I believe in one only God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, as is written, in whom Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the prophets believed. Gen. 1:1; Heb. 11.
I believe in Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father, who was from the beginning with God. And when the time which God had promised was fulfilled, this Word became flesh, and was born of the house of David, of a pure virgin espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David; which virgin is blessed among women. I believe that this true Son of God proclaimed the word of His Father through many signs and wonders. And after this He was delivered unto death under Pontius Pilate, and crucified and buried. I believe that this same Jesus Christ suffered for us. When we were His enemies, He suffered death for us, that those who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I believe that this our Saviour was raised up: from the dead, as He had predicted, and sits on the right hand of God His Father. John 1:14; Micah 5:2; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 1:3; Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:42; John 15:24; Matt. 27:2; Isa. 53:7; Rom. 5:10; John 3:16; Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:9, 19; Acts 7:56.
I also believe in the Holy Ghost, as testified by John in his first epistle, 5th chapter, and 7th verse, where he says, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." I also believe in the communion of the saints, whose prayer avails much. Jas. 5:16.
I also believe in the holy church, in which are those who believe in Jesus Christ, who by one Spirit are baptized into one body, as Paul says; and Christ Jesus is the Head thereof, namely, of the holy church, as is written. I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18..
I believe that this holy church has power to open and to shut, to bind and to loose; and whatsoever they bind on earth is also bound in heaven, and whatsoever they loose on earth is also loosed in heaven. I believe that God has ordained in this holy church, apostles, prophets, teachers, bishops and deacons. Matt. 16:19; I Cor. 12:28.
I also believe and confess a baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, even as commanded and ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ, and practiced and written of by the apostles. And I also believe that all who have received this baptism are members of the body of Jesus Christ, in the holy church. Eph. 4:5; Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38, 41; 16:31; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; t Cor. 12:13.
With regard to the holy supper of Jesus Christ, I believe and confess what Christ has said concerning it, as is written, "As they were eating the supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it; and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat;
this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink, and divide it among yourselves; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins: this do in remembrance of me." I believe this according to the declaration of Paul, who says, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the'body of Christ?""Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Matt. 26:26; Luke 22:14; I Cor. 10:16; John 6:54.
I confess marriage to be an ordinance of God; namely, a man and a woman united in the name of the Lord, in the holy church. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and the twain shall be one flesh. .Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. The bed is undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Gen. 2:24; I Cor. 7; Matt. 19:5, 6; I Cor. 6:16; Heb. 13:4.
I also confess that fasting and praying is very profitable, as practiced by the apostles. Matt. 6:16; Acts 13:2.
I regard the words of St. James as good and true, where he says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that ye may be healed." Jas. 5:16. I believe that this must be done with an upright heart.
I also confess that the higher powers are ordained of God, for the punishment of the evil, and the protection of the good; for they bear not the sword in vain; to which powers the Scriptures command us to be subject, and instruct us to pray for them, in order that, as Paul says, we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. Paul also calls the power the minister of God. Therefore since he is the minister of God, I would pray him that he would be pleased to be merciful to me, even as God is merciful. I hereby disclaim all fellowship with those
who would resist the power with the sword and violence, which I regard as a doctrine of devils. Wisd. 6:3; I Pet. 2:13; Rom. 13:1, 4; 1 Tim. 2:2.
I also believe in the resurrection of the dead, as it is written, that all men shall rise from the dead in their own bodies, when the Lord shall come in the clouds, with His angels; then He shall judge every one according to his works. Dan. 12:2; Job 19:25; Matt. 25:31; 16:27.
In short, I believe all that a true Christian is bound to believe of the holy church; and I believe with my whole heart in the articles, of the faith, and will live and die therein. I hereby renounce all false doctrines, heresies and sects, which are not in accordance with God and His Word. And if I have erred in any respect through false doctrine, I pray the Almighty God, to forgive me through His great love and mercy.
Also, if I have sinned in any matter against theEmperor, the king, or others, I pray them to forgive me through the great love and mercy of God.
When I had been in prison ten weeks, my first examination took.place. On the third day of January, A. D. 1558, reckoning the beginning of the year from New Year's day, the jailer came to me in the afternoon, saying that I had to appear before the commissary, in order to be examined concerning my faith. I was ready with a glad heart, and went thither with the jailer. When I entered the room where the commissary sat, I humbly saluted him. He returned my salutation, and said, "Jacques, is your name Jacques d'Auchy?"
Jacques. "Yes, my lord."
Com."Jacques, I have come here commissioned by the king, and the procurator general, to examine you with regard to the articles of faith."
Jaques. "Well, my lord, be it done then in the name of the Lord."
After we had had many words together concerning the faith, he began to ask me regarding the place of my nativity, my residence, and my life from my youth up to the present time; all of which I confessed to him. Thereupon I was led back to prison by the jailer.
In the afternoon of the next day, namely, the fourth of January of the same year, I was again brought before the same commissary. As I stood before him, he commenced to revile, vituperate and blaspheme the pastors and the flock of Christ, saying, "Is it not a pity that we suffer ourselves to be so deceived?"
Jacques. "Yes, my lord."
Corn,."I speak of you and others, who forsake our mother the holy church, and suffer yourselves to be deceived by a set of mischievous idlers and vagabonds."
Jac. I have not suffered myself to be deceived by such."
Corn. "No! when you believe such accursed villains and beggars as Menno, Leenaert, Henderick van Vreden, Frans de Kuyper, Jelis of Aix-la-Chapelle, and other such rascals, and forsake us and the true Word of God, do you not then suffer yourselves to be deceived?"
Jac. "I have not forsaken the Word of God; for my faith is founded upon the Word of God, and not upon men, nor upon the doctrines of men, since the prophet Jeremiah exclaims: 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.' Jer. 17:5."
A little after this the commissary cried out, saying, "O the miscreants, such as Menno and Leenaert, how many have they deceived and led to all the devils and into perdition."
Jac. "My lord, I entreat you not to say such words; for it would be difficult and hard for you to prove that they are such as you assert them to
be." And, again, "They have not deceived, but have clearly taught the Word of God. And I do not believe that those who have believed in the Word of God, will go into perdition; but the Lord shall judge all things well."
Corn. "I will not dispute; for I myself receive instruction from those that are taught in the holy church. But I well know the character of you people, and of your doctrine: had you but the power, you should gladly cut our throats, which, as has been seen, you people have done at Munster, Amsterdam, and other places."
Jac. "O my lord, don't say such words against your own conscience; for I am persuaded that you know much better; since you have been in the council here for twenty years, as you say (this he had told me before); hence it seems to me that you know us better; for if we had such wicked hearts as to intend murdering people, we should not thus deliver ourselves into your hands; for were we only to speak against our conscience, and conceal the truth from you, you would have no power over us, since you can find no one that can accuse us with truth of having wronged or injured any one."
Corn. "Whence then originate so many sects and heresies? whence springs so much uproar and mutiny?"
Jac. "As far as the sects and heresies that are in the world are concerned, as those of Munster or Amsterdam, or elsewhere, we have in no manner fellowship or part with their works, nor with their doctrines, but we regard them as doctrines of devils. All these things cannot prevent the truth from being truth, and the Christians from being true Christians, any more than could in the days of the apostles all the sects and heresies that were round about them, and had some semblance of the Word of God."
After these and many other words which we had together, he began to get milder in his manner, and said to me, "You must not study so high, but suffer yourself to be instructed by those who are more learned and wise than you, and you must believe in the Word of God."
Jac. "O my lord, how should I not believe in the Word of God? For this same Word I am imprisoned here, and stand now before you, to give answer concerning it."
Corn. "You are not imprisoned for the Word of God, but for your evil deeds."
Jac. "My lord, have you heard any one complaining that I wronged or injured him in any way?"
Corn. "No; I have not heard that any complaint has been made against you."
Jac. "The Lord be praised, that it is not for my iniquity, but for the testimony of the true faith."
Corn."Not so; but for your crimes, since you have offended against his Imperial Majesty, and transgressed the command of the king our lord."
lac."If I have transgressed the king's command, it is a small matter, since I have fulfilled thecommand of that King who is the true God and eternal King."
Corn. "You have also transgressed the command of God, and of our mother the holy church."
Jac. "My lord, you cannot prove to me by the holy Scriptures, nor can any one else, that herein I have transgressed God's command."
Corn. "It shall be proved to you. Well then, let us begin to finish the articles in which I have been charged to examine you."
We had many more words, which it would take me too long to relate here, besides that I do not remember them well. The commissary was somewhat discouraged,and listened attentively to whatever I wished to say.
Thereupon he asked me when I came to Emden, and where I had
taken up residence, and whether I had been directed to these
people. I answered, "Yes."
Corn. "Who directed you?"
Jac. "A good friend."
Corn. "In whose house were you?"
Jac. "I do not know the house in which I was."
Corn. "Who was it that brought you to Leenaert?"
Jac. "They were men and youths, women and maidens."
Corn. "What were their names?"
Jac. "As to their surnames, I should have had much to do, to know them all by their names and surnames, since I was not there long enough to learn them all."
Corn. "When you came into the house, where was Leenaert? What did he preach about?"
Jac. "He preached the pure Word of God."
Corn. "Of what, and of which articles did he preach?"
Jac. "He taught amendment of life, and that we must put off the old man, and put on the new; he forcibly showed by the Scriptures that those who walk after the flesh, and after their lusts, have no part in the kingdom of God."
Corn. "Did he not speak of some other things?"
Jac. "My lord, I should have much to do, to retain all, even as it would cost you, I think, much trouble and labor to retain a sermon that was preached eighteen months or two years ago." -Coin. "Did you there receive your second baptism?"
Jac. "I have received but one baptism, and that according to the ordinance of Christ."
Corn. "Did you not also receive a baptism in your infancy?"
Jac. "I do not know what was done to me in my infancy, I have no remembrance of it."
Corn. "Did not your father or your mother tell you that you were baptized, and did you not have sponsors?"
Jac. "Yes, I think they told me, and I have also called some persons godfather and godmother, but this was not in accordance with the Scriptures."
Corn. "Well, was that not enough? Have you besides this received something more from Leenaert, namely, water or baptism according to your notion?"
Jac. "I received from him baptism according to the Word of God." Coin."Do you not consider the baptism good which you received in your infancy?"
Jac. "Had I considered it good, and a baptism, I should not have received another; for it is written that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and not many baptisms." Eph. 4:5. Coin."Did you
receive the baptism which Leenaert administered to you in
the house in which you were assembled?"
Com. "Was it after or before preaching?"
Jac. "After preaching."
Com. "Did he not speak of baptism?"
Jac. "Yes and he showed by the holy Scriptures what it was, and what baptism signified; he humbly admonished the applicants for baptism, to observe well and take good heed what they accepted, and showed the cross and persecution which result to them that have come so far; and many other demonstrations from the holy Scriptures."
Com. "Were you not afraid of the decree of the Emperor?"
Jac. "No; neither am I now."
Com. "Jacques, it will go hard with you, unless you submit to mercy for your misdeed."
Jac. "My lord, I expect mercy from the Lord; but I am not aware that I have offended against the Emperor or the king, for which I should look for mercy. And if the decree is contrary to the Word of God, it does not appear to me that in fulfilling the command of God, I offend against any one whoever he be!"
Com. "Jacques, Jacques, think what the decree says."
Jac. "My lord, I well know that it has more authority in this world than the Word of God to put to death those who believe on His name and depart from unrighteousness, as is written that it should be so. (Isa. 59:15; Matt. 10:17). But what will it signify when you shall have done with me according to the decree, and shall have put me to death? You will have nothing but a vile and mortal body, which is subject to corruption; but as regards the soul, you cannot touch it, and when you appear before God's judgment, you shall know what you have done." Matt. 10:28. Com."Jacques, I do not seek your death, God knows; I should be sorry to see you suffer in the least."
