Not only those of the city of Ghent, in Flanders, of whom we have just spoken, but also those of Rotterdam, in Holland, again imbrued their hands at this time in the blood of the saints. This appeared in the case of a very pious and God-fearing heroine of Jesus Christ, who, a native of Deventer according to the flesh, was nevertheless from the heavenly Jerusalem, born again of God; whose name here upon earth was Maeyken van Deventer, while her inward and spiritual name was known only to God, and recorded in the secret book of God's perpetual remembrance.
She was apprehended for her saving faith, in the city of Rotterdam, in Holland, without any fear from the neighboring cities, as -the city of Dortrecht had already a year before, under the reign of the Prince of Orange, William I, capitulated, no longer to shed innocent blood on -. -count of the faith; which had taken place in July, A. D. 1572, while this occurred about the middle of the year 1573.
They did not stop at imprisonment, but proceeded further with her, so that when she could not be turned from her steadfast and true faith, sentence of death was speedily pronounced upon her, that she should be put to death, as an immovable and obstinate heretic. O God, how couldst Thou tolerate it!
This sentence was speedily executed on her by the executioner, so that, having commended her soul into the hands of God, she left her body upon earth as a prey.
Observations concerning the death sentence
Maeyken van Deventer
We have taken much trouble, to obtain, if possible, the death sentence of this pious woman Maeyken van Deventer, as well as of others of our dear fellow believers that were put to death at Rotterdam; but we have been informed by the secretary there, who searched for it, that in the year 1600, just fifty-nine years ago, there was a great fire in the city hall, whereby the examinations and death sentences of said martyrs were all burned, together with all that had been recorded with regard to this, previous to the year 1600, as we also, for the year1572, showed to have occurred at Breda; certainly a lamentable matter, which might cause to pass into oblivion that which we ought constantly to remember, namely, the steadfast death of the saints. To prevent such oblivion, we have deemed it necessary to notice this matter more fully than has ever before been done. This by way of notice.
My children according to the flesh, but, alas! not according to the spirit, here is a testament, which I, your mother, leave you, namely, Albert, Johan, Egbert, Truyken, my dear children. The Lord bless you, as Isaac blessed his son Jacob, that he should be a ruler over his brethren. My children in the flesh, I must leave you young; may the Most High permit us to meet in the world to come, which shall be done before long by the Father, who will paternally b'ess us with His most holy name. This I expect from day to day, that, when it pleases the Lord, I may offer up my life and body for His holy name's sake, and I trust that this will not be deferred, and that the good Lord will not forget me any longer. When you hear this, sorrow not, as the world does, which has no hope, or knows not where they shall be; but thank the Most High, that you had a mother who was found worthy to shed her blood for the name of the Lord, and who, through His great grace and mercy, may be counted as a witness or martyr. Hence, my children, respect this testament which I leave you.
I cannot leave you gold or silver, nor can I give you treasures of this world, as the world gives to her children; for this I did not take with me, but left it to your carnal father; and this I also did not seek, but I sought the eternal riches, which are imperishable. Do you also seek this way, and you shall live forever; and follow this testament and the instruction which I here write you. Even as Christ Jesus our forerunner left such to us for an everlasting testament, and sealed it with His blood; such a testament I also leave you, and will likewise seal the same with my blood, even as the blessed Jesus did. My children, do not set at naught or lightly esteem this; be not heedless: it is better than gold, for it will save your souls. If you do what I write you, you shall see me again in great glory, and you shall be as kings and queens; but you must keep yourselves from this corruptible world, for it shall pass away with all its lusts.
