In the year of our Lord 1551, Jerome Segers, with his wife Lijsken Dircks, and Big Henry fell into the hands of the tyrants, for the testimony of Jesus, at Antwerp in Brabant. They suffered many severe torments and sharp examinations, but, through the grace of God, endured them all. And as they, through faith, were so firmly bound to their Captain Christ Jesus, that nothing could induce them to apostatize, they brought Jerome Segers and Big Henry to the slaughter, on the second day of September, A. D. 1551. Both, each at a stake, surrendered their bodies in great steadfastness to God as a well pleasing sacrifice. Lijsken Dircks, the wife of Jerome Segers, who was pregnant, was (after her delivery) thrust into a bag early in the morning, between three and four o'clock, and murderously thrown into the Scheldt and drowned, before people were up. Nevertheless, there were some that saw it, who testified to her firm and steadfast faith unto death. They now rest together under the altar. Read the following beautiful letters written by them, which attest their strong faith, firm hope and ardent love to God and His holy truth.
Always fear God
In narrow prison walls I lay, well guarded and
Because for Christ I testified, sore troubles I did find;
But it cometh from the Lord,
Who to me doth strength afford.
Grace, peace, joy, gladness consolation, a firm faith, and good assurance, together with an ardent love to God, I wish to you, my most beloved wife, Lijsken Dircks, whom I wedded before God and His holy church, and thus took to wife, according to the command of the Lord; may consolation, gladness and joy be increased and multiplied to you my dear wife.
I earnestly pray the Lord, that He will comfort you, and remove from you that which is too grievous. I well know, my chosen lamb, that you are in great sorrow on my account; but lay aside all sorrow, and look to Jesus the Captain and Finisher of our faith, and let us henceforth walk in all righteousness and holiness, as children of peace, and let us make good use of the time of grace, and consider what great mercy the Lord has shown us. O my dear wife, remember how faithful a God we serve; He will not let us be confounded. Remember how faithfully He led the children of Israel with an outstretched arm, from Pharaoh's house of bondage, and out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and remember how they had to prepare themselves, before they could go out, and how they did eat the paschal lamb with unleavened bread. They had to eat the paschal lamb standing, and the unleavened bread which they had, they bound up in their clothes, and began to go out to the wilderness. And the angel of the Lord went before them, by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, and thus He gave them light. But when they were closely pressed by Pharaoh and his host, the people began to murmur against Moses; for they had not firm confidence in the Lord, that He would lead them out. But the Lord told Moses, what He would do, and how He would show His power on Pharaoh and his host; and He commanded Moses, to take the rod and smite the sea; and when Moses smote the sea, it dried up, and the waters were divided, and stood like walls to the right and to the left, so that they went through the sea on dry ground. Pharaoh followed with his host, and was drowned, with all his lords and people; but Israel passed through unharmed, and praised and thanked God, that He had delivered them from Pharaoh's house of bondage. But they were not yet in the promised land; they came into the dreadful wilderness, where there was no bread. The bread which they had brought from Egypt, was but a small quantity; it was the unleavened dough which they had bound up in their clothes, when they left Egypt. Then they
were troubled, because they had nothing to eat; but the Lord fed them with bread from heaven.
So also, my most beloved wife, we have not gained all, when we have confessed the truth, separated ourselves from the world, and renounced all lusts and desires; but we must also fight against the enemies, that is, we must here contend against emperors and potentates, and the princes of this world. We must suffer in this world; for Paul has said that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. I Tim. 3:12. We must overcome the world, sin, death and the devil, not with external swords or spears, but with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and with the shield of faith, wherewith we shall be able to ward off all sharp and fiery darts of Satan, and with the helmet of salvation on our head, and with the breastplate of righteousness, and our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel. If we are thus strengthened with these weapons, we shall get through the wilderness with Israel, and overcome and withstand all our enemies: they shall be confounded, who fight against the truth. II Tim. 3:8. Now, when the children of Israel were out of the wilderness-the dreadful and horrible wilderness, where the serpents spewed fire,-after they had been wandering forty years through it, had passed through so many dangers, and taken so many cities and countries on this side of Jordan; they nevertheless were not yet in possession of the promised land, for they had not yet crossed the Jordan; however, the Lord showed Moses the promised land from afar. O my clear wife, I have also seen the promised land from afar; I hope soon to come into the beautiful city of which John writes; which is greatly adorned; her foundations are twelve precious stones, and her walls and streets are of, pure and clear gold; and the city has twelve gates, each gate of one pearl; and there is no night there, for the Lord her God lightens her. Rev. 2'1. And the Lord told Moses, that he should not lead the people into the promised land; but Joshua brought them into it, and the Lord led them over Jordan dry-shod, and commanded them to keep His commandments and laws, and He should drive out their enemies from before them. But when they transgressed His commandments and laws, the Lord delivered them into the hands of their enemies, so that they were defeated by them. After they had passed over Jordan, they still did not have the promised land, which flowed with milk and honey; but they had to take it by sheer force, destroy all their enemies, and burn the cities with fire. So must also we take the promised land by force; for Christ says that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence. Not until now have I known what it is to contend; no one knows it better than he who has tried it, such is the subtlety with which they come to seduce us.