Jac. "My lord, this will be seen in the end, how comes it then that you thus shed the innocent blood here, when you do not understand the faith as you have told me? Why do you not ordain then that those who cannot recognize your faith to be true and good, be banished from the country, with retention of their life and property, as is done throughout Germany, and also in Oostland,* which countries do not judge the Word of God, to shed blood?"
After many other words he asked, "What do you think and
believe of the sacrament of the altar?"
Jac. "Do you mean the breaking of bread?"
Jac. "I confess and believe as Christ ordained it, as the apostles practiced it, and as Paul writes concerning it to the Corinthians." Com."How do you understand it?"
Jac. "Just as it is written; I do not want to comment on the Word of God." This satisfied him, and he so wrote it down on his paper. Com."What do you think of the mass, confession, and absolution of the priest?"
Jac. "As regards the mass, I know it not, nor do the Scriptures; I have never read this name in the Word of God." Com."What shall I
write then in regard to this?"
Jac. "I do not know; whatever you please, my lord."
Com. "Will you not confess simply that you believe in the ordinances of the true and holy church, according to the teaching of the Scriptures and as a good Christian is bound to believe?"
Jac. "Yes, my lord, with all my heart." He wrote this down. Cont."Who were your instructors in this doctrine, and with whom did you converse in the beginning, and in what place?"
Jac. "I had my conversation at Antwerp, speaking of the Scriptures with many, but my principal instruction and foundations I derived from reading the holy Word of the Lord." He also wrote this down.
Com."Now, see here is an important article, namely, whether
you have not been a minister, or a deacon over the poor, or an
exhorter, or have held some other office in the assemblies of
the brethren?" Thus it was written on his paper as well as I
could perceive or see. I did not know at first what he meant by
calling this so important an article: I answered thereupon, "No;
I do not feel myself qualified for it, but am a humble member
in the congregation."
Com. "Were you never in a meeting, before you received baptism?"
Jac. "Yes, two or three times at least."
Com. "In what place was' it, and in what houses?"
Jac. "As regards the houses, I. do not know to whom they belong."
Com. "What kind of houses were they, large or small?"
Jac. "We assemble wherever we best can, as opportunity offers itself, and I remember to have been in very poor little houses, that resembled stables more than houses." He thus wrote this down on his paper. Com."Did you also attend the meeting with the brethren, after you received baptism?"
Jac. "My lord, this answers for itself; you may well suppose that if I was there before, I was there still more afterwards."
Com. "Is your wife of the same doctrine as you are, and is she also rebaptized?"
Jac. "I have enough to do to answer for myself without answering for my wife; and if she were here she could answer for herself; but nevertheless, I regard her as a woman that fears the Lord." This satisfied him.
On Saturday morning, the 8th of January of said year 1558,1
was brought into the same room, before the inquisitor, who had
lately been appointed here by the King of Spain, with full
power from him to bind or to loose, to release or to put to
death. When I came before him, I humbly saluted him; he
returned my salutation and said to me, "Jacques, I am very glad
of one thing, namely, at what the procurator general has told
me, that you are ready to confess your guilt, if it can be
proved to you by the Scriptures that you have transgressed the
commandment of God; and are in error; are you still of the same
intention, and will you accept the Scriptures?"
Jac. "Yes; and I am ready to listen to all good instruction according to the Word of God." He had the confession which I had made before the commissary, and asked me, "Will you
still confess that you received baptism from Leenaert?"
Jac. "My word is not yea and nay, but yea, yea, and as I confessed, so I still confess openly." Inquisitor. "Was not the baptism you received in your infancy enough for you, without receiving another?"
Jac. "I do not regard the baptism which I received in my infancy as baptism according to the Word and ordinance of God." Inq."I shall prove to you; but do you not believe that infants are born in original sin?"
Jac. "David indeed says that he was conceived in sin, even as all infants are; but sin is not imputed unto them, since Christ has died to take away sin, as Paul testifies everywhere in his epistles. And as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so grace has abounded through Jesus Christ." Rom. 5:12, 15.
Inq. "How are infants purified, if it is not done through baptism?"
Jac. "They are purified through the blood of Christ, since He is the Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world."
Inq. "How are they purified from original sin?"
Jac. "My lord, I have told you, namely, through the blood of the Son of God, who died for us when we were yet enemies, and unbelieving."
Inq. "Do you not believe that infants bear their sin from Adam, till they are purified through baptism?"
Jac. "This must be proved to me by the Scriptures; I
believe the word of the prophet, who says: 'The son shall not
bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear
the iniquity of the son; but the soul that sinneth it shall
die.'" Ezekiel 18:20.
Inq. "It is not to be understood thus; but the child is impure until it has received baptism."
Jac. "Are the infants purified through the external sign of the water?"
Inq. "No; but they must be purified with water, and then with the Holy Ghost."
Jac. "Which washing precedes; the external or the internal?"
Inq. "The external; and after these words: 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost' have been spoken, they are purified internally."
Jac. "My lord, you say this without warrant of Scripture; for Christ says that those are hypocrites who first make clean the outside; but that first, that which is within shall be cleansed, and the outside will be clean also." Matt. 23:25, 26.
Inq. "You err, and do not understand the Scriptures, and have suffered yourself to be deceived by a set of vagabonds."
Jac. "My lord, I rely not upon men; but it has not been given me to understand it differently, and men can not give me the faith; for it is written in the prophets, They shall all be taught of God.' Isa. 54:13. And Jesus Christ says that no man can come to Him, except it be given him of the Father. John 6:44. But now, my Lord, prove to me exclusively by the Scriptures, that the baptism of little infants is a planting and ordinance of God, and that it was practiced by the apostles, and I shall believe it."
After I had read this in his German testament, printed at
Zurich, I said, "My lord, if the external baptism of infants is
the new birth, we know whence it comes, for we can see it with
Inq. "How do you understand it then?"
Jac. "I understand it to be the new birth of him that was in the old Adam, in the body of sin; that we must put him off, and mortify and crucify the body of sin, together with all its lusts and affections, in order to be born again unto newness of life, after the new man Christ Jesus, as Paul testifies at length."
Inq. "This is to be understood with reference to adult persons; but the little infants that are impure, must be cleansed with water, that they may obtain salvation."
Jac. "What do you believe concerning infants that do not receive baptism here, according to the faith which you hold, namely, from the pope?"
Inq. "They all go to the devils."
Jac. "O my lord, it is written: 'If you judge, judge righteously.' And Christ says: 'With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.' Matt. 7:2. You condemn innocent infants, notwithstanding Christ says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3.
Inq. "Those children were baptized or at least had received circumcision, which served them instead of baptism."
Jac. "The Scripture does not state that they were circumcised, and you cannot show whether they were Jewish or Gentile children."
Inq. "The inhabitants of Jerusalem and thereabouts in Judea, were all Jews."
Jac. "Luke makes a different statement, saying (Acts 2:5) that at Jerusalem, in Judea, every kind of tongue under heaven was represented." Inq."Is it not a sad thing of you people, that you thus err in the Scriptures? Does not Paul say that He [Christ] cleansed His church with the washing of water?"
Jac. "Paul says: 'With the washing of water by the word.' Eph. 5:26. Now, then, can you cleanse infants by the Word? or only by the washing of water? for they cannot believe the Word."
Inq. "Then they are damned, since they do not believe."
Jac. "Don't speak thus; for they are innocent and poor in spirit, and to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:3. He said as before, "First of all they must be purified by water baptism, in order to attain salvation."
Jac. "The apostle Peter clearly declares that as the ark which Noah had made preserved from death and the wrath of God those who had forsaken the company of the wicked and of the world, and had entered into it, so baptism is to us for salvation; but
the apostle does not at all esteem the baptism which takes away the filth of the flesh, unless there be a good testimony of a good conscience before God; and I do not believe that infants have the testimony of a good conscience, since they know neither good nor evil." I Peter 3:21.
He made no reply to this, but looked at me sharply, and,
after a few moments said, "Is it Calvin who writes: 'Attestation
(that is, testimony) of a good conscience?' These are the false
prophets that deceive you, people; but the genuine text does
not read so."
Jac. "I am not imprisoned for the doctrine of Calvin." I begged him again and again to let me read in his book, how the apostle wrote it, namely, in his own testament which he had before him, or in his Latin Bible, which was of very small size, and translated and printed by Rombertus Stephanus, at Paris. But however I prayed him, he would not let me read; hence I said to him, "My lord, you ought not prevent me from proving the word, since you contradict it." After additional words he said to me, "Since you will not believe in the holy teachers, such as St. Ambrose and St. Augustine (and a host of other saints whom he named to me), and in the ordinances instituted by the holy church, what then will you believe?"
Jac. "I believe only in the ordinance of Christ; or prove to me that the apostles baptized little infants, and I shall believe it."
He attempted to do this by the households that were
baptized, in which, he said infants might well have been
included. I replied that the Scriptures said nothing about
there having been any infants there, but that they clearly
prove that those households heard and believed the Word, as is
written of the jailer, and also of Cornelius, the centurion,
and all that were of his house, who received the Holy Ghost as
well as the apostles; namely, those who heard the Word. Acts
16:34; 10:45."Hence, my lord, you cannot prove to me, that
there were infants there." Inq."I will not insist upon
it that there were infants there, or that there were none
there, since it admits of doubt; but you must believe what the
fathers and the holy doctors have ordained concerning it in the
church, and practiced until the present time."
Jac. "Did those teachers institute this ordinance with a good intention; or did they institute it because it was an ordinance of God, contained in the Scriptures?"
Inq. "They did it according to the Word of God, with a good intention."
Jac. "My lord, you well know how strictly the people of Israel were forbidden to do anything according to their own opinion, but that they were only to do what the Lord commanded them. Deuteronomy 4:2. For Saul was rejected of God, because he had not acted truly according to the word of the Lord which had been commanded him, but had followed his own opinion." I Sam. 15:23.
After many other words, which we had together, he went away
from me, saying, "Jacques, I beg you, that you will well
consider this matter; for you are in error and deceived."
Jac. "I am neither inerror nor deceived, and I have already considered the matter: since you cannot prove to me by the Scriptures that the baptism of infants is an ordinance of God, hence I do not believe it."
Inq. "Why do you want me to prove it, since you do not believe in the holy teachers of the Catholic church, nor their ordinance."
Jac. "My lord, it is written: 'Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up."' Matt. 5:13. After many other words he went away, saying to me, "Farewell, Jacques; consider the matter well and pray diligently to God." I also bade him adieu, and said that I did indeed hope always to call upon the name of the Lord for help. Ps. 116:4.
There were many other words that we had together, which I have not written, because I do not remember them well, and I was seized with an attack of fever. I have forgotten to write his allegations with which he sought to prove that circumcision was a figure of baptism, and hence, it [the latter] had to be used in like manner; whereupon I proved to him by the Scriptures, that circumcision was a figure of the covenant, and signified nothing but that they were included in the covenant, and children to whom belonged the promise. Gen. 17:11. But Paul shows us that he is not a Jew or child of Abraham, who is one outwardly, or according to the flesh of his seed; but he that is one in the heart, as Christ says, that they are Abraham's children, who do the works of Abraham, though they be Gentiles according to the seed of the flesh. Rom. 2:28, 29; John 8:39. And I showed him that baptism signifies the true regeneration, even as Christ showed Nicodemus, and the putting off of the old man, in newness of life, and that hence we had to be regenerated, and not born anew, as they would assert; and that where there was no regeneration, there was no need of a sign, since this were only mocking God. John 3:5; Rom. 6:4. He said to me, "Shall the infants have no part then in this sacrament?" I told him that the sacraments had been left to be used in the holy church, for those who have ears to hear, and hearts to comprehend, and to understand the sacraments; and not for infants. We conversed much more yet on this article, and I showed to him .the abuse which they have in their baptism, contrary to the Scriptures, and concerning the baptism of prudent midwives, how that they regard it as good, and yet rebaptize the recipients of it; I therefore told him that they were Anabaptists.
