in us poor, weak vessels; for I know that I have never merited it from the Lord, but am worthy of nothing but eternal death. If the Lord would enter into judgment with me, I should in no wise be saved; but now I must expect salvation out of pure grace, and I doubt not that He will remember my past sins no more, as the prophet says, "When a sinner turns away from his wicked life, and does righteousness, he will re member his unrighteousness no more." Ezek. 18: 21, 27.
O my dear and much beloved, chosen sister, whom I greatly love from the heart and this out of a godly love, you have shown me so much friendship, and assisted me in need, that I cannot fully requite you, since I am now but a poor, weak creature, and about to pay all that I owe, whether according to the flesh or according, to the spirit. Hence, my dear sister, I cannot reward you, but I thank you very heartily (writing you still some more) for all that you have ever shown me. O dear sister, you write me that I should forgive you what you may have done amiss to me; O my dear sister, you have done nothing amiss, to me, but know that I fall short to you in many tings; but I trust that you will bury it with me, and remember it no more. I know that I fall short in everything; but Christ died, to pay for that in which we fall short. Did He not die a bitter death for us, whereas He was without spot or wrinkle, and no guile was found in His mouth; how should we then not gladly die for a righteous man? hence let us not spare ourselves, but willingly go into death for the name of Christ, and not fear what men can do to us. Rom. 5:7; Heb. 13:6.
And, my dear, brother and sister, be of good cheer; though men put us to death, it is the will of the Lord. Pray, do not sorrow for me any more; for I know that you have great sorrow on my account. It is now all over; I shall soon have conquered my last enemy, and be able to 'say with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth thereis laid up for me a crown of righteousness." I Corinthians 15:26; II Tim. 4:7, 8.
I shall soon be an epistle to you, which may be read of all men. II Cor. 3:2. And, my dear sister, though we must part here, know that it is .for something better; we have neither hour nor time. It is so glorious to die for His name, and Peter says, "Rejoice if you suffer and endure for well-doing; this is acceptable with God." I Pet. 4:14; 3:17; 2:20.
But, my dear sister, it is now my turn; it may very soon, perhaps tomorrow, be your turn; be of good courage, and patiently abide your time, my dearest sister. You write me in regard to my child; I have confidence in you that you will do your best with it, I have committed it to the Lord, to do His good pleasure with it, and to move your heart to it. For, dear sister, I trust that you love me from the heart, and they that love the tree will also love the branches. I read your letter again with tears, when I heard that you were so sad on my account, and that I was so joyful.
O my dear sister, how glad I was that I -had kissed you once more. Grieve not, that you have not visited me more; I did not take it amiss, for I well know that you did not lack the will: my dear sister, you have done so much for me. O my dear brother and sister, I would write you more yet, of the hope that is now in me, but I cannot write you so much; it is much greater still [than I have described to you]. I hope that, you will take this in good part, and will herewith bid you a perpetual adieu; and do the best with each other. And you, my dear brother, pray, comfort my dear sister in her tribulation which she has on my account, for I love her from the bottom of my heart. Parting is grievous according to the flesh, but according to the spirit I thank and praise the Lord, that I am permitted to offer up such a sacrifice, which can be acceptable to him; yea, that I can offer up my flesh and blood at the stake. Gladly I give it to Him that gave . it me; though I had seven bodies; I should gladly deliver them up for the Lord's 'sake. Pray the Lord heartily for me, that I may now make strait paths for my feet, to the edification of all dear brethren and sisters. Herewith adieu. I have sent knit-needles for my daughter; keep them, and do the best with her. I also leave you here a poor little orphan without father or mother: the Lord be your dear' Father, and I commend you to Him that created and made you. My sister, I wish you would keep my lamb in remembrance of me, and I sent some sugar for you and your daughter, of 'which I ate when I was sentenced; and thank Engel much in my name for the pot of wine, and tell him adieu. I know nothing special now to commit to you, but do the best with my young lamb; the Lord will not leave unrewarded what you do for His name. Bid my father and mother, my dear brethren and sisters, adieu and farewell; adieu and farewell to all; farewell'to my dear brethren and'chosen sisters, whom I love from the depth of
my heart; I greet you once more with the holy kiss of peace, as though I were present with you; kiss one another. My fellow sisters who are with me also greet you, and have kissed me once for you, and I have done the same for you. My 'dear, chosen brethren and dear sisters, weary not of Jesus Christ. I hope to go before you yet to the heavenly city, to wait for you under the altar with all the chosen saints; follow me. My dear chosen sister, I must now go before you, where I shall enjoy bliss. Adieu, sister dear; remember me still; the time of travail is at hand, to offer up my sacrifice at the stake, much beloved. Herewith I commend you to the Lord.
I shall seal this with my blood. Adieu, adieu, my dearest brethren and sisters, with your little lamb, and also mine, which I bore under my heart. I have written this for you yet after I was sentenced, after one o'clock in the night; however, it was not irksome to me. I take leave and bid you adieu once more, till we meet hereafter, where men shall separate us no more. Adieu, till we together drink the new wine which Christ shall give us at His table. Matt. 26:29. This other letter is from Augustijn, who sent it to me. Adieu, adieu, all of you adieu. I shall follow Hans, my dear husband. The lady with her midwife, and her nurse are going now, and shall receive a like reward. Nothing more from me, but adieu for the last time. Follow me.
Fear God; this is the conclusion.