Hans Bret, who was about twenty-one years old, and the son of one Thomas Bret, an Englishman, was (besides his daily labor which he performed in the service of his master) very diligently concerned and engaged with the study of the word of the Lord, in which he constantly exercised himself in the morning and evening also, ,generally, exhorting with edifying, profitable and instructive passages from .the holy Scriptures, those with whom he had intercourse, to a virtuous and godly life. He would also not spend Sunday idly, but truly sanctifying and observing it, generally sought together a number of new converts, to whom he diligently went in all kindness, giving out to them in the fear of God some edifying questions from the Scriptures, whereby he exhorted them to repent and desist from their sinful life, showing them the indignation which God shall pour out upon the children of unbelief and unrighteousness, and the gracious promises of salvation which are promised in eternal life to the penitent children of faith. This his exhorting he did with such becoming earnestness and edifying doctrine, that many sought to be with him, perceiving in him the powerful work of God and his advancement in the knowledge of Christ, with which he, though so young in years, was very richly filled, and which he, also did not keep to himself alone, but allowed it to break forth and flow from him without fear to the profit and advantage of his neighbor. II Cor. 3:5; Phil. 3:8; I Tim. 4:12; I Cor. 10:33.
But the devil, the enemy of righteousness, and envier of the increase of virtue and, of the church of Christ, could not long tolerate or endure this; for, perceiving in this servant the godly zeal in the truth, and assiduity to convert the erring, he, by his instruments (bloodthirsty men, who always have dishonored the temple of God, murdered His sheep, slain His saints, shed their blood, and given their flesh as meat to the beasts of the field), sought to trouble this servant of God with affliction, and to hinder the brightness of his light, which he also partly effected and accomplished; for about two months after he had been baptized upon the confession of his faith, according to the command of Christ, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, there came, an the sixth day of May, in the year 1576, about nine o'clock in the evening, the bailiff of Antwerp, with many servants, to the house of Hans Bret's master, who had been betrayed with all his household. They closely guarded this house from behind, where it had two exits, as well as in front, with armed men and beadles, and then knocked at the front door, which Hans Bret came to open (not knowing that those who thirsted for the blood of his master and his household, and far his own, stood before it), and asked who was there. They said, "Open," and pretended that they wanted to buy something. In the meantime, hearing that they had inserted an instrument in the door, to open it from the outside, he began to think that they were the wolves and tyrants, who came to devour the innocent and harmless sheep of Christ, and did not open the door to them; but they managed to open it from without, which perceiving, Hans Bret ran into the house, where his master with his wife and several- other women sat eating, and warned them of it, who all quickly rose up and ran to the rear, thinking (as also Hans Bret) to escape by the back door; but when they opened this, the bailiff's beadles showed themselves with great cruelty, speedily apprehending and capturing all whom God permitted them, among whom there was also this servant of God; but his master and several others with him were wonderfully and remarkably delivered and preserved through the hand and assistance of God. Jer. 1:8; Acts 26:17. Behold, thus did this innocent sheep of Christ fall into the hands of the wolves, and was confined in prison, only for the faith in the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the practice of the same.
Now, how he conducted himself in his bonds; how they, through wiles and snares, fair promises and severe threats, sought to move him from, and despoil him of, .the salvation of his soul; and how they, because he had written some letters to his brethren and friends, cast him into a loathsome dungeon; together with the various disputations which he had with the priests and soul-seducers, and also how he answered them, and what boldness he manifested through the help of God; all this you will find fully treated and revealed in the following letters written by him.
When he had been confined about eight months, the tyrants finally went to the utmost of their power in the case of this servant of God and faithful follower of Christ, and, on Friday before DerthienAvondt, in the year 1577, had him brought into court, whither he went, very boldly, since his bonds were not for any crime, evil, or unrighteousness, but for the doctrine of his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, for righteousness and truth, for which, the children of God have always had abundantly to uffer, who have helped Christ to bear His cross, as a true ensign that they are Christ's servants, disciples and followers.