On Monday, the 10th of January of the same year, I was again
brought before the same inquisitor, who, after a few words
asked me, "Have you made up your mind with regard to
Jac. "I have nothing else to say, than what I have told you already: since you cannot prove to me with the Scriptures, that the baptizing of little infants is an ordinance of Christ, I do not believe in it, but hold to the baptism which Jesus Christ ordained, and which He commanded His apostles.",
Inq. "This the false prophets have taught you, of whom the
Scripture says that they shall come, and who have gone out
Jac. "Such false prophets shall be known by their fruits, says the Lord. And as regards your remark that they went out from you, Paul, when at Miletus, showed to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:30), that among them, and out from the flock, there should arise wicked men, teaching perverse things-is it not so, my lord?"
Jac. "Is not, then, my lord, the baptism which you people practice, a perverse and utterly contrary thing, since Christ commanded to .baptize those who believed and were instructed and taught. And the apostles baptized only those who received the Word; but you people baptize only those that do not believe, and cannot be instructed or taught, nor receive the Word, since they are infants: which appears to me utterly contrary, and like putting the cart before the horse."
Inq. "This is because you are in heresy, my child, and do not believe the holy teachers; see how it will go with you. Well then, let us speak of another article." And having seen and read the confession which I had read before the commissary, as I said before, he asked me, "What do you believe of the eucharist?"
Jac. "What is that?"
Inq. "Of the sacrament of the altar."
Jac. "Do you mean the Lord's Supper, or breaking of bread?"
Inq. "Yes, it is the same thing, eucharist, sacrament or supper."
Jac. "My lord, it is not the same name; for, see, how the apostles named it: Luke says that they brake bread from house to house, and not the body of Christ." Acts 2:46.
Inq. "That which Luke speaks of there, is the Word of God, which they distributed to every one."
Jac. "My lord, so say also David Joris and other heretics, who abolish the breaking of bread. But observe, when Paul was at Troas and they had gathered together in the night, so that a young man fell down from the high loft, Luke says that Paul continued his speech until midnight, so that the young man fell through a window; and when they had come up again, Paul having raised him up, they brake bread and eat it; they did not eat the word; after which Paul talked till break of day, and then departed." Acts 20:7.
When he heard this he looked at me sharply, and did not know
what to say."Do you not believe," said he"that when the priest
has pronounced the words, our Lord is in the bread, in flesh
and blood, just as the Jews had it in their hands, and
crucified it?" This question he asked me very many times, and
as I did not seek to dispute with him, I said, "My lord, if you can prove it to me by the Scriptures, I
will believe it." He urged me, saying, "Say yes or no, what do you believe of it?"
Jac. "That which the Scriptures testify with regard to it."
Inq. "I ask you whether you do not believe that He is in the sacrament, in the flesh and blood, just as He was on the cross?" Perceiving that he became heated, I delayed a little with my answer.
Inq. "Well, what do you say?"
Jac. "Nothing, my lord."
Inq. "That I hear, but why do you wait so long with answering, yes or no?"
Jac. "My lord,it is written: 'Be swift to hear and slow to speak.'" James 1:19.
Inq. "Well then, Jacques, say but yes or no; if you believe that He is in the bread, in flesh and blood, say yes."
Jac. "My lord, if I were to say yes to you, how could I prove it to you by the Scriptures, that He is there in flesh and blood, after the priest has pronounced the words? for I have never read it in the Scriptures, and since I could not prove it to you, therefore I will not say that it is so."
Inq. "Then you do not believe it, do I hear, No?"
Jac. "I believe nothing further concerning it than what the Scriptures testify, and how should He be in the bread, my lord? since it is written, that He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of His Father, until He shall have made His enemies His footstool." Mark 16:19.
Inq. "Do you not believe that He is able to sit on the right hand of His Father, and also to be in the bread?"
Jac. "I believe that He is the Almighty; but He cannot do contrary to His word; for He must be true, and He is the only truth Himself." John 14:6.
Inq. "Will you not believe this Scripture: 'Take, eat; this is my body, which is given for you?' Do you not believe then that it is His body?"
Jac. "Which do you believe to be His body, that which was delivered and suffered for us, and sat at the table, and spoke, or that which He held in His hand, namely, the bread? Was this delivered for us, and did the bread die on the cross for our sins? and did not the bread represent His body?"
Jac. "I have never read that there are two Christs, but only one only Son of God." This I had often told him before.
Inq. "These two are but one; and the wine, too, is His blood, after the priest has pronounced the words."
Jac. "Does the wine become His blood, after the word has been spoken, and does it always remain blood, and not wine?"
Inq. "After the word has been spoken, the bread is His true flesh, and the wine is the true blood of Christ, and they remain flesh and blood."
Jac. "What then did Christ mean to indicate to His disciples, when He said, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine.' Matt. 26:29, etc. My lord, Christ calls it His blood of the New Testament, and yet He indicates to His apostles, that it is still a fruit of the vine, seeing He still calls it so, after He has said that it is His blood."
Inq. "Where do we find this written?"
I then took his German testament, which he had before him,
and read the passage to him. After I had showed and read it to
him, he said to me, "You must not govern yourself according to your own
understanding, but according to the exposition of the holy
teachers, such as St. Augustine, Ambrose, and others of the
Jac. "I am well satisfied with St. Paul's exposition, without seeking for many other expositions."
Inq. "Where has Paul expounded the sacrament of the altar?"
Jac. "Paul has expounded and indicated to the
Corinthians, what the Lord's supper and the breaking of the
Inq. "Show it to me?" I still had his testament, and read to him the tenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, where Paul says, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" Verses 15, 16.
I had scarcely read this when he hastily replied, "This is
against you, for the apostle there clearly proves that there is
flesh and blood in the bread and wine, and that we are
partakers of the body of Christ."
Jac. "My lord; if you please, let me read a little further, and you shall see that Paul is not speaking of the body of Christ in flesh and blood, as it hung on the cross; but of His church, which is His body; for when He says that we have communion, and are partakers of the body of Christ, he says: 'For we being many, are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."' Verse 17.
Inq. "The apostle speaks here of another body, namely, of his church."
Jac. "I do not find that Paul makes any distinction between two bodies, but that he speaks of but one body of Clfrist."
Inq. "What then do you understand by eating His body and drinking His blood?"
Jac. "Just what Paul indicates, that it is the communion or partaking of the body of Christ."
Inq. "My child, how deceived you are! Do you understand then, that you can by communion be a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, without eating and drinking thereof?"
Jac. "My lord, I am not deceived, but my foundation is the Word of God."
Inq. "Well then, what do you understand by this communion?"
Jac. "The apostle tells us this, when he says, in the same chapter: 'Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?' Verse 18. Behold, my lord, here is the simile by which Paul indicates it to the Corinthians; do you not also understand it so, my lord?"
Jac. "My lord, I do not think that you mean that those who were partakers of the altar, therefore ate the altar, but only the sac-:nces which lay on the altar."
Inq. "Do you think that the same obtains with the sacrament?"
Jac. "My lord, it seems to me, that when we eat the bread, we thereby signify that we have part in the body of Christ; and yet we eat only the bread, and not Christ, just as Israel did not eat the altar, but only the sacrifices and yet, by eating the sacrifices, indicated that they were partakers of the altar."
Looking sharply at me, he said, "What an error! and do you
not believe that in eating the consecrated bread we eat the
body of Christ?"
Jac. "Paul does not teach this, neither do I understand it so." Inq."Is it not a sad thing of you people, Jacques, that you do not believe the Word of God, which says: 'This is my body; this is my blood; do this in remembrance of me?"'
Jac. "I believe the Word of God; Christ clearly indicated that He should notbe there bodily, since He said that it should be done in remembrance of Him. Paul also says: 'As often as ye eat this blead, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.' I Cor. 11:26. Hence He is not there bodily, seeing He has not come yet."
Inq. "He is certainly there bodily, according to the word of Christ, and all the holy teachers expound it so."
Jac. "I think more of Paul singly, than of all the, other teachers, and I hold only to Paul's exposition."
Inq. "You must also believe the holy teachers of the Catholic church."
Jac. "I believe the holy Scriptures, and only the Word of God."
Inq. "If you believe the Word of God, you must believe that he that (when the bread is consecrated, and the words have been pronounced), receives it bodily, receives the body and blood of Christ, since Christ says so, and He does not lie, but speaks the truth."
Jac. "I know full well that Christ speaks the truth, but we must understand how He speaks when He says: 'I am the bread which came down from heaven, and the bread that I will give is my flesh' (John 6:51); do you believe this?"
Inq. "No, do you believe it?"
Jac. "I shall not tell you, neither do we now dispute about it; but because you say that we must believe as Christ says; behold, when He says: 'I am the vine and my Father is the husbandman.' John 15:1. Paul also says that the Rock of which the children of Israel drank was Christ." I Cor. 10:4. Inq. "No, no, all these words are not to be believed thus; they are only types of Christ."
Jac. "So is this -expression."
Inq. "But this is a sacrament which is left us as a memorial of the body of Christ."
Jac. "My lord, behold Israel after the flesh; the lamb which they ate was called the Passover and a perpetual memorial, that through the mighty hand of God they had gone out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; and so is also the bread which we break, a memorial of Christ, who has redeemed us from sin and eternal death, delivering us from the bondage of the devil and the enemy."
Inq. "Yes, according to the opinion of your pastors, Calvin and Zuinglius, and like heretics, who have introduced new doctrines; but we have been in this faith over fourteen hundred years; why do you not believe us?"
Jac. "My lord, should I believe because of the long time? there were many heretics, such as the Sadducees, Nicolaitans, Gentiles, and many others, who erred much longer yet. Turn to the Scriptures alone, according to the example of the good King Josiah." II Kings 22:11. Inq."Do you think so my son? No, No."
Jac. "My lord, so did the children say to Jeremiah, when they were out of the way. Jer. 18:18. You also well know how they abused the grace of God, making a golden calf, praising iit and saying: 'This is the god which brought us up and delivered us out of Egypt.' Ex. 32:4. Thus your people now say of the bread. It is Christ who died for us."
He became angry, and asked me, "Are we idolaters, because we
Jac. "No, if He is in the bread; but if He is not in it, what else
are you?" IM."Well then, what do you believe concerning it?
say but a word, yes or no." Jac. "My lord, you have heard
that I believe that He sits on the right hand of His Father in
Inq. "But in the bread?" Jac."My lord, I have told you that I believe in regard to this according to the testimony of Paul."
Inq. "Then you do not believe, I perceive, that the holy flesh of Christ is eaten as a sacrament?" Jac."Do all who receive the bread, also receive the body of Christ?"
Inq. "Yes, completely, whoever they may be."
Jac. "Does a robber, murderer, rogue, or other person who is full of treachery, deceit and wickedness and who feels no sorrow or grief for his evil deeds, but does still intend to lead such a wicked life, does such an one receive the body and blood of Christ?"
Inq. "Though he were the worst man in the world, yea, even a Turk or heathen, if he came to the sacrament, he would receive the body and. blood of Christ, as well as any other person, yea, what is more yet, if -he were a beast."