Know, that I received your letter through my mother. I read it with tears. I thank you, that youso affectionately comfort me thereby, and I rejoiced when I heard that you are so well contented.
Let me inform you, my chosen and beloved wife Lijsken, that I have been before the margrave. He had with him two Dominicans, two judges, and the clerk of the criminal court. He asked me whether I had changed my mind yet, and added that he had prevailed upon these two good men or lords, to try and win my soul, if I would repent. I replied that I would not forsake my faith, since it was the truth. They then asked me what my faith was, I said to the monks, "Ask the margrave, I have confessed my faith to him; ask him." They tormented me much, but I would not tell them anything. They asked whence I knew that it was the truth-whether God had spoken orally with me. When they could get nothing else out of me, my confession was read, namely, that I had no regard for the sacrament. I said, "No, it is nothing more than a god of bread." The priests were angry, because I thus despised their god. They all wished to talk with me. I said, "I will not hear you, nor talk with you; but let my brother come here to me, and I will talk with you, and confess our faith."
They then asked me whether I was not strong enough in my faith, since I appealed to my brother.
I replied, "Yea, my faith is strong enough; but that you may not pervert our words."
They then said, "We shall not pervert your words."
I said, "I know you and your roguery well."
The margrave said, "It shall be granted to you.
I understood him to say, that he should bring a Bible with him.
The priests said that when the children are baptized, they then have faith.
I laughed at it, and said, "Why then do you not go into Turkey, and baptize the Turks; if thereby men become believers, as you say, they would all become believers."
They replied, "Though the Turks should be baptized, they would still remain Turks."
They importuned me greatly, to apostatize, and become a child of the Roman church. And the margrave and the judges felt such unrighteous compassion for me, that they said, "If your life should be spared, and you should repent and become a good child of the Roman church, I should have good hopes of you; for you have been brought to this in your youth and innocency. I well know by whom (he meant Jelis of Aix-la-Chapelle); and because you descended from such good parents, and your mother is almost dead with grief."
I replied, "Though the door should stand open, and you should say: 'Go, only say, "I am sorry;" I should not go; for I well know that I hold the truth.'
The margrave then said, " I shall cause you to be burnt alive, if you will not hear." I laughed again, and said, "All that you inflict upon me for my faith, I will willingly suffer." He said, "His wife is the greatest heretic in the city."
I cannot thank the Lord enough for all the great strength and power which Ht gives me in this distress. I perceive now, that the Lord is with us; for He helps us so faithfully out of all distress (Psalm 91:15); He is such a faithful Captain, He gives His servants such courage and strengthens them, that they are not afraid (Job 5:22); they, neither fear nor tremble, because of the great love which they have to their heavenly Father: for Paul says, "Who shall separate us from the love of God? shall, tribulation, or distress, or persecution; or famie, or nakedness, or peril or sward? As it is written, For thy sake we ,are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than, conquerors through him that loved us. For I -am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth; nor, any other creature, shall be able to separate us 'from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8:35-39.
Therefore, my most beloved wife Lijsken,.,redeem the time, be patient in tribulation, continue instant in prayer, and look constantly ,to the. beautiful promises that are promised us everywhere, if we persevere unto the end. And let us guard well the treasure; for we have this treasure in earthen vessels (II Cor. 4:7), and cannot conceal. it;"it breaks out everywhere; it is far too'precious to be hid. We rejoice greatly in. this treasure, which treasure is our faith, hope, and love; and these will not leave us destitute, even though they put us singly into dark dungeons, separated. from one another. The treasure is of such a nature that it will not be hid; one calls to the other, and so pours out his treasure, that it may be seen. We are so cheerful, eternal praise and thanks be to the Lord! we call, we sing with each other, we have such-joy..in comforting and strengthening each other; the Lord gives us such strength and power, that we cannot thank Him sufficiently for the great grace which He shows ds. Mal. 3:16, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward rnan perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For.our light affliction, which is but for a. moment; worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look riot at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." II Cor. 4:16-18.