Being brought before the lords and judges, he was asked, whether he had been baptized upon his faith, which he finally confessed and acknowledged, not ashamed of what he had done by the command of his Lord and Master Christ Jesus, though he certainly knew that they did not ask him to be taught of him, but only to get a word from his mouth by which they might sentence him to death. When the lords and criminal judges had heard this Christian confession, they rose up and went to sentence him to death; and having returned from their evil consultation, they pronounced and declared their sentence over this servant of God: that he should publicly be burnt alive at the stake till death should ensue.
When he had received his sentence, he was con-
ducted back to prison, undismayed and of good courage, where he doubtless addressed some Scriptural remarks to the common people, as setting forth the cause of his imprisonment and suffering not to be any evil or crime, but the faith of the pure and saving truth, which the world cannot endure. Romans 10:9.
Thus he (Hans Bret) was brought back from the court into prison, and confined and held there till the following day, which was Saturday; then, in the morning, the executioner came to him into prison, in order to screw fast his tongue, close his mouth, and prevent his speaking. O miserable work!
Murderers, and the very worst criminals have the privilege and permission of freely using their tongue; but, behold here a follower, of Christ, a child of trod, a servant of faith, one separated from the world, in whom dwells righteousness and , no cause of death 'is found-behold, how he is prepared for .death by,closing his mouth and screwing fast his tongue, that the truth may not be proclaimed, righteousness not heard, nor any testimony be given of the name of Christ. O Christ, look down, and succor Thy saints.
When the executioner had come to him, he commanded him to put out his tongue, which he (faithful and pious servant of God), willingly did, since he had not a member on his body, which he was not willing to deliver up to suffering for the name of Christ, being well assured that all the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the joy and glory which God has promised them that overcome. Matt. 10:22; Romans 8:18; Rev. 2:7.
And when he put out his tongue, the executioner fastened it with a piece of iron, and screwed it very tight with a vise or screw, and then touched the end of the tongue with a hot iron, that swelling, the screw might not slip off or become loose. O bitter cruelty and great tyranny.
When they had thus closed his mouth, and screwed fast his tongue, the fire with which he was to be offered up being already prepared in the market place, they led him forth, with his hands tied together, from prison, and placed him into a wagon, to convey him to the marketplace, to the spot where his sacrifice for the Word of truth was to take place.
It is said that they took this wagon for the reason
that the way that leads from the prison to the market place, could not well be walked, because of the burnt: houses which had been set on fire by the Spaniards, at the taking of Antwerp.
When he stepped into the wagon, he saw several persons of his acquaintance, whom he boldly and joyfully beheld, showing by his actions the desire which he had to come to the place where his sacrifice was to take place. He affectionately bowed his head, and greeted divers persons with the head, expressing and manifesting his steadfastness by his countenance and actions, all to the praise of God, who bestows such strength and power upon His saints, as being their protector, refuge, help, power, strength, and strong bulwark in all distress, tribulation, sorrow, and suffering inflicted upon them by the world for the true saving faith in Jesus Christ. Matt. 28:20; Ps. 18:2; Matt. 16:16.
When he had been brought into the marketplace, near the stake and the fire, he lifted himself up, and being clothed with Christian glory, descended from the wagon, being of good courage in God, strong in faith, and persevering in the conflict. With folded hands, he bowed his knees to the earth, humbly casting his eyes up to heaven, thus preparing himself to worship his Lord and God, and to commend himself to Him, even as behooves every Christian believer. Luke 23:46. But when those bloodthirsty men saw this, they could not tolerate or endure it (which they nevertheless permit criminals to do, who are put to death for their evil deeds); but very hurriedly and quickly pulling him up from the ground, they prevented him from calling to God upon his knees, and with great cruelty conducted him to the stake. To suffer all this, he went into the but (constructed of straw and wood), humbly and meekly stepping to where they placed him at the stake, and made him fast by putting chains around his body, all of which he endured with great steadfastness for the Word and truth of Christ. And as he thus stood in the hut, at the stake, they finally kindled the fire, thus burning alive and devouring this lamb, whose body, indeed, was burnt, but whose soul was received into paradise, into joy and blessed rest, because he confessed Christ, who has promised salvation to them that endure.