Jac. "How, my lord, could it be possible, that the unbelieving, ungodly and unrighteous, to whom eternal damnation is promised, should receive the body and blood of Christ? It would necessarily follow, contrary to all Scripture, God willing or not, that they would have eternal life, and the beasts as well as we, because the Lord has promised that whosoever eats His flesh, and drinks His blood, has eternal life; and thus the ungodly would have part in the body of Christ and- of Belial, in light and in darkness, which is impossible; as .Paul says." John 6:54.; II Cor. 6:15.
Inq. "How? do you not understand what Paul says, that he that. eats this body, receives his judgment?"
Jac. "Hold on; my lord; do not break the Scriptures, for Paul says: this bread; and not: this body." I Corinthians 11:27. Inq; "Well then, whosoever eats of this body, or this bread, and drinks this cup, unworthily, receives damnation to himself." Jac. "My lord, he that receives his judgment is far from receiving the body of Christ; but it is the sentence .of his death that he receives."
Inq. "Well then you certainly acknowledge these words of Jesus Christ, 'Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life' ( Jno. 6:54); hence, you -must certainly believe that we can eat and drink Him; as He says." Jac. "I believe the words of Jesus Christ but not in the manner the Jews did, who were offended at Him, and said: 'How can . this man give us his blood to drink, and his flesh to eat?' yea, even His, disciples."
Inq. "This was because they did not understand it well." Jac. ".This I readily believe; for if they had understood it well, they would not have said it, and His disciples would not have forsaken Him because of these words, as they did."
Inq. "Understand well, my son, this was because they understood that His flesh had to be eaten roasted or boiled, like other meat; but He spoke of the sacramental eating; otherwise the.eating would not have availed anything. But do you not believe that we eat His flesh sacramentally,which is a sacrament, which He left us under the form of bread and wine, into which He has transformed Himself?"
Jac. "Then He left behind Him things that are good for nothing."
Inq. "How so?" Jac. "For this reason, my lord, when His disciples understood it so grossly, as you and others do,.He said to them that the flesh profiteth nothing, but the Spirit that quickeneth; and my words, said He, are spirit and life (Jno. 6:63); hence, what, profit is it, if we eat His flesh?"
Inq. "This was because they did not understand it well, as I have already told you." Jac."My lord, I indeed believe that if they had understood it well, it would not have been necessary for Him to indicate to them that He had allusion to His Word."
Inq. "How do you know that He was speaking of His Word?" Jac."My lord, I know that it was of His Word, even as it is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, which alone quickens us in God unto eternal life." Matt. 4:4.
Inq. "Behold, how your deceivers have instructed you in their new doctrines." Jac. "My foundation does not rest upon men, but upon the Word of God."
Inq. "Why then will you not believe, like your mother the holy church, that after the words are pronounced, the bread and the wine are changed?"
Jac. "My lord, I have already told you that it is because there is nothing of this kind written in the Scriptures, for neither the bread nor the wine which Christ gave were changed."
Inq. "Oh, certainly it was."
Jac. "My lord, I have proved to you, that He still calls it a fruit of the vine, after the words were spoken." -Inq."Do you not believe then, Jacques, that Jesus Christ is Almighty, and that He had power to give His disciples His blood to drink?"
Jac. "I know, my lord, that He is Almighty, and that He was able to do it; and even if He had done it, my lord, has He promised you, that. you people should also perform such a work?"
Inq. "But is Jesus Christ not able to leave us this in His sacrament, for a testament?"
Jac. "Yes, my lord, had He said so; for He had power over the .winds, and the devils, to change water into wine, and to make Himself invisible. Matt. 8:26; John 2:9; Luke 4:30. In short, I believe that He is Almighty in all things; but a sinful man does not have this power."
Inq. "Not! if he utters the same words of Christ?"
Jac. "The power does not lie in the words; this would be the same as sorcery. And if, any one were to say to a sick man: 'Be thou whole,' in the same manner in which Christ said it, it would not heal him."
Inq. "Then you do not believe that Christ Jesus is in the bread?"
Jac. "My lord, I think you have heard my resolution as to what I believe with regard to it. Christ said that we, should do it in remembrance of Him: now, if He-were present, how could it be done in remembrance of Him?"
Inq. "Oh, how these villains, Zuinglius and Calvin, have deceived you; those profaners of the sacrament, who pervert all Scripture:into the contrary."
Jac. "My faith is not
founded upon the doctrine of either Calvin or
Inq. "Upon what then?"
Jac. "Upon the Word of God, and the foundation of the apostles."
Inq. "How? you do not believe the Word of God."
Jac. "My lord, how should I not believe the Word of God? For this same Word I am a prisoner, and stand here in chains before you, to bear witness to it."
Inq. "My son, it is for the word of Satan, and not for the Word of God."
Jac. "My lord, take care what you say, lest you blaspheme; for I have not quoted the word of Satan for my doctrine and faith, but the pure Word of God; but you quote to me the word and exposition of men."
Inq. "It is the word of the holy teachers of the church, whom you reject; behold here the cause of your error."
Jac. "I do not reject them, but I leave them undisturbed; for I find material enough in the Word of God to lay a good foundation, and water of life enough to drink in the pure fountain, without running to the brooks or pools, which are mostly filthy and turpid."
Inq. "Well, this does not bring us any further; it is late already; since you will not believe as our mother the holy church instructs you, take heed and consider the matter well; for you are in such error, that if you die in this state, you will be damned to all the devils, in the depths of hell."
Jac. "My lord, it is written that judgment belongs to God alone; how then do you so presumptuously usurp God's place? God will judge me."
Inq. "Jacques, this is all clear; for you do not believe, and he that believeth not is damned, says Christ." Mark 16:16.
Jac. "It is written, Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.' John 7:24. If I did not believe it, I would not quote the Word of God in my defense." Inq."All heretics do this. Well then, pray earnestly to God, that you may return to the holy church."
Jac. "I trust through the grace of God, that I have become a member of the true and holy church, which has been cleansed and purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ."
Thereupon he arose, and said to me, "Adieu, Jacques, see that you come to a good conclusion; for your time is short; consider the matter well. I also bade him adieu, and told him that I was ready always to follow that which was best, in what should be proved to me by the holy Scriptures, and nothing else.
We had many other words yet concerning this matter, for about two hours; but I have forgotten them. He listens attentively, and does not easily become heated; we spoke sometimes in Flemish, and sometimes in French; for the most part, however, I spoke in Flemish, because of the listeners whom I heard before the door.
Behold here the two articles in regard to which one is most tormented by them. Every time that he returned to me, he brought some subtle Scripture with which to catch me; but, the Lord be praised, I was always victorious. I have been before them full eighteen or twenty times, and were I to write all the discourses which I had with themin regard to these two articles, I should require a ream of paper, so great was the number of unscriptural comparisons and similes which they adduced to me; but I always referred them to the Scriptures. If there be anything in my hymns, which does not accord with this writing, it need surprise no one; for though I were to write never so much, I should not be able to write all that was spoken between us. Thus they tormented me.
On Friday afternoon, the 14th of January 1558, I was again brought before the inquisitor. I appeared before him, and he saluted me cheerfully, for, as much as I could perceive, wine had made him very merry; he brought no books with him. After we had exchanged a few words with each other, he said to me, "Jacques, the reason why I have come here, is simply to learn your decision
for I will no more dispute with you about the articles of
faith, such as the mass, confession, indulgences, purgatory,
and invocation of the saints, or other ordinances of our mother
the holy church."
Jac. "My lord, I am well satisfied; I also do not seek to dispute, but simply to believe what we are bound to believe, as far as the articles of faith are concerned."
Inq. "Yes, we have not much to do with disputing; for Paul says: 'A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid."' Tit. 3:10.
Jac. "My lord, how can you reprove me for heresy, seeing you have not yet convicted me of being a heretic."
Inq. "Not? are you not a heretic, since you contradict the Christian faith?"
Jac. "I do not contradict the faith, for all my purpose tends to it; but you take one view of the Scriptures, and I another, and no one can judge which is right, and which is wrong, except spiritual men through the Spirit of God." I Cor. 2:15.
He laughingly asked me, "Have you the Spirit of God?"
Jac. "My lord, you must not ask me this in jest; for I do not boast of it; nevertheless, I trust through the grace of God, that I am not actuated by the spirit of Satan."
Inq. "Nevertheless, you are deceived and in error, and Paul says that such shall be avoided after the first or second admonition."
Jac. "Since then you regard us as heretics, 6h, that God would give, that you would at least use Paul's advice, that is shun us, and withdraw from us, and not persecute us unto death, and shed our blood in every corner."
Inq. "Jacques, I do not seek your death, God knows."
Jac. "My lord, my God truly knows it well, and it will be seen in the end."
Inq. "Yes, we only do what we have been charged with and commanded to do."
Jac. "By whom, my lord, by God or by men?"
Inq. "We are commanded by God to avoid false prophets."
Jac. "It is indeed true, my lord, that Christ admonishes us to beware of false prophets, but He gives us a sign whereby 'to know them, namely, like a tree is known by its fruits. What fruits have you seen on us, by which you could judge that we are false prophets?"
Inq. "Enough everyday."
Inq. "In this that
you have a false doctrine, which teaches men amiss, and
leads them into damnation."
Jac. "My lord, that our doctrine is false, is merely your opinion; nevertheless, you cannot know that we are false prophets, except by the fruit of the works, by which it may be known whether we are false prophets or not; for Christ says: 'Ye shall know them by their works' (Matt. 7:16); but He does not say, by their faith." Inq."You people justify yourselves by your works." laic."No; but it is impossible to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, or that a corrupt tree should bring forth good fruit, according to the testimony of the Lord."
Inq. "Well, Jacques, as I told you; I have not come here for the purpose of disputing, but simply to learn your decision."
Jac. "I do not wish to dispute either; but I want to reply to you, that you unjustly accuse us of heresy and deception."
Inq. "Well, let us dismiss that; to what conclusion have you come in regard to your confession? do you still hold to the views which you confessed before the commissary?"
Jac. "Yes." Inq."Will you not then suffer yourself to be instructed?"
Jac. "I seek nothing else, but always to follow that which is best, most righteous and most virtuous, and I am not so obstinate in my faith; if I would know a better way to eternal life, than the one which I now have, I would accept it."
Inq. "Well then, concerning baptism and the sacrament, of which we spoke together, what do you think in regard to it?"
Jac. "Only that, my lord, which shall be proved to me by the Scriptures; that shall I believe, and nothing else."
Inq. "Then you do not believe the holy teachers of the Catholic church, do I hear no?"
Jac. "I believe only the holy Scriptures."
Inq. "This is the reason why you are in heresy; that you think more of yourself than of the holy teachers."
Jac. "I glory not, save in the cross of Christ; but I will not trust in any man; for it is written: 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man."' Jer. 17:5.
Inq. "I know that; but you do not believe the Word of God either."
Jac. "My lord, do not say this; for it is not so."
Inq. "Not? If our Saviour, taking the bread, says: 'This is my body; and, taking the cup: This is my blood'; why then do you not yet believe Him? why do you doubt it?"
Jac. "My lord, I believe Christ's words, and do not doubt them."
Inq. "Yes, according to your own opinion, and with a different meaning." Jdr."My lord, I trust that I do not understand it differently from what the apostles understand it, even as Paul expounds it." I Corinthians 10.
Inq. "You say so."
We had many more words yet about this article, also about baptism, and a little afterwards about purgatory, and the decree, in all for about an hour and a half; whereupon he left me, showing me a very nice and friendly countenance, whether it came from the heart, I do not know.
On the 20th of January of said year, I was again brought
before the same inquisitor. He asked me, "To what conclusion
have you come in regard to what I laid before you concerning baptism and the sacrament,
and what are your views in the matter?"