Hence, my dear wife, cease not to serve the Lord thy God with the whole heart, and to follow His footsteps;"For we know that, if our .earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 'For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with -our .house which is from heaven . . . not for that we, would be' unclothed, but clothed upon . . . for whilst we areat home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." Mark 12:30; I Pet. 2:21; II Cor.-5:1, 2, 4, 6.
Therefore, my dear wife, give diligence that you pass the,time of your sojourning here in fear and trembling (I Pet. 1:17); not with such fear and trembling. as that we should fear the. world, and tremble before it, because they rage so against us; but we are to fear and tremble before the Lord, so that we shall keep His commandments and statutes, and thus pass the time of our sojourning here in the fear of the Lord, and receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls; then shall we rejoice forever with the Lord, and go to meet Him in the resurrection of the dead. Isa. 51:11; Philip. 3:11. Therefore do not fear the world; for the very hairs of your head are all numbered; they have no power, except it be given them from above. Matt. 10:30; John 19:11. And Christ says, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body; but fear him, who after he has killed the body. has power to cast the soul into hell; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and their worm shall not die, and they shall have no rest day nor night." Luke 13:28; Isa. 66:24; Rev. 14:11. May the Almighty, eternal and strong God so strengthen and comfort you with His blessed Word, that you will remain faithful unto the end, and you shall also, come under the altar to all the dear children of God, where all tears shall be wiped from our eyes. Rev. 2:10; 6:9; 21:4. There all tribulation will have an end, and there shall our vile body be glorified, and be like unto the image of His glory. Philip. 3:21. Then shall our weeping be turned into laughter, and our sorrow into joy (John 16:20); then shall we; who for a little while have been despised and rejected, yea, persecuted and dispersed, and put to death with great ignominy, pain and reproach, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, triumph forever, and live eternally with the Lord. We shall be clothed with white robes, as John testifies in his Revelation concerning the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which. they held. And they lay under the,altar, and they cried with a loud voice, saying,"How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou. not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Rev. 7:9; 20:4; 6:9-1.1.
Oh, what a glorious people shall we be; when we shall be with that great multitude of which Esdras writes, and John in his Revelation, says, "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. These are they
which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 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." Rev. 7:9, 10, 14-17. Esdras also declares of the same multitude, "that they stood upon Mount Sion, and were clothed in white, and that in the midst of them stood one taller than all the rest, who gave palms into the hands of every one, and set crowns upon every one of their heads." II Esdras 2:42, 43, 46. And John says, "I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." Rev. 15:2, 3. Behold, my dear wife, what glorious promises we everywhere find, which God will give to all His dear and true children who here faithfully adhere to Him, who have ended their lives to the praise of the Lord, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. I Cor. 2:9.
O my dearly beloved wife, I cannot thank the Lord enough for all His great goodness shown to me; He gives me such strength and power that I cannot express it. Oh, now I experience that the Lord is a faithful helper in tine of need; He does not forsake those that trust in Him, for He that trusts in the Lord, shall not be confounded. Isa. 45:17; Rom. 9:33. He will keep us as the apple of His eye; He will deliver us from all the power of the devil, and the tyranny of this world; yea, He will keep us, that we shall not go into hell, if we remain faithful to Him unto the end; for Christ says, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matt. 24:13.
O my dearly beloved wife, continue faithful to the Lord unto death; for the crown is not at the beginning, nor in the middle, but at the end. If you continue faithful to the Lord, He will not forsake you; He will give you the crown of eternal life, and lead you into His kingdom. Jas. 1:12. He will crown you with glory and honor; and will wipe away all tears from your eyes.