Thus did this young and pious Christian, aged about twenty-one years, end his life, and offer and deliver up his body for the Word of God, in the year 1577, on Derthien-Avondt, and thus he became a witness among the witnesses of Jesus, a confessor among the confessors of Christ, a Christian conqueror among the soldiers of the Lord, a soul among the souls of Christ at rest under the altar, a faithful servant among the servants of Christ, whose reward is the crown of eternal, imperishable life.
Here follow some letters which Hans Bret wrote during his imprisonment.
Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, through His only Son Christ Jesus, and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, for the increase of your faith, and to the salvation of your soul, this I wish you; my heartily beloved mother, from' the very depth of my soul. Amen.
Most dearly beloved mother, let me please inform you, that I am well according to the flesh, thanks to the good God; but according to the spirit, I thank the Lord, and praise Him for His unspeakable grace, that He gives me strength by His Holy Spirit, so that my mind is unchanged, the Lord be thanked. And I trust in the Lord that He will give me strength by His Holy Spirit, even as He through grace has hitherto done to this hour, to me poor man, for which the Lard be praised forever. For from Him alone we expect our strength, to withstand these cruel wolves, so that they can have no power over, our souls, for they are more cruel than wolves-they are 'not satisfied with our body, that they tear that; but they seek to devour and kill our souls, as I told three priests. Isa. 40:29; Zeph. 3:3. However, according to the words of Christ, they cannot harm our souls; for when they have done all that they can (however, not without the Lord's permission), they can but kill our body, which I gladly suffer for the name of Christ, and have a desire to be delivered from this flesh, and to be in joy with Christ, who has prepared for us a dwelling not made with hands, but which is eternal in the heavens. Rom. 7:24; II Peter 1:14; Phil. 1:23; II Cor. 5:1. We now look not at the things which are seen, but hope in the things which are not seen-in the imperishable, to be crowned with the crown of eternal life, yea, to be clothed in fine, white linen, and to rest with the souls that are under the altar, that were slain for the word of God, until the number of our brethren is fulfilled, who shall also be killed, according to the testimony of John in his Revelation. II Esdtas 2:43; Rev: 19:8; 6:9,11.
Therefore I long, dear mother, from one Saturday to another; to offer up my sacrifice. I had so fondly hoped, that I should this day offer up my sacrifice, but it has not pleased the Lord; hence I hope to offer up my sacrifice next Saturday, if it please the Lord, and to have with the Lord that joy and gladness which ear has never heard, and of which the heart of man cannot conceive, yea, which is prepared for the righteous, who were not ashamed to confess the name of the Lord before this adulterous generation, as long as they had breath to speak, in their bodies, yea, until they were deprived of speech. I Pet. 1:8; I Cor. 2:9; Mark 8:38. Therefore, my dearest mother, rejoice, and thank the Lord, that He counts me, your son, an unworthy man, worthy to suffer far His name, and
to offer up my body to Him, to the praise of His holy name. Acts 5:41; Rom. 12:1.
For, my dear mother, there happens to me nothing but what has happened to all God's righteous ones, from the beginning of the world until this present day. If they killed Christ, the Author of faith, in whom was no sin, what shall they do to the servants? for the disciple is not above his master, says Christ. Hence console yourself, my dear mother, and rejoice therein; for they can do no more to me, than the Lord permits them. For the Lord says that the very hairs of our head are all numbered. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His will; but of how much greater value are we than the sparrows. Matt. 10:29-31. Yea, He says that we are not to fear them that kill the body, for they have no power over the soul. Hence be resigned, and pray the Lord for me and my fellow prisoners.