Jac. "I have nothing to tell you other than that you have already heard from me."
Inq. "Then, if I hear right, you remain opinionated and obstinate?"
Jac. "My lord, I should be sorry to be obstinate against my own conscience; but as you cannot prove to me by the Scriptures that which you believe, namely, that the baptism of infants is an ordinance of God, and an apostolical practice, and also, that the bread and the wine are changed into flesh and blood, when the priest has pronounced the words over the bread, this seems to me sorcery, and I cannot understand it so." Inq."You may not doubt that the change takes place through the power of God, for I have sufficiently proved it to you by the Scriptures of God; but you will not believe."
Jac. "My lord, do not say so; for if you had proved it to me by the Scriptures, I should gladly believe it; for all my salvation lies in God's holy Word."
Inq. "I have quoted to you the Word of God; but you believe nothing but your fanaticism and opinion."
Jac. "My lord, I beg you not to think this; if I knew better, or understood it differently, I should not wish to resist the Word of God against my conscience, being in the state in which I am, namely, imprisoned for my life, in daily expectation of death; or it might well be said that I was the most miserable and unfortunate man that ever lived upon earth, that I should voluntarily and premeditatedly seek pain and suffering here until death, in order to obtain eternal damnation."
Inq. "Yes, my child, take good heed what you do; for if you die in this evil faith and doctrine you have, you are damned to all the devils."
Jac. "O my lord, how dare you speak so? It is written: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge (says the Lord), ye shall be judged."' Matt. 7:1, 2. Inq. "I judge you according to truth."
Jac. "My lord, do not say that; for you know not what you judge."
Inq. "Oh, yes, I do." And taking up an inkstand, which stood on the table, he said to me, "As sure as I know that I hold this inkstand, so assured am I, that if you continue in this doctrine, and die thus, you will never see the face of God, but will be eternally damned."
Jac. "My lord, do not judge so; for you usurp God's place, and rob Him of His honor; for judgment belongs unto Him alone."
Inq. "Do you think that I do not know what I am saying? and that I do not see that you are in error? no heretics shall enter into paradise."
Jac. "My lord, you think that we are in error; but as you people think of us, so we think of you."
Inq. "Oh, it is easy to know through the Word of God, who are in error and heresy."
Jac. "True, it is easy to know for those to whom the Lord has given the grace and wisdom. And for this reason I beg you, my lord, not to take it amiss, if I speak somewhat boldly with you, and open my heart to you."
Inq. "No indeed."
Jac. "My lord, as you people think that we are false prophets and deceivers, so we think that you are; as you think
that we err, so we think that you err; as you think that we
deceive the people, so we think that you,deceive them, and upon
this we forsake life and all that we have in the world, to show
to you people, and to seal with our blood, the faith which we
have in God."
Inq. "Nevertheless, this only tends to your damnation."
Jac. "If it tends to our damna-,. tion, we are of all men under heaven the most miserable (I Cor. 15:19); for we are cast out, despised and rejected as abominable before all the world (I Cor. 4:9), and flee from place to place, so that we suffer continually in the flesh, and have no rest, and, according to what you say, we are also to suffer after this life: no, no, my lord, we feel quite a different witness and promise through.the Word of God."
Inq. "This arises from the fact that you are deceived; but it will avail you nothing." Jac,"Where then is the people who must follow their Master through suffering and affliction to eternal life, as Christ has said that they should be hatedfor His name's sake." Matt. .10:22.
Inq. "This was spoken to the apostles only, "
Jac. "How comes it then that Paul says that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.? II Tim. 3:, 12. And the prophet says that the afflictions of the righteous shall be many, but that the Lord delivers them out of all evil." Ps. 34:10.
Inq. "This means that the devil will always cause them enough temptation and affliction."
Jac. "Paul speaks of persecution, and not of temptation; nor can I conceive that Christ spoke of temptation, when He said, 'They will scourge you in their synagogues, and persecute you unto death, and will think that they do God service thereby; and ye shall be hated of father and mother, brethren and friends, and some of you they shall put to death." Matt. 10:17, 21; John 16:2. Inq."Well, this was spoken only to the apostles."
Jac. "Does not Christ speak there of all that believed in His name?"
Inq. "He spoke to the apostles only, who should suffer when going about proclaiming the Gospel; but that after-. wards they should cease to persecute them."
Jac. "How came it that the churches suffered such cruel persecution? and yet they were not all apostles."
Inq. "How so?"
Jac. "Even as Luke testifies, Acts 17:13, and Paul I Thess. 2:14. Yea, you yourself, my lord, know full well what Eusebius, one of the ancient teachers, writes in the eighth chapter of his fourth book. In writing of the primitive church, in what suffering and contempt they were, does he not say that the people regarded them as robbers, murderers, infanticides, and abominable men, and said that they committed incest with their mothers and sisters, shed human blood in their worship, and sacrificed their children unto idols; they were also considered seditious persons; accursed villains, and enemies of God and every creature, and were charged with many other wickednesses imputed to them by the world,: is it not so, my lord? as also the ancient writers Cyprian and Tertullian write."
Inq. "It is so; this is all very true; but it was done by those who had no knowledge of the Gospel."
Jac. "I indeed believe that if they had believed the Gospel, they would not have persecuted them, nor uttered such slanders against them; but it has always been so, that even those who boasted of having the Word of God persecuted them that sought to fear the Lord, and to serve God with all their heart, even as you see in Israel, those who ought to have confirmed the honor and law of God; put to death the prophets that were sent to them, and those who knew the Lord from a pure heart." Jer. 18:18.
Inq. "For this reason the wicked are always among the good, and the chaff remains with the good grain to the end."
We had much more conversation yet in regard to this matter; finally he asked me my, decision concerning baptism and the sacrament, to which I replied as I had done at other times. He. then left me, enjoining me to ask God to give me understanding to return, as he said, to the holy Catholic church.
On the 27th of January of the afore-mentioned year I was
again brought before the same inquisitor. After a few, words he
asked me to what conclusion I had come with regard to what he
had said, namely, with reference to baptism and the sacrament.
Thereupon I replied to him as I had done at other times, that I
knew nothing better than to adhere to my first confession,
seeing I could not find in the Scriptures that which he laid
before me, and which he would constrain me to believe.
lnq."Will you then remain obstinate herein, and not
Jac. "I am not obstinate, but I do not find in the Scriptures that which you say I must believe."
Inq. "Not? Do you not find in the Scriptures what you must believe concerning the sacrament?"
Jac. "Yes, but not in the manner in which you believe; for I cannot understand it so."
Inq. "The reason is you do not want to. understand it."
Jac. "How, my lord, do you mean that I want to resist God against my conscience? in this case I should be worse than an irrational beast."
Inq. "Why then do you not understand it?"
Jac. "Because it is not given me to understand it differently; and be not surprised at this, for it is written in the prophets, where the Lord says: 'They shall all be taught of God."' Is. 54:13.
Inq. "Nevertheless, it seems to me, that if I lay it before you with the Scriptures, it is nothing but opinionativeness and obstinacy, if you do not want to believe it."
Jac. "I cannot understand it so; think not that if I understood it differently, I should want to find my pleasuse and amusement here in being imprisoned and chained .day after. day, having forsaken my wife and family, to my great damage, expecting death from day to day, for this were contrary to human nature."
Inq. "Well then, believe only in the Word of God as it is written there, and I will be satisfied, namely, that when we eat the bread, we partake of the body of Christ, and when we drink the wine, we have part in His blood, as Paul testifies to the Corinthians." I Cor. 10:16.
Jac. "Be satisfied then; I, believe as Paul. testifies there." Inq."Do
you believe then that there is a communion of the body of
Christ?" Jac. "Yes."
Inq. "Well then, you cannot be a partaker of the body without eating of it; hence you must certainly say that it is the body of Christ which you eat." Jac. "Paul does not say this."
Inq. "How can you be a partaker of the body without eating of it?" Jac. "How did Israel become partakers of the altar, who did not eat the altar, but only the sacrifices?" I Cor. 10
18. Inq. "Ha ha! See how Calvin or Zuinglius has
instructed you." Jac."I do not hold the doctrine of
Calvin or Zuinglius."
Inq. "Whose then, Menno Simons'?" Jac. "My doctrine and faith are not founded upon men, but upon the Word of God."
Inq. "Who then is the head and captain of you people?" Jac. "Christ."
Inq. "But who is it that instructs you here upon earth, who is your teacher?" Jac. "The Word of God."
When I perceived that he did not know to what church I belonged, I did not want to tell or indicate it to him.
Inq. "Nevertheless, you must be instructed herein by some men." Jac. "We are not founded upon men, but upon the living Rock."
Inq. "Have you then no pastor or bishop?" Jac. "Yes."
Inq. "Who is it?" Jac. "Christ the Son of God."
Inq. "You know very well what I mean! but you do not want to answer; however, have you any adherents of Calvin or Zuinglius? are you opposed to Menno Simons?" Jac. "I believe that there is not much difference between my faith and Menno Simons'."
Inq. "Do you then believe like Menno, that Christ did not assume our flesh in the virgin Mary?" Jac. "My lord, you said that you would not dispute about the matter; have you changed your mind?"
Inq. "Well then tell me simply what you believe concerning it." Jac. "I believe that He is the Son of God in every respect, in flesh and spirit; but as to whence He took His flesh, this I leave in the mystery of God; the apostles did not dispute concerning it."
Inq. "Yes, yes." We had also many other words yet, which I have not written here.
On Monday, the 1st of February of the same year 1558, I was
again brought before the same inquisitor. After we had
exchanged a few words, he asked me,"Have you not prayed the
Lord for wisdom?" Jac. "Yes, and I need to pray to Him
Inq. "How is your conscience at ease?" Jac. "Very well; the Lord be praised for it."
Inq. "What are your views concerning baptism and the sacrament, about which we spoke?" Jac."I hold the same views which I clearly stated to you before."
Inq. "Will you not believe differently?" Jac."I would believe differently, were it given lne to understand differently; but I will not speak as a hypocrite against my heart and conscience; for it is written that the Spirit of God fleeth all deceit." Wisd. 1:5.
Inq. "Then, as I perceive, you have come to a full determination in regard to it." Jac. "Yes, until I am instructed differently. My lord, do you suppose that these, namely, baptism and the sacrament, are the only objectionable things to me in your church?"
Inq. "Well, what else is there objectionable to you?" Jac. "Many of the ordinances and institutions in your church, concerning which I do not find a word in the holy Scriptures."
Inq. "Yet we have no ordinance or institution, which I could not prove to you by the Scriptures." Jac. "Where is the word mass recorded, or purgatory, or praying for the dead?" Inq."I will prove it to you, namely, purgatory, and that we must pray for the dead." Jac. "Where is it written in the holy Scriptures?"
Inq. "Will you receive the books of the Maccabees?" Jac. "Yes, indeed, for apocryphal books."
Inq. "What does apocryphal mean?"
Jac. "The ancients used this name, to indicate that they are not authentic books, from which rules or ordinances may be taken."
Inq. "It is true that the doctors had some difficulty therein, but you may therefore not reject them." Jac. "Yes, my lord, the reason why I will not receive them, is not only this, that I will not trust in what men have said, but also because I do not find that Christ or His apostles received them, or quoted any testimony from them."
Inq. "Yes, yes, where have you found that Christ or His apostles quoted anything from the books of the Kings?" Jac. "Enough."
Inq. "Where then?"
Jac. "My lord, in the first place it is written in Matthew (12:1), that the Pharisees censured Christ, because His disciples plucked the ears of corn on the Sabbath. And Christ answered them: 'Have ye not read what David did when he was a-hungered and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat?' Hence I say, that since Christ refers them to that which is written in the books of the Kings, He thereby shows that He receives them as authentic."*
Inq. "Well, do you find anything in the book of Joshua?"