Hear, my children, the instruction of your mother, and incline your hearts to understanding, and open your ears to hear the words of my mouth, for I seek the salvation of your souls; believe me, and no one else, that you may come to me and live forever. Behold, my children, I hold before you the way of my Bridegroom, and our forerunner, Christ Jesus, who went before me, which leads to the truth, as the Lord has commanded me; and behold, I take up my cross, and follow the Saviour of the
whole world. Do so, too, my children; I shall go before you, without looking backfor this is the way of the prophets and.. martyrs, and behold, I shall now drink the cup which they., drank. I now go the way which Christ Jesus, the Lord full of all grace and truth; who laid down His life for His sheep, went; this cup I must drink, as Christ says, "I have a cup to drink of, and a,baptism to be baptized with;, and how am I straitened till it be, accomplished,l" klatthew 20:22; Luke 12:50. And having thus passed. through, He calls His sheep, and his sheep hear His. voice, and .follow Him whithersoever Ile. goes, for this is the way to the living fountain; this way went the .priestly kings coining from the rising of the sun, as is written in Revelation (Rev. 16:12 ), and entered into eternity. And behold; they had to drink of this cup, and to go this way, who are now under the altar, crying and saying, "Lord almighty Father, how long dost thou not avenge our blood on then that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given them, and it was answered unto them: Bear yet for a little season, till the number of your brethren that shall also be killed yet for the testimony of Jesus Christ be fulfilled." Rev. 6:9-11. These also drank of the cup, and ascended up to enjoy the eternal Sabbath of the Lord. And of this cup also those had to drink who are crowned, have palms in their hands, and are clothed in white. 11 Esd. 2:42. Yea, this is also the. way trod by. the four and twenty elders that. stand before the throne of God, and cast their crowns from their heads, and their harps before the throne of the Lamb, and falling down upon their faces, .say;"O God, to thee alone be praise, honor and glory, power and strength, forever and ever. Lord almighty God, who wilt speedily avenge the blood of thy servants and ministers, thine be the victory; magnified by thy name, which is, and which was, and which is to come." Rev. 4:10, 11. This way also walked the marked of the Lord, who had the mark in their foreheads, who were chosen out of all the kindreds of men, who were not defiled with women, but follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. 7:3; 14:3, 4. Behold, these had tp drink the bitter cup, and also all those that are still lacking of the number and fulfillment of Zion, which is the bride of the Lainb, and the new Jerusalem, which shall descend out of heaven, in which city and throne the glory of the great King shall be revealed and seen, when the marriage feast shall be kept and celebrated in the'day of the high and; holy Sabaoth, the Lord their God, which is the day of their rest -and joy, 6:11; 21:10. Behold, all these first ,suffered the judgment in their flesh, and had to hear the punishment of this world,' for 'Jesus Christ -wa's the first one, as is written"The Lamb -.slain"from the foundation of the world;" and Paul says, that whom; He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the linage of His Son. Rev. 13:8; Roin. 8:29. Christ our Saviour also says, that the servant is not better than his lord, nor the disciple above his master; lint it is enough for thedisciple, that he be as his master. Matthew 10:24, 25. This also Peter declares to us, who says that the time is. come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at God's elect, what shall the end be of them that have not believed the Gospel of God?and if the righteous scarcely be Saved, where shall the unrighteous appear? I Pet. 4:17, 18.
Hence, my dear children, press through the strait gate, for strait and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it, and still less that walk it; but wide and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that walk therein. Matt. 7:13, 14.
Therefore, my children, heed the chastening and instruction of the Lord, and bow your shoulders under His yoke and easy burden, and bear it patiently from your, youth, thanking Him with great honor, for He receives no sons whom He does 'not chasten, for if you forsake chastisement after this manner, whereof we all are become partakers, you are not children, but bastards, and you shall be cast out of your Father's inheritance. Heb. 12:6.
Hence, my dear children, gird your loins, and follow Christ, and neither fear nor rest till you have found this way. And search the Scriptures:'they shall show you the way of life, for the angel says, to Esdras, "Behold, a city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things: tli.~ entrance thereof is narrow, and set in a dangerous place to fall, like' as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water: and one only path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one main go there at once. If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inlieritance?" II Esd. 7:6-9. Behold; my children, this way has no retreats; there are also no byways, that lie on the right hand or on the left; this is the: way which is found by so few, and trod by still fewer; yea, there are indeed some that-see it who well know that this is the way unto life, but it is too hard for them; it hurts them far too much.
Therefore, my children, regard not the great multitude, neither walk in their ways; refrain your feet from their path, for they go to hell, even as sheep to the, slaughter, as the prophet Isaiah tells us saying, "Hell hath opened wide her mouth, that there may enter in the princes of the earth, and the common people." For it is a people of no understanding; therefore he that made them Will not have mercy on them. Prov. 1:15; Isa. 59:7; 5:14; 27:11.