My mother, I would write you more for your consolation, but I hope that you are better comforted of the Lord, than I should be able to comfort you with my writing; and I also forbear so that you may learn something about how it goes with our imprisonment, for otherwise my paper would not suffice. For I presume that you greatly desire to hear it, even as I desire to hear from you, as to how you are. I hope that you, as also all of you, are well, both according to body and soul, for which I pray the Lord, and remember all of you in my prayer to the Lord. Remember also, in your prayers, us poor prisoners according to the flesh, but rich according to the spirit, as I also hope to remember you, for James says that the prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16); that we may finish our conflict with joy, for we have to strive not only against flesh and blood, or the priests of Jezebel, but against invisible spirits, namely the enemy, who always seeks to hinder and quench that which is good, with deception and lies; yea, I fear that you will hear, or have already heard, through the great falsehoods which the enemy of the truth is spreading, that I wanted to listen to the priests. Yes, they do not hesitate to tell great falsehoods here in this prison, for they went twice in one day to N., and told her that I wanted to listen to the priests; yea, the great priest, the Dean, was not ashamed to speak abominable falsehoods to N., in order to rob her, by deception and lies, of her salvation,with these words, "Your servant wants to hearken to us, and to repent;" and other like words which Satan (who was a liar from the beginning) knows how to use; so that she has to endure no small conflict, from the priests, as well as from her brother, who causes her great conflict. As regards N., her friends exert themselves very greatly to procure her release; but in what manner, I do not know. I have exhorted her that she should take heed, which to rehearse here would be too long. She has told me, that her mind is unchanged, and that she does not want to be ashamed of the truth.
Touching N., I know so far nothing but good, and that her mind is all right, the Lord be thanked; for she longs with me only for the day of our deliverance from this flesh, and to offer up our sacrifice. For yesterday evening, which was Whitsuntideevening, about eleven o'clock I spoke with N.; then she was somewhat grieved, because she had said to the priests, that she would listen to them in whatever agreed with the Word of God; because she thought that the priests had thereby gotten some occasion to say of her that she wanted to hearken to them. Hence I comforted her about this, and told her that I myself should say it, and that there was nothing evil in it, since their abominable idolatry is contrary to the Word of God, and can never agree with it, for there is a great difference between darkness and light. Isa. 5:20; II Corinthians 6:14. And as regards myself, I thank the good God, who beholds me, unworthy man, with His eyes of mercy, and gives me strength by His Holy Spirit, to confess His Word and truth before this adulterous generation; yea, who counts me, poor miserable man, worthy that I am to offer up my body to Him, to the praise of His holy name. Phil. 2:17. O my mother, thank and praise, with me, the good God, who looks upon me, unworthy man, with His eyes of mercy, through His Son Christ Jesus; who shows me so many benefits. How shall I be able sufficiently to praise and glorify Him for the unspeakable grace and mercy that He is showing to meward, here in this lions' den. Thank now the Lord with me for His goodness which He shows us through His Son Christ Jesus, for which praise be to Him now and forever. Amen.
I hope now to write you a little, relating very briefly how my examination by the priests passed off.
The first time that I spoke with the priests, which according to my recollection, was about eight days before Whitsuntide, there came the Dean, that great, large priest, with another priest, whom we are wont to call the inquisitor (my master knows him well), and who cries and storms the most. We talked for a long time, and I reproved their idolatry, as much as the Lord by His Holy Spirit gave me utterance. Hence this priest began to speak of the Supper, and asked me, whether that was not the real body which Christ gave to His disciples, and His blood. I said, "No." Then the priest began to clamor and to rave, and talked very abusively, saying that it were better if I had concerned myself with making my confectionery, or selling groceries, than with the Scriptures. I said, "I may concern myself with reading the Scriptures, for Christ says: 'Search the Scriptures; for they are they which testify of me."' John 5:39. Then the dean said, "Hear those who have studied the Scriptures all their life.""Yes," said I,"they study amiss.""I ask you," I said,"where did Paul study or go to college? show me this with the Scriptures.""Did he not?""No.""Did he not go to Ananias?" said the dean."Yes; but he did not study there." Then he began again to talk
abusively, and they said that the devil had me by the throat. Matt. 12:24.
While we were thus talking, there came another priest, a Jesuit, so that there were three of them sitting there. Then the priest again commenced to speak of the Supper. Therefore I asked them, "When Christ gave the bread to His disciples, and said: 'Take, eat; this is my body: this do in remembrance of me;' whether Christ Himself remained sitting there?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Hence it is not to be understood so" (as you say); and I told him that he did not understand the Scriptures. I said that a carnal man cannot understand that which is spiritual, for, says Paul, it is foolishness unto him. I Cor. 2:14. Then he cried, "What can you say about me, am I a drunkard?" Ans."Your idolatries bear witness what you are, and also the Scriptures reveal your horrible idolatry, which is an abomination in the sight of God; yes, I am sorry that you are so in error." They cried, "You err." The Jesuit cried every time, that the devil had me by the throat, and that I was a proud fool; and other like words. I said, "I rejoice that I am thus despised for Christ's sake." They clamored so loudly, that one could scarcely utter a sentence. The dean cried to the others, "Domine, Domine;*[Lord, Lord] let him go, we shall gain no laurels with him." But the priest commenced again to talk of the Supper. I told him that he had to understand it spiritually, and proved it to him with several Scriptures, as, John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God.." Again, 15:1, "I am the true vine."