Dear Lijsken, if He will wipe away all tears, tears must here first be shed. Matt. 5:4. He will heal us from our sufferings; hence we must first suffer in this world. Yea, we must fight and contend against ferocious lions, dragons, and bears (Ps. 91:13) , yea, against the wicked and perverse generations of vipers (Matt. 3:7) and serpent rulers, and against the subtle serpents of this world, and the wicked seed of Cain; for Paul says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, butagainst the rulers of darkness, and the principalities and powers of this world, yea, against the spirits that work in the air, which is the old serpent and Satan (Rev. 20:2), who, as Peter says, walks about as ,a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I Pet. 5:8. Therefore defend yourself diligently, with prayer and supplication to the Lord, and hold fast to the doctrine of Jesus Christ our Saviour, that you may receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul. Fight with Paul the good fight. Herewith I commend you, my dearly beloved wife and sister, to the Almighty, eternal and strong God, and to the word of His rich grace, that you may be able to stand against all the gates of hell. Amen.
The eternal joy, peace and grace of God the Father; and the unfathomable mercy, favor, and love of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been sent through grace, by God the Father, to the salvation of all those that are born again with Him, through His imperishable Word or Gospel, and do His will; and the deep and unspeakable consolation, power, strength and communion of the Holy Ghost, who is sent by both from heaven, to the everlasting consolation, joy, and gladness of all true, penitent and obedient children of God, who have amended their life, and thus have risen with Christ, through His Gospel, into newness of life. May this only God strengthen you all in His eternal truth, and uphold you with the mighty Word of His grace in all righteousness, holiness and truth unto the end, and keep your understanding, and your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus. To Him be praise, honor, glory, might, power, and strength forever and ever. Amen.
My dearly beloved and chosen brethren and sisters, and all lovers of the unfeigned and eternal truth, I wish you the true, penitent faith, which works by love, and avails before God, and a pure, chaste and holy conversation and walk in the fear of God, and an ardent love to God our heavenly Father, and your neighbor, and to His eternal, clear and unchangeable truth. And I pray the Lord for you day and night without ceasing, that He will open the eyes of your understanding, and enlighten your hearts with knowledge, that you may know that it is the truth, and that He will strengthen you with His divine Word, and confirm you in the faith, that you may walk in this truth, in all humility and meekness, being a light to all men, and may continue steadfast unto the end. I also pray the Lord, that He will keep you from all ravening wolves, that have gone out from us, and will yet rise up among you, who will not spare the flock, and from all false; heretical and satanic teachers, who rise up under the name of Christ, and come forth in a semblance of holiness, as though they were sent by Christ, while they have proceeded from and are sent by the devil. Acts 20:29; II Cor. 11:15.
Therefore, my dear brethren, be vigilant, watch and pray; for it is very necessary; and remember after, my departure, that I warned you from. prison against false prophets. Thus, with the help of God, I have briefly written to you, and with Peter exhorted you, well knowing that shortly I must put off my mortal clothing and sleep with my brethren and sisters in Christ. Though you are yourselves taught and strengthened in this present truth, I nevertheless deem it profitable to admonish you yet a little more, if haply thereby someone may be bettered, edified and strengthened, the name of the. Lord be praised and thanked, and I be remembered;how I have been an example unto you in that which the Lord gave me, and have walked among you in, all humility. Tit. 2:7.
Hence I admonish you now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, and beseech you with Paul, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this evil, wicked and perverse world; but he ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Rom. 12:1, 2; Eph. 5:17.
O my dear brethren, I earnestly beseech you, that you will all amend your lives, and forsake the world and its lusts, and will look to the life of Christ, how He walked before us; for John says, "He that would boast of Christ ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." I John 2:6.
Behold, my dear friends, it is not enough that we are baptized in the name of Christ, that we are called brethren or sisters of Christ, and bear the name of Christians. Oh, no, all this cannot save; for John says, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil." John 3:7, 8, 10. And Christ says, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14: Again, "If a man love me, he will keep my words and commandments; and lie that hath my commandments and keepeth 'them, he it is that loveth me." John 14:23, 21. For John says, "He that saith he loveth God, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I John 2:4; And you know that a liar has no part in the kingdom of God. Rev. 21:8. Therefore, be not Christians with the mouth, nor with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18. For it is utterly in vain to bear the name of Christ, so long as we are not conformed to Him in word, work and thought; for Paul says, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that 'he might be the first-born among many brethren." Rom. 8:29. If He then has called and predestinated you, use diligence that you become conformed to Him,so that you may be found true Christians in deed when you come into the tribulation in which we now are; ° f or though we are in it now, tomorrow you may also be in it. Therefore watch and pray; for you know neither the day nor the hour; and be diligent to please the Lord; for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. I Thess. 4:1; II Cor. 5:10. .
