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PREFACE.

I, MENNO SIMON, sincerely desire that all the true children of God may obtain grace and peace, a perfect understanding of the Lord, a firm mind in all temptations, from God our heavenly Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power of his Holy Spirit, to our edification and salvation, Amen.

Beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, since the all‑merciful God and Father, through his boundless grace and goodness, has again, in these last times of unbelief, abominations and idolatry, in this terrible, wanton, ruthless, perverted and blood­thirsty world, revealed before the eyes of the consciences of some, his blessed, only, and eternal Son, Jesus Christ, who was un­known for so many centuries; since he has again opened the book of the divine decla­rations and eternal truth, which had been closed for many centuries; since some of those who lay dead, not for four days only, as Lazarus did, according to the flesh, but for twenty or thirty years, yea, who all their lives slumbered in the spiritual death of sin and all ungodliness, have awakened from the foul grave of unbelief and unright­eousness, and have been called to a new, unblamable life; and since through the preaching of his word, in the power of his Holy Spirit, he continues to call the poor, miserable, starving sheep out of the hands of the faithless shepherds, and out of the clutches of the ravening wolves; since he leads them out of the dry, unfruitful past­ures of man's doctrine and commands, to the green, fat pastures upon the mount of Israel, and places them under the power and protection of their only and eternal shepherd, Jesus Christ, who, through his precious, crimson blood has purified and purchased them for his own; therefore, the gates of hell foam and rage. Herod with the whole city is above measure frightened and enraged, because he has heard of the wise men, who are taught of God, that the King of the Jews is born. The great dragon, the old, crooked serpent, who was cast from heaven, whose head and power has been braised and broken by the prom­ised seed of the woman, is overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and, on account of the word of his testimony, burns with anger. He knows well that his time is short, and therefore he carries on his works and tyr­anny, through his children and servants, the unbelievers, with great wrath and fierce­ness, against those who have been sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb. Annas and Caiaphas, with all the scribes, counsel to slay Christ. Judas and all false apostles and teachers betray and deliver him up. Herod, with all his lords and princes, scorn and, mock him. The people cry out, crucify him! crucify him! I Pilate, and all those who bear the sword, sentence him to stocks, fire, sword and water. The servants seize, spit upon, scourge, crown and crucify him. The centurion pierces his side, the others mock, blaspheme and upbraid him. Who is there that does not persecute, crucify and dis­honor with heart, word or deed, the poor, innocent, peaceful, defenceless Lamb? Yea, in the ungodly Cain, has the bloody, mur­derous tyranny taken its origin, and has fully shown its artfulness, properties, fruit and. nature to the pious, godly Abel.

Inasmuch, then, as the Lamb and its chosen members, from the beginning, have been persecuted and slain by the malice of the creatures of the conquered serpent, and inasmuch (according to Scriptures) as this persecution will not cease so long as there are righteous and unrighteous people on earth; and as in our days, especially, the cross of Christ, on every hand (as it was in 181the days of our ancestors), is laid upon all God‑fearing children, who are inwardly born again from the powerful seed of the holy word; therefore I cannot neglect to admon­ish my beloved brethren and sisters, fellow­believers and fellow‑sufferers with the word of the Lord, concerning the suffering, cross and persecution of the saints, which is abun­dantly related in the Scriptures, and was abundantly visited upon our fathers, both of the Old and New Testaments, and also upon many pious witnesses of our own days; that they may, according to the ex­ample of our fathers, fearlessly and valiant­ly continue the undertaken contest, in all constancy, patience, strength, courage and valor, through the power of their faith in Christ Jesus; and that they may thus re­ceive the promised crown. For this purpose may the Father of every good and perfect gift, through his beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us the riches of his grace, in the power of his Holy Spirit, Amen.

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