If I were to relate all, though I had much more paper, I should cover it with writing. We then spoke of baptism; he asked me why children might not be baptized. [I replied], "Because Christ did not command it, nor the apostles teach it.
Then he adduced several Scriptures that were quite to the contrary, John 3, and others. I showed him, that Christ there did not teach water baptism, but that He had taught it in Matt. 28 and Mark 16; and I stated what baptism signified; to whom it pertains, and that it is horrible to hear that they want to save children by baptism, whereby they deprive Christ of the honor. Rom. 6:3; John 3:16; Acts 4:12. When we had talked thus for a long time, the dean cried to the priest, "Hear, hear, Lord; Audi, audi, Domine; let him go; we waste our time with him, and he remained as obstinate as ever." I said, "I am sorry that you will not listen to the truth; it is all in vain, it is only casting pearls before swine." Matt. 7:6.
Then the dean became very angry, so that I soon parted from them, for it was getting late. I must be brief, for my paper is giving out. Afterwards I talked yet with a priest alone, on Whitsuntide evening; so that the priest went away from me, when I told that he should show'to me, that Christ and His apostles, in this manner, went about the street with an idol, with torches, lanterns and bells. Ps. 112:4; Bar. 6:4. He would not talk with me long; we talked a little about the Supper and baptism, but not long, for the priest went away, and I began to admonish him a little. But I must be brief. Though you hear much said that I wanted to hearken to the priests, believe it not; but be fervent in prayer, for in the end it shall be made manifest.
Mother, I pray you, that you will send the letter herewith enclosed, which I have written to my brother D. in England, to him; and if there be anything written in it that is not suitable, erase it. And I pray you, write him my faith. I would write it myself, but through want of paper I cannot. Write him that he may know for what I deliver up my body to the burning; for I presume that many will write that which is not the truth. Thus, dear mother, it is time to stop, for want of paper. I greet you, my mother, and also all my dear sisters, with a holy kiss of peace; and greet also from me those whom you well know, also my master, yea, and all the friends. G. and my sister K., the Lord be with you and us all, and keep you. Thus, my dearest mother, farewell, and the Lord be with you; for I think that you will see my face no more in this life, nor do I know whether I shall have another opportunity to write. Thus, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be with you all. Amen.
By me your son, imprisoned for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace from God our heavenly Father, through His only Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour; the comfort and power of the Holy Ghost, furthering to a true faith; the true heavenly wisdom, the true regeneration, the fear of God, this I wish my dear and affectionately beloved brother, to the salvation of your soul. Amen.
My dear brother, the reason of my writing is to inform you of my imprisonment, so that you may not think that it is for any evil or any infidelity or heresy, as many evil tongues may probably pretend and report, thereby to grieve you and harden your heart, that you should not believe the genuine truth, but remain in your belief; for Satan constantly walks about men, as Peter says (I Peter 2:8), as a roaring lion, seeking whose soul he may devour and draw away from that which is good, for he is the enemy of all good, who always hates and seeks to resist that which is good.
But, dear brother, do not listen to such, for it is the suggestion of Satan; but give ear to the Word of God, the genuine truth, as James says, and let it be ingrafted in your soul, that it may save your soul, whereby you may live forever. Jas. 1:21.
Hence, my beloved, awake once from the sleep of sin, and Christ shall give you light (Eph. 5:14);
for you have walked in sin and unrighteousness long enough; it is about time to flee sin and shun unrighteousness, that you be not punished with all the ungodly, who have not lived according to the will of God, nor hearkened to the truth, but have walked according to their own lusts. They follow the lusts of their flesh, and live, as Paul says to the Galatians (5:19 21), in ride, covetousness, drunkenness, adultery, strife.' hatred, contention, and other like works.