Jac. "Yes, my lord."
Inq. "What is that?"
Jac. "My lord, you well know that James in his epistle (2:25) adduces a testimony or example from the book of Joshua, namely, the second chapter, when he speaks of Rahab the harlot, who was saved by her works in faith."
Inq. "Then you will not receive the books of the Maccabees, because Christ and His apostles have not quoted any testimony from them?"
Jac. "No, and this for the reason, that they contain a doctrine which is contrary to all Scripture, namely, that of sacrificing and praying for the dead." Deuteronomy 13:1.
Inq. "If I would take the trouble, I could prove all our ordinances with the Scriptures, such as mass, confession, image worship, invocation of the saints, and others."
Jac. "I think not, and even if we were agreed, my lord, in every article, I should yet not want to unite with you, unless you should prove to me by the Scriptures that it is Christian-like to shed innocent blood on account of the faith, as
* The passage referred to is I Samuel 21:6. The reader will bear in mind that formerly the two books of Samuel were called respectively the first and second book of the Kings.-Translator.
Inq. "This is on account of errors."
Jac. "And even though it were because the Scriptures were understood amiss, yet I do not find in the Scriptures, that we may put any one to death on account of his faith."
Inq. "Oh, I can soon prove that heretics may be put to death; for it is written that if any heretics or false prophets should arise, they shall be put to death."
Jac. "Yes, I have read the 13th chapter of
Deuteronomy, where it is written that if a false prophet, or
other person among them, should arise and teach them to go
after other gods, which they had not known, that false prophet
should be put to death, and stoned with stones."
Inq. "Well then, see here a testimony that heretics may be put to death."
Jac. "My lord, we are no more under the law, but under the Gospel; and even if we were under the law, we would not teach you to go after other gods, but after Him who created heaven and earth, and His Son Jesus Christ."
Inq. "You certainly do it by your ordinances."
Jac. "The Israelites were not all allowed to put any one to death because of difference in the use of the ordinances, since they believed in the same God; but all this does not answer our purpose; for what was commanded in the law is not commanded in the Gospel of Christ."
Inq. "Not, how so?"
Jac. "Because, my lord, in the law it was commanded, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and to love one's neighbor, and to hate one's enemy; but through Christ we are commanded quite the contrary, not to resist evil, and to love our enemies." Matt. 5:38; Lev. 24:20; 19:18.
Inq. "True, but He did not command that heretics should not be put to death."
Jac. "What does Christ mean then, when He says that we must not root up the tares which are among the good grain, fearing that in rooting up the tares, we might also pull up the wheat; wherefore He commands, to let both grow until harvest; but the harvest is not come yet." Matt. 13:29, etc.
Inq. "You do not understand this very well; for it is easy to see whether they are tares or wheat."
Jac. "Yes, for Him that knows the seed."
Inq. "Yes, that is true."
Jac. "My lord, it is written that carnal men know only carnal things; but the things that are spiritual knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." I Cor. 2:11, etc.
Inq. "This is very true." Ja,c."For this reason, my lord, I should like to ask you something."
Inq. "What is it?"
Jac. "Have you the Spirit of God, or has the council received the Spirit of God?"
Inq, "No, I will not answer this."
Jac. "How then shall you or those of the council be able to judge spiritual things? for the matter of which we speak is spiritual, and must be judged by the Spirit of God." Inq. "You are judged only because you have transgressed the decree of the prince."
Jac. "If his command had not been contrary to God's command, I should not have transgressed it."
Inq. "It is not contrary to the command of God."
Jac. "I wish you would prove to me by the Scriptures that the decree of the Emperor or King is upright and just?"
Inq. "I believe you think that all our fathers were deceived, and that your sect is saved. What will you say? it is full twelve or thirteen hundred years since Emperor Theodosius caused the proclamation of an edict or mandate, to put to death the heretics, namely, those who were then rebaptized, like your sect."
Jac. "Yes; my lord, you say that our sect has existed
only twenty or thirty years, but it has always been the case
that those who would live godly in Christ Jesus, have had to
suffer persecution, according to the words of Paul."
Inq. "Thus speak all heretics."
Jac. "Paul said it first; yet he was not a heretic." Inq."I am well aware that he was no heretic; but they all use the words of Paul; but I tell you, decrees and mandates for the putting to death of heretics are not a recent invention, but this has obtained for fourteen hundred years already."
Jac. "But it remains to be seen whether Emperor Theodosius, of whom you spoke, did well, and a good work according to the will of God, in issuing such a mandate."
Inq. "Yes, he certainly did, since he well knew that they were heretics."
Jac. "My lord, in his opinion they were heretics; but in the opinion of those who gave their lives for the testimony of their faith, he himself was a heretic and tyrant."
Inq. "How do you know that?"
Jac. "This is self-evident; for those who put us to death for our faith, we esteem no better than heretics and tyrants, as may easily be presumed that also they did who were put to death by Emperor Theodosius. Hence, this matter cannot be judged save by the Spirit of God."
Inq. "No, no, you must not think that so many learned doctors as were then in the Catholic church, would have then permitted it, if it had been wrong to put heretics to death."
Jac. "I will not rely upon the ordinances or wisdom of men; for I adhere to the instruction of Christ and His apostles, who constantly admonish us to separate from false prophets, and to shun heretics; but not to pursue them, or to persecute them unto death." Matthew 7:15; Tit. 3:10. Inq."My son, do you know why they did not put them to death?"
Jac. "I believe it was because it was not pleasing to God." Inq."No, no, Jacques, it was because they were not powerful enough, and had neither king, nor prince, nor magistrate."
Jac. "Christ had power enough to call to His aid more than twelve Jegions of angels, and the apostles had power enough through the Holy Spirit, but they were called to be a flock of sheep and lambs, as harmless as doves, and so changed as to be like little children." Matthew 26:53; 10:16; John 10:27.
Inq. "It is true, it was so at that time."
Jac. "And shall now, my lord, the children of God be of a different nature from what they were then, shall they have the nature of wolves?"
Inq. "Certainly not; I do not say that."
Jac. "Yet it appears to me, my lord, that those who now boast of being children of God, have the genuine nature of ravening wolves."
He looked at me sharply and said to me, "Why
do you think so?"
Jac. "Because, my lord, Christ calls His people sheep and lambs; and it is the nature of a flock of sheep, that if they see any beast approaching, and perceive that it is a wolf, they all flee, yea, though they were a thousand of them against one wolf, and they do not pursue the wolf, to devour him, and to shed his blood; but they who boast of being the flock of Christ, do the very opposite; whence do they get this nature?"
Inq. "This comparison is good for nothing, and the allegations are useless; for it does not obtain with the flock of Christ, as with a flock of sheep."
Seeing that he rejected this, I asked him, "Is it not
necessary that the children of God should be born of God, as
John testifies? (John 1:13) and must they not be of such a
nature and disposition as their Father and Lord?"
Inq. "Yes, but why?"
Jac. "Because it is written that the Son of God was led as a lamb or sheep to the slaughter, and opened not His mouth; hence His children must be of such a nature, since they are born of God." Isaiah 53:7; Luke 8:32.
Inq. "This I it had to come so.
Inq. "That the Scriptures might be fulfilled."
Jac. "Thus it must also be with regard to His children, in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled."
Inq. "What Scripture?"
Jac. "This: 'If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord.'"
Inq. "This He said to His apostles."
Jac. "I understand it as having been spoken by Him of all His children, and as having been written for our instruction."
Inq. "No, no, my son; you must understand that the apostles were sent to proclaim and preach the Gospel to every creature, and the Lord predicted that much suffering should come upon them, and that they should be put to death; but after they had gained a prince to the faith, they had rest, and might well put to death the heretics in their country."
Jac. "My lord, the Scriptures do not say this, nor can I conceive that it can be the nature of a lamb, to kill and devour a wolf; for you people say that you are the flock of Christ, and that we are ravening wolves, and you put us to death; this does not seem right to me."
Thereupon he laughingly asked me, "Jacques, was not Peter
also a sheep of Christ?"
Jac. "My lord, if he was chosen of God, he also belonged to the flock." Matt. 10:1.
Inq. "Answer, yes or no."
Jac. "I believe that he was not only a sheep of the flock of Christ, but even a shepherd."
Inq. "Well then, he, who was a sheep, killed two persons."
Inq. "Ananias and his wife Sapphira."
Jac. "How did he kill them, seeing he had neither stick nor sword? Was it not the Spirit of the Lord?"
Inq. "Nevertheless, he did it."
Jac. "My lord, do not give the glory to men, as though they could do this by their own power; for they were killed through the Spirit of the Lord; moreover, it was not for such a cause as that for which you put people to death; but it was because they lied against the Holy Ghost." Acts 3:12; 5:3.
Inq. "Well, Jacques, my son, this brings us no further; see that you consider the matter well, reform, and become converted to the faith of your fathers, for you are in error; hence believe as a good Christian is bound to believe, and do not attempt so many things."
Jac. "Faith is the gift of God, says Paul." Eph. 2:8; Rom. 12:3; I Cor. 12:9. I nq. "Yes, it is truly the gift of God."
Jac. "Hence men cannot give it."
Inq. "Certainly not; we must pray to God for it."
Jac. "How comes it then, that they want to compel me to believe, by threats of death?"
Inq. "Time is given you, to become converted."
Jac. "My lord, how much time? six, seven, or eight days, as I have seen in Brabant; can one change his faith so speedily?"
Inq." I know nothing about Brabant, but here we give people six weeks at least, to see whether they will believe, when the Word of God has been presented to them."
Jac. "Why do you say, my lord, if they will believe it? You talk as though they could believe of their own accord, and yet you say that faith is the gift of God. The apostles had heard the Lord Jesus, who was full of wisdom and truth, for two or three years, and yet they could not comprehend well, as you may gather from the two disciples who went to Emmaus. Luke 24:13. Paul also had heard the apostles and disciples; yet he could not comprehend, but cast them into prison. Acts 9:1. But when it pleased God, He made manifest His will to them, at the time which He had prepared, and not at any man-appointed time."
Inq. "That was because they had not yet this doctrine, and as it was in the beginning, they could not comprehend it."
Jac. "It was because it was not given them, or because they were not drawn by the Father (John 6:44) . Why do you not also wait until God does His will with us?"
Inq. "You have heard for a long time, and time is still given you for consideration; you have three weeks yet from this day, to consider the matter."
Jac. "My lord, do you not mean that after three weeks I shall be put to death?"
Inq. "You may turn yet in the meantime."
Jac. "But if it be not given me, to understand differently, and I cannot comprehend otherwise, how shall I turn?"
Inq. "For this reason time is given you, in order to see whether God will not show you mercy that you may become converted."
Jac. "My lord, I have in mind just now the children of Israel, who were besieged in the city of Bethulia, and suffered from scarcity of water, so that their wives and children died for thirst, and they said: 'There is no hope from God for us any more; let us deliver the city into the hands of the enemies.' Judith 7:23, etc. Thus you people also say: 'There is no more hope that he will turn; let us deliver him to death.' And as Ozias, the ruler of the city, thinking to give good counsel, said to the inhabitants: 'Let us yet wait five days, and if within these five days there come no help from the Lord, we will deliver the city to our enemies.' My lord, were they not sharply rebuked by a widow named Judith, who said to them: 'Who are ye that have tempted God this day, and stand instead of God
among the children of men, and would comprehend his
purpose."' etc. Judith 8:12, etc.
Inq. "This cannot be compared to your case."