But, my children, remember what I write, and wherever you hear that there is a plain, rejected little flock, that is despised and cast out by this world.; join them; and wherever you hear of the cross, of Christ, depart not away. But flee the shadow of this world, go to God; fear Him alone; keep; His commandments; remember all His words to"do after them; write them upon the tables of your heart; and bind them on your forehead, and
speak of His statutes night and day, and you shall be a pleasant branch in the garden of the Lord, yea, a beloved plant growing up in Zion.
My children, call the fear of the Lord your Father, and wisdom and understanding shall be your mother. If you do this, my c'_:ildren, the Lord shall bless you, and sanctify your body for His service that His name, may be sanctified through you, and magnified to His glory. Confess Him before men, that He may also confess you before His heavenly Father. Yea, forsake your life, my children, rather than that you should depart from the truth. And follow me; I go before you as a valiant soldieress, who is prepared for the war or conflict of the Lord, that I may deliver up my life for the name of the Lord. My children, I, your mother, the instrument whereby you have been brought into this sorrowful world, desire your salvation. Believe me what I write you and have left you, and no one else, except what they say agrees with the holy Scriptures. If you do this, you shall come to me, and I to you. If you lose your body, which is of the earth, the Lord has prepared you a better in heaven. Hence, my children, strive valiantly unto death for the truth and for righteousness, and arm yourselves with the armor of God, that you may be found valiant Israelites; trample down the world and all unrighteousness that is therein; love or seek only that which is above, and remember that you are not of the world, even as your Lord and Master was also not of the world. John 15:19; 17:16. And be diligent, that you too may be found disciples; whatsoever you shall ask then, shall be done unto you; for no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, for the true worshipers shall worship God in Spirit and in truth; for these Christ prayed, and not for the world, for when the world prays, it calls upon the devil, and they desire that his will be done in them. John 15:7; I Cor. 12:3; John 4
23; 17:9. Hence, my dear children, do not become conformed to it; flee from it, and have no fellowship with it. Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5:11. Regard not what is fair to the eyes, for it is all vanity; seek only those things which are above, and set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth Col. 3:1, 2. Let your eyes ever look to the Lord and always labor with prayer and supplication, that you may ever be with Him in heart. Heb. 12:2. Let your laughter be turned to weeping, for we are pilgrims here upon earth; and let there be nothing in this world, which can rejoice you, for it is all vanity, and passes away. Jas. 4:9; I Peter 2:11; II Cor. 4:18. Beware of covetousness with regard to earthly riches, for this is the true foundation of perdition. Luke 12:15; I Tim. 6:9. Re member me. The Lord cause you to walk in His fear, and fill you with His Holy Spirit and sanctify your understanding and mind. My children, be circumspect in all your conversation, and whatsoever you do, therein let the name of the Lord be praised and blessed. Col. 3:17. And guard, yourlips, that you may riot take the name of God into your mouth in vain, for this is a great unrecognized sin; and do not use the name of God, except you do it with great reverence, with bended knees and with uncovered head, or it will be accounted ill to you. Ex. 20:7. Pray God that you may learn to know Him, and be not ashamed to confess and honor Him, who can save your souls; for the Lord will not tolerate that His people deny Him, for it is enough that the world dishonors and denies Him; hence let us honor, praise and glorify His holy name with the whole heart, for it is written, that whosoever takes the name of the Lord in vain is worthy of death.
Therefore, my children, love your neighbor heartily, and this with a liberal heart. Let the light of the Gospel shine in you. II Cor. 4:4. Deal your bread to the hungry, clothe the naked, and do not suffer anything to remain with you double, since there are enough that lack. Isa. 58:7. And whatsoever the Lord grants you, that possess with thankfulness, not only for yourselves, but also for your neighbor, and seek not your own profit, but that of your neighbor. In short, my children, let your life be conformed to the Gospel of Christ. And the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, that your whole spirit, soul and body may be found blameless unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, power and majesty forever and ever. Amen. Heb. 13:20, 21; I Thessalonians 5:23.
O holy Father, sanctify the children of Thy handmaiden in Thy truth, and keep them from all evil, and from all unrighteousness, for Thy holy name's sake. O Almighty Father, I commend them unto You, since they are Thy creatures;.care for them, for they are Thy handiwork; so that they may walk in Thy paths. Amen.