Now, as the Lord is to be feared, I counsel and humbly beseech you, to conform your life to the Gospel. For, to. bear the name of a Christian, .and to be called a brother, avails nothing; but the fulfilling of the commandments of God alone; for I have: seen many among us who boast of being Christians; who love Christ with the tongue, but with the deed forsake Him (Tit. 1:16), which is greatly to be deplored; for they are like counterfeit money, which from the outside seems to be good gold; but, when brought to the touchstone, or to the fire, it is nothing but copper within. Thus they walk among the pious, as though they were true Christians; but when the Lord begins to try them in tribulation, it is seen that all is built upon the sand,.and that they love their belly more than Christ, as appears now in the case of those that are in bonds with us; for so long they allowed themselves to be called pious brethren, but now they talk differently. Matt. 13:21; 7:26; Rom. 16:18.
Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, all who desire to offer up an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, take us for an example (Jas. 5:10) and be followers of us, and be no longer so slothful or lukewarm in.love; so that, when you are also imprisoned, you will not sorrow because you did not lead a better life; for with this the devil tempts us night and day. Hence I warn you, out of brotherly love, to take heed to yourselves while you have time; for Paul says, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope-, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 5:2.
Behold, my dear friends, such a people Christ has chosen, who are not vain or light-minded, but who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for eternal life; hereunto he has called and chosen us, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; for such a holy church he has chosen, which has not spot or wrinkle, but that should walk holily and unblamably before him in love. Rom. 2:7; Eph. 1:4; 5:27. Therefore be holy in all your conversation; since it is written, "Ye shall be holy, for I am holy." Lev. 11:45. Oh, see my dear brethren, it is time for you to take heed; for
the axe is now laid at the root of the trees; every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire. Matt. 3:10."For not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 7:21. For,"being dead unto sin, and purified by the knowledge of the truth, you must not be empty, lest the devil take with him the seven spirits and return into you, and the last state be worse than the first." Rom. 6:11; Matt. 12:45., "Let not sin reign therefore in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God;" and"pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;" and be not found in darkness, dear brethren, lest that"day should overtake you as a thief." Rom. 6:12, 13; Matt. 24:20; I Thess. 5:4. For if ye do so, ye shall be children of light and of the day; for they are not the children of God, who boat of the faith, but do not fulfill it with the works, for Christ says, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:17. For he that knows it, and does it not, is likened unto a fool; and the servant that knows the will of his lord, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. Matt. 7:26; Luke 12:47. But those who believe with the heart, and do as they believe, are the true children of God, and shall also be accounted believers in the kingdom of heaven. Hence I counsel you, and beseech you with Peter, that, giving all diligence you add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; but an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into everlasting life. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. II Pet. 1:5-8, 11, 9. Therefore, purify your souls in obeying the truth, in true unfeigned love of the brethren, and love one another with _a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. I Pet. 1:22, 23. Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and place all your hope in God; have fervent love among yourselves, and be of one mind; mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate; let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth nor spend your time in vain conversation, which increases only unto more ungodlinegs; but speak that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers: let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6);for Peter says, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;" (I Pet. 4:11) that you may be an example unto all men; for Christ says, "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men
. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.""Ye are the light of the world.""Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify yout Father which is in heaven." Matt. 5:1316. And Peter says, "Have your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in the fear of God." I Pet. 2:12, 3:16.
He further says, "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." I Pet. 3:10-12. Hence, take good heed, that the angry face of the Lord do not look down upon you; for in the last day the ungodly shall exclaim, "O ye hills and mountains, fall upon us, and cover us, that we may not see the angry face of him that sitteth on the throne." Hos. 10:8; Rev. 6:16. And Christ says, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:20. Again,"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:3.
See; my dear brethren and sisters, if you are not thus humble, give diligence that you become so; for Christ's words are no lies; He says, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence? and in thy name have cast out devils? But then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:22, 23; Luke 13:26. And Paul says, "He that lives after the flesh, shall die." Rom. 8:13. O friends, there is a great number of you, that are like unto asses and mules, which are so lazy that they have to be urged on with blows and kicks. Oh, this is not walking according to love. Lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; you have slept long enough, for Paul says, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!" Heb. 12:12; Eph. 5:14."If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth." Col. 3:1, 2.