O dear brother, let such works not be found with you; for such, says Paul, cannot inherit the kingdom of God, for such carnal life is an abomination in the eyes of God, for Paul says to the Romans, that such carnal-mindedness is enmity against God, and cannot please God. For the wages of sin, is eternal death, but the gift of God is eternal life. I Cor. 6:10; Ps. 5:5; Rom. 8:7; 6:23.
My dear, flee such works, and turn to the Lord and you shall live. Isa. 55:3. Remember the instruction which Tobit gave his son, when he says
'.'My son, let not pride dwell or rule in your heart." Tob. 4:13. For Ecclesiasticus says, "That pride is hateful before God, and that it is the beginning of all sin, and he that has to do with it shall be destroyed with many curses." Sir. 10:13. Thus shun now all pride and all sin, and set yourself to serve the Lord, renouncing all the lusts of the flesh., "Seek ye the Lord," says the prophet,"while he may be found, and call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him." Isa. 55:7.
My dear brother; turn to the Lord while you have time; wait not until death with the amendment of your life, like many who say, that if they have an hour in which to repent; it is enough for them. Oh, do not thus defer it, nor follow such counsel, but follow the counsel of Ecclesiasticus, who says, "Repent while thou art still able to sin." And again, "Make no tarrying to return to the Lord, and do not put it off from day to day; for the wrath of the Lord shall come forth suddenly." Sir. 5:7: Hence there is no time to be set, for we are not assured of one hour, nor any one how long he will live. Job 14:1.
Hence remember the words of Christ, who says that He shall come as a thief in the night; if the good man of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would watch, and not suffer his house to be broken through. Luke 12:39. Seeing then, that we have neither hour nor time, watch constantly with the wise virgins, who were not found sleeping, when the bridegroom came. Matt. 25. If you would therefore enter in with the Bridegroom to the marriage, as did the wise virgins, put away from you (as the prophet says, Isa. 1:16) all that is evil, and the Lord shall be your God, and you shall be His son.
My dearest brother, love that which is good, and it shall be well with you; fear the Lord with all your heart, and your soul shall lodge in goodness, and your seed shall inherit the earth; for the prophet David says, "That the eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, and that hope in his mercy; and he shall deliver their soul from death; for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Psa. 25:13; 33:18, 19; 111:10.
Hence have God always before your eyes in what you do, and you shall prosper in it; always love that which is good, and hate .that which is evil, that the Lord may be with you, as you have spoken, says the prophet Amos, 5:14. Follow the advice of Paul, Romans 12:21, where he says, "Overcome evil with good." Oh, then it shall be well with you, and you shall find rest in your soul. Matthew 11:29. Let there be found in you once the true faith which worketh by love, and which has so far not brought forth much fruit in you. Gal. 5:6. Hence it is time now to awake once and seek Christ, whereby you may live and enter by the right door into the sheepfold. John 11:25; 10:7.
Hence give ear now to the voice of Christ, who says, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Consider well that the Lord would have us practice His Word and truth, and not do like many who indeed have the Word of God in their mouth, and hear it, but do not live according to it, but suffer it to enter in at one ear, and out at the other; yea, what is more yet, though they well know that sin and unrighteousness must be shunned and avoided, as soon as they have heard the word, they go on again in sin, in drunkenness, in adultery, in gambling, etc., But to take the Testament or Bible into their hands, to read, and to spend their time in godliness, that were far too much; but they follow their own lusts, namely, the lust of their father, the devil, for he.delights in all such works: for he that committeth sin is of the devil; says John; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. John 8;44; I John 3:8. Hence, dear brother, have no fellowship with such persons, but seek such as fear the Lord and live according to His Word, and keep it, for Christ says, "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it." Luke 11:28. Now you may perceive that they are blessed.(saved) who keep the Word of God, and govern themselves in accordance with it. For in Matthew 7:23, Christ declares that He shall say to all those who shall not have kept His word, nor practiced it, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity; I know you not." O brother, take good heed; that you do not hear this voice, but that you may hear that glad voice, with all God's righteous ones that have lived according to the word of the Lord, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom of my Father, prepared for you from the foundation of the world." .Matt. 25:34. What a joy it will be to hear this, for the good that have walked in the fear of the Lord.