Jac. "My lord, it appears to me to be the same thing; for you .people say that if no help comes from God within the time appointed us by you, we must be delivered to death, and according to what you say, we are damned to all the devils."
Inq. "Jacques, there is no doubt about it."
Jac. "But how do you expect, my lord, to escape God's judgment, since you thus send us away to damnation? why do you not leave us in the hand of God until the end? for as long as we live here, hope may always be entertained of reformation, seeing you think that we are damned; but after death there is no longer any hope."
Inq. "I do not drive you to damnation; for I am not the one that judges you; nor ,will I be guilty, of your death."
Jac. "My lord, when Susanna was unjustly condemned to death, who bore the punishment, the judges, or the witnesses?"Inq. "They that were guilty."
Jac. "My lord, the judges were rebuked by Daniel; but
the witnesses were rebuked and punished."
Inq. "Do you think that I am witness in your case? I have come here simply to instruct you."
Jac. "My lord, yet I regard you as the principal witness; for upon your testimony will the judges sentence me to death, or release me, since for this purpose you have been sent here, and appointed by the king." Inq."I do not wish them to condemn you upon my testimony; nor do I want to judge."
Jac. "My lord, when the judges will ask you in regard to me, what will you answer? will you not say that I am a heretic, and have deserved death?"
Jac. "My lord, I pray you, what will you say?"
Inq. "That you are deceived, and seduced from the right way."
Jac. "To be seduced, to err, or to be a heretic, my lord, appears to me to be all the same thing."
Inq. "Well, my son, think not that I have come here to condemn you to death; for you will be sentenced only upon the confession which you made before the commissary; for, as regards myself, I do not wish them to sentence you upon my word; nor would I have anything to do with it."
Jac. "My lord, I have not followed my business so long, and sat in the council for seven or eight years, so that I should not know what this amounts to; but the reason why I tell you this, is to warn you not to stain your hands with my blood; for I well know for what purpose you have been sent here." He now arose, and went away. The words just related we frequently had together afterwards.
On Monday, the 7th of February, 1558, I was again summoned
before the same inquisitor. When I appeared before him, he
saluted me, and asked, "How are you; have you the fever yet?"
Jac. "I am well, the Lord be praised for it; the fever left me three weeks ago, or thereabouts."
Inq. "How are you at ease in your conscience?"
Jac. "Very well, the Lord be praised for it."
He then made a long speech, too long to be briefly related,
the sum and substance of which was, that he entreated me very
much, that I should return to the holy Catholic church, and
believe as becomes a good Christian, without investigating such
high things, and wanting to be so wise. Thereupon I replied, "I
investigate nothing but what I am permitted to believe; and I
am well content, simply to believe that which a good Christian
is bound to believe." Sir. 3:21. 1 nq."You indeed say
that you want to believe as a good Christian, and yet you have
a heretical faith."
Jac. "I have no such faith; but my faith is founded only upon the pure Word of God; and if you were content with the Word of God, you would also be satisfied with my faith."
Inq. "True, you quote the Word of God; but in your heart you understand differently, "
Jac. "As we believe, so speak we; and since we adduce to you the Scriptures, which are the Word of God, for a testimony of our faith, why are you not satisfied with it? for it belongs to God alone, and not to men to search the heart."
Inq. "What. then do you believe concerning Jesus Christ; whence did He take His flesh?"
Jac. "Do the Scriptures teach you that you must ask me this?"
Inq. "Because Menno says that He brought His flesh from heaven."
Jac. "I have not heard him say this."
Inq. "Yet he believes it."
Jac. "Menno's belief is that the Word was made flesh, acording to the testimony of John 1:14, or as the text in your Testament reads: became flesh."
Inq. "What do you believe concerning it?"
Jac. "I bethat Christ is the Son of the living God."
Inq. "Whence did He take His flesh?"
Jac. "I do not know, except that He is born of the Father."
Inq. "Do you not believe that He took His flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary?"
Jac. "My lord, if you can prove to me that Jesus and His apostles compelled any one to confess this, I will also confess it to you; for when Peter confessed Christ, that He was the Son of the living God, Christ did not ask him of whom He was made, but said that upon this rock He should build His church. Matt. 16:18. Again, when Candace's eunuch said to Philip, that he .believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and desired to be baptized upon this faith, Philip was satisfied, without inquiring as to whence He had taken His flesh." Acts 8:36.
Inq. "It was not necessary at that time to make such inquiry, since no difficulty existed yet concerning the matter."
Jac. "What need is there now?"
Inq. "Because there are so many heretics."
Jac. "There were enough heretics also in the days of the apostles; but the reason is this, that Satan always causes some vain controversy, to corrupt men's understanding, and to draw them into error."
Inq. "Then you will not confess that He took His flesh and blood in the virgin?"
Jac. "I will not investigate that which is above my understanding, ndmely, whereof the Son of God was made; for this was a miraculous work. However, that you may not think me a heretic, I confess Him to be the Son
of God in every manner, in power and might, in spirit, in
flesh and blood, begotten of the own substance of one only
Father, namely, the eternal God, as the Scriptures testify to
us; who was with the Father from eternity; and when the time of
the promise was fulfilled, the eternal Word became flesh, and
was conceived in a virgin, of the Holy Ghost, and born of said
virgin Mary." Inq: "He assumed His flesh from, and was
made of, our flesh; will you say nothing with regard to
Jac. "I am satisfied with believing in regard to it acording to the Scriptures, without further investigation."
Inq. "Do not the Scriptures say that He took upon Him our flesh?"
Jac. "I have never read it, and I do not wish to dispute further; besides, you said that you would not dispute about it; why then do you ask me so much concerning it?"
Inq. "In order to see whether your faith is not like the faith of Menno Simons."
Jac. "You have heard that I do not receive the testimony of men, as a foundation for my faith."
Perceiving that he could get nothing else out of me, he
asked me, "What is your determination?"
Jac. "I have declared my faith to you, and thereupon I have made my determination, until the contrary be proved to me." Inq."I have proved it to you sufficiently; but you will believe nothing but your fancy and obstinacy, and have forsaken the holy church."
Jac. "My lord, I have not forsaken the holy church; for if I had recognized your church as the holy church, I should not have forsaken it; to join another."
Inq. "Nevertheless, though Satan has thus deceived you, and you think that we are not the holy church, yet it is the same that it has always been from the times of the apostles, and been maintained through the holy teachers until the present time."
Jac. "If it is the same church which existed at the time of the apostles, it must have the same or like bishops and pastors as were then."
Inq. "Yes, and so we have."
Jac. "Well then, my lord, show me in your whole church only one bishop or pastor who is blameless in doctrine and life, even as Paul, or Timothy, or Titus, and I will follow him with all my heart."
Inq. "Have you such pastors- among you?"
Jac. "My lord, you say, that we are Satan's congregation,and that your church is the same which was in the time of the apostles; hence show me those people, whereby I may know them."
Inq. "Where do you think to find such? for they had the Holy Ghost, who is not given now."
Jac. "Not! How comes it then, that Paul says that he that has not the Spirit of God, is none of His?" Rom. 8:9.
Inq. "This has another meaning."
Jac. "My lord; what meaning?"
Inq. "He there speaks of those who do not walk after the Spirit."
Jac. "Well; for what else do I ask you, than for bishops and pastors who walk and are led by the Spirit of God, who are holy, just, vigilant, and blameless in the doctrine, in life and conversation, as Paul teaches that they must be."
Inq. "I could easily name such bishops or pastors as are blameless, but you do not know them."
Jac. "Where are they?"
Inq. "In Italy and in Spain."
Jac. "Is the church of God there, and not here?"
Inq. "There is also a cardinal or bishop in England, who truly is a man blameless in doctrine and conversation."
Jac. "My lord, pray release me from these chains, and let me go, and I shall use all diligence to get to him, to see whether it is true."
'He laughingly replied, "No, no; you must believe what is
Jac. "My lord, it is written
'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.' Jer. 17:5. Shall
-I depend upon your word alone?"
Inq. "Do you think that I lie?"
Jac. "I do not say that; but I want to see it first before I believe it."
Inq. "Yes, yes, but you cannot now."
Jac. "Since I cannot see it, I cannot believe it either."
Inq. "Why will you pay so much attention to their conversation, seeing they have the doctrine of the apostles?"
Jac. "This is yet to be proved to me, and it would be difficult for you to prove to me by the Scriptures, that they have the doctrine of the apostles."
Inq. "Nevertheless they have it; but you are hardened, and cannot comprehend it."
Jac. "This assertion lacks the support of the Scriptures, and if they are trees from the roots of the apostles, show me the fruits, that I may know them."
Inq. "Can you then know the faith by the works, whether it is good or bad?"
Jac. "My lord, our Master has taught us that we shall know the false prophets by their fruits (Matt. 7:16); for when we find grapes on the vine, we dare not say, like you people do, that we have plucked them from thorns."
He laughingly said to me, "Do we say that?"
Jac. "Do you not? do you not say we are evil, vile and useless trees, that must be cast into the fire? And yet you have confessed to me, that our fruits are good, but that it is our faith."
Inq. "It is true, you do good works before men; but the inward is good for nothing, for your faith is not good."
Jac. "Our works spring from our faith; the vessel cannot give forth anything but what is in it; hence the Lord calls those a generation of vipers, who confessed that the fruit was good, and the tree corrupt, saying: 'Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt.' Luke 6:45; Matt. 12:34.
Inq. "Therefore you would say that our bishops and pastors can have no good faith, unless their works are good."
Jac. "My lord, I can answer with Paul: 'They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate' (Tit. 1:16); and such pastors I will not follow." Inq."No, no, Jacques, they are not so abominable as you think, though they are also sinners, even as we all are."
Jac. "My lord, you know better than you say; for I should be ashamed to discover the shameful acts of this people, who boast of being the light and salt of the earth, and the leaders of the blind and ignorant."
Inq. "What shameful acts? tell me freely."
Jac. "My lord, since you desire me to tell you, you know very
well yourself, what unnatural whoredom, too shameful to
mention, such as was committed by Sodom and Gomorrah, those of
Rome commit namely, the pope, who boasts of being a holy man,
and God upon earth, and the cardinals and bishops that are
there; to say nothing of the pride, pomp and wickedness of
which these holy people are guilty."
Inq. "It is true, that there are some who commit great abomination before God, so that it is abominable of some; but, Jacques, we must not condemn the good on account of the bad; they are not all bad; there are also some that are righteous."
Jac. "I believe that the righteous are thinly sown; for from my youth I have lived mostly among priests, canons and monks, and it were a shame to relate the abounding wickedness which I have seen there."
Inq. "My son, not all, not all."
Jac. "My lord, so far as I have ever seen and known, I do not know that I have seen a single one walk after the rule prescribed to a bishop or pastor, even as you know better yourself what occurred two or three weeks ago in this city of N. in the convent of the Jacobines."
The monks of Jacobines had driven their prior out of the convent, because he had reproved them for their licentiousness and wickedness.Inq. "Jacques, though there have been wicked popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, and monks, there have, on the other hand, also been good ones; do you not know that the good grain is not without chaff'? No, no, there are good grains and good pastors, though you do not know them."
mission, he says that such a blind man gropes for the way,
which is a sign that he has not found it; now, shall I follow
Inq. "Your Menno, is he so just, holy and blameless?"
Jac. "I have not had sufficient intercourse with him, to find anything blamable in him."
Inq. "With whom then have you had your intercourse? can nothing be said of your teacher? is he unblamable?"
Jac. "My lord, can you produce anything against him, or accuse him of anything?"
Inq. "I do not know the rascal."
Jac. "Then do not defame him; for you would find it a difficult task to prove that he is what you call him."