O my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, be followers of God, as chosen children and walk in love, as He also hath loved us and hath given Himself
an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light; for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:1-5, 7-9, 11. I therefore admonish you, as fellow helpers, for the Lord -says, "I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in a day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Let us give no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approve ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,. in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in nakedness; in perils,under the sword; by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying and, behold, we live; as chastened and not killed; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. II Cor. 6:1-10; 11, 26, 27.
My dear friends, my mouth is open ,unto you, out of brotherly love, and I humbly beseech you, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, showing such love with the deed among yourselves; for this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that ye should love one another; for he that loveth not, abideth.in death. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My dear brethren and sisters in the Lord, let us no longer love in tongue, but in deed and in truth. II Cor. 6:11; Philip. 2:5; I John 3:11, 14, 17, 18; 4:8. Always remember the poor, and let each give according to his ability, with joy; for God loveth a cheerful giver, and Paul says, "He that sheweth mercy, let him do it with cheerfulness." Tobit 4:7; II Cor. 9:6; Rom. 12:8. For, consider once, whether, if you were as fervent. in love, as you have been in the world, you would not as easily know to find two or three stivers to give to the poor, as you found them for drinking or gambling purposes? Not my dear friends, that I would burden or oppress you, only that each show his love herein, according to his weak ability; for you cannot take your possessions with you. You may take me for an.example; for they have takeneverything, yea, all the money we had, and asked us yet whether we did not have more.
It is therefore far better, that you help the poor with it, than that the lord* have it, and if you are willing to give your life for your brother, how much more ought you to assist him with your temporal goods! that it be as it is written, "They that gathered much had nothing over, and they that gathered little had no lack." I John 3:16; Jas. 2:16; Ex. 16:18: And see to it also, that all be done honestly, that it be as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness, and that the offering be acceptable unto the Lord: For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but aboundeth also in many thanksgivings to God. II Cor. 9:5, 12. Hence give diligence, to show your love herein, that the Lord may be glorified and thanked thereby, and that you may approve yourselves in all things as ministers of God. I Pet. 4:11. Read what Paul says to the Corinthians; he will teach you how to conduct yourselves herein; and I humbly beseech you, that when you have read it, you will also act according to it; for it is necessary.
Furthermore, I beseech all of you young married people, that you live together in all humility, simplicity and harmony. Young wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, in the fear of God: and you, young men, love your wives as your own selves; support and bear them with all humility and kindness, and affectionately admonish and instruct them with the Word of the Lord; for you know neither the day nor the. hour when the Lord shall separate you. I Pet. 3:l; Eph. 5:22; Matt. 25:13. Take me and my wife for an example, how soon the Lord separated us, to His glory. Hence; live together in all humility, so long as the Lord permits you to be together: for your time is short here, seeing the Lord delights to have His chosen with Him. Job 14:1. And furthermore, I beseech you, my dear brethren, that you also give diligence to get usury (Matt. 25:27); for I trust in the Lord, that through seeing and hearing this, many shall yet turn to the truth, and I will also do my best with those who come here to see me. And gather the poor, scattered flock, for which I am greatly concerned; for they scarcely know where to go or dwell, and are in greater distress than we here. Acts 8:1-4. But be of good cheer, my dear brethren and sisters in the Lord; though we enjoy more freedom than you, be patient in your persecution: you shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Lord shall deliver you. Matt. 10:23. Be diligent, therefore, in assembling together, and in comforting and admonishing one another with the Word of the Lord, that love may not wax cold among you. Matt. 24:12.
Thus, admonish and instruct one another in the love of God: and I -beseech you, not to forget us in your prayers, and now and then to write a. letter to my wife, to comfort her, since she will be con
fined a long time yet. I would further tell you, that I am in great joy, and cannot sufficiently praise and thank my Lord day and night, for His great love shown us, in that He has made both of us worthy to suffer for His name;. and for the power and strength He shows in us, and for His promises given us; for this is the hour for which I so long prayed the Lord, not considering myself good enough, that I should be worthy to suffer for His name. Therefore I am so rejoiced, because my hour is come, that I shall be delivered from this flesh.
Thus strengthen yourselves in the, love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Greet one another with a holy kiss of peace. Jude 21, 24, 25; I Cor. 16:20.
Let all the friends hear this letter; for I have written to you out of brotherly love, and am sorry that I can write to you no more. I commend you all to the Lord. Salute G. S. H. D. in the Lordwhom I sincerely love, and also all brethren and sisters in the Lord. Receive this brief admonition in good part (Heb. 13:22); for my spirit impelled me to admonish you a little.
Written in prison, by me,