My brother, give ear now to the word of the Lord, that we may meet there, and hear the glad
voice, which I pray the Lord that He will grant us through His only Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Brother, I must stop, for my paper is giving out; hence take this. simple letter in goad part, for I have written it out of love; and ponder it well, for it is not my word, but the word of the Lord, for His mouth has spoken it. Amen.
I hope to explain to you, dear brother, the cause of my imprisonment, so that you may not grieve, but rejoice, and thank the Lord for it. I thank the Lord, that He has opened my dark eyes, and looked upon me with the eyes of His mercy, when I was sunk in sin, yea, expected nothing but eternal death and damnation; yea, I was without God in the world, and I lived in sins innumerable, which were an abomination before the eyes of God, so that if God centered into judgment with me, I could not stand in His sight, but should pass away like dust before the wind, because of my innumerable sins. Psa. 143:2; 1:5. But the Lord who through His unspeakable love, out of grace, caused to be proclaimed to me, by His servants, His ward, concerning His Son Christ Jesus, that whosoever believeth in Him, should have eternal life. John 3:15. Hence I heard that there was no means to obtain salvation, but through His Son Christ Jesus, who died the death for our sins, and shed His blood for us, for the washing away of our unrighteousness, even as John says, "That the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all our sins." Acts 13:38; I Cor. 15:3; Eph. 1:7; I John 1:7. And when I heard the words of Christ: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; I, poor man, laden with sins and innumerable wickednesses, made my complaint to Christ, bewailed my sins, and He forgave and remitted them to me through His shed blood, when I confessed them before Him. Matthew 11:28; Ps. 32:5. Thus, dear brother, I forsook my sins, from day to day, according to my ability, and sought to walk the narrow way, and separated myself from the wicked, perverse world, and sought to please Christ, yet not as I would, for I constantly felt the S irit striving against the flesh, as Paul says, Gal. 5p17. And job says that man's life upon earth is nothing but a constant warfare. Job 7:1. Thus, dear brother, I sought to please the Lord, and not the world, which the enemy could not endure any longer, who hates all that is good, and cannot endure it, but seeks to quench it. He has shown, and still shows, his power also on me, but has not been able to do any more, than the Lord permits him; yea, when he has done all, he can but kill the body, but over the soul he has no power, for the Lord gives us strength through His Holy Spirit, to resist it. Matt. 10:28; Eph. 3:16; I Pet. 5:9. Hence, dear brother, my imprisonment is not for any evil, but for the truth, and for the- confession of the holy word of the Lard. Hence rejoice therein, that the Lord counts me worthy to suffer for His name, and to offer up my body to the praise of His holy name. Acts 5:41. Think that it has been thus with all Gads righteous ones, from the beginning of the world till the present day. Hence, my brother, be resigned to the work of the Lord, for thus it went with Christ our Captain. If they have done this to the Lord, how will it be with His followers? for Christ says, "The servant is not greater than his lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." John 13:16. Hence I hope by the grace of the Lord, that He shall give me strength through His Holy Spirit, to confess His Word and truth as long as there is breath in my mouth, even as I have hitherto done unto this hour; hence I expect now nothing else than my sentence, to be placed at the stake in the market place, to be burnt there. Comfort yourself herein, and thank the Lord for it, that He counts me worthy to suffer for His name. Thus I have now briefly written the cause of my imprisonment, that you might the better console yourself herein, and not give ear or belief to every evil tongue, as I hope mother will write you. If in any wise possible I hope to write you my faith, if I get paper; and if I should not, I hope that mother will write it to you, so that you will not grieve, as though I died in unbelief, as Satan may pretend, and as may possibly also have been written to you; but I pray you give no ear or belief to it, for that for which I suffer is the genuine truth and the true faith in Christ Jesus,'since Christ and His apostles taught, it, of which Paul says, "Though an angel from heaven should come, and teach you otherwise, than I have taught you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8. Thus, dear brother, I would write you more, but I have no more paper now. Farewell, the Lord be with you; and I greet you, dear brother, with a holy kiss, for I think that you will see my face no more.
By me, your brother, who is imprisoned for the testimony of God, and for the holy word and truth of the Lord.