Inq. "This would not be difficult for me to do; for he has seduced enough people to be called this."
Jac. "My lord, take care that you are not yourself one who seduces the people."
Inq. "Is he not a native of a certain village in Zealand?" He named the village, but I have forgotten it.
Jac. "I do not know where he was born."
Inq. "What kind of looking man was he? What sort of beard and clothes did he have?"
Jac. "My lord, you are certainly inquiring very diligently for him; I think you would like to betray him; do you know no other way, my lord?"
Inq. "I wish him no harm."
Jac. "I hear that you say so; nevertheless, you would like to have him here in my place, would you not, my lord?"
Inq. "Yes, if he would become converted."
Jac. "And if he would not be converted to your views, would you not place him to the stake?"
Inq. "I should leave this to the judge."
Jac. "Well, would you not then wish him harm? Would you want to have this done to you?"
Perceiving that he could not answer me, and that two or
three persons were listening at the door, besides the jailer,
who is always with the prisoners, he commenced to give me a
long talk, saying that I must not inquire so deeply into the
Scriptures, but suffer myself to be instructed by those more
learned than I, and that I must believe that a sinful man, of
wicked life could have the faith as well as another and that I
must hear his words, but not do after his works.
Jac. "Must I believe this by the Scriptures, or without the Scriptures?"
Inq. "I have proved it to you by the Scriptures."
Jac. "By what Scriptures?"
Inq. "By the cases of Judas and Demas, who had faith, and yet were wicked of life."
Jac. "My lord, it appears to me that our words are mere child's play; have I not replied to this, and proved to you, that it becomes us not to take those who have apostatized from the faith for leaders and pastors?"
Inq. "Where do you expect to find blameless pastors such as you demand? do you not see that the world is full of knavery?"
Jac. "If you do not know any, I know some, and such I will follow."
Inq. "Where are they?"
Jac. "They are unknown to you; do you not know that when the prophet thought that all the righteous in Israel had been slain by Ahab and Jezebel, the Lord said that there were seven thousand left yet, who had not bowed their knees unto the idol Baal." I Kings 19:10.
Inq. "It was because of the persecution raging at that time, that they were so scattered."
Jac. "Thus it is yet at the present day on account of persecution, that they are scattered, and unknown to the world."
Inq. "But must you for a Menno, or any other single individual, who seem to lead a good life, must you therefore follow him, and forsake all the other bishops and pastors, who do not walk just as uprightly?"
Jac. "My lord, do you think that if Ahab, the King of Israel had forsaken the counsel of the four hundred prophets, and followed the single advice of poor Micaiah, he would have done amiss?"
Inq. "Certainly not; for Micaiah was a prophet of God."
Jac. "Did not the others say that they were too? and did they not smite poor Micaiah on the cheek, because he prophesied against them, and say to him: 'Do you think that the Spirit of God has departed from us?"
Inq. "They boasted of the Holy Spirit, but falsely; for they did not have Him?"
Jac. "Ahab did not know that; for because Micaiah had alone prophesied against the four hundred prophets, the poor man of God was cast into prison on scanty bread and water, till Ahab should return from the battle at Ramoth-gilead; but he found that the counsel of the four hundred prophets cost him his life, as Micaiah had foretold him."
Inq. "The events recorded in these passages occurred in former times."
Jac. "Paul says that all was written for our learning; and the same things still happen at the present day." Rom. 15:4.
Inq. "Well then, you will not hear or follow any pastors, except they practice what they teach?"
Jac. "No; for it is written: 'The light of the body is the eye; if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness."' Matt. 6:22.
Inq. "Then you will not follow the advice of Jesus Christ, namely, to do after their words, and not after their works."
Jac. "To whom does He say this?" Inq."To His disciples."
Jac. "Of whom does He say it?"
Inq. "Jesus Christ says: 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works."' Matt. 23:1, 2. lac."What kind of seat was it, wooden or stone?"
Inq. "It was the seat that was there."
Jac. "How could so many people sit in one seat? Was it so large? Or was it not the law Christ alluded to?"
Inq. "It is the same thing, the law which they proclaimed."
Jac. "The law was a command of God, and not of men, and when Christ said this, He did not choose them to feed or lead His flock."
Inq. "When He said: 'Do after their words, and not after their works, did He not appoint them pastors?"'
Jac. "Have you not read what the Lord 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. Behold, here they are already excluded; how then shall they lead others?"
Inq. "Do only after their words."
Jac. "Have you no other pastors among you, to proclaim the Word of God, than such scribes and Pharisees, whom God has threatened with so many
curses? Does not the prophet say: 'Blessed is the man that
has not sat among the ungodly'? Ps. 1:1. And Christ admonishes
us to beware of their leaven." Matt. 16:6. Inq."You must
not understand it thus, but believe that an ungodly man can
indeed speak good things."
Jac. "it is written: 'Praise is not seemly in the mouth of the ungodly, because they are not sent of God.'.Sir. 15:y. 'And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"' Romans 1 U:15. L nq. "It is true, it is not seemly, but he does not say that it is not good."
Jac. "if it is not seemly, then it is not acceptable; for what repentance can an . impenitent man proclaim? For, if a thief admonish his companion not to steal any more, will his word have any effect? Will not his companion say: 'If it is wrong to do it, why do you do it yourself?' Rom. 2:21. Y e hypocrites, cast out the beam out of your own eyes, and then shall you see clearly the dust in my eyes." Matt. 7:5. 1nq. "You pervert every Scripture into the contrary, according to your own notion and understanding; you must not build upon yourself so much, but subject your understanding to the understanding of those that are wiser than you are."
Jac. "My lord, I always speak, with your permission, that if anything better is proved to me, I will follow it."
He arose and said, "It is time for me to go; see that you
consider the matter well, and pray diligently to God."
Jac. "I know of nothing to consider, since you cannot .prove to me anything different."
Inq. "What should I prove to you?"
Jac. "I have asked you to show to me what pastors I must follow, and whether they are such as the Scriptures decree that they ought to be in life, doctrine and conversation, " Inq."Follow those whom your parents followed." Thereupon he left me.
Here I finished writing, because I was finally surprised by many persons and gainsayer's.
This confession of Jacques was translated from the French into the Dutch., "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so' persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matt. 5:11, 12).
There was a councilor at Harlingen, by the name of Mr. de Wael, who very diligently sought Jacques, addressed him in a friendly manner, and invited him to his house, saying that he had a letter for him. When Jacques arrived there, he cordially welcomed him, and urged him much to be his guest, seeming to be kindled with great love for old acquaintance' sake. When he learned that Jacques could not stay, he, with friendly words, but the heart of a Judas, asked him to come again and bring of his wares and work with him, ostensibly for the purpose of buying of him, Jacques being a peddler. In the meantime he secretly sent a messenger to Leeuwarden, to the council, for a commissary and a bailiff. When Jacques came again to him, he affably greeted him, sending in the meantime for the. bailiff. When the latter arrived, the traitor malignantly said, "Apprehend him, behold, this is the man." Thus they handled him with great severity, saying, "Hold still," and searched him all over.
Then Jacques said, "Oh my lord, what have you done, that you have thus betrayed me, who trusted you with my life and all my property? why do you seek my life, and thirst thus for my blood?" He replied, "Be content and suffer yourself to be bound: you must go with me to the prison." He said he had to do this, to fulfill his oath, and read to Jacques his cruel, tyrannous mandate. He also made very strict inquiry for four other men. Jacques replied that he would not betray or deceive any one, but if he had aught against him, or had heard any one complain of him, he should tell him of it. The traitor replied that he had not heard anything of the kind, and that he was not apprehended on account of any crime, but simply because he had adhered to heresy; he, moreover, asked him whether he was not an Anabaptist. Jacques denied having adhered to heresy, and being an Anabaptist, saying that he had received but one baptism, according to the Word of 'the Lord, upon his faith. When asked concerning the Roman church, Jacques replied that it was not of God. Upon this the traitor was seen to sigh deeply, his countenance simulating great sorrow as he said, "Oh Jacques, must you fall into my hands?" Jacques replied, "My lord, I had placed confidence in you, on account of our old acquaintance, and because I had intercourse with you so long; but I will gladly and from my heart forgive you for this, and it is my earnest desire that the Lord may have mercy upon you." He thanked Jacques for this favor, opining that in this he had not sinned before God, since he had to act according to his oath. Jacques said, "Do you consider this transaction right before God and men? The time will come when you will find it otherwise." Wisd. 5:2. He then sent Jacques into the room and said to him, "You will be examined at Leeuwarden concerning your faith and doctrine." While Jacques was imprisoned there, his wife came to him, upon which this friend of God was filled with great sorrow and anxiety, beholding her in such exceeding grief since she was also pregnant. The turnkey thrust her from him with great cruelty, but many of the
bystanders most heartily wept with her, and entreated the turnkey, saying, "Oh, let her go to him;" but it could not last long. Jacques said to her, "O my beloved, go home, and comfort yourself in the Lord; for 1 am imprisoned here.for the Word of God; and it will tend neither to your shame nor disgrace, since I have injured no one." She said, "May the Lord strengthen you in the truth; for after this conflict there is prepared for you an eternal crown. Oh, that I could die with you, and inherit that blissful life .with you, then my heart would rejoice." Jacques said, "O sister in the Lord, let not this grieve you, though I must go a little before you; it is the Lord's will." The turnkey could not bear this, but said, "Begone, quick!" Thereupon Jacques entreated him, saying, "Oh, let us alone with God for a little while." And thus these two dear lambs were separated, but hope to meet again at the resurrection of the just, where wailing and parting will be heard no more forever. Phil. 3:11; Rev. 7:17; 21:4; Isa. 25:8.
Having, through the grace of God, undergone and endured manifold assaults, by way of numerous examinations and threats from the bloodthirsty, he died in great steadfastness for the testimony of Jesus. He was not put to death at the place of execution, but secretly murdered by night. Until quite recently trustworthy persons were still living, who early in the morning, after the night in the forepart of which he had been murdered, saw him in his leather clothes, lying dead in his blood. He now rests under the altar of Jesus, awaiting, with God's chosen, a blessed- resurrection and eternal life.
The above-mentioned traitor, Mr. de Wael, was not long after this deed most severely smitten by God in punishment for his murderous treachery, in consequence of which he departed out of this world in a most awful manner, as a solemn and significant warning to all that are inclined to follow his example in this respect; for he was soon driven from Leeuwarden, with great reproach and ignominy from the common people, so that the boatman, who was to convey him away, was with him in danger of his life, so that he begged most urgently that his life might be spared; for the traitor- was most unmercifully pelted with stones by the common people and the children, and ignominiously reproached for his treachery, being called a Judas, rogue, miscreant and arch-heretic. To his great disgrace and reproach they sang of him the following verses, which had been composed by Jacques
"He said: I had to find you-
Now from my oath I'm free;
Submit and let us bind you;
To prison go with -me."
"And is it right your dealing,
Before the Lord and men?
The time is surely coming
When you will doubtless ken," etc.
God the Lord had also punished him with severe leprosy, with which he was likewise most ignominiously taunted. Whenever they had sung a stanza of said hymn, they would derisively exclaim, "You leprous Judas and treacherous rogue, do you ken it now?" The stones increased the longer the more, so that the boatman who was to convey him away, saw his own life imperiled, and cried out that he had to convey him off by order of the lord. Thus he was driven from Leeuwarden with great disgrace and ignominy, and had to roam about from place to place, an object of scorn and contempt, until he was finally consumed by leprosy, and, like Antioch and Herod, died a terrible and premature death, an example to all his followers. II Macc. 9:9; Acts 12:23. The reports among the common people concerning this matter, are of a still much more horrible nature, than the account we